Sunday, May 22, 2011


Is there anything cuter than a little yellow duck?  So soft and tiny. They move with quick little steps and they nibble anything they can.  I could watch them for hours.

Sad thing is they do not stay little for long.  No their infancy is fleeting and they mature quickly.

We got these babies a few weeks ago and I though I'd share them before they lose their super cuteness.

They make me smile just looking at them.  Enjoy.

With hope for you,


Saturday, May 21, 2011

On Not wanting

As if you haven't guessed, I'm still on the fence about my future as a blogger.  And that's ok with me, I'm just going along for the ride seeing what developes.  But that is not the reason for this post. 

This post is about not wanting.  Hence the title.

It's about a mysterious thing that happens when you give up buying things.  When you focus only on the essentials.  When you quiet the voices that tell you that you need something else.  Just one more thing.  Then another.  Something monumental happens.  A shift in your focus.
My exercise during Lent, when I gave up buying anything but essentials, has really been an eye opener.  Lent has been over for weeks or even perhaps for more than a month, I'm not counting, and I still have no desire to go out and purchase anything. 

There's a word that keep coming to mind.  Contentment. 

I breath contentment these days.  My mind has been more occupied on savoring what I have, my family, my free time, and good homemade food rather than thinking about what I don't have or what I think I need..  At this point I simply have no desire for more.
Now I'm sure that the monster of "more" will rear it's head sometime in the future, but he's been quieted for some time now and the peace and contentment that has taken his place is a blessing.  I'm going to cherish it. 

Perhaps when the desire for more returns I'll have tamed it somewhat.  Perhaps his being gone has taught me a lesson along with some skills.

I'm wondering if you've taken a break from consumerism and how did it impact you?

With hope for you,

Friday, May 6, 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog

To Blog or Not to Blog, that is the question I've been pondering over the past few weeks, hence no postings.  I've been reflecting on whether the benefits outweigh the cost when it comes to blogging.  Since I'm big on balance in my life I needed to take time figure that out.  As bloggers/writers know writing on regular basis takes time, thought, energy, effort, focus and not to mention a thick skin when it comes to critical feedback of what one's heart poured out.

Some of the questions that swirled around in my head are Why should I blog?  What made me decide to start a blog?  How much time do I really want to invest in blogging?  What am I getting out of blogging?  What am I giving to others through blogging?  The list goes on and on.  I thought taking sometime to think about these questions would be good.

So what did I come up with?

A lot of random thoughts and feeling but nothing concrete.  Nada.  Zippo.

It seems I'm still sitting on the fence.

But I did learn a few things from my little hiatus.  I learned that I do love writing.   But I also learned that I can live without writing.  I'm free.  Pretty cool- it seems that the world indeed is my oyster.

And I love oysters.

So essentially I do not know if I'll continue this blog.  I may start an entirely different blog- more streamlined more specific.  I feel a tug in that direction, but I'm not entirely sure I'll commit.  I'll let you know.

I've also learned quite a few things over the past few weeks.  I learned that after my forty days of not spending money on myself or my family during Lent I didn't feel the need to run out and buy something as soon as Easter rolled around.  No I didn't.  I haven't even went shopping other than for groceries.  I haven't bought those sandals I had been ruminating about.  No- I've felt more freed from the pull of consumption.  That has been a good thing.

So as far as the life of this blog or another only the future will tell what will be.  And I can't wait to see it all unfold.

Keep moving forward

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Bench restored then distressed.  

This is a bench that I've had for about 12 years.  It was looking forlorn and forgotten.  It had it's share of weather, and had been sitting in the sun and rain which caused the wood to become rough and begin to splinter in places that did not welcome anyone to come and sit.  Lately I'd been passing it by and saying to myself, "Restore it or get rid of it."

So I gave it some of my time and a little leftover black paint that I had sitting around.  I sanded it down, painted it and then distressed it by sanding down the edges and places where people would sit, just to give it that well worn aged look.

I'm pleased with how it came out and am so glad that I decided to restore it.  But even after I'd finished this project the phrase that I kept repeating to myself took hold of me.  "Restore it or get rid of it."  Hmmm.... I guess I could use a bit of restoring myself. 

So in talking to the One who makes all things new I shared with Him about How I've seen my share of weather, How I'm getting all rough and splintery in places and I asked Him if He would Please Please spend some time restoring me.

And He said Yes. 

Could you use a bit of restoration?

With loving thoughts,


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spinning My Wheels

Do you ever feel like your just spinning your wheels?

Spinning and spinning but not getting anywhere?

Yeah we all do sometimes. Whether it's in the workplace, at home, with our exercise routines, with our bank accounts.  It sucks.  Since this is common to the human condition it makes me think, hmmm .....  If this is something we all go through, then we must gain something from it.  Right? But what?

So let's check out our little friend the hamster, he spends most of his days spinning away, so maybe the answer lies in him.  Cuz if he benefits from it, then, since we are way more valuable than a hamster we can figure we should gain something as well.  So what does Mr. Fuzzy Pants gain from spinning his wheel?

One obvious thing he gains is health benefits; stronger muscles, increased blood flow, and he's flooded with endorphins etc.

Another thing he gains is he's occupied; it gives him something to do, it keeps him from going crazy and it bides his time, all of which help him get through until his Master takes him out of his cage and spends some time with him.

Well I don't know about you but I'm finding I have a lot more in common with my little furry friend. Except I'm a lot less furry.  Really, I promise.

Anyhow, there's a lot I know that Mr. Fuzzy Pants doesn't.

He doesn't have the cognitive abilities nor the spiritual depth to know there's more to the picture.  That life isn't just about him and his little wheel in his little cage.  He doesn't know that there are others like him, that there is a big world out there full of hopes, dreams, heartaches.  No little fuzzy man doesn't know any of that.  He can't see past his cage.  But we can.

We can gain everything that Mr. Fuzzy Pants does and then some- if we're open to asking the Master: What else is in store?  What else is there?  And by the way what are we training for?  See we can actually talk to the Master while we're busy spinning.  And He listens.  And He answers.

When we ask these questions, we start to see beyond our little wheel and our little cage and we start to dream big dreams.  We don't even realize all the little changes that are taking place within us.  See our wheel is really a Big Ole Training Wheel.  It's getting us ready for what lies ahead.  We just sometimes forget that.  Sometimes we think we are just like Mr. Fuzzy Pants.  But we are not.  We are so much more.

And when the time is right and we are ready, our Master will take us off of our wheel and bring us out of our little cages and let us do our thing.  Because we do have a "thing" to do, we just sometimes lose sight of what it is, most likely cuz were so dizzy- you know -with all that spinning.

Let's keep spinning,


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Taxing Lesson

Well it's April and many of us are busy finishing up our taxes.

This year looking at my taxes and reviewing my finances for the year was a real eye opener. While we were happy to see that we pretty much broke even, (that's good it mean's we are not giving too much of our income to taxes throughout the year nor are we getting too little taken out), so we have things set up correctly, although it would sure feel nice to have a lump sum coming our way.  But this is not the case and it was no surprise.

What was surprising though was what I found after I took a good look at our income and financial state for the year.  I was surprised to find that although we made much less (due to income reduction at both of our places of employment) than we did the previous year and our expenses went up drastically (due to a tuition increase as our middle child entered into a private high school), we faired well financially.  By that I mean we did not incur any extra debt, and we actually payed down much of our consumer debt.  So in sum we lived on approximately $12,000 less last year and our financial picture doesn't look any worse for the wear.  It's actually better.  Not by much but better, still.

Of course I know this didn't happen on it's own.  It took  a lot of work, planning, strategizing, self control and prayer.

I still would like to be able to save and put money away for things I've mentioned in previous posts; kids college, retirement, vacations, replacement vehicles.  But so far that has not been possible.  And looking at our income to expenses ratio it may not be possible.  It appears that we are living beyond our means in one area- our childrens' private school, but we're not willing to give that up, we've made a comittment to it and to them.  In every other area I can feel confident in saying that we are living within or below our means, which takes daily sacrifice.  So realistically it will be very difficult for us to save.  But hey, who knows, God is full of surprises.

So in the end it means that we will have to continue to depend on God's grace to get us through and that's fine by me, because grace is really what has gotten us this far, and it's enough.

How about you? Is His grace getting you through?

With loving thoughts,

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Battle Worth Fighting

I've been battling over writing this week.

As with most writers I find that I write best when I'm inspired to write.   When that something just bubbles up out of my soul and there's no containing it. When the words that come are invigorating and full of life.  There's nothing like that feeling.

But when inspiration doesn't come the words seem dull and lifeless, and sometimes I begin to question whether I'm a writer at all.  Flooded with self doubt I find myself fighting over whether or not to continue to write.  What's the point?  Who will read it?  and so forth.  I console myself with the thought that I am many other things; a wife, a mother, a career woman.  Maybe a writer isn't one of them.  That wouldn't be so bad, would it?

But despite my efforts my heart remains unconvinced.

Sometimes I pray for the desire to write to leave me completely.  I pray and I wait.  But it doesn't leave.  The desire to write remains and grows even stronger.  What does it mean?  What should I do?  My questions remain unanswered.

So I write.  Even if I don't have a reason.  Even if it will not be read.  I write just because.

Because there's this longing and a knowing that lies beneath all of the questions and doubts.  A push and a pull towards something.  A knowing that is both familiar and mysterious.  The rest to be revealed in His time.

And listening to this knowing brings peace.

So I write.

How about you, do you struggle with your calling?

Let's keep fighting and moving forward,


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Slipcover Finale

So here's the big reveal.  The slipcovers are done!  And to be honest I feel like putting my sewing machine away for at least another ten years.  This was a huge project and I'm really glad it's done.  I'm tired to the bone.  But as you can see..... they are beautiful.  Of course they are not perfect.  And I think they probably look better in this picture than in real life.  Almost magical.  Hmmm, must be the lighting, but hey they are good enough, imperfections and all.  Like me.  He he.

I'm really glad that I did this project.  I learned so much.  About sewing, improvising and about myself as well.

What are you working on?

 Keep moving forward,


Sunday, March 20, 2011



Today is officially the first day of spring and it's Sunday.  Everything is fresh and new.

I love beginnings.

Beginnings hold promise, hope and wonder.  Dreams.

I want to be beginning.  And I am.  

We've been given the gift of beginning.  We just need to claim it.  We can choose to begin again each day.  After each mistake.  After each accomplishment or embarrassment.  We can begin again.

We can pick ourselves up after we've been knocked down and crushed.  We can take our brokenness and shattered dreams to the One who "makes all things new" and begin again.  Refreshed, restored, new.

We can start over.  I love that.

I love beginnings.

Happy Spring,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Giving up or Getting?

We are one week into the Lenten Season so I thought I'd post about what I'm giving up for Lent.  In addition to the usual Lenten practices of Fasting and giving up meat on Fridays in addition to increased Prayer and Alms giving I've giving up spending money on nonconsumable/nonnecessary items.   Basically I've given up spending money on myself, the house or anything that is not an essential; like food or soap.  You get the picture.

One week into this and now I'm starting to relax my shoulders a bit and haven't been biting my nails so much.  Yes it was tough the first few days.

The realization that I will not buy myself or my children anything for forty days has been a real eye opener.  Especially since I've been haunted by a pair of cute sandals that I've been on the look out for and recently spotted at Macy's.  I happened to be on a quick errand and just decided to walk through Macy's and give the shoe department a "look-see".   Well there they were, I tried them on and yes Oh so comfy.  I left them there of course.  But back at home I had the urge to see if I could find them on line and I did- for $14 dollars less with no shipping!  Talk about needing willpower. I put them in my online shopping cart then got off the computer.  I even thought about purchasing them on Sunday- some people don't adhere to their Lenten promises on Sundays being that Sundays are Holy days and days of celebration.  So yes I thought- Hmmm... Maybe I could buy 'em on Sunday- that would be alright wouldn't it?  I also thought about having my husband by them for me.  Cuz then technically I wouldn't be buying them and he's not the one who gave up spending money for Lent.  So see I already had two ways out.

So this whole Sandal temptation got me thinking.  What if I tried to give up thinking about "stuff "too?  I felt like way too much of my energy was being wasted on thinking about how I could get those sandals.  Silly I know.  Those sandals will not make my life one bit better nor will they make me truly happier.  Maybe for a moment but not in the long run.  Their euphoric effect will only be temporary.  Then I'll be off to find something else to get me that feeling.

So basically as humans that's what we are really chasing- it's a feeling- not stuff.  We just think we need the stuff to get the feeling.  But that's a lie.  Hmmmm.....

So I think I learned a bit already by giving up "stuff" and we're only one week into Lent.  I can't imagine how much I'll learn after forty days.

See God is so good that He gives to us all the time.  We give up stuff but He gives us so much more.  The giving up of stuff only helps us to see that.  It helps us to ignore the voices of sandals calling out to us -cuz and if we ignore them long enough they fade into whispers in the distance and eventually are gone.  Then they are replaced with an even better voice.  A voice that tells us the Truth.  A voice that awakens us and makes us feel alive.  A voice that upon hearing it gives us the feeling that we were searching for all along.

So what are you giving up for Lent? or should I say getting?

With loving thoughts,


Friday, March 11, 2011

Working From the Inside Out

This is the current project I've been working on.  I've been hesitant to post about it because it seems like I'm in over my head.  I've wanted to back out countless times.  My fingers are sore from the pin pricks.  But then I said  to myself, "You might as well post about it, since you know you're doing it." So here goes...

Remember the fabric store that was closing where I bought the fabric for my dining room chairs and later made slips and the backs of some pillows with?  Well in a moment of temporary insanity (at least I hope it was temporary- we'll see) I bought enough fabric to make slipcovers for my sofa, loveseat and ottoman.  Never mind that I don't know how to make slip covers, nor the fact that I don't even know how to sew all that well.  I just knew I wanted white slip-covered furniture instead of the dark tapestry that I've been starring at in my living room for over 11 years.  I also knew that I didn't want to pay $1,500 to have them custom made (yes I researched how much they would cost) nor could I afford to buy new furniture, heck I had a hard time parting with the $140 it cost to buy 38 yard of fabric (which was a steal).  So I bought the fabric in my momentary lapse and put the two rolls in my garage and worked on the other stuff I had going.  Basically I tried to forget about the endeavor I was about to embark upon.  It just seemed too scary, too hard and might just turn out to be a waste of time, money and effort.  And I hate waste.

So I put it off for a while but every once in a I found myself biting my nails as I thought about the fact that sooner or later I'd have to at least "try" to make the slipcovers.  I consoled myself with the fact that if I failed the fabric would make excellent drop cloth for painting projects.

As you can see I went ahead and bit the bullet.  I took another risk.

So as I've been working on the slipcovers I've learned that in making slipcovers you are primarily working from the inside out. Hmmm... "working from the inside out".  That phrase kept repeating itself to me and it got me thinking.....

I kept thinking about how when I was a young girl of maybe 11 or 12  how my mother had bought me some beginner cross stitch kits.  In teaching me how to cross stitch she would check my progress by immediately flipping the project over to look at the inside.  She'd hardly give the outside a glance.  I hated when she did this.  It almost seemed as if she wasn't concerned about how the project looked on the outside.  She would just flip it over and look at the inside.  That didn't make any sense to me.  I couldn't have cared less what the inside looked like.  She'd explain to me that if the inside looked good you could bet that the outside would be just fine. But if the inside showed a sloppy mess the outside wouldn't be all that great.  She'd tell me to focus on doing a good job on the inside and not worry so much about the outside.

My mother did this with any project that she worked on herself.  She even did it with clothing purchased at the store.  When shopping she'd always check the item's quality by looking at the inside.

So as I've been working on the slipcovers I've learned that you have to do most of the work from the inside out.  And I've been thinking about how that's how it is with us too.  The better we look on the inside the better we'll be on the outside.   

That's pretty important.

I've also been noticing that making slipcovers for sofas is a big job to do all by yourself.  The fabric weighs a ton, the little pieces are pretty easy to handle but as they get put together the project gets bigger and bigger and I keep wishing I had an extra pair of hands to help me hold onto the fabric and to straighten things out every once in a while.

Yes the slipcovers would definitley come out better if I had a partner.
And once again I realized that's how it is with us too. 

See- when we invite the Creator to work on us and with us as our partner- we look fabulous both inside and out.  The job it too big for us to do alone.  He knows this and is just waiting for an invitation.

That doesn't mean the job will be easy.  No I'm sure we'll have to rip out a few mistakes along the way and start over here and there.  And if He's anything like my mother He's way more concerned with how were coming along on the inside.

So come on we've got work to do.

Let's get to work on the inside and keep moving forward.

With loving thoughts,


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stormy Weather

Sometimes life can knock us around a bit.

Like a ship lost in a stormy sea, one wave after another crashes down upon us. We can do our best to steer our ship away from the rocks and try to get to safety, but ultimately it's the One that controls the sea that can set us upon calm waters.

One thing for sure is that every storm has an end.

It may not seem like it when your in the midst of it. At times it may seem inconceivable that you'll even survive.  Some storms are worse than others.

But we can learn from each of them.  We can become better sailors.  We can prepare for the storm.  We can "batten down the hatches" and once we've done all that we can, we just have to let go and sail.

That's the hardest part, the letting go.  The risk involved.  The trust needed to get through.

But what good is a ship if it is stuck on dry land?  We'll never get anywhere if don't set sail.

So let's get into our ships and move forward.  I believe the forecast is calling for sunny weather.

With loving thoughts,


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk

Pillows are one of the best accessories.  They can make a big impact in the look of a room and are a simple way to change things up a bit.  I love to change pillows with the seasons, and although pillows are relatively inexpensive, I don't love spending money buying new pillows several times a year, especially this year when I've worked so hard to get my finances under control.  So I said to myself- Hmmm, Self- it's time to get creative.  How can I get bright new springy colored pillows for little or no $$???

So I looked around to see what I had in mind with regards to colors and I've really been liking the look of a soft aqua- but I didn't have a thing with any blue green tones in it.  Hmm what to do?

Then I remembered some napkins that I bought several months ago on clearance.  They were the perfect color for the look I was going for.  I had bought 3 packs (they came four to a pack) I only needed 6 for the table so that left me with 6 extra.  Originally I had thought about making a table runner for the buffet table with the extra.  But then the idea struck!  The napkins are the same size as most sofa pillows- What if I use left over fabric from the dining room chairs for the backs of the pillow slips and the napkins on the front?


Napkins on the table.

Dining Room with the prized napkins.
So that's what I did.  I placed the napkin on the fabric I had left over from the chairs.  Cut out the same size squares leaving about 1/2 inch extra all around for the seam allowance.  Sewed three sides together, stuffed my pillow inserts from some red winter sofa pillows inside, then closed 'em up.

There she is!  My Lovely Napkin Pillow.

I made a total of five of these.  Two for the sofa, two for the loveseat and one for the chair.  All for next to nothing since I had everything anyhow.  That's a pretty good deal if you ask me.  

What I learned from this simple project though is invaluable, I've learned to look at cloth napkins a bit differently.  I'll be keeping my mind's eye open to some pretty pillow opportunities.

But folks there a bit of a down side to the end of this story- well you know how one thing can lead to another- guess what- I'm not digging my sofa or loveseat too much anymore- the pillows don't go to well with them-they are a dark tapestry print, and like my dining room chairs they are begging for a redo!  

Hmmm I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do about that since I'm not in the market for new sofas.  I've got a couple ideas beginning to take shape up in the old noggin, but I'll have to let them simmer a bit before I figure this one out.  I'll keep you posted. and I'll keep moving forward.

With loving thoughts,


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On Goals and Dreams


I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference between goals and dreams.  I know, I know- who thinks about that stuff??  Well apparently I do! Anyhow the two are similar in many ways yet for me they feel vastly different.  Worlds apart.

Goals are more definable, more concrete.  There are steps you can take, a certain path to follow, a formula so to speak, and if you do your part you can be pretty certain you'll arrive at your desired destination.

Dreams on the other hand are more illusive.  They have a mysterious quality to them.  Sure you can do your best to try to make them happen, follow certain steps, similar to what your do with goals, however there is no guarantee you'll reach your dream.

There seems to be a lot more praying and waiting involved in following dreams.  There's also more spiritual angst that goes along with it.  I believe that's because much of whether our dreams come true depend not on us, but on God.  Of course we have to do our part, but we also have to leave the largest part of it up to Him.

For me that's the hard part.  The believing.  The trusting.  The giving up control.

See I have no problem achieving a goal.  If it's doable, if I can come up with a plan to reach it, chances are I'll do it.

However I have a hard time with dreams.

See- with dreams we put our whole hearts into them and that can be scary.

It's risky to dream.

There's the potential for crushing disappointment, the shame in perceived failure, the humility in admitting our own weakness, the difficulty of facing our smallness.

Ultimately it's God's decision as to whether any of our dreams will come true and we need to embrace that.  We can do our best, we can take the risk, but it's really not up to us.

So while we dream, while we pray, work and wait, It's good to know He has our best interest at heart.

That's what keeps me dreaming.

What about you?

With loving thoughts,


Monday, February 28, 2011

February in Review

Fantastic February!

Now that February is all but gone I thought I'd take a little time to review my progress thus far.  It's only been a month since I've been blogging so here's a quick snapshot (not in any particular order):

1.  Started a blog, faced fear of the unknown, risked vulnerability, learned how to upload photos, how to add a link, how to leave comments on other blogs, and all kinds of other techie stuff that I've been wanting to learn. Woo Hoo!

2.  Stayed on budget- was able to tweak and cut back as necessary since a few unexpected expenses came up.  Did not live beyond my means.  However was not able to save, but I'm hoping to be able to soon.

2.  Remade our existing patio furniture for $35 and a lot of elbow grease

3.  Spray painted the numbers on our house, several planters, a mirror, a picture frame and made a cute little framed chalkboard.

4. Reorganized my pantry, complete with cute little chalkboard labels I made.

5. Recovered our dining room chairs and made slipcovers for the backs.  All  for next to nothing since I had the fabric that I had gotten at a steal at a store that was closing.

6. Kept up my fitness routine of walking 30 minutes a day, eating well and taking my vitamins.

7. Took care of my family: fed them well, cheered them on, loved them lots, spent time with them.

8.  Worked my "regular job" which provides a much needed paycheck.  Gave it my all, did my best, enough said.

9.  Paid attention to things that I'm doing well in addition to areas in which I need to improve.  Tried not to be so hard on myself nor push my self too hard.

10.  Remained open to any promptings of the Holy Spirit and carried a conscious spirit of gratitude regarding my blessings.

In summary I'd like to say that's quite a lot of progress!  Talk about moving forward! No wonder I've been feeling wiped out.  Perhaps I should slow down a bit.  Maybe I'll add that to my next list (I do better at getting things done if I put them on a list- I know what your thinking- seems I like to make a job out of everything I do.  I really need to try to tame my inner overachiever self.)

How about you?  How was your month?  Did you move forward?

With loving thoughts and warm wishes,

Elizabeth at Home

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dancing Feet

I like to dance.  But sometimes I don't feel like dancing.

With the dog barking, children squabbling, dishes to wash, bills to pay and budgets to balance I sometimes get lost in the noise and busyness of life.  I find myself caught up in things, with no room to breathe, let alone dance.

When this happens I close my eyes.  I do my best to quiet my mind and still my soul.   I go to a place where the dancing never stops.  I go to a place where I can breathe.  I go home.

And after a while I can start to hear the music playing.

With a smile on my face I'm dancing and twirling like never before.  I'm so light on my feet I haven't a care in the world.

My dance partner leads me.  He knows all the steps.  With strong hands he pulls me close and guides me.

Sometimes the music plays slow and the steps are easy and familiar.  I follow right along.

Other times the tempo is fast, the steps become more complicated and I do my best to just keep up.

The music plays on.

When I grow weak, my tireless partner lifts me up and He carries me.  And we continue to dance.

Every once in a while I fumble and misstep, and occasionally even step on His toes.
But He doesn't seem to mind.  It's then I'm thankful that He's such a forgiving dance partner.

I open my eyes and I realize I've been dancing all along.

Listen for the music and enjoy the dance,


Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Walk in the Park

A Walk in the Park

The other day I took a walk in the park.  An ordinary everyday walk.

It was a chilly afternoon and the wind started to pick up.  I pulled my coat tight around me and then something special happened.  I met God.  Only I didn't know it was him at first.  (No I haven't gone off the deep end- give me a break and just go with me here okay).

He ran out to greet me, smile on his face.  Only He wasn't a he, He was a she.  She was about seven and had stringy brown hair and big dark eyes.  She approached me and immediately struck up a lively conversation.  She told me how she thought that particular park was boring and explained how she had to be there that day because she lives in her motorhome and they have to move it everyday.  I looked down at her and noticed her barefeet.  Her eyes then lit up as she looked at me and shared how soon she'd be moving into a real apartment with her family.  Then she waved at me and glanced back over her shoulder as she ran off towards her motorhome with her sisters.  Laughing.

Back at home, my house was warm, a fire blazed in the hearth.  My family and I sat down at the table and had pot roast with potatoes and carrots and big hunks of warm bread slathered with butter.

And we shared and talked.  And we loved.

Later when it was time for bed, after bedtime prayers and goodnight kisses, I curled up my underneath my nice warm blankets.  And in the quiet of the night I closed my eyes and remembered Him.

You see- sometimes when you meet God you don't know it's him at first.  But when He makes himself known to you, His presence lingers and He drifts back to you in your thoughts, and your eyes are opened.  And you remember.

Because He's unforgettable.

Keep your eyes open and keep moving forward.

With loving thoughts,


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Budget Part 2 -Down the Drain

Is this what you feel like is happening with your money?

I know it's been the case for me more times than I care to admit.  So I'm trying my best to not let this happen anymore.  I've been following a budget designed to eliminate consumer debt and assist me with saving an emergency fund along with funding other savings accounts.

In a previous post I outlined a couple of super simple starting points for taking control of your money:

1. List your expenses

2. Track your spending.

Now as promised I'll cover a couple more points:

3.  List your Net Income  (Take Home Pay)- Be sure to include all sources of income.

4.  Subtract your monthly expenses from your Income.

Do you have enough? If Yes then Yeah for you! (I'd pat you on the back if I could, but I can't so let's just pretend I did.)  If you don't have enough then you need to look at where you can cut or you need to generate more income.  I'll be sure to share more about this in future posts.  If you have extra then you pay more on any debts you have and you can begin savings.  Your right on track.  If you don't have extra and "just make it" then be sure to stay tuned for future posts on cutting back, because you know you need to get rid of that debt and should start saving.

5.  Make some decisions on where/how to cut back.  (I'll give you tips on what I do in a future post.)

6.  Begin to create a year-long monthly budget.  This will help you plan for things that come up throughout the year that we tend to forget about till they're due then we suffer through those months.  For example budget in the months when your car registration is due, budget in for the months when you have birthdays for those in your household (kids & spouse), when your kids have school or sports registration fees, back to school expenditures, Christmas, Mortgage Insurance etc.  That way you won't be hit by surprise with a super tight month. (Nobody likes those kinds of surprises.)
Now I know all this is super basic and simple.  It really is.  The hard part is getting motivated to do it and then remaining committed.  It's gonna take changes and sacrifices.  That's really hard, especially in the beginning.

Your going to have to say "No" sometimes, to yourself, your kids and your spouse.  We don't like saying "No".  Cuz yes is so much funner.  Yes, yes it is.  We like "Yes".  We no like "No".  But the hardest part is in the beginning.  It does get easier and once your on track you'll be able to come up with lifestyle changes that you can live with long term.  That's the ultimate goal.

I'm up for it.  Are you?

Let's keep moving forward.

Warm Wishes,


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision

I hate to admit it but it's true, sometimes I suffer from tunnel vision.  When I get started on something like a project that I'm all fired up about there's practically nothing that can tear me away from it. 

Having tunnel vision can sometimes get in the way if I've got other things tend to (like a family and a home).  But having tunnel vision has certainly served me well in my life time.  I'm goal oriented, results minded, and a hard worker.  So yes I like to think that my tunnel vision has had a purpose.  

I know these qualities have definitely made me into a great student, an excellent employee and most importantly the best home manager I can be.  

But over the past few rainy day days- being cooped up in the garage, working on my projects like some bleary eyed like a maniac, has got me rethinking my innate tendency to be driven.

Being ultra focused on the end result can make us unconscious of the "process."  It can make us sloppy, especially if we work ourselves to the point of exhaustion.  And it can lead us to ignore other responsibilities and relationships.

I have a problem with leaving things undone.  Yes I do.  I want them finished so I can move on to the next thing, and the next and the next (you get the picture).  Not so good.

Thinking about this got me wondering about me and how I'm still "undone"- How I'm a work in progress.  Hmmmm.... Seems like God takes his time with important jobs.   I could learn a few things from him.

Maybe I'll start taking my time a bit more and really enjoy how this whole thing unfolds.  Oh I'm still gonna be working on my projects, but perhaps I'll approach them a little differently.  Taking my time on the larger projects, breaking them down into smaller chunks of time, sprinkling in few smaller projects here and there and keeping up with all the other demands all without wearing myself out.

So I'll be making little mental shift.  That's progress for you.

Keep moving forward,


Monday, February 21, 2011


Eyes.  My eyes have been tired over the past couple of days.  Most likely from a bit of overuse, the reading. blogging and sewing have taken it's toll.  I'll even be starting a new project soon and tell you all about it later.  Anyhow, my eyes being so tired got me thinking. (I know I'm funny that way- it doesn't take much to get these old wheels a turning.)

Our eyes our so important.  They help us see even the tiniest of things.  We use them to take in our world.

My husband has the most beautiful eyes.  He really does.  They're striking and are framed with long beautiful lashes.  Most people recognize him because of his eyes.  They're unforgettable.  (No ladies you can't have his cell number.  Don't ask, just forget about it.  He's taken.)

Anyhow, his eyes were one of the first things I fell in love with.  Funny thing is he's told me on more than one occasion how as a kid he was teased and made fun of because of his eyes.  It wasn't until he was an adult that he realized his eyes had become magnetic, something that made women fall out of their seats.  And eventually became the very thing that drew me in.

See- sometimes we fail to see the big picture.  When we're in the midst of our suffering we don't understand it.  We don't know what lies up ahead.  We don't know how the thing that we think is so bad is truly a blessing.

Love, warm wishes and
always keep moving forward,


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dining Re-do Reveal

The chairs are finished!

This is the old fabric.  

It doesn't look so bad in this photo, but trust me it's been scratched to death, and was full of fuzz balls and had threads sticking up all over the place.

So after I removed the fabric I laid down the seats and went to work.  Safety goggles included, just in case the staple gun went crazy- wouldn't want to "shoot my eye out."

This is the finished seat cover.

Here's photos of me starting the second project (slipcovers).

This is how I laid the chair down to trace the back to make a pattern for the back slipcovers.

Then I cut out the fabric.

And here's how the whole thing turned out.

I'm pretty happy with it.  I only used about three yards for recovering the 6 seats.  So I had a ton of fabric left over.  Well, remember how I told you that I went ahead and bought about 10 yards of fabric cuz it was discounted to $3.00 per yard and that I had an idea swirling around in my head for what to do with the remaining fabric?  I decided to attempt to make slip covers for the back of the chairs.  I was more than a bit hesitant at first because that would mean I'd have to take out my sewing machine, which hasn't seen the light of day for about eight years.

I am not a seamstress, but I do possess some basic sewing skills.  I pretty much taught myself to sew years ago when my girls were little.  I stuck to simple things, like curtains, pillows and eventually I branched out into making simple clothing, like pull on skirts and shorts for the girls.  Needless to say that they weren't perfect, but since the girls were little they didn't seem to care.  I even tried my hand on a few quilts.  After it became too frustrating and time consuming to further my sewing skills on my own and I didn't have time for classes, I put my sewing machines (yes I have two, one is a traditional one and one is a serger) in the bottom of the closet, where they've stayed until now.

Well for those of you that know how to sew and even those who are like me and just have some basic skills you know that it ain't "Sew" easy.  it can be really frustrating, especially if you don't have someone there that you can go to when you have questions.

So after I made the decision to go for it and make the slip covers, I dove right in.

Not so smart.  I didn't plan ahead, I didn't do the necessary prep work such as making sure I had all the things I'd need all together and handy.

For example:
1. You need to have the Ironing board and iron plugged in and set up close by.
2. Get out your scissors, big and small, the more pairs of scissors the better cuz them little buggers like to hide (I think they are related to the Christmas tape and my reading glasses)
3.  Have your glasses (more than one pair is good- they hide they really do)
4.  Fill a couple of bobbins with thread before you start so you don't have to stop mid project
5.  All fabric washed, dried and ironed
6.  Seam Ripper- You need this, yes you do- for ripping out all those mistakes- I know it sucks

So all this stuff needs to be set up before you can even start.  So people who are used to instant gratification will find this tough.  And people who like me can't wait to start a project won't do any of the above and spend nearly all day running around looking for this junk.  Yes, that's what I did.

Anyhow I lived through it (barely) and I was able to sew those babies up!

I didn't have a pattern so I laid the backs of the chairs down on some butcher paper and traced them in order to make the pattern.  Then I cut out all the fabric and sewed my heart out.

Was it peaceful?  No, not with me looking for my glasses, my sissors, the iron etc and not with a screeching bird (yes we've got a parrot) and remember how it is raining here this weekend- well we're dog sitting so I had a total of four wet dogs in the garage with me (where my sewing station is set up)  The wet dog smell was so strong I nearly passed out.  But I didn't.

So was it worth it?  I'd say so.  I have a new look for my dining room that only cost me $30 dollars in farbic (I still have a lot left over too) and nearly cost me my sanity.  Not bad I say!

I'd do it again- but I'd prepar a bit more first.  I guess that's the lesson I  learned from this project and I think it's a good one.

Here' the annoying bird.

I also learned that I should put all pets outdoors when doing projects or I'll want to pull my hair out!

Keep moving forward,


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Do Not Pass

Do Not Pass

We don't like signs like this.

When we see signs like this one of the first things we say to ourselves is "Hey, I want to pass!  I should be allowed to pass!" or "That's not fair, they shouldn't be alowed to go ahead of me!"

We want to get ahead.  We don't want to be left behind.  We don't want others to pass us up.  And we don't like having any limitations put on us.  No we don't.

We may not like signs like these, but they serve a purpose.  They are there for our safety.  If we ignore them we can get hurt and we can get into trouble.

We encounter these signs all over the place.  They're not always in black and white but they are there just the same.  On the sides of the road, on the highway, even in the workplace and in our personal lives.  We get passed over for promotions, our friends buy bigger houses than us and drive better cars.  We get passed up and we don't like it.  No Sir.

We don't like these signs.

We want what we want.  However we can't always have our way and that's the Truth.  Sometimes it's the One who has power over all things putting this sign up in front of us.  Deep down we know this but we don't like it one bit.

We can get so caught up in being bothered by others passing us up that we fail to see the other sign that He is holding out to us.

The one that says:   


So in the end you may have to just let them pass, because maybe you're going another Way.

It's best to look around for the other sign.  Trust Him.  It's there you just have to look for it.

Today I'll be working on putting the finishing touches on my dining redo and then starting on another indoor project.  Tell you all about it later and show you pics too!

Keep moving forward,

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dining Re-do


Bring on the rain.

Rain can be a bummer sometimes, but on the other hand rain can bring opportunities....

It's supposed to rain all weekend.  That means for the most part I'll be indoors working on a project I've been trying to get to.

Since I'm not wanting to spend money, this will be a no-cost redo.

My dining room set is an old hand me down.  When I aquired it about 12 years ago one of the first things I did was to recover the seats.  This is so easy to do.  Just turn the chair over, unscrew the seat, take the seat off and place it face down over your fabric (pre-cut it to size first) and pull it tight as you staple it on.  Put the screws back in and Wa-La! Done.

Anyhow, needless to say the seats are tired and worn now.  Largely in part due to a little kitty cat who used to like to dig her claws into those seats.  (Naughty little kitty!)  Well little Miss Kitty Cat now prefers to spend her days out on our front lawn lazily sunning herself (lucky girl) so I thought it was time to recover the chairs.

So that's what I'm going to do. 

I already have the fabric- I bought it several weeks ago from a store that was closing.  It's not what I initially wanted, but the fabric that I wanted was $16.99 a yard and I didn't want to spend that much (for 6 chairs I'll need 3-4 yards), anyhow the fabric I bought was discounted to $3.00 per yard.  I went ahead and bought 10 yards because at that price they were practically giving it away and I already had an idea swirling around in my head for what I'll do with the rest of the fabric. I'll show you that in a future post.

I'll be posting the chair pics soon as I get 'em done.

What will you be doing?  Moving forward I hope.

Always make the most out of any rain that comes your way.

Warm wishes,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Attention to Detail

I'm a perfectionist by nature.  If something is not perfect it can drive me nuts.  A chair left pulled away from the table, a wallet on the countertop, or a crooked picture frame can make me go bonkers.

Being a perfectionist has it's perks but it definitely has it's drawbacks.   It can be exhausting running around picking up after others who are not Type A or you can sound like a real nag always pointing out things that are not in their proper place. And if your partner is not Type A it can leave you both frustrated and often becomes the source of conflict.

See my husband's not a perfectionist.  Little things out of place don't even phase him.  They go unnoticed.  He's usually okay with how things are.  He sees the big picture, while I zero in on the details.

I'd like to say that his being this way hasn't bothered me, but I'd be lying.  Truth is I've found myself wishing on more than one occasion that he gave more attention to detail, was more organized, that things would bother him more, etc.. That was until one day....

I was looking in the mirror, the kind that magnifies things by a million and to put it nicely I was not happy with what I saw.  Brown spots, red dots, fine lines (when did those appear?) and then those pesky gray hairs that like to pop up right at the hairline where I usually part my hair. Arggh!  And right when I was there criticizing my imperfections I remembered my husband and I smiled.

In that instant I realized that he doesn't zero in on my imperfections like I do.  When he looks at me he sees the big picture.  There's no criticism in his eyes.  And for the first time I was grateful he wasn't Type A like me.  It was as if a light bulb went on right then and there.

Ever since then instead of getting irritated w/him when things aren't just so, I remember how God nudged me and let me know that there can be an upside to things that drive us nuts.  And that being a perfectionist isn't always perfect.

Oh, and by the way, I think those mirrors should be outlawed. :)

Let's keep moving forward,


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Sometimes we can feel like this.... Tired, rusty and just plain run down.

I don't know if its cuz it's Wednesday or because I've been tackling a rather frustrating project (I'll tell you more about this later, in a future post) or because there are still nearly two weeks till payday and I've gotta make the budget stretch a bit more than I had planned. Bummer.

Anyhow when we feel like this it's easy to forget that this is just a temporary feeling.  It won't last.

When were feeling a bit run down it's easy to forget that we are a gem, special, valuable and unique.  And how with a little TLC we can really shine!

But there is someone who can see past the rust, the dents and busted windows.  Someone that can see the real you deep inside.  And He likes what He sees.  Yes, He really does!

And he gives out the TLC like no one else.

So let's keep that in mind the next time we're feeling a little rusty.

Keep moving forward,


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Budget Basics

I guess the word of the day is the B word.  "Budget".  Yes it seems like many people from Obama down to little old me and a whole bunch of folks in between are talking "Budget".

The B word can cause a visceral reaction in some.  Stomachs tightens, lips curl and shoulders slump.

This doesn't have to be the case though.

If you learn to take control of your money instead of it controlling you, you can face your budget head on and not even flinch.

People that stick to a budget and plan their purchases, even budgeting in for fun, vacations and stuff, feel good about the B word.  They know it's a tool  A tool that can help them stay out of debt and begin to build savings.

I'm not going to go in depth here and I'm no financial guru but I've learned a few things over the last couple of years and I'm just gonna share what works for me.  (For those of you that have been following a budget and have no issues with debt- Hooray for you! I'm so happy for you!- (I'm clapping right now, you just can't see me)- then you don't need any of these simple guidelines)  For those of you who are interested or may be struggling with this issue read on.

I'll begin by covering a couple basic principals:

1.  Start by finding out what all your expenses and debts are.  You can use a simple spreadsheet or any of a number of programs available for this.  You may have done this before- felt sick and shoved it in a drawer.  If that's the case then do it again.  I list mine beginning with the biggest debt, the mortgage, then I list the next one, for us it's our children's school (it's equal to our mortgage- ouch!)  Then I list the next, going from any credit card debt, food, fixed expenses like cell phone bills or cable, internet services, gas, electricity, water, trash.  You get it.  Just list them.  List every little thing.  Be as precise as possible.  You may need to pull out old statements to do this or if you pay your bills on line (like I do) you can just pull up this info and enter it onto your spreadsheet. Oh, and if you have any unsettled personal debts that you owe to friends or relatives, list those too.  You need a plan.  So many relationships are ruined over unpaid debt- you don't want that.

2.  Track your spending for at least a month.  Save the receipts.  Later you will analyze what it is your buying.  Look at how many times you are going into the stores.  Little trips to Target, Walmart etc. really add up fast. Analyzing your spending will help you later when you are looking for areas that you can cut expenses.  We'll get into this more in a future post.  We'll look at how to control those variable expenses and more importantly how to control ourselves!

Good Luck and Warm Wishes!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Fear of Failure


Sometimes we dream big.  Sometimes we dream small.

Then again sometimes we are so afraid to fail that we don't dream at all.
(No ryhme intended- really)

We're afraid of failure. We're afraid of what others think. And we're afraid of the pain that comes with disappointment.

Cuz it hurts. Man Oh Man does it hurt.

It can feel safer not to dream. To shove those dreams down into some dark place where we can pretend that they don't exist.

But when we do that we go through life, but don't feel ALIVE.

What if we looked at failure as an opportunity to grow? As a gift.
Because that is exactly what it is, a gift. But it hurts. Yes, yes it does.

Those are growing pains.

If we don't succeed at our dreams it doesn't mean that we've failed. It means that we've learned. We've learned a hard lesson. So that's good. When we learn we grow. Our true self is being shaped and molded, we're becoming who we are truly meant to be.

The only real failure is the failure to accept the gift that we are being offered in our failure. If we don't get anything out of our failure then yes we've failed. Missing the opportunity to grow is the only real failure.

So let's keep dreaming.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Sometimes we can get started on a project only to find that we're interrupted time and time again.

We can choose to respond by becoming frustrated, angry and irritated with those little interruptions. (which by the way is the easiest, quickest response)

But then our discontent will fill the air and affect those around.

Or we can forget about ourselves for a while, put aside what we're working on, help those that need us and feel good about that opportunity.

See- the project at hand may not be what really needs working on at the moment. We have to remember who is in charge and keep that in perspective.

You've probably guessed by now that I didn't get much of my projects done this weekend. And you're right.

You see there was this Masquarade Ball, and all the princesses were invited. (Not me- I needed to assist the princesses as they got ready, then I had to welcome them home and as you know princess can get very hungry after a night of dancing so they had to be fed before they went to bed and then again as soon as they awoke.

But there are only so many Masquarade Balls in one's lifetime.....So my projects can wait for now.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sweet Message

I'm loved.  And so are you.  You may not know it or even think about it, but it's truth.  YOU ARE LOVED!  Believe it!

Every once in a while we need reminders of this.  This morning I got one.  I woke up to this:

My girls put this message on the chalkboard and didn't mention it to me. They just waited till I noticed. How sweet!

Our Heavenly Father sends us these messages all the time and waits for us to notice. I feel bad that He has to wait so long sometimes. Perhaps He put this idea into my girls hearts to do this for me- cuz He knew I'd look at the chalkboard- it's what I do. He didn't want me to miss it.

He doesn't want you to miss it either. So I guess this message was meant for you too. After all He is the One who put it on my heart to share it with you.  How special -we all just got a Valentine's message from God!  That is a cool valentine's gift don't you think?

Have a great day and remember that even if no one tells you they love you He is telling you that He loves you all the time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Patio Furniture Makeover

Makes you want to sit outside and relax, doesn't it?

Looks pretty good huh?  But check out the before- they didn't look this way until I put a little bit of elbow grease into them.

Ok I thought I'd show you a makeover I did a couple of weeks ago, before the paint and money ran out.  See those picnic tables and benches above.  A little weathered huh?  I know you'll agree that this patio furniture has seen better days.  Yes, yes it has.

It has served our family well.  In fact it's over 16 years old.  Lately I've been eyeing all those new outdoor furniture sets.  It seems they are everywhere I go and all for thousands of dollars.  Well I'm not interested in spending thousands of dollars.  So  I took a good look at these guys again.  And you can see what I decided to do.  Paint!  yep.. I sanded them down.  Dusted them off.  And painted them chocolate brown.

Not bad.  Considering I only spent $35 on a can of top quality paint with primer mixed in.  So easy that way.  One can was all it took to paint 2 love seats, 4 chairs, 2 picnic tables, 4 benches and one coffee table.

I think these guys may have a few more good years left.  Just like me:)  He he.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lacing Up

Well it's official, I've been putting on these.

And hopping on these.....

And lifting these little guys.

All in the name of staying fit and being physically healthy. 

I've been averaging about 30 minutes per day.  Not much I know.  At first I started with just 15 (really just to trick myself into doing it) I found I wanted to do a little more so I've been sticking with 30.  I'm trying to do what fits me best.  In the past when I worked out an hour a day I lost a ton of weight.  But in order to keep it off I had to work out at least an hour a day.  No fun.  The minute I stopped my hour long daily workouts the weight started creeping back up. 

Presently I consider myself to be at a healthy weight.  No I'm not going to be giving out any numbers.  So don't ask.  Enough said.

Anyhow I'd like to maintain this weight and am hoping 30 minutes a day will do it.  Oh sure I like the way I look when I'm 10 pounds thinner.  But I don't like how I feel...  I find that I am too focused on my appearance and afraid to gain the weight back.  All vanity.  Not mentally healthy.  Focusing on that would be taking a step backward in life.  So I think moving forward in this area for me means to maintain a fitness regimen aimed at staying healthy and keeping a healthy weight.  It's that simple and so freeing....

Pantry Peek

Well I managed to complete my pantry reorganization.  Not a fun way to spend my day at home- but it felt so good afterward.  It went from this chaos.


This.  Organized, Clean and Labeled.  I made little chalkboard labels and attached them to the pantry shelves with little pieces of wire.  Unfortunately I ran out of labels.  I need to make a few more.   I'm hoping this will encourage the girls to put things back in their correct places.  I can hope, can't I?

Mission Accomplished!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Waiting for Wiggle Room

I can't wait until there's a little wiggle room in the budget.  I'm hoping that'll be in the next couple of months.  Cuz I'm itching to tackle some bigger projects.

Things are so tight right now because of several visits from Murphy over the last six months- while we were in the process of paying off our consumer debt.

A little recap of Murphy's visits:

August: Repair Daughter's car: $1200
September:  Repair Daughter's convertible top: $300 (even though Hubby did it himself and saved us$)
October: Oven repair: $200
October: Pool Pump Replacement: $1600
October: New Tires for Daughter's car (Yeah I know not unexpected but we didn't plan for it) $600
November: Repair my Car: $2000 (Ouch!)
December: Hubby got into an accident and we had to pay the deductible: $300
January: Unplanned Trip for Hubby to visit nephew who's being deployed: $450

Total:$6,650! Yikes!
I don't want to see Mr. Murphy for a long time.  He is not welcome here!

Good news is... We managed to pay for all of the above with hard earned cash!  We didn't rack up credit like we may have done in the past.  Instead I budgeted the best I could, we cut way back and faced Mr. Murphy head on.

Sad news is nothing's been saved, no extra dinero for fun projects.  Boo Hoo.
I'm not really complaining.  I'm hoping for a little extra real soon.... :)  It's just around the corner.

Meanwhile I'll tackle some not so fun projects like organizing the pantry...  It has to be done so I'll do it and I'll show you pics later.

The Paint is Gone!

I painted anything I could over the weekend.  Using up what spray paint I had left.  The numbers above became...

Much better!!

I also spray painted a couple of pots.....

That there is my little friend "Charlie".  He's a miniature horse and is just like a toddler, always trying to get into things when I'm out in the yard doing my projects.  He's very sweet though, so I put up with it.  I'm a sucker for sweet:)  The other guy in the picture above is my hubby and the same goes for him.

Here's a mirror I painted white...

And those plates that I told you about a couple of posts ago.

My youngest, Abbey and I even found time for this...

And finally I took a stroll around the yard to see if any thing was in bloom.  Then I picked what I could and brought them indoors.

Home Sweet Home.