When you are reading here whether you found me intentionally or accidently, please take time to leave a comment and let me know where you are and what you are thinking. I love feed back. Vondi

Saturday, February 27, 2010

team USA

I’ve been watching the Olympics this week. We made special arrangements to record the USA and Canadian hockey games! If you know me you know I’m a Blue Jackets hockey fan. Michael infected me. The Blue Jackets are Columbus’ hockey team.

The reason we were so interested in the Olympic hockey games is that several of the Jackets players have gone back to play for their own country. I think there are three who played for Canada and one more playing for one of the Nordic countries. Michael keeps up on all that and just tells me what to watch. And of course there were a couple playing for the USA.

So it comes down to this: tomorrow Canada and the USA are playing for the gold medal! How exciting is that! I’ll actually be happy no matter who wins. I have a vested interest in both teams. Michael, of course, is USA all the way.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

back to NM!

I’m going back to my desert!

My daughter in law, Kerra, has made all of the arrangements to come after me in the middle of March. I am shared between Rachael and Michael and Notah’s family for the year. I’m so excited.

Last year I spent from late March to July with Notah and Kerra and the kids in Belen, NM. This time I will probably be with them until September because Rachael will be in Management Training until the end of August. So I’ll be there all summer! Notah said that Seth has been talking all winter that maybe I can be there for his birthday in July this year. Looks like he will get his wish.

I made my final trip to the doctor without Medicare coverage. If I had been able to wait until March it would have been covered for only $25 and my meds would be $5 a prescription. But when Rachael started this program for Management training her class was scheduled to begin February the 19th or 20th so I had to get my check up in before that. As it turned out her class won’t be until May but the appointment was already set up so I went ahead and kept it. Everything was hunky-dory; all I had to do was pick up renewal prescriptions for my blood pressure.

Rachael worries about the way my knees are after a long time of sitting still so she asked the doctor for something a little stronger than ibuprophen for my trip. Sitting in a car for five or six hour’s straight travel makes it terribly difficult to stand up when it is time to get out of the car. She told the doctor, “Mom won’t tell you, but when she has to stand up her knees are so stiff and painful she can’t walk. She needs something to use for the trip out west.” And she was right, I would never have thought about mentioning it. I’m so used to living with the pain that I don’t even think of taking any prescription pain killer, but I have to admit it will help a lot. So Doctor Nicholson gave me some pain meds for that. If I take one a half hour or an hour before we plan to stop I hope to be able to stand up a little easier. That way I might be able to go to dinner with the kids instead of sitting in our room with my legs up and straight while my knees recover.

Traveling in March is a great time to take to the highways. Until last year I had never gone back or forth to NM except in the summer. Traveling in the summer means that you are competing for road space, restaurant space, and motel rooms. But in March! It is so pleasant. There is very little traffic, even in St Louis and the metropolitan areas. Wherever and whenever you decide to stop, the room is available. And restaurants are seldom crowded. It is nice.

This year the trip should be easier. We won’t have a chair strapped to the top of the van! And we won’t have a 300 pound bell riding in the back! This year it will only be luggage and a cooler with snacks in it.

We probably travel with the healthiest snacks on the road. I don’t eat the chips and crackers and junk food that most vacationers gobble when they travel. So last year we had bags of celery sticks and baby carrots and cheese cubes and Trail bologna and jerky. We took small cans of v-8 juice and I think there was fruit juice for the kids. There were also apples and oranges. It is surprising what kids will eat when there are no chips or soda!

I can hardly wait. Last year I cried when we hit the beginning of the desert. It was one more blessing from the Lord. I had reconciled myself to possibly never seeing the desert again. This year will be another year of grace. What a wonderful Lord to let me go back again.

Monday, February 22, 2010

going on

This is my witness and statement of faith. The song is my intention and goal. The thoughts that follow incorporate my sermon to myself as well as admonition for those who might read it.

Know ye not that those who run in a race all run, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain it. 25And every man that striveth for mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, but not with uncertainty; I so fight, but not as one that beateth the air. 27But I keep control of my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. I Corinthians 9:24-27
The Olympics competitions made me remember Paul’s comments to the Corinthians when he talked of his intentions to follow God until the end. Not every one that runs a literal race can win, but we can win and we must run this spiritual race with the same determination to win that the runners have. We run with a determination. We must follow the example of those who compete in the literal arena and track. They keep their bodies in tiptop condition; they monitor all aspects of their life that they might be in condition to contend in the race

Our spiritual being must be in the same condition. We don’t compete against one another but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. How much greater and more serious is our struggle! And the result is not just a pretty medal around our necks or a crown on our heads, but the destination of our eternal soul!

I like Paul’s statement of how he conducts his life. He was determined to win his race and his battle with “sin, the flesh and the Devil” as the old ministers used to say. Look! Paul says, But [like a boxer] I buffet [pummel, batter] my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it. He compares himself to the athlete in his self discipline for his Christian life. The athlete pushes his body to the utmost, doing whatever is necessary to bring it into shape to succeed. Paul applies the same strict attention to detail that the athlete uses to obtain the gold medal. Are we applying that same attention to our lives in Christ?

As the athlete eliminates every little thing that hinders his performance, are we eliminating every little sin and habit that hinders our righteous life in Christ? Are we maintaining the same self control that the athlete maintains?

Last night the analyst again was highlighting a skier’s performance and he noted that she shifted her body weight and ski angle in mid air that she might gain the tiny split second advantage when she landed her jump. In another situation, the analyst pointed out that the ski jumper had to deny his natural reflexive instinct by leaning forward at an angle parallel to his skis in order to obtain the maximum distance in his jump. Are we defying our natural fleshly inclinations to do the will of God. Or will we lose the race by excusing the small sins that so easily beset us.

Let’s have a determination as great as that of the athlete to finish the race for God.

I'm Going On!

I mean to go right on until the crown is won;
I mean to fight the fight of faith till life on earth is done.
I’ll nevermore turn back, defeat I shall not know,
For God will give me victory if onward I shall go.
I’m going on, I’m going on,
Unto the final triumph, I’m going on;
I’m going on, I’m going on,
Unto the final triumph, I’m going on.

Should opposition come, should foes obstruct my way,
Should persecution’s fires be lit, as in the ancient day—
With Jesus by my side, His peace within my soul,
No matter if the battle’s hot, I mean to win the goal.
I see a shining crown awaiting over there,
I see a mansion all prepared and decked with beauties rare:
Shall that which intervenes deprive me of my right?
Nay, on I’ll go until I reach that city of delight.
Then forward let us go, our hearts with love aflame,
Our snowy banner borne aloft, inscribed with Jesus’ name.
The hosts of evil flee, and heaven’s open gates
Invite me now to hasten where eternal glory waits.
I’m going on, I’m going on,
Unto the final triumph, I’m going on;
I’m going on, I’m going on,
Unto the final triumph, I’m going on.
Melody: http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Im_Going_On/midi/

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Rachael is a very good cook. And since I began this eating regimen she has looked for recipes that will fit the agenda but still please Michael too. The other night she found a recipe for a pear and porkchop salad that he loved...
Here's the recipe for that:
Pear and Grilled Pork Salad.
2 boneless pork loin chops (about 12 ounces total), cut 3/4 inch thick
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons snipped fresh sage or thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried sage or thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

8 cups torn mixed salad greens (Rachael used all romaine lettuce)
2 medium pears or apples, thinly sliced
1/4 cup toasted, broken walnuts (optional)
Fresh sage leaves (optional)

Buttermilk-Apple Dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise dressing
1 tablespoon frozen apple juice concentrate or frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon snipped fresh sage or thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried sage or thyme, crushed
Ground black pepper

1. Prepare dressing ahead. In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk, mayonnaise, apple or orange juice concentrate, mustard, green onion, and the 1 teaspoon snipped sage or 1/4 teaspoon dried sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill

2. Preheat broiler. Trim fat from chops. Brush chops with oil. Stir together the 2 teaspoons snipped sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle sage mixture evenly over all sides of chops; rub in with your fingers. Place chops on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 9 to 11 minutes or until done (160 degrees F) and juices run clear, turning once halfway through broiling. Let rest five minutes, but don’t cool..

3. To serve, divide salad greens among 4 salad plates. Arrange the pear or apple slices on sides of the greens; Slice chops thinly, place in center of plate. drizzle with dressing. If desired, sprinkle with walnuts and garnish with fresh sage leaves. Makes 4 servings.

Michael loved it! He talked about it for two days and asked for it again this week. Now THAT is a successful dish and a fantastic cook, when you can make a low carb low calorie dish that you man loves!
THIS week she tried a second dish, similar but with different fruit.

Roast Pork and Nectarine Salad
12 oz. pork tenderloin/boneless porkchops (three or four chops)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. honey mustard
6 cups torn romaine and/or spinach and or favorite greens
2 cups fresh or canned pineapple chunks and/or sliced fresh nectarines or peaches to total two cups.
Cracked black pepper (optional)

Ginger-Pineapple Dressing
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1T. honey mustard
1t. fresh grated ginger
In small bowl combine mayonnaise dressing, unsweetened pineapple juice, honey-mustard, and grated fresh ginger. Cover; chill until serving time. Best if prepared well ahead

1. Prepare dressing ahead.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Trim fat from pork; sprinkle salt and pepper. Place pork on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast pork for 20 minutes.
OR grill porkchops 4-5 minutes per side in an ungreased frying pan or open grill at medium temp,

3. Baste mustard on pork. Roast 5 to 10 minutes longer or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 160 degrees F. OR grill for an additional 4-5 minutes until done. Set aside to rest five minutes.

4. On four plates arrange a bed of greens.

5. Slice pork thinly; place pork, and fruit on greens. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper.

6. Drizzle Ginger-Pineapple Dressing on salads. Makes 4 servings.
And he loved this one too. If you are dieting just to lose weight, these are great. They are 224- 251 calories respectively. That's pretty good for a full meal. The fat content is 6-10 grams, depending on what kind of mayo you use, and the carb count is 20-22! So if you are counting carbohydrates that is a fantastic number for dinner. The are best with romaine lettuce, but any kind of greens would work.
And the very best part is that the salads make you feel really full. In fact, Rachael and I both put part of ours in the refrigerator for lunch the next day. Michael ate all of his.
I just put one picture up because they look just the same. except the nectarines are golden instead of white....
Try it, you'll love it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

snow pictures. February 2010

Rachael, Maxim and Mika.

Wolf dog! Mika

Maxim and Michael played on the snow piles

Maxim likes to lead himself

Bird feeder along the way, Three cardinals on the left and chicadees on the right. Two more I can't see well enough to recognize.

These are some of the pictures that Rachael and Michael brought back to me from their walk on Saturday!

Well, I told you it was snowing in my last post here. It kept on snowing until we had between 8 and 9 inches here in Westerville. Happily Rachael was off on Saturday so we had a great day. I had my breakfast in the normal 6:30-7:30 time frame, then I had lunch when R & M had their breakfast about 11:30! Nice!

The big dogs were overjoyed with the snow. I let them out late at night and Mika was jumping around and yipping like a puppy. It was really cute because she is usually very sedate and lady like. It is a good thing that Mika’s bark is as gentle as she is or she would have awakened the neighborhood! The little dogs on the other hand were not so enthused. The way the snow fell, over such a long period of time, developed a firm crust about 3 inches below the surface. They had to wade through thetop fluffy stuff, but every once in a while they would break through and nose-dive into the deepness! Add that to the fact that it was cold to boot and they had a hard time of it. Gable came back looking like he’d been playing snowplow with his nose.

In the after noon R & M took the big guys for a walk over to the reservoir. They came back with fantastic pictures and two tired dogs. Mika had to have two rounds of aspirin in the evening and some more on Sunday. She had to be helped up the stairs to go to bed with R & M and Rachael had to pick her up to put her on the bed. (Yes, our dogs sleep with us.) The good thing was that the walk wore Maxim out! Hee, hee, hee. No romping dogs in our house this weekend. Everybody is resting up.

Then after they came back and got warmed up, we all went in the living room and began sorting through boxes that were still packed from my old house. What fun! I sat while Rachael pulled surprises from the boxes. It’s funny but no matter how carefully you label the boxes you always forget what is in them until you open them up. Especially after a year and a half! I moved in with Rachael so I didn’t need most of the stuff and we didn’t have to bother unpacking. Now we are settled in our new house and Michael wants to get rid of the boxes have been stacked in the basement. It was fun looking through things and ‘downsizing.’ I gave a lot of stuff away when I moved the first time. Now I’m sorting again and making piles—stuff for my brother, stuff we want to keep and stuff for Notah and Kerra. Then the rest of the junk goes in a yard sale mountain. Rach thinks she is gonna have time for a yard sale. HA! B ut let her try, then we will take it to the Salvation Army. It isn’t really ‘junk’ I just call it that. It is mostly household things that everybody needs but not in multiples.

All in all we had a great day.

Then on Sunday, Rachael had to work but Michael and I were home all cozy. We had lunch/breakfast and he cleaned up the house and went to buy ‘grazing’ supplies for Super Bowl time. And of course we watched the Super Bowl when Rachael got home and ate Michael's goodies for the whole time. No need for supper at our house! All in all, it was like the Christmas holiday when we were all together and Michael had all of his much loved tradition-“grazing goodies.” It was snowy outside but warm inside; we were opening boxes with surprises inside; we finished up by watching the football game as the holiday wound down. And even though Michael stated getting the flu in the evening, it still didn’t spoil it for us. Having the flu wrapped up on the couch with a dog on your feet is better than being sick any place else.

And to make things even better (for me) was that he didn’t go to work on Monday and Rachael was off. So we were all together again and it was like a long holiday weekend. Another Christmas!

Now it’s Tuesday morning and the weather forecasts were right when they predicted another snow storm. The snow began around five oclock and is still coming down hard and fast in tiny fine flakes. Roads are nasty, everyone is driving really slow to work. Michael left at 7:30 and called Rachael at 8:45 to say he was still stuck in traffic about 10 minutes away from the house! She was a couple blocks from her store by then. It's never smart to take the freeway in this kind of weather--that's where all the idiots are. Hmmm, don't tell Michael I said that. The weather man is calling for another 6-8 inches, depending one what weather man you are listening to.

Friday, February 5, 2010

it's snowing--again

Wow. We had predictions of the coming snow storm but ti was supposed to begin as rain and gradually turn to snow and accumulate.
Well! I never saw any rain, but it began snowing around eleven thirty this morning and by the time I went to get my lunche at one oclock we had THREE INCHES. I kid you not. And it is still coming down!
Ohio is a fantastic place. This morning ti was 34 degrees and the snow from last week was almost all gone. the little dogs whipped out to the potty across bare grass. When they went out at lunch time, they were wading in snow up to their elbows!
I fixed my lunch before I let them back in and the little dogs were complaining big time. But when I got to the door Sebastian was wading back across the yard to take a more extensive "dump" He is such a wimp. Obviously he'd gone and watered a couple trees and come back. then because I made him wait, he'd discovered he had to do a little more than that. I didn't open the door until I made sure he was finished. He and Gable came tearing back inside before I could even call them. Maxim and Mika were having a good time playing but they came romping inside too.
So now I'm back to watching the snow come down and hoping R & M get home safely.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Audio Bible

I am so excited this morning in my discovery of the Audio Bible. A few days ago a friend said he was discouraged about the length of the designated readings in a bible study we are doing together. In the course of our discussion I suggested he use an audio-Bible. Then I went and found the one in Bible Gateway. Before I sent him the link I used the site a little to make sure of what I was telling him. And I was hooked.

In the past I've avoided these audio bibles because most of them were in "alternative translations." I refuse to listen to a bible reading when I must be continually alert for false doctrine being promulgated surrepticiously in an allegedly legitimate translation of the Bible. The Gateway site, though, allows me to select the KJV edition of the Bible. I LOVE it. I cannot count the number of insights the Lord has given me in just the few days I've been listening/ reading it.

I use it two ways. One, I just listen while I'm doing other things that don't require concentration--answering email, playing a game or setting up photos in photobucket. As the activity goes through my fingers, my mind is caught by portions of the Word, that I knew were there but had never really focused on. But hearing them has a different impact!
For instance, just a few minutes ago I realized that when Ananias came to Paul in the inn after his conversion on road to Damascus, addressed him as 'Brother Saul." As far as I know, this is the first place that the appelation was used! (Somebody can tell me differently if I'm wrong.) Many people have asked me why we call one another "brother so-n-so" and "sister whatever's-her-name" in the Church. I've always answered that it was because we are recognizing our relationship in the family of God. And that is true, but until just about 50 minutes ago I never knew the phrasing was actually used in the BIBLE! Wow. And I've read the Bible for FIFTY YEARS. Yes, ever since I was 14 or 15 years old I've made a practice of reading my bible almost daily! And I never saw that! It wasn't until I heard the narrator say, "Brother Saul' that the light came on!

The other way I use the audio bible is to play it and follow along in the actual text. For instance, when I heard "Brother Saul" I stopped fixing my meals in Cafe World and pulled up the actual text of the Bible. Then I went back and read the chapter with the narrator. It was great! I was blown away by the reading of the words: And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord.. . Yes, I KNEW that Saul persecuted the Christians, but hearing the statement breathing out threatenings and slaughter, chilled my bones!! His hatred of the Christians was so much a part of him that it came out in his very breath! It never impacted on me like that before.

And then, did you know that Ananias really didn't want to go to Saul? I guess I knew it in the back of my mind, but it was just a statement on paper. He actually said to God, "Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name." Kind of a diplomatic way of saying, "Lord, are you crazy? Sending me to see that guy!" I could almost see Ananias' face as he said it-absolute shock and more that a little scared!
I've always had a good imagination and produce vivid imagery in my head as I read, but I have to say that listening to the Word being read has opened a whole new realm of understanding for me. I really do encourage every one of you to try it.

Go to http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/audio/ You can choose your version. I strongly recommend the King James. I think there is a link for alternative languages too.

Monday, February 1, 2010

this and that and the other

Well, my second son is off to work. Maxim and Mika have had their early morning potty break and gotten sent back to bed with their ‘mama’ (Rachael doesn’t go to work until 1:30 today) My little boys have had their potty break, begged for a couple bites of my breakfast and they’ve gone back to bed to nap away the next few hours. My cats are up and are playing nicely on their cat tower. Everything is quiet in my world.

I don’t remember if I mentioned it on here, but for a couple months I was in a quandary over the Medicare supplemental insurance situation. I have never had any medical insurance to speak of in my whole life—a few months when I was teaching in public school I think, but other than that I’ve not been able to afford it. Now that I’m 65 our benevolent government told me that I had Medicare. Well, dandy. But the catch was that I needed to buy supplemental insurance because, wise and kind as they are, the Congressional Fathers do not pay all of our medical costs. They only do 80% of any expenses that might be incurred. Phooey. Who designated the US Congress as my Daddy anyway?

I was sorely tempted to chuck the whole thing in the trash. The only thing that kept me from doing just that was the same thing, partly, that sent my father through two surgeries and many trips to the Roswell Cancer Center. I felt responsible for saving my kids grief. I knew that if I were to become sick or be hurt, my kids would want to see that I had medical attention. And that would cost money neither they nor I have. So I began reading all the reams of information sent to me by the SS system and all of the insurance companies anxious to provide me with assistance. And it just got me more confused.

Our government is so good at double talk and excessive explanation-that-leads-only-to-more-confusion. I am not a stupid woman, not exceptionally brilliant, perhaps, but far from stupid or thick-headed in the intelligence department. And here’s the point of the whole thing. They STILL didn’t tell me what I needed to know. The talked and talked about supplemental insurance and what was needed and what was available. In a very short paragraph they mentioned the Medicare Advantage Plan. It was presented in such a way that I discounted it immediately. It seemed that I would need to buy private insurance that would cover all my medical needs and then I wouldn’t need to go through Medicare. Oh yes. I couldn’t afford THAT when I was working. Now that my income was reduced to ¾ of that amount how exactly could I afford it now?

Here’s where the blessing comes in. About 30 years ago I met a young man in our congregation who sold insurance. God is absolutely AMAZING. He planned 30 years ago to solve my problems in 2010! Is that not fantastic!

Okay, to go on. My entire Medicare dilemma began in December when I received notice that I would be eligible for Medicare in March (my birthday). That is also when I began getting more mail than anyone else in the house because of all the insurance solicitations that started coming to me.

About that same time or a little before, I got an email that said, “Are you the same Vondi that used to go to church in Dover? You had a pretty little girl whose dad was Navajo.” ( I don’t think that is an exact quote, but it was something like that.) Here it was the young man I had known thirty years ago. Brother Steve! It was good to hear from him and catch up on the years in between, but I didn’t connect him with my Medicare dilemma immediately. As the mail kept piling up, I remembered that he sold insurance! So I asked a couple questions about the whole thing.

As it turned out, he was involved right then in the end of year turn-overs in Medicare coverage insurance. Bless his heart, he was willing to drive up from Cincinnati to explain the whole thing to me! Aren’t the people of God great?!

I will talk about the whole Medicare situation later. If you are close to 65 email me, leave a comment or get in touch with me otherwise. You need to start thinking this through a LONG time before your birthday.