My spiritual journey a year later

3 Apr


I’ve been writing this post in my mind for several months, composing and decomposing it.  I started writing it a few times, but always had trouble. Even with the title.  One title began ‘I have found’, but that didn’t convey exactly what I wanted to say.  Then I came up with ‘My spiritual journey has ended’.  But immediately my heart said ‘no, NO’!  Because I never want this journey of learning more of my Lord and Savior to be over.  I think it will take all of eternity to learn and understand the infinite heart of God.

Sometimes it’s hard to put words to feelings.  And throughout this journey I’ve experienced a multitude of feelings.  It’s a scary thing to realize that something I’ve had confidence in for most of my life no longer brings me peace.  And it’s hard to leave the comfort zone and go into unknown territory.  But it was something I realized I must do.  I can’t live without peace in my soul.

Although it has taken me quite awhile, I’m greatful for God’s patience with me.  I would never have been able to take in, change my whole line of thinking and accept what He is showing me without the time to search my soul and reflect.

Soon after the time I described in my April 1st post, I moved.  It’s true that I had liked the community church, but I decided to check out some closer in my new area.  I attended one in the downtown area with a friend,  But in had a tone of some of the things I could no longer handle in my own church.  Then I tried one that another friend recommended.  But to me the sermon was as dry as toast.

Last Mother’s Day I was going out with my daughter for brunch, so searched online for churches nearby with an evening service.   One that came up was Baptist.  When I was living in Missouri I had attended a Baptist church a few times when staying with friends, so I decided to try it.  i enjoyed my brunch and a leisurely afternoon, then in the evening drove to the church–only to find no one there!  Evidently they had cancelled the evening service due to the holiday.  While driving around, wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my evening, I saw two ladies outside of a church.  I drove in and ask if it was a church service.  (I wanted to be sure it wasn’t some other activity related to Mother’s Day.)

They said yes, to come join them.  So I did.  Everyone was so welcoming, greeting me with smiles and handshakes.   Immediately I was struck with the ‘feel’ of the place.  I’ve been in places that were welcoming, some that were friendly.  But this was a warm welcome.  I could feel that they were glad I was there!  I’ve never felt such acceptance.  It brings tears to my eyes, even now, as I write this.

I don’t remember now what the sermon was about, but I liked it. Afterwards there was more greetings, everyone telling me how glad they were I had come and to please come back.  I was invited to the Tuesday morning Women’s Bible Class, which I attended.  I attended the Wednesday evening service, and both the Bible Class and the church service the next Sunday.  And every service possible since then.

Writing this now, I realize it’s going to take more than one setting to relate.  Because of content length and the emotions that I’m feeling as I write, I’m going to end here and contine my story later.


Visiting Area Churches

1 Apr

As I was –finally–attempting to write an update on my Spiritual Journey, I found this draft which I thought I had posted a year ago.

I attended a Christian church last Sunday.  The first one I went to was a community church.  As I mentioned before, I liked the community church.  I liked the music, the casual atmosphere, friendliness and the music.  The sermon was ok.  I like the emails they send me.   But I wanted to check out more churches in the area.

I was attracted to the Christian church because I liked online sermons.  And I felt the sermon this morning was very reverent and helpful.  I also like the friendliness of the congregation and it had a casual feel.  But the funny thing is, although I love music and crave to worship with music, the music in this church might be the reason why I’m not sure if I will go back.  It seemed more of a show, and not nearly as uplifting as at the community church I visited.

I plan to visit a Presbyterian church next Sunday, the contemporary worship, which is before the traditional worship.  The contemporary appeals to me more than the robed choir.  Next on my list is possibly a church up in the city.

After visiting these four for worship sevices, I plan to check out their bible studies and outreach.  I’ve read about each online, but I want to feel the atmosphere and see where I seem most at home.  It occurred to me this morning that there might be a possibility that none of them gives me completely what I’m searching for.  If that should happen, I’m wondering about the possibility of attending the parts of each that I am I tune with.  I don’t know if this is frowned upon or not.  It seems from what I’ve read that most people attend one church.  Yet, if we are all followers of Christ, should it really matter?

As I said, that was a year ago.   My next post will be in real time.


17 Feb

I’m in the process of creating a sister site tumbleweeds2seashells.  Since I haven’t been able to find the Bueno theme that I use on this site, I’m trying one called Plane.  I will need to refer back to my early posts in the Technology category where I recounted what I was learning as I created this site.

Although I will be working on the new site, I still intend to post to this site.  One of the posts currently in process in an update to My Spiritual Journey.

Please consider following me to stay abreast of future postings.


Site Navigation

11 Feb

For those of you who haven’t yet read my website/blog and for my technically challenged friends-here is a description that might help you find your way around. Across the top are these selections: Home–displayed when you come to the site; About–where I tell why I started the blog and the things it contains; Feature Photos–I only have a few up, but plan to add more; and Art–like Photos, I have some but plan to add more. There are drop down selections for the Photos and Art.

Below these headings, on the left side are the two options for navigating the site: Categories–I presently have 10 selections; and Archives–where you can select posts by month. The number beside each selection shows how many posts are in each category/month.

Also on the left is where you can follow my blog. Below that are the top Posts and Pages that people have viewed. Under this is the Calendar, where you can click and see the number of posts in any given month to display.

The right side of the page displays my posts, displayed consecutively beginning at the most recent. At the bottom of each post is a place to like, share, and comments. The very bottom of the page lists the WordPress blogs I follow , plus a link to my Facebook page ‘LeNel’.

I designed the site myself and even though at times it was very frustrating (see my early posts in the Technology category) I learned so much and am pleased with my results. Please check it out and leave your opinion.

What I learned from my 2015 blog stats

30 Jan

I like that WordPress compiles my stats and it’s a plus that I can post the summary.  It thrills me to learn people from 78 countries have viewed my blog in 2015!   I enjoy blogging and am glad that people are interested in reading it,   I’m pleased that I have followers.  And I always enjoy the comments.

Yes, I’m glad for the stats.  For they tell a story.  And what they told me this year was a surprise.  Although I was pleased to see the attention my blog is receiving, I was a bit appalled to realize how few posts I actually wrote last year!

I told myself, it’s because it was a year spent more by doing things than by writing about them.  It was a busy year.  However, upon more reflection I had to admit that I wish I had written about more of the things I was doing.  The blog is sort of like my diary–it provides me a record of  what I do and what I think.  It also provides reflection and learning for me.  There were many times I thought of something I could write about, but I just didn’t take to time to do so.  I gave myself the excuse–I don’t have wi-if here.  Yet, I could have written the draft and posted later when an online connection was available.

And although I was busy, there were lots of times that I could have written.  So, I’m hoping that this year I will write more.  My church (my ‘church search’ post is currently in draft form) had a sermon relating to “more” for a New Year resolution,  I like that idea.  Instead of saying I will write so many post and then fall short, just resolve to do more.

As always. I welcome feedback back and comments on all my posts.  Have any of you had any surprises when reviewing your stats?


2015 in review

2 Jan

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 750 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 13 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Lately I’ve been dabbling in

5 Dec

Fermented foods.  When I mentioned this to my children last year after I had attended a soda fermenting class, they were like–‘oh no, mom’s going to be high on alcohol soon’.  I tried to explain that there is a difference between fermented and the alcohol ferment.  They weren’t convinced–or perhaps more likely–just wanted to have a laugh at another of mom’s crazy ideas!   And there have been a few times (ok, maybe more than a few) when things didn’t turn out exactly as planned.

Like the year I tried to make brandied pears.  My daughter’s tree had produced abundantly that year.  And I hate to see anything go to waste.  I dried lots of them. Then hit on the idea to use up my alcohol on hand (leftover from a sampling spree I went on went on some time back) to preserve the pears.  As always, I wanted to do it as simply as possible.  I searched websites and concocted my own recipe.  I cored and sliced the fruit then poured brandy over them, put the lid on and set them under the sink.  After all the brandy was gone, I still had pears.  So, if I remember correctly, I also made whisky and then tequila pears.

Later that fall my daughter-in-law was there and we got onto the subject and I remembered the pears.  Of course, I hadn’t really forgotten about them, I just wasn’t brave enough to sample them.  So we tried them.  VERY strong!  But we did agree the syrup would be good over ice cream.  A few months later I strained off the liquid–which I saved–and threw the pears into the compost pile, since the pears themselves were completely tasteless.  All the flavor was now in the liquor.  I’ve used it in recipes since then.  I still have a tiny bit left that I’m saving for some special occasion.

Another fermenting was years ago when we had wood heat.  One fall I decided to make vinegar from the skins, peels and pits leftover after canning apples.  I had a large crock which I covered with a towel. I kept it behind the wood stove.  I don’t remember how long it took, but I believe it had it there for several months.  And I had vinegar!  It usually needed diluted a bit when using in salads and recipes calling for vinegar.  I remember when we got near the bottom and I showed my kids the ‘mother’ which they thought that was gross. I can’t remember now what I did with it.

Also during those years I kept sourdough starters.  I had at least two ongoing ones,  a sweet one and the regular one for bread.  I remember one time I kept it for over two years–freezing it when I was going to be gone for several days.

I’ve also made cheese, which is a culture kind of ferment.  Some of my earlier posts have been on my varrying degrees of success with that.

But now, I’m trying something different.  Fermenting fruits and veggies. When I was growing up mom, and every family I knew with a garden, always made kraut. But mom always canned hers.  I remember being at a friend’s house where they just packed the cabbage and salt in jars and put them I a dark cool place.  I realize now, that was probably fermenting.  I remember I always liked their kraut better than ours.

A recent success is kimchi.  Last year on one of my trips I stayed overnight where at breakfast was this strange stuff near a cooker of rice.  Being inquisitive I at first ask other diners what it was–no one seemed to know, except someone said it is what Koreans eat for breakfast.  So I tried and liked it.  Encouraged, a few of the other tried it.  Some liked it while others didn’t.  After I got home I researched it and found it was kimchi.  So….

I have eaten nearly a quart of my homemade kimchi the last couple of weeks!  As I was dishing some out just now I realized I need to make some more.  Well really I should have started more a couple of weeks ago, if I want a steady supply–and I think I do, because I really like it.  I’ve found websites that have up to 21 ways to use kimchi.  But so far I’ve had it mostly plain.  One day I did mix some with some instant brown rice I had on hand.

I tried fermented soda last year, but it didn’t turn out like the one I had received from the class.  After reading more about the process I believe the reason was because I used city water.  The chlorine seem to inhibit the bacteria needed to ferment.

So I’m going to try the soda again.  I have a ginger bug going at present.  Even though it is cooler in the apartment than it was during the summer, the bug seems to be doing well.  It is a bit cloudy, bubbles–especially when I add the sugar–and has a zingy smell.  I’m going to start some fruit juice sodas next week.

I also want to try honey fermented cranberries, fermented bananas, kraut and maybe a few others.  I joined a Facebook group–Wild Fermentation–where I’m learning a lot. I will try to keep my success/failures posted, along with the websites I have used to gather recipes and info from.

Wish me fermenting success!

After a long break

1 Oct

After a long breakI traveled all summer, during which time my raw food diet was on hold. I ate whatever was served, wherever I was. This seemed the simplest solution. I felt it best just to fit in. However after about three weeks I began to have bad stomach upsets. It didn’t even seem to matter what I ate. It took my daughter (who had offered to let me use her blender if I wanted to do raw) to offer a possible reason. Maybe, my stomach was rebelling at the non-raw diet! In my research of how to start a raw diet I’ve seen that too much, too quickly can cause an adverse reaction. I must have added raw food gradually enough that I didn’t notice any symptoms. But I definitely had the experience in reverse! Yet, even with this adverse reaction because it was more convienent. I continued to eat whatever and after about a week or so my stomach adjusted. It was certainly a learning experience,
Once I returned to Florida I was trying, again, to go raw. For some reason it doesn’t seem quite a easy as this spring. Maybe partly because I came back fairly exhausted and just didn’t feel like making the effort to restock and prepare. I have been looking at websites, getting ideas, planning menus, etc. This week I started making my morning blended drink. I appreciate the wake up, energizing feeling it gives me. And most days I have eaten a large salad for lunch.
Dinner, however, remains a problem. I often have activities during the afternoons, and come back tired and hungry. I quickly consumed all of the snack items leftover from my trip. I then usually opened a can of something and snarfed it. Or I munched on something in the fridge, only to be left feeling dissatisfied.
Last night as I turned onto my street I smelled the burgers at Wendy’s. I told myself it would be ok, just this once. The reception at the drive up was a little fuzzy and I ended up purchasing a double cheeseburger, small cheese burger and large unsweetened tea. Boy did that burger smell delicious, I could hardly wait to get into my apartment! Since I was so hungry I started with the double burger. It did taste good. But before I was even halfway through my stomach started feeling strange. I told my self–no way–it has to be just my imagination. It couldn’t have an effect that quick. I continued to eat, finishing the large burger and starting on the small one. But after a few bites, into the fridge it went-along with the tea.
By then I wasn’t feeling too bad, just a little burping, and after a bit went to bed. I often wake up at night, so it wasn’t unusual when I awoke at 2am. But the way I felt wasn’t usual. In vain I tried to find my tums. (Did I mention I am not completely unpacked from my trip yet?) Instead I turned to the old remedy of baking soda in water. It did the trick, along with leaving me thirsty. Lol
My smoothie this morning really hit the spot. Yet now at lunchtime I am, again, feeling upset. I don’t even want to think of that half of sandwich in the fridge. It will probably become cat food to one of the strays around here. I’m thinking I will have only the tea for lunch. Perhaps not the healthiest–but my grandma always gave me burnt toast with tea for upset stomach. I’m just omitting the burnt toast!

Raw Food Update

7 Apr

Although I am certainly not 100% raw, I have been adding LOTS more raw food to my diet.  However there have been some challenges.  Since I like variety–in my food as well as in most everything else–I have been searching the web for raw recipes.  There are tons of them!  But many take quite a bit of time to create or use equipment which I don’t have and presently have no room to store.  And unfortunately I have become somewhat spoiled by the abundant availability in this area of resturants where I can quickly get a little something that satisfies my taste buds for the moment.

I have tried a few recipes, with varying degrees of success.  I do ok for breakfast.  Often I will blend up a mix of greens, fruits, and veggies and nuts.  Sometimes I add sprouted grain that I have on hand.  I can’t really call these smoothies (they are more like a thick drink) becuase I am only using my Osterizer blender which I’ve had for several years.   The only other equipment I have is a tiny food processor which does about a cup at a time.  It works for me becuase that way I can eat what I fix in one setting.

Another breakfast I make with my little processor is grated soaked almonds, apples and a slice of ginger root.  Very fresh and filling!  Since I am still trying to use up the un-raw food I have on hand, I have added Grape Nuts cereal to the apple/almond breakfast.   Sometimes I made a wonderful mango pudding, adding a little coconut,  bananas and ginger root.

One of the reasons I have been frequenting restaurants is because I still haven’t broke myself of the habit of buying too much produce at one time.  Some of the raw sites even say to purchase lots of food so you always have something on hand whe a craving strikes.  But this hasn’t worked for me.  I will buy food items thinking I will make some recipe, only when the time comes I either don’t want to take the time to fix it or I’m not in the mood for that food.  Then before I know it, the food has spoiled.  And I am again berating myself for wasting food and money.  Other times I will sprout beans, greens, and grains, but leave them too long before using and they get tough.

At times, I will buy food that I have rarely if ever used–like mangos.  The first ones I purchased were the large kind which seemed to have an aftertaste.  I added them to my morning drink.  But then I discovered the smaller mangos and found they were wonderful.  That is also case with the fresh coconut.  Once I finally got it opened, I found several uses for it.  I ate some fresh and cut the rest up in pieces and stuck in the freezer.  I do this with my ginger and turmeric too.  It makes it so easy to slice off a bit and add to a dish.  So, yes, there have been some successes.

Someone at my last Raw Food Potluck had fixed a great cauliflower recipe.  Although I had never been a big cauliflower fan, I purchased one at my last grocery visit.  And it has set in the refrigerator for nearly a week.  But today I decided I am going to use it.   So I searched for raw cauliflower recipes.  Some where it is chopped into a rice like size and used like rice as a base for sauces.  Other recipes for different salads.  I finally found one on titled Raw Cauliflower Korma.  I’m not sure  what Korma means but I liked the list of ingredients.  I’ve been frequenting Indian resturants lately and this recipe seemed to fit right in.

Yes, the recipe sounded good.  The fact that I didn’t have some of the ingredients didn’t stop me.  I hardly ever follow a recipe exactly!  So I went about substituting and mixed up a spice mixture that apealed to me using sumac seasoning, dried mint, dried thyme, coriander seeds, cinnamon, and galangal.  It seemed to need a little more sweetness so added some crystallized ginger.  I used 4-5 cauliflowerettes, about a half cup of carrots, some tamarind paste, two dates–hey I followed the recipe on the dates– a clove of garlic, two green onions.  Oh, tomatoes–no sun dried tomatoes in cupboard.  But I did find a can of garlic herb pasta sauce and a can of tomato soup.  After considering I decided on the tomato soup.  For liquid I used the water from soaking the nuts. Directions always say to discard tries water, but I’ve developed a taste for it.  It tastes a little like the fermented drink rejevenic made from spouted grain.  Anyway, I added that.   And today I created enough (nearly raw) tasty Cauliflower Gaspacho for two meals!  Probably in the time it would have taken to drive to a restaurant.  Plus saving money, I know what all the ingredients are and know it is fresh!  And, hopefully, since the cauliflower didn’t really taste like cauliflower, I will be able to find other recipes that I like and make them before the rest the head spoils.

Another success was the dish I made for the Raw Food Potluck.   I call it Butternut Slaw. Raw grated butternut squash, fresh squeezed orange juice, ginger and turmeric root.  I let the flavors blend overnight.   The recipe, which I changed completely, called for cranberries.  But I liked the flavors of the slaw just as it was.  So I made a relish side dish with cranberries, apples, oranges, olive oil, rice vinegar, a bit of stevia and some of my espresso vinegar.  Both were a hit and the slaw especially was so pretty and fresh looking!

Butternut Slaw with Cranberry Relish

Butternut Slaw with Cranberry Relish



New Spiritual Journey

29 Mar

I never used to understand that Bible verse about ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’, Phil 2:12.  But in the past few years I have been realizing it is a very real search/journey.  I have had a lot of soul searching and done lots of Bible studies on various topics. Experiences in my life have convinced me, beyond a doubt that God is leading me closer to Him.  And, trembling sometimes, I am trying to follow.

For several months I’ve been feeling like God is calling me to something ‘more’.  I have felt such a need to praise and worship God.  And my church meetings haven’t fullfilled that need.  Yet I’ve kept trying to go.  Sometimes it was a good experience and sometimes not.  I love the sharing part of the meeting.  Yet I know there are parts of the (tradition?, beliefs?) that I don’t believe.  Parts I now realize I never have believed.  But still I tried to keep going, feeling like I had been part of the problem so I should be part of the fix.  Then I wondered “who am I to try to fix something?”  And I kept getting these pricks–“Follow Me, I have more for you”.  And, “why aren’t you listening to me?”  Finally that verse came to where Jesus says to Saul/Paul–it is hard for you to kick against the pricks, Acts 26-14, and I realized I need to listen and take heed.  It’s a scary thing to leave something you have grown up mostly beleiving.  Yet it is a whole lot scarier not to follow where I know is God/Jesus leading me!

I visited with a woman from my Quest group (we are on a quest to learn more about ourselves, each other and God) and she invited me to her church for a presentation.  I liked parts of it.  I was invited to a women’s bible study there, but haven’t gone yet. She believes in Once Saved, Always Saved.  And my church certainly doesn’t!

Since I feel God is leading me away from my church, I decided to visit area churches, because I do want to meet with believers.  I want to praise God–to sing and well, really to shout–of His wonderful encompassing essence!

I went to a local church last Sunday.  I liked it, but wanted to check out others.  I found another nearby that sounded interesting.  I was planning to go this morning but they are having pre Easter Kids service and egg hunt today and I wasn’t interested in that.  I also want to check out a couple up in JAX.  I found one up in the city that sounded really interesting, but since it seemed to be in a questionable neighborhood I drove up there first and decided–maybe not.  I am also signed up for a bible study in my Quest group led by the woman whose church presentation I went to.

But today, since it was too late to go back to the place I we last week, I didn’t go anywhere.  Instead I’ve been researching online opposing views on ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’ doctrine.  I read a Lutheran link that had a lot of helpful scripture (which I took notes from) and views, at least until I clicked on their doctrine.  Some of which I believe is NOT scriptural.  So then looked at other sites.  I’ve taken notes of some links and quotes.  I especially like the one about our enemy being Satan–not believers who have differing view.  Because that is one thing I have Always hated about Meetings (what I’m calling the way/church I have been in since a teenager).  I have always cringed inside when I heard the criticism of other religions, especially when I could hear the contempt in the voice.  Yet there have been times in the past, when I too, felt like I had something that others didn’t.  I hate that.  It only brings self-righteousness.  It causes a terrible feeling inside, something I never want to feel again!  A certain pity for others, but no joy to self or to others.

Back to my research.  I will probably come back to it many times, but for today after browsing through my notes, I find the best concept is that both views are correct.  Even though they seem to be opposing.  Yes, there can be a falling away, but also we can believe God’s promise that ‘nothing can separate us from His love’.  Although I didn’t note it specifically in my notes, I believe this was taken from the Lutheran site. (I will try to find the link if any are interested.).  The ‘falling away’ was spoken to the ‘Old Man’–our flesh–who wants nothing to do with God.  Whereas God’s promise is to the ‘New Man’–who believes in Christ.  When we believe that Christ died for us to become righteous before God, and that through grace by Jesus Christ and for His sake we are ‘saved’–righteousness and eternal life are given to us!

One site mentioned that the word Believe in the Greek translation is an ongoing verb.  We must continually repent of our sin and believe in Christ saving power.  The Christian life is one of continual repentance; true repentance and turning away from sin brings about a changed behavior which is pleasing to God.  This brings up another opposing subject: faith vs works.  That Is a study I started over three years ago, which I continually return to.  Maybe I will post on that another time.

Another study I may do is what is referred to as ‘the Great Commission’.  I think most churches preach that all believers need to spread the Gospel, whereas my church seems to feel that it should only be the ministers.

As a result it has always been hard for me to speak to to others of God.  However, now God is leading me in this.  Just the very day after I had finally said (in my heart), “Ok God, I will go where you are leading”, an experience came where I could share something that, previously, I would have never mentioned.  A coincidence?  I think not.  And even in this post I am sharing, with trembling jubulation, where God is leading me. Praise be to HIM!


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