Monday, September 2, 2013

On my way back up with the help of a Gratitude Journal

My life over the past few years has been busy. So busy that I haven't written anything anywhere. There have also been some hard things that have caused me to not want to write about anything. Please know that there have been good things too. But the gravity of some of the hard things really sent me in to a tailspin. I'm now being drawn back. There will be more posts and more pictures. My newest thing is to keep a "Gratitude Journal". I write 5 things that I am thankful for on a given day. I don't do it everyday but it is happening more often than not. Keeping this little Gratitude Journal is helping me regain some balance. On another note......I think I'm beginning to detect the season moving in to Autumn. Autumn is my favorite time of year. I will be sorry to see Summer go. I have been very appreciative of the warm weather this year. My brain is starting to think about apples and pumpkins. I can almost smell the Apple Pie!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Administering relief to the hands which hang down.....

Last week I learned of a family that was so directly impacted by the tornadoes in Alabama that I just sat and cried and then began praying for them. Sherry and Tom Lee are the parents of 13 children. Not only did they lose everything as a result of the tornado that destroyed their home but they also lost Tom and 3 of the children were badly injured. I have watched for word of their situation since then and just saw today that Sherry posted about their tragedy on her blog.

Please pray for this family and their neighbors. If you have the financial resources to contribute to their needs please send it directly to:

Sherry Lee–P.O. Box 1246, Ashville, AL. 35953

I'm sure money and gift cards would prove needful right now. My own finances are extrememly tight so I'm sending a few handmade things to help rebuild the beauty of their home. Sherry seems like the kind of woman who would like homemade useful things. It appeared to me by looking at the pictures from before the tornado that she decorated her kitchen in blue and white and also enjoyed the country cottage look.

You can find her blog at:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Now that the holidays are over my routine feels good. I've spent a lot of time organizing and such. It's nice to feel a sense of order.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about direction lately. It's so easy to let life just move you along. In order to not end up where I don't want to be I'm applying some steering a bit more purposefully lately. I've been thinking about all the different things that Proverbs 31 lists when defining a virtuous woman. Letting life just push you wherever is not one of them.

Some people I know have accused me, on occasion, of trying to "control things". Their belief is that we really have no control over what happens to us. I vehemently disagree with that way of living. I have come to see, quite clearly, that those who believe that they have no control over anything end up accomplishing nothing and helping no one. They are very self centered and self serving. That is not something I'm willing to be know as. I want to be known as someone who sees clearly and then responds with action. I believe that the Proverbs 31 woman doesn't just hide in her house waiting for people to serve her. She goes out and does the serving. Not for praise or thanks. Her reasons are to lighten a burden for someone else. And she doesn't grumble all along the way as she is serving. She serves with a cheerful heart. She's not a cheerleader. She doesn't draw attention to herself. She just does and then goes back to her home and continues on with her own day.

I am continually drawn to Proverbs 31. Why? I'm not exactly sure. But the one thing I know is that when I follow the leading I am led to incredible places.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's good to take a break sometimes...

This Thanksgiving was soooooo peaceful! We chose to stay home by ourselves. We've done it before but not for a long time. My husband has been gone on business for most of a month and when he came home he was exhausted. Still is. His career, at certain times of the year, is very draining. He declared that he didn't want to see anybody, talk to anybody, be around anybody. So we stayed home together. Just us and our children. We had a nice dinner, LOTS of pie, and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and a few old movies. The kids saw "Top Hat" with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers for the first time. They were fascinated by the concept of a movie not being in color. It was great!

I have thought a lot about this whole idea of withdrawing a little instead of just keeping with tradition and showing up even when you're mentally or physically worn out. Even Jesus occasionally withdrew to refresh himself with a bit of solitude. It seems reasonable to me that if Jesus, He being perfect, had need of this then how much more we have need , being less than Him, to occasionally withdraw a pace or two. My husband has family members who choose to make things difficult when we choose this. They become personally offended and hold on to that for quite a while. Not our problem. I went to my brother-in-law's home a few days after Thanksgiving to drop off something . It was late in the evening and their children were already in bed. They had chosen to spend Thanksgiving with my sister-in-law's family. They hadn't been there in 3 years. It was certainly the other family's turn. It's not like there all that far away. They're right here in our little rural town. Because the children were not underfoot they decided to share with me the messages left on their answering machine by someone in my husband's family. I was appalled. Talk about manipulative! They had politely made it very clear that they would be elsewhere. We didn't receive any messages but I had left no room for thinking any different about where we would be and our reasons.

Why is it that some people around us can't take no for an answer? One of my goals lately has been to respect other peoples boundaries. I have been struggling to understand how to walk the fine line of being a good influence and knowing when to let people figure things out on their own. I have been guilty, at times, of doing more than I should . That might sound funny but I've learned something. I've learned that doing too much for someone will often weaken them instead of strengthen them in their own personal progress. Sometimes helping is actually hindering.

As I have searched for balance I have been led to studying the lives of the great women in the Scriptures. I am having lots of little epiphanies. This journey that I call life has had it's share of struggles. Reading about these great women has helped me see that I can and should continue to perservere. Thankfully I have their examples before me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Having an attitude of gratitude

I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. I like it better than Christmas. Some people think I'm crazy but I don't care what they think. It gets my dander up when I see Christmas marketing coming earlier and earlier each year. So each year I try just a bit harder to spread my love of Thanksgiving a little farther and to a few more people.

Why do I like Thanksgiving so much?

I like Thanksgiving because it reminds me of all the things that are important to me. Autumn is my favorite season. I love to watch the trees change color. Just the other day I slowed the car just so I could watch the leaves swirl across the road. It was beautiful and I didn't want to just drive on and miss that. I sometimes become so busy that I forget to notice the beauty of this Earth. It is the time when I start curling up in front of the woodstove with luxurious yarns and wooden knitting needles. I also like Thanksgiving because I love the food. I come from a family of good cooks. My Great-Aunt Erna made the most delicious yams in the world. I studied diligently under her watchful eye to perfect this one dish. People who hate yams love these yams. Period. I haven't met anyone yet that could pass them up once they tasted them. They are a luscious concoction of red yams, butter, brown sugar, fresh orange rind and juice, and marshmallows. They aren't your typical yams. I doubt that I could write down the recipe for someone. You'd just have to stand in my kitchen and watch me make them. That is the way I learned and it's the only way to truly get them right. If I had watched my Grandma Mildred a little more closely I could have discovered the secret of her perfect Lemon Meringue Pie. I keep toying with it and it's still not quite right.

But the real reason I love Thanksgiving is because for a full month I can focus myself and my family on gratitude. This year we have a gratitude journal with a page for each person in the family. Each evening before bed I ask them what they are thankful for that day. Just one thing. I write them down and on Thanksgiving Day I plan on pulling it out after dinner and showing them all the wonderful things in our lives. Just like other people I have problems. Some days it feels quite heavy. Taking the time to thank the Lord, even when things are heavy, softens and changes my heart.

I attended a Relief Society class a few years ago that changed my prayers profoundly. The teacher challenged us to try offering prayers of only gratitude, asking for nothing. I tried it and I was humbled by the difference in my whole outlook that day. I don't have a set schedule for offering this kind of prayer but it is definitely happening on a regular basis. Just this morning I offered a prayer of only gratitude. What a beautiful difference it made in my day! There are some areas of my life right now that are very challenging for me. Heart things. My prayer of gratitude this morning lightened some of those things. Not permanently but temporarily.

Sometimes the burdens I carry are lightened most when I offer the Lord my gratitude instead of my worry. I'm sure that's because when I take those few moments and start listing my blessings my worried heart starts fluttering it's wings trying to reach for hope. And when I can find even a glimmer of hope I feel able to put one foot in front of another a little longer. In Proverbs 31 it never mentions that she has problems but I'm sure she did. What I see is that she was busy using her talents to help her husband and others. She was mindful of continuing on in her duty. And in doing that which was hers to do she found joy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I love the Sabbath

On Friday night we watched Fiddler on the Roof. My children had never seen it and I haven't seen it in years.

I love the preparation Gilda gives to the Sabbath. She is reminding everyone to "hurry, so you're not late for the Sabbath!". Yesterday I made it a point to prepare everything so that we would be ready for the Sabbath. It always amazes me how much nicer the Sabbath is when I put the preparation in to it. I wish our Sabbath began at sundown. Maybe when I'm an old widow I will do it that way. It is such a wonderful time of day to me. The Jewish people always begin their Sabbath with prayers and a special meal. What a wonderful example!

I recently re-read Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It is my favorite in the whole Little House series. I love Almanzo's mother. She is a wonderful example of a Proverbs 31 woman. There is one thing, though, that I don't like. I don't like how all they did on Sunday afternoon was sit. They weren't allowed to do much of anything. Almanzo sat on a chair for hours. I realize they were interpreting their faith in their way but I'm thankful I'm not the one stuck sitting on a chair for hours.

I have tried to approach the Sabbath with reverence. I'm quickly seeing that when I put in the preparation time I am able to do just that. Everything is laid out and ready to go. A nice meal is planned (one that is not too labor intensive)so that there is a spirit of rest about the whole day. When I am able to approach the Sabbath without a rushed and harried feeling I feel closer to the Lord. I can hear His voice more clearly.

Many times I will choose to nap after Church. Not always though. Today I'm going to rest for a little while but then I'm going to sew. I haven't had the opportunity to sew in a very long time. And I really enjoy it. I believe that observing the Sabbath can be done in many ways. I prefer quiet activities that invite meditation, prayer, and reflection. When I am mindful of this I find myself more able to start the week on a good note.

I would imagine that the Proverbs 31 woman took care to prepare her household for the Sabbath. I've already written in to my schedule for next Saturday, "Prepare for the Sabbath" so that I can enjoy the next Sabbath as much as I'm enjoying this one.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Prepare every needful thing.....but first your heart

For the past few days I have been putting together a Home Management Binder. For many years (more than 20) I have used a day planner. For the last year or so I've been lugging around my planner but not really using it. I have explored different layouts and still nothing was working.

In the past I had put together a FlyLady Control Journal but I wanted more. Then I found some examples of different women's Home Management Binders. Voila! That's what I had been looking for.

The most important section that I was needing to add was the Inspiration section. In my busy life it is easy for me to forget to be soft and approachable. I can be quite a drill sergeant if given the opportunity. The Inspiration area of my Home Management Binder is where I am putting all the little reminders that I find in quotes, sayings and stories. When I feel my heart hardening I just flip through those pages and remind myself of the things that are most important.

And when I have my attitude and my heart in the right place I am more able to apply Proverbs 31:26...

"She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."