Saturday, April 18, 2015

My Tools

What do you think of when you hear the word TOOLS?

I think of men and hammers and saws and a ratty old tool belt or a rusty old tool box.   I think of my dad and my husband  - both of them handy with tools - and Saturdays spent working or fixing something.  

That's what I think of, when I hear the word tools.

But, when I think of myself, in regard to tools, I think of a much different set of items; but, nevertheless, things that help me build or fix or create things, in my own way.

So, today I want to introduce you to one of my favorite tools that I use each and every day and really think I'd be lost without planner.

More specifically......

My Passion Planner (that's it's real name).

The Passion Planner is a wonderful little tool I found by complete accident.    A friend posted a video from the Passion Planner website on Facebook and I took two minutes to watch it and literally fell in love (the kind of love you have for paper...or tools).

I knew it was exactly what I wanted, to keep me on track and help me keep up with some goals I had for the new year.

With multiple places to write personal goals, as well as work goals, the Passion Planner helps you keep your lists separate, so you can focus on several areas during the week.

Each two-page monthly calendar, lets you map out the goals for the month and gives you reminders in the margin, of what your big-picture goals were, at the beginning of the year.....also known as your....Passion Roadmap.

Your Passion Roadmap helps you chose goals, dates to meet those goals, and steps to getting to the finish line of each one.

The idea is to take these bigger goals and fill them into your monthly calendars, working on them throughout the year (or years), depending on whether they are long term or short.

The Roadmap is a great exercise to go through because it makes you stop and really think about the direction you're moving in and how you're going to get there.

You know what they say....writing it down has a way of helping put things in perspective and helps you remember what you want to do.

Simply thinking about your goals won't get you anywhere!

I also love the fact that there is plenty of room to write and draw and be creative, all while getting down to business.

I have had great fun decorating with colored tape and using all my favorite pens, while telling myself to scrub the floors on Tuesdays!   It just makes it all go down a little sweeter when you look at your list for the day and see bright colors and pretty flowers staring back at you, even among the words "scrub toilet".   Yeah, it helps.

Each month, the planner has a place for you to look back and analyze the events of the past month, with questions such as.....

"What were the three biggest lessons you learned in this past month?"
"Name three things you can improve on this coming month."
"How are you different this month, compared to last month?"

There are also inspirational quotes on the spread for each week, plus a place to write out the good things that took place (ahhh, the power of positive thinking, count your blessings, and all that good stuff!)

Overall, this is definitely the BEST planner I've ever owned (and boy, have I owned a LOT of them!)!!

If you're looking for a great TOOL (and not the kind you hammer nails with), then you might want to consider this one.

Every woman needs a good set of tools.   Afterall, we can't let the men have all the fun!

Happy Planning!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Biblical Womanhood - Revised

If you've noticed that my previous post titled Biblical Womanhood is gone, you're very observant!

Though I probably should have left parts of it here, because I 100% believe what I wrote to be true, I also let my emotions come across in a manner that might not make the author of the mentioned article, feel very good, if she were to visit this blog.   And, that is never my goal!

After corresponding with her in the comment section of her article, I got the picture that she was trying to focus on other aspects, than what I gleaned from her article.   Fair enough.

It's not my intention to argue over her perception or have her argue over mine, so's just easier to move on to other things.

I still want to reiterate the fact that I wholeheartedly believe that God has placed each of us in these designated places, times, positions, homes, cultures, etc., and that we should never assume that one culture is spiritually superior over another.  

Biblical Womanhood by definition is being the BEST woman you can be....RIGHT WHERE GOD PLACES YOU!  

If that's on the streets of Liberia or the Hollywood hills....WHEREVER....that's where He wants you to live and serve him with all of your might!   He has purpose for you right there!

So, keep working, keep fighting the battle he's allowed in your life and most of all, keep focused on your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

In the end, the only thing that really counts is your love for Him.

Blessings my friends!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It's A Thing...

There's a new thing going around and though I forgot the official name of it, this new thing has also been called a Brain Dump (aka: worst name ever).

Regardless of the name, the process goes like wake up in the morning, immediately grab your journal and begin writing down every word and thought that comes to your freshly, awakened mind.

Supposedly, the thoughts are to be your purest, most authentic thoughts, because you haven't polluted your mind with everyone else's nonsense yet.

Personally, I think it's rubbish, but what do I know?

But, today......more specifically.... this afternoon, I am sitting here with my second cup of coffee (normally, I only have one in the p.m.) and about to use this method of sharing random thoughts that make no sense, with the hopes and expectations of ridding myself of all the negativity going on in my mind today.

Or, as I lovingly referred to it, to my dearest friend earlier.....a pity party for one.   She said she wished she could come over, so we could have a party for two, but she lives too far away, so add that to the list of "woe is me" today!

So, here are my random thoughts today.......

This picture makes me happy/sad.   I miss Ted.   Oh, I've gotten used to him being gone, but every now and then....I just miss him.   Add to that, seeing Collin grow up is killing me too (on some days), but I'm so proud of both of them, that I can't deny that the Lord has abundantly blessed me with amazing kids.  It's a MOM thing.

This is probably what made me emotional about the out some of their old school books, that we've had on the shelves for years.  

These books represent more than academics......these books represent countless hours with my boys, sitting in the livingroom, teaching and learning, discussing and praying and just enjoying the gift of homeschooling overall.   Now that Collin is moving on to Dual Credit, it's really time to make room for new books (college prep books!  Can you believe it?) and let go of some things.   This is an emotional event - this cleaning out of old school books.   It's a passage thing.  It's a homeschool mom thing too. 

Then there's this book.....MY textbook.    I love and treasure this book.   I will never outgrow this one and never want to be without it.   But, oh! the conviction sometimes!   This morning, my prayer was focused on a specific behavior that I need to bring under control.    Well, of course, when you put it out there, that you need work in a certain area, you somehow get tested in this area, right away.   Yep...that's the way it happened.    I failed.    It's a sin thing.

Today is one of those days when you just long for someone to understand you completely.   Wouldn't it be so nice for someone to listen and agree and truly understand you, without accusation?   Shoot! That would be great on any day!    It's a wishful thinking kind of thing! 

Likewise, it would be great to be RECOGNIZED for something you do, instead of always feeling like you're being judged for what you don't do!    Yeah, that would be great.    It's an appreciation thing. 

Ok, this is not a "thing", but it was so darn cute that I had to put it in here.   It could be a LOVE thing or a MOM thing or a MELT ME thing.    Or all three.  Oh my gosh.

So, there you have it!   My brain "release" for the day (I really despise that other word!).

When it's all said and done, I guess I do feel some relief now that I've gotten all of those thoughts onto "paper".    Now, it's time to get back to work and do something productive with all of this caffeine energy I have!

But, I leave you with one last thought......

It's a sugar thing!  It just makes everything else seem bearable!

If you get up tomorrow and release your thoughts, I'd love to hear all about it!  (It's a curious thing)!

What Are You Neglecting Today?

So obviously, this is the area of our back yard, where things go to die or at the very least....get totally neglected.

I looked out the window one day and this table had gone from standing - to horribly leaning and I'm sure the next step is all-out collapsing.   Then it will be dead.   Just like the plants sitting on top of it.

Did we intend to let this happen?  Well, no.

When we bought this table, I had great intentions for it.  

I envisioned picnics in the yard.   The kids and I sitting here, waiting on David to grill something tasty and the family eating on cute, summer plates and a red checked table cloth.  (I often dream about Walton's moments, but they never happen!)

Let me just say......this NEVER happened....not even once!

In fact, the only time I remember anyone actually sitting at this table, was years ago when I actually commanded strongly persuaded one of the kids to do their reading there.     Then a wasp came and that was the end of that.   In fact - I'm pretty sure the underside of this table has been the "wasp headquarters" for years now.    Just another sign of us neglecting things out there.

So, what went so drastically wrong with this cute, little table that I had such great expectations for?

Well, it started out being neglected by the man who built it.  

Whoever built this table, did not use the proper materials and therefore, he compromised it's value and future, right away.   He used untreated wood and though he stained it, he didn't take steps to protect it properly.

Then, we brought it home and instead of placing it underneath a shady tree, we placed it right in the center of the backyard, where no tree lives and the sun comes shining fully, scorching hot, daily, all afternoon.


Yep, that's right!  And, by the time I thought to move it to the shade, it was too far gone and David had to break the news to me that it wasn't going to be around much longer.

Why didn't we do something sooner?   We knew it was bound to happen.   We could even feel the neglect taking a toil, but we just kept walking by and not doing anything about it.

This reminds me of marriage.

Or friendships.

Or our health.

Or relationships with our children or other family members.

Or even our calling - the use of our gifts, for God's purpose.

We can neglect so many things - things we started out valuing and treasuring and having high hopes for.   They can all fall, at the neglectful hand of the ones who chose to keep walking by, but not doing anything.

Each act of neglect starts small.   Maybe there are intentions of fixing something, confronting something, getting help or talking it out.   But, there's always that excuse of  "I'll do it later" and moving on to something else.

The problem is, every day that you leave something unattended, is one step closer to watching that something fall and fail.

If it's your marriage - every time you ignore an issue, you are basically neglecting your marriage and stacking up those stones of discontent, which will eventually lead to a big, fat wall that separates the two of you.

If it's any relationship - you are risking the loss of never connecting with that person again.   Years of neglect leave a big hole that's hard to fill and some choose moving on over second chances.

Neglecting your health is something that many of us do, because we're young and feel fine.   But, as we were all told, at one time or another, by our elders....."it will creep up on you!"  and boy, were they right!   It's much harder to maintain good health in your 50's, if you've neglected your body for decades before!

And, if you're neglecting the calling God has placed on your life, then you are missing the blessing of living in God's purpose.  There are seasons of work and seasons of rest and God is either training us or using us, but He is never neglecting our purpose.  But, we can neglect it, by tucking it away and choosing to do other things, or sometimes, nothing at all.

Whatever it is, there is some area of life that is begging for your attention!  

There is some area that you have placed on the back burner, way too many times.

What is it?

Look around and take notice of that area in your life that is leaning a little (or about to collapse) and start there.

Chance are, you've been walking by it with good intentions (or maybe not), but you just haven't wanted to exert the energy it's going to take, to set it back up and make it strong again.

But, believe me.....if you don't, you're going to look out the window one day and wonder why life has finally collapsed in this area and then you will have to come to the realization that all the great intentions were just empty promises.

Don't neglect that which is valuable to you.

Start today and change the future of that thing that you once neglected.  

Your future self will be thankful.

Monday, April 13, 2015

What's For Breakfast This Week?

One of the most challenging meals around our house is breakfast.  It seems that we're always walking around the kitchen wondering how we can start our day with something filling, tasty and not wrapped in a package.   But, it's a hard meal to satisfy everyone with because some of us like sweet, some like non-sweet and some don't like to cook in the morning (ahem, that would be me!).

So I wanted to make some big batches of things this week, so we would have more choices than cardboard bars breakfast bars or cereal.  

I started off with these Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls, straight from Crystal over at Money Saving Mom.

Crystal has some of the best recipes using a bread machine, which means you'll have most of the ingredients on hand, assuming you keep Yeast around for fun.

The ingredients mostly consist of flour, milk, salt, yeast, eggs and oil and in each of her recipes she tells you exactly what order to put the ingredients in the machine, which is very important, as all you bread machine people already know.

The great thing about using the bread machine is that it does all the hard work for you  and you come out (an hour and 30 minutes later) with some great looking dough.   No kneading required!

When the dough is ready, just flop it down on a greased cookie sheet and start shaping it into a big rectangle.   Don't roughhouse it (meaning don't handle it too much or too harshly) because, in my experience, it will get stubborn and not want to cooperate with you after that.   So, just spread it gently until it looks like a rectangle and then slowly step away!

Now, while the bread machine was working for you, you should have been making the filling that is used to turn this bread into cinnamon rolls.

It basically consists of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Just mix melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon all together and spread it over your big rectangle of dough.   Crystal says she makes a double batch of filling, because they really like it.   I only made one batch and it was plenty to cover the entire pan of dough, just fine. (Which I totally failed to get a picture of!)

Once you spread the filling over the dough, you roll it up, long ways, until it looks like a big tube of dough (for lack of a better word).   Then, you cut the dough into 1 inch sections and lay them on the pan.  

***Two things - the recipe calls for using two pie pans, but since I already had this cookie sheet going, why dirty two additional pans?   They came out fine for us, but if you want them to rise and be stuck together and look fabulous, you should probably try the pie pans.

Also, I tried 3 different knives and found that the easiest tool was a regular old butter knife, for cutting the dough.   ***

These bake for about 20 minutes and of course, the house will smell amazing!

While the rolls are baking, you will be making delicious homemade icing to go on top, as soon as they come out of the oven.

The icing is super simple too and is a combination of powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla.   Yeah, lots of good stuff!

When the timer goes off, you'll want to check the rolls and make sure they aren't still doughy in the center.   If they are, then just pop them in for 2 more minutes and they will come out perfect.

Then spread the icing over the tops (and sides, if you want) and then .......


They are amazing and will melt in your mouth!  

Be sure to save some for breakfast and you can even pop some in the freezer for later in the week. 

Crystal gives you some ideas on what you can do, if you make these ahead of time (such as I did, at night).   Just print out the recipe, using the link above, and all the instructions are there for your convenience.

Most of all.......ENJOY!!

(Later this week, I'll be making Breakfast Burritos to freeze, for those mornings when we wake up and realize we ate all the cinnamon rolls for dessert the night before.)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Welcome Home!

This is not our church

Sometimes you start to write something and sometimes you even hit "Publish", but something just doesn't feel right, so you delete and start over.   So, even though this picture looks familiar, this is not a re-post, this is a re-write and hopefully a better take on the story of our church adventure.

I had to ask myself why I even want to share this story with people, but I think there is value to our experience and I dare say.....someone else has to be going through this, somewhere, and maybe they can glean a tiny bit of wisdom from our story. goes.....

Thirteen years ago, David and I left the only church I had ever been a part of and the church he had grown up in, for 35 years.

We had young children, whom we homeschooled, and the church was saturated with teachers, school board members and youth, who were completely devoted to the public school system.

Because of certain attitudes and conversations, we felt the need to set out to find a church that had families with similar beliefs for education or at the very least, a diverse crowd, where school was not an issue.

Hearing myself say that NOW, it sounds kind of lame, but when you're going against a small town society, it doesn't feel so small and insignificant.   We had to do what was best for our family and finding a church where our kids would have the ability to be proud of their "school" was important. This was our way of life and we needed support.   Thankfully, we found it, in our new church.

To say it was all perfect in the new place, would not be the truth.   Yes, there were other homeschooling families, as well as kids who went to private school, but the public school kids still felt a need to harass my oldest son, as to what they imagined his school day to look like and how easy he had it, with his mom as his teacher.   I guess jealousy got the best of the little "tykes" (and I'm being kind, thank you very much).

But, in spite of those who were envious, my kids both soared in this new place and were given many new opportunities to shine, by using their gifts and talents.    As parents, this blessed us and helped us to feel we were in the right place, for such as time as that.

David and I were blessed to make some great friends at the new church, but after a few years, things began to change within the church (nothing to do with us) and though we stayed for ten years total, we eventually knew it was time to move on.

This was not an easy decision either.   I guess it never is, when you are cutting ties.

In fact, I would dare say that changing churches is one of the hardest, most thought provoking, soul searching decisions one will ever make.

There really is something to the term "church family" and that's exactly what it feels like - like leaving family.

But, sometimes it needs to be done and for various reasons.

So, after ten years, we left and set out to find a place where we could worship and serve and find that fellowship that we had been so desperately missing for years.

We did not want to "shop around" and go from church to church, searching for the ideal place.   We really wanted to pray and allow the Lord to lead us to the place and "family" that he wanted for us.

This takes time!  And, lots of listening!

We actually stayed home for about four months, having Bible study in our home and even having an Easter service in our front yard, with other friends who were not attending church.   I look back on that time as being very special for our family.

But, we knew there was danger in isolation, so we felt that we needed to be a part of a church body.

It didn't take long for us to find another church (it's the South, after all), and we soon settled in to a routine of worship and service.

But, for me....something didn't feel quite the way it was supposed to.   In fact, when I mentioned earlier, that leaving a church (and finding a new one) means lots of prayer and listening, this is exactly what it takes.    The rest of that story is that when God speaks to you and you hear - the listening needs to be accompanied by action!

You see, back when we were still worshiping at home, the Lord started whispering to me, that we had a church family.....back at our home church.   The one we had left 12 years prior!

Needless to say, I really thought I was just imagining these nudgings from God.  I truly thought that we would never return to that place we left, so many years ago.   However, the Lord was whispering and inviting, but I was tuning him out and using my own "wisdom" to push past the thoughts in my head.

This went on for over a year!

Finally, when God started whispering to me again, I couldn't deny or ignore it any longer.

We were not where we belonged.

This time, God's message came loud and clear and He confirmed it in several ways.

First off, I didn't have the heart to come right out and say to David what I was feeling and hearing.  I wanted God to speak to him and cause David to lead.   That way, we would be a team and not one following the other.   This was really important to me, because it can make all the difference in discerning what God is trying to show you.

I did share some thoughts I had about our home church and family and by doing that, God nudged David in the same direction and he asked me if I would like to go back and visit.

Well, I knew I had to say yes to that opportunity, so we made plans to go while our son was away at camp one weekend.

What happened once we got there, was so unexpected and such a blessing, that we both felt God's hand gently guiding us and our decision.

The minute we stepped out of the car, into the parking lot, then into the church, we were surrounded by love!  As David later was almost overwhelming.

It was truly like we had never left, after 13 years of being away!

We were embraced with hugs and "we missed you" and "we're so glad you're here" and so many loving words and gestures, that it felt like a homecoming we never expected.

But, the most important thing was, David and I both felt God's presence in that building and in our hearts, telling us that we had come "home".

After 13 years of being somewhere else.....God had led us home!

If you've ever felt the feeling of being perfectly in the center of God's will, you know what I'm talking about.   It's a feeling of complete "knowing" that you are doing the exact thing He wants from you. It's a feeling like no other feeling, because it's a deep connection with the Lord.   It's actually the best feeling in the world!

When we left church that day, we knew we had decisions to make and once again, a transition to go through.

But, when God shows you what to do, it does make it easier because it's about Him and not you. Who can argue with that?

One of the best things about God leading is that it brings a unity to the decision, which is very important!

There is nothing more miserable in marriage, than being on two different pages, when making major decisions.   It sets a tone in the home, that doesn't feel good or right (in that area) and it can be a point of contention between husband and wife.

It's so important to be on the same page in this area!  If you're not on the same page, then one person is sacrificing something, which can hinder them in many areas, such as worship, service, and fellowship.

And this is why I wanted to share our story.

Church is important, as is, having true fellowship with your church family.

You can have service and worship and great messages each week, but if you don't have fellowship and relationships, you still have nothing.

Friends, there is a reason that God tells us to "not forsake the coming together" and that is because we are relational people!   We need each other!   We need to have connections with other believers and to be without that aspect of the Christian life, is to be empty and numb.

You can warm a pew, serve on every committee and go every time the doors are open, but if your are missing the intimacy of personal relationships, you will never be truly satisfied.

When God spoke to me about church "family", he reminded me that family is a challenge.  Family is hard sometimes.  They're frustrating, condescending, judgmental, bossy and will sometimes call you out on wrong doing.

But, on the flip side of is a place of warmth, security, comfort, love and encouragement and each of us need all of these things, to be the best we can be.

Church families are no different.

And, yes....sometimes God will lead you to take a little journey, in order to grow you and mature you (and them), and teach you things from a different perspective.   He may even give you an entirely new group of people that will absolutely become dear friends, for a lifetime.

But, until he actually gives you that spiritual family - the one you trust in good and bad times - the one you long for and miss - until he replaces the old with the new - He may just be calling you home, to the one you left behind.  And, I pray that when you get there, they will welcome you home in the greatest of ways.

Then your spirit will say....."Welcome Home" and you will know.

***If you are searching for a church home, pray and ask the Lord to guide you to the exact place he wants you to worship and serve.   Listen for his promptings and whispers into your heart and be obedient to his leading.  

It's truly one of the most important decisions you can make, in your walk with Christ. ***

Blessings my friends!

Until next time.....

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Diligence and Wisdom - Pursue Them Both

When you pray, do you ever just ask the Lord to speak to you about one thing?  In other words, rather than giving him a long list of needs and concerns, do you ever just take a moment to listen and ask him to give you one area that he wants to change in your life?

I love asking this of God and I really want to know the answer because I want to grow in the areas where I am weak.  

Recently the Lord has placed two words on my heart - DILIGENCE and WISDOM.

These two words came weeks apart, but I'm pretty sure they are connected.

DILIGENCE - Sometimes life gets monotonous, hard, too much and you just feel worn out.   But, in staying diligent with what God has placed before you HERE and NOW, you can learn things about waiting on Him and most importantly, you can grow.

Diligence is different than perseverance.

PERSEVERANCE is a steady pursuing of something.  

DILIGENCE is being persistent in what you already have in front of you.

See the difference?

As an example - we are to persevere in our relationship with God.  We are always moving toward Him and his work, for our lives.  We persevere, whether in good times or hard times.   We never stop growing in Him.

To remain diligent is to remain faithful and consistent in the work he has already placed before you right HERE and NOW.

It's not about pursuing and moving forward.   It's about being faithful in the latest thing God has asked you to do.

You see, so many times, we want to move on.   We want to make things happen NOW, rather than LATER.   But, the diligence is the molding and shaping that is needed, to get you ready for the next step.

When we work diligently, we show the Lord that we can wait on him and remain faithful in all seasons.

I really believe the pursuit of WISDOM is connected to staying diligent.

WISDOM is important to God, which is why it referenced so many times in the Bible.  

Just in my personal Bible, which is not even labeled a "study" Bible, there are 23 different scripture passages dealing with wisdom.

Recently, I became very convicted over not pursuing wisdom in my daily decisions.  

Sure, I always pray over big things, but why not ask for the Lord's advice in the daily, little things too?

We humans become so self-sufficient and we forget that little things matter to God, as much as the big things.   Especially when you consider that each decision we make, leads to other consequences down the road.

Take, for instance, little decisions like how much money to spend.   Whether you are spending daily, weekly, or monthly, what you spend now is what you won't have later.   That adds up.  

Likewise, what you eat now (or don't eat) adds up.

Minor decisions add up to a bigger picture, so you want to make sure that even your small choices are wise ones.

To me, the connection between diligence and wisdom is that you can't remain diligent, if you're not seeking God's wisdom daily.

You see, we get bored, we get tired, we get anxious and we want more than we have and we want to move on from where we are.    It's a human thing.

But, when God has given you a task or a place to be for a time or season, it's with purpose.   It's not a cruel joke.  It's not his way of teasing or taunting you; but it's a way to grow you into what he wants you to be, later down the road.

It's the testing to see if you will be faithful in the little things, because He wants to give you the bigger things He has waiting for you.

So, in order to have the fortitude to stay where you are and work hard, you need to seek his wisdom, so you will know that you are in his will.

You need to know what his word says and you need to pray for open eyes, ears and heart, to hear him when he asks you to move on to the next thing.

In Proverbs 9: 1-18, God gives us the difference between wisdom and folly (foolishness).  Wisdom is a hard worker, pursuing those tasks that she will use later on.   Folly is lazy, deceitful, and doesn't lift a finger to get what she wants.   Verse 13 says she is "undisciplined and without knowledge".

Do you see the diligence there?

Wisdom works hard - folly is undisciplined and stupid!

One takes great diligence; one takes no effort at all.

DILIGENCE and WISDOM - we need them both.

We need to work hard at WHATEVER God has set before us and we need to continue seeking God's wisdom, while we work.

In the end, diligence will prove that you are an obedient, hard worker and wisdom will give you the assurance that you are working at the right thing.

Pursue both and be blessed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My Week in Random Pictures

Happy Tuesday Wednesday!

Not sure what's happening, but we've been going non-stop since Easter and I've barely had time to sit and write.

We had a great weekend with friends and family and as empty as my calender started has quickly filled up with random things, so I've determined to use my camera to document what goes on this week, interesting or not so interesting.

First off, this came in the mail late last week and I'm pretty sure I actually squealed out loud when I saw it.

I've been reading this magazine for the majority of my homeschooling years, but they went digital the past few years and it has really been a challenge to keep up with it.   There's just nothing like turning the actual paper pages of a magazine!

So, once a year, when they send their print issue, I am just excited to actually hold it in my hands and flip the pages.   It's a paper-lover thing.

Saturday, David and Collin did the first big mowing job and the land always looks so pretty after that, so I had to snap this shot.

This is me taking a selfie and feeling ridiculous.   I am not a "selfie" kind of girl, but I was trying to get a picture of my curly hair, for my profile shot.   How can one write about curls, if their profile picture is one with straight hair?

I didn't feel I was too successful with the selfie, so I asked David to take one for me and it came out much better (at least it's a good "hair" shot).

Banjo got a new "do" this week and so I had to take his picture too.

Ok, confession time......

I bought a month's worth of Nutrisystem and was really enjoying the taste (and I lost 2 lbs the first week), until I started noticing some residual effects.

Have you noticed the sodium content in "diet" food?!!!!

The sodium levels were outrageous and I was starting to feel like a bloated fish, so I pulled some regular food and snacks from the pantry and did a little comparison and what do you know.....real life Oreos have LESS sodium than a pack of fake oreos from Nutrisystem!   That's messed up!

But, it was in every comparison I did and I realized that was why I was having other symptoms as well, such as hands swelling, aches and pains (inflammation) and absolute dry mouth all the time (even when drinking about 96 oz. of water per day!).

Sooooo.......We are going back to "real" food and I will take a few skills I learned over the past few weeks - such as portion control, more water and small meals, more often - and start cooking again.

So for our first home cooked meal of the week - Marcy Jo's Shepherd's Pie....YUM!

Super easy and tastes delicious and the best part......
It doesn't come in a box or Styrofoam container! 

After our home cooked dinner, David and Collin needed to do a little work in the horse pasture, so I decided to play Pioneer Woman and go outside for a little photo shoot.

All was going well.......

Until these two showed up.

Nosy and Nosier.

They just can't stand to NOT be involved!

Oh well.  I guess they didn't want to be excluded from the family fun.

Afterall, they know if they hang around long enough, someone's bound to give them something to eat.

Hmmm......I wonder if they like sodium?   Or styrofoam?   Or Oreos?

I guess that wouldn't be the best idea.

Tune in next time for (hopefully) something more noteworthy!

See ya soon!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Why the Change?

I listened to a great podcast by Dani Johnson recently and it peaked my curiosity about something.....

Why has the work ethic of women in the home changed so drastically over the years?

Now this isn't a work-at-home vs. work-outside-the-home discussion.   This is a question of why women who stay at home don't take their job more seriously.   (Don't shoot the messenger!  I'm just expounding on what Dani Johnson said!)

When you look back through history, you can't help but notice that the women were dressed in a much more presentable way than women of today.  

They actually put effort into their clothes, hair, accessories - even if they were just making themselves presentable for their family.

The women of yesterday would be appalled at the yoga pants of today!

But, it's not just about how women present themselves today, it's the bigger picture of how they don't take their work (inside the home) very seriously and that reflects in many ways - not just the way they dress.

As Dani puts it, and I like to agree, women are the CEO's of their household.   Now, granted, some men do tend to take on that role for one reason or another, but for the sake of this conversation, we will assume the women are in that role.

A CEO runs the place, makes sure everything is in working order, supplies on hand, people in place, environment worthy of a job well done and anything and everything to make sure the goals are met, in order to run a successful business.

Women should be doing this inside their home, but many do not.

So, what has changed?

Well, I won't cover everything that Dani talks about in her show (you can click on the link above and listen for yourself), but one thing I will say is that it seems that some women don't really value their job in the home, as a real job.

First off.....
I know times have evolved and no, we don't need to dress in heels and pearls to do the housework.   But, there is something to be said about getting up and getting dressed everyday.

If you were to really treat your role at home as a job and a significant responsibility, you would serve yourself (and your family) much more efficiently by getting dressed every day, as if you were going to a place of employment.

When you dress, you feel better and more productive.    I will never believe otherwise!

There is something in the brain that recognizes being dressed to the shoes, as "ready", vs. hanging out in your college sweat pants (or dreadful yoga pants) with no make up on - every day, all day.

One says "I'm ready for the day!" and one says "I'm not putting any effort into anything."

And, honestly FEEL better when you're dressed.   You just do.

But, it's not just about the effort of looking presentable; it's also about taking the burden off your husband (assuming he's out providing for your family).

Under normal, everyday circumstances, there is no reason that a man should go to work everyday and then come home and have to assume the jobs that his wife could have been doing during the day.  

(Remember, this is not applicable to a woman who works outside the home.  Different rules for different circumstances.)

If your role is to work at home and your husband's is to provide for the family, then you should be treating your time at home, as a job that is worthy of your best effort.

In all my years at home, I've always viewed my "work day" as the same hours that my husband was away at his office.

I've always been confused by women who don't cook, barely clean (their kids do all the chores), don't pay bills, don't grocery shop, don't organize, etc.   I mean, really, what do they do all day?

On the podcast that I referred to, a caller told Dani that when she worked outside the home, she was much more productive than when she began to work at home.   Dani asked her to reflect back on her actions of getting ready for work each day, in comparison to how she prepared for her days at home.   The caller admitted that she didn't prepare for her day at home.   She wasn't treating it as a job.

And, there's the difference.

Women these days must not see their home as a job and it shows.

There is so much more to this topic, which you can hear on the podcast, but it's a topic that really saddens me.

With divorce rates the way they are and many other social issues that affect the family, I can't help but wonder if the women of today are putting effort into the wrong arenas.

Your home is the hub of family.

And these days.....the hub is not working the way it used to.

**I encourage you to listen to the entire podcast for a better picture of this topic.**
Click HERE for the entire show.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Don't Mess With Your Curls!

It's been a few years since I've talked about my hair, but it's definitely worth another post for anyone who's new around here.

I have very curly hair and several years back, I found this book and it became my hair bible, so to speak.

The e-book is really the best, because it includes videos that are very helpful for the tips they give on how to wash and not ruin your curls.

The reason I'm reposting this is that I recently lost my ever-loving mind and decided I was bored and wanted a new style.    

Now, wanting a new style is very limited when you have ringlet-type hair, because there are really only a few options that will work - short, long, layered or not - but only in curl fashion.

In other words, we curly girls don't have the option of seeing a cute style in the magazines and deciding we want "that one" because our hair stylist will look at us like we are crazy and if she's really good......she won't cut it.

Which is almost what happened to me.

But, not quite.

Hence - I'm in transition now and I no longer want to shave my head - almost.

Let me back up.....

Ok, so I got bored.   I do that.   I like change and I usually go after it, if it's reasonable.

So, on this particular day, I told my stylist that I wanted to go a little shorter and layered.....but kind of a shaggy layer.  

She argued with me (and even got a little snippy (no pun intended) with me), but after seeing that she couldn't talk me out of it, she cut my hair.

Totally my fault for being persistent.

What was also my fault is that I even went to her in the first place, knowing that she wasn't a stylist proficient in cutting curls!!!

Shame on me.  I. Know. Better.

And, THAT is what I really want this post to be about......finding the right stylist!!

When I first read Curly Girl, I kind of panicked.   I mean, I do live about two hours away from one of the largest cities in America, but's two hours away!     And, how in the world could I go about finding a stylist proficient in curls?   It seemed impossible.

So, the first time I went in for a cut, after reading the entire book in a day or so, I'm sure I made the stylist sick by telling her all that I had learned.   She genuinely seemed insulted.

"No shampoo, only conditioner!"  "Cut it dry, not wet!"   And, on and on it went, until I finally shut up and she let me go home.    

Fast forward a few years, and I politely asked the next girl if they are taught how to work on curls, while being trained.    She assured me they were, but then added..."Well, they mostly just teach us how to style curly hair."    Ok.....NOT THE SAME!

It's a scary feeling when you've taken such care of your curls (harder than it looks) and then you allow someone to start snipping and combing and washing.

Well, needless to say, I'm done with stylists that don't know how to cut curls.

No more!

I've heard from a fellow curly girl friend that there is ONE stylist in our area that does it right, so I will be putting myself on her waiting list in the future.  

In the meantime.....I'm growing out this mess and praying that my curls will forgive me.   I'm conditioning ONLY and trying to be gentle (no combing) and slowly but surely, my hair is coming back to life!

Uggg!  Curse boredom and trying new things!  (Well, at least for curls!)

Some things are just better left "as is" and pampered, pampered, pampered.

Curly girls, you get it, right?