Thursday, January 31, 2013


After the freezing temperatures last week, the weather has reversed. On top of the snow that has melted, we've had rain for the past two days. My sunroom, with its low-pitched roof and substandard windows, has been soggy. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Some days it's difficult to find a subject.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


This poinsettia isn't as stunning as when I received it over a year ago at the ELP end-of-semester party, but I am impressed that it is attempting to "bloom" again. 

Monday, January 28, 2013


Another teacher and I hauled two van-loads of students to Frankenmuth, Friday evening for the snowfest sponsored by Zehnders. Teams from all over the world converge in Michigan's Little Bavarian to compete for the title of the best snow and ice sculptures. For many of our students, who come from France, China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Pakistan, snow is a new experience. They enjoyed wandering up and down the streets, watching the competitors saw and carve, all the while snapping pictures. But, after a couple of hours they were all huddled by the vans waiting to leave.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest. Exodus 31:15 NIV

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fire and ice

Ice crystals on my window with my pellet stove in the background

Friday, January 25, 2013


Photo credit: Naomi

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Hosanna isn't much of a talker yet, at least not in English. She has mastered the intonation of phrases and is able to communicate her feelings (especially when her sisters do something she doesn't like), but most of her words are indistinguishable. So I am honored that one of her words is "Amy."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Photo credit: Naomi
It is bitterly cold. 

Nevertheless, Naomi and I took Charlie on a short walk yesterday afternoon. Charlie didn't seem to notice the temperature or the wind, but Naomi and I were bundle in jackets, scarves, mittens and boots. 

Half way through the walk, I noticed that my eyelashes stuck together when I blinked. "You have frost on your eyelashes," Naomi said. The moisture from my breath froze on my eyelashes and eyebrows!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Back again

God answered prayer, Charlie is home again, and I am thankful. A neighbor read the tag on his collar and called me on Sunday afternoon. Logan and I went right over. Charlie was excited to see us, and we were equally excited to see him. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Don't worry

Charlie is still missing
do not worry... Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:25-34 NIV

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013


Charlie has been missing since Wednesday morning. I've been bawling my eyes out for this animal. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blue sky

This picture proves that the sun can shine in January in Michigan.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Light is shed upon the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.
Psalm 97:11 NIV

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Bethany and Rebekah

Friday, January 11, 2013

Clean shop

Brian runs a neat, clean shop. Every item has a place, from shop towels to extension lights to fire extinguishers. And by Saturday night, everything must be in place. The guys have a pact and on Saturday they straighten and sweep the shop.   

Thursday, January 10, 2013


The days are gradually getting longer again. Sunrise is 8:09 a.m. and sunset is 5:19 p.m. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Charlie practicing stay even when the shop door is open.
Charlie has developed a habit of running away, which creates stress for me and others involved. He's now restricted to being tied up or on the leash whenever he's outside. It's easy for me to feel discouraged. Then I have to remind myself how much progress we've already made and translate my expectations into small, obtainable goals. 


  • sit
  • shake
  • wait for permission before eating
  • enter and exit the vehicle
  • potty trained (already mastered when I got him)

In progress:

  • stay
  • wait for an invitation to go in/out doors
  • step away from the door while people are entering/exiting
  • walk at my side without pulling on the leash
  • appropriately greet visitors
  • not chase cats


  • go home (doghouse)
  • lie down
  • come (always, immediate) This should help with the running-away problem.
  • respect property boundaries


  • go to the shop
  • go to Logan, Naomi...
  • walk at my side without a leash
  • fetch (my retriever has no desire to chase a ball)
  • run beside a bike

For his few faults, which dominate my thoughts, Charlie has many good qualities. He is friendly dog who loves people, including children. He likes to ride in the car because he's with me and he knows he's going somewhere exciting. He doesn't bark much, doesn't make a mess, doesn't chew or destroy things, doesn't harass other animals (except cats) and eats whatever I give. All in all, I am very thankful for my dog. But, I am also very determined to continue training him. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013


I recently added some artwork to my kitchen wall. On the left is a print of a watercolor and ink painting The Kitchen by Swedish artist Carl Larsson. On the right are recipes for chocolate cake, molasses gingerbread, sponge cake and doughnuts from the handwritten cookbook I claimed from one of grandpa's auction boxes. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dear friend,

I pray 
that you may enjoy
good health
and that all may
go well with you,
even as your soul
is getting along well.

3 John 1:2 NIV

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I hate having plastic over my windows. But, I would hate frozen pipes even more. So, the other day when I saw my breath as I walked in the sunroom and the thermometer read 40F, I decided it was time to seal myself in for the winter.  

Libby came over and helped me stick the plastic up. Then we rewarded ourselves with a fun job, and started pots of lettuce and spinach. We also decided to experiment with forcing daffodil bulbs. 

I was so tired that night I lay in bed but couldn't fall asleep. The next morning my body didn't want to get out of bed. But it was worth it to see the hints of spring in my winterized sunroom. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Lunch and a movie

Amanda, Kathryn and Betsy came over to the Cookie house this week for a lunch and movie date. We ate lentil soup, hummus and pitas and then watched October Baby. Our date was extra special since Amanda plans to leave soon for five months volunteering for a medical mission. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pizza-game night

We had a pizza-game night last week with all 
the Cooks and all the Bylers. It was a treat.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ice cream cake

To make your own cake-- soften vanilla ice cream. Stir in frozen fruit. I used black cherries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. Freeze the cake. Dip the pan in hot water to remove the cake. Freeze again. Then slathered it with whipped topping and garnished it with frozen raspberries and blackberries.
I froze a fruit ice cream cake for Christmas Eve at the Cookie house. Julie believes ice cream is always in season, but after my slice I had to stand by the stove for awhile to warm up. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Judith & Janessa