Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm ready.

It's New Year's Eve. The end of 2009...hours away from 2010.
And I am ready.
I have never really been one to make resolutions. And I'm still not. But I do want to set some goals for myself. Some small. Some big. Some that will be hard. And some that will be....harder. But I'm ready.
I am more excited for this New Year to come than I have ever been about a new year...ever. Partly, yes, because last year sucked! But also because I just have this excitement. This expectancy. This knowing that the coming year is going to good. I believe that God is going to do amazing things in 2010. Not that He doesn't always do amazing things. But I just really believe that 2010 is going to be mind-blowing. And I cannot WAIT to see what's in store! And I am SO ready.
"I'm ready". This is something I've been hearing in my heart during my quiet time...or sometimes during worship at church. I hear it deep inside my heart..."I'm ready". It's a quiet whisper from my heart to God's...letting Him know that "I'm ready". I whisper it before I even really know what I'm whispering. Ready for what? I have no idea. Or maybe I do have a little idea but no idea how to put it into words yet. It's all still little thoughts and snippets and flashes in my mind. He'll iron it out for His time. And...I'm ready when He is.
Ultimately, my bottom line is, "Your will be done." I want to do what God wants me to do. I want to be in His will. So I pray that my goals are His goals. I pray that as I type them out, they are what He has prompted me to do. I pray that He has given me the desires of my heart and that I have heard Him clearly during quiet time and prayer time...and that I am on the same page as He is.
I pray that as I go through this next year...carefully taking the steps He places before me...that I am in His will and living out His plan for me. He had a plan for me even before I was placed on this earth. And I want all He has for me. And I want it to start in 2010. Because...I'm ready.
So...the goals. Right.
  • Return to school and complete my bachelor's degree. This will take longer than a year. But that's OK. This one is long-term. And guess what? I'm ready.
  • Get organized. There are aspects of my life that are very organized. Like my kitchen. I know where everything is. But I need help in the organizing of my life category. So I bought a day planner...that I will actually keep appointments and classes and such. But also to write down things like "mop floors", "pay PG&E", "cable due", "change oil"...that kind of stuff that I let slip. No more.
  • Stop piling. I pile, pile, pile. Paper piles. Book piles. Magazine piles. Piles here at the house. Piles at the office. Piles, everywhere! This goal goes along with getting organized. I need to organize my mail process...which includes a "bill paying center". I am better at tossing junk mail immediately. But I still have those little piles that I keep to "look at later". Then next thing I know, it's a pile! And I haven't looked at a single one! How long do I need to hang on to expired coupons, I ask you? The piles of books might be a bit more of a challenge because I am really taking advantage of my public library. But maybe I can find a basket or something to keep them contained at least!
  • Create a budget. Whew. That was a hard one to type! Do you know that I have never had a budget? Ever? I'm 42. I think it's time. This new day planner I purchased has a page at the beginning of each month that is the "budget page". I took it as a sign. Even though I wanted the day planner with the pockets on the inside of the covers...I opted for the planner with the budget page. I'm thinkin' that was a God thing! Because I really wanted those dang pockets! (Maybe I'll make some out of cute stock weight scrapbook papers...)
  • Focus on what I CAN do and learn to do it WELL. I need to do what I can and stop wishing I could do something else. Because when I do this, NONE of it gets done. This is a new revelation. An example would be me, browsing Etsy, admiring all of the beautiful knit items and wishing that I could knit. Well, you know what? I can't. But I CAN crochet. So why not work at getting really good at crochet rather than coveting the skills to knit? You know? Rather than wishing I could draw and trying really hard to do it and frustrating myself to the hilt because what I see in my mind and what I see on the page are NOT THE about focusing on something I CAN do, like photography. Why not really hone my skills with my camera? Why not really learn about my camera and what it can do? Focus on what I CAN do. Stop wishing I could do something else. Stop starting new hobbies and doing them halfway. I have this problem of wanting to do it all. And really thinking that I CAN do it all! And I CAN do a lot of things. But can I do them really well? No. So why be a jack-of-all-trades and spend time wishing life away? Instead, I want to focus on things I CAN do and get better at them. Those things? Photography, writing, crochet, gardening and preserving.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So there they are. The goals. The things I want to do. The things I believe God has placed inside of me to accomplish and/or start in the coming year. There are other things that I would like to do. But I don't know that it's what God would have me do. So I will start with what I believe He spoke to me...and if any of the other little things happen as a by-product then I'll just be grateful for the perks. I've learned that it's a lot easier to walk in the will of God than to walk in my own will. His blessing makes all the difference.

So, Lord...thank you for 2009. And bring on 2010. I'm ready when You are.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday in the Word: Ecclesiastes 3:10-12

Ecclesiastes 3:10-12
10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.
A new year is coming. 2010 is mere days away. And I have to say, I am so ready for a new beginning. SO ready.
2009 was tough. The toughest yet. And I'm ready for it to be over. But I am not leaving it behind completely. There is so much of it that I am taking into the New Year with me.
During this past year...and much of 2008, as well...I have learned so much. I didn't know it when I was in it, but God was using our situation, the many trials, to teach me so many lessons I don't know if I can list them all.
God used the trials to strengthen me. To strengthen our marriage. To strengthen my faith. And my husband's faith.
God used our situation to teach us about good stewardship. And tithing.
God allowed us to go through the fires and the rushing rivers to teach us how to persevere. How to fight the good fight. How to believe His Word when it made no sense.
God used this trying time to show us that He loves us...and provides for us...and cares for us...and wants more for us.
God used this last year...the many teach me to stand firm. He taught me to not let my circumstances define who I am...or how I think. He taught me to stay focused on Him...and that when I do, He is all that matters. And He is always there. And that when I focus on Him, the trials are behind me. And HE is the one who is fighting them. For me...on my behalf. "Cast your cares" He that's what I tried to do.
I didn't always succeed. I had bad days. Really bad days. There were tears. And fear. And desperation. There were arguments. And hopelessness. And downright anger and frustration. There were days when I didn't want to leave the house. And some when I just didn't. I couldn't deal. And all the while, God was there. Right there. Whispering sweet nothings to me. Calming me. Reminding me of His promises. Providing for our needs. And even some of our wants.
God showed me that He had us in the palm of His hand the whole time. In the tough times...and in the good. He always has a hold of me...of us...of you. He never lets go. Even when sometimes we wish He just would. But He won't. Ever. And no matter how deep we may fall into that pit of hopelessness...of desperation...of darkness...He will always come in after us. And lift us out into the Light.
Yes, 2009 was tough. And I will admit, I don't want to repeat it! But I will always be thankful for it. And thankful that God loved me enough to walk me through it.
Thank you, God, for this amazing past year. Thank you for showing me Your glory. And Your provision. And Your love. You are so good.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas from Albuquerque.

My mother in law, Emily, lives in ABQ. Just before Christmas we received a big box full of packages...and my packages just happened to be on top and see-through so I couldn't help
What? It wasn't my fault. soon as I opened this big box the first thing I saw was this...and I gasped. I knew what they were...and I knew she made them...and I knew they were for me. And I was thrilled.
I thought to myself, "Now how did she know I've been wanting crocheted dishcloths?! How did she KNOW?!"

Look at the sweet color combinations. Aren't they adorable? I love them. Seriously. To the point of tucking them in my hutch to just look at for a while. I don't want to use them quite yet...I don't want to get them dirty. I know, I's what they're for. But they're too adorable! I'll use them. I will. I just want to look at them for a while longer...that's all.
These were in the same package...
...gorgeous, thick, heavy and beautiful hot pads. Hand-crocheted. In various sizes thankyouverymuch. Love them! And I love the colors...again. Gorgeous. And perfect for my neutral sensibilities. I continue pulling packages out of the box, I come across these little beauties.
A collection of vintage tin cups. Oh my goodness. Can you believe how adorable these are?

Years ago we went to visit Emily. And one day she and I went by a yard sale. (Something we both enjoy.) I found a little tin pitcher and picked it up for a dollar or something. So years later she remembered that I had an eye for that type of thing...and so she knew that these little cups would be a perfect gift for me. And she was right...

I don't even know what to say about these two little cups.

How do you put words to the cuteness of these?! Seriously! Look at that little flower motif. Look at it! Is it not one of the cutest things you've ever seen? They, too, are in the hutch. Looking cute as ever. Every time I look at them I smile. They have that effect on me. And you too, I bet, if you were here.
Now this next one made me do a double-take. Is it? What? Could it be?
It sure is. I'll be darned if it isn't Holly Hobbie. Remember her? I do. I had a Holly Hobbie lunch box in the 3rd grade. Holly Hobbie was it when I was little. That and Betsy Clark. Who remembers Betsy Clark? Loved her stuff, too. Baby Anne...I miss you, wherever you are.
But then I grew older...and Hello Kitty came along. Her and Bonne Bell lip smackers. Remember the gigantic tubes of it? Mmmm...strawberry was the best. And Bubble Gum. Oh! And how about Love's Baby Soft? I wore it. And felt mature. And then when they came out with lemon scent...are you kidding me? I was really mature then.
I wonder whatever happened to my lunchbox. Maybe it got sold at a yard sale. Or probably just thrown away. Reusing and recycling wasn't big in the 70's.
Ahem...where was I? Oh...Christmas gifts. Handmade. Crochet. That's right. Sorry...I had a little blast from the past. I love it when items do that to me. It's fun. And reminds me of the good ol' days. And the bookmobile. And riding my bike pretending that I was Dale, our bus driver. Dale was a man. But that's OK. He was really, really nice. And I was only 7 or 8. What did I know?
Speaking of pretending my bike was something other than a bike. How about when my friend Deanna and I played Charlie's Angels and I was Farrah Fawcett and my bike was her blue Cobra? Hmmm.... how about that? True confessions! Hey. I was 8 or 9. What can I say?
Anyway...Christmas was good. And I love all of the gifts Emily sent me. We don't see each other very often for various reasons...or talk often enough....but when we do, it's like no time has passed. And she reads my helps her stay caught up on all our crazy chicken keeping!
Hi Emily! Thank you! I love it all...and I love you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Meyer Lemon Marmalade...finally!

Something needed to happen with these beautiful Meyer lemons my Aunt Lisa gave me. And it needed to happen...uh...yesterday!
I'd had them for a while...just waiting for me to MAKE something out of them.
One day I was visiting Thomas' blog, A Growing Tradition...and there it was! A recipe for Meyer Lemon Marmalade! Perfect! Instant inspiration!
Well, as time would have it, I was running OUT of it. Time, that is. So I needed a quicker recipe for marmalade. After an internet search, I found one .
And...after much procrastination...I finally got ready. Canning pot. Check. Scrubbed lemons. Check. Clean jars. Check. Lots of sugar. Check.

I chopped the lemons...reserved the pith, the membrane and the seeds...and tossed it all in a big pot and set it to boiling.

Then I added sugar and boiled some more. In the meantime, the jars were placed in the oven set at 200' to get good and hot. Once the boiling lemon mixture was ready...about 25 minutes or so...I ladled it into the little jars, covered them with clean lids and processed them for about 10 minutes. Honestly, I don't know that the processing was necessary. Some say to just cover the jars and let the heat seal the lids. But...I processed them. And they don't seem any worse for it. If anything it may have cooked the lemons just that much more...ensuring that they were nice and soft.

Making marmalade was a bit of a process...more steps than, say, strawberry jam. Jam is pretty straight forward. Marmalade requires a few more steps. But I have to say...those steps are worth it. Because it turned out quite tasty!

Not to mention, quite pretty!
This was my first time making marmalade. And my first time using the seeds and membranes wrapped in cheesecloth as pectin. (Which I LOVE, by the way. How cool is it that pectin can be made naturally? God's creation never ceases to amaze me.) So each jar has at least one little seed in it. Oops! I'll chalk it up as a learning time, be more careful about the seeds and use a bit more cheesecloth. No problem!
Hmmmm...all this talk about marmalade has made me hungry...I think I'll go make some sourdough toast with butter and...yep...Meyer lemon marmalade!!
*If you want to make some marmalade of your own, you can follow the links to more detailed recipes. Give it a try!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

we made it...

Whew...what a whirlwind!

Thursday night to my mom's.

Friday afternoon to my aunt's.

Today to my father in law's.

And now? Home.

Christmas was very nice. I got a few surprises! The boys were thrilled. Family was fun. Food, as always, was delicious.

And now tired.

Until tomorrow....

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas...

Merry Christmas...xoxoxo

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday in the Word: 1 Corinthians 13:3

1 Corinthians 13:3

3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

I met a young man last week at the grocery store. He was standing out front, leaning against the wall. His name is Tim. He's 21. And he's homeless.
Tim talked with me for a few minutes. I asked if I could give him a package of things and he said, "No. I don't like carrying stuff." I asked him questions, and he answered. He lives under the bridge along with many other homeless people in my city. He wouldn't take the bag of items I wanted to give him (more about the bags of stuff later...) so I asked him if I could pray with him. He wasn't real thrilled with the idea...but I told him I'd keep it real he agreed.
So we held hands and we prayed. And then I left.
As I was walking out to my car I heard that still, small voice..."buy him some dinner". So I loaded my groceries into my car and turned right around and went back into the store.
I bought Tim some fried chicken, a milk, a roll and some string cheese. I had to wait for the chicken to be I went to the magazine rack and read for a few minutes. All the while I'm just praying that Tim will still be out there.
I went through the check-out line...and as I left the store, there he was, standing in the same spot. I was so relieved. I handed him the bag and said, "Here you go, bud, here's some dinner for you." He replied, "Thank you. God Bless."
I came home and told Chris about Tim...
"Hey know that young kid we've been seeing all around town? You know...the one on drugs?"
"I just met him. And prayed with him. And bought him a little dinner. His name is Tim."
"Don't tell me. Did we just adopt Tim?"
Cracking up..."Yep."
Let me explain this "adoption" thing. A while back, at a women's function at church, we filled up these Ziploc bags with useful items for the homeless. The idea is to just keep them in your car and whenever you feel the pull, give a bag to a homeless person, face to face and talk with them a bit, pray with them, etc.
Well, there was a group of the church ladies talking about these bags...and how "doable" they were, etc. And one gal, who was not participating in the bag project, told us of a homeless lady in town that she and her husband had "adopted". She is the one they give to...the one they pray for...the one they buy food and coats for...when they see her they stop and say hi and chat with her a while. They know her story and her name. They don't have to wonder if they should give to this person or that. They KNOW who they're going to give to...her.
And now...I know who I am going to give to...Tim. He's adopted into our family...and doesn't even know it. It's a heart thing...
Since this encounter I have prayed for Tim at least once a day. You see, I had been seeing Tim around town for months. And he would always catch my eye...partly because he's so obviously on drugs. And partly because he's so young. Whenever I'd see him, I'd pray for him. But not like I do now. Now, I can pray for him by name. I can pray about his living situation specifically. I can pray that he find shelter...and warmth. I can pray that he find some dinner. When I am driving around town...I watch for him. And I pray that he is safe. And warm. And full. I pray that someday...he will be free of addiction.
As far as these bags...these plastic bags for the homeless...I've tried to give two of them away. And both times, they were refused. I'm not sure's something to ponder. Maybe they don't want a bag of toiletries. I don't know. Maybe they want someone to talk to them a minute. Ask their name. Smile. Get close. Not judge. Maybe they want us to give a little of ourselves...and not just a plastic bag full of items we think are useful to them.
I don't know...I'm not the grace of God. I'm not addicted to the grace of God. I'm not tortured by mental the grace of God. But...I know that when I'm feeling down...and out...that a kind word..a kind gesture...that is what pulls me out. Maybe it's the same for someone on the street. Maybe it's as simple as listening to that still, small voice...and putting love into action.
I don't write about this to toot my own horn. I write about this in hopes of encouraging you to get out of your comfort zone. I write this in hopes of encouraging you to listen to that little voice that prompts you to do something good for someone else. So many times we hear that voice, the voice of God, and we reason it away. I pray that you won't reason it away. I pray that you will listen to it...that you will obey it. And in doing so that you will be a blessing to someone...a homeless person? Maybe not. Maybe for you it's a grumpy co-worker, that mean teller at the bank, that young punk of a kid who never says thank you at the gas station. I don't know who it is in your life. I only know who it is in my life. It's Tim. And, of course, whoever else God tells me to bless as I go about my day. A blessing doesn't have to be dinner. It can be a smile. A wave. A generous tip. You'll know what it is...just listen. God will let you know.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Aunt Lisa gifted me with a big bag of beautiful Meyer lemons. They're gorgeous...and they smell soooo good.
And...they've been waiting ever so patiently for me to DO SOMETHING with them.
I've had grand plans for them...marmalade... and curd...maybe some juice to freeze in cubes for later use...and of course, the random eating of one sliced in half and sprinkled with sugar. Or, if you're really brave, salt.
The only problem's Christmas time. There's a lot going on. I've been busy. Right? And something like marmalade isn't something you can just whip up real quick. Well, maybe someone can. But not me. I've got to gear up for an endeavor such as marmalade making. I did get the jars washed. Does that count? I got the cutest little jars at the hardware store. 4 oz I think...with brushed silver lids. So stinkin' cute.
Maybe someday I'll actually fill them with something beautiful...ahem.
Today is another busy one. I have an appointment to have my eyebrows done. As in waxed. Some of you don't know this about me, but I was a smoker, for years. Years and years. And about 5 years ago God helped me quit. (Thank you, God...I am forever grateful.) celebrate...I decided that since I wasn't spending a million dollars on cigarettes every month, instead I'd spend a bit on having my brows waxed. I decided to do something to make me look pretty...and not ugly.
So...yes. Eyebrows at 10. And then, finally, I'm getting my hair cut at 11. Oh my hair is way too long. It grows pretty the point that I've been able to give to Locks of Love...twice in the past 5 years or so.
When I was in junior high and high school my hair was down to my waist. And on into my 20's, too. But when I was 25 I needed a change. I decided I needed to cut the hair off. And I did. To my shoulders. And I loved it!
Since then I've pretty much kept it just below my shoulders...maybe to my bra strap. And that's a good's manageable. And not too heavy. But since we've been pinching pennies so very tightly this past year, I can't remember the last time I had my hair cut! So at church on Sunday, I saw Kay, my hairdresser. And asked her if she had any appointments available for this week. She said yes...and that she had her appointment book in her car!
Kay: "Will Monday work?"
Me: "Tuesday would be better."
Kay: "Tuesday it is! 11 OK?"
Me: "Perfect! See you then!"
That was easy enough! at 11...I'm getting my hair cut. And I cannot WAIT! If I'm feeling brave...I may do a before and after. And I mean, really brave. promises! You may just get the "after"...!
So what's on your list of things to do today?

Monday, December 21, 2009

winter chickens.

We haven't paid a visit to the girls in a little while...let's take a peek and see what they're up to, shall we?
As we've discussed before, they're spending more time in their cozy coop...because they are destructive! I did have some winter peas growing....yes, past tense. They've since been eaten or scratched up or...both. I guess the winter garden just wasn't happening this year.
The egg production has slowed...quite a bit actually. Maybe an egg a day...possibly two. I haven't put the light on for them yet. I figure I'll just let their bodies do what they're supposed to do. I had read somewhere that they'll lay eggs longer if we allow them to go through they're natural process. We'll see...I don't know what I'm doing, really!
Isn't Libby quite the ham? She sees the camera and comes running.
Look how she's crossing her the gals on the red carpet. Libby thinks it makes her look thinner... (Oh...and don't mind the plop...sheesh...these girls have no shame.)

Ahh...and the beautiful Golden Girls...aren't they sweet? Yeah...sweet alright.
This fat one in the front...Sweetie? (Her name is the epitome of ironic.) She JUMPS at the containers I bring out containing the treats. She's like an attack chicken...and pecked the heck out of my hand the other day trying to be the first one to get the pumpkin scraps! She's MEAN.

Libby again...being a camera hog. She's giving me the stink-eye...letting me know it's about time I let her out of the coop.
I think they punish me...or reward me, however you want to look at seems they lay more eggs when I let them scratch around the yard. Manipulative I tell you....and smart. I don't care what anyone says...

Oh...and Sweetie wanted me to clarify...
...she's not fat...she's fluffy.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

...finally! Boy, it sure took me long enough to find my holiday spirit.
But, find it, I did. And just in time.
"Mercury Glass" acorns adorn the fixture in the dining area...
...another bargain from Ballard Designs. A glittery Merry Christmas jazzes up a manzanita wreath that hangs year-round.
Sweet berry wreath on the back door.

Another little thing that makes me happy...nothing like walking into the kitchen and being greeted by a cheery berry wreath hanging on my back door!

We were so late in getting the tree up our poor kids didn't think we were going to even get one. Is that sad, or what?

But...I did get one. At Michael's. On sale. It came in a box. And is pre-lit. PRE-LIT. Did you hear me? Whoever invented pre-lit is a genius. And a very, very nice person. I'm sure of it.

Oh, and did I mention? It's only 4 feet tall. And sits atop an end table. And I have to say....even though it reminds Seth of "old people"...I am loving this dang little tree!

Speaking of love. I know we can't really love inanimate objects. BUT. If we could? I would totally love this little mouse. Oh my...

Is he not the cutest little mouse you've ever seen? And that glittery star? Be still my heart. Mom got him for me last year. He clips onto the branch...and yes, I love him.

Pretty glass bird ornament...

...looking so pretty in the shimmer of the lights.

This is the closest we'll get to snow in these parts.

And I have to's just not the same. Good thing Mr. Snowman is cute...or we'd have issues.
And...wait...what's this? you think someone is excited for Christmas?!
Just a few more days, Ian...just a few more days.

it's the little things...

A couple of years ago I got these sweet little wreaths on sale from Ballard of my favorite home catalogs.
This is the first time they've been out of their shipping box. I felt like they needed the "perfect spot" to hang...and I didn't have that "perfect spot" until this year. (Thanks to my honey building my hutch for me summer before last...)
I have to say...this hutch makes me happy. I waited a long time for it. was worth the wait. It holds all of my mean collectibles.
What is a hutch without a collection of cookbooks?
I love cookbooks. Love them. I have more on another shelf in my dining area...but these are the ones I turn to most often. Most of them, anyway. Many of them have been gifts and some I've purchased myself. My favorite cookbook purchase is of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking....first edition. I got it at a garage sale...for a DOLLAR. It no longer has the jacket...but that's OK.
It also holds fun stuff...
...a vintage recipe box from the thrift store...$1. Cast iron pig...with wings. Love it. A sweet little green ceramic bowl...gifted to me by a friend at church after I commented on how much I liked it while eating dinner at her house. Wasn't that nice? Inside it is an old tea infuser...garage sale...a quarter.
It holds important things, too. Gifts made by little hands that are now big...tissue paper flowers, egg carton bouquets, paper plate chickens and "stained glass" jars made as Christmas gifts in the first grade. And you can hardly see it...but Noni's glass juicer is nestled in the yellow casserole. I'm glad to have it...I miss her. Every day.
I know it may not seem like much...but my hutch makes me happy. It makes me happy that my husband built it for me. It makes me happy to have a place to store all of my collectibles. It makes me happy to have extra storage that is deep enough to hold large sheet pans...a food processor...a food dehydrator...a roasting pan, or two...a stand mixer. It holds baking supplies...and dried goods...cookie cutters and sprinkles. My hutch is one of the few things I'll miss when we finally move out of this house.
Hmm....I wonder if I can take it with me? Honey? Can I?
ps...I just had to let you know that every time I typed "honey"...I actually typed HINEY!
Happy Saturday everyone...I'll be back later. It feels like a chatty kind of day! xox

Thursday, December 17, 2009

proper perspective.

A quiet morning with a loving God puts the
events of the upcoming day into proper perspective.
-Janette Oke
I woke up late this morning. As a matter of fact, I've woken up late for the mornings. I really thought once we got back to normal time (after Daylight Savings and such) that I'd get back to my early morning quiet time routine. But for whatever reason...staying up too late? Being woken by Rosie kitty one too many times? Just plain tired?...I have not been getting up early to spend time with God before starting my day. I just wake up, hop out of bed and I'm off and running. Grab my coffee...pull out the makings of school lunches...start jotting things down on my daily list of what needs to be done...sip my coffee...sign papers for school...grab socks out of the dryer...turn on morning shows...send one kid out the door and run the other to, maybe...sip more coffee...get ready...feed animals...and go.
Next thing I know I am into my day full throttle and I haven't even really said as much as a "Good morning, God. Thank you for this day."....let alone taken the time to have a full-on quiet time with Him.
Not good. And it shows. Mornings like this lead to days full of stress and worry and strife. When I DO take the time to start my day with God things seem to go a lot smoother. I mean, the events are still the same...more than likely. But I am different. How I handle those events is different. My attitude is different...and more often than not, better.
Yes. I need to get back into the habit of quiet time with God first thing in the morning. I need to pray with His word...and write in my prayer journal. I need to give it ALL to Him...and follow His lead. It really is a matter of making it a a good way. It used to be I had plenty of room in my life for plenty of bad habits. Thankfully God has delivered me from so many of those habits...and has left me lots of room to replace them with good habits. Good habits like morning quiet times. It really is the only way to start the day with the "proper perspective".
Lord, please help me to get back into the habit of meeting with you each morning. Help me to wake up early...before everyone spend time with you. Just the two of us. I miss those times...and I miss You. Thank you God...Amen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Psalm 13:5-6
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The boutique.

I forgot to let you all know how the boutique went!

{old fence board snowmen awaiting adoption...sold at the boutique.}

As you may remember, I was a little stressed out about it. But all in all...once all was said and was really quite fun! And we didn't do too bad for our first one.
We decided to call it, "The Bored Housewives Holiday Boutique". Like any of us are bored for crying out loud. But it cracked us we went with it. We didn't want to take ourselves too seriously, you know.
There were 7 of us...a great group of women. Funny women. Man, did we laugh a lot. We held the boutique over the course of two days...Friday and Saturday. That seemed to work out well...we may do the hours a little differently next time. But we'll see.
I learned a few things during the process, though. Which is the most important part. I learned to focus on my strengths. I was trying to do too many things halfway rather than focusing full throttle on my strengths. But to be honest, I didn't even realize one of my strengths at the beginning. Not until my mom said, "Hey, why don't you mount some of your photos on blank note cards and sell them?" Huh? What photos? The ones from my blog? Those are just blog photos...not like, real photography.
Well, mom encouraged me to give it a try. So we did. She helped me choose them and then helped me put them together. And wasn't I surprised to find that once the photos were mounted on cream note cards...titled, signed, dated and slipped into a glassine sleeve...that they actually looked professional!! I was pleasantly surprised. (Thanks again, mom!)
Another thing I'll focus on for next year's boutique (yes, we're already planning it!) is preserves and canned goods. Over the summer I'll focus on making "inventory". Jams, preserves, pickled items...and whatever else I decide to try. The good thing about this is that whatever doesn't sell....can just be eaten!!
Bottom line...the boutique was a good experience. And worth giving another shot next year. The most important thing is to focus on what I'm good at...what comes naturally...then it doesn't feel like such a chore. It just feels...right.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday, Monday... good to me...

I couldn't help seems that almost every Monday I have to bust out with a little Mamas and the Papas. Just in my head,of course. But today...I thought I'd share with you.

So...I've got a lot to do today. Nothing pressing. Nothing scheduled. And nothing with a time limit. Just...a lot to do. So...without further adieu...bullet-points anyone?

  • decorate for Christmas...finally.
  • dust.
  • vacuum.
  • mop floors...maybe.
  • bake fresh pumpkin.
  • whip up a batch of banana muffins...and remember the banana this time!
  • make pumpkin puree and possibly pumpkin butter.
  • laundry...always.
  • pick up library books on hold...oh, how happy this makes me.
  • stop at the feed store for chicken feed.
  • figure out something for dinner. Something with leftover mashed potatoes...?

Anyway...that's my day. A lot of nothing, really. Just...homey stuff. And it's a good day to do it, I suppose. The only thing that would make it better? RAIN.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

photo challenge: no faces.

This challenge was a LOT easier. Number one because it wasn't pictures of me. And number two...because I already had these photos. This past week is a I had to use photos I had already.
This first photo is of my dear friend's daughter, Emily.
She is one of the most creative young ladies I know. She's always making something...drawing, sewing, sculpting...she is an artist through and through.
My boys. Running on Ocean Beach in San Francisco over the summer. What? You can't tell it's summer? That's the city for ya...COLD. And WINDY. And COLD.
But..leave it to my boys to insist on getting their feet in salt water...
Seth. My oldest. My first born. Talented musician.
He plays bass, trumpet and french horn. He's a natural...
Ian. My baby. My tender hearted, animal loving, sweet boy.

This kid can figure out how anything works. He's a fixer...a amazes me.

Last but definitely not sweet husband. Also a musician and a fixer.
This photo shows a lot about, tools, electronics, a bit of sawdust on his cap. Yep. That's my hubby!
What fun this 4-week challenge was. I'm sad that it's over. It's really been enlightening...and a great learning experience as far as my photography goes. Thank you to the ladies in charge....Camilla at bloom and Carolyn at Rose Notes. Can't wait to see what's next...(hint hint!)
Thank you, too, to all of the others who's been a pleasure to meet all of you and to get a peek into your lives. xo
And in case you missed's a link to part two of this week's photo challenge...self-portrait.

photo challenge: self-portrait.

Wow...I have to say, I have a love/hate relationship with this challenge. I do NOT like having my photo taken...especially now that I am a bit overweight and quite a bit more wrinkly! The camera really does tell the truth, doesn't it?
Anyway...because I committed to this challenge. And because it's been so rewarding. And because I have enjoyed meeting other women and getting to know them. And because they did it, (you know...the whole "jumping off a bridge if so and so did" thing...) I went on ahead and tried my hand at taking some photos of myself.
In true "Michelle" form, I waited until the last minute. Because, quite frankly, I was this close to not doing it at all. But yesterday, as I got ready for work, I got out of the shower and thought, "what the heck. just DO it." So...I did. Literally.
Fresh out of the shower...
...through a foggy mirror.
Up dressed...towel still on my head...just me. mean laugh lines and all.
(Man..this is hard. It's going to be real hard to hit "publish post"!)

Looking out the back's rainy and grey and perfect.
My favorite kind of day. I had to include this photo because it made me laugh...hard.

It's a horrible photo of me...I know. But I had to share it. It reminds me of a bad yearbook I'm in love with my camera and had to pose with it. Do you see it? Oh my's still cracking me up. I know I should be embarrassed to put this up for the world to see...but hey, if I can't make fun of myself, who CAN I make fun of? Right?
Wait. That didn't come out right.

So this one had to be added, it's the "mom look".

And don't we ALL have one of those? I fear this is what I look like most of the day. Sigh....

And a bit done, glasses on, a bit of makeup (not much as I don't like it...but I need it...therefore I wear some...dangit),and dressed for work....albeit a bit blurry...

This is me.
Hi. Nice to meet you.
Oh! Wait! I forgot the Bonus Body Part photo!
Hands. My hands. They cook. And create. And clean...sometimes. They comfort. And care for. I should probably take better care of them! And stop biting my nails.
( can do it...just hit publish. There you go...the orange button...just DO it already! I!)