Thursday, April 16, 2015

His Time

The tick-tock of the antique clock is my companion on this chilly April morning. She's not slept since Mother last wound her. I've not slept since 2:51. It's dark out at 4:26. The furnace kicks on and we're snuggled into the corner of the living room sofa, my Bible and I. The peace offerings I seek on the pages of The Book do not disappoint. They never have and they never will.

The twelfth verse of the 26th chapter of Isaiah piqued my curiosity.

LORD, You establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished
You have done for us.

Every accomplishment, everything I've ever performed, every achievement, every work, each was really only done by Him. "The power of His grace, like the dew or rain, which causes the herbs that seem dead to revive" (Matthew Henry)... .  "Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us... All that had been done [for me] were done by the Lord, came of His hands, were owing to His goodness, grace, and power... and since He had done so many and such great things, they had reason to believe He would grant them... peace..." (Gill).

Cross references led me first to my own life verse...

May the favor of the Lord our God
rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us--
yes, establish the work of our hands.
Not King James' Version of Psalm 90:17

... and back to the Book of Isaiah.

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in You.
Isaiah 26:3

My people will live
in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.
Isaiah 32:18

... Creating praise on their lips,
Peace, peace,
to those far and near,"
says the LORD.
"And I will heal them."
Isaiah 57:19


Behold, I will bring it health and cure,
and I will cure them...
Jeremiah 33:6

in us, for us

I will cry to God most high;
to God that performs all things for me.
Psalm 57:2


He will keep in perfect peace her whose mind is stayed on Him: because you trust in Him... the LORD JE-HO-VAH is everlasting strength... Fear not, for He is with you: be not dismayed; for He is your God: He will strengthen you: yea, He will help you; yea, He will uphold you with the right hand of righteousness... Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid... for the LORD your God, He it is that goes with you; He will not fail you, nor forsake you... The Lord is your light and your salvation-- whom shall you fear? The Lord is the strength of your life-- of whom shall you be afraid?... He has made everything beautiful in His time... May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.
Isaiah, chapters 26 and 41, Deuteronomy 31, Psalm 27, Ecclesiastes 3, and 2 Thessalonians

In the teensy Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock Tuesday, I received an e-mail, an invitation to speak-- you know, with a good, healthy voicebox-- at a ladies luncheon at Bethel in Old Westbury, New York. Only this morning as the clock chimes five o'clock has the irony of the invite struck me. The event is four months away. Surely, Lord, it's another reminder that You've got this, that the work You've begun in me You are well able to finish. I trust You!

The clock's struck half past five. I'm to be at the hospital in four hours. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the many comments, thoughts and prayers. xo

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

French Toast Casserole

I went to a restaurant that served breakfast
"any time"
so I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.
~Steven Wright

Dana, the Firstborn, drove in this evening (Friday) and spent the night with me at her grandma's, who's doing excellently, by the way. Saturday morning before this beautiful daughter of ours drove me to the airport, we enjoyed with Mother a delightful breakfast of French Toast Casserole and four kinds of iron skillet-fried apples. (I flew to spend the weekend in Texas with my husband and accompany him on his drive to Arkansas Monday before flying back to Missouri for Thursday's vocal cord surgery.)

I awakened Saturday at about 4 a.m., remembering Mother had five hamburger buns in the bread bin, perfect for an 8x8-inch French Toast Casserole. We served it on Mother's Havilland with warm syrup and real butter (on the mainland we're so spoiled), and dusted it with confectioner's sugar. The apples were presented in footed dishes.

These images were discovered on my laptop, and seeing them makes me miss my Manila home where they were captured. Here's the recipe for French Toast Casserole. Enjoy!

French Toast Casserole
NOTE:  Make a half-recipe for an 8x8-inch casserole (4-6 servings); make a full recipe for a 13x9-inch casserole (8-12 servings).

10-ounce loaf of French or Italian bread
8 eggs
3 cups milk
* You can stop right here-- that's all you really need-- or you can add the rest.
4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extracts

Slice bread in 1-inch slices. Spray or grease an 8x8-inch or a 13x9-inch glass pan and arrange the bread slices on the bottom. Fill in all the gaps as if it were a puzzle. Set aside.

The pan shown is about 8x11-inch,
and FYI, I sometimes fill in all the gaps.

Into a bowl or 4-cup measuring, add milk and eggs. Beat well. Add the other ingredients if desired.

Pour the mixture over the bread slices in the pan taking care to "drown" each and every piece of bread.

Cover and chill overnight or at least four hours so the bread can soak that up.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove casserole from refrigerator  Optional: Dot with butter.

Bake casserole until golden brown, 35-40 minutes. It will puff while baking, then deflate when removed from the oven.

Serve hot with everything you like on French toast.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Vocal Cord Valley: 32 Seconds

If you were going to die soon
and had only one phone call you could make,
who would you call
and what would you say?
And why are you waiting?
~Stephen Levine

We  fellow- and fillyshipped with the Boones last Saturday after I arrived in Houston. My husband had breakfast with Darrel Boone that morning, and his wife Lazetta had just returned from a ladies conference. Of course I'd never met them before but now I feel like we've made new and eternal friends.

They bought our meal at Salt Grass. Have you ever eaten there? My husband got the kabob, a salad and their loaded baked potato. I had their baked potato soup and salad and wow, the portions were huge and delish!

I was a hungry girl. Before my daughter took me to the airport that morning, for breakfast at 9 o'clock I prepared a French Toast casserole (recipe on Wednesday) and "fried" apples for the three of us (Dana, Mother and me), so I was definitely ready to eat by 6:30 p.m.!

I love my new sis, Lazetta Boone. She made me laugh Saturday night, something I'd desperately needed. I'd missed my husband achingly (10 days apart), so the icing on the cake was sitting beside him, feeling him near me and laughing. Enjoying such sweet communion was just what the doctor ordered.

Many have been teasing both of us about my vocal rest. "Your husband's going to enjoy that!" I just smile, thinking that it was true until I heard my husband's take on it. He said he's been telling his friends, "Maybe I'm not like every other husband. I love talking with my wife. I enjoy hearing her voice. I miss it." Be still my bursting heart. I shore do love my sugar baby.

I said, "Think of all the husbands, think of all the wives who would love to hear the voice of their spouse again but they can't because they're dead." Oh, we take so much, too much for granted. Lord, help me be grateful for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. today.

What a blessing, this calm assurance that, by so many, my name and situation have been laid before The Throne of The Great Physician. Your comments, dear ones, have been a tremendous source of encouragement of faith and love to me, too.

I've repeatedly pushed the little replay arrow-triangle of Friday's 32-second voicemail. It's from our pastor of 34 years. Tears fill my eyes each time the sounds fill my heart with his sentiments.

Sister Dibble, this is Brother Evans.
I just called to let you know that I've been
praying for you ever since I heard about
your medical condition.
Several times in the night last night
I felt the presence of the Lord come in the room
as I was praying for you.
I just want you to know I love you
and the Lord loves you.
He brought you to my mind,
so He was thinking of you.
Hope you have a wonderful day.
I'll talk to you soon. Bye.

After Handsome picked me up at the airport, I told him on the way to the restaurant, "I hope I'm able to sing again. I've so many songs on my heart." On the plane I sang in my brain a song I've been longing to sing and never have... yet. I wept as I looked through the plane window at the countryside below.

Though the storms keep on raging in my life,
And sometimes it's hard to tell my night from day,
Still the hope that lies within is reassured
As I keep my eyes upon the distant shore
I know He'll lead me safely to
That blessed place He has prepared.

I realize sometimes in this life
You're gonna be tossed
By the waves and the currents that seem so fierce.
But in the Word of God
I've got an anchor!
And it keeps me steadfast
And unmovable
Despite the tide

But if the storms don't cease
And if the wind keeps on blowing in my life
My soul is anchored in the Lord.

After I sing the final chorus, with loaded fermatas and ritardandos I want to end with:

That Rock is Jesus!
Yes! He's the One
That Rock is Jesus
The only One!
Be very sure,
Be very sure
Your anchor holds
And grips the Solid Rock

I will sing that song.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Vocal Cord Valley: My Lips Are Sealed

Only when you drink
from the river of silence
shall you indeed sing.
~Khalil Gibran

"Vocal abuse."  That's the diagnosis. As a result of this vocal abuse-- singing solos at the piano in deputation service after deputation service on this, our fourth missionary furlough-- a noncancerous, pea-size polyp has calloused and blistered its way onto one of my vocal cords. Thus, the hoarseness I've dealt with since the Preserving Christian Homes marriage seminar on Guam that began on January 8. I've endured this on previous deputations but never to this level.

Polyps may be caused
by long-term vocal abuse
but may also occur after a
single, traumatic event
to the vocal cords,
such as yelling at a concert.
... Hypothyroidism [which I have]
and GERD [which I don't]
may also cause polyp formation.
Vocal abuse takes many forms
and includes:
• allergies
• smoking
• tense muscles
• singing
• coaching
• cheerleading
• talking loudly
• drinking caffeine and alcohol
(dries out the throat)

After obtaining the first and second opinions of two ENTs and hearing the same conclusion, then "discussing" the situation with my husband via FaceTime-- he, talking in Texas, and I, nodding or shaking my head in Missouri-- and praying and sleeping on it, I have decided to undergo the prescribed surgery to remove the polyp, a 15-minute procedure. Don't know if I should've done this, but I also watched the procedure online. (I Googled "watch vocal cord polyp surgery.")

The outpatient surgery is scheduled for Thursday, April 16, and my husband will not be able to be there with me. ("I miss him" is a gross understatement.) There is a ton of helpful information about this procedure and recovery (full vocal rest), so it looks like my lips will be sealed for quite some time.

Kelley Highway 2015
sure has been interesting.

Monday, April 6, 2015

These'll Moooove Ya

... To those listening,
you have the same thing to say.
"My bowel movement
is the highlight of my day."
~"Movement" by James F. Simmering

When you've had surgery, and your appetite goes because of painkillers, well, the ol' body has no respect for that and lets you know it. There are systems in there that function when you feed them, and when you don't, nope, they won't.

Go, that is.

When my brother's wife had her knee replaced two years ago, her body cried, "No, I won't go." So what did my brother do? The same thing he did today for Mother before she came home from the hospital. He made a treat. To help her go.

On a butter pat

He prescribed, "Drink lots of water with these. One'll do the job."

WARNING: If addicted to sugar, don't even think of buying the ingredients. Don't. even.

Cookies 'n Crème Fiber One® Haystacks
Makes dozens.

2 cups Fiber One® cereal 
6 Hershey's Cookies 'n Crème candy bars 

1. In a bowl, measure the cereal. Set aside.
2. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper for cooling the cookies. 
3. Unwrap the candy bars and place in a large microwave-safe bowl. Melt candy on high for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave 1 minute more. Immediately stir in the cereal. Stir well.
4. Working quickly, drop cookies by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. They can be close together. Freeze for 10 or 15 minutes to set. Store in refrigerator.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


F.orget E.verything A.nd R.un.

F.ace E.verything A.nd R.ise.

~Zig Ziglar

Mother did excellently yesterday. At 10 a.m., out went the old knee, and in went the new. By 3 p.m., under the watchful eyes of three therapists, she was up and walking to her private room door, out into the hall and back to her bed with the aid of a walker. Incredibly, she felt very little pain into the evening. An electronic bender exercised the leg at 60 degrees from 4 to 6 p.m. as we read together.

Enjoying a saltine snack

Mother even napped. Her next therapy session will bend the new joint at 70 degrees, etc., with 120 degrees being the eventual goal.

Three times today she will "walk the halls" and nary a complaint will be uttered from her lips. Hide and watch.

* I am reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I Miss You

Miss you, miss you, miss you;
Everything I do
Echoes with the laughter
And the voice of You.
You're on every corner,
Every turn and twist,
Every old familiar spot
Whispers how you're missed.

Miss you, miss you, miss you!
Everywhere I go
There are poignant memories
Dancing in a row.
Silhouette and shadow
Of your form and face,
Substance and reality
Everywhere displace.

Miss you, miss you, miss you!
[How] I miss you [sir]!
There's a strange, sad silence
'Mid the busy [whir],
Just as tho' the ordinary
Daily things I do
Wait with me, expectant
For a word from You.

Miss you, miss you, miss you!
Nothing now seems true
Only that ['tis] heaven
Just to be with You.

"Miss You"
By David Cory

My honey and I are apart as I'm assisting Mother during her knee-replacement surgery. (March 6's was postponed to April 1.)

Until then, blog break, dears. Pray for us. xo

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Truth for Lies: How I Know I Am an Addict

My name is Kelley
I am an addict.

"You would love Pinterest," she told me,"but it's addictive." She was oh, so right. Pinterest is addictive. That's why I did not climb aboard. The good ship Pinterest wasn't going anywhere I wanted to go, on the sea of addiction.

See, my new and fifty-fifth year of life began March 9, but it was just after the New Year 2015 that I realized the fantasy is over. I found myself out.  

I am an addict.

I'm not addicted to cigarettes or drugs or glue.

I'm not addicted to shopping or decorating or stuff.

I'm not addicted to p*rn or s*x or gambling.

But I am addicted. My addiction is the lust for refined sugar.

I am a refined sugar addict.

How I Know I'm an Addict
Addiction has both a biological and a behavioral component.  "Anything that stimulates the reward pathway is going to be interpreted as something that's necessary for life and needs to be repeated," Brad Lander stated, an Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center psychologist.

1.  I lie to myself all the time. "I need (fill-in-the-blank sugary food)."


2. I honestly answered yes to some hard questions. I reworded and rephrased "Am I an Addict" to fit my particular situation. Instead of drugs, I used sugar, sweets, etc.  Addiction to refined sugar will never send me to jail, but to where could this addiction send me?

Additionally, I disagree with some of the concluding statements of "Am I an Addict" which stated:

"1. We are powerless over addiction and our lives are unmanageable."

This is not true. I can take authority over my flesh, and I can manage my life. God's Word told me so.

... Walk in the Spirit,
and you shall not fulfill
the lust of the flesh.
~Galatians 5:16 KJV

... We have an obligation--
but it is not to the flesh,
to live according to [the flesh].
For if you live according to the flesh,
you will die;
but if by the Spirit
you put to death the misdeeds of the body,
you will live.
~Romans 8:12-13 NIV

My husband teaches a wonderful message, "Where There's an IF, There's Always a THEN." "IF by the Spirit I put to death the misdeeds of my body, [the then is assumed here] THEN I will live."

"2. Although we are not responsible for our disease, we are responsible for our recovery."

My addiction is not a disease problem. My addiction is a sin problem. If I love something which displeases God-- I love something I wasn't commanded to love-- I have made that love an addiction, if you will. I've made it a necessity, a need, an idol in my life.

And idolatry is sin.

You know what I need right now?
I often ask myself.
A candybar.
A salted caramel hot chocolate.
A bowl of ice cream.

That is where I am. Slaying the need dragon. Replacing the lie with the truth: I do not need that.

And I am responsible for my recovery. If I lie to myself about what I do not in fact need, I can instead tell myself the truth about what I do in fact need.

Casting down imaginations,
and every high thing that exalts itself
against the knowledge of God,
and bringing into captivity
every thought to the obedience of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV

The NIV phrases it like this.

We demolish arguments
and every pretension that sets itself up
against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

"3. We can no longer blame people, places, and things for our addiction. We must face our problems and our feelings."

This is the truth. I must stop blaming my husband for the poor choice I make to eat the Rolos, Reese's peanut butter cups and KitKat bars he buys and puts in our freezer.

Just because we're relaxing at home in the evening doesn't mean I must give in to my yearning to feed my sweet tooth. I am lusting. That is the truth. It's the lust of my flesh and it's a battle and I must win the war. Margaret Thatcher said,

"You may have to fight a battle
more than once
to win it."

The wedding reception with its alcohol candy bar in full array-- jar upon jar of wrapped chocolates, caramels and nutty-buddies is, for me, no different than the alcohol bar being open to alcoholics-- bottle after bottle of vodkas, bourbons and whiskeys.

What is the reality of my addiction? Indeed, I must face the problems, face the feelings and choose truth over lies. 

"The ultimate weapon for recovery is the recovering addict."

This says to me, "I am my weapon," but I say, "God's Word is my weapon."

... It is written,
Man shall not live by bread alone
but by every word that proceeds
out of the mouth of God.
Matthew 4:4

His Word is a "lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105). I can hide "It in my heart that I might not sin against" Him (Psalm 119:11).

The time to take counsel of your fears
is before you make
an important battle decision.
That's the time
to listen to every fear you can imagine!
When you have collected
all the facts and fears
and made your decision,
turn off all your fears
and go ahead!
~George S. Patton

Monday, March 16, 2015

West Coast Skyway Highway

One swallow does not make a summer,
but one skein of geese,
cleaving the murk of March thaw,
is the spring.
~Aldo Leopold

Feet on the dashboard in Portland, Oregon

The season
is not a proper noun.

Before I forget, I've neglected to share a couple of events, so kindly allow me to update you chronologically if you please.

-- 18: Another soldier has gone Home.

Lance Appleton
September 22, 1952 - February 18, 2015

Lance with grandson Ian at Labor Day Picnic 2013

--28: Next, I forgot to tell you about the last day of February in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Dave ministered at a Spanish church there. The former pastor had abandoned his wife for another woman so the first lady is giving it her best at holding the church family together. The folks were and are behind her 110 percent, too. 

Look at the beautiful countenance!

After the service, through an interpreter this lady said she wanted to be baptized and would Dave baptize her in Jesus' name. Using a pair of soup pots, the young men filled the horse trough baptistry with warm water. With a team effort, request granted!

MARCH 2015
-- 04: I forgot to mention that my brand new iPhone 6 Plus crashed this afternoon. While surfing the Web, the screen turned bright red and gave up the ghost.

-- 05: If you read the Highway Skyway post here, I hadn't yet edited the event that occurred during this day's Inbound Orientation in St. Louis. 

Inbound Orientation with
Pacific Regional Director Roger Buckland

Mother texted, stating that her doctor postponed her knee replacement surgery until April 1, so my hubby scrambled successfully and got me on his return flight to San Francisco. Following the 5 o'clock Inbound conclusion, we Hubby drove two hours back to Mother's and I threw packed my things back into my suitcase. We He drove the two hours back to St. Louis and we climbed into the bed at about 11 o'clock.

-- 06: We left the hotel at 4:30 a.m. and flew from St. Louis to San Francisco. After a delicious Mexican lunch and wonderful fellow- and fillyship at La Parilla with Jerry Powell and his daughter Jerryann, we towed the Li'l Dutchgirl to an RV park in Bakersfield.

No snow boots. No tights. No coat. Windows down, windows open. Bugs on the windshield. We love bugs on the windshield.

Nearly in tears of exhaustion, I crawled into bed at 7:55 p.m. The last thing I remember was asking my husband if he was coming to bed. "It's 8:30, Babe," he replied, "and I am not going to bed at 8:30."

-- 07: I woke up at 7:30 a.m. Eleven hours of positively delicious sleep.

Bakersfield, California.

We lunched at Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que with long-time friends, Bishop Leonard and Linda Sansom (married 50 years this August) and their daughter and son-in-law, Pastor Mike and Kim Hanks.

Sorry we got you with your eyes closed, sweetie!

That evening we went with the Sansoms and Hankses to Melodrama where several others from the Bakersfield church also met us. By the time the evening was over, I'd put some serious hurt on that bucket of popcorn. I am a popcorn girl!

Giggling again!

Afterward-- like we really needed to eat more-- we all piled around a table at Dewar's.

* * * * *

Sadly, it was on this same day that my son-in-law Corey's maternal grandmother passed away.

Christmastime 2014

His mother Darlene had tucked her sweet mama into bed for the night and when she woke up, she was in Glory. Mrs. Elsie Freeman was 87.

Vesta Mangun read Corey's grandmother's favorite Scriptures.

Corey was honored to speak at the graveside service March 14.

-- 08: We headed to Taft, California, for our Sunday morning service with the McDanielses.

We actually saw gas for $4.50+ but I didn't get a picture.

Flowering trees were all abloom.

Oil drills are everywhere in Taft.

Later we were on our way to Atascadero with all of Route 58's twists and turns. We were so glad we weren't towing!

The mountains were brightly freckled with patches of orange wildflowers.

Photos never do justice.

And then there were tumbleweeds.

Our Dana would've loved a bagful!

-- 09: My 54th birthday

We waited for my crashed-iPhone replacement to arrive at the RV park in Bakersfield. Because it had not made it Saturday due to a snowstorm that impacted Tennessee over the weekend, it was promised by noon Monday. It didn't make it.

We drove over the mountain, towing the RV to Valencia where we unhitched it and parked it in the storage lot for $4 a day. Our bags were packed for a week in Oregon; they'd never been lighter.

We met up with Mike and Nancy Flowers for my day of choice: driving golf carts for the guys-- which Nancy had never experienced before. Aren't I nice? Out in the sunshine, among the Canadian geese and all the other golfers (no other wives or girlfriends).

Beautiful Nancy, my dear friend since 1988

I'm learning about outings like these. If the guys are in a golf tournament, that's another thing altogether. But on a beautiful day like this was in So' Cal', good husbands love it when their wives go to the golf course with them for a few hours of de-stressing. And for my good husband, who drives a bazillion miles on deputation, it's especially great when I drive the cart.

Some of our best friends, Mike and Nancy

Mike kept asking Nancy, "Isn't this fun?" and saying, "Nancy, c'mere. I want to tell you a story about this hole." Both of our husbands enjoyed our presences immensely.

The other golfers-- a couple of guys on a cart or a group of guys-- always say something complimentary about me and the other wives driving the carts or riding on the carts with our husbands. "Wow, we know the best lookin' drivers on this course today," or, "Wow, look who they get to play golf with today, and would ya look who I'm stuck with (pointing to golf buddy)!"

"Those guys are jealous of us guys who have our wives with us," Dave has explained to me. "A lot of guys can't get their wives to go out on the golf course with 'em. I love it when we have a day like this and you go to the golf course with me."

So all afternoon Mike was hoping and praying his wife was having a good time. We gals just don't realize, do we?

I was reminded of Dennis Rainey telling how he loves it when he asks his wife, "Wanna go to Home Depot with me?" and she answers yes. Our men love it when we go do things with them. Sure, not everything, but hey. If they invite us, we would do well and be wise to say yes once in awhile. And for heaven's sake, act like you're having fun!

-- 10-15: By the time we'd arrived in Portland and driven to Albany, Dave was physically on autopilot. He was in sleep deficit for sure. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard him say how tired he was. That's just not like him. I'm so glad we flew up here (on miles) and that he didn't have to drive. We have napped every day possible this week and I think we're finally refilling our sleep banks.

... And my iPhone replacement finally caught up with me Wednesday, the 12th.

For those of you still with me, I leave you with some scenes from Oregon. Again, photos simply do not do justice.

Hush, Can you hear it,
The rustling in the grass

Bringing you the welcome news
Winter's day is past.

Cherry trees

Soft, Can you feel it?
The warm caressing breeze

Telling you the sticky buds
Are bursting on the trees.

Look, Can you see them?
The primrose in the lane,

Now you must believe it-

Spring is here again.

"It Must Be Spring"
By May Fenn

It wasn't my birthday anymore, but I got cake-- my very favorite! A sweet wife of her 28-year-old hubby lit the candles on this cake Sunday night in Newport, Oregon. I nearly did a dance! The best dessert in the whole wide world is birthday (and wedding) cake baked in a bakery! Mm-mm! I can still taste it!