Tuesday, January 23, 2018

One Step at a Time










Dan and I went out to breakfast yesterday morning and stopped by the lake to see what the ice situation was.  It was nice to be outside in the fresh air and warmer temperatures. I find it funny that I think 35 degrees is warm, but after the past few weeks it felt positively balmy. The ice jams were impressive and beautiful in their own way.

I love this lake and it's ever-changing look. Sometimes, it's wild and the waves look like the ocean. Other times, there are beautiful clouds over it.  Yesterday, it was flat and calm and the skies were gray. 

It's kind of like my life. I'm learning as I get older to realize that there are different seasons I will go through and not to react based on the moment. The sun will come out, the skies will clear and there will be times of bright sunshine. At other times, there will be stormy skies and huge waves. Other times there will be nothing but gray and dreariness. But it will always cycle around again.

One of the reasons I love photography and getting outside in nature is that there are so many little lessons out there that I'm reminded of as I walk and contemplate. A reason I blog is that I love writing and this is an outlet to get some of that contemplating out in some sort of coherent fashion. At least I hope it's coherent. ;-)

Dan and I are in a season of winter now. At times, it's hard to feel like anything we do is making a difference. Some days it seems as if we are spinning our wheels on ice. And yet, I also know that even a little forward motion is still motion. So we keep plugging away one day at a time. 

Spring is right around the corner (well, in this neck of the woods about two months), but it's coming. And there will also be times in our ministry when it will feel like spring with new growth and bright colors all around. 

I'm not sure what season you are in today, but I want to encourage you to keep moving forward, one step at a time! 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Monday Goal Setting


I set my sights high last week and while I accomplished quite a bit, there are still items on my list from last week. So I'm carrying it forward into this week. I also bought myself a weekly calendar and planner for the year so I can write in my appointments and things that need to get accomplished. This way I have it with me.

Goals for the week of January 22-28, 2018:


Spiritual/Personal Development


1. Personal Bible reading and prayer at least 5 out of the 7 days. (only did 4 last week)
2. Continue to read required reading book for consecration. (This would go faster if I read some during the day instead of waiting before bedtime.  I keep falling asleep! lol

Reading:


All for Jesus by Robert L. Niklaus, John S. Sawin and Samuel J. Stoez


Husband/Marriage
1. Go on a date with Dan (happening this morning for breakfast)

2. Find a way to bless him this week.  I think the biggest way I can do this is by speaking words of encouragement and not criticism.  I find the barbs fly from my mouth more often than not lately, and I really want to change this.  It's not healthy.  

Children/Family 

1. Sew Stephen's coat
2. Take Emily to shop for school items before she goes back
3. Emily haircut

Weight Loss

1. Exercise 3 days. I was so happy last week because I met my goal! - 1 Day done

Ministry

1. Teleconference on Thursday morning
2. Send items to our district office for the next newsletter
3. Start my annual report for the district
4. All day conference on Saturday with Dan, Stephen and another woman from our church.
5. Write two notes of encouragement this week.

Craft Business

1. I never got around to sewing last week and had a couple of more Etsy sales so I need to get to it this week.  Make 5 new items for shop.

Household

1. Write in  appointments/to-dos for the week in my planner
2. Make soap (can't seem to get this done)  Made a batch of lemongrass & grapefruit this morning
3. Start working on tax items (carry over from last week)
4. Declutter paperwork (carry over from last week)

I am happy that I'm meeting most of my goals each week. Keep on plugging away each day!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Frugal Friday: Leftover Re-do's





I haven't done a Frugal Friday post in a very long time and thought I'd talk about leftovers today. One of the best things you can do to save money in the kitchen is to make use of your leftovers. But that can be a problem because not everyone likes them. 

One of the things I like to do is to turn my leftovers into a different meal in order to make them more palatable to a few of my family members who aren't a fan of them.  It doesn't always work with everything I make, but every now and then I come up with a great idea to make a new dish.

I made a black bean stew the other night over rice and there was about 3 cups leftover.  I have a carnivore who tolerates my vegetarian dishes but he craves meat.  So tonight I took some ground beef and browned it in a cast iron skillet.  I added the leftover black bean mixture which already had diced onion, garlic, tomatoes and cilantro in it.  I added some more seasoning, as well as frozen corn I had in the freezer.  Then I mixed up some corn bread and poured the batter on top.  I popped it in the oven and baked for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

It was very good and is gone.  That's always a good sign of a successful meal.

I made a large pot of meatballs about a week ago to go with pasta. Then we used the leftovers in meatball subs and still had some left. I decided to make meatball soup. I sautéed onion, garlic, celery and onion in a pot.  Then added diced tomatoes, the leftover meatballs, broth and seasoning.  Yum!

Leftovers don't have to be something you tolerate. They can be turned into a delicious meal of their own and you are using up every bit of what you have which saves money too. I love cooking and being creative in the kitchen and this is a great way to make that happen.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Long Winter





We went to visit an older couple in our church yesterday afternoon who live right on Lake Ontario. I was able to take some pictures of the lake and it was beautiful.  As we were visiting we heard a huge bang and they told us that was the ice chunks hitting together.  Amazing!

Sometimes, I think I'm a wimp that can't handle the winter but they did tell us yesterday that this is one of the worst winters they ever remember having here so that made me feel a bit better.

I've really been battling my emotions this winter. I don't let it keep me down, but I do struggle each day with vague feelings of anxiety and melancholy. Some of it I'm sure is the fact that I've entered into menopause. Some of it is all of the sudden having an adult son at home who is dealing with the uncertainty of his future. Some of it is having my youngest out of the home and becoming very independent, very quickly. And some of it is that there has been very little sunshine in a couple of months.  

I went to the gym with Dan yesterday afternoon for the first time in a very long time and that really helped.  I'm going to have to make getting out a habit because that does lift my spirits. Besides, "exercise at least three days a week" is on my to-do list. lol

Soon I'll be entering my very busy time of the year and that always keeps me looking forward to each day. Hah! Most of the year is my busy time of the year, but January-March are generally very slow, very cloudy and snowy and very hard to get through. It reminds me of the book, The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  And I really shouldn't complain because I'm NOT snowed in on the prairie. :-)

I put together my schedule for the next few months and it looks like this:

January 27 - all day seminar
Feb. 2-4 - teen retreat at our district's camp.  I'm taking a group of 8 teens.
April - district meeting and then later in the month, weekend ladies retreat
May - district prayer conference
June - national leadership team meeting in Colorado Springs and then our district leadership retreat the following weekend.
July - district family camp
August - new official worker training in Colorado Springs
September - district ladies retreat
October - national ladies retreat in Lancaster, PA. and then an all day seminar

That doesn't include my own church activities, and three of those events above are things that I'm organizing and planning.  I have a feeling that about August, I'm going to be wishing for a long, long winter!

So, I'm really not complaining about the snow. After all, it's winter and it's supposed to be cold and snowy. I'm just looking for those little spots in each day when I can get a bit of fresh air and look for the things that rejuvenate my spirits.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

Psalm 119:145-148~

I call with all my heart; answer me, O Lord, and I will obey your decrees. I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.

I’m easily distracted.  I will settle down to read my Bible and study or focus on something and all it takes is someone walking into the room for me to lose concentration.  Even a small noise will cause me to lose my focus.  I have often found that the best times for me to concentrate are in the early hours of the morning when everyone is asleep. 

In this Psalm, David is praying before the dawn and in the watches of the night.  I'm sure he prayed many other times as well but notice that the times he mentioned are the quiet times.  These are the times without interruptions. They are the times without busyness.

This Psalm places the importance on prayer before we are in the midst of full blown temptation.  How often do we wait until we are in the middle of a crisis to cry out for help? How often do we wait until after we have failed before we come to the Lord?

Make it a habit to be proactive in your prayer life. Pick the quiet, peaceful times to meditate on God's word.  Spend time in prayer and ask Him to help you when you face temptation. Don't wait until you are in the middle of it.  Figure out what time works for you. Be consistent and you will begin to see how much this time is blessed by God.  You will find it easier to get through temptations without stumbling.

Find that still, quiet time to hear God’s voice. He is waiting to speak to you; you just have to listen.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Find Some Beauty Today


Dan and I went out to breakfast yesterday and drove down to the lake afterwards so I could get a few pictures.  We only live a couple of miles from Lake Ontario but I have not been there since November.  It was a sea of white.



Winters are rough here because it is difficult to get outside unless you have the equipment to snowshoe or snowmobile.  And of course, everything is slippery and I'm always overly cautious when I'm out given my history with torn ligaments and fractured legs.  Even as we walked across the street to go to the restaurant I stepped on a patch of hidden ice and my "finally beginning to heal" knee was jarred as I slipped. I spent the rest of the day limping. 

Sigh. I'm thankful the weather is warming back up above single digits this week and hopefully, it'll melt some of this. 



In the meantime, I'm staying indoors. I need lots of color in my life and thrive on the beauty around me.  While snow and ice are very beautiful in their own way, it's sapping my energy and I'm longing for green, flowers and warm breezes. 

I'm going to look hard today and find some beauty around me.  Perhaps, I'll find it in my daughter's hugs. Or my son's laughter. Or the peace I feel from puttering around my house, accomplishing goals. Maybe, it's in the variety of fabric I can select to create something.  Perhaps it's in my husband's embrace. Or maybe it's within me as I learn to be content with my circumstances, or as I learn not to react but to pray about a situation.

Wherever I find it, my prayer is that you also can find the beauty around you today. But more than that, I pray that we can BE beauty to those around us. I have always loved the following quote and try to live it.

William Arthur Ward~
"Blessed is the woman who has a smile in her voice, a sparkle in her eyes, a song on her lips; a spring in her step, a warmth in her touch, a depth in her beauty, a purpose for her life, a joy in her faith, a hope in her breast and a love in her heart."



Have a beauty-filled day!

2 Corinthians 2:15 ~

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday Goal Setting: Eating an Elephant


It's Monday and time to set those goals again. I have quite a few this week and my list seems a bit daunting. We will see if I get all this accomplished or not.  I generally have been coming back in and crossing things off as they are done.  I've always loved the saying, "How do you eat an elephant?"  "One bite at a time!" So I'm going to plug through this list one item at a time.

Goals for the week of January 15-21, 2018:

Spiritual/Personal Development

1. Personal Bible reading and prayer at least 5 out of the 7 days. (did 5 last week)
2. Continue to read a personal development book and one required reading book for consecration.

Reading:
Finely Tuned: How to Survive as a Highly Sensitive Person by Barrie Davenport

and 

All for Jesus by Robert L. Niklaus, John S. Sawin and Samuel J. Stoez



Husband/Marriage

1. Go on a date with Dan (happening this morning for brunch)
2. Find one way to encourage/bless him this week.

Children/Family (I'm noticing that this category is not utilized like it used to be since the kids are grown)

1. Take my very bored daughter out to do something.  She is used to being on her own, going where she wants and when she wants to go.  Also, her college is in a city so she has access to public transportation.  She's been out here for the past month in the middle of nowhere with no place to go and is starting to climb the walls. It's been a bad winter so we've all been shut in.  I told her that once I got a major task completed we would go do something together.

2. Sew Stephen's coat sleeve.  It's a brand new Christmas gift and he caught the sleeve on a nail and the down is falling out.  

Weight Loss

1. Exercise 3 days 
2. Figure out a better breakfast plan.  If I skip it (which often happens), I eat too much later.  If I eat the wrong thing then it seems to set the tone for the rest of the day too.  I'm trying to set the tone for the day.

Ministry

1. Prepare lesson and cooking/art projects for Thursday night's 3D Kids
2. Review yearly goals for my role as Disciplemaking Ministries Director and then develop a plan to work them.
3. Follow up on applications for the teenagers at church for Teen Chill Winter Retreat.
4. Put together mailing for district ladies retreat and get them mailed.All the flyers and materials are complete.  I just need to make copies and stuff envelopes.
5. Update ministry website with updated forms.

Craft Business (added this category this week)

1. I've had quite a few Etsy sales recently and need to replenish some things.  So my plan is to make at least 5 new items to put in the shop this week.

Made this apron on Saturday

Household

1. Make two batches of soap. 
2. Declutter paperwork.  I have it all in one really large pile and need to sort through it.
3. Start pulling together information for taxes.
4. Create spreadsheet for this year's household expenses and get January's entered in there.

Eating my elephant this week.  Have a great day!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

It is Well with my Soul


I've had a fairly good week in the productivity department. I'm finding that setting goals for each week is helpful. There were a few hiccups this week with unexpected things but overall it was a good one.

One of the things I've wanted to do is paint over the water stained spots on our ceiling. We have textured ceilings so I can't just roll paint on, but did purchase some spray paint that is intended for water marks.  The color was a bit off but it certainly looks better than before I painted.

My dining room ceiling before.


After.



Kitchen before.



Kitchen after.


It feels good to have that done.  While I was up on the step stool and vacuuming cobwebs, I took care of the ceiling fans that had a layer of dust on them for a while.  

I made yummy meatballs for dinner one night.  (picture is terrible)


The temperatures warmed up in the 50's which was wonderful because I had my windows open for two days. However, when you have snow measuring in feet on the ground and then it warms up that quickly with rain, it causes problems.  On Thursday night I thought I heard a bang and the next day this is what we found.

Our deck had collapsed from all the weight of the snow.  Unfortunately, there was no place to put it as our driveway runs beside the deck and our entryway is right below it.  As it started to melt and rain it got heavy.

The deck used to go right up to the bottom of the door

I was headed out to go grocery shopping yesterday and this was by the back door of the church and there is a flood inside on the opposite end of the building.  So I spent about an hour wet vacuuming up the water.  Never a dull moment around here!


One of the things I've been praying about in the new year is that I would learn to remain calm in the face of things I cannot control. I can't control the weather.  I can't control issues like leaking ceilings and collapsing decks.  I can't control other people's moods or quirks. But I can control my reaction to them.  

So I am happy to report that I met these situations with calmness and peace. I didn't overreact. I spent a lot of time in prayer for my attitude, my circumstances and for others. And it's been pleasant.  

I love contemporary Christian music and I really prefer that over hymns, but there are times when the words of those old hymns do fit so perfectly. The words of It is Well With my Soul came to mind often this week. The song written by Horatio Spafford who lost four of his children during a shipwreck is a testament to the power of faith and that no matter what happens, we can still say, "It is well with my soul."

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. Refrain: It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.




Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bliss


We live in a small modular home.  Two of the three bedrooms are very small.  The living room, dining room and kitchen are all one fairly open space and not large at all.  We have an attached heated sunroom that you walk down into from the dining room.  That room currently holds my sewing table and supplies, a bunny rabbit, an easy chair, my home-from-college-for-good son and all his belongings (until he can find a job or figure out what his next step is), a coat rack and about a bazillion shoes.  

And until the end of January when Emily goes back to college there are 5 adults living here. There are days when I feel like I am going to lose my mind. Because while I am very social and love people, I also need time to myself. I need quiet and solitude to concentrate. I need time every single day to just have silence. And one of the major things that stress me out is clutter. And there is a lot of it at the moment and no one else here is bothered by it.

There are days when I wish I could just go off by myself for a few hours to some mountaintop and enjoy the seclusion. Instead I've been surrounded by snow with no where to go! lol

Today, Emily is away at a friend's house. Dan and Stephen are visiting his parents. Nathan left for work at 5 a.m. I have all day to myself. It's blissfully quiet. 

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh.......I can feel the tension melting away.

My plan after I post this is to:
  • Clean up the sunroom
  • Get rid of some of the clutter
  • Spray paint the dining room and kitchen ceiling where the roof leaked
  • Write an article in silence with my thoughts
  • Sew which I haven't done in over a month because someone is parked in the middle of my sewing area
Silence. Solitude. Aloneness. Bliss!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Collage

Italian Bread




Corn Chowder - First time making this and oh my! It was delicious

This arrived in the mail yesterday so it's official and now I have 24 months to get all the work done.  Yikes!

The top 2-3 feet of this pile is from our roof.  It's warming up and raining this week so hopefully it'll melt away by the weekend.

I thought I'd share a photo collage of what my days look like recently.  As you can see, not much! I'm dreaming of warm weather, green grass and the smell of flowers. Instead, all is white. :-)

I'm off to a breakfast meeting shortly and wondering why I thought 7:30 was a good time to meet with someone. Hahahaha!

Have a great day!