25 May 2011

5 Things That NEVER Go on Vacation

Dear Lissy,
School's completed for another year, the state paperwork has been filed, and our curriculum for 2011-2012 is on its way. Summer is fun, busy, and all-too-brief here, so this will be my last letter for a while. I've got mondo work to do in the flower and vegetable gardens and we're doing a major overhaul of the house, too, so we can get ALL of the walls and attic fully insulated before winter.

22 May 2011

Free PDF Download: Weekly Planning Overview

Dear Lissy,
I wrote to you some time ago about my weekly plan, but I have just put it out in a document sharing folder to make it accessible to the dear ladies who read along with me as I write these letters.  I'm going to explain each part of the template here as clearly as I can, but if you have questions, please feel free to ask me.
This beautiful oil-on-canvas is available from

18 May 2011

20 Minute Bible Word Study Method

Dear Lissy,
We had a wonderful visit with Aunt Tori from Zambia yesterday, and as we left to go home, Grammy gave me a teacup for my collection that had been given to her by  missionary friends from Africa, Jim & Judy Camp.  They stayed with us when I was a little girl living on Old Loudon Road, and they used to leave the word "Thank You" written in pennies on my dresser when they left.  It's funny what you remember, isn't it?

There will be many, many times that the Holy Spirit illuminates a verse and you want to study it further.  As you meditate upon it, you will find that one or two words rise to the surface like cream.  Studying those words in depth unlock important truths about God's character and ways.

15 May 2011

Camping Recipe: Breakfast Bobadilla

Dear Lissy,
We finally celebrated Mother's Day yesterday, and it was worth the wait!  I slept in until 10 (with you snuggled in beside me) while Dad & the boys went to Men's breakfast at church. After lingering over our breakfast we went for a long walk in the wooded trails behind the cemetery and came home to a big surprise:  Dad got me a Jetboil Zip!!!  Dad's not long on cards, or gift wrapping for that matter, but when the gift comes in an L.L. Bean bag, I'm not going to quibble over details.
The Jetboil in use. The parts pack
into the mug for travel.

13 May 2011

Sharpening A Pencil with A Knife

Dear Lissy,
A deliciously warm day, and you've spent hours looking inside flowers with a magnifying glass and making dandelion curls. I'm planning to go on a geocache for our afternoon exercise, but I need to find a few baubles to leave behind in place of the ones we take.  It's the time of year I love to sketch all the beautiful little details God has hidden.  I find it much more practical to sharpen drawing pencils with a knife than with a sharpener, a skill that's simple to master to keep your pencils in good nick.

11 May 2011

Secret of The Believer's Gratitude

Dear Lissy,
Your daddy has had a number of opportunities to preach lately, and he's been hitting hard on his favorite topic: the believer's response to trials.  We've been hearing stories of Jehosophat and Hannah, Paul and David, Abraham and Joseph.  All of them have a common thread, what I would call the secret of the believer's gratitude.

06 May 2011

Emotional Stability in Seasons of Change

Dear Lissy,
There will be many times in your life when you're faced with new responsibilities.  College, marriage, a new job, a new baby are just a few of the changes you may face.  It was in God's plan for me to work under a man who was not only a godly example, but also had great wisdom.  One day he found me overwhelmed and in tears and gave me this "pep talk".  Mr. C's wise words have grown through other godly counsel and saved me from a world of emotional turmoil many times over the years.

05 May 2011

Light & Chewy Whole Grain Loaves

Dear Lissy,
Bread-making has long been a hobby of mine. When we were newlyweds I collected recipes hand over fist, looking for perfect loaves. I quickly learned that great technique plus high quality ingredients make the best bread.  Given flour, water, yeast, and salt I can make beautiful and delicious loaves with no recipe at all.
Photo available for purchase at allposters.com

02 May 2011

Simple, Powerful Quiet Time Plan

Dear Lissy,
There will be many times in life when you have a friend who is struggling with a daily quiet time, or you are at loose ends yourself.  When that time comes, reach for this book!

01 May 2011

Skyline Chili: Hospitality for Picky Eaters Solved!

Dear Lissy,
Nature's first green is gold once again.  The newly emerging leaves have left the hills around the house a riot of chartreuse, gold, mint, and pink that rival fall in my opinion. Daffodils and forsythias are in full bloom in our front flower beds.  All the lettuces showed up today, and the peas are a little over an inch tall. The neighbors took down all but one tree in their backyard, so we have a whole new world of possibilities for the three back garden beds.
About a year ago a friend of mine from the Midwest posted a recipe for Cincinnati Skyline Chili.  It has quickly become a favorite of our family, but that's not why I'm including it in this letter.
Skyline Chili is quite possibly the perfect food to serve young families (especially those with picky eaters!) when they come for dinner.