Give Thanks {November 2nd}

I became an aunt at the age of 18, right after I graduated high school.  This was a new adventure to me and one that made my heart full.  Before Cadence was born I wasn’t around many young kids, besides my siblings and cousins.  Cadence taught me how to love unconditionally, and I believe that her presence in my life is what made me want to be a mother.

Parker came around a few years later.  From day one that girl brightened my day with her huge smile.  I can still remember her sitting up in her bassinet and when she saw me her eyes lit up and her smile just kept growing.  Again, I never knew I had so much space in my heart.

Next came Madyxx, and being the first boy, he made things so exciting.  My heart kept growing, and it was easy with this loveable, adorable little boy that brought so much fun into our lives.

Reese made me an aunt for the fourth time.  Reese was truly a miracle, and so loved before she was even born.  When she was born it was extra special, and my heart was exploding with love.

So tonight, on the 2nd day of November I am thankful for all of my nieces and my nephew.  They are ornery, smart, loving, and wonderful.  Each and every one of them bring so much fullness into my life, and I am so thankful for them and the future ones to come.

Tell me what you love most about being an aunt or an uncle. Would love to hear!

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Give Thanks {November 1st}

This has been one of the longest weeks of my life.  Brokenness, heartaches and numbness have been sneaking in and trying to bring me down.  I am reminded in this difficult time that God is alive, He is here, and He is listening.   He knows my needs, and He knows my heart.

So today, November 1st, I want to say that I am thankful for God’s mercy & grace.  I am so thankful for the miracles He is performing in my life right now, and I am so thankful for His favor.

If you haven’t taken the time to tell God that you love Him,  maybe take a few minutes and tell Him how wonderful He is.  He loves you more than you know. ❤

P.S.- November 1st!?! Does this mean I can start streaming Christmas songs, movies, and start decorating?!  When do YOU put up your tree and/or decorations?

You’re Far From Empty My Love

You’re Far From Empty My Love
By: Whitney Linck
2012

You’re far from empty my love,
you’re too important to me.

I’ll fill you with my graciousness,
my strength my love.

You’re far from finished my love,
I have great things yet to come.

You’ll be a vessel for me,
you’ll be my voice my love.

I’ve always been with you,
even if you couldn’t hear,

I’ll always be with you,
no need for any fear.

I’m keeping all the promises I made to you my love,
for I have never changed.

I’ve been calling out, have you heard my voice.

You’ll know the answers if you open your heart.


Divinely Inspired Writings: 
Refer to my introductory post here.

Jalapeno Jelly

I’ve been making Jalapeno Jelly for years now, and it is always a big hit with co-workers, friends and family.  I have noticed that I have some batches that turn out great, and some that don’t set as well, but they all taste amazing! Sometimes I actually prefer using less pectin, because it makes it easier to pour the jelly, or relish, whatever you want to call it, over the cream cheese, which is the main way our family eats it.

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I wanted to share my recipe, and please note that I am one that doesn’t like to measure exactly, or do exactly how the recipe calls, but that’s alright, it works for me! You just have to find out what works for you.

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When I am strictly making Jalapeno Jelly I only use Jalapenos, I have never added any bell peppers to mine, which is fine if you would prefer to do that to yours.  

Start with your Jalapenos.
Cut the stems off, half and scoop out the seeds.

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Keep seeds in some if you want spicier, or in all if you want it super spicy

*Use gloves unless you want anywhere you touch on your body to be on fire.  Your choice!

Chop those babies up finely.  I use my handy dandy Ninja mixer, it almost liquifies them ( which may be the cause of the jelly not setting up perfectly.)

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In a pot add 6 1/2 cups of sugar ( yowza, I know) 1 ½ cups of cider vinegar and start heating up. Make sure you use a pot that is large enough so the jelly does not boil over, believe me, that is NOT fun!

Once you have the sugar and vinegar mixed together you can add your 2 ¾ cups of chopped peppers to the pot.

 Mix well, and let it come to a boil. I like to stir often, I just don’t want anything to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Once it comes to a boil this is where you add your pectin, and I use the liquid Certo brand.  Use 2 pouches, and stir well, bringing it back to a full roiling boil. Once it hits that rolling boil start timing for 1 minute.  

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Stir constantly, if you didn’t listen to me before and used a small pot, now is where you start praying it doesn’t boil over.DSC_8283

Turn off the burner, and remove the pot from heat.  

You’ll notice some foam at the top of the Jelly, you can either gently scoop it off and throw it away, or you can keep it, just depends on how pretty you want it to look.  Some have said if you put a little butter in it while cooking it helps with the foam, but I’ve never wanted to put butter in, and I’ve been happy with just scooping it off of the top.

You should have already washed your jars, rings and lids.  Make sure you always use new lids, even if you reuse jars and rings.  Lids seal the product so you always want to use it new.

Side Note- I bought some cheap jars and lids once from a local store, not a popular brand, and NONE of them sealed.  I even had one of the glass jars break while making strawberry sauce and strawberries were floating in the water and made all of the other jars a mess.  So try to stick with a reliable brand, like Ball.

I add all of my clean jars into the boiling water where I will be canning, I let them stay in there for a minute or two, and then I take them out and line them up , making a station for me to start putting jelly into the jars.  You can try to put the lids and rings in the same boiling water where you will be water bathing the jelly, but be warned- you will probably burn your fingers a few times. To make things simpler just boil water in a shallow pot to put the rings and lids in that instead.  

I also do this to all the utensils I will be using for canning, the tongs, funnel, scoop, etc.



Once all of the jars, lids, and rings are out of the water you can start by putting your funnel in the first jar, taking your scoop and start filling each jar up with jelly.  I usually have my husband help me during this time so it will go faster, and the jars, and lids are still warm while I put them on.



Before you put the lid on each jar you must take a clean wet rag, or paper towel, and wipe the rim clean of any jelly that may have gotten on there.  

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Pop the lid on, twist the ring, and set aside.

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Once you have enough for an entire canner, put the jars in the canner, and water bathe for 10 minutes.

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Once that time is up you can bring the jars out, set them on something that can tolerate heat, they will be HOT! Now listen for the beauty of the canning ‘ping’.  Once you hear that you will know your jar has been sealed! I get giddy everytime I hear it.

Repeat the process if you have more to can!

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ENJOY

Get creative with this!
I’ve done:

Mango Jalapeno Jelly
Strawberry Jalapeno Jelly
Strawberry sauce with a hint of Jalapeno

Possibilities are endless!

CONDENSED RECIPE:
6 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 3/4 chopped peppers
2 pouches pectin

Catcher

I have mentioned before that I am a student of creative writing. For those who may have known me in school this may come as a surprise. I was never the best student, and certainly this was most evident in my English classes. I hated reading. Today, I LOVE IT! Books are an absolute pleasure for me! In all mediums too! Physical, Kindle, Audible, you name it. I have a decent collection and honestly have read the vast majority of them in the last three years or so. But before we get much further, I’d like to take this opportunity to share a little story with you about the book that started it all.  This is sort of an off the wall, review/discussion with an autobiographical tie in. I hope it interests you enough to read the book, but also hope that you can appreciate it serving as a testimony, for what the book meant to me.

The Catcher in the Rye

Like many others, this story is timeless. A coming of age story. A very polarizing book by all counts. Even for those who love the book, it often is for different reasons. Even individual readers grow to have new opinions both good & bad as they grow and mature. I for one read it the first time in High School. To give a bit of background, I was the kid all English teachers endeavored to change. I hated reading. Required reading USUALLY didn’t interest me with few exceptions, and reading for pleasure was almost completely out of the question. To make matters worse, we had a required reading program linked to our English classes that required us to read so many books by the end of each quarter. Of course I didn’t participate, because I was a horrible student with a disdain for reading. Enter Mrs. Jensen my Grade 7 & 8 English & Language Arts teacher, who would become one of my most influential people throughout my entire education. She had a profound impact on me, and not just because she was(is) a great teacher, but she genuinely cared about me as a student and wanted to ignite that passion for reading. She also seemed to understand me better than most, even though I didn’t understand myself. She met me where I was, and taught there, and not ahead of me leaving me behind. Evidenced by several occasions sprinkled throughout the 2 years in her class, and topped off with a continuing interest in my career and reading.

By the time I got to high school, I had developed a need to belong to something. So, I started to idolize Punks. Punk rock was everything that I wanted to be. Teen angst, loud music, and fun! ANARCHY we used to say, although I knew nothing of what it meant. The Catcher in the Rye is almost required reading for this crowd. It is packed with teen angst, dark humor and an unrelenting need to belong, even though the hero of the story, Holden Caufield never really has or does. He hates his home, his school and his life and wants to get away. For what? He’s not sure. Just something else. After I finished, I took great pleasure in telling Mrs. Jensen all about it the next time I saw her. Letting her know that it FINALLY clicked. I finally found that one story that I could grab ahold of, that fueled a desire for me. I would later find out that this very encounter meant enough to her, that it became a teaching tool. She let me know years later that she would often cite me as an example to other non-reading misfits. Trying to instill in them, that all it takes is one. One great story to open the door to a world of greatness

Now a grown up, no longer a semi angst-y teen, I have found my belonging. Married in my small hometown, with a career that I love, and continuing education because I want more! Rereading this book back in 2016 yielded a much different perspective on Holden’s story. I am no stranger to depression and anxiety, and even though I know I happy with my life, there are times when the weight of depression is too much. I am reminded of a much simpler time, with no worry or care about the future, and how my teen angst was selfish and stupid. Seeing Holden’s story unfold is darker than before, heavy with depression, and painfully sad to me. After I finished was flooded with so many raw emotions it actually took me a while to recover. And although I went through all that, right along with Holden I still came out the other side better for it. And I am in love all over again. And ever since that first book that chose me, I continually find more! And every time I chance to meet Mrs Jensen, at the grocery store, or anywhere else, I try to go out of my way to share whatever I am reading, and probably talk about the Catcher in the Rye.


Look for all of the posts by me by clicking on the “Chances Taken” tag, under the tag menu.
Image Credit: The Catcher In the Rye – Holden Caulfield by Melissa Hatford

Chances Taken

DSC_2877Greetings!

I am Chance, husband to Whitney and proud supporter of all the duties implied therein! There are a few nicknames to which I am sometimes called to which I will neither acknowledge or repeat here. Just getting that out of the way.

I am student of creative writing at Full Sail University, musician, active member of my church & proud nerd.

Chances Taken, is the space I am calling my own here on Whitney’s blog. A place where I may most post some of my writing, some faith inspired, and perhaps the occasional bit of nerdy- goodness.

Cheers!

 


Look for all of the posts by me by clicking on the “Chances Taken” tag, under the tag menu.

Negative Signs

When you grow up and think about your life plans, you always envision how life is going to be… for me I thought that I was going to get married young (check), go to school young (sort of check) and have children young, and by the time I was 30 I would have at least a few children and would be happily living life as a mother and have an established family.

Chance and I have been married for over 11 years, and looking back I would have never imagined that I would have any issues having kids. After the first couple of years of not having any children you really just start seeing everyone who is pregnant, and wondering…..”Why not me?” I admit it was upsetting, I’m sure it stemmed from jealousy. You would see people on the news treating their children terrible and ask yourself and ask God, “Why do people who don’t even want children have them?” I started making it personal, thinking I wasn’t good enough to be a mother but so many other people were. A lot of my depression and anxiety started here. I tried to not talk about it, I tried to act like it didn’t bother me, but for the first 5-6 years it did, especially when you had so many people asking when you are going to have children and why we don’t have kids yet, etc. or people joking about being pregnant. It’s not their fault, I understand that most of the times that’s the way it goes. You get married; you have children & start a family.

We both went to the doctors and got checked out, and medically we were fine. We should be able to have children. I know there are many options to having kids alternatively, but for us, especially back then, financially it wasn’t an option, I’ve even had people tell me that if you can’t afford to adopt, or consider IVF or other fertility treatments, that you shouldn’t even think about having children, which made me start feeling even worse about myself because I started thinking about the possibility of being pregnant and then not being able to financially support kids. So I started thinking, “Is this why I can’t have kids, because God knows I can’t handle it?”

I started thinking that losing weight would be better than nothing and could possibly be what is causing us from having kids. So I started changing things in May of 2014, and I ended up losing 70 lbs. within a year and a half or so, which helped me feel a little better. Plexus found me in November of 2015 and once I started taking those supplements my health felt SO much better and I knew these products were something I was going to continue with because of how good it made me feel, and knowing I was healing my body with plants was definitely a perk. I started researching more about Plexus and started seeing there were a lot of gut health issues linked to infertility, among so many other things. I started reading success stories of people with infertility issues getting pregnant after a few months of taking Plexus, and that was exciting to me… but after years of seeing the negative sign, you never truly think it is possible. There is something amazing knowing that Plexus has helped others with so many issues, including infertility and even if these products aren’t helping me get pregnant right now, they are still helping me with so many other issues, including the LONG battle with depression.

Here I am, 32 years old, Not pregnant yet, still thankful with how Plexus has been healing me from the inside out, and genuinely happy when I see people announce their pregnancies, anger and jealousy doesn’t come into my heart anymore—and for that I am very thankful. I love my nieces and my nephew; I love children. I used to think that maybe I am not supposed to have children. I must admit that having kids now would change our lives—everything we do now would be different. I’m ok with that, but now after being lent a book from a good friend, called, “We’re Pregnant : How to Receive God’s Cure for Infertility” by Dianne Leman, I have faith that it IS going to happen, and that God does want me to be a mother.  Instead of settling on a lie, saying I will never be a mother, I am thanking God for his promises and knowing that God is still in control….and it is well with my soul.

 


 

 

What is your mountain?

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What is your mountain? Don’t tell God about your mountain and expect it to move.  Tell your mountain about God and command it to move by the authority that God has already provided to all of us who believe.

 

 

I’m Asleep

I’m Asleep
by: Whitney Linck

I’m asleep,
darkness all around.
Sweeping me off my feet,
on rocky ground.

I’m asleep.
The battle is inside of my head.
Telling me I’m not loved,
telling me I’m dead.

I’m asleep,
a familiar place.
It comes when I’m running,
away from Your grace.

I’m asleep,
I have seen Your ways.
Easily forgotten,
easily erased.

I’m asleep,
no longer a heart of joy.
Darkness sinks in,
darkness destroys.

I’m asleep,
pain all around.
Innocence taken,
buried in the ground.

It’s time for me to wake up.
I’m ready to give it all I’ve got.
I can no longer battle my flesh.
I can no longer try to do it all myself.
For You have been with me,
even in my sleep.
For You have always Loved me.

It’s time to wake up.

 


Divinely Inspired Writings: 
Refer to my introductory post here.

Divine Inspiration


Do you ever start writing things down that just come to you, and you have no idea where it is coming from at that moment?  I’ve never thought of myself as a writer, but I do know that when I get the urge to write It usually comes out in poems.  I have been woken up in the middle of the night with a line of a poem, and I have to write it down. I sometimes even write entire poems out, and set them aside and come back a month or two later and read these poems I wrote and have no recollection of doing it, or even what it said.  It was like reading someone else’s work for the first time.

I didn’t realize that God was speaking to me and He was speaking to me through poetry.

I love that God gives me these tidbits of inspiration time after time and I often go back and read them and get refreshed and renewed with His promises.  

Some of the poetry I’ve written is just for me, and I will cherish that. There is also some poetry that I believe is for you too, and I will be sharing for you, from Him.

I’m sorry, Toby!

A few months ago I posted on social media about my poor little dog, Toby.  I thought it was a good reminder and wanted to share it.

Today started as your normal day, you know, the days where you are running a half a minute behind, you flat iron your hair quickly, throw on some clothes, and hope that the jeans you want to wear with your gray booties are clean. You put the makeup basics on and then take your vitamins as your running out of the house and heading to work by 8 am. Today I just happened to grab a package that needed to be sent via the USPS. While at work I told my supervisor that I would go to the post office and grab the mail today so I could take my package. While getting in my car, I hear “riiiiiippp” screaming throughout the car and I have an instant feeling of panic. Thinking to myself, “I knew this was going to happen”. I wear jeans out easily and it was about time for them to go. The joys of being a big gal when your legs rub together is that jeans will wear out, especially if they are your favorite ones and are worn often.

So now I am sitting in my car trying to make the snap decision if I’m going to walk back inside my office and grab my house keys… or If I am going to just go to the back of my house and use the keypad to get in, it takes longer, and I will get our dogs all riled up and they will think it’s time to play. I decide to just go with it and do the long route, because my pants are ripped and why would I want someone seeing me like that.

I get to my house and open up the back gate and there is my little Toby dog there just jumping and excited to see me, with snow all over him. In the hustle & bustle of the morning, he was left outside this morning.

I was instantly beaming with joy, sad that we left him outside, but so thankful that God works in mysterious ways! If it wasn’t for me needing to mail a package, for my pants ripping, and for me leaving my house keys at work, I would have left my small yorkie-poo dog in the cold wind & snow until I got home for lunch, and he is not accustomed to this weather.

This is a perfect example of how God uses even the small things that you don’t think matter, to help make you aware of things. I could have turned to anger when my pants ripped, but I sort of laughed it off, I could have gone back for my keys, but I thought I would just use the keypad instead.

I am so thankful for the reminder that He is in our lives even in the small parts, when we think things don’t matter. He may not have made my pants rip, or made me forget my keys, but He did use those things to help me find my dog, and made something that could have been devastating, perfect.

And so it begins…

I am a “Jill of all trades”.  I may not do everything amazingly, but I enjoy doing and trying new things.  

With this blog I plan on showcasing my creativeness through my many adventures! Documenting my thoughts along the way as an outlet of expression for myself, and also for anyone else that sometimes feels the need to do it all, in proportion of course.
Who says we can’t try new things, and excel, or even be absolutely terrible at them? What is the hurt in trying?

Let me introduce myself.   My name is Whitney. I come from a small community where usually everybody knows each other. Unfortunately that means they usually know your business too, which could be a good or bad thing…you decide.

I am married, am a daughter, sister, aunt, friend and a child of God. I have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, I am a photographer, crafter, baker, registered yoga instructor, network marketer, praise team worship leader, and last but not least I am a dog mom of 6. My dogs are my babies.  You’ve heard of crazy cat ladies, right? Just call me the crazy dog lady! The reason we have 6 dogs is because we DO NOT WANT 7! Well, okay the real reason is because we thought we could breed ( not on purpose ) and sell puppies to close friends or family, but we ended up falling in love with all of them & kept them all. 5 Yorkie-Poos, named Lola, Boris, Bella, Lucy and Toby. The 6th and final member of the pack is is Odin, Odie for short, or Mr. Odin when he is in trouble.  This is our English Bulldog, one of the biggest, whiniest dog baby I have ever seen, but he is loyal, and he is a momma’s boy for sure. We ended up getting him when a sale ad came up on social media for $25!!!! $25 y’all, I couldn’t let someone who could afford $25 purchase him and not treat him well because he was already skinny looking and skittish.

I love Jesus, and I have a relationship with Him. When you are a control freak like me it is sometimes hard to let Him direct your path. Nevertheless, I am on a journey to STOP worrying, STOP trying to decide my future myself, and START letting Him do what He has promised to do.  I am a human, and I fail every single day, but my love for the Lord is real, authentic and I want to share that with others.

I am a farm girl at heart, though I’ve never lived on a farm.  I used to watch Little House On The Prairie with my mom when I was younger, and I’ve loved the farm, self sufficient life.  I am slowly learning how to become more self sufficient, and eventually one day, I’ll live on a farm and someday I’ll have chickens.

 

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