Nichole’s Slices of Life—Books, Books, Books

8 07 2011

 I have not always loved to read.  I much preferred to watch my nightly sitcoms versus doing my homework or much less–extra reading.  I grew up in the l950’s and 1960’s.  I didn’t like that my mother was a school teacher.  I did my homework as a duty only. 

I also don’t remember being exposed to some of the great childhood and juvenile literature.  I did read certain writings of Mark Twain and of course the books that were required reading in high school.  However, none of them interested me.  When I meet former classmates–they always remind me of how smart I was in high school.  I sure knew how to fool them!

Yes, I’m plenty smart but growing up–I was very unmotivated.  I didn’t learn to love reading until I got married.  We knew that we wanted to start a family early in our marriage.  So I kept busy in our small apartment learning to cook and learning to love reading.  We had no television the first 8 years of our marriage.  By that time in my life–I had acquired a lifelong passion for reading. 

I enjoyed reading to our children.  The public library became a constant in our lives.  I especially loved reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis to our children.  No matter, we were always reading as a family. 

Today, I still prefer reading to watching television.  In fact, we don’t subscribe to any cable services.  Our televisions are old and are used only as screens for our movie watching. 

A couple of years ago, I discovered the writings of Irving Stone and James Michener.  Since then–I have been collecting their books.  I just finished reading Irving Stone’s –The Passions Of The Mind.  It is the biography of Sigmund Freud.  Last year I read his book: Love Is Eternal about the life of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. 

Right now I’m reading Michener’s Texas.  Last summer I read his book:  Hawaii and last fall , I read his book : Alaska.  These are long books that take me weeks to read .  That is why I prefer to own them. 

I’m not one to read just one book at a time.  I keep bookmarks in 5 to 6 books at a time.  I may have a large work of fiction, a biograhy, a health book, a cookbook, and a fluff book going at the same time.

I love fluff books when I’m stressed out.  Nothing cheers me more than reading one of  L.M. Montegomery books, or a book from the Mitford series, or a book by Richard Paul Evans.  And let’s not forget the “Little House” books.  They may be grade school level reading but they nuture me in times of stress.  I never read any of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books as a child.  I didn’t know the writing of L.M. Montegomery books ( Anne of Green Gables) etc until my mid thirties. 

So I’m always reading inbetween household duties.  I never go to a doctor’s appointment without a good book.  I love to read books, touch books, look at books.  I haven’t joined the e-book fad yet.  I doubt that I ever will.  To me nothing can take the place of a good book–right in my hand.

Pictured is a collection of my music books.  Happy reading! God bless each of you!



Nichole’s Slices of Life–Making Bread

7 07 2011

I’ve been fascinated with breadmaking since I was a newlywed.  I spent a great deal of time learning to make different kinds of quick breads the first years of my marriage.  However, I was always afraid of yeast breads.  I tried making a loaf of yeast bread the first summer of  my marriage.  It turned out to be quite rock like.

I didn’t attempt yeast bread again until the summer of 2004.  Poor me,  I still didn’t understand yeast and how it works.  But , I didn’t give up.  I finally learned that the yeast has to bubble up  and become rather frothy before it is effective.  Always before–I had water that was too hot or not enough sugar for the yeast to activate.  Also, I learned that if I can’t smell that sweet smell of yeast activating–I might as well throw it down the drain.

At last, I am a very confident  maker of yeast breads.  I only use luke warm water to activate my yeast.  I place one tablespoon of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to about 3/4 cup of luke warm water for one loaf of bread. In making multiple loaves of bread–I used to place all the amounts in one large bowl.  Lately, I’ve preferred to fix a cup of frothy yeast for each loaf of bread.

I got in this new habit when I started making communion bread for our parish.The reason that I do this is because the exactness is so important for bread that is to become the “body of Christ”.   I make the bread just like regular white bread but I save a part to roll out for our special seal of  “the lamb of Christ”.  Then I attach this rolled out dough with the seal having been pressed into it–back on to my loaf of bread.  It is silly just to make one loaf–so I usually make two communion loaves at a time.  Round loaves are also the acceptable shape for the bread.

Lately, I’ve gotten so I make round loaves for our family, too.  I bake them in my cake pans that I bought the first summer I was married. Those pans have a great deal of sentimental treasure to me –as they were used to bake more birthday cakes than I can count.   I love my white bread made with unbleached white flour.  It is wonderful with Tuna salad.  In fact, we had our tuna salad with my white bread for our lunch today.  Oh, sure I make whole wheat bread , too.  But things like chicken or tuna salad taste best to me on homemade white bread.

Here is a picture of today’s fresh batch.  God bless each of you!

Nichole’s Slices of Life–Making A Comeback

6 07 2011

It has been about 18 months since I last blogged.  To be honest–the exceleration of Social networking  has really bothered me.  I don’t like to be around people who use their smart phones all the time.  Even at our family gatherings–it has become impossible to have conversations that are real.  I can be an “all or nothing” person–so I just quit blogging. 

However, at our annual family celebration of July 4th at our son’s home–I had a wonderful talk with my college professor brother.  He started a blog  ( last October and has found it to be a real outlet for him.  Since he teaches the art of writing for a living –he encouraged me to try free expression and quit being so bothered by perfection.  So that is what I’m going to try to attempt.

Anyone who has read my archives –knows that I love frugal and simple living.  So that is what I will continue to write about.  Jim has been retired for almost 3 years now.  We love being together and our goals for life are much the same.  We continue to be active at The Protection of The Virgin Mary Orthodox Church in Clarksville, Tn.  Our parish will have a 3rd birthday in August. 

We are especially excited because Fr. Peter, who is an army chaplain , will be back at Ft. Campbell, Ky in September.  He has been assigned to be our Priest-in- charge.  Fr. Peter helped moved our community off  base to Grace Lutheran Church in 2008.  Then he had to leave for his 3 year assignment as a chaplain recruiter.  He has flown in to be with us about once a month during 2011–since we didn’t have a priest.  We have also been very blessed to have Fr. Jonas Worsham from Chattanooga, Tn be with us a couple of weeks a month.  His leadership has been exceptional for us.

Jim continues to work at the alter with Fr. Jonas and Fr. Peter.  We are including a picture of Jim. Jim has always wanted a long beard–so I told him to “go for it”. 

Daily life and our Orthodox faith will continue to be the themes of this blog.  I am excited that I’m a 3 1/2  year breast cancer survivor.  Jim recently had a scare with a “cold nodule” on his right thyroid.  Thankfully, it turned out to be benign.

Today was a big wash day so I’m posting a picture.  I try not to use our dryer unless it is absolutely necessary.  That is my simple living for today.

I hoping that I can renew old blogging friendships and make an abundance of new friends.

God bless each of  you!

Nichole’s Slices of Life, 20

10 02 2010


We’re digging out of our second big snow storm of the winter.  We haven’t had this kind of snow in Western Kentucky in quite a few years.  I always enjoy the first day of a good snow storm.  Provided that is—I have everything I need to survive.  I’m well stocked on food thanks to the great deals I get at the Country Cupboard in Croften, Kentucky.  We discoverd this wonderful store last July.  They buy a truckload of all kinds of goods that are slightly outdated.  Some of their goods are not outdated but are sold cheaply because they are seasonal items or have dents. 

We always take our friend, Mary, with us when we drive to Croften.  What a blast we all have.  Mary loves the coffee deals.  The past two months there have been plenty of name brand bags of coffee for about a third of the price.

My eye is always looking for the organic goods.  I have found organic  items like organic canned beans, organic cereal and toaster pastries–and some treat items like Neuman’s organic cookies.  I have also found many Kashi products like cereal and already prepared 7 grain dinner pouches. 

Many times we get good items for a dime or a nickel apiece.  Lasst week they had boxes of PowerBar brand energy bars for a nickel apiece.  They were not outdated.  I bought 120 of them and shared them with my grown children. 

There is always a great deal of variety in the foods they carry.  Jim, Mary and I look forward to our adventures at the Croften store each month.  Last week I paid only $58.00 for 4 huge boxes of groceries.

So I’m well prepared for the snow this winter.  Our pocketbook is not depleted either.  I don’t know how folks pay such high prices for the types of food we buy at the Amish store.  It is fun to get a box of cereal with the orginal price of almost $5.00 marked on it–and I pay on .50 cents. 

We’ve also saved money this winter by keeping our thermostat at 61 degrees.  We’ve gotten used to a cooler house.  We compenstate by drinking plenty of hot coffee, tea or chocolate and dressing in layers.  In fact, when I’m in a place where the heat is 72 degrees–I get too hot.  Our bodies have  adapted quite well. 

I’ve been healthier this winter.  Last winter I made about 4 trips to the doctor and stayed on antibiotics.  My nose was constantly bleeding and I always had a cold.  So far—I’ve been very healthy!

Well, this is enough excitement for a while.  Hope to write again next Week.

God bless each of you!

Nichole’s Slices Of Life, 19

1 02 2010

My new beginnings never got off the ground.  I think that I just have goals that are too lofty and then fail.  Blogging was fun and easy in the beginning of my journey.  Plus, I had a passion about my path with breast cancer.  I will try once again…..

I’ve snuggled the fall and the winter away thus far –with plenty of reading.  When I have free time that is where my heart always leads.  We’ve also been very busy with our parish.  Having a full time priest has put demands on us that we were not used too.  We attend Vespers each Saturday evening.  During the Nativity fast before Christmas we were busy with many extra services.  Now we are getting ready to enter Great Lent in a couple of weeks.  We will be busier than ever with special services.

When we traveled 100 miles to St. Elizabeththe New Martyr Orthodox Christian Church in Murfreesboro, TN. –we only attended services on Sunday.  Having our own parish within 30 miles of home with a our own priest is an answer to prayer.  However, it is also a call to a deeper understanding of our Orthodox Christian life. 

We really don’t have much of a weekend anymore.  We leave our home  at 3:00 p.m. each Saturday afternoon and don’t return until 9:00 p.m. most of the time.  We attend the catechumin class because we never had the opportunity to do that when we were catechumins living so far from a parish. 

On Sunday mornings we arrive very early to help set up coffee hour.  Mary, our friend who also lives in Hopkinsville–sets up the bookstore.  Jim, my husband helps set up the alter for Divine Liturgy.  Of our own choice–we often stay until 3:00 p.m. most Sundays enjoying a very long coffee hour and then helping to clean up.  We wouldn’t trade the opportunites we have now for anything.

On a more domestic note– Patrick, our 3rd grandson is 4 months old now.  He has gone through a long bout with RSV and had to be in the hospital a couple of days.  My children all were sick at times with RSV but we didn’t have a name for the condition in those days.

John, our oldest grandson, has worked with me to rearrange all of my rooms.  He came up with a plan and I just helped shove furniture around.  I think it is the prettiest our home has ever looked in the 24 years that we have lived here.  John has a real gift for what looks good.  He no longer likes to be around small children that much.  Often, he will spend the day with me on holidays but Alex still wants to play with the children at his neighbor’s home. 

I told John that we can’t move any more furniture for awhile.  I will have to teach him to cook now.  He is very excited about that propect.

I’m going to try to write short blogs and try once again to stay online.  I was extremely tempted to close down my blog but just thought I’d give it one more try.

Thanks for still browsing my blog site!

God bless each of you!

Nichole’s Slices Of Life, 18 When the Kettle Whistles

16 11 2009

I didn’t have any problem getting up early during the summer. It was light at 5:00 a.m. and my body responded. My body also responded when it started getting dark between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. I just didn’t want to get out of bed until it was totally light.  However, that messes my day up big time.  We like to take a mile walk each morning.  It takes a long time to walk as Jim is a very slow walker these days.  It takes us about 45 minutes to accomplish our walk.  When we get back to our home-we  like to   eat a nice breakfast and say our prayers. My day was not really starting until 9:00 a.m. and I didn’t like that one bit.

You might say my day is over as far as household accomplishments are concerned— by about 2:0o p.m.  For you see—-I have to pick up my grandsons from school and take care of them until 5:00 p.m.  Thus, the whole situation was getting to me greatly.

We also have had many evenings during the late summer and fall where we had extra church services.  My days and nights were most unsatisfying to me.  I guess I’m just to0 perfectionistic in my expectations.     I’m silly to behave this way.

Finally, when I got Jim to the VA hospital in Nashville on October 20th by 8:00 a.m.– I knew that I could do better.  Actually, I decided to start drinking coffee again. I had given it up for over a year.  But I didn’t know any other way to jump start my body. 

Jim and I came up with a plan for him to bring me a cup of coffee at 4:30 a.m. (Jim gets up at 4:00 a.m.)  I sip it slowly and enjoy some time with my two dogs.  The dogs like  to cuddle with me in the early morning.  Jim comes back into our room at 4:55 a.m. to listen to the hourly news on the radio.  He then puts the tea kettle on so we can have hot water for our oatmeal.  It is my job to turn the kettle off when it whistles.  So I’ve been making it out of bed about 5:10 a.m. for almost a month now.  My days are going so much better.

The caffeine is not bothering me nearly as much as it once did. I take a powdered calcium and magnesium supplement that I drink as a tea twice a day.  I’ve been doing this for several months.  It relaxes my body.  I’m able to drink some coffee and still sleep these days. Wonderful! 

As far as other tid bits of life are concerned–I’m enjoying my new little grandson a great deal.  I’m so amazed by the miracle of human birth and development. Children are such gifts of God.  I’m so thankful to be a mother and a grandmother.

I’m enjoying my fall baking -especially the challenge to bake quality food that fits within the bounds of our Nativity fasting season which started yesterday.  This is one of my favorite Orthodox seasons of the church year.

I’m going to try to be more faithful to my blog.  Yes, I know I’ve said that before.  Well, I’m picking myself up to try again.  I need another kind of whistle to prompt me.  My inner whistle of connecting with other human beings.  Here is a  toast to another new beginning.

God bless each of you!

Nichole’s Slices Of Life, 17

8 10 2009

Our new grandson was born at 11:34 p.m. on September 25, 2009.  He weighed 7 lbs. and 13 oz. and was 20 inches long.  We stayed with Sandy from 4:00 p.m. until the birth except for going to get some supper. What a joy for Jim and I to watch our little grandson enter this world.  He will be 2 weeks old tomorrow and seems like a healthy little boy.  His name is Patrick.

We went by to see Sandy, Rob and the boys the other night. John and Alex are very comfortable with their new baby brother.  I had forgotten how precious newborns are.  We are very excited.

Our daughter, Maria, is the new officer in charge at the Gracy, Ky post office.  As postmasters retire–the title is changing to an officer status rather than postmaster status.  Nevertheless, Maria is very happy to have this full time job. 

I have been busy learning more about singing Orthodox music.  It is tough at times.  But I take it very seriously. September was busy with two major feasts and then a feast for our name day, The Protection Of  the Holy Virgin Mary. 

I’ve taken on a couple of piano students again. And John, my oldest grandson has started taking piano lessons from me.

Jim still has some bad days with his aortic condition but he also has many good days. 

Vera, our daughter, has moved to Kansas City, Mo to work with an Orthodox ministry. She left in May.  Vera flew in last week to get her winter clothes and to see the new baby. She is assisting Fr. Justin Matthews at the new ministry, Focus North America.

We are enjoying the cool days and nights of fall. I hope to get back to regular blogging as of this post.

God bless each of you!