Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Book Review: The Same Kind of Different As Me

By Ron Hall and Devner Moore with Lynn Vincent

It’s often said that truth is stranger than fiction. So it could be said of the unlikely, true story of Denver Moore and Ron Hall. One black. The other white. One the son of a dirt-poor sharecropper, an ex-convict, homeless man. The other a college-educated man, an international art dealer.

What could possibly bring these two complete opposites together? Read this heart-warming, New York Times Bestseller and be amazed at how God works in ordinary lives. Fix a cup of tea, find a comfy chair, and start reading. Don’t let a bit of a slow start stand in the way of finishing the book. You will be glad you did.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rustic Marinara or Meat Sauce

In the summer when there are lots of fresh veggies
in our gardens or at the farmers market, this is a
wonderful recipe to try! Also check out the
variation at the bottom of the post for a side dish.

In small mixing bowl, combine:
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano flakes
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonin
1 Tablespoon dried parsley (or fresh if available)
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste.
This is enough for two 8x10 baking pans.

In the bottom of 2 8x10 glass baking pans, place:
1 large onion, rough chopped
8-10 cloves of garlic whole or smashed
Divide this between both pans.

Cut tomatoes in half, quarters, or chunks, depending on size
of tomotoes used. The ones here are small Fourth of July
tomatoes. Italian tomatoes are also good. Any type of tomatoes
should work fine. As much as possible, place skin side down.
Cover the bottom completely, overlapping. Don't be skimpy!
Drizzle half of the olive oil mixture over each pan.
Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for one hour.
Half way though cooking time, switch pans if they are on
two different oven shelves.

Oh, this smells good!
Take the roasted tomaotes out of oven and let cool.
When cool, put 1/2 the mixture in the blender or
food processor and pulse to the consisteny that you
prefer. Repeat. If you want a meat sauce, add browned
ground beef. This is really yummy served over steamed
zuchinni and yellow summer squash or the traditional pasta.

The finished product!!!
This can also be frozen to use at a later date.
I use freezer zip bags.

A variation for a side dish:
Add zuchinni chunks and/or yellow summer squash chunks in the bottoms of the pans before adding tomatoes. After removing the roasted tomatoes and veggies from the oven, sprinkle with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, and serve warm!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sorting things out...

When my children were young and spring came, I started pulling everything out of my children’s closets and dressers. Piles everywhere. Would anything still fit for summer? I sure hoped so.

Thus my seasonal sorting began. Which things were acceptable and which things were too small? What should I keep for another younger sibling and what clothing should I either pass down to another child or box to sell at a garage sell.

It took some serious time to get through all the clothes of three children. Mostly what I discovered was that either they had grown more than I thought, or I had seriously shrunk all their clothing. Pants were too short. Shoes were too small. Dresses were too short. The piles of things we pulled out of the closet were much larger than what we put back. Then I was faced with the reality of what we needed to buy to replace so many outgrown items. I wondered how we could afford it all.

When autumn came, the process began all over again. And so this sorting continued year after year until my children left the nest.

Even though that particular variety of sorting ceased, I’m still forever sorting something: cupboards, closets, files, stacks of papers, books, recipes, and photos. What to keep? What to give away? What to discard? What still has usefulness to me—or maybe someone else? What is just clutter? Oh, and my office! I try, but every time I start working on writing submissions and other projects, things seem to explode. Then I have to sort, organize, and discard all over again.

I wonder if my now grown children will one day feel overwhelmed when they have to sort through all the stuff that I leave behind upon my passing. Then I determine to sift and sort some more things. This is often followed with at least one more box going out the door to a local charity.

But the truth be told, it’s not only tangible possessions that I sort. My mind and heart does an unending sorting as I attempt to un-clutter my thoughts.

I wade through a barrage of information and opinions on hundreds of topics coming at me from every direction. What do I accept and what do I discard?

I weigh priorities and perspective. I decide what is important over and over again.

I consider options and try to make wise decisions.

I examine problems and look for solutions.

I sort out relationships. What’s going on with so and so? Is she under stress or has she pulled away for some reason. Do I let it slide for now or should I address it. What can I do to make the relationship better between me and whomever?

I sift through both old memories and hopes and dreams for the future.

I ponder over my questions. My doubts and confusion.

I look at my worries and fears, releasing them once again to God.

I need solitude for periodic internal sorting. That is what I like about walking time—prayer time—gardening time. Uninterrupted moments where I listen to my heart. I listen for God.

Save and discard. Save and discard. Save and discard. It’s time-consuming, but it is part of life. The tangible, the intangible. The external, the internal. Deciding what to keep and what to toss aside. I pray for wisdom as I sort my way through life.

(c) 2010 Marlene Depler

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Blooms

“Gardening satisfies our cravings for fresh air and sunshine. Gardening soothes our souls and replenishes our spirits. When we garden, we learn to appreciate the rhythms of the seasons and the patience to wait for spring flowers to bloom, for summer vegetables to ripen on their vines.” “...gardening is. . .a way of life that returns us to the serenity of nurturing life from the soil.” Linda Hallam, Editor, Garden Style, (Des Moines, IA: Better Homes and Gardens Books, 1999), p. 7.


Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm Back!


Where has the time gone! I can't believe that it has taken me so long to post.

I am finding that I can only focus on just so many things at once. So what have I been distracted with:


  • Spring clean-up and gardening. I love to work outside!
  • Mother's Day and Father's Day celebrations
  • Oldest granddaughter graduated from 8th grade
  • Several spring concerts and middle grandson's soccer games
  • Trip to the Oregon coast
  • Youngest granddaughter's 2nd birthday
  • Teaching my second oldest granddaughter to sew
  • Garden tour with two blog friends
  • Letting grandchildren each come by themselves for some one on one time
  • Health program with a naturopath
  • Facebook. I started doing facebook so I could stay connected with nieces and nephew, but found it has consumed more time than I had anticipated.
  • Organizing my office---AGAIN!

I will try to be more consistent with posts! And I will add a few photos that might interest you.


Sunset on the Oregon coast from our room

Rainbow over the ocean

Double Delight rose in my garden

Fresh product from my garden

Mommy duck escorts her ducklings up the driveway though our back yard to the pond behind our house.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Walk in My Shoes

By Marlene Depler

"Lola gets what Lola wants!"

It would be impossible for me to count the times that I was teased with that line as a young child. What no one knew is that in my mind this was not true at all. Who would have believed that this little blonde-haired girl with natural curls framing such an innocent face desperately wanted something that she could not have?

I wanted shoes—girl's shoes. Yes, there were other things that I desired, such as a hula-hoop and a "bride doll," but shoes were the foremost cause of my discontent. It was the mid-1950s, and black and white saddle oxfords with bobby socks were the prescribed fashion of the day for girls. I wore brown, clumsy oxfords—boys' shoes handed down from my boy cousins. In those days, shoes for boys and shoes for girls were quite obviously different.

I was convinced that everyone noticed that I wore boy's shoes. My embarrassment made no difference in my circumstances. My father was a young minister for a tiny church in the southwest corner of Kansas, and his pay was meager. There was no money for what I coveted most.

I went to school each day filled with shame, certain that everyone was staring at my shoes. I made a conscious attempt to keep my feet hidden under my chair. If the teacher asked for the class to sit on the floor, I hid those ugly brown shoes under my skirt. Fortunately for me, the skirts of dresses were very full in those days! My feet were the only ugly ducklings in a world of swans.

I remember being invited to Susie's birthday party. One of her gifts was a pair of plastic, dress-up, high-heeled shoes. Even her gift of play shoes was reason enough to strike a chord of envy. Sadness descended over me. It was such a hopeless plight. Lola did not get what Lola wanted.

After the second grade, our family moved to the coast of Oregon where my father became the minister for another church, slightly bigger than the previous one in Kansas. We left Kansas in our blue and white, 1955 Chevy station wagon, pulling everything we owned in a U-Haul trailer. We were off to see the world, and temporarily, I forgot about the shoes on my feet.

While we were in Oregon, my father started selling shoes out of a catalog to supplement his small income. One day he showed me a picture of black velveteen shoes in his catalog. On the glossy page, they looked simply beautiful—more beautiful than anything I had ever seen before. He then proceeded to measure my feet. The order was placed. I spent days in eager anticipation.

At last the shoes came! As I slipped my feet into their velvety, black softness, my world changed. I was a princess with the most exquisite shoes in the kingdom. My feet danced, and my heart sang. Black velveteen shoes—more wonderful than anything I could have ever imagined! From that day forward, I never wore boy's shoes again.

It's been many decades since then. I no longer go by my first name, Lola. (I am sure that you can guess why!) Instead, I use my middle name, Marlene. Just yesterday I saw some shoes in a Wissota Trader catalog that caught my eye. The advertisement said, "Velvety nubuck leather casuals...." I just may order them. Sometimes Marlene gets what Marlene wants!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Let There Be Light

By Marlene Depler







Light from campfires

          Light from our hearths

                    Light from candles burning

Porch lights

          Street lights



          Traffic lights

                    City lights


          Light of the world

                    Light of truth

                              Light in our hearts

                                        Light on life’s long pathway home

                                                  Let there be LIGHT!

(c) Marlene Depler 2009 Permission needed from author to reprint in any form.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hold on to Hope

Dear Readers:
Today I thought I would share a devotional that I wrote. I hope these thoughts and Scriptures bless you.

Hold on to Hope

By Marlene Depler

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galations 6:9).

Gardeners all have moments of weariness. They prepare the soil and plant seeds. They fertilize and water. Weeds are pulled until the back aches and perspiration drips. Gardeners may rest along the way, but they soon return to their toil. Why? Hope of harvest spurs them on even when they are tired. They anticipate slicing the first juicy tomato and cutting open a sweet watermelon. In time, their diligence and perseverance are rewarded.

Life is much like gardening. Doing the right thing and living well aren’t always easy. It takes effort to obey God. In the process, everyone experiences the malady of weariness from time to time. The cacophony of daily challenges and difficulties has a way of depleting energy. Physical or emotional exhaustion sets in. Efforts to serve may seem pointless. Weeds of discouragement take root.

Does this describe you? Are you worn out? Are you in the midst of something that has left you weary? Demands at work? Financial pressure? Health issues? Concerns over your children? Relational difficulties? Lack of appreciation for your ministry sacrifices? Have your best efforts failed to obtain the desired outcome? You are not alone.

God recognizes the human propensity towards giving up during seasons of weariness. He knows how easily hope is diminished and perspective is skewed. Thus, through the words of the apostle Paul, God encourages each believer not to give up. Because he knows that the heart craves hope, God reminds his children to refocus on the promise of an eventual harvest.

When the weariness sets in, know that it’s normal. Use it as a warning sign. You may be in need of rest. Jesus knew what his disciples needed when he said; “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). As we allow God to strengthen and refresh us, we can regain renewed vigor to continue loving, serving and giving. Once eternal perspective is regained, you can again eagerly await God’s promised harvest at the appointed time. Endurance eventually pays off. Hold on to hope!

Questions for reflection:

  • In what ways are you experiencing weariness or discouragement? 
  • What needs to be done to help to re-energize you? Rest? The encouragement of a friend? Renewed perspective on the promised reward?
  • Think of a past example of when perserverance paid off.
  • Within your circle of family and friends, who needs your words of encouragement right now?
Today: I will not lose hope. I will share this hope with a friend who is weary and in need of encouragement.

Additional References:

Isaiah 40:29-31

Matthew 11:28

Psalm 62:5

Romans 5:5

Hebrews 11:1

(c) Marlene Depler Permisssion required to reprint in any form.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Winter's Walk

by Marlene Depler

Winter days, long and cold: I hunker down within my walls.

I have little enthusiasm for going out and about.

Today the sunshine coaxes me to overcome my hesitation

to brave the cold. I pull on a second pair of socks,

my coat, and purple gloves, stepping outside under a canvas of clear blue.

Fresh, cold air fills my lungs. I watch my breath---

then fall into a pleasant rhythm: right, left, right left.

I find room for uninterrupted contemplation in this open space.

I think about dormancy in nature as I view leaftless trees and barren rose bushes---

then wonder if I am in my own season of dormancy.

I notice the contrasts around me: the soft, virgin snow and the hard, crusty ice,

turned brown from passing cars. And the never-fading evergreens with the bare-

branched variety. Life is filled with contrasts, I conclude. Joy and sorrow, pleasure

and pain, success and failure. On I walk alone with my thoughts, one thought

cascading into another, until I finally turn to follow my lengthening shadow home.

I haven't seen a singe critter, I muse. Where are the birds and squirrels and fox?

Just then I am startled by a bird huddles in a nearby barberry bush,

soon followed by a honking "V" of geese flying directly overhead.

I smile. I walk on in pleasant reverie. I arrive home invigorated.

I promise to rendezvous with myself for a winter's walk once again---and soon.

(c) Marlene Depler 20010