Monday, October 31, 2011

Counting God's Unending Gifts :: October 31

And the counting goes on.......

one working car (it may not be pretty, but it runs)
money in savings
leaf piles





safe journeys to qatar
fully stocked freezer and pantry
baby teeth
toothless smiles


birthday shopping
kind friends
"new" crayons


leaves turning golden


beautiful sunsets




Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Links

What Choosing Peace Does NOT Mean :: Steady Mom
so very needed after the chaos of the past couple weeks

revisiting this post as we move into cold and flu season

tons of this to use in the coming weeks, yum!

Change the World {Day 26}: See :: Chatting at the Sky
open your eyes to the world. change the world.

A Blogger's Prayer :: A Holy Experience
yes Lord!

Have a wonderfully blessed weekend friends.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Forced Simple Living


One of our cars, the one I drive, has decided it needs both a new transmission and radiator. When we lived in the states this wouldn't be as big of an issue as it is here in Germany. See, our extended warranty is only good in the states (gotta love fine print) so we are having to pay 4500 euro out of our savings. That equates to about 6400 US. So yeah, our family is going to have to live extra simple these next few months to not completely deplete our savings.

It won't be easy, especially since our family has all our birthdays and major holidays within a 2 1/2 months span of time. But at the same time I think it will be a fun adventure. As Americans we are used to getting everything we want when we want it. Most of the world doesn't live that way. They have very little and make it work. Now, we will have to learn to make do with what we have and be content with it. This forced simplicity will hopefully bring these lessons home for our kids (and us.)

Some serious changes will have to occur, like not eating out, but making sure our family is secure financially is far more important than not getting to eat at Christoph's or the donner kebab place. But in the end the lessons we will learn during this time will help us and our children to make better decisions about money and not be so tied to material wealth. (Oh, and don't buy ford)

This is linked up with five minute friday over at Gypsy Mama where it's all about relevant. And right now for my life this is what's relevant.

Unprocessed Challenge: Weeks Three and Four


Well, the last couple weeks were more difficult for us to eat completely unprocessed. We had two soccer end of season parties to attend along with a busier than normal schedule. Aside from those few times though we did well.

Taking part in the unprocessed challenge this month has taught me a few lessons. First, cooking from scratch doesn't take too much extra time. We eat pretty much homemade most of the time, but not having the option of going out really made me work at cooking at home and reminded me that a extra five minutes won't kill me.

Second, cooking double (or more) batches saves time and sanity. With three little ones, a busy schedule, and hubby deployed I need to streamline life as much as possible. If I make a double batch then on those nights I really don't want to cook we have an easy meal that is so much healthier than a tv dinner.

Third, eating unprocessed for an entire month really helped boost my energy and health. Not having all the junk in my system honestly gave me more energy and has helped me not get sick when every other person we know has been hit with the first cold of winter. Maybe it was cutting out all the high fructose syrup or preservatives I don't know.

Fourth, it ended up saving us money. Most of the time people think that processed food is cheaper, but with rising food costs companies are lowering the amount of food in a product and increasing the price. It ended up being more cost effective to just buy the basic ingredients and make it myself.

I really enjoyed this challenge and I think I am going to try to continue on with it. Really, with the news we got today we kind of have to, but that is another post.

For some more encouragement check out eating rules. There is a wealth of information there and I love the three simple rules he eats by.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yarn Along :: October 26



Our schedule was crazy this past week, but I managed to plug away at both my knitting and reading goals.

Still working on the dolls (need to get some filler material to stuff them with. That would be so much easier if there were a Joann's or something here. Guess I will have to do some exploring to find a craft store here in Germany. Fun.) and the wrap. The yarn for the wrap is so incredibly soft....there are times I get a tad distracted by the softness. Can't wait until it's done so I can wrap myself up in the coziness.

As for the books, The Tehran initiative was finished within a couple days of checking it out. Great read and a nice break from all the non-fiction I've been plowing through. Partway through both Simplicity Parenting and Grace for the Good Girl. Both of these are wonderful books and I am getting so much out of them.

After these are finished I think I am going back to my one book, one project rule. It allows me to focus so much better and retain more of what I am reading or learning. Well, the small man is still sleeping so I am off to hopefully get a couple more rows done on my wrap.


God Shaped Hole


"There's a God-shaped hole in all of us, it's a void only You can fill."

Fill the void with you Lord. Deepen my faith and let it spill over into all parts of my life.....home, family, friends, strangers. Only You will do.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Get Dressed Challenge


As a stay at home mama stuck with freezing cold weather for the next few months it is difficult to get dressed in much more than cozy sweats every day. It doesn't help that the hubby is deployed so I don't really have the motivation to look nice every day. But I want to set an example for my sweet girl and dress in a way I know pleases my honey.

So, I was super excited when I saw that Sarah Mae was hosting the Get Dressed Challenge. Each day there are motivotionals to encourage you along the way. I so need those. This will definitely be a challenge for me, but if I can pull it off it will be a good change. (Plus, this way I can get used to not just throwing on jeans and a hoodie and putting my hair in a knot. By the time my honey gets home I will be looking fabulous.)

Now I am off to get caught up on the motivotionals since I am a few days behind. :)


Monday, October 24, 2011

Counting God's Unending Gifts :: October 24

Oh, how God blesses us in all things, big or small; at all times, good and bad.

roasting chicken
handling wool with no reaction....Yay!
receding fevers
rubbing noses
excitement over Buzz
sleepy tea
"talking" to my honey
pumpkin patch
amazing soccer games
more pumpkins
Madison dancing
lost baby teeth
toothless grins
gifts in the mail



Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekend Links

Well, we had a busy week here with not too much time for perusing the internet. So, I thought I would share a couple blogs that I love.

Emily from Chatting at the Sky is so inspiring to me. Her words move, convict, propel me to action. If you haven't yet, check out her series on 31 days to change the world. Also, her book, Grace for the Good Girl is a fabulous read.

When I stumbled across Grace Full Mama this week it made my day. I was so excited to see that Joy is blogging again. She is so honest and her words speak straight into this mama's heart.

In the Heart of My Home is another one where the words just resonate with me. A couple recent posts that were messages I needed to hear....Make Time for Solitude and Small Steps Together: Patience.

These women motivate me to live a life that glorifies God, to focus on my home and family, to be content with what I have and where I am at this moment.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Abiding

Moving to a new country. A husband who is gone more often than not....with limited communication. Homeschooling three little ones. Dealing with the delays of baby boy. Two cars....both broken. Dishwasher....also broken. Not being able to help family in need since they live a world away. Struggling to find community and purpose.

Yet......

In it all Christ has been present. He has been good. Even in the midst of all the chaos He has provided for, nourished, carried me. Choosing to focus on the good, on His hidden purpose has changed my view on all the disappointment and pain. Digging deep into His Words and pouring my soul out in prayer has brought me closer to my Jesus than I ever was living my happy little life in America.

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fails. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'"
Lamentations 3:22-24

Waiting, trusting, holding fast in my faith to see what is next on this journey.



Yarn Along :: October 19

Reading and knitting make me oh so happy.

Busy week, but attempting to accomplish some big goals. Trying to finish the knit doll and The Tehran Initiative. Then working on my wrap and Simplicity Parenting and Grace for the Good Girl on my Kindle. For now, off to work on grades. :)

For more reading and knitting inspiration head over to small things.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gratitude


Waiting on Christ......seeking out His blessings in the good and bad.

Counting God's Unending Gifts

Even in the midst of trials and heartache Christ is good. He only gives good things, only grace.

Still counting blessing after blessing....

breathing, living sister
ripped off license plate
forgiving people
reminders of the importance of relationship
at least it's not WW2 (hubby deployed in a no comm area, but he is safe)
comfort food
crumbs on the floor
laundry undone
cheering in the cold


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Unprocessed Challenge: Week Two



This week was a little harder for us in eating unprocessed. Life intervened and so there were a few slips. But I would rather feed my kids a cheeseburger than risk a meltdown in the middle of running a zillion errands. And the chocolate cupcake decorating session with my littles was one I wasn't going to pass up.

So, other than those two times we are doing incredibly well at eating at home and not filling ourselves full of junk. It's given me more energy and it's been so fun to check out some of the recipes that others are making. And the money we save by making it and eating at home is great.

For some more inspiration on your unprocessed, whole foods journey check out these great reads....

So glad my kids will eat anything and love to be around me in the kitchen. Really, I need to embrace that more.

Zombies make everything more interesting. :)

Really need to get back on track with meal planning. I don't think my kids will want pasta.....again.
(all posts from eatingrules)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Weekend Links

It was a rough week for our little family (again....that seems to be the theme lately) and there was not much time spent online as I dealt with stress, sadness, and a whole host of other emotions. Most of my time was spent in prayer or taking care of the home and kids. But, a few thoughts inspired me this week and I hope they do you as well. Have a lovely weekend.

Style Guide: Comfortably Dressy :: small notebook
Love the ideas and simplicity of Rachel's wardrobe.

Finding Beauty in the Crags :: Money Saving Mom
Lovely reminder to continue hoping.

If My House is Messy..... :: Heart of the Matter
So what I needed to hear this week.

Beautiful truth.

Yarn Along :: October 12

so excited!

All of my lovely new needles and yarn arrived yesterday in the mail. So excited to start playing around. Still a bit nervous about attempting my wrap (with the dreaded increases) but after some practice and video watching I think I will be good to go.

Finished reading Rest and am now on to The Hole in Our Gospel. Rich Stearns makes a great argument that as Christ-followers we are not fully living out the entire Gospel as Christ wanted. Reading this has made contemplate making a few sweaters to send to those who need them. Because really, I have enough sweaters. :)

head to small things for more knitting tales

Hoping Moment by Moment

When life dumps on you it can be difficult to find God's purpose in all of the mess. Finding His goodness is something that at times I have to wait on. Now is one of those times. Between moving overseas, my husband deploying (again), incredible loneliness, and the dailyness of life it's difficult to remember that we have a hope, that God is there.

I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God has promised to care for me, to do good, to not harm me. Rather than choose despair, moment by moment I choose to hope in Christ, to wait on Him. Holding on to the hope that life will at some point improve requires me to immerse myself in Christ and His words. To give my anxiety over to Him, to wait on Him. Hoping is never easy, but it's so much easier than giving up and giving in to despair. So daily I am choosing Christ and the hope I have in Him.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Counting God's Unending Gifts

Even with a discouraging, tough week where it seemed to only rain on my life there were blessings from God to be found.....even if I had to look a little harder.

His unending gifts.....

broken transmissions
driving a stick....alone....for the first time ever without issue
leaf rubbings
chocolate cupcakes
movies from my childhood
skypeing with my love
intense loneliness
crafting supplies in the mail


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Weekend Links

(my fun for the week....some bows I repaired, knitting, and my MAKE board)

Homeschool Mistakes :: Simple Homeschool
As we move into our second term I am aiming to work on some issues that developed first term. These posts have been great for getting some perspective and "mentoring."

Our family is taking part in the unprocessed challenge this month and so far it has been great. Eating Rules is full of encouragement and great info.

Why Christians are Happy Anyway :: A Holy Experience
We are His bride and with that knowledge should be full of overflowing joy.

When the Day Takes All of You :: Heart of the Matter
Being the only parent at the moment means my days are so very full. Loving this reminder to take time for solitude and Christ.

And because I can't get enough of knitting (and reading) inspiration these days you really must check out Ginny's yarn along.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Unprocessed Challenge: Week One

This week of the challenge was a grand success. Yay! Soccer was interrupted by weather and I was able to spend a bit of time in the kitchen getting food prepped and in the freezer so that I have easy meals on those crazy days.

Now, I do not expect every week to be as easy (well, in the food department at least). It is going to take some serious thought and planning to accomplish this for a whole month, but I am enjoying the challenge so far.

Deciding what is processed or not has been difficult at times. Eating Rules has a great post up on Defining Unprocessed (Pt. 2). This was so very informative and helpful. And it inspired me to try to make more from scratch.

Well, I'm off to make homemade alfredo with some sauteed veggies for dinner. Yum!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yarn Along :: October 5

I have been working my way through the book The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting. It is an amazing book packed with so much information. And the directions are so clear and precise. (and as of right now pretty much the only book I am reading. Too many on my booklist and I can't decide which to read now) Now, I love creating and for me knitting is one of the easier, more relaxing ways to do so. Until I saw my next project. This could challenge my very basic skills.

I am making, well will be once my yarn gets here, the most gorgeous urban wrap. But in order to do so I have to increase. The basic stitches I have down. Now there is something new and a bit challenging. What if I completely wreck what I am trying to create? I am going to forge ahead though and just keep practicing. At least by the time my yarn gets here I should be a pro at increasing. Right?

In addition to working on increasing I am going to make super cute knit dolls. The pattern is for beginner knitter's like me so I don't foresee any catastrophes. I am planning on making the whole family of dolls and then sending some off to my little niece for her birthday. Now I just have to be sure to not get distracted by all the other fun crafting ideas over at wee folk art.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Counting God's Unending Gifts

Life is hard right now. There is so much that is challenging me and going awry. Yet in it all there are little things that God sends my way to remind me to be grateful. So, I am joining in with Ann and counting the gifts that He has given to me and my family. (even if they don't seem like gifts)

His endless gifts......

new yarn
Indian summer
playing until streetlights come on
lavender from the garden
an extended warranty
transmission lasting another 20 miles
understanding friends


Oppression into Opportunity


I am a college educated woman. I have the freedom to choose to work or not. I have access to health care. I can vote. I can open a bank account. I can leave my home without my husband's permission. I can wear what I want. I do not live in fear. I am not oppressed.

Unfortunately, these statements are untrue for many, many women around the globe. They have few, if any, rights. Everything from health care to education to money to simple freedoms is limited and decided on by those in power over her (and that could be government, husbands, fathers, culture, etc).

I so want to help these dear women so that they can live a life that brings them joy, that allows them to live fully, to improve themselves and their families. Yet, I don't want to just throw money at the situation (although money at times is very much what is needed) or cause more harm by imposing my western ideas on another culture.

So, with that in mind I am choosing to educate myself on women and their rights around the globe. There are so many resources out there to learn more. Here's just a sampling.....

Read Half the Sky. Seriously. This book is amazing and eye opening. Also, contains a long list of aid groups that you can research and use to educate yourself.

Check out Newsweek's Women in the World. Packed with great information and covers a multitude of areas where women are not empowered. The magazine has also started a foundation, Women in the World, that aims to empower women and bring them out of oppression. Great links to some fabulous aid organizations and ways to help.

Women of Vision (a part of World Vision) is a great way to educate yourself and get involved. You can join a local chapter or if you live in an area (like me) without one you can join the international chapter which is online.

Knowing the why behind women's oppression and understanding the culture will go a long way in helping to effectively eradicate it. This will be an ongoing journey for me as I learn more and do my small part to make a difference.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Daybook :: October 2, 2011

FOR TODAY

Outside my window..beautiful sunny skies. No fall weather here. Yet.

I am thinking...of all that I want to get done and knowing that I need to guard myself against putting my to-do list ahead of my relationships with God and sweet family.

I am thankful...for God's grace. Oh, how I desperately need it.

From the learning rooms...nothing. :) Well, we are doing a lot of reading and watching some fun documentaries, but other than that we are on break. Next week we jump right back in for our second term.

In the kitchen...Lots of freezer cooking this week.

I am wearing...skinny jeans, a brown tank, and slippers.

I am creating...the cutest knit dolls. Also, a beautiful
MAKE board. (Pictures to come)

I am going...nowhere. We had church this morning and now we are spending the day at home relaxing. (and for mommy that means time on the computer since the rest of the week it's a toss up.)

I am wondering...how I can have two cars neither of which I can really drive at the moment. Definitely Murphy's Law at work. Whe
never hubby is gone it all devolves into chaos.

I am reading...still finishing Half the Sky. Need to peruse my reading list to see what to start next. Also started the ambitious goal of
reading the Bible in 90 days.

I am praying...for an easy fix for the car.
For my dear husband to be safe.
For strength to fight off the ugliness that in encroaching.

I am looking forward to...a simple dinner and a movie with the kids tonight. And a skype date with my bestie tomorrow.

I am hearing...a soccer match from the field down the road, the kids playing outside, and church bells.

Around the house...the deep cleaning has begun. Hopefully I can finish it all this week.

I am pondering...Only speak words that make s
ouls stronger. ~Ann Voskamp & Holley Gerth
For some more good reading on the subject this article was so very uplifting.

One of my favorite things...completing a new project that involved learning a new skill. Now to get to work on some more of those projects on my list.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Girl scouts, taking the car in to get fixed (ugh!), lots of soccer, co-op, crafting (yay for be
ing on our term break), and deep cleaning.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
oh, how I miss this man.
for more check out simple woman's daybook

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weekend Links

Free Parenting Webinar & Encouragement for Moms :: Inspired to Action
So looking forward to this webinar in a little over a week. You can never have enough encouragement as a mom. And if you have time, take the five minutes and listen to the podcast. Inspiring!

Success in Homeschool :: SimpleHomeschool
This has been one of my goals. My sweet babes need to know that they are one of the most important things in my life.

Our family has been moving towards a more sustainable, healthy life for a while now and at times it has been difficult to sustain (like moving overseas) so I am loving the great ideas to stay motivated in this post.

Every woman deserves safe, healthy pregnancy and for her sweet babe to thrive after birth. Support mothers across the globe by joining the challenge.