Thursday, June 30, 2016

Blog Name Change

To Dear Girl I said, "How am I going to keep my mind off of moving for the next six months?'  Dear Wise Girl replies after taking a few moments to ponder,"By being thankful for what you already have."  That lead me to think how I really do need to keep my thoughts in the present and not let them rush ahead to "greener pastures!"

The Lord keeps putting things in my life down here that are making life here sweeter while I wait.  We have a bike path being laid that goes to a farm market!! There will be a coffee shop on that path, too.  It is being built now.  I have countless blessings here.  Silly little things like Costco opening a few miles away or a fabulous water park ten minutes away cause me to think this move could be harder than I think!  I may have to drive down once in awhile to get my favorite taco sauce that I just discovered.

Really, I am getting spoiled down here.  My garden boxes overflow so to speak.  I must not allow my desires to live back north steal my joy of living right now.  That is a must.

What I can do is work on the house.  Little projects done over the next 9 months could make a quicker sale. I am going to work on a list.  We can't spend a lot of money, but sometimes elbow grease and a bit of paint can go a long way.  And it is time to PURGE!!!  How I love a good purge.

Truthfully, I am very excited to return "home" next year.  In the meantime, I am going to be happy here.  No grumbling because I have to drive, drive, drive all the time, time, time.  :)  All this to say, I have changed the name of this blog to contentment.  And a contented heart is a thankful heart!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What I've Been Reading Lately

Currently, I am reading several books at once.  Do you do that?  Sometimes I have quite a few too many going at once.

Ideally, I like to have one fiction at a time, although I can do more.  This summer, my husband is reading aloud to me a fiction book and I am reading one to myself.  This is quite fun.  I love talking about these books together.  I find having several nonfiction books going at a time slows me down, but I enjoy having the variety to choose from.  My "to-read" list on Goodreads is far, far too long at 81 books.  Will I ever read them all?

So, here is what I am reading...

Side By Side, Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love by Edward T. Welch is the latest book that I have started to read.  I am reading it because I want to be a better small group leader.  My goal is to read one chapter a day.  Who could not use "practical guidance to love others well?" So far I really love this book.  It is easy to understand.

Now You're Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy For a Stronger Marriage by Gary Chapman is also on my currently reading list.  I found this a hard book to get into at first because it covers material that I already know.  I am hanging in there, though.  It is a good refresher book on marriage communication.  I purchased it for $2 on my Kindle, which was worth that much.

Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym is our current read aloud.  If you have never read Barabra Pym, you might have missed a gem of a writer. This is my second time through CH, this time with my husband.  I totally enjoy the self-absorbed characters and their foolish paths of destruction.  It is quintessential Brittish dry humor.

Eating Mindfully:  How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food by Susan Albers (on loan from the library).  I am going to purchase this book as soon as I can find a used copy for a good price.  My number one goal in life, besides loving God will all my heart and soul, is to be a mindful eater!

A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert is a historical fiction book based on diaries and letters of Rose Wilder Lane and her mother Laura Ingalls Wilder.  This is new territory for me.  I knew that Rose did a bit of the writing for her mother, but this book goes farther into the depths of Rose's involvement.  It is well written and I am enjoying it thus far.

To be read soon...

Home Comforts The Art & Science of Keeping Home by Cheryl Mendelson.  I bought a used copy for $5.  I cannot wait to dig into this BIG book of home keeping!  

Essential Oils for Beginners by Althea Press (on loan from the library).  I do not know much about this book, but I could borrow it from my Kindle and so I did.  I want to learn more about essential oils and this is a good place to begin.

The Complete Emily Starr Collection by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  I bought this collection for $2 on my Kindle.  I am looking forward to it.  I have and love the Anne books.

You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt.  This is another book that I bought for pennies on my Kindle.  I am eager to see what Eleanor has to say.

What are you reading?  No, wait.  Do not tell me.  I cannot add one more book to my list.  :)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

This week, my precious girl is staying at Nana's house in order to be able to serve at a worship arts camp that our church is doing.  Of course, she is having a great time getting to know Miss Mercy Jane, Nana's new dog.  I hear that Mercy has taken a liking to Grace as well.  

~{pretty, happy, funny real}~
Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life with Like Mother, Like Daughter.  


 Mercy is a pretty dog, do you not agree?  She is a mixture of...what we are not totally sure.  We can see boxer, beagle, lab, something with a curled tail.


Grace and Nana took Mercy to a favorite park earlier in the week. I know this was a happy event for them all.  Until, well, it seems as if Grace and Mercy were put in jail.  

 This jail cell picture is my funny submission, although the next picture could be as well.  For you see, Mercy is quite at home on my father's CHAIR!!  No one sits there but himself.


And the reality is, Mercy has taken over their house and hearts.  :)  Thanks for sharing your photos, Mom!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lessons From a Facebook Fast

 (Pictures from the kids' Washington DC bike tour)

Today marks 15 days without Facebook.  I will confess that I had reached "heavy user" status.  It was time to step away.  And now that I have reached the end of my self-imposed hiatus, I am wondering how to better use social media in general.  So I thought perhaps my little blog here would be a good place to "think" through what I learned from this experience.

Firstly, I must say it was not a social media fast, just Facebook.  I continued to post pictures on Instagram because I have found a nifty little app called Chatbooks that will turn my photos into a darling little paper book and I no longer have to worry about how to get them out of my computer! They automatically send me a book every 60 or so pictures.  And it is $8 a book, cheaper than printing prints, finding an album or scrapbook!  Also, I continued to use Twitter as it is so boring that I only check for weather and local news.  I only have one friend who post there, and I love hearing from you if you are reading this!

What did I learn?  Here is where I will switch to bullet points!  I love bullet points!

  • I am not really addicted to FB.  I did not pine for FB.  After the first couple days, I did not think about it except when an occasional email came about a birthday or picture notification.   This made me hugely happy.  I was worried that I was becoming dependent.  
  • FB really does add both good and bad to my life and I need to figure out how to eliminate the bad and keep the good.  For example, I did not miss the DRAMA, the political mud slinging, the bad news.  I actually did not know that Mohammed Ali had died and I did not know about the FL shooting.  My husband told me of both situations and can I tell you how wonderful it was to learn of these things from him and not a newsfeed.  (Not that I was a fan of Mohammed Ali.)  The takeaway will be that I need to unfollow anyone who shares things on my newsfeed that I do not want to see.  Unlike and unfollow will be my motto!!  
  • I need FB to keep up with certain family members, as it is their "thing."  That is OK.  It is not mine.  I would totally quit FB, but for these dear people.  
  • The nicest thing I learned is that those who really matter to me, sought me out and we kept in contact through blogging, texts, emails, Twitter, Instagram.  Thank you, dear friends!  I love you, too.  
  • I found more time to read.  I was in the bad habit of getting sucked into reading all those little FB posts, saving them to read later, instead of reading books.  Gasp.  I got a lot of reading done in the past two weeks.  
Therefore, I am going to log into FB in a few minutes and get to work "unliking" and "unfollowing".  I am not going to put the app back on page one of my phone.  I buried it deep.  I am not going to get notifications ringing for every little thing.  I am taking control.  If I find it is not going to work, then I may just ditch it.  

Now, for Instagram and how I am using that nifty app, Chatbooks.  I have my setting on private, so if you want to follow me (jennlyhoo), just ask. I will warn you, I post a couple pictures a day during the summer with all our activities that need to be preserved in a Chatbook!  

OK, so all this makes me wonder, what are your thoughts about Facebook?

UPDATE:  I logged on to FB and after a few moments got that feeling of "in your face" and just yuckiness.  I asked myself,"Why am I here?"  Really there is no reason to be there.  It is all a giant time-suck!  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Surprise Get Away for Two

When sweet grandparents take your kids away on a vacation to Washington, DC, and your beloved takes a day off to make it a three day weekend, what else is there to do but escape to our favorite park? And on top of it all, the weather at the lake was in the 60's with no rain in sight, while it was 90 degrees at home.  Unbelievable!

I cannot remember the last time we slept in a tent, but we knew we needed to make it work if we wanted to stay budget friendly.  One night was probably all the tent camping that I can take.  But it was such an amazing feeling to be waking up at my favorite park, knowing we had another full day ahead of us.  It was totally worth the effort and the walk to the bathroom!

We had a wonderful whirlwind trip, as the pictures show.  And, we get to go back for a longer trip in three short weeks!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Savoring June

Today is the first full day of having all three of my children on summer vacation.  This summer is all booked up with good activities: band, worship arts camp, VBS, a trip to DC with grandparents, an overnight amusement park trip with their youth group, the state fair, a family vacation at the lake, and hopefully many spontaneous trips to swim, bike, and doctors, dentists, driving practice, a few lazy days of reading for fun.  Oh my!

The time will fly by.  My oldest starts his senior year on July 27th.  July 27th!! We are on the final countdown to college.  He takes the SAT this Saturday.  The college visits are woefully overdue. We need to add a few to our summer plans.  This does not leave much downtime for us.

Therefore, I am going to make a real effort to savor the quieter moments of a few days here and there. It will be enough, but not all I crave after a busy school year just finished.  It will be enough, I must remind myself.  Just as I brace myself for the long winter, I must prepare my heart for the busy summer.  I tend to default to quiet days at home.  These are more precious to me in the summertime. I do not know how many I will have this summer, so I must remember to savor each one.