Worth Checkin’ Out

It has been a while since I did a link-post, and I’m going random on this one. But I just thought you should go over to my friend, Laura’s blog and check out her tutorials. She is so creative, and I’m really glad she started sharing some of the things she makes. I’m particularly impressed with her bows that she makes for gifts. They are so perfect! Plus, her blog has cute baby pictures on it and plays songs I like. What’s not to love?

And on the topic of tutorials, I found this one a few months ago of a play kitchen that you can make yourself and looks even better than the plastic ones that sell these days. I am going to have to do it someday, just because it is too adorable.

Since I’ve been thinking a lot about simplifying our home to make it easier to keep up while working two full time jobs and maintaining a side job, I’ve been going back and reading some of the posts I’ve stared over the months about organization and simplification. Here’s one that I thought might be a good place to start. I’m pretty sure I can find 100 things to get rid of in the next few weeks. Especially since our closets need a good sorting through and re-evaluation again!

re-posts300If you haven’t seen, August is YLCF’s Re-posts from the Archives month. This time we’re pulling out some of the really dusty stuff from the paper-journal and it is going to be fun to re-read the things that use to be. Kind of puts it all into perspective—the journey and the growing, the changes and yet how some things will stay the same. I am using the graphic just because I think it is so adorable. Also, do check out YLCF’s newest addition: (Pin)trest. We’ve been having so much fun sharing ideas and pretty things over there.

Last of all, I wanted to share another Laura’s blog (I have a collection of beautiful friends by the name of Laura, by the way. I’m lucky!). Every Wednesday she shares a thought or quote. They’ve all been so good, and I look forward to reading them. If you like quotes, I’m pretty sure you will want to read these.

Happy Reading!

m4s0n501

The Work At Home Market

My first real job was a job that I did sitting at a tiny desk in my bedroom. It consisted of a phone (that wouldn’t stop ringing) and lots and lots of talking and computer work. I joined just in time for Black Friday, and processed hundreds of calls a day in my 12 hour shifts and it was completely exhausting, customers were often exasperating and yet somehow I fell in love with working at home. I’ve worked other jobs since then, and it has helped me to narrow down the kinds of jobs I like and what I really would rather not do anymore. My ultimate dream is to one day be able to work from home full time again and ever since I ended my last job, I’ve been looking for ways to reach that goal.

That is partly why I was so excited about one of our new sponsors, the Work at Home Market website! I’ve browsed there from time to time to give myself inspiration that this can be done. That it is possible, and to refresh my ideas and vision for one day earning my keep from doing something I love right at home. There’s other neat things on there too—like a post about how to save money on groceries without coupons and simple ways to energize your morning and to simplify your summer.

Working from home is still, well, work, but the rewards for being in your home are great. From not having to commute, to being able to cook more healthy meals, to saving money and being able to wear the clothes you like each day….it pays off.

If working from home is something you are interested in, take some time to browse the site and be inspired.

Thankful For the Storms

The birds are singing in the rain again, and sunshine is time and time again covered by the deepening storm clouds of yet another evening storm.

I think it is only fitting that one should read about storms—and what to sing while it storms.

That post captures more eloquently than I could hope to the heart of my scribblings into my paper journal the past few months, and brought tears to my eyes.

It may be another storm, and sometimes I’m not sure the timing feels right for the raindrops that I find splashing into my life. And I may not know about tomorrow, or know the reasons why it has to storm so often, but I do know that I can trust Him…and thank Him, because He has a purpose and a plan. For my storm, for your storm, for every raindrop and every strike of lightning.

And, even when it aches, may we, each one, thank Him for all things. Even the hail and the swirling winds? It isn’t easy. But what to the caterpillar seems like the end of the world is just the beginning of a butterfly, and I’m pretty sure it can’t be so much different with storms and with life.

 

Have you thanked Him for your storms today?

Time to Be…

Today I ran barefoot in the rain.

Life as a grown up can be pretty intense, and sometimes I think everyone should take time to be a little bit crazy, to forget troubles and to find a way to recapture the carefree spirit of childhood, if only just for a moment.

There’s been a lot on my mind lately, but I am learning to embrace even the hard things, and while moving forward, not letting these cares choke out the laughter and the enjoyment of just being.

So today, when one of those typical Tennessee downpours hit, and the rain fell too hard to get the reflection pictures I’d imagined, I didn’t run back inside. I stood with my face to the wind and the rain, my eyes closed and my hands stretched on on either side and shook my hair down and just let it pour. I skipped across the grass, stood barefoot on the road and splashed back at the droplets dancing there.

Just for that moment, I ignored the fact that my pretty skirt was dripping wet and that my hair was all sorts of wild, and the neighbor who looked at me like I had lost a marble, and let it soak in.

It had been a long time, too long, and it felt good to be crazy again. My pictures didn’t exactly turn out, and my camera got a bit wetter than it should have, but oh, it felt good to pretend I was a child again.

Looking back, I’m pretty sure it is moments like these that add sparkle to ordinary life. And if it rains tomorrow, perhaps I’ll do it again, only this time I’m going to catch a dozen raindrops on my tongue.

 

What are some of the ways you keep some sparkles of random in your ordinary days?

 

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P.S Two lovely friends, Samantha & Danielle, have started a new challenge: 52 Moments. They both wrote beautiful posts about it, and I’m planning to join. My theme is probably going to be a mixture of moments and simple things, because more often than not, they are so closely intertwined in my life and I want to take time to not just count, but to capture some of these gifts. The picture above was actually taken for the other challenge I’m doing with my sis, Katie, but it was a simple moment and the raindrops were lovely.

March of Books 2011- ready or not!

I’ve already said that I’m really excited about March and all the wonderful bookish things that it will bring, but I’m going to have to say it again because now I’m really excited about the March of Books and all the amazing events that are going to be a part of it, and especially about all the great books and fun giveaways that I know are in store.

Even though I’ve been waiting for months for this exciting month, somehow I procrastinated more than I prepared, and it has been quite the race on my part to meet the goals and deadlines, but every little peek I got at what is coming up, the more excited and motivated I’ve been to do my little part, and now, ready or not, its here! (but ssshh, I am not quite as ready as I should be!)

Tomorrow, there’ll be a post up on YLCF talking about all the details and all the ways that you can be a part, and since it is the type of thing that goes hand and hand with our Reading Challenge 2011, I hope that you’ll check it out, and participate if you can.

And while I probably could have waited and added this as a part of our March Reading Challenge checkpoint coming up tomorrow, I’ll have to be honest here and admit that I simply could not pass up a chance to use our official YLCF March of Books 2011 logo image, and it really is too pretty to not have a post all its own, don’t you think?

If  you aren’t already showing off one on your blog, you may want to head over to ylcf.org now and grab one in preparation for an amazing month of books and reading and fun times.

My starred list

I’ve been giving a lot of stars the past few weeks during those little snatches of time I spend reading here and there on my feed reader. (By the way, speaking of readers…if I haven’t mentioned it before, Google Reader is one of  the great inventions of this modern blog-age.)

My stars give you a good idea about what has been on my mind for the past few weeks.  Let’s see if anyone else sees the pattern…

Twelve days into the new year, and I’m still adjusting. I’m still pondering 2010 and the amazing opportunities it held. I found these 20 Questions shared on (In)courage to be an interesting springboard for contemplation about my blessings and failings in 2010 so I can be better in 2011.

Still sort of going with that New Year theme, I thought that Jessica’s reminder that “nothing is outside of His grasp” and the quote that Laura shared about how with God, we can “always start out fresh” were beautiful gems of encouragement to focus on in these new days.

I think it was Gretchen who shared the link to the post that another blogger had written asking the question “Where do you write?” I haven’t written about it just yet, but I’m going to in the next week or so.

It isn’t technically the Holidays anymore, but I think that no matter what time of year it is, it is good to work into our lives and any event the principles of simplicity and the ability to just say no when we need to! And, because we’ve been so blessed to have company off and on since moving here, I thought that it was fun to read the post by the same author about preparing for guests.

While I’m sharing links from The Inspired Room, there’s one more that I should share: the five minute routine. Admittedly, my routine wouldn’t look exactly like hers, but the idea is a good one and maybe I’ll write about that one of these days too. And, I’ve been thinking a lot about time management. And organizing. And…schedules.  (Again? Yes. Again.)

There are several recipes in my stars, too. But I think I’ll wait to see if I actually try them before I share them, so I’ll close with a few pretty things that caught my eye.

This vintage postcard journal/calender is something that could be modified in maybe a hundred different ways, but the pictures and the idea=<3.  I think if I ever have children, I’ll use this idea to create a way to record the random little things they do each day.

If you follow Sense & Sensibility Patterns, you’ve already heard about this, but Edelweiss patterns is a site I am definitely going to be watching as it grows and expands. Who wouldn’t want to make the pretty things from The Sound Of Music, after all? Besides, this seamstress has included all sorts of amazing Sound of Music related links and pictures of a lot of pretty sewing type things that I just love to look at.

And last of all, there’s the Swing Dress Sew-Along. This is the one pattern I actually *do* have, but I don’t have proper fabric, and am doubtful I’d actually have the patience to restrict myself to the schedule or to keep up with it, alternately. But… if you want to sew something and want to sew along with others and you love these swing era dresses, you should check it out. Because it looks so fun!

So those are some of my stars. What have you been starring lately?

http://www.incourage.me/2010/12/20-questions-for-a-new-years-eve-reflection-2.html

Weekend Thoughts & Links

It’s been a pretty crazy week, but I’m happy to say that I have two of these all nighters down and just four more to go.

Since this morning’s training was sort of sprung on me last minute, I didn’t get a chance to rest up at all yesterday and by 3 was fighting and nearly loosing the battle against sleep. But I made it, passed my first two assessments, and hope to rest up enough to be ready to face the three consecutive days of crazy hours until Thanksgiving day.

Whatever the case, my brain being in a state of fuzzy confusion more than anything, this is just another one of those thoughts on things I’ve read along the way.

  1. I loved this post by Laura about being thankful for waking up.  Today truly is a gift, and it is one that I pray that God helps me to treasure and to live just for Him. Along the same lines, a few days later, my sister in law shared some of the reasons why she is thankful for Today as a part of GreaThings 2010, and also shared some great links that are worth clicking.
  2. Yarnbelle wrote a post about learning to let go in the Blogging world and what our motives in blogging should be: not to become well read or famous or popular, not for comments or recognition, but for Him. If we are writing for the wrong reasons, we need to think about it seriously and get back on track.
  3. There’s been a series on time management going on over at moneysavingmom, and this week she shared about getting more done in less time in the blogging world. It’s full of excellent principles that can help us use and not waste or precious moments and make the time we spend blogging effective and profitable. Some of these things I already have put into practice: such as limiting time on social media sites, scheduling posts and tweets and not opening those kinds of time traps until the things I need to do are done. But others were good for me to read and ponder in relation to how I spend my time, and convicting to stop and do one thing at a time and do it well instead of doing a little bit of everything and getting nowhere. If you haven’t read them already, and if you spend any time in this bloggy world, regardless of if you are making money or just writing for fun, you should read and re-evaluate how you are spending your online time.
  4. Jess wrote about how often we treat God as a collector’s item, and don’t truly desire Him like we should, about how we hunger and thirst for things that satisfy but run everywhere but to the one who alone can satisfy the needs and desires of our hearts.  And her prayer at the end echos some of my prayer as well: “Lord…you are what I need.
  5. Sean shared about how the brightest light in the night sky isn’t a star giving off its own light, but a reflector, that shines the light of the sun back into the darkness of the night sky. Isn’t this how we should be in this world?
  6. Hannah posted a quote on her blog, and the first part caught my heart. It is what we all must know and trust, even when it doesn’t make sense: “He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with you…” But he is still God, and He does all things well.
  7. Last but not least Young Ladies Christian Fellowship is hosting a giveaway! If you haven’t already entered for a chance to win a copy of the first book of Charity’s Dairy Trilogy, you should head over and take a peek and enter. The drawing will take place on Monday, November 22nd and so be sure to do it before then! If you don’t win this time, be sure to add the books to your wishlists! I’ll be reviewing the books individually here in the first few months of the new year, and so be sure to check back to read more about them.

Enjoy your weekend and the rest of GreaThings this coming week!

A Peek Into Your Week

YLCF Blog Carnival Last year YLCF hosted our first ever blog carnival featuring a peek into the lives of the team and a chance to share a glimpse of your own lives. It was a lot of fun, and we had a great time getting to know each other better through doing a little blog hopping.

Well, it has been a crazy year for all of us, and September and October sneaked up on us, but the good news is, YLCF is still going to host a blogging event, and you have a week to brainstorm and get ready to share not just a peek at your day but a peek at a typical week in your life.

There’s been a buzz about schedules and organization, about goals and priorities and to-do lists of late, and in that spirit, it’s all about what works for you and what you do to keep your life and daily duties under control.

The good thing is about keeping it real is that we can all learn something from the strengths of others and I’m looking forward to being inspired and challenged to do better at finding a way to make my daily and weekly life a little more under control than it has been with all these moves of late. And, no matter what our season, we can share in the encouragement that we’re not the only ones who sometimes don’t get the bed made every day, or the dishes put away at night.

So, start planning to to join us next week  on Young Ladies Christian Fellowship as the YLCF team shares a peek into our weeks of late, and for sharing a peek into your own.

Can’t wait to see you all there!

Week in Review

It’s been quite the week.  I moved.  I got to spend a little time with a dear friend from far away. I worked on the continuing “in progress” site job. I managed to reply to all business emails promptly. I baked bread yesterday, we did a month’s worth of laundry at the laundry mat, and managed to finish up some long overdue errands in town. (Such as going to the bank and mailing a package!)

Still, a lot slipped through the cracks, and my house isn’t a sight to see today. Besides the heaps of laundry in the living room, in various stages of being folded, almost every other part of the house needs some sort of attention, and I have dessert to create out of something for a family get together tomorrow. Yup… it’s going to be yet another busy day.

I’m looking forward to just sitting back for a little while and being still.

At the end of a busy week- or any week-  sitting its important to make it a point to be still for a little while, to think about life, to re-evaluate where your heart is right now, or how you define yourself , or remembering how much-even with out little ones to train up, you still need Him not just every hour, but every second.

Its important to look back and see what could have been better. How priorities could have been different, and how to do better at keeping home in order, and how to do better next week. It’s good to evaluate what you need more of... or less of. To take time to laugh, to love, to really make sure you’re taking time to live.  Its important to take time to keep trusting, when times are rough. And most of all that every day your heart still cries out to God to make your life a prayer.

It promises to be another busy week, and I’m already looking forward to it. I love how each week has so many new opportunities tucked into every day.

So, I have hopes to be a little more on top of my schedule and chores this week to come. Hopefully I’ll make progress with my goals for my blog as well as my website completion goals. Hopefully I’ll hear some good news that I’ve been waiting for a while. But truly, I hope next week I’ll do less defining of myself by my own terms, and more defining by God’s. I hope I’ll do more of the things I should do and less of the things that should be left aside. I hope I’ll do more living, and less wishing, and more of living that life of prayer.

What about you?

Links Worth Sharing

Sometimes other people say the things on your heart in just the right kind of words. That’s what kind of day this is for me. Here’s a few of those other people’s words that are definitely worth sharing.

This reminder of God’s use of Circumstances is particularly fitting for the season of life we’re in right this moment. Nothing haphazard about these circumstances. A chance to build faith, trust. And now some of those glimmerings of answered prayers.

This post touched my heart today. It made me smile, and be inspired to keep making His word the sweetest part of our day, a way of our life. To make it our dessert.

This one was written a couple of years ago, but recently re-published on YLCF. And that reminder to be still and  know Him is still just as beautiful to me today as it was back then.