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November Reading List

Two books is all I got through in November! Both were kind of odd books. They were okay, but somewhat bizarre and a bit dark.

The first was called Silent House by Orhan Pamuk. Mr. Pamuk is a Tukish writer. This book was written in the 1980's, but was not published in English until the 2000's. 


Each chapter is told by a different character in the story. Involved in the story are Fatma, the grandmother; her three grandchildren, Faruk, Nilgun, and Metin; her husband's illegitimate son, Recep, who is her caregiver; and Hasan, her husband's illegitimate grandson. Very present in the story are Fatma's dead husband and son. 

This is a very different book with an entire page being one sentence because the sentence is a thought in a person's head. Threaded throughout the book are the complexities of human relationships, especially in families, politics in the setting of 1980's Turkey, alcoholism, unstable mental conditions, religion, and young people struggling to …
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Top 10 Thankful List

Friends of ours recently did their top 10 thankful list for their prayer letter (thanks for the inspiration, Beka!) and I thought I'd steal borrow the idea.  So here are the ten things I'm most thankful for in 2018.

1.  Of course, I have to start with family!  I think I have the two best kids in the entire world and I LOVE my son and daughter-in-law as well.  I couldn't have asked for better spouses for my kids.  And then I have the five cutest grandchildren in the entire world.





2.  I'm so thankful for our newest grand-baby.  Yes, I have to feature him separately because he's new to this world.  Welcome to our world, Ezra John.  We wish we could meet you in person.  We love you already.





3.  I'm thankful that my mom is doing much better after a recent illness.  She still needs to regain strength, but is making some progress every day.  I really do have the best parents and mother-in-law.



4.  John is the best husband.  Sure, we have our moments, but I've been ble…

Strong Women

Strong women. We hear a lot about strong women.

There is the Pioneer Woman who crossed the prairies, leaving behind all comforts of life. She faced danger, hardships, harsh conditions, and loneliness. And we can be like her! OK, we probably like our comforts, but we want to stand up strong, our faces to the wind and sun, facing danger, hardships, whatever life throws at us, and maybe even loneliness. Because we can. We’re strong women.


Or how about Rosie the Riveter? War necessitated her joining a traditional men’s work force. Her sweetheart was off to war and she did what needed to be done. She provided an income for herself and possibly her children, supported the war effort, and patriotically served her country. We identify with Rosie the Riveter because we want to be as good as men, to be needed, to be strong, and to do what needs to be done. We can do it!


And our super heroes? We love to imagine that we are Amazon Women, able to defeat evil and all that’s wrong in the wo…

Basil by the Bushel

There are some posts that should have a scratch and sniff button with them.  A post about basil is one of those.  Part of using basil is the delightful smell that comes from the fresh-picked leaves.  Alas, I can't share the fragrance with you, but here are some pictures, anyway.



John grows basil for us and our experience is that you can't kill it. I should clarify.....I could probably kill it, but John has great success with it.  We have bushes of basil producing bushels of basil! 



A plant does eventually dry up and die after it goes to seed.  But it will drop its seeds and in our warm climate where the ground is never frozen, new plants will start by themselves.  So we always have more fresh basil than we can use!



I love to use it fresh in sauces.  It's great in any tomato-based sauce and I throw handfuls in to spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, or a Tuscan chicken sauce I make.  It's also great in pesto.  I have a recipe that has pasta mixed with fresh tomatoes, basil, and g…

October Book List

My goal for this year was to read 50 books. So far I've read 33, so yeah, not going to make that 50 goal by December 31!

I'm going to start with a book I didn't actually read in October. I think I read it in August, but somehow I forgot to review it. I read it on my Kindle and it was called Out of the Dust: Story of an Unlikely Missionary by Avis Goodhart and Marti Pieper.


Avis Goodhart grew up in a tumultuous and unstable family situation that included a father suffering from PTSD, instability in the family because of the PTSD and her father's inability to cope or hold down a job, constantly on the move and mostly living out of a car, not being properly schooled, and being abused by an uncle. She carried some of this dysfunction into her first marriage.

But God worked in her life and changed her and in spite of many obstacles, she went on to be involved in missions and to found a school in South America (I already forgot what country!). It's a very interesti…

Some Sprucing Up

I've had the same kitchen curtains for at least 17 years!  I liked them and even though they were red, they didn't fade.  So why change them, right?  But when we got back from our home assignment, I decided it was time for a change.  

We had these curtains in our village house, but I had smaller kitchen windows there.  I also had the curtains attached right on the glass part of the window, but I learned from experience that the problem with that is that if I wanted to have the windows open, the curtains also had to be opened.  So at night we couldn't close the curtains.  When we moved to our current home, I remade the window curtains using a curtain I'd had at the door.  I just cut it in half and added rings to the second half and voila!  curtains!



This picture was taken in December 2001 ... so we had those curtains at least since then.



Here I am making bread in my village kitchen in 2006.


And here you can see the curtains after we moved to the Big City.

Now, here are my ne…

Missionary Friends, Moses and Martha

Moses' father had several wives and Moses grew up in a family of more siblings than he could ever get to know well.  One day his father noticed that wounds on his feet were not healing and that he was losing feeling in his extremities.  He had seen others with the same condition and feared that he had leprosy.  Even though he was Muslim, he went to the Christian leprosarium where he knew he could receive medicines and treatment.  

His treatment required that he spend an extended period of time at the leprosarium.  Every day an evangelist came into the ward and preached the gospel.  At first Moses' father didn't want to listen, but he became more and more intrigued with the stories he heard.  Before he returned to his home, he accepted Christ as his Saviour.  He returned home in better health and with the knowledge of how to care for his extremities to prevent further damage.  But he returned with more than that ... he took the good news to his family and many of them also b…