tiny garden

We are easing back into developing our garden and farm again.  The exhaustion and business of life led us away.  I have allowed myself to maintain a small garden.  I say allowed because I want more.  It isn’t what I imagine as being great, but sometimes you have to get real with yourself about what you can pull off.

This is our small garden.

Planted late.

Planted hurriedly.

Planted.

Last year we had no garden and I see this as a huge improvement.  Strawberries, onions, cucumber, zucchini, sunflowers, pinto beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, peppers, potatoes are all coming up and doing well.

I can’t ask for more than that.  Every year no matter how much I know it will happen, I always feel surprised and in awe by what can come from such a tiny seed.

A tiny garden baring the fruits it ought to is a wonderful thing.

Have you planted a garden friend?  What is your favorite part of watching your garden grow?

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when life laughs at you…persevere

I think it’s important not to take yourself too seriously.  In light of my last post, a follow-up is necessary.  For the past few months I have been the front-of-house manager for one of most popular restaurants in our area.  I mentioned in the last post how much I love the problem solving, right?  Yes.  Did I also say how much chaos is my thing?  Yeah.  I did.  Oh. My.  I love when I eat my own words.  It’s tastes great!

Here’s the deal.  I like to take crazy and make it make sense.  I’ve been pretty good at my job thus far.  Busy days are my favorite.  I like the feeling of stepping in when everything hits the fan, fixing it, and no guest in our restaurant even notices.  I usually laugh hysterically when several people come to me at once with what they feel are end-of-world problems.  I don’t laugh at them.  I laugh at how nuts things can get.  I usually take a deep breath, roll up my sleeves, and start putting out fires.  One by one in order of priority, I fix things.  Yesterday, things got a bit too much.  Even this chaos-seeker couldn’t get the fires under control.

It all started at noon.  I got a call from the busser.  Car problems.  He’ll be an hour or so late tonight.  No problem here.  Due to budget cuts, I was scheduled as the hostess.  No big deal.  I can buss and host.  Solved.  When I got to work, more little fires. BAM!  Taken care of in the first hour.  I was thinking it was a crazy start to a Monday, but things were quiet.  Business was slow.  A sick server’s shift got covered, another needed the next day off.  No problem.  Move this one here, and that one there.  Done.  Sometimes things get hairy.  That’s the way it is in the restaurant biz.  Just Saturday I was talking with a cooks’ father who was in town from Florida.  He’s had a successful restaurant in Syracuse for thirty years.  We chatted about how it is hard at times.  It’s just the way it is.

Everything at work stayed quiet the rest of the day.  Too quiet, in fact.  By four PM I was so bored I actually said out loud that I wished to bar would explode so I’d have something to do.  To give you some background on that statement, let me tell you that my first day managing we had a loud gun-shot sound in the middle of the dinner rush.  Turns out the bartender caught the edge of the bar glass with a wine bottle.  A six foot section of the bar burst into a ba-gillion tiny pieces.  Right under a hotel insurance adjusters’ dinner.  Yeah.  It’s gets crazy.  It always happens right when the restaurant is full too.

So, I’m so bored yesterday that I asked for an explosive mess.

I got it.

The busser let me know that he’ll be even later.  The restaurant was starting to fill and my servers were getting a bit frazzled.  I let him know to just get in when he can.  They would love his help cleaning up later.  I proceeded to the bar to make some drinks, wondering where the bar tender was.  At this point I was wondering if he was coming at all.  As I made a few drinks, the look on the servers faces was getting panicked.  The restaurant was filling very quickly.  I was tending to the bar folk to relieve their stress.  I was getting that feeling that things were slipping from me.  I couldn’t leave where I was…too much to do.

Muddling drinks in the midst of a “situation” feels like waiting for water to boil.  The time seems to never end.  I knew I needed to walk the floor and check on my servers, but the drink orders kept coming!  I got up and couldn’t get out from behind the bar.  I spied the pizza server and knew she could make drinks.  I called her over and let her loose.  I served pizzas for her and ran through the kitchen to check the schedule.

Just as I suspected.  Bar tender was an hour late, and now fired!  Okay, no bar tender tonight.  Things are getting nuts!

Throw in the fact that the service is getting slower, we’re on a wait list, and another local restaurant owner was very unhappy with his experience…that all adds up to this manager feeling like a failure.

Who’s that I spy?  An off-duty bartender walking in the lobby?  Get in! Punch in, and send the pizza girl back to her side.

Here come more and more people.  Food is in the window and needs running.  Here I go.  The bartender is doing his best.  I check on cups and run more to him.  Who’s that I see?  That’s right.  The thirty year restaurateur.  He asks how I am.  Uhhhhh.  Things are a little messy tonight.

“I know.  I could tell when I walked in.”

Defeat is an ugly mental state.  It was on every face of my people that night.  Times like that you just have to push through.  I was holding on to the idea that the busser would show up at any minute to smooth things out a bit.

Then I saw a text.

He’s not coming.  Just couldn’t get here in time with all the set-backs.

More defeat on the faces of my servers.  That meant that after all the rude people, failed team member, stress of knowing you didn’t give your guest what you wanted to give, you’ll now be taking on all the closing cleaning of the busser.

I  stayed to close because I knew my servers need a lift after all that beat-down the night gave them.  I figured that if we pumped up some old-school hip-hop after closing we could get the pep in our step back.

The service settled.  The guests went as fast as they came.  When the last one left, I went straight to the music.

It wouldn’t work.

And that was the night.

At every expectation of relief or hope of it getting easier, it failed.

Isn’t life like that?  There are certain seasons, days, years, that feel so defeating.  I was downcast in my heart while still trying to  encouraging to my staff.  I determined to just push through the crappy night.  There’s a word that I learned early in my Christian walk.

Persevere.

That word has a way of lifting me and propelling me.  Sometimes by one more day.  Sometimes by one more hour.  Just a bit longer.  I have a verse on my wall that I look at and consider almost daily.

In short…persevere.

yarn along

It’s been the longest stretch of no knits I’ve had in five years!  Partly due to busyness, partly to lack of yarn, it’s been a couple of months since I touched any knitting.  I’m happy to announce that I broke down and bought the yarn I needed to finally finish the updated version of Stripe the Squares, Baby!  Yay, me!  I can’t wait to feel that wool between my fingers again.

did finish The Three Musketeers recently.  Double yay.  I’m a fan of classic writing.  After spending so many months in the mind of Dumas, I needed some easy reading.  Currently on the night stand is 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs.  I believe it’s number thirteen in her Temperance Brennan series.  Yes, I’ve read them all.  In order.  Like a nerd.

What’s on your needles?  Have you read a good book lately?  Please share.  You can join the Yarn Along by clicking the link above.  Happy yarning friends!

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i’m sick of me

I’m so sick of myself!  I say that in the least self-loathing, self-centered, depressed way possible.  But really, I am.  Ever since I became a Christian fourteen years ago, I have heard people say that all you need is a humble spirit and a teachable heart.  You read your Bible, go to Bible studies, say your prayers, love others, serve others.  Eventually you will become more like Him.  I find that defeating.

Think about all the work that list entails.  Overwhelming.  If you get married you are then to be a good and loving spouse.  Serving your spouse when they are undeserving, and being okay with whatever they say and do with no bad attitudes.  Be in the perfect frame of mind.  Live life fully in the Spirit.

Do all this while dancing around with a smiling on your face.  Singing praises to God in all situations.

Now have children.

Multiply the Earth with a quiver full of arrows.

Now, be always giving and loving.  Nurture those babes with the fear of the Lord.  Direct them in the ways they should go all the days of their lives.  Read Proverbs 31 and be that person.  Forever.  Motherhood is always.

Really?  We don’t need to work our way to being a person who reflects the image of God?  We are supposed to help the poor, serve our families, teach our young ones, volunteer at church, keep our houses orderly, cook wonderful healthy meals, all while having a patient attitude even when the kids that are a blessing from God are smearing poop on the bathroom floor.  Even when your spouse who was hand-picked by God hurts your feelings.

Take it Christian women.  You can choose to make the best of all things in your life.

This is all partly true.  The missing piece is this:  “I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me.”

How have we become exactly like the Hebrews and not realized it?  We want Jesus as enough, and we want to be perfect super women also.  If we’re strong in our life who is it that’s weak?  Christ, right?

When we’re weak He is strong.  I seem to forget this all the time.  I know this in my head, but in reality, I fail to remember that Jesus is ALL I need.  He is sufficient always!

Do you need to remember this too?  You cannot do life on your own.  You weren’t meant to. Christ wants your humility, not your strength.

I was recently given a book by my dear and sweet friend.  I read the preface three times before I could read the first chapter.  The book is Hinds Feet in High Places by Hannah Harnard.

As I read the following bit, I knew that all the head knowledge I’ve gathered up in Bible studies and life and devotional time wasn’t sinking into the reality of my path here and now.

“But the High Places of victory and union with Christ cannot be reached by any mental reckoning of self to be dead to sin…”

What?  I can’t choose to be dead to my sin?  I don’t have the ability?

“…or by seeking to devise some way or discipline by which the will can be crucified.”

Reading my Bible everyday and going to church and going to Bible study, and serving and being a patient (yeah right!) mother, and hosting Jesus Birthday parties for all the neighborhood kids, and NOT doing things I shouldn’t doesn’t count?  *MIND BLOWN*

“The only way is by learning to accept, day by day, the real conditions and tests permitted by God, by a continually repeated laying down of our own will and acceptance of his as is it presented to us in the form of the people with whom have to live and work, and in the things which happen to us.”

Ummm.  Read that again!

“Every acceptance of his will become an altar of sacrifice, and every such surrender and abandonment of ourselves to his will is a means of furthering us on the way to the High Places to which he desires to bring every child of his while they are still living on earth.”

She goes on the explain that the lessons of the book are a journey to accepting grief and pain and triumphing over evil ect.

Seriously.  Do you know what she stated to be true?  In your heart?  In your life?  In the way that you live?  I think I missed something along the way.  I truly believe that God’s Word is true.  I know it’s by His strength, in His Spirit, by His will, for His glory.

What I’m really trying to consider here is that I must accept every thing that happens as an oppurtunity to humble myself, and by God’s grace and mercy accept the fighting kids as tools to sharpen my patience.  I am set on thinking of disorder that drives my recovering OCD mind crazy, as a way for God to instill his order in my heart.

I am forever and always until Jesus comes, going to be struggling.  I am eager for God to work into me a heart and Spirit that shines His light into darkness.

What if my life brought others to knowledge of Him?  That won’t happen if I’m complaining about how someone built an awesome thing inside our house and sanded it inside our house.  It won’t happen if I pretend to be strong when something is hard.  Honest humility.  We are to bear one another’s burdens,  You get the point right?

I have had plenty of opportunities to accept His will in my life recently.  Each time, I’m reminded of this passage.  My only real job as a Christian is to act on those opportunities.  Sometimes that looks like scrubbing my neighbor’s house because that’s how they need to hear the gospel.  Other times it looks like NOT freaking out on kids and being humble and loving.  Choosing to accept the challenges they throw at me as an oppurtunity to teach instead of punish.

It’s not going to be easy, but I am so excited to start letting Him work his will in my life.  I’m also excited to allow his will instead of impose my own.  Are you with?

 

8 things we need to know about grace

I love a good second chance.  I need them everyday don’t you?  In the Christian world we call this grace.  I thought it would be fun to look at ten things we need to remember about grace.

1.  Grace is getting what we don’t deserve.  It’s a gift we don’t earn.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

2.  We are to freely give grace, just as Jesus has freely given it to us.  We can’t expect people to earn grace from us.  It’s a gift, remember?

Romans 12:3

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

3.  Grace comes with a price.  Jesus paid that price for us.  Sometimes for us to show grace is a sacrifice that doesn’t come easy for us either.

Ephesians 5:2

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

4.  There is a call to action.  Be graceous!  Give back what the Lord has given you.

Psalm 111:4

He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.

5.  We need it daily.

Luke 9:23

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

6.  Grace is choice we have.  Have you ever heard someone described as gracious?  I’m not just talking about floating across the floor flawlessly.  I’m glad that’s not the definition.  My clumsy self would have no hope in that.  We can choose to BE gracious towards others.  We can be gracious in our thoughts.  In our hearts. In our actions and words.

Colossians 4:6

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

7.  True grace only comes from the father.  Either to us or through us.

8.  It’s not easy for us, but He can give us strength.  Sometimes His grace is all we have.  It’s always all we need.

2 Corinthians 12

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

i’m living

It’s been forever and a month since I’ve posted here.  For the record, I started some great ideas, and never finished them.  Does that count?  No.  Okay.  Let me say I’m living.  Sometimes better than others.  What is my point?  Everything.  Also, I’m in a weird and funky mood, so bare with me.

Farm first.  The piggies are off to market…all four of them.  We have sold our dairy goats because I have nursed five children and milked two does for three seasons. I really needed a lactation break.  We miss our gals, but they are loved on by a family with more time than I.

Homeschooling has been going well.  I really need to post some reviews on here and YouTube.  I’m loving our system with workboxes.  Some of our curriculum is worthy of its own post.  Would you like that?  Do you care?  I know you do because somehow with all my random rambling, you still come back.  *muah*  I love you.

Nick has a new career. UPS.  That’s a big deal.  We’re still praying he gets onto a permanent position after the holiday season.  He really enjoys the work.  The pay is good and the benefits are great for a family this size.

Our precious poodle Luke died about a month ago.  If you follow me on Instagram, you saw a photo tribute to him.  We all miss him so much.  Nick and I have confessed to each other never being this sad over a dog before.  It has been hard.  On that note we are looking into adopting a puppy in the near future.  Stay tuned for lovableness.

I have been busy growing my new YouTube channel.  Have you subscribed yet?  I would love your support.  I have lots of grand plans for getting back on track here.  Thanks so much for staying with me.  I appreciate your support and love always.

recipe links and reviews

Last month I planned all of our June meals.  We are in the middle of the month right now.  What better time to give the links and reviews for new recipes we’ve tried out.  I’d like to do this once a month for you.  It’s nice to have someone (me) be the test rat so you don’t have to worry about whether that beautiful Pinterest meal tastes good.

For starters, I’d like to say that our family isn’t too picky.  Josie is the pickiest of all, but does that surprise you?  Not me.  Lol.  I printed a monthly planner from Money Saving Mom.  What I like about this is that is has breakfast lunch and dinner areas.

Now for the recipes.  I looked on Pinterest at meals I’ve been wanting to make.  Some were crock pot, some quick, and some regular or more in-depth.  These are my picks and what I thought of them.

Korean Beef (Quick meal)

Everybody really loved this one.  You can make it spicier or sweeter by adding more chili sauce or sugar.  The only thing I didn’t like was the lack of veggies.  Next time I think I’ll add snow peas or broccoli.  Maybe both :)

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

These were A-Maz-Ing!  For reals!! I had a strange craving for french dip sammies for weeks.  This hit the spot!  I made double and we ate it later that week as well.  I couldn’t find french onion soup, so I used the dry soup mix.  It was AWESOME!!!!  It was also extremely easy.  I took about 5 minutes to put in the crock pot.  I’m salivating just thinking about this.

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I wanted to liven up our breakfast menu this month.  This was soooo great.  I made a double batch and put it in a 9×12 pan.  It worked great.  Imagine a slice of a muffin/scone hybrid.  Yeah.  It was yummy, yummy.

That’s all I have for now, but come back soon for my end of the month list.  I can’t wait to share with you the other delicious dishes we’ve been gobbling up.

Have you tried a new recipe recently?  Please share a link or recipe in the comments below.  I LOVE comments!!!

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest to see what else I’ve been pinning.