Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Revelation

The kids of some of our best friends have worked with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for years.  Now they (with their young children) are in a foreign land, going to a university there to learn the language, while also teaching English.  They share the Lord in how they behave and serve others, and are allowed to answer questions about their lifestyle, including their Christian faith when relevant, in conversation with people they encounter... at school, at the park, or wherever. 

After we'd attended a presentation they did at church, sharing photos and telling about their typical days, I was thinking about their lives.  I thought, "How wonderful to just get up and go to school and move about the day,  enjoying encounters with people along the way, and know that in doing that, they're doing God's work."  Serving the Lord was built right into their entire life... without extra scheduling. It seemed like no work at all, and so freeing and fun.

But then it hit me.  I realized that's how we're all supposed to look at it.  No matter what we do, it's where God has us, and whatever we do in our lives is the "work" He has for us... even if it's play.  We only need to get up and embrace where we are and what we're already doing. 

I had been separating the little and everyday tasks of my life from what I would consider 'doing God's work.'  --As if I had to set aside time to do my part for God, instead of knowing my daily life IS the work He's provided me.  And I don't need to worry about it.  Just do... in contentment and joy, which is definitely helpful to my personal well-being and outlook.  It is freeing and it certainly can be fun.

This 'revelation' was quite awhile ago now, and I have to admit that although I understand and accept it, I don't really feel like I've absorbed it to the soul level so that I'm living it.  But I feel strangely content with that.  I think of it and 'chew on it' in my mind every now and then.  It's a step in the right direction, and probably just the one of the puzzle pieces, or little idea-sprouts that will grow and bring the concept to fulfillment in my life. 


Meanwhile... I've done it!  I've blogged 31 days in a row for the month of October!  I hope you've been able to read some of the other blogs who joined this challenge.  It's not too late to check them out. I know I will be going back to read through many posts shared by others that I've missed while writing, and trying to keep up with our life here at RHome410.

31 Days at The Nesting Place

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Wall Work

As I mentioned yesterday, we had a big stack of photos beside our bedroom chair.  Most were already framed, just waiting to hang.

I was having a Sad Sunday and needed a project to lift my spirits with this accomplishment.  I also needed to get those pictures on the wall and see an improvement in our room.

I wish I might've had some fancy secret to arranging photos to share, but I started with the wide rectangles and worked from there, trying for visual balance, adequate white space between frames, and good coverage on the wall.

It was the first time I've used a whole wall like that, and used such large scale pieces on a relatively small area.

The pictures themselves show the family members doing different things through the years. It's a fun trip down memory lane to have them up.

Prince Inventive made me this years ago.
It needs photos and glass, but it deserved to be up.
I think now that it's out of hiding, we'll be much more
likely to get it properly filled and finished.

Princess Bossy's little hand.. Age 5

31 Days at The Nesting Place

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What is it about Vacation?

Our 3-day vacation spoiled me.  It made me a bit discontent with my life and surroundings.  Usually discontentment is a bad thing, but in this case, I hope it prompts me to make positive changes in our home.

First I needed to figure out what was so much nicer and more relaxing about our time in that house.  It wasn't hard.  First of all, there were no big projects hanging over our heads there, and everyone was in a good mood, because it was, after all, major play-time.  But the other thing was that the home was so clean and open... so uncluttered.  So, I came home with the resolution to do something about the clutter in our home.

I knew it would be a slow process, because our home is busy, full of people, and every room needs the work.  I didn't really realize how slow, but "slow and steady wins the race," right?  I started with our sanctuary: the master bedroom.

One thing that was impressed upon us at the Family Life's Weekend to Remember marriage conference, that we attended about a year ago, is that our bedroom should be a lovely place for us to be.   I can't say that it is.  It's not horrible, certainly, and has some lovely features, but overall, it needs improvement.  It's pretty small, and so it tends to get cluttered... We're not always fastidious with putting away our clothing, leaving out shoes, jackets, etc, and not having a system for clothes that have been worn, but don't necessarily dirty enough to need laundering.

Also, because Hubby and I have no other storage for personal belongings, and Hubby has no desk or other space, all sorts of random items collect in our bedroom, especially all flat surfaces.  Windowsills seem to serve as his desk.

I didn't think to take 'before' photos, as I was (short-sightedly) only interested in digging in, not sharing our mess, so believe it or not, any photos here are better than it was.  

We previously had Christmas decorations I'd made for Hubby's parents, but regained when they'd passed on, gathering dust on the shelf above our TV. The shelf under the TV was absolutely stuffed with DVDs and various papers, and gadgets.  

I had financial papers (never know how to organize and what to throw out) in a stack with quilting and drafting software beside my nightstand, along with books, mostly unread or in-progress.  

I always want to wait for opportunity, time, and clear space, when necessary, to do a job all at once, and get it done. Well, it took me until age 53, I guess, but I finally figured out that if I do a little bit everyday before I leave my room, I can make pretty good improvement over a week or two, then keep improving and maintaining over time... which will likely be much faster than waiting for those impossibly perfect conditions. (Emphasis = "The big point of this blog post." --Fair warning, in case you were waiting for creative "Eureka!" moment that turned this room into a luxurious oasis.  It may be coming, but not today.) 

It's still very much a work in progress...

1) I don't know what to do with Hubby's stuff, and, frankly, neither does he. 

2) I'm having trouble with duvet covers.  I like the concept, and the idea that they can be washed, changed, and replaced, but ours always seems to look unkempt.  Our long-clawed roommate shares a lot of the blame, I think.

3) Decor.  I need to think outside of the (what I fear is a very rigid) box.  Do we need a 'real bed' with a headboard?  The quilt doesn't match the bedding... Should it?  Father-in-Law's chair that means so much to Hubby... can it stay?  We definitely need to add nightstands.  My hand-me-down unit isn't doing the job.

I partially solved the problem of sparsely decorated walls, while also diminishing the stack of photos wedged in beside the chair, at least in one area.... I'll share that later.

31 Days at The Nesting Place

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Movie Madness

Back to my healthy breakfast:
plain Greek yogurt, almonds,
& a squirt of Blue Agave nectar

I have noticed symptoms that warn me I am 'running on empty.' - Interrupted sleep pattern, nervousness, cold all the time, feeling overwhelmed and an inability to cope.

The answers to that are always adequate rest, healthy diet, exercise... blah, blah, blah.

But another stress reliever/relaxation remedy is fun and, of course, laughter.  They don't say it's the best medicine for nothin'.

Sometimes it's OK to just take the afternoon off and watch a fun movie, like we did last Monday.  

We had a DVD left over from our weekend RedBox rental, and didn't want it to go to waste!  Besides, it's about getting into college... so educational for homeschoolers, right?  ;-)

We watched Admission.  
Admission with Tina Fey & Paul Rudd,
 plus Lily Tomlin

From the advertisements, we expected a light-hearted and silly, romantic comedy.  I think that's, perhaps, why it has mixed and, mostly, 3-star reviews on Amazon from those who expected more laughs.There were funny parts, but the characters had deeper issues and past baggage with which they struggled.  These challenges included issues revolving around parent-child relationships, life dreams, career choices, and aging, and were given due respect in the movie, I think.

It was still fun, and definitely entertaining.  I really enjoyed this movie.  A nice break from our usual routine. 

Speaking of movies, though...  Based on this weekend's experience, if you find yourself standing in front of RedBox on a Saturday night and many of the movies have been rented, like we did, and the only one that looks at all interesting is "The Host,"turn around, drive home, and play cards, read, or opt to go to bed early, like we didn't.  

The original book was written by Stephanie Meyer, the woman who wrote the Twilight series, which my kids love, and, admittedly, I am not fond, but did get sucked in when the movies were playing in our house.  The same people produced this movie.  I think it was supposed to be Sci-Fi Romance?  We all, kids included, agreed that it was not the best use of our time..  Tiresome, "hokie," and ridiculous, and I have nothing good to say about it.  Oh, wait... Prince Inventive liked the Justin-Bieberish, shiny, chrome sports cars the aliens drove.  :D

31 Days at The Nesting Place

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Encouragement

Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples...
Song of Solomon 2:5

Photo by Princess Artiste

31 Days at The Nesting Place

Saturday, October 26, 2013

For Fun or Coif It

Whether you want to try on a new look, like I thought I could use, or just have some fun, the makeover tool Princess Sassy showed me on might help you out.

You download (upload?  I never know the difference) a photo of yourself, and try on the hair styles of different celebrities.  --Choose "Upload your own photo," then click on where it says "Browse" in the lefthand column in order to choose a photo you've saved on your computer.  

A straight-on view with your hair tied back or, at least, well out of the way, is the best.  I chose an old one that sort of fit the bill that I'd taken a couple of years ago.

When the photo is on the screen, keep hitting "next" and follow the directions.  The tool calculates the angle of your face by taking measurements and clues from dots they ask you to locate in certain spots.  

This is good, but also means the hair styles come out a little odd and need to be adjusted to fit your head.  But this is pretty easy using the adjustments under the picture, or by dragging the green dots shown on the screen when you have the cursor over the picture.

To get see the hairstyles you want to try, you choose between sorting through celebrities, or sorting through styles, by choosing features like length, hair type, etc.

When you click on a celebrity's face, the hair will
Keira Knightly's hair on me before
adjusting to my head and playing with color
appear on your photo.  This is when you want to adjust it to your face.  You can also change the color.  The worst part about this tool is that the colors don't come out true to any real hair color I've ever seen.  They're mostly too bright and too orange, but this is still helpful...or fun.. whichever you'd like it to be.

And Keira Knightley's hair... After

Jenna Elfman's style, color adjusted to brown.  They don't
offer gray as an option so that I can see something more like reality.

Me in Julianne Moore's hair.  You can
see why I keep my hair short!

31 Days at The Nesting Place

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pumpkins with my Punkin'

It is good to get out of the house for something other than family errands, or taxiing kids to and from sports.  It is also good to get out into the fresh air, walk, and breathe a little.                                                                               

With fun in mind, and without luck convincing anyone else to go along this year, Prince CuddleBunny and I headed to The Pumpkin Patch at Creekhouse Farm, where they "offer over 20 varieties of organic, heirloom pumpkins selected for the dual purpose of decoration and quality food."  They will also personalize pumpkins there, but we missed the opportunity to order in August.  Maybe next year.

The setting is wonderful with fields of pumpkins on rolling hills, and lots of photo ops.

Besides the cheerful and friendly human family members, the family dog also greeted us and accompanied us around the fields for a bit.

One of the goats, in particular, caught Prince CuddleBunny's attention and had him giggling... One sounded classically goatlike (nasal and higher pitched) in its "Maaa- Maaaa"s, but another sounded like an adult, human male, saying the same 'word,' but not even trying to sound like a goat!  We would've sworn there was a man in the pen, just saying "Maaa- Maaa," in a monotone, bored voice.  

Fun was had by both of us, and we came home with 2 big pumpkins for the porch, and 2 sugar pumpkins for the pot!

31 Days at The Nesting Place

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Reading Respite

I feel so self-pampered when I take the time to enjoy a good book.  I can go far too long without allowing myself this "luxury."  But it can feed my mind and my soul, and refreshes me, so I would do better to have at least one book going all the time.  

I am trying to remember to always take a book with me, so in those guaranteed moments of waiting in the car for kids at various times and in various places, I have something worthwhile to while away the time.  And, of course, it always helps keep me reading to delve into a book I don't want to put down!  And these are 3 that have done that for me recently...

Crazy Tuesdays: Courageously choosing fun and free-spirited parenting was authored by the daughter of friends of ours.  She is a Christian military wife, and mother of 2 toddlers, and shares about their life together. Truthfully, I wondered if a mom of such young ones could have something to say to more seasoned wives and moms, since she has such a long way to go in the motherhood experience.  But I know her to be bright and clever, so I ordered her book.  

The evening it arrived, I meant to just glance at the opening pages before I started dinner.  I soon found myself past the title and intro pages, and to Chapter 3!  Granted, Chapter 3 meant I was only to page 7, but by then, as cliche' as it sounds, I'd laughed, I'd cried, and I'd found deep insight into my own psyche through what she'd shared about herself. It's a short book, with short chapters, so a quick and very fun read... but with lots to get from those comparatively few pages.

Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness is the book we're reading for our church small group.  It's not meant as a Bible study book, but describes the lives of 7 (surprise!) men (surprise again!) in history and how they gave of themselves to serve others and follow God's leading. The short biographies of each man are packed with interesting information.  The book addresses the concept of what it means to be a great man, or to be manly, and what that has meant in previous eras, which, unfortunately, is in stark comparison to what we often see now.  That doesn't mean it isn't interesting to women, as we can all learn something about how we all serve as role models, intended or not, and how we might do better.  

The men discussed are an interesting and varied assortment: George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson.

The Rosie Project: A Novel is pure fun!!  This is the only one of the 3 here that I've finished.  I loved it, and was so aggravated the few times I forgot to take it along to read in spare moments.  I looked forward to it, and would use it for motivation, like as a 'reward' for getting to bed early.  I was convinced to read it by the review by one of my favorite British chick lit authors, Sophie Kinsella, whose description included "quirky," "endearing," and "laughed the whole way through."  I love her novels because they're romantic, yes, but mostly, funny, so if she thought it was that entertaining, it was worth a try.  

Don is a character much like 'Sheldon' on The Big Bang Theory television show, a buttoned-up, socially-challenged scientist, most likely dealing with Asperger's Syndrome.  (I had a hard time picturing him without seeing Sheldon. Since he was supposed to be Australian, I wish I could have shaken that image. Trying to imagine Keith Urban in the role didn't work, LOL.)  He has some interesting ideas about friendship and marital relationships.  He gets caught up in helping Rosie, who is someone he would've never considered as a proper prospect for either, and of course, hilarity ensues.  

The ending is a little hokey maybe, but, for the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed every one of the 300+ pages.  The only sad thing is that this is Graeme Simsion's first novel, so I have to wait awhile to read another!  

The maybe good news is that The Rosie Project is probably going to be made into a movie.  After my disappointment in the movies made from Sophie Kinsella's Confessions of a Shopaholic, and Lauren Weisberger's The Devil Wears Prada, though, I am nervous.  But the movie based on Bridget Jones's Diary, was delightfully true to its book, so I have hope that justice is done for "Rosie," too.

31 Days at The Nesting Place

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

 Most mornings in the fall, I feel tired and chilly, and might like to just curl up in a warm blanket and cozy in somewhere for the day.  

It may sound silly, but it lifts my spirits to put on a pair of warm, fun or pretty socks, and my favorite boots, which were gifts from my kids last Christmas.  

It almost feels like cheating... Looking smart and a little trendy, which is a boost to the confidence, and maybe even the energy level, while still feeling completely comfortable.  I can be warm, and still look nice, ready to go anywhere.

Like having that cozy blanky I wanted, but for my feet!  

31 Days at The Nesting Place

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Just Curious

Saving money and calories can help us feel better, right?

After I shared Prince CuddleBunny's treat recipe with you yesterday, I thought about a moment a few days ago when Princess Eager suggested we pick up a drink from a local coffee shop, but I preferred to go home to the Prince's brew.  I started to wonder how much that cup of deliciousness cost... or, actually saved, both in money and calories.

Per 16 oz serving, here are the ingredients in our homemade treat:

1/8 c. (0.4 oz) coffee beans, making 1/4 c. espresso
2 Tbsp pumpkin spice creamer
8 oz vanilla soy milk
2 Tbsp whipping cream
1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

These total 290-320 calories... with variation figured in for the inexact measurement on whip cream.

The cost is roughly $1.50, trying to be generous for the powdered sugar, vanilla, and spices, since their amounts and cost are more difficult to estimate accurately, but they'd be small.  Also, there would be tiny costs for the water for the espresso, and gas to heat the stove.

According to Starbucks, their 16 oz/Grande, (Soy) Pumpkin Spice Latte with whip cream has 370 calories.  Our drink isn't as sweet, so I think that's where the difference lies.

At approximately $4.50, though, it's cost is 3 times that of the beverage I can enjoy at home.  Plus, I'd miss that (priceless) grin of pride on my prince's face.  ;-)

31 Days at The Nesting Place

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