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!🤗😘

 

Hi …It’s Been a While

It has been a while people! Summer rolled on by as I was trying to ‘get things done’ around here. Now it’s Fall.🍁  And just like I wasn’t paying attention to the calendar I haven’t been paying much attention to my food choices.  Sooooo, 11 pounds later I sitting here like … what exactly did I eat that equates to 11 extra pounds?🤨🧐😞

Really, it’s all good, well, not really good but … I’m trying to say I reacted so differently than I had in the past… which is growth in more than just my weight. Back in the day, those 11 pounds would have sent me spiraling but this time I KNEW I just needed to readjust and be aware…. stop the mindless grazing…but doesn’t this look goooood?… Warm Peach Cobbler from Brookwood Grill 😊.  Tasted good too!  Happy Birthday to me.💕

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Warm Peach Cobbler!

…for the record, I shared this with another person….too much for me.

I did readjust… and have lost 5 of the 11 pounds so far. I had to change something though. For the past 2 years I’ve used the My Fitness Pal app, which I really liked…. just got bored with it and slowly stopped using it, which means I wasn’t tracking, and therefore was eating more. Uggghh!  For me, logging my food, not necessarily every morsel but keeping a general idea of my calorie intake, is a GREAT HELP!

I switched to the Lose It! App.  I LOVE IT! It’s colorful, engaging, lots of little tips and applications to play with…and it rejuvenated my desire to log. I only have the free version too.  If you want to pay…there are lots of additional things to help you.

I have been eating fun stuff that I love to celebrate my birthday month.  That’s over for now…. back to lots of water, lots of veggies, lots …OK,  ‘some’ exercise 😂. I do feel better, less dense. I actually did a bit of a detox to get back on track… it helps a lot. I did start eating these….they are healthy, easy, delicious and not too caloric. There are a few different varieties  all of them are good.

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Well, that’s all for now.

Lesson learned: The road to healthy living has U-turns, potholes, traffic violations, and sometimes a broke down vehicle but road side assistance comes along in various forms; a motivational article, an encouraging friend, and sometimes just a fun new app. 🤗

Peace and Love! 😘

 

 

 

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!🌼

 

Sour + Greens = Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut might be one of those ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ Foods.  Although I go through seasons of eating it, I really like it.

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Definition from Miriam Webster Online

I was at Whole Foods a while back and couldn’t find the sauerkraut.  One of the employees there led me to what she said was the best she ever had.  Okay, I took the bait… and am glad I did.  2FEAA758-4314-4F90-816E-3068465B6B0FI wanted it because I’d had digestion issues and knew that fermented foods would help get my gut bacteria back in balance.  This is what she showed me.

I finally opened it… weeks after buying it 😏…. and expected to taste, well sauerkraut.  However, this was indeed… very good, fresh, not salty tasting, and not so overly sour.  The store employee was correct…. probably the best I’ve had.

Well, decided to share a bit of info about Sauerkraut I found online…8 Surprising Benefits of Sauerkraut (plus how to make it).

1. It’s nutritious. I kinda knew that…it is cabbage. Cabbage is good for you.  But look at all the other goodness in it:

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2. It improves digestion.

3. It boosts your immune system.

4. Read rest of article here… 8 Surprising Benefits of Sauerkraut (plus how to make it)

That’s all I’ve got today!

Toodles! 😘