Monday, September 19, 2011

The Prodigal Son, Part 4

Yesterday I completed the four-part series on the parable of the Prodigal Son.

Here is the Part 4 sermon:

(Click here to download the MP3 file.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A Delightful Weekend

Margaret and I just had a great weekend! Saturday night we, and our friend Ron Jones,
went to Stewart’s Brewing Company for dinner and to hear some good music.


Ron and Margaret


The food here is very good! I had crab cakes (bottom), Margaret had a steak (middle),
and Ron ordered the salmon (top)

We had also gone to Stewart’s to hear the Barrelhouse Blues Band whom we enjoy a great deal.
I tried to get a couple of pictures of the band playing but the pics didn’t turn out. Click on the link and
you can view their website. The group is led by Charlie “Choo Choo” Rickner who does
the lead vocals and plays harmonica. If you like Blues, you gotta’ hear these guys!

Sunday I preached at Pleasant Hill Wesleyan Church (PHWC), located about 5 miles NE of Elkton, MD



Our first introduction to PHWC was back in 2007 when we were invited to share our
missionary work at the TFC Chapel in Elkton. Since then I have preached there many
times. They are currently between Pastors and I am preaching some of the Sunday
morning services. It feels good to be preaching more frequently again!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Our Friend Jack Clark

This video is about our friend Jack Clark. Please add him to your prayer list and feel free to email him at and say “Hi”!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


We have two kittens, Peregin “Pippin” Took ,and Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck. Pippin is an 11 month old 12 pound male. Merry, despite her name, is female, 10 months old and about 8 pounds. Technically, Merry is Merry II. Pippin and Merry I were litter mates we got from a friend. Merry I had to be put down shortly after we got her because of a birth defect – a perforated bowl. We quickly replaced her with rescued Merry II, aka “Squirt”.

Pippin and Merry I were still on the bottle when we first got them. Pippin, aka “Pip”, is a gray short-hair with a white blaze on his throat. Merry I was jet black. Merry II is a yellow long hair with white socks.

Pip takes after me, over-weight and lazy


He has two favorite activities: eating and sleeping.

Despite our similar dispositions, Pippin has adopted Margaret as his servant and Merry me.
Yes “servant”. You don’t know that dogs have masters but cats have staff?

Pip is very outgoing and eagerly checks out all visitors to our home, be
they 2- or 4-legged. Merry is more shy and cautious.

Merry was born with her spring wound too tight. She is a playing machine,
and our resident cat burglar. She can easily open drawers, cabinets, and etc, looking
for items to run off with for play. You have to be careful what you set down near her,
she is likely to grab it and run off with it before you know what happened. Size of the item
is not a issue. She has made off with items as large, or larger, then she is,
i.e. - stuffed animals, Margaret’s feather duster, and etc.

Merry with the feather duster when she was only a few months old

Merry playing with one of the cat toys.

Most of the time she has to play alone. Pip is usually too lazy to join in.
He also gets upset when she pesters him too much while he’s napping.
Being much larger than her, he can get pretty rough with her if she gets on his nerves.

You can see our photo album of Pippin, Merry I, and Merry II here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trip To The Delaware State Fair 7/25/11

I didn’t realize it had been nearly a year since I posted to this blog! I’ve gotten lazy just posting pictures and comments to Facebook. We’ll, I’m back, at least for now!

Yesterday Margaret and I made our annual trip to the Delaware State Fair. One thing about Delaware, nothing is very far away. It’s only about a 30 minute trip for us to get the the fair grounds. Yesterday was the day for us to go partly because it was Seniors’ Day—we got in for free. There are some good things about being a senior! :-)

We arrived about 11:30 and our first objective was lunch at the Grange


Margaret in front of the Grange dinning hall


Margaret had the fried chicken platter (right), and I had the ham platter. Good stuff!

Next we went though the wildlife exhibit and then on to Margaret’s favorite stop, the peeps in the fowl exhibit.




This farm girl was right at home!

Next we were off to the 4-H exhibit hall


This is about 1/2 of the Place Setting entrants


Our favorite Place Setting exhibit was a 1st place winner, the Blue Bunny Willow


We loved the rabbit ear napkins


Among the numerous science exhibits was this one about the affects
of various styles of music on plant growth


Apparently they didn’t include Southern Gospel music in the experiment


Just a small portion of the equipment on display.
The two items in the bottom right, with the chimneys, are outdoor wood/corn furnaces.


There are small garden plots throughout the grounds. This one includes a waterfall and pond.


We had to stop at the farm animal petting area which included this miniature horse
(included for our friend Elaine)


Next to the peeps, the baby pigs are Margaret’s favorites


This was one of the vendors in the Marketplace under the grandstand.
We had to get pictures of this for our daughter Sheri who LOVES all things purple!


The Purple products


Some of the craft exhibits in the Dover Building


More crafts


Our very own Smyrna Citizens Hose Company volunteer band parades through the grounds each evening at 7 PM


Our last stop of the day was the Ice Skating Club’s presentation of Peter Pan
(click the image to watch a video of the closing number)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Weekly Bible Study

Margaret and I have been hosting a weekly Bible study in our house for quite a while. Some of the participants have asked for a way they could participate remotely when they could not attend in person. We are excited to now have the option for people to attend via conference call!

The Bible studies are every Tuesday at 2:30 PM EST.  To join via conference call just phone (712) 432-3030 and enter PIN 852153#. You can enter the conference call from up to 10 minutes before the beginning of the study until the end of the session.  The studies last from 30 to 45 minutes each.

Each Bible study is recorded, podcast, and archived. You can subscribe to the podcast with iTunes®, your favorite RSS reader, or via email at this link:  You can also listen to the archived studies at the same link.

This week’s study, covering Acts 4:1-17, was our “dress rehearsal” conference call and it is now in the archive. We will officially begin conference calls next Tuesday, September 7th, when we will start with Acts 4:17.  Please join us!

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blue Hubbard Squash Soup

A friend gave us a Blue Hubbard Squash. I had no idea what to do with the monster.  It weighed about 10 pounds and was approximately 18 inches long, shaped like a giant football.

Blue Hubbard
Here is a picture I downloaded from the internet.

I searched the internet and found directions for preparing a Blue Hubbard here.  After washing the monster, the next step was to open it.

Per the directions, I borrowed a hatchet and took a good wack at it to split it in two.

After removing the seeds and fibrous stuff I hacked away some more to chop it into manageable size pieces which filled Margaret’s largest roasting pan.  This is a great way to work off your frustrations!

This is what it looked like after 90 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

The chunks cooled for a few hours and then I removed and cubed the flesh.  I got about 6 or 7 cups of cubes to use to make soup the next morning.

My all-time most favorite restaurant is L’Auberge Provencale Bed & Breakfast located in White Post, VA. They recently posted a recipe for Winter Squash Soup on their Facebook site.  I have a copy of the recipe posted here.  I decided to make this soup using the Blue Hubbard Squash.

Each Tuesday we host a business luncheon at our home with two of our business partners.  This Tuesday morning I made the Winter Squash Soup and served it at the luncheon.  It was a big hit!  Thanks to L’Auberge chef/owner Alain Borel for the recipe, and his wife, Celeste, for posting it.