Saturday, February 24, 2018

"Everyone carries an atmosphere about him...

...It may be healthful and invigorating, or it may be unwholesome and depressing. It may make a little spot of the world a sweeter, better, safer place to live in; or it may make it harder for those to live worthily and beautifully who dwell within its circle.” 

~J.R. Miller

I realized it has been quite some time since I last blogged! Life has a way of continually happening...moments ticking by and I get caught up in them! Since my aunt's surprise party nothing overly exciting has happened. The days go by and we work on our homeschooling and housework. Meals are made, exercise is done, games are played (the children and I enjoy playing yahtzee lately!) and it is my prayer that God is glorified in it all!

Pictured above is one of the latest books I am reading (as usual, along with many others). And below you will see our supper one evening...homemade vegetable beef soup (a family favorite!).

We've had weather all over the place with lots of snow for a bit...

...and now the snow has melted and it has been raining....a lot! I am *not* a fan of all the mud...but oh how thankful I am for the back porch Chris and our Brother-in-Love built last summer! It helps keep the mud from trailing right into the (appropriately named) mud room! I mean, it may be *called* the mud room....but I still want it to be a *clean* room! :)

A look at my recipe organization...just for fun...

Valentine's Day was sweet and simple. I taught a spin/cycling class that evening at the Y...when I came up to the Lobby Chris and the children had these flowers set there for me! It was so sweet and I love them! They are still living now too...although some are starting to wither a bit! I absolutely *love* flowers of all kinds. I love them in a garden, around a house, and fresh cut! I am so thankful the Lord put flowers on this earth for us to enjoy! How they can really brighten up a room! With the gray rainy days they are a real cheery spot!

I found this basket at Goodwill and thought it looked nice hanging on a wall in the bathroom!

A peek in the mud room...

My beautiful hyacinth is tilting....I keep turning it to try to get it to stand straight...and nothing helps! haha! The flowers are pretty though. In the jars on that window sill are dog treats. Cash needs grain free they are in one jar. Mickey has regular treats in the other jar!

I hope you are well and I appreciate you stopping by to visit! I know life is busy! I'm sorry this post isn't very exciting...just a little of what's been going on around here lately. Another quick little tidbit of news...I have lost almost 15 pounds since the beginning of the year! I have been striving to eat right and exercise daily. I have added a Body Pump class twice a week to my routine. It's lifting weights (not heavy weights....but lighter weights with a lot of reps and sets). It is challenging but great! :) 

I gotta keep going with my day! Have a lovely week ahead!


HERE is a short Youtube video by Tim Challies about 5 of the worst books labeled "Christian"'s worth a watch! :o) 

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Surprise Party!

Setting Up

Last Friday and Saturday for us was really busy! My aunt (my mom's sister) turns 60 in a couple weeks. My mom planned a surprise party for her...a few weeks early so she wouldn't suspect anything! She lived in south PA for a long time so my mom invited a lot of her friends and one of her favorite jazz singers from there! They all made the 4+ hour trip up to celebrate with us! 

We all worked hard to make my mom's vision come alive! X helped her cut large branches (that happened to be thorn branches ~ ouch!). After letting them dry, they hung them from the ceiling (which took hours)! I worked on cleaning the girls bathroom (it took a while!)...Madelyn and well as other family members helped too. There was a *lot* to do (It took two whole days!)! I even counted the square tiles on the floor to make sure all the tables were perfectly spaced! Madelyn teased me but I couldn't help myself!

Mom made (and a couple of my cousins served) lasagna. We had appetizers, bread and salads too! 

My aunt likes wine (as do her friends) and so my mom had all different kinds of cakes and wine (normally she would have hand-made the cakes because she is detailed and fantastic like that ~ but there was just too much to do and so she had them made for Madelyn and I to go pick up!)....

People began arriving...even family that lives across the state! It was great to see them as well as meet some of my aunt's lovely friends! There was much anticipation waiting for my aunt to arrive (who had *no* idea). We enjoyed welcoming people, talking and meeting new people...

Finally she arrived! She thought my mom was using the fire hall to throw a dinner for her church (as her church's basement was undergoing renovations it was a perfect cover!) and my mom acted like she "forgot" the Valentine's games that she had printed out. My aunt lives in a house right next to my parents so she went over and got the "forgotten" games and brought them to the fire hall....thinking my mom needed them. She was completely blown away when she walked in and we all yelled, "Surprise!"...she was so shocked she walked back outside! Haha! She came back in though soon after and was crying. I think she truly felt loved! She got lots of hugs and was so thrilled to see all the people she loved here for her!! Below is my aunt in the jean jacket (with purple hair ;) She's eclectic, unique and fun...

Finally, everyone sat down to eat while we listened to beautiful, live jazz music being sung!

Jaxson...handsome as always!

My cousin works in a flower shop. My mom ordered tulips....aren't they beautiful? They were put at every table!

After the busyness of the was nice to be able to sit and relax with my honey...while listening to the music! We aren't very talented at taking's the first one we tried ((fail!))...

The second one worked out a bit better! :)

Sunday we missed church (although Madelyn still went) so we could go out to breakfast with everyone (before our extended family all returned home across the state). It was so nice to be around everyone! :o) After that some of us headed back to the fire hall to finish cleaning up! That took quite a while too! I was *so* thankful to get home later in the afternoon and take a little nap!

Mom even asked if I wanted to take some tulips home! I accepted eagerly! I have some in my living room...

...and in the kitchen! I love fresh flowers!

This morning I woke early and was ready to start my day. I got laundry going, packed lunches, started the kids on schooling (after our prayer, scripture reading and catechism), did some organizing and got things ready to take to Goodwill. I was so happy to be getting things done. It's such a great feeling when you have some extra energy! And then...

While unloading the stuff at the local Goodwill donation center I fell. On ice. Hard. I hurt my left leg pretty badly. It's painful to walk. I had to have someone fill in for me at spin class (cycling) tonight at the Y...there was just no way I could teach. I am praying it is just bruised (although one isn't showing yet). The muscle in the front and back of my leg hurt terribly. I am hoping it feels a bit better in the morning. The idea of missing another day of exercising distresses me! I take Sunday as a rest day...but taking today off was rough. 

On the positive side though...if you read my last post you will know my children were under-the-weather for a bit! I finally decided that maybe it wasn't a cold virus and maybe we needed to go to the doctor. Turns out they each had a sinus infection. They are all all meds...and feeling *much* better! It's back-to-normal around here in that sense! The children are back to their energetic, jovial selves! :o) Thank you for your kind suggestions and prayers. 

I am pretty tired! I'm headed upstairs to tuck down snug under the covers and spend some time reading and in prayer. I am praying my leg is better tomorrow so I can get back to doing what needs done! :)  (Our other lap top is giving us trouble now far 2018 hasn't been good to me! Thankfully, I trust in a God Who knows all and is in control of *every*thing! So, I know whatever happens is ordained by Him and I need to just keep my focus on Him!)

Sorry for such a long post (that goes off in lots of different directions!). Thanks for coming by and reading (especially if you got this far!). I hope your week is lovely! 


Saturday, February 3, 2018

"I've never met Orcs or Ents or Elves --

...but the feel of it, the sense of a huge past, of lowering danger, of heroic tasks achieved by the most apparently unheroic people, of distance, vastness, strangeness, homeliness (all blended together) is so exactly what living feels like to me."
~C.S. Lewis

One of the books I am currently reading is "The Romantic Rationalist ~ God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis" (Edited by John Piper & David Mathis). I'm not too far into it but love learning about other men/women of faith! :) Just thought I would share it in case you are interested in it as well! Here's a quote in the book by John Piper...

"One of the things that makes him [Lewis]  admirable to me, in spite of all our doctrinal differences, is his crystal clear, unashamed belief that people are lost without Christ and that every Christian should try to win them, including world-class scholars of medieval and Renaissance literature. And so, unlike many tentative, hidden, vague, approval-craving intellectual Christians, Lewis says outright, 'The salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world.' And again: 'The glory of God, and, as our only means to glorifying Him, the salvation of human souls, is the real business of life.'"

My children are under-the-weather unfortunately. As you can see in the picture above, I have essential oils diffusing into the air in the living room (where they have been camping out the most). It started with Jaxson last week. He got a cold and it just hasn't gone away! He feels lousy and his nose is running so bad (more than I have ever seen a nose run before!) that it is chapping his nose and face! We have tried vaseline and even chap stick on his skin but despite all the nose blowing and wiping we just can't keep up with it! 

A couple days later Madelyn and Xavier woke up with sore throats. I have had strep throat before and I don't think that is what it is. I have been looking and checking. If it is viral there is nothing the doctor can do so we have just been trying to make them more comfortable...however if things don't start to improve by the beginning of the week I may call and get them all in...just to make sure. It's awful seeing them all just feel "blah". 

Although our wood shed still has wood, Chris went out to the woods and got more just as back-up since the temps have been so cold here lately. The children were quite glad that they didn't need to come out and help us unload and stack all that wood! ;) 

I've been busy at home....keeping chores done as well as trying to keep things sanitary. We can't afford for Chris and me to get sick too right now. Too much to do and kidlets to care for! Thankfully, the Lord has been merciful to us and we are healthy. We've been really particular about spraying anti-bacterial stuff on door handles and phones etc. We are diligent about praying for the children as well. I've tried to buy some different medicines to help them be more comfortable (as well as natural remedies) but things haven't really helped a lot. I've also bought boxes and boxes (and boxes) of tissues (the plus lotion ones) for Jax. His poor little nose! 

I've been continuing with my healthy eating and going to the gym daily (I have added a strength training class to my cardio to help build muscle as well). I am excited to share that I have lost 10 pounds this past month (I hadn't gained back all the weight I lost previously....just a little of it...but I still saw my need to be in control of what I put in my mouth)! I am hoping to continue on that way and although I must admit that I desire to *look* thinner and neater ~ over all my main focus is that when I overeat I realize I am sinning against the Lord. I don't want to be gluttonous. I want to be wise with my food intake and use my body the way the Lord designed it to be used....not abused! :) 

This is *not* an easy thing (at least for me) because some food tastes really good. But the Lord tells us to be self-controlled numerous places in His Word (it is one of the fruits of the Spirit)! I think THIS link about the sin of gluttony is quite helpful! And a quote from Charles Spurgeon: 

"I believe that gluttony is as much a sin in the sight of God as drunkenness." 

Well, there was a quick summary of what's been happening around here. I just wanted to leave you with a snippet from in another book I am reading "Beautiful Living by J.R. Miller" that you may find encouraging as I did!!

"Christ wants daily to pour His grace through us to other lives, and we are ready for this most sacred of all ministries only when we are content to be nothing so that Christ may be all in all; vessels emptied that He may fill them; channels through which His grace may flow." (emphasis mine)