Warms You Body and Soul

I first fell in love with it on my first trip out of the country. I was 18 and was invited to fly to England for a 3 week’s holiday including a week on a barge touring the British canals. The family was an acquaintance my brother had made on his recent backpacking tour of Europe. I was excitedly afraid. But up, up and away I went.

Caroline met me with her Dad at the Heathrow airport. From there it was a two hour drive to their humble home in Ashford, Kent.

Caroline was a year or so older and had her own flat. She worked at the local Fish and Chips restaurant, served in the traditional way with newspaper wrappings and malt vinegar. Arthur Treacher has nothing on this authentic culinary goodness.

But this isn’t what I fell in love with on this trip.

Her Mum had us over for tea. An afternoon tradition perfect for a country that rarely sees the sun shine.

Hot tea did the trick! It warmed me, body and soul!

The tea was served strong with cream, and I promise I’ve not tasted it nearly as good as it was for me on this trip.

I even asked Caroline years later what was her Mum’s secret. She couldn’t answer because her tea was lacking something too.

We suffice it to say it was her love for us and for sharing something from her kitchen which made her tea so amazing.

I shared with them our family’s banana bread recipe. They had never heard of it and were as impressed with it as I was their tea. Maybe it goes both ways; Each of us sharing a piece of our family’s heritage through food with lots of love.

As an aside, I’ve discovered a black tea that comes as close to what I remember as I can find to Caroline’s Mum’s tea. It’s PG Tips served with half and half. Let it steep for 5 minutes, and it will warm you body and soul.

It’s amazing that their family heritage has become mine. All my kids and grandkids love a good cup of hot tea.

What recipes have become part of your heritage? My banana bread recipe can be found under the recipes tab above.

Bon Appetit!


This Is Just A Test

I had just hung up my mobile phone letting Tom know I was on my way home. I put my phone down as the radio took over when my Bluetooth disconnected.

My phone rang again, but I didn’t recognize the number. I am so glad I answered.

Apparently when I set my phone down I accidentally pushed the emergency sos button. It was the 911 call center calling me to make sure I was ok. I was shocked at what happened and assured him I was fine. He asked my name and confirmed where I was on the road. He seemed ready to rush to my aid. I was a bit embarrassed.

I had no idea iPhone offered this. As I was hanging up the phone, Tom called, but I missed him before he hung up.

He had received the same emergency sos call from my phone with my location. It said, “Debra Walter called her emergency sos from this location.” He was about to dart out the door when I called him back.

He was shaken up thinking I had been in a bad accident, since I didn’t answer him when he called.

I share all this to let you know how this service works. I had no idea! I’m relieved to know it’s so efficient. I felt horrible that I caused my husband such distress, even if it was only a few minutes.

This was only a test of our emergency sos system.

Take away? 1. Don’t take any moment for granted; life is precious. 2. Our iPhone emergency contacts work well! 3. Be sure your phone screen is off before setting your phone down. You never know who you’ll call next!


In high school I was in the Advanced Chorus and Jazz Ensemble. I loved everything about it. Our teacher, Mr. Knepper, was not only an excellent teacher, but he was a prolific composer.

In my junior year he wrote a medley of tunes from each decade from the 1920’s to the 1970’s. It was a 30-40 minute production complete with choreography and matching outfits. It was not only fun, but our audiences loved it too.

We also participated each year in district and state competition. Our ensemble consistently won superior awards which built our confidence. Which lead us to enter solo competition too, including yours truly.

I’ll never forget my song of choice, Joni Mitchell’s, Both Sides Now.

I remember Mr. K telling me so many times, “Sing it like you mean it!” I hadn’t a clue what the song meant; I was only 16 and hadn’t lived enough life to see it all as an illusion.

But today as I cooled off in our pool from pulling weeds, I noticed the clouds.

“Rows and flows of angel hair, and ice cream castles in the air.”

I thought of my grandmother and how when I was a child, she would always encourage my imagination by spotting animals in the sky. I loved the game and I loved her attention.

Today, as an aging adult, I see that clouds are so much more than a tool to spawn the imagination of a child.

“But now they only block the sun. They rain and snow on everyone. So many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way.”

This is one way to look at clouds.

But I see them more as tools to display God’s glory. Some days the clouds are so beautiful I take photos trying to catch the view. I call these “fair weather clouds”

Other times, when a tropical storm or hurricane is nearby, I love watching the clouds race across the darkened sky. And it’s even better when lightning occurs. It’s like watching a symphony take place with a timpani of thunder following the conductor’s lead.

Clouds. They can be peaceful or powerful. Happy or sad.

I’ll never forget seeing the cloud that hung in the air like a memorial over our Central Florida skies when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after takeoff.

Or the beautiful skies on the day the Lord called my brother home to be with him. He loves the song “I’ll Fly Away”, and I marveled at how God filled the sky that day with such glorious fair-weather clouds.

Clouds are beautiful. Joni Mitchell surmised that they were an illusion. She came to this conclusion because they can’t be touched or moved by human hands.

But God! He forms the clouds and has them go and do His bidding. They reflect His character.

Today, He is reminding me He is near even if I’ve yet to touch Him. It’s enough that He has touched my heart bringing faith alive.

Clouds aren’t an illusion, they’re a reflection of who God is. And one glorious day He will return on the same clouds that took Him to Heaven.

“Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Even so come, Lord Jesus!

An Ovid to Covid

You appeared in 2020 March,
On a crisp spring day
Bringing cancellations and reservations
Of life’s normal work and play

We got used to the drill
Mask on or mask off?
Are any vaccines safe?
Which ones are? And which ones are not?

Then came the new variant
Delta was her name
She hit the world harder and swifter
Spreading the germ of fear once again

For some this all seemed unreal
Knowing no one who had succumbed
We were them, until we were not;
My brother once healthy and retired Now sadly gone.

We got the vaccine in the midst of our grief
Hoping to prevent more heartache
In our family, at least.

A vacation was scheduled
and timely it was
We needed to process what had happened
and humbly seek God

The lakefront cottage was perfect
With no TV or WiFi
We had lots of time to explore
All the small towns nearby

We went to the market
And were surprised to find
A horse and carriage parked by our car
We discovered the Amish live nearby

They came from Pennsylvania in the 80’s, we were told
The town is called Romulus
Where the soil is as rich as gold

We fished on the lake
And hiked a trail one morning
We cooked favorites and took walks
And visited a museum in Corning

But the one thing that happened
That calmed all my fears
When God painted a reminder
We watched it slowly appear

A rainbow so bright,
It was impossible to miss
God was saying “I’m faithful
To my promises—even in this!”

Our time at the cottage was
Ironic for Tom and me.
For the small town where it is located
Is named Ovid, you see.

Ovid and Covid—two parts of this ode
The one caused much grief,
Such misery and sorrow
While the other brought peace

How can the two be so alike yet so different?
Maybe it’s like people in general;
We are human and fragile,
Yet resilient and pliable

My Ovid to Covid
Puts my heart on the page.
It’s filled with comfort and peace,
Without a trace of rage

How is this possible
To be free of rage and fear?
By God’s grace that’s available to all who draw near.