New Food – a Bunch of Snacks

New foods are exciting – especially when you’re not real sure exactly what that new food is … like when all the packing is in Japanese.  Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Cindy, for providing us with this intriguing treat.

Mallory quickly looked up a Japanese translator site and set to figuring out what we were eating. (And if anyone reading this knows Japanese, feel free to correct our translation.) From our calculations, the label said something about seas and the little guys at the bottom are pirates.

The first thing we tried was a piece of marshmallow candy which tasted like artificial marshmallow candy – in contrast to REAL marshmallow candy.  (Don’t even think about it.)  Mallory gave it a 4. I gave it a 2.DSC_0253Another package had a single piece of hard candy. The wrapping said lemon cola, so I tasted it and it tasted like …  lemon cola – so I said 5.


Packet #4 was a myriad of little crystal-type candy, sort of hardened sugar – but we gave it a 5.


Then there was the gum – which we didn’t taste. Mal decided to give that to her siblings.


But then things got a little strange. We thought we were eating a bag of candy, but obviously we weren’t . Next was a little packet of crouton-type things that tasted like rice cakes. They came with a container of jam. We kind of liked these. Mallory gave them  seven out of 10.


Our last packages had bread sticks which were kind of spicy. They were crispy and reminded is of cheetos, but not as good.


Even though Mallory was translating this all – she wanted me to say that it was a loose translation.

And this was the gift that kept on giving … we kept all the wrappings and Mallory took them to school.

New Food – Pickled Quail’s Eggs

So in the past week two random people asked me when I was going to get back to my food blogging – the part where I eat some strange, some mediocre and some actually good food that I’ve never eaten before (or at least not eaten in the featured recipe).

(Actually, I’m thinking about doing some different things with my blogging – but more about that later.)

Anyhow, when the first person mentioned it and then a day later another person mentioned it, I figured I’d do it – especially since three other people have given me food to try and then write about.

Mallory was hanging out with me and she was game to experiment so our first adventure was eating a pickled quail’s egg.

The jar of Oma’s Choice quail eggs showed up on my desk shortly before I quit my job – a gift given to me by Carol Berry. (Thanks, Carol.) She is also interested in trying different things so when she saw the pickled eggs, she thought of me.


I have had quail eggs before (blogged about them last year, but those were fresh quail eggs). When we opened the jar of pickled eggs, it smelled vinegary (which was to be expected).


I’ve had pickled chicken eggs before – and when I first bit into the quail egg, I thought it had a similar taste, but then the hot spiciness kicked in … and I mean HOT. I felt like I had ordered the hot sauce at a Mexican restaurant which is something I would never do. And then my entire mouth started burning with the heat. Whoa!

Mallory’s take: She didn’t like the consistency, but she doesn’t like the consistency of regular eggs either, so you can’t blame that on the quail. She gave it a 4 out of a 10.

I’m not a big fan of overly spicy food, so I gave it a 2 out of a 10.

However, we did decide that if you cut it up into small slices, you could add them to a taco salad and they would be good. (Quails eggs look like miniature chicken eggs.)

So, thanks Carol! We enjoyed being adventurous.

The Best Birthday Ever Daisies, Daisies, Daisies (Part 2)

(By this time I had about six bunches of flowers.)

And my next clue was a puzzle.

So we head over to Barnes and Noble to find a table so I could intensely work.

(The puzzle was painted by Chloe, even though she tried to convince me that Phil Keoghan painted it.)


So off to the frozen yogurt store we went and surprise – two more granddaughters waiting for me … with another bunch of flowers.

They had already concocted what I was suppose to eat BEFORE I received my next clue.


Which read:

A group. A bouquet. A brush.

Have your driver take you to ….

Complete the task to get your next clue.

So off we went again.

But first here is a picture of the girls as they were preparing to go to their specified stations:IMG_6642.JPG

So off we went to Steve and Kelli’s house where a few more bouquets of flowers were waiting and the tables setup for painting!

Thanks so much to Ruth Wick for taking us step-by-step through the process … (And notice the halo around Jim’s head.)


And our finished product …IMG_2887

Another clue this one telling me we were having Chinese for dinner

And of course, a beautiful birthday cake —


Thanks to my family for giving me a very creative, cool and fun birthday. Love you all so much!

Thanks to Karen Kauffman for designing the “clue logo.”


And thanks to the florist who grew my multitude of “daisies.” (Like 15 dozen or so.)


And that’s why it was a memorable birthday – for sure.

The Best Birthday Ever Daisies, Daises, Daises (Part 1)

On Friday … my daughter said to be ready at 3:15 p.m. because they were picking me up for a birthday thing. Hmmm … dinner out?  Going to meet my son (and crew) somewhere? I had no idea.

But that’s not what happened. Instead my niece, Beth, came flying in the driveway and handed me a huge bouquet of flowers and handed me a blue envelope, and a plastic Starbucks cup with a $10.00 gift card.

That said:

It’s your birthday, but where are the gifts?

You’ll just have to find them, I guess!

Start by ordering a quick pick-me-up.

Then find the two who aren’t quite grown-up!

I’m guessing Starbucks and I’m guessing my son and crew are somewhere in the area because the two who aren’t quite grown up – are the boys.


Beth drove me to Starbucks where yes, Carter and Jacob were ready to show me a card trick. And then I had to do it before I got my next clue … and another bouquet of flowers.

This was the absolutely funniest stop since both boys kind of forgot what how to do the trick, but eventually I figured out what they were telling me and was allowed to move on.

The next clue gave directions to a place up the road where we were to:

Very carefully park the car.

Inspect the bench.

And spot the librarian.

Ahhh – we found them – Mark Twain himself with even MORE flowers.


And my daughter-in-law who had another clue.

Daisies are known to have

Many medicinal properties …

But –

Please Don’t Eat Them!

So I headed to the computer to look up the DVD of Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.


And then went off to find it on the shelf …

As Jeff snuck up behind me with the DVD and another clue.

IMG_2895This clue had some money hidden inside – with these words.

Use this $ to buy a “Lofty-y” treat.

The only speed Bump!

The two have to approve.

And sure enough – there were the two 18 year olds (with more flowers) to make sure I picked out something good!


This is NOT what I chose.


This is what I bought and everyone approved and wanted one because it’s so soft … and the clerks were totally into what we were doing and gave me 15% off for my birthday – which was kind of them.


Part 2 coming …

Art, Dad, the Storm and the Swearing Hitchhiker

Recently Art Rorheim passed away just a few months from being 100 years old.  I knew “of” Art since I was a kid. Like the time he and Winnie were out to dinner with my parents and my dad mentioned I had to do a research paper on a Christian organization for one of my Moody classes. Art sent him home with a stack of 8 1/2 x 11 pictures of Awana clubs in action. I wrote the paper and got an A – thanks to all the visuals.

But personally I didn’t really know Art until I started working at Awana Headquarters. Shortly after I was hired, someone told him who my dad was, so he invited me to his office for a visit.

We talked about different things, then he told me this story …

Once your Dad and I flew out to New York for an Awana Ministry Conference. The missionary met us at the airport to drive us to the church. Lightning flashed and thunder roared and rain fell from the sky in sheets. We were caught in a massive storm.

Then we saw a man hitchhiking along the side of the road. We couldn’t leave him there in the rain, so the missionary pulled over and we yelled through the storm for him to get in.

“What a blankety, blankety, blankety night,” the man said, filling the air with a string of swear words.

Then your dad said, “Before you go any further, I think you should know that you’re in the car with three pastors.”

The man became very quiet. But later, when we left him out at his destination, he said, “By the way, I’m a Sunday school superintendent.” (The forerunner of a Children’s Ministry Director.)

That was the story.

When I told my brother about Art’s experience with Dad,  Roger said, “I’ve heard that story, too.”

And then I heard it again and again. In fact, every time Roger or I talked to Art, we heard the story about


Art telling Chloe about her great-grandfather and the hitchhiker.

our dad, the storm and the swearing hitchhiker. The repetition was endearing. Obviously that storm, that hitchhiker and my dad telling the man they were all pastors made an impression on Art.

One time I was supposed to be  honored for something in staff meeting – might’ve been a service award. I can’t remember. I just remember that Art was the one who was supposed to give it to me and explain what it was for.

You guessed it. What Art did was tell the story of my dad, the storm and the swearing hitchhiker and said nothing about why I was standing on the platform. I thought it was kind of funny.

A few years ago – the last year Summit was at Pheasant Run, I took Chloe over to watch the games one afternoon. Art was at one of the tables chatting with some staff members and someone asked us to join them.

I thought it would be cool for Chloe to meet Art, so we sat down.

And yes, I knew exactly what I was doing when I said to Chloe loud enough for Art to hear,  “Mr. Rorheim was a good friend of your great grandfathers.”

He did not fail me, “Once, your great-grandfather and I flew to New York and … ”

I like to think maybe Dad and Art are up in heaven reminiscing about storms and hitchhikers.


Millard Fillmore’s Home

One of the reasons why I headed to East Aurora, New York the night before my visit to the church in Mt. Morris is because that’s where Millard Fillmore’s house is located – another president’s house on my list.IMG_8584

I knew it wouldn’t be open on the day I was there, but I thought maybe I could walk around the yard, etc., which I did.

But the day did not start out well. I got up, ate breakfast and was getting ready to leave for my day’s journey, when I picked up the curling iron by the wrong end – not smart. Not smart at all. Let’s chalk it up to the fact that I was extremely upsettable because of my mom. Anyhow, my hand rather hurt, so I ran across the street to the CVS pharmacy and talked to the pharmacist on duty.  She said she could give me lotion that would make it feel better, but that she thought I needed an antiseptic cream and they were out of it – so she sent me down the street to the Rite Aid. There they gave me the right cream which instantly took away the pain. Though I had three nasty-looking blisters, everything healed well.

Not the point of this blog post – but anyhow, that’s how my day started in the little town of East Aurora, New York.

From there I found the house which was only a few blocks away (not a huge town). The house looked quite charming on this beautiful fall morning – dew still covered the grass.

This wasn’t the grandest president’s house I’ve seen. In fact, it was one of the smallest – but it does have some interesting history.

But first – I really know little about Fillmore except he became president when Zachary Taylor suddenly died of well, no one is sure of exactly what. However, right before he died he ate a lot of raw fruit and drank a lot of milk. Which seems a strange combination to cause someone’s death. But several cabinet members also became ill, so no one is exactly sure what happened.

Unfortunately, Fillmore was caught in the controversy surrounding the 1850 Compromise – a plan to regulate in which states slavery was allowed. Fillmore was against slavery, but signed the Compromise thinking it might solve the slave situation. Obviously, it didn’t. Instead he made lots of enemies and didn’t get re-elected.

So anyhow, didn’t get to do much at the house, but walk around. I did learn that it’s one of the few (if not the only) president’s home that was partly built by the president himself.



But there is another interesting piece of history about the house. The house used to be in another location downtown. Margaret Evans Price (of Fisher-Price toys) bought it and had it moved to it’s present location. She then used it as her studio to design many of her children’s books and later toys. (She designed push toys to match the characters in her books.) The Aurora Historical Society bought it back in 1975 and turned it into a presidential museum.

And that was that.


A Little Girl From New York


I was there at the peak of the color – the drive through the hills of western New York was beautiful.

That would be me … or so they say.

I have no proof. Well, I have a birth certificate that says Wyoming County Hospital. And, I do have a couple pictures of my dad and mom standing in a backyard. In some Dad is holding me and in others Mom is holding me.

But that lawn could be anywhere – even Illinois.

So there you have it –  a birth certificate and a couple pictures, but no memories.

And that’s my proof that I was born in New York …

Except for the stories. I’ve always heard the stories.

Because even though my parents only lived there two years (and maybe not even that long), so much happened in the little town of Mt. Morris, New York.

My parents backstory is the stuff movies are made of, or at least an episode of Unshackled (which it actually was). My mother grew up a semi-orphan in the strict home of a childless aunt and her husband. They spoke German when they didn’t want her to know what was going on, (which was often). Every penny they spent on her was faithfully recorded and invoiced to her father. They were good to her, just didn’t offer a whole lot of kid-friendly fun.

Meanwhile my father grew up, the son of an alcoholic – well… we won’t even go there and all that mess. Needless to say his father was not especially proud of his son who couldn’t even see correctly.

So when my dad and mom married, they instantly created a bond that could not be broken. They started out well, both with good jobs. They rented a house and then bought some property to build a new house.

But after several years of marriage, they made the decision to sell everything and go to Bible school. And everyone encouraged them.  And everyone thought they were crazy. After all, Dad couldn’t see, nor did he have any training in ministry. They started at National Bible Institute in New York City and then when several professors decided to transfer to Moody, they did too.

(Somewhere along here, my New York City born and bred parents said they would never move back to Illinois. I believe that statement was made at their Moody senior retreat which was at the Methodist campgrounds in Des Plaines – a place so close to where my brother and I grew up, we could walk to it.)

Anyhow – back to the story. So Dad graduated and needed to find a place to serve. A little church in upstate New York (affiliated with a faith-supported mission) had an opening and that’s where they went.

Mt. Morris is a small village of about 4,000 people.  My parents (faith-supported) were told that they could live in a large victorian house next to the church. But when they got there, they found out the house was a false promise. Someone else had moved into the house and their “home” would be a small room in back of the choir loft.


My first home – in a tiny room behind the choir loft. (I don’t think the church has changed much.)

And that’s where they lived. They had no phone. They had no car. Actually, my dad couldn’t drive because of his eyes and Mom didn’t get her license until several years later when we lived in Pennsylvania. I remember because I used to go to her lessons with her.

And they had no money. Zilch. Nothing. Just an occasional few dollars someone would contribute to their ministry.

But they had stories …

*Dad learned a lot about the ministry. He struggled and got discouraged and didn’t always understand people but this formed the basis of his ministry philosophy  and was a learning experience for his later successful pastorates.

*Dad started writing. One of the ladies in the church had MS. Dad wrote her a letter about receiving a glorified body in heaven, a body without sickness or pain. The letter meant so much to her that she encouraged him to send it to a Sunday school paper for publication. They liked it and sent him $5.00. My parents were amazed! Dad had no idea he could get money for his writing.

They proceeded to get every writing book they could find and Mom read them all to dad. (At this time she was pregnant with me and family legend has it that’s why I’m a writer – because I had all that training before I even made an appearance.)

But in fact, that started a writing career for dad that included hundreds of articles and short stories and more than 40 books. A love of words that was passed down to my brother and me who are also both writers and has also passed down to a third \ and maybe a fourth generation.

*They became parents. My first home was in that room back of the choir loft. Mom says that on Sunday mornings, she’d have to hurry to the church kitchen to get breakfast and clean up before the people showed up.

This is also where I got the whooping cough. Whooping cough was going around that year, by my doctor said he would give me my immunization when he got back from his Florida vacation “because babies don’t get whooping cough.” Well, I did. I stopped breathing and my dad thought I was dead. He picked me up and headed next door to use the phone to call whoever he was planning to call – and my dad’s jostling me as he ran started me breathing again. To this day I have trouble with colds settling into an unending cough.

No, my parents didn’t live in Mount Morris all that long – but it’s where their ministry started, where their writing career started and where they became parents. (And where we actually lived behind the choir loft in a small, village church.)

My mother died two weeks ago today.

I was scheduled to speak at a conference last weekend – in Rochester, New York. So two days after her memorial service (and a day early for the conference), I flew to Rochester and drove down to East Aurora. I stayed overnight and then the next morning meandered over to Mount Morris. I think I was back once since I was born – when I was four or five, but my only memory is playing with some kids who had a slinky.


I ate in a downtown grill – just blocks away from the church.

I parked the car and walked the streets, imagining my mom pushing me in the baby carriage. I an guessing the town hasn’t changed that much. Downtown (well, just a few blocks away from the church) I stopped at a grille and ate lunch at the counter, watching the people walk by outside. Imagining.


I walked down the streets, imagining my mom walking with me in the baby carriage. Interestingly, we lived on Chapel Street.

I walked around the church, hoping to see someone who would invite me in, but that didn’t happen. I pictured my dad and mom standing on the lawn, holding their newborn baby. I wondered what windows looked out of the room where we lived. (Putting my outside tour of the church together with pictures, I think there’s now an addition.)


From a picture I have of my parents standing in front of a window to the room – this might have been it.



I’m fairly sure this back part is an addition – the windows are different and it looks newer.

Soon I got back in the car and headed for Warsaw – the place where the hospital is located. My first surprise was that Warsaw is called the “village in the valley.” I had no idea that Warsaw was surrounded by hills. The town was not at all like I pictured. I followed the blue and white “H” signs and found the hospital on the side of another hill. I went inside and asked the lady at the desk if this was the original site. She said it was (and looked as if she could’ve been the receptionist when I was born) so I trusted her.

IMG_8652I then headed up to Batavia, New York which is not only where my conference was held, but also where my mom and I stayed with some friends the first couple weeks after I was born (so she didn’t have to bring a newborn home to a room in a church).

I would call the trip to Mt. Morris/Warsaw nostalgic – except I have no memories. In my own way, I was honoring my parents and their history … their humble start in ministry, their first months as parents, the first words of thousands … millions written by our family

And I thanked the Lord for my Dad and Mom … and the godly heritage they have given me.

Oh, I’m not the only preacher’s kid born there – Frances Bellamy, author of the Pledge of Allegiance also lived in Mount Morris as a baby.


Not sure why this doesn’t say birthplace of Linda Weddle. Come on!