Been Overwhelmed By God’s Blessings (Car Wreck Recovery Week #4)

I’m sure that we will be overwhelmed by God’s grace many times in our life, but this past week definitely had us in humbled tears.

Let alone that our communication as been very good, given the fact that in order to have someone help you asking them nicely goes a long way. God decided to share many other blessings with us this past week!

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Tuesday, husband got a call from the insurance office. Apparently, my sunglasses had flown off my face and landed instead somewhere near the other lady’s car! Therefore,  the EMT’s had given them to her. So she’d stop by the local office to get them returned back to me. I was very skeptical about what kind of condition they would be in, given the condition of the car. However, I hoped they would look fine, otherwise what would be the point of returning mangled glasses?

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It was sweet to hear about her going out of her way to get my property back to me, given she may not even have a car anymore. Also, since they specifically said she brought them in, I hope it means she’s doing better. In these things they do not tell you, and the claim has still not closed/resolved.

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Husband picked them up and brought them to me. Honestly, I’m pretty sure they would be in worse condition if I just dropped them on the floor. I have no idea how they are not more damaged! Upon inspection there were very few scratches, and only on the sides where it wouldn’t affect my vision.

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Upon their return I felt very humbled! I felt embarrassed knowing how much I’ve been whining/missing them. Each time we were outside or at the pool I’d say “I really miss my prescription sunglasses.” They were the first pair of sunglasses I’d ever owned and they helped to me actually enjoy Venice the second time.  It feel materialistic to get excited over these, but to me it is a symbol of how God protected me. It is another way I can brag about how He spared my life, and really went “above and beyond” with allowing a few of the things I treasure to remain in tact as well. Also, these will make our OBX trip at the end of September much more pleasant!

That was not the only way that God chose to bless us. On Wednesday, husband was called into the office. I always fear the worst, so I wondered if he was in trouble or something for working from home so many days during my recovery. Instead, when he picks me up from work he explains that he was told “We love you” by his dept’s Administrative Assistant and handed two envelopes. One contained cash, another contained two larger checks. I held my breath and looked at the amounts and just about began to cry. They’d added a note which contained was from Acts about the unity of the believers and selling their possessions to give to whomever was in need.

The gifted amounts between them and from another friend and his church pretty much cover most of our medical bills! It is incredible to see God taking care of us, because expensive medical bills are scary! The Body of Christ is amazing, and I’m so appreciative to them.

I began walking more that week, returning to my Couch 2 5k training.

I missed my car and reflected on how God brought the car to me in the first place. It definitely wasn’t love at first sight…but now I can tell that God ordained me to have this great first car on purpose.

Towards the end of the week we had a Pinterest Party with my Sunday School class. It was such a fun girly bonding time. It was also entertaining as my husband and the leader of the class were downstairs gaming while said party happened. They wanted to eat the snacks and well the problems of owning one car and still avoiding driving on the highways.

Then, we ended the week with an photography adventure visiting an old still functioning cemetery in the area!

Overall, I’m doing very well. My back doesn’t hurt very much at all…it is just my right pelvic bone where it connects to the back of my leg is sore, I’m guessing from a bruise? Not really sure. But the pain has drastically reduced over the past few weeks.

Toured Old City Cemetery

Saturday, we continued our recent pattern of photography excursions about the city. We decided to check out an old cemetery in our area. I had heard a lot about its beauty. Many wedding and engagement photo shoots take place here!

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We drove there, and realized that the still functioning cemetery was set up much like an outdoor museum. The old houses were set up with window displays, and a voice box you could push for information. Of course, we pushed the button, to subsequently be entertained by an educational speech using older English colloquialisms!

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As soon as we arrived darker storm clouds began to creep in, and the thunder roared in warning. The wind wasn’t blowing in strong yet, so we decided to venture around.

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We walked around maybe a 1/3 of the property overall. We explored where there are many grave stones of soldiers from the Civil War.

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One of the funniest moments was when I realized my poor pink Vibrams had become attached to yucky pink gum :/. It’s okay. Husband was quick to the rescue with his ever handy pocket knife to scrape most of it away.

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There was also a butterfly garden with a lotus pond where we spent most of our time. At that point I just enjoyed watching the husband look like a frog as he attempted to capture the image of a hidden frog in the rocks around the small pond.

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We definitely enjoyed our time and hope to return. There is a rose garden filled with many antique roses that we missed somehow.

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Made Fun Fetti Dip

During the first week of my car wreck recovery I was wildly in love with teddy grahams. I’d hoped to bring them and cake icing on the overnight fun trip at the end of the mission trip. It was a classic within my time in my youth group back home. It was ironic that when our Sunday School leader’s brought us goodie bags, they contained teddy grahams. They were the first thing I ate after the accident!

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A friend challenged me to google fun fetti dip, and I was amazed to discover a healthier dip for teddy grahams, as opposed to simply gobbling up cake icing! I followed the recipe outlined here which is the “Skinny” version.

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As this was the first week of recovery or my time training to become a couch potato I couldn’t actually make the dip. But, knowing my silly tendencies my husband agreed to make it for me, AND agreed to document it, knowing how happy it would make me. It didn’t even take very much arm twisting at all…he knew what I wanted before I even asked :0).

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Ingredients: Funfetti cake mix, 2 cups fat free yogurt, 1 cup lite cool whip, optional extra sprinkles. (In this version cool whip from a can was used instead of lite cool whip).

Directions: mix and chill (overnight if possible but at least 4 hours)

P.S. This seriously makes a TON of dip. I’d highly recommend it for parties, and not for just 2 people’s snacking!

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I got to help mix it!

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Attended a Pinterest Party

During the school year our Sunday School class literally has hundreds of people in it. Since its smaller for the summer there have been some great activities to foster getting to know each other better. It is sometimes difficult for me to approach people, because likely they aren’t a guest, they’ve been going there longer than I have! I feel embarrassed not knowing who they are!

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One of these great discipleship activities on Friday evening was a Pinterest Party! To the confusion of my husband, this is not where we sit around on our laptops, pinning things. (Seriously, how lame would that be?!). These are times when we get together and actually get around to making or cooking the things we’ve pinned on our boards.

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We were each asked to bring a snack/dessert that we’d found on Pinterest. I brought Fun Fetti dip since I had leftover supplies from when the husband made it for me during the first week of recovery, with teddy grahams. I didn’t realize how easy/popular this was, as another lady brought the dip too with animal crackers.

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Either way, we had a pretty nice spread…even if it was ridiculously sugary. I don’t think I’ve ever craved vegetables more in my life! lol.

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We spent a good little while sitting around on the couches, talking and getting to know each other better. I learned tons of neat little things about each person. Plus, I find it easier to identify them in class the following Sunday, having seen their face outside of the masses of unknowns. It was also neat to be back at their house, when we hadn’t had the regular XI team parties.

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After gabbing we migrated to the table to begin our project! We were working on the classic Pinterest pin of using Sharpies to decorate mugs and then throwing them in the oven to bake. I was beyond excited, because of course that has sat on my “Projects to Do” board without any time frame of an attempt.

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The best way to do this project you need oil based sharpie markers, porcelain items (bowls, plates, mugs), and will need to bake your mug at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes to set the design. Optional: pencils for drawing your design on.

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You still will not want to put these into the dishwasher (unless you want to make a new design).

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It was awesome to see all of the different types of designs that emerged! Each lady is so talented, and I’m glad I was able to spend more time with each of them. I felt a little goofy taking my camera…and truth be told I think I was more entertained by taking pictures of them decorating their mugs than really developing a design for mine. But, now we all have pictures to share the memory :0). (well and mugs of course). I would definitely recommend this as a fellowship activity!

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Eulogized My Car

At the very end of things, I tend to reflect on the very beginnings. This is overall a pretty silly post, but still shares how God orchestrates things when we are completely unaware.

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Ever since the accident I’ve missed my car terribly. Driving around, now, I keep pointing out the make and model when I see it, much to my husband’s annoyance. Seriously though, there is a reason that my car is used as a police and taxi car, and still a very popular style despite its classic sedan shape and less than amazing gas mileage.

It is ironic how much I miss my car. Only my mother knew the force with which I disliked this car, upon hearing about it for the first time. Its not even written about in my journal, that is how inconsequential I felt like all of it was at the time.

The summer after my sophomore/junior year of college I’d returned home to work at the day care again. The director had seen me manage to get the 2 year old class to sit and say their song/prayer before breakfast and decided to offer me the full time 2 year old teacher slot for the summer term. Originally, I’d planned to car pool with my mom who worked something like 7-2, when I’d be working 9-5. Driving her in at 7am was too much for me, so I decided it was time to search for a car.

I began searching the internet. I hoped to get a good car that would last several years. Ideally, I wanted the fuel efficient and tough Honda Civic, or a Hyundai or something like that. I remember feeling really frustrated because my parents wouldn’t take me anywhere to go physically look at cars.

In my journal I wrote about how I felt like I was trying to force the process and I needed to pray more. It was really neat watching my husband’s car transaction. He test drove the Buick, and the car dealer was a Christian who prayed over the car with us. I thought that was such a cool way to have an impactful ministry! I envied God’s sense of direction in that situation.

My mom did some asking around, and learned that an older woman was selling her car. When she told me this I literally rolled my eyes. I didn’t want an “old person car.”  I didn’t want to see this car at all, but she drove me to check it out anyways. What I found was this 1997  Mercury Grand Marquis with only 81,926 miles on it, that was being sold for $2,500. To most people they would have realized the instant deal, I just noticed that it’s color, Cerulean, was one of my wedding colors, and I was won. It made it sweeter that my dad chipped in over half for the vehicle.

The 4th of July holiday reminded me that I purchased the car the first week of July, 5 years ago. I remember the hassle of trying to figure out how to get to the DMV to get my registration/tags/title dealt with when I worked 40 hours a week.

The more I drove this car the more I grew to love it. It was even bigger than my husband’s old person’s car, with a roomy interior and  trunk. I often teased people that my trunk could store 12 dead bodies in it. This was ridiculously helpful for hauling all of my junk back and forth to college. Plus, during the summers with Xtreme Impact, we would need to do pick up from Sam’s Club. The directors would ask everyone in particular to bring their trucks. It was discovered, though, that my car could hold as much as (if not more than) a tiny truck. Thus, my car was dubbed an honorary truck.

Also, due to my car’s size I made many of our camp pizza runs. Yes, my car could hold 60 pizzas between the back seat and trunk, 30 on/in each! I was so proud of my old granny car!

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Because we drove my husband’s car around more, mine was still in pretty awesome condition up until a few weeks ago. It had just passed 100,000 miles when we visited his parents in November. We thought it had at least a few years on it, and joked that his Buick would be the first to croak.

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Looking at the pictures of the wreck, I’m astounded how God worked things out to protect me so long ago. The reason that car could protect me so well from that t-bone was due to its old classic car style. If I’d gotten a smaller car, I’m not sure how well it would have withstood; I definitely wouldn’t of have so much room up front to not feel squished.

The only remnants that I have now are two tiny pieces of the window that were randomly discovered within the LCD screen of my DSLR camera. Luckily, I have this keepsake, and it didn’t scratch up the screen! I feel like I need to do something creative with them. Maybe turn them into jewelry? Like earrings or something? Let me know if you have any cool ideas!

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When you don’t feel like God is working in your life, He is. He is often planning important little details that you won’t realize until many years down the road. Our lives are not linear journeys, but rather random hopscotch paths. As long as we are seeking after Him, He will guide us and direct us where we need to go.

In the meantime we are still sharing my husband’s Buick. I was told that since I broke my car (“This is why we can’t have nice things ;0)) that it’s husband’s turn to have a new vehicle. He’s hoping for a truck, and I’m not going to lie, my somewhat country girl self finds that pretty attractive. I was just entertained  to recently discover that the Buick actually has side impact airbags within the front seats. Score!

Cheers to the best first car that a girl could ever have. :0)

Returned to Walking (C25k Week 9)

The specialist said that I needed to wait to begin jogging until until 4 weeks. At the time wasn’t sure if that meant I could begin to train again at four weeks, or after. I decided since I was still decently sore to wait until after four weeks. However, that meant that I could begin walking longer distances this past week!

runningvoiceliarAstonishingly, it isn’t my back that really hurts at all. Where my leg attaches to my pelvic bone tends to be sore off and on, I must have bruised it pretty badly in the accident.

My goal was to try to walk a mile each time, three different days (in a similar schedule to how I was jogging). I even convinced the husband to go with me with our beagle!

Something I did not realize was how much the humidity increased within the last month…I used to always jog as the sun was falling, or even as late as 10pm, when it was cool. We walked the neighborhood at that time and I was dripping in sweat! This makes me apprehensive about beginning to run again.

I didn’t quite make a mile during each walk. Mostly because the husband didn’t want too ;0). After the first mile, earlier in the week, I was very sore and noticeably limping on the way in! I could really feel each step. For that week I walked 2.9 miles and I earned them.

A cool article that I found via Pinterest has some important timelines/suggestions about returning back to running after an injury. I definitely wouldn’t want to injure myself because I pushed myself too far.

But, practice makes perfect. I will keep trooping, till I’m able to really jog again, and then actually run my first 5k. My friend and I planned to do one in October, and we built it in so we could double the amount of training time if our bodies resisted the training. This means that potentially I could still train for that race. (At least I’ll be doing more jogging than I did in the last one). Its exciting to still be able to have that goal!

Returned to Regular Life (Car Wreck Recovery #3)

This week I have been continuing to feel much better, so much so, that I feel the yearning to return to my regular way of life. This is exciting, but also makes me feel wary, knowing that it would be easy to push myself too much. Therefore, much of this week was still about balancing when I should ask people for help and when I could do things by myself.

Returning to regular life means driving myself around more and more. I’m still avoiding the highways, but I can tell my anxiety levels are becoming reduced. Most of the time I no longer have the lingering feeling that a car is going to slam into the back of us when we make a turn (when husband is driving) and I haven’t physically looked behind us.

It makes me grateful that I already have a therapist. It has been neat to share with her how well I’m doing using my counselor skills to help calm/soothe myself about my driving anxieties. Being afraid to drive is a completely legitimate fear…we talk about firearms being dangerous, but this week on the way to Bible Study I saw an accident on the roads I regularly travel! I feel like we need to develop a much better and much safer system, like right now, like yesterday.

There are not many pictures for you this week, although husband and I did take tons of photos over the weekend. We were exploring downtown using our DSLR and have discovered a new couple hobby :0) (One that I have a greater interest in for once!).

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Sunday was interesting for various reasons. Around midnight our beautiful beagle baby decided to unwisely (but very characteristically) eat kitty cookies and kitty food. She tried to hop onto the bed. It seemed like her legs weren’t working correctly, so I pulled her up. Then, her legs began to shake more violently and I smelled a strange scent. Husband quickly realized that she was having a seizure.

She’d never had one before and I quickly googled it, all the while wondering what this meant for my fur baby. He took her to her crate, but on the way there she puked, it clearly wasn’t over. He ran her outside and asked for our neighbor to watch her (being unsure of my back and getting quickly outside). I was tearing up, not knowing if she was really “okay.”

Finally, he gave me instruction, to go and sit with her. Our neighbor heard my sniffles and began to help soothe me too, telling me she’d be okay. She said that the most important thing was to help them calm down, so they wouldn’t be afraid anymore. So I did what any mom should do, I sucked up my own fears, and forced myself to radiate calm for my baby. After a little while the shaking stopped and she began to wander around. Our neighbor returned with a bone shaped dog cookie. Daisy jumped up and bit half of it out of her hand before she could even get it to her. It felt better to see my baby more like herself, and the website wasn’t joking when it warned she’d be starving afterwards.

She got a good scrub and was put in her crate for the night. I still kind of wanted to hold her close to sleep, just to know she’d be okay.  The next day she was low on energy, but seemed to be doing alright. As of today she can be seen with her tail wagging, bounding around with more of her normal energy levels (though right now she’s passed out on the couch, poor sleepy puppy!)

Sunday after church we went swimming in a friend’s community pool. They’d been swimming while I waited at the pool last time, but I felt more secure of my footing to get into the water. I LOVED IT! I purposely pushed myself to tread water more; it was like my body was hungry for exercise. It felt awesome :0). Here’s to being able to run soon!

Discovered a New Couple Hobby

The husband and I have a tendency to sit around at home on our laptops, frustrated because we aren’t doing anything. We’ve struggled to find a hobby to do together because we tend to be identified by our many differences. Since he didn’t enjoy my hobbies (reading, etc), I ended up doing more of his hobbies (hanging out with his friends, shooting firearms, and political events). Many of those I do actually enjoy, but it isn’t as fulfilling as having hobbies that I already enjoyed that he does with me.

This past weekend we were sitting at Bojangles and husband randomly said, “Hey, I want to go take pictures down town, let’s do it.” He does not frequently get this impulse so I quickly agreed.

Despite the fact that we’ve lived in the area for the past 6 years we’ve not explored very much down town. There are some beautiful trails, bridges, and a giant fountain. We started higher up at a monument, and then worked our way down.

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I begged him to take pictures of me around the new “Love” sculpture, despite the threat of oncoming rain. Later, looking at those pictures I realized the importance of explaining the idea of “posing your subject so they look their best.” Apparently, husband has a tendency to look for my smile in pictures and not at the rest of my torso, and due to the way I was bending it created rolls where I have none, lol. But he was sweet enough to return the next day  to get some better shots.

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IMG_5559editandshrunk IMG_5543editandshrunkOn the trail bridge it was obvious the abundance of rain we’d been receiving. The river was flooded, and many of the smaller islands weren’t visible. You could only guess they were there based on the trees sticking up out of the water.

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The bridge led me to discover my favorite subject of the day: a lock with a heart drawn on the side and what appeared to be faded names on the front. This reminded me of the Love Bridge in Paris I’ve read about. That bridge is covered with locks. Couples bring a lock, write their names or initials on it, lock it to the bridge, and throw the key into the river symbolizing their everlasting love. This lock was a great subject to really experiment with, especially with regards to different angles.

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This one is my personal favorite. I balanced the color levels in Gimp.

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This one I like for overall perspective of the lock on the bridge.

 

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Let me know which shot you enjoyed of the lock!

Returning to our one and only car (soon to be my car), we heard music playing. We discovered that there was a “Friday Cheers” festival with an outdoor concert. Husband had a lot of fun taking pictures of people, I really enjoyed the flowers nearby. However, this taught me two very important things with regards to photography: #1 Keeping the LCD screen open is important, as is reviewing your shots as you make them. Husband had closed it so our face oils wouldn’t smudge the screen. However, if you can’t see it, you have NO idea how your pictures are turning out. #2 I thought I was being all smart using Auto to read what ISO I needed and then I set it in Manual mode. However, the ISO you select at 4pm on an open bridge is not the same ISO you need at 6pm :-/ I didn’t find out till returning home that ALL of my flower pictures were too dark and terrible!

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The next day I was able to redeem some of these, taking some neat pictures of bees on the flowers. The pictures aren’t tack sharp like I’d like, makes me realize the importance of a tripod with shooting Macro. Since your subject is so zoomed in, even the tiniest shake can create dissonance. Practice makes perfect, right?

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So after two days of back to back photography adventures I was really starting to believe what husband said: “I always want to take pictures, I just don’t always have a camera” which I’ve never really seen displayed. Apparently, this is due to the fact that when he does have spontaneous inspiration I stopped “going with the flow” like when we were dating. For him he’s not committed enough to study photography, he enjoys taking pictures to document his other favorite hobbies like: firearms, politics, rallies, etc. Whereas for me, I would like to learn more to become a photographer. For me the goal is to be able to bend the camera to my will so that I can dependable get the shot that I want.

In college husband took some well composed shots, so I knew he had a creative knack, just never understood why I didn’t see it progress. Now I know!

It is exciting to be able to progressing in this hobby, even if progressing means failing a bunch and making newbie mistakes like forgetting to change the ISO. This is something else that I can spend my personal time in to get good at, and have adventures exploring together :0)!!!

Now, both of our favorite hobby is shooting in His and Her’s style: shooting firearms and shooting a camera, and we can enjoy both of them together!

Driven an Electric Cart (Car Wreck Recovery Week #2)

My second week of recovery began with me reintroducing myself to driving. Right after the accident even riding in the car with the husband driving was scary. I kept feeling like cars were going to randomly slam into us. However, the more I was in the car, I began to feel the regular ebb and flow of traffic and their invisible guard lines.

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Since I’m still sore and its difficult for me to bend, husband has to help me with outfit selection. I broke it down explaining the parts that usually go into it. He got excited when he did it right. Mostly I think just because it meant he was done and didn’t need to take 30 more minutes trying to find the “right colored” something.

Tuesday meant driving the husband to work so that I could drive myself to the office later. I’d practiced with the Buick in the church parking lot that Sunday, since it is different than my old car. I’m gaining more and more confidence, though I’m struggling to want to drive the higher speeds.

Tuesday after driving him to work, getting myself ready for work, going to work for one session, driving home, than picking him up from work I was very sore and exhausted. I’m finding that the healing process takes any of your excess energy to heal your body. Thankfully, he ended up working from home the next day and was willing to drive me around to other meetings.

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Wednesday we went to Walmart. I’ve been excitedly waiting to do this, if only to ride around in the electric cart. I’d done this many years before, while in high school when I’d sprained an ankle. I’d forgotten how terribly slow these carts are!

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The rest of that week was the Independence Day weekend. Because I’d seen fireworks the previous weekend I really could have cared less to see fireworks again. We went to one cookout, and hosted another at our apartment. I felt frustrated feeling so tired. I just wanted to sit on the couch, instead of wanting to be around people. It was hard to feel patient with myself, and my very social husband suffering from social withdrawals after serving his injured wife the past few weeks. I pushed through and enjoyed these activities. I even made eggless firecracker sugar cookies, a recipe I’d found on Pinterest, for our 5th of July party.

I’m even getting out and doing other adventures. That Saturday went out with some of our open carry friends to Homestead Creamery. We ate delicious sandwiches, shopped at the country store, harassed the goats, and licked freshly made ice cream.

Ain’t no back injury going to keep me down! Picture a certain fish, “Just keep healing, just keep healing”

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Made Eggless Firecracker Sugar Cookies

With our friends we ended up having a 5th of July party, since all of those who worked for the school had that day off. We planned a cook out since one friend’s parents were in from out of town. I figured this was the perfect time to make the “Firecracker Sugar Cookies” that I’d seen on Pinterest. Basically, these are simply sugar cookies covered in white frosting, covered in blue/red pop rocks that act as sprinkles!

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Since I can’t walk around very well husband was sent to the store to procure the needed items. He could not find pop rocks at the grocery store, since we’re so far away from Halloween. So, he ended up calling the company to find out who were their biggest distributors! He was able to find several packs at Walgreens :0)

Then, I discovered that the sugar cookie mix he purchased required an egg which we did not have. Instead of sending hubby back out to the store I consulted google. I discovered that for one egg you could substitute: 2 Tablespoons of water and 1 Tablespoon of oil. I actually used olive oil on accident instead of vegetable oil, and I didn’t notice a difference. I used a little extra oil when I realized I only had half the amount of butter needed as well!

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The biggest concern I had about these cookies was knowing that they are triggered by any liquid. I wondered if the icing would set the carbonation fizzing, and defizz them before people had a chance to eat them. There was nothing in any of the pinterest recipes, so I trudged ahead. I only needed 1 packet of pop rocks for the 28 cookies, the powder goes far. I used two so I could have red watermelon and blue tropical punch.

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I couldn’t wait for people to try them. Husband was in on the secret, so when people tried the cookies we were staring at them. He asked, “Do you taste it?!” “Taste what?” To which point I guessed the fizz had worn off and I explained that the firecracker part was due to the pop rocks on top. We brought out more packets and our guest freshly applied the “sprinkles” and enjoyed reliving childhood memories of the candy, so I’d say it was still a success.

I think the humidity helped to defizz the pop rocks too. I think this is one of those recipes where it is hard to keep the secret “secret” because you really need to put the pop rocks on right before they eat it.

Everyone loved and demolished the cookies as we played with sparklers and fountains.