Style, Living, Passion

Our individual Passion is like the fuel we use to heat our homes on cold winter days, it creates a fire within us to live life to the fullest! Reignite your passion daily and if you don't feel you have Passion or aren't living life with Passion, sit down and figure out what passion is and how you have even the smallest glimmer of it in...
your life and IGNITE it - it's never too late" Jan Tanis
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My friend Jemma, over at At Home with Jemma has been sharing posts and stories and information about Aging with Style - Living Life with Passion.  Prior to my husband's diagnosis of cancer {which is another story - but good thing is what they believed to be is NOT!}, I was going to write a post to share with all of Jemma's readers...but that got de-railed.  Now, that the "scare" is over, I'm getting {or trying to} back to normal.  So, please thank Jemma for this opportunity to see what she's been up to.  And Jemma, I included my Quote that you liked so much!  Thanks for all of your support, prayers, hugs, love and friendship!

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Here's my story of Living Life with Passion...

We {hubby & I} share our home with our PuppyKids - 3 small furry, four-legged Pups.  We live a normal life, nothing special or out of the ordinary here.  I love it!  

I thought I'd tell you that I'm Passionate about my God-given Talents.  Caring for and understanding and loving our PuppyKids and training them takes time and some effort.  I've known for a long time that I had a special connection to animals.  I've been called the "dog whisperer".  The pups make me smile and laugh everyday...and they also comfort me when I need it.  Each one has their duty in the pack and each of them has their own and very different personality.

When hubby and I go on vacation, our 3 Pups travel with us and stay with us in Vacation Rental Homes...and they truly enjoy themselves.  They are 2 girls and a boy, between the ages of 2 and 6. They weigh between 8 and 14 pounds.

They mean the World to Us
Angel is a Coton de Tulear and 2 years old - she is so sweet and cuddly {at 14#} and the Leader of the 3-Pack.  She alerts us to people around or near our yard.  She's on guard all the time.

Jasper is a Maltese and he is nearly 7 years old - and we've nicknamed him the Grumpy old Man, because if either of us or the other 2 pups get too close while he's laying around or napping on the floor or on a chair, he growls.  They all sleep together in a crate and he doesn't do it there.  Funny!

Rosie is a 5 year old Toy Poodle.  She weighs in at 11# and she is a Spit-Fire {although a little quieter since Angel came into our lives}.  

Up until a few months ago, I was their groomer, taking care of their every need.  But then I took them to a professional groomer for the first time and she couldn't get over how good they were for her, knowing they'd only had me work on them.  She groomed them and did a terrific job on them and I took them there several times.  In November, I groomed them myself and in 2015, they haven't been back to the groomer, because I've been trimming them.  I trained them from the time they first came here to our home...anywhere from 11 weeks to 9 months of age...and I continue to.  It's a daily adventure!  I'm proud they're my Pups...because they are well behaved, nice and funny!

Now, you may be wondering why there are photos of 4 Pups in the photo above, when I mentioned we had's the story.

Our youngest Pup, Angel, arrived just 3 weeks after we suffered a terrible loss of one of our Furry Kids.  Benny, {the 4th Pup in the photo), a Havanese, who was the Leader of the 3 Pack, our Guard Dog and a comfort, who weighed 18#, was only a little over 4 1/2 years old, woke up one morning, lame on one of his hind legs.  After seeing the Vet, we came home with some meds for him and an appointment to return after the weekend for X-rays.  By that evening, it was apparent to the ER Vet we went to that he was much worse than anyone could have ever known.  He was suffering from an acute onset of neurological problems.  He was seizing so frequently, couldn't hear or see, didn't know where he was or even whether he was upside down or right side up.  No ones knows how, why or anything as to how this came about, but in less than 12 hours - from the time we saw our Vet in the morning and when we saw the ER Vet in the evening, we knew he wasn't going to make it through the night.  We decided we had to put him to sleep.  We couldn't allow him to continue suffering.  It was terrible.  I'd never experienced anything like it before.  But it was the right choice and the only choice we could make for such a special dog.  I'm certain he was Heaven-sent, just special, to help me through a nearly 2 year (and continuing) recovery from Bell's Palsy.  He knew when I was in pain and would come by me to give me comfort.  He knew right where the pain was, too.  He would nuzzle me with his nose and lick the spot and then place himself in such a way as to use his body heat to warm up the sore and stiff, paralyzed muscles in my face, neck and head.  He knew.  It was hard to let him go.  The days following his death on December 7, 2013, were harder.  They are better now, but I still miss him. 

The new 3-Pack has been a great pack...getting along so well, playing and running around and generally being Pups!  You can read more about all of the 3 Pups Here.

God gave me Gifts and Talents, about which I am Passionate.  I knew, when I was a kid, that I had these talents - loving, caring for and understanding animals, interior design, cooking and baking and creating things with my hands...but it wasn't until I was saved that I understood how I got them and where they came from and why I always felt a need to use them.  I've always been a very detailed person...and that started in childhood, too.  And my 3 Talents all include DETAIL.  So did I become a detailed person using my talents?  Or did God already instill in me the ability to be DETAILED?  I don't know...but whatever HE did, HE did right!!  I've used my Talents throughout my life. 

 Here are Three more of them...

Interior Design

As a child, I often moved my bedroom furniture around, creating new window treatments and sitting areas in my small bedroom.  I'd prompt my mom to rearrange the living room furniture too.  I liked helping my parents select paint colors and work on the house.  As I got older, I would decorate my own apartment and then began helping others decorate their own homes.  In 1981, I began my career as an Interior Designer at Ethan Allen in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I was able to support myself and use a Talent from God and for that I'm very thankful.  Through the years, of course, my taste and style has evolved.  One thing that has never changed is my love of the color BLACK.  It anchors a room and just balances other colors.  It's been my one constant in design.

The next 2 photos are of my initial Interior Design of our new home.  It stayed this way for 7 years and has undergone a big change...which I hope to begin sharing very soon on my Blog...

I've been in the midst of a whole house re-design for quite a while.  While I was recuperating from the worst of Bell's Palsy, I did nothing.  I can't remember the summer - the entire summer and fall of 2012, the year I got it.  I was in so much pain, I would sleep and sleep and sleep.  I wasn't taking medications to make me sleep, my body just needed it.  Then in August of 2014, I got hit with BO again - on both sides of my face and I'm still improving.  I do everything I can to help myself heal.
As you can see the table in my Dining Room is Set for Lunch...with a Friend...complete with Tea.  I love decorating and setting a pretty table and serving delicious food.  On my Blog, you'll find lots of Recipes that are either mine or tried and true Recipes from other friends.

To me, there is nothing more loving and comforting than preparing a meal or Tea and serving it to others.  I know sometimes I rush around and probably even appear frazzled but it's only because I want everything to be just right for my guests.

Here's a Great Summer Salad Recipe that I love.

Creamy Cucumber Salad 
(BETTER FOR YOU - in parenthesis)

1 medium red onion, roughly diced
2 medium cucumbers, halved, peeled &sliced 1/2" thick
1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced 
2 large cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1/2 cup Hellmann's Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
4 tablespoons granulated sugar (or 2T honey)
1 teaspoon seasoning salt (or Garlic, Thyme, or any other seasoning)
1 tablespoon fresh dill (or as much as desired)

Creamy Cucumber Salad Recipe Preparation Instructions:

Place the diced onion, sliced cucumbers (*see note below), sliced green pepper, halved cherry tomatoes into  a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the vinegar, mayonnaise, parsley flakes, sugar (or honey), salt/seasoning and dill.  Pour over the "veggies" and toss.  Refrigerate at least 2 hrs (stirring at least once to redistribute ingredients).  The dressing gets a bit thinner as all the flavors blend and the juices of the "veggies" come out.

*Note: The cucumber cut is especially important. If thinly sliced, most cucumbers wilt & do not retain their crunch.

I love using my pretty things - Dishes, Silver Flatware, Crystal, Serving Pieces, so here are a few that I like to use - whether serving lunch or dinner or Tea - and even use every day.  These are pretties that I've collected throughout my life.

And I even use my PINK PYREX Dishes!!
Most people I know...who take a matter who they are, no matter how much they love cooking and baking, choose to NOT DO ANY while on vacation.  NOT ME!!  I even take items from home that I know I will need in order to cook my meals and bake some goodies.  I take 2 full bins that fit in the trunk, filled with needed bowls, mixer, pans, mixing bowls, panini press, griddle...pot and pans, name it, I take it...after carefully planning a menu for the week we'll be away.  Sometimes, if the owner of the Vacation Homes we stay in are on the Property or near...I've been known to take them a meal, too!  It does my ♥ good to serve others.

Working With My Hands
I like keeping busy, even when I'm relaxing and God has given me a Talent that allows me to do that.  I crochet and design and create Rosaries and Jewelry.  For a number of years I had an Etsy Shop, where I sold my hand-made items...then I finally decided it was time to retire from the shop.  I continue to make items by request and gifts, too.  I feel the best when I'm using all of my talents and I bet you do too.  Here are a few items that I've created.

I'm so fortunate to have these Talents...and that I've been able to support myself using them.  God has been so good to me by giving me these talents, that I feel the need to use them daily.  And, using them daily, makes me the happiest.  While I'm happy with what I create, I know that the ideas in my head come from God and He guides me as to what I should be doing with my talents.

What are your Talents that you've been blessed with?  How do you use them?  Do you use them often?  How long have you known about your talents?
Jan Tanis
Jan Tanis

I'm Jan and I'm happy you stopped in. Please, leave a comment and follow along..


  1. Dear Jan,
    Such a beautiful and inspiring post on embracing the gifts that we have been blessed with! I feel the passion in your words, see the purpose and productivity in your photos and know that you truly do "ignite the passion-in your life." Yes, I do love this quote!
    I am enjoying getting to really know more about you and see the talents that you have been blessed with and that you embrace them so beautifully. Your home is lovely, and I also spied some transferware...such a pretty table setting. Your etsy shop is home to beautiful handmade creations and I am so fond of them all.
    Give the pups a hug from me and thank you for joining in on the Passion, Purpose, Productivity Project!

  2. Jan,
    Coming over from Jemma's post today. Oh my, that rose bracelet and rosary are beautiful. You really do have a way of creating treasures with your hands. And the roses Afghan, so pretty and looks warm. I loved what you said about enjoying serving people. That is so special, and that summer salad looks yummy.

    Keep creating, Jan - you have a natural talent. Oh, I have that English rose tea set too. :~)


  3. Jan, I admire your passion for homes!
    I love to see when people care for their
    homes just as much as I do.
    God gave you such a beautiful talent.
    Have a blessed day.

  4. Hi Jan, Love this post and the sharing of your many talents. I know how creative you are and the eye for detail you are gifted with. You have been truly blessed. I love all your creations shared in your pics. Keep designing my friend and using your God given gifts.
    Thank you for sharing. This is an amazing post.
    Hugs and Blessings.

  5. Jan, you are using and multiplying with your talents. You bless and are blessed. Well done. Visiting from Jemma's. =)

  6. Jan, my goodness, you are a woman of many talents! I'm amazed! And I'm so glad that you found time to share this post with us. Do you miss your design work at Ethan Allen? In 2004 a delightful woman in the Green Hills store in Nashville spent hours helping me find just the right sofa design--I wanted one that sat high and firm--and choosing the perfect shade of red leather to order it in. It was a splurge for us but I still love it 10 years later and it will last my lifetime and beyond.

    Your sweet Benny left you only days before we had to have our darling dachshund Penelope put to sleep after 15 1/2 years. I understand. I only wish I had your skill in grooming our two 10 year old brother long-haired dachshunds that we adopted one year exactly after we lost Penelope. But then, as you said, your skill is God-given, and special to you.

    I could not even begin to imagine the talent needed to make the lovely jewelry you make, but I do travel with my pots and pans! My kids say I would carry the kitchen sink if I could.

    It's been great learning more about you, Jan.