el's rabbit trails, family life, healthy living, Homemaking stuff, real living in a virtual world, things that make me go hmm...., Uncategorized

Parting Shots…

I’m going to take a holiday centered break from here beginning November 1st until after the Thanksgiving break. I fervently hope to be able to enter the Advent season with a relaxed mind and a focus on commemorating Christ’s advent into the earth. That means a lot of planning and shopping need to get done now so that I have the freedom to do that.

This is similar to a Frivolous Friday post, but in a more stream of consciousness vein.

~ Growing up:  This past Saturday SAM and I attended the homegoing celebration for the widow of a man from his childhood neighborhood. This man, an electrician, noticed when he was a little boy that SAM had a unique sense of how things worked, and a mechanically inclined mind. He would take him with him to electrical jobs and show him the ropes. Incidentally, we have lived in this house for a long time, have never called an electrician, and not because we’ve never had an electrical problem. The man’s door was always open to SAM and his brothers, and they came and went in his house, and this woman’s refrigerator just as if they were her kids. Her children had the same freedom at SAM’s parents’ house.

The interesting thing about occasions like that one is how strange it is to see people you haven’t laid eyes on in 20 or more years. Many of them I knew from the days pulling my beat up powder blue ’89 Ford Escort up to SAM’s parents’ house at the beginning of our relationship. It’s funny how people you think you’ll be connected to forever sort gradually fade from view as you build a family and grow into a separate person than the one you were when they knew you when. It has a surreal quality to it even as you are so happy to know that they are all alive and well. I can remember when I used to wonder how I lost touch with so and so. Now I know it’s just the way life is.

~ More surreality: I am not a person who hears from God directly as some do, but I had an eery experience recetnly.

I have tiered friendships. There are the couple of women I speak to on an ongoing basis. The ones I immediately pick up the phone to call or shoot a quick text to ask for prayer. There are others I see weekly (and have for years) as a result of our kid connections.

Then there are the friends I connect with maybe a few times a year: holidays, birthdays, etc. I can literally go months without speaking to them and out of the blue one of us will call or text the other and say, “Just thinking of you, friend. Love ya.” I woke up Saturday after having a dream about such a friend and her family. I hadn’t connected with her with since March. I didn’t call her right away, but I did pray for her. I was pretty busy so I shot her a text Sunday, to which she replied, “Oh my gosh…this was right on time!”, and preceded to tell me what challenging blow her family was dealt just last week.

It was definitely one of those things that made me sit up and take notice.

~ Brazen: I shared a story with Hearth (and another friend) the other day which sent us off on a very funny text conversation about a subject that isn’t particularly funny. Namely, the realtively shameless way many women comport themselves for the attentions of married men.

It’s not particularly shocking to me, since I don’t live under a rock, but it certainly puts to death this notion of the so-called sisterhood that feminists and masculinists try to put forth as a real thing. What sisterhood there are between women are not about being of the same sex. If it was, certain things wouldn’t be a thing at all.

I have a much greater respect for the woman who said to my husband a couple of weeks ago: “I know you’re off the market, but if you have a brother -or even a friend- who is available, set something up for me. I know your circle must some good men in it.” His circle does have some good men in it. Most of those old enough for her are already taken, though.

~Another day, another diet: So I’ve been flirting with the idea of the keto diet off and on for months. I haven’t been able to bring myself to bite the bullet on it, though, mainly because it’s the kind of thing for which there are no margins. I like margins. There is such a thing as too wide margins, and I know something about those as well. But NO margins? That’s daunting.

Nevertheless, I’m going to give it a go. I, as usual, could certainly stand to lose a few pounds. I’m always wrestling with the same 25. Up and down, up and down. But one of my overwhelming reasons for considering this is the pain I have been battling since I injured myself in late summer trying to impress the man with the heavy duty work I could get accomplished. He was impressed, but unhappy with my lack of priortizing my health.

Apparently something about keto affects the body in a way that relieves pain. I’ll let you know next month how I do with it. My bullet proof coffee this morning was delicious.

~App-oholic update:  So the man got me a new phone, because he just figured I needed one. The old one wasn’t broken. It just had a crappy camera and was always notifying me that I was about to run out of space.

The space problem was more about music, un-deleted text streams, and the myriad pictures and random kid videos that I never bother to transfer, but compared to his phone with years of information and 5 times as much music, mine was a relic. So he replaced it.

About a year ago, I went on right here about my increasing dependence on apps for things I would have found ridiculous a couple of years ago. Ahem. Since I got this phone, my app usage has gone up, not down.  Not only do I have the apps I mentioned before, but I’ve added even more: a HIIT trainer, parallel Bible app, and a put my WordPress app back on there. Oh yes, my Target Cartwheel app. I get a perverse pleasure out of that little cha-ching sound they text me when I combine a cartwheel discount with my red card savings. My husband added Spotify and Letgo because I need a classified app on my phone, I guess?

In other words, I’m wading in apps again. I figured I should confess it since I feel a little wormy about it. And I don’t even have Facebook!

So…this is the view from the rock bottom of app-oholic mountain.

I’ll be around a bit because wordpress app, but I don’t anticipate posting anymore before December. If you’re already well underway with your holiday preparations, do share!

 

 

 

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el's rabbit trails, How to pick a guy, wife stuff

Relationship compatibility, redux.

I’ve mentioned this before, but was reminded of it again after walking in on the tail end of a lengthy phone counseling session between SAM and a protégé. It occurred to me how much of the counsel being offered was -or should have been- garden variety. A culture which prize feelings above all would undoubtedly find his advice to this young man offensive:

  • When you’re wrong and you know it, apologize sincerely, but stop the groveling. You’re sending the wrong message.
  • If she says she wants or doesn’t want something and doesn’t mean it, call her bluff. Every time. Don’t help her perfect the habit of lying.
  • The pattern you  now is a precedent set when you marry. Is this how you want to start your life together? [my husband is BIG on precedents and patterns]
  • Stop allowing her to use your actions to justify her wrong behavior, and don’t ever use her actions to justify any of  your wrong behavior.
  • Women play on your emotions and hit you where it hurts when everything else is failing. Don’t get sucked in to that. You’re getting distracted from the real issue.

None of this offends me even when I am on the receiving end of it. I suspect it’s because I don’t come from a family dynamic where love was treated as synonymous with coddling. Love was patient and love was kind, but it also insisted on truth. This is also a bedrock principle in our home. Tell the truth- to yourself and to each other. It underscores every piece of advice I have ever heard my husband dispense.

I was reminded -again- of why it is important when couples marry, that they do so with a clear understanding of the commitment they’re entering, and in touch enough with themselves to know that the person with whom they are joining is someone they are equipped to adapt and adjust to.

There are general truisms about male and female nature which hold up in aggregate. However, within those are various personality types, family histories, strengths and weaknesses which affect individual relationships in unique ways. Generalities are not absolutes.

For example, among our adult daughters, there is one with whom a gentler man who wishes to please his wife would meet an equal sensitivity and eagerness to please. It wouldn’t occur to her to view him as weak, but loving. Being a loving soul herself, his nature would be rewarded so long as it is balanced with confidence and protectiveness.

Another daughter, however, probably won’t do as well with anyone less than a man who meets her father’s strength of personality. She is very aware of that reality. A man she could lead around by the nose is one whom she would make miserable. She would be miserable with him as well.

The third is mature, analytical, and highly adaptable. A highly sensitive man would be turned off by her reserved nature (and she by a heart on his sleeve), but she doesn’t need a man as dominant as her father in order to follow his lead. She could handle that kind of dominance and even enjoy it, but would have no problem submitting to a man who leads from a more laid back position.  He would, however, have to be an unapologetic leader.

None would be able to tolerate micromanagement because that’s not what they have grown up around, and it’s the antithesis of confident leadership. They need to be able to breathe freely.

Each of those examples serve to illustrate how our individual makeups matter in our relationships. Marriage and family are a delicate balancing act; an intricate microcosm of emotions, personalities, and traits which meld together beautifully when done well. They can be equally difficult without honesty, spiritual growth  and character development. Character growth is often uncomfortable, and we need someone who will help us persevere righteously through those periods of growth.

Attraction, shared faith, and shared values are important things, but they are not the only things. Intangibles are also important.

 

 

el's rabbit trails, healthy living, Kitchen tips, Uncategorized

Breakfast of champions

20171025_072917
You have to try this!

I thoroughly enjoyed our quick and delicious breakfast this morning so I thought I’d lighten things up by sharing it here.

I visited with my sister this weekend and when I arrived there was a show on the Food network where the hosts were sharing new, different, and delectable things to mix into your morning oatmeal.  One of the ideas was titled “Carrot Cake Oatmeal”, and I was inspired to try it. I didn’t use the recipe of the television chef, which you can find here, but it was my inspiration. This recipe served 8.

I prepared 3 cups of old-fashioned oats using the standard 2:1 water to oats cooking method, with 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the water. To the oats I added:

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 large carrots, peeled and shredded

3/4 cups chopped pecans

chopped candied bacon (optional)

vanilla yogurt (optional)

I cooked the oatmeal with the carrots maple, and spices in it, then topped it with more carrots, the pecans, chopped candied bacon, and a dollop of vanilla yogurt. Not everyone in our house eats bacon, or wanted the pecans or yogurt, so I did what we generally do here, and lined all the toppings up on the counter for each person to top their yogurt the way they liked. A couple of people added butter and brown sugar as well since I made the recipe to suit my husband’s preference for “not too sweet”.

There are lots of ways to spice up your oatmeal, and since the temperatures are dropping, there’s no time like now to liven up your oats.

 

el's rabbit trails, healthy living, Humility is important, real living in a virtual world

Grow or stagnate.

I think about this most often in relation to the Christian faith, but it occurred to me today that it applies in most areas of life.

Life provides a wide range of  conversations, experiences, interactions, and trials. To go for years on end, never having our perspectives challenged, understanding clarified, capacity for grace expanded, conclusions honed or faith deepened, is indicative of lack of growth.

If anyone can live 5, 10, 15 or more years and not have the lens of their view in any way changed, or their reactions evolve more maturely and graciously, they’ve lived a stagnant life.

Stagnant water stinks, and the only things which live and thrive in it are bacteria and parasitic insects which transmit disease. Insects like mosquitoes, which fly around biting as many people as possible to spread the diseases they carry as quickly and as widely as possible.

I am thankful for growth, including stretching, painful growth. That I questioned suppositions I was so certain of years ago, and that my smug surety about so many things has given way to an openness about the things that don’t matter as much in the eternal paradigm. Even so, I have grown more certain than ever about other things.

This, of course, requires thought and ours is a culture in which thinking has died a painful death. Even among the supposed smart people. That’s is too bad. Without growth, what’s the point?

*I am not referring to watering down The Faith, its bedrock principles or the clearly commanded principles in Scripture that form the foundation on which the believer is to live her daily life.

 

 

Common sense, el's rabbit trails, family life

Els-isms

Things that I say or have said to my kids at some point, and which I hope they take to heart and remember.

~ Life is full of little inconveniences and unpleasantries that have to be done anyway.

~ God sees even if no one else does.

~ Respect people’s right to be different from you.

~ Skirts and dresses cover a multitude of flaws that pants can’t help but accentuate.

~ Family will tell you to your face what other people will only say about you behind your back. Don’t be so sensitive.

~ Leisure is earned. We get work done before we play.

~ Take care of yourself while you’re young so it’s already a habit when you’re older.

~ You can change friends but you can’t change your family.

~ Women have more rights than men do now.

~ Don’t buy into the lie that not screwing, drinking, and partying means you don’t have a life.

~If drunkenness impairs the woman’s judgement, then it can also impair the man’s judgement.

~ Not everything we want to do is a right.

Some of these can lead off onto tangents that make my kids laugh at me, because they know what’s coming next is a cultural rant lecture.

 

el's rabbit trails, family life, Homemaking stuff, Kitchen tips, Life hacks

Friday Frivolities 14: Getting it done.

This week was a productive one, which I needed. Getting onto a regular schedule where things get done -at least the way I am used to getting them done- has been a challenge since the we enrolled in a program to supplement our home school curriculum. The interruption from Hurricane Irma was also a derailing factor.

The school workload, particularly for our 11-year-old, is much heavier this year,  requiring more one on one time with her. It’s been a great experience so far, and we are getting acquainted with some phenomenal families, but it’s still an adjustment. In particular, being out of the house twice a week requires better time usage at home.

As I was contemplating these things I ran across a book in -where else?- our local library. The book is The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the age of Information Overload.

I wasn’t 100 pages in when I was inspired to reorganize spaces in our house which were long overdue for an overhaul. The less time I spend looking for things that should be easy to find, the easier it is to stay on task. I got the master bath done this week, overhauled the schedules to accommodate our new commitments, and reorganized the pantry.

Ignore the microwave popcorn…

With two spaces down, and at least 5 to go before month’s end, I’ve only scratched the surface, but it’s under way. Next up are the baking cabinets, storage container cabinet, and linen closet. This, even though I just did the linen closet a few weeks ago. Funny, that.

We’re still on our Whole 30 reset, which went uninterrupted because we miraculously never lost power during Hurricane Irma. For some reason, this past week I got a real hankering for some mozzarella, which is of course off limits on Whole 30. So I made a vegan, fake substitute from this recipe I found at The Minimalist Baler. The food crowd in our house is a tough crowd, and everyone gave the “cheese” a thumbs up for mouth feel and close enough flavor. I am very proud. I didn’t think to take pictures.

The general idea here is to get a lot of things under way in time to switch to holiday shopping at the beginning of October. We’ll see how it goes, but evry small hurdle instills confidence for the next one, so I think things are well in hand.

I certainly hope so, since I am considering adding yet another iron to the fire, a freelance gig that, should it work out, will be another ball to juggle but it’ll be an enjoyable one.

And I may be able to pick up my reading pace as an added bonus.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

el's rabbit trails, family life, Homemaking stuff, just for fun, wife stuff

Friday Frivolities 13: Random moments from the sahm scene.

File this one under “things that made me go hmmm”.

The last ironer in America?

Last week the kids and I were running late getting to “school” so I picked out a no-iron skirt, tank top, and fitted cardigan. Specifically because I didn’t have time to iron. Every where I turned, someone would compliment me, “You look pretty today.” I suspect it’s because the skirt was red. Kinda hard not to notice.

As a few of us were in the kitchen getting coffee (the school building is so quite cold), a few more mothers complimented me, so I said, “And I just grabbed the first thing I could find that I didn’t need to iron.” From there we were off to the races:

“You iron? I can’t remember the last time I ironed!” “I didn’t know anyone ironed anymore!” Several other women shared with me their tips for doing laundry in a way that keeps them from ever having to iron.

Thing is, I iron almost every day, because my husband’s shirts need to look more professional than they can from dryer heat. But my girls all iron their colthes every day -or every other day- also. It left me wondering: “Are we the last ironers in America?” Please, say it ain’t so.

Even with 4 “chefs” in the house, I still cook.

At church one night this week (it was a night the ministry we volunteer in meets to do our work), a woman asked me a question: “I heard your girls can cook. Since they are still at home, that means you hardly ever have to cook, right?’

“Well”, I told her, “not exactly. I actually still cook quite a bit. I get a couple of nights a week off, but I still cook 4-5 days a week. My husband will eat their cooking (he even likes it most of the time), but he prefers mine, and he doesn’t think it’s a good idea for me to get out of practice.”

She actually concurred with that line of thought, unlike many other women would. But then, she was older. Which brings me to my last unimportant but tangentially related point.

Culinary discretion

Yesterday morning when SAM was leaving for work, he opened his bag, tossed a container with a piece of cake in it on the counter and said to me:

“Toss that out, will you? I keep telling them I don’t eat just anybody’s cooking and they still insist on bringing stuff in for me to taste. I didn’t have time to go through the spiel yesterday, so I just took the cake from her. I guess they figure if they keep trying, I’ll eventually eat something.”

My husband is pickier than most about his food, but he’s not the only person I’ve encountered who is wary of taking food from just anybody. I know a woman who decided from a person’s cleanliness habits at work that she would likely never eat anything she brings in.

I’m wondering what others’ thoughts are on that.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

cultural absurdity, el's rabbit trails, wife stuff

Abuse?

I’ma keep this one short and sweet as this blog is quickly morphing into a “Hmmm. Isn’t that interesting?” type of deal. That may be for the best.

I got this tidbit from Dr. Helen in my feed and once again wondered if I am living in a paralel universe:

We’ve all read the articles and blog posts about how to stop yelling at the kids. But for me, my shouting was aimed in a different direction — at my husband.

So I decided to see if applying the same rules about not yelling at my hubby would yield the same benefits as it does with kids.

I started out thinking I’d simply “not yell anymore.” I managed it for a few days, but as all my projects and hobbies tend to go, it wasn’t long until I slid back into old habits.

You can read the entire referenced article here, but I was dumbfounded.

I cannot imagine yelling at my husband, and not just because it’s wrong even though I’d like to think I’ve grown enough to start from there. But I am, to be honest, a little unnerved and…dare I say it? Afraid of it. There. I said it.

This, even though I know he’d rather die than harm me, and he’s not going to start yelling back at me either. What I will experience, to quote something a friend wrote once, is being:

IMMEDIATELY and unpleasantly corrected. So … ahem. Not really an issue. Never has been.

To many people today, this means I am abused; because I tremble slightly at the thought of yelling at a grown man as if he were a little boy. And even though I can’t imagine feeling more loved and cherished in any other circumstance or with any other person.

 

 

 

Beauty, el's rabbit trails, just for fun

Friday Frivolities 10: Fashion Stuff

I’m fairly certain that fashion -in the traditional sense- isn’t really frivolous. It has always been that how we present ourselves to others sends a message, else Paul wouldn’t have bothered to address women directly about the way we present ourselves to the world. Additionally, we all understand intuitively the power of dressing for the job we want, the respect we want, the mate we want, etc.

In the grand scheme of  things however, and given the bleak state of the world and culture we live in, fashion conversation may seem frivolous. That is, until we stop to consider that life goes on and we still have to go out into the world and do the day to day things we need to in order to meet the needs of our families. My man has strong opinions about m appearance as well. To that end then, a frivolous fashion post!

~Our kids started school* this week. It isn’t school in the traditional sense, since we are still at home, homeschooling three full days a week, but it was certainly  new experience for them. One of the novelties was having to abide by a fairly strict dress code, one which I am certain I’d have trouble filling for them if they were at school five days a week. It is a good thing, however, when I contrast it to the lax standards we’ve expereinced in other supplental homeschool settings. It is as follows:

  • Shoulders covered, no tank tops. or sundresses without cardigans.
  • No shorts for anyone middle school and up and for elementary school students, they must be at least knee length.
  • All dresses and skirts must cover the knees when seated
  • No cleavage visible when females bend over
  • All boys shorts must have collars
  • Jeans -if worn at all-must be neat, with no frays or rips, and worn with a belt.
  • Parents are subject to the same dress code as students when on campus.

Our 9-year-old, being elementary aged, has more freedom than the 11-year-old, who complained at first. When you spend most of your time in a relaxed, casual home atrmosphere, your definiton of comfortable clothes is the standard fare (particularly in Florida): Shorts, tank tops, jeans, t-shirts, sandals. They enjoy the educational experience so much however,  that they are less bothered about having to get dressed on a day besides Sunday.

~Hearth shared a really great article with me about fashion color choices for women of darker hues. It’s no secret that black/brown women have a lot more leeway with regard to the colors we look good in, but it doesn’t mean that we look good in every color and a few tweaks here and can make a big difference.

I was fairly unfamiliar with the idea of deeper value and contrast, so I learn a lot about fashion and color from my interactions with Hearth. Have I ever mentioned here that she has written a book on the subject of women’s fashion and how to do it right? Well, she has, and you can find access to it here on the review I wrote for it when she published last year.

~One of my fashion challenges is variety. Generally, I wear almost any color that strikes my fancy, but when I know I look good in a particular color, I can overwork that color in my wardrobe. A couple of years ago, it was deep orange. I still wear that on occasion, but more recently, I’ve heavily leaned on navy blues.

*With this dress, which one of our daughters gave me as a gift from Unique Vintage, I added red accents (shoes as well as the cami) to cover the base of the very low neckline.My makeup looks like it’s melting because it was nearly 100 degrees that day, two weeks ago. It’s just one in a long line of pieces purchased in various shades of navy blue. It doesn’t hurt that my husband really likes me in the color as well, but I need to mix it up. My wardrobe is starting to bore me.

~Lastly, I stumbled on a product that has caused me -yet again- to change my favorite hair product line. Given that this especially marketed to those of us with thick, curly hair, it’s not for everybody. It’s relatively expensive also, but I have a permission, a directive even, to spend a few extra bucks if needed to look good. I also like their mimosa hair honey hair for the scent as much as the shine effect.

*There will no doubt be plenty of classical education and literature comentary at The Reading Room. I am learning as much as our kids, and loving every word of it!

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