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. 😜
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.
….. I even got a chance to photograph visiting bunnies too.
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.
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)
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.
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. 🌺
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!
I also cook veggies in the Air Fryer sometimes. Works pretty good too!
Well, that’s all folks! I’ll let you know what happens with my Kinda Keto plan. 🤗👍🏽
The struggle is so very real, people…. but that’s OK…. I’m not alone.
A couple of years ago when I was in the midst of my major weight loss, I started hearing about KETO eating. If you haven’t heard of it yet, never fear, you will when you return to this planet. 😒 I looked into it but I haven’t jumped into it …yet. It seems everyone is trying KETO now, but it must not be user-friendly because I’m seeing more about Dirty Keto… or what I like to call it, Cheap and Easy Keto.
I’m also noticing an increase in talk about ‘fasting’, specifically, Intermittent Fasting. I might try this at some point, just because it seems more natural and beneficial to the body.
Seems everyone is trying to figure out how to lose weight and keep it off. Like I said, the struggle is REAL! I’m a witness. I lost 57 lbs a couple of years ago, but gained about 14 lbs and have been holding steady since. I’m not to concerned because I realized at 57 lbs that I was lighter but I didn’t feel strong. I think I lost a lot of muscle tone, and was earing too few calories. I read recently that when you eat low-calorie for a while your body gets used to living on that low amount. When I increased my calories to around 1500 to 1700 per day I gained about 5 lbs. Then, because I felt weak, I started walking a lot and doing High Impact Interval Training exercises and sure enough gained more….but the curious thing is my clothes felt the same and loser in some cases🤷🏽♀️.
I guess it is true that muscle weighs more but takes up less space. That’s a hard concept to accept when you are addicted to the scales like I am. I’m trying to change my ‘scales’ ways. 😣 However, I do feel so much stronger in my core and overall. So, now I’m just trying to stay on a good eating path.
It’s a rainy, rainy day on this Sunday afternoon. I was invited to a Southern Buffet restaurant after church…. so tempted to do it but I had already planned to do some meal prep. I went shopping yesterday and bought some goodies…
Cucumbers, Yellow, Red, and Orange peppers are my go-to foods. I’ve blogged about them in previous posts. I just cut them and put them in jars. They are a great snack for me. I either eat them plain, or sprinkle them with a little rice vinegar.
2. Air Fryer Brussel Sprouts, I tried it! Wow! This is a keeper. I love my Air Fryer but never have I tried veggies in it. So, easy…tossed the Brussel sprouts (Premee cabbages as a young friend calls them, 😒🤣) in a tad bit of oil, Himalayan Salt, and garlic powder and put in my Air Fryer on 375 for about 12 minutes. YUM! They were so delicious. I know they look burnt but they are just roasted. I bet adding a little brown sugar and some bacon bits would make this instantly ‘gourmet’…I almost did it but remembered my new healthy eating ways.
3. Asparagus… you either like it or not. I love it, stinky pee and all. I actually saw a post somewhere recently that asparagus is a major cancer fighter. I meed to research this though. I usually eat it most when it is on sale and it’s been on sale so 3rd week in a row I’ve made it but this time I pur it in the Air Fryer to try. Boy! Good results again…just 6 minutes in and it’s done 👍🏽
4. Chicken Thighs. Nope, I’m not a vegetarian or vegan or anything, I just eat little meat naturally. I need protein to lose weight I learned, plus it helps keep my hunger in control. Since I was Air Frying, I put these in last; same seasonings. Also, I found 2 small Filet Mignon steaks in the back of my freezer from an Omaha steak gift pack I received…last of the beef goodies. Put those in the Air Fryer too.
This chicken was so juicy and delicious! I just sampled what I cooked because it’s for the upcoming week, of course. So, now I have no excuse for not eating healthy this week. I’ve got all these goodies plus a bin of apples.
Fortunately, everything I cook has to be eaten only by “me”…not sure anyone else would enjoy my kitchen science experiments…I’m not much of a foodie though; I just don’t want to feel hungry, so… let’s see if I can have a good week of eating healthy food. Hope you do too! ✌🏽😎
Peace and Love!😘
“…May the peace of God guard your hearts and mind (thoughts) through Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:7❤️
When I started this blog, a couple of years ago, I primarily did so to share experiences during my personal journey to health and weight loss. It was mostly about food; what I ate, tips, struggles, etc. After a few months I started sharing other various life events. More recently I decided I wanted to, in addition, share more about the side of life that, in reality, is the most important; that on which all other parts depend.
It’s already mid-January 2019, and honestly, it has not been the blast off that I’d hoped it would be. I actually wish I could get a restart, a trial month, or a do-over. I’ve just been feeling a bit ‘slumpish’, kind of discouraged, sometimes sad, wondering if I was getting depressed.. who knows why? Just a series of little things pecking at my ‘stabilities’; you know relationship issues, life issues, day-to-day issues, just managing life. There is just so much going on with so many people every day it seems – bad health diagnoses, sickness, financial crises, deaths, national/government situations, it just becomes overload sometimes. However, the magnitude of what others are going through makes my little bouts of ‘blue days’ seem not worth mentioning to anyone, so I tend not to.
This is how I felt this Sunday morning. I’m gonna be real with you.
Getting up and going to church, literally less than a mile away, seemed it wasn’t going to happen. I stayed in bed longer than usual and just thought about life, people, house repairs needed, friends, … you know, ‘thangs’ that keep you up in the night and in bed in the morning; processing all the good, bad and ugly news I’d processed in past days. Somehow, I managed to find the wherewithal to get up and get rolling.
I’m a Christian from the get-go; was a pew-baby and still ‘churching’ now. I love Jesus, I love church, I love the body of Christ. No shame in it for me, so that had nothing to do with my not wanting to go.
Anyway, I get to my Connections class (a.k.a Sunday School for us oldies) as usual. It’s a class called the Encouragers, with about 25 or so regular attendees who are mostly a generation older than I am, which is fine because I like the wisdom of people older that I am; especially in the things of God. I have a buddy who sits near me each week now. His name is Solomon. Solomon is 89 years ‘young’. He has dropped all sorts of wisdom tidbits in my ear for the past couple years; from concoctions to knock out cold symptoms to handling life problems.
I don’t know what your religious beliefs are, or how you feel about such but when you meet someone like Solomon, who has walked with the Lord for nearly 90 years, there is much wisdom to be gleaned.
Today, Solomon taught our class from the Bible in Psalm 1. It’s a short chapter, but powerful, direct, simple to grasp but listening to Solomon speak in his Jamaican accent about the wonders of God’s Word in this chapter transported me out of the ‘ gloomy space’ in my head by the end of class.
I’m not planning to turn this blog into a straight up Bible study but I do plan to share how God’s Word is so relevant, timely and needed. Here is the New International Version of the chapter:
Psalm 1 (NIV)
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
Solomon started by reading the Psalm. Now, I have to stop and say, whenever Solomon prays aloud in class, his choice of words, and phrases, along with his accent, often makes me think to myself, “He prays in King James Version”. 😍 I sometimes wish I could record it.
Anyway, in a nutshell, we discussed each of the verses. Fascinating! In case you aren’t a Christian, or haven’t studied this before, here is my one-minute summary of what Solomon taught.
God blesses those believers who while being a light in a dark world do not make it a habit to intimately mingle with those whose heart is not towards living a Christian life; only because doing so will likely sway/seduce you away from the heart of God.
For those who are delighted to tuck God’s work in their heart, who long for God’s word and who think on the things of God day and night.; they will be like a tree that is deep-rooted, well nourished, and well watered by a river. They are full of sap and produce good fruit. I loved Solomon’s exposition on this part of the Psalm. He referenced it to Psalm 92:12 (The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.) He then told of how there is a country (I don’t remember which one) where their entire economy is based on the Palm tree. All parts of the palm tree is used; the wood for homes, the leaves, for roofs, the seed for food, the oil for other things, etc. I’m a visual person so I could so easily picture this, and how God can use his righteous ones.
But, for those who choose to do otherwise (keyword: choose) they are blown away like chaff in the wind; not able/allowed to stand before the righteous Judge in the end. Solomon explained how chaff is the trash that is left over after the winnowing process.
One of the things that stood out the most was in his closing he mentioned that those who have made the decision to live for Christ have been ‘Registered in Heaven’.
Those simple words seemed to stick in all the cracks, crevices, holes, and dents in my spirit today. They made me happy inside. All those things that were weighing on me could not stand against the thought, the reassurance that I am Registered in Heaven. Needless to say, much of the ‘blue and bleakness’ was lifted as I drove home, and the words ‘Registered in Heaven’ have rang in my ears all day today. I love that I, as a human being, was given this choice to be, and instructions on how to be, Registered in Heaven. This wasn’t a matter of not knowing this passage, but of the healing effect like balm on a wound, of God’s living Word on a soul.
I write all this not to preach and/or proselytize but rather to encourage and to give hope in Jesus. Life is hard. You see and know that. Things are getting more and more difficult each day. I was with a friend the other day whose father-in-law is 96 years old. He was telling her how he’d gone out to buy a new tablecloth for his home; not only 1, but 3! He said he’d use one but maybe the others could be used later :)…. he’s 96 people! Later??? What is ‘later’ to a 96 year old??
That got me to thinking, you know what that is called… HOPE! Even at 96 years old, he had hope that he might still be able to use those tablecloths one day. That also got me to thinking about those who have no hope. Suicide is on the rise as we can see in our country; these are those who have lost all hope. Even in the deepest, darkest days of life, it is HOPE, that clears a way to see vision for the future.
I have decided to cling to HOPE for the my future; to my Hope in Jesus. I will pray that if you are reading this blog, and you do not have HOPE, that the Lord of heaven will show and send his HOPE your way. It is real, is it stable, it sure, it is free, it is everlasting.
May the peace of God reign in your hearts always! 😘
P.S. Let me know if you’d like to be Registered in Heaven. 🙏🏽
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. 🎨
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.
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)
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.
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!