It’s been a loooong minute since I’ve really settled in to write. I think writing will forever follow me through life. It’s just how I express my inner thoughts that never seem to fully make it into conversation in our busy world. Which leads me to ask… why? We are so busy going about life that we often miss those moments that truly matter.
I’m not the best at saying what’s on my mind simply because people really don’t care to listen. That’s just the truth. They would rather do the talking. I don’t like to give opinions unless they are asked for so I happily let the conversations roll past me. Not because I don’t have things to say but I’d rather save my words for true connection.
I’m always looking for connection in conversation. I like to know that thoughts and ideas have made their way from one mind to another and understanding is gained. It’s almost like a small victory to me when people come to perfect understanding.
Isn’t it funny how our different ways of saying what we feel/ think can nearly separate us from one another? I’ve learned that the best way to engage is to ask questions. Nobody can resist talking about what truly fuels their fire. It’s almost as a person becomes more alive when speaking of things they are passionate about. And if they are a good conversationalist they might return the favor. If not, you could always blog 😁
Internal locus of control or external locus of control… that is the question. (a.k.a. are you motivated by outside influences or your own drive) I once wrote a college paper on this subject and was completely anxiety riddled at the amount of research and the new (to me) format that I was required to learn in a very short time frame. I had written only a couple of 10 page papers in high school that were always essay style. My first college paper was a 15 pager in APA format that I had never encountered before. It was a hurdle to be sure. I did piles of research and yes, my outline was 100% essay but when I sat down to actually write I cranked it out in 2 days more or less ( in between other classes). I have never been more proud of an A before. And I still wonder how much I actually understood what I wrote. 🙄
Today the question still pops up in my mind. What motivates me? What is driving the machine that is me? Do I allow whatever others think to cause me to act? Am I operating in my own best interest? And the greater question still, am I living in a way that is motivated by a love for God?
I am by nature curious and introspective. I want to live my best life – all the way. So, I am always thinking about my current methods and what does and doesn’t work to achieve that. Recently I went through a very dark time. I wouldn’t say I was depressed but I had certainly been leaning that way. My body was sapped. I had allowed my lack of personal boundaries and self care to deteriorate me to the point that I was in a horrible state of mind mentally and constantly fatigued. I felt like I was living only to fill others needs. I slept a LOT. As in, if it wasn’t necessary I did not leave my bed. I still loved my family and helping others but my body quit giving and I was flat out tired of other people’s needs ALWAYS being first. To make matters worse, I often found out that those who alway seemed to need something could have very easily completed the task without me. I needed to find my value. I needed to care about me.
Selfish? No, I just needed myself. Everyone else had gotten my help but there was precious little coming back my direction. Something had to change.
And so I did the unthinkable. I quit giving. I stopped being available. I said no. Did I like it? No, it killed me to turn people down. I wanted to go to every birthday and donate at every fundraiser and volunteer at every function. But I began to set limits. Right away my family balked. How dare I not take them here, or fetch this or make that! What a horrible person I was for allowing them to suffer natural consequences as a result of their own thoughtlessness! How selfish of me to make room for my needs in the family budget!
And the horror continued….I stepped back at work, I requested help for seemingly simple things, I relaxed, I rested, I began to heal. I got a lot of questioning glances and a few persistent requests until I finally just said I’m not available all year. I had hung the do not disturb sign over my face and I began the task of rebuilding my health and sanity. And you know what? Everyone survived without me.
My husband is the opposite of me in so many ways. But we both are driven from the inside. His motor runs quite a bit slower than mine but when we are focused on what is important to us it WILL be accomplished. I love that we are both doers. But I had to reestablish my boundary lines even in our marriage. I had to be more careful with myself. In every relationship I drew lines. Some just got the axe all together. I’m not investing where there are no returns. Sorry, it’s nothing personal, I just don’t have the physical energy or the head space for it. After the hormonal tornado that I’ve been through I can see how people can “snap”. Good people, under too much pressure. Too many outside ideas and needs pushing out the person inside.
Recently I had an opportunity to test how firm my boundaries were. I was dumped into a situation and called the offender out. A highly volatile offender to boot. Did I bend? No, I didn’t. I was actually kind of proud of myself. I stood up for me. I valued my time and my rest. I was not going to be forced into doing another person’s duty simply because they wanted me to. Nope, not anymore.
Don’t get me wrong. I want to help. I want to be a part and give all I can-just not to the detriment of my own well being. If you are a born people pleaser then it might be time to re-evaluate. Sooner rather than later. I can tell you from experience it’s not pretty when you omit self care for too long. I hope this helps someone.
Questions for self evaluation:
What is important to you?
What do you value?
Who/what gives back in your life?
How can you invest in yourself a little each day?
What are your limits?
If you know me personally – don’t take this personally!❤️
If you know me well, I think you’ll see it for what it is❤️
This week is fair week. That might mean nothing to many people. But for us that means we are hauling our selves and our goats ( along with all necessary food and gear) to the local fair grounds so our animals and kids can show their stuff. It’s fun, dirty, hot and exasperating all in the same dry and windy breath.
As a show mom it is my primary responsibility to have all kids ( human and animal) fully prepared to do their best. Well, surgery kinda laid me out this year so I was a little weak on the giddy up. No matter, here we are – we made it! We stuck it out and are ready to compete. Saturday will be the auction and it can’t get here fast enough for this mama!
Don’t get me wrong, I love the very essence of animal husbandry and 4H has my whole heart. But, … let’s be real- it has me wanting to kick all my kids out and hide myself in a dark closet where no one can find me. Except maybe the Schwann’s man…and only if he’s delivering those silver dollar bars.
Let me introduce you to the cast of characters for fair 2019 starting with the 4 legged kids:
*Spike* if you could imagine a laid back Cali cool surfer dude in the form of a goat that would be Spike. He loves everybody man! He’s chillax to the max and loves hugs. He’s my favorite and I don’t mind admitting it. My only regret is that market animals have a short life span. Sorry dude, you will be missed!
*Fighty* Mike Tyson who? Fighty has entered the ring! Got food? He’ll fight you for it! Got hay? He’ll fight you for that too! Opening the gate? You guessed it! He’ll fight to be first out….unless, of course he doesn’t want to go out and then he will fight you to stay in. The winner for most consternating attitude goes to Fighty! Yup, everyone is a winner here! 😝 Good thing you’re cute kid!
*Skidder* This is the first time I have encountered a goat with anxiety. Skidder prefers to be restrained in a stall. The more secure the better. In fact, he will voluntarily jump on the grooming stand to be strapped down. It’s the only time he stops hyperventilating….drama much? Oh Skidder…. He also got his name from his habit of falling flat on the ground when you walk him and then going completely bezerk when you try to lift him back up. Skidder won’t be missed😏
Now for the 2 legged kids-
*Boy child of 16 years* Headstrong and physically strong this young male specimen is showing signs of independence and a distinct parting of ways from the matriarchal system. (Read: won’t listen to his mother) in all fairness he is maturing and growing daily. We have had many talks …. a few lectures…. and have learned a lot about each other this year. I’m taking the win here and leaving the goats totally out of the equation. Boom, #winning
*Girl child of 14 years* This lady is observant and able to get by nearly on her own. She sees what goes on and learns from others without much instruction. Which is good because she is also teening out on me at times and not always so receptive to mother’s suggestions *ahem!* I’m pretty proud of her and all that she is learning. Again, win.
*Girl child of 10 years* Um…..well, this one is a first year 4Her and acts like she’s got this thing. She was giving the big kids tips and reminders. I had to remind her that she had never done this before. Didn’t faze her. She is a cocky little bugger. My greatest task with her will be to point her in the right direction and keep the reins in hand.🙄 For her performance really isn’t a concern. Life is her party and she gets freebies from all the booths and candy galore. She’s thrilled. Win.
The problem is….. I am highly competitive. And a perfectionist (albeit I have been somewhat reformed). And I came into this deal with zero experience. Like, I had a cat for a few months once when I was a kid. So, all in all the deck was entire stacked against me. Add to that an antsy teenage son who spends a lot of time out of the house on odd jobs, a major surgery (mine), and 2 out of 3 animals that were impossible even on their good days. 🙄 And have I mentioned that I live in a small town and I know my friends kids are also our competition. It’s tough to smile at your friends successes when your pride is wounded. But we do because we are beyond proud of “our” kids. In this community we consider those who live here our own. And my children honestly don’t care. They see their gains and are content. They humble me and teach me each year that the goal is growth. Gosh, I’m a blessed lady!
So, while I maybe going prematurely gray and legally insane, we are growing, learning and making gains with each new project and venture.
So if you asked me:
Is it hard? Yes.
Does it make me want to run away and hide? Yes.
Is it worth it? YES
Put your kids in 4H folks! You won’t regret it! (Mostly)
My girls and I were preparing for the annual dessert auction today. As we moved around the kitchen it was like we were synchronized in some sort of baking routine. It’s funny because yesterday my husband was trying to cook and was so frustrated because there was a chair in his cooking space. He hollered and he yelled. He may have thrown a few things. I pointed out that maybe he was having a bit of an attitude and that most certainly didn’t make matters any better. My son, the mechanic, tends to stay out of the kitchen unless he’s very very determined to make something of his own creation such as his famous (at least in our house) pleasant pheasant dish. Otherwise you can count on him to be about as helpful as a pimple on prom night in the kitchen.
As my two girls and I walked past one another dumping cups of sugar and stirring in handfuls of salt and baking soda it made me think of that saying “kitchens are made for dancing”. Although we weren’t actually dancing it seemed as if we were. I was in complete home maker happiness at that moment. We scooped and stirred and mixed and waltzed around one another reaching here and leaning there and moving aside so the other could get to the cupboard or stove. It was all so timely and without a mishap I thought perhaps maybe I was dreaming a little. Then I realized It was just a bit of déjà vu. This what happens when my mom, my sister and I are in the kitchen together. It’s a perfect seamless dance as we maneuver raw ingredients into a delicious meal. That made me a bit homesick I’m afraid.
Home to me really isn’t a place anymore. It’s more the people that belong to the deepest part of my life. I miss the nearness of my loved ones. I miss seeing their faces on a regular basis. I miss my best friend who no longer lives 15 minutes away. But I have to be thankful for each and every blessing that I do have. And what I have is a beautiful family and a church full of wonderful people that I call friends that I can call on anytime I am in need. Looking forward I also have many wonderful people that I’m sure will become dear friends to me in the future.
I chose to live where I do because that is where God planted me. I have no regrets and I’m in love with what God is doing in my life. But the truth is I hunger sometimes for the nearness of my family. And though they are not far away it is still a sacrifice.
But as always when I face these moments I think about my simple phrase that always carries me through another day and that is “today I choose joy”. I will enjoy this snap shot and treasure it always as a beautiful moment in time. A time when my girls and the girl I was danced together in perfect harmony.
We just had our yearly chat with the gal who does our taxes. I have been contemplating working a few hours in the summer. Something very part time. I asked if upping our income a bit was going to help or hurt us in the long run. Funny thing is if I make over $10,000 annual ( which I probably won’t) we up our tax bracket and lose some of the return we are now getting. Essentially, it’s a wash.
My kids are teens now and looking for work of their own. I love this age and yet I yearn to just be out of the house. They don’t need me as much now anyway. I love home but I’m not thrilled with staying there all day, ya get me? And yet, I hear my mother’s voice saying how she wished she had not gone to work when my baby brother entered his teens. He had a very troubled adolescence and she still feels a bit guilty.
And if I’m being honest, there are days when I’m not really up to the task. I’m working on myself this year to improve that. After chronic pain had become intolerable and migraines ate up the hours in my days I stepped back and made few changes in order to better myself physically.
I’m sure this all sounds like I am justifying my choice to remain out of the work place ( at least for now). I guess it is but it’s so much more than that to me. It’s a calling. I’m made to nurture and to love. I don’t understand how being a housewife has gotten such a bad rap. No, we are no longer living in the 1950s but there is truly something satisfying about providing the best for your family.
On any given day I am a driver, a cook, a teacher and tutor, a cleaner (NOT maid), a mentor, a help meet, a friend and lover, an encourager, an organizer, a planner and appointment maker, an economizer and financial assistant, a dreamer and reader, a prayer warrior and a keeper of the home. It’s a big job.
I was purging paper work recently and found stacks of report cards and college applications. Among these were several letters of reference from various mentors and teachers. I read them and was amazed at their kind words. They were chock full of sincere praise and promise. How did I not realize I was a golden girl? I was one of the few that would “amount to something”. I was just now seeing what my teachers must have seen in me then. A bright future. A world changer. Someone destined for more.
Did I squander my life? In the world’s eyes, maybe. But as I sit here writing this my 10 year old is bringing me her school poster to inspect, my 16 year old is explaining his newest dilemma with his vintage motorcycle and I am nagging my 13 year old to feed the goats. I know this may sound like your definition of crazy but this is my little slice of heaven and I wouldn’t trade a second. I’m here for my family and that’s right where I want to be.
I may be in the minority on this one but that’s ok. I’m proud to be a mother and housewife. And, if you ever need a cup of coffee or a hot meal there’s a good chance you will find me in my kitchen and I will gladly bring you in and make you feel right at home.
I’m seriously into food. I love it. It makes me happy. A while back I went to a restaurant with a girlfriend and neither of us was fully satisfied with the offerings. As soon as the waiter left our table after taking our orders we both began rummaging in our bags. She came up with REAL butter and I with my secret stash of tea. We know what we want when it comes to eating and weren’t taking any chances.
That being said I also live a great on the go meal. This crunch wrap is what a busy moms dreams are made of. Portable. Self contained. Good now and still good later. AND….It freezes well! Heaven sent I tell ya!
But the true test is will they eat it? Um, if they like Taco Bell they will hands down like to see this guy in their lunch boxes.
So here is the skinny….
Ground beef -2 lbs will get you roughly 6 wraps so expand or decrease according to your need
Tortillas- one for each wrap
Shredded cheese- about 1 tbsp for each wrap
Salsa or sauce of your choice ( optional)
Large frying pan
First cook and drain the beef then assemble like so…. Tortilla, meat, cheese, sauce
Then you will need to get a large pan on medium heat to fry these guys
If you have non stick you probably can get by with no oil added, otherwise just add a scant amount to prevent sticking
Now the folding….
Continue all the way around until you have something like this
Press your palm into wrap to keep the tortilla from unfolding and place it fold side down in pan
It is important to keep the folds down when placing it in the pan. As it cooks press down gently to help the cheese to melt and “glue” the wrap together.
Flip and cook until golden brown on both sides ( if you plan on eating these immediately I would cook them just a bit longer to thoroughly heat it through. My kids will be reheating these at school so I cook them just enough to hold together )
Here is the pressing- make sure you do this if your wraps have to be carted to school or work- it ensures your wrap is not going to unwrap itself
I got these ones a little toasty but after they cool I’ll toss them in baggies and into the freezer for a quick grab and go lunch!
Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I posted. Life. You know how that goes! 😶😯😄
Today I am working on school prep. I’m sure you are wondering how that applies to my closet…Well, when you have chores and kids and animals all crammed into your school morning anything you can do to streamline is a big plus. So in with the capsule(ish) wardrobe! Ok, so I kinda cheated. I narrowed it down to 40 pieces and a true capsule wardrobe would be half that ( or less). But to be real I live where the weather is very changeable so I did repeats of some items in different fabrics. For example I have 3 black toppers: a sweater cardigan, a lightweight layering cardigan and a heavy neoprene hooded vest. That easily could have been one item instead of three but, again, the weather… I also have three denim skirts because I live in them and I don’t want to wear the same thing 2x a week. (Yes, I’m an over washer and if you think I’m “saving” that shirt for another wearing you are wrong)
So here was the 40 piece capsule(ish) wardrobe
If you will notice the bulging suitcase above… yeah, those are summer clothes. And down the hall there is this…
This is back up in case I just get sick of the whole idea after a while. So yeah, I definitely cheated but I have to be real here. I know that things get stale after a while and I may want to swap my color palate around.
For this capsule I used denim, black and beige tones for neutrals. I added blue/ greens, gray and berry colors to liven things up. My goal was to create fast and pulled together outfits every day that consistently looked good and saved me time.
In my capsule:
10 bottoms- black, denim, beige
10 tops- blue, green, berry, black , cream
2 vests- black, beige
10 toppers (cardigans or jackets to layer)- black, beige, denim, green, gray
I feel like this is a good amount to get me through 2 weeks if needed but not so much that my closet is crammed.
Why bother with all this work you ask. Well, the great thing about a capsule wardrobe is that each item is supposed to easily mix and match with the others so that you always have a pulled together look without all the time matching an outfit while you are standing in your towel and late for work. Basically, all your outfits are preplanned to go together in a snap.
So the big question is – does it work??? I didn’t want to wait a week to do a test run so I did a BLIND sample.
I turned off the lights and walked to my closet and closed my eyes. I grabbed a bottom and a top and then peeked to see what I ended up with.
To be fair I could feel the nubby texture of the sweater vest in test 3 and the cream bell sleeve was next to it which also had lacy fabric in it so I guess my tactile senses helped on that one.
I’d probably toss a denim jacket over the top in test 2 but I would wear all three of these out so I consider it a success!
I have been working on this little project since the first of the year and here is Thankful 365 for April. This was an idea that I saw and decided to try it out for myself. In order to cultivate a grateful spirit I have written one positive and specific thought for each day. This will be for an entire year but I will post it at the end of each month.
April 1- Easter. Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice
April 2- Gardening. Set my first plants in the ground TODAY. Ah, blessed dirt!
April 3- Gardening
April 4 – My doctor! She is pretty awesome.
April 5- Care group- they’re my tribe!
April 6- It’s Friday and its been a long week. FriYAY!
April 7- My husband took 2 out of town calls that kinda ate up our Saturday but I’m glad that my son had a job to do to keep him busy and productive. The girls and I spent the day cleaning so we made the most of a rainy Saturday.
April 8- I’m thankful for wonderful church services that change lives for the better!
April 9- It was a crazy busy day but I’m thankful I had energy for it. I may not have much left but I got through today and made a big pot of chili for a cozy comfort food. Yum!
April 10- My dog. She was at the vet and we missed her. Its good to have her home.
April 11- My seedlings have sprouted!
April 12- My husband. Its his birthday today and I’m thankful for him. And for seeing friends who came just to wish my man a happy birthday 🎂
April 13- I’m thankful for a day off. I was not at my best but a rainy restful day was just the thing.
April 14- lazy Saturday. And we hired out cleaning the chicken coop! Nice!
April 15- Had fun with my bus kids. Love those babies!
April 16- Monday workday. Gettin’ stuff done!
April 17-My husband! He loves me enough to buy me treats when I’m crabby #lovehim #hesakeeper #scottiedoglicorice
April 18- Bert and Ernie! Not the Muppets, our new cows!
April 19- Care group…my sides still ache!
April 20-It’s Friday!
April 21-We were go getters today! So much done! Whew!
April 22- I’m glad we had a relatively quiet Sunday. Sometimes its hopping and a bit too busy for me.
April 23- Thankful for tea today
April 24- Got to show the animals off to a friend today. Their autistic son loved them! It made me happy that he was so taken with them and enjoyed being outside.
April 25- Today I realized that it is entirely possible that I could have ended up childless. I have 3 kids but after a visit to the doctor I fully realized that had I not had children at a younger age time simply would have run out for them. I had a very small window and I took it. I’m so thankful I did!
April 26- Its Thursday and I’m tired but I’m glad to be tired for a reason. I have a family a home and work to do
I have found that we all tell stories even if some of us do it unconsciously. We have all heard the child who in excruciating detail gives this mother the account of his recent bruise or scrape. How about the mother of a newborn relating the latest development of her little darling. Maybe the guy who has just bought a sweet new ride. Oh yeah, we’ve heard some of those! Is granny giving you the rundown on her recent surgery or maybe it’s couponing bragging rights that have their moment of glory.
Whatever the topic I think we can all say we have been the story teller a time or two in our lives. It’s a human thing- we want to share the details and have our friends in rapt attention for our little moment. It’s also a heritage. Long before the written word oral stories kept traditions and cultures alive. We have a sense of belonging when our stories are listened to and passed on.
My pastor tells stories as he preaches and I love to listen to them. He says that Jesus told stories (parables) and it worked pretty well for Him! I have to agree. I always have fun at church when he is preaching.
I began telling stories to my children whenever we were out without a book and they needed a quiet moment. It’s strange that I never considered it a thing – it was just natural. We are a TV free family and that can pose some challenges on the entertainment front. We cannot pack a library when we travel and when the kids were small no audio book was going to hold their attention. I became the master of voice inflection, turning myself into a crotchety old woman or a chattering blue bird who sang as he flew. We had one infamous story about a dog who blew bubbles out the wrong end. If I can remember it all I will write it down for you. It was highly requested during the early school age years. Another one told the tale of a wayward elderly couple setting off on vacation only to misunderstand their way across America one speed bump at a time. Again, if I could only remember it all!
When I was in grade school a principal of a neighboring school would take a day to tour around the area and tell stories. He was a master! Old Russian folktales of houses with chicken feet sprang to live in my over active little mind. I cannot tell you very much about the man himself. It was as if he became a completely different person as he wove his tale. He disappeared and only the story remained. I remember being in complete awe and not being able to say a word when he got ready to leave our classroom. My little brain couldn’t separate the man from the story and it jarred my senses to realize that it was all just fancy words floating through the air and that this was just a regular guy walking out to his car to go tell another batch of third graders another whopper.
I have made about a million goals for myself this year as I always do but I very much hope to capture a few stories in the near future. I love to tell them and have the words float away but I’d like to nail them down now and then too. How about you? Do you have story waiting to be told?
The other day my little monkey surprised me. She sees me at the computer a lot. Research, homework helps, Googling anything I need or finding info on my latest project. She has taken to playing with the keyboard and pretending to “work” but the other day she wanted so badly to truly help me.
Girl 2 :”Mama, what’s your theme this week?”
Me: *distractedly making dinner* “Hmm?”
Girl 2 – *heavy sigh* “You know, your bus theme Mom. What are you going to teach? I want to look up your scriptures!”
(Insert pretty pleases and adorable smiles)
Me: *finally paying attention *….”You what?”
Girl 2: *getting impatient* “Mom! You know! What do you want me to look up for your bus lesson this week?”
Me:*crying/cheering a little inside* “Forgiveness honey, look up fogiveness.”
Aaagh! When did this happen? How did this being come to exist? She has followed my every move and knew my routine as if I had written her a schedule. Oh my, mamas! I almost missed the beauty of this moment! My baby doing a Bible search. For me. Wow!
How this girl copies me. How she loves that her mama is a teacher and planner. God help me to see these moments more clearly and to savor them. My dear sweet child, pray for your mama to be a good pattern for you to follow.