7 Ways to Stay Young: Nuns Reveal Their Secrets

Whoopi Goldberg is no nun, but she played one in Sister Act, where she befriended three other nuns all named Mary and made the convent’s choir into a rollicking, soulful act.

Wikipedia Image
Wikipedia Image

 

Dr. David Snowdon obviously is no nun either. He’s not even a monk. But he is an epidemiologist, who spearheaded a study to decode Alzheimer’s disease as he researched the lives of 678 nuns at the School Sisters of Notre Dame. All had willed their brains to research on death.

Aging with Grace could have been a deadly dull read, but I kept turning the pages because the author was able to intertwine the excitement of scientific research with personal stories. These nuns shared valuable life lessons about “Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives,” part of the book’s sub-title.

Here are the seven I gleaned from Snowdon’s book:

  1. Keep your sense of humor

 Just before she turned 90, Sister Genevieve Kunkel marveled at her wellbeing. She said, “I have two good traits . . . I am alert and I am vertical.” 183

 

  1. Mingle with the young

When pressed about her other secrets for staying young, Sister Genevieve admitted, “Maybe it’s because I’ve always been with the young.” An educator, she had taught young people from grade school through college and was currently reading a Harry Potter book. She also read nearly every issue of the Sunday New York Times.

 

  1. Enjoy eating as a social occasion.

Share mealtime with others when possible. “The air in the convent dining room buzzes with laughter and . . . chatting.” 168

 

  1. Help others

Healthy nuns served themselves during mealtime. Then they took turns helping sisters in the assisted-living wing by pouring drinks, cutting their meat and helping them take their medications.

 

  1. Stay “With It”

Sister Clarissa, age 90, drove around the convent in her motorized cart dubbed “Chevy” and knew “as much about baseball as any die-hard fan a third of her age.” (She sounds a lot like my Aunt Cecilia!)

Sister Dorothy Zimmerman drew others into Scrabble games, often closely contested.

 

  1. Keep Moving

 Sister Esther Boor, who lived until age 106, sat on her “exercise” chair and regularly pumped the pedals on a stationary “bike.”

 

  1. Wake up every day with purpose

Sister Matthia knitted a pair of mittens every day for the poor. Every evening she recited the names of all 4378 former students until her death less than a month before her 105th birthday.

Unbelievable!

 

  1. Pray and Meditate

Dr. Snowdon admits “while we cannot directly measure intangibles such as faith and social support, the Nun Study would be incomplete without acknowledging their powerful influence.”

Want to know more about these marvelous women? You can read my review here.

Here’s a link to the book!

nunsstudycover

Here is your invitation to add to my list of seven. You can also comment on the tips you find here.

Thank you!

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Grandma’s 3 Thanksgiving Postcards: Red Leaf, Cheery Harvest, Shakespeare Quote

Before families went over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, a postcard may have appeared in their mailbox to mark this grand American holiday of gratitude in the early 1900s.

Grandma Fanny Longenecker saved three of hers.

postcard1909thanksturkey

In this card dated 1909 a brilliant oak leaf, an acorn cup and a fan-tailed turkey displayed “Hearty Thanksgiving wishes” though the celebration could not have ended well for this turkey.

(Incidentally, no filters or other photographic enhancements were used on these antique cards. Their brilliance remains after 100+ years.)

 postcard1910cheerythanks

Again, in the card above postmarked 1910, edible and bucolic images warm the scene which included another cozy house by the roadside.

postcard1911thanksshakespeare

Someone had already begun using a nutcracker on the walnuts in this still life from 1911 with an expression of hope for a happy mealtime. The quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Act iii, scene 4) is ironic: Macbeth and his wife, attempting to cover up their dastardly deed of killing King Duncan, host a dinner where the condemning ghost of Banquo is about to appear. Clearly, the postcard designer took this quote out of context.

Though no ghosts may appear during your Thanksgiving celebration, you may be saddened by the specter of empty seats around the table.

Again this year, there are empty chairs at our table too. Here’s one:

Now a fixture on our table: Place card from wedding of Mother's niece, Janet Metzler
Now a fixture on our table: Place card from the wedding of Mother’s niece, Janet Metzler Diem

Postcript

“Grah-ti-tood” is the title of my very first blog post published February 25, 2013. Although it was not Thanksgiving season then, I knew gratitude could be a theme that may thread itself through my postings. Only two former students and a church friend responded to this first attempt at blogging. You can read it here.

Curtis_GratitudeBk

Thank you for joining me in many posts since then. Our conversations here keep me going.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thanksgiving blessings with many happy memories!

My Word, it’s 2016!

Have you started a diet? Renewed your gym membership or decided to walk more? Maybe you have resolved to cut down on Facebook time this year . . .

Along with such New Year’s resolutions, some of my friends each year choose a guide word to help navigate the unknown paths of the next twelve months. Last year I began my own tradition with the word Advance. You can read about why I chose it here.

My Special Word

This year my word is Whole-hearted!

A few months ago I heard Brené Brown’s TEDx talk on expressing vulnerability. Though I’m generally not a fan of  self-help books, her presentation piqued my interest enough to read The Gifts of Imperfection, her short book (130 pages) labeled “Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life.”

Credit: Goodreads
Credit: Goodreads

 

On the first page appears her definition for such a life:

“Wholehearted living . . . means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

Dr. Brene Brown, author/researcher/professor, has collected thousands of stories in the course of her qualitative study on authenticity and wholehearted living, which she describes as an act of faith that “requires believing without seeing.” (91)

This description sounds very much like my definition of faith, fueled by grace and joy, a faith I tasted first as a child hearing the blessed words of an old hymn at Bossler Mennonite Church: True-hearted, Whole-hearted, in which the men and women in the chorus belted out antiphonally: “Peal out the watchword, silence it never / Song of our Spirit, Rejoicing and Free . . . King of my life, my Savior will be.”

 

Quotes on Wholeheartedness

Maybe stories are just data with a soul. ~ Brené Brown

Never shy away from opportunity and wholehearted living. Never be fearful of putting yourself out there. The courageous may encounter many disappointments, experience profound disillusionment, gather many wounds; but cherish your scars for they are the proud emblems of a truly phenomenal life. The fearful, cautious, cynical and self-repressed do not live at all. And that is simply no way to be in this world.”
Anthon St. Maarten

Marianne could never love by halves; and her whole heart became, in time, as much devoted to her husband, as it had once been to Willoughby.    ~ Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.     Deuteronomy 6:5, King James Version

 

A Look in the Mirror

Last year, my good friend Sandra Cornelius gave me a mirror for my birthday. A survivor of many serious health challenges, Sandra took up the practice of placing mirrors in various rooms of her home during her recuperation, declaring with an inscription that she is beautiful even though she may have felt otherwise at the time.

With this object, granddaughter Jenna is learning the concept of self-acceptance, which is vastly different from pride or self-importance. Just as Aibileen, the maid, praised Elizabeth’s young daughter Mae in the novel The Help, Jenna is also hearing that she is kind, smart, and important.

JennMirror2

In the month of January, named for the ancient Roman god Janus, we look two ways, with gratitude and perhaps a sense of relief for having survived 2015, and with anticipation and hope for the new year ahead.

Thank you for being my companion this year. I hope 2016 will be your best ever.

Happy New Year!

Have you made a resolution or chosen a special guide word for 2016? Looking back, what are you particularly thankful for this past year?

Coming next: Moments of Discovery, Keys to a Riddle

Souper Meals with Sabah and Mom

“I have always relied on the kindness of strangers,” admits Blanche DuBois, an aging belle in Tennessee Williams’ classic play A Streetcar Named Desire. Blanche has had the props knocked from under her and has nowhere to turn except to her sister Stella, also living in reduced circumstances.

Sabah’s Story

In a far, far different context and definitely not because they have the slightest desire to do so, refugees from all over the world have been forced to rely on the kindness of strangers as they flee terrifying conditions in their homelands.

Such has been the case of Sabah Jabri, who with her husband and children left bomb-scarred Baghdad, Iraq in 2007 with just identification documents and the clothes on their backs and fled to Syria, ironically back then a peaceful respite from warfare.

Photo courtesy of Lancaster Online
Photo of Sabah and her soup courtesy of Lancaster Online

Sabah, an accountant, and her husband Alaa, a civil engineer, fled Baghdad when fighting between Sunni and Shiite militias made daily life unbearable. They ended up in Syria for a year, cared for by a family whose home – and whose soup – they shared, a dish they called “yakhni.”

Syrian2ChickenSoup

After a year in Syria, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees assigned the family to emigrate again to Ephrata in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch County.

Currently, Sabah is manager of the Café at Ten Thousand Villages in Ephrata, where you can be sure this soup is on the menu. The article in Lancaster Online did not include the recipe (Of course not!) but the ingredients were listed: chunks of chicken breast, potatoes, carrots, onions and chickpeas in a hearty broth. Incidentally, Ten Thousand Villages in Ephrata offers fair trade items worldwide for sale.

More than sixty years ago, a visionary named Edna Ruth Byler worked through the Mennonite Central Committee to begin an enterprise which has mushroomed into Ten Thousand Villages.

. . . [She] believed that she could provide sustainable economic opportunities for artisans in developing countries by creating a viable marketplace for their products in North America. She began a grassroots campaign among her family and friends in the United States by selling handcrafted products out of the trunk of her car. Byler made a concerted effort to educate her community about the lives of artisans around the world.

Ten thousand Villages is the result, an undertaking that has grown well beyond the tiny house of its inception and offers for sale baskets, jewelry scarves, bags, kitchen & dining articles, toys and other items from artisans, particularly women, around the world.

Mom’s Soup

Mother also knew the nutritional heartiness of soup and often had vegetable soup waiting for us when we drove or flew up from Florida at Christmastime. Within five minutes of our arrival, one of us would fly into the kitchen and open the Frigidaire to see whether there was a ceramic pull-out drawer full of soup in the bottom left.

MomVegSoupRecipe2_layers_4x3_300


Chicken corn soup was also her specialty, with hard-boiled eggs and rivels, doughy droplets made from flour  . . .

Mom's Chicken Corn Soup without Rivels
Mom’s Chicken Corn Soup without Rivels

 

Author, editor, and cookbook writer Melodie Davis has recently featured savory Spanish lentil soup on her website where the recipe for the dish below appears.

SpanishLentilSoupMelodie

 

Quotes about Soup

Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.         ~ Marge Kennedy

 

Only the pure of heart can make good soup.                ~ Beethoven

 

And finally, Bennet Cerf defines good manners as “The noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.”

 

 

How has soup enhanced your life? Do you think Beethoven is right in the quote attributed to him? Do you have a choice recipe to share?

 

Coming next: A Snow Bunny and a German Lullaby

 

Thanksgiving 2015: A Sweet Story, Pudgy Hands, and an Invitation

Are you a thankful person? Do you ever think about what your life would be like without certain blessings? Robert Emmons, touted as one of the world’s leading experts on the science of gratitude, says that “one effective way of stimulating gratitude” is to reflect on what you would be missing without the people, places, or possessions you value.

A Sweet Story

Some people are simply grateful for daily bread, like the two brothers cited in a Random Act of Kindness story published in AARP November 2015 issue. But then they got the surprise of their lives!

AARPRandomActsKindnesSMparson

David Parsons, then age 5, remembers a time when his Dad on the way to share a Thanksgiving dinner with him at school stumbled upon two brothers whose parents couldn’t afford the quarter for each of them to enjoy turkey and pumpkin pie. David’s dad noticed the boys on the steps of the lunchroom, trying to hide their humble sandwiches wrapped in wax paper, looking down at their feet in embarrassment.

Dad stopped with his hand on my shoulder. The expression on his face softened. He dug into his trouser pockets and found two shiny quarters. He called the boys by name and said, “We will all eat turkey and dressing today.” He gently pressed a quarter into each of their hands and opened the lunchroom door.

David remarks, “On that day compassion was given and received. I saw it in the eyes of those two boys. It was a lesson I’ve never forgotten.”

Powerful Posture

Gratitude can be expressed with our eyes open, our hands relaxed, looking straight ahead. But during this season of thanksgiving, it is lovely to contemplate eyes closed in gratitude, hands clasped in praise.

PudgyHandsFBC

Pudgy hands and some slightly older hands held in gratitude . . .

Grace before the ham loaf dinner, circa 2010 Patrick, Curtis, and Sarah
Grace before the ham loaf dinner, circa 2010
Patrick, Curtis, and Sarah

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.  Psalm 100:4  KJV

Two Invitations: Write a short story (250 words) or simply tell one

GreatTHanksgivingListenAARP

  • Why not connect with someone from a younger (or older) generation. Here is a link that will get you to the audio interview: http://www.thegreatlisten.org
  •  If David Parsons’ story in the introduction sparked an incident you can recount from your own experience, tell your good-deed experience in 250 words or less and submit it to kindness@aarp.org (Please cut and paste this link into your own browser.) You may be chosen to feature in a future publication!

 


I am thankful for you, dear reader, who appear here often, sometimes once a week to read and comment. Whether you read and respond or just stop by to read the postings, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.   ♥

 

Coming next: Learning 101: Role Reversal

 

 

Moments of Discovery # 7: The Story Behind the Hidden $ Bill

Dollar Discovery! On September 10, 2015 I opened an envelope dated April 30,1962 that Mother sent me in college. I had read her letter then, but did not open the Bossler Mennonite Church bulletin where she had tucked a dollar bill (series date 1957) until now. I wonder now whether she was testing to see if I had taken the time to open the bulletin she enclosed.

When I opened the bulletin commemorating Church College Day, a few weeks ago, out tumbled a “Silver Certificate” dollar bill backed by REAL money, not the “Federal Reserve” bills we carry around in our wallets nowadays.

Dollar

What was going on in the world in April 1962?

  • US district Judge J. Skelly Wright ordered the desegregation of elementary schools in New Orleans, LA.
  • John Kenneth Galbraith, then U.S. Ambassador to India, wrote a letter to President Kennedy proposing a negotiated peace between North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
  • At the Ealing Jazz Club in London, Brian Jones was introduced to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The three would become the heart of The Rolling Stones.
  • Walter Cronkite replaced Douglas Edwards as the anchorman for the CBS Evening News.
  • The Century 21 Exposition World’s Fair opened in Seattle, Washington on April 21, 1962

What was happening in the Longenecker house then?

MotherLetterMe1962

Here are unadulterated excerpts from Mother’s letter:

“Hello to all the gals at Peachey House. . . . “Did you get your book – – – I mean your ‘Books,’ The Post Master want to know when you got the book we send. Don’t for-get to tell us he want to see know how long it took to get to E. M. C.”

“. . . I called LaVon’s mother on Fri. the way it sounds Maybe you are taking her place. she is going to work for Dr. Walmer 5 weeks then she is going to be counsler at a few camps. She is sure you will like it. She said you even get off the fourth of July with Pay. she knows they pay over a $ a hour but she didn’t know right yet how much.” (Lavon Nolt (Kolb) is a school friend: We attended first grade → college together. Here Mother is discussing summer work for me.)

“. . . I started to tell you Janice [sister] and I were at the Mother & daughter banquet on Fri. eve. they really had a nice program. & plenty of food such as fruit cup, a very large slice of Ham loaf, baked potato, corn & peas, cold slaw, pickles & olives, celery & carotts, ice cream & cake Mints & nuts. Well, we were just stuffed.”

“. . . When you get your check get it cashed then you will have when you need.”

There are two references to money in this letter, three if you count the dollar bill I didn’t discover until now. I don’t remember what the check was intended for or the amount, but it was probably not enough for books or tuition. And seldom did Mother write a letter that didn’t mention a menu or food preparation.

I know now that she equated food with love. And she knew that money, even a little bit, would sweeten my passage through my college days too.

God bless the memory of my mother, who knew the value of a dollar . . .

2002RuthPotatoes_small. . . and the appeal of a home-cooked meal!

Did this post prod memories of happy surprises about money or food? Join the conversation here.

 

Kids, Oaks, and Quotes: Purple Passages for August 2015

A Short Story

Once upon a time seven children from three different states came to visit their family in Pennsylvania. Some came from far away in a car, plane or train so they could see each other and get to know their grandparents and great-grandparents, who lived in the lush farmlands and wooded meadows of western Lancaster County.

The joy of reading: Great Grandma Longenecker and Crista, age 3
The joy of reading: Great Grandma Longenecker and Crista, age 3

 

The joy of reading: Great Grandma Longenecker and Crista, age 4
Hearing bird sounds and reading stories: Great Grandma Longenecker with Crista, age 4

They liked too when Great Grandma would bring them warm strawberries from her patch in the spring time, and in the summer some ripe, pink-cheeked Bartlett pears from the tree planted near a gently flowing brook. Grandma loved trees and sometimes sat in the shade of a Japanese cherry tree as she rocked on the porch. She smelled the wisteria that twisted around a trellis close by and enjoyed the morning-glories climbing upon harp-like strings by the kitchen door.

One sad June day in 1980, their great grand-mother died, so all seven young children ages 1 1/2 – 11 gathered near the small village of Rheems to say “goodbye” to their Great Grandmother Fannie Longenecker, who was 89 years old. Some of the children called her Grandmother-of-the-Birds because she loved hearing birds chirp and gave them seeds to eat in the winter-time.

Great Grandma’s daughter, their Great Aunt Ruthie, loved trees too and when her mother died, she decided to plant an oak tree as a remembrance. All the children helped to plant the tree. Even the littlest one put some soil around the tree so the roots would be covered up tightly.

OakTreeGrandchildren

A Tall Tale

The tree grew and grew for thirty-five years. Now it is very, very tall. Cardinals, robins, and nuthatches hop around in its branches at various seasons of the year. In the summer squirrels enjoy the shade it sheds over the lawn.

Thirty-five-year-old oak tree in Grandma Longenecker's back yard 1980 - 2015
Thirty-five-year-old oak tree planted in 1980 in Grandma Longenecker’s back yard   2015 photo

The children visit Great Grandma’s house still, but they don’t often come at the same time now because they have grown up and have families of their own. When they do come, though, they can see how tall the tree has grown and imagine how deep the roots have spread out since they planted that tiny tree so many, many years ago.

Like birds, they have flown away on strong wings . . .

Like trees, they have memories deeply rooted in the Pennsylvania soil

 * * *

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.     ~  Warren Buffett

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.      ~  Marcus Garvey

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.     ~ Martin Luther

Friendship is a sheltering tree.    ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.    ~ Willa Cather, 1913

Trees are your best antiques.   ~ Alexander McCall Smith

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all.
~ Ogden Nash, “Song of the Open Road,” 1933   (parody of a Joyce Kilmer poem)

* * *

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 1:3  KJV


Is there a tree of significance to your family? Where is it planted? What other images did you recall as you read this post?

Marian, Janice, and Jean Go to Laurelville

  • Lacing a belt of green and yellow gimp in crafts class
  • Trips to the snack shop for an orange Nehi
  • Bible study on the rocks, girls like us with braids, some with prayer caps

These are my sharpest memories of Girls’ Week at Laurelville Mennonite Camp just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike not far from Pittsburgh, PA. along with . . .

  • Cottages with cute names like Dew Drop Inn
  • Toasting marshmallows around a fire pit
  • Singing rounds, our voices echoing each phrase: “My paddle’s keen and bright, flashing with silver, follow the wild goose flight, dip, dip, and swing”
  • “Do, Lord, oh, do Lord, oh do remember me wa-ay (big voice dip here) be-yond the blue.”

What we didn’t do at Laurelville:

  • Set fire to the boys’ swim trunks hanging on the line (There were no boys)
  • Paint each other’s toenails hot pink. (No one had makeup – verboten)
  • Sneak a smoke in the woods after dark. (We didn’t have matches – or cigarettes!)

The postcard I sent to my sisters from Laurelville reveals the price of postage stamps, an address that winds around the edge in cursive script, and simple declarative sentences. It also tells how I felt, what I saw, where we worshiped.

PostcardCampFront

Postcard with rhododendron sent from Laurelville Mennonite Camp
Postcard with rhododendron sent from Laurelville Mennonite Camp in 1953

Memories of family week with my sisters and parents at Laurelville left a different imprint.

  • Family swim time
  • Doggie roast (Hot dogs, corn on the cob and roasted marshmallows)
  • Big plaque on dining room wall: “Come ye apart and rest awhile” Jesus’ invitation to his disciples in Mark 6:31
  • Morning blessing in song: “I owe the Lord a Morning Song” written by Amos Herr, Lancaster County pastor and farmer who couldn’t get through the snow drifts to church one Sunday morning in the 1850s and was inspired to pen both words and music to this song of gratitude. First two stanzas here:

I Owe Lord Morning Song

We also sang something new to us: How Great Thou Art, a Swedish hymn written in 1885, which became an instant sensation in Christian circles in 1955 because of the Billy Graham Crusades.

When through the woods and forest glades I wander, I hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees; when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.

 

ClimbMountain

 

What are your memories of camp? Here’s the place to share them – songs, games, mischief – other memorable moments.

 

Coming next: Creation Clips

 

Jenna’s Rainbow Cake: A Pot of Gold?

Grand-daughter Jenna and I decided to make a rainbow cake on Memorial Day weekend. We were hoping for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but the cake-making process wasn’t that easy!

Here’s our step-by-step process with a few glitches noted:

First, we put on our aprons JennaNanaThen we mix together the ingredients (oil, eggs, and water), Jenna trying hard not to get egg-shell pieces in with the batter from a mix.

JennaMixer

Tricky Part: Dividing up the Batter

We divide the batter into 6 paper cups and begin to add color. Remember ROY G BIV from grade school? Then we use 6 more cups, adding the color in reverse order: violet-blue-green-yellow-orange-red. (No indigo among the colors.) Here Jenna is stirring the green, her favorite color:

ColorMixJenna

Next, we pour batter, one color on top of the other into the first pan. In the second, we repeat the process, pouring the colors in reverse order. Mind you, this takes a long, long time, with several spatulas. Think “art” and finger painting when you are in this step.

PansMixedThe recipe book looks so perfect. Hmm . . .

Pop into Oven: We set the oven to preheat (350 degrees) way too early, so temperature was super hot. The recipe’s suggested bake time of 40 minutes actually turned into 30, so the cake layers became a little brown.

Like her Great Grandma Longenecker, Jenna used a toothpick to check to see if cake was done.

Take cake pans out of oven, cool, and frost. Then . . .

FrostingJenna

SprinkleShakes

Adding sprinkles was probably Jenna’s favorite part. Her expression shows her delight!

SCARY PARTS: Behind the scenes!

* The first gel color we used (violet) made the batter a tepid shade of gray. We both felt  disappointment because we thought the other colors might be duds too!

  • NaNa (when we began): “Think of making this cake as a combination of art and baking.”
  • Jenna (at this point): “This is a combination of art and baking with a hint of disaster!”

* The cake layers came out of the oven looking like volcanoes (Jenna’s word)! I forgot to take a photo here. Our fix: we sawed off the tops with a bread knife and got our first yummy cake taste.

* The two cake layers did not fit together perfectly. Our fix: Slathering frosting into the gaping parts.

Recipe photo: Courtesy, Mennonite Girls Can CookRecipeRainbowCake

Our cake  RainbowCakeJenna

Before we Started:

We traced the word “cake” in the Bible, Jenna reading the passage from I Kings 17:8-16 about the prophet Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. Actually, this woman’s cake was the bread of sustenance, one of survival, nothing like the confectionery concoction we baked just for fun.

JennaBible

* * *

Tell us about your cake-making successes, disasters, or near misses. If necessary, how did you improvise?

Coming next: Two Mennonite Girls on a Cross-Country Road Trip

Carole Parkes and the Written Acts of Kindness Award

Thank you notes are usually written privately, but this one is a public thank you to Carole Parkes, a writer friend who just recently nominated me for the Written Acts of Kindness Award, an award given from one blogger to another to let them know their words bring inspiration.

WrittenActsofKindness Award

I take this as an opportunity to showcase Carole’s own accomplishments. Her work as a painter and photographer first caught my eye nearly a year ago, but I quickly noticed that she is a 21st century Renaissance Woman:

  • Author of a psychological thriller, Tissue of Lies
  • Short story writer
  • Painter in oils
  • Seamstress, who crafts men’s suits and ladies’ fashion jeans for Marks & Spencer
  • Photographer
  • “Occasional” poet, she says

Her husband calls her butterfly because she flits from one hobby to another. I don’t see that she has ever changed the oil on an 18-wheeler, but even that wouldn’t surprise me!

CaroleParkes

Here is a blurb from her “About” page

I was born in Liverpool, (England) in 1945, and have lived in my current house near Ormskirk, Lancashire for the past 39 years. I’ve been married for 49 years and have three sons, all now married with their own families.

I started writing in 1985 when I produced several short stories, a series of children’s books and my newly published book on Kindle “Tissue of Lies.” Between 1985 and 1989 I also encouraged my elderly mother to write her life story, whilst I started on my biography. Owing to my commitment to my elderly parents, I didn’t take my writing too seriously until after my parents aged 97 and 94, both passed away in 2012.

You are such an inspiration, Carole. Your words echo across the pond. Again, THANK YOU!