Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jan Stoner's Peanut Butter Fudge

Combine in large saucepan:
4 and 1/2 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1-13 oz can evaporated milk (not Milnot)
1 stick butter

Heat to boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat slightly.
Boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.

Stir in:
18 oz jar peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
7 oz jar of marshmallow cream

Spread in greased 9" x 13" pan.

Cool completely before cutting. (Cuts best at room temperature.)

Jan was a friend of my mother's. Can't miss with this one!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Wonderful Conversation

As a friend put it, I have been enjoying the wonderful conversation that is so often generated on Facebook, by a status update or a photo or a comment or a note.  I have found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion recently.

Some of you may think that is pretty pitiful - that my social interaction is with a computer screen.  If that were the only place I interacted, you would be correct.  But when the computer interconnects those in different cities and states and time zones and continents, then it is a pretty cool tool.  Our world is so much smaller than it used to be, which means our worldview has opportunity to be so much larger, as we see things through each other's eyes.

That's the same reason I am becoming an avid blog reader - seeing the world through another's eyes.  I have been introduced through blogging to folks I will likely not meet in this life, and I have opportunity to expand my world by seeing theirs - not to the neglect of my own sphere of influence, but with the possibility of interacting with it in more insightful ways as I am challenged to grow my perspective.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I'm ruminating a little bit on Mark 15.  We are finishing up a study of the book of Mark, and all along the way, it has seemed that Jesus was never distracted or hurried as He moved through each day.  He did so with purpose, in total control of his agenda and attitude.

Suddenly in Mark 15, it appears that everything is out of his control.  That's what has amazed me this evening.  That he appeared to relinquish control in a way that made others feel like they controlled him; when in reality, he used all their actions in a way that eventually revealed that he was still in control.

I fight for control in my daily life, or at least I am highly uncomfortable when things feel out of control.  Pretty deceived most days, right?  I am reminded that only God is truly in control, that I rarely see what he is about when it is in process, that he will write the end of the story in ways I can hardly imagine at this point.


Monday, December 8, 2008


Sometimes I am good at "pacing" life, and other times not so good. I am thankful today that I had opportunity to know last week would be crazy, and that I would need today off to catch up. Not with anything in particular... except myself. And, I am off to a great start there.

I am reminded of Richard Swenson's The Overload Syndrome, which someone gave me while I was still teaching. It took me three years to find time to read it. [Yes, there was a problem. :-)] There are a some specific principles I learned from Swenson related to patterns and habits of productivity and rest that I still practice. I don't wear a watch, for instance, and it reduces the pressure of time for me (sounds crazy, I know) and I know I am more productive (and more engaged in the moment) because of it. [Of course, I have to be really careful to set alarms for appointments, or I am very likely to be so engaged that I totally forget, if it is not in my regular routine. My "out of sight, out of mind" nature is on grand display there!]

Maybe it is just my age that is starting to show. Or maybe I am finally figuring out a little more of how God has wired me so that I can be more effective in the long haul.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Yesterday we experienced change that was perhaps inevitable. There were only 14 people at Mom's for Thanksgiving. As compared to the 30 we have frequently had. There were work conflicts (Where did THAT come from?), other in-law gatherings (rarely a conflict for this group before), other complicated "life" situations, and now Grandma-Great (as my nieces and nephew call her) spent her first Thanksgiving with Jesus. [Somehow I doubt that's a day we will celebrate in heaven. :-)]

So, you can imagine the leftovers, even when we knew the crowd would be a little smaller. It's hard to make the adjustments when you have cooked for a certain number for so many years. I think we "missed" Grandma and Grandpa and others more, too. The smaller crowd did allow space for a lively Mexican Train dominoes game and some more personal discussions through the day, so not all the change was bad. Just change.

As one generation passes completely from our lives, the ties that bind seem to loosen more easily. Perhaps it is inevitable, as I said. It makes the time we do have with each other now that much more important.

Friday, November 7, 2008

It only hurts when I touch it

I recall a time while I was still teaching that one of my co-worker's mother passed away.  About six months later, I had occasion to ask how she was doing.  I won't forget her answer. "It's like the little boy with the cut on his finger.  It only hurts when I touch it."

I said bon voyage last night to a friend and her husband who are headed overseas for long-term ministry.   It is a brave and wonderful thing for them and an incredible thing for the Kingdom.  But it is not without significant cost for them and their family, in particular.

Of course I will miss them (I am thankful for technology which will allow some connection in the days ahead!)  and I did expect to experience some emotion, but I was emotionally moved well more than I expected to be.  This morning, I think I can put it into words.  She was the tool God used to begin the healing of the deepest wound in my life, and in the past week, all the gratitude generated by that time has welled up again, and it has been overwhelming.

God's grace in my life has been just that, all along the way - overwhelming.  I am more thankful than I can express for the myriad of people who have been used to touch facets of my life and demonstrate that grace for the "relational" creature that I am.  This morning, I am once again particularly grateful for my friend who today woke up on the other side of the world.  Blessings be on you both.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This Journey is My Own

If you have ever read Gary Thomas' Sacred Pathways or heard Bill Hybels unpack the concept, you will understand what I mean when I say my primary pathway is a "relational" one.  Those for whom solitude sometimes sounds like solitary confinement.  I see God best and "feel" closest to Him as I see Him portrayed in the lives of others.  And, God has been overwhelmingly gracious to allow me opportunity for wonderful, encouraging relationships in every chapter of my life.  But I will admit that on more than one occasion, that has given me much to think about, since I am single.

This morning, Sara Groves' song (blog title) caught my attention.

When I stand before the Lord, I'll be standing alone.
This journey is my own.
Still I want man's advice, and I need man's approval,
but this journey is my own.
Why would I want to live for man
and pay the highest price?
What would it mean to gain the world,
only to lose my life?

So much of what I do is to make a good impression.
This journey is my own.
So much of what I say is to make myself look better.
This journey is my own.
I have never felt relief like I feel it right now.
This journey is my own.
'Cause trying to please the world it was breaking me down,
it was breaking me down.

Now I live and I breathe for an audience of one,
now I live and I breath for an audience of one.
Now I live and I breathe for an audience of one,
'cause I know this journey is my own.
You can live for someone else,
and it will only bring you pain.
I can't even judge myself.
Only the Lord can say, "Well done."

Sometimes it is a fine line, leaning into and learning from the relationships He has so graciously provided and making sure I see Him as my only audience.  I am thankful to be able to walk alongside others as we each take our own journeys.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The joys of being a geek

The scary part is, I'm not even a good geek.  But I have a blast trying!  Maybe it's because I have just enough info to usually be able to guess next steps and almost enough fear to know when I am in over my head.  And, it's my way to be able to "help" family and friends and that makes it fun, too.

The info part does come from a good series of mistakes.  Like the first time I tried to "fix" a certain Children's Ministry Director's laptop... and ended up frying the motherboard.  Learned a lot on that one!  Or the more recent hosing of my Peruvian friend's internet connection, which prompted us to PRAY for a tech support person who spoke English.  Then there was the "whoops" of reloading a certain pastor & family's computer, and the reload NOT being enough, so that I got to do it one more time.
But, that is the joy of computers, in one way.  When all else fails (as long as you have a good backup), you can always start fresh, one more time, until you get it right ...if the hardware isn't as old as PacMan and Frogger, that is.

I like that part - the opportunity to start with a totally clean slate, one more time.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's not a game

Friday, I had opportunity to attend a political rally.  I was glad I went.  Interesting to see the hype and catch the flavor of what was going on.  The techie part of me spent time looking at lights and computers (was in a position to look over the shoulder of the teleprompter technician and see the final speech arrive via USB drive - that was fun!), while the business admin part of me was looking at crowd management techniques and security response teams.  (Yes, I am a geek!)

Yes, as I said, I was glad I went, but I will admit, I came away pretty disillusioned.  The hype and presentation were all for show, and were seemingly of no consequence.  I seriously doubt that anyone there walked away having changed their mind at any level about the coming election.  I felt a little like a junior higher at the assembly where they introduce candidates for student council.  The candidate with the most locker signs or the one giving away candy usually wins.

I am overwhelmingly thankful for the freedoms we have in this country, but I sure wish we had a better way of electing our leaders, rather than playing the game of generating support through mega-hype.  It's such a serious responsibility.  I know, and I am again thankful, that there is a sovereign God who sets up and takes down rulers to accomplish His own purposes.  I also know, if "my" side doesn't play by the rules that have somehow been tacitly established, "we" are unlikely to win.  I just wish we didn't behave like it was just a game.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I like clouds when they are little wisps in a bright blue sky.  I love flying above the clouds, looking down on the "other-worldly" landscape of them.  I usually don't care for them at all when they are heavy and gray and block out every speck of anything else worth seeing in the sky.

This morning, I gained a new appreciation of clouds.  When it truly is the very darkest, they capture what little light there is and reflect it in a way that makes it very easy to see next steps.  You might not be able to see the glory of the stars, but you can see the way to go right now.  Which is really all we need anyway, right?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lite Brite

Yes, it has been a while since you have seen anything posted here.  I think it is because I was not sure there was anything profound or even entertaining to say.  But, this morning, I had a "simple" thought, so here you go.

Do you remember Lite Brite?  Putting that piece of black paper on the frame, poking all the little colored pegs in on top of the "Y" and "G" and other letters to form an image?  (Or making your own design if you were visually creative or daring.)  And then, you turned on the light and a marvelous picture was revealed as the light shined through all the little pegs.

This morning, the stars reminded me of Lite Brite.  Sort of like God poking little clear pegs in the black of the sky, some larger than others, to let just a little of His light out in our direction.  I loved the picture.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Today, I am thinking about Grandma. [Do you write about these kinds of things for the world to see? Today, the answer is yes.] God seems to be granting her a very gentle transition into His presence. The past couple of weeks, she has spent more and more time asleep. Yesterday, she smiled a little and that was it, I was told. But Friday, when she was awake for 10-15 minutes as we visited, she was highly lucid and very present mentally. Then, she was just drifting in and out of sleep. She had been dreaming about Ronnie, she said. That's my Dad.

Don't you wonder if Jesus gets a welcoming committee together? [What will it be like to wake up and see Jesus' face? Wow...] Let's see... Claire and Ronnie and Jeff and Iona and...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I recommend...

I know, it has been a while since I have blogged. Life has been amazingly "normal." There just doesn't seem to be much I could write that would be worth your time to read. Here's what I am thinking this evening.

I have a number of friends who pick on me (appropriately so!) because I am not a reader. Reading is not one of my favorite pastimes; consequently, I don't "read" all that often. But, here's one writer I read with regularity, so I thought I would refer you to:

Hubbard's Cupboard

Start with this entry, and then move forward to current ones or back to many others that are good reading - some give points to ponder and others bring grins to be grinned. Ruth is currently on an around-the-world journey. She has already had fun things to see, interesting stuff to explore and lessons to learn. If you want to view the world through her eyes for a while and be challenged in your thinking, check it out. I highly recommend it!

Monday, March 10, 2008


I have definitely gotten to communication-overload stage, trying to not only keep up with e-mail, but now also, Facebook. But I am having such a great time catching up with folks from almost every chapter of my life. It seems to be a place where I can get a glimpse of a number of friends and see what is on their minds and what is happening in their lives.

Yes, I know, it is a little odd that many say exactly what they think, without seeming to care how many people (or even which people!) might read their words. I was trying to describe it to my Mom - it reminds me a little of the school lunchroom - you have some "say" over who sits at your table, but your conversation can generally be heard by those at the next table, too. Or, maybe it is a little like the old-town "party line" phone system, where you never knew exactly who might be eavesdropping as you chat.

This is totally not profound, but one of those things I just have to say - to me, in a techno-kind of crazy way, it does seem to show how much relationships are important to us, especially when the busy-ness of life tries so hard to squeeze them out. It really does matter that we can stay connected with people... even if we aren't able to sit on the porch swing or lean over the fence to carry on the conversation.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pacer Fan-atic

Yep, she is a definite fan. Even in the years when they are not exactly anything to write home about. She clapped and cheered until the end last night, even though they didn't pull it out.

It was fun to watch the guy with the T-shirt cannon, and that huge barrel thing that shoots 5 or 6 mini-basketballs at a time, and of course it was interesting to watch two guys run around in overgrown hampster balls. Oh, and there was basketball to watch, yes!

But the best part was just having a fun evening out on the town together, and then there was the big hug from Boomer. No, Dave, that is NOT me in the costume!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A New Tool

This morning, I updated my Facebook status to say that I love GoToAssist! I guess that means I am currently in a nerd phase.

GoToAssist Express - Check it out. Or search YouTube for it. You will find a couple of videos that I didn't necessarily want to link from here, but there is some good humor there in the midst of an explanation.

In the past few weeks, I have been able to connect to computers in MD, OH, and of course, IN, without leaving home... to help out with little tidbits or puzzles. (Tried a connection to Ukraine, but had a little complication come up. Still waiting on the first International Geek Tour!)

It's cool to be able to be there, especially when I am not really able to be there, if you know what I mean. And, the crazy part is, you will notice this is listed in the category of "Fun stuff" for me. Really! Give me a shout if you get stuck sometime, and I'll do what I can to help. :-)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Race for the Cure

Dear Friends and Family,

I recently accepted the challenge to raise funds to support the Komen Indianapolis Race for the Cure on April 19, 2008 in the fight against breast cancer. One in eight women will be stricken with breast cancer in her lifetime and the more we raise, the more the Komen Indianapolis Race for the Cure® can give back to fund vital breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs in our own community and support the national search for a cure.

Please join me in the fight by pledging in support of my participation in the Race or contributing generously to the Komen Indianapolis Race for the Cure. Your tax-deductible contribution will fund innovative outreach and awareness programs for medically underserved communities in 21 central Indiana counties and national breast cancer research. It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause - you can make a donation online by simply clicking on the link at the bottom of this message. If you would prefer, you can also send your tax-deductible contribution to the address listed below. Whatever you can give will help! I truly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Thank you so much for your time and support in the fight against breast cancer! Every step counts!

To sponsor my participation online, click here.

To sponsor via standard mail, please send checks only (no cash!) to:
Indianapolis Race for the Cure
P.O. Box 6069
Department 84
Indianapolis, IN 46202-6069

Monday, January 28, 2008

AL, Part 2

It has come to my attention that my nieces and my nephew have NO clue that the previous post actually refers to a song, so here you go.

There are multiple other renditions of this, and granted, the video quality on this one leaves a lot to be desired, but it was too good to pass up.

If you want to try another one...

...very reminiscent of HCS Pep Band days. Pretty sure we didn't ever dance that much... probably should have... :-)

Hope it makes you grin. It does me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

They can call me AL

It's how I sign my notes to Rachel, Jared, and Grace.
Aunt Lisa
Aren't they great?!?
Love you guys!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Random at its best

I am sure I am becoming more and more random as each day goes by! The joy of that is, the more random I am, the less I worry.

It's a little like being a toddler. You know that game you play with munchkins - out of sight, out of mind? Yep, that's me. The good part is, I forget things so quickly that I don't have time to worry about them. The bad part is when it was something I was supposed to remember... it's almost like I need to leave a trail of bread crumbs to help me get back to reality!

I had no less than 3 or 4 times today when I needed to figure out how to recover from forgetting things!! Hmm... I didn't remember: location of the pop key, concerts for which I have tickets, groups coming in after hours that I locked out... and that is just what I remember now!

Thanks to all of you who live life in my proximity - I am sure it can be frustrating at times. To me, you all have unlimited patience when I am at my most forgetful!

So here's to all of us who need reminders to come in out of the rain. For the rest of you, you should try walking in the rain sometime. It's great fun, or at least I think that is what I remember. :-)

Monday, January 14, 2008


"Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

I have seen attributions to Charles Dederich (1913-1997) and to Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989) for that phrase. It likely was Dederich, as reported by the Washington Post (December 10, 1978, p. C5).

Once more, I have great time on my hands on vacation, and that was the thought that popped into my head this morning. When I did a tiny bit of research on Hoffman and Dederich, I found out that both of them struggled with very intense things in life - Hoffman died as an apparent suicide; Dederich struggled with substance abuse through a large portion of his life.

The quote reminds me of Philippians 3:12-13 - ...I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (NLT)

Maybe it is a part of the New Year's resolution mindset which is still present two whole weeks into 2008, or maybe it is that birthday introspection stuff, but in the end, I keep coming back to basics - today, I have an opportunity to cultivate a relationship with the Creator God of the Universe, who loves me enough to sacrifice Himself on my behalf. What greater pursuit could there be?

When I was 40, I never would have guessed where my life would be now - but I got to this place through a series of one-day-at-a-time decisions, attempting just to follow what I knew to be truth that day. There is a lot of forgetting that I have done, and there will likely be many more things as the years pass that I will desire to forget. But, today is the first day of the rest of my life, and by grace alone, I have opportunity to forget and to press on. God help me to do that.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Food for thought

From Wikipedia:
"Red States and Blue States refer to those states of the United States of America whose residents predominantly vote for the Republican Party or Democratic Party presidential candidates, respectively. The term began to emerge in mainstream political discussion following the 2000 presidential election. However, the term gained ubiquitous status after the 2004 presidential elections.(See Origins of current color scheme) Since then, usage of the term has been expanded to differentiate between states being perceived as liberal and those perceived as conservative. A blue state may therefore be any state leaning towards the Democratic ticket while a red state may be any state leaning towards the Republican ticket."

My question is, who determined that Chunky peanut butter should have a blue cap and that Creamy peanut butter should have a red cap? Or at least that seems to be the "usual" for generic or store brand jars, in addition to Jif.

Just for the record, Skippy uses dark blue and light blue lids, while Peter Pan uses yellow and red. Does this mean that most generic peanut butter is Jif in disguise? (Can you tell I am on vacation?!)

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I am finally ready to admit that I turned fifty years old this week. And, I lived to tell about it. :-) It was a little like when we all waited for Y2K to roll around and we wondered if life would ever be the same afterwards. And, it was.

Well, I do know that the next day came and went just like all others before. That's the good part. What will the year bring? That is yet to be seen. But, I am thankful for family and friends near and far who helped me celebrate "gently."

I liked the advice of a friend who told me I should make a big deal of my own birthday. Her comment was, "The older we get, the more likely we can get away with this behavior all the time." I think she is very right. Then, there was the other friend who encouraged me this week to cultivate a childlike spirit - one that is unfettered by the worries of life as we grown-ups know it to be. I think both of them are correct. :-)

So, I am vacationing a little to stretch out the celebration. After all, I will only turn 50 once!