Sunday, November 24, 2013

Appreciate the Little Things in Life

Little Things

The other day I saw the moon in its glory. It was beautiful.

It was low in the sky, massive, and sunset-orange in color. My husband was driving somewhere separately at the same time, and he noticed it as well. He texted me. "Do you see the moon?"

"Yep, couldn't miss it," I thought.

Seeing the moon brought a smile to my face. It was one of those spectacularly simple, yet divine, moments in life -- one of those moments when you are reminded that God is the Creator of the universe and made all things beautiful.

Seeing the moon was a short moment, but an important moment. It was silent and quick, but it made a lasting impression on my soul.

The crux of our lives is full of good and important things that are sometimes very hard, especially in this sin-filled world.

  • Parenting
  • Marriage
  • Leadership
  • Home Management
  • Relationships
  • Career
  • Education
  • Health

These things occupy a majority of our efforts and thoughts. Our days can be grueling as we strive to succeed in these areas.

However, most of us wake up each day and are blessed immediately.

We wake up in a comfy bed with warm blankets and cushy pillows, perhaps even next to a spouse we love.

We proceed throughout the morning and are confronted with the possibility of a myriad of blessings:

  • The ability to read God's Word and encounter Him
  • A warm shower
  • A good breakfast
  • A cup of coffee or tea
  • Greetings and hugs from family members
  • A closetful of clothes
  • Beautiful d├ęcor that graces our homes
  • Sunlight that brightens the day or Rain that brings refreshment to the earth

and the day has just begun...

If we are able to grasp the small and somewhat silent things throughout our days, I believe they will give us strength.

The small pleasures of life add up
to one great, big, blessed life.

Focus on the small, silent, good things in your life today.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Food

Chocolate Pecan Pie wih text

With Thanksgiving only a little over a week away, many of us are thinking about what we will serve, take, or eat for Thanksgiving. Here are some of our favorites:

Sweet Potato Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Sweet Potato Biscuits


Chocolate Pecan Pie

What are you having for Thanksgiving?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Thrifty Meal Plan

This week I am trying to spend as little as I can on groceries.

I already have the following on hand:
  • turkey bacon
  • potatoes
  • beans
  • frozen vegetables
  • items for pizza: sauce, cheese, pepperoni
  • frozen chicken breast
  • brown rice

Here’s my menu:

Baked Potato Soup
Chicken Pot Pie (using half of the chicken from making the broth for the chicken soup)
Black Bean Burritos

Some tips for planning less expensive weeks:
  • Use items you have in your freezer and pantry
  • Make soups
  • Make meals that have a little or no meat in them
  • Plan to use items like potatoes, pasta, beans, and rice

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Why I Cut the Crust Off My Daughters' Bread

I'm a rule follower, a "good girl". I believe in order, manners, and following God's law.

To admit that I cut the crust off my daughters' bread is a bit, eh hem, humbling. You see, to me, the crust should be eaten. After all, there are people STARVING in other countries. When children don't eat the crusts on their bread, they are being unthankful of course! They should appreciate every morsel they are given and eat it with a smile.

Why then do I cut the crust off my daughters' (yes, plural!) bread?

The first reason supports my strong sense of responsibility. If *I* cut off the crusts, there is less waste. That's a good thing! If I let them eat their bread without me altering it, they will leave large chunks of their bread on their plate, and well, that just is not acceptable.

The second reason is the more important reason.

Some things just aren't worth fighting over.

Let me say that again.

Some things just aren't worth fighting over.

As parents, we deal with many issues, some more weighty than others. We must continually, carefully and prayerfully, consider our ideas and preferences about how things should be.

Some of them are absolute truth.
Some of them must not be compromised.
Some of them must be fought over!

Some, on the other hand, must be let go.

When I took my niece into my home a handful of years ago, she was 14 years old. I had no clue how to raise a teenager. I made a lot of mistakes. I tried my best, but I made mistakes. I realize that I made issues over some things that I should have let go. I did not have the grace to deal with so much change at once, so I learned... by mistake in some cases.

As I continue to raise my children, I'm going to continue to fight for many things, but crust on bread? Nah. I'll let that go.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

When Life Tells You to Slow Down

 God and life have been telling me to slow down for a while now.
Signs of wear and tear are showing.
Stress tries to win over many times.
My mind feels like it is spinning at record speeds.
And now. I have battled illness for weeks and will be battling illness for several more weeks.
It, all, started with a flu/sinus infection type illness that had me in bed for two days. It lingered as a cold for a week or so. Then my husband went away for 5 to 6 days for work within a week's time. Yep. Stress. It seemed to catch me, and I was down again. This time with flu symptoms and a crazy rash, which are supposed to be my friend for about 6 weeks.
As I embrace today's struggles, I am hearing God's gentle but loud voice,
He's sending the messages I have been hearing for a while now. You hear them too.
The signs are shouting at all of us.
Simplify. Rest. Prioritize. Declutter. Unplug.
We face the messages throughout the internet, on book titles, and all over the written and spoken world.
I've seen the messages, and my heart cries out with a loud,
"Yes! Yes, I want to do all of those things."
I want a slower, simpler, fuller life.
Life is zapping us of energy and the things we find to be most important, sometimes without us being fully aware.
Are you feeling worn out?
Are you tired of missing out on more time with your family?
Are you tired of feeling so scattered?
Are you tired of your schedule controlling you?
I am. I don't fully know the answer, but I know there is a process occurring in my life.
It will happen, bit by bit, step by step, through faith and God's grace. I don't even know how and when all will happen, but I grab God's hand and proceed forward.
Simplify. Rest. Prioritize. Declutter. Unplug.
Say those slowly.
Write them down.
Pray about them.
Establish goals.
Move forward, one bit at a time.