I am overwhelmed by the neighborliness of neighbors.

Back home my country neighbors are like watch dogs.  They stop to check any suspicious activity at our house - even if it's just us.  We facebooked once into the late of night when there were fires in our rural neighborhood - keeping me posted on the location.  Another (whom I shall not name!) sent me a text that said, "Are you home or is someone stealing your lawn mower?"

A lot of old testament verses are dedicated to instructions on how to treat neighbors fairly, but Jesus says there is only one important commandment - "Love Your Neighbor As Yourself".   

 Galatians 5:14 says:
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command:
 “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

When we came to North Dakota, we expected anything but neighborly kindness
- after all we (southerners working in the oil boom)
are tearing up their roads
stirring up dust
driving up prices
creating crazy traffic
crowding the stores

But we have found just the opposite -
people who love their neighbors.

We have so been welcomed by our neighbors.

A neighbor I hadn't met neighbor stopped when a viscous dog threatened to attack me.
Sometimes I visit with Clarice and Lila in the street about those same dogs.
Marcilla invited me to stop by anytime on my daily walks to the store.
Mike helped me with yard work by raking the sticks so I could mow.
Bruce and Glenda shared the best Thanksgiving meal ever with us.
Renae invited me to join her for morning walks around the track field.
Karol Jean checks on me, even though her husband is very ill.
Another new friend loaned me her sewing machine pedal when mine broke.
Kim waters my plants when I am out of town.

Speaking of Kim,
I was chopping weeds in the back yard last week
when I heard a voice from across the tall fence  -
"Hey, Neighbor!
Is that you over there?"

Then we tried to chat over the fence,
on our toes,
just barely seeing each others eyes.
It was too funny!

We were just like Wilson
in Home Improvements!

Maybe we'll get our husbands to put a gate in the new fence!

Thank you neighbors everywhere
for all you do
and for loving us.




One of the interesting things about this oil boom here in North Dakota, is the diversity of people working here.  I have meet folks from Florida, California, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota and Michigan.  They are here for one reason - to better their lives.  Many are here to keep from losing their homes miles away, because there hasn't been work there.  Some are here because work is slow where they came from.  Some are here because their company down south has sent them here.  But all are here for the oil - OIL - I try not to say it Texas style Awle.
O-e-ull. Oil.
  Besides, North Dakotans can't understand plain Texas English!

Our friend, Pat, brings seafood from Louisiana in his carry-on luggage every trip back from home and we have "cook-ups" at our house (since we are the only ones with a house), but I don't think we've had a "shing-ding" (that's a more festive cook-up I think) yet.  Last night we had a cook-up of speckled sea trout, frog legs, and fried potatoes.

Pat is the head chef and prefers to fry in the garage (since we still don't have weather warm enough for the patio) and cooks with minimum clean-up.  There are no protests from me!

Not only did we cook in the garage, we also ate there around the table clothed industrial spool.

Our group last night was the most diverse international group we have had yet.  They were from Russia, Australia, Thailand, Louisiana, South Texas, West Texas and Houston
(not all their own countries, but they could be).
We all spoke our own special pronunciation of English
 - even us Texicans didn't talk the same.

 I do believe this I-Phone picture of frog legs is headed to Thailand.

The man discussions were all about hunting, fishing, weather, and of course,
the oil and the pipelines, the tanks, the trains and the trucks.  

I didn't hear any talk of politics or religion, but I knew from bits and pieces of prior conversations that we had in our midst Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Jew, Buddhist, and BaptiCostalLutheran (that's what my man says I am - a Baptist Pentecostal Lutheran!).  I think he was a little nervous that I might open up a religious conversation.  That man!  But it could have been really interesting...

My smash-hit contribution to the meal was Skillet Peach Cobbler, a recipe I found in
the recipe book, The Homesick Texan
The recipe is in the book, but not on her blog. 
It's probably copyright protected, but I made a few changes to it.

Iron Skillet Peach Cobbler

1 stick butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups fresh or frozen sliced peaches (I used 4)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  Melt butter in iron skillet
3. Mix flour, sugar, milk, and baking powder.
4.  Pour the batter over the butter
5.  Toss the peaches with cinnamon and ginger
6.  Place the peaches on top of the batter
7.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes

It's a guaranteed man-pleaser!

And thanks for stopping by!


I Can Do It!

The end of the school year and graduations prompt the probing questions of "What are you going to do?" and "Where are you going?"  My grandgirl's first grade teacher was no different with the year end assignment - "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Horse Racer
Rodeo Star
Dolphen Trainer
Dog Trainer
Horse Trainer
Scuba Diver
Snake Raiser
Hamster Raiser
Buffalo Trainer
Bull Rider
Space Scientist
Rock Star
Pet Vet

After I read this amazing list, I asked  her mom how she would have answered at 7.  She said probably nurse (and the boys would have said firemen)

At 7, I didn't even know I was going to grow up, much less what I wanted to be.  As a matter of fact, I STILL don't know what I want to be when I grow up!  And at my age, I don't even have a bucket list. Pitiful. My biggest goal is deciding what to cook for dinner!

This girl's middle name has been "I can do it" since she could talk. 

She works at it until she is successful or realizes that she needs a little help and is not afraid to ask.  Without a doubt, she could do any of those things, although there are a few on her list that I would be ok with her skipping (like snake raiser and buffalo trainer and bull rider).

It will be really exciting to watch her grow up and see how many of those goals she reaches.  I think she'll be as comfy in pink frills as she is in her brother's hand-me-down athletic shorts.  I bet she'll be so confident in who she is that she won't need the latest hairstyles or fashion jeans.  She'll probably buy shoes for the fit and feel instead of the color and design. 

She probably won't even worry about little things like wrinkles or facial hair

What a girl!


Nana Camp and Basketball Camp

One day this past week, I looked at the children and said,
 "Your mom is in the Minnesota Twin Cities.  Your dad is in Southern California. 
Your Papa is in Cool North Dakota. 
Your Mimi and Papaw are in Beautiful Guatemala. 
(I didn't really say it like that - but it sounds good!)
And WE are in hot, dry, blowing West Texas sand going to ...


I say WE, because I am the taxi driver to basketball camp.

At 9 a.m. the taxi takes the grandgirl to her basketball camp.

The I go back to the house to get the grandboy out of bed and ready to dribble, pivot, and pass while he tries to call time out.

We pick her up at 12,
draw a fast food eatery choice out of the red plastic cup,
go eat with the winner,
then go back to the school to drop him off for his basketball camp at 1.

Then we go back to the house for her swim suit and head out to swim lessons at 3. 

Then back to the school to pick up the boy basketball star at 4.

 Now throw in some soccer practice, the library, shopping, and putt-putt
and that makes for crazy daze! 

Then we end the day with a little one-on-one.

And I hear,
"Nana - if you would put that camera down, you could play with us."

I say, 
"Thank God for cameras!"



Her home is Guatemala.
Mine is mostly North Dakota.

She travelled 1500 miles from the south to see her grand kids.
I travelled 1400 miles from the north to see my grand kids.

She had planned her trip months ahead.
I had planned my trip months ahead.

She was in Midland, Texas to spend the night.
I was in Midland, Texas to spend the night.

She didn't know her grandson would be graduating from 6th grade while she was there.
I didn't know my grandson would be graduating from 6th grade while I was there.

We didn't plan to be there at the same time.

What a coincidence!

We slept in the same king sized bed with a long-legged 7 year old girl between us
- hugging us, patting us, talking into the night, and waking with us.

We visited non-stop - just catching up.
And we kept saying,
 "Oh, this is so good.  It is just God.  He is so amazing."

He IS!

Pat and I were friends before we ever saw the spark of love in the eyes of
her son and my daughter.
We wished for it and hoped for it.
But she was wise enough to pray for my daughter all her son's life. 

We went to the 6th grade graduation where each elementary class gave a short presentation. 
The first graders sang and signed The Perfect Ten (Commandments).

Their dad, her son, my son-in-law gave the commencement address
and made us all so very proud.

He talked to the six-graders about

He told them about
Thomas Edison (3000 failed light bulbs before success)
Milton Hershey (years of failure before the Hershey Kiss)
Colonel Harland Sanders (many rejections, began starting KFC at age 65)
Michael Jordan (rejected by his high school basketball team)
Walt Disney (once fired for lack of creativity)

But the greatest story of perseverance,
was about about a missionary who was crippled from polio at age 3.
She walked with braces and crutches, married, worked, and raised two sons.

At age 20, she had felt the call to be a missionary,
but was denied by her denomination's mission board because of her disability.
She held the mission dream in her heart for 33 years,
when she and Charlie heard the call again, they sold everything they owned,
and struck out on a faith mission for Guatemala.

She elevated to heroine status
when she said goodbye to her children and grandchildren.

This one was only three weeks old.

She left with a heavy heart and lots of tears
following the call of God and the dream
He had placed in her heart.

She is an amazing, persevering woman of God.

For more about their ministry
click on the link below:

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