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It’s Time to Can Soup and Chili

by J.R. Coffey

It is hard to believe another canning season will soon be over.  This is the best time of year to can soups to have for the Winter ahead.  Hunters will soon be going out and I have included directions on how to can beef or venison.  All of these make for quick meals.  Just heat and serve.  You also do not have to worry if the power goes off and losing your food.  I will give you some general information for all of the recipes that will follow:

General Directions for Soups

1). I prefer to make my broth or stock the day before.  This allows you to skim off the excess fat and discard it or use it for soap.  Some fat should be left in, but too much will prevent jars from sealing.

2). Prepare all vegetables just as you would to cook.  Peel and chop or dice every vegetables.  String and cut or break green beans, shell limas or peas, cut corn off of cob etc.  Some of this can be done the day before and items refrigerated to finish the next day.  Soup spoils easily so work with help or in amounts you can do quickly.

3). Leave 1” headspace in all jars.  Clean jar rims and seal.  Failure to clean jar rims can result in seal failure.

Make Your Life a ROCKIN' Reality Show!

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

We all know fear - and change - is part of life. Yada yada yada.  It’s easy to say the words – but it’s harder to walk the walk.  Doing something new is terrifying! Your heart rate increases, you wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and wonder if you’re doing the right thing. It’s hard to think of anything else, since your entire body goes into that “fight or flight” scenario – preparing for action.

But we need this shake-up, this rush of adrenaline, this pure terror.  Without it, we stagnate – lose interest in moving forward – and resign ourselves to watching yet another reality tv show – watching others risk all without ever leaving the safety of our easy chair.

Why else would reality shows be so overwhelmingly popular? All the drama without ever having to risk anything, ourselves. 

But let’s face it, folks – Our lives ARE a reality show!  Every day we face choices that will determine what direction our lives will take.  We even have an audience watching our performance – our family, friends, even neighbors.  Our very own fan club, cheering us along!

Endangered Childhood: Growing Up Shouldn't be Dangerous!

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

broken bike by ~droplet86I can't turn around without finding yet another example of endangered childhood - online or in my own community. It's reaching epidemic proportions - and I'm terrified of what will become of these once innocent children. I've been insulated by the homeschooling community and the parenting blogs that were my lifeline - though they made me feel like a bad mom for not buying natural peanut butter and not getting my brood to eat sprouts. But my gang's finishing their first year in public school (and loving it), and I've gotten to know a lot of kids who have more to deal with than JIF peanut butter. 

There's the teenage boy who was kept confined in his sparse bedroom and allowed to do nothing outside of watching his spoiled little sister. Or the sisters who are tossed between homes like a volleyball, occasionally landing back with their abusive mother. Or the girl who witnessed a fatal shooting in her home - by her father. 

Childhood shouldn't be this traumatic.

Beware of Allstate Motor Club - and their salespeople!

Things that annoy me:

  1.  telemarketers
  2.  liars
  3.  manipulators
  4.  shady business practices

Put them all together and you get my recent experience with Allstate Motor Club. I usually don't even answer the phone when I know it's a solicitor. But we have Allstate Insurance, and I really didn't pay attention to the words following Allstate on the Caller ID. They're counting on that. 

So I made the mistake of answering my phone, and immediately realized this was NOT my insurance agent calling with a question. Instead the salesperson immediately began reading from the script, talking fast and apparently not pausing for extraneous things - like air. Sometimes I let them finish their spiel, but I was busy with sick children and doctors and after a couple of minutes I interrupted to say, "No, thank you."  They immediately talked more, going into Spiel #2 without hesitation. Again, I interrupted. "No, thank you." Then I hung up.

That was my second mistake.

"I am beautiful; a project against bullying" begins in Cecil County, but touches everyone!

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

Heroes turn up in unlikely places - but by standing up and speaking out they become the voice of thousands. If you haven't seen the Facebook event "I am beautiful; a project against bullying" you need to check it out as soon as you finish reading this article. Bohemia Manor High School student Emilie Hancharick began this Facebook event to gather photos and information to make a video about the effects of bullying - but it's taken on a life of its own. She has become the champion of thousands, and that number will only continue to grow. 

What strikes me is the creativity and strength of the pictures teens are posting - I am in awe of their voice, their power, their love. They inspire me - and they are inspiring each other. And throughout all of the posts is the clear championing of Emilie for having the courage to begin such a heart wrenching project.  

Bohemia Manor Jr/Sr High School is a small school in Chesapeake City, MD - and my alma mater. My children go there now. So it hits close to home for me. Bullying, teasing, and cyber-stabbing are topics that cause every parent pain - but our words and support can only do so much. Emilie is getting the masses to bond and stand up to the predators. And she's doing it by simply saying - "You are beautiful - and you matter."

Sandy’s Real Revelation

by Dwayne Eutsey

       Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they    do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand. Mark Twain

I first became aware of the Bible’s “end times” prophecies through Hal Lindsey’s bestseller The Late, Great Planet Earth back in the ‘70s.

In the book (which went on to become a movie narrated by Orson Wells), Lindsey laid out how he believed current events at the time were fulfilling predictions about the end of the world in the Book of Revelation, the Bible’s mysterious and controversial grand finale.

As a 12-year-old with an overactive imagination, I remember reading and re-reading Revelation once I finished Lindsey’s book, poring over the strange and obscure text and searching for hidden clues that would reveal what the future had in store for us.

The clues I found were as scary and titillating as they were baffling. The Four Horsemen…Gog and Magog…the ominous figure of the Antichrist…the final battle between Good and Evil at Armageddon. What did it all mean for us? Are these events unfolding now in our lifetime?

I suppose a lot of people are still intrigued by such questions and are still searching for whatever glimpse into the future that may lurk in Revelation’s murky depths.

Take a Stand, Make that Statement, Slam that Door!

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

I recently went roller skating for “The Last Time in My Life”.  It wasn’t a difficult decision – and I feel quite convinced I will never change my mind.  Of course, the brace on my left wrist is a constant reminder for the next six weeks.  But I’ve made these statements before – and I’ve never waivered.

About twenty years ago I enjoyed my last motorcycle ride.  No broken bones that time, but it occurred to me that I was spending almost a decade in college to get the most out of my brain, and putting it that close to concrete at 55mph was not the wisest choice.  I’ve never looked back – I’m not afraid to ride, I know it would be most enjoyable, but it’s not an option.  I also made “the last time” declaration for roller coasters a few years ago. I used to love their stomach clenching excitement – but it’s no longer fun.  (and….I think it’s preferable to quit while I’m just not happy, rather than when I’ve lost my lunch on complete strangers while flying upside down – I’m sure they appreciate that more, too!)

What strikes me most about “the last time” statements is the absolute conviction behind them.  I’m done. Period. No discussion, no second guessing, no being talked into another try. I’m DONE. 

What if I took that conviction and applied it to other areas of my life? Is it easier for me to say, “I will NEVER do that again” than to say “I will do xyz from now on”?  See the difference?

Many self-help books say to phrase everything in the positive – that our brains ignore negative statements.  You know, “don’t slam the door” becomes “please close the door quietly”.  Hmmm….thinking about it, I definitely use “Don’t” in my interactions.  I’m ok with that, really. It works for me.

And maybe it’s more powerful for me to say “I will NEVER let the fear of something new hold me back” than to say, “I will embrace challenges whenever possible”.  Maybe it’s a stubbornness thing. Or maybe it’s just easier.

Rehabilitation After a Brain Injury - The Steps You Can Take

Rehabilitation after catastrophic brain injury is required to help the individual – and their loved ones – adapt to the new situation in their lives. Brain injury patients may have to re-learn everyday skills including walking, speech, conversation and personal care, requiring a multi-disciplinary team of doctors and therapists to help the patient return to their daily life as much as possible.

First steps to recovering from brain injury

Many families worry about how long it might take their loved one to begin to recover during brain injury rehabilitation, which in itself can be challenging. Medical professionals generally consider that the first six months after brain injury will give an indication of how quickly or completely a brain injury patient will recover – but slow recovery from brain injury does not mean that progress will not continue to be made, as different therapies suit different individuals and each case of brain injury is unique. 

A year after the brain injury is perhaps the best time to begin thinking about the future and what further rehabilitation might be needed to help the patient continue their recovery. The emotional and psychological trauma of brain injury can take much longer to overcome – and progress may be linked to how well the patient is able to deal with what has happened to them.

Attention All Writers The Delmarva Review Opens Submission Period

The Delmarva Review announced the opening of its submission period for the 2013 issue, from November 1, 2012 through February 28, 2013. Writers interested in submitting short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction for the sixth edition should consult the Review’s website for guidelines at www.delmarvareview.com.

The Review selects original literary prose and poetry for publication in a print and digital edition. All writers are welcome. The literary review encourages great story-telling and moving poetry. Its standards are for memorable prose and poetry exhibiting skillful expression. Editors only read electronic submissions. A submission link is on the “Guidelines” page of the website.

Nana Sophie Gathers Support and Supplies for Hurricane Sandy Victims - Get Involved!

I love it when ordinary people do extraordinary things! Hurricane Sandy has brought us many heart rending stories of survival and rebuilding. Now a local celebrity and her family are gathering supplies and items for the hard hit folks of Staten Island, NY. 

I speak of Chesapeake City's own Nana Sophie Ferrara, who spent her 102nd year becoming the Nation's Nana and gathering more than 5,000 Facebook friends. For her 103rd birthday in October she was featured on a New York morning show (she's from Staten Island), and now she's gathering clothes, wipes, toiletries, shoes, blankets, diapers and more to send to her hometown. 

Sophie's granddaughter, Diane Scuderi, will be making as many trips as are needed to transport necessities to NY. Diane asks that everything be neatly placed in boxes or bags and dropped off at her home at 119 Manor Circle, Elkton MD.  Her number is 302 593 2016 if you need to coordinate things with her.  Please be respectful, and only call during daytime hours!

Let's pull together, Mid Shore, and help Nana help others! Contact your churches, civic groups, youth groups, etc. and get people collecting needed items! I know gas cans are in desperately short supply - Wal-Mart is selling out daily to folks driving south to find supplies. 

I know we all want to help but don't always know how.  We can do this! 

Let's work with Nana Sophie and make a difference! 

PS - I can help bring supplies from the lower counties to Cecil - email me! cyndi@midshorelife.com 

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