Living Every Minute

Who’d’ve thunk it?

Surely not me.

But it happened and here I am, tapping away at the keyboard trying to explain it.

You see, I watched a movie. It was a kids’ movie, I suppose. It was animated. Parental Guidance was suggested. However, my kids are no longer kids so I watched alone. No parental guidance needed.

Disney’s Soul was the afternoon’s movie of choice. Have you seen it?

To be honest, I wasn’t planning on watching it. I wasn’t anxious to see Disney’s take on the afterlife and I surely wasn’t expecting to see their take on how we become who we are. But I was bored. The movie was about a music lover so I watched…

I don’t think I’ve ever had a children’s movie touch me so deeply.

I cried so many times during this movie. I could see myself in the main character, Joe, a middle-school band teacher whose dreams of being a jazz player only seemed to bring him disappointment and frustration.

I could hear myself screaming with Joe as he desperately explained why he kept pursuing his dreams:

“I’m just afraid that if I died today, then my life would have amounted to nothing.”

As Joe talks to his class about hearing a jazz musician play piano for the first time, I wondered where my passion was and why I’ve never felt so strongly about anything.

Then came the last lines of the film:

“What are you going to do with your life?” Joe was asked after receiving a second chance at life.

“I’m not sure,” replied Joe, ”but I do know I’m going to live every minute of it.”

That was it. That was the line that did me in. That was the line that had me bawling and very thankful that I was watching this movie alone, the line that has me writing this post and that may cause most of you to wonder about my sanity, the line that made me ask myself,

Am I living every minute of my life?

No! The answer to this question is 100%, without hesitation, N-O, no!

And this has to change.

Just like Joe, I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to do it but what I do know is this:

  1. You only get one life to live.
  2. That life is short.
  3. No matter how much of it you’ve wasted, it’s never too late to start living now!

What about you? Are you living every minute of your life?

I’d love to hear your inspiring stories. Tell me how you are living life to the fullest.

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The Power of a Breakfast Casserole

Wouldn’t you know it! As soon as I write a “How To” on maintaining happiness (Check out Happiness Is… A Keeper), the devil begins his attack. (That’s his M.O., though.) My focus has been the target and as I mentioned in my previous post, focus has a huge effect on our happiness.

Focus, KJ. Focus.

So, what do we do when our focus becomes a little blurry? I find it helpful to spend time doing something I love. It gets my mind off the negativity and boosts my spirits which always helps me tune in to the important things of life. Oddly enough, cooking has become one of my go-to refocusing tools. (Yeah. Completely surprised me, too!)

Okay, devil! I’ve got a skillet and I know how to use it!

This morning, I hit the kitchen around 9:15. I had my heart set on a breakfast casserole but first, I had to find a recipe. That always takes some time. Pinterest has way too many choices. I finally settled on Fully Loaded Cheesy Breakfast Casserole from “The Slow Roasted Italian”. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that this recipe was my inspiration. I didn’t quite follow it. (It’s amazing I ended up with something edible. I really have no idea what I’m doing! 😉 )

 Breakfast Casserole by KJ

First, I gathered all the ingredients – well, almost all. I kinda grabbed stuff as I went along. But here is a list of the ingredients I used:

1 lb. ground mild sausage
Half bag of frozen diced hash brown potatoes (it’s all I had in the freezer)
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 green peppers
1 medium onion
2 cups of shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese (almost 2 cups – again, I used what I had)
1 tbsp. Minced garlic
Salt and Pepper

How to (and how not to, in some instances) prepare:

Preheat oven to 350º. The recipe called for a temp of 375º. I have no idea where I came up with 350º but it turned out fine.

Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking oil and set to the side.

Defrost ground sausage. So, I didn’t plan ahead and the sausage was in the freezer. On top of that, it turned out to be 2 pounds of sausage. I only needed one but had to defrost all of it. I guess I’ll find something to cook with the remaining sausage tomorrow.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee. This is going to take a while!

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While waiting for the sausage to defrost, chop the onion and peppers. One of my peppers was a hybrid – half green, half orange. (Genetic engineering? Hmmm…) I only chopped the orange side so really I only used one and a half peppers.

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Once sausage is defrosted, add to a skillet along with the chopped onions, peppers and minced garlic. Cook until sausage is no longer pink.

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Scoop out meat and vegetable mixture, allowing the grease to drain back into the skillet, and spread into the casserole dish. You can use a slotted spoon or one of these handy scoops: (I’m not gonna tell you what I think this scoop looks like. You may lose your appetite. But, I promise, I bought it in the kitchen department!)

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Drain some of the grease from the skillet until there is about 3 tablespoons remaining. (Just eyeball it, I guess. ??)

Return skillet to stove and add hash browns. Cook according to the package instructions: spread in single layer in pan, cover and allow to brown for 4 – 7 minutes on each side on medium-high heat.

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While hash browns are browning, combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper in large bowl. I repeat, LARGE bowl. It’s hard to whisk when you’re worried about sloshing egg all over your counter like I was!

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Switch to whisking with a fork because plastic whisk ain’t cuttin’ it. (Note to self: Find metal whisk! Where is that thing?)

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Check stove for cause of burning smell. Ugh! This is why I can’t do two things at once while cooking.

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Salvage the non-burnt potatoes and spread over the sausage and vegetables in the casserole dish. (Oops, I missed a burnt one or two!)

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Spend five minutes or more scraping out skillet while it’s still hot. (I learned that at the Japanese steak house where you not only get a fun show and great meal, you get a kitchen clean up lesson, as well!) Now, where was I… Oh, yeah.

Next, pour egg mixtu- – No, wait. That’s not right. I’m forgetting something. The cheese!

Next, sprinkle cheese on the casserole.

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Now pour the egg mixture as evenly as possible into the casserole.

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Bake for 35-40 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you stick a knife in the middle and it comes out clean. (I actually knew that before I started all this cooking nonsense. 😉 )

Use baking time to clean up your mess.

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Reheat coffee for the third, maybe fourth, time and then wait.

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Beep, beep, beep. Look at this beautiful casserole! It was yummy, too!

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It took me 2 and a half hours to make (I told you I don’t know what I’m doing!) but by the time I was done, the thing that was stealing my attention no longer mattered. In fact, my only distraction at the moment was the rumbling of my tummy.

But that was quickly remedied. 🙂

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A Year of Smiles – Day 242

Reason to SMILE #242: BIRTHDAYS

Adobe Spark

My birthday to be exact!! I’ve made it another year. I am alive and kickin’. That’s more than enough reason to SMILE and certainly a reason to celebrate!

Oh, I used to dread these annual reminders of my ever increasing age. With each year that passes, however, I realize how blessed I am to have this time and this life that God has given me. And as my age increases, my list of SMILES continues to grow and grow and grow.

Think your existence doesn’t matter? Think your birthday is just another day? Think again, my friend. Before you were born, God knew you. He laid out a plan for you. You were not a surprise and you certainly were no mistake! You have a reason to celebrate and the best reason to SMILE!

Happy, happy day to you. Find a reason to SMILE and share it with those around you!

And Happy Birthday to me! 🙂