Give Thanks {November 3rd}

As I sit here tonight thinking of my day and thinking of all I am grateful for, I am almost uncomfortable at how full I am feeling from eating so much today. Almost to the point where I don’t really want to do anything else but go to sleep.

I think sometimes I take for granted what food I eat, or don’t eat and waste. There are plenty of people out there, and I’m sure plenty even in my small rural area, that do not have much to eat on a normal basis, while today alone I had plenty to eat and some. I don’t want to ever forget that food is a blessing.

The company I am an ambassador for launched a new product that summer called Lean. This is a meal replacement shake and with every bag sold we provide 14 meals to feed the hungry in America! How amazing is this? I know that within the first few days we had donated so many meals it was pretty remarkable! To learn more you can go here.

So today I am thankful for the food I have been blessed with, and I never want to take that lightly.

I want to do MORE to help the hungry. What suggestions do you have?

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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!

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.

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