Wednesday, March 21, 2012

From Salad to Soup

Several days ago I made a huge salad of all different kinds of greens and put it in a 2 gallon zipper bag into the fridge. I then made containers of all the good stuff, salad bar style, from kidney beans, red bell peppers, cukes, garden peas and much more. We ate salad several times but still too much left. So, today I considered tossing it into the compost until I got an "Ah Ha!" I love to make soup.

So into the asparagus steamer/stock pot went my bag of salad and all the fixins plus some collards, and lots of spinach leaves. I steamed them until the veggies were all mush and then let the pot cool. I poured the liquid into a container and then took all those veggies 2 cups at a time and put them into the Ninja that is supposed to be used for Smoothies (which we never make). I added the saved liquid to each batch--it took me about 4 batches to turn them all to puree, and then added a large can of pureed tomatoes so I could change the color from green to pinkish red.

Dumped the whole mess into the crock pot, stirred in a couple tablespoons of Beef flavored Better Than Bouillon and let it cook on low for about 2 hours, added a cup of sour cream and some butter just to give it that good buttery feel in the mouth, some sea salt, and some black pepper and combined it all, and let the crock pot heat it through for about an hour.

Wow was that ever some great soup! Smooth as silk on the tongue. Delicious! My favorite neighbor got a large container, my husband ate two big bowls and I sat there and grinned and called it Tomato Garden Salad Bisque. Gosh, sometimes I'm so clever I scare myself.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas should be every day

It's Christmas Eve and my heart is joy filled with nothing but Jesus coming. Jesus here. I used to rejoice in gifts galore and a tree so beautiful and piled so high with gifts one could barely see the tree. And I do think this is important for the children, the aged, the shut-in, but for me I just want time with Jesus and people I love.
My son, daughter-in-law and granddaughters came last week and we had a great early Christmas for them. I see them so seldom I love their visits! But Bette, my soulfriend and my husband, Jim are having a quiet Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and we are not exchanging gifts.

One of my special people wrote on facebook they wanted to curl up with their birthday boy and spend the day. I think she meant Jesus--although her husband's birthday is also today I believe. But I just thought how appropriate to curl up with Jesus and spend the day.

My neighbor, Robert, had his big cookers going all night long and this morning delivered a hot, completely cooked pork butt--just in time for breakfast. We sliced the tender, juicy roast and made a pan of homefries and biscuits with honey from my son's bee hives--a glorius breakfast and a wonderful, kind, sharing neighbor.

I try to be a good neighbor too. Later today I will deliver one of my homemade wonderful fruitcakes to him. I gave him the recipe several years ago and he loves them, but this Christmas he did not have time to get one started--they each take 30 days to make--so I will surprise him.

Yesterday I took another neighbor to a very, very low cost spay and neuter shelter that is so far into the swamps you'd get lost if you were not familiar with the countryside. He has a totally beautiful Vizla (an Hungarian hunting dog) and she accidentally got out and met an obvious yellow lab last year and produced 3 gorgeous yellow pups instead of her own beautiful red color. But, my neighbor is out of work, times are hard and he has 3 children, his mom and an elderly uncle to help provide for and no money for things like neutering pets. My husband's SCV Camp he attends provided Thanksgiving and Christmas food boxes piled high, and we provided a ham and turkey on Thanksgiving and someone else is providing them for the Christmas boxes. And a woman whose husband is part of the club bought tons of gifts for the 3 children. What a Christmas they will have.

Since the Vizla is currently in season and the male pups are ruining some wonderful peaceful days, my gift was neutering for both. So off we went to the swamps in the early morning and then back to pick them up before 6 p.m. last night. An hours drive both ways, so 4 hours driving all together for this gift. Ahhhh, peace at last for his household. The dogs do not roam and are so loved and cared for and are all house dogs, so the females can be contained for now until they can be fixed, but the boys sure demand attention of a girl in season even if it is their own mom! Morals don't count when it comes to puppy dogs and relatives!

My wonderful adopted daughter (adopted in love, not law) just returned from the Philippines two days ago but she made sure a great gift was sent to me. This gift I will cherish. I grow plants of all kinds, but can't grow roses. I sent her a facebook message about her wonderful roses in her profile photo and told her she was so beautiful she should have a rose named after her. Her name is Liberty. Isn't that an awesome name? Her father was a soldier and fighting for liberty when she was born and so it was a beautiful name. Anyway, she had that photo put on an afghan and sent me a detailed book on growing roses. I told her I have a green thumb on everything else but she has a rose thumb. I lost her for 24 years, but found her on face book. Or rather she found me. My heart sings when I think of her and I am so grateful God reunited us again.

I love to sit in my chair and have coffee in the very early a.m. Coffee provided by my wonderful soul friend, Bette, every day, without fail, it is waiting for me and my special worship CD already turned on for me. And I cover up with my special Christmas blanket right now as the living room is still cold. But beginning tomorrow I shall cover up with my Liberty afghan and smile at her beautiful picture surrounded by roses, and praise God for her.

May you all have a very beautiful tomorrow, Christmas Day.
Happiness is to Know

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sick, June 13, 2010

Today I am sick. I am never sick. But here it is, coughing, head stuffy, rather be dead than alive. I have so many things wrong musculoskeletal but never anything that qualifies as "sick".

I accidentally put my entire blog on facebook. I wish I knew more about how to maneuver through the web. But I guess for an old person I do better than a lot of them.

When I first set up this blog I wanted to just talk about the Lord mostly, but then I discovered I'm the only one who reads it. I guess. Only one woman posted a response and I could never answer because I couldn't figure out how.

This year I'm gardening in tubs. Can't bend over to the ground without much, much pain so I decided on gardening in plastic "tubs". It has been very successful and I planted about 30 or more tubs or pots with veggies. I love to do it, but the bugs are eating as much as I'm growing almost. I swore not to use bug killers, but I finally created soap and garlic mixture I spray on them, but the first time they were watered it washed off. So I gave up and got Safer's Insecticidal Soap. That is better than my homemade brand but they are still eating. My corn is almost as tall as I am and it is only early June. But I got a headstart on planting seeds indoors.

My yards are beautiful with all the perinneals I planted during the past 4 years. I no longer have to add anything --although I do because I can't bear not to plant something new. So I added a section of just Echinacea. I love Echinacea and they have a new one out called Tomato Soup: bright, bright, tomato red. I can't wait for it to bloom.

My grape vine is doing great this year. Last summer we had a grand total of 4 grapes. But that was it's first year. This year I'll bet we get much more. I also had a wonderful crop of plums and plumcots which we all devoured and I shared some with my wonderful neighbors, Robert and Teresa.

Robert and Teresa have been loaning me their dog, Annie, every day for about a month. We rescured from the pound a new 7 month old Manchester Terrier and she is a great dog but can't bear it if we even go out in the front yard. If we go in the back she has access to two doggie doors and can join us as it is fenced. But let us leave where she can't get to us and she chews! Man does she chew. She ate a large portion of my mattress, chewed the foot rail of my daybed, ate a hole in the wooden deck, ate my husband's hearing aid which isn't completely paid for yet--another $1700.00 to go. And worst of all she ate the corners off of two beautiful leather leg rests that go with the chairs that were made expressly for me and Bette in Sweden. I have never spent a lot of money on "things" but these chairs have helped the pain I have all over, every day, so much. Anyway, the leg rests alone, if you divided the money spent on the total chairs, would have cost $1000.00 each. All four corners of leather eaten.
But when Annie, A fawn MinPin is here they run in and out the doggie door, play, squabble, fight, eat, have a blast. They truly love each other. So I decided if we could get Arielle, our Manachester, through this chewing bit and used to being in the house when were were gone and nothing bad happening (because she is having such a blast with Annie) perhaps she would stop eating pillows, blankets, etc. She has a ton of toys that are to chew on, but when we are out, she eats whatever belongs to us. She also refuses to potty outside. Will actually stand inside right in front of the doggie door and poop, and then go through it outside. I hope Annie's being housebroken will help that too.

Next week or the week after Annie goes to N.C. with her family for the summer. They have a lake house there and always take all 4 of their dogs. Arielle will still have our dogs with her (3 Miniature Pinschers- Alexander the Big, Copper Penne, Radar) but they don't play. They are all over 6 years and they think Arielle is a pain in the rear. So we shall see before too long if my assumption was correct...that not chewing for a month or so would keep her from chewing so much.

But, either way, she's here forever. Cause everyone who has ever had a dog understands, they are so special, and after all,
Happiness is to know...

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Here we are a day after the day commemorating the most wonderful day ever known--the day our Savior was born. I always break out in some song when I say this. Today it is SWEET LITTLE JESUS BOY... but my hand pain is so great I cannot type all the words I sing. As I told you in my last post I had surgery on my right hand on Wednesday, on the 23 rd, and it is in a cast from second joint of my fingers almost to the elbow. I cannot use it at all. My left hand has the same problem as my right and the next surgery will be on it. However, while I was under anesthesia the surgeon injected my thumb because I have mega pain there. Guess which hand is so painful I'd like to gently remove it? Yep, you guessed it! I'm typing with one finger because it is the only pain free digit I have. I wanted to tell you all what a joy filled Christmas this was. Great food thanks to my wonder of wonders Bette. Great care of our 4 dogs by husband, Jim, and many emails from wonderful friends, and, as ever, God in the midst of it all.

It is hard to use the mouse with my left index finger, hard to do any chores I normally do. And I think over and of my biological father whose arms and hands were torn from his body. For 51 years he lived coping without them. I dare not complain.

My heavenly Father also is handicapped. You see, if he has a task to perform he never does it himself. He uses us--we are his body, his hands, his feet, his mouth. Anything he needs to have done, he chooses just the right person to accomplish it for him. Some tasks he assigns to individuals, and he provides everything needed for them to accomplish that one task perfectly--money, energy, knowledge,buildings, supplies--EVERYTHING. But he is handicapped by US. We balk, we squawk, we complain until he wears us down to perform that task! Oh how much easier it would be if we just got our "orders" and said "yes, Lord" withot worrying over the details.

There is one task we can all perform for him. Indeed he requires it of us. He wants us to just be ourselves, be friendly to all, and when he opens a tiny door in the heart and mind of those we meet he wants us to tell them of all he has done for us.

Now my index finger is growing very tired, but before I give you back this day there is a great verse, I think it is part of a song. I know so many hundreds of songs in total or part, but seldom remember from when or where they came. I do believe a large number were taught to me in that old porch swing by my other father who also had to use the hands of others. The verse I am thinking of:

"He has no hands but our hands

to do His work today.

He has no feet but our feet

to lead men in His way.

He has no voice but our voice

to tell men how he died.

He has no help but our help

to lead them to His side.

I LOVE to have that little door opened when I meet someone new, or when I talk to an old friend, because I love to talk of Jesus, and I love to discuss His word, and I love to find the answers to questions they might ask, because,after all

Happiness is to Know

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No Hands At All

This will be my last post for a little while--maybe. Tomorrow I must be at the hospital at 6 a.m. for surgery on my right hand. Carpal tunnel is what they are correcting. Can't do much for the arthritis that bends my fingers in awkward positions. But who knows, perhaps I can hunt and peck the keys with my left hand.

I know I shall think a great deal about my father during these next weeks. You see, my father had no hands at all. Acutally he didn't even have an entire arm. Before he ever met my mom he was a brakeman for the railroad. Brakemen of old (perhaps today too?) were so agile and could walk along the box cars on the top, jumping from car to car. That's where my dad lost his arms. He fell in between the box cars while jumping and while he did not die, his arms lay across the tracks and his right arm was severed at the shoulder and left arm at the elbow. He was 21 years old, handsome, unmarried and talented in many things and suddenly he was "handicapped". A cripple.

They didn't have the wonderful prosthesis they have today, but they offered him a hook. He refused. What a devasting blow it must have been to him to suddenly have to depend on everyone else. He came from a big family, but he was very independent and he learned on his own how to get along.

As a child I didn't think of how hard things were for him. He was just my dad. When I am unable to write with my left hand or key at the computer in the normal two hand fashion for the duration of healing from carpal tunnel surgery, I will remember watching him write a letter--pencil held in his teeth. And I shall realize all the more how able he was. He could not tie his shoes. When I put my shoes on I know I will better understand how difficult things were for him and wish I had helped him more. I still remember his shoes, always with strings removed, no way to close them, so he walked with open, rather flopping shoes. And he never wore socks because he could not put them on.

I cannot tie my shoes either. The many back surgeries have left me unable to bend that far or lift my leg high enough. And I cannot wear socks either, as I am unable to put them on. But, my dear friend, Bette, has often put my socks on my feet and tied my shoes. He never had that luxury. He never asked and I don't remember anyone ever offering. But, I didn't think about it. I was a kid, he was my dad and that's just the way life was.

He also loved sugar and cream in his coffee when anyone was around to fix it for him, but he usually drank it black and cold because he could not handle a spoon. To manuever the cup to his lips he leaned over the table edge, used the stub of the left arm to steady the cup and then placed his lips on the edge and tilted his chin down until the liquid was there and he slurped his coffee in. I don't recall him ever spilling it.

And he could drive a car. Amazingly he could drive a car. Gear shifts were on the floor, no automatic transmissions, no electronic turn signals. What a juggling act it was. He could steer with the stub of his left arm, and what a shock it must have been to drivers behind him when he prepared to turn, signaling such by sticking that stub out the window. He would use his knee at that moment pressed firmly under the steering wheel to keep the car in the proper lane. The juggling really began as he started into the turn, took the left stub from the window and reached clear across his body to the gear shift on the floor and deftly and quickly shifted down and I can't even recall how he steered to make the car turn at that time. Kids don't wonder...he was my dad, that's just the way it was done.

There was only one thing he asked help for: someone to shave him. For some reason I was the one he chose out of 5 kids at that time, later there would be a 6th. When I was 8 or 9 he began to have me shave him. He would say, "Joyce you shave me better than anyone else, can you shave me today." I thought that was great fun then. I was a barber and I did shave him carefully, glowing under his praise of my barber skills. Never once did I ever think about how he bathed himself, how he cared for personal hygiene while using the bathroom. I was a kid, and he was my dad. And that's just the way it was.

He taught me to sing. We often would sit outside in the old porch swing and he would teach me new songs. And he would take me to the city where I would sing on the radio. He was so proud of me. During the war they realized my dad could do things...he was made foreman at a ship yard and he would take me to sing at war bond drives at that ship yard. Yes, he was so proud of me. I can't even remember now where it was. That was so very long ago. I think I must have been 5.

As I grew older and became a teen I no longer could say he was my father and I was just a child . I didn't want to be seen with him. I was suddenly so ashamed of him. And he stopped asking me to shave him. I became embarrassed over this father who could do everything. I didn't want my friends to see him eating off his plate like a dog. That was the only way he could. I didn't want my friends to see his shoes flopping off his feet. And I didn't want them to see him writing with a pencil held in his teeth. The last time I shaved him I was 14 and I had a date. And I can remember when he asked that I was not gentle, I was angry, I was embarrassed, and I deliberately dragged the razor hard across his face, cutting him in the process. He never asked me again.

I think back to that time now and my heart aches. How can children be so cold toward someone who never asks? How could I have been so unknowing that it never dawned on me that he was different? He was my dad. And that was just the way it was.

My mom and dad divorced after 19 years of marriage and I only saw him twice after that. He was not so tall and he was not so handsome anymore and I only saw him for a few minutes. Later he died of throat cancer I heard.

And my heart ached to think of all the years I could have been so kind to him. But it was a troubled marriage and children respond in different ways and mine was to just stay out of trouble by staying out of the way and mostly not paying attention to details. And today I am so very sorry.

With Christmas only 3 days how I wish I could tell him how sorry I am. My heart aches to go back to those childish years and try to help him. I would gladly put socks on his cold feet, and tie his shoes so they would not flop. I would heat his coffee and put cream and sugar in it. And I would be so proud of his abilities. And how I would love to hear him sing. I can't even remember his voice, yet he taught me so many songs I remember even today, and he developed my love of singing. Sometimes I sing the songs he taught and I think of him and I am so sad we can't go back and do it over.

And tonight I make a Christmas wish. I pray my father is with God. I think he must be, because he was a giving man, a non complaining man, neither of which gains him a place with God. But he taught me many spirituals and hymns and so I want to believe he accepted God's free gift of salvation through Jesus, his son. I want to see him when I reach heaven. I want to hold him close. I won't cry because God's Word says there are no tears in heaven, but if I could I would because my heart wants him to know I love him and if he were here today I would do all I could to make his life so very easy, so very happy, and just as he told others so many times how proud he was of me, I would tell others how very proud I am of him and how I rejoice in the childhood years when I shaved him and watched him draw funny animals with a pencil in his mouth and sat in the swing and learned his songs and rode on the train to the city to sing on the radio. I was just a child. And he was my dad.
Happy Christmas dad. God, my Christmas wish is that you give him a hug for me and tell him I finally realize just what a remarkable man he was.

And I would urge all of you who read this post, who have a dad or mom still living to make sure you look at how difficult things may be for them and that you remember you can't go back and make it all right. Tomorrow may be the only time you have left to tell them you love them. This Christmas may be the very last Christmas on this earth for them. As you gather for that wonderful Christmas meal or open gifts under the tree, give them the best gift ever by telling them you love them so much just for being your dad and mom.

I leave you once more, hoping you realize, Happiness is to know.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Everyday is Thanksgiving

I wish I had begun this blog before Thanksgiving, as I have so much to be thankful for, so maybe the next few days before Christmas I'll continue with things I'm thankful for.

As you read my posts you will find I have not yet filled in anything about "me", because I think as you read you will learn a lot about me and then I'll add it in the proper place. Who was that cartoon character who said: "I yam what I yam and dat's what I yam"? Well that pretty well holds true for me too. I yam what I yam. I live with my wonderful soul friend, Bette. (Pronounced Betty, not Bet). She and my husband Jim,and I have lived together for just about 25 years. I have been married to Jim for half a century plus. And yes, that's as long as it sounds. We willingly share our home with three Miniature Pinschers and one Manchester Terrier; all but one rescued from unhappy lives. They are Alexander the Big (Alex), Radar, Penne, and the new Manchester, Arielle

Today is a happy day! Days that start happy are so very wonderful because they usually end up happy. For me it began by building a fire in the firepit on the deck early. It was a bit too cold to sit on the deck, but our living room is on the back of house facing the deck, with big sliding glass doors. So for us to sit inside watching a fire is almost as wonderful as sitting outside by the fire. So we sat inside sipping coffee and had an unusual breakfast which is very common in this household--hotdogs, fresh baked bread dripping with melting butter, hard boiled eggs, steaming hot coffee and a wonderful fire with the dogs gathered round just waiting for us to maybe drop a crumb. God, Bette, dogs and fire--wonderful. Jim always sleeps late so he misses most of the best times.

When the morning isn't rushed through it's like time slows down and a warmth within begins fueled by hot coffee, laughing at the dogs' antics and looking at all the fall flowers and plants still on the deck; golds, browns, and touches of pink and red still remaininig in the flower beds as zinnas and impatiens valiantly try to keep blooming, and here and there wonderful red leaves in the trees trying to hold on a while longer. Yes, this was a very happy beginning that lasted until noon!

Mornings like this give plenty of time to ponder many things. How can Thanksgiving be past, Christmas just days away. How did 2009 arrive and vanish in a blink. Life is whizzing by so quickly and I am on the tail end of the whip-- just like the childhood game of crack-the-whip, and soon I shall go flying of into the heavenlies. Do childen still play that game?

I certainly do not mind heading to heaven because I know the way. And sometimes I almost long for it. Growing old for me has been very painful. I certainly never minded growing old, but somehow pain has become so mingled with the aging process with every day just little more pain ahead sometimes it is hard to want to face it. My friends call me the bionic woman as I have 4 sets of hardware and 8 screws in my back. I've got a neurostimulator implanted in my spine from my shoulder blades down to the end of my tail bone and I have a battery implanted into my left buttock--and I have a remote control to turn me on, which always gets a laugh from new folks who discover that, and I have had a knee replacement, and am a two year survivor of breast cancer after 4 surgeries. So I am well acquainted with pain.

Yes, I do believe God could make it go away. But that is not his way (although sometimes he does). I came to grips long ago with the fact that God allows life with our teens to reach such a time of stress for both us and our children because if everything was always perfect they certainly would never want to leave home and start a family or profession or travel of their own. So life gets uncomfortable and for some downright unbearable and the children move on and we move on, until someday when their own life becomes unbearable they begin to understand, particularly those that have children of their own.

And I also believe that God allows the same for old people who love him. If my life were this wonderful(and it is) and pain free I would never, ever want to leave my wonderful soul friend, and our great dogs, and even though I seldom see them I would long to stay to see my grandchildren grown and even have grandchildren, and I would long to be here long enough for my son to understand about the anguish of teen years and sorrow of parenthood, (yep, I'd love to see that--"payback") oh, yes, Jim, I'd miss you too. And my wonderful garden of flowers, especially my pink garden, and the dozens of potted plants on the deck and in the yard. but I am ready to leave this pain behind.

Are there flowers in heaven, trees? I hope so. I'm a Seed Saver (genuine card carrying one), so maybe I'll have Bette tuck some seeds in my pocket when I go,so I can sow a few here and there among the clouds and plant a garden if God approves. From what I understand we will be eating fruit off those trees he tells us about in his Word.

I do know one thing. I will be totally pain free for the rest of whatever and however long eternity really is. New body! How wonderful! No pain! How wonderful!
God. How awesome! Part of the family. Amazing! Joint heirs with Jesus. My big brother!

On this happy day for which I am thankful, I close with a Chinese Proverb I picked up somewhere:

Yes, Happiness is to know

Friday, December 18, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

I have many favorite things, but not all of them inspire me.
Green trees are special as you already know, but I am so inspired by
To lie on the ground under tall pine trees
and watch them sway to a hidden breeze
wondering if God is near-- breathing in and out majestically;
or could it be the breath
of a million angels in chorus
proclaiming God's glory of creation?
I stand,
I sway,
And my heart sings as I join in nature's choreographed dance of the trees.
Other things that inspire me?
To see the sun begin to spread like water colors flowing across a wet page is mesmerizing; so engrossing one could sit and stare forever entranced by God's artistry across an infinite canvas of blue.
Yes, sunsets are so powerful to me because I feel God's creative spirit as he paints and I am inspired to create as well.
so gently touching my skin like a lover's caress sending chills down my spine
with power to effortly lift even me if they chose, those same winds that can gently caress
in unison, colors mix and swirl, blending yet separate, a kaleidoscope ever changing
just before dusk as they call to each other and settle in their nests with sweet muffled chirps
after a rain; the world washed and clean and great joy when it provides a double rainbow
so slow and sweet, poignant bliss bringing tears to my eyes
blocking out all that would stop me from filling myself with God's sweet Spirit
with seemingly innocent smile like a newborn baby, causing me to want to hug them gently and tell them they are loved
matching my own passionate desire to bring a project to wonderful life
inspires me most of all.
reading God's Word may seem routine
until you begin to feel His Spirit guiding your understanding.
that's when magic happens!
His Word comes alive, vibrant, wisdom filled and I am compelled to write of the joy, the repentance, the cleansing, the beauty and I am filled with inspiration and poetry and new songs spring forth and I must create! The magic of His presence allows me to
and I am filled with AWE
Because, Happiness is to know