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This quote really struck me today.  There is so much truth in this.  SO MUCH TRUTH!

I had some extra time this morning and just thought I'd share a few things of what's been happening in the life of this Orthodox Mom.

Well, maybe it's not so much as extra time as time I carved out while the rest of the morning rests in chaos around me.

Well maybe it's not so much chaos as just not what I planned.

I tend to look at things that way.  If it's not what I planned I go into chaos mode.  Can anyone relate?

So I'm going grocery shopping on my own again this morning. Anyone else dislike grocery shopping?  It's not so much that it's a terrible task; but they are remodeling the store and it's a mess right now and I kind of got used to my husband going with me but that routine has been lost for some time now and while I enjoy the alone time there are so many other things I'd rather be doing during alone time than grocery shopping.

Of course, the chimney sweep guy is here and has disrupted my schedule and he's still working on the upstairs pellet stove and hasn't even gotten downstairs to the big pellet furnace, so I may not get to do the shopping today.... hmmmm.....

There's so much going on that this post will probably be a big rambling mumbo jumbo kind of post but maybe we just need to do that sometimes.

I have two graduations coming up soon-  no , not my own but if feels that way.  My daughter is graduating from college and my son is graduating from high school.  He's essentially done other than a few lose strings so I really should get around to making sure that diploma gets ordered.  It's amazing how time flies.  And then we have our youngest who is???  Technically, according to age and public school junk, would be labeled first grade but I don't really call him anything according to grade level because we just don't do things accordingly to that.  What does grade level really mean?  It's just a label for public schools because they do things a certain way for all kids regardless of their needs or interests.  I don't go by that.

I have an appointment this afternoon with a new practitioner - new to me anyway- she has a practice right here in Williamsport PA that I didn't know about and offers quite a selection of 'unconventional' testing including the ALCAT food sensitivity testing I just had done.  I'm awaiting those results with anticipation and dread.  Solving  my health issues is a BIG priority as it relates to EVERYTHING in my life  but I dread the results that will tell me to give up foods I love or make my life more difficult with food prep, especially when it impacts our ability to travel or go and do things we love to do.  My heart is already heavy this week as we are unable to go somewhere that is a yearly family event for us simply because of food.  And the lack of understanding from others of how difficult that is is also disheartening.  It's not a choice.  It's not something we WANT.  It just is.

I'm trying to get back into the mode of homeschooling too.  Everything was going smoothly and then Holy Week came which, naturally and in a good way, causes disruption, but then I had a downslide with the fatigue and pain and really didn't get back into this past week either.  Except for one lesson with nutrition (it's time to start teaching him why we eat the way we do and I'm using Food Renegade's nutrition book for young kids as my guide to get started) and we finally finished the second Life of Fred book- which he absolutely LOVES!  He and Dad went for a walk in the park yesterday as well and looked at some plants and seeds so I guess he got some science/nature study in as well.  And Free Play is wonderful.  We parents of school aged kids tend to forget how important that is and that a day of play really is education and learning.  So I need not feel guilty for lack of planned learning activities, but should relax and rejoice in our freedom to learn as is appropriate.

I'm trying to reorganize my day to day plans....how I go about my plans in a more relaxed but organized in a simplistic manner so to speak.  I'm eyeing up some books on simplicity, organization and getting things done but am hesitant because I don't want to buy a book and feel like I HAVE to do it exactly the way they say it should be done.  Does that make sense?  Am I the only soul in this world that can buy a book to make life more simple only to make it more difficult?

Anyway, I have my schedule of the things that have to get done.  And I have my list of 7 projects to work on when time allows.... but it's simplified.  I only write a small step of what the next thing to that project needs to be.  It's a new approach I'm trying.  So instead of writing "Clean Closet", the next step is simply to make sure I have all the clothes off the floor.  Once that's accomplished, I can plan the next step for the project.  I'm much more likely to go get the clothes off the floor then clean the whole thing.  That my friends, is the beginning of stopping procrastination.   Or so I hope.

Another example is my kitchen.  I keep wanting to reorganize and declutter  the whole thing.  Well writing Kitchen Reorganization of my list of things to do has been ignored for months.  But when I write "Clean out papers from junk basket", it's more likely to get done because it's a focus of just one thing.  And note, I didn't say clean out the whole basket (thought it did eventually happen), but just the papers.  One small step, but so gratifying when you can cross it off the list.

I'm trying to figure out where I want to go with my Lemongrass Spa business and this blog.  I'd really like to at least make enough with the LGS business to pay for my own products and maybe at least pay for the occasional book or clothing purchase and feel like I'm bringing something in to help my overworked and overstressed husband.

And I'd love to make a bigger impact on my readers and get more interaction here at the blog.  I've worked on some changes already and obviously, working on being more consistent with the posts.  It's a work in progress and I enjoy it.  I wish I had time to write everyday but-  well, you know 😉

Well, I guess that's all for my musings and ramblings today---  time to work on the ever growing laundry pile and that to do list!

I'd love to hear from you.  What are your thoughts on the blog these days and what is going on in YOUR life?

 

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So we skipped the homeschool Schole’ group today.  The little man hasn't been feeling well over the last two days and still hadn't eaten much as of bedtime last night.  So I made the decision to let him sleep in and give him an extra day of rest.  It did me good too as I decided since I had some open space, to NOT set my alarm and let me sleep in too.  So even with the hour I was awake during the night ( either a symptom of or another cause of the adrenal fatigue), I still managed to get some extra sleep!

Still we had some extra time today and I had just bought the ingredients to make laundry detergent though I had no idea when I was going to get some time to do it (I had no idea how quick it would be!).  So as he seemed a bit perkier, I thought, why not?

I got the recipe from a friend a few days ago and had bought the ingredients yesterday:

4 lbs baking soda                                               

4 lbs washing soda

1 lb kosher salt (not sure why it called for kosher but why not?)

3 bars fells naptha soap  (or 1 bar zote)    I got the fels naptha because that's what Wegman's had, though she told me Walmart has the Zote already shredded.

 

We just poured all the baking soda, washing soda and salt together in a big basin.

Then came the 'fun' part for my son.  Grating the fels naptha.  It really wasn't bad.  He used the big bars until they were about half way then I did the rest-  being cautious of little fingers with the grater but really he did fine and I need to learn not to worry so much.

As we grated, I poured the shredded soap in with the soda mixture and stirred.  He enjoyed taking some turns to stir too.

After all was said and done, we poured the mix into some empty plastic containers I've had lying around for quite some time unused.  And Viola!  The first load is in the washer!

And other than  playing a game and some reading time tonight, that's our school for today and it was great!

By the way, all the ingredients came to about $12.50, which is less than a bottle of the store brand natural detergent I've been using.  And we only need to use 1 Tablespoon of detergent per load so this will definitely last by far longer than what I use!  YAY!

 

 

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I wasn't sure how to even begin on this post. Or what to call it. It's been a long time coming though.  In the back of my mind, I've considered for quite some time writing on this topic : Freedom of speech as well as  discipline in our words and actions. But I'll admit it was prayers to my Lord over a situation that greatly upset me a week or two ago that made me decide I needed to address it in a blog post.   It's a situation in our society that bothers me.  It bothers me a great deal.  I worry over it.  I pray a lot about it.  Yet it seems to be increasing and, over the last several months, lines of respect and decency have been crossed over and over again on so many different levels.  And not just in stories you hear of people that are known for crossing lines, but in families that are taught the value of treating humans with decency, among friends who have treasured one another for years and sometimes a life time, among leaders who are supposed to be protectors of our government and setting an example for the country,  and yes, among people that barely even know one another.  There is a great lack of respect, a lack of allowing someone to express an opinion without personal attack, a judgment or slander about a person based on one thing they believe in.

I read somewhere recently that "freedom of any kind is impossible without discipline.  There is no such thing as unlimited freedom, because what we do affects other people and their freedom." ...continue reading "Discipline & Freedom"

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

happy-thanksgiving

It's been so long since I posted, I actually panicked for a moment when the screen came up asking me for my Name and Password....  but as you can see after a moment it all came back.  Whew!  😉

Well ,  lots have happened since I last posted...  but I'm not going to go into all that right now.  Right now I sit in front of the TV watching the Macy's parade with my family (except for my beloved husband who has to work nights this holiday so he is hopefully resting well in another part of the house) - a tradition we've had for years, with the newspaper awaiting our perusal for seeing what's the best sales and gaining Christmas gift ideas.

The rest of the day will be spent prepping foods for our celebration on Saturday when we can all be present for the entire day, beginning the making out of Christmas cards, making Christmas lists - presents, cookies to bake (gluten free and paleo), things to do before that blessed day in December, and trying to relax and enjoy the non-typical day.

Photo by Edge of the Woods Photogrphy
Photo by Edge of the Woods Photogrphy

I hope you are all well.  I'd love to hear from you.  And yes, I hope to be back on here soon.  I know it will not be in a consistent manner.  But perhaps I can at least get back in touch with all of you, my faithful readers.

 

Until then,

Have a Blessed Day and a day , month and year full of things to be Thankful and Grateful for!  God bless you all!

Carol

2016-06-02 10.41.58

 

Sometimes,  words get in the way.....

and a picture is worth a thousand words they say, so...

here's a few things I'm grateful for in pictures!

 

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Happy faces on a happy day!
The memories I have of this sweet creature who we had to lay to rest just two weeks ago.... her brown eyebrows brought so much joy...and she gave so much love.
The memories I have of this sweet creature who we had to lay to rest just two weeks ago.... her brown eyebrows brought so much joy...and she gave so much love.
All of the beautiful aspects of God's glorious creation!
All of the beautiful aspects of God's glorious creation!

 

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Up close encounters with His creation!

 

The man that captured my heart and holds my hand.
The man that captured my heart and holds my hand.

 

Some people write with words.  But some express through drawing and photography.  If one of the later suits you, why not create a gratitude journal with one of those media instead of writing?  Either way, it's the expression of gratitude each day that changes us.  May you find fulfillment in your journey in becoming a person of gratitude!

What are you grateful for this week?

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2016-06-02 10.41.58

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever

-   Psalm 136:1

 

Consider This:

As many know,the book of Psalms were written by David.  But did you realize how many of those psalms were written while David was in agony and moments of extreme distress? Yet David continued writing of giving thanks,   praising and singing to the Lord!  This is the perfect example of having deep gratitude.  Surely if David can find reasons for gratitude,

I can.

You can.

Photo by Waldryano/Pixabay
Photo by Waldryano/Pixabay

David certainly had good reason to give thanks to God. God did, afterall, choose him to be the king over Israel while he was just a young  boy.  David was king over all of Israel and its people! Furthermore, his first victory, killing Goliath, occurred long before that-  when he was just a boy! David owed all of his  triumphs over all of his enemies, including Goliath,  to God.  We may not have quite the same blessings as David (kingship, heroship and more) but we all have our blessings.  Many Many blessings!

And yet...  just like you and I....

David sinned.

And while God forgave David's sin, he was not spared from paying the price of sin. He was not spared from the challenges of the human life and the sadness and grief that is part of our lives.  He had to witness the unwanted pregnancy in Bathsheba. His first child died. His own son  pursued to kill him. He army was defeated.

Even so, David knew that God had not left him. In fact, God declared, according to the Apostle Paul, 'I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do' (Acts 13:22) .

Why?

Because David sought God in times of his needs.  He was GRATEFUL for all of the mercies he received from God, giving thanks and recognition to the God that gave those mercies to him. And David  continued to sing unto the Lord! When we show gratitude on a daily basis(such as writing in our journals!), this is one way that we too can sing unto the Lord.

The thanksgiving that David offered to God was not just because he knew it was the right thing to do or because he thought he'd get away with more...David was relieved from troubles and his sorrows through his gratitude and it was in offering thanks for His mercy that he called upon the LORD and God answered his prayers!

Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;

Praise Him, all you peoples,

For His mercy rules over us;

And the truth of the Lord endures forever.

~Psalm 116 (117)

Have and show gratitude.  It will set you on the right path. It will bring forth blessings. May God bless you forevermore.

Gratitude Sharing:             2016-06-21 15.04.14

  1.  The way my sons enjoy wildlife and see God's glory in it all.
  2. Creativity and fun that was held at the Crayola Factory this week!
  3. Invitation to get together from a friend.
  4. The sense of accomplishment & freedom at seeing clean open spaces.
  5. Finding messages in scripture that speak to my heart.

WHAT'S IN YOUR GRATITUDE JOURNAL THIS WEEK?

 

 

 

2016-06-02 10.42.40

 

 

It’s not happiness that brings us GRATITUDE.
It’s gratitude that brings us HAPPINESS.
  ~Author Unknown

It's been over two weeks since I even sat down to my computer to write a post!  So today I am grateful to the time I have allotted to do just that and the young lady that is entertaining my youngest while I do so!

So how are you doing with your gratitude journal?  When I last posted, I shared with you that I was not doing so well with keeping up with my personal goal of 5 a day.  I did lay the journal back out and started to improve again...and then, well..... it's been several days now since I wrote in it.

So I thought I'd review a few pointers on how to make this a habit!!!  I checked out a few web posts about forming new habits.  One such place was this:  http://jamesclear.com/habit-guide

The above posts suggests starting small.  Okay....

So my goal is 5 a day.  But maybe to get myself back on track, I should accept just 2 a day? It would certainly get me writing more than my current last week of zero.

The post also said to increase in small increments.  Okay. Well, maybe I can start with 1 or 2; then after a few days, or when the mood strikes me, I can then try for 3, then 4, then 5!

The suggestion I find most helpful is the suggestion of breaking it down.  I often try to get my 5 out in the morning along with my morning devotion/prayer time.  I think that's my downfall.  It's all I can do to focus on reading my bible or current book I'm reading about my faith, let alone think of 5 things (all at once )I'm grateful for while still sleepy and irritable because, well, it's MORNING.    I'm probably picking the wrong time of day to do this and probably should not attempt to thinking of 5 things all at once unless it's an unusual instance in which they come to me easily at that moment.

The next suggestion given is when you get off track, get back on track QUICKLY!   The author states, "top performers make mistakes, commit errors, and get off track just like everyone else. The difference is that they get back on track as quickly as possible."        Okay....I'm stopping now to write one thing in my gratitude journal....be back in a second.....

2016-06-16 09.53.52

There.... okay...so I've written one in for today.  And I can pat myself on the back and know I'm doing okay.  I'm up to #245.  That's 245 things to read when I'm down in the dumps about things that are good in my life.

AWESOME!

And the last pointer this blogger shared was to...

BE PATIENT

Stick to a Pace You Can Sustain

 

Ugh.  Yes.  Be patient.  That's a hard one for me.  I can easily be not very patient with others...but especially MYSELF!

So if you find you haven't started your gratitude journal, these are some good tips to form your new habit.  And if you have faltered, like me, in keeping it up-  these are some good tips to lift ourselves up and get back on track, sticking to a pace we can sustain and, in doing so, transform our minds and spirits!

WE CAN DO THIS!  WHO IS WITH ME?

 

 

Further Reading on Building Habits:

http://jamesclear.com/small-habits

https://open.buffer.com/building-habits/        ( I REALLY LIKE THIS ONE!!!)

http://www.developgoodhabits.com/how-to-form-a-habit-in-8-easy-steps/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016-06-02 10.42.40
I found this sweet smelling candle at a natural foods store in Ocean City, MD last week! I couldn't resist!

It's been 7 weeks now since I first officially started

the gratitude challenge.

 

7 weeks since I challenged myself to become a woman of gratitude and asked you to join me.

How have your 7 weeks been?

I will admit, I've begun to falter.

I haven't kept up with my own challenge of at least 5 things a day in my new gratitude challenge.  I've let to-do lists, days away, and chaotic schedules keep me from my moments of sitting and taking notice- keeping track of the beauty- and it's had an effect.

Photo by geralt of Pixabay
Photo by geralt of Pixabay

 

I write this with honesty as I want to encourage the rest of you to start afresh if you haven't started yet, and to keep going if you started but, like me, began to falter.

It's okay.

This process does not have to be perfect.

Don't get discouraged.

It's important to maintain the focus- even if you drift for a bit.   Stay the course of finding joy in your life and noticing and living in the blessings that surround you daily.

  AND TAKE NOTE OF IT. 

Keep a gratitude journal.

It's possible, I know, to find gratitude without a journal.  But if you are like so many others already on the path of being more of a complainer, more of a negative thinker, more of a person that struggles with finding joy all around you (and I've been through that stage of life more often than I care to admit)-  a gratitude journal really can help change you.  It can be the start of something grand and miraculous in your life.  So I challenge you, whether you have started and are doing better than me, whether you started but are discouraged at a short list, whether you haven't started yet at all, grab that journal or sheet of paper and write a list RIGHT NOW (I just did too) of at least 5-10 things that you are grateful for RIGHT NOW.  And keep adding.

Not many of you have commented much right here on the blog yet.  It's okay- don't be shy.  I've had private comments elsewhere, so I know that there are quite a few of you that are appreciating the challenge.  But I urge you to share your lists with us.  Help keep us all going.  Help us to look around and see these types of similar things in our lives too- and don't worry if they are the mundane.... don't worry if it seems small to you; if it's  something that brings you joy, a smile to your face, a sense of peace or hope in your soul, a moment of happiness- it's worth writing down and sharing!

gratitude-1251137_1920So I've got my journal open on my counter again (yeah- I kept letting it get moved around- so I'm trying to make it more visual to keep me on track) and I'm going back to my goal of at least 5 a day... if that's too much for you, I'd suggest 3- .  Please join me.  Encourage me.  Encourage OTHERS!  Become a woman (or man!) of gratitude!

FIND JOY!!!

Gratitude Sharing:

  1.  My daughter requesting time with me.
  2. Coffee filled chocolate hearts!
  3. My son sharing his dreams and goals with us.
  4. Having a family that expresses love openly and OFTEN!
  5. The beginnings of a new garden - dirt, small plants, HOPE for abundance.

What are YOU grateful for this week?

 

 

gratitude-1251137_1920

Feelings of gratitude release positive endorphins throughout the body, creating health.   ~Sharon Huffman

Consider This:

Barbara Fredrickson, social psychologist and positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, published a paper on the power of positive thinking and its impact on your skills. Indeed, having a positive attitude and one of gratitude does wonders for your health and overall well being.  Fredrickson's research showed that when people experience positive emotions like joy, contentment and love, we see the positive and possibilities around us.

It's true. Just feeling thankful has the power to make us continue to feel positive and perhaps even younger.  Don't you feel younger when you are smiling and enjoying life? Being grateful creates  inner happiness that transfers itself throughout your  body. Therefor, gratitude improves our moods because it helps us focus on the good things around us and equips us with a better ability to see the blessings and positive things rather than dwell on negative circumstances; thus we stay positive.

Gratitude truly optimizes our health. Positive emotions strengthen and enhance the immune system through the release of endorphins into the blood stream! Endorphins are sort of like our bodies natural painkillers. Conversely, negative emotions reduce the number of endorphins  and slow down the white blood cells  in our bloodstreams and may contribute to heart disease and stroke due to the high levels of adrenaline. Fredrickson  hypothesizes that our positive emotions can actually undo the cardiovascular effects of these negative emotions.

In short, the more we feel a sense of gratitude, the more endorphins we have and less adrenaline; thus, healthier lives!

Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay

Occasionally, I’ll share a few tips with you to help you keep motivated in keeping your journal and making sure it stays a positive experience for you to help focus on thanksgiving rather than the complaining so many of us in today’s society takes part in.

Today’s Gratitude Journal Tip:  Turn Negatives into positives! If you are having a bad day, it will be harder to write your 3-5 positive things in your gratitude journal but you can do it!  It may seem difficult at first, but the more you do it, the easier and more natural it becomes.

    Examples:

Instead of seeing and writing "I'm still unemployed," you might write, "I was able to pay the rent this month."

Instead of  "The living room is trashed because there were 3 neighbor kids over and no one put anything away," you could think and write "Joy was had here."

Instead of  "The milk spilled all over," you could focus on "The floor is now clean and shiny."

 

Sharing Gratitude:

  1.  Lively discussion with over 100 members of my book study!!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1112029392194451/
  2. Bubble baths
  3. Oolong tea
  4. A child recognizing his mother's frustration and offering comfort.
  5. Being told by someone that he understands how I feel.

Every little thing we turn around could make a huge impact on our road to becoming a person of gratitude.  What negative aspect of your day today can you turn around for your gratitude journal?

 

 

Have you started your gratitude journal? If you have missed previous posts about the challenge, start here!
Have you started your gratitude journal? If you have missed previous posts about the challenge, start here!

 

 

gratitude-1251137_1920

Gratitude turns what we have into enough. ~Author Unknown

Consider This:

"I tend to get lost in the details of a large-family life when I'm right in the midst of it.  It takes a certain fortitude, after all, to look at a pile of dishes and see it as the makings of a cathedral. The daily mundane is holy ground because the ordinary tasks of a monotonous Monday are where we meet our Maker," says Sarah Mackenzie, author of Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakeable Peace.  Isn't this true of us all?

2016-05-14 18.05.52Homeschoolers or not, don't we all get lost in the daily mundane and forget that this is truly where we meet our Maker?  We get lost in the daily tasks that we'd just as soon forget (dishes, laundry, cleaning up messes, handling sibling arguments, etc.) and we forget that even in those tasks we are doing something bigger.  Sarah tells us in her book that many of the medieval cathedral builders never saw their work completed as the cathedrals would take over a hundred years (more than a lifetime) to complete.  Yet, the builders devoted their lives to this work- giving glory to God.

chartres-cathedral-1120139_640

We look at the cathedral today and it is not at all mundane.  But think of that builder who lugged stone after stone after stone, never seeing the beautiful work that we see in front of us today.  They gave it their all.  Mundane stone after stone. Mundane day after mundane day.

We too are giving our work to God.  Everything we do is work that God sees - even if it's not a medieval cathedral to worship Him in.  Isn't our home a mini-cathedral? Isn't that where we encounter Him each and every day?  Should we not be grateful for each and every encounter, even in the mundane?  For even in washing those dishes, we are serving Him.  Even in making that bed, we are serving Him.  Even in picking up those dirty socks, we are serving Him.

Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.   ~ Matthew 25:40

For even in the mundane tasks we do that serve our family members, we serve Him. Shouldn't then, we be giving it our all?  Doing our best?  And giving thanks at the same time?  Thanks for the ability to do the work. Thanks for God allowing us this time on earth to do it?  Thanks for giving us others to serve so that in doing so, we are able to serve Him? Thanks for knowing that it really does make a difference, no matter how menial or small it seems to us at the time.

What are some tasks you find to be mundane, but upon further reflection, can find some reason to give thanks?  Reason for gratitude?

Consider also: 

" For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."  G. K Chesteron (Orthodoxy)

Gratitude Sharing:

  1. My 3 living children - lovely gifts of God.

  2. Mashed potatoes - comfort food.

  3. A child observing, "It's a lovely day!", despite the grey clouds overhead.  Children see beauty when some of us can not.

  4. Four white tails leaping away through the yard and into the woods - thankful to the brief glimpse of their presence and reminder of the creatures surrounding our home.

  5. THIS.....

    Wow. Just Wow. Oh, and yumminess!
    Wow. Just Wow. Oh, and yumminess!

 

What is on Your Gratitude List This Week?

Have you started your gratitude journal? If you have missed previous posts about the challenge, start here!
Have you started your gratitude journal? If you have missed previous posts about the challenge, start here!