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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 😜
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! ❤️
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.
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.
Just wanted to share this in case your turkey carcass looked too delicious to toss!
Earlier this year I decided I was going to write more about life in my blog posts. Vessels and Vittles started as a way to share my food-diet-health adventures, which are ongoing but as we all know… life is more than food.
Only problem, my life feels pretty nondescript, and rather average most days; I have a basic cycle of eat, sleep, work, church, draw, fixing stuff… lol… not necessarily in that order always…so I wasn’t sure what I was going to blog about…. until now.
“Come and listen to my story ’bout girl named Jan…” [Sung to one of my fave oldie shows… the Beverly Hillbillies… lol…. for you youngsters.]
So, a few years ago, what attracted me to the little foreclosed white house on the corner with the overgrown trees and shrubs, was the 4′ white picket fence. For some reason, it gave me feelings of nostalgia; which is weird because I’ve never lived in a house with a white picket fence. I guess I had sweet visions about a little white house on the corner with the white picket fence and all the wonderful things that would happen inside; like a tv family or something.
Well, I now live in this house that I saw … except, over the years, the white picket fence had become mulchy, wobbly, and Picket Patrol was my newly acquired role …. counting how many pickets had just fallen off as I drove to and from home each day. With any bit of rain, or wind, I could be assured that at least some were hanging, dangling or flat-out on the ground.
One Sunday in December, out of sheer frustration, I took a quick picture of fallen pickets and when I got to my Connections class (a.k.a Sunday School) I asked the class teacher if he had ideas of how I could keep these pickets in place until Spring when I’d planned to have the entire fence rebuilt.
Stan, the teacher, had some ideas, he then asked another couple of guys in the class and before I knew it, they had decided to set up a time in the Spring to come rebuild the fence! Yes, rebuild the fence for me. I know… I was sort of stunned too. Really? OK. Since it was December, it wasn’t on the top of my list of things to do at the moment.
Let me stop here to tell you about this Connections class before I finish the story. Anyone who knows me, knows I am an Artist, a bit of a Writer, I like to dabble in computer technology a bit, and more than all I am a Christ follower. These days, that is enough to gain much slander and disdain, but that is not my concern. Anyway, a little over a year ago, after visiting/attending several churches in the area, I decided one Sunday morning to just go to one that was closer to my house than the others I’d attended… that happened to be Summit Baptist.
Honestly, I had all kinds of preconceived notions about its size, cultural make-up, preaching, etc. etc. but when I walked in there and sat down, I immediately knew something was different. My strategy when going to a new church was to get their much earlier than the service start time so I could go into the sanctuary, before the buzz of members, while it was quiet. I’d go and sit, and pray, and basically see how things seemed, spiritually. I’d say within 5 minutes, something in me just said this is where you belong. Seriously, I hadn’t felt that in a long time. As people started arriving, I waited to see what kind of response I’d get. I was shocked. Not only were they nice, but also friendly! There is a difference you know.
By the end of the service I’d met a lot of people, and as I drove home I thought I really like it here…. but I hadn’t planned to go again right way. There were other churches near me as well. Then, I thought about this lady I met that morning with a bright smile and a kind face (my now dear friend, Mary Ann) who greeted me, asked about me, and invited me to her Connections class – they are called the Encouragers. Long story short (too late, I know)…. I went back the next looking for Mary Ann and that class and that was it. I’ll blog more about this group and the church on another blog.
Back to the fence. A little more than a year later, this fence party is being planned. I didn’t know what to expect, but I’d learned that several of the people in the class were participants in an organization called Builders for Christ where they go all over the country (and maybe world) helping to build buildings for churches and individuals in need of a structure. That was cool… I had no concern of their skill level or ability to do this project. I figured if they could build a church building then a fence should be a piece of cake. It was a relief for me… as I had run into several ill-equipped contractors in my day.
Step 1: I purchased all the pickets and my friends Mary Ann and Corky met me at the retailer and hauled all the pickets to my house, then they came a few weeks later and brought a friend, Sarah, and they painted all the pickets ( I pitched in when I could… I was working that day). I was amazed by how they did that… .still amazed.
Step 2: Cliff, Corky, Lewis, Clark and Lynn showed up a couple of weeks later and they started building sections of the fence. I was still amazed when I looked out there and saw the set up, and the precision. I still couldn’t believe they were all putting in time, effort, and sweat to do this for me.
Step 3: This was fence building day. Early Saturday morning… trucks and cars started arriving at my house. I could tell, these were people on a mission, for real. Folks, I can do a LOT of things but building a fence ain’t one of them. I felt so inadequate; I really wanted to know what I was doing and chip in but no skills here…so I provided the Chick-Fil-A mini-chicken biscuits. 😎
Neighbors stopped by, and even Quincy the dog came to see me.. along with is owner of course.. It was a great time for my neighborhood to meet some of the wonderful friends and see the Encouragers in ACTION.
Well, let me tell ya’ … about 3.5 hours later, the new fence was complete …. and it is beautiful (and sturdy) as ever.
Now, I mentioned Summit and the Encouragers class previously because as I watched this team of people working in my yard (from 9 years old to 80 years old) I almost felt like it was a dream. I mean, who does that for you? Really?
I can almost say, this is a life-changing experience. I know, it’s only a fence, but in a world, where division, altercations, hatred, negativity, racism, etc. is rising, I stood amazed by the amount of love that was being poured out that morning. It reiterated and reinforced my belief that family isn’t only the ones who share your physical bloodline, but it is also those who share the bloodline of Christ, which causes once complete strangers to not only worship together, but to share, work, serve, eat, weep, laugh, agree and disagree together in a broken world. These wonderful people are not only ‘the people I attend church with’ but they are brothers and sisters in Christ, these are people I serve alongside to minister and be a witness in a tough world.
Yes, I am a changed person because…. after all the hard work my brothers and sisters put in this past weekend, I can only say one thing….it looked liked a fence but it felt like LOVE. ❤️
I just impressed myself with this new recipe I just made. OK, it was t like it took a genius to do it but I actually had all the ingredients already (a big incentive to anything I try) and it tastes great!
My refrigerator was spilling over with fresh parsley this week because I bought some so I could see if it really helps with digestion if you eat it raw. It does! I had no idea how much I was buying though and I’m not one to waste so I searched for ways to use a boatload of fresh parsley.
I’d never heard of chimichurri but apparently many have and according to online reviews it seemed to be quite tasty. I found my food processor and gave myself a quick tutorial on how to use the thing again 😕. There were a ton of recipes online but I found this 5-minute chimichurri recipe after some searching and got to work. OH MY! I started mixing these basic ingredients and I immediately loved it just by the luscious aroma. 😍 Yuuummm…. the parsley, fresh garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes…. nom nom nom!
Now, the recipe uses tablespoons for the ingredients but says you can use teaspoons. I use teaspoon portions.
People, when done, I tasted it straight and WOW! I don’t even know what I’m going to put it on but I’m sure whether chicken, fish, beef or pork it is going to be delicious!!
I stored it in a small mason jar to keep in the refrigerator. It reminds me of pesto, which is made from basil, but I like this much better.
Well, let me know if you decide to make it and if you like it!🤗
Til the next time…. stay safe and be kind.
💚 & ☮️
P.S. 😂 I just realized I made a green sauce for St. Patrick’s Day! Had a cracking myself up moment.
Yesterday I received a package in the mail. That’s not unusual though. I sat it on the bench next to the front door … and left it there. That is unusual.
Eight days ago I called Linda (known to her family and close friends as Lolli, or Lol) because she was my go-to for essential oils and things related. We discussed Thieves(R) and whether ingesting them or not was what I should do as I was feeling a cold or something starting. She suggested I try the Thieves Lozenges. I told her I wanted to try them. Our last messages to each other that day said she was sending the Lozenges by USPS, that Thieves Lozenges was the best and I should receive them in 3 to 5 days.
The next morning I received a call from Lol’s sister, Sandra, saying,… “Lolli died.” I can still replay the scene of me trying to process the words I just heard through all my tears. So unexpected.
Today is a week later. I am still reeling. It has taken me this long to even write about it. Sandra, Lolli, Angela (Sandra’s daughter/my li’l sis) and me; we formed sort of a family unit about 25 years ago when I lived with Sandra and Angela for four years. And like family we had some rough spots but we also had some the most fun, memorable times and greatest laughs ever! I can hear Lol’s laugh right now as I am writing this. Everyone loved Lol.
So, when my package arrived yesterday, my cough-and-cold ridden body wanted to tear into it and pop some Lozenges, but I didn’t. Somehow, now I want to keep these Lozenges forever. I am sure I will have to place another order with someone in order to try them.
I’ve spent the last week thinking a lot about life, and how quickly it can be gone. I do know Lol loved Jesus which brings great comfort, but I can’t help feel sadness for all of us who will know longer hear her infectious laugh. I am so grateful for that last conversation we had. I am so grateful for the time spent last summer hanging out with Sandra, Lol and Angela. Precious, precious moments.
I’ve had many friends and family lose loved ones just since Christmas. Hard days for many people. Everyday someone loses someone. I am going to do better this year. I am going to make a better effort to stay in touch with those near and dear to my heart… because you never know when that last conversation, will indeed, be the last. Go hug your loved ones.