Thursday, May 25, 2017

What I’ve Been Up To

I have not posted for quite a while. I just checked and my last post was the 13th, almost two weeks ago. I’m okay, but I was going back and forth on a lot of issues, trying to make decisions.
I’ve been dealing primarily with two concerns - neither of them is a crisis but each must be handled.

One concern was my Etsy shop. I am sure I will be closing it before the 31st. You must sign up for Etsy Payments for your checkout process if you want your shop to stay open. There are reasons I cannot do that. I’ll explain later, but for now, this is one thing I’ve been going back and forth on. I’ve checked with other Etsy shop owners. I’ve searched, researched and re-searched the Etsy Help pages, FAQs and Forums. This all takes time and focus.

The other concern is continuing to ensure that my food can be easily, safely and happily consumed (after being easily, safely and happily processed by me) while I am without lower dentures.

Pureeing food is always an option. It also retains the vitamins, minerals and fiber content. However, it is not satisfying in that it does not have that feeling of being “full” that we get from chewing our food. So I’ve been trying to find ways to add chewable but soft and healthy food to my days.

My main Friday morning charity crafter member is also a good friend. We talked last Friday and with her suggestions, I added sweet potatoes and steamed cauliflower once again to my fridge. I hate paying big prices for a head of cauliflower when I’m eating about one head every week or ever two weeks. I remembered that both the 99-cent-only store and Dollar General have good prices on that, so I finally added that to the fridge.

Now, I’m a foodie. Sometimes I’m so hungry I can’t make up my mind what to eat. That’s this morning. I need to spend an hour or so, stapling our monthly community newsletters. I know I want to pick. SO, I made a tuna/avocado/egg salad (makes two days of servings) just now. I made a little bowl with: 6 slices of red beets (quartered), 2 steamed cauliflower florets (picked apart), 6 black olives and 6 green olives (halved), 2 tablespoons of black beans, some diced cooked sweet potatoes, and topped it with the day’s serving of tuna/avo/egg salad. NOW I’m ready - it’s 8:11 a.m. PDT as I write this. And I had my oatmeal (with raisins, nuts, diced apples) around 6, so I do need, and now have, my protein and veggies ready. I’m chilling the bowl while I’m typing this.

Let’s go, world - I’m ready for you!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Setting Tomorrow’s Goal

Still trying to get myself organized. It’s been a little odd, routine-wise, since October’s fiasco with the pipes under the house. I’m almost afraid to say that things are simmering down. did NOT hear/see me say that, right?

Sometimes my to-do list is huge. Those days I am happy to simply check off one or two items. Other days I wing it. I think I might compromise and try something different.

For a while, I think I will just take one major/minor project or goal and aim for that one thing that one day.

For example, tomorrow is Sunday. Usually I try to reserve that for the Lord’s work. I either work on my little crosses and/or angels, or I find inspirational reading to enjoy, or even some of my charity crafting work.

Tomorrow, I think my goal will be to at least organize all the charity crafting projects we have completed the past month or so. I need to put the hats, scarves and gloves into one bag or bags. If full, I will tag and document them. And then gather the baby jackets, hats, blankets, etc. into bags, and do likewise.

See, each Friday I bring home whatever we finished that week. But for some reason, my intentions never match my actions. Instead of putting them directly into an allocated spot, they go wherever I plop them. So I might have them in 3 or 4 places in here.

So, my goal for tomorrow will be to gather them and do the Lord’s work by getting them all organized. They will go into the one closet and wait until there is enough for me to drop off.
I did a lot of meal preps lately, so I’m giving my slow cooker a few days break. But it’s so nice having an assortment of things ready to grab on days when my mind is befuddled.

Yep. I think just picking one thing each day will be a start. Long to-do lists can wear a body out just thinking about what’s on them!

Urgent Prayer Request - Child Molested

A dear friend asked for prayers ASAP for a child in need. 

This child was molested by his father. It is very difficult for any child to deal with this. It is especially difficult, because of our culture, for a boy to deal with it when it is his father.

The child is severely suicidal. He needs strong, loving prayers, lots of them, to overcome his own feelings of what happened to him. And he’ll probably need long term guidance and counseling.

There’s not a lot I can say on this that will not make me very angry. But I will not wish vengeance on that father but trust that God our Father will take care of that.

I am praying, however, for all connected with this to be able to erase their own feelings that they might have been able to avoid it, or see it sooner, or all the other thoughts that plague a person in this situation. Sometimes it is simply not easy to see in time. So the mother and all connected with the family will need help moving forward with the child and not blaming themselves.

At this moment, I will focus on praying for healing for this boy, big time, and fast enough to keep him safe. And then for long-term healing so that it will not affect how he sees himself as he grows up.

Sweet Lord Jesus, you who dearly loved the little children, you said we should not harm these little ones (Matthew 18:6 and Luke 17-2). Please look upon this boy with all your love and compassion. Please heal him and keep him safe and help him to grow healthy in his own heart and mind and soul. Please guide the family so they, too, can help in all the best ways. We trust completely in you.

Friday, May 12, 2017

And Now I Know...

For some odd reason, I felt a need to post tonight, and for some odd reason, I felt it should deal with prayer. I’m not at all sure why, and I’m not at all sure where I am going with this.

First, I suppose, I ought to let folks know that my neighbor with the brain tumor and recent strokes is coming along better than I honestly expected. He and his wife are already in their summer location. He is moving along, hoping to get as much use as possible back in his left arm. I will keep them in my prayers on this.

Next, I suppose, I ought to remind myself of how blessed I am. 

For many months, I managed somehow to deal with my water-rationing issues. The old galvanized pipes under the old mobile home had broken in October. It was a long haul. But I was blessed with being able to finally getting them replaced a few weeks ago. What a blessing that is. How wonderful to turn on the water whenever there is a need, and to see it flowing clean and clear. How wonderful to take a shower, wash some clothes, prep food, wash dishes...without first planning every move.

Along the way, food keeps coming into this home. Not, perhaps, what some would consider great. But it is suited perfectly to the way I eat these days. I do admit I often get tired of the same old, same old. But I do shake off that feeling as soon as I can, and then figure a different way to prepare or season it. I have not gone hungry.

Finances are still a problem but not as bad as they were two years ago. Little by little, bit by takes a while to climb out of a financial hole. Folks who have not gone through it do not quite get it. But I am truly grateful that it is not worse than it is.

And considering the heavy winds we have been having of late, all the pieces to my home are still holding together. How can I not be grateful for that?

Friends - oh, how grateful I am for friends. Friends of all kinds, living all over - near - far.

My hands. Thank you for my hands...they can cook. They can crochet for the needy. They can brush the kitty who needs me so much. They can type these words of gratitude.

Father in heaven, I wasn’t sure why I was posting tonight. Now I know. Thank you - for everything!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

2016 Distribution Totals

Once again, we surprised ourselves with our output. We were happy to see that we donated the following hand crocheted, knitted or loomed items for the local needy.

For Babies
Baby Hats        - 42
Baby Jackets    - 38
Baby Blankets  - 17
Baby Bibs         - 3
Baby Booties    - 4 pair

For the local Homeless:
Hats        - 538
Scarves   - 147
Gloves    - 32

Considering that this type of group changes constantly, we are always amazed at how much our slow and simple work adds up in a year’s time. We never pressure anyone in the group. We never insist on specific patterns, only certain qualities we need in these things (easy washing, durability, ends tucked in).

These days, we have two regulars (and I guess we could say “charter” members, here from the start) who meet each Friday morning, plus several absentee-members. The absentee-members are folks who cannot get to regular sessions but who love what they do. They pass along their projects whenever they finish something for those in need. And, again, it all adds up - slow and steady and happily.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Foodie Fun and Facts

Last night’s slow cooker project turned out pretty well. I tossed in a meaty ham bone, lots of black eyed peas, a can of Rotel, and lots of chopped green onion. Packed away 5 containers in the freezer, 2 servings per container.

Tonight, I just loaded it with 4 chicken quarters (4 legs, 4 thighs), and just dumped a bottle of barbecue sauce on top, added water to the sauce bottle, and tossed that in. Then I will have 8 servings of bbq chicken in the freezer.

I am very excited about my latest lab results. They show that the changes I’ve made are really working. That encourages me even more to stay on track.

I only made some basic changes in my food patterns. But apparently they are enough to work for me. I switched to brown from white (rice, breads, pasta, potatoes), added tuna & salmon a few times a week, replaced mayo or Miracle Whip with mashed avocado in tuna salad, egg salad and carrot/raisin salad, included beans several times a week, fresh fruits/veggies, yogurt daily. I keep one jar of peanut butter handy and I often just dip a teaspoon or tablespoon into the jar and enjoy that as a quick “candy-break.”

Now don’t go thinking I am a saint or martyr, my friends. I still give in to junk food. But not as often, and not as much at one sitting. But I surely do still have my times. I guess that’s why I was a bit worried about it

And in case you are curious about the results, here are the past few years, for the categories I watch most closely. Even then, I do not obsess over it. Life still must be fun, even if on just a small scale. And I’ve been a little more careful this past year. Apparently it has paid off.

6.7 (117)
6.3 (102)

Lab Results - Prayers Answered

Not all my prayers and concerns are posted. I went for my annual labs on Monday at 6 a.m., a week ago. I’ve been haunting my online account with my HMO daily, waiting for them to post the results.

You all know how hard I’ve been working, watching the majority of what I eat, trying to keep myself healthy. I’ve tried to balance the good foods I’ve adopted into my meals with the junk food I love. Along the way, I’ve been praying and praying that I am on the right track. I’ve been praying hard that I will not need any new meds. The only one I am on, even though I’m 77, is a low-grade blood pressure prescription.

This morning, I saw the results. Now I am waiting for my PCP to get back to me. I know I made him smile. I do so love to make that man smile.

Here’s a table of the most important categories. These are the ones I watch most closely.

6.7 (117)
6.3 (102)

Lord Jesus, thank you for hearing my prayers on this one. At least I know now that I am on the right track. Thank you for guiding me towards the best choices even though I often slip into junk food. Please continue to help me stay on track.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Cat Naps - Human vs. Feline

It seems that humans and felines have different opinions of what constitutes a cat nap.

For me, it means a short re-charge of my body’s batteries. My personal cat naps can be as brief as 10 minutes or as long as 45 minutes to an hour.

But for Silkie, it usually means anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. The longer naps are especially true if they are on my lap and I need to go to the bathroom.

Just an observation...

Two Productive Days in a Row

Although my home repair issues have simmered down, and I’ve made my peace with softer foods because of the broken lower dentures, and the park wide yard sale is over, and the May issue of the newsletter is done, life still gets exciting.

These past two days have been productive, in one sense. I’ve been trying to get a lot of food prep done so that it is easy to just grab things and either defrost and heat, or defrost and mix with other things.

Today, I made two different blender purees. One is veggie-based: cucumbers, canned red beets, kale (from freezer), and canned tomatoes. I can no longer eat that kale because there are too many hard stems but they puree nicely. The other mixture was fruit-based: oranges, canned apricots, and fresh strawberries. I often buy tubs (2#) of plain yogurt and I can add some of each of them and have a really healthy smoothie. If the flavor needs a touch-up, there are always things in the fridge: chocolate syrup (I know, I know, not healthy), honey, coconut (left over from something or other).

Right now, I have an overnight batch in the slow cooker. I inherited some foods from a couple who leaves for the summer, so I decided to cook up my oldest meats before starting on the newest batch.

Tonight, it’s a ham bone and black eyed peas. I’ve never made the black eyed peas from scratch before. Every recipe I found wanted things I do not have in the house tonight. So I just tossed in a can of Rotel on the bottom, added the 2 bags of frozen black eyed peas (12 oz bags), and found a bunch of green onions that were awfully skinny critters. I just took the kitchen shears and snipped them into half-inch pieces and tossed them in, too. We’ll see what happens when it’s finished in the morning. Should be interesting. Or not.

I also cooked down some diced fresh apples and pears and packed them into containers. I can no longer eat the fresh ones just as they are, but now I can easily add them to my cereals.

Thursday, I stopped at the mechanic’s and had them do my air and fluids. Time was when I did those things myself but he doesn’t charge his regulars and it is easy to get there. My tires and fluids are ready when the hot weather returns in a week or so. It was 100 on my porch yesterday...

Update On Prayer Request

About a month ago, I requested prayers for a friend/neighbor’s husband. He has a brain tumor but cannot have surgery until he is stabilized. While waiting for the surgery, he suffered several mini-strokes. He is now walking, with the assistance of a cane or a walker, depending on the activity.

At this point, they must go, as usual, for their summer in a different state. Long story, but the thing is, their support system and almost all of their medical support team is back there. They live here in the winter because of our gentle climate at that time.

Anyhow, the son flew in and is driving them back.

At this point, I am thanking all of you for your prayers. This couple still has a very long way to go. Recovery from the strokes, first. They already have an appointment set up for when they get back there. Then they have to get him stabilized to the extent that they can do the surgery.

For now, I am praying for a safe trip to their summer place, for continued progress, and for all the emotional and other help they might need to work their way through this.

Sweet Jesus, please look upon this couple with compassion and mercy. Heal where healing is needed, and strengthen where that might be needed. And, if it be according to the Father’s will, get them to the point that they can return here again this coming winter. Meanwhile, please bless anyone who prayed on their behalf.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cats and Routines

 So funny - you can train a dog by doing something over and over with them. But a cat trains you, from the first time they see you repeat something they recognize ... take Trash Day...

From the 2nd time Silkie watched me gather a few little 
Smiths/Wally grocery bags, go through the rooms and empty the smaller trash containers in each room, replace the little bags, and put the full ones in the kitchen trash bucket, then take that big bag out, tie it off, and replace that bag, she already knew I was headed outside with the stuffed kitchen bag ... she sits waiting at the back door... yep, she trained me well (sigh)...

The one thing she has a hard time teaching me is the difference in one particular "meow." I have not yet figured out whether she wants me to go into the kitchen and toss a few kibbles onto her plate, or whether she wants me to sit on the special chair and make a lap for her to sit on...

Guaranteed that if I head to the kitchen, she stays sitting by the chair, making me feel stupid, and if I sit on the chair first, I swear she "sighs" heavily at the stupidity of humans and marches into the kitchen hoping she is wrong and some kibbles are in her plate - of course, I immediately sit up, go into the kitchen and feed her...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Blessings are Often Almost Invisible

There are many times in life when blessings are almost invisible.

Take the fact that for many months, I spent much of my day working around water rationing issues. Then I was blessed with the ability to get my broken, deteriorated pipes under the old mobile home replaced. I easily recognized that as a true blessing.

But the weekend of our park wide yard sale, my bottom dentures broke. Immediately, much of my time was taken up with extra food prep. Much of the food had to be cooked longer, prepped and pre-prepped, and so on. This does take a lot of time and could be seen by some as a real inconvenience.

There is another side to this, though. I realized tonight that it all worked out in God’s own time. And it was a double blessing.

See, if my dentures had broken back when the pipes were still broken and I was water-rationing, it would have been a real hardship. The extra food prep requires a lot of water usage, in a way. There’s a lot of washing - chopping tools, blender, and so on.

Thankfully, God held one inconvenience off until the first one could be resolved. He really does have my back.

Thank you, Father in heaven, for the way you time my blessings. It worked out for the best, just as it always does. Forgive me for my occasional impatience. I trust in you.

Food Prep Fun and Games

It’s been a bit busy of late but happily so. With my no longer having my bottom dentures, I now need to pre-prep a lot of my food.

In a way, my life is rather comical. For many months, about six of them, my days were wrapped around my water-rationing. My broken and disintegrated galvanized pipes under the house forced me to do water usage at very short intervals, turning it on and off only when really necessary.

Then, thank you, Lord, I was able to get the pipes fixed. So I figured my in-house time-issues would be resolved.

Then, the dentures broke for good. And now my days revolve around food prep. Yep, the Lord really loves to give me a reason to be up-and-around. This is probably a good thing. Who knows how lazy I would be otherwise? I do have to laugh at it all.

Anyhow, over the past few days, I’ve spent time fine-dicing pears and apples with our Vidalia Chopping Wizard (for my every-other-morning oatmeal), making V8-type smoothies (to use up the now hard-to-chew veggies) for the freezer, par-boiling half a bag of shredded carrots (1/2 for avocado/raisin/carrot salad and 1/2 for my omelets), steaming and freezing a head of cauliflower into several sides for the freezer, and well, you get the drift. I did pace myself and I still have more to do so that I won’t have to watch the food spoil. It’s all working out.

This coming week or so, I really do need to do some more crock pot meals. All in its own good time, though...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Will Try to Post an Update Tomorrow

Things are not bad but I’ve been a little busy. I’ll try to make time to post an update tomorrow, for sure.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Feeling Embarrassed by My Selfishness

Today it occurred to me that I have been a bit selfish of late. I have spent more time “surviving” and not enough time in touch with several friends who are dealing with worse issues than mine. Oh, I have shared a post or two, and I have perhaps FB messaged quickly once or twice, but I have not really been in touch.

This is embarrassing for me. I’ve been “just dealing with things” for several weeks now. I do need to get myself back on track.

Sweet Lord Jesus, you know what it is like to be in one of our bodies, to deal with life on a daily basis. You are my example, my role model. I know, of course, that I could never be as good as you were, but I do need to try a lot more. Please fill my heart and soul with such a love for others that I find the time to at least be in touch more than I have been