Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

This year has flown by.  It’s hard to believe that in just a few days it will be 2013.  Once again I ask, “Where has this year gone?!!”

In the last several years I have chosen NOT to make New Year’s resolutions.  It just seems pointless because I would make resolutions that I could keep for a month or two and then it would phase out.  No… I’m not undisciplined.  I just would take too big a bite (have too many things to work on at once) and not be able to chew that bite.

So, once again… I will not be making any New Year’s resolutions for 2013.  But, I have some general directions in which I want to head.   I have decided that I need to get rid of some old habits and create new habits.  It has been said that it only takes 30 days of doing something and it will become a habit.  I submit that there’s a lot more to it than that.  Habits are deeply ingrained.  Anyone can will themselves to behave in a certain way for one or two months, but if there isn’t an internal change and a change in perspective, they’ll go right back to the old, deeply ingrained habits.   So, I will be working on changing my perspective this year.   But, there are two areas in which I want to make improvements in 2013.

Weight Loss

Last year I started off the year with a bang.  I started losing weight and did quite well until I hit a plateau and couldn’t seem to get any further.  Then I got discouraged even though I was telling myself (and my readers) not to get discouraged.  I gained back some of the weight that I had lost and have been steady at that new weight for the past five months.  I still need to lose a LOT of weight in order to feel comfortable.  And…  I will.  But, I am going to go about it differently than I did last year.

Being Organized

I have discovered something about myself… something I didn’t like in my husband.  I always accused him of being an all or nothing kind of guy.   I would ask, “Isn’t there some happy medium?  Does it have to be one extreme or the other?”  Here’s just one example:  If he was working on getting healthy, he would overdo it by walking for two or more hours a day.  There was no 30-45 minutes of fast-paced walking for him.  That two or three hours would dig into his schedule and soon went by the wayside because it took too much time and he had so much else to do.   (He’s a pretty amazing guy, by the way.  I wouldn’t trade him for another model for anything in the world.  I love him dearly and he’s stuck with me.  )

It turns out, I have been an “all or nothing” kind of gal.  I would go at something with everything in me, and if I didn’t reach my goal I’d get discouraged.  What I’ve learned in 2012 is that it’s OK to take baby steps.  It’s OK to work on part of a program instead of taking on an entire program.  One of my links (to the right at the bottom) is to the Fly Lady.  She is amazingly organized.  I, on the other hand, have always been a “fly by the seat of my pants”, impromtu, “planning and sticking with a calendar is a pain in the back-side” kind of personality.  I’m not one of these people who will account for every minute of my time.  Nor will I set up a schedule that says, “for 15 minutes I’ll do this, and then I’ll do that for the next 15 minutes.”  That just doesn’t work for me.  That approach takes all of the joy out of anything that I do.  In the business world it took a lot of effort to make sure that I was organized enough to do well at my job… and do well, I did.  I always got excellent reviews.  So, I know it’s possible because I was able to control that natural tendency to be disorganized.  But, I also did the work in the way best suited to me so long as the results best suited my boss.  Thankfully, I always had bosses that allowed me that freedom.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase.
Just take the first step. ” –Martin Luther King Jr.

Well, with the Fly Lady program I tried to do EVERYTHING all at once (despite the fact that she says to take it a step at a time).  I had a great, organized house… for a very short while.  And, while I was doing that I had no time to myself.  I was always working, never sitting down and watching TV or taking time to talk with my husband.  There was too much to do if I was going to do it all.  With everything going on, I couldn’t keep it up.

This year I will take just a few things and do them until they are so habitual that I don’t have to think about them.  Then I can add something else… take the next step… baby steps, as the Fly Lady calls them.  See her Baby Steps web page.  It’s a great place to start if you’re wanting to get the chaos out of your home over the next few months.

Getting Started

So this is where I am right now.  I am going to sit down before the 1st and write down what my priorities are, listing the first five only.  (I can tell you that my highest priority is my family.)  Then I’m going to set a couple goals for myself under each priority and start working on those goals using baby steps.  So, based on those priorities, I can make decisions/choices about my activities.  If someone asks me to participate in something, will it help or hinder my goals under my priority list?  If it takes me away from my goals or adds stress to my life (beause I would be saying yes to something for which I don’t really have time to give my best effort), I would need to say, “Thank you so much for thinking about me, but I won’t be able to do that this year.  I just won’t have the time to put my best effort into it.”

My Hope For You

I hope that, instead of just making a bunch of New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll take time to think through your prioritites and determine whether those resolutions will add stress to your life or make you feel like a failure because you don’t have time or energy to complete them once you start.   Only take on that which will help you reach your goals.  Only set goals for those things/situations that are your highest priorities for the year.  And most of all, make it a…

Happy New Year!

Happy new year

Your Value

This morning I couldn’t sleep.  I woke up at 2 am and have laid there for almost two hours.  I got up, took some medication for a headache and now here I am, sitting at my desk, reading blogs and enjoying the creativity and perspectives of other people.  It has been a while since I’ve written.  Between the things that must be done and the headaches I’ve been experiencing, I haven’t had much time or motivation to spend at the computer writing.  But, I miss it.

Taken for Granted….?

One of the comments I read this morning was, “I gave up the corporate ladder for diapers, and yes, I gave up the prestige of position as defined by our culture to one defined by my God.”  This insightful comment came from The Respect Dare, written by Nina Roesner.  Another comment in this blog entry (Taken For Granted….?) states, “You can have a beautiful marriage, too.  But it won’t happen if you allow yourself to model what you see on secular culture’s tv or in the magazine stand at grocery checkout.   Those are lies.  We’re also buying Christian-culture lies if we subscribe to the notion that women are to be doormats and second-class citizens in a marriage.”

This life we Christians have available to us as we grow in Christ is a life of fulfillment, partnership with our spouses, joy, peace, relationship and so much more.  God wants us to live a vibrant life filled with purpose.  He wants us to grow and develop and be all that He created us to be.   If we’re not living this kind of fulfilling life, then we’re falling short of the potential God created in us.

So, how do we reach this potential?  Well, first and foremost, God created in each and every one of us a need for Him.  As vast as His creation truly is (and we’re still learning new things about our cosmos from the most incredible discoveries in outer space to the tiniest subparticles here on earth), He created, loves, and knows each and every one of us.  He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.  And He wants us to know Him.  He gave us revelation about Himself through nature and through His Word.

Matthew 10:30 “But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”  (NASB)

In order to maintain friendships we need to spend time with our friends and get to know them.  Correct?  How can we have valuable relationships with people if we don’t spend time getting to know them?  The same goes for our relationship with God.  We need to spend time daily in His Word.  The more effort and time we spend getting to know God through His Word and praying, the more we learn about ourselves and our purpose.  So, do you spend some time getting to know Him daily?  The Bible isn’t a book that is a drudgery to read.  It is a book in which God reveals Himself and His plan and purpose for us.

Jeremiah 29:11  “‘For I know the plans that I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not calamity, to give you a future and a hope.'”

Relationships always impact each other in one way or another.  Getting to know God inevitably means that we will change.  The more we get to know Him, the more we’ll change.  And, personally, I do want to continue to grow and change and develop.  I want God to use me to have an impact on this world.  And “this world” in each and every one of our lives starts at home.

As a parent what kind of impact are you having on your children?  What kind of impact do you have on your spouse?  Please… be sure that you do not ever underestimate how you affect your family whether negative or positive.   (There is no such things as a “neutral impact”.)

Psalm 127:3(a)  “Behold, children are a gift from the Lord.”

So, as a mother, I want to speak to mothers for a moment.  God has defined your role to be one of incredible value.  You and your husband are rearing children who will have an impact on this world and on those around them.  The time you spend praying for your children, teaching them to know and love God, and raising them to have a positive impact on their world is far more important than any position in the corporate world.   Regardless of whether you work full-time, part-time or whether are an at-home-Mom, your family should always be the first priority that you have.   The way you raise your children will have an impact on their lives and the future.

Proverbs 31:10-12  “An excellent wife who can find, for her worth is far above jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

As a wife, I want to encourage wives.  The roll you have and the impact you can have on the life of your husband is immense.  Don’t take it lightly.  With a word, you can tear him down or build him up.  You can encourage or discourage him.  There is so much to write about this and I will do so in another blog.  But, I encourage you to work to be the kind of wife that adds to your marriage regardless of whether you think your husband is doing the same or not.   As a Christian, part of that “adding to the marriage” is relying on God to change you over time, spending time with Him so that you are refreshed and able to give to your marriage selflessly, and then working on being the best wife that you can possibly be to your husband.

In her blog entry, Nina Roesner so eloquently stated that we cannot emulate what we see on TV or follow the advice about marriage that we may read in magazines.  She’s right. Our culture has lowered the standard tremendously and the divorce statistics indicate that the lower standard just isn’t working.  God’s Word and His Holy Spirit show us what we need to know in order to have a really vibrant, loving marriage.

Let’s pray for our marriages and our husbands.  Let’s work on becoming the wives that seek to live by God’s standard and leave it up to God to work in our husband’s lives so that we can have an amazing, loving, wonderful marriage.

Have a blessed day.

In Seven Words Only… Plus Some

I found a sight called Luminosity that helps you develop your brain, regardless of age.  I’ve found it to be quite helpful, actually.  It’s fun to see rather dramatic improvement as you take 10 minutes a day to work on it.  The following is a Facebook quote from Luminosity and I thought it might be a great start to a blog entry.  I challenge you to take the instructions below and write a blog about it.  (Be sure to link me to your blog so that I can read it, too.)

Here are the instructions from Luminosity:  Take a few minutes and describe your workday – in seven words only. This fun challenge won’t take very long to complete, but will break up your routine and give your brain a good intellectual “stretch.”  Now, my instructions:  Because this is obviously a blog it won’t end at seven words.  Your seven word description will be the headline to your article.  Take that topic and let us know what’s on your mind.

My day?

Lively experience with creative dynamo, age six.

We used to have a sweet child who was obedient and fairly well-behaved.  He never even went through the terrible twos.  Oh… we had the usual things that go on with children when they’re tired or too full of energy or curious about things.  You know… the things that make you smile or laugh when you’re supposed to be keeping a straight face and scold… things like:

  1. walking into the hall from the kitchen and finding a trail of talcum powder from Mommy’s bathroom down the hall, through the living room, down the other hall, into his bedroom
  2. walking into the kitchen and finding his face down in the cat water bowl, trying to drink like a “kitty cat”  (Somehow this one hit my funny bone and I laughed so hard my stomach hurt.  Me – between laughs:  “That didn’t taste very good, did it?”  Him – hesitantly hiding a smile, not sure if he was in trouble or whether he should laugh: “No…”  Me – still laughing:  “Now that we know what kitty cat water tastes like, let’s not do that anymore, OK?”  Him:  “Yeah, it was icky.”  Me:  “You know why?”  Him – now with amusement in his eyes because Mommy was laughing so hard:  “Why?”  Me:  “Cause the kitties backwash into the water when they drink.”  Him – running around the house:  “EEEEEEEEWWWWWWWW!”)
  3. suddenly noticing that it is too quiet and finding him in the bathroom with big eyes and a cute voice saying, “Mommy, look.  Great, big, big bandaids.  I put ’em on my boo boos.”
  4. going into our room to find him holding up an empty bottle of K-Y — his hair, face and arms gleaming with the contents of the bottle — proudly saying, “Look, Mommy.  Lotion!”

I could go on and on with amusing stories of his antics when he was little.  I’m sure we all have stories like that.  He was cute and sweet and incredibly adorable.

But, half-way through age 6 he suddenly started to assert his independence and creative ability to get into trouble.  How can I describe him now?  He’s a clown, loving to make people smile and laugh.  He’s got a fun personality, a bright mind, a fabulous sense of humor, an endless supply of silliness, a well-rounded vocabulary (for his age), a great deal of charm (lately often used for trying to get himself out of trouble), an abundance of energy, and curiosity about everything.

His “scientific mind” may wonder what would happen if he were to pour an entire, large bottle of mouthwash into the toilet.  Will the water also change colors?  Will the change be as dark as the mouth wash in the bottle or will it be diluted?  Will it make the toilet have a minty-fresh smell?   Someone told Mommy.  Uh, oh.  “MOMMY!  I love you!”   Result of taking something that doesn’t belong to him without permission (otherwise known in our house as stealing)?  He had to take his own money to the store with Mommy, pick up a replacement bottle, take it to the cashier, hand her his money (that he’s been saving for a remote control helicopter), and give the new bottle to the owner of the one he used.  Along with that… an apology.  Ouch!  But, a good lesson to learn now while the lessons are not so “costly”.

Mommy might come into the living room and the smell of after-shave is overpowering.  Uh oh.  “Mommy, I love you.”   Mmm, hmmm… another scientific experiment… take his brother’s aftershave and a roll of toilet paper and see what happens when you pour the entire contents of the bottle on the roll of toilet paper.  Yikes!  One thing that happens… you can’t hide the smell.   Another trip to the piggy bank, the store, and back home to give his brother a bottle of after-shave and an apology.  Result… now it’s going to take months to save up for the helicopter because we spent all of the money on scientific experiments using stuff that didn’t belong to us.   Lesson learned.  “I won’t do that again.”  Drama begins.  “Life is so sad.  I will NEVER get my helicopter.  My heart is broken beyond repair.”

Homeschooling allows me to be able to spend a lot of time with my Doodlebug.  I wouldn’t exchange a moment of it.  I love him with all my heart and am so blessed to have him in my life.  He makes me smile, laugh, and think.  He is incredibly loving and affectionate.  He learns quickly, brings life to the house, and is so much fun to watch.  I so enjoy seeing the light go on when he learns something special in school and connects it with other things he’s been learning.  I enjoy talking with him, listening to him, and spending time with him.

Time goes by so quickly and he’s growing.  Before I know it he’ll be 18 and 25 and 32…  So, I’m determined to make the most of my time with my little six-year-old dynamo.

Family Night Tonight!

Friday nights are Family Night at our house.   Tonight we’re having homemade pizza.

We live in the country outside a small Southern town.  When I say small, no it’s not a one-light town, but it is small.  (The membership of the church I used to attend on the West Coast was about the same size as the population of our town.)  However, we still have a number of pizza places.  On the Food Network they talk about getting pizza dough from your local pizzeria.  I’m assuming that they mean in the big city where you may have a pizza place that isn’t a chain and that makes fresh dough every day.  I drove around our town and visited every pizza place.  Not one of them will sell pizza dough.

That night I went to the grocery store and bought Pillsbury pizza dough.  It was as I thought it would be… just OK.  (Sorry, Pillsbury.  It’s great in a pinch, but it doesn’t have the texture and flavor of a good pizzaria dough.)  I started looking for and trying recipes.  After many attempts (most of them also just OK) I finally found a recipe that my boys really, really like.

Check out Jamie Oliver’s Pizza Dough Recipe on the food Network! (This picture is from that site.) I found it in March and have been making it every time we have pizza ever since.  (In fact, each week my boys are now asking if we can have pizza for Family Night.)

Something to keep in mind:  I don’t suggest piling the flour on the counter, making a well, and pouring the liquid in the well the way the recipe suggests.  I tried that the first time around and had a leak in the flour dam… the liquid lake overflowed and started spreading all over the counter, to my youngest son’s delight.  (He was laughing and jumping around having a great time watching.)  I couldn’t swoosh it back to the flour fast enough, but finally got control by quickly spreading the flour over top of the rivers of liquid.  Ever since then when I make it I put everything in a bowl and mix it with a wooden spoon until it’s ready to be kneaded.  Then I dump it onto a floured surface and start kneading.  It’s not as much fun for a 6-year-old to watch, though.

In reality, the recipe makes a bunch of small personal pizzas or about 4 medium-sized regular crust (as opposed to about 6 thin crust) pizzas.  It’s great for parties.  If you are cooking just for family, you can take half the dough, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, put it in a freezer bag and freeze it for the next time.   Then all you need to do is pull it from the freezer, let it defrost, punch it down and make your pizzas.  When we do the personal pizzas, the boys can come and put whatever they want on their crust after I’ve shaped it.  They like that.

My boys and husband LOVE home made pizzas now.  (We don’t do “take-out” anymore.  Of course, we would if I didn’t have time to make the pizza dough.)  But, when you make it at home, you can make any kind of pizza you want!

I didn’t go grocery shopping so have to use what I have in the house.  Tonight I think it’s going to be sausage, green pepper, and onion.   Unless we want something unusual like red cabbage or sour kraut (!!?!!), I don’t have other pizza ingredients.

You all have a blessed evening.  We’re going to enjoy each other’s company, eat homemade pizza, and enjoy a family movie together.


Update:  05-01-2012

Here are some blogs with pizza ideas (all of them outside the norm when it comes to pizza):

My Fancy PantryCaramelized Onion, Purple Potato and Pistachio Pizza
Spices & Spackle:  Salad Pizza
A Brand New Season:  Pita Pizza
Cupcakes & Couscous:  Veggie Pizza on Portobello Mushroom Cap Crust


DoodleBug’s Piano and Choir

Well, today has been oh, so enjoyable.  After church we went out for dinner and then came home, played piano together for fun, and just spent time together.  Back to church for a 5 – 6:30 pm Children’s choir practice for their Christmas program.  My 6 year old DoodleBug has a solo in the program.  The kids are putting on a musical play that is quite cute and different from the typical Christmas plays.  And then we came home to make breakfast for dinner… pancakes.  My oldest has been asking for pancakes for dinner for a while.

Here’s a picture of DoodleBug practicing his solo.  Sorry… my Blackberry does not take clear photos.  I’ll have to think about investing in a phone that has a better camera for those spur of the moment pictures I like to take.

He is taking piano lessons.  (He’s had 6 so far and is far more advanced after 6 lessons than I was when I first started.)  So, for Thanksgiving he had me create a program and he invited family to his first piano concert.   He designed the program himself, telling me what pictures he wanted on it.  His concert songs were:

  1. Matchmaker
  2. Firefly
  3. Showboat
  4. Spanish Guitar
  5. O Come All Ye Faithful
  6. Deck the Halls
  7. We Three Kings

The last song was a duet with Mommy.    (It’s one we’ve been practicing for a piano recital he’ll be participating in during the first week of December.)   We all gathered around the piano with our programs and enjoyed listening to him and seeing the look on his face as he finished each song.

Family is so very precious and I’m richly blessed.  I look forward to enjoying the holiday season with those I love and doing what I can to make it memorable for them.

Have a blessed holiday season.  Don’t spend too much as you Christmas shop!  Remember that presence is worth more than presents.  Simplify, do the things that you really enjoy, and say no to the busy stuff that just takes away from time with and enjoyment of family.