Thursday, August 17, 2017

Morning Glories or Morning Grace?

I went out back today to experience the calm after the storm from last night. After witnessing these gorgeous Morning Glories, I had to go back inside to get my camera. I just stood there in awe. Not only the beauty of what stood in front of me but what it represented as well. 

I have a difficult weekend ahead of me as I head back to Ohio to finish going through my dads stuff and get his house ready for market. 

The past week has been trying.  So many emotions.  So many words left unsaid.  So broken yet grateful.

Each day brings me additional hope that I thought was exhausted. These delicate flowers that only reveal their beauty before the sun makes it peak, reminds me that His mercies truly are new each morning as well.

Two months ago, I realized that I had 3 seeds left. I decided to plant them around this lantern bird seeder in hopes that it would wind itself around the pole and pop some flowers. 

Do you see what I see?  The vine has flourished - not only encompassing the bird feeder but extending over the other bushes as well. But it was the thing on the right that made me giggle. That ridiculous city meter that is such an eye sore. 

God allowed this incredible vine of grace and loveliness to surround and nearly hid the ugliness of this object.

He's done that in my life as well. Even when I haven't asked.  When I surrender the most intimate part of my soul to my Creator, He takes it and does things with it that are beyond my comprehension.  He shows me that even in the midst of the hurt, guilt and sadness, He is still God and the flowers will still bloom.

This city meter will never go away.  Ever.  But that doesn't mean that it can't be beautified in some fashion.

My dad is is walking with my Heavenly Father instead of sitting on my couch right now.  But that doesn't mean I can't rejoice in his pain-free life and trust in the goodness of my God.

God is good.  All the time.  All the time.  God is good!

Oh, I forgot to mention .... Morning Glories are my dads favorite flowers ;)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

In the Sun or Rain

9 weeks

I knew it had been a lengthy time but it wasn't until I got out the calendar and counted the weeks this morning that I realized how long it had truly been.

Nine weeks since I was able to walk through my church doors and actually attend an entire service.

I tried to attend on Easter Sunday.  That was only a week after I had returned home from my daddy's funeral service.  I was a wreck the moment I walked in and finally called it quits and drove home after a few songs.  Too fresh.  Too new.  Way too raw.

It's been hard being in a public setting with my emotions so out of control.  But since my son got married a few days ago (that's another blog!), my daughter is home from Colorado and I thought attending church with her was the right thing to do.

What I experienced was actually quite surprising.  It honestly was refreshing and renewing. I met God there.  He held my hand as I walked through the crowds of people and hugged the ones who met my eyes.  I called His name and He heard me.  A sweet friend messaged me the day of my dad's service and said, 'just whisper the name of Jesus and His presence will carry you through this time.' That's what I did and continue to do on a daily basis.  I tremble and then whisper the name Jesus.  He has never failed to bring me a sense of security and comfort at the sheer utter of His name.   

After Sunday School today, I entered the sanctuary.  I tried to swallow the lump.  I tried to maintain control.  There's makeup, eyelashes and snot that appear in an ugly, magnified manner when the opposite happens!  The notes rang from the musical instruments and the voices began to sing.  Worship had begun.  And then the oddest thing happened.  The songs that I have sung for years and years had new meaning.  Like it was the first time I had ever heard the song.  Words pierced my heart this time.  6 months ago, they were just lyrics that I had memorized.

'In the sun or rain, my life celebrates.  You are good. You are good.'

You can't sing that if you don't believe it.  I stared at the screen before my mouth would open.  Then with complete confidence and a straight spine, I sang the words that I know that I know that I know are true.  He IS good.  All the time.  I know this, Lord, I truly know this.

Like myself, so many of you have an aching hole in your heart from the death of a precious soul that was a part of your life.

Whether it was last week, 5 months ago or 10 years ago, that void is still there.  Does time really heal?  I think that depends on your definition of healing.  I listened to a live interview today in church of a veteran who talked about receiving the news that his brother was shot down at 18 years old after enlisting to fight in WW II.  This elderly man wept as he told this 60+ year old story.

Why?  Because the void is still there.

Please know that if you smiled at me today, chatted with me or even hugged me .... thank you.  You played a huge role in the healing process for a broken child of the King.

And can I encourage you that when the floodgates begin to open and your tears flow without any pre-warning, just whisper the name Jesus.  I promise you - He will hear you and His peace WILL compass you!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Except This Time

My keyboard is once again feeling the weight of my fingertips.  I started this blog in 2010 but haven't written a thing for the past 5 years so why start back up now? My blogging adventure has been beckoning me for at least 2 years now. But I just can't seem to find the needed quite time to focus on what my heart wants to print.

It's here now.  And way overdue. Journaling is my way of sharing my heart when words just won't form and be released from my lips.

Why write?  I'm not quite sure other than I feel a part of me is missing. There's a gap that can't quite be filled with activities or the spoken word.  Only the written word.  It's healing.  Therapeutic.  And forgiving. I need all of those things in my life right now.

My heart hurts like I've never experienced before. My gut throbs nearly every hour.  Eating and swallowing seems to be an unnecessary chore. My cognitive skills are quite lacking.  Sentences are hard to finish. My physical ailments are not due to a sickness but rather a broken heart.  My precious daddy decided to live in Heaven on April 4th.

I had just visited him two weeks before this - we had a wonderful time together.  Ate Cassano's pizza, played Sequence, watched movies, sat on the swing and laughed at each others sarcastic jokes!  I was only home 5 days before I was to take off again on a free cruise that I had won with my company.  I talked to my dad just hours before I flew out.  I knew he was sick with an awful cold but he said he would be fine in a few days.   Dad was a tank - he always recovered.  He has cheated death over and over ... he always won.

Except this time.

A neighbor asked him to go to the motorcycle shop with him on Sunday afternoon but my dad said he didn't feel well and to give him a few days to recover.  I believe he met Jesus that night.  He got up in the middle of the night or early Monday morning and had his final heart attack (making it his 4th one).  I received the phone call from the police while standing in a food line by myself at the Tampa airport.

I don't believe I have ever cried that violently before in my life.  I remember thinking that I was going to faint as I starting running back to where my husband was.  Screaming, shaking, sobbing then the numbness.   I'm so thankful my husband was there with me.

Death has a way of catapulting reality back into the frontal lobe of a persons brain.  A place we wish residence did not make a home. Uncontrollable emotions that surface whether we are ready to face them or not.

I'm not sure what stage of grief I am currently in.  It varies from hour to hour.  I have a business to run.  A house to keep up.  A family to tend to.  Life that continues forward whether I join in or not.  One minute I am laughing and enjoying my family.  15 minutes later, I'm on the floor gasping for air.  4 days after we arrived back home, it was my birthday. I attempted to call my daddy because I just knew he must have forgotten.  Goodness, I loved this man!

I am sorry if I haven't returned your phone call.  Sometimes talking is just too volatile.  I'm sorry that I haven't come back to church yet. Being around people who know my heart is just too hard right now. If I have missed an appointment, please forgive me. If I cry when you ask me how I want my package mailed, just bear with me. If you know someone who has lost a dear family member, extend grace and please pray for them.

I know God called you home, daddy. I trust Him and His perfect plan. Why wouldn't He want your contagious smile and belly-laugh?

Sometimes it's hard to breathe without you. Thank you for being my daddy. Thank you for loving me and always being proud of anything I did. Thank you for the 6 voice mails that I was able to recover so I can hear your voice again whenever I want. Thank you for your humor. Thank you for giving us 73 years of your jolly self.

Enjoy your days in Heaven with my two brothers .... until I see you again,

Your little girl

Friday, July 27, 2012

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

I received an ice cream maker for Mother's Day but actually haven't used it that much due to the amount of sugar needed to make this sinful stuff!  Then when I found a strawberry jam recipe calling for honey instead of 7 CUPS OF SUGAR, I just knew I could find a honey vanilla ice cream recipe out there in cyber land somewhere.

I am delighted to report that I did indeed find such a thing AND it has already been approved by every family including our dinner guests!

Since there's no need to reinvent the wheel or waste any time ... I bring you a copy and paste :)


2 vanilla beans
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1/2 cup honey

Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  Add both the seeds and vanilla beans to a saucepan along with the heavy cream, milk and honey.  Stirring occasionally, bring the vanilla cream mixture to steaming over low-medium heat.

Once the honey is completely dissolved, remove the pan from the heat.  Remove the vanilla bean pods from the cream and discard them.  Chill the mixture for 2 hours and then freeze it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacture's instructions.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Easy as pie and it will taste SO good on top of pie!

My crushed ice is awaiting me since we are whipping up another batch to top our home made apple pie (made with honey, of course!)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Super Easy Healthy Granola

If you google "homemade granola recipes", you will be shocked at the numerous variations out there.  In my book, granola should be easy.  The recipes that had 10+ ingredients and a cooking time of over an hour, never made it past a second glance for me!  I honestly can't remember where I found this one, but I can promise you that it doesn't get much easier than this.  I made this just today and decided to add the vanilla - excellent addition, I will have to say!  Sometimes, I don't even add the nuts - so then we're talking about FIVE ingredients!  Get your bowl and spoon ready for a 5-star recipe!

2 cups regular rolled oats
1/2 cup local, raw honey
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup sliced almonds or walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Thoroughly mix and pour onto a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (I do this so I don't have to wash the pan!)  Bake at 300 for 30-35 minutes, stirring at 15 minutes.

Do NOT cook more than 35 minutes, even though you will have a strong desire to.  The granola will still look "wet" but it will harden within minutes of being removed from the oven.

Turn out onto wax paper (or just pick up the parchment paper from the hot cookie sheet) so that the granola will cool.  Add any dried fruit at this time.

Ready to eat within 5-10 minutes.  Will keep for two weeks at room temperature or freeze for 6 months.  Of course, ours is always gone within the two week time frame, so no worries here!

My son and I eat it plain ... my daughter adds raisins and eats it with yogurt ...  my hubby eats it as cereal - it's such a universal food!

Happy eating!

Friday, June 1, 2012

You Are Going to LOVE This Oil!

I have been using this amazing, healthy coconut oil for almost a year now with delighted success.  I posted a shortened version of this list on my Facebook wall the other day but decided to copy and paste the list in its entirety for your reading enjoyment.

In case you haven't heard, the latest buzz with coconut oil correlating the web has been related to Alzheimer sufferers.  There is so much information being published right now about the positive effects of this oil, that it is jaw-dropping.  Just Goggle and even YouTube some key words and you'll be shocked at your findings.  Please take five minutes to read through this blog and then get coconut oil on your grocery list - ASAP! 

  1. Eat a spoonful when you need an energy boost.
  2. Use it as the base for a homemade body scrub 
  3. Use to condition your wooden cutting boards.
  4. Use as a super conditioner on your hair (apply to dry hair, leave in as long as possible and then shampoo as normal).
  5. Use as a styling agent if you have really dry hair. Just rub a tiny bit on your palms and apply to your hair and style as normal.
  6. Keep a little container in your purse for lip moisturizer.
  7. Add a spoonful to your dog or cat’s food. CO is great for our furry friends!
  8. Replace nasty, unhealthy vegetable oils in your cooking and baking with CO.
  9. Make healthy Magic Shell ice cream topping. 
  10. Use it for oil pulling (goggle to learn more)
  11. Use a tiny dab on your underarms for a natural deodorant.
  12. Use coconut oil instead of shaving cream.
  13. Add to your bath tub for a moisturizing soak (a drop of peppermint oil is wonderful!)
  14. Use as a makeup remover.
  15. Use it to help sooth chicken pox, shingles, or other rashes or skin irritations.
  16. Use it to treat athlete’s food, ringworm, or other fungal or yeast infections.
  17. Take a spoonful with your vitamins to help improve absorption.
  18. Spread a thin layer on cuts or burns to speed up healing.
  19. Take up to 5 spoonfuls per day for improved thyroid function.
  20. Add a spoonful to your smoothies for extra nutrition and flavor
  21. Use on the delicate tissue around your eyes to help prevent wrinkles and sagging.
  22. Use as the base for homemade toothpaste or lotion.
  23. Use in place of massage oil.
  24. Use on your baby’s diaper rash or cradle cap.
  25. Use to help reduce visibility of stretch marks or to prevent stretch marks.
  26. For nursing mothers, use coconut oil on your nipples to prevent cracking and irritation.
  27. For nursing mothers, consuming coconut oil will help increase your milk flow.
  28. Apply to bee stings or bug bites to soothe and heal the wound.
  29. Women can use in the nether regions to relieve yeast infections, dryness, and/or discomfort.
  30. Eat a spoonful with each meal to improve digestion.
  31. If you’re prone to nosebleeds, coat the inside of your nostrils with coconut oil regularly.
  32. Helps soothe and heal hemorrhoids.
  33. Take to helps reduce or eliminate migraines.
  34. Use as the base for homemade vapor rub
  35. Mixed with peppermint, lemon balm, rosemary, or tea tree oil makes an excellent insect repellant.
  36. Mix with baking soda for a non-toxic “Goo Gone”.
  37. Use to help detox the body during a cleanse or fast.
  38. Use as a metal polish, but always test a small area first.
  39. Use as a leather moisturizer.
  40. Season your cast iron pans.
  41. Use to oil your pans and baking dishes instead of pan spray.
  42. Got gum stuck in your hair? Try using coconut oil to remove without cutting your hair.
  43. Use instead of WD-40.
  44. Use as a personal lubricant (not safe with latex).
  45. Take a spoonful to help with heartburn, acid reflux, or indigestion.
  46. Use as a natural sunscreen.
  47. Mix with a tiny bit of fresh lemon juice and use as a furniture polish (always test a small area first!).
  48. Mix with butter and toss your popcorn in it.
  49. Use on cracked or rough heals to help smooth them out.
  50. Massage into your nails and cuticles to help strengthen them.
  51. Use as the base for homemade chocolate candy (like peanut butter cups)
  52. Take a couple spoonfuls every day to help overall immune function
  53. Rub the inside of your nose with coconut oil to help with runny noses, allergies, sore nostrils, etc.
  54. Use on a newborn’s bottom to help keep the meconium from sticking to the skin.
    And the list continues...
    55. Use as a guitar string lubricant.
    56. Massage into tired, achy, or sore muscles (adding a couple drops of essential oil is nice).
    57. Mix with oregano oil or tea tree oil and use on athletes foot or other fungal infections.
    58. One person started using coconut oil and noticed that it helped their colitis symptoms. 
    59. Use as a mascara brush cleaner.
    60. Brush on your eyelashes for an eyelash strengthener.
    61. Use on pimples and acne.
    62 Use on toast instead of butter
    63. Research is showing that it may help with dementia, Alzheimer's  and Parkinson’s.
    64. Use a little bit on a damp cloth to clean a scummy shower. Wipe with coconut oil, then spray with white vinegar and wipe dry.
    65. Use to treat lice 
    66. Use to help prevents stretch marks for pregnant mothers
    67. Mix with garlic and keep on hand for extra flavorful cooking and baking.
    68. Use as the carrier oil for homemade baby wipes.
    69. Use on warts and/or moles.
    70. Whip in your mixer for a fluffy body moisturizer that stays soft year round.
    71. Use on color-treated hair for extra conditioning.
    72. Mix with nutmeg and use on blemishes (leave on for 10-15 minutes and then wash off).
    73. Use to soothe burns (only apply after the initial heat from the burn is gone. Do not apply to burns that have not “cooled” or else it will trap the heat in the skin).
    74. Mix in your hot coffee or tea.
    75. Use on new tattoos to help with healing.
    76. Mix with baking soda for a facial scrub.
    77. Use to help control and reduce eczema and/or psoriasis symptoms.
    78. Massage into your dog’s skin to help with dandruff.
    79. Add a spoonful to your dog’s food to help with arthritis, or other joint/ligament problems, digestion issues, and weight control.
    80. Use as a non-toxic flea treatment.
    81. Use to soothe hot spots on your dog’s skin.
    82. Take a spoonful about 20 minutes before a meal to help curb your appetite.
    83. Helps treat thrush.
    84. Helps with bladder infections and symptoms.
    85. Helps smooth wrinkles and shrink pores.
    86. Helps with yeast infections (both internal and external).
    87. Use instead of mineral spirits to clean hands and brushes after using oil-based paints.
    88. Use to sooth sore throats (let a little dissolve in your mouth and slowly run down your throat).
    89. If you wax your skin at home, use to prep your skin and remove excess wax from your skin.
    90. Some recommend coconut oil for patients with ADHD and Autism.
    91. Use to treat ringworm.
    92. Use to make homemade soap
    93. Use to make homemade lip balm.
    94. Use coconut oil to detail the inside of your car (add a little to a soft cloth and polish).
    95. Use to help with ear infections. Put a few drops into your ear at the first sign of an infection.
    96. One person said that it seems to have helped soften kidney stones to help them pass easier.
    97. Use instead of shortening for pie crusts, biscuits, etc. 
    98. Use to lubricate kitchen scissors when cutting sticky foods (like dates, marshmallows, etc.).
    99. Mix with oil of oregano and use at the first sign of a cold sore.
    100. Mix with a drop of lavender oil and use to help soothe piles and hemorrhoids.
    101. For expecting mothers, use to massage on the perineum daily starting at 7 or 8 months
    102. Mix with cinnamon and oatmeal for a face scrub.
    103. Use to clean the inside of your dog’s ears.
    104. If you use a mouthguard, use coconut oil as a cleaner. Just wipe some on your mouthguard and let it sit during the day. Rinse well before using. Use a thin layer on the guard each morning to help keep it clean.
    105. Use as the base for this homemade deodorant. 
    106. Treat a sty on your eyelid.
    107. Removes lipstick out of carpet
    108. Use to help with menopausal dryness 
    109. Use on your plant’s leaves instead of chemical-filled leaf shine. Just dab a small amount on a soft cloth and wipe your plant’s leaves with it.
    110. Use a dab on a canker sore to help soothe the pain and speed healing.
    111. Use to remove chewing gum from your shoe, carpet, or other unsavory areas where gum has gotten stuck.
    112. When given to cats, it seems to help with the hairball issue 
    113. Feed to your dog to help improve doggie breath 
    114. Use to soothe pink eye infections. 
    115. Some say coconut oil can help with ulcers by fighting against the H-Pylori bacteria. 
    116. Use instead of soybean or canola oil for frying.
    117. Add coconut oil to your soups for added nutrition.
    118. Replace vegetable oils in baked goods with coconut oil.
    119. Make your own peanut butter with coconut oil.
    120. Use coconut oil in homemade infant formula.
    121. Massage into fingertips to soothe and prevent hangnails and ingrown nails.
    Whew!!  I'm sure this seems like an exhaustive list, but I promise you that once you start using this incredible oil, you will find many more uses to add to the list.
    There are several places to buy quality coconut oil.  Tropical Traditions, Nutiva and Fresh Shores have the highest quality grade of coconut oil (visit Dr. Mercola's site to learn about what to look for in a supreme coconut oil).  As always, visit Amazon to make sure you're getting the best price possible.
    I hope this lengthy blog and list has inspired you to research this oil and ultimately decide to throw away those awful bottles of canola, safflower and vegetable oils that are lurking in your pantry.
    Here's to purposeful living with a healthy mindset!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Healthy Peppermint Patties

The last two months have been crazy, wild here with no time or energy to blog even a sentence. Here is a fast, drive-by post for these delicious treats that I made for a party tonight. I have been trying to incorporate coconut oil into our diet and life style in every way possible. I'll post the benefits of coconut oil latter this week.

When I found this recipe, I just had to give it a try - especially since it only has 4 ingredients!  I used honey instead of agave nectar and used 6 drops of peppermint oil. We all agree that next time I will lessen the honey by a tablespoon and use 2 more drops of peppermint oil. I do NOT recommend using any peppermint oil other than Young Living, since they are therapeutic grade and safe (as well as healthy) for digestion.  I can order this for you at my cost, if you need any.
1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey)

5-7 drops of Young Living therapeutic grade Peppermint Essential Oil

1/2 to 1 cup dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips, melted (or dark chocolate melting chips)

In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, agave or honey, and peppermint oil, mixing with a spoon. Smash clumps of coconut oil against side of bowl until mixture is smooth. Freeze mixture for a few minutes until it starts to harden, then remove from freezer. Use a small spoon to measure out little balls onto a parchment paper lined plate. Lightly “squoosh” balls into flat patties. Place plate in freezer until firm. Using a spoon, dip patties into melted chocolate. Place patties on parchment paper to harden (takes 5-10 minutes). On a hot day, you may want to place in the refrigerator.

NOTE: You modify this recipe and make “Orange Dreamsicle Patties” by using orange essential oil instead of peppermint.

I made these in about 10 minutes and everyone loved them. I took them in a cooler on ice as they melt quickly at room temperature. Coconut oil turns liquid at 76 degrees, so this is a recipe to make and then refrigerate until ready to eat. Make them into small patties - one inch or smaller - so that you can just pop the whole thing in your mouth (the chocolate will melt quickly and become messy!)

Enjoy several of these within minutes, knowing that this is the healthiest, sweet, treat you will probably ever make!