Saturday, July 28, 2012

Etsy Shop Update & Five Question Friday

       Thank you to everyone who spreads the word or purchases from my Etsy shop! I appreciate each effort made in support of this homemaking endeavor! I'm continuously brainstorming, learning, and working on adding new products to the shop. If you have any special requests, then please don't hesitate to contact me  with your idea. Currently, I'm going to need a little more time with orders, and so any orders placed between July 28- Aug. 1 will be processed and shipped by Aug. 2. Thank you for your patience and continued encouragement! 

And now for the Five Question Friday...on Saturday. haha

1. What is the funniest thing you saw on Facebook/twitter this week?
I saw a comic in which the teacher initially wrote on the board, "Welcome back to school, students." The students look puzzled. Then, the teacher says, "Oh sorry kids. I forgot" and writes beneath with "WB 2 skool stdnts." To another individual the teacher states, "They spent an entire summer texting. It takes a while to wean them." I thought it was pretty funny. I see kids writing in texting shorthand all the time, so I bet teachers really have to struggle with it.
 I would love to post the comic itself, but there is no source provide. If you know, then please share! :)
2. What is your favorite Olympic event?
The Olympics are a great time to watch some of the lesser known sports. I could pretty much watch any Olympic game with excitement (which is pretty big considering sports generally don't thrill me at all!). It's all in the fun of the event, right?
3. Do your kids to chores around the house? If so, what are they and how old are the children? Do they get paid for them?
Well, we don't have kiddos but hubby and I have discussed this matter before. We absolutely believe that our kiddos should have age-appropriate responsibilities around the home as soon as they are able. When it comes to payment, we don't want to have them think that every effort in life is rewarded and therefore the motivation should derive from the promise of a reward. On the other hand, we also wish to teach them personal responsibility in money management. So far, the greatest balance I've found for achieving both goals is to establish a set of expected responsibilities, and then offer a payment amount for extra effort in an the completion of an additional task. I like the idea of attaching a dollar value to each task and allowing the child to choose which task for how much he/she is willing to accept. I've seen lots of fun ideas on Pinterest for this area of child rearing. However, we'll see what happens when we actually have children! haha

4. If you get bad service/food do you complain or keep quiet?
I typically keep quiet unless there was some major violation involving the safety of my food. Pick and choose your battles. If there is no great significance, then I prefer to leave things alone and just move on myself. I've been on the serving side, and understand there is a lot more to a person or service than what may be visible. Moreover, my husband and I feel, as Christians, that we ought to really display a grace-giving and loving attitude towards others regardless of how we've been treated. So, even if we've received rushed service or a less than enthused spirit from our server, we continue to strive to show kindness (in fact, show it even more). I love the phrase, "kill 'em with kindness" because often that extra dose will do wonders. So, I encourage you to remember to offer grace and love to everyone in every situation because you may be the   Christian representative that draws a person to or pushes him/her away from Christ based on your behavior. :)

5. If you could pick ONE frivolous item for your home, what would it be? (massive room sized closet? swimming pool? greenhouse? etc...)
Hobby room! I think my husband and I could both use a hobby room. We have several hobbies and future business ideas that would fill an extra space quite well. (Actually, our current extra room doubles as a guest room and hobby room for my Etsy shop. We won't always have this space available for such purposes, but we certainly enjoy it for the time being!) 

How would you answer today's Five Question Friday? Share in the comment section below!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Menu Plan: Summer (July 22-28)

-parfaits (yogurt, walnuts, strawberries, granola)
-omelet (eggs,diced bell peppers, diced onions, diced mushrooms), toast, fresh smoothie/juice
-granola cereal with dried berries, banana 
-oatmeal, cantaloupe, walnuts
-egg sandwich (egg, cheese, sausage, biscuit)

-veggie sandwiches
-stuffed turkey peppers
-avocado egg salad sandwiches
-chicken salad puff, broccoli salad
-fettuccine alfredo, peas

-lime chicken tacos
-pizza calzones
-pork spinach salad

-apple with peanut butter, popcorn
-zucchini bread, granola in milk or yogurt
-multigrain crackers (i'm adding flaxseed meal), cheese slices, olives
-yogurt, peach
-homemade juice (carrot & cucumber)
-nuts & seeds 

Linked up at: Thankful Homemaker, Women Living Well


Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Need To Be Needed (Part 2 of 2)

Read Part 1

      Interestingly, striving to meet this need to being needed can unknowingly cause us to attempt to create its fulfillment. In other words, if I do and give all that I can to another I can consequently cause him/her to be dependent on me and therefore continuously temporarily fill the void I feel. This situation can easily creep in life within the spouse-spouse relationship and parent-child relationship. At one point in my marriage and transition to homemaking, I felt as though I needed to do absolutely everything pertaining to the home. Honestly, instead of permitting my husband to act as a grown man I encouraged him to be a child through by “helping” and “giving” actions. I had taken over any responsibility he had (beyond work), but yet grew frustrated that he didn’t perform any tasks outside his job! When I reexamine this time and my motives, I’m surprised by how easily that focus on myself and my needs took over, despite the contradiction. Similarly, ever  witness  a parent lament of his/her adult child continuing to behave as a child dependent on him/her, but yet is also being “assisted” with gas money, rent, other bills, vehicle, insurance, or other adult responsibilities? There comes a point when the question must be asked, “am I really helping this individual or am I simply keeping him/her dependent on me.” The following question then arises, “am I doing so in order to continue to feel needed?”  Perhaps a difficult understanding to arrive at in life is the assurance of still being needed beyond the time when someone you love isn’t dependent on you in the same way.
       Truth is, we are always needed. We simply transition to being needed in different ways throughout our lives. For a time, we may need to pack lunches, iron clothes, tie shoes, and offer any and all assistance we can. Then, we must allow ourselves to move into another means of being needed. I believe this secondary means is actually the most important because it involves simply offering yourself. Believe it or not, what he/she actually wants most is not what you can give or do for them, but who you are for them. It’s about giving yourself.  Though, that’s a difficult thing to give if we’ve yet to define ourselves by appropriate means.  Do you believe you have innate value or worth just for being who you are? What about the acknowledgement and appreciation for yourself because God carefully crafted you; he designed you to be you. Yes, He instilled in you a great many things and ways to give to others. The greatest of all, however, is simply yourself. Perhaps if this is an area of uncertainty, then I encourage you to take some time to spend with your spouse or child and not do or give him/her anything. Just be fully present with your attention and interaction.
            I’m fairly certain my husband appreciates being treated as an adult capable of handling some responsibilities and I making myself more available in the moment, than when I’m an exhausted mess attempting to handle and do absolutely everything for the both of us. Similarly, I believe a grown or nearly-grown child wishes the same from his/her parent by this stage. What’s truly desired isn’t what can be done in service or material gifted, but simply yourself- validated through who God is and who he made you to be.


The Need To Be Needed (Part 1 of 2)

   We all possess to some degree the need to be needed by others. In a sense, it offers us personal value. This need can manifest in a variety of benevolent and malevolent ways. I will focus only on the malevolent manner of fulfilling the need through seemingly altruistic modes of service and gifts. Indeed, serving and gifting to others can be an ill when the focus for performance is self-focused.
      Ever attempt to do something or give something for someone believing you are doing something good and helpful, and yet your offers are met with rejection? Chances are that the issue isn’t the ingratitude of the recipient, but the motive of the giver.  At first the recipient may comply out of courtesy, but eventually the truth for the unsolicited offering will be exposed. Instead of a help, the gift or act of service becomes a burden because he/she recognizes that the giver’s sense of self-worth rests in the action offered. This responsibility is forced upon an individual to whom it doesn’t belong. In other words, I, as the recipient, cannot truly instill in you your sense of worth through the accepting or rejecting your unsolicited act of service or gift to me. I recognize that if I accept I am doing so only out of obligation because if I choose otherwise then I must witness the perceived rejection of you as a person not just the object. An object should never define a person’s worth. A person has innate value based solely on who he or she is personally. By choosing to always accept the gifts or services, then I am simultaneously, and unnecessarily, also accepting the responsibility to offer you personal definition. There is more to a sense of self then this, and another person ought not be the source.
       I have experience both sides to this situation. I have been placed in the position to always accept and therefore always define, as well as the one seeking value through being needed. Both avenues are crippling because, again, a person’s worth must be derived elsewhere from a meaningful place. When I’ve sought personal meaning from friendships, I lost friends. When I strove to do everything for my husband early in our marriage to feel needed, I exhausted myself and grew in my frustrated that this need of mine was still not met. On the converse, when I’ve been given the responsibility to fulfill another’s need for being needed, and in turn create a sense of self, I’ve felt a sense desiring to pull away and not be placed with a responsibility I’m not capable of holding. In all situations, the pattern is clear that no matter the altruistic action of giving or serving another the result is repeatedly a broken relationship.
Continue Reading... Part 2

Linked up at: Homemaker By Choice, Thankful Homemaker, Women Living Well

Friday, July 13, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. What's your view on men wearing sandals (yay or nay)?
    I must be out of the loop of some debate because I didn't even know this was an issue. (I'm not asking to be a part of one either). My answer is a familiar one in that it is- to each his own.

2. What song do you love but are embarrassed to admit?
   Oh, goodness I have about a dozen songs from the 90s coming to mind. Okay, I'll (embarrassingly) admit that I still enjoy the boy band music. You know, NSync, Back Street Boys, New Kids on the Block etc.  Let's flashback, shall we:

Oh yeah, true to the question I am a little embarrassed. Stop laughing ;)

3. What summer camp should they make for moms?
     I have no idea. I'm not a momma so I don't have the basis to guess what kind would be desired.

4. What is the most romantic song? (Not necessarily your favorite or your wedding song...)
The lyrics are so sincere, and melt my heart!

5. Do you have an embarrassing pregnancy story?
I haven't entered this season of life as of yet, and so can't answer this question.

How would you answer today's Five Question Friday? Share in the comment section below!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Second Anniversary Reflection & Video

Second Anniversary Reflection Questions
(Um...what a wild look on my face to start a video! Yikes)
      Marriage is challenging because it requires us to stretch to new limits of patience, selflessness, forgiveness, mindfulness or intention, love, and understanding among many other qualities. Our time dating was flawless, and I had expected marriage to be a continuation. It has proven to, instead, be a wild ride of thrilling highs and crushing lows. Our first year of marriage wasn't "newlywed bliss," but survival of our circumstances. This second year has taught us tremendously about applying 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to move from just surviving to fully loving. It's a process and a work that produces a beautifully deep kind of love and marriage. Praise the Lord for lessons that shape us more and more to be the kind of people he created us and our marriage to be- even if the means of teaching is trying. 

 Expectations must be expressed and agreed upon, realistic, and within the context of who your spouse is
       The roles of "wife" and "husband" are significant and not to be taken lightly, especially within the context of a Christian union. However, I've had to acknowledge that we each had different views and expectations for those roles. After rounds of discontentment and disappointment I began to see how my husband was upholding his role but in his own unique fashion.  I wanted him to talk more, but have realized that he wisely reserves his speech to be of something meaningful and encouraging. Faith or God is probably mentioned more in church than in our home, we don't pray together or do family devotions, but I have seen over and over how he strives to truly display the character of Christ. In other words, I see how he values walking the walk over talking the talk. We don't go out and do many of the activities that others do, but I understand that within our personalities is contentment and beauty in taking advantage of small moments together at home. There are so many expectations I held my husband to without even realizing it, and am amazed and blessed to watch (often, in retrospect) those assumptions be transformed to exceed my expectations. Coming to admire your spouse and marriage for who/what he/it is and not your expectation is the making of a strong unit!

Marriage may not be entirely for our happiness, but instead for our holiness
     What do you do with the label of "newlywed bliss" when it feels far from it? When I see other couples exhibiting joyfulness, closeness and a smooth transition into marriage I wonder what did we miss because we're out of breath and climbing mountains. Bitter comparison aside, we haven't missed anything because God is teaching us lessons that are appropriate for us and us alone. No, our married life probably doesn't look like others and that's okay. We have our own lessons to learn and tests to take, neither of which   are guaranteed to be easy. I have personally learned so much from marriage and to be honest it has nothing to do with happiness. Instead, it has everything to do with personal refinement into more Christ-likeness. I enjoy how Gary Thomas says,  "What if God didn't design marriage to be 'easier'? what if God had an end in mind that went beyond our happiness, our comfort, and our desire to be infatuated and happy as if the world were a perfect place? What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than make us happy?" in his book Sacred Marriage. This perspective has been influential in accepting less than ideal circumstances and being open to whatever God has in mind to be gained from them. It's something that I'm don't do all to well and am in need of reminding often, but I'm grateful for those reminders as well. 

Always, always remember that if we have family, then we have everything
     Daring to go against the grain by practicing homemaking with less than ideal circumstances can be tough!  However, we have each other and together we can climb mountains far better than we could alone. I'm so grateful for his companionship and that together we are "family." I have a wordart painting I made hanging in my home that serves to encourage and recenter us and it reads, "If we have family, then we have everything." When stresses render life to feel like it possesses nothing, I'm reminded of the incredible value of family. It's what we're about and why we've made the choices we have.  As with anything, it's a journey to achieve maintaining this confidence during trials. Yet, I can look forward to this upcoming year continuing to learn to define having everything as having family, even if that remains defined as just he and I.

Two verses that have been close to my heart this past year:
"Love is patientlove is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seekingit is not easily angeredit keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (emphasis mine)

"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." Romans 8:28 (emphasis mine)

Favorite Marriage Resources:
201 Great Questions for Married Couples by Jerry Jones {A few of the questions in the video came from this book}


Friday, July 6, 2012

Five Question Friday

Video Response: (my first video attempt- eek! ;))

Text Response:
1. Is love at 1st sight possible?
     I honestly don't believe it is possible. I think you can have an attraction and affection towards someone at first sight. As for love, I believe it to be so much deeper than that first sight moment. To me love develops from getting to know the individual and gaining a greater understanding and appreciation for the person's attributes. I also think about the characteristics of love being patience, forgiveness, kindness,  not being boastful, envious, or self-seeking and so many others (1 Cor. 13:4-7). It's an effort to practice those characteristics daily. When that effort is mindfully put forth it produces a kind of love that is deep and genuine. That's the kind of love that I've enjoyed far more so than any "love at first sight." I favor that strong bond of understanding and work between two people. 

2. How did you choose your pet's name?
     We don't have a pet, but we joke about what we'd name one if we did. If it was a male boxer (they're my favorite breed) it'd be Bowser, and a female would be Karma. The story behind the first name is that my husband and I were walking in the park one day and there were some small breed dogs out as well. They were the kind that would wear clothes, have bows, be carried in a bag etc. I'm more of a large breed dog fan, and so I stated that if I had a dog it would be a beast and something fierce. I'd give it a fitting name like Bowser. Now, you may recognize where that name came from. Yep, when needing some fierce name my mind went to Bowser from...Super Nintendo. haha. Needless to say I'm not the most intense person. The second name of Karma for a female is...well, think on it for a minute. It may not be appreciated by all, but I think it's pretty funny. (By the way, who knows what in the world we'd actually name a dog if we ever got one! It makes a pretty good story and joke for the time being though. haha). 

3. What are you considering giving up (cable, home phone)?
     Well, we don't have cable or home phone service so check mark next to these options. My husband and I each have cell phones, so it seems a little redundant to pay for the same service again for a home line. We started out with cable, but before even a year with it we decided to cancel it. We found that cable was expensive, limited in the programming available to us in the package deal, and could be a distraction to our marriage. We would just sit and stare at the screen when together and then later conversation would center around what we saw on tv recently. Now, we get a little more creative in finding ways to spend quality time interacting- games, cooking, walks etc.      Okay, back to the question. We've considered giving up one of our vehicles which would mean we'd share a car. There are pros and cons to doing this and we haven't reached a conclusion yet. We've simply acknowledge the suggestion and determined a later date to reevaluate and reconsider. We'll see when that time comes. 

4. How much do you pay your babysitter?
     Nothing! Not a single dime! That's because we don't have kiddos to need a babysitter. I imagine though that my pay scale would be based on effort. If the sitter and children are simply watching movies/tv, on the computer, or on the phone then I'd probably only offer minimum wage for this kind of passive presence. However, if the sitter were to demonstrate effort to engage the children in activities and whatnot throughout the day then I'd certainly be willing to compensate more for such attentiveness. Like I said, we currently don't have kiddos so we'll see what happens in the future here. 
5. How "young" is old enough to babysit?

       I'm going to have to do a projected answer for this question as well. I think it would really depend on the maturity of the sitter and the length of time needed. If it were a couple of hours enough for my husband and I to have a date night then I'd probably be okay with someone young. I'm drawing on my closest reference being my thirteen year old niece who I think I could trust in that position. However, if the job was for a larger portion of the day or several days a week then I'd probably prefer someone a little older who can handle additional responsibility of behavior- good/bad, directing the day's activities, responding to an emergency appropriately if need be etc. Again, we'll see when that time comes. 

How would you answer today's Five Question Friday? Share in the comment section below!

Linked to: My Little Life

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