Where Are Our Leaders?

You will rarely see political statements coming from me because, for one I am neither a right- nor left-wing person, and second, I refuse to get caught up in the vitriol of today’s political climate, but after sitting through the entire Presidential debate last night I came away with some dominating thoughts and feelings as I am sure you have.

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It took all night to drill down to the root of what I was feeling and this morning I realized, it was – grief.  Grief for our nation, grief for all citizens of our nation, grief for the future of our nation.  Clearly, things are changing. My heart hurts for this nation.

As I watched the debate I had the same thought that has recurred for the past six months or so, ‘With the millions of  natural born citizens who have called America home in the past 50 years, the fact that Trump and Biden have risen to the top as the cream, causes me to believe we are a nation under judgment.’  Where is our leader?

In recent past years I’ve listened to and watched people bash each other’s character, stances, ideas, etc. with the hatred and disrespect of a people whose love has waxed cold. I’ve followed random, diverse people’s, pages, blogs, etc. to read responses and comments; I feel it helps me to keep an objective perspective on emotional  temperatures. I truly sensed the heat and fire of today’s climate coming years ago and told a few people so. 

What strikes me as ironic is there is such hatred, disrespect and mockery for these two Presidential leaders that are now in debate, but what everyone seems to miss is that these two are a direct reflection of who we have become as a nation. America has birthed these leaders. When I hear how rude, loud/foul mouthed, disrespectful, crass, racist, ineffective or whatever I hear about the President and Presidential Candidate, I think to myself, they actually reflect the nation … America has birthed them. 

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I go back to my original question, where are our leaders? The ones who lead with dignity, vigor, strength, honesty, wisdom, and knowledge?  We are a nation that has dismissed or turned from a moral core; we no longer blush. Has this impacted our ability to discern who our leader(s) should be?  I can’t help but wonder also, why our options have boiled down to two men approaching 80 years old, we are a LARGE country! Where are the leaders? Has the person created for this time and space in history been derailed, distracted, or maybe … aborted??

I wish I could say this was a black/white, or religious/non-religious issue, I am a Christian but some of the worst disrespect and mockery I’ve seen has come from those who profess to be Christian … it leaves me speechless.  That is between them and their ‘god’ though.  I’m not here to question or debate any of that, I just believe this is  clearly a time of transition, and things are ramping up.  Brace yourself.

Now, specifically to my true Christian brothers and sisters, let’s not be swayed, distracted, disheartened, fearful and unaware of the times to come.  We have been warned of these times. You will see and hear many of the faith who are literally going ‘sideways’.  Be careful. Be discerning. Stay in prayer for these times, for the lives of you and your families, pray for discernment as you will need fo hear directly from the Holy Spirit as he leads you and guides you through what could become tumultuous days.  Keep building on your relationship with Jesus for strength. 

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I don’t know if God has given us a King Saul or King Cyrus or what, all I know is that the Bible tells us to pray for our leaders. [I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.” 1 Timothy 2, 1-6]

I don’t know where you are in the walk with the Lord but wherever that is it is time to strengthen it. The Lord will help. [“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him I will protect him, because he knows my name. 15 When he calls to me, I will answer him I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” Psalm 91:14-15]

Well, here we are, nearing the end of 2020 and yet we have no true vision but I still have hope because I know who holds the future.

Stay well…. I’m praying for ya!

Love and hugs!😘🤗

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And Here We Are

It’s been three whole Corona months since my last post. Life took over and all my energy went to making sure I swam and didn’t…sink!

If you’ve lived long enough to see your parents age then you might have had the privilege to see them grow into the last stages of life. Even though you see it coming all your life it is still a surprise when you look up one day and their gait is a bit more unsteady, their thinking is a bit more cloudy, aches and pains arise for no real reason, and naps become a favored friend. I joke with my mom often about getting her O.P.N. each day. Haha! “Mom, you want to do this or is it time for your O.P.N.?” She casually responds, “I’m not taking an O.P.N. today…I’m just going to go watch a video.” I usually just chuckle because five minutes later I peek into her room and there she is sitting on her bed, remote in hand, head slumped to one side, and sound asleep. By the way… O.P.N. = Old People Nap.

Speaking of checking in on her in her room …. my mom is now living with me. It was suppose to be a temporary move but I have a feeling this is “our” new norm. Covid has changed a lot of things. We mutually decided that during Covid and while the world is in such flux it would be better for her to live with me for now….so, the past 3 months has been prepping, packing, moving and selling her house….all while maintaining social distance and wearing masks. *sigh

Y’all….I was so tired. It’s taken me 3 weeks to recuperate…. but I was so happy to be available for my mom.

Things are starting to calm down in my world a bit, if not in The World. Hopefully, I can get back to my drawing board soon. I’ve missed drawing (Facebook: @portraitartbyjan) …I have found so little time to do it.

As mentioned in my last post, I started a garden during the lockdown, mainly to keep from going stir crazy as I sat here. It started out as a small lettuce garden but expanded to a large Summer patio test garden and yesterday I started a Fall test garden. 😎 I call it a test garden this hear because I’m not real sure what I’m doing but I keep doing it. Haha!

I’ve heard people say all my life that gardening was therapeutic and that it’s good for your physical and mental health. I didn’t get that until I started gardening. During my most exhausted days in the past three months I found a few minutes to go hook up my water hose and water all my veggie babies so they were happy… which made me happy. Even as much as I hate bugs, I have learned to not be creeped out by earthworms and will rip a hornworm off my plants and throw it in the shrubs like a Worm Champ. I’m a new woman!

Here are some of the fruits of my labor this summer. It wasn’t a huge harvest but I learned a ton and can’t wait to do it again next Spring.

This was my best garden surprise. About 3 months ago I had a medium sweet potato sitting around that sprouted a lot. I threw it in a grow bag and it just took off with green beautiful vines. The other day I harvested it and got a big new sweet potato by surprise.

One huge sweet potato grown in a 5lb grow bag.

All that to say…. here we are in a world pandemic ‘they’ say, which has changed everything. This doesn’t mean that the troubles of life were put on hold, it just means that even in the midst of a pandemic life changes but it goes on. We still deal with the things life throws at us, we still love and help our family and friends, we still learn new things and grow, and I still love God and believe in Jesus!

Carry on friends! This too shall pass.

Love and Hugs.

Corona Lockdown Skills


EDIT (5/26/2020):  I forgot to add another skill I learned. I’m probably most proud of this one! 😎.  While trimming a huge shrub I accidentally cut the cord!😩  I was 99% done with trimming. The cord was a nice, big, 100 ft cord … not the basic orange kind. Plus, I cut it right near the end so most of the cord was good… it was a clean cut through. Well, I tend to be ….frugal… borderline …*throat clearing*… cheap. 🤷🏽‍♀️  So, I learned about these little things called heat shrink butt connectors.  They are amazing! After a couple of YT lessons I had a fully working cord again. 079CEB1B-A2C9-43D8-B839-E806AECD2DB8

Skills I learned during The Lockdown

How to use a drill. 🤷🏽‍♀️.
Don’t laugh.  My dad passed one down to me when he clearly was not going to be using it anymore.  I had to figure it out because I have a towel rack or two to hang, and holes to drill in the bottom of plant pots. Thanks to YouTube I am a pro now (sort of), well, not quite but I can get what I need done. 

man using hand drillPhoto by Cleyder Duque on Pexels.com

How to dehydrate vegetables.  
Yes, people. Ran across a video on dehydrating and haven’t looked back.  A great way to store food that I can catch a deal on but don’t need to eat right away. 

How to hand pollinate squash.
Now, this is something that never crossed my mind prior to starting a garden. You know what? … it works very much the same way as it does for people 🤪. The female flower parts look one way and the male part looks another way. Bees usually do this work but now I know how to help out the bees.  🐝 

How to start/maintain a container garden. This was out of the blue but the thing that has kept me sane during the lockdown. 547F403E-E153-4139-99AB-58BB1E9E0065You can see more about it on my blog, http://www.vesselsandvittles.com.

How to change a Condensate Pump on my HVAC system.
I had NO desire to know how to do this but like most HVAC systems mine broke on a holiday. It was rather frustrating actually. Talked with a friend, watched a few videos, and did my ‘thang’.  Bottom line, It’s working now … no pride here, just a necessity thing when you haven’t a choice. And, I decided to get a service contract. 

Lockdown certainly hasn’t been boring.  

Have you picked up any new skills during this time?




Because of Corona

“Because of Corona”.

It seems I’ve heard that phrase a lot over the past three months or so. That’s because Corona has changed everything! Any plans made in January for early 2020 were knocked off the map immediately.

Well, with everything on hold, or stopped, I found myself needing to regroup. I’m not good at sitting around doing nothing in the evenings. I always have projects set up. I worked from home anyway so my days weren’t different but after work I’d usually head out to do stuff. Not anymore.

So, I did a patio project. 😊 …. on the cheap, because that’s how I roll. My patio was the typical 12×12 slab of cement right outside the back door.

Pretty boring.
Here is what I did:
1. First, I measured out a 3 foot perimeter around the patio into the grass area. My lawn is pathetic bit I don’t care about that.

2. I filled in the perimeter with brown mulch from Home Depot. Only took about 8-10 bags.

3. Then I went around my yard and collected large rocks. I have more rocks in my yard than a quarry… really ridiculous….but they came in handy because I used them as a border on the mulch. Feeling pretty already.

4. My mom was parting with a nice patio chaise lounge so I grabbed it and stuffed it in my little car and brought it to its new home. 😎

5. Part of my reason for wanting to modify my patio was because I wanted to start a veggie container garden. So, next I needed to find ways to have my containers off the ground because I have The Wild Kingdom in my back yard… rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, possums, every bird species known to mankind, cats, and a hawk or two. I mainly needed to make sure the rabbits didn’t think I was opening up a buffet for them.

I went through a series of ideas …. using stuff I had because I don’t know how to build anything. So, using some extra landscape blocks and some shelves off FB for $5…and the seller was gracious enough to even deliver it. (Some awesome folks in the world)😊

6. The next treasure I picked up was from FB as well. A subdivision near me that had a pool area decided To replace all their umbrellas and sold them for $25 each!😳💪🏽 These were not small residential ones, they were commercial size heavy duty ones. I beat to the pickup place at 6am the next morn before work and grabbed one that, besides being A little faded looked great! Score!! I’d picked up a brand new heavy stand the season before for $15. 🥰

7. Again on FB I picked up two huge beautiful resin planters, which means I could lift them by myself. Got both for $10. The seller later told me that his wife was mad that he sold them so cheap but he told her, “l’m happy they sold and are out of the way and Jan is happy.” Lol lol. Yes, I am kind sir.

8. Last, I set up my garden. You can read my last post about the garden but once that was in place I just sat back and relaxed.

Along with a few other low-cost or freebie items I changed my whole patio for hardly any money! Part of the joy of it all for me is getting a good deal!!

Today, I sat and enjoyed the fruits of my labor.😍. So pretty to me.

Well, I hope Corona hasn’t derailed you too much and that you‘ve found something to put your heart and soul into while waiting out out lockdown.

It seems things are slowly opening back up so stay safe out there!

Love and Peace! 😘

Shelter In and Plant a Garden

How’s everyone doing?

2020 has not been kind for the most part so far.  In December we were singing Jingle Bells and only 3 months later we were all locked in our houses and avoiding each other. 😟

As of today, I have been sheltered in for about 9 weeks.  I mean, I’ve been in my house alone and only went out for necessities.  I tried to consolidate my outings; keeping a list of things needed and after a couple weeks I’d go out early in the morning and get what was needed, so I rarely ran into many people.

Recently , I’ve been starting to feel it. I’ve worked from home for a while for my day job so that wasn’t different but I could feel my spirit dropping. This morning I decided I was going out for a while, for no reason. I took a long drive on a sunny, air-chilled day. Then I went to buy art supplies.  It was a perfect remedy. So, I think I will make it. ✌🏽

What I wanted to share here though is my new hobby.  With all this ‘home’ time I decided to play in my yard.

If you follow my blog at all, you’ve seen my Japanese Maple posts where I started to grow a bunch of trees last year. I had no idea how they’d do over the winter. I tucked them in a corner on the outside of my house and poured a lot of mulch around them.  A couple weeks ago I pulled them out, and watered them.  They looked a little pitiful, I was sure most were dead.

After overwintering

However, after a few days, I started to see little buds on a few of them. 🙂


I did notice though, after the Japanese Maples started to grow, that there were 5 of them that looked QUITE different, and a couple of the strange ones like this eventually died.


When I emptied the pots with the dead trees I discovered that those were NOT Japanese Maples, they were actually OAK trees.  Whaaaaat??  Squirrels had dug up my trees and buried acorns in the pots.  Uuuugh!.  So, I overwintered 25 or so Japanese Maples and in the Spring I had 20 Maples and 5 Oak trees. I decided to grow the Oaks too. Thanks Squirrel Rats!

Anyway, while sheltered in, I decided to try my hand at growing other things.  Being in a place where the ground is basically clay, rocks, and boulders, I decided to grow vegetables in containers.  What sparked all this is when I saw a video on YouTube where a girl grew lettuce from the soil bag. Whaaat??  I need to do that, I thought …. especially after having limits place on my ability to freely go purchase all kinds of salad fixings. After I watched that video and a million others, guess what?…..


This took way more thought than I’d imagined.  I had to learn about what kind of containers, the layout, what vegetables to plant, etc.  In order not to use all of my tiny patio space, I extended it all around by 3′ which gave me a perfect place to set up containers. Then, after a few changes to table set-ups I finally had something I thought would work for this first Test Veggie Garden.

I decided to grow purple potatoes, carrots, beets, ginger, spinach, summer squash, and of course, a soil bag of salad mix. I ended up using lots Grow Bags, which seemed perfect. 

On FB Marketplace I found a wooden 3-tier shelf unit a guy built for his garage made out of pallets and he was moving and sold them to me for $5.  He even delivered it to me. Thanks guy! I put water sealant on the shelves and you can see one of the shelves used as a container table on top of a few of my landscape blocks. So perfect.  The pallets allow for drainage too.  These Japanese Maples are just showing off now. haha!  I seriously need this garden to be functional but also be kinda pretty…. I don’t live on a farm … yet.  The HOA still rules in my world.

Here are some pics of the veggies …

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Purple potatoes in a 5 gallon bucket … started growing these for a friend.

Carrots …. Y’all, pray for these carrots.

Purple Potatoes … in a Grow Bag, they are so pretty.

Yellow Summer Squash … 3 seeds, one plant lived. Planning to plant more.

Beets ….. Love me some beets, can’t wait for this harvest.

I just started seeing a little peek of spinach that showed itself today….

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I waited for a while for this Spinach to show me it wasn’t dead.  Today it showed me.

HaHa!  I know they are all still babies but I’m a City Girl!  I wasn’t even sure anything would grow so I’m excited!.

Now for the Show Stopper…. my SALAD MIX about six or so different varieties of lettuce!!  Isn’t it beautiful?  This is after only about 2 weeks after sprinkling seeds. It’ll be time to eat in about…. a month!  It’s suppose to be a cut and come again process, so as the leaves mature I will just pick a few leaves from all over the bag and it keeps growing until it exhausts itself.  That’s how it’s supposed to work anyway.


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Well, I can add learning how to grow a Container Vegetable garden to my list of things learned during the Corona Pandemic.

Be sure to come back to see the progression of this project!

Love y’all. 🥰🤗❤️  Stay well!