"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Sunday Salon---Easter

An Easter memory: When I was growing up I always remember Easter more for the holiness of the day than of the egg hunts and baskets full of candy. My Dad, a Methodist minister, would join with the other pastors of the church to help create memorable and meaningful worship services full of flowers and music. Some years we would attend all three services in a row, starting with the sunrise service outside in the park. Later in the sanctuary the pipe organ would join in with trumpets and other brass instruments announcing the good news: Christ is Risen. After the churchy stuff our family would gather with the other pastors and their families for a mid-day dinner and a relaxed celebration of games and egg hunts. There were four kids in my family, four kids in the W. family, and two in the H. family, probably ranging from 15 down to 9 years old. The ten of us had so much fun celebrating this day together. To this day whenever I think of Easter, I remember those happy, carefree days as a young teenager and the love we shared for a risen Lord and for each other.

Making memories: On that score I have always tried to help create happy memories for my children and now grandchildren on Easter--making it more about the being together and less about the candy. I'm not sure how successful I am but I try. This year we will gather, now that all of us have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine, for a dinner and afterwards we will hide eggs for Ian to find. We may even put some candy in the eggs, who knows? After all, it is the hunt that is fun, not the candy.

Weather: ? I am posting on Saturday. Who knows what the weather will be like tomorrow. Hopefully sunny enough for an egg hunt.

Outdoor art: I took my grandson for a walk around the neighborhood this week and look at all the fun pieces of yard art we found--- an egg tree; a firefly spinner, a rustic bird house, a frog bird bath, metal painted lilies, a frog sculpture, two reading children, a fairy, and glass flowers.


Book Review: Fury and Grace: 40 Days of Paintings and Poetry from Prison by Rev. Riley Pickett and Revs. Layne and Crawford Brubaker.

     Right before the pandemic hit our mission team made another trip to visit the women in a nearby correctional facility for women (prison) about an hour from our home. Our denomination had recently set up a  church inside the prison and the pastors, Layne and Crawford Brubaker asked church members from outside the prison to join with the women while they worshiped inside. Don and I joined the team for one such visit in January. Over 100 women attended, so many that the service was divided into two rooms. I sat near a woman who was incarcerated for drug use violations. She said while she was in the prison (this was her third time), she was good and would get clean. But once she got out she would start using again. I promised her I would pray for her to be healed and for strength. I also promised I would come back. But then the pandemic hit and no one has gone back. 

    Fortunately the church has hired another pastor. Rev. Riley Pickett works with the women who are released. She also has collected the poems and paintings from the incarcerated church members and compiled them into a book of Lenten devotions. Each daily devotion is only a few pages long but each one has spoken directly to my heart. I picture these women separated from society by barbed wire yet worshiping the same Lord as I. In the pages I read about their pain, struggles, and fears. Never before have a read a Lenten guide which has spoken to my heart like Fury and Grace. Every devotion with scriptures selections based on the Daily Common Lectionary and thoughts or art from the women themselves have helped prepare my heart for Holy Week and for Easter 2021. Every devotion ends with a prayer like this one from Good Friday, "Executed God, Crucified Christ, Open our eyes to You in this world. Point us to the ones who are suffering today like you suffered. Fill us with compassion so that we might come along-side them, that we might get close and really see them. Make us uncomfortable so that we can more clearly see your Spirit at work and be moved to participate in Your work here on Earth. Amen." My brain immediately thinks of these women who are locked up and alone. They are despairing of their future. They need to know that we see them and do not judge them for the worst thing they ever did.

     I recommend this devotional guide to anyone who wants a lift in their spiritual development and I think it would work any time of the year not just during Lent.

Other books: 

  • Finished this week:
    • Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth. I wanted to read the book which was the inspiration for a new-to-me series on BBC. I like the TV series better than the book. E-Book from library.
    • Swan: Poems and Prose Poems by Mary Oliver. I have a sneaking feeling that I've read this little gem before but it did not diminish my delight in it. Print from library.
    • Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine. Essays on race relations in the US. Her last book, Citizen: An American Lyric, is a favorite on this topic. This one was difficult to read literally and figuratively. Look for my review once I have it written. Print version of my own.
  • Currently reading/listening:
    • Audiobooks. I made good progress on all three of the audiobooks I'm listening to this week.
      • A Promised Land by Barack Obama. 90% complete. Don and I had quite a bit of time alone in the car this week. I think we have about 75 pages to go. Must push to the end.
      • A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green. 52% complete. Carly and I had to drive around in her car after we charged the battery. See note below.
      • Dune by Frank Herbert. I made it to book 2 within the first book. It is confusing, but I think there are three books within one. 43% complete.
    •  The Atlas of Happiness by Helen Russell. This book about happiness in other countries is both cute and funny.  51% print.
    • Long Life: Essays and Other Writings by Mary Oliver. It is poetry month, after all. One must read works by favorite poets this month. Print book from library. 49% print book from the library.

Double vaccinated: Yesterday Don and I received our second Pfizer vaccinations. Woot. Woot. Feeling safer already!

I'm happy to report: The eczema rash on Jamie's face has almost disappeared thanks to modern medicine. And Jamie seems like a new boy, too. 

Cheeks are pink but not rashy anymore. Praise the Lord!

Staying at home has its benefits and its demerits: 

  • Between the three of us living here right now we have five cars/vehicles. (I know, it is a lot.) This week, by chance, we discovered that four of them had dead batteries. We drive so little these days and apparently when we do we must always drive the same vehicle. At my insistence, we have now charged up the battery on the pickup and on Carly's car. Two remain with dead batteries.
  • I've discovered the joy of baking with yeast. This week I baked two foods with yeast: hamburger buns and pizza crust. Pretty cool, huh?
  • I haven't sorted and thrown out unused items as much as I should have but this week I did sort through the old technology and cords basket. Look at the tangle of cords and stuff I ended up throwing away.

    This time it is Fred posing as Puzzle Cat. As you see by his size and position he is making it impossible to get much progress done on the puzzle.



  1. Hmm...I don't know...Our stores sold out of Easter chocolate weeks ago so I'm feeling pretty cranky about Easter right now...

    Just kidding. Kind of.

    But no, those are great memories you have and sounds like a lovely Easter planned for your family tomorrow! I hope the weather cooperates!

    LOL-ing at puzzle cat.

  2. Have a happy Easter!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  3. Wonderful Easter memories. I love my decorations but didn't put them out this year. There was too much going on. Easter is my favorite holiday for candy! So glad that Jamie is better.

    1. I chatted with my mom this week about Easter memories. None are very clear for any of us except the events I highlighted here.

  4. I LOVE that cat picture! I would love to have a cat but my BF is allergic. So I went to my mum's house, where my 19 y/o cat is living and cuddled with her!

    Also, congratz on the vaccine! I think I'll have to wait until September or later. Netherlands is kinda frustrating at this point. But yay for you being safer!

    Have a great week ahead. :)

    1. Pres. Biden is really trying to make vaccinations for everyone on an accelerated schedule. We will likely open up the vaccines for anyone by May 1st.

  5. Happy Easter!

    I love remembering Easter when I was a child. We got into our outfits bought especially for that years Easter including our little white gloves and patent leather shoes and cute hats and off to Church we'd go. Great memories!

    I love all that neat outdoor art you and your grandson found, so cool.

    I'm planning on buying Fury And Grace, it sounds like an awesome book and I love the cover.

    Jamie is so cute!

    What breed is your dog? My dog looks a lot like that, white with black markings.

    My two cats love in my way when I'm on my computer. Sometimes they even decide to type something :)

    I hope you have a great week!

    1. I hope you do buy Fury and Grace. It is by far the best devotional I've ever read.

  6. Ha, looks like your Cat is about to sweep the puzzle right off the table! I'm glad Jamie's skin rash is going away. And that's impressive you are almost done with Obama's book. I look forward to your thoughts on it. I haven't started it yet, but I have a copy. Have a wonderful day & Easter.

    1. The cats, George and Fred, take their job as puzzle cats seriously. If we finish a puzzle they will sleep on it for days until we put the puzzle away.

  7. Happy Easter, I hope you were able to have your egg hunt.
    I’m too afraid to throw out the random cords and chargers we have around the house in case I accidentally throw away an important one.

    Wishing you a great reading week

    1. It rained this morning but the weather seems to be holding right now. Fingers crossed for a good hunt in the wet grass.

  8. What wonderful memories from Easters long ago. There's something especially delightful about outdoor services.

    A walk looking for yard art sounds like great fun. Maybe we shall do this next week.

    Thanks for sharing Fury and Grace. I will think of these women and pray for them.

    Atlas of Happiness celebrates so many different takes on happiness. I found myself drawn to some of them more strongly than others.

    I hope you will share your yeast adventures with us on your blog. I come from baking stock on both sides of the family.

    And a big hurray for getting your second vaccine. What a relief I felt when we were fully vaccinated.

    1. I know what you mean about the Atlas of Happiness. Some of the countries' words don't seem related to happiness or seems impossible to imagine here in the US.

  9. Double vaccination for the win! I love the neighborhood art; it made me smile.

    And your photo of the old cables and chargers? We've got a big old bin of those and I recently went through it, convincing my mother that we do NOT need to keep them all!

    1. We talked about every cable before we tossed them. Most were from technology we no longer use or own. We just didn't toss the cable with the item.

  10. Happy Easter! Love that neighborhood walk and the cat on the puzzle :) One of our cats starts pushing pieces off the table when it's time to be fed or she wants the litter changed or wants fresh water. It's ridiculous, lol.

    1. Yes, the cats do end up shoving puzzle pieces on to the floor or even carrying them away on their fur.

  11. Happy Easter! Your walks with Ian are always such a treasure hunt. I love that you do those with him. Showing him the little treasures in a daily walk is such a loving thing to do. Mom is now with us. Megan has had one vaccination and I’m hoping by July 4th we can all enjoy the time together.

  12. Thank you for sharing those lovely Easter memories. We always celebrated with my grandparents and cousins... church, traditional food, egg hunts, and of course the Easter baskets. We were happy to have 2 of our 3 daughters here, as well as my sister and her husband. It finally feels like we're progressing to noemal. Congratulations on your second vaccine!

  13. Happy Easter! Thanks for sharing your Easter memories- they sound wonderful.

    I hope that woman you mentioned is able to stay clean when she gets out.

    Congrats on the vaccine! And hope you're enjoying Dune- I read the first book but didn't love it, sadly. I love the idea of it maybe- the far future setting- but didn't love the specific story I guess.

    1. I keep thinking that Dune must be something special for it to continue in popularity so many years after publication. I, too, don't love it and actually find it quite confusing. But I shall prevail and finish it.

  14. Congrats on the vaccine. We get our second dose this Friday and I can't wait.

  15. I am sure you are relieved to be vaccinated. My husband gets his first dose tomorrow. I am so glad the medicine worked for Jamie. Thank you for sharing the yard art with us. I love it! My husband's car battery was completely dead from lack of use recently--and he had a flat tire. He's finally got both taken care of. He always did the grocery shopping in my car. Now it's due for a smog check, but we have to wait until the battery has at least 100 or so miles on the new battery before the computer at the smog place can get a reading. I hope you are having a great week!


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