Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!

It's a gorgeous fall day here in Gateway to Amish Country. The sun is shining. The sky is azure blue. The trees are modeling their fabulous colors. And it will be near 70 degrees! What's not to love?
Later, after the the visits are made and a quick dinner is eaten, later, after the gloaming begins the little ones arrayed in Halloween finery will show up on our front porch and utter those 3 words they've waited a year to say again, "Trick or treat?" I answer with treats to keep the tricksters at bay. The jack o'lantern glows brighter as the darkness deepness and kids and parents are on the prowl to get the most or best candy in the neighborhood. I marvel at the faces all painted and the expectation of something special treat in their bags, buckets and the optimistic ones toting pillowcases!!!
Later, after the little ones are tuckered out and done sampling the sugary confections they received, I snuff the lights and call it a night, say good-bye to the spirits that may be, and set my sights on honoring the saints.

Monday, October 29, 2007

How I Spent My Saturday -

Got up.
Let the Boys out and fed them
Ate breakfast and read paper - only 2 sections
Drove 20 minutes to civilization to return a shirt and get thread at JoAnn's.
Drove home.
Fertilized the front and back lawns
Made lunch.
Worked on drawing cathedral on banner paper, complete with wood doors and stained
glass windows. Used the yardstick and several crayons. Turned out pretty well for
one who can't draw. This was for the Fall Festival Potluck Sunday evening where
the kids stuck a numbered post-it on the "Wittenburg Door", actually church door.
A Reformation variation of Pin the Tail on the Donkey!
Worked on children's sermon, prayers, etc.
Shortened four pairs of pants.
Made dinner
Fed dogs
Did dishes while and after phone call from niece in CA. She really needed to talk!
Went over sermon, prayers, etc.
Reviewed Confirmation class material
Watched the news
Went to bed - exhausted!
Realized too late, I forgot to do the RGBP's Trivia Game. Oh well...
Still didn't get to the weed pulling in the flower beds and garden and putting down the cow manure! Hopefully this coming weekend.

In anutshell the RGBP's are wondering:

1. How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child?
We hung silly cardboard decorations in the front windows and front door, carved
pumpkins, tried roasting the pumpkins seeds every year, Mom sewed our
costumes, we went trick or treating, threw out most of the candy but ate the
chocolate ones, often collected for UNICEF with the orange boxes, picked out
out pumpkins at Naples farm market in Chicago suburb and went to the Haunted
House at the Flower and Landscape Store.

2. Do you and/or your family "celebrate" Halloween? Why or Why not? And if you do,
has it changed from what you used to do?
Not really. I think it's all too over the top and just don't have time.
I hand out candy (chocolate kind) and like to see the kids all dressed up!

3. Candy Apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else?
Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O'Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them?
Definitely the caramel covered in nuts!
Since the youth group has a pumpkin carving night, I carve one as well.

4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so what do you do?
Bonus points for pictures.
I decorate for fall with Indian corn framed by real oak leaves on the
front door and an uncarved pumpkin on either side of the front door. A
lighted pumpkin glows nightly (just 5 days before Halloween) from the
upstairs front bathroom window. The mantle sports two gargoyles, and two
white metal bell ghosts that hang from our stocking hooks. In the dining
room there are orange chinese lanterns and gourds on the serving table.
I do set a nice Thanksgiving table with floating leaves candles, leaves,
and whatever favors I've purchased that year.
On the kitchen shelf is a small flat wood pumpkin - a small wood or glass
object reflective of the seasons sits on the one shelf.
That's about it.

5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring out an
alternative personality?
Yes, sometimes it just plain fun and refreshing!

BONUS: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food - apple of pumpkin ones.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Deep red/orange earth
wild, untamed both the bush and Jo'burg
pain, and heartwrenching poverty
joyful worship full of song and hope
friends just like you imagined and knew they would be
penguins huddling in the shade of shrubs seeking relief from the heat
waters emerald green and deep, deep blue crashing onto shore, lifting spray in praise
2 oceans meeting where the cape juts out in a craggy mountain towering over the waters
Table Mountain with its incredible views and flat top that by afternoon wears a white vaporous tablecloth of clouds
The amazing beauty of God's creation and creatures - the far reaching roar of lions
interrupting sleep, the dainty grace of impalas, the sweet eyelashed face of giraffes,the crunching munching of white rhino, double rainbows arching over the African veld-
how hard can it be to see an elephant? Pretty darn hard, when they're amongst the trees.
Camouflaged waterbuck and kudos who blend into their surroundings until they simply just disappear from sight.
Cape Buffalo who know you are there among them long before you even see one.
Bee eaters, ibis, spoonbills, lorries, black eagles and guinea fowl fly, soar, sprint away and rest in trees
The beauty of the bush full of millipedes crossing the road and chameleons hanging on trees. Flowers blooming and the flat top acacia trees, purple jacaranda and birds of paradise blooming prolific like petunias.
The red/orange sun rising to greet the day and the warm yellow orange glow as the sun kisses the day goodnight.
Cool breezes that refresh and heat that burns in the midday when the lions lay around deceptively tame as house cats.
Food that explodes with flavor and becomes a symphony in your mouth.
Music with steady rhythms and drum beats that resonnate in the soul.
Hawkers plying their wares on the street and in lanes of moving traffic.
Houses surrounded by concrete wallls topped with coiled barbed wire, electric driveways gates and spiked fencing that discourages even the most determined to break in. Barred windows and doors and these are the middle-class living in a wideopen prison of everyday Johannesburg.
Tightly knit Soweto that stretches far and wide not merely a neighborhood, but a large town. Squatter boxes of corrugated metal, cardboard and plastic - room enough to sleep, to be somewhat sheltered from the rain. Cooking happens outside, and the clothes dry on lines strung at the back of the shack, if you can even call it that.
Refugees from all over Africa find their way here, to make a new life, escape from bloody wars only to fight poverty, to fight for a job and food for their children.
Grapevines standing in rows upon rows of the many vineyards and wine estates, green, lush and hilly.
European architecture and church bells that peal and ring.
A land of great and many contrasts - beautiful and wild.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Every Time I Fly...

What is it that everytime I fly the TSA opens up at least one of my suitcases and ignores LH's? I always find the slip in my suitcase.
Then, this time, Greek Letter Airline broke my favorite tapestry suitcase - the wheel frame damaged and the wheel torn from the fabric. It would've taken too long to go through the claims process, so it got left behind in South Africa to be tossed away. I did purchase a new suitcase - a wee smaller than the tapestry, but almost a bit deeper - at a flea market in Jo'burg. And it just cost $43.00!!!!!!! I know I paid $80.00 for the tapestry.
When we got home and I went to unpack, the TSA approved lock was missing from the suitcase. Obviously, the opened up the suitcase, checked it, closed it back up and forgot to put the lock back on.
So, this weekend I had to buy a new TSA approved lock.
LH comes home with nary a slip in his suitcase, nothing broken, and his lock still securely attached.
I just don't get it!!!!!
Maybe "they" know I'm the one who packs all the gifts and stuff in my suitcases. Fortunately, nobody wanted the Amarula bottle, wrapped in bubble wrap, in a tin, and stuck in my dirty underwear bag!!!!
I think I'll stay home for the rest of the year!
Thanks to QG!!!
Guess I like that my understanding (limited as it is) of the Eucharist incorporates a breadth to it.

Eucharistic theology
created with
You scored as Calvin

You are John Calvin. You seek to be faithful to Scripture, and to harmonize difficult sayings. You believe that in the Lord's Supper those who have faith are united to Christ, who is present spiritually, yet in a real way.













Friday, October 19, 2007


1. If you were a food, what would you be?
Probably a ham - a little full of it, willing to be a bit of a fool,
kinda portly and rotound like a ham.

2. What is one of the most memorable meals you ever had? And where?
Ahhh, there's been many. Probably one of the tastiest was after a picture
postcard day in Zermatt, Switzerland on our way back to the chalet. We stopped
in Sion, french area of Switzerland and ate the most delicious dinner of wild
boar. The waiter couldn't speak much German and his english was worse!!! He
pantomined the menu offering we pointed to and we guessed correctly - wild boar!
It had been marinated for week and was ever so tasty.
There was the arctic char in the Yukon and the muskox, carribou stew, and
reindeer sausage. Just recently was the Kingclip in South Africa - a most
excellant fish. The smoked herbed salmon from Ewig Brothers in Port Washington,
WI is also scrumptious. Maybe I should stop now, I'm getting hungry!!!!
3. What is your favorite comfort food from childhood?
Hmmm...that would be cabbage pie or quiche just like my grandma made with
onions, garlic, bacon and boiled cabbage cooked in bacon grease and put in
a pie shell. Then 2 eggs are beaten with some 1/2 and 1/2 or cream, and nutmeg
salt and pepper, with 1 cup of shredded emmantal and grueyer cheese. Yummy!

4. When going to a church potluck, what one recipe from your kitchen is sure to
be a hit?
That would be the Green Bean Casserole with 2 cans of healthy request cream
of mushroom soup, cooked french cut green beans,soy sauce, salt, pepper,
savory, diced ham and cooked spaetzli, and the french fried onions mixed in and
at the last 5 minutes of cooking - adding the rest of the french fried onions.
One dish - all the food groups. Also rather tasty.

5. What is the strangest thing you ever willingly ate?
Beef tongue - but not necessarily willingly. When I was old enough, I got to
make a hot dog instead. Tripe - but it was awful, although grandma made a sauce
to die for with it.
Sweetbreads - throat glands found only in calves (veal). There are quite a bit
of work, but very delectable.

Bonus Question: What's your favorite drink to order when looking forward to a great
Boring as it is, a gin and tonic.
But I do enjoy wine with meals - good merlot, chardonnay, pino
grigio, beaujolis, cabernet, etc.

Just returned yesterday from the longest night in my life. We left Jo'burg at 6:45 pm, flew over 8 hours to Dakkar, Senegal where it was 1-2 am in the morning. After over an hour to refuel, security check, food restock, and take on new passengers, off we went for almost 9 hours to Atlanta. It was just getting light when we arrived in Atlanta. So we had a 16-17 hour night!!! Got home even after our flight to the City on the North Coast got cancelled and we flew into Cincinnati had an hour layover and then to City on the North Coast. We arrived home about 2 hours later than originally scheduled. But, safe, sound, very smelly (up 2 days in hot weather) and sore!!!! More about the trip later....