Sunday, February 25, 2024

Scripture and a Snapshot - The LORD Comforts His People


Shout for joy, O heavens;
rejoice, O earth;
burst into song, O mountains!
the LORD comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

~Isaiah 49:13~






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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Share Four Somethings - February 2024

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There's almost a week left in the month, but this is the last Saturday, and so I'm taking a little to  share Something Loved, Something Accomplished, Something Improved Upon, and Something Noticed.  I added Something Read and What's Coming Up Soon at the end, because those are bonus features I like and I've become used to sharing those as well.

Something Loved (and/or Disliked)

I have loved seeing some beautiful sunrises and sunsets recently. However, I dislike that I can never take pictures, because I see them on my drive to and from work! I also dislike when it seems like I'm driving directly into the sun on the horizon and I just hope that my retinas won't be singed and that everyone will drive properly so there's no accidents! Last weekend I happened to see this sunset while I was at home and though it wasn't the most spectacular one I've seen, at least I wasn't driving!


At the beginning of the month, we spent a day at the Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, to celebrate our daughter-in-law's birthday. It's a really interesting place, and we loved exploring and discovering all the inventions and innovations that come from this small city.



The cash register was invented, patented, improved, and marketed from Dayton. And the same company, National Cash Register, also gave us bank teller machines and ATMs and modern electronic scanning registers too. And a lot more! Carillon Historical Park also has a train museum and a living history town of historical buildings.






Something Accomplished

We checked another restaurant off our "eat here" list, and tomorrow we'll check off another one since we have plans to go out to lunch with friends. Last weekend I was craving Asian food, so we got takeout from Chi Thai and it was delicious. I tried something completely new too - Ka-Thong Ton. It's these little rice pastry cups filled with chicken and ground peanuts. They were so pretty and tasted really good too.



Something Improved Upon

I don't know that there was a huge improvement of our retirement plan and financial situation, but I feel a lot better about it! We met with the investment advisor for my husband's retirement funds through his work and crunched numbers and made a plan. Since I switched to full time, my retirement plan contributions and benefits begin in March, so that will count as an improvement too. 


Something Noticed

On our walk in Dayton, we noticed this tiny bird's nest, and a huge nest which was home to a Bald Eagle pair raising a family! It wasn't easy to get a decent picture of the eagle, but I tried. We also noticed a Pileated Woodpecker. You don't realize how big they are until you see them!




One week when I was grocery shopping, I noticed this huge empty space where the produce and bakery items usually are. All the movable shelves had been moved out of the way, I guess so that they could polish the floors? 



Something Read

Here are the books I'm currently reading:

A Fatal Illusion by Anna Lee Huber
Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
Wimpy Weak and Woke by John L. Cooper





I recently finished and reviewed:

The Juliet Code by Pepper Basham




All of my reading news is at Just A Second if you're interested.



What's Coming Up Soon?

Next weekend our granddaughter will be sleeping over with us! I'm thinking we'll need to start conserving our energy now so we'll be able to keep up with her!

The following weekend I have private voice instruction session scheduled through the Chorus. I'm excited about it, but I guess a bit nervous too. 

We're starting to make plans for when the Maryland kids visit next and I'm very excited about that!

*********************

Share something in the comments, or share four somethings with the rest of us in the link party!


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Thursday, February 22, 2024

WQ - Improving Health

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I'm participating in the Wednesday Quotes link-up hosted by Marsha at Always Write. This week's prompt is all about body systems and weight. I've been trying to think about how that subject could be inspiring or motivating, and I don't know that I'm particularly inspired. But maybe motivated.

Not that long ago, around the first of the year, a whole lot of people likely decided they were going to lose weight or get fit or do something to improve their health and feel better about their bodies. It's what we do for New Year's, right? If I remember correctly, losing weight remains the number one New Year's resolution. But a lot of people, myself included, find it difficult to stick with the "new year, new me" plan much past the first couple of weeks. 

I know I need to lose weight. And I want to. But honestly? Not badly enough to make big, wholesale changes. I'm generally in good health so there's no big urgency for me to change much. At risk of sounding complacent or like I'm making excuses, I've decided that I don't need to reach that elusive "goal weight" or fit into a certain size dress by a certain date. Shedding excess pounds is good. Improving my health is definitely good. Instead of beating myself up because I enjoy food and don't enjoy jogging, maybe it's okay if I am comfortable and happy with who I am and how I look right now, even while I try to make healthier choices. 

What inspires us to make the lifestyle changes we need to in order to get healthier and work towards a weight goal? It's different things for different people. And this is one area where I think we need more than just inspiration. Or I do, anyway. I need some actual motivation and goals that seem attainable and challenging.

Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live. ~Jim Rohn

If you're not doing what is best for your body, you are the one who loses. ~Julius Erving

 I'm not a huge fan of exercising hard or going to the gym so intense workouts are not likely to work for me. I do like to walk and go on hikes, so that's a better choice. 

Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. ~Thomas Jefferson





I've been so happy that since getting my knee replaced, I'm able to do all the walking and hiking I want again! I won't be doing any running, but it sure feels good to be able to go for a brisk walk without needing a cane! In order to keep motivated, I've been doing The Conqueror Virtual Challenges for a couple years. 



Salads are okay but I like them simple and I'm fussy about salad dressing. I loathe broccoli and cauliflower. I love bread. My favorite way to eat most vegetables is in soup. (Just not cabbage soup. I have a funny story about that, which I'll add at the end of this post!) I think it's important to make a menu plan that one can enjoy and that respects food preferences, otherwise it will be really difficult to stick with for any length of time. 

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat are really good friends. ~Bob Hope

If that isn't the truth, I don't know what is! Ha!

I found this quote from Dr. Phil, and he makes such a good point. I've known people who were so obsessed with losing weight or looking a certain way that it wasn't healthy. I mean, their bodies might have been healthy, but their emotions and their relationships weren't. It's not just losing weight. It can be our hair, our skin, the way we dress, looking as young as possible, whatever. Taking good care of our bodies is very important, but that's not our identity or our worth, and while reaching our beach body goal is wonderful and we should be happy about it . . . it won't actually make us HAPPY in the long run. 

Reality check: you can never, ever use weight loss to solve problems that are not related to your weight. At your goal weight or not, you still have to live with yourself and deal with your problems. You will still have the same husband, the same job, the same kids, and the same life. Losing weight is not a cure for life. ~Phil McGraw

Don't forget about finding health and wholeness in your mind, your relationships, and in your spirit, as well as in your body.

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar in the L'vanon.
Planted in the house of ADONAI,
they will flourish in the courtyards of our God. 
Even in old age they will be vigorous,
still full of sap, still bearing fruit,
proclaiming that ADONAI is upright,
my Rock, in whom there is no wrong.
~Psalm 92:13-16~



Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we may diet. ~Cathy Hopkins

Okay, I promised a story about cabbage soup, so here it is. There was a cabbage soup diet a few years ago, and I felt like it was sort of a fad diet thing, but some of my husband's co-workers had done well with it, and it is just a week or two so he decided he wanted to try it. I agreed to do it as well, because I needed to lose weight and I do like all kinds of soup. I don't like cabbage though, so I was skeptical. But I told my husband, "It's a week. I can do anything for a week, right?" And so I thought. So we made our pot of cabbage soup and got started. Day One I think all you eat is the cabbage soup. I didn't care for it, to put it mildly, but whatever. Day Two you get to eat cabbage soup and something else. I was not enjoying my day at all. On Day Three when my husband came home from work and we were going to eat our cabbage soup for dinner, I lost it. I just started hysterical ugly crying and saying, "I can't do this! I hate cabbage, it's nasty, and it smells bad, and I'm so miserable!" I think that was probably the only time I'd bawled over food since I was a little kid. And my husband just held me and let me cry, and reminded me that I did not have to stay on a diet I hated. So I quit that diet. Like I said, it's really hard to stick to a diet if you can't eat any of your favorite foods and are forcing yourself to eat foods that disgust you!

I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren't in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets. ~Dolly Parton





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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Creative Thinking

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A hodgepodge is a jumble or assortment of things that might not appear to belong together. Joyce at From This Side of the Pond hosts a weekly link-up called Wednesday Hodgepodge that is a little collection of questions for bloggers to answer just for fun and to get to know each other. I always look forward to chatting with friends over coffee, so pour a cup of your favorite and let's visit for a few minutes!


Here are this week's questions - and my answers - for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. What kind of thinker are you - doer (concrete thinking), analyst (analytical and abstract thinking), orator (logical thinking), inventor (imaginative thinking), or original thinker (creative)? What makes you say so? You can try this little quiz (at this link) to help with your answer.

Just looking at the different types didn't help me much, so I did the quiz. I scored highest in imaginative thinking and creative thinking. I guess it makes sense, as I tend to be a visual learner and prefer to write out my own instructions to help me learn or remember things. I'm not particularly good at abstract thinking! 
 
2. Do you own a crock pot, air fryer, and/or instapot? Do you leave said small appliance sitting out? How often do you use it/them? Favorite thing to make in one of these? 
 
I have a crockpot (two, actually) and an instant pot. My three-quart crockpot does have a spot on the counter, but only because I haven't got a good place to stash it in a cupboard. I use it two or three times a month, I suppose. I use the small crockpot and the instant pot much less often. Favorite thing to make . . . hmmm . . . corn pudding and buffalo chicken dip both come to mind. 

3. What's something you hold a strong opinion on that matters not at all in the grand scheme of things?

 Coffee. I feel very strongly about having my coffee in the morning, and I'm a bit of a coffee snob because I like high quality coffee and have a preference for beans from Central and South America. I want real cream for my coffee, and not flavored or sweetened cream either. But when it comes right down to it, coffee is coffee, and I have never turned up my nose at whatever coffee is available when it's brewed by someone other than me. 



4. Describe the view from your window.

 Well, as I'm writing this it's late Tuesday, so it is full dark. The streetlights aren't even working! During the day, I can see some other buildings in the apartment complex and just catch a little glimpse of the highway out beyond the trees. There's a large tree right outside this window.

I took this picture about a year ago, when the tree trimmers were here. 

 

5. Do you have a favorite brand? Explain.
 
Hmm. I'm trying to think what brands I'm particularly loyal to. I have a favorite brand of jeans and I own them in a run of colors, and I'm always watching for them at BJ's (where they are available at a great price). Gloria Vanderbilt's Amanda jeans. I guess I'm quite brand loyal to Tim Horton's since I stop there frequently, and have a collection of their mugs. To a lesser extent, to Starbucks and to Black Rifle coffee.  

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I've had less time for reading lately, and for quite awhile I just haven't felt as inclined to read as I used to. Instead of three or four books going at once, I could only manage one at a time, and I've been reading more slowly. And I'm fine with it; it's just weird for me. Well, several days ago I stumbled across the fact that a book by an author I've enjoyed was currently free for Kindle, so I hopped over to Amazon, 'purchased' the book (can you actually purchase something if it's free?), and started browsing the first few pages. Before I knew it, I was invested and had a hard time putting it down. I finished it in just a couple days. It's not that it was so outstanding compared to anything else I've been reading lately; but somehow I was compelled to read it as fast as I could. Of course . . . there are other books in the series, so now I may have to read those . . .  By the way, the book is The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews. It's still free for Kindle as far as I know. This graphic should link to my review.

 

Because I take my coffee so seriously, I've branded my blogs with coffee themes, and I keep collecting coffee-themed memes.


How do you take your coffee? Leave a comment and let me know!


I'm sharing in this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

From this Side of the Pond

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 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Twenty-Six Lists - Women in American History

This post may contain affiliate links - using affiliate links from A Fresh Cup of Coffee helps continue the coffee breaks and conversation. 


Welcome to Twenty-Six Lists! I hope you'll join me in this simple link-up, where I share a writing prompt for some kind of list, and invite you to share what's on your list. Your list can be very simple or include lots of explanation; short or long; a bullet point list or essay style. Interpret the list prompts however you like, depending on how much time you have to spend, and how much background you'd like to share. 

The prompt for this week's list is Historical Figures, so there are lots of possibilities for focusing your list. Maybe historical figures you'd like to have dinner with, or are inspiring to you, or were from your hometown . . . It's up to you! 

I have to admit I didn't plan this one ahead at all, so I'm really going to make my list in a very impromptu way, and more or less in the other that they occur to me. I decided to list some women from American history that I find especially interesting and if I could, I'd like to meet and get to know them.

Here are some women from history on my list . . .

Historical Figures:
  • Abigail Adams - she is probably my favorite First Lady. I was particularly interested in her after reading some of the letters she and her husband John Adams wrote to each other, and after reading Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts. She struck me as a courageous and intelligent lady, who was a devoted wife and mother, but also was quite outspoken and forward thinking for her time.
  • Mercy Otis Warren - another heroine of the American Revolution! I don't think I'd even heard of her before I read Founding Mothers. She was a political activist, poet, playwright, and pamphleteer. It seemed to me that she played a more important role in the colonial opposition to British rule leading to the Revolution than she's given credit for.
  • Sacagawea - The Lewis & Clark expedition might not have succeeded at all if not for this intelligent and enterprising young woman. During my years as a homeschool mom, I enjoyed teaching about the expedition and was immensely interested in it, and I tried to make sure that Sacagawea was given her due as an essential member of the team. 
  • Sojourner Truth - Speaking of exceptionally strong and brave women! Born into slavery and subjected to beatings and a harsh life, she still raised five children and had the boldness to take her infant daughter and run away in order to find freedom. She became an outspoken advocate for abolition and for civil rights and women's rights. 
  • Hedy Lamarr - This Austrian born actress was known as a film star, but she was also an extremely intelligent scientist and inventor. And apparently we have her to thank, at least in part, for much of our modern technologies such as Bluetooth and WiFi. I really enjoyed her story in The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict.
  • Annie Oakley - Wouldn't she be interesting to visit with? She had a fascinating life and was an unusual talent. 

Abigail Adams

Mrs James Warren (Mercy Otis), by John Singleton Copley

22-16-154-sacagawea

Black Dutch Abolitionist SojournerTruth


 Annie Oakley by Baker's Art Gallery c1880s-crop 

There are so many others I could list, but as I write this it's already getting late and I need to get some other things done. I love history so I'll be interested to see how others answered this list prompt!

How did you decide to approach this list, and who are the historical figures on it? Please share.

The link-up is open for two weeks, with a new prompt every other Tuesday. 

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If you'd like to think further ahead, you can find the list of all prompts for the 2024 Edition of Twenty-Six Lists on A Fresh Cup of Coffee here: Twenty-Six Lists - Accomplishments and Goals

Bonus List: The next few list prompts so you can think ahead!

March 5 - A Feel Better List
March 19 - My Lucky Days
April 2 - Favorite Candies and Sweet Treats
April 16 - Favorite Childhood TV/Games
April 30 - Flowers

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 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat