Love of Ocra

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The other night I was cooking dinner when Keaton, as he always does, called down from his perch on the landing upstairs. He was inquiring about the aroma coming from the kitchen. I responded that it was boiled ocra. Thinking he would just respond Ok as he always does and then go about his business. Not this time. Nope. The response I was greeted with was, That smells disgusting!

He abhorred the smell so much that when I called them down for dinner 15 minutes later, he was in tears. Typically my boys are very good eaters and they absolutely love most vegetables. Even if they don’t particularly care for a certain variety they always eat it, though begrudgingly. The boys have always loved fried ocra and if we are at restaurants they will usually ask for double helpings. ┬áThinking ocra was a safe bet I set about making it for dinner, however, I never fry anything at home so I chose to boil it instead. Big mistake!

Nelms Nest - Love of Ocra BW - Dec 2015002_edited-1

This was the reaction I received.

Nelms Nest - Love of Ocra BW - Dec 2015003_edited-1
He couldn’t stand to even uncover his nose.

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Nelms Nest - Love of Ocra BW - Dec 2015005_edited-1

Britton refused to eat it as well but apparently the smell did not bother him as much because he decided it would be fun to torture his brother with said vegetable. Waving and wafting the aromas so Keaton could partake in the experience more fully.

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Nelms Nest - Love of Ocra BW - Dec 2015007_edited-1



Needless to say I think ocra is off the menu for a little while so that Keaton can recover from the trauma. Only fried ocra for the Nelms boys.

Firing Squad

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He stood in the War Room (appropriately named I might add) giving himself a silent pep talk, hoping no one would discern how terrified he was. The room had a slight chill in the air but looking at him you would think the thermostat had been turned up 10 degrees. He bit his lip as he loaded everything he needed, using the routine of his actions to pull himself together. He visualized his presentation, marked changes where needed and thought about the impact this moment will have. One hour. All the sacrifices he made the last five years boiled down to one hour.


The committee members trickled in one by one, shaking hands with each other in passing. Everyone settled in around the massive conference table, them on one side and him on the other. The only barrier to protect him from what was to come.

Then visitors came in to sit on the sidelines. Some there to show support for him while others were there to witness what was in store for them at a later date when they too would take the stage and defend their fate.



Then it was time. Time to begin. The quiver in his voice was imperceivable to most in the room except me. My heart was in my throat as I watched helplessly. The Firing Squad (the nickname I lovingly gave the committee of judges), showed no mercy, pulling the trigger on their questioning right away. Questions that would make most weak in the knees and almost collapse under pressure. Not him. Shoulders back, chest raised, head held high, he defended his research ferociously and without waiver. That one hour mark I so anxiously watched for, passed, the presentation and onslaught of questioning continued. It felt like it would never seize. Finally he concluded. In that moment I realized I had been gripping the arms of my chair so tightly my fingers had gone numb. I thought the worst was over, until they turned to all the visitors asked them to leave. He was now left alone and surrounded by the Firing Squad.

Watching through the window I held my breathe thinking this is it. It wasn’t. Time was suspended. What felt like another hour (in actuality it was probably no longer than 10 minutes) passed, they questioned him even more. I turned my back to the window not wanting to watch but at the same time not wanting to miss anything. Then the sound of the door opening jarred me from the silence. As quickly as it opened, it shut again. This time he was on this side of the door standing beside me. Then we both waited anxiously as the Firing Squad continued without him. I could feel the energy pulsing. His heart raced with anticipation. Then it came. The door to the War Room opened and he was summoned back in. I watched with deaf ears and tried my best to channel my skills at reading lips. Then realized I had no such skills. Need to work on that.

I watched for any signs that things were leaning in his favor. Nope. Nothing. Just when the suspense was going to make me faint, he walked over to pull out a sheet of paper. He placed it on the table. One-by-one, each member of the Firing Squad stepped forward and signed their name for his freedom.

Finally it was done. Now we can begin living our lives again.

I cannot begin to express how proud I am of my husband, the newly titled Dr. Nelms. This has been a journey unlike any other. One that seemed to be doomed from the beginning. Just after he had taken the first step to begin this arduous pilgrimage we found out we were pregnant. Not only were we pregnant, we were having twins. To make things more exciting, I was placed on hospital bedrest at only nineteen weeks. And the boys made their debut two months later at 27 weeks, far sooner than anticipated. Through all this he endured. He held a full time job, made daily trips to the hospital to see our preemie sons, and pursued his dreams of a PhD. He could have given up, and to be quite honest there were a few times he almost did, but he pressed on. I am so glad he did. Not only is this his legacy it is our family legacy. Sacrifices were made by us all, which only makes the taste of victory so much sweeter.

He missed the cutoff for the graduation ceremonies so we will have to wait until Spring to see him take the stage, but who cares….he is done!

However, if he comes to me in a few months and says he wants to pursue an M.B.A……..I will not be responsible for my actions!



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Reflections are usually reserved for when the Christmas festivities have come to a close. Not me , I have been doing a lot of reflecting these last couple of months. Not sure if it’s because our life around the nest has been so hectic this year or if there is something else making me feel so melancholy. Something I just can’t quite put my finger on.

One thing for sure is that the owlets are growing up so fast. The picture below was taken at their 4th birthday party. Now their 5th birthday is just around the corner. It seems like yesterday we were training superheroes.



I think that is part of it, moving through time in warp speed. I waste most of that precious time worrying about little stuff rather than actively participating and documenting this thing called ‘My Life’.

Melancholy can grab you at any time and you feel like it’s gripped you around the throat, slowly choking the life out of you. A hole has been dug and I am lying prostrate and bewildered.

  • Job demands….a shovel of dirt.
  • Husband finishing his PhD, essentially leaving me a single mom (if only for a short period of time)……a shovel of dirt.
  • Boys fighting……another shovel of dirt.
  • Home maintenance falling wayside……shovel of dirt.
  • Other life demands…….shovel of dirt.
  • Holidays nearing…….shovel of dirt.

Shovels of dirt rising. Weighing on me like stones. Hard to breathe. Buried alive. Outcome: eventual suffocation.  Something must change.

Desperately searching for how to simplify, I came across a blog entry about minimalism. Something resonated with me. So I began devouring every article, every blog, every you tube video I could find on the subject. Eureka! This must be it, I tell myself. We must become minimalist. All fired up I grabbed some boxes and trash bags and went to the first room that I wanted to start in. Forty-five minutes later I am standing in the same spot. Frozen. Bewildered. Overwhelming is an understatement. Not as easy as they make it sound.

Questions pummeling my brain:

Should I sell this stuff?

Where do I store it until I can hold a garage sale?

What do I price it at if I sale it?

Will the money made be worth it?

Would it just be easier and less stressful to just haul it to goodwill?

What is the secret packrat in me to do?

Despite my initial frozen stance. I finally did begin and it felt good to get rid of 5 bags of STUFF. I ended up taking that booty of treasures to goodwill just to remove it from my sight. Other rooms will not be so easy. This journey is going to be long and arduous. But I have to do it. I know in the end it will be better! I’m sure of it! I will be successful! Will it? Won’t I? Please be better!

My Superheroes are worth it!