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.*