Turning Over a New Year 🎉🎊

Only one day left in 2018.

I’m sitting here thinking about the past year. So many changes yet a lot has stayed mostly the same. I lost a lot of extended family, close and distant friends, and friends who were as close as family; I mean lots, more than a dozen. It seems I’ve said, “Sorry for your loss” at least monthly this year. Just odd, but it really caused me to think about my own life a lot. I felt more conscious of time. I remembered my dad, now in his 80s, always saying when in his 50s, “I have more years behind me than I do in front of me.” I was in my 20s then, now I’m in my 50s. I can sincerely say I have more years behind me than in front of me; the death of so many friends and acquaintances this year brings those words to the forefront more than ever.

So, what does that mean for my life decisions? In short, it means I want to focus on the things that are important to me. What are those things?

In no particular order:

Portraiture / Art – For most of this year, I contemplated returning to school to obtain a doctorate degree. It was just a matter of nailing down what I wanted to study and where. I reviewed/applied to a few schools and interviewed with one, in the Technology field. In the end, I decided to pit it on hold, if not nix it. Why? Because as a middle-aged woman I discovered I had a talent for art, specifically, drawing portraits. It has changed my focus more than I thought. I like my job a lot, it suit my skill set, and personality. … but I love drawing! At this point in life, I need to focus on what I love. None of the schools I reviewed sparked my heart; I was not wanting to do it even before I took the first course. Apparently, getting a doctorate was a goal, but not a heart’s desire; if that makes sense. Nope, I don’t plan to go to art school, I just plan to use my years left doing something that makes my heart happy and makes others smile! Simple. 🎨

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Family/Friends – I have a small immediate family but a pretty large extended one. Thanks to social media I can keep in contact with many of them much easier than I probably would have otherwise. I also have many friends from all the schools and churches I’ve attended, and neighborhoods I’ve lived in. I’ve been thinking about the friends who are like family a lot… because I lost some this year. I have a very small group of friends who are like family to me. They know me more than anyone else really. It is important to me to work hard to maintain these friendships, keeping the air clear between us, sharing time together, and making memories.

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God and His Son Jesus…and children and widows. – I would have said ‘religion’ but I’m lowly interested in religion actually. … but boy, what a bone of contention the name of Jesus has become in the past few years?! My belief has been a foundation for my life though – there is no shame in that for me. I will not disparage you for what you believe but I want to be a light, a reflection of Jesus, in a dark world.

The Bible says, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (James 1:27)

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Health/Wellness: If you’ve followed this blog, you know that I strive to be as healthy as I can. This year was a challenge after losing a significant amount of weight, but I plan to keep working at it. I want to be strong in my mind, body and spirit in order to face life boldly.

This also includes keeping an orderly physical space. I don’t know about you but clutter around my house, also clutters my mind and thought processes. For some it doesn’t matter I know but I want to minimize where necessary keeping “junk” outnof my space.

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You might want to call these four things New Year resolutions, but I don’t. I like ro call them Life Discoveries. One of the best things about being an adult is that you can make your own decisions about your life and you can live out the consequences; good or bad.

Hello 2019! Thank you Lord for breath, life, peace, salvation and hope!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! ❤️🙏🏽🎊

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Playing with Broccoli Cuts

 

I’m sitting here wondering if there is a real reason for broccoli cuts.?🤔

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I mean, Broccoli florets make sense; they are pretty, flavorful, and healthy,  but ‘cuts’ are basically the stems – cut up, right?

AD586F1A-E222-4C9D-9D0A-53DB9F04E125The picture looked all luscious and delicious but the bag of frozen cuts I bought did have one or two small florets…whatever, I really did expect what I got, not what was on the bag.

I added a bit more chicken broth and let the cuts get softer than how I usually eat my veggies but I had a plan. Then I got out my Ninja blender. I added the thoroughly cooked cuts, added a bit of half and half (all I had), added more broth, salt, pepper, ginger, turmeric and hit the ON button.

It whirred around until, it was light green, smooth, a bit creamy and ohhhhh so tasty.

VOILA! Turned those worthless cuts into a delicious gourmet soup.

I had some for dinner tonight. It’s a cold, dark, long winter night and this concoction hit the spot. I think I might try this with fresh broccoli stalks next summer.

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Might not look so tasty but this was quite delicious!

So, not only can you turn lemons to lemonade but you can also turn blah broccoli cuts into deliciousness.

Go make you some soup! 😎👍🏽

Christmas Cleanse

For the most part, this is the season where folks are typically enjoying the joy of giving and getting gifts. It’s a happy time for sure, especially for little ones who’ve had their eye on a specific item all year.

 

I’m old(er)… and I like gifts too! More-so though, I like cleansing….or purging. In addition to gift-giving, the end of the year signifies a time to go through my house, life, stuff and purge things that take up physical space and mental space. I love doing this. People think of Springtime as the time to clean and purge, but I like to do it in December so when the New Year rolls in there is physical and mental space to either add … or not add new things. Sort of an ‘out with the old – in with the new’ process.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against acquiring a lot of unnecessary stuff, but me personally, too much stuff messes with my mind and thought processes.

Even as a child, I was this way. At Christmas time, Mom would hand me the Sears Gift Catalog (remember that?) and tell me to mark what I wanted. I was an only child then so I could have gone bananas picking out things… but I didn’t. I just never wanted many ‘things’, and most things I chose had a function, purpose or learning quality, i.e. a desk, Operation Game, a microscope, art supplies, small jewelry box… things I needed or wanted to learn about.

I’m still that way somewhat. I’m not one to have ‘stuff’ sitting around on tables, shelves, etc. if it doesn’t fit on the mantel, then it usually ends up in the donation box. Knickknacks, a.k.a. dust collectors, are just not my thing.

So, with some days off from work, I got busy.

The purging process is completely overwhelming for lots of folks but I take it in

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chunks; garage, closets, storage box, spare clothes closet, shoe rack, etc. No way would I attempt this all in one day; and I don’t set a hard ‘finish’ date – the only real plan is to make time in 2 to 3 hour sessions and just DO it. Here is an example of the process:

1. Garage: The mess of it was starting to bother me. Cardboard boxes, old shoes, empty yard care and insecticide containers, just stuff. I started here so my hard work could be seen each time I left or returned home. I cut down all the card board boxes to take to the recycle bin; I saved one box though and designated it for things that could be donated. I sorted thorough all things that were just sitting in the garage over the year and tossed a lot of stuff. I swept out the garage and VOILA! Garage done. ✔️

2. Shoes: All that I said above holds true, except when it comes to shoes. I’m embarrassed to say how many pairs of shoes I own. I love them all! 😂…. But I do wear them out quickly it seems. I used to keep them around just because I liked them; it was like I had some kind of emotional attachment to them. Well, I’m over that now – if they are run-over, skinned up, have worn heels, or in my case after losing a bunch of weight they are simply too big (yes, feet lose fat too), I throw them out or donate them if in decent condition (I don’t donate stuff that I wouldn’t even want). Shoes done✔️

Greeting Card Box: For some reason, I keep most cards I receive, in a  ox decorated with shoes no less, lol; I’ve got 20 years worth now. 😳. I decided to see what was in the box because it was overflowing and new cards were being stored on top of, in,  and beside the box, rather than IN the box. Time to purge. 69FACD06-D0D8-4E98-B821-C7CF19A80AA3I had the best time reviewing my life in greeting cards over the past two decades but some of them had to go. I started by determining who they were from. Cards from insurance agencies, or car dealers, etc. were tossed; probably should have been on New Years day. Cards from my closest, dearest friends were kept. Simple.

Then there were cards from people who used to be really close but our lives have drifted apart; I kept some of those. A29A45BE-5C1D-4A7C-AC64-7F11E93EFBAFTHEN, I ran across cards from friends who are now deceased! Boy, did I keep those. Just seeing their handwriting, and hearing their voice in my head as I read their card warmed my heart and made me smile. It also reminded me to cherish my family and friends…. And to keep on keeping cards.💕 Greeting Card Box done. ✔️

 

 

4. Art Supply area: I’m a portrait artist so I have a stash of needed art supplies for my commissioned pieces. I don’t toss anything here but I must organize and take inventory regularly. This isn’t really a purge of things, but a purge of clutter; I stacked and grouped and rearranged. Art Room done.✔️

This is just an example of how I go about the purging process. Seriously, getting rid of clutter, unnecessary junk, etc. feels like it clears my souls. I wouldn’t

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consider myself a minimalist but I do like keeping life simple. My Christmas mantel includes these two little plaques that pretty much sums up my thought processes about life. … Be Thankful and Keep it Simple.

Peace, love, and joy to you! 😘❤️

Life is Precious

It’s a joyous time of the year for the most part …but for some it will be a difficult time. Many people have lost loved ones this year.

I know of a wonderful family who recently lost their father/son/husband, late 50s, diagnosed with a rare cancer just a few weeks ago. I was reminded again how life is so fragile and is but a vapor. Psalm 144:4 tells us this… “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”

I am often at a loss for words during difficult times; in spite of deep feelings I have. I am thankful for an outlet in art to express myself and share my heart.

I saw this sweet, special moment in a photo of the gentleman who passed with his only grandson and wanted to do something with it for his wife. As I studied it, I felt I wanted to convey the time, place, mood, feeling, and memory of this photo rather than the exact replication of the faces. So, I attempted to do a pen and watercolor wash to capture all the things the photo revealed to me. When I presented it to his wife, she immediately recalled the week the family was together at the time this photo was taken. It’s just a quick sketch, not my typical style, but I think it fulfilled what I’d hoped to accomplish.

Say a prayer for those who are hurting this season… and go hug your people! ❤️

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Turkey Carcass Make-Over

Ha!  My title made me chuckle. 🦃🦃🦃

Well, I have never been responsible for a Thanksgiving dinner in my adult life. I’ve had to bring a dish occasionally but never has anyone looked to me for the Thanksgiving Day bird… thankfully. I think I cooked one myself one year just to see if I could do it. 🤷🏽‍♀️

However, I do like getting the carcass. This year I was invited to my friend’s house with her family and it was a wonderful time!  After her husband carved the turkey he was prepping it for the trash! Hoooooollldd up!!!

Everyone looked at me strangely when I requested to take the poor carcass home but in my mind I could see the most delicious broth on my stove. I don’t have to plan family meals so I make things that work for me…. soups, sautéed vegetables, chicken/or a little beef burger and fruit make up most of my diet….the rest is occasional ‘cookie, chips, chocolate’…not even gonna pretend to be 100% right all the time…  lol…it’s called being human.

Anyway, they wrapped the bird and I carried it home. Today I bought carrots, celery, and onions and made homemade turkey broth.  Just for the record, my house smells so good right now.

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I put all the ingredients in a big stock pot I borrowed from my neighbor, added a gallon or so of water, then brought it to a boil.  Then let it simmer for a couple of hours, then added more seasonings to suit my taste. I still had all the turkey parts in it. I’m going to let it cool in the refrigerator then strain it and skim any fat tomorrow.

I’ve only ever done this once or twice before and both times came out perfect. You can fund real recipes online for  homemade turkey broth.

I plan to sip plain broth as a warm-me-up drink, or use it to add to vegetable soup recipes or simply when cooking vegetables…instead of using plain water I will use the broth. It’s quite tasty.

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Just wanted to share this in case your turkey carcass looked too delicious to toss!

Thanks for stopping by!

Stay safe out there!

 

Love and hugs!🤗❤️

Pick ‘Em Up & Put ‘Em Down

 

I had no intention of joining the FitBit craze, only because I’m somewhat …frugal (euphemism) , but last week I received an email about some points sitting around that I had apparently earned by using a bank card some years ago. With these points I could shop…and with my 24,000 earned points I could get the latest FitBit device for 21,000 points! SCORE! 🤗

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So, after using MyFitnessPal for personal motivation and accountability for the past 2 years I was becoming bored with it; which manifested itself in skipped food logging, skipped weigh sessions., etc.

As soon as I received my FitBit Charge 3, I put it on and watching the number of steps increase every time I moved was an immediate  hook.  Then, when I saw that I could monitor my sleep stages I was like…whaaaaaat? I’m a Registered Polysomography Technician (a.k.a. Sleep Tech) and though I don’t run studies anymore I work in the sleep field. So I had a double hook

Why this little gadget changed my world I’m not sure but since getting it I have literally walked a marathon, yep, 26 miles… in over two weeks, but still, I’m imlressed with myself. During my weight loss stage I admittedly did minimal exercise and I now ‘now a lot of my loss was muscle loss. That’s not good. 😕

I started ‘picking them up and putting them down’ immediately after getting the Charge 3.  As of yesterday I hit my daily ‘step’ high of over 12,000 steps. That’s mostly because I went for a 3.5 mile walk first thing in the morn. 6C03BF63-2AFF-42C2-A5AB-6FA6283FF9D0

I have a desk job so getting in that many steps daily would be nearly impossible but I am so much more motivated to get up and move each hour.

I had no real surprises about my sleep patterns…except that of the 7 hrs I try to be in bed each night only about 6 are actually ‘sleep’ hours. I’m okay with that though…I always wake feeling rested and have never required much more. Than 6 hours per night…I just thought I was getting at least 6.5 hours per night.

Anyway, I’m trying to work my way up to walking some 5k races … with no plans to ‘run’ any of them.😎

Fortunately for me, the area where I walk is all hills. I’m either going up or down. I’m not talking baby inclines; these are steep hills. This is one of them…6AC92847-246B-4336-B6FA-67316148FFA6

… I started out calling this ‘Killer Hill’….but after a couple of times climbing I now call it ‘Champion Hill’ because I feel like a champion when I reach the top  🤗  I try to hit this one 2 or 3 times on my walk…it makes all the other hills seem smaller…though they are quite steep as well.

All this to say I’m enjoying this little gadget so far time will tell if it helps me maintain my weight in the long run but I can say for certain that it motivates me to move and I feel stronger overall for it.   👍🏽

Are you a walker? How do you stay motivated? Let me hear from you.

Peace and Love! 😘

Finally Cold Weather

I live where it is HOT…. very HOT most of the year it seems. 😒. I like colder weather personally so I wait patiently each year for long, hot, throat-crunching humid days to END.  Finally! Today was cold, misty, and grey skies all day long… wonderful! 🤗

after being out in it all day I craved a warm cozy meal.  Putting aside all concerns about calories for a bit. I found a can of Tomato and Carrot soup that a friend gave me. Interesting. Then I mad something I rarely to never make… a Grilled Cheese sandwich.  It goes with Tomato soup, right?

I’ve never been food at making them but somewhere along the way I heard about spreading  mayo on the outside of the bread…. making it nice and grilled. Was worth a try since mine always ended up burnt on the outside with unmelted cheese on the inside. 😒

It worked… better than usual anyway. 😊. Had my cozw cold night meal … delicious!0D97F8F4-347A-4F30-BE06-09A824237BCF

Next time I will discuss this 10 lbs I’ve gained….uuugh!

Peace and Love friends!🤗😘