Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Thanksgiving of Changes

I got the phone call a few weeks ago. My great uncle was to have heart surgery again. But this time it was more serious. The tests had shown up a tumor as well as a blockage. He would also need something implanted to regulate his heartbeat.

Earl and Barbara are like grandparents to me. And they're old. Both in their 80's. So that's not the news you want to hear.

We've always had Thanksgiving with them. Ever since I can remember. But this year, with Earl's health, they're just not up for it. The surgery isn't until December, but he is short of breath and has to take things really easy until then. And they have family closer than we are to them that wanted them to come to their home.

So Thanksgiving would be here this year. For my family and a family friend.

Lots to do, lots to prep, lots to decide. I'd never cooked a full Thanksgiving meal before all on my own. And even though I was a little sad about the change, I wanted it to be something special for my girls. Plus we have the new addition this year of my oldest daughters husband.

So we dive in, my oldest daughter and I, head first and plan and shop and plan some more. We search recipes and test foods and have our schedule all worked out for Thanksgiving week.

And then on Sunday before Thanksgiving our dog got sick. Really sick. He's old, almost 15, and been going downhill for quite some time. He's a big lab/retriever mix and has arthritis and hip issues. He's fallen a lot lately and not been able to get up for a while so we've been hesitant to leave him alone for any length of time.

But this is a different sick.

By Tuesday there was nothing we could do for him. The vet told us that we really had no choice but to put him to sleep. We asked if there was anything at all that would buy him some quality of life for even a little while. And he said no. The only humane thing to do was to let him go.

We'd always promised ourselves, and him in a way, that we'd not keep him around past when he should be here for our benefit only.

With many tears and much heartbreak, Tuesday we kept that promise.

Life is not the same around here without him. Lucy, our other dog, is weird. She's looking for him all over the place. Constantly.

So Thanksgiving here was a big change. It was surprisingly lovely, and only tinged with sadness from time to time.

I know to those of you that are not dog people how odd all of this may sound. Ridiculous even. But to those of you that ARE dog people, you get it.

He was a good boy.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Busy, Busy Week

We've had 2 bake sales this week (one at church and one at co-op) that I've had to both bake for and participate in. Early. Too early.

We had a "blessing of the animals" at our church on Sunday that Mike MC'd and the girls and I volunteered.

Both of my younger daughters were in a play last night. And it was smashing.

Tonight is Trunk-or-treat at our church. Youth dresses up. And my husband and I are in charge of the youth (last minute). And the car had to be cleaned, vacuumed and decorated.

Friday morning is clean up day at our co-op. For three hours. Friday afternoon is a small group overnight camping trip for which I have to both bake (all the sweets for over 30 people) and shop for disposables and various food. And breakfast stuff.

Of course, Saturday is Halloween.

I'm glad there is an extra hour thrown in this week. I think I'll spend it sleeping.

Now I'm off and running again.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Crown Financial

Crown Financial Ministries

I'm taking this class at church on Sunday mornings. Has anyone ever taken it? Have any opinions or thoughts on it?

We have Bible verses to memorize every week. It's been quite a while since I memorized Bible verses. I'll be putting them on the sidebar to help.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

In Keeping With My New Goals

The rain here has been abundant. Huge, fierce storms that blow in and back out just as quickly. Leaving glistening puddles and drips in the brilliant sunshine.

Jillian loves to play in the rain. She was outside yesterday right after a storm had blown through and came bursting through the door to tell me of a rainbow that ended in the neighbors yard! I grabbed my camera but unfortunately it was gone. But I did capture a few pictures of beauty found in the small things.

Jillian drenched and on the swing here daddy made her.

Our thornless blackberry patch. Last spring it was two little sticks in the ground.

The runoff that keeps the blackberries growing like weeks.

Ripening Figs

Some of the last color in the yard. These bushes got so beautiful this year.

A hot pepper plant that has been crazy prolific this year. I'm drying them as fast as possible.

Sunshine on the magnolia tree.

Us heading inside. Bare feet squishing in the mud.


Friday, October 09, 2009


Things seem to slowly be coming together.

I'm not really sure why I do some of the things I do. Or if there is a name or word for why/how I handle things.

I have a lot to do in my home. The list is daunting.

The (younger) girls are at an age that is crazy busy. Julia is learning to drive. And aside from that she is a fifteen year old girl that is involved in many healthy/fun/uplifting activities. Jillian is 12 and really coming into her own. She is starting to enjoy all the girly stuff. She now talks on the phone, texts and messes with her hair. She too has many, many church and/or co-op activities.

My husband works at least 6 days a week. He is involved in 2 different weekly ministries that are NOT church specific and at least 4 that are specific to our church.

We have chosen in our life to rarely, rarely eat out. This sounds silly. I know lots of people who say they rarely eat out and then pick up fast food on the way home. Or buy frozen dinners from the grocery. The thing is, we *rarely* eat out. Literally maybe 3 or 4 times a year. We almost never eat frozen dinners. Most of our food is made from scratch. Not that I grind the wheat for all of our bread (though I do that from time to time) but that I literally cook breakfast, lunch (which is sometimes sandwiches, and sometimes not), and dinner *7* days a week.

That's a lot of cooking. I spend my time in the kitchen. Probably on average 2-3 hours a day. And I'm grateful that I get to do this. But on top of the actual kitchen time, there is the planning and shopping time. And I'm a bargain shopper, so add that extra time to the mix.

And I've posted chore charts for the girls and I here before, and the girls do quite a lot. But there are several areas that I'm on my own. For obvious and not so obvious reasons I suppose.

I do all the laundry.

I do 95% of the cooking.

I pay the bills.

I do all of the shopping.

I keep the calendar. (This is a much bigger deal than you might imagine. I'll try to write more about it at a later time.)

I, of course at this point, do all the driving. (And this year the co-op schedule is ridiculous. I'll post about that sometime soon as well.)

I keep the school records.

I tend (or not) the garden.

The point is, I'm reasonably busy just in general. And then I have church obligations and committees on which I sit. There is much prep involved in at least 3 of these.

And it feels like somehow over the course of time, my priorities have gotten smudged. I've been spending way too much time on things other than my home. And my home is showing the signs of neglect.

There are things in my sidebar that are not directly related to my home. But these are things that I have committed to do and so I will do them. And when they are done, things are going to be considered very carefully before I commit to anything else at this season of my life that does not directly relate to my home or family.

I'll still continue (for the time being) with the areas at my church that I volunteer/participate. But only so far as it doesn't interfere with my true mission field.

My family and home.

Some may view this as selfish. So be it. I have to do what I feel is right for me and my family. And I really feel the call to focus on home. To live in the moment with my family. To not only perform the duties at home, but to make memories with them. To love my family. To love my home. To take the time to appreciate all that I've been given. Instead of rushing through one thing to get to another.

No more.

So here's to a new beginning. I hope to blog about it along the way.

The life with which I have been blessed is entirely too beautiful to only give it a passing nod.

It's time to stop and focus.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Well, as you can see I got almost nothing done yesterday. My daughter and I spend hours trying to get rid of an infection on her computer. And we still didn't get it done. We may have to have it looked at. I can't believe how stubborn these malware can be! Her husband is doing college classes online so they really need this fixed. That's why it got priority.

I may put this list (and add to it) in my sidebar. It makes me want to get it done when it's out there for all to see!


Monday, September 28, 2009


I'd really like to post daily here. At least during the week. But today is not the day to start it. My to-do list is pretty huge. And I'm pretty determined. So we'll see.

This is my two week plan. Of course there will be normal activities of daily living thrown in there. But I'm starting first with a printable calendar and plugging this stuff into various days. I'll try to update on my progress.

-Fix Jessica's computer (malware infection)

-Quick grocery trip

-Spend 1 hour with daughter on project

-Oversee all major schoolwork

-Lesson plan for history

-Spend 2 hours cleaning at least 2 days a week

-Make a two week meal plan


-Place a book order


-Get all Fall vegetable in deck planters

-Start on Christmas list

-Change and wash sheets

-Spend 1 hour daily on getting the girls rooms in shape (including buying paint and supplies, painting and getting every nook and cranny cleaned out and organized)

-Take big quilts to laundry mat

-Finish sewing projects

-Spend 1 hour a week organizing computer/school room


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cleaning House

No. Not my house. Which is what needs to be done. But I'm going to spiff up a few things around the old blog today. I've got some computer work to do anyway (fliers for church activities) so I'll try to multitask. Since it's still too wet to do much laundry. My poor septic tank doesn't take kindly to all the flooding.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I get the most lovely comments and emails most times. People asking questions or helping me to clarify things that I've written that may not be as clear as I'd thought they were.

Of course I sometimes get the odd comments as well. I don't publish them because they seem to be computer generated or just so off the wall that I have a hard time following them.

But then sometimes I get a comment that I feel like deserves more of an answer than what I can give in the reply section underneath it.

On January 2 of this year I got this anonymous comment in regards to My Homemaking Philosophy Post:

"I agree with ou on some parts but why must everything have something to do with God ? Not everyone believes in God .I am one of them I believe in myself.AgainI do think along the lines as you do that home is work but I believe in myself and not God."

I didn't respond to it at the time because the blog wasn't active, but I didn't want to put it through either and not respond to it. I wish the person had left an email address so that I could write them personally, but they did not.

While I don't feel obligated to answer every question I get, something about this one sorta got to me. And I've thought on it off and on since I received it.

Why must everything have something to do with God?

I went back and reread the post and while I do mention God and prayer, it certainly didn't feel like the theme of what I had written.

But I am so honored that someone read it that way.

My diligent, constant prayer is that someone may see God's light shine through me or my family.

I want God in every thought. In every action. In every inaction. In every word that escapes my lips and the ones that I'm able to hold back.

I want God in every breath I take.

I see God in the clouds and in the wind and rain. I see Him in the stunning blue sky and the rays of sunshine streaming though the leaves. I see Him in the dew on the grass and in the new spring buds on the trees. I see Him in the splendor of the leaves blowing off the trees in late fall.

I hear Him in the rushing of a river and the crash of the ocean waves. I hear Him in the singing of the birds and the giggles of little children. I hear Him in the quiet of the seasons first snowfall.

I feel God in the quiet of the morning and the quiet of the night. I feel Him as we gather at church or with friends. I feel Him so strongly when I watch my husband be the father to our daughters that I'd always hoped. I feel Him when things are going perfectly. And I feel Him when things feel like they're falling apart. I feel Him when I'm on my knees praying and sometimes even when I'm writing a blog post.

So why must everything have something to do with God? Because everything does have something to do with God.

I hope that anonymous somehow finds their way back here and can feel the prayers for them. Knowing God is unlike anything you'll ever be able to find on your own.

May the peace of God surround you this and every day.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Time Issues

It seems you can't open a mom blog anywhere that doesn't mention time. And more than likely, lack of time. There are whole websites dedicated to organization and time management. And obviously different things work for different people.

This is an area with which I still struggle. Truth is, I tend to be awfully stubborn and when something "works" I never want to let it go. So I can have a beautiful schedule down with most things in my life sailing along and then a big change happens and I struggle to squish the old schedule into the new plan. How does that work? Usually not so well.

Take for instance last fall. Things were going along quite nicely. I had a (typewritten) schedule for the younger girls and I. And then on October 10th, my oldest daughter came home with a ring on her finger. She had gotten engaged. I plan to write some about planning a (quite large) wedding on a budget, but for the topic of this post lets just say that it threw our schedule off just a wee bit.

And while the wedding was beautiful and moving and more than any of us had hoped it would be, it is over. Truth be told, it was over on May 23rd. And we've still not gotten back into a good groove. Now granted, there was packing and moving and bedroom shifts and painting (still to be done) and furniture to buy and emotions to try to handle. But it was May 23rd. So while there is still more than "normal" to do around here, it's time to get a grip. And the only way I know to do that is to prioritize.

Of course, God is first in my life. Then my family. But I'm not specifically talking about that kind of prioritization. I'm talking about *after* that.

And since we almost never eat out, I'm going to try to start back with a menu plan. It creates such stress trying to figure out dinner at the last minute. Why I allow myself to get out of the habit of menu planning is beyond me.

So that's step one.

Wish me luck.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Does God Nudge You?

Our sermon at Church yesterday was on prayer. The various ways we pray and the things for which we ask. It was moving and powerful. Our Pastor also talked about how he feels that God nudges him from time to time. And maybe more often than that and he simply doesn't notice it. But that many times when he feels that nudge and answers whatever small seeming call, he is enormously blessed and grateful. And how important it is to be mindful of the nudges of God.

It's happened to me a few times that I've gotten "close" to a blogger and then they've closed up shop. Sometimes saying why, sometimes not. I may have never left a comment on their writings but I've felt ridiculously close with them. Maybe prayed for them in various situations. Certainly laughed with them and rooted them on in areas of their lives that they've been willing to share. And when they were gone it was almost like I mourned. I missed them.

To all that have written me saying that you missed me, prayed for me, and hoped I'd come back....thank you. I hope I responded to all of you via email. I certainly tried to do so. I can't understand why anyone would be interested in the things that I write. But I suppose that all is not for us to understand.

I don't feel worthy to be looked at as an older woman with any kind of wisdom. The truth is that I'm 43 and have a daughter that is grown and married, along with a teenage daughter and a preteen daughter. So I suppose that while I feel youthful and ignorant in many ways of life, I might have something to share. Even if it's nothing but what NOT to do as learned by me the hard way.

I've felt a nudge for a while. To come back here. To write a little as I feel called to do so. And I won't ignore the nudge anymore.

Thank you all for the beautiful emails you've written me. I've missed you too.