Monday, September 29, 2014

Six things I learned in September

I'm linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky for her monthly Things I Learned link up. This is for the silly and the serious things. Here are six things I learned this month in no particular order. 

1. A crazy trait of mine finally dawned on me. When my favorite pen runs out of ink, it makes me cranky. This happened twice to me this month with pens I had become quite attached to. I guess I must be a pen snob. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it needs to be the right thickness for my hand to grip, and it has to be a medium ball point. Never fine point, heavens no.

2. We bought a little house. After 30 years of marriage and being (nearly) empty nesters we don't need as much space. We are moving from a 2500 square foot home to 1185 square feet. Yes, our parents are looking at us a little cross-eyed about this one. It seems backwards, yes? 

We decided to try to simplify our lives and our finances a bit. Make it easier to put money to different things than a house payment and property taxes. We're also going to have to severely simplify our possessions, which has already been happening. 

If we haven't used it in a year, or maybe 14 years, since we moved here, well then, maybe we don't need it!  This stack of pants of mine, I finally let go to Goodwill after not touching them in fourteen years. It's about time!

3.  Letting go of some of my collectibles hasn't been as bad as I thought. I had to empty one whole dresser of doilies, dresser scarves and other assorted vintage linens and it wasn't that bad. My only requirement for letting these once sentimental things leave my house is that they will be consigned, not given away. 

4.  We are a movie crazy family. Last night was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows night. Of course, we've all seen this one before. But, knowing that I don't like scary parts my daughter and son warned me, "Mom, there's a jump scare coming up." This was new. Being warned ahead of time, so I can leave the room. So appreciated!

5. The four of us living in this house got it ready for pictures and listing for sale in six days flat. When our offer was accepted on the "new" one, we took only six days to tidy up, do our small touch ups, wash windows and majorly declutter.

During those six days we took 30 bags to Goodwill, 7 bags to the garbage, 12 bags of books to Half Price Books to sell and 5 bags to the recycle bin. (yes, my husband kept track!) Pretty impressive if you ask me! And, I'm already feeling lighter.

6. My husband has an intern at work from Denmark. A couple of Saturdays ago, we took him to the Iowa State Capitol for a tour. My mom happened to be the tour guide! I had been there before, but it was fun taking someone from out of the country to see it for the first time. This time I noticed more of the beautiful structure of this building which was built in the late 1800's. 

So, if you are ever in Iowa, come visit the Iowa State Capitol, listed on one top ten list of most beautiful buildings in the world!

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

For when you need selective memory

I have this thing. 

This habit of remembering too much! I think a lot of people think of this as a positive trait. Yes, I want a great memory to remember things from my past that have brought me great joy. 

Like my wedding. Like the birth and childhood of each of my three beautiful children. Those are things that I don't ever want to forget. 

But, I seem to also have a keen memory for those things that I'd rather forget. 

Things that I need to forget. 

Things that are healthy for me to forget. 

Bad things that have happened to me that I have no business rehashing. They may not even be tragic things. Just things that have caused the opposite of joy. 

Joy stealers.

Unfortunately, I have an uncanny ability for reviewing in my mind those things that have stolen my joy. 

Does this ever happen to anyone else?

Why can't my mind automatically go to the things that have caused happiness and joy instead? For me, this is tends to be work. 

It must be a weakness of mine, this tendency to dwell on the negatives of the past and worry that they'll happen again. 

Today, I choose to continue the purposeful journey to having selective memory.

I'm choosing to continue to carefully select the joyful, peace-filled memories.

The ones that make the corners of my mouth turn upward instead of downward. The ones that warm my heart and fill me with joy too deep for words. 

This is a journey, I realize. This is a process. It is a growing edge that I'll probably always have to work on. 

But, thank goodness, I don't have to take this journey alone. I am so grateful that the God of all peace resides inside and beside me. I have His constant and ever-present help. 

Today, I choose to remember. Joy.

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

I Thessalonians 5:23

Blessings to you friend,


Linking up today with Coffee for Your Heart.

Monday, September 22, 2014

what might come next

For a few years now, it’s felt like I’ve been doing a balancing act.

In one hand is the past, and all the blessings and memories that go along with it, and in the other hand is the future, with all it’s unknowns and mysteries. 

Mysteries that are yet to be discovered. 

Mysteries that await.

This must be what middle age is about because I think this unsettledness about the in-between between the past and the future settled in about the time that my third child entered college. She is now a recent graduate.

For the three years that was her accelerated college career, I was busy at home trying to reinvent myself. I mean, my whole career was Mom. I didn’t have a career outside of the home. So, my job was now officially over.

I had this dream to go to grad school. I even applied. I got accepted. And, we tried to get employment for my husband in the city where the school was. 

For two years. 

Then, that season was over, when my husband got a promotion into a job at his current company, and loves it.

What about my dream? 

I still hold this dream of furthering my education in my hands and in my heart. But, I have learned a valuable lesson in the two years that we were looking and dreaming about moving to the west coast. 

I have learned that I need to hold my dreams, the big ones and the small ones, in an open hand and not a closed fist. I need to be open to the fact that that dream that I thought was so engraved in me, and would surely happen, might not happen in the way I thought it would.

It took me some time to adjust my expectations. 

I took some time to grieve, but my hands are still open. My heart is still dreaming of what might come next. 

Blessings to you friend,


Linking up (a little late) with Five Minute Friday, where writers gather once a week to silence the inner critic and just write for five minutes straight. Last week's prompt was "hold". 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

For when you feel weak and small

"In that shaky space is your juiciest wisdom waiting to unfold." 

What is your shaky space? What makes your palms sweat and your knees knock?

What makes you second or third guess yourself? Or, what makes you want to crawl into a hole and never come out?

What if, instead of dreading those times when our knees knock and our palms sweat, that we actually embraced them?

What if we reframed those moments of fear?

Instead, we could imagine that when our emotions and intellect are put to the test, this is when our best and most purest self emerges.

We really are smarter than we think. Our Creator endowed us with the gift of intuition. Intuition is that deep knowing, that voice deep within that points us to what is best for us.

Trusting our intuition doesn't come easy for most of us.

We're programmed from an early age to not trust it.

Adults always know best, right?

What can we do NOW to empower ourselves? Because that is what really matters NOW.

To tell ourselves the truth.

To tell ourselves NOW that it's in those times that we feel the weakest that we are the strongest, because we are being put to the test. Tests are hard, but they bring out the best in us.

Just because we feel weak, doesn't mean we actually are!

The next time something bad happens or someone says something to make you feel small and weak, remember who you are and what you are made of.

Remember Who made you.
Remember you have wisdom residing within you.

And live within that moment realizing that beauty and wisdom are unfolding inside you.

It's enfolded within you.

Live, knowing what you are becoming.

Blessings to you, friend!


I'm linking up today with Holley for Coffee for Your Heart and with Beth for Three Word Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When you need twenty seconds of insane courage

I watched We Bought a Zoo with my family the other night. It's one of my husbands favorites, so we've seen it four or five times. I admit, I actually made an inward sigh when that movie was chosen for the night. 

Even though I was sitting in my chair knitting feverishly, I surprised myself by paying more attention to certain parts of the movie this time than I have in previous viewings. 

One of the phrases that Benjamin Mee teaches his son is the phrase, 

"You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage." 

He says this to his son because his son wants to talk to a cute girl, but he doesn't know how.

Towards the end of the movie, Mr. Mee starts telling the story to his kids of how he met their mother in a cafe. 

He said it took him telling himself that "all it takes is twenty seconds of insane courage" for him to approach the most beautiful girl in the world. He makes sure he tells them it ended well for him, because he ended up marrying her. He tells them, "this is when you became a possibility." I love that.

I can't tell you how many times in my life this statement would have come in handy for me.

Times when I was facing the fear of calling someone I was afraid of, 

walking into the new junior high for the first day of ninth grade, 

or even taking some new medicine that was supposed to help me.

These might seem trivial, but I needed twenty seconds of insane courage to do each of those things, and many more in my lifetime!

Twenty seconds of insane courage. 

You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of 

insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just 

embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great 

will come of it.~Benjamin Mee

This phrase actually prods me on. It bolsters my courage. If I can just muster twenty seconds of insane courage or embarrassing bravery what could I do!?

The possibilities excite me!

If you considered the possibilities of what having twenty seconds of insane courage could propel you do to, what would it be?

Blessings to you today, friend! Such great things to ponder!


I'm linking up today with Holley at Coffee for Your Heart and Beth for Three Word Wednesday. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Silencing whispers of doubt

LInking up with other brave writers over at Kate's place today! Five Minute Friday is where we write for five minutes straight on a single word prompt. No worries about perfection or editing. Just writing for pure joy. Today's prompt is "whisper". 

Our lives are lived moment by moment, in the here and now, but how often do I live my daily life in the past? Ruminating over something I did or said. Thinking about how I could have done something better. 

Or how often do I live my life in the future of “what if”? 
What if I lose a loved one? 
What if I get sick?

Neither the whispers of the past nor the whispers of the future offer any good thing to my present moment. The present moment is all I have. 

Maybe this is why Jesus said, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough troubles of it’s own."

Of course Jesus would say that. That is one of the wisest comments I’ve ever heard, and the best one for good emotional and spiritual health. 

I think he knew that we’d be absolutely useless to ourselves 

and those we are with if we are always living in the past or 

the future and never the present moment.

Oh, I don’t mean that we should not look back with fond memories to the past. That is reminiscing about good times and good things. That is healthy. It starts to turn sour though if all we can think about are the regrets or should-have-dones.

How about you? Do you have trouble with living in the past? Does your mind come up with whispers of days gone where you wish you’d done something different? Do you tend to focus on the future and worry what might happen next?

I’ve been working very very hard this summer on living in the present moment. My mind and soul have given me a very good workout in this. I’ve tended to focus too much on what has gone wrong in the recent past, and worry that it won’t be different.

But, I’ve made up my mind to keep trying to live in the present and not let the whisper of doubt crowd out my current joy.

Blessings to you today, friend!
Here's to living in the present moment!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Five things I learned in August

I'm linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky for her Things I Learned series where we share the serious and the silly things we learned during the previous month. Mostly silly. Five may not seem like many, but, hey, that's more than one a week!

1. I'm not sure if it's because we no longer have anyone in our family that follows the school year calendar, or the fact that I'm getting older (?), but this August went by the fastest that I can remember any August traveling. 

Our youngest child graduated from college in May, so no back to school shopping for clothes or supplies. No "new class" anticipation. That's not to say that there aren't other things we've anticipated (like my daughter's first real post-college job!)

2. Going to the Iowa State fair never gets old. Okay, so we do the same things there every year. We go on a weeknight evening when we can get in for nearly half price (we're Dutch, after all). 

us at the Iowa State Fair!

We take in the Big Bull, Big Boar, Butter Cow, the Agriculture Building to see all the garden vegetable winners, and get the free egg-on-a-stick from The Egg Council. (we are a pretty easy to please family.) 

Two of our young adults kids came with us this year. It tickles me that they like going as much as we do. "I wouldn't miss the fair!" my son said as we were making plans to go.

3. When my hubby planted tall sunflowers right outside our family room windows last year, I thought it was an odd spot, honestly. It's not the typical landscaping seen in our neighborhood. They are tall, the tallest one got to 12 feet, 9 inches this year!

I've decided that there couldn't have been a better place to plant them because I've had a front row seat to the Goldfinches that have come to eat the seeds. As I wrote in another post, they've acted like circus performers, hanging on, upside down, to the outer petals of the flower, blowing in the breeze with the stalks, and plucking out seeds. It's been one of the most entertaining things this month. Again, I'm easy to please!

4.  I looked on Pinterest and found a new knitted dishcloth design to try. Just the right challenge for this fairly new knitter. My first try, I goofed up and had to rip out the half that I had finished. I didn't fret about it. I just started over! I've decided that trying something new, trumps being perfect at it! 

The one with the mistakes...

5.  As mentioned in #1, my daughter just got her first post-college job! She's been looking since before graduation, and looking in her degree area of Advertising, applying all of the country to things that looked interesting. 

She ended up getting a part-time job with a church camp, doing their communication and design materials! I couldn't be more happy, because she's happy. She knew the camp directors by their first names before her first day. I'd say that's going to be a pretty homey place to work!

What kinds of things did you learn in August? Did it go as fast for you as it did for me?

Blessings to you!


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