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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Have a "Mary" Christmas


Ok, raise your hand if you have ever had these thoughts in the month of December:

-Next year, we should just go on a missions trip and skip Christmas.
-Would everyone hate me if I just don't do gifts this year?
-I wish I could just ENJOY the holiday instead of being so BUSY!

Chances are you have been stressed out like me, staring at your never-ending list of gifts to buy, make, and wrap, things to cook and bake, places to go, cards to send, people to please, etc., etc.

What if we could prevent that from happening?  Or at least experience less stress and worry each year?

Let's take a look at God's Word to see what He has to say in Luke 10...

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

This passage has come up a lot for me in the past year, especially thanks to my friend the Mary & Martha consultant. :)  I've been asked whether I'm a "Mary" or a "Martha" and pondered how to find a balance between the two.  My son was watching The Donut Man today, and he had something very interesting to say about that infamous situation in the first century.  He said, "Martha was doing the right thing at the wrong time," (from the episode titled "The Celebration House").

Wow, what a great point.  It's not that preparing and cooking and cleaning are bad things.  It's just that there's a time to be busy and a time to sit still and take it all in.  So, how can WE do that?  How can we avoid the distractions of the holiday season that take our focus off of the One Thing that really matters?

First, I think we need to have a plan.  
Second, we need to be proactive about sticking to the plan and checking off our list in a timely                 fashion.  
Finally, we need reminders and support.  
That's where the group comes in.  

After a conversation with my homeschool mom friends the week before Christmas.  We were all complaining about how busy we were and how much more money we still needed to spend.  On the way home, my wheels were spinning.  How could we do this in a better, less "anxious and troubled" way?  As if we were on the same wavelength, I received a message from one with an idea that she had for a free, meaningful stocking stuffer (coupons for dates with mommy and daddy).  Wow!  What a wonderful idea!  She didn't have to go anywhere, not did she spend any money, but her kids were going to love it!  Then she took the extra step of sharing her idea with friends.  That was it!  The idea of the group was born.

I realize we are not commanded to celebrate Christ's birth and that it has become a twisted cultural event.  HOWEVER, it is always a good idea to remember the Greatest Gift that was given to us by our Heavenly Father.  As a symbol, and just naturally, we like to give and receive gifts (even though they don't compare and can never fill us up like a relationship with Jesus).  But where is the balance?  And how do we achieve it?   Let's find out together, shall we?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Now Open: My Etsy Shop! "AffordablyStitched"

Here is the link:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/AffordablyStitched?ref=si_shop

Here are some samples of my work:
 Mommy & Me Wipe-off Apron Set
Pink and Gray Chevron Nursing Cover with Pocket


 Blue and Red Chevron Nursing Cover with Pocket
 "For Mom's Eyes Only" viewing feature

 Nursing Cover with Pocket
Cotton Apron for Girl

Reversible, Wipe-off Apron for Girl

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chicken-tot Casserole

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken
1 can mushroom soup
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 bag frozen tater tots 
1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Cut raw chicken into bite-sized pieces. Pan fry with a small amount of olive oil until cooked through.  Salt and pepper can be added in this phase for added flavor.  Add onions and celery, and remove from heat when onions are translucent.  This was a prepare-ahead meal, so at this point, I allowed the chicken and veggies to cool. You could also prepare and bake right away. 
Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with Pam, and add the chicken. Try to make it as even as possible. Spread mushroom soup evenly over chicken. (Feel free to add milk or broth to make more gravy, but I thought it was perfect without additional liquid). 
Next, completely cover chicken and soup with a layer of tots. Sprinkle cheese on top of the tots. 
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Then remove foil and increase heat to 375. Bake until the tater tots are golden and crispy. Serves 4-5. 

Notes: Good freezer-meal option (thaw first), make early-bake later, or prepare at meal time. Just be aware that frozen tots will extend baking time. For big families, double the recipe and use a 9 x 13 baking dish. Buy gluten free and dairy free products for an allergy-friendly meal. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Random Organizing Idea - Scarves

Do you own a lot of scarves?  How do you store or display them?  As for me, I used to have them strewn about the house in different locations and always forget to wear them.  Later, I began hanging them on a wire shelf in my bedroom, but as my collection grew, the collection began to look really messy.  I had been contemplating this for a while, but decided to give it a shot today while I was cleaning our bedroom.

QUILT RACK AS SCARF HANGER

My grandfather and uncle made me a quilt rack a few years back after I began working on my first quilt.  Well, I finally finished it (6 years later), and it is now on our bed.  That left an empty rack on our wall... perfect for said scarf collection.  

I hope you or someone you know can use this random organizing tip of the day! :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Run-in with Depression


I know, it has been ages since I have written a post.  I needed lots of time off after the October focus. ;)  The itch to write has been there a lot lately, so I am scratching.  A few of you have heard this already, but I thought it might be a good one to share with the rest.

Ignorance

About 3 weeks ago, our MOPS director shared with me what we were going to talk about at our February meeting.  Depression.  Sure, I know people who have battled depression, suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and medicate.  But not me.  I wasn't even really sure how I felt about the whole subject.  Questions fly through my head: Is it biological, psychological, spiritual, or a mixture of these?  Anyway, I knew it would be beneficial for some, but I just brushed it off and focused on my role as Activities Coordinator.  Cake decorating, YUM!

Denial

One week before the meeting, the director tells me that she is unable to make it.  She has to take her boys to their first b-ball game.  Ok.  No problem.  I have taught 35 lessons in one week before.  I can handle showing a video and leading discussion.  Psssh.
Little did I know that the week that followed would rock my world; in a negative sort of way.
I have been enjoying being a stay-at-home-mom now for 6 months.  This is exactly what we desired and prayed for.  I love not having to set an alarm most days, making my own schedule, much fewer deadlines, and the freedom to go wherever, whenever (within reason, of course...I have a toddler).  Lately, however, something changed.  I found Josh asking me on an almost daily basis, "Is everything ok?"  Sure, I am content with my position in life and extremely thankful, but apparently to him I was looking tired, sad, and like I'd just been to a funeral or something.
Yes, the kids were really annoying and didn't listen to a word I said.  Every mess I cleaned up, they made two more to take its place.  Elli woke Max up way too early from his nap two days in a row - not allowing me to have some "me" time or accomplish anything on my to do list.  No, I had to cook and wash dishes with a screaming child clinging to my leg.  The list goes on, but I digress.  I found myself wandering around the house in a dehydrated, low blood sugar daze with an aching head.  Hmm... what can I eat to make me feel better?  What can I take?  I prayed, but it didn't seem to help right away.  Thank goodness we don't have alcohol in the house!
Isn't this what I asked for?  To JUST be a mom?  Well, yes, but I thought I could handle it slightly better than I am.  And to add to the stress, Josh was busy preparing for a big church event last weekend, and I still needed to get some things for MOPS and watch the video in order to prepare some answers for the discussion questions, if needed.  Wednesday night did bring some much needed healing to my mind, body, and spirit.  I got to spend time talking with a friend at church and later headed out for coffee and late night grocery shopping with another.  It was nice to talk, especially about what was going on and get some affirmation that I was not alone.
Thursday rolled around.  It was supper time.  Josh usually gets home at 5:09.  :)  This day, on the other hand, he was nowhere to be found at 5:15, 5:30.  Ok, I better text him.  No response.  5:35.  Time to call.  No answer.  My mind had gone to the most negative places by this time.  He was in an accident.  He was not coming home.  His boss would call me any minute.  This type of negative thinking is not new for me, but I was definitely feeling more anxious this week.  5:38.  Call again.  He answered!  Where are you (as sweetly as possible)?  Forgot to tell me he had to work late again, would see me in 15 minutes.  Whew!

Acceptance

That evening, Josh went to bed early to get some rest for his big day.  I decided to finally sit down and watch the MOPS video.  A licensed counselor went through the list of symptoms of depression and discussed possible causes.

  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sleeping too much
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Wanting to eat all the time
  • Prolonged sadness
  • No sexual desire
  • Wanting to be alone
  • Finding nothing that brings you pleasure
I could definitely relate to a few of those... As she continued, she explained that it could be hormones or chemicals, family history, low thyroid, etc.  The brain is an organ like the liver, she stated, it has issues that need to be addressed by a professional or treated with medication at times.  Wow.  I never really thought of it that way.  She also talked about negative thinking and how detrimental that can be.  She described a wife waiting at home for her husband who was running late and thought he had been in an accident.  At this I had to chuckle...and cry at the same time.  Maybe something is going on with me that I can't explain  or simply pray away.

Treatment

According to the video, there are some very simple things I can do to get out of this "funk". Spend at least 1 hour outside daily.  Yes, this sounds simple, but if you are like me, you hate the cold and would much rather the kids stay dry and clean.  They are like magnets to the nearest pile of snow or puddle of mud (whether they find it themselves or trip and fall into it accidentally).  Oh well, guess I need to buck up, dress warm, and get out there to take in what the sun is offering!  Exercise.  Oh no, not the E-word.  Don't get me wrong, I do like to work out.  I always enjoyed gymnastics and track practices (participating and coaching), heading to the gym with a friend, or even running with a partner.  These days, though, those are impossible.  With no excess money and little extra time, my options are limited.  Sure, I could walk or sprint up the big hill of a driveway we have or use the dusty weight bench in the basement.  But I would much rather have a treadmill in front of a TV in my warm house this time of year.  Or, I could follow these suggestions: http://violetsage.wordpress.com/tag/lazy-girl-fitness/ .  The point is, I need to get my heart rate up, and not just chasing after or carrying my 30 lb. children all day.  Stay away from caffiene.  What?!  No!!!  I LOVE coffee, tea,  AND soda!  Fine, I guess I can throw in some decaf here and there. ;)  Avoid simple carbs and foods high in sugar.  But what about when we are running late and I only have time to grab a pop tart (to go with my creamered, caffeinated coffee) before sprinting out the door?  Found this recipe last night that might help: http://www.roomag.com/slide/banana-bread-protein-muffins/ .  Talk to someone.  I have some great friends and family who are always ready to listen.  This one is easy for me, thankfully.  And finally, think positively.  Now this one is going to be tough.  I have been a negative-thinking worry wart for much of my life.  I've been through stages where it has been easy to see the bright side, but I am now running on E for whatever reason.
There you have it.  My new to-do list.  I must give it a shot for my husband's sake, my children's, and my own.  If all else fails, then I will seek professional help.

If you know me well, then you had to know I would look to see what God has to say about the subject.  I found this verse from Proverbs:

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. (12:25)

His Word is good.  Talking with a friend is good.  Staying positive in conversation and thought is good.  And hey, my prayer was answered... it just took a few hard days.  But they were worth it!  




Thursday, November 1, 2012

31 Pins in 31 Days - Wrap-up


For my first blog focus, I decided to bring some of my "Pins" to fruition.  I hated the thought of pinning and pinning without really trying anything.  Therefore, I set my mind to it and completed 31+ Pins during the month of October.  They are documented and linked-up below for reference.... and to remind myself of what has been accomplished. :)

Day 1... Spin Photography
Day 2... Conversation Starter Jar
Day 3... Spaghetti Bread
Day 4... Crochet Infinity Shawl
Day 5... Jewelry Organizer
Day 6... Placemat Tool Belt
Day 7... Complete Breakfast Muffins
Day 8... KFC Chicken @ Home
Day 9... Wax-dipped Fall Leaves Decor
Day 10... Bleach Spray T-shirt
Day 11... Pumpkin Spice Latte
Day 12... 3-2-1 Cake
Day 13... I Corinthians 13 Wedding Decoration
Day 14... Bible Verse Alphabet Cards
Day 15... Butterfinger Fudge
Day 16... Cricut Animal-Framed
Day 17... Cream Soup Base
Day 18... Cake Mix Brownie/Blondie
Day 19... Fall Baking
Day 20... Cupcake Onesies
Day 21... JalapeƱo Popper Dip
Day 22... Thankful Thumb Print Tree
Day 23... Crochet Flower
Day 24... Coffee Bean Candle
Day 25... Simple Curtain
Day 26... Letter Learning Eggs
Day 27... Crochet Basket
Day 28... Crock Pot Corn Dogs
Day 29... Baked Sharpie Mugs
Day 30... Banana Pancake Muffins
Day 31... John 3:16 Valentine Art

Whew.  Thanks to all who tagged along for the journey!  I hope you will join me next October (or sooner) and blog about something 31 days in a row. :D
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