Sunday, November 23, 2014

Today, I'm Thankful For....


I mean, really. What's nicer than a day where you can kick back, relax and be lazy without a trace of guilt?  You can go to church and worship God, come home and gorge yourself on a "way too big" Sunday lunch and then veg all afternoon while complaining about you much you stuffed yourself at lunch.  

Unless you live at our house, then you're lucky to get a good Sunday lunch.  It's more likely to be leftovers or some other simple food stuff.  Today, for instance, we are having Chicken Barley Soup.  It's a new recipe and because I'm lazy, I tweaked it and threw it all in the crockpot and am hoping for the best.  Because, I will just say it on here and be done with it--I really hate waiting for my lunch when I get home from church.  One test of a good Sunday lunch is that it must be ready to be put on the table in 15 minutes or less from the time one arrives home.  Along, with the soup, we may have some yummy Miller's Potato Salad and maybe some cheese curds too.  

But, I digress....  Back to the gratefulness aspect.  Other good things about Sunday: D is home from work for the whole day.  We can just hang out and not feel like we should be doing household chores or cleaning up the garage or whatever else is needing attention at the moment.  

We can have company for lunch if we like or we can not have company for lunch if we like.  I'm not very good at the company thing--I resolve that someday I will get better at it, but right now I have a pretty good excuse.  At least one, I'm going to milk for all it's worth anyway. 

I already mentioned the going to church and worshiping, but it's also a time to catch up with friends and do some socializing, unless you come from my family tree and then you can find the after church banter a little hard to follow sometimes.  I'm not sure what happened to my family, but I think, at least 4 out of the 5 of us siblings, would way rather leave church pretty much pronto after the service is over rather than stand around making small talk.  Now, I won't deny it; sometimes I can do a great job of it, but other times it feels stale and stilted.  And what did we do?  We married somebody just the opposite.  Once, not that long ago, D went to church by himself.  His comment?  "I could stay and visit as long as I wanted to."  "I'm sorry dear.  I try to be patient, I really do."  And please, don't think you can't talk to me after church.  I don't mind at all carrying a conversation or listening to a conversation; I just can be at a complete loss sometimes for how to start a conversation.  Anyway, enough about that.  

What are you grateful for on this Sunday?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hunting Days

Now, this could very controversial in the realm of gratefulness and there are varying ways of looking at it.  One could be grateful that there is only one week of gun season; or one could be grateful that they get one week of gun season.

I'm not sure where I come out at on the whole hunting thing: I really don't mind that D goes hunting. When we lived in the central part of the state, hunting meant I would likely see D less, but he had a really cool tree stand that you could heat and so Thanksgiving day became a traditional "wife-goes-hunting-with-man-hunter" day. I would go with him, struggle up the tree stand, get cold, talk too loud, not creep around quietly enough and sometimes wonder why in the world I came with. I would bring a book or try to find good Black Friday deals, etc.

This year? This year is different.  He didn't go racing out the door in the blackest of the night, nor did he do a sleep over in his tree stand like last year.  He left with his jug of hot spiced apple cider, multiple layers of clothing and went to sit in an open tree stand that friends from church graciously offered to him.  I expect to see him back mid-morning to lunch sometime and then I'm guessing he will go out again tonight.  He might go hunting in his old stomping grounds come Thanksgiving, but this year? This year, I will likely stay home-- no tromping in the woods for me this year.  (I just realized that the last three Thanksgivings, I have been pregnant--wait this is supposed to be a grateful post)

If he gets a deer, the big question is always, what are we going to do with it.  I am intent on trying to empty our freezer and get rid of meat that has been sitting in there for way too long.  But I do like to make jerky and beef sticks with venison if he gets one.  And I sure don't want to help butcher a deer this year.  I'm pretty positive that would come under things you can't do on limited activity.  I think our conclusion might be that we would like a couple of pounds of  meat to do beef sticks and jerky with and the rest we would give away.

You can only hunt bucks up here this year, so D likes to lie in wait for the big ones, so unless some staggering 10 or 12 point impressive buck shows up, I'm not too worried I will have to deal with venison issues this year.  Now, that might be something to be grateful for :) :)

Two big differences between this year and other years: 1. I think if he goes hunting this year, I will actually see more of him than I do when he is working.  Other years, I would say I saw less of him, especially on Saturdays.  2. He doesn't have a lovely warm hunting shack to hunt from this year.

I try not to worry about the whole hunting thing and especially if they do drives, etc.  I try to remember that he is capable of looking out for himself and God is with him in the open stand as much as he was with him in the heated shack.  But I still tell him to text a little so I know he's okay.  I still need to work on the holding my loved ones with an open hand and not hanging on too tightly.

So to conclude this: is hunting season something you are grateful for or something you dread?  What are your thoughts on all of this?  And do you eat venison or turn up your nose at the very idea?

Friday, November 21, 2014

More Things to be Grateful For

As I sat here this morning thinking up another post on the benefits of limited activity, I thought why not do a daily post on things in my life I have to be grateful for?  This is the Thanksgiving season after all and I for one could sure use a dose of Thankfulness each and every day of my life.  I'm not making any promises on whether I will actually manage a daily post, but if ever I have the time, it would be right now.

So my first post is going to be the "Blessings of Limited Activity"

I've been a little sad that I won't be able to go Black Friday Shopping.  It has been a tradition the last five years, I believe, to go shopping in the early hours of the morning with my co-workers.  I knew this year was going to be different because we don't live in the same area anymore.  I hadn't completely given up hope of being able to go with the same group of people, but I wasn't counting on it. However, I was still planning to go somewhere in the early morning hours of Black Friday.  But I have given that up and it makes me sad.  It's not the benefit of all the good deals scored; it's simply the fun of getting up at crazy hours, bucking the crowds (which have seriously diminished over the years thanks to the whole Black Thanksgiving? shopping, which is a whole other post in itself because I think it's a despicable practice),  laughing at other people's impatience and all capped off with a lovely breakfast out at the end of the shopping experience sometime between 8 and 9 in the morning usually.

Anyway, continuing on to the gratefulness part of it: I realized that with not being able to go to work right now and being more housebound than I have ever been in my life, I likely wouldn't need Black Friday anyway.  I thought I "needed" a new coat and maybe a new pair of boots, but hey, who needs a coat and boots in the house?  So, $100 saved.  I also won't be attending many parties and such like, so no additional gift buying will be necessary--more money saved.  Going out to eat has been somewhat hampered--another $30-40 a time saved.  Look at all of the money we are saving by my staying home.  Perhaps there will be more people begging their doctor for similar orders.  With as cold as this winter has been already, I don't have to go out and brave the elements at 3:00 in the morning; instead I will sit on my lovely recliner and punch buttons and do all my Black Friday shopping from the comfort of my heated house.  Maybe I will drink a cup of Spiced Apple Cider from Miller's Market while I do it too.  And then when the angst of shopping for a good deal is over, I can lay back and take a nap or I can get up and scrapbook.  Of course, I will have to make sure I have somebody to tell about all my good deals I secured online.  Who knows?  Maybe I will turn into an online Black Friday shopper?

I just want to know one thing: they call it Cyber Monday--so are the best deals online going to be on Monday or Friday?  That is important to me because in the scope of being grateful, I want to gratefully accept the best deals offered by the best stores on the best day.

Now, I do want to acknowledge one tiny little thing before I end this post:  I realize that if our winter this year is anything like last year it will be a frightfully cold one and I also realize that about the middle to end of January at the latest, I am going to get my walking papers.  At that point and time, it will be determined if I really do need a new coat and boots or not.  If I do, I should maybe buy them now when I can score good deals, don't you think?  :) :)   I can be very persuasive in my arguments.  However, the new boots I want would involve lovely little heels on them and I'm not sure at that point in my life, that would be such a good idea.  Man, I hate practicality.  Okay, you need not be bothered by the further thought processes that I go through when deciding on what purchases to make.  I will tell you this much: it can be so incredibly painful!!!!

Farewell to all:

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Limited Activity: What Does it Mean?

When your doctor puts you on limited activity--what do you think that means?  To ease the minds of all those plaqued with indecision about what they can and cannot do, I've compiled a list of "can dos" and "cannot dos".  I hope it is helpful to you.

"Cannot Dos"

1. Cannot vacuum the floors
2. Or scrub them on your hands and knees
3. Cleaning the bathroom is out
4. Washing Dishes
5. Ironing
6. Cooking, (unless of course, you'll go nuts without your daily kitchen fix)
7. Organizing that messy back room
8. Bookwork (way too stressful)
9. Laundry
10. Grocery shopping

"Can Dos"

1. Extensive reading of all favorite books
2. Internet browsing until you're so sick of it, you could throw the computer
3. Scrapbooking
4. Sewing, unless you hate doing it, then all those sewing projects you had lined up for the winter must be given to someone else to accomplish for you because you really must have them done now.
5. Naps
6. Consumption of lots of hot and cold beverages (having a maid to prepare them for you is the best; you wouldn't want to strain a muscle stirring the drink mixes)
7. Sleeping
8. Knitting and crocheting and all other crafty projects you have been waiting to do
9. Coffee with Friends
10. Extensive gossiping

Please note: this is not a complete list and should not be undertaken without express approval from your doctor.  This is not intended to serve as a guideline without your doctor's express written permission.  Thank you.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

November 13, 2014

Today is a milestone for a few different things.  First off, my sister has a birthday today.  Happy Birthday to my wonderful, caring sister who lets me call and run at the mouth about my life and my frustrations and my sadness and my tears and my triumphs and my joys.  Even though we live many miles apart and are quite a few years in age apart, I always love a good long chat on the phone as we solve the world's problems.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!  The Glick little girls say, "Happy Birthday, Aunt Vivian.  We can't wait to meet you!!

Today marks the 10 month mark since Nicole Brooke went to be with Jesus.  It hit me again this morning how much I miss that little girl--my little ray of sunshine she was going to be.  How can you miss someone so deeply that you never really got to meet--never really got to know?  I don't fully understand and I probably never will--I just know my arms can ache with the emptiness that should be filled and our house seems empty and devoid of life on a morning like this.  No little girl chatter--again how can you miss something you never had?  I don't know how, but I know you can.

And then, the third milestone?  Today is 24 weeks.  Today is the day that marks the "magical" date when everything will be done to keep the little "miss?" alive if she were to decide to debut early as well.  That feels like a huge milestone of joy as well, but how do you balance it all?  The bittersweetness of this day? I don't know.  This I do know.  I am trying to choose to enjoy every day I am given with this little one as an extra gift from God because I have learned the hard way that there is no guarantee.  I will also continue to miss and grieve the big sister who didn't hang around to let me make mistakes with her and do it wrong and get it right, but most of all to love her heartily.  I choose to try and walk this tightrope of grieving and rejoicing all mixed up together.

365 Moments of Peace for a Woman's Heart

Product Details

This beautiful looking book showed up in my mailbox from Bethany House yesterday.  It was given me for the purpose of writing a review about it.

Now obviously, I didn't read the whole book since I just got it yesterday and I am not a speed reader, but I leafed through it and read a few random days to get a feel for the book and how I liked it.

First off, I love how it looks.  It has a nice feminine appeal--actually very peaceful looking if you want to consider the title of the book as well.  I opened the package and immediately wanted to like the book very much simply on the basis of how it looked.  Shallow, right; but hey, I like pretty things.

I opened the book to around where we are in November and the first verse I read was a verse I had read in my devotions that morning or the day before: "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." Isaiah 30:15 (NKJV)  That was a verse that had spoken to me so it really stuck out when I read it in this devotional book.

Then this morning, before I blogged about the book, I decided to read today's reading.  Anyone who knows me very well might know that to just randomly read through a book is a bit out of character for me.  I like to read things orderly, which is why I would never start this book as a daily devotional book until the beginning of the year.  It's quite likely that this will be the book I choose for my daily devotional book in 2015, but that's beside the point.  Back to today's reading.  The Title for today is "The Dark before Daylight".  Underneath the title is a verse for the day; this is followed by an inspirational reading and then another verse at the bottom.  Off to the side is a prayer.  The verses talk about crying at night with morning bringing rejoicing and our sadness being turned to a joyful dance. The reading talks about trusting God with our anxieties; resting in Him and believing that He will take care of us while we sleep.  The prayer goes like this: "God, please calm my fears and give me rest.  I want to trust you, Lord.  Please release me from these worries so I can praise your matchless name. Amen."  This is a very timely reading for me because today, November 13, 2014 has some important dates attached to it (see my next blog post for more details) and worrying and fear has been a part of my last few months.  I have tried to trust and I think I am trusting, but I still get scared and this was a good reminder for me to again trust God and let Him take control.

So, all in all, I am excited to have this book and am looking forward to using it in the future on a daily basis.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Abraham by Charles Swindoll

Product Details

This book was given me by Tyndale House for the purpose of reading and writing a review about it.

Quite a few years ago, I had read a few of Charles Swindoll's Biblical biographies and I really enjoyed them.  I had no idea he was still writing them until I got this opportunity to review Abraham through Tyndale House.  And really, it's quite impressive.  Charles celebrated his 80th birthday before the book went to the printers.  That is a life well-lived and he plans to keep going.

This is also how he views Abraham: a man who lived well and lived fully.  Charles doesn't make Abraham out to be perfect; we all know Abraham made mistakes and even made the same mistake twice at times.  But Abraham had the one thing we all need in life: faith.

Normally, I don't like to quote too much from the book because it can detract from the story, but for this book, I want to give you some of the quotes that struck me in the hopes that it will trigger your appetite for more and make you want to read the book.

"But if we know the destination and have all the details, we don't need faith, and we will never experience it's rewards."  This is a good thing for me to remember right now especially as I grapple with what faith, hope and trust are and how they are the same and how they are different.  I don't know the outcome of the next four months, but I know the God who does and so I need to have faith that God will work out the details.  Along with that: "Trusting God never fails to satisfy.  The rewards along the way are exhilarating." And then:, "Everybody I know is waiting for something.  Waiting for relief. Waiting for an answer to prayer. Waiting for a dream to be fulfilled.  The people who have grown deep in their relationship with God have learned to wait with anticipation instead of worry.  They know that God keeps His promises, so they don't fret over whether the fulfillment will come but only when it will take place."  And I would add to that, how it will take place.  I am in a state of waiting right now.  I am waiting for our dream to be fulfilled, but I know from past experience that my idea of answered prayer and God's idea of answered prayer can be very different.  I don't have any assurance that my dream is going to be fulfilled in this lifetime, but I do know that if it isn't, my "dream" will go to heaven and someday I will see it fulfilled.  And in the meantime, I need to have faith and allow God to work in my life.  I want to grow deep in my relationship with God so that I can wait with anticipation like Abraham did.  He believed God was going to make a great nation out of him, but he had no idea how.  Yes, he took things in his own hands and it didn't turn out that well, but ultimately I think Abraham exercised a great deal of faith, I know he exercised more faith than I feel capable of many times.

Along with all that, there is this piece that God is never late.  Another quote: "When we finally receive what we desire most, we will see that no time earlier and no time later would have been right."  I will be honest, I can struggle with this thought, because I think that having our little girl alive and well and about 6 months old right now would have been the best thing in the world right now and yet I have to believe that God knew and knows best for her and for us and he will grant us a child when the time is right.  As Charles says: "Forget about your own schedule and plans. Your agenda cannot take into account all the details that affect other people, and you cannot see how futer events will unfold.  Fortunately, God has the perspective we lack, and He loves us more than we love ourselves.  So His plan will give us greater joy than anything we could devise for ourselves.  It could be said, then, that God answers the prayers we would pray if we could see what He sees."

Okay, I think I have gone on on enough now.  You get the point that this book was a good read for me and I want to develop a faith like Abraham's; not that it will make me perfect, but it will make me forgiven and able to move ahead trusting in the unseen and believing with hope that God is faithful and that He has my ultimate best in mind.

Big Trucks Getting the Job Done Together, Illustrated by Sergio De Giorgi

A dozer, a digger, a crane and a dump truck work together to get the job done. Written in rhyme, it reminds me a bit of the book "L...