Saturday, February 1, 2014

Where I Should Be

The utmost we can hope for in this world is contentment;  if we aim at anything higher, we shall meet with nothing but grief and disappointment.
Wellen Calcott

am not by nature a person who is envious of the lives of others.  I would like to say I am above it, but that would be a stretch.  I think a lot of my lack of envy as of late is because I am so caught up in the crazy spinning wheel that is my life.  I have little time to do more than hang on for dear life and hope I make it through the day without dropping too many spinning plates. 

Contentment is accepting what God has given us, and, by his strength, making the most of it.
C.J. Jackson

In calmer times I must admit I have felt my share of discontentment.  I have bookmarks in my Bible marking well worn pages with highlighted verses directing me to be content with what I have.  I have scores of quotes that speak to me about gratefulness.  I even "force" myself to blog each November in order to reinforce an attitude of gratitude lest I let discontent take up residence in my heart.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home a stranger into a friend.
Melody Beattie

So whether its because I am too busy to care or because I make a conscious effort to live a life of contentment, I  blessedly rarely have to experience pangs of jealousy.  That is why a recent bout with the green eyed monster left me floundering a bit.

Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy.
Never underestimate that.
Oliver Stone

I have been plugging away on this little blog for a while now --- hard to believe it has been three plus years. I have done very little to increase readership of my musings.  That is by choice at this point in time.  My real life leaves little time for self promotion.  I have been so bogged down with the minutia of daily living that I haven't even taken the time to share much about the fact that two of my stories have been published. (Can I get a woo hoo?) Only a few people know I have penned and illustrated a children's book, won awards for poetry and short stories and have begun to write a novel.  I have kept my accomplishments pretty much under the rug  --- as a result of circumstance and choice.

I don't live in a vacuum.  I read lots of mommy blogs and see their readerships soaring ever higher.  I see them get book contracts and endorsements. I am happy for them and their deserved success.  I have told myself it's all good.  I say I don't have that because of choices I am making and I comfortable with it.  And I was until ...

Until someone I know personally began to experience writing success.  Her first blog post received 149 likes on Facebook and garnered tons of complimentary comments.  I wish I could say my first thought was "Good  for her!" but it wasn't.  Then I heard she had written a children's book that is set to be published soon.  Did I say a prayer for her success? Not even close.  I ignored the fact that she had put the time in to promote her blog.  I ignored the fact that her Facebook friends outnumber mine by the hundreds and that she puts in a lot of time and effort reading and commenting on others postings.  I ignored the fact that she had secured a professional illustrator for her manuscript and had done the "legwork" necessary to get her book in the hands of a publisher.  I ignored all of her sweat equity she had put into her success and instead threw a pity party for one.  I let envy into my heart and began to feel the stirrings of discontent.  I was jealous and it wasn't pretty.

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own.
Harold Coffin

Thankfully I have a Heavenly Father that met me in that dark ugly place and brought me back into the light through the words of my beloved.  My sweet man steered me quickly off that path of self-pity and said a prayer over me asking God to fill my heart with humility and contentment.  He reminded me of all that I have to be grateful for and pointed out all the successes I have had as a writer.  He told me that I am exactly where God wants me right now doing exactly what only I can do --- being the best wife, mother, daughter and friend for those God has placed in my life.   With my love's love, support and prayers I was able to throw off the shackles of jealousy.
  
Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self worth.  Each of us has something to give that no one else has.
Elizabeth O'Connor

Someday I may enjoy the fruits of a successful writing career.  I may see my work on bookshelves in bookstores and listed on best seller lists.  Or maybe I won't.  But published and acclaimed or not I am a where I need to be as long as my heart is in the right place ...  a place of contentment.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside!

 So when you're cold

From the inside out
And don't know what to do,
Remember love and friendship, 
And warmth will come to you.
Stephen Cosgrove, Gnome from Nome

Like most of the nation, the ol' farmstead is experiencing a deep freeze.

Exhibit A
It is just too cold to do much else besides cozy up next to a warm fire.

Exhibit B
Or much to my chicklets' (and the Geek's) delight --- start actually making one of the 734 desserts I have pinned on Pinterest.

Exhibit C
This delectable treat earned me a whole lotta "Mama Hen of the Year" points and are definitely on my list of go to comfort foods from here on out.

Stay warm people!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Word of the Year 2014


It is truly said. It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires great strength to decide what to do.
Chow Ching

 I don't make New Year's resolutions.  They just don't work for me.  I much prefer the idea of choosing a word to signify your goals and directions for the new year.  My word for 2014?

Strengthen

I am (ahem) a bit out of shape --- and I don't just mean physically.   I have a gym membership and a list of excuses why I didn't get there as often as I should have in 2013.  My brain may or may not be a bit muddled and could use a little stretching too.  Sadly it's  been a while since I gave my Bible a workout and my relationships could always benefit from a little strengthening.  Well, I have decided there is no time like the present to shape things up.  2014 is the year I embrace the word strengthen and how it applies to my body, my mind, my spirit and my relationships.

My body.
I plan to strengthen my body  through exercise and better nutrition.  Maybe I'll even kick my soda habit once and for all --- maybe.

My mind.
plan to strengthen my mind through continuing to stretch and learn new things.  The chicklets need to learn a foreign language (or two) --- that means I will to.  It's not much, but its something --- I have always wanted to learn to bake bread and make my own pie crust. This is the year I challenge myself to do it.

My spirit.
My faith could use a tune up.  I have "the big stuff" pretty well down pat --- but my walk could be so much easier if I just spent more time in prayer and devotion.

My relationships.
The Geek and I are pretty close, but we still let life steal our time together away.  We went on some dates this year for pretty much the first time since we became parents.  We had so much fun and it made me realize how much strength I get from spending time "alone together".

As a homeschooling family, my chicklets collectively get to see me everyday, but rarely do I spend time purposely alone with each of them.  I would like to change that in 2014 and try to make more time for one on one time with my kiddos.  Boy Wonder will be flying the coop in a few short years and I don't want any regrets of time lost.

Friendships are easy to take for granted.  I want to work to make that not happen with those special people God has blessed me with during this season of my life.  

We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. Carlos Castaneda


Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 30

To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.
Barbara Bush

It is hard to believe November has drawn to an end already.  Thirty days have come and gone since I started this year's look at all the blessings in my life.  There have been good days and bad days along the way, but through it all i sought to see the gifts I have been given.  

Today was a day of highs and lows.  The Geek treated me to an early Christmas present --- a new phone.  I spent much of the day trying to figure out my new "toy" --- not too sure you can teach an old hen new tricks!  Thank goodness for Boy Wonder or I would never have made the progress I did.

The day ended on a sad note when we discovered the Munchkin's pet rabbit had died.  She was heartbroken --- especially since earlier this week a favorite pet chicken died.  Losing two pets in one week has cast a bit of a shadow of sadness on the farm.  I am so grateful the thrill of the holiday season may work its magic and lighten my chicklets' mood in the days to come.


the good stuff --- having a family to hold close in the good times and the bad

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 29

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.
Jane Austen

Today when so much of America was out braving the crowds trying to get the best deals and a good start on their Christmas shopping, I decided to just chill-lax at home with my peeps.

Best.decision.ever.

the good stuff --- the little prince's very first drawing of me

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 28


Thanksgiving, man.  Not a good day to be my pants.
Kevin James

Today is the the first time the Geek and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner in 20 years.  It was a small crowd --- just the six residents of the ol' farmhouse plus the Geek's mom and stepfather.  The guest list may have been short, but there was no shortage of food, laughter or memories made.  

My favorite part?  It would have to be an idea I borrowed from somewhere online (sorry I can't remember where exactly.)  The chicklets decorated a paper bag with a hand drawn turkey.  We then wrote down things we were thankful for on slips of paper and "stuffed the turkey."  I challenged the family to come up with at least fifty things --- we surpassed that goal and found well over 100!  The chicklets loved doing so much, they asked if we could do it again sometime.

Hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving --- I know I did!

the good stuff --- so much to be thankful for

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 27

Cinderella is living proof that a pair of shoes can change your life.
author unknown

The Munchkin and I got to go on a little shopping date today.  Mama Hen needed a new pair of jeans.  I despise clothes shopping,  but my darling chicklet adores it so I brought her along to lighten the mood. 

According to my little fashionista, Mama also needed a new pair of shoes ... well boots, actually.  I'm still not sure how I let her talk me into them, but she assured me the totally suit my style and are the latest thing.  (She should know --- she is 8 years old after all!)  


the good stuff --- loving my chicklets fashion sense 
and rocking my new boots