Keto · me

January Keto Update

Good news

I lost some weight this month! My total lost so far is a little over 12 pounds. I was telling a friend one of the biggest joys since I started this new way of eating was the feeling of putting on jeans straight from the dryer – and they just slid right on, without that “too-tight-just-out-of-the-dryer” feeling!

My friends have been the most supportive of any of my efforts. One volunteered keto coaching; another sent me a gift of a Keto cookbook. You probably guessed from all my previous posts it is Simply Keto by Suzanne Ryan. I hope I drive a few sales to her! Her marvelous cookbooks and her website and YouTube channel have been inspirational. I’m shooting for the same success!

It was hard getting back after Christmas

To be honest, getting back to eating the Keto way was TOUGH after a Christmas when I let myself go. I told myself: I’m only going to feast on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – after all, those are traditional Feast Days. But I decided to end early at at Christmas part Dec. 22 (oh, that eggnog!) and then just couldn’t quite go back to Keto eating until all the leftovers were gone. It was a tough thing – I didn’t really get back to eating Keto until nearly the third week of January.

New month, new recipes

I’ve been tracking my daily intake with the Atkins app. I like because it calculates the net carbs for me automatically. Plus, it allows me to track my weight. (And when I was first investigating Keto, I went to the Atkins website.) Recently I found two recipes on their website I want to try in February: Strawberry Shortcake Trifle (for Valentine’s Day) and Keto Cauliflower Risotto. I love risotto, so I’m interested to see if a Keto version can delivery on flavor. I’ll let you know!

blogging · Gratitude · Hobbies · Keto · me

Day 3 of a Keto Week

And a note to my new followers

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.

Accentuate the Positive! · Beauty · Christmas · Family · Gratitude · holiday · Something wonderful

Still shining brightly

This Christmas tree always brings joy

This is a re-run of a post I put up several years ago – which is a reprint of an article I wrote in 1993 for a small weekly paper. When my parents downsized they gave me the tree. Enjoy!

Tonight I put up the tree I “inherited” from Dad when they downsized to a patio home. Here’s the story I wrote about that tree 17 years ago for The Georgia Guardian newspaper. Tomorrow or Thursday I’ll post pictures of the decorated 2010 tree. Tonight you’ll have to make do with a picture of Pickles sitting underneath the tree:

Pickles poses by a copy of the original story of our family tree. Dad loved the story so much he matted and framed it. Once you read it, you’ll see why.

Pickles underneath the Christmas tree.
Pickles poses by a copy of the original story of our family tree.

A Tree for All Seasons

First published in the Georgia Guardian, Dec. 24, 1993
Copyright Jennifer Rust

Every family has its Yuletide traditions, and ours is no exception. We’ll be going to parties, attending the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church and decorating the tree. Yet we do something lots of people would never dream of: We pull our tree out of the attic each year.

Yes, we have an artificial tree. During my impossible-to live-with teenage years, I continually referred to it as the fake tree. I would groan and roll my eyes each time my dad pulled it out of its box, telling the story of how he bought it in 1968 for only $15. (What a bargain, I can hear him say.)

When I was in high school I would beg my parents to buy a real tree. We could decorate it with strings of popcorn and other “natural” ornaments. But each year we’d re-assemble that same old tree, sticking branches into the holes on the trunk pole and bending them into place so they’d look right.

As time passed, my brother and I graduated, left the house, got jobs. Now, I have only a few days at home to celebrate the holiday. And I’ve noticed a change in the way I feel about that tree. It happened the year before last, when my dad said, “I think we might replace this one with a new tree.”

You would have thought he suggested we replace Mom. I gasped, “No! You can’t get rid of this tree!” Even as I said it I realized why.

Because of all the laughs we have putting it up each year … because all the made-in-kindergarten ornaments look just right on it … because we’ve had it for 25 years, and how many things last that long? Heck, that tree is the same age as my brother Bill and we’re keeping him.

That artificial, fake but eternal tree has become so much more than a decorative centerpiece upon which to hang the ornaments. It is a symbol of all those Christmases past and all the memories we share. That glorious fake fir has become a holiday tradition of its won. I wouldn’t trade it for the most majestic blue spruce around.

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Cooking · Family · Gratitude · hostess with the mostess

More holiday fun!

I can’t believe I forgot….

Life has been very, very, busy at Aunt Gem Manor since the week of Thanksgiving. But I did take a few pictures of the beautiful Thanksgiving feast, and wanted to share them with you.

First, a nice setting is always key. I only get to use this runner once a year. Next year, a cornucopia!

Loved making the desserts beforehand. I couldn’t believe Publix didn’t have any pecan pies. So I made my first pecan pie.

The feast itself, with only slightly frazzled cook.

And leftover custard cornbread – it was perfect!

That gooey, creamy cream center – bliss!
Accentuate the Positive! · Gratitude · Hobbies · Introspection · just plain fun

Watching Life Instead of Living It

Now that the COVID-mania of 2020 and 2021 seems to have lifted, I want to live life instead of watching it happen. Doing, instead of being in the audience, is my thing. That’s why I joined the choir in my church – I didn’t want to just watch other people sing; I want to be in on it too! Why be a spectator?

I’ve made strides toward more living, less watching before. When I first moved into my house in December of 2016, I moved my circa-2000 television with me. That thing was an old bulky set – definitely not a flat screen. The remote control stopped working sometime in the late 2010s.

My TV looked a LOT like this one. Heck, it could have been this model.

I worked around it by actually getting up to change the channel, like in the 1970s. I started watching less and less television over the years, and I decided once I moved, I was going to put that old wreck on the curb and run an experiment: how long can I go without a TV in the house?

Continue reading “Watching Life Instead of Living It”
blogging · Gratitude · Sunday lesson

Sunday thoughts

One of my favorite blogs, Maggie’s Farm, publishes the gospel message from the lectionary each Sunday. I’ve always loved that. Maybe I should do that? At the very least, I can send you over to Maggie’s for the gospel lesson today. And stick around and read more from the group; for a bunch of Yankees they aren’t bad:

We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn’t pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does “try my best to be just like I am,” and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.

MaggiesFarm.anotherdotcom.com
Accentuate the Positive! · Beauty · Gratitude · Introspection · me

Moving toward the Spirit, part 7

Thoughts on growing in faith. Last in the series. To catch up: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6.

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.

I decided to get a leather-bound copy of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer. Built to last!

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.

Accentuate the Positive! · Beauty · Gratitude · Introspection · me

Moving toward the Spirit, part 6

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:

Continue reading “Moving toward the Spirit, part 6”
Gratitude · Introspection · me · Something wonderful

Moving toward the Spirit, part 2

this is the second part of a series. The image above: Noah’s Ark by Edward Hicks

Believing was so simple, so pure when I was a child. God said through the Psalmist he who had clean hands and a pure heart would ascend the hill of the Lord. And I wanted that.

“…Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 18:3

I think the first scattering doubts crept in when I read a child’s version of the Epic of Gilgamesh. It had to be around fifth grade, maybe fourth. This volume was published by Disney! It had to be okay. Disney was practically patriotic in our house. Some of the only television we kids were allowed was Sunday night’s Wonderful World of Walt Disney.

There was a character in the epic named Ut-napishtim. In these stories from Mesopotamian mythology, he survived a great flood by building a ship to transport his family and some animals. Hmm….

Continue reading “Moving toward the Spirit, part 2”
Beauty · Gratitude · Introspection · me · Something wonderful

Moving toward the Spirit, part 1

This is the first of several parts.

I was a conscientious kid who loved going to church at Virginia Wingard Memorial United Methodist Church. My favorite parts were singing in the children’s choir and looking at the beautiful stained-glass windows when the sermons got boring. The windows depicted the life of Christ. As I remember there were seven or eight on each side. His birth in a stable was shown in the first one on the right, leading to his baptism by John in the next window, and so on down the right side and around to the left, culminating in his first resurrection appearance (or was it his ascension? I think that was it. I’m having trouble remembering) on the left closest to the front. Those stained-glass windows were an education in themselves, helping little kids who couldn’t pay attention to the sermon the basics of the faith in beautiful colored pictures that shone gloriously when the sun hit them just right.

I just looked all over the web for pictures of those beautiful windows and the best I can do is an image of someone’s wedding, when they aren’t even the focus. Besides, in 1990 the church redid the interior, changing the pew alignment, the choir arrangement and the color of the walls. Those windows will have to live on in my imagination. Because I can’t find a picture of that beautiful stained glass of my childhood, the header image is something just as glorious: the stained glass at Sainte-Chappelle in Paris. Be sure to click over to the site for the tour.

Learning to sing

Back in the early 70s kids’ choirs everywhere were singing “Do You Hear What I Hear” at Christmas. We did it for a big extravaganza presentation with the combined children’s and adult choirs. Our adult choir director and director of music, for many years, was Dr. Richard Conant, RIP, a wonderful singer, professor of voice at the University of South Carolina, and founding director of Carolina Alive.

Continue reading “Moving toward the Spirit, part 1”