Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hot summer months and moth kisses


Beautiful side road I stopped at

Raining in the sky
Greetings from the exceedingly hot, sweltering land from which I live---the desert, where it gets very hot, and very cold and very windy. And that's pretty much it.

 
Outside, it's so humid, so hot, so sticky that everything feels quiet, subdued, and tired, as if the heat is weighing everything down.

The plants dare not grow.
The grass dare not green.
The sky dare not rain.
The people dare not step too far out of the shade.

When I walk by the alfalfa fields, I can smell the plants baking in their own juices. It's a good smell, but a hot smell, the smell of July.

Yes, July. Watermelon, ice cream, popsicles, water fights, heat,  hot dogs, family reunions, and hot toes on hot sand. A month, where the cornfields shoot up. When the weeds suddenly grow taller, when gardens wither, and the grass that was so green in springtime is now brown, and crunchy.
July---a month of reckoning, when the plants you planted in spring, live, or die. A time when everyone is trying to squeeze in as much summer fun as they can before they can't.
July---a month full of wonderfully, delicious puffy clouds, that look like whipped cream, and vivid blue sky behind them. Then in the eveningthere's the tantalizing smell of rain, a few drops hit the ground before they evaporate, and instead of water on the ground, you watch the watercolor clouds, melting in the sky as the sun sets.

Today the sky even looks hot. The blue sky looks gray, and sultry. In the distance I can see some blossoming clouds. Maybe it will rain.
But probably not.
 Maybe we'll get a thunderstorm.
Or maybe not.

So. It's been a while, me writing in here. True.
If every time I thought about writing some tidbit on here counted, then I'd have a blog post everyday---whole journals full of conversations, fragments of thoughts or funny things that happened. 

But I somehow found myself writing in my books, just wanting to get this chapter done, this edit tweaked. 

This week I finished formatting my hard copy, and ebook copy of my last installment of my fantasy book. And yesterday, I ordered the last proof for my book, The Last Summoning. If all looks well when I get it, It will be finally out! 

I have it on pre-release at smashwords. But I officially haven't set a release date, until the book arrives at my house, and I know that it is absolutely ready. 

Yeah, I know it's a far cry from having it out in February like I planned. I had big dreams. But sometimes, when you're working with creative stuff, with words, with art or time limits you put on yourself sometimes have to be taken away, and you have to do the best you can with what you have.

Now I can officially roll up my sleeves and feel justified to work on rewrites for my next book, The Unsame Ones.
Actually, I went to do just that, several times. But, I had this nagging feeling that I was neglecting this blog, and needed to drop by, and say hello before I get too involved writing there, to write here.
So that is what I'm doing.
Dropping by to say hi.
My room is nicely cooled, despite it's hot as heckazoid out there. But the air conditioner is a bit blowy, and a bit noisy. So I have a love, hate relationship with it. It groans, and creaks, and acts very sorry for itself having to do so much work, keeping me cool.  And, believe me, it is a lot of work to keep my hot upstairs room cool.

When I'm sick of the air conditioner blowing on me, and my fingers get cold, I shut it off, until I feel hot again, which doesn't take very long. If I had my druthers, I'd just rather it be cool enough for me to have my window open, and have the fresh air blow into my room.

Ah, but alas, windows open around here are very dangerous, especially if they have no screens. Which my didn't for a very long time, until I got creative, and made one for my window.
Why are they dangerous, you ask?
I'll tell you.
Because.
Because of the the moths.
Oh, the moths.
They have been a plague this year.
Terrible.
Sticky.
Gross creatures.
I can't stand them.
At the start of the summer if a door or a window was left open just a crack, in they'd come in torrents, swirls, and dusty clouds. In they'd come, to bounce and flutter, and flap against the light.
And if the lights were flicked off, then they'd migrate to the computer screen, and if the computer screen was flicked off, then it was the TV they'd haunt.

Oh, the nasty little boogers.
How I loath them.

They hide in the flowerpots by the door in the day time, and any place they can get themselves into, folded carefully into the doorframes, only to fall out when you open the door, and push into the house like gray, fluttery vapors behind your back, unwelcome as smelly smoke.
 Yug.
How I dislike them.
For so many reasons!
They wake me up at night---buzz into me when I'm sleeping soundest.
They make me sneeze, and my nose swell up.
They poop long brown lines all over the window.
They attack you, seriously! The other night, one bumped into me, and decided to crawl into my hair. I brushed it out, but still it came at me.
This was war. 
I watched for it. I waited until it landed. 
I grabbed the nearest object, and smacked it against the wall.
Down went the moth leaving a powdery film on the wall, next to the spot where I had just recently smashed a giant spider, and it's legs stuck to the wall.
 I had won.
But can one win against torrents of moths?
I don't know.
I tried putting a flashlight over a bowl of water, to see if the moths would come to the light, and drown in the dish.
I waited, and watched.
But it didn't work.
They knew somehow this light was different. So they did not come. Not a one.
The only thing that works against them is a flyswatter. And we use flyswatters quite regularly on the critters.Especially in the bathroom, because that's where all the moths seeping into the house eventually to end up. About once a week, I sweep up the floor littered in moths and moth dust. 

Ahchooo!!!

Sneeze!

Sniff..

Curse of the moths. Did I ever tell you that I'm allergic to them?

Too bad moth dust wasn't something like gold, or glitter, or valuable in some way. Too bad it didn't make you fly. If this was the case, I think I would be a pretty wealthy woman.

Bottled moth dust. 1,000 a jar. Or better yet. Bottled moths.
Think of a happy thought, and away you go! Just sprinkle a little moth dust on you.

The way they scatter their dust in our house, bumping into the lights, my whole family would be floating all the time.

For all my loathing of the dirty beasties, my cute little niece makes up for it in her love of them.  She likes to pick up the moths and hold them and look at their wings, legs and eyes. She calls them "Moffins." She squeals, and laughs, and says, "Look, A Moffin, a Moffin!"
            The other day I was tending her, and she found a dead moth. So I picked it up for her and let her hold the moffin. I turned my attention to something else, and when I gazed back at my nice, she was licking her lips, making a face with powdery, gray, mossy, moth dust stuck to her tongue, with the moth crumpled in her fist. 
           I thought she had eaten the wings, and decided that it didn't taste so great.
Later, when I was telling her mom of this event, I found out, that my niece wasn't trying to eat it, I guess she likes to kiss them.
            Yum. 
         Moth kisses. 

Now that I've rambled on about moths, which I had no intention of doing, I'm thinking I better just stop, before I start on about the spiders that have moved in and have been made plentiful from the bounty of moths. I think I'll just leave this post where it i---random and weird as it seems.

            I hope your summer has been filled with---not moths, with happy moments and good adventures. 

Cheers,
Steph

Below are some pictures I felt like sharing with ya all, mostly from the last months or so.
Can you spot the bird. My sister and I were in the store when we spotted a bird that had flown in. We told someone about it, and they were very aware of it. Poor little thing.  I hope they were able to get it back out.

My niece can braid hair like a pro

On our way back from a trip, my mom and I stopped to take pictures of this forgotten piece of country, with at tree growing out of a barrel.



One of my cute little nieces

Groucho Marx


Love old barns. Wish this one was mine. :)


My sister and I built this saddle holder. It doesn't look like much, but I'm pretty proud of it.

My sister's new baby, Trooper.

Mommy and baby

Bunny cat

I went to stick my hand in this nest to check for eggs and was surprised to find this little critter, Charlotte, weaving her magic web over it. 

Then I found several more Charlottes

And another one. Actually, I think they are called Ogre spiders.

My niece and I decided to check out a favorite nesting spot of our rogue hen Houdini, that keeps getting out.  

About 40 eggs in all.

Another golden hour


Reflections

Fun patterns

Raining in the sky

So I was wading in this pool with my niece until I came across these leechy looking things hugging the rocks.
 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fermented Cod Liver Oil. A humble overlooked superfood. Zap the flu before you get it!



I've been  meaning to do this post for many moons now.

But it never gets done. So I decided I just better sit down and fire it out. I figured that something this powerful and curative, something that has actually helped me be healthier and feel better could be one of the most important things I could share with you---even if it helps just one person, my time won't be wasted.



First, I want to start off by stating that I am not a doctor, and I am not a health professional. Any information I have to share is not meant to be a substitute for real medical care. If you have serious health problems, consult your doctor for guidance.


Thus saying, things that help me, and my body type, might not help you. So take all this info with that in mind.

That disclaimer said, we'll get on with business.



I'm an artist, and as such I've learned that a lot of good things, information, ideas, and even healthy cures for myself have come from unlikely sources, places a lot of people don't bother looking. 

While doing health research, I stumbled across a lot of articles touting fermented Cod liver oil/with the special mix of butter oil, as pretty much the elixir of life---something we all need for optimum health, strong bones, especially teeth.



That really caught my attention.

Fermented cod liver oil for healthy teeth and bones? 
That's really kind of weird. 
Not to mention it sounds super nasty, like eating bat poop or something. 
I thought normal cod liver oil tasted bad, but in my mind, fermented cod liver oil, had to be one of the worst combinations ever.

Bluck.


Then after reading the price of this fermented fishy oil, my next thought was, "you've got to be kidding. That's a pretty penny for nasty stuff. Who would buy that? Fifty bucks?"



No way am I going to pay that much for that.



So the months went by, and the days. And I kept on finding myself gleaning more information about this fermented Cod liver oil. My curiosity began to grow.

Slowly, the idea of eating it didn't seem so bad, after all, the health benefits seemed pretty nice. 

 

The thing that kept me going back to it was the fact that all the sources seemed to mention that it was a huge factor in order to have healthy teeth. 

I wanted healthy teeth for many reasons.

If you know me, I seriously have this terrible aversion to dentists, and over my life, it seems, no matter how much I try to take care of my teeth, I always seem to need dental work. 

So the promise of having my teeth be stronger was really nice.

 Thus I dug some more.

The reason why they say fermented cod liver oil is better than the unfermented kind, is that it is not possessed via heat. Before, I guess the cod liver oil was all fermented in barrels over a process of time, via lacto ferments---not rotting. But now, due to the way they now manufacture it, they kill off most of the vitamins. Which is a bummer, because there goes the main health benefits of even taking most of the cod liver oils that are now on the market.



Thus the reason why the real fermented kind is so expensive. Hardly anybody processes it the old fashioned way. From my research, the key factors why fermented cod liver oil is so good, is that it has loads of omega three oils, high levels of absorbable vitamin D, which your body needs, and also vitamin A, and vitamin K, all which work together to make your body strong and healthy.



After learning all this and much more, I ordered my first bottle, the chocolate flavored kind, not sure what to expect, only that it would probably be gross.



Blue pastures fermented Cod liver oil/butter oil, is what I bought. It's pretty much the only fermented cod liver oil out there that I can find. But I'm sure there are other brands. 


When it came, I opened it and peered into the bottle. I was half expecting it to bubble, and eurp up a viperous steam. 
But it was very humble, and harmless seeming.

It was a dark brown color, and smelled fishy and chocolaty.

I got a spoon, and ate a half a teaspoon. (The recommended dosage)



It didn't taste half as bad as the regular cod liver oil my mom sometimes bought.And I didn't burp it up all day, which was a plus. It wasn't so bad. It was more digestible to me than the stuff I had been taking. I was kind of excited.

I did more research, and got even more excited. I learned more about vitamin A, D, and K and how you need it to be healthy.

I told my whole family about it.

I ditched taking vitamin D pills, and just took the fermented cod liver oil instead.

Then, after a while, my mom, my sister, and my brother started all taking it.



We bought some more, this time, instead of chocolate flavor, it was cinnamon tingle. It was a lighter brown-honey color, and it tasted even better than the chocolate in my opinion.




I didn't notice any huge benefit at first, then as the months went by I noticed that my sprouting zits that seemed to come every month disappeared considerably. They aren't utterly gone, mind you, but it is helping. Plus, it makes my skin feel good from the inside out, softer. Another thing to mention that some people recommend it as a sun screen. (kinda fishy though) 

(random ditbit) I guess when you eat bad oils, like hydrogenated vegetable oil, and margarine,  and stuff like that, you get sun burned easier, because the sun oxidizes the free radicals, and causes problems.  My point, eat good oils for happy skin.


Okay. Back to the fermented cod liver oil experiment. 
While taking it into the winter months when everybody was getting colds, and everybody was sneezing, and coughing, and snorting, we didn't get sick.

I didn't get one cold last winter, at least that I can remember.

My sister got sniffles for a day, and that was about it.

Usually in April, we all get colds like clockwork, especially my mom, ever since I can remember. And this year.

Nothing.

We were spared.

I can't think of a year we didn't get sick at least a couple times. 
This was a real record for us. 

In my book, that fact alone is pretty amazing. We've been around a lot of coughing, snot-ridden kids, and adults. And still we've been okay. Maybe it's a fluke. Maybe I'll suddenly get sick tomorrow. Maybe it has nothing to do with the fermented cod liver oil.

But maybe it does. Maybe it also has something to do with the fact that we've been eating a lot of yummy fermented foods as well, and cutting GMO foods out of our diet.

Maybe it's all the above.

Maybe we'll never really know.

But I really think there's something to it. 
I'm not sure how it's affected my teeth, but I'm hoping that it's making them stronger.

I think it's worth continuing the experiment. Meanwhile, I thought I'd drop by and tell you about it.

All my growing up life I've been plagued with terrible sinus infections, and colds.

Now that I've tried to take charge of my health, and started looking for answers, my health has improved so much that I can't help but give a shout out to you, and let you know that there is hope.



I truly believe that our bodys can heal themselves if you cut out the poisons, and start giving them the nutrients they need.

If I had kids, I'd feed them this stuff every day just to keep their bodies strong, and their immune system fighting all the germs that surround them.



Avoiding the flu, that alone, in my book, is something worth taking cod liver oil for---not to mention the loads of other health benefits. It's super good for your skin, hair, and bones. 


I want to shout out to everybody, and let everybody know that this stuff is awesome!

EAT---your fermented cod liver oil. I don't care if you can't stand the taste. Eat it anyway!



This is a painless way to keep your immune system up and running especially in the winter months when you don't get much sun, and when your Vitamin D levels are low.

It's good for your whole body.

It's good for your kids.

It's good for your teeth.

For those of you who think you just can't stomach it, or don't even want to taste it, there is hope for you too. They have it in capsule form, so not to worry.



They also have it so you can just buy the fermented cod liver oil without the butter oil.

First we bought it with the butter oil. But now we buy the butter oil separate from the fermented cod liver oil because it's cheaper that way.



They recommend taking a half a teaspoon of the fermented cod liver oil/butter oil.
Combo butter oil and fermented cod liver oil.


Butter oil aka GHEE, it tastes like Carmel butter, and is super yummy
Also, note you can take too much. I think three tablespoons is what they call an overdose. It can be hard on your liver if you take too much, so take it sparingly. Besides it's expensive anyway, so you want it to last.



Also some really good information about fermented cod liver oil can be found via these links. There's a lot more information out there on it, if you are wanting to learn more, just do a goggle search---Health benefits of fermented cod liver oil---and you'll have your reading cut out for you.



You can buy FCLO (fermented cod liver oil) via this link. Note that there are other places you can buy it.  There are lots of places you can buy the butter oil too, aka GHEE. You can also shop around to find the best deal. But it's pretty much expensive everywhere ya go.



Fermented cod liver oil, superfood. 




The basics



How fermented cod liver oil is made




How much to take.




How fermented cod liver oil is an important factor if you want to have beautiful skin




Also a fantastic book that changed the way that I look at food, is a book by Sally Fallon, called Nourishing Traditions. I think every household should own this book. It talks a lot about the importance of fermented foods, and the significance of going back to the way our ancestors prepared food before refrigeration.



Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fragments of Sunlight



I can feel a delicious breeze blowing through my window, warm, but cool, comforting, everything a breeze should be.

All the flowering trees seemed to have sprung leaves overnight, thus casting the house in shadow. The fields are green, the grass too.
It's warm.

The view outside my window
At least for now. Tomorrow it might be a different story.

My mood feels entwined with the lazy, carefree feeling of today. I feel warm, soft, thoughtful, contemplative, open, in the rhythm, awake to a higher power that can bring all good green things from darkness into light.  

The weeks have passed by so fast,  I'm still catching up to the now. There's a stillness in the air today, like being in the eye of a storm. It's so calm, I sigh, and breathe in, hoping to absorb every drop of tranquility. I want to bottle up days like these, store them to be opened, and released on busy days when I can't hear myself think, and I need a moment of sunlight, fresh air, and perspective to keep me going.

Perhaps in a stale church meeting, on a busy street, in the store, driving, or working, I could open a bottle of spring, and sunshine, and light and air would surge through the room and everyone would wake up.



If only one could bottle up such days....

Sigh...


I've been sitting here, listening to the internet radio pandora as I write. Most of the songs I listen to are celtic sounding songs, jazzed up violins, and movie soundtracks. It helps me feel, and get more into the mood of whatever it is I'm writing. But for some reason Pandora keeps on playing the National anthems of  the world. No other music can irritate me so much.

Good feelings gone....instantly. You want stale air, that music is it.

 Every time I find myself fully engrossed writing, there comes to my ears a horrid sound, loud trumpets trumpeting, plastic sounding drums drumming, and flutes tooting, farting away as they howl out some obnoxious-sounding tune. Almost every anthem I have heard is irritating, annoying, and ever so repetitive. I'm sorry if you have a special attachment to your country's anthem. But seriously? A steady diet of such music could wither any creative's brain.  If you want to break the muse, listen to National anthems. It short circuits my thought processes.

I have no idea how that horrid music ended up on my playing cue, but I figure after a year of clicking dislike there should be an end to it? How many national anthems there are anyway? Probably too many to count.

On a completely different note,  
I'm writing this on my brand new computer, a computer my brother built for me. He's a whiz at computers. I couldn't believe how fast he built it. In just a few days he had it up and running for me. I'm so glad for it.  It's soooo much better than my old laptop. It's much more smarter, with memory to spare. I think I'll name it Vader-Zop, it looks very Star Wars-ish, with gray shiny armor everywhere.  It even breathes like Vader, letting everyone in the room know it's alive as its loud noisy fans glow blue and red, ready for me to...write?  





Vader Zop

So, since I'm doing random. I have to show you this funny thing a company sent me in the mail.
My very own pen flashlight, with my publishing name on it. Notice the PUBLISHIN...
It made me smile. They must know the way we talk in this part of the country.
Photo: Look what some company sent me. My very own pen with a flashlight, :) lol. Publishin. :)

On another random note, I'm still working on my Unsame One's book while waiting my edits for my last book in my fantasy series to come in. I know it's been a long time. But authors must learn to be patient. I, most of all. And it's hard. 

Everybody wants to know how long this next book is going to be. But that is not something I can answer.
It ends up being however long it wants to be. I never really know until I'm finished. 





So, I've been thinking back to my previous weeks blog posts trying to remember how I've spent my time, what I've done, what I'm doing, where I've gone, and what little fragment of my life and last weeks experiences would be the most important to share with you.

The truth is, I have no idea what that would be.

The ego in me wants to whip out some grand experience, some flashy story, something unique, amazing, and astonishing. 


But most of life is not flashy, not astonishing, not earth-shattering. The author in me wishes it was.
Yet the author in me has also learned that in the small things, even mundane, do unique patterns appear. You just need to look, and be aware.

Today my mom told me about a nearly blind lady who told a story about herself seeing this strange brown shape on the floor that everyone was passing by, and nobody stopped to pick it up. No body cared for it. She wondered why nobody noticed it. Why they were walking on as if they didn't see it on the floor at all. So when everybody had left, she paused to pick it up. But she found that the strange square brown shape was sunlight. Sunlight that had been shining through the window onto the floor.
 
Maybe we are all blind, and only when we stop and bend over to examine what we cannot clearly see, do we pick up bits of sunlight. Sunlight that everyone does not see.

I want to be such a person who pauses to pick up the sunlight. I know it's hard to find sometimes, nealry impossible with so many shadows about---so much depression, so many gloomy headlines, so many bumps in the road, flat tires, flooded toilets, illnesses, and tragedies.

But there are fragments of sunlight to be had everywhere. Everyday people pass by never pausing to pick them up.  You and I have an amazing chance to be gleaners of light. And with those fragments of light we can light the gloomy corridors of any windowless room.

As an author I must remember to hold my gleaners basket aloft everywhere I go. To pause, examine, pick, savor, and save for later these pieces of sunlight I gather.
I reach out here, bend down there, look over there, and pick a word, a thought an idea, a look, and hold it.
The funny picture someone drew.
My little nephew sucking on the hummingbird feeder trying to get the juice out.
The way my sister's old, blind dog suddenly perks up, bucks, leaps and frolics in the grass as if she just found a fairy that granted her just a moment's youth as a puppy again.
The warmth of my mother's shoulder and the funny way she snores as we watch a movie and she falls to sleep.
The bucket of strange dead bugs by the milking stand.
The funny shapes and shadows the sun makes on the wall.
The rooster, I dubbed Jacky Chan, who flew five feet into the air surging towards me ready to gouge my eyes, and the way I caught him mid air with the rake before he got me.
Hula hooping while I stand in cold irrigation water on my lawn, and the feeling of aliveness it gives to me.
Running on my treadmill until my body is covered in sweat, and I feel strong. 
Listening as my mom tells me a story of an old house on my street, and of the forgotten people who once lived there.
A smoothed polished rock.
The smell of wet, rich earth.
Unearthing worms, and the joy it gives my nieces and nephews.
Picking up junk by the spillway, and the treasures and bizarre objects we find as we clean up the shoreline.  Tin cans, old shotgun shells, dirty diapers, decaying computers, a back a fridge, old couch cushions, a pair of ear buds, a needle, an entire outfit of clothes, underwear, fishing bubbles, a pack of unopened gram crackers, and an old wooden gate that becomes someone's craft project. 
The bird's egg I found in the hammock, and brought in the house only to be smashed by a bag of chips.
A pink rose a random person handed to me.
Valuing freedom.
Discovering I still have ice cream in the freezer. 
Being brave when I thought I might not.
Listening to a mocking bird's clear, crisp call in the dead of night.
Watching an adults face light up as she tries something new.
Keeping a promise.
The feeling of new shoes, and fresh socks.
Taking a bath after working hard all day.
The funny face someone makes as they tell you a story.
A weird word my sister and I make up. 
Listening to the crickets symphony in the evening.
Watering a parched lawn and watching it green before your eyes.
Coming home after a long day away. 
Trying to spray weeds with organic spray only to find out that vinegar and salt just makes them look greener.
The yellow bird that took a drink at our tap. 
A good cry, and someone to listen to you.
 Planting raspberries, and mulching flowerbeds.
Watching my niece try to catch little yellow butterflies.
 Walking along the road and smelling the smell of each house---fabric softener at one house, grape deodorant spray at another, smoke, burn barrels, and someones barbecue. 
A good nap.
An authentic laugh and smile.
Real people who really care.
The feeling of completion. 
A kind word. 
A strand of music that speaks to you.
The timeless, transcendent feeling of the muse as I write.
The sound of the keyboard as I type, and the feeling that a story inside my head is slowly unfolding.
A random moment in the care center when I stop and an old neighbor with alzheimers talks to me randomly about bulldozers, the army, and many other disjointed  thoughts forever, and all the while I'm are thinking I need to go, I have a deadline, and then he suddenly looks behind you, his eyes lighting up as if he sees someone behind you, and then tells your sister standing next to you that, she needs to look out for that girl, her family needs to stand behind her. An encouraging word goes a long way. Then as if the moment of coherent thought passes, he rambles on. But you remember.
An encouraging word goes a long way.
Family needs to stick together.
Watch out for each other.

And with each fragment of light you and I gather, the life you thought was empty, dark, dull, and boring, is pieced together like a stained glass window, every piece a different hue, branching out like a tree, creating patterns that you never expected.

 Fragments of sunlight rising everyday for us to catch, release and share.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Passover and the Blood Moon, and the old lady who swallowed the fly.

Today has been catch up on blog post day. And power off day. The power has gone off about four times while trying to catch up on blog posts. 

A sane person would have given up by now. I know. One blog post would suffice. Why not just do one blog post a week?

Yes. I agree that is a very good idea. One practice I need to take up consistently.
But the truth is, life gets in the way, and when I have a free day, I'll take it. The weather outside is drappy, skulky, windy, and whirly, hence the power outages, hence my succession of blog postings. 

 Hence, the fact that I'm tired of working outside, hence I have a lot of catching up to do. Hence, and henceforth and so forth, and whatnot. Whatever....

I'm in an odd mood.
Today I passed by a shelf in my house with a buzzing wrapper. I leaned down, and to my surprise I saw a very large fly trapped between the folds of an open package of gram-crackers. 

Irritated by the buzzing bug, I picked up the wrapper, only to scream out in horror. Not only was there a fly trapped between the plastic, but a clever great big spider had found his home there, waiting, apparently for the fly. I was so startled that I dropped the package, and let the gram crackers, the spider and the fly drop where they may. Then I proceeded to smash the spider, and sweep up the crushed gram crackers. 

Then, later, joking with my mom, I told her about the incident, and how I felt sort of bad that I had smashed the spider. After all, the spider had been very clever hiding there to catch the fly. 

"Feel bad?" my mom asked. "Why? I'm glad you mashed him. If you hadn't, I would have probably nearly eaten him." 

My eyes lit up upon thinking up something witty. "I how know," I said, "why the old lady swallowed the fly, and the spider." 

We both laughed. 

On a different note.
Very different. I wanted to share with you the pictures of the blood moon I saw last week.
  I believe it was April 14 or 15, or somewhere inbetween, as 12ish and 1ish in the morning are more inbetween places than actual days to me.

I heard that the eclipse was going to start at varying times. But I wasn't quite sure which. 
So I picked about 2:00 Am for a good wake up time, and set my alarm clock accordingly. 

But as chance would have it I woke up around twelve, and poked my head outside. 
The moon was shining like crazy. It was absolutely beautiful.  It was shining so white, so silvery bright that you could walk around with out the aide of a flashlight and watch your own shadow, like you were standing in front of a powerful lamp.

But it still looked like the moon, despite its amazing brightness. 
It was not orange, or red, or black.

Disappointed, I went back in the house and waited about 20 minutes, then peeked back outside. 
Ah, hah. I saw it. There was a dark shadow subtly crossing its surface. I was so excited that I ran into the house and tried waking everybody up. 

My mom was the only one alive enough to come and moon watch with me. 
We both stood and stared, watching as the shadow slowly covered the moon. 

But it was slow.
Very slow. And we got very cold. 
So we went inside and sat in the dark for a little while, and then peeked out again. 

Still looked about the same. Just a bit more shadow. But it was getting closer.

Not wanting to go to bed and miss it, we stuck in a movie and watched it for a bit, and then went back outside. 
The instant I went outside I noticed a definite change in lighting. 
It was dark. No silvery beams shown down to light our path. 
No long shadows. 
Darkness. It was spooky.
Ah hah. IT, the moon was almost gone.
We stared up and watched as it its silver beams slowly vanished. 

Then bit by bit, it turned orange, and then a rust-colored red. The stars behind it were brilliant. The sky beautiful. The moon itself was an eery orb of orange-red, an stirring and beautiful scene. 
I stayed out watching it long after my mom went in, thinking. 

Somehow the mood of the night, the once brilliant night turned somber, and the moon staring up at me, red, and dismal, I had a lot of thoughts running through my head. 

Tonight was the night of the passover. According to what I've heard, and correct me if I'm wrong, but every blood moon has happened on a Jewish holiday. Which I find quite fascinating.
A lot of people read a lot of doom and gloom into it. 
But there will be four this year. 
I for one, am not sure what to think. Only that it was beautiful and thought provoking. 
To me, it reminded me of the children of Israel, and the meaning of the passover.
The once bright night was darkened by the angel of death, and those who had the blood of a lamb marking their doors were spared. 

That is the reminder I gleaned from the blood moon. 
The words of a Hebraic Jewish roots Christan preacher, named Bill Cloud came to my mind----The angel of death passed the children of Israel by, because Christ passed over them, like a hen covering her chicks.  That is why it is called the passover.

 That was the gist of what he said. Not an exact quote. But I really liked what he said. And I don't think I've heard it put that way so beautifully. 
 
What was the blood moon like?
It was a reminder, that whatever the future holds, blood moons, wars, famines, that the Lord is in control. It is him we should put our trust. And that the darkness that is coming upon the world can not harm us if we look up to whence our salvation comes.

The muse of chocolate cake

(A blog post I started at the end of March) And decided to publish today. Kinda backwards. I know.

 
Out my window the last beams of the sun are shining down on the slowly greening alfalfa fields and brown grasses, bathing them in a warm glow. It's the kind of glow that bespeaks of safety, of peace, of stillness, and a deep warmth.

But it's anything but warm. That is the harsh deception of such golden glowing rays. To look out the window one might think to run outside and greet the sun.

I have heard this call many times these past weeks, and I have ran to greet the sun only to be blown back inside by the frigid air, jaded by the deception of spring.

The sky is blue, laced with puffy clouds, that change shape, color, and mood just as quickly as the weather does. One minute there's freezing wind, shadowlands,  and cold. The next moment there is light, warmth, sun, and calm.
Then just as you settle into the warmth, the sun is covered in clouds, and a blustering wind blasts you from the north, trying to shoo you back inside.

Mother nature has a hard time making up is mind as I do.
So I guess I shouldn't judge it so harshly.

Here, the birth pangs of a new season are always laden with such winds, and turbulent extremes in hot and cold, wet, and dry. It's as if winter is mixing with spring, battling it out.

Who the victor will be?
Frost, or sun?
The delicate bud, or the blast of the cold wind?

Sometimes the cold wind wins out, and takes the swelling buds away with it as soon as they open.
Sometimes, the frost comes and freezes the new bulbs before they've had a chance to even open.

But other times, the good times, the cold gently let's go, and spring is given a fare chance to thrive.
I hope that will be the story of this new season.

Seasons in nature, in life, in our own separate lives and our own unique stories.

It seems everywhere you look there's a new discovery made, a new invention created.

 Everywhere you look is a story. An opportunity to give meaning, to create a song, a subtle nudge of inspiration.

All we need to is be open to those gentile nudges.

A funny thing happened today. I was just settling into the idea of dropping by and writing a blog post when my plans were drawn off course by my mom's strong desire for a chocolate cake.

This would be the 3rd chocolate cake I've made in two weeks. What were we celebrating?
 A day. Being a live. Enjoying good food. Protesting the fact that we've given up buying most junk food, and are coming up with creative ways making our own new, more tastier junk food.

Yeah. Lots of butter. Lots of chocolate. But good for the soul. This recipe is one that turns out every time.
Super good.
Super moist.
Not too sweet.
It's a cake that tastes like a brownie.
And it's something we can't seem to get enough off.

 Who would have thought that making a chocolate cake would be good for the muse, but it was. While I was mixing ingredients, my sister sat on the couch strumming her bass ukulele that sounds more like a guitar.

In between cracking eggs, and measuring flour, and the strumming of the uklelee, my sister and I started singing random words. It started out really silly. We started singing ABC song to the tune of her strumming. We added trills, and harmony, in-between beats, and random fun sounds. I picked up a empty paper towel roll and sang into it. My mom started dancing and humming. We had a regular band going. Then the song arched and changed into something really cool. We were singing a chorus, and it sounded good, and right, with harmony, and words that came freely. We were in the zone.

That was a nice feeling. It was a good song, a song we entitled. You were born to be Free. But now its title has changed to Waking up the dead, or Resurrection.
We didn't have the song all down. But we knew what we wanted to say. After I had the cake in the oven, my sister and went and brainstormed, writing random words, and thoughts down as they came.

That was then, about two weeks ago, and the song has morphed into a song about the resurrection. A song of second chances, a parallel between Lazarus,  Christ , and how the Lord calls us forth from our own self-made tombs to new life. I'm really excited about the song. Someday, I hope to share it with you.

So what is the point of this blog post?

Never underestimate the power of a little music, silliness, and chocolate cake.
It could end up being a very serious, fulfilling business.
Who would have thought that making chocolate cake could put you in the muse.
That out of the recesses of  a recipe, and fun could come a song that at least I think is a song that I feel very strongly about. A song with a message that needs to be sung. 







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