I have had time to ponder “things” this past week as I was sick with a stomach ailment. I believe it was food poisoning, more specifically, salmonella, from all I could read about it based on my symptoms. I will spare you the details of the horrible condition. However, I will tell you that I had severe nausea, abdominal pain that was worse than labor contractions and stomach rumblings that sounded like Mount Vesuvius about to blow. I lived in the bathroom and could not hold down more than clear fluid for three LONG days. Now on day five, I have begun to eat normal food again. It feels wonderful to be alive. The good thing is that I am five pounds lighter. However, that was a terrible way to go about losing weight!
I realize that I have not had many posts with pictures lately and this may seem a little boring. I am thinking of some spring time ideas so bear with me.
I have been challenged by some lessons on purity this past week. I went to see the movie “Old Fashioned”. It was released opposite the very raunchy “Fifty Shades of Grey.” A better title would be “Fifty Shades of Red” to warn the viewer of the embarrassment or amount of blushing that they will experience while watching the film. I didn’t observe it first hand fortunately, but am going on what I have been told. On the flip side, “Old Fashioned” is the story of two people who have had a sordid past but find God and vow to stay pure until marriage. Their relationship is built on their purity commitment. My favorite line in the movie is “The world is full of much greatness but not enough goodness.” This is so true. We need more heroes who are selfless and aren’t seeking accolades for themselves.
I also watched the wedding of Jill Duggar on television last night. I applaud her and her husband Derek for staying pure until marriage. They did not kiss during their engagement but only held hands. They always had chaperones with them while they were together so that they would not succumb to temptation. They have been criticized for their old-fashioned dating philosophies but I think they should be applauded. They are an example to this society of godly standards in premarital purity.
I am proud to be an old-fashioned girl. I am a Christian and try to uphold moral convictions. I was raised to believe that marriage is sacred and we are to respect God, ourselves and our future spouses enough to save ourselves for marriage.
We have had icy weather here in South Carolina the last couple days. It is beautiful to look at sparkly trees and a landscape that is covered with ice. The world outside has become a crystal wonderland. Although breathtaking to look at, it doesn’t take long before it becomes a nuisance to us when we try to resume our normal routines.
Southerners typically don’t do well when it comes to wintry weather. We don’t know how to drive in it. We don’t know how to handle long periods of time when we are cooped up indoors. It’s fun at first to be huddled inside together, watching the precipitation coming down, viewing Netflix movies and cleaning out the cupboards. However, it quickly grows old and begins to lose its charm.
We grow tired of taking the dog out in the cold, bundling up for just a few minutes to brave cold temperatures. It becomes exhausting to put on hats, coats, scarves and boots all of which must come off again when we go back inside. The paraphernalia piles up creating a mess by the back door. The trash also begins to pile up because no one wants to go out in the cold to take it to the trash can outside. The carpet becomes soggy from all the traffic coming in and out from the snow and ice. The house becomes messy and chaotic quickly. We all get cabin fever by day two and are ready to escape the confinement which we relished at first.
In our southern climate, we are conditioned to being outdoor people with exposure to large amounts of sunshine. If we stay inside too long, we start to grumble and complain. There is a lesson in there somewhere that God is trying to teach us. It is a lesson on patience and learning to be content in whatever situation we find ourselves.
Here is Mr. Red Bird. He posed for a picture outside my office window today.
A strange but wonderful thing has been happening at my husband’s office the last few months. Ken has noticed a red bird or cardinal with its mate outside his window on a regular basis. I go in to work twice a week. When I am there I have seen those birds perched in the tree outside my office window next to Ken’s. They sit there for a long time as if they are making sure that I notice them. It is strange because we do not have a bird feeder outside. None of the neighbors have feeders either. It is even more curious because there is a cat that lives under a deserted building next door and he is often on the prowl. Most birds would be scared away by his ominous presence.
There is a legend about the visitation of cardinals. The story goes that if one gets visits from a cardinal, it is a sign that a loved one who has passed away is near in spirit. I lost my daddy almost five years ago. I think of him often when I hear music as he was a classical musician. He was an animal lover too. I would like to think that he is with me when I see God’s beautiful creatures. When red birds appear during the Christmas holidays and near my birthday in February they especially remind me of my daddy who gave me love gifts on those special days. What a comfort it is to think he is with me again and is celebrating my life while he is in heaven.
My husband is one-half Greek. His father came from a Greek family in Massachusetts but his mother was a southern girl from Gaffney, South Carolina. They grew up eating mostly southern dishes in their home since that is what his mother knew how to cook. However, since his dad was an accountant for Greek restaurants in the Charlotte area, they got to taste a wide array of Greek cuisine throughout the years.
Since we have been married, Ken and I have also enjoyed dining at Greek restaurants in our area. It is commonly known that their food is reasonably priced and they have healthy dinner selections on their menus. They usually offer a meat and two vegetables.
I have always been intimidated to try to cook Greek dishes. Mostly, I am unfamiliar with how to prepare foods that include unusual ingredients like grape leaves or squid. However, my husband has always raved about how much he loves dishes which include eggplant.
Recently, I watched a cooking show on making Moussaka, a common Greek dish featuring the beautiful deep purple-skinned vegetable. The chef made the preparation look fairly easy. I decided to give it a try, especially since it is low in carbohydrates and it is on my husband’s diet.
It did take some effort to peel and roast the eggplant. I made a meat sauce with ground meat and added uncommon spices for a non-desert like cinnamon and nutmeg. I added red cooking wine to the meat sauce. I made another cream sauce. Next I layered mozzarella, parmesan cheese, the sauces and the eggplant. This preparation took about 1 1/2 hours. The dish was baked in the oven another hour at 350 degrees.
The test came when I served it for dinner. My husband took a bite. He smiled! He told me it was my best dinner yet! How wonderful to finally achieve something that I never thought was possible. Not only did I attempt my first Greek dish, but according to my husband, it was the best one I ever made. To have a happy husband makes the effort all worthwhile!
Today was a dreary, rainy Monday. I was doing my best to get some shopping done quickly so that I could get back home. I popped into a local Hancock Fabrics store. I was trying to find samples of fabric to match a chair in my bedroom. I want to recover an ottoman to match the chair. There was a lady looking at fabric in the area where I was looking. She was very sweet and friendly. She made sure that the store clerk waited on me before herself. I noticed by the sparkle in her eyes that she was of a “kindred” spirit. You just know. As I was waiting in line to check out, I noticed that another clerk was opening up to her about having to attend a funeral later in the day. She hugged her. The clerk seemed impressed that someone took time to show her that she cared. I made small talk with this dear woman as she got in line behind me. She warmly handed me a card and said that she met with a group of ladies at her house to share scriptures every week.
I left the store feeling that God had blessed me when I had least expected it. He is so good. He knows when we need reminders of His love for us.