Winter Prep: Maple Mama Update

We are finally getting some Fall-like temps here in my part of the country! Yay! No more mowing lawns, planting flowers, or watching my Japanese Maples grow.  They have done so well. I’m quite surprised actually by how much they grew!! Some were tall and lean others were short and wide.

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Such a difference from this past April….

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I needed to find out what to do with them over the winter months.  It typically doesn’t get too cold here but a couple of days or so it might dip into the 30s. I learned that the main goal of getting them through the winter is to make sure the roots do not freeze.  Some sites said to just put them into the ground. Given the rocky yard I have, plus the fact that I have 25+ of them, that is not an option.

However, I ran across a site where a guy just left them above ground in pots and packed mulch around them.  So I did that.

I tucked them in a corner of the house and put mulch around them.  Hopefully, they will be protected from some of the winds, they will get the morning and afternoon sun, and the mulch will keep the roots from freezing.  I think I need to add a bit more mulch this weekend.

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I’m going to be so ecstatic if they survive the winter and come back.  I anticipate the leaves will fall  but I’m going to be eagerly awaiting to see if next April I see brand new little leaves.

Anyway… say a little Japanese Maple Tree prayer if you think of it. 🙂

Peace!

 

 

55 Candles

Time.

Today was one of those milestone moments.  Two words kept coming to mind throughout the day:  ‘passages’ and ‘seasons’.  Different words but similar in that they both represent change.

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Photo by KIM DAE JEUNG on Pexels.com

I’m old enough now to be more aware of ‘being old’ and what that really means; not that I feel I’m old and creaky but I have friends who I met when they were around my age or older but now they are 70s and 80s; some are doing really well, but others are using walkers, canes, wheelchairs, sporting new knees, in assisted living, having memory issues, etc. I recently moved my own father into an assisted living facility.  That whole process has struck a place in my heart that had been untouched until now. Having never married, no children, no nieces and nephews, I realized, in a stark reality kind of way, that my parents are my immediate ‘family’ and to see them move into the next stage of life, likely the final stage, is somewhat alarming and frankly a bit frightening.  It has made me look at my own life in a different, more tangible, way I suppose. I remember when they were my age; and it wasn’t that long ago.

Life.

I looked out my window the other day and saw the tiny black kitten that has chosen my yard as a respite just sitting on the corner.  I stood there watching it wondering what it would do.  It did nothing. It sat there for the longest time.  I understood.  Sometimes, you just have to stop and in the middle of all the madness and wait until clarity comes… then move on and handle the situations.

Kitty on Corner

Desire.

I didn’t really have 55 candles;  I need to conserve my breath😉.   I have, however, been seriously thinking about how I want the next season of my life to play out if I have a choice.

At the end of last year, I thought I’d be deeply entrenched in working on a PhD in 2019. It didn’t work out like that, and I glad.  This year has turned out to be very difficult; no way could I have been in an academic program, but I’ve been thinking about life, and the future a lot.

Sitting in front of a TV every evening after working all day is NOT on the agenda. Traveling the country, seeing new things, meeting new people, blogging, art, IS on the agenda. Planning for this new adventure, whether is happens or not, simply gives me something to look forward to. Pouring through endless YouTube videos  has been like a RV-ing , road-tripping education. I’ve learned so much.

Grateful.

There are so many things I like about my life right now; I have a great job and one of the best boss’ ever, I have a great hobby as an artist, I have terrific friends, a wonderful church I attend.  Life is good…and life is also very challenging at times.  I have a lot of responsibilities, but I don’t mind it so much.  I make the decisions I need to make, as I need to make them, and move on, through sleepless nights, laughter, tears and all.  Thankfully, I’m good at decision making.

Not really much else to say here; just pondering on the gift of life, and how quickly it slowly rolls by, and how a lot of it is affected by the decisions we make and also how much of it happens in spite of us.  We have to be ready for it all. That’s just life.

My prayer for this time and forward is that God helps me to age gracefully, not hating old age, not complaining about it, not wishing it was other than what is, just living each day as it shows itself; full of gray hair, groaning flesh, and hopefully with His unlimited grace.

Peace and love to you😘 … I’m headed off to find senior discounts. 😜

Blue Skies Smiling at Me, Nothing But Blue Skies Do I See

Blue Skies, Smiling at Me, Nothing But Blue Skies, Do I see. Well, not really. Do you know that song?

It’s been three months since my last post. That was unintentional.  Back in April I was moving along with lots of goals, challenges, intentions, motives, duties, requirements, etc.. … then, BAM! I was suddenly overwhelmed. No one noticed.  I didn’t even notice at first.

Life happens. Sometimes smoothly and uneventful, and sometimes like a boulder racing down a mountainside stopping only after it has run over you and slammed onto a street or some other obstacle below.  I woke up one day feeling like a boulder had crushed my soul.  I was doing too much. I am pretty good and managing multiple things; have always done it without much issue, either by choice or necessity. But suddenly, I was overwhelmed by my own life and circumstances.

The first thing to fall apart was my eating habits.  After 2+ years of being healthy, I found food to be a visiting friend again. :(. Yep, gained some poundage. 😦  I woke up in the morning only looking forward to crawling back into bed that night. I did the things I had to do to with little excitement.  Some disappointments rolled into my world.  I thought I was getting depressed, but decided I was overloaded and tired; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

One of the biggest things I took away from this time is that ….. everyone else is overloaded and tired too. Everyone else is managing a boatload of issues as well. OK, not everyone, but I bet you needn’t look far to find someone in your world who is suffering from loss, death of a loved one, illness, children issues, aging parents, financial issues, relationship/friendship issues, etc. Lots going on in the world. Not to mention things that are happening politically, economically, and socially in the world.

I had to slow down for a few weeks. Be alone. I primarily got up in the morning, worked at my job, and slept. Thank God for friends… but there really is some truth to the saying, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone.”

Anyway, in the midst of those low slow days I would go outside at lunch time and sit on my back patio and just look at the blue sky, the beautiful trees, different kinds of birds, and jumbo bumblebees hanging around the Rose of Sharon. I notices that after lunch I must felt better. Being outside in the sunshine, thinking about nothing,  just sitting and breathing refreshed my heart and soul.

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….. I even got a chance to photograph visiting bunnies too.

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During this time, I realized I needed to do something that was out of the ordinary for my world. Fortunately, I discovered a ‘thing’ that has brought a happy distraction to my life. As a younger woman, I used to wonder why some older women I knew spent so much time in their yards and gardens.  Why???

I know now.

I discovered that digging in the dirt a bit each day and planting things was a ‘happy’ thing for me.  So, I planted.  I bought a manual tiller and started tilling areas of my lawn and planted Microclover in the lawn.  I planted 2 Moon Flowers plants a friend gave me.

 

I planted a container flower arrangement for the first time in my life.  I loved how it turned out. Pretty good for a newbie.20190727_154325274_ios.jpg

Right before this time, I planted 25 or so Japanese Maple tree seedlings that I pulled from my yard this Spring. Tending to these babies was, and is, a wonderful daily distraction for a few moments each day. Here is a picture of the babies.  I’ll do another post on this later.  (See April 7, 2019 post)

Japanese Maple seedlings
Japanese Maple seedlings. The two trees on the bottom are the parents of these little ones.:)

All that to say, I’m feeling much better and  back on track, finally.  I am eating healthily again (…going to do another post on this process later… doing some changes to better maintain hopefully). I’m sleeping more soundly, and I am dealing better with life issues overall.

Thank God for life!🌺

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How do you regroup when you become overwhelmed?

Do you have a garden to ‘play’ in?

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Love you guys! 😘

Peace and Love to you.

 

Japanese Maple Mama

I can’t believe it. I started growing a bunch of Japanese Maple seedlings that I pulled from my yard a few months ago. [See April 7, 2019 post].  I had high hopes for them but hadn’t a clue what I was doing.

Well, they started in 16-ounce cups, I lost about 3 of them but more than 25 survived to the next level, which was them being moved to 1-gallon nursery pots. There is now way I would have ever imagined loving this process so much.  These little trees have become so much fun to take care of.  Watching them grow and change daily is amazing. I cannot keep 25 trees so I plan to adopt them out when they are ready. If this is a success, who knows…. I might be in the Japanese Maple tree selling business. :).

There were some that I thought would surely die.  They were soooo tiny. I placed them in groups of 3 within the 1-gallon pot. However, a couple weeks later, they were thriving and growing, so I moved them to their own pot. It’s amazing to me. I wouldn’t consider myself as having a ‘green thumb’.  Matter of fact, I had a little talk with all the things growing in my yard when I moved into this house informing them that they will need to become as self-sufficient as possible because I could be of little help to them. They must have heard me because they are doing A-OK for the moment.

I have given these little trees a LOT of attention though, not that they needed it, but I was just interested and curious.

OK, don’t laugh but I decided to name them all so I could tell them apart.  Seriously, they start to look alike after a while.. lol.

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Don’t laugh but here ya go.

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I named them!!!!  lol.

I mostly gave them names that mean ‘strong, victorious, leader, shelter, glorious, beautiful, etc.  They need to live up to their name.  Some of the names were suggestions from friends…. Marla (lol), Ruby, Leif, Maple. 🙂

Aren’t they beautiful??  I think I’ll start an Instagram Page for them. I’ll let you know so you can follow their journey towards adoption.

Peace and love to you!

Jan

 

Hey! Get Back Up… Yes, Again!

I named this blog Vessels and Vittles because I originally planned to write about our ‘vessel’, a word used in the Bible meaning the container that carries the soul; the body, and ‘vittles’, an old slang word which is actually from the word ’victuals’,meaning supplies of food. I figured these two words together would encompass all things related to the human experience in some way… Bodies (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically ) and Food.

In the beginning, many of my posts were about food, dieting, healthy eating, etc. as I was in the midst of a major weight loss period.

Over time, I decided to write more about life experiences…. Because ‘life’ happens, hard times are just a part of life. Everyone seems to be going through hard times… personally, as a family, nation, and in the world.

I recently had an experience that seemed to sum up the troubles of life. I was sitting at my desk working and in the quiet of the morning I heard a sudden, loud, thump. So loud that I wasn’t sure which direction it came from. I got up, looked out the windows all around the house but didn’t see or hear anything else. I went back to working.

A few minutes later, I got a text from a neighbor. It said, “You may have a nasty surprise at your front door.” He went on to say while walking his dog he saw a bird fly full speed into my front door, which is a glass storm door. He said it was moving but it didn’t look good for the little creature.

I actually hesitated before getting up to open the door. Birds are not my favorite beast, though I do love watching them from afar. I eventually opened the door, slowly. And there on the ground sat this little feathered guy (or gal).

I was surprised to see it on its feet; it didn’t move at all, not even as I made a racket to see if it would fly away. I closed the door and went back to work, but not before jokingly texting my neighbor to see if he could send his dog, Quincy, to come get the bird when it finally keeled over. 😂. He texted back, “Sorry, Quincy’s fees are too high. No matter what you can afford, he charges more.” 😂😂

Anyway, an hour or so later, I decided to check out the birdie to see if it had croaked yet. To my surprise, all I saw was this….

I looked around wondering if it has crawled off behind the bushes or something… but no, it was gone!

I was talking to a friend about all of this and she said, “What a word picture. Do you feel like that with the abrupt shocks of life? But like you, that little guy will rest in the light and the love of the Creator [God] and be renewed, revitalized and move on…”

She was so correct!

I was thinking the same thing…. except in my mind, I heard it more like this…, “Sometimes life will kick the S#%@ [Stew] out of you…(I prefer STEW😉), …and you might have to ‘slow your roll’ for a minute and regroup, but you can’t wallow in the mess of life for long, get up, shake out your wings the best you can, and fly off to face the next challenge, because there will be one.

There is a Gospel song called, ‘His Eye Is On The Sparrow’, based on the parable of the Sparrows in the Holy Bible where Jesus says in summary that no sparrow can fall to the ground without our Father God in Heaven knowing it. We are created in his image. If he sees and knows of a wee sparrow, how much more are we to Him? Something to ponder, huh?

Life will slam you sometimes. I am in the midst of some challenging days right now but every morning, and throughout the day I try to remember that there is a God in Heaven to sees, knows, and hears all things concerning me….and concerning you too. He is there for me, having an answer before my problem ever comes to be. For that, I am eternally grateful. That is how I make it through this sometimes sad, painful, lonely, hard, but wonderful life. 🌺

Until the next time.  Love and Peace to you all.  😘

❤️

Spring Is For Renewing

Typically, Fall is my favorite season, but this year Spring Time is winning my heart. This year has felt pretty tough in a lot of ways; strained friendships, sicknesses, unexpected changes…just challenging times. I know I am not alone in feeling this way. A quick glance of my social media accounts proves this. Seems everyone is going through something.

Sometimes, during the tough seasons of life, I do things that are pretty random and different … it relieves stress for me to change things up.

I was looking out my window the other day and saw what seemed hundreds of red leaves on the ground. I thought they were fallen leaves from a nearby Japanese Maple tree. Upon closer inspection I realized they were leaves alright, but not fallen leaves. These were newly sprouted “Baby Trees” 😊. Apparently, all the rain we’ve had caused the seeds from the Japanese Maple to sprout in my yard. Blue skies, sunshine, red maple trees and awakening green grass. I really so love being in the south this time of the year. Everything comes alive so early in the year compared to where I’m from.

Well, I am no gardener by any stretch of the imagination. My home had beautifully established landscaping when I purchased it. So grateful for that. However, when I saw these little sprouts I had one of my random ideas.🤔🙃. The two Japanese Maples in my yard are so gorgeous I wondered if I could grow new trees from these little sprouted seeds.

Y’all….😂😂. Yes, I did. I called the local call-in gardening radio show on Saturday morn. As much as I don’t garden I love listening to this Gardening Show each weekend. This guy named Walter Reeves is like the gardening guru in my area. Anyway, I got on the air easily because I called really early, in case ‘friends’ were listening and recognized me. 😂😂. … “Hey, that sounds like …” 😂😂

Walter  Reeves told me what to do, so I did it.

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Japanese Maple seedlings. The two trees on the bottom are the parents of these little ones.:)

I now have 25 cups with Baby Japanese Maple Trees in them. Walter said I’d be watching these a loooong time.  😂  I don’t mind, it’s a distraction from all the “must-do”s in life.

Will they grow? Who knows. 🤷🏽‍♀️.

Was this a random adventure? Sure was.

What will I do if all 25 succeed? Don’t know, but I sure will feel successful in my adventure and some of my friends will be getting a new Japanese Maple tree..haha… or I will sell some to reinvest was in my new Japanese Maple Tree business 😂.

Honestly, it felt good just to get outside in the sunshine, dig in the dirt and have hope for better days and new beginnings….even if it came in the form of planting new baby Japanese Maple trees.

Happy Spring, friends!🌸🌺✌🏽💕

Kinda Keto, But Not Really

More than two years ago, when I lost the majority of my weight, my strategy was to simply reduce calories enough to lose weight…and it worked, for the most part. Once I got closer to my goal weight I stalled, big time.  There was only one thing to do, reduce calories again, but, my strategy stopped working.  😩

I increased exercise, which in turn increased my appetite, which made me eat more and gain weight. So frustrating. All the while, I was hearing about the KETO craze, that it was similar to the Atkins Diet, which meant low carb. A friend reached out to me and tried to share info, but I had no interest because I had a plan that mostly worked.

After stalling for a while, I got tired. I started eating a bit more, exercising less, gained 10 lbs and totally quit logging. I was down to about 1000-1200 calories oer day.  WAY TO LOW. I felt fine, got tired easily, but was frustrated by the stall. I did notice 2 things though; I was very soft, and I did not feel strong. Lifting things that should have not felt heavy, were. My conclusion, I’d lost a LOT of muscle mass. No bueno. I needed a new strategy.

My goals were the same; be healthy, eat clean foods, be strong, not let food control me, and I really got tired of “logging” my food. 🙄

Sooooo, I joined a KETO page on Facebook just to sorta stalk it and see what these KETOers were all about. Now, I am not much of a meat eater, however, I remembered while losing weight, the weeks when I ate more chicken or beef, I lost more pounds. Hmmmm….

Long story short, (too late, I know🙃), I tried KETO, kinda. I just wasn’t that strict about it. I up’d proteins and kept up my veggie eating, but reduced carbs to minimal per day, and I increased my fats (that is HARD TO DO after decades of hearing “watch your fat intake” 🤯).  I didn’t measure a thing. End of the week down almost 2 lbs. 🤷🏽‍♀️  What I noticed is, I was not hungry AT ALL. Matter of fact, I felt I had surely gained because I felt so full, or I should say, satiated all the time. I had energy so I exercised more. Go figure, there must be something to it. I’m going to try it again this week in my Kinda Keto way to see if this past week was just a fluke. I’d like to lose another 15 lbs bit I’m not stressing about it. I have more muscle mass and feel good so what more can I ask.

Anyway, thought I’d share some of the protein options I made in my Ninja Air Fryer. Love this thing!

chicken drumsticks
Air Fryer Chicken Drumsicks

Air Fryer Meatballs
Air Fryer Meatballs

Air Fryer Chicken Wings
Air Fryer Chicken Wings

I also cook veggies in the Air Fryer sometimes. Works pretty good too!

 

 

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Air-Fryer Asparagus

Well, that’s all folks! I’ll let you know what happens with my Kinda Keto plan. 🤗👍🏽

Peace!