A Study of Nature

When I went outside recently to take pictures of my mums, I found one of those hurtful sand burrs. There were a group of them still on a stem. I gingerly pulled the stem out of the ground, so as not to get them stuck in my fingers. ;)

sand burr stalk ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I decided to share it with you today because look what I saw.

nature study ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat is a seed that was just coming out of the burr. What a great way to teach your children about the law of genesis or some might call it the circle of life. These burrs are the abominable “fruit” of this weed and the carrier of the seeds inside for it to repopulate.

As you can see then, fall is just as good a time to observe nature as spring. Many things are coming to the end of their productivity but some have sprung back to fruitfulness, like my mums. :)

Take some time to get outside and just really look at one little bit of nature, in minute detail. Pull up a weed by the root so they can see that as well.

There are so many other things to see at this lovely time of year. I hope you’ll get them outside to enjoy it. Maybe even have them take some pictures and then put them on a larger screen so that they can see it even larger and see details. Then maybe even draw, paint, or sculpt what they see.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Dewd Plus Inktober Continued

Laura is being rather easy on me with these diva challenges so far this month, for which I am grateful. :) As I mentioned last week, I too am participating in Inktober, although I’m not working in many of their prompts but I’m okay with this. ;)

Basically I’m following Stephanie’s tangle prompts, as is Laura. That is the one thing that I seem to be getting done in each day’s drawing. Some days I get the Pattern-Collections prompt in as well. The same goes for the doodlewash prompts.

It’s been nice to actually fill in the spaces on my Tangle-a-day calendar that I got several years ago and just did not follow through with. :)

I didn’t get pictures of the entire page before it got dark last night, so I’ll have to settle for these individual pictures I posted on Instagram.

On the 9th the tangle prompt was Fe-Ba which I had never done before and I must add that I did not do it correctly. ;) I should have skipped every other diagonal. Oh well!

Inktober 9 Fe-Ba ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe pattern-collections (p-c) prompt was laugh and the doodlewash prompt was pie. The inktober prompt was precious and unless you just call this finished thing precious I don’t think that one worked into it. :D Since it was the 9th, I used that for my laughing face and then attempted to draw a slice of pie headed into its mouth.

On the 10th the tangle was Sez, inktober prompt was flowing, p-c was violet, and doodlewash was nuts. I figure the sez tangle could kind of look like nuts and they were all flowing into one another. If I’d have thought a bit more about it, I’d have used a purple pen but alas, I didn’t. ;)

Inktober 10 sez nuts flowing ~ Lifeofjoy.meOn the 11th the tangle was Copada, with cruel, flower, and clouds. Well, once again the Inktober prompt of cruel doesn’t seem to make it into my inking but I think the others make an appearing. :)

#inktober 11 #copada ~ Lifeofjoy.meI like including the number into my tangling when possible. :)

I think the 12th is one of my favorites so far. The tangle was Heartswell, with prompts of whale, red, and spices. This time it was the doodlewash prompt that didn’t make it. For the p-c prompt red I decided to use a red watercolor pencil after inking it. That did not turn out very red, so I got out my distress ink marker in candy apple red and love how the left side of heartswell turned out. :)

#Inktober #heartswell ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow we come to the 13th, which is Dewd and the Diva Challenge for the week. The prompts were guarded, view, and trees. I guess this could be interpreted as any one of them.

#inktober #dewd #DC372 ~ Lifeofjoy.meDewd and I are not the best of friends yet but I do like how I worked it up into the numbers.

Sunday the 14th’s tangle was Ando with clock, dancing, and cider. Inktober prompt of clock was easy to work into my tangling since I chose to draw ando in a frame.

#inktober #ando ~Lifeofjoy.meOn the 14th the tangle was Inapod with weak, Hope, and Hay as the prompts. I ended up just tangling inapod, which is quite alright.

#inktober #inapod ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen I shared this one on instagram I accidentally labelled it as joki because I was putting up the next one at the same time. :D I’ll share Joki’s inking next time.

I think that’s enough for today. Have a great week. We shall, as we will be celebrating birthdays this weekend so I get to see my married son, daughter-in-love, and GRANDSON. :p

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

#InktoberTangles #Inktober2018 #doodlewashOctober2018 #Inktober #patterncollections

Soup’s Here!

Hallelujah! It is soup weather here in sunny Oklahoma!!! I’m so happy, which is really odd because growing up there was really only one soup we had and that was Granny’s chicken soup. We occasionally had chili but I didn’t really care for chili until I ate some at Michael’s step-mom’s house before we got married; she made hers sweet and had CHEESE to add to the top and EVERYTHING’S better with cheese. :)

In the past couple of years I’ve really come to love some soups. I have found that in my beginnings of trying soups that I really preferred thicker soups or stews rather than thin ones. I thought I’d share some of our favorite soups with you today. These are in no particular order.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis soup is yummy. Nice and creamy and wonderfully filling, even for one with carbs. ;) It is a Trim Healthy Mama cookbook (page 100) recipe but also available online.

This soup uses some 1/3 less fat cream cheese and cauliflower to cream it up. I made some of Granny’s Chicken Soup the other day and used the remaining chicken and broth for this yumminess.

Trim Train Italian Soup

We really love this soup from the Trim Healthy Table (page 160) and online here. We are having it for dinner this week, so I’ll add a picture (hopefully) later. ;) This is a variation on their taco version, which is good too but we prefer this Italian version. I made this for the volunteers that helped me prep for the Holiday Bash last year and it was a hit with most. ;) This one uses cauliflower and okra (both pureed) to cream it up but seriously, give this a try because you cannot tell it has either of them in it. :)

Split Pea Soup

split pea soup ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis soup we just had last night. When I first made it, Sean informed me that he would give it a try but didn’t think he’d like it and would probably be fixing himself a sandwich. :D He loved it and requests it now. It is not a pretty soup but it sure is good even though it does not use a ham bone for flavor. I really wish that I could use a ham bone, but Michael cannot have it a this time. Thankfully this recipe is made without it and still tastes great. :) You can find it in the Trim Healthy Cookbook, page 88 where it is called Cheapskate Soup because the split peas are so inexpensive.


Chili ~ LifeofJoy.meThis is my husband’s stepmom’s recipes, basically. ;) We change things up a bit to eat with THM by substituting Sukrin Gold for the brown sugar. It would be an S helper because of the beans. If you want to make it an E (carb meal), rinse the browned meat with hot water and only have a very small (garnish amount) bit of cheese.

Chicken and Dumplings

The guys in my family love chicken and dumplings soup for dinner but my daughter does not prefer it. I love a variation of this by either America’s Test Kitchen or Cook’s Country called Chicken and Slicks. It is simply delicious and all my family likes it. :) It is a bit involved but really yummy. Unfortunately I don’t have the recipe for either one that I can share today. :(  But I had to list it because it is one of their favorites and they ask for it a lot.


I don’t know how authentic this recipe is but we really like it. However, I must admit that we haven’t had it in a long time because currently (on THM) it would be a crossover for us with the fats and the carbs. I’m going to have to figure out how to remake this one. If I roasted okra, we’d probably like it in this now days. :D

Trim Zuppo Toscana

This is a knock-off of the Olive Garden soup but it is slimming instead of calorie laden. ;) I was hesitant to fix this the first time because of the kale but trust me when I say that it is delicious! There are a lot of low carb versions of this on the internet but you can find the THM version on page 86 of Trim Healthy Table (I think ;) ).

Well, those are our favorite soups at the moment. There are lots of others we love too but I need to keep this a reasonable size, so maybe I’ll share more soups at a later time.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Forgiveness is Important

Forgive ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen your spouse does something that aggravates or frustrates you, be sure to be quick to get over it. This is not easy, especially if you are dealing with your own emotions.

Okay, so here’s what happened to me recently. I asked Michael to consider something and he immediately said no. This frustrated me and I tried to pray and get my attitude right. Then something else, I don’t even remember what, aggravated me and then even another something. I took some L-Theanine and finally decided I just needed to pull away from everyone and get alone with God for a few minutes. Because I’m the only person I can change. ;)

It would have been very easy, later on, when Michael was being nice to me, paying attention to me, to snub him or shrug away from him but that would not have helped anything. Instead, I leaned into it and embraced him, forgiving the earlier infractions.

Love doesn’t keep account of wrongs done. Love is quick to forgive (even when it is not requested). Love is kind. These are not easy things but they are good things.

Sometimes it seems as if there are waves of frustration going through our house. We have four adults living here and last weekend it seemed that we were all hit emotionally. It took a while for it to break. Mine may also have been chemical because it broke after I ate a bunch of sugar-free Lily’s chocolate chips. :D

It is good to operate out of love and forgiveness, not holding a grudge. Grudges are not profitable for anyone. Well, I won’t belabor the point any more. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

A Delicious Crossover and Flowers

Last Friday after the conference we went back to Ron’s Hamburgers and Chili because it was very good, it was easy, and because sweet potato waffle fries were haunting Tiffany. :D And again, I wish we’d have taken a picture but we were soooo hungry that we just dove right in.

Frequently at restaurants, there is not much of a difference between their regular and large portion sizes on fries and onion rings. So, since we were all very hungry, we each ordered a large size of the sweet potato fries–loaded! Well, these were huge plates! We brought home a whole large order.

They were also very accommodating for our low carb and preference desires. Okay, now I know you are probably wondering why we were even considering low carb with those sweet potato fries. So here’s our logic . . . we were ready to have a healthy crossover with those yummy sweet potatoes but did not want to go extreme by adding on a bun. These burgers were big, so the buns would have been big as well. We were good without them. :)

You see, we had to eat lunch out because we had to go grab groceries before heading home. Tiffany and I usually run errands mid-week and since we had morning and afternoon services all week long, did not get to do this. Consequently, we needed to get some things before heading back home for the weekend.

I have marveled at how pretty my brown mums are this week. We’ve had a bit of rain and so they are thriving, well because of that and the cooler temperatures. I went out to take some pictures to show you and was hit with how overgrown with weeds my poor garden is this year.

Brown Mum's ~ Lifeofjoy.me(Appropriate close-up so that you cannot see all the weeds. :D)

I started with two small pots of these and look how they’ve multiplied!

Patch of brown mums ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd this was after I pulled a bunch of weeds! Ugh! Let me explain why they were in this sorry state; you see, at the beginning of the summer I was outside and I was dutifully pulling weeds. I’d done a considerable amount of pulling. That evening I noticed that my wrist was a bit sore. And the next day, and the next . . . so much so that my family told me not to be doing that again. Fast forward to now, I have found that the soreness wasn’t from weeding at all and I have learned how to do many things that had been giving me pain, without said pain. So yesterday I decided I was going to see if this was another of those activities that I could do without issue. I was successful until I got a bit overzealous near the end and winded up getting burrs in my fingers and sores from pulling the weeds without gloves (remember, I wasn’t planning to do this weeding–just take pictures).

Tiffany got some really good pictures of them earlier this week when they were still wet from the rain.

Mums after rain ~ Lifeofjoy.meMore brown mums after the rain ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe also got some pictures of another tall daisy-like flowering plant that I think is white asters.

asters? buds and blooms ~ Lifeofjoy.medaisy-like flowers ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere you can see how tall they are. These planted themselves thus I don’t know what they are. ;)

Asters? ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, I’ve rambled enough for today. Have a great weekend; I know I will. Tiffany is giving me another day off today and I plan to do some crocheting/knitting and book reading.

Until next time God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Savor the Moments

I received this email from Lisa Jacobson, of Club31Women.com the other day. I thought her words were so good and encouraging that I asked her permission to share them with you, here today. She graciously agreed.  I ask you to pay special attention to the part after the second picture (emphasis mine); it’s really so very true. Without further adieu, I give you her words.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Can you believe I was 40 when I had our youngest son here?

Lisa and Hakon 2018

And, yes, I had moments during the pregnancy when I wondered if this was such a good idea.

Wondered if I’d have the stamina to keep up with him.

Wondered if I’d wish I was free to do “other things” while home caring for him.

Now he’s 12 and I’m . . . (it’s okay, you can do the math :) )

And now I know. It was a VERY good idea.

I love how he makes me laugh.

Keeps me young.

Points out the fat rabbits on the lawn and the frogs in the flowerbeds.

He reminds me of the sweet and exciting things left in this world.

Lisa with Dauntless and Hakon 2018

So I find that, as an older mom, I’m less in a hurry.

I KNOW how fast the years go.

And I savor these moments with him in ways that, frankly, I regret not having done with the older ones.

But you don’t have to wait until you’re an older mom to learn these things.

Please don’t wait.

Decide today that you’re going to laugh (more than you cry).

Stop to watch the fat rabbits and hoppy frogs in your yard.

And remember the sweet and exciting things still left in the world.

Trust me. You’ll never be sorry if you slow down.

In His grace,


Lisa Jacobson


on IG: @Club31Women

Inktober 2018

I decided to participate in Inktober this year. I hadn’t really heard of Inktober except once one year near the end of October when Laura Harms of the Diva Challenge mentioned it but had promptly forgotten about it. Then this year Nicole of Pattern-Collections posted some prompts for Inktober. They didn’t include any specific tangles because they already have a daily pattern suggestion.

That got me to wondering what other prompts their were. I searched Inktober and found their prompts here. I also found Doodlewash had some prompts too. I’d actually never heard of doodlewash either. Looks like they may have a monthly prompt.

Then I did one more search for tangle suggestions for Inktober and found this. Apparently Stephanie does prompts yearly for Inktober and was probably the one Laura was following the first time I heard about it.

So . . . I’ve been combining these things as best I can. I don’t stress over it but just think about it a little bit to see if I can work it together. Then I include the prompts that work easily and don’t stress the others. ;) I am posting my pieces daily on Instagram. However, I thought I’d include them here today.

I have two tangle-a-day calendars that I never used completely (or even mostly). I found that I do have one that had the entire month of October empty, so that’s where I’m tangling.

Inktober 1, 2, 3 ~ Lifeofjoy.meOn the first I used all but the Inktober prompt of poisonous unless you think Snow White and then I guess I nailed it. ;) On the second I only managed to use the tangle Yah and the doodlewash prompt of leaves. I’m not thrilled with how either of these turned out but at least I got started. :) On the third I made a heart variation of Ginilli for the Pattern-Collections (p-c) prompt of love and then put it in a round shape for a cookie like presentation or like a bunch of heart shaped cookies were on a platter.

Inktober 4, 5, 6 ~ Lifeofjoy.meOn the fourth, the tangle was Facets and the doodlewash prompt was flowers. So I decided to do just two rows of facets and make “stems” on them for flowers. Then I added some “wrapping” on the facets and I like how it turned out. It’s probably my favorite one so far although the one on the fifth is nice too. I really didn’t do Fleavy justice on the fifth, but thought it made a nice vine going up into the sky for the p-c prompt. I thought about drawing a cup at the bottom and make it like Fleavy was steam coming out of the cup but . . .

On the sixth Pais was the tangle with clown for p-c and sweaters was the doodlewash prompt. So, I butchered Pais and used it over and over again for the facial features and sweater parts. Then I added a bowtie and some hair.

So far,  you may notice that I haven’t included the Inktober prompts yet. 😯 They are pretty hard to include in tangled pieces, at least for me. They include poisonous, tranquil, roasted, spell, chicken, drooling, and exhausted through the seventh.

Inktober 7 and 8 ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen there was the seventh. Onion drops was the tangle that I included like clouds FLYING above the ground. Yeah, flying was the p-c prompt with berries as the doodlewash prompt. I used some fescue and some bronx cheer to round out that one. Yeah, not my best work and the poor tangles were poorly represented.

I’m pretty happy with the eighth’s offering. ;) I managed to include all four prompts: Owl, Star, striping, and the tangle cockles ‘n mussels. If you want to see more, you can find me on Instagram where I am lifeofjoy.me.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

#InktoberTangles #Inktober2018 #doodlewashOctober2018 #Inktober #patterncollections

Starting THM and Feeding Your Family

After changing diet ~ Lifefojoy.meWhen my kids were younger (teens) and I’d start a new lifestyle of eating, I’d sit down with the family and share my reasons for the new plan and the health benefits of it. Then I’d explain that we could not afford to have two different food lifestyles in the house and I was only cooking one dinner a night.

They would need to try it with an open mind and if they just could not stomach it, then they could fix themselves something else from what I had in the house. I would not buy off plan foods.

Boys 2005ish ~ Lifeofjoy.meThey all did fine and even lost weight they needed to lose; my boys were “husky” ;). I did keep allowable snacks on hand.

Fast forward ten years and I have two young adult children still at home (contributing to the household, but living with us until they get married). I did the research and learning about THM (Trim Healthy Mama) and how to eat this way for several months before starting. My husband found this video and solidified the decision to stay off of sugar. It is now their decision too.Single Grown Children ~ Lifeofjoy.me

The big thing for my family is that they get to eat snacks, 3 meals, and desserts every day. I started us out on strawberry big boy shakes (fruit based snacks and desserts) as I was researching and learning. Once fruit tastes sweet you know your tastes are changing and you can more readily delve into other sweets. I provide some healthy crossovers for my hubby who doesn’t have much weight to lose and works out in the heat.

I started with modifications of things we already liked. Meatballs were a big one and there are lots of good meatball recipes on ibreatheimhungry.com that are suitable for THM. My family learned to eat Troodles/zoodles (zucchini julienne cut or now with a spiralizer) and caulirice (cauliflower processed in the food processor until it is broken down into rice-sized pieces); although children should have brown rice for an on-plan crossover.

Finding a pancake recipe that we liked was important because that is a Saturday tradition and beloved meal for my family. I now have many choices. :) We’ve had banana pancakes from Trim Healthy Table cookbook (THT) with blueberries and a bit of Greek yogurt and legal syrup (I make THM syrup from the book and my son buys Sukrin Gold Fiber Syrup, which does not seem to negatively affect them). We also love the Chocolate Chip Pancakes  from THT. It is written as a single serve recipe so I have sticky notes in my book with the amounts of the ingredients for four times, five times, and eight times the recipe because I make it that much for my family and my guys like to eat one and a half servings. ;)Giant Blueberry Baked Pancake ~ Lifeofjoy.me

We also enjoy the baked blueberry and baked pecan pancakes. The blueberry ones are in the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook and the pecan ones are in THT. I’ve even baked the chocolate chip and plain pancakes both in a sheet pan and in muffin top pans. And sometimes for a light pancake breakfast we’ll have the Chocolate Monkey Crepes from page 267 of THM Cookbook. Yeah, we love pancakes. :)

My homemade spaghetti sauce is legal without any adjustments, so we learned to eat it on Troodles, spaghetti squash, or occasionally Dreamfields pasta. Hamburgers are a favorite here as well. I either have mine on a Joseph’s pita half or just eat it plain depending on my mood and provide legal bread for the rest of the family: either the Joseph’s pita or lavash, homemade s bread, or crossover E bread (I buy sourdough bread from Aldi). I like to serve hamburgers with “green fries” which is simply roasted green beans.

OH! Pizza! I had to find a way to eat pizza that we enjoyed because that is a family tradition/recipe as well. It would not be a sustainable way of eating for us if we could not eat pizza within the parameters of the eating plan. We now have several pizza and pizza tasting dishes we enjoy. I recommend trying the butterfly pizza (THT) for pizza night. There are also some great pizza recipes that use mozzarella cheese in the crust. I shy away from these right now because I need to limit my cheese and dairy intake in order to lose weight right now.

Pizza ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Someone once asked me about their family tradition of Friday night pizza and movie night, complete with popcorn. If you eat it early enough you can have the popcorn following the guidelines in the THM Plan book 47-48. I’d recommend letting the family have the popcorn and you fixing something like crunch puffs in THM cookbook pg 460. The crackers in THM cookbook are good too.

If you have a particular recipe or meal that your family misses, let me know and I’ll try to help find some help for you. :) You can do this!!! And your family will be better for it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Love is a Garden

Husband working my garden ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt may start with the excitement of what you will end up with and planting that seed with all the feels. Then there is the hard work of weeding and caring for the plants, keeping them from being overrun or plucked up by predators.

Our love gardens take care too. We need to do things for the other without expecting things in return but a well cared for garden is going to give a good return, as will a man who is loved on and showered with love and attention.

Short and sweet today friends but I didn’t want to belabor the point. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Conference Week

Conference ~ Lifeofjoy.meYep, I’ve been busy this week and as usual, forgot to take any pictures whatsoever. I know, shocking.

Of course the week didn’t go off without a hitch though. The first day I forgot to get the muffins out. Thankfully the dear one overseeing so many aspects of the conference happened to double check behind me and took them out. We also had a bit of an electrical trouble the first day so the coffee wasn’t done when it was supposed to be. But people were fed and they got coffee. ;)

I was blessed to have Sean join us all week. Tiffany is my right hand and we did well together as usual. The morning crew was awesome too. They get there before it is even bright, so I guess it’s just early. ;) I really appreciate it because I’d have to get up super early to get there when needed but this way they get there and set things out. I get there shortly after the doors are opened.

We have two services, about three hours apart from each other. So we break from the first service, go to lunch, and then return, then Tiffany and I finish cleaning up and prepping things for the next morning.

This week I was blessed to have lunch with some wonderful people. The first day we went to Chuy’s with about 10 people in our group. As you might imagine, we saw some other conference attendees there but they’d arrived before we did–we are usually a bit slow to leave the church for lunch.

The second day a very sweet lady invited Sean, Tiffany, and I to her home for lunch. She served us a lovely low carb tortilla with roast beef in it. Yum! (I forgot to mention that I got a salad at Chuy’s.)

On Wednesday we three went to Cracker Barrel with one other gentleman. Michael and I had lunch with him a couple of times last year, so it was nice to fellowship with him again.

On Thursday, we three went to Ron’s Hamburgers and Chili with another couple in the church and there were about 8 in our group that day.  Then we went over to the antique mall nearby and walked around for a bit.

Well, I really wish I had taken some pictures to post but alas, as usual I was just doing what I do and didn’t think about it. (I may take some today and add them later but my track record isn’t very good where that is concerned, so odds are against it actually happening. LOL)

I need to run. There’s only one service today and we have to tear it all down and wash it up to put away until next time. Then I have to pick up some groceries for my family for next week–would rather do it while in town after church than make a trip into town on a Saturday to do it. Saturday will be for relaxing and catching up on some laundry. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº