Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's Not Too Late to Break the Rules!

I have rules regarding the celebration of Christmas before Thanksgiving. It's fall until after Thanksgiving, and then we can get out the Christmas things.  However, I've learned that planning the holidays in advance 
renders the greatest satisfaction and helps avoid feeling like you've been hit by a train come January 2.  

When my friend Kaylene, who is a LifeCoach, wrote an excellent blog about setting yourself up for success this holiday season, I knew it was time to bend the rules and put some forethought into it before we turn the turn the calendar on November 30.  Click }here{ to read Kaylene's blog and also check out her soon to be
published book, you'll be super motivated!

Because of my rules, I don't buy Christmas stuff before December.  
Which is silly, because by December 1st all you can find in stores is Easter decor :o)  

But today I had an epiphany that had me so excited I broke my own rules.
For the past couple years I've watched my friends with young children 
take enormous delight in the Elf on the Shelf.

Do you know about this one?  
The cute little elf joins your family for the holiday 
and gets into all kinds of mischief while the children sleep, 
and then it's great fun for the kids to find out what he was up to in the dark of the night.  
Things like hanging from the chandelier, getting into the powdered sugar and the like.  
While he's up to mischief, he's also watching the children to make sure they're not on the naughty list.  
A highly motivating tool I'm told.

But the Elf on the Shelf made me very sad.

It made me sad because this craze came around about 15 years too late for our family, 
and I would have LOVED to incorporate this into family Christmas tradition.
The kids would've had a ball with it.
I know this because of the popularity of the Googly Eyes in our TV room.

Today I was at Imparting Grace looking at the fabulous entries on Richella's linky party.  
And there they were, free printables for the Elf on the Shelf, 
offered by Barb at Second Chance to Dream.  
Too late ... too late ... too late for me.  

So what do you do when it's too late?

Do it anyway!

That's right ... I just bought an Elf on the Shelf for my 20, 18, almost 15 and 13 year old children.  
The fun part is that we'll share the honor of doing the Elf mischief.  
It's true there is an in between season when your kids are a little disdainful of childish things.  
But I'm finding these days that my kids take delight in nostalgia, 
and they aren't embarrassed anymore to do things like 
go to the zoo or watch the Disney movies they loved as kids.
It makes the bittersweetness of seeing them grow up favor the sweet side.
Much, much joy revisited.

I'm  betting we're going to have a lot of fun with the Elf on the Shelf.  
Even if I did have to break the rules to get him.

To see what kind of mischief our elf got himself into on his first Christmas with us, click } here {

Do you have an Elf of the Shelf?  What's been his "best" mischief? 
Give me some ideas ... I'm so excited!

I'm joining the Grace at Home Linky Party at Imparting Grace!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

And God said ...

On the best days, I have many several a few good ideas and inspiration 
in the morning before things really get rolling.  
And even on the best days, before 9:00, most of those things
have been toppled over, left behind and forgotten on the roadside of life 
because life is moving at the speed of ... well, life.  

This is one of those best days ... one of those days when God leads you to His word and says,

Read this.  
You need to hear me say this."

 And it is so relevant, so personal, so applicable, so right now 
that it's like a stop motion film ... 
I'm in the matrix, and the bullets are whizzing by, 
but I'm standing still and I can  
c a t c h   t h e m. 

I want to take hold of and hang onto His voice, 
embed in my heart the very direct things He tells me.  
So I'm writing them here, so I won't forget today, 
and so I'm accountable to this truth today.  
I'm not leaving this one behind, 
and guess what ... I think you may need to hear it too:

For everything God created is good
1 Timothy 4:4

Are you created?  
Then God is talking to you.  
No matter what someone else may be telling you, 
no matter what you may be believing about yourself ... 
God, your creator, says this
... about you ... 
You're good!  

Didn't say perfect.  Didn't say without fault.  
The being you were created to be, in which God your creator delights ...
you are good.

I hope that brings you joy today :o)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Super Easy Firestarter!

Forever and ever I loved candles.
Then came Scentsy, and I was immediately smitten 
with changing the aroma of a room or the whole house in minutes.  

Throwing away the used wax always bugged me, but I could never think of a way to use it.
Enter my brilliant friend, Angela, who got me started with the Scentsy craze in the first place.
In an offhand comment, Angela mentioned she uses her used wax to make firestarters.
Firestarters that smell amazing and get the fire going fast and easy.

Have a couple of these on hand and you'll be the most popular girl at the campfire 
and the hero to everyone who's ready to roast some chestnuts.

Here's how it's done:

You'll need small Dixie cups, the paper (not the plastic) kind ...

Stuff a paper napkin down into the cup ...

Then break your used wax into pieces and place them inside the napkin, 
or pour melted wax directly into the napkin in the cup.

Of course if you're pouring hot wax, you'll need to be careful not to spill it on yourself or anything else.

Let the wax harden, and when you're ready for a fire in the fireplace ...

or a bonfire outside ...

tuck a cup or two into the kindling and light the napkin.  
You'll have a toasty warm fire going in minutes!

Stay warm!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Night Fever

Before we moved to the country, LtDan's commute to work was about 10 minutes.
Now it's at least 45 minutes, sometimes an hour.
But he determined never to evaluate whether or not the commute was worth it 
unless he was sitting on the deck looking out over the JustB.


A pipeline that goes from the Gulf of Mexico to Oklahoma runs across the back of our property.
It was there when we moved here, and it's fairly unobtrusive.  
The pipeline company maintains a clear cut over it, 
and we can't build a structure over it.
No big deal.

When the pipeline company approached us last year about putting another pipeline in ... 
oh ... dear ... 
I'm all for progress as long as it stays in the city.

But you know what they say ... you can't stand in the way of progress.
And if progress is coming through your very own backyard, you may as well benefit from it.  
So we negotiated a win/win that helped us build a new barn.

That's where we sit when we contemplate this:

It hasn't been as bad as we imagined.
For some reason we expected workmen crawling all over the place, but it hasn't been that bad.

The hardest part was that they had to cut down some trees.
Ironically, even though the kids and I had been gone all day long the day they cut them down,
we pulled up to see the last tree fall.

But it's been interesting to watch the process ... it's a massive undertaking.

In the meantime,
we just hang out in the barn.  

The disco ball hanging up there in the rafters helps :o) 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Great Day in the Morning

this has been a HORRIBLE day.

I actually thought that as I made my lunch today.

But that little voice that helped me find the daily joy last month made me stop and take stock.  
I thought I'd left that voice back in October.  
Honestly, I was a little surprised to hear it.

What exactly made this day horrible?

A searching and challenging Bible study?
The productive strategy session with LtDan?
An interactive Bible time with the kids?
A couple quick emails to tell some people thank you?
A few minutes to confirm some plans?

Nothing at all horrible there.  
Not one. single. thing.  

All the above were accomplished in addition to the normally scheduled tasks.  
The only thing wrong was that things were out of the normal sequence, 
and some things went a little longer than usual.  

Not even a little.  

creative ... flexible ... easy going ... pliant ... fruitful ... different ... yes!

They say it takes 30 days or so to establish a habit.  
The practice of looking for joy has stuck with me, 
and I'm so grateful.  

Otherwise, I might have missed what a great day this has been.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Nevermind the candy ...

My favorite night of the year is October 31st.
I adored living in a neighborhood where children would come to our door, 
all dressed up and so excited to ask for candy.  

October 31st is the only reason I would consider moving back into town.

Fortunately, I've found an alternative :o)

The city of McKinney is one of those cities with the old courthouse in the middle of the downtown square,
and this downtown area has been revitalized with new businesses and restaurants.
Each year they put on an *huge* event called Scare on the Square, and kids in costume trick or treat from the merchants around the square.

It is corner to corner of CUTE.

Our kids are too big now to participate in this event, although they did go trick-or-treating with their cousins. 
So LtDan met me at La Misha, a Mediterranean bistro right on the square, and we had the best seats in the house for the parade of precious kiddos and their parents.

Kids in costume start making their way around the square at 4:00 and the event goes until 6:00.  

Big kids, little kids, babies ... and all sparkly eyed and happy.

I took this next one for my Abbie, she's a big Dr. Who fan ... check out the Dalek!

Even some of the parents get in on the fun.  Or maybe she was just in a hurry?

We had so much fun talking to kids about their costumes.

This little Autumn Fairy was my absolute favorite ... 

It was a perfect fall evening to sit outside on the square, and the kids just made it so happy.
I'm glad I don't have to move back into town just to get this fix ... 
but I can't wait for next year :o)