All posts by Life of Joy

Fun Times, Good Food, Busyness, and Blunders

Last weekend we decided to go into town and watch a movie. My sister and her family gave Michael and I a gift certificate to the theater for our anniversary and we finally used it. :)

Michael and I at movie ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat wasn’t a very flattering picture but it’s all I have.

Movietime ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis was the first time we’d been since they remodeled the theater. It is really nice.

We did decide to have a crossover and eat the popcorn. Of course, I paid for it later with a headache but that could have been from eating TOO MUCH of it. Next time we will probably just get one bag of popcorn to share between the four of us, with the buttery topping. ;) We don’t go to the movies often enough for it to be a problem. If we went frequently, I’d just not eat the popcorn . . . I’ve done that before when I went on limited funds and it was either go to the movie without popcorn or I didn’t get to go to the movie. :D

It was a good food week. :) I’ve gotten some good deals on some fresh salmon lately, so Tiffany and I enjoy it for lunch in a salad.

Salmon: Good food ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis salad was delicious. I actually enjoyed this one. I’m not a fan of vegetables but I’m learning to eat them more often and it is helping me in my health and weight loss journey.

They are not pretty but they are delicious. Chocolate chip pancakes from the Trim Healthy Mama Table cookbook.

THM Chocolate chip pancakes ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe recipe is single serve, so I have sticky notes on it for multiple batches. We have four adults living here so I always need at least four batches but my guys like a little more, thus I have the measurements for five batches too. But then we have made these when we have company, so I have it for eight batches too. At least I don’t have to do the math every time. :D

Errand day was busy last week because I had a meeting at the church in preparation for our conference coming up the first week of October. It is always the first week of October. Has been for over twenty years. I’m always happy to help out in any way I can. I actually love working in the kitchen.

After the hour and a half meeting, Tiffany and I were ready for lunch. We decided on Chick-fil-A since there is one nearby. This particular one has a bit of a parking lot issue. We noticed a lady crossing from the nearby parking lot (not the one next to it but across the access road) to the restaurant. We decided that was a super idea and followed suit. As we were parking, we saw another young lady coming back across the way with her food. :D Evidently this is the way things are done at this location.

We ordered Cobb Salads minus the corn to keep in THM S meal mode. Unfortunately we did NOT remember to ask for GRILLED chicken instead of crispy chicken. :o Oh was I upset with myself! It was our mistake so we couldn’t very well go up and say anything. I tried to remove the breading but it was stuck like glue. Instead we decided to eat it as it was, with vitamin P for pleasure and know that it is just one more step in confusing our bodies which will enable us to release more weight in the end. :) It was tasty and I’ll have to bread and fry some chicken at home some time to put in salad.

Tiffany was battling a migraine headache and we needed to get some gas, so we went across the street to QT. I parked and went inside and purchased the generic ibuprophen for 75¢ and brought it out to her and off we went. As we had entered traffic, I realized I hadn’t gotten gas! Oh brother! I’d get it later.

We headed to Barnes and Noble because they were having a sale and that is one of  our happy places. :) We found some good books for Tiffany and even one I wanted. I purchased it and it will be available for someone to give me for Christmas (or maybe I’ll just start using it soon instead–we’ll see). :D Yes, if we find something that we really want and it is likely to be gone by the time anyone can purchase it for an occasion, be it Christmas or birthday, we buy it and then give others the option of getting it and giving it to us at said event. We also make gift lists to ensure that people get what they want and limit the number of returns that have to be made by anyone. It works for us.

After spending about an hour and a half in Barnes and Noble, we then did our grocery run which only included three stores this week and not four but we did have to stop by the library for items that needed to be returned.

Unfortunately I made a big blunder last week as well. :( My son Brian and his wife, Lauren, had asked us a couple months ago to watch Liam early in October. I did not check the calendar and we just said yes because they needed us to do it. Well, then I realized our conference is the same week of the couple of days they needed us to watch him. :o

I was trying to figure out a way to keep my word and still do all I need to do for the conference. Michael put his foot down and said there is no way we can keep him. My honey looks out for me and knows that I get tuckered out the week of conference without having a two year old to look after. Unfortunately this was not well received. I love Brian, Lauren, and Liam soooo much. It hurts when things are strained. I hope they know we love them and want to keep Liam another time. (I know Lauren reads my blog–Hi Sweetie!!) I know it will all work out because we are a family that loves deeply. Of course that means that at times we also hurt deeply but enough of that. Hopefully by the time this post is goes live, all is fixed and but a memory.

I hope you have a great weekend, building good memories.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Posture is Important

Perky Posture ~ Lifeofjoy.mePoor posture can cause a lot of health issues because it pinches nerves that should not be pinched. ;)

I had not idea I had such POOR posture. It wasn’t until I started doing an exercise video where the instructors talked about the importance of “perky posture.” Until that point, I thought I was good. Since viewing that information, I have realized just how poor my posture is.

I have also noticed that a lot of tall people have poor posture. I’m guessing it has something to do with them towering over people. But it is really not good for them. They need to stand up tall.

Here is how it was described on the video,  stand as if your hair is in ponytail on top of your head and they are pulling you up by that ponytail. When you stand up in this manner, your body comes into alignment and a natural kegel occurs. This is all very good for you. Your pelvic floor is strengthened which strengthens all the internal organs and helps your blood pump properly.

I encourage you, for your child’s health sake, take a look at how they stand and walk. If they are not owning their height, teach them to stand up tall. It also gives an air of confidence and that will serve them well. (Of course there is the negative, pride, that you should watch out for too, but that’s a subject for another day. :) )

Until next tie, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Tile: Flowers

I had so much fun drawing Cupcake Flower the other week that I wanted to play with it some more. It really reminds of these small purple wildflowers at my parents’ house.

It is really fun to draw; it just flows. :)

I also wanted another stab at In-N-Out-Well. I drew it a bit bigger but it was still a bit small and I still see birds in it. :D These are the only tangles I used and I kept it simple.

Here it is before shading.
#cupcakeflower #innoutwell ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd here it is shaded.

Shaded #cupcakeflower #innoutwell ~ Lifeofjoy.meI used my 6b pencil a bit in the shading. I also added a few white dot highlights that I didn’t like, so I shaded over them and it smudged a bit but oh well, it is what it is. ;)

I probably should have had some darker shading on the bottom too rather than just between the tangles. What do you think?

Here are the pictures a little smaller, so you can’t see the imperfections as well.

#cupcakeflower #innoutwell ~ Lifeofjoy.meShaded #cupcakeflower #innoutwell ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd here is a picture I took outside in natural lighting.

Outside picture of Flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meThanks for stopping by. Let me know what you think about how to improve the shading on this one. I’m still learning. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

veggie quesadilla ~

Veggie Quesadillas

Here is another delicious way to get in those veggies. Use whatever veggies you prefer or have on hand.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been on a quest to get more veggies into my meals. I don’t really love veggies yet but I’m making every effort to eat them anyway and eat them in a yummy way.

Today I’m sharing a veggie quesadilla. Now I know that quesadillas mean cheese. I love cheese but I have loved it a bit too much. I’m working on lessening it in my diet. But I have to say that this quesadilla is still delicious! :)

Today I used onion, mushroom, and zucchini for my veggies. You can use whatever you like. I am also trying to keep cruciferous veggies limited because cabbage seems to cause me to stall, so I’m not indulging in them as freely as I have in the past.

So, I start by slicing my zucchini nice and thin. I use a mandolin for this job; it’s easy and I can do the job quickly.

Slice Zucchini on mandolin ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen sliced some mushrooms.

Slice mushrooms ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen dice some onion. (I started by slicing it.)

Cut onion ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlace all in a heated skillet with a bit of oil melted in it.

Cook veggies ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd a bit of salt and pepper, as desired. Salt helps them cook quicker because it helps remove the water from the veggies.

Sprinkle with a bit of oregano or your favorite herb.

Meanwhile, I prep my tortillas. I prefer to use a Joseph’s pita and separate it into two very thin circles by cutting around the edge by snipping a hole in the edge, sliding my kitchen scissors into the cup, and cut around the circle. But my store was out of them and the lavash, so I resorted to Low Carb Mission whole wheat tortillas. I got the small ones that are 3g net carbs each so that I could use 2 of them.

Tortillas ~

Spread half a wedge of Laughing Cow Cheddar Cheese or homemade greek cream cheese on each tortilla.

Spread with light greek cream cheese ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe shredded a little over an ounce of part skim mozzarella cheese on a medium-small grate, so it makes a bigger pile of cheese and it will melt more quickly.

We are trying to lose some weight, so we are being aware of how much fat we us, so we simply sprayed the pan with a little coconut oil spray and then put one of the tortillas on the pan.

Tortilla with cheese ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdd the warm cooked veggies.

Veggie quesadilla ~ Lifeofjoy.meI wasn’t sure how much protein was here, and I was hungry, so I added a serving of ham. But you could just heap on more veggies and have a protein drink with it, if you are on Trim Healthy Mama where all our meals are anchored with protein.

Ham and veggie quesadilla ~ Lifeofjoy.mePlace the other tortilla on top with cheese side down.

veggie quesadilla ~ Lifeofjoy.meI cover it so that the cheese melts quicker.

Cover with lid ~ Lifeofjoy.meFlip when bottom is browned, about 5-7 minutes, depending on the heat of your pan.

Flipped to cook other side ~ Lifeofjoy.meServe and cut once it is browned.

quesadilla ~ Lifeofjoy.meYum!

quesadilla ~ camera battery died near the end of the meal prep and I had to rely on my phone camera.)

Veggie Quesadillas


  • Veggies of your choosing (I used onion, mushroom, and zucchini.)
  • Laughing Cow cheddar cheese or greek cream cheese
  • about 1/2 ounce shredded part skim mozzarella
  • Joseph's pita, cut into 2 rounds or two small low carb tortillas
  • extra protein (I chose a serving of ham lunch meat)
  • salt, pepper, and sprinkling of oregano


  1. Sauté veggies with salt, pepper, and oregano.
  2. Spread half a wedge of laughing cow cheddar (or light swiss) cheese on each tortilla
  3. Spray pan with oil and heat.
  4. Add tortilla, cheese side up, then top with veggies and optional lunch meat.
  5. Top with other tortilla, cheese side down.
  6. Cover and cook, flip when browned on bottom.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Appreciate Your Differences

appreciate your differences ~ Lifeofjoy.mePreviously I have talked about asking for what you need but there is a flip side to this. Treat others with the same care and concern that you’d like to be treated. This goes especially for your spouse.

Marriage is not all about me. Marriage is about creating an us. We are no longer just individuals; we are now two people joined together, no longer pursuing each individual’s desires alone but with another person right there with us.

Things you could do before, you may not be able to do any longer. Things you couldn’t do before, you may now be able to accomplish together because two are better than one. (I’m not saying that you can’t pursue separate things but more that you may have to make some adjustments to what you used to do.)

Don’t think you can go about making decisions all on your own. I used to be under the faulty assumption that I could plan things and do them during the daytime while Michael was working and he didn’t really need to know about it. I thought, how does it affect him? I’ll be here when he leaves and here when he gets back, the house will be as clean as if I were home all day, and dinner will be ready on time. I did not understand that men are wired differently. He is very protective of me. He looks out for me. He is on guard when he knows I will not be in the safety of our home all day. I don’t really understand all that goes through his mind, his thoughts and feelings, but I have grown to understand this and I like it. I feel protected and, yes, even loved.

Now I will be the first to admit that I didn’t always understand this. It just screamed of being controlling. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. He loves me. He hates to see me hurt. If I even hint that I have some new ache or pain, he is right on youtube looking for a solution. He finds them too. :) I had some sciatica pain a couple months ago and he found two or three youtube videos that helped relieve that pain. I then had a visit with our chiropractor (free birthday visit) and haven’t had that pain again.

I guess what I’m saying today is to appreciate your differences, make decisions that include your spouse together, and keep the lines of communication open. You don’t have to understand him but you do have to respect him and that he is different than you are.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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