The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far …

Sat., Mar. 17, 2018

Psalm 78:2-3 – For I will show you lessons from our history, stories handed down to us from former generations.  

Rick - carToday would have been my father-in-law Tony’s birthday. This morning, I asked Rick if he planned to wear every article of green clothing he owns today. Why? This is what his Dad did on his birthday. In spite of not a lick of Irish blood in his veins, Tony literally wore green from head to toe on his birthday; whether the greens matched or not.

Rick assured me he would not do this today. Yet, in honor of his Dad, Rick wore new sunglasses today. Still with the tag on them. Just like Tony would have.

Tony's hat

This is the hat Tony wore for many summers: driving tractor, mowing lawn, anytime he was outside for an extended period of time. Walmart price tag and all. I considered it his Minnie Pearl hat.

Today, Rick greeted me with Minnie Pearl sunglasses. Price tag and all. When he asked if I had a pair of scissors in the car, I first had to snap a picture before making the sunglasses public ready. As I removed the tags, Rick said, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?”

He is so right. There are things in which Rick is not like his Dad. And then, there are things in which I wonder if I’m living with my father-in-law. Or even, my Dad.

Rick often tells me stories from earlier times. Just like Tony did. I know Rick heard many of these stories a hundred times. There may come a day when I have heard the same story a hundred times. I pray that I am patient enough to simply listen to the story one more time.

These are how traditions, lessons and stories are handed down from generation to generation. These are how little things that make families unique and different are captured and repeated. These are the ways we help our children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews understand a little bit more of their heritage.

corned beffWhile Vielhuber is 100% German, we are having traditional corned beef and cabbage tonight. It’s one of Rick’s favorites. The corn beef is buried below the cabbage, carrots and potatoes. It smells heavenly.

By the way, Happy birthday in heaven, Tony. I’m sure you are enjoying every shade of green possible today.

Lord God – thank you for our families and special traditions that come from our heritages. Thank you also claiming us as part of your big family. May the traditions and heritage of being a Christian hold a special place in our hearts. Amen.

Blessings –


If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who also enjoy it.

Our Favorite Things

napkinsFri., Mar. 16, 2018

2 Corinthians 11:3 – But I am frightened, fearing that in some way you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to our Lord, just as Eve was deceived by Satan in the Garden of Eden.    

While in a Dollar Tree store this week, I made an impulse buy. I stopped to buy something very specific. On this day, I splurged and bought these pretty napkins. Two packages!

Why? On my way to the checkout line, they caught my eye. I loved the simplicity of these breath-of-spring napkins. And I remembered my Aunt Beverly’s words from a few years ago. At this stage her life, she said she no longer denies herself simple, yet meaningful, life pleasures. She words were something like this, “Life is too short for poor quality napkins, gritty towels and cheap coffee. I splurge on my favorite things.”

Honoring Aunt Beverly’s words, I spent $2 on these guest-towel type napkins.

Since Aunt Bev shared this with me, I often recall her words about simple things that I love.

Like nice napkins. (Notice the real napkins here as well. Another one of my simple splurges.)

cafe du monde cupGood coffee … now in my newest favorite coffee cup.

easterSimple holiday decorations that make the table look, well, cute.

towelsSoft towels. Or better yet: soft towels prettily arranged in the bathroom.

We moved into our current house about two-and-a-half years ago. Most weeks, I have fresh flowers in a vase on the kitchen island. Why? Because I LOVE walking into the kitchen and smelling them. They are usually the $8.99 bouquet from the grocery store. With a couple extra minutes of arranging, along with a pretty branch from our backyard, they almost look like a bouquet I could have purchased from my sister’s flower shop. What I didn’t buy this week was fresh flowers. The island is currently graced with over dry roses in clear vase with no water. They were a $4.99 post-Valentine’s Day special. Right before we left on vacation, I dumped out the water but left the flowers. They are no longer photo-worthy.

Some other simple, yet favorite, things:

  • the smell of sheets off an outdoors clothes line. I have been missing this smell for quite a while since we don’t have a clothes line. Maybe a summer project?
  • Ice cream. I have eaten very few sweets since the first of the year. Easter Sunday will be a splurge day, possibly with ice cream for breakfast.
  • “Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens …” Words from my FAVORITE movie, “The Sound of Music.” I never bore of watching this classic.

Too often, life becomes filled with big demands, unrealistic expectations and over-the-top responses.  We willing accept the adage, “Go big or go home” with little reflection. The flashy and noisy take precedence over the quiet and simple all too often.

But what’s wrong with simple? Easy? Low maintenance?

I believe God is less impressed with the bells and whistles than we are.

Why can’t simple devotion to God and what is important be enough?

Maybe I’m just aging out, but simple is sounding pretty good these days. Maybe next time, I’ll buy three packages of the pretty napkins. And pretend Aunt Beverly is coming for a visit.

Thank you for placing in my life several simple, yet favorite, pleasures: things that remind me how faith in You should be pure and simple.  Amen.

Blessings –


If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who also enjoy it.

A Little Sabbath

20180310_163349Mon., Mar. 12, 2018

Exodus 20:8 – Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.   

Sometimes, we just need a little Sabbath. A time when we intentionally slow down, stop the busyness and explore life in a different way. When we remember whose we are and who we are.

Recently, Rick and I returned from some Sabbath time. Usually, we fly somewhere with warm weather in January. Occupied by other things in January, we opted for a driving Sabbath this March. Some 2721.7 miles later, we were back refreshed and appreciating many things.


We began by driving to Dauphin Island, AL to meet up with our friends, Mel and Ruth Ann. They spend six weeks of winter Sabbath on the Island. We visited them. Since we arrived at their condo after dark, we could not fully appreciate the sand and ocean until the next morning. It was wonderful to walk barefoot along the beach, stick our toes in the gulf water and be intrigued by the countless things on the shoreline, including Jellyfish.


After worshipping at the Dauphin Island UMC on Sunday, we spent much of the afternoon at the Bellingrath Home and Gardens. Developed by Walter & Bessie Bellingrath in 1935, their home and gardens started as a fishing camp. Today, they are an exquisite grounds reminiscent of when the Bellingrath’s lived there. The thousands of blooming azaleas made the stop even more impressive.


Our friends agreed to spend a few days with us in New Orleans. Over 25+ years ago, I visited New Orleans. The French and Spanish inspired architectures continue to impress. Our first stops included the open-air French Market and Jackson Square.

New Orleans is home to a World War 2 Museum. While we spent several hours taking in exhibits, we could have spent many more. Instead, we hopped on the St. Charles Street Car and rode through the gorgeous Garden District. We walked through a cemetery and enjoyed spontaneous jazz musicians on Bourbon Street. I couldn’t leave town without some traditional crawfish boil while Rick opted for local shrimp.


20180307_103636The next morning, we stopped at Café du Monde for beignets and chicory coffee. They were BETTER than I remembered. The atmosphere was enhanced by local jazz musicians.


We all wanted to visit the Lower 9th Ward, which sustained significant damage from Hurricane Katrina. We walked through the little Living Museum where we were able to visit with a local resident who lived through Katrina and the aftermath. She is working to encourage families to resettle the Lower 9th Ward, as many have left. We drove by empty lot after empty lot, sometimes with only the cement steps from the previous home remaining. Yes, there are new homes and homes that have been repaired. Even on the day we drove through, we saw homes with tarps and boarded up windows reminiscent of Katrina’s damage.

Since we had all been involved in Katrina relief work in Biloxi, we stopped there as well. Mel and Ruth Ann have visited Biloxi several times post relief work. While the local economy is rebounding, there are still open areas which have not been redeveloped.


Before leaving Dauphin Island, we toured Fort Gaines, part of the local Civil War history.


Then, we drove to Laurel, MS. Recently, I have followed the HGTV show Home Town. We arrived at the store owned by Ben and Erin Napier and their friends five minutes after closing time. I inquired with the ladies leaving the shop where we would find some of the historic homes which have been remodeled. Since we own a 110-year-old Victorian Farmhouse, I am intrigued in seeing how other people have updated older homes. We drove through the streets of Laurel, looking at old homes, until it was dark.


We also drove through an area Rick wanted to see: the Mississippi Delta. We picked out rural Mississippi roads and drove right through the heart of the Delta. With overflowing river banks and a seemingly challenged local economy, we felt we had taken a step back in time, minus the modern combines, planters and tractors. Rick hoped we would see cotton being planted but it was too early. We did see one tractor smoothing out last year’s cotton plant stubble on the mounds of dirt where the plants grow.

I type these words on a Sunday, the traditional Sabbath day of the week for Christians. Both Rick and I worked today. Yet, we loved several days of life with little set schedule: eating when we wanted, walking for hours and reading a devotion book in the car as we took in the scenery around us. We deeply appreciated Mel and Ruth Ann’s hospitality and their willingness to explore New Orleans with us. We return to regular activities this week. Yet, we will be sustained by extended Sabbath time with our Lord and with each other. And we are more committed than ever to make extended Sabbath a part of our lives.

Somehow, Lord God, you know we need Sabbath. Thank you for allowing us to enjoy a period of extended Sabbath. Your creation, the history around us and the friendships we enjoy always continue to impress us. Thank you.  Amen.

Blessings –


If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who also enjoy it.