Saturday, June 13, 2009

being at home

"The place where God has put the wife is the husband's home.
Most people have forgotten nowadays what a home can mean, though some of us have come to realize it as never before.
It is a kingdom of its own in the midst of the world, a stronghold amid life's storms and stresses, a refuge, even a sanctuary."
~Detrich Bonhoeffer

I was just reminded of this quote by Bonhoeffer as I worked on a crafty project for a upcoming wedding gift. There is such truth in the statement! This week I have been thrilled to be at home and to make it a haven for us. Although I didn't follow my "plan" to a t, everything was accomplished. I enjoyed the opportunity to be productive in our home and in ways that could bless Matt. Since I'm home now without having to work (just for the summer), Matt has a break from helping with the laundry and dishes after dinner. I'm glad to relieve him of those things that he also gladly did to serve me during the more hectic school year. I can also use my days to clean the house, run errands, and grocery shop, thus leaving the Saturday totally free (that was my day to clean and buy groceries before... a full day)!!! Although these are really simple things, I am so thankful for the sweet rest and solitude of the days this week. I know that for many housewives, these days would eventually become less of a thrill and more of a monotony. But, from the other side of the fence, it is calling and season to be cherished. Even without children right now, I see great significance in serving Matt this way. I know that with children someday, the significance of being a mother and wife in the home becomes even greater (although it is not always possible). This week has given me much to thank and praise the Lord for. I hope that you can also find much contentment in your season right now and enjoy the Lord's goodness to you! The greatest part is... I have many more weeks of this bliss ahead :) And for now, I'll enjoy our Saturday reading the Word, going on a Border's date (with buy one get one free coffee coupon), enjoying good books, and a taking trip to Shakespeare in the Park (to see "Hamlet") tonight.

*I'd love to include pictures of the wedding gift creation... but, lest my dear friend see it, I'll have to wait until after the wedding to post them! So this picture shows the lovely flowers I bought this morning at the Farmer's Market... I really like fresh flowers on the table :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

big (but reasonable) summer plans

Well "I've got BIG plans" to quote a cute, cute children's book that was read aloud to the teachers at the beginning of school this past year. The point was that a little boy made BIG plans which never quite came to fruition. We were encouraged to plan BIG, but to also be realistic enough to allow for some flexibility. As a Christian, I think of "grace" in those scenarios. I remember contemplating grace a lot in college which was a good season. In many, many ways I need to continue each day those thoughts. I cannot just barge my way through life doing it all on my own, to the best of my abilities, and not be surprised that burn-out comes at the end of that road and that failure is a certainty in time. Rather, I must rely on the Lord who provides me with all opportunities, strength, and ability. He is a gracious God who responds to my failures and falls with compassion, forgiveness, and new mercies each day. So in that light (and with that reminder to myself mostly) these are my summer plans/goals. Aimlessness is not my strength, and without some specific goals I don't usually complete most things I set out for. So this summer I'm trying to be specific, but also gracious towards myself. Matt has also been very helpful in reminding me "not to over do it". I'm hoping for some accountability as I blog about my days, and share progress in these areas.

my plan:
Mon/Wed/Fri morning:
workout "women's fitness bootcamp" free in the Seminary gym, Bible study & prayer time, shower/get dressed, watch Martha Stewart on TV (iron during Martha on Fri), read until I'm hungry and eat lunch...

Tues/Thur morning:
walk on campus, Bible study & prayer time, shower/get dressed, watch Martha Stewart on TV (iron during Martha on Tues), read until I'm hungry and eat lunch...

afternoons (chore time & "project" time):
Mon- clean bathroom, do any CVS shopping (before the deals are gone), 2 loads of laundry
*Mon EVENING- Seminary sewing class bi-weekly (I hope to make curtains this summer)
Tues- dust, "practical pilates" free in the Seminary gym
Wed- clean floors (vacuum, mop)
Thur- 2 loads of laundry, "practical pilates" free in the Seminary gym
Fri- clean kitchen, grocery shop

GREAT NEWS!!! All evenings are essentially free to enjoy dinner, walks, and resting with Matt... that is a great and blissful thought. And weekends will be free also for fun times together like the Farmer's Market, hiking/camping hopefully, local summer events, Shakespeare in the Park, picnics, sunbathing, blueberry picking, day trips, etc.

"projects" may include some of these things:
*new cell phone, and new cell phone service when our contract expires (for many of you this is good news as we'll finally be able to complete a conversation without my phone dying 4 times within 5 minutes!)
*prayer cards with Biblical examples of prayer
*new recipes to try (one weekly)
*swimsuit shopping
*consigning old clothes, shoes, tote bags
*Country Living idea: lamp out of old china
*"deeply clean" couches
*make wedding gift
*clip magazine articles and file to reduce clutter of ever growing inherited magazines (mailed by my thoughtful mom)
*take Matt's car in for a check before road trips

books to read:
- Girl Meets God, Lauren Winner (REREAD, in progress)
- Shopping for Time, Carolyn Mahaney
- Mudhouse Sabbath, Lauren Winner
- A Slow & Certain Light, Elisabeth Elliot (REREAD)
- Barbara Pym books (at the recommendation of a friend)
- teaching/school related books
- social justice books

other additions:
~ Vacation Bible School evenings, one week
~ Jefferson County Summer Professional Development, most days one week
~ Kansas City trip to visit family & friends, one week
~ Destin, Florida vacation with family, long weekend

You can pray for my efforts in these areas, and most importantly for my trust in the Lord that He would direct my plans and my steps, and that all rearranging would be considered from an eternal perspective recognizing His control and sovereignty over it all!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

the fruits of our labors

Well, that title is probably a bit dramatic but still fitting in my mind. Anyway, I've really been enjoying our "urban garden" this year. We have two containers near our front doors which "pep up" the rust colored door (below). I've also had fun refilling the containers we had last year on our back patio (right), and adding a few more. These pictures were also on Facebook in case you feel like you're seeing duplicates.

My favorite of the flower containers on the back patio is this one containing cat mint - purple breezy looking flowers in the middle, violas pale yellow, snapdragons (not blooming when I took this picture) also pale yellow, and the fuzzy plants that are whitish and just make a nice addition. One of my friends described it as having "wild beauty" I'd agree with such a lovely description. (The watering can is also charming I think... a great $6 Big Lots find!)

We've also endeavored to plant some additional garden areas near our apartment. I found $1 boxes of wildflower seeds at Walgreens recently and decided to invest in two of them. After raking up the dirt and adding some topsoil Matt covered up the seeds I sprinkled in. We've been watering and are thrilled to see sprouts coming up. I'll be so excited if there really are wildflowers under the formerly bare stairwells in our complex. I hope the Seminary would be equally thrilled... but I'm not so sure :) Here's a small glimpse of those spaces...

I'll add an "end of summer" picture in a few months to show how they turned out, well I'm hoping!

Finally, the inspiration for my melodramatic title... I used some of our herbs today from the ever-growing herb garden containers to make herb butter which was a delicious addition to our first loaf of breadmaker bread.

(I found an excellent deal about a month ago when I bought a Pillsbury Bread Machine for $5 at a church rummage sale and finally tracked down the manual and instructions online... thanks to the "breadmaker guru" site.) Today was the first day to experiment with our handy machine and it did a wonderful job! I've been wanting to use my herbs frequently so that they'll continue to grow and herb butter seemed to be just the right addition. So I mixed some chopped thyme, oregano, basil, and chives with some softened butter. Here were the results (aka "the fruits of our labors")...

On an ending note - Does anyone know of something to do with sage? Its growing bigger and bigger because I'm not quite sure what to do with it. Any input would be great!

**many more frequent posts to come, my mind seems full of topics: last day of school; summer Bible study plans; summer goals; and for fun (this is an idea another teacher friend had) compare and contrast "summer Laura" and "school year Laura" :) **