Feeding Jesus – The Food Pantry

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In America, we have food pantries to help to feed the poor. What is available? Well, it depends on what people donate. Some also depends on what the people in charge of the pantry buy as staples. So, as a former food pantry volunteer and partaker, I have some suggestions:

  1. Donate what you like to eat. O.k. Do you like to eat canned beats? No? Well, then don’t donate them. Just because someone is poor, it does not mean they have poor taste in food.
  2. Donate non-food items. This is extremely important as while we can get food with our food stamps, we cannot get personal care items like deodorant, shampoo, lady products, laundry detergent, hand soap, body wash, or soap, etc. Please consider this, as it makes life extremely challenging to go to an interview without being able to shave. What kind of job will you be able to get if you don’t smell too fresh? Also, what about toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, and multivitamins?
  3. Also, please be aware that many states charge a pink tax on women’s products, so that, in addition, to the exorbitant cost of tampons/pads, etc. there is also a quite hefty “luxury charge tax” which makes them even more unattainable for the poor. Also, condoms, which primarily get used for birth control and STD prevention, can also be used to protect a wound, since they are waterproof and highly stretchable. Bandages, guaze, and antibacterial ointment are also very helpful.
  4. Consider donating money, as then the people in charge of the food pantry can procure fresh produce and meat for the hungry. This may mean the difference between eating canned chicken and having a roast chicken for dinner. Which would you prefer?

So, please try to put yourself in the shoes of those in need. We don’t want your cast-offs or your three-years-past-date canned asparagus. And yes, when I volunteered at a local food pantry I saw the many-years-past-date items that were donated. It was really disheartening. Just figure if you would love to eat it, so would someone else! We are all human, after all. Some just have better monetary circumstances than others. Really, people, what would Jesus do?

Yummy Homemade Taquitos

Can’t wait to dig in!

Taquitos. Yummmmm. No, not the tiny store bought cardboard numbers that have more carbs than taste! I’m talking about the ones that I make from scratch (well, ok, I didn’t make the corn tortillas from scratch, but give me a break – I have a life!) in my kitchen with a child helper. They are awesome and I’m going to share them with you! You will need:

2 lbs. ground beef

1 Tbsp. dried minced onion (or a small onion finely diced if you have the time)

2 cups water

Enough taco seasoning for two lbs. of meat

6 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

18 corn tortillas

Cooking spray

1/2 to 3/4 cup canola oil

Break up your two lbs. of ground beef into a pot with the water and dried onion. Cook over medium heat until meat is cooked through. Turn off the heat and drain the water (This has the added benefit of draining off a lot of that nasty fat!) Add the taco seasoning and let the flavors meld for about 15 minutes. While the beef and seasoning is melding, spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with your favorite cooking spray.

Stuffing the taquitos!

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Take each tortilla, one at a time and fill with meat mixture (not too full, as you want them to roll!) On top of the meat put in a good sprinkle of cheese. Roll the taquito and place it at the end of your greased 9″ x 13″ pan, using your assistant’s ultra clean hands to hold it in place. Continue with the remainder of the tortillas. We got 12 across the long way of the pan and then 6 in 2 rows the opposite way across the bottom.

My assistant, Child #4, helped with this step.

Drizzle the canola oil over the top to crisp up the tortillas. Sprinkle any extra meat and the rest of the cheese on the top of the taquitos. Bake for 30 minutes. Cheese should be melty and golden brown.

All rolled and drizzled.

Serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole, and/or sour cream. Yummmmmmm! Enjoy!

A Rare Treat – Corndogs

Yummy Homemade Corndogs!

When you think about gluten-free cooking, do you ever think about all the things you can’t eat? Me too. So, I set out to find what I can do about it. What can I do about it? I can find gluten-filled recipes and change them or I can make new ones. One of the recipes that my oldest makes from time to time (to the thrill of her three younger siblings!) is corndogs.

Ever been to a county fair and mourn the fact that you cannot partake in this fried treat? Well, fret no more! Here is what you will need:

18, gluten-free, beef hot dogs

2 cups white rice flour

2 cups corn flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 3/4 cup WHOLE milk

canola oil for frying

Mix rice and corn flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add eggs and whole milk. Stir until well combined. Pour canola oil in a large, deep frying pan and heat it until a bit of batter sizzles when it is dropped in the pan. Prepare a plate to set the corndogs on, once they are cooked, by lining a large plate with 4 – 5 layers of paper towel. Dry off the hot dogs completely. Dip hot dogs in batter on a fork and tap off extra. Gently drop coated dog into the hot oil. Repeat with 3 other hot dogs, turning as they cook to make sure every side is evenly golden brown. Remove from the hot oil with a metal tongs, first allowing the oil to drip off some before setting the dog on your prepared plate. Repeat with the remaining dogs until they are all done. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Comfort Food – Mashed Potatoes

Mmmmmmmmm…yummy!

I have covered vegan mashed potatoes, but never the original version. So, if you are looking for the creamiest, dreamiest mashed potatoes, look no further. Here they are! You will need:

7 – 8 medium potatoes (I used russet)

6 cups of water

1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp. granulated onion

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

Peel, rinse and slice the potatoes thinly. Add into a large pot along with the water. Bring mixture to a boil and then turn down heat to simmer potatoes until fully cooked (about 20 minutes or until a knife goes through potato with no resistance.)

Drain the water from the potato pot and add the butter, sour cream, granulated onion, salt, and pepper. Mash together with a potato masher until well combined and smooth. Enjoy!

Mash well!

Mental Health

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A new schoolyear brings many challenges. Child #3 is entering their second year of high school and there are new things happening. So, I wanted to offer a bit of advice.

Be there for your children. Listen and watch for signs that something isn’t right. Talk to them and let them know that you are always there to listen. You never know how important this is. You may be the reason that your child thrives in this chapter of their life.

There are many pressures coming at kids these days. Bullying, peer pressure, pressure to perform well, etc. These can weigh on their young minds and make options that they would never consider, seem appealing.

As a mother of children who have attempted suicide, you do not want to be in this position. Talk to your kiddos, call someone if you need to for help, and above all be alert. Love them. Pray for them. Listen to them. God bless!

Apparitions – Medjugorje

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I have been hesitant to write this post, although, if I’m being honest, this is the reason I started writing the Apparitions posts in the first place. The difference with this set of apparitions is that not only is it current, it is still happening today. Therefore, it cannot be an officially documented apparition by the Roman Catholic Church. According to Church rules, the apparitions must have ended and then have been reviewed and checked for their veracity.

I am so interested in these apparitions because I was just seven years old when they started; when the Queen of Peace started appearing to six shepherd children in the town of Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Well, actually, when the apparitions started Medjugorje was a small town in Yugoslavia. Since the war and fighting, it is now in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

So, what happened? Our Lady appeared to six children: Ivan, Jakov, Marija, Mirjana, Vicka, and Ivanka starting on June 24, 1981. Her message is one of peace. As always, she is leading the world to her Son. As we know, from previous posts, Mary, the mother of God does not claim any glory for herself, but leads everyone to her son.

She has come with warnings for the world. As we know by current problems in our world, we are in deep doo-doo, so to speak. She is coming to lead us to her Son, to show us the way to Him and our salvation. He is the way, the truth, and the life. She leads us to him.

She has shared with each of the visionaries, ten secrets of things that will happen here on earth in the near future. Some of the secrets are local to the visionaries, but some involve the whole world. She has promised a sign for atheists that cannot be destroyed. She begs us to convert before this sign occurs, as there will be little time afterward.

After she has imparted all ten secrets to any one visionary, she will stop appearing to that visionary on a daily basis. The visionary will only then see Our Lady once a year. Mirjana, despite having received all ten of her secrets, sees Our Lady twice a year, the second to pray for the unbelievers in our world. So far there are only three visionaries left who have not received all ten secrets. They are Marija, Ivan, and Vicka.

Once she stops appearing there will be three warnings given. They will be events on earth and will happen during Mirjana’s lifetime, so within the next forty years or so, if I had to venture a guess. Ten days will be all the time Mirjana will have as a warning. She will tell a priest that she has already chosen, and for the first seven days they will fast and pray together. Then the priest will tell the world (three days before the event) what it is and where it will occur.

Once the first event occurs the second and third won’t be far behind. At this time there will be a great many conversions, as well as being a time of grace. However, no one knows how long this will last, as God’s time is not our time, so it could be extremely short. Hence, Our Lady’s warnings to not wait, but to convert immediately.

The last two secrets are serious and are to do with punishment for the sins of the world. We cannot change the course of these punishments, but we can diminish them by prayer and fasting. Do not forget the power of prayer and fasting. Our Lady warns us of the existence of Satan and his cunning ways to try to get everyone to follow him. Stay strong and follow Our Lady to her Son.

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Since they started, the apparitions have drawn over 40 million people from not just the Roman Catholic Church, but all faiths to see for themselves what God has sent Our Lady to tell us. There have been many miracles, signs, and wonders. I have longed to visit Medjugorje, myself, ever since I was old enough to understand what has been happening there for many years. Unfortunately, I don’t have the means to do so. So, I read the books, study the messages, and pray for all I’m worth. Maybe some day God will allow me to visit.

NOTE: If you are interested in learning more about the apparitions at Medjugorje, please read Wayne Weibel’s books on the subject. Wayne was a Lutheran from America, whom Our Lady called to spread her message to the world. God took him on a wild journey of faith, which you will want to explore for yourself! His books include the following:

A Lutheran Visits Medjugorje

Pray the Rosary

Medjugorje: The Message

Medjugorje: The Mission

The Medjugorje Prayer Book

The Medjugorje Fasting Book

Letters from Medjugorje

A Child Shall Lead Them: Stories of Transformed Young Lives in Medjugorje

The Final Harvest: Medjugorje at the End of the Century

Medjugorje and the Eucharist: How the are Intimately Connected

Are the Medjugorje Apparitions Authentic?

Medjugorje How It Will Change the World, the Last Apparition

Intimate Messages from Heaven: The Story of Holy Love Ministries

The Joy of Medjugorje

Medjugorje: the Last Apparition

Back to School and Cleaning Out the Shed

This week Child #3 went back to high school. Yeah. They were sooooo very excited! Uh-huh! This year, my special needs child is riding the bus. A new experience, to be sure. Last year, their anxiety and depression made that impossible, so a school staffer, or principal, or special needs teacher, or aide got to pick them up and drop them off.

In the morning it went well. The bus was scheduled to stop at our home, since Child #3 could not handle walking away from the house to some undisclosed, blocks away destination to ride the bus. In the afternoon, however, they got on the wrong bus. Luckily, the principal caught it and got them on the right bus to come home. Now they know the bus number and have committed it to memory.

So, today, Child #3 got on the school bus and Children #’s 1, 2, 4, and I got to cleaning out the shed. My lovely (hear the sarcasm) ex-husband left a boatload of crap in there! Our garbage pile for tomorrow is brimming for sure! We cleaned everything out, placed what needed to be thrown out in the garbage, put the stuff that needed to be donated into my car, and cleaned/worked on the rest.

It is so good to get that shed cleaned out! We were having issues with groundhogs (nasty little buggers!) and decided to clean out the shed, redo the floor, and gain some much-needed storage. It didn’t take super long to do the work, but it was heavy, dirty work. We were all exhausted and quite filthy, but we got it done! Yay!

Next, we need to put down some chicken wire, to prevent the little buggers from trying to reside in there, or even visit! Then we are prepared to put down plywood and then flooring over that. Then we will move Child #1’s crap (sorry, stuff) to the shed and out of the house and garage. Yay! Then children #’s 3 & 4 will have more room in their room to actually store their stuff and not Child #1’s stuff!

This is extremely important, as we live in a very small house and we have extremely little space. Therefore, any added space is, indeed, a blessing!

How was your day? Did you get much done? Did you clean, like we did? Maybe you went to school? What work did you do today? Leave your comments down in the comment section to let me know what amusing things you did today!

Mama’s Beef Soup – The Original

Ok…so now I’m hungry again!

For years, this has been the staple soup in our house. I am not a huge fan of chicken soup, as it was about the only way my father would willingly eat any foul. Chicken was cheap, not to mention we raised them (and butchered them, ourselves) so plentiful. My mother only made roast chicken when she was particularly angry at my dad. My sister and I loved roast chicken. If she was only a bit annoyed with him, she would concede some by serving “Spanish rice” with it, a rice based with tomatoes, which I decidedly loved. Otherwise, it was mashed potatoes and gravy.

But…I digress…I was going to speak about my beef soup. I got inspired by a local restaurant that made a very tasty beef vegetable soup. I tried and tried, and finally came up with this recipe:

1 beef bone with extra meat attached

1, 3 lb. chuck roast

1, large, sweet onion cut in half and sliced thinly

6 cups water

Cook on medium-high heat until comes to a boil. Turn it down to low heat and let simmer for several hours. (Mine cooked for about 7 hours!) Pull out the meat and bone and set on a large plate to cool. Turn up the broth to medium-high heat and add the following:

1, 12 oz. package of frozen green beans

1, 12 oz. package of frozen carrot slices

1, 28 oz. can diced tomatoes and juice

4 cups chopped cabbage

4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. granulated onion

1 Tbsp. turmeric

Let this all cook for about 1/2 an hour, or until vegetables are soft. When meat has cooled pull it from any fat/gristle/bone and shred it into bite-sized pieces. Add it back into the pot and heat everything through. Serve and enjoy!

NOTE: Not only is this a very tasty soup, but by cooking it with the beef bone, it adds many nutrients and seems to be very healing to me! I love this soup!

The Balancing Act

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Tonight I was reminded of the delicate balancing act I perform every day. Earlier today I spent some time with Child #2 as Children #’s 1, 3, & 4 stayed home and did chores. It was nice to have some special 1-on-1 time with Child #2 and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

When we returned home, things were relatively calm and I breathed a sigh of relief. No one had argued or fought; all was good. Whew!

Oh, but I spoke too soon! After showers for the twins, an argument broke out. I was unavailable in the bathroom and things escalated. Finally, I heard the back door slam. Uh-oh!

It seems that Child #3 had been trying to annoy the younger (by a minute!) Child #4. Mission accomplished. All that they needed to do was keep talking!

Here is the issue: Child #3 is the “older” twin, but their mind is only around the grade school level. While Child #4 is a full-fledged teen. Yeah. So picture “Big Twin” acting like a child to “Little Twin.” Right. Balance! Balance! Don’t drop anything!

So I ended up talking to both of the twins and reminding them to respect each other and from where they’re each coming. Mmmhmm… that’s what I did tonight!

Some days I feel like a full-fledged member of the circus! Why do you think I pray so much?!! How was your day? Did you end up balancing or did you fall off the high wire? I hope you’re safe.

Trauma

I had a lovely chat with a librarian today. We were discussing many things, but did get around to trauma. How many people have trauma; how no one’s trauma is worse than another’s trauma. It’s all just trauma.

No matter what you have been through, I want to make you aware that you are not alone. Someone out there, probably someone you least expect, shares your pain, if not your exact experience. Trauma is horrible. It is, by it’s very nature, traumatic.

Maybe you had a traumatic childhood. Maybe you were abused. Maybe you had a lovely childhood and then you married an abuser, as I did. Maybe he charmed everyone into thinking that you were insane, gaslighting you into questioning your own mental capabilities.

No matter what it was, you can overcome it, or if not yet, you will. Maybe you feel like you have no strength left. Maybe you can’t imagine ever getting over it. I was in your shoes.

First, I thought, this is all I’ve every known, from childhood on. I married someone who seemed wonderful. I should have known, but I didn’t. I should have seen the pattern. I didn’t see it clearly and then I believed I could love him so much that he would change. Young and stupid.

I tried to leave. Really I did. But then I had to consider my kids. I couldn’t leave them behind. I would rather die. So, finally, in the end, it was my children that foresaw the death of my marriage, but my rebirth. I couldn’t stay. I just couldn’t. Not to have them grow up under his dictatorial and evil rule.

I couldn’t do it anymore. For many, many years I had suffered, asking God for reprieve. Finally, one night, it was the final straw. He came home drunk, again, claiming that the wine he had was for me, though it was already half gone, and he tried to finish the rest. That night he threw Child #1 against our metal front door, as she tried to intervene after Child #2 kicked him in the only place she could think to and he went for her. The night he pulled me off the couch after I had just come home from a nursing home after my hip was shattered and my kneecap cracked in half, and smacked me so hard that my glasses flew off my face and punched me in the stomach for good measure. The night I began to live.

So, you see, I hear you. I see you and I’ve been there. There is no excuse for traumatizing another person. Absolutely not. It is unacceptable and God sees all! And with that, I am able to turn it over to Him. I can move on and truly begin to live!

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