How Can We Keep From Singing?

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Since the LORD is the lord of heaven and earth, tell me, how in the world can we keep from singing? Regardless of what he permits or plans for our lives?

Can the clay pot tell the potter he didn’t get it right? “Uh, this handle seems a little thick. Could you pinch off some of the excess?”

After sharing the news regarding my recent diagnosis of Lupus, I received mixed reactions. Some have been sympathetic. Some have been silent. Some have responded in anger at the very idea.

Like many of you, life events and circumstances have beat me up and spit me out many, many times. When people question with a “Why you?” I respond with a “Why not me?”

Many of you face ordeals that are enough to put someone into an unrecoverable spiral. Yet, by the grace of God, you still stand to face another day.

God is faithful to bring beauty from the ashes. Thank you, Jesus.

Among Pilot’s talents and abilities is his love for playing music. Most evenings, he pulls out one instrument or the other. His songs of praise are an offering to the maker of that music.

When I step outside and listen, the birds’ choruses rise to the heavens. Somewhere in their songs I believe is praise to the Creator.

To my memory, my dad whistled or sang most days. I believe it pleased God to hear Dad express both his pain and joy that way.


One way to express our joy. One way to express our pain. One way to acknowledge the God who is much, much, bigger than we are. The God who holds us in his righteous hand, and will never leave or forsake us.

No matter what the future holds we need not fear, for we know who holds tomorrow.

Leave your comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

But let everyone who trusts you be happy; let them sing glad songs forever. Protect those who love you and who are happy because of you. Psalm 5:11 (NCV)

I wish you well.


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Ever on the Level

Among the variety of things that bug me, are un-level wall hangings. Pictures. Mirrors. Plaques. Whatevers. I can’t help it. I notice them everywhere I go.

When I see pictures in our house that need straightened, I must straighten them. Do you have any idea how much restraint it takes not to reach out and straighten things in others’ homes or offices? Especially all those crooked posters in doctor’s offices. Sigh. Although, I will admit, if I’m staying in your guest room, and something is crooked, I will straighten it.

There is an incident, from my teen years, that I doubt I’ll forget. Like many families, our family had a large painting on the wall behind the couch. When I walked into the living room one day, I told my father the picture was crooked.

He looked at the painting, and replied, “No, it isn’t.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No. It. Is. Not.”

“It is to-oo.”

I know…Bad, Sandy. You do not argue with your parents.

My dad left the room, and returned with his large, metal level. He placed the level on top of the picture frame. Dad looked at the level. He looked at me. Dad shook his head. Then he straightened the painting.

It was off by some miniscule amount, but I noticed. It was crooked. It needed to be fixed.

Cute story, but where am I going with this, right?

Well, just like it bothers me to see things hanging on a wall that are not level, I am sure it must bug God to look at our lives, and see them deviate, even by a miniscule amount, from his “level”. His truth.

We might look at ourselves and think we aren’t that bad. We’re only a little off-kilter. It isn’t that big a deal. No one will notice.

But God notices. It’s a big deal to him. So much so, he went to great extremes to make sure we had a way to get level. To get straight. To be pleasing to him, through our acceptance of His son, Jesus, as our Savior and Lord.

Maybe we’re un-level because our foundation’s cracked. Maybe we’re un-level because we’re lining ourselves up with those on the wall beside us. Maybe we’re un-level because we’ve been jarred by knocks we’ve taken, or because our frame is warped. Whatever the reason, the solution is to pull out God’s level – the Bible – read the directions, and measure ourselves against it. Then, and only then, will we be able to do what I often heard my dad say, “Straighten up, and fly right!”

So what bugs you? What’s that one irritating thing you have trouble looking passed? I’d love to hear what it is.

I wish you well,


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Bless the Lord O My Soul


Happy 2013, Everyone!

365 days of opportunities stretch out before us.

Opportunities to refine skills. Gain new knowledge. Explore new ideas, and new places.

Opportunities to be nicer, kinder, more loving, more gracious.

Opportunities to fix the things that need fixing. Leave the things that need leaving. Embrace the things that need embracing. Finish the things that need finishing. Start the things that need starting.

Lots of opportunities to accomplish lots of different things.

In this video, Matt Redman suggests what should be a top priority everyday. 10,000 Reasons.

I wish you well.



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Gluten-free Snickerdoodle Cookies Recipe

Recently, I found a wonderful cook book. The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free, by Anne Byrn. I was already a fan of Anne Byrn, after using her The Dinner Doctor cook book. I highly recommend both of these books. Although Dinner Doctor is not G-F, there are lots of yummy recipes in it.

Snickerdoodle cookies have long been one of Pie’s favorites, and when I saw this new cook book had a recipe for them, I decided to give it a go.


The second chapter of Matthew in the Bible, tells us the Magi from the east came to Jerusalem, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Although tradition tells us there were three wise men, the Matthew account never mentions a number. Tradition also says the Magi were present at Jesus’ birth. The Bible says the Magi went to the house where Jesus was. Not the stable.

Since I’m posting one of Pie’s fav cookie recipes, I figured I’d close out the month with one of Pie’s favorite childhood Christmas songs, besides Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Here is a YouTube video of We Three Kings played on a mountain dulcimer.

Through the month, I’ve shared some of my favorite Christmas songs with you. I’d love to hear what songs are some of your favorites.

  • 1 package (15 oz) yellow gluten-free cake mix – I use Betty Crocker
  • 1/4 C lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cut into tablespoons – you can substitute vegetable shortening if dairy sensitive
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar – you can buy this, or make it yourself – Stir 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon into 1/4 C of granulated sugar

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Set aside 2 ungreased baking sheets.

Place the cake mix, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Combine. Add the butter (or shortening) to the bowl, and mix until crumbly. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until dough comes together in a large ball.

Scoop the cookie dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on each baking sheet, 2-3 inches apart. Sprinkle the top of each ball of dough with a little of the cinnamon sugar. If you want crisp 3-in cookies, press down on the balls w/ the bottom of a small glass to flatten them. If you prefer chewy 2 1/2 in cookies, do not flatten.

Okay, I tried it both ways. The ones I flattened were just as crispy as those I didn’t flatten. Also, the ones I flattened were gooey-er, and more difficult to get off the cookie sheets. I didn’t smoosh ’em, just tapped them lightly w/ the bottom of the glass. Maybe you’ll have different results. Regardless, gooey, or not, they were still tasty.

Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake the cookies until golden brown, 8-12 min. Using a metal spatula, (Not sure why she says to use a metal spatula. She wrote the cook book, so I followed directions.) Immediately transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely, 15 mins.

Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies



I wish you well,



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Holiday Blues

Christkindl-Markt Marienplatz, Munich
Photo Squandt

According to many studies, holidays increase feelings of loneliness and despair in people. Whether it is because they have lost loved ones, or because they have high expectations of renewed happiness during the holidays, which don’t materialize. Throw in SAD, and some of us may feel as if we should hibernate until springtime.

As I’ve mentioned before, my dad died in 1980. Just this past week, I spiraled into a funk while shopping, because I saw giant peppermint sticks for sale. Just like the ones Dad used to give me at Christmas.

There are several widows in my acquaintance who will spend their first Christmas this year, without their mates. My sister, California Girl, being one of them.

There are countless tales of broken dreams. Lost loved ones. Unfulfilled desires, and messed up plans. So, how do we manage to put one foot in front of the other during times when things just seem so wrong?

The following suggestions are by no means a “thus sayeth”. They are merely things I’ve observed.

For one thing, stay away from the Hallmark and Lifetime Channels. Even if the guy gets the girl by the end of the movie, and maybe, because the guy gets the girl, those movies, more times than not, are depressing. Turn them off.

Go through your DVDs. Check out movies from your library. Watch something funny. Something uplifting. Watch The Princess Bride for the umpteenth time. (Inconceivable!) Watch a musical, just not The King and I. The ending makes me cry every time.

Lose yourself in a mystery. How about Foyle’s War? If all else fails, what about viewing It’s a Wonderful Life, or The Christmas Story? (You’ll shoot your eye out!)

Go to free holiday events. Window shop. People-watch. Purchase something for yourself. Volunteer for a worthy cause. Get in touch with a friend you haven’t spoken to for awhile.

Listen to music you enjoy. One suggestion, if you’re really in a funk, listen to something snappy that sets your feet to tapping, that you can warble out loud to. Avoid those beautiful ballads like, My Heart Will Go On, and The Way We Were, unless you really need to cry it out. If that’s the case, set a limit to how long you’ll give yourself to feel the pain.

Make new traditions, if you need to.

Life is not static. It moves and flows with each breath we take. It is okay to change things up a bit. If it doesn’t work, try something different.

Bavarian Winter
Photo SQuandt

So, where is our hope amid the bleak mid-winter? Our hope is found in a baby who was born in a manger, so many years ago.

Watch the video of Mark Lowery’s beautiful song, Mary Did You Know? which I list among my favorites.

Then, six months after Zacharias’ vision, the angle Gabriel was sent from God to a Galilean town, Nazareth by name, to a young woman who was engaged to a man called Joseph. The girl’s name was Mary. The angel entered her room and said, “Greetings to you, Mary. O favoured one!-the Lord be with you!

Mary was deeply perturbed at these words and wondered what such a greeting could possibly mean. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; God loves you dearly. You are going to be the mother of a son, and you will call him Jesus. He will be great and will be known as the Son of the most high. The Lord God will give him the throne of his forefather, David, and he will be king over the people of Jacob for ever. His reign shall never end.” Luke 1:26-33 (PHILLIPS)

What’s the best way you know to get out of a funk?  Especially during the holidays.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.


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Falling in Love With You

December 7, 1941- A Date of Infamy

J Howard Kirby

On December 7, 1941, MM2C, J. Howard Kirby was on board the USS Tracy, stationed at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii. (Remember, Hawaii was a territory, not a state in 1941.)

He was 23 years old.

Around 7:50 AM that Sunday morning, while others were still asleep, or on shore leave, my dad was on duty.

That’s when the first wave of Japanese aircraft arrived, and Cmdr. Mitsuo Fuchida sent the coded message, “Tora. Tora. Tora.”  The Japanese attack began, and complete surprise was achieved.

My father was a sitting duck on board the Tracy, as it sat docked in the Naval Shipyard, across the channel from Battleship Row at Pearl.

In less than 2 hours, out of the 130 vessels berthed within Pearl Harbor, 21 were sunk, or

Photo courtesy
USS Arizona Photograph Collection

damaged. All but 3 of those ships – the Arizona, Oklahoma, and Utah – returned to service before the end of WWII.

328 of the US force’s 394 planes were destroyed or damaged.

2,335 service personnel were killed. 1,143 were wounded.

My dad died in April 1980. He never talked much about his experiences during the Second World War. I wish he had. I wish I had known when he was still alive, to ask him the questions I would like to ask him now.  I miss him bunches.

Photo courtesy
USS Arizona Photograph Collection

From Dad’s service record, I find my father was commended at Captain’s Meritorious Mast for “participating in action on board the USS Cummings on 7 December 1941 as a member of a gun crew, in the repulsion of Japanese planes attacking the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, T.H. and demonstrated steady nerves and coolness under fire.”

I have been able to visit Pearl Harbor twice. Both times I went there for my dad. His unfulfilled wish, was to return to Pearl some day.

Photo courtesy
USS Arizona Photograph Collection
Tracy & Cummings background, center berth

In the USS Arizona Memorial Visitors Center, there is a photograph on the wall, of the opening moments of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Torpedo tracks and explosion wakes rock the ships of Battleship Row. Two of the ships in the photograph are the Tracy, and the Cummings. Ships my father fought on that day.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 “a date that will live in infamy.” You can listen to his speech here.

George Santayana is quoted as saying, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”

He is also quoted as saying, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”


Here is Bing Crosby singing another song I remember hearing when I was a child. White Christmas. (Not to be confused with one of Sissy’s favorites, Blue Christmas.)

Just for fun, which song do you like better, White Christmas, or Blue Christmas?

No. I will not link to Blue Christmas. 😉

I wish you well,



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