Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Little Snowed In

We've had some snow, ice and bitter cold weather here in Tennessee over the past couple of weeks. Last night the temperature dropped to -2. That's crazy cold for our area. Right now we are "snowed in" I guess you could say! Some of you would probably get a good chuckle over the winter weather that brings the south to a standstill. We don't get this type of weather every year so our transportation departments aren't fully equipped to clear the roads and we certainly aren't used to driving on ice!

This weather makes me really stop and give thanks for a warm home, family and enough food to eat.

Early one morning after the first bit of snowfall. It was a pretty and peaceful scene to wake up to.

Our icy drive to church Sunday morning. Very slow going and slippery! After making it safely home from church, we decided we weren't getting out again until this clears up. Thankfully Darrell has the option of working from home.

Several people I know are getting cabin fever after only a few days at home. I've enjoyed our time here together and honestly, this week hasn't been much different for me. I don't go out every day anyway!

The running joke in the south before a snow storm is that everyone rushes to the store to buy bread and milk.  It's absolutely true. The bread aisles are completely cleared out right before the snow arrives. Thankfully that's one thing we don't have to worry about! Bread baking is the norm around here. We don't use a lot of milk so that hasn't been an issue either.

Everyone makes snow cream when it snows. Snow is a big deal around here. Is this just a southern thing??

We've had a little more time on our hands so Leah decided to try making some olive oil candles. They turned out really well and gave off a good amount of light. She's always experimenting with something new!

We're supposed to have much warmer temperatures by this weekend so our snow days are coming to an end. It has been nice to slow down and snuggle in for a few days!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A New Year

Happy New Year! (a little late) When I last posted, I had no intention of letting 3 months go by before another post. Honestly, I’ve been having some snowballing health issues over the last few months and  I’ve been focusing on that.

This has felt so strange because I’ve always been pretty healthy. I’m not sure how to rest or slow down. I feel a little guilty and frustrated by my lack of energy lately.

So here’s the story. Since early last year, I’ve been feeling progressively more tired and just not able to keep up with everyday things. My mind has also been very “foggy” and I can’t seem to focus. I thought the tiredness was just what happens at 40, so I just kept pushing through. I had an appointment scheduled with my doctor for just a routine physical and long story short, I found out I am severely anemic. I’m not talking just a little iron deficient. I mean my numbers were ridiculously low. I had no idea!

 It explains SO much about how I have been feeling the past several months. My hair was coming out by the handful each time I washed it and I was freezing all the time, no matter how many layers I piled on. Don’t ask me how I didn’t have a clue something was wrong. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess!!

I’m taking iron supplements which have started to help. My hair loss has decreased greatly and I’m not craving uncooked oatmeal and uncooked pasta anymore. (yep, you read that correctly) I still don’t have a lot of energy, but I’m going to have to be patient. My arms feel like they weigh a ton when I try to do things like scrub the bathtub and I get short of breath when I mop or vacuum.

We had a lot of out of town company staying with us off and on from Thanksgiving through New Year’s and while I completely enjoyed having them here, I think I let myself get even more run down.   I didn’t feel like a very good host, but I did make sure everyone was fed well and had a comfy place to sleep!

I know this isn’t a super serious issue and I’m so thankful for that, but I’ll be dealing with the effects for a little while until I get my iron level built back up. I have some other issues going on that are the actual cause of the iron deficiency and I need to address those too.

I don’t want this post to be a downer. I’m really looking forward to getting all of this straightened out so I can feel like myself again! I’m going to use this down time to make plans and organize my thoughts for the upcoming year. Concentration has been so difficult lately, but if I focus on a little at a time, it works much better.

Just thought I’d pop in and update. I’ve enjoyed blogging again, I just haven’t been able to string coherent thoughts together lately.

Hope your New Year is off to a great start!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Wrapping Up a Full Week

Another week has come to an end. This was a full week for our family, but thankfully it was manageable. I just have to say this production of little Women that Leah Kate is in is a lot of work for all of us! They have a grueling rehearsal schedule and I'm just not used to being on the road so much. Darrell, Zach and I are taking turns getting her to and from rehearsals.

Her director is extremely professional and wants to make sure they have an excellent play, so it takes a lot of work! thank goodness this is just for a few more weeks. I will post her promotional photos soon. They are having period dresses tailored for each of the girls and from what I hear, they are going to be beautiful. Can't wait to see them!

We also had family in town staying with us for a couple of days this week. We enjoyed the visit. Like I said, full but manageable!

Just a few touches of fall outside. I like to take walks around our little place in the mornings and just take in the season. The cool air that has finally arrived, the leaves that are beginning to change, the squirrels scurrying around gathering for the winter. It's a time for me to pray and clear my mind of those pesky anxious thoughts that tend to creep in.

I'm looking forward to a lovely, productive weekend. We have some fall cleanup that needs to be taken care of on our property and I'd like to check in on a couple of our neighbors. One precious neighbor is 87 and lives alone. She is full of such Godly wisdom. I enjoy conversations with her. It has been far too long since I've stopped by. Another neighbor is recently widowed and has been dealing with so much lately. I'm hoping to take her a small gift of a handmade sign.

I hope you all have a nice fall weekend. Family, serving others and being thankful for the many simple blessings creates a peace that the craziness of this world can't take away.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Content at Home

I'm trying to find my new blogging rhythm. When I was blogging years ago, most of my posts were about my children. Now that I have one in college and one nearing the end of high school, I'm sort of in a different phase of life!

Zach attends a nearby community college and has a part time job and Leah pretty much independently homeschools. She's also involved in community theatre. She will play Beth in a production of Little Women next month.

Even though they are older and have their own activities, I'm content and feel very much needed at home. It has always been important to me that my husband and children have a loving, nurturing home.

I have struggled in the past with the pull to do more outside of our home. When I would see other women involved in so many seemingly good activities, I would feel like maybe I wasn't doing enough. I've also never been one to do "girls nights" out or shopping with friends. I simply don't enjoy those things. I'm not saying that I don't have friends. We actually have some very good friends and I love it when our families can get together and fellowship at one another's homes. I enjoy spending time with friends, I just don't feel the need to "get away" from my family to do so!

Making homemade food is one of my top priorities and if I'm gone a lot, that's just not going to happen! It takes time to prepare food so I have to make time for it throughout my day. We have been gradually making the switch to healthier eating. We've cut way down on sugar and processed foods. I love to bake, so we do enjoy occasional sweet goodies but that's not an every day occurrence.

It feels good to be content and at peace with my God given roles as wife and mother. I want with all my heart to serve the Lord and make him known to others. Being obedient in this area of my life is how I can do that. When I take my eyes off Him and start comparing my service to the things I see others doing, that insecurity creeps back in. 

We try to keep our schedule easy to manage. I don't want to have somewhere I have to be every day. Of course there are busy seasons as there are things that come up that absolutely must be done, but those seasons are temporary. We are in a busy season at the moment since Leah is practicing several days a week for the play. She is working hard and she enjoys it very much, so we are all pitching in and helping get her to and from practice. She has her learner's permit so we're still having to drive her right now.

When I think about the state the world is in now, I can't help but think about how different things would be if there were more loving, nurturing mothers in the lives of children. Focusing on God, family and serving others instead of trying to keep up with the ever changing fast paced things of the world.

Being content at home is a blessing and a joy. I look forward to what each day brings and I'm so thankful for a new season in life where we are now reaping the benefits of raising and homeschooling our children according to our convictions. It isn't always easy, but I wouldn't change a thing.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Our Simple Fall Home

After a pretty long stretch of 90 degree days, we're finally experiencing some cooler temperatures.

I was motivated to do a little fall decorating.  I don't do a lot, just a few touches here and there.


The shelf in our dining area gets a few fall touches; I change the decorations out on this shelf for different seasons. I tried to take a picture of the room with the lights on, but the bulbs glared really badly. I make most of our home decor. Not trying to "toot my own horn" or anything, I'm just a creative person and love making special things for our home. I rarely buy things to decorate with. The sign is an old chalkboard that I painted. I made the candle sticks from wood posts and I picked up the pine cones outside. I did buy the mini pumpkins of course!

I've really become fond of simple framed signs lately. Just one word can make a nice statement.
I saw a sign similar to this on Pinterest that I really liked, so I decided to make one for my kitchen.

You may have noticed my kitchen looks a little different from the last pictures I posted. We put in a new countertop and backsplash a couple of weeks ago. This is something we've planned to do for years, I'll do a post on the new look of the kitchen soon. A little makeover on a small kitchen is easy on the budget!
 A little Fall message on my kitchen chalkboard; I change out the messages on this for the seasons also.

A new scented candle. I decided to buy a soy candle because we try to be careful about what kinds of fragrances or chemicals we bring into our home, but honestly I was disappointed in the strength of it. I could barely smell it when it was in the kitchen, so I gave it to Leah for her room; it smelled much stronger in the smaller space. I may have to buy a Yankee candle, you really can't beat those!

That's our fall home. We keep it simple, but we enjoy it that way.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall is Here

I love fresh starts and the first day of each new season. Here we are - the first day of Fall. 87 degrees here in Tennessee may not feel like Fall, but the weather will come soon enough!

Fall was not always my favorite season. I used to be a Summer girl but that gradually changed as I got a little older. For me Fall is the season that is both a time of reflection and anticipation. Much of the year is behind us, but there is still more to come. That first crisp Fall morning wakes me from my summer slump and reminds me that there's still time. There's always hope. (The fact that Fall is beautiful and we get to wear sweaters and boots is just a bonus - my love of Fall runs deep!)

The carefree days of Summer may have come to an end, but the importance of living an intentional life with less distraction and "overwhelm" can't be overstated.

Leading a simple life does not mean sticking your head in the sand and pretending life is not hard. Raising children is hard, marriage is hard, finances are hard, sickness is hard, death is hard, taking care of a house is hard, juggling activities is hard, loving people who are unlovable is hard, turning 40 and getting gray hair and crows feet is hard, keeping your mouth shut is hard, standing by your convictions is hard. I think I could go on . . .

We lead a simple life by remembering that only one thing is needed (Luke 10:42) loving the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind & loving our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-38) and keeping our mind fixed on Him so He will keep us in perfect peace. (Isaiah 26:3)
We will live in confusion if we are not is His word and in prayer daily. The world will knock us down and the deceiver will prey on our weaknesses. He does NOT have the right to do this, so don't allow it, my friends!

I hope you all have a wonderful first weekend of Fall!!

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Little Tour of Our Place

I always enjoy seeing the homes of my blog friends. Home is my favorite place to be and I know many of you feel the same way. Home is where we build a solid foundation for our children. Where we grow closer and learn to work together as well as play together. I thought I'd give you a little glimpse of where we do life!

Here's the front of the ranch house that we call home. Our house is a little over 2,000 square ft. which I feel is just perfect for our family. I would not want anything larger to take care of! The day I took these pictures was rather cloudy as you can tell. We have been in our home for nine years now and we have made many changes over the years to make this place our own! The room to the far left used to be our garage but we converted it into an office/guest room. Darrell works from home a day or two each week and it was necessary for him to have a quiet place for teleconferences.

A view of or house and shed from the bottom of the hill. We have 5 acres and most of it is actually in the wooded area surrounding our yard.

A different view of the front yard from the driveway.

One of the new trees we planted last fall and one of our raised garden beds in the distance.

View form my front porch. We need to pressure wash the sidewalk from the looks of this picture! There's always something that needs to be done, but we just try to do a little at a time!

Our little front porch and a LOT of landscaping. We used to mulch this entire area every spring. That was SO much work and money spent every year. Not to mention that our dogs would run through it and track it everywhere. Since our porch is pretty much even with the ground, rain would always wash the mulch onto the porch. It was just a messy situation all the way around! I was constantly sweeping mulch off of the porch and sidewalk. Last year, we "bit the bullet" so to speak and put down landscaping rock. It was hard work rather expensive up front but it will pay for itself soon since we will no longer have to buy and spread truckloads of mulch each year. No more messy mulch to sweep up constantly. I'm so happy we did this!

We are working towards simplifying things around here and making it easier to maintain things. This project was a huge step in that direction.

Screened porch off of the back. We spend a lot of time on our porch. We honestly consider it to be one of the rooms of our house! All of those rocks lining our landscaping came from the ground when they were building the house. We have tons of that rock in our ground. We have built fire pits with it and given some to friends for fire pits. It's great to have so much available for projects, but not so great for gardening! We have to use raised beds because we can't plant in he rocky ground. That's the Tennessee hills for ya!

This is just a portion of our driveway. We are 1/4 mile from the road so there's a lot more of our driveway that I didn't get pictures of.

Well there's the little tour of our place. We have enjoyed raising our children here where they've had room to explore and enjoy being outside. No matter where you live, it is important to make it home and be grateful. Our place is nothing extravagant, but we love it just the way it is. It feels right for us and we enjoy practicing hospitality when we can!