Category Archives: confessions

The 22nd Year of The Memorial Day Extravaganza!!!!

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Hi Guys!

I know, I have been a terrible blogger. I don’t really have a reason or even an excuse. I have just fallen off the word wagon and though the desire is still there, it may take some practice and determination to hoist the body back onto the broken down cart!

When I finally do get onto this computer, I have things to share, but then I think of things I should have shared a long time ago and I feel a little defeated and not sure where to start. So I am just JUMPING IN HERE! It might be a little herky jerky for a while, but please bear with me. Spellcheck is trying to tell me that herky is not a word. Go on with your bad self Spellcheck. Which is also not a word.

I have been home from Virginia a week and I haven’t shown a picture! I was telling Mrs. Schmenkman that I always seem to take pictures of the same things whilst at Sassy Cat Hill, so as a result, I did not take many photos. Here we are at the beginning of the trip, and I am going to have to do a small smackeral of that back tracking I was mentioning above.

On May 20 we gathered with family to celebrate my Father on the second anniversary of his passing. Always a nice time of visiting and reconnecting with family.

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While there I had a conversation with my SIL Karen about doughnuts. As you do. I was telling her about the truly awesome doughnuts that Honey brings home from Tasty Boy occasionally on his way home from work. Occasionally because they are dangerously good and WE DON’T NEED THAT KIND OF INTENTIONAL SIN IN OUR LIFE. So back to Karen. She said she would have to try them. I then said that perhaps Honey could bring home a 6 pack and I could bring her one.

Karen works for Delta airlines and she knows about my yearly trek to Virginia for the Hootenanny. Every time I am in the airport I look for her, but I have never seen her there. I told her I would bring her doughnut, text her when I arrived at the airport, and she could tell me which gate she was at that morning, it sounded so fun!

When I texted her she said you are not going to believe this, but I am working your gate to Washington Dulles!!!! So there she was! Looking good for 6 A.M.!

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She introduced me to the flight crew, asked them to take good care of me, may or may not have given me a seat with more leg room and the potential for better snacks, and then chatted for a while because there were only 23 people on the entire plane!!! All for a doughnut! It was such a treat to see her!

I was swimming in leg room! Which, when you are Shaq, is a pretty good deal!

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And then Mrs. Schmenkman picked me and my carry on packed inside my checked bag up, and the shopping began! We always have some goals when we start, and then find other treasures along the way. We were both in the market for black sandals. I am always on the hunt for comfortable, cute shoes/sandals. I blame my problematic hooves. I had quite a bit of shoe luck and she found the most comfortable black sandals ever, like walking on clouds she said!

When we arrived at Sassy Cat Hill, Miss Poppet took up residence on my lap for the duration. She was not pleased with the iPad situation, or me making her sit on a pillow to prevent her from snagging my pants with her fingernails. We did give her a manicure and that was a big help. I love that little kitty witty booly wooly!

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Schmenkie lives surrounded by nature. This was from the car, one of several we saw, and I’m not even car observant!

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She is super observant because she is a certified wildlife rehabilitator, so that keeps her a bit busy. She is frequently getting calls about wild animals needing attention. She almost got a baby otter when I was there, but other arrangements were made. This trip she had 2 squirrels who were getting ready for release. They are in their outside transitioning cage.

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And this little girl was still in the baby area in her basement. I think she is almost ready for the outside transition cage. Possums are a little creepy to me and Schmenkie and I agreed it was their tails. She said this little one was not bitey at all, which was my main concern after seeing all them teeth!

This picture amuses me a little. Schmenk always says she doesn’t have to get all beautified because the animals don’t care what she looks like, but here is her manicured hand holding a baby possum. Amusing.

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Look at their feets!!! They look like monkey hands! Good for gripping and so, so soft!!! I did, I touched the feets!!!!

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The shopping continued, as did the eating and the chatting. It’s such a treat to visit and catch up like this every year! She has such a different life than I do and I learn so much from her. She is a good steward of God’s creatures.

Schmenkie set a goal for herself last year to walk every day for a year and on June 23 she will reach it!!! We walked every day and it was so fun to see her greeting all of the people she has met on her usual path! It was like a community! She is so dedicated too! Not a fair weather walker like Keelyody and myself! She walked all winter in most weather and on the treadmill only when heinous outside, And of course, she brought peanuts for the squirrels and keeps her eyes open for all the other critters that might cross her path.

We did our hairs, and then tweaked multiple times. That’s hairdressers for you, forever tweaking.

We talked of many things, and marveled that we can’t shop all day, every day, like we used to! One day we never even left the house! Well, except to walk. We went out to dinner a couple times with her sweet husband Mr C, who is very gracious to let me hog her every Memorial Day! He actually invited me to come back and bring Honey so they could fish and do manly things.

Before we knew it we needed to take our traditional last day picture. We started in the house, which was awesome for her and made my glasses all squirrelly. Well, we can always crop the other out if we need a new Facebook profile picture!

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to the back yard! I quite like this one. There is so much to consider when middle aged woman get to photographing themselves. Head angle, chin coverage, weird folds in the neck, best sides, chest wrinkles, eyes open!

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Mainly where am I supposed to be looking?? A common theme for me this photo shoot!

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Better.

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Awww!

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This could have been my favorite! ARGGGGG!

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Loving this!

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Checking out her Do!

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It’s starting to get away from us…

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…no…

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…heck no.

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Heart emoji!!!

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The Schmenkmans!

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I told her we were at a distinct disadvantage. This generation we have now spends a lot of time perfecting their selfie face in the mirror and on their cell phones, they are TOTALLY ready for their close ups! All we have are orange-y  far away, non edited pictures from the 70s in our past!

Poppet was on her princess pillow when I left, going to miss that wobbly little lady!

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One last selfie, or us-y, showcasing her cutey cute new sun glasses! Love youuuuuuuuu! Thanks for having me Schmenkie, AGAIN!!!

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Stuff From the Days

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Hey Y’All, it’s Monday again. Every time I turn around, how about you?

I read this last week. Abby had picked it up at the library sale for a buck. She said she had read it before and liked it a lot, so it came highly recommended. I did like it, but it made me feel supremely skeptical of my own personal survival skills. It’s about a couple that didn’t know each other, who survived a plane crash in the mountains. I think I will look into this author’s other work.

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I laid to rest the completed Whole 30 on Tuesday, a moment of silence for the death of the NO wheat/rice/corn/beans/sweetener/dairy/joy diet.

HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!

I finally lost a little weight on the last week, bringing my total to 7 if I count the extra 2 pounds I started with from vacation, and you know I am.

Here is my Wednesday!!!!!!! What a pleasure to be back at the old Chip and Dip!!!!

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They want you to add things back in gradually, to see if any food group in particular causes you grief. I’m not going to lie, this was nigh unto impossible. I was feeling successful after leaving lunch because I had fajitas with no cheese, sour cream or tortilla, OR Diet Coke, just steak, mushrooms and guac, plus the chips and salsa. I was feeling proud of myself for only introducing corn. But then I remembered that I had those 2 birthday cupcakes and piece of pineapple upside down cake in the freezer and that put flour, sugar and dairy back in the mix in one fell swoop! BAM!

In my defense, I did not eat ALL of the dessert at once. That would be wrong. I spread it out over 2 days and was thankful it was gone. I practically licked the container, didn’t want to waste any of that frosting.

It was pretty much all down hill after that.

Honey wanted to try this place we had never visited called Primanti Brothers. They had really good pizza and because we wanted to get a better picture, we had their fried pickles and sandwiches.

That was a yummy burger! Of course I had been burger deprived for a month, but I think it was pretty good! I’m telling you right now that Honey helped with those fries. And I only ate 1/2 the burger and the other half for Sunday lunch.

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Honeys corned beef extravaganza.

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If I’m being honest, and I always strive to do so, I think I do feel more achy and sore. My back and shoulders, ribs and waist seem more uncomfortable since going back to eating anything in the whole anything kingdom. I am thinking dairy is in the clear because I have had the least of that. I am thinking wheat is the culprit. I am going to be more intentional this week and see if I notice any difference.

We then came home and watched Patriots Day, about the Boston Marathon bombing. It was a horrible thing, but it was really something to see how quickly they could figure things out to identify the bombers and how things happened. Plus a few lucky breaks.

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There is evidence of spring in The Mitten!!!!! #proofoflife! We had wonderful weather this weekend!

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Today was the first day of the 2017 walking season with Keelyody! It was lovely and springy outside, we didn’t even have to start with gloves and heavy jackets!

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And so it begins.

Way Back When-sday Hodgepodge

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Happy April! Click on the button below if you would like to link up. Here we go!

From this Side of the Pond

1. April is Lawn and Garden Month. On a scale of 1-10 what’s the current state of your lawn and/or garden. (10=a showpiece, 1=send in the professionals). Tell us about any lawn or garden plans you have for this month.

Well, it’s a little early to be working in the garden up here in The Mitten. The backyard is still closed up for winter, pots covered, debris to be cleared, furniture in the shed. Heck, Honey’s snow plowing sticks are still in the ground and their services could still be needed! I’m going to say a solid 5, we are no further ahead or behind than usual, just dormant.

We have had a few nice days that caused the day lillies to poke their heads up for a looksee, but that’s about it. Once it looks like spring has sprung, the first thing we usually do is get the chairs and patio pretties out of the shed and start cleaning up the beds, cutting stuff back and distributing the pots back to their homes.

I do need to get on the stick and get my hyacinth bean seeds planted in the house so they can be ready to plant in the ground. They need to have a good head start so they can climb the trellis and have a party at the top! That’s my big plans.
2. “Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there.”~Thomas Fuller What does this quote mean to you?This could be love, laughter, friendship and memories. Not sown in dirt the traditional way, but beautiful, lovingly cared for, and treasured all the same. All grown in the garden of life.
3. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God?

Creator.

I don’t understand how anyone could think that all the amazing, beautiful, intricate things in our world could have just evolved out of nothing. The human body, our universe and its delicate balance, a mind complicated enough to build a computer, watch, or rocket ship and solve intricate problems. There has to be a Creator.
4. If we were chatting in person, how would I know if you were nervous?

I don’t think you would know unless I told you, I have a pretty good poker face 🙂
5. Do you like the color yellow? Would I find any in your home or wardrobe? Daffodils, tulips, roses, sunflowers, day lily, black eyed susan…which yellow bloom on this list is your favorite?

I like the color yellow, just not on my person. None is represented in my wardrobe or our home, but I love, love, LOVE it in the garden! I have many yellow day lillies and black eyed Susan’s, and have a special place in my heart for the sunflower because it was our oldest daughter’s favorite for many years.

My favorites lately are the cheerfully reliable zinnias!

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And happy million bells. They add so much.

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6. Flip flops or bare feet?

Bare feet or sandals. My flip flop days are long gone, plus that slapping sound annoys me.
7. Tell us about any Easter plans, celebrations, or traditions you’ll carry out this month.

For so many years we were on vacation at Easter, it has only been the last couple of years that we have even been home. I find myself at loose ends and very out of practice! The only things set in stone are we will go to church and we will eat….something! Another tradition would be Easter baskets, I still do that for the girls.

We are studying John this year at BSF and we are almost to the crucifixion. I want to always remember what the Lord suffered so that I could have my sins forgiven and be made righteous. He sacrificed himself so that I could believe in Him and have my sins covered by His blood, and receive the blessing of His Holy Spirit to guide, teach, and refine me.

John 14:25-27

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His death and resurrection prove He has power over the grave and is fully capable of offering forgiveness, salvation, the Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven. That is something to celebrate!!!!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Here is some Way Back When-sday from 2000, SEVENTEEN years ago!!!!! We were in Florida for Easter break. This is when we used to take the kids out of school for an additional week to have a nice long vacation! We are at Islands of Adventure here.

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Eleven year old Ab-Cat, nine year old Boy and six year old Mousey.

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We spent quite a bit of time at Seuss Landing!

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Back at the pool, their happy place!

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Thanks for stopping by, Happy Easter!

Way Back When-sday Hodgepodge

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Hi Guys, welcome to the last March Hodgepodge of 2017! If you would like to link up, click on the button below and head over to Joyce’s, our hostess with the most-est!

From this Side of the Pond 

1. ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’  What’s something you’ve seen recently that you thought was beautiful?

Mrs. Schmenkman posted this on the Facebook yesterday! They are having full on spring down in Virginia!!!!! Beautiful!

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2. Our culture and beauty…your thoughts?

I think our culture focuses WAY too much on what a person looks like on the outside, and WAY too little attention on developing the inside. There are a lot of ignorant, shallow, crude, unkind, stupid, dishonest, pretty people out there. I remember one year at my Bible study they had a page of verses for developing character over physical traits. That’s what we should be more concerned with, beautiful hearts and souls.
3. Age before beauty, beauty queen, beauty mark, beauty sleep…which beauty-ful phrase resonates with you today? Why?

I would LOVE some beauty sleep! In this ever changing life stage I find myself in, sleep and beauty are becoming hard work.. Sleep seems to be optional, with no rhyme or reason for disruption. As far as looks go, I’m just putting out fires here! Loss of skin elasticity, strange spots, new products designed to restore, repair and revitalize, it’s all Temple Maintenance from here on out!

4. I read here a list of the top ten beasts animals that scare us the most-
alligators, coyotes, black bears, birds (but pigeons in particular), sharks, bats, bed bugs, rats, rattlesnakes, and the black widow spider.
Which ‘beast’ on the list scares you the most? What is the liklihood of you having an actual encounter with that particular beast? Did a movie contribute to your fear of this creature? Have you ever had a real life encounter with any of the animals listed?

Wow, I think you about nailed all of my animal fears here Joyce! Sharks, alligators and rattle snakes scare me the most and bedbugs and rats creep me out pretty bad. The likelihood of an interaction with any of them is very slim, THANK GOODNESS!!!!

Jaws came out when I was in 7th grade and I have never comfortably swam in the ocean again. I’m ok with that, there are other bitey things in there anyway! I am not a huge fan of swooping birds either and the movie probably has more than a little to do with that. I saw it when I was very young, maybe 5, when we were visiting friends. Way to supervise the kids Folks!

I have never had a real life encounter with any of the above, although a bird did poop on my hand at MGM Grand theme park, that was bad enough.

5. Where were you when you last heard a bell ring? Was it alarming or musical?

A particularly loud cell phone with a bell ring tone went off during lecture at Bible Study Fellowship last week. It was a little alarming because it took the gal forever to find her phone and turn it off!
6. What’s your favorite carb? How’s that for random?

I am really missing carbs these days. I am one week away from completing The Whole 30, a diet devoid of most carbs and all happiness. Right now my favorite carbs seem to be the cherry chip cupcakes sitting on my island. They are tempting me MIGHTILY, but I have not succumbed. I did put 2 of them and a piece of my Dad’s pineapple upside down birthday cake in the freezer to enjoy after my time of confinement is over. I.Can’t.Wait. I also do love a crunchy kettle chip.
7. Let’s wrap up another month of Hodgepodging and life with an acrostic. Recap your month using the word MARCH.

Many kinds of Michigan weather! Freezing cold, 70s, damaging winds and much rain!

Absolutely missing dairy on this diet!!!!!

Remake of Beauty and the Beast. The original was huge around our house back in the day. We quite enjoyed it!

Correspondence with The Boy! We are pen pals!

Hungry, a fitting end.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Here’s the Way Back When-sday part of the post.

The Boy and his wife, The Dane, are expecting a baby this summer! As I mentioned, he and I have been writing letters to each other. Michigan and Washington state are far apart and he suggested we should kick it old school and use the U.S. Postal Service to write down some thoughts.

In his previous letter he was saying how excited he is to meet his child and asking me some of my recollections while waiting for my first baby. In my last letter, I sent him a couple pictures of himself as a newborn and a 6 month old, along with a picture of myself, rocking a sweeeeeet Osh Kosh BGosh maternity jumper, at 9 1/2 months pregnant!  They made that boy come out, he was not showing any signs of vacating the premises!

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And here he is at 6 months, precious little Buddy Bear!

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Time flies so quickly!

Thanks for stopping by.

The Whole 30

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On March 6th I started the Whole 30 Diet. I am living for April 6th.

My natural path doctor recommended it to see if it makes any difference with inflammation and pain. It is supposed to detoxify your system as well as identify any foods that could be triggering any problems.

They really should just call it the Omit diet. You omit wheat, rice, corn, all beans except green, and even supposedly healthy grains like Quinoa.

Also omitted are sugars. Regular, of course, but also the somewhat legal sugars (in Paleo anyway) of honey, coconut sugar and pure maple syrup, along with fake sugars (no surprise there) like aspartame, saccharine and Splenda. The part here that has caused me endless grief is they also banned Truvia, made from almost universally accepted stevia. I understand they are trying to break your dependency on sweet things, but I already know I have multiple sweet teeth and banning EVERYTHING just makes me cranky and fills me with sadness and discontent. No hot morning beverage was more than I could bear. I confessed to the doctor that I was having a cup of tea in the morning with 2 packets of contraband Truvia. I consider it a win because it is STILL not sweet enough. She did not say one word. She must have learned not to kick a woman when she’s down, or poke the bear. Whatever.

They also omit dairy. This is straw that is breaking my camel’s back. I have low carbed in some fashion or another for many, many years, and the silver lining of joy and happiness in the low carb world is DAIRY. No cream, no cheese, no mayo or sour cream, no yummy sauces to make food delicious. I was suffering through my morning tea with no cream. All the websites said to try full fat coconut milk, you’ll love it they cheered brightly! Yeah, still suffering. Who are these lying people????

No MSG, soy, or contraband oils. Recipes on Pinterest show too many sweet potatoes, chunks of avocado, vegetables I have never heard of and unappealing others. I made a ranch dressing with coconut milk that everyone online RAVED about. It tastes like it is rancid. Beets, continuous eggs in all forms, salmon, squash, lamb. I long for a burger. And Chip and Dip!

You might be wondering what is left. Well, there is good food to be had, but it is plain and sautéed with tears and regret. Meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit and nuts and seeds. I have been living on my banana pancakes, soup and Honey’s stir fry. We did have a pot roast with potatoes and carrots last week and it was DA licious! I took mine out before the gravy was made and I still enjoyed it very much.

I have discovered 2 new things; ghee (legal clarified butter) and Mousey and I have successfully waded into homemade sweet potato chip territory. Eating out is very tricky and I have just resorted to Mediterranean for the duration.

This is a hilarious look at what to expect while participating! A timeline of feelings and angst, breaking it down by days. I have 13 more days to go.

So far I don’t feel any better, and while there are wild reports of up to14 lbs of weight loss, I have lost maybe 2 pounds. The doctor says I am in the valley where people most often quit. I told her I would soldier on so I can say I have done it.  I’ll just be over here, quietly detoxifying and feeling sorry for myself.

A List!

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Now that the vacation memories have been posted I feel like I have odds and ends to share. Smells like a list to me.

It was evidently beautiful and warm in The Mitten while we were in Florida. It has only been cold, snowy and rainy since our return. There has been sunshine, but it has been nippy. I have observed a lot of chirpy, happy, spring is coming type posts on Facebook, but I have lived in Michigan long enough to know that the spring date is merely a suggestion.

I have been doing a little shredding for Honey. He has rigged up a contraption to make the job easier.

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We have already filled up one whole bag with stuff from the late 80s and 90s! I have been shredding a lot of returned checks, remember when they returned them? Because I can only do 2 or 3 at a time I find myself looking at who they were made out to, and that has been rather interesting! And sad. I have come across a lot made out to my Mom and to our friend Michelle, who passed away last fall. She was a Creative Memories consultant and I made good use of her services. There are also lots of checks to the kids school and Scholastic for book orders, and about a gajillion to Meijer and Target. A little snapshot of our life. I also shredded a lot of financial papers and was reminded that Honey started putting away money for savings and the kids education from the start! I am so thankful for Honey and his skills!

 

In our study of John at BSF we have been learning more about The Holy Spirit. I love learning about this. The Holy Spirit and His conviction is one of the things I am most thankful for in life. I asked Jesus to be my Savior when I was a young girl and spent the next 20 or so years having doubts I did it “right”. As I intentionally started walking with the Lord, I realized that the still, small voice that I heard and felt was guiding me in life and causing me to recognize when I was not doing the right thing. It gave me such assurance! I know the enemy is not convicting me of my failings to bring me to repentance and restoration, he only wants me to suffer from guilt and condemnation. I know the enemy does not give me true direction and joy, he only lives to create disaster, dissention and division.

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I am God’s child!!! This is how I can be sure! The enemy is NOT testifying with my spirit that I belong to God, I’ll tell you that!

We are in the dog days of winter and I find I have no gumption to do much of anything. I am ‘in a relationship’ with Netflix. I seem to be slightly obsessed with watching Bones and The Great British Bakeoff. I know, what a combination.

Bones reminds me somewhat of my previous obsession with CSI Miami. Mindlessly watching others figure out crimes and cleverly solving murders. It has its place.

The Great British Bakeoff is an education of a different sort! Probably not the best thing to be watching in my current state of dietary incarceration (more about that tomorrow!)

These are the hosts, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. I love listening to them talk about food, it’s almost hypnotic! They use words I don’t know, the contestants cook things I have never heard of, and yet I am oddly fascinated.

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The contestants are usually darling and so sweet and generally helpful to each other. One of my favorite things at the moment.

Ok, I need to scoot, be back tomorrow with the diet post.

Thoughts For The Week

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How has a week gone by and I have not posted a thing??? I guess I am rustier than I thought. I don’t intentionally drop the ball. It’s like the old Steve Miller song, time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin, into the future.

Well, here I am with some random thoughts.

Hey!!! It’s already February! Sheesh, January flew by. The 28th would have been my Father’s 82nd birthday. I was strolling through photos, looking for shots of him with the kids to put on the Facebook, when I came across this sparkling beauty. Here he is sampling Honey’s homemade dill pickles. This picture is a perfect little snapshot of my Father and one of his primary interests; good food! If he were still alive this could be a throwaway shot, but I am keeping it now as an insight of what he enjoyed! And I think he majorly enjoyed everything he ate over here! Just look at him, totally engrossed in his pickle tasting!

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This is what I believe. WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME PLANE PEOPLE!

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This amuses me endlessly!!!

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Oh Seymour, it’s the little moments such as this that cause us love you so! The stalking, creepy, naughty moments? Not so much.

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I can’t remember if I mentioned that The Boy suggested that we become pen pals. He found a box in the basement this summer that contained a lot of my correspondence from 35-40 years ago. You may be wondering why I still have all that, and I would say I am sentimental about letters and notes, they would land in the top 5 category of meaningful things I save. Little did I know that one of my children would find them interesting decades later!

The box contained concert ticket stubs, Beatle’s books, my high school sports letters, other memorabilia and letters from my Grandma Georgia and Grandma Hoover, random other folks, then a whole slew from my friend Dawn! I have taken that box to my room to read at my leisure about the things we thought important enough to talk about between classes in 11th and 12th grade! Also amusing to me were a whole bunch of inter office communication from when Dawn, our friend Suzanne Suzanna Danna, and I worked at Michigan National Bank!!! Those letters where we pretended we were married to our favorite celebrity at the time! Good grief, if any bank official ever opened those gems! I read The Boy a few and he thought they were hilarious!

So he decided we should write letters, kick it old school, record our conversations so maybe his children will find them decades later, in a box in his basement. I got my first letter this week.

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We have begun to give our imaginary public what they want! It’s the least we can do.