February 15, 2013 § 4 Comments
So I’ll just pretend I haven’t abandoned this blog for the past few months and just jump right back into a five-minute Friday:
I remember the first time I read the words beloved in the Bible. Jesus calling His disciples, beloved. I was rediscovering the Bible and my relationship with God as a teenager. I was going through a lot of stuff. Family issues, teenage angst. o hear that the God i served called me beloved was refreshing. Life-changing even. Beloved. I am His beloved daughter. My Father’s term of endearment to me, beloved.
Even now, even today, when I think on this, my soul is desperately filled by it. To know that I am loved like this.
I see it now. How beloved I am. I see in the husband’s hands, holding mine. I see it on my child’s lips, kissing my forehead. I am beloved by my dear ones. I never thought this was possible. Me, the girl who didn’t think marriage and having a family was for her. Now the wounds have been healed and I found His words, beloved, to be true again. And now, because I am His beloved, I have love for my two guys to goes to the moon and back.
January 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Hi everyone, just to let you know that my new blog has a new domain! Please stop by to check out my 2012 recap and new year goals!
December 28, 2012 § Leave a Comment
We had to take down our Christmas tree early because we had guests coming to stay and we needed the space. Normally, this would have made me cringe. I mean, what kind of person takes down Christmas on the actual Christmas day? Honestly, it felt good to put everything away. Ready to start the new year. I’m ready to set new goals.
First, however, I like to take the time to reflect on the year that has past. It’s been a good year, I have to say. Unexpectedly good. Like last year, I’m using Simple Mom’s reflection questions, answering the ones that are pertinent to me. Hope you enjoy them, as much as I enjoy answering them.
REFLECTION QUESTIONS FOR 2012
What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
As always, many wonderful things happened this year. On personal, spiritual and even physical levels. But when I look back on this year, the one thing that stands out is our trip to Paris. It marked a new beginning for me, not to mention a dream come true.
What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Ah, there are many a challenge I lived through this year. Understanding friendships in cross-cultural settings, packing up and leaving for a six-month long trip…
What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Can I bring up Paris again? Because that was a surprise I won’t soon forget… The buttery croissants, the macarons, French being spoken all around. It was glorious!
Also, parenting O has been such an unexpected joy this year. Not that before it wasn’t. But I think I’m finally coming into my own as a mommy. Plus, parenting a little boy is so.much.fun.
What was an unexpected obstacle this past year?
A week before we were to leave Turkey, the husband got really sick. It was crazy and unexpected, and yes, I was panicking. After he received some fluids at the hospital, he fell asleep and woke a new person. I was so glad! I don’t think we could have crossed the Atlantic without his invaluable help.
Pick three words to describe 2012.
fun = I had a lot of fun this year. After two years of dealing with cross-cultural adjustment and stress, I finally reached a point where I could have fun again. That was such a blessing.
morning= 2012 is the year I became a morning person. Well, not really. I did finally achieve my goal of waking up before my boys were up. To have some Bible time, some workout time, some quiet time. It didn’t happen every morning, but it happened most mornings and I’m so much better for it.
simple= it was the year of going back to basics. Finding my way back to my roots, relearning to apply my gifts and talents in new ways. Most importantly, it was the year of keeping things simple and meaningful.
What were the best books you read this year?
I always say the best book is the one I’m reading at the moment! I read two wonderful parenting books, that, in many ways, changed my outlook on motherhood. One was The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson and the other was Wild Things:The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David S. Thomas.
A fun light read that I thoroughly enjoyed, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.
Honorable mention goes to Thin Within by Judy Halliday, a book that has helped me in my journey to stay healthy and not be controlled by food.
With whom were your most valuable relationships?
Always and forever, my guys. Not a day goes by without my heart exploding with gratitude to God for these two wonderful people in my life.
Going back to my words (simple), I learned even more the value and the beauty of the relationship I have with my family. My sisters were my very first friends and continue to be my best friends. I miss them, immensely, everyday.
What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
As mentioned before, I turned a new leaf. To quote Florence + The Machine:
Happiness hit her like a train on a track… The dog days are over, the dog days are done.
It was the year of many prayers answered. Big, small and outright impossible requests were seen. The God of Impossibles showed me, once again, that He is control. That with Him, the possibilities are endless. It was the year of finding a childlike faith. Gone is the cynicism, I’m not so jaded anymore. And that friends, is pure victory.
I am most certainly not the same girl that woke up on January 1st, 2012. I’m thirty, I’m thinner and I’m certainly happier (not because Im thirty and thinner, mind you!)
In what way(s) did you grow physically?
I am about the complete my 2nd round of the Insanity workouts. Just the fact that I was able to complete the first round is victory enough. But decide to go through it again and actually enjoy it? That, I never saw coming.
What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Laughing, wrestling, baking. Drawing, watching, playing. Running. Smiling. Learning. It’s been a fun year for this stay at home mom. Oh, and reaching an Advanced level of Turkish was the cherry on top!
What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Time management and flexibility. At one point I had four different guests coming to stay with us one after the other. One day the husband dropped off one of our guests as he was picking up some more friends that were coming to stay. I barely had time to throw new sheets on the bed. It was challenging, but we did it!
What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Oh, the usuals… Facebook, Pinterest. Of course this was the year of Instagram. Everybody and their mother is wasting time on Instagram these days.
What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Maximizing my times in the mornings was crucial to set the tone for the rest of the day. I am finally seeing the value in some housekeeping rules my mom taught me growing up. Finding a place for everything has helped me keep everything in its place.
What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
I learned that after a storm, comes the calm. And that in life, I’ll live through many storms still. Knowing that I have Eternal hope helps me know that there’s always light after some dark times. And dare I say it, there’s light even during it.
Create a phrase or statement that describes 2012 for you.
Wishing everyone a fantastic new year. 2012 was great, but I’m ready to see what the new year will bring.
Happy New Year sweet friends!
December 27, 2012 § 2 Comments
December 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
This is the first Christmas in the U.S. for O, so the husband wanted to make it extra special by picking and cutting our own tree.
I was so happy to have a natural tree, after three years of using our sad, little, Charlie Brown tree we got on our first Christmas in Turkey. I do miss all my handmade ornaments though. This year we went with the husband’s childhood ornaments and a few cinnamon ones.
In the beginning of December we went to see some lights and they had a Santa there. O would not even come close to him. He came about a foot of the jolly old fella, close enough to reach and get a candy cane. That night he told me he didn’t like Santa. It’s okay, baby. I said. Treading carefully, I explained: Christmas is about Jesus and not Santa. Santa is just a man, so you don’t have to be afraid. He replied: So I don’t have to sit on his lap for candy? No baby, you don’t.
A few days later, this couple (who have dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus since the husband was a child) at our church came to our Christmas dinner. They do a great job of telling the real story of Christmas and keeping the main thing, the main thing. Plus they are the most beautiful Santa and Mrs. Claus I have ever seen. Their clothes are made with a rich, dark red velvet. Their hair and makeup are done tastefully right. If O was going to have a picture with Santa, they would have to be it! Terrified, O would not sit on Santa’s lap. We didn’t force him, but asked if he would sit with Mrs. Claus. Okay, he said. But just for a minute.
Here are the results. Isn’t it just precious?
Merry Christmas everyone!
December 4, 2012 § Leave a Comment
If you have read this blog long enough (and know me). You know I’m a maker. Always been. I always have some sort of project going on. When I don’t have a project going it could only be indicative of two things: 1. something is wrong with me or 2. something is really wrong with me.
For the past few years, I have come up with all kinds of overly involved Christmas Craft projects. This year I wanted to keep things simple, while involving O in the process.
So we made these cinnamon ornaments I found on Pinterest.
It was simple enough, that he was able to help me and not get bored with it. It only takes about 10 minutes to get the ornaments done, then the rest of the process is done in the oven.
I didn’t find baker’s twine at my local Walmart ( we have no craft stores… It’s a small town), so I settled for this red sparkly yarn.
All in all it was a fun little project that can be done in one day and be used the next. I love the idea on the website to use it as gift wrapping decorations. It would be a nice touch to add to a teacher gift, or sweet memento to give to friends. We put them up on our tree and they smell terrific!!!
Of course this is not the only project I have going on… I’ll share my other makings sometime soon!
December 4, 2012 § 7 Comments
The husband and I celebrated our 7th anniversary yesterday. Time continues to fly around here.
We started off the morning with breakfast in bed. I made some heart-shaped pancakes with a number seven made out of chocolate chips.
We then spent the morning decorating our tree with O. Well, O watched and ate treats while we decorated it!
The husband planned a fun outing for us in a town nearby. We did a little shopping and then ate at this great place called “The River Company”. It was the perfect blend of cozy but not too casual. They had a fire going and the food was excellent. I wish I had taken some pictures but I forgot! I had the filet mignon with fries. You know me, gotta have my meat. But then I tasted of the husband’s organic mashed potatoes and I begged him to switch sides with me. He kindly gave me the rest of his mashed potatoes. See now why he’s a keeper? He’s a kind, kind man. We have a set of about ten questions we ask each other at every anniversary. Things like where do you see our family in five years, what is making you happy right now, etc. It’s fun. We also always play a round of our game of choice, Scrabble. But my iphone wasn’t working properly last night and I had left my ipad in the car. Maybe tonight we’ll get to play. But no need to wait and see who the winner will be, for the husband ALWAYS wins. I’m a sad and pathetic loser.
After gorging ourselves, I was in the mood for cupcakes! The husband, go figure, wanted some Cinnabon. He’s addicted, I tell you. So every time we are in America, he indulges at every chance he gets. I was laughing because he got such a tall glass of milk. I could never drink that much milk in one sitting!
We couldn’t find a bakery that was open, so I resorted to Walmart and found me a delightful little vanilla cupcake with a Scooby-Doo ring on it. It was a classy little thing.
The husband had planned for us to go to the movies, but they were only showing guy stuff. The only one I said ok to was “Skyfall”. And what do you know? I actually enjoyed it! I had never watched a Daniel Craig 007 movie and this was fun to watch! Especially since the opening scene was shot in Turkey. We love watching movies set there so we can see if the filmmakers are depicting our beloved country of residence correctly!
Overall it was a great way to celebrate a great year in our marriage! We have come a long way this year, having grown tremendously over the past three years in Turkey. Parenthood also made us more mature and made us realize that to keep our marriage strong, we must work at it and stay proactive.
As we were checking out at Walmart, laughing because we were being stared at by the cashiers for being dressed up a little more than their usual crowd, I looked at the husband and thought: Life sure turned out pretty nice for us.
Happy Anniversary, husband! You are my most favorite person. Ever.
Check out details of what I wore to our dinner at my simple cute style