Saturday, October 22, 2016

I'm Expecting a Feline Parade

Friends of mine spend some time each summer in a rural area where they happen upon lots of wild catnip. They bring back a nice supply for my Silkie.

This time, it was a lot, and much of it was still attached to long stems (some a foot long) and pieces.

I took time today, out on the driveway, to transfer it to two large plastic coffee canisters. My friend said that I shouldn't let Silkie get the stems, so this coming week, one day, I'll strip off the leaves and just leave those and the powdery residue.

When I was transferring the large amount into the two containers, even though they were wide-mouthed plastic canisters, some fell onto the ground. I swept as much as I could see into a dustpan and it went into the trash. But I'm sure there had to be trace amounts on the ground that my human eyes could not detect.

Therefore, I promised myself I would not be alarmed if, one day soon, I see a feline parade pitty-patting onto my driveway.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Yet Another Friend With Cancer in Need of Prayers

My plans for this post tonight was to share some sweet little blessings. 

Then I received a request from a cyber friend - she has just received test results indicating colon cancer. A colonoscopy will follow. She is, of course, frightened.

Please keep her in your hearts and prayers? She'll need rest at night so she can understand everything said to her along the way and to make clear decisions if she has some options.

Lord Jesus, you who healed by a simple touch to the hem of your robe, look kindly and compassionately upon this woman and fill her with the courage and wisdom she needs at this time. Bless her, as well, with good doctors all along the way. We trust in you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Prayer is Sometimes All We Can Offer

Another day is done and I am still upright, still have food to eat and a place to sleep. I am blessed.

This is especially apparent to me knowing what many of my friends are facing.

I have one friend who is trying to take care of her mother (who is in her 80s) while they both live in different apartments and my friend has no car and must deal with many other issues as well. She is exhausted. Hold her in your heart and prayers, please?

You've all seen me mention others I know who need your prayers as well.
We each know folks in these situations. Most of the time, we are at a loss for words.

Prayers are often all we can offer.

Prayers are what we truly must offer.

Lord Jesus, this is all I ask tonight, that we each pray for those we know who are worse off than we are, that we hold them in our hearts and souls, and that we ask you to glance their way, and with a single thought, bring them peace and comfort and strength.

Strangely Productive Day - Extremely Satisfying

My biggest accomplishment today was extremely satisfying but did nothing for my financial situation, my de-cluttering efforts, or anything else. But, yes, it was extremely satisfying.

I can't remember what I did early today on the computer that made me search for my user name and password for one site. That was an enlightening moment. I must have had 8 slips of paper, all about 4" square, and each with about 8 or 9 password/user-name sets on them. 

As I typically have to do, I had to shuffle them, read each one all the way through to see if the one I wanted was on that paper, and keep on going until I found what I wanted.

This time, I was disgusted with myself. It was time. I opened a new Word page, titled it, and began, one by one, entering those sites, with their passwords/user-names, and I added them in alphabetical order.

One by one, I tore up each 4" square piece of paper into itty bitty pieces. Extremely satisfying.

Now, whenever I need to find that info, all I need to do is open that file (I placed a shortcut on my desktop), and do a quick Ctl-F and do a fast search through the 3 pages. Extremely satisfying.

And, because all my files are backed up by Carbonite, automatically, as I work on them, they will never really be lost. Extremely satisfying.

I am a happy camper and an even happier internet user!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Day is Done; Time to Rest

Another day is done. Too tired to go into detail. 

Hoping you all fared well today, that you got through any little bumps on life's road without a lot of stress. 

Hoping you all sleep well and re-charge life's batteries for tomorrow. 

Sleep well, my friends. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Little Rays of Foodie Sunshine

Foodie that I am (and have always been), my little rays of sunshine often involve - yep - food. 

Today I had a lot of fun with food I rarely eat these days of my being more health-conscious. I needed to cheer myself up and of course I thought of comfort foods.

I defrosted one of my homemade yogurt/fruit/veggie smoothies but when it became straw-sipping-texture, I put in a couple of drops of sugar-free chocolate syrup - is THAT ever good?

A couple of weeks ago, I ended up with some food that someone could not use. My local friends and neighbors often give that to me because they know that if I do not personally have it on my food-list, I know a few folks who would dearly love any extra food they can get. At that time, I ended up with a pound of ground chicken (still in freezer, awaiting my wishes) and a nice package/link of Hillshire Farms Cajun Kielbasa. 

The kielbasa is already cooked so I defrosted it and cut it into fourths and used one of those pieces right away today. I rarely eat white potatoes now, but I needed those puppies so I pulled a small cooked one from the freezer and nuked it to cutting stage. I cut that small potato (I think they are called fingerlings at that size) and started a small non-stick skillet with just a dash of olive oil. Then I added the Cajun Kielbasa in little pieces, some green bell pepper and some onion.

Exactly what the doctor ordered. 

Well, perhaps it might make my doctor cringe but I didn't care. 

I needed it - I made it - I ate it. So there!

The Lord's Encouraging Presence

Last night I went to bed fighting the urge to just walk away from my home, cat under my arm, litter box in car, and nowhere to go. I never allow myself go for more than a few minutes on that sort of track. I do believe that it is normal for we humans to have moments when we are overwhelmed. At those times, I try to turn my thoughts to Jesus at Gethsemane, when he wept and prayed for his burden to be taken away.
Then I take a deep breath, say a prayer or two, and try to move on.

This morning, I was a lot more realistic. I put aside an envelope for those pipes I need, and I printed out some ideas for some free lance writing efforts and did some light editing on those. There's no way I can go out on an on-site job these days, but there's nothing stopping me from resuming my earlier free lance writing efforts. It will take time to see results, though. I've got to re-educate myself on current needs and format and so on. No biggie.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your excellent example. My burden is but a speck of sand when compared to the burden you bore for us. Forgive my impatience and thank you so much for your example in acknowledging the heaviness of our burdens but even more, for the example of doing what must be done and doing it with grace and dignity no matter the weight of that burden. I do pray that you keep me (and others whose burdens are especially heavy right now) in your heart and fill me with the grace I need to deal with it.

Christmas Buying Season Has Begun

Imagine my thrill at the sight of a 4 item order today from my Etsy shop! This will go directly out of PayPal and into an envelope marked "Pipes" - I plan to put every unexpected penny from here forward into that envelope.

There are a few things I still need to take photos of for my shop - I'd better do those this week for sure.

But this post is mostly to awaken folks to the fact that the biggest gift-giving season of the year is fast approaching.

I have several friends with Etsy shops and I hope to promote them each, one at a time, one a day, starting either tonight (if I get the time) or tomorrow for sure.

What fun to buy something you don't see on every counter in every store you enter this season!
Hold on, folks - we're beginning a happy, fun, shopper's ride!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Inside Valve Installed - Some Relief But Still an Issue

Thankfully, the contractor's crew installed a shutoff valve this morning in my laundry room by the back door. He said that to avoid the lines getting even more corroded and rusted than they already are, I must turn the water line on-and-off for 2 or 3 minutes several times a day.

He also said I should feel free to flush, shower quickly, and do quick loads of laundry, sparingly. I will take big loads, like blankets, to the coin laundry.

I had asked if he would consider my paying for the full job in installments, but he said that is not an option. So even though I can now function somewhat better, the leak is still there, still at risk for a full break, and still must be done.

For now, I will take the relief I just got and keep working on finding the funds for the full pipe job. Moving along....  

Your Prayers for my Friend Were Heard!

Yesterday I asked for prayers for a dear friend. My friend wrote me online today that God must have heard your prayers, my friends. So never doubt that even a quick word or two can help when we pray. 

She said that has been a change in her outlook. She feels calmer and seems to be handling things better. She feels much more at peace with her situation and was able to step back a little and look at the entire picture rather than focus on one nagging part.

Thank you so much, each of you.

They say that when two or three are gathered together in his name, he is there in their midst. Well, when we pray for each other, even if it is simply online, I believe it is very true. It doesn't seem to matter whether we are gathered in a single room or whether we are gathered together in spirit online.

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus, and Most Holy Spirit, please bless my friends who so willingly pray for others even in the midst of their own troubles, and bless them abundantly. Thank you for working so quickly on my friend's behalf, but please continue to look her way and watch out for her. Give her all the strength and wisdom she needs at this turbulent time in her life. We trust in you.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Balancing Activity Against Stress

At my age, I try not to compare myself to others as far as what I should be able to do, to accomplish each day. Each of us has different limits. These limits are determined by age, by health, by inner stamina levels, and by many other factors. So I look instead at how I compare from this year to last year, or a few years ago.

Currently, I've upped my activity level quite a bit. With the possibility of that re-piping under the house, and the moving of stuff inside here to allow access to the pipes inside the walls, I've been very busy. I've been lifting, toting, carrying, packing, sorting, and even donating.

Along the way, I'm gifting some things to a dear friend, others to a local charity, and tossing stuff that should have been tossed earlier.

Add to that the fact that everything revolves around water usage. I have a neighbor who keeps filling up water jugs for me to use. But that means carrying them in, two at a time, every other day. It means pouring water to rinse my dishes and to wash my dishes; it means pouring water for drinking. Veggies and fruits need to be rinsed. And of course there are normal bathroom concerns. It is all reasonably easy to do, but there is so much of it. We take our water usage for granted, and it is something I will never do again.

My concern is that I do not want it to get so stressful that I make myself sick. That will not help me down the line. I have enough active brain cells left to know that much.

So I will try to be wise and not go overboard. I had a taste of that when I fell the other day. Thankfully, nothing was broken. But it was enough to remind me that aside from eternal happiness, our health is one of our biggest responsibilities to ourselves.

Yep, I will keep on keeping on, but I will be sensible about how much I pressure myself in doing so.

Special Prayers Needed for a Cyber Friend of Mine

If you have a moment, can you please squeeze out a little prayer or two for a dear cyber friend of mine? She and I have never met in the real world. We both have Etsy shops and have often been in touch. She has such a sweet caring soul.

Right now, however, life is overwhelming her. She's trying to take care of her mom, both apartments, her fur babies, and so much more. To top it off, she feels she has lost her faith. She cannot understand why God permits so much suffering in this world of ours.

That is something we all think about from time to time, I suspect. I made my own peace with it a while back. Even in the time of Adam and Eve, the first couple had to deal with one of their sons murdering the other. How terrible that must have been to face after they had seen and tasted Paradise!

The thing I focus on is this: God made the world. When he made it, he made it Perfect. Then we sinned. He did set things in motion; he gave us free will. Some of us use that free will to do good; others to do evil. If God stepped in, we would no longer be able to call it Free Will.

So I try to focus on the good around me.

My friend has so much love inside of her but right now, her life is in turmoil and is smothering that love.

So I ask this: because I am not sure I have the words to console her and convince her that God still loves her and is keeping the worst from her world, let's pray that God speaks to her in ways that only he can, that he whispers his love to her.

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus, and most Holy Spirit, please see the pain in my friend's heart. Whisper to her from the depths of your endless compassion, and fill her with the peace that surpasseth all understanding!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Possible Happy Side Effect of Plumbing Issues

With all this activity, stressful though it might be, it occurred to me tonight that I might end up losing a bit of the weight I put back on this year. I placed my scale where I could see it when I get up tomorrow so I can document current weight. I should have done this almost a week ago but I had no idea then just how much lifting, toting and more that I would be doing.

I've been up and down my back steps, few as they are, so many times each day it must count for something. And I haven't even begun to move the other stuff around.

Of course, it might take a week or two for me to see any results.

Tomorrow, I'm putting a few boxes out for charity pickup - they were already sorted so that is reasonably easy.

Remember that minor fall yesterday? The wrist is ten times better today - still a little cranky in the thumb area, but not as bad as I expected.

So far, so good - not quite a week. I must admit the new routine takes a bit more stamina.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Appeal of Roughing It

The appeal of "roughing it" seems to fade as the decades pass. Dealing with life without running water might have been an adventure when I was younger. What a challenge in my 50s and even 60s. Now toward the end of my 70s, it's still a challenge but I need to talk myself into it. In case you missed it, here are links to my current dilemma.

Still, it's something I must deal with.

There's no way I can even consider selling and going to a little affordable living apartment with the pipes as they are. I wouldn't be able to sell this place and I'm not about to toss out my 16 year investment in time and love and funds.

Even if I were to consider a roomie, that, too, is not do-able until those pipes are fixed.

So, deal with it I must and will. No biggie - it will work itself out.

But I do need to remind myself that I am no longer 39.

Today, for example, I sat on the floor and rummaged in an under-the-counter cabinet, looking for paper plates. I'd decided to use the smallest for mini-cutting boards for things like apples, cucumbers, and so on, and the larger one for some meals. This would help me use less of the bottled water I've been using for dishes.

It went well. I found a great stash of both sizes. I was so happy. I went to get up off the floor, stupidly put my right hand on the top of a kitchen chair and heaved myself up, only to have the chair topple to the side. I fell, of course.

Now don't get worried. I did not break anything. It's possible I twisted my left wrist a bit too much. It is cranky now. But it's not that bad. I was able to finish crocheting a scarf for the homeless, do some kitchen prep, and even begin the last stage of a small order for a friend - I just need to finish weaving the ribbon in some plastic canvas crosses. It's just embarrassing to me that I was so foolish I didn't think about what I was doing.

That kitchen prep I mentioned: I had 8 apples and decided to cut/dice them all once and get it over with, then nuke them into a softer stage, toss those into recycled peanut butter jars, and have them ready to use for everything from morning oatmeal to salads. I ended up with 4 jars. I'll freeze 2 and keep 2 in the fridge.

I wanted to add some brown sugar to the mix, but it was hard. I forgot to put it into some old Tupperware containers that I found to keep it soft. So I nuked that a little, too, and then portioned it into those containers.

I do feel like I accomplished a little today, even if it wasn't what I wanted to do.

Tomorrow, I really must, must, must begin pulling bags of yarn and bags of our items for the homeless away from one particular wall. I need to sort and re-pack the yarn, and label the other things, and then put them into a closet far away from where they might need to work if I can ever get the pipes done.

Yep, we're moving along...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Someday I Hope to Laugh and Tell Stories About This

Have you ever tried to fill 8 ice cube trays from a one gallon bottle of water? Without a lot of waste and spillage? 

I had to deal with that today in my no-running-water situation of the last 4 days. I have a container in the sink for rinsing. Without running water, rinsing dishes is also interesting. So I poured into the trays, one by one, over that container. That way, any spillage would still be useful one way or another. I do like ice water and I keep 8 trays filled in my fridge-top freezer. I toss those into a recycled 5-qt ice cream container from another time in my less-healthy eating life. Another hurdle leaped.

Over the past two years, I've slowly but steadily come to depend a lot on healthier food choices. which usually means cooking from scratch and fresh produce. The produce already in my fridge bins were rinsed off whatever day I brought it home, before putting it away. Very soon, that will be gone and I will face rinsing-without-waste when I bring more home. One hurdle to deal with soon.

Some of the water I am using came from a friend who filled up his empty one-gallon water bottles. That is not for drinking. I use it for the bathroom tanks, dishwater, and other needs. Drinking water (and for coffee, etc.) comes from the 3-gallon bottles I usually fill at either Walmart or Smith's. I was beginning to mix them up so I grabbed a Sharpie and scribbled DW on the drinking water. Another hurdle leaped.

The one thing that I'm slow adjusting to is that I am slow now. Everything takes longer. When things are going right, when we have hot and cold running water, we do not give a thought to how often we run to a sink or whatever and use the water. Even using paper pleats and plastic cutlery, I still need to empty things from my upright freezer or cut this or that, or stir this or that. I need to mix things. But by the time I get back to normal, which looks like a long way down the line (and I have to pray the pipes don't crumble before that), I should be even more patient than I once thought I already was.

Take making coffee, for example. I use a tiny old fashioned percolator which makes enough for one of those 16 oz insulated cups but the basket is tiny and I cut down the smallest filters I find - this means they do not fit exactly and grounds are in the basket when I am finished and washing. Well, now it is not wise to make more washing than I need. So I hauled out my little manual drip basket. You put a filter into the basket, toss in the coffee, and place it over the mug or cup, then pour the hot water into it, carefully. That method is great for right now because after I remove the filter/grounds, I simply rinse that drip basket. But it takes more attention and more time. Another lesson in patience.