Monday, January 30, 2012

Battling Demons -- Faith Based Post

I am a Christian believer.  I always have been.  I believe in the power of prayer.  I believe that I am never alone and am being watched over even when I am struggling -- especially when I am struggling.  The thing that I am not, however, is a good listener.  I am not talking about listening to my hubby or my children or my grandchildren, I am talking about listening to God.  Maybe I don't sit still long enough, maybe I am not quiet enough, maybe I am just looking for somebody else to fix my problems. However, this weekend, something changed.  I think God must have been screaming at me because I finally heard the answer to all the prayers, begging, and pleading of late.  I don't "think" I heard it, I know I heard it.  This has happened before so I know what it feels and sounds like. 

For a while now, by "while" I mean about five or six years, I have been battling several demons and they all seem to circle one central theme -- my health and my weight.  In the course of that time I have had heart palpitations, some bouts of what I feel are afib, anxiety, depression, low self esteem (ok, this has been all my life) and severe allergies. It all pretty much began when my parents got sick, I nursed them and then they died -- I am only child -- very traumatic.  Then, it all got significantly worse when my husband had quadruple bypass surgery in 2005.  He got well, I got sick.  Top this all off by the fact that I have a horrible phobia about doctors due to my parents experiences and you have a pretty miserable person. 

So, as per my usual method of operation, I went to God in prayer first and, as usual, didn't listen.  I figured I could take a supplement -- lots of them, in fact -- and somehow override the copious amounts of trash I was eating and somehow be saved.  Well, I couldn't even take the supplements on a regular basis but I could devour tons of sweets and soda and just junk on a regular basis  with no problem.  I sit and wonder why my hair is falling out, why my fingernails peel off, why my joints ache constantly, why I have no energy, why my heart flops around erratically from time to time.  So, the other evening, as I am want to do, I was surfing around the internet researching "symptoms" and found a few things that quite honestly, scared the life out of me.  (WebMD is evil, I have decided).  But, somewhere in my reading there was a voice in my head -- yes, an audible male voice -- that said "plant based".  As I read on in whatever it was I was reading, it said how many symptoms or ailments could be treated and, sometimes, even reversed by being vegan or vegetarian.   Now I have tried this before with absolutely no conviction and, clearly, no success but somehow I was compelled to read on.

I prayed. I said that, as always, God's will prevailed but if it was his will that I get better just show me the way -- again, "plant based".  Had I heard this before and just not listened?  Probably. 

So, the next evening Hubs and I went to Zoe's -- a health related restaurant new to the area and I had some lovely soup and slaw -- neither vegetarian but clearly more "plant based" than the cookies I usually eat.  We then went to the bookstore across the street and I walked straight to -- as if being led by the hand -- to this book

I came home, read the book -- not in its entirety as yet -- there is a ton of information -- and I decided I could do this.  Why?  Well, "plant based" was still booming in my head and I was kinda tired of being yelled at and I figured I could do it because there are large amounts of food involved.  Whole foods, mostly raw, and the promise that the cravings would be gone and I would not be hungry.  I mean, there is something compelling to be said about eating all you want of something, even if it is kale.  I don't like kale but I am going to give it a go again.

So, I began on Friday.  According to Fuhrman salad --  and a lot of it -- is your main dish for lunch and supper and you should eat a cup of beans a day.  This is not a problem for me as I love that sort of food.  Hubs looked at me as I sat down to these meals -- he laughed.  He also said he was going to read the chapter on diabetes.  After eating these meals I had the oddest sensation.  I was full -- trust me -- I was full but.....I didn't have that feeling that I couldn't walk across the floor.  I felt light.  I haven't felt like this in .....well, I don't know that I have ever felt like this.  I feel "clean".  Now I know the meaning behind one of my favorite magazines about clean eating. 

I get it -- I GET IT!!! I feel like I am one of those people you hear about -- overweight yet starving to death.  I get it.  I listened.  Do I think that I was given a divine directive?  You betcha! And, when I get that sort of directive, I pay attention -- I am just sorry that I have been a defiant child -- I could have been doing this a long time ago.

I have been exercising as well.  I have one of those Tony Little Gazelle things that are supposed to be gentle on your knees -- well, maybe if you are IronMan but me, yeah, not so much.  But, thirty minutes a day -- thirty five today.  I am not going to try to kill myself but stay consistent.  Another thing that helps -- I am accountable to my daughter.  I am not writing any of this down but I am reporting to her what I am eating and how I am feeling.  A support group is important.  I think she is giving consideration for herself what I am doing.  Hubs even said he was going to read the chapter on diabetes.  Now, THAT is a breakthrough!

I figure after possibly six months to a year of this I will be able to say that some of my "issues" have left me.  I am hoping so, anyway.  I can't imagine that this life plan will be detrimental as I have been led here by the One who loves me the most and has never left me. So, I am back with a new vision and a new goal -- to be healthy so I can get on with what I need to get on with because I am pretty sure that I still have purpose and need to be able to fulfill that purpose.

So, as an appropriate project to go along with this stage in my life I am stitching this


I think it is adorable -- more difficult than it looks -- and is sort of representative of my "demons".  When I am done I am hanging it where I can see it on a daily basis to remember to stay vigilant in battling my demons.  It also helps that I am of Welsh ancestry and I just love little dragons!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gone Dormant

Ok, before anybody gets mad at me for lack of posts or decides to unfollow me let me explain.  It seems I have gone dormant.  I don't feel well.  I have allergies that give me horrible headaches.  I keep getting a burning in my chest right under my collar bone every time I go walk around outside -- allergies again, I assume as it feels very bronchitis-y.  I have decided to slip back into my seasonal depression -- I do this once in a while, no worries, it will go away.  I have gained weight and now that is heavy on my mind -- no joke intended and I have been babysitting three days out of the week and I am just tired. Oh, and my joints hurt -- shoulders especially -- both of them, with sore places that make me yelp when touched.  So, I might be away until the weekend but I will be back as I have some photos to post and hopefully I will be in a much cheered up mood.  Blah :(

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Arlo and the Fairy Door

Quite awhile back I acquired a fairy door as decoration for our new landscaping and I posted photos.  One Saturday, while at our neighborhood plant store, I discovered these cute little gnomes -- tiny little things, just the right size to complement my fairy door and make that part of the flower bed more of a little neighborhood.  I named him Arlo.  Well, the landscaping isn't new anymore and neither are Arlo or the fairy door but I thought I would take photos and post again -- Arlo has never had a proper photo taken so here it is.



They both look a little worse for the wear but it was a rough winter last year and a rougher summer so maybe they don't look so bad after all.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I Can't Believe I Like Dressing Out of Cabelas

Yes, it is true.  Somehow I have morphed from the cute little teenager wearing Bobbi Brooks from Joske's and Wolf & Marx into an old broad buying her duds from Cabelas.   Ok, granted, I have only bought one blouse and a bag but still -- it is a sporting goods store and I am not the sporting type!

So, yesterday we went in there to look for something for the Hubs.  I am not going to tell you what because it sounds crazy.  Ok, I will tell you, then I won't be the only crazy one around.  He wants to buy a camo pop up deer blind to sit in and take photos of the birds in the backyard.  Now, I am all about him taking pics of the birds and I don't really mind the blind -- especially the one that pops up and down like a play pen.  I would think, however, that the birds would be more cooperative and pose for the person who fills the feeder endlessly and even goes out of his way to research what sort of birds are out there and who prefers what foods.  I digress.

So, we went in looking for this piece of equipment and truthfully, I am only going to stand there for so long looking at something that really doesn't interest me so much before I drift away.  Well, Cabelas makes sure there is something for everybody there so I wind my way to the clothing section and I start looking at purses.  I have been wanting a cross body bag that is big enough for what I carry.  I had a cute little Coach one but the Giant Sunglasses just didn't fit -- honestly, neither did anything else.  I love Vera Bradley but I was looking at something that would go with more clothing so I ran across this






I sort of liked it immediately but I wasn't going to drop $60 on it without some thought.  Yes, I know, I have mindlessly spent more than that without so much as a blink of one eyelash but I am in the process of mending my evil spending ways.  So, I went home and did research.  I liked what I read, the measurements seemed reasonable but I had to try it on -- a concept that I learned from DD.

By this morning, I had decided that I would like to take another look so back to Cabelas we went which was ok with the Hubs because he wanted to take another look at the deer blind.  So, I grabbed up one of the two purses they had and proceeded to the help desk where I told the girl I had to "try it on" and she looked at me as if I had lost my mind.  After I decided that it was comfortable enough on my poor gimpy shoulders and worn crossbody as well, I commenced to taking everything out of the purse I brought in and seeing how it fit in the new one.  Ok, in order to get the Giant Sunglasses in, I had to buy a smaller case but that was ok, I was in need anyway.  Everything went in well, it has zippers enclosing everything but a back pocket which is good for those of us who either tend to drop purses or leave them gapping open. 

I bought it with Christmas money that I hadn't spent yet.  I came home, loaded it up and promptly went to the grocery store.  I wore it cross body and it was wonderful.  The way the strap is arranged, it creates no swing.  It stayed close and I was hands free to shop! Nothing was dragging on my poor, arthritic shoulders and I felt liberated.  And....drumroll, please....it was on sale!

If you are interested in looking at the manufacturers website, it is a Sherpani and the style is Luna.  They have several styles and four or five different art work designs.  I have a feeling I am going to wear this one out.

So, even though I broke my no-spend streak, at least it was on sale and it seems like it is going to work for me! Yay!
View from a Window --

Ok, the pics were taken late Thursday afternoon but I am just getting them posted.  Anyway, they don't look much different than the previous ones.












Remarkably unchanged, right?  So, I will add a couple of pics of birds that the Hubs took.  He has the camera mounted onto the telescope and is actually taking some good bird photos. 










Looks really serene, doesn't it?  Yeah, not so much.  We have so many doves out there it looks like something out of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" and we have a hawk that relieved us of one of our doves -- there is nothing but a mess of feathers all over the flower bed.  Hubs is enjoying feeding the birds even though they are becoming demanding little demons and can put away an entire feeder of seed in one day -- but I have to wonder if we are just setting them up to be somebody else's dinner?  Hubs says it is just nature -- I say it is creepy.  In any event,  this is the life in our backyard!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 Reading Challenge Update -- Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops









Ok, I can't believe it myself but I read this in one day.  My daughter got it from the library, I was at her house, I couldn't resist and there you go.  Trust me, it is a short easy read.

Each page is devoted to a product, service, toy, book, restaurant, etc. that was popular in the 70's and 80's.  It explained the subject of the page, how it came about, and ultimately what happened to it.  Some of the things are still around as original, some are revised, some have bitten the dust.  Two of my favorite listings are Shakey's Pizza and, obviously, pudding pops.  It was a fun read, reminding me of so many things that were influences on my children, like Dapper Dan, and also why I will never have avocado green in my home again!

Would I recommend this book?  Sure 'nuf -- it will remind you of so many things you had totally forgotten about as well as some you wish hadn't drifted off into oblivion -- like pudding pops!

I might actually buy this book for my Nook Library or my physical library -- it was fun.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Reading Challenge Update -- "A Plain and Fancy Christmas" by Cynthia Keller









Clearly I am doing better in 2012 with this reading challenge than I did in 2011.  I just finished my second book -- in 2 days.  That is a record for me, I usually read very slowly. Maybe I won't have such a dismal showing in 2012!

"A Plain and Fancy Christmas" is the second book I have read by Cynthia Keller.  I have read many Amish-related novels over the years, mostly by Beverly Lewis, but these by Cynthia Keller are a bit different.  In this book Rachel Yoder, a young mother born and raised into the Amish community, and  Ellie Lawrence, a young woman of the same age, born and raised in New York City, find themselves in a seemingly impossible situation, forever linked.  It all starts with a letter they both receive and their reactions to the letter and subsequent actions change both of their lives, and those of their families, forever -- and possibly for the better.

I am not going to tell you the story because I don't want to spoil it but I will say that it is a page turner.  There is a small bit of mystery involved although it is dealt with, in its entirety at the beginning of the book so it isn't like you are waiting to get through the book to see "whodunnit".  You know from the beginning and, actually, then the real mystery begins.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction.  I don't know why I do, but, I do.  Cynthia Keller, in both her books, use the plot to compare and contrast the Amish way of life to the English way of life and the good to be had from both.  In the end, each group learns something from the other -- they aren't one-sided and preachy -- they are good.  Try it!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

What's for Dinner Tonight?

Fort Christmas, both my daughter and my daughter-in-law gave us gifts of bread and beverage mixes they had made and packaged in canning jars and tied with nice ribbons and clever tags!  Well, Hubs and I spent the day with my mother in law, looking for a file cabinet and other office supplies for her and, in payment, she treated us to lunch.  Lunch was very good -- grilled marinated chicken and seasonal grilled veggies.  It seems that when Hubs and I have a large lunch, we tend to not eat much for dinner so I decided to try some of the mixes that we received as gifts.

The first thing I made was Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bread from my daughter.  I wish I had taken a photo of the jar with all the ingredients in it first but I didn't.  However, I did take photos of the process.



And with this, I had some Peppermint Stick Cocoa.


It was all very good and very sweet and I might do it all over again for breakfast.
A View from a Window

Late, yes, I know.  However, this week I did actually take the photos from inside the door, through the glass instead of opening the door and essentially taking them outdoors.  So, here you go!


Little Blurry -- Maybe it is better with the door open!

This one turned out better!

I did go out a few days ago to see what was left in the garden after our freezes and I actually had the forethought to take the camera.  This is what I came up with

Hubs making yard art while making the birds happy -- being creative with shepherds hooks and bird feeders!

Seems the Pin cushion plants survived the freeze and are thriving!

Renegade mint coming up where it doesn't belong

Squirrel nest in the pear tree

Squirrel nest in the OTHER pear tree

Yep, more mint -- it is everywhere!


So there is the garden in late December/early January.  If I can get a photo of the Orange Cat, I will.  He didn't run away when he saw me the other day so maybe he is getting comfortable in the yard -- or else the multitude of doves are more interesting than he is afraid of us.

Friday, January 06, 2012

2012 Reading Challenge

I am going to try to do better on my 2012 Challenge than I did on my 2011 Challenge although I guess I didn't do too badly (18 out of 25) considering I started late.  I started a couple of books right before Christmas which I knew wouldn't get finished until after New Years so one of those is my first challenge book. 



The first book on my challenge list is "Aunt Dimity's Christmas".  I think this is my favorite of the Aunt Dimity series so far.  I mean, what isn't to love -- a rich lawyer, his lovely wife, their gorgeous twins, their cottage in the English village of Finch and a half frozen mystery man in the drive.  Factor in an absent hubby, a father-in-law attracting every widow in the village, a Christmas play and a nanny taking holiday in Italy -- what could possibly go wrong.

This was a delightful little mystery encompassing all the joy of the Christmas season with lessons to be learned for all.  I think it was the perfect read for the month of December and I would recommend it to anyone.
I Admit It -- I Lied!

I thought I was done with Christmas posts but JLSHall sent me the photos of the ornie I made her so I thought I would share them with you.


Since JLSHall's name is Joy, this came already monogrammed!

And, the back!

I have had the fabric that I used for the backing for quite some time -- kept thinking I would make some holiday placemats or something but never got around to it so when I finished the little Joy angel, I pulled this out knowing it would be perfect for this project.

I really enjoyed making these ornaments.  I usually give the kids Hallmark ornaments so one day they will have some for their tree when they are grown but this year I decided to do more of a "do it yourself" sort of theme and these ornaments were part of it.  Next year -- more cooking to go along with.

Tomorrow -- my, as usual, late addition to "A View from the Window".  I tried to get the cat in the picture but apparently he/she doesn't want to visit on Thursday.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Cedar Fever and the Last of the Christmas Posts

I officially have Cedar Fever -- I feel like I have the flu without the fever -- my eyes look horrible, my ears are hurting and my chest feels like I am in the beginning stages of bronchitis.  It is worse because I failed to shampoo my hair last night after being out in the wind yesterday so everything that was blowing around stuck in my hair and I should have washed it before going to bed.  Now I have to change pillow cases and wash my hair and take benadryl.  Yuck.

I am really just a little crazy sometimes.  I read blogs and love the photos on them so I always want to add a photo to mine.  The only problem with that is I forget to take them.  The same was true this Christmas.  I made four ornaments and wanted to show them here but, alas, no pics.  My son in law was kind enough to send me photos of the one I made for Beanie and here it is.




I can't figure out how to rotate the bottom one.  I made two more for Kathryn and Nathan and one for Joy.  If I can pics from them I will edit.

I also made Kathryn a purse but, again, failed to take a photo of that either.  Note to self -- well, you get it.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

THE SEARCHERS






I was going to begin my vintage movie night with "Bunny Lake is Missing" but Hubs and I stumbled on "The Searchers" earlier and decided it would be a good thing to spend the afternoon watching.  It was on the Turner Classic Movie channel and was introduced by Ben Mankewicz.  Ben described it as possibly being the best western ever created.  I would have to disagree with him on that.

It is the story of a Confederate soldier (John Wayne) returning to his brother's home after the Civil War.  Shortly after his arrival there was an Indian attack which claimed the life of his sister-in-law, one niece and one nephew and the kidnapping of his youngest niece, Debbie (Natalie Wood).  It took years of hunting and Indian fighting but he eventually found his niece and brought her home. 

The movie was supposedly set in Texas but I am pretty sure it wasn't filmed in Texas.  If I had to guess, I would say Arizona, Montana or possibly Utah.  I have only seen a bit of West Texas but this just didn't look right. 

The cast was a big name cast -- John Wayne, Vera Miles, Natalie Wood, Ward Bond, Jeffrey Hunter.  However, with all those big names, the acting, for the most part of atrocious.  I don't know why half the movies John Wayne is in seem like comedies when they are clearly not. A bit of trivia here, his wife lives here in Fort Worth.

It was a good movie in spite of all the over-acting.  I have always loved westerns and this was always at the top of my list.  Maybe it is because I always thought Natallie Wood made a cute Indian!
Happy New Year!

I am wishing you all a Happy New Year this morning since I was out like a light at 9:30  pm. in a Benadryl fog! I finally got into bed at 10:22 p.m. and if there was any fun and frivolity to be had -- I was not a part of it.  Why you ask?  Well, between December and February I become like the walking dead  -- unable to hear, breathe, smell and barely talk -- yes, welcome relief for some, I know.  It is the season of Mountain Cedar here in Texas.  I was plagued with it my whole life in San Antonio and thought when I moved north I would be free of it -- upwind so to speak.  Yeah, not so much.  Thanks to the builders of the big, ugly condo behind me, it is worse this year because apparently they were able to buy hundreds of cedar trees at a great price and planted them all behind my house.  Yay!

Here is the map from pollen.com and you will see what I mean.


Doesn't it look like fun?  It will be this way through February and maybe by my birthday I will start to feel like a human again.  I wonder if I can sue the condo people for planting all these trees  after we talked to them about it.  Stellar folk they are.

So, enough about that -- on with the rest of my new year.

I am still reading the two books I started a few days ago -- "Aunt Dimity's Christmas" which I am almost finished with and "A Plain and Fancy Christmas" which I have just started.  I had planned to read both of them in December for Christmas but here I am, still reading and really quite over Christmas. 

I am going to try a new recipe I found in "Fine Cooking".  It is for chicken with lemons and oranges and roasted in a broth of juice and garlic.  I think it sounds wonderful  -- we will see what Hubs says.   I will have it with rice and some green veggie, maybe some carrots and a salad.  There isn't much to it and the only thing I am going to change about it is the cut of chicken.  I am going to use only white meat instead of chicken quarters as Hubs doesn't like dark meat.  If it is good, I will let you know.  If  not, well, you will be spared the details.

So, on that note, I am off to undress a Christmas tree and get things back in order here so I can get rid of all the cedar dust that has undoubtedly blown into my house from the property behind me.  Chances are I will be in another Benadryl fog is a while and Mucinex is my new BFF. 

Have a wonderful day, all! Happy New Year!