Sep 26, 2018

Back Door Blessings

Fall has arrived! It is my favorite time of year. The cooler weather, the vibrant colors of the leaves, gourds and pumpkins, and layering of fall clothes, etc. Oh, my list could go on!  So many of my wonder filled childhood memories are wrapped up in this beauty-filled season.  Family and friends gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving, growing and harvesting pumpkins from the garden, seasonal activities - these are now a few of my favorite things, too. 

For the last few years, I've enjoyed searching for white Heirloom pumpkins as the main part of my autumn decor.  I was tickled to see a white pumpkin in this lovely arrangement, and a sweet card, in the mailbox at the back door, courtesy of a friend who just dropped it by... Seriously, I have the best friends!

This mailbox has been so much fun!  We hung it up several months ago, thinking it would be helpful for our customers to use as a drop off, or pick up, box; but, it has been used to hold more gifts and goodies, than for work items. I hope you have a wonder filled season. I hope every day holds blessings for you and your family.

Happy middle of the week!

Sep 24, 2018

Berry Syrup

We are still in the delicious waffle honeymoon phase at our home.  I continue to make the tasty Trim Healthy Mama Blender Freezer Waffles recipe, although, I still have not needed to store them in the freezer.  They just do not last that long at our home to ever be put in the freezer!  Every day for breakfast, The Salesman will eat 1-2 waffles along with a breakfast meat.  If I offer something different, and I often do, he chooses his number one waffle order.  And he has become very proficient in letting me know when there is only one waffle left in the refrigerator waffle box.  It is not some special container just for waffles, it just happens to have become home to the waffles. And this large rectangular see through box-like container, that in the past has stored many a food item, is now known as the *waffle box*. Like a box of donuts; but, picture healthy waffles instead.

I have branched out with the waffles and will sometimes make a fold-over sandwich out of a waffle for lunch. For me.  Yum.  The Salesman still sees waffles and wants to just put syrup on them.  Today, I put a piece of chicken sausage and a little bit of Duke's and called it lunch.  It was so tasty!  Since it was nearly 2 pm when I fixed my waffle fold-over, I did not stop to take a picture. Pictured is a waffle sandwich from a few weeks ago when I had fresh garden tomatoes from The Salesman's dads garden.

Well, I thought we should mix things up and try something different on the waffles for The Salesman at breakfast time.  You know the saying: "variety is the spice of life" - I guess I was thinking of that when I thought I should try to make The Salesman's morning waffle routine a bit more interesting.  I found a recipe at Gwen's Nest for a Sugar Free Berry Syrup and made it promptly.  I felt like I had done something wonderful because she suggested the syrup be stored in a jar in the refrigerator.  Like I had canned it, or something.  I thought if awards were being given for presentation, this jar would win.

The Sugar Free Berry Syrup was so easy to make. Head over to Gwen's blog and enjoy all her pictures and helpful hints and notes for this recipe.

And the taste of the syrup was, and is, fabulous!

But, The Salesman has already told me he prefers his waffles with plain sugar free syrup.  I should not be so surprised!  So, if you stop by this week, I will be offering you waffles with some tasty mixed berry syrup!


Sep 21, 2018

For the Love of Lamp Lights - Magnet School Volleyball

Observing The Salesman's niece play volleyball turned out to be one of the most insightful activities for me. I seriously learned so much by sitting on the sidelines.  And never mind that the temperatures were in the 90's and there was no air-conditioning in the gym.  It was many years ago that I played volleyball in high school, and I had a totally enjoyable time watching this game. We had an intense business meeting the following morning, and attending this game with The Salesman's family, was a perfectly timed outing.   I honestly believe that many observations I made from watching the game, helped me develop the agenda for, and lead, our business meeting.  It is truly amazing how GOD can use everyday activities to give insight and guidance.

The lamp lights were vintage and industrial, and their reflections on the brightly waxed gymnasium floor were lovely to me.

I love how a few of the players reflections were in the rectangles of reflected light! 

Look up, my friends!  There is beauty all around us!

And have a happy weekend!

Sep 19, 2018

Three Parables

I opened the front door just in time to see the UPS man getting into his truck and reached for the package he'd left. I was expecting a large box; but there was a small padded envelope leaning against the brick.  As I looked at the name that it was addressed to, I realized it was not my package - it belonged to a Debra Carroll.  Now Carroll was my mother's maiden name. By the time that I'd called out "This is not my package", the UPS man was headed back down our driveway carrying a large box and saying, "I left the wrong package!"  I exchanged the padded envelope he'd left, for my large box and carried it to the kitchen thinking of the mix-up yesterday when I went to the pharmacy, right after a doctor's visit.  

A familiar face behind the cash register asked for my name and pulled a prescription bag out and rang up the receipt that was attached and said, "That will be $37.00." A bit surprised, I asked if she had my insurance card because as I left the doctors office, his nurse told me the price of the prescription was $22.00 at my pharmacy.  The cash register attendant took my insurance card and went back to another familiar face and for a few minutes they talked and typed on the computer.  The first lady brought my card and prescription back and said, "No, with insurance, it is $37.00."  I asked if I could see the bag and when I looked - it was for Donna Osborne! It was not even my prescription!  I told her so and just marveled that I was almost sent home with a prescription that wasn't mine.  My mother-in-loves name is Dona Osburn. Similar name; but, not me.

My next thought was I wanted to share my thoughts with my friend and father figure.  Then the thought crossed my mind that there were 3 parables, I thought, "Well,that's only two parables." So I was wondering what would happen next in this mishap story. It was then that I thought of how almost a week ago, a piece of important looking mail arrived for someone who use to live here. I texted a relative to let her know it was here.  On Monday, another piece of mail arrived from the same company, so I called the relative and we talked. I sent her a picture of both pieces of mail and she asked me to hold them for her to pick up.  

So, there were now three parables.  

3 separate times
3 various attempts
3 different agencies either:

Deposited the wrong mail in my mail box
Delivered someone else's material goods to my door
Discharged me with the wrong prescription

None of those items were mine.

There is an enemy out there that is trying every avenue he can to:

Deposit the wrong thoughts to my mind - curb
Deliver or drop off someone else's stuff in my life - at the door
Discharge prescriptions for fixing problems in my reality - my personal self

Isn't that just like the enemy to first bring trouble in our lives in an orderly fashion?

The curb.  Where trash needs to say.
The front door.  He comes closer and just because the bell rings, doesn't mean it is for us.
My person. He's sneaky, if we don't answer the mail or doorbell, the enemy will try to hand it to us. And make us pay for it.

There is even a size progression:

A piece of mail
A padded envelope
A white pharmacy bag

In all three instances, I had a response:

This is not mine.
Take it back.
I want what is mine!

Someone else's mail is not going to do me any good. I want messages of Life and Truth written or spoken to, or over me, by GOD, His Word, or His messengers.  I must be aware and alert to not opening something that is delivered to me, because on close inspection, it may not be meant for me... You may have been given some *thing* and, just because you may have been given it, it may not be for you. We can, through the Grace in Christ, find kindness and consideration to release what is not ours and, if needed, even alert others that we have some *thing* that has their name on it.    

Announcing that a package that was delivered to me that isn't mine, is a good thing. I don't want what belongs to someone else.  But what if I'd have kept the padded envelope that wasn't mine? The package that I was expecting, and was indeed mine, was 10 times bigger than the one that was left for me.  GOD has not only what I need, HE is a GOD of "So Much More."  

Questioning and double checking what I am given to make sure it is what was ordered, and what I was expecting and needing, is a good practice.  Taking home what is intended for someone else, won't help me or my situation. We all have unique and individual issues.  GOD has the exact balm for our situations, including our hurting hearts.  I don't need what has been prescribed to someone else.  And furthermore, I don't want what has been prescribed for someone else.  I must be alert and aware even when my name is called.  Who is calling my name? What are the telling me?  When I do have a check in my Spirit, I must pause and ask questions.  I don't want to accept something with herd mentality, I want what GOD has individually for me.

The 3 parables include:
An Event:  I acknowledge that some thing is not mine.
A Decision:  I don't want what is not mine.
An Outcome:  I want everything HE has to give.

Each situation took a combination of the following to resolve:

Sometimes fear keeps us from:
Discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart.  It may be in our mailbox and not be ours.
Answering when some thing calls. It may have been delivered to our front door and not be for us.
Questioning or double checking when some thing does not seem right. It may have been handed to me; but it is not mine.

May boldness overtake fear, 
And, may love persuade us to hear
A still small voice,
That says, we have a choice
To be wise and discerning
Even when all is in upheaval and churning.

Be bold. 

Fear may say:
Don't speak out.
Don't do anything.
Just take what you've been given.
But the answering or taking the immediate, may not be fully living.

I want abundant life.
I do not desire to have strife.
But, I must not settle, sit, or stare,
I must be alert, and fully aware.

I will speak, stand, and shout:
Fear, let me out!

Be alert and aware.
I will speak and act, because I care.
I must, we must, be alert and aware.

Sep 17, 2018

Trim Healthy Mama Choco Pudding Review

What seems like many moons ago now, when I checked out the Trim Healthy Mama book from the library, it was mostly to read about the details of the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  My oldest daughter, Audra Elizabeth, had started following this plan and every night about the time I was going to bed, she would make a wonderful THM meal and the delectable smells would waft through the house.  She always shared what she made, and it tasted good to me, and to The Salesman, and she said it would be good for us, too.  So, being concerned about The Salesman's health, I started investigating.  I didn't want to buy the book before checking out all the details.  Truthfully, it sounded like a lot of work to me; but once I started reading about the plan, I found the benefits far outweighed the work. I am so thankful that I started on the plan at least a year and a half before The Salesman's diabetes diagnosis, because I feel that I am in a rhythm and routine with this way of eating.  I do believe that with his diagnosis, this sugar-free way of eating could really help him.

He has always enjoyed sweets, and I'd read some positive feedback on the Choco Pudding, so it was my new recipe of the week.  Here are the recipe details:

Cookbook:  Trim Healthy Mama No More Fads!
Chapter:  Desserts
Recipe:  Choco Pudding
Serving:  Makes two or more full cup servings
Fuel: S, E, or Fuel Pull

This was the first recipe that I've made from the original book. Which, by the way, Victoria Leigh found for me when we were out thrift shopping!  We love to thrift shop together and this book cost me a dollar.  Sidetracked by the thrill of thrifting!  The pudding was relatively easy to make. The format for recipes in the original book is not as easy to follow as it is in the second two cookbooks.

I was pleased that it looked like pudding! It was thick and had the consistency I expected.  It is very low in carbs and fat.  The book gives different options for making a banana nut, vanilla, peanut butter, chocolate mint, and chocolate strawberry versions.

Some new recipes are winners, and some are not. The Salesman has never had a problem with saying exactly how he feels.  He told me to never make this one again.  He said he prefers the Trimtastic Cake over this Choco Pudding.  I thought it was ok.  I would agree with him that I prefer the cake over the pudding though.

So, one thumbs down, and one eh, it's ok.  I may try another version of it, if I do make it again.  Everyones tastes buds are different, and you may really enjoy this one.

If you give it a try, let me know which version you like.


Sep 14, 2018

Sep 12, 2018

Ninety Three Years

We celebrated my dear grandmothers 93rd birthday recently. What a blessing and sheer delight to have the gift of my grandma and her 93 years!  If you've been here any time at all, you know that I consider my grandma my very best friend.  She is such a treasure to me and to my family.  Traditionally, we take a meal to her home, and though we missed Audra this year, we brought her along the best way we knew how.  We have so many wonder filled memories over the years of taking a meal to my grandma on her birthday.  My grandma likes to be at home on her birthday because she gets so many visits and doesn't want to miss one person!  

Victoria and I made a passed-down family recipe for a savory breakfast brunch into a Trim Healthy Mama dish and Victoria served it along with a fresh spinach salad with toppings galore!  Salads have been one of my favorites lately, and I thought I may have gone overboard in all the toppings I brought along; but the empty containers confirmed that everyone enjoyed the salad and all of the toppings, too! Oh, the joyful memories of meals around this round table.  This table is a circle of love to me.  As a young girl, my little family, and both my grandparents, would sit elbow-to-elbow and talk and laugh and share life and many a meal at this table.  I remember my grandpa calling me Little Girl as he handed me cottage cheese or macaroni and cheese. I remember the love felt in the hard wood chairs.  I remember smiles and nods and pats and hugs.  I remember the sofa and chair being covered in the very same fabric all these years.  My grandma was always the one that would serve.  As the years have come full circle, she now is served.

I love my grandma for so many reasons. She is such a gift to me and my family. Grandma was thrilled with the picture of the children, and her, wearing her rain bonnets! Smiles all around.

 Grandma is such a beautiful and beauty filled woman.

Even with her eyes failing her, my dear grandma noticed, and enjoyed, the handiwork details of the table cloth I’d brought to use, that The Salesman’s grandmother had made and given to us years ago. She has the most beautiful smile.

This last week, as we were ending one of our many phone conversations, my grandma tenderly said, “I love you Little Girl.” Her words took me back many years and my heart is so full and thankful for my grandma. 

 Though her flesh fails, she has loved well.