And How

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Resolution 2010: How that worked out for me...

Well, I think it kind of did...KIND OF.

Let me explain.

My new year's resolution last year was to go the entire year without buying any new clothes. It started out as a purely money-saving goal, but I also figured it would earn me a nice shopping spree in early 2011:) I figured I'd probably cheat (even from the beginning) so I gave myself an out by saying that I couldn't buy any NEW clothes. Sneaky, huh?

Anyway, here's my confession of sorts:

I bought five pairs of new undies in January or February. It was a necessity, really. I also bought a dress for a wedding in September. Honestly, I didn't have anything "nice, that fit" and what I did have I got the "Fine" or "Okay" response from my husband as to how they looked, so they were obviously no-go's. I found a dress that made me feel a little sassy at Ross and I paid 25 bucks for it. It was a small price for the huge burden of guilt I experienced for buying it, but I wore it and was happy in it, so there!

Not sure if this is cheating or not, but I also got several (maybe five or six) new articles of clothing for my birthday in August from Pack and other family members. I felt like I had won the lottery! Not to mention, I also made a skirt for myself in my "learn to sew" class. You can decide if those count against me or not.

Enough confessions, here's what I learned:

1. I still have WAY too many clothes. I literally only wore maybe a fifth of my wardrobe. Come January, I'll be doing some SERIOUS downsizing!

2. I wear built-in-bra camisoles all the time. I probably need two or three more (preferably long ones) that I can wear all throughout the week. I even sleep in them!

3. I want a pair of rain boots (for practical purposes).

4. I want another pair of skinny jeans since I lost the pair I bought last year:( Perfect time to lost an article of clothing, right?

5. I don't wear these things: t-shirts, khaki pants, collared "golf" shirts, any sweater that isn't the one I've had since high school, or half the dresses in my closet.

6. I am not stylish or trendy and I will pick out clothes that look "hippie" above almost anything else.

7. Most of my jeans are "mom jeans." Yeah, I know. I should probably invest in a pair of dark jeans that I can wear with heels.

8. I should never wait almost a year before replacing my undies supply. Seriously, my "unmentionables" are in a sad state of affairs right now (but they ARE CLEAN!!!). TMI? hahaha

9. I'm probably only going to buy clothes for myself second-hand from now on (mostly). I want to build a more quality wardrobe without spending the quality price. I think it will be worth it in the long run to have clothes that last for a while longer than some that I've got.

10. I'm not as noble as I thought I was when I started this "mission." More than once I have found myself thinking that depriving myself of new clothes made me a better person somehow. I'm ashamed that I actually felt at times that I was suffering. Now I realize that I know nothing of what it means to suffer. I have way more than I need and instead of feeling deprived, this taste of humility makes me thankful!

In hindsight, I probably saved my family some money and learned what things I really need in a wardrobe (and 100 things that I don't). Most importantly, I almost ALMOST met a goal and that meant a lot more.

Of course, the year's not over yet ;)

Monday, November 22, 2010

A moment that might have been forgotten.

A cloudless, fall, Friday afternoon. I rake instead of mulching/bagging our leaves.

Best decision ever.

My boys, Pack, and I spend about 30 minutes playing in a pile of "almost trash." Nothing special. No planned activity. Just a spur-of-the-moment "this might be fun" type of thing. Turns out, we made a memory.

I'll always think of that as my first favorite Virginia memory. I've had a lot of good family times already, but this one is captured in my heart forever.

And on my Flip video camera. Unfortunately, the video wouldn't load to the blog, so here's a link to our moment:

Monday, November 15, 2010


Have you ever noticed that the minute you feel led to change something in your life, you are immediately fighting it? For example, for years I have struggled to have a consistent quiet time of Bible reading every day, but I always get too lazy. I want to experience the soul-soothing effect of living my life surrounded by the promises of God, but the minute I decide to change my behavior, I enter into mental warfare

I'll lay in bed and think, "I'll wake up early and read my Bible before anyone's up. That will get me completely ready for my day." But I'm a mom of two young boys and sometimes, mornings can hit me like a truck! Then I find myself trying to milk the night's sleep for whatever it's worth. Nap time? Nah...there's lots of cleaning and picking up I should be doing then. Before bed? Yeah right, I hardly even stay awake long enough to feel my head hit the pillow! Laziness.

Last night, I kind of had a realization. If you want to read the Bible, just do it. Don't wait for morning or lie there and debate when the best time would be to spend some time with God. DO IT NOW (or whenever now is)!

So I did.

Could that be the pattern-breaking solution? Apparently, I just can't give myself enough time to talk myself out of whatever it is that needs to be done. I decided to keep Bibles all over my house. In the nightstand, the living room, near the stove, in the my purse! Wherever I am, He will be with me.

Along those lines...

Ever since I was a teenager, I've never been able to listen to the James Taylor song without thinking of my Abba. I think this song describes the way God feels about it. I don't feel or think even for a minute that he gets mad at me for not trusting Him to help me through my day. He doesn't hold grudges. I do think that it thrills Him for me to seek Him out. And He comes RUNNING to me (the Maker of the Universe...the Alpha and Omega)! He wants to be my friend!

You've Got a Friend

by Carole King as performed by James Taylor Copyright © 1971 by Colgems EMI Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved.
When you're down and troubled
and you need a helping hand
and nothing, whoa nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.
You just call out my name,
and you know wherever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby
to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
all you have to do is call
and I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You've got a friend.
If the sky above you
should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep your head together and call my name out loud
and soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name and you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall
all you got to do is call
and I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Hey, ain't it good to know that you've got a friend?
People can be so cold.
They'll hurt you and desert you.
Well they'll take your soul if you let them.
Oh yeah, but don't you let them.

You just call out my name and you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Oh babe, don't you know that,
Winter spring summer or fall,
Hey now, all you've got to do is call.
Lord, I'll be there, yes I will.
You've got a friend.
You've got a friend.
Ain't it good to know you've got a friend.
Ain't it good to know you've got a friend.
You've got a friend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas Gift Ideas

Okay, I will share my list of ideas for homemade Christmas gifts IF my family doesn't get insulted if one of these becomes your gift AND if maybe one of my nine followers offers up another suggestion. (Okay, I can't make you do that, but we'll go on the honor system).

Here there are with links to places where I found the ideas:

1. A game board bulletin board. I LOVE this idea and it looks super-easy. I'm going to Goodwill to see if I can find any used games that will work with this since it doesn't really matter if a few pieces are missing.
2. Tree Slice Cake/Cupcake Stand. Very cute. This looks like such a cute idea to display lots of things and I've looked all over for affordable "tree slices" and I just can't find them, short of cutting down the trees in my backyard (not happening). I'm still on the lookout though.

3. Reusable Snack bags. Okay, so I was thinking that Santa might leave a few of these in my stocking, but I'm not sure most people would appreciate the novelty and "green-ness" of this idea. I still like it though and think it will make a good use of excess fabric I have. The ones I have in mind are super-simple, but how cute are these?

4. Tin Can SlipCover. This will most likely be filled with either kitchen utensils or pens/markers, but it would make a great teacher gift or even wedding gift if it doesn't work for any of your Christmas gifts. I'm keeping this one in the vault.

5. Dream Frame Bank. This is way easy, but you have to know a little something about the recipient (like say, where a fantasy vacation location would be or something they are saving up for), but that's the hard part. Finding a shadow box frame is easy (and cheap). Finally, find a picture that represents their "dream", drill a money-sized hole in the top and you're ready to go. For added effect, paint the frame in chalkboard paint and draw a progress meter.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tis the Season...Almost

I'm really excited about Christmas this year. It's an entirely new experience for us being in another place and I hope that helps to make the season more relaxing. Every year, I vow to get all the shopping done early so we can just enjoy the atmosphere of Christmas, but every year, I end up shopping up until Christmas Eve...and spending way too much!

This Christmas, I'm trying something new. It's either going to make Christmas a lot more budget-friendly and relaxing, or it will be a disaster. I'm sure it will be somewhere in the middle.

The idea is: I'm going to MAKE as many presents as I possibly can! Thanks to my new sewing machine I got for my birthday, combined with a few basic sewing lessons, I think I may be able to tackle a few simple sewing projects. The children and women are easy. I've thought of several craft ideas (not just sewing either) and I've even made a few things already, but it's the men and boys I'm worried about. What in the heck can I make that would suit them? Got ideas? Shoot.

Another part of my 2010 Christmas resolution is something that I've been wanting to do for a while (for obvious reasons). Whatever I can't make, I'm going to try to buy used! I've actually done pretty good this year setting aside some money for Christmas and I can't bear the thought of it not taking us as far as I thought it would (we have A LOT of people to buy for), so this might extend the budget some. Most of this will be felt in my immediate household. Mainly, Pack, Penn, Jude, and Me. I got the idea when I was thinking of how long it takes us to open all the toys on Christmas morning, only to find out that the boys just aren't that crazy about them as we thought they'd be. Hence, un-packaged, pre-assembled toys that are ready for playing and probably only cost a fraction of what a new one would!!! I shouldn't feel guilty for NOT buying my kids brand-spanking-new gifts. They could care less!

If you're in my extended family reading this, please feel free to join in and make us something homemade or buy something used for us or someone else on your Christmas list! I feel bad asking people to do this because I realize it takes a little more effort and time in most cases, but I feel that the holidays will be so much more focused on the true meaning and traditions of Christmas. Not electronic toys in perfect (or annoyingly imperfect) cardboard boxes, but gifts from the heart to represent the greatest gift of all...JESUS! The bottom line? I don't need anyTHING! It's all just stuff and I've gotten such an itch this year just to simplify my life.

I'll be the first to confess that not everything I gift this Christmas will be handmade or used, but I'm going to do my best and I would encourage you to give it a shot too. Maybe just hand make two or three gifts (I'm hoping I get some food, hint, hint). We don't need to kill ourselves. But who knows, you might end up developing a skill in something you never thought you'd be able to do!

And don't forget, if you've got any good ideas, PLEASE let me know...seriously:)