Terra Cotta Window Planter

Your truth, not someone else's

I created this project at the beginning of summer but you can easily work on it now to take you through the holidays!  It takes a minimal amount of supplies and just time.

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You need an old window without the glass (if you are breaking out the glass yourself, be careful and make sure that you remove the glazing pins).  I already had one that was missing glass.  SCORE!!

Here’s where you can get really creative – paint it whatever color you want.  This one already had some color on it so I just dry brushed some of the best color EVER….TEAL!!

Next, you’ll grab some chicken wire and use a heavy duty stapler to attach it to the back of the frame.  I would recommend using leather gloves to attach the chicken wire as it can be very sharp.  Use caution.

Once that’s attached, you’re going to need some little terra cotta planters.  You can use whatever size you would like based on your personal preference.  I used THESE.  You can also click the pic and it will take you right to the amazon link to purchase them.  You’re gonna get 6 of them for $12.  You may only need 6 depending on the size of your window frame. 

As you can see from the above pic, the pots have a small hole in the bottom.  I ran a thin piece of wire through that hole and onto a link in the chicken wire and then just twisted it to attach it.  Super easy!!

Add some flowers that can withstand the heat in your area (I used Rose Moss) and VIOLA!!!  Hang and enjoy!!!

Affiliate disclosure:  I may be an affiliate for products that I recommend.  If you purchase those through my links, I will earn a commission.  You will not pay more when buying a product through my link.  In fact, oftentimes I am able to negotiate a lower rate (or bonuses) not offered elsewhere.  Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to keep my design and customization prices low and empower more people.  I only recommend products and services that I love myself, so you can rest assured you’re in good hands!

Putting on My Mask

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Here we go again.

Every single morning.

I hate you.

I despise you.

Yet I have to deal with you every…single…day for the rest of my life. You help me have “somewhat” of a normal life. You help me not be “crazy”.  You keep me “happy”.

For the most part.

But I hate taking you

I hate having to depend on you to keep me from drowning in my life challenges that most normal people can deal with on a daily basis.

I hate having my husband look at me some days and say, “have you taken your medicine?” because believe it or not, he knows when I haven’t.  I’m too difficult to deal with.  I’m hard to reason with.  And it’s all stupid.

It’s stupid that I can go to a counselor and talk to her and she thinks I am reasonable, functional person who has empathy for the next person, but that I can exhibit such opposite behavior that it would make anyone question my ability to be “sane.”

I am someone who suffers slightly from “Pollyanna Optimism” and ALSO depression.  How is that even possible?  How can someone ALWAYS look at the bright side of things and yet always feel the negativity on the inside.  Even typing that makes me sound crazy.

Because it is.  It’s not normal.

This has been one hell of a year for me.

And here I am again accepting the reality that I have to deal with these demons for the rest of my life.  It gets debilitating on a daily basis and I get worn down trying to “positive talk” to myself to keep all of the other crap out.  It’s draining.

When things go wrong in my life … which happens quite often … I am right back there…

“There you go again Beth.  That’s your life.  That’s what you do.  You piss people off and don’t know how to function as a normal human being in certain circumstances.  You can keep trying.  You can keep having faith.  But you’ll screw up again.  And you’ll lose another friend.  And maybe another family member.  Because they don’t get you.  And why should they?  You don’t even understand yourself and why you act and say some of the things you do!  Why should you expect anyone else to have empathy and compassion for you?  You’re a screw up and there are so many things in your life that have proven that.  Sure, you have a lot to be thankful for….but there are a lot of sins lurking in the background that you have committed and unfortunately you will never get away from them.  You’ve been a liar,  a cheater, and a repeat sinner in every shape of the word.  That’s who you are.  You’ve just got to deal with it.”

And so the downward spiral of depression goes.

I’m tired.

I’m angry.

Quite honestly, it pisses me off!

Why in the world can’t I just be normal??  Why did God inflict this upon me?!  How can anyone that deals with this crap ever be of a use or positive help to anyone else?  I can’t fix myself.  I have to have a stupid pill “fix” me.

And even that is just a mask.

So… here I go.

Putting my mask on today.

To hide from myself.  And from you.

To keep you from seeing the sins that I drag around daily.

The mask that keeps me from beating myself up too much.

The mask that shields the pain.

The mask that hides me from the world.

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So Goes A New Heart

So GoesA NewHeart
When things become dilapidated, they need repair.  You can drive down any inner-city and see the amount of work that would need to be done in order to rebuild it into a thriving economy.  Things are built and then become old and need repair.  Sometimes that repair comes from the tearing down of the physical structure and rebuilding on a new foundation.
So goes a new heart.  Sometimes we need to build that on a new foundation.
There comes a point is some people’s lives where all of the pain and hurt that they have carried for years comes crashing down on them.  It may be the pain and hurt that you have caused others or that you inflict upon yourself.  You are suddenly able to see what was once clouded by fear and judgement.  This is an awakening.  Put simply, an awakening is a recognition, realization or coming into awareness of something.  Many times, this will happen with a renewal of interest in religion.  Other times, it happens when you are at your weakest and have been broken and finally see the light!  Some people may never have this period of awakening.  Some may gradually see who they want to become and work daily throughout their life to become that person.  For others, that can be a real challenge.  For me, that period of awakening shook me to my core on a level I never thought possible for a human being.
You see it’s easy for people to see small changes in you and accept them.  But when you have a mental breakthrough and your entire being changes, that can be hard for a lot of people to accept.  There are few beliefs on this earthly world that a person can all of a sudden “change for the better.”  Life would be much easier if we were all able to mature at a rate that is considered to be “normal”.  Instead, some people have to experience a single event that completely changes the makeup of their being.
To simply show you the train of thought one may go through, I’ll share this example:
“I’ve hurt people in very selfish ways!”
OLD:  You simply say, “I’m sorry” and move on.  Of course there is some emotion behind the apology but for the most part, you ask for their forgiveness and move to the next thing.  That’s your train of thought.
NEW:  Realizing the amount of hurt you have caused people because of your selfish ways becomes very devastating.  You not only begin accepting and wanting forgiveness for those hurts caused to others, but you begin to realize that the hardest part is forgiving yourself.
I’m gonna be honest; this awakening is freaking scary!!  Giving up control of the life and person that you were born with is the hardest thing to do.  You don’t have a clue what this new person is going to look like and if it will be accepted.  The “old you” wants to stay because it’s the easy thing to do.  Yet in the period of awakening, the spirit in you wants and desires the “new self” more.  If that’s not God hitting you with a 2×4 on the back of your head then I don’t know what it is.  For me, that’s the absolute only explanation.  So you begin to fight the internal struggle of accepting this new person God is creating you to be while also fighting the outside forces from everyone that knows who you’ve always been.  I mean seriously, after 40 years of being “ME” why should I ever expect anyone to think I can be a better me.
People (especially my husband) tell me, “People don’t really change.  That’s who they are at their core.”  But in my darkest hours, I have always fallen back to being a woman of faith and I can tell you that when you give it to God, he can do amazing things.  Now let me tell you…I fail daily at this and it’s not easy.  I need the constant renewal of God’s spirit to work within me.  If he’s not holding my hand every single day and telling me exactly what to do, I fail.  I’ve accepted that.  He says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” -Ezekiel 36:26
You know what sucks though – change like that is perceived as IMPOSSIBLE to the outside world!  It’s no wonder that there is such sin in this world.
But it’s happening RIGHT NOW.  It’s happening in me and I bet it’s happening or will happen in you!  Part of the process of this growth is understanding how to have that tender and responsive heart to those who don’t believe and who question.
My prayer for you is this…for you to understand and have compassion for other hearts and to be able to express your changed heart with truth and honesty.  This is where you begin to repair that dilapidated heart and build it upon a new foundation.
1.   Stop carrying the anger about others and yourself.  Anger feeds misery.  Stop living with that weight on your shoulders.  For whatever reason you have carried it, now it’s time to let it go.
2.  Stop inflicting pain on yourself.  The pain of jealousy, bitterness, loneliness, hatred, and so many more!  Pain is damaging to your heart and soul.
3,  Stop carrying a cloud of sorrow everywhere you go and inflicting it upon others.  Your sorrow isn’t their sorrow to heal.  It’s yours to work through and heal from.
A word of caution – you’re going to fall many times.  But there’s good news!  Jesus loves the sinner and calls him friend.  He raises them up and cleanses them.  He will be your courage and strength through your awakening – because it is through him that you show true love!!
And so goes a new heart – make this a realization of who you are, who you have been, and who you are becoming.  Each one has a purpose in your life.  Embrace it and become the next best you!

Heavenly Vanilla Extract

Here it is ladies…and gents!!  This is by far, THE BEST vanilla extract you will ever use.  So many people think that making homemade anything takes so much time and effort that sometimes it’s easier to just buy premade.  Let me tell you – sometimes, yes; and SOMETIMES, there is nothing better than homemade.

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I make this every year for friends and family and let me tell you, people ask for it when they need more.  You can truly tell the difference when you are baking with it!!  The key to the best vanilla extract is real MADAGASCAR vanilla beans and GOOD vodka!

That’s it!!

If you can’t find high quality Madagascar beans at a local Amish shop. you can go to Amazon and buy THESE which is what I use!  Don’t skimp on the beans – there is a huge difference with cheap versus quality.

Next, you just need a good medium to high-quality vodka.  There is no need to buy top of the line but you will need something more than the base brands.  It’s going to make the vanilla intensely flavorful which is what you want when you are baking and cooking.

I use THESE pint mason jars.  Fill your mason jar with vodka leaving an inch at the top.  Take each vanilla bean and splice it down the middle lengthwise and then cut in half.  This will give you four pieces out of one bean.  You will place 1 1/2 beans (6 splices) into each jar.

Seal it up and put it in a dark cupboard for at least 3 months to steep.  I personally prefer letting them sit for at least 4 months but the concentration will be ready at 3.  I tend to make these in August which means they are ready for gift giving at Christmas!

It’s so easy and takes no time and you will have THE BEST vanilla extract evah!!  Just be warned, if you make it, you will have people knocking at your door when they’re jar is empty ready for a replacement!

Have you made any other extracts?  I am itching to try my hand at making some coconut extract next🙂

 

 

Cracks In Your Soul

Miranda & JASON

Normally in my daily routine of doing yardwork my mind is at ease and all I think about is the music in my ears.   Yesterday, however, I noticed some things in my yard that made me think about things in my life.  Here in Kansas we have some pretty hot summers.  Summers where we can go weeks without any rain.  This lack of rain can take a toll on the landscape around you.  As I was working in my yard, I noticed huge cracks in the grass begging to be watered.  Cracks that have been formed because the surrounding landscape has been depleted from so many of it’s needed resources.

It got me to thinking about how this is synonymous of our life!  How often do you feel like the “cracks” of inadequecies in your life are starting to overtake you.  We all have cracks in our lives where sin and fear sneak in when we don’t take heed and water it and keep it closed.  Cracks from a painful childhood that may creep open when we aren’t careful with how we are addressing current issues in our life.  Cracks from a heartbreak.  Cracks from emotional hurts.  Cracks from the failure to act in faith.  When you start to see these cracks becoming larger in your life, it’s time to take action to take care of them!  When they are ignored, just like in nature, consequences will happen.  In nature, if moisture isn’t applied to dry ground, you will start having foundation issues.  When you let sin and fear and past mistakes take hold of your life, you too, will start having foundation issues.

I know I have lots of REALLY deep cracks that need to be watered and nourished and that it’s going to take a long time to heal those completely.  You are not alone.  You are not the only one who has done a particular wrong.  You can and will write the rest of your life and not be defined by your past mistakes and sins.

“The wound in the place where the light enters.” -Rumi

God uses those cracks to enter our lives and shine.  This is also your time to shine!  When the cracks start to show and things begin to unravel, this is the exact time that thing shift from comfortable to vulnerable.  That can be a scary thing.  But if you know anything about vulnerability, it signals growth.

WATER THOSE CRACKS!

We all have a natural tendency to seek to repair ourselves in different ways.  We can wall ourselves off from the outside world and become shiny sharp-edged people who hurt everything in our path just because we are hurt.  Or we can also use these cracks to show up for support and have a desire for wholeness while maintaining your integrity despite the pain.  We all have one true way to water those cracks though.  Personally, I am guilty of both.  There are so many times, being a sufferer of depression, that I want to close my door to the world and not deal with anything.  It seems like the easy thing to do at the time.  There are also times, that I go all in to work through my weaknesses to maintain the little bit of integrity that I have because deep down, I KNOW that there is a strength greater than me that will help guide and support me.

The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your soul.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.   Isaiah 58:11

LET YOUR LIGHT BE SEEN!

We are all beautiful in our vulnerabilities and there is power in the light that shines through the cracks.

Imagine being a chick cracking out of an egg.  Just like any birth (newness), it is painful and a struggle.  Being that little chick inside the egg, I can almost bet it would be easy to give up.  That little chick doesn’t know what’s on the other side, it just knows that it’s purpose is to be on the outside.  Through the struggle and the times of wanting to give up, the chick starts cracking the egg.  Little by little, light begins to shine through the egg.  That light has POWER because the chick now sees that there is something amazing on the other side!  It’s hard work, but through the cracks, amazing light shines through.  The light of YOUR strength and the light of GOD giving you his strength.  Be a chick and allow these glimpses of light to be seen.  And once you are on the other side, share it!!  Hold someone else’s hand as they stumble through their struggles.  You don’t have to know all the answers.  You just have to know how to be there and support them when they need it most.

“We are all wounded.  But wounds are necessary for his healing light to enter our beings.  Without wounds and failure and frustrations and defeats, there will be no opening for his brilliance to trickle in an invade our lives.  Failures in life are courses with high tuition fees, so I don’t cut classes and miss my lessons: on humility, on patience, on hope, on asking others for help, on listening to God, on trying again and again and again.” -Bo Sanchez

The ULTIMATE Chicken Salad

This is THE salad that you want as a go-to for any of your holiday gatherings this summer.  It’s so light and refreshing.  The simple secret to this recipe…CILANTRO!  Cilantro is one of those herbs that your family and friends either LOVE or HATE.  In all my years of cooking with it, I’ve never found anyone that stands the middle ground.  If you LOVE cilantro, you’re in for a real treat.  This salad is delicious eaten by itself, atop some crackers or on low-carb tortillas, which is how we eat it.

The ULTIMATE Chicken Salad

2 cups of canned or rotisserie chicken

1 TB oil

1 TB red wine vinegar

1 bunch of finely chopped cilantro

1/2 finely chopped red onion

1TB mustard

3/4 cup real mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all together and WOW your family and guests with this SUPER simple, yet AMAZING dish that you are sure to make for years to come.

What’s your favorite go-to recipe for your summer get-togethers?ENJOY!!!