Baked Spinach & Artichoke Dip

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!!

Baked Spinach & Artichoke Dip

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 can whole artichoke hearts, drained

1 10-12 oz bag frozen, chopped spinach

1 8 oz. block cream cheese

1 c. shredded mozarella cheese

1/2 t. salt

1 t. ground pepper

1/2 t. red pepper flakes

1/2 t. smoked paprika

1 c. Mayonnaise

1/4 c – 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan

Directions

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!

Bon appetit!

Cleansing

“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.

Unapologetic

“I’m unapologetic not because I’m strong-willed or overconfident, I’m unapologetic because this is it; this is my life. There is nothing I can do, no one I can please. I am a person with a strong sense of being, that is all.” ~ Jean Seberg

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s time. Time to stand up for what is right. Time to no longer sit down quietly, and let others decide the course of events that will affect me, affect my family and generations to come. Time to let go of popular things that many people cannot fathom living without.

Facebook – gone, deleted.

Instagram – gone, deleted.

Censorship – done with it.

Factcheckers – literally uneducated quacks who strike down anything that doesn’t fit with the current narrative – can kiss my ass.

Yes,I voted for Trump. But he’s not the be all and end all. While he did a great number of good things for the US, he was also human; he had his foibles. While I identify with the Republican party, the party and it’s representatives are also not the be all and end all. Many of the elected Republican senators and representatives have turned tail in the face of adversity. Instead of standing for the Republic that was the United States of America, they have allowed themselves to be cowed, or bought, or frightened of losing their positions of power or economic comfort.

Sanctions are rolling in:

Democrats calling for sanctions against and removal from office of Republican representatives and senators who dared to follow the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and call into question the electoral votes. Something Democrats have done previously in 2001, 2005, and 2017. Did Republicans call for their removal from office? Of course not, because historically Republicans follow the law.

“In 2001, House Democrats challenged the certification of electoral votes for then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, a Republican, but the objection failed because no senator agreed to sign the written objection. “The objection is in writing, and I do not care that it is not signed by a member of the Senate,” Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said during the 2001 joint session of Congress.”

Since 2001, Democrats Objected 3 Times to Electoral College Certification (dailysignal.com)

Even during Trump’s inaugration in 2017, riots and looting ensued. Democrats were notoriously quiet.

“Six police officers were injured and 217 protesters arrested Friday after a morning of peaceful protests and coordinated disruptions of Donald Trump’s inauguration gave way to ugly clashes in downtown Washington. . . . Bursts of chaos erupted on 12th and K Streets as black-clad “antifascist” protesters smashed storefronts and bus stops, hammered out the windows of a limousine and eventually launched rocks at a phalanx of police lined up in an eastbound crosswalk. . . . Anti-Trump protests also broke out Friday in U.S. cities, including New York, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon. Authorities in Seattle say one person was in critical condition at a hospital with a gunshot wound.”

Acting DC Police Chief Peter Newsham told CNN, “We have been pointing out all along that this is a very isolated incident, and by and large, everything is going peacefully. . . “

Inauguration protests: Police injured, more than 200 arrested (cnn.com)

Reading the above quote, what is reported is far from peaceful. If you Google “peaceful defined” this is what returns: 1. free from disturbance; tranquil. 2. not involving war or violence. How anyone can read the quote above from CNN and find it free from disturbance, tranquil and not involving violence is sadly hilarious, because in reality you cannot describe the above scene and call it peaceful. Nor is having these incidents spread across several cities, “isolated.”

Now with the election of 2020 confirmed, Democrats control the House and the Senate with a Democrat president and vice-president. Following the last four years of vitriol and undisguised hatred against President Trump, against the working class who supported him, and virtually anyone who speaks or has spoken in his defense – I am fearful. Rioting and looting has been encouraged and supported by the Democrat leaders:

“No peace, no sleep! No peace, no sleep! . . . If you see anybody from that cabinet (Trump’s) in a restaurant, in a dpeartment store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them . . . ” ~ Maxine Waters, D-Ca, 2018 (encouraging harassment of Trump supporters)

“You know there needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there’s unrest in our lives.” ~ Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) (apparently this only applies to Democrats protesting and rioting)

“I just don’t even know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country. . . ” ~ Spkr. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Viral Video Shows Leading Democrats Promoting ‘Uprisings,’ ‘Unrest,’ Harassment | The Daily Wire

What are my fears for the future? History has a tendency to repeat itself. Let’s look back at 1930’s Germany, shall we?

In 1928, the Nazi party only received 2.5% of the votes in Germany’s parliament. By 1930, the Nazi party received 18.3% of the vote, expanding their seats in German Parliament from 12 to 107. Move forward two years, and in 1932 the Nazi party received 37% of the votes. Hitler was made chancellor by the German President and it just snowballed from there – parliamentary members were evicted from their seats (sound familiar?). From there, the German President passed the “Enabling Act” which allowed Hitler as Chancellor to “deviate from the constitution as necessary.” From there labor unions and political parties were banned and censorship went into high gear.

This is all historical fact – not a conspiracy theory, not a fairy tale. You can find it here or here.

Words hold power, and as such must be used carefully. Truth is expressed by words, but so are lies. Words heard often enough but not researched for factuality will often become passed along as gospel truth. Repetition has long been used as a form of brainwashing in concentration camps, cults, and now increasingly through our mainstream media. Don’t believe me?

colloquial term, it is more generally applied to any technique designed to manipulate human thought or action against the desire, will, or knowledge of the individual. By controlling the physical and social environment, an attempt is made to destroy loyalties to any unfavourable groups or individuals, to demonstrate to the individual that his attitudes and patterns of thinking are incorrect and must be changed, and to develop loyalty and unquestioning obedience to the ruling party.

Brainwashing | Britannica

I chose to removed my Facebook page and Instagram accounts because I choose not to be subject to the censorship that abounds through those channels. I meticulously check and double-check the news that I read from reputable and multiple non-US sources against what is reported stateside.

I am angry. I am furious. I am unarguably unapologetic because my life matters, not to those in power, but to me and my family. My stance will not be popular, I will be labeled such things as “conspiracy theorist” or “overreactive” or “lunatic” even, but I promise this . . . I will not back down.

US Election Concerns

“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

I don’t claim to know everything, in fact I’d rather not. But I do take some pride in being smarter than the average bear. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to point out inconsistencies in the last US Presidential election that warrant further investigation:

  • Several swing states that suddenly stopped counting ballots when the Republican candidate was ahead and then when reconvening the count, amazingly showed the Democrat candidate had jumped ahead by more than a few votes.
  • Video footage of suitcases of ballots being pulled out from underneath a table where they appear to have been hidden after ballot counting had been shut down for what was reported to be a “water leak” (and was in actuality a singular clogged toilet) and yet . . . those ballots were removed from underneath a table and counted while counting was stopped (and captured on recorded security camera footage)? Yeah . . . that’s not hinky!
  • Sworn testimony of US postal workers, ballot counters, and registered voters ranging from mail in ballots that were not creased or having appeared to have actually been mailed in, to being forced to mark ballots with a Sharpie marker (which renders them un-readable by the machine and leads to adjudication by a person who decides what the voter actually “meant”), to voters receiving mail-in ballots which they never requested, not to mention numbers of deceased people voting from the grave.
  • Independent audits of the Dominican voting machines which shows how votes can easily be flipped, and shows a 68% rate of error in tabulating votes leading (again) to adjudication.

Yet the Democratic party, courts, judges, Senators and Representatives are shoving these questionable results down our throats. I, for one, hate having anything shoved down my throat without logical explanation. It has a tendency to piss me off, for lack of a better turn of word.

Why? One of my first words and one that drove my mother crazy. I have difficulty accepting anything illogical in blind faith. Especially, when there is an opportunity to provide explanation.

Why not let the courts hear the evidence? If there is no wrong-doing, it will come out in the end.

Why not examine the Dominican voting machines? If there are exaggerated claims of error, it will come out in the end.

Why not allow the testimony of witnesses to be heard? If they are lying, it will come out in the end.

When I am under attack, yet sure of my position, I welcome any and all investigation into the facts. If accusations are false, they will be found out. If I am wrong, I am willing to admit it, but I will not lie down and accept questionable bullshit that is compounded by an unwillingness and downright denial of examination.

My anger is not solely directed at this last Presidential election – it is a fear for the future of my country. If this election has been manipulated and is fraudulent, why continue the voting process at all. What is the point of having a farce of voters going to the polls if manipulation is not only allowed but encouraged. When the people are no longer allowed to elect their leaders, we have not a democracy but a dictatorship.

God help us all.

Patina of life

“When I look in the mirror, I try not to see myself becoming wrinkled with age. Instead, I try to envision myself as acquiring a beautiful patina which only appears with time.” ~ Unknown

Photo by Emma Bauso on Pexels.com

I believe we can safely assume that I have an innate fondness for old things. Furniture, clothing, homes, my recycled sari skirts are just a few examples. An acquaintance recently made a comment specifically about the skirts and the words struck a chord in me.

” . . . one has definitely been well used. I like that. A patina of another woman’s life.” ~ Andrea Jones

Apparently the words resonated with several women due to the comments she received. For the last few days, I’ve been pondering those words. My father lived in an older section of Independence, Missouri when I was a teen. Driving to his house on the rare occasion, we would pass thru historical sections with old houses (which were already intensely fascinating to me by this age). I can remember my step-mother and I discussing the history that may have occurred in those homes and “if only the walls could talk.”

As I wear my skirts, I wonder what occasions they’ve seen – joyous, mundane, or painful. I wonder about the women that wore them prior to myself – what they were like, their age, their experiences, whether they had young children that played in the folds, or whether they were older with children grown.

It’s the same with the houses – I walk thru on the original hardwood floors, contemplating who walked here in years past. Who touched the wooden railings, perhaps carried sleeping children up the stairs to put them to bed? What scenes have played out behind the original windows with their cotton candy glass panes?

Antique furniture raises even more questions. I wonder where it was purchased and by whom? Whether it has traveled far from it’s origination? Was it a gift? Who else lovingly ran their hands over the surfaces? What did they see when they looked in the mirrors?

I firmly blame such movies as “Somewhere in Time” or “The Love Letter” or even “Bridges of Madison County” for my fascination with how lives will affect other lives throughout time. It doesn’t have to be a life of infamy, just the routine life of an Iowa housewife whose family learned new things about her after she passed. I wonder what my children will learn about me, for they don’t know everything. I only hope they can take joy in some of the things they learn.

Being Thankful

Ever have those times where you are so simply and perfectly happy, that you try to hold the moment in your head and your heart as if it were a photograph? Memories that can be pulled out, dusted off and reviewed when things are painful or difficult are important?

While I hate medical diagnoses, I think sometimes that’s what it takes to make us truly appreciate the life that goes on around us. When you realize that our time is finite . . . . I guess what I’m thinking is that some of the things we THINK are the most important are really not that important, and the things we take for granted are some of the MOST important.

Take for instance — weddings. People spend thousands of dollars on the reception, the honeymoon, flowers, the dress. Months are devoted to planning the venue, the wedding party and the menu. Is it the ceremony that is so important, or is the years that follow — making memories as a couple? There is usually photographic evidence of the ceremony as well as the license and of course the rings. But those moments that are precious — stepping into the first home, celebrations of personal milestones, arguments and make-ups, or just moments of pure happiness — those are the things that are really important.

Graduations are just as bad — ceremonies, photos, diplomas, parties. Not that the accomplishment isn’t important. The work is generally difficult and time-consuming. The certificate and/or honors are well-deserved. Of greater importance is the aftermath — doing something with what was learned. What is the point of obtaining greater knowledge if we accept the diploma and then stop?

The holidays in our household aren’t always traditional. Sometimes we are with family, others we aren’t – it may just be me, or me and one of the kids, or all of us in one place. Regardless, it is a time to make memories. Some of my best memories of Thanksgiving are the years that we were invited to go to our pastor’s house. They had this huge, beautiful old Victorian farmhouse (maybe that’s when I fell in love with old houses). It was one of the few times that I can recall being in a crowd of people and not feeling as if I were drowning or as if I were an alien out of place among strangers. Thinking about it more in depth right now, I think it was the house that played the main character in my memories more than the people or even the food.

I don’t know when my finite time clock of life will run out, but I sure as hell know that when I go, it will be with a head chock full of memories that make me smile.

10 minutes

“You can do so much in 10 minutes time. Ten minutes, once gone, are gone for good.” ~ Ingvar Kamprad

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Time is something we all have in common, every single one of us. 365 days a year. 52 weeks in a year. 24 hours in a day. 7 days in a week. Even scarier . . . 1,440 minutes in a day, 10,080 minutes in a week, and 524, 160 minutes in a year.

I compartmentalize quite a bit. It’s easiest to “do the things” in timed increments rather than open-ended, mindless, drag-it-out episodes. Having a set idea of how much time I can spend on something seems to enhance my productivity. If the event is something I don’t enjoy, having a time limit encourages recognition that although something may be an unpleasant experience; it will not last forever.

Sometimes, things that we procrastinate doing actually take 10 minutes or less to finish. Such as:

  • Vacuuming or sweeping the floor
  • Doing dishes
  • Cleaning out the refrigerator
  • Taking out the trash
  • Putting on my make-up
  • making the bed
  • Putting away clean laundry
  • Folding laundry
  • Scrubbing the tub
  • Mopping the floor

There are multiple things than can be done in 10 minutes or less. I plan to work in the yard for 10 minutes because I feel like I’m too busy or have other things I need to do. Those 10 minutes will stretch into 30 or 40. The key is being flexible and loose in the planning.

Tonight, even though I had worked all day and was exhausted (both physically and emotionally), I took about 10 minutes to work on cleaning my Franklin treadle sewing machine. Returning it back to it’s lustrous beauty will be a long process requiring patience.

Tomorrow will be a electronic device-free day for the majority here. I will probably check it in the morning and then again later in the afternoon and evening. I need that time away from meaningless drivel to focus on some things needing to be finished here at home.

What things do you avoid that could be completed in less than 10 minutes time?

Hashbrown Casserole

“Casseroles are those intensely comforting foods, prepared and baked in the same dish, that inspire fond memories or dark recollections.” ~ Karen Steele

Photo by Anna Guerrero on Pexels.com

Per my usual, I forgot to take a photo of the actual casserole whose recipe follows below.

It had been a long day. The offspring had been to the orthodontist’s office to have her braces tightened and bands placed. I was tired. Her mouth was sore.

This was a night that called for easy to bite into and chew . . . comfort food!

Hashbrown Casserole

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1# ground beef

1/2 a small onion, chopped

1-2 T. minced garlic

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups frozen hashbrowns, slightly thawed

1 c. chicken broth

1 can Cream of Mushroom soup

1 c. cottage cheese

1/2 – 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350. In a skillet**, combine the hamburger, onion and garlic. Cook until ground beef is no longer pink. Stir in 1 c. of chicken broth, the can of Cream of Mushroom soup, the hashbrowns and cottage cheese. Stir until well combined. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

**I use a cast iron skillet so I can brown the meat and stir everything else in yet still slide it in the oven when it’s ready.

Navigating the taste preferences of a teenager can vary from day to day. At the risk of receiving a snappy response, I suggested this meal and was rewarded with a “that sounds really, REALLY good!” Yes! Success!! I was quite pleased that she had two servings at dinner.

Leftovers were consumed the next day and were just as tasty as when it was first made!

What are some of the comfort food casseroles that you remember from YOUR childhood?

Be Still . . .and Know

“He says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~ Psalm 46:10, ESV

Photo by Mat Reding on Pexels.com

Ever have one of those days where anything that could go wrong, does? What if it extends into a week? Longer?

You fight to remain calm and upbeat, confident that God will provide for the need at hand. However, situations continue to build and mount and pile until you reach your limit and your frustrations spill over in tears and anger.

It’s been one of those weeks for me. Last night it all came to a head, I was overwhelmed with circumstances beyond my control. I was wracking my brain as to how I could afford the needs. Now . . .the anger is resolved because I chose to jot down those things for which I’m thankful. I can at least express my thoughts. Earlier, it would have been impossible.

First, I had taken the car to the shop – it was “wubbling” badly when it got up to high speeds — shuddering, shaking and making the distinct “wubble” noise. Worried that it might be a CV joint after hitting a racoon or a bent wheel, I was told that it needed all new tires. Breathe . . .

Second, we headed to Missouri to see the new grandbaby — leaving in a van that had over 200,000 miles and a newly repaired transmission. The first attempt to do so did not go well a few weeks back. We got 36 miles from home and had to nurse it along back roads and return it to the shop, under warranty for an auxiliary cooling unit to be added. This time, with a gut feeling of wary nerves, we made it 93 miles from home before it started shifting in fits and starts. We googled the nearest dealership and made it another 17 miles where we traded it in on a newer minivan with less miles – safer and more reliable. Or so we thought.

Throw in two phone calls from the mortgage company on two different days. One assured me that the process is being reviewed and the title came back clear so there was no need for additional documentation. (yay!) Two days later, a call from the same mortgage company stated that they needed additional documentation including quit claim deeds, etc to determine that the title was clear. (yada!) I figure, I’ll call back on Monday (because the third time’s a charm) and get a completely different answer on what they require.

Arriving in Missouri, there was the requisite dealing with the ex- whose inability to be reasonable as to sharing driving distance and time goes beyond the absurd. His insistence that I drive an additional 1.5 hours one way to spend time with a child that I was able to spend less than 24 hours with just sticks in my craw. But we chose to put on a happy face, enjoy the time we had together and hope it goes better next time. (Karma . . .baby. Karma)

It was on the way home from the drop-off that I reached my limit of exasperation and patience. The new van, with less than 70,000 miles, started revving and shifting down, revving and speeding up. We ended up pulling over several times, shutting the engine off and then re-starting it to roll a few hundred feet farther down a 2-lane highway until we could get to a populated parking lot. From there we called the warranty issuer and finagled with them to get a wrecker to come tow it to the nearest dealership. Of course, having only owned the car for four days, they didn’t have a record of my purchase and argued that they didn’t have to cover the expense. It then took an additional hour for the tow truck to arrive, and my older daughter graciously came to pick us up and drive us to the Oak Grove home (along with her newborn daughter).

By the time we arrived at the Oak Grove home at nearly 1 am, I was nauseous from motion sickness (sitting in the back seat), had a horrendous headache, was worried about how I am going to get back to the Alabama home, needing to contact my supervisor, trying to reserve a rental car online, and on and on and on. I ended up going for a long walk along the side of the road to cool off before I said some things I might regret later. It all felt so unfair.

This morning we got up to get a rental car and before leaving the house, the rental agency called to let us know they had no cars available. *sigh*

I messaged my supervisor to explain the situation and was told to just relax and do what I needed to do.

I contacted the dealership from which I purchased the car via email so they will be aware of the situation in the morning when they open.

So now I am left with nothing to do but sit, rest and enjoy my present company (which is a complete pleasure). In all things, God’s hand is present. While I do not know the reasoning, or the plan, I simply must trust that there is a greater plan at work.

Have you ever been in a situation or situations where you could not act but could only be still and rely on God to provide?

What Are Your Dreams

” . . .we have the power to make our greatest dreams come true. We just have to be purposeful, every day, in seeking them . . . ” ~ Big Spoon, Mile 445: Hitched in Her Hiking Boots

Photo by Spencer Gurley on Pexels.com

There’s a scene from the beginning of the movie “Pretty Woman” — a man is crossing the street and asking everyone passing him, “What’s your dream? What’s YOUR dream?” Everyone has dreams — hopes and ideas of things they’d like to do, goals to accomplish, or travel destinations. Dreams are different for different people.

We get so tied down with life sometimes, that we forget to dream. Disenfranchised with the sameness of everyday occurrences, we push our dreams to the side, or pack them away, deciding they will never happen. It may be finances. Perhaps it’s illness (either physical or mental). We may have taken the chance to share our dreams with someone only to be told we are silly or illogical or fanciful but not realistic.

I like things that push me to my limits. To have tried and failed (in my book) is much better than never having tried at all. I watched my mother work, work, work with the oft-repeated phrase, “when I retire I’m going to . . . ” Sadly, by the time my mother was able to retire, it was not by choice, it was because she was dying of metastatic breast cancer. All the plans she had to do this and that, and go here and there, never materialized. She sparked my first endurance event – a 3-day 60-mile walk to raise funding for breast cancer research. That was 2000.

In 2010, while at the fire academy, I started my bucket list. First and foremost was to finish the fire academy . . . which I did. When I was packing up things to move to Alabama, I came across the notebook I had used in my fire academy classes and sure enough, there was my bucket list in the back where I had first written it. As I glanced over that initial list, I realized I had completed everything on it.

Every.

Single.

Thing.

I also realized that since writing my first bucket list, it was not finite. While I may not have always written down my dreams and goals, I had a pretty good grasp of them in my head and had accomplished so much more than what was on that list. Not only had I done the “things” but I had also gained wisdom, a deeper appreciation for life and hard work and my faith had grown as well.

Chasing your dreams can be downright scary. People close to you may not understand your passion or motivation. Your family, friends, and co-workers may laugh, thinking it’s a passing fancy. You have to do a lot of research to see how to make it happen on your budget. There are options galore for travel – hotels, hostels, campgrounds, Airbnb, domestic help options (working for a family while living abroad) — some may require a work visa if international travel is your thing. If it is a sports related dream – training options, equipment costs, locations, fees. Doing the research can keep the dream alive and feed the passion.

Here are a few of my dreams – some of which have had to change:

  • A full triathlon – 120 mile combination of swim, bike and run. I was on track to accomplish this when my knee had to be replaced. Now with a shoulder injury, this may have to be whittled down to smaller distances or changed to duathlons or single events.
  • Hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) or Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). While I would love to hike one of them as a thru-hiker, done entirely in one 5-month stint . . . the reality at this point is that I would have to do some day or weekend hikes and pick up where I left off or just hit sections.
  • Midwifery – while I started studying and getting my prerequisites out of the way to become a certified midwife, I got sidetracked and ended up at the fire academy. I still have a deep interest in women’s care and childbirth, but I’m not sure I have the passion to go back to school and find clinical locations and hours. An alternative would be to become a certified Doula to help with births.

What are your dreams? What’s holding you back from reaching your dreams?