Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Year of Hope: A New Direction

Hello dear friends,

I'm so sorry that I haven't been blogging lately!  Here's a snippet of a blog post that I started to write a number of weeks ago that will give you an idea of where I've been.  "I am struggling right now.  GraceWorks is such a special ministry to me, but it isn't able to help much with paying off our medical bills, and my husband and I have agreed that I need to start looking for a job.  Wow.  That is hard for me to say and even harder for me to do.  Except for a year that I served as a teacher's assistant at a private school, I haven't had a job outside my home since before my children were born."

So... long story short, I have been job hunting.  After many tears and fears, I am happy to report that God has provided the perfect job for me in a retail store and I am loving it.  It does, however, cut down on my available time, so please be patient with me as I am sure there will be some shipping slow downs over the next few months as I get busier and busier.

My goal now is to apply all that I have learned and taught over these past years about keeping up with my home and blessing others in a different setting.  What does this look like in the life of a working woman??  I've realized already that there is definitely a different urgency in getting things done when I only have a few hours available, and I've learned that organization and having a plan is the key to staying on top of things.  I'm sure it will take me awhile to feel like I am falling into a rhythm, but I am SO thankful for the training of these past years!!

On to GraceWorks news!!

Be sure to check out this month's "Free with $50" goodie - the Holiday Planning Pages.  The Holiday Planner is a wonderful way to keep track of all the details of the upcoming holiday season... Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, New Years.  Pick up your next year's planning pages or make an order with a friend and you could get the Holiday Planning pages free!  And remember that all of the Classic Home Journal line of pages are on sale this month as well!

Thank you all for your friendship and support.  I am so thankful for you each and every day!  You are a blessing to me!!



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2018 Classic Home Journal Is Available Now!

Hi everyone!

Are you ready to start planning into next year?  

Well, good news! 

 The January 2018 - January 2019 Dated Classic Home Journal pages are now available!

You can find them in the Classic Home Journal Collection on the website HERE.

These pages do take a few days extra to process, so be sure to leave yourself a little time before you absolutely have to have them. :)

Be sure to contact me if you have any questions!



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Year of Hope: Each Day is Enough

I am SO over eager.  When I am cross stitching I am thinking ahead to blogging.  When I am learning a lesson I am thinking ahead to how God may possibly use it in my life.  I begin the morning by making my bed automatically because I am thinking of what I need or want to do next.  I eat my special peppermint bark treat and hardly enjoy it for thinking ahead to Christmas.

This afternoon as I was driving home it hit me.  I am presumptive.  Who knows whether I will even have a "next"?  A next day, a next hour?  All I truly have is right now.  And it is enough.

"All I truly have is right now.  And it is enough."

Just think for a moment.  If all of our "right now's" were spent in love, wouldn't we have lived a beautiful life?  If every fault that someone had committed against us had been forgiven, wouldn't that be a peaceful way to enter eternity?  Even if we never write a book, speak in front of a thousand people, have a million dollar house, or have a college degree, our lives will be well-lived if we see each day as enough and act accordingly.  Not wishing it were another day forward or backward on the calendar, and not borrowing trouble from tomorrow or stealing its joy.  But being present in the moment - looking at what you are doing and experiencing it.  And, whether it be joy or pain, accepting it in peace and loving God and others through it.

What if, during every moment of my day

... I worked in peace rather than with an anxious and hurried spirit?

... I kept my heart clear by forgiving others their faults and asking forgiveness for my own?

... I spent the day immersed in loving God and in showing that love to others in my everyday tasks - Praising Him for another day while making the bed, being thankful there are dirty socks to pick up, enjoying the exercise as I run downstairs to transfer the laundry, praying for dear ones in the church while washing the dishes, adding special touches while making sandwiches for tomorrow's lunch, treating the grumpy customers at the church bake sale to a kind word and a smile and then praying for God's forgiveness and encouragement and blessing in their lives rather than complaining about them
- whatever it may be ?

If I could do all that each day I think I would reach the end of the day feeling very blessed.  Truly the time we are given to live is enough... if we actually choose to live it wisely!!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Year of Hope: Two Steps Forward...

...And one step back.  That seems to be my reality right now.  While I want to be all better - because I honestly do feel so much better! - the reality is that this is going to be a journey and that I need to be patient.  And gentle with myself.  And not get discouraged.  And be willing to rest.  I pretty much overloaded my system, both emotionally and physically, last week during Bible School, and now I need to rest and recover.  There is a quote I heard when listening to the Beautiful Life Management CD's the other day that went something like this...

"Any form of stress that prompts discomfort has the potential to expand our capacity - physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually - so long as it is followed by adequate recovery."
-- The Power of Full Engagement

It is good for me to remember this.  It isn't that I shouldn't have pushed myself last week.  It was a challenge, and I did MUCH BETTER than I did last year.  What I do need to remember, though, is that I now need a period of recovery.  And that isn't a bad thing.  And I haven't failed. And God will still love me even though I need to rest.  And I can enjoy my rest period and not feel guilty about it - like I am a second class person because I am taking time to relax, rather than being able to go and go and go like "everyone else" seems to be able to do.

So, how am I doing on my Hope Journal this week?  I'm not.  I'm concentrating on getting the dishes done, and making the bed, and getting up early to pack snacks and lunches for my husband.  I'm working on getting GraceWorks orders printed and out and I'm hoping to make a few birthday cards.  And in between I'm napping and resting and today I plan to settle down and cross stitch.  And, in a few days, when I feel like I am ready for another sprint, I'll pull out my Hope Journal and we will start again fresh, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if I have just a bit more endurance than I used to.  That, my friends, is a victory.

I'd like to leave you with a quote from my friend, Jenny of Elefantz, that really spoke to me the other day...

"Be completely where you are, and leave tomorrow 
for another day."

Thank you so much for the blessing that you are to me!!  I thank God for you!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Busy Week!

Hello dear friends!

I wanted to drop by and let you know I haven't forgotten about you!  I'm in the middle of Vacation Bible School week and I am having trouble staying caught up.  Well, that's not exactly true.  I'm not caught up at all!!  If you place or have placed an order this week, please know that I am working on them little by little, but, in all honesty, I may not get them out until next Monday.  I am so sorry!  Thank you so much for your grace and patience with me!!

I'll be back next week with more adventures in this year of hope, once I find my feet again.  At the moment, though,  a wise decision will be for me to take a short nap! :)



PS. While you are waiting, you might want to check out the GraceWorks website for this month's special and Free with $50 item!  Talk to you soon!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Making Wise Decisions

Have you ever been guilty of "emotional eating"?  Sitting down with a bag of chips, an ice cream cone, some M&M's, or a cup of coffee not because you are taking a break to have a treat, but because you just can't bring yourself to face whatever is going on around you?

How about "emotional shopping"?  Escaping to the mall or to the Amazon website or to the craft superstore and buying something that you probably didn't need - or didn't need just then - only to reach home and realize that you really shouldn't have spent the money?

One of my goals during this Year of Hope is to practice making wise decisions when I catch myself falling into the emotion trap.  Here are a few things I find I gravitate toward when I get emotional... 

Going to our local frozen custard shop for a scoop of custard, 
Sitting down to play piano, 
Playing a puzzle game on my tablet, 
Checking my email, 
Looking for something else to eat, 
Window shopping on a stamping company's website...  

None of those things are bad, in and of themselves.  I need to check my email and practice the piano. Window shopping, playing a game, and getting a scoop of custard are fun treats -- but only if they are intentional.  When I find that I have simply gravitated to the piano and I stay there for half an hour regardless of the other things that need to be done, that is emotional playing.  When I look at my schedule and say, "I'm going to practice for half an hour before I do the dishes", that is intentional playing.  So when I find myself just standing in the middle of the room thinking, "I think I'll just play a song quick", or, "I think I'll just check my email quick", I'm working on stopping myself and saying, 

"I need to make a wise decision, instead."

Often that means that I will look at my list for the day and say, "I'm going to do ______________ first, and then I will set a timer and play for 20 minutes.  After the 20 minutes, I need to..."  One thing I am noticing is that approaching my fun time in this way allows me to fully enjoy it, rather than just doing it "quick" as though I am stealing the time.  Which, come to think of it, I sort of was!  If I know that I have a half hour to read a book and drink a cup of coffee, I can relax and enjoy both the coffee and the book because it is all I have to do right then.  I have chosen to make it a priority.  But if I say, "I'm just going to have a quick cup of coffee..." and then sit down with a book I will feel rushed and anxious, because deep down I know that something else had the priority right then and I was stealing its time.  I've noticed that the word "quick" is almost always in my vocabulary in cases like that, and I'm sorry to say that for a long time "quick" could have been mistaken for my motto.  There have been a number of times I've needed to stop myself and say, "STOP.  Look at this moment.  Right now.  This is a good place.  Make a memory."  So often we allow our emotions to pull us along - anxious, agitated, grieving, resentful, and many more - and we never stop to enjoy where we are right now.  Even as I am writing this blog post I can choose to look past it and hurry through it to get to the next thing, or I can enjoy the process and this chance that God has given me to connect with each of you.  I want to always choose the latter way, don't you?

For my Daily Focus yesterday I spent time in the kitchen cleaning out a basket that sits next to the phone.  

I can still get overwhelmed easily, so when I began to feel agitated I thought, "I need to make a wise decision."  I decided to only go through five items at a time - even if that was just 5 pieces of paper.  That way each five would be a small victory.  To be completed I actually had to do what needed to be done to that item.  If I needed to cut out a coupon, I did.  Then I used a paperclip to attach them to my planner on the next shopping day.  If I needed to shred something, I did, even though I had to walk up and down the stairs a number of times.  It was definitely not the fastest or most efficient way to go through the basket, but it was a conscious decision to take my time and I enjoyed the process.  Here is the after view...

My room for today was the Living Room and it got a good vacuuming, along with the hallway and master bedroom.  That will probably be all for today in my Focus area, as vacuuming and my shoulder don't agree very well.  A wise decision on my part will be to ice my shoulder again as soon as I'm done typing!! :)

Have a blessed weekend, my friends!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Daily Focus

Hello friends!

Starting over is always hard, isn't it?  Especially when you aren't quite sure where to begin.  One of the things I know *for sure* about myself is that I need a basic plan of some sort.  It needs to be flexible but fairly detailed so I can follow it to the letter or just use it as a guideline, depending on the day.  I will freely admit that I have had a lot of trouble over the past few years following the plan laid out in the Beautiful Life Management System.  It's not because the plan doesn't work.  It does, and I followed it, or a variant of it, for years and years.  So many years, in fact, that the basics have sort of become second nature.  Things like making my bed and doing the laundry were wonderful - normal - things that were real comforts during the past few years.  The things that I've had no desire to do are to declutter, to clean deeper, and to make my home beautiful.  So yesterday, as I began my Year of Hope, I sat down to try to think of a way to focus on the areas of my home a little more deeply.  The Monthly Home Blessings are laid out basically room by room, which I like, but right now I feel the need to see some progress in every area of my house all at once.  Hmmm...  After thinking about it, I decided that I would make myself a DAILY FOCUS list and see how it works for me.  I have it split into two weeks so I'll be concentrating on each area around two times a month.


Week One -

Monday - Small Bathroom, Catch Up from Weekend
Tuesday - Main Bathroom
Wednesday - Kitchen
Thursday - Master Bedroom
Friday - Living Room
Saturday - Entrance, Front Porch
Sunday - REST

Week Two -

Monday - Dining Room, Catch Up from Weekend
Tuesday - Laundry Room
Wednesday - GraceWorks Area
Thursday - Office / Stamping Room
Friday - Errands or Paper Room
Saturday - Patio, Hallways
Sunday - REST

I want to work in the focus area about 15-45 minutes on the day it is scheduled, cleaning, deep cleaning & decluttering, so I jumped right into the list yesterday and took a look at the main bathroom.  I planned to declutter first, but I decided that it was time the bathroom had a really good cleaning, so I started there.  When I started to clean the toilet I realized that the toilet brush had really gotten nasty, so I pulled out a Shopping List sheet and jotted it down.  The shower curtain rod was rusty, too, so that went on the list as well, along with some new mini blinds or curtains to replace the "we'll just use this piece of fabric until we can find something better" that has been hanging there since we moved in 9 years ago... (Yes, I'm serious!  I'm sorry to say that window treatments have been a source of paralyzation for years...).  When I finished up I pulled out a Journal page and wrote the name of the room on the top and what I did in the first section.  There are six sections per page, so I should be able to keep track of things for about 3 months on one sheet.  Here's mine from yesterday...

I used a little post it note to remind me where I would like to start next time.  Later in the afternoon I stopped at Walmart after I dropped the GraceWorks orders off at the Post Office.  The mini blinds were all out - they are a hot seller in our little college town! - but I found a toilet bowl brush so that was good.  It was when I was looking for a shower curtain rod that I saw it.  A package including a shower curtain, rings and two rugs for $15.00!  I was so thrilled.  I really wanted to make a wise decision, so I thought about it...  It was in the colors that Paul and I had decided we liked as an overall theme for the house.  It was inexpensive.  It would match most of what we had, with a few exceptions.  It was perfect!  But what about the window??  I couldn't leave up that horrible piece of fabric, and there were no blinds.  Hmmm.  I trotted back to the curtain aisle with my find in hand and found a beautiful set of inexpensive curtains that were just the right length and would coordinate the shower curtain with my current wall color - a warm creamy yellow.  That settled it.  I picked up 2 towels and 2 hand towels to replace the previous accent color and went home to - GASP - redecorate!!  Here's a quick picture that I snapped with my cell phone for my daughter.  I think I should have run the shower curtain through the dryer with a wet towel to take out some of the wrinkles, but I was too impatient.  I will be working on that this year!!

Thank you, friends, for all your sweet comments and emails after my last post.  I love that you are going to join me on my journey.  May God richly encourage you as you have encouraged me!!

All right - I need to get started on today's project... the kitchen!  Talk to you in a day or two!