Monday, December 24, 2012

Quiet, Peaceful Christmas Eve Morning

My 30 Days of Blessings (Thankfulness) went far better offline than it did online . . . I count 18 separate Blessings of which I specifically wrote here in Swirlings last month.

I wondered at the beginning of November just how many such posts would see the light of day.  :)
I knew that there would be days when the priorities of the moment would take precedent, and I also knew there would probably be times when the right words just wouldn't come for any day's particular blessing.  I was right in both cases.

That's not at all to say that there were days when I was not fully aware of the vast blessings Our Lord has placed in my life.  And, in reality, isn't that the real test of writing one's blessings - to be aware that Blessings are, indeed, abundant - and sometimes even too numerous to tally?

Live life moment by moment.  Do what needs to be done in the moment and look for Our Lord's Covering over and in that moment. 

This may turn out to be more of a end-of-year post, rather than a post that one would expect on the day before Christmas.

My ponderings are rather contemplative this morning; and the end of this year is still a week and several hours away.  Who knows what my thoughts will be by then?!  :)

I'm ok with that, though. I hope you are, too!

2012 has been a topsy-turvy year; that's for sure.

My father-in-law passed away in March.  Tex and I were there with him, in the hospital, when he died.  Just the 3 of us and the nurse.   It was incredibly peaceful.  I have been so thankful that Tex and  I could be with him when he went to his eternal home.  I think of this wonderful man often.  I knew him exactly 2 years . . . not a very long time; but in the grand scheme of things, time really is insignificant when it comes to hearts bonding and people loving.

My mother-in-law has had her own share of health problems this year, as well.
In August, just as she was nearing the end of chemo treatments for cancer that was diagnosed in 2010, she was hospitalized for West Nile Virus.  She spent quite a bit of time in the hospital and also in rehab.  It was a hard time for us; we came very close to losing her, as well. 

Recently, within the past couple of weeks, she was hospitalized once again; this time for liver problems.  She's out of the hospital now.  She's got a tough journey ahead, but she's also a tough lady with a lot of grit and determination.  Admirable qualities, indeed!  Please keep her in your prayers.

Am1, DelawareBoy and Mr.Handsome moved back to Delaware at the end of summer.  Tex and I keep in touch with them via various technological opportunities . . . but still, it's hard to hug tecnology . . . well, for most of us, anyway.

Am2, MichiganBoy, LittleMiss and BruiserCharmerBoy visit us when they can, and we visit them when we can.  Fortunately, that equates to approximately 1 - 2 times per month.

Ya know . . . I never knew I would absolutely love being a grandmother as much as I do.  All 3 of my grandkidlettes have my heart.  Thinking about them can simultaneously bring laughter and tears.  I laugh and smile at their antics, their sweetness and even their mischeviousness.  I feel deep pain when I think of all the dangers that they might encounter during their life.  And then I remind myself that as much as Tex and I love them and as much as their parents love them, that God loves them even more; much more than I will ever be able to comprehend.  So.  I thank Our Lord for letting me be in their lives, and ask Him to watch over all 3 of them.  And, then I go on.

Speaking of being grateful for being a part of someone's life . . . who knew that I would ever refer to anyone as my child?!  But, Am1 and Am2 are not just Tex's daughters; they are our daughters; they are my daughters.  And their husbands are our sons-in-law; my sons-in-law.  These 4 grown-up people . . . I can laugh just as much regarding them as I can our grandkids.  I can also cry for them just as passionately as I do for the little ones.  They are my family.  Plain and simple.  And, I deeply love and pray for each and every one of them.

For those of y'all who know me well, then you know that I encourage people to live grateful lives, to live with Our Lord's Peace and Joy, to always seek His Wisdom and His Guidance and to give things to Him that are puzzling and/or painful.  You might also know that I tell people to not waste their time and mental energy on people who don't want to be a part of your life.  By that, I mean, accept it and continue living your own life.  No one can make anyone else be a part of their life.  No one can make anyone else like them.  So, why fret over it?  Why let it cloud your own life?

Ironically, I spent much of 2011 and about 7 months of 2012 trying to figure out what I did or what I said regarding a couple of people who suddenly decided they did not want me in their lives.  I would spend my lawn-mowing sessions walking around the yard, pushing that mower and regurgitating various real and imagined scenarios over and over in my mind, trying to pinpoint exactly what happened to cause such a rift.  And yet, no answers came.

If you know me well, then you also know that I am pretty upfront with things, and I encourage people to talk things over with each other.  Sometimes, though, the other person simply doesn't want to do that.  And again, you can't make someone communicate with you if they don't want to - so why waste the time and energy?  Why create such a frustration?

I made several attempts to try to open the lines of communication with these 2 people, in hopes of perhaps clearing the air; all of my efforts in this regard were either rebuffed - or worse, ignored.

A few months ago, I was finally able to take my own advice.  I was able to let them go - and get on with my own life without regard to the whys of how they felt toward me.  Ironically, such liberation came after an "out-of-the-blue" blow-up initiated by one of these people.  I walked around for days after that, talking to Our Lord about this person's attitude & behavior and most importantly, my response to such illustrious blow-up (which, frankly, my response was definitely nothing to brag about).  It was, however the catalyst that allowed me to let it all go.

Why am I telling y'all about this?

Great question!  I'm glad you asked!

I spent probably a year-and-a-half dwelling on something that I could not change.  I wasted that time; time that I won't be able to have again.

AND, I also noticed that it was beginning to change me . . . and not for the good.  This is why I encourage people to not do this in the first place.  Don't give yourself away.  The reality of the matter is that I probably spent way more mental energy on these specific people than they did on me.  For whatever reason, they wanted me out of their lives, they chose to not discuss the reason with me; and that was probably the end of the matter as far as they were concerned.  They probably went on with their lives without giving me a second thought.  Maybe not.  Either way, it's really none of my business.

Likewise, it's really none of your business what someone might think of you; especially if it's derogatory.  Don't let people's opinion of you define who you are or who you will be.

Pray for them.  Pray sincere prayers that Our Lord will bless them.  And, then, move on.  If you encounter them while you're busy living your own life, treat them with genuine kindness and graciousness; regardless as to how they treat you.  If you mess up on that part, repent to our Lord and ask His Forgiveness.  Then, apologize to the person - and mean it (yep, that's a hard pill to swallow, but do it anyway).

The way we treat someone should not be dependant on how they treat us.  It should be dependant only on how Our Lord wants us to live our lives.

There ya go.

That's been my 2012, in somewhat of a nutshell.

It's probably been one of the more unsettling years that I've experienced in a while . . . but, even that is ok.  I personally feel that it's been a time of growth; and that is always a good thing.

In between the frustration and confusion and even tears, there's also been much laughter and much love.

I choose to focus on the laughter and love, hold tight to cherished memories of loved ones now gone, do what needs to be done at any give moment, give the ick and the yuck to Our Lord for Him to do with as He pleases, change directions when I get off-kilter . . . and always look to Him for His Strength, His Wisdom, His Guidance, His Peace and His Joy.

Tomorrow is Christmas.  For me, that means commemorating the Birth of Our Lord, Jesus.
In my world, He definitely IS the reason for the season; and for that I am so very grateful.

I hope that each of of y'all have an abundantly blessed Christmas.

Thanks for reading!
In His Peace, His Joy and His Love,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

B27 - 2000 hits, Skype and Dad's Birthday

The past 10 days have been filled with travel, family, relaxing, various offline projects . . . and, a some laziness also thrown into the mix.

All-in-all, it's been an amazing time.

I was pleasantly surprised when I came to Swirlings today and noticed that the hits counter was right-smack-dab on 2,000! 

That brings me to my first Blessings for today's post . . . y'all.  I deeply appreciate everyone who takes the time to read what twirls and swirls within my grey matter.  Swirlings will be 8 months old this Sunday; and in those 8 months, I have made 50 posts (not counting today's blogging).  Averaging that gives an average of 250 hits per month or 40 hits per blog post.   Yay for y'all!  :)

I hope that you will continue to read Swirlings, and that you will also share my links with your friends and family. 

I'm also interested in hearing from you.  Always feel free to leave your comments to any of the posts.

Technology is my second Blessing for today.  I often marvel at the way that our forefathers and ancestors lived.  In the grand scheme of things, it's only been in recent generations that day-to-day living was not simply about survival. 

Today, pretty-much whatever we want to accomplished can be done by pushing a button. 

Sometimes I rail against how utterly spoiled we are today, compared to even a few years ago.  I opine regarding how lazy technology has made us.

But.  I also recgonize the tremendous advantages that technology affords us.

Thanksgiving evening is one such personal example.

Am1, DelawareBoy and Mr. Handsome (our 9-year old grandson) moved back to Delaware a few months ago.  I have missed seeing them and being able to hug them.  They are often the topic of conversations between Tex and me.  We hope that they all are happy and doing well.  We pray for them often. 

Thursday evening, thanks to modern technology, we were able to Skype with Am1 and Mr. Handsome.  "We" being Tex, Am2, Little Miss, Bruiser Charmer Boy and me.  Well, actually, I don't think Bruiser did much chatting, but he did baby-babble through some portions of the conversations.  Who knows; maybe he was imparting fascinating and wondrous secrets to his big cousin, Mr. Handsome.

It was SO wonderful to be able to see Am1 and Mr. Handsome's faces!  It was the first time I had seen them since the left Texas, back in August.

Skype, thank you! 

My 3rd Blessing for today regards my father.

As a clarifying reminder . . . whenever I speak of my parents I am specifically speaking of my adoptive parents; not my birth parents.

Dad was also my step-grandfather.  I was 3 months old when he and my grandmother received custody of me, and it was about a year later when my adoption was finalized.

My memories of Dad during my childhood are a strange, eclectic mix.  My mother (maternal grandmother) was alive for the first 10 years of my life.  Alcoholism was rampant between the two of them.  After she died, Dad went even deeper into the bottle.

As a teenager, he and I did not get along.  While I didn't know it then, I was rebelling against the alcoholism that I had lived in all of my life.  Some of the effects of such lifestyle from a tenderly-young age were not at all pretty.

In fact, one of my very earliest memories is of abuse.  I grew up experiencing a variety of abuses; none of them, however, are really pertinent to today's post.

As negatively as I felt toward Dad throughout all those years, I also knew that he would never physically harm me.  It's quite a paradox, I know; but nonetheless, it is the truth.  I despised his drinking and the havoc it wreaked, but I also knew that he would never physically hurt me.  For me, that was a rarity back then.

Dad died when I was in my mid 20's. 

One of the biggest Blessings that I will be continually thankful for is that a year before he died, we were able to come to an understanding of each other and we were also able to forgive each other for all the junk we both had inflicted upon each other.  I was able to tell him about my experiences that no child should ever have; so many secrets that he never knew about.   And, he believed me; without question.  That, in itself, is another Blessing that I deeply cherish.

That last year of Dad's life was such a tremendous Blessing.  Forgiveness is a wonderful gift; both for the one being forgiven and also for the one doing the forgiving.  With Dad and I, both of us were both forgiver and forgivee.

Today commemorates my father's birthday.  He would be 91 years old if he were alive. 

The man fought in 3 wars (WWII, Korea and Vietnam).  He was a naval fighter pilot; and while it's not an excuse and while I very much believe in people taking personal responsibility for themselves, part of the alcoholsim that he inflicted upon himself was connected to how he militarily served his country.  I know because as a teenager I often heard the alcohol-induced nightmares he would have regarding some of his experiences during those 3 wars.  It's an ongoing reminder for me to always be genuinely thankful for the myriad sacrifices that our military personnel willingly give in order that they can serve and protect our country.  

Lest I leave you with a lop-sided view of my dad, I'd like to close by saying that aside from the alcoholism, I also have some good memories our relationship with each other.  Even with all the ick and yuck that we went through, I know that he genuinely loved me.  That, in and of itself, is a treasure.

Here's to you, Dad.
All my love,

Thanks for reading, y'all!
May y'all each be abundantly blessed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

B16 - Perspective

Today I am so very thankful for perspective.  Being able to to look at a situation, any situation, and think it through from all angles is a precious gift.  Being able to do that through Our Lord's Wisdom and Guidance is even infinitely better.

Thanks for reading, y'all!
Be blessed,

How about y'all?  What are you thankful for on this 16th day of 30 days of Thankfulness?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

B15 - Tex!

On a business trip - and, of all places - Niagra Falls, Toronto Canada
An unusual way to take a bath
Playing catch with Mr. Handsome
Building a train track with Little Miss
Chilling with Bruiser Charmer Boy

Cutting floor tiles for the master bathroom after the Flood of 2012

Washing his truck

The nerve of him!

Finally, he sleeps.

Tex - my husband, my best friend, my Beloved.

So very many, numerous blessings wrapped up in one man.

Tex, I'm so thankful that Our Lord brought us together.  I'm so thankful that you are my husband and I am your wife.  I love you.  Forever and For Always.

Thanks for reading, y'all!
Be blessed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

B14 - Trust & Friendship

I was all set to write about Tex today.  I even had a few photos selected to share with y'all.

But, that particular blog post will need to be for another day.

I received a phone call from a friend this afternoon, giving me an update on an aspect of her life.  It's an aspect that needs to be covered in prayer.  So, for those of y'all who do pray, please remember my friend and her situation.  The specifics, of course, do not need to be published here in Swirlings - Our Lord will know who, what and why you are lifting up prayers.

It struck me in the middle of my conversation with my precious friend, how very blessed I am that people trust me.

Yeah; the timing of it was a bit narcissistic.  There ya go.

But, still.

I do not take such trust lightly. 

I want the people in my life to know that they can come to me and talk with me about anything.  I want them to know that I will listen to the best of my ability; and hopefully, truly hear them.  I want them to know that my prayers are with them.  I want them to feel safe with me.  I want them to know that I love them.

I count it as a huge blessing when this happens.  I count it as an honor and a priviledge.

It truly is something for which I am deeply thankful.

Thanks for reading!
Y'all be blessed,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

B8, B9, B10 -and- B13

Last Wednesday, after Tex got home from work, the plan was that he was going to play chauffeur and take me to Am2's house for a few days.
That was the plan.

By Wednesday, I realized that I needed to stay home and get some sleep, so we delayed the trip until the next day.

And.  I'm very glad I did - I needed the extra time to decompress from the previous few days.
(BTW, our roof is done - YAY!  The workers finished Thursday afternoon.  They did a great job, too!)

So!  Thursday afternoon, we packed up the truck.  "We" being Tex.  Not Tex and I.  Just Tex.  There ya go.  Hey!  I did all the packing; doesn't that count for something?  And, just to let y'all know, I have not mastered the art of traveling light when going to spend a few days with Am2.  Me - a minimalist - over-packing.  Go figure.

We arrived just in time for a scrumptious pot roast dinner that Am2 had prepared  . . . hey, do we know how to plan things or what?!

After a few hours, Tex and I kissed each other goodbye, and he drove back home.

The next few days, I was able to hang out with Am2 and play grandma to Little Miss and Bruiser Charmer Boy.  It was awesome; lots of baby snuggles and laughters and good conversation with Am2.  And, even though I didn't get to spend a lot of time with MichiganBoy (work duties and such), it was nice to see him and share some time with him, as well. 

Saturday was the Big Day!  Even though Little Miss' birthday was yesterday, we celebrated it on Saturday.  She had a Minnie Mouse-themed birthday party; and beforehand, kept reminding us that there was going to be a party.  HER party.  Ha!

Tex arrived, with his mother and a family friend.  Even though it was only a few days that we had been apart, it was so good to see him.  I always enjoy my visits with Am2 and entourage . . . and I always enjoy seeing Tex when he comes to take me back home.

I knew I would probably not have much time to do any world-wide webbing while away from home last week . . . so I decided to delay posting last Thursday - Saturday's Blessings posts.

Today's post is a conglomerate of those 3 days.

I love my family.  My husband, our daughters, our sons-in-law and our grandkidlettes - along with our other family members that encompasses the total umbrella of Tex's family.

I mentioned it yesterday, but it bears repeating . . . I love, absolutely love, being a grandma to Mr. Handsome, Little Miss and Bruiser Charmer Boy; and I consider it a deep honor and priviledge to be allowed this opportunity.  I also deeply love both of our daughters, Am1 and Am2.  They often refer to me as their mother, in some form or fashion.  I am truly humbled.  Their own mother is still alive; and I never want to intrude upon or disrespect that.  That both Am1 and Am2 are happy to have 2 mothers in their lives blesses me deeply.

Marrying Tex was so wonderful, in and of itself.  I love that he is my husband and that I am his wife.  I treasure our marriage and daily thank Our Lord for him and for our marriage.

I didn't just "gain" a husband 2.5+ years ago, I received an entire family. 

I didn't really have a family when I was growing up, so being so readily accepted as mom and grandma is a blessing that I'll probably never adequately be able to convey the tremendous impact it has had on my life.  I love our daughters deeply.  And, I truly don't think of them as my step-daughters; they are simply and fully daughters. 


Moving on to current time . . .

. . . Today is the inaugural of my 49th year on this merry-go round we call life.

I am so very thankful for my life; I am so thankful that Our Lord created me and gave me such life.

I often miss the mark, but my goal truly is to live my life in a manner that will bring Glory and Honor to Him and that will encourage and edify others.

So, here's to y'all!  Thank you for being a part of my life.
And thanks for reading.
May Our Lord abundantly bless each of y'all,

Monday, November 12, 2012

B12 - Little Miss

Look at this child!  Isn't she absolutely beautiful?!

Yes, I think so, too.

Today is Little Miss' 3rd birthday.  I first met her when she was 4 months old.  A month later, her Grandpa and I were married. 

I absolutely love this little girl.  She is precocious, head-strong, extremely energetic, nimble, hilarious, exuberant, strong, frighteningly fearless, compassionate and quite very loving. 

She calls her baby brother "Brudda", and hugs & kisses him with abandon.  But.  Let him interfere with something she wants, and she's quick to scold him and let him know of her displeasure. 

She gives the most absolute tightest and longest hugs.

She can chat on the phone for minutes and minutes . . . when she wants to; when she doesn't want to, then that's that and no conversation will be forthcoming.

She loves pink and purple and all things frilly and girly.  She changes clothes multiple times during the day, and loves to walk around in my shoes and the shoes of other adults. She loves to have her fingernails and toenails painted - in wild colors.

She's a nature girl and loves the outdoor like there's no tomorrow.

As girly as she is, she is also quite the tom-boy.  BTW, adult shoes . . . one of her favorite pairs that she enjoys tromping around in are her daddy's boots.  Yep, yep.

She also loves to dig in the dirt, ride lawnmowers and climb on tractors.

When she was about 15 or 16 months old, I watched for almost an hour, while she dragged a bucket of water to pour into a small dirt pit so that she could make mud.  At that time, she also learned how to operate the spray nozzle of a garden hose.  This helped her make more mud in shorter amounts of time.  She then proceeded to sit down in the mud pit and cover herself from head-to-toe in the thick, brown, gooey mess.

She squeals with delight at the most amusing things.

She sings herself to sleep . . . at the very top of her lungs.  Sometimes such naptime preparation can extend through the entire naptime.

She loves trains.  Chugga Chugga Choo Chooooo!

She can scold you with just a look one minute; and the very next, be giggling and laughing with you . . . or, perhaps, at you.  When she's laughing, her eyes twinkle like a million stars.

She watches and observes.  Everything.  And from that, she learns.  Then, she does what she has just learned.

She absolutely never ceases to astonish me.

I'm so very thankful that this little bundle of energy is part of my life.  I am most thankful that she's my granddaughter.

Happy Birthday, Little Miss.
I love you so very much . . . you little monkey!

Thanks for reading, y'all!
Be blessed,

Sunday, November 11, 2012

B11 - Veteran's Day

I'm very thankful to be an American.

I'm also thankful to have been raised with an deep and sincere appreciation for our nation's military.  My dad retired as a Naval Lieutenant Commander when I was around 4 or 5 years old; but the military continued to be a part of our lives.

Dad was a fighter-pilot and served in three wars:  WWII, Korea and Vietnam.  He did so proudly.

As a quirky tidbit for y'all, one of my earliest childhood memory is of my "polishing" my dad's "dress-white" shoes with Kiwi white shoe polish (more accurately, its "Scuff Cover" product).  I absolutely loved "painting" his shoes . . . and I always tried to make sure that the shoes were beyond "inspection-ready."  I loved seeing Dad in his dress whites, complete with his various ribbons depicting the medals that he had earned.  I still have those ribbons. There ya go.

Dad died when I was in my mid 20s.  He had a military funeral and is burried in a national cemetary.  At his funeral, I was presented with his flag.  It's one of my most treasured possessions.

While today, November 11th is the actual Veteran's Day for 2012, tomorrow will be the observed day.  There will be parades throughout the country, along with various other memorial celebrations.  I hope everyone who is an American has been able to take some time today (and will also be able to do so tomorrow) to reflect on how important our military is.

I encourage y'all to thank the military personnel you encounter throughout the day; both those in your circle of family and friends, and even those whom you do not know.   The sacrifices that these men and women willingly give to their country are often beyond what we civilians can really ever fully comprehend.

Have a Blessed Veteran's Day,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

B7 - Leftovers

It's been a looonnnng day.

Day 3 of the roofers.  Lots of noise - from them, and also from the puppy girls because of them.

Additionally, I was zoomin' all over the house today (mostly in the kitchen), doing this, that and a few other things.  I started this zoomfest at around 7:30am and didn't stop to take my first break until around noon.   The afternoon was similiar to the morning, except not quite as busy. 

My ankles, legs and back hurt - and, I'm tired. 
There ya go.

Tonight, on Day 7 of my 30 Days of Thankfulness, I am especially truly thankful for leftovers.  This means that I do not need to cook dinner tonight, except for the squash that I'm steaming on the stove right now.  That, along with the meatloaf I cooked a few days ago - and dinner is served.

Leftovers also mean that Tex and I have more than enough to eat.  It's a sobering thought that there are many people who do not share this in common with us . . . that what should be a basic part of everyday life for anyone is, instead, often a luxury to them. 

Thanks for reading.
Y'all be blessed . . . and may each of us truly realize just how deeply blessed we really are.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

B6 - Despite Too Much

A few months ago, a storm pelted our house with hail; and consequently, our roof sustained some damage.  It needed to be repaired, but not immediately.  This worked out well for the company we selected to re-roof our house; as they were slammed with a customer waiting list over the summer, and asked if we could schedule our roof for later . . . later being, well, now.

Today was the second day of their walking around and pounding on our roof.  The pounding periodically excites the puppy girls, which then creates even more noise via canine barking . . . afterall, Lizzee and Echo are only trying to protect their domain, doncha know. 

Tomorrow's going to be interesting - the roofers are going to be here again, and I've got mucho stuff to do throughout the day.

For a variety of reasons, I've not gotten a lot of quality sleep the past few days.
. . . And, in case y'all didn't know, it's kinda hard to take a nap when there's loud banging just a few feet directly above your head.  There ya go.

Additionally, today's been a busy day; and bedtime isn't going to happen for several hours.  Tomorrow is going to be another busy time . . . as well as the rest of the week.

Whew!  I'm looking forward to Monday!

BUT!  Despite my being tired and despite the next few days promising to be hectic, I do know that it's all going to be all right.  I also know that I can rely on Our Lord's Strength.  AND His Joy throughout it all.

That's a huge Praise / Blessing / Thankfulness!

And now . . . I need to go punch down some dough and bake some dinner rolls . . . to go with the Vegetable / Beef soup that has been slow-cooking all day.

Here's to y'all's stamina - keep it going to get you through what you need to do.

Thanks for reading!
Y'all be blessed,

p.s. - Tex and I crawled into our new waterbed last night . . . and it was good.  We both agree that we might have over-filled it just a tad, so we're going to take care of that.  But big kudos to my Sweetie - because of him and everything he did yesterday, we didn't even have to miss one night of our treasured and much-appreciated waterbed! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

B5 - A Leaky Waterbed

Our waterbed burst this morning.  Just as Tex was getting out of bed, a spot on top of the mattress tore.  It was a significant tear and not one that could be repaired.  Water immediately came forth and started soaking the sheets (along with the vast majority of all of our towels as we tried to contain the leak to just the surface of the mattress).

Tex is currently looking online to find local waterbed sources, so we can buy a new mattress.

We have just finished draining the mattress and have put up all of the tools and equipment that we've been using these past 4 hours.


There is an absolute multitude of blessings that I am thankful for regarding today's wet adventure.  The following are just a few of them.
Get ready; here we go:

(1) The mattress decided to burst this morning, at the end of our sleep; versus last night, at the beginning of our sleep. 

(2) The mattress went to its watery grave while we were at home; we didn't have to come home to a big, wet mess.

(3) Tex takes these kinds of things in such stride. He simply does what needs to be done at any given time and then goes on about his life . . . C'est la vie.
Man, I love that man!

(4) Tex was able to call work and tell them that he didn't know when he'd be in to work today (or even if he'd make it to work).  He simply told his boss what had happened and that was that; no hoops to jump through or anything.

(5) He has plenty of comp time to use to offset this surprise day off.

(6) The co-worker that usually rides with Tex called this morning, just minutes after the Titanic made its appearance, and told Tex that he (the co-worker) needed to drive himself to work today.  This completely solved a potential problem of what to do about that and made it a moot, non-matter.

(7) We now need to buy a new waterbed mattress.  Thankfully, we are able to do so at this time.  God's Provisions is always a huge praise!

(8) Tex had most of the tools on hand to do this unexpected project.  The only thing he needed to buy was a water pump accessory to go on the end of his drill, so that we could drain the waterbed without having to rent or buy a water pump.

There are so many other blessings surrounding our now dearly-departed waterbed mattress, but I'll stop here. 

I'd love to hear about your similar experiences - where something not so good was covered in an array of blessings!

Thanks for reading; y'all be blessed,

B4 - My Imperfection and God's Perfect Timing

I woke up yesterday morning thinking I knew what my thankfulness (Blessings) post was going to be.

Instead of posting my blog post right away, I decided, instead, to make a reply post in an online group that I have recently created that focuses on living healthy.  There's an over-abundance of mainstream mis-information "out there" that people are mistakenly believing.  One of those myths came up in the group yesterday, and I felt I needed to address that then (and not later).

After that, the rest of the morning didn't go quite as planned.  The underlying reason for choosing what I was going to write about, here, in Swirlings presented itself in an onslaught of unexpected tears (mine).  Yep, yesterday's post was going to be a continuance of my 30 Days of Thankfulness; and yes, the reason for that particular thankfulness is, indeed a heavy-hearted one.  This is a point that I want to make sure does not slip by without mention . . . it IS possible to be thankful for things even when those very things are filled with sorrow.  That, in itself, is even another blessing!

Tex was very caring and patient during this unexpected tear-fest.  I love that man so much!

By the time we started getting ready for church, we definitely had to hustle our bustles.

I decided that I would write my blog post after we came home from church.

But.  That didn't happen, neither. 
Instead, I decided to just relax a bit and visit the ozone for a while, before Tex and I left for our afternoons plans.

I still thought I would get the post written before day's end yesterday.  I figured I could write it after we got home in the evening.

Nope.  Obviously, nope, or else there would have been a post made yesterday, here in Swirlings.  Right? 
Of course, right.

By the time we got home, I was pretty tired.  I think I was in bed by 9:00pm.  Daylight Savings Time ended yesterday morning; and so, maybe I was tired because my body was thinking it was 10:00pm.  Yep, I'll go with that.

The above directly points to my imperfection; specifically that I did not get my Day 4 Thankfulness posted by the end of Day 4.

Now.  Let's talk about God's Perfect Timing, shall we?!

His Timing IS Perfect.  In fact, it always is.

The sorrow that was weighing so heavily on my heart yesterday . . . that sorrow is still there (in part), along with a heavy dose of concern.  But, in the midst of everything, there is Our Lord, and I trust that He is Sovereign.  Over everything. 

I truly believe that it was far better for me to talk with my husband about the matter (even while doing so through many tears), versus making a blog post.  I also believe that this was part of God's Perfect Timing for me, yesterday; even though by doing so, I then did not have time to make a blog post first thing yesterday morning.

Later in the day yesterday, His Perfect Timing manifested itself once again, in the form of a phone call and specifically what was said in that phone call.  It was a confirmation of one of my concerns, and it all ties in with what I am so obscurely writing about.  Being obscure is ok, though ; it's not the specifics that is the point of this blog, it's the blessings that are behind the specifics that are important right now.

There are two such blessings: 
(1) Realizing that my imperfection is, indeed ok.  I've never had a problem with the actual knowing that I am imperfect; I just cannot honestly say that I've always been ok with such personal imperfection.  There ya go.

(2) Knowing that, even in the midst of sadness and concern, God is still God and that He is still Lord over everything.  I know this; I always know this.  In fact, I often remind people of this very fact.  Yesterday, He blessed me in unexpected ways that were very needed and timely reminders.

How has He done this in your life?

Thanks for reading!
Y'all be blessed,

Saturday, November 3, 2012

B3 - Home Sweet House

I grew up in a house; somewhat out in the country, but not completely.
Our neighborhood consisted of 1 long street and 1 short street, both streets formed somewhat of a curvy T.  The house wasn't small; but neither was it large.  It was just a nice, comfortable house; and with the house, came a big yard.

When I decided to leave home and live on my own, I moved into an apartment.  Several of them, in fact.  I moved around a lot for a few years.  Actually, I would move back home for a while, move out, move back home again, move out, rinse, lather, repeat.  It took me a few years to get a grasp on things, doncha know.

Zooming closer to somewhat current time, when I lived in Jackson, I resided in apartments, one-room studios and even motel rooms.  There ya go. 

Interestingly, the longest I lived in a motel was slightly over a year . . . a wing of rooms had been renovated into small studios (to even include cute and functional kitchenettes).  This wing was reserved for anyone who worked in the county.  That should show you how hard housing can be to come by sometimes in Jackson. 

The next longest stint of motel living ran for about 9 months and was specifically attached to a job.  In fact, it was my first job in Jackson.  It was also my first home there, as well.  I had spent the summer working in Grand Teton National Park; and once the summer job ended, I mosied my way down to Jackson in hopes of finding a place to live and starting my life as Southern Belle Hippie Mountain Woman.

But, alas . . . after 2 weeks of searching, I still had not found anywhere to live.  I was pretty dejected and started making plans to leave Jackson.  I went to check out of the motel that I had been staying at for those 2 weeks; and the owner, himself, was at the front counter.  Long story short, he found out my plight and offered me one of his older motel rooms at an employee rate if I would take a night audit job at the motel.  Deal and done.  The job and the accommodations were offered only through the winter; but at least it kept me in Jackson and got me going.  However, a kitchenette was not part of the ammenities.  That's when I learned about crock pots and two-eye electric burners.  Yep, yep.

Bringing all of this to today, Tex and I live in a house.  Not quite as bit as the house I grew up in, but still quite comfortable and nothing to sneeze at.  In fact, we are able to have an office for Tex, a studio for me and a guest room for, well, guests!  Sometimes that room is home to an out-of-town friend; sometimes it is where our grandkidlettes sleep when they come to visit.  It fills my heart with tremendous joy when that room is being occupied.  Tex and I both truly cherish all of our house guests.

And, let's not forget the kitchen (my second studio)!  Throughout the year, we are able to have friends over for dinner or perhaps a party . . . oh be still my heart; another opportunity to cook for and feed and entertain people - one of my passions, doncha know.

Taking this virtual tour outside, our yard is significantly smaller than the 6 acres from my childhood; but nonetheless, we do have both a front and a back yard.  The back yard is fenced-in, so the puppy girls can run and romp to their heart's delight.

I can grumble about the yard when it needs to be mowed (Texas heat and humidity, anyone?) . . . but I truly do enjoy living in a house and having a yard.

That's my blessing / thankfulness for today; 3 days into 30 Days of Thankfulness.  I am truly thankful that I live in a house . . . and not just any house; but the house specifically known as Tex and Sharmie's.

What are you thankful for today?  I'd love to know.  Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Thanks for reading!
Y'all be blessed,

p.s. - The photo above is of one of our rose bushes in the front of our house (and was taken earlier this year).  It's the closest I could find of a picture showing even part of the outside of our house showing (and with today being a busy day, taking a current photo does not really fit in with the scheme of things, doncha know).

Friday, November 2, 2012

B2 - Princess Phones

Y'all remember these?   :)

They're called Princess Phones. 
They've been around since the late '50s, but I seem to remember their being most popular in the '70s.  They came in an array of colors, which was pretty avant gard back then . . . at least, in my own personal perception of what was hip and cool.  That last part might be a paradox; the jury's still out on that.  They were simply the fun phone!

Today, I am sincerely grateful for Princess Phones.

As of yesterday, Tex and I had heard from everyone we knew who had been in Hurricane Sandy's path . . . all, except for one person.  We were especially concerned about him because he lives in an area that carried mandatory evacuation and that also saw a lot of damage as Sandy vented her storm.

Yesterday, I decided to try to contact our friend.  I first called his cell phone, but it went straight to voice mail.  So, I said a silent prayer and called his home number.  And what do you know?!  He was home!

He has no electricty nor internet, and my first phone call (to his cell) went straight to voice mail because all of the cell towers in his area are currently not operational.  But, he did have residential phone service.  And!  If it were not for his Princess phone that he still has, he wouldn't have had any phone service at all because his other landline phones - the newer and more modern ones - all require electricity to operate.  A Princess phone just simply plugs into the phone outlet in the wall . . . and Voila! 

We had a good conversation.  He assured me that he and his family were ok.  He and Tex even talked to each other by quoting Monty Python lines.  There ya go.  Do with that what you will.

SO!  Thank you, Father, for our friend's safety and for Your Covering in his life.  Thank you for "outdated" technology that will work when modern technology failes.  Thank you for Princess phones!

What about y'all?
What is something that you are thankful for today, this 2nd day of 30 days of Thankfulness?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy November, y'all! -and- B1

There is lots going on in November!

Election Day is November 6th - this coming Tuesday.
Please make sure you get out and vote between now and the 6th (that is, if your precinct offers early voting; otherwise, please make sure you cast your ballot this coming Tuesday). 

To that end, I also came across a website earlier this morning . . . The 9/12 Project.

Click here to be linked directly to their page titled, "Our Principles and Values".

If we do not begin to stand together and unite as a nation, this nation is going to implode upon iteself.

Looking to later in the month, Thanksgiving (U.S). in on the 22nd.

In observance, I will be participating in the 30 Days of Thankfulness . . . posting a daily and different blessing  in my life for which I am truly thankful.

Years ago, in the beginning of "My Decade of Healing", I began a Blessings List, jotting down the blessings in my life.  At first, it was a bit slow-going; but within a few days, I was on fire with that list!  As I realized and wrote those blessings on my list, I became aware of even more blessings in my life.  It was quite a snowball that I had going - what started off as a list on a small piece of paper grew into a large notebook.

Sometimes, we, as individuals, can allow whatever is going on in the moment to rob of our our awareness of the very many blessings that Our Lord has poured into our life . . . and continues to pour into our life.

Sometimes we can also allow other people's negative attitudes to infilitrate our heart; and that's never a good thing.

I'd like to encourage each of y'all to guard against both of these.  Don't let anything  . . . not circumstances not other people, not even yourself . . . rob you of your joy and of your ability to count your blessings; for in doing so, you will also allow these things to rob you of your inner strength and peace.

One of my favorite life verses is taken from Nehemiah 8:10 . . . "The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength!"

If I allow circumstances or people to sap my joy, my strenth, my peace . . . all of which I fully believe comes from Jesus (His Joy, His Strenth, His Peace) . . . then I have also decided to focus on those things and not on Him. 

But!  When I put my faith and trust in Him and focus on Him, then I am able to see things more clearly . . . and I am able to tap into that very Joy, Strength and Peace. 

Being aware of and thankful for one's Blessings in their life is a great way to do this.

It's a continual circle:  Blessings Awareness ---> Joy, Strength, Peace ---> Blessings Awareness ---> Joy, Strength, Peace ---> Blessings Awareness ---> ad infinitum.

I encourage you to join me in these 30 Days of Thankfulness!
Please use this blog to come back each day during the month of November and post what you are thankful for on that particular day.  Let's encourage each other . . . and ourselves!  Let's realize the very many blessings that we each have in our own lives!

In addition to Election Day and Thanksgiving, the entire month is National Adoption Month, and National Adoption Day is November 17th.

FYI, National Adoption Day is always the Saturday before Thanksgiving; and, of course, Thanksgiving is always on the 4th Thursday in November.

My original blogging plan for today was to write a dedicated blog post about National Adoption Month;  but, instead, I decided to write this specific blog post overviewing all the significant aspects of November. 

Besides, there's 30 days in this month . . . that should be plenty of time to cover each item in more detail, right? 

Of course, right.

One last thing before I list my blessing for today . . . if you are one of my Facebook friends, I ask you to please consider leaving your comments about this and any Swirlings blog post here, at Swirlings (rather than to comment on a Swirlings blog post over at Facebook).  Thank you; I will appreciate it very much.

But.  Please do feel free to "like" any of my links to Swirlings over "there".
Yep, that was a shameless plug. 
There ya go.

(Blessing; Day 1)

Y'all!!  Really.
I appreciate everyone who reads my blog.  The internet is truly the Information Highway . . . and sometimes that information can zoom at us a lightening and overwhelming speed. 

I'm truly grateful whenever someone decides to take a moment out of their webbing around the world to read what I have written.  I appreciate y'all's time very much.

And as always, thanks for reading
Y'all be blessed!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Produce Day!

Earlier this year, my niece, Stephanie, started a small produce co-op.
Tex and I have really enjoyed our produce packages . . . each week, we get a few fruits and a few veggies.  The varieties have been great . . . and that has helped to prevent us from getting into food ruts.  The price for these weekly colorful & vibrant bundles have been absolutely outstanding, and that's been a huge plus.

A couple of times recently, I've had the pleasure of accompanying Stephanie on produce day. 

I thought I'd use today's blog post to elaborate a bit on those excursions.

After arriving at our particular vendor's loading dock, we walk around and view the samples they have on display for that particular day.  From the samples, we choose which specific items to buy for that week and then we place our order.  While this may seem like a relatively easy task, it does come with one "minor" complication; we always need to keep in mind who of the co-op won't eat what.  I say, "we", but really it's my niece who keeps this all straight; I just stand around a smile a lot.

I like to smile.

There ya go.

Regarding who gets what, sometimes it's a "majority rules" kinda thing.  This week, for example . . . Tex and I don't eat corn; but we seem to be the only ones of the co-op that are so outrageously rebellious.  Earlier this week, a co-op member requested corn; and so corn was part of the produce package.  Easy solution:  I simply didn't take corn home; I left it for someone else to take.  Stephanie does a good job of keeping people's preferences and non-preferences in mind; so the rare time that a "no" item is part of a week's produce selection, it's really not at all a big deal.

After placing the order, we then go wait at the car.  Soon, a man pushing a hand-truck filled with boxes arrives at the car; and the three of us begin loading such illustrious boxes into the car.  A couple more full hand-trucks arrive, brimming with boxes;  and we load those boxes into the car, as well . . . which usually gets pretty interesting, considering the boxes are big and my niece's car, well . . . isn't.

Then, it's back to my niece's house, where we unload all of the boxes out of her car and into the designated sorting area in the garage . . . of which, such area needs to be large enough to accommodate not only all of the various boxes of produce, but also all of the individual co-op members' crates, as well.

Here's a photo of some of the produce from a few weeks ago:

By, the way . . . have y'all ever tried to lift a 50-pound bag of carrots?  Have y'all ever seen a 50-pound bag of carrots?

Now, the fun part!

Let the sorting begin!
Some items - pineapples, for instance - are easy to sort.  Pineapples are readily countable.  We know how many co-op members there are and how many pineapples have been purchased.  Easy math, and we know how many pineapples to put in each members' food crate.

Potatoes, on the other hand, are a completely different story.  Potatoes are sold by weight; not by count.  Yesterday while we were sorting, Stephanie told me she was going to let me distribute the potatoes.  Wasn't that so nice of her, y'all?!  She thought so.

So, there I was, standing over a huge box of potatoes; and all of them staring up at me with their goofy little eyes.  OK . . . if I take a whole lot of potatoes and divide that by the number of co-op members, I come up with . . . lessee . . . don't tell me; I  can do this . . . uhm, let's start with 6 potatoes each (and make sure that everyone gets a good mix of big potatoes and smaller ones).

Oh, fiddle.  After all that higher math, and sorting, there were still quite a few spuds in the box.  So.  I did the process all over again.

Some things are just a guessing game.  Sorting produce that is sold by weight and not by count (and that comes in very large boxes) is one such fine example.

All told, from the time we leave the house till the time we get back and get everything sorted into the members' individual crates, this portion of Produce Day takes about 3 hours; probably half of that involes loading or unloading boxes and then lots of bending during the sorting process. 
Hey!  Free exercise!

Here's a photo from a few weeks ago, highlighting just a few of the produce crates that we filled:

During the produce days when Stephanie is on her own, without anyone to help her (which is more often than not), she is the lone one doing all the loading, unloading and sorting; so I imagine that the 3 hours extends into even more time.

So, Stephanie, I just want to thank you for all the hard work you put in each week to provide the co-op with fresh fruits  & veggies.  You do an awesome job, and I appreciate both your time and your efforts!
And now, I think I'll go make some veggie juice . .
Salute, y'all!
Thanks for reading; y'all be blessed!

By the way, the only other aspect of produce day involves everyone coming by to retrieve and pay for their produce . . . but I'm not involved in any aspect of that; that honor rightfully belongs completely to my niece.

There ya go.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Trick or Treat! Maybe not . . .

I know it's probably not anywhere near the consensus . . . but I just am not a big fan of Halloween.

Incidentally (as I'm sure many of y'all know), Halloween has a mixture of both pagan and Christian history.  The word, itself, is a contraction of "All Hallows' Eve" (which means the evening before All Hallows' Day . . . All Saints Day).  The roots of Halloween are found in Pagan rituals.  An interesting combination, indeed.

So.  What is it about Halloween that I do not like?

I was recently asked this on my Facebook page, so I thought I'd use Swirlings to answer.
Ha!  I'm supposed to be the person who prefers things to be uncomplicated.  But, yes, strangely enough, it makes sense to me to use one platform to answer a question that was asked on another platform.  There ya go.

Besides, FB doesn't particularly care for wordy posts; it gets very confuzzled, freezes and then usually blips the post into some ozone corner of the web of world-wideness . . . and yep, that happened to me this morning.  There ya go.

First, let's talk about what I do like about Halloween.

Cute kids in sweet, adorable, innocent costumes, with cheery bright and sometimes-painted faces.

Ah, be still my heart!
That's about it, as far as what I like regarding the celebrations surrounding the 31st day October.

What I don't like entails a bit more.

First, I'm not really into ghoulish things; never have been.  Nor, am I interested in exploring the darker side of humanity.  Yeah, it's there; that's a fact; I just don't like delving into it.  Halloween seems to bring that out in adults a bit more than other days.

The other aspect of Halloween that I find a bit bothersome is actually probably the main reason as to why I'm not wild about celebrating that particular day . . .

. . . Sugar!
Yep.  Sugar.  More precisely, sugar mixed with a plethora of unecessary chemicals.

Halloween is probably the biggest sugar-oriented day of the year (with Easter running a close second).

I am continually astounded by the amount of sugar that is bought, distributed and eaten; all in honor of Halloween.

And . . . it's all junk (in my opinion; and, it's an opinion that I realize many do not share).

If the treats being given to kids were homemade treats that would be an entirely differnt matter; but the vast majority of the treats being thrown into the bags held by small humans wearing cute costumes are definitely not homemade.  And, the kicker is that in today's world, homemade treats are frowned upon because of the freaky few who like to put razor blades and poison into homemade treats.  The candy manufacturers and the stores then cash in on this and flood the market with various colorful bite-sized packages of tempting sugar in its many forms.  For example, the grocery store that Tex and I shop at has had their Halloween "area" up for about 3 weeks now.  It's also a pretty big area; after all, Halloween is big business.

Case-in-point:  Trick-or-treat bags seem to get bigger and bigger as the years go by.  I've seen kids with bags almost bigger than they are!

Which brings me to another point . . . when I was a young girl, trick-or-treating consisted of going around our immediate neighborhood (which consisted of 2 streets).  "Back then", there was a neighborly relationship between the trick-or-treaters and the treat-givers.  On some level, I knew every person whose doorbell I rung or whose door I knocked.  Maybe that's a bit Norman Rockwell-ish, but I miss that in today's society; and I miss it for the kids.

Now, it seems to be all about how much candy a child can get.  In recent years, I have heard (in various forms) of parents driving their children around for hours, visiting streets and homes that are miles from where they live . . . all in the name of kids racking up huge amounts of sugary loot.  I know that the number of kids perusing my street on Halloween night far exceeds the the total number of kids who actually live my entire neighborhood.  I cringe when I think of how much sugar these precious children will be consuming because of Halloween. 

And, it doesn't stop there. 
Sugar is addicting. 
Pretty, colorful packaging can be very enticing. 

The combination of the two is often a very difficult temptation to resist; both for young and not-so-young, alike.  I have a very strong concern that we are raising generations (yes, plural) of children that will quickly become addicted to sugar . . . which, in turn, will lead to higher rates of various diseases and illnesses; obesity, diabetes and heart disease being the top three.  Incidentally, as a bonus FYI, cancers feed off of sugar.

Bobbing for apples; silly, fun games; cute, sweet costumes; homemade treats . . . this is my idea of Halloween.  Alas, it's also not the most popular ideas regarding this day; this I certainly know.

Please don't misunderstand . . . if ghoul and/or candy is your thang; then so be it.
I'm no one's lifestyle police nor nutrition police.

But for me, I just think there's much better things out there for us.

Thanks for reading; y'all be most abundantly blessed,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Summer Salad

I love summer salad.  In fact, I can practically live on this stuff in the summer time!
For me, it's a dish that goes all the way back to my childhood.  We had a garden; and each year, no matter what else we planted, we always also grew our tomatoes and cucumbers.

Oh man!  Is there anything better than eating sun-ripened tomatoes fresh from the vine??!!!  I used to take a bucket of water, a towel and a knife . . . sit myself down in the middle of the tomato patch and have a feast!

I posted this very photo of fresh, marinating veggie goodness on my Facebook page the other day; I had just made a new batch of the salad and thought, "Hey!  That would make a great picture!"  The modesty is almost overwhelming.

Vicki, one of my FB friends, asked for the recipe; thus the reason for this post.

This recipe is simple and basic; and it is pretty-much how my dad used to make it, with one minor change (mentioned in notes below).

Enjoy, and thanks for reading!
Be blessed,

Summer Salad

I have never really measured the ingredients in this recipe (and neither did my dad), but I will try to recreate the quantities based on what I did the other night.

~ 4 large cucumbers, sliced vertically in quarters (cutting each vertical half in half, vertically) and then sliced in chunks (horizontally).
~ 6 roma tomatoes (sliced in the same manner as the cukes)*
~ 1 very large onion, chopped in medium-sized chunks
~ raw sugar **
~ apple cider vinegar **
~ canola oil
~ sea salt
~ pepper ***

Chop all the veggies into a large bowl; mix lightly.

Sprinkle the surface of the veggies with salt and pepper, according to your taste preference (although, I would suggest to not over-salt).

I usually use about about 1.5 more sugar / vinegar mixture than I do oil.  Again, this can be determined by your taste preference.  There should be enough sugar / vinegar and oil so that the veggies are almost covered.  This will allow them to thoroughly marinate. 

After adding the vinegar and oil, mix again (lightly).

Cover bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.  The longer the veggies marinate, the more flavorful the salad will be.  It is best to periodically lightly mix the veggies during the initial marinating.

* Roma or sun-ripened tomatoes work best for this recipe.  I'm not particularly wild about hot-house tomatoes (for anything, if I'm being completely honest).  Whichever tomato you choose for this recipe, make sure they are not under-ripe.

** My dad used white sugar and he would sprinkle it over the veggies in the same manner as the salt.
Nowadays, I try to avoid white sugar as much as possible, so I use raw sugar.  Raw sugar, however, doesn't dissolve as quickly as white sugar.  My solution to this is to dissolve the raw sugar directly in the apple cider vinegar.  Use a jar with a lid.  Add about 1/4 cup raw sugar to about 1.5 cups apple cider vinegar.  Shake vigorously and refrigerate at least 24 hours, or until the sugar is dissolve.  Shake again before adding to the veggies.  I keep a jar of cider vinegar & raw sugar in the fridge so that I always have some on hand when it's time to make more summer salad.  If more vinegar is needed for the salad, then I add it directly to the veggies (and make a new batch of sugar vinegar for the fridge). 

Some people like to use bottled Italian dressing in lieu of the vinegar and oil.  I'm generally not a bottled dressing kinda gal, but if that works for you, then pour away!  (Except, I will give y'all a gentle reminder to please read your ingredient labels to make sure there's no harmful or icky ingredients; soy and high fructose corn syrup come readily to mind; especially regarding bottled salad dressings.)

*** I don't always use pepper; it really depends upon my mood.  And, when I do use pepper, sometimes I use black pepper; sometimes I use white pepper.  Go wild!

**** The marinade "juice" can be "re-used" . . . more veggies can be added as needed.
I usually discard any remaining juice and start with a fresh batch after 5-6 days.

Friday, September 7, 2012

13 Days

August 25th . . .

. . . Tex was loading up the truck.  We were getting ready to go to one of our niece's birthday party.  As I was walking out the door, her dad (Tex's oldest brother) called and told me they were getting ready to take my mother-in-law to the hospital.

I told him we were on our way and we'd see him at the ER.

The upshot is that she was diagnosed with West Nile virus.

It's been a long stretch - these past 13 days.  There have been ups and there have been downs.

This is *not* the kind of roller coaster I like.  Not one bit.

BUT.  My mother-in-law is a woman of great faith.  She is also loaded with grit, determination and tenacity. 

Good, good, good . . . and good!

The doctors tell us that this illness does not present itself in just one specific way; the symptoms and complications can vary from patient-to-patient.

I am trusting Our Lord.  This illness did not come as a surprise to Him.
I have faith that He is covering this entire situation . . . her, the family members, the medical team . . . everything and everyone.  He's got it covered.

That's what I know . . . and that's what I'll go with.
Day-by-day and moment-by-moment.

Please keep this precious woman in your prayers.
Thank you so much.

Be blessed,

Know Who You Are

I've been zooming around this web of world-wideness for about 14 years.  Sometime within the past 10-12 years, I became acquainted with my friend, T.

T has a wonderful, beautiful heart and has always been kind to everyone she encounters.  I've witness many of these encounters electronically, on the internet; and I am certain that she behaves in the same way offline.

T is an overweight woman and also struggles with low self-esteem.  This struggle has been on-going for as long as I have known her; and I'm quite sure the struggle extends even many years prior to her involvement in the various internet communities that know and love T.

Recently, she shared on her Facebook about being ridiculed and mocked by teenaged girls and boys, and opened a discussion asking people how to deal with such occurrences.

This blog post is my response to that discussion (including her OP and also some of the various responses to which she received and/or replied). I had initially tried to respond there, but FB . . . in all its glory . . . kept screen-freezing and doing funky dances with my post; so I decided to use Swirlings to house my response.

My reasoning?  My response to T is the same response I would give to anyone with similar questions . . . and I have found that T's ponderings are not at all unique; many people share similar self-esteem struggles.  It is my hope that not only will my response help T, but that also it will be beneficial to others, as well.


Years ago, I learned that it's really none of my business what people think of me.  I will say here and now that I believe people can definitely abuse this adage and take it to unecessary and inappropriate extremes; but regarding complete strangers, it really is none of my business what they think of me.  Nor, is it any of your business what other people think of you.  Why let people live rent-free in your head like that?  Especially, with people that you don't even know!

T, you mentioned that you didn't know overweight people could have eating disorders.  However, they most certainly can.  While there are exceptions, of course (because there are exceptions to almost any axiom), most overweight people definitely have an eating disorder; one that is rooted in emotional eating. 

But, putting that tidbit aside . . . I would like to encourage you to realize that having an eating disorder does *not* define who you are.

And here, I will take a moment to expand this thought . . . I would like to encourage anyone to quit being so possessive about whatever illness or disease they may have personal experience with . . . "my" cancer, "my" diabetes, "my" OCD, "my" mental illness, "my" eating disorder, etc., etc., etc. 

As y'all may know, they are *not* "my" seizures; I claim no part of them and I have not nor will not ever invite them to take up residency in my life.  They are "the" seizures. 

I truly believe that the words we speak definitely influences our outlook  . . . and our outlooks definitely influences our overall health and well being.

Going back to being diagnosed with an eating disorder . . . as gently as I can say this . . . so what?!
Don't let that become your end-all / be-all.  OK . . . you've been dignosed with an eating disorder.  Do something about it!  I do not say that lightly, facetiously nor without personal experience.

Every illness (again, using some of the above examples:  cancer, diabetes, mental illnesses . . . even eating disorders) requires work on the person's part to combat the illness.   Persistent, dilligent, determined, ongoing work. 

Regardless as to how an eating disorder is manifested, the root of it all is why? Why did the person  turn to emotional eating in the first place? Until that question is answered and then the answer, itself, truly dealt with, there will be no freedom nor victory; only ongoing pain and setbacks.

Do what is necessary to overcome the eating disorder.  My prayer for you, T, is that you can find the inner strength within yourself to go from being resigned to "having" an eating disorder and pretty-much that is that, to pushing through all the ick and yuck AND pain so that while you may have to live with and struggle against an eating disorder, you are also, at the same time, doing everything you can to overcome it and to not let it win.

Illegitimus Non Tatum Carborundum.
That's a very popular "made-up" Latin phrase.  Incorrect wording aside, it commonly means, "Don't let the bastards get you down". 

I absolutely love it, and have used it as one of my silent mottos for probably 25 years now.  I guess I just broke my silence.  Ha!

T, in your situation, the bastards are the eating disorder and the low self-esteem, and they are working hand-in-hand and side-by-side to trip you up and keep you down.

Don't let them win!  Fight back!

Will it be easy?
Nope.  Not one bit.

Will it be fun?
I seriously doubt it.

Will it be a quick thing . . . this fighting back?
Probably not; in fact, prepare yourself for the long haul.

Will it be a one-time thing?
Nada.  See above . . . long haul.

Will it be worth it?

Are you worth it?
Most Definitely!

But the caveat to that is . . . until YOU believe that you are worth it, it's not going to matter who says that to you or how many of us say it to you; you're not going to believe us until you believe yourself that you are worth it . . . and until you believe it yourself, you're also not going to live it.

That's another prayer I have for you.  

In your thread, you asked what other people do when they are belittled for being overweight.  My answer can apply to anything; not just being overweight, but they are my answers specifically to your question.

My suggestions to you are varied.  You may utilize one or some of them; depending on your comfort level:

1)  Completely ignore whomever is doing the ridiculing and ignore the specifics of what they are saying.

2)  Smile your very best smile.  Directly, at them.  Make eye-contact with them while smiling.  Disarm them with charm.  Hey!  I just made a rhyme; whaddya know?!  :)

3)  If you're feeling brave and spunky, say hello to them.

4)  Pray.  This should definitely be the first -and- continuous thing to be done.
Pray for them - that Our Lord will bless them. 
Pray for you - that Our Lord will give you His Strength and Comfort, along with His Wisdom and His Guidance.

Whatever you do, do it with your head held high, your shoulders squared and your back straight and not slumped. 

Do it with confidence.  If you don't have confidence, fake it until you do have confidence (and, correct body posture goes a long way in helping someone have confidence; especially regarding their outer appearance).

And this confidence stuff?  The cool thing about that is that once you have confidence, then you also exude said confidence. 

People do not generally belittle and mock people who have true confidence; at least not to their face or within their hearing.  I'm not talking about rude, unstable arrogance; I'm talking about that quiet, steady confidence that comes from a person's inner core because they truly know their worth. 

And again, that kind of confidence cannot come from what other people say good of us; it can only come from us staring down whatever bastards are lurking in our lives and truly addressing the root of them and then being able to put them in their place . . . which is away from us. 

It also comes from knowing who you are in Christ.

And, that, my dear friend, are my prayers for YOU!

They are my prayers for each of y'all . . . quit hiding behind the external reasons and get down to the heart of the matter.  Clean the junk out of your lives, give it to Our Lord, ask Him for HIS Strength and HIS Peace and HIS Joy in your life . . . and then go out and live a life worth living - regardless of what you may have to fight along the way.

And, if you encounter someone along the way who  tries to trip you up, here's what you do:  square your shoulders, straighten your back, hold your head high, smile and say, "Nope; not today; I've got better things to do than to wade in muck."

OK . . . one last thought.
T, you are a Christian, so I will leave you with some Scripture that you can apply to your situation:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things...And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8, 9b).

Since teenagers (or anyone else) mocking and ridiculing someone does not fit into any of the above parameters, then why give such behavior and/or comments a second thought?

Thanks for reading, y'all!
Be blessed,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pinning It Down

Last week I mentioned that I had joined the land of pinning. . . that wonderful electronic bulletin board known as Pinterest.

. . . or, as my friend, Belle, recently called it - "another flavor of internet crack".  Ha!  I love it!

Honestly, I joined out of curiosity, and I really didn't think that the site would do that much for me.

But!  It has become a very welcomed resource; kinda like Google already is for me.  For example, it's helping me gather recipes for our upcoming Labor Day party, where the menu will be cajun-themed . . . Catfish Etouffe, anyone?  That's one of the first recipes I searched for; Tex put in that request a few months ago, when we were just beginning to plan the party, long before Pinterest became an everyday word with me. 

There's something, well, if you'll pardon the pun, delicious about scrolling down through all those photos of various recipes that I have pinned.  Or, ideas for my Heart Captors, otherwise, known as grandkidlettes.  Or, crafts that lure me.  Or, recipes for Tex and me on an everyday basis . . . we don't just eat at parties, doncha know. 

I've got other boards over at Pinning Land, as well; 24 of them, to be exact (that number could increase or decrease at any moment; I have no contractual obligation to the number 24 . . . which, amusingly, also happens to be the number of NASCAR race driver, Jeff Gordon . . . who happens to be Tex's favorite driver.  Go figure.  Why couldn't I have 48 boards . . . Jimmie Johnson's number.  Tis a cruel, cruel world.  Well, not really). 

Oh my goodness . . . we interrupt the above ramblings so that I can gush about a little girl I'm watching through my window while I sit here and chat with y'all.  She and her mother are taking their morning walk, along with Spot, the family dog (or, whatever his name is; maybe it's Stripes; I just don't know).  The girl is still a baby, but walking.   So very cute.  Stripes crosses the street, Cutie wants to cross too; but Mama puts her hand on her shoulders and coaxes Cutie to call Rover back across the street.  So Cutie claps.  And grins.  And does little cute baby jumps.  Oh.  My.  Word.  Heaven for my eyes this morning!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .

Pinterest . . .
. . . As with most anything in the web of world-wideness, this site has its good and not so good.  And, even that's subjective; depending on what an individual might consider good or not. 

Another friend, Audriana, told me that the comment sections can get pretty argumentative sometimes; and since that's not my focus or desire, I think I'll just forgo participating in the comments . . . besides, that doesn't fit in with my time priorities anway.  So, I'll happily heed Audriana's observation and just go about my pinning business, sans the discussions.

But, so far, I'm pleased with it all.  I'm trying to be deliberate in what I pin.  I don't want them (whoever they are) to find me . . . unresponsive, staring at the computer screen, with tiny little red and white P's pulsating out of where my pupils used to be.

If you're a pinner, I invite you to peruse my boards.  If you'd like, let me know how I can find you on Pinterest, and I'll take a look at your boards, as well.

The link at the top of the post will get you to me, over there . . . and, so will the pin button to the right of this post --->

The link at the top of the page will be opened in a different window; the "follow" button to the right opens in this very window; I need to figure out how to change it so that it opens into a different window).

And yeah, whatcha think about my Pin name (Sharmie Swirls)?  Anyone notice that it's also the URL address to Swirlings?
Sometimes, the cleverness is downright frightening . . . as is the modesty.

And lastly, what are y'all's opinions on Pinterest?  I'd really like to know.

Thanks for reading; y'all be blessed!