What Heavenly Ramparts Are in Your Life?

Photo of Orange Roses by Kayleen Reusser

Photo of Orange Roses by Kayleen Reusser


“Consider her ramparts; go through her palaces that you may tell it to the next generation.” Ps. 48:13

In biblical times the best cities were built on hills for protection. The city’s inhabitants strengthened their defenses by building a wall, or rampart, around the city. Marauders would have to ascend the steep hillside and pass through this outer wall, or rampart, to enter the city, a formidable task.

This sturdy appearance around Mount Zion, which some believe refers to the city of Jerusalem, made it a suitable sign of the abiding protection of God. The Psalmist encouraged worshippers to walk around the city. “See how your hometown has fared after battle,” he seems to say. “It has stood solid. Notice how every tower is intact and the fortifications have stood firm.” Those who viewed such protection were to pass the good new on to others, even future generations.

There have been times in our married life when my husband and I have felt God’s ramparts surrounding us. Several years unemployment threatened to ruin Christmas until a church supplied us with food, toys and a Christmas tree. Another time John had the flu and needed help milking the cows. One call and friends from church came to help with chores.
When my mother-in-law was dying of cancer, Christian friends brought food, shoveled walks, sent cards, and prayed. These situations have all become “ramparts” to our faith, incidents that remind us of God’s love and provision.

I have preserved many stories by writing them down so our children and future grandchildren will know of these ramparts.
Does anyone know about the heavenly ramparts in your life? What can you do to pass on the word of God’s goodness to you?

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Mark Lowry Mixes Laughter and Christian Message

Christian Comedian Mark Lowry

Christian Comedian Mark Lowry


One of the privileges of writing stories for newspapers is the opportunity to interview celebrities. I’ve posted some of those stories here including Red Green from the Red Green Show and Bill and Gloria Gaither. Mark Lowry is another person I was thrilled to talk to via phone. He was on tour with a concert date in Fort Wayne Indiana. This is a condensed version of the story that appeared in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel newspaper a few years ago.

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With a reputation for poking fun at himself and his 500-mile-an-hour speech, a suave tenor voice, and quirky way of poking fun of things, including his former boss Christian music icon Bill Gaither, Mark Lowry has been at the top of the Christian music industry for more than two decades.

After graduating with a degree in youth ministry from Liberty University, Lowry felt God calling him to a music career. During the next few years, Lowry shared tales at concerts of the problems he had sitting still in church while growing up because of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). “I don’t look at ADD as a bad thing,” he told audiences. “I kind of like me. I can multi-task and totally know what I’m doing.” When people laughed, Lowry realized he was on to something.

In 1988, Lowry began touring the country as the baritone member of The Gaither Vocal Band, a position he remained at for 13 years. Clowning on stage with Bill Gaither became a part of the band’s concerts and audiences loved the pair.

When Bill and Gloria Gaither created the popular Homecoming videos and tours, Lowry’s effervescent personality seemed a natural fit. Mark has been featured in 100 of the Gaither Homecoming videos.

When it came time for Lowry’s “Mark Lowry on Broadway” video to be made, Bill Gaither helped out in a starring role.

After traveling with the Gaither Vocal Band for over a decade, Lowry chose to go solo. While he continued to regale audiences with stories about the problems he had while growing up with ADD, his emphasis was to convey the joy found in knowing Jesus Christ as Savior.

He also ventured into songwriting and composed a tune considered by many to be a Christmas music classic. In 1984 when Lowry was asked to write a Christmas play for his church, he came up with questions he wanted to ask Mary, the mother of Jesus. “Mary, Did You Know?” has been recorded by over 30 artists, including Natalie Cole, Donnie Osmond and Clay Aiken. Lowry recorded a Christmas album with “Mary, Did You Know?” featured on it.

Today, Lowry is back singing with the Gaithers. He considers his life a miracle. “I never thought I’d get this far,” he said. “I’ve walked through every door. It’s been an incredible trip.”

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Indiana Media Marketplace, Good Place to Learn about Indiana’s Gems

A look of European architecture Inside West Baden Hotel in French Lick, Indiana.

A look of European architecture Inside West Baden Hotel in French Lick, Indiana.


Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Indiana Media Marketplace event in Indianapolis at the State Fair grounds. It was a great opportunity for someone like me who loves to write travel articles and blog posts about our great state to visit with people interested in the same thing. Representatives from Visitor Centers around the state were there to talk with writers, trip organizers and others about the newest products, innovations, services their areas offered.

The goal is to interest writers/editors/others into publicizing the events. I’ve already contacted several editors about ideas I learned about and hope to write several.

So many fun events are happening that I want to just travel around Indiana taking in all the fun and beauty! After three hours, I had talked with 30 reps and had 3 goody bags on my arms! Here is a photo of some of the items the reps were giving away.

Fun giveaways at IN Media Marketplace

Fun giveaways at IN Media Marketplace

While I can’t take the time to list all of the 30 wonderful events and places I learned about, I’ll list some highlights.

The Red Skelton Festival in Vincennes (his hometown) on June 5-8, 2013, honors one of America’s most-beloved comedians! There is a Red Skelton Museum and re-runs of his shows and comedy camps where people can practice Red’s characters like Freddy the Freeloader. Go to http://www.redskeltonmuseum.org and http://www.vincennescvb.org for more details.

Another can’t miss is a visit to the only nation’s only perfumery, Annie Oakley Studio in Ligonier. This would be a great girlfriend road trip! Annieoakley.com

Indianapolis is opening a new 8-mile bike trail that will go around the entire city! Wow! VisitIndy.com

I’ll mention other must-do’s for summer travel one-tank trips in future posts. Subscribe to this blog so you’ll not miss one!

What’s your favorite travel destination? Why?

Who Sees You As An Angel?

Matthew 1:20
“… Do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (NKJV)

Photo by Dave Reusser

Photo by Dave Reusser

The day after we were married, my husband and I were in a car headed for O’Hare Airport when we were hit by a car. We were taken to a hospital and released three hours later with only headaches. But it was now evening, our car had been towed, and the bus lines were closed. An expensive taxi ride would eat into our savings.
A man in the waiting room offered us a ride to the airport. Tired and shook up, we knew it was risky, but we accepted his offer.
“I was in a car accident myself a few months ago,” the stranger said. He would always walk with a limp, but he was thankful to be alive. As he dropped us off at the airport terminal, he gave us $10 and said, “Buy yourselves a good breakfast.”
That accident could have been a blight on our first days together. Instead, because of the kind actions of a stranger, it became one of the best days of our long and happy marriage. A stranger offered to help us and he did so magnificently with his words and actions. He was like an angel sent by God to help us.

The angel Gabriel was a stranger to Joseph and yet he had good news for Joseph.

Who can you help today with encouraging words and actions? Can you make muffins to thank your hair dresser for her good work? Could a friend use a birthday card and small gift to celebrate? The elderly always need encouragement. Choose one thing and then do it!

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What Baked Goodie Will Mrs. Reusser Serve for Fabulous Friday?

It’s Fabulous Friday!

My daughter Lindsay gave me this cupcake plate for Christmas! Love it!

My daughter Lindsay gave me this cupcake plate for Christmas! Love it!


That’s what I’ve named the day of the week when I take in a homemade baked item for the students of my middle school. I work in the library and have bribed several students to visit me during their lunch time or homeroom period with a baked good. It might be a brownie, cookie, or cupcake. The kids never know what I’ll bring in—mainly because I don’t know many times until the morning of what I’m making!

I prefer making something from scratch such as Texas Sheet Cake or Mississippi Mud. When I tell the names of these goodies, many kids have not heard of them. That seems sad to me and is partly why I make items with no premade mix. I’ve found some students never have had the opportunity to taste something with few if any preservatives.

And I want to treat them to something special because they are special to me.

Today, however, I am making yellow cake from a mix because I had a late appointment last night and was knackered, as the Brits say, when I got home late. I may take some leftover chocolate sprinkles and plate them on top to add some color. The sprinkles are from Halloween treats and the cupcake liners are from Christmas. Wonder if the kids will care that I’m combining treats? Nah!

The students have to eat their baked goods over my desk so our school custodian doesn’t find ants all over. Another rule is the students have to talk to me as they’re eating. I try to take plenty for everyone (maybe 2 dozen or so) because the word has spread so kids will bring their friends into the library for a snack on Fridays. Some students are ‘Friday Friends’—meaning they only greet me on Fridays when they come for their snack. That’s OK.

Other students come in regularly to see me at lunch. With most students playing on their school-issued Ipad in the cafeteria when finished eating, the library is a quieter environment. We may chat about life in general or what they might do for the weekend or anything they want.

Of course, I always encourage students to check out books, but I don’t pressure them to do so. Hopefully, some of them will have good memories of a library. Libraries can be fun, interesting, helpful and maybe even delicious!

What are you doing to encourage students to read and visit libraries?

Caliente Restaurant’s Authentic Cuban Food Gains Rapid Following

Caliente Restaurant seeks to teach its customers Spanish words on daily basis.

Caliente Restaurant seeks to teach its customers Spanish words on daily basis.

One of the joys of writing is doing restaurant reviews for travel-oriented publications. Here is a review published on the Fort Wayne Insider blog in 2013. Dozens more of my blog posts about entertainment and fun experiences in Fort Wayne are published here: http://www.visitfortwayne.com

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My first experience with Caliente Restaurant, which may be the only place in Fort Wayne that serves Cuban food, was a strange one. After listening to my friends rave about this small café located next to Park Center on East State Blvd, my husband and I decided to check it out one Saturday after doing errands. It was 5:00 pm so well within their advertised hours of operation.

Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed. “We ran out of food at 3pm!” a man who was sweeping inside shouted through the door.

Now I’ve heard of restaurants having to close early in countries like Cuba, for example, where food is rationed. But I’ve not heard of it happening often in the United States.

Thankfully, I know now why the owners ran out of stock. I decided to give the restaurant another chance and returned a week later (but earlier in the day!) to eat a meal of hot bean soup, plantanos (fried mashed bananas), and a Cuban sandwich. Total cost—under $10.

Imagine how good this soup tasted on a bitterly cold winter's day!

Imagine how good this soup tasted on a bitterly cold winter’s day!


My, but it was bueno! I know now from the delicious tastes and steady stream of customers who came into the restaurant why the owners, Gustavo and Yalili Rodriguez, had run out of food. It was not due to rationing but because their food is so great tasting!

Seriously, the steam rising from the black bean soup was a comfort to see as outside the temps were well below freezing. It tasted slightly tangy but not too hot. I don’t like jalapenos and didn’t want them in the soup or on my sandwich.

Have I said how yummy my first Cuban sandwich was? After hearing about Cuban sandwiches for years, I finally ate one—actually I could only eat half because it was so big and took the other half home. It was traditionally made on special Cuban bread and spread with a special sauce, turkey, cheese, thin slice of beef and a dill pickle slice. The sandwich is then smushed together with a special Cuban sandwich machine.

I’m not much of a pickle eater but the tang from the pickle as it melded with the cheese and meats was delicate and refreshing.

And the plantanos – I could have used a little bit of a seasoning on them, but they were an interesting addition and one I’d recommend. There is only one in the photo because I could not wait to try one before snapping the shot.

The décor is simple but clean and interesting. A small board lists the word for the day. On the day I was in it was ‘Delantal’. When I asked Gus what it meant, he pointed to his apron. Cute!

There is a Cuban stamp collection hanging on the wall, along with artwork depicting Cuban culture. Another sign says ‘A different place to warm up your taste.’

I give the owners credit for also establishing an online presence with Facebook and Twitter accounts, a website and email address. They are sure to attract even more business by getting their name out there. Caliente, which means warm in Spanish, is well on its way to becoming a popular place to get a quick, and economical delicious lunch in Fort Wayne.

Caliente Restaurant
1123 E State Blvd
Fort Wayne 46805
471.0700

Calientecuban@gmail.com

Hours:
M-F 11am-7pm
Sat: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm

http://www.Calientecuban.com

Twitter: mycaliente
Facebook: caliente cuban cuisine

Are You Sinking or Swimming Through Life?

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8, New American Standard Bible)

Read Philippians 2:6-11

Husband John may be helping son Chris swim in our pool. Or not.

Husband John may be helping son Chris swim in our pool. Or not.

When my kids were small, I took them to swim lessons. Trained instructors demonstrated how to perform each stroke. But there was something my kids didn’t know about their instructors. They were also certified life guards. Before my kids got in the water, I wanted to know their instructors could save them from drowning, if needed. A demonstration of how to swim wouldn’t be much help to someone who was drowning.

We’re all swimmers in the Sea of Life. In the beginning we dip our toes in the water. Then we get braver and venture out further. We may even try to swim to the other side of the pool. But suddenly we reach the middle and feel scared. Temptation, worry, and doubt drag us down. We yell for help. Jesus, our Lifeguard, quickly swims to our side. He secures us next to his body and delivers us safely to the edge of the pool.

It wasn’t enough that Jesus gave us a good example of how to live. He had to become our Savior by dying on the cross. By doing so, He showed us that we could trust Him with our lives.

Prayer: God, thank you for allowing your Son to die on the cross so that we might have life. His obedience and love for us is overwhelming. Help us to be worthy of it. Amen.

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