Smoke & God’s Love

As I sat outside guarding the smoker I noticed the smoke spiraling and curling up and out of the wooden pergula above. The day had been a hot one filled with coffee, job applications, house hunting and more. Oh, friends, my bones are weary. After last March, when I was diagnosed with anemia and IBS it has been hard getting up enough energy and stamina to make it through the day.

But God is with me and I shall make it through.

Oh, God is so good!

That smoke I was talking about earlier reminded me of praying.

When I pray about someone or something, the anxiety I’m feeling immediately just spirals up and away like smoke.

I rest in God’s love and trust that he will overcome my fears and anxieties.

Blessing #7: Jesus, Blue Skies, Dry Heat & Trips down Memory Lane

Today, has been a roller coaster of emotions for me.

The day began hot and cloudless the sun bathing down on the front garden like a magnifying glass refracting light, in a most piercing manner.

I started my day with coffee, which was good. I’ve been browsing around for coffee deals as this wedding planning is not nearly done. And ya know for planning and college classes, everyday, sometimes you just need a little perk up! I love African coffee and notes of chocolate, yes please!

Try Our Organic Bali Blue Moon Roast, Coupled With Rich Dark Chocolate Notes & A Spiced Finish

I sure didn’t start the day in a very healthy way, skipping breakfast.

I guess, nowadays, with my IBS it seems harder for me to eat because if I eat something that’s now low-fodmap I sometimes, literally double over in pain.

So, I became overwhelmed about my college financial aid, which, imagine my luck, I was chosen for financial verification. Which is a random selection… Arrgh. Skipping breakfast and having that to deal with that, I was such an emotional mess by 9:30 am. Thankfully, my

dear fiancé held me while I cried. He’s so good and loving!

Then we prayed our morning Novena’s together, which is always such a beautiful and unifying thing for us.

That I think was the change I needed for my day to become brighter.

After we prayed, he went off to work and I was able to sit down and really get down to the nitty-gritty of my college class.

Which, I worked on for much of the afternoon and got a couple of assignments outta’ the way. Which was actually surprisingly successful! To my great relief. I scored a B on my 8 page APA essay, which I was happily surprised with.

I’ve been having some pain in my feet recently which I think is due to the heat, perhaps. I painted my toes for the first time in a coon’s age. I like the color it’s an ESSIE quick dry nail color.

I am absolutely thrilled about my fiance getting a teaching position at a high school. I think he’ll really enjoy that!

The wonderful thing is I have no idea where he’ll get a job and therefore where we’ll be living. I do hope we find out before August though. Being surprised about where you’ll be living is good. But being surprised about where you’ll be moving within a couple of days I think is a bit jarring.

Admittedly, I’m a little anxious about that.

In the early evening, I was able to go through some old boxes of mine in the attic and closets. What a treasure trove of different memories, I found, goodness! I used to be such an artist and I found so much of my art.

I also have this somewhat odd affinity for saving letters and cards that people have sent me. Kind of a bad habit, I guess. I even found my confirmation papers and several Catholic books about finding happiness while being single and prayers for your future husband. Golly gee, those books are all dog-eared and coffee stained. Haha, they sure served a purpose though! So, all in all, the trip down memory lane was one filled with great joy and many tears.

Well, until tomorrow my dear friends, I hope all is well 🙂

Happy 4th of July!!

It’s Independence Day in America hurray!

Tonight, I am going to a festival and firework display.

It’s the best time to cherish what we’ve been given growing up in a country that was as free as this one. I’m feeling very blessed for that privilege.

I hope everyone has an amazing 4th of July celebrating our Founding Fathers signing the declaration and America’s independence as a true Nation founded under God.

Happy 4th of July! 🎉

#1: Trains and Tracks; More than Just That

Trains have become a real symbolic metaphor for me. A train can take you from town to town, state to state, or country to country. Even underwater. They travel hundreds to thousands of miles climbing through mountains and sailing across long endless flat lands or even across the English Channel.

Wood burning or coal rains have become a thing of the past and most have switched to electric three rail trains. Efficiency has triumphed.

So trains have become more efficient. This is true of many things today; no surprise, the world has become a very fast-paced place.

And, dare I say, too fast.

I remember when I was a child traveling to Colorado Springs on an overnight train. I just remember flickers of that trip. It seems my memory of, before the wreck, is similar to a candle, sometimes flickering in so vividly I can almost remember the feel of the train jolting and the fascination I had prancing through the cars.

Then I remember the heat rising from the Springs.

It was a beautiful trip!

 

Smiling Coffee Cup- Positivity with your Morning Joe

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BRB Advice

So… As a new BRB—bride-to-be I have had exceptional amounts of fun, stress, and confusion planning this wedding.

It has been such an epic adventure so far and I have had so many new wonderful wedding decorations and wedding dress fittings. It has been absolutely a ball!

Through this process, I have learned a lot of things about myself, my confidence, and some sage advice from several of my married friends and even strangers that I want to share with you today.

My future mother-in-law provided some fresh and always inspiring advice.



1. You should never go to bed angry



This I think, personally, is very VERY good advice.

She is such a wonderful lady and I can’t wait to be a part of her family!! What an adventure our lives together will be. Golly gee.

My best friend, well, one of my best friends, offered this eloquent advice

Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels.com

Featured

Be Patient in the storm and focus on the sunshine after.



2. To be patient through the toughest storms.



Also, this friend, at my bachelorette party said the kindest things about memories of me. She had arrived at the farm to work her first summer and didn’t know a soul. I saw her drive up and ran out to her with a wide beaming smile on my face to hug and welcome her.


She, of course, said it much more eloquently than I (tried) to summarize in that paragraph. She is such a wonderful friend and I feel very blessed to have her in my life.



This next piece of sage advice was given to me by an older woman in my community, and I think is quite sage advice.



3. To never squabble at the dinner table.


These are all such blessings of good solid advice that I hope to cherish and practice throughout my upcoming marriage. I hope, maybe, that some bride is reading through this and finds this advice encouraging.

Till later friends.

-I hope you have a joyous day blossoming with goodness!



Blessing #5: Sunday Southern Spread

This evening my fiancé and I are cooking a proper Southern spread for my parents. My dad will I think be very impressed.

My fiancé and I traveling so much have had quite the experience of Southern dinners done right. We went with my fiancé’s family to a lovely restaurant in New Orleans called Galatoire’s once. It was incredible!

Hopefully, I’m making on of his favorites— banana cream pie.

We’ve had a lovely lazy Sunday here at the farm.

Just kinda middlin’ through the day, now.

Mass was wonderful! It’s good to be back in my home parish again. The mass was introduced by a beautiful song in Spanish. The singer had such a beautiful voice!

Afterwards, we went with friends out to lunch at Dairy Queen. It was so good to see old time friends and local community people again.

My pottery also came back from the shop and it looks great! Oh, my goodness, I never thought something I would paint and have fired in a kiln would look this good. 🤗

Check it out!

Cow teacup; COFFEE for me please

Obviously, coffee stains from this morning. Smilingcoffeecup comes with coffee. 😋

After much deliberation my fiancé and I decided on wedding guest gifts! Homemade jam! I’ll begin making jam for my wedding guest gifts. During this summer I need to can at least 175 jars of jam. Ayiyi!

So, excited to continue on this week with my studies and see what happens on the farm. My class, is admittedly, less stressful than the last time I took it.

I am progressing through my class well and I think I’m well enough ahead of schedule to not be stressed. Hurrrah!

Kansas is so beautiful with the golden fields of wheat right now. Oh my goodness!

We’ll friends, I’m off to make dinner, tootles for now!

😊☕️

Friends of KS Reunion

The rain shimmers down the gutter as I leisurely lift my cup to my lips slowly sipping my coffee as I wonder what this summer will bring.

What a wonderful time of year on the Kansas prairie.

I was elated to meet with one of my closest friends this morning for coffee and see all three of her children. What a joy! I was able to hold her second youngest who, in fact, I was the first to hold at the hospital after mom and dad, of course. So it made that doubly joyful!

This friend, in fact, moved several states over to KS after working one summer and falling in love with the farm. Meanwhile, getting married and having several children! Wow, I held her teeny-tiny baby too. She is such a wonderful friend!

We had a good long conversation about ourselves and how our personal lives were as well as dappling in politics and world events. We talked especially about how life was changing so break-neckingly fast under the Biden administration.

On a lighter side we also talked about working out and staying fit which is a goal for the both of us. I have been, recently getting back into the swing of ab workouts, which makes my body feel better and stronger. My friend having just had a baby still is limited to only walking for a couple weeks more. Since, I left my bike in PA I guess I’m somewhat limited to walking as well. :/

And to my surprise and joy, she told me that my bridesmaids had planned a bachelorette party for me! Wow, I am so excited!

I am ahead of schedule for my Child Psychology class and working on submitting and ardently studying all my materials. And looking forward to a trip to the city soon. What a lark! I’ll be helping transport asparagus to one of my dad’s buyers.

Meanwhile, while we’re in the city we’ll be picking up a bagpipe reed that my fiancé needs for a talent show in my little town!

I also just properly identified that this part of the bagpipe is called a GOOSE! The bag is leather and the rest is wood.

The town will be so surprised I think!

Travel #1: New- Orleans-travels

I gingerly sip the rest of my latte and peer out the window at the rolling hills flush with green. What a beautiful creation this world is, honestly who could think twice about not embracing such a beautiful planet and world. The world now is so confused and utterly turned on it’s head, right now, it seems.

Aside from that little bout of thought on today’s world life goes on. Some music to brighten your morning :).

Though truly if someone were to ask me every day is a miracle and quite an extra-ordinary experience. Each day presents a new way to give to others and to impact others in loving ways. Sometimes by just a simple gesture. That is what brings me joy.

I am reflecting this morning on the splendors and beauty I experienced recently on my fiance and I’s roadtrip to New Orleans. What an adventure!! And I got to meet my future in-laws and more of his family too. The second night we were there we went to a Jazz Bar to The Spotted Cat. The first I had ever been to. So Loud! So much Fun!!

Blessing #3: Honeymoon Search, Old Jeans and Sunny Walks

This night is going to sleep with dreams of honeymoon destinations.

What a day we’ve had! A beautiful sunny day woke me up this morning. We left at about 9:30am and returned at roundabouts 7:00. Geesh, long day sleepy fiance. Alotta wine too. Goodness.

So, after arriving at a cute coffee shop we hadn’t visited in Ambridge we ordered our drinks. I got a wonderful cappuccino with two squirts of red velvet flavoring. Which was scrumptious! I also ordered an apricot bagel with fresh cream cheese from a local bakery in Beaver, PA. And after that, two or three hours after that, I ordered a really extraordinary latte! So good.

Check it out!

Then we learned from a flyer that there was a wine fest going on that day! What a stroke of luck my friends. We bought tickets and start our walk to the South side of town hopped on this incredible antique trolly with a trolley driver that said he was a former pilot. I love meeting people and learning there stories!

So, we traveled South to North popping into a rare pet store and a whole cornucopia of unique stores. We even saw a couple rare birds, Macaws, I think.

There were tickets that we could deposit at each store in a ticket jar for a drawing at the end of the day. We submitted a bunch of ticket but I guess in the end not enough! Oh well, we had a rollicking good time. But we were not lucky winners.

This other lady, who apparently was celebrating her birthday today won twice. What a nice birthday surprise, for her.

It was a wonderful day filled with sun and holding hands walking down the sidewalk.

What wonderful sunny memories my fiancé and I have made.

Praise God, Skirts, Sunshine and Hot Coffee

A towhee chirps in the black cherry tree behind me as I sit on the porch sipping hot coffee. It’s a sunny Sunday morning. Mass will be later this afternoon which my fiancé and I go to. Today, since it’s nice weather out I’ll wear a skirt.

Mass is such a beautiful event. I love being Catholic.

Anyway, today has been mostly good. I woke earlier than expected and popped downstairs to make coffee. Which, nonetheless, is an interesting experience/experiment each time I make it in our percolator.

Stove-top Percolators are finicky things.

Now, I’m upstairs honestly really tired—extremely tired.

I’m waiting for my stick buns, new recipe (so EXCITED!!). I think they’ll drive my fiancé crazy, haha. He loves sticky buns.

Done and yummy!

I found the recipe on my Allrecipes app and added a few substitutes. I made my own yellow cake mix and used some leftover streusel topping from a muffin mix box.

My fiancé loved it! He had two slices today!

Though it is a beautiful sunny day after a big rain last night my garden is looking very sad. My petunias look Ike they’ve been battered with a broom and my lilac never bloomed and is a green skinny bud jutting out with yellow tips. Quite dead which is quite disheartening.

Ta-ta for now friends.

Coming to you Live from the Mountains

Today, I hiked a very large mountain—well since I’m a flat lander, I’d call it a mountain, at least. It could’ve been a very large treacherous hill though. 😳

It was a beautiful day and the plants just shined in the dew as we hiked our way up the section of land situated on the mountain.

I love identifying flowers and trees; bugs and arachnids; peat moss and lichens!

I even found a couple plants and trees I knew from my home state KS, including a Linden tree, Rough horsetail, and a flowering Dogwood I once saw in beautiful Atchison, KS.

We even followed a creek that was so beautiful! Not very deep as you could see the water cascading over the rocks clear across. I was so taken with it all and a good hike is something I just so enjoy!

Anyway, it got me to thinkin’, climbing this mountain brought me a lot of challenges especially with my injured foot. I slipped in the boggy mud twice and almost lost my balance hiking through a ravine with a stream with a solid rock bed below.

I was a step away from that fern when I slid

I developed a lot of courage and bravery on that mountain today.

And courage comes out of people in a lot of different ways. Unexpectedly, sometimes.

When you do something courageous you feel a sense of self-esteem and your mood lightens, feeling the happiness of accomplishment.

That’s how I felt like on that mountain coming down when I almost slid into the little stream running down to meet the creek. Then I remembered how strong I was. And that saved me from falling. My self-esteem and courage from climbing all the way up and persevering to the top was such a wonderful boost of morale for me.

So, reader, my friend, I challenge you, step out of your normal day-to-day routine and get your feet wet. Try something new that will challenge you and even make you cry, sweat, grit your teeth with perseverance.

God made you for greatness; climb your mountain!

Blessing #4: BBQ and Jesus

So, tonight I’m making dinner for my honey bbq chicken sandwiches.

Before dinner we save the meal prayer thanking Jesus and blessing the food. This really sets the tone for how we finish our days, I think.

Being grateful is so important in this world. Being grateful to others makes us happier as well as whoever received our thank you.

I kind of threw the recipe together from a couple different sources.

Slow cooker BBQ Chicken sandwiches

  • Chicken (enough to cover the bottom of a slow cooker)
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup ginger ale

Put chicken on the bottom of the crock layer onion slices on top of that. Make sauce with other ingredients and slather over chicken. Put in crockpot on high heat and cook for two hours.

Buns of course. My honey freelance baked those.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 dashes salt
  • About 1/4 cup milk
  • About 2/3 cup warmed water, with one packet of rapid yeast bloomed in it.
  • Mix dry ingredients together then add what once yeast is properly activated. Then add milk and mix together kneading. Dough will be sticky. Proof dough in oven with towel draped over (not turned on) but with oven light on, until doubled in size. Pour out of bowl onto floured surface knead a little bit until dough is a little dryer, a little less sticky.
  • Cut dough into four equal pieces, form each piece into a ball. Cover again and proof again with light on for second time.
  • Once dough is 1 1/2 to double size take out, to stop proofing. Preheat oven to 350 F. Save time by hearing it with broil setting which heats oven quicker.
  • Prepare a pan of water. Once oven is preheated and set to bake at 350 F. Place buns on upper rack and pan with water on lower rack. Putting the pan of water in a couple minutes before will help the bread form a better crust on the outside.
  • Bake for 15-20minutes or until lightly browned and fluffy feeling.
Toasted to perfection!

Oh my goodness, It’s crazy raining outside friends 😳. PA is sooo rainy, I love it!

#1 My Strong Coffee

I woke this morning to the rain pitter-pattering outside and the sun coming through my window. God is sooo good!

I began learning the Slovenian language last night with this cool new app I found: MEMRISE. It uses speech and repetition to help you learn a new language.

Unfortunately, MEMRISE charges after the first lesson. So, maybe I’ll just skip back on my merry way to DUOLINGO again.

There is so much to learn and so little time!

I’m making coffee now in my pour over kettle.

I added dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg to the top basket and filled the pot with 4 mugs of water. Estimating six T to four mugs. Approximately 36 oz water to 6 T coffee.

Old fashioned coffee pot

I used a combination of 4 T GEVALIA pre-ground French roast and 2 T WESTROCK COFFEE COMPANY KIVU BOLD.

Two of my favorite grocery store coffee’s

I am a huge fan of KIVU blend which roasts as a bold and smoky cup of coffee.

Oh! It’s starting to come up the straw and boil over!!

The water coming up is still clear looks like it’s gonna take a bit more time….

The coffee is bubbling up much more rapidly and the color has changed to a caramel and now dark hazelnut.

I’ll let it boil for another minute then take it off the fire.

It’s best to pour as soon as you can because coffee’s flavor changes as it changes temperature.

Poured into my noble coffee mug! Bought discount at TJMAXX 😁
This is a homemade coffee mug made by my friend in Michoacán.

Well, friends I hope you have a wonderful day and keep your coffee cup warm and full.

Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.

-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

#3 Blessing: Birds of a Feather

Good day friends! I woke this morning to a beautiful sunrise. The damp grass glistened across the lawn and the happy chirp of the Eastern Towhee bird. The Towhee bird is one that my fiancé and I discovered on our walk through the woods. “Through the woods”, that sounds so romantic, heehee.


Eastern Towhee bird

It’s quite a beautiful bird!

Also, on our walk I identified several native trees. I have this nifty little app called Picture this!

Picture this! Plant identifier app

Also, I baked these fun yummy cool whip cookies! I cut the recipe in half because I only had 1/2 cup cool whip. These cookies were the simplest to make and like I said yummy. I’d say 7/10.

Cool Whip Cookies

  • 1/2 c. Cool whip
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup devils food cake cake mix

Set oven to 350 degrees F. Beat the cool whip and egg. If your cool whip is too hard, microwave 15 seconds. Sounds crazy but trust me. Mix in the cake mix. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes. The cookies will be still soft right out of the oven but trust the cooling process to solidify them. Oh my goodness they tasted just like brownies. So good!

My fiancé certainly like them, haha! He ate mine while I wasn’t like looking.

Yesterday, we went to a food truck festival. We stopped at El Gusto Criollo, which was DELICIOUS! I had my first Venezuelan empanada. I had chicken and plantains in mine which I must say was delicious! I love ethnic foods.

It was a wonderful day!

My Larch!

This is a beautiful Larch tree that I found in my neighborhood! It’s so beautiful against the sky. And Lordee me the sky is stunning!

I love how the blues and purples cascade into each other. It’s the perfect montage of colors!

It’s been especially wet and cold these past few days. Every once in awhile I’ve been glancing at the thermostat but have resisted turning on the heat. It’s April for Pete’s sake!

I am almost done with this semester’s psychology courses. Hurrah!!! I’ve decided that I’m treating myself to fresh baked brownies and a mani/pedi after this is all said and done.

Today, my assignment was to read three chapters and write a summary page of two. Oomphf! That’s cramming a lot. And paraphrasing for me is, well, let’s just say, not “in my wheelhouse”.

Well, onward I go back into academics! 😁

Perservere with Happiness through Difficulty

A smile brightens my face as the first rays of sunshine appear above the horizon. What a beautiful dawn it is. I have a decent bit of things on my plate to do this morning but being there to witness the dawn of a new day gives me so much peace. It’s the little things that make life beautiful, I think.

Anyhow, I finished reading two chapters of my psychology book in the dark… Well, in the dark on a lighted porch. I couldn’t sleep and thought I might as well get some homework outta the way. I enjoy doing my homework before the world wakes up.

Today, is Holy Monday which starts the beginning of Holy Week and the lead-up to Easter. I will be writing cards all this next week to friends and family announcing our wedding as well as a little personal note. I think Holy Week is symbolically a wonderful time to get that done.

I confess, this year has been tough on me. I have waffled between keto, gluten-free, vegetarian etc. diets. Which indeed, took a toll on me. I, recently, was diagnosed with anemia.

With any new diagnosis it seems, there’s shock, then disbelief, then anger at the diagnosis. For me at least.

I’m going to start eating a balanced diet and see if that helps as well as B12 supplements.

So, I did a little nutritional research on foods that will help my dificiency:

  • White Bread
  • Eggs
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Fortified Cereal
  • Red meat
  • Kale & Spinach
  • Fortified Orange Juice

It’s not a huge change, just a little, and I’m sure I’ll be fine by-and-by.

Maybe you’ve experienced this diagnosis too. Please share below in how you’re dealing with it.

Persevere even when times get rough… My motto and I’m stickin’ by it.

-Smilingcoffeecup

Building Bridges to Achieve Goals

I can hear the house shuttering against the wind. It’s quiet and the house is filled with peace and tranquility. I still alone and watch the birds flutter from tree to tree outside. The sun glares through my window and I feel the comfort of a warm sunny day inside.

I have been reading, assembling a dresser and organizing this morning. Very quiet activities and not an ounce of anxiety today. Silence does that for me. Getting away from the world in my own house is such a comforting thing for me, sometimes.

When I was young, I’d often run down to Beaver Creek a creek a little way down from my house. My father had built a bridge for me there. Hopefully, soon I will walk that bridge again.

. . .But, can I truly walk a bridge, when another one has developed?

I ponder this as I think of my upcoming wedding.

I’ve built a new bridge and time has passed. Even if I wanted to I couldn’t revisit that bridge of my childhood. I couldn’t now that I’m high past twenty.

As the years have gone by I’ve developed myself and built more bridges through college, friends, hobbies, and different cultures. I have friends from all over the world, now.

As I child and early teenager: I knitted, wrote, played in the creek and played the piano.

Now, as and adult: I organize, do household chores, finances, occasionally watercolor, read (textbooks mostly), and make dinner.

So, time has dragged me on like a minuet, playing softly in triple time.

But all through the years I have kept one thing. One persistent want—-dare I say, need, for myself. And that is writing.

When I was young I built a bridge into a little reporting journalism job. That bridge grew with my every CITY COUNCIL meeting, that dragged on in a grueling way. I worked really hard though and was soon promoted to write freelance articles.

I wrote about local agriculture, farm histories, interest articles spotlighting people or businesses. I once wrote a piece about the local animal shelter and city animal regulations. Fascinating story that I even had to go to the police office for more information. The police office was connected to the pound. I even got to write a couple artist promos where I had the privilege to interview

Building more bridges I took my work to another newspaper that I began writing for in 2018.

Writing brought me such clarity and to share that with others brought me such profound happiness.

I’m like a caged bird and writing sets me free!

Enough of the day- Friday Yay!

My hands trace the old Larch tree’s brunch in my yard. It’s a somber old, very old tree. I love that tree. It reminds me of one of my favorite childhood books, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

I think there’s quite a mysterious reflection there in trees that we take so for granted. Really if you reflect on Noah’s Arc and how that brought all of the animals and all of Noah’s family. All animals going two by two, and certain animals going seven by seven. The arc was built from wood. Wood brought humanity to life. Wood saved us from the flood. And if you want to go deeper into thinking about wood and the religious history. Which I am. Jesus, our Savior, was crucified on wood to sacrifice and give us life everlasting. That, I had never thought of, in that way. Quite an interesting reflection, I think.

Hurrah for new jobs!! Haha, I am so happy its Saturday evening after a trying week of job interviews I finally scored a great job! Hip-hip-hooray.While my job will be part-time I am hoping to stay on track with my college classes, as well.

In this semester my plan is to accomplish 4 classes successfully. I think my academics are at the front of my agenda, in my life, right now. Even though I have the goal of achieving this degree I am doing my best not to let life slip without smelling the roses. I think that’s something that often people overlook in this life, is just slowing down and enjoying nature and life as it is. Life in progress.

The whole point of growth is “pain” or struggle getting there and once you get there, what then?

You enjoy your accomplishment; but, all the struggle of accomplishing is done.

Why not stop and enjoy the roses of struggle that are planted right in your home, your being, your mind, right now.

Go back to school, go to therapy for your disability, read books to improve your memory. You have endurance, you can achieve your goals.

Maybe, I’m just talking to myself, but I think this could be a sliver of hope for someone else. Maybe just the push they needed to keep persevering, to keep hope in their abilities, to stop and smell the flowers.

Struggle is life and we are all strong enough to fight our own struggles.

Believe in yourself and what you can achieve. You can fight the struggle. You can fight the pain. You can succeed.

Believe you can achieve!

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

-Saint Catherine of Sienna

Musings: Little House

As I lay back watching one of my favorite childhood books made into a movie, Little house on the Prairie. Honestly, this is one of the most relaxing times of the week for me.

Honestly digging the bonnet!

We are so blessed now a days to have modern day technology and amenities. Good golly, molly could you imagine traveling to your parents, who lived in another state, and it taking three days?!!

I’m to the part where the Ingall’s are fording the river.

Right now, in my life, I’m fording a river too.

An academic one, that started in 2014 when I began my freshman year in college. Many years later after failing many classes and having to withdraw from several, I am proud to say I’m a junior.

I have fought tooth and nail to get to where I am now. It’s been like plowing a road through a mountain.

This semester I’m taking three classes, five credits all together: social psychology, majors and career class, and a psychology careers class.

Pretty beginner level psych courses. Admittedly, I haven’t been the most decisive in majors..

English…. .

Geology..

Modern Languages… ..

I have finally solidified my degree as a bachelor of general studies with an emphasis in psychology.

I’m excited about this major because I enjoy helping others. I know that’s a pretty hum-drum answer that just about anybody could say about their perfect major.

In the beginning of this major discernment. I knew I wanted to be a counselor. Which honestly would be wonderful! Kyril and I have talked about each other’s academic futures. He is so supportive of my psychology endeavors!

I want to help people with their psychological and emotional problems. Currently, I’m interested and studying the career of a forensic interviewer. Mixing law and psychology peaks my interest.

I’m also interested in the occupational therapist assistant and physical therapist assistant career. I think these are so close to my heart because I need to give back to people struggling with what I went through after my wreck. Not that I’ve altogether stopped therapy.

But when it all boils down, like I said, my dream career is to become a clinical counselor. My clinical counselor has played such a huge role in my life. Sometimes taking on the role of being one of my closest friends. My counselor stayed with me through the muddled mess of teenage-hood to my adult years. I am so grateful to have my counselor to talk to about life pressures and difficult situations I’m facing. I hope I can make a difference like this in someone’s life too!

Inspirational helps life go on beautifully!

So Little House on the Prairie continues to inspire me and the little dog Jack with his cute little bark!

Inspirational helps life go on beautifully!

-Little House on the Prairie

Onward I study with courage and perseverance.

My Funny Valentine

So My Funny Valentine took me to a delightful and quaint new little coffee shop, called Urban Coffee 304. The coffee shop is located in Weirton, WV and has the most charming interior and kind baristas!

And such wonderful pastries!!! Oh my goodness, my fiancé and I split a cinnamon roll. . . !!!

Here’s the link.

https://www.facebook.com/Urbancoffee304-105351554675588/

Also shout out to http://barkingdogshoes for recommending these incredibly comfortable Barbery boots!

Link here: https://www.barkingdogshoes.com

https://www.barkingdogshoes.com/chaco-boots-barbary-review/

Thanks Kristin for posting such awesome content!

I think Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to reflect on all you’ve loved in the past year.

A good reflection for today is

To cherish the love you’ve received from others and the love you kindled this past year. Practicing this gratitude meditation makes you aware of how much you’re loved and matter in this world.

To cherish the love you’ve received from others and the love you kindled this past year.

Maggie Kuhn

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Dogman’s Beach- Planning Ensues

A lovely little email popped in this morning from United Airlines:

Airline deal: As low as $50.

Thoughts of Kyril and I’s upcoming honeymoon clouded my head, immediately.

Ahhhh… relaxing on a beach 🏖

We both would like to go to Puerto Rico. I’ve only been once and Kyril hasn’t been at all.

That’s what we’ve decided will be best. We had help deciding this factor based on Alietta Ford’s mail coupon .

My vacation, when I was a child, to Dog-man’s Beach, Puerto Rico was fabulous!

I remember walking along the beach. The sand is so soft to walk barefoot in. One day I mistakenly decided to cover my body completely up in sand, for a photo shot. BAD IDEA. Eek 😬

Though kinda comical for a KS girl to be unaware of sand fleas!!! Yeah, not one of my brighter moments.

( embarassed blush, shoulder shiver)

The photo was great though! 😜

One night, we had a personal chef come to our “vacation home“ and make us rainbow trout and a bread fruit dish. That was awesome!

Bread fruit tastes almost like a mixture between sweet potatoes and corn tortillas. Yeah blan flavor, for sure. Despite this, the chef cooked an incredible dish with it!

Bread fruit

One beautiful day, my family went scuba diving. Totally cool! I’ve never been and currently with my conditions I won’t be able to. Having a VP Shunt requires that you avoid scuba diving, martial arts (I was actually interested in learning Ju-Jitsu, so I guess that’s out), gymnastics and dance, and you’re not gonna believe this one—-GOLF!

So I carry that burden that I can’t dance or play golf. I really don’t give two cents about playing golf though, so that’s good. I am upset to learn that dancing is out. I think I’ll research that more because I REALLY want to dance at my wedding!

Back to beautiful PR…

My family and I also went out to a German restaurant in the main square that was INCREDIBLE!!

Here’s the link:

Casa Bavaria

Also the AVOCADOS.

Holy GUACAMOLE 🥑

The avocados in Puerto Rico are HUGE! Like the size of a baby kitten.

Kyril and I have always wanted to go on a cruise. And after doing some research I found a cruise ship leaving from Florida to Puerto Rico. How perfect!

I’m a little tenuous about getting out there on a ship. But I think it will be good for me. Lol I’ll probably pack an extra life-jacket in my bag 😂😂

It’s going to be incredible! Puerto Rico is so beautiful. And the weather there is sooo balmy!

Here’s a good travel guide I’ll be use to plan our trip.


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Urban Coffee- A Real City Cup

This morning we headed into our beautiful little college town against the fury of a snow storm! It was mad snowy and coming down like faster than a “bore on corncobs.”

This is a shot outside my window. After tromping outside to drop of my rent payment I now have my feet cozied up under my plaid blanket my dearest fiancé bought me for Christmas!

As, I had mentioned we drove into the city this morning to see if classes were still going besides I had volunteered to babysit another student’s kids. Well, after fourteen arduous miles of patchy black ice and five feet of barely plowed over snow a notification popped up that said classes were cancelled.

Hurrah for cancelled classes! But too bad for not babysitting.

On our way out of town my fiancé treated me to coffee at one of our new favorite coffee shops, recently opened, Urban Coffee 304. Where you can get incredible coffee that is perfectly balanced. Not too acidic not to “tame.” Lol.

Here’s their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Urbancoffee304-105351554675588/

I had a muffin too; that was la-tee-da, SCRUMPTOUS! It was a sticky roll muffin that was incredibly moist and had a sugary crunch to finish. The bottom of the muffin had caramelized spots of buttery cinnamon. It was divine, truly.

The inside of this coffee shop is really cute too; it has a row of lights hanging from the ceiling that are bunched up, creating a really cool spread of light across the floor.

And just because todays kinda a funny relaxing stay in bed and watch cat videos day. Here is one I watched this morning that really cheered up the gloomy weather melancholy day for me:

I can totally relate to the black cat jumping and sliding through the snow!!

Well, it looks like my fiancé and me have the day to ourselves inside. I think we might make bread. That would be fun!

Speaking of bread here’s a picture of our latest!

It was a delicious recipe I found on https://kirbiecravings.com/no-yeast-bread/

Well, I’m off to go bake, ta-ta! Friends!

Fresh Mountain Air

Well, friends, if you’ve been reading my posts you’ll see that I once dreamed of living in Vermont. What a lofty dream I thought at the time. Well, I ended up on the East coast indeed! I’m here, hurrah! And it only took me about a year. Wow.

I do miss the farm but am absolutely loving my new home! Of course being a farm girl I notice things that other people don’t. So, I’ve been collecting pictures of new plants, trees, and animals. Here are some:

European Larch Tree
Larch

Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an incredible book that I’ve thought a lot about since I moved. I love books I need to get more into the peace of reading them again.

Anyway, back to the European Larch tree. What an incredible tree that apparently had widespread cultivation in the 17th century and many Dukes advocated for their planting! And, interestingly enough, the wood of the Larch tree is used for BUILDING YACHTS!

CRAZY STUFF!!

Tree-of-Heaven
Tree of Heaven

So, I came across this beauty while wandering around this Appalachian country. This tree has been deemed many names all of which are quizzically attributed. This tree is also very invasive.

I’m sure you’re wondering why the such oppugnant names for this stinky tree. Well, in fact, with a long history in China. This was one of the first trees from China to be brought to the western countries. When it was first brought to Europe and the Americas it was glorified as a beautiful garden plant with its ornate leaves, which lead to its name, Tree of Heaven.

Surprisingly this tree also has a huge environmental protection value! It conserves soil and water, greening saline-alkali land, and purifying the air. Pretty incredible to think that such a stink tree could be so good for the environment.

As, I’ve been writing this I’ve been in one of my favorite coffee shops, The Crazy Mocha Coffee Shop in Sewickley, PA. Incredible lattes with my favorite a shot of pistachio. Crazy Mocha has the funniest logo of a goat with a coffee mug in hand… (I mean in mug in hoof)

In my latest coffee shop BUZZ, I recently visited a Generosta Coffee. This was quite an ethnic place with extraordinarily good coffee. Very bold flavors.

I must say though my favorite coffee shop in my tour a’ cafe has been at a wonderful little coffee shop in Monaca, PA, called The Fountainhead Cafe. I was blown away here by the extraordinary and unique coffee menu. After waxing poetic on all the funny names. I chose the Greek style Frappe. Which was quite a diversion for me as I am a strong advocate for HOT coffee.

No regrets.

It was incredible. For all the coffee enthusiasts this is a must for your coffee shop BUZZ.

Coffee, I believe is like humanity always unique and changing.

The Coffee Shop BUZZ

                   So, my friends, I have been searching the cities and towns of the Eastern U.S. for the best coffee shops. And I have found many many coffee shops with excellent coffee. This has been one of my favorite hobbies since I moved to the Ohio Valley area.

Coffee is wonderful.

The best roast is better than wonderful, even, prize gold. Teehee, so let’s start at

Leonardo’sSteubenville, OH

Great coffee shop also with art from local artists and an ice cream shop. A great hangout for university students. The building is perched in the City of Murals. The coffee is good. Slightly acidic and crisp in flavor. The barista is always fun to talk to. 

The Coffee Tree RoastersPittsburgh, PA

Excellent coffee. Brighter and more acidic; but good. When I went to this coffee shop, I went “out on a limb” and tried their Costa Rica el Indio roast. Quite exotic and full-bodied but definitely acidic.

https://coffeetree.store/coffee-beans/costa-rica-el-indio-1

The Coffee Bean
Weirton, WV 

Loved by many for not only coffee but also Casino. I, accidentally found this out by walking in, and seeing all their casino chips and slot machines. This is PRIMARILY a drive-through coffee shop. 
The coffee here is delicious and my favorite is The Scrap Iron. It’s a dark roasted with a slightly acidic twang at the finish. If you like sweet the “20 below with Shot” as my fiancé calls it is best. The name is 20 degrees Below Zero. The drink actually already has an espresso shot. 2 is better than 1 😉

Next up we have, my all-time favorite,

The Crazy Mocha Coffee Company Sewickly, PA

Excellent service and astounding coffee! This coffee shop is nestled in the cutest little Hallmark cozy town. While there I had a latte with a very small pump of pistachio. Oh, wowzer! It was so good. And the coffee from that roaster, I tried the Sumatran blend, ha such a dark taste, start to finish, hardly any acidity whatsoever. I loved it!
Surprisingly, the business has been in operation since 1994! Previously “The Dancing Goat”.

tempImageJmFVf0

Here’s a link to the coffee I strongly recommend for all dark coffee lovers. This coffee is limited time bag which is directly sourced:

https://crazymocha.com/shopucts/ev9kaaws3r5s8g1g7wjtsjmtre3gm7-24yrb-n3z9r

Anyway, my mugs empty literally and physically, so friends toot-ta-loo!

Blessings Abound

I am feeling super blessed! I have had the most wonderful and adventurous move and am now living in a beautiful place. It is abounding with trees of all different varieties. My house has a big yard yeah! I’m just close enough to a coffee shop to walk there and write, sip coffee in the mornings. Although, my friends, I have sadly not done this, humble act. Well, I have time.

This move has proved one thing to me that I can do it! I love the bravery that’s been sparked from this move. It has been an adventure of adventures friends.

And let me tell you I’ve been killing’ it with finding deals. Thriftstores and IKEA, my friends. Recently, at my place I’ve been on kind of a DIY-mania. Trying to figure out how to make different things that I don’t want to spend money on. LOL, my momma raised me a penny pincher, haha. That’s not such a bad trait in this day and age.

-I bought a toaster for $5 yesterday.

-A floor lamp for $12

-A full 5 piece dishes set for $14 or so.

-A $10 coffee pot– Gevalia–works like a charm to replace my broken Hamilton Beach (6 yrs old)

And friends, it gets even better, I’m passing my college class and I have a job lined up that I interviewed for and am now just wading through the papers to completely seal the deal to begin working.

God is so GOOD!! He gave my the confidence to do all this the strength to move and love passionately all my new friends here, including my honey.

Aside from this I’ve been so blessed to been able to get a new neurologist. Oh boy!! But literally, I couldn’t make it without one so I’m feeling very blessed for that. And not only that but friends originally I scheduled my botox injections for my dystonia in December but I asked–might’ve been slightly pleading, to call me and schedule sooner if anyone dropped there appointment. This was about a month ago. Today I looked on my hospital online calendar and I got into an appointment on Friday!!! I am so thankful.

So, I’ve had a little decompression time in the kitchen, ooh let me tell you I’ve discovered some incredible recipes. Here’s a butternut squash recipe I found on one of my new favorite cooking blogs, from Kelly, eatthegains.com/kale-beef-stuffed-butternut-squash. Kelly did a fantastic job with this site only reminding me how much work blogging really takes. Thanks to Kelly I have a lot more tasty recipes and awesome blog to add to my reading list!

So that’s my beautiful stuffed butternut squash on one of my new plates!! Both look beautiful, I think.

And I think that’s a beautiful note to end this post on. To butternut squash and happy days!

Updates on Education


my-type-of-coffee
My Type of Coffee

As I sip a steaming cup of strong dark Sumatran coffee I muse over my new e-textbook, “Mental Health and Case Management”.

Before I get into that, pigeons make the coolest noises. There’s a nest of them outside my window and I love hearing them while I’m writing. I think they’re rooting… or rather cooing, for me to finish my degree ;).

I am reading this book as a prerequisite for my degree in psychology. I intend to use this degree to pursue a Master’s in Counseling. I am thrilled to be pursuing this as I have always been intrigued with the counseling career, though, have struggled with self-confidence. By a stroke of coincidence, I began living in a household with a counseling student for a roomie. And thus gained the confidence I needed.

Back to the textbook. So far I’ve learned that case management is no 9-5, walk-in-the-park, kinda job. The time you need to dedicate to your clients is, as I’m guessing, quite exhausting. Case managers are essential to the psychiatric rehabilitation of an individual and are fundamental to their recovery.

The really wonderful part about this job, that I think is so in-line with my thinking, is respecting and empowering individuals. Celebrating small successes to give your clients hope and courage to strive to become better. This career is about giving your clients compassion and empathy everyday. Not to be overly BOLD in saying this but that is literally my calling card. I love loving people.

I haven’t finished the textbook yet, so more later. Next up I’m delving into a chapter on “Medications and Managing Psychotic Disorders”.

Good gravy this’ll be quite a coo.

The Revisiting of Old Friendships and Pecan Pancakes

To rekindle with a friend from long ago is such a blessing.

This morning I awoke to the sun streaming in my window. Kind of a shock when your so used to waking before the sun. But all in all I feel very blessed today. I visited the church which I unfortunately missed mass this morning due to changing mass times.

This morning being Sunday and since I’m trying to up my protein intake I made pecan brown sugar pancakes.

img_20190915_092805_1657900308691296429295.jpg

I used a recipe I found online from a food blog yummy recipes

However, I took some liberties with the recipe including adding brown sugar and replacing the milk with water and adding pecans as a topping. It turned out pleasantly sweet with a nutty finish.

And I was so delighted to enjoy fresh plums that my dad gave me! I ate two today. Absolutely delicious!

With pecan pancakes, plums, biking, church, and coffee for the Sabbath feast who could be unhappy?

God is good!

Magnificient27

Thankful for L.I.F.E.

I’ve been reflecting on life as it is for me. I was talking with one of my good friends the other day saying how I felt in a rut. But after reflecting on this I’ve accomplished so many of my goals in these past few months!

One of my goals was to become a barista which I am happily doing at this adorable little coffee company startup. It is amazing, the shop is fantastic. The couple that started it have a large family and the spouse, who’s a carpenter, made all the furniture inside! The neat thing about the shop is that the owners have their own personal roaster who goes down to Mexico and works with the people who grow the coffee. I am so impressed with there business and beyond happy to be working there!

I finally published an Ebook on Amazon. It’s called Falling to Daughter Zion.

Another of my goals was to start a blog. Well, ta–daa! Readers, I’ve been blogging to you for quite a while.

And last but not least I fell in love.

Perhaps that has been the spark for many of those goals aforementioned.

Hurrah, to accomplishments!

So, my dear readers stay tuned for my next list of goals.

OPA!

Changes, Biking, setting My World on Fire

As my bike skidded to a stop in front of the library I felt the chill rain against my face. Rain is such a beautiful thing that cleanses away all the dirt and griminess. I see it as a refresh from what happens on a day to day basis. And Lord knows we all need to have a refresh. Eek.

I started a new part-time job at a hospital. It’s not a glamorous hospital job but it’s a job that pays, so I am very thankful. The position is as a dietary aid and my work involves a lot of dirty dishes. Which is a bit symbolic of my life right now. Erk, it is all kind of up in the air. Thankfully I have my hobbies that have proven great antidotes to my slight anxiety.

This week and last there’s been increased flooding in the Central Plains. It rained all of Memorial weekend. This Memorial weekend brought a lot of new changes in my life including a new love.

I jumped into painting again as a hobby which is a nice break from my work. My current medium of choice is watercolor. I haven’t done that many paintings, yet. I’m sure looking at one of my paintings you couldn’t tell the difference between them and chicken scratches. But through time, they will change and I’m sure I will get better.

Lately, I have been biking a whole lot as my mode of transportation. Pedal biking that is. Burn calories and get places; what better way to get places. Hopefully, that will change someday after I get my license. Someday in a blue moon. Haha.

Since my relocation, I have been writing and reading more. A whole montage of different books.

I currently have on my desk Get a Financial Life- Personal Finance in your Twenties and Thirties. It’s proven to be quite informative. Hopefully, this will cause a change in my life sooner the better.

I dappled around in Diana Galbadon’s Voyager book which proved a bit too explicit for my reading tastes. Though I am a huge fan of Galbadon’s work and think she is truly a genius.

Also, I am working on getting my application in for a volunteer program abroad that I hope to do this Fall.

Currently, I am WiFi-less at my house and hopefully will be getting that set up on Thursday. Which is going to be such a relief.

Bom dia, cafe por favor

To know a second language is to enter another world. 

 

My morning began with coffee, faux apple pie oatmeal, and some hard-core Portuguese lesson.

So, for all my lovely oatmeal connoisseurs.

Date Inspired Apple Pie Oatmeal:

1/2 c. oatmeal

1 c. water

dash salt

1/2 chopped apple (I used Gala, but any other sweet apple would do)

5 dates

handful walnuts

honey

First set a pot of 1 cup water with a dash of salt on the stove. Once this comes to a boil, follow usual oatmeal procedure, add 1/2 c. oatmeal. Boil, till desired thickness. Add chopped apple, diced dates, chopped toasted walnuts, honey, and spices.

 

What a rip-roaring beginning to an amazing day!

First, an amazing bowl of oatmeal, let’s be honest, any bowl of oatmeal with toasted walnuts is quite the coup de grace, in my opinion. Besides, I admit, I’m a little bit of an oatmeal fanatic.

Now, vamos estudar!

I became interested in learning Portuguese in college when I was good friends with several Portuguese exchange students and the mostly Brazillian soccer team. It was an amazingly exciting time in my life! Growing up around Spanish speakers it’s easier for me to understand Portuguese. Both Portuguese and Spanish are romantic languages I’d say it’s pretty easy to figure out grammatically and I’m learning the sounds.

The way that I learn languages best is by communication and repetition. I know this to be true of a lot of language learners as well. I will share with you some ways I am learning languages.

One of my solemn favorites is Duolingo, which is available online and as an app. A solid first for conversation is Babble, a free online conversation platform with tons of different languages learners and natives ready to exchange languages. Listening to languages also helps a lot. Coincidentally, Spotify has a lot of resources for learning languages! Currently, I’m listening to “Learning Portuguese with Bruno and Thieme.” Which is a great conversational way to learn a language.

eventually I would very much like to have a real conversation with a Portuguese speaker.

But until then my friends I will just practice. And write for my real job–the newspaper.

So, as always, friends,

Bom dia

-Magnificent7

 

Blazing Heat of Summer and Black Coffee Philosophy

As the coffee perks, I am swallowed in music. The banjo, my favorite stringed instrument strums across the bright kitchen. The echoed picking gets me to thinking about how our lives echo across the fine line of existence. How every decision we make is shattered into our livelihood and shapes us into our own unique individuals. Carved from the roots of our birth, we must find our own way. Like a ship sailing the ragged sea of life with all its dangers and precautions, we must stand fast at the wheel and follow our compass.

It’s majestic outside the snow veiling the ground but bitterly cold. Perfect for coffee AND researching. I’m working on an article about the Pawnee Indians that were indigenous to my area. Sadly enough I see the current political climate of the United States in rather the same light. Immigrants who’ve called America their home pushed out. Atrociously sad.

Spices blending and percolating in the filter slip into the pot, like late party guests slipping in quietly, unnoticed. The wind bouts the house as the tree limbs shake above like marionettes, the wind their puppeteer. The clouds, framed by the hills, stoop and scoot along the highest limbs, pretending to be foliage. But alas, the dead of winter freezes everything in its chilled and mesmerizing trance.

As I gingerly sip steaming coffee I philosophize about the summer. The sun coming in blazing and the hills covered in green followed effortlessly by its breaking and scattering across the hills, slowly extinguished in the black velvet night. This black velvet night adorned by the diamonds of the sky every star lighting just enough space to the next, as if in communication. The stars communicating with one another, like every person in our country, free to raise their voice and be heard. So be a star and raise your voice.

That’s how I imagine summer; coming in on the thrusts of natures finest, on the voices of the brave.

Hopefully, by summer, I will have completed a couple more short stories. I finally got up the courage, when I was completely bedridden, to publish two short stories on Amazon. I had to muster up a lot of courage to publish those. Courage is a hard thing to achieve but I’m so glad I published. Even if no one reads my works, at least I’ll have done it and it will go down in history; hehe maybe not a very long history, but wishful thinking, you know ;).

Wishful thinking is like black coffee it gets me up in the morning.

Hope your day is studded with awesomeness, you’re amazing, be brave and you WILL conquer.

Cheers!

-Smiling Coffee Cup

 

When You Feel like Exploding

My mind is a war field it seems. I’m sure others can commiserate with me on this. Torn between pain and remission it seems. The pain came from the sutures and staples taken out of my foot today. It was a sharp cutting pain that hasn’t gone away. If it wasn’t enough pain to have the sutures and staples yanked out, just seeing my foot was enough to make me dizzy and somewhat faint. My foot though completely bloated was bunion free.  After seeing that my mind went numb I just can’t put emotion on how I felt… thankful? Definitely. shock? Especially. utter grief? Indubitably. Maybe, what I feel about it is just a mixture of those. I’m very thankful that I may have a real chance at an active life after this with fewer limitations.

After my painful encounter with tweezers and other doctors tools for taking my sutures and staples out my foot was wrapped again in gauze and cast. It’s blue. Which apparently is cheerful, but honestly, I don’t think if it was rainbow it would make me cheerful to be hauling my leg around in 5 extra pounds of cast and gauze. Just my opinion.

When he did put the cast on to cement it he used hot water. Which let me tell you, burned somethin’ fierce on my leg.

I slept 8 hours today. That’s crazy. I never sleep that much. I think the shock and on the way home pain caused me to be such a lazy bone. I did stay up till midnight reading so that might explain part of it. And I didn’t have any coffee today. Traveling and pain really wears a girl out though.

Well, for now, my friends keep your chin up and look toward a brighter future. Short-term sacrifice for a long-term gain.

 

Powdered Sweet Memories

The heat of the logs lit into sparks on the wood as you cracked to rocks together. Before long we had a roaring fire as you prepared the tarp into a lean-to tent.

The night sky was black a pitch and the stars shown like diamonds. The campfire smoke obscuring Orion like a wedding veil.

As the night grew long we listened to nature’s chorus and the cicadas long droning on as if the night were endless. Some things are endless I suppose. At least that’s what we felt on that night like our love was endless.

Doors off

Riding with the doors off

We had forgotten a blanket. Haha, totally think that was planned… Anyway, we cuddled down together beside the heat of that flickering fire. And talked about our lives and childhoods for hours it seemed. So different yet so similar.

Then you surprised me with Bedouin tea that you made over the fire in a metal pot we’d bought at the thrift store. You had purchased all the ingredients. Within minutes wafts of smoky cinnamon, hot cardamon and anise floated up and covered me. we had picked out funny mugs at the thrift store too! I had opted for a mason jar. I guess the tea was good and hot like its preparer…

The moon reflecting over the lake sparkled enchantingly. Reflecting the moon as if it knew its every curve.

A beautiful reflection of life.

I believe that such as the water knows the moon so do we humans choose who we know as our moon.

 

blue universe

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com

 

Now I sit in the window regaining my health after surgery gazing longingly at the moon.

                            Hoping, wishing for your safety and your sweet return with me under the moon and the stars that give me hope.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Cumin Tacos

As I crunched into the crunchy cucumber I taste a mix of cumin and paprika. Tonight I had tacos. Taco Friday; I think tacos should be celebrated on more than Tuesday 😉

Here’s my tasty taco recipe: 2 tacos

splash of olive oil 

1 sweet potatoes

black beans

dash cumin

dash paprika

dash salt & pepper

shredded mozzarella cheese

1 tortilla

Heat oil in a skillet and wait for the fragrance of olive oil, then add sweet potato and cook, cooking depends on how hard/soft you like your sweet potatoes. After a bit cooked add in 1/4-1/2 c. black beans, cumin, paprika, and salt & pepper. Let this sizzle on the stove for about 2 minutes. Then spoon into two tortillas and top with cheese.

I then added a spiked dill cucumber sauce. 

dill

cucumber

vinegar

chop and combine everything.

And the grand finale of the meal was Irish coffee. Which was soooo good!! And sooo simple.

Brew a pot of coffee, I used Equal Exchange Fairly Traded, Organic African Roots, coffee beans. Add hot coffee to mug then add 1 jigger (this is a shot glass) whiskey (I used Tennessee because it was all I had on hand) 1 jigger of creme de cacao. Then I whipped my own cream out of heavy cream. Then sprinkled a dash of nutmeg. Quite tasty! A great conclusion to a wonderful meal.  

Africa: Bringing me Back

“I hear the drums echoing tonight…”

This came on the radio as my brother pulled into my house–my home. My S.O. and sang I sang this song on our way home from our campfire. That song coming over the radio brought me right back to that time. Right back to that night, right back to Amelia Earhart and to the state lake.

We were surrounded by fireflies that masked the night like a thick glowing veil. The cicadas droned on their sounds, like sirens, making the frogs think twice. The air was fresh and damp like a cool dawn. The sky above was black as pitch and the stars bright as diamonds. Which you later plucked from the sky and gave me.

Being the soldier that you are you came with the bare bones for pitching a tent and making Bedouin tea in a kettle we had picked out at the thrift store. An old copper tea pot. If I wasn’t already nonplused you put it right on the fire and in a good half hour we had strong sweet Bedouin tea; that literally was one of the most delicious teas I’ve ever had! We talked some more and ate chocolates.

It was a sweet night that will forever be in my memory. The night I first fell in love beneath the stars.

The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide us toward salvation.

 

Triumphs against the pedals

As I rounded the corner I hopped of as the wheels skidded across the uneven gravel. I exercise all caution when coming around corners on my bike. Today I rode 4 1/2 miles, 13 hills and I’m feeling pretty darn proud! I thought a lot during my ride about limitations and relationships and how few people get how the traumatically injured brain thinks. I in no way condone the people who don’t understand. Believe me its hard for the traumatic brain injured people to even understand themselves somedays. I’m still trying to figure out why I decided to bike 4 1/2 miles on slightly muddy dirt roads today. I hadn’t biked in nearly a week.

In the time that I have left before my surgery I want to try and push myself physically a lot—not too much because brain injuries don’t play well with over exertion.

I also in this time want to really start focusing on taking care of myself again. Honestly I’d love to get a manicure/pedicure. That’s random but it does sound nice. It might be good if I started doing yoga too; for the flexibility.

Also, I’m trying to read Dante, which is actually a good deal fascinating! I like the depth of the writing it really gets you thinking. Slow progress though. I daresay it will take me all winter; all of my recovery.

Take heart, my readers, have faith and persevere!

A Shot Rang Out: Insomnia: One Day Closer

A round of shots rang out. My eyes flitted open nervously as I scoured the room looking for a threat. The white curtains were illuminated by the still pallor of the moon. It was a nightmare that woke me up in a cold sweat.

Reaching for my phone to check the time the screen cracked a little more shattering any image the phone had. Blackness. The wind picked up and a scuffling sounded from the window. 

The cold linoleum pricked my bare feet in the still darkness. My kitchen was lit by an LED bulb that my most dutiful S.O. gave me. The darkness framed my windows. It was 4:30. Insomnia has its bouts of bitterness. 

Fumbling around in the light of my lamp, because Lord knows, the average person who awakes at 4:30 is still in the process of waking. I happened across my lovers name tag. His name in straight Arial font gazed up at me in the glowing light. I was transfixed for a minute, wondering, wishing for his safety. 

The oatmeal canister stood attention in the darkness of my cupboard, giving me the “How does the do!” of the morning. After fixing a plan bowl of oatmeal with a spoonful of brown sugar, because in my book Saturdays and brown sugar go together ;). My coffee pot began perking out the smells wafting through my kitchen of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla. A perfect mug of piping hot coffee. Yum!

The sun bravely started shining through my curtains as I began my 100 squat workout. Today, I switched things up after that jumping into a leg workout afterwards then abs. These were all provided by my lovely XHIT gals down there on youtube. I am a huge fan of XHIT!! Great way to get me going in the morning. 

Largely the rest of my day consisted of brain training–focusing on memory and speed. Which I believe will be a great addition to my turtle-like RAM. Duolingo is a great asset for learning languages. 

Conquering Great Heights through Difficulty

Conquer Great Heights
through Difficulties

The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.

What you are reading now is a text block the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…

… like this one, which is right aligned.

Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organization of your content.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.

Beautiful landscape
If your theme supports it, you’ll see the “wide” button on the image toolbar. Give it a try.

Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.

The Inserter Tool

Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:

  • Text & Headings
  • Images & Videos
  • Galleries
  • Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
  • Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
  • And Lists like this one of course 🙂

Visual Editing

A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:

The editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

Matt Mullenweg, 2017

The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.

Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylized one. All of these options are available in the inserter.

You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.

Media Rich

If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:

Accessibility is important — don’t forget image alt attribute

Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.

The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.

Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:

You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:

Code is Poetry

The WordPress community

If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.


Thanks for testing Gutenberg!

👋

Steps towards Academic Integrity

The fields of college options are littered with privates, public, online, and on-campus. I’m swimming through the possibilities and there’s so much I barely can lift my head above water for a gasp of air. It will all be worth it in the end though I know. And I have short-term memory loss from my accident, which doesn’t help any.

I’m having trouble sorting things out and thoroughly sifting through options. There’s just so much information and I am easily overwhelmed.

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My steps down an uneven path toward academic success 

So to hold myself accountable for steps toward a bachelor’s degree, I’m going to be documenting everything here on my blog. I am no savant in math or science but I have had great success with getting accepted to colleges. I’m good at pitching myself. I’ve always been good at pitching stuff ever since I was 8 years old helping pick and toss cantalope onto a trailer. But that’s another story for another post…

So quick roundup of all the colleges I’ve been accepted to Kansas University, Wichita Area Technical College, Wichita State University, Sterling College, Emporia State University, Green Mountain College, Emerson College, and John Paul II Catholic College. I’ve narrowed down that I would prefer a public college. I can see myself taking online courses, which will actually give me more space to pursue my own activities. College is a bit overwhelming for me as well.

Having a TBI makes it harder to concentrate and harder to memorize information. So online classes are more conducive I’ve found.

I know that I want to go into Journalism. And actually recently after visiting Emporia State University I became intrigued with their online programs. So we’ll see.

Combating Brain Injury

Hello All, this morning began with thunder, rain and a very bad headache. As I have previously shared I am a recovered TBI survivor. Dealing with the emotional ups and downs of TBI can be very difficult and trying for those you come in contact with. The people who don’t know the inner warfare you’re dealing with.

This morning I cried a river. I cried for my lost dreams. I cried for my confidence. I cried for the distance. It’s hard to think when you’re swimming in emotional turmoil. One minute you’re happy, almost euphoric, the next you’re crying a river.

I don’t have any answers if you’re looking for solutions. I just have my story.

In 2005 the crash ejaculated me from the vehicle hitting the back of my head and sending me into a coma, with a broken neck and broken arm. After being rushed to Wichita ICU for immediate medical treatment. I was diagnosed with severe traumatic brain injury and a VP Shunt was installed in my head. The shunt helps the fluid drain from my brain. It was put in because of my condition of hydrocephalus which is the condition of water being above the brain. The shunt works as a drain.

I woke from my coma with a light-headed unconscious feeling.  My head felt heavy and I remember being very confused as to why. A halo had been tightened around my neck the metal pricks rested against my forehead. I couldn’t talk because my mouth had been wired shut or even eat because of my feeding tube. IV’s trailed from my bed.

I was sent to Madonna Hospital in Lincoln, NE. Here, after loads and loads of therapy ranging from speech to physical, occupational and whatever else. I recovered slowly. My mother, a teacher stayed with me throughout my entire rehabilitation there. I am so thankful for her loving care at that time in my life. I couldn’t have survived as well without her. My dad also was a huge support as he visited the hospital quite frequently during my time there. Once he brought my puppy Cowgirl. That was a good day.

My time at Madonna was a trying one as I stubbornly dealt with the fact that I could no longer walk and was wheeled everywhere. Among other things, I could no longer do. The loads and loads of therapy plus my stubbornness to not give up really paid off. I remember walking across a blue rubber mat towards my mom for the first time. She was crying. I could now tell her I loved her and stumble behind a walker. I am so thankful to the therapists who worked with me during my struggles at Madonna. My especial recollection goes to my OT and PT who worked tirelessly with me, pushing me to achieve. And my huge immediate family. My sister who sang to me and my other sister who read to me.

I was really blessed and lucky. 

After struggling through the rest of my elementary, junior high and high school I finally graduated with a surprising 3.0. Thank you there to all the teachers and paras that helped me earn that. I went directly that summer on to Community College where I fulfilled an associate of general studies (AGS) emphasis in English, in a total of 4 years and loads of failed classes.

Keep your head up. Persevere.

Miracles do happen. 

Owl Boxes and Wise Life Decisions

Howdy all! I am embarking on a thought journey through the caverns of possibility. The decision can be made whenever but my main nemasis to my decision is time. And Lord knows time is not abundant. College is a huge burden on my mind. I so badly want to complete my bachelors degree at a liberal arts school but am frustrated by the endless amounts of options and the weight of a looming serious surgery, which has demanded serious alternatives to my college education choices. It just takes awhile to sort through everything. Besides that I am juggling some other endeavors.

I’ve been packing up a box for my boyfriend, which helps me think about him on a deeper level. About his interests and crafty ways to design boxes. I enjoy browsing cute deployment box designs on pinterest! My latest box features owls and trails.

The best thing about flat rate shipping boxes to APO is that the boxes are completely free. For this project I am using a medium sized flat rate box which I am packing tight, like a box of sardines. Haha, but not sardines, not sure my BF would appreciate that.

I cut out watercolor paper for the two larger top flaps. After cutting them to match the the sides of the flaps I began water coloring my owls. I found some cute owl pictures on Pinterest that I copied with my watercolors. After the watercolors had dried I used spray adhesive to glue them on the flaps. The other two shorter flaps I designed with colored paper adding jokes and inspirational quotes and verses.

Here’s my finished box.

Owl always love you

The box design did take awhile since I hand water colored the owls. But I had a free afternoon and what better way to send my love. I enjoyed the project creation.  As I mentioned it took me a couple hours. This might have taken so long because I was listening to sad military songs on Spotify.

It’s a fun project and a great way to send something physical as a sign of your love!

Hope you enjoyed this post, have a smashing good day!

 

 

 

Snicker doodle Coffee and Rabbit Typings

This morning I groggily stumbled into the kitchen where I measured the coffee, with my special clay measuring spoons my soldier gave me. Making my morning coffee is honestly one of my favorite things!

I have a variety of different additions I like adding to the grounds. This morning I’m brewing Green Mountain coffee. Which is not only delicious but also comes from my favorite state, Vermont!

I like adding different ingredients to my coffee to jazz it up. The combinations are totally based on my mood for the morning. This morning I awoke to a happy drizzle cloaked with fog outside my window and the melodious sounds of swallowtails. Definitely a day for my “Snicker doodle Soldier.” This adds a cinnamon and vanilla mixture which creates a nuanced flavor that my neighbor has deemed a tasty snicker doodle flavor. The name may perplex you somewhat. I named this drink Snicker doodle Soldier because it was my first coffee I enjoyed with my soldier. He loves it and so do I!

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I also LOVE mugs!! Shopping for unique mugs is one of my favorite things to do. My variety of mug is the unique and outlandish ones. I’m not a girl generally for word art  on mugs but I like the whimsical ones with odd things on them like castles in the case above.

Some of the best places I’ve found unique mugs are thrift and pawn shops. I don’t generally buy mugs online, however, when I do I shop on Etsy. I like shopping there because I know that most of the money on the purchase goes directly to the artisan who designed or made the mug.

By now I’m sure you’re looking at the picture above and questioning my sanity in putting Rabbit in the title of this post. Rabbit has quickly become my new favorite app. The Rabbit app was made primarily to make long distance relationships stronger. I am currently taking it for a trial run and am very impressed with the UX design and user experience.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday!

Cheers!

-Magnificient27

 

 

Bad Dreams,Sad Conversations and Echos from the Human Soul

A white snake curled its body around my leg as I tried to scramble up the muddy creek bank. I was trapped no one was there. Being trapped has always scared me. This was a nightmare.

Last night I had a dream about a day when a half cheetah spotted cat half tabby cat following my boyfriend and I back from the river, past the railroad tracks on a dirt road. It was swaying back and forth and clearly was sick. My boyfriend told me to go on up ahead while he took care of it. He did but started screaming as it bit him. I called 911 and said a quick prayer. Then I woke up.

I hate nightmares, I barely slept 5 hours last night… Grr… the warm breadth of coffee is beckoning me to the kitchen. Coffee I think is my aid when I’m stressed, when I’m frustrated, when I’m happy. Only three cups max a day though. I’ve heard that Benji Franklin used to drink absorbent amounts almost 33 cups a day! Oh goodness, I would have the worst headache. I enjoy having coffee with freshly baked biscotti. Below is soe biscotti I made.

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This is some of the biscotti with fresh jam I made. 

I decided to change it up with the coffee. I bought Dunkin Donuts dark French roast and it tastes really good. Coincidentally, Dunkin’ Donuts has a program for sending your loved troop overseas free coffee. Which, I gotta hand it to them is pretty amazing! I will post more about cool resources I’ve found for my loved one in another post.

This morning it’s raining. I love the rain it is so renewing and invigorating for my inner writer. Unfortunately, in my town, there isn’t a coffee shop to write from. I love blogging in a coffee shop. In fact, some of my favorite local coffee shops are Jitter’s Coffee House and The Kettle, which are a distance away from my house but always fun to visit.

I like coffee shops. I like the buzz of a coffee shop in the morning. I like picking up conversations about new babies in someone’s family or what happened at someone’s house last night.

One of the most notably sad conversations that I caught snippets from was a man talking to someone on his phone about trying to convince his suicidal relative to keep living. It was so heart-wrenching. I felt so sad for him. I think he was in the medical field, perhaps. Here’s one of his quotes, “She’s hiding from life and I can’t get her back.”

If I had the time I could make an anthology of all the raw cut conversations I’ve heard in coffee shops. Things that often echo the human soul. Things that pulse our emotions. That’s why I like coffee shops the most.

I love reporting. It’s what I do best.

This morning I’m going to read the Bible again that always comforts me, especially after bad dreams.

 

 

The Mountains Are Calling

Hello, my followers!

Have you ever had a dream about somewhere you’ve always wanted to go? Maybe France to see the Eifel Tower? Or Jamaica to bask on the warm beaches?

My dream is a little different I have always had my heart set on visiting Montpelier Vermont. Montpelier is the capitol and is actually a lot smaller than other cities in Vermont. The capitol building has a man standing on it that when made became crooked. The three biggest exports are marble, maple syrup, and apples. The famous Vontrapp family that starred in The Sound of Music, with the renowned Julia Andrews, lived in the Vermont state. The state name is in fact, named after the French words for green mountain, “Ver” & “Mont”. The state of Vermont was actually its own country until it was admitted to the United States as the 14th state.

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And dare I mention that Ben&Jerry’s Icecream, Green Mountain Coffee, King Arthur Flour, Biotek, and the National Life Insurance Company. The highest paying jobs in Vermont are composed of various medical fields including internists, dentists, anesthesiologists, surgeons, gynecologists etc. Bleh, so the freelance writer doesn’t have the greatest chance… But there is a publishing company called Tuttle Publishing, that interests me. Teaching is always an option too. Also, there are some amazing bakeries.

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I made these cupcakes

 

I am so in love with the Vermont mountains I someday hope to see.

The mountains are calling and I must go.

 

 

Bars. Cars. Catholicism. & UHAUL’s

I’m at my local bar with my fiancé finishing off a Huck-Finn as my fiancé would call it. Good name I think. I think I’ll settle for that it’s a good drink with basil, huckleberry and gin (other secret ingredients too) house secrets, if ya know what I mean. Heehee.

My favorite succulent. Also, a great medication for scrapes or wounds. Good for after waxing too!

There are some succulents and basil at the end of the table that are a bright addition to this bar. This bar is run by an Italian family so no wonder on the basil.

Meanwhile, we just got out car fixed at the local mechanic which was such a blessing so that we didn’t have to travel too far.

Anyhow, I’m thinking’ hard on my fiancé’s next move for teaching. He’s been offered two positions Midwest. So time is ticking.

Since, he’s working for my father, in Kansas. Different place then our now hone in PA. It’s going to put a lot of moving stress on us. We’re going to have to move for his job and we’re going to head back to PA on the 1st of August.

mountain

….kind of stressful…

We are so lucky though that he has been offered several Catholic high school theology teacher positions. And is now in a state of discernment.

With everything happening, we’ve kept close to Jesus by keeping up our praying before meals and trying to remember morning prayers. Which had been such a blessing and sweet relief.

Speaking of moving I have been scouting the internet for affordable moving companies. UHAUL, Two Men and & a Truck, Van etc. (or something like that. Anyway, it’s been an interesting process I found some helpful blogs for packing quickly.

I love this moving site, though it’s not one that we’re using. Two Men and a Truck

There rule as a company is to always follow the “grandma rule”. To treat every customer with the same respect you’d show your grandmother. Great advertising let me tell ya!

My favorite coffee shops have books too!

Anyhow. We’re headed to a coffee shop so Kyril can knock out some of his thesis work.

So toodles, friends!

Blessing #8: Finding Happiness through Writing Thank you Cards

Writing thank you cards brings me such joy!

How wonderful it is to send a thank you card to someone. It just brightens my day incredibly when I receive a thank you card in the mail.

It is so wonderful to reach out to someone through letters. I have always been a strong supporter of the hand-written letter and I think in this world, especially, right now, handwritten letters are of such importance. Imagine before the dawn of internet when there wasn’t so much hubbub of the internet.

This is where letters are so important. Letters not only bring joy to others, most of the time.

But they’re definite and unchangeable. A letter is like a timestamp. The only way to change it is to burn it, really.

So, all the thank you cards I’m sending will hopefully not only brighten the recipients day but also keep giving whenever they’re read again.

Letters are absolute. Letters make you think before writing. Letters are hand-crafted and take time.

Our world, especially now, I think, needs hand-crafted letters and thank you cards.

It is so important to show thanks to those who have given us gifts even if it is there time going to a wonderful little coffee shop together. Every gift is a sacrifice from the other person of their time or monetarily.

I am finishing up, writing 20 thank you cards for wedding gifts.

Do you have someone you’ve been meaning to reach out to with either a thank you card or a simple hello card?

Thanks!

My dear readers, it is my greatest pleasure to write to you today and thank you for reading my blog and being such kind supporters and followers.

I am so greatly appreciative, thank you!