Sunday, January 29, 2017

Candy Sunsets

Hello friends.

I'm taking a few ancient blog posts and dusting them off. Most have not had a lot of views, but I still think they are worth looking at.

 If I am not mistaken this post used the same sentiment in a devotion I wrote for a church cookbook. This particular post I wrote at a difficult time. It was good to read it again.

I had to make a Wal-mart run tonight (imagine that). 

When I got out of the car I got a really good view of the setting sun. It almost seemed shameful that I had to rush and couldn't sit and enjoy it. It looked like one of those hard cinnamon know the ones.  

They come in butterscotch, too.

 I can't tell you how many sweet little old men have handed me (or my son) one of the butterscotch candies in my life. They have been used at church to win Josiah's affections many times (and it usually works). 

As I wheeled my way around Wal-mart...pushing my cart for all it's worth...I thought about how despite the strange and difficult circumstances that we have found ourselves in, I really have enjoyed the summer so far. Last summer was almost a was stressful and not any fun at all. I just "existed". I am grateful that I am at that point in my healing that I can look past some of my day to day worries and truly appreciate things like cinnamon candy suns, fireflies, fresh ripe tomatoes and the tall sunflowers in my dad's garden that nod their heads in my direction every time I look their way. 

What a precious gift. I can tell you that it takes effort not to let worry or the cares of life overwhelm you to the point that you can't see the nodding sunflowers or candy suns for all the "stuff." I have been guilty of letting my worries take over "me." I have been guilty of becoming my matter how great or small. I like this way better.

There is a certain amount of freedom that comes with enjoying your life and all those candy sunsets.

Monday, January 16, 2017

10 Tips (for those Fluffy and Frugal gals)

Hi, my friends.

I thought I would share a helpful link with you today. It's actually a post I wrote for a blogger friend (Marcy from Ben and Me) sometime back.

She's given it a fresh picture and reposted it for the New Year.

It's got some good advice (if I do say so myself). Dare I say it's a must read for those of us who are eating healthy on a budget?

You can click on the banner below or here to read it. Plus, check out Marcy's blog. She is always encouraging.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Snow Day

Like many parts of the country this week, we’ve had snow.

You must know that The Studly Muffin ADORES snow. The first year we were married he took great delight in wheeling around a snow covered parking lot while I clutched the door handle for dear life.
I don’t know what I was expecting to do. Maybe jump out if things got too hairy?

The part of the country that I grew up in doesn’t get as much snow as my new home in Indiana.

We got even less snow when we lived outside of Memphis, Tennessee.

My friends.

They use to cancel school if there was even a hint of snow.

My own growing up years were spent in the hollers and hills of North Central Arkansas. If we had a snow day, it meant that the buses couldn’t climb those hollers and hills in the snow. AND more than likely, other than the tracks made by emergency personnel, hearty out-of-towners and my Dad (who will drive in anything), the roads were virtually untouched.

Our snow days were spent stomping about the woods, making scrawny snowmen and trying to find a good spot to dig up snow for snow ice cream. We lived on farm, ya’ll. You understand.

Other snow day activities included curling up with a good book, watching marathons of western movies that were playing on our local PBS station (them were the days) and drinking gallons of homemade hot chocolate.

I’ve noticed that those of us who grew up with those kinds of snow days kind of lost our way as adults.

Of course, we’ve had obligations.

Work, children and Wal-mart.

This week, I decided to return to some of the snow day pleasures I experienced growing up. Or at least adapted them.

Because my work is virtual and mostly involves writing words on a computer, I simply added a fuzzy blanket to the couch. I put a sprinkle of cinnamon and a spray of whipping cream in my coffee.

Oh, yes I did.

Josiah lit every candle we had in the house and we settled down to read Greek Mythology (we are doing a semester), early Bible history and a couple chapters in Psalms.

I let the rest of the world run to Wal-mart and made do with what I had in the house.

I made my family warm and comforting meals. And I once again curled up with good books and good music.  The Muffin and I spent the evenings enjoying our annual marathon of Downton Abbey. 

Is Mr. Bates the Edwardians answer to John Wayne? 


I can’t tell you how much I needed my Snow Days.

So, my friends. My advice to you is to embrace your Snow Day. Curl up with a book. Make a pot of soup. Go stomp out in the snow with your kids. Snuggle with your spouse. 


Friday, January 6, 2017

Using a List (for those of us who get distracted by life)

It happens. Every once in a while, I find myself in a what appears to be a episode of "Hoarders." You know it's bad when you call your son and if he doesn't answer right away, your first instinct is that he has been buried underneath the avalanche of coats, Wal-mart bags and scrapbook paper spilling out of the  closet.

It always seems to be worse after a major holiday. I've got a mixture of Christmas stuff (who seemed to miss the Christmas bucket express), Valentine's Day bits and baubles that I've freed from their basement holding cell and things I just don't know what to do with.

And why must everyone in my house use the coffee table as a holding place for video games, books, dirty buttermilk glasses and open jars of peanut butter?

I don't know what it is about the New Year, but it allows me to look with fresh eyes at my environment and decide what needs to be retired to that great home decor/possession tool called the giveaway box.

This year is a little different. We only moved to this house in September. I also have been under the added stress of poor health. I'm still taking pleasure in my little house. It took me weeks to put up all my Christmas decorations the way I wanted them. It also has taken a week for me to take everything down.

You don't understand.

My Momma, Baby Sister and I don't let the grass grow under our feet concerning Christmas decorations and the removal of. If I am home the day after Christmas...everything goes back in the tub! We are over it....and on to the next thing.


It gets even worse with those of us who homeschool. There seems to be too many wheels (on the bus) going at once. Then you add a fruity gal who likes to dabble in a creative project once in a while (I might relate)...

AND to top it off, this pastor's wife has just a few things going on. Where do I fit in those things?

It's easy to get overwhelmed with unfinished projects and a life that seems to swirl about you. Or maybe I'm the only one who would like to have clean underwear, a finished lesson plan and a dishless sink IN THE SAME DAY!

My advice (to myself mostly) to those who find themselves with a long list of projects, activities and commitments is to do one thing at a time.

I personally am a big fan of The List.

Here is where I am going to SET YOU FREE! Your list making will never be the same again.

Only put 3 things on your list initially. Sure. You can have a master list. Master list to your heart's content. In fact, I always have a couple of  Master Lists running for different projects. BUT for this minute. ONLY PUT 3 THINGS TO DO ON A LIST.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

DON'T take the time to decorate your list with doddles of hearts and flowers with a motivational scripture scribbled in your best handwriting at the top. Or is this just me.

DON'T put the list aside for another project, trip to Hobby Lobby or afternoon of mindless reading. Or is this just me.

DO make yourself a hot cup of tea.

DO put on your favorite pair of fuzzy slippers and put your favorite essential oil blend in the diffuser. Or at least light a candle.

DO start at #1 and continue on. After you get done with those 3 things on that list...add 3 more things to the list.

Another great piece of advice (if I do say so myself) is to use a timer. Set your timer for 15 minutes and do everything you can on the list for 15 minutes. You can add more time if needed. I'm certainly not going to come over and start scolding you on proper time management. But, I have found that a timer keeps us focused and on task.

I use it for Josiah ALL THE TIME.

That boy can drag out putting away the dishes like nobody's business.

Here are the first 3 things I have already tackled today.

1. I put on a load of laundry. Yes, I did!

2. I put supper in the crockpot (with enough servings to make up some individual meals for me next week).

3. I gave The Muffin that haircut he's been asking for (for far too long).

Already, I am winning the day. The next 3 things on my list?

1. I am going to do another load of laundry.

2. I am going to dye and dry a batch of coffee filters to make flowers (this project I will share soon!)

3. I am going to make 2 social media graphics for our church Facebook page for our prayer emphasis for the month of January.

You see how I am working it out?

I do have a little secret. Because of my "lack of energy" issues, I make sure to pace myself. I will take a break every hour or so if I have a lot to do. It's during those break times that I can work on tasks that allow me to sit on my little corner of the couch and sip my tea. I MIGHT read, but most likely I will work on those social media graphics or a blog post.

My next few things are going to be projects that I can do to work towards the "Clutter."

1. Put up some of Josiah's clothing that is clogging his drawers. He has some summer clothes that need to be put in a tub.

2. Clear out the stack of non-essential items beside my bed.

3. Put away 10 things in our office that don't belong there.

Do you see the method to my madness? Or just the madness....😜

On days that involve more rigorous schooling, I evaluate what needs to be a priority and tackle those things first. For example, Josiah has been struggling with math. I make sure that I prioritize time that we can sit down together and work through it.

I also prioritize our read alouds together. There have been days that I've barely had the energy to feed my guys...But if we can read a great book together...I know that I am still pouring something of value into Josiah's life. I want to write a post about some of my current methods soon. I need to add it to my list!

We can do this, my friends! Go conquer that list!

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