Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . February 28, 2012

Outside my window . . . it looks and feels as if spring is here. The sun is shining and the sky is blue. Ds may have to mow the grass this weekend.

I am thinking . . . springtime would be perfect if it weren't for those pesky allergies.

I am thankful . . . for being the mom in the neighborhood the kids gravitate to when they need help. I am the provider of food, odds & ends, and lately, sewing help. American history projects are due this week, and even though ds took it last year, his friends have come to me for help. On the one hand, I can't figure out how I got "stuck" helping sew a 1920's flapper dress and a 1920's menswear placket shirt, but on the other hand it's nice helping them out and seeing and hearing their appreciation.

In the kitchen . . . what with all the historical sewing, we had baked salmon, succotash, and crescent rolls last night. Quick and easy. I haven't even thought about tonight!

I am wearing . . . still in my flannel robe and slippers. 

I am creating . . . still working on that baby blanket. I started it over 3 times I think. I just couldn't find a pattern I was happy with. Over the weekend I got the mojo and found the pattern, so we are under way now.

I am going . . . . to sew and crochet and do laundry. If all that gets accomplished, dh and I make take a walk around the local lake.

I am wondering . . . duty and responsibility, and respect and self-protection.

I am reading . . . The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney. It's an interesting, if somewhat fluffy, read. I'm also reading Ezra for Bible study, Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon, and Lenten devotionals on YouVersion.
I am hoping . . . to keep the interest in sewing once the kids finish these projects. I moved my sewing machine, months ago, to the bonus room where there is more light. This is the first sewing I've done out there and I really like the space. It's open and the machine faces the windows. I have room to setup the ironing board and the ping-pong table is excellent for cutting out patterns!

I am looking forward to . . . the coming spring. I would like to get some yard work done, but I don't know how much my allergies can take : )

I am hearing . . . peace and quiet, which is quite lovely after last evening with the 4 of us plus 3 additional teenage boys in the house.

Around the house . . . I'm still working on that cleaning plan. I have about decided the house won't be clean until the kids move out. Oh well!

I am pondering . . . the round robin nature of this weekly post. Apparently my mind doesn't move far from week to week. There is a certain sameness here. I am pondering if that is good or bad, or is it just life.

One of my favorite things . . . is getting into a project (crochet, sewing, homemaking, cooking -- whatever) that really grabs me. I have decided that for me, the key to enjoying the outcome of most things is about enjoying the process. I've spent a lot  of time pushing through the process without realizing that the process is just as important as the outcome.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . Another class at Kundalini Rising Yoga as last week's was good (an interesting story that I'll share later). Otherwise it's finishing the American history project (no I'm not doing it all myself), crocheting, housework, Bible study, exercising -- there's that repetition I was talking about earlier!).

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
baby blanket progress

Monday, February 27, 2012

Made by You Monday -- Sweet September in Parrot

This has been my go to shawl since I completed it this past August. I have always had an affinity for shawls, and this yarn was so colorful that I knew I had to have something made from it. I have worn this shawl around the house, out running errands, to church, and out to dinner. Everywhere I go, I get compliments on it.

I used April Draven's scarf pattern and enlarged it until I was happy with the size. I assume I used a size I/9 (5.5 mm) hook as that is what the yarn recommends, but I don't actually remember. Mine is about 65 rows, and measures 72" x 36". I used Deborah Norville Collection Everyday Print Yarn Parrot in 100% acrylic. I think I used 6 or 7 skeins, but this was an early project, before I learned to make notes!

Thank you to April Draven for providing this free pattern. Please honor her requests to use for personal use only. The pattern is available here. Make sure you look around at April's site, as she has lots of really nice ideas and patterns.

link up at Skip to My Lou

Friday, February 24, 2012

Red Writing Hood -- Shattering

She looked at the glass in her hand. She imagined throwing it and watching as it shattered into a million tiny shards of light. Would the destructive act bring her closure? Would destroying the glass help her rebuild her world?

They were so many broken pieces in her life. How could breaking something else help her put those other pieces back together?

A few days ago, Mel had gone into Old Time Pottery. She had looked around at all the cheap glasses and pitchers. He’d told her to go and buy all the cheap glass she could. Her instructions included paying attention to weight, heft, and shattering ability.

Mel looked at the glistening rows of glassware and thought about destruction. Wanton acts of destruction went against everything in her being, and yet . . .

He took her to a construction site, and talked with the foreman. Mel was horrified, but the foreman seemed happy to oblige. He brought her a tarp, trashcan, and safety goggles.

Her husband leaned against the far wall and told her to think about all the “bad” people and all the horrible things they had done to her; think of an episode and throw a glass. The first throw was half-hearted. Mel was terrified and excited. He told her to throw harder – get angry. He’d clean it all up for her when she was done.

She picked up a pitcher and threw it against the brick wall with all the strength she could muster. It made contact with shattering resonance. She turned, looking to her husband for approval. He smiled at her.

Mel turned back to the wall and threw and threw and threw until all the glass was gone. A crystalline mound on the tarp beneath the wall.

It was a start.

link up at Write on Edge

"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence."
--Mahatma Gandhi

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
for more moments visit SouleMama

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thankful Thursday #8

I found this information on YouVersion.com and I wanted to share. I grew up in a religious tradition that shunned religious holidays. I didn't understand the meaning of Ash Wednesday until just a few years ago when a friend explained after I had shared my ignorance. Over the past few years, I have begun to incorporate aspects of the Lenten season into my own traditions. I have found it to be a time for renewal and self awareness, and I find comfort in the worldwide community of believers who participate at the same time.
I liked the ideas expressed in this piece (although is was essentially an ad for this particular application, but it's a good one).

"Lent draws us closer to God through purposeful prayer, self-denial, repentance, giving, and time in the Bible:
Prayer. We thank God for reaching out to transform us, and we ask for direction and insight. Consider asking God to help you see people the way He sees them.
Self-denial. Fasting means food, but we may also give up certain activities we enjoy. What things do you think about most? Food? Coffee? Sweets? Social media? Television and entertainment? Commit to go without at least one between now and Easter.
Repentance. When our thoughts drift to ourselves, that’s our cue to connect with God, asking Him to show us our weaknesses and sins. We ask Him to forgive us and change our hearts.
Giving. We freely offer whatever we have to those in need. It could be money contributed to worthy charities, our time, our talents. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter. Visit the elderly. Write letters of prayer and encouragement to orphans. Give intentionally to people who can’t repay you.
Scripture Reading. YouVersion has 5 Reading Plans specifically designed to help you center your life on God and His Word during this special time of reflection and purpose."

Right now I find myself grateful for the season; for the opportunity to re-examine my own life; to strive to grow closer to God; and to seek opportunities to serve others.
I hope you do too.

link up at Grace Alone

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

diary of 5

I am seeing... rain

I am hearing... quiet

I am smelling... nothing as allergy season has begun

I tasted... cinnamon toast

I am feeling... peaceful

link up at Diary of 5

Wordless Wednesday -- Dog in a Basket

for more images go to Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Inner Pickle Menu Challenge

So Monday Fiona at Inner Pickle asked us again what we were eating this coming week. I started not to join in, but then I figured why not.
You may notice some similarities if you read last week's menu -- that's because I didn't follow my schedule last week, so things turn up again this week.
Monday: Italian Crescent Casserole and a big tossed salad
Tuesday: Barbecued chicken fillets, roasted carrots and potatoes, and steamed broccoli
Wednesday: pizza at a church meeting
Thursday: Cooked mixed beans, cornbread, and sliced apples
Friday: date night
Saturday: Herbed salmon and shrimp skewers, succotash, and blueberry muffins
Sunday: Pork tenderloin with peach mango salsa, green beans, and baked sweet potatoes
We're off to a good start. Monday and Tuesday we've followed the list. Wednesday is definite, but we'll see what happens from there.

RemembeRED -- Mentor

men·tor  [men-tawr, -ter]  
1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher
2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter

A mentor. It sounds like a lovely idea to have one. It sounds quite daunting to be one. I’ve never had an “official” mentor in the pre-arranged sense, but I’ve had a series of lovely women (and a few men) who have influenced me positively over the years.
When I went back to work in 2003, I went to work with three other reference librarians. All of them were wonderful, and we used to joke that going to work was more like going to group therapy.
I connected with one of the ladies in particular – in a maternal way. She was kind, positive, and just lovely, but totally real and honest. Over time I came to see her as an advisor, a comforter, a friend, and a surrogate mother.
She too had suffered difficulties (as I write this, I realize how silly it sounds. Who hasn’t suffered?) A son lost to a terrible disease. A divorce. An estrangement from one daughter. Through it all she remained centered. Now I met her after the fact, so my view is not necessarily accurate. The appealing thing to me was that she had survived.
During the time that our paths crossed regularly, another daughter was diagnosed as schizophrenic. The lovely lady showed me what real maternal love looks like. She did all that she could to help her daughter. Making trips out of state regularly to check on her daughter. Sending money, buying groceries, cleaning the house, even mowing her daughter’s grass. It was a revelation to me. She did it without complaint. Yes, she was tired. Yes, she was emotionally worn out. Yes, she needed a break, but mostly she loved her daughter.
Time passes and things change. My contact with her is mostly via email and Christmas cards now. I miss our regular chats and funny interactions, but life as taken twists and turns for both of us.
She may not realize what she did for me during those few years we worked together, but I hope she does. I tried to express it to her on many occasions.
Lovely, that’s the word I always think of when I think of her.
I don’t know if she realized what she was doing for me at the time. I know I didn’t. What I do know is that I am a better person, wife, mother, friend, and worker than I was before I met her. And isn’t that the point? 

link up at Write on Edge

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . February 21, 2012

Outside my window . . . it is clear and sunny after some rain the night. We may get into the 60's today.

I am thinking . . . that my concentration has been off. I'm feeling a bit scattered. Yesterday was better. I am hoping that trend continues.

I am thankful . . . for my son. Last Friday was Senior Skip Day. He sat in my office/craft room and talked with me for nearly 3 hours! It was lovely and amazing. I thought a couple of times that I should get things done, but nothing seemed as important as that opportunity for just the 2 of us to talk.

In the kitchen . . . last night I tried a new recipe. It must have been a hit since I don't have any leftovers! You can find the recipe here.

I am wearing . . . still in my flannel robe and slippers. 

I am creating . . . a baby blanket for a neighbor. I don't if it's a boy or girl, so I'm using 4 different pastels in Caron Simply Soft.

I am going . . . . to my bf's house to help her for a change : )

I am wondering . . . about teenage boys. They eat huge quantities of unhealthy foods and still lose weight! Totally unfair!

I am reading . . . Morgue Drawer Four by Jutta Profijt.
I am hoping . . . to actually get to yoga class today. I've missed the past 3 weeks. I really hope I get there today.

I am looking forward to . . . Bible study on Thursday. We are wrapping up The Book of Daniel and will start Ezra/Nehemiah the following week.

I am hearing . . . my dd commenting on life. She is an inveterate talker!

Around the house . . . I'm trying to put together a cleaning plan. Yes I've been married nearly 27 years, and no I don't have cleaning plan yet.

I am pondering . . . turning 50. My birthday is right around the corner. So far I'm not wigging out about it. I hope I can maintain that attitude.

One of my favorite things . . . is cooking. When things get hectic, I tend to let the cooking slide, but I really miss preparing even simple meals.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . I'm thinking about trying a new yoga class on Friday. It's at a studio called Kundalini Rising Yoga, and the class is Yin Yoga. I'm not really sure what I'm getting into though!

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
Sunshine, Blue Mint, Bone, and Pistachio

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Musings

I'm sitting at my little desk this morning in my flannel robe and slippers, covered by an afghan and wrapped in a shawl, drinking Cranberry Blood Orange tea. It is COLD here today. The birdbath is frozen over and the grass and trees are covered in a heavy white frost (hoar frost?).
I've done my morning computer check in -- emails, Facebook, new blog, read (or scanned) Google Reader, and now I'm thinking about the way things are.
The start of 2012 has been a bit rugged for me. Flashbacks and struggles with extended family have left me feeling off center and rung out. I missed worship the past two Sundays because corporate worship can become a negative for me when I'm struggling. Growing up a preacher's kid has some side issues. 
Yesterday morning I just couldn't face the Sunday morning routine, so dh and I stayed in and listened to a podcast and talked about the Colossian heresy. I made quiche for lunch and spent the rest of the day on the sofa trying to do something semi-productive. 
It didn't work. 
I thought about crocheting, only got a row and a half done. I thought about reading, but never opened the book. I picked up my Bible to get a head start on the next class I'm signed up for -- no go. I wound up watching reruns via Netflix instead.
I realize there are worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon. I made hamburgers in the iron skillet, with baked beans and potato chips for dinner. Comfort food. Then dh and I watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (yes we are nerds) and then we watched "Sweet Home Alabama". That's more tv than we watch most weeks!
I'm not sure what the purpose of all this is. Maybe I just needed to let someone know that it's not easy all the time.
I've been "helping" some other survivors via a website. Some of them are looking to me for answers. My gut reaction is I don't have any, but then I think about this comment I made to one of them this weekend:
it is incredibly difficult. The hardest thing I have ever done by far! It has taken years. I was four when the abuse started and didn't begin addressing it until I was 38. I'm nearly 50 now. It can be done, but the most important part is being kind to yourself and understanding that none of it is your fault.
These are words of comfort I shared. I know they would have helped me early on in my process.
The same site shared a quote from one my older posts:

...This is what I know -- bad things happened to a little girl who didn't deserve it (no child deserves to be hurt). No one was there to comfort and console her at the time, so I must comfort and console her now, retrospectively. It isn't as effective, but at least she's not alone now. So now I'll put on my warm jammies, get my new doll (Ruby) and pop in a pleasant movie. Relax, unwind and remember that all the hurt is in the past. I got through it then; I'll get through the memory of it now... (you can read the entire post here)

Not every day is a struggle, but it's also not easy every day. But I'm still here and I'm still standing, so they haven't won, and I know they're not going to win.


Made by You Monday -- Iron Skillet Cornbread

My husband reprimanded me recently for all of the bean and soup posting. Not that he has a problem with beans and soups. He likes them quite a bit actually, but he didn't like the fact that I posted a picture of cornbread and didn't provide you with the recipe. So today I will remedy that situation! I love cornbread and feel that it completes almost any meal.
I've been using this recipe since I got married. The only variation I've made in it is the addition of my grandmother's iron skillet. I believe real cornbread is always cooked in an iron skillet. I actually have two -- 1 is the large standard size and the other is a small one I picked up at Cracker Barrel years ago, so I could make smaller portions and still use the iron skillet. The recipe halves quite easily for the smaller skillet.

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal (NOT cornmeal mix)
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk (I use skim)
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Swirl 1-2 Tablespoons canola oil in an iron skillet and place in oven to preheat. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat until just smooth. When oven is preheated, remove skillet and pour batter into skillet. Return to oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Cornbread may be tested by inserting a toothpick or knife into the center. It should come out clean. Slice into 8 servings and serve with soup, chili, or whatever.
(Leftovers make a wonderful breakfast when reheated and slathered with butter and honey!)

There you go. I'm a big believer in yellow cornmeal and the iron skillet method which essentially "fries" the bottom of the cornbread.


link up at Skip to My Lou

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Poetry -- The Fieldmouse

The Fieldmouse
~Cecil Frances Alexander

Where the acorn tumbles down,
Where the ash tree sheds its berry,
With your fur so soft and brown,
With your eye so round and merry,
Scarcely moving the long grass,
Fieldmouse, I can see you pass.

Little thing, in what dark den,
Lie you all the winter sleeping?
Till warm weather comes again,
Then once more I see you peeping
Round about the tall tree roots,
Nibbling at their fallen fruits.

Fieldmouse, fieldmouse, do not go,
Where the farmer stacks his treasure,
Find the nut that falls below,
Eat the acorn at your pleasure,
But you must not steal the grain
He has stacked with so much pain.

Make your hole where mosses spring,
Underneath the tall oak's shadow,
Pretty, quiet harmless thing,
Play about the sunny meadow.
Keep away from corn and house,
None will harm you, little mouse.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Red Writing Hood -- The BLT

Summer is officially defined by tomatoes. Not the grainy, flavorless ones they sell all winter in the grocery store, but those plump, beefsteak tomatoes that you buy at the roadside stand, or if you’re really lucky, your neighbor hands you across the fence straight off the vine from his garden and still warm from the sun. I learned to eat tomatoes by picking cherry tomatoes in Auntie and Uncle Horace’s garden. She told us to go pick cherry tomatoes for dinner. All I heard was cherry, so I ate almost as quickly as I picked. They weren’t cherries, but they were wonderful. 

My maternal grandmother always peeled tomatoes before serving them. I never understood why, but because she did it I always assumed that was the way civilized people ate tomatoes.

But I digress. I’m stuck on the "T", and we still the "B" and the "L" to discuss. Not to mention the bread and mayonnaise.

So the lettuce must be iceberg. I don’t care that it has no nutritional value. It has the requisite crisp and crunch. It’s not really there for flavor anyway. It’s there to add texture, and if it’s very cold with just a few droplets of water from the rinsing, all the better.

The bacon must be freshly cooked. In an iron skillet preferably. It should be very crisp, maybe a little darker than usual. None of this wimpy microwave bacon, please! Some people will tell you that thick cut is the way to go, but I prepare the regular slice. It’s a texture thing again. The bacon should crumble as I bite into the sandwich. I want to gather up those little bacon bits and stuff them back into the sandwich.

I’m reasonably flexible on the bread. It can be white or wheat, but homemade is the key. Sliced just right. You don’t want it too thick or it takes away from the other flavors. I’m also flexible on toasting or not. If it’s the heat of summer, I’d stay with untoasted bread. Why heat anything you don’t have to? Plus then you get the benefit of watching and feeling your fingers press into the bread to hold the sandwich together as you devour it.

I’m a Hellman’s mayonnaise girl from way back when. Miracle Whip is no substitute. If you don’t have mayonnaise, butter (the real stuff) is the only acceptable substitute. When I was a girl, my mother used to make homemade mayonnaise and that is, of course, an excellent alteration, but there’s that whole salmonella/e coli thing about not eating uncooked eggs.

So there you have it. The perfect BLT. The first bite must be taken with closed eyes, slowly, showing awe and reverence for the perfection this sandwich represents. After that wolfing or savoring are equally acceptable. No side items are really necessary with the BLT, but potato chips or potato salad do offer a nice variation and offer the benefit of making the process take just a little longer. Of course, you could always just have another BLT instead.

link up at Write on Edge

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

for more moments visit SouleMama

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday #7

Last weekend my son stood in our pantry door bemoaning the lack of food in our house. "Mom, how long has it been since you went to the grocery?" he asked (whined). My reply was that it had been about 10 days and I planned to go on Monday. I found myself apologizing for not having gotten there sooner; not having the foods he wanted in the house.
Monday I went to the grocery and stocked up. When I came home I sat all the bags in the kitchen and got ready to unpack them. That's when I looked in the pantry, and this is what I saw
It occurred to me that I was going to have to clean out the pantry before I could put the new food away.
That made me wonder about the refrigerator and freezer

Finally I looked at all the bags I'd just brought in from the car

What's wrong with all these pictures? 
I had a pantry full of food. A refrigerator full of food. A freezer full of food, and yet my son (and let's not just blame him, by the way) couldn't find anything to eat!?!
I am so incredibly blessed, and I don't even recognize it most of the time. More groceries than I can organize, and yet it's so easy to focus on what's not in the pantry/refrigerator/freezer.
I do this with my spiritual life as well. All the things that aren't right. Struggles I'm facing, but I can't see the glory of a Christian life and the hope of heaven because there are a few rocks in my path.
Lord, teach me to be grateful for your bounteous blessings, but first teach me to see.

link up at Grace Alone

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

diary of 5

I am seeing... my husband

I am hearing... music as we sit together

I am smelling... ham, eggs, and cheese

I tasted... refreshing water

I am feeling... sad that not all are as close as he and I

link up at Diary of 5

Wordless Wednesday

for more images go to Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

RemembRED -- Comprehending Chaos

Comprehending Chaos is the story of my battle to overcome the far reaching effects of childhood sexual abuse. Beginning at 4 years old, I was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by a variety of family members and friends including an elderly aunt, a female cousin, and one of my father’s college students. Although I grew up in the Bible belt, the daughter of a minister/professor, it was not until I reached middle age that I began to tell of the abuse I had suffered. I recount the retrieval of memories and the agonizing experience of flashbacks and anxiety attacks with authenticity and brutal honesty. I share the struggle to come to grips with my family’s inability to grasp reality or show compassion for my experiences, and the choices I was faced to make to finally move to a place of true healing. This is not just the story of abuse, but the story of one woman’s move from victim to survivor to compassionate witness.

The Prompt:RemembRED – Pitch Us

Memoir can be intimidating for writers. You’re relating actual events, portraying real people, and there are years of material to sift through.

Those years of material can seem overwhelming when looked at as a whole, or they might seem underwhelming.

Have you had a rollercoaster ride, filled with ups and downs that may have left other people screaming in their seats? Perhaps your life has been more of a merry-go-round, the same scenes arising again and again, the shifts less noticeable.

Either way, you have a story to tell, and the way you tell it is what makes it compelling. Distilling your memoir into a 200 word pitch will give you the chance to really focus on what you want to share with your readers about your life story.

This week pretend we have a book contract here just waiting for someone to sign (and we wish we did, believe me!) Pitch your memoir in 200 words or less and come back this Tuesday to link up. 

link up at Write on Edge

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . February 14, 2012

Outside my window . . . it is gray and cloudy and wet and cold. 

I am thinking . . . about Valentine's Day. I love my dh every day and honestly think it's a little silly to make such a big deal of it one day a year. A friend on mine who has never married calls it Single Awareness Day!

I am thankful . . . for my bestie. She's been available a lot lately to help me organize, crochet, and talk through the current struggles. She helps keep me centered when things begin to spiral.

In the kitchen . . . white chicken chili, even though I clearly posted yesterday that it would me roasted chicken. It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind.

I am wearing . . . still in my flannel robe and slippers. Trying to get motivated to get dressed for yoga class. It might be a yoga at home day : )

I am creating . . . a round rug to go beside my bed. My father-in-law asked if I was going to make it large enough for the bed to sit in the center of it!

I am going . . . . to have a homemaker kind of day today (I hope). Laundry and cleaning. It actually sounds rather appealing to me.

I am wondering . . . about this quote:
I am reading . . . Morgue Drawer Four by Jutta Profijt.
I am hoping . . . that things will improve in my mood and in a relationship I am struggling with right now. I sense the former is more likely than the latter.

I am looking forward to . . . a quiet day at home by myself. I will do my yoga, get the laundry going, put on some music, and pace myself at working around the house. After lunch I'll settle in to do some crocheting, reading, and writing.

I am hearing . . . the dogs gobbling down their breakfast. Two of them eat like vacuum cleaners, but the third is quite delicate, picking up a single piece of dry food at time.

Around the house . . . order is being maintained fairly well. This is quite an accomplishment given the stress we've had lately. I'm trying to take the organizing in little doses and give myself credit for every little thing.

I am pondering . . . . blogging. It makes me ridiculously happy to write these blogs, and it practically sends me into the stratosphere knowing that you are out there reading them!

One of my favorite things . . . is candles. I have always loved them, but felt it was a frivolous expenditure just for me. Recently my thoughts have changed on this. I have taken to burning 2 candles every day. One in the kitchen and one in my office. These are the two rooms I spend the most time in, and it just makes me happy to see (and smell) those happy little lights.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . all the usual suspects: therapy, Bible study, date night and then it's the weekend again!

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
dh brought me these lovely flowers : )

Monday, February 13, 2012

Feeding the Fam

Over at inner pickle Fiona is talking about menus. I am usually an inveterate menu planner, but the past few weeks have been stressful, so there's been lots of scrounging. As I was reading her post this morning, I was working on my grocery list, so I'm participating in a limited way.

Here's what I'm planning for this week (things are still stressful around here and the weather is completely bizarre!):

Monday -- Roasted chicken, steamed broccoli, roasted potatoes and carrots
Tuesday -- White Chicken Chili, cornbread, sliced apples
Wednesday -- Hamburgers, baked beans, potato chips
Thursday -- Herbed salmon, butterfly shrimp, succotash, fruit salad

So how's your week shaping up? 

Link up over at inner pickle

Instructions for Child Rearing

My dh was reorganizing files on his computer recently. He ran across these instructions I had typed for my mother. Our daughter was around 2 1/2 yo and staying with them for a few days. Apparently I had some trust and control issues!?!

What's even funnier is that when we showed it to our now 21 yo daughter, she thought the similarities in her current life were hilarious.

For your amusement and derision:
Pick Claire up between 2:00 and 2:30 on Thursday.  Ask to see if she's had a nap, and if so how long.  Check to see if she needs to go to the potty before you leave.  She'll probably want a snack -- fruit or crackers and juice.  Keep her away from sugar and caffeine as much as possible -- it really makes her wild.

She's still eating pretty well.  She really likes Pigs in Blankets, spaghetti, tossed salad, pizza, hamburgers and fries, broccoli with cheese and baked potatoes with the works.  She'll eat some bread, but not a lot.  Almost any fruit is a hit.  She likes popsicles a lot.  I usually get the single pops in the fruit flavors, but limit her to one a day.  She'll eat a sandwich (half) and some chips for lunch or whatever you're having.  She doesn't like peanut butter, but she likes mayo and mustard on meat and cheese sandwiches.  She still likes a snack around 10:00 -- cheese and crackers or some pretzels.  She'll want lunch between 11:30 and 12:00.  Breakfast is more difficult.  Just try to get something down her.  Cinnamon toast, fruit, cereal -- she's partial to cinnamon toast and pancakes right now.  She may not want to eat for 30 minutes or so after she gets up.  On Sunday if she doesn't want to eat just take some dry cereal to church with you.
Nap time should hit right at 2:00.  Warn her about 1:30 that nap time is in 30 mins. and remind every 10 mins. or so.  have her potty and read 1-2 books and sing 3 songs (she likes "You Are My Sunshine"; "Red River Valley"; "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"; "Dinah"; "The Oscar Mayer Hot Dog Song").  Kiss and hug her and tell her to stay in bed and go to sleep.  If she says she's not tired then tell her she has to stay in bed and rest.  If she's not asleep after an hour and wants to get up then she can.  Only let her take a half cup of water to bed with her.  She normally sleeps about 2 1/2 hours.  She can have a snack after nap time if it's not too close to dinner (more than 30 mins.). 
She'll need a bath and shampoo Thurs. and Sat. nights for sure.  Otherwise use your own judgment.  If she doesn't have a bowel movement by Friday evening, then feed her some raisins and try to get her to drink extra water and lay off the cheese.  She usually goes only every 2-3 days.  Ask her at least once a day if she needs to try and poop.  It seems to help her remember.  When she does have a BM she likes to use the baby wipes to clean up with.  You'll have to help her quite a bit with that clean up.
If she throws a fit tell her you're going to put her in time out.  Designate a chair (probably in the dining room) and set her in it for 3 mins.  After the time is up go to her and ask if she knows why she was in time out.  Hopefully she'll answer appropriately.  Then give a kiss and hug and let her get up.  She is not to talk while in time out and she can't take anything with her while she sits there.
Limit her to 1 movie a day.  "Sesame Street" comes on at 8:00 am and 5:30 pm, and "Barney and Friends" comes on at 3:00 (on channel 8).  Try not to let her dictate all of your time.  She is used to entertaining herself for as much as 30 minutes or more at time. 
Bedtime is 8:30 pm.  Use the same routine as nap time.  If she wants to sleep in the crib, try suggesting that she is too big and that she can sleep on a pallet on the floor if she doesn't want to sleep in the big bed.  She usually wakes up between 7 and 7:30 am.
Her doctor is Dr. L F at Southern Hills Medical Building, ###-####.  Their office hours are 8:30 to 5:00 M-F.  She had a checkup on Wednesday, so you shouldn't have any problems.  They are very nice and I told them that we are out of town and she's staying with you.
I've included a bottle of children's Tylenol.  If she needs some she takes 2 tablets.  Also as far as the potty training is concerned, she'll want you to sit with her the whole time and maybe read her book or play.  Don't feel obligated to stay the whole time.  She uses it as a way to keep you at her beck and call.  Ask her periodically if she needs to go to the potty, but the only time I really make her try to go is right before nap and bedtime, and if we are leaving the house.  Otherwise take her word for it.  If she has an accident, help her out of her wet things and send her to get dry panties.  Have her sit on the potty before she puts the dry ones on.  Assure her that you're not angry and accidents happen, but that she should try to remember next time.  We haven't had too many accidents and none at night, so I think you'll be okay.
She's been given to more tantrums lately.  You'll probably want to designate a place to send her when she throws a fit.  Tell her that if she can't calm down she'll have to go to wherever this spot is and stay until she's calm.  She may cry from 5 to 10 mins., and I know it's hard to take, but in the long run she's much happier.  It seems to be how she lets off steam and tension.  Just make sure you've tried to determine the problem, but don't give in on something you've already said no to just because she cries.
She's been asking for a warm rag to take to bed some nights because she says her eyes hurt.  The doctor says it is just allergies.  I don't care if she takes the rag to bed, but if you don't want her to just tell her no.  Don't offer it, but wait and see if she brings it up.

Made by You Monday -- Coasters

I've been working on several different crochet projects lately. The other day I just really needed to feel as if I could complete something, so I sat down and made this cute (and quick) coasters. 

I got the pattern from Attic 24. Mine aren't as neat and precise as hers, but nothing I do is as neat and precise as her work! But I had fun with them anyway and have been putting them to good use. I used Lily Sugar 'n Cream 100% cotton in Summer Splash, because it's what I had on hand. Even though the recommended hook was a 5 mm (US J/10), I used a size down (4 mm US G/6) for tighter stitches. I only did 4 rounds. My first coaster is bigger than the others as my stitches tightened up as I worked. 

These would make quick and easy little gifts, as the whole set only took me about an hour to make.


link up at Skip to My Lou

Friday, February 10, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
for more moments visit SouleMama

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thankful Thursday #6

To learn from our enemies is the best pathway to loving them: for it makes us grateful to them. -- Friedrich Nietzche (1844-1900)

This is a lesson I have learned over and over again in the process of healing from childhood sexual abuse. Learning to find gratitude and blessings from evil is a trying lesson, but I believe it is vital to healing, growth, and development.

Every opportunity that we have for growth is an opportunity for gratitude. To be stagnate is to have no life at all. Surviving is only the first step to living the life that God has planned for each of us. If we stop at surviving, we have missed so much. God wants us to thrive!

Obviously there is a global application to this concept, as well as a personal one. We must learn from our enemies on the broader scope if we want any hope of a world as God envisioned it. We learn to not repeat mistakes, we learn to be kind, generous, and loving. The goal is not to figure out why they are enemies, but to develop skills to bring each and every person closer to God's vision.

It's been another week of struggles for me. An email that confused me and left me in real pain, and yet I made another step toward healing as the result of that pain. 

Another episode of abuse from my past looked at and seen for what it really was -- abuse. And the reminder that my confusion is a good sign. To understand evil choices is to move closer to making those same choices ourselves.

So today I will keep processing the pain, both emotional and physical. I will feel a little down in the dumps, but I will not let it keep from moving toward the life God has for me.

And I will move forward in gratitude.

link up at Grace Alone