Friday, January 20, 2017

Effortless Ways to Keep Your Home Clutter-Free

Today's guest post is by Emma Hamilton on keeping your home clutter free!

Maintaining a neat, cozy and well-organized living environment is one of the first steps towards a stress-free, healthier lifestyle. According to Dr. Charisse Ward, clutter is among the top-five culprits causing stress, which has a negative impact on one's mindset and greatly reduces their creativity and productivity. Many people share the common misconception clutter is just physical stuff. This couldn't be further from the truth. Clutter represents all those old ideas, intentions, bad habits and relationships, we find it difficult to let go of. Follow our advice and take some measures to de-clutter your living space right away. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started. 

Learn to Let Go

This is the first step towards a clutter-free lifestyle. We all have items in our lives that we feel emotionally attached to, despite the fact they no longer serve their purpose. The truth of the matter is sentimental clutter is the worst kind to dispose of. If you don't feel ready yet to throw away certain items, you can start by removing them from plain sight. Place the articles in boxes, label their contents and stash them in your garage. Soon your emotional attachment will wane off and you will be able to dispose of the stuff without feeling guilty about it.

Clean up Systematically

Carpet Cleaning West London guarantees it is better to take ten minutes each day to collect dirty laundry and toys from the floor than spend your entire weekend, cleaning up the mess that has accumulated throughout the week. Another option is to use the same amount of time each day to purge or arrange the items in different areas of your living space. For instance, on Monday you can arrange the items in your desk drawers, on Tuesday - arrange the clothes in your closet and so on. At the end of the week, you will be left with a neat home and plenty of time to enjoy various recreational activities that don't involve cleaning. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Optimize Storage Space

Optimizing storage space is an absolute must if you insist on living in a cozy, clutter-free home. To free some space on the floor, for example, you can arrange some of the items you possess in boxes and store them vertically, one on top of the other. You can stick labels with the boxes' content to avoid rummaging at random. The same applies to shelves and drawers – place seasonal items you resort to on rare occasions on the highest shelves, while those, you use on a regular basis should be placed in drawers or shelves that can be reached easily.

Contain Clutter by Using Trays or Bowls

This is an excellent idea, especially for teenage girls as they are the ones in possession of a vast range of hair accessories and make-up articles. These often end up on top of the girls' desks, mingled with other items like keys, cell phones etc. Use an old tray to store your rubber bands and hair pins in. Arrange your eye shades, lip glosses and eye-liners in a small box. The same is applicable for jewelry – if you, like me, experience difficulties in counting the pairs of earrings you possess, you can craft a small stand to hang the pieces of jewelry on. This will allow you to quickly find exactly what you are looking for.

Slow Down on Your Purchases

You will never manage to contain clutter if you keep buying new stuff each and every week. Before you make yet another online purchase, take the time to consider whether or not you really do need this particular t-shirt, for example. If the answer is no, don't bother wasting your money, the tee would most likely end up stuffed in a corner of your closet or under your bed. Each time you buy a new piece of clothing or jewelry, throw one of the old pieces away. This, however, doesn't mean you should resort to disposing of items just so you can buy new ones. If you have enough clothes that are good to wear, why waste your money on buying more in the first place? 

As you can see, containing clutter in your living space is not necessarily a easy task. It takes little time and efforts as long as you manage to successfully incorporate it in your daily schedule. This will not only make your life easier, but will leave you plenty of time to enjoy more pleasant activities, like going out for a walk in the park or spending your Sundays, curled up on your clutter-free couch with a good book in hand.

Emma Hamilton works in a small company in London. She often writes for different blogs on organizing and cleaning topics. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Lord's Prayer Book Review

by: Rick Warren
3 Stars

I loved the front cover of this book. I also like the fact that the author takes the time to explain what the Lords prayer means so that kids can understand it. I think too often people are to quick to disregard the KJV because they simply do not understand it.

This book will encourage your kids to not only learn this portion of Scripture but to also apply it in all situations. My 6 yr. old was excited to add this book to her collection.

This book is a great resource to add to your home school library.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookLookBloggers, book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Year of 2017

I've never been one for New Years always seemed kinda silly to me.... So many people make a resolution to change, but so few actually see it through.

However, I do like to pick on word or thought to be a reminder to me throughout the year.

The last few years, my thought has been to Choose Joy. We can all stand to have a little more joy and happiness in our lives.... but this year, I was ready for a new thought.... so, for 2017 - I choose to take care of me!

Over the years as a wife and mom, I often get distracted with the busyness of life and have let myself go. When you have a mini farm, animals, grow and preserve your own produce, home school, run a home business, volunteer, have a special needs son, and in my case have cancer, chronic stress, and multiple autoimmune diseases..... taking care of myself is often the last thing I think of.

So, this year, I am choosing to take care of me...... I'm having a relaxing soak in the bubble bath as I'm writing this. I am seeing a nutritionist regularly and taking Shaklee supplements and protein to get my weight in check. I am relying on my hubby and kids to help more with cleaning, cooking and laundry.

We are planning family activities to spend quality time with each other. We have a vacation planned for later this month to relax on an island beach. I am finding time to exercise, and (I promised new bikes for the whole family for my birthday in April.) When I get stressed and have to much on my plate, I am saying no and not feeling guilty about it. I will not explain my reasons to others and will be shameless. I'm going to take more bubble baths, keep fresh flowers on my table, use my candle warmers, watch more sunsets, spend more time in nature and do more things I love. This year, I will not apologize for taking care of me.

This year, I choose to take care of me!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Loving Your Hubby and Ex At The Same Time

I still love my ex husband. Yes, you read that right. I may lose a few blog followers and friends with this post, but there it is.

16 years ago, today in the basement of a courthouse in Athens, Georgia, I married my first husband, Jim - and I loved him. Circumstances beyond my control made our life together difficult, and 4 years later, we got a dissolution.

I still love my ex husband. I will always think of him as my friend, and part of my family. I care about him, pray for him, and want the best for him. Sometimes, out of the blue a memory of him or us together, will come to mind and make me smile. (There are sad memories too, our life together wasn't very easy, but the good memories are what I choose to remember.)

Now before you get all worked up over the fact that me, a married wife, would write such a thing, never mind the fact that that is how I truly feel.... let me tell you something else. 

I am deeply in love with my husband, Stephen. I love him with a passion that I never knew could exist between two people. He is my happiness. I'd lay down my life for him. I trust him with my life - completely. He has my respect, and utmost devotion. My complete love. He is mine, the keeper of my heart. My love, always and forever!

Just because things didn't work out between my first husband and myself, doesn't mean that I stopped loving him. The opposite is true, I still love him. Divorce doesn't always have to be a bad thing.... it doesn't have to end in hate, fighting, or arguments. It doesn't mean that you have to throw out all the good that was there, (no mater how little or much it was). It simply means that part of your life ended.

I've heard it said that "If two past lovers can remain friends, either they were never in love or they still are." Well I'm not sure about that, because I can't speak for my ex, but I know there was, and always will be love on my side of that story.

My life is blessed more than I ever thought possible. Yes, I still love my ex husband. I'll never forget him, or the memories we had - that was a part of my life. Love doesn't just disappear. But, I have learned not to hold onto the memories so tightly that you have no room to grasp for something new. Something better. Something life changing.

"Life happens. Things end. Memories stay. Better things come."  -RK

Stephen has my heart. He is the one I do life with, the one I dream with, the one I tell my secrets too, the father of my children, my provider, the one I lay my head on. My lover. My greatest blessing. My best friend. The one I love.

There's different kinds of love, but I'm here to tell you, you can always make room in your heart to love someone. And sometimes, it's possible to love your ex at the same time as you love your spouse. I'm living proof it can be done.

One man, I will always love and care for....
the other man is my Love - and my Everything!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Enjoy Book Review

Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God's Good Gifts 
by: Trillia Newbell
2 Stars

I enjoy reading books and am privileged to review books for Tyndale, Book Look Bloggers and Blogging For Books. I have found some really great and interesting books to add to my bookshelf. Some of them, I will read over and over again... they're just that good! But sometimes, I get a book to review and honestly - it's just not for me..... and that's how I felt about this book

There's really not one certain thing that I didn't like, but it just didn't do anything for me. I guess you could say I was kinda board... it didn't hold my attention, and not to be conceded, but I pretty much already know everything the author talked about in the book.

This is one of the books that will be donated, and hopefully someone, somewhere, sometime, will pick it up and find it useful to them.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Blogging for Books, book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Starting The New Year Off Right

Happy New Year!

Here's to starting the new year off right!
So many people make a new years resolution to loose weight, but quit after only a few days or weeks. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you owe it to yourself to try Shaklee's 180 program!

We know losing weight can be as simple as it is difficult. That’s why Shaklee scientists, who are thankfully also human, designed the Shaklee 180 program to help you break the yo-yo dieting cycle to get healthier and fit for life.

This customizable two-meals-a-day kit contains all you need for your first 2 weeks of the program including:

* Two canisters of delicious Life Energizing Shakes packed with protein to curb hunger and increase energy. (16 grams of proprietary, ultra-pure, plant-based non-GMO protein. Added leucine to help preserve lean muscle and keep metabolism strong. A powerful patent-pending combination of prebiotics andone billion CFU of patented probiotics, and Omega-3 ALA to support heart health).
* One box of tasty Shaklee 180 Snack Bars loaded with protein and fiber.
* A Shaklee 180 Metabolic Boost* supplement to help burn calories naturally and keep your metabolism going strong.
* One Vita-Lea® high potency multivitamin/multimineral supplement – bonus 30 day supply.
* Program support including a step-by-step program guide and online access to tools, tips, healthy recipes, meal plans, exercise programs and lifestyle information to help you lose the weight and learn how to keep it off.

How?  Burn fat, not muscle with leucine.

For weight loss that lasts, it isn’t just about food and exercise alone—you need the right nutrition and the right support tools. Powered by Leucine®, our clinically tested products help you keep muscle you have, burn fat you don’t need and lose inches you don’t want. Real science with real results.

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  • Muscle = Metabolism. Leucine-enriched protein helps your body preserve muscle mass so you lose the right kind of weight and keep metabolism strong.
  • More is better. More muscle means a stronger, leaner looking you.

 Clinically-tested Life Energizing Shake and Shaklee 180 products:
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This is the beginning of a new you. 
You'll see and feel the difference.

 SPECIAL DISCOUNTED OFFER through January 31, 2017.  Save over $50 off full retail value ($206.90) at Member price of $150. Free Shaklee Membership with purchase.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Best of 2016

This year there were 48 blog posts at SRKindredSpirits....  There were a lot of different topics.... Things to say on a job interview, Recipes, Visiting Louisville KY, Getting rid of cookbook clutter, Book reviews, Bookcase redo, Why I don't sell, Making an orb, Crochet Christmas tree skirt, Understanding a INTJ, Adoption, DYT experiment, My first speeding ticket, What Instagram really tells you, How to review a product company, Family quality time, A free health quiz, and much more.

Here's the top 10 posts of 2016:

We had our first giveaway here on SRKindredSpirits and it was a success! The Happiness Dare is a highly recommended book!

Once you try these, you'll be hooked! Easy and yummy... you can't go wrong with these cream cheese roll ups!

I wrote this post after reading the definition of the word 'family', it will give you a little insight to my life.

Getting rid of the swimming pool was personal favorite and the relief we felt after the pool was gone was major! You have to click through and read the attached article.... it makes for a great laugh!

I think everyone could use a bit of a slow down in this thing we call life. Have you ever stopped and thought about all the errands you run or the many places you go?

Something so simple, but yet, so often, people don't take the time to do these ten simple things. It does make a difference!

Isn't it funny how most people always want more? From those of us who have been blessed with more.... all it takes to make you happy is enough!

What things are you great at? I really lay my heart out there on this post....

A fan favorite. This post has gotten the most talked about over on Facebook!

And lastly.... this post was the most popular all the way around. How qualified am I really?

What are some things you'd like to see on this blog in the next year? Leave a comment and let me know!

Thanks for visiting us here at SRKindredSpirits... please share our blog with friends and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updated posts. 

Happy New Year! 
Here's to a great 2017!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas Wishes

May the melody and spirit of Christmas fill your home with joy and peace. May your Christmas be decorated with cheer and filled with love. During this season of giving, take time to slow down and enjoy the simple things. In this happiest of seasons, may you find many reasons to celebrate. 
We would like to extend a big thank you to all our customers, followers, and friends for your support during 2016 and wish you much happiness today, this Christmas, and throughout the New Year!
The Kindred Family

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Unlock Your Dream Book Review

The back cover of this book states:

"We all dream. The capacity for dreaming and pursuing those dreams is a gift given to every individual. But many people cannot even begin to describe their dreams, much less figure out how to bring them to fruition in the face of frustrating obstacles, distractions, and setbacks."

"In Unlock Your Dream Philip Wagner will inspire you to engage in life’s greatest quest: discovering and reaching God’s purpose and dreams for your life. You’ll be empowered, equipped, and freed to give life to your dreams and to live with joy and expectation for an adventurous future."

In complete honesty, I never finished reading this book. It wasn't all bad... Chapter 3 actually had some really good stuff.... such as trusting God and realizing that as we mature, dreams may need to be renovated, edited, and refined. Dreams change.

I especially liked the following quote:

"God never asks us to give up something that is greater than His dream for us!"

However, after Chapter 5, I lost interest. For over a month, I took the book with me, moving it from my nightstand, to the sofa table, picking it up, and sitting it down. That happens sometimes.....

I'm not saying it is a bad book, it just wasn't good for me. I'll add it to the book shelf and see if it will catch hubby's interest....

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Blogging for Books, book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Understanding Architect (INTJ, -A/-T) Personality

Ever wonder how to understand yourself? What is your personality? Why is it that you do the things you do?

The last few years I have studied different types of people. It's easier to read others than myself, but I have gradually come to terms with who I am.

According to 16 personalities, I am an Architect (INTJ, -A/-T) which means that I am an:
 Introvert, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging and I am both Assertive (-A) and Turbulent (-T) at the same time.

 I am self-assured, even-tempered, refuse to worry too much and do not push myself too hard when it comes to achieving goals.
 But am also self-conscious and sensitive to stress. I experience a wide range of emotions and tend to be perfectionistic and eager to improve. I spend time thinking about the direction in which my life is going. Life is very stressful for me.

 It is very rare to be me.... only .8% of people who are woman are (INTJ, -A/-T)! This test explains so many things about me.... how I can be a starry-eyed idealist and the bitterest of cynics, a seemingly impossible conflict all at the same time!

Architects are defined by their tendency to move through life as though it were a giant chess board, pieces constantly shifting with consideration and intelligence, always assessing new tactics, strategies and contingency plans, constantly outmaneuvering their peers in order to maintain control of a situation while maximizing their freedom to move about.

Architects do what they think is right, and sometimes that comes across as cold – it’s important to know that Architects don’t make these decisions lightly. They spend a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to understand why and how things go wrong.

We can be ArrogantJudgmentalOverly analyticalWe loathe highly structured environments – Blindly following precedents and rules without understanding them is distasteful to Architects, and they disdain even more authority figures who blindly uphold those laws and rules without understanding their intent. We can be Clueless in romance

Politeness Is Artificial Good Humor. Architects may go so far as to see many social conventions as downright stupid. Architects do not want to bother reading anyone they think isn’t on their level. Architects tend to have set opinions about what works, what doesn’t, what they’re looking for, and what they’re not. These discriminating tastes can come across as arrogant, but Architects would simply argue that it’s a basic filtering mechanism that allows them to direct their attentions where they will do the most good.

Architects tend to prefer to work alone, or at most in small groups, where they can maximize their creativity and focus without repeated interruptions and questions.

So, what's your personality? 
Take the quiz and leave a comment telling us your type!

Some of my favorite quizes are:

-here's a fun little experiment my oldest daughter and I tried!
- you can find the book review here!
 - get recommendations and health tips that fits your health goals, needs and budget.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Good, But Not Great

You know there's a lot of things that I'm good at, but not any one thing that I'm really great at....

Back in 2012, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that is cancerous - for which there is no cure. Since then, I often find myself thinking about the meaning of my life..... 

"What do I love, and what would I like to accomplish in my life......?"

That's a hard question.... 

I love to sing... and would love to sing lead or background in a band. But how in the world do you get discovered.... I actually auditioned for a small group in 2015, and was given the gig, but they were located a few hours away and I would have been away from my kids and hubby 3-4 days a week.... I just can't do that right now, my family is too important. 

I love plants and nature. I love making flower arrangements. (I have even though of opening my own florist shop...), but we live in the boonies and I would hate the tied down feeling of running a store with set hours.... I guess I'll keep fresh flowers on my table and make an arrangement here and there for a friend or party, as I'm asked.

I love to travel and enjoy long distant driving/traveling. I love looking at the different scenery. Staying in hotels don't even bother me - It's an adventure!

I love photography, especially of plants and nature. I have also taken graduation pictures and portraits. 

I love to eat good food. I can cook (pretty good, I might add...). I can garden and preserve food...... but I do that to feed my family, it's not a task I love to do, but it does give me satisfaction in caring for my kids and hubby... kinda like folding laundry, cleaning the house, washing dishes, and grocery shopping.

I have baked and decorated quite a few cakes in the last 20 yrs. You can see some of them here, and here, and here!

I enjoy some crafts, landscaping and home interior design. It is all something I enjoy doing in my spare time... in moderation. I do enjoy putting my ideas to life, but not so much that I'd want to do it on a daily basis. And not really for other people.... too me, decorating is a personal taste kind of thing.

I can play piano and harmonica, but I'm not very good.

I have written well over 500 poems and have gotten some poetry published.... although I don't enjoy English/language, the words used to come easy.... I always thought I'd publish my very own book of poetry, but after looking through my poems, many of them were written about my personal life and thoughts.... who in the would would be interested in that?!?!

I write this blog.... its okay. Although it would definitely be better if people would actually read, comment, and share it! It's not something that I really enjoy, just a way for me to put my thoughts out there.... I guess my thoughts aren't really important to most people!

I own my own biz and while I love the awesome products and I love helping people, but I don't enjoy sales all that much! I do get satisfaction from helping to provide for my family with my own home business.

I can run a hobby farm... raising chickens, milking goats, bailing hay.... I've done it all.

I'm a momma to 3 beautiful kids, and while I love them more than words can say, I don't find being a mom an enjoyment. 

I am an introvert. I enjoy being alone, but I also enjoy a little attention now and then....

I love spending time at home on our little piece of heaven! My home is my happy place - a place that I can shut the outside world out and just be me. 

I volunteer as a Crisis Counselor at a local pregnancy center.... something I do to give back.

 I love antiques and abandoned places. I have quite a few antiques and since we practice a cozy minimalist approach to life - we try to keep life simple, limit the things we bring into our home, and not to keep things we don't love or need.

In the past, I have....

  • Been a bank teller which I did enjoy..... although working in a restricted place with set hours would be extremely hard for me to do day in and day out. I enjoy the freedom of setting my own hours with my home business.
  • Worked at a cemetery. It was peaceful and relaxing.... funerals make you ponder life.
  • Been a secretary.
  • Baked bread in a bakery.
  • Planted and harvested crops at a produce farm.
  • Worked as a hostess in a restaurant.
  • Drove a truck hauling 63 ft. wedge trailers - driving truck was something I did with my ex-husband. Our monthly load was to Long Island, New York.... driving through the Bronx was always a trip, but overall, I loved it!
  • Worked at a greenhouse. I loved the smell of the greenhouse, the warmth of the sun, the beautiful flowers... my love for floral arrangements and plants is from a direct result of that job.
  • Taught at a Christian school, and while I loved the staff, teaching was a job out of necessity, not something I loved, but rather something to pay the bills.
... all good jobs, but not really what I want to do with my life.

Why is it some people in life have a calling... they know exactly what they want to do. Others have something that they really excel at.... they are so good at what they do, it just comes natural....

Why is it that I'm good at a lot of things, but not good enough at one thing to make it work???

I've never been very consistent in my life.... I guess you could say being married to the same man for 10+ years is an accomplishment in my life.... but that's probably got more to do with him being the most wonderful, loving, romantic and respectable man in the world, than it has to do with me accomplishing anything! 

I'm not sure that I'll ever figure out, what the meaning of my life is.... or what I want to be "when I grow up".... ha ha!!!

I just know that, I want to be, and do, more than what I am now....

I think my ideal life would be to travel, sing, and photograph my family and nature.... now if I could only make that a reality with a big hunkin' paycheck to go along with that.... any ideas?

*did I mention I love simple things... drama stresses me out.... simple is good always

Monday, December 5, 2016

Crochet Pattern for Christmas Tree Skirt


(1) 16 oz Yarn (color of your choice)
*You can use different colors of yarn. I wanted mine to match my Christmas stockings so I made it all soft white.

Crochet Hook (I used size H)
*You can use any type of yarn or any size hook.... (The smaller the hook, the tighter the stitches. The bigger the hook, the more yarn you will need.)

Glossery: (ch = chain, sc = single crochet, dc = double crochet, st = stitch)



Row 1: Ch 22, dc in fourth ch from hook, dc in each ch across, turn.

Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc in each st across to last st, dc in last st, turn. 

Row 3: Ch 3, dc in each st across, turn.

Row 4: Ch 3, 2 dc in each st across to last st, dc in last st, turn. 

Row 5 - 6: Ch 3, dc in each st across, turn.

Row 7: Ch 3, 2 dc in next st, (dc in next st, 2 dc in next st) across, turn. 

Row 8 - 10: Ch 3, dc in each st across, turn.

Row 11: Ch 3, (2 dc in next st, dc in next st) across, turn. 

Row 12 - 14: Ch 3, dc in each st across, turn.

Row 15: Ch 3, 2 dc in next st, (dc in next st, 2 dc in next st) across, turn 

Row 16: Ch 3, dc in each st across, turn. 

Row 17: Sc in first st, (skip next st, 5 dc in next st, skip next st, sc in next st) across. Fasten off.

Please note: This is for a 4 ft. tall tree. If you wish to make a skirt for a full size tree you would repeat rows 12 - 15 two or three times before adding Row 16 and 17. You would also use more yarn for a larger tree skirt.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Read and Share Look, I'm Reading! Bible Storybook Review

The day this book came, I sat down with my 6 yr. old daughter Adilayia, to read this book together. She enjoyed it. By replacing key words with graphics, the child can fill in the story by looking at the picture which represents the missing word. I used to love these books when I was a kid! 

Some of the short stories are: Beginning, Flood, Abraham’s Family, Moses, the Promised Land, Ruth and Naomi, David, God’s People Made Slaves, Esther, and Jonah in the Old Testament and Jesus is Born, John the Baptist, Jesus’s Life, Jesus’s Death and Resurrection, the Holy Spirit Comes, Saul Becomes Paul, Peter, and the Best is Yet to Come.

The cartoon like drawings are simple and fun- but some of the people images v.s words were kind of confusing to explain to a 6 yr old. but overall, I think this book is a great addition to our home school library for my son and daughter who are learning to read.

To comply with regulations by the FTC, Book Look Bloggers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

No Apology

"Never apologize for how you choose to take care of yourself!"

I needed this reminder.....
 In this season of my life, I often need to sleep more, rely on convince food, stay close to home, have help with dishes, cooking, cleaning, and laundry....

I can't do for others like I used too....

I cook and bake less, I give less, I focus on me and my family more. I need rest and a peaceful environment.

And for all that... I will not apologize. I do not have to explain. I am taking care of me. 

No apology needed.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thankful For Us

Today is Sunday.... the weekend before thanksgiving. My family's all home - it's the first time in 17 weeks that hubby did not have to work the weekend.

The smell of warm coffee cake baking in the oven, sounds of Christmas music coming from the stereo, the warmth of the fire in our big stone fireplace....the Christmas lights twinkling on the mantle.... I look around... I love this time of year... and I love spending time with my family.

I look at my love... he smiles back, the fact that he works hard to give me this great life is not lost on me. I snuggle a little closer and lay my head on his chest. The two youngest are so excited as they pull Christmas decorations out of boxes.... today we will decorate our Christmas tree.... the teen puts down her phone and joins in on the fun..... the holidays are here!

Later, the in-laws will stop by to visit, and we'll watch movies, and have some hot chocolate.... but right now, the living room is a mess with Christmas decorations everywhere.... and I wouldn't trade this for the world! This is my family, my home, my start to the holiday season..... this is my life..... and it's perfect!

I've never been a fan of Christmas before thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. To me, putting the tree up is the start to the holiday season... it brings me peace, and helps me realize just how very blessed I am!

So, from my family to yours..... Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Today is National Adoption Day.... and although I am blessed with three kids of my own, I have always wanted to adopt a child and give them love, family, and a place to call home.

There over 450,000 kids are in the foster care system. And over 100,000 kids are approved and waiting for family's to adopt them in the USA. The average wait is over 3 yrs. It has been estimated, that there are over 350,000 churches in the USA. If only one family in each church across America would adopt a kid out of the foster care system, could you imagine the difference that would make - not just on an individual level, but as for America as a whole!?!?!

Research shows that Christians are the first people to speak out about abortion being wrong, but they are also the last ones to step up and adopt America's foster kids. I find it interesting to know that American families will spend thousands of dollars and wait for years just so they can adopt an infant, when there are so many kids that are ready and waiting (with very little cost) right at our fingertips. The average kid in foster care who is waiting to be adopted is 7- 9 yrs. old. Here's a link to some of the kids waiting for homes .... 

"There are no unwanted children. Just unfound families." 
- National Adoption Center

Over 23,000 children age out of foster care every year without finding a permanent family. This is tragic. Only 2% of children who age out of foster care will go on to get a college education, and 80% of the prison population comprises adults who were in the foster care system at some point on their childhood.

What a difference it would make in the world if those kids could have someone to care for them, teach them right from wrong, and give them a family to love them, and a place to call home.

People often think that adopting older kids can be harder because they often come with emotional scars and baggage. But here's the thing... with lots of love, time, and patience - they will thrive! To me, those are the kids who need a good home the most.

I know what you're thinking.... if adoption is so important to me, why haven't I adopted any kids myself? After all, don't be a hypocrite right? Well, you have a good point! I do feel very strongly about adoption, but at this time, my husband does not. And I feel that it is my place as his wife, to respect his wishes... I will pray, as God knows best and leave it up to Him. In the mean time, I will continue to speak up for these kids.....

"There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child - and an instinct to make any child who needs her love, her own." 
-Robert Braul

Friday, November 11, 2016

Lessons from Gran Torino

We recently watched Gran Tornio (the movie). I know a few people who say it's an extremely bad movie to watch.... I disagree. I actually thought it was really good.... in fact we watched it as a family - yes, that means my 15, 9, and 6 yr. old watched it with the hubby and I. Please let me explain my reasoning.

 Let me start by saying that the movie has a whole lot of bad language, which I usually don't care for. But that's how much of the world today is, and while I certainly think they could have left out a lot of the profanity, it actually works in this movie in its context. 

I was struck by the fact that the Mr. Walt Kowalski's own kids and grand kids were only interested in what they could get from him. They thought he was a burden.... never truly loving him. (I saw that happen In my Grandpa's life.... everyone wanted a piece of him, but few truly cared about him.) The older I get, the more I realize that more and more families and people in today's world are like that. Everyone wants what they can get for themselves, not caring about the other person. It's sad, but it's true.

I love that Mr. Walt Kowalski learned to love his neighbors, they were his family. They were who he cared for, so much so, that he sacrificed his life to save them. And that's what struck me most in this movie, is that Mr. Walt Kowalski, would sacrifice his own life to save the two people he most loved. That's what true family is about.... putting each other first. There is beauty in selflessness.   

I also liked how  Mr. Walt Kowalski put things in order.... before  he died. While I'm not catholic, I do believe 1 John 1:9, which says;  "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Overall, I think the movie is a real life lesson in racism, overcoming hate, and selfishness, to hope, generosity, and love. In the end, Mr. Walt Kowalski changed for the better, and gave someone hope in a world filled with sin.

I like this quote from Sheila Gorge about it:
The Gran Torino Movie is "such an interesting portrayal of the problems in many immigrant communities with gangs, the lack of male role models, and the lack of hope. If we were to understand these things, I think we could do more to help. It would move us to empathy, as it moved Clint Eastwood’s character. But more importantly, it shows a real-life evolution of someone from a gutter mentality to a selfless mentality, because God touched them."
 "I would rather watch a movie with some swearing that presents a biblical worldview that inspires and causes one’s heart to sing than a “clean” movie that does not present a biblical worldview."

For more insights on Profanity vs. Biblical World View in Movies, read Sheila's blog here.

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