Let’s Be Friends

So I just read my last post on my blog.  (Sometimes I do come to the site to see how things look).  I just changed hosting providers and set up a new theme, so I wanted to see how it looked today with fresh eyes.

cue Embarrassed Emoji… 

So my pictures were GINORMOUS cuz I thought I had a setting that limited their size – which I need to dig into.

One of them was sideways (amateur move, that one!)

And another one was blurry.

Sigh. 

Even I can tell I’m out of blogging practice. 

But I’m a “Jump-in-the-saddle” kind of gal, not a “Hold-your-horses-Lady” so here we are.  Welcome to my world.

Anyway, I wanted you to know I have been thinking about you since I scheduled the last post.  Yep, for real.  I do think about the ones of you who stay to read my posts and sometimes comment – and want you to know that I appreciate your time.  I appreciate how busy life gets and how sometimes you might need a few minutes outside of your own scope to see life differently.  I feel you on that.

Some days I really just need a different perspective.  So maybe the sideways picture wasn’t so awful, huh?  Maybe it made somebody laugh.  Maybe it made one of you stop to take your mind off your own pressing matters to wonder about the kind of person who posts pictures sideways on her first entry into 2019.

What I probably shouldn’t mention is how excited I am because I am prepping some new posts about prayer and I wanted to share my excitement with you.  But I think I will take a little more time on the editing side of things and hope they can be more beneficial than just purely entertaining…

Next week, I will be sharing my “WORD” for 2019.  Subscribe by entering your name and email in that right sidebar so you don’t miss it (or any of my other silly foibles, for that matter!)

Either way, let’s be friends, shall we?

2019 Catch-Up

So this post probably shoulda been posted in the first week of January.  It was in my head, and that is where it stayed.

I have been wanting to reach out – so many changes have happened over the past 4 months…

  • I quit my 2nd job as a cashier before my birthday in December.  It ended up they were only working me 5 hours a week and ONLY on Sundays.  Which pretty well defeated the purpose of my working there.
  • Got a different 2nd part-time job with an agency in Marionwhich is still being worked out as of this date – but I think it will be something I enjoy!  I will be assisting with parenting classes and working with parents of juveniles who have been involved in the court system there.  I will be an ASSISTANT – not a coordinator – so I think I will learn a lot and enjoy interacting with people.
  • Accepted another job credentialing providers for a mental health/counseling agency in Mansfield.  Now this is something I REALLY enjoy doing, and have done it in the past.  It is mainly computer work, and I will do most of it – At Home – while kids are in school.  Which is something I have been praying about and works really well for us…
  • IF MY KIDS EVER GET TO HAVE SCHOOL AGAIN!  Has this been a Winterpocalypse in your neck of the woods, too?
  • We adopted a new puppy, Lucy Jo, a 6 month old chihuahua.  It truly is like having a 3 year old in the house – and I am feeling more my age these days.  ha  But she is a sweet little thing – who loves us all and competes with Sam for my attention.  That has been entertaining to say the least.  She came to us as a rescue, who was fostered for a little bit – and actually partly potty-trained – so it’s all good!

It has been several years since we have seen so much snow and such cold temperatures for any length of time here in northcentral Ohio.  We have had numerous flood warnings over the past month – between the snowfall which melts within a few days and the rain that seems to follow right behind in the next weather system.  One morning this week when I took Lucy outside, I was surprised by a bright round moon in the dark blue sky, and the snow glittered like diamonds all around.  It was absolutely breathtaking! The roads are breathtaking for totally different reasons…

Basketball season is in full swing.  Both Kaity & Sam have played.  Kaity’s coming to her tournaments this weekend while Sam’s games / tournaments extend into March.  It has been busy since my hubby, Greg, has been helping coach both teams!

I hope that 2019 is being good to you!  Leave me a comment to catch me up on your news!

When You Feel Like You Are Losing Your Mind

Hey everybody!  Fall is in full swing – and several started-but-unfinished posts have been languishing in my draft folder for weeks.  I hit a wall – with life in general, really – and have been in sheer survival mode.  Many days (and nights) I have been convinced that I am losing my mind!

I started a 2nd part time job and it is more physically demanding and less mentally demanding than my other part-time job.  Hours were a bit long in the beginning, but they have eased up and I am settling in.  Just in time for the Holidays.  (I am part-time bookkeeper for a non-profit agency and also now a cashier at a local drugstore).  Getting my schedule together has been a challenge – let alone finishing posts and making more printables.

So the blog went to the back burner while my mind spun ideas about posts to write during Fall.  

And I know that I am NOT the only one who *hated* all of the robocalls and commercials for voting.  SO glad that is over.  Now maybe we can figure out how to work together like Americans.

THEN Daylight Savings came.

Whoever decided that the Time Change was necessary (and yes, I know all about it) and we should continue to adhere to it despite the shift to industrialization in our country did not have mothers in mind.  Or working women.  In their late 40s.  With kids who stress over minor changes…

We are STILL adjusting to the darkness.  My kids are begging to go to bed at 6:30.  But then getting up at 5:00 a.m.!!!   It is NOT good!!!  All 3 are having sensory reactions to the changing season – more significantly than in previous years – and sometimes, we have all been in bed by 8 pm just so everybody could HANDLE things.

I am thankful that I can pray to a God who hears and sees.

For real.  I pray quietly, I pray out loud, and I pray by journaling.  If I did not have prayer, I would not survive this crazy time. 

I have said more than once – I feel like I can’t handle my life right now.  Lots of juggling balls, tracking schedules, dealing with finances.  It has been crazy messy more often than not.

I am also thankful for essential oils.

More often than not, I can be found diffusing or applying essential oils while mumbling out a prayer at the same time.  I have been using “stress” and “sleep” oils more often than not of late.  The stress makes it hard for me to sleep through the night and not sleeping makes the stress harder to roll with.  I am taking the vitamins and drinking the water and trying to find at least ONE thing to be thankful for every day, but sometimes the waves feel stronger and I lose my breath.

I am writing all this in the spirit of encouragement really.  When you feel like you’re losing your mind, I can highly recommend 2 strategies :

  • PRAYER
  • ESSENTIAL OILS

Yes there are other things like counseling, journaling, mindfulness, checkups, naps, etc., that can be beneficial. 

But these two things have made all the difference between FEELING like I’m losing my mind and actually LOSING my mind!

I want to share some essential oil recipes soon along with some favorite Fall treat recipes!  That’s what I have brewing in my blogging pot, and am praying I can get them out here for you to enjoy!!!

Fall Family Update

About a week and a half ago, my husband and I were sitting out back together discussing just how perfect the weather was.  It had been cool and a little misty that morning, but the sun had come out and a few fluffy clouds floated through the sky.  We celebrated with our new fire pit he & Kaity put together in the back yard – roasting marshmallows, burning cedar that had fallen in our yard and just watching the fire burn.

i love fire

Fast forward to yesterday and it was an abysmal HUMID almost-90 DEGREE day!  In October!  

Personally, I think it should be illegal.  I think it is dangerous to pumpkins and other gourds (hey – maybe I am a PUMPKIN!!!)  and it should just be banned from the repertoire of fall weather.  I expect rain showers and thunder storms.  I expect fog delays and cool evenings.

Anyways, it looks like that typical fall weather is coming in the next 36 hours, so I won’t complain anymore.  I enjoy the colder weather and watching football and drinking hot chocolate…  

I got a sweet Facetime call from Porter on Sunday night.  Oh that little guy.  Can’t even believe how much he has grown since we got to see him in March!  His sweet Mama said “he has found his attitude” and I got to see it a bit.  Oh my I remember those days.  At least he is still cuddly.  Although I can’t complain, because when I let her, my 13 year old still climbs in my lap for a hug every so often.   He is saying several words (or NOT saying several words upon request. lol) and said “Gigi” a bunch – which obviously melted my heart!!!  

Flag football is in full force, and Sam is having fun playing!  He caught the first touchdown of the season – and since then has worked on trying to pull a flag and catch another ball.  He is definitely in second grade cuz he is torn between paying attention to the game or flossing between plays with his buddies…

He only has a few games left in the season and then sister Kaity will be starting basketball.  Kaity is in 5th grade and started band this year.  Claira decided not to continue playing flute, so Kaity is picking it up this year. 
The school got a new director who seems to have added some sass to the band’s performances -and she really enjoys her classes. She is excited about learning and playing and says she might play in marching band AND be a cheerleader when she is older.    For this basketball season, Dad will be assistant coach again, and apparently several of her teammates from last year are already asking when practices begin!

Greg started eating Keto about 2 months ago and is seeing lots of great results!  He has lost about 20# and continues to eat Keto for most meals.  It is somewhat similar to THM (S) meals, so at times, I will join him.  We have tried some really interesting recipes and he keeps finding more to try.  Some of them are great for the family, and some are just for him & me. 

As for me, I’m working more and staying busy, trying to get the house ready for cooler weather and keeping kids on schedule and on task.  Yep, I’m tired.  I recently won a little giveaway on Instagram from a Cleveland planner group (@CreativeClevelandPlanners on Instagram) and was SO excited to get my prizes!  I am using a TN (traveler’s notebook) and have been for months – this came in a different size with some CUTE accessories!

Right now I don’t have inserts that fit the planner cover, but now that I have it, I can make plans to use it next fall when school starts!  Who says Pumpkins can’t come til October??? 

It’s a fun time of year and we enjoy our Pumpkin spice lattes and hot cocoa with marshmallows, and will have many more cups to come.

Happy Fall, Y’all {Free Printables}

Happy Fall, Y’all! 

This is just about “the most wonderful time of the year” as far as I am concerned.  I love the changing season and cooling weather.  I love it when it hits the mid-40s overnight and warms up into the low 70s during the day.  The leaves are already dropping and pumpkins are popping up everywhere!

In fact, I made Pumpkin Spice Lattes for my kids yesterday.  Even with coffee.  I diluted pretty heavily and I think only my teenager finished hers, but they helped usher in the new season!

I just brewed a medium-strong cup of coffee and dumped it into a saucepan and added another mugful of hot water.  I slowly brought the heat up while adding about 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, several good dashes of pumpkin pie spice.  I also stirred in 1/2 cup almond milk and sweetened it with Stevia.  When everything was nice and hot, I divided it up into mugs.  I let the girls use non-dairy creamer and we sipped to our hearts’ content!  It was NOT just like my favorite coffee shop, but I will say that it was very satisfying!

In light of the beautiful days of Fall, I wanted to share some new Fall *fr*eebie printables!  I had a bit of fun putting these together (seriously loving pumpkins!) and hope you enjoy them! 

They are sized to print 5 x 7 (actual size) so you could easily use frames you already have and print the ones you like without using up all your color ink! 

You can choose to print smaller if you’d like, but you will lose some detail if you want to print it larger. 

Keep scrolling for the links to download these printables to add some fall color to your home or office space! (I have one of these hanging in my office because I have NO windows!  I hope these make YOU smile the way they make me smile!

Just click the link to the printable you want to download!  Be sure to comment if you like what you see, have any questions or problems, or just want more FALL goodies!!!

TALL PUMPKIN

SHORTY PUMPKIN

HOT COCOA

PSL

If Teacups Could Talk

I have a small – but treasured – collection of books that are related to the taking of Tea. Every once in awhile, I like to pull them out, reread them, review the beautiful pictures and dream of afternoons spent enjoying tea.  Especially as the crisp of Fall weather starts to settle in.

I don’t even remember when I purchased my copy of If Teacups Could Talk, by Emilie Barnes. It is my favorite Tea-related book, and one I turn to often for inspiration.

It is so beautifully illustrated and includes some lovely recipes, but the thing I love the most about this book is how the author shares her love & passion for tea and tea parties. It isn’t just about drinking tea – but about using tea time as a means to building relationships.

It doesn’t REALLY matter if the liquid involved is Tea – it could be coffee, water, pop, etc.  It doesn’t really matter if you choose to have tea alone, with your children, or with friends.  The idea is to make taking tea a refreshing experience for the body and soul.

So whether you have an antique teapot with matching teacups and saucers handed down through generations of your family, or you have mismatched mugs collected over the years – consider inviting someone special to have some Tea Time with you.

And if you are looking for some inspiration, I recommend this book and others by Emilie Barnes. I have several of her books and reading them is like the practice of deep breathing for the soul!

I have included my affiliate links for Amazon.  If you click the link and decide to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission – but it won’t cost you anything extra!

Fear. He really is a Liar.

My struggle with depression and anxiety hit a peak this summer.  In conjunction with my physical health (and issues I am dealing with) and circumstances which were deeply disappointing, I found myself in a pit of despair and after fighting it off for some time, I just let it wash over me.

But here’s the thing.  Most of my anxiety was driven by fear.  My anxiety really amps up my depression, so being able to look back and see that fear was driving it all made me understand so much m ore clearly that Fear really is a liar.

We love the new song by Zach Williams.  When it comes on the radio, most of us in my family chime in and sing along.  In fact, we’ve taken to resorting to quoting it when we catch our kids telling half-truths.  {Only because, being the wise parents we are, we interchange our kids’ name with the word “fear.”  t usually contributes to some honesty, so it has proven effective.}

It is hard for me to admit to depression.  I am a bootstrap kind of girl who can get her head on straight, think positive and “just keep swimming.”

Notice anything there?  Yeah, me too.  It’s a bit much about doing too much myself and NOT putting my faith in God.  It’s a vicious cycle and it always takes me to a place of exhaustion, stress, and yes, depression.

All these positive vibes, uplifting self talks, and meaningful mantras are really just empty because they keep fueling me to attempt to live my life in my own strength and do things my own way.  I fail every time.  Every. Single. Time. 

My pit of despair is really just a tool that God uses to speak to me.  When I’m too tired of trying to do everything all by myself, can’t lift my head, and want to give up on everything – I can finally hear HIS voice.  Y’all.  I am so hard-headed and so hard hearted sometimes, it is utterly shameful.

But God.  He is just patient and faithful.  My word for 2018 is “Joy” and now I am seeing why He spoke that to me.  It’s because He wants me to stop trying so darn hard to do everything all myself an rest in His strength and stand in His grace.  Fear is a liar.  Jesus is the Truth.

Whatever you are facing in your life – that impossible circumstance, that endless struggle, the ongoing disappointments and those overwhelming feelings of failure, the growing darkness – if you feel like you can’t take one more step, or one more breath.  Remember this:  fear is a liar and Truth can change everything!

           The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7/365 at                 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your call is free and confidential.
Worried someone you know might be suicidal? You can #BeThe1To help. Here are 5 steps to #BeThe1To help someone in crisis 
http://bit.ly/2wQnayB

Eat at Home Tonight {Product Review}

 Eat at Home Tonight might just be the ticket to making meal planning & prep easier!  This cookbook contains 101 “Simple Busy-Family Recipes…” which is what appealed to me the most!  The very first recipe section of the cookbook is titled “I Only Have 15 Minutes Tonight”!  It is my favorite chapter and one I turn to every time I am looking for cooking inspiration.

Frankly, I have lost my cooking mojo.  I don’t want to cook very often – IF at all these days.  It has been discouraging for me and frustrating for my family.  I have no excuse like previous summers (when we did NOT have air-conditioning) and I find myself dragging my feet to think about meal planning, let alone prepping for meals.

I hoped that reading through this cookbook would give me the inspiration to try something new.  Honestly, every time I open this little book, I flip through the cookbook looking at the gorgeous pictures and find myself turning to the same pages for recipes to try.  It is beautifully done, definitely geared towards busy families and includes recipes that are both simple and appealing.

Simple recipes like:

  • White Garlic Chicken Flatbread
  • Memphis-Style BBQ Chicken Tacos with Coleslaw
  • Tacos al Pastor
  • Skillet Swiss Frittata with Spinach & Tomatoes, and 
  • Mexican Meat Loaf

I made the Skillet Swiss Frittata with Spinach & Tomatoes (eggs from our backyard chickens and fresh tomatoes from my in-law’s) and my husband RAVED about it!  Sometimes it’s hard to keep eggs on the dinner menu, but this recipe would satisfy just about everyone on my family!!!

One of the most interesting sections (which I have yet to dig into making) is the chapter “I Want to Cook For Tonight and Tomorrow” which includes recipes to cook the main dish for one night, with a recipe for leftovers the following night!  I am drawn to “Garlicky Pulled Pork” which can be used for “Pulled Pork Cuban Sliders” followed by “I’ll do it Tamale”!  Looks and sounds SO delicious!  I haven’t done this yet, but when I can get boneless pork roast on sale, I am making it!

To top this off – for those of you who might be VERY organized – there is a “I Want to Cook for the Whole Week Tonight” section which includes 2 weeks worth of 6-in-1 Menu Plans with shopping lists!  (Maybe when I get my mojo back, I’ll dare attempt this!)  Basically, this cookbook gives me NO excuse not to cook a delicious meal for my family at home.  Blessing or curse???

Eat at Home Tonight retails for $22.00 but right now on Amazon, it is on sale for $14.58 (as of the time of writing this post)!  

I was given a copy of the newly-released cookbook, Eat at Home Tonight, by Tiffany King in exchange for my honest review.  I received an advanced reader copy, which includes b&w pictures – which always makes a cookbook more useful in my opinion.  FYI – The published edition contains full-color pics.  I am using my Amazon affiliate links throughout this post.  If you should purchase this cookbook via these links, I earn a small commission for the referral – but it doesn’t cost you anything extra at all!!!

Glitches, Delays & Interruptions! Oh My!

I’ve had several things simmering on my blogging “stove” – percolating in my blogging “pot” – and have run into lots of glitches, delays & interruptions!  With school having started, I knew I would have more time to think, prepare and craft my blog posts.

And then our internet went out.  For a whole week!  It was a random thing – 3 different techs were at our house and found numerous reasons for the issues we were having – and finally, it got fixed!  It was interesting NOT having internet.  I could have done just fine without our phone or cable TV, but the internet (especially WiFi) saves my phone battery and I found myself charging my phone throughout the day!

I do believe that glitches, delays & interruptions are Providential.  Not always, but probably more often than I’d like to think.  I am a DOER, and when I can’t do, it makes me feel a lot of things I’d rather not feel.

Between my health issues cropping up over the past year, some financial obstacles, and technology glitches – I’ve come to realize how much my self-worth really relies on my ability to DO “all the things.”  And how NOT doing all the things makes me feel useless, worthless, less than, etc.

It is an ugly spot to find myself.  It is an ugly place to be.

Where all the other voices try to tell me who I am and what I am worth.  And when I am not hearing His Voice, it is so easy to fall prey to the vicious lies, threats, and insults.  To feel weighed down by the chains of inadequacy, regret, and failure.

But the truth is this:  When I don’t listen to His Voice, when I don’t rest in His Word, and when I won’t Be Still – I do fail.  I find myself scraping the bottom of the self-sufficiency barrel and coming up empty.

Because Y’all:  I. Got. Nothing.

But he invites me to Rest because HE calls me His Beloved.  And when I rest in Him, I remember this.  I remember His Love for me.  I remember that His Mercies are new every morning.  That He is faithful to me because He loves me.

I do nothing to earn His love.  I am not worthy of His love, and when I stop doing, He clothes me in His Grace and shows me His Glory.

If you are in a place that feels dark and oppressive and impossible – God is bigger than impossible.  If you find yourself running into obstacles in your life, stop and see if He is calling you to be quiet and still with Him.  Stop and check yourself.

He is not just Redeemer, but Restorer.  Not just Savior, but Sanctifier.  Not just Forgiving, but Freedom.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

Just a reminder to listen to the voice of Truth.  The voice of Freedom.