Friday, July 29, 2011

Success!

       Dinner was a success tonight.  I have a terrible habit of not writing down recipes I come up with and we miss out on repeat performances. The pictures aren't great and I didn't think about taking them until it was almost together.  Definitely an area of blogging that I need to work on.

The Menu:
                   Spinach Quiche, Fresh cucumbers and banana peppers, and watermelon for dessert.

The Recipe:
              1 Pkg thawed, rinsed and drained box of frozen spinach.
              Around ten or so grape tomatoes sliced
              1/4 vidalia onion, chopped
              two cloves of garlic
              one cup of chopped ham (I used Kentucky Legend ham that you can get presliced and used about five slices diced up) 


All of this went into the skillet with two tablespoons of butter. I cooked this until the tomatoes and onions were heated. (about ten minutes because I got distracted getting the rest of dinner together)

Once it was hot I put the mixture into a shallow baking dish and sprinkled just a little feta cheese and about 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese.


In a mixing bowl, I wisked together five eggs and one cup of milk and poured it over the baking dish.


45 minutes at 350 fahrenheit

Dinner is served.


The men added hot sauce to theirs...but I just used a dash of pepper.

FIfteen minutes or so later...this is what was left......SUCCESS!



This was a great way to use the little bits of things left in my refrigerator. I was late getting this started tonight so we didn't want a really heavy meal, but here are ways that could make it better next time.....
  • Serve it with a small loaf of french bread
  • Slice some tomato to go with it ( I didn't have any)
  • Maybe some ice tea instead of just water since that was all I had
  • Any other ideas?  I'd love to hear them

And just for fun....this is me holding this baking dish twenty-three years ago this month at my wedding shower! 

Love the big hair!!!

Happy New Year!

New books, backpacks, paper, pencils, lunch boxes, clothes for some....the list is endless of things that help us start the new school year. It's an exciting time....

I'm never really ready for this time of year to come around....it's hard to give up the carefree days of summer. But once I resign myself to the idea, I get just a little bit giddy. 

In January I pull out my calendar, set some diet and fitness goals, maybe new financial priorities, but it's just so easy to fall back into the same old habits...it's just so hard to make those changes in January..when all you really want to do is curl up in the warmth and read a good book.

Enter August. 

It's a new school year...... anticipation of all things different  Whether it's a new menu plan, a new grade in school, a new book, or just not the same old thing as before...routines really change and it is a new beginning.

(I bought this planner at the Dollar General store - $3.00 and it is working perfectly for me!)

As a seventh grade social studies teacher.....it's new students, new ideas, things I want to change that I didn't do well last year, better time management, more exciting lessons that really engage my students, all important goals and I get one shot at it.  It's really hard to change those things in the middle of the year with 100 seventh graders. It can be done, but it's so much easier to get it right in August.

For all of the homeschooling moms out there...I don't know how you do it.
 I'm a fan.

Oh and the biggest challenge of all for me......

How can I get all those papers graded on time and back to these students for meaningful feedback?

 
As a homemaker,  I want to continue working on the three realms that have always challenged me...a new routine with laundry, dishes, and menus.  I've tried really hard this summer to work on these areas and I hope I can keep it up.
 
Time marches on and I go back to work on Monday with students returning to class on Wednesday.

Today and tomorrow I'll be back to school shopping with Ben.  He's grown so much this year that I'll have to send him in a potato sack if we don't get some new pants. 30 X 34 jeans are nearly impossible to find!  We have all the papers to fill out to get him ready for his Junior year and he has to pick up his new schedule. I just can't believe my youngest child is so close to graduating from high school.

Lots to do...I won't get it all done...I never do, but that's okay.

I love new beginnings......

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Walk of Faith


My neighbor is sick.  Not just a little sick, she's terminally ill.  I'm going to see her today. This is among the saddest things I've ever faced in my life. 


Since I have known her, she's been my mentor, my friend, and my support. She was unlike anyone I had ever come in contact with when we first met.  Her seventh child was the same age as my oldest. She home schooled....I had never even heard of homeschooling before. Was that even allowed? (It was 1990).

As we got to know each other through the years, she never ceased to amaze me and still does.  She lives her faith....not just when you would see her out....but every moment of every day.

She taught me how to bake homemade bread, the joy of hanging my laundry out to dry, and most importantly the importance of faith in every little detail of life. I could not count the times she caused me to pause and reflect on my own journey of faith.

One of the most profound  lessons she ever taught me was the day she came to my house to apologize and ask forgiveness.  Apologize....I couldn't even imagine for what!  The day before we had one of our front porch conversations while our children rode their bikes up and down the street.  She had expressed frustration with someone close to her (whom I did not know personally) and I listened and I commiserated.  That's what friends do.  That's what she was apologizing for.....and asking my forgiveness..... she had said things about this person that she felt she should not have said. Unbelievable....I didn't think anything of it.

But that's not what was so amazing......

She told me she had called that person, admitted to gossip and speaking uncharitably about her and asked her forgiveness.  She was coming to me to apologize and ask my forgiveness as well. 

 WOW!

Can you imagine?  It still brings tears  to my eyes. 

2 Timothy 2:21-23

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.


How many times was I guilty of the same thing?  How many times had I said things about someone that I shouldn't have?  What did it say about me that I didn't even question speaking about another person? Would I....Could I do what she was doing?  Practicing her faith......Totally and Completely!

I made the decision that day that she was living exactly the way I wanted to live.  I can't say that I'm as successful. I fall far short. I have been blessed beyond measure to be considered her friend.

Our community is grieving over her illness.  I will miss her dearly.  Her family will face a void that cannot be filled.  I know how they will deal with it....with total and complete faith in the Lord.  But it still hurts....

I take solace and rejoice in knowing that she will undoubtedly hear the Lord greet her with, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." 


Monday, July 25, 2011

When someone listens....

This has been a hard year for me. I'm not old...forty-four.  But this past year has hit me with the realization that I am no longer the young mother....but the middle aged one.  I'm past the age of women I thought were really moving on when my children were babies. Things hurt that shouldn't be hurting.  Was that my knee making that noise?

Sleep is something you don't expect when your children are little, but what is going on now?  I think John is tired of me saying, " Is it hot in here?"  It's just not what he expects from someone who has slept with socks on year round for as long as he can remember.

I can't see either...not that I ever had good vision, but now even contacts and reading glasses don't always do the job....so any typos you see...I'm chalking them up to age.

Even considering how I'm changing physically, the hardest thing for me this year has been redefining my role in life.  Two of my children are in college.  One moved into her own apartment this summer and will likely never live at home again. My youngest is driving. It's not that the things I always did aren't important like listening and nurturing, because I know they are.  They are just taking different forms and they just simply don't take up as much time.  That leaves me a lot of time on my hands.


I've filled my time with finally getting projects done that I've wanted to do for many years and there are still plenty waiting for me. So now the house isn't turned upside down as much and maybe the dishes are all done before we go to bed, but it has been a struggle to find meaningful ways to fill the time I have. I've made some mistakes this year, taken on things that really aren't important to me and I've regretted it. I have to stay focused on what has always been the priority list in my life no matter how much time there is to fill.

So many times, it is just lonely.  I'm not as needed from moment to moment as I used to be.  And I get frustrated when I can't physically do what I used to do. It was a day like this that I said to my husband, John, as he walked out the door for work..."I'm just so down lately." He had to leave...no time to talk.  And I knew that.  It was okay.  I didn't really say it expecting a conversation, it was just a statement. It was me expressing what I felt and feeling that no one, including myself, really understood.

This is what he brought home,


He listened. 

The flowers were beautiful, but the love was overwhelming. It was just what I needed. I knew he was with me no matter what.... 

 It was the beginning of a summer of redefinition.  As fall moves toward me with gathering speed, I'm cherishing every moment of this summer and the wonderful, most blessed life that I've been given. I'm working to find new meaningful ways to spend my time.

This blog has given me a voice and I am finding I have a lot to say.  I've never been a journaling type person, but I am finding I really enjoy this medium.  I really don't expect anyone to read, but if they do and they feel just one bit better or not so alone because they can relate to a shared experience, then the time is all worth it.


And maybe my children will figure out that their mom isn't really crazy after all!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summertime

The cicadas were going strong this morning. That's always a sign to me that leisurely days are soon to end. A change of travel plans left us at home today and I had nothing planned to do. Yard work called to the men and when Ben needed a new roll of string for the weed eater,I stumbled upon my project for the day...clean out the storage room behind the garage. Here's what it looked like..


This happens every year in late fall when we are rushing before a big storm to get everything under cover. I didn't get to clean it out last summer so a big clean out has been on my to do list for over a year.

We live in an old house and tasks like this really cause me to reflect. The shed didn't just need to be cleaned... it needed to be emptied. It contained years of parts and pieces from years gone by. After I pulled all of the stuff that we added, I started cleaning out from the previous owners. They built this house in 1938 and were the only owners until they passed away and we were lucky enough to be the next residents. It is so clear that they cherished everything they had. Everything is purposefully planned here. Nothing is wasted. So as I worked to clear the dozens of nails holding everything imaginable, I ran across this nail with wires of all sizes. 



I could just see the former owner working on his projects, finding a solution to problems and having just the right piece of scrap wire, wood, or homemade device to fix it.

It seems to me that in our hectic, disposable world we don't really take time to fix things, we just replace them. 

 I love finding the old things around this house that remind me of another time.  A ladder...made just the right size for a specific purpose...or a box re-purposed to hold the fabric awnings we put up every summer...


 Almost empty...

Ninety-five degrees, what feels like one hundred percent humidity and here's what I have to go through before supper...ahhh!

 A lot of things didn't make it back in...the water floaties and toys our children have outgrown, 10 basketballs that will find a new purpose in my classroom for recess time, many pieces of scrap wood that I'll never use, and lots of things I don't even know what they were....
but some things I kept just because they were interesting.

It was a long hot day but here's what the shed looks like now:


A place for almost everything. A big task accomplished......

A trip down memory lane of a slower time, of children's games outgrown, of hopes for nieces and nephews and someday grandchildren to share in these things. 

It also renewed my specific intention to slow down and live life just a little more purposefully.

Friday, July 22, 2011

All Things Beautiful

After sitting on the sidelines for three years, I've decided to take the plunge and start my own blog!  I love looking through blogs, seeing lovely pictures, learning about all kinds of new things, and just being inspired by all the neat people and ideas that are out there. I have been moved by so many profound thoughts and conversations that take place on the blogs that I follow.  I may not be able to move anyone in that way, but I'd like to share a little glimpse of my world.  I thought one of the best ways to start would be with pictures of just a few things that are special to me.   They may not be great photos and it has only taken me two days to figure out how to get them posted and they are still off center, but I'll just jump right in!



























I'm so blessed.