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Over at Christian Homekeeper Network, my wonderful friend, Sylvia, has a meme with a little linky love. Each week she has some prompts to help us along in our blogging/journaling/thinking processes. Some weeks I think, I’d like to blog that. But I don’t get to it. Other weeks I think, nah, I’ll never get to it. This week I said, I’m going to get to it. These thoughts made me feel so…peaceful. I like to feel peaceful. Don’t you like to feel peaceful? Maybe it is the thought of Autumn and the preparations for cozying down. Not sure, but something in this particular meme called me to take a few moments and do the whole journal/thinking/blog thing. Enjoy, and join us if you would like. The linky love is at christianhomekeeper.org.

My kitchen would be more inviting if …………. it didn’t have oodles of piles of stuff in it. I have this weird cutout area that I think was supposed to be a pass-through (for dishes, food, etc) but it just ends up making it easier for everyone to leave their “stuff” sitting there, rather than taking care of it. It would look better without the icky tile countertops, as well, but that is something that just isn’t going to get changed for awhile. Matching cupboards…but there I go again getting into the realm of a-long-time-from-now-changes.

My best tip for making a home seem more welcoming ….. Keep the doorway area clear and cleaned up. This is the first impression area – make your guests feel welcomed here and it will go along way to making them welcome through the whole house. Have a place for their shoes that obviously says “Take your shoes off” if that is the house rules. I hate when I walk into a house and don’t know whether to take mine off or not; I also hate when people come to my house and take their shoes off. My floors aren’t all “white sock” friendly. Having a spot to hang jackets or coats is nice, so the guest doesn’t feel like their pocket stuff is in danger of getting lost in your bedding when you toss their coat in your room. Now, does my house have any of this? Nope. My front entrance is an unfinished studwall maze of rooms. My way of welcoming guests is to hold the blanket that separates the finished part of the house from the unfinished, lol. But I am trying to keep that area neat and tidier so that my guests aren’t greeted with a total mess when they enter my house. Add all of that above to the “someday” category.

To give the feeling of warmth in my home I often ….. hmmmm. I don’t often do anything. This is a new one for me. I’ve honestly never thought about it. Although I’d have to say I think I bake. The nummy sweet aromas and the heat from the oven add a warmth that just says, “home”. I also like the idea of having lap-sized afghans and quilts tucked away for guests, so that if the house is cool to them, they can warm up under a cozy blanket.

In the cooler months, it is essential for me to ….. wear my slippers and sweaters. I have a cute fleece jacket that my auntie made for me several years ago, bright pink with koalas all over it. I love it! But it is getting pretty worn, as it is my go-to warmie during the cooler months. I may need to replace it soon with something else. I need to stay warm and adding on the layers is what does it for me best.

Some favorite Autumn/Winter recipes are ….. banana bread, chili, beef stew, lasagna, scalloped potatoes and ham, homemade bread. Cooler weather meals aren’t tough for me to find – anything that warms up the house! It is the summer meals that I have a tough time figuring out.

A Quick Tip for making your house more inviting …… Open the blinds/drapes/curtains, but be aware of where the sun is. There is nothing more irritating (okay, maybe there is, but this is what I’m thinking of right now) than trying to speak to someone and the sun is right behind them in the window and all they are is a black shape. If the sun is behind you, either shut the window coverings or move yourself. 🙂

Enjoy the meme!

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This guy is a ring-necked pheasant who has adopted our yard and family this fall.  He, along with another pheasant buddy of his, enjoy taking long dust baths in the holes they dig in the yard, pecking the screens out of the large sliding glass door, and staring at us through the dining room window while we eat our meals.  They follow the kids around like faithful dogs and stand next to mom as she relaxes on her bench on the front porch. 

We’re fairly certain they were hand-raised, then released into the wild to go it on their own.  They obviously miss human contact, because a better part of their day is spent begging at doors and windows. 

Unfortunately for us, they’ve got to go.  Since they are attempting to destroy the house in their effort to join us in our family fun, we can’t keep them around.  I also worry that they will try to jump on one of the kids or mom in their “friendliness” and hurt them with their talons.  So, we’ve made a call to the DNR and are expecting to see a guy in a green truck show up sometime soon to take the boys away.  We’ll miss them and their nosy little beaks pressed against the glass, longingly looking for some attention, but we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do.

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Today, since it is the end of the year, I am going to review what my goals were from the beginning of 2008. 

1) I would like to do more with my reading, so I’m going to make a goal to post 6 times this year to my literature blog. I need to do more communicating about what I am learning about in addition to the reading itself.
Well,  I think I did post over there at least six times, but only because I found a great meme about books and reading that I participated in every so often.  I only posted one book review over there during the year and not only didn’t do a lot of reading, but also didn’t write much about what I did read.  I added some new reading goals for today’s Booking Through Thursday meme. 

2) I am doing Starting Points: A Worldview Primer by David Quine this year…
This just didn’t happen.  No excuses.  It just didn’t happen.

3) I’m thinking about embarking on a part-time career that I need to do some learning about.
Yep, this didn’t happen either.  Sigh.  I’m still thinking about it, but financially, I won’t be able to do anything about it.  Maybe later this year, but certainly not right now. 

So, after a nearly complete failure at last year’s goals, you ask…are you setting goals again this year?  Well, yes, I answer.  I am.  They are:

Daily Quiet time with God to include at least 15 minutes of Bible study and 20 minutes of prayer time.

Exercise (walk on treadmill and Core exercises) for 45 minutes daily.

Put in two or more hours of personal study time.

Put in two or more hours each day of school instruction to the kids.

Spend 30 minutes with dh daily.

Pretty simple this year.  Nothing extraordinary or outlandish.  Just stuff I should be doing anyway. 

For the next 90 days, I’m going to make sure that I have my measurable quiet time.  Doesn’t that just sound awful?  That I have to measure my quiet time with my Lord?  I think it does.  This is God we’re talking about, and I have to force myself to get in fellowship with Him.  But that is what the world does to us.  It calls out to us, keeps us busy, keeps us putting out fires, calling for relaxation, calling for rest which does not refresh.  We need to train ourselves to hear and heed His voice, to abide in Him.  That is what the next 90 days will be all about for me.  I will be training myself to abide in Him.  As a reward to me, besides having excellent fellowship with my Lord, I will spend an entire afternoon at the library, all by myself.  But if I miss even one day during the next 90 days (and I’ve told the Fruit, so they will hold me accountable) I will be grounded from the internet for two weeks.  You all know, right, how much of a dire consequence that is to me?  I’m following a plan from Donna Partow which will guide and encourage me to complete these goals.

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FOR TODAY (December 30, 2008)…
Outside My Window…is dark.  Patches of grass is showing through the snow, but it isn’t supposed to last much longer.  More snow is on the way.  Earlier today, the Fruit were out ice sliding on a patch of ice.  It looked like fun…if I were sixteen years younger.
I am thinking…so many different things, I can’t keep them straight.  Foremost in my mind is my need to establish goals for the coming year.  My top five goals for 2009 are: 1)Daily quiet time, to include at least twenty minutes in prayer and fifteen minutes in Bible study.  2)Two hours spent in personal study time each day.  3)Two hours spent with the Fruit in their study time, to include at least a half hour reading aloud.  4)Walk on treadmill for thirty minutes and do Core exercises for fifteen minutes daily.  5)Spend at least a half hour with Mr. Nutt daily, alone.
I am thankful for…good friends.
From
the learning rooms…we’ve been enjoying studying our own pursuits the past couple of weeks or so.  F1 has been in his lab, experimenting with alum and electricity.  F2 has been continuing on his quest for Medieval information.  F3 has been reading and writing stories, as well as emailing back and forth with her favorite author.  F4 through F7 have just been playing and being core phase kids.
From the kitchen…we’re almost out of leftovers from the Christmas dinners.  I actually made dinner tonight – spaghetti and garlic bread.  I really, really want to make a chocolate cake I have sitting on the counter and I also want some nummy sugar cookies. 
I am wearing…my tennis shoes, socks, jeans, navy blue turtleneck, and a heavy maroon sweater.  I’m warm.
I am creating…still with the website, although I think I’ve got most of kinks worked out.  Now I’m just waiting for information from the pastor that I need to put on it.  Same with the pamphlets.
I am going…to Stuffmart and the Thrifty Acres, maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day.  Not sure yet, but hopefully nowhere any time soon.
I am reading…Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana.  Still.  I gave it to F1 to read a part that I didn’t understand, because he wanted to see if he could get it.  He lost it.  Sigh.
I am hoping…that my friend can come over tomorrow.  She lives in TX, and we last saw each other during the summer.
I am hearing…F1 and F7 play peek-a-boo. 
Around
the house…Laundry is done, although not completely put away.  Christmas decos need to come down.  Children need to finish their chores.
One of my favorite things…is baby laughter.  F7 has been is such a good mood the past couple of days.  She has the sweetest laugh!
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…Visit with friends.  Women’s meeting for church.  Let everyone know about women’s meeting for church!  Clean the kitchen.  Clean my room.  (Do those last two sound familiar?  They should, they were there three weeks ago.)
Here is picture thought I am sharing…

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I know, I know.  I’ve been missing my posts for awhile.  Christmas week was a bit on the crazy side, so I took a brief hiatus.  But now I’m back and hopefully on schedule.  Now I bring you my regularly scheduled Monday Character Confession from Christian Women Take Root.  By the way, on January 8, you can Tweet Up with oodles of Christian women if you are on Twitter.  Check it out at Christian Women Tweet Up.

Have you ever been so blessed that you didn’t know which way to turn?  You are throwing out so many thank you’s that your throat gets hoarse?  Yeah, that was me last week.

It all started when my aunt called me about three weeks before Christmas, asking me if it would be all right if she and my uncle got the Fruit something for Christmas.  They know that Mr. Nutt is laid off and has had no luck thus far in finding employment.  Certainly they understood that, in light of that, we were going with a no gift Christmas.  The Fruit understood it too, and I was blessed and thankful to have such sweet and adaptable children.  My aunt, who no longer has young children at home and no grandchildren to buy for yet, wanted to do some “fun” shopping again.  Well, who was I to deny her the joys of Christmas shopping?  I said yes.  The Fruit ended up with two gifts each from them – and they weren’t just schmoozy gifts either.  She really put a lot of thought into both what they enjoyed and what I would find acceptable.  (It helps that she is a Christian homeschooler, too.) 

Then, the adult Sunday School class at my church went out of their way to get gifts for the Fruit.  Again, we’re not talking goofy, no good, throw away tomorrow stuff.  They made a real effort to get the Fruit things that they would enjoy and was useful.  They also gave us some food and me and Mom some nummy shower gel (called the Milkman, the Gingerbread Man, and the Muffin Man.  Mmmmm…those are some good smelling shower gels!)  Also, a wonderful woman made each of the Fruit a pair of knitted slippers, so I set those out Christmas morning with their other gifts.

To top it all off, several of the women in my homeschool group, who I had been meeting with once a month for about five years gathered up their resources, led by my best friend, and bought the Fruit even more gifts.  They also got together a bazillion gift cards to Stuffmart and the Thrifty Acres. 

My youngest step-dauther, F-2 (read F negative 2, as in before me), also bought gifts for the Fruit.  They were, again, well thought out gifts that she had picked up throughout the year.  She excels at shopping.

On Christmas day, my precious Fruit had all kinds of things to open up and enjoy due to the extreme generosity of those around us.  Because of the gift cards, I am able to pay our propane bill, because I can buy groceries with the cards.  This will keep us going another month or so. 

So, I’ve learned my first lesson of this particular trip down poverty lane: I am loved.  And for that, I am thankful.  In spite of the hardships and the many, many worries I am facing, I know this: God is taking care of us in the ways we most need to be taken care of.  And for that, too, I am thankful.  This Christmas season and as I enter the New Year, I am meditating on the fact that my God knows me intimately, and knows not only the big things that I need like house payments and sleep, but also the little things, like the love of friends and the joy of the smiles on my Fruits’ faces. 

Thank you, Lord!

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Edited to add my super cool button.


Special thanks to Raechel Knight for the
digital scrap components of the button!

So, I’m starting my own meme.  At least, I think I am. I’ve never heard of this one, so I’ll call it my own until someone corrects me.  I’ll also try to come up with a super-cool button to go with it eventually, but for today, it is just my post.

What About…Wednesday?
In this meme, I’ll revisit something that I’ve talked about in an earlier post, but haven’t really caught all you wonderful friends up on since.

Today: College

A few weeks ago, I posted about having made the decision to go back to school.  I was hoping for a bunch of financial aid, along with the transfer student scholarship that I got from the school I intend to attend.  I did get a decent grant, but not enough to cover the cost of attending school.  With our financial situation precarious at best, I just can’t even begin to contemplate going further into debt with student loans.  At this point, college is on hold.  Really, this makes the most sense.  Right now we are in emergency mode and if I am going to leave the house everyday, it will be to work and earn money to pay today’s bills, not to get a degree that will pay tomorrow’s bills.

I’m really, really disappointed about this.  I was so hoping to be able to get back to school.  But the fact of the matter is, God is in control.  If He wants me in school, then He’ll make it happen.  Without debt.  As F4 says to me, “Sometimes God says yes, sometimes God says no, and sometimes, Mom, God says maybe.”  School is a big maybe right now.  I’ll be content with that.

 

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Christian Women Take Root is an awesome website with encouragement for all walks of the Christian woman’s life. I’ve slowly been looking around, finding my way through this site and I am impressed. The Character Confessions are a way to get me writing. I’m going to try to do one per week, on Mondays.

I chose Fears for my character confession for this week. I’m facing down a lot of fears right now: Mr. Nutt’s joblessness, which is accompanied by the overall bleak economics of the state we live in; propane costs are going down, but that doesn’t really matter since we don’t have the money to pay for it anyway; Mom isn’t feeling well and is very depressed; I might have to go to work, leaving the kids to fend for themselves during the day, which leaves me trying to be Mommy and Teacher in the off-work hours; I won’t ever be able to go back to school, now that I’ve made the decision to actually do it; God is mad at me and that is why I’m facing all of this garbage; God isn’t going to rescue me, but will leave me in the cauldron – I’m not shiny enough yet.

For a girl who has been through all of this before, you’d think I would be able to handle it, look the fears in the face, and tell them who’s boss. Past experience doesn’t always make us stronger…sometimes it just makes us more afraid of facing the experience again.

The fact of the matter is, though, reality isn’t here. I had a deep philosophical discussion with F1 the other day, where he tried to throw a zinger at me. I responded with the fact that the first thing that a sociologist has to accept, in order to study humankind, is that we are real, that what we see around us is reality. He thought about that for a minute, then shook his head knowingly. However, I corrected, this isn’t really reality. There is a whole world going on around us that we don’t see, hear, or understand. Again, after a few moments thought, he nodded his head in the sage way only thirteen year old boys can manage. So, I said, when you start to worry about what is going on in this world…remember it isn’t real.

So, I say to my fears today, “YOU ARE NOT REAL!” God is real. Jesus’ death on the cross is real. The fact that I am a child of the KING is real. While I have to live in this world and face the difficulties therein – feeding my children, heating this house, working for a living – the fact of the matter is the only thing that matters about them is where I put my faith, what I show to the world that is so in need of Jesus, and the love that I give. That is what is real. That is what counts. The rest – God will take care of. I know he isn’t really mad at me (although those stupid fears whisper that to me). I know that though I may be in the cauldron, the fires that pain me now will only make Jesus shine brighter through me.

Lord, My Heavenly Father, tonight I pray that I reflect you…your love…your grace…your patience…your forgiveness. I pray that my heart stays soft to you and that your heart becomes my heart. I pray that you hold me through these tough times. I pray that you provide for us in unbelievable ways and that your provision to us is yet another way to build the faith of those that we come into contact with. I pray that through me and my family, we are able to share the love of Christ. Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to trust in You. In Jesus’ Holy and Precious Name. Amen.

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