I kept seeing this floating around the blogosphere and finally got the chance to watch it this morning....and boy, is it powerful!!
Prepare to be inspired!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
We are keeping Thanksgiving simple this year. Local extended family members are headed out of town, and there will be no visits with far away family either. We thought about having some people over here to share our Thanksgiving meal, but honestly, I am just not up for it.
So we decided to come up with a simple menu that isn't overwhelming but includes perennial favorites that are always loved. And we decided to serve others tomorrow. We are helping a few local churches and Meals on Wheels...taking several hours to deliver Thanksgiving meals to homes where ones can't fix a warm meal on their own whether because of finances or health. I am so looking forward to this opportunity with much anticipation and pray it shows my children how to love others tangibly and how blessed we are to be able to give. Check this out to find ways that your family can serve this holiday season.
Our simple menu:
A Turkey Breast (see I am not even doing a big ol' turkey!)
Sweet Potato Casserole
An updated Green Bean Casserole (thanks Susan!)
Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Simply Organic Turkey Gravy Packet
Yeast Rolls (from the frozen section!)
Derby Pie and Pumpkin Pie
and....*gasp* Stove Top Stuffing!
That's right friends! I am actually going packaged this year! No from-scratch Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing this Thanksgiving. I bought the box, and I couldn't be happier.
Sometimes keeping it simple means using what the companies have already put together. And for a tired mama like me this holiday, I couldn't thank them enough!
**and if you still need to do some grocery shopping today, print out this cute shopping list!*
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
This past weekend my husband and I got away for an overnight. We left Saturday morning and spent a leisurely day walking around a small historic town, eating a deliciously slow dinner, and watching a movie in bed in the hotel that night. The day felt so serene and I said to Mike, "You know why today is so nice? We are unhurried and uninterrupted."
It reminded me again at how much a hurried and loud lifestyle can fry the nerves and cause an almost perpetual sense of edginess. When life gets quiet, then I can unfortunately "hurry" to try to enjoy it because I know it will get loud and demanding very soon. When life feels slower, then everyone's creativity comes alive, but with that "life" everyone here gets excited and loud and wants everyone else to see what they have just created. So to find a place that is unhurried AND uninterrupted feels like a bit of heaven to my reflective soul.
Carving out spaces in our lives for slow and quiet is so important. We don't even realize how starved we are for that until we get a small taste. Mike and I said at the end of day, "boy, we need a vacation!" Regular time of quiet is needed no matter how small, but we also need times of quiet to not be rushed or to be mindful of the clock or to have the to-do list trying to push its way to the front of our minds.
As we enter the holiday season, let's try to find some unhurried and uninterrupted time...starting with Jesus. Maybe a prayer walk for a few hours in a local garden or unhindered journaling and reading. Unhurried and uninterrupted time with our spouse...maybe a full day away from the kids to shop or sit in a coffee shop or a local tour. Or unhurried and uninterrupted time with a good friend...catching up, crafting, a long lunch and movie. And unhurried and uninterrupted time with myself gives me a deep sense of renewal...journaling, reading, thinking, creating all reignite a personal fire within.
Get a babysitter. Turn off the cell phones and gadgets. Disappear for a while. Breathe. Reflect. Refocus. Move slowly. Take your time. Be at rest. Receive His rest. And have fun.
photo by mcwy
Monday, November 24, 2008
If you want a simple new tradition to begin the celebration of Thanksgiving now, here it is!
Get out a jar or a bowl and place it in the center of your kitchen table with some slips of paper and a pen next to it. Throughout the next few days, everyone in the family can write things that they are thankful for during the day and drop it into the jar. If you want to be more creative, cut your slips of paper in the shape of leaves using lots of different autumn shades of card stock.
On Thanksgiving Day as you eat or even before/after the meal, let each person draw a slip out and read the things that everyone is thankful for. This should be very encouraging and maybe even bring some laughs! If you decided to make leaves, now you could string them up on a twine garland and hang it up across the wall so that everyone can enjoy it for a few days. Or just put some double-sided tape on them and stick them up on the wall or windows!
Here's to creating a lifestyle of gratitude with our families...this could be a tradition we carry the whole year through!
photo by Ankou
Friday, November 21, 2008
It's here again! Take a small stand against the crazy consumerism and buy nothing on Black Friday. It's a headache waiting to happen plus it just feeds all the greed and discontent lurking around our hearts. My yearly tradition is to make my Christmas cards on that day. A choice to produce rather than consume. A quiet day filled with thoughts of those that are far away that will receive my cards. I turn on Christmas music...stay in comfy lounge pants...ahhhhh!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Not posting much these days, because there is nothing new under the sun. I have been battling a yucky cold and am just trying to "do the next thing" every day. Laundry and dishes and picking up. Meals and schooling and a bit of cleaning. I am finishing up the end of my Christmas-gift-making so that I can begin to ship boxes to far-flung family in Texas, Missouri, and California. A bit of embroidery here and there because a day without creativity feels like a day without breathing. Cups of hot tea and my red wool slippers...that's what these days look like.
I settled into bed last night with the book "The God of All Comfort" by Hannah Whitall Smith. I had found it last year in paperback at a thrift store for a quarter. Now seems to be the time that I really need to read it because it seemed to be leaping off my bedroom bookshelf! I quietly and slowly read the first two chapters and felt all the worry and fear and doubts that have been lingering around the edges of my heart just melt away. Her words pierced through all the lies of who I think God may be and showed me that all of God can be known in the face of Christ. The fullness of God resides in the fullness of Christ...so look to Him to know what the Father is like. It seems so simple and redundant to my mind, but my heart knows that it doesn't come anywhere near fully grasping these truths.
I will leave you this morning with this quote from the book that brought tears to my eyes and relief to my soul:
"If we have been accustomed, therefore, to approach God with any mistrust of the kindness of his feelings toward us; if our religion has been poisoned by fear; if unworthy thoughts of His character and will have filled our hearts with suspicions of His goodness; if we have pictured Him as an unjust despot or self-seeking tyrant; if, in short, we have imagined Him in any way other than that which has been revealed to us in "the face of Jesus Christ," we must go back in all simplicity of heart to the records of that lovely life, lived in human guise among men, and must bring our conceptions of God into perfect accord with the character and ways of Him who declares that He came to manifest the name of God to men."
To know Jesus well is the simple goal. From knowing Him, I will love Him. And from loving Him, I will love others. And that's all that's really important in life, isn't it?
Monday, November 17, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I don't normally do "tags" very often...for some reason, they leave me tired! But dear Shannon tagged me with "7 favorite things about your kitchen" and that just seemed plain ol' fun!
So here we go:
1. It's spacious...lots of room to move around as I work (although I am itching for a small island!)
2. The white cabinets. I love white and these cabinets charmed me immediately when we looked at this house. They are warm and homey to me and I smile everyday when I see them.
3. The pantry. Tucked behind two long cabinet doors is lots of shelving and space for everything. It's just perfect to me.
4. Plenty of cabinets. In every other place we have lived I have had to store some kitchen appliances or not-often-used pieces away in the garage or storage room. This is the first place where EVERYTHING I own fits in the kitchen (even including the once-in-a-great-while punch bowl!)5. Window overlooking the backyard. I have always wanted a window over my kitchen sink and have never had one until now. I love the light it brings in and I love watching my children play as I work.
6. White appliances. I posted about my love of white before, and I always want appliances that are white...even down to the blender, Kitchen-Aid and toaster.
7. Hardwood Floors. Some people thought it wasn't wise to put hardwoods in our kitchen. But I don't like tile because it's freezing all the time, and I am so over vinyl. When we moved in the floors were dark green marbly vinyl and they were atrocious. I have been so pleased with our beautiful hardwoods and they bring such warmth and lightness! I know I made the right choice :)
What do you love the most about your kitchen?
Saturday, November 8, 2008
This has been an up and down week. The drama of the election coming to an end. The onslaught of opinions and insights and exhortations from all sides. My own myriad of reflections and contemplations have also kept my heart on a daily roller coaster. And though I have come to many conclusions (the biggest one being that Hope is a person...Jesus...and Change begins with me), I have realized that in times of uncertainty it's good to be reminded that in everything give thanks.
Gratitude has a way of settling things. It acknowledges the good and the providential...it's finding the silver lining when all has seemed dark. It says to God "You are good and You love me" even when I don't understand my circumstances. It restores our souls to peace and joy and hope. It causes us to not just have a "glass is half full" positivism, but thankfulness realizes the reality that "my cup is truly overflowing". For the anxious or depressed, a thankful heart offers a soothing balm to the places of emotional turmoil in our minds and reminds us that "you have not been forgotten...I see you and am providing for every need, every day". Oh for eyes to see all those daily gifts...oh for a heart that lives a lifestyle of gratitude.
So in the practice of gratitude, I thought I would share a few things I am grateful for right here and right now:
freedom to vote
comfy colorful clothes
spaces for rest
places for creativity
the love and respect of a good man
Here's to hearts open and receptive to all the good gifts from His hand...and for hearts and minds humbly grateful for them...All is grace for we deserve nothing. Yet He has given us Everything we could ever need or desire...for Everything is Jesus.
top photo by uhoh over
top photo by uhoh over
Monday, November 3, 2008
This morning I woke up and my first thoughts were, "what can I give today?" I wasn't sure where that thought would take me. I just went ahead and jumped in on my day...some dishes, some laundry, some tidying, some teaching. Then I took a break and read some blogs. I was so delighted to find the exact way the Lord is calling me to give today as I was reading Soulemama. She begun a new blog this very day to help mamas reach out to other mamas through our crafting skills and offered her first project. Little caps for little newborns in Haiti made from our own cotton jersey shirts. Simple and sweet yet oh so needed. I can give a little love to a wee one today...I found a maternity shirt of mine from years ago and started cutting away. What better way to use a maternity top than to repurpose it for a baby?!
I just love thinking about craftivism...using our crafting skills to be an activist for positive change in the world in regards to social justice, health, and the environment. Making a difference one small blanket or cap or skirt at a time. A way to teach our children about using our blessed resources creatively to affect change. A way to model kindness. To do as Mother Teresa says... "small acts of kindness with great love".
There are many ways we can help:
- Making reusable pads for girls in Africa (helps environmentally and keeps them in school)
- Crocheting or knitting goods for Afghan people
- Blankets for ill and traumatized children...to bring them a sense of warmth and security
- And a page of many links to find what you may be interested in