Friday’s Fave Five August 11th, 2017

This purple yam ice cream with small chunks of cheese is a delightful discovery. My daughter bought it at a local Asian market.

This week has flown and it is already time to look for five highlights. It is time to count some blessings.

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” ~ Eric Hoffer

ONE. Ube Ice Cream. Trying new foods is such a fun and simple joy.  This particular Ube (purple yam from the Philippines) ice cream is ube queso (with cheese). It is surprisingly good.

TWO. Memorial Service. A much beloved woman, Alice Gibbons, went home to her Saviour. Besides being a caring wife, mom, grandma, friend, (ETC), she was also a pioneer missionary (from the C&MA) in Papua, Indonesia for 40+ years. Alice and her husband, Don, mainly served the people of the stone aged tribe Damal. Alice wrote 2 books, although I have only read one, The People Time Forgot. Her legacy and example will live on as will the sacrifice and love she gave to many, many people.

THREE. Friend Time. My friend, Pam, went with me to Alice’s memorial service which was held in Paradise, CA (Pam’s hometown). Pam moved to SoCal last year and so I haven’t seen much of her. We spent a lot of time talking, eating yummy food, and then seeing Wonder Woman. I can see why Wonder Woman got so many rave reviews.

FOUR. Excursions Planned. One other thing I did in Paradise was visit with another friend, Scotti. We are going on a cruise in the Fall (starting in Madrid, Spain and ending in Barcelona, Spain). We finalized our six excursions. I cannot believe I get to do this!

FIVE. Crisis Intervention Training. I had the opportunity and privilege of attending a three-day course with first responders about . . .

  • Understanding  the basic symptomology of mental illnesses
  • Considerations and tactics for communicating with mentally ill subjects
  • Importance of self-care
  • Identifying signs and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Reviewing healthy coping habits for first responder stress and self-care

I was reminded again of  how much stress and sacrifice law enforcement personal and police chaplains go through. I was reminded again of how thankful I am for these folks in my community.

Note: I am a pastor and church chaplain. I am grateful for this training because I gained information on how to deescalate a potentially threatening situation and the importance of self-care.

Your Turn . . . Leave a comment, please. Or write your own Friday’s Fave Five and link up at Susanne’s place.

What I am reading . . . 

What I Wrote This Week . . . 



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E is for . . . ENCOURAGEMENT Flash Mob

Do you like to use colourful envelopes or stickers? I do. I especially like to make envelopes out of old calendars.

Mail – What do you think of when you hear that word? 

  • Email?
  • Bills?
  • Advertisements?
  • Something encouraging and unexpected?

I was part of a group that sent mail to church folks. This was mail that was encouraging and unexpected. We sent 104 cards to senior folks in our congregation. We prayed (as a group) for the folks. And some writers/encouragers also prayed for each card they wrote.

Some recipients were known to the writers. And some weren’t. Yet because we had a page full of sentiments (and God’s insightful help),  it was easy to offer personalized encouragement for someone’s day, something that says, “I see YOU.”

We flash mobbed them with love. Our group was a mob of 9 who sent encouragements to a mob of 106. What a worthwhile use of time.

What “D” word would you write about?

I am linking this to ABC Wednesday.  The ABC Wednesday Facebook Group is here.

Your Turn . . . When was the last time you sent someone an encouragement card?  . . . When was the last time you received something like this in the mail?

Four Related Posts . . . 

3 Encouragements I Needed When My Children

3 Ways to Encourage Others Year Round

Grateful for Encouragement

Ministry Flash Mob Gives Love


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How to Make Chocolate EXTRACT in Your Kitchen

Mix together 1/2 cup crushed raw cacao nibs and 1 cup of vodka … Store this embryonic extract in a dark cabinet. Be sure to shake every once in a while.

I am “brewing” chocolate extract. Oh, yes, I am. At the end of September 2017, this extract will be 3 months old and ready for tasting. Some sources say, the extract might need to sit (Soak? Marinate? Steep? What is the correct word?) for 6-12 months in total.

Here is the link to the recipe I used.

Your Turn . . .  Have you ever made any extracts? How did they compare to the ones from the grocery store?  . . . If you’ve had chocolate extract before, how did you use it. This will be my first time tasting/using chocolate extract.

How will I use my chocolate extract?

  • For every day recipes like smoothies and Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding (quite delish as a breakfast)
  • For special occasion recipes like UPSIDE DOWN German Chocolate Cake. If you haven’t tried this recipe yet, you have NOT been good to yourself.
  • And I want to change-up this recipe, Strawberry Chia Seed Jam – No Cook!, by using raspberries for the fruit and adding chocolate extract along with some bittersweet chocolate. I don’t know if using this no cook method will turn the ingredients into jam, but I am willing to risk it.

This is what the extract looks like after 1 month. On September 27th, I will compare/taste all three batches.

I put a note on my calendar to shake this concoction at 1 month and 2 months. At three months I will taste and see if it is “done.” One blogger said it could take up to a year to age just right.

In June I met someone who made extracts as part of her job. She said they ground up the cacao beans. Then they let the beans and alcohol “soak” for a week or two. I will make a batch on September 10th and 17th. Then I will compare all three batches on this day, September 24, 2017.

I will let you know what I learn. And if you make some, tell me what you learn.

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Friday’s Fave Five August 4, 2017

It is time to look back over a busy week and share five highlights.

It isn’t too late to sign up.

ONE Month of Austen. In 2015 I participated in the Austen in August Reading challenge. It was the first time I had read any books by Jane Austen.  I am doing it again this year because I had such a great time. Here is my post on what I hope to read. #AustenInAugustRBR.



TWO Baptisms. Last Sunday I had the extreme honour and pleasure to baptize two people: Andy and Lucy. It was an emotional and memorable time for each of us. It was special to be able to hear their story of faith and about their commitment to Christ.





THREE Photos for August Break, 2017.  Susannah Conway is hosting this community photograph meme with daily prompts.  The Facebook group is here.  You get to determine how often you participate this month. No stress so come on and join us on Instagram and/or Facebook. Use this hashtag: #augustbreak2017. My instagram account is SusanIZwright.





Kadie (niece), Elizabeth (daughter), Susan (me)

Red bean cake, onion & sausage roll and kelp, mung been soup (Pegasus)

 Progressive Taiwanese Dinner at FOUR Spots: Pegasus Cafe, Snowbee, Vampire Penguin and Gong Cha. My daughter, niece and I spent an enjoyable evening in Little Saigon.

Taro Snow (Vampire Penguin) Most Beautiful.

Avocado fluffy ice (Snowbee) – TASTIEST!

It was fun having “snow,” chicken on skewers and bubble tea (to name a few things). It reminded me of my trip to Taiwan (with Elizabeth) to visit Kadie last January.

5K Fun Run/Walk. This past year I have been walking a WHOLE lot more, in part due to my trip to Taiwan. We walked a LOT every day and there were tons of stairs. So I kept up that pace once I got home.

I liked that this Fun Run/Walk was done to support the Alzheimer’s Association

1,407 people signed up.

Our real time was 1:02:52. It took us a few minutes to get back to the finish line time clock and find a spot where we weren’t in the way..

About a month ago I decided to walk a 5K. I thought I could do this because when I went to the ocean last month, I didn’t have trouble going from the car to our beachside spot.


Part of the Fun Run/Walk was in a cemetery .These morning glories were on an outside fence.

And I was inspired to do this because of the example of two people. MJ Towns is from my church and frequently runs races. And the other person is hiking champ, Faith (blogging friend from FFF). Month after month after month, I’d see their example until I finally decided to follow that example.

I didn’t know you could have such a sign on your back. Next year I will walk in honour of several folks.

Your Turn . . . I linked this post to Susanne’s meme, Friday’s Fave Five. Join us at her place or in the comments down below.


What I Wrote This Week at Fruitful Words . . .

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Uncovering History with an Address Book: The E’s

The E’s reminded me of how POWERFUL care is (from people and God).

This week was an easy week – I wrote only one letter and prayed for two businesses and five people/families. 

I knew Ellen & Mike from Colorado. We both homeschooled our kiddos. And for a year (or so) Ellen and I gathered weekly to work on an ABC embroidery sampler.

One of their teenagers (John) used a gun to end his life. Obviously that was a tragic time for them. I don’t think I was a GREAT support to the family. I did pray, but I wish I had the knowledge THEN of what I now know.

I hope my letter finds them because I want Ellen to know I have continued to pray for her family. And I hope I find my sampler in the garage. (I am decluttering.)

Three Things I Learned by Going Through My E’s.

ONE. Life is precious. You never know how much time you have with someone, so don’t postpone that phone call or letter of affection. Reading Ellen’s name reminded me that what I am doing in this Address Book Adventure is worthwhile. It re-motivated me to keep it up.

TWO. I am reminded of a miracle. I had two names under Eye Doctor. One Eye Physician/Surgeon is Dr McMahon (CA). In May, 2010 I had eye pressure readings of 35. Normal eye pressure has a range of 10-22.

  • So, of course I went to a specialist (Dr. McMahon) in June.
  • And in June, I also went to a healing prayer meeting and had the elders anoint me with oil.
  • By July my numbers were 22/23. I was not on any meds. I know that GOD healed me.

So my address book reminded me that God cares, hears and heals.

Sometimes I want to hide sensitive information that I have written on a to-do list. This techniques works well to hide it once I am done. BTW – I made up this number.

THREE. How to cross out something so it CAN’T be read. I have 8 names crossed out. And they are crossed out so thoroughly that I couldn’t read them even if you paid me one million dollars. Sometimes though, you DO WANT to cross out something so that others cannot read it. (It is overkill in my address book.) So I am adding a graphic that shows you how to do my technique, in case you need to do this.

GUESS WHAT?! I have received two letters and an email promising me a letter. Even if I don’t hear from anyone else, these three contacts have made this project worthwhile.

Last Wednesday’s post was on discovering folks in the D’s.  Next week I will share what I uncover in the F’s. To find the landing page with all the posts, go here. It is after the jump at the bottom of the page.

Your Turn . . . What is happening in your E’s?  . . . Any God sightings there? . . . Who could you contact so they know you are thinking about them? . . . If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, get HELP today. Suicide doesn’t have to be your only (and permanent) course of action.

Related Posts . . . 


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D is for … DRUMBEAT … Follow the Correct One

The beats from a drum can lead us astray or to the correct path. How are you doing?

The Civil War was the last war to use drummer boys. The drumbeat was used to give orders to soldiers. Different beats told them when to eat, how to march, and even how to fight. On smokey battlefields, the boy’s drumming helped soldiers find one another and keep together. (p 56)

It is thought that nearly 60,000 served as drummer boys or buglers in the Civil War (p 76). … Magic Treehouse #21 Civil War on Sunday by Mary Pope Osborne

The soldiers had to be attentive to the drum beats from THEIR drummers. And they had to know what the sounds meant if they wanted to . . .

  • Fight correctly and well.
  • Stay alive.
  • Be part of the correct fighting community.

This reminds me of the Holy Spirit. We have to be attentive to His voice and not the voice of the enemy. We have to know what God means if we want to . . .

  • Fight correctly and well.
  • Stay alive.
  • Be part of the correct fighting community.

Just like the soldiers in the Civil War, we (Believers in Christ) are soldiers and we are at war.

  • Our enemy is the world which wants us to conform to its ways. The world’s ways do not put God and His Will first. Instead it is self-centered and there are no absolutes.
  • And our enemy is Satan. He is trying to steal, kill and destroy anything good and godlike in ourselves and in our lives. And he wants to delude us into thinking his lies are truth; that his drum beat is the correct one to follow.

In order to hear the correct spiritual drumbeat, the voice of God . . .

  • We need to determine that we want to hear from Him.
  • We need to decide we will say, ‘Yes,” to His will (His drum beats).
  • We need to stop some of the hustle and bustle of life in order to spend time with God.

Just like the soldiers had to learn to discern what the different drum beats from THEIR side meant, we also need to learn to discern the drum beats (voice) of God.

But we won’t need a bugle or a drum to hear God’s voice. Instead one of our best instruments is God’s Holy Spirit talking to us through the Bible. As we study and mediate upon the Bible, we will be able to know when it is God speaking. As we do this in church and in our small groups and by ourselves, we will learn how to . . .

  • Fight correctly and well.
  • Stay alive.
  • Be part of the correct fighting community.

Your Turn . . . How do you help yourself discern the voice of God? . . . Is there an area you could use help in: Fight correctly and well … Stay alive … Be part of the correct fighting community? 

What “D” word would you write about?

This post is linked to ABC Wednesday – D: Round 21.

The ABC Wednesday Facebook Group is here.

Related Posts . . . 

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Austen in August Reading Challenge 2017


You have a few days to sign up, so do NOW.


Which Jane Austen books have you read? I did this Austen in August challenge two years ago and read all the main Austen books. I want to participate again this year. I plan to reread at least one book and read several related books mentioned by Roof Beam Reader.

Click on the link to read the details – Austen In August: Year 5! (Call for Participants)There will be “giveaways, guest posts, and other shenanigans, all of which are meant to inspire a great, interactive event.” Doesn’t this sound like a tempting challenge? Sign up today. To share/discuss this challenge on Twitter and/or Facebook, use  #AustenInAugustRBR.

In a perfect world, my goal is to read the following.

 Your Turn . . . What Austen book is a must re-read? . . . Will you join us in this endeavor?
Related Posts . . .

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