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Grilling With Family!

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It’s a fact that a lot of what we do with family in the summer months involves food! If you were to track our gatherings, you would see that outdoor grills of every shape and size abound. It is a rite of passage that everyone from the youngest to the oldest become proficient in using these auxiliary cooking devices, especially, but not exclusively, the guys. It’s one way that the ladies get the guys out of the kitchen to make a mess they have to clean up! From H-E-B to the Grill! The outdoor grilling experience begins with a good product. When in Texas, our go-to store is the home grown and independently owned, H-E-B, founded in 1905 by the Howard E. Butt family. You can do the research on this grocery chain if you wish, but if you have lived in the Lone Star State any length of time, you know about the prolific H-E-B! ( The H-E-B Story ) While staying at Marc and Leslie's, we are conveniently in proximity to one of the companies’ flagship stores out in the Leander area. This 103,

A Chance Encounter!

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A recent long day of travel home from Albuquerque involved a connecting flight to Chicago. As we landed at Midway, we were tired, hungry and ready to be at our final destination in St. Louis. Little did I know that "a chance encounter" would make the day a lot more enjoyable! We had drawn a good boarding number in the A section and the six of us were standing in the area where lines form before heading down the jetway into the aircraft. Matt and I looked at an athletically built young man and thought we recognized him but couldn’t say how or where. Number 21's Autograph! Go Noooooot!! I happened to be standing next to him in line and immediately noticed he was watching the Friday night Cardinal’s game on his cell phone. That gave me a clue. I boldly asked, “Sir, are you with the organization?” He answered, "Yes. I'm a player." I then pressed, “May I ask, who?” And he readily responded, “Lars Nootbaar.” No sooner had the name come out of his mouth, Matt hande

The Golden Jubilee!

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It was fun to take the celebration of our 50 th  Wedding Anniversary “on the road” last week. We had a somewhat understated, yet meaningful remembrance back home with just the two of us on the actual date of our anniversary, June 10 th . This involved a movie and a meal! But, for months now, we have been planning to take the celebration to another setting in July. We affectionately called this part of our anniversary celebration, “The ABQ Blitz!” One of our twin daughters and her family have lived in an Albuquerque suburb for 16 years now. Their residence became home base for this gathering. Melissa and Reece with their three children, Klay, Karter, and Klaire, and three dogs, Sophie, Oreo, and Mocha, were in their element as hostess and host to us all! Our other twin and her family of six and one dog, Groot, have been spending part of their summer in New Mexico for years now. We knew that Michelle and Dan along with Chloe, Danny, Charlie and Dawson had already planned to drive their c

Service Required!

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I have been exercising five days a week since January, 2011. Before this time, a regular plan of fitness training was not on my personal radar! Now, these years later, I am in my second generation of equipment. My latest treadmill was purchased in 2015. Although I purchased a service agreement at the time, I neglected to use it while it was still in force. 😞 A Service Tech's Dream! The other day, I noticed that my walking belt was frayed and catching one of the guides every time it passed. I trimmed it back so it would not get further damaged beyond use. Then, I called for service. Some days later, the service technician came to replace the part. During his time looking over the machine, he detected a potentially more serious part failure. The drive belt that powers the entire treadmill was badly frayed and in need of replacement as well. As they say, “When it rains, it pours!” Isn’t it interesting how household maintenance comes in multiples? After two years waiting to find a con

"A Hallelujah Hootenanny!"

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I was not exposed to a strong liturgical type of worship experience during my teenage years. However, at the larger than average First Baptist Church in our county seat town, we did have elements in the service that included: robed choir anthems, well thought out pastoral prayers followed by beautiful choral amens, response readings involving the congregation, organ preludes and postludes and a strictly followed and printed order of service. We followed the admonition of the Apostle Paul who taught, “Be sure that everything is done properly and in order!” (1 Corinthians 14:40, NLT ). A Happy Face! Last Sunday, we returned to my hometown on Father’s Day and attended another fine church where my dad is a member. Over the past years, their worship service has morphed into a more blended service of traditional and contemporary elements. Like many churches today, the words to the songs and Scripture readings were on video screens. The service included a couple of the old favorite hymns mi

Skydiving at Sunset!

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Monique’s sixty-something first cousin, Sylvain, is an avid and experienced skydiver. He loves the sport and sometimes sends us a photograph of one of his more spectacular dives. These pics make us shudder with fear and amazement! He is handsome, still single, and ever the beloved son of his French mother. We have asked many times, why do you do this? And he usually just laughs with delight! I think he would answer if he chose to, “I just love the daring and freedom of it all!” 10,000 feet and descending! Occasionally, I like to watch Indy Grand Prix car races where the drivers skillfully maneuver around tight turns and down straightaways of street or road courses at speeds exceeding 200 mph! I admit that there is something intriguing about speed. I am often tempted during vacation time  to “put the pedal to the metal” in the wide-open spaces of Texas or New Mexico where the official speed limits are quite generous! Just so you know, while growing up in my dad's auto repair shop, I

Strawberries in the News!

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Strawberries have been in the news recently and not in a good way! Some organic varieties are being recalled because they may be linked to a dangerous disease impacting liver health. This is a damper upon this time of the year in Illinois when strawberries are being harvested. This is the optimum season when there is a flurry of activity going on in the Keppler kitchen to prepare fresh strawberries for freezer jam to stow away for later in the year. We also like to save back some of those more ripened berries that are juicy bursts of "sweet deliciousness!" These will be served over pound cake, in a bowl of cereal or as an ice cream topping. Yum! Yes, strawberries are a big deal in this family! Strawberry Freezer Jam! 8 Pounds and 15 Containers! I eat strawberries all year long, but there is something about their tastiness at the end of May and into early June that is special to my palate. I used to pick strawberries with my brother when I was a kid. We competed to see how qui