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!🤗❤️

Ms. Bee and Me 🐝

I was sitting around one day just thinking about the sheer number of people I’ve met in my lifetime. I’ve probably met and forgotten as many as I actually remember. Point is, I am old enough now to plainly see that people come and people go.  That’s life. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Then, there are people who come and stay. Thankfully, I have some friends like that … met them at different stages of my life and immediately knew they were for the long haul. More so, some are closer than blood relatives. That’s part of life too… people need people. The challenge is often knowing, and settling in your heart, the difference… who is there to stay and who is there for just a season of your life, so you learn and grow.

I believe God orchestrates my steps, and allows me to cross paths with people from all walks of life.  I love that… I have met, interacted with and befriended some of the most incredible people ever.

About a year ago, I visited a new church; just walked in alone and sat down. Just so happened I chose a seat in front of three people, who during the Meet & Greet time introduced themselves. The couple, Mary Ann & Corky were so friendly, and another woman sitting with them, Barbara, was as well, though she seemed a bit more reserved.  Mary Ann told me about the church and invited me back, so the next Sunday I went back.  Needless to say, I go all the time now.  They are some of my new “people”.

I’m giving all this back story because I find it fascinating that you never know how one small change that you make in your life opens a ton of new doors and adventures.

Over the weeks, I started hanging around with these three new friends…. loved it. We went out to eat after church on Sundays. Loved it. After a few weeks, I learned that Barbara was having memory issues but we continued our times together in the same manner for the most part.

However, within six or so months I, and others, started to notice a small change in Barbara. Basically, she just needed a bit more help with things at home, not anything drastic, just more help with things at home.  Her children made sure she had all she needed.

I lived pretty close to her so I started popping over to her place to mostly hang out with her…she was not able to drive anymore so my visits turned into dinners out a couple of times per week, and sitting on the her porch waiting for BunBun to show up (the bunny who nested in her mulch near the front door, whose name was changed to Harriet when Barbara discovered she was a girl..lol), and walking the 1/3 mile loop in her neighborhood for exercise. We texted a lot too… I addressed her as ‘Ms. 🐝’ often in the texts.  Fun times!

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Over the weeks it became clear that Ms. 🐝 was going to need a bit more care. She struggled with the idea of moving at first it but everyone reassured her that the new place would be perfect, and she’d have the help she needed.

I am an artist so she mentioned wanting me to draw a picture of her husband, who had passed a decade or so earlier. He was a Marine and from my time with her, I learned he was loved by all. During this transition I asked her to choose the photo she wanted to have drawn for her new home.  She chose this photo of her young Marine husband as he looked when she first met him.

Rip M.
See more drawings at http://www.janleary.blog

Ms. 🐝 moved in last weekend.  She is doing great! Me, I am missing her company this week. I want her to give her time to acclimate and get used to the new space, new routine, new friends … but I’m missing my riding, shopping, dinner, porch-sitting partner a bit. Sort of a transition for me too. … but like I said in the beginning, that’s life.

I plan to visit her still but things are different now, so I am sure the structure and dynamic of this sweet friendship will change, not fade … but simply change.

God crossed our paths at a crucial time in her life and in mine; so for that, I am thankful.

❤️&✌🏽

Go hug your “people”.🤗💕

 

Mending Fences and Building Relationships

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.11A58F99-07A3-4075-9A77-3370F7D89C82

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.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.Photo Aug 16, 9 32 41 AM

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. ❤️

Thank you Encouragers! 🤗  Love Overflowing!💕

Peace and Love to you!🌼

 

Chimichurri: a.k.a. Parsley Sauce

☘️ HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY☘️

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.