Monday, February 23, 2015

A Spirit of Gratitude: February 23

Happy Monday everyone!  The last Monday of February  - if you can believe that.  Another entire month just about gone.  It's had its ups and downs, but all in all its been a pretty good month.


Waking up in a winter wonderland

Not losing power during the ice storm
Sun sparkling in the ice covered trees
Time for myself in the afternoon
The beginning of Lent
Binging on Netflix on a cold afternoon
The sound of melting ice dripping from the roof
The grand baby drawing pictures on the whiteboard
Improvising dinner
Getting out of the House for a little while
Valentine's clearance sale
Skinny Caffè  Mocha
Frozen grass
Hershey kisses
A big salad
An afternoon nap
New hats for the grand baby
New goals

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Week's End

I'd say something about how it's finally Friday, but truthfully it feels as if this week went by very quickly.

Most of them (the weeks - days - months) seem to whiz right by these days.  I think it might be a symptom of getting older.

Another possible sign - feeling like I could use a nap almost every afternoon. And being ready for bed by 9 at night.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

He Has It In Abundance

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:19

God has plenty of everything.  Plenty!  Wisdom, love, mercy, patience, strength. You name it.

More than enough.  More than we can ever possible imagine.

And He isn't like some miser - sitting up in Heaven, hoarding it all.  Looking at all He has.  Laughing at those of us who are lacking. Saying "Mine....ALL Mine!"  


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He wants to share.  Wants to shower us with His abundance.  All we have to do is ask.  Just seek Him out and request what we need.  He knows exactly how much we need.  When we need it.

And He has plenty to go around.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Why Google Makes Me Feel Bad About Myself

Every morning without fail, my Google calendar feels the need to send me an email.  Just to let me know that I have no appointments planned that day.

Every.  Single.  Day. As if it's important to let me know I have no plans again that day.

Sometimes I get to the point where I feel as if it's mocking me.

"Hey... just in case your forgot.  You got nothing going on today.  No where to go.  Nothing to do.  No friends to have lunch with or meet for coffee.  No book club or crochet group. No woman's Bible Study to attend.  Nope. Nothing at all.  Again.  Just so you know..."

I'm not writing this because I want you to feel sorry for me.  It's not as if I look at my email every morning and feel bad about the lack of items on my calendar.  Most days I delete the email and don't think twice about it.  

But - if I'm being honest here - there are days it rubs me the wrong way.  You know those kind of days.  The ones when I'm all hormonal, or tired, or just feeling a little down on myself.  On those days Google calendar makes me feel bad about myself.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Spirit of Gratitude: February 16 & 17

 I started this post about 3 times yesterday, but kept getting distracted.  For example: We had an ice storm moving into the area, which meant school got released early, and the male offspring didn't get on the bus - so I had to go pick him up.  Then the precipitation started, and was constantly going to the window to check out the snow, then sleet, then freezing rain and sleet.  All this - plus just being a little scatterbrained in general - meant that the Monday post was never completed until today.  

Staying up later than I intended
Warm sun - Cold Wind
Valentine crafty-ness
Making muffins with the grand baby
Haircut for the male offspring
The snooze button
The grand baby helping with laundry
Clean sheets
Finding the card and chocolate the Man of the House left for me when he went to work
Date Night
Delicious German food for dinner
The female offspring making pancakes for breakfast
A break from the cold for the day
Running errands with the Man of the House
Baking Valentine's Day cookie pie 

Lazy days hiding from the cold
A pot of chili simmering on the stove
A surprise package in the mail
A beautiful new journal
The sweetest bloggy friends
Being prepared for the storm
Watching snow and sleet fall outside
Everyone making it home safe and sound
Falling asleep to the sound of freezing rain

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Ice Storm

I feel as if I woke up in the middle of a Disney movie this morning! Don't worry - I'm not going to make you listen to me sing "Let It Go" (or anything else)

Fortunately we never lost power.  And the ice is just so pretty to look at from inside a nice warm house. 
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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sharing the Love

Happy Valentine's  Day  to  one  and  all ! !

Today, am I taking a little time to focus on my loved ones.  But I wanted to share a little love with my favorite blog readers also!

So here are some of my favorite love and/or Valentine's day related posts from the past.  Enjoy!

and this...

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

That Thing You're Complaining About

This morning, as I stumbled back to the coffee maker for another cup, silently grumbling to myself about the early hour, the turn the weather was taking back to wintry, windy cold and the mess I was having to sidestep to get there - a bird began to sing outside.  Loudly.  With exuberance.  That bird didn't care what time it was or what the temperature happened to be at that time.  The bird was just happy the sun was just starting to peek over the mountains and there were a few seeds left in my needs-to-be-refilled bird feeder.
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As I listened to him heralding his happiness for all to hear, I felt a tugging at my heart. A quiet whispering reminding me that all the things we take for granted in a day... are the things someone else is hoping and praying for.  Where I find cause to complain... someone else would be giving thanks.

Have to get up early?  Someone, somewhere is praying for just one more day.

The weather too cold?  In six months you'll likely be complaining about how hot it is. 

 A messy house to clean up... again? Someone is waking up in a homeless shelter. Under a bridge.  In an alley. Moving from one refugee camp to another to escape the terror taking place around them. Picking up what they can find in the rubble that used to be a house destroyed by a storm or fire.

Kids driving you crazy?  Somewhere a couple is heading to another infertility treatment.  Or waiting for an adoption to take place.  Somewhere a mother has nothing left of her child but photos and memories.

Stuck in traffic?  Somewhere there's a man walking most of 20 miles to and from work every day.  (and yes, I know this guy ended up getting a car... after 10 years of this commute - but I am sure there are others out there just like him)
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 Not looking forward to making a list and going grocery shopping?  Meanwhile there are children starving all over the world... right in your own town.

A huge pile of laundry?  Someone is wearing the same shirt and pants day after day after day because that's all they have.

Hate your job? Your co-workers? Your boss?  Someone is still looking for a job.  Any job.  After months or years of unemployment.

Today my challenge to you (and myself) is this -  When you catch yourself complaining or thinking negative thoughts as you go about your day, STOP and consider how this thing you are finding so tedious, annoying, irritating,or tiring might be a blessing for someone else.  I guarantee it will change your attitude in a hurry.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

A Spirit of Gratitude: February 9

New items for Queen B's Busy Work
Recommendations for new books to read
Quiet time to write
A fresh new month
Bright moonlight
Glimpses of the full moon through tree branches
The first hint of light as the sun starts to rise

Free oatmeal
HUGE cardboard boxes
Memorizing a new Bible verse
The strength to walk away from the chocolate croissant
Blog Posts written  
The Female Offspring taking pictures for me
Take Out dinner for a lazy Friday evening
Warm spring like February days
Being married to a handy guy who saves us tons of $$ on repairs  
Healthy homemade burritos
Open windows in early February
Fresh weekly to-do list
Homemade soup
Yummy Multi grain rolls
Requests for new products
Finding exactly the buttons I had in mind for a project
Trips to the library

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Song in my Heart

I have caught myself singing this song so often lately.  It's a beautiful song, and the message of how Jesus will meet us where ever we are - no matter how far we have wandered - touches my heart and makes my soul rejoice!  I especially love the line "earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal" 

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Couple of Weeks Gone By

I am now about 3 weeks into this whole "being healthier and getting the cholesterol" thing.  And the honest to goodness truth is - it's harder than I thought it would be.  I think I have a  problem when it comes to sweets and junk.  Not kidding here. 

I'm trying.  Really, I am.  And over all I would say I am doing better.  Not great yet, but better.  There have been a few things which made it very challenging for me.  For example, the grand baby's birthday cupcakes.  Who turns down a chocolate cupcake?  Apparently, not me. 

My water drinking has been down this week.  If I don't stay on top of that, it is very easy to let it slip and then get to the end of the day to realize I haven't even had half of what I should. 

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There have also been some small victories.  On Superbowl Sunday I limited myself to a veggie and hummus wrap, a few baked chips, and the veggie tray for snackies.  And I did refrain from ordering the mocha frappucino and chocolate croissant I really wanted at Starbucks the other day and ordered just a nonfat latte. 

Small steps lead to big changes.  That's what I keep trying to convince myself. 

Today:  February 6
Start Weight: 167.8 lbs
Weight Today: 163.6
 This week I exercised: none
Steps walked:  19707 (forgot to put on FitBit Sunday, which is sad because we went to Sam's and the grocery store.  Missed all those steps!)

My goals for Week 4:
*  Drink enough water
*  Wear FitBit daily
*  Increase daily step totals to at least 5000 per day
*  Exercise at least 3 days

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Five Great Crock Pot Recipes for Cold Weather

I am all about cooking in the crock pot.  It prevents having to turn on the oven and heat the kitchen up during the summer months.  And it's perfect for making delicious soups, chili, and stews which give the house a warm, cozy "homey" smell and feel during the colder months of the year.

Over time I have found a few big winners which my family has approved - giving them a permanent place in my recipe folder. (and yes... a few failed experiments - but that's not what this post is about)

1)  Crockpot Gumbo
Spicy, warm, and de-li-cious!  I used to make gumbo on the stove top.  But I finally came up with a version for the crock pot.  Just as yummy - and super easy to toss together.

2)  Creamy White Chicken Chili
The family loves a good chili.  (in fact, this is the first of two which made it to this list!)  This recipe from Lovely Little Kitchen is a delightful change from the typical tomato based chili.

3)  Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup
Several members of my family have voted this recipe from Creme de la Crumb "The best soup I have ever eaten".  Seriously... it's just that good. Even the pickiest eater in the house keeps requesting it!

4)  My Basic Chili Recipe
 This recipe is written for stove top preparation.  But once the meat is browned, all the ingredients can be tossed in the crock pot and left on low for a minimum of 4 hours.  You'll have a warm and yummy chili waiting for you at the end of a long, cold day.

5)  Crockpot Roasted Chicken
I love a good chicken dinner as much as anyone.  But it always just seemed like so much work to make a whole roast chicken.  Not so!  Especially if the crock pot is doing most of the work for you!

(recipes are available at the original source for all these dishes by clicking the names)

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Yes, But...

I recently delegated the chore of cleaning up the dishes and kitchen after dinner to the offspring.  (off springs?)  Seemed like a great idea at the time. They have more responsibility.  The kitchen gets straightened up.  The dishes get washed.  I get to mark one thing of my forever long To Do list.  In theory it seems almost perfect.


Yes, But...

Nothing is perfect.  Certainly not my wonderful - yet flawed - offspring.  It is a rare night indeed that they don't have to be TOLD that the chore needs doing.  Or else I face a pile of dirty dishes and counter tops when I wake the next morning.  As if they somehow suffer some sort of selective amnesia once they have finished consuming the meal which was made for them.  

OK.  So, they need reminding.  But once they are told reminded to take care of the after dinner cleanup - it gets done.  By someone other than myself.  And that's what I need to focus on.  Whatever method it takes, the chore is getting done. 

Yes, But... 

Sometimes it still annoys me that the mindset seems to be that it doesn't matter where the clean dishes go as long as they are put away somewhere.  Anywhere.  Or that my idea of a clean counter top and their idea of a clean counter are miles apart.  I'm talking like 'Earth and the end of the universe' miles apart. 


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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Spirit of Gratitude - February 2 (or 3)

Red sky mornings
Snow flurries
A cup of afternoon tea
Returning to an unfinished project
The Man of the House playing with the grand baby
Dinner out with the Man of the House
Birthday parties
Super Bowl Sunday
Monthly meal plans
Packages finally mailed
Groundhog Day
Veggie Wraps
The Male Offspring playing with his nephew
British comedy
The grand baby asking me to play with him
Cold mornings

My Spirit of Gratitude post is appearing on Tuesday this week because... well, because I just never got around to writing and posting it on Monday.  Things happen.  Life happens.  I get busy.  I get lazy.  If I had to guess, I would say it probably happens to you sometimes also.  But - one more thing to be thankful for - the world is full of grace.  And if a post doesn't happen on the day it was planned, there is always tomorrow.  There is always a blank screen just waiting to be filled.  And if you are very blessed - there is someone waiting to read what you have written.  No matter what day it finally gets published. 

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