Thursday, February 6, 2014

Back to the Drawing Board

Well, fiddle.  I had a seizure yesterday.  It may have inadvertently been my doing, as well . . .




The seizure occurred during the early morning hours, within minutes after getting out of the shower . . . and the water may have been a bit too hot (which raises the histamine levels; raised histamine levels are seizure triggers).




Tex heard me go into the seizure and came into the bathroom as quickly as possible; but he reached the doorway just as I fell in the middle of the bathroom.  On the hard tile floor.  Ouch.  I received a bloody nose, along with a few bumps and bruises - some on my face, some on my legs.  I also incurred a soft tissue injury to my right arm, which happens to be my  dominant arm.  Needless to say, I'm not being very productive today.  (For instance, it's taken me about 5 minutes just to type this tiny little bit of this post).



And, of course, there's the usual after-seizure soreness in my calf muscles.



Tex also reminded me that the day after a seizure is always the hardest; physically and emotionally (partly due to the chemicals working to get back in sync and partly due to how much I abhor seizures).  Because of that (and the pain in my arm), I'm not going to make this a very long post.

Looking on the bright side of things, I made it up to 28 weeks + 5 days with being seizure-free this time!  That's over 7 months; that's huge for me!  I still believe that GARD is working and am going to continue to following that particular eating protocol.  (And, more confession time:  I made meatloaf with oats as the filler over the weekend.  Normally, I use rice, but was a bit time disorganized, so opted for oats instead.  Hmmm . . . oats are restricted on GARD.  It's not one of the main restrictions, but it is, nonetheless, listed.  I had been doing so well, being seizure-free, that I foolishly thought that I'd be ok using oats this one time.  Lesson learned).




So!  Back to the Drawing Board.
Thanks for reading; y'all be blessed.
~Sharmie

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Handling" Life

There’s a blog post floating around my FB newsfeed this morning, titled, "God will give you more than you can handle:  I guarantee it."


I wholeheartedly agree with what the author wrote in her blog post; in fact the body of the post is quite excellent. I do not, however, agree with the wording of the title.  I understand her reasoning in writing the title as it is; and in the actual blog, she goes on to explain how important it is to lean on Our Lord (and not simply ourselves). We are to look to Him in everything. I very much agree with all of this; in fact, over the years, I have said the same things multiple times. However, I still disagree with the title of her blog post.


To explain:
The author points out that she does not like the phrase, "God never gives you more than you can handle." Neither do I . . . I cringe when I hear it; and sometimes, depending upon the person saying it and the circumstances at the time, I might even vocally refute it.


However, and again, with heartfelt respect to the author of that particular blog post, neither will God give you more than you can handle. 
 
"God never gives you more than you can handle."
"God will give you more than you can handle."


If I may gently point out, neither of these thoughts are truly accurate.


There are myriad things that happen everyday in various people's lives . . . catastrophic, horrendous and deeply despairing events. Sometimes, such events are the results of people misusing the very precious gift of free will that has been given to absolutely *every one* of us.
 
Aside from sending Jesus to us to be our Salvation, Free Will is the very next pure and absolute Gift of Love that Our Lord lavishes upon us. We are free to choose Him and we are free to not choose Him. He wants our love, and that can only come from our heart and our own choice to love Him. We are not robots nor are we some type of computer that requires programming. We are living, breathing human beings - made in the Image of God - and we have been given the gift of choice in absolutely everything we do.
 
We can even choose to sin.
 
And, sometimes our choices can bring devastating consequences into our lives. Sometimes our choices can bring devastating consequences into the lives of other people. And, of course, vice-versa . . . sometimes other people’s choices can devastate our lives, as well.
 
For example, murder. Several years ago, one of my friends’ daughter was brutally raped and murdered. I can’t even imagine the depth of pain that my friends went through as they wandered through their grief over this. Through it all, they relied upon and leaned on Our Lord. They poured their hearts out to Him. They looked to Him for His Wisdom, His Guidance and His Comfort. I didn’t know them back then, but I’m most certain that neither one of them thought that God "gave" this to them. And, He didn’t. Sin is what caused my friends’ grief; sin is what caused such atrocities to be inflicted upon their daughter and sin is what took her away from her parents.


Free Will. We have free will to choose to love and we have free will to choose to sin. God did not intend these horrible crimes to happen to my friends’ daughter; in fact, I’m sure all of it grieved Him deeply. Translate that a bit more: God did not "give" this grievous situation to neither the daughter nor her parents; God did not "give" these sin actions to them; it was the free will . . . the choice . . . of the perpetrator that was the catalyst behind it all. BUT. God most definitely was there to comfort my friends; He poured out His Love as a Covering over them and He brought them through it. 
 
In my own life, I have experienced many things that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt Our Lord never intended for me to bear: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and even surviving the suicides of two people. There have been times in my life where I was in so much pain that I truly wondered if I would be able to survive and become whole again. 


Free Will. Misused and misapplied Free Will is what caused all of the above mentions; not God. God did not "give" me any of this, so the statement, "God doesn’t give you more than you can handle" does not apply; and neither does the statement, "God will give you more than you can handle." He simply didn’t deem that I should go through any of these things; they were not, in any aspect, His Will for me.


BUT! They did happen. Things happen everyday . . . to you, to me, to everyone. Not all of them are nice and pretty and tied up with bows; some of them are horrifyingly gut-wrenching and some of them are also evil. The GOOD news in all of this is that Our Lord will be there for us, to bring us through the ick and the yuck. He *will* strengthen us and He *will* heal us. I know this for two reasons: (1) I’ve experienced this myself, over and over again, through all of the things that have happened in my life, and (2) His Word tells, over and over again, that He will do this. Our Lord promises it to us.


"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9 NIV)


"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NIV)


The world can be a scary, painful place, sometimes. Sometimes, it is scary and painful because of nature and not necessarily through any fault of anyone. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves in the darkness of despair precisely because of either our own actions or those of someone else. BUT!!! Regardless as to the origin of our anguish at any given moment in time, Our Lord is *always* with us; we have only to look to Him and to trust Him; He *will* cover us and bring us through any trials or painful experiences we may have.  That’s it in a nutshell :)


Thanks for reading y’all.
May Our Lord bless you most abundantly.
~Sharmie

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Rescued by a Moose!

I'm in the process of consolidating some of my writings over the years and from various places into one location.  "Swirlings" is the chosen illustrious clearing house.  :)

Also on my list for the upcoming year:  a dedicated business blog for Sharmiessence.


For now, I hope you will enjoy reading about how I was once rescued by a moose.  I actually thought I had previously transferred this particular post over to "Swirlings"; but since I couldn't find it, I'll make it today's post.  I must admit . . . it still is one of my favorites!


Originally written on June 14, 2008 . . . 
 
I absolutely love animals . . . four-legged, winged, amphibious . . . you name it; I love 'em! (and yeah, I know that technically, fowl and sea creatures are not animals, but I hope you know what I mean when I include them with animals).

I've always loved animals; in fact, I'm sure if I investigated it, I would find my ancestry directly descended from Dr. Doolittle.

And quite thankfully, animals love me.

But I most especially love wildlife . . . true wildlife that roam and soar and swim free in their natural habitats.

And apparently (and thankfully), wildlife seem to return the love towards me.

. . . Which brings me to the subject of this particular post.

I arrived in Jackson, WY in 2000 . . . I had been living in Alabama, and had answered an ad in a local newspaper in which Jackson Lake Lodge (in Grand Teton National Park) was seeking temporary (summer) secretarial help.  Having wanted, for the previous 18 years prior to that, to go see the Tetons, I jumped on the opportunity and headed off for an adventure.

While working for the Lodge, I stayed in employee housing, on site.  I enjoyed a 10-minute walk to (and from) work everyday, wandering through nature and marveling at the beauty that my eyes beheld.

I've long since forgotten his name, but there was a bull moose that was the Lodge's unofficial mascot.  He had been hanging out around the Lodge for years.  I'm not sure if he's still alive, but I like to think he is . . . watching over his domain (and non-observant females of the human variety).

Now.  Before I continue on, please allow me to take this opportunity to tell y'all that wild animals are, well, wild.  They're not domesticated, nor should they be.  If ya want a pet, may I suggest a dog, bird, cat, fish or even lizard - if that's your thing.  Trust me when I tell y'all that moose, antelope and buffalo are not tame and will definitely not make good pets.

Respect wildlife.  Please honor the fact that they're wild; that's how they were created to be.

To further this bit of a rabbit trail (pardon the pun), a friend and I were talking about wildlife recently.  She's had the privilege of helping to produce some wonderful wildlife documentary films (Hey Mandy!).  She has told me stories of people trying to hand their babies over to bears in hopes of getting a picture of mama bear holding human baby.  OR, of parents encouraging their kids to go up to a moose or a buffalo and try to pose for a picture with their arms around the animal's neck.  PLEASE DON'T DO THIS . . . not if you care for the safety of your baby or child . . . or even yourself.

Anyway, back to Jackson Lake Lodge in 2000 . . . so this wonderful MooseMascot was usually somewhere in my visual on my walks to and from work.  Sometimes he was so close, I could reach out and pet him, if I were so inclined.  However, going back to respecting wildlife, I never attempted such an activity.  I like to think it was a smart decision on my part.  I would, however, smile at him, wave and say hey.  Sometimes if I felt he was particularly chatty on any given day, I'd ask him how his day was going and tell him how much I was enjoying his home.  (Yes, I really did do this.)

Of course, he never answered my questions; he just kept munching on leaves and such and sometimes staring at me as if he thought perhaps I had eaten one too many unidentifiable wildflowers when I was younger.  Trust me, I know that look.

There were 2 trails that I could take that would lead me to work, and I often alternated which way I went.  One morning while on my way to work (probably about 3 weeks after I had come to Jackson and after 3 weeks of daily and sometimes twice-daily conversations with MooseMascot), I apparently took the wrong trail.

BTW, momma moose are probably one of the most fiercely protective of their babies.  They keep them for 2 years before leaving them on their own.  In those 2 years, though, don't even think about approaching a momma moose if she has a baby with her.  Really.  Don't do it.  Especially, if the calf is newly or recently borne.  Please consider yourself duly warned.

So . . . that particular morning, I walked past a thicket of trees . . . in which I didn't even realize that anyone was using it as their temporary abode . . . the trees were probably about 30-40 feet away from me.

The next thing I remember is hearing a loud, angry snort.  I turned around and there, in all her raging glory, was MommaMoose charging after me.  And man, was she angry!

I threw my purse and stuff up in the air, cried out, "Oh God!  Please help me!" and started running.

But hey, let's get real for a moment, shall we?  I am not a runner; never have been and don't have the desire to ever be.  However, I will concede that running is certainly beneficial to one in certain circumstances . . . say, perhaps, when one has gotten too close to a baby moose and the momma is not pleased about it.

But having not had practice in the fine art of running, I'm sure I wasn't setting any world records or anything.  Plus, MommaMoose had a definite advantage over me . . . her legs were as long as my total height (well, almost . . . if I remember correctly, her legs came all the way up to at least my shoulders).  Plus, she had lots of practice in this talent called running; she probably went to some kind of moose-running school, I'm quite sure.

Did I mention there was a fence between her and me (about 4 feet high)?  Did I also mention that she cleared that fence as if it were a stepping stone?

So . . . now, she's on the same side of the fence as I am; and quite frankly, she is gaining ground at a rather truly alarming rate.

I wanted to sit down and have a good cry about the whole thing, but Wisdom told me that the smarter choice was to hustle my, uhm, rear end as quickly as I could.

About that time, she was probably about 2 feet from me; and as she was yelling at me and probably cussing me out in her own special way, I was now envisioning people in Heaven laughing at me as I told them how I had met my demise.

That's when both she and I heard it . . . a very loud, long roar.  We both froze and stood their staring at each other - me looking up into those very cold, hard angry eyes and she looking down towards me stomping one of her front hooves and rather effusively snorting, well, uhm, moose stuff, through her nose and all over me.  I thought that last part was a bit rude and overboard.  I mean, really.  I wasn't expectorating all over her.  Sheesh.

. . . And thankfully and miraculously, neither had I lost any bodily fluids . . . although I must say that if there were ever a time to wet one's pants, that would have been a quite very valid time.

The noise we both heard?  Why, none other than MooseMascot, himself . . . coming to rescue ME; not her, but ME!  Whatever he had said in Mooseese, he meant it.  MommaMoose wasn't moving a muscle (and quite frankly, neither was I; I had frozen into a 5'4" block of total fear).

From probably about 80 feet away, MooseMascot had seen the ruckus and had literally called a halt to it.

That part was great.  What I would have scripted differently for this unusual wildlife drama was the speed in which he was utilizing in reaching us . . . or rather the lack of speed.

Y'all think I can ramble?!!  Lemme tell y'all; I don't have nothing on MooseMascot in that regard.  He took his own sweet time just walking along; why, he hadn't even cleared the fence yet!

Finally (after what seemed like several lifetimes, but in reality was probably only a few minutes), he joined the little spontaneous tea party his missus and I were having . . . Moose nose-drippings, anyone?

He scolded her sharply (once again, in Mooseese) . . . and then, to my complete and utter amazement (as if this whole thing wasn't astonishing enough), he bit her on her rear end!  Not hard enough to draw blood, but hard enough to mean business.

He then turned and started to walk away.  She stood her ground and just glared at me.  Me?  I was still trying to figure out how not to be the laughing stock of Heaven of which I was sure I was going to enter during the next ensuing minutes.

When she didn't immediately follow him, MooseMascot let out another one of his very stern bellows. This time, MommaMoose dropped her head and turned around and followed him . . . but  not before she snorted yet another layer of Moose goop all over my face and top.  How very rude.

I suddenly looked at MooseMascot, he and I made eye contact, he kinda swirled his head and then led MommaMoose away.

I was left standing there trying to process what all had just happened when suddenly my brain recovered and yelled at me, 'RUN!"  Which I did . . . in fact, it was probably the fastest I have ever run in my entire life.

I finally arrived at work and told them bits and pieces of what happened.  Amazingly enough, they believed me.  I like to think they believed me because they could see my character of truthfulness shining through and knew I wouldn't make up something like that for being late to work.  But, reality tells me that they probably believed me because my hair was matted with Moose ick and my face and top were covered in it as well.  Having never shown up to work before being similarly decorated, I'm guessing they realized I wasn't trying out the latest fad in weird expressions of uniqueness.

Strange.  For some reason, they thought I had been through enough for one day and gave me the day off.

A couple of days later, I saw MooseMascot on my way home from work and I thanked him for saving my life.  He just kept right on munching on his leaves . . . but somehow, I just know he heard and understood me.  Afterall, there was now a special bond between the two of us, doncha know.

After that incident, I made sure to not get anywhere close to any tree thickets.  I'm sure MooseMascot had a conversation with MotherMoose about how to improve her manners, but I still didn't want to take any chances.
 

And yes, this really is a true story.

Thanks for reading; be blessed!
Sharmie

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Customer Privacy

This is more of a business post focusing on an aspect of what I consider to be part of customer service.

I've noticed a trend lately in my Facebook newsfeed of various self-employed people posting the specifics of who bought what from them; usually conveyed in one of the following two phrases:  "Thanks so much, (insert customer's full name) for purchasing (insert product purchased)! -OR- "Shipping (insert product purchased) to (insert customer's full name) today!"

I believe I understand the concept and even the intent behind both phrases.  With the first phrase, I think the business owners are wanting to thank their customers for their business; and with the second phrase, they are probably just wanting to keep their customer up-to-date on the status of the order.

Both of these are very good things! 

However.

I cringe whenever I see these posts, and I'll tell you why.

Customer Privacy Invasion.

Perhaps, Mrs. So-and-So does not want the web of world wideness to know the specifics of her purchases.  Perhaps the item she just purchased was to be a surprise for one of her FB friends; and now the surprise just might not be very surprise-y, afterall.

I realize that part of my hesitation regarding this trend might stem from my legal secretarial training - client confidentiality is of upmost importance in the legal field.  It's one of the things I prided myself on when I owned and operated my office support business for 25 years.  It's one of the things on which I still place high priority, even regarding my friends and family and non-business issues. 

Too, client and customer confidentiality aside, bringing it down to a personal level - for me, I am simply *not* comfortable with having my purchasing transactions made public.  There's nothing nefarious going on regarding what I buy . . . but what I choose to buy and whom I choose to tell is my prerogative; not that of the business owner.

But.

I didn't know if I was alone in this thinking or not.  I do tend to happily dance to my own tune.  BTW, everyone should have their own tune, doncha think?  I sure think so!

Still, I wanted to find out what other people thought about this trend of publicizing one's customers'  purchases.  So!  I created a one-question survey over at Survey Monkey.  My first survey, btw - Yay!

As of right now, the survey has been up for 2 days and 14 hours.

Here's the question I asked on the survey:
After purchasing something from a small business, how do you feel about having that purchase publicized via that business' Facebook page, Twitter page and/or other Social Media accounts? (examples: "Thank you Jane Doe for purchasing (insert product here)!" -or- "Shipping (insert product here) to Jane Doe; thanks, Jane!"

I posted links to the survey in 3 different places over at Facebook:  on my personal wall, on my business page and within a women's business group to which I belong.

So far, I've had 29 responses to the survey.  The answers I created for people to choose are:
- I like it very much.
- It doesn't matter either way.
- I do not like it.

Here are the results so far:
- 1 person (3.45%) selected, "I like it very much."
- 8 people (27.59%) selected, "It doesn't matter either way."
- 20 people (68.97%) selected, "I do not like it."

Over the majority of the people have indicated that they do not like this trend of business owners announcing customer purchases.  Additionally, several of the comments that I have received in the 3 places where I posted the survey links discuss how the posters feel it is an invasion of their privacy to have their purchases announced in social media.

Posters' suggestions were also made that in lieu of using the customer's full name that either their first name or simply their state be used.  This is a good suggestion; one that I've even used.  I also fully understand one of the other reasons why small business owners are apt to announce their sales:  it's a great way to advertise one's business.  Afterall, if people are buying and other people know about it, then it stands to reason that more people will want to buy, as well.  But, this type of fun advertising *can* be accomplished without violating our customers' privacy.  Aside from being the thoughtful thing to do, it's also smart  . . . 'twould be a shame to lose a customer because they thought their privacy was being ignored.

Regarding keeping your customers informed of the status of their orders, it might be best to stick to PMs, emails and even phone calls.

Regarding thanking your customers for their purchases (which really is a MUST), this can also be accomplished via private electronic communication.  However . . . nothing can beat a hand-written old-fashioned snail mail thank you note!  AND!  For that extra special touch, consider contacting Sharmiessence to have the envelope addressed in calligraphy:  www.facebook.com/Sharmiessence

Thanks for reading y'all.
Here's to the success of your business!
~Sharmie

UPDATE:  12/6/13; 11:39am
The stats have changed somewhat; still going in the same direction though.  Here are the current results:

- 1 person (3.33%) selected, "I like it very much."
- 8 people (26.67%) selected, "It doesn't matter either way."
- 21 people (70%) selected, "I do not like it."

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Mother's Day Post - in November!

I was scrolling through some of my posts on my wall over at Facebook, and I came across the post I wrote this past Mother's Day.  The topic is really more about forgiveness rather than Mother's Day  . . . and forgiveness is *always* a timely topic, doncha know.  :)

So, without futher adieu, I share that particulate post with y'all, here, now.


*~*~*~*~*
Mother's Day . . . For some, the holiday is a happy time; either because you're a mom and your kids are loving on you in special ways or because you're a child of a fantastic mother.

For other people, the holiday can be a very painful time; and the reasons range from infertility to unhappy memories of one's mom (and the reasons for the unhappy memories range from one's mother no longer living to having grown up with an abusive mom).

Personally, until a few years ago, I never even paid attention to Mother's Day. In fact, I often was unaware of it's approach unless someone made mention of it or I happened to be in a card store in the few weeks prior to Mother's Day. And, actually, it’s still that way, somewhat. Mother’s Day just isn’t naturally part of who I am.

My own mother was not a happy person. "Technically" my mother was actually my birth grandmother; she adopted me from her daughter (my birth mother) when I was still a baby. My grandmother had her own childhood and adolescent horrors from which she never really recovered, never really was able to make peace with her past and move on. Because of that, she also was a very angry person. Without going into detail, she vented her anger on me in, frankly, some pretty terrifying ways. When I was eight, she became bed-ridden with lung cancer. She remained that way until her death two years later. Even from her sickbed, I was truly frightened of her. I don’t refer to her as my mother (unless it’s for clarity in either what I’m writing or saying); instead, if she enters my thoughts or conversations, she is simply referred to by her first name.

I never met my birth mother. And, again, I’ve always referred to or thought of her simply by her given nickname. I spoke to her only once throughout my entire life. By the time such conversation took place, I was a young adult. The details of the conversation are not important; but at that time in my life, I was not prepared to meet her; I asked her to give me six months and then we could talk again. Six months later, she committed suicide in an women’s alcoholic rehabilitation center. The note she left blamed me. That’s some pretty heavy stuff for anyone to handle; especially a young adult (and such young adult going through her own trials at that time). Obviously, like her own mother, my birth mother had her own dark demons that she was simple not able to conquer.

It took me a few years to be able to come to terms with both of these women and how they influenced my life. I was in my early 30s when I learned the power behind asking Our Lord to help us see individuals as He sees them. I was able to do this with both my birth grandmother and also my birth mother. What I saw was great sadness and despair - in each of their lives. Emptiness. I also saw, in each of them, an inability to forgive those who had harmed them when they were young and vulnerable. It shaped their entire lives.

The brutality that each of them then inflicted upon me (as an infant with my birth mother and as a child with my birth grandmother) would also seem to be unforgivable. By all rights, I should be able to hold bitterness in my heart toward each of them every single day of my life.

Except. As a Christian, no, I can’t do that. In fact, I don’t even *want* to do that. Christians are called to actively forgive the people who have harmed them. We are also called to actively love everyone; *including* our enemies.

The cool thing about truly praying for someone is that one cannot sincerely pray for another human being while holding anger, hurt feelings and/or ill will toward them. Prayer and hate cannot coexist. Prayer and love is the correct combination. And, while, technically, I wasn’t praying *for* these women (both of whom had long since been deceased), I *was* praying that I would be able to forgive them; so they were definitely the subjects of my prayers.

I firmly believe that every commandment Our Lord gives us has a two-fold purpose: (1) to bring Glory and Honor to Him, and (2) to protect us. His commandments are not against us; they are so very much FOR us. They are given to us because He loves us so very much.

The commandment to forgive others . . . yes, obeying that will bring Glory and Honor to Him. It will *also* protect us in huge, huge ways. A forgiving heart is malleable; it is soft and capable of being molded and formed . . . and even reformed when necessary. A unforgiving heart is bitter and brittle, and brittle things tend to shatter  A heart filled with bitterness also prevents Peace and Joy from entering.

I had seen the effects of holding unforgiveness towards someone in how the ripple effects pervaded my own life at the hands of my birth grandmother. I had also experience, somewhat, those same ripple effects by observing some of my birth mother’s life.

I didn’t want to become that kind of person. Frankly, I thought I deserved better. And, I did - and I do. The sad truth is that so did both of these women, but they either didn’t know it or chose not to believe it; they deserved so much better than they allowed into their lives. Everyone deserves better than a living a life of unforgiveness, bitterness and hate.

And, that’s the clincher right there . . . we are the ones that make that choice. I make it for my life, you make it for your own life, and others make it for their lives, as well. We, each of us, can choose to either wrap ourselves in hurtful memories and bemoan, "Why me, Lord? Why?!" OR we can choose to wrap those hurtful memories up into a bundle and give them to Him and ask Him to protect us, to help us forgive, to help us heal . . . and to help us move on with our lives. 

I made the latter choice, and I’m so very glad I did.

I don’t do a lot of thinking about neither my birth grandmother nor my birth mother. There’s really no point in doing so. But, when they do cross mind, I try to remember to pray - that my heart would be protected and that I will be able to remember that what’s done is done, and it’s now all just historical facts; nothing more. The memories can’t hurt me. And, instead of becoming all embroiled again in hurt and anger, I allow myself, when necessary, to feel the pain of these two women not being able to reach beyond their circumstances. They were never able to flourish and know true Peace and Joy. And, that truly is a sadness; an empty, dark sadness. But, even though there’s pain in the realization of their choices, I am protected from that pain. It simply is what it is.

But. I also don’t stay in that place very long; life is for the living. My birth grandmother has been dead for almost 4 decades, and my birth mother, almost 3 decades.  There really is not any use nor good reason in getting stuck in all that old ick and yuck.  Besides, I’d much rather turn my attentions towards things in the moment, and I'd much rather focus on the joyful aspects of my life.

*~*~*~*~*
My hope, wish and prayer for each of y’all today is that if you are struggling with unforgiveness towards someone that you will be able to allow Our Lord to help you release that and to replace it with forgiveness . . . and also HIS Peace, HIS Joy.

May Our Lord bless you most abundantly.
Thanks for reading, y’all!

Love,
Sharmie

Monday, November 25, 2013

Let's Have an Update!

. . . A very quick update!
  • Currently seizure-free for 18 weeks + 4 days.  Yay!
  • Have been following GARD program for 13 weeks + 3 days.
  • The dizziness is almost completely gone.  This is AMAZING!  The dizzines had progressed to extremely severe and multiple times during any given day since the early part of this year.  Now, its occurrence is rare (and certainly not daily) and is nowhere near as severe as it used to be.
  • Fluorescent lights - those of y'all who know me know that fluorescent lights are *not* my friend.  Going anywhere with fluorescent lights often either proved not doable or would require that I wear sunglasses while under the fluorescents and then also be very mindful as to how long I was exposed to the lighting.  I still avoid fluorescent lights because they still can cause headaches; but this past week, I decided to "try" something and used the fluorescents lights in my kitchen for about 30 minutes - something I just *don't* do because of the severity of the effects (seizures, being one).  It worked so well, that I tried it again the next day!  I still had headaches after each "session", but not that sick, dizzy, disorienting feeling I would normally get when being under fluroescent lighting.  This is HUGE!!!  I still do not believe fluorescent lighting is healthy (for anyone), but being able to tolerate them certainly does open up my world (think about everywhere you go in a day's time that is fluorescently lit).  I still do not tolerate strobing or flickering very well (i.e., a ceiling fan rotating underneath the fan's lights or watching movies in a movie theater); and whether or not that will change, I don't know.  But, the progress I've made with just being able to stand in fluorescent lighting without having to cover my eyes with my hands or to put on sunglasses is absolutely stunning.  It's been years (decades, even) since I've been able to do that.
At this point, I would say that GARD is working.  :) 
Thank You, Lord!

I would appreciate your continued prayers that I am remain seizure-free and that all the other associated things mentioned above continue to improve as well.  As it stands today, they certainly seem to be doing just that!

Thanks for reading,
Y'all be blessed,
Sharmie

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cracked Roast and Other Things

. . . The other things, first.
First, nooooo talk of seizures today (well, I goofed that up already, didn't I?)  :) 
But really, there truly is more to life than seizures . . . however, since I did mention it and for those of y'all who are wanting a count, today marks just 4 days shy of 16 full weeks of being seizure-free.   The utter bliss of it all! WooHoo!  Yay!!  And thank You, Lord!  Let's keep those weeks turning into months, turning into years.
 
*~*~*~*~*
One more health "thing" for today; and then on with talking about cracked roast (are ya intrigued yet?).
 
I had a skin cancer check done earlier this week.  There have been spots popping up on my arms, legs and various other sundry skinful places lately ("lately", as in over the past several months) - and even more so than "usual"  I've had spots appear here and there for years (decades, even); that wasn't the unusual part.  The unusual part was the speed and prolification of these illustrious, uhm, friends.
 
Y'all will be glad to know (as was I) that none of the spots are cancerous; I'm merely going through an anomaly that the medical field likes to call "aging".  The nerve! 
 
Spotted Sharmies, by the way, are pretty rare, I hear.  In fact, I'm the only one that I personally know of.  I'm thinking of selling T-shirts to commemorate this new phase of my life.  Y'all can all wear them to help promote awareness.  They'll be fuchsia pink in color with pale brown spots splattered here and there.  The front of the t-shirt will proclaim:  "I spotted Sharmie today; have you?"  Whatcha think?  Pretty catchy, right?  I'm sure I'll need to order several thousand for the first printing.
 
Hmmm . . . :) 
So!  At any rate, I'm deeming myself healthy and am moving forward!
 
*~*~*~*~*
OK - on with talking about cracked roast.  Not "crack" roast; I'm not now infusing my dinners with drugs; let's be clear on that. 
 
Cracked roast.
 
This is a recipe that Tex and I created yesterday.  I'm pretty excited to share it with y'all.  I hope y'all like it!
 
This recipe needs to be followed exactly; it's pretty precise.
Oh - and you'll need a helper for this recipe; that part is crucial.  My helper was, of course, Tex.  Your helper can be your spouse, your significant other, your friend, your boss, your co-worker, your business partner, your client; absolutely whomever you choose.
 
When sharing recipes with y'all, I normally like to list the ingredients first and then the instructions.  Today, I'm going to list the recipes throughout the instructions.
 
 
Let's get going!
  1. Around noon, take the chuck roast that has been thawing all morning, and put it in the crock pot.  Add a bit of sea salt, some white pepper and some cloves of garlic (I used about 4 of them - we love garlic).  Add water, cover the lid and set the roast to cook for 5 hours on low.
  2. During all of this, your helper will need to be doing yard work in the front yard.  This is very important; do not skip this step.
  3. After you get the roast going, retreat to your studio for the next several hours to catch up on a few things.  If you don't have a studio, build one.  Again, this is a very important step that must be done if you want the recipe to be a success.
  4. About 5 hours later, go check on the roast.  It is at this stage of cooking that you should notice the lid to the crock pot is completely shattered.  Completely.  Every single millimeter of it.  It will take you a few seconds to mentally process what you're seeing.  Then, you will probably quickly offer up a prayer of thanks to Our Father that the crock pot lid was made out of safety glass; and that even though the entire lid is shattered into bits, it remained "intact and whole" and there were no bits of glass on the counter top or on the floor.  Better still, there were only 1 or 2 pieces of glass in the roast that is happily cooking in the crockpot.
  5. Walk outside to your helper (who is still doing yard work).  Smile sweetly to Helper Person, and inform them that you require their assistance inside for a bit.  I said something along the lines of "Sweeeettiiieeeee . . . would you come inside please; it's important and I need your help."  You may use this particular conveyance if you'd like; but do please be aware that depending on who your helper is, you might want to modify the nickname to something more appropriate for them . . . unless your business partner or employer enjoys being called pet names - that completely between y'all.
  6. This next step is VERY important.  The two of y'all should now stand in front of the crock pot and look at it, then at each other.  Repeat this a couple of times.  Think incredulous; that's the mood you want to project; and then speak that with your eyes and facial expressions.
  7. Helper Person will then lift the lid oh-so-very-carefully off of the crock pot so as to not allow any of the shattered glass bits to fall into the dinner.  You will then plate the roast, take it over to the sink and then wash it thoroughly to remove any particles of glass that may have fallen down into the crock pot and onto the meat.  I didn't consider it necessary to use soap for this task; but I'll leave that part to your discretion; it is, afterall, YOUR dinner, not mine.
  8. Then select your large strainer and hold it over a bowl while Helper Person  pours the liquid from the crock pot into the strainer.  Discard anything remaining in the strainer.
  9. Place meat and liquid into second crock pot.  Now would be an appropriate time to thank Our Father again; this time for owning two crock pots in the first place.
  10. Kiss Helper Person (again, this step may vary a bit with you; it depends on the specific relationship you and Helper Peson have with each other.  Tex and I thought a kiss was most appropriate at that particular juncture).
  11. This is the step where Helper Person goes out into the garage to air up your tires on your tri-wheeler, while you hurry to put on trike-friendly shoes so you can zip up to the grocery store before it gets dark.  One cannot have roast without onions and mushrooms, doncha know.
  12. After airing your tires (well, actually, your trike's tires), Helper Person can now go back outside and resume yard-working.
  13. While you're triking to the store, realize how incredibly windy it is and that the wind is definitely not at your back, but in front of you, creating a resistance.  As is the case whenever this happens, pretend you're at a Bob Seger concert and rock your best version of "Against the Wind."  Smile at the passerbys in cars as they drive past you; it will give them something to ponder for a few moments.
  14. Once you arrive at the store, respond to a phone call from Helper Person who tells you to call y'all's youngest daughter to chat with her about the ingredient measurements in your chicken and dumpling recipe (of which, does *not* require cracked glass).  Remember again (as if you could ever forget) how much you absolutely love, love, *love* cooking; even when glitches happen.  For this step, if you don't have a daughter, you may substitute any loved one your heart thinks of at the moment.
  15. After you arrive back home, throw some fresh onions, mushrooms, carrots and potatoes into the crockpot.  I like to chop or dice these goodies; you're free to skip this step if you so desire.  (But don't blame me if they don't cook thoroughly.)  Stare at the celery waiting to be cut, then change your mind because (a) you're over cutting up veggies at the moment and (b) the crock pot is full; there simply is no room left to add anything else.  Cook on low for a couple more hours.
  16. Eat your dinner.  Glass-free.  Enjoy!
See?!  Was I right?  Is this not the most fabulous recipe of all times?!

Do you think it will be featured on the Food Network?  I should probably start planning the outfit I will wear when they interview me . . .


As always, thanks for reading!
Let me know when you'd like to come over for dinner; I'll be sure to make the above dish for you.  You'll love it!

Be blessed,
Sharmie