Posted by: abbiewatters | September 13, 2014

FTJ Does Vashon Island

One of the really great things about living here at Franke Tobey Jones is the fact that we are on the hill above the ferry to Vashon Island. If you are as old as I am, perhaps you remember the Betty McDonald books written in the middle of the 20th century about her life on the Olympic Peninsula (The Egg and I), Seattle (The Plague and I), and Vashon Island (Onions in the Stew). I was a big fan as a teenager. The Egg and I was made into a movie and that’s where the characters of Ma and Pa Kettle came from.

Anyway…

One of our favorite trips from FTJ is to go over to Vashon. It’s really an island with no bridges connecting it with the mainland, so you have to take a Washington State Ferry over.

Here we all are on the bus.

DSCN0643We got to the ferry loading place, and there were lots of logger trucks with us.

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Finally, the ferry pulled in to the slip,

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and we were loaded on. The cars get to load first, and then they put the trucks and busses in the middle. The folks who direct the loading are really careful to keep the weight balance correct, so the ferry doesn’t get too heavy on one side or the other. Even with the trucks, there was plenty of room as you can see looking back at the dock as we pulled away.

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The water was as smooth as glass, although it was pretty cloudy and cool.

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And before we knew it we were approaching the slip on the other side of the Sound. The ferry runs every hour and it takes about 15 minutes to do the crossing, and 15 minutes to unload and load again. On the way across, I saw several sea otters swimming, but I couldn’t get my camera up in time to take a picture of them. They looked just like logs, and by the time I realized they were otters, they would dive under.

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Our first stop was an old country store.

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It was interesting, with just about anything a farmer could want, from food to seeds to garden tools to clothing.

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All kinds of “stuff”

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There was “garden art”

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and plants.

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After we had poked around there for a while, we loaded back on the bus and went to the town of Vashon which is located just about the middle of the island. There are lots of interesting shops there and an old Presbyterian Church.

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There were craft shops

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a historic building, housing a restaurant (it’s a restaurant, not a hardware store, contrary to its name),DSCN0696 DSCN0697some elephants on the roof,

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and at least one interesting character. (Note the bare feet, even though it was 60 degrees.) He said he was reading Gulliver’s Travels.

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After lunch at a pizza place, we returned to the ferry and waited in line for the boat to come in. During lunch it had cleared off and turned sunny, so the ride back was beautiful with the sound matching the sky for deep blue.

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As I looked to the East from the deck of the ferry, I was treated to the sight of Mt. Rainier drifting in what remained of the clouds above the Port of Tacoma.

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And before we knew it we were back at the slip, and ready to drive up the hill, safely back to FTJ.

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Posted by: abbiewatters | September 12, 2014

Flora and Fauna Friday

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Autumn is almost upon us.

Posted by: abbiewatters | September 11, 2014

Throw-back Thursday

Brownie Girl Scout

Brownie Girl Scout in Concord, California, sometime in September 1952.

Posted by: abbiewatters | September 1, 2014

Provide

As you may remember, my one word for the year is “Provide”.

Food seemed to figure prominently in my life this month. As the primary cook in the house, I’ve tried to PROVIDE healthy meals for myself and for Big Al. Of course he seems to be mostly focused on lots of chips and sodas, but I press on. I took August off from the strict diet I’ve been on since January, but I’ve tried to keep the carbs and calories down. In order to do that and still have really tasty meals, I’ve found myself PROVIDING  fresh vegetables with a weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market.

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The Lunch Bunch this month went to Olympia and visited their Farmer’s Market before a wonderful dinner at Anthony’s Homeport.

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August was also the scene of a couple of meals that my Team from church was in charge of. I PROVIDED the organization and people for another very successful National Night Out Party in the street by the church. The Tacoma Banjo Band provided some entertainment and church members and neighbors enjoyed a lovely evening.

Banjo Band (2)

This was also the month of the Annual Church Picnic. We went to Point Defiance Park and had lots of hamburgers, and hotdogs, and plenty of potluck side dishes and desserts. Yummy!

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Sandwiched in between those three opportunities to overeat was my birthday. I’ll admit I overindulged, but I figure you don’t turn 70 years old but once and if you can’t have a wonderful French dinner to celebrate, you might as well just quit. Big Al took me to Aviateur, and it was everything I could have wished for.

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I was PROVIDED with a wonderful trip to Mt. Rainier to see the wildflowers. Going to Paradise on the mountain once a summer is sustenance for my soul.

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I, once again, PROVIDED minutes of the Committee on Ministry meeting. I’m happy to be able to contribute in that way since I’m not really that familiar with the churches and pastors in the Presbytery. It’s PROVIDING me a way to contribute.

My beloved Oregon Ducks seem to be PROVIDING us with another spectacular season. They opened with a 62-13 win last Saturday over the University of South Dakota. #GoDucks!

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On a final note, my brother-in-law seems to be well on the way to recovery. He was moved back to Texarkana and into a rehab hospital. He has made such good progress that he is just about ready to go home and continue rehab on an out-patient basis. Thanks be to God who is the ultimate PROVIDER!

Posted by: abbiewatters | August 24, 2014

Exercise

I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the things I’m looking at on my walks for exercise. When I started this diet, I was supposed to list some goals I had for losing the weight. One of them was to be able to walk the length of Ruston Way for pleasure. Well, I’ve been doing that, and I’ve also been exploring farther afield around the campus of Franke Tobey Jones.

One day, the sound was a very strange color – gray and milky – even though the sky was a beautiful, deep blue. I found out it was glacial melt from one of the glaciers on Mt Rainier coming down the Nisqually River and into the sound.

Glacial Melt from Mt Rainier

One of the best pictures I got was of a large piece of driftwood on the shore with Mt Rainier in the background.

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I also like this picture on a different day of the walk and shoreline with the mountain in the background.

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Today, I came upon a man who was flying a drone over the sound and over the walk.

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He brought it in and landed it by my feet so he could change its batteries.

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If you are friends with me on Facebook, you can see the little movie I took of it taking off and then turning around and taking a picture of me while I took a picture of it.

I’ve also enjoyed walking round the retirement complex next door to Franke Tobey Jones. They have a pond and you can frequently see ducks and gulls there. Friday, when I was over there, I came upon a Great Blue Heron, fishing.

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He caught something under the rocks.

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Then he turned around and wandered back across the pond, seemingly not noticing I was there.

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I must have startled him, because he took off and flew away.

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I hoped he would come back, but he flew one circle around the pond, and then disappeared over the trees.

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Posted by: abbiewatters | August 23, 2014

Mt Rainier Trip

 

Residents and friends from Franke Tobey Jones boarded the bus last week and rode to Paradise on Mt. Rainier.

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After a wonderful lunch we had time to wander around the paths and look at the wildflowers.

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The weather was perfect for walking – the sky was blue, there was a light breeze, and the temperature hovered around the 65 degree mark.

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I’ll quit talking now, and let you just look at the pretty wildflowers. There were signs identifying some of them, but mostly you would need a book to identify what the all were. Just breathtaking!

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Many thanks to Kate and Gary for bringing us for this wonderful outing.

Kate and Gary

Posted by: abbiewatters | August 20, 2014

Connection – Addicted to the Buzz

For my birthday last week I got a FitBit Flex. If you’ve been following my diet reports and wanderings, you know I’ve lost almost 60 lbs in the last year and a half. It’s been slow, but pretty steady, and I’ve tried to exercise some each day. But until I got the FitBit, I didn’t really know how many calories I was burning.

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This little baby counts my steps and, based on my weight, tells me how many calories I’m burning in a day. And it’s all connected wirelessly to my computer.

My other tool in this journey has been the program and apps from MyFitnessPal. By entering the food I eat every day, I get a pretty accurate calorie count and can pair it with my activity as reported by my FitBit.

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And those two programs are connected wirelessly to give me a picture of where I am in my diet – every single minute of the day.

Now you may be thinking that’s way more trouble than it’s worth, but, for a many, many times failed dieter, they have been my saving grace.

One of the best things about these programs is that they help connect me to friends and acquaintances who are also struggling to improve their health and fitness with diet and exercise.

You may be wondering where the title of this post comes from. Well, when I reach my target number of steps for the day, the lovely little FitBit Flex on my wrist buzzes gently, and lights up five tiny lights. I’ve been known to walk around in circles (otherwise known as “pacing”) in the evening just waiting for the buzz. It is a super-satisfying sound and sensation that tells me I’ve done what I needed to do that day.

If you are interested in following my progress daily (although why you would be, I don’t know), you can follow my other site http://gettingseriousaboutmybody.wordpress.com. If you are struggling and want some support or encouragement, you can connect with me there or on either of the apps listed above, and we’ll cry together about how much we REALLY wanted that piece of birthday cake or about how the exercise equipment is kicking our butts.

This post is part of August’s Syncroblog. Check out all the posts.

Jerry Wirtley – Connection
Sara Quezada – Can You Really Know Someone In A Different Language?
Ford – Interindependence
Michael Donahoe – Connection
Minnow – Our Dis-Connect
Justin Steckbauer – Connection in Love, it’s what Life is all about!
Carol Kuniholm – Disengagement and Connection
Wesley Rostoll – Finding Jesus In Different Places
Doreen A Mannion – A bunny, a fawn and some geese walk into a bar …
Leah Sophia – Touch of Life
Karen “Charity” Aldrich – Wuv True Wuv
Abbie Watters – Connection – Addicted to the Buzz
Liz Dyer – Human Connection and the Power of Empathy

 

 

Posted by: abbiewatters | August 16, 2014

My “Other” Site

I’ve started a new site about my diet. If you care about following my small, tiny victories, and major screw-ups, you can follow it here.

Posted by: abbiewatters | August 14, 2014

The Ages of Woman – 60’s (Part II)

I wrote the original of this post in September of 2011. Since I was only 67 at that time, it was a bit premature, I think. Now that I’ve passed my 70th birthday (2 days ago), I figured it was time to up-date it with “the rest of the story.”

I left you after the doldrums of that awful summer in Dallas – too hot to breathe and too dry to live. I reported that, living in liminal space as I was, there was something I really needed to learn. Perhaps that something was a deeper connection to God (particularly with the Holy Spirit), and a stronger connection to the church.

In September 2011, I was fortunate to attend a workshop on the Emerging Church, and I heard Nadia Boles-Weber and Brian McLaren both speak.

Brian McLaren (2) Nadia Boles-Weber

In November, the smoke detector at our house went crazy (on a Friday evening about 10 pm) and we discovered it was wired into the electricity of the house (no battery to replace) and we couldn’t get it to shut up. Big Al got up on a chair (with me dithering all the time for fear he would fall) and examined it, but nothing would make it quit squealing, and we finally ended up knocking it out of the ceiling with a broom handle.

Hanging Smoke Detector

We called our handyman to come repair the damage on Monday (to the tune of over $100) and I declared that we HAD to get the house back on the market and sell the thing and get moved, and let the maintenance men who came with the house take care of crap like that!

We spent Christmas in Madisonville with Bill, Erika and the kids, with all the obligatory mess and festivities.

Christmas morning at Bill W's (7)

Al got a flat-screen TV for his birthday, to use as a monitor for his computer, so he was a happy, happy camper. It’s big enough that he can see everything!

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In February, we got really serious about selling the house. (I may have thrown a couple of fits at the idea of spending another summer in Dallas). In order to make the house more sellable, we had the kitchen repainted, including the nice wood cabinets. We also had the tile in the “big” bathroom refinished so it was white instead of green.

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In April, there was finally some movement on selling the house, and toward the end of the month we accepted an offer. The early part of May was spent cleaning out, donating, throwing away, and packing all the detritus of the last 12 years of our lives. Bill and the kids came up for a weekend to help pack the electronics and movers came and carted away everything we would need in Washington.

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We signed the final papers on May 18th, stayed one more night in a motel, and the next morning, bright and early, we got out of town. Then began our epic journey from our old life to our new one. You can read all the blogs I posted from the road if you look up all the dates from May 18, 2012through June 18, 2012.

In June we arrived at Franke Tobey Jones and moved into a one-bedroom, teeny, tiny apartment, while we waited for somebody to either move out of a duplex, or die. We were top of the waiting list, but it seemed like everybody who had a duplex was disturbingly healthy.

Boxes in the Kitchen Boxes to be unpacked

We got it all unpacked and settled in at the Garden Apartments. We loved the weather – cool – very little rain – blue, blue skies – sparkling Puget Sound – great views of Mt Rainier.

We took the ferry over to Vashon Island.

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and went on the bus from Franke Tobey Jones to Paradise on Mt Rainier

Mt Rainier

and we took a cruise around Elliott Bay in Seattle to “Meet the Fleet”

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and went to see Mount St. Helens.

Mount St. Helens crater

We also enjoyed an annual picnic at Franke Tobey Jones, and several concerts on the lawn.

Concert on the Green Picnic (6)We settled in at Bethany Presbyterian Church, and attended their National Night Out Street Party, and their annual Picnic.

In September, we explored a little bit on the Olympic Peninsula and spent several days at an Armed Forces Recreation Area by the ocean.

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In October we went back to Vashon Island with a trip with FTJ.

At the Lighthouse on Vashon (4)

At the end of October, Margaret Dickey died. She was the last of my mother’s generation, so I felt like I had to attend her funeral. I figured while I was that close I would visit Bill, Erika and the kids, so I spent a week in Covington before returning to Tacoma. I got to see one of Kate’s school programs while I was there.

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I returned to Tacoma on the train, and brought an awful cold with me (courtesy of two grandchildren). It was a nice ride, though, particularly since the sleeping car attendant brought me my meals and took great care of me, since I was feeling so awful.

We had Thanksgiving Dinner in the Dining Room, and it was very nice, even though we didn’t have family to share it with.

While I was in Louisiana we learned there was a duplex that was going to be available in January, and we counted that as our best Christmas present. FTJ throws a big Christmas celebration in all the buildings on campus, and we wandered around looking at all the decorations and Christmas trees.

Christmas Tree in TJ

The church always has a Christmas play every year, and in 2012 they did a Charlie Brown Christmas.

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We had a quiet Christmas Day with just the two of us (although we did go out to eat at the Lobster Shop down on the Sound.)

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In January 2013, at last we moved into our duplex – got all the boxes that had never been unpacked emptied – and settled in.

Our Duplex (2)

Through February and March we learned to appreciate our little home. It was wet and cold outside so our activities were limited to car rides and restaurant visits.

Then in April, the world burst into bloom. I  have never been around rhododendrons before, but I was entranced to watch all the bushes on campus burst into spectacular color.

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The mountain came out from behind the clouds, and we were able eat out on the deck at the restaurants on the sound.

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I got flowers and filled pots for the back deck

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We continued to take advantage of various day trips from FTJ, and we went to a couple of local wineries, and to Northwest Trek, an outdoor wildlife park.

Bethany had an empty lot that they turned into garden plots for members of the church and for the neighborhood. We dedicated it in July.

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In August, I returned to Mt Rainier, and the Lunch Bunch from FTJ visited Olympia and their farmer’s market. We also had a street party at the church, their annual picnic, the annual picnic at FTJ and more concerts on the lawn.

I became interested in Pierce County Hunger Advocates, who encourage churches to write letters to government officials in support of efforts to eradicate hunger in this country and abroad. I’ve ended up being the Facebook master for the organization, and spend a fair amount of time posting articles from Bread for the World as well as other Hunger Advocacy groups around the area.

Ray, my #1 son, at age 47, finally decided to get married. So in November, Big Al and I took the train to Chicago for several days of festivities prior to the wedding, followed by the wedding itself, the reception, and a return to Tacoma on the train.

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The best part was a mini-family reunion, as all my siblings and their spouses, and both of Al’s siblings attended. It gave us all a chance to catch up with each other’s lives. and a wonderful time was had by all.

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We got back just in time to breathe a minute before it was Christmas – our first in our little house. All the obligatory December things happened including the big Tobey Jones Christmas party, the play at the church, and Christmas dinner at the restaurant on the Sound. We continued to marvel at all the sights at our place as the year came to a close.

Winter Sunset

I finally decided to do something about my weight, and went on a strict, medically supervised diet. So far it is working well and I’ve lost almost 60 pounds. I have many more pounds to go, but it’s a start.

I went on the Session at church in January, and I continued to work with Pierce County Hunger Advocates. In March we put on a symposium on hunger and had our US Representative, the Honorable Derek Kilmer as the featured speaker.

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In the spring, I had the landscaping maintenance men dig a small flower garden for me along the fence behind my house.

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And thus began the battle of the deer! They are completely destructive around flowers, and you would think, with a whole forest to forage in they wouldn’t need to destroy my garden, but you would be wrong.

Running of the Deer

In June, Big Al and I took the train to Portland, just for lunch. It was a lovely ride and a nice day.

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I also went to Seattle with the FTJ Lunch Bunch for lunch at the top of the space needle. Beautiful views including Mt Rainier.

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Other sightseeing this summer has included a return trip to Northwest Trek and a visit to the Mt Rainier Scenic Railroad.

Since I’ve been losing weight, I love walking, particularly along the sound.

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Bethany had a service project during a church service to pack school bags (Gift of the Heart Kits) for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Church World Service and I was in charge of the project.

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And that’s the rest of the story of my 60s.

Posted by: abbiewatters | August 1, 2014

Provide

As you may remember, my one word for the year is “Provide”.

And goodness, gracious, me, oh, my, have I been busy this month.

Genealogy lessons got rolling again at Franke Tobey Jones. This year, instead of spending a lot of time in the class talking about where to find information about ancestors, we have been talking about our own histories and the histories of our parents – and making sure they are written down, so genealogists in the future will have a sense of our lives. To that end I have PROVIDED memories of my first plane trip and begun linking it to a story of how one of my great-great-great grandfathers and grandmothers came to this country (aided by a story written by my great-great grandfather who took it from a diary of his uncle.)

Our Toastmasters group here at FTJ continues to limp along. We seem to be stuck at about 12 members and need 20 to charter. I have PROVIDED a newly retired friend with the opportunity to continue her Toastmasters’ journey, and one new member, so I think I’m doing my part.

For some reason, even though it’s summer, activities have snowballed at church. I’ve spent several extra days in meetings, planning for activities in the coming months. I’ve been nominated to the Committee on Ministry for the Presbytery, and have attended a couple of meetings (just to get my feet wet before the vote in September). It gives me a chance to back out gracefully, supposedly, but owing to the fact that I’ve offered to act as minute taker during the meetings, I guess they’re determined to keep me. Anyway, I PROVIDED the draft minutes of the last meeting in a timely manner and everybody seems to think I walk on water.

My team at church inaugurated a new form of worship when we took the time usually allotted to the sermon and filled Gift of the Heart School Bags to be sent to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Church World Service. You can read all about that here. This will PROVIDE school supplies wherever the need is greatest – which at this point will probably be to the Child Refugees on our southern border.

We’re continuing to do Strategic Planning on the session at church, and each elder has been tasked with PROVIDING a list of five activities to STOP, three activities to KEEP, and three activities to START. I’ve got a long list of “Keeps”, and have already listed two things to “Start”, but I’m struggling with finding things to “Stop”, although I understand that, just like keeping your house uncluttered, the calendar at church has to lose something in order to make room for something new.

I’ve started attending weekly Bible study and find that it really feeds my soul. I’m not sure I PROVIDE much there, but it’s refreshing.

I’ve spent a lot of time in July in intercessory prayer. My brother-in-law had emergency heart surgery, and I’ve joined in the prayers with many others for his eventual recovery. We thought we’d lost him a couple of times, but he seems to finally be on the mend. Praise be to God! I can’t claim to have PROVIDED much, here. It was all the doctors, nurses, and GOD. But, as always, God is the ultimate PROVIDER.

 

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