Lessons From Grandpa #7 – Food Addiction and Moderation

From a very young age I developed a love for food. I can still remember some of my very first experiences from being fascinated by the taste of birthday cake and fried chicken to grilled meats. In this picture below from 1982 you can see how I’m shoving my mouth with birthday cake and some sort of reddish concoction. I have no idea what’s up with the box of Domino sugar, but hopefully I wasn’t eating that too. I developed a bad relationship with food from a very young age.

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Lesson’s From Grandpa #6 – There’s Always Something…

When I was little, my grandfather would always tell us kids to be thankful for everything because this is what the Scripture tells us. I couldn’t tell you how many times he read the Bible, but often he would quote Scripture and use examples. We were constantly reminded to count our blessings.

 

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Me and Grandpa – November 22nd, 1979

 

Every now and then, my mind goes into another direction. It’s true that I’ve suffered anxiety and depression in my life and sometimes I have a hard time pulling myself out of it and I start to think about the glass being half empty, rather than half full. I always try to stop and reflect on what my grandfather always taught us.

Fall is such a wonderful time of year and usually by now, we are harvesting pumpkins from our patch to sell or gift to family and friends, canning tomatoes, and making our last minute jams for the winter cupboards. Typically, spring is full of growing and lots of hard work. Here’s a picture of our greenhouse from Spring 2016.

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Except this year is very different, I decided to downsize my gardens and we only grew a few pumpkins for ourselves. I cut back on tomatoes and didn’t grow much from seed this year.

As I was walking around outside by the gardens, I was looking at all the weeds and thought to myself how lazy I’ve been this summer. I started feeling pretty sorry, but this summer, I wanted to spend more time with my kids, read, and relax, and so I did. I didn’t keep up with everything like I normally would and we did have fewer yields because of it, but as I looked around, I saw so many beautiful things. Just look at this hibiscus flower which comes back every year.

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These flowers are huge even surrounded by weeds!

I also realized just a few weeks ago that we won’t meet our quota for the canned tomatoes required to get us through until next year. Normally, I put up about 125 quarts or more of stewed tomatoes for chili, spaghetti, and soup over the winter. With what I’ve canned so far and with what’s left to still harvest, we will probably get about 40 quarts of tomatoes.

 

 

Then, one of our friends that my husband works with decided that he and his wife didn’t want to can this year. He told my husband to come over and take whatever we wanted. We received three more five-gallon buckets of tomatoes for canning including some beautiful green peppers to mix in.

And there’s plenty more where that came from. We will meet the quota after all. Not only did they give us tons of tomatoes, but also 4+ buckets full of apples for canning. It’s truly amazing…

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I didn’t plant sunflowers this year, but there were some beautiful volunteers which will leave plenty of seeds for next year.

Our peppers were fairly small and we didn’t get as many as usual,

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But we have some great spaghetti and winter squash.

I couldn’t help but pause to look at the sky either. Fall is here…

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The sedums are in full bloom…

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There’s so much beauty if you just stop to take the time to look.

Then, this morning the most amazing thing happened! We were out in our woods looking for one of our cats that’s been missing for a few days. We noticed this huge pumpkin vine growing way out in the back of our woods where we used to have our compost pile. All of our pumpkins from previous years would get dumped here. A seed decided to grow and the vine is growing all over and up into the trees.

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Lesson’s From Grandpa #5 – Patience

When I was a kid, I was always in a hurry. I can remember watching the clock and hurrying home from school. Birthdays, holidays, and family get-togethers were counted down to days, hours, and even minutes. I couldn’t get to the store fast enough to buy that new toy.

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Me opening my Easter basket – 1979

 

Even as a teen, I was always in a hurry to buy new clothes or pick up that new release album that just came out. Not only that, I was in a hurry to grow up. My grandfather would remind me all the time to have patience. A saying that went around our house frequently was,

“Patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait.”

The truth is that I had zero patience. As I became older and even into my young adult hood, it didn’t change much. Now I was either hurrying home from work, rushing home from college, or counting down the minutes until the weekend.  I was always and forever in a hurry to do something and just couldn’t wait. I even had issues finishing peoples sentences for them and eating too fast. This is still a challenge.

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I’m going to be forty next month and I’ve recently had my patience tested again with Cynder Rae. We’ve been trying to breed her with Winston for some time now and have been unsuccessful. In mid-July, Cynder finally allowed Winston to mate and we were hopeful that we’d have a litter this time, but little did I know, it was going to take time to find out.

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Cynder has had multiple false pregnancies in the past, in fact, she’s quite prone to them. When a dog has a false pregnancy, everything happens just like a real pregnancy, there just aren’t any pups in the end and it can be hard on dogs, emotionally and physically. After Cynder mated with Winston, she started changing and we began to wonder,

“Are babies on the way?”

 

Reasons why we think she could be pregnant:

  • She mated successfully
  • Her body evidently started preparing for milk production right away
  • She sits differently
  • She’s very needy, more than before, and won’t leave my side most of the day
  • She’s started collecting toys in groups
  • Her appetite has gone through the roof
  • She’s growling at Winston and has become uninterested in him

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Reasons why we think she’s not:

  • She’s not showing
  • Her energy hasn’t changed and she’s still herding everything that moves
  • She wants to run and play just as much as before
  • She had zero morning sickness
  • She’s never been fatigued

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Of course, all the reasons for why we think she could be pregnant occur in a false pregnancy as well and that can last for months or more. 

I called different vets and discovered she could be palpated around day 28, or have a blood test around that time to confirm pregnancy. Palpating isn’t invasive, but can’t guarantee anything. To have a blood test was around $60. To have an ultrasound would total near $185 because they also charge an exam fee. At first, I opted for the blood test until I began to think about the stress it would cause her. We’d recently had Winston see the vet for a week long case of diarrhea and it was horrible. He hated every minute, it stressed him out further, and it turned out to be nothing serious after spending $313 dollars. I pondered what to do and my husband came up with a plan.

“Why don’t we just wait and see if she has puppies? Why do we need to spend money? Let’s just give it time.”

I realized once again that maybe I wasn’t being patient. I felt that we needed to know to prepare, but did we really? I talked to a friend and her opinion was,

“If it puts your mind at ease, take her in.”

This was true, it would put my mind at ease and we would finally know. A few days later, I had a discussion with my mom about it and she turned to me and said,

“Patience is a virtue.”

That’s exactly what my grandfather would say if he was still living. At that moment, I could hear him saying have patience in my head as clear as day! So, I decided to wait it out. My mom and husband were right and we don’t truly NEED a definitive answer right now. I’m fairly peaceful with the decision.

Today is Tuesday, September 5th, and we still aren’t positive whether or not Cynder is pregnant. Her body has certainly changed and offers more clues, but we have to wait. By calculation, she should be due around September 17th. I’ll be sure to fill you guys in on whether she has puppies or not.

 

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Her favorite sleeping spot under the stove.

 

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