Remember Lot’s Wife

Remember Lot’s Wife

Luke 17:32

Everyone is talking about the “New Year Stuff”.  Statements like “2019 is a blank book, don’t let someone else write your story”  and “What is your word for 2019?”  You know what I’m talking about…you’ve seen them all over social media! Everything about making new commitments for the new year.

Before I look forward to 2019 (yes, I know, we’re already there) I want to take a moment to think back.  Back where I’ve been this past year.  When we were coming into the 2018 year, my husband had a fairly new job that was going well, we had just moved into a smaller, efficient home to save money, we were making plans to become grandparents that spring, we were adjusting to the loss of my mother, I was starting a few projects that I was enjoying and things, in general, looked pretty good.  We were on a steady path so the word I chose for last year was  CONSISTENCY.   Stay the path.  Keep everything on a steady upward keel.  Then in February he got sick and I thought I was going to lose him.  An ambulance trip to the hospital because it looked like he was having a heart attack.  Quickly learning that the duplex we were in was actually toxic with fresh cigarette smoke coming through the vents from our neighbors because the illegally rented home had a furnace unit/room that was connected instead of separate units & rooms thus filtering their smoke filled air directly into our non-smoking home (2 chain smokers lived there).  When the landlord refused to do anything about it, we went to the city, and that’s when we learned that the place was never to have been rented to begin with!  WHOA!! 

Things got pretty bad for awhile.  We couldn’t afford a doctor.  He had been so sick that he lost his job and I was trying to find one in the small community we were living in.  My dad visited us a couple months later while hubby was still trying to recuperate and saw how sick he really was.  By this time, our savings was pretty much gone and the conversation came around to moving us back to Nebraska where I could get a job fairly easily and we could live in the big empty house with dad while hubby took time to recuperate; which we ended up doing.  Now, nearly one year after he first got sick, we are still here with dad (when he’s not visiting relatives across the nation!) and hubby is still sick, but slowly getting better.  The doctor here can’t explain it.  They deny that the smoke caused it, but there is a REASON that he suddenly went from breathing just fine to breathing on only 40% of his lungs, coincidentally at the same time his lungs were unintentionally compromised and filled with 2nd and 3rd hand smoke!!  …but I digress…  In addition to the physical, financial, and environmental challenges, we also faced some intense spiritual and personal challenges.  We left the church we had devoted the last ten years of our lives to, the place where my husband and I faithfully served and sacrificed through most of our marriage and quickly learned who our friends were. We learned that lots of people like to sit back and judge you and talk about you, but very few step up and help do anything about it. We learned what it felt like to be completely raw on the inside and have our lives fully exposed and examined. We learned how true it is that only YHVH can heal that kind of a wound.

As we slowly heal, physically and spiritually, we look FORWARD.  Forward to a fully healthy body again.  Forward to financial security again.  Forward to him being able to work full-time again without getting winded.  Forward to a full spiritual recovery.  We look forward to more time with our son and his beautiful family with our two grandchildren!  We look forward to the time that we spend with his parents while they are still with us in this life. We appreciate the time we are blessed to have with my dad, living here with him.  We also continue to MOVE forward.  Even if it’s only a couple steps at a time, keep moving forward.  In the job, spiritually, with our health, with family, with decluttering unused and unneeded things from every aspect of our lives.

When they were fleeing Sodom, Lot and his wife were told not to look back (Gen 19:17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.)  Later, in Luke 17:29-32 we are again reminded of Lot and his wife.  We were never given her name, but she was worthy of multiple mentions in the Bible.  29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife.

Remember Lot’s wife.  Three little words that show us so much.  Lot’s wife was no different from the women of today.  She left lots of things behind.  A comfortable home, servants, extended family, grandchildren, good friends, probably some favorite things from her home….nice dishes, pretty dresses and robes, maybe she had a wonderful garden that she enjoyed spending time in.  Everything she had was left there in Sodom…she ran away with a bag on her back…whatever she, her husband, and the 2 daughters could carry.  Nothing else.  This past year, we’ve left a lot of things behind us and I’m guilty of spending some time looking back feeling sorry for myself and my husband.  Feeling sorrowful that certain events happened the way they did.  I had myself a grand old pity party.

REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE. 

Why? 

Because she looks backwards at what was instead of forward to where YHVH was leading her family…to safety, protection, and blessings.  Thankfully I didn’t turn into a pillar of salt.  I have a chance to correct myself and move FORWARD. 

 “ … he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain;”  They weren’t told not to remember where they came from, but they were told not to LOOK back.  Don’t TURN AROUND.  You know where you came from, what trials you’ve been through, but don’t look back at it, don’t give it any more focus in your life!  Don’t let your mind dwell there.  Remember what you need to learn from it, but move FORWARD, away from the past, away from people who have hurt you, away from parts of your life that have no relevance to you now and forward to what YHVH has planned for your life!  Set new goals and strive for them.  Not just now, the first week of January, but all through the year.

Don’t stand still where you are, either!!  Being stagnant is equal to being lifeless.  Stagnant water is dead water because it can’t support living organisms and our lives are the same way.   

So, yes.  I chose a word. 

FORWARD. 

Facing forward                 

Looking forward

Moving forward

Because Lot’s wife was told to move forward, not to look behind her, and not to stand still, but she didn’t heed the warning from the angels of the Almighty and became a lifeless statue.

Remember Lot’s Wife.  

Happy Planning in my Happy Planner

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. -Proverbs 16:9

Today I just want to give a shout out to my favorite planner book and a new page design for it. Anyone who follows my knows that I love my Happy Planner by Create 365. They come in 3 sizes, Classic, Mini, and Big. I use the classic, it just seems to work best for me. However, the pages that come in it don’t give me enough options, so I’ve had to look elsewhere for the weekly pages.

I found a gem in Sky, who owns My Life Planners etsy shop and Facebook page based in the beautiful Colorado Rockies! She is amazingly creative and can solve planner problems like nobody else! She created a Happy Planner based layout using the HP vertical planner but giving us six daily categories (that you can personalize before printing!!!!!)

You’ve seen my pages, I like to decorate them…that hasn’t changed! I arranged my categories so that I could decorate as much as possible when I’m not using certain portions. For example, I’m not using the teaching portion this week, since the classes are a few weeks at a time on a seasonal basis and I’m not prepping anything right now, either. Next week, I’ll have a couple prep days in there because I’m updating some of the classes. I also don’t do a lot of cakes, so I dont always need that, either, but i need it “available” for when I DO have a cake or two to deliver. I still dont have something solid for my flylady sidebar I always have in there; I’ll probably make an insert for that later on.

In the meantime, you can download your editable copy in your choice of color (I chose pink!) For just $3.50 at Sky’s My Life Planners etsy shop! https://www.etsy.com/listing/629668290/classic-happy-planner-vertical-week-6

While you’re there, peruse her other functional, seasonal, and fun layouts and sticker sets! After that, you can hop on over to her facebook page and say hello!! Tell her Christine sent you! 😉 Happy Caffeinated Planning!!!

Burn It Down!

He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.      ~Psalms 126:6

‘TIS THE SEASON!

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For me, that means canning season!  This year, there isn’t too much to can as I didn’t have time to plant a full garden since we moved mid-May when most gardens are already in; however, thanks to generous friends who DO have abundant gardens, I’ve been able to can Paul’s favorite hot sauce: the infamous BBW.  No, that’s not a big beautiful woman for all you hot sauce lovers, it stands for Burns Both Ways…and it does!  This is a special recipe I’ve been working on for over 15 years and I’m sorry to say that this is the ONE recipe that I won’t share.  I’ve found just the right “secret ingredients” to give it LOADS of heat, a smidgen of sweet, and good flavor that stays with you through the burn!  I don’t mind sharing my peppers: cayenne, jalapeño, ghost, Habanero, Tabasco, red chili, Carolina reaper, and the quintisho.  These bad boys get cleaned, roasted, and blended with tomatoes, garlic, onion, vinegar, and my secret ingredients.  I add no extra sugar and only minimal salt, pepper & seasonings, making this not only delicious, but a healthy addition to the heat-seeker’s palette!  BONUS: Capsaicin from the peppers is great for circulation and weight loss among other things!

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That combination sounds HOT, doesn’t it?!  You’re right, it IS!!  “The Scoville Scale is a measurement of the pungency of chili peppers or other spicy foods, as reported in Scoville Heat Units (SHU), a function of capsaicin concentration.  Capsaicin is one of many related pungent compounds found in chili peppers, collectively called capsaicinoids.  The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville, whose 1912 method is know as the Scoville organoleptic test.”  (Wikipedia en, 2018)  Below is a list of the Scoville level of these peppers along with a couple other recognizable items!

2,000,000 – 5,300,000  Standard US Pepper Spray

Scoville

1,400,000 – 2,200,000  Carolina Reaper (hottest pepper known)

855,000 – 1,041,000  Ghost Pepper/Bhut Jolokia

100,000 – 350,000     Habanero (Orange)

30,000 – 50,000      Cayenne Pepper

30,000 – 50,000      Tabasco Pepper

5,000 – 30,000       Quintisho

2,500 – 8,000         Jalapeno

2,500 – 5,000        Standard Commercial Tabasco Sauce

500 – 750              Red Chili

With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why gloves are a must when working with these guys!!  No such thing as taking a chance because it’s NOT worth it!  I’ve burnt my eyes too many times from an innocent swipe!  Even when harvesting seeds tonight I had gloves on and when I removed them I could smell the heat still on my fingers, so I did a thorough scrub-down including fingernails!!

Batch number one is under my belt with 23 jars canned up!  The second batch is in the works with the peppers cleaned, weighed, and roasted for temporary freezing until I have enough of everything to make another batch.  The kitchen is smelling great as the peppers are roasting.  If you haven’t seen the videos, I use my NuWave Oven to roast them in small batches.  As each batch is finished, I use tongs to remove them to a wax/parchment lined cookie sheet so they can be cooled then quick frozen and separated into freezer bags of like peppers.  I do my hot sauce produce ingredients by weight since small/medium/large are subjective and peppers vary in size a lot, so I weigh the batches of peppers before roasting (how many ounces of each type of pepper you have-I also note how many of each pepper were in that batch in case I run across any runaways that didn’t get counted, I can calculate and add him on.

Before roasting, I chose the two very best, nicest, and biggest of each kind of pepper and set them aside.  These are my seeds for next year.  Hot pepper seeds are especially expensive, so I’m saving about $35.00 by harvesting my own!  **BONUS: If you have enough seeds and time, you can sell them, too!  Well grown and well-preserved seeds are popular!**  Hot pepper seeds are a bit more finicky for preserving, but simple enough as long as you are patient.  You can use anything that works for you….paper towels, disposable plates/bowls/cups, paper napkins, or, like me, Ziploc baggies.  I’m using snack bags.  I’ve labeled the top with a permanent marker then, in full gloves with a VERY sharp paring or utility knife, I cut the pepper in such a way to preserve the membrane.  Seeds still attached to the membrane have the greatest integrity, so if you can preserve and dry them in that condition if at all possible.  Of course, some seeds will fall off the membrane, but still save them…don’t waste ANY of your hot pepper seeds!!  Most of these seeds will be dry within a few days.  However, here in Nebraska, it’s been extremely humid this fall, so I may bring the dehumidifier into the kitchen to help the process along without compromising the integrity of our seeds.

When they are completely dry, I’ll separate them out.  Our friend who blessed us with the hot peppers purchases new seeds every year, so I’m giving half these seeds to him.  I’ll make another set of labeled snack bags and add the month/year to both sets.  The best seeds to use for sprouting and planting are the freshest ones (harvested the previous season.)  You can use seeds from two seasons back with decent success if they’ve been stored properly, but they lose a lot of integrity when they are any older than that from my personal experience.  If you are trying to use anything prior to last season’s harvest, I highly advise paper towel sprouting over soil sprouting.  This will tell you quicker if your seeds are still viable….or how many are sill viable.

For packaging each set of dried seeds, I’ll put the seeds and membrane into a small bowl so I can gently separate the seeds from the membrane and hopefully not lose any when they “pop off”!  Be careful to not tear the seed when separating from the membrane, again, to preserve the integrity in order to have the healthiest seedlings as possible next spring!  **Note: If the membrane is still rubbery, then let the seeds dry for another 24 hours.  You want them FULLY DRY!!**  When they are separated, go ahead and store them in labeled baggies, plastic portion cups (restaurant style), or paper seed envelopes.  If you are saving them for your sole use, then you can leave them attached to the membrane until you are ready to sprout next spring.  Remember to store your seeds in a COOL, DRY location.  Both heat and moisture will compromise them.  You went to a lot of work to harvest those babies, so find a good place to store them for a few months!

Hopefully you have been inspired to start saving your own seeds from your garden.  It really doesn’t take much time and (especially if you are organic gardening) you now KNOW where those seeds came from and can plant with confidence next year!

Sittin’ On The Dock Of ‘e-Bay

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:31

eBay. Many people love it. A few hate it. What started out simply as an auction site 22 years ago (1995!) has turned into the largest auction platform in the world. They got their start as AuctionWeb then in 1997 changed their name to Echo Bay Technology (the original company of it’s founder.) Since echobay.com was already taken, they settled on ebay.com and, as they say, the rest is history!

Oh…how did I get started with eBay? I discovered it around 2000-2001 and created an account, but didn’t do much there…it was more novelty than functional for me at the time. My mom, however, was looking for something particular in 2002 shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer (I have no clue what it was) and when she couldn’t find it, I suggested she check out this new thing called eBay for it. She thought I was nuts, but she checked it out and her universe aligned that day. See, mom homeschooled us all at various points of time, at one point we were all at home, but as each child’s educational needs changed, public school became an option and was decided by parents and child on a case-by-case basis. Some of us thrived on homeschool, some thrived in public school. When you homeschool nine children, you amass quite a stockpile of curriculum books. As an avid reader and historian, she also had quite the stash of research books and pleasure reading books. No other family I knew had THREE sets of encyclopedia!! …but I digress… where were we? Oh, yes, her universe aligning! She was in a unique situation. She had recently started fighting the breast cancer which left her unable to work for a time…not a good thing for a normally active vibrant woman! She was bored out of her mind. Then she logged onto eBay. And got lost. Page after page of glorious books. (Did I mention that she LOVED books?!) And it hit her. Like a ton of books. If THEY were on there selling books, why couldn’t SHE get on there and sell books?!

She did a bit of research, called me a few times, then set up a sellers account, opened a PayPal account, and started to photograph and list her unused class and teacher books for sale. And they sold. And she stayed busy during the treatment times when she had energy. When she didn’t have energy, she simply didn’t post any auctions (no such thing as Buy It Now back then!) In the early days, the only shipping option was to take it to the post office and have them manually post each package. Through her treatment she started to learn when to post certain things to get the most attention and the most bids. When she ran out of books to sell (hint: we never ran out of books in our house…it’s like running out of air…doesn’t happen) she started combing thrift stores and yard sales for treasures she could re-sell. The more she sold, the more experience and knowledge she gained on unique, collectible, antique, and in-demand items. Over the next 20 years she made such a name for herself that she was began to consign goods for others and was also contracted to teach four levels of ebay classes at the local community college. Again, the phone calls and text messages flew back and forth as she bounced class ideas off me and I was her sounding board for new ideas. She was amazed at how many people wanted to learn ebay, but didn’t have an email account and didn’t even know how to turn their computer on! (You can’t make this up…real story!) After spending too much class time teaching the basics of running a computer, she worked with the college and this led her to also teaching computer basics classes as a pre-requisite to taking the eBay Basics class. The classes (computers and ebay) became so popular that she taught them around the 4-5 surrounding counties, as well. My sisters and I were often called on to help her in the classroom as her classes filled up that much!

Fast-forward to today. If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know that our mom passed away last fall from a four year battle with pancreatic cancer. Late spring dad suggested my husband and I move back home as we were in the middle of some heavy life changes and he thought it would be easier to go through them at home with family. Part of moving back involved the cleaning out of what’s known as “Mom’s eBay room.” Mom’s eBay room used to be one of the children’s bedrooms and was (is) packed full with books, tableware, trinkets, games, clothing, décor, and anything else that might sell on eBay. The original plan was to just give it away to the Salvation Army, but while clearing off the desk I found the index cards that she used to track listings and sales (another walk down memory lane.) Then we found her lesson plans. Everything I knew about eBay kept nagging at me. WHY give it away….list it on eBay again. You know how to do this. You used to do this. As I went through the process of re-establishing my sellers account and opening a new eBay Storefront I quickly realized that the eBay highway had been torn down and re-routed and had changed to an expressway! I was learning a new route, new speed limits, new starting and stopping points…learning how to drive it all over again!

Once I learned the new path, I realized that I could take mom’s original lesson plans, update the information, and teach her classes just like before; so I reached out to her former colleague at the school to see if there was an interest in having the classes back. I was so nervous making that first contact….would she think I was nuts-o or just plain crazy…would she be just as excited about the prospect as I am or would she shut me down cold? I waited on pins and needles for her reply, which came much more quickly than I anticipated. YES! She was so excited to have one of Rae’s daughters teach the class again. My younger sister had taken over the class for a couple sessions after mom got sick, but was unable to continue doing them because of her own life demands, thus the class has been stagnant for 2-3 years and the demand had been there, but no one who knew the material like mom did…until I reached out.

Classes won’t start for five more months, giving me plenty of time to settle in and learn this new road while I re-draw the map. It’s been a therapeutic process and a way to reconnect with my mom even though she’s not here in person. As I look around this room, she’s here. Her eye for what will sell is here. Her notes on what to look for are here. Her system of cataloging and storing her goods are here. SHE is still here…in my heart and in my memories…and the first time I stand in front of that class on my own, her words and ways will be in the back of my mind guiding me with the lessons taught all those years ago.

Just Like Any Other Day

I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. – Psalm 55:8

May 29, 2008 started like any other day. I was decorating cakes at work with my roommate, Kim. I got home early afternoon and was excited because I had plans to meet my son, Phillip, in Lincoln for an afternoon/evening of miniature golf and dinner at the mall. I remember the atmosphere feeling “funny” and checking the weather before making the 2 hr drive. We were forecast to get some rain…no big deal, but I still had an uneasy feeling, so I called Phillip to reschedule.

He didn’t like the idea of canceling, “C’mon, mom, it’s JUST a little water!” Normally I don’t let him make the final decision on things like this…it’s my job as the parent to be aware of the overall situation and make the wisest choice possible. This time I caved in, but not without packing an overnight bag…just in case! The trip to Lincoln was intermittently rainy and uneventful, nothing bad, I remember being glad I went ahead and made the drive. We met up at the mall for supper and to play glo-golf (black light miniature golf). We had just placed our order in the food court when I got a call from Kim…that I almost ignored.

“Are you sitting down?” “No, but it’s ok, what’s up?!” “We don’t have a house anymore, a tornado tore through it!” This isn’t something Kim would joke about, so I knew she was on the level. As the shock ripped through me, I remember odd things…like handing my wallet to my son so he could pay for our supper and taking that seat Kim had asked me about! I remember that we had Amigo’s because Phillip was obsessed with the now-discontinued, Amigo’s Burrito. I remember the confusion on the young man’s face who took our order as I abruptly changed gears right in front of him.

She told me that the National Guard was standing guard over the property keeping everyone, including residents, away for safety. They were concerned the building would collapse. She was still in her frosting-covered clothes from work where they had huddled in a back hallway while the freight train of tornadoes swirled around overhead and if I recall right, she was provided clothing by the store to wear for work the next day. I was able to wear the clothes I had taken with me…not knowing that when I locked the door behind me it would be the last time I was allowed in my apartment without an escort!

At this point, I was glad to have that overnight bag! I made arrangements to spend the night with a friend in Lincoln and Phillip and I went on to play miniature golf and have a fun evening. I had no clue of the destruction until I got to their house. National and local news was covering it completely. The initial pictures of our place we’re so horrific that I didn’t even recognize the building as my own until I got home the next day! Our home had beeen all over national news that night ans i hadnt even realized it! It would be days and weeks before the destruction was fully known and understood. A total of 8 tornadoes hit that evening leaving a silent wake of destruction across Kearney that didn’t claim a single life! We had been hit by cells 3 and 4. After the tornadoes came the hail…golf ball grenades of ice that sought to destroy what the tornados hadn’t. Siding on homes looked as if it had been attacked by machine gun fire. Vehicles had projectiles of all kinds protruding from them…in a couple cases, it was a second vehicle! Seeing the devastation, I’m in awe that no lives were lost. Praise God!!

For myself, I was thankful to have ridden the storm out by spending time with my son 2 hours away and I was thankful that Kim was safe during everything, too. This is one time where listening to your children pays off!

Today…..that 17 year old son I was meeting has grown into a fine man who still makes good decisions! Last week he presented us with our first grandchild, a beautiful, adorable, perfect little girl! The apartment building was demolished and rebuilt leaving no trace or memory of the destruction she endured. Kim and I both got married and a few years ago she had a beautiful little girl of her own. Life is good and we are all blessed!

*Tornado pictures are compliments of the Kearney Hub

ipsy Glambag – March 2018

I’ve been subscribed to ipsy Glambag for almost a year now. For the two of you who haven’t heard of ipsy, they have a monthly subscription of a makeup sample bag. For a $10 monthly fee you will get 5 makeup/body care/skin care/perfume samples that are often customized to your skin, hair, and style preferences all packaged in a reusable makeup bag and free shipping. Continue reading

WELCOME!

It all began with a simple statement while we sat there watching TV one evening.  “You should start a blog” he said.  “A blog?  What do I have to write about?”  The subject was discussed then discarded.  It came up again and was discussed a bit more seriously, after all, my mother was a journalist and I seem to have inherited her ability with words and love of them.

As we became more serious about the blog and researching, coming up with a name, finding a theme, and all of the myriad of things that need to be done, I kept finding myself grabbing the phone to call my mom.  This is right up her alley.   Continue reading