Friday, February 26, 2021

the beauty and the ugliness

first published March 2019:

I lost a friend in high school in 1986. Then, a good friend I grew up with ended his life February 27, 1988.  I still miss him. I've lost several more friends to suicide since that time. Most recently, my cousin ended his life on April 18, 2017. I don't want anyone else to give up on life. I want people to know there are people who care, many treatment options, and most importantly there is HOPE of better days. 

One of my friends, who is dealing with severe depression due to child loss, has a secret support group on Facebook. She asked me and a few other ladies to be a member of her support system. The group is used as a safe place for her to reach out when she struggles. Becoming vulnerable is one of the strongest things she has done. She said the video below was helpful to her and might be helpful in understanding her. So, I am sharing it because if it helped her, maybe it can help someone else.

I have a few friends who tried to commit suicide and were saved by hardworking paramedics and doctors. Some of them were helped with people reaching out to them after their attempt. They needed to give voice to their pain and know they were loved and valued. Others needed counseling to examine the root cause and to change unhealthy thought patterns. A few learned they were deficient in certain nutrients, corrected that through diet and supplements, and found they had much less trouble with depression. 

Another friend needed to get their serotonin levels higher with medication. Another learned their depression was seasonal and learned how to give helpful self care during those times. Some of my friends have been on prescription medicines and have gone through several changes in medication. Others had to completely change their routines and parts of their lives. The answer(s) can be simple or complicated, but with effort, they found things that helped.

One friend, with a long family history of mental illness and a diagnosis of severe depression, borderline personality disorder, anxiety issues, and PTSD, had electroconvulsive therapy twice. In addition to that, he has been in treatment centers for weeks at a time trying to find answers that work for him. I applaud him for his commitment and great effort to find a solution. The only change in my attitude towards him is that I admire him more.  He witnessed a horrific event in childhood and has carried the weight of it his entire life. I'd wonder if he was human if he did not struggle. He's a strong, brave, incredible, and beautiful fighter. 

There are five women on my Facebook who have lost children to suicide. There are two women who have lost husbands that way. Then there are the siblings, cousins, and friends. I think it is a safe bet to say most people have been affected by suicide through at least one other person. 

There is nothing wrong with seeking better health and that includes mental health. Unfortunately, there is a stubborn stigma about mental health issues so people hide their suffering and try to deal with it alone. I think if we acknowledge we are mind, body, and soul then we should also acknowledge all three parts can suffer. There is beauty in the strength it takes to reach for help to escape something ugly. There should be more dialogue to emphasize that. 


"I believe people change people because people need people. We need to embrace being human and all of the beauty and ugliness that comes along with it." Sara Liberti








https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8bJ3YlgL1Q&ab_channel=TEDxTalks

Dear Reader, If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, I encourage you to reach out. If the first person/place you reach out to does not help, reach out to another. Repeat as necessary. 

You are worth the search for better mental health.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255



Thursday, February 25, 2021

Please pray for Alan's Family

Alan found me through genealogy research. It looked like we were closely related but then we learned we weren't related at all! Through it, we became friends. Alan is a super nice man and my brother in Christ. He lives in Colorado.

His parents and sister were recently in a very bad, weather related car accident. His father did not survive the accident. His mother is in ICU. Here is the most recent update he gave me: 

2/25: Alan told me today that his mother just had an 9 hour surgery on her hips. The surgery went well. She is recovering from that before the next surgery. Alan and his wife are en route to see her (Colorado to Nebraska) today.

2/19: Hi Wendy, She is not well. She was in surgery for 11 hours yesterday for her back because when they tried to do it before they had some issues and then when they tried to wake her up they could not. So that put her behind schedule. Her next surgery will be Monday at the earliest. Please continue to pray for her.

2/15: "My sister was released Friday from the hospital with some bumps and bruises. My mom had her first of 3 surgeries on Saturday. It lasted 7 hours. She has another tomorrow and Friday. It’s going to be a lot for her to handle. She’s in ICU on a ventilator because they had a hard time getting her off it. She has a 2 broken arms a broken femur a broken pelvis and a broken back. So I appreciate the prayers and keep them coming."

Please pray for Alan's mother and his entire family.

Go-Go-Goals

After many days of gray rainy skies, the winter doldrums had come to visit the homestead. I was doing my morning online work. Hannah was sitting across the table from me. I looked up, and my sweet baby girl was wearing a frown and looked half asleep.

I put on some music to lighten things up. A favorite song came on my "Happy Morning" playlist, so I stood up and started dancing beside Hannah.

I was bringing out my best moves to make her laugh. She was doing her best "Our mom is so weird, and I'm a bored pre-teen" look. I knew that look meant she was really close to laughing. 

She knew I knew, so she redoubled her efforts. Soon, I saw her beginning to smile. She tried to cover it by saying with a smirk, "Are you OK?!" She knew I knew she was right on the edge of laughter.

I laughed and kept dancing. 

Then Hannah looked over at Emily, who was sitting in the corner across the room. It was that "Are we really related to her?" look young teen sisters give each other. I saw the look as Emily needing some of my brand of sunshine.

So, I took my moves on over to Emily without missing a beat. Emily suddenly adopted a scholarly look and pretended to be extremely interested in her homeschool lesson. So, I worked it harder and harder (and looked stupider and stupider) until she busted out laughing. 

I looked back at Hannah, and she was laughing too.

"Mission complete!" I thought. Happier than a chicken singing her egg song on a beautiful morning, I started walking back to my computer to get back to work.

Then, very dryly, Hannah quips to Em, "Well, we know her coffee has hit her." 

It was my turn to get the gift of a belly laugh!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Sharing Hijinks

bethanyandjoshua 
bethanyandjoshua2

EmilyJoshuaCandy

I do not buy them candy often, but when I do...
sharing "lessons" are a given.

Bethany, Emily, and Hannah (not pictured) all wrestled with him to get the candy.
I hope they play like this with one another all of their lives.


You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Turkish Coffee Drink

turkishcoffee

Joshua knows I love trying foods from different cultures. 
He brought me this Turkish Coffee drink. 
I was cold when he gave it to me, so I did not add ice. 
It was pretty good at room temperature!

Dear Reader: Don't be a stick in the mud! Try new things! Talk to new people. Visit new places! Try an old thing you didn't like again...you might like it. Stay open to possibilities! As long as it isn't against God's Word, go for it! Live as if every day is a new adventure!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

O let me ne'er forget

This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

This is my Father's world.
The battle is not done.
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
and earth and heav'n be one.

- from This is My Father's World 
written in 1910 by Maltbie Davenport Babcock


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Prayers for a High Risk Pregnancy

Our young friend, who is the daughter of a life long friend, has a high risk pregnancy due to a heart issue. She is asking us to pray that baby will stay put until her induction day. Thank you all!

The baby is making extra aminiotic fluid which is putting more pressure on the womb.

Maggie Sketch

maggie

I finally finished it.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Food Safety

Some of my vegetarian friends are very excited about this product. I urge caution. 

"Regulators with CFS report a “troubling” study done on rats showing heme disrupted reproductive cycles, reduced clotting ability, caused kidney problems and triggered the development of anemia." 

"The FDA initially refused approval" 

When they push to get something passed, WAIT a few years before you use it.

https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/consumer-products/food/1008551-impossible-burger-not-tested-enough-center-food-safety-claims/ 

copy and past the link

Please pray for Sam

2/19: One of our sons' co-workers went to Sam's house and spoke with Sam and her mother for three hours later in the day of the 17th. She said Sam was still out of it and did not realize she had been fired. She thought she could go back to work. I do not know how Sam was able to drive safely to work, but thank the Lord no one was injured. When we had the bonfire, Sam was the last guest here. She stayed until after 2 a.m. trying to avoid going home. We let her stay until she wanted to go, and then Caleb took her home. Please keep praying for Sam and her situation. 

Please also keep praying for Joshua. Sam and he often worked side by side and were friends. He's feeling the weight of realizing his friend has a bigger problem, of having to tell his boss and the owner and give his opinion about what should be done in the discussion, and then helping to fire her. Caleb and Bethany also knew and worked with her, but it was infrequent.

2/18: Please pray for Sam. She is 18.

Sam drove to and arrived at work in a very dangerous state. She has been trying to leave the drugs alone. 
Sam was at home for five days due to CoVid exposure. She has asked her mom not to allow one of the mother's boyfriends back over, but the mother keeps having him over. Mom is divorcing fourth husband. Pray she can find another job and escape the circumstances at home. Pray for her protection from this man.  

Please also pray for Joshua. He was the manager on duty. He had to call his boss and the store owner. He gave his recommendation for and helped fired her knowing things are bad at home, but they could not risk her injuring someone. 

Sam burned herself yesterday picking up a hot pan and hot chicken with bare hands off the floor after she dropped them while removing them from the oven. She was so high she could not feel the injury and did not realize she was being fired.

Cards for a Sweet Lady

A sweet lady and former cafeteria lady in my hometown has not been able to see hardly anyone for NINE MONTHS. CoVid would likely not be kind to her due to her age and health. Her children are doing what they can, but they say it is wearing on her mentally. If you would like to send a card or a small gift, please contact me at the email in the header. 

*************

She has received some of the things that were mailed to her. Her daughter said she called her twice to talk about it. It brightened her day in a big way! She plans to write everyone a thank you note. Thank you to those who poured out some love on this dear lady. 

Trekking again

trekkingagain2

We've been getting away more often.
We've even done a little off roading here and there.

The new ride is doing fine with 4WD!

Regarding 4WD, several years ago, Clint and I went waaaay out there in the VA mts and happened upon a wonderful 4WD spot. We have not shared about it because the people there asked us to keep their secret after they welcomed us. We kind of happened on it and had a blast there! It's a bit sketchy and "puckering" in places, but it is a lot of fun! Once it warms up, we hope to go back and camp at the precipice overnight. We might travel to do Coal Road with the new Suburban too, if time allows.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Limber

bethany

I walked by Joshua's bedroom and saw this.

At 52, I can still squat like this to work in the garden, but I would not dare do it on the top of a bar stool. We are pretty sure Bethany gets her shortness from her Great Grandmother Bailey and her Grandmother Midge. She doesn't mind at all. She works with women who come up to her chest, so at work she feels tall. She has the best of both worlds!

Her co-workers say she is too quiet.

Propagation time!

If you want to take cuttings off of any of my:

purple grape vines

red grape vines

muscadine grape vines

peach trees

hybrid popular trees

apple trees

pear trees

cactuses 

blackberries (dig up)

tiger lilies (dig up)

mint (dig up)

purple tree collards

lavender (dig up)

rosemary (dig up)

thyme (dig up)

green and white hostas (dig up)

green hostas (dig up)

or anything else I might be forgetting, contact me through the email in the header. I will load you up with garden goodness. My love to all!



Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Prayers Needed

2/17: I was the second one that was told the good news! 

Mr. B's spot was smaller on the scans that they just had returned. His scans were also clear of pneumonia. Because of that, the doctor believes it is scar tissue and will continue to shrink. Mr. B has been given the green light slowly to wean himself off of the O2, move around more, and go out to some restaurants. After Mrs. B has her surgery, they should be both ready to roll again! 

Thank you to all of our friends who have been praying for these dear Christians we think of as family.

2/15: 

Mrs. B goes to meet her team of surgeons tomorrow regarding her heart valve surgery (Watchman Procedure). I am unclear if she is getting the procedure done tomorrow or if this is a just a meeting. (She's had it rescheduled so many times.) HER PROCEDURE WILL BE MARCH 17 in the morning. She will have to stay overnight.

Mr. B has not improved at all. He is on O2 still. His O2 levels are fine if he is sitting, but if he gets up, they drop to 80%. He was told that the mass in his lungs may be cancer, scar tissue, or mesothelioma. He worked a job that put him at high risk for mesothelioma. A few years ago, he had to fill out a ton of paperwork (filled three ring binders) on himself, his wife, and his three children due to his/their risk levels. If it is one of the worst two, the expectation is for him to have only six months to live. His daughter told me he is very quiet since that appointment. 

Please continue praying for my friends. This family has done so much for so many in my hometown. It breaks my heart they are having to go through this. My friend is maintaining her job, her own household, and helping her parents get to appointments. She is cleaning their home, helping them get dressed, and cooking for them. She is exhausted and very concerned for their well being. Thank you to all who have bowed their heads and interceded on their behalf. My love to all.

******************


1/12: HE (Mr. B) is not seeing improvement on his breathing. He is coughing a lot and is still on 02. If he moves around, his levels drop. Mr. B's next appointment is Thursday.

1/11: There are a few appointments this week for this fantastic Christian couple. Please keep them in prayer.

1/8: HE is home and still on O2. He's been back to the doctor twice. There is a spot on his lung that may be a mucous plug or cancer. He has to go for more testing soon. SHE has several doctor's appointments this week. 

12/23: I had meant to update sooner, but I was having a charging issue with my laptop.

Our family friend with the heart issues had a "bandaid" procedure to see if it helped with her breathing. Her testing revealed she has two forms of lupus and parvo. They are thinking this may resolve, so they are waiting to see before they do the more invasive heart surgeries. 

They do not know if her breathing is any better because her husband was hospitalized yesterday due to his lungs being "full of pneumonia." His O2 levels go down to 70% when he moves around. He is on steroids, extra O2, and two strong antibiotics. The small community hospital was going to transfer him but decided at the last minute they could handle it. 

Clint and I love this family and especially this couple. They are strong Christians and have been mentors to us as parents. Through Christ, they have triumphed over so many trials. Please lift them up during their time of need. Thank you for the prayers you lift on behalf of them.

I'll add this post to the other post and bump it up date when I am able. Today is about putting out fires and preparing a time for our family to worship and celebrate the gift of Jesus.

Skirret Carrots

I am looking for skirret carrot seeds so I can add this perennial vegetable to my farm. I am willing to trade for or purchase them.

Killdeer and a Buttercup

killdeer1

killdeer2
acrylic on 8x10 canvas panel

I can clearly remember the day and place my late grandmother Elsie Harrell Bailey taught me about killdeer which is also known as "the broken wing bird." We were visiting a cousin's new waterfront house he had built himself when she pointed a killdeer out to me. She taught me how the little mother distracted predators from the nest to protect her children. I think of her every time I see one of these birds.

My sweet paternal grandmother would have been 102 today. She overcame 96 years on this earth. Her nickname was Buttercup which is what she called daffodils. She had a plaque in her kitchen with painted daffodils that said "Buttercup's Kitchen." She grew a huge garden well into her 80s and gave her produce to everyone who visited. She hugged nearly everyone who stopped by and let so many crab and fish from her pier on Bailey Creek in Chesapeake. One of my favorite memories is her and grandpa walking me to the garden to see if there were any strawberries. From the time I was a little one on up, she would wind the Cuckoo clock grandpa brought home from Germany after WW2 so I could see and hear the bird.

I want to add some daffodils to the picture, but I am afraid I will mess it up.

Dear Reader, Memories are precious gifts from God that can help us get through some very hard things. That's why it is so important we make the time to make them with each other. Happy Memory Making!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Prayers for Caleb and Madysen

Madysen, a very sweet and beautiful young lady, has to move with her mother to Florida and will eventually live with her sister in Atlanta. Madysen's parents could use some prayer for their marriage. 

Caleb and Madysen are very close and hope things work out so they can have a future together. This upcoming move is very hard on both of their hearts. Madysen now leaves on the 27th and will not be back until June when she has her cermony for her graduation. She completed the coursework through online studies, made necessary by CoVid, at our local high school a couple of months ago.

Clint and I prayed with them for God to reveal His will in this relationship and to protect their hearts as they go forward. Both have given their relationship to the Lord's control and are committed to waiting until they are married. 


A Joyful Noise in This Home

alwayslaughing2 
alwayslaughing

One of my greatest joys lately is sitting with them and just listening to them go back and forth with each other. Clint and I taught them that as long as it is fun for everyone, it can continue. As soon as it stops being fun for one, it stops being fun for all. The one can remove themselves if they are offended. This has developed some strong, good natured. and playful relationships as well as thick skins. Very, very, very rarely does the playfulness go too far and as soon as someone speaks up, it stops and apologies are given. Then the play resumes in another way. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Stafford

Our guy got back to us today and said everything on the Truman Road house is in good shape. We are taking up money to buy this dear gentleman groceries. 

If you would like to contribute, please let us know through the email in the header.

**********

2/15: We have been working at the Stafford location. We are looking at beginning project in Suffolk

Some friends are suppose to get pictures and check out the condition of the roof, handrails, etc and get back to us. This is a former teacher at our high school who has fell on hard times. 

Mr. Monroe is elderly and not only could use a helping hand but some love and encouragement. 

If you have skills and would like to help out or would like to donate materials, please let us know through the email in the header.

Exciting Times

Sheetrock

Life is very full, but it is also very rewarding!

May God continue to bless us with health, energy, and opportunity!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Lavish Unfailing Love

"But I lavish
 
 unfailing love
 
 for a thousand generations
 
 on those who love me
 
 and obey my commands."
 
 Exodus 20:6

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Friday, February 12, 2021

We recommend Peninsula Heating and Air

 I highly recommend PENINSULA HEATING AND AIR. Here's our story:


Miller's Services did our septic when we were in a jam. I wrote a review for them that became the most helpful review on their page. Despite our friends warnings, we decided to give them more work. When the tech came, he did not have any way to measure how much freon was in our unit and said we probably had too much freon. He told us there was no way to measure the freon without removing all of it and then measuring it as it went back in. He did not have an empty bottle either. So, he vented some freon and told my husband some things to insulate. He then told him to run the unit for a few days and see if the issue was solved. If not, there would not be another $69 fee for the visit. We would just pay for the work. We were willing to give them another chance to fix it because of that price break. Well, when we called Miller's back, the office went against what the tech said and said they would charge us the fee again. My husband tried talking to them about it, but they were unwilling to waive the fee. Now, their man did not have the tools or the empty tank needed to do the work on the first visit and made an incorrect guess at what was wrong which necessitated another visit. We will not be using them again. Now we know why people say to avoid them!

PENINSULA HEATING AND AIR comes out a few days later, which was this morning, with ALL of the right tools needed to take precise measurements. It is immediately discovered we are too LOW in freon. Because of the other tech, we do not know if this is due to the freon that was discharged or is due to a slow leak. He added freon and charged us $250. We are very thankful PENINSULA HEATING AND AIR came prepared and had a way to correctly diagnose it the FIRST time they came so we can save money in the long run. Going with Miller's cost us money due to the freon that was released unneccessarily and would have probably kept costing us money. My son heard the story and told us we should have asked him first because PENINSULA HEATING AND AIR does the work where he works (for a very well known Gloucester business) and they do an excellent job! His boss is very loyal to them because they have treated him so well over the years. You live, you learn!

Simple Logic

In a discussion on creation, a friend, who is a biochemist, recounted this statement which she said read in a book: 

"If you think the universe is without a creator, well, it's likening to a jumbo jet crashing and then all the parts accidentally springing back together after impact. Think on that."

Thursday, February 11, 2021

URGENT IMMEDIATE PRAYERS NEEDED

We are staying in a house along the river in Cobbs Creek. Around 12:30 p.m. the house started shaking, and we heard a terrible deep rumbling noise. A man's truck slid off the road in the rain and hit a tree. The scene is right next to us. The rumbling and vibrations are from the engine. The truck was smoking and about to catch fire. The man is trapped inside by the steering wheel which is tight against his chest. He is able to speak. As we were investigating, a state trooper was leaving the scene and stopped to inform us. 

Clint has training and served in the FD. He is on the scene assisting. I will update with whatever info I can when I can.

Update: Clint just texted me and said to pray hard because it is bad. The only real help I can give this man is soliciting intercessory prayers on his behalf. Please pray for his salvation and his life. 

Update: Please pray for the man's loved ones. He did not make it. 

If very sensitive, skip the rest: 

The driver suffered a significant head wound when the truck rolled. He was bleeding profusely. The truck slid off the road on a high curve, hit a tree, rolled, and then hit an embankment. The truck was right side up, and the cab was crushed flat-made even with the bed of the truck. I do not believe he was in excess of the speed limit. There have been several accidents on this curve and one was last week. I am going to see if I can get some signage put up to protect other drivers. Too many are being hurt here. Please pray my efforts are successful and go through the red tape quickly.

The trooper said the driver was speaking to him, but Clint said the man stopped talking while he, Clint, was there. So he was talking for a good while. The driver's vitals were checked again, and then things on the scene lost their urgency. That's generally how things at a fatal accident go. They don't loudly announce it. A couple are told and then the rest of the workers pick up on it by the looks and other things. The people there, including my husband, will carry this home with them tonight. 

I believe it was the Holy Spirit that spoke quietly to my heart with "stay and pray." I am so glad I heeded because things like this break my heart for a long time. Images would make it harder. Experience has taught me that. 

Please pray for the man's family, the workers still on the scene trying to extricate his body, and the person who has to deliver the news to his family. What a sad and horrible event!

Clint was given a standing invitation to join the FD here because of his valuable assistance. We do not live here, but if we ever do, he will most likely join. Even the Lieutenant's wife took time to thank him personally. 

************
3:55 p.m. His body was finally taken away. His truck was pulled out. Traffic has resumed.


************

Out of courtesy for the family, POLICE have put out that the driver struck an embankment and was instantly killed. We will not share the name or other details in this post for obvious reasons. 

Father, what a horrible and gruesome day this has been! Help us all to remember time is not guaranteed to us. Let us make the most of each day and live for your glory. Please comfort this man's loved ones and let them work together with love and the best interest of others in the days and weeks ahead to say goodbye and settle his affairs. If any of them do not know you, let this be a wake up call to make that decision today. In Jesus' name we ask this, our loving Father.

Thank yous! and Prayers for Richard S.

A very late THANK YOU to Clint's men for the generous gifts they gave him for Christmas! I was going to post a picture with a thank you, but issues with my phone and computer hampered that.

THANK YOU to Tim N. for the canning jars he scored for my family this past week!

Please pray for our dear friend Richard S. aka Shammy. Clint's co-worker and family friend had back surgery recently and is A LOT of pain still. The doctors say this is normal, but it sure isn't easy.



Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Asbell Project Updates-For Those Who Asked

Project 1 - We have some months left to finish this, but we have overcome three of the major hurdles. There is one hurdle left and then it will be smooth sailing.

Project 2 is complete.

Projects 3 and 4 were connected. We completed them as much as we were able. The family is very happy.

Project 4 is already underway. Things will pick up there once Project 1 is completed. I am thinking around the fall or next winter Project 4 will really be taking off. Clint does not feel this will take long.

Project 5 is in the works. We have many options to consider but like one in particular. We will see where God leads.

We have been having a blast! Thank you to everyone who contributed. Mostly, thanks to our loving Father who made all of this possible!

If you have construction skills or would like to learn some, contact Clint through the email in the header. 

Getting a Little Rest

heron

sketched out on a canvas panel
darker lines are what I am keeping
anything outside those lines is erased

It will be a sillouhette. I want a sharp edge, so I am trying to refine the edges. I think I'll use a fine tip paint pen to outline the sketch before I fill it in with paint.

That took me a painfully long time to do. I used a small picture a friend took of a heron on her farm as my inspiration. I do not have the shoulders or the bulge in the jawline quite to my liking, but I am afraid if I try to make it better I will ruin it. The heron's body is facing away from the viewer at a slight angle. One shoulder should be more squared, and the other should drop off more. 

I honestly do not draw that well. It takes me a long, long, long time to do a sketch and get it where I like it. I am a better at erasing than drawing. I darken the line that stays and erase the many that need to go. I've pretty much learned what to accept as it is and what to change. There's a life lesson in that last sentence. 

I go through a lot of erasers because I like sharp corners on them. I grew up using gum erasers, and I guess that is why I still prefer them. My girls hate them. I don't care for their preferred kneadable erasers either. I tease them over their fondness for the weird, mushy, little grey globs. 

Dear Reader, If it were not for my girls, I would have most likely never tried my hand at art again. I most definitely would not have began at this stage of life. It's a common middle aged pursuit I watched dozens of lifelong friends pick up in the last several years as their children moved out. I've been invited to many events they've hosted. I was interested, but I kept putting it off thinking "eh, someday." 

Then, my girls gave me art supplies as a gift. I did not want to hurt their feelings, so I decided I'd use them a few times to let them know I appreciated them. Then, as I did it, I remembered how much I use to enjoy it. It's also brought back some much needed happy memories, so there is an internal benefit too.

It is also another valuable way for all of five of us Asbell women to relate to each other despite the age differences, life station, time constraints, and different personalities. God knew I needed this simple thing for myself and knew my girls were the perfect catalyst to get me to realize it.

Who has inspired you to pick up something old and try it again? Who has led you to try something new? Who have you inspired and how? 

His People are Under His Protection

bounceback

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, 
Genesis 50:20a

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
Proverbs 18:10

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Caleb Graduated!!

Caleb took his final exam on Thursday and passed. 

He is now another Asbell college graduate!!

He has already signed up and is taking a class to get some OSHA certifications.

We are very proud of Caleb!


That makes three Asbell family college graduates in less than a month!
We are very proud of each of them!


Saturday, February 06, 2021

Curling Puppy Ears

zippy

This is an AKC chihuahua with championship bloodlines. The owner did not want the ears to bend at the tip, so I helped correct them.

When I bred German Shepherds, I learned from a vet how to keep their ears from flopping so they had that desirable pointy-eared look. My experience has taught me that if I catch it sooner, it corrects with less effort than if I wait. Also, the younger puppies seem to ignore the tape better than the older ones. They are easier to distract after application, and then they seem to forget about them.

One can correct an undesirable ear with masking tape. I simply fold the ear loosely in half and then tape. Some people use cones and others use cardboard, but my method has worked very well for me. 

Some people recommend using super glue (DON'T DO THIS!!!!), but that heats up after it is exposed to air and can damage the skin and the fur. Masking tape is less messy, cheap, easy to apply, comes off on its own, doesn't damage the skin or the fur, and can be reapplied easily, if necessary. 

I used painter's tape because it what was available in the pup's home. It is less adhesive and is easy to remove like masking tape, so it is a better choice than duct tape which can leave a sticky residue, remove a lot of fur, and has caused infections.

It's not just a cosmetic thing. Ears that are up dry out after baths/swimming easier and are less likely to get infections. 

Of course, there's nothing like hugging a floppy eared beagle who greets you with a tap dance and a "so happy to see you song" as soon as you open your bedroom door in the morning. My granddog is the beagle who does this every weekday. She has anxiety issues, so she stays with me while my son is working. I love her big floppy ears! She does get yeast infections in her ears (otomycosis) about once or twice a year though. Juice from minced garlic (big jars in grocery store) kills it quickly.

Friday, February 05, 2021

Message for Christians

https://gab.com/RealMarjorieGreene/posts/105680111343958963

I agree!

So then because thou art lukewarm, 
and neither cold nor hot,
I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Revelation 3:16

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Pressure Canning: Meat Dark Discoloration: Oxidation, Lower Broth Level: Siphoning

I have to say that I remain surprised by how many people are now pressure canning as a way to build up their food stores for "just in case." It's good to hear of people of all ages learning this valuable skill that makes our population less dependent on the food supply chain. 

*****

"Hey Wendy, I have been having a blast pressure canning. I processed chicken over the weekend. The liquid level was lower than what it should have been. The chicken above the line is turning dark. Can we eat it, or do we need to throw it out? I hate to waste a jar!"

*****************

Somewhere during processing, you had a too rapid temperature change which caused siphoning which is why the broth level is lower. If you make a temperature adjustment while canning, make slight adjustments over a longer period. Once you know where to set the temperature, you won't need to adjust it. 

Don't remove the canner from the stove eye after processing. Let it sit and cool slowly there. 

ALSO: Don't put cold wet cloths on the canner to cool it off faster so you can open it sooner. That is a sudden temperature change that causes siphoning too. You will see that tip all over the internet, but it will set you up to fail. Ask me how I know. :-/ 

The discoloration is due to oxidation from the product being above the water line. It's fine. Don't just take my word for it! I found you a link where you can learn more:

"As long as you used the correct processing pressure, time, and method, you should be okay. Your food will be fine. The food above the liquid level may darken a bit. If liquid loss is excessive (like well below halfway), go ahead and put the jar in the front of your storage area so it will get used first." Source

Happy Canning!

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Amanda Day Shift

Amanda's day shift date has been pushed back to May. Some of the new hires are unable to perform at the expected level so they need new people. Amanda told us she had a feeling this would happen!

Prayers for My Neck, Please

As I mentioned before, I had two whiplash injuries close together that slowed me down quite a bit. I have seen big improvements. I can hold my head up all day again! You don't realize how big of a deal that is until you can't do it.

I had nearly 100% of my range of motion back. Something was reinjured about 24 hours ago. I knew (felt) it when I did it. I jammed my neck when I went to lay on my pillow. Don't be envious! It takes a special talent!

So, I am back to about 60-75% of ROM. I have tried to go slow and warm my muscles up this morning, but it is not cooperating. It's pain pills, heat, and seeing what it will allow me to do for the rest of the day. 

I am fully aware it is not the end of the world, but it is very frustrating when I have been dealing with the sharp pain since just before Thanksgiving. Please pray it heals quickly so I can take care of my family. 

Thank you to all who lift prayers for me. Please let me know how I can pray for you and yours. Love to all!

Update on Kenny

We saw Kenny again this past week. He said he can lift his legs further from the hip. However, he has not made any progress at flexing his knees. He said he is pretty sure the doctor is going to say surgery at his next appointment. Ken is not very happy about that. He will probably have to go to live in rehab while he recovers, and there is no guarantee the rehab facility will be close. 

We are suppose to be in his area again this weekend or next and plan to take him some Starbucks Vanilla Frappacino drinks which is a treat he buys for himself.


Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Are you showing grace or reacting with injured pride?

About twelve years ago, I was reconnected with a friend I grew up with. We did not see each other after I married and moved in 1988. As we caught up, she told me she became very rebellious as an older teen and lived a "hell on wheels" lifestyle. She abused her body and her relationships and had some bad consequences as a result. The most touching part of her story was put this way. "I do not know how my mama put up with me. I did terrible things to her and know it was hard for her to see what I was doing to myself. I know I brought great shame to her. But, she kept on loving me no matter how I behaved."

Dear Reader, I know her mother very well and remember when she came to know the Lord. I also know that her mother chose to respond with grace rather than react to injured pride (and fear for her child's well being) because that is exactly what Jesus did for her...and for me...and for you. Remembering what debts were paid for ourselves, let's resolve to work harder to respond with grace instead of reacting with pride when others disappoint or hurt us.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:10

Monday, February 01, 2021

What You've Promised

 "A husband does not need to earn his wife’s respect any more than a wife needs to earn her husband’s love. A wife ought to respect her husband because he is her husband, just as he ought to love and honor her because she is his wife. Your husband might “deserve” it when you mock him, berate him, belittle him, and nag him, but you don’t marry someone in order to give them what they deserve. In marriage, you give them what you’ve promised."- Matt Walsh

Saturday, January 30, 2021

For as the waters fill the sea,

For as the waters fill the sea,

 the earth will be filled with an awareness of
 
 the glory of the LORD.
 
 Habakkuk 2:14


Thursday, January 28, 2021

The rest is insignificant!

clintscar  
clintscar2

Even going slower, sometimes you hit the ice the right way and off the road you go!

Clint was not injured. The rest is insignificant! We are thanking God for keeping him uninjured and the car drivable. Parts already ordered.

Two other accidents happened in the same area before he could get his car back on the road with the help of a tow truck. One man hit a guard rail and had significant cosmetic damage to his car. The other accident involved multiple vehicles where police, fire, and rescue were called.



Wednesday, January 27, 2021

CONGRATULATIONS BETHANY!!

15 days ago, Joshua graduated from college. 

Today, Bethany graduated from college at 17 years old!!

She had less than one hour prep time from when the proctored exam was scheduled and administered. She did not want to delay and have a longer wait to finish, so she took it and breezed through it! 

Way to go, Bethany! 

We are very proud of you!

Prayers for Shammy, aka Richard S

1/27: I have been slow at updating, but Shammy had a good surgery. The doctor says it looks like this will fix his pain issues. Now he has to take it slow for five months until the healing is complete. 

1/19: If you have been reading here for a while, you have seen his name. He's been very good to our family. He is having back surgery on Monday and will be out of work for five months. He's put this surgery off for 10 years, but he can't take the pain any more. Please pray it goes well and that he heals fully and can live a pain free productive life. Thank you to all who pray for our friend. 

We love you, Shammy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Prayers for Luke

1/27: Luke goes back in a week to see if his bones are knitting together. If they are not, they will do surgery and put in pins. Because his bones are fragile, they do not know if the pins will stay put to do the job. Luke has has tested positive for CoVid, and the entire family has been quarantined. He is unable to rest because the pain in his leg is so bad. He is nonverbal, so he can't tell them how to move it to help ease the pain. Everyone is very tired and frustrated. Please lift them in prayer. 

1/26: Those who have been reading for a long time may remember prayer requests for a little boy named Luke. He is a special needs child of dear friends of ours. In the past, he has stopped breathing and has had some scary respiratory infections due to Joberts Syndrome. He is now 13 and can walk with a walker (which is much more than what doctors predicted for him). Health wise, he will always have his struggles, but he is in a better place because his amazing mother learned Luke responds very well to essential oils. They've been able to reduce a lot of his medications. 

Luke fell yesterday and broke his leg. While most children could adapt easily, Luke is struggling with the being still part. Please keep him in prayer for calm and for him to stay still until his bones are knit back together. Thank you for praying for Luke!

you are never alone in your struggles

 "I wrote at the start of this book that I believe there are no coincidences in life, no chance meetings and no random events' there is a plan for each of us, a force that brings us together, then twists and binds us into a single length of rope that is attached to our destiny. I said that you were meant to read these words, that this message is for you and is now a part of your plan. This message is to have faith, ruthless faith, Job-like faith. A faith so complete it transforms your life from ordinary to extraordinary. A faith that allows you to press on with the certainty that you are never alone in your struggles.

I believe that all of the challenges in our lives are part of God's unique plan for each of us. This plan comes to us over time in parts of a puzzle. Each piece is delivered to us by strangers, friends, family members, and the random people who come into our lives every so briefly and bring with them a critical piece of the puzzle.

There are some of you who already got this message and are living an amazing faith filled, adventurous life. There are others who question if there is a plan for them or if there is really an all-knowing God. If you are in this group, then I ask you to consider the idea that the random coincidences in your life might be God's way of communicating with you." A Warrior's Faith by Robert Vera

I am glad I know of Ryan's story and his relationship with and impact on the author, Robert Vera. Robert tells the story of Ryan Job in a straightforward conversational manner. I often felt like he was sitting across from me imparting the lessons he learned about the amazing life Ryan Job lived. This book was recommended by a friend whose loved one has a traumatic brain injury. She also derived a lot from the book. This book reinforces that very bad things happen to very good people but by the grace of God they can be victorious and can lead a life that inspires and encourages others. Our suffering only limits us if we allow it to damage our attitude. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

For He will abundantly pardon

Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah‬ ‭55:6-7‬ 

Smart Tortoise

smarttort

Please excuse the dirt. It's "mud season" here. Eight of them, one of me.

I am very happy with my two Redfoot Tortoises Chevelle and Ranger.

They do seem to be smarter than some of the others I have worked with over the years.

My Sulcata, which has been rehomed to a reknowned herpetologist in our area, was very smart too.

I took Chevelle out the door to sun on our large deck one time. 
Once.

Now, she goes right to the door and will try to push her way out.
For HOURS if I let her.
I do not know how long she will go before she will give up because I give in before she does.

I have to make sure the door is latched and remind the family to keep it latched.
I have to be very mindful when they are out for exercise because there is so much coming and going here.

Even in winter, I try to give them at least half an hour a week outdoors depending on the weather. Natural sunshine can not be beaten!

Friday, January 22, 2021

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Prayer

I firmly believe we need to be in continual prayer for the safety of our military and the security of our nation.