A Change of Plans

Well, my plans for this week are going to have to change drastically. By the time I went to bed last night I was experiencing fever and chills, and it kind of went downhill from there. Today I got up occasionally between naps, but virtually everything seemed like too much effort—even reading.

I had to miss my critique group and writers’ meeting, which I had been really looking forward to. Unless I feel radically better tomorrow, I may have to cancel my class also. To be honest, I feel a little betrayed because I have been taking such good care of my health for nine months now. Supposedly my immune system should be more or less impervious to attack, but it seems that is not the case.

The good news is that Jasper is doing much better. He is still cautious about eating, but that’s more a psychological result of being sick for two weeks.

After sleeping for most of the day, I am very curious to see if I will be able to sleep tonight . . .

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Returning to Normal

So Jasper is better enough that he was able to do school today for the first time in two weeks! He is also eating somewhat regular meals.

To celebrate that and an accomplishment of Lucy’s I took them to a local coffee shop for a drink. I just sat in a corner and read. I am willing to buy pricy drinks for my kids, because it is important to them, but I am too stingy to buy them for myself! (Even assuming they would have anything I could drink . . .)

It’s been kind of a rough day, to be honest, because I seem to be finally getting sick, and so is Lucy. I really, really hope it is just a cold and not what Jasper has had, because I can’t afford to be sick for even a few days, let alone two weeks.

I did carry out the first step in beginning to rearrange the living room so we can fit the Christmas tree in there. Not sure when that’s going to happen, but I’m trying to do my part.

At Calvary

We sang the last verse of this hymn, along with the refrain, as a chorus when I was growing up. I still love it.

At Calvary

William R. Newell

Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.

Refrain

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.

Refrain

Now I’ve given to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary!

Refrain

Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!

Refrain

 

Hallelujah!

So, I may be returning to my regularly-scheduled blogging now, because I wrote the final chapter of my manuscript today and I am DONE.

Jasper’s illness has reached the deafness stage. Every illness he ever gets ends up going to his ears at some point, and then he can’t hear for a while. We are trying to be proactive this time and rinse his ears out frequently with warm water to dissolve any wax that might be building up, but I still have to walk right up to him and shout to get his attention. I’m just so encouraged that he’s on the mend.

The last couple of weeks have been particularly challenging for me, because in addition to trying to live my life and write a novel in a month, I committed to watching a documentary series that ran for nine nights in a row, and I had to watch each episode as it came out, because each one was only available for 24 hours.

I get lots of health-related spam in my email inbox, but this one seemed worth paying attention to. A man who is, like me, a diabetic and overweight, decided to go on a journey to find out what it would really take for him not just to manage his symptoms, but to actually reverse them. He interviewed over 50 experts in the field in the course of his journey.

Now, obviously, some of what was covered was information that I have learned on my own through my research. There were two or three episodes where I almost gave up watching, because they were blatant examples of vegan evangelism. Now, I have nothing against those who wish to follow a vegan diet. My hackles are raised, however, when vegans equate their lifestyle with moral and spiritual superiority, and all the vegan doctors in this series were so arrogant and obnoxious I found it hard to listen to them. They used inflammatory language—for instance, referring to butter as “coagulated cow pus.” Really? That was uncalled for. After watching those episodes, one could get the impression that becoming vegan makes you a jerk.

Then the vegan evangelism and low-carb shaming tapered off, and they talked about the psychology and brain science behind overeating, and that was interesting, and led to my purchasing a book which I am enjoying reading. They also talked about fasting and interviewed at length the author of the fasting book that was so helpful to me last spring.

They finished off by talking to people who have turned their lives around, who grow most of their own food, who have lost weight and reversed their diabetic complications and taken charge of their health. It was very inspirational.

Of course, the reason they showed the episodes for free for 24 hours is that they were hoping I’d sign up to own the whole series, plus lots of bonus material, for a substantial sum of money. I knew I’d be unable to do that, so I rearranged my whole schedule around watching those episodes as they came out. If you are interested, the series is called iThrive. I love that the host is a regular guy who is very honest about his own struggles. There is nothing condescending or superior about him. I hope he is able to turn his health around, because he certainly now has all the information he needs!

Today, in addition to finishing my manuscript, I started working on Christmas music, much to my husband’s dismay, since advent doesn’t start until next weekend!

Quietly Thankful

Normally, Thanksgiving at our house is a pretty boisterous occasion, with offspring visiting from out of town and several college students here too.

Today, we had no one, and Walter had to work from first thing this morning until midafternoon. At times the house seemed deserted!

Of course, I spent much of the day in the kitchen, because even if there are only five of us, I’m still going to make a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

The highlight of my day was the video call with my absent offspring this morning. There were some technical frustrations, but I did get to chat simultaneously with Lina in Africa, Mercy in Russia, Mary in Tennessee, and Flynn in Colorado. I am looking forward to seeing most of them for Christmas next month.

My plans for what I would eat changed as the day went along. I had planned to make some mashed cauliflower and low-carb rolls to have with my turkey, but after having a snack this afternoon I realized I did not want that much food. I was more than happy with some turkey and green beans and a couple of pickles. I’m calling it a win. Everybody else got the traditional meal and I did not feel deprived. Forgoing the pie was a little more difficult, but on the other hand, I know I have no safety net now, so that makes it easier to choose the right thing.

Poor Jasper is still sick and only managed to eat a roll for Thanksgiving dinner. So, for all intents and purposes, it was a three-person meal. We have lots and lots of leftovers. I don’t think I’ll have to cook anything until Sunday!

We finished off the evening watching a silly movie. Tomorrow I am looking forward to a very quiet day and some napping. I do not “do” Black Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!

The Cookie Run

The cookie adventure of 2017 is over at last. A week and a half ago, we finally received the names of the people who had contributed to the winning bid on Jasper’s cookies at the Harvest Festival. It turned out to be three local businesses, all of which serve the farming and ranching community.

The very next day, Jasper wrote his thank-you notes, but his plans to make and deliver more cookies were dashed when he got sick the next day. And of course, he stayed sick. Yesterday he felt well enough to help me make the cookies, and last night I arranged them on the pretty plates I’d bought for the purpose, and covered them in plastic wrap.

We were trying to honor a 4-H tradition despite the fact that we know very little about it. The tradition is for the kids to offer a gift of some sort to the person who wins the bid on their item, whatever it is. So we had a plate of the prizewinning cookies for each of the three businesses. I made some beautiful handmade envelopes for the thank-you notes, and included the recipe for the cookies and a photo of Jasper with the cookies.

This morning we set off to deliver the cookies. The three businesses were not anywhere near each other, so we did a lot of driving. The first place we went to was a tractor dealership. They were thrilled to get more cookies, as they had placed the final winning bid and had enjoyed the first batch! Then it was on to an insurance agency, and then to a large farm and ranch store in a neighboring town, where the manager was downright delighted to get cookies.

You know, I may whine about the climate here in Texas. I hate it. But I have no complaint about the people. Over the last several decades, I have found local business people to be unfailingly kind, courteous, and generous to a fault. The three gentlemen who bid on Jasper’s cookies did not know him. They went to a 4-H auction for no reason other than to make a positive impact on kids’ lives by helping them save for their future.

I meet men (and women) like this all the time here in East Texas. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve gone to a store to buy something, and they haven’t had it—but the manager sat down and made phone calls to locate it for me and then gave me directions so I would be sure to find it. I’ve had store managers take me aside when they see me showing interest in something, and tell me to wait for three days because that item would be going on sale and they didn’t want me to have to pay full price. Often, an employee will pull out a spare sales flyer for me and cut a coupon so I can get the discount. I love doing business here. Today’s experience was such a great antidote to the kind of stories that have been filling the news lately.

To cap off the morning, we stopped by the extension office to drop off some papers, and Jasper was given a lovely new hoodie! We missed the awards ceremony where he was supposed to receive it.

By the time we returned home, Jasper was very ready to rest. He is somewhat improved, but is very weak and still struggles with violent coughing fits. I really hope he feels well enough to enjoy Thanksgiving.

 

A Quiet Few Days

Well, I did warn you that blogging might be sporadic this month! I passed the 40,000 word mark this weekend and am working on the climactic scene now. I have no idea if what I’ve written is worth revising or if it’s total drivel.

We had a quiet weekend. Jasper is still sick, but today he showed a little improvement and even ate a couple of meals. He has lost over 10 pounds in the last week!

This afternoon he and I made a batch of cookies before he had to go lie down again. We plan to deliver them tomorrow if he feels up to it.

One of  Spencer’s long-time friends joined us for supper and it was so nice to get caught up on his life.

And I made great progress in my freezer reorganization plan. I feel stupid for not thinking of this system a long time ago.

 

Open My Eyes, That I May See

Open My Eyes, That I May See

Clara H. Scott

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.

Refrain

Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.

Refrain

Open my mouth, and let me bear,
Gladly the warm truth everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare
Love with Thy children thus to share.

Refrain

 

(Almost) Instant Gratification

Shortly after beginning my health journey and getting off of insulin, I made a loaf of low-carb bread for Easter. I had a couple of slices then and put the rest in the freezer. It took me five months to finish that one loaf of bread, and to be honest, it wasn’t all that good.

Still, every now and then I really want a slice of bread that I can put some cheese or Marmite on. Recently I came across a recipe for low-carb microwave mug bread and I had to try it. I gotta tell you, it has been a great option to have, because no planning ahead is involved. If I wake up and decide I really want to have toast with my egg for breakfast, I can totally do it. It takes about five minutes. And of course, it’s also gluten free!

So here’s the recipe, followed by my comments:

Keto Mug Bread

5 Tablespoons almond flour

1 Tablespoon of salted butter or coconut oil

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

Put butter in ceramic mug and melt in microwave for 10-20 seconds.

Whisk in the egg and baking powder.

Stir in the almond flour and mix well.

Microwave for 90 seconds, then dump out of the mug, slice, and enjoy.

My comments: I usually use coconut oil instead of butter, so I don’t need to melt it. I add a pinch of salt when I do that. I also don’t use a mug. I use a 4-inch ceramic ramekin, which means I get a round piece of bread that I can cut into two slices or use as a bun. I often sprinkle the top with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or bagel topping. In the interest of scientific research, I tried baking it in my toaster oven instead of the microwave, using a 4-inch cake pan I have. It was perfectly baked in 15 minutes, so a little less “instant,” but still pretty quick! The picture below is of the oven-baked one, but I honestly couldn’t tell any difference in flavor or texture.

keto bread

More of the Same

Poor Jasper. He is very sick. He was so looking forward to spending time with a friend tomorrow, but we are going to have to reschedule. Based on his symptoms, I think he has a virus of a type I have had two times before. I really hope he doesn’t share it, because both times I had it before, I was sure I was dying!

So anyway, he has been resting and drinking water and taking a lot of garlic. I really hope that we will start seeing some improvement tomorrow.

I have spent some time today trying to clear out our big freezer, because I really want to defrost it before loading it for the holidays. It’s amazing the things you find when you go through your freezer . . .