Friday, January 18, 2019

The Hamster's From Hell

Our youngest daughter has been wanting a hamster for a few years now, and since we got rid of all the animals this past year, I thought it would be the perfect Christmas gift. And since we try to practice a somewhat minimalist lifestyle and the kids always end up with too many gifts, I thought a hamster would be the perfect gift... something she wanted, something small, it would help teach her more responsibility, it is relatively quiet, and it would have no toys to add to the clutter!

I should have questioned the idea when the new cage came 2 weeks before Christmas and it wasn't the right size...  I had to buy a different stand for it to set on, so that was an extra $40, but I thought we'd make do.... it just takes up more space and it don't look near as neat as the last hamster cage I made out of a bookcase a few years back....

Then I went all out buying new water bottles, running wheels, snacks, food, running ball, bedding, treats, chew toys, etc.... it ended up costing way more than I was planning!

Next, we went to the store 45 minutes away to buy the hamster. The hamsters were in quarantine and wouldn't be available till the following day. Let me insert here, I've never bought hamsters from a pet store before. I try to find local breeders, but I couldn't find any this time around.

So, the following day, we once again drive the 45 minutes to pick up the hamster.... they didn't have the color my daughter wanted, so we compromised and got a different one... she was cute. My daughter named her Twixy.

She didn't really seem to eat or drink much, and had diarrhea, I read that sometimes it can take a week for them to get used to their surroundings, so I didn't think too much of it. 

A few days later, we came home from another Christmas get together and the hamster had definitely took a turn for the worse. I wrapped her up in a heating pad and fed her water through a dropper, but it was too late, she died about an hour later that night, from wet tail.

The next morning, I called the pet store and they said to bring her in and exchange her for another one. Ok. So we drove the 45 mins to take her back and get a new, hopefully healthy hamster. Problem was all their hamsters were one again in quarantine and wouldn't be ready until the following day. (I'm not sure why they couldn't have told me that on the phone....)

I drove up the next day, and got another hamster. I get to the car and open the box to look at the little thing, but she bit my finger before I had the chance to pet her. I had blood running down my finger.... that little thing bit hard... it hurt. I take her back into the store, and The staff assures me she was just startled and she'd be super friendly when I got home.

Wrong! She bit my oldest daughter while she was putting her in the cage and drew blood again. Every time we'd try to pet her, she'd try to jump up and bite us. I tried wearing gloves, but she bit me through them too. After trying to befriend her for a few days and keep getting bitten, I truly think this is the hamster from hell! She would stand up and hiss at us anytime we walked by her cage.

So once again I get to drive the 45 minutes to take her back to the pet store. My youngest daughter can't even touch her. What good is a pet if you can't interact with it without getting bitten?

How the hell did I think buying a hamster for a Christmas gift was a good idea?

The people at the pet store pretty much rolled their eyes at the idea that it bit us.... I exchanged her for another one, that let me hold it.... 

The third times is the charm, right?

Well, we get home, she nipped at us once, but I continued holding/petting her every couple hours. She didn't have diarrhea, and man, she sure was cute! She seemed like she was gonna be fine. The following day, she let us hold her and played in her ball, but that evening, she bit my daughter and drew blood. I seriously thought my daughter must have scared her, so I decided to hold her.... but not even a minute later, she took a chunk out of my finger, so I had blood running everywhere too.

Needless to say, I think we are all scarred of hamsters now! We've had them in the past, but them never bit us like this. I'm wondering if they are mistreated at the pet store or how they were raised.

So, Layia is scarred of her hamster, and now I am trying to sell it, the cage and everything that goes with it.... but, if I do that, what do I get my little girl for her Christmas gift?

I really just want a bunny, but bunny's take time to potty train, need a larger cage, and I'm not sure hubby wants that, but bunny's are much better in my opinion. I've never had a bunny bite me....

The moral of the story is this.... buying a hamster and all the supplies for a Christmas gift was so not a good idea.... let's not do that ever again!

And, when in doubt, buy a Bunny....

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” 
-Thomas Merton

It seems so often in life, things get out of balance. Health, finances/money, relationships, work, play, decorating, time, church, social media, electronics, etc. Most of us live a life that is far out of balance – putting the things that are not as important first, or letting them tip the scales too far in one direction. And like I tell my kids, "Too much of a good thing is not a good thing!" Everything is good in moderation and balance.

The definition of what balance means to each of us is different, but there are some universal truths. For instance: each us needs a healthy work and life balance to be truly healthy and happy, and our mind, and soul must be in balance to truly be at peace, and to live a life of harmony. 

"Follow the laws of Nature and you’ll never go wrong" 
- Dr. Forrest C. Shaklee 

Living in Harmony with Nature means bringing all aspects of life into balance; a balance that is deeply satisfying and promotes a healthy experience of being fully human and fully engaged with life. 

So here's a list of ideas I'm going to try to implicate to keep my life in balance this year: 

Work - We all have bills to pay and responsibilities. There's nothing wrong with making a good living or saving for the future. The key is knowing when enough is just that, enough. Balance = Pushing yourself to achieve goals vs. seeing the bigger picture and enjoying the ride. 

Health – We know what we need to do, but it isn’t a priority until we have a health crisis. Our health affects the quality of our lives and our work. We are far more productive and happier when we get enough sleep, eat a little healthier, and fit in some type of activity - do something you enjoy, for me that means walks with my hubby! Balance = Eating, drinking, and exercising properly vs. resting and treating yourself to an extra treat.

Detox – Minimize the negative influences around you. Avoid toxic people -complainers, whiners, poor attitudes, etc. If you can’t completely avoid them, at least minimize contact and tune them out as much as you can. Surround yourself with positive, supportive, can-do people.

Time – Making time for you is probably the hardest thing to do for the average overworked and overwhelmed person, but it is crucial for lowering stress, increasing happiness, and encouraging creativity. Some things to try; meditate, write, sketch, take a bubble bath, listen to music, or take a nap. Balance = Giving love vs. receiving love.

Relationships – Set aside quality time to spend with your family and friends. Don’t just sit in front of the television. Really connect and pay attention to those you care about. Make a date with your significant other, have coffee with a friend, play a game with your kids. Really get to know the people around you. Balance = Fulfilling your familial responsibilities vs. creating healthy boundaries. 

Edit – It’s a given that if your life is overflowing, you will never be able to achieve balance and manage it all. It’s just not possible. Say no to everything that is either not essential, or doesn’t add something valuable to your life. Be ruthless! Declutter everything!

Yourself – Get a pedicure or a facial. Schedule a massage. It doesn’t need to be costly; a glass of your favorite drink, a delightfully scented candle or beautiful flowers will make a huge impact. Be good to yourself! Balance = Satisfying your social desires vs. taking time for yourself.

Adventure – Take a walk and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Take a new route, visit a new town or try being a tourist in your own. Attend a local performance, play amateur photographer, order something on the menu you've never tried before, or go to the park and watch kids play. They know how to enjoy life!

Expand – Take a class, learn to paint, try something new that you’ve always wanted to learn. Read a book that sparks your interest. Find what interests you. Balance = Challenging yourself intellectually vs. creating opportunities for your mind to rest.

Turn it off – Put the phone down and turn off the computer and TV. It's a scientific fact that quiet gives imagination room to grow. Take time to just be. Balance = knowing what's happening in the world around you vs. not focusing on the world around you.

Have Fun – Laugh, joke, play, find your sense of humor. Nothing makes us feel better than a good old-fashioned belly laugh. Balance = Allocating time for things you enjoy doing vs. making sure you don’t overdo it.

“Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.” 
– Robert Fulgham

“Balance. The Ultimate Goal.”
– Ricky Lankford

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Another year has come and gone.... things change, and yet, some how, things stay the same. 

We still live on our 7 acres of ' heaven here on earth' and still love our little peice of property, although this is the first year we have no animals...

We have really enjoyed embracing simplicity and our own kind of minimalistic living the last few years. It's amazing what life has to offer when you realize enough is just that, enough!

Stephen is still the love of my life, my rock, protector, provider, and who I want to grow old with. He keeps busy at work, in his shop, and with his mustang. Working on my never ending honey to do list, and keeping our property and home looking nice.

I, Rhoda, am still learning to choose joy, and say no to things that aren't important. I am learning to take care of my health. I keep up with our Shaklee business, and do all the mom things....

Faith is 17 yrs, and bought her first car this year. She's a waitress at the famous Chocolate Moose in a little town close to home! She still plays her guitar, and fills our home with music! She is also a very gifted artist and talented writer!

Wyatt is 11 years, and is in 5th grade. He is in a Special Ed class this year. He is doing good since his brain surgery and is still trying to learn to read. He is a big help to his dad and I, and is looking forward to be able to start riding his 4 wheeler again next spring!

Layia is 8 yrs. and is in 1st grade again this year with her learning disabilities, but she is starting to read and is a wiz at math! She loves to craft, and sing, and is our happy go lucky little girl!

We love traveling and enjoyed spending a week in Jekyll Island, GA. We saw wild horses on Cumberland Island. Hiked in Clifty Falls State Park. Spent a weekend in French Lick, Indiana. Took the kids to a water park. Enjoyed a boat ride at Bluespring Caverns. And, Stephen and I enjoyed an anniversary trip to Niagara Falls, NY.

We spent most of the summer at home, - mulching flowerbeds, cutting firewood, going on bike rides and having campfires. Stephen and Wyatt built a front porch deck on the house this summer!

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thanks for being a part of our story!
With Love,
The Kindred's

Friday, December 21, 2018

It's Really Is A Wonderful Life...

No matter how often you see the movie, "It's A Wonderful Life", you will be entranced. It is flawless, and my all time favorite Christmas movie. It is the kind of experience movies were invented for... 

A kind man, overwhelmed by life's trials, is visited by a heavenly messenger and gains a new lease on life.

George Bailey dreams of seeing the world and having a grand impact on it. But small-town responsibilities strand him at home. The family business struggles to stay afloat, enduring constant attacks by a power-hungry tyrant. Pressures mount until George reaches the breaking point, convinced the world would be better off had he never existed. To show him what that world would've been like, a friendly angel (without wings) escorts George through that same town—now a dark place having never felt his virtuous influence. In the end, George embraces the wonderful life he nearly threw away.

Here are some powerful quotes from "It's A Wonderful Life":

Clarence the angel: “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” Every one of us can make a difference in the lives of so many, and that can be for good or for bad. The question is, will we live like Christians and be light to a dark, sin-stained world?

Man on Porch: “Why don’t you kiss her instead of talking her to death?”George Bailey: “You want me to kiss her, huh?” Man on Porch: “Ah, youth is wasted on the wrong people.” Ah, what it feels like to be young and in love! Interestingly, my own love for my husband has only grown stronger through the years! God wants us to rejoice in our spouse and be passionately in love with him or her. Solomon, as if almost wanting us to celebrate this, wrote “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth” but know this; youth will pass, but love will remain.

George: "Look, who are you? Who are you really?"
Clarence: "I told you, George. I'm your guardian angel." George: "Well, you look about the kind of angel I'd get. Sort of a fallen angel, aren't you? What happened to your wings?" Clarence: "I haven't won my wings, yet. That's why I'm called an Angel Second Class. I have to earn them. And you'll help me will you?" George Bailey: [sarcastic] "Sure, sure. How?" Clarence: "By letting me help you." George Bailey: "I know one way you can help me. You don't happen to have 8,000 bucks on you?" Clarence: "No, we don't use money in Heaven." George Bailey: "Well, it comes in real handy down here, bud!" The lesson here is that God often sends us someone that we aren't looking for, and often uses ways we don't understand to help us. Trust God anyway.

Clarence the angel: “You see, George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it all away?” Where God intends as a comma in our life, we cannot make it a period. Suffering is never wasted, but used for God’s glory and other’s good. Your life is not and never will be a mistake!

George Bailey: Dear Father in heaven, I’m not a praying man, but if you’re up there and you can hear me, show me the way…show me the way.” What a humble prayer and we know that God will give His grace to the humble and that He will answer when we call out to Him.

Clarence the angel: “Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn’t there to save them, because you weren’t there to save Harry.” - This was Clarence telling George Bailey why his brother Harry’s gravestone was there in the cemetery, meaning that Harry died since George wasn’t on the ice that day to jump in and save him. This shows us that every life matters. God never creates anything without a purpose, as even the heavens declare His glory.

George Bailey: “Isn’t it wonderful!? I’m going to jail!” It’s almost as if everything that’s going to happen or has already happened to George is going to work out for his ultimate best. When George is given a second change, he has returned to his “wonderful life” and nothing’s going to dampen his enthusiasm in life, even if it means he’s going to jail.

Pa Bailey: “All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.” This is where the wisdom, experience, and values of an obviously godly man, Pa Bailey, shows itself clearly. Only those things done for Christ and for His glory, will endure forever. You can’t take it with you but you can certainly send it ahead and have it waiting for you when you use your time, talents, and treasure for the kingdom of God and for the glory of Jesus Christ. 

Harry Bailey: "A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town." Having peace and being surrounded by people that love you, is priceless. And having the hope of heaven, indeed makes us the richest person around!

Too often, we can get caught up with all the ends and outs of daily life, and its easy to get depressed, and think that we have no purpose, or that the world would be a better place with out us.... but “It’s a Wonderful Life” puts it all back into perspective. It shows us human nature in the bitter Mr. Potter; the tight-fisted, money grabbing man, who is only interested in money and not in people, but George sees what is most important, and most precious, and it’s certainly not in money, or in possessions. Our happiness is in God and we find our greatest joys is serving others for Christ. It really is a Wonderful Life that we have been blessed to be living!

Monday, December 17, 2018

My Own Type of Minimalism

We are four years into our clutter free living journey and still going strong.

We have litterily gotten rid of hundreds and thousands of items.... two four wheelers, my hubbys entire wood shop and tools, filing cabinets, chairs, benches, lamps, gun cabinet, dressers, and tons of household miscilanious stuff.

I continue to go through cupboards, closets and drawers, and continue to remove the unnecessary. I still love this journey and the benefits that we are enjoying since living with less...

We bought new bikes so our whole family of 5 can ride bike together.

Getting rid of clutter has helped me reduce a tremendous amount of stress.

We got rid of all of our animals, and as a result, we can travel more and enjoy weekend trips.

It has given us more time to do things as a family.

It keeps the house neat and tidy. I almost never have to pick up toys in the livingroom, and the counters stay open and clear.

It makes us feel lighter and happy. The simple truth is that things weigh us down.

It makes you think before purchasing or bringing home other items. Which is a good thing. I buy alot less stuff, and when I do make a purchase, I am spending the time and money to purchase high quality items that will last or that bring me joy.

Getting rid of clutter so we can spend time doing things we love, is becoming a way of life....

My minimalism may look a whole lot different from Joshua Beckers, or from yours, but I'm happy to say, I am becoming my own type of a minamilist and I love it!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Symbols of Christmas

Have you ever wondered why people hang tinsel on Christmas trees, or how candy canes became synonymous with the winter holiday? While these holiday decorations may seem commonplace, most of these traditional decorations have a special meaning to us as Christians.

The green evergreen or fir tree signifies the everlasting light and life. Romans decorated their houses with evergreen branches during the New Year, and the fir tree symbolized life during the winter.

The branches of the fir tree points upward toward the heavens. Reminding us to reflect on everything God has given us and for the things to come.

The Christmas star and twinkling lights symbolizes the star of Bethlehem, which according to the Biblical story, guided the three wise men to the baby Jesus. A star is also the heavenly sign of prophecy fulfilled long ago and the shining hope for humanity.

We give gifts to loved ones in honor of the birth of Jesus, which inspired the concept of giving gifts during the holiday. According to the New Testament, the wise men brought gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh to the newborn.

A ribbon is tied around a gift to represent how we should all be tied together in bonds of unity and goodwill during the holiday season.

The color red represents the blood of Jesus when he died on the cross. Blue and white represent snow and winter. And green is for everlasting life.

Bells are rung during Christmas to proclaim the arrival of the season and to announce the birth of Christ.

 It is said that in Ancient Rome, wreaths were hung on doors to represent victory. In Christianity, we use the Christmas wreath to symbolize victory in Jesus Christ. The Christmas wreath is a circular, never-ending symbol of eternal love and rebirth. Holly also stands for immortality and cedar for strength. Today the wreath symbolizes generosity, giving, and the gathering of family.

Tinsel was used to represent the starry sky over a Nativity scene.

The Candy Cane represents a "J" for the name Jesus, and the shape a shepherd's staff. Jesus, often referred to as the Good Shepherd, was born on Christmas. His birth was God's way to bring lost lambs back to the fold. The red stripe represents blood Jesus shed on the cross for our sins -His sacrifice. The white stands for the virgin birth, and the purity of Jesus, for He had no sin. The peppermint flavor can represent the hyssop plant that was used for purifying in the Bible. And hard candy to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the promises of God.

The Christmas pickle is a Christmas tradition for some people. A decoration in the shape of a pickle is hidden on a Christmas tree, with the finder receiving good fortune for the following year.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Indivisible Devotional Book Review

So, I've put off writing this review for awhile now, because I really wanted to watch the movie first, but so far, I haven't been able to find it around where we live, so here goes.....

I do think that Indivisible: One Marriage Under God, is a great devotional for couples. It goes over all the things that you should talk about in marriage - and has an inspirational message, a Scripture passage, a prayer, guided journaling, and a "Take Action" challenge.

I think its great, I really do. But at the same time, I wish there were more devotionals out there for just 'laypeople'. I want a Christian devotional that will strengthen our marriage, but one that uses the language we use in everyday life... not all of us are in ministry and some of us feel uncomfortable when so many Christian books/devotionals come across that you have to be some righteous person to apply it to your life. In reality... we are just simple Christian's wanting to be encouraged in our marriage and our walk with God, but in a realistic way.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting to watch the movie...


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