Thursday, April 30, 2015

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

About a month ago, Nabeel Qureshi spoke at the church Daniel attends. He was a former Muslim who converted to Christianity. The link to his talk can be found here. Daniel bought his book and read it, then he passed it along to me.

Dr. Quereshi was introduced to Christianity by a friend he met his freshman year in college. During the four years of his undergraduate studies, Nabeel struggled with his devout belief in Islam and the revelation that was unfolding to him about Christianity. David encouraged and helped Nabeel investigate whether or not Christianity was true and whether or not Islam had any basis for him to stand on.

It wasn't until Nabeel was in medical school that he finally came to the conclusion that Christianity was true. Even once he believed this, he was still not willing to give up his Muslim faith because it would mean bringing shame to his family. Nabeel's mother and father were everything to him, and he loved them very much.

After God revealed to him that as a Christian his life was no longer his, he left the Muslim faith. The book tells the complete story of how this all unfolded. Nabeel Qureshi graduated from medical school and went on to pursue a degree in Religion at Duke University. He now spends his time traveling around the world sharing his faith with RZIM ministries.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Clean and Delicious

I have to share a new website I found today while looking for quinoa recipes. I was searching for quinoa recipes because my doctor put me on the Mediterranean Diet to help me lose weight so that my blood sugar and cholesterol numbers will be better when I have to report back in July.

Dani Spies is the person behind the website Clean and Delicious. What I love about the website is the videos. I've been watching them off and on all day.

Dani shows you how to cook in a clean and healthy way with some really good recipes. Plus, she seems like a really nice person. She has some great ideas that I plan to implement into my routine. I especially like her suggestions to prepare vegetables for the week all at one time in her "Clean Eating - A Week of Food Prep" and "In the Pantry - A Week of Veggies" videos.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Marriage and Family Therapy

Yesterday was the day Katherine and Josh have been working for the past three years. They earned their Masters degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.

Don and I got up early and drove to Marion to share the special day with them. They were still getting ready when we arrived.

That's better! Katherine is all ready for the big day. Josh's parents drove up from Florida, and we all went out to lunch at Applebees before the festivities began.

First, we attended the "hooding" ceremony. This was a small gathering of just the students earning their Masters degree in counseling. Each student came up on stage, and a professor said something nice about them, then they received their "hood" which is the red & white scarf that drapes around their neck and chokes them.

They wanted a picture with their program advisor, Dr. Nenetzin Reyes.

Here, they are walking to receive their diploma. You can see a better view of their hoods.

See if you can pick them out in the crowd.

The graduates!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles opens in the year 1966 with a middle-aged couple walking through an art exhibit looking at photographs taken during the late 1930's on New York's subway. The woman suddenly stops because she recognizes a man in one of the photographs. It was Tinker Grey, a charming young banker she met by chance in a jazz bar on the last day of 1937.

From there, the book is a flashback of the year 1938 in which twenty-five-year-old  Katey Kontent and her friend Eve got a taste of upper class society in Manhattan.

I went from loving this book to not liking it to loving it again. It was very well written, and I liked the clever tie-ins to famous people, places and books, but once in awhile I came across a boring section or a scene I thought would have been better left out of the book.

Overall, I enjoyed it. It is worth a read. I would give it a B+.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Up My Alley

Two months ago, I began a volunteer job I couldn't resist. I accidentally found a website called Volunteer Match while clicking around the web. I plugged my zip code into the search box and found a list of volunteer jobs right in my home town.

What would be the chances that someone would need a librarian?

The Weils of Bainbridge assisted living senior community needed one, so I jumped on it.

Every Wednesday morning, I spend an hour or two working on this project, and it is slowly taking shape.

All of the books in the library have come from donations of residents. When they move into their unit, they bring books with them, and they end up in this room. The Weils opened in 2002, so the library was a little overrun when I got there.

I think I have carted about a thousand books out so far. My book cart is a wheelchair I found in a closet on the first floor. It works great for wheeling boxes of books to my car. I've also added some books. I have gone to two local book sales and picked up about 30 large print books to beef up our large print collection.

While I am working in the library, residents come by to say hello. Several of them have complimented me on how nice the library looks. My friend, Irv, comes in almost every time I'm there. He used to be an architect, went to Ohio State, met his wife in Israel...I know his life story because he tells it to me every week.

It won't be long before I get the library all ship-shape. When that happens, I won't have much maintenance to do to keep it running. There are usually six or seven books to re-shelve. That's when I will spend my extra time doing friendly visits, getting to know more people. Maybe I'll even turn the wheelchair into a mini bookmobile and deliver books to their doors.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Simple Living

"It is desirable that a man live in all respects so simply and preparedly that if an enemy take the town...he can walk out the gate empty-handed and without anxiety."
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mediterranean Shrimp with Rice

I was at Trader Joe's the other day walking down the frozen foods aisle when I heard a man say to a woman looking for shrimp that "this is the best shrimp you will ever eat." My ears perked up, and after they left the aisle, I went over and grabbed a bag. Then when I was checking out, the cashier saw my bag of shrimp and said to me, "have you had these shrimp before?" She reassured me that they would be amazing. She said they taste more like lobster than shrimp.

After all the shrimp hype, I looked to see if I could find a recipe that would be easy, tasty, and called for shrimp. I found this recipe on the Cleveland Clinic website. I have modified it somewhat to make it even tastier (it lacked salt and butter).

Here are some ingredients to pick up:

Trader Joe's microwavable brown rice

Trader Joe's Uncooked Argentinian Red Shrimp

Lighthouse Instantly Fresh Parsley

Mediterranean Shrimp with Rice

1 pouch Trader Joe's Brown Rice (love this stuff)
3 T. olive oil
3 T. butter
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 lb. Trader Joe's Uncooked Wild Argentinian Red Shrimp
Salt to taste
1/2 t. Instantly Fresh Parsley (because I don't like buying a whole bunch of parsley)

In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until translucent; about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
Pour wine and lemon juice into pan and simmer.
Add shrimp and cook 5-7 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle salt and  parsley over shrimp and cook another 2 minutes.
Remove pan from heat.
Microwave brown rice according to package directions.

Serve shrimp over rice with a green vegetable - very healthy dinner.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Like Father, Like Son

This is my favorite photo of Don's dad. When he was in his 70's, he came out to Beaver Creek with us to ski. He had the time of his life skiing with his grand kids. And at 75 or so, he showed them a move or two.

He never stopped loving life. And Don is just like him.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

The retired Major Pettigrew had become a curmudgeon after his wife's death.  Being a proper Englishman, and getting up in years (68) he became easily offended by the changing world around him.

When his brother dies, Major Pettigrew's quiet life becomes stirred up, and he meets a Pakistani woman named Mrs. Ali, a widow and store owner in town.

They find themselves unexpectedly attracted to each other through their shared loss of spouses and the books they read. As their relationship grows, they encounter gossip and  prejudice from their English countryside neighbors.

Even though I thought this novel was choppy in plot, I enjoyed Major Pettigrew's sense of humor. His thought life is hilarious. I'd give it a "B".

Monday, April 13, 2015


When Peter was five years old, he underwent surgery on his right ear. Although he was otherwise  adorable, his right ear was missing some definition when he was born, and as he grew, it stood out more and more.

We consulted a pediatric surgeon at University Hospitals, and in January of his kindergarten year, we took him out of school for a week or so for otoplasty. His teacher, Mrs. Reno, gave him a stuffed polar bear puppet for comfort...but that's another story.

During his recovery, grandma and grandpa came to visit. Peter had to wear a "helmet" on his head for about two weeks. He had over 30 stitches in his ear, and he had to be careful not to bump it.

As you can see, Peter was a good sport. He smiled most of the time, and he was quite oblivious to his head wrap. He even went back to school looking like this, and it didn't faze him.

Unfortunately, when Peter saw the doctor for his follow up visits, the surgeon was not completely happy with the results. Poor Peter had to undergo the same surgery again six months later, just after his sixth birthday.

This time he was a little upset because it was summer and his baseball season was cut short and he wasn't allowed to go underwater in the pool.

But Polar Bear came to the rescue, and all was well again.

I had my head wrapped up once too, but that is another story.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Burrito Bowls

In an effort to replicate the burrito bowl at Chipotle from home, I went in search of recipes on Pinterest. I found a recipe on Number 2 Pencil that looked like a winner.

It was very good, but it did not have the same seasonings as a Chipotle burrito bowl. This recipe called for Colby, Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese. I think it would be better with Mozzarella cheese. The photo doesn't look very appetizing. It tastes better than it looks! And it was very easy to make.

Burrito Bowls

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cut into bite-size pieces
3 T. olive oil
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup long grain rice
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups Colby, Monterey Jack, Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper

Saute onions in 2 T. olive oil until soft.
Season diced chicken with 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper
Add chicken to pan and cook until it starts to brown.
Push chicken to one side of pan.
Add 1 T. olive oil and rice to pan and stir until it starts to turn golden (2 min.)
Stir in black beans, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin.
Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low.
Cook about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle with cheese, cover pan for 2-3 minutes off heat for cheese to melt.
Garnish with fresh tomatoes, green onions, sour cream and guacamole if desired.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I already read this book and wrote a post about it here, but I recommended A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to my book group, so I had to read it again for next week's discussion.

I didn't mind reading it twice (something I never do) because it is my favorite book of all time.

This time around, I caught more of the details of life in Brooklyn from the turn of the century to the start of World War I.

I added one thing to my bucket list. I want to visit Brooklyn, specifically the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, because both A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Chosen took place there.

I know it won't look like 1917 or 1945, but I now have this special affinity and curiosity for the place.

If you haven't read this book, you need to.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Let's Walk!

This is how Jake and Riley greet each other every Monday morning at the park. Becky finally captured them on her phone. They sure love Monday mornings.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Text Filling

I learned how to do something new with PicMonkey! I took one of my antique shop photos and filled in some text with the photo.

Each week I get a newsletter from Amy Lynn Andrews. She sifts through all the new things that one can do on the internet and sends out the most useful stuff in her newsletter.

This PicMonkey tutorial came from her.

Look closely at the "Antiques" text above and you will see bits and pieces of my photo inside the letters.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Playing Dead

I have proof that opossums do play dead, even while standing up and with their eyes open.

My friend Crystal ventured out to her garage one night last week to retrieve some meat from her spare freezer. When she turned on the light, two beady eyes stared back at her from the garage shelf. It was an opossum the size of a large house cat.

She screamed, "Ahhhhhhhhh!" but no one was there to hear her except the mangy creature. Jeff was out of town and her daughter Meizi was fast asleep in an upstairs bedroom. Still, she continued to scream, "Ahhhhhhhhhh!"

The animal didn't move. It just stared at her. Rather than run back inside the house like I would have done, my friend Crystal got a broom. She used the bristles to try to nudge the opossum from the shelf. She pushed and pushed, but no matter how forceful she was, the darn thing wouldn't budge.

Plan B was to use the blunt end of the broom to poke him in the tummy. At first she was gentle, as not to hurt the little brute. But when he wouldn't move, her strikes got more forceful. The animal was playing dead!

Not being one to easily give up, Crystal pooled all her resources. She happened to be teaching Edgar Allan Poe's Cask of Amontillado in one of her English classes at school, so the thought occurred to her that she could bury this monster alive in a wall. No time to get him drunk first, she quickly started collecting boxes and heavy objects to seal him up. After what seemed liked hours, the opossum was trapped in a wall and left to die. She didn't want to kill him, but...but...but Jeff wasn't home.

When Jeff arrived back to the house five days later, before he even had a chance to take off his shoes, Crystal led him to the garage where the dirty deed had taken place. She pointed and said, "he's in there."

Jeff bravely disassembled the makeshift wall and found the poor creature still alive, albeit looking very hungry and thirsty. He carried the sullen animal out to the woods in a laundry basket and released him.

I bet he'll never play dead again, at least not in Crystal's garage.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Baked Fish with Herb Cheese

This fish dinner was wonderfully tasty. Of course it was simple to make, or I wouldn't have made it.

Baked Fish with Herb Cheese

2 T. butter, melted
2 pounds fresh white fish (cod or tilapia)
1 - 4 ounce pkg. Boursin cheese with herbs, at room temperature
1 - 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with garlic, onion and peppers, drained
salt and pepper
2 T. Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pour 1 T. melted butter into baking dish to coat bottom. Arrange fish in baking dish. Pat fish dry with paper towel. Spread Boursin cheese evenly over the fish. Pour tomatoes over the top.

Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Drizzle remaining butter on top.
Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Wedding Cake

I came across a picture of me and Don cutting our wedding cake the other day. It made me smile, and I remembered the picture of Katherine and Josh cutting their wedding cake. Here are the pictures side by side.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Antique Shop

There's a lovely little antique shop here in Bainbridge in which I like to browse through once in awhile. They have the most wonderful old stuff and good prices too.

This morning I decided to complete one of the photo assignments Daniel gave me in my photo journal at Christmas. The assignment was to take pictures inside an antique shop.

I was a little worried the antique shop clerk would not like it if I walked around taking pictures, so I asked permission first. He said it would be fine, so I snapped 30 photos.  I found that an antique shop is a great place to find interesting things to take pictures of. These are my favorites.

Some old cameras

Some old books

Some old toys

Some old food packaging

Miscellaneous old stuff

Some old spice jars

Some old rubber jar openers (should have bought those)

Some old Beatles photos and other miscellaneous stuff

A display at the front of the store

Boxes full of practically free stuff