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The Simple Life

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  • Sheryl Simons
    The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons At home, the simpler things are, the better. * * * Coming home from work the other afternoon, I got behind a car with
    Message 1 of 23 , Jan 16, 2006
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      The Simple Life

      By Sheryl Simons

      At home, the simpler things are, the better.

      * * *
      Coming home from work the other afternoon, I got behind a
      car with several bumperstickers. Of course, I had to read them. I
      don't know where you buy bumperstickers like these, but they were
      not meant for car bumpers, nor were they meant for anywhere, as far
      as I was concerned. I know this is America. We do have the right to
      put just about any bumpersticker on our vehicle – yes, that's our
      right. But if we put obscene bumperstickers on our cars or where
      ever we so choose, it makes me think that we are only shooting
      ourselves in the foot. Why would we want to?
      I know that our forefathers didn't know they were fighting
      to give breath to a country that would one day make the likes of
      Howard Stern a multi-millionaire. They may have thought again.
      When we listen to trash like that, or any trash of any kind, we vote
      against our families, everything we hold dear, our country.
      I know whoever was driving the car in front of me, would
      only laugh had I had a chance to discuss the issue with them. I
      assume they realize that anyone from reading age on up could read
      their rear view billboard, and I would also assume that they don't
      care who reads it. That's too bad. But I know there are people in
      the world who just don't care. They don't appreciate the good
      things in life. Or maybe they resent the fact that life wasn't
      perfect for them. Maybe they never had a daddy who held them on
      their shoulders at a Veteran's Parade. Or maybe they never got to
      take swimming lessons, or spend the night at a friends. But I guess
      I know something they don't.
      Life is what you make it. You might not get to pick your
      family, but once you leave home, you are all on your own. You can
      put yourself through college. You can work at a grocery store. You
      can buy a house, or live in a box. It's all up to you. Or, you can
      throw it away.
      When I was a kid in Jr. High, my principals son Alex was
      around after school once in a while. He was good looking, and a
      great athlete. Scholarship material. Great home on the lake, great
      parents who would give him anything. Al decided it wasn't enough.
      He overdosed. Probably still in a hospital today. Wish I could give
      him another chance. One choice.
      You can be the dad who gives his kid a piggyback ride at a
      parade, or a mom who takes her kids to swimming lessons. No
      excuses. This is America. And once you figure that out, you can
      stop feeling sorry for yourself and take those obscene
      bumperstickers off your car bumper and replace them with something
      nice like, "America the Beautiful", because it is.

      * * *

      Simple Melt in Your Mouth Chicken
      ( I made this the other day. It's like chicken potpie, only very
      easy. If you have the chicken made ahead of time, it's even
      easier. You could also use leftover turkey.)

      1- 3lb. chicken (boil until tender or use leftovers)
      1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
      2 cups chicken broth (I used the water the chicken cooked in)
      1 stick melted margarine
      1 c buttermilk
      1 c self rising flour
      1 t salt
      1/2 t pepper

      Cube chicken and place in greased casserole dish. Combine the soup
      and the chicken broth and pour over chicken.
      Combine margarine, buttermilk, flour, salt and pepper and pour over
      above to make crust. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes.
      * * *

      "I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine"…
      Ephesians 3:20

      Five thousand breathless dawns all new;
      One million flowers fresh in dew.
      Five thousand sunsets wrapped in gold;
      One million snowflakes served ice cold.
      Five quiet friends, one baby's love;
      One white sea of clouds above.
      One June night in a fragrant wood;
      One heart that loved and understood.
      I wondered when I waked that day -
      In God's name - how could I ever pay?
      ~~Courtland Sayers

      "If the only prayer you say in your whole life is 'thank you,' that
      would suffice." ~~Meister Eckhart

      Keeping it Simple,
    • Sheryl Simons
      The Simple Life Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand. Simplify, simplify. ~~Henry
      Message 2 of 23 , Jan 24, 2006
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        The Simple Life

        "Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as
        two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand. Simplify, simplify."
        ~~Henry David Thoreau

        by Sheryl Simons
        * * *

        It happened innocently enough. It was right after Christmas
        and I was just looking for an easy read. The magazine rack looked
        pretty tame. But it wasn't. Lurking behind the Reader's Digest,
        and right there in front of Martha Stewart – it didn't just catch my
        eye, it tugged. There was no way I could have missed it – the first
        brand new gardening magazine of the year. The bright shiny cover
        blazing with bright and sunny flowers. Wait a minute, my brain
        protested. Here in Michigan it's still the middle of winter! We
        have snow and ice and are lucky to see the sun peak out. We are
        still dealing with salted walkways and black ice. Anger was icing
        my brain cells. I had to look away. It was like looking at the sun
        for too long. But I couldn't get away. There was another! I
        looked the other direction – another!
        I had not gone to the garden section of my favorite Barnes
        and Nobles for that very reason. Too early to think spring. But
        no. Here in a local grocery store where I should have been safe.
        But too late.
        I couldn't help it, really. I picked one up. I took a deep
        breath and plunged into it. Pages and pages of flowers, vegetables –
        and ugh! – landscaping! I thought I could put it down, but I
        couldn't. I kept peeking. Several pages caught my eye. Images
        seared onto my brain of green grass, and daylilies in full bloom.
        Now what was I to do? Go home and grab a shovel? Walk
        through my back yard of the new 10 inches of the white stuff
        sniffing for rose blooms? Nothing irritates me more than being
        tempted with something I can't have, for months.
        We are months away from planting. Not days but months from
        turning the soil and more months from plucking a ripe cherry tomato
        from the vine. Our perennials are safely tucked away under the
        snow. It's too early to even pull out the seed packets for the
        But though the snow drifts and the wind howls outside, the
        sun will shine again. We will come out of our igloos and one day
        again we will wiggle our toes in the dirt and find that first
        zucchini. At least I have plenty of time to plan my garden. But I
        will stay away from the magazine racks for a couple weeks. If I can…
        * * *

        "Learn to laugh at your troubles and you'll never run out of
        things to laugh at." ~~Lyn Karol

        God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in
        the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces
        against evil." ~~E.M.Bounds
        "I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know:
        the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have
        sought and found how to serve." ~~ Albert Schweitzer
        * * *
        We often have fund-raisers where different employees bring in crock
        pots of soup, dessert, etc. and the money donated goes to a needy
        family or other community cause. A friend at work made this beer-
        batter bread to go with some soup. It's very easy, no kneading!
        Great for when you don't have much time. Experiment with garlic or
        other spices. Makes great toast and a nice pot of chili or soup.
        Simple Beer Batter Bread

        3 cups self rising flour
        3 Tablespoons sugar
        12 oz. room temp beer

        Mix all together and pour into a regular bread pan..Bake 350 about
        30 minutes or until lighly browned on top....Remove when cool enough
        to handle and place on rack. Makes one loaf.

        Keeping it Simple,
      • Sheryl Simons
        By Sheryl Simons Simple living is being the same person on the outside as the inside. I was waiting in line at a store yesterday when a woman in front of me
        Message 3 of 23 , Jan 31, 2006
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          By Sheryl Simons

          "Simple living is being the same person on the outside as the

          I was waiting in line at a store yesterday when a woman in
          front of me caught my attention. Just minding my own business,
          thinking of spring, maybe getting some seedlings started on a
          windowsill, when my pleasant thoughts were so rudely interrupted by
          a woman whose mouth just wouldn't quit. The man she was with I
          assumed was her husband. I felt sorry for him. She began complaining
          about the poor service she claimed she received at this business.
          It all went downhill from there. The cashier suggested she move to
          an empty nearby line if she didn't want to wait. She didn't want to
          walk that far, and made it perfectly clear. There was no person
          within earshot who wasn't disturbed by the debilitating drivel that
          dripped from her mouth. I wanted to get as far from her as I
          could. The cashier remained professionally cool as she patiently
          waited on her customer and then the complaining woman.
          If the service was so terrible, why was the woman here, I
          wondered. No one else was complaining. I think some people just
          enjoy going through life whining. Maybe they like listening to
          their own voice. Or maybe they don't care what kind of attention
          they get as long as it's attention. I also know everyone was very
          relieved when she was gone. It was as if the sun came out. Not a
          pleasant experience, but a learning experience.
          I can go through life being a bright spot in someone's day,
          or an angry cloud. We all have things we can complain about. But
          why be in a hurry?
          I don't really like driving on bad roads, but when I slow down to a
          safe speed, turn on a nice radio station, and watch the pretty
          scenery of winter, I can still enjoy my drive. Most of life is all
          about attitude. Most of my time waiting in line, I can find
          something to talk about with even strangers, and often do. Maybe
          there is a baby to smile with, or an older person who shares a piece
          of their life with me. Before long I'm walking to my car feeling as
          if I'd made a new friend. I always tell the clerk I'm not in a
          hurry. I'm not. Life is too short. Why am I here for this moment
          in time? I can try to brighten someone's day in a minute or less.
          It takes no talent or special skill except for a smile!
          * * *
          "Joy is to feel the doors of the self fly open into a wealth that is
          endless because none of it is ours and yet it all belongs to us."
          ~~William Sloane Coffin

          "As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding,
          mistrust and hostility to evaporate." ~~ writes Albert Schweitzer

          * * *
          Simple Dinner Idea

          How would you like to have dinner delivered to your door several
          nights a week, without hiring a cook or paying for delivery fees?
          It will even save money? Four families with a small amount of
          cooking talent can easily do this.
          You each take one night a week to prepare a meal, but you make
          enough for four families. You can do easy meals like a large pot of
          chili or potato soup. Baked spaghetti, or other casserole. Add a
          salad vegetable, and or bread. One night a week you make the
          delivery just before the dinner hour and return home to your own
          dinner. The other three nights you just stay home while dinner is
          delivered. Get together with a couple other families and decide how
          you'd like to do it. Maybe you only do Wednesdays. Maybe you take
          turns hosting a family night at your house on Fridays. Maybe you
          are a bunch of single parents who also share childcare. However it
          works for you, it just takes a little ingenuity. It may sizzle out
          after a while, but that's okay. You will probably have to adjust it
          occasionally with schedule changes. That's okay too. Try it for a
          month and then have another meeting to discuss changes. It just
          might work for you!
          * * *
          Simple Sausage Lentil Soup

          The spices for this soup can be easily adjusted, as well as the
          sodium. Using different flavors of sausage can also vary the amount
          of spice needed.
          This soup is great with bread and salad!

          Ingredients: 1 16-oz. pkg. dry lentils, 1 lb. sweet Italian
          sausage,1 large yellow onion (chopped), 2 garlic cloves (minced), 3
          celery stalks (chopped), 1 lb. carrots (sliced into small pieces),
          6 cups chicken broth (or water with enough bouillon cubes to season
          to taste), Salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and basil to taste, Freshly
          grated parmesan cheese to garnish

          Directions: Rinse lentils according to package instructions.
          Brown sausage in a large soup pot and drain well. Add onion, garlic
          and celery. Cook until onion is tender. Add all other ingredients,
          except cheese. Cook until lentils are tender, approximately 30 to
          40 minutes.
          Sprinkle with cheese before serving.

          Keeping it Simple,
        • Sheryl Simons
          Being content where you are is the center of Simple living I really want to play the guitar better. I love going to the Dulcimer Festival, and enjoy the
          Message 4 of 23 , Mar 1, 2006
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            "Being content where you are is the center of Simple living"

            I really want to play the guitar better. I love going to
            the Dulcimer Festival, and enjoy the music. I even have a fiddle
            that I haven't played in a couple years. I love gardening, and
            sewing, and cooking. I also love playing golf, etc. etc. There are
            some important things that take time, but sometimes they get left
            out. I have several priorities. But sometimes I just end up
            reading a book, going for a walk, or doing something that isn't all
            that important. What about volunteer time, or family time, or time
            for my faith? I have to be sure that isn't on the back burner.
            Whew! Do you see what I see? When I do have a day off, how do I
            spend those precious hours? Way too many hobbies, and only so many
            hours in a day.
            Maybe this year it's time to prioritize my priorities! I
            know exactly what I should be doing. I am committing myself to that
            end. What about you? Do you know what your priorities are? What
            can you do to make it happen? If you have kids, that is your
            priority right now. You can't do it all. Do everything you can to
            make your time with your family your priority. After that, it's up
            to you. Don't waste it on stuff that doesn't really matter. It can
            all seem important. It isn't. Make a list and number them. If
            it's not near the top, lose it. Maybe not forever, but just for
            this year. Work on one or two important priorities. Think about
            it, study it. Get good at it. Now you can see what happens. Don't
            let the unimportant things block your path to the more important
            * * *
            "If you paint in your mind a picture of bright and happy
            expectations, you put yourself into a condition conducive to your
            goal." ~~ Norman Vincent Peale
            * * *
            Working in a local retail store, I can see what a difference
            it makes to keep your receipts. It's not that hard to put them in
            an envelope, shoe box, or file folder when you get home and empty
            your pockets. You might have a place in your purse or glove box.
            Many nurseries guarantee plants for a year. You don't have to keep
            all your grocery receipts, unless you want to keep them for only a
            month, or so. You could even have several large envelopes, one for
            clothing, one for tools, and kitchen tools, or furniture, or even
            home improvement. Some stores will take back items without a
            receipt, but only at the clearance price. Most stores will give
            full credit if there is a receipt that is less than 3 months old.
            It's your money! If you buy extra supplies for remodeling, take
            back the excess immediately. If a product goes out of date, such as
            a style of lamp, or furniture, and many more, once it is clearanced,
            you cannot get credit for it. Put it immediately in the front seat
            of your car to return at the next time you get near that store.
            * * *
            Here are some amounts for some common produce items! Copy this
            and keep with your recipes.
            Produce Yields
            1 medium onion 1/2 to 2/3 cups chopped
            1 medium pepper 3/4 to 1 cup chopped
            1 medium cucumber 1-1/2 cups sliced or chopped
            1 medium apple 3/4 cup diced, or 1 cup
            chopped or sliced
            3 medium apples 1 pound
            1 medium potato 1 cup cubed, or 1/2 cup
            3 medium potatoes 1 pound
            3 medium carrots 1-1/2 cups diced or sliced
            1 medium head leaf lettuce 4 to 6 cups torn up
            1 pound broccoli 3-1/2 cups florets
            1 pound green beans 4 cups trimmed

            Simple Cleaning: It doesn't take special sprays or formulas to get
            the sticky gunk off the counter, stove, dishes, etc. Just letting it
            soak with water is all it takes most of the time. Dishes soak for 15
            minutes before scrubbing. If the stove or counter has hard gook on
            it, I spray it down generously with water, and let it sit for a
            couple of minutes or cover with a warm and wet dishcloth. If it
            doesn't come off right away, I just spray it again, or let it sit
            longer. If you are worried about germs, use very salty water. Put as
            much salt in the water as will dissolve. The salt kills the germs. A
            doctor who volunteered in third world countries told this. That's
            what they use to kill viruses and germs in the hospital. It's easy
            to keep a spray bottle under the sink!

            Keeping it Simple,

          • Sheryl Simons
            The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be happy. * * * A Simple Faith A writer is always on the
            Message 5 of 23 , Mar 6, 2006
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              The Simple Life

              By Sheryl Simons

              "The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be

              * * *

              A Simple Faith

              A writer is always on the lookout for interesting insight into
              things that happen in life. Whether it's for an article, or a
              novel, there is great material all around us.

              A couple weeks ago, a friend was telling me that he had a
              great professor in college. The professor had explained to the class
              that religions were just invented in ancient days by people who needed
              to somehow understand the meaning of life. They used religion to
              explain great tragedies such as earthquakes or floods. I was rather
              dumbfounded, but there wasn't time to ask any questions.

              A week or so later, this same friend saw me using a red pen.
              A simple little red pen, which had just happened to be available at the
              time I needed a pen. "Red! Why are you using a red pen!
              That's not good Karma! It's bad luck," he said.

              I laughed. "It's just a red pen. I don't believe
              in Karma anyway," I said. He handed me a black pen. "Here, use

              Right then and there, I knew I had my weekly column all
              wrapped up. It's true that everyone needs something to believe in.
              His professor was right about that. What happens when an atheist falls
              overboard in the middle of the ocean? He screams, "Oh God!, O
              God!" If given the chance we will all turn to God in the end. But
              why wait until the end?

              It's been said that anyone who had seen a baby, knows that
              God exists. Having seen my own babies, as well as my granddaughter, I
              have no doubt. All babies are miracles. Who could believe different?
              Miracles don't just happen. There was no "Big Bang" that
              happened billions of years ago, that "evolved" into man.

              It amazes me that we can go through life and chose not to
              believe in the God who gave us our very breath. We go through day after
              day and don't seem to care that the creator of the world is waiting
              to help us through each of those days.

              Ever watch a three year old getting dressed? You are in a
              hurry to get to an appointment, but when you try to help them, "I do
              it myself!" they demand as they put their arm in the wrong side of
              the shirt. We are not unlike that child. We demand from the
              air-craft-controller of the universe, "I can do it myself!" We
              hang on to our crutches and excuses, arrogantly believing that we know
              better. We could ask for simple guidance through our day, but would
              rather stick to our stubborn independence. We wander around in the
              deserts of our lives with the oasis just over the next dune. But we
              can't see it because we don't ask for directions.

              Everything that happens to us screams, "I am here! Call
              on me! I want to help you!" But when do we pull out our "Get
              out of jail free" card? We usually wait until it's a last
              resort. We wait until a loved one has cancer, or we get a flat on the
              way to an important job interview.

              Many people believe that God is love, so everyone will be in
              heaven. Can't possibly be true. Why? Because of free choice. We
              choose to be kind, or hateful, or be a bank robber or a teacher. No
              matter what we believe or don't believe, it takes faith. It takes
              faith to be an atheist. It takes faith to believe the teachings of a
              charismatic professor. It takes faith to think, "I'll deal with
              this when I'm old."

              But no matter. God is patient. He will wait as long as it
              takes. Now or later. And sometimes, never. He just wants to hear
              those two little words, "I believe." Now how hard is that?

              * * *
              Simple Home Fries:4 large Potatoes -- scrubbed1/3 cup
              Vegetable Oil1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt1/4 teaspoon Seasoned Salt1/8
              teaspoon Black PepperSauce:1/2 cup Miracle Whip®1/2 cup Catsup
              Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Using a large baking sheet, pour oil onto
              baking sheet and spread to completely cover. Sprinkle all seasonings
              evenly over oiled surface, then set aside. Using a large knife, or a
              decorative slicer, slice each potato into long strips, about 1/2" x 1" x
              4". Lay strips on oiled baking sheet, turning each one to coat with
              spiced oil. When all potatoes have been prepared on baking sheet, bake
              for 20 - 25 minutes, or until fries are beginning to turn golden on
              edges. Serve hot as a side dish with the sauce.

              * * *

              Simple Cider Cure

              A man had a serious problem with heartburn for the last three years.
              They were purchasing Pepcid Complete once every other week at around $17
              a bottle. He got a tip from a relative of taking a tablespoon of Apple
              Cider vinegar at night before bed or before any spicy meal. It's hard
              going down but does the job wonderfully. Since starting this, he has not
              had one episode of heartburn and the $2.49 bottle of cider (which lasts
              a lot longer than two weeks) is much cheaper than the $17 we were

              Keeping it Simple,

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Sheryl Simons
              Spring is on the Way! The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be happy. It may be snowing outside
              Message 6 of 23 , Mar 14, 2006
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                Spring is on the Way!

                The Simple Life
                By Sheryl Simons

                "The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be

                It may be snowing outside right now (yes, it is!)
                here in lovely `ol Michigan, but spring is in the air. Richard, (my
                husband) saw 9 robins in the yard yesterday. I'm pretty sure they
                are hiding today, but in a couple days, they will be back, pulling
                the worms from the yard. We've seen cranes, already, in fact, the
                whole bird population seems to be exploding.
                Bird watching is a great family entertainment that
                is not costly. Taking a walk in the woods where ever you are, is
                cheap, especially when you pack a lunch. The exercise is a fringe
                Keep a calendar. It doesn't matter which year. If you
                see a bald eagle, or another rare sight, jot it down. Maybe you see
                a bird really early in the spring one year. Or you visit the beach
                and see another kind of bird for the first time. It can be quite a
                fun hobby for the whole family. You can also take some photos and
                keep them in an album. Whatever your hobby, your family can think
                up great ways to enjoy it together. Do it on a regular basis. There
                are all kinds of new things to notice with each season, as well.
                The internet has also opened a great new world of exploration. When
                you see a new bird, for example, you can find perhaps thousands of
                articles of information on the subject.
                I recently met someone who told me about being a naturalist.
                I really didn't know what a naturalist was, but he learned it from
                his own father. He and his family spend time each month noticing
                nature, and documenting sightings of different kinds of plants
                animals, and even bugs! It's definitely not expensive, but what a
                great way to spend time as a family.

                * * *
                Simple Gardening
                Did you know that for the most part, soil test kits are really not
                necessary? After all these years "experts" admit that most soil, on
                any given property is "average". Something most of us amateur
                gardeners suspected all along. Most soils need amendments. Good
                old fertilizers, such as manure, or green manure. If you know a
                farmer, or someone who raises rabbits or has horses, manure won't be
                too expensive, maybe free. Or, you might want to raise chickens or
                rabbits on your own.
                Composted manures are better since the weeds seeds have
                been destroyed by the heating process in the composting. So if you
                have sand, clay, or good ol' loam, you can all benefit from some
                good ol' fertilizers. And whether you have sand or clay, you both
                need the structure. Sand drains too well, so needs other materials
                such as chopped lawn clippings, manures, chopped straw, chopped
                leaves, or worked in green crops, to help keep moisture in the
                soil. Clay soils need the same added structures to help it drain.
                If you have very fertile soil, you don't want to add too much
                nitrogen, however, to garden plants or flowers, because nitrogen
                encourages "green" growth instead of flower and fruit growth. If
                your land hasn't been chemically fertilized in a while, you may
                qualify as "organic", which is really important lately with all the
                new information about chemicals that we have been finding out. No
                one really know the effect some chemicals could have on us, so
                staying natural is important. If you sell your produce at all, being
                organic is a really good thing.
                So save the money from your test kit and just add some
                simple compost.
                * * *
                "In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right
                thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing
                you can do is nothing."~~ Theodore Roosevelt

                "Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of
                one." ~~ Thomas Carlyle

                * * *
                Sugar Cookies
                1 stick oleo 1/2 t soda
                1 stick butter 2 1/2 c flour
                1 1/4 c sugar 1 t vanilla
                1 egg

                mix ingredients as listed. Form into balls. Roll in sugar and
                flatten with fork. Bake @375` about 8-10 minutes until just lightly
                turning brown. Remove immediately from pan.

                Keeping it Simple,
              • Sheryl Simons
                The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons When you are content to be simply yourself and don t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. ~~ Lao-Tzu Finding
                Message 7 of 23 , Mar 21, 2006
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                  The Simple Life
                  By Sheryl Simons
                  "When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or
                  compete, everybody will respect you." ~~ Lao-Tzu

                  Finding peace in your life is all about the simple life. I
                  have to laugh at some of the incongruous ways that people try to
                  make a living. There are some pretty stupid criminals. The guy who
                  was trying to rob a convenience store and left his wallet behind.
                  And with all the surveillance cameras, you can't hardly get away
                  with anything. But who wants to go through life looking over his
                  shoulder wondering "will I get caught today?" One man fled to
                  another state after a crime, but recently was picked up after 10
                  years. Ten years of looking over his shoulder.

                  No one can be truly happy when there is no peace. Life is
                  about being true to oneself. It's about hard work, and honest
                  living. It's about integrity and being able to look yourself in the

                  Anything you can't be really proud of is an area that needs
                  improvement. It's not about getting even or seeking revenge, as we
                  sometimes feel. Guilt is a good indicator. What is it you feel the
                  worst about? You don't have to be a criminal to have things in your
                  life that beg for a deeper look. We can spend our lives trying to
                  prove to others what a "good" person we are, but we all deal with
                  being the same on the inside as we are on the outside.

                  I recently heard a man turn down an alcoholic drink. "I
                  know I can't handle it," he admitted. Wow. Humbling to be sure.
                  But he knew what he had to do. I don't know if he felt strong, but
                  he was really showing his strength. It takes a big person to admit
                  their weaknesses.

                  A woman I know realized she was yelling at her kids too
                  much. She sat down with herself one day and thought about it. She
                  realized it was the stress in her life, and had nothing to do with
                  her kids. It had also been a pattern in her family when she was
                  growing up, and she didn't like it. Right then and there she quit
                  yelling. She told me it wasn't even tempting once she figured out
                  why she was yelling.

                  A man had to quit a good job because he was being asked by
                  his superiors to do some dishonest things. He was told to look the
                  other way, at times. He did it for a while, but eventually, he
                  couldn't do it any longer. He quit. He gave up the paycheck.
                  Things were tough. He had to sell some "toys" that his family had
                  enjoyed. He may never find a job that pays as well. Maybe he will
                  move. But now he can live with himself. His life is already
                  better. He's spending more time with his kids. He hasn't even
                  realized that he did the right thing yet, because it still stings.
                  There is fallout to doing the right thing at times. Sometimes it
                  takes a while to realize you did the right thing. Simple living is
                  being right with yourself.

                  * * *
                  "There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship,
                  communion, or company than a good marriage." ~~ David Ben-Gurion

                  Simple Squash Casserole

                  1 pound yellow squash, sliced,1 onion, finely chopped, 1 cup grated
                  Cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup half and half, 2 Tablespoons butter, 1 egg,
                  beaten, Dash of nutmeg, Salt and pepper to taste,1/2 cup cracker
                  crumbs, Paprika to taste

                  TO PREPARE:
                  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam squash and onion until done.
                  Drain. Combine squash and onion in a large bowl, add cheese,half and
                  half, butter, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix well. Place
                  mixture in a greased casserole dish. Top with cracker crumbs and
                  paprika. Bake approximately 25-30 minutes until slightly browned.

                  Doesn't this recipe make you hungry for that fresh squash
                  from the garden? I can't wait to get my fingers in the soil, but
                  right now my garden is just a mucky mess. When you can walk on your
                  garden, you can plant peas, onions and a few other veggies that
                  frost won't hurt. It's almost here! It's not too late to plan how
                  big or small you want your garden. A grape tomato plant in a pot or
                  a –half-acre menagerie – it's up to you!

                  Keeping it Simple,
                • Sheryl Simons
                  The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons Gardening is the heart of simple living. A special HI to all! Yesterday I found a local strawberry farm, and bought 8
                  Message 8 of 23 , Jun 28, 2006
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                    The Simple Life

                    By Sheryl Simons

                    "Gardening is the heart of simple living."

                    A special HI to all! Yesterday I found a local strawberry
                    farm, and bought 8 quarts of strawberries, just picked that
                    morning. There berries were fantastic! My friend had bought someat
                    a local fruit market, and they were all mushy. When she took them
                    back, she found out they were from Mexico! I don't know how long it
                    takes to get strawberries from Mexico to MI, but several days to be
                    sure! So if you want the most yummy berries, BUY LOCAL GROWN!

                    My hubby cleaned them, I chopped them up with my hand chopper,
                    the kind from Pampered Chef (works great) and made two batches of
                    jam. I like the reduced sugar Sure Jell. Making Jam is so easy. I
                    cook the jam, and put it in jars. My mom had given me all her
                    canning stuff, but when she saw my jam, she wished she had not given
                    it away! I gave her some jam, and told her we will do a batch
                    For dinner, we had warm homemade biscuits, covered with
                    strawberries and whipped cream. The biscuits were still warm.
                    Yumm! I always use the recipe from the back of the Clabber Girl
                    biscuit can
                    1/3 c marg (the recipe calls for shortening, but this is better)
                    2 1/4 c flour
                    2 t Baking Powder
                    1/2 t salt
                    2 T. sugar (my addition)
                    about 3/4 c milk
                    The dough should be almost dry enough to not be sticky. If it's too
                    sticky, add a bit more flour. For good biscuits, don't stir it any
                    more than you have to. Put some flour on your pan ( I use a baking
                    stone) Preheat oven to 450`. Pat out the dough on the stone, using
                    a bit of flour under and on the dough. Pat out to 1/2 inch. Cut
                    with biscuit cutter, or glass. place one biscuit on top of the
                    other to make a double high biscuit. Bake for 12 minutes. THESE
                    ARE THE BEST BISCUITS EVER!!!! Very Simple. If you have biscuit
                    mix, just add 2 T. sugar. You can double this batch easily!

                    Now what is more simple than a strawberry dinner in summer???

                    * * *

                    From a tomato in a pot to crops in a huge plot, a garden
                    grounds us. It brings us back to basics. It makes us see what
                    matters. It gives us the responsibility to realize that when we
                    nurture something, we touch the earth, and it touches us back.
                    If every child had a plant to take care of, or maybe a small
                    garden, the violence in this world would be almost non-existent. We
                    all need to learn to nurture. A child who learns to grow things
                    doesn't want to hurt things, but learns to take care of things. We
                    need to feed and water a plant to get it to grow. Watch a gardener
                    walk among his plants. He talks to them. He waters them, feeds
                    them, trains them in their growth. He waits for them through long
                    winters and welcomes them each spring. And each morning, he walks
                    among his plants, touching them, enjoying the fragrances, noticing
                    what kind of care his plants need. Weeds are plucked, flowers
                    deadheaded to encourage more blooming, watering here, harvesting
                    there. And then, enjoying the fruits of his labor. Sliced
                    strawberries on a bowl of cereal for breakfast, an onion slice on a
                    hamburger for dinner, or an ear of juicy-sweet corn steaming and
                    dripping with butter for dessert.
                    Gardening is a peaceful endeavor. Gardening is inexpensive –
                    from the cost of a seed packet or two, to the cost of a flat of a
                    variety of plants. Maybe a pot and some potting soil and a bit of
                    fertilizer. But when combined with some freezing, drying and
                    canning, it can be a money maker. Think of the cost of strawberry
                    jam for a year. Now think of the cost of a few jar lids and some
                    pectin, and you have free jam for a year! Gardening can be good
                    exercise, from building a new plot with a shovel (the best way), or
                    it can be merely relaxing by planting a few plants in a pot and
                    watering them.
                    However you choose to garden is your choice. But no matter
                    how you do it, it will make the world a better place. Even with a
                    few weeds, (and not all weeds are a nuisance) No doubt about it – it
                    makes your corner of the world a great place to start!
                    * * *

                    "Hope is seldom found in the things we can see; it is the sweet
                    fragrance of grace."

                    "I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find
                    out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't, and die to
                    find out there is." ~~ unknown

                    "If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written
                    upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old."~ ~James A.
                    * * *
                    Simple Watering
                    Having a garden means watering. But watering doesn't have
                    to be expensive. Water plants well, and mulch with newspaper,
                    plastic, leaves saved from last fall, grass clippings, or old strips
                    of carpet. When mulched, plants need little watering unless it is
                    very dry.
                    If you must water, consider it a pleasure to walk among your
                    plants and water each plant. It gives each plant a good drink, as
                    well as a chance to observe insect problems, and also doesn't water
                    the weeds like a sprinkler would do. Watering each plant starves
                    the weeds. After watering, take a few more moments once a week to
                    move your hoe lightly along the surface of the soil. That is all it
                    takes to eliminate the small weeds. No large equipment needed. Or,
                    if you have a large garden, do several rows a day. Keeping it
                    simple in the garden.

                    * * *
                    Simple BLT's and Strawberry Shortcake

                    Fry up some bacon and slice up a nice juicy tomato from the
                    garden, and wash some bibb lettuce from the garden. Add some salad
                    dressing and you are on your way to a great sandwich dinner. Slice
                    some strawberries and mix in a bit of sugar or splenda. Spoon over
                    ice cream, with a dollop of whip cream. Put a sweet biscuit under
                    it for shortcake. To make easy biscuits, use a biscuit mix, adding
                    a tablespoon or two to a batch making them just slightly sweet.
                    Warm biscuits, fresh from the oven, under your shortcake is truly
                    the best strawberry shortcake there is!

                    Keeping Summer Simple,
                  • Sheryl Simons
                    The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be happy. Lessons for the Garden A garden that one makes
                    Message 9 of 23 , Jun 25, 2007
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                      The Simple Life
                      By Sheryl Simons

                      "The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be

                      Lessons for the Garden

                      A garden that one makes oneself becomes associated with one's
                      personal history and that of one's friends, interwoven with one's
                      tastes, preferences, and character, and constitutes a sort of
                      unwritten...autobiography. ~Alfred Austin

                      "If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional
                      love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of
                      flowers can bloom and grow." Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

                      * * *
                      This week we put up a new arbor, painted Buttercream. I
                      mixed the color, adding just a little yellow paint to some white I
                      already had. It is not easy to paint an arbor, there are a lot of
                      nooks and crannies, but I did get it all covered. I had a
                      beautiful `heavenly blue' morning glory to climb up it, along with a
                      few other colors, and when it was all put together, the effect was
                      beautiful! I had some morning glories that came up from seed on
                      their own. But I had to transplant them. Why is it when they come
                      up from seed, they don't come up where they should be? The next
                      morning they were looking pretty wilted, even though I was so
                      careful. By the next day, though, they were looking healthier. They
                      are going to make it!

                      In the garden we are still planting some seeds. With no rain
                      now for a week, we are sure to give lots of water to our healthy
                      plants. Especially when they are just coming up, they really need
                      water every day to help keep them strong. It's getting harder to
                      find seeds, but there is still lots of time to plant things like
                      radishes, beans, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, and many favorites.
                      Even some plants that need a longer growing time, can be found with
                      shorter days to harvest. Good care helps, too. The proper watering
                      and fertilizing help to get plants producing. Too much dryness,
                      stunts growth, and keeps the plant just hanging on instead of setting

                      So, if you are wanting to plant some fall crops, pick up your
                      seeds while you can still find them! If you have extra seeds,
                      storing them in a cool, dry environment can help lengthen their shelf
                      life. I keep mine in tins, veggie seeds in one, flower seeds in the

                      For watering plants around my deck, I use tap water that
                      would normally go down the drain. My tap runs almost a gallon of
                      water before the water gets hot in the kitchen, but I don't just let
                      it run down the drain, I use it to water the plants close to the
                      house, and a few indoor plants. I try to conserve when possible.
                      Keeping my fertilizer right under the sink makes it easy to add to
                      the water.
                      * * *

                      Simple Pork Chops
                      4 to 6 pork chops
                      1 cup ketchup
                      1 cup Coke
                      Brown pork chops and place in baking dish. Mix Coke and ketchup
                      together and pour over pork chops. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 for
                      45 minutes. You could also grill these, wrapped in foil, on a medium
                      grill. Nice and tender!

                      * * *
                      No one has an exclusive on opportunity. When the sun rises, it rises
                      for everyone. ~~Chinese proverb

                      When your bow is broken and your last arrow spent, then shoot--shoot
                      with your whole heart. ~~Zen proverb

                      Keeping it Simple,

                      Please contact me with recipes, questions, comments and simple living
                      ideas that work for you. Email: thesimple_life@...
                      Join the online newsletter to print recipes and look up previous
                    • Sheryl Simons
                      The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons We can stay young by focusing on a dream instead of on a regret. Simple Good Oatmeal Muffins 1 C Old-fashioned Oatmeal 1 C
                      Message 10 of 23 , Jan 28, 2008
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                        The Simple Life
                        By Sheryl Simons

                        We can stay young by focusing on a dream instead of on a regret.

                        Simple Good Oatmeal Muffins

                        1 C Old-fashioned Oatmeal
                        1 C Milk
                        mix and let sit for 5 minutes
                        1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
                        1/3 c brown sugar
                        ½ t salt
                        ¼ c oil
                        1 egg
                        1 c flour
                        1 t cinnamon
                        1 T baking powder

                        scoop into greased muffin cups. Makes about 8 muffins. Bake @ 425
                        for 20 minutes until golden brown.
                        * * *
                        Special Delivery

                        When you wish to give a plant to someone in the hospital, put
                        together your own and take it to the hospital to the volunteer desk
                        with the patient's name and room number. It'll be "delivered" by the
                        volunteers just like the florist shop items! This can save a lot of
                        money because you use your own container purchased from a thrift
                        store or garage sale and your own plant and make your own delivery.
                        The patient just knows that you were thinking of him/her, and then
                        you can make a visit later that day or the next day if you are in the
                        same vicinity. Try it. No one questions your dropping off a gift to
                        be delivered. This also gives you incentive to repot those `extra'
                        plants, like those extra baby spiders plants, or take cuttings from
                        your philodendra. Even orchids make baby plants you can get starts
                        from! When you get them established, you can get them potted up in a
                        nice pot for a birthday or "cheer –up" gift. You could also look for
                        clearance plant sales, just to get a start! When a friend gave me an
                        orchid, she also gave me a note card with instructions for care, and
                        the likes and dislikes of the particular plant. It's easy to look up
                        plant names on the internet and make your own little plant cards and
                        keep them in a filebox for your own reference.

                        * * *
                        I try to get out every day and get some fresh air, and go for a
                        walk. Even though I don't often feel like getting out, especially
                        when the wind can be so frigid, but I really enjoy it, once I get out
                        there. The past few days 6(!)Bluebirds have been entertaining us
                        right in front of our bay window. I was watching them this morning,
                        and the thought crossed my mind that maybe we were the ones being
                        watched. Maybe they feel sorry for us, thinking we are stuck in the
                        cage called a house? Who knows who is the watcher and the watchee!
                        They flit about and sing, and ruffle up their feathers to look
                        bigger, and now that there are 6 instead of 2, and even though there
                        is about a foot of snow still, there they are. If they can stand the
                        cold and the snow, just maybe I will make it too. While they have
                        cheered me up this morning, who can I cheer up today?

                        * * *
                        I have been spending a lot of spare time working on our family
                        history this winter. There are a lot of free sites you can access
                        from the Internet, just by searching genealogy, family history sites,
                        etc. I am combing through family photo albums, and notes as far back
                        as I can find. The other day I was able to add my Great
                        grandmother's middle name (Nora), and some other details, all one at
                        a time. It's like adding more and more pieces to a puzzle. I hope
                        to just keep adding more and more. I even found a cousin Sue, that I
                        have never met on the internet. We share a great-great grandfather!
                        If you are looking for a simple, and yet meaningful hobby, family
                        history is really fun, and it can get creative and artistic. You can
                        find lots of ideas at libraries, and most local libraries have
                        genealogical societies, that will be glad to lend you a hand, and
                        point you in the right direction.

                        * * *
                        Keeping it Simple,

                        Email: thesimple_life@...
                        Join the online newsletter to print recipes and look up previous
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