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Today’s Random Thoughts and Observations in No Particular Order:

– I think spring is magical. The blooms on our trees, the flowers, the sunshine, the warm air, the cool breeze, the noisy birds, green grass, not having to bundle up to go check the mail, no longer being stuck inside for months on end, the desire to spend every waking moment outdoors (although, with this weather, napping outside sounds appealing too), the itch to clean and be active and be productive, the endless signs of life and beauty and rejuvination that surround me every time I step out the door or look out the window- magical.

– Sleeping with my baby boy (for the first time since he was 2 months old), in our guest bed, 2 of the last 3 nights, because he is very sick and I am worried about what might happen if I let him sleep in his crib for his usual 12-14 hours, is absolutely precious, but not remotely restful. Both nights he moved non-stop, including lots of kicking, hitting, and lying on top of me, rolling, scooting and throwing the covers around- all in his sleep. So, though he is probably rested (if you can be, when you are that active in your sleep) I. Am. Not.

– Being sick sucks. I have not felt good for almost a week now and I am feeling great compassion for people who deal with chronic pain and illness. I am really struggling with my patience and my attitude, and I have only felt this way for 6 days. I cannot imagine the patience and strength of character it takes for people who feel bad every day, to be even the least bit functional.

– One of the things that drives me crazy about being sick is feeling like I am trapped in my head. What I mean is- I look around me and there are so many things I want and need to do- I need to do the dishes and fold the laundry and clean up the piles of papers and toys that are accumulating around our house, I want to workout and run around with my kids and do some spring cleaning and plant flowers and go to the park with my mom friends and their kiddos and really take advantage of this gorgeous weather, I want/need to do a lot- but every time I stand up all I can think is “How long till I can lay down again?”. Its like my brain is still going a mile a minute with its wants and thoughts and to do lists, but my body just can’t keep up.

– My son can count to 10! I am so excited and proud of him! He is learning things, even though he rarely lets on that he is listening or interested or catching on. I will ask him frequenly to count with me or sing the ABCs or point out colors and he usually refuses. But last week I heard him and his friend Nora counting before they jumped from coffee table to couch and this morning I heard him counting with his sister! Yay, Bubba. I am so proud of you.

– I needed some soothing music this morning, to quiet my restless, frustrated spirit and I realized then that Amy Grant and Celine Dion are the two artists that have the most immediate and powerful affect on me. I think this is because my dad often played their music when I was living at home, so they both, more than any other, take me back to my childhood. (Christmas music has the same affect!) Thank you, daddy, for creating such a safe and peaceful home for me to grow up in. (And thank you, mama. You were a big part of that too.)

– I desperately need to do some decluttering. I vacillate between only keeping what I love and what I use, and getting this strange urge to keep anything and everything (because “I might need it someday or miss it if I get rid of it!”). What is wrong with me? I know that the “If you don’t love it or use it, get rid of it!” policy is what brings peace and order to my home. Why do I ever stray from this?

– I decided to do a cleanse of sorts yesterday and Monday, after eating waaay to much junk over the weekend. It is amazing to me how two days of deprivation can change one’s perspective. I allowed myself a cup of coffee this morning (my first consumption of caffeine or sugar since Sunday). The coffee, usually a given, something I drink every morning and take for granted and don’t always relish or pay particular attention to, seemed like such a treat! So, if you are wanting to reawaken your senses, your enjoyment and appreciation for life’s little treats, try not allowing yourself to have them for a period of time- and see what happens!

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I was looking through old Word documents tonight and found this letter I wrote almost five years ago. As soon as I began reading it, memories and emotions from that year began flooding into my mind. What a precious time in our life- the year we became parents.

——————–

To: Daddy                                 From: MG and Mommy
 

Father’s Day 2005

Well, the list is far too long – of things we adore and appreciate about you – so we made a list of the top ten that we want to thank you for…

10. Thank you for going to work every day to provide for us and for going to school these last two years – we know it takes a lot out of you – we are very proud of how well you have done and how well you balance school work with taking care of us.

9. Thank you for not getting frustrated if we are running late or the house is a mess or dinner is not on the table – you are always so kind and forgiving.

8. Thank you for keeping smiles on our faces and laughter in our voices – for being so silly and entertaining us all the time.

7. Thank you for holding mommy when she is sad and for holding MG when she is sad. We always feel much better when you are holding us.

6. Thank you for being so humble and so quick to apologize. You are such a good example of that.

5. Thank you for protecting mommy’s purity when you guys were dating (even though there were times when you didn’t really want to) and for helping pass that legacy on to MG.

4. Thank you for being so patient with our emotions (especially mommy’s).

3. Thank you for being so open and honest with us. We feel very secure knowing that we can trust you completely.

2. Thank you for the depth of relationship that each of us has and will continue to have with you – for not viewing us as a job or a responsibility that you come home to every night.

1. Thank you most of all for loving God and for striving every day to be more like His son – because of that you have shown us a love that is greater than any other. We love you so much!

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Today I am glad that I…

got out of of bed at 6:15 a.m.

worked out with my Hubby.

texted with a close friend about how both of our days were going.

read a few chapters from James and 1st Peter in “The Message”.

got to hear Granite talk. (His vocabulary amazes me! So exciting.)

worked on a dinner calendar and sign up list for a friend who just had a baby.

read books to Meadow.

cleaned my kitchen.

ate a fairly healthy, balanced diet (no sweets today!) and drank lotsa water.

got to talk to my sweet Hubby who provides for our family so that I can stay home with our children.

played games with Meadow.

spent a few minutes working on my “Happiness Journal”.

 

And I am not so glad that I…

cannot escape this cold, dreary, awful weather.

got frustrated with Granite for fussing sooo much!

did not finish the laundry. Again. Sigh.

told Meadow “just five more minutes and I can play with you” about sixteen times in a row (probably fifteen times too many).

felt overwhelmed in the moments when two or three people were talking to me at the same time, needing my attention and/or my help.

spent too much time on Facebook. (Anyone else need to join Facebookaholics anonymous?)

had to listen to my son cry as I left his room at bedtime.

spent a little too much time in my head. I gotta get out of there more.

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I have come a long way since being a nineteen-year old newly wed entering the world of all things domestic; a long way since those early days of struggling to keep a one thousand square foot apartment clean (and with no munchkins under my feet! sheesh!); a long way since practicing the inefficient habit of stopping by the grocery store four times a week because I couldn’t seem to plan for anything more than two days in advance; a long way since feeling like I was trying to read a foreign language every time I picked up a cook book.

This May marks seven years that I’ve been married; seven years of growth, seven years of learning, seven years of figuring this whole homemaker thing out. I still have a long way to go in some areas but I am getting there and thankful for it.

So my Aspiring Domestic Diva series will include some of these things that I have figured out. I want to share them with you in hopes that all of you who have already earned your Domestic Diva Diploma (or anyone else, for that matter!) will give me some feedback on them. And with the hope that it will bless those of you that are still aspiring! 🙂

I welcome any and all thoughts, tips, ideas, suggestions, criticisms or affirmations you might have.

Thanks for reading!

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It was several weeks ago that Meadow and I watched the movie “Secret Garden”, a movie (and book) that I enjoyed as a young girl. The movie is striking to me, for many reasons, but the one that has stayed with me these last few weeks is the absolutely breathtaking and almost unbelievable beauty of the secret garden, after which the movie is titled. As I experienced this movie, sitting on my couch, in the den of our house, in the middle of the big city that is Nashville, I got lost. Lost in the lush greenery covering almost every inch of the garden’s grounds and spilling over the garden’s stone walls. Lost in the stunning contrast of color between the gray of the stones and the green of the vines.  Lost in the kaleidoscope fashioned by the reds and pinks and purples and yellows and blues of each flower, thousands of them, growing so abundantly as to leave a person barely enough room to wander through them or, as I did, get lost in them. A thrill for the senses, even through a tv screen.

The movie ends with a shot of Mary’s hand, holding a flower as she says, “The spell was broken. My uncle learned to laugh and I learned to cry. The secret garden is always open now. Open…and awake…and alive. If you look the right way you can see that the whole world is a garden.”

Which got me thinking…

…about where I find my own garden – those little experiences, each day, when, even if only for a moment, I get lost in the beauty of this world.

And I realized…

…I find my garden when I sit in the back yard, on a beautiful day, while my children are napping, and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, the freshness of the air in my lungs, and the quiet of an afternoon spent outdoors. I find it each time I see the bouquet of flowers sitting on my kitchen counter, the one my husband brought me, just because. I find it when I read one chapter of a really good book before I go to sleep at night. I find it when I look through my wedding scrapbook (the one I worked really hard on and am very proud of, the only scrapbook I have ever finished! 🙂 ) and remember the moments of that amazing day, almost seven years ago. I find it when I overhear the hilarious and often heartwarming conversations between my children, and between my children and their friends. I find it in the morning, when I sit at my dining room table, eating breakfast, reading my Bible, writing in my prayer journal, and feeling God’s spirit fill the room around me. I find it in a favorite song, a well-made movie, a thoughtful note written to me by my husband or a close friend. I find it while I am running on the trails at River Park, breathing heavy but steady and thanking God for the strong and healthy body that He has blessed me with. I find it in a kiss from my son, a smile from my daughter, and the peaceful faces of my sleeping children when I go in to check on them late in the night.  I find it in the arms of my devoted and always forgiving husband and in the acceptance and loyalty of my precious friends and family. I find it in the sunset, in the sunrise, in the blooms of spring and the leaves of fall, in the sounds of a thunderstorm and in the colors of the rainbow that is soon to follow.

And I ask…where is your garden? Because…

…beauty is everywhere. We just have to find it…experience it…appreciate it…and maybe even get lost in it.

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The following is a list of ten, kind of random things that I have been thinking about and trying to do, especially since the new year. They have all been a blessing to me. I challenge you to try each of them. I hope they are a blessing to you, however big or small!

1) Start your day thirty minutes to an hour before your children wake up with some sort of quiet time with God. This is a new one for me and it has been such a blessing. Thankfully my children don’t get up until after eight so doing this is not a particularly challenging schedule, but starting my day with a quiet breakfast while I read my Bible and write in my prayer journal affects me the rest of the day. My patience is improved, my peace, my attitude. Incredible!

2) Commit to some kind of exercise program! I know not everyone is crazy like me and enjoys exercising but I am more and more convinced that being active in some form, at least a couple days a week is invaluable, no matter who you are. (If you have no idea how to go about this or where to start or why this really matters, ask me!) And eat better! Not because you have to, not because you’ll die if you don’t…because you will feel better! (I have a lot of thoughts about this one too but I’ll probably write them in another post, another time…)

3) Make lists. I am a listmaker so I like this one but I have seen it bless non-listmakers too. I suggest finding a notebook rather than random slips of paper that get lost and thrown away. Keep this notebook with you always. Write in it ideas, goals, to-do lists, contact information, etc.; all the random things that you think of and are told through out the day that you will never remember. (The one exception I suggest is your grocery list. Keep this one on the fridge and write on it every time you run out of something and need to replace it. That way you don’t have to try and remember what all you need on grocery day. The list has already been written, just grab it and run!)

4) Turn off the TV; for your sake, for your childrens sake, for peacefulness sake, for creativity sake, for motivation sake, for relationship sake. This entertainment box robs us of our time, our connection to one another, our peace and quiet, our motivation to get off the couch. So just turn it off. And hide the remote! 🙂 It will be hard at first and weird and you will be very tempted to turn it back on…but turn it off anyway and see what happens!

5) SIMPLIFY AND DECLUTTER! We are a culture that believes more is better; more stuff, more activity, more money, more more more. Well I say, be counter-cultural! There are not enough hours in the day to do everything so be committed to only doing that which is important to you, that which will be a blessing to you or someone else. If there are too many important things in your life to fit in, then you may need to reconsider what really is important! And declutter! If you don’t love it or use it…get rid of it!!! The less stuff we have the less there is to clean, to manage, to find, to maintain, etc…and the more time there is to love our families, our friends, our God and ourselves!

6) Find something that you love to do and do it! So many of us grow up and become so consumed with what we have to do that we stop doing what we want to do, what we love to do! Find a hobby, make a little time each week, and enjoy! I believe taking a little time to do the things we want to do makes the time we spend doing the things we have to do more peaceful and manageable and even enjoyable. So I encourage you to find the balance between the two.

7) Wash one load of laundry every day and set it on your bed to be folded before you get into your bed. I have tried so many methods of staying on top of the laundry, so far this one is working the best. Avoiding laundry baskets and avoiding doing seven loads at once has kept our laundry clean and put away. I have been skipping the baskets, going straight from washer to dryer to bed to folded to put away! Ideally it’s folded and put away before bedtime but worst case you spend ten minutes right before you crawl into bed and its done! Voila! (You do have to be committed to not just setting it on the floor or dresser for tomorrow if you are particularly tired that night though…)

8 ) Go to bed with a clean kitchen. Waking up to a clean kitchen helps set a more peaceful, more comfortable tone for my day. Knowing that I am starting fresh in the kitchen has helped me feel less overwhelmed with the rest of the house. The two ways this has stayed possible for me are: doing a light cleaning after each meal or snack (this includes putting away all food, throwing away all trash and putting all dishes in the sink) and doing a final, more thorough cleaning right after dinner (including putting away all food, throwing away all trash, loading and starting dishwasher, handwashing any other dishes, wiping down all counters and stove and sink, and sometimes sweeping), while daddy plays with the kids and gives them their baths. Staying committed to this has been a challenge for me but sooo worth the effort! (I am still working on figuring out how to keep the rest of the house clean. Sigh.)

9) Get enough sleep! Seven to eight hours is ideal for me, less and I feel it the next day. Sleep for your health, your mood, your energy level, your attitude, your quality of life!

10) And lastly, though I believe that one through nine matter and are life improving, always remember that people are more important than stuff, than money, than chores, than hobbies. I am confident that when we are all old and life has slowed down, we will not look back and be glad we had all our laundry done each night or that we stayed in amazing shape or that we were never late or behind or forgetful. I believe we will look back and remember the laughter, the love, the forgiveness, the intimacy that we shared with our spouses, our children, our friends and our neighbors. Let us improve who we are and how we love before we improve what we do and how we do it!

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It’s finding coins and hairbows and legos in my children’s pockets when I am doing laundry.

It’s listening to my four year old teach my one year old new words while they sit at the dining room table eating lunch.  -“Granite, say airplane.” -“Ehpane.” -“Good!”

It’s opening the kitchen trash can and finding Granite’s bowl from breakfast laying in the bag of trash.

It’s walking in on a game of pretend and listening to Meadow explain, “I’m the mom. Granite is my husband. That is our baby.” and then watching her point to the baby that Granite has wrapped in a blanket and is carrying around the room.

It’s searching our house for my deodorant and make-up brush and finally finding them in the toolbox in the laundry room.

It’s telling my children to go get in the car while I gather our things and then finding them both buckled and waiting patiently in the backseat.

It’s hearing my daughter exclaim, “Mom, look at your son!” when Granite does something cute or funny or ridiculous.

It’s peeking into the den while I am making breakfast and seeing two blonde munchkins sitting with their backs to me, side by side on the couch, watching cartoons.

It’s answering Granite’s questions that he asks through out the day, every day. “Where’s Meadow? Where’s Daddy? Where’s Micah? Where’s Papa? Where’s Sky?” (and sometimes other people too, but always these five)

It’s watching my 43 pound daughter carry my 33 pound son around the house, “Because he wants me to, Mama.”

It’s hearing Meadow and Granite talking over the baby moniter when she gets him out of his crib in the morning, “It’s ok buddy, Mama’s downstairs. Let’s go find Mama.”

The little things… 🙂

my little ones

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