Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

What an exciting week it has been, in a good way! I hope it has been that way for you too, but I know sometimes life and one's circumstances may feel overwhelming. In reality life is full of ups and downs, and so it should be, otherwise we would be flatlining.

Before I get on the road with my Ten Things of Thankful post, I just want to give a shout out to Josie Two Shoes who is the administrator for the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. She reads every Ten Things of Thankful post which is linked to her blog hop and responds with thoughtful comments. Click the link to see what others have posted this week. Bloggers' posts can be added beginning shortly after midnight (Central Time) Thursday evening until Tuesday evening. 

1. Serendipitous discovery. For a while I've been trying to figure out what would be helpful in alleviating a certain situation with my body. One day this past week I was making a fruit salad using crushed pineapple, bananas, and canned mandarin oranges. I'd intended to add some coconut flakes to help thicken it a bit. When I went to the shelf to get the coconut, I discovered there was none to be had. One item I did find was a small unopened container of guar gum that I suspect I'd purchased because it was called for in a gluten free recipe. (Some friends of mine eat gluten free meals.) 

My husband was confusing guar gum with something else and suggested that I might be able to use some of it to thicken the salad. When I googled the use of guar gum, I discovered that one of its uses is as a thickening agent. I decided to give it a try because it can thicken both cold and hot liquids. Although I had no idea of how much I might need, I thought the amount might be similar to how much cornstarch would be required. Let me just say, that was not a correct assumption. One does not need anywhere nearly as much, and it thickens quite rapidly. We enjoyed the thickened fruit salad, and found that my body benefited quite nicely from eating it. That discovery sent me back to the internet to read about health benefits and any interactions from eating guar gum. It isn't for everyone, but can be helpful for some people. Have you ever found the solution to two problems while in the process of just trying to solve one problem?

2. Accomplishing goals in moderation. In the past I've been one to push onward trying to finish the desired objective without taking forever. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, but over the years I've learned the hard way, that doing things in moderation and taking breaks, resting, going on vacations, etc. offer healthy benefits. This week, I started doing some hoeing and weed pulling but made myself, often with my husband's reminder, stop after a half hour or 45 minutes and then going back in the house. I worked in the morning when it was cooler. After a couple of years of not being able to manage a hoe, I wanted to make sure I didn't overdo. I've felt excited about this jump in my flexibility without additional pain. Seeing some tidiness outside, at least in one area, has lifted my spirits as has the higher FitBit scores from the exercise involved.

It took me most of the week to weed this area.

3. Multiple uses of things. A whiles back one of our daughters shared how she cleaned her cacti. It was one of those things that for whatever reason, I'd not considered. I usually associate showers as a place people can bathe. This week I used the handheld sprayer in the shower to spray the dust off my five Christmas cacti. They probably wished I'd used this method a whole lot sooner. It certainly beats trying to wipe each leaf with a moistened rag.

This Christmas cactus just had a shower.
4. Walking with a friend. One evening I invited a friend to go on a walk with me down and back on a nearby dusty road. It was after dinner, still light, but relatively cooler than it had been earlier in the day. We hope to do more walking together, as we have a similar goal to do more exercising.

Inexpensive "sparkly" I found on   dusty road
5. Names that just seem exactly right. With all the wild animals that come around, we've never given one a name, but there is one doe who has been visiting who just beckons to have a handle, maybe Dandy or Daisy. We've seen her eat the flowers off the English Daisies and the Dandelions. Interestingly, she doesn't have any interest in the leaves or stems. 

There were more Dandelion blossoms before the doe ate them.

doe eating English Daisies
7. Warm places for the cold blooded animals. Among the various animals here is a lizard that enjoys hanging out and soaking up the sunshine on top of a pile of bricks.

Western Fence Lizard on pile of bricks

8. Challenges. There is a patch of wildflowers (or weeds) growing in a dry shady area.  I have been trying to identify them. With all our books and the online helps, this should be easy, but so far the only one I've found that looks similar supposedly grows a different area of the country. The reference book is kind of old, so I supposed it could be a plant that has migrated westward over the years. Anyone up to identifying this plant?

Can you name this plant?

9. Finding a pen pal I used to write to when I was 10 years old. At the beginning of the week I was thinking about a girl from Sheffield England. She and I were pen pals for a few years, but then stopped writing to each other. The thought came to me that perhaps with all the past family history research skills I had learned and with all the resources online, that I might be able to locate her, even though I had no idea what her married name was, if she still lived in the same area, or if she was still alive. Within a couple of days, I'd learned enough to be fairly certain I'd found her. I decided to call her. She answered the phone, and we had a delightful visit. We were both equally excited about being able to talk to one another. It just made my day, and we will be keeping in touch. 

10. My husband. My husband was just as excited for me having found my pen pal as I was I think. He encouraged me to phone her. In fact, that is one thing I enjoy about my husband. He is an encourager. He also likes to surprise me, such as having a  photo enlarged and printed on canvas of me wearing my floppy garden hat. It came in the mail this week as a surprise.


  1. What a great list. I salute you for number two, especially. I hired help to clean my yard. The weeds are way out of control. Now, I have to maintain it.
    Josie Two Shoes is great!

    1. Thanks, Carin. It takes constant effort to maintain a lawn and property. When we were younger, we were speedier and were able to spend more time doing it. It has become more of a challenge now.
      Yes, Hats off to Josie Two Shoes!

  2. I could identify with Item 2 (well, maybe not so much on the moderation but surely one of the most satisfying outcomes of effort (physical and otherwise (moderate and not)) is to see the world changed. Scale is not the issue. Statewide or yard wide, worldwide or out-near-the-mailbox, to be able to approach it, 'the next day' and see the real, physical difference that you've made, very cool.

    1. Your determination to move your stone was like me in the past! I do enjoy seeing those differences that one can make. Thanks to my father, who taught me to work hard and finish the job before calling it a day on the farm (even though I didn't appreciate his efforts at the time), I have had to learn as an adult that there comes a time when a job has to be left undone and be continued another day. It is possible to be satisfied with a measure of progress. :-)

  3. Thank you for the shout out! I love watching TToT posts pop in over the weekend, and I love reading what everyone has to share even more! It's a very positive way to start my week!

    I know that my daughter uses guar gum for some of the food she prepares. I will have to ask her more about it now. Any time we find something new that works well for us it's a happy discovery! I am learning more about what not to eat to keep my body behaving. I also have developed more food allergies as I've gotten older.

    I used to power through projects like you spoke of, now I have to take rest breaks which frustrates me, but little by little it gets done and then I am ok to do something the next day rather than being worn out. Weeding is hard work, it sure looks great where you've gotten it done, and I know it makes you smile to look at it! :-)

    Goodness, I never would have thought about giving my plants a shower either, and my two Christmas cactus really need that! Thank you for the great suggestion! I do know a lady who cleans her vinyl window blinds that way. :-)

    Walking with the friend is as good for the soul as it is for the body, I love the little heart charm you found, I always look for surprises when I am out and about. I would have to get up early or walk after dark to enjoy a cooler time in this season.

    Your visiting doe is beautiful, they are such gentle creatures. I love to name animals that show up frequently, it make them more fun to talk about with Papa Bear. Our two feral cats show up several a night to enjoy a meal, and this morning Andy greeted me on the deck requesting a little breakfast, which he happily enjoyed. :-) I love the little lizards here that warm on our concrete car pad and the deck. Just no snakes please!

    How awesome to reconnect with a pen pal from so long ago, you are clearly an online search expert! The Internet has changed our ability to form relationships around the world, and I enjoy that so much. It always shows how much more we are alike than different!

    Your husband is the best! One of the nicest blessings we can share with our spouses is to encourage them and support them, that's what best friends do! :-)

    Wishing you a blessed week ahead, life is good when we have thankful hearts! XOXO

    1. Although I don't have vinyl window blinds, I do know they can be a pain to clean. Cleaning them in the shower is an excellent idea.
      We do have some snakes around here, but we don't see them too often. There are garter snakes, gopher snakes, blue racers, and rubber boas in the valley, but we don't come across them very often. I don't mind them, but do not like to be suddenly surprised by one. We don't have poisonous snakes in the area where we live. Yeah for that!
      I hope you have a great week.

  4. Forgot to say how much I love that picture of you, it radiates joy and makes me smile! I know your children and grandchildren must love it too! :-)

    1. Thanks. It was pretty windy when that picture was taken!

  5. That pen pal discovery is so cool! My Zilla just started a pen pal relationship with someone in Europe and they are both loving it so far. Nothing quite like handwritten letters send through the "regular" mail and waiting excitedly for your friend's reply. I have great memories of pen pal relationships from childhood and hope my daughter finds such great experiences, too.
    I've found words here that are very helpful to me this week, so thanks for all you've included here.
    Love the quar gum story. I have indeed found accidental solutions to things when in search of something completely unrelated. Actually, I often find that is the case with foods - finding a benefit I didn't know about, etc. like you describe.
    Have a great week!

    1. That is exciting that Zilla has a pen pal. I didn't know kids still did that. How did she find a pen pal? I know that in the past there were names of potential pen pals in children's magazines.
      I'm glad that there was something in my post that was helpful to you.
      I hope you are enjoying your summer!