What’s Up


Excuses for not writing:

1. I’m telling you, I have been in “Neverland” and don’t want to return.  Not!

2. I’ve been in a coma. Not!

3. I’ve had a lot going on in my life. This is true.

4. My family has had a lot going on. This is true

5. I’m depressed. Yes sometimes. Fearful. Yes sometimes….

OK. Now that the excuses are over… it’s time to revive myself.

I’ve been gathering seeds, giving computer lessons, doing resumes, helping others get jobs I can’t do anymore and jumping up and down because my grandson is home from Afghanistan!!  I have to do all this at my own pace … a little bit at a time. Work a little ….rest a little. These last few months have been overwhelming and that’s the real reason. It makes me exhausted in a way I can’t explain.

August brought a new challenge to one of the most painful things I’ve experienced. Something I never expected in a million years. One of my 6 children went to prison 32 months ago and was released in August so he came home to stay here for his re-entry program. I was so excited and so relieved to have him out and to have him here. The process of having him here is not easy .. mostly financially but not only financially since you need to adapt to another personality in the house.  It is hard to watch him conquering the things he must conquer The whole re-entry into “society”, you wouldn’t think it would be hard but it is. I see the struggle in his face. I know his mind is thinking about every little thing that he must remember and do. I know he must feel happiness, hope, but also fear. He seems determined and has a good attitude but he has some rough mountain terrain that he must climb. He is determined to not do anything that would place him back inside.

I know this is crazy….but it weighs on me. He hates our food. We eat so different and we don’t have the money to change it nor did we want to except that we want him to be eating healthy. We had what I call a free meal tonight. Friends gave us a large fish filet so we cooked that steamed in the oven with yummy seasoning on it and Darnell, my husband brought in small baby carrots from the garden and green beans so I steamed them. We live off the land as much as possible. I know there is nothing wrong with what I fixed but he didn’t eat and I’m not upset with him but it still pains me. We have what we have and no room to do something else. Darnell made popcorn later so he had a bowl of cereal and some popcorn so he isn’t starving. I just had to get that off my chest. What a little thing! This is the smallest of our problems. When I was growing up there was a saying: Life has a way of throwing a monkey wrench in the works! I’m glad that tomorrow is a new day………. onward and upward. Don’t sweat the small stuff. (it’s a MOM thing)

It is exciting he is here and I’m glad. We will deal with whatever come and cross the hurdles and make it to the goal.  I have faith…it just wavers every once in a while. 🙂

I know there are tons of families out there that have dealt with this. That’s why I want to share this very private part of my life with you.

Please tell me what you have experienced. I am fearful of the unknown. That’s normal… right? I know that right choices have to be the priority for him and there is no room for mistakes. I’ve heard how many end up back in because of a lapse in judgement. I pray that he will have a clear thought process and will not find himself in a bad position because of an impulse or wrong perspective or whatever makes us do the things we do. He is a man and I hope he has his feet firmly planted toward the future. I hope he will lean on God to give him the strength he needs for every day.

I have been in the valley and on the mountain. Up and down I go at any given moment right now. I’m usually not fragile and I need not to be right now. I pray and meditate on the things that keep me on an even keel. I know it will get easier. I have this thing I do when I’m struggling… I think about what I know for sure and focus on that. Do you do this when you are struggling with something?  The things I know for sure are:

I know that God is always with me.

I know that I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

I know that in God’s Word it says:

God has not given you the spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a strong mind.

II Timothy 2:17

He brought me also up out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon the rock, and established my goings. And He had put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God: many shall see it and  fear and trust in the Lord

Psalms 40:2,3

I know that I am human so I have to put the fears behind me and trust in God who stays by my side every day. I am taking one breath at a time. That is all I can do and I’m glad I’m not walking alone.

Hope this is of help to someone out there who may be feeling something similar to what I’m feeling. Feel free to stop by any time and leave a comment. I’m praying for God’s help for us all.            Jan

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What To Do When You Are Sick and Tired


William the Conqueror fell off his horse at Ma...

William the Conqueror fell off his horse at Mantes, suffering mortal injuries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 2:30am and I’m up. My body is aching all over and I feel total exhaustion. I feel sad because I want to fill the needs of my family and do my part and I just don’t have the strength or endurance to do that the way it should be done.

My grand-children are so precious to me and I feel like I fail them over and over. It makes me sad. You need energy for children and I just don’t have any.

I am sick and tired. I guess I’ve given in to a little pity party. I know there are plenty of you out there that are in the same boat and understand completely. I don’t have pity parties very often and I need to pick myself up, brush of the dust, and keep movin’! I have a friend who says, “You have to cowboy-up!”  That’s what I need to do, in a plan B kind of way.

The fact is that I am sick. With God‘s help, I’m still here long after everyone thought I would be gone. That’s good! With a focus on that’s good, I don’t feel equal to the tasks that have always been my responsibility. I wish it were different but it’s not. That doesn’t mean I give in or give up, but I have to allow myself to care for myself and do as much as I can and know when to stop. Have you heard that a good barber knows when to stop? It’s kinda like that at a much slower pace.

I always liked to hurdle myself into what lay in my path. It’s hard to slow down. I draw my strength from God everyday and He is faithful.

So. what do you do when you are sick and tired?

Female Horse Rider

Female Horse Rider by Mike Baird

  1. Thank God for every day and every breath you take.
  2. Keep you focus on what is good and positive.
  3. As much as is possible, give yourself the nutrition to keep your body as strong as possible.
  4. Listen to your body and rest as much as it tells you it needs.
  5. When you fall off the horse, pick yourself up and get back in the saddle. Even William the Conqueror fell off his horse.
  6. Love everyday you are given.
  7. Do the best you can and don’t berate yourself for what you can’t do.
  8. Live so you have no regrets.
  9. Count your blessings.
  10. Be thankful for God, your family and friends because without those three things, you would really have a bad day!

OK! I’m back in the saddle. I need to remind myself from time to time of what my attitude needs to be. Hope what I’m experiencing helps someone else out there. We have to encourage one another.

I feel strangely calm after writing this. I think I’m ready to try again. How about you?

I love it when you visit so come again,          Jan

Morality


Calvin and Hobbs

This says it all…. It’s on my mind and I’m sharing with you… Come again and Visit, Jan

Learning to Forage


It’s been so nice outside and when it is, I find anything I can do so I can enjoy the weather. It’s been chilly but not bad. Before it rained a few days ago, I planted zinnias and marigold seeds. We planted more plant starts out in the garden too. The rain helps them get started better than watering. Why is that? Is it that it is more natural? I just know that I am always glad when it rains. It cleans and waters and makes all things fresh.

Carya glabra

Hickory Nuts

I found a hickory tree near by with tons of nuts strewn under it. I brought a few home at first and cracked and tasted them. The nut meats were so sweet and good. I found them hard to crack and not have a million little pieces so I went to the internet and started searching for a way to get the nut meats out in more whole pieces. We are so spoiled. Factories crack them with a machine and you go to the store and buy packages of nuts without any little pieces. I have a very patient friend in Arkansas who gathers black walnuts and saves the nut meats. She has jars and jars of them but they are all in little tiny pieces. I love them and when she gives me a jar, I know how many hours of work went into gathering those precious gems of flavor  and nutrition. I am going to have to develop my persistence and tenacity to forage food from around me. It definitely takes patience and determination. I watched a few videos that showed a man cracking these nuts and taking out whole nut meats. He cracked it all over with a hammer or a stone, like a boiled egg and then gently picked the shell off piece by piece.That’s my goal.

Queen Anne's Lace (Wild Carrot)

I gathered dandelion greens early this year before they started blooming. I was told that they aren’t good after the blooms start. They were delicious. That wasn’t hard.

I spotted some wild onions  and wild carrots. I knew about the onions before and had heard of the carrots but had never investigated them. I don’t know that I will gather the roots of the wild carrots but if I ever needed to I could now. The research I did said they are not tender, sweet and good like their garden cousin. The big surprise was that the wild carrots was a plant that I have always called Queen Anne’s Lace. I never looked at the leaves because of the beauty of the bloom. I wonder what God was thinking when He put the one small purple dot in the middle of the bloom? You will see these along the road or in a field. The blue flower is Chicory and the roots can be roasted and ground to use as a coffee substitute.

Ever use pine nuts in a recipe. I have a couple Sicilian recipes that have them in them. I had no idea where they came from nor why they were called pine nuts. Now I know that they are little seeds hidden under every scale of the pine cone. I read that you pick them up off the ground or pick off the tree when they are tight together not more opened.

They are high in protein and fiber but after you get them out of the pine cone you still have to crack a shell similar to a sunflower seed from around the nut.

After I gathered them, I wrapped a cookie sheet with foil to protect it from the sap, and baked them for an hour at 200 degrees. Amazingly the scaled started lifting apart so the seeds could drop out. The pine smell while I did that was very pleasant.

It is good to know how to do these things. I do know that some things, I will probably not do on a day-to-day basis because of how hard it is. I want to become proficient at it so that what things are worth it to me to do… I will do and the rest I will store in the recesses of my brain for a rainy day when it might come in handy. That makes good sense, doesn’t it?

When all six of our children were home, we didn’t have a lot of money. I’m sure there were times when they felt it but I tried very hard to focus on things much more important than money.  We used what we had in the most creative way we could. I focused on the things in life that are free. Nature, God, Music, Books, and felt wealthy for all that was available to us. I don’t regret one day of my life. It is a gift!

Thanks for dropping by, Love having you visit and come again,                                                     Jan

P.S.   Had to show you this idea for the garden. I saw it on http://www.gardeners.com. It is an awesome way to save space in the garden. It shows it for cucumbers but I think it could be used for any of the smaller spreading crops like squash or muskmelon. There is a wealth of  great ideas available.

Cucumber or Vegetable Trellis

Gratitude and Contentment and How Gardening Helps!


Gratitude is a good thing.

Knowing what is a need and what is just something you want is also a good thing.

I was thinking about the attitudes I experience from people who cross by my path and the people I rub elbows with everyday. Attitude and perspective makes a big difference. Some people have created an attitude of dystopianism no matter what benefits they enjoy in life.  What they have is never good enough and the value and joy of a day is wasted on wishing for something else and hating what they have. Contentment is a valuable commodity worth more than gold. That doesn’t mean that you never set goals for something else that you think is important but can you do that and be happy today while you reach for it? I imagine except for maybe a few, we are all in survival mode. The cost of living has gone up. The farther you have to fall maybe the harder it is. Attitude is paramount no matter what level you are experiencing. The richer a person is, the more they might have to give up. They are used to having certain luxuries and we are creatures of habit. Whether we are rich or poor, if we need to pull in the cinches, it is important that we do it the best we know how. Change is hard for everyone. One of the things we can do is look for information and make it an adventure of learning and experiences. We can find it in ourselves to focus on  the good and be grateful for it. Even the things that are bad, we can be thankful for the strength God gives us as we go through the challenge and be grateful. Seems like when I have a pity party day, I will find someone who has it so much worse. Now on to an adventure. Adventure is what I call all the little quirky tips I find that helps me provides for the family something that is needed in a less expensive way. Gardening is one way I can help our family. I also do things like make my own yogurt or cottage cheese or make cakes or pancakes from scratch. I got a tip the other day. A friend of mine directed me to a site and told me about something I could do that I had never thought of. This is kind of a silly thing but its something that kids or grandkids will enjoy doing. This way they learn to help. It’s good when they are involved.

Grow your own celery from your celery remains. Just chop off the base and plant. One week of growth shown in photo.

I buy celery all the time and I don’t remove one stalk at a time and chop it. I cut off whatever I need from the end of the stalks so that when I’m done I’m left with the piece at the end of the celery where the roots were when it was harvested. This is perfect because they said to take the root end of the celery and put it in the ground and it will produce more celery stalks. I’m going to replant my first celery at the end of this week. To me when you can do things like this, it’s an adventure and makes surviving more fun. Pretty soon it isn’t surviving but it is joyful living in the present. You can be happy while you accomplish it. I planted my cucumbers the other day in a hanging basket. I’ll let you know how that works. We don’t have room in our little garden for anything that spreads. One spreading plant and it would fill our whole garden. She had this link connected to this picture:

http://homesteadingsurvivalism.myshopify.com/blogs/news

This link will take you to a gardening guide with lists of plants. It’s very well presented and easy to refer to it for information. It tells you when to plant and other valuable information. I found several things on the site that might be of value. One was a cold frame set up made by setting bales of straw around a small section of your garden and start the plants there. Cover the area with clear plastic so that it rests on the bales. That way you get a head start and the plants are already where they are going to be planted so you don’t have to even move them. That is pretty awesome. This is the link to the original site that had the Straw Cold Frame:          http://ozarksalive.org/larrapin/?p=929

Straw Cold Frame

They used sliding glass doors but you could make frames and cover with plastic. That might be safer for kids and animals.

I am definitely going to try this next year. Love finding new ideas…new to me anyhow. 🙂 Hope you benefit from my travels on the internet. Love technology! How much do we all have in our lives that we can be grateful for?

I read an article in Wiki about gratitude. Here is one section out of that article:

“While many emotions and personality traits are important to well-being, there is evidence that gratitude may be uniquely important. First, a longitudinal study showed that people who were more grateful coped better with a life transition. Specifically, people who were more grateful before the transition were less stressed, less depressed, and more satisfied with their relationships three months later.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratitude

Gardening exposes you to the whole cycle of life. It is usually a quiet task that gives you time to think, meditate, calm your mind, and bring something wonderful to others.

It is a great time to contemplate the good things in your life. Make a list of those things and be grateful, and share with others.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jan

Faith and the Egg


Eggs have become such a prevalent part of Easter. What do you think it stands for?

Easter eggs

Easter Eggs ~ Symbol of New Life

One of my recent posts was about how we develop our philosophy in life. I told you one of the ways I developed my philosophy was through reading the bible. I was raised in church and it was the “normal” thing to do in my life. I embraced that life until I left home. When I left home, I started spreading my wings and thinking, “I can choose whether I make that my life or not.” I tried and tried to choose a different way. My family was always pretty straight-laced. I thought it would be awesome if I flew by the seat of my pants so to speak. I wanted to be like some other people I knew that didn’t follow so close to the line. I experimented with the feel of making choices opposite of what I had always made during my life so far.

From a young age I learned about God and His son, Jesus Christ.  I  tried just cruising along when I reached this time in my life but I found out the price was too big.  No matter how I tried to brush it away, I found that the way my life had played out up to the time of being on my own, was the true belief of my heart and not just a rote display of tradition. It was then that it transformed from tradition to the fabric of who I am. I knew then what I believed for myself and not because of how I had been raised.

Jesus with the Children

I believe that the bible is the inspired word of God. And the Bible says that God send His son to earth as God/man to tell us about God and to become the payment for the shortcomings of humans on earth. He died on the cross and was raised from the dead and then ascended up into heaven.

This is the essence of the spiritual celebration of Easter. This is a very important time of year for me. I am so grateful for what God has done for us. By paying the debt for our sins, if we believe then we have been promised a place in heaven. That is only the tip of the iceberg.  For me the promise of heaven is what comes later but what is so much more important is the comfort and guidance He provided for us post assention through the Holy Spirit. He is with us constantly and we can turn to Him at any time for direction.

These are things I rarely speak out loud so I am just wondering what every readers response will be. I know it sounds strange but I’m as sure of this as life itself. God is real and He is miraculous in every way and it is a source of great joy and peace for me.

The eggs that are used in the celebration of Easter are symbolic of the “New Life” that

Jesus with the Soldiers

is available through believing in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. The way you accept Jesus and the gift He provides is to realize that all humans make choices that are wrong. In any justice system there is a price for wrong and Jesus paid the debt and offered to cover our imperfections. We only have to realize what the gift is, why you need it and accept it from Him. I did and it has made an amazing difference in my life. I’m glad to have Him be a part of my life. I appreciate everything He has ever done for me. This is the only thing in my life that doesn’t change. All other things that make up my life, can and do change. I have had some very good things in my life but there is very few things that are secure or guaranteed. My faith that God gave me is the rock I stand on.

Easter is a very private, important part of my life. It is a time of extreme worship. I know that many people go to church on Easter but I actually like to be alone with God on that day. The most awesome Easter for me was when I was up early on a beach in Florida. I

God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit

was there with one other person. We didn’t talk. It was a time of worship for me. The sun was almost representative of the Glory of God and I just talked to Him and expressed my thanks for His presence in my life. I hope you will find peace this Easter. This peace fills my life every day and it is the greatest gift ever given.

May you find the blessings of this Easter Season,

Thanks for stopping by,

Jan

Please talk to me… leave your comments.

Hindsight and Forward Thinking


Hindsight is 20/20 is it not?

About 11 years ago my life changed drastically. I went through a horrendous corporate downsizing event. I lost the job that I truly loved. No I wasn’t a Brain Surgeon! It did not require that level of intelligence but I loved providing a service. To do that in a way that brings pleasure and enjoyment to others and are treated with respect, brought me joy. I did my job well and I found the chance connections in life are meant to produce something of value in each exchange. It wasn’t just a job to me. I believe  that the experiences we have. good and bad. are there for a reason  and that is as others pass that way, that you may somehow help them find their way and bring them comfort. If we all live our life that way then none of us are alone. Because of the value I put on this resource of connection, I felt great sorrow when I lost my job especially when I had trouble finding another job. I loved working.

Have you heard the statement that 90% of all illness is stress related? In looking back at this time, I came to believe it is true. The two to three years of downsizing process is very stressful, humiliating, and you are in anxious limbo. I was eliminated on in the last sweep on my birthday…isn’t that funny? I didn’t think so …I thought it was cruel and thoughtless.

I began not feeling so well. I started feeling tired beyond the normal and felt weak. I had several episodes where it was like my one leg didn’t get the message from the brain about what it was to do. Not realizing at the time that what was happening. I was having mini strokes. I was telling my Dr. what was going on and he said it wasn’t anything to worry about. I believed him at least for a while.

I did finally get a job in a factory. It was a little out of my realm of experiences but it was good.  I was so glad. I continued to not feel well and it progressed. I rode my bike to work and one day I rode in and when I was to stop my legs wouldn’t come off the peddles to the ground so I could stop. I ran into the wall and crashed. That was a bit unsettling but I picked myself up and brushed myself off and kept going. The days that followed, I picked a softer landing spot. 🙂 I lost the job though which had never happened in this way. I was fired. I put something into a mold backwards and it cracked the mold. I felt bad but I went and found another job. I went back to my comfort zone working in medical records in a large Doctor’s Office. I had never gotten a bad review in my life up to the point when I got fired but after trying for 3 months, I didn’t pass the probationary period and I was let go. I’m a persistent little cuss so I went to another hospital and got a job as a registration specialist. The same thing happened and they let me go. Now I was crushed. I could see that there was something terribly wrong. I still tried again. I worked as a cashier in a gas station . I tackled that with the same gusto as always and  I enjoyed it.  I was taking things in stride but things were catching up with me.

Right Carotid Artery

I could see I was not my normal self. My brain just was not functioning like it had in the past. I went back to the Doctor and he

still said it was nothing. I was just aging. I was mad now so I  went and found another Doctor. I had been documenting things for a long time and showed him the same list I had shown the other Doctor and he right away sent me for certain tests. He thought I might have MS.  It ended up my carotid arteries were blocked on one side and all but 1% on the other. Making a long story short, after seeing a specialist, I was told there was nothing they could do. By this time I was having trouble climbing stairs My exhaustion level was extreme. The very tactless Doctor said I could drop over at any time. I don’t mind truth but it didn’t need to be so graphic. I worked at the gas station till I couldn’t anymore.

This Doctor  had my whole family in an uproar when he worded it that was, that I could drop over any time. I didn’t have the strength to deal with it. My family started hovering and figuring out what I should and shouldn’t do. I had to tell them to back off and that I was not going to crawl into a hole and get ready to die but was planning to live life in a good  way till it was time to go.  Here I am 11 years later …still weak and exhausted but living life in a way that is productive and satisfying. God has shored me up and I’m still paddling. (I know, the West Virginia dialect in me just has to come out from time to time. ) May of last year I saw signs that the disease was progressing as my eyes  developed hemorrhages caused by pressure as the blockage moved  north toward the brain. I can still see some of out of the left eye…so I’m still paddling!!  I’m thankful for what I have.

This is where hindsight comes into the picture. If I could rewind time, I would have listened to my gut feelings. Doctors are not infallible and they can have an off day as well just like you or me. I had too much confidence in them and thought they were always right. It is only by a blessing from God that I haven’t lost my life way too young. I was not used to bucking the system or trusting my own intuition. Who knows what’s normal in your body better than you? If you feel like something is wrong then you need to persist and search for an answer until you are satisfied and at peace that you have found the right answer about what you are experiencing.

God was a part of my life long before all of this happened. He is my mainstay and gives me strength, encouragement, and comfort through it all. He is constant and unchanging. It makes it all a little easier.

Remember, you can tell if something is not normal so trust your instinct and act sooner than later so that things can be taken care of in a timely manner. Send me your comments or questions anytime and come walk with me down my garden path.

Thanks for Stopping by,

Jan

Journey Along the Garden Path

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