If you’ve just subscribed or followed; Hi! Delighted to have you along. I must explain my plan behind this blog. Not every post will be about cooking or the Keto way of life. Keto is just one of three sections of this site, as you see from the top navigation menu:
I’m also very much into Books and Gardening. And in the weeks to come, I’ll probably add a Writing section as well. So, if later today you see a post that isn’t about Keto at all – well, just skip over that if you want! Or enjoy – up to you.
Day 3 – Danger!
Today could have been better, but it also could have been MUCH worse. I took my Keto Chili to work and that was delicious. But work ran long, and I got home late – with only about 15 minutes to spare before Bible Study group with the ladies of my church. There, I succumbed to the lure of pigs-in-blankets. And two munchkins (donut holes.) It could have been so much worse, but not by much! Ah me. Tomorrow is a new day and a new attempt to eat and live the Keto way.
Stopping Keto for even the two feast days of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day blew up my keto success. I was doing so well! But the carbs of Christmas came calling… and didn’t stop calling through Epiphany. And then I got sick, sick, sick for over a week – and all I could stand to swallow was cool refreshing orange juice, ginger ale, and moose tracks ice cream. None of which are on any Keto plan.
Today, though – I finished the last of the ginger ale. The last of the orange juice disappeared yesterday. I threw away so much bad stuff getting the trash ready for pickup this week. And tomorrow morning – I set out again on this Keto journey of 22 grams of carbs a day. My poor chubby body will go into shock.
Fortunately, a friend recently sent me a new cookbook full of keto recipes – Simply Keto by Suzanne Ryan. I have an accountability partner – I can do this! Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t realize what I’ve already accomplished. It’s not over – I’m just beginning again.
Yes, you read that right. Book Club! (Or as I misspelled it in a DM to a friend, “boom club.” That did make it sound more enticing!) I joined my current group about a year or so before the Big Disruption – COVID-19. That shot our monthly meetings all to heck and gone – we didn’t meet again for over 18 months, I think. Days, weeks, months, all flow together in my brain.
A focused group
I love that that the group I joined goes in depth on the works of a select few writers: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R.Tolkien, Hugo Dyson, Charles Williams – all the writers that met together as “The Inklings.” The Columbia book club is named “The Inklings” in homage to them. This winter we started reading The Magician’s Nephew, from the Chronicles of Narnia series. I loved reading these books, and can’t wait to see how we’ll draw on the themes that this book begins to illuminate even in the first two chapters: a person’s character, honor, our responsibility to others, and more. Plus, the color illustrations by Pauline Baynes in the 2001 edition are beautiful.
Junk reading: the cotton candy of the brain
Of course I don’t read only literary fiction. I’m not finishing up some of the weighty tomes that I listed in a previous post last summer. In fact, I’m buying trashy non-fiction and fiction books and gobbling them up like popcorn and Milk Duds at the cineplex.
And I’m not fooling anyone by hiding them on my Kindle. In fact, that’s one of the two reasons I bought a Kindle. I first decided to buy one after I started running out of bookshelves, counter space, end table space, and floor space to stack books. Once I had it, I realized I could hide those unauthorized celebrity biographies, wacky sci-fi, dystopian end-of-the-world fantasies, polemical screeds, and the Twilight series on the Kindle. Oh, how I wish I was kidding about that last one. Several hours of my life that I’ll never get back.
This morning I watched an old clip of the Craig Ferguson show with guest Ricky Gervais. There was a short bit that threw me back in time, to when I was an even-more gullible child.
We used to take big family vacations when I was a kid – once every summer, we’d head to the beach with the aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents to spend a week in a huge house. Every year we’d go eat real Calabash-style seafood. One year at the fancy Calabash restaurant, my grandpa asked me if I wanted to order frogs legs with him. I scrunched up my face and shook my head furiously – no, I most DEFINITELY did not want frog legs! Yuck. Ugh. Gross! Who would eat frog legs? I made my displeasure at the very idea known. He just chuckled and said OK. And we all ordered, with me getting whatever kids’ special they had.
A half-hour later we were all chowing down on our lovely, overpriced seafood (Dad always complained about the prices, and how the servers rushed you.) At 9 I had the attention span of a gnat. I had completely forgotten about the conversation. I was happily cleaning up my plate as you did, looking for seconds, when Grandpa asked me, “Would you like some fried chicken?” “I would! Thank you!” Grandpa passed me a meaty leg and I munched enthusiastically. Everyone asked me how I was enjoying the chicken. “This is wonderful, very good,” I replied blithely as I proceeded to polish the bones.
I was so focused on the yummy bones I didn’t notice the adults at the table sharing grins and suppressing laughs.
Later that night, after we paid the check, and while we were walking through the parking lot, Uncle Wayne said to the group at large “Do you think we ought to tell Jenny what she had to eat tonight?” Everyone burst out laughing as I said “What? What? What are you talking about?” Uncle Wayne happily chortled “those were frog legs.” I can’t even imagine the look on my face. I’m sure I spluttered, “Well, they tasted just like chicken!” which everyone says. I can verify, yes, that’s true.
I’ve never eaten frog legs since. And I may never eat them again as long as I do keto – because while the frog legs themselves are zero-carb, that delicious fried breading sure isn’t. HOWEVER: a couple minutes searching the Internet shows some cooks have creatively tackled that challenge:
On December 22, 2016, I moved to my current home. At that time, my TV was an old, old model – circa 1998. My dad gave it to me after he upgraded to a flat screen.
But first, a tangent: The previous television I had was even older: I had a 1988 model that I kept until the over-the-air broadcast signal changed. The day I took that monster to the Best Buy to recycle it and get a $10 gift certificate I almost dropped it in the parking lot. A sweet 21-year-old guy saw me and rushed to help by carrying it into the store. He put it down on the customer service counter and said, “My wife and I bought this TV here last week and it doesn’t get those HDTV signals. We’d like to return it.” The Geeks burst out laughing.
That TV I had in 2016 was beyond saving. The remote didn’t work at all, no matter what. The picture was fuzzy, and the thing was still a huge monster. So, I put it out on the curb and called the city of Forest Acres for electronics pickup. Thus began my six years and counting without a TV.
And it hasn’t been too bad
I have two huge monitors on my computer in the home office, plus two laptops, and an iPhone. I certainly don’t lack for screentime. And if I have to watch a movie, I just adjust one of those big monitors, cosy up in the big chair in my office and stream something. That takes care of that.
Plus, more time for reading. And hobbies!
I probably would never have discovered some of my favorite podcasts without going TV-less. And I do have SO MANY MORE books than I’ve ever had before – and more time to read.
Welcome to all the new readers who’ve joined and signed up for updates. For the past six or seven weeks, you’ve been getting a weekly post about my spiritual journey. I hope you all stick around as a pivot to a blog about my hobbies: baking bread *yum*; cooking all sorts of things and sharing recipes; volunteering at my church, reading, reading, reading, and reading some more as I balance two book clubs; writing something besides this blog; and finally, going deep on gardening this summer. I’ve bought so many plants, potting soil, seeds, and more that I can truly relate to this meme:
My quest to draw closer to Jesus continues, no matter where I go. At times I’m very good about devotions in the morning, praying and reading my Bible; most of the time, I honor daily devotions in the breach by thinking about it for a few minutes. And then feeling guilty. Every time I deviate from my ideal I realize that I’m falling away from relationship with the Lord. He doesn’t move away from me; I’m the one straying. That’s one of the reasons I’m so grateful for the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. The structured Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and sometimes Compline have been a super way to keep me praying, reading Scripture, and spending time with God. Not that I do them all the time. Like I said, I’ve been much better at observing them as something I should do.
When I discovered podcasts devoted to morning prayer, I was thrilled. Finally – a way to listen to Morning Prayer while walking my dog! (Usually, I’m listening to something that isn’t filling my head with good news.) CotA’s church plant, All Souls, created the wonderful 10-minute podcast Lord, Open My Lips and I use that. Another way I’m focusing on God is to go to the Wednesday morning Eucharist our church offers. I’d been off and on, but on my birthday last October, I decided my goal for the next year was to go each week. I’ve been more often than not and I’m keeping on.
It’s not usual to find an Anglican running around in my part of the South; anybody seeking out liturgy is usually an Episcopalian. Most of my friends today in Columbia are Southern Baptist. That only makes sense, because 1) I spent 20 years in a Southern Baptist church, and 2) the top three religions in South Carolina are Baptist, Methodist, and SEC Football. But over the years my spiritual journey, ever since I was 12, has led me to going to where I truly think the Spirit of Truth is. I felt that in my time with Wesley Monumental, with Lamb’s Chapel, and then RHBC. Right now, that is in the Church of the Apostles, a member of the ACNA. In my Apostles 101 class I loved how our past Dean (that’s a fancy Anglican word for the head priest at the cathedral church of the Diocese) described the church: the place where the Scriptures are rightly taught and the Sacraments observed. At least that’s how I remembered the saying. And everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve been looking for a place that carefully paid attention to the Bible and actually believed it.
I think I’ll end my journey written journey here, with part 7. It is, after all, the perfect number.
This is the next-to-last post in this series. If you need to catch up, just look at the previous five weeks of posts!
It started with an Excel spreadsheet. Wait: before the Excel spreadsheet, there was an unfortunate administration change at my old church. RHBC’s beloved senior pastor was retiring after a long career. And the new guy was (is) hard-charging, young, enthusiastic, with clear vision and purpose. Unfortunately, his vision didn’t include the outstanding choir director who had led our choir for the past 10+ years. After he was shown the door, I waited until Christmas, to sing in one last Christmas cantata. (I wouldn’t have done that again to witness the chaos resulting from a choir that wasn’t fully in sync with the director and vice versa – missed cues, botched songs. Ah, schadenfreude!) I waited some more, thinking we’d get a new permanent choir leader and everything would start afresh. When that didn’t happen, and the temporary director became the director, my last day was Easter Sunday 2018.
Here’s where the Excel spreadsheet came in. I put together a list of the requirements I was looking for in a church and decided to start visiting around. Here’s what I put them on a spreadsheet:
Hopefully I will wrap this multi-part series up soon, but no promises….
That Disciple Bible study was the first time I had done in-depth Bible study. I wouldn’t study the Bible so thoroughly for another two years. I finished the course and put the Good Book back on the shelf to gather dust. In the meantime, I left Savannah, took a job that kept me working afternoons and evenings, and stopped going to church for quite a while.
It wasn’t until I started attending Lamb’s Chapel, a non-denominational church in my next town that I truly started reading the Bible again. I went there because a couple of friends I made in my new town were attending. It was as different from the liturgical United Methodist church as could be … there was no liturgy. Instead, we sang all out for about 30 minutes, followed by a few announcements. Then, the senior pastor would commence to preach, straight from the Bible, for 45 minutes. And what made it fascinating was that I actually liked hearing his sermons. They weren’t the dry sermons I was used to hearing. I actually started taking my new copy of The NIV Study Bible with me to church and making notes in it. I marked up that new Bible completely with notes from those sermons. I stayed at that wonderful, non-denominational, Bible-filled church until I left Florence about 18 months later.
This is the fourth in a multi-part series on how I grew in my Christian faith. See part 1, part 2, and part 3 to catch up.
Ah, the recycling. That and the fact I was pulled in so many directions, like most American teens, had a lot to do with my falling away from the faith for quite some time. I may have attended church during the college years, but it was a faith grown “lukewarm.” Yuck.
After graduation I moved to Savannah in early 1990 for my first job. Sad to say, part of my motivation for finding a church was 1) because the president of the place I interviewed at told me about important church was to him and 2) I was looking for one of those beautiful old churches in the historic district. Not too much on the actual faith part – more of a “looking good” type churchgoer. In a happy accident I wandered across one of the most spirit-filled churches of all, which just happened to be historic, beautiful, and blessed with a magnificent 60-rank Noack organ: Wesley Monumental Church. I was determined to go to a church with glorious music just once in my life!