Category Archives: Sweet Surprises

2 Unexpected Blessings

We received 2 unexpected blessings this week. I just thought I’d share them, since I’m bursting with thankfulness and excitement this morning!

First, our daughter, who lives in Hawaii, sent us ticket vouchers to come see her. It was our Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts. We are blown away with surprise and appreciation. We are planning the trip now, and will go in a few months. Our aunt is going, too, and Patsy. It’s going to be so fun, and amazing!

The second thing is a little odd, but also amazing. Our local Fred Meyers store has a person who anonymously gives out money by dropping it into people’s carts when they are not looking. I had heard of this person from ladies at my exercise class. Well, last night, it happened to me! There was an unexpected $100 bill, signed “Bernie” or “Bennie” (I really can’t tell which one) in my cart–just floating around near my purse. I was so surprised and shocked! I NEVER saw anyone lurking near me, or anything. I have no idea how or who did that! When I mentioned the whole thing to the checker, she was not surprised, but was pleased for me. When I asked if she knew how to thank this person, she said they did not even know if it was a man or woman who did this, but her suggestion was to send up a prayer for them, and thank them that way. And, that is just what I did!

Eritrean Coffee–SO GOOD


Last week, when my sister, Rosalie, myself, and my daughter, Ja’Ana, went to visit our friend, Harnet, she served us yummy coffee, as she often does.  I asked her if I could take lots of pictures to better describe and show the process, and she graciously agree.   She got her new coffee table out, and set it up for coffee making.

Now, you must understand, coffee making and drinking it is not just to get something warm to drink first thing in the morning.  It is done in her country, Eritrea, Africa, as a way to socialize, and is somewhat of a ceremony. There may be more reasons, too, but I’m still learning all about the whole process and may not know them, yet.  We were told  that it is customary to have coffee 3 times during a day’s visit, and that that brings a blessing with it.  I always feel very blessed when we visit with her while sipping coffee.


The beans are green coffee beans that she buys at an Ethiopian grocery store.  Eritrea is near Ethiopia, and there seems to be some things that are done the same way in both countries.  She set up her burner and started roasting the beans.


Pretty soon, the beans begin popping and snapping and get darker in color.  She shakes the pan, presumably so they don’t burn. The beans begin to emit a wonderful scent.


In just a few short minutes, the beans get quite dark, and Harnet deems them roasted to her satisfaction.


She pours them into a special basket so they can cool.  While they are cooling, she carries them around to each of us so we can inhale the amazing odor.  She always does this.


The roasted beans are ground.


Coffee grounds are put into the special coffee jug, with water, and placed back on the burner.  (I’m sorry, I don’t know how much water and how much coffee—but its a LOT of coffee–it is very strong.)


It is poured into the small pitcher, and back into the jug to boil again.  Milk is heated on the burner.  Then, sugar is placed into the bottom of the little coffee cup, the coffee is put in next and the milk is added last.  To keep the coffee grounds from getting into the cups, a piece of an old onion bag is scrunched up in the spout of the jug and it works amazingly well.  Little spoons are given to each person so they can stir their coffee, and the cups are placed on saucers.


Then, we sit and sip our coffee.  We visit and chat, and just enjoy the moment.  We talk about what we have done since we last got together, and share our happy moments and bewail our woes.  We talk about homework that needs to be done, whether or not the mail is important, discuss times for future visits, and how the children are doing,  and laugh about the time I handed out 10 Advil tablets because I thought she wanted them, when in fact, she wanted 2!  Sometimes, we talk of family members near and far, and look at pictures of them.  We discuss last summer’s visit to the forest and falls, all with little Danuit climbing all over the couch and us, demanding coffee, which she gets about 1 teaspoon-ful of, with a lot of milk.  She’d really like the big girls to put their heads on the floor, and their feet up into the air, and do a flip off the couch, as she does.  They usually don’t, but once in a while, give in.  That’s quite a sight!  Coffee is not something to be rushed–no one is in a hurry.  Often, several cups are consumed. This process is repeated several times during the day–3 or more, if we can fit it in.  Otherwise, when time is tight,  we enjoy having it once.  Funny thing is–it is very relaxing, even though the coffee is chock-full of caffeine!  My sister has to call it quits long before the last cup is offered out, or she ends up awake at 1 a.m., still jacked up from all the coffee!! When the last cup of coffee from the special jug is consumed, we either go off to an appointment, eat our lunch, or….it all starts over again a few minutes later.  I expect that part of the appeal of it all  is just that….in my hectic, busy life, I rarely take the time to just sit down and visit.  And, you know what?  It feels good when I do.  So good, in fact, that when she offered to bring the entire set-up to Thanksgiving dinner, we jumped at the offer and told her to forget all about all the other things she was going to bring—just bring coffee!!!


Saving Money–Week Ending October 2, 2016

Rob and the big girls went up to the farm and raided the garden.  They were very successful.  Besides what you see, they got some green onions, apples and boc choi.  I served salad, cut up cantaloupe, made pesto from the leaves of the basil (not the flowers or stems), and hamburgers with tomatoes and lettuce.  I made sweet and sour sauce with a pepper and threw the boc choi in and served it on rice.  Lovana made a quinoa salad with another one.


I cooked some millet that had been sitting on the shelf.  I made a millet-crusted chicken pot pie.  I started with a recipe from a cookbook, but changed it to use what I had.  It turned out terrific!


The electrician finished up his wiring for new plug-ins in the shop.  Rob then got to work finishing up the shelves for the canning.  We spent time yesterday and today putting the canned jars on the shelf.  He had one done last week and we have been using the jars that came to light like crazy.  Now we have even more choices.  Now, call me crazy if you will, but I KNOW I have more canned whole tomatoes, but they are MIA!  So, I expect a box or two to show up somewhere unexpected as we continue to unpack and organize.


Patsy and Jake enjoyed making cookies from a cookie mix that came to light when I  unpacked my food boxes.  I worked extra hours this week because my niece was sick.  Now Ja’Ana has it.  Hope no one else gets it!

We joined the YMCA.  Because we are earning so little right now, we were given an extremely reduced monthly rate.  We had several motivations, but one reason we joined was so that I could get into the pool.  I have had a problem with my foot since July and have not been able to walk on the treadmill as I usually do.  This has been adversely affecting my health.  (I’m diabetic and my sugars soar without exercise) Rob spent an entire day researching options (the Y and others), talking to the Y about finances, signing up, etc.  We are extremely grateful that they gave us such a low rate and we have already worked out twice.

Another super big blessing to us is that Ja’Ana can take dance classes there, also at a greatly reduced rate with the scholarship we were given.  It means a great deal to her to take dance, and we had really though we would be unable to allow her to sign up anywhere this year, due to finances.  So, we are all really happy for her.  On Tuesday, she will take her 4th class, because they are trying to place her in the correct class.  So, she just keeps getting to go to different classes for free until they decide which is right for her.  (We don’t feel sorry for her:)

Patsy was able to join a cheerleading class at her school on Wednesdays, for a nominal fee, so she’s happy, too.

As of Friday, Rob has put in about 80 applications.  He has had about 10 interviews.  The one he had on Friday called him and said they have high interest in him, but it was up to the HR department, who “has a problem with people who worked only one place for so long before this.”  What????  Huh?????  So, we are waiting to see what happens on Monday.  If it’s more references they need, he can certainly furnish more, but he did only work one place for the last 18 years.  He will give a call tomorrow and offer more references if they want them.  So, it’s in the Lord’s hands, as it always has been.  In the meanwhile, he has another interview Tuesday, and keeps applying.  He also got invited to the orientation for substitutes, which is not until October 11.  That is probably the way he will end up getting hired, but who knows?  At least he keeps making it to interviews and I know he will get a job before long.  And, at least it’s not boring around here–always something going on to keep us busy until that day.

It Must Be My Week For Surprises

I showed everyone the flowers Rob got for free about a week ago from Fred Meyers.  We have been enjoyed them all week.  

Then, on Monday, one of my piano students brought me all of these flowers and greenery, in a big bunch.  I was able to make 2 lovely bouquets from them, and Patsy replaced the roses that were wilting in the first free bouquet with carnations, so that bouquet is still going strong. It was very unexpected and I loved getting them.



I was shocked when he came home from picking Lovana up from work, bearing a dozen roses and some grass-type greenery.  I promptly arranged them in the vase I bought years ago from a glass blower on the Oregon Coast and put them in my room.  Apparently, there were more flowers reaching expiration when he went into Fred Meyers and they gave him some more.  This has never happened before, so to receive free flowers twice was a completely thrilling shock.  I did have to remove some wilted leaves and stems, I gave them a good trim and removed a few slightly browned petals.  He got the lettuce, cheese, milk and celery I had sent him in for as well, and I’m so glad I asked him to pick those things up.  Often, when we pick her up, we don’t go into the store.

I don’t know why I have been blessed with 4 bouquets of flower in January.  I just know that I’m very thankful and feel grateful that I can enjoy them so much.  I feel happy every time I see them.  They make me smile.