Monday, December 29, 2014

Moody Monday's: Time to say good-bye to 2014

Wow, where did the year go?
It seems like only yesterday I sat at my computer to post my first blog. Now, here I am posting the last one for the year. Time is flying by, and yet, I don't feel that much older.
This year has been a challenging one for me, both physically and mentally. All day I have contemplated what to write about. (If this was a short story, I would be done by now.) So, after much thought, and many re-writes, I will focus instead on twelve things that have impacted me this year. 
12. Kicking fear to the curb and taking the chance to start something new. I have sat with this blog being stagnant for a couple of years because I didn't know what I was doing. I'm not very tech savvy so this was a big step for me to learn something new. I am glad I did it. I have met many people that have become friends and learned quite a bit.
11. Learning how to develop myself as a writer. I have found that when I write online vs. my off-line creative writing, I tend to be pretty shallow with my writing online. (Unless it dealt with family drama.) I don't know why that is but it is something I have picked up on. In the future I will have to find a way to remedy that if I continue to write online.
10. March was a month of challenges. My faith in God, family, writing, and supportive husband helped me to keep my sanity in March with the birth of our grandson, death of my mother-in-law days later, and writing challenges. (The family was still recovering from the previous year with similar events when these happened.) I seen myself grow in many ways during this time. 
9. Selling our business and taking a vacation. (I had forgotten what it was like to sit back and relax.) I love the time I spent visiting with my son and family.
8. How faith, scripture, prayer, and a bucket of humor helps to deal with life's little box of craziness. (Of course...don't forget the family...or a loving supportive hubby.)
7. Learning to cope with someone that has cancer. I have found strength where I didn't think I had it when I found out my mother has cancer. That same strength has helped me to deal with my dad and husband's health issues. (I have seen the power of prayer working many times during this year.)
6. Planting a garden and going back to my roots. So many memories as a child involved harvesting our own food, whether it was fishing, hunting, or gardening. This year my hubby and I planted a garden and enjoyed canning it. We also enjoyed making snack sticks to munch on this winter.
5. Sometimes it is okay to take a break. With so much going on in my family, I had to step away from writing online for a bit. I felt guilty about it, but at the same time, I knew my writing would suffer if I felt I wasn't giving 100% to it. I also took this time to begin editing my novel I wrote six years ago.
4. Letting your light shine will help others to shine their's. This year I wanted to focus on my crafts as much as my writing. Along the way I was able to help others learn a craft or get back into the crafts they use to do. This has created a closer bond between us. I feel that I have learned a lot from them while helping them.
3. The friends and acquaintances I have made during this writing journey. I have wrote off and on online for five years now. I have come to know many writers during that time. This year showed me a group of writers that went the extra distance to show how much they care. From simple personal messages online, midnight chats, to taking a moment to send a card...I have developed a special bond with these people I have never met. Thank you! You will never be far from my mind and have a special place in my heart.
2. Life is crazy. Things happen. It is how we deal with it that develops our character. It has taken me a long time to see past the negativity of things that happen and look for the positive. As warped as my humor can be sometimes, it has helped me to get through some dark moments. (I am very grateful the Lord blessed me with bucketfuls of humor.) I also feel blessed beyond the worth of material possessions with the family I have. (I love spoiling my grandsons!)
1. Growing with Christ. I had my eyes opened this year to new literature I had come across. Things that I thought I knew had been erased. Things I never understood before now have a new meaning. I am excited to explore more of  these amazing avenues. For once in my life things make sense and my questions are getting answered. In this excitement, I see my writing developing into something more. Into the direction I knew I wanted to go but didn't know how to get there. If you have never heard of LA Marzulli, Rob Skiba, Steve Quayle, or Tom Horn, be sure to take the time to check them out. Amazing stuff there!
And that wraps up this year's last Moody Monday.
Due to family health issues, I will be taking a break again for awhile. I will never truly give up writing online (since it is so addictive) but it will be less consistent than my goals were this year. I have enjoyed this year of learning, growing, and developing deeper friendships. I will always appreciate the fans, readers, and writers that have been a part of this journey.
Take care, stay warm, and enjoy the new year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Moody Monday's: Baby Fairies and Christmas

I woke up this morning feeling like I was sucking air through a clogged straw. My head pounding with each attempted breath.
"Not again..." I muttered, as I mustered up the energy to crawl from my cocoon.
I have been battling this cold for three day now. Today it hits like a roaring lion. But...I am stubborn! I refuse to admit  I am getting sick. I will simple tell myself that I have a mild case of allergies brought on by the snow that visited us last night.
To jump start my creative juices for the day, I decided to revisit a few of my earlier blogs after my bible study. (I need all the help I can get since my mind is short of its air intake and not firing all it cylinders.) While reading, all I could do was laugh at my warped sense of humor that Mr. P. cringes at when I slip back into my redneck ways.
This thought led me to baby fairies. Yup! I said baby fairies.
It began like this...
While visiting my daughter a few days ago, she asked, "guess what?..."
And a humorous story began.
A friend thought she may be pregnant so, she inquired the help of my daughter to take her to the store to invest in a few boxes of pregnancy testes. (They really should sell these in the bulk since some parties can't seem to believe the first one.)
This friend, frightened at the prospect of the outcome, coaxed my daughter into taking one with her.
(By now I am snickering. I can see where this is going.)
Pokey, my daughter, feeling pretty confident of her outcome said, "okay, let's pee on the stick."
(I think I snorted, while trying to suppress a laugh, when she said that.)
Time passed quickly. Then they checked the sticks. One had a blue line, the other didn't. With disbelief and thinking there was a mix up, they tried again.
By the third time, there was no doubt.
Calmly my daughter tells me, "The baby faerie hit the wrong damn person."
There was no suppressing the laugh. I snorted so hard laughing that it's no wonder I am sick now.
Composing myself, I couldn't help but ask, "'re about four or fives weeks?"
Pokey looked at her friend and fired off, "Don't you hate it when your mom is right?"
Then she looked at me and added, "It's all your fault!"
I beamed with pride before I said, "I hope you have twins! Two girls would be nice to add with the two boys. I think you will do fine."
I guess it was time to explain to her the miracles of God's gifts he bestows upon his children. There isn't any protection in the world to block something like that.
(If you didn't believe in God, then remember to never say the words..."I will never...". Because somewhere down the line, that never will happen.)

It was a night I will never forget. A mix of caster oil, a midnight phone call, and a race to see which would happen first...the baby or hospital. Check out...
Silly Sunday's: Pokey and baby Jr.

Thanks for joining me for this weeks Moody Monday!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Moody Monday's: Feeling Blessed

I woke up this morning feeling under the weather. This put a damper on my mood to write...a long with any topics I had thought to write about. All day, while trying to over-come the stomach bug, I tossed ideas about. Nothing sounded up to par.
So...I sit here, sipping a cup of coffee, and thinking about how blessed I have been this last year.
My writing hasn't gone in the direction I had planned when I made my New Year's resolution. Instead, my research for my stories have led me down a different path with different views. I think this will help to enrich some of my stories I have been working on. (This also began the process of un-learning a few things.)
I have been blessed with another grandson earlier this year. It is amazing to see how fast time flies as I watch this young man blossom. Between him and his brother, my days have been full keeping up. (Hence the reason why my online writing has slowed down.)
Photo by tlpoague
It seems like just yesterday my children were babies.

Photo by tlpoague
Now I have two grandchildren. They are such a blessing.
 The reality of how short life is hit hard again this year. I won't go into details about it because I wrote about some of those experiences in my earlier blogs. It also impressed upon me how God works in our lives and in answering prayer. I know some of these experiences deepened my faith in the Lord.
This year we sold our business due to health issues. It is so weird to say we are retired now because I feel like I am working harder now, than when we ran our business.
In its place, I have taken up crafting again to go with my writing. I have never seen myself as being that talented. Just the average Jane learning something new.
Photo by tlpoague
This is a hat that I made with matching earrings
and necklace.

Photo by tlpoague
Here is a toddler bed Mr. P. and I
made. I didn't realize how easy it was
to make a quilt with matching crib sheet.

Photo by tlpoague
This could be used as a child head band
or a choker. 

Photo by tlpoague
This is one of many blankets
with matching caps.
Photo by tlpoague
This is one of the scarves I made
for my mother whom is
battling cancer.

Photo by tlpoague
Since I couldn't stop with just one,
I made a second one to go with it.
Because I didn't think I had enough to do with all of that, I talked my hubby into trying our hand at canning again. Something we haven't done since we were kids. 
Photo by tlpoague
A batch of chili for those cold,
snowy days.

Photo by tlpoague
Our first try at jelly.
It should come with its own
warning label.
Very addictive!
Saving the best for last, to wrap up this rambling, I am blessed not just with my family...but the friends I have met online through the social networks and writing websites. You guys mean more to me than you will ever know. I wouldn't be here trying this online writing thing if it wasn't for all of you. Thank you for your support, prayers, and encouragement. 
To me, this Christmas is more than just the over-rated commercials, last minute gifts, and hoopla. It has been a moment to take a breath, relax, reflect on the times gone by, and enjoy this and now. People will forget about the gifts five minutes or five years from now. But, they won't forget about the people who touched their lives in so many ways. 

I would like to invite you to join me on TSU. It is a new social website where I am sharing my writings and others. It is by invite only, so I would like to extend this invite to you...

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Moody Monday's: Homemade Applesauce for the Holidays

A fragrance of cinnamon and cloves tantalized her taste buds as she closed the kitchen door to the cold, barren world of snow outside. She let the perfume and warmth engulf her, as she discarded her coat at a near-by kitchen chair on her way to the stove. A golden mash bubbled in the pot sending out plumes of smells that made her mouth water. She was giddy with excitement. It was her favorite dish. Her mother's applesauce she had made for the holidays.
I have many fond memories as child gathering around the table in preparation of making or processing food to store for the winter months. (Last week I shared "How To Make Snack Sticks")
Today, I wanted to share the process of making and canning my own applesauce from the apples I had gathered from my sister's apple tree. (I realize I am a day late posting this for a Moody Monday, but a slight injury held me up from writing yesterday and most of today.)
I began with peeling the mountain of apples. (This is where I can hear my great-grandma's voice scolding me for not peeling them the right way.)
Photo by tlpoague
My mini mountain of apples to peel.
The water has fruit fresh in it to keep the apples from turning brown.

Photo by tlpoague
The handy apple peeler/corer for those mountains of apples.
My grandmother would be having a stroke using this.
"Too much waste," she would claim.
Once I had the apples peeled and sliced, I placed them on the stove to cook down. It takes about two hours for the amount I had, which was roughly two gallons.
Photo by tlpoague
The apples sliced and ready for the pot.

Photo by tlpoague
I have roughly two gallons of apples to cook down.
Once the apples were cooked to a mush, I separated the juice from the pulp. The juice I stored in a pitcher to place in jars later and placed it in the refrigerator. I, then, mashed the pulp through a colander to create the creamy sauce. (For a faster process, the pulp can be ran through a food processor.)
Photo by tlpoague
The apples and juice that I have separated.
The steam is still rolling off them.

Photo by tlpoague
The apples have been pureed and are ready for the sugar and spices.

Photo by tlpoague
The juice is ready to be drank or also canned.
For now it is going to the fridge.
     Once I had the applesauce pureed. It was ready to add the sugar and spices. (I like a zip to my applesauce, so I added cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger, with my sugar. Then it was time to add them to the sterile jars. (This can either be hot or cold packed. I used hot jars since my sauce was still hot.)
Photo by tlpoague
Applesauce is packed in sterile jars and ready to be processed.
I then gave my jars a water bath for thirty minutes after the water came to a rolling boil. (Be sure to check and see what your canning is for your area. Each area varies.)
Photo by tlpoague
The jars are packed in a hot water bath.

Photo by tlpoague
The end product...homemade applesauce for the holidays!

Photo by tlpoague
Here are two jars of the apple juice that I canned.
Later it can be drank, or made into jelly.

Thanks again for stopping by this Moody Monday. Sorry for the delay. A kink in my neck prevented me from being able to write and have this posted on time. (It much be all that crocheting I was doing...) But...I couldn't wait another week to share this wonderful treat.
*With Christmas just around the corner, these would make great gifts to add to a basket of homemade goodies.*

Monday, November 24, 2014

Moody Monday's: How To Make A Snack Stick

Photo by tlpoague
The shift of warm to cool air burrowed into the folds of her coat. She slightly adjusted the scope attached to her favorite .243 semi-automatic, Belgium Browning rife. Her target...a meager 400 yards away. It was going to be a gamble, but, one she was willing to take to keep from loosing her game.
Taking a deep breath, she applied pressure to the trigger. Recoil from her weapon nearly scoped her. Her shoulder ached from the impact. Her ears rang from the percussion of the shot. Still, the bullet held true to its target. It was a clean shot, hitting its mark.
When I was a child, I had many memories of going out to harvest our own meat. Sure, we could have bought it as easily as our neighbors, but Dad always claimed there was a lesson to be learned when providing for yourself. As a child, I thought everyone knew this and it was normal. Little did I know then, as I do now, that not everyone has an opportunity to learn the things as I did.
Harvesting the meat was fairly easy, as long as you had a strong stomach. It was the process that was time consuming and often messy. But, in the end, well worth it.
This year, the hubby and I decided we would break out the meat grinder to make jerky sticks again. It had been a couple of years since the last time we did it, so we had to prep the machine, clean the parts, and make sure everything was in working order. While he did that, I prepped the work space. Living in a small house made it a bit more difficult to have room to work in, so we turned the dinning room table into our processing center.
Photo by tlpoague
Hubby is making sure the machine is ready to go. 
Instead of going out to harvest our own meat, we used what we had from the freezer. We began by de-boning those that needed it.
Photo by tlpoague
Here is the chicken that needed to be de-boned.

Photo by tlpoague
I'm hard at work trying not to cut a finger.
Next we needed to run the meat through the meat grinder. (We used the largest steel hopper plate to grind it the first time.)
Photo by tlpoague
This is the first grind with the large blade.
Once that task was done, we changed the blades to a smaller setting and ran the meat through it again. (If you look closely to the right of the bowl of meat, you will see the hopper blades I am talking about.)
Photo by tlpoague
This is the second grind with a smaller blade.
Once the meat was ground to the texture we want it, it was time to add the water and seasonings. (Here you will need to follow the directions on the box of seasoning you are using.)
Photo by tlpoague
Hubby is making sure that he has the right measurements of spices and water.
Then it was time to run it through the meat grinder again to make sure everything was mixed evenly. (We ran it through twice on the small blade.) The next step is to start loading the casings with the meat mixture.
Photo by tlpoague
Filling the casings with the meat mixture.

Photo by tlpoague
The finished product before cutting them down.
After they are filled, we cut them down to the size we wanted. 
Photo by tlpoague
These are now cut down to size and ready to cook.
We let our sticks cure over night in the fridge before we baked them according to the direction on the seasoning box.
Photo by tlpoague
These treats are ready to eat.
We ended up with a total of 23 pounds of snack sticks after all the work was done.

tlpoague 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Moody Monday: Prepping For This Winter From Apples To Making Butter

Isn't it odd how fast time seems to get by you? In an instant weeks have passed before you paused to realize how long it was since you last called a loved one, enjoyed a quiet moment, or in my case, wrote a post. This is how my fall went...with sneeze, suddenly, here was winter knocking on my door.
For as long as I can remember, my life wasn't measured much by calendars or clocks, but by seasons. There was a fishing season, hunting season, and a couple harvest seasons. There was a time dedicated to when you would go out and load up on wood or coal. Many of these memories were wrapped around family gathers to help with the work load.
This year, my hubby and I decided we would try our hand at canning, drying, and making a bit of butter. Of course it had been decades since some of us had done anything like this. There was nothing more interesting than dusting off the cobwebs of the brain and getting back into the swing of things.
Many a phone call was made to my mother, as she endured her cancer treatments, to reassure myself that we doing things properly. (Sorry Grams, I know a few of them apples and pears weren't pealed paper thin.) With each pass of the knife I could hear a small voice in my head chastising me if I tried to hurry. I could only imagine the chaos I would have endured had my great-grandmother witnessed my quick tips for making apple sauce and jams.
Between my dad's gift of pears, and my sister's gift of apples, I had plenty to keep the hubby and I busy for weeks. We began with the traditional task of hand peeling them until we realized that we owned an apple peeler/corer. This make the task so much simpler and quicker. Soon ideas began to develop. How could we speed up the mashing process?
It didn't take long till we had a rhythm going. Mr. P. would peel and core the apples while I ran them through a shredding process. Then it was off to the stove to be cooked into sauces or jams.
Photo by tlpoague
A small sample of our sauces and jams.
Suddenly we were hit with the canning bug. Soon I found myself peeling potatoes to can. Along with making soups, chili, and salsa to add to our collection.
Of course, horrified at the idea of the pressure caner popping its lid, I got it in my head to multi-task by making caramels and bread. Mr. P. decided to add butter to the list.
I didn't realize how simple it would be to make butter. The process was amazingly easy.
Step one: Gather some real cream.
Step two: Add half the cream to a butter churn.
Photo by tlpoague
Here is Mr. P. prepping the churn for me.
 (Now it is time to crank it till your arm falls off.) If you would like a quicker version...
Photo by tlpoague
Mr. P. thought this would be quicker.
You could try the drill method, but it didn't take long for the batteries to wear out.
Instead, the fastest and cleanest version was to mix it in a food processor.
Step three: Drain the solid from the liquid. (The solid is your butter and the liquid is the buttermilk.)
Photo by tlpoague
Step four: Knead in a little salt and place in a butter dish. Then refrigerate or freeze. (You can add a little sugar if you would like for a sweeter butter.)
Photo by tlpoague
Here is a small sample of the jam, bread, and homemade butter, we made while waiting on our canning.

Photo by tlpoague
Our grandson wanted to join in the baking fun.

Photo by tlpoague
Bit by the canning bug!
Naturally since I didn't think I had enough to do, I found myself crocheting and sewing in between projects.
Photo by tlpoague

Photo by tlpoague
I have to say, it has been a busy fall. Next week I will share with you the process of making your own snack sticks. Thanks for joining me for Moody Monday. Hope to see ya again soon.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Moody Monday's: Atonement

Have you ever been in a situation where you regret saying some of the things you did to someone you don't know? Have you caught yourself scratching a spot bald and asking...
“Why in the world did I say that?”
“Where did that come from?”
Or, a moment where you realized the foundation you build your beliefs on were distorted?
Suddenly you see yourself as a fool, looking for a means of escape.
photo by tlpoague

(Before I continue, I just want to state that these are only my thoughts and views on this, so I understand that not everyone will agree or believe the same.)

The topic for last week's Moody Monday was about the fall and the Feast of the Lord that we as Christians are to celebrate. To add to that subject is the Day of Atonement.
The Day of Atonement is a day that follows ten days after the Feast of the Trumpets...aka...Yom Teruah. That day we are to cease from working. Neither eating or drinking from sun down of the ninth day to sun down of the tenth day. It is a time to pray, honor the Lord, and atone for our sins.
(Since I am new to understanding the rituals of these celebrations of the Lord, I have found myself stumbling around trying to understand it all.)
The thing is, I have been led to believe that as a Christian, we don't need to honor or celebrate the same rituals as the Jewish Nation. It is only in my research lately that I have come to realize that we are indeed suppose to be following these rituals and celebrations the way God wants.
I have known that as a Christian it is important to adhere to the Ten Commandments, to love the Lord, and to love your neighbor. I was taught that Salvation is only achieved through Jesus. You go to church on Sunday, if you can make it, instead of Saturday. The main holidays of the Lord were Easter and Christmas. does one accept the thought that everything they have been taught could possibly be wrong?
I know it was a difficult pill for me to swallow.
It is like a puzzle that I am slowly putting together. All the pieces are there but the picture isn't finished.
So...I began to question what I had been taught. That began with Matthew 24.
I also started to understand that as a Christian, if you don't know God's laws, you don't know what sin is. Or how you could be sinning towards God. This was clear in the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus. But...again I say but...if you don't understand the roles the fallen angels, nephilim, and their descendant had then or now, understanding any of the Old Testament is difficult. (I will try to place links to the videos that have helped me in my research. I would love to hear your thoughts and views if you watch them.) may ask... “what does this have with atonement?”
We know it is wrong to steal, lie, or cheat. To do so leaves a mark on your reputation. When you have been busted for any of these, no matter how small the crime, an apology is forthcoming.
Let's say just for a moment, you have realized that all these years (for those that do believe) you have been worshiping the Lord the way man taught and not Yeshua's way. How does one atone for that?
This is a question I will leave you with, for each of us is different. We have different ideas, beliefs, and views about what is right and what is wrong. In the future though...ask this man's traditions...or God's will? The answer may surprise you.
*Note* Since I can't get it to load a video, here are the links of the YouTube videos mentioned above.
Rob Skiba's Archon Invasion Part 1
Arthur Bailey's Introductions to the Fall Feasts