What I’m doing different this holiday season

The week has brought us back around to our Five Minute Friday time with Kate Motaung and the gang.  This is when we all write on the same word prompt for 5 minutes and enjoy the variety in which we find ourselves writing.  Today’s word prompt is: NOTICE

GO

This is my busiest time of year as I’m sure it is for you as well. We don’t really eliminate anything from our lists of to-do instead we just add holiday craziness to our schedules and shuffle through, hoping we come out on the other side not too unruffled.

So this holiday season I’m choosing something different.  I’m choosing to notice the moments instead of getting lost in the momentum.   

Even now, I notice the snow fall outside and I want to curl up with a warm cup of happiness and knit something cozy because isn’t that what we should do on a cold, blustery day?

It’s the week before Thanksgiving…the first event of the holiday shuffle…and I’m shopping, planning and getting things together.

In other years I’ve thought about the table settings, the dishes and the perfection of the day.  Yet this year I’ve already settled in my heart that instead of fussing over details I’m going to enjoy the people of the day.

For the first time in my years of doing Thanksgiving, I’m investing in nice disposal dishes. I’m investing because in years past I fussed over table settings and all things matching too much.  And yes it will all match because I’ll buy the matching set of all things disposal.  And at the end of the meal I can look around and be pleased with the company sharing my table instead of the dishes still yet to be scraped, cleaned, washed and put away.

Sitting here typing this up, I’m watching snow cover up all that is dead and fallen from the season just past.

I can get lost in the season of tradition and the way in which it’s always been done but this year I’m setting a new tradition.  A tradition of noticing moments instead of getting lost in the momentum.

Thanksgiving is a time of noticing. Noticing the blessings in our lives and all that is good.

So this season, I invite you to join me in choosing the moments instead of the mayhem.  Choose to notice the people and the moments we have with them, instead of getting caught up in the momentum of the holiday shuffle.

And who knows maybe through these moments shared we’ll even knit something cozy and take in some warm cups of happiness together.

Happy Friday everyone and Happy Thanksgiving as well!

Getting it started in the morning

It’s Friday…Yay!  And we are joining up with Kate Motaung again and the gang at Five Minute Friday.  Kate gives us a word prompt and we all write for 5 minutes.  All the details are here, if you’d like to join us.  Our word prompt for today is: STILL.

GO

The house is quiet and still.  And before the pitter-patter of feet and the rustling of the dog, I am awake and tapping away at the keyboard.

A mantra of our days could be ~ “My life is full and time’s limited.”

I can fill my days with appointments, errands, and taxi-ing from here to there.  My feet can hit the floor and my mind flies ahead towards all that the day holds.

Yet I’m learning not every thing is an emergency.  Every email and text doesn’t need an immediate answer.  My running here and there doesn’t make me more productive…it just wears me out.

This quiet time in the still of the morning gives me time to stretch out not only my limbs and joints but my priorities and agenda.  I have time to set things in their right perspective.  This life-giving, soul-feeding time sets the tone for the day and instead of running to catch up, my pace is set and ready for the day.

With a full house and a noisy life, not every morning is quiet and not every morning is still, yet for the ones I’m able to nab, I’m grateful.

lake+1

How do you begin your mornings?  How do you set your pace?  Do you have any tricks of the trade to share with us?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Leaving Time ~ Five Minute Friday

Welcome back to Five Minute Friday, where we get a word prompt from Ms. Kate and write for five minutes.  No over thinking, over-editing…just free write for five.  If you would like to join us, you can here. We’d love to have you!

Our word prompt for today: LEAVE

GO

From my kitchen window, I watch as the kids rake the leaves from across the yard. My almost 6’ foot son has now built a pile taller than himself.

Are we ever too old for the leaf pile?

Dave watches from the window as one, then two, followed by three kids pile in.

“I have to go show them how it’s done!” he says as he heads toward the door.

And I watch as their faces light up now that Dad has joined the fun.

My child-at-heart husband takes a runny start and flips himself over and in. He is swallowed up in leaves and comes out the other side.

One by one they try and out do the other.

The sun is setting fast and dinner is waiting on the table. Which one do we choose?

Della, our yellow lab, has joined the excitement and she knocks the pile down with each run through. No one seems to mind. They all laugh together, throwing leaves about and racing through the yard.

I hear the laughter and I know the days are passing quickly.

I’m learning to leave time in my own agenda for the moment that is happening right in front of me.

So today — we can leave dinner….the leaf pile is waiting.

STOP 

Have a great Friday everyone!  And I hope you all leave some time for fun this weekend.

leaf3

A surprise from far away

I’m usually not one for surprises, but this one was good!

Last week, we returned from celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving and arrived home to a pile of mail and a yard full of leaves.

Sam sent us a text asking us to Skype with her at 11:30 pm our time. I don’t know about you all but I’m getting old, and 11:30 is way past when I really want to start a Skype call. But for my college daughter on the other side of the country, I’ll stay up.

She then added, “I know it’s late but I have someone I want you to meet.”

You are now all thinking what Dave was thinking, “WHAT????”

And he began firing off the messages, “What’s his name? How old is he?” Sam answered back with a name and age 19. Followed by, “No more questions, Dad. You’ll meet him tonight!” Which of course sent Dave into a torrent of questions and quick sent texts.

From the get-go I thought this was odd and not at all like Sam — UNLESS it was a joke to get her father going. Which if anyone knows anything about my hubby’s side of the family this possibility is completely and utterly conceivable and probable.

{The Surprise: Sam was flying across the country with the whole idea of sending her parents into a momentary state of shock.}

We had no idea she was coming. We knew she had a midterm break, but she had informed us she was going to a friend’s house. That fell through, so she planned, schemed and secretly plotted with her friends to pull off this surprise.

That evening, Dave and I lounged on the couch watching Netflix and both commented on how low the 11 PM flight was coming in as we watched it fly over our backyard — not knowing our daughter was on board.

With my pj’s on, I settled into bed and readied myself for Sam’s skype call.

But an odd thing happened about 11:28 PM.  A car pulled into our driveway.

We heard doors open and close. Dave and I looked at each other: “Who’s here?”

Dave bolted out of bed and ran down the stairs.

“Where’s he going?” I thought. “He’s going to miss Sam’s skype call!”

{He later told me, “As soon as I heard the car and looked at the time, I knew it was Sam!” }

The front door opened and I heard voices. Loud, exuberant talk along with commotion and movement.

Now as a ministry family, we get calls and visitors at all times of the night and day.

So in full disclosure, I thought: “Oh, great! Someone’s here and they sound like they’re drunk. I’m gonna have to get dressed and go downstairs. AND I’m going to miss Sam’s skype call”

I headed toward my bedroom door; it whipped open and there stood Sam, “Hi, Mom!”

You might think I jumped up and down in excitement and covered her with hugs. But you would be wrong.  Instead my jaw dropped to the floor and I stood there in disbelief.

Me: “What are you doing here?”

Sam: “I came to see you.”

“How’d you get here?”

“I flew.”

“You flew??? — I thought you had a chemistry exam today.” (typical mother statement)

“I did. I finished the exam, then got on a plane and flew here. — Can I have a ‘welcome home’ hug?”

I barely patted her. I really didn’t think this was real. I was sure I would wake up at any moment from this crazy, overly tired, drug-induced dream.

It took me another 15 minutes before I conceded to the fact I wasn’t sleeping and she really was standing there in my bedroom.

To say I was surprised would be an understatement. It was more like shock and disbelief.

kids airport

Her surprise visit was awesome and it was wonderful to have her here.

It was a typical college student’s visit home. Her suitcase was filled with dirty laundry. She slept in late and ate all her favorite foods. There was no cafeteria in sight, only home-cooked meals with a few excursions to our favorite Wings over Ithaca and Five Guys.

Once again, all the places at the table were filled.  The house was noisy, messy and all-together right.

We put her back on a plane yesterday at 5 pm. She landed in Seattle about 12:15 this morning.

After receiving her text telling us she had landed back on the west coast safely, I laid in bed and reveled in this idea:  “7 hours. It only took her 7 hours to fly across the country…..she’s not as far away as I thought!”

And that was a good thought for this happy mama!

airport 2a

 

Another Trip Around the Sun

I’ve made another trip around the sun.

Little Matthew pointed out I’m now the same number. — 4 and 4….how cool is that, Mommy?”

I’ve also reached a ½ way mark in my life. My years with Dave are now more than my years without him. We’ve been together for more than ½ my life.

Each new trip around the sun brings more moments to remember. Moments of joy and the not so joyful.

This was my first birthday with my Sam away at college and it was sad. There was a void at the table — something I’m still not altogether comfortable with.

Another sad is that birthdays just aren’t the same with Mom not being here…even after 11 years. There’s something about mom and birthdays that go together. She always sang a special song on our special day. She made it up some time early in our journey because I always remember her singing it. Each year without her song brings to the forefront the fact she’s not here.

With those things tumbling around in my mind, my birthday seemed a jumble.

turn of the sun

I headed into Sunday morning a jumble of a mess.  My thoughts were filled with memories from the years. — Birthdays with mom… first celebrations with Dave… little cards and pictures drawn by Sam….  all tumbling and jumbling around.

The worship team began singing and my mind continued tumbling through the years.

Tumbling over moments where His fingerprints are seen as evidence of His faithfulness.

  • The young Sunday School years — learning about Cheese Nip crackers, flannel graphs and how Jesus loves me.
  • The tough teen years filled with nights covered in a mama’s prayers.
  • Finding love with the one who still holds my hand.
  • Learning what it is to birth life. The nurse hands that life over for the first time and I wonder, “How do I hold this thing?” And now that thing has grown into herself and I’m wondering, “How do I let go?”

His faithfulness is in every moment.

As the worship songs continued, the tears came and gratitude swelled. Through the whole mix of the contemporary songs, I worshiped. At the end, Dave began playing that song from my childhood:

“I love you, Lord. And I lift my voice, to worship You, Oh, my soul, rejoice.

Take joy, my King, in what You hear.  Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.”

In my mind’s eye, I am 8 years old again. I’m standing at children’s camp with small arms raised and heart sincere. I softly sing out the words — “I love you, Lord…and I lift my voice…” I’m innocent, tender, and completely trusting in His faithful love.

Each turn around the sun reveals more fingerprints of His faithfulness.

This last Sunday for me, completed another turn.  It reminded me that for 4 and 4 years He has been faithful; and for 4 and 4 more He will remain faithful still.

My prayer is that through this next turn of the sun, my voice will worship Him even more and that the words I speak and pound out through this keyboard will be a sweet sound to the One who hears.

 

 

 

My Kitchen Sink – FlyLady Ready? – #FMF

Here we are back at one of my favorite days—FRIDAY!  We are joining up with Kate Motaung and the gang over at Five Minute Friday.  This is where we all write on a one word prompt for 5 minutes.  No over-editing, no over-thinking, just free-writing.  If you would like to join us, click here.


Our word prompt this week:  CARE

GO: 

Last night, I cleaned my kitchen sink.  I FlyLady cleaned it!

I was finishing up the last of the dishes when I noticed grime and gunk all over the back of my sink.  Black yuck in the crevices and hard water spots on the stainless steel finish.

After Emily finished drying and putting away the dishes. I brought out the old toothbrush along with the Comet powder and began scrubbing away at the gunk!

Satisfaction was coming easy. I scoured up and down the backsplash, moved onto the counter.  Then I noticed my canisters!  Yuck!  How did they get so filthy?  And the knife wood block —- disgusting!

I was beginning to think I was going to be smacked by some FlyLady swatter for all this dirt and grim in my seemingly clean kitchen.

I went back to the sink and finished up with all the steps…including spraying down the sink with Windex and wiping dry any water spots!

Spotless, shiny…and almost blinding!  (How long is this going to last in a family of 5?)

Thinking I was done for the night, I left the kitchen.

Then I remembered the coffee for the morning.

I returned to the kitchen.  Turned on the faucet to fill the coffee pot and realized I now have more water spots on the kitchen sink surface.  So I retrieved the towel and dried the water spots again —  I can’t have dried water spots in my kitchen sink!

I left the kitchen again and actually made it to the couch before realizing I had left out the lasagna to cool on the kitchen table.  It needed to be covered and put away, along with cleaning the spatula and knife covered in lasagna scraps.

Again…I dirtied the sink!  How is a woman suppose to keep her sink clean, shiny, and blindingly sparkly?

And that’s when it hit me. I’ve changed!

Years ago, I did the whole FlyLady clean sink thing…for about a week!

But this is what I’ve come to know:  I care more for the sanity of those who live with me, along with my own sanity, more then I care whether I have rings of dried water spots left on my stainless steel sink.

I can drive my family crazy with knit-picky details about how I want things done and miss the whole idea of caring for them.

I want instilled in their hearts —  people before things.  I care more that they love Jesus,  their siblings, and others more than helping me keep my kitchen sink spotless.

And now, as I look across my kitchen table to my shiny, sparkly sink, I ask myself, “How long will it last?

Answer:  About as long as it takes for the first lovely human being in my home to descend the stairs and turn on the faucet.  And I’m okay with that!

Caring about details moves from things to people.  That’s what I care about and that’s who I love.

STOP 

 

DISCLAIMER:  This is NOT a bash on FlyLady.  I believe she does a great job of getting people organized and proficient in their household habits.  I believe she would even agree, she’s not after perfection but progress! :)  Happy Friday, everyone!

Lining Up with Truth

I’m a natural pessimist.

If something could go wrong in my world…it happens in my mind before it’s reality.

I’m the one, who while waiting for my friend for our breakfast date, will see an ambulance zoom by with lights flashing and sirens blaring and I’m sure my friend is dead in the ditch.

I begin lamenting the loss of my friend and exercising all my mental capacities of how I’m going to cope in the coming days with her loss.

Then, while in the depths of despair, I check my phone, find her text message and read: “I’m home sick… not going to make it, sorry!”

I’m elated!  Not because she’s sick but because SHE’S ALIVE!

Yes, that’s me! The twisted friend with a pessimistic outlook on life.

We can laugh at me and say, “That’s crazy!” but how often do we let our thoughts carry us to places of fear and insecurity. Fears that are not actualized.

We often stop ourselves from moving forward into something new. Stopping ourselves before we ever get started simply through our thought process.

  • “I’m going to fail anyways, why even try?”
  • “I’m no good at this!”
  • “I’m not smart enough to accomplish…”
  • “I’m too old…”
  • “I’m too young…”

We plant excuses in our heads and speak words of defeat before even starting on a journey.

I began to notice this pattern in my own life as I headed out into this blogging world.  I would have thoughts of “Why write?”

  • No one will read it
  • No one will care what I have to say
  • This is going nowhere…

And I’m defeated before I begin.

Yet this is what I’ve learned in this journey:  Doing something new is hard work.  Doing something for God is hard work.

Our own insecurities and thought patterns can keep us in a place of defeat and fear.

So how do we move forward despite our fears?

  1. Recognize the fear – Step back and evaluate the thoughts. “Is there truth behind the thoughts I’m thinking?” or “Is this a perceived thought coming from my own fear or insecurity?”
  2. Line up with truth – What is the truth in the situation? Line up the facts and truth against the fears and insecurities. Readjust thoughts to reflect the truth.
  3. Move in a positive direction – Instead of focusing on the fear, place the focus on truth and  what you’ve already come through and accomplished. With those thoughts in their right perspective, we can move forward, not letting fear hold us back.

These steps can help us move away from a place of fear and move into new opportunities with courage.

I love this quote of Michael Hyatt

Whenever we have the potential to do something important or extraordinary, we will be tempted to stay inside our comfort zone. But the truth is we never do anything of real significance in our comfort zone.

God has some pretty extraordinary things planned for us… more than we can imagine or comprehend, yet if we stay in our comfort zone, not moving forward because of fear or insecurity, we can miss the best He has planned for us.

I’m sure you’re like me, wanting to move forward into all He has planned. So let’s not allow fear to hold us back but instead let’s Recognize fears, Line up with truth and Move in a positive direction.