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♡