Monthly Archives: August 2018

In Memory of Helena Norman

It is so sad when someone you know and see on a consistent basis passes on from this life. It isn’t as difficult when they are in their 80’s or 90’s but anything under that is hard and the younger the harder.

Picture from Moore Funeral Homes and Crematory.

Last week a very faithful lady in our church passed away. Helena Norman was committed to Christ and her family. She was an excellent example to many. She will be greatly missed.

Her memorial service was last week and Michael, Tiffany, Sean, and I volunteered to help out in any way needed. We served the light lunch following the service. The microphone was opened up for people to share thoughts and memories; it was so nice to hear how she impacted her co-workers and church members alike. I didn’t know her very well but she usually had a smile on her face. By the time we returned the The Family Prayer Center, where she attended for over twenty years, her son Isaac was already grown and off at college. Seeing him at the memorial service and his heart for those that had come, his appreciation and compassion for those who shared and then his smile, you couldn’t help but see Helena.

Helena Norman's Memorial service ~
This picture was taken on a very special day, as I don’t think I ever saw her wearing eye shadow before. ;)

When I took the picture above, there was music playing. It was so good that I thought it was a recording and I glanced up and this is what I saw.

Live Music ~ Lifeofjoy.meBrenda, who plays in church frequently, was playing the keyboard. It was beautiful. I’m sure it was very difficult for her since they were good friends. Helena had been battling cancer for a while. I don’t know how long she fought; I do know they had time to prepare, while doing all she knew to do to be healed on this earth.

The service was a light, joyful time, as is common with fellow Christians, since we are assured they have gone on to a better place. Helena had served in the military and so there was a flag presentation. The two young men (they were probably in their late 20’s to early 30’s ;) ) that did the flag presentation and playing of Taps did an amazing job. I don’t believe there was a dry eye in the place when they were done. I commended them as the left, telling them that theirs was the hardest part of the service and that they’d done an amazing job. They were so soulful and had such respect. I can imagine the music being played for the funeral of someone lost while on active duty would be even more gut-wrenching. Wow!

Thankfully, we know that Helena knew Jesus was the Son of God, He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and was crucified for our sins. Helena accepted Him as her Savior and definitely lived her life for Him. Thus we know, she is now in heaven rejoicing with those who have gone on before her.

We stayed until there were just a couple people left. Two sweet ladies of the church joined us at the end and helped us do the final clean-up. It was nice to catch up with them, as we hadn’t talked in a while. It was a good day.

Michael had proposed the day before that we go see a movie we’d been wanting to see but I had a feeling that we’d be finished between showings and wouldn’t want to be hanging around town. I was right. ;) So we headed home and had a relaxing evening together.

Well, I didn’t intend to write the entire post on this subject but I think it is fitting. Helena was a dear lady and sister in Christ, whom I look forward to seeing again in eternity.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and enjoy those you have in your life.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

One of the Best Things You Should Teach Your Children

Diligence ~ Lifeofjoy.meI love it when God gives me a blog post during church services. :) One of the sermons last Sunday was by Alan Taylor and based from 2 Peter chapter one. He especially focused on verses 5 through 10 and spoke on diligence and overcoming discouragement.

Diligence is what stuck with me. As Christians we are to be diligent and add things to our faith. Here are some notes I took:

  • Diligence is the ability to do what you don’t want to do. (Wow, this is so true. It is because I know I’m supposed to do something that I do it, even if I don’t feel like it. I know I need to empty the dishwasher each morning so that I can have it available to fill with dirty dishes throughout the day and thus keep the kitchen clean. But I don’t always feel like emptying it first thing in the morning. )
  • Looking at verse 5, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;” we see that we must start by being diligent and from there we add to it. (Diligence is so important in our lives. It helps us have a good work ethic, have a tidy home, be tidy ourselves, and is really key to having a successful life.)
  • Diligence can be passed on from parents to children! (He really had my attention. I realized how true this was and how in some ways I had done my children a disservice. I realized I needed to share this valuable information with you so that you can diligently teach your children to be diligent. ;) )

Teaching diligence can be done by giving your child chores they are responsible for completing. Now in the beginning it is to teach/train your child how the chore is to be done, so that they can meet the quality requirements for the chore but when possible, do allow for different methods. I say this because when Michael and I got married, one of the things I had to get used to was how he folded towels. I had been taught to fold them in half, half, and then thirds but he didn’t do it that way. His way made for wider piles but more towels could fit in a pile. Neither way was right or wrong. Years later when the children began to help me fold laundry, I decided that was one area I could allow some slackness of my methods because at least things were folded and not wrinkling in a basket.

All that to say, show them how to do it. Instruct them how to do it. Observe them doing it giving pointers as needed. And then let them do it but spot check to ensure quality control. When they don’t follow through with tasks assigned to them, there has to be some consequences because that is how life is. Maybe they have to take on an extra chore they already know how to do or maybe they get docked allowance or cannot have that special treat they like or get a shorter amount of time to play video games. You know your child and what works for them.

The point is to teach your child to be diligent in all they do. I made the mistake of not ensuring that Tiffany got her schoolwork done in a timely manner each day. This led to many years of her struggling with procrastination; whereas if I had been diligent to require that she get her school work done before doing other things, she probably would have had an easier time of it and not struggled so much with procrastination.

Well, I hope my ramblings on this subject spur you to consider how you can help your child develop diligence and if you feel you are lacking a bit, what you can do to be more diligent yourself. I know I have to have routines and make myself do certain things, like get dressed, make my bed, and empty the dishwasher early in my day, so that the day doesn’t get away from me.

If you would like to hear the sermon that inspired this post, go to and select the audio entitled, Diligence Keeps You On the Path to Your Victory, where he gives some tips on how to break out of discouragement too.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

A Tile Named Lattice

This week I decided to use the Square One: Purely Zentangle focus tangle, Hexonu. I really dislike the name of the tangle but understand because it is in the form of a hexagon. It is a decent tangle but I certainly did not do it justice at all. Mine turned out reminding me more of a bee hive than hexagons. ;)

Then I added the Pattern-Collections daily tangle for Tuesday, In-N-Out-Well. I just keep seeing eyes and birds and stuff but I shaded it like a flower instead since I had no idea how else to shade it.

I also added today’s daily tangle, Merryweather, by Sandy Hunter. This one basically takes Bales and adds another couple elements to it. I just don’t think I did justice to any of these tangles. I know you all would say I’m being too hard on myself but . . . maybe I am.

Here is the tile before I shaded it. Well, actually I’d started shading it when I realized that I hadn’t scanned it yet, so this is as close to before shading as possible. ;)

#hexonu #merryweather #innoutwell ~ Lifeofjoy.meI didn’t really like the lines on Merryweather, so I ended up blackening that part in. I did all of them in the same direction too. The In-N-Out-Well look like clasps here. I can just imagine what Nicole Dreyer from Pattern Collections would do with that one. She draws some of the cutest critters. I believe those circled dots would be changed to Caviar in hers. Makes me smile just thinking about it.

Here is my tile after shading.

Shaded #merryweather #innoutwell #hexonu ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd now because they always look better smaller . . .

#hexonu #merryweather #innoutwell ~ Lifeofjoy.meShaded #merryweather #innoutwell #hexonu ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd since I got this done early enough to still have sunlight, I took a picture of it in natural light.

Better Picture of Lattice ~ Lifeofjoy.meThanks for stopping by!

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Vegetable Scrambled Eggs ~

Veggie Scramble

Use whatever veggies you have on hand and make this delicious scrambled egg breakfast dish.

Eating vegetables at every meal is a very healthy thing. :) It is also a great idea when trying to lose weight. I’m in a season where I am pushing to lose some weight. If I just do what I have always done, I will stay what I have always been. I am carrying way too much weight on this little five foot frame of mine and I need to lose some weight. That is going to mean cutting back somewhere.

Now it does not mean I will have to live there forever but in order to get where I want to be, sacrifices must be made. I am choosing to eat smaller portions and include more veggies in my day. This summer I have been part of a group online that has been focusing on getting healthier this summer. One of the goals has been to eat veggies with each meal. I am here to tell you, that is not easy to do. I mean, what veggies taste right with  pancakes? Well, thanks to this challenge, I decided to eat a small salad before some pancakes for lunch this past Sunday. It was good because we were waiting for the pancakes to cook and I was very hungry, so the leftover salad from pizza night was a good decision. Another time, I ate some green pepper before eating pancakes for dinner. :D Yeah, my family has a thing for pancakes. ;)

The “recipe” I’m sharing today is one of those veggie breakfast ideas. Basically, take your favorite veggies or whatever you happen to have on hand, sauté them, add in the egg and cook to desired doneness.

Today I used some diced onion, (heat the pan and some of your favorite oil–I used some bacon fat)

cook onions ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdded some diced mushrooms,

sautéing diced onions and mushrooms ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen they are nearly as done as you like them, add in the spinach, which I chop into thin strips. We like our onions and mushrooms very well done but our spinach barely cooked at all.

Added spinach ~ Lifeofjoy.meMeanwhile, slightly beat the eggs, so there is no solid white part left and add them to the pan.

Added beaten eggs to sautéd veggies ~ Lifeofjoy.meCook as desired, adding salt and pepper, as desired as well.

Tiffany is very particular about her eggs. She did not even used to like eggs but now she is okay with them as long as they are well done. I have a friend who likes his the complete opposite of Tiffany, he likes his just done and zero browning at all. Tiffany likes hers nice and golden. So, all that to say, cook it how you desire or as the THM authors would say, “own it.”

Scrambled veggies ~ Lifeofjoy.meCooked this way, these are a deep S THM meal. We added a touch more bacon fat on top of our eggs on our plates but would have been great with a drizzle of MCT oil as well.

Scrambled Eggs and Veggies ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was delicious! I hope you like it too.

Veggie Scramble


  • 2 eggs
  • a couple of slices of onion, diced
  • a mushroom or two, diced
  • about a cup of spinach, sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • choice of fat (coconut oil, bacon fat, butter, etc.)


  1. Melt about a teaspoon or so of fat in a skillet.
  2. Add onions and mushrooms. Sauté until nearly caramelized or however you prefer them.
  3. Add spinach.
  4. Beat eggs slightly and add to veggies.
  5. Cook until they are done to your liking.
  6. Serve with a smidgen more fat on top.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Marry Your Best Friend

My love and I at zoo ~ Lifeofjoy.meI picked up one of the books I bought some time ago and just took a moment to look at a couple of its 101 Secrets to a Happy Marriage. Firstly I was reminded that a really good idea is to marry your best friend. I did this!

Michael was so much my best friend that I remember rather early in our first year of marriage I had gotten very upset at him. I was SOOOO frustrated that I needed to blow off some steam. I needed to talk to my best friend. My second best friend had recently moved a couple hours away and I could not talk to her about it the way I had about other things in my life. I walked out the door and walked down the street to cool off, talk to God, and get my attitude adjusted. I was so upset and I needed to talk to my best friend; but truth be told, Michael was my best friend and he was the one that had upset me. ;)

I’d only gotten about a block down the quiet little town side street when he pulled up beside me in the car with the windows rolled down. He tried to get me to get in the car; I just kept walking. He kept pace with me . . . I told him I needed to talk to my best friend but he was my best friend and I was mad at him and my best girlfriend was gone. It was what we needed . . . I got in the car and I have no recollection of how things worked out after that. ;) I just remember he was my best friend.

As time has passed, children have come and grown, we have both grown in our interests and such. It is easy to grow apart from each other. It is important to keep connecting, to remain best friends. If you’ve grown apart, make an effort to grow back together; it only takes a bit of work.

You have to be intentional. Really listen when he talks. Really talk and share your feelings when he wants to listen. Make time for each other. Remember what it was like when you fell in love to begin with. Is it possible to do those things or things like them again? Make a decision to renew the friendship you once had.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Aunt-Niece Day

The weekend after we celebrated Brian and Liam’s birthday, I had an Aunt/Niece Day with my youngest sister’s girls while she took Tiffany out to lunch. They had a good time, as did we.

The girls and I started with making lunch. Tracie has told me that they enjoy cooking or would like to cook more, so I figured we’d make our lunch together. Ashlee likes chicken nuggets and she’s the oldest, so I let her do that with my help.

Making chicken nuggets ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe did a great job cutting cutting the breast into pieces. Then she followed the easy directions of adding beaten egg and then the add the breading ingredients. Then fried it, all with my supervision.

Macie likes vegetables and cheese, so I thought she’d like to do the broccoli tots.

Making broccoli tots ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe too did a great job. I helped her prep the ingredients and then she mixed and formed the tots, with supervision. I put them in the air fryer but let them cook a few minutes too long and some of them were overdone. But rest assured, none were tossed. ;) Some were leftover for the guys to eat upon their return from work that night.

Homemade lunch ~

It was a tasty lunch and fun cooking together.

Lunch with nieces ~ Lifeofjoy.meAfter we ate and cleaned up our mess, it was artsy time. :) I pulled out my beloved washi tape, pens, pencils, markers, inks, stencils, and stickers. I gave them each a bookmark and they decorated any way they wanted.

Washi tape, paint, etc. ~ Lifeofjoy.meI think they had fun.

Niece Craft Time ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey are so used to pictures being taken. They’d pause and pose so quickly, all with a big smile. :)

Discovering the washi ~ Lifeofjoy.meMacie is a bit quicker with her crafting (well, with everything . . . she reminds me of Tiffany in that regard). If you look closely at the picture above you can see Ashlee’s just barely begun on her bookmark but that Macie’s has been painted and is sitting to dry. She as done several other pieces as well and even put a second coat of ink on the bookmark all in the same time Ashlee has spend on hers. I’m definitely more like Ashlee. ;)

Quite the crafter ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, they tolerated me taking some quick pictures and obliged me with some smiles. :)

When they were finished with their works of art, we moved on to a board game. But first, Macie and I whipped up some ice cream in the ice cream maker. I used a recipe from the booklet for regular ice cream for them . . .  because I’m a good aunt and won’t make them go sugar-free while they are here.

Ice Cream and board game ~ Lifeofjoy.meI had magic skinny chocolate nuts while they ate their ice cream. I enjoyed the Mario Monopoly game. I don’t usually care for Monopoly but this one is different and fun.

The girls spent the night, enjoying some cousin time (and some Uncle time too). They got to play games with the cousins. Tiffany was a trooper and played a lot, even though she felt miserable. She’d come down with some nasty sinus yuck and even got feverish before the weekend was over. She ended up sharing that nastiness with Sean and I, which wasn’t very fun. Thankfully Tracie said they took some E-merGenC and didn’t get anything. Whew! So glad.

Gaming with cousins ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was a fun time! We’ll do it again next year. ;) (Yeah, I’m real . . . I’d love to say before the end of the year but I know better; it’ll be next year before we do another full one like this.) But I have made plans to be a cool aunt and have them spend the night more often. We’ll see how that goes.

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my life. It was a special time.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Writing Tips and Ideas and Finding Outdated Links

I’ve been combing through some of my old bookmarks and such to find things to share each week. I have found some of them are missing. Thankfully, most things are not lost forever, thanks to the internet archive. :) You simply copy the link you were attempting to access, go to and then paste it in the Wayback Machine and click enter. It will open up a calendar page.

Internet Archive ~

Click on one of the highlighted dates.

How to use internet archive ~

Sometimes it won’t produces any good results, so you click the left arrow. how to ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhich in this case will bring you to this page for the link I wanted to share. :) It is 15 grammar goofs. It includes words that are frequently confused with handy ways to remember which is the correct usage.

The other link I wanted to share with you today is a quick writing tip. The author found an easy, painless way to get her child, who normally bemoans any writing at all, to write effortlessly. She shares that having her child make a wacky list was the key. Head on over and read her succinct post. She also has a free printable with some list ideas for you. :) I think it’s a cute idea and will give your kids  fun writing activity to look forward to in their week. Hey, maybe one of the lists they could make is a list of lists. :D

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº



This week I wasn’t sure I was going to get a tile done but I was able to without much wrist pain. However, shading was where I was a bit challenged. I guess I press my pencil differently when I shade than I press my pen when I draw.

At any rate, I used the Square One: Purely Zentangle focus tangle of Fan Club but did not do it justice. I will have to play with it a bit more because I do like the tangle quite a lot but I just did not do it justice here today. I cannot seem to get the right sizing on the “petals” and I cannot squeeze as many on each fan as the step-out. I think I like it best with the outer aura and extra orbs.

Then I used Calantha which was the focus tangle on Pattern-Collections yesterday. I didn’t do this one justice either. It seems that I was not in a pointy/jagged mood of drawing. Now that I think about it I should have adjusted it and added some rounded “petals” instead of the pointed ones. Hmmm, well, maybe I will go back and play with this one again.

The final tangle I included was today’s focus tangle, Cupcake Flower, on Pattern-Collections. At first I thought it resembled Zinger quite a bit and wasn’t sure I would like this one very much but since Chris had written such a good piece when introducing Fan Club as the Square One: Purely Zentangle focus tangle for the week, I decided to give it a go anyway.

I have to tell you, I LOVED IT! It is so easy to get into a flow with this one. You simply must give it a try. If I’d have had more room on my tile, I probably would have drawn a few more. :) It really is good.

Here is my tile before shading.

Fan Club, calantha, Cupcake Flower ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat big cupcake flower on the left was my first attempt and I wasn’t getting it, so I kind of finished it off like Zinger. ;) But with the next one, I caught the flow of the tangle.

And here it is after being shaded. I’m calling it Butterflies because the Fan Club resembles butterflies to me, the way I’ve drawn them (with not enough ‘petals’;).

Shaded Butterfly Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere it is a bit smaller, showing less imperfections. ;)

Shaded Butterfly Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meUnfortunately, it was late by the time I got this finished and had no more sunlight to take a photo of it. Maybe I’ll get one soon and add it here.

I appreciate you stopping by and comments; it means a lot that you take your time to do so.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Baked Okra ~

Baked or Oven “Fried” Okra

Don’t like slimy okra? Then this is for you. :) Okra has so many benefits that it is worth trying.

Yep, you read that right. AND I’m going to go ahead and say it, these pictures aren’t that great. The okra probably looks overcooked to you but let me just say, that’s how we like it, at least Tiffany and I. :) There are some vegetables that just need to be DEAD when I eat them. :) I like them better that way. Generally speaking, over time, I can enjoy them less dead.

The thing about okra is that I don’t like the sliminess of it when it isn’t completely cooked. It has to get dried out. :) Now, that level of “dried out” is different for each person. So, just adjust this picture to see it how brown YOU like it.

One thing I’ve learned with recipes is that people like quick and easy. This is one of those recipes. But like many of my recipes, it isn’t really a recipe. ;)

So here’s what we do.

Line a pan with foil. Because we like ours well done and that leaves its mark on the pan, so for easy clean-up we line the pain with foil.

Line pan with foil ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext, dump on desired amount of frozen okra pieces.

Frozen Okra ~ Lifeofjoy.meDrizzle with some coconut oil.

Add coconut oil ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd seasoning of choice, we use a generic Mrs. Dash kind of seasoning.

Season Okra ~ Lifeofjoy.meSprinkle with salt.

Add salt to okra ~ Lifeofjoy.meStir it all around to get it evenly coated. Tiffany likes to just get in there and use her hands but you could use a rubber spatula if you so desire. ;)

stir to coat evenly ~ Lifeofjoy.mePut in air fryer, toaster oven, convection oven, or regular oven and bake until desired browning has occurred. Ours takes about 20 minutes on 450º. It would probably be a toastier brown if we weren’t always so impatient and baked it on like 350-400º for about 30 minutes or so. (We use air bake–which is convection–in our toaster oven/air fryer.)

baked okra ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou see that green part on the edges? Yeah, that went back in after we removed the nicely burnt ones to our mouths. ;)

It really is easy. If you are trying to time it for a meal, give yourself 30-45 minutes depending on amount and method of baking. You can always keep it in the oven, with the heat turned off while the other things finish cooking.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Hopes and Dreams

Hopes and Dreams ~ Lifeofjoy.meA couple weeks ago I talked about inspiring your man. To do so, you have to have knowledge of his hopes and dreams.

I’m guessing that when you and your spouse were dating, you talked about all kinds of things. You probably talked about how you both felt about different topics from where you wanted to live to having children. Those are some hopes and dreams that you may have created together.

If you’re Christian, you may have talked about your giftings and callings. I know in my life these are very important to me and are also things that guide my life. So these are also good things to talk about.

In order to properly inspire your spouse, you need to know his hopes and dreams. Knowing his giftings and callings is also helpful. Of course, prayer is of utmost importance, so that as things arise, you both KNOW if it is something God wants you to do or now. Sometimes God has things for you to do individually and sometimes there are things that you must do jointly. Then there are some things that are your thing but your spouse can help you and vice versa.

Knowing what your hubby’s hopes and dreams, giftings and callings are enable you to encourage and inspire him. This takes communication. :) When was the last time you talked about any of these things. I’m not talking about things that you are pushing for, like maybe getting a new vehicle or house but things that are important to him. Be sure to pray about these things and be an encouragement when things get tough.

I hope you’ll remember to talk to your hubby about his and your hopes and dreams sometime soon.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº