Gospel Singing

So what do you do on a cold Saturday in North Dakota?

You could go to a Gospel Singing
at the Farm Festival Building!


Holy Ground

There's one North Dakota custom that's coming home with me:
Removing boots and shoes at the door.
Of course here, it's because of the snow and mud.
But it certainly helps the housekeeper maintain a cleaner floor.
And people walking around in their sock feet
 just might be dusting the floor while they walk!

My first night at a women's Bible study,
I almost laughed (in delight)
at the 20 pairs of socked feet
in the living room of the gracious hostess.

Some socks represent three generations
and maybe three different churches.
Mama, daughter, and grand daughter-in-law
are all there.

There are fun socks,
plain socks,
and in between socks

and one pair of socks on feet that have walked 89 years.

If you know me, you know that I am a Bible Study Junkie
(I learned that term from my friend Debbie in Texas)
and this Bible study group is without a doubt,
the most quiet, respectful group I've ever been around.
They have a deep reverence for the Word of God.
And He is there.

Maybe like Moses,
we remove our shoes at Thursday night Bible study
because we are on
 holy ground

Take your sandals off your feet,
for the place where you stand is
holy ground.”
(Exodus 3:5)

We are standing on holy ground.


My Window Faces the South

Having lived in the country 99% of my life,
 I've never had the pleasure of watching the world through a kitchen window. 
 (My Texas kitchen doesn't even have a window)

Every morning here in North Dakota,
 I open the blinds as soon light begins to appear outside
 and watch this world go by. 

It would be really holy of me to say that I pray for every person I see out there,
but mostly, they just make me smile.

While I wash, dry, chop, peel, and stir,
I see marvelous sites.

The backyard American flag down the street
acts as my wind vane.
I wonder at the owner's patriotism
and whether I could get by with flying a Texas flag.

The church steeple reminds me of
how God is gently revealing himself to a people
surrounded by tradition.

The roof of Bruce and Glenda's garage apartment
is just visible two blocks down
 and is furnished with treasures
 from their Norwegian immigrant grandparents.

One neighbor has a new dryer
and another has new carpet.
Good for them.

School children tromp through the snow in their
 boots, snow pants, warm coats, gloves and toboggans.
They chat, dawdle, spin, and kick the snow.
They are precious.

One day three bob-sled toting boys
tried to get some action on the flat street. 
They were gone by the time I got out the door with my camera.

On a warm 32 degree day,
teenage girls walked on the snow packed street
 wearing shorts, flip flops
and warm hooded jackets.
I wonder what that's all about.

A snowmobile driver turns wonderful donuts
and spews high rooster tails behind him
before trailering his machine.

The man in the blue truck
spins/slides in the icy intersection every afternoon
when he turns around to park in front of his house. 
He lives in a house with other construction workers,
and a young family.
I wonder how that's working out

And yes, my window faces the south,
but I can't see Texas from here!

For you crazy people with a jute  juke box in your head
who are humming the tune
and trying to remember the words,
I looked them up for you.

"My window faces the south
I'm almost halfway to heaven
Snow is falling but still I can't see
Fields of cotton calling to me"

Yes, my window faces the south.



For you folks who subscribe to my blog, I want you to know that yes - I found my misspelled word on the etouffee blog.  Tamato?  That is probably exactly the way I say it.  But I found it AFTER it posted. 

I can blame it on late night posts and bifocals.  And I forgot to spell check.  Aruggh.   But it's still there. 

Please don't be too hard on me.........I'm really a good tamato.



He is the real deal. 
His blood runs purple and gold.
 He is Cajun through and through.
He walks the walk and talks the talk.
But the morning he brought me crawfish etouffee,
 Pat got elevated to sainthood.

The job site was shut down because of the extreme cold
Today's high temperature was -10
(minus ten)
and the real feel or wind chill was -40
(that is minus forty).

and the two inspectors came in with
from Pat's last trip to Louisiana.

Since you can't work,
can we please have etouffee lessons?

So we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

The recipe is Pat's mother's recipe
tried and true
He said that I can share it with you.

For every one pound of shrimp or crawfish:
1 stick of butter
1 medium onion
1/2 bell pepper
1 tsp. flour
1 Tbs. tamato  TOMATO paste
3/4 cup water
Cajun seasoning to taste

Step One:
 melt the

Add onion and bell pepper

Cook 1/2 hour

Step Two:
Add water, flour, and tomato paste
Cook 1/2 hour stirring often

Step Three:
Add seafood and seasoning (to suit your taste)
Cook 1/2 hour

Serve over rice

This is absolutely the best etouffee
I have ever eaten.

What a great way to spend a bad weather day!

A million thanks, Pat!


If Then

One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 91:1

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

My Texas home girls are about to begin a Bible Study based on Psalm 91.
God's Shield of Protection
 [Military Edition]
by Peggy Joyce Ruth

A mighty woman of God, and faithful military mom,
is teaching the class.

I have decided to study along with them
and hopefully join the class during my next visit home.

While waiting for the postal service to deliver my book,
I opened the passage on my smart phone Bible Application
to compare different versions.

The Message is not a literal translation of the Bible,
but an attempt to recapture the meaning in
contempary language.
It is a reading Bible, not a study Bible.
And the smart phone is no substitute for opening the pages of a
 well-read, freely marked, worn Bible.
I guess that's my disclaimer.

From the Message, I read on my smart phone,
and personalized Psalm 91

 I sit down in the High God's Presence,
spend the night in Shaddai's (God Almighty) Presence,
and say
"God is my refuge.  I trust in Him and I am safe"

will rescue me from hidden traps
will shield me from deadly hazards
will protect me under His outstreched arms
will fend off all harm

I fear nothing
not wild wolves in the night
not flying arrows in the day
not disease that prowls through darkness
not disaster that erupts at high noon

no harm will graze me (when others drop all around)
I'll stand untouched
I'll watch the wicked turn to corpses (from a distance)
evil can't get close to me
harm can't get through the door
angels will guard me wherever I go
angels will catch me when I stumble
their job is to keep me from falling
I'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes
I'll kick young lions and serpents from my path

I hold onto God for dear life

He will get me out of any trouble
He'll give me the best care

I'll get to know and trust Him

I call Him

He will answer
He will be at my side in bad times
He will rescue me
He will throw me a party
He will give me a long life
He will give me a long drink of

It's a great passage to read outloud
Try It!

*Here's a little side note.
The word salvation used here is
yĕshuw`ah (sound familiar?)
and it's meaning is:

salvation, welfare, prosperity, deliverance, victory.


whcih I'm sure you'll recognize as the Hebrew name for


So read this scripture to yourself
and get you a long drink of


North Dakota Two-Step

Learning to dance with the snow and ice
is essential to North Dakota winter survival

So I've learned a few dance steps.

What children do in icy parking lots
Not recommended for mothers or old people

Tiny slow steps on ice
Used by mothers and old people

Walking only where snow is crunchy
highly recommended

Hip Hop
Stepping from one dry area to another
Must be done slowly

Cha Cha
Done at the door to remove snow from boots
Right Toe
Left Toe

A couple holding hands step on ice at the same time
Not recommended

When a person doing the foxtrot
on a ice-covered parking lot
suddenly finds herself
firmly seated
on her

Slide, lose balance, slide, lose balance
repeat until the cycle is broken
The man in the house might call it
Two fart-knockers and a do-si-do
before combining it with the
Highly Discouraged!

Have a great day, friends.

And if you stumble -
make it part of the dance!



North Dakota has had an unusually warm winter -
 days of highs in the 40's
and as of yesterday, most of the light snows had melted.

I got up this morning to a prediction of cold and snow. 
 Staying inside sounded good. 
 Watching it snow sounded good.
 Not cleaning, or sanding, or painting sounded good. 
But sewing pillows for the new couch,
 seemed like a great way to spend the day. 

I opened all the blinds, curtains, and other temporary window coverings,
and there is was - snow -
swirling in the yard
and dancing in the street
and sliding off the roofs. 

 I just had to step outside for a closer feel.

I stepped out the back door in flip flops,
Then to the front.
I'm amazed at how much snow sticks to soles of shoes
and understand why every house here has a mud room.

I checked the temperature.
That is seven.
Not 7-0

I went back to my project,
but my eyes kept wandering to the window.

I didn't make much progress today. 
I guess it was a Bad Weather Day!
Besides, I couldn't find all the parts to my
sewing machine.

Sometimes you just have to give in.

and weather the storm.

It's 4:20 p.m.
It will be dark soon.
And the temperature?
7 degrees.


One More Vanity Plate


It's MINE!

The night before we left for North Dakota,
we sold my truck
to a friend in need of a reliable vehicle.

The plan was to buy me a more winter friendly truck when we got here.
So after much shopping, we settled on a Toyota Tundra,
Four wheel drive,
 with engine heater and heated mirrors.

Then came the question of where to register the truck -
North Dakota or Texas.

Vehicles registered out of state
are still required to register in North Dakota.
So we made decision to register in North Dakota,
but still needed to show our loyalty to our home state!

What do you think?


Happy New Year!

Is it true that whatever you do the first day of the year,
 you'll be doing all year long?

January 1, 2012 

 I got up,
 started the black-eyed peas cooking,
 got breakfast ready to cook, then went back to bed
with a heating pad and a snoring Teddy Bear. 
 We watched church (Jesse Duplantis) on TV,
 (in bed, because we are mostly living in a bedroom) 
and had breakfast at 10. 
 I think this would be a great way to live
 (except for the heating pad)! 

But the bubble burst all too soon and
we had our morning safety meeting
before the demolition began
in the upstairs bedroom suite-to-be. 

Is my memory slipping,
or did someone say to me,
",,,this time, you get to be the
All I want you to do is pick out colors and point."

Then a contractor came with a bid
guaranteed to make him rich.
So here I am...

a worker bee...
"I'm hot.  I can't breath. My nose itches. 
I think I'm claustrophobic.
I might be having a panic attack.

I would rather be the QUEEN!"

But we finished
and I got dismissed to the kitchen.
I had read Ree's recipe for Hopping John
on her blog, The Pioneer Woman.
She has beautiful pictures and precise measurements.
I didn't know that I was making Hopping John -
I just thought it was black-eyed peas.
In the south, we eat black-eyed peas for good luck
(my mama always said we had to eat one pea for every day
 of the new year to insure good luck)
I don't know what the folks in North Dakota ate -
maybe Swedish meatballs, lutefisk, lefsa and knoephla soup

My black-eyed pea recipe:
1/4 chopped red bell pepper
1/2 chopped  green bell pepper
1/2 chopped onion,
some chopped celery
(my amounts are just what was in the fridge)
cooked in olive oil (not butter)
then I added one pound of dried peas  (soaked overnight) brought from Texas
and cooked it all in chicken broth for a few hours
(until we were ready to eat)

At the big grocery store in a bigger town,
I found OKRA,
which is not in too many grocery stores here in the North.

This Southern Farm Girl just needs fried (even if it's oven-fried) okra
with her black-eyed peas.
The Teddy Bear says it's okra until it's cooked, then it's

and he tolerates it any way I cook it.

So if that superstitious old-wives tale folk lore is true,
for the next year I'll be

Sleeping late
Watching TV in bed
Getting a little spiritual nourishment
Working harder than I want to
Whining about it
Eating my favorite foods
cooked healthy

I hope you all have a happy, healthy, prosperous
New Year!

Thanks for listening to me ramble.

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