Southern Chinese Stir Fry

**Farm to table Recipe**

  This is my personal recipe that received rave reviews.

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cubed)
  • 3 medium bell peppers
  • 2 large Vidalia onions
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 2  TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 4 TBSP Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Cups White Rice
  1. Make rice according to package directions.
  2. Slice all vegetables on the mandolin.
  3. Heat 1 TBSP oil on medium-high heat and add onions.  Cook until they become translucent.  Add Soy Sauce.
  4. Remove onions to a large dish and set aside.
  5. Heat 1 TBSP oil on medium-high heat and add bell peppers.  Cook until somewhat soft, but not mush. Remove from heat and add to dish with the onions.
  6. Heat 1 TBSP oil on medium-high heat and add chicken.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Be sure to cook chicken through.  Remove it from the heat and add to dish with onions and peppers.
  7. Heat 1 TBSP oil on medium heat and add yellow squash. Cook until soft and have a touch of color.  Turn off heat and set aside.
  8. Mix thoroughly the onions, peppers, and chicken chunks.
  9. Layer on a large platter with Rice on the bottom.  Then add the squash from the pan. And top everything off with the chicken, onions, and peppers.
  10. Serve immediately.

I served this pretty dish with sliced tomatoes from the garden.

Negative to Positive

We have decided to get ice cream tonight in honor of my oldest daughter and son-in-law’s third wedding anniversary.  My episode of earlier today kept me from baking the traditional cake that the family has come to expect.  However, there is a transportation issue.  The cars are all being used, and all the ice cream cravers are forced to wait.  It is a bit comical watching them all jump to the slightest sound that maybe it is a chance to hurry to sweet indulgence.  The two dogs know something is going on and they are jumpy too. One of the humans will head to the door to look out and the dogs begin to bark.  So far they have barked at a jet plane flying overhead and a whole lot of air.  Not too good for my anxiety, but for the moment it is amusing.

Three years ago today I was more exhausted than I could have ever imagined.  The kids had a really tight budget and I agreed to expedite their wedding plans with all my knowledge and crafting abilities at the ready.  I enjoyed every single thing that I did for their wedding.  I made all the decorations, picked out all the bridesmaids dresses, organized the men’s ware, handmade the invitations, arranged all the flowers, made the wedding cake, and the small buffet.  I have probably forgotten something because there was so much.

I worked so hard and so long.  I have heard it said that keeping busy helps one deal with the symptoms of depression.  I agree with that statement, however, I find if you overdo to the point of exhaustion, the symptoms can be a bit overwhelming for a few days until you bounce back.

I am not telling you NOT to do what you enjoy, on the contrary, but please be aware that even too much of a good thing can be a stumbling block.

Philippians 4:4-8 reads, Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Oh, dear, moderation.  A concept that I have worked diligently to teach my children.  Not to far to the left or to the right.  A happy medium I always explained. Webster’s defines moderation as the avoidance of excess or extremes, especially in one’s behavior or political opinions.  (Boy, wouldn’t that be nice if some people would catch on to this one.)

Now the verses go on to say to be careful for nothing. This, literally translated means don’t be anxious.  Well, there’s a slap in the old kisser.  I stay anxious.  Yet, it goes on to explain that we should be thankful to God and take our concerns to him.  Then God who is peace will keep our hearts and minds.  Now, this is good no matter if you have a mental disorder or not.  So to reiterate, God will keep our heart and minds at peace when we:

  1. Don’t worry
  2. Pray/Talk to Him
  3. He will keep you in peace

I have not arrived there yet, but I am loving this plan.

The Mind.  That beautiful, mysterious organ capable of doing billions of things.  That piece of God created technology like mass can dream up the most glorious things and make them a reality.  It can compose the most moving musical compositions, or design a stunning building.  This same gray matter can become filled with dark, brooding and negative thoughts, relationship and career-damaging conjecture, or even suicidal or murderous ideas.

The Scriptures from Philippians tell us how to safeguard our minds.  Think about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report.  Now that does not sound like the guide on your T.V., does it?  Literally, we are to guard our minds.  If our brain is busy sending signals to your body, then we should refuse to allow it to spew pessimistic refusals of anything positive.

Fill your mind with the good and the virtuous.  Hold fast to that which is the truth.    Let us do our best to focus on the things that will help us live this life in the best way possible. Be a positive light in a dark place and the darkness will eventually disappear.  This dark can be located inside ourselves as well as in the world.  Therefore, what we focus on must be a priority and not an afterthought.

I challenge you and myself to find a way to focus on the Right.  Read your Bible, talk with a friend that is upbeat, Pray, do not just watch any type of program.  Try it for a week and see how it goes.  Leave your replies below.  I will be thrilled to know how it changes your life.

 

For another story click: Shake -n- Step

Overcoming Captivity

My head pounds until my vision blurs.  Pain trickles down from the base of my skull to the fingertips of each arm.  My chest feels compressed by an unseen force. I struggle to breathe.   A searing, burning pain explodes in my mid to low back and I suddenly notice a freezing numbness in both my feet.  My legs ache like I have overworked the muscles for days.  Anxiety engulfs my soul and causes me to tremble.  Every word that is spoken to me cuts into me like a knife.  Silent screams rise up inside and dare to escape me.

“My Lord, please let this pass” I pray in desperation, ” I do not know how long I can take this.”  My family is still learning to deal with these episodes too.  They must understand that if I speak harshly to them, I do not intend any harm.  They also must learn that I will probably not have much memory of what the tell me.  If I have any at all.

Anything planned out of doors today will have to be postponed.  I can not face the outside world.  My family will forgive my shortcomings and inabilities, but outside if I overreact in the world I would be labeled a witch (But it would probably start with a different letter.)

These are the times when you learn that depression is more than just sadness.  It is more than loneliness.  Although those are a definite part.  Pain is a part of my depression that no one ever thinks about.  The pain that I already have in my body be it arthritis or injury can be intensified at the height of my depression symptoms.

Depression is like being lost in the rain. You long for the sun to return.  You know where the umbrella is, and that there is shelter nearby, yet you are frozen standing in a downpour that never seems to end. It seeps into every part of you while you stand helplessly drenched.

Now I have heard and read several trains of thought on what I have been experiencing.  I am a Bible-believing person, and I do accept the Holy Bible as divinely inspired.

Now it has been proven that depression is a chemical imbalance of the brain. I understand that this is the case for me as the situation has run in my family.  I do take medication once a day for this imbalance, the medicine makes a great deal of difference.  That said, I also believe that there is a spiritual component to this as well.  The enemy of my soul wants nothing more than destroy me completely.  If I listen to his propaganda I will end up in worse shape than before.

2 Corinthians 10:5,  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Satan and his imps will jump on the bandwagon when those physical symptoms of depression and anxiety occur.  He will cause you to imagine every awful thing under the sun.  He will cause you to have nightmares that will stay with you after you wake.   He will cause you to think things that are so far from the truth that you can not even trace it back to the truth.  He will cause worry and fret to exalt themselves so high in your thoughts that you can not even conceive the knowledge of God.  According to the scripture, we must cast down, and bring into captivity.  Now those are some violent actions.  Get that junk under control!  Don’t let the devil feed you any more junk!  Tell him out loud that you have had enough.  That you are not going to take it anymore!

When my thoughts do not agree with what God says I am, I must forcefully remind myself even though I do not feel it, that God is for me and nothing can stand against me. (Romans 8:31)

Symptoms will come. They are inevitable.  But I have decided I will not allow myself to be snatched down into the abyss that Satan wants to keep me in.  I will overcome.  I will beat this!  I will be strong in the Lord and I will conquer this battle with help that only comes from above!

Future?

Slowly I take in the warm comforting solution that helps me wake up each day.   The people that leave for work are gone, and it is quiet.  Except for a snore or two from a nearby bedroom, I hear mostly the keys on the keyboard.  This is a rare morning for me.  Because my depression causes me severe insomnia, I must take medication to help me sleep at night.  This makes mornings extremely hard.  Getting up early can be almost an impossibility.  Wow, I never noticed how loud the wall clock ticked. My dog is asleep beside me in my recliner, and Dad’s dog is a few feet away staring at me from his living room bed.  It is pleasant. I am thankful for this few minutes to myself.

I have been reading and thinking the last few days about the condition known as depression.  While some say it is a myth, I know it to be a real obstacle.  There are times when the voice in my head tells me things that are completely opposite of the truth.  I know they are not true, yet the symptoms that accompany those thoughts make them hard to ignore.

You are worthless, you are unloved, you are stupid.  That is just a few of the things I have felt.  I know I am not worthless.  I have had to accept the fact that my disabled body can only do so much, but I am NOT worthless.  I am loved.  I have a wonderfully supportive, loving spouse who just adores me, I am still Daddy’s little girl, I have 3 children and a son-in-law who think I am the bomb.com, and friends and acquaintances that also think I am pretty awesome.  Even if all that were not true, I have a Heavenly Father who thinks I am to die for!  (John 3:16)

I am an intelligent being.  I am not stupid.  I may appear eccentric to some, but I am who I am.  I have tried in my nearly 50 years to never stop learning.  To be open to new challenges and adventures.  However, I can do very little physically, and I get motion sickness too easily for some adventures.  But all that said, I am a person who enjoys learning new things, and reading and of course writing.

When I first decided to begin this blog I was so excited, then I began to doubt myself.  Why would anyone want to read what you have to say? Came the objections. Fear tried to grip me, and cause me to stop.  But I plunged on.  No, it is not perfect, and I have a  ton of things left to learn to do better, but I will not let the doubt nor fear of rejection or lack of motivation detour me.

Jeremiah 29:11 in the Amplified version of the Bible reads, For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace, and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.  Now I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, so this verse really speaks to my situation.  And to yours too.

God has plans and thoughts about us.  BOOM!  Mind blown.  In the book of Isaiah, it says that heaven is His throne and the Earth his footstool.  Now, why would a God that huge have thoughts on little ole us? (Southern expression intended.)  In a word, love.  Romans 5:8, But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  He did not wait until we accepted Christ to love us, He loved us before it all.

Back to Jeremiah 29:11.  His thoughts are of peace and well-being, not a disaster.  Peace. Remember peace?  When everyone and thing is quiet inside and out.  Those are the good days.  I wonder if His (God’s) thoughts are the reason that the symptoms come and go. I’m sure we can agree that well-being is not depression. Yet we have been given tools to combat these minions of depression.  I believe that is where our well being comes.  Spiritual leaders and the Bible, Doctors, and Medications, Therapists and friends, and someone close that you can confide in.  Sometimes that is a flesh and blood person and other times it is God himself.  You can talk to him as much as you want and He will never blab your business around town.

A support system is EXTREMELY important.  If you do not have one, get one! God the Creator has thoughts of us to give us hope and a future.  HOPE is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. FUTURE is the time or a period of time following the moment of speaking or writing; time regarded as still to come.

Hope and a future.  Sounds like a perfect reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Sunglasses a la U

Some times a pair of adorable shades will just make an outfit!  Yet there are times when the perfect pair of shades might be less than easy to find.  So….why not make some.

The dollar stores carry decent pairs of sunglasses for a better than a fair price.  With a tiny bit of effort and some dry time you can have your own one of a kind pair of shades.

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So let’s get started:

YOU WILL NEED: sunglasses, decorations, superglue

  1. Choose your favorite color and shape of glasses. Take a good look at your glasses and decide how much or how little decoration you want.
  2. Collect the items you will use and place them so they are easy to access while you are gluing.
  3. Use superglue to attach the decor to your frames.  Make sure keep the glasses flat until the glue completely dries.  Special Note: Tacky glue and E-6000 will hold well, but will require a LOT more drying time.
  4. You can also place decorations on the legs of the glasses. IMG_7701 Just be cautious not to go too far.  Of you have longer hair that can get stuck, take that into account also.
  5. Endless combinations and ideas are available to you.  Let your creative juices flow.

Extra Special Note:  I do NOT recommend hot glue for this project.

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     Happy Decorating! 

Feel free to post your completed glasses in the reply area!!

 

Home for Sunglasses

The Florida sun causes us to always and forever need sunglasses.  Well, Suddenly I find myself with an overwhelming number of sunglasses.  It is so easy for them to get scratched if you toss them into a basket. So I devised a plan to create a better home for them.

Tools and Materials you will need:                                        IMG_7584

  • A Cutting mat
  • An Knife
  • A pack of dowels
  • A ruler
  • Scissors
  • Sanding pad
  • Pencil
  • 1 paint color
  • A brush
  • Wood glue
  • Decorative trim
  • 10 X 13 Frame with glass removed
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Lace
  • Hot glue and glue sticks
  1. I am using an 10 X 13 frame, but any size can be used.
  2. With the ruler, measure across the frame where the rods will be placed.IMG_7585   Use this measurement to mark 2 dowels. (Pay no attention to my sad manicure.)

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3.  With the sanding pad, take the shine off the wood, so that your paint and glue will stick.     IMG_7588

4.  Now using the wood glue attach the dowels to the frame. I just “eye -balled” about how far apart I wanted them.  It will depend on the size of frame you use.   This is a bit messy, so clean up as you go.  Wait time according to the bottle of glue was 2-3 hours, I left it to dry over night

5.  With my silver paint, I painted a light coat on the face of the frame, and also each of the rods.  Allow to dry.

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6.  Once the paint is completely dry, heat your glue gun and prepare your trim.  I am using a rhinestone mesh and I cut it the proper width.  You could use ribbon or even fabric here. the choice is up to you.

7.  The back of the frame needs to be covered.  I chose 2 shades of blue paper and covered them with lace.  There are a million options here.  Fabric, contact paper, felt are all good options as well.  Clear tape was used to hold it in place until hot glue was ready.

8. Place the back inside the frame and attach it as usual. Use caution that you do not hurt your hand here.

9.  Now it is ready to use.  This one hangs on the wall.

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The only problem is that I may have to make another one!

Shake -n- Step

Once upon a time, there was an old farmer.  He worked every day in his fields, tilling, watering, planting, and sowing.  By his side on many of these occasions was his trusty old mule.  Now the mule was getting old and his eyesight was beginning to fail.

One particular day, the farmer set the mule free to walk around while he sowed some seed.   A loud distressed bellow came from about 1/2 mile down the road so loud that the farmer stopped his work and went to investigate. Continuous moaning and bellowing met the farmer as he arrived at the noise.  The old burro had fallen into a deep, yet dry well.

The farmer could not believe his eyes. The mule lay on his side calling up for help in the only way he knew.   The man shook his head as he peered down into that deep tunnel.  It was several feet down, and He was in no shape to pull him out.  The mule was too old and it was too far for him to climb out.  The farmer paced back and forth rubbing the stubble on his face.  What was he to do?  Finally, he walked to the barn and retrieved a shovel, and returned to the mule’s loud calls.

The farmer looked back down in the abandoned well.  “I’m sorry, Old Boy,” he said quietly to the mule, “we had a good run, You and I.”  Methodically the farmer began to shovel dirt onto the old mule.  He reminded himself with every shovel that this was the humane thing to do.  Keep him from the misery of starvation and dehydration.  Suddenly the braying and bellowing stopped.  The farmer walked to the side to take a peak.  To his surprise, the mule was up on all four legs.

The farmer released another full shovel of dirt.  And then another, and another.  Working up an unrelenting sweat, he tossed in more dirt and inspected the hole to decide how many more shovels it would take. There stood the old ass on top of the dirt.  What was happening?  The farmer questioned himself.  He scooped again and watched inside as the soil fell onto the donkey’s back.  The donkey began to sway back and forth sending the dirt to the ground, then he would lift his foot and tamp it down.  Every time the farmer discharged more earth into the chasm, the animal would shake it off and then stomp on it.  This mule who was too blind to see had figured out that his only way out was to use that terra firma as a ladder. Time after time, he continued to shake it off and step on it.  Needless to say, he was not buried alive but walked out a little dirtier than before, but very much alive!

Whether you suffer from depression or not, trials in our lives come and go.  Sometimes it is like a storm that feels as if it will drown you, and at other times it is dry as the desert sand.  Then to make matters worse, you fall into a crater and just might be left for dead.  However, my friend, before they bury you: shake off the clay and step on it.  Do not let it be a place of death, but a place of life.

There is no one that can make the decisions that need to be made in your life, but you.  There may be situations weighing you down and causing you to sink.  Shake it off, and step on it.  Don’t let it be the death of you.  Forgive if you need to, help if you can, do something new, change your view.  Shake off that grave filler and step on it.  The view from the top will be a whole lot brighter than in that deep, dark hole.

Careful Directions

Life with depression can have its lows and highs.  There are days when you feel everything is wrong, and will never be right again.  Yet there are the days when the sadness seems a slight memory that you long to make a distant memory.  Those are the times when you push to do things that you do not normally do.  Today was that day for me.

My husband and I had taken a short drive into town together, which was a pleasant change of pace.  We even had time to hold hands and sing to some old Country and Western music playing on the radio.  It simulated the moments from when we were dating.  We have only been married for 9 years, but the stress we have been experiencing lately has caused us to lose track of time.  He is the man I have waited for all my life.  God took all the pain and sadness from all the past and multiplied it with twice as much love and happiness.

We picked up the middle child, Elyssa and ate lunch in town just the three of us. She is so busy with school and works during fall and spring semester we do not get to see her much.  Full of our meal and of all our chit chat, we climbed into the car to start for home.

A quick side note here.  Practically everyone in the world has a vice.  Some people smoke cigarettes, and some drink alcohol.  Some people get regular manicures and pedicures.  There are even people who have to have only the latest and greatest tech items.  This is not a judgment by any means, to each his own.  I have a vice.  Some people in my family might even say an addiction.  My thing is Diet Dr. Pepper.

Just for the record, I also have Hubby addicted. I can say with definite certainty that we are the only ones that in our home that feel that way.  I don’t think you could even pay any of them to drink it.

Well, today as we are leaving the parking lot, my dear husband reminds me that we are almost out of soda.  Now I am scanning the sale papers in my mind trying to remember who has our delicacy on sale.  Of course, the fog that comes along with my depression is playing with my memory.

I turned to my daughter in the back seat and requested that she ask Siri.  Her phone is more advanced than mine.  “Hey, Siri,” she said, and the phone beeped. “Where can I find Diet Dr. Pepper on sale near me?” Another beep comes from the small device.

“Okay,” the answer came, “I found a clinic with the nearest Dr. Pepper on…”I can not tell you exactly what Siri said after that because I was laughing so hard.  Actually, we all were.  We had gone from a beverage of choice being located to a real person of the same name.  Just crazy funny!  So many people use Siri or similar assistants every day.  I hope they are getting better results than we did today.

There are millions of self-help books, preachers, teachers, videos and CD’s, all claiming to know how we should live, and change and be in this life.  My personal experience is BE VERY CAREFUL.  Just because someone is popular does not mean they are in the right.  Just because they have published a dozen books is not proof that they are the one you should base your beliefs on.  1 John 4:1 read, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 

 You do not want to be deceived.  You do not want to follow someone blindly.  If someone is praiseworthy, you will be able to tell if you will only try the spirits.  Ask questions about what they say.  Do they line up with God’s Word?  If not, leave them be.   After all, today if I had followed Siri’s directions, I would have been sitting in Dr. Pepper’s office waiting for a beverage.  It really just would not have made sense.  Following people who look and sound good, but are leading people astray with wrong or slightly mixed up directions is a choice that will be detrimental to your eternity.

 

You really do not want to miss the article called GPS

“Made to order” candle

For those times when you need a little something for a touch of color, and when you forgot a coworker’s birthday.  It is quick and easy to create your own beautiful tea candle. You choose, the color, scent and container.

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YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 small package of melting wax per candle to make
  • 1 taper candle per candle to make
  • 1 container to make candle in (I chose clear)
  • Ribbon & decorations to match
  • A cup to melt wax in
  • scotch tape
  • Knife or box cutter
  1. Prepare your container(s) by removing all stickers and any unsightly debris.

Measure how tall you would like your wick and cut the candle carefully with your knife.

 

 

3.  Use the scotch tape and using to separate pieces of tape for an X over the opening of the container. Using your knife poke a hole into the center of the X.  Be cautious, do not cut yourself.

 

 

4.  Gently take your “wick” and sit it in the center of the container, placing the top of the wick into the cut you made in the tape.  This will hold it in place while you complete the candle.

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5.  Place the wax cubes into a microwave safe container.  Place it in the microwave and heat on high in 30 second bursts, until the wax is melted.  Microwaves vary in wattage so be sure to take this part slow. Remember the wax will he hot, use caution.

6.  Carefully pour the wax into the container between the X.  Fill it to the desired depth.  Let sit and cool.

7.  Once the candle cools and hardens it is time to decorate.  Do not forget to remove your scotch tape X from the top of the container.

 

8.  You can use any decorations you like.  I used some left over ribbon and flower beads for mine. Hint: You might need to add just a touch of scotch tape to your ribbon to keep it in place.  Do not worry it will not show.

 

 

9.  Your candle is ready.  Wrap it for a gift or place it in that certain space.

10.  Enjoy!

 

 

Blueberry Pound Cake

A friend from Facebook shared this FANTASTIC recipe with me.  It is a slice of heaven on a plate and does not last long. 

BLUEBERRY POUND CAKE

1 cup butter softened

2 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla

4 eggs

2 3/4 cups Self-Rising Flour

2 cups blueberries fresh or frozen

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add vanilla, eggs, flour. Fold in two cups of blueberries.

Pour into prepared bundt pan. Bake @ 325 degrees for 70-80 minutes.  Let cool before serving. (If you can get them to wait.)

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One slice of warm, comforting blueberry pound cake.

Delicious alone or with ice cream. It will become a family favorite!