Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I just finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. (Note: Amazon affiliate link!)  I actually don't think of myself as a particularly unhappy person, although I'm sure I have some habits that fall into the slightly-disliked category. For instance, I snap at people when I'm tired or hungry. I tend to use sarcasm a little too often. Um...I'm sure there's more. But, let's just stick with the short list for now.

Ms. Rubin creates a year-long project in hopes of making herself happier. Each month is devoted to a certain set of goals, which she tracks daily on a chart. I think the overall method is a little too much for me, but I loved the idea of it and am considering a miniature version. I need to think through what that would look like, though. Do I just work on my attitude when tired or stressed? Do I include my marriage (as she did hers)? Maybe I should think about my work habits?

I spent a good part of the new year working through our finances, so I actually started my own Happiness Project without realizing it. Part of the book talks about money, albeit differently than the budget I'm referring to. Being in control of one finances, though, definitely helps to bring a general happiness (or at least less stress).

Cleaning products have been in the back of my mind for a long time. Not only do we spend a lot of money on chemicals, I feel my family is also leaving quite a mark on the planet with our cleaning habits. So, a few weeks ago, my friend and I made our own laundry detergent and multi-purpose cleaner. The detergent is a winner at my house, but I think the cleaner just isn't what I hoped. I'm not sure that things are as clean as I'd like. Does anyone have a good disinfectant that isn't in the form of non-reusable wipes?

Since I've tackled a couple of things that were on my mind, I think I may look to others to see what I can do to make myself happier. My overall 2015 list (as of now) looks like this:
1. Deal with medical issues (1 appointment made; still need to schedule dentist and eye doctor)
2. Kitchen walls and ceiling
3. Bathroom walls and floor
4. Overhaul bedroom closets
5. Create office space (figure out if it's possible?)
6. Clean front closet
7. Update blog at least weekly
8. Get back to regularly exercising

I guess a lot of the things on my list center around my house. I shouldn't be so surprised, though, since that kind of work is what I typically put off. Putting off work is something that has a tendency to make me unhappy.

While I try to think of some ways to make my list happen, why don't you tell me some things on your list?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Baby, it's FRIGID outside

My family makes fun of my about my love of a good snow storm. But, as long as everyone is safe, I really do enjoy being stuck inside! Watching the white snow fall is nice; it always looks so pretty! And, growing up in Western New York, I've certainly seen my share of storms.

This is the time of year, though, that even the most winter-loving person gets tired of it. Almost everyone I know is sick of the winter and sick of the snow and, most of all, sick of the cold. Earlier today was a low of -31 degrees Fahrenheit windchill. That's kind of crazy and even I'll admit to wishing it were a little warmer.

You know what, though? I'm still happy. I still love being snuggled inside, under a blanket, drinking something warm. After church today we came home and everyone just enjoyed doing something on their own...but we were all together, you know? We're all inside, chatting and listening and reading and resting. I believe there may have been some naps, some hot chocolate, some computer games, some TV shows and lots of laughter. (There was also lots of quiet, which is so good for the soul.)

This cold winter is a great reminder of the need for togetherness and clam before the growth-period of spring. We'll all be outside soon enough. We'll feel the warmth of the sun and open all of our windows. We'll clean up our houses in preparation of longer days, filled with outdoor activities because it's too nice to stay inside. (For me, I'll feel too hot to clean much in the summer, so I really need to do a deep clean beforehand!)

I plan to enjoy wonderful family dinner tonight at my in-law's house. I'm sure there will be candles and warmth. We'll be eating out on their patio soon enough, so tonight I'll take advantage of the kids wanting to sit a bit closer and celebrate another winter Sunday.

Monday, February 9, 2015

I'm sorry, I didn't hear what you said...

I definitely struggle with patience. And listening. Want someone to start listening and then excitedly talk over you because I can't wait? I'm your girl! This makes it hard when I'm trying to listen when I'm praying. Did you know that part of praying is also supposed to be silent? Like you would be if you participate in normal conversations? (Unlike myself. Please, don't follow my lead on this one.)

It seems like it has been months and months that I've been trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing. And then, because I don't think He could possibly be listening, I try to do whatever I think I'm supposed to be doing...without asking and then listening. I guess you could say I'm more of a leader than a follower in this case.

To be honest, I'm not really sure why I think I'm supposed to be doing something else/additional. I have a decent job. We're (kind of/sort of) able to pay our bills. We're sponsoring a child. I'm going to Haiti on another mission trip (NEXT MONTH). But, I know it's there. I know that somewhere in my half-listening, it's there. My problem is that once I listen, I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to be patient. Oh dear, that's almost impossible!

One slight nudge I'm getting is about writing. I need to write. Here? In a journal? I'm not sure, so I'm doing both. It feels good! (These are really both journals - and probably both private!) I need to come up with some sort of schedule. Something that makes sense and won't make me want to run and cry. We're in our last couple of months before baseball/softball season and it's likely that free time will quickly dwindle.

So, all of this to say that I'm really hoping to be here. Writing through, while I keep trying to listen...and wait. I hope you'll wait with me!

Do any of you have trouble listening? How do you handle it?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Here we are

It's already February, which is quite a long ways from October when I stopped in last. I guess I'm not as good at staying on track with writing as I'd hoped I'd be.  We've had holidays and storms and goodness knows what else since then. But, there's no sense in wallowing. Let's pick up and move on, shall we?

I'm going to Haiti next month. (Next month??? That's soon.) I'm starting to prepare, mentally and by making lists and going to meetings and gathering supplies. There are definitely prayers to be said over the whole thing, and also hopes for relationships and just general excitement.

While the Haiti-prep is happening, the kids and the husband are still moving on with their activities and lives. (I suppose I am, too.) Meetings, practices, plays, school, intermurals…it's all needing our attention. At some point we're adding in some family time and rest, too.

Rest is often the hardest part. We had our annual Super Bowl party, which is always quite the event. I'm still trying to clean up after that, along with doing all of the normal life things, too. Add to that a child with a hurt leg, a father having a medical procedure and some rough days at work and you've got someone who just needs to take it easy. And you know what? I'm actually going to. Sweat pants are on. Nook is charged. Laptop is, well…on my lap. I have a nice glass of Chardonnay next to me and a dog resting on my legs. One child is doing homework, one child is listening to music (both in the room with me) and the other child is at a game with the husband.

Dishes? What dishes?

[I was totally planning to post a picture of the dishes sitting on my counter. BUT, Frick is on my legs and Frack is on my son's legs and the girl is doing homework. It seems ridiculous to ask her to stop studying so the one or two of you can see my housework.]

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Wow, it sure has been a while. As everyone does, I guess I've just had a lot going on! I'm here with a cup of coffee now, though, so won't you sit down and join me?

Over the summer, a friend of mine and I took my girls to a One Direction concert in Philadelphia. (No, we don't live in Philadelphia. My sister does, though, so we at least had a place to stay.) We left after work on a Wednesday (arriving very late), went to the concert on Thursday and then drove home on Friday. Then? I had a 40th birthday part for my husband on Saturday. That was a busy week.

Anyway, the concert. It seemed like it was going to be a nice night at this outdoor venue. Maybe cool, but nice. After the opening act, my older daughter went to the bathroom. The younger one mentioned she was a little cold, so I started to hand her my jacket - which is when the heavens opened up and gallons and gallons and gallons of water came down. Gallons. We were in the middle of a row, toward the the top of the section. There was no point in trying to get up and out; there were people everywhere! Finally, we were told we had to leave. We saw my older daughter near the concessions. She said that she saw people running and screaming as she came out of the bathroom and was terrified that something awful was happening. Poor thing.

Looking pretty before the rain

Drowned rats after the rain

(I'm really taking a long time to get to the point of this post. But, I feel like I had to tell you that it rained. And we got really wet. And that my friend drove all the way to Philadelphia with me to see a One Direction concert and got poured on. That's love.)

Then, just as quickly as it started, it stopped. The sky cleared and thousands of tweens and teens started screaming and getting ready. The adults seemed to be trying to figure out how to sit in wet jeans and still be comfortable. (Fun fact: my friend took her jeans off and road back to my sister's house pantless. I thought I should probably keep mine on in case we got pulled over, as I was driving. She's kind of smart, though, because wet jeans are. gross.  But then we stopped at a store for snacks and she couldn't come in because she couldn't get her wet jeans back on.)

The girls really did seem to enjoy the concert. There were some tears. There were lots of cell phone pictures. There was lots of dancing. At some point I had the brilliant idea to Google the set list so we knew how much longer we had to be there. It definitely made it easier to count down when we knew what to expect.

Note the rubber One Direction bracelets. Oh brother.
Just before the encore, I decided to text my sister to give her an idea of when to expect us back at the house. You know how your phone will give you suggested words because it thinks it knows what you're going to say? Well, I typed the word, "Waiting." Then, it suggested, "for" and I clicked on it. Then, it suggested, "the." See where this is going? I sure thought I did. I mean, I wanted to say that I we were, "Waiting for the encore." But, the next word my phone had in mind was, "Lord." Apparently my Galaxy S4 believes that, while at a One Direction concert, I was actively waiting for Jesus.

I have to say that we had a rather lengthy discussion as to how Jesus would've behaved if he had chosen that night to come back. Would he want them to finish their set? Does he like One Direction? It's so hard to say.

Shouldn't we all be actively waiting all of the time? Shouldn't we be living our lives as if it could be right now, at this minute? Shouldn't we be loving God and loving our neighbor NOW?  Maybe he'll come back during a concert. Or, while I'm doing dishes. (That would be good!) Or, when we're making cookies for a shut-in neighbor. But, let's all live intentionally and actively while we're waiting so we're ready when he does.

Be kind, everyone!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How I Want to Be Remembered

Not too long ago I was thinking about how I want to be remembered. I'm not entirely sure how I got onto this subject in my head, but there it was. To be honest, I wasn't necessarily thinking about death. I mean, that was part of it, but I also wonder how my kids will remember me when they're older and have their own lives/homes/families. I'm definitely hoping that the times I lost my temper or was unnecessarily short will be overshadowed by thoughts of love. I suppose it's unrealistic to hope they won't remember the anger at all.

While I was mulling this over, I happened to receive an email with this blog entry at Chasing Blue Skies. It was like she knew what I was thinking! I really wanted to call her and talk to her and tell her my thoughts...except I don't know her and that would be strange. But, she really did get me thinking.

I initially thought I wanted to be remembered as funny and kind. (My husband often teases me and says that I'm the funniest person I know. I think I kind of am.) I like to joke around and I certainly like to be liked. One of the ways to ensure people like you is to be kind, right? Being kind makes me feel good and certainly makes the recipient of the kindness feel good. So, this can't be a bad thing. Except...I wonder if it is. Really, why am I being kind? Is it only to be liked? I don't think so. But...maybe.

The motto of the church my family attends is, "Love God, Love Your Neighbor, Nothing Else Matters." I like it. It reminds me that love is the most important thing, all of the time. Love everyone. (Note, that doesn't mean you won't ever be angry or hurt or anything like that. There are sermons and sermons and sermons about that.) If all of our actions are driven by love - love of God - then I believe we will be kind. But, if my kindness is driven by wanting to remembered as being kind...well then I've missed the mark. Being kind for the sake of being remembered as kind will also make me remembered as someone a little adrift. Nice, but no substance.

If I show love to my friend by making a dinner for her family while her father is sick, that's certainly kind. If I show kindness by holding the door for the man holding all of the grocery bags, that's a good deed. If I hold my daughter after her heart is broken or listen to my son talk, again, about the great play he made in a video game, I'm showing patience. Patience, love...and parts of kindness.

I think, ultimately, Kristen is right. I want to be remembered as someone who deposited Christ's love into someone else every day. Sometimes that is kindness. Sometimes it's structure and discipline. Sometimes it's laughter. (I think it's very often food.) If I'm relying on God to help me show kindness, then I can't go wrong. If I'm relying on myself to just be kind, then it may not work. I know that I can't rely only on myself to be patient; I was not blessed with much of that. I know, though, that I can show kindness via patience by relying on God.

I'll keep trying to be kind through love, knowing that it's always a work in progress.

How do you want to be remembered?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer time is done so here's a list of fall favorites

This is it! Labor Day has arrived and the kids go back to school tomorrow. I'm taking the girls shopping   for some last minute things today and then - that's it! I'm actually pretty glad that we're approaching school because that means cooler weather is finally around the corner. I don't love to be hot. I only like to sweat if I'm working out. I will say that I don't necessarily love letting go of the ease of summer and it's lack of schedule. But, we can't stop the passage of time! So, since I'm sure you're dying to know what I'm looking forward to this fall, here's a list:

1. Sunday School and Confirmation - I probably had the most enjoyable year ever teaching Sunday School last year and am lucky enough to have the same class again this year (with the addition of one more age). My younger daughter is in that class and I'm excited to have her again. I also lead my older daughter's Confirmation small group and had so much fun getting to know the girls last year. I think this coming year is going to be even better!

2. My birthday - I turn 40 this year! I'm a combination of excited and nostalgic about this. I can't believe time has gone so quickly, but I also know that I'm the best "me" I've ever been right now. I'm ready for another decade!

3. Jeans and sweatshirts - I don't think this needs any explanation

4. Turkey Trot - I don't love Thanksgiving (at least, I don't love the meal itself - I do love being thankful with family and friends), but I love getting together with 20,000 of my closest friends here in Buffalo and running 5 miles in the freezing cold. This year younger daughter is doing it with me and I can't wait!

5. CHRISTMAS MUSIC - Yes, I realize I'm talking about fall right now. But, I tend to listen to Christmas music all year long. It makes me happy. But, I bring it on full force in October and make my whole family listen starting November 1. (This is not my husband's favorite thing about me.)

6. Crockpot food - Fall food gets so thick and yummy. Chili and pasta and all kinds of hot stuff. I'm looking forward to the watermelon salad I'm having for lunch today, but I definitely can't wait for cold-weather food.

7. Blankets - Oh, how I love to curl up under a blanket and read a book with a cup of coffee in hand!

8. Crunchy leaves and crisp air - Taking walks and hearing the crunch of leaves under my feet is one of my favorite sounds. The colors are so pretty and the air smells so...crisp - like the earth is cleaning up before its long sleep.

9. Celebrations - My husband's birthday is in August, which starts months of celebration. My father is also in August, then my mom is September, me and the boy are October and then it's full-on holiday season in November and December.

10. Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin bread - So, so delicious. I'm not as big a fan of the all-things-pumpkin that seems to have taken over our country, but I do love me some salty pumpkin seeds. And, who doesn't love pumpkin bread with coffee?

I guess I'll have to keep thinking of this list as I try to stay as cool as possible. I hope you have great plans for Labor Day - tell me about them!