Friday, May 17, 2019
A year ago today would be the last time my Dad and I took a car ride together.
A year ago today, I picked my Dad up at 5 am to take him to the Cleveland Clinic for additional testing on his heart with the hope of preparing him for surgery to relieve the pressure in his head caused by AIDS dementia. (I bloody hate both of those words....)
A year ago today, unbeknownst to me me, time was closing in, and to be honest I really struggled all day today.
So, tonight in order to clear my head, I decided to take Fenna on a walk downtown. On the walk, I was crying and praying, and I said aloud: "God, I need a sign. Lord, I want the sign to be so obvious that there is no doubt. I need to know my dad made it to Heaven, and that he's okay. I would give anything to see him just one more time....."
As Fenna and I approached the Hotel Gallery downtown, I noticed it was "Open Mic" night. I paused at the doorway for a bit to listen to a few artists perform, Fenna made herself comfortable at my feet, and we stood there on the stoop, watching the entertainment take place inside. As I was getting ready to leave, I made eye contact with the owner, gave her a friendly wave and she motioned me to come inside. I motioned there was a dog at my feet, yet she shrugged her shoulders and waved me in even harder. Fenna and I quickly made our way into the Gallery, quickly sat at a table in the back, and were watching the artists perform, when I looked up and there was my Dad!
And I don't mean this man looked a little like my dad, I mean, I legitimately could not tell the difference between that man and my father. It was as if, I was watching my dad on stage perform right before my very eyes. As I sat there astonished, watching this man sing and play the guitar, it was as if the world stopped moving, and God gave me back my Dad for just a short while. I left before the gentleman sang his last song, mainly because I didn't want it to ever end. I couldn't bare to say goodbye, it would have felt like I was loosing my Dad all over again.
I hear this band will be back next week to play during "Open Mic" again.
Perhaps I will go back.
Who knows, perhaps I will become a "groupie"?!
To God and my Dad, I see what you two did here tonight.
Well played boys.
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
One of my biggest heartaches after The Reluctant Farmer and I parted ways was that I sold my Urban Farm. I not only lost the place that cultivated my heart, but in essence I lost my identity when I walked away from everything. You see, my gardens weren't just a hobby. They were a way of life. They were who I was. You don't sustain a family for 6-9 months of the year on the food you grow yourself and not put your entire heart and soul into it. At some point it surpasses being just a hobby and becomes a piece of you.
Ever since The Nurse and I bought our new place, I have had visions of a new garden dancing through my head. I measured, plotted, and planned like we were going into battle. The only problem was, the area I had plotted in my head for a future garden was right smack dab in the center of my backyard, and after already loosing a portion of our yard for 8 months due to regrading and tiling our backyard, I honestly just could not bear to loose anymore grass.
We have a narrow asphalt pad that runs next to our garage, so I thought about gardening in containers, but honestly it was almost an insult to where I had come from and what I was used to.
And then I had a vision......
Behind our garage was a 20ft X 20ft concrete basketball court. We were going to tear it up eventually, but it was going to be a project in the way distant future. The more I stared at that concrete square though, the more my vision came to fruition, and they next thing I knew, the first raised garden box was built, and then the second, and the third, and... and.... and...
I don't have nearly the space I had before, and I miss my chickens and meat rabbits, but it will come. My goal is to work my garden this year, and possibly add some rabbits before winter. I want to put food away, and say goodbye to the grocery store where I can.
This will be a year of learning though, because I have never planted on concrete, but grow where you are planted, right?! Even if I don't eat anything from this garden, having dirt under my fingernails again has returned me to a place I have missed terribly. A place I thought I could forget, yet a place my heart demanded I return to. God, am I grateful to cultivate again!
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Over the last few days, across my Facebook page, my news feed has been dominated by post after post regarding the 2019 General Conference of the United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Church had been meeting this week to decide the future of the UMC and whether or not to uphold previous bans on gay clergy and same-sex weddings. Today they decided to uphold the previous bans, and for a Christian-lesbian (Yes, you can be both...) it really hurt me for a minute, and I wasn't
The pain of the LGBTQ folks across the message boards has been so raw, and so real. You can absolutely feel the pain, sadness and disappointment through the keyboard of the computer. I've wanted to wrap my arms around so many of the hurt and struggling folks who were on these message boards, but it got me to thinking.....
The worst part of being gay for me has always come in the form of organized religion, and I found the church I attend now, when I was the securest I've ever been in my spiritual journey, but at my lowest point with organized religion.
I will never forget the first Sunday I attended church at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church. That day was over 9 years ago. I rolled into that church expecting to be hated upon entering, but there was something magical happening in that place. That Sunday, I sat in the 6th row from the front, on the end, just in case I was going to be beat with a Bible and needed a quick escape route. I came into that church that morning, with a ninja-princess-warrior vibe, and a chip on my shoulder bigger than I had as a hormonal teenager. I DARED God to try and convince me being in church was a good thing. In fact, as I sat there in prayer, I sort of shrugged my shoulders, looked upward towards the Heavens, and said: "You want me here?! Prove you exist in these walls, because until now I have never felt you in a church. I need a sign Lord that I can be a lesbian, a Christian, welcome in a church, and I need it to be blatantly obvious..." (I like to keep my conversations with God super real.)
And then it happened. This bald man, with skinny jeans and glasses walked out on the stage and started to preach. I remember holding my breath. It was as if this man was preaching directly to me. I can't remember the exact sermon that day, but I can remember Pastor Mike Slaughter saying something like this: "People always want to know my views on homosexuality in this church, and I am going to say it again: Everyone is welcome here. Not everyone in this congregation will agree, but if we start looking at one person's sins, then we have to look at everyone's sins, and there is no one here who can say they haven't sinned. If we single out homosexuality, we also have to single out those people who are divorced, all the way down to those people who have had speeding tickets. I expect the homosexual members to abide by the same principles in which the heterosexual members do: I expect them to be faithful in their marriages, tithe 10% and raise their children in the church."
So, I did, and these folks have become my family. They are the wacky, weird, yet fun relatives that save you at boring holiday functions. Like family, we don't always get along. We don't all have the same beliefs. But we have traveled together, served together, laughed together, and cried together. They have been seen me at my best and at my ugliest. And therefore, as people are questioning where they are going after this ruling in the UMC, I have decided I am staying right where I have been.
I'm secure in my relationship with God, and my relationship with Him didn't change yesterday because of some ruling at a conference. My faith is steadfast, He knows my heart, and despite whether a church acknowledges it or not, He made me in His image, exactly how He wanted me to be. I go to church to enhance my spiritual walk, not for validation. I serve, because as we all know we do greater things when we're in community, and I'm blessed that my church welcomes everyone. If you are reading this post and you are struggling with the UMC ruling, I'm going to need you to get up, adjust your crown, and remember exactly whose child you are. He didn't make you to hate you!
Now get out there and go be the hands and feet of Jesus.
God needs all of HIS children today more than ever.
Like seriously, get up and go right now!
Sunday, February 17, 2019
We bought a cow to put in our freezer last Spring, and when talking with the butcher about how we wanted our meat cut, I explained to him I wanted whatever by-products I could obtain (heart, kidneys, liver, tail, etc....) as well. I use these parts of the animal to enhance our dog’s diet and because I like to use as much of the animal as possible. As we were making room for the winter cow, I realized I needed to hurry and do something with the organ meat I had on hand in order to free up freezer space.
So this weekend’s treat recipe is a simple recipe made out of liver. Liver is a nutrient-rich organ meat that can provide your pup with protein, Vitamin-A, and is an excellent source of copper, iron, and Omega 3-6 fatty acids. This recipe is a favorite here with our dogs, and they go nuts for these homemade treats!
For this recipe you will need:
1 lb. of beef liver (chicken, lamb, or pork will work too.) **
6-8 cups of chicken broth
1) Rinse liver in cool water.
2) Fill a large pot with the chicken broth, and bring to a boil.
3) Add the liver to the boiling broth and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until done.
4) Allow the liver to cool.
5) Cut liver in 1/2 inch cubes.
6) Spread on greased, foil lined cookie sheet.
7) Bake at 250. F for 2 hours.
Liver should be stored in the refrigerator for approximately one week, or for about 2 months in the freezer.
Liver should be fed in moderation do the possible overdose of Vitamin A. If you have any questions about how much liver you can feed your dog, please consult your veterinarian.
** Do not use deer liver for this recipe. Where venison is an excellent muscle meat to feed your dog, deer can have “liver flukes” therefore making their liver unsafe for consumption.
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Thursday, February 14, 2019
What I realize now is that Valentine's Day is all about love, and in a world where hate, and negativity seem to be the new norm, we could all use more love!
So today, instead of running from Cupid and his arrows, what if we run towards him with our arms open wide, ready to receive love, and more importantly give love?
Today I encourage all of the Valentine's Day skeptics to go into the world celebrating the love you have for your significant other, family, friends. and anyone else who crosses your path. If you have the chance today, spread love.
Treat that stranger to a cup of coffee.
Buy the roses.
Hold the door.
Hire the baby-sitter.
Thank the people who matter the most to you.
Eat dessert first.
Proclaim your love loudly.
Whatever you do, do it out of love, and spread kindness like glitter today.
Make it rain!
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Today is The Nurse's birthday, and as I reflect, I'm reminded just how much I love her.
To know my Nurse is to know a strong, fierce, talented, independent woman, with a wicked sense of humor and infectious laugh. She has the tenacity of a lion, the heart of a lamb, and the mouth of a sailor.
Truthfully, I could talk about her all day, and all night, and still never run out of things to say about her. Too many words become meaningless though, so I will just leave it at: She's the most amazing woman I have ever met, and I can't imagine not having her in my life.
Happy Birthday to the love of my life, to the woman who holds my heart, and rocks my world.
I love you forever and always.....
Sunday, February 3, 2019
I have a confession to make: I don't cook with ease. What I mean is, I am not a natural in the kitchen, therefore, I follow a recipe to the tee. I've been working on my fear of mistakes in the kitchen, but I have noticed I find myself being freer when I'm cooking for the dogs. When it comes to dog treats or food, I am a rock star! Check out these amazing dog treats I made yesterday. The pups LOVED them!
Ander's Apple Cheddar Dog Treats:
1/2 cup natural applesauce, no sugar added
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of enriched white flour or whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. backing soda
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder (Wonderful antioxidant!)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 medium-sized apple, peeled, chopped and cored
1/4 cup unsalted walnuts, chopped
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. With a teaspoon, drop the dough onto greased cookie sheet, allowing about 1 inch between each treat. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Cookies should be firm to the touch. Let cookies sit 2 hours to harden.
Makes approximately 40 treats.
Remember, because there are no preservatives in these treats, store in an air tight container for up to one week. Freeze if going to keep for a longer period.