As you’re going along in life something will happen that will cause you to stop, whether you choose to do so. It will grind your life to an annoying halt with no warning.
It happened to me on Saturday. I woke up with a nauseating, bone grinding migraine headache. I was scheduled to work starting at 0900 – and it just wasn’t going to happen. On opening my eyes, the room was spinning. My stomach was spinning. I staggered as if I were drunk. When I made it back to bed from the bathroom, I managed to call my employer – but I was crying so hard and I was so hoarse they had trouble understanding me.
*Note to self – having a cup of coffee truly will not help as much as you think it might, and having thrown up but feeling shaky and weak: yes, the blood sugar was low, but the choice of a lemon honey stick may not have been the best thing to try and get down a throat already irritated with stomach acid.
Ice packs, positioning, pressure – anything I could think of to cause the waves of nausea and pain to stop. I knew I needed to eat but no way was I putting anything else in my stomach. After the nausea finally waned, my sweet daughter made me toast but as I sat up to eat it, I could only cry as the room was swaying so badly. Once it stayed down, I was able to take pain medications and sleep.
Blessed sleep. Uninterrupted. Dreamless.
And then it was over. When I awoke, the headache had diminished greatly and the room was no longer spinning, but the light felt like daggers to my eyes. Fortunately, I took an Aleve PM before bed that night and when I awoke this morning, I felt wonderfully rested.
Sometimes I think God uses these moments, or hours, or sometimes days . . . to get our attention that we need to slow down. Evident our lack of slowing down, events will happen that require us to stop in our tracks and get some rest.
“Write your plans in pencil and let God have the eraser.” ~ Nishan Panwar
I have written previously about the old Yiddish proverb, “Man plans, God laughs.”
I’ve gotten busy, but not too busy to write. Between working two jobs and the additional responsibilities that have occurred in our little lives – I’m just finding it hard to have free time. Eventually things will settle down into more of a routine, but for the time being I’m having to play things by ear, rather than plan.
If you know me – I am a planner at heart. I love to plan vacations, home renovations, meals, sewing projects, running routines, playlists, workout routines, etc. At the same time, as I’ve aged I’ve become less rigid, more willing to use my plans as a loose guideline to reach the goals.
Maggie Doyne is a wonderful example – at the age of 18 she took a gap year before starting college to travel and learn more about who Maggie truly was. She ended up moving to Cambodia, cashing in her life savings and opening a successful orphanage and school.
Mother Teresa was in a comfortable position teaching in a school (she had actually moved up to principal) and felt moved to care for the “unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for” and after two years was able to establish the Missionaries of Charity.
Both of these women had loose plans for their lives, their lives seemed to be going in a specific direction. God not only took the wheel, he went four-wheeling and off-roading to get them where He wanted them to go. So let’s just say that while I’ve not been as present as usual here on the blog, I’ve had my seatbelt buckled tightly and a crash helmet on because I’ve been off-roading with God and it’s been a wild ride.
“Resilience is knowing that you are the only one that has the power and the responsibility to pick yourself up.” ~ Mary Holloway
Yes, it’s been a wee bit since I posted last.
Things have been busy in our household with unexpected surprises around every corner.
My question today (after the week I’ve had) is this:
When someone states something as fact, but you could possibly change the outcome, do you put forth the effort to do so, or do you accept their statement as fact, hang your head in defeat and move on without even trying to make a change?
Earlier this week, I received a phone call which could have changed not only my life, but also have far reaching effects on four other people in the household. My mind started working on two planes: one on the premise that if this was fact, I had things to do before it occurred. The other on the premise that if I could change this outcome, I would do everything in my power to do so.
Plane A: began getting things together should this event occur, making needed phone calls
Plane B: began planning and gathering information, made the most important phone call.
These planes were happening simultaneously – on one level I was on autopilot, on the other I was trying to remain calm. While I was not going to actively (or stupidly) interfere with the original premise . . . neither was I going to allow the actions to happen without a fight.
Needless to say, my phone call and information paid off. Always keep a paper trail of your correspondence, and jot down names, dates and times if corresponding by phone. Four hours after I received the initial phone call, the tables had been turned and those who thought they were in control of the situation, lost control. Dogged persistence, resilience, the ability to move quickly and decisively – combined with a team of professionals who believed in not just myself but my beliefs and my ideals, we started on a path of new beginnings.
As I was relaying the story, however, several people wrongly assumed that the initial phone call determined the end results.
Helloooooooo? Ummmm . . . .no. The initiation of the story does NOT always correctly reflect the ending.
It was the same with my cancer diagnosis. My first words were, “Yeah . . . no . . . that doesn’t work for me.”
I was told I couldn’t run after a knee replacement. “Yeah . . . no . . . that doesn’t work for me.”
So when I received the call stating that there were going to be major changes, turning lives upside down. “HELL NO . . . that doesn’t work for me.”
“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many, not your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ~ Charles Dickens
Yesterday, while driving to work in the morning, I had quite the moving experience. I don’t know if it was the conversation I had earlier in the week with the Dish network customer service rep, or just the stressors of the past few weeks all coming together, or the fact that I was driving, listening to my ‘liked songs’ playlist on Spotify in complete silence . . . no phone calls while I drove, just me and the music.
As I drove, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude. Not just thankfulness for the blessings in my life. I mean, an all-enveloping, warm hug sensation of peace and gratitude that just filled me up and bubbled over in tears as I drove. I don’t mean a silent tear slipping down my face, I mean an all-out steady stream of tears rolling down my cheeks (which miraculously did not smear my non-waterproof mascara).
Earlier in the week, I called to pause my Dish network service and the customer service rep, Debra, and I had the longest conversation about gratitude and what was going on in our respective lives. I do not know Debra, I’ve never met her . . . never spoken with her before. For whatever reason, when she asked how I was doing, and I said “okay . . we have a warm house, utilities, food on the table, clothes, jobs . . . ” she went on to say that she and her husband were having some difficulties and he had suggested listing all the things she was grateful for — a gratitude list. She had done that for the first time THAT morning, and was surprised how much it helped offset the negative things that were happening in their lives. By the end of the phone call, not only was my service paused but we were each thankful for an opportunity to encourage and lift each other up.
We all have stress in our lives. It can be easy to focus on all the problems and forget the little things we no longer notice or have taken for granted. Making a gratitude list has many benefits:
Shields you from negativity
Has been shown to make you feel 25% happier
Rewires your brain to see gratitude before negativity
Boosts self-esteem and performance
Improves relationships, and
Enhances the law of attraction
Let’s look at that last one. How can having a a sense of gratitude enhance the law of attraction? Think about it. Would you rather spend time with a person who is smiling and upbeat, or a person who is down and negative? Tigger or Eeyore? In the workplace . . . who is more likely to get promoted — the person who is confident that things can be done, or the naysayer who insists that things cannot change? Who do you feel better about talking to — the person who makes eye contact and asks questions about your day and sincerely waits for your answer, or the person who is busy with their phone while loudly complaining to anyone who can hear about all their personal problems?
I have a sweet friend who delivers food for Doordash. She commented this week that she had actually made small talk with her customers while delivering their food and found that they tipped better. Then she used the Doordash app to send not just a message stating she was “on the way” but a funny meme with the message which also improved her tips AND made her customers laugh and had a few mention that it “made their day.” That encouragement then increased her gratitude and it just grows from there. So YES . . . a spirit of gratitude can enhance the law of atttraction.
Does it mean there won’t still be people trying to rain on your parade? Of course there will be. The world is not a perfect place.
Feel free to comment . . .what is on your gratitude list today?
“Fun Fact: there are also 3,000 varieties of pears. That’s right. Even pears are more complicated than you thought.” ~ Scott Westerfeld
Pears. I’ve been getting them the last few months in my Misfits Market box. I like pears as an alternative to apples, but they have to be “just right” to make eating them enjoyable.
Not just any old pear will do at any old time. But what do you do with pears? My mother used to make a pear crisp, almost like a cobbler but it didn’t have the flaky crust on it. Hers was topped with a rough mixture of oatmeal, brown sugar, and butter.
I had a few pears staring at me from the counter this morning as I debated what treat I should make with them. I settled on caramelizing them and serving them over vanilla ice cream after dinner. A nice change from plain old ice cream, but using up the fruit without wasting it.
I also had a couple of spaghetti squash sitting on the counter. I prepared those as directed in this post, and then will place the pulp in a large ziploc bag to go in the freezer. As long as you squeeze the air out to avoid freezer burn, it should last 7-8 months in the freezer. Of course, when the kids saw what I was cooking I’m fairly certain that it won’t be sitting in the freezer for nearly that long.
I also chopped some cilantro, and placed it into a freezer bag. This will be good for use in my Carnitas recipe as it cooks down during the process. If I were needing cilantro for salsa or guacamole, I’d purchase fresh at that time.
I have done the same with kale or chard that comes in the Misfits Market box. Simply blanch it by boiling it in hot water for a minute, then submerse it in cold water. After it has cooled, I press out as much water as possible using paper towels and then spread it on cookies sheets and place it in the freezer to flash freeze. Once frozen, I remove it and place it into bags in appropriate amounts to be used in my Zuppa Toscano
In a non-stick skillet, combine butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. This should take about 4-5 minutes, but depending on your stove could take up to 10 minutes. Add pears. Cook and stir until pears are tender, 10-15 minutes up to 20 minutes if needed.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~ Harriet Tubman
There are so many fantastic quotes about change and changes, I can’t begin to share them all here. My goal as I have said previously is: to do the most good for the greatest number of people I can in my lifetime. Sometimes that leads to big changes which can be a wee bit unsettling for the loved ones in my life.
Changes can be big — moving to another state to change jobs and careers
Changes can be medium – hospitality, offering a respite to others in the midst of the craziness of their own life
Changes can be small – a haircut, moving furniture around, increasing my running pace
Some of the changes may not seem like a big deal to me, but to others who aren’t accustomed to how I think and operate, it may seem like I’m over-reaching or adding more stress to my plate which makes me laugh. I’m past the point of being a “yes” person – I have no qualms about saying “no” to something I do not have time or energy to do.
Then there’s the narrative that others may have in their head. That isn’t on me . . .that’s on them. Life is ever changing, transient, and unpredictable. Circumstances and the thoughts about them can change. I am not a “set in stone” type of person. While I may feel a certain way about things at one point in time, circumstances can change which can change my thoughts, which then changes my feelings and the actions I may take.
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ~ Albert Einstein
My decisions are not based on emotional whims. I matured and moved past that a looooong time ago. If I cut my hair, it’s because I wanted to . . . no other reason. If I change jobs or move again, it’s because it serves me best. I cannot live my life to make someone else happy. I have always been able to weigh the pros and cons and quickly make a decision – my jobs have required it. If a change occurs, it’s for good reason and I’m not required to explain my decisions to anyone but those closest to me. Even then, they don’t have to like it or agree. Toughlove doesn’t just apply to parenting, it applies to other relationships as well.
“Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are sure to miss the future.” ~ John F. Kennedy
This is another step in the year of being the terrifying, unapologetic me. If you want the watered-down, sweetened version of me . . . I’m sure there’s a Stepford wife out there just waiting to be found. For years, I danced about on eggshells watching every word, every look, second-guessing every action – but not any more. And so, on that note, I leave you with two more quotes:
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ~ C.G. Jung
“Do your squats. Eat your vegetables. Wear red lipstick. Don’t let boys be mean to you.” ~ Unknown
I don’t know whom to credit with the above quote, but it sounds like excellent advice to give my daughters. We’ve been going towards a more plant-based diet lately and I fixed one of our favorite dishes — Spaghetti Squash with Shrimp. Because spaghetti squash has very little flavor on it’s own, it takes on the flavors of the spices and whatever else is included in the dish.
Preheat the oven to 400. Prick the skin of the squash all around with a fork. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Lightly oil the flesh of the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place flesh side down on a baking sheet and bake 30-40 minutes. Set aside and let cool. When cool, scrape the flesh out into a bowl. Place the shelled shrimp on a plate covered with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and rosemary. In a oven safe skillet, melt the butter. Stir in the shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes on each side on medium heat until no longer clear and shrimp appears slightly pink. Remove from pan and add to bowl of cooked spaghetti squash. In skillet, add heavy cream and flour to remaining butter in pan, stirring to combine. Preheat oven broiler on high. Turn heat to low and stir with a whisk approximately 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp and spaghetti squash and toss to combine. Continue cooking on low until sauce starts to thicken. Remove from heat and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Broil under high heat for about 5-7 minutes until cheese starts to turn golden.
Here are some tips that might help make this meal easier to prepare:
Cook the squash the evening before or earlier in the day to allow it time to cool and make it easier to scrape the cooked flesh into a bowl.
You can use any type of flour – I used whole wheat because that’s what I had on hand.
When oiling the flesh of the squash prior to baking, I used a can of olive oil spray for just a light misting, otherwise too much oil causes the squash to become squishy (and who wants squishy squash?)
The cooked squash should be still slightly firm when done, requiring a bit of force behind the fork scraping it into the bowl.
Again, I refuse to cook anything too time consuming and this is about as consuming as I get. My daughter’s boyfriend at first wasn’t sure he’d like it, but seeing as how he ate about half the pan, I think he decided it wasn’t so bad after all. He said he was 97% sure he’d like it as he hasn’t eaten anything I’ve cooked that tasted bad, but there was still that 3% that might have been “ugh .. .. ..”
So now that you’ve eaten your vegetables, go put your lipstick on, do your squats and refuse to be intimidated by the boys.
“Regardless of how bullying is manifested — either verbal assaults or strategic moves to render the target unproductive and unsuccessful — it is the aggressor’s desire to control the target that motivates action.” ~ Gary Namie, Workplace Bullying: Escalated Incivility, Ivy Business Journal, November/December 2003 (emphasis mine)
And so it has begun . . .
the process to undermine and take down successful, staunch, Republicans who openly supported Trump. As noted in the quote above, from 2003 no less, the desire to control is not new. It’s been around for centuries – the Romans, Alexander the Great, Adolph Hitler and many others who had a desire to rule the world.
Faithful America (God bless their pointed heads) claims to be “the nations largest online community of Christians organizing for social justice.” They have recently circulated a petition signed by a mere 16,000 people stating:
“As long as Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association stand by Franklin Graham, it must be said that these once-vaunted organizations have forgotten their original Christian missions, abandoned the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and are complicit in the spread of dishonest, discredited election conspiracy theories and the deadly, unpatriotic, white-nationalist terrorism at the U.S. Capitol incited by those lies,” the petition launched by Faithful America says.
PREVIOUSLY, this same organization asked for Franklin Graham’s removal as CEO of Samaritan’s Purse simply because he prayed at the Republican National Convention last year in August. And God forbid he should post anything on Facebook with which this organization doesn’t agree!! They aren’t organizing for social justice, they just don’t like Republicans who supported Trump.
I would also point out that
Of the 167 million Christians in the US as reported in 10/2019 by Pewforum.org, Faithful America, again . . the nation’s largest online community of Christians organizing for social justice is actually pretty minute. A mere 16,000 of 167 million Christians signed this petition. Let me do the math for you. 16,000 of 167 million is only
0.00958% of Christians in the United States.
I’ve said it previously and I’ll repeat it here; words are power and where those words are placed and how much press time they receive can have widespread influence.
Steven Cohen, Tennessee Representative (D) is concerned that a majority of the National Guard responsible for securing Joe Biden during his inauguration might not be Democrat voters — that the majority of the National Guard currently deployed to the Capitol at this time “might be” those who did NOT vote for Biden and therefore are armed and may not be suitable for guarding the President Elect. (Army veteran calls out Dem lawmaker for ‘ridiculous’ remark about troops posing threat to Biden (msn.com)) As was pointed out in this video, these members of the National Guard have outside jobs and dropped everything to respond to the Capitol as they were ordered, regardless of their political preference . . . but for some, that’s not good enough. If you are not a Democrat voter, you are now not qualified to serve or at least protect the President Elect? C’mon . . . this isn’t about safety? This is an out-and-out slam against those who may not have voted Democrat. He just doesn’t like Republicans who might have supported Trump.
I do find it interesting that Rep. Cohen stated that perhaps 25% of those in the National Guard voted for Biden, while probably 75% of those in the National Guard voted for Trump. The National Guard is made up of citizens from across the country. If these numbers are representative of the percentages of voters who participated in the last election, explain to me again how Joe Biden won?
Conservative reporter, Tucker Carlson, is being called out and ridiculed for his monologue on Fox News and his sarcastic outrage for the “Inusrrection” at the Capitol on Jan. 6. His outrage is that a riot that resulted in 5 deaths (two of which occurred due to medical conditions and happened near the Capitol during the riot) is being compared to 9/11 in which terrorists attacked the Twin Towers in NYC and the Pentagon using hijacked airplanes, killing 2,996 people. This report Tucker Carlson Thinks Everybody’s Too Upset About Trump Supporters Invading the Capitol (Video) (msn.com) can’t even get the number of deaths at the Capitol correct, now elevating it to 7 deaths. See how that works? Keep reporting your outrage at someone else’s outrage, ridiculing their reaction and padding the numbers and then repeating it and tweaking the information and the numbers and soon it becomes like the old “telephone game” — you tell that person and she tells the next person and he tells the next person and by the end of the line the entire story has been embellished and nowhere near resembles the original statements. The information isn’t correct, the subject is being ridiculed and played up as someone who is facetious, snarky and unempathetic to the plight of those at the Capitol. This isn’t reporting, this is a group of people (the press) who don’t like Republicans who supported Trump.
I’m sure Sean Hannity of Fox News will be next for his monologue in which he stated:
“Establishment Republicans have no backbone, no principle, no courage, no vision. . . Too many politicians in D.C. are just far to willing to go along, get along, and protect the swamp, and that is why conservatives like myself are tired of these empty promises and your rehearsed speeches and never getting anything done.”
If you really want to make a friend, go to his house and eat with him. The people who give you their food, give you their heart.” ~ Cesar Chavez
Obviously, I cannot have everyone come to my house to eat. There is neither enough room nor enough chairs. So I share the recipes; then you can have a bit of my heart in your own home.
It’s cold weather time, which means time for cold weather food – warm soups, hot dips, warm sandwiches, aromatic things which make you sigh with contentment. I made baked spinach and artichoke dip the other evening while I was speaking with my daughter on the phone. She sighed and stated that her husband loves it, but it makes so much that she rarely makes it. Hellooooo? Then make it and invite friends and family over!!
Preheat oven to 375. Prepare 9″ pie plate with a thin film over olive oil. Cook the bag of spinach as directed, drain and squeeze out excess water with paper towels. While spinach is cooking, chop artichoke hearts. Soften cream cheese in microwave for about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Combine cream cheese with mayonnaise and mozzarella cheese, stirring until smooth and creamy. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and paprika to cheese mixture and fold in. In pie plate, stir together artichoke hearts, spinach and cheese mixture until evenly distributed. Bake 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and turn broiler to High. Sprinkle dip with Parmesan cheese and return to oven to brown the cheese on top. Watch carefully as it will occur quickly and you don’t want to burn it, just achieve a nice golden brown color – about 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with tortilla chips, wheat crackers or pita bread.
That right there, my friends, is a lovely way to end a day. Friends, food, comfort and conversation.
In all actuality, I am getting ready to go for a run and I will probably have some leftover dip as a snack when I return!
“Trump will be an ex-president in 13 days. The fact is that getting rid of Trump is the easy part. Cleansing the movement he commands is going to be something else.” ~Rick Klein, ABC News political director, Tweet, Jan 7,2021 (now deleted) but placed on ABC’s homepage.
Do you spot something interesting in this photo? Look closely. Out of all the people photographed performing the now infamous “Nazi salute”, one man is standing, arms crossed, refusing to comply. Oh my gosh! A rebel! In 2021, he would no doubt be tagged as a “deplorable” or better yet, a Trump supporter.
There stands a man with convictions. And he paid for them dearly . . . with his life. He refused to capitulate. Love for his family was of more value than his own life. Our country was formed on the basis of such values. Many men forfeited their lives, their families, their livelihoods, businesses, fortunes and reputations to make America what it has been . . . up to this point.
The quote I’ve posted above, came not from 1930’s Germany, but from 2021 following the “insurrection” at the US Capitol. Insurrection? A small group of protesters (without guns) and admittedly infiltrated by members of Antifa, breached the Capitol doors. Or did they? Video shows Capitol police moving the gates and waving protesters past. Additional footage from cellphones of those “breaching” the doors, show Capitol police standing by silently as they enter.
August Landmesser, the brave gentleman shown in the photo above, stood on his principles and refused to continue supporting the Nazi party of which he’d been a member. The Nazi salute was a mandatory act for German citizens to show loyalty to the Nazi party. Mr. Landmesser’s refusal to do so was outright defiance. Two years after joining the Nazi party in 1931, August met and fell in love with Irma Eckler, a Jewish woman and proposed in 1935. After word of his engagement got out, he was expelled from the Nazi party. Attempting to procure a marriage license was in vain as the Nuremburg Laws forbid marriage to Jews. This photo was taken in 1936 and a year later, August attempted to flee with Irma and their daughter to Denmark but was detained and charged with “dishonoring the race” under those same Nuremburg Laws. He was acquitted after a year and instructed to forego any relationship with Irma. Being a man of principles and integrity, he refused and was arrested again and spent the next three years in a concentration camp. Irma herself, now pregnant, was sent first to an all-women’s concentration camp where she gave birth to their second daughter and then to an extermination camp where she was killed. Following his time at the concentration camp, August was pressed into wartime service and was later reported missing, assumed dead in Croatia. (The tragically powerful story behind the lone German who refused to give Hitler the Nazi salute | The Independent | The Independent)
Imagine, growing up and believing that your country espouses and supports freedom: freedom of religious belief, freedom to work and prosper, freedom in the pursuit of happiness (including marriage), freedom to align with a particular political party, and freedom of expression. Now imagine:
Suddenly your social media feeds are censored, blocked or removed because you do not support the popular political party.
For months, a virus with a 99.4% survival rate, has resulted in forced business closures, social distancing, mask mandates, lockdowns, limits on family gatherings, forced abandonment of older family members in nursing homes with no physical contact, and cessation of religious services. ALL in the name of health . . . for a virus with a 99.4% survival rate?
Governors of states, such as Florida and South Dakota, who refuse to follow strict mandates pushed forward in other states such as California and New York, are ridiculed, put down and censured. All the while their states continue to flourish – even with Florida and New York having the approximate same number of citizens. Matter of fact, South Dakota’s increasing tax revenues gave them a budget surplus. How many other states can claim that during forced lockdowns?
For four years, “peaceful” (insert snark here) protests resulting in riots, murders, looting of businesses, takeovers of portions of cities (Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington come to mind), attempts to overthrow federal buildings — are not only condoned but encouraged by leaders in the Democratic party.
What comes next? You tell me.
If you’re reading this . . . please . . .
Don’t go along mindlessly with the flow. Be an August Landmesser in a sea of sheeple. Stand on YOUR principles.