Archives for : August2015

Learning to Savor

Learning to Savor . . .

A number of years ago my husband and I visited Bryce Canyon National Park in southwestern Utah.  We felt dwarfed among towering rock spires and awed by the stunning beauty of it all.  Nearby I saw a little girl—maybe six years old—who was likewise amazed by all she was seeing.  Enthralled by the small loose rocks, she picked them up off the ground, examined each one in the palm of her hand, and marveled at their varied colors and shapes. 

“Sara, come on!” her mother shouted impatiently.  “We’ve got a lot of miles to drive today.”

My heart ached for wide-eyed Sara, who was savoring her surroundings to the fullest, immersing herself in the beauty of the place.  And I was frankly annoyed at the mother until I reminded myself that I had probably spoken those same words to my own children in the past:  “Come on, we’ve got a lot of miles to go today . . .”

A Hungarian proverb says, Who doesn’t appreciate the small things doesn’t deserve the big.


NOTE:  Sharon Sheppard will be teaching a seminar on Living in the Moment on October 3 at a Faith & Fellowship God Chicks Conference for women, hosted by Advent Lutheran Church in Maple Grove, MN.  If you are in the Twin Cities area, and would like to attend, email for additional information at




August is for Picnics

August is for Picnics

I enjoyed these quotes from the July/August 2015 Midwest Living:


Coolers, blankets and tunes for dance.

Lots of food and lots of ants.


The salad bowl just marched away.


From Ants at the Picnic, a 2006 children’s book by Minneapolis author Michael Dahl.


We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics.

Bill Vaughan, staff writer for the Kansas City Star.


And the ultimate picnic . . .

“As a kid, I was taught that if you opened the Bible in the middle you’d probably land on the book of Psalms, and near the middle is everyone’s favorite, the 23rd, with this line: ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.’

“I don’t know how many times I’ve read or recited this Psalm without pondering what that line actually means, but here is my take on it.  When things are a bit tense, when life is not boring at its best, then the potential for disaster is just around the corner, when your enemies are all around . . . that’s when God lays out the red-checkered picnic cloth and says, ‘Oooo, this is a nice place.  Let’s hang out here together for a while, just you and me.”

David Brazzeal, “Pray Like a Gourmet: Creative Ways to Feed Your Soul”





Old-Fashioned Baked Beans

For Your Next Picnic . . .

Old-Fashioned Baked Beans – The Easy Way


1 lb. ground beef                                         4 tbsp. molasses

1 lb. bacon, chopped                                  1 tsp. chili powder

1 onion, chopped                                        ¾ teas. pepper

½ c. catsup                                                    2 (16 oz.) cans red kidney beans

½ c. barbecue sauce                                   2 (16 oz.) cans pork and beans

1 teas. salt                                                     2 (16 oz.) cans butter beans

4 tbsp. prepared mustard                         2 tbsp. vinegar


Brown ground beef, bacon, and onion. Drain excess fat. Combine and add other ingredients, except beans; stir well. Add beans and combine thoroughly.

Bake for 1 ½ hours at 350®


Just Being Kids in 1954

Following is an excerpt from Mary Zigan’s new book, An Upside-Down Heart, which was published last month.  In keeping with our August picnic theme, she has selected the following vignette from Chapter Five of her memoir.


The Big Lake


Sundays in the summer after morning farm chores, we could hardly wait to head north. Heading North meant being at Grandpa and Grandma’s cabin on Mille Lacs lake along with other relatives. Usually, Sharon and I would be singing in the car all the way because our first stop was the little community church in Cove Bay.  When we walked into the church–typically, about 15 people made up the congregation—invariably somebody would say, “Here come the Sorensen sisters.  That’s our music for today.” We would proudly sing one or two hymns.

Mother would always bring food to the lake in order to add to everyone else’s supply in the family. One thing we kids dreaded was the “one hour wait after lunch to go swimming” restriction. No one was allowed to break this rule!  We would walk through the woods to get to the Big Lake for swimming.  The big lake was the larger side of Mille Lacs and had a public access with more beach front. We detested the blood suckers we encountered while swimming, but knew they would come right off with salt when we returned to the cabin. At one time or another, all of my cousins, Jan, Gloria, KD, Pat, Kaye, Dean, Jack, and Jay, played in those waters. We often ended up with beet-red sunburns.  Noxema gave some relief!

Our times spent at the lake with cousins and family are happy remembrances.

©Mary Zigan, 2015

NOTE:  Mary Zigan will be the keynote speaker October 2-3 at a Faith & Fellowship God Chicks Conference for women, hosted by Advent Lutheran Church in Maple Grove, MN.  If you are in the Twin Cities area, and would like to attend, email for additional information at