Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How to Pick a Ripe Watermelon

Have you ever chunked an unripe "green" watermelon? Cutting a watermelon to find out it is green or half-ripe and tasteless! Very disappointing to say the least. I've always used the finger-thumping method as I'm pretty good at it. I need a foolproof method that's easier, 100% reliable, money-saving and never disappointing! Nowadays with watermelons close to $10 a piece, it is more important than ever to know how to pick a ripe one!

I read several tips in Southern Living and saw an article on facebook that I put to the test. The tips to picking a ripe watermelon I tried are:

1. Look for a yellow belly which means the watermelon has been in the field a long time hence riper. See the yellow?

2. Look for scarring on the skin of the melon, the blacker the scars, the riper the melon.
These two pictures are opposite ends of the same watermelon. Some yellow belly and an impressive scar pattern! How did this seedless watermelon taste? AMAZING! The sweetest, juiciest, early "May" watermelon I've ever tasted. The appearance of the inside of the watermelon looks questionable but trust me, the taste is delicious! My family and I enjoyed every ounce of the goodness!
I was pretty pumped that I had found a method other than thumping to pick a ripe watermelon! I couldn't wait to try out this new found skill again. I walked into the BI-LO strutting like a peacock with a fanned tail. This trip to the same store picking from the same watermelon bin turned out quite differently. I went thru the same process looking for a definite yellow belly and dark black scars, no thumping.

Found one! Brought it home. GREEN AS A GOURD! Had to chunk it! Now...

I'm a yellow-bellied, black-scarred, finger- thumping watermelon picker!

Is there a foolproof method out there for picking a ripe watermelon? I'm not so sure! What's your watermelon picking secret? I'd love to know. Leave me a comment and share it with us folks who are ready to give up!

Let them ripen before picking please,
The Happy Handicap

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Evil Front and Center

My church is having a silent auction to raise money for a mission trip to Mexico. We need donations to get donations! I've been trying my patience with embroidery so the first thing I think is "I'll donate an embroidered shirt!" Sounds easy enough with over a dozen projects under my wings. Right? Well, the donations are due tomorrow.

The first shirt I attempted is now an every day shirt for me. The font for the scripture I put on it messed up regally. The thread color was all wrong too as you could hardly see it on the applique fabric I used. I almost threw it in the trash like I have several other shirts.  I'm donating the one in the pic whether it gets a bid or not. If you look closely, the word "First" looks terrible, incorrectly spaced and the "r" is almost double embroidered! I accidentally snipped a hole in the shirt but thankfully the thread covered it. There are several other things I could point out but I'll just let this be a picture search for you. If you see something wrong, let me know.

Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. Evil was in my sewing machine today! Kidding. I don't think Paul was talking about evil the way this verse is used sometimes. I think Paul explains the human sin nature here. We, most days, set out to do good and somewhere along the way the human in us fails and bad happens. Evil is always present in our body because we have sinful tendencies. I see this so much in my granddaughter. At 18 months, no one taught her to be bad but some days she is. We are all born of sin.

Paul writes on to call himself a wretched man saying with his mind he serves the law of God and with his flesh he serves the law of sin. He also answers the question "Who can deliver us?" Jesus Christ! Will we ever quit sinning? When this evil flesh quits being front and center in our beings. Unfortunately, not in this life.

I provided the example of this shirt to illustrate how evil is present while I was trying to do good:
1. My evil temper flared while working on this
2. The evil twins of frustration and defeat tried to prevail
3. Evil doubts kept trying to rob me of the project
4. Evil reasoning pleaded with me not to donate it
5. My evil pride swelled with perfection paranoia

Persevere to allow Jesus to deliver you to do good. Also, if you're planning a silent auction for your church don't request items be turned in on the 13th...13 is evil!

Hoping for bid,
The Happy Handicap

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Power of Touch

the creation
Last Wednesday morning I marveled at the power of touch as I held my granddaughter tightly to comfortably rock her to sleep. At almost 18 months, she knows the difference between my touch and her mom, both are comforting, but mom is far superior in her opinion. My long-haired Dachshund Hermy knows touch is important too. He roots and pushes to get as close to me as he can on the couch or my bed.  Your pet may do the same thing. Currently, skin-to-skin contact is revered as one of the most vital "touches" a baby can experience when entering the world establishing bonds, instincts and acceptance. I've read stories of people who believe human touch has brought people "back from the dead" after accidents or injury.

Around 1511, Michelangelo painted The Creation of Adam (excerpt pictured) on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel depicting Adam reaching out to touch God. Touch is so important the Bible recounts a story in Luke Chapter 8. A woman, sick for years, believed if she touched Jesus she would be cured. Her faith was so strong she believed she needed to just touch the hem of his clothing. I can imagine this was not a simple task with the crowds around Jesus. She desired help, was determined and received what she believed! Luke 8:45-46 says "And Jesus said, WHO TOUCHED ME? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me."  Who touched me? That gives me goosebumps in an amazing way!

Touch is a powerful action and response especially when filled with love and belief. Are you a touchy, feely individual? If not, you should be! Touch someone today in a good way; share a hug, give someone a genuine pat on the back, extend your arm for a welcoming handshake or sit close enough to touch. If you're receiving a touch, be aware. Don't dismiss someone's touch without regard. I'm guilty of this, are you?

Words from a poem by aviator John Gillespie Magee, Jr. used by television stations as a sign off (I'm dating myself) warms my heart as I recite them in my mind. The last two lines of High Flight  are filled with belief and wonder. 
...Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Have you ever put out your hand to touch God? Have you ever put out your heart to touch God? More importantly, did he feel it? Has God felt your touch and asked "Who touched me?" and you humbly whisper "It's me, Lord." How insanely powerful to know we can touch the Creator God of the universe!

Touching Him Matters,
The Happy Handicap

Monday, April 27, 2015

3 Day Old Baby Kidnapped

tobi mcbryar
Is your kitchen floor clean enough to eat from? How large is your house? If you waited until you could afford them, would you have any kids? Have you gotten angry enough to act out? Ever been depressed? Lived with a disability? Had a child stripped from your arms before you even got to care for her?

Tobi McBryar was kidnapped by the State of Georgia when she was only 3 days old. She remains a victim of a legal system that was originally designed to protect, but is it? The opinions expressed here are mine, as an outsider, formed by past knowledge of Tobi's mom Diana, my love as a mother and my experience living with a disability. My involvement in this story is voluntary. My heart breaks for this baby and her family. They go to court May 20th, once again, to try to bring this baby home.

Read the news stories about Baby Tobi here and here from The Chattanooga Times Free Press. Should states be able to terminate parental rights due to disability? It's scary to think that social workers have the kind of power that has been exercised over Tobi. My heart is broken and my anger is stirred over this situation. What hasn't been mentioned as far as disabilities are is Diana was born with half an arm. Why is this significant?

IT ISN'T! If a social worker had seen my feet, I wouldn't have had the privilege of raising my children either. My uncomely Quasimoto-esque limp without my prosthetic limbs would surely have been grounds for state intervention. Had a social worker talked to me during postpartum, I would have been deemed mentally ill. You probably were too!  I wondered how in the world would I care for another individual...but I did, two of them! I believe prejudice played a huge role in this kidnapping. Prejudice against disabilities, prejudice against tattoos, prejudice against "non-traditional" lifestyles, etc.

Tobi's grandmother's home (Diana's Mom) was assessed to see if it's fit for Tobi to live in. I'm not sure when our government started examining cleanliness of people's homes, the sum of their pay checks or their ability to rear a child...when they have one. I think they missed some folks! It's simple injustice that Will and Diana were never given a chance. Please join me in prayer for Tobi and her family as they fight to bring her home. Thank you in advance for your gift to help in their legal battle and with expenses. Two fundraisers are setup currently. Click here to give a donation. Click here  to order The Pampered Chef by 4/29/15, up to 25% of your purchase will be donated directly to this sweet family.

Talking aloud for Tobi,
The Happy Handicap

Have you suffered the same injustice as Will and Diana? Please share your story with a comment!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Palm Reading 101

March 29, 2015 was a special day. Last Sunday was my Mom's 75th birthday but more importantly, Palm Sunday. My pastor, Mark Shaw preached from Matthew 21:1-11 about the coming of Jesus our King into Jerusalem. I learned two important symbolic things about the entrance of Jesus into the city. I can't wait to share them with you.

1. Jesus came into the city on a colt or foal, a young donkey, a young unbroken, untamed donkey. Jewish culture knew riding into town on a donkey was the sign of royalty. Jesus riding in on an "untamed, unbroken" donkey was symbolic of new, unmatched peace. Jesus was bringing a peace that had never been known before to mankind.

2. Matthew 21:8 says "And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way."  The people of the city laid down their clothes for Jesus to ride on. Other people cut palm branches from trees for him to pass on, hence the name Palm Sunday. Again, the Jewish culture knew these actions toward Jesus were praising him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our Hosanna in the Highest!

Jewish culture is full of symbolism. I thought about our own American culture and it's lack of relative symbolism. We can recognize a popular logo such as Coke or McDonald's. But the only real symbolism I could think of was "The fish" or the most popular symbol in our culture is quite possibly the different colored Awareness Ribbons for Breast Cancer, Epilepsy and other diseases. With our lack of symbolism, this sermon prompted two questions in my heart:

1. How does my life symbolize the peace of Jesus for others? and
2. How do I show my respect and praise for the King?

There aren't any palm trees in North Georgia. We are still sending out a message of some sort every day. Outside the church walls where others see us most, how do we show our respect and praise for Jesus? Do people even recognize that we hail him King of Kings? Think about it this way...can people "read your palm"?

Telling about my good fortune in Jesus,
The Happy Handicap