Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another New Baby!

Whew! I haven't had such a busy summer since my children were still in school. Between making cards for showers, a round of never-ending picnics and now the garden produce, it seems lke there's always something pressing that needs to be done - and the blogging gets pushed to the bottom of the list.

Anyway - today will be short and sweet - I'm posting a photo of the baby announcements I made for my niece Tara who is due to deliver her first baby very soon. Congrats Tara - with all my love and prayers for a good delivery!


Tara's mom Tammie went all out with the shower making cute little stuffed bears with lace dresses, sitting on little lace doilies which she hand crocheted. Lots of work, but great results. The tables were decorated with play princess tiaras, confetti, and even a small castle.

To go along with the Princess theme, I made a little lacy dress for the front of the baby announcements I created for Tara. I almost put the dresses on fuzzy bears made from flocked paper, but couldn't quite get it to look the way I wanted. After I saw the party favors her mom created, I wish I had been able to put bears on the front of her announcements as well.


The dresses are very easy - just pieces of 1" gathered lace for the skirt and 1/2" lace for the top - glued on a 2" mat on the front of the card.

Congrats again Tara and best wishes!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fiction Friday - Once a Wink


Domestic violence is a big problem in our country today, but one that is seldom talked about. Often the victim is afraid and unable to leave because of fear - fear of being alone, fear of rejection, feelings of inadequacy and more. Even if they are able to leave an abusive situation, they may enter into a similar situation time and again until the Lord heals the damage done by the abuse.

This story was written several years ago and is dedicated to the women I know who have been victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Once a Wink
by Bonnie Winters

I looked across the bar and there he was, staring at me. When our eyes met, he winked. It seemed so innocent. After all, I didn’t know the man. Perhaps I should have felt flattered that he found me attractive enough to flirt with me. But, I didn't. It made me feel uncomfortable, reminding me of my ex-husband, Jack. He used to wink too, when he wanted something.

The bruises had faded, but the memories of his abuse were still too vivid. Each time, Jack apologized and said it would never happen again. But it did - over and over because I let it happen. I couldn't leave. Even as I sit here now, I wonder if I should have stayed with him. Maybe I could have made a difference...

What am I doing here? I squirmed on the stool at the counter. Humph. Dumb question. I'm here because I can't say no. I stirred the ice in my soft drink and glanced at my co-workers,, Marie and Linda.

"Come with us! It'll be fun. Besides it's Friday night and you can't spend another Friday sitting at home alone." They used every argument in the book until I finally gave in though I knew it was a bad idea.

Though I tried to keep my eyes attentive to my friends, they strayed to the man across from me, almost of their own volition at times. Each time, I found him still staring at me. And each time, he winked.

Boy this is getting annoying, like the buzz of a mosquito around my ears. If only I had a swatter, I’d mash that irritating bug. The picture of the man with his tongue lolling and his eyes bugging out of their sockets made me feel a little better. I smiled to myself, focusing on my soft drink.

Near the man, the waiter dropped a whole tray of glasses. The sudden crash
of glass meeting the tile floor captured my attention and involuntarily, I glanced toward the sound. The man across the bar was still staring in my direction. Once again, he grinned with his lopsided lips and winked.

I shuddered inwardly. That wink was not one of camaraderie. His expression reminded me of a cat that had cornered its dinner. It was the same smirking, pre-dinner ritual that I frequently endured with Jack. I looked away, twiddling my straw between my fingers. I looked at the counter. I looked at the jukebox. I looked at the dim lights overhead.

“Let’s leave,” I said, turning to my friends. But they were having much too good a time flirting with the two men in the corner booth to notice the edge in my voice. I tried to ignore the smirking man across the bar. Who needs this anyway? Maybe, I should just leave without my friends. Let them find their own way home!

I did leave the bar, retreating to the powder room. If I stay in here long enough, maybe he’ll be gone when I come out. I fixed my make up, adjusted the hem of my skirt, fiddled with the buttons on my blouse - anything to kill time.

I looked in the mirror and saw a mouse; a timid creature with fear in her eyes - always running, always hiding and always coming back to the same trap. I watched as the lips of the woman in the mirror tightened into a resolute line. We both straightened and placed our hands on our hips. I nodded and she nodded back "Thanks honey, " I said to my reflection. "You're right. This is ridiculous. Why should some idiot who insists on winking at me across the bar ruin my evening?"

Gathering my purse and my resolve, I returned to my friends. They had moved to the corner booth with those two guys and were lost in a conversation, punctuated occasionally by giggles and guffaws. Feeling like a third wheel, I returned to my soft drink at the bar.

The man was still there across from me. Purposefully, I sat down with my back to him, but it didn’t help. I felt his eyes burn holes through the soft knit fabric of my blouse. The hair on the nape of my neck prickled in spite of my resolve. My muscles stiffened and I felt a slow flush rise up my neck. I pulled a compact from my purse to see how furiously I was blushing. But when I opened the mirror, his face was reflected there, still eating me with his eyes, still winking.

That does it! I will not sit here and cower under that Cheshire grin. Subduing the mouse inside, I rose to my feet, set my lips in a resolute line and walked toward the man. Hadn't I learned anything because of that fiasco of a marriage with Jack? I should give this guy a piece of my mind. Why can’t he just leave me alone? Can’t he see I’m not interested?

Once again he winked as I approached. My anger flared. If you don’t stop that, I’m going to call the police and have you charged with harassment. Or better yet, I ought to punch you in the eye. Maybe that would stop you.

Now I was close enough to really see him. I stopped in my tracks, taken aback. I forgot the harsh rebuke I intended to burn his ears. In the dim lights across the bar, I had not seen how puffy and red his eye was. Obviously, there was something wrong. The eye watered profusely and he winked several times to relieve the wet discomfort, even as I stood there. The swelling around his eye and cheek distorted his smile, so it appeared lopsided.

He looked pathetic, not at all like the conniving cat image I had conjured in my mind. The sight of him up close doused most of the fiery indignation I felt. I inhaled deeply to bring the rest of my runaway emotions under control.

“Have a seat,” he said. “What would you like to drink?”

I grimaced and nodded toward my friends. “I’m the designated driver. How about a cola?”

We sat in silence, staring at the counter until the waiter brought my soft drink. I couldn’t stand it anymore. My curiosity itched and I turned to look at his eye again.

“What happened to your eye?” I asked cautiously, trying to break the uncomfortable silence, yet not wanting to offend him. He really didn’t seem like such a bad fellow after all. Not at all like Jack.

With half a laugh, he looked at me. I thought I could see the Cheshire cat again, though I wasn’t sure. “Oh, some guy belted me for winking at his wife.”

The knuckles of my right hand hurt as I brought them to my lips and blew on them gently. I flexed them slowly to be sure nothing was broken as I deliberately gathered my purse.

“Let’s go,” I said calmly to my friends in the dead silence of the barroom as everyone stared at me standing over the man on the floor.

I leveled my chin and strode toward the exit. "This mouse is leaving!"
(C) 1995 Bonnie Winters


Fiction Fridays are hosted by Patty over at Patterings. If you like to read, jump on over and check out some of the great short stories by the other authors.

If you like to write and want to participate, simply post your story on your blog, then visit Patterings to leave your URL in the Mr. Linky box.

Happy writing and reading!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A rainy day in the blueberry patch...or NOT!

Blueberry pie, muffins, cake, pancakes, jam, cobbler, crisp, buckle, etc...Mmmmmmm, I can just taste them!

Or at least I would have been able to taste them if it wasn't for the rain. Several friends and I scheduled a day in the blueberry patch but with all this liquid sunshine, I don't think we'll be going today. At least the berries will be nice and juicy when we do get to go!

Well, since most of thse things listed above are on the weightier side of the scale, I thought I'd check out some lower calorie alternatives to prepare for all those yummy berries. Since I've gotten involved at, I've lost 13 pounds and found lots of great lower calorie alternatives to foods I love to eat.

Here is a great recipe from the Spark People sister site: . Be sure and check out this site if you are dieting!

Blueberry Banana Muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (you can use up to 1 tsp if you prefer)
1/4 cup sugar (you can raise or lower this slightly, depending on how sweet you like things)
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup, or 1 snack size cup, unsweetened applesauce
1 very ripe banana, mashed
1 cup unsweetened frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
Blend dry ingredients (flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, sugar). Mix in egg, milk, and applesauce. (The applesauce is your substitute in place of the oil that most recipes use. Unsweetened is best!) Add in banana and blueberries and gently stir just until blended.
Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups and bake in oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Muffins are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on rack and enjoy!
Muffins freeze beautifully. Recipe is easily doubled.
Recipe makes 12 muffins. Serving size is 1 muffin.

Number of Servings: 12

Amount Per Serving

Calories 140.2

Total Fat 0.9 g

Saturated Fat 0.2 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g

Cholesterol 18.0 mg

Sodium 232.5 mg

Potassium 99.4 mg

Total Carbohydrate 29.8 g

Dietary Fiber 2.3 g

Sugars 5.3 g

Protein 4.2 g

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Scrap the blueprints - Trust the Master Builder instead


“We as women, think of ourselves as mothers, teachers, nurses and son on, but God says that we are builders. We usually relegate this role to the men, but we are building with something far great than brick and timber.”
~Nancy Campbell,~
The Power of Motherhood: What the Bible Says about Mothers

Contrary to Nancy Campbell's words, I have frequently considered myself a builder.

When I worked as a florist, I had a "toolbox" that contained all the things I used each day to "build" flower arrangements - things like scissors, clippers, floral tape, wire, leaf shine and more. Each arrangement started with a blueprint or pattern as to how it should be constructed and the materials I needed to put it together.

I used to make a lot of my children's clothes out of necessity when they were small. Sewing is a form of building as well since you purchase and assemble your materials, cut and measure them according to the blueprint (pattern) and then assemble them according to the directions.

Likewise I became a builder in the kitchen. Pies are a great example of a culinary building project. The crust becomes the foundation, the fruit or custard filling is the structure of the pie and the topping is the finishing detail work to making a masterpiece my husband is bound to rave over. It all started with a basic blueprint (recipe). As long as I followed it, things would turn out just fine.

Though I always considered myself a builder, the problem with being a mom/grandmom and raising kids is that they don't come with blueprints. Since they are all individuals, no two of them is alike so what works with one probably won't work with the next one to come along!

My three children were different from each other. My son was in such a hurry to be independent, but reluctant to cut the apron strings. My middle daughter was the complicated one who knew what she wanted to do, but analyzed it all a lot. My youngest was constatnly struggling to live in the shadow of her older siblings and struggled to find herself.

Now, my middle daughter and I frequently chat about her five children and how each one is so different. Eve reminds me of the artsy flower child who will grow up to wear the broomstick skirts and peasant blouses. Her brother Jack is the opposite - he's all intense and set on winning; quiet but athletic. Abby is mischief personified - a girlie little one who loves to give herself spa treatments in the bathroom sink with the whole bottle of bubble bath. And Sam - whew - he's the 2 year old brain child who has the world figured out, if only his motor skills would be coordinated enough to accomplish what he wants to do. Newborn Katie we haven't figured out yet.

No, these young lives don't have blueprints and even if they did, each one would would require different parenting skills, knowledge and tools to raise them by the book. My daughter is learning as I did that the only way to raise her brood is to rely on the Master Builder and accept her position as an apprentice.

He has the complete set of blueprints for each child and will give her the wisdom and knowledge to build their young lives one step at a time. He also has the complete set of tools needed and will teach her how to use each one in its proper time.

If I had one word of advice for my daughter it would be this - scrap whatever plans you have for your kids. Take time to nurture your relationship with the Master builder first and keep your ears open to Him so you will hear and understand His instructions for building the lives of your children. He'll do a much better job than you will on your own and He'll continue to train you along the way as long as you're open to Him.

Chelsey will be hosting next Tuesday, on her blog,“Joyfully Living For His Glory“. If you'd like to play along, think about the quote she has chosen and share about it on your blog on Tuesday. Then go to Chelsey’s blog and leave the URL link to your blog. Take time to visit the other gals who have also written on today's quote.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Women's summer meeting idea - Have a fruit fest!

Feeling a little fruity? The long hot days of summer can sure make you feel that way at times, especially if you're home with the kids all day. Why not celebrate the bounties of the summer season with a fruity party idea?

Our ladies are having their annual Fruit Fest tonight. Each one who comes is bringing 2 cups of one summer fruit which we will mix all together for a fantastic fruit salad. On the sign up list I saw blueberries, strawberries peaches, melons, grapes - you name it, it was there. Are you salivating yet?

Or if you want something a little fancier, serve the fruits with a variety of dipping sauces from chocolate fondue (yummy!) to a whipped cream or cream cheese type dip. Oh, I can just see the calories adding up with this one.

Along with the fruity theme of the party you might plan a "getting to know you" game - What kind of fruit are you and why? Plus a time of devotions on Biblical fruit. Scripture has lots to say about fruit - bearing fruit, the fruit of the spirit, being the apple of his eye, etc.

Try fruit trivia - I googled "peach trivia" and found all kinds of interesting things about them like where they originated and peaches in early America. I feel a quiz coming on...

Have everyone bring their favorite fruity recipe to share and you could even have someone give a demonstration on making some kind of fruity dish or how to can/freeze certain kinds of fruit. Most of our ladies here have been canning and freezing foods for so long, they know how by heart!

Decorations can include pictures of fruit, displays of artificial or real fruit - or just skip the decorations all together and have your get-together at a park or church pavilion like we're doing with picnic table cloths, paper plates and no clean up!

However you choose to do it, fruit makes a fun refreshing theme for a women's summer get-together. Have a fruity day!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fiction Friday - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back


by Bonnie Winters

Scripture: Genesis 19:26

“Hurry now, there’s no time to gather up your mementos of this place. Destruction is coming. You must flee!” There was no disguising the urgency of the heavenly visitor’s voice. “Now!”

Still she lingered, undecided on the threshold of her home. So many memories. So much of my life spent here. Not always happy times, but….

Her thoughts drifted back to their arrival on the lush plain outside Sodom after separating from Lot’s uncle, Abraham. Often she stood outside her tent, looking across the plain toward the city, daydreaming of what it would be like to live in Sodom; a real city with all the hub-bub of life all around her.

“Lot, darling,” she said after preparing his favorite meal, her voice a honeyed dessert, “Why can’t we move into the city? Life would be so much easier there.” She moved behind her husband, who was seated on the ground and began massaging his shoulders, a pout playing on the corners of her full lips. “I am so tired of playing the nomad! Always traveling. It was worse when we followed your Uncle Abraham. We couldn’t even set our own pace or direction then.”

She bent close to nibble on her husband’s ear. “Now, at least you are in charge of our direction. And you have wisely chosen such a lush plain. It really was the best direction, compared to that Canaanite country where Abraham tried to graze his flocks. I have married a wise man indeed!”

She could feel her husband’s will softening like clay in her hands. “Think of it! Lot, you have herdsmen enough to take charge of your flocks. You could settle in the lap of luxury in a place like Sodom. God has prospered you. You are wealthy. Don’t you deserve a little ease?”

Her lips curled in a self-satisfied grin as she remembered how Lot nodded in agreement. Within days, the couple had moved into the city. It was all she had hoped for and more.

“Hurry. The destruction comes. We must flee. Don’t look back.” The urgency in the angelic voice jarred her back to the present. Still she hesitated, wanting to hold onto the life she knew.

As though he understood, the angel forced her to look into his eyes, stirring her memories of another desperate flight. Enemies of Sodom rode through the streets of the city, killing some and rounding up others to carry them off as slaves. Tears stung the back of her eyes as she remembered hugging her daughters to her side, terrified they would be separated from Lot as the Bedouin warriors drove them away from their home.

Her smile faded and she inhaled deeply, letting her breath out slowly to calm her nerves. She gazed around the dim interior of the room one last time as the angel maneuvered her out the door.

Yes, I lost this all once before, when the enemies of Sodom swooped down and carried us away. Fear of losing it all again coaxed a defiant flame back to life in her heart. She stared hard at the angel’s back, biting back the retort on her lips. But Abraham brought us back here to our home. I don’t want to lose it all again.

Lot, this is all your fault! She fumed behind the angel who still gripped her arm, unwilling to provoke the wrath of this being who loomed head and shoulders over her. You brought these visitors to our house for the night when they arrived here in Sodom. Then you refused to let the townsmen harm our guests. That’s when things turned ugly.

She shuddered at the fearful memory of the fists of drunken men pounding on her door. Even now, it caused her pulse to race and her breathing to quicken as she vascillated between anger and self-pity. My poor deluded Lot. Why didn’t you just let those evil men of Sodom have their way? If these men were of God, they could have destroyed the townspeople. If they were only men, they would have been killed and none of this would have happened. No, Lot, you offered the men of Sodom our daughters. Our daughters! Why couldn’t you have just left well enough alone? That’s why we have to flee. It’s all your fault, Lot. You stirred them up.

Twin red spots stood out on her cheeks as she clenched her jaws tight. Without realizing it, her free hand curled into a fist and she pummeled the angel’s arm. As her thoughts tangled into a confused knot, her feet tripped up the steep slope away from Sodom. Steadied by the arm still gripping her wrist, she glared up at the angel’s impassive face. It’s my home. My home. The first place I could put down roots and be happy and you’re taking it all away from me. I don’t want to go back to the wilderness. Not ever.

Two tears coursed down her cheeks. She shrugged her arm loose from the angel’s grasp and scrubbed the tears away with the back of her hand. They were high enough now; surely she could see the whole valley from here.

My home, my home…. The siren song of Sodom crooned to her. She turned her head wistfully to gaze over the valley toward home as her heart hardened….

© 2008 Bonnie Winters


Why is it Lord, we always want to hang on to what we know - even though it isn't safe or good for us? Even when You offer us a way of escape - a way of hope? Help us Father to let go of those things that destroy our faith and harden our hearts against You . Help us to trust You and to hide beneath the sheltering safety of Your wings. Amen.


Fiction Friday is hosted by Patty at her site Patterings. For more great fiction, drop by her site and click on the links to read stories by all the other participants.

If you have a story you've written to share, paste it onto your blog site then visit Patterings to leave your URL in the Mr. Linky box.

Happy reading and writing!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fighting the good fight

Someone once told me it was harder to lose weight once you turned 50.

At the time, I didn't believe them. I figured it was all first grade math - you consume less calories than your body needs each day; you burn more calories through exercise and the weight will come off - end of story.

That was when I was younger. My back and knees didn't hurt so I could go for a long bike ride or play soccer with my kids. The problem is I didn't do those things back then when I could. And I let the pounds pile on. No wonder it's harder to lose now.

I'm not able to be as active as I once could have been and I have more to lose.
When I started to feel sorry for myself this morning, thinking a three egg omelet with toast slathered in butter wold taste awfully good, the Lord reminded me of some benefits of growing older.

First - The older I get, the more I have grown in Him.

I didn't do the healthier things when I was younger because I lacked focus and kept my head in the sand, thinking "It won't happen to me. I'll never be the overweight lady who needs a cane to get around."

Now that I'm older, my perspective has changed. I am that lady and my knees do hurt. But because of a change in my perspective, I have more "want to" now, more of a reason to stay focused and take the weight off.

I have matured spiritually too. More and more I see His hand in every aspect of my life. The closer I get to heaven, the more I want to make every moment, every written word count.

Second - Wisdom really does come with age.

With dieting, I know what to do and how to do it from years of yo-yo dieting. I don't have to learn any new skills to get the job done and I already have a wonderful collection of recipes, helps and exercise equipment. I also know why I failed in the past. My failures will help me succeed this time.

Spiritually that applies too. Sometimes I stand in awe of the wisdom God has grown in me through the life lessons I've learned. As I share with others, He helps me speak wisdom to them causing light bulb moments of understanding. To me that's absolutely awesome because I never considered myself a particularly wise woman.

Third, He has given me more time to reflect, study and share.

With my grand kids living farther away, I don't get to babysit like some grandparents do. Though I am busy in church, I've learned to limit my activities so I can write and research. This is a gift from the Lord so I can be an encourager to others through the written and spoken word - whether it's about dieting or about the things of God.

I ignored the temptation for the three egg omelet and had raisin bran instead this morning. Then I thanked God for being real in my life. I thanked Him for the valuable lessons I have learned that I can share with others and for helping me to become an encourager.

It may be a struggle; the weight may come off more slowly now that I'm over 50 - but with His help and encouragement it will come off because I have learned how to fight the good fight, to put on my full armor and to wage spiritual warfare. It doesn't mean I'll always win, but with His help, I'll always be able to get back up and fight on. And I'll be able to encourage others in the meantime as I remember the life lessons He has taught me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Today's quote is:

“When we are set free from the bondage of pleasing others, when we are free from currying others approval-then no one will be able to make us miserable or dissatisfied. And then, if we know we have pleased God, contentment will be our consolation."
~Kay Arthur~

It was the lunch rush hour and the counter was crowded. The four of us who waited on customers in the fast food restaurant buzzed back and forth placing sandwiches in bags, filling up fry containers, pouring sodas and making change.

Since I usually worked the slower paced evening shift, I felt overwhelmed and was hurrying too fast. I reached for a fry container and filled it too full. As I began to shake out a few of the fries so the box would be filled with the proper amount, the restaurant owner stepped up behind me and growled, "You're the reason we're losing so much money at night - you fill the fry containers too full."

I was devastated. I always tried to do my best and follow all the rules to be the best employee I could be, after all I was a people pleaser to the core of my being. I stood there at the counter waiting on customers, trying to smile while the tears ran down my face.

I desperately needed that job - my husband was unemployed and hadn't been able to find any work. The fast food position was the only thing I could find at the time - we had two little ones to feed, a third on the way and bills to pay.

In order to please everyone around me, I'd need to keep that job. I'd have to smile at the owner and be a mouse, even though he was constantly brusque and unpleasable. Yet inside I felt crushed - I'd given that job 110% and still it wasn't good enough. I took it personally - I wasn't good enough because I failed to please my boss.

After work I prayed as I went home and cried on my husband's shoulder. I decided I couldn't stay at that job and my husband agreed. So I gave my notice the next day when I went in to work. Things were still difficult for us, but God brought us through.

While some might think I ran away from a difficult situation, looking back, I realize it was the first time I stood up for myself. It was the beginning of the healing process for me - to overcome this extreme need to please everyone at the expense of my own mental health. For the first time I tasted the freedom from the people pleasing bondage that had resulted from the childhood abuse I suffered.

I've come a long way since I worked at that fast food job. I'm still a people pleaser - hey - I'm a pastor's wife after all which means there's a certain amount of people pleasing that has to happen. But now my fulfillment doesn't come from pleasing others. It comes from knowing I'm at the center of His will and held closely in His loving arms. Now that's contentment!
Today Denise is hosting In Other Words over at her site Shorty Bear's Place. If you'd like to play along, simply blog about the quote on your site, then hop on over to Denise's site and leave your URL in the Mr. Linky box.
While you're there, check out what Denise shared and leave her a comment. If you'd like, visit the other participants' blogs to see their take on the quote. There's a lot of good reading here!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Surviving Sam


Surviving Sam

Being a long-distance Grandma is no fun. But then maybe if I lived closer to my little ones, I might not survive all the heart stopping action of daily life with my 5 grandkids down south.

Take Sammy for instance. He’s a sweet little guy with attitude – but he has one special talent. He’s a baby Houdini. No matter how tightly his parents buckle him into his car seat, he finds a way to escape.

He can’t manage the child-proof buckle yet because he doesn’t have the motor skills, although I’m sure he knows how to open it if his hands were just coordinated enough. No, Sammy rutches and squirms until he wiggles his way out.

On a trip to the local WalMart last week with his mom, Sam managed to get out of his seat and open the back of the family van WHILE IT WAS MOVING. Aaaaaahhhhhh! That’s a Grandma’s heart attack waiting to happen. It still makes my heart flutter just to think about it and I wasn’t even there.

Fortunately the Lord must remember what it’s like to be a mischievous 2 year old and He protected Sam. My daughter was able to get the car stopped quickly without dumping Sam out the back end. Thankfully, he understood how upset his mom was and stayed put in his seat the rest of the way home.

My daughter is a good mom, very careful to childproof her house and to watch her children closely. Sammy just seems to be able to think faster than she can. Car seats, locked doors, windows – he’s got them all figured out. Look out MENSA, here comes Sam.

Another day last week Allissa had put the two younger children to bed. A little while later, Abby started screaming. Mom thought her three year old was just upset because Sam had climbed out of bed and wouldn’t let her alone. Thankfully she went to check on them.

Sam had managed to climb onto the other bed which was right under the window in that room. He figured out how to open the window and had jumped out. It was dark, but a light shone on that side of the house. Abby was screaming in panic for Sam to come back.

With an alligator infested canal behind their house, the dark night is no place for a two year old alone. Everybody panicked. Dad ran out the front door and was looking for Sam within a minute after he “escaped.”

Josh flagged down a neighbor’s car as it came down the road, warning him to watch for Sam and to go slowly to avoid accidentally hitting him. Thankfully, when Sam saw the headlights, he ran around the side of the house right to his dad.

Heart attack number two – and that’s just in one week! I’m so glad God gives us children when we’re young, because at my age, I’m not sure I could survive Sam.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fiction Friday - The Fragrance of Love


I love the stories of Bible women – and more than that, I love to make them come alive on paper as flesh and blood women with real emotions; real needs. I hope and pray this one ministers to you as it did to me when I wrote it.

The Fragrance of Love

Based on Luke 7:36-50 (NIV)

I held the alabaster jar filled with ointment, caressing its smoothness. It was my most valuable possession and I felt compelled to offer it to Him. I had nothing else worthy to give the Son of God.

Son of God? That’s what He calls Himself. He must be – just look at all the miracles He has done. No one else can heal the sick and even raise the dead like He does.

Taking a deep breath for courage, I walked to where He sat and knelt beside Him. The strength of His presence pierced my heart, like sunlight shining into a shadowy room. It illuminated the stark sinfulness of my heart; the bitter wounds and fears I had never shared with anyone.

I suddenly saw myself in all my wretchedness. My heart was dark, shadowed and evil, next to His shining brightness. Scenes of my anger, hatred and bitterness flashed before my eyes.

My tears began to flow so fast I couldn’t stop them, spilling onto His feet. Mortified, I mumbled, “Master, forgive me. Please, forgive me.” I wanted Him to forgive me for allowing my tears to fall on His feet, but somehow, I sensed He offered me more.

In my awkward discomfort, I groped for a cloth to dry the tears that soaked His feet. Finding none, I used my hair. Hope lay wounded within my breast. There could be no forgiveness for me, could there?

I was a sinner – that’s the way men like Simon looked at me –men who put their offerings in the temple coffers and left to brag about their “righteousness acts of charity” while the widow down the street from me paid her dues then struggled to feed her son. Men like Simon were worse than swine in my eyes.

Shame for my bitter attitude smote me. I felt His eyes on me as a sense of sadness and disappointment surrounded my heart, bringing a fresh onslaught of tears. My mind returned to my mission – to offer my gift to Jesus. Now more than ever, I wanted, no – needed - to offer my gift to Him, before Simon threw me out of His house. Or worse – before Jesus condemned me and shamed me publicly for my sins.

With trembling hands, I broke my alabaster box and began to massage the oil onto His tear-dampened feet. “Here, Lord,” I said softly. “This is for you. I have nothing else of value to offer. But You deserve so much more.”

Those around Him fidgeted and whispered, “Doesn’t He know what she is?” Though I heard their words and felt their condemnation, I silently prayed Jesus would accept my gift.

Afraid to look up and see the scorn in His eyes, I continued to massage the oil onto His feet.

“Simon,” I heard Him say. “Two men borrowed money from the same wealthy man. One borrowed five hundred denarii, and the other one borrowed fifty. When the wealthy man came to collect the debt, neither of them were able to pay him back, so he cancelled their debts. Which of them will love the man more?”

What could Jesus mean by this strange question? Keeping my head bowed, I held my breath and paused so I could hear Simon’s answer.

With great discomfort in his voice, Simon answered, “Probably the one who owed the most?”

“That’s right, Simon.” The answer Jesus gave Simon baffled me. “The one who’s forgiven the greatest will love the most.”

I closed my eyes and forced myself to breathe again. My perfume was gone, but I remained bowed by His feet, unable to move. He was beginning to teach. Any moment now I was sure He would send me away for my shameful demonstration.

His voice held a hint of rebuke as He spoke to Simon again, “You deliberately ignored the customs of hospitality when I entered your home. There is little love in your heart. But this woman has not ceased to wash my feet with her tears and dry them with her hair. She has anointed them with her precious perfume. Though her sins are many, they have been forgiven because of her great love for Me.”

His words kindled the hope for forgiveness in my broken heart, yet the battle of acceptance still raged because of the shame of my sins. Could His words really be true? I wanted to believe, but I was just a woman, a prostitute…

I struggled to still the trembling inside as He lifted my chin forcing me to look up into His eyes. I gasped, amazed because there was no condemnation there. “Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.”

It wasn’t my gift of an alabaster jar of perfume that touched His heart. I understand that now. It was my wounded soul freely poured out at His feet. He knew who I was and what I was. But in those precious moments, He met my deepest needs for acceptance and filled me with the fragrance of His love.

©2007 Bonnie Winters

The Fragrance of Love was originally part of a message I preached at a special service at Trinity Bible Church in Hagerstown, MD. It recently appeared in the online e-zine 4Him2U where I have a monthly column called Patches of Grace as well as other articles or stories each month. I’d love to have you join me. While you’re there, you can check out all the other great articles by my friends, the Sonrise Writers.

No more"don't imagine eating that" diets...

Most of you know I started a diet about 5 weeks ago. So far I've managed to lose about 10 pounds but have a long way to go!

One of the things that is so hard is dealing with the feeling that I have to give up some of the things I really like to eat. In the past whenever I tried dieting, I stopped baking desserts and making some of the foods I thought were "no-nos" for dieters.

Some of the other dishes my family enjoyed were from recipes my mother in law taught me how to make and without an accurate calorie count, well... they were banished from the list of edibles as well.

But this time around I've found some new fun tools to help make dieting not only fun but easier as well.

One of those Internet techie "toys" is a free recipe calculator - you just enter in all the ingredients from your favorite recipe and voila! You get an accurate calorie count along with other nutrition information. It's just like reading a label on a can in the grocery store.

Now I can take my mother in law's great blueberry cake and figure out the calorie count making it the way she always did or with a few lower calorie alternative ingredients like Splenda for the sugar, egg beaters or skim milk. It tasted just as good with the substitutions as the original recipe did so I thought I'd share it since Blueberries are in season.

Blueberry Cake

1 C. sugar (or Splenda)
3 T. Butter (I used Promise Margarine)
1 egg (or 1/2 C Egg Beaters)
2 C. flour
3/4 C milk ( skim milk works well)
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 pint blueberries

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, adding the blueberries last to prevent squashing them. Bake in a greased and floured 8" or 9" square cake pan. Bake at350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Makes 20 pieces.

Calorie Counting just got a lot easier!!!!!

Nutrition Facts (Diet version)
Serving Size: 1 serving

Amount Per Serving

Calories 83.3

Total Fat 1.0 g

Saturated Fat 0.8 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g

Cholesterol 0.2 mg

Sodium 72.7 mg

Potassium 48.1 mg

Total Carbohydrate 17.2 g

Dietary Fiber 0.6 g

Sugars 5.0 g

Protein 2.0 g

Vitamin A 1.9 %

Vitamin B-12 0.7 %

Vitamin B-6 0.6 %

Vitamin C 2.3 %

Vitamin D 2.2 %

Vitamin E 2.9 %

Calcium 4.3 %

Copper 1.3 %

Folate 6.1 %

Iron 4.0 %

Magnesium 1.2 %

Manganese 5.7 %

Niacin 3.9 %

Pantothenic Acid 1.8 %

Phosphorus 3.8 %

Riboflavin 5.3 %

Selenium 7.6 %

Thiamin 7.3 %

Zinc 1.2 %

You can find several recipe calcualtors online at" (the one I used)
Calorie-Count at

There are probably more - these are just a few to get you started.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Building a network of supportive friends


“The Christian life is a pilgrimage. At times the road is difficult and we get lonely. Sometimes we may get discouraged and consider abandoning the journey. It is at such times that God will place a friend alongside us. One of God’s most precious gifts to us is friends who encourage us and lovingly challenge us to ‘keep going.’ "

~By Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby ~

from their devotional book, Experiencing God

For those of us who have a hard time trusting, it's difficult to allow a friend to get close enough to help. Early in my life, I had friends, but none who knew me inside out and upside down. I just wouldn't let them get close enough to the real me. I even kept parts of myself hidden from the Lord - or at least I tried to!

That all changed when I finally realized my need for a spiritual healing and I sought help. Opening up the damaged parts of my life felt frightening at first, especially since I had kept all the hurt to myself for so long. But God knew I needed a friend - really a group of friends to encourage me and help me keep on through the healing process.

We met each week and shared what was on our hearts. For most of us, it was the first time we ever dared reveal the innermost parts of ourselves. It was simply too intimidating. But in the safety of the group, we learned to open up and share. The wonderful thing was that each of us had experienced a similar hurt in our lives so we could empathize with the others. It was a strengthening experience to reveal the darkest parts of myself and know my friends still loved me unconditionally.

One of the things that experience taught me was how to form more new friendships - to build a support network of people who would love me in spite of my flaws. This support network also helps hold me together during the stressful times; they help me stay accountable and open rather than receding inside myself again.

Let me share some things I learned about building these supportive friendships:

1. Always pray! God knows when you feel lonely or sad and He will send His Spirit alongside you to help and encourage. He will be the friend you need no matter what When you are able to trust Him, He will bring others to you who you can trust. He desires us to overcome our trust issues and learn to be vulnerable with each other as well as with Him.

2.. Not everyone is safe to share your innermost secrets with. While I do need to share to remain healthy, I can't just blindly trust everyone I meet. I need to build those relationships slowly over time testing each step.

I remember one time in particular when I needed to talk to someone so badly to help alleviate the inner pain I felt. There was one woman in particular who seemed to be a motherly person and I thought she would become a real encourager for me.

Rather than keeping my confidence, she told her husband everything I said, who in turn condemned my husband's faith and calling into the ministry. They eventually left the church and I felt devastated for having shared my hurts with this woman.

3. Start by sharing smaller things in confidence - thing that won't matter if your friend "tells" another person. By sharing inconsequential things first, you can test the waters to see if this friend will truly keep your confidences no matter how big or small. Once you know they are trustworthy, you can start sharing the more hurtful parts of your life.

4. Reciprocate the trust. When you find a person you can talk to, be a true friend to them as well. You learn more about trusting by being trustworthy yourself. They will have lonely times when they need your prayer, your listening ear and support.

5. Build a network of several friends who can help you with different problems. Don't allow one friendship to become mutually exclusive. This can be dangerous for you as well as your friend.

I am so thankful for the friends God has brought across my path. Some of them are only there for a time, others for a lifetime, but each one has played a special part in my life. They are truly God's most precious gifts to me, encouraging me and challenging me to keep on going, no matter how tough the road.


If you'd like to participate today, just write about the quote on your blog site, then leave your URL below. Be sure to stop by some of the other participants to check out their take on th quote and leave them a comment too!

Three year old logic

What a joy to have my little grandson visiting for a few days over the July 4th weekend. It's always a fun thing to see life from a three year old perspective.

Being a light sleeper, I try to remove my dog's collar at night because he likes to shake his head to hear his tags jingle.

The first morning Avery was here, he saw me fastening Oreo's collar back around his neck in order to take the dog outside. I told my grandson I was getting ready to take my dog out for a walk and asked if he wanted to come too.

He nodded and asked in the wonderful way that only a three year old can, "Grammy, put Oreo's seat belt on?"

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fiction Friday - Candlewicking


Due to the holiday I was late posting today. I trust you had a blessed day with friends and family.

Beginning this week, I will be participating in the Fiction Friday meme hosted by Patty at Patterings. Be sure to visit Patty's site and check out more great fiction on her site as well as the sites of the other participants!


by Bonnie Winters

“Moving is so hard for me.” Helena boxed up the remaining items she wanted to take with her into the senior apartment complex.

“I know. With my Dan in the military, I’ve moved a lot too. I always manage to leave something behind.” Carrie laughed as she taped up the box of mementos for her elderly friend. “Hey! You forgot to pack this neat tablecloth.”

“No, I didn’t forget. I’ve decided to send it to the Salvation Army with the rest of those things over there.”

The younger woman spread out the pristine white cloth across the bed. She examined the intricate rose pattern created with white thread in a series of small knots. A smaller rose in the same style adorned each corner. “Wow, this is handmade! It looks like someone put a lot of work into this piece. Whose initials are these? C. H. S.?”

“Please, just put it in the box.” The older woman’s British accent thickened and her tone had a bitter edge to it.

Carrie frowned as she refolded the cloth and placed it in the designated box. She knew better than to pursue her curious line of questioning. When Helena got upset, she closed up tighter than a clamshell.

“I’m sorry, Dearie. I didn’t mean to snap. I guess this move just has me worn out.”

She felt her friend’s hand on her arm and turned, putting on a bright smile. “It’s okay, Helena. I’m just glad you didn’t have to do all this by yourself. Here, I’ll go ahead and put this box in the trunk of my car. I can stop at the Salvation Army on my way home.”

When she returned, her friend had a cup of tea and a plate of cookies set out. “I really do appreciate your help. At least I’ll be ready when those nice young men come tomorrow. How can I ever thank you for arranging for their help?”

“They’re from my church, Helena – a part of our Eldercare ministry group. They do all sorts of things from mowing grass to replacing light bulbs for our seniors. I’m sure they are happy to help.”

The older woman grimaced. “Well, maybe I can give an offering to the church.”

“That’s not necessary. I know things are tough for you. But maybe you could come to church with me sometime?”

Once again, Carrie realized she struck a nerve as her friend’s face clouded. She smiled and changed the subject as she sat down to enjoy the refreshments. When the last crumb disappeared, she said, “Well, I have to go. My babysitter has an evening class at college. I’ll see you tomorrow when the guys get here.” She kissed her friend on the cheek and raced out the door.

Later that evening, Carrie realized she had forgotten to drop the Salvation Army box off on her way home. She walked out to the trunk and lifted the lid. Pawing through the box, she removed the tablecloth and took it inside, mentally reminding herself to tuck a cash donation inside the box.

“What’s that?” Dan asked as she spread it out on their dining room table.
“Oh, I was over at Helena’s house today. Remember, I told you she’s moving into Rosewood – that new Senior citizen complex?”

Her husband nodded.

“Well, she was going to donate this to the Salvation Army. Can you believe it? Look how great it is on our table. And I think it’s handmade.” She pointed at the knotted initials.

He studied the letters. “Well the ‘H’ could stand for Helena. What’s her last name?”

“Smith.” Carrie became thoughtful. “But I think she changed it when she came to live in the States. I don’t know what it was before. Do you really think she’s C.H.S?”

“Quite possibly.” Dan grinned. “I’m sure you’ll find out all about it. I know how you love a mystery.”

She tossed her blonde braid over her shoulder and sniffed in mock exasperation. “Humph!” But not wanting to soil the lovely piece, she folded it up and stuck it in her buffet drawer.

Something about the tablecloth piqued her interest. She booted up her computer to do some research after the boys were in bed that evening. “Look, Dan! I found out what type of stitching this is on the tablecloth. It’s called ‘candlewicking’ because they used the same type of cotton thread used to make candlewicks. It says here it was popular in England and some families had their own unique patterns that they handed down for generations.” She shook her head in disbelief. “How sad! If this was a family heirloom belonging to Helena, why was she willing to give it away?”

Carrie planned to ask her friend about it the next morning when she helped her move, but her four-year-old developed a fever during the night and she decided to stay home She called Helena to apologize.

“Don’t worry so much. The young men are here already and you have helped me label everything. I won’t have any trouble putting things away in my new apartment.” With a cheery goodbye, the older woman hung up.

Between taking care of a sick child and getting things ready for the church booth at the upcoming community festival, she forgot about the tablecloth. By Saturday, Justin was feeling better. Carrie’s fresh-baked apple pies sat on the counter in the kitchen, cooling.

Good I’m right on schedule. Oops! I forgot a cover for the table. Our goodies always sell better when the table looks nice. She grabbed a ceramic pitcher and ran outside to cut some fresh flowers. Hmmm. I know! I can put a piece of plastic over Helena’s tablecloth. It will make the perfect background for all our confections.

Pleased with her idea, Carrie hurried to park the car and unpack everything. Soon the table was laden with brownies, cookies, cakes and pies of every description. The tablecloth wasn’t really showing… but it was a nice idea.

About one in the afternoon, a white-haired gentleman strolled past the table. She thought he was checking out the goodies, but he didn’t stop to buy anything. About an hour later, he strolled by again, running his fingers lightly over the plastic cover on top of the tablecloth. He paused at the corner of the table and bent down to admire the rose pattern. As he walked away, she noticed he stepped behind a table at a nearby antique booth. She caught him glancing at the tablecloth several more times as though searching for something.

When she finally got a break at 2:30, Carrie strolled over to his antique booth. With her curiosity brimming over, she confronted the elderly gentleman. “I notice you keep staring at our church’s table. Is there something I can bring over for you?”

“No. No, thank you.”

She noticed his heavy Austrian accent.

“Well, then, may I ask what you keep looking at?”

His face reddened. “The tablecloth. Does it belong to someone from your church?”
“Yes. It’s mine. Why do you ask?”

“I am interested in hand-stitched linens. I occasionally purchase fine pieces like yours to resell with my antiques. Would you consider selling it to me?”

“Oh, I couldn’t.”

“Not even for… say… $100?”

“I’m sorry. Not for any price.” Carrie’s voice rose as an angry flush climbed up her neck. “I wouldn’t dream of selling my tablecloth. It belonged to a friend of mine.”

The man’s voice softened. “If your friend was willing to give it away, perhaps she didn’t realize its value.”

“Is that all you care about? Some things are worth more than money!” She turned to go, biting her lip so she wouldn’t cry at the man’s callousness. But she stopped when she felt his hand on her arm.

“I’m sorry I have upset you. Please sit here. Let me tell you a story. Then you will know why I wanted to purchase your cloth.”

A tear puddled in the corner of his eye. “I knew someone once who created beautiful candlewicking needlework like that. I thought of her when I saw your tablecloth.” He reached up quickly to swipe away the tear. “For years I have purchased fine needlework, hoping someday I would find one she created, and perhaps find her as well.”

“Who is she and why are you looking for her?” Carrie didn’t bother to hide her tears. Her heart broke at the sadness she saw in the old man’s eyes.

“My wife.” He choked on the emotions behind his softly spoken words. “It was during the war. Things were becoming more unsettled, so I sent my wife to live with her sister. In the night, my Jewish neighbors came to my home as they fled from the Germans. But they were followed. The Germans shot them right in front of me and arrested me for helping them. I was sent to prison. After the war, I couldn’t find my Christine. I searched and prayed all these years but God has not answered my prayers. I do not believe I will ever find her now. It has been too long.”

Putting her arms around the old man, she held him while he sobbed. At last he pulled away, drawing a threadbare white linen handkerchief from his pocket. As he blew his nose loudly, Carrie noticed the initials “K. S.” embroidered in white thread, the kind used in making candlewicks.

“May I ask what your name is, sir?”

He breathed heavily, turned his lips upward in a wobbly smile under his white goatee. “Forgive me for not introducing myself properly. I am Klaus Schmidt. And you?”

“My name is Carrie Dougan. Please, Mr. Schmidt. I would like to show you something.” She reached for the man’s hand and led him to the back of the church table, ignoring the stares of her co-workers.

“There are some initials here – ‘C. H. S.’ Does that mean anything to you?”

The man’s face paled, his voice a mere whisper. “Christine Helena Schmidt. My Christine…”

“I know her as Helena Smith – she said she changed her name when she moved here to the States. Is your Christine…British?”

Tears welled up in the man’s eyes once again, a look of wonder crossing his face. “My Christine…”

A nervous Klaus loosened the knot of his tie as he stood at the polished wooden door of the Rosewood Senior Complex apartment. He raised his hand to knock. In his other hand, he clutched a bouquet of red roses.

Carrie watched silently, praying and praising God as He trimmed the damaged wick of sorrow from two hearts and lit it with His joy.

© 2006 by Bonnie Winters

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Have a dip cook-off at your next women's group meeting

Monday evening we had a fun get together for our women's group.

We carpooled to our group leader's home to help her make wedding favors for her upcoming wedding reception - little pill boxes made from pale yellow cardstock and stamped with royal/navy blue wedding stamps. After the boxes were stamped and assembled, a ribbon accent was added. She will stuff them with small candy treats near the wedding date.

Of course, we couldn't work so hard without a snack, so we had a "Dip Cook-Off." Each of us brought our favorite dip recipe to sample while our hostess provided an assortment of crackers and pretzels. The "winners" of the dip contest would be featured on the refreshment table at our group leader's reception.

A yummy assortment of dips appeared on her counter including a crab dip, 2 kinds of spicy buffalo chicken dip, cheese logs, a fruit dip and honey mustard dip. They were all so good, I thought I'd share a few here.

Honey Mustard Dip

I found this recipe a few years ago when I needed to make a dip for a party and had no sour cream. It was so easy and tasted so good with pretzels, cheese and summer sausage that I've made it for all my parties. It can be made in any quantity using the following recipe:

One part mustard - brown spicy, Dijon or yellow - you can mix them if desired.
One part honeyTwo parts mayonnaise - you can substitute Miracle Whip, or the low fat varieties to cut the fat and calories

Mix together and serve.

Crab Dip
I had never tasted this one before, but thought it was excellent.

Soften 1 package of Cream cheese and mix with 1 package of crab meat. Spread in the bottom of an aluminum pizza pan and top with your favorite cocktail sauce.

So easy and tasty.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
I'm not sure if this is the recipe used by one of our ladies, but it sounds like the dip she made. I love the heat to this one and could easily go overboard with it.

2 pounds of chicken breasts
Frank's hot sauce - 12 oz bottle
2- 8 oz packages or one 16 oz package of cream cheese
1 - 16 oz bottle of Ranch dressing
8 oz. of your favorite cheese grated (sharp cheddar, Jack cheese, etc.)

Cook and shred chicken. Mix all ingredients and place in crock pot (a small one quart crock pot works great for this dip) and heat on low until ingredients are melted and heated through. Serve warm.

Do you have a favorite (and easy) dip recipe to share? I'm always on the lookout for things to try at church gatherings!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Life is like a good mystery...


Today's Quote is:
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out -plans to take care of you . . .” Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message)

We see the smoking gun; hear the footsteps running away...then we as the TV viewers are led on a merry chase through the rest of the story to find out the elusive answer to the most pressing question - Who done it?

A well crafted mystery story has twists and turns, drama and excitement, but in the end all the loose ends are tied back together and there is a feeling of satisfaction that all has ended well. The end may not be what the we expect, but all the questions have been resolved, the murderer has been identified and caught and life moves on again.

The ending of this story doesn't just happen, though. It takes careful planning. There are clues which point to the guilty person - subtle clues which are given to us right in the beginning and then throughout the rest of the story but at times they seem so insignificant we may over look them. When we reach the end, we realize the answer was there from the beginning. How could we have missed it? Yet we did miss those clues.

I often think God has a bend toward the mystery genre as He writes the stories of our lives. He has a master plot plan all mapped out and asks us to trust Him to make it all come together in the end. Just like in the mystery story, He brings things together piece by piece, event by event, never showing us the whole scene at once. But when we look back on an answered prayer or life event, we can see His fingerprints all over it from the small "coincidences" to the major miracles He does.

The older I get, the more amazed I am as I look back to see the things God has done in my life. He really did have a plan which included the people he brought across my path, my education, the events of my life - all of it! At the time when I went through things, I didn't always understand. I couldn't always put the pieces together, but later as I looked back, it all made Perfect sense.

And He's not done yet! He's still building on my life experiences and relationships so I can experience the abundant life He has for me as His child.

Lord Help me to trust your mysterious and wonderful plan for my life!


This week, Susan is hosting “In ‘Other’ Words” at her site, “Forever His“. Be sure to visit her site and the links to the other women who have shared on this quote.

If you'd like to play along, simply write about the quote on your site, then visit Susan and leave your URL in the Mr. Linky box at the end of her post.