Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Things I do to make my home cozy in the Winter

The winters can get awfully long, so I look online for new ideas to help me get motivated... something I struggle with especially in January. I stumbled into the Christian Homekeepers Blog this last fall and have enjoyed popping my head in every once in a while for new ideas. We then post them and share our ideas. Here's mine...

In my Winter Kitchen... I bake as many breads as we can eat! Since baking is not my focus in the Spring and Summer, my kitchen smells wonderful in the Winter.

My favorite Winter time meal is…. Clam chowder served with homemade Artisan bread. My kids love soups and they are so cheap to make.

I Do/Do Not (choose one) tend to be depressed in the Winter…. I often joke that my batteries are running low because I run on solar power. The lack of sun gets to me and I do get depressed sometimes. That's when I decided to leave my home for the afternoon, get coffee with a friend, go to a bright, beautiful store like World Market, or hit the flower shop for a fresh bouquet!

A favorite Winter time activity my family enjoys is.... playing board games while listening to music. Our favorite game right now is Ticket to Ride. We spend a lot of time around the table after dinner during Winter.

To help my home look and feel inviting in the Winter…. I have lots of blankets to cuddle under, and light candles that smell like cinnamon.

How I dress to stay warm … long sweaters and fluffy socks! Sometimes if I get chilled, I'll sit on the couch with my heating pad behind me. I dream of a fireplace... but that doesn't usually take off the chill :)

One really important health rule for the Winter time I’d like to share …. sit in a bath with good smelling oils. After I'm done cleaning up, I'll just dump some in the water and soak for a while. It helps my skin and makes me smell good at the same time!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Just another New Year's Resolution?

Happy New Year! I'm gonna lose weight, save money, get healthier... for a WEEK!!! I'll be honest, my staying power for things such as these lasts about as long as a vapor. You, too? I actually don't set New Years Resolutions. I never have. And honestly, we are all gonna die! Now, don't worry... I am not being cynical. The older I get though, the more I want to focus my life on things that will last for an eternity. Whether I die with a skinny waist or a fat bank account won't matter once I meet my Creator. I've decided to start with Galatians 5:22-23... "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law."
I want Jesus to be able to live in my life more this year than last year. Less of me. More of Him. More love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. When I sit and ponder how many ways this could effect my life and those around me, I get a little excited. If my waist is smaller or my checkbook shows more zeros, that doesn't make an impact on anyone but me. But if I live walking "in the Spirit" then there is no end to what he could do with a divine size serving of Love or Peace or Self Control each day of my life.
So could I encourage you this year not to forget the spiritual part of you. There's nothing wrong with getting healthy, but let's not neglect what will last. The eternal.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Being the mom

Why is being a mom to "little ones" such an exausting experience? I consider myself the mom of "medium ones" now that they are growing up, so I feel like my sanity has returned. But as I read the Facebook post of a new mom this morning, I remember the cries of my heart that matched her cries... "I am at the end of my rope. I need some support!"
Just keeping them alive is a full time job. Feed them, keep them from eating things they could choke on, buckle them in, bath them without letting them drown, teach them to walk, but keep them away from steep stairs until due time, take them for outings without losing them when they try to wander off, whew! There was always sooooo much to think about. It makes me tired just remembering.
A mom is like a cup that is tipped sideways, pouring, pouring, pouring out. Every moment, everyday and night. There are very few moments in my years of raising "little ones" that my cup rested upright to fill up. Those were important times to regain energy and endurance so I was ready to pour out more joyfully the next time. The most trying times were the ones when I was attempting to do EVERTHING ELSE in addition to being a mom. I went through a time where I was a wife and a mom, in addition to being a children's choir director of 50+ students, a piano teacher to 29 students (most of which I traveled to their homes toting my two young boys), an accompanist at church that included at least two days of commitments, leader of a bible study, a youth group leader to junior highers, and a volunteer for many other miscellaneous things in my community. WHY, oh why, did I think I needed to be in everything? I know why. I really wanted to be making a difference. And I did. I have kids that can play piano because of me. Kids who performed in a community choir because of me. Kids whose faith was challenged and encouraged because of me. But I also remember feeling like I was going to loose it... often.
With age has come some perspective and peace. No one can love my children and my husband like me. MY kids can feel loved because of me. MY kids have memories baking cookies together because of me. MY kids have been encouraged in their faith because of me. I am not trying to impress anyone anymore. I just want my husband and kids to know they are loved and valued and that there is proof in my actions. No one else can be a mom to my kids. There are other piano teachers for my old students, and other directors for youth programs. There is not another mother for my kids.
I still need to stop and fill my cup each and everyday. The Lord does that. He uses people. And His Word. I guess I don't find that I need to "unwind" the way I used to, because not much winds me up anymore.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sir Knight in shining armor

I married my Knight in Shining Armor, really I did. He is that tall, dark and handsome guy that I wrote about in my diary as a young girl. He's strong. And hunts and changes oil. He moves 2,000 pound pallets in one shove! (Of course, he has bruses all over to prove it... but he's man enough to take it!) He is amazing! His name... Daryl (aka) Sir Tarnish-A-Lot. What???
You want to know what makes him my "perfect" knight? He ISN'T perfect. In movies or novels, girls have been deceived into thinking that life would be dreamy if they could find that perfect guy. Let's face it... those stories are found in the fiction section of the library. Now, before you error in thinking I am knocking my sweet Daryl, think on this. He, my imperfect knight of a husband, CHOOSES to love me, stay with me, provide for me, and spend time with me even though we are both broken, selfish, sinful, quarky people. There is a bible verse that says, "Love covers a multitude of sin..." How true this is. True love, is love that sees that neither of us is even close to perfect, yet, it still loves despite the flaws. And not grudgingly either. As a young bride, I used to think our relationship would be better if Daryl could get his act together where he was weak. Now, I can truly say, there isn't anything he could do that would make me love him less. His armor isn't flawless, it has tarnish. But he is MY knight and I love him for who he is. The amazing thing, he loves this peasant girl. And she is not tarnished, but covered in mud. We make a good pair though. Sir Tarnish-A-Lot and Lady Full-of-Dirt. But with love, I see nothing but an amazingly strong and wonderful man whom I'm thankful for. And I am loved by him. That is a great non-fiction story! THE END

Monday, September 13, 2010

Keepin' my home warm and inviting this Fall

I came across a homemakers blog this morning as I was looking for some fresh inspiration as to keeping my home cozy this fall. Thought I'd join in and swap ideas with other homemakers.
My kitchen would be more inviting if....... I kept my dishes done up! I love to cook and bake, but unfortunately, I am the world's worst dish-washer. I have a sign in my kitchen that says, "This kitchen was perfectly clean yesterday... Sorry you missed it"
My best tip for making my home seem more welcoming.... I'd have to say that putting up the extra effort to decorate things nicely helps a lot. I am making a fall wreath to hang on my door. When ever someone has a beautiful wreath on their door, I always wonder what the rest of their home is like. A beautifully set table makes a person wonder what wonderful food is going to adorn the plates. And MUSIC! I think music in the background of any day helps to set a mood that feels warm and welcoming.
To give the feeling of warmth in my home..... I, too, light yummy smelling candles. I think candles that smell like baked goods are the best in the fall. I get into baking breads and pies once the weather turns cool. Candles can add that little bit of ambiance as well. What is it about a flame or a fire that is so welcoming... you just want to linger, like a camp fire draws people to hang out quietly for hours.
In the cool months, it is essential for me to..... pull out the down comforters, electric blankets and flannel sheets. I love to crawl into a warm bed. By the way, I don't put all those on our bed! Hahaha! We'd roast. Comforter on our bed, electric blankets for the kids.
Some favorite Autumn/Winter recipes are.... applebutter made from my apples in the backyard, cinnamon rolls, french bread, and SOUPS!!!! My kids know that every fall, soup will be for dinner often. Their favorite? What we call Poor Man's Soup... soup that consisted of bits of vegetables and dried beans one season when we were very broke. We make it annually, and thank God for faithfully providing for our needs.
A quick tip for making our house more inviting.... Laughter! No one wants to visit with someone who is negative or griping. We try to laugh often in our home. Laughter comes easily when seated around the table for dinner or while playing a board game. I think of a quote from a book I once read... "God is most glorified when we are satisfied with Him." Joy is contageous! Spread the JOY!
Ok, so it's time for me to start my day, get up from the computer and make my home ready for another week. Thanks girls for the ideas and inspiration!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Quotes Worth Living By

"More is not always better... sometimes it's just more."

"Drink coffee... do stupid things faster."

"Not all who wander are lost."

"Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick."

I love quotes! They sometimes make me laugh, or reflect, or even pause, squint my eyes and ask, "Is that really true?" So, I've been thinking... how many of these quotes that I see hanging on cute tin plaques in little gift shops or printed inside Halmark cards are actually true. Does it matter?

Quotes make it easy to say pie-in-the-sky statements. Quotes can make us seem so philosophical and deep. The trouble with quotes? They can often be empty. But, not so with God's quotes! His Word(s). I guess as I've been thinking this through, I've decided that I need to make sure that I'm not banking anything important on empty quotes. People can say things that make me laugh or feel understood. Their quotes can even make me ponder something. But, people quotes can be wrong. God's NEVER are. That's pretty important! Sure, I still love my sign that says, "Life is not how many breaths you take, but how many moments take your breath away." I love those breathtaking moments. BUT... I don't believe my life is worthless if it's not full of breathtaking moments every hour. God's Word tells me, Christ in me is to live. That's worth living for! He tells me, Cast all your cares on me, for I care for you, and Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick. At a very difficult point in my life, someone told me the verse about HOPE. Funny thing is, I didn't know it was God's words. When I came across it in the bible, I was so suprised... and encouraged! I understood, my heart was sick and depressed because I'd placed my hope somewhere it shouldn't have been. That same day, I read the words, Why so downcast, oh my soul? Put your hope in God! That was truth worth believing. Not some pie-in-the-sky saying that I tried to apply like, "believe in the power of positive thinking..."

Do I actually do stupid things faster when I've had my coffee? Yup. Is more just MORE sometimes? Yup. Will I still buy cute tin plaques? Sure. But, when life really matters, I've decided that I want to know what God has to say about it instead of some dead philosopher or Halmark poet. Thanks God for being Trustworthy! I'm so thankful that your words are worth banking my whole life on!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Junior High Journal

Today, I pulled out my old journal from my junior high days. Hahaha! What a scream! Does anyone else remember feeling sooooo mature and wise back then? I am truly thankful to still have this journal in my possesion. I am horribly embarrased to still have it because my kids could blackmail me with some of the ridiculous things I have written in it! Still, it is such a good reminder of how far we've come and that we should be eternally grateful that our parents didn't kill us while they waited for us to pass this strange and unrational stage.

One of the things that has slowly faded away in my memory is how utterly obsessed I was with boys at that age! Good grief. Was I ever REALLY that silly? Apparently so, because there is page after page of rants about this boy, and rants about that one. Then confessions of love to one and questions about whether I still like him (only a week later). My first broken heart is recorded in this journal. A boy named John I met at camp. A week after camp, I decided he was just a fake and didn't really care about me. LOL!!!! Wow, I had invested a whole week into that kid! He took the best "days" of my life...not. Ha! Then, there was James. My very true friend and first real crush. His entries span three years. I asked myself, "Do I love him? Or is he more like the big brother I wished I'd had?" Either way, he was a huge encouragement to me and I admired him and his family. There was the boy I ended up "kneeing" for not keeping his hands off me while I was at my locker. I rationalized that he deserved it since I had been warning him since the beginning of the school year that I was not going to put up with it.

The thing that is so funny now, is that I remember thinking I was so grown up as I penned much of my life into that spiral notebook. Now, my husband and I are laughing hystarically at these "serious" journal entries.

I've decided it was good to read this, since my kids are now in this "strange" stage of life. I can be a little more gracious and understanding as I remember that we DO eventually grow up and turn out okay. I think instead of journaling about my life, I'll blog instead, so one day, when I'm sixty-five, I can once again look back and think... "Good grief! What was I thinking?"