Thursday, December 27, 2012

Planning for the New Year: New Year, New Me

Hello there! (Cough! Cough!) Oh, excuse me while I dust this thing off again. And again. I'm afraid this blog has been sorely neglected this year.You may know the old saying, Life gets in the way... It happens sometimes. Am I ready to pack it in? No. Not yet. While I do apologize for disappearing without notice way too many times, I'm not quite ready to give up on it. If you're still a reader, please don't give up on me yet. 
 Lately I'm not sure what the problem has been. I'd think of something I really wanted to say...and then when I get to the keyboard I'd talk myself out of it or just couldn't bring myself to write about it. Or I would get caught up in something that needed taken care of and time would slip right past me. 
  But enough of that. Excuses and explanations can only take one so far in life. Time to move on and start doing. 
   I'm a curious kind of soul. The closer it gets to Christmas, and then the days following, my mind starts percolating with ideas on the next year and what I plan to do with it. Partly because my brain craves perfection and it hasn't been attained yet and partly out of excitement (good mixed with bad) for coming attractions. We are not promised tomorrow, but a new year is potential tomorrows that is a gift. Does that make sense? 
  At any rate, my brain has been humming along, trying to make a loose plan for the year. Setting up goals I want to accomplish. It occurred to me yesterday (and not for the first time) that my goals for the coming year are more or less the same ones I tend to set each year. Write the book. Lose weight. Learn something new. Spend more time in the Word. Get organized once and for all. Invariably there are a few more thrown in but those are the main ones. Each year I make some progress but not to the point I'd like. Yes folks, I am a slow learner. I have learned in the past that making general statements is great but won't get you too far.
   I've learned that goals must be specific: I'm going to lose X amount of pounds (sorry, not going to fill in that number here on a public blog). Okay, that's a little better. We know what we're shooting for here. We know what we want, now how are we going to get it? Break the goal into smaller chunks that are attainable in a set amount of time, like a week or a month. Break it down as small as you need to and revisit it from time to time to see if something needs to be tweaked. 
  For example, for my spiritual journey (I'm not really comfortable with that phrase but I'm not exactly sure how to put it) I have listed three things I wish to study: Sanctified,  with Cindy Colley, the life of Paul, and women of the bible. It's a big thing I want to do, but January's goal for me is to catch up to current in the Sanctified study. I'm not waiting until January first to start, that one is beginning now. 
  I tried writing down goals for the year in several different categories -spiritual, creativity, hospitality, healthy, blogging, continuing education, organization, you get the idea. I have the main focus for the year, then I went back and wrote out beginning steps for January. I'm a list person and I like seeing progress on paper so I even have boxes to check off as I meet my goals. 
  I'm focusing on several different things I want to do this coming year, but I know surprises come up and with J some plans may change. So be it. The overall plan is to grow and stretch, not to be a slave to goals, declaring the year to be a failure if something doesn't work out the way I planned. 
  Yes, I did mention blogging was on my list of goals. In case you're interested, right now the goal is to get back to writing three to five posts a week.  Eventually the plan is to get back to writing seven posts each week but that's going to take a little work and planning. 
 Perhaps sometime soon I'll share my goals for the year. What about you? Are you a planner? Do you set goals or resolutions for the year? Remember, you don't have to wait til New Years to begin goals. Mine start throughout the year and I'm beginning next year's goals now. I've planned where I want to be and have some steps to follow. Will it get me where I want to be? We shall see.        

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Heart Aches

My heart aches for the families of those lost in the most recent of school shootings. If you haven't read or heard about it, you can here.   I can't even begin to imagine what those poor kids must have gone through, those who were shot and those who witnessed or heard it. As a mother it frightens me to know that no place is 100% safe. 
  Reading through the comments on Facebook and talking with friends, opinions vary from "no one should have guns" to if the teachers were allowed to carry concealed this tragedy could have been prevented. One sentiment was often repeated by mothers: I want to go get my babies and hold them tight." Although I lived in Colorado Springs at the time, on the day of the shootings in Columbine I wanted to do the same thing. All I wanted was to take my child out of school and hold him tight and make my way to my husband. 
  Some will want to use this senseless tragedy, along with other recent killings, as yet another launching pad for gun control. Bring on even more laws or better yet, ban all guns. While today is not the day for me to debate it, I will say this:
  1. Criminals rarely if ever are law abiding. Making laws only restricts those who obey them in the first place.
  2. When the first murder took place on this earth thousands of years ago, guns had not been invented yet. Most likely Cain's weapon of choice was a rock or his own hands. 
 3. Until we realize that children must be taught from day one to be kind to one another and to respect life, this wont be the last time innocent people have to die needlessly.
  Having said that, I ask that instead of arguing for or against weapons right now, we pray. Pray for the families of those who lost loved ones. Pray for the children and faculty of the school in Newtown, CT, and the town as well. And pray for this country, that we might all turn back to God and get back on the right track. And go, hold your kids tight.  We can revisit thoughts on guns and such another day.     

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

25 Days of Christmas AT Studio D

Grab My Badge 
Hey y'all, 
 I'm a little late in letting you know about it, but if you like crafting, especially card making, go check out At Studio D's 25 days of Christmas. Damaris is one ultra talented lady at what she does. Seriously. Go check. Today is day 7 and I absolutely fell in love with her vintage inspired card. She's giving away lots of nice little goodies too, so if you're interested, follow her simple directions and maybe you'll be a winner. I was one of her winners last year, and I'm having fun playing with the stamps and others goodies she sent me. Even if you don't want to enter the contest,but just need some inspiration for your Christmas cards, go take a look around here At Studio D. 

Gratituesday: Thankful for My Crazy Life

In just a few short days, many of us will be gathering around a table laden with lots of delicious food, laughing and chatting, reminiscing with family and friends. We'll say grace, eat too much, watch football, nap, relax and enjoy a day of Thanksgiving.
  Minus the football, mine will be much the same. I'll see an aunt I've not seen in a few years. My mother is overjoyed to have her sister with her for at least one holiday. She'll be sad that some family members can't make it this year, and I'll try to drag her back to realizing the blessing of what she has now--all the while finishing up the cooking, making plates for the Hubby and his two co workers, and send him out the door to his job after eating a bit. 
  Many times I wish for the huge family gatherings and I grow misty eyed when I watch old Walton's reruns, especially the Christmas and Thanksgiving episodes.But reality sets in and these days I'm more thankful when the get togethers are small around us. J is not at his best in crowds. He gets quite anxious, truthfully, and it takes him awhile to warm up to people he doesn't see often. Too much noise and activity can send him into a nasty meltdown because he doesn't have the words to say"Enough. I need quiet. I need space."
  Looking at my life, I don't live a typical one, if there is any such thing. I am a homemaker, albeit a struggling one. My husband works at a job where his hours are 4pm to 12 am and his weekend is Tuesday and Wednesday. Our son has autism and a few other diagnoses that tag along for the ride. He's nonverbal but in most cases manages to communicate what he wants or needs. There are nights that no one gets to bed before three in the morning because J is wide awake and thrilled to be so. 
  My house is almost never spotless. In fact, on most days if you come in you're likely to find things scattered on the floor, a child scurrying to find clothes to put on because he has gone through just about everything in his closet (in one day, mind you, never mind the reason why) and two cats rushing out of his way. The dishes and the laundry are multiplying. Someone online or on the phone needs my attention at the same time the Hubs asks where his work shirt is and all the while my mind is racing with projects, budgets, and schedules. Oh my! 
  But you know what? No matter how much I want to tear my hair out or how much I complain, and sometimes need a break from it all, I love it. This is my crazy, wild, chaotic life and I love it. I'm so thankful for all of it, to be honest. Maybe not all the time, but I do enjoy it about 95% of the time. Give or take. I am grateful for chaos J brings to my life because he fills my heart with love. I am thankful he's no longer on behavior medicine because even though he's more wound up during the day, more of him shines through. He's more apt to give hugs, more apt to interact with me. 
  I'm thankful for a roof over my head, my husband's job, a car that runs, all of that. But I'm especially thankful to God for the family he has given me, and this includes those adopted and grafted into my life from all different directions. Some I wish I could see and hug again, others I wish I could meet just once but family they are indeed. And last but certainly not least, I'm thankful to you who reads this blog and encourages me with your messages. 
  Happy Thanksgiving to you all. What are you grateful for today? I'd love to hear from you.
  This post is linked to Heavenly Homemakers.         Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Judgement Calls

In the whole bible, besides John 3:16, what verse comes to mind that everyone quotes (and misquotes)? Do not judge. I've heard many, many people use that as a get out of jail free card. "The Bible says don't judge". "Jesus said don't judge". If you ask most of them where that verse is found, they couldn't say. They don't know (nor do some of them care) what the verses surrounding that one says or means. They just know it's in there and that is supposed to end the conversation.  In case you're wondering, here it is: Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
      Luk_6:37  Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
     Joh_7:24  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
      In most conversations, the reason that particular phrase is brought up is sin. Someone is committing adultery, having (or had) an abortion, got caught lying, stealing, etc. It doesn't matter. Sin is sin. And while Jesus did say, "Judge not" he was not one to excuse sin or sweep it under the rug. He called out the sinner, pointed it out, and to some he said "Go and sin no more".  He didn't do any of this hatefully or spitefully, but in love. 
  When it comes to sin, God does not tolerate it, whether its a "little" sin or a "big" sin. Truthfully, from God's perspective there is no sin hierarchy. To him it's all the same and we are all guilty of it. We humans were the ones to decide that lying to spare one's feelings is okay and murder is worse than adultery or fornication. 
  So, when we see someone going down the wrong path, should we just look the other way? Pretend it's okay? Not say anything because we don't want to be accused of judging? If I saw a huge 18 wheeler barreling down the highway and you were in it's path unaware, would you want me to tell you? I'm willing to guess that you'd want to know, and you'd want me to help you get out of the way as quickly as possible.  Sin in that 18 wheeler. The end result in both cases is death. 
  When we encounter a situation (sin) that needs addressing, we need to be prayerful and introspective about it. Is my life in order? Am I doing the same thing or something that needs to be taken care of first? Go to the person alone. Do not discuss Susie's adultery with Heather and Jane "out of concern." Talk to Susie about your concerns. Let her know you're worried about her. 
  If Susie repents, great! Continue loving her, continue being there for her. If she doesn't? Continue loving her, continue praying for her, continue being there for her (except in helping her to sin). Go to the church elders or the minister to voice your concern. We should judge the sin, and try to vanquish it from our lives.
  But what if it's not a sin, but a "character flaw"?  Max is overweight, he must not eat healthy or he eats too much. Sally is the world's worst housekeeper. Her place is always a mess; how can she live like that?  Yes folks, that is judging and it is mean, and in this author's opinion it's one of the worst forms of judging. Have a heart, folks! This applies to me as well. I too, have been guilty of criticizing others. 
  Look deeper at the person you are attacking. Is Max really eating only junkfood and lots of it? Is he doing it because he's lonely or depressed? Reach out to him. Be his friend.  And Sally. Why is her house a mess? Is it because she doesn't care and prefers to live in a messy environment, or is there an underlying problem? Perhaps she's overwhelmed and doesn't know where to start. Perhaps she's just too tired to pick up after chasing the kids all day. Maybe she just doesn't have the organization gene that you do. Instead of picking at her or throwing advice or throwing a social worker at her, GO HELP. Offer to take the kids for an hour or two so Sally can get some work done. Shoo her out of the kitchen and wash the dishes for her. Offer her an hour of your time and help her figure out how to organizeAnd again, continue loving Max and Sally. Don't go running off to Heather and Jane to discuss it.
  We all have our sins. We all have our character flaws. Help one another. Be someone's life line. But do it in love.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What is Sexism to you?

I had a heated debate conversation with a friend today. She and I are polar opposites in our political leanings. The things she had to say didn't surprise me, and most of (on both sides) was simply a rehash of what we both believe to be true. One thing in particular, however, really stuck in my craw. She accused conservatives in general, of being sexist. I asked her why and she replied, Because they would rather tell a raped woman she can't have an abortion.
  Okay, first of all, very few women get pregnant after a rape. If you read here  only 1 in 15 rapes end in pregnancy. And though this is controversial, at the hospital after you've reported the rape you can get the morning after pill, if you so desire. (For the record, I don't think I would.) In my mind, it should be a non issue. But if the pregnancy does occur, why would the baby be the one punished? He or she was only conceived. I can understand if a mother absolutely cannot face the thought of raising a child conceived in rape. I cannot understand destroying an innocent child's life because of it. Adoption is a far better answer.
   However, this post isn't necessarily about rape. Let's give another scenario. The Democratic campaign had commercials such as "lose your voting virginity". They worded arguments aimed at women to focus only on their "right" to abortions and free birth control. Do we only think with our uterus, ladies? Can we not handle the other issues that are important? What sounds more sexist to you?
  The election is over and what's done is done. I dont want to rehash any of it, what's done is done. I just wanted to speak my peace on this one matter. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Reader's Corner

It's nearly 5 o'clock in the morning. I've been awake since three, when my (dare I say it?) middle aged body woke me up out of a strange dream to deliver some important news: get moving. If you're my age or so, you probably understand what needed to happen in the middle of the night and why a light in the hallway is usually important. The tea the night before brought this about, I'm sure. 
   I tried going back to sleep, but so far am wide awake. The readout from the weather channel on my computer says its 70 degrees. My internal thermometer says its 90. AC is currently on. 
  But I digress. You aren't here to keep up with my body's life of its own. At least, I hope not. What brought you in here was the title of this post.  I'm a reader. Have been for as long as I can remember. I read the bible (not nearly as often as I should but I'm working on that), mysteries, love stories now and again, cookbooks, chick lit, Archie comics, the sides of cereal boxes... you get the picture. When I'm not writing, I can usually be found with my nose stuck in a book.
   Since I couldn't go back to sleep I grabbed the latest book I've been reading. It's called The Potluck Club, by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson. It was published in 2005 but I hadn't heard of it til now. I found it by accident, at a yard sale. The Potluck Club is six women who come together once a month to pray together. It started out as just two best friends who got together to pray and have dessert, and grew from there. Each of the women have their own story to tell, interweaved in the main story. One wants to take over as president of the club even though she's the newest (self invited) member. One has a secret past that even her best friend never knew. One has a failing marriage. One doesn't believe in prayer, much less God but has her own reasons for being in the club.

  Each of the six women are facing their own difficulties, and they do it separately and together. I love that the authors used scripture throughout the book as the women learned more about themselves and grew closer to God. As with any book I can truly immerse myself in, I laughed with the ladies, cried with them, sympathized at times. I hated to see the story end. Although the book is finished, I was thrilled to discover that there is a series of The Potluck Club books, each concerning these six women. The second in the series is The Potluck Club: Trouble's Brewing  and I can't wait to order that one. 
  If you enjoy women's stories like Steel Magnolias,  or Fannie Flagg's books, with a Christian perspective, I think you will love  The Potluck Club and the ladies in it: Evangeline, Donna, Vonnie, Lisa Lean, Lizzie, and Goldie. Bonus: there are lots of yummy recipes included!
  Grab a copy and let me know what you think. I enjoy discussing books with friends. Meanwhile, your turn. Do you have a book or two that you recommend? I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Goodbye September, Hello October

Ok, if you received this without a title, it's because it was written last night around midnight when I should have gone to bed. Fun fun.

Can you believe September is already gone? Time sure flies, doesn't it? I haven't written as much as I would have liked this month, but for me, family comes first.  So, what have you been up to lately? I'll catch you up a little and give a few tidbits if you'll share with me how it's going with you. Deal?
  Remember Heavenly Homemakers Funky Fresh Kitchen Challenge? I didn't blog as much about it as I'd meant to, but I tried keeping up with Laura. As for me, I nearly gave myself a big, fat FAIL on the month long challenge series, but I decided to be lenient and give myself a D. A lot of the challenges I ended up putting a "to be continued" label on them for one reason or another. That's okay. I haven't given up on doing those things. But I did decide to try menu planning again, which is a step in the right direction, and I got my pantry area cleaned out and functional. So woohoo there! Sorry, no pictures. Need to replace my camera at some point in the future.
  I decided earlier to put myself through Home Ec 101 and get my act together in a few areas. It's still a work in progress. I have a friend now (Hi, Sharon!) who encourages me each week to declutter and organize. We chat via private message on Facebook on Mondays, and sometimes one other day during the week. We tell each other what we are working on that particular day, and I think it's beneficial for both of us.
  As I mentioned earlier I'm trying to master the art of menu planning. It comes so simply to so many, but I struggle with it. I know basically what my family eats, and I'm learning to keep a list of pantry items so I can come up with nutritious meals. I am even learning to take into account the schedule so I can figure out if we need to eat out on a certain day because of doctor appointments, or whether I can figure out another way to make sure we're fed while on the road.
   J continues to do well without the behavior medications, but I've found that he still needs melatonin to help him sleep. He's currently dealing with insomnia. O joy of joys. So this early bird has had to adjust her sleep schedule a wee bit to accommodate the situation. (Whew! Took three tries to spell accommodate correctly.)
  Also, I'm in house hunting mode. I have a scout in the area we'd like to live in, both for financial and work reasons, and I've been doing some searching on the net to see what is out there that we could possibly afford. I'm seeing a few prospects. The biggest thing now is to look at the houses, set the ball in motion, and trust that God will lead us to the home that is right for us. I'm praying for this.  There has already been a blessing in this: I'm getting to better know an old friend from school, and I have a new friend in his wife as well. I am really hoping and praying this works out because it has been so long since I lived close to a friend so I could visit and talk. Bonus: I'd have more motivation to keep the house organized and clean! I don't know about you, but knowing company may show up is a HUGE motivator in housekeeping.
  Something new, something new.A Proverbs Wife is beginning a weeklong reading of Colossians  today (October 1). It runs through Sunday, October 7. I hope you'll join the discussion there.
  Well, that's all the news for now on my end. What about you? What have you been up to lately? Are you accomplishing all the goals you set for yourself? I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Love You, But...

I have a habit, like most people, of checking Facebook once or twice a day. I want to see what my family and friends are doing, thinking, posting. One particular friend was on a rant because another friend told her he didn't care for some of the things she posted. I'd be a little perturbed if someone told me they didn't like what I posted. Then again, sometimes I'd be a little shocked that someone actually read any of my postings. I agreed that the person shouldn't have told her that. Personally, I think that's what the delete button is for. Get enough of it, delete the person. Or at least remove the person from your daily feed.
  But my friend said something else. What she said was , if you don't love all of me then delete me. 
    Well, let's think about that for a moment.Can you love every single aspect of a person, as in every part of their life? Can you love the person and not like parts of their lives?
  A popular statement these days just happens to be, if you love me you have to accept all of me. God loves us in the truest form, and He doesn't even do that. He tells us in His Word there are things He cannot and will not abide: lying, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, murder to name a few. Every single person who lives, ever has lived, and ever will live on this earth has sinned or will sin. Does this mean God hates us? Not at all! God loves us, and hates the sin!
  Example two: I love my sister, but she smokes. I don't like that part of her life. If she were to come visit, the cigarettes have to stay outside. The smell makes me ill and I don't want that nasty stuff in my house. Does this mean I don't love my sister or that I love her any less? No way!
  Love isn't and shouldn't be conditional. I don't know anyone who would ever say "I will love you if...". You either love someone or you don't. Conditional love is wrong, on both sides of the street. Telling someone that they have to accept a behavior or activity or they don't love you is just as wrong. Both types of behavior should have been outgrown at least by junior high.
  Bottom line? Facebook, at the end of the day, is really not much more than a virtual "I Love Me" wall. You post on there things that are important to you, that mean something to you. You're sharing yourself in a way that is safe because for the most part, you control who sees "you."  That's the easy part. What you cannot and should not even try to control is how someone feels when they see what you post. Some will like it, others won't. Some will hit the delete button and move on, some will give feedback. Those we have on our friends list are there for a reason. While sometimes it is our first instinct to get angry and defensive when someone disagrees, perhaps we should just go ahead and talk with the person. Learn something. Gain a new perspective. Or just shrug and agree to disagree on that point. 
    Love one another as we are commanded. Jesus is our greatest example of how to love. He loved the people. He didn't love what they did.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gratituesday: Grateful for Sarge

 The hubby never made it up the ranks when he was in the Army. Never even made it to sergeant. That's okay, though, God has a different purpose in mind for him. Christian, husband, father, hard worker, drill sergeant...
   No, he isn't bossy, and no, he's not a tyrant. Recently though, he has taken it upon himself to encourage me in my writing. He came up with the goal of ten pages a day. I don't always meet that goal, but he encourages when I am busily typing or scribbling away, and he barks orders to "get to it!" if I haven't so much as picked up a pen all day. 
  Like any good drill sergeant who is in the faces of the soldiers under his or her command, exercising them to the point of fatigue and sometimes exhaustion, he's there in the trenches with me. Encouraging me. Reading what I've written. Giving feedback. Asking questions when I'm stuck on a scene or a character, and eventually, like working on a troublesome Rubik's cube, the pieces finally align and it works. 
  I have a long way to go before my fiction sees the light of day, but I'm thankful that my husband encourages me and helps me to realize my lifelong dream. Thank you, hon. Thanks for continuing to push me. 

 Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!  What are you grateful for today? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thankful for Good News

I missed Gratituesday yesterday, and hopefully I'll be back on that route next week. I enjoy reading what others are thankful for and I like taking the time to reflect on someone or something I'm thankful for in my life. But this news is just too good not to share right now.
   My sister works at my doctor's office. I have a cell phone that is like us humans sometimes -- stubborn, obstinate, and cooperates with me only when it feels like it. Because of that, I had been spending the last few weeks playing phone tag with my doctor. So my sister finally stopped by my house this afternoon after work. My echo cardiogram test results came out fine! Praise God! Oh, I'm so happy about that.  
  We do know I still have to see the OB/GYN concerning a problem that showed up on some other tests, but I know that can be dealt with. Thank you to all who have kept me in prayer over the test results.

LIfe, Death, Family

Photo of family from Photobucket.

Old but true wisdom advises us that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." Today I realized I am guilty of having but not following through one too many times. 
   My intention has always been to keep family close. Yet the cares and busyness of life, and gas prices too often gets in the way. Today, my niece left a message for me informing me that the mother of my nephews, a former sister in law, had passed away from cancer. I hadn't seen her in years, probably since my brother's funeral, and we didn't speak much, if any at that time. She was mostly there for her sons. 
  In my family, I seem to be the one who wants to have get togethers, but we just can't seem to get it together enough to come together. I know where they live, they know where I live, yet it doesn't happen. We leave messages on Facebook, or we talk via family member closer by. That's a sad part of modern life. It shouldn't be so, but sometimes it is. 
  My heart is heavy because I want to be there for my nephews. I also know that my husband's schedule, as well as finances,  may keep us from physically being there. It breaks my heart that I didn't make more of an effort to keep the lines of communication open. Even though she was no longer married to my brother, I still cared for her. And I love my nephews, and all of my family, dearly. 
  My mother in law has taught her children, and her daughters in law, to say I love you before leaving the house or ending a phone call. She says you never know when will be the last time you get to tell someone those words. I need to extend this tradition with other loved ones in my life. 
  Our spirits crave love. To know that someone cares about us, misses us when we aren't there. Don't hold back. Tell your loved ones that you love them. Let them know how much they mean to you. Make time for family and friends in your life. Don't let funerals be the only time you reunite with loved ones. I don't know about you, but I'd rather spend time together while I'm still here to enjoy it. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Win a Nutrimill at Heavenly Homemakers!

Ugh. Forgive the tiny link up there. I'm still learning the ins and outs of blogging. No matter. You see that Nutrimill up there beside the link? Heavenly Homemakers is giving one away, courtesy of Paula's Bread  .  How cool would it be to freshly grind your own wheat, or other grains at home? I don't have one but I really would like one. Go check it out and enter to win! 


You know what I was doing last night? I was cleaning my kitchen and planning out what needed to be done today. Okay okay, close your mouth and you over there, pick yourself up from the floor. You don't have to be that shocked. I do get Suzy Homemaker and then. 
   A friend contacted me last week. She realized we both have the same disorganized gene. She suggested we team up and encourage one another in getting housework tamed. As I've said here Laura over at Heavenly Homemakers is challenging her readers to get funky fresh in the kitchen. Another blogger that I dont get to read often but enjoy, has lately been posting articles on blessing your husband here at A Proverbs Wife  and how to find joy in home making  here.  Still another one, Good (Cheap) Eats  is doing a series on Meal Planning 101.  All of these have been coming under my radar lately. Think I'm being told something here? I think so. 
    Since buddying up with my friend Sharon I've noticed a few things. I'm highly disorganized (we all knew that) and I think it's partly because I have squirrel brain. No, I'm not saying I have the brain of a squirrel... although some may think so at times. What I mean is, 
See what I mean? I get easily distracted from project / chore to another. 
  The other thing I noticed is I'm a perfectionist control freak who gets easily frustrated if things don't fall easily into place when I have a plan. Notice that little word there? "I"?  Yeah. That's the problem there. I still have to learn to give up control .  
  So. As of now, I've enrolled myself in Home Ec 101. While I'm the guide on this voyage, the real teachers are some of the bloggers I've mentioned and I am the student. I will be focusing on getting organized / housework, meal planning, and my own attitude adjustment. I feel God is trying to teach me some things here. If you see some of yourself in this, feel free to learn right along with me. Thank you so much to my mentors in this endeavor, whether they realize it or not. And if you're continuing to read this, thank you too. I'd love to hear from you.  What are you working on right now in your life?                

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Don't Should Upon Yourself

 Do you ever 'should' all over yourself? I used to watch a reality show a few years back. Several women who were dealing with a problem and needed to start over came and lived in a house together. There were two life coaches, both women, who guided them along and gave them assignments to help them with their goal. One of the life coaches, a therapist named Iyanla Vanzant, gave this advice to one of the women: Don't 'should' all over yourself, and don't let others should on you either.
   Some of her advice stuck with me. I don't agree with some of her methods or ideologies, but that's okay. I don't look to her for spiritual guidance. But that one nugget of truth is what I needed from her.
  Why am I blathering on about this? Because I'm sitting here 'shoulding' on myself. I should be checking the laundry. I should be starting the ham. I should be picking up the living room. I should be finishing the dishes. I should be working on my novel. I should be this, I should be that. Enough!
   I am only one person. I can only stretch myself so thin before I finally snap. And I don't think I'm alone in all this thinking. We women have a tendency to wake up in the morning with a laundry list of should do's and must do's , and we go to bed thinking of tomorrow's list, all the while berating ourselves that one or two items on today's list didn't get done. And the time in between? We're running around like a headless chicken, stressed out to the max and taking everyone in our path along for the ride or we shut down. The TV or computer snaps on, fanny is firmly in place on our seat and before you know it, the day is half gone and so is the emergency chocolate stash. (Come on, admit it, you know you have one. Please tell me I'm not the only one.)
   This  does not need to be how our day is. I don't want my days to be like this. So how do I fix this?
  Prayer and bible study first thing sets the tone for the day. And yes, I'm reminding myself of this, because I have a nasty habit of jumping into the day without this very important step. And I can tell you from personal experience that my day goes a whole lot better when I have my quiet time. Does it stop all bad things from happening? Not by a long shot. Hiccups, mishaps, and just plain bad days are going to happen. Prayer and bible study makes us better equipped to face the problems because we realize we aren't alone in this.
  Again, preaching to the typist here. I've fallen off the wagon many times on this one as well. But I feel better and my attitude towards everything is better when I take my walk in the morning. You may like exercising in the evening. That's fine. Just remember to take care of yourself. I usually walk alone because I'm the only morning person living in this house. When I do it right, it's part of my quiet time with the Lord. I enjoy that.
    As busy wives and moms we have a lot of responsibilities. Some of us even have college and/ or full time jobs on top of all this. And yet we think that we are supposed to buy into the Superwoman mentality who can work outside the home, volunteer and Jr's school, keep the house spotless, and cook great meals, and five hundred other things that come up as well, and not ask for help. Remember that song back in the day? "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan... " blah blah blah.  Also something that trips women up (although it is not supposed to) is the Proverbs 31 woman. 
   There is absolutely nothing wrong with that chapter, none at all. I aspire to be that woman too. But  the reason she was able to do so much in one day is she had servants helping her! If you're like me you don't have servants helping you. We do have husbands and some of us have kids. Ask hubby or Tommy or Mary to fold the towels when they come out of the dryer. Can hubby stop after work and pick up the groceries or the forgotten milk? Oh no, I can't do that. I have to do it because I like my towels folded a certain way. Hubby will get the wrong kind of cereal.
  I started out wanting my towels and other items folded a certain way. Now, as long as it gets done, I'm not gonna make a fuss. As for the grocery list, yes I have a few items on my list that I'm really picky about. My sweet hubby has learned that  I'm going to be persnickety about some items. If I give him a list, I write down the specific brand for those items otherwise I'm at his frugal mercy and I just have to bite my lip and remember to thank him for helping me. 
  As for the stuff you have to get done yourself, write it all down if you have to (I do or it doesn't get done.). Then take a few minutes to decide what absolutely must get done and what can wait. Give yourself some breathing room in your schedule. Surprises, both good and bad, do come up. 
  These are just a few things that may help you in your day. I know it helps me. Now, if you'll excuse me, my kitchen is calling... 

Friday, September 7, 2012

A New Page: A (Seemingly) New J

 * Okay, so some of you may have read this one already. I'm cheating a little today, but this really is what I'm thankful for today. J still is doing well and I'm very, very thankful for this.
  On this Tuesday, as every other Gratituesday, I invite you to share what you are thankful for as well as to see what others are grateful for. Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

 J had a psychiatrist's appointment today. It's just a routine thing for him, mainly because of the meds he's been on to help with his behavior. It was more of an intake this time however, because we missed an appointment or two. And missing the appointment led to going off one of the meds. Am I sorry he did? No way.
  On the medication, J did fairly well. He was on an even keel most of the time, although he could still get loud and boisterous from time. But not having that little pill exactly on time could be disastrous. He'd be starving all the time on or off the meds, and could get angry and rather animalistic  in behavior --biting, tearing his clothes, being destructive. So we kept up the medication.
  Shortly before that medication ran out, his neurologist suggested another medication to help him focus. The Hubby and I were a bit reluctant to try the new med so we kept putting it off. Seeing that J was getting a bit hard to live with coming off the other med, we decided to try it. And promptly hated it. J went from being loud and boisterous to quiet, tired from not enough sleep, and tearful. He even regressed to combative behavior once. And only once. He was too quiet, and would barely eat, so we dropped the new med to once a day. And J did somewhat better, but still too quiet for my taste. Still had to remind him that he needed to eat. So we made the decision to drop the pill altogether unless we thought he needed something. You know what? He hasn't needed it.
  During the intake, the therapist noticed the difference between J today and J in May. Huge, huge difference. J was engaging in eye contact, showing appropriate behavior, was smiling, and even laughing some, but was never too loud.  He signed the paperwork that needed to be signed, albeit hand over hand and with several prompts to "focus". ( Because J is legally an adult and we have not gone through court to become his legal guardians, J is required to sign the paperwork there. Gotta love beaurocracy, right?) 
   As I have stated before during this week, I'm liking the changes we are seeing. He's sleeping better. His eating habits are stabilizing. His personality shines through more and he engages with us more. In fact, if he sits for too long without someone talking to him, interacting with him, or at least listening to music, he gets bored. He wants activity these days.  Staying on task for more than a few minutes is hard for him, but we can work on that. 
    Naps have pretty much gone out the window these days. Gone are the long naps in the afternoons. But although I could use one now and again, I'm happy he's not sleeping the day away. He sleeps better at night, no giggles at three in the morning , showers at five AM, or roaming the house at midnight.  I'm liking this a lot. 
  Will this behavior stay? Will it get better? I don't know. He hasn't been completely off behavior meds long enough to really tell. I hope and pray it stays this way, though. I'm happier, The Hubby is happier, and most importantly, J is happier. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Some Ado About...Some Things.

 I missed yesterday's blog time. I think it's harder sometimes when The Hubby is home on his weekend. But today I've been gently reminded that I need to get busy writing instead of playing on the internet. The short novel I'm working on is staring me in the face, and inspiration just isn't coming right now. So I thought I'd share a few tidbits here and see where my brain takes me. Forgive the disjointed blog here, but it just didn't seem worth writing several tiny little blog posts with all this stuff.

 J is in the midst of a meds change lately. He ran out of one med, and will likely be put back on it on Friday. Meanwhile, his neuro, in response to seeing how "uncooperative" J had been, put him on Adderal. He's been on adderal once before, briefly.  I couldn't remember why we took him off of that particular med at the time ( I highly recommend keeping a journal of your child --meds and when taken, reactions, eating/ sleeping habits, routines, doctor visits, all of this. I've started a notebook for this purpose a few times, and am still working on making it a habit. It makes things much easier in the long run. Learn from my mistake in this instance.). 
     During the short time we gave J the prescribed dosage, he went from our happy, hungry boy to withdrawn, tired all the time, and barely eating. In short, he was a zombie. He cried easily, began "Yarping" more than normal, was easily agitated. We stopped giving it to him. While he's less focused, he is more playful, has a fairly decent appetite, and sleeps sometimes without melatonin. He wants more interaction. I like my J like this. I think he may need a little something at times to help him focus, but he seems to be more engaged in the world without it. 

  Back to school time seems to be a great time to get the house cleared out, straightened up, and ready for winter and the holidays. After a summer of carefree eating and playing, I want something different. This month, Heavenly Homemakers is blogging about creating a Funky Fresh Kitchen. Laura is hosting giveaways, giving tips, and helping us get our kitchen in order for fall. This week so far she has issued us a challenge to throw something out and replace it with something healthier, here.  If you would like an ebook of Do the Funky Kitchen for $2, go hereThis price is available for one week so hurry and get your copy.
    I've been enjoying Laura's series, and giving a lot of thought to what I need to toss out to have a healthier kitchen. I've made a deal with myself that premade cookies and brownie mixes wont be coming into the house. If I want those goodies I can make them from scratch. It's less expensive and a bit healthier because I can control the ingredients. Which leads to the next topic...

  My anemia is still a concern. I'm working with the doctor on that, trying to eat more healthy and trying to remember to take my iron supplements as often as he wants me to. Not always easy. But in order to take care of my family, I have to take care of myself. Because food prices are going up just like everything else it seems, I've decided that my family needs to incorporate a few vegetarian or meatless meals each week. I'll be researching this a bit more , as I need to be sure to get enough iron in my diet.
  I need motivation in this area. I think I'm going to list three things each day that I need to get done. Most likely not here, but just for myself. Today, though, I need to do laundry, do my dishes, and pick up in the living room. 

How about you? How are you doing these days? Are you motivated to get the house in order, have a healthier kitchen? Are you figuring out the ins and outs of autism? Trying to take better care of your health? Let me know how you're doing. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gratituesday: Thankful for Learning to Give up Control

  Today is Gratituesday, as coined by Laura from Heavenly Homemakers,  Wont you join us?
  I have a need to be in control. I think I have all the answers, I know what's best for people. That's a very arrogant statement, don't you think? It puts a lot of unneeded stress on a woman to have to be 'in control' all the time. You know what I've been learning? I can't control everything and I certainly can't control everyone around me. Family and friends are going to be and do whom and what they choose. It's called free will, a gift given us God. That gift comes with responsibility, to be sure, but that's a lesson for another time. The point for today is, I can teach my child right from wrong. I can discuss with my family and friends what the bible says or give my opinion on a matter. It is up to the individual to decide what he or she is going to do.   I can want a certain outcome in any given situation, and I can pray. But in most cases I can't control the answer. 
  I've been having some health problems that have the doctor concerned. He had some tests run to see what exactly is going on. Should be simple, right? You go in, do the tests, you find out the results. Well, in learning to give up the need for control, you have to learn how to trust. Most of the tests have come out fine. Yes, i have something that necessitates seeing another doctor for but I'm okay with that. It's relatively minor and we'll see what the new doc recommends. When I see him. Remember that control problem? I get very frustrated when things don't happen when and how I think they should. We had to reschedule that appointment. 
  One other test I haven't heard the results from yet. I've been playing phone tag with the nurse. Hopefully we will hear today whether everything is good or not.We shall see. I'm still a little concerned, but I'm slowly learning that I don't need to be in control. Our heavenly Father can see the whole picture, whereas I can only see bits and pieces at a time. My trust needs to be such that, no matter the outcome of the results or the doctor visit, God will take care of me. He is in control. Not me. I'm thankful that I don't have to be. While I do have to take care of my health as best as I can, and do my part no matter the situation, I don't have to sit and worry over every little detail. I can lean on the everlasting arms. I don't have to worry about the future because I know who holds the future. I know that sounds simplistic and trite, an not always easy to hold to, but it's true. 
  Am I still going to worry at times? Most likely. I'm a wife, a mother, a daughter, I'm human. I'm going to slip up. But this is a lesson I'm being taught at the moment-- trust and give up control. I'm so thankful for it.