All posts by Life of Joy

Flower Update

Well, this year’s flowers are faring much better than in previous years. I am tempted to attribute it to the shredded rubber mulch but we didn’t get mulch down in both beds, so I’m thinking it probably isn’t the reason.

Here is the poor overgrown bed without the mulch.

Flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhat I find interesting about this is that those beautiful tall flowers were planted from seeds — old seeds! They are lovely and bright! I think that’s what I love about them, their bright coloring.

I was very sad for my lemonade flowers, as they looked like they were about to be choked out. So I started weeding. I only spent about 15-20 minutes outside but it was a very hot day today and it’s a good thing I waited until nearly sundown. But I digress. Here are the lemonade flowers (I don’t remember exactly what they are.)

Flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meSome flowers are faring better than others. This pretty pink flowery one that is like a ground cover, seems to be doing very well. Unfortunately you cannot see the gorgeous flowers because I guess they close up at night/in the evening.Weeded patch ~ lifeofjoy.meI absolutely love the Vincas because they are heat and drought tolerant. I’m not good with watering my plants, so they really have to want to live. :D

Just to the right of the Vincas, you can just barely make out a plant stake. I’m not sure which plant this is but it isn’t doing very well at all. :(

Strong Flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meIn the picture above, you can see that lovely ground cover that does not look as pretty as it does during the day. (I’ll try to remember to get a picture of it later today and add it in here.) I think those next to the right are Geraniums.:) ) They make me smile. I’m not sure what the tall flowers are but I think they are Zinnias. Updated: Added the pretty pink ground coverish flowers while they are open today. They are really prettier in real life though.

Flowers Update ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Flowers from seeds ~ Lifeofjoy.meThere is also a light blue tall flower there in the middle. I tell you what, these babies have to WANT to live with all that grass growing in amongst them. Hopefully I will weed it some more and water it and have some better pictures to show in the future.

Here is the bed that has the mulch. It is way overgrown as well.

More Flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe mums in this corner are brown and will die out with the heat of the next few weeks but will come back when the temperatures get more reasonable. The Marigolds are a bright yellow/orange and the Petunias are a deep purple even though they look blue here.

Flower update ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey are really hanging in there in spite of the grassy weeds growing in them. I’m going to have to save them this weekend. :) I love that I have the bright yellow marigolds and then some that have the dark orange color on them too. I love vibrant colors. ;)

These poor babies need saved and soon!

Flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meThose are more Vincas, both pinkish and white. the flowers on the bottom left are white mums. They too will die off in the next few weeks because of the heat but will rebloom when the temperatures are more reasonable again. They are very prolific. These were used as decoration at a memorial service at which I helped serve refreshments. When the day was over, they were given to me. They aren’t the colors I’d pick but they were right for the intended purpose and not all flowers should be bright in the garden. ;)

Flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meThese babies really have a strong desire to live! The Sweet Williams are nearly being choked out over there on the left and the pretty little light purple flowers are hanging in there too. These babies need saved!!!

You may be wondering what those tall ones are . . .

Flowers Update ~ Lifeofjoy.meFlowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey are Sunflowers and they are about ready to bloom!!! If I’m right, these are RED sunflowers! It looks like each stalk will have several blossoms. :) I’m soooo excited!

I hope whatever is eating the leaves stops it!

Well, this post has gotten rather lengthy, so I’ll close for today. I think I’m watching Liam this weekend, so I should have some cuteness pictures next week. ;)

Have a blessed weekend!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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A Lost Practice

Lost Practice ~ Lifeofjoy.meI wish I had taught my children to write thank you notes when they were young. I always ensured that they thanked people for gifts and such and only had the write thank you notes to people that sent gifts and were not there when the gift was open to receive the verbal thank you. But in hindsight, I think I probably did the a disservice by not requiring it for all gifts and experiences.

I read this post on StaySouthern.net entitled, How to Write a Thank You Note (and why you should). It was a very nice short read but completely got the point across. Thank you notes are a practice that can bring a little joy to the receiver. Think about it though, they took time and effort to give something to you.

I remember as a child, my mom would have my sister and I write thank you notes. I remember her writing it out so we would write it correctly. I have no idea how old I was.

Anyway, back to the post I read, the author gave specifics about how to compose a thank you card/note as well. She even gave examples of how her family gives thank you notes frequently and how it even blesses those who receive them that are not in the practice of giving them.

I think I may even up my thank you note giving a notch or two. ;) I think it is much more important than which fork to use for which course (use them from the outside to the inside and you should be okay ;) ) and can really bless someone who has blessed you.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

 

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More Tangling

This week’s diva challenge is to use Pea-Nuckle. (The diva challenge button is no longer working, so I guess I’ll have to link instead of using her button.) Jessica Davies, our guest challenger, admits that it wasn’t her favorite tangle in the beginning, so I’m in good company, I guess. She said it was like lima beans to her. Well, even after using it again here today, I must say that it is still lima beans to me. I watched Molly draw it and thought I understood how to draw the lines but . . . yeah, lima beans. ;)

FB□1 ~ LifeofJoy.meThe Square One: Purely Zentangle focus tangle this week is Fluxecho. I think it looks like a Pansy in some of the sample pictures.

I chose to use string #41 from Pattern Collections. I also used Flips-C and OO-Africa from their daily tangles. To be honest, I didn’t do any of them justice. They all look like such nice tangles. I enjoyed doing my tile but I’m not sure I liked the end result. I know that doesn’t really matter but I’m just saying.

Here is my tile before shading, with all its imperfections.

Tangling ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs you can see, Pea-nuckle gave me some trouble. I’m going to have to practice with it a lot more before I can know better how to draw all those lines and blacken in areas. And poor Flips-C really looks nice when others draw it but clearly I need more practice with it as well. I even started off wrong and had to white out the wrong lines and draw it again.

I had visions of this looking like a nice basket with Fluxecho flowers hanging over it and then some OO-Africa clouds. Unfortunately when I drew Pea-Nuckle I drew right to the string line. I should have stopped short of the string line and drawn Fluxecho so that it would give the envisioned effect but alas, I did not.

I was concerned that even shading wasn’t going to do much for this mess because of all the wonky lines in Pea-Nuckle. I was also having a difficult time deciding how to shade the rest of it. In the end I decided to blacken it in around Fluxecho because I always like the drama created by lots of black. Then I just started putting down some graphite.

Here’s what I ended up with.

Tangling ~ Lifeofjoy.meI think I need to get a new small blending stump because I’m struggling getting it to smooth out the graphite without filling it all in.

Oh well! It is what it is. At least it is improved over the lineart. :)

Thanks stopping by and a special thank you to any that take the time to leave a comment, it’s greatly appreciated and oh so encouraging.

Until next week, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Keto Links

Keto Links ~ lifeofjoy.meWe have been eating this low carb high fat way for nearly a year now. In that time, I have found some great websites with some great recipes. The ones that I go back to time and time and time again are the ones I want to share with you today.

 

The first one that I got a lot of recipes from and just overall help or tips from is Keto ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe still fix and eat some of her meatball recipes. I found her site right in the beginning of our journey and have used it many times with delicious results.

Another one I found and use a lot is Kristie Sullivan’s youtube channel, Cooking Keto with Kristie.New cookbook fun ~ Lifeofjoy.meI loved her videos and recipes so much that I joined her facebook group and purchased her cookbook. I cook a lot of things out of it.

The next one I want to share with you is one I found in the beginning and have recently found them again. Keto Links ~ Lifeofjoy.meI recently made their brownies and tortillas. They use erythritol for their sweetener and we did not like it. I’ll make it again but use Sukrin products instead. The tortillas though were great! They are worth checking out; they have a youtube channel too.

A great website, especially for sweet treats, is

Keto LInks ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe author, Carolyn, seems like a really nice and sweet lady. I enjoy reading her posts. She even allowed my daughter Tiffany to include her gingerbread cookie recipe in her book: Murder Mystery and the Gingerbread Cookies. They are pictured on the cover of the book and we enjoyed eating them. :) She mainly uses Swerve in her sweet treats, which we like as well.

These are the ones I use the most. I did get The Ketogenic Cookbook by Maria Emmerich (and Jimmy Moore) for my birthday. I knew I wouldn’t end up buying it for myself but for a good price as a birthday present it was great. It has a lot of basic recipes in it. I haven’t used it a lot but it is one I’m glad I have in my library arsenal.

I eventually stumbled upon Trim Healthy Mama because their S meals are basically keto. I got their plan and recipe books from the library. It really struck a chord with me–I immediately felt that God was leading me to eventually switch from keto to thm at some point in the future–because I have felt for a long time that God wants me to be balanced in my eating and that I will be able to eat all food groups, none eliminated. :) We have purchased these books and I have even pre-ordered their new cookbook; I’m soooo looking forward to it.

I hope these links encourage you in your dietary endeavors.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

The Vital Marriage Prayer

Different ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was recently reminded of something that I do that may not be commonplace, even among Christians and thought I’d share it with you today.

Michael and I are pretty much opposites! Not all that surprising, I know, as many people marry their opposite. Although, to this day, I wonder why but that is not the topic for today. Being opposites though means that we frequently have different opinions or viewpoints on any given subject. This has been problematic in our marriage as he can feel that I don’t ever agree with him. I am not a “yes man” and never will be; if I have an opinion about something and it differs with the one stated, I will NOT agree with someone just to be nice or for peace because I feel that would be a lie. I don’t always voice my opinion though because I don’t always feel that it is beneficial to share it.

For quite a few years now, if Michael does something that I don’t agree with, sometimes I will mention it to him but if it causes frustration I will agree to disagree for the moment. Then what I do is I go and pray. Praying isn’t that big of a deal but it is what I pray that seems to be a bit uncommon.

I cry out to God, quietly, as I don’t want Michael to overhear me. In that prayer I tell God how frustrated I am with the situation and ask God to deal with him. But then the very important part is that I pray, “God if he is wrong (and I think he is, I’m just sayin’ ) then change him and if I’m wrong, then change me.”

You see, it is vital to pray that last part because if you want your hubby to be open to God changing him then you also need to be open to God changing you. I have found that I have to remain teachable, never thinking I know it all or that I’m always right. God is the only one that is always right. So I want to be able to be corrected and changed by God, because I certainly do not want to be wrong thinking I’m right.

By always praying that God change him, if he’s wrong and me, if I am wrong, it gives God something to work with. Recently Michael and I had one of these situations arise. We were both emotional with how we felt and both felt very strongly about our opinion. I prayed that prayer and within a couple of hours, I could feel myself changing. I was no longer frustrated by his opinion and could actually see where he was coming from.

This prayer has worked on many occasions. Many times, I can see where God has worked on his attitude/opinion. It is a prayer that works. Now I will admit that it works easiest when both parties have submitted their wills to God and seek Him with their whole heart but it can still work in other circumstances.

I hope you will give this prayer a try. I know it has been very helpful in my marriage.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Conference Volunteering and Mowing

It has been a crazy busy week and unfortunately I did not take any pictures. I fixed lunches for the young adult conference at our church this week. I had some good help. I’ll try to remember to take a picture of them today, which is the last day of the conference, and add it here.

We made spaghetti with garlic bread and a salad on Monday. It was a good spaghetti, if I do say so myself. ;) We have some attendees that need a gluten free diet, so we try to accommodate them the best we can, for which they are grateful. We even have a lady in the church that donates gluten free desserts for them for the entire week. What a sweetie! We also have a few that are on a keto diet and since I’m one of them, I made Keto compliant foods as well. Tiffany made cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies last weekend to make our lives a bit easier and less hectic. (I thought I’d shared those recipes already but I don’t see them, so I’ll have to rectify that sometime soon. :) )

Tuesday was an easy day because it was just sandwiches! Hooray for sandwiches and chips! Then Wednesday I got off the hook for the major cooking as two attendees grilled the burgers and hot dogs. :) Win win! It’s a good thing it was an easy day for me too because it was game day and my help was needed to make the teams even. :D

Thursday was the big cooking day. We made Chicken Tortilla Bake, Corn Tomato Mozzarella Salad, and White Queso. That’s a lot! We also had some wonderful donations from two local restaurants . . . Chili’s gave us chips and salsa and Jack in the Box gave us tacos!

To make matters more difficult, the air conditioner that cools the kitchen was not working. Thankfully we had some fans to help cool us down. Of course that would happen on the day I have to use three ovens and the stove top. Oh well, we got through it without too much sweat. ;)

Today is pizza day! Hooray for pizza! I’m also glad that one local restaurant sells gluten free pizza. I will be making a keto pizza or two though. We will also throw together a salad. The attendees are always happy to have some salad with their pizza, which is surprising to some of us. The first year I just threw one together because we had so much leftover lettuce from the sandwich/burger days and didn’t want it to go to waste. Now we buy extra to ensure we have enough for a nice big salad.

Even though cooking is tiring, I love doing it and when I see the smiles on their faces and hear that they enjoyed the food, it makes me happy. It is a good thing.

Even with all of that, our lawn had needed mowing. Michael’s been busy helping family for the last several weeks and the grass has been growing, especially since we got a good amount of rain too. So for the last several days, he’s been going out in the evening and getting some mowing done.

YAConf and Mowing ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, that’s his mowing getup! Nice hat. But uhm, long sleeves and long pants too? The temperature was in the 90’s!

He explained this though. The long sleeves and the hat are to protect against too much sun and thus sunburn. The long pants are to protect against chiggers. You see, he is a chigger magnet! So it isn’t enough that he wears long pants with shoes and socks. No. Take a close look.Chigger Proof ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, he tapes the pant legs around his ankles. :D Hey, you do what you gotta do! He came in  without any chigger bites, so I guess it worked.

Well, I gotta run. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Be Aware and Pray

Be Aware ~ Lifeofjoy.meI tried to keep communications open with my kids both as they were growing up and continue to do so now. Unfortunately, I’ve learned in recent months that I was clueless about what they were actually feeling. I had no idea my sweet daughter struggled with depression, panic attacks, and anxiety. Of course, to be fair, she didn’t realize that her feelings had names or that her feelings weren’t normal.

Thankfully, these are things that I have never really had to deal with, except for the occasional minor bout (I’ve talked a bit about it here and here.) but it left me clueless to notice any symptoms.

This post is to encourage you to be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, as well as self-image/self-worth. You should not go overboard complimenting your children, as that will do one of two things, namely puff them up with pride or make them question whether you are being truthful or not in other matters too.

I wish I had known what my children had felt and would have known the signs to help guide them to positive emotions. Please don’t misunderstand, all my children know I love them and have known it all their lives. They are also very aware that I am a momma bear and will look out for them as best I can but sometimes they (in hind sight) didn’t know how to describe what they were feeling and because I am a very optimistic person, I didn’t realize what was going on.

It’s hard when your child has a bad experience. You try your best and guide them to positive behaviors. I wish I had know how serious things were and would have prayed about each thing. I guess that is the takeaway . . . the big point I want to make . . . talk to your kids and really listen . . . take time to really listen . . . and then take each little thing to God in prayer and seek His guidance. Prayer should always be the first and last thing we do but unfortunately, way too often, we completely forget to pray about specific things. I know because I have smacked my head and said “Duh!” way too many times.

So, if you do not struggle with any of these things, do your children a favor and dig around for some information about what they look like/sound like/act like, so that you are aware and can pray and get them the help they need.

I hope this crazy rambling is helpful to you today.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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More Hearts

This week begins Laura’s summer break and thus a guest challenger. It’s always fun to see what the new challenge will be. This week’s challenge is by Jessica Davies, who shared some absolutely gorgeous tangled hearts. It’s hard to say which one I liked the most because they were all so lovely.

I really loved the creativity of the ribbon on the first one but the one with just the tangle with the pearls (tripoli?) is elegant. But I think my favorite was the last one. I’m not sure what made it my favorite . . . I love the flux bursts, and I love the hollibaugh background . . . I’m usually a purist when it comes to Zentangle but I really liked the colored heart and how shapely it was . . . clearly it was my favorite. :)

I’ve been in a heart mode here lately! I started with an anniversary card for my husband to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.

Unshaded heart ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen last week’s home tile was all hearts.

Home Tile ~ Lifeofjoy.meI had a hard time deciding how to tangle the heart for today. I thought about Hurry but my next thought was ‘Nzepple and I never quite moved away from it. It really seemed to fit with my thoughts last week too. I like how each little piece is an individual piece and yet is part of several different ‘flower’ shapes too, depending on your focus.

Here’s the unshaded tile.

Pre-shading ~ Lifeofjoy.meI thought about adding LOLO as a border to it but every time I went to start, I just felt the tile was done. So I shaded it. I love shading because it hides my imperfect line work. Some people have absolutely gorgeous line art but not me.

DC#324 ~ lifeofjoy.meI considered blackening in the border but in the end just went with blending it inward.

Thank you for stopping by and a huge thank you if you leave some comment love. :) Your kind comments about my shading abilities has really helped my confidence.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Sun-Dried Tomato Flatbread ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Sun-Dried Tomato Flatbread

Variation of a grain-free nut-free flatbread, using sun-dried tomato.

Having a keto friendly bread is very helpful. Sometimes you just want a sandwich! :)

I found the basis for this recipe on a youtube video from Cooking Keto with Kristie. She uses Italian seasoning in her version but Italian is not my favorite seasoning. We are more of an oregano or basil fan here.

Last year, before going Keto, we got some wraps from Aldi that were sun-dried tomato flavor. Tiffany and I absolutely loved them. Unfortunately they were not a standard stock item and we only were able to have them once or twice. That is not all bad considering, I just saw them in the store last week and really wanted them but also, not low carb.

So I decided to try some sun-dried tomato in this flatbread recipe instead of the Italian seasoning. I did this once before, processing a few pieces in a mini-food processor. I used the same amount that I would’ve used of the Italian seasoning but it wasn’t a strong enough flavor, so this time I doubled it. :)

It is really simple and takes just a few ingredients.

Put the dry ingredients in a bowl . . . coconut flour, psyllium husk fiber powder, salt, sun-dried tomato, and granulated garlic (which looks a whole lot like garlic powder to me) . . . and blend.

Sun-dried Tomato Flatbread dry ingr ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat sun-dried tomato is moist so it will be hard to mix around but just keep at it until is is pretty well spread throughout the dry ingredients.

Next add in the oil and optional cheese. This time I used part skim mozzarella cheese.

Sun-Dried Tomato Flatbread ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow add in one cup of boiling water and mix until well combined and dough is formed. Place the dough on parchment paper covered rimmed baking dish (this one is about 10″x15″;) and spread out evenly.

Spread the flatbread dough ~ Lifeofjoy.meI use the cheap disposable gloves from Dollar Tree so that it doesn’t stick to my hands. The first several times I did this I didn’t use the gloves and I kept having to dampen my hands to keep the dough from sticking to them.

Unfortunately, I did not get a picture after I’d spread it all out in the pan. And I did not get is spread very evenly because I have a small section that is a bit overly browned. ;) Oh well, it will eat all the same.

Bake on 350º for about 20 minutes, until it is ‘dry’ and browned on the bottom.

Slide the parchment paper onto a cooling rack and cut into pieces with a pizza cutter. I cut it into 10 pieces to give a more substantial sandwich than cutting it into 16 pieces.

Sun-Dried Tomato Flatbread ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Sun-Dried Tomato Flatbread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 Tablespoon psyllium husk fiber powder
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1/4 granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced sun-dried tomato
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan or mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup oil (your preferred oil: coconut, olive, avocado, etc.)
  • 1 cup boiling water

Instructions

  1. Combine the dry ingredients well.
  2. Add oil and cheese (if using) and mix well.
  3. Add boiling water and mix really well.
  4. Spread dough on parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet
  5. Bake 350º for about 20 minutes
  6. Cool on a rack and cut with a pizza cutter.
http://lifeofjoy.me/sun-dried-tomato-flatbread/

I hope you enjoy the flavor of this flatbread too.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Two Series (Links)

Links ~ Lifeofjoy.meI just want to share a couple of links, real quickly, with you today. The first is 93 suggestions of things to do with your spouse to encourage togetherness and joy. Now I have not been through this completely yet, but it has some good ideas and focuses on just one little thing to do to promote closeness.

They realize that every idea is not going to be to every person’s liking and have provided several pdfs upfront so you can have an alternative if you prefer. But check out 93 to Joy.

This second one is the Respect Dare. This one is at a slower pace than the first but goes a bit more in depth. The posts are only up once a week. I subscribed so that I get them all in my email and when I get a chance, can read them. It takes you on a journey really thinking about your attitudes and motivations, as you develop character in yourself.

She has seven posts so far in this series: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. I have not read through them all but I will say they are challenging and should not be taken swiftly. ;)

I believe that we should always be growing, bettering ourselves. It is difficult it grow if we don’t challenge ourselves or take a step back and assess where we are, taking responsibility for our own part and not shifting blame to anyone else.

It is okay to have reasons why things are the way they are and what caused them but the goal should be to grow and make things better. :)

I hope these two resources bless you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº