Monday, December 23, 2013

taking a deep breath before the long ride

Click, click, click. Up and up to the top of the hill...

I feel like I'm just about at the tippy top of a roller coaster, the plunge coming any second. Or, maybe I've already taken it.

I'm sure many people are feeling this way with Christmas just around the corner. I remember last year we seemed busy until mid-February, with a wedding to travel to after the holiday season was over.

But this year... well, we're moving and it seems like this ride won't slow down until this time next year. That's how it seems. I'm probably exaggerating.

Regardless, life is going to change on January 10th and in big ways.

My husband won't be walking to work or coming home for lunch. We won't have internet (for the time being) and I won't have access to a treadmill. I'll be caring for my parents' chickens and tending a fire to stay warm. And I'll be surrounded by boxes and to do lists. Oh wait, I already am!

But, I'll also be surrounded by beautiful land wrapped in silence. I'll be close to my parents and other family. I'll be moving closer to our dream.

But dreams take time and I'm afraid I'm not very patient. The biggest thing I think I'm going to struggle with is the state of the home. I want it to look the way I want it to look and right now! It took me all year to get this home the way I wanted (well, good enough at least), and we were already moved in! I don't want to wait another year.

So I'm praying for patience. I'm praying for God's will, and that I will accept it. I'm praying for strength through this time because I'm a little afraid I'm going to be in a bit of a pit for a while. As in, looking up from the bottom of a pit and having no idea how to get out.

Now, that's a bit dramatic. And that's not how I feel right now. I'm just afraid that on a cold dark winter night, after a long day, that I will feel that way. And so I'm taking a deep breath and praying.

I'm not by any means complaining. I'm very exited! I just realize that it is going to be a big adjustment for all of us. All change is hard, even if it's good.

I already sent my Christmas greetings, but I'll say it again. I hope you have a blessed, joyous Christmas! And if I'm not back on before the new year, I wish you a happy New Year, full of promise and grace.

And thank you all for reading. Really, I so appreciate it!

Friday, December 20, 2013

all these things :: dec 20

Just an overview of what is current in my life. A snapshot of how I'm trying to give "all these things" to Him and truly seek first His kingdom in my life. 

heart & soul ::  I have been having thoughts swirling about that pretty much boil down to this question: What is the balance between making my family thrive and simply helping others survive? It's a heavy question. It deserves it's own post, but I don't have enough words right now. Right now I'm simply praying.

mothering :: Remind me to never say that things are going smoothly! I think I wrote that last week, and the same day we had one of the hardest days in a while with Sweet Girl. So, today, let me just say I am adoring my kids this week, struggles and all. They are so precious!

home & kitchen :: So, we've been eating sprouts here and there. (By we, I mean my husband and I!) And, I've got sourdough going! It is intimidating, but fun. I think the culture is fully activated and I hope to make (or start) some bread today. On Tuesday I made sourdough pancakes, and they were yummy! And the kids liked them! ~ I'm working on sewing stockings for us (and whoever comes along in the years to come!). Oh, and I've been packing. :)

rhythm :: My husband suggested we say our family evening prayers after supper clean up, instead of right before the kids go to bed. I've really enjoyed this change. It's like a blessing on the evening instead of an afterthought, which is what it sometimes felt like. At first the kids had much better behavior, but now they're getting squirrelly again, especially Bubby. He just walks off because, well, he can! :) So there's still that aspect to work on.

learning & growing :: I mentioned The Good Wife lecture series last week. There's also The Good Husband series (that came first). My husband bought that one. Now, I was hoping to listen to my series and quietly make changes and bedazzle my husband with my good wifeliness... but it came out that I had bought it and he suggested we listen to both series together. So I agreed. Every Wednesday evening we'll listen to one and talk about it. We started  last night.

looking forward to...  What can I say? Christmas of course! I kind of feel like a child in that it seems SOOO far away! Yet, I know it will be here before I know it. I still have a lot of work to do... a few Christmas presents to finish making, cookies and pies to make, etc, etc. I'm looking forward to all of that too. :)

I may or may not be on here before Christmas. So I'll say it now... I hope you all have a wonderful, blessed Christmas! May you feel the joy of Christ's birth in your heart.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snippets of a Dream and the First Step

Do you have an idea of where you want to be in five years? Ten? What do you want to be doing? What skills would you like to have?

My husband and I have been discussing these questions for just under a year now. Once we decided to stay here, in this small rural town, old dreams of mine blossomed back into life. A dream for the future started to take form.

I've talked about this dream, this journey we want to take, but it's been kind of vague. What is this life we envision, hope for? I'll give you some snippets:

  • a good handful of children running around free
  • laundry flapping in the breeze
  • chickens hopping about
  • a couple cows grazing
  • a couple pigs rooting
  • bountiful garden harvests
  • shelves of home canned goods giving us food through the winter
  • beautiful sunsets and sunrises
  • little waste
  • using resources wisely and efficiently
  • buying little because what we have is quality and will last for years
  • sewing and knitting are common crafts
  • as well as soap making, cheese and butter making
  • and don't forget music making!
  • our lives are set to the pace of the church year
  • we give out of our abundance
  • learning is a way of life

It feels vulnerable to share all this because it is close to my heart, and, well... it may not happen. I feel as if I will look like a fool, a dreamer, if I don't follow through. But I'm so hopeful, so excited, that I cannot help but share anyway. It is certainly a journey we're on and I want to document it for anyone who cares and for our future selves. Sometimes it's easy to forget how far we've come. Instead I only see how far we have to go. I have to remind myself that life builds in layers - one step at a time.

God willing, we'll be taking the first big step at the beginning of the year.

We're moving!

The house sits on six acres. My parents own it and we will be renting from them. In fact, it's on the same road as them, my brother and family, and our church! The house has been vacant for years and is in need of some cosmetic love, but nothing major. The layout is great. We are really excited!

I will be sharing much more about this house in the future. Please pray for us as we take this big step toward our dream!

Ignore the screen needing replaced... this is the view from the kitchen sink!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

why and how I get up before my kids

I know many women get up before their kids, and many women have already written about it (because I've read about it a lot), but I also know some women still struggle with this. I've often felt hesitant to write about it because it's a bit personal, and I don't want to come off as, "Hey, look at me!" Yet since it's essential to me, and makes a world of difference, I felt compelled to offer my two cents on it. This is simply why and how I do it. Take it for what it's worth.


Like I said, I've read a lot of women talk about why getting up before your children is important. But the first person I read talk about this concept was Rich Mullins. I was still a young teenager and it was before his death. I didn't really "get it", but it stuck with me anyway, so I've always remembered it. Once I had a child, I learned the frustration first hand of not getting up first hand and this concept came back to me.

I started getting up before my daughter around the time she was one. I attempted to before then, but she'd still out do me sometimes or if I got up, then I'd wake her up, so it just wasn't smart. But after she turned one and we were living in our own place, everything started to settle down. And although there have been short seasons (early pregnancy, postpartum) that I've slept to the last minute, for the most part, I make a point to be up and going a good hour before them.

There are three main things I want to do before any children wake up:

  • say my prayers
  • read some Scripture
  • be dressed and ready to go

Those are the bare essentials. All that takes, me at the minimum, half an hour. Some other things I like to have time for are exercising, writing, email, and reading on the internet. It's also nice to have a jump start on chores if there's a lot to do that day. Those are all things that I can do if one child is up and my husband is still home. But, the praying and reading... I like to have silence in the morning for those things.

Saying my prayers and strengthening myself with Scripture just gets me ready for the day. Being dressed and ready is like going to work with clothes on. It just feels better. In general, it's annoying to be interrupted, especially when I'm not prepared. Being woken up is like that to me. My sleep is interrupted and I'm not ready for it, or the day. Those are my reasons for getting up before.


When I first started out, I determined how much time I wanted. Then I figured out how early I needed to get up to be sure I had that time. I can't remember what that time was then, but about a year ago, it was 6:00 or 6:30. For about a month now, I have getting up at 5:00 because Michael was waking up around 6:00. He's sleeping better now, but I don't think I'm going to go back. It feels amazing to have so much silence and uninterrupted time! For some reason it was an easy stretch, and I feel more alert than I did at 6:00. I never thought I'd be this way, but here I am!

This does mean that I need to be in bed around 10:00. This was the goal even when getting up at 6:00. Now that everyone is sleeping through the night, I'm good on 7 hours. Getting up earlier means I'm really ready to sleep, which is a good thing for me since I can have trouble going to sleep. I can handle staying up until 11:00 one or two nights a week.

Over time, these things that have helped me get up and stay up:

  • Have an inspirational song on my phone as my alarm. 
  • Have a little snack while I read Scripture so I won't fall asleep.
  • Have an incentive to get up like a chai latte or check out a new blog.

On the Weekend

I usually "sleep in" on Saturdays, getting up at 6:00 or even 7:00, depending on how I feel or if I was up late. Even though I'm home everyday, Saturdays still feel like a weekend to me. So if I roll out of bed with the kids and make pancakes in my pjs, I actually like it - for that day. Hubby and I will take turns letting each other sleep in past the kids. On Sundays I like to sleep until I wake up. In a way I get to catch up a bit, but also, church isn't until 10:00 and I don't like doing much more than pray or read before church.

One More Thing

I have never claimed to be a morning person, and still don't. In fact, my husband and I don't really talk for a good hour or more besides an occasional "Good Morning" with a little smooch. I need a good chunk of time before I'm ready to be personable. I don't think this hinges on how much sleep I get. I think I simply need time to "wake up" and be ready, no matter what time I get up. Hence, the point in getting up early!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

all these things :: december 12

Just an overview of what is current in my life. A snapshot of how I'm trying to give "all these things" to Him and truly seek first His kingdom in my life. 

Oh my! I just realized that in 2 months I will be 31! Wow!

heart & soul :: I've been longing to do more with my hands (sewing, crafting) and to simply do all those pesky little things around the house, instead of using "my time" on the computer. I feel a calling to put the computer to bed after the early, non-children, morning time is over. It's a longing toward that, but when the time comes, there's still the pull to "just check the email." But it's refreshing to not want to at times. ~ Working on being a patient wife, giving my husband the opportunity to lead instead of just doing it first.

mothering :: I've done better this week, thank God. It's been pretty uneventful outside of the normal discipline measures, and I'm grateful for that.

home & kitchen :: I started sprouting!!! I started Monday, the day they came in the mail. We'll have sprouts to eat in a few more days! Now I just have to read up on sourdough. I hear it's easy, but I like to read everything (over and over and over) so I can make sure I know that I know what I'm doing. :)

rhythm :: On the 6th, we celebrated St. Nicholas Day in the home for the first time. Everyone got some candy in their shoes, we said an Akathist to St. Nicholas, sang his song throughout the day, and in the evening we made special cookies for the party at church on Saturday. When they were all done, we each had one cookie. It was a really sweet day.

learning & growing :: Yesterday, I listened to the first lecture of The Good Wife by Father Josiah Trenham, and then ordered the rest. I think I will be learning and growing a lot in this area!

looking forward to...  sharing some big news with you on Monday!!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesdays Unwrapped

I'm linking up with Emily today for "Tuesdays Unwrapped"!  What is that? Emily says to write, 

"Anything that causes you to pause and celebrate the moment. Not what will be or what is to come, but what is real and true this day: the messy, the lovely, and the unexpected. Share a photo, a story, or anything that offers a glimpse into your own journey of discovering the gifts in the midst of the ordinary."
This is kind of my Monday unwrapped, as I may not get a post written about today...

I was feeling so glorious about all the veggies I had cut up in the morning, coming together in a bowl for a yummy salad in the afternoon. I was even making it early because I willingly agreed to change evening plans and go to my brother and sister-in-law's for the afternoon and evening. Yes, I felt content. I was "with it."

The little son happily ate his leftover oatmeal while I threw things in. I turn around and ...

what a mess! And I sighed because this happens all the time. And it reminded me I need to clean my door knobs, and of the laundry...

and, and - AND!

But, I didn't get discouraged. Yes, there were messes. Yes, there were things left undone. But that didn't cross out all that was done. And there was still time.

I cleaned up that boy. I put half of the laundry away. My man came home and wiped the table. I finished the salad and we left. When we came back, I finished the laundry, and did more. Things got done. There were still oatmeal bits on the floor, but I went to bed early anyway. They'll get swept up today, just to be replaced by more... And that's just fine.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

all these things :: december 5

Just an overview of what is current in my life. A snapshot of how I'm trying to give "all these things" to Him and truly seek first His kingdom in my life. 

heart & soul :: We all go through dry spells spiritually. This is one of those times for me. This Advent has been tough so far. ~ I'm working on focusing on priorities right now. When my mind starts to plan new projects or come up with ideas, I try to bring it back to the important things at hand.

mothering :: This week has been a challenge as far as behavior (mine, that is). But, children are so loving and forgiving and each day is new. I find comfort and strength in that, and I can feel Christ helping me.

home & kitchen :: I ordered a sourdough starter and sprouting seeds earlier this week. So, so, SO excited to start these two things I've been wanting to do for a long time. ~ Got out the Christmas decorations this week. And a friend gave us a wreath, so I'm excited to decorate that and hang it up. My first wreath. :) ~ Been feeling like crumbs on the floor, laundry, and the to-do list multiply over night... does this happen in your home too?

rhythm :: We're doing the Jesse Tree this year and I've been having trouble doing it every day. It doesn't matter though. I think my daughter prefers to have 2 or 3 (or, um, 5) ornaments to look at while I read instead of just one. When I say we're going to do it, she jumps up and down and says excitedly "Jesse Tree!! Jesse Tree!! Jesse Tree!!" I love her enthusiasm. ~ For a while now, my husband has been putting both kids to bed at the same time. They pile onto Sweet Girl's bed and Papi reads a story. After the light is off he tells a story or two and sings some songs. It melts my heart to hear him. Bubby didn't even resist this transition of Mama not putting him to bed. He comes right to me and gives me a hug and kiss and then basically says "Okay, put me on the bed." and waves good-bye as I leave. I'd be sad if he wasn't so cute about it.

learning & growing :: I just started singing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" to Sweet Girl and she loves it! I was never really a big fan, but I have a paper that explains the meaning of each thing and I thought it would be a good lesson. Having her sing along makes it the most beautiful song now. ~ And Bubby is learning to walk! A little over a week ago he walked 5 steps to Papi, and then 5 steps to me. Sweet Girl was in the room too and we all were cheering so happily. I'm so glad we were all there to see it. And I'm glad he walked at 17 months because it made it all that more exciting since we've been waiting so long! Now he totters here, scoots, crawls, gets back up and totters. It's so cute. I might be rethinking that when he starts running away from me!

looking forward to...  starting a St. Nicholas Day tradition on Friday. There will be chocolate coins in the shoes and we'll sing the Akathist and make cookies. Also looking forward to the St. Nicholas and St. Lucia party at church on Saturday. We have a little Christmas store for the children to buy trinkets and things to give as Christmas presents. (Everything is a quarter or less.) A man at our church pretends to be St. Nicholas, and my sister (Lucy) pretends to be St. Lucia. We have been doing it for several years and it's very special.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

a layered life

I wrote this in my journal last week, and I decided to share it in case it would be helpful to anyone, and as a reminder to myself, since I have been struggling with this the past couple days. 

There's so much I want to write and so much I want to do and so much I want my life to be. And sometimes I look around and I see many people who have already written what I want to write, or do what I want to do, or have the life I want. I feel discouraged. I feel like I should be there already.

Yet, a life is created by building it one day at a time. It happens over time, not all at once. And it must be built by God for the glory of God. And life is not something of the future. Life is now. And how we live it is chosen today.

I must remember that there is so much to come. I am young, our family is young. These traditions and routines I desire will form over time - it's the only way. I must build our lives in layers. I can't do it all now. But I can add one thing here and another there, and eventually it will be a beautifully layered life, hopefully bringing glory to God. If I look close enough, I will see that it already is.

Monday, December 2, 2013

11 things i learned in november

November 2012

I'm linking up again with Emily at Chatting at the Sky about what I learned this month! This month I learned some some really great things, as well as a couple bad things. Such is life, right?

1) I learned that I love the show Call the Midwife, and that it makes running go so quickly!

2) I learned that anesthesia and I do not get along.

3) I also learned that someone in another state has a bank account with my SSN. Doesn't appear to be fraud because my credit record is clean, except for some overdraft fees on said account. It's under investigation by the bank. Sure hope it gets cleared up soon!

4)  I finally tried out Google calendar and I really like it!

5) All of you from Indiana, did you know that Vera Bradley started in Fort Wayne? Cool, huh?

6) I learned what "Multum non multa" means. ("Much not many" in Latin.)

7) This isn't something I learned, but my son... he's walking now! :)

8) I learned that making lip balm is a lot easier than you would think! And super fun.

9) I learned that taking a three hour road trip for a friend's birthday party is totally worth it. Even if it means you get back and to bed at 3 am. Always worth it!

10) I learned how to shop ethically with this great guide from The Art of Simple.

11) I learned that Elder Porphyrios, who wrote Wounded by Love (which I happen to be reading right now!), was canonized a saint on November 27th. Today is his feast day! You can read about his life here as well as the life of St. Meletios, another newly canonized saint, whose feast day is on my birthday! Glory to God for granting us modern saints.

In December I hope to learn how to make stockings for Christmas and sourdough bread! :)

What is something you learned or want to learn?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Plans and Thoughts

Yesterday I made pies. Today will be the sweet potato casserole (without marshmallows). On Thanksgiving we'll drive three hours to my aunt's home to gather with a few other relatives, just like we did every year while I was growing up. It's been a few years since we've done this, and I'm looking forward to it. My husband, the kids, and I will stay the night and do a few fun things the next day before we head home.

I never knew football was such a big thing on Thanksgiving until I was practically an adult. It was never on at my aunt's house, and no one missed it. After the meal, we'd all head out to the park to see the buffalo and walk off all that food. Some would stay behind and nap. We'd all come together again and have pie. Then we'd pack up the car again and munch on turkey sandwiches during the late drive home. That was Thanksgiving to me.

I feel like Thanksgiving has snuck up on me this year. I guess I've had other things going on. But this week I've been thinking about it more, and I'd like to share a few things I'm particularly thankful for this year.

  1. That my husband's job was made full-time with benefits.
  2. The progress we've made toward a traditional, real food diet (raw milk, local meat, and kombucha to name a few).
  3. The spiritual work God has done in my heart (and continues to). 
  4. The friendships that have blossomed. 
  5. The strength added to my marriage. 
It has been a very full year. A year full of personal growth. Maybe that's because I wasn't growing a baby or moving. It was a year of growing roots. I thank God for all His blessings, guidance, and patience this year. I thank Him for drawing me closer. I hope to remember these things while I pass the food and enjoy the people tomorrow. 

Tell me one thing you're thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

the living room

Here it is! Finally!

The living room has evolved SO much. It changes all the time. I just did something (albeit minor) today. I'm really happy with this "room of rooms" though. It's a big room, and each area has its own little purpose. I like it that way. Is is perfect? Or course not. But it's cozy, comfy, practical, and pretty. That's what matters to me.


My little nook - although technically hubby and I share this desk.


This is the "play area."

That desk there is my sewing area, and you can see the drying racks that get put to use most days.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

all these things :: november 21

Just an overview of what is current in my life. A snapshot of how I'm trying to give "all these things" to Him and truly seek first His kingdom in my life. 

Today is the feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God, who at age three went to live in the temple. Thinking about this since my daughter is three... and how Mary is the perfect example for us all.

Also, my newest nephew joined us in the world on November 13th! Welcome George Thomas!

heart & soul :: Not much too deep right now... Mostly thinking about the holes in my mouth and hoping they don't get infected, and trying to keep up with normal life and get back in the routine.

mothering :: I finished reading Raising Godly Tomatoes. I feel strengthened. I am working on things. The biggest thing that's a help right now is having one (sometimes both) of the children help me with the chores in the morning, while the other plays. Having them not play at the same time saves a lot of grief. I'm not going to avoid that forever, they need to learn how to play well together, but it's hard at this age.

Bubby helped me wash the dishes after "soup making day."
home & kitchen :: Soups, soups, and more soups lately. Well, it's all I've been able to eat. ~ I finished the "last" home decor project, and totally forgot to post about it last weekend. Hopefully this weekend. ~ I have two and half projects left on my list for the month... what am I going to do when I'm done?? Start on December's list of course. :)

Sweet Girl enjoyed pouring water while Bubby and I did the dishes mentioned above.
rhythm :: I'm trying to get back on track. Yesterday I ran again with no problems. Today I got up at 5 am again, and it felt great. Er, in a, "yes I'm tired but I'm so glad I got an hour and half of peace and quiet before the kids woke up" kind of way. :) The evenings have been off. I get flustered when I still have things to wrap up after the kids are in bed and I forget to do evening things. But, it's coming back together.

learning & growing :: I learned my first Latin phrase. "Multon non multa." It means "much not many." My sister-in-law Lisa sent us the link to this video. It's geared toward education, but really, it applies to every aspect of life. I really enjoyed it and felt motivated and smarter after watching it. :)

Sneak peek of the "last" decor project. 
looking forward to... a road trip with a friend tomorrow to surprise another friend. Just there and back, but it'll be fun. And then a weekend with no plans (so far!).   

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week and weekend! What's happening in your heart and home?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

oral surgery saga

So... how'd it go? Well, I lived through it! But I have to say it was worse than labor and giving birth - for me at least. Not only did I feel like I was dying for 12 hours, but I didn't even get a baby out of it. Instead, I lost part of me. I know, I know, they're teeth, but it still feels like a loss.

The first thing I remember is getting out of the dentist's chair and into the wheelchair. Apparently, though, I had been "awake" through all of the post-op instructions, nodding my head, or shaking it no, and refusing a blanket though I was shaking.

I don't remember the lobby, but seeing the car and I vaguely remember getting in. Then we spent the next hour in the parking lot while I either slept or asked questions about the instructions, again and again, and kept saying not to drive home. All of that feels like 15 minutes in my mind. Finally we headed home (a 45 minute drive).

I will not go into detail about the drive or what happened when I ate. Let's just say my body does not agree with anesthesia, nor the pain-reliever they gave me. So pretty much all of yesterday was spent in bed and not keeping the little bit of food I was eating down. 'Nough said.

But, by 9:00 pm I was finally able to get some Ensure, juice, water, and Ibuprofen down (now that works!), went to bed at 10:00, and slept well. This morning I feel tired, and a little sore, but good overall. Thank God.

And with all that behind me, I have a few positives to mention out of the whole thing:

  • We saw a bald eagle on the way to the dentist's office!
  • This was quite the opportunity to trust and rely on God. 
  • And an experience to give me more compassion for the sick and suffering. 
  • I don't have to brush my teeth for 3 days. (Okay, that's not really great, but it's one less thing I have to worry about.)
  • I have an excuse and the ability to sleep as much as I want. 
  • IT was a bonding experience for me and my husband as he took excellent care of me (while dealing with two demanding little ones). He's my hero!
And while I'm writing, I want to add a housekeeping (blog-keeping??) note. With yesterday being the first day of the Nativity fast, I've decided to take some time off from the blog. I will still be posting, but less often. Instead I hope to make more time for reading books, reflecting, and doing some pen-to-paper writing, which I hope to share with you after that time. 

Care to share an experience or your plans for Nativity?

Friday, November 15, 2013

I missed posting yesterday due to the kids getting up at 6 am and preparing for a lovely evening with friends.

And now I am minutes away from heading out to get my wisdom teeth removed. I am okay, but I am not without some apprehension.

I say all this simply to give a little update and give a reason if there is an absence. I hope to post about the living room tomorrow, but only time will tell. Mostly, I hope to lay low this next week and that may mean, not posting at all.

And so, prayers please? And thanks.

Monday, November 11, 2013

a simpler life defined

I felt the need to clarify this “theme” I've been writing about and calling “a simpler life.” There are a lot of ways to simplify a life, a lot of ways to look at it. For us, we have a pretty clear idea of what we want that to be for us.

Our goal of “a simpler life” may not appear that way. In fact, some of the goals we have actually seem to make life more complicated, but these are exactly the goals that will take us down the path we want to go.

We want to have a slower life, one more deeply rooted in God, His church, our family, friends, and the nature He created. We want to get back to the basics. For everything to feel simple. For the important things to be in their proper places. 

What may seem simple, may really not be. And what may seem complicated, may really not be. Getting to a simpler life is a process - one that may feel complicated. But the end result is one with more time, peace, and joy. That is, if all is done to the glory of God. It’s about thinking through what we are doing and why. Is it really all that important? Is it good for us, our family, the world, and the future?

We’re ready to live in a way that requires more of ourselves and depends less on society and instead, more on God. One that is more sustainable and intentional. We’re working toward a natural, rhythmic life centered in Christ.

All this is our definition of “a simpler life.” But, to avoid confusion (even for myself - so that I don’t think the way we are going is the only way to live simply - it’s not) I’m going to start referring all of this as “our journey.” After all, we’re all on a journey somewhere. And I’m sharing ours with you. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mud Room and Laundry Room

I don't think I have any before or after pictures of pictures of these two rooms, and they're not really that exciting... but here they are anyway!

The Mud Room

What you see when you walk in our back door... meeh.
The basket holds odds and ends to be taken down to the basement.
The stairs are to the left.

What you see as you exit the kitchen. (I need to take the suit to the consignment store!) 
About the two bags on the right: the left bag is our library bag, right bag stores things going to the thrift store. Top basket is for hats and gloves. Middle basket holds things to take to church or my parents or anything else that needs to go somewhere else! The tub on the bottom is for shoes. 

The "Laundry" Room
This room is off the kids' room. In the summer I had two drying racks in here and I hung our laundry up each day. The kids had some toys in there and loved coming in to play. I folded the laundry on the table. It was great! Now I have the racks in the living room and I fold on the floor. :( Before, this whole room was just storing stuff.

I store fabric odds and ends under the table.

These are dorm dressers that came with the house. They look awful in a bedroom, but work great in here!
I store seasonal things, clothes for the kids to grow into, fabric, and baby stuff in these. 
So that's that! I am very hopeful to be sharing the living room with you next week!!! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

all these things :: november 7

Just an overview of what is current in my life. A snapshot of how I'm trying to give "all these things" to Him and truly seek first His kingdom in my life. 

heart & soul :: As you probably know, I really admire Emily's words, but a couple times now I've been prompted to nurture myself with the lives of the saints and words of the fathers. As right as I knew this was, it took me a while to come around because I feel intimidated. I've read things before, it's not like I haven't. But feeling like my mind is a thin sponge, doesn't incline me to dive into deep writings. Yet, I know that it doesn't matter where I am spiritually or mentally, it's important. So adding to my Scripture reading, I will be reading a life of a saint, and I just picked up Wounded by Love - an old favorite, this morning. May God help me understand! ~ This week the theme of "expectations" has come up a couple times, and so, I'm trying to not have them (the kind that lead to disappointment).

mothering :: By the grace of God, and still from Raising Godly Tomatoes, I am getting my bearings (slowly) at dealing with crying, whining, and back talk/arguing. There's still a lot of work, so I'm trying to stay consistent. One thing I started this week is to involve my daughter in all my chores - it's actually so much fun for both of us! ~ A few magic "tricks" have appeared that have helped tremendously - like a revising a song to make it silly and make my kids laugh until they can barely breathe (this is huge for me - I'm not a funny mama!), phrases that turn an attitude around... things like that. ~ God's really been helping me see my children with grateful eyes and to cherish them even more.

home & kitchen :: I've been enjoying making some favorite soups lately. ~ I re-prioritized the things I want to get done by the end of the year. There were 19 a week ago, and I got five done since then, which feels good. Hopefully I can keep my focus and use my time wisely for these things.

rhythm :: Now that all traveling is done for a few weeks, I'm really looking forward to being home consistently. Call us crazy, but my husband and I have been getting up at 5 am this week. With the kids getting up a little earlier than before (now that the time changed), we needed more morning time. This is so fabulous for me! I get a lot of reading in, work on blog posts or journal writing, and do some blog reading or other internet things as well. In return, I try to stay off the computer in the evening, except to write a few emails, and get to bed a little earlier. It's so soothing to not be blog hopping when I should be settling down. So, I'm really liking it, and not feeling any more tired than normal during the day. Hopefully, it won't get thrown of course too much when I get my wisdom teeth out on the 15th. (I know, not looking forward to that!)

learning & growing :: It occurred to me that I should focus on one simple little goal with my daughter in the school department, instead of hoping to work on something different every day. Now I realize this is so obvious! I guess since I like variety, I thought something different each day would be fun. But I should have remembered that, at this age, they just want repetition (like the same story over and over!). So this week we've been working on number recognition with a simple wooden puzzle - and she loves it!

looking forward to... this whole day. We'll go to breakfast together at the college (their cafeteria is really good - not typical college food), then this afternoon my hubby and I have an afternoon through dinner date which includes shopping and going to a great local burger/beer place. And I'm also looking forward to Friday evening when I get to connect with my friends. :)

Want to share something going on in your heart or home? I'd love to hear!

Monday, November 4, 2013

the complicated process

When I think about simplifying my life, images of peace, organization, and a load taken off appear. Yet, in my experience, this is not the case. Eventually it is, but not during the process. Any type of organizing and simplifying, whether it be your closet or your life, involves pulling out the good with the bad and sorting through. It involves changes and messes. It’s not exactly a simple process.

But the goal is to get to something simpler. And I try to remember that when I feel like I’m in over my head and surrounded by stuff or undone tasks. I remind myself that it will get cleaned up and then I will be organized, then things will be simpler.

Yet, I also have to remember that it is never done. It’s a cycle of constant upkeep. However, once the initial overhaul is done, the maintenance is simple, as long as I keep up with it.

This year for me as been a series of (or sometimes coinciding) projects all started with the intention of making life simpler. And the hard work has paid off. Yet, there is more to do. I’m accepting that not everything will be done at once. There will always be something. And honestly, that’s how I like it.

Have you had the same experience with organizing/simplifying projects?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

October links

Here are some posts that really inspired me in October:

3 Paralyzing Statements That Keep You from Your Best Work - Written by Emily (on a different blog). She's just always inspiring... as you all already know I think so! :)


A Safe Haven - by an Orthodox mom I started following recently. As a blogger, I related very well to what she had to say.

Take Care of the Angels - stumbled upon this and it made me cry. If you have trouble with your children in church, like I do, read this. Not to say we shouldn't work to train our children to be respectful in church, but to have the right heart about it.

And a couple from my sister-in-law Lisa who just started a blog:

The Importance of Repetition and Memory or if you just have a quick minute read You Become What You Behold.