Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Good Stuff - Day Thirty

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
John Milton

Another November draws to a close and  I am once again changed for the better by my exercise in gratefulness.   As I said at the start of this month, this is not my first time doing this -- nor (God willing) will it be my last. Even though I have been through this before, each "trip" leaves me with a renewed sense of awe and thankfulness to my Heavenly Father and all the blessings -- big and small --- He gives me on a daily basis.  Milton was right. Cultivating gratitude does  "forever (change) how we experience life and the world" and for that I am eternally grateful!

Today's good stuff:
Today was just an ordinary day on the farm.  It was in the daily minutia that today's good stuff was found. My oldest biting his tongue when in the past he wouldn't have. My daughter bringing me dinner in bed because I am feeling a little under the weather and my youngest taking time out from playing to snuggle beside me. This is my life and its all good stuff♡

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day Twenty-nine

When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.
Author Unknown

Today I said goodbye to my favorite aunt.  At the funeral service several people shared memories of her.  Some were funny, especially the stories of her "frugality". One story told of the time she served beans from one can to ten people -- two beans per person -- at Thanksgiving and was proud to still have leftovers the next day --- now that's frugal!!! Most stories, however,  were about the fact that while she was not one to necessarily be in the limelight, her presence was always there in the background serving others and most of all making everyone (including me) feel loved. 
I'll miss you Auntie E and I look forward to seeing you again someday.  Say hi to my Daddy and my sister for me♡

Today's good stuff:
Seeing family I don't have the pleasure of seeing often.  Though time has changed us, the bond of love that is family remaims as strong as ever.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day Twenty-eight

Only in America do people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.

I don't  like "doing" Black Friday.  In my mind, there is no bargain worth the chaos -- not to mention getting out of a warm bed before the crack of dawn.  I don't like crowds on a good day and that goes double on a day known for its insanity.

Boy Wonder and I did venture out after supper this evening. We needed to pick up a few necessities.  The parking lot at our local shopping center was nearly empty.  We ended up doing a little shopping after all.  I don't think there were more than ten customers in the whole store.  Now that's a Black Friday shopping experience I can handle!

Today's good stuff:
Christmas lights!  I dream of one day having an over-the-top display like this♡

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day Twenty-seven

I suppose I will die never knowing what pumpkin pie tastes like when you have room for it.
Robert Brault

Bring on the stretchy pants, it's Thanksgiving.  Actually, I didn't eat too much this year.   It was all incredibly delicious,  but my appetite was off. My little guy was not feeling well AT ALL. He was up most the night sicker than anything.  I'm afraid I might be coming down with something similar. 

The littlest littles recited a few Thanksgiving poems before dinner ---they were (in Boo's words) totes adorbs!  Boo even shared a special performance but I'll mention that in a second.   Boy Wonder shared a wonderfully spoken  Thanksgiving Blessing .

Overall -- despite the upset tummies -- it was a blessed Thanksgiving day.  Thanksgiving 2014 is drawing to a close. The pies have all been sampled,  the leftovers have been put away, the dishes washed and all that's left to do is sleep.   It is well with my soul♡

Today's good stuff:
Boo has been taking voice lessons for a few months now.  As a surprise for Thanksgiving,  she has been working on a little piece to share the with us.  All of us were blown away by her beautiful voice flawlessly singing "Praise God from whom all Blessings flow" ♡

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day Twenty-five

Surprise is the greatest gift life can grant us.
Boris Pasternak

Today was an ordinary Monday filled from start to finish with the usual --- loads of laundry, homeschool lessons,  music  lessons,  a 4H meeting, etc.  The only difference was that today the Geek surprised us all with a little getaway right smack dab in the middle of the ordinary.  No doubt about it --- it was today's good stuff.

Today's good stuff:
Being "whisked away" for a few hours to a local car museum I never even knew existed.   Having the Geek plan it all as a surprise made it even sweeter.  I love that guy♡

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day Twenty-four

Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
Douglas Malloch

The wind has been howling all day around here.  I would have liked to hide out in the safety of the ol' farmhouse, but that was not what was required of me today.  Nope, I had to put on my "big girl panties" and face the wind.  And you want to know something? I made it.  I did what I had to do and I am better for it.  It's kinda mind boggling when you're living a metaphor for life:)

Today's good stuff:
Getting a chance to get away from the house all alone for a few hours.  The wind might have been blowing like crazy outside the minivan, but inside this Mama Hen was enjoying her peace and quiet

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day Twenty-three

Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water. 
Antoine Rivarol

My family got some sad news today. A dear relative has been placed in hospice.  She has been battling major health issues for several years, but her body is tired of the fight. She said she is ready to "go home" now. Although our hearts are hurting, we are finding comfort in the hope that this is not just an ending, but a new beginning for one of God's best.

Today's good stuff:
Sitting in my bedroom listening to the rain falling on the roof overhead. The soft steady rhythm soothes my heavy heart.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day Twenty-two

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.
Desmond Tutu

The Geek's family celebrated Thanksgiving a little early this year.  This was the only time when everyone could be in town so we had turkey with all the trimmings just like the rest of the nation will do on Thursday.  
It's always nice to gather together and share the stories of the past and make new memories along the way.  Going home with a full belly and feeling loved is a very nice way to end a day.

Today's good stuff:
Eating the most delicious slice of homemade carrot cake.  Sadly I couldn't weasel the recipe out of the cook, but I will keep trying

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Good Stuff - Day Twenty-one

Each day two things I am very grateful for:the blessing of a new day and a successful ending of the day.
Lailah Gifty Akita

Two words --- long day.

Today's good stuff:
The cashier at the grocery store who sensed my spirits needed lifting and greeted me with several silly puns. God has angels in the strangest places♡

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day Twenty

God doesn't bless us just to make us happy; He blesses us to make us a blessing.
Warren W. Wiersbe

I haven't been feeling well for the last few days. But feeling lousy isn't the worse part about being "out of sorts" --- what's worse is knowing how many people in this house depend on me and not being able to help them. Oh sure the Geek or the littles can handle making dinner and some cleaning -- but it's the mountains of little stuff that piles up so quickly ---like laundry, homeschool lessons, menu planning and grocery shopping. Everyone (willingly) gives me a hand with my mother's care too, but the brunt of it still falls on me. The truth is the Geek already has a full time job and the littles are still just that ... little.
There is no denying the fact that my being "out of commission" takes its toll on the order around the farmhouse pretty quickly. Even with all the helping hands, there's still so much I need to do to keep things running smoothly. Please don't get me wrong, I am not complaining.I know that being able to serve my family is a gift from God. That is why as happy as I am to be feeling more like myself today for me,  I am also grateful because now I am in much better shape to serve ( and bless) those God has put in my care.

Today's good stuff:
The Geek's pickles that he canned were finally ready to nosh on.  Mmmmm!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Good Stuff 2014: Days Twelve thru Nineteen

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
John Lennon

Ain't that the truth? 

I don't know what happened to the last eight days, except to say I have been busy living the life I have been blessed with.  It hasn't been all that pretty and it certainly hasn't been all that fun, but it's my life and I am grateful for every messy minute of it.  

This morning I wandered into my mother's room and she shared a bit of motherly wisdom. Sleep has eluded me as of late and that combined with other stresses has left me pretty run down.  Mama said that this is all a blessing because faith draws one closer to God at times like this.  She's right.  I know in my heart that if life was all sunshine and happiness it would be far too easy to "forget" about God, but it's the stormy seas that sends me clinging to my Heavenly Father.  The seas would be the same without a faith in God, but I would not.  The gift of faith gives me a comfort that only comes from above.

Today's good stuff:
The first significant snowfall of the season.  The blanket of white covers all the dirt and makes the world look fresh and bright --- a much needed reminder that God does the same for me.  I may be broken, but to God I am worth saving

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Good Stuff - Day Eleven

Look back and thank god. Look forward and trust God.
Author Unknown

Looking back on today I can't say it was a the worse I've lived theough, nor can I say it was incredibly remarkable.   It had moments of laughter and tearful times as well. It had its fair share of stress and moments of calm scattered throughout.  Today was pretty much just like most of my days of late --- facing the demands of parenthood and caring for an aging parent all alone. 
I know tomorrow holds pretty much the same agenda for me. Playing taxi driver and personal caregiver to my charges will leave me weary and exhausted at day's end just as I am now.  But am I worried? Not at all.  I am looking back and THANKING God for getting me through it all and TRUSTING that tomorrow (and the next day and the next...) He will continue to do the same. 

Today's good stuff:
Seeing the most beautiful buck cross the road in front of my car and gracefully jump over a fence.  It was the largest one I have ever seen and the sight of it gave me goose bumps. Sadly no photo, but trust me ... it was awesome!

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Good Stuff - Day Ten

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
Rabindranath Tagore

I like that quote. I'm not there yet personally, but I am working on it.  To see my troubles as adding color to my life rather than dark storm clouds is a paradigm shift I can buy into!

Today's good stuff:
A rose colored sky and a beutiful sunset to close out a demanding day♡

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Good Stuff - Day Nine

Find the good and praise it.
Alex Haley

Boo and I attended a fundraiser for a local charity that strives to bolster confidence and self esteem in women and girls of all ages.  It was so nice to be able to sit back and enjoy a few free hours away from all the responsibilities at home.  The icing on the cake was ---

Today's good stuff:
Boo was asked to speak in front of the crowd of nearly 400 about the impact the organization had on her.  Long story short --- she nailed it! My baby girl blew me (and the entire audience ) away with her testimony. Her poise and self confidence were well beyond her years and garnered her a standing ovation from all. This memory is etched in my heart forever♡

The Good Stuff - Day Eight

Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

It would be easy to focus on all the crud that is going on in my liitle world lately.  The bad stuff far outweighs the good most days, but I refuse to give up hope.  I will keep my chin up and look for the good stuff --- it is my lifeline in the sea of craziness around here.

Today's good stuff:
Seeing my friend's awesome performance in a local production of one of my favorite musicals --- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Good Stuff - Day Seven

"In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day--or to celebrate each special day." Rasheed Ogunlaru

The Geek was gone all week again travelling for business.  I don't like it one bit. Okay having the world's most comfortable bed all to myself I like, but the rest of the whole "solo parenting" gig really stinks! 
My mom experienced a "health crisis" this week which necessitated several trips to the doctor and pharmacy, as well as near constant supervision while at home.  This would have been pretty tough with the Geek here to lend a hand, but it was mind boggling without backup. Fortunately the littles had only a few extra-curricular activities this week and sibling rivalry was not as bad as it can be. I have seen evidence in the past of the old saying, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one else happy, " so I did my best to keep a positive attitude about things and a smile on my face.
I thought I had done a pretty good job until the Geek walked in the back door and I rushed to hug him.  As he wrapped his arms around me the stress of the week melted away in the warmth of his embrace.  It was then I heard Boo say, "Look --- Mama has her smile back!"

Todays Good Stuff:
Getting the chance to break away for a few minutes to get the family truckster washed.  There's something about washing all the dirt and crud off my car and "starting fresh" that lifts my spirits every time♡

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Good Stuff - Day Six

Be thankful for your allotment in an imperfect world.  Though better circumstances can be imagined, far worse are nearer misses than you probably care to realize.
Richelle E. Goodrich

Another crazy busy day.  It's been a long and trying one --- full of twists and turns I wouldn't have minded not experiencing.  All day long everybody needed me.  Their needs were real and I tried to keep remembering that I was blessed to be able to serve them.  I managed to keep smiling for the most part, but now that the day is done I am am so very tired and thankful for ...

today's good thing:
going to sleep the world's most comfortable bed

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day Five

A daughter is one of the most beautiful gifts this world has to give.
Attributed to Laurel Atherto

today's good stuff:
Catching a glimpse of the beautiful young woman my baby girl is becoming.

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day Four

Gratitude... can turn a meal into a feast.
Melody Beattie

Recently I decided to let each one of my littles be responsible for making dinner one night per week.  They come up with the menu and make sure everything they need is on hand.  Boy Wonder can pretty much do everything himself, but the other two still need a fair amount of guidance --- especially the littlest little.  My hope is not only to lighten my load, but to give them skills they can use for a lifetime.
So far their contributions have ranged from a simple hot dogs and boxed mac & cheese to a belly filling stuffed cabbage.  I love how how all three of them have welcomed the idea and seem to want to challenge themselves and stetch to create more complex meals each week.
I started this idea on a whim as another in a long line of teachable moments here on the farm.  I  thought it would just be my chicklets that would be learning, but I have too.  I have learned that while it might be easier (and neater) to just do things myself, watching my children grow and gain confidence is worth the mess.

today's good stuff:
the little details --- like personalized placecards showing what each family member loved -- that the munchkin took the time to put into her meal presentation

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day Three

Every night I thank God for you.
author unknown

Life is always crazy here on the farm. Taking care of my mom and homeschooling three littles is hard enough when the Geek is home, but lately he has had to travel often for work and I have had to do it without back-up.
When he is in town, we have to squeeze in so much (house and yard work, time with the kids, etc.) before he hits the road again. It would be easy to put ourselves as a couple on the back burner, but we know its something we need to make a priority.  We try to make it a point to steal away alone --- even if its only for an hour. It's doesn't make the craziness disappear,  but it does make it easier to handle.

today's good stuff:
breaking away from life for a bit and going on a lunch date with the one who has rocked my world for the past 25+ years. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day Two

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.
Henry Ward Beecher

Several years ago I challenged myself to try and find three examples of God's beauty in each day.  From gorgeous sunsets to the bright red tomato in my salad --- I try to keep my eyes open for God's handiwork in the obvious (and sometimes not so obvious) places.  Today's "good stuff" is another one of those unexpected brushstrokes by the Master Painter.

today's good stuff:
this flower was in the middle of an asphalt jungle on a cold fall day.  by all accounts it should be shriveled up and gone by now, but it wasn't and i am blessed because of it

The Good Stuff 2014 - Day One

When you express thankfulness, even the almost empty tank of petrol will go the extra mile; it changes challenges into opportunities, mistakes into experiences, disappointments into celebrations, doubt into faith.
Malti Bhojwani

It's November already ---when did that happen? Guess it's time to clear away the cobwebs from this little blog and get back to writing again. Boy, have I have missed it! 

To keep with my tradition that I have been doing for a few years now --- each day during November I will be posting about something I am grateful for.  This practice has really helped me to have an "attitude of gratitude"  not just in November, but all year long.  Okay, so there are some days I have a hard time spotting the "good stuff" --- those bright spots that exist in each and every day if I just take time to look for them --- but overall this practice has become a part of my life and that is definitely "good stuff"!

today's good stuff:
red licorice from my little one's' trick or treat stash picked out just for me --- i love it anyway but when it is a gift from the heart it is even sweeter♡

Thursday, September 25, 2014


It's hard to believe my daddy has been gone two years. It seems like yesterday some days and like eons ago on others.
When he first passed, I remember how bad it hurt --- not just emotionally but physically as well --- like a sucker punch to the gut. The pain is softer now two years out and remembering doesn't hurt like it did at first. Yes, the tears still fall (sometimes when I least expect it), but the smiles come more often as I remember what life was like being Daddy's little girl.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lesson Learned

The bend it the road turned out to be just that and not at all something to fear. Even though I'm all in one piece, I feel I am forever changed because of it.  I now know the power of prayer unlike I have ever experienced before in my life.

I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I am helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time -- waking and sleeping. It does not change God -- it changes me.
C.S. Lewis

I don't know if praying made God make my problem go away or if it was never really there in the first place  --- only God knows that for sure --- but I do know I was changed because of praying.  Praying gave me perspective. It helped me redirect my thoughts from the fear of the unknown. Praying gave me peace.

Prayer has always been a part of my life, but I have never experienced it's greatest gift until now.  I saw a quote last week that really hit home.  I wish I could find it again and give credit where credit is due but it went something like this---

It's only when we face a trial empty-handed and make it through,  that we realize it was all God's doing.

I now know the truth of those words.  I had nothing but God took care of everything and I pray I never forget that lesson.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Curve Ahead

I like to think that I am a pretty easy going person. I don't get upset when plans change. I try to just go with the flow. When I am faced with something I have never experienced before I try not to let worry get the best of me.  I trust that the bends in the road are just opportunities for new adventure.

Most of the time I am that person, but today is not one of those days.

I am facing a great big "curve ahead" sign and I would be lying if I didn't say it's got me nervous.  Without going into detail, I'll just say it is requiring a huge amount of trust in God.  I know that no matter what lies ahead, God is already there.  I know all that, but sometimes I still forget.  Sometimes I still give into to the what-ifs.  Sometimes I still worry and that's where I am today. Just being honest here:)

I am not without hope, however. I know that even if things don't go according to plan (my plan anyway), it will be alright. I know that He will walk beside me just as He always has, giving me the strength to get through this crazy ride that is my life. Even though my spirit is uneasy today, I know in my heart that no matter what happens --- I will be OK. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

My Favorite Day

“What day is it?"
"It's today," squeaked Piglet
"My favorite day," said Pooh
A.A. Milne

Do you have a favorite day of the week? Many moons ago when I worked outside the home, I loved Fridays. When the clocked struck five, I was free until Monday. Free to have fun. Free to satisfy a bit of the wanderlust in my soul. Free to stay up late or sleep in. Free to be me.

Now that I am home full-time, I don't get that sense of freedom in quite the same way anymore. I am on the clock 24/7 around here :)  I'll admit there are days where I long for that Friday Feeling once more. It's then that I remind myself what I have now is even better. Staying at home and homeschooling my littles gives me the freedom to make any day a "Friday" if I want to.  

Being a stay at home Mama Hen also gives me the perfect excuse to have fun. My chicks are always game for a bit of silliness and game-playing. This is actually one thing I would like to do a little more often than I do. I have been letting all the seriousness of being a grown up get in the way lately.  Note to self:  Loosen up already and act childish once in a while --- your heart will love you for it and so will your kids!

Now that I am no longer tied to a desk during the week, road trips aren't just for weekends anymore. Sunny day? How about a field trip, Chicklets? And who says meals have to be eaten at the kitchen table? My crew knows every park and roadside picnic table within a 50 mile radius --- maybe even 100 miles. I love that because he works from home,  most days I can count on The Geek to join me on my mid-day quest to just go somewhere ... anywhere. We leave our cares behind for a few stolen moments and run an errand or two --- some real, some imaginary, but all necessary for my sanity nonetheless.

I have never been a morning person. I like to stay up late and lose myself in a good book or movie on TV until the wee hours. While I was doing the 9 to 5 gig, I had to save that for Friday and Saturday nights only or I'd pay dearly when the alarm clock went off. Now I can stay up late almost any time I want. No more 5 a.m. wake up calls for me --- especially with littles that are long past needing early morning feedings or diaper changes. And if I'm a little tired from staying up past my bedtime? I can squeeze in an afternoon cat nap without worrying about the boss finding me asleep at my desk.

I think what I like best about my days now are that they are mostly mine to choose what I want to do with. Granted there are many things I have no control over. Taking care of things around the house, the kiddos and my mama takes up a lot of my waking hours, but I still get to choose (for the most part) when and how I spend my time and that makes just about every day my favorite day of the week.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Counting My Blessings

AWESOME things come to those who focus on the positive, recognize the blessings, find the humor and never give up! 
Comic Strip Mama

Recently a friend challenged me to find at least three things to be thankful for over the course of five days (Thank you, Kitty!).  I am on Day Three and truthfully it has been a piece of cake so far.  From blue skies to fresh corn on the cob, I haven't had trouble finding something deserving of gratitude and today was no exception. 

Earlier this year I enrolled Boo (aka The Munchkin) in a self esteem building workshop series put on by and organization called A Beautiful Me.  It was here that I met A Beautiful Me's founder, Karen Palka (please check out her wonderful organization here.)  She is a true Godsend to my life and it was through her that I was blessed with the opportunity to write a guest blog post for a feature called "52 Real Women" on the Entirely Women page at  My article was posted without fanfare yesterday, but today it "hit" Facebook and I have received many encouraging comments.  I wrote from the heart about something I felt would resonate with women and I think I was right.

As I have said in the past, I have never been one who enjoys drawing attention to myself.  Sitting on the sidelines, quietly observing the world around me has always been more my style.  I also have worked hard to not rely on others to make me feel worthwhile.  As a child of God, I try to always remember where my true worth lies.  That said, sharing my work with others and having them praise it has been a thrill and definitely one of the blessings in my life today.  

Thank you to those who took the time to read my story and thank you to those who stopped by my little home on the web.  I am thankful for each and everyone of you.  Whether our paths cross often or if this is a one time shot, I pray that you too will "focus on the positive, recognize the blessings, find the humor and never give up!” 

This is it folks.  This is your "real" life --- there are no do-overs:)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Wake Up!

I took a bit of a blog break.  Not sure if anyone out there noticed. It wasn't intentional, but I think it was needed.  My creative well had grown a bit dry and writing was losing its oomph. Nothing like a little living to get the creative juices flowing again.  

I won't make any promises about the frequency of my posts, lest I disappoint my many fans --- all two of you:)  --- but I will say I will try to post at least once a week.  I'm sure some weeks I'll be more prolific and others I might be lucky to get one post up --- hey, I'm only human:)

One thing I gained from my time away from the keyboard (not sure how it ended up being close to six months!) is a better understanding of my priorities.  Taking time to identify the things that matter most to me has helped me to focus more on the things that energize rather than drain me.  

“What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were so strung out on perfectionism and people pleasing that you forgot to have a big, juicy creative life…of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid?  It’s going to break your heart.  Don’t let this happen.”
Anne Lamott 

I am fast approaching a "big" birthday next year and it's been sort of a wakeup call for me. My littles are growing up faster than ever and soon the first one will be leaving the nest.  Being intentional about the time I spend with them has become a top priority.  I have wasted a lot of days and hours I can't get back on the stuff that doesn't matter. Learning to say "no" to things is hard for a people pleaser like me, but there is no other option.

Up until recently, I tended to live life quietly on the sidelines --- bogged down with worry and what ifs --- but no more.  Slowly I have begun making an effort to put myself "out there" a bit more. I have been making friends and trying things I might have avoided in the past.  It's been scary and way out of my comfort zone, but there is no denying the payoff has been worth it.

The bottom line is I am still a work in progress and I will be until I leave this crazy world.  My prayer is that the best is yet to come and living life "out loud" doing those things that bring me and my family joy will make my next fifty years the icing on the cake.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Music Speaks Louder than Words

I love words.  The number of quotes I have "collected" over the years is immense. Journals, notebooks and my computer are full of inspiring messages I have found meaningful along the way. Many times I have come across a quote that says exactly what I need to hear just when I need to hear it.

The same holds true for songs, possibly even more so. It's uncanny how often a song will come on the radio and share a message that I need to hear right at that very moment. My playlist is full of songs that hold special meaning to me. Some remind me of where I've been, some relate to where I am at the moment and some point to where I need to go. 

I might be able to live without a lot of things, but music isn't one of them.  

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?


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