Monday, August 30, 2010

A Perfect Summer Dessert

Do not let summer and summer peaches get away from you before you try this delicious Peach Pecan Cobbler. Maria from the blog Dreamy White, shared the recipe. You can see her amazing photos and get the recipe here. It was fun and easy to make. I knew right away that my husband would love it ~ and he did.

Even my photo looks good enough to eat.

How are you enjoying your last days of summer?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tiny house . . . tiny bookshelves (sigh!)

Jeanne, at Collage of Life, a favorite blog of mine, recently posted "On my bookshelf, and yours." It got me thinking about my tiny house and my tiny bookshelves. Believe me, I am not complaining, I love living in this tiny house on the lake. But there are a few drawbacks:

* I really miss having a kitchen or dining table.

* When we have guests (which we frequently do), I miss having a seperate bathroom to offer them, and

 * There simply is not enough room for books for this bookloving family.

My husband's books are in the two drawers in our television cabinet, originally designed to hold dvd's. My books are in a small chest at the end of our bed. And we have a tiny shelf for cookbooks.

SIGH . . . but don't feel sorry for me because this is my view:

P.S. One of my favorite cookbooks is Pioneer Woman Cooks. Here is the funny story of the night I met her.

This post is linked to Collage of Life.

Friday, August 27, 2010

31 days of . . . Wonderment

Creativity and new ideas are two things that make me happy, give me energy and simply float my boat. I really enjoy the blog The Inspired Room, and today Melissa introduced a wonderful new series . . . eight bloggers, writing on eight different topics every day during the month of October. My mind is whirling with the thoughts of all the new ideas I can learn.  And October was already one of my favorite months. I just subscribed to each of these blogs in my Google Reader and can hardly wait. If you love ideas like I do . . . please join me for 31 day of wonderment.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Portage Bay Cafe is a new favorite breakfast spot with a great organic fruit bar and gluten free options.

We took our left overs home and it was enough for two more meals.

And the company was outstanding.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pike Place Market or We Love Seattle

Since the girls came our way for vacation and they had not been here for two years, we enjoyed visiting all our favorite spots in Seattle. We spent a wonderful morning at Pike Place Market.

My favorite spot is always the flower market.

My favorite price is $5.00.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Four is Fun

Our girls have been here in Seattle for ten wonderful days of vacation. This is my favorite picture we took of them.
It will be great to be two again, but, let me tell you, FOUR IS FUN.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

More Paul and less Saul, please!

This summer I have been reading The One Year Bible. Each days reading is divided into an Old Testament portion, a New Testament portion, a passage from Psalms and a few verses of Proverbs.

I like it, as it keeps me reading and it keeps me in different areas of the Bible. Some mornings I do not like it, because I am totally engrossed in one passage and it suddenly stops and I am right in the middle of a different passage. But other mornings, like today, the Old and the New Testament bits go together. Today the main characters names even rhymed ~ SAUL and PAUL. But the similarities stop there.

In II Chronicles 10, the people of Israel are under attack by the Philistines. In this battle, their king SAUL is killed. And in verses 13 and 14 God tells us why.

"So Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord. He failed to obey the Lord's command and he even consulted a medium, instead of asking the Lord for guidance."

Skip ahead to the New Testament and in Acts 27 we met PAUL, who is being held prisoner on a ship in the midst of a life threatening storm. God meets him right where he is and Paul recognizes and believes him.

"For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said,". . . God in His goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you." So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said."

Both Saul and Paul were in dangerous life threatening moments. Only Paul sought the true source of wisdom. He sought the God to whom he belongs and serves.

Lord, I am making important decisions right now. Help me to recognize You. Forgive me for the times I seek wisdom in the wrong places. This morning, I ask YOU for guidance.

This post is linked to one of my favorite blogs, "God Speaks Today" for Sandy's series, "30 days of hearing God."

photo credit:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bits and Pieces . . . from Growing up in a War

Growing up as  MK's (missionary kids) in  Vietnam, was not a normal childhood for me and my brother and sisters, but it was a great childhood. In my post, Ff is for family favorite on faithfulness, I recounted the events that led my parents to take their family of six, to Vietnam all during the war years. Since writing MODERN MARTYRS, and ANOTHER WAR STORY, I have been reminiscing about some of my unique memories from growing up in Vietnam. Here are a few bits and pieces:

  • When I was in the sixth grade, I saw my first movie with a room full of GI's. The United States government kept their soldiers entertained by sending a constant supply of current films. Some GI's our family had befriended, invited my brother and I to join them to see My Fair Lady. They picked us up in a jeep with the big white star on the door. I was always proud to be an American, whenever I saw that star.

  • We grew up with a curfew . . . not the kind where your parents tell you "be home by ten or you are in big trouble", but the kind where the government says, "no one is allowed outside their homes after dark, or we will shoot you."

  • The sounds of war are unique. While we got somewhat used to the rumblings of bombing way off in the distance (especially when we were visiting Saigon), you never got used to the close up sounds of war. We learned to distinguish, by sound, if we were hearing friendly guns (South Vietnamese or American), or if we were hearing unfriendly guns (Viet Cong or North Vietnamese).

  • My parents did not bring us back to Vietnam for a long time after the Tet Offensive. When we finally did get to come home, we knew right away that things were going to be different. Mostly on weekends, (because the enemy was hoping our American soldiers would be enjoying a little weekend alcohol), we would hear attacks at night. This was our routine ~ grab your glasses so you could see, grab your pillow and rendezvous under our huge wooden dining room table. We stayed there until it got quiet again. We lived in a lovely French home with a beautiful beamed ceiling. Earlier, American soldiers had visited our home, teaching my parents how to reinforce each door and window at night, and they had chosen our rendezvous spot . . . designed to stop those beautiful beams from falling on our heads.

  • Probably one of my most unique memories came from under that dining room table. Because we lived in the highlands, it was 70 degrees year round and we were surrounded by beautiful pine trees. NOT at all what you would ever expect to find in the tropics of Vietnam. GI's always said our area reminded them of the states of Washington and Oregon. Our family always cut a huge fresh pine tree for Christmas and our grandparents had mailed us tinsel. Each year we carefully removed the tinsel, strand by strand, to use again the next year. . . but back to my topic of war. In our living room was a small high window, that provided the only light as we gathered under the dining table. During attacks, the American officers in our neighborhood, lit up the valley behind our house with flares. We loved that little window because it allowed the light from the flares to come in and reflect beautifully on the tinsel on our Christmas tree.

  • Each Christmas, all the missionaries and their families would visit the American billets in our town, to sing Christmas carols. The GI's would be so surprised and touched when they opened their door to find Americans, especially women, children and babies. They would be missing their families so much and by the last song, we would all - the missionaries and the soldiers, be crying.
Well, there you go ~ a few memories!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another War Story

my parents a few years after this story

In my last post, MODERN MARTYRS, I took you back to a sad day in my life when I was in the eighth grade. While that was happening at our boarding school in Malaysia, this is what was happening to my parents, who were having a very traumatic night in Vietnam.

Tet is the most famous Vietnamese holiday and in 1968, both the North and the South Vietnamese armies had agreed to a two day cease fire. However, the communist did not keep their word and instead sent a reported 80,000 troops to attack over 100 cities right as the Tet celebrations began. Actually, it was a pretty creative move, as the sound of the thousands and thousands of firecrackers in the streets, delayed the realization that each city was under attack.

 Just a few days before Tet, my brother and sisters and many other American students had all returned to our boarding school in Malaysia, after enjoying a two month vacation at home.  (in Vietnam)

While my parents lived in a relatively small city, it was a provincial capital, so it was on the list. As the fighting in the downtown area intensified, my dad and mom received a phone call, that all the missionaries were to rendezvous  at the school, about a mile from our home. This would make an evacuation easier, if that would become necessary.

Different families were huddled together throughout the school compound. Through the evening the fighting all around them intensified. They had the doors barricaded and were hiding under piles of mattresses. My folks were in a second story apartment, when word came by phone that everyone was going to a lower level gymnasium, which would hopefully provide more safety, while they awaited evacuation by the United States military.

What happened next is a classic story that has been retold many times in my family. From the upstairs apartment my parents and several others, were to go down a long flight of steps on the outside of the building and across an open field to reach the gymnasium. FIGHTING WAS GOING ON ALL AROUND THEM.

Each adult was assigned something to carry. Some were carrying the small children, some were carrying food and my dad was assigned a large metal pot of water.

It is hard to imagine the fear they each felt and the adrenaline that was rushing as they opened the door and began what was supposed to be a very quiet sneak across the field.

On the third step, my dad accidentally dropped the metal pot, which banged loudly down each and every step of that outdoor stairway. Can you imagine . . .

. . . it has been described to me may times that what happened next was directly a gift from the Lord. Laughter broke out, and for a brief moment each of those missionaries sat on the steps laughing. The horrible tension was broken and they quickly pulled it together and ran to safety.

It was a long night in the gym. Several of the ladies worked together to deliver a baby in a small bathroom that had no windows. One of the young missionary wives received a call that her father had been killed and her mother seriously injured in another city. No one but the babies got any sleep. There was a lot of prayer going on.

By morning, a large convoy of American soldiers arrived and picked everyone up and took them directly to the airport to fly to safety.

We did not hear this story for several days. But you can imagine our joy to learn that our parents and several others were safe.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Modern Martyrs

Last Friday, ten aid workers with International Assistance Mission (six Americans, two Afghans, a German and a Briton) were killed by the Taliban in an ambush in Afghanistan.

I am just beginning to read some of the details of these precious lives that were murdered:

  • a young pastor's daughter who was teaching nutritional gardening and mother/child health
  • a 40 year old male nurse who was delivering treatments and test for eye disease
  • a dentist who gave up his practice to give free dental care to children who had never seen a toothbrush
  • an optometrist who had given 30 years of service in Afghanistan, even with his wife rearing his three daughters there
Ten precious lives lost. Each choosing to serve in Afghanistan, as their families are now describing, fully aware of the risks. According to the news reports I read, they were Christians doing humanitarian work.

This takes me back to February 1968 and the famous Tet offensive during the Viet Nam war.

My brother, two sisters and myself were away at a boarding school in Malaysia. Night after night we sat with our fellow students, listening to news reports on the radio, wondering if our parents, who were missionaries in Viet Nam were safe.

After dinner one night, we were all called together to hear the news that six missionaries had been murdered. We had not noticed that some of the students were missing (those who had lost one or both of their parents that night.) So, there was a moment where we did not know if it was our parents that were dead.

It is one of lives moments that you never forget. As the list of names was read, at first there was great relief. Glenn and Hallie Johnson (our parents) were not on the list. Then great shock and sadness at the reality that several of our dear friends/roommates/fellow students had lost either one or both of their parents. I was in the eighth grade at the time.

Again, precious lives, who chose to go to a dangerous country, to work with beautiful people that God loves.

Missionaries throughout history have gone to dangerous places and many have willingly given their lives.

I salute these precious folks who died this week in Afghanistan. I thank God for their courage, their love and their years of faithful service.

I offer my prayers and my sympathy to their families whose lives will never be the same. I know a little of their pain, because of that February night in 1968.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

~ A Perfect Day

take one lovely birthday breakfast

to the lovely birthday breakfast
one lovely birthday girl

to the lovely birthday girl
lovely sister

to the lovely sister
lovely mother
(who flew in from Seattle)

now add favorite childhood book
made into a movie
that opened on birthday girls,
you guessed it, birthday

add lunch at a favorite restaurant

and you have three women
who thought it was
a perfect day.

Sadly, birthday girls dad was on his
way to China,
but we got to video skype with him
said three woman could still declare it

photo credit: and

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Seattle August on Lake Washington

Two years and forty eight days ago, we moved into our tiny adorable basement apartment on Lake Washington. Dave and I made a committment at the time that we would take full advantage of it - EVERY DAY. Taking nothing for granted, we would intentionally enjoy our view, in rain, in sun, in snow ~ in fall, in winter, in spring and in the summer. And that is exactly what we have done.

During the month of August, Lake Washington provides an extra treat . . . right from our patio.For five days in a row, we can have lunch with the BLUE ANGELS.

The photos with the blue sky were taken on Thursday. Friday was the grayer sky and today it is raining. Here is Dave's favorite picture . . .


. . . you can see the pilot.

I loved this one ~ it looks like the ducks are trying to copy the formation of the Blue Angels. They almost got it right.

What are you enjoying this August?

photo credits: calendar -, blue angels - dave

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Playing the catching up game

There is no room in my brain right now for blogging, even though I am anxious to begin again. . . because I am too busy playing the catching up game. You all know how it goes . . . get groceries, unpack and do laundry, clean my house that has been vacant etc. I also had several cleaning jobs, lots of time to catch up with my husband - he's been on two different trips since I left, a fun wedding to attend, and hosting my dad and his wife for the Blue Angels (that will be flying right over our house tomorrow.) Ah, coming home is fun . . . but tiring.

While I miss the girls, it is so great to be reunited with my husband. And he always brings me lovely presents. While in China, he toured a silk factory and brought us the most amazing bed pillows, filled with silk. So comfortable. Also brought me two espresso cups for my collection - one says "China" and one "Beijing." Presents are fun, but he is the best present of all. 

In a few weeks the girls are coming here for a short vacation and we will all four be together . . . each day will feel like Christmas morning.

So, you can see, I have much to be grateful for. How is your summer going?

photo source: elizarevealssecrets

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