Thoughts for Tuesday, March 5th

Outside my windows… the giant pile of snow continues to grow. It has now covered nearly 3/4 of the window by my desk. Considering that the wind blew out one of the windows in this room last week, I’m hoping that no one finds me buried in an avalanche of snow while sitting at my desk.

Inside my house… The closed plastic container we are sprouting sunflower seeds in appears to have mold growing on the top of the soil. Opinions on what to do about it are divided. One thing is certain: our luck with plants has not improved.

Counting 1000 gifts… blue skies despite the cold temps and towering snowbanks.

Prayers of the heart… for loved ones traveling.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… some are studying, and others are playing a slightly modified game of Catan. LEGOs have come out and what looks like some kind of LEGO robot is standing on the board. I don’t know what the explanation is, but I’m sure it’s creative!

From my playlist… Faithfully by Journey because I’m on an 80s kick at the moment.

From my reading list… Clean Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Home by Becky Rapinchuk. My pre-order copy arrived today!

From my needlework basket… dishcloths using up the collected mountain of leftover cotton yarn from my Mom’s basket and mine. I probably can’t gift these ones since they use more than one color per dishcloth, but I don’t mind if the ones I use are colorful.

In the learning room… a few challenges last week, but I’ve yet to have a school year that didn’t include a few bumps along the way.

Random ramblings… So, while reading my new book about having a healthy home, I’ve discovered that the cleaners and personal care products that I thought were safe include ingredients that are not. I tried looking up safer alternatives, which is not as easy as you’d think, and then the price tag! Of course, I do realize that natural does not always mean safe. Arsenic, radium, and asbestos are natural, but that doesn’t mean I care to keep them around my house! It’s really, really hard to figure out what is “safe” to eat, clean with, wash your hands with, etc. I think my plan at this point is that when I run out of something, I’m going to see if I can find a better alternative that’s still affordable. (Sorry, I can’t spend $20 on an 8 oz. bottle of shampoo!) It gets a little trickier since I have to deal with skin sensitivity issues in our house, and I very quickly discovered that natural, organic, and all of those other labels doesn’t mean that someone can’t have a dramatic skin reaction after using the product. Anyone else find it exhausting trying to keep up with what’s safe and healthy?

Profound ponderings… “This world will have you believe so many lies about yourself. But the truth of who you are has already been spoken about you by your creator — you are beautiful, you are valuable, and you are loved.” — Sally Clarkson

Caught on film…

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Thoughts for Tuesday, February 26th

Outside my windows… There’s actually so much snow that I can’t see out the window by my desk.

Inside my house… the daffodils that I picked up last week are wilting a bit. I’m already feeling anxious for spring to come and the flowers in my yard to bloom again.

Counting 1000 gifts… hot tea because it’s been so cold and windy outside.

Prayers of the heart… for an extra portion of grace this week. I always miss Mom even more than usual this time of year.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… some are studying, and the others are playing a game. Re-organizing the shelf that holds board games and card games made them anxious to play some of their favorites.

From my playlist… “Blessed Assurance”

From my reading list… Placemaker by Christie Purifoy. There will be a review coming, so keep an eye out!

From my needlework basket… I’ve been alternating between working on a teal sweater and a pair of socks, depending on the yarn and needle size I feel like working with.

In the learning room… our 2019-2020 planners arrived! The kids and I love to see the new planner designs, and we’re already looking forward to using them come July.

Random ramblings… Mom would have been 64 today. Sunday will mark 10 years since she passed. So much has changed in the past 10 years — and I can’t say that I’d want to go back to the everything exactly the way it used to be. Not all change is a bad thing, and there have been some good changes. There are a few things I miss, and coffee with my mom is one of them I guess I always will.

Profound ponderings… “There is a place called ‘heaven’ where the good here unfinished is completed; and where the stories unwritten, and the hopes unfulfilled, are continued. We may laugh together yet.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, February 5th

Outside my windows… it was crazy-warm today at over 50 degrees! We had to keep reminding ourselves that this does not mean that winter is even close to over.

Inside my house… I gave in an used bleach to clean my dishwasher. I’ve tried every dishwasher cleaner out there, and every DIY trick suggested by Google. No amount of citric acid, vinegar, or baking soda cleans my dishwasher, but bleach works every time. Much as I dislike bleach, it’s the only think that works for that application.

Counting 1000 gifts… the opportunity to write.

Prayers of the heart… thankful for safety when traveling.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… Munchkin made spaghetti for dinner, which has become sort of her specialty. Her brothers all approve, and I’m thankful to have extra help when it comes to making meals!

From my playlist… Chlorine by Twenty-One Pilots. Yeah, I have pretty weird, eclectic music tastes.

From my reading list… Stretched Too Thin by Jessica Turner.

From my needlework basket… I’m working on a couple of sweater projects. One is for me, and one may be for someone else…

In the learning room… Little Guy has been practicing reading to me from one of his Frog and Toad books. I remember reading them when I was his age. Camo borrowed my copy of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel a few nights ago. Yes, it’s absolutely my book, and I bought it long before I had kids because it’s still my favorite kids book of all time. I love Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne!

Random ramblings… Are you telling me that with all of the short story ideas I have percolating, that none of them feature a hero that saves the day? How did this happen, and how fast can I come up with an idea and write it up for submission?

Profound ponderings… “I’ve been tested like the ends of a weathered flag that’s by the sea.” — From Chlorine by Twenty-One Pilots

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, November 6th

Outside my windows… it’s dark so early since the time change this weekend! Can’t say I love that result.

Inside my house… a candle is burning and the hamburger for tonight’s tacos is defrosting in the microwave.

Counting 1000 gifts… houseplants blooming on the kitchen windowsill, despite the cold outside.

Prayers of the heart… for people traveling, and that I’ll write the things I need to this month.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… hanging out in the living room playing games, reading, and working on projects while I type and make dinner.

From my playlist… Main Theme from “The Right Stuff”. I’ve got a thing for epic soundtracks…

From my reading list… Reading? But it’s NaNoWriMo month. I’m still chipping away at The Minimalist Home, and you can look for a review in December.

From my needlework basket… Fingerless mitts and a scarf. Both are easy projects that I can work on while watching TV with Aaron in the evenings. Sometimes simple knitting is best because it lets you unwind.

In the learning room… I’m having fun listening in on Munchkin’s Biology and American History lecture videos!

Random ramblings… I wrote 15 words on my NaNo project today. Just 15. My total is still at just shy of 16,000 words though. I don’t think this project will hit the 50K goal, but the point of it wasn’t a word count, it was telling a story that I’d never dared sit down and write out from start to finish. I wrote some hard chapters in the first five days of November. Now, I’m at the chapter where my best friend became my better half. It’s one of the best parts of my story, so you’d think that it would be easy to write. Maybe I just needed a day to breathe before I switch from writing about some ugly things that happened, to writing about someone who still makes me smile. In any case, I’ll pick up writing more tomorrow. Tonight, I’m going to have tacos and hang out with my kids for a while.

Profound ponderings… “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…” – C. S. Lewis

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday on Wednesday, October 17th

Outside my windows… the leaves hit their peak about this weekend I think. I’ll enjoy the fading color for as long as I can though.

Inside my house… I still haven’t quite gotten the whole seasonal décor figured out, but at least our tissue boxes have pumpkins printed on them.

Counting 1000 gifts… looking over the photos in my phone from the past year. Lots of smiles on the kiddos’ faces!

Prayers of the heart… for friends who are walking through hard things.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… It’s a free-for-all this evening for dinner, so they’re raiding the cupboard and fridge to see what strikes their fancy.

From my playlist… a track from one of the old Mad Onion benchmark demos. If you have a clue what I’m talking about, you’re either a hardcore computer geek, or you’re married to one!

From my reading list… The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker. I’m on the launch team for this book, so it’s not releasing to the public until December. (ARCs are lovely things!) I’ll be sharing a review closer to the launch date, so be sure to check back for that.

From my needlework basket… I’m hand-quilting a Christmas quilt. Really. Every time I hand-quilt something I swear that I’m never doing that again. Every time. Six months later, I inevitably get the idea that I should hand-quilt something. I have a love/hate relationship with hand quilting.

In the learning room… the kids and I have survived the first 6 week block of our school year and so this is their week off. I think we all breathe a little sigh of relief when we get to our week off. It’s nice to be able to rest a bit when you’ve been working hard!

Random ramblings… Guys, I really want to just chicken out on NaNoWriMo this year. I sort of wish that I had never said anything about it to anyone so that I could chicken out and no one would know. That’s actually why I mentioned it on my blog and told a few of my real life friends, so that I couldn’t jump ship. I want to do this. I need to do this. This is important. I’m writing these things down because of the quote I’m sharing this week…

Profound ponderings… “I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.” – C.S. Lewis

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, October 9th

Outside my windows… It’s overcast but the leaves have turned brilliant shades of autumn.

Inside my house… the leaky kitchen faucet replacement turned into a kitchen sink replacement which turned into needing a bigger hole cut in the existing countertop. Thankfully, we have a friend who knows what he’s doing when we don’t, and he was gracious enough to help us!

Counting 1000 gifts… the riot of fall colors that I see every time I look outside. It may not last long, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.

Prayers of the heart… for a family in my hometown who are going through an unimaginably difficult thing.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… finishing up lunch and enjoying an hour break from their studies. Munchkin has been using this time to work on a quilt!

From my playlist… Amazing Grace by J2. It’s an interesting rendition, and it’s been added to my writing playlist.

From my reading list… The Brave Art of Motherhood launched today, so now you can get your own copy of the book that gave me the push I needed to pick my 2018 NaNoWriMo project!

From my needlework basket… I decided to make a Christmas quilt. I’ve pieced the top, and I’m just waiting for the batting to arrive so that I can get to work quilting it. I’ll likely regret taking on another hand quilting project, but for some reason I keep deciding that it sounds like a good idea!

In the learning room… We’re on our 6th week of school, and though it’s gone well, we’re all looking forward to next week’s break.

Random ramblings… Too many things fill my head, my heart, and my soul these days. Much of it, I can’t seem to express with words. I find myself longing to be a painter or a composer, so that I could somehow express all of these things. The closest I can come to either of those is poetry perhaps, but even that seems but a pale shadow.

Profound ponderings… “The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.” – JRR Tolkien

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, September 11th

Outside my windows… it’s gotten dark. Funny how quickly we go from light into the evenings back to dark by dinnertime!

Inside my house… I’m surprised by how long the marigolds in the vase on my desk are lasting. Most of the wildflowers I gather up in the summer don’t last more than a few days in a vase.

Counting 1000 gifts… hot tea when the weather starts turning chilly at night.

Prayers of the heart… for upcoming projects and direction for where my writing goes next.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… Munchkin is drinking tea and working on writing projects while the boys are playing a game in the living room.

From my playlist… “Three” by Sleeping at Last. Part of the collection of songs reflecting the nine enneagram personality types. I’m not a type three, but I can find things in this particular song that I identify with anyway: “I finally see myself. Unabridged and overwhelmed, a mess of a story I’m ashamed to tell, but I’m slowly learning how to break this spell.”

From my reading list… Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson arrived, and I let myself skim it a bit. Need to finish some other books so I can dive into that one!

From my needlework basket… I’m working on a cardigan for me. Gorgeous purple wool that I knit and then frogged because it just didn’t work with the sweater pattern I’d picked. Here’s hoping that the second time is the charm in this case…

In the learning room… Our first week is in the books, and we’re on to week two. High school is throwing a higher workload at Munchkin, but she’s handling it well. It seems like all of the kids are sort of entering a new “phase” of school and while it’s gone smoothly so far, I do expect there will be a few bumps along the way. I guess part of learning is figuring out how to adjust to new challenges.

Random ramblings… So. I’m considering NaNoWriMo again this year.

It was a lot of work to write that much in a month when I did it back in 2016. However, it was worth it. I’m a little surprised to hear myself say that considering that the draft it produced is DEEPLY flawed and needs extensive re-writing. It was that draft that I got a 10 page professional critique on. That’s what made me realize just how bad it was, but it also revealed some very important things that I need to work on in my writing. I’d hesitated to add too much conflict to a story, or to make things too hard on the characters. While it may be understandable that I just wanted someone to catch a break, it didn’t make for a great story.

The bulk of my writing this year has been non-fiction, and while that’s been good, I really want to write a story. I’m tossing about an idea and trying to plot out some sort of story. We’ll see how this goes, but the more I think about it, the more I want to be on board with NaNoWriMo again this November.

Profound ponderings… “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” – Thomas Jefferson

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, May 1st

Outside my windows… there are some really loud frogs! None of the windows are open, and I have music playing, and I can still hear them! Not that I’m complaining though. I really do love to fall asleep to the sound of the frogs once it warms up.

Inside my house… my workspace got a little spring refresh. It’s amazing how much of a difference it can make when you move things around a bit and toss out some of the clutter on your desk.

Counting 1000 gifts… kind people. Social media would have us believe that kindness is all but extinct. That’s not true, and I’ve been on the receiving end of some of that kindness this past week. I’m grateful for that!

Prayers of the heart… for the busy season coming up, for the friends and loved ones who are grieving, and for the amazing folks I swap prayer requests with every Monday.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… would you believe they are all sleeping? At 10 PM, it’s just the frogs and my playlist making noise.

From my playlist… “Adams’ Summation” from the Amistad soundtrack by John Williams. The soundtrack is amazing, and the movie is a must-see in my opinion.

From my reading list… The Better Mom by Ruth Schwenk. I can’t read science fiction all the time, after all! Watch for a review of this book coming later.

From my needlework basket… I’ve been bouncing about between socks, a nearly-done sweater, and a lace vest. It depends on my mood and whether I want knitting that I’ll have to pay attention to, or one that I can do on auto-pilot.

In the learning room… the kids are getting oh-so-close to finishing out their math curriculum for the year.

Random ramblings… “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray. You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take that sunshine away.” When I hear that song, I think of Mom, because she used to sing that to us when we were growing up. I also think about the family reunions back when I was a kid. It was my grandmother’s family that would get together each summer, and at some point during the reunion, there would be a sing along. All of my grandmother’s siblings have since passed away, but I will carry a snapshot in my memory of them gathered around singing, “You Are My Sunshine”. As much as I miss them, I will still treasure the memory.

Profound ponderings… “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become.” – C.S. Lewis

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, March 20th

Outside my windows… the sky is blue, the sun is shining, and I’m staring at a pile of snow that’s 12 feet tall. I’m not even kidding.

Inside my house… I’ve lit a garden rose scented candle. If it’s the first day of spring, then I’m going to at least pretend that there will be flowers blooming soon!

Counting 1000 gifts… words on a page.

Prayers of the heart… for the right words.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… finishing up school assignments and chores around the house.

From my playlist… Angel by Aerosmith. Yeah, I have eclectic tastes in music!

From my reading list… finishing up Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado. It’s been a reading of starts and stops, and a bit of pondering. Good reading though.

From my needlework basket… alternating between a couple of cardigans. One I’m knitting to a pattern, and one that I’m using a pattern as a jumping off point, but charted out lace and cables from an inspiration photo.

In the learning room… It’s surprising me how much of the school year we’ve gotten through already. This year is going by fast!

Random ramblings… Story is a powerful thing. Whether it’s in the realm of fiction, or a real-life narrative, stories can impact us in remarkable ways. Maybe that’s why I love stories so much…

Profound ponderings… “Please underline this sentence: what you have in Christ is greater than anything you don’t have in life. You have God, who is crazy about you, and the forces of heaven to monitor and protect you. You have the living presence of Jesus within you. In Christ you have everything.” — Max Lucado from Anxious for Nothing

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, February 20th

Outside my windows… a bit of rain today has made the icy driveway extra-slippery.

Inside my house… this month-long cold has been winning, but I’m hopeful that we may be over it by the time March rolls around.

Counting 1000 gifts… lovely surprises in the mailbox!

Prayers of the heart… that maybe next week won’t be too hard.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… playing cards while pasta boils for dinner

From my playlist… A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman soundtrack.

From my reading list… Coiled by H.L. Burke. I won this e-book in a giveaway!

From my needlework basket… working on this month’s installment of the year-long knitted blanket project.

In the learning room… We’re halfway through the school year! 🙂

Random ramblings… You know those friends who you’ve known forever and they’re basically family? One of my friends like that is a playwright. We’ve been reading each other’s writing for the past 20 years now, and today I received a copy of his latest play in the mail. He mentioned me in the dedication, and I’m just so, so honored by that. There’s something special about seeing published work that was written by one of your friends.

Profound ponderings… “Is there any tea on this spaceship?” — Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Caught on film…