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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Corona Virus COVID 19, Toilet Paper, Survival Mode and God

Now there's a post title I thought I would never write. Corona Virus, the COVID 19 strain, probably no longer needs an explanation. The fallout, however, is quite the story, right? What's up with the toilet paper? So for generations to come what will they say of us? 

"Wow," will they say, "because of our ancestors we know how to handle a world wide pandemic. Here's what they taught us ...," and the history book of our success is read by every future generation. Or will they remember us that we hoarded toilet paper, didn't help out our neighbors, looked out for only ourselves, and caused the market to crash like it has never crashed before?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened,  and do not  be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Here's something I found on the internet: COVID 19 stands for Christ Over Viruses and Infectious Diseases followed by Joshua 1:9.

To be honest, so far I think we're handling it pretty well, except it seems COVID 19 has turned 50 percent of us into hoarders. This is wicked, selfish, and ... dumb.

I'm not the best at math (actually I almost flunked it in high school) but if we all just shopped like normal (maybe one extra package of toilet paper etc.) we would all have our fair share, right?

Also, my thoughts as a Christian brings me back to the days when the children of Israel walked into the desert and wound up without food, and other necessities, I'm sure. God rained manna on them. The command was "take as much as you need for the day, no less, no more." If you didn't gather enough, that's ignorant and not wise, and if you hoarded too much it would rot in your mouth. Eeeeck. Do we trust God to supply our needs for the day? Maybe that's a hard lesson for you. Trust God in times like these? Buckle up that spiritual armor, you can do it.

You don't even have to leave the comfort of your home!

My Quiet Non-Panic List

1. Pray
2. Trust God
3. Love my neighbors
4. Use the common sense God gave me
5. Find alternative solutions
6. Order food from Hello Fresh or Sun Basket (They deliver. I use both and they are easy, amazing, and convenient more than ever in this time.)
6. Don't watch the news ... too much. Find encouraging bloggers and other social media people with wisdom, knowledge, and have creative ways to get us through this uncertain time.

I don't know where your brain went when this all broke out, but I'm looking for alternative solutions. Plenty of people out in this great world of ours have grown their own food, stocked up long before this pandemic with canned goods and other long-shelf-life items, and yes, made their own toilet paper. 

Personally, I would find old t-shirts, cut them up into nice-size pieces and place them in a bucket next to the porcelain throne. My people, the Dutch Indo, have long used other methods of washing. And living with two people who survived WW2, I've learned quite a number of interesting survival ways: Always have a bottle of water in the bathroom. It's called Chebot or Gayung. A bottle of water to clean your bottom! Who knew? Then you'll need those cut-up t-shirt pieces to dry, I suppose. Have another bucket (I'm certain the crafty ladies will make those buckets look pretty.) to put the discarded materials in. Or wash them and reuse. Before you say uuuwww, isn't that what we do with cloth diapers? Okay, enough of that. Here's directions on how to make your own toilet paper. 

It's not something I have time for but we might be forced to, I say that with a smile. We will need the sun's help and a lot of patience. 

How to Make Your Own Toilet Paper

1. The first step would be to remove as much ink as possible from the paper, by soaking it in a tub or a bucket. Afterwards take the paper and place it in a pot with leaves and grass which will help the fibers remain together. The pot should be filled with water so that it completely covers the paper and then left to simmer. It is important not to boil the water from the beginning so that the dry materials have a chance to absorb the water.

2. After an hour of simmering comes about half an hour of boiling at high temperatures. It’s ok to add more water if necessary. You will also need to remove the foam which begins to rise to the top, as this is mostly ink, glue and other materials you don’t want.

3. Eventually, the paper turns into a pulp. At this time you will have to remove the water but without disturbing the pulp. Try to remove as much as possible and then simply wait for it to cool before removing the rest of the water. The pulp also needs to be taken out in order to remove the water, but it should not be done so that the pulp becomes completely dry. Once this is done the pulp is put back in the pot and it is mixed with the softening oils. If you have it, you can also add Witch Hazel which will act as an anti-bacterial.

4. Once this step is complete, it is time to scoop out the pulp. Do it in chunks and place them on a towel or a cloth on a flat surface. Afterwards you will use a rolling pin in order to spread out the pulp in a thin layer. Try to make it as thin as possible. A mallet can be used to gently deal with any lumps that might appear.

5. Now another towel or cloth should be placed on top of the layer as to create a sandwich. On top of this place something flat and rigid and then something heavy. You can even walk on it if you want. The goal here is to remove all the excess water.

6. If this is done you can remove the items placed on top. Be careful with the second towel as you do not want it to stick to the pulp. In order to remove the towel on the bottom, you will have to flip it all upside down. Do not try to remove the pulp off the towel.

Then you are left with a big layer of thin paper which needs to dry in the sun. Afterwards all you have to do is cut it into pieces and you’ll have your DIY toilet paper.

Taken from Survivopedia

Nevertheless, check your pantry and see what you've stored for emergencies. You might surprise yourself. I did. Plus we Dutch Indonesians buy bulk simply because Indonesian food isn't available in our local supermarket so we stock up when driving into LA County. Soto Ayam anyone? That's a whole other post.

Stay calm, my friends, find solutions, and remember if we trust God in good times we can trust him through the storms? This is a big one for sure.

Friday, March 6, 2020

10 Books to Read for Easter

My ex-Mom-in-law started a wonderful tradition: reading a holiday-themed book at Christmas and Easter family gatherings. When the kids were old enough they each got their chance to read part of, or the whole book. Sadly that tradition ended for us, but perhaps when I am blessed with my own grandchildren one day, we'll pick up this wonderful traditional again. 

The following books are worthy of an Easter read. First on the list is one of my favorites, which we read before Easter Dinner,        The Tale of Three Trees 

1. The Tale of Three Trees by Angela E. Hunt,
illustrated by Jim Jonke
A strange and wonderful original telling of the Easter story from the unusual POV of the trees.

2. Benjamin's Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs by Melody Carlson, illustrated by Jack Stockman.Benjamin's Box gets children to interact with the story when a parent or teacher reads and asks questions about the objects found in the Box. Each object serves as a visual aid of the various parts of the real Easter story, making it easier for children to retain and retell. ~Julie Cave, former Managing Editor at Multnomah Press 

3. Six Hours One Friday: Chronicles of the Cross by Max Lucado

4. Jesus Calling for Easter by Sarah Young

5. The Golden Egg by A.J. Wood, illustrated by Maggie Kneen.            One of my favorites, though not about the Easter story, but liked by kids. It's a hidden-under-the-flap book with a beautiful colored egg under each flap ... and then a golden egg with chocolate inside! Kids love all the sparkling colors and surprise ending. ~Julie Cave

6. The Day Christ Died by Jim Bishop
One of the books that made a huge impression on me some years ago was, The Day Christ Died, by Jim Bishop. In this book, Mr. Bishop took his readers through what actually happened to Jesus' physical body during the crucifixion hours. I wept as I read it and was so moved by what our Savior endured that I read portions of it to the Sunday School class of young adults, The Jabez Group, that John and I were teaching at the time."Unforgettable" would be my one word review of this book. ~Author and playwright, Deanne Davis

7. The Crown by Deanne Davis 
This is a cleverly written short story told in first person, which I always find so hard to do. It's a gift Deanne has. This is a fresh and new-ish way to retell the story of Easter through the eyes of a Jerusalem reporter. 

8. The Shepherd's Gate by Sharon Pearson, 
illustrated by Julie Trainor

When The Shepherd's Gate arrived I read it to our four-year-old great-grandson. As I finished he announced, "You need to read to Brooke when she gets home." Brooke is preparing to enter second grade. He knows his sister loves to read and would find the book intriguing. Sharon Pearson's abilility to capture the young readers is demonstrated on each page and, enhanced by Julie Trainor's exciting illustrations. This will be a "keeper" in the family library, one the children will say, "Read it again. You know, the one about Toby." ~Children's author, Marilyn R. Woody.

9. Preparing for Easter: Fifty Devotional Readings from C.S. Lewis
Can't go wrong with this if you're a CS Lewis fan. And who isn't, right? These are taken from his essays and other classic writings.  
10. Blood On My Hands by Deborah L. Alten. (Free pdf. Not suitable for children fifteen and under) This is flash fiction about the aftermath of the crucifixion as remembered through the eyes of the man who hammered the nails into Jesus. Two bonus stories by Deanne Davis and Ginger Galloway included with poems and a coloring page and other surprises.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Happy National Pancake Day

OH happy day, It's National Pancake Day. Best day evvveerrrr. Well, I'm sure we can think of other good days, but it's a good day to post Mom's recipe for Pannenkoek (Dutch Pancakes). I guess they're more like crepes. Though I do love a good crepe there's just something about Mom getting up early in the morning, donning her apron, and waking us up with the smell of sugar, vanilla, and melting butter wafting through the morning air. Great memories. 



1 C. Flour
2 Eggs
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
1¼ C. Milk
Pinch of salt
Butter for frying


Mix ingredients, except butter, in large bowl. Batter will be thin. Melt a little bit of butter in medium non-stick frying pan. Take one scoop (medium to large soup ladle) of pancake batter and pour in middle of frying pan. The batter should cover pan. Turn over when it bubbles and bottom of crepe is slightly golden. Done! Serve with sugar, cinnamon mixture.

Other topping options: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries etc. Or try a drizzle of chocolate syrup, or your favorite jam. The possibilities are deliciously endless. 

Here's a bonus recipe ...

Pikelets aka Australian Pancakes

1 C. Self-rising flour
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp. bi-carb soda
½ C. Soured milk
3 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Egg
2 tsp. melted butter


Sift dry ingredients into a bowl; add sugar. Mix to a smooth batter with beaten egg, milk and butter. Heat and and grease a frying pan; drop heaped tablespoon of batter onto pan. Cook until bubbly on top and light brown underneath. Turn and cook other side. Serve cold with butter or jam and whipped cream.

To make sour milk, add one teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice to half a cup of fresh milk (sounds yummy, lol).

ps: Pikelets are usually smaller than the normal pancake. 

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Share our Dutch Pancake Recipe on Pinterest or anywhere else. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

How to Weather the Storm of Mental Illness

The following was originally titled "Stormy Weather" by my friend, Elizabeth Waters, a fellow caregiver. Elizabeth takes care of her son who battles mental illness. Sometimes we forget that caregivers take on many different situations. She walks us through the stormy weather of mental illness and how she finally learned to give it to God. 

Stormy weather was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul and reprinted here with permission. 

Stormy Weather

I was a calm person on the outside, but on the inside I battled stormy weather. The atmosphere in my home was turbulent and it kept me on edge. It made me anxious and nervous. I didn’t even want to come home after work.

I knew it wasn’t healthy to live this way but I couldn’t do anything to fix it. I had no control over the situation. I lived with a son with a mental disability and it affected his temper and emotions. At times Jacob could be perfectly normal and other times his explainable rage would shatter the peace in our home like a rock crashing through a window. 

It was not unusual to hear shouts of profanity in the middle of the night.

“Where is my cell phone!" I need to find it right now!” 

He would flip on the lights in our bedroom and demand we help him find it.

Then there were the times of dread—when I sensed upheaval was coming. I felt nervous while cooking dinner. There were not many things that he liked to eat. If I served something he didn’t like, he would insist I make a different dinner for him. And he would not give up on his request. He followed me around as I cleared the table and prepared to do the dishes. “You’re starving me!” For some peace, I would have to slip out the door and into my car and take a drive. 

I loved my son and I tried to do everything I could to keep the peace between us. He actually wanted to get along and would accept a hug and sometimes even apologize. My heart went out to him as I thought of the strong emotions he must wrestle with—and the friendships lost and the loneliness he must feel.

I felt lonely too. 

I could not easily go to my husband for support, because he was hurting too, and we did not always agree on how to handle Jacob’s issues. Our tempers would flare and leave us feeling distant from one another. 

When I’d share with my friends about my difficulties with Jacob, they didn’t know what to say to me. They would often respond: 

“I’d hate to have your life.”

“You are such an angel.”

“Kick him out!”

So I stopped talking about it. It was a hard thing to bear alone. On some nights I would log into my computer and search for forums—looking for anyone who might be going through a situation such as mine. I came across other voices crying out, only to find their comments were labeled “three years ago.” 

Deep down I knew the only person who really understood was God. He knew exactly what I was going through because he could look down and see me every day. I prayed and asked him for strength. I re-read his promise in the Bible, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” 

Not long afterwards, a well-meaning friend reminded me that living under constant stress could do serious damage to my health.

“It can kill you.” 

Her words haunted me. I tried to shrug them off, but deep down I knew I had to change things. I lay awake at night and worried about it. I had to take care of myself. But how? 

I knew I couldn’t kick my son out. He would not be safe walking the streets. As I contemplated and prayed, a thought drifted into my consciousness.

Accept your situation. You need to accept it as part of your life.

But I did not want to accept the fact that my loved one might never recover. Nor did I want to accept that my life would never be quite “normal.” And I wasn’t ready to accept the possibility of my family member living with me the rest of my life.

But the more I thought about it, I knew what I had to do. I had to face reality. And I had to make the best of it. 

And so, one day at a time I began accepting the situation. As soon as I changed my attitude, I felt myself relax. I didn’t need to fight my circumstances anymore. I didn’t need to wallow in self-pity. I didn’t need to compare myself with others.

This situation was not going away. It was part of my life and I would have to work with it and learn to work around it. 

My priority should be thankfulness. So I began to thank God for everything that was right in my life, even if it was just the purple pansies blooming in my garden—or an affectionate lick from the dog.

Second, I made sure I carved out some time for myself. At first I wasn’t sure what to do. I was so accustomed to focusing on my son that I had forgotten about the activities I had once enjoyed. I heard a voice in my thoughts: Go back to your roots—what have you always enjoyed since you were a child? Warm memories of playing the guitar, writing, hiking, and tennis filled my mind and lifted my spirits. 

Today, I spend, a few hours a week doing at least one of these activities. And if that time doesn’t work out, because of an emergency, I don’t sweat it. My life will have emergencies, and I will get through them.

The days are better now, because I look forward to “me” time and I’m becoming more aware of my blessings. In addition, I don’t feel so alone anymore. I’ve joined a support group NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) for people who live with loved ones with mental disabilities. My husband and I are doing better, and every day God gives me new strength.

I wish I could say things have improved with my son. But it’s hard to tell. On some days the skies are clear, and on other days the weather is wild. But there is one thing I do know. If I take a deep breath, relax, and accept my situation, life gets better—both for me and for my loved one.

392x72 ; 8/9/16

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Review of Rakuten And Does It Benefit the Caregiver

Have you seen the commercials? Rakuten is easy peazy cash back, enough to pay for Christmas presents. Well, I'll admit, it is pretty good. Will we get rich though? I doubt it, but hey ... cash back from stores where you shop already? That sounds good, right? Is Rakuten worth it? Quick answer: yes ... so far. 

What we're looking for as caregivers is how to simplify life, stay joyful, and save dollars. We don't need another online program to join that might take away precious time and perhaps money, and add yet another tasty or sour morsel to our plates? Trust me, I'm trying to work this online business thing out myself so I waited to join Rakuten only to find out, when I finally went to their website, I had already joined four years ago. Say what?

Needless to say, I had zilch in that account but decided to see what the fuss was about and start using it. 

Go figure, it works. In two days I've made, wait for it ... $2. Okay, okay, not the gazillions they're talking about ... yet. Nonetheless, I'm determined to make this work, yes I am, simply because it was free to join and I'm curious.

Join here, if you would, because like everything else online they have an affiliate program. Getting the word out seems extremely important to them. So there you have it.

I assume the reason why I've made a measly couple of dollars thus far is because I've only shopped at Walmart where I ordered a few supplies like toilet paper, bird food, and those unmentionables for Dad. Rakuten gave me 2 percent of my total bill. Think about that though, I always shop online at Walmart and never received 2 percent back and depending on the day (like a holiday) the percentage could go higher.

My family depend on meal kits like Hello Fresh and never knew Rakuten pays back $10, and even $30 on New Year's Eve. Oh my! If only we had known. If I receive $10 back per week I can now pay off my daughter's Christmas present ... almost.

What's nice, of course, it's free to join. Then you add the Rakuten app, which is an extension on your browser. It's quick and easy and so far no problems for me. 

Yes, I confess, I'm sold on Rakuten. I'm actually a little too excited about it. I need to chill because, you know, this will translate into bugging my family and friends so they join. I have bills to pay therefore, I'll be a bug for a while. I truly believe they'll be excited about it as well. 

Quite frankly why isn't everyone using this? You shop like you usually do—Walmart, Target, Kohl's, Ulta, Bed Bath and Beyond, Amazon, a bazillion other stores and get money back. For caregivers this is one easy, yes peazy, way to earn some of that hard-earned cash back. There's no anxiety to it, as Rakuten will let you know how much you can earn every time you visit a site. 

I just went to the Hobby Lobby site for a little research, and even though they have a 40 percent sale going on right now, you still get 2 percent back from Rakuten. Win win!

Payment is quarterly (every three months) and you must have $5 in your account. That seems like no problem. Of course, I haven't been paid yet. I will update this post as soon as I do.

This was a quick and short review. Hope you join me, it's not necessary, of course, but I'm all about finding simple ways to bring savings and joy to our everyday days. Peace, Love, Joy, and Sappiness to you ALL.

Join Rakuten Here

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Welcome to 2020, New Beginnings, And the Joys of Caregiving

FREE January Download

Welcome to 2020. January begins a new month, a new year, and a new decade. 

It's January 3rd already? I started writing this blog post on the first. Ah, such is the life of a caregiver. It was a boring 3 days anyhow. Nothing special to write about unless, of course ... well, it is worth mentioning that I've set down some new rules, some guidelines ... um, I mean suggestions. Suggestion number one: We should start praying before our meals again. 

What? You say. Yes, I'm afraid I got spiritually lazy. In my defense, it takes hard work to get Dad to the table. Sad to say, but directions fall into that black hole of his mind after 3 seconds. Then just when Mom sits down, she decides that this is the perfect time to make her bed, gather clothes for laundry, and look for her cup of water. Oh, I'm telling you, this year I will remain joyful and calm even while breakfast gets cold and, alas, we forget to pray. No longer! No, Lord, we will remember to give thanks.

So Dad comes alive for a few seconds and prays—a short, sweet, simple prayer of thanksgiving. And we do have a lot to be thankful for. But sometimes, the praiseworthy things are lost in the "how are we going to manage this?" thing. 

2020 is a do-over for a lot of us. I see it as another second-chance, refreshed, redeemed, revived by Jesus. That's chance number gazillion for me—I'm living out life on borrowed time, my friends. Swimming in that ocean of Grace and Mercy. And he's glad to give me the extra days. How 'bout you? 

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. ~Isaiah 43:19 

This morning I was delighted to see that Mom and Dad had dressed themselves, ready to go at 6:30 a.m. to bring my daughter to the train station. The air was fresh, the sky was blue, no traffic on the freeway, everyone was in a great mood, and San Bernardino Train Station is beautiful. In my hurry to secure the dog, I forgot to take pictures. My daughter sent me one of Union Station in LA to let me know she made it safely. I always appreciate that. (btw, did I mention I now am the caregiver of three. Yes, it's true, our precious husky now has diabetes, and is blind. It happened so fast.)

Union Station in Los Angeles
In any case, on the way home I realized how much both Mom and Dad were enjoying this short road trip. They took in all the scenery as if they'd never been this way before. They had, but those memories fade. So I let them enjoy the new-ness of it all. If a trip down the freeway (Thank the Lord the drive on the 10 through Redlands and Beau-mont is quite pretty) brings them joy, then why can't I rest in that? Indeed, I think I will. 

“It is not settled happiness but momentary joy that glorifies the past.”C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
Close to home now, we visited their most favorite place in all the world ... McDonald's. The simplicity of this astounds me. An Egg McMuffin, a cup of iced coffee, sometimes yogurt (I'll try fruit next time), and sneak in extra fries and joy comes in the morning. Blood pressure, perfect; blood  sugar, okay. We're good for the rest of the day. Wait, it's nap time. Thank God!! There are blessings in this everyday day of a caregiver. 

SidebarI asked Mom the other day in my attempt to bring good spiritual habits back, if she could still read? Her eyes are bad and I do need to get her tested for new glasses, but I suggested she read out loud the devotional I had read for 2019 by Joni Earickson Tada called More Precious Than Silver.
She hesitated at first, thinking she couldn't do it. Deciding the better choice she opened the book and lo and behold she got super excited ... and she was only reading the foreword and copyright pages. When she finally arrived at the devotional part both she and Dad began to smile, filled with joy that this was something they could still do. The Word of the Year is Joy!

Would you pin this post? Immeasurably appreciated. 
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Spring Chapel 60 piece puzzle for dementia and Alzheimer patients

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Happy New Year Everyone
Be Refreshed, Redeemed, Revived

Thursday, December 26, 2019

2020 Word of the Year and How I Found Mine

I've never had a Word of the Year before, I guess I never found the right word, or a phrase perhaps. Maybe I didn't think about it much. But this word kind of fell into my lap; This word my friend, Julie, pointed out for me. Tada! My 2020 Word of the Year is ... JOY! 

It's part of The Caregiver's Devotional's slogan: Love, Peace, JOY, and Sappiness. These words can bring life to a caregiver, yes, even sappiness. Love, Peace, and JOY will walk us through a lot of dark places, like Anger, the Battle Zones of our minds, and Hopelessness. 

Julie gave me a journal for 2020, which I will fill with stories of JOY. Even though we caregivers cry sometimes, for no apparent reason, there is always hope and a chance for true JOY. Maybe we shouldn't look for it, maybe we should ask Jehovah Tsidkanu for it.

Julie and I studied Philippians together and I mentioned that this is a book of Joy for me. "Why," we asked. It's written by Paul when he was in prison, chained to a Roman soldier. But almost every verse is filled with JOY.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. ~Philippians 1:3-6

It's long been my favorite book and I would recommend every caregiver to read it through over and over. It's pure JOY I tell ya! And Paul didn't find JOY under a Christmas tree. He had it while chained, mistreated, isolated, and separated from people, people he needed to spread the Good News to. 

But because the God of peace, Jehovah-Shalom, was with him, he experience that unspeakable JOY. I mean, think on these things as we take care of the everyday days in our care-giving journey.

Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and heard,and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. ~Philippians 4: 8, 9

Waking up this morning to the sound of hard rain and a sight of gloomy grey clouds, I said a quick prayer before my feet hit the floor and thanked Elohim for the rain, another day, and that life can now get back to normal—Caregiver normal that is. I remembered my Christmas presents and realized either my family and friends had read my "2019 Gift Guide for Caregivers," or everyone bought gifts for each other with exactly that individual in mind. We get each other. My family and friends are a JOY to me. 

I smiled as I brought my presents to my room and was grateful that my friend, Julie, had chosen JOY for me. Every one of her gifts, down to the tin can, which I will use for prayer requests, and Almond Joy was carefully planned out with that theme ... JOY. I'm still smiling.

2020 Word of the Year is JOY

Will you have a Word of the Year for 2020? 
Would you let me know what it is, 
and why, or perhaps how, you chose it?

The joys of after Christmas Sales