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Humble Offerings

I have come to a place where I feel that all of my offerings are humble.

I look around and see so many who are blessed with so much, so gifted, so able.  And I am.  I am gifted and able and blessed.  I am overflowing with grace, poured into me by a gracious heavenly father.

And yet, I so often look at what I have to offer clenched in my fist, lower my chin as it trembles, and look around hoping no one will notice what little I have to offer.

Then I read, “He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.'”  And I am encouraged that all I have to offer might just be enough.

It is with this thought in mind that I am guest posting over at A Bushel and a Peck, one of my long-time favorite blogs.

Verse from here.

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Which Way Do I Go?

For a while now I have been trying to determine what direction I want to go in a few areas of my life.  I’ve also been struggling a little bit with keeping up with all that life is demanding of me right now – homeschooling, basement construction and the whole-house reorganization that followed, a new job for Handsome (and a strange new schedule to go with it), a new social group, and several other changes.

I have been praying daily for wisdom in a few areas.

One of the silliest is what to do with this blog.  I’ve had thoughts of totally re-doing it and really working to put myself out there, but I’ve also had thoughts of just shutting it all down – it seems to be the way of the blog as of late.

I started doing a new (to me) Bible study with a group of women at my church.  I am excited and can’t wait to see what God shows me/teaches me.  So far, I am just amazed at how it seems to apply to exactly what I am working through right now.

I also have been noticing excellence all around me lately.  I am amazed at the things people do – sixteen year olds trying to sail around the world on their own (who cares that she didn’t make it – she was competent enough to TRY!) and grown men able to run miles up and down a big green field all while controlling a little ball and making it look easy and friends of mine who are able to find the time to grind their own wheat and make their own bread.

Last Sunday, while in church, our pastor said something that really caught my ear.  I thought, “I want to use this summer to see where God wants to use me.  I want to know what it is that I am called to do.  I want to stop settling for this pulled-in-every-direction feeling, get down to business, and figure out how I am supposed to be using my time.  I want to be willing to leave my sins and stumbling blocks behind and wholeheartedly pursue Jesus.”

And so I am taking the summer off.  I am thinking that I will still post some of the drafts that I have written, I will do some re-posts, and I may document some of this journey I am on; but for the most part consider this “summer vacation.”

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Don’t really know how this happened, but I’m so honored to be asked!

Lisa, of A Bushel and a Peck asked me to be a guest blogger!  Eek!

So I’ll be hanging out there today – please stop by and share your ideas!

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Hot Thursday Ramblings

First, thank you to those of you that participated in Comfortable! That was fun!  If you haven’t gone there yet, please do and add to the list!

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It’s been hot here – really hot.  I talked to my friend who lives in the desert (and we don’t…we’ll we didn’t last time I looked at a map, but perhaps they have re-qualified where we live from “four seasons” to “desert”); it was hotter here than there.  We’ve spent many hours playing in water of some sort over the last few days.  That part of the crazy heat has been wonderful!

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I’ve been thinking about changing the format of my blog a bit.  When I was in college I had a friend named Amy.  Amy kept a journal.  I did too.  Amy’s journal was actually a pretty little calendar; each day had a little space that was just about two inches by six inches.  Amy didn’t write a ton, but she wrote every day, jotting down a little here, a little there.  She had a great record of her days and events.  I did the opposite.  I didn’t write everyday, but when I did write I poured out my soul onto the lined pages of a spiral notebook.  I could write as much as I wanted, and some days I filled up pages and pages.  It worked for me, gave me a place to sort out all the things that were going on in my head.

Now, though, it’s not so much working for me.  Many days the deepest thoughts I have are about what I am planning to have for dinner or how I wish I didn’t have to wash mud out of clothes so often.  I’m frustrated that I don’t have the time to put into writing out all of my thoughts; knowing that this is a public forum, I want to make sure that I am understood before I hit the “publish” button.  But I’m missing out.  I’m not getting to write about all of the great things that are happening every day, the little things, the things I want to remember, the things that the kids will laugh about when they are older, the little victories, the little heartbreaks.  I’m not getting to write about it at all, because I haven’t (until now) given myself permission to just get it down, whether or not it is perfect and well-balanced.  So I think I’m going to try the little rectangles method – write just a bit more often…or maybe just a bit whenever I can.

We’ll see how it goes.

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Soon…soon

I’m really sorry, if you are here looking for my next homeschooling post.  I just haven’t been able to knock it out of my head today.  It’s probably because I’ve been neck-deep in laundry  and neck-deep in dust as I re-organize my pantry and then neck-deep in questions as I tried to teach my kids a little about about why the oldest one is home from school today then neck-deep in confusion as I have tried desperately to make some semblance of order out of my desk.  And soon I will be neck deep in leftovers; it’s what we’re having for dinner.

But I’m hoping to get to the blogging thing later today – right after I organize all of the great kid’s clothes that I got on sale over the last two weeks (that my kids will wear next year) and bring about world peace!

Happy Monday!

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Happy Monday!

Oh, I have a deep post brewing, but you’ll have to wait just a bit longer until I can dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s.

In the meantime, why don’t you just jump over here and read one of the funniest posts I’ve read in a long, long time.

Oh, and yes, I know I need to take my Christmas header down…I know…

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Oh, I meant to write a really deep, philosophical, and resolute post today.

I meant to.

Instead I slept in.  Then a little later I napped on the couch with my seven year old.  Then I spent some time hanging out with my family.

And I’m glad.

Hope your year is beginning just as well!

Happy New Year!

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Ketchup

It’s been so long since I’ve posted that I fear that none of you will return to read anything I have to write now!

But while I was gone, I was collecting all sorts of tales to tell!

The last few weeks have been nothing less than wild around here – fish stories, kid stories, homeschool stories, hurricane stories, and even a secret that I’ll reveal soon!

Truth be told, I have been wondering if perhaps this blog has reached its end.

*****

I always used to ask my Grandma to write down her life story.  I loved to hear her tell her stories – the story of Herbie and his pony, the stories about her mom’s fried chicken, the stories about my Great Grandpa – and I didn’t want them to fade away with time.  Every time I would ask, she always told me the same thing:  I’m just so busy living that it just seems I can’t find the time to write it all down.  But I knew that she had started writing, and she had shared bits and pieces with me.

After her death, I was delighted to find three notebooks with stories and important family records – all written in her careful handwriting.  There they all were – the story about how she and Grandpa met, the story of the time my dad caught the mole in the bucket, the stories of her favorite Uncle Ray.

I haven’t taken the time to sit down and read all of them at once, but I have read many of them, one at a time, savoring the memories and “hearing” her voice re-tell my favorite stories.

Then one of my other favorite voices calls to me with a need or a want, and I dash off, back to the reality of present day living.

And I’ve realized that while I am so very busy with the demands of life with four small children, juggling one child in public school and two in homeschool, three children playing soccer (and loving it), and so much more, I don’t want to be so busy living that I never take the time to savor where I am at.  I don’t want to be so hurried that I forget my blessings, nor do I want to teach my children the habit of being busy for the sake of busy-ness.  And finally, just as I have those stories from my grandma, I want my own children and grandchildren to have my stories to savor.

So for another season, I’ll be here, learning patience…and I hope you’ll join me.

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So I have this friend. We’ve been friends for years and through all sorts of life events. We’ve maintained our friendship as I have lived in five different states, and now we live about 30 minutes apart. What a blessing this friendship has been to me over the years!

One of the main ways we have kept in touch is over the phone.

The thing is that we both have very full lives, so sometimes we go a while without talking…though when we pick back up, we are able to just start out where we left off. While there is always lots of updating the stories, there’s not awkwardness after not talking for a few weeks.

And so it is with this blog…or so I hope it is with this blog.

Since my last post, a whirlwind has swept into my house, and so much has been accomplished…and there is so much more to be accomplished. Tomatoes have ripened and been made into sauce and then canned. I made two batches of peach butter – froze one and canned the other. We’ll see which turns out better in the end. I think the peach count (that is peaches peeled, sliced, and frozen in quart-size bags) is up near twenty! Bubba has returned to school and is loving second grade; Little Man and Y have conquered four days of homeschool! Moreover, I have managed to get Bubba ready for school and myself ready to homeschool. I wish I had been able to plan a bit more before I started school, but pretty much nothing about the last month has been what I thought it would be… We now have three children taking piano lessons and practicing daily and three children playing in the local outdoor soccer league. I managed to hands-and-knees mop the main floor of our house which is wood and oh, so beautiful when it’s clean. I even managed to make dinner a few nights this week and dessert one night, though I must admit that I called it homeschool science – we did talk about our five senses, so I think it qualifies! I made a trip to the local copy store and made a stack of copies that was about six inches tall! I volunteered to work in my daughter’s classroom twice a month (which is one of my joys in having a child in public school – I hate sending her away all day, but I love getting to visit her classroom and help out and get to know the other kids in the class), and I might even be the head room parent – YIKES!

And I’ve watched the Olympics – a lot.

I’ve also been trying to spend time with my grandpa and work out on a regular basis. Now if only I could get the rest of the house clean and get the gardens in shape (or at least into a state in which the did not look like we have purposely been planting and nurturing weeds all summer)! Things might be a bit sparse here over the next few weeks as we figure out how exactly to manage this new schedule of ours, but I’ve got tons that I’ve been thinking about and want to write about. I hope when I get the chance to share it, we’ll be able to pick up right where we left off…

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Usually when we go on vacation, we buy something that is representative of that place; then at Christmas time we hang it on our tree.  Our tree is covered with ornaments and mementos of the places our family has been and the things we have done.  Each Christmas season, I relish the discussions that our family has…about the time Bubba broke the ornament that we then had to buy even though it was really ugly, or the week spent at Disney with “Aunt Yaya,” or the pinecones picked up on our honeymoon.

*****

As we finished this year’s vacation, Handsome and I realized that we had not bought anything to represent our week-long trip to San Antonio and the Texas Coast.  He looked at me and said, “I have the perfect thing!  We could get some fake vomit and hang that on our tree.”

And all I could do was laugh.

*****

About bloggy business:  I have read and loved all of your comments that you left while I was gone behind the scenes.  I forgot to take my password (and no, I don’t know it by heart), so I couldn’t get back to y’all.  I will soon though!  And I’ll be blogging more about our trip in the days to come!

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