Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016
God Bless Our Troops

Click on the cabin below to see our family website.

Click on the cabin below to see our family website.
We love what we do!

Monday, June 30, 2008

On the lowcarb front:
Here are my stats for this morning:
Did treadmill intervals with weights
Time: 37 minutes
Average heart rate: 113 (hmmmmm, that's not very impressive)
Maximum heat rate: 161
Calories burned: 226
I am down .4 pounds from last Monday

During the slower intervals on the treadmill, I read DANDR. In the exercise section, I found something very interesting. Under the benefits of exercise listing I found the usual good stuff. But there was one thing listed there that I had missed in earlier readings of the book. Exercise decreases the output of insulin. And what does insulin do? It helps the body to store fat; not something I want to encourage my body to do. I think I am going to make a big sign and put it on the wall behind my treadmill. Regular exercise decreases the output of insulin.

On the home front:
Today is Monday, so that means I make soap, do laundry, and pay bills. The Fly zone this week is the living room. I think I am going to tackle weeding out videos and cds that no longer make me smile.

The UPS man dropped off some new fragrance oils so tomorrow I will be making some Hot Apple Pie jar candles. I mixed up some with the fixitive for simmering potpourri. I've been testing the spiced orange clove mixture. Simmering potpourri is a much gentler scent than candles or tarts. There are some days I just don't want a heavy scent.

I need labels . . . . and Anna is gone for the week with her cousins who have a Christian drama ministry. They also have three little punkins so Aunt Anna is Nanny Annie this week. (Oooooh, I hope she doesn't read this. LOL!)

The new soap dishes came today, also. I am really excited about these. Wednesday is photo day for the website so I will be doing the photography then.

Word of the Day
Matthew 8:18-22
Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. A scribe then approached and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." Another of his disciples said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."

Reflections from the cornfield:
It's easy to give lip service to following Jesus. Jesus doesn't let these two get away with it. He spells out exactly what is required to truly follow him.

This is from today's psalm: PS 50:16,17

“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”

Pretty apt, wouldn't you say?
You can't fool mother nature and you can't fool God . . . . . . but of the two, only God is merciful.

God bless the troops!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

On the lowcarb front:
All week I have had pretty good averages except for today. But still, I am down a pound from last Sunday, Sunday being the day that I post my official loss for the week. If I were to go down a pound every Sunday, that's 52 pounds in a year - for doing nothing more than eating cheesecake, omelettes, macadamia nuts, yogurt, chocolate (homemade), and the like.

I didn't get a workout in this morning because for some reason, I didn't wake up until 9:45. I rushed around a bit and prayed that the font water was warm. It was - yay!!!!! No frozen baptizees today.

We on the lowcarb friends board are working hard to convince Cleochatra that she needs to publish a book of her lowcarb recipes. I say we bombard her blog and nag her until she agrees. LOL! I'm only half kidding. It was reading Cleo's blog that got me back on track. Whether you go there to nag her about a cookbook or not, her blog is definitely worth reading. It's called "The Lighter Side of Lowcarb" and there is a link on my blogroll. Let's show her the love!!!

Word of the Day:
Matthew 16:13-19
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi. He asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter,and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Reflections from the Cornfield:
"Who do people say that I am?" Of course "people" got it wrong. In this passage, it would appear that Simon Peter has come of age. But his recognition of Jesus as the Christ comes to him not as a human being, but as a revelation from God. Jesus proclaims him as the rock on which He will build his church - not because of what Peter is, but because of what he will later become by the grace of God. In subsequent verses, Peter rebukes Jesus for His prediction of His passion, death, and resurrection. In his humanness, Peter fails to see the bigger picture. It's not hard to imagine that being made the rock on which Jesus will build his church might have gone to Peter's head just a wee bit; he was only human, after all. At that point he was a work in progress. Isn't it comforting to know that God wants us with all of our inperfections? Not because of the imperfections, but in spite of them. Because God sees in us what we and others fail to see in ourselves?

God bless the troops!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

On the lowcarb front:
The little ones stayed over last night so no workout this morning.
I am down 2.8 from last Saturday.

Not much to report so far today. Will update later.

On the home front:
Made a batch of honey, oats, and milk soap last night. Smells wonderful. I also finished curing a batch of simmering potpourri for the simmer pot Anna found for me at a garage sale. It's scented with orange clove. Mmmmmmmm. Today I will finish the grubby tags with what is left of the solution from the other day. These are also orange clove.

I made Cleochatra's Mozzarella sticks. Well, no, I didn't actually. I cheated. I melted a pile of cheese on a plate and scooped it up with pork rinds. My mouth didn't know the difference. LOL

We have baptisms at Mass tomorrow. I have to remember to turn on the pump and heater for the font tonight and to make sure that I override the timer. At the last baptism there were some pretty startled babies. We didn't realized that we had to override the timer on the pump so it kicked off during the night and the water was cold.

Word of the day:
Matthew 8:5-17
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress." And he said to him, "I will come and cure him." The centurion answered, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this,' and the slave does it." When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, "Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; let it be done for you according to your faith." And the servant was healed in that hour. When Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases."

Reflections from the cornfield:
Catholics will recognize the words of the centurian as the words we use before receiving the Eucharist. "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed." And Jesus answers him, "Go; let it be done according to your faith." Again, the healing and the miracle depend on the faith of someone involved. I think of the ongoing debate about faith and works. I don't really see the argument. Sometimes I think people argue just to have something to argue about. Faith and works are so intertwined that I don't see how one could exist without the other. Kind of like the Holy Trinity. It would be like asking, which is more necessary? God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.

I wonder if we really think about these words of reconcilliation that we speak before the communion procession begins - this miracle of being able to receive Jesus, to take part in the ancient action of the Last Supper - not a new sacrifice, but the same sacrifice. Not an action that took place long ago, but a timeless action in which we participate today - an eternal banquet which we share with the communion of saints. If it be done according to our faith, we would do well to pray for an increase in that faith. "but only say the word and I shall be healed."

God bless the troops!

Friday, June 27, 2008

From the lowcarb front:

Here are my stats for this morning:

Time: 31 minutes
Average heart rate: 114
Maximum heat rate: 134
Calories burned: 202
I am down 2.4 pounds from last Friday

I got lots done yesterday, not the stuff I had planned to do, but still a lot. I had planned to make candles. I ended up making grungy tags. I had planned to work in my zone (master bedroom) but ended up doing 15 minutes stints in several rooms. The bedroom looks pretty good, but the drawers, closets, and nightstand need a good weeding. I can better concentrate on that if the surfaces are clean so I don't feel like I am drowning in chaos.

Today I will be working on my daughter's house. She just moved into it and everything is just kind of there and in boxes. It looks very overwhelming. She is going on a trip for a week so my other daughter and I are going to tackle some of the boxes. Then I need to come home and get a batch of soap made before the two cuties come over to spend the night.

Word of the day:
Matthew 8:1-4
When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean." He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I do choose. Be made clean!" Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."

Reflections from the cornfield:
Okay, this leper would be one of those people who make us cringe. I would reckon that the great crowds that followed Jesus after he came down from the mountain probably dispersed pretty quickly when this leper showed up. Jesus tended to hang out with lots of people who would make us cringe - tax collectors, demon possessed women, Samaritans, and the like. And he worked miracles - but those miracles always involved faith on someone's part - either the recipient or someone acting on the recipient's behalf. This is how closely faith and works are intertwined.

When the movie "The Passion of the Christ" came out, I fully expected much criticism from the non-Catholic Christians due to it's fairly obvious Catholic perspective. Surprisingly enough, the only criticism I heard was from Catholic priests. One said, "I didn't like the movie because the resurrection scene was too short." Since the movie was called "The Passion of the Christ," I really wanted to ask him how long the resurrection scene is in the Passion readings for Holy Week. This same pastor never spoke out on "The DaVinci Code." That one had no resurrection scene at all, but I digress.

Another criticism from a different priest was, "no one could carry that cross after being beaten so badly." Ummm, okay. I can't help but think about what Jesus said about faith the size of mustard seed and what we could move if we possessed it. And that makes everything so much more remarkable because if Jesus was able to carry that cross in his condition, how much more acute was his suffering? The average person would have passed out from the pain. And not only that, it was suffering he could have chosen to avoid.

In today's passage, Jesus could have healed the leper without ever laying a hand on him - but he didn't, he touched him - he got his hands dirty, so to speak. One can only wonder how long it had been since anyone had touched that man. This is a perfect example of how when we ask Jesus to help us, he gives us so much more than we are asking for.

God bless the troops!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

On the lowcarb front
No workout today. I was angry and upset about something this morning - doesn't matter what and it isn't an excuse for skipping the workout, but there it is. I did not, however, let that run over and affect my menu for the day.

I am down 3.6 lbs. from last Thursday. I think I may be getting the hang of this lowcarb thing.

I had no internet this morning so I didn't get some of my work done, including my blog. That totally throws off my day. Ever read the book "Who Moved My Cheese?" I laughed when I first read it. Not anymore. I don't cotton well to having my cheese moved.

Word of the day:
Matthew 7:21-27
'Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord", will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?" Then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers."

'Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell-and great was its fall!'

Reflections from the cornfield:
"Talk is cheap." "Actions speak louder than words." Axioms become axioms because on some level there is a universal truth being spoken. We were not put on this earth to merely prophesy in Jesus' name. Jesus spelled out very clearly what our mission on earth is;

Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the homeless
Visit the sick
Visit those in prison
Bury the dead

All the words in the world will not accomplish these acts. It takes getting our hands dirty. Now I have heard some people (some people being preachers) say that taking care of our kids would fulfill the hungry, naked, homeless, and thirsty part. They were serious. I don't really think that's what Jesus meant. I think he meant for us to step out of our comfort zones and care for people who may make us cringe when we are around them, who aren't like us in any way except that they are fellow children of God.

And shouldn't it go beyond filling the need? In some cases compassion requires teaching others how to fill some of their own needs so that they in turn can teach someone else.
But what do I know?
I'm just minding my own business here in the cornfield. :)

God bless the troops!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On the lowcarb front:
Jamie(Cleochatra) wrote in her Lighter Side of Lowcarb blog about the honeymoon of lowcarbing. Of course that "diet honeymoon" isn't just limited to lowcarb, but the point is that unless we make a lifelong committment to whatever plan we choose, we are going to be continually frustrated in our efforts to get where we want to go.

One of the frequent criticisms of the Atkins lifestyle (and it really should be a lifestyle) is this.
"As soon as you go off it, you'll gain that weight right back." Duh! Can you name me one diet that works when you're not on it?

In today's Word of the day we hear about false prophets. The lowcarb community has a false prophet. Her name is Heidi Diaz and her creed is lowfat, lowcarb, very low calories. I think we've all seen the fruit of that particular prophet's teaching. False prophets succeed because they read people very well and they know how to manipulate them. Thank goodness Kimkins is now being exposed for what it is. And the fruits of Heidi Diaz's proselytizing? Loss of hair, weakness, heart palpitations, thyroid issues, and a whole host of other nasty side effects.

I was pleased to get on the scale this morning and see that the downward movement is continuing. I got on the treadmill at 9:30 and did an interval mix of cardio and weights.

Here are my stats for this morning:
Time: 30 minutes
Average heart rate: 120
Maximum heat rate: 159
Calories burned: 213
I am down 2 pounds from last Wednesday

Not eating at night is a very good thing. Last night's "stay out of the kitchen" project was a batch of Crisp Green Apple jar candles. Of course, I have to test a candle from each batch so the house smells yummy. It's not a tart green apple smell, but more of a sweet tangy scent.

Visited Jamie's blog at the Examiner this morning and found a great recipe for mozzarella sticks using crushed pork rinds. That's one I plan to try this week.

Do any of you do Mypoints? Here's an interesting email I received this morning - I went to the website to collect my 5 points. Here's what I found:

CalTrap is a safe and effective food additive that when sprinkled on your food effectively reduces the amount of calories your body absorbs. The CalTrap program includes a easy to use shaker, 30 on-the-go packets and a handy lifestyle planner.

Reduces caloric absorption of the food you eat
Will not change the taste or texture of the food
Doesn't have the unpleasant side effects associated with fat blockers
Uses an advanced patent pending technologyto deliver amazing results

CalTrap's active ingredient, the Konjac Root is a 100% natural fiber, long recognized for its amazing health benefits and known to be a safe and powerful diet food in its native Japan.The scientists at the American Weight Loss Institute have developed a patent pending method for encapsulating the fiber from the Konjac root to create the world's first clinically proven food sprinkle that actually reduces the calories in the food it is combined with.
Has virtually zero calories
Is an all-natural fiber that’s Generally Recognized As Safe by the FDA
Is known for its ability to reduce cholesterol & blood sugar levels
Because CalTrap is natural and does not work like common fat blockers, it has no harmful side effects and does not cause embarrassing secretions. In fact taking CalTrap is just like switching to a high fiber diet.

Comments anyone?

I visited Jimmy Moore's blog yesterday where he shared some sad news about his brother's declining health. Please, everyone, take a minute today to pray for Kevin and those who love him.

Word of the day:
Matthew 7:15-20
Jesus told the crowds, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits."

Reflections from the cornfield:
You know, we can probably all name some pretty famous false prophets. Hitler comes to mind imediately, along with Jim Jones and a few others. I once did a paper on Hitler and some of his tactics were pretty remarkable. He viewed himself as another Messiah. He once wanted to project his image on the side of a mountain, but his advisors talked him out of it saying that it was a bit over the top. For a false prophet to succeed, he or she must have an audience. Hitler's audience consisted of a depressed country looking for new hope. When people have lost hope, they are at their most vulnerable. Hitler did most of his proselytizing to an audience who was hungry and tired. Contrast this to Jesus, who fed the people to whom he preached. Hitler preached hate, Jesus preached love. Thorns and thistles vs. Grapes and figs - God gave us a choice when we were created. Choose wisely.

God bless the troops!

Tues. June 24, 2008

On the lowcarb front:
I got on the treadmill at 10:15 this morning - much later than I like to get my workout in. I have a hard time going to bed at a decent hour because I tend to be a night person - that's when my energy kicks in. I just did cardio while watching Biggest Loser. This should have been an outdoor day, but I was running late and I don't like to get out there once the sun is high in the sky.

Here are my stats for this morning:
Time: 30 minutes
Average heart rate: 117
Maximum heat rate: 132
Calories burned: 201
I am down 1 pound from last Tuesday.

I have been indulging in too many frankenfoods. The sugar free ice cream has to go - at least for now.

On the Flylady front:
I am finalizing my morning and evening routines. This week's zone is the Master bedroom. That's a bit of a challenge because I share the room with DH who has different standards for what constitutes neat. For this week I am just going to concentrate on my stuff and try to ignore the other.

Word of the day:

Luke 1:57-66
Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, "No; he is to be called John." They said to her, "None of your relatives has this name." Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, "What then will this child become?" For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.

Reflections from the Cornfield:
And of course the child of this passage is none other than John the Baptist. Today we celebrate the feast day of his birth. It is sometimes hard for us to remember that our children, though we give birth to them and raise them, do not really belong to us. They are only on loan so to speak. I think this passage makes that point very strongly. John, though born to Zechariah and Elizabeth, was sent by God for a greater mission than to simply be a descendant of his ancestors or a vehicle for carrying on the name of his father. God claimed him, and named him before his birth. Zechariah, upon recognizing this, was given back his speech. Immediately he began praising God. So too should we - because, yes, our children are a gift from God, but the gift is in the sharing of their lives, not in the ownership of their souls. They belong, not to us, but to the same God who claims us as his own. "What then will this child become?" That is what we should ask ourselves of the children put into our care.

God bless the troops!
On the lowcarb front:
No workout this morning, I'm doing Grandma duty. That is one tough job, that is. I am down 2.8 since last Monday so the downward trend is official. The sticks are turning purple and the summer stretches before me in all of its glory.

On the home front:
I am almost finished with the lover's knot placemat that I started Saturday. I took my time with this one because no matter how carefully I measure and cut, I am forever tugging to get seams and corners to match up.

Word of the day:

Matthew 7:1-5
Jesus said to the crowds, "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbour's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour's eye."

Reflections from the cornfield:
Isn't is odd how clearly we can see the faults of others, but can be totally blind to those same faults in ourselves? There is a name for that. It's called projection. I often wonder if that speck we see in someone else's eye is not, in fact, the reflection of the the log in our own eye. Lately I have found that it takes all of my energy just to keep my own life in order. If each of us did that, wouldn't the world be in much better order? That is so much easier said than done. It is much easier to look outward and criticize and judge others than it is to face our own faults. If each of us spent our energies being the best child of God that we can be, there wouldn't be much time left over for judging other people's efforts now would there?

God bless the troops

Sun June 22, 2008

On the lowcarb front:
I'm down 2.6 for the week. Made up the lost ground from last week. I'm headed out for a walk/run. Will update later.


Just got back from my walk. Yes, it was a walk. I am so out of shape.
Got out on the road at 8:00 and walked for 30 minutes
Average heart rate: 123

Maximum heart rate: 132
Calories burned: 226

It was a beautiful walk. My route is on a country road and heads east to a deadend. I could see lots of deer tracks along the way. There is corn planted in those fields this year. Come fall, someone will be feasting on corn-fed venison. Every now and then I will meet a deer on the route. I could never imagine going back to city living. I have now lived more years in the country than I did in the city.

Went to an anniversary party yesterday. I missed dinner due to having to play for Mass at 4:30. Breathing a sigh of relief, I sat down, armed with my huge mug of diet A&W, to visit with relatives. There was a soft serve ice cream machine and a commercial popcorn popper. Dinner had been cleared away. Within a half an hour, the table was loaded down with desserts. I couldn't tell you what all was there because I put blinders on at that point.

Today we have the huge Moeggenborg/Moeggenberg reunion. All three of the main branches of the family will be there. I will again miss dinner due to Sunday Mass so I should be good to go for the day. I'll eat before I head out there and I shouldn't need to even go near the table.

Word of the day:

Matthew 10:26-33

Jesus said to the Twelve:“Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;r ather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

Reflections from the cornfield:

In the beginning,
the Word,
the world,
seeking to be God,

becoming human,
descent into the . . .
the sparrows,
the hairs on our heads,
the days of our lives.
(from The Tarantella Dancers - copyright 2000 - Mary A. Moeggenborg)

God bless the troops

Sat June 21, 2008

On the lowcarb front:
I woke up today in a less than good mood. I don't know why. It's just one of those days that I tolerate every now and then. I try to stay out of people's way so I don't snap at them and make everything worse. There is a song called "Voice of Truth" by the group Casting Crowns. It pretty much sums up how things are with me some days.

I guess you could call this my crisis song. Those of us who are fighting the weight loss war know very well those days when the waves call out to us, mock us, remind us of every failure. Sometimes the voice of the waves is our own when we put ourselves down. Other days it may be the voice of someone else who, for whatever reason, feels the need to make us feel bad. This song always puts things into perspective for me.

I am down 2 pounds since last Saturday so that is good news. I really should have worked out this morning - I sorely need those endorphins. There is a lot going on with graduation parties, family reunions, weddings, funerals. I always tell myself that I will get things in gear when life settles down. What I fail to see is that getting my exercise and taking care of business is what gets things in gear.

Here are the lyrics for those of you who can't load the video.

Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
"Boy you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don't seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says do not be afraid
And the voice of truth says this is for my glory
Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe (I will choose to listen and believe)
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

I will listen and believe
I will listen and believe the voice of truth
I will listen and believe
'Cause Jesus you are the voice of truth
And I will listen to you.. oh you are

Word of the day:

Matthew 6: 24-34
Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you--you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. "So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today."

Reflections from the cornfield:

Worry - ah yes. Let's talk about worrying. Is there a parent on earth who has not worried about his or her children? It seems to be part of the job description. I can't tell you the how many nights I worried my kids home safely. We worry about the future, we worry about the past and what we could have done differently. So much wasted energy. I remember well the day our youngest daughter, Nicola, moved out for good. As we drove down to her new apartment - an hour south of here, I remember telling her how worried I was about her. Since the rest of the kids live fairly close, I worried that she would be lonely, or that she wouldn't ask for help if she needed it, or that she wouldn't eat right etc. etc. She said to me, "Mom, you can worry about me or you can pray for me. Which one do you think will do more good?" I remember that talk often and when I find myself worrying, I now address it to God and turn it into a prayer. It's taken me a long time to realize that disaster is not lying in wait for me to quit worrying so it can swoop in and wreak havoc. Things work out in spite of the worrying, not because of it. Pray or worry. They both take the same amount of energy, but which is time better spent?

I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth

Words to live by, those are

God bless the troops!

Friday, June 20, 2008

On the Lowcarb front:
I haven't weighed in or worked out yet today. Got a call for a heart grubby that needs to go out today so it has to be poured this morning.

Update: Got my workout in - well, most of it anyway. I about broke my neck when Harold came up behind me to tell me that I had a phone call. I screamed; thank God I was in a walk phase on the treadmill and happened to have my hands on the bars. (Shhhhhh, don't anyone tell Jillian). I weighed in and the news is getting better. I am only up .2 from last Friday so I am gaining ground. I was watching Biggest Loser season three. This was the episode where Nicole broke her tooth. But for the grace of God, that could have been me. Anyway, to my horror, I saw - after screaming - that Haold had my cell phone in his hand not 2 feet from me. On the phone was a man calling about the music for his mother's funeral. Nice.

Remember that almond crusted cheesecake I made for yesterday's cookout? It's what's for breakfast. Yummmm. I'd post a pic but it's history now.

On the home front:
The guys are finishing up the siding on the back of the house that warped when we had our barn fire. It's not a perfect match to the rest of the house but since the average person can't see the front and back of the house at the same time, I can live with it. And I got a couple of new windows out of the deal.

I hosted a Home and Garden party for my daughter, Melisa, last night. She is a "designer" for this company. I love their products and their prices. It was fun to get together with neighbors, some of whom we haven't seen in quite a while. I have my eye on some small end tables from the catalog.

Got a call from Harold a few minutes ago telling me that Sam would be taking a truck to one of the fields and I needed to pick him up and bring him back here. This kind of interruption in my day used to irritate me - this dropping of what I'm doing to shuffle the guys around. Now I enjoy it and I don't view it as an interruption. I view it as something I am able to do because I can do most of my work at home. As I headed down the road toward Lehner's place (that's how you give directions in the country - head out to Lehner's place and make a right.) I was rewarded by the sight of a white-tail deer standing smack dab in the middle of the road. He stood there as I approached and only at the last minute did he bound off into the woods to my right. This is an old running route of mine and I have had the same experience on foot. It reminds me that I need to get back into running and that I love living where I live!

On the business front:
Got a call last night with an order for 2 electric grubbies. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE making these. And it makes the house and even our musty basement (my workroom) smell wonderful.

The cool soap dishes that I ordered for th website came in yesterday. I was disappointed that some of the ones I ordered weren't in the shipment. And one of them was chipped. It's all a part of business, but not my favorite part. :)

Word of the day:
Matthew 6:19-23
Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!"

Reflections from the cornfield:
It's funny how as we get older, our idea of treasure changes. Our little 3-year old grandson is into "bugs and creatures." His favorite thing in the world is to come to our house and lift up Grandpa's tractor stones to find creepy crawlies underneath - the creepier the better. "Oh Gwamma, bugs are very nice. You shouldn't be scared of them." Not my idea of a treasure, but Clayton loves them.

From my 5 decade plus vantage point, the perspective is a bit different. When I was a young church musician, the weddings I played for were for couples older or close to my age. Now I am playing for couples who could be my kids or grandkids. When I was a young church musician I used to hear "when I die I want you to play for my funeral." In our 20's and 30's we laughed and laughed at the thought of any of us dying. I have now done several of those funerals. My mortality is getting up close and personal and causes me to re-think my priorities. My treasure is now in the people I love. Love is one of those eternal treasures that Jesus speaks of. Of course we love our family and friends, but in our youth we take them for granted in the thought that they will always be there.

If I could change one thing about how I have lived my life, it would be to spend more time with people I love and less time worrying about things that won't matter a hundred years from now. I am grateful that God has given me enough years to be able to do the things now that I thought I didn't have time for when I was younger.

In an earlier reflection I quoted a favorite pastor and I do it again here because I think it is so important. "We take nothing with us when we leave this earth except the love we shared along the way."

Words to live by, those are.

God bless the troops!

Thur. June 19, 2008

On the lowcarb front:
No workout this morning. My weight is up from last Thursday. My biggest struggle in this whole journey, and the thing that I think is keeping the scale from going down, is night time eating. I can go the whole day with nary a slip, but after 6:00 the struggle begins. I'm not sure why. I think part of it is that at night things slow down and the worries that I am able to put aside during the day surface. Since I am a COE, my coping mechanism is eating. I think the answer is to leave one hobby for evening (quilting anyone?) and let that be my default action rather than going to the fridge.

On the home front:

The rafters have arrived for the new building. Construction will begin in a couple of weeks. It will be gray. It will seem strange to see a gray building where our red barn once stood. I will miss that old icon.

Word of the day:

Matthew 6:7-15

Jesus said, "When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 'Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Reflections from the cornfield:

Jesus spoke often about forgiveness and the importance of forgiving others - so important that he bestowed it as he was dying on the cross. Jesus never asked anything of us that he did not give example with his life. The very first words he uttered from the cross were "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34) Forgiveness requires letting go - and not just letting go, but giving over - in the same way that Jesus gave over his spirit after forgiving the people who nailed him to the cross.

And who is this "them" that Jesus asks the Father to forgive? Is it the Romans who nailed him to the cross? Or the Jews who handed him over? Or the crowds who mocked him as he made his way up the hill? Or Judas for betraying him? Or Peter for denying him? Or his trusted disciples who ran away? Or you? Or me? Do any of us deserve forgiveness? Nope. Can any of us earn it? Nope. It's a gift free and clear. We can accept it or reject it. Jesus was the word personified. His entire life was a sermon on how we should live. He said, "I have given you example, that you should do as I have done to you." (John 13:4-5 & 14-15)

Words to live by, those are.

God bless the troops

Wed. June 18, 2008

On the lowcarb front:

The scale is up .6 pounds from last Wednesday.

Did treadmill intervals with weights this morning. This consists of 5 minutes of warm-up. 1 minute increased speed on treadmill, 2 minutes of weights, 1 minute running etc until the last 5 minute cool down.

Planned most of my menu for the day. Made oopsie rolls yesterday so I had an oopsie pizza this morning. I brushed 2 oopsies with tomato sauce, topped that with mozzarella and pepperoni. Not bad.

I saw a wonderful dessert on Cleochatra’s blog today - ooopsie layered with whipped cream and topped with blackberries. Too, too decadent.

I have a staff meeting followed by a cookout tomorrow, so, tonight I made an almond encrusted raspberry cheesecake - sugar free of course. I used Emerald Cocoa Roasted almonds. I can't wait to try this. I also made a beautiful salad with romaine, grape tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and avocado. The pastor is grilling. I have no reason to stray off track tomorrow!

Word of the day:
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said, 'Beware of practising your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

'So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

'And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

'And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Reflections from the cornfield:
It is a fine line, 'twould seem, between being an example and being an exhibitionist. I think the distinction lies in the motivation of the heart. Is the motivation to do good for the sake of doing good? Or is the motivation doing good so as to be thought of as a good person? And what is the blessing of the recipient in either case?

Jesus continually reprimanded the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. He described them as "white washed tombs filled with rotting bones." Matt. 23:27-28 Yes, the Pharisees prayed a lot - publicly. They also heaped burdens on the poor while never lifting a finger to help them. Jesus could see into their hearts and for all their prayers and public piety, it seems that the objective was to be seen as holy men. They blinded themselves to the fact that what they did was not for the glorification of God, but to serve their standing in the eyes of man. (John 9:41)

This past week journalist Tim Russert passed away. Among the many remembrances of his life that were recounted, one stands out in my mind. Sean Hannity tells of a $10,000 donation that Mr. Russert made to Hannity's annual Freedom concerts. This, at Mr Russert's request, was never made public - until after his passing.

Authenticity - that's what it's all about. It's making sure that what's happening on the outside, is a true reflection of what's happening on the inside. "From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks." Matt. 12:34 Take care of the inside and the outside will take care of itself.

In the OA community there is a favorite saying. "What others think of me is none of my business." Words to live by, those are.

God bless the troops

Tues, June 17, 2008

On the Lowcarb front:
Did 24 minutes on the treadmill this morning while watching Biggest Loser.
I did my own version of intervals.

Here was my menu for the day:

cafe latte
Dixie diner flax muffing
1 T. peanut butter

Romaine lettuce with ranch dressing and bacon bits.
Cheesey joe (ground beef and velveeta) on 2 revoloopsie rolls (hereafter to be known as oopsies)

lowcarb raspberry cheesecake

oppsie roll topped with sugar free pudding cup (mmmmm, eclaires)

Need to work on:
Had a cup of no sugar added ice cream and 3 sugar free Reese's cup

working on my second 32 oz. bottle

Word of the day:
Matthew 5:43-48
Jesus said to the disciples, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Once upon a time we had a pastor who was not very likeable. He was a perfectionist and he didn't tolerate imperfection in others. He was very organized and his ducks were always in a row. People like that make me very nervous - especially if they are the ones who sign my paycheck. The harder I tried to please this pastor, the more mistakes I seemed to make. I was very bothered by the fact that no matter how hard I tried, I just could not like this man. It bothered me so much that I eventually went to our deacon (a very dear friend and a wise, wise man.) He said to me, "you don't have to like him, you just have to love him." I thought and thought about that and finally said, "you mean I should be willing to die for him, but I don't have to hang out at McDonald's with him." Yep, that's pretty much it.

If you think about it, it really takes a lot more energy to hate someone than it does to just love him. Love means letting a lot of stuff go. It means we don't dwell on someone's imperfections, but celebrate the goodness in him.

In this scripture passage, the hang-up for me is the word perfect. Perfection is something that we can never attain. So how can we be perfect as God is perfect? The answer is we can't - not of our own will, anyway. There is only one way we can be perfect. The answer is in Paul's letter to the Romans 13:14 "Clothe Yourselves With the Lord Jesus Christ."

Gives new meaning to the saying "the clothes make the man," doesn't it?

will update later . . .

God bless the troops

Monday - June 16, 2008

On the lowcarb front:
Now that school is out, I am hoping to really have time to focus on what I need to do. I got a 20 minute workout in this morning which is a good start. Summer is generally a little easier because I have more time to do the things I love. I am hoping for great things in the next couple of months, one of them being firmly planted in the lowcarb lifestyle before going back for my last 4 months of work at the school.

Yesterday we celebrated Father's Day by going down to Nina and Jamie's house for a cookout. Nina was worried that a storm would ruin the day. We did get a bit of a thunder dunder so we went inside and had a great time playing Guitar Hero and WII baseball. After the storm we went out for a bean bag toss game while Clayton searched for "bugs and creatures." I did pretty well food-wise. It wasn't hard because Nina and Jamie had burgers, steaks, and hot dogs. Later we walked up town for ice cream. (Always ice cream on Sunday in the summer.) I opted for sugar free frozen yogurt which may or may not have been sugar free, but really tasted good. I probably won't do that again because I have a hard time trusting people who don't get the difference between sugar free and fat free. There are actually people who think the terms are interchangeable.

But yesterday was a lot of fun as are family times together.

On the home front:
For some reason I was up exceedingly early today. It's the first day of summer vacation for me - maybe that's it. I had a funeral to do this morning. And I'm headed out to Sam's club to stock up on some stuff. A trip to Mt. Pleasant is never complete without a visit to JoAnn's and a drop-off to GoodWill.

I have a ton of work to do this week. Even though school is out, I have inventory to finish up in the media center.

The house is a wreck and I am hosting a Home & Garden party for Melisa. Time for crisis cleaning (which basically means stash and dash and lock the rooms until I can get time to deep clean.)

Word of the day:
Matthew 5:38-42
Jesus said to the crowds, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you."

To paraphrase an old quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt - "no one can make you a victim without your permission."

On the face of it, this passage is talking about peace and forgiveness, but when I read it, I see it as something else. Have you ever had someone say to you when asking to borrow a pencil, "can I steal a pencil?" Now, of course this person is not really asking permission to steal. That would be a sort of oxymoron. What he or she is asking is, "may I borrow a pencil. I am of the opinion that words mean things and I often wonder if we are not losing the language. If one is stealing from you, does that not make you a victim of theft? However, if you give someone an item that is a totally different situation. How much more power does a person have who gives something rather than one from whom something is taken.

When I talk about power, I am referring, of course, to spiritual power. There is an old story in a book by Anthony De Mello. I am hazy on the details but it goes something like this. There is a man who has a precious stone. Another man covets that stone and begs the first man to give it to him. When the man hands it over, the second man enjoys the stone for a while but later returns it to the first man saying "I want what you have that allowed you to give me the stone."

I am re-telling the story very badly, but the gist of it is that the second man is asking for the freedom to give generously. He recognizes that there is power in not being held hostage to the possessions of this world.

The truth is, we really own nothing in this world. We are merely stewards. The man with many possessions is no richer than the man who has none. In fact, the man with many possessions can be very much poorer if he is held hostage to those possessions and if they distract him from his true place in the world. That is not to say that having possessions is bad. But we are called to be "poor in spirit." Being poor in spirit means that we recognize that when we stand before God, we, in truth, have nothing but the grace of God. A favorite priest of mine once said in a homily, "you take nothing with you when you leave this world except the love you shared along the way."

Words to live by, those are.
I'm off to work out - will update later . . .

Weigh-in - June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

On the lowcarb front:
I firmly believe that if I am going to blog, I need to be completely honest. I have been faltering badly this past week. Part of it - a small part of it - is related to blood sugar issues. But the plain truth is that I am a compulsive eater. I mentioned this in yesterday's blog. Ever since I can remember, I have had issues with food. Some people turn to drugs, others to alcohol, and others - like myself - turn to food. When I was a child, my mother was very sick. I comforted myself in the only way I knew how - with food. It was the only control I had in my life. My mother died when I was 12. Other COE's (compulsive over eaters) will recognized the coping mechanism. This has carried over into my adult life.

When I was in college I had a brief fling with bulimia - until Karen Carpenter died and that scared the heck out of me. I can remember very clearly the day my dad died. The thing that stands out for me is a scene in the kitchen. The family is all there. There is a box of donuts sitting on the table. My cousin says, "Mary Ann! What are you doing?" I had been stuffing donuts down with no conscious recognition of what I was doing.

It's not that Atkins (or any other program for that matter) doesn't work. It's something within me that isn't working properly.

In the last season of Biggest Loser there is a scene in which Jillian is questioning Ali about why she is overweight. Since Ali is working out, her critical mind is occupied so her replies are not censored by that. When Jillian asks her what purpose the weight serves, Ali blurts out "it protects me." And there it is. For many overweight people and COE's in particular, the excess weight and the food are protection. The thing I have to ask myself today is what is it protecting me from? And is that worse than what I am exposing myself to?

This is what I wrestle with. Atkins is my WOE of choice because of how I feel when I am on it. The problem is that I still deal with the emotional aspects of being a COE. Until November of 2000, I was able to keep my weight at a fairly decent level because I was a smoker. Smoking took the place of food. When I quit that year, the struggle became much harder because not only was I dealing with the loss of cigarettes (a whole other psychological issue) but I was entering my 50's which brings a whole new set of issues to the table.

I have come to realize that in order to buffer myself from the hurts of life, it is my skin that needs to be thicker, not my waistline. For a while I went to Overeaters Anonymous. We have a small group in our town. I was never able to mesh with the group so I found an online group and got a sponsor. What I didn't understand was that this lady was only sponsoring me through an online 12 week program. She really didn't want to be a food sponsor and when I finally figured that out, we broke contact.

The other problem I had with OA was the matter of the Higher Power. Since for me, that would be God, I found it hard to deal with some of the nicknames others had for their Higher Power. That was totally my own problem because for each person, the Higher Power is something different. My sponsor often referred to God as "she" which, for me, was a problem. My problem. Not OA's problem, not the sponor's problem. The program should not change to suit me, but I found myself unable to adjust to some of these things.

Currently I am investigating a Christian chapter of OA to see if that is a better fit for me. They have online meetings and if I can ever get my Java Chat to work, I will try those.

Now for the weekly weigh-in I am up 2.6 pounds. I had considered not posting that. No one wants to read about how someone is not succeeding. Success stories are much more inspiring to read. But, maybe - just maybe - I can turn this around.

Anyway, if you're still reading, I thank you for the support. COEs tend to feel isolated and lonely - even in the midst of family and friends; particularly if no one around them can understand why they do what they do.

Here is my menu for today. I will update as it changes.

Cafe latte
Lowcarb cheesecake

Later . . .

God bless our troops!

Sat. June 14, 2008

Happy Flag Day!

On the lowcarb front:
I am having some blood sugar issues so at the moment I am using Atkins for Life until I can get a call into the doctor. In the past, my blood sugar has tanked on induction. I was hoping that wouldn't be the case this time, but I am noticing the signs - the chief one being extreme irritability. So I am taking it day to day to see how I will need to do things on lowcarb.

Here is my menu so far for today:

Cafe latte
Mock danish

cheesy joe (velveeta and ground beef)
revolution roll
WW yogurt
BBQ pork rinds

Atkins bar


Dixie Diner flax muffin with 1 T. peanut butter
1 oz mixed macadamia nuts and peanuts
1/2 cup Breyer's No Sugar Added ice cream.

Carbs for the day: 50 Calories for the day: 2180

There is a discussion going on right now on several forums about calorie counting on Atkins. Here is my take on the issue. I keep track of calories for this reason; as a compulsive eater, I am not able to "eat to satiety" as Dr. Atkins recommended. For the compulsive eater, there is no such thing as satiety. Most of us don't even know what feeling full or feeling hungry feels like. We never experience either one. We may eventually learn it, but in the weight loss stage we have to use numbers to impose limits. Using a calorie limit allows me to put parameters on my food intake. This may make no sense to anyone except another compulsive eater, but there it is. I do believe that a calorie is not necessarily a calorie when it comes to low carb, but I do think that there is a breaking point beyond which you can't go without gaining weight no matter how few carbs you take in. That breaking point is definitely higher on low carb than on low fat - at least in my experience.

In an earlier post I mentioned that I use a program called Diet Power to log my foods. Well, what do you know, the Diet Power people emailed me asking if they could use me as a testimonial. I said, "sure, but I have a really old version." They went nutso because I was using an outdated program. I have tried their upgrade, but since the version I have does everything I need it to do, I see no reason to pay for an upgrade. I set my own macros and input my own food. After 3 or 4 emails, I quit responding. I'm not saying that the new and improved version isn't good - I'm sure it is, but I am an old dog and I am unwilling to learn new tricks - especially if I have to pay for them.

On the home front:
This morning I discovered I was out of laundy soap. And I had a ton of laundry to do. But do not fear. I have been making my own laundry soap for quite a while now. I started out doing it because I thought it was kind of cool. I make soap and sometimes there is a batch here and there that isn't quit up to my standards to sell, or a scent might have disappeared in the saponification process but I can't sell it as unscented because the fragrance oil is in there. When I have a botched batch, I shred it and put it into a 5 gallon bucket. My plan was to some day re-batch the stuff so as not to waste my resources. Guess what. I discovered I don't have any desire to re-batch. So what to do with the soap shreds? I found a recipe on the net for making my own laundry soap.
Here is the recipe:

1/3 bar of Fels naptha shredded (I used 4 ounces of my own handmade soap shreds)
1/2 cup washing soda (NOT BAKING SODA)
1/2 cup borax
1 T. body safe fragrance oil (optional)- I use oatmeal, milk & honey
3 gallon bucket (I use an old Sun powdered detergent bucket

Melt the soap shreds in 6 cups of water in a large saucepan on the stove.
When melted, stir in the borax and the soda until dissolved.
Remove from heat
Pour 4 cups hot water in bucket
Pour in the soap mixture
Stir well
Add another gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.
At this point I funnel the mixture into old 110 fluid oz detergent jugs for easier pouring, but you may leave it in the bucket and just scoop it out.
Let mixture sit for 24 hours. It will gel into a kind of gloppy substance - not a solid gel and, no it ain't pretty but it does the job. It is not a high sudsing soap, but suds aren't what clean your clothes anyway.
I use 1/2-1 cup of this per load depending on the size.

Besides being cool, homemade laundry soap is economical. I figured up the cost for making a batch. The most expensive ingredient for me was the washing soda because I can't find it locally any more. I ordered 14 pounds off of Ebay and paid a total of 33 dollars counting the shipping.

I figured the cost at about $3.50 for a batch that does 64 loads if I use 3/4 cup (2 of the laundry jug capfuls) per load. That's about 5 cents a load. Not bad. And I can make it smell any way I want. It's a good soap to use for anyone who has allergies. Makes me feel like Ma Ingalls.

Now, for a good cheap fabric softener - take a jug of vinegar and add 1 T body safe fragrance oil. I fill the fabric softener dispenser cup or one of those Downy dispensers.

later . . .

God bless the troops

Friday, June 13, 2008

On the lowcarb front:
Nothing new to report. The weight is inching down and I hope to have a good report on Sunday. I really miss doing the Biggest Loser Family thing. I am really hoping that when the next season starts, I will have some company from the family on this venture.

I've been trying to get to Sam's club to stock up on some stuff. Monday. Monday will be the day.

School is out for the summer so I am really hoping to buckle down and make some headway on this journey. Plus - Harold just called and we have HIGH SPEED INTERNET!!!!!! Whoo hooo! That means I can watch YouTube and my quilting videos and all kinds of neat stuff.

On the business front:
Finally, I got my HUNTER'S soap made.
I emailed Anna a pic of the raw soap and emailed me back to tell me it looked like slimy brains. What do you think?

Here is the finished bar. Definitely looks much better. Smells just like dirt. I am naming it Hunter's Green. I don't think naming it Slimy Brains is very productive. LOL!

I can't wait until hunting season to see what hunters think of this. My husband hunts, my son hunts, my son-in-law hunts (anything that moves), my brother-in-law and nephew hunt, Kelli's dad hunts. So I should be able to get lots of feedback on my Hunter's Green soap.

I was talking to one of the teacher's today and she was telling me about an artist's co-op that I would love to join if they'll have me. It's not too far from here and from looking at the website, I don't see anyone selling the kinds of things I make. I emailed a query and hope to hear back soon.

Later . . .

God bless the troops

Thurs. June 12, 2008 - Atkins Induction Day 3

On the lowcarb front:
Not much to report except that I am feeling really good.

I am making contacts with a lot of supportive people. It's all about support and community. There is a saying in OA to the effect that many can do what one can't do alone. Remember way back in the 70's when Jean Nidecht founded Weight Watchers? The success didn't actually have anything to do with the diet. Weight Watchers was originally based on the diabetic exchange diet. What made Weight Watchers different was the camaradarie, the fellowship, the accountability, the structure.

Have you ever noticed on message boards that when people are struggling, they tend to stop posting? I'm like that too. We tend to beat ourselves up and then drop out of the group. That is the absolute worst thing we can do, but there it is.

Here is my menu for the day:
Omelette with sour cream, cheese, and Salsa
Mocha latte double

Romain salad with ranch dressing
Chicken salad on revoloopsie roll

Advantage bar

Don't know yet - Probably the pork steak that Harold took out of the freezer and forgot to eat. LOL!

On the business front:
Made apple jack 'n peel soap last night because my mica powders haven't arrived. It looked pretty gross in the mold - something one of the kids creatively dubbed "bubbling brains".

The finished bars look pretty nice though. I love apple jack 'n peel - especially in the fall. It seems to be a classic favorite at our craft shows.

On the home front:
For the last few weeks we have been investigating high speed internet. We are out in the country so our options are limited. We took home a data card to try. I was hooked! But DH keeps going back and forth between a data card and a dedicated cell phone. At this point I don't care which. His reasoning on the cell phone is that we can drop our land line and assign that number to the cell phone. (We've had our landline number forever and we're afraid to let it go.)
Good point. Make up your mind and do it already!!

It's time for the yearly "when can you get off for vacation" discussion. It starts like this.

DH: When can you get off for vacation?
Me: What month are you thinking?
DH: Some time in July
ME: Could you narrow it down? (I'm a church musician - I work weekends) Are we talking Saturday to Saturday? Saturday to Sunday? What? 'Cause I need to get back up.
DH: I don't know - I'm not even sure we can get the place.
Me: (mentally having a conversation with the substitute organist) "Hi Sue, can you sub for me some time in July? I'm not sure when and I may need you for a weekend and an extra Saturday. Let me know will ya.

It eventually all works out, but for some reason the church thinks that because they are paying me, my tush should be on the organ bench - or at least a substitute tush. Slave drivers!!

On the work front:
Got to church last night around 7:00. Waiting for me were several cantors, one of whom had her pool pump and rubber scrubby broom thingy in hand. We were ready, we were focused; empty the font, clean it out, fill the font - and in the down times, practice the music for this weekend. The reality: as I was putting the cantor book on the ambo in the santuary, I noticed some bat offerings on the altar - eyyweeeeewww!! So we started looking around the church. That %&*$^% bat (and possibly several friends) visited every single pew. The thing you need to know about our church is that it is carpeted. A mustardy yellow plush carpeting. And not just the floor. The pews are also carpeted. And they are not straight. They are curved because our church is a designer church and it is round. So it wasn't a matter of tripping merrily through the place with a broom and dustpan. Oh no - we had to drag out the custodian's work horse. This thing weighs a ton and our church is not small. We pulled out the humongous extension cord and took turns removing the evidence of our nocturnal parishioner. It was 9:00 o'clock before we left. God bless you, Marlene, Jennifer, Angela, Teresa, and James. I hope St. John of Alma had a good laugh from his heavenly home.

Later . . .

God bless our troops.

Wed. June 11, 2008 - Atkins Induction day 2

On the lowcarb front:
I did well last night at the staff "bye bye party." I ate before I went. I had diet coke. There were only two of us who weren't drinking beer or wine. Our drinks came in plastic cups. What's up with that?

I have not been doing well with exercise. But I'm working on it. I'm working on it.

Here is my menu for today:

Mocha latte
Low carb cheescake

ham and cheese sandwich on revoloopsie rolls
sugar free jello cup
romaine and spinach salad with ranch dressing

Atkins Advantage bar

Probably an omelette (I am such a creature of habit)

I found a way to have ice cream on induction. (see below)

On the home front:

I am so looking forward to Monday and the official start of my quilting season. I love Eleanor Burns. Her quilting videos which are available free at are not only great for quilters, but she is a wealth of knowledge on the history behind the patterns. She dispenses her tidbits as she sews the quilt tops. Her folksy style is endearing and I just love to have one of her DVDs going in the background while I am working in my quilting/knitting room.

On the business front:
I have the oils melted and the lye mixed for a batch of soap. I am hoping that my mica powders have arrived because I am eager to make a batch of "Hunter's Soap." The fragrance oil arrived a couple of days ago. It definitely smells earthy. If the mica powder hasn't arrived, I will be making one of the other fragrances that I am low on - either Country Roads or Apple Jack 'n Peel.

I have found some neat new soap dishes that I plan to put on the website. I have been looking for something unique to offer with our hand-made soap. These fit the bill very nicely. I filed for our LLC this morning and now I need to quit spending money for a while. Except that I need more base oils for soaping. Then I close the checkbook. You heard it here folks.

I have some new candle molds that I want to try. They are the perfect size for tarts and for adding to potpourri. I am retiring from the school next January and I am really looking forward to having only one job "off the farm." That will give me more time to get our website stocked.

On the work front:
Tonight I have rehearsal with the weekend cantors. (My other job is music director at my church.) I love our cantors. They help keep me grounded in a sometimes very stressful job. One of our beloved cantors died suddenly last October. He was the "go to" guy for anything that needed to be done. If ever there was a saint on earth, John was it. He did everything around that church. The cantors and I decided to take over one of his duties as a memorial to him. That is the cleaning of the baptismal font.

Our baptismal font is huge, and what John used to do by himself, several of us now do. We have some visitors of the "bat" persuasion. This makes keeping the font clean a challenge. I can usually tell when there is a bat living in the church when I find dust on the floor of the sanctuary. That means something has been flying around and stirring things up.

Sunday we noticed some other, ummm, debris in the font and on one of the walls. (?) Tonight we will be draining the font and cleaning it. And all the while, I hope John will be looking down on us and smiling. We miss you, Cute John!

Some have asked me about the name for this blog. For those of you who don't know, a sugar bush is a maple syrup operation. We are farmers and syrup is our winter crop. Guess who doesn't partake of it very often. But, if you ever get a chance to try a maple cream - and I mean 100% maple cream - it is not to be missed. Of course I don't eat it now, but I plan to work it into my maintenance plan. Maple syrup, in very small quantities is probably doable. It has never caused cravings for me, but I will not being using it for a while.

Challenge of the day:
With what shall I reward myself after an evening of cleaning up bat poop? I'm open to suggestions.

Later . . .

God Bless the troops