Origin of Pilgrims Progress Book

John Bunyan Pilgrims Progress

1915 Edition of Pilgrims Progress

Shankill Baptist Church 1915

Sunday School Award for Attendance

My collecting of religious books continues to fuel my imagination of days long ago.  One of my more recent acquisitions is a Pilgrims Progress edition published in 1915 London by The Religious Tract Society.  It has an attractive blue cloth cover with a nicely detailed and somewhat ornate illustration.  The wear and tear over the past 100 years is really not that bad.  There are some smudges and a few spots on the pages but that just helps confirm the book was actually read, consumed, and maybe used for the purpose it was written.

The most interesting feature of this book is a presentation label placed on the front of the first end page.  It reads:

First Prize
Presented to
Agnes Irvine
for attendance
Shankill Baptist
Sunday School 1914

My first search for Shankill Baptist Church sends me to the web page of a church by that exact name located in Belfast Ireland shankillbaptist.com.  The community started in 1895 as the industrial revolution was taking hold of the area and there was a great need for evangelizing.  Since the book was published in the UK and since everything I search with Shankill appears to be in Belfast, I’m thinking that may be where the book was presented to Agnes Irvine over 100 years ago.

I have since emailed Shankill Baptist in Ireland and await any information that may confirm the book actually originated from their church.


Christmas Restored

Imagine our world when there was no radio, television, internet, and only dim lighting at night.   One form of entertainment was the everlasting invention of the picture book.  The value of these books was the colorful images and authoritative text not always so easily or readily available.  Our ancestors valued these books so much they passed them down to each generation.  Unfortunately not everyone receiving these precious gifts appreciated them.

I recently acquired an antique German picture book presenting the story of the nativity.  The cover was dirty and moldy from not being stored properly.  Being the curious curator of the dumpster that I am, I brought it home in hopes to improve its appearance and extend its purpose of production.

The name of the book is:

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (A rose has sprung up)
Ein biblisches Bilderbuch (A bible Picture book)
Neues Testament (New Testament)

Publisher: Kunstdruck & Verlag Von Ernst Kaufmann

The date of the book is not indicated but this publisher appears to have been in business during the early 20th century.  The art work on the front cover with vines and flowers is characteristic of the Arts and Crafts period 1880 – 1910 so my guess is this book was produced somewhere during that time.

Here are photos before and after my restoration efforts.


Baking and Testing for the St. Joseph Table 2015

This past weekend we produced a mountain of Italian Sesame Seed Cookies and tested my skill of making cream puffs.  It’s been a long time since I last made cream puffs so I needed to affirm my ability to make pate a choux and a nice flavorful custard.  Both came out great and I made some food testers very happy.  I also have some scardolini drying out, which is one step in the process prior to baking them in the oven.  We had lots of people over the past week volunteer to bring items and we’re getting a lot more interest and the excitement is building.


St. Joseph Table

Mountain of Italian Sesame Seed Cookies

Pate A Choux

Tested my ability with Pate a Choux.

St. Joseph's Table

Testing my cream puffs for the 2015 St. Joseph’s Table.

List of items provided and/or what the community has offered to bring:


Loaves of Bread

Fig Cookies

Sesame Seed Cookies


Italian Cream Puffs



Green Bean Artichoke Casserole

Eggplant Parmesan

Italian Stuffed Shells

Spaghetti with Sardines (Pasta Con Sarde)


Cheese Plate

Mixed Cheese Tray

Chocolate Spice Balls Cookie

Juice, fruit, and a dessert

Baked Whole Fish

St. Joseph Sheet Cake

St. Joseph Picture Cake

Lemon Bars

Flowers and Lilies

Items we Need
Vegetable Dishes
Italian Dessert Items
Lace Table Cloth

April Blood Moon


The big day finally arrived for may sky watchers as the first blood moon of 2014 rose in the sky late on Tuesday 4/14/14 and early on Wednesday morning 4/15/14.  Pictures tell it best.  Click on the picture below to start the slide show.

And there are even more pictures to share.  Just click on the picture to start the show.

Fortunately we had a sky that was not completely cloudy here in the Pacific Northwest.  For April that’s a blessing.  The clouds actually helped add to the drama and helped create some great shots.

From Christmas Day to 3 Kings Day

We are now on the 6h day of Christmas.  What did your true love give to you today?  How many want to have Christmas for more than one day or want it to last a little longer?  Perhaps not as many as the number that really don’t want to endure painful memories or regrets, but there are many.  This year almost every other person tells me that Christmas just came and went so quickly.  If only they would celebrate Christmas until the wise men arrive on the Epiphany.  I have to admit, the season has truly flown by this year but I am making the most of it and plan to wrap it up with a 3 Kings Day celebration.  Some call it Epiphany and some call it Twelfth Night.  This will be the final day of Christmas in my house.
I hope you all had a very happy and merry Christmas on Christmas Day.  As a simple human being, it’s hard to fully grasp the meaning of God’s gift that we celebrate.  Our journey during Advent helps us to understand the meaning of life and put our whole existence into perspective.  Taking the opportunity to spend time with family and friends will remind us of what’s most important….  Watching It’s a Wonderful Life or The Grinch gets to the point but is no substitute for the real thing.  Hope you all have a longer and happier Christmas filled with peace and joy from celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus with all those you love regardless of the miles that may separate you.  Make a difference in the lives of others and bring joy to the world.
Now it’s time to start looking for my king cake recipe.  Have a good day and let the celebration continue.

New Year’s Evaluation

The value of light in our world today is most likely a lot less than what it was in ancient Israel, only because we take it for granted.  We have lights everywhere you go, except when you get out into the country or the wilderness.   The absence of light essentially makes you blind.  You can’t see.  You feel insecure.  You want to see.  You are forced to rely on other senses like sound, touch, and smell.   Only if you’ve recently experienced a black-out do you have an idea of what life was like before electricity.

Our gospel today presents the two blind men that are healed by Jesus.  They both ask to be healed and Jesus asks if they believe He can heal them.  Fortunately they have the right answer of “yes” and were healed.  These men were in the dark but now they can see.  They had faith they could be healed and they were healed.  Their faith is now stronger and more genuine than before.  Jesus is the light of the world and He gives it freely.  Just do what the blind men did.  They followed Him and then they asked Him for the healing.

Many cultures and religions understand the importance of light in our spiritual lives and acknowledge it with religious activities.  We have the Diwali festival, Hanukkah, and of course Christmas.  Do you need some light in your life?  Only with light will you really see where you are and truly understand your current position.  Advent is an excellent opportunity to let the light of Christ into your life.    From a secular perspective we make New Year’s resolutions in January to better ourselves.  For Christians we start the New Year with Advent and use the light of Christ to better our spiritual lives.

The End of the World

Today is the first day of Advent and we start out with those words of warning, “…for at an hour you do not expect, the son of Man will come.”  We also hear that “…you do not know the day or hour your Lord will come.”  Wait just a second.  Where is the light?  Where is baby Jesus?  Is this not supposed to be a kickoff to the happy time of year?

Unlike some congregations, those observing days of Advent see this message as one that makes you think about salvation and the mystery of life on earth with all of its challenges.  The message for today includes God’s redeeming work in our lives.  The first reading, Isaiah 2:1-5, speaks of climbing the Lord’s mountain to the house of the God of Jacob.  This is our invitation to be transformed and walk in the way of The Lord.  We also hear in Romans 13 that it is time to put on the armor of light.

Jesus Christ is the light of the world and when we are transformed into his image we are a reflection of that light.  Advent is the time to ask if we are shining the light of Christ or if we need some transforming?  Let us begin this joyous time of year by venturing up the Lord’s mountain.  Then, when we reach the summit, we will be warmed by the light of Christ and we will be sharing it with others too.

St. Joseph’s Altar 2013

The Scott Family along with friends and parishioners from Holy Redeemer, St. Thomas,  and other surrounding parishes held a celebration to St. Joseph on Sunday March 17 with about 75 in attendance.  Father Mitchell from Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish blessed the table and led prayers.  Many food items on the table and at the celebration symbolize religious themes like the miracle of loaves and fishes.  All baked goods on the table are made by hand.  The tradition of a St. Joseph’s Altar can be traced back to Sicily and was brought to the U.S. by Sicilian immigrants.  The feast of St. Joseph is more special this year to the Catholic community with the installation of Pope Francis on March 19.   Approximately 50 lbs. of cookies, bread, fruit, and vegetables was donated from the altar to the Share Orchards Inn Shelter as part of the tradition to share with those less fortunate.

View Pictures Here

Video of Ceremony

St. Joseph's Altar 2013

It’s all coming together

Cannoli shells were successfully fried this morning and they taste great.  Italian spice cookies were baked and iced beautifully.  More bread was baked. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone through this amount of eggs, flour, sugar, milk, baking powder, and butter.

Judy came by for a visit today and we’re both on the same page. Everything is coming together. Thanks goes out to Dawn – we now have our table-cloth issue resolved.    We even found the whole fish (Trout) at Costco today.  Thanks to Steve R. for accepting the assignment of cooking the fish, head and all.  There are so many contributing in different ways.  More funds from Sister Idaho came in today to help make many of our last minute purchases.

Honoring St. Joseph this year seems even more special than before with Pope Francis being formally installed on March 19.  We celebrate a father that protected Christ on earth and a father that is protecting the church and all of God’s children.  We are certainly blessed.  Be sure to catch a blessing in the upcoming week wherever you may be.

cross Hay Stack Work HayStacks Italian Spice Cookie

Day of Bread, Cookies, and a New Pope

My St. Joseph’s Altar consultant (Mom) arrived yesterday and our prep for the table moved into high gear.   Cookie dough for the sesame seed cookies was made and put into the refrigerator over night.  Early Wednesday morning we found ourselves with no flour in the house, bread or all-purpose.  Bread was rising and our first batch of sesame seed cookies came out of the oven so we rushed off to the store for flour.  We were deep in the store when sister Idaho called to give us news of the white smoke.  It was time to hurry back to the house to see the new pope and to get the bread into the oven.  While heading to the checkout I got a text from sister Texas that bells were ringing in the Vatican and that the next pope would soon be revealed.  We got home, turned on the TV, got bread in the oven and started on more cookie dough when activity on the balcony began to take place.  It was time to sit and watch for the new pope to be presented.


What a surprise.  Argentina.  Plus, an Italian from Argentina.  And a humble servant.  I could not have been more excited.  Except that I had cookie dough halfway made and bread baking in the oven.  We soon got back to work and at the end of the day had 2 breads in the shape of a staff, 1 wreath, 7 dozen sesame seed cookies, and 2 dozen pizzelles.  There is still so much to do but it’s all quickly coming together.

Pizzelle Sesame Seed Cookies

Bread Staff