Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Paleo Whole 30 Style and YUMMMMMMMMMY

Wow what a ride the last two months have been. A friend of mine told me about a book called "Whole30 by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Whole 30  is available but the book has the best pep talk ever and also about half of it is recipes. It's about getting well and getting free.

I also bought a cookbook "Well Fed" by Melissa Joulan The Clothes Make The Girl  she is an awesome cook!!! Rarely in my life have I followed other peoples recipes because no brag here I can cook. If you can cook then when you read a recipe the ingredients speak to you. You can imagine that this combination is going to be very good! As I read the books I thought to myself this food sounds really delicious. i followed her recipes and learned some great new dishes like Chocolate Chili! I just needed to get new habits that don't incorporate the inflammatory foods that are making me feel bad.

Can I tell you for just a minute just how bad I had been feeling? Chronic bursitis in both hips, back pain, whole body aches,  plantar fascitis , awful stiffness, unable to walk up and down stairs without major effort and pulling the handrail with both arms.....crippled up!!! In the South they say, " I am jes stove up". I didn't want to do anything but eat. Which is crazy.

Food addictions can sneak up on us. We are not infants that need to be fed every two hours. The feeling of "wanting something", is not normal for adults. We ought to be able to go four hours easily without eating and without thinking about eating.  Now that I have finished two rounds of Whole 30 I no longer think about food all the time. Guess why. I am not addicted anymore, except for coffee. Who doesn't have a serious love affair with coffee? I drink it black and enjoy it which makes me a real true coffee junkie.  I have found ways to flavor coffee if I want. Add a little cinnamon or allspice to the grounds before brewing, or some cocoa....yummmmmmm

You may be thinking about now; "I thought this is about Thanksgiving" don't worry we are going to talk about food. Thanksgiving is also about being thankful!!! In our household we go around the table and say what we are thankful for before we eat. This year I have so much to be thankful for!!!!

We all have life changing experiences and some are more powerful than others. Some experiences are unforgettable. I will never get over going to Haiti. Having running water all I want when ever I want is something I will never again take for granted. There is so much that is a part of our culture of excess that we don't need and that we already have. When you see people who are naked or almost naked and starving and thirsty it wrecks you. SEEING in real life has an impact that media can never impart. Flesh and blood humans in your reach in deep need is shattering when you have way more than you can ever use up.

Whole30 has been a life changing experience. I am ready for Whole365.

That brings me to a philosophical issue about food. We in our wonderful land have way more than we need. Our materialistic consumer driven society has created a culture of not only waste but excess. If you do the Whole30 one of the first things one sees that is absolutely mind blowing is how much "food" in grocery stores and even health food stores, is NOT food.  I won't sugar coat it. Whole30 is strict. If you cheat with even one bite you start at the beginning.  The concept is to follow the plan exactly for 30 days and give your body and it's taste buds a reboot.  IT WORKS!! I think it works because it's strict. I am not sure how they got to the 30 day formula because at day 21 I was still thinking about the stuff I was missing. Something happens in the last week that is pretty profound, and I would call it deliverance.

Not all diets are about weight loss. We are crazy nuts here trying to make invisible women. Voluptuous women trying to be beanpoles, women who have just given birth not giving themselves any reasonable amount of time to get back to their pre pregnant weights. Give me a break we need to get a life and ENJOY LIFE! I have lost weight 15 pounds. but let me tell you what I have lost that means so much more to me! I have lost chronic fatigue. I no longer wake up exhausted wishing I was just dead already. I sleep GREAT. I wake up rested and have a little pep in my step. I have ENERGY. I can walk up and down the stair without holding on like a normal person. I have lost the glue that stuck me to the couch. I no longer have cravings. I eat when I get hungry and I eat good food.
I have lost digestive problems. Ummmm I am a nurse how graphic can you take it?  How about this? My tummy though still large is flat. I don't bloat. I don't make embarrassing and odoriferous noises. I do go to the bathroom every day. I no longer support Miralax. I don't burp, belch, and wish my stomach would quit rebelling; because it is quite happy :)

I could go on. Completely downsizing in my clothes. I am wearing stuff I couldn't even get my arms into or thighs for that matter. My actual body size looks like a lot more weight loss than the scale says. I think for the first time in my life with any diet that my body is shedding fat; not water and not muscle. WOWZAS if that isn't an endorsement....go buy the book.

OK now let's talk about FOOD! Thanksgiving and holidays and oh no what about pie?????
You are going to think I have lost my mind but I don't care about the pie. If you scroll down in my blog you will see lots of pictures of PIES. Don't get me wrong there is no denying that pie is delicious and lovely to look at; BUT I don't want to hurt. The slice of pie has too high a price to pay for me!

However,  I love the flavors and seasonings of Thanksgiving.  I didn't want new recipes. Stuffed mushrooms and all that. They are good yes but not Thanksgiving!  I began experimenting. Sorry I got caught up in the creating and didn't take pictures. Next time I cook I'll snap some photos. Just engage your own imagination OK?

I still remember waking up early to the smell of sauteing onions and celery in butter. My mama cooked such a large bird usually 25 pounds she would get up at 6 am to start the stuffing and get the bird in the oven! The aromas were so heavenly. We used sourdough croutons and she was an amazing cook. My Danish grandmother was also an amazing cook. My mama started me helping out in the kitchen by standing me on a chair in the kitchen and put the knife in the hand of the 5 year old girl and taught me how to safely chop, mince, and slice. I am forever in her debt.  We buttered the bird and seasoned it with salt and pepper. All the gizzards and neck would simmer in a saucepan for extra broth to make lots of gravy....mouth watering right?

Ok challenge! Taking out what isn't whole30....the bread and the butter. Putting in something else....how about diced veggies and fruits? Which veggies would be good inside a bird? Hummmmm
ok so starting with a skillet and you can use ghee or clarified butter or refined coconut oil. Refined coconut oil does not taste like coconut. I keep both types on hand. It is available at Sams/Costco for a reasonable price and it's organic.  Ok so first thing into the skillet to saute is the large whole onion chopped finely and the celery and why not use the whole thing? Apples would be delicious so a couple of those chopped and into the skillet; make it a BIG skillet!!!! How about some nuts? Walnuts or pecans or both...raisins.... and all the seasonings you like sans junk. PURE sage etc.. I like Mrs. Bells. and sage. Lots of sage. Guess what? THIS can go into the bird. I have experimented with eggs in this and I don't like the outcome.  I think the best stuffing is just these ingredients seasoned deliciously into the bird. They will swell up and stick together. You can also add diced sweet potato. In fact you can put any vegetable you like in there!!!  I wouldn't use broccoli haha.

Lather the bird in ghee or coconut oil and season it. Salt,pepper, and sage. Bake it like you always do smiles right? Now here is where I do a Whole30 NOT approved departure. BECAUSE I finished my 1st Whole30 without cheating! I do make gravy with a flour and water thickener. I don't want tomato paste in my gravy. I don't want anything in my gravy but the taste of gravy. I am a purist about some things that cannot be messed with! For me it is a sin to ruin gravy.  You can have potatoes but not milk so how about making them differently? I have sliced, chopped, mixed and roasted. Seasoning is the key. Coating them and roasting them is almost a divine experience. Change it up with the seasonings. Salt and pepper only or salt and pepper and rosemary, or salt and cinnamon on a sweet potato. The other thing is to invest in fresh seasoning and good salt. I use pink Himalayan fine grind. I ground up my own black pepper in a coffee grinder and  WOWZAS what a difference. You can have 2 coffee grinders or just clean it without submerging it.  OK so we have meat, potatoes, gravy and now we need some kind of sweet potato thing. Guess what? You can whip them, roast them, or candy them without sugar. You can use pineapple, packed in it's own juice or fresh. You can use orange juice. You can use a small amount of dates or raisins and if you dice them up finely and simmer them in a bit of water until plump that is a heck of a sweetener! It is after all a holiday.
You can decorate the top of your sweet potato casserole with diced up pecans or halves and some shredded coconut and pumpkin pie spice. Oh yes mam it is good. I found ONE kind of bulk trail mix that does not have sugar. It is almonds, cashews, raisins, pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds, it's tasty. I like to add unsweetened coconut to it. I have played with this stuff and added a diced apple, pumpkin pie spice (not a lot) and melted coconut oil to mix it together and then stuff it into squash halves. YUM. it could be dessert it is THAT tasty.....

and finally..ta ta da da...CRANBERRY sauce/ relish........can not have a thanksgiving meal without it right????? OK brain think hard because cranberries are so tart tart....how to make them with no sugar. You can NOT use anything artificial so forget about splenda and all those other nasty chemicals and no stevia either...jes fuggettabowtit.  What is sweet in nature? Apples are sweet. Apple cider is sweet. Ok lets use apple cider instead of sugar and water. Next...what if that is not enough sweet? Mince up some plump, soft and fresh majool dates and add the cranberries;  put all this into the saucepan to bring it to a boil. What else might taste good?  I love orange in my cranberry relish but this was my first experiment and wasn't sure I needed another acid, but I have some Williams and Sonoma mulling spices for that holiday flavor. I added  1 tsp of mulling spices into a cheesecloth bag and put the whole thing onto the stove, brought it to a boil, turned it down to simmer and let it simmer for a short time about 10 minutes and set it to the side to set up. Remove the bag of spices before serving. This stuff is amazing!!! I need to bottle it, sell it,  and make my fortune for real. I shouldn't share it but I just can't be like that..

Next...well that's it, menu complete. There is a lot not here yes...I did experiment and cook this whole meal and try it on my family. It was the first time my grandson ate the vegetables and cranberry sauce and he LOVED everything. He is our pickiest eater. No one complained about no dessert. Everyone felt very satisfied and surprised that they LIKED it. Everyone commented on the FLAVOR. Now it's your turn. Put your thinking cap on and recreate your favorite foods without sugar and without junk. No dairy, no grains, no soy, no peanuts, no artificial anything. If you can't say it don't eat it.  Concentrate on what you CAN have and what you will GAIN; freedom from food addictions and pain. It is so WORTH it. Get cooking.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Moth Balls---and dog tales

Seriously Facebook is a major time suck. I used to blog every day!!! I need to pull myself up by my two finger typing hands and start blogging again! I mean it!  What should I talk about?  For starters how about the friends I made blogging years ago and have started to meet in "real" life? Funny how a few comments and reading about other peoples homes, kids, pets, and jobs makes you feel like you know them and they become your friends.

Recently I met Flea of The Good Flea who has moved on the dog blogging and working for Jones Natural Chews.  http://dogtreatweb.com/dog-writers-giveaway/  She came by with two dogs mind you on her way to an event and spent the night. A good thing that I had one dog at that time so I didn't mind the dogs on my furniture routine. She brought my big ole hound dog who rescued me some TREATS which she salivated over in a big time way and we had a great visit.

I have posted so much of my life on Facebook instead of her so I think I'll start at the beginning. Actually I have been thinking about writing a book.......

Mercy was found in an abandoned squatters crack house in one of our ghettos. You ask of course what was I doing there? Well, not scoring crack rest assured. I was there helping a young woman with two small children get out of there and I saw this dog. Pathetic look on her very unhappy face.
She was a rack of bones and had been kicked the day before by her "owner". Her diet was scraps chicken bones anything he could find to feed her. I offered to take the dog and a friend of mine who knew the owner worked it out. My husband does not go for adding to the family easily but there was no way I was leaving her there.

Before bringing her home I took her to my vet and wallah she was pregnant!!! Her first heat probably about 8 or 9 months old.  Short story she had 8 beautiful puppies.
I had a lot of fun raising those pups. It was an absolute TON of work!!!!! From grinding up dog kibble in my food processor to make puppy pablum which they ate a huge amount of, to taking them outside to potty, to introduce them to water, to cars, to people, to cats, to little children.....oh my stars!!!! But the end product was super well socialized beautiful puppy babies. I was seriously attached to every single one of them.

I found good homes for all of them. I charged $100 for each pup to cover expenses and also to make sure the family was willing to commit to the dog. I asked them to spay and neuter but not being a rescue I couldn't require it. I received promises but who really knows. I wish I knew how they were doing. Two puppies found homes right here in my neighborhood!
One of male pups who is a humongous beastie of a boy!!! and the runt which was first born.
She doesn't come over to play but she is right next door and we seer her through the fence. She is gorgeous!!! Her coat is dark chocolate brown and her body is solid but her head legs and tail are brindled, beautiful. 

Once the puppies were gone I had a lot of work to do with Mercy. I named her Mercy because I had mercy on her.
She just wanted to run. Even though she had a good home her beginning gave her trust issues. She was digging giant holes in my yard, not winning points with my hubby. We have a lovely yard. He takes pride in it. Mercy actually dug a trench across the back part chasing a mole. She is probably a block cur hound mix and she was determined to get that mole! It took time and infinite patience which I seemed to always be in short supply of. More than once i went online and begged for someone to take this dog off my hands.
But not anymore...not ever.  This girl has my heart and I finally got hers...she doesn't try to run away anymore and she is a nice calm relaxed dog. She is actually the best dog ever, so smart. She is worth all the work, holes and the yard, and chasing her around the neighborhood; to have her like she is now. My big ole hound dawg.....

Tomorrow I will tell you about our latest addition another adoption....
Meet Bitsie Bella boo boo a little maltipoo female puppy about a year old. She has her charming ways!!!!

to be continued......

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Haiti for a week!!!

Love A Child is a ministry that my husband and I dearly love. We support them regularly and have prayed for the people of Haiti for the last 27 years.
Today they posted their last minute need to get more medical personnel together for a mission trip into two remote villages of Haiti. The villages selected have never had any medical care before. They need any type of medical personnel and they need nurses.
I prayed, said yes and have TEN days to get this together including airfare and the trip expenses. After talking to them $2000 should cover it.

If you want to help hit my donate to paypal button.

We will return every night to sleep in a tent at their Love A Child village. I have permission to take one extra duffel bag of donations for their children and babies.  I will leave everything there that I take and come back with just the clothes on my back.

I am so excited I can hardly sit still.  I hope I can see baby Elijah and pray for his healing.
I hope God will use my hands to bless, to heal, to bring the love of Jesus to the poorest of the poor. Jesus break my heart for what breaks yours...that is a good prayer.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


I have been sick with asthma for a month. We can't figure out why, no infection but I am having a hard time getting over it. I'll feel better one day and the next day I go backwards again. CRAZY.....

But to not go stir crazy more than normal and I am on steroids...I gotta try and do something!! I decided to sew, why not?

I have been making aprons. I would like to make a bunch and sell them. I have even been thinking about offering custom ones for people made out of a man's shirt that is sentimental. My husband has a niece whose father passed away, I am going to make her one out of his clothes. Isn't that a cool idea? Since they are made with recycled shirts it's not too expensive and that can keep the cost down.

So take a look tell me what you think. I am going to make some grocery tote bags and little girl aprons too.

 This is for my girlfriend. Her husband wore this for their wedding! How sentimental is that?
 What do you think of these pockets? Actually one of them has 2 sections and they are lined on the inside so they look really nice.
 All done I did a lot of embroidery top stitching on this one and french seams on the inside. It's sturdy should last as long as the marriage!!
 This one is going to be a gift someone special is getting married. She likes sunflowers so wahlah we got sunflowers.

 This one I am keeping at least for awhile I like the combination of fabrics, some denim some stripe some quilting, yep it's cute.

 My daughter likes this one. I told her she could trade hers from Christmas for it if she wants too.
I added a button to the pocket. It's a wooden one. So now onto discovering cheap sources for notions always a challenge! But I think I can do a lot of this recycling.

I am going to ask $28 for aprons where you provide the fabrics. Can make them from men's shirts. The bib takes 1/3 yd. The piping takes 1/2 yard. If your shirt is not a large or extra large have to make the ties out of a different fabric. I can get them done in less than a week. Shipping shouldn't be bad they are light weight.

I'd love to make you one do you have a special shirt that is just dancing in the closet waiting to become your favorite apron?

Golden Delicious Soup!!!

I made a new soup this morning.  One of those what is in the refrigerator concoctions but it is da bomb!!!
I have to write it down quick because I want to make this again. I took a picture and then misplaced the camera cord...what do you expect? I am out of it on prednisone, albuteral, etc...etc... and I have the shakes so you just have to use your imagination.

Trust me this soup is outrageous. Also full of anti-inflammatories and super good for you.

Start with a chopped onion,  4 stalks of celery and a bell pepper all sauteing in some olive oil. Next chop and add 2 fresh yellow beets. Everything is cooking on medium heat just stir it now and then while you are chopping the next vegetables. 4 carrots, 1 sweet potato, 2 inch piece of ginger finely minced, 3 small roots of tumeric peeled and finely minced, a few springs of fresh thyme about 2 cups of red lentils, salt and fresh cracked  pepper. Cover with water.
Simmer until done.

Wow folks I know it's hot but you just gotta try this.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Reboot---the next chapter.

What happened after my snot slinging cry? My new found friend took me under her wing and I knocked  24/7. I was a fragile piece of wreckage. Five years of physical, sexual,  and emotional abuse had taken their toll. What was left was on shaky ground. I was ready to follow. For the first time in my life I wasn't rebelling.
My friend spent hours with me, which turned into months and then years. She is my best friend the one who lives in Florida. There isn't an end to that story. BUT there was a weaning...of course.

We spent every day together. We went to church together and it was a growing thing but not quite right. Finally at one church she decided that "this is for you", but not her. 

Firmly she told me to stay there and meet people. I did. I met the love of my life my sweet husband Jimmy.
I also met the Baptist potluck.

My first sight of it was GROSS!!! I have never felt such revulsion. Junk food everywhere, packaged, processed sugary piles of sweets...gluttony.  I was sick looking and my new friend said, "but it tastes so good try some". It did indeed taste good.


Why did I take the first bite? What part of me was ready to abandon all I had learned? For all of my faults diet and exercise were not one of them. I was in the best shape of my life. I was an athlete. I rode a bike, roller skated, went to jazzercize three times a week. I was fit. I had learned about nutrition and I didn't eat food LIKE THAT. Why did I take the first bite?

In Mathew chapter 23 Jesus lets the pharisees have it with both fists. The heading over the battle is called "8 woes". Here is a little of it, listen to the anger.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe (give a portion) mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes, and pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but the inside is full of robbery and self indulgence.

wow what is talking about?

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like white washed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are  full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.

WOW. Talk about show don't tell.  Jesus has that down doesn't he?

From the beginning since I was now "saved". I assumed that the scriptures that taught about scribes and Pharisees were about someone else, not me. In fact anytime there was a mention of someone not doing the right thing it wasn't me. I was the good Samaritan, the good soil, the pearl of great price....but there came a moment when I questioned that.

What if I am not good soil? Truthfully don't I let the thorns and briars in? Don't I let the worries and cares of this life take precedence over everything else? If I live like there is no God where is God? If I worry about houses and land, cars and bills, the daily grind of life, what to eat and what to wear; where is my faith?

When I drive by the homeless and look the other way to avoid the sign asking for food, when I throw the mail in the trash unopened with pleas to feed the starving; am I the good Samaritan? Am I loving my neighbor as myself?

I think not.

All of a sudden the Bible began to be a whole new book. I stopped assuming that I am the good guy and started really looking at what Jesus says and I have fallen miserably short. In fact I would go so far as to say I have done it all wrong. Seriously.

I have studied,  preached, and explained, all from a distance. When you speak with authority and proclaim and admonish...you are in effect above and out of reach.  Just like a Pharisee. I am not too harsh with myself, don't freak out, just listen to me. Do you like being preached at? Didn't think so.

What did Jesus do and how did He do it?

He walked, talked, served, ate and told stories. He connected with people. He showed them with stories the truth about God. He revealed the kingdom of heaven to men. He showed great mercy, he healed the sick, made friends with the outcasts, and lived among them...the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised. Wow he was a freak really; and we would strongly object to his methods. Which is why we are like we are, isn't it?

Did Jesus define following Him as saying a little prayer and asking him "into your heart". so that you could be once saved always saved for repeating a little ditty? Did He say that ever?

Actually he said, " Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Math. 7:13. 

Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord ," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform miracles? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' 

Ok alrighty then.  I have a little expression when I teach, it's "you can always trust the red letters, that is Jesus talking. These red letters are scary. I don't now about you but I have not cast out demons or performed miracles.  That seems like credentials for the upper eschalon of the church and indeed it very may well be. Jesus doesn't call us to potlucks and platitudes. He calls us to pick up our own cross and die daily.  Why doesn't He know them? What does it mean to know?

 What does that look like in real life?

Does it look like the church?

Does it look like me being all about myself, my plans, my desires,my goals, my vacations, my savings accounts, my all about me agenda? I AM ALWAYS ON MY MIND.....

Why am I talking about this?

A revelation that back in the beginning instead of being transformed I picked up new junk. I dropped the behaviors that I was told to drop. Don't smoke, eat or chew; or go with boys that do.  Without inner transformation of the soul dropping one list of don'ts results in picking up a new list of do's. My new list had food. The new list had only one acceptable vice gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins.

Here I am. Asking and still knocking. Seeking, fasting and requesting deliverance from this most deadly sin.

 I no longer want to be a tomb full of dead men's bones. I am seeking the narrow gate. The good news is that transformation HAS INDEED been happening since that first morning on my living room floor. Step by step Jesus has been guiding me and teaching me. But now He is taking it to anutha whole level. Jesus wants to bust out of the "religious" box and take over me life. I have been just wrecked lately again, coming to the end of myself again, and realizing that the greatest gift is LOVE. Not man's love, God's love....He loves us.

I have been singing, "I want MORE of YOU God!!! I have been asking ,"BREAK every chain"!
 I have been admitting how I fail, "Help my unbelief". I want to be so radically different so full of God's love that it is irresistible.  I want to be a light in a dark place to share the love of God.

God is answering.....to be continued....

Friday, July 18, 2014

Rebooting---juice fasting--really?

How did I get here? Really?
This was me? The woman who was so into health food. NO SUGAR allowed! The girls ate halvah for a treat. Halvah is sesame candy made with honey. My daughter went straight to the junk food section of the store when she left home and bought everything in sight.  I guess I was too zealous.

But this...is me. Half the weight I am now.

I have been praying some short and powerful prayers. Prayers I mean with all my heart...like; "I want more of you God---BREAK every chain".

Who is Jesus anyway and WHY did He come?

Good question.

Jesus was authentic, accessible and vulnerable. He was constantly coming against the authority of the religious of the day; the Scribes and the Pharisees, the makers of rules of men. He called them a lot of names; snakes, vipers, tombs full of dead men's bones, sons of hell, the blind leading the blind. Not exactly politically correct. His courage to take on the phoney was without limit. He asked a lot of questions. Jules Verne said something about questions and men, that once asked it has to be answered even if it takes a hundred years. Something like that.  It seems that really good communication happens when we ask questions. People feel valued when we ask them questions about themselves. They are valued when another person stops thinking about themselves long enough to consider what is going on in the life of another. Does asking questions then also work for us about ourselves?  They might.

I have been asking. How did I get here? Simple question really, but the how lead to a why and a when and there you go we are off onto 17 rabbit trails of inquiry. I have been thinking a lot lately because I haven't been eating. I have eaten a little. Some days I have eaten nothing.  It is AMAZING how much of our lives revolve around FOOD.

Last week we had a little get-together with the women who come to my church. I had invited my friend Amy Lancaster from We Will Go to come and visit with them. Originally we were going to have a retreat but no one wanted to sign up except the leadership. That was a reality check. How effective are you at leading if no one wants to follow? I go to We Will Go every week most of the time. It's a revolution in the heart of inner city Jackson what we call in the south a "hood".  It's a revolution because it's people living like Jesus, talking like Jesus, being the hands and feet of Jesus and changing their world; one precious person at a time. Most of the time those precious people are drug dealers, crack heads, thieves, prostitutes, homeless, and stinky. The affluent refer to them as the outer circle or fringes of society.  Jesus called them sick. Those are the people he chose to hang out with. He included tax collectors which was very generous of Him don't you think?

At my little party Amy shared how We Will Go started and how God unwrapped the whole thing one step at a time. None of it was really their idea, it was all God. He orchestrated everything. It took incredible courage to follow Him into the hood.  It's cleaned up now to a fairly "safe" level, 7 years ago it was deadly. It was as rough a ghetto as you can imagine when they moved in with their little kids. An amazing story you should hear the whole thing sometime...but to cut to the chase I want to get to one particular part. Amy said from the very first night people knocked on their front door 24 hours a day they knocked and they asked.
To demonstrate she knocked on the arm of my rocking chair and I was transported back into time.

I met her at a hair appointment. I was a traveling hairdresser. I had arrived at an elderly clients home and she had a new sitter. We introduced ourselves and I went about washing and rolling my customers hair. When I put her under the dryer we began to talk.  ACTUALLY I began to talk because this woman was lit up. Not like drunk, like light....real light. I was thinking in my head, "Is this an aura"? What the heck?  As I looked at her I began telling her all of my horrible secrets, you see I was living a lie. My family thought the wayward black sheep had finally married and was in a good situation. Everyone was so proud of me. I made a lot of stupid decisions starting in high school and one after another led me to nothing but trouble. I am not sure why. Someone could say it was my parents divorce or yada yada yada, but NO I was simply stupid, irresponsible, and heartless. I followed one code of conduct, if it feels good do it. No thought to anyone else ever. I hurt a lot of people. When I got married and actually had 2 jobs my family was ecstatic! But behind closed doors I had married a son of satan himself, an evil man who hurt us. I was ashamed of it, so ashamed that it was a secret no one knew except those who were tortured behind closed doors.

Sitting in front of the lady of light I couldn't shut up, I started crying and telling her everything. I told her I was in trouble, really bad trouble. She listened. I am not sure what I would do if someone did that to me. What would you do? Really? Don't most of us RUN as fast as we can from STRANGE crying people?
She worked for an agency. She could have said nothing. She could have asked for a job transfer to get away from me. She could have told me I was a disturbed person who needed counseling. She could have called the cops! She didn't chose any of those options. She chose to follow Jesus into an unlovely, wretched woman's life. She said, "You need God".

So simple. Some folks do say that religion is for the weak, the opiate of the masses and all that. I remember. If I would not have been so broken, so frightened and so sorry I probably would have scoffed at her. I had a taste of religion as a child and really wasn't looking for that. I was looking for a RESCUE. 

I went to her church. I wish I had a picture of us. I have one in my head. Having gone to church I knew we needed dresses. I didn't own one so I went to the Salvation Army and bought a little red calico cotton dress someone had made for $3. It had short sleeves an empire waist and some piping. I thought it was cute in a Little House on the Prairie kind of way. The girls had on cute outfits their clothes extended beyond jeans and t-shirts. I showed up in that, bra less and in flip flops. Early on being a single parent I discovered that underwear was expensive by opting out we had more to eat. I could have it then, but had decided it was a waste of money and stupid. So much for reasonable thinking. There we were in a church. The music was kind of fun but it made me want to cry. Then a man stood up and began talking. He was pretty passionate about his subject and unbelievably WE were his subject!!!

Have you ever had an experience where someone you don't even know is describing your life like they have been spying on you?

It was freaky. We looked at each other with the deer in the headlights eyes. One of the girls whispered to me, "How does he know"? I shook my head no. I didn't know the answer to that question.

Once a question is asked.

Do you remember, "Question authority"?  Now it seems like we have flipped to never question authority but that is a rabbit trail for another question.

How did he know?  He didn't. He didn't know us from the man in the moon but GOD did. It was God who was showing us their were no secrets. He laid everything out open and bare. I was shaken. They handed me a visitors packet and I went home. I don't remember anything about the rest of that day. I have a feeling I was just going through the motions on auto pilot. It was the next morning when I picked up the packet and started reading that everything fell into place. I read a tiny booklet.  It had some pictures that showed a man's life without Jesus portrayed as a circle with the man in the center chaos all around. Then a contrasting circle with Jesus in the center and order around the circle.
I turned the page.
Another picture. Two cliffs facing a deep ravine, the bridge across was a wooden cross lying on it's side. Darkness on one side and light on the other.  The journey from one side to the other could only happen by crossing that bridge.
It clicked.  I got it. As tears started flooding my face I went into my living room and got down on my knees and began to talk. I poured out everything. All of my regrets, all my shame, all my fears. I don't know how long I was there but it was a long time. My eyes were swollen and I had been slinging snot when I got up. I wasn't pretty but I got up from that floor reborn.

All the things that happened after that could fill a book. This has turned into a lengthy introduction! I was talking about something else all together really, remember? I started out with how did I get here? Twice the size of my true self. I couldn't answer the questions without setting the stage because this was the turning point.  When did I get off track? How did it happen? How am I getting back on the track?

Jesus simply said "Follow me".  He spent a lot of time "dissing" the rules of men. Outward form of godliness without inner change. He hated the lists of rules, the do do do and don't don't don't.   Jesus came to transform not conform.

How do we follow Jesus then? Not like I did.
After thirty years I realize I have been doing it wrong.

to be continued....

Monday, June 16, 2014

This &That Thanks

 Flash from the past. This was when I graduated from nursing school in 1994. I pulled these pictures out for Father's Day. That's me with my Dad when I was a baby.
 It has been the BEST year so far. These pictures are of my daughter and her daughter together!!!
 I am so loving this.
 They had these made for mothers day.  Heather and I sat for a picture at her church they were free, a gift on Mother's day :)
A quick change of subjects let's go from family portraits to the front yard! how is that for this and that random?
 I did use rocks around the front of the bed and as you can see I need to be doing some weedin again!!
 We have had so much rain, and HOT sun!
 Which makes everything grow double time. One of my most favorite flowers is in this pot. Want to guess?
 Do you remember that I said I wanted to make a sign for my shed that said, "Garden of Weedin"?
 Heather painted it for me
 I love it. This "shed" just looks adorable! Inside there is nothing but junk, haha.
This kitchen is done. The smell of paint is gone the doors closed and the floor is not mopped. Got ya. I took a day off today. My back is really tired and threatening to have a hissy fit. Once in awhile I need to listen.
I boxed up packages and went to the post office & UPS.  I spent $60 shipping stuff around the globe how crazy is that? Did you ever see a 5cent stamp? I remember them they were blue and a head on them. I think it was George Washington. I also remember gas for 21 cents a gallon. Now that I have completely dated myself I can move on to another topic.....

Which is why we do all this house keeping and gardening in the first place. We make homes for family and friends. We make homes for people to gather together and sit around the table and rejoice. I love having a home and keeping a home; it is a privilege that  all of us can at times take for-granted. I think there was more meaning in the words housewife or homemaker back in the day. It seems now it's more like buying the biggest house making it look like a magazine and then eating out because everyone works. It's fine if that's the life you chose, I am not dissing anyone personally. It's just that as I get older and think more about what kind of example I leave to my family and friends I want them to remember my home, not my house.
I want them to remember meals around my table.
Evenings on the patio. Dancing to the boombox outside or picking vegetables from the garden. I hope they remember the work of my hands and the love in my heart.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Getting There Making Progress

 All of the cabinets are clean now. I am very grateful that I do not have a ginormous kitchen. This much kitchen wore me out!!!
 But it was so worth it.
 The bottom ones needed paint badly, in and out. Amazingly the wall paper that I took off had protected the paint and those with paper in them were just fine with a good scrubbing.
See these were just washed not painted. Are you wondering how I matched the paint? I wondered if I was going to get into trouble with that. I had a quart of semi gloss exterior cream color paint from the outside of the house. I figured it would work for the inside of the cabinets. I used it and as it dried I realized I really had a match!!!! I must love this color white. I couldn't have matched it this well if I tried!

 The amount of stuff I have purged from this place makes me wonder if I am getting hoarder tendencies. All of this junk came out of the little bitty store room.
 I organized it too. You could hardly walk in there. How much junk does it take to maintain two people?

How many cups? All of this did NOT go back in. I am proud to claim some empty spaces and my intentions are to leave them that way.

 Seriously? All of this is going to the garage sale.
 And the room is so much better for it.

Pantry organized. Nothing to throw away from there except for 2 snack bars that got lost in the shuffle.

Sometimes my consumerism just slaps me upside the head! I get a lot of stuff for free but that doesn't mean I have to keep it. A couple of weeks ago I found a rusty Schwinn bike in the trash. It's not as bad as it sounds I am not jumping into dumpsters. YET! Out here people set things out on the curb.
I brought it home and checked ebay. Nice and clean they sell for about $90 it looked like a 70's model. So I put it on craigslist for $20. It sold asap not bad for a little trash recycling.  I think I need to do more recycling and less keeping. I have such a hard time leaving perfectly good things on the curb for trash day.

In-spite of my dumpster inclinations and my cupboards getting over stuffed, I think my ability to toss and recycle may yet keep my kids from going through an awful ordeal when I leave this earth.  They wouldn't have to much trouble right now should I awhhhh suddenly expire for some reason; just sayin.

Like I said cleaning out Bob's place has made me think. The way I was saving up by the time I hit my nineties I'd have as much for my family to do. It's been a good experience and given me a fresh picture about accumulating. It takes everything I have to keep up with my place. Two buckets of weedin a day, vaccuming, washing, filling in the holes the dawgs dig.....and on and on. I used to do this and work full time!!!!
How did I do that? I don't know really, I marvel when I think. It's incomprehensible to me that I worked 12 hours a day and kept house.

The good news is that I am moving around well enough to take care of my home and have not been able to do that for a long time. I am so grateful! Grateful for health and grateful to this guy.
He has stayed through the good and bad, sickness and health, pack rat or minimalist; he is mine; and I love him more than I can say.  I get mushy like that when he wears a pretty shirt :)

Tomorrow I will close the cupboard doors (they have been airing still) mop the floor and move up into the attic! Then it will be back to the yard because I am behind on weedin.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


 I am always talking about moving. I really don't know why. I just get ideas and talk about going other places. It really drives my family nuts especially since the one time I actually made a move; it was huge like from California to Mississippi.

 Recently I have been working on moving. For the last month I have been packing, boxing, organizing and wearing myself out.
 It has come to this. The last of the stuff for sale.  HIS stuff!!
Because we moved him to be closer to his family. It's the best thing for him and he moves into an assisted living apartment near his sons this weekend. You would think that would be enough to do right?

But noooooooo. Actually it freaked me out about stuff. You would not believe how much stuff people accumulate A lot of it was just trash too;sooooooooo.....I decided to start CLEANING.

When we first got here wall paper was so IN. It was also cheap and I thought I was so brilliant using wallpaper for shelf paper in my kitchen cabinets.It was a lot less than contact paper which is so retro now.
She says tongue in cheek.

 It has stayed right where I put it because I glued it on. Yes indeedy! Brains I tell ya!!!

 I have a lot of cupboards to clean and remove the paper. The only thing good about it is the paint is in pretty decent shape underneath. I thought about painting but then where would I stop? Everything needs paint.All the paint is the same age if I repaint the cabinets I'll repaint the trim and then the moldings and the doors and....you SEE? It would end up with me doing all the woodwork in the whole house!  I want to live so I decided not to paint.

 So no on the painting. Yes, to the cleaning and yes to some purging. We all collect stuff. It's scary when you move to see how much there is to do. Just in case I really decide to go somewhere else it won't be so bad when I finish this.
 This entire side is finished including the drawers. It looks so clean and nice. I am worn out. But I have the rest of the kitchen to finish. Then the laundry room and the pantry.
 If I am still alive I will just stay put and enjoy it.
Pretty impressive right? Or maybe just crazy.

Truthfully I am really grateful to be able to clean my house again. It really needs it. I won't tell you how many years it's been since it's had a good, "going over". Spring is for cleaning, gardening and basically working yourself to death right?
I hope I can move tomorrow morning.