Saturday, July 5, 2014

Life and other such banalities . . .

 .  .  .   .   .   .    in which I talk to myself and hopefully make some discoveries about life.

For the past few years I've felt like I was in a transition period.

So many things out of my control - I think that's the kicker there, control.  I had to no control over my husband retiring early (while we still had three children in school); no control over his decision to move; no control over my time when there was so much that had to be done and no one else to do it.  Now I have several new issues of control in my life and am really having to face the fact that I Have NO Control Over Things Outside of Myself.

Why do I feel in such transition?

Transition:  passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another :  a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another

This definition makes it clear that all of life is a transition - so why am I feeling particularly in a state of flux?  Why do I feel so out of control?

responsibility.  lack of responsibility.  I like to point the finger and note how others are not living up to their responsibilities, but as I stop and think, reflect, I can see that as a reaction to all of these outside forces - I have given up the responsibility of my own actions.  I've not done the basic things that I'm responsible for.  It's been so easy, comforting even, to be in the role of hapless victim, being swept along by things outside of herself; but that's a lie and a deception.  I feel out of control because I have given up control over myself.  I've given in to being the victim.  I've given in to being the abused wife, the overwhelmed and misunderstood  mother, the poor church-goer who is so consumed with her own problems that she has not reached out to help others with theirs, the friend who is so busy considering her miserable state that she neglects those who can help her out of it.  Selfish.  Utterly.  Abandoned to it.

(a pause while I cry and take this all in.  .  .  )

Control: : to direct the behavior of (a person or animal) : to cause (a person or animal) to do what you want  : to have power over (something)  : to direct the actions or function of (something) : to cause (something) to act or function in a certain way

This is the real illusion, I think.  We - I think that I should be able to control people and situations.  How can I?  I can't control something as simple as conversation at the dinner table, how in the world do I think I can control how my children spend their time or how my husband treats me and talks to me.  When I try to influence or direct things, it usually ends up making things worse.

So what can I do?  How can I get to a place where I don't feel like I'm in flux each week, each month?

If I can't control others - if I can't control situations - if it seems like I can't even control the way my day progresses, then WHAT Can I control?

Here's the hard part now:

I CAN control my thoughts - the things that my heart ponders in the quiet

I CAN control the words I speak

I CAN control my attitude - influenced by thinking on right and good things instead of dwelling on the bad

I CAN control the tone of my voice - a conscious choice every moment

I CAN control my actions - am I busy with a purpose or am I neglectful and lazy

I CAN control my time - Purpose to be profitable and have a goal

I think these are more than enough for me to take responsibility for.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Creating & Relaxed

It's been a really wonderful and fun few days of stamping with daughter.  We pulled all of our stamping stuff out of boxes - where they have been trapped in the dark for over a year - and got creative.

So relaxing to just sit and create - you have an idea, a picture, some colors, and you just let everything come together, using what you have, improvising, it's all part of the process.

I started off to make a set of cards as a "Thank You" for my aunt - but like any good, nearly harmless obsession, you really can't stop at just one.  And once the ideas were flowing it was like a restorative therapy - as a homeschool mom with a retired husband and sweet baby that I care for during the week, my time is never my own - and stamping these last few days was an isolated island of peace.

As I was going through all the boxes, I also found several unfinished projects that I was able to complete -

and remember when and why I had started them, and thankful that paper has no expiration date .  .  .  

it's ready to go whenever the urge to stamp and create sneaks up on you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Beautiful Day

Once in a while a day comes along when the sun shines brightly, but not too brightly, and the little birds sing happily, flowers bloom, butterflies flutter gently by, and all is right with the world.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Sweet Pea was just as cute as could be, her chubby little 10 month legs crawling, stretching, and scooting throughout the house; her smile so big, showing off her new molar she's getting (poor baby!); and her new trick of shaking her head when you say almost anything to her.  As a result, we think up all kinds of questions where the answer is "No."  Could we ever forget about P?  Is there any baby cuter than P?  LOVE her!

I got to go shopping and hang out with H & R (two remaining children at home), and got to talk on the phone with college son, and hear him laugh and joke with his brother.  Happy medicine for any momma's heart.

I spent some time outside with Sweet P after H and I covered our little garden area with netting to prevent birdies from eating all our tender sprouts.  We sat on the lawn, she crawled around a bit until the grass was too much for her little legs, then she came back to me to stand up against.  She gave me kisses - leaned toward me and smacked her lips - told me all kinds of stories, ma-ma-ma-ba-da-da-ba-ma, and held on to my dangly earrings - until she held a little to firmly and I would tell her no, be gentle.  It was wonderful.  Really looking forward to having grandchildren!

R and I went out front with Sweet P and the dogs later in the afternoon so I could weed (yucky goats' head clover) the lawn while we waited for P's Mama to arrive.  P was all over the place.  Grass, cement, it didn't matter.  Certainly not a fussy baby who can be contained within the borders of a blanket laid on the lawn!

Then with some time alone, R and I decided to stamp.  Got out our supplies from the boxes where they are still packed, looked on Pinterest for some inspiration, and then got creative!  Ended up stamping until nearly midnight - with a small break to make dinner for husband - and got almost four sets of cards made/finished.  It was so much fun!

And the verses I read this morning complete the day perfectly:

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: 
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:;
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
 I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; 
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me
 in the presence of mine enemies: 
thou anointest my head with oil; 
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: 
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 23

Friday, March 22, 2013


The baby on Daddy's lap

Graduation photo

A momma with two little ones

Proud momma with her family

Retired and enjoying life

Iconic last photo of Grandma on the farm.  Everyone in the family knows and loves this photo.

Five years ago today I said my final goodbye to my Grandma.  My last Grandma.  Held her hand, kissed her cheek, told her that I loved her one last time. But she was already gone.

My cousin and I had been staying at her side after a severe stroke left her paralyzed and her wish to die naturally meant that we had only a few days.  So many emotions.  The children and I had been camping out at my mother's for several days when I finally had to go home and take care of some business.  Twelve hours before I had planned on making the trip back, I got the phone call that she was going.  It is a three hour trip. Chances were not good that I would make it in time.  But I tried.  I was too late.

After the rest of the family had left, it was down to my cousin and I and Grandma once again.  We shared memories and waited for the funeral home to come.  We waited and watched while they did their job.  And then it was just quiet again.

The funeral would be several days away, so it was back home for us.  Laundry and school and planning and phone calls.  At her funeral, the children and I sang an old hymn Sweetly Resting.  I think Grandma would have liked it.  She was a very quiet woman, just as her parents were.  I think that quietness skipped her children and landed squarely on me.  But she was always there, always busy and doing and creating and tending.  Loving in the way that was most comfortable to her.

(I originally posted Sweetly Resting exactly one year before my Grandma passed away - a fact I didn't realize until several days after her funeral.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Simple Daybook ~ 20 March, 2013


Outside my window... a cloudy sky, a beautiful flowering bush, and two mockingbirds doing some kind of dance on the garage roof next door

I am thinking... about how many things have changed in just a few years, mostly me, and how some of those changes are good, and some not so much

I am thankful... for my children and the smile they bring to my face with each thought of them and remembrances of times past

In the kitchen... a turkey is in store for us today

I am wearing... skirt, snowman sweatshirt jacket, and pajama top ;-)

I am creating... dishcloths that I started knitting on recent trip to Oregon

I am going... nowhere, in more ways than one

I am wondering... how to make each moment last as long as possible

I am reading... The Hobbit

I am hoping... for complete renewal and revival in my heart and my children's

I am looking forward to... getting our garden beds ready to plant

I am learning ...  just how deceptive our hearts (my heart) can be

Around the house ...  need to sweep and keep the floors clean now that little P is crawling

A favorite quote for today... Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, love them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.

One of my favorite things... An open window with the sun coming through

A few plans for the rest of the week: work on garden beds, get family ready for new flooring, cook, bake bread and a cake, watch my attitude

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Welcome Home: Front Porch

The front porch and lawn is a work in progress - I evaluate it every now and then to see what can be added or what needs to be cleaned up to make it more welcoming.
One great addition to our walkway was this beautiful bench that husband made out of redwood logs.  Rustic yet comfortable and unique.  Looking forward to adding some plants and herbs around the bench  for a more natural look as well as a more sensory experience whilst sitting and visiting.

Getting Established

The weather has been just lovely here for almost a month - beautiful sunny days with just enough rain to get everything growing.  It has been wonderful to see our transplants from the move taking hold and growing in their new home ~

The strawberries are growing wonderfully, with so many new leaves and shoots.  Looking forward to watching the scrumptious fruit develop!

Lavendar and rosemary planted in front - it will soon fill this space physically and with its' heady fragrance.

The long neglected roses in front are growing and blooming - such a joy to watch each flower unfold.

Geraniums.  Somehow geraniums have become a symbol of home for me.  Many years ago when we volunteered at our county fair, we were able to take the donated plants after the fair was over.  Several geraniums came home with us.  What most endeared them to me is that they pretty much take care of themselves - they can withstand a lot of ignoring and with just a bit of care give you beautiful color and greenery.  Now they are a favorite of mine and this one was recently planted out by the mailbox, ready to announce to all that this place is a 'home.'

 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;  The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard in our land;
Song of Solomon  2:11-12

A Fresh Start

A new home means a new garden.  We are blessed with a couple of great spaces and have a variety of options.  Daughter and I decided to go with some "garden boxes" on the side of our home - nice open space and gets great sunlight throughout the day.  We're not going to do a traditional garden box - build a box frame, add dirt to fill, and then plant.  I don't want to have to buy a lot of dirt or soil, would like to make do with as much of what we have as possible.  We'll add a vinyl picket fence across the yard here so that the garden is a little more protected from roaming neighborhood critters, a.k.a. cats, dogs, and bunnies!

After staking out where our first few boxes were going to be, I set the hose out and watered the area really well to make de-grassing easier!

Daughter and I were able to pull the grass on about half of the box area before we both decided to call it quits.  Within an hour, a few of our escaping chickens had found the freshly dug dirt and were scratching in it.  Hopefully they didn't get many of the wonderful worms that were there!  It's really good soil and glad to see that it was so full of worms - great for the garden!  We'll also be adding a fence across the back of this space to keep out wayward chickens!! 
(The red 2x4's are laid out as guidelines to make sure we are cutting our boxes straight.)

So many seedlings!  I'm abundantly blessed with a friend who is a seed distributor and for a small postage donation, she sent me a box FULL of 'last year's' seeds.  Oh the variety!  And it is so much fun to watch everything sprout and grow.  But .  .  .  all these growing plants need a place to be planted!  So we've got to get busy and get those boxes ready -

I'm really looking forward to gardening this year - maybe because it is our first year in our last house;
maybe because I want to create a strong bond with daughter who loves plants and outdoors and growing things;
maybe because I am enamored with the peaceful ideal of a green, colorful, growing garden, walking amongst the rows in apron and bonnet, gathering the harvest to preserve and share;
maybe because I've always wanted to have a garden but have never really had the time or space to do it properly;
maybe because I want to continue the legacy of gardening and being outdoors that I witnessed with my grandparents - so that when grandchildren are here they can be "out in the garden" with grandma (me!);
 maybe because I love the idea of being self-sufficient and doing as much on my own as possible;
and finally, maybe it's for all these reasons.

The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof
Psalm 24:1

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Super Easy Laundry Detergent

We have made our own laundry detergent in the past - see Science in Action - and happily used it for a few years.  But somewhere along the way, in the busyness of life and schooling, it was simply easier to go to the store and buy a jug of detergent.

Then along comes Pinterest.

Daughter and I saw a Pin with a beautiful picture of homemade powdered laundry detergent in a big glass jar.  Functional AND Decorative!  Definitely worth a look see!

Now, to prove how easy the recipe is, I had looked at the post twice but didn't write anything down.  Several days went by and I kept thinking how I really wanted to give that a try;  ended up at the store yesterday and I was able to quickly remember the items needed, and at the Mart, they were all within a few feet of each other on the shelf.

The original post said it was under $20 to make.  Let's compare that to my receipt:

2 bars Fels Naptha soap, 0.97 each = $1.94
OxyClean (48 oz) = $9.47
Borax (76 oz)  = $3.38
Washing Soda (55 oz) = $3.24
Baking Soda (4 lb) = $2.24
which equals $20.27
I also opted to add the laundry crystals for another $4.76 bringing the grand total to $25.03

The original site said that she does about eight loads a week and this amount lasted her for nine months.  If mine lasts for nine months, then my detergent costs will be $2.78 a month for over thirty loads of laundry!

Not bad!!

Plus I had the excuse to buy one of these great oversize glass canisters that I've always wanted but never known what I would do with it - It holds this full recipe very attractively!

See original post here:

Monday, December 17, 2012


Dear son is home from college.
It was such a treat to see him last night, hear his voice and watch him interact with his brother and sister, touch his arm and kiss the top of his head, see his smile and look in his eyes.

Listened to him play the piano for a bit this morning and my heart was overcome; all those years of lessons and practice and money and recitals and frustration when he didn't want to play or practice -  it all spilled out into the joyous blessing that he now has chosen the piano and music as his life's work.

Moments shared while cutting his hair, words of understanding, love, and encouragement.  Precious.