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.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Kids' bedroom

When we first moved here, this room was our bedroom. You can see a picture of it in my last room post here. Since we moved the kids in this summer, it has changed a little. We didn't have the couch in there at first, but it's been a good addition. All the decorations I made or (most of them) printed off from The Handmade Home. Didn't spend a dime! And.... I know it shows, but they're just kids. They don't care and it's good enough for me. (But, I do plan on buying some nice baskets for their clothes instead of diaper boxes, etc.) It's pretty dark in there, but I do it on purpose so they can sleep better. We're only in there for sleep and clothes changing, so it doesn't matter.