Monthly Archives: May 2019

This Same Jesus


This is a devotional concerning Jesus the day He left and how he may come back. The same Jesus Who fed the multitudes, made the blind to see, and calmed the storm left His disciples standing on a mountain as He disappeared into a cloud. This cloud pictured above was over our house one day and I grabbed my camera, nothing to compare with what is to come but, all the same, “breathtaking”!!! I took this picture when our roof was in disrepair from a storm. We may be in “disrepair,” too, but He will still come!

Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:1

It had to be breathtaking. He was there talking to them and then He lifted off the ground and rose before their eyes disappearing into a cloud. These men of Galilee had already had their breath taken away over and over just in the last forty days. The empty tomb. Jesus fully restored, scars in hands and feet. Jesus appearing through a closed door. Jesus at the seashore making breakfast. Now Jesus gives them last instructions–and disappears into a cloud!

They stared upward, shading their eyes, still trying to catch a glimpse of His robe, his scarred feet. This man Jesus had eaten with them, slept with them, walked long miles with them, and talked long hours, wept and laughed with them. Even knowing now that He is the Son of God, the resurrected Savior, they can’t fathom how it has come to this–that He can just leave them all standing up on this hill.

Can you imagine the stillness? “Jesus blessed them,” Luke says, “and while He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven.” I imagine there was no sound after His dear voice faded away.

But then–“two men dressed in white stood beside them.” Before those trembling disciples even had time to take in what has happened, before the shock set in, there were messengers straight from the Lord Himself. Later they will remember and try to follow Jesus’ every instruction, to be His witnesses around the world, but right now they need comforting. Right now they need to know this one big wonderful fact: Jesus will come back the same way He left. They don’t know when but they know He will return.

The same is true for us today. We don’t know when. But we know He is coming. And because of that don’t we, too, need to follow His instructions to be witnesses? Have you yet imagined what it may be like when He comes down through the clouds “the same way” He left? “The dead in Christ will rise first,” according to Paul in I Thessalonians 4:16, and then those believers who are still alive will be “caught up with them in the clouds.” (17) We don’t know which of those groups we’ll be in, the dead in Christ, or those still alive, but if we’ve trusted in Jesus and Him alone to save us, we will be in one of those groups. Wow! Talk about breathtaking!

Lord, I look forward to That Day!



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Tulips and An Old Windmill


You don’t have to go to the Netherlands to see a working windmill….

Holland, Michigan is a small town that has become famous nationwide for its beautiful tulips. Growing lavish displays of tulips each year is a community effort. I’d love to be there when everyone is out taking up the bulbs at the end of a season or putting them back in. But we were there during blooming time and what could really be any better than that? In certain areas, such as Windmill Garden Island and Tulip Lane, there are so many red, pink, yellow, peach, orange, and blue tulips, as well as variegated blooms, one simply has to gasp at the sight.

But, then, we were expecting to see bright tulips. We had read about them and decided to include Holland in our trip. What we hadn’t expected was the wonderful opportunity of climbing to four of the five levels in the oldest working windmill in the U.S., two hundred and fifty-one, in fact, and itself an immigrant.

Holland is not as old as de Zwaan (The Swan) Windmill.

Holland, Michigan, was settled, not surprisingly, by the Dutch in 1847. Dutch Calvinist separatists led by Dr. Albertus van Raalte left the Netherlands hunting a better life and freedom. Harsh conditions confronted them but they were hardy and persistent. They wouldn’t give up though snow banked their houses, there was little to eat, and illnesses bombarded them. The fact that now there are two five-generation businesses in town as well as several four-generation establishments speaks of the tenacity and grit of these Hollanders. They are proud of their history as U.S. citizens but also proud of their roots in the Netherlands.

Their pride in their roots, I think, led them to aspire to bring a working windmill from the Netherlands to Holland, Michigan in 1964.

It wasn’t easy. The Netherlands had relatively few windmills left, largely because of World War II. The government had made a decision not to let any more be taken for any reason. But requests from Michigan citizens Carter Brown and Willard Wickers finally persuaded them to let de Zwaan Windmill go to Holland, Michigan. There were two promises, though, to be kept. One of their own millers should be allowed to spend six months setting it up and teaching a miller how to operate it in its new location, and it was to remain a working windmill open to the public. Of course it cost money, too, about $450,000. Dick Medendorf, a third generation miller and millwright, was the one who supervised the move. It was transported in 7,000 pieces and reassembled on a base constructed for it on what is now Windmill Garden Island.

All this and more we learned from a wonderful costumed lady guide who led us up to the fourth of five levels explaining the history and working of the windmill as she went. She even showed us how the huge millstones, powered by wind, could be set to produce different types of flour and meal from hefty bags of grain hoisted by pulleys up through the center of the mill to the top level where they would be fed into the gristmill. She also showed us how the gears could be reset periodically to receive the current wind for the most productivity. And she told us about Alisa Crawford, the resident miller, the first and only woman in the world to be Dutch-certified as a miller.

Alisa, even at thirteen, was “turned on” to the excitement of history. Degrees in history later she became so interested in the history of Holland that she wanted to be a part of passing it on. She also loved grinding wheat into flour. Realizing that as a miller she could demonstrate history and keep it alive, she determined she would go to the Netherlands and take the two year study to become Dutch-certified. Now she is working daily with her two loves, history and milling. I am so interested in this young lady who chooses to live in the past, that I plan to do another blog on her alone. Anyone who wakes up every morning listening to the wind to know how her day will go has to be interesting!


Tulip time in Holland, Michigan

From the top of the 125-foot windmill we looked down on acres of tulips, on townspeople setting up tents for the beginning of the tulip festival the next day, and on the lake and river surrounding this Windmill Island.

Before we left the town of Holland, we ate lunch at the Windmill Restaurant and drove down Tulip Lane. We tried unsuccessfully to find some flour ground at de Zwaan. It would be on sale the next day, we were told.

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Petoskey Stones



The beautiful cold shore of Lake Michigan

I probably would not have known to look for Petoskey stones had Sally Whitfield not told me about them and shown me a picture before we left for Michigan. Our first stop in Michigan was at Charles’ brother Ronnie’s in Adrian. His wife, Diane, learning of my interest in these unusual stones, plucked one from her collection to show me. It was a wonderful brown freckled stone reminding me of a special hen’s egg.

Charles, his sister Revonda, and I arrived in Boyne Falls, Michigan on Friday, April 26. On Saturday we started out to discover Petoskey, a lakeshore town twenty miles away. Hopefully, we might even find at least one Petoskey stone.

We laugh at my sister Jackie for describing the weather as “bitterly cold.” To her, it’s never just cold, it’s bitterly cold. But, believe me, that day in Petoskey, April 27, was bitterly cold. We were wearing double layers, but still not enough since we couldn’t believe it would be that cold. We did have on hats and scarves and Revonda had her gloves. I’d forgotten mine. The wind whipped us in the face like a horse’s tail as we scrambled from the car to see what we could see. Since cruising along the lakeshore had not revealed to us any good place to walk on the beach, and since it was so cold, we decided to browse in the gift stores in the quaint little town.

In “Grandpa Shorty’s” we found Petoskey stones. They had both polished and “raw” stones from the sixty-mile stretch of Lake Michigan’s shore where, particularly after the spring thaw, they can be found. We learned they are fossilized coral, some striped almost like swirled chocolate candy, others spotted like leopards. We were told that, were you to crack one open you would find where multiple creatures had lived inside. These are thought to be remnants of a time when that part of the world was under ocean water.

Yes, I bought some. This might be my only chance. I left the shop feeling smugly rich with my little bag of stones. But that wasn’t the end of our search for Petoskey stones.

As we drove around discovering more of the little town we found a stretch of beach in a park where we could actually walk on the rocky shore. Charles gallantly offered to let Revonda and me walk while he drove to the other end of the cove. Was he just being gallant or did he want to stay cozy in the car? We didn’t care, we were so delighted to get down to the shore.

It was still bitterly cold. Our layers of sweaters and coats felt like nothing in the biting wind. But we found such interesting stones worn smooth as silk by years of tumbling water. We weren’t finding Petoskey stones but we kept looking for them, like teenagers hunting a four leaf clover.

Clutching our stones in icy hands, exclaiming over one shaped like a shoe sole and another like a goose egg, we were shivering in the cold and heading for that warm car when, suddenly, I spied it.

A stone the size of a fat baked potato sat conveniently on a boulder near the water’s edge. It had the sure design of a Petoskey stone, the pattern of shaded spots like the back of some kind of turtle. I picked it up, looked around to see if someone were coming back for it, and then walked on feeling as if I’d just won the million dollar sweepstakes. I didn’t even offer to draw straws with Revonda over it. Actually, I think she may have been glad not to be the one hauling it out of there. It was pretty heavy.

Late that afternoon, back at our hotel, we all three enjoyed a luxuriating soak in a bubbling hot tub. The snowy slopes behind our hotel were fascinating but these South Georgia tourists were unashamedly wimps when it came to temperatures of “37, feels like 26.”

Of course we were ready the next morning for another adventure with added layers and good scarves and gloves.

For the rest of our journey a box of stones had to fit amongst the luggage.


My Petoskey stone

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“Doc” picking loquats

I love to make jelly, marmalade and preserves but I’m definitely a novice at making jam, especially loquat jam. But “the proof is in the pudding,” I think. So before I forget my recipe, I’ll tell you what I put in this delicious loquat jam, and the pain I went through to achieve this apple butter texture spread. Along the way, I’ll “jam” a little about other fruits.

First of all, for those who aren’t familiar with loquat fruit trees, here are a few facts and observations. The loquat is also known as Japanese plum. Trees, generally, are about fifteen feet tall at maturity and, in our area, seem to be basically ornamental trees. I’ve never seen a loquat orchard. The leaves are beautifully veined and are elegant like that of the magnolia, in fact about the size of magnolia minimum leaves. The leaves, a rich dark green, are a wonderful showcase for the marble-size orange fruit which grows in clusters of three to six.

I’ve never seen so many loaded loquats as we have in Grady County this year. We had a couple of trees at our home of forty-two years and never had enough fruit to have to wonder what to do with it. Our neighbor across the street here has a row of loquats along his back fence. I had not noticed in previous years his trees being loaded as they are now, gorgeous clusters of peachy orange fruit shining from amongst lush foliage. I enjoyed the sight every time I went to the mailbox, but considered they probably didn’t taste very good, equating them to the palm fruit that ripens later in the summer.

Here’s a deviation concerning the palm fruit. We had lots of palm trees at our former home that we very appropriately named Lane of Palms. All dozen trees were rich every year with great hanging boughs thick with fruit, like Caleb and Joshua’s cluster of grapes they brought from Canaan. The fruit wasn’t quite good enough to eat, we all decided, though the bees certainly loved it. A great branch would fall, the orange globes scatter on the ground, and the bees would go to work. Being a jelly maker, I reasoned that if little hard green sour crabapples and tiny hard seedy mayhaws made good jelly, surely this fruit that was “almost good” would be nice jelly material. By the time I cooked and processed that fruit and filled the jars, I was sick of the starchy sweet smell. The jelly was clear and pretty, a mellow goldy color. But none of us like it. I thought I would have to throw it away but was delighted to find neighbors and friends who really liked it. I gave away all six half-pints and never made anymore.

Back to the loquat.

This fruit, too, is a shade of orange like the palm fruit, and about the same size. But these are delicious! I ate one (after falling down the bank twice in an effort to take a good picture!) and immediately reached for another. My little granddaughter likes them too. By the time she finished snacking on them, there was a pile of pebble size seeds on the counter. For each loquat globe there are one to five of these seeds which look like some kind of jewel. It’s fascinating the way they pop out of their sweet hiding place when you bite into the fruit.

Henry, our neighbor, said take all the loquats we wanted. So we picked about two gallons. Then I began to consider how to make jam. We wanted to use the most of each little fruit, not just the juice. There is no recipe in the Sure Jell instructions for loquat jam or jelly. Looking online I found several but no good method I liked for processing the fruit. I ended up scalding them and peeling the tough peeling off, like peeling tomatoes. But it was still tedious. It was amazing how little fruit there really was after removing seeds and peeling.

I then liquefied the pulp in the blender. I was encouraged with the resulting slush which looked just like some of those highly healthy smoothies. I finally achieved four cups of product.

The taste of Japanese plum is compared sometimes to that of a peach, sometimes an apricot, or even an apple. I decided to treat it as an apricot. But I wasn’t satisfied with the initial taste I sneaked from the jelly pot so I added sugar, and then pineapple juice.

So–after all this jamming–here is my recipe:

About a gallon of loquats, fully golden, peeled, pitted, and liquefied to make 4 cups

1 Sure Jell packet

5 cups sugar

Juice of one lemon

1 cup pineapple juice

Heat loquat pulp in large pot along with Sure Jell, lemon, and pineapple juice. Let mixture come to a full rolling boil stirring constantly. Add premeasured sugar stirring constantly. When mixture comes again to a full rolling boil, continue stirring for one full minute. Remove from heat. Skim sludge from top (there wasn’t much!) and seal in hot jars.


The consistency of this jam, as I said before, is like apple butter and has a delightfully light taste. I may have to make more!


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