Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blogger Challenge--Day 1

It's gravy, baby has issued a blogger challenge, and I'm accepting it! The 31 Day Photo and Prompt Challenge starts today. Each day she has a prompt so we can tell everyone more about ourselves. I've been pretty dry in the idea well lately so I thought this would be perfect to get me writing again. Drum roll please:

Day 1: Post a picture of yourself and 10 facts about you.

This picture was taken a couple of years ago at Chuck E. Cheese. Most pictures that are taken of me, I hate so it was really hard to find one I would put on here.

  • I love God with my whole being. I have chosen to live for Him and to follow Him no matter what.
  • I am a wife to the most awesome man in the world. I never thought that I could be happy and so fulfilled like I am today after the really sad loss of my first husband.
  • I am a mother to 5 children, his-hers-ours. I’m not specifying which is which because I tell them all that I am their mom whether I birthed them or not. I love them and am so proud of each one of them.
  •  My favorite colors---purple, orange, red, and blue. Of course, orange and blue can’t be together because that would be Florida Gator colors and we can’t have that. ;) Purple and blue, and purple and red can be together, though, especially since those were colors for my weddings. It’s amazing how my colors have progressed through the years. I started with blue as a child and added colors to my most recent, orange. Why I like orange, I don’t know, but I really do.
  • Blind as a Bat---that’s me without my glasses. I put them on before I get out of bed and take them off after I lie down and the light is turned off. If they aren’t in the certain spot on my bedside table where they belong I panic and then my wonderful husband has to get out of bed and find them for me. LOL
  • My family and I live on a 5-acre mini farm and I absolutely love it! We’ve been here for about a year and a half and have so many plans to make it even better.
  • I am a stay at home mother, but I home school my oldest daughter and volunteer in the public school for my middle children, so I’m really not home very much.
  • 9 AM and 2 cups of coffee---that’s the time that I become sociable. Before that, don’t expect me to solve any problems, answer any questions or put up with any nonsense. Just ask my kids. LOL
  • I love my group of online friends that I chat with pretty much every day!! We’ve been chatting for over 5 years. They are the greatest and I can’t wait until we all get together one day in person and have our spa retreat weekend.
  •  John and I were married on “Chaos Never Dies Day” (November 9th) and, boy, has that been appropriate for our family. One friend said to me the other day that I am dealing with two family schedules. I had not thought about it before, but she’s right. One weekend we have all the children, the next weekend we don’t and during the week we are doing activities with all the children.
A brief synopsis of my life. If you want to join me on this journey, I would love to learn more about you. Just post a comment with your link so I can read it and you can grab a linky at  it's gravy, baby for your blog too.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snowflakes and God's Beauty

During our family devotions last week, John did a great lesson. He reminded us of God's beauty in everything, even the snow. He again read Genesis 1 reintroducing the fact that God created EVERYTHING. He even created the snow. The he showed us all the varieties of snowflakes that God created. Here's the website:  Guide to Snowflakes.

We were all amazed at the variety. If we ever wanted to sit outside and investigate them, we sure wouldn't be bored...frozen, but not bored. Aren't they totally incredible? At the end, it shows a picture of a snowflake made by a snow maker. Also, we made our own snowflakes to hang on the window. There is prove that only God can give us the intricate, delicate, amazing beauty. We can not even come close to his amazing talent. Since then, I've been seeing all this snow just a little bit differently. It's still cold and dreary, but it's an amazing creation of God's. Everything He created is good even if we don't enjoy it as much as other things. Thanks, hon, for the reminder once again, and for giving me something to think about this week to bring God closer to me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Organization Brings Happiness

Another great online thing I love is reading blogs and from time to time I will share some interesting articles that I enjoy and want to use in my life. This first one is from Michelle Connolly, of Design Your Life.

Sometimes life’s little tantrums make it hard to keep your equanimity. You get sick, you face one problem after another, your goals stall, your relationships struggle…
10 Things To Do Every Day
You can start to feel disorganized, frustrated and despondent – unless you have a plan for keeping yourself afloat. I suggest a daily checklist of things that will help you feel as though you’re hanging in there and doing okay.
Keep the checklist simple and achievable. It shouldn’t add to your sense of falling behind.
Here’s my personal checklist of things I aim to do every single day. I’m not perfect at doing everything every day, but simply having the checklist helps me focus when I’m not sure what to do with myself.
Use mine, or create your own.
  1. Make your bed Don’t underestimate the sabotaging power of an unmade bed. It sends a negative message to your subconscious. Make your bed daily and you’ll form a habit of doing it fast (mine takes me about 3 minutes). It will mark the threshold into starting the day well, and provide a welcoming sanctuary when the day is over.
  2. Deal with the urgent Every day, scan your emails, mail, noticeboard, phone messages, etc, for anything that demands prompt attention. Matters like notices for school, renewals and bills due for payment can become time-consuming or expensive problems later. Avoid those problems by dealing with the urgent today.
  3. Get some exercise Take a gym class, go for a walk, lift tins of soup, lunge around your house while on the phone – do anything that gets you moving. And if you have a sedentary life, move as often as you can. Stop making excuses (no one is listening) and just do it.
  4. Have something to look forward to Plan something that makes you happy every single day. I can’t wait to get out of bed every morning because I love sipping coffee and doing the crossword. And I love reading in bed at night. Your daily treats could be playing Angry Birds on your iPhone, taking a bath, making your favourite tea after dinner, listening to tunes – anything you enjoy and look forward to.
  5. Eat vegetables They help you stay slim and healthy, so eat them! Add salad or vegetables to your meals wherever you can.
  6. Do something nice for someone else This is a lovely habit to get into. Can you give someone a genuine compliment? Offer encouragement or compassion? Give a gift or do a favor? The important thing here is to choose things you can do lovingly – not things that feel like an imposition or burden. Find one to do every day.
  7. Achieve something productive and/or meaningful Can you make progress on an important project, take time with a loved one, take action toward a goal? Forget busywork and instead focus on achieving something every day – big or small – that gives you a sense of meaning and/or achievement.
  8. Tidy up at night Spending 10 minutes every night doing a quick tidy will make all the difference to the way you feel as you head to bed, and especially to the way you feel when you start the next day. Keep it simple – even if all you do is wash the dishes, put toys in a toy bin and clothes in a basket, and use a hand-vac to scoop up the day’s crumbs, you’ll feel pretty pleased with yourself.
  9. Feel grateful Psych research has shown that counting your blessings boosts your happiness, so make it a ritual to reflect on the good things in your life every day. Do it as you eat breakfast in the morning or while you brush your teeth at night – but make it a habit. Got all your limbs? Have a nice house, good friends or a talent for ikebana? Lucky you!
  10. Make a list for tomorrow Before you head to bed, make a quick list of things to do and remember tomorrow. This will get them out of your head so you sleep better, help you feel organized, and give you a map for the next day.

    The Get Organized Tips newsletter shares tips for organizing your life, achieving your goals and being your best.
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    My turn--Sometimes I get to feeling scattered and struggling to figure out the priorities for the day. I've tried to do a couple of these daily even before this article, but several are ones I never thought of doing. Hopefully I will feel more in control even when things don't go as planned or I'm struggling to find the energy to make it through the day, if I add several more of these to my daily agenda.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Benefits of the Internet

I love the internet and Facebook. I've made so many connections that could never happened without them.

Friends and family--I have a group of online friends that I've never met but we chat daily and we've been friends for years. I've reconnected with real life friends from previous years. Also, it's much easier to keep in touch with family even if it is via status updates.

Research--It's easy to find any information on any topic, whether it's true and logical or not. It's nice to be able to pop online during a conversation we're having around the dining table and somebody asks a question and we can easily find an answer and discuss that for awhile.

Life Skills--Tips galore. So many ideas and thoughts and practices to make life easier, more exciting and less stressful. Ways to save money and decorate and celebrate.

Games--Finally, a way to play. Quick games that can be played with others or alone. Of course they can also be a way to waste time if you're not careful.

So many activities on so many paths. The internet is a great invention if it is used wisely.

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's Friday!! and Tme to Laugh

It's been a stressful week. One of those weeks that if anything that could go wrong it does. In and of themselves, nothing is devastating, but together everything builds up and just stinks to Timbuktu. I keep thinking of this blog and it's helping so that I can find a good point everyday. It doesn't necessarily make the struggles easier, but I can focus on something good for new dishwasher, supporting a friend through a phone call, seeing the kids excited about the stuff we're doing to their rooms, watching the baby play and laugh, a wonderful husband that will support me while I support him through these weeks, the sunshine and warmth from a few of these winter days and the warm cozy, crackling fireplace.

It's Friday and we made it. Just a few more hours and the work week will be over. We'll be able to have fun together and enjoy some down time with the kids that are here. It's going to be a good, relaxing weekend where we can refresh and rejuvenate and be ready for a much better week next week.

To start the weekend off right, let's start with a couple of really good laughs. These are oldies, but goodies!

Baby Laughing--Who can't help but to laugh with this one? I gotta record my baby laughing though. :)

A Man's Funny Laugh

Now let's laugh through the weekend and have a blast!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My 2011 (and Beyond) Goals

These are my GOALS!! I do not need to have everything on here accomplished by December of 2011. The list is way too long. Goals are something to work towards, not something that must be completed. I will re-evaluate these goals to make sure I’m on track during the months of March, June, September and December. As long as I accomplish at least 2 or 3 items from each category by December, then I will have met my goals for the year.

  • Spend more time in God’s Word.
    • Complete 30 minutes of daily personal Bible Study. Don’t rush through it! 
    • Have daily prayer time. Pray specifically using my prayer idea lists and my prayer requests from my spiritual journal. Don’t rush through it!
    • Continue weekly family Bible study time and family meeting time. Add more variety and include the family goals, memory verse and new word for the week.
    • Have weekly couple Bible study time.
    • Now that we’re closer, attend Sunday school and church every Sunday morning, unless there is an illness or bad weather.
    • Lead the Yahoo group “Bibles, Brooms and Breadsticks” so that we can read and study the whole Bible in a year. Don’t quit. Make it through the whole year.
  • Spend more quality time with my immediate family.
    • Re-institute Family Fun Day on Saturdays.
    • Re-institute Family Game Day on Sundays.
    • Have a Date Night with John once a week, even if it’s at home.
    • Spend at least 30 minutes a week with each child doing something they enjoy.
  • Make our house feel like a home.
    • Have all the moving boxes emptied and have only organized items and labeled plastic totes in logical storage areas.
    • Continue de-cluttering. Find at least 3 things each weekday to purge.
    • Organize, straighten and make sure everything has a place.
    • Complete monthly cleaning using my focused cleaning checklists.
    • Complete seasonal checklists of cleaning, repair and preparations.
    • Decorate so that John and my interests are a part of the house.
    • Decorate the children’s rooms according to their interests.
    • Make home a place we can rest, relax and be refreshed.
  • Enhance the homeschooling and public schooling of our children.
    • Keep a consistent routine and schedule for Breanna and her work.
    • Do something fun and educational for all the children on our weekends or weeks during the summer. They all want to be included in homeschooling. This might be a field trip, science experiment or a project that relates to something Breanna is studying.
    • Continue to attend most of the PTO meetings and other activities at the public school.
    • Continue to volunteer to assist the public school in anyway I can, whether in the classroom or at school functions.
  • Encourage my family and myself to be healthier.
    • Exercise 30 minutes five times a week.
    • Get the family doing some movement together, whether it’s walking, swimming or running around the yard together at least once a week.
    • Encourage Breanna to do her exercise/movement each day of the school week. It needs to include strength, cardio, endurance and balance on alternating days so it will be varied.
    • Make appointments to doctors, dentists and specialists as needed. Don’t procrastinate.
    • Get everyone to their doctor and the dentist and specialist appointments, as required.
    • Start using the Once a Month cooking idea regularly for food that will be ready in the freezer at a moment’s notice so we don’t have to eat out on the busy nights.
    • Serve a healthy and filling breakfast by keeping the choices offered available. (See Momma’s Coffee Shop Menu for choices)
    • Include a fruit of the day with breakfast.
    • Plan a healthy lunch menu weekly so that those taking lunches (not just the ones at home) can also have something decent.
    • Include a vegetable of the day with lunch.
    • Serve the healthy lunches that are planned.
    • Plan a healthy supper menu at the beginning of each month, or when Angel Food boxes are received.
    • Serve the suppers that are planned.
    • Eat at least three fruits/vegetables a day.
    • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
  • Communicate more frequently with people outside our household, using both technology and “old-fashioned” means.
    • Make an entry to my blog at least three times a week. Possibilities to include Sunday Shutterbug, Menu Plan Monday, The Simple Woman’s Daybook, Ultimate Gratituesday, Toot Your Horn Tuesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday, Finer Things Friday, and Frugal Friday.
    • Have John teach me how to use our server and how to input data on it so I can get our family webpage up and going.
    • Invite friends or extended family over for Pizza and Movie Night once a month.
    • Re-institute Tuesday as letter writing, card sending and phone calling day.
    • Write thank-you notes when needed. Have the children write them also.
    • Use up store-bought cards and start making cards for various occasions throughout the year.
    • Have Breanna call each of her grandparents once a week.
    • Create a genealogy website for the Hayes family. Get the information from Aunt Paula and figure out how to put everything online so that all the family can access it. When this is done, move on to the Hamilton and Yarman families.
  • Minister to others through church and various organizations, where ever God leads.
    • Tithe 5% of our monthly income to a church and/or Christian organization.
    • Tithe 5% of my time to a local ministry. There are 168 hours in a week. 5% of that is 8.4 hours of service a week.
  • Become better organized in thoughts and actions.
    • Start and/or complete my journals.
      • Home Control Journal
      • Information-Encouragement
      • Christmas
      • Other Holidays
      • Once a Month Cooking
      • Home Spa
      •  Home Office
    • Use my control journals; don’t just have them on the bookshelf.
    • Write in my personal journal daily.
    • Complete Daily Routines regularly.
    • Keep track of PCC points daily and meet my goals.
  • Do something for myself.
    • Have a mini spa treatment, watch a chick flick, or visit the coffee shop, or do something else to take care of me once a week.
    • Practice playing piano again now that I have my grandma’s piano. I want to be able to play and not be embarrassed if others hear me.
  •  Find ways to earn money and save money so John can come home and we both can work from home.
    • Work on starting our business.
    • Consider buying and renting out more houses, in the future.
    • Plan, think and discuss before making any major purchases.
    • Create a budget. Update as needed.
    • Finish Financial Freedom University, even if it’s on our own, and get the workbook and all forms complete.
    • Pay the bills on time every time and document payments.
    • Use coupons and sales regularly for all purchases, if possible.
    • Save 5% of income each month to eventually have 6 months of income in savings for emergencies.
    • Save $50 a month for Christmas and Birthdays. It’s not enough yet, but it’s a start.
    • Increase savings and investments for retirement.
  • Become more self-sufficient and prepared for emergencies.
    • We now have a large garden area. In the spring, plant ¼ of it to get into the swing of gardening and to learn what grows well in this area.
    • Learn how to use the generator and the compost pile to get the most effective use from them.
    • Determine what food we have growing on the land. Plant more patches and fruit trees, etc. Figure out how to the food that is growing effectively.
    • Find other things that we can do to become self-sufficient on our land.
    • Store 1 month’s worth of food and supplies.
    • Prepare 72 hour kits for each family member.
    • Learn more techniques for preparing for any emergency.
Happy New Year!! It's now official.So here goes.

Here are my expectations and hopes for 2011:

  • I expect to grow closer to God, by spending more time with Him and witnessing His actions around me.
  • I hope to have our home, family and work under God’s direction and guidance so that it is easy to see what we are supposed to do.
  • I expect to be a better servant and child of God.
  • I hope to serve God more by involving the family in more service projects.
  • I expect to draw closer to my husband and to be even more in love with him by the end of the year.
  • I hope that John and I can make new friends so we have people to invite over.
  • I expect John and I to teach our children to draw closer to God through family devotions and other learning opportunities.
  • I hope that the children can learn to make the right decisions even now so their lives can be blessed in the future.
  • I expect our children to draw closer to each other so they can depend on their brothers and sisters and respect each other.
  • I hope that each child can find at least one good friend outside of their family that they can spend time with and share memories.
  • I expect each child to mature and to grow and achieve things to the best of their ability, not more than their ability.
  • I hope that the children can be more stable in our home and feel more secure about their life.
  • I expect our home to be a welcoming and open place for anyone who wishes to come into it.
  • I hope to clean and de-clutter my house more regularly.
  • I expect some wonderful, exciting, and happy times.
  • I expect celebrations.
  • I expect great family times.
  • I hope for lots of the above.
  • I expect some sadness, trials and tribulations.
  • I expect some tough family times.
  • I hope for very few of the above.
  • I expect days that go smoothly and days that don’t.
  • I expect myself to grow as a person-spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
  • I expect of myself to set the example, in all areas of life, for what I expect from my family.
  • I hope to remember that everything I do, I do it for the Lord. I want to be His servant and His example in all things.
  • I expect myself to work to the best of my ability and to not waste as much time as I have in the past.
  • I hope to re-start and maintain my routines so that life can run smoother.
  • I expect to find joy, contentment and a love for life in at least one small thing every day.
  • I expect to know that God is with me, even when it doesn’t feel evident.
  • I hope to share my life more often with more people through emails, blogs, phone calls and old-fashioned letter writing.

Most importantly, I expect and hope that everything we do, say and think pleases God and makes Him proud to have this family as His children.