Five Sites to Visit From Your Arm Chair, Announcement about Voices of Survival Podcast, and a Tasty Giveaway

Okay, this post filled up like a plate at a pot luck dinner. But there are some treats on it, so prop up your feet and take a little break. I have five short website recommendations, something for you to read and listen to, and something to giveaway. Be thinking about what you are hungry for!

1. Card-a-day series

Head over to Danette Martin’s blog here for daily inspiration. She posts a card each day with a verse, lyrics to a song, a prayer focus, old and new photos, and a mystery picture. I’m especially amazed at the power of reading the lyrics of inspirational songs. What a great idea! Would you believe it, in keeping with my food theme she has posted a food picture today which is something I really wish I could buy in my local area. I have had them and they are delightful!

2. Dewdrops of Joy

My cousin Sara has a blog called Dewdrops of Joy where she writes inspirational columns and talks about cool things like what she does with her children for such holidays as “National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day” or “National One Cent Day.” As you might expect, she also has some of the world’s most creative children, one of whom designed the trash can you saw Saturday night. But it’s this little robot below that makes me really glad to be in the same gene pool as her young son Tyler. I just think it’s adorably stiff and emotional all at once, like a good robot should be! Those eyes… To check out Sara’s site and her adorable children, head over here.

3. Mt. Olive Mennonite church sermons

I’m adding this one after blogger Gina Martin posted on her blog, Home Joys (here) yesterday. Besides sharing an inspirational hymn with deep personal meaning for her, she shared links to the sermons her church streams on Facebook. A lot of churches, including our own, are streaming services now, but I found it fascinating that they stream a Spanish sermon as well. I listened briefly to flex my Spanish muscle. These messages are available on Facebook here.

4. Online Classes at Elnora Bible Institue

Marnell’s brother Norrell serves year round at Elnora Bible Institute. Since shutting down their final term, Norrell has been working hard to arrange the capability to have online classes. Like Marnell, he’s gifted in all things audiovisual. Check out his handiwork here. I didn’t ask but I’m assuming students are welcome from all parts of the globe!

5. Pat & Me

We can all use a little laughter during this time. Trell Miller has started reading pieces by Pat McManus on his Facebook Group “Pat & Me.” If you’ve never heard Trell read a story, you’re missing out. He’s as good at this as his sister Kendra is at children’s stories and his humor is infectious. If you’ve never heard of Pat McManus, then you don’t know just how funny fishing, hunting, and adventuring can be. I remember my brother reading his articles back in the day, and Marnell apparently did too, because he is also a fan. Trell reads his stories on a Facebook Group; search for “Pat & Me.” Or, go directly here. If you have cabin fever, you might start out by listening to “Two Man Tent Fever.” Lol.

6. Voices of Survival Podcast

Okay, this is not comedy, and it isn’t out yet. Marnell and I are still working on it. I’m doing most of the interviewing, and he rescues my audio files and provides equipment and software. He also speaks on the audio file below.

In Voices of Survival, and in the sample below, you will hear interviews right here in the Brady Street neighborhood, in the voice of the storyteller. Some take place at our kitchen table, some in the homes of our friends. Voices of Survival isn’t going to be free, and if you listen to a few episodes, you will know why. Some stories may curdle your blood. Not only are the stories extremely personal, but some are not appropriate for children. There might be a few humorous and heartwarming episodes, such as when our neighbor Mary gets into high gear. But others will involve drug abuse, arrests, and bad language. Some of the people sharing will struggle with mental illness. I will interview people who have overcome their difficulties and some who have not.

Why Are we sharing such stories?

  1. Listening offers people dignity. Everyone’s story is important to them, and by listening we affirm that they are valuable in God’s eyes. You can be part of that ministry. Also, it is often hard to tell whether the storyteller or the listener is most blessed, because….
  2. Listening changes me. What do people -even Christians- do when they are manipulated by a beggar on the street corner, who pretends to have a limp, but then walks away with no trouble? There are two easy responses: anger and shallow indulgence. Anger feels offended and cynical. Indulgence gives him money again the next time just to get rid of him. Neither helps. Voices of Survival presents a third possibility: listen. Wonder why. Ask yourself questions.
  3. Why not free? For privacy reasons, we don’t want these stories available to anyone who doesn’t have a vested interest in them. I don’t want them available to children due to the content of some of the storytellers. The subscription protects the content and covers operating expenses. Also, you will have the option to choose a subscription that tangibly helps the people sharing their stories. We will share more on this later. We don’t think we’ll be able to launch the podcast until the first of June, so I plan to update again in May. I honestly think, although subscriptions are annoying, that you will love the options we plan to offer.

And now! Here’s a clip with snippets from six of the different interviews I’ve done so far, with commentary by Marnell and I.


Okay, time for something fun. I have been looking forward to this for some time. I have long had a special fund for random acts of kindness. Marnell told me he thinks I should keep it separate from our other finances, and give it away to whoever I want. This spring, I thought of a way to offer it to readers and encourage your local economy in a small way.

So, I’m buying you food from a restaurant local to you. It could be pizza, breakfast, tacos (are there pizza breakfast tacos?) or even fast food. Remember, even if dining is closed, most restaurants are doing carry-out or even delivery. For this giveaway, I will pick two names. Both people will receive $40 (gift card or cash) to a restaurant local to them.

Also, this is the first of a series. (I’m trying to streamline, and may cut some of my social media, so this doubles as a bit of a survey.) I am planning an almost identical giveaway for followers of my author Facebook page next Monday, April 13. The following Monday, April 20, will be a third similar giveaway on Instagram . I plan to follow this with a drawing for anyone who has bought or read Captain Garrison, and a drawing for anyone who has made a purchase March through May at my online shop. Just FYI!

To enter today’s contest:

  1. Must be subscribed to this blog through email or WordPress to win. Hit “Subscribe” on the top menu bar of the website if you are not.
  2. Leave a comment on this blog telling me about a great restaurant local to you, and what you might order from there. Pizza? Alice Springs Chicken? Fish tacos? Egg rolls and egg drop soup? Canadians are welcome; I think I can figure out the red tape. Canadians just have to promise not to order that suspicious gravy with french fries dish. (Just kidding!)
  3. Post your comment before Thursday, April 9 at 6 am. You get more time for this since I’m working all week! Hopefully I will be able to contact winners Thursday or Friday and announce the winners in next Saturday’s blog.

And now…. what are you hungry for? (Uh-oh. This might not be good for my diet!)

118 thoughts on “Five Sites to Visit From Your Arm Chair, Announcement about Voices of Survival Podcast, and a Tasty Giveaway”

  1. Sue and I are getting take out from Perkins tonight for her birthday…. sandwiches, fries, and free pie because it’s Monday. I’d love to do it again, all free! 😄

  2. Janeen Troyer

    Pizza from the Fairview Coffee shop sounds good. They have the best pizza in my area.

    1. Hmmm..of course I have to say that Farmhouse Bakery and Cafe has excellent food and service 😉😉 but if I could choose anything at all it would probably be Moe’s or Agave a local Mexican restaurant..

      1. Katrina Hoover Lee

        I would love to try Farmhouse, except I think I would walk away 5 pounds heavier!

    2. Katrina Hoover Lee

      Interesting! I don’t know that I ever heard of a coffee shop that serves pizza.

  3. oh such a hard choice, but Mexican, is such a favorite! And its hard to stray too far from grilled shrimp fajitas or “shrimp on the beach” -Rice with delightful white cheese sauce oozing over it topped with fat shrimps :))

  4. Cracker Barrel is one kinda close to us. They have amazing chicken and fries as well as yummy breakfasts! You made me hungry just thinking about it 😄

  5. We kind of live in the middle of nowhere, so I’m not entering the giveaway. (Thanks, though.) I did want to tell you that your podcast sounds exciting to me. Stories are so profound, and I believe in people owning and sharing their stories. I also want to affirm you in the subscription idea for all the ideas you listed, but also because your work deserves compensation. Thank you for living Jesus on Brady St. and here on this blog.

  6. William Hoover

    I know I’m not going high class here, but a big burger, fries, and a frozen custard from Culvers sound wonderful.

  7. Martha Schrock

    Pizza Hut. That’s where Elvin and I had our first date and our 30th anniversary is next week! We would get a meatlovers pan pizza.

  8. Always enjoy your emails!! Pizza for the family is always so good from Dominoes!! But is a rare treat!! Keep up your “spice” in life !

  9. We have been ordering take puts from local restaurants since quarantine Saturday evenings to help the local economy. Last 2 weekends were Castenada, a delightful Mexican restaurant in Denver here. The owner uses recipes from his grandmother who still lives in Mexico I believe. Everything is wonderful, a personal favorite is the Tacos El Pastor.

  10. I’d get a gift card from Lititz Family Cupboard, a great restaurant! I’d get a twisted bacon burger or blt wrap!

  11. I would pick Tosco. They have a big selection of Italian food. Or Mexican or Chinese are always a good choice, too.

  12. I enjoy Acapulco which is a Mexican restaurant but I always order their Bandido burger, topped with sauteed onions, mushrooms and swiss cheese. Mmmm!

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      That sounds like one I used to get so I have no trouble believing it is delicious!

  13. “square one” in my town…. amazing carribean – Spanish food…makes me hungry and “homesick” for Puerto Rico just thinking about! I had to leave suddenly because of coronavirus panic…

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      I’m sorry about your rushed departure. I’d love to buy you food that makes you less homesick.

  14. Dawn Harshbarger

    April 8, 1960 is the date my parents got married. If Dad were here in this life we would be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. (My parents are Arnie and Leona Skrivseth. ) Since Dad’s home going we have taken Mom out for a special meal sometime close to their anniversary. Last year we went to Perkins. Mom chose the chicken potpie. A take out meal to surprise her would be great in this topsy turvy time.

  15. We have a nice Mexican restaurant not too far from our place that we love. Our family of 8 loves to go out to eat, but it just doesn’t happen often, for obvious reasons. 🙂

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      😀 I’d love to feed your family of eight. Not sure if the $40 would stretch the whole way though!

  16. Mmm, I could eat some fajitas or taco salad bowls from our local Mexican restaurant, El Paso. A free meal would be perfect for our busy next few weeks!

  17. I would choose Village Grill in our local town. Thanks so much for your creative ideas for reaching out and encouraging others.

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      Thanks for your encouragement Oneta! I love the name Village Grill. It sounds like a place we would stop if we saw it while traveling.

  18. Reading over the comments make my mouth water! Lately I have been hankering after Fujiyama. Their stir fried rice with all the mushrooms and other veggies with chicken or rice ….it is hard to beat!

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      Ditto on the comments! And now my mouth is watering thinking of Japanese food 😀

  19. We really like El Charro Mexican restaurant near us. I almost always order the Tacos de Pollo Asado with rice and refried beans on the side. And I know that they are currently offering curb-side carry-out. 🙂

  20. Krista Burkholder

    Plaza Azteca would be my choice! A place I always have a hard time choosing between tacos, barritos, and everything else Mexican!
    And as a side note, something you should definitely try if you haven’t already is papusas. You can find recipes to make them but they are by far best right from the hand of an expert El Salvadoran!

    1. Catherine Miller

      Thank you for finding unique and creative ways to brighten other’s days! Our family enjoys Pizza Hut and would be delighted to get pizza from there again!

    2. Katrina Hoover Lee

      We have a church friend who makes them… I need to beg her to make some for us. I’ve heard they are delicious. I believe she learned to make them in Belize but that’s close to El Salvador. 😀

  21. Dukes BBQ…. We really enjoy there rice and hash and fried chicken… Hash is a southern thing.. but it’s delish!

  22. I would pick our current favorite restaurant, Black Bear Diner. My husband would most likely order their monstrous Taco Salad or Fish & Chips. My favorite is either pot roast or their turkey dinner.

  23. I definitely would choose our favorite Mexican restaurant, Mi Tiro. I usually get fajita nachos with chicken (and of course no vegetables!!). 😂

  24. Lux Cafe. I (ESTHER) would get spinach quiche, Leroy, his choice.
    Lux is close, very delicious, and more than enough for one meal!!

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      Red Robin is good at burgers, that’s for sure! I haven’t been there for awhile but… mmm ….

  25. I would love a good pizza from a local Italian restaurant-Tosco! And they have the best dill pickle fries… 😋

  26. Our family enjoys Domino’s pizza. For something special, I’ve been craving their chocolate lava cakes, but know it wouldn’t be good for my diet 😉 but if it’s free…. it’d be reason to indulge a bit!

  27. I would choose East Main Kitchen in the small town of Baltic, Ohio. They have a Christian witness in the community, serve delicious meals…”carry out” right now, & offer to deliver meals in this present time of distress!

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      I think the restaurants that are delivering are so great! I like that name too.

  28. Wanita Zimmerman

    One of my favorite restaurants is Fox Meadows. They have the best ice cream that they make themselves and great food that is fresh and locally grown. I’m a sucker for big bacon cheeseburger, fries, and yes, ice cream would finish it off.

  29. Pizza Roundup in Loma Rica is the closest restaurant in these boondocks. You’re an inspiration, and I pray God’s blessings upon you and all your work, life and reaching out

  30. Our local Dairy Queen is actually a fairly nice place…and they sell ice cream, of course! A favourite of mine😊

  31. The Alpine Oven Pie Company owned by my husbands brother. Or Carne asada from Fiesta Guadalajara.

  32. Well if it was just me, I would get some take-out Chinese, but realistically it would probably come down to something like A&W which is the closest, tastiest, child-friendly option.

  33. There is a small family own mexican restaurant, Guante Family Restuarant, not far from us. It is said to be very authentic!!!

  34. I’m subscribed on this archaic thing called bloglovin! In Canada where I live a lot of local restaurants are closed. However one of my very favorite ones is open. They serve smoked meats and some pretty incredible sides. Roasted cauliflower with chipotle dipping sauce, anyone?

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      Hurray, your comment came through! As I replied by email, I’m craving roasted cauliflower and chipotle sauce. 😀

  35. I’d have to say Gobblers Grill in our little local town. Their steamed shrimp and onion rings!!! Mm-mm-mmm!

  36. I’m in the American south but our local 28 Diner has a delicious version of that Canadienne fries and gravy dish. They call it a catastrophe and I order mine over sweet potato fries. mmmm;-)

  37. I would to order food from Ever-green Cafe in Rochester. They make everything from scratch & have converted to carryout sales by offering g family style meals. I would love to support a local restaurant!

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      Marnell wants me to try making curry sometime. I think getting some as takeout should be the first step 😀

  38. Marlese Anderson

    Dragonfly Cafe and Bakery. Recently opened by two of my friends in our small town. I haven’t been there enough to have the menu memorized… but maybe a burger and fries? Or the weekly special? But definitely a coffee drink to go along with it!

  39. Alice Springs Chicken? Fish Tacos? Now you’re making ME hungry!!! If only I didn’t have to drive so far for either of these.
    Oh, but there are so many good little local joints I can think of right now. Unfortunately, some of them have opted to close their doors for now. One thing I’ve been so hungry for, though, is Yakiniku Beef from Little Japan in the small town of Walhalla, SC. (We were QUITE sad when they closed their restaurant in our very own Westminster!!!)
    Another thing that has become our Saturday night COVID tradition, is going to Rita’s and getting a Gelati… so refreshing!!!
    If you ever come down, you may need to plan a few extra days so I can take you to a few of my favorite local joints!! 😉

  40. I would enjoy a break from cooking.🙂 I like the soups and sandwiches at Panera bread. Especially if it has guacamole on the sandwich.

  41. Oh, I’m not sure what I’d get. Right now Casey’s pizza sounds good but we have a good Mexican restaurant in our little town that we like too.

  42. I really enjoy going to Tosco and it would be great to take the family there or at least get take out.

  43. I like the idea of having something set aside for acts of kindness!
    I’d take Kaleigh’s Brew Barn; I’ve been there only once and it was really good!

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      We’ve been eating a lot of Subway lately. Marnell likes chicken teriyaki as well.

  44. If you drag Marnell over to our house (post-pandemic), Cris and I will attempt a poutine. Fortunately for my figure, none of the local restaurants serve it. For another meal, we might try Polish Kitchen.

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      Wait, is that the name for the gravy thing? 😀 It would certainly be less suspicious if eaten at the table of a friend!

    2. We live a half hour away from town but are fortunate enough to have a family restaurant in the little village about 2 miles from our house! It’d be so nice to get take out there since we can’t sit down and eat!! All your ideas sound so exciting!

      1. Katrina Hoover Lee

        I’d love to buy your takeout, Becky. I plan to pick the winners tomorrow morning.

  45. Mary Ann Mast

    Mexican all the way- Plaza Azteca is #1, they even have free chips and salsa. Chili’s is #2. If you are a part of their rewards program you get free chips and salsa with an entree. Chicken enchiladas are my fav. Can you tell chips and salsa is a huge weakness of mine.🤗

  46. We enjoy Domino’s pizza for a special treat…philly cheese steak and chicken rancher. Yum! Makes me hungry just thinking about it😊
    Your podcast sounds very worthwhile and I’ll be watching for its completion.

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      You will be able to in May. If you would subscribe now, you would have to pay right away which doesn’t make sense since we don’t plan to post anything until June. We will keep you updated!

  47. We love a local restaurant on the main street of our little town in the boonies. It’s called Chef 117, and they have cool decor and delish food….sandwiches & homemade chips. And yummy coffee drinks….how I miss going to lunch!

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