Saturday, January 27, 2024

Touching on Several Things

my desk

Per my usual form, today's post will hit on the past several days with highlights, snapshots and appropriate commentary.

Being a creature of habit works well for me, and more so as the years add up. Most Fridays find me at my desk composing a letter to my mother. She's in a senior living home and can't hear well enough for telephone conversations, so my weekly letters inform her of the escapades activities keeping me busy. 

Her hearing loss and lack of understanding about things make it wise to keep the letters to just one page, usually with a photo and some small decoration in the header. A Bible verse is always at the very bottom, which I'm told she appreciates. (she is the one who led me to Jesus when I was very young)

meditating with colored pencils

Another activity I like to do at my desk is doodling with colored pencils, sometimes with contemplative music in the background. I start with a pen to create large S curves and then choose a palette of about 5 colors, always including white, and usually black or gray or brown. Verbiage is added inside some of the cells: words of encouragement, verses, prayers, even. It's a very relaxing process that helps to settle me.


Have I mentioned before my new-found enjoyment of Soduko? Sometime before Christmas I came across this spiral-bound book of games and it's become nearly an addiction. There is no math involved at all, in spite of its appearance. It is logic, order, observance, and challenge. I keep this book beside my recliner so it can be easily picked up where I left off while listening to the news. It's good for waiting on car repairs, medical offices, etc.

studying the instructions

While I'm on the subject of challenging the brain, we had a larger puzzle to solve with a free-standing bathroom cabinet to assemble. I will tell you this was not as hard as those kits from IKEA, but we had to make an alteration that required creativity. This unit stands above the toilet, but if one ever needs to lift the cover off the toilet tank, the whole cabinet has to be pulled out from the wall. 

Okay, we were prepared for that. But then we realized an important support board was supposed to go at the back, down by the connection of the toilet to the wall. With that installed per the instructions, the cabinet could never be easily removed to slide out.

Hmmm. Eventually we decided to create a support to put in front of the tank, behind the opened toilet lid. This involved digging through  wood scraps, cutting a board to the necessary length, painting it white, and then attaching it with screws. This Gary did beautifully. 

But then the very last step for the entire project involved anchoring the cabinet at the top back to the wall. This was important for stability.

So much for easily sliding the thing out when there's an issue inside the tank!! In retrospect, we probably should have opted for a cabinet that is hung on the wall, and high enough to avoid the tank problems.

cabinet ordered from Lowe's

We made a trip to the cemetery in observance of the 3-year anniversary of Edith's passing. Marveling that it's been that long already, we stopped first at the grocery store to buy flowers. They were having a 2-for1 sale, and we wanted flowers for Tom's grave, too, so the sale worked in our favor. 

We always go to Tom's grave first, spending as much time as I want, and then proceed to Edith's place. While the cemetery is beautiful with many trees, there are none positioned close enough to Tom's grave for shade. We always take our folding lawn chairs, then after time is spent with Tom, we get back into the car to move over to Edith. 

Edith's grave

My regular readers know that Gary and I go to the cemetery every month or two. You may wonder why, so often, and what we do when we are there. What do we think about? Do we cry all over again? Do we come away miserable after having dug up the pain all over again?

This time Gary said, "You don't have to answer this, but what do you think about at Tom's grave?" Then I asked him the same question regarding Edith.

Our answers are too private to share here but I'll sum it up by saying we focus on the good things, the happy memories, aspects of our people for which we are grateful. Yes, I had some darker thoughts on the nearly hour-long drive to the cemetery, but with that out of the way, I moved on to themes of gratitude, for there is much to ponder there. 

Hard times come to everybody in all manner of ways, but in God's economy, nothing is wasted. Eventually, for those who trust in God's sovereign ways, good comes out of the worst of times. If I did not believe that, I would lose my mind.

The times spent at the cemetery are beneficial. We always follow that with lunch on the way home. 

breakfast for lunch

This picture is not from that lunch, but to illustrate what Gary cooked for us this past Sunday after church. Aside from baking, which Gary does not do, I cook very little these days. He does an excellent job of keeping me fed every day.

Not only do I not cook real often, but when I do, it's usually not from scratch, which was my practice for 50 years. As Ivory Joe Hunter says in his song, "Since I met you Baby, my whole life has changed....." (click on the title to hear the song on Youtube)

Muffins from a boxed mix does not qualify as "from scratch" but they satisfied my guy this morning, so, good enough!

A few days ago, I did make Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots in Gary's air fryer:

photo from the recipe book
It was super simple: wrap raw bacon around each tater tot and cook at 400 degrees (the French Fry button) for 8 minutes. Remove from the air fryer and top with sliced scallions and shredded cheese. Serve with sour cream. 

Note: cut the bacon slices in half before wrapping the tater tots. I wrapped the entire slice around each tater, so mine came out not as pretty as the picture I've provided above. But the taste was great!

Observing National Pie day
(a couple of days late)

One more foodie paragraph here: I missed National Pie Day earlier this week. Not one to ignore an important holiday, we bought a frozen Coconut Cream Pie from the freezer case at Publix and shared half of it with neighbors. 

Now turning to something I find fascinating about a fellow citizen of my area, here is a photo collage of the home of actor John Travolta:

He lives in a fly-in community north of my town and has an interesting collection of aircraft, some of it quite large (examine the pictures closely). Aviation has been a strong influence my whole life with various family members, although flying anywhere these days does not hold as much appeal to me as it used to.

Well, this pretty well captures the past week for us. God is good, all the time, even if that goodness is hard to recognize. Our faith in His character makes all the difference. 

Here's some pithy truth that should bring a smile to your face:

Until next time, grace and peace.


  1. I am pretty sure most home improvement projects come with a challenge that was not expected. And I know it always looks easier on TV or Youtube or whatever the medium. Your shelving looks nice though. Let's hope it won't need to be moved. Jeff has always been a great cook. I do like to bake when I have time, but nowadays I bake when we have people over to eat it so we don't eat it all:) I am not sure why but I have never really liked visiting the cemetery. I almost feel closer to my memories in another location like the beach. I do go at least twice a year to my dad's grave. IT is nice though that both Tom and Edith are close for y'all. The letter is a good idea for your mom.

  2. God is good, yes, He is. Thank you for sharing Barbara...I am sure your thoughts regarding Tom and Gary's of Edith are filled with a bag of mixed emotions. I totally get it. Sending you much love.

  3. I did love your words and thoughts here, Barbara. God is good, all the time! But what we're going through at the moment is truly trying. We are down in St. Simon's and were supposed to attend my SIL's mother's memorial service when Danny's pacemaker went nuts. I had to call 911 and he is now stable at the local hospital. However, we may have to stay here longer than expected if they decide to replace his pacemaker here. Please, please pray!!! Thank you!

  4. Your cabinet looks really nice, Gary did good. I can see that it was tricky.
    I think it's really nice that you and Gary can go to the cemetery together and can understand each other in this loss.

  5. Karen

    I installed a similar cabinet and was wondering if the piece in front of the tank should be on the back boards next to the wall?

    Seems reading the directions are always a two person job! Enjoy your week and whatever you are up to!

    1. Hello Karen, thank you for your comments. Sometimes the toilet tank is snugged up pretty close to the wall, so there just is not space back there to put that piece that's in question. But if there is the space for that, it would be preferable.

  6. Love that shelving in the bathroom. Looks so nice. GIRL, those foody pictures making me hungry. I must try the tater tot and bacon in Air fryer. I really enjoy using mine. Hugs to you dear friend. Hugs and blessings, Cindy


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