Tuesday, December 31, 2013

the last day of the year.

Can you believe another year has come and gone? I know. Me neither. I was so ready for a change last year and welcomed 2013 with anticipation and high hopes. And it didn't let me down...there was a lot of change and good things happened.

But if I'm honest, overall, it still felt like a struggle at times. But I'm thinking that's just life, ya know? Life isn't easy.

As for 2014? I'm kind of indifferent about it. I'm glad it's here. I'm glad God saw fit to keep me here on this earth to love my family for another year. But I'm not so done with 2013 that I am chomping at the bit for a New Year.

I am thinking this is a good thing. Because there have been some years where I couldn't say arrivederci fast enough. And don't let the door hit you in the youknowwhat on your way out. But this year I feel like 2013 is just going to sort of ease into 2014 and I am going to ease in right along with it.

I don't make resolutions. For whatever reason, a resolution seems like a good way to set myself up for failure. Rather, I've been setting goals the last few years. A goal seems to work better for me. It seems more positive than a resolution. Have I met every one of my goals? No. But I have met many of them. And that is progress.

Tomorrow, 2013 will be a memory. And we'll be starting 2014, fresh, like a blank page in a brand new journal. Don't you just love that thought? (Is it weird that the thought of a fresh new journal, blank and open to possibilities is as wonderful a thought as it is to me? What a nerd.)

I just had a thought...how about we throw caution to the wind and make one tiny little resolution together. Just one. Let's resolve to make 2014 a good year, no matter what.

Ya know, I think this is one resolution I can actually keep.

How about you? Resolutions? Or goals? 
Ready for 2013 to be outta here? Or indifferent, like me? 

I pray you have a happy and safe New Year.
I pray that whatever held you back last year will be nothing but a distant memory and you are able to start fresh tomorrow...open that metaphorical blank journal and start the story over. It's never too late to start over, ya know. Never. Especially if you have God in your life and Jesus as your Savior. Do you? If you do, then you know what I'm talking about. If you don't know Jesus as your Savior, then I pray you think about it, consider giving Him a chance. He hasn't let me down, not once. Not ever. He won't let you down, either.

Happy New Year. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

just a quick note to say...

Pablo in the linen cabinet...now I don't know
if I have the heart to install glass. 

Good morning.

I'm going shopping in Berkeley with mom today...Blick Art Supplies and IKEA. Yeah...pretty much gonna be a good day. We'll stop for lunch, of course. Maybe PF Chang's since we'll be in the area.

The weather is supposed to be nice..."unusually warm" for this time of year which seems strange (and scary) when parts of the country are literally freezing for days on end.

What are you up to today? Shopping, too? Working? Laying low? Making cool things? Whatever it is...enjoy. And make it a good day.  xo

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday morning.

thank goodness.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

a beautiful, sunny Saturday, anxiety and another week off...

What a nice thought to wake up to...I have a whole 'nother week off. It made getting out of bed before the sun is up on a Saturday much easier...

I got up...let animals out...or in...started the coffee...and snuggled into my easy chair under the new throw Chris and the boys got me for Christmas waiting for the coffee to brew.

I was woken up quite a few times before settling into a sound sleep last night...Ian arriving home late from a long-distance wrestling tournament...Seth arriving home even later from hanging out with friends, and having to knock at the door since he forgot his key. (Oops.) But after that...pretty sure I slept like a baby. Sound and warm and snuggling with Bear Bear. He's the best snuggly kitty ever.

Everyone else slept in this morning. (Even Bear.) So I had a good, long while of quiet time...one of my favorite things. Early morning...quiet...the peace of knowing that the day is open. Ahh...it makes for a quiet mind and a steady heartbeat, something I can't always count on when dealing with anxiety.

Yes...anxiety has reared its ugly head as of late. It comes and goes...mostly going because I don't give it anything to feed on...anymore. There was a time when once anxiety hit, I felt at the mercy of it...unable to shake it, control it, fight it. So it would take over. Often times, it became paralyzing...not good.

But over the years I've learned how to deal with it...it's become a process. It sneaks up on me, I recognize it, I tell someone that it's happening, and I pray. Sometimes this process takes 5 minutes...sometimes 5 hours...and every once in a while, 5 days. But the main thing is...it doesn't win anymore. I do. And, I'm convinced, you can, too.

Interesting where the mind goes when writing, isn't it? One thought leads to another leads to another and before I know it I'm sharing more than I intended. One of the many reasons that I like to write...it can be cleansing, and freeing.

But even still...the sun is shining...the air is cool...and I've got nothing on the calendar. The Christmas tree needs to go out today...and I just know it's going to drop a million needles on its way because it is dry-y-y. Man..that poor little tree is dead. So...it's gotta go. And needles will need to be swept up. And more than likely, the Christmas decor will be put away...if not today, then tomorrow. I also want to cook something good for dinner tonight and tomorrow night...other than holiday dinners, we've been living on sandwiches and waffles. Poor Seth, he hasn't had many home-cooked meals since he's been home. I need to remedy that before he heads back to school on Sunday. (Sad. I do love having him home.)

How's your Saturday looking? I hope it's full of possibilities and whatever makes you feel good and at peace. xo

Friday, December 27, 2013

close to home.

Now that the holiday is over it's time to take a breather. I am taking it slow and keeping things low-key today. It's necessary...for me, anyway. I always feel like I need time to regroup and recharge after a flurry of activity...and Christmas is definitely a flurry.

So I'll be sticking close to home today...making a list of things I'd like to get done before returning to work on the 6th of January 2014 (say what? A New Year already?)

Speaking of 2014...I got to thinking this morning about my word for the new year. That one word that will set the tone for the coming year. Nothing has come to mind...yet. So I'll be thinking and praying on that over the next few days...I'm sure God will make it clear to me. I looked back on last year's word...listen...and realized that I did listen in many ways. And...I didn't listen in other ways. (And I had forgotten what my word even was!) But...that's OK. That's life, I suppose. Something is better than nothing.

Yeah...I feel some lists coming on today...lists, lists, lists. Love them. Need them. I think I'll get my little dollar store calendar organized and ready to use...meal plans, bill due dates, appointments, etc. It's not pretty (at all)...but it'll work. Sometimes function over form is best...for me, anyway. (I came to this same conclusion last year.) I can get so carried away thinking about and researching and planning to make something pretty and useful and stressing over all of the choices that I end up not doing it at all...and what good is that?

So? Functional it is. An inexpensive, journal-style, month-at-a-glance calendar, sticky notes, binder clips and a good pen...for an office supply nerd like myself, it's actually a perfect combo. ;) Maybe I can personalize it a bit with some handmade envelopes like these to hold receipts and coupons and such. Or maybe use ready made envelopes in a creative way.

What's on your agenda today? Are you busy, busy, busy? Or taking it easy? Either way...I pray you have a blessed day. xo

Thursday, December 26, 2013

yesterday was a really good day...

From start to finish, yesterday was a really good day. We woke early, Chris and I, and enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee with the tree lights on. We wondered when the boys might be getting up...they like to sleep in, a lot, these days.

To our surprise they were up around 8:30. I popped some danishes in the oven to bake and then we opened our presents. So much fun and so many wonderful gifts...everyone was happy with everything. I loved that. We do stockings at the end...a little bonus after opening presents. I had so much fun stuffing them this year...

When we were done we ate our fresh baked danish then some played with their new "toys" (and by that I mean music equipment and pocket knives)...some tidied up (two guesses who that was...and the first guess doesn't count!)...and I discovered a new favorite thing to do...make Instagram movies!

In the afternoon we headed over to mom's to open gifts and eat some snacks then went to the family celebration at my aunt and uncle's house here in town. So much fun...and a nice surprise guest bonus. (Hi Dave and Linda!)

We started doing a white elephant type gift exchange several years ago where we choose a letter of the alphabet on Thanksgiving and the gift you bring at Christmas has to start with that letter. This year's letter was 'Y'. It's fun and makes for lots and lots of laughs...it's one of my favorite parts of our holidays together as a family.

Well...that and the just being together. I love my family so much...the immediate, the extended, the family at heart...it was a really good day. Every once in a while I would stop and look around...or listen...and realize just how truly, truly blessed I am to be surrounded and loved by so many wonderful people.

Oh...and I can't forget to talk about that photo up there. Those desserts? My mom's carrot cake on the top...she makes the best EVER. Seriously. I'm not even kidding. And the lemony goodness dessert? My aunt's delicious, best ever lemon cheesecake with raspberry sauce. I was so full after our amazing dinner...but it made no difference. There's always a little bit of room left for these desserts...always.

I admit, Christmas hasn't been my favorite holiday. But this year I adjusted my attitude the day after Thanksgiving and decided I was going to embrace Christmas...enjoy it...be positive about it...and I gotta say, it made a difference. Maybe this Grinch heart is no longer "three sizes too small". *wink

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Even the Grinch gets it...


Monday, December 23, 2013

just about ready...

I went out and did a little bit more shopping yesterday...evened things up for the boys and now their piles are the same. Do you do that? Make sure each kid has the same amount of gifts while at the same time spending the same on them all? I do. Not everyone does, apparently. My mom always kept it "fair"...so, I do, too.

Today will entail grocery shopping, vacuuming, mopping and gift wrapping. I made a dent in the wrapping last night while watching The Holiday (for the 20th time, probably)...but there's more to wrap. So I need to finish that up today.

I have to say...I haven't dealt with crowds or lines much at all this season. I was at Walmart yesterday (against my better judgment) and there was NO line at all. I was surprised and pleased...not just because I didn't have to wait forever...but also because maybe that means that Walmart isn't getting ALL the business ALL the time. We need to spread the wealth.

Our poor little tree is already dry as a bone. And doesn't have not one ornament on it. Lights? Yes. And a glittery star on top. But not one.single.ornament. And you know what? I'm OK with that.

My wish list was small this year...and it said the same as last year...perfume and slippers and a few clothing items. I added a few things on for some variety (to appease my husband)...but nothing big. Usually I want something nice for the kitchen, or for my camera, or for a creative endeavor...something.

But this year? Nothing. I guess working full-time has taken over. I'm not thinking about self-reliance or preparing for a homestead. I'm not making things or photographing things. And while it's a little bit sad, and maybe somewhat frustrating, I realize that it's a season of life. My focus is elsewhere these days and my time is filled with other things.

Even still...Christmas is almost here. The lights are twinkling, the presents are waiting and soon we'll be spending time with our amazing families. Life is good.  And we are most definitely blessed.

If I don't make it back here before Christmas...Merry Christmas to you and yours. xoxo

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday morning...


It's true. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

one week.

Christmas is in one week. I've purchased maybe seven presents. Yeah, you could say I am not ready.

What I am ready for? Two weeks OFF. Definitely a perk of working for the school district. And I can't wait. I have been hitting the snooze button one too many times for the past few days...it'll be nice to wake without it.

Our tree is up, and has lights...thanks to Chris. I have a few decorative items up around the house...so at least there's that.

My oldest is home from college for three weeks...it's good to have him home.

My youngest is taking a girl to the Winter Ball tomorrow night...I hope I don't forget to pick up the corsage! (Better write myself a sticky note.)

Are you ready for Christmas? I hope you're further along than I am!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday in the Word

Good morning...I haven't been spending much time in the Word, for months now, really. I decided last week that I would use my Bible app on my phone to read a bible passage and a devotional (or two) each morning before checking email or Facebook. 

I can feel it settling in already. 

Amazing how powerful the Word of God is...

The following scripture is one of my favorites...I read it once in a desperate time of need and it's stuck with me now for over 5 years. Please take the time to read it through...it's powerful.

Make it a good day...xo

* * *
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.

The cords of death entangled me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.

The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.
He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
    the dark rain clouds of the sky.

Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.

The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.[d]

He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.

The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.

He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.

They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.

He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Psalm 18:3-19

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rest in Peace, Sweet Libby

We did what we could.
We tried really, really hard.
She hung in there...probably for too long. 

Last Wednesday she stopped eating.
Last Thursday my husband did the right thing...
the hard thing, the thing I could never do. 

I am so grateful to him.
And I am so sad she's gone.

Thank you, Libby, for providing us with beautiful 
brown eggs and hours of calm entertainment. 
I'm sorry you got sick and that I couldn't help you. 

Libby, 2009-2013
Rest in Peace

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday in the Word

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday morning...