Friday, August 8, 2014

Because I know...


Most of you ended your day by asking your sweet one if they had a good day, if they liked their teacher, did they make a new friend, if they enjoyed their lunch, did they learn something new, what was their favorite part of the day, what was their least, if they had fun, if they didn't and why, and so on and so on.

On the other hand, I cannot ask Jude these questions and expect an answer. 

I have to have complete and blind faith that he likes his teachers, that he made new friends, that he was treated kindly, that he received the education he deserves, and that his needs were met above and beyond.

And you know what?  

I do have that faith.

Do I have faith in the school system? Not nessacarily.  We live in a great school system that has been awesome so far.  However, it is a "system" and systems don't work for every person and child.  If that was the case, we wouldn't have private schools and home schools.

Do I have faith in the teachers and staff?  I have met them a few times, and they all seem nice.  I have heard many sing their praises, but I don't know them.  Not really.  And to have faith in man would be silly.

Do I have faith in myself as a parent to do the best and make the best decisons for my son?  No way.  I make mistakes hourly.  I pray daily for forgiveness of where I could have done better and guidance to do better the next time I have the opportunity.

My faith is not in the school system, not in the teachers, and not in myself.  

My faith is in Christ alone.

The same faith I had that God had a plan with giving us a child with special needs is the same faith I have in Him when I enroll my son in school and trust them to take care of him.

The same faith I had that The Lord would heal my three month old and let him live is the same faith that allows me to drop him off at school every morning without tears of fear.

The same faith I had that God would allow Jude to walk one day despite the fact that he could barely sit up is the same faith I have when I watch Jude walk in into his class in the morning holding the hand of his teacher.

The same faith that I have in His Grace when the fear over the next five years of Jude's life threatens to steal my joy, is the same faith I have when I tuck Jude in at night and anticpate a good day for him tomorrow.

Because I know...


I know Who goes before me.  I know Who stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side.



"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
          Deuteronomy 31:8 



Sunday, May 18, 2014

Red Stick Summertime- Part One: Around the House


With the arrival of summer break upon us, I am already anxious over having two restless littles in the house and under foot.  

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having my kids all to myself during holiday and summer breaks.  It just seems that Aubrey is in a very good play stage, but I am her only playmate.  And Jude needs tons of interaction and stimulation to maintain his development.  Plus Louisiana summers are anything but mild, and it won't be long before I hear "it's too hot" from the mouth of my little girl.



Last year when summer began, I was so excited.  This was the first summer I had ever had a walking/talking child.  The years before, Aubrey was a baby, or I was pregnant and tired, or Jude was sick, etc etc.  I had expectations that last summer was going to be a wonderful time of new experiences and fun in the sun.

Well....

The thought and intentions were there...

But the fun? It was sparse and replaced by stress and frustration.

Turns out that even though Aubrey was walking, it was just as hard to get the kids ready and out of the house for anything.  I vividly remember sitting in their disaster of a bedroom and sobbing tears of disappointment and frustration wondering how much longer until school started back and I found glorious routine again.  

The days were so long and not at all the fun I thought they might be.  

What happened?

Well this year, I don't share that same excitement.  I feel kinda worried that a repeat of last summer's misery may be creeping around the corner.  So to counteract my worry, I decided to schedule some fun things for my family.  I think that was my biggest problem last summer; I didn't make a plan.

So I am making a summer planner for my kiddos and activities with them.  If you think that's kinda over the top, let me just put it this way:  Everyday we keep planners so that we can make the most out of our work and social time, so it's very reasonable that keeping a summer planner will allow us to make the most out of our time with our children.  



I have three categories in the planner: 
Around the House
Little to No Cost Around the Town Activities
Events and Activities In the Area

This post will be about activities Around the House.

I don't plan to fill every day with an activity away from the house. I think summertime should be full of backyard adventures.  And I want to have several types of activities.  Some that need my help so I get to interact with them, some that require them to be independent so I can get things done too, some that involve sensory play, some that create learning experiences, and some that are just plain fun.




So here are some activities for around the house:



Fingerpainting on the porch- the mess rinses right off with a water hose
Picking real food from the garden 
Pulling out the baby pool and sprinkler- makes for a great nap time
Setting up the Jump 'n Slide in the evening
Evening blanket picnic- simple things are extraordinary to littles
Playing with sidewalk chalk and bubbles- my favorite
Bean bag toss - making boards is on my hub's summer honey do list
Playdough playtime at the dining table- for days that are just too hot
Story time- not just for bed time; a good transition activity 
Dance Party - turn up the music and get the wiggles out before lunch and nap time
Activity sheets- tracing letters, counting items, matching colors
Teach age appropriate chores with chore charts- my other favorite
Have a tea party
Cooking Lesson- let them help make lunch or a snack
Hide and Go Seek- Jude and AL love "seeking" Lane and me
Bible Lesson- can be story time
Craft Time: Paint a canvas or complete a craft from store kit
Make a paper chain 



This is what I've compiled so far.  Honestly, the possiblities are endless for around the house play, especially with the help of Pinterest.  Some activities need prep and planning, but it's never a good idea to wait until there is nothing to do to find something to do (hence last summer).  I have a craft cabinet in my dining/kitchen area full of fingerpaint, acryclic paint, crayons, water color, chalk, playdough, construction paper, brushes, sponges, glitter, glue, stickers, activity sheets... you get the picture right.  It's our Craft Command Center, and I will be printing activity sheets and heading to Hobby Lobby and Michael's to make sure it's fully stocked by the end of next week when the final school bell rings.





A friend of mine helped me do a trial run during a play date with Aubrey Lane and her twin boys.  Thanks to a well stocked craft cabinet and a mom armed with dinosaur foam stickers, not only did we keep 3 almost 3 year olds busy for nearly 3 hours, but they kinda enjoyed themselves too.  We scribbled on paper with chalk and covered it with stickers, completed a quick construction paper craft found on Pinterest, and made a paper chain to countdown the weekdays of summer.  Then hung it all up for display in the dining nook.


 I don't care if my house looks like a preschool; that's where I am in life right now and I want to embrace it.  BLOOM! Right?

Don't get me wrong, there will be those rainy days where we pop in Tangled or Frozen for the 100th time and snuggle on the couch. I just don't want those days to become the standard summer day.

I want to encourage you (and myself) that this is a very precious season of your life.   Before you know it, that little prince or princess will be a teenager and off with their friends or working a summer job, and that special one on one time you had fingerpainting or singing nursery rhymes will be in the past.  Be present in these sweet moments because this season, like others, will be over before we know it.

If you have a house full of littles, I hope you found this post helpful.  You might have some ideas of your own and I would love to hear them.  And if you have older children from preschoolers to preteens, I'd love to hear your summer game plan for them because it won't be long before I am in that age group as well. 



Well I hope you had a good weekend.  Stay tuned for Part Two!

Angel


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Growing and Remembering



With the late arrival of this year's spring (you don't even want to get me started on how much I dislike Punxsutawney Phil), we are getting a late start on the planting... which I'm sure is okay because it was 50 degrees a couple nights ago and it's MAY... IN LOUISIANA!

Plus the passing of Lane's sweet Maw Maw Nell and the events that followed didn't actually leave us in the gardening mood.  For the past couple of years, we have bought her a tomato plant upon her request. This year, we bought our plants while she was in the hospital just a handful of days before her passing.  Lane decided to go ahead and buy her a tomato plant- he was confident she would get to come home and tend to it.  

After her passing, I mentioned to my friend, Beth, that I was so sad about all the selfish things I wanted Maw Maw here for and that it breaks my heart that Aubrey Lane may not have any vivid memories of her.  Well Beth had the sweetest idea- to plant the tomato plant we bought for Maw Maw and talk about her to the children.  And to maybe do it every year.

So we did.  


We planted one for Maw Maw who was laid to rest Good Friday. We planted one for Paw Paw who was laid to rest Good Friday last year.  We adorned one container with a yellow pinwheel, the other with a blue.  We plan to do the same on Good Friday next year, and the next, and the next...


We talk about it to Aubrey Lane because she often asks where she is.  I don't know how much she understands, but we have explained that Maw Maw is with Jesus, and that Jesus lives in heaven and and in our heart so that is where Maw Maw lives.  So now when we walk past her house on the way to and from the mailbox,  Aubrey Lane will simply state "Maw Maw's in heaven."  It's not a complex or sad thing for her.  It just simply is.  Kinda beautiful to witness that child like faith so many of us seek for ourselves.


Okay back to planting and a lighter note before I pull out more tissue...




This year Lane built me another raised garden.  It's a little smaller than the first so I decided to use the garden for herbs and tomato plants.  I am already excited thinking of the tomato basil soup full of fresh ingredients from my garden.  


As time passes, I hope to eventually add more gardens or raised beds.  Not only do I love the idea of cooking veggies grown in my own garden, our family life seems to thrive in the outdoors.  Lane and I will actually call dibs on who gets to cut the grass.  My only worry is Jude- he loves being outdoors when we can give him undivided attention like in a swing or wagon, but since he can't play independently, being outdoors while the family is tending the garden or picking up sticks isn't appealing to him at all.  We used to pull out a pack and play and let him play while we worked, but he doesn't seem to like that anymore.  He has also outgrown the toddler swing, so Lane and I have talked about saving money and getting the children a nice swingset for Christmas and an adaptive swing for Jude. 


In the meantime, we are making sure that Aubrey Lane understands the importance of including him in her playtime: rolling the ball with him, blowing bubbles with him, even driving him around in the Power Wheels which is pretty adorable.  Any other outdoor activities or playtime ideas for Jude would be greatly appreciated.

It's truly a season of growing for us in many areas... hope it's the same for you as well.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Homestead Needs a Name


Happy May, y'all!

So the last time I gave an update on working towards homesteading, I was in a turmoil over choosing the right house plans.  I just kept stalling.  First it was waiting on Lane to finish and pass his training (a 10 month process).  That ended in September.  Then it was the holidays and vacations and so on and so on, realizing that I was finding excuses to stall.  So after lots of praying and lots of discussing with the husband, I decided to wait until I felt comfortable moving forward with house plans.  

As the time went by, we would revisit the planning process only to realize that the same initial problems were still there- little problems like the orientation of the house, the placement of the carport, the decison on stock plans vs custom plans, and so on and so on.  

Through advice from my friends and input from people who had recently build, I came to realize that I would never find the "perfect house plan".  Even with a limitless budget, there would always be a compromise or priority that ruled out something that I think I can't live without.

So we decided to have custom plans drawn inspired by a coastal cottage design I mentioned in a previous blog post that you can read by clicking HERE.  We listed the things we needed in a house and went with that... everything else we desired would be considered a bonus if it happened.  We know we need the following amenities in a home:

1. a master suite with lots of privacy so Lane could sleep through the day uninteruppted when he worked nights  

2. a downstairs bedroom and bath for Jude

3. a bonus space or extra room  for The Mustard Seed studio

So we met with the a drafting design company and listed all the things we need and the things we want with lots of pictures of the style we want.  We really like our designer's ideas, and when the preliminaries came in a couple of weeks ago, we were very pleased.  We still have some tweeks and decisons to make like shingles or metal roof, porch size, doorway details, etc... Then we will meet with the designer and move forward with the final plans.

So. Exciting.  

When this whole process was just a dream, I found a blog called That New House.   The author, Anna, blogs the details of building a home similiar to ours from beginning to end.  The blog was so helpful and insightful as was Anna in answering all my questions.  I may have emailed her a time or two or three or four.

During their process, Anna and her family decided that their homestead needed a name, Okra Hill Farm, in which she blogs about their life after the build.

Well she inspired me and I think our homestead needs a name as well.  I want the name to capture the essence of Louisiana as well as Coastal Georgia and South Carolina.  We have several ideas.  First we have planted a couple Red Maple trees over the past few years so I like the name "Maple Cottage".  I even have a Pinterest Board with the same name full of ideas for our new home.  Lane wants to plant Dogwood trees and their is a young Magnolia tree that greets our driveway.  So we thought of the names "Dogwood House" and "Magnolia Cottage".  I want a chicken coop and a few more gardens, so we could always use "Farm" in the name somewhere- thought of "Mustard Seed Farm", but I would like to keep the business and home separate entities since my business is in my home.  

Our property is very close to the Comite River so "Comite Cottage" is an option.  And our property used to be Lane's family's back cow pasture and is still referred to today as "The Back Pasture", so that is an option as well.

So many possibilities... what do y'all like?

I hope to have a name for our homestead the next time I blog on this subject so that all my house building adventures can fall under it's title.  It's all so thrilling (right now) to think about.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Is there ever a good time?


I have been wanting to get back into lifestyle blogging for a while, but there never seems to be a good time... especially since I haven't been blogging for awhile.  Just jumping into a blog post about the latest craft project, new home d├ęcor, or most recent episode of a violent stomach bug after months of being MIA just seems a little strange to me.

Even now it seems a little absurd to write about any of that trivial stuff so soon after the recent passing of my husband's grandmother.  Even though she was not my grandmother by blood, I loved her dearly; and being that I literally moved away from everything and everyone I knew to build a brand new life with my husband in his hometown, next door to his parents and grandparents, this sweet lady was part of the fabric of my everyday life.  

Last year we laid Pawpaw to rest on Good Friday and our hearts were grieved.  This year we will lay Mawmaw to rest on Good Friday as well and the grief reaches a whole new level.  I never dreamed we would be saying goodbye to her so soon.  So many things I thought she would be here for: Aubrey Lane's dance recital, Jude's amazing progress, having her over for dinner in the "big white house" we are planning on building, the possible arrival of a third baby one day, and so much more. 

My heart is heavy, but I am so thankful for the time we did have.  She was there at the church when I took her family's last name, at the hospital to hold both of my newborn babies, and on her front porch just about everyday when Aubrey Lane and I would go check the mail or get Jude off the bus, and so many special everyday moments. 

That brings me back to the blogging about all the trivial stuff... but it's not really trivial is it?  It's my life all written down in this blog- when I choose to blog.  These precious little everyday moments that seem trivial are so important.  Looking back on them brings comfort and happiness and peace, especially during these tender times of grief and celebration of life. 

So there is always a good time to start blogging again... and maybe it's today. 



"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am there you may be also."
                                                                     John 14:1-3
Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What does suffering look like for you?- A Heart Series





Did the title get your attention? 




It gets mine.




For the past couple of weeks our Sunday School class has stayed on the same lesson…  Suffering. 




As we talked about how so many Christians portray Jesus as the end to all your troubles and easy streets from here on out, the honest truth is that with Christianity comes suffering.  It’s a Biblical promise. 




Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.


James 1:2-4




We continued to talk about suffering and that we should be focused not on our circumstances, but the bigger picture and not the “why” it’s happening, but the “who” we are really dealing with.  The Lord.  The author of the Sunday School lesson book gave a great explanation of this.  When dealing with suffering we often want to know “why” is this happening.  “Why” doesn’t dry your tears, bring back lost time, nor offers comfort and peace, but The Lord does. 




At the end of class, people were sharing about the silver lining of their suffering.  I almost spoke up to share that Lane and I were different people because of our suffering.  That it was in the midst of our deepest suffering, preparing to say goodbye to our 3 month old son, we completely surrendered everything to God and proclaimed that whatever had to happen to Glorify His Name was our ultimate desire.  And from that ultimate surrender in the midst of our suffering, our hearts found peace and our son found healing.




But I kept my mouth shut.




Why?




Because it is such a hindsight response.  Not an answer for someone right dab in the middle of suffering.  Not too many suffering people are excited to hear that they are suffering to become better people.  Everyone wants to be a better person, but few of us pray for the suffering that creates that kind of growth. 

Don’t get me wrong-  I will never discredit the miracle that took place in our lives a little over 6 years ago.  But life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon; and day to day presents its new struggles to conquer in the name of the Lord.   And although God’s name was glorified in a life changing way in the midst of those very dark days, wasn’t I back in the midst of suffering a couple years later begging God for a baby;  not being able to worship because my heart was so full of pain and anger; the decisions facing me too heavy for me to bear; fear and desperation surrounding me, drowning out the voice of the Holy Spirit?  Letting my circumstances seem bigger than the Lord and asking why instead of who?  Am I not back in those same very dark days again?  Suffering once again after surrendering all?




But suffering looks different for me now.  Instead of surrendering to the suffering, I am surrendering in it.




So what does suffering look like for me?




Well I can tell you what it doesn’t look like.  You will not see me shying away from church and friends, sloughing off my prayer time, or shaking an angry fist at God.




What it does look like is me reaching out and being real with my friends, and asking for their prayers and encouragement; making sure I’m active in my church and Sunday School so I can be there to soak up every bit of love the Lord has placed in my path that day; being vulnerable to my husband, taking in his reassuring words and letting his comforting hugs last longer instead of rushing away to do chores; letting him pray for me and letting him know that he is needed in my life.  What suffering looks like for me is squeezing my babies longer because even though it’s another child I ache for, I am so in love and thankful for the two I have that I feel like my heart could explode; praising my Savior with tears in my eyes and remembering that He is bigger than this suffering.  Surrendering to Him, not the suffering.




What suffering looks like for me is some of the most tender and precious moments of my life.




Precious friend, I don’t know the suffering you are facing today.  Whether it’s days of depression, the pregnancy test that refuses to show 2 pink lines, a husband or wife you can’t see eye to eye with, a stack of bills and long line at the unemployment office, the devastating diagnosis at the doctor’s office… or maybe life has been easy for a while and you can’t remember what suffering is like… Whenever suffering comes, not “if” it comes, but “whenever”, the days can be dark, far from easy to get through, and circumstances may seem too heavy and unbearable.  Don’t let the suffering harden your heart.  Let your suffering be a tender and precious time of growing.  Don’t focus on the “why”, but the “who” and let your suffering change your life in a beautiful way.  Do not surrender to the suffering, but surrender to Him in it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Finally! A Christmas Post!


So I know that I have been promising a blog post from our Christmas events.  I have been blogging a little of what's on my heart lately, but no cute pictures of the kids.  And lets get honest, a blog post without pictures really isn't that fun, is it?  In fact, one of the reasons I fell in love with blogging is because I have a good friend that used to blog and she had the most precious pictures of her family.  She made you feel like you were peeping into the next issue of a Southern Living Magazine.  But sadly she hasn't blogged in forever!  (Dear friend, if you are reading this and know who you are, I miss your blog posts.)

I digress...

As for our Christmas events, it was pretty much the same huge work load for the business as usual, but I managed to get some great Christmas memories in there too.

We started our Christmas season early by heading to Silver Dollar City for their Old Time Christmas Festival.  We decided we wanted to make a tradition of bringing the kids there every year or every other year if schedules get too busy.  

The last time we went to Silver Dollar City, we were preggo and didn't know it, so Aubrey Lane had never been. We actually stayed in the exact same cabin we stayed in 3 years ago.




I was so excited for Jude and Aubrey Lane to see the lights and hear the sounds of Christmas, but I was no where prepared for how COLD it was going to be.  We were literally walking around in 20 degree weather.  One night it got down to 12 degrees!  I would tell the locals and tell them that where I'm from, schools and businesses close when it gets this cold.  They would laugh like it was really a joke, yet I sit here blogging on the eve of the second Louisiana Sneaux Day in a week and schools and businesses are definitely closed for the next couple days.... Anyway because we were all so cold and so bundled, I didn't whip out my camera like I thought I would.  I am really bummed that I walked away with only pictures on my iPhone (which I dropped and broke there).  Lane even bought me an external flash for my camera since he dropped and broke it last year.




Anyway, the trip was great, and both the children were awe struck at the Christmas festivities everywhere.  Jude loved the sounds and Aubrey Lane loved the sights.  We heard "Oooo! Look at dis!", "You see dat?", and "You hear dat?" everywhere we went.


We also went to the Dixie Stampede- best meal the whole trip, and out to Branson Landing where we met Neal McCoy- he was THE NICEST MAN.  He sang to the kiddos and offered us free tickets to his show that night, but we already planning to go to Dixie Stampede.




On the way home, we stopped in Monroe to visit some sweet friends and of course go by Duck Commander.  

I didn't hop in the picture because camo, hunting- just not my thing.  And YES, that is a duck call my daughter is blowing.

After we got home from vacation, Thanksgiving was only a couple days later.  We kept the tradition of getting our Christmas tree on Black Friday, but we didn't hop over to Home Depot this year.   We have always had a real tree, but we decided that we would start cutting our own tree as part of a tradition.  So off to the Christmas Tree farm we went.  


We normally get around an 8 foot tree, but this year I wanted something small and easy to decorate.  A tree that was fun, not stressful.  So we found a 5 foot tree and fell in love with it.


Aubrey Lane announced that she was going to pray at the Christmas tree.  Not sure why, but she did.

So Lane chopped it down and home we went to decorate it our little 5 foot cypress Christmas tree.

I could have honestly made a whole blog post on the Christmas Tree farm.  The day was so beautiful and fun. 


An awesome photographer and sweet friend did a quick session for us for Christmas card pictures.  The pictures were beautiful; I want them all, but these were the two we put on our Christmas Card.


Lane worked nights on the day before Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, so Santa waited until the day after Christmas to make his appearance, and the children didn't know the difference.  They were so happy!



This was our first experience with Aubrey Lane starting to anticipate the excitement of the season, and it was contagious.  Jude had a blast too!  I can't wait for next year. 



Thursday, January 23, 2014

One Little Word


So I know that I'm still overdue on a Christmas recap post, and I posted about New Year's resolutions and the dos and don'ts already, but I found fresh inspiration I thought I would share.

My husband's cousin recently turned me onto Whippy Cake.  (If you don't know who this is, you need to find out now!!)  I started by just following her on Instagram, then her blog, now her Pinterest boards.  I am only a little obsessed, not too stalkerish.  She has the best hair, makeup, clothes, etc etc... and she does video styling tutorials!  It's crack in the form of social media! 

ANYWAY... For the New Year she chooses One Little Word to focus on for 2014.  Instead of a list of resolutions that are most likely going to leave you feeling like a failure, you choose one little word to focus on for the year.  A word to title your goals and motivations. 

Becki from Whippy Cake chose the word "Ta Da".  It's perfect and brilliant!  Wish I was creative enough to come up with it.  If you think I'm crazy about getting all worked up over the word "Ta Da", just click on the link above and read all about it.  I bet you feel the same way afterwards.


Well since "Ta Da" is already taken, I needed to find my own word.  I thought and thought and initially decided my word would be "Intentional".  I want to be intentional for 2014.  Intentional with my time, my resources, my words...  I was kind of excited, but something was nagging me and telling me that wasn't my One Little Word.

What now?  My One Little Word for 2014 was not off to a good start so far.  Then it hit me!  I already had a word for 2014 and didn't realize it. 

So my One Little Word for 2014 is...


BLOOM

Now most of you will remember that I have already blogged about that.  You can read all about it by clicking here.

So for 2014 I want to "BLOOM" where I am planted, or uprooted, or waiting, or happy, or unhappy.  Where ever I am, whatever I am doing, I want to be blooming and doing it to the best of my ability. I want to make my current situation better, not scrap it and start a new one. Well.. you get the idea.  By the way, "Bloom" may be my One Little Word, but I am still trying to be "Intentional" as well.  Can you have Two Little Words??

Will you choose a word? And if you have, I'd love to hear about it.

Some tips to One Little Word:
*Pick your word.  Any word that works for you.  I have seen light, faith, joy, smile, fun, move, forward, relax, savor, pray... Be creative, be simple, be more, be less.  Your word is your word. 
*Make your word visible. Get your word in a pretty print off Etsy, a local crafter to make you a sign or wall art, have it engraved or stamped on a piece of jewelry.
*Apply your word to your life.  It doesn't work if you don't use it.
*Hash tag your word to status updates and pictures to remind yourself and make your word more visible in your everyday life.  Example: we just replaced our carpet with wood laminate.  I hash tagged the picture on Instagram with #bloom.

Well that's it for now.. Hopefully I will be back soon with a Christmas recap post for y'all and an update on how the new year is going so far. 



Thursday, January 2, 2014

Resolving to do...Nothing!


Happy New Year, friends!  

I must admit, I am excited for 2014.  Something about the cold and rainy days of January and February give me some "isolation time" to focus on my family and home.  

While everyone else has made some pretty admirable lists of New Year's Resolutions, I have decided to do something a little different this year.  You see resolutions are put into place to resolve a problematic area in your life, but I have something else in mind.  

Don't get me wrong- I have SEVERAL problematic areas in my life!  But the big stuff, I mean the really really important stuff like being more patient with my children, being a submissive wife, give more of myself and time to others, end any partaking in gossip, calming my temper, DYING TO SELF... you know, like I said, the BIG stuff, all the stuff most of us strive at being and doing, WE CAN'T DO!  Trust me, I've tried doing it for several years now, and like a light bulb going off, I have just realized I CANNOT DO IT!

All these wonderful things I strive to do and be are all part of my Sanctification process and becoming more Christ like.  The only way I am going to resolve any negative area of my life is to fill it with Jesus, Jesus, and more Jesus.  And He will reveal the areas that need attention when His time is right.  Instead of trying to "change my ways", I am going to strive harder to listen to Holy Spirit and be obedient.  Which opens way too many doors for me to talk about in this post.

Even though I did not make resolutions, I do have some exciting projects and goals for 2014, from very tiny to kinda big.  

The really little is to eat cleaner meals, less fast food, and no more eating in the living room.  This little goal was put into place to obviosly have healthier habits, have better family time with meals at the table, and train my little family to keep food and crumbs off the new white couches I plan on getting.

The bigger projects, since I am striving to Bloom Where I am Planted, I have decided to update, renew, and redo my house.  Yes, we are still planning on building soon, but I am so much happier "doing" than I am "waiting".  Realistically we shouldn't make huge financial ventures, like say a 30 year mortgage, until Lane has been at Entergy for at least 2 years.  That won't be until November.  And then with the rain and weather of our great Louisiana Winter, it probably won't be practical to start building until late winter/ early spring.  So I am going to give my best effort into making the inside of this house look like what I want the inside of my new house to be.  I'll be so excited to blog about all the projects along the way.  

Well that's it; my first post for 2014.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!