Celebrating the Bride-To-Be

Sooner or later you will find yourself hosting a bridal shower.  For some, this is nerve-racking and others it is right up their alley.  Celebrating the bride-to-be is a time-honored tradition and held in high esteem.  The key to a successful shower is to plan and host within your budget and abilities.  You do not need to be a “Martha Stewart”, just be you.  And YOU can find lots of help if you just ask and seek.

Photo Credit jill 111

Here comes the bride

I have had the pleasure of helping plan, serve at, and to host a few bridal showers.  I personally love to plan, organize and execute.  However I recognize for some this is not “their jam”, so I just want to assure you there is loads of help out there.  You can either choose to take on this honor and plan it yourself, phone a friend and explain your desperation, or you can hire a local event planner.  For the purpose of this article, you are going to grab the bull by the horns, so… “Let’s Do This!” Continue reading

What's Love Gogt

What’s Love Got To Do With it?

love in the world

Where is love? What is Love?

If you look around our world, watch the news, or even scroll through Facebook you will see that our world seems to be all upside-down. People seem to have completely lost sight of the things of God. Or worse, they have defied Him and blatantly speak evil as if to dare God to do something about it. At times, my heart becomes fearful at what God will do. It may not be here on earth but one day there will be a judgment for all who have not bowed down to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

But isn’t God a God of Love?

You might ask about this loving God and think, “If he loves us all, surely He wouldn’t send us to hell and the burning lake of fire. He would love us too much to do that, right?” Well, do you ever punish your children because you love them. Do you warn them and warn them until finally you have to say, “Ok, you’ll have to learn this one the hard way.”

I recently heard Greg Laurie explain it this way. God loves us so much that He gives us a choice. He doesn’t force himself on us. If we want to choose Him, we can live with Him forever in heaven. However, if we wish to get as far away from God as possible here on earth, then he will give us our desire in eternity and allow us to be with Satan and His demons in Hell.

An Upside-Down Kind of Love

In essence, the problem is that we have become completely mixed up about the love of God. We use the word love in so many ways that it has lost it’s meaning completely. We love ice cream and we love God in the same breath. How is that possible and what does it really mean to love?

Let me share a few words from R.C. Sproul’s book, The Love of God.

In secular usage, love is also more passive than active. Love is something that happens to us, something over which we have no control. We speak about “falling in love.” We equate falling with an accidental action, not with a decision. We fall when we slip or are pushed or otherwise knocked over. The old ballad declared, “I didn’t slip, I wasn’t pushed, I fell … in love.” Another old standard celebrated the passive power of love with the words “Zing went the strings of my heart.” Our heartstrings do not go “zing” because of a conscious decision of the mind to engage in a certain action. This view of love portrays it as a romantic power that creates flutters in the heart, trembling in the knees, and flip-flops in the stomach.
On the other hand, the biblical view stresses the active side of love. For example, we are commanded to love not only our neighbor but even our enemy. How does one fall in love with an enemy? To love one’s enemy presupposes that enmity is real. We really do have enemies, and we usually do not like them very much. But the command is not to like our enemies; it is to love them. But how do we love someone we don’t like?
Sometimes lovers declare that they do not only love each other but like each other as well. The cultural view of love suggests that it is possible to love without liking. That may be true if love is used as a synonym for a sexual or chemical attraction. But it makes no sense if love is defined in terms of personal affection. In that sense, love goes beyond and builds on liking.
To love our enemies means primarily that we behave in a loving way toward them. We treat them with the same kindness and integrity that we treat our friends. Herein is the active aspect of love. It is action that is commanded by God, not a feeling.

The Definition of Love

The fact is, there are many different definitions of love. Even in the original Greek, The Bible uses several completely different words for “love”. Here are four of them I retrieved from Precept Ministries International

  1. Φιλἐω (Phileō) – This is brotherly love. The love you have for a friend.
  2. Ἀγάπη or Ἀγαπάω (Agapē or Agapaō) – Unconditional love. Love that keeps on loving even when love is not returned or when a person is unworthy of love, or unlovable.
  3. Στοργή (Storgē) – based on chemistry. It is a quiet, abiding feeling within a man that rests on something close to him and that he feels good about
  4. Εροσ (Eros) – erotic love. Love based on self-satisfaction.
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Discussion on Love

I recently came into a discussion about loving others, even the unworthy, unlovable or our enemies. I have been studying to find true answers and I hope that soon I will continue this discussion about the Love of God,  loving others, and loving ourselves. In the meantime, check out my post on How Jesus loved the lost.

Be blessed in His love and let it flow through you to everyone with whom you come into contact.

Mandy Farmer
What's Love Got to DO With It? Click To Tweet

broken heart

What Can We Learn From a Broken Heart?

broken heart

My experience of love these past two years has been heartbreaking. But when I look back- it’s the areas that broke my heart that taught me the most.

Broken Expectations

Broken expectations leave a person left with what remains. And what remains is the truth, no matter how painful that truth may be.

Often in family and friendship- especially the kind of friendship that is viewed as family, we expect these friends and family to always have your back, always be there for you. After all, when we think of love, that is one aspect that seems most definitive of it.

The truth of love, however, is that the depth of it runs differently for each person. Their depths of love are based on their understanding and perception of love and those things are based on a person’s experience in life.


Unconditional Love is rare

All that to say, love, true, unconditional love, is rare. Love that doesn’t expect things in return and isn’t based on anything other than simply wanting the best for another person, because you simply and only care about that person’s wellbeing- that experience, is rare.

When experience breaks your heart enough- soon expectation is broken. And it’s there that humans are left to decide how they will allow love back in their hearts.

Allow Truth to Define your Heart

What I have learned is that your heart, is your responsibility. Giving someone the power to influence it is a big gift and it is one that shouldn’t be done lightly. You’re responsible for allowing what shapes and defines your heart. It is very important to have a healthy boundary for yourself and to allow truth first to define your heart. Truth takes awake selfish ambition, truth keeps you humble enough to know you’re not perfect and brave enough to know when to stand and speak up.

I’m not sure that this post is so much about love as it is about self-respect, but I believe one cannot love from a truthful place without first having self-respect.

Love and Self-Respect

Truth and an Open Heart Builds a Foundation for Love Click To Tweet

It is up to you to find Truth and to open your heart to it. When you do, you will find humility and strength. And then, you will receive the foundation to love, truly, yourself and others.

-Thoughts from Jessie ❤️✊️

Water Kefir a Culture of Good, Part 2

Here we are!  Part 2 of water kefir and I can’t wait to share the rest of the fun information.  We left off with me closing out the water kefir article with a history of water kefir, as well as the benefits of drinking water kefir.  Today we will finish up with water kefir production education.   I will direct you as to where to purchase water kefir grains.  You will receive my phone number to call me day or night with burning water kefir questions- umm… NO!  Ha, that was just a little test to see if you’re on reading autopilot.  Good thing you caught that.  I knew my readers are sharp people.  But seriously, I will tell you where you can get the swing bottles and materials for brewing and storing your water kefir.  As well as tips and tricks.

water kefir

Amazon Is Your Friend

Here is a list of items you will need:

  1. Water kefir grains
  2. HIC, Nylon mesh strainer 4 inch
  3. Swing top glass bottles 16oz 
  4. 17-inch long bottle brush
  5. Organic Sugar or Brown Sugar (I have used either, good results for both)
  6. Water filtering pitcher (at Amazon) Pur or Zero water (or Walmart)
  7.  Gallon size jars, 2- I use old olive jars (I really like olives)
  8. Wooden or plastic stirring spoon (NEVER USE METAL! It will kill the kefir grains)
  9.  Paper towel and  large rubber band
  10.  4 cup glass measuring bowl
  11.  Funnel

Being computer savvy will aid you in your water kefir pursuits.  Let’s start with going to Amazon.com.  If you don’t have an account, you will need to set one up- phone a friend if this is beyond you.  Once you have set up your account you can look up water kefir grains in the Amazon search bar, but you are specifically looking for 1/4 cup Live Organic Water Kefir Grains (Tibicos) Natural probiotics by Florida Sun Kefir.

Homemade Water Kefir

Go ahead and add one to your cart.  You will receive 1/4 cup of water kefir grains, a 4×6 brewing bag (this is for flavoring your water with cut-up fresh or dried fruit), a business card from Florida Sun Kefir and a handy directions card. (NOTE: these water kefir grains are sensitive to cold, they are lovers of warmth.  Unless your regional temperature is above 25 F, I would wait to order them, especially if you have an outdoor mailbox).  Florida Sun Kefir has 4.6 stars out of 5.  They are very prompt with sending out the order and always answer my questions about water kefir.  They also will provide you with a website you can go to, to download a water kefir tutorial pdf.

Next item on your list to get is the swing top glass bottles 16oz., these are for the carbonating and storage of the water kefir.  Then you will need a 4-inch nylon mesh strainer, this aids in the straining of your kefir grains from the kefir water brew.  A 17-inch bottle brush if you do not have one.  The rest of the items, brown sugar, plastic/wood stirring spoon, brown sugar or organic, gallon size jars,  paper towel, and rubber band, should all be common items in your home.

Water Kefir 101

You just got a notification that your water kefir grains have arrived!  Your heart is pounding as you rush to the mailbox.  Grabbing the package like an NFL quarterback grabbing a football, you tuck and run making it in record time to your kitchen.  Everything is set up and ready to go in the kitchen.  Carefully you open the package and remove the little container of water kefir grains.  Aww… those little grains are so cute and they smell yeasty (that’s good!).  They look like little globs of jelly, all bouncy and looking happy.

You begin by warming 4 cups of filtered or spring water.

  • IMPORTANT: Not using spring water or filtered water will aid in draining them of important nutrients.  Adding the organic sugar or brown sugar to the warm water you stir the water with a plastic or wooden spoon to help dissolve the sugar.
  •  IMPORTANT:  The sugar MUST BE DISSOLVED completely.  If not, the whole sugar grain will actually make the kefir grains sick and eventually die. NEVER NEVER use a metal spoon to stir your water and sugar

With the sugar dissolved and water at room temperature, you pour it into the gallon size glass container.  Following that, take the water kefir grains and gently drop them into the glass jar with brown sugar water.  The grains will peacefully settle to the bottom.  Take a paper towel and place it over the mouth of the jar and secure it with a rubber band. This will prevent dust and debris from falling into your water kefir brew as it ferments.  Next, place the jar in a warm room (70-85 F, 76 F is the sweet spot) out of direct sunlight.

  •  IMPORTANT:  Direct sunlight will KILL your kefir grains.

Sweet or Tart

With your jar of water kefir grains fermenting in the sugar water, you must decide if you want sweet kefir or tart kefir.  For sweet water kefir, you will ferment just one day.  For more tart (acidic) water kefir you will ferment for two days.  Before I continue on, let’s tackle the issue of alcohol percentage in water kefir.  According to an article, I read online from The  Water Kefir People,

“water kefir is classified as a non-alcoholic beverage” and “federal law classifies non-alcoholic beverage as having less than .5% ABV”.  

Obviously the longer you leave it to ferment, the more alcohol it will begin to contain.  Most people don’t ferment beyond two days.  I like my water kefir a bit more acidic, so I let it ferment two days.

Now that the water kefir has fermented, strain the grains and kefir water through the nylon strainer into a gallon size glass jar.

  • IMPORTANT:  NEVER use a metal strainer.  The metal will kill your kefir grains.

Set aside the nylon strainer with the water kefir grains and take the gallon jar with the water kefir brew and pour it into the swing top 16 oz glass bottle using a funnel. Fill the swing top bottle up to the shoulder (once 4 cup recipe will yield 2-16 oz swing bottles) and then take your fruit juice of choice (I like Welch’s Grape Juice) and fill it up to the neck, leaving “headroom” just like you would in canning.

Oh So Good

Place the two swing bottles on the cupboard counter for the carbonating or “second fermentation”  for 12 to 24 hours.  After which you will place them in the refrigerator to chill and then you may drink!  AH!  Tastes so good and good for you!

  • IMPORTANT:  BE VERY CAREFUL when opening the swing top bottles.  The carbonating can put lots of pressure in the bottle so take your bottle over the sink and slowly release the pressure by “burping” your bottle.  We have had many “eruptions” from super carbonated kefir brews.  Which require mopping the floor and wiping down the cupboards.

As you continue to build your confidence in water kefir brewing you can experiment with a variety of juices, adding fresh or dried fruit to the first fermentation, as well as different methods of brewing with just plain canning jars with plastic lids, or any glass jar that can be sealed without a metal lid.  It’s fun to have hobbies that are inexpensive, fun and beneficial to your health.

Let’s Wrap This Up

On occasion, you will notice that your water kefir brew isn’t very carbonated, or the taste is lackluster.  Should that be the case, you will need to give your water kefir grains a rest and feed them.  This is easily done by hard boiling two eggs.  Remove the eggs from the shell, and take the shells and place them in a gallon glass jar with water kefir grains and the sugar water.  This is the same sugar water you would make to start your brew.  Let them feed in a warm, shady place for a day or two.  Then strain the grains from the water and pick out the eggshells.  Then proceed as normal and resume your usual brewing routine.

If you have to go out of town be sure to feed your water kefir grains.  Make up the normal sugar water for brewing and add that to a glass jar with your kefir grains into the refrigerator.  Then upon your return revive them with the feeding of eggshells and resume your normal brewing routine.  Please note that as you brew with your grains they will grow.  So keep in mind that you may no longer have a 1/4 cup of kefir grains- this will affect your recipe.  If your grains grow you’ll need to separate them and share the love of water kefir with your friends.  Just like the Amish Friendship Bread starter!

Lastly, sometimes your kefir grains just “die out” so from time to time you’ll need to reorder a new batch of grains.  That’s it my friends!  As always, here is to good food, good friends and a good life.

Michele

What is Fibro

What is Fibromyalgia?

divider

Fibromyalgia is not a death sentence.

Fibro is not a terminal disease. You can live a full life and have fibromyalgia. Your life may not be the same as before. Pain management will be necessary to have a portion of your old self.

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Reminder:  I just want to say that I am a patient, not a doctor. What I am sharing comes largely from what my doctors have taught me and what I have discovered in my own research.

I am sharing to hopefully help you be informed enough to support friends with this syndrome or possibly acquire informed questions for your doctor. Please talk with your doctor or visit the Mayo Clinic website for official information, diagnosis, and treatment.

Continue reading
magnabilities

Product Review: Magnabilities Jewelry

I have not been asked or paid to write this review. I’m writing because I love it and I want you to know about it.

Magnabilities valentine


I’ve not purchased jewelry in 5 years

And that jewelry was some junk I purchased at a $1 jewelry shop. Then in December, my daughter-in-law began selling this beautiful, interchangeable Magnabilities Jewelry. You see, the center of the jewelry is a magnet which you can pop out and place a different piece into the setting. If that isn’t great enough, you can customize the inserts by selecting your favorite photos of family, friends, pets or even scenery. They will pop the photo onto an insert and Voila! a new necklace has been created.

It’s Lightweight!

Another great thing about Magnabilities Jewelry. It’s lightweight. Heavy pieces and my chest do not get along. I suffer from fibromyalgia and heavy jewelry causes pain. Even their larger pieces are not too heavy for me to wear.

It’s Customizable

Also, I had been wanting to create a piece of jewelry to wear that would remind people to hug me softly. I love a good hug as well as anyone but a squeeze can be quite painful for me. Magnabilities gave me an opportunity to create a beautiful piece of jewelry that can stand as a reminder ~”Soft Hugs Only”.

It’s Versitile

Gorgeous necklaces and bracelets in gold, silver, antique silver, and hematite. Also, available in different lengths.

And oh, don’t forget adding charms. You will never wear the same exact set again. I’m telling you, every Sunday when i see Tina at church, the question of the day is, “What are you wearing today?”

It’s Beautiful!

It’s Beautiful! Every piece of jewelry that Tina shows me is gorgeous! I want every piece I see. Magnabilities offers dozens of designs: necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings. And if you aren’t a jewelry person, there are keychains to use for that or even purse jewelry.

It’s Interchageable!

As I mentioned earlier, the inserts are interchangeable. You can buy one necklace or bracelet and then buy a myriad of inserts to change out. Then you have the perfect necklace for every outfit. Later on, purchase a new insert or a seasonal insert. I always hesitate to spend money on seasonal items because it’s just not practical. But this makes the jewelry very reasonable. Charms are also available. They clip right onto the pendants or bracelets.

Need to see a demonstration?

This doesn’t even touch the surface of possibilities. Tina and I will have a Facebook party this Friday, February 1, 2019 at 7:30EST in the evening. Make you wish list here. Then join us at my party at this link or just go shop around through this link.

Hope to see you there!

Mandy Farmer
Take HOld Books

Take Hold Helps You Let Go

I’ve been thinking about this book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For lately and even going back and thumbing through for a reference. So I figure it must be time to republish in the new blog.

When I heard that Sharon Jaynes was about to release a new book

and that I could have an opportunity to read it first, I jumped at the chance. You see, I’ve been praying the prayers from her book, Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe every day since it came out in 2014. (And then later read and took her 14 -day Romance Challenge) So I knew this new book would be worth the read.

From the beginning, “Take Hold” had my attention.

Sharon gently led me through a journey with  Moses in a much different way than I had before. She gently personalized the struggles of Moses with my life. She helped me consider each area in my life that might be holding me back. We walked through areas that could be keeping me from moving forward in my faith. Such as,

  • take hold boots

    Photo Credit: Sharon Jaynes Launch Team

    Insecurity

  • Inadequacy
  • Unforgiveness
  • “Weak-kneed” Worry
  • Shame
  • and more

And you can’t miss her Dr.Suess version of, Oh the Places You Will Go.

Read With a Highlighter

My book has highlight marks and notes all through it. And as I said, I keep referring back to it. This indicates it should be a great one for your shelves as well. Pick one up today.

Or if you’d like a little taste of it first. Download the YouVersion app onto your cell phone and search for the 7-day devotional of the same title.

Mandy Farmer

My Favorite Sharon Jaynes Books

 

Sharon’s Latest Book (which I still need to read)

Water Kefir A Culture Of Good

if you don’t know where to start, go back to the beginning

While on vacation in Grapevine, Texas, our friends the Vande Zande’s introduced us to water kefir.  At first, we were a bit hesitant.  So I put the Vande Zande’s through a question decathlon.  By the time I ran out of questions to ask, Char had given us each a shot of the kefir water in a small glass.  Staring at the water kefir while I rotated the glass around, I inquired as to what flavor we were drinking and she said she made white grape and mango.  We were given white grape.  So taking one last look at Brad (he knows my ingestion of fermented products has very small margins), I lifted my glass and drank it down.

At first, the fizziness took me by surprise.  The bubbles danced on my tongue and the flavor of white grape really came through.  Delicious!  It was nice and cool and that felt wonderful after an 88-degree day walking around Waco, Texas.  It did not have the “alcohol” aftertaste that I thought would occur.  In fact, there really wasn’t an alcohol taste.  The fermentation duration was short, therefore it had not yet reached a stage of possessing intoxicating elements.  Lastly, I was waiting to see if my stomach would concur and moments later… happy stomach!   As you grow more mature, one becomes a bit hesitant in trying new stuff that might upset the delicate balance of your intestinal life. As all good hostesses, she awaited my analysis.

“Well, what do you think?” said Char.

Both Brad and I gave the “thumbs up”.  For the rest of our stay there, we had water kefir with every meal.  It gave me a wonderful option to kick soda to the curb. So I set my mind to order some water kefir grains, poly mesh strainer and the “flipper” glass bottles for storing the water kefir in the instant I got home.

On your mark, get ready

First I would like to start you out with a brief history of water kefir.  Then we will talk about what it is made up of, what benefits there are in drinking water kefir and lastly how to start “brewing” your own water kefir.

You may be wondering how to pronounce kefir.  I have had found three pronunciations.  The first would be to say “keh-fear“, the second would be to say “key-fur” and lastly “keh-fur”.  There was even a poll out on the web on how to say kefir.  I consulted the Cambridge Dictionary (a go-to for those wanting more sophisticated phonics) and found that pronouncing it “keh-fear” seemed to hold weight in both British English and American English. Just delivering this phonetic quandary to you has frazzled me. So I will leave it to you and your regional dialect to decide how you shall pronounce it and what syllabic emphasis it should receive. Let’s move on to more fun and interesting things about water kefir.

get set and go!

Water kefir is a century old drink, whose origins are speculative and lacking documentation.  According to a youtube video by St. Michael’s Kefir, there are four possible areas where water kefir got its start.  These areas are Mexico, Caucasus ( the Caucasus is a mountain system in West  Asia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.) Tibet, and Japan.

Kefir requires sugar for its growth and production of the brew, so any centuries-old culture making water kefir needed to be near the tropics.   It was thought that after the conquest of Mexico the Spanish brought it back to Europe through the transatlantic trade.  In addition, European soldiers returning home from the Crimean war of 1850,  brought with them a drink similar to water kefir.   Regardless, water kefir has spread worldwide,  “splashing” onto the scene in the U.S. in 1853 by a Kentucky local. [Source: St. Michael’s Kefir, youtube]

animal, vegetable, or mineral?

Photo Credit Michele Bruxvoort

As you can see by my picture above, the kefir grains look like little jelly globs.  They are bouncy and slippery.  Once they hit the counter or have pressure applied to them, they easily split apart.  Kefir grains are just a happy group of bacteria and yeast living together.  Kefir goes by several other names like California Bees, Sea Rice, Water Crystals, Ginger Beer, and Tibicos.

Why would you want to drink kefir water?

Great question!  Water kefir is an excellent alternative to soda.  It provides you with gut loving probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.  Aiding you in digestion and keeping your intestinal life moving right along.

There are several things I like about kefir water.  First I like its fizzy pop feel.  I like the fact that it is a great probiotic to add to my diet and it is a great alternative to sugary and diet soda.  I have drunk kefir water right along with sandwiches, salads, meat and potatoes supper, as well as breakfast. My favorite flavor of kefir water is grape with apple coming in second.

I look forward to seeing you back here in two weeks.  We will go over where to get your kefir grains, the recipe for water kefir production, maintaining health grains, as well as helpful tips and tricks.

Michele

 

Have you tried water Kefir? What is your favorite flavor?

 

 

 

 

fIBROMYALGIA REALLY FOR REAL

Why Fibromyalgia is a Real Pain?

qUESTION – iS fIBROMYALGIA rEALLY FOR rEAL?

Dear Friend OF A fIBRO wARRIOR;

Unimaginable to me, but there are people who can’t relate to dealing with pain. There are folks out there that have never had as much as a headache in their life. This is unimaginable to me.

I’m NOT one of them.

I have dealt with pain from a very early age. In the 5th grade, I started having chest pains, severe pains, like having a heart attack pains. But by the time I got to a doctor or the ER, the pain was gone or they couldn’t find the source of it. They said it was “growing pains“. Funny, I never got taller than 5’2”. Sure had a lot of pain to end up so short. Continue reading

Never Despise Small Beginnings

Have you Chosen your One Word for 2019?

So, everyone is talking resolutions or #ONEWORD365 so I may as well join in the “fun”. Honestly, it’s getting a bit frustrating to meet any kind of goal these days. I’m coming up on 8 years of chronic pain. As you may have noticed just by looking at my one words I started out with a good attitude but to tell the truth, I’m getting frustrated about it all.

Before Chronic Pain, I tried to set goals that never seemed to accomplish much. Then I learned about ONEWORD365. This challenge is where you choose a word that you apply to your life throughout the year. Whenever you have a decision to make or an issue to deal with, you apply the word and let it make you a better person. I liked the idea so decided to try it out. Continue reading