Monthly Archives: April 2011

Recipes that caught my eye this week

Fresh Strawberry pie from Recipe Shoebox

Queen Elizabeth Drop Scones from Apples to Zucchini

Easy Empanadas from It’s Mostly all about food

Breakfast Quesadillas from Good life Eats– I am not an egg fan, but these look so good!

Smoked Mozzarella and Penne Spinach salad from My Kitchen Cafe

 

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Filed under Bargain Dinners, Recipes

Menu

Wednesday: Pepperoni Pasta, canteloupe

Thursday: Tacos, Fresh Strawberry Pie

Friday:  Pork Roast in crockpot, mashed potatoes, green beans

Saturday: Fried rice…..salad

Sunday: Leftovers, popcorn, cookies

Monday: Stir Fry, rice

Tuesday:  Black beans and rice, salad

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Filed under Bargain Dinners

In Grandma’s Attic and More Stories from Grandma’s attic

My Review:
I loved these books as a girl! They were some of my all time favorites, ones I read again and again! I used to laugh and laugh over the antics of Mabel and Sarah Jane! Sit and listen with your children to the stories that Grandma tells her granddaughter, of the history of her and best friend got into, along with the rest of the family. The story of the dancing doll was one I have retold my children myself! You will enjoy these clean and funny stories with your family, both boys and girls as bedtime stories, or just a good read aloud! The charm of these books are timeless!!!- Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

In Grandma’s Attic
AND
More Stories from Grandma’s Attic

David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Arleta Richardson grew up in a Chicago hotel under her grandmother’s care. As they sat overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan, her grandmother shared memories of her childhood on a Michigan farm. These treasured family stories became the basis for the Grandma’s Attic Series.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Remember when you were a child, when the entire world was new, and the smallest object a thing of wonder? Arleta Richardson remembered: the funny wearable wire contraption hidden in the dusty attic, the century-old schoolchild’s slate that belonged to Grandma, an ancient trunk filled with quilt pieces—each with its own special story—and the button basket, a miracle of mysteries. But best of all she remembered her remarkable grandmother who made magic of all she touched, bringing the past alive as only a born storyteller could.

So step inside the attic of Richardson’s grandmother. These stories will keep you laughing while teaching you valuable lessons. These marvelous tales faithfully recalled for the delight of young and old alike are a touchstone to another day when life was simpler, perhaps richer, and when the treasures of family life and love were passed from generation to generation by a child’s questions and the legends that followed enlarged our faith. These timeless stories were originally released in 1974 and then revised in 1999. They are being re-released with new artwork that will appeal to a new generation of girls.

Product Details:

In Grandma’s Attic:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403790
ISBN-13: 978-0781403795

More Stories from Grandma’s Attic:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; 3 edition (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780781403801
ISBN-13: 978-0781403801
ASIN: 0781403804

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

In Grandma’s Attic – Chapter 1

Pride Goes Before a Fall

“Grandma, what is this?”

Grandma looked up from her work. “Good lands, child, where did you find that?”

“In the attic,” I replied. “What is it, Grandma?”

Grandma chuckled and answered, “That’s a hoop. The kind that ladies wore under their skirts when I was a little girl.”

“Did you ever wear one, Grandma?” I asked.

Grandma laughed. “Indeed I did,” she said. “In fact, I wore that very one.”

Here, I decided, must be a story. I pulled up the footstool and prepared to listen. Grandma looked at the old hoop fondly.

“I only wore it once,” she began. “But I kept it to remind me how painful pride can be.”

I was about eight years old when that hoop came into my life. For months I had been begging Ma to let me have a hoopskirt like the big girls wore. Of course that was out of the question. What would a little girl, not even out of calicoes, be doing with a hoopskirt? Nevertheless, I could envision myself walking haughtily to school with the hoopskirt and all the girls watching enviously as I took my seat in the front of the room.

This dream was shared by my best friend and seatmate, Sarah Jane. Together we spent many hours picturing ourselves as fashionable young ladies in ruffles and petticoats. But try as we would, we could not come up with a single plan for getting a hoopskirt of our very own.

Finally, one day in early spring, Sarah Jane met me at the school grounds with exciting news. An older cousin had come to their house to visit, and she had two old hoops that she didn’t want any longer. Sarah Jane and I could have them to play with, she said. Play with, indeed! Little did that cousin know that we didn’t want to play with them. Here was the answer to our dreams. All day, under cover of our books, Sarah Jane and I planned how we would wear those hoops to church on Sunday.

There was a small problem: How would I get that hoop into the house without Ma knowing about it? And how could either of us get out of the house with them on without anyone seeing us? It was finally decided that I would stop by Sarah Jane’s house on Sunday morning. We would have some excuse for walking to church, and after her family had left, we would put on our hoops and prepare to make a grand entrance at the church.

“Be sure to wear your fullest skirt,” Sarah Jane reminded me. “And be here early. They’re all sure to look at us this Sunday!”

If we had only known how true that would be! But of course, we were happily unaware of the disaster that lay ahead.

Sunday morning came at last, and I astonished my family by the speed with which I finished my chores and was ready to leave for church.

“I’m going with Sarah Jane this morning,” I announced, and set out quickly before anyone could protest.

All went according to plan. Sarah Jane’s family went on in the buggy, cautioning us to hurry and not be late for service. We did have a bit of trouble fastening the hoops around our waists and getting our skirts pulled down to cover them. But when we were finally ready, we agreed that there could not be two finer-looking young ladies in the county than us.

Quickly we set out for church, our hoopskirts swinging as we walked. Everyone had gone in when we arrived, so we were assured the grand entry we desired. Proudly, with small noses tipped up, we sauntered to the front of the church and took our seats.

Alas! No one had ever told us the hazards of sitting down in a hoopskirt without careful practice! The gasps we heard were not of admiration as we had anticipated—far from it! For when we sat down, those dreadful hoops flew straight up in the air! Our skirts covered our faces, and the startled minister was treated to the sight of two pairs of white pantalets and flying petticoats.

Sarah Jane and I were too startled to know how to disentangle ourselves, but our mothers were not. Ma quickly snatched me from the seat and marched me out the door.

The trip home was a silent one. My dread grew with each step. What terrible punishment would I receive at the hands of an embarrassed and upset parent? Although I didn’t dare look at her, I knew she was upset because she was shaking. It was to be many years before I learned that Ma was shaking from laughter, and not from anger!

Nevertheless, punishment was in order. My Sunday afternoon was spent with the big Bible and Pa’s concordance. My task was to copy each verse I could find that had to do with being proud. That day I was a sorry little girl who learned a lesson about pride going before a fall.

“And you were never proud again, Grandma?” I asked after she finished the story.

Grandma thought soberly for a moment. “Yes,” she replied. “I was proud again. Many times. It was not until I was a young lady and the Lord saved me that I had the pride taken from my heart. But many times when I am tempted to be proud, I remember that horrid hoopskirt and decide that a proud heart is an abomination to the Lord!”

***************************************

More Stories From Grandma’s Attic

Chapter 1

The Nuisance in Ma’s Kitchen

When Grandma called from the backyard, I knew I was in for it. She was using her would-you-look-at-this voice, which usually meant I was responsible for something.

“What, Grandma?” I asked once I reached the spot where she was hanging up the washing.

“Would you look at this?” she asked. “I just went into the kitchen for more clothespins and came back out to find this.”

I looked where she was pointing. One of my kittens had crawled into the clothes basket and lay sound asleep on a clean sheet.

“If you’re going to have kittens around the house, you’ll have to keep an eye on them. Otherwise leave them in the barn where they belong. It’s hard enough to wash sheets once without doing them over again.”

Grandma headed toward the house with the soiled sheet, and I took the kitten back to the barn. But I didn’t agree that it belonged there. I would much rather have had the whole family of kittens in the house with me. Later I mentioned this to Grandma.

“I know,” she said. “I felt the same way when I was your age. If it had been up to me, I would have moved every animal on the place into the house every time it rained or snowed.”

“Didn’t your folks let any pets in the house?” I asked.

“Most of our animals weren’t pets,” Grandma admitted. “But there were a few times when they were allowed in. If an animal needed special care, it stayed in the kitchen. I really enjoyed those times, especially if it was one I could help with.”

“Tell me about one,” I said, encouraging her to tell me another story about her childhood.

“I remember one cold spring,” she began, “when Pa came in from the barn carrying a tiny goat.”

“I’m not sure we can save this one.” Pa held the baby goat up for us to see. “The nanny had twins last night, and she’ll only let one come near her. I’m afraid this one’s almost gone.”

Ma agreed and hurried to find an old blanket and a box for a bed. She opened the oven door, put the box on it, and gently took the little goat and laid it on the blanket. It didn’t move at all. It just lay there, barely breathing.

“Oh, Ma,” I said. “Do you think it will live? Shouldn’t we give it something to eat?”

“It’s too weak to eat right now,” Ma replied. “Let it rest and get warm. Then we’ll try to feed it.”

Fortunately it was Saturday, and I didn’t have to go to school. I sat on the floor next to the oven and watched the goat. Sometimes it seemed as though it had stopped breathing, and I would call Ma to look.

“It’s still alive,” she assured me. “It just isn’t strong enough to move yet. You wait there and watch if you want to, but don’t call me again unless it opens its eyes.”

When Pa and my brothers came in for dinner, Reuben stopped and looked down at the tiny animal. “Doesn’t look like much, does it?”

I burst into tears. “It does so!” I howled. “It looks just fine! Ma says it’s going to open its eyes. Don’t discourage it!”

Reuben backed off in surprise, and Pa came over to comfort me. “Now, Reuben wasn’t trying to harm that goat. He just meant that it doesn’t … look like a whole lot.”

I started to cry again, and Ma tried to soothe me. “Crying isn’t going to help that goat one bit,” she said. “When it gets stronger, it will want something to eat. I’ll put some milk on to heat while we have dinner.”

I couldn’t leave my post long enough to go to the table, so Ma let me hold my plate in my lap. I ate dinner watching the goat. Suddenly it quivered and opened its mouth. “It’s moving, Ma!” I shouted. “You’d better bring the milk!”

Ma soaked a rag in the milk, and I held it while the little goat sucked it greedily. By the time it had fallen asleep again, I was convinced that it would be just fine.

And it was! By evening the little goat was standing on its wobbly legs and began to baa loudly for more to eat. “Pa, maybe you’d better bring its box into my room,” I suggested at bedtime.

“Whatever for?” Pa asked. “It will keep warm right here by the stove. We’ll look after it during the night. Don’t worry.”

“And we aren’t bringing your bed out here,” Ma added, anticipating my next suggestion. “You’ll have enough to do, watching that goat during the day.”

Of course Ma was right. As the goat got stronger, he began to look for things to do. At first he was content to grab anything within reach and pull it. Dish towels, apron strings, and tablecloth corners all fascinated him. I kept busy trying to move things out of his way.

From the beginning the little goat took a special liking to Ma, but she was not flattered. “I can’t move six inches in this kitchen without stumbling over that animal,” she sputtered. “He can be sound asleep in his box one minute and sitting on my feet the next. I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate him in here.”

As it turned out, it wasn’t much longer. The next Monday, Ma prepared to do the washing in the washtub Pa had placed on two chairs near the woodpile. Ma always soaked the clothes in cold water first, then transferred them to the boiler on the stove.

I was in my room when I heard her shouting, “Now you put that down! Come back here!”

I ran to the kitchen door and watched as the goat circled the table with one of Pa’s shirts in his mouth. Ma was right behind him, but he managed to stay a few feet ahead of her.

“Step on the shirt, Ma!” I shouted as I ran into the room. “Then he’ll have to stop!”

I started around the table the other way, hoping to head him off. But the goat seemed to realize that he was outnumbered, for he suddenly turned and ran toward the chairs that held the washtub.

“Oh, no!” Ma cried. “Not that way!”

But it was too late! Tub, water, and clothes splashed to the floor. The goat danced stiff-legged through the soggy mess with a surprised look on his face.

“That’s enough!” Ma said. “I’ve had all I need of that goat. Take him out and tie him in the yard, Mabel. Then bring me the mop, please.”

I knew better than to say anything, but I was worried about what would happen to the goat. If he couldn’t come back in the kitchen, where would he sleep?

Pa had the answer to that. “He’ll go to the barn tonight.”

“But, Pa,” I protested, “he’s too little to sleep in the barn. Besides, he’ll think we don’t like him anymore!”

“He’ll think right,” Ma said. “He’s a menace, and he’s not staying in my kitchen another day.”

“But I like him,” I replied. “I feel sorry for him out there alone. If he has to sleep in the barn, let me go out and sleep with him!”

My two brothers looked at me in amazement.

“You?” Roy exclaimed. “You won’t even walk past the barn after dark, let alone go in!”

Everyone knew he was right. I had never been very brave about going outside after dark. But I was more concerned about the little goat than I was about myself.

“I don’t care,” I said stubbornly. “He’ll be scared out there, and he’s littler than I am.”

Ma didn’t say anything, probably because she thought I’d change my mind before dark. But I didn’t. When Pa started for the barn that evening, I was ready to go with him. Ma saw that I was determined, so she brought me a blanket.

“You’d better wrap up in this,” she said. “The hay is warm, but it’s pretty scratchy.”

I took the blanket and followed Pa and the goat out to the barn. The more I thought about the long, dark night, the less it seemed like a good idea, but I wasn’t going to give in or admit that I was afraid.

Pa found a good place for me to sleep. “This is nice and soft and out of the draft. You’ll be fine here.”

I rolled up in the blanket, hugging the goat close to me as I watched Pa check the animals. The light from the lantern cast long, scary shadows through the barn, and I thought about asking Pa if he would stay with me. I knew better, though, and all too soon he was ready to leave.

“Good night, Mabel. Sleep well,” he said as he closed the barn door behind him. I doubted that I would sleep at all. If it hadn’t been for the goat and my brothers who would laugh at me, I would have returned to the house at once. Instead I closed my eyes tightly and began to say my prayers. In a few moments the barn door opened, and Reuben’s voice called to me.

“Mabel,” he said, “it’s just me.” He came over to where I lay, and I saw that he had a blanket under his arm. “I thought I’d sleep out here tonight too. I haven’t slept in the barn for a long time. You don’t mind, do you?”

“Oh, no. That’s fine.” I turned over and fell asleep at once.

When I awoke in the morning, the goat and Reuben were both gone. Soon I found the goat curled up by his mother.

“Will you be sleeping in the barn again tonight?” Ma asked me at breakfast.

“No, I don’t think so,” I said. “I’ll take care of the goat during the day, but I guess his mother can watch him at night.”

Grandma laughed at the memory. “After I grew up, I told Reuben how grateful I was that he came out to stay with me. I wonder how my family ever put up with all my foolishness.”

Grandma went back into the house, and I wandered out to the barn to see the little kittens. I decided I wouldn’t be brave enough to spend the night there even if I had a big brother to keep me company!

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The Reluctant Detective by Martha Ockley

My Review:
When Faith comes into a small village to see if this may be God’s place for her, she finds an unexpected murder may keep her there doing detective work, when she did not really want to. Her old flame Ben is also around, as the local Detective/Inspector.
I found this charming story to be very different than what I usually read. It reminded me of a cross between At home in Mitford and Father Gilbert from Focus on the Family Radio Theater drama. I am certain I do not agree doctrinally with women ministers/priests, but the book was an interesting story. I was left feeling very interested to see what happens next in their story! – Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Reluctant Detective

Monarch Books (March 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Cat Hoort and Noelle Pedersen of Kregel Publications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Martha Ockley lives in the North-East of England and has close links with the church, having grown up as the daughter of a minister. She is a full-time author, writing both fiction and non-fiction.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Faith Morgan has lived her whole life in Birmingham. Her two careers, first as a policewoman, then as an inner-city parish minister have kept her close to her family, but also painfully close to her past. Now the picturesque country village of Little Worthy needs a new vicar. But Faith’s g trip to Little Worthy to consider if this is God’s will becomes a long-term commitment when the current vicar falls over dead during a communion service.

Faith suspects murder. And when the police are called in, Faith’s past follows her to Little Worthy in the shape of former partner and former boyfriend, Detective Inspector Ben Shorter.

Ben never understood her calling , but he will need her help if he is going to solve this. How will Faith balance her present calling with her past training, and her feelings for Ben? And is Faith in danger herself?

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Monarch Books (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1854249851
ISBN-13: 978-1854249852

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

“You know I don’t like to complain.” Pat Montesque screwed up her soft cheeks into a fierce smile. “But I’ll tell you, Elsie, I was a tad put out. I’ve always done the altar arrangements – since before Vicar Alistair came. You need a good substantial block of colour and there she was putting up a great waxy lily and a couple of twigs. Striking simplicity! I ask you!”

Elsie Lively tut-tutted sympathetically. She was looking at her dear Arthur’s grave: probably thinking it needed a bit of a tidy, thought Pat. But then it was so difficult to get down on your knees at her age and well nigh impossible to get back up.

“Naturally I pointed out it wouldn’t do – not in that space. Who’s going to notice a single lily? The altar would be as good as bare. He said it was a misunderstanding. She’d only meant to help. Men!” She philosophized aloud. “What they don’t know about women! And as for men of the cloth…”

“Charitable.”

“What did you say, dear? Didn’t quite catch that.” Pat leaned down to the small, bent woman at her side with all the gracious condescension of a church officer to a valued lay member.

“Charitable – man of the cloth; a good thing.”

Dear Elsie. Always stating the obvious.

Pat was distracted. A stranger was getting out of a little blue car by the gate. It was one of those snub-nosed Japanese things they were forever advertising on the commercial channels.

“Now, who’s that?”

The newcomer was a young woman in her early thirties with glossy brown shoulder-length hair and a healthy outdoor tan. She was dressed in a crisp fifties-looking cotton shirt dress in dove grey. As she turned, the sun caught a discreet cross pinned to her lapel. The churchwarden’s nose twitched. It couldn’t be! The bishop wouldn’t do that to them – would he?

Faith Morgan looked down the path from the wicket gate. A couple of elderly ladies were standing by an evergreen bush, cataloguing her from head to foot. This was supposed to be a low-key visit – she was only investigating options, she told herself. It might lead to nothing but still, it wouldn’t do to get off on the wrong foot with the locals.

The parish church of St James’s in Little Worthy rose sturdy and enduring with its sunlit graveyard at its feet. According to the guidebooks, stones in the tower had been part of a church here since Saxon times. Faith felt a wash of pleasure and peace. This place of worship had served its community for nearly a thousand years. There could hardly be a greater contrast to the gritty, uncertain, challenging chaos of the urban parish she was thinking of leaving. A pang of guilt interrupted her moment of euphoria. The face of her mentor, Canon Jonathan, came to mind, fixing her with one of his wry looks. His tart comment echoed in her head: Little Worthy, Faith? A congregation of eight – if you’re lucky – with an average age of seventy; a fund-raising nightmare to crush the heart of a saint!

Her eyes searched the roof line. Bound to be Grade I listed. Maintaining Saxon masonry couldn’t be cheap. It all seemed in good shape. Besides, there were always the heritage funds…

The bells began another peal, and the whiff of vanilla from a nearby shrub struck her with a breath of nostalgia. She had been here more than once as a child with Ruth and Dad on his bell-ringing outings. Those convivial summer Sundays with the dads and their kids and the occasional mother. After church they would go to the pub across the green – still called The Hare and Hounds, she noted happily. The dads would take off their ties and swap stories while she and Ruth sat outside with their lime shandies on benches of sun-warmed wood. You can never go back, she mused, so what was she doing back here?

She rallied. There was nothing wrong with peaceful continuity. Decency deserved to be cherished too.

There was a little time yet before the service began. Faith avoided the main approach and followed a gravel path around the back of the church. A creamy cloud of ivory clematis cascaded over a grey stone wall. Beyond, a solitary pony raised its chestnut head to gaze mournfully at her from a field of weeds. Some way off squatted a group of ramshackle farm buildings.

There was a well-worn track leading from the vestry door. Through a clump of limes she glimpsed the corner of what she thought must be the vicarage.

A dark-haired young man in jeans and a rumpled striped shirt strode out of the church. He had an angular face and the coltish appearance of not having quite grown into his bones. Behind him, a distinguished-looking fifty-something clergyman in surplice and cassock filled the doorway. That must be the incumbent, Alistair Ingram, thought Faith, wondering if she should introduce herself. He called out to the retreating youth, who turned back briefly to make a dismissive pushing gesture with both hands. She was about to step forward when she registered the youth’s expression: disdain, fury, and something else. Triumph? Faith turned away, embarrassed. It felt like a private matter; she shouldn’t be spying. She retraced her steps and entered the church.

The transition from sunlight to cool interior blinded her briefly. In a pool of clarity, Faith saw a service sheet held out in a meaty hand. It belonged to a cheery-looking man in a red waistcoat and a moss-green tweed jacket. He was smiling at her as if they knew one another.

“Fred Partridge,” he pronounced in a carrying voice. “Churchwarden. Pleased to have you with us.” He winked conspiratorially as he turned to greet a couple coming in behind her.

Faith slid into an unoccupied pew. There were twenty or so worshippers scattered about. Not a bad turnout for a small country church on the fifth Sunday in Lent. Her eyes settled on the little bent woman who had been outside as she arrived. She was arranging her hymnal and prayer book on the shelf before her with delicate, twisted hands. Her fine silver hair was folded into a thin bun secured by a network of old-fashioned two-pronged pins.

A presence blocked the light from the door. The formidable-looking lady who had been sizing her up as she arrived was standing in the aisle looking at her with speculating grey eyes. She was solid, with a healthy complexion, probably in her late sixties or early seventies, dressed in what Faith’s mother would refer to as “good clothes”.

“You’ve met my fellow churchwarden, I see,” she said. She had a round face and a hint of Morningside gentility in her voice. “I’m Patricia Montesque, the other one,” she stated brusquely.

Faith gave her best smile and held out her hand to have it clasped briefly in paper-dry fingers.

“I’m pleased to meet you. Faith Morgan. I’m visiting for the weekend – my sister lives locally. I have fond memories of Little Worthy. We used to come here when I was a child.”

“So you like our little church?”

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Faith responded warmly. “So well proportioned, and a lovely, comfortable feel about it.”

They contemplated the nave together.

“That’s a striking arrangement,” Faith remarked, indicating the display of lilacs and ivory viburnum by the altar. It was a deliberate ploy. Pat Montesque seemed the kind who was almost certain to do the flower arrangements. She was right. The churchwarden’s face relaxed into a narrow smile.

“Not one of my best, I’m afraid. I was rather rushed. But lilacs do give a lovely block of colour.” She inclined her perfectly coiffed head in a faintly regal manner. “So you’ve family in the area, then?”

“I was born in Winchester…”

“Winchester! Barely twenty minutes away. You’re almost a native.”

“Almost.”

“I’m just a newcomer, of course – hardly been here twenty years!” Pat Montesque gave a hard little laugh. “Not like dear Elsie Lively there.” She nodded in the direction of the silver-haired lady with the bun. “She’s Little Worthy born and bred. Ran the post office for half a century. A close-knit lot, the old families – but we have a very friendly parish here,” she ended firmly.

Faith remembered the post office. They had sold old-fashioned sweets: shell-shaped sherbets and Parma violets. She could almost smell the sugar. Ruth always chose liquorice; not because she particularly liked the taste, but for the way it stained her tongue black.

“So you haven’t met our vicar, Alistair?”

Faith was surprised by the challenge. Pat flicked a significant look at the cross pinned to her dress. So I’ve been rumbled, Faith thought.

“I haven’t had the pleasure,” she said.

“He’s a good pastor. A bit of a liberal, some thought when he first came, but he’s sound enough in the essentials. And very good with the finances.” Pat paused. “He’s leaving us, you know.”

“I had heard something of the kind,” murmured Faith. To think she had meant to slip in and out with being noticed. She should have known better. Rural parishes always had a Pat Montesque.

“Mmm. A bit of a dicky heart. He looks wonderfully well, but…” Her tone implied something more.

A petite woman with smooth, long fair hair, wearing a simple cotton dress came out of the vestry.

“…decided to take early retirement,” continued Pat.

The blonde had striking long-lashed blue eyes and a neat-featured prettiness that retained an element of youthful innocence, although she might have turned forty – it was hard to tell. She saw the churchwarden looking at her, and gave a little girl lost smile before leaning over a pew to exchange greetings with a young mother trying to hold a squirming toddler in her lap.

Pat turned back to Faith apparently as an afterthought. “You’ll be staying for coffee after the service?” Without waiting for a response, she was gone.

Could this place feel like home? Could these people ever be her people?

Faith studied the faces around her – silver-haired Elsie; the doting mother shadowing her small determined son as he ventured out down the aisle; the ruddy-faced man with the jacket too short in the sleeve, who couldn’t be anything else but an English farmer; a single black family with mother and father and a boy and a girl dressed in smart Sunday clothes. Faith’s eyes drifted up into the barrelled roof. There was such comfortable familiarity about the space. Why should that make her feel guilty?

Guilt. Purpose. Being of use. From the very first, Faith had always known that she wanted to be part of some greater purpose. That desire had led her into the police force. And, for a while, she thought she had found her place: to serve and protect; to bring the guilty to account; to protect the weak. That was what had first brought her and Ben together.

Running away, Faith?

I am not.

Ben always seemed to engage life so directly; he was unflinching, so sure of himself.

She was daydreaming. She could see Ben staring her down. Taking refuge, Faith? Never thought you were a coward.

You know I’m not, she protested the thought.

The rhythm of the old argument circled in her mind; the argument they had recycled so many times. It had moved them further and further apart, until she had left him – Ben, her lover, her mentor, her inspiration, once.

I can’t hold on to your certainties any more.

He had been so hurt. She couldn’t make him understand that it wasn’t about him. It had been something so personal; each step on her path to the ministry had seemed undeniable.

Her eyes came to rest on a stained-glass window panel leaning against the wall in the shadows beyond the pews. She guessed it must have been taken down on its way for repair. A glass section was cracked through and the leading twisted. The echo of the panel’s shape above was boarded up. A haloed lamb stood on a stretch of gaudy emerald grass. The Victorian artist had given the lamb a smiling, enigmatic expression. The Lamb of God.

Running away from reality.

That’s what he’d called it. To Ben, it had been a betrayal. And was he right? Was she seeking refuge from the world?

She looked around the congregation. These were people, individual persons, with their complicated lives, their struggles, their fears, their sins, their souls.

An intelligent, capable woman past thirty – with a degree, no less – buying into this delusion… for what? Ben always challenged her. They’d been a good team, once.

What am I doing?

Finding out.

That voice was somehow neither her own nor Ben’s. God and she often spoke like that. He would enter the conversation in her brain – not exactly unexpectedly. She had a sense he’d always been there. But since she had taken this turn – embraced this risk and embarked on the ministry – the sense of a presence, of an enduring and constant friend, had grown.

Finding out. The sense of opening horizons warmed and excited her. But then, what about Ben? He had moved back to Winchester more than a year ago.

And why should that matter one way or the other? He had his world now and she had hers.

The organist finished up with a self-important chord. The vicar was standing before them. Faith pulled her thoughts back to concentrate on the service.

Alistair Ingram took a step towards the altar draped in its Lenten purple, and the choir embarked on the Agnus Dei. Faith suppressed a smile as Pat Montesque’s forceful soprano rose above the rest.

“Lamb of God,

You take away the sin of the world.”

The vicar’s voice was clear and impressive. Faith wondered briefly if her own lighter tones could ever carry the words so well. Then she was caught up in the familiar comfort of their meaning.

“Jesus is the Lamb of God,

Who takes away the sin of the world.

Blessed are those who are called to his supper.”

Alistair Ingram spread out his arms to encompass his congregation. Sunlight, tinted by the stained glass in the window behind him, painted pastel blue and red on the white linen runner laid on top of the purple cloth.

“Amen.”

He picked up the communion cup and drank.

The toddler escaped from his mother and made a break for freedom past the communion rail, his feet pattering in quick uneven steps. What perfect timing. There had to be a life metaphor in that. Faith was pondering how children brought life into a church when her ears registered the choking rasp from the direction of the altar.

Alistair Ingram was staring out at nothing, his eyes wide, his chest heaving. Faith saw in slow motion. The chalice dropped from his hands. It hit the edge of the table. Wine flowed out red over the white cloth and stained the purple black. The empty cup rolled off the altar and struck the stone flags.

Alistair Ingram was no longer standing before them. Clutching at his chest and tearing at his vestments, he sat heavily on the steps.

The mother caught her son up in her arms. She turned his head into her shoulder, covering his face. Alistair slumped sideways. Faith realized that she was standing in the aisle, then she began to run towards the chancel steps.

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My bedroom

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My bedroom….freshly painted….
I just need to get my curtains sewn and hung now on all four windows!
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It is half way done and organized. I still have the other side of the room to finish with the dressers and closet though.

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My bathroom…..

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I took another one as I am trying to figure out how to add a place to put toilet paper and other items you need to reach from the toilet in there. There is a large sink/vanity behind the door there, but I wonder if it would look funny to put a nice shelf over the toilet or in front of it? What do you think?

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One of my summer skirts cut out and ready to sew. I am using an older favorite skirt as a pattern, so hopefully it works.

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Meal plan

My life has been filled with trying to stick to a schedule. That is so tough for me! Which means I feel like I barely have a life……oh well! After awhile I will get the hang of it! I was so tired last night, I was crying getting ready for bed and it was only 10 pm. I guess I am getting old……plus, it warmed up barely….to 45 degrees today and yesterday and I was able to get some walks in. That felt good! Now onto spring/summer sewing!  F. is working on paint touch up and painting in our room, so it is all torn apart too.

 

Wednesday: Chicken drumsticks, baked potatoes, salad

Thursday: Fish for F., leftover chicken legs, Steamed vegetables, brown rice

Friday:  Cilantro couscous salad, Crunchy Honey granola bars

Saturday: Black bean burgers and/or regular hamburgers, veggies and dip

Sunday: Leftovers, sauteed garlic mushrooms, popcorn

Monday: Cabbage vegetable soup, bread

Tuesday: Leafy green Salad , baked potatoes

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Grapenuts

LEAH’S GRAPENUTS
Martha Artyomenko
3 lbs. brown sugar
2-1/2 qt. sour milk
3/4 lb. melted margarine or oil
8 lbs. whole wheat flour
1-1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. maple flavoring
2 Tbsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. vanilla
Dissolve baking soda in milk before adding to dry ingredients. Add butter and
flavorings. This will be a thick batter. If too thick or too thin add less flour or more
milk. Spread in greased cookie trays and bake at 325 degrees until knife comes out clean.
Break into chunks and you can either rub on a screen to get small chunks or process
for a few seconds in a food processor. You do not want them very small as it will be like
eating bread crumbs! Spread on cookie trays again and toast in slow oven until
browned lightly and very dry.

Yes, that reads right….8 lbs of flour. This can be quite a messy ordeal, if you check out my picture below. My grain mill had not been cleaned for awhile and the pressure blew flour all over, all over me too….but you did not get a picture of that!
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Whew, that is better…..mostly cleaned up and ready to bake it.

It is a lot of flour and the batter will be very thick, it is hard to stir, but that is the way it should be.
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In a greased pan, ready for the oven…..this gives you an idea of how thick it looks.

Dinner ready to eat…..
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Cornbread

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Chili in the crock pot

We ate the cake like that too, you can put maple frosting on it and eat it, but I am planning on grinding it up and drying it for a bunch of cereal! I was so enjoying how raw milk sours, instead of rots. It was like beautiful cultured buttermilk. I love this stuff!

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A nice Saturday..

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Garden prep shopping and getting ready for some other projects.

This was the last Soccer day, so all the boys were in their soccer T-shirts, and ready for the game. We are planning on some small house projects. We are waffling back and forth on whether to completely redo the kitchen, or just paint cupboards and replace sink, counter-top and dishwasher. I am more tending toward the latter as it costs less and then planning on a family mission trip instead with the rest of the money. We will see!

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H. on the lawn tractor

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Grrrrrr!!! L. is going to get that dandelion!!!

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T. just has a winning smile!!!

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Book club

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Yummy……smell the pies!!!

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No, no, no….you can’t eat the pies yet!!!

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Peach Streusel pie….I experimented with one, but putting some sugar on the crust edges, but it made it too crunchy, so I liked the other one better.

We all went over to one of the ladies house, to have dinner. She had a nice lasagna, Moriah made a salad, and someone else had bread, and drinks. We tried these sparkling lemon water stuff that was really good! I made the pie and had vanilla ice cream with it. The book was a hard one to discuss and was not what I would prefer to keep discussing! I am not sure if the next book will be happier or not. It is called “The Help”.
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Wow, studying this book diligently……

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Explaining the points……

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Local Police Blotter….

Taken from the Flathead Beacon…..

Monday 4/11

8:19 a.m. A Marion woman said she saw a vicious dog lurking around an empty playground.

8:48 a.m. Someone called in to report seeing the driver of a car pass “everyone on the road.”

10:28 a.m. A husky retriever and a beagle chased deer through a Coram woman’s yard.

11:01 a.m. Another dog was spotted on the Marion playground. This one, according to the same woman, was not vicious.

11:06 a.m. Someone was accused of stealing rings from a Kalispell woman.

1:14 p.m. Someone reported seeing a man throwing a large machete-type knife at trees off Teal Drive. The man was advised to throw his knives elsewhere.

2:08 p.m. A Kalispell man believes his estranged wife stole two of his tractors.

3:06 p.m. Cologne was stolen from a distraught resident on East Evergreen Drive.

3:51 p.m. A 13-year-old boy in Whitefish was reportedly “acting out.” The caller wasn’t sure what to do with him.

4:36 p.m. A Coram resident said a bike, a weed eater, and a backpack have gone missing.

6:58 p.m. A woman on West Valley Drive reported that someone else told her that they saw five kids smoking marijuana in a garage at an unknown location.

7:34 p.m. A Whitefish woman said her husband hit her in the head with a cd case. She did not require medical attention.

Such is the local crime today….sometimes it really gets bad, but most of the time, I wonder what people do, to think they need to call the police about the neighbors dogs.

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