Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Favorite posts of 2018

Slow Day: Snow Day! A rare treat on the coast!

Underscheduling: taking time to be still every day in the month of February and 
documenting with a photo. I want to do this again! 

Making a beautiful loaf of sourdough bread: I want to get my starter going again! Yum!

Bonus: taking a photo of everyday beauty each day in April.

Cultivating Hearts for a Bountiful Harvest: getting to help with our church's missions conference was a treat and delight!

Summer Slow in pictures and also Beauty Hunt: Barns and Sunset

Camping Beauty

Apple Orchard Picnic and Refinishing Our Dining Room Table and Chairs

Apple Canning Day and Concert Tickets for Emily's Birthday

Making the Most and Fall Camping Beauty


Beauty Walk, A Welcoming Haven and Slow Day

A little later than usual, but still glad to go back through and remember some
 highlights from the past year!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Rest Quiz

Last year, I read Sacred Rest by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith and I was excited to see this author as a guest on The Crystal Paine show recently.

My favorite quote from the show was, "Give an honest no rather than a reluctant yes." Yes! That rings so true to me - I've reluctantly said yes to things and then regretted it.

She also mentioned her Rest Quiz found on her website and I took it. In the book Sacred Rest, Dr. Dalton-Smith talks about 7 types of rest: mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, social, sensory and creative.

I was really surprised by my results - I'm doing better than I thought in a couple of them and definitely need to think of some ways to bring rest to a couple of other areas. My three areas of most-needed rest were: Emotional, Social and Sensory. Hmmm - still processing those things and what that means!

If you try the Rest Quiz - I'd love to hear about your results!

Photos: had a little fun outing with this sweet girl on Saturday and stopped in for Frozen Yogurt to see they had done some refreshing of the space, she loved the rainbow sprinkles wallpaper!!

And, a couple of poses:

Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday Fatigue

Last week was a good week - I felt joy and happiness a lot of the week in my spirit which I know can only be the presence of God and His answers to many who have mentioned they are praying for us. Friday morning though I woke dragging and weary. Not sleeping well, frustrations with internet and necessary tasks to be done, and lack of motivation to stay focused with school work all collided on one day.

As I started to get grouchy and frustrated, it was time to do our morning read aloud, Bible reading and singing of a hymn. I didn't have a great start to the read aloud not wanting to feel cheerful - but it did help to get into the story and just enjoy hearing my children giggle and listen attentively. I tried to be realistic with what to do next the rest of the day so as to not add to my frustration!

I mentally marked a few things off of my list and that helped too! And after dinner, we enjoyed playing a family game {Ticket to Ride Europe} and I tasted a London Fog for the first time inspired by this. It was tasty and fun to try something new - I try to avoid caffeine, so I used a decaf tea bag instead of what she suggests but it is similar.

After family time, I was ready to put on my comfy pj's and crawl into bed. I finished a library book, enjoyed some Bella Grace Cozy and felt refreshed just from the rest and peacefulness.

I'm so grateful that God paved the way for our weekly schedules and rhythm. To have a Sabbath - truly a slow day is such a gift and made such a difference in my week. And then to have a rest from school on the weekends is also a gift - we still work of course but it is more around the house and errand work rather than book work.

All this to say, I'm grateful for the pause of the weekends and a friend asked on Instagram if her followers like planned or unplanned weekends. I do like having something fun planned here and there for sure - but overall, the less we have on the weekends, the more successful our week is because we got some true down time.

How about you?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Monday, January 14, 2019

Daily Rhythms

Emily took these photos last Friday when we woke up to a rare bit of frost on the leaves! Seeing the furry white edges is a novelty here and really is pretty.

I don't know about you, but one thing that helps make my days successful is to write out a list each evening before bed. First it helps because I get a lot of swirling thoughts out of my head and down on paper which means I can be more at rest at night. Secondly, it provides direction to my day. I may or may not finish everything on my list but the fact that items are written down helps me to remember what I need to be doing and also to use free minutes wisely. If we have five minutes before we need to leave, I look at my list or just pause and think - what can I get done in just a few minutes that will help me later.

This isn't anything fancy - I use a spiral bound journal and a sweet friend gives me one for my birthday each year so those are my list journals! We've recently begun writing out school work divided up by day rather than just relying on memory and it is helping one or two of my students as well!

In the month of January, I'm enjoying adding some organizing to my daily routines and tasks. I've been trying to do a decluttering task each day and also the Peter Walsh organizing challenge of the day. Additionally, I try to incorporate the Fly Lady missions into our daily chores - which means either my children or I or both will be working on these areas throughout the week.

What daily routines are really helping you right now? Are there any you hope to make a change in?

Friday, January 11, 2019


This photo is from our first days' drive home from Colorado. The I-70 Interstate across eastern Colorado was only visible a short distance in front of us. If you look carefully, you can faintly see a few headlights on the other side of the interstate at the far left of the photo.

Farm houses and fields were invisible. We could only see a very small way in front of us. I shared a similar photo on Instagram that morning with the words of Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

This was a hard morning because we left Colorado and my Mom, I woke up not feeling good with the worst sore throat I've had in years and of course there were emotions and exhaustion filling in all the cracks.

Now that we've been home a week, I think this fog somewhat portrays how I'm moving forward. I don't feel in a fog necessarily, but I do feel much more scattered than I am accustomed to. Getting settled in to our home feels comforting and peaceful but outside commitments feel distant and my mind is not doing much focusing on those things.

Grieving looks different for everyone and I want to say that I'm not practiced at grieving, but then I realize that we have been saying goodbye for ten years and I think maybe I am practiced at grieving but don't realize it?

There were a lot of things I could not share publicly during the long illness with my Dad, he would read those things and wonder at the intent/thought/truth behind it because he did not admit {at least out loud} that he was dying. It seems that now, I'm realizing how much of the past ten years I may not have dealt with yet, my Mom and sister and I shared and processed quite honestly through the years but I'm not sure it is done for me - this honest processing.

Over the weekend, I looked up grieving as a Christian and came upon two great articles:
- Grief Finding Hope in the Darkness by Paul David Tripp
- How to Grieve Like a Christian by Tim Challies

This writing is just a part of the process and hopefully the healing as well for me. There are cautions too - I don't know how to answer when people ask me how I am doing? Yet I also don't want to get caught in a place of self-pity. God is good and that has not changed, time will expand my vision again and bring healing. And that seems to naturally bring us back to the words at the beginning: Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

When we drive in fog, we just keep moving ahead - that is our job. Not to pull over and stop and wallow but to ease forward gently. We turn our headlights on, reduce speed and stay alert. There is value in this visual lesson even for grief - His Word is the lamp, slowing down is healthy and being sure of what we hope for is the watchful eye.

Later in the weekend, I read 1 Peter 5:10, "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."

Yes, Lord - that is what I want: restoration to make me strong, firm and steadfast.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Mini Quiet Retreat

On New Year's Eve day - David's mom and her husband were willing to take our kids out for a few hours. There was plenty of work to do, and I balanced my time alone with productivity and quiet rest.

I tried to do work that needed my brain to be clear because I can clean the bathroom even when my brain is fuzzy! But there are some things that need a little more concentration and so I was grateful for the time to accomplish a few of those things.

Then I sat down with my Bible and my lunch and just enjoyed the calm and quiet. I love natural light and don't like to turn big overhead lights on. I'd rather sit in this grayer light than in a more harsh light.

And in addition to craving quiet and needing to find some of that which brings me to a restorative place, I am also craving beauty and time at home. This enamelware candle holder was a fun and unexpected after-Christmas-clearance find at Target. I already love it and know I'll enjoy using it in the years to come.

Doing little beauty things like this is soul-filling for me. Beauty is a balm. And I notice that quiet + beauty is a good recipe for me to incorporate into my life when I can. Slipping out the front door to quietly snip a few greens took mere moments, laying them in the tin and putting the candles in was equally short. But the enjoyment of the process and then enjoying the result yield greater benefits than the small investment of time might suggest.

Do you ever just take a little beauty walk around your own home? Sometimes the light will come in just right or you will just walk through a room and pause for a moment to truly appreciate the blessing of home and the life it may bring. I hope your home makes you feel that way.

Another small act of beauty which appealed to multiple senses was to put a little pot on the stove to simmer - I looked to see what we had and was pleased to see some cranberries I bought around Thanksgiving with the hope of Christmas and making little canning jars of berries and evergreens and candles, an orange brought home from our time in Colorado, a few sprigs of evergreen left from the above candleholder, cinnamon sticks found languishing in the back of the spice cabinet and even a new bottle of whole cloves that I'd found on markdown somewhere.

It almost takes longer to tell about it than to actually do some of these little things, but again - they are worth it for the joy and life they bring.

Your time of quiet may not include beauty making or may hold other elements which are as necessary to your own heart and soul. Have you studied yourself to see what it is that brings this kind of refreshment to you?

I have noticed this past week that I've been reaching for clothing items that say "comfort" to me. Sometimes I'm willing to wear something cute that may not be the most comfortable and at other times I want the most comfortable thing I can find so that my clothing is not affecting my mood. I'm not even sure how to explain that - but I think it has to do in part with a state of mind. It just struck me this week especially one morning when I changed four or more times until I landed on something that felt comforting.

Curling up with a good book was also a delight. This was such a fun book! And I love the concept of her subtitle: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave. Yes please!

A quiet retreat doesn't have to be anything specific, there is no magic formula. This was probably 3-4 hours and again I balanced marking a few things off my list with taking some time to sit and just be. At the end of the day, David asked how my day was and it was so encouraging to be able to say what a good day I'd had.

What is that kind of day for you? Of course we need and want different things at different seasons, but this was just what I needed!