Putting Lipstick on a Pig

Nothing like starting out with a link: https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/put+lipstick+on+a+pig

Yesterday I applied the first coat of primer to the paneling on my bedroom walls. It looks like a blotchy mess to me. This primer is very thick and difficult to work with, at least for me. One who is definitely not a professional house painter. To be honest, I could have left it alone and it would have been fine. My house though, the way it sits and with all the trees, can be very dark. My hope is that by painting the walls a light color will brighten the place. But a coat of paint does not change the fact that underneath is paneling. That got me thinking.

What paint do we apply in the hopes of covering something?

We can wear make up in the hopes of approving our appearance. We can wear expensive clothing or jewelry. We can live in a big house and drive expensive vehicles.Unless our heart is good though, it means nothing. Unless we are care and show that compassion to our neighbors, it means nothing. Eventually the real person under the fancy trappings will show through. There is this saying that beauty is only skin deep but ugly lies to the bones: https://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/55/messages/901.html

There has always been cover ups in politics. Often all or part comes to light, sometimes correctly sometimes in garbled conspiracy theories and outright lies. My own opinion is that much of that is a deliberate act to keep us arguing with each other. That way the full truth remains hidden, but that too could just be another conspiracy theory on my part. Smoke and mirrors like a magician uses to keep the audience enthralled and amazed and yet keeping the secrets of how and what  hidden.

False preachers have their own cover up. They take the Word, twisting and turning it to fit their agenda. Like a serpent asking, “Did God really say?” Using a mastery of language and articulation to confuse and misguide the immature of faith.

Many use styles of dress to set themselves apart. I was going to use examples but decided against that because not all differences are a cover up of wrong. It is however a reality that people and or groups, will dress themselves up to separate themselves from others. Flashy clothing, robes or jewelry to draw attention away from a dark, tarnished, heart.

The list could go on and on but that would grow tedious and boring. The point here, unless the heart is pure, good and filled with compassion and love, nothing you cover yourself with will matter. One can put a costume on a dog, inside it is still a dog. One can cover deception with glitter, underneath it is still a lie. Just as untreated rust will bleed through that coat of paint, darkness will bleed through the light unless treated properly. One with a good heart needs no cover up, their light, their truth, their love shines brightly.

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In Process Part One

Well, I have finally begun my project.

I had purchased enough materials to start  on it the other day. Then the weather turned too cold and rainy. I waited that out and today was the perfect day to begin.

I found a painting outfit, including a cap. I have a box of gloves as well. I brushed down the walls, clearing them of anything like dust webs or tacks used to hold the curtains. I spread out the drop cloth, I opened the can to the primer, grabbed a brush and began. This primer is really thick making painting evenly difficult, actually for me, impossible. I did manage to paint the entire room through sheer stubbornness.  I’m sure my arm will ache tomorrow. I’ll paint a second coat tomorrow, maybe using a roller this time. The paint I purchased also has a primer and is supposed to only take one coat. I hope that is correct because, I really don’t like painting that much. I am however already noticing a difference.

This gives me an idea, but rather than ramble it out, I want to contemplate those thoughts so to write them out in a more coherent manner. Until then, I share these photos of my project in process.

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Too Much of a Good Thing?

Too much of a good thing? What am I talking about? Is there such a thing? Read on until you see my point..

I thought I was doing a healthy thing, but, I’ve gained a lot of weight here lately. I don’t drink sodas or expensive coffee drinks. I don’t eat a lot of junk or processed foods. So why suddenly, well not suddenly because this takes time, but why?

I thought I was doing the right thing..

I was blending up fruit. Using this blender thing with a cup that holds three and a half cups of water (I measured) depending on what I had and usually I had most of it. I would blend a banana or two depending on size. I’d then add blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, a blend of flax, hemp and chia seeds, and sometimes a slice of cantaloupe. To that I’d add a tablespoon of protein powder and a large dollop of peanut butter and sometimes plain Greek yogurt with probiotics. I would eat this thinking its all natural and therefore better for me than the chocolate I crave. Except for one thing. An estimated calorie count. If all of the aforementioned ingredients are in the mix..1134. Being estimated since I never measured, simply stuffed the fruit into the blender, it could go up or down. Either way, this concoction plus lack of real exercise, has caused me to put on enough weight that almost nothing I own fits right. Over the past few months I have gone from 140 pounds to 151. Ouch. I have not weighted this much since I was pregnant with my son.

My mother made the comment that she didn’t understand that considering how much I have been doing. What I have been doing, doesn’t take a great deal of effort and doesn’t count as exercise. Especially since I would simply walk down there, walk the dog, fill their box of firewood then come home. Some days I would take them where ever they needed to go, but that was driving and included very little walking.

I had planned on going to church this morning. The problem is that all of my clothing is still piled up and scattered because of the work remaining on the floor. (Not that I am complaining, waiting is not a problem) I either can’t find and or can’t get to anything that might fit and not make it appear as if I’m about to split the seams. I’m not wearing jeans and a sweatshirt to church. I know, it isn’t what we wear that is important, it is being there, still there is a respect thing. So now add frustration on top of the discomfort.

After realizing the other day that my clothing selection was becoming severely limited and that spring is not that far away, I knew I had to do something. Because simply purchasing a whole new wardrobe is out of the question.

Months back I was given a very nice treadmill. I admit that I had fallen off using it lately because it was difficult to spend time walking when mom and or dad would call needing something at any given time. So I would answer their call, take care of their need, come home and often times, sit down. Or, fix that monster of a treat and sit down.

The past four days I have been using the treadmill again. I have made a point to spend at least an hour total walking. Not all at one time but breaking it up into sections of time. I also have begun changing the incline and speed settings. I’ve tried adding carrying small dumb bells (2 pounds each) but I may not be quite ready for that  yet. As it is, I turn on some good ole rock and roll, and begin walking. It helps that as I walk, I’m looking out the window to my back yard and the woods beyond. I can imagine strolling through the woods as I count up the steps.

I’ve been researching exercises that target the belly/waist area so to strengthen and tighten the core muscles that have expanded to this point. Some of which call for a fitness band, that I had. I say had because for some reason Molly in her canine puppiness, decided to chew on the thing destroying its usefulness. Sad thing is she did it right in front of me, but I not paying full attention thought she was chewing on one of her chew sticks. Bad things happen when you ignore the kids, be they human or animal.

I’ve cut down on how often I prepare the fruit concoction. What I need to do however is so that I still get those important fruit servings, is cut down on what and how much I add/pour/shove in there. When I make this, use two fruits and the seeds with either the protein powder or peanut butter-much less peanut butter at a time. This will also help with my grocery bill as fresh fruit is expensive. Less expensive than doctor bills or medications but expensive none the less.

I’ve begun to drink more water. I still drink my coffee early in the day, but its your basic black maybe with a slight bit of creamer. Later in the evening I drink hot green tea blends, but interspersed in there is the water. Tap water from my well, not bottled for many reasons.

I do love a good salad, but to make the kind I prefer, is up there above and beyond the cost of the fruit. I don’t like purchasing ready made salads as they usually contain a lot of salt. If I were to be honest, I’m not sure I’m getting enough vegetable servings so I may end up preparing a batch of individual salads to where I would have them ready and waiting when hungry pains strike. My dad loves a good salad as well so I would have one ready for when the craving strikes him.

I’m trying to make sure I get enough sleep. Nearly every article I’ve read mentions getting the proper amount of sleep. Funny how I’m almost sleeping better on that air mattress in the floor than in the big bed

I write all of that, to get to this point. We can have too much of almost anything. We can collect all that too much, often without even realizing what we’ve done. I had no idea I had as many pair of old boots and shoes until I had to clean out my closet for the floor repair. Most of which were worn out and should have been tossed long ago. Over time, I’ve collected a lot of clothing due to purchasing without purging. A few things are older than my son. Currently most of this I cannot wear. As I have been going through drawers and cabinets, I’ve come to find things that had been placed out of sight and when I didn’t find them, purchased another of the same. I currently have close to a dozen measuring cups. This can hold true not only with material things, but with our thoughts and actions. Because our thoughts, often become our actions.

If we allow negative thoughts to take a foothold, they can grow quicker than clothes hangers in a closet or Wisteria vines on a tree. If you’ve never seen a Wisteria vine, while they have beautiful flowers that pollinators love, they also send out vines in every direction. They can and will take over an area quicker than ants can swarm a picnic. Such is negative thinking. One, well I messed that up as usual, can turn into an I can’t do anything right, to I’m such a loser, to I’m just worthless.

Having thoughts of, I only need one more, can be a deception to ourselves. Only one more pair of shoes, one more pet, one more modification to the truck, one more snack, can lead to quite a collection, quite a monetary drain, quite a growth in weight.

Did you know, that you can drink too much water? Well you can.  https://www.healthline.com/health/overhydration

What then, can we not have too much? I offer for consideration this partial list in no particular order of importance. Kindness. Compassion. Peace. Positive thinking. Faith and a relationship with God. A strong prayer life with helps with the list of positives. Patience. Encouraging those around us. Keeping physically fit which helps mental health. A proper diet in proper portions. Realizing a mass collection of material things is not as important as we wish to think. Exercising our mind as well as our body. Socializing. Spending time in nature, even if its on a bench beside a tree on a busy street. Enjoying music, a good book, the sight and sound of children and adults at play. There are so many positive things on which we can spend out time. The good thoughts in which to fill our head and heart rather than the material things that merely fill our closets.

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A Sermon From 2019 That is Still Perfect For Today (with added comments)

I did not share my notes from yesterday’s morning message. I started to several times, but always was held back. Now I understand why. Yesterday’s message sang in my head today.

I was so glad to have heard it for it calmed my emotions during a monster of a day.

The Stronghold in the mind 2 Corinthians 10:1-5

With so much running through our mind, it is difficult to hear God’s Words to us. Many times, when it comes to our mind, the devil is beating us, because we don’t know how, to hear God and His Words to us. We over time, build up strongholds in our mind. If we don’t tear down these strongholds, we can’t think as we should. We can’t live as we should, in victory not defeat.

Understanding a stronghold. It is a place or structure preventing one from reaching the enemy. A physical stronghold could be a fortress, a bunker, a castle, a wall, any structure preventing access.

1) The Ground of the battle or war.

We build strongholds in our mind as well. Creating a place, where you cannot get to the enemy, to get to what the world tells you. This is our battlefield, where we are trying to get through the enemy and to hearing what God tells us. Everything goes through your mind first. The devil will put all manner of thoughts in your head. The devil will gradually make changes.

In the 30/40’s everyone said “do good.” In the 60/70’s if it feels good, do it Today, “if it sounds good, it must be good”

If you take time, to read the Bible, you will find the answers on tearing down strongholds.

2) Every battle starts with an argument.

Argument, knowledge, thoughts, all deal with the mind. Ideas, begin in the mind. Don’t focus on ideas, that you do not run through the filter of the Word.

We are living in an age with an argument against the Bible. (Its fiction, fantasy, written by man, too old to be relevant.)

What is the game plan in this battle?

A) satan and the world want to capture your mind

B) satan wants to control your life, to program you to his will and way

C) Corrupts, to get you corrupted to the point you corrupt others.

The thoughts of Christ on the other hand, come from His word and from His spirit. God wants to work in my/our mind to make me/us whole, pure, strong. So that we can see what is going on around us. When we see, we must not get arrogant in the knowledge instead, get on our knees in prayer.

Our strongholds may be hurt, jealousy, anger, or other emotions that will not go away and that block hearing the Word of God. That cause us to live less than what God wishes for us.

3) How do you break down the strongholds?

a) repentance,- of the things you feel are not right. To repent of the things we feel are against God’s plans. When we repent, God helps us to move forward.

b)renewal- Romans 12:2 be transformed so you can know the perfect will of God.

c) resistance- resist the devil and he will flee from you. Give your mind to God.

John 15:15 We can know the will and desires of God.

Thank you Pastor J Mike Minnix for an incredible, important, and timely message.

I say timely because, today was a monster. It would have been so easy for my mind to go places where it shouldn’t. It would have been very easy to have gotten angry. It would have been easy to have gotten frustrated and insecure. It would have been so easy for any of the so called, bad, worrisome, damaging emotions to have taken a stronghold and ruined my day. But this message kept playing in my mind, a mantra of sorts reminding me, of what was going on, and how to prevent a stronghold from forming. Knowing that, I was able to remain in control, remain calm, and get through the day without an emotional meltdown, which would have caused more problems.

Thank you God, for Your timing is always perfect.

The above was from 2019. It still remains very true. I would be lying if I did not admit that there are days I struggle with thoughts that have no place in my mind. Those of not being good enough, smart enough, young enough, pretty enough, financially able, or any other thought that could give me the feeling of being less. Even as I know none of these or any of the many other descriptive words that can be tossed out are not true, they still invade my thoughts. God has placed me right here, right now in this place in this situation for a reason. Trusting Him and His plans are key to peace. Understanding that He is in full control and everything will work out important. I cannot allow the devil to place these thoughts, create these improper strongholds, or worse, allow these thoughts to take root, in my mind. I know, I am fearfully and wonderfully made,  https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/the-awe-inspiring-truth-we-are-fearfully-and-wonderfully-made.html. I may struggle from time to time, but God always shows me that He is always here. I am never alone. He walks with me through every storm, giving me the strength and wisdom to endure what comes. It is He, who should be the stronghold in my heart and mind. It is He who I should look to for comfort and peace. It is His word and love I should cling to with all strength, faith and hope. It is He in whom I should believe and trust, knowing His timing always perfect.

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Once Upon a Snow Storm..Many Years ago

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Day Thirty-three; Footnotes Photos

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Taking Care of Parents

My son really upset me last night. I was in the middle of telling him about something that happened earlier in the day when he looked down at his phone and popped up with the sound of the teacher’s blah blah voice in the Charlie Brown animations. That immediately ended our conversation. He thought it was funny, a cute way to end a conversation in which he had no interest. He has done this before and I’ve gave him a look and continued on in spite of his action. Yesterday I refused. Even as I understand all of his reasons why, yesterday that action bothered me and yes, hurt my feelings. My son, is not me and I really can’t expect, should not expect him to act like me. Let me explain.

I listen to my parents. Even if I have no interest in what they are saying, I listen. Even if I’ve heard the same story many times, I listen. Even if what they are telling me is incorrect, I listen. It is partly because I am their daughter, their eldest child. It is partly because I know there will come a day when I will long for these conversations. It is largely because they are pretty much home bound and get very few visitors or phone calls leaving them with no one to converse with. Like everyone else, they crave conversation and interaction. Any member of the family that drops by finds that out quickly. The trick has been learning to watch for the signs of  their growing tired so to not over stay the visit, no matter how much my parents are enjoying the company.

My son knows that I am not home bound, I can get up, get in the car and go. While my parents do depend on me for a lot, they are not helpless.  If its a quick trip they will be fine. If it is a trip that may take a while, just make sure someone knows. My son has dragged me from the house kicking and screaming for a vacation, even after I have made sure every member of the family knows. It is my fault alone that leaves me sitting here with no one to converse with. And in all honesty, while it is close, it is not the same when you share text messages. Hearing a voice, having someone close makes a big difference.

I listen to the concerns my parents have. Listening to them ask why. My mother recently purchased a new stove as her old one was over thirty years old and showing the signs of wearing out. Her new stove did not come with a broiler pan and she wanted to know why not. Try as I might to explain that they no longer came with that pan she still wanted to hear it from where she bought the stove. I took her there and they told her the same thing. She accepted it from them. I wasn’t hurt or bothered, I didn’t sell her the stove so I wasn’t the one with the full explanation. But while she was there, she did learn more about the stove she purchased.

My son knows I have not only a better comprehension of how things are now, but also have access to finding out the things I don’t know. Search engines are an amazing thing. Smart phones are both a blessing and a curse. A blessing when you need information, a curse if you glue your face to one instead if interact with those around you.

I listen and watch as age and age related issues steal my parents away. I’ve heard the comment often that growing old is not for the weak. Neither is watching someone grow older. You remember them as they were and seeing what they are becoming is more than painful. They forget things. How to do things that once came so easily. Words in the middle of a sentence that just won’t come to mind. They realize that there are some things they can no longer do and it bothers them, remembering how once it was so easy. I and my family try so hard to be the support they need and help in a manner that doesn’t rob them of their dignity.

My son knows how stressed I get. The anger and frustration of not being able to stop the progression.He tries to make jokes. He tries in the only way he knows how, to help or distract or derail the rants of exasperation. Sometimes, his comments hurt, unintentionally. Even when my stories are long winded and boring.

I watch as their physical abilities change in other ways. They cannot walk as far as they once did, even the walking they do requires a cane. Visual perceptions are different. That trip to see why she didn’t get a broiler pan? As I was backing out of the parking space, trying to be careful because a much larger vehicle was partially blocking my vision of the way people should be approaching, mom suddenly screamed. I had turned my head just in time to look the other way seeing a large pick up truck turn in the wrong direction and was headed for us. Mom screamed and threw up her hands, I screamed because she scared me and the driver of the truck had already diverted to get into the lane they should have been in to begin with. Thanks to parking slots being empty. She thought the truck was “flying”, it wasn’t. But I still let it go, I didn’t argue, didn’t try to correct her. I just did what I could to calm her down as we continued on to our next stop.

My son gets annoyed when I misjudge traffic. I think he thinks I don’t trust his driving. He is an aggressive driver while I am more passive. Partly because I usually have one or both of my parents in the vehicle and its become a habit. He drives his car more often now when we go somewhere. It is his way for me to become more accustomed to his driving skills and learning to not over react to the way others drive around us. To be more alert and aware and less reactive. He is trying to prevent me from becoming my parents.

I watch my parents as they grow concerned over perceptions. Some that are real, some they believe to be real. Recently their dog was staring at the heat register in the sitting room. No matter how many times we checked, there was nothing to be seen. We heard no odd sounds. Then the next day the stray cat my mother had been feeding come up through the floor pushing the cover aside. The duct work to that register had fallen allowing the cat access. I’m sorry I missed the chase to get the cat back out of the house. My dad sees insects that none of the rest of us can see. Nothing we did got rid of the bugs.Rather than insist that there are no bugs, I mixed up a spray bottle with tap water and a few drops of essential oil. I told him to shake it up and mist near his bed. It isn’t toxic to anyone, it won’t explode, there are no chemicals to worry about. It works.

This morning  my son came in and asked if I had eaten yet. I had not so we ended up going to a local restaurant, one we haven’t been to in years. The service was amazing, the food was good, the cost pretty much what is going elsewhere. The best part though was the time spent with my son. After we got back my mother called to let me know that the new medicine the doctor had changed her to was ready. I waited until I knew they were back from lunch to get ready to go. My son decided to go as well. I got her medicine and picked up a couple things then headed for home. My son then began to cut up some fire wood for me. I had burned everything that would fit into the wood stove and the temperatures are reportedly going to drop. Together we managed to get a good stack of wood cut and stacked on the front porch. I brought a couple arm loads into the house.

I and my extended family are trying to take care of my parents. I listen to their stories and hear their needs. I respect their age and understand this is all a part of their growing older. My son does help me greatly, he is here for me. However he does not simply smile, nod and allow me to slip in the wrong direction. He is here for me, but yes, he is trying to stop me from becoming my parents.

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Day Thirty one; Footnotes Photos

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Day Thirty; Footnotes Photos

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An Update and Thoughts on Why

Way back in November of last year I started a gofundme in the hopes of raising some money to repair the floors in my home. To date it has raised eight hundred dollars. Moments ago I posted an update on the account in the intent to keep things transparent for all those who donated.

I wanted to make an update on the flooring of my home.

To date all of the repair work needed has been finished. I know that they used just over eight hundred dollars worth of materials in the repair work. To be clear…. Neither the mission group nor the church are billing me for this. I asked for the amount so to be able to repay them so to make it easier to help the next person in need.

While I have to wait until March for the floor covering to be installed due to some of the members taking care of others in need-it is not a problem. I can wait, those needs are more dire. The floor covering has been secured and will be ready when they can get back to me. I have asked them to let me know the cost of the floor covering so to add that to the amount I will be repaying as I am able.

I am very very very thankful to all of the donations that have been made to my fundraiser. You have blessed me greatly. Because I will be able to pay as I am able, it was my thought to use part of the money raised to paint over the paneling in the affected rooms. While all the furniture is out and the flooring not in place yet it will be easier. It would also help to make a dark house brighter. But, I wanted to mention that here as your donations were to repair the floor not paint walls. If there is even one who takes issue with the idea, I will attempt to find another way. I just wanted to be very transparent about what is going on and how the money was being used. I also want to be clear to any who think, just get a job, I do currently have a job, it is taking care of my aging parents. It doesn’t pay in dollars, but in blessings and that is worth much more.

I probably could have left off that last part, I really don’t want to offend anyone who has helped me, but I have seen and dealt with the ‘get a job’ group. I had a job. I have no problems with working and wouldn’t mind working again. Right now though, my parents need me and I will be there for them. Am I bragging on myself? No, that was not my intent because I am not the only individual who has taken care of their parent(s). I’m no more special than anyone else who has done this and I will continue as long as that help is needed. It is a responsibility and gift that I will honor and treasure.

What I realize is how much of a blessing it is in many ways. First that they are still here with us at their age. They were here for me many times in my life. Even when I made really dumb mistakes. I wasn’t judged, just helped in what ever way was needed. My mother has always made the point that family is everything, that family is important, family should take care of each other. Things that our family has always done. Before anyone asks, my brother is here often. He comes when they need something done that I cannot do. When there have been emergencies, all it takes is one phone call and he’s on his way. But I live right beside them, I am here for them. Other family members who live close by also do everything they are able to help, it is not me alone. But, it is this that prevents me from taking a paying job. Taking care of them is a more than full time position as one never knows what may happen.

So I started a gofundme and I have been blessed. Not just with the donations to the account, but by the men’s mission group who stepped up, by the individual who will provide the floor covering, but those who have prayed for me and for those who shared this account making it better known. Every dollar, every share, every prayer is appreciated greatly. I am blessed and I am thankful.

https://gofund.me/69ea16bc

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