Friday, September 22, 2017

The Excitement of Fall Activities

 
 
Amelia has become a certified horse lover, and Matthew currently has a football obsession.  Our fall activities are right in line with making these two very happy.

Being a barrel racer is Amelia's goal, and she got a small taste of that this past Saturday.  Her riding instructor has occasional shows where her students can demonstrate their horse-riding abilities, and this helps them decide if they want to go on to "bigger and better things."  Amelia signed up for all 9 events, but unfortunately she had to leave before it was over.  I think she ended up doing 7 or 8.  (I missed the beginning as Madison had to start the day with her while I took Matthew to his game and then I had to leave before the events were finished in order to attend a wedding two hours away.  Thankfully, our cousin was in town and stayed with her so she could participate in more events.) 
 
Without a doubt, Amelia loved every second.  The events were fun, but in-between, she was told to go out in the open pasture and ride the horse around, and that was the icing on the cake. 

We hope to some day get a horse, but we have a lot of land preparation to do first.  Until then, this is an excellent option.
 
As for Matthew, he chose flag football over fall baseball this year, and he is loving it.  He's not quite big enough to play regular football, so this is a great option. 
 
 
He's playing with an Upward organization, which we've never done before.  We're used to competitive recreation leagues, so this is quite different for us, but I like it and so does Matthew. (I'm not sure he's realized that it's not competitive. Lol!)  Practices are one day a week (yay!), and games are the same time every Saturday.  Simplicity!  Love it!
 
Madison and I - a little tired after the busy morning/afternoon and then driving two hours to the setting of this beautiful wedding.
 
 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Georgia Landmark

Cari, #2, is a movie-watching girl.  In fact, she has big plans of being in a movie one day.  {Well, actually, I guess she's fulfilled that - in a way.  With Atlanta becoming a booming location for the film industry, she's had the opportunity to be an extra in a couple of things.}

One of her all-time favorites is Fried Green Tomatoes, which was filmed here in GeorgiaI had mentioned in an earlier post that she had wanted to go on an adventure to find the restaurant featured in FGT, and we were able to go that day.

The restaurant is called the Whistle Stop Café, so I looked up the address and we headed that direction.  I much prefer backroads to interstates, so we took that route and casually stopped at some antique stores along the way.

We finally made it around mid afternoon and I was surprised at how crowded it was!  We put our name on the wait list, and they said it would be about a two-hour wait, but I think it ended up being just a little bit over an hour.

There were several small shops to browse through while we waited.  They were wayyyy overpriced, but that's to be expected I suppose.

When we finally got seated, it was near closing time, but they didn't seem in any big hurry to rush us out. 

To begin with, we had to try the fried green tomatoes, and of course, they were probably the best I've ever had. 

Cari and I ordered the Rooster Strips with sides of green beans and garlic mashed potatoes.  Her boyfriend, Hunter, went with us, and he had a hamburger.  It was all quite tasty.

We enjoyed ourselves and left "as full as ticks" as my mother-in-law would say. :D




 



 
 



Monday, September 11, 2017

Irma, Etc.

I don't mind unexpected "holidays."  I would prefer they not involve tornadoes and power outages, and so far so good.  It's raining ridiculously and the wind is whipping but not much worse than during a really bad spring thunderstorm.  I can't imagine what it must be like to experience a full-on hurricane.
 

In any event, school is already cancelled for tomorrow as well as Matthew's practice, so we get two full days at home.  I'll take it!
 
 
In other news....this weekend, I stepped way out of my comfort zone in two very different areas.
 
 
#1 ~ My hair.
 
 
I got highlights!  I've been fighting the gray for many years now and honestly feel like I've been losing that battle.  I went to see Tina (my hair lady) last Tuesday and showed her a picture I liked that included a lot of silver highlights. My thinking was, "if you can't beat'em, join'em."  But, on Saturday morning, the day of my appointment, I was second guessing all that, and she convinced me to try some blondish highlights instead and slowly work in the silver over time.  I agreed, and when she was finished, I was scared to look in the mirror.  But I did.  And I had no idea who I was looking at!  But I'm thinking now that I love it. 
 
 
This was my first time EVER to have it professionally done, and I'm wishing I would have done it sooner.  My scalp hasn't been itching as it usually does and I didn't have to worry about dripping color on the cabinets and floor of our mostly white bathroom.  Yes, unbelievably, I've done that.  Oops.
 
 
[I should probably post a picture at this point, but I don't have one to post at the moment.  I'll do that soon.]
 
 
#2 - The church choir.
 
 
Our church has a song leader for congregational singing but not a choir director per se.  On Sunday mornings, we just gather in the choir loft and pick out a song and start singing with no practice.  That works out okay, but my husband (the pastor) and others have been hoping for something more intentional.
 
 
I love music and always have.  It's good for the soul and one of my favorite ways to worship.  I sing at church on occasion and I play the piano, so I have a few musical qualifications.
 
 
(Being the pastor's wife, I was a little unsure about doing this.  I knew it was a need and that I could help with that need, but there have been times in my life that I've not been a pastor's wife.  During some of those times, I've heard from others what they felt a pastor's wife should and should not do.  I find myself sometimes listening to those voices, and I know those are the voices I should NOT be listening to.)
 
 
I put it off for a few weeks, but the idea just wouldn't go away.  I checked with a few people to see if they'd mind, and everyone seemed good with it.  Sooooo, a few weeks ago, I had a message put in the bulletin that we'd be having an upcoming choir practice, and on Sunday evening, it happened. And it went so well!  I didn't worry about who would or would not be there. I decided early on that this would not be about me and my plans but would trust God to bless the efforts. We had a great turnout and accomplished what I felt was a good bit in a short period of time.
 
 
I don't want this job forever, and the second someone else wants to do it, I'll gladly step aside.  But until then, I don't mind and actually enjoyed it!
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In recent years, I would have been very hesitant to do either of those things.  I used to not be this way.  I think it started around the time I inadvertently decided to be somewhat of a "people pleaser."  Yuck, I know.  Or maybe it was my legalistic years that brought it on when I didn't want to associate with anyone who didn't see things my way.  Yuck again. 

(During those years, it was much easier to just keep to myself and not do anything that would draw attention, and I still do that sometimes.  Basically, it's an unhealthy "fear of man.")
 
 
I'm desperately trying to find a cure for the people pleaser syndrome, and I'm having to step out of my comfort zone at times to do this.  It's a hard prison to break out of, but slowly but surely, I'm doing it, and it's absolutely freeing as well as simplifying.
 
 
Galatians 1:10 ~ Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of  God?  Or am I trying to please people?  If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Decor when Less is More!

In keeping with the "simple" theme, I'm taking my time with the decorating of our modern farmhouse. 
 
For example, there are no pictures hanging in the living room, my bedroom is a blank canvas at this point, the entryway is bare, and the front porch has loads of empty space (see previous post).

"The Blank Canvas"
Most of the time, I don't really know what I'm looking for, but on several occasions in the past months, I've known it when I've seen it, and my patience has paid off.

Romans 8:25 - But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Maybe a bit out of context, but I think it applies.  When I remember to be intentional about trusting God with the details of my life, it just all goes better.  I know He wants me to spend my money wisely, and I also know He cares about beauty - I mean, take a look at the landscape of our world! And, most importantly, He knows much better than myself what is needed and when.  Life is easier and more peaceful and joy-filled when I remember to look at it this way.
 
Here are a few simple examples of how patience has paid off.  [I could give some examples of how impatience has paid off, but I'm trying to keep this post positive.  Maybe another time....] :>)
 
1.  Rugs.  I still need more rugs, but what seemed to be my biggest need was finding rugs for my bathroom.  I made a decision to use white marble-look tile for my bathroom floor - a decision I'm not real sure about now.  It's pretty, but keeping it clean is a chore.  I've needed rugs to help cut down on the floor scrubbing.  When I've found something I like, there has usually been just one and I needed two or maybe they weren't quite the right size or I couldn't make up my mind on the color or they were just way more than I wanted to spend!
 
I discovered a new store in our area the other day when I was looking for a birthday present for my aunt.  It's called Roses, and there were some good buys in this place!  As I was exploring, I came across a bin of throw rugs for $2.99!! I started rummaging, and it didn't take long to find what I was looking for.  Finally!  And cheaper than one rug would have cost elsewhere!
 
 
2.  Another item on my list was a shower curtain for the girls' bathroom.  I've searched in so many stores and online, and no matter the price, I could not find anything I liked.  But then, TJ Maxx.  I try to visit this store often as you never know what they are going to have from one time to the next.  I've been looking for shower curtains there for a while, but apparently everyone else was too or they just weren't getting any in - - until a few weeks ago when I went in and discovered they had a huge shipment in!  There were many to choose from, but I settled on the one below, and I think it's just perfect.  And for $14.99?  You can't beat that for this quality.
 
 
3.  When we were looking at house plans, one of the things I wanted was a kitchen where I would be able to have a window at the sink.  I pictured myself doing dishes or cooking and looking out the window and watching the kids play, and that is a vision that has come to pass for sure.  I love my window, but it needed a little dressing up.  I was thinking a café curtain would be nice, but have you searched for a café curtain before?  They're few and far between and the ones that are readily available are not too pretty.  I considered ordering some custom-made curtains on Etsy, but then as I was browsing Pinterest one day, I saw where someone had taken napkins and using a curtain rod with clips had turned the napkins into café curtains!  I liked that idea and decided it was worth trying if I ever came across some pretty napkins.  I think the same day I found the shower curtain at TJ Maxx, I discovered a package of pretty napkins for $6.99.  I searched the internet for a good price on a curtain rod with clips and found the best deal at Walmart.  I think I spent around $16.00. 
 
I tried them as café curtains, but in the end, they looked like two napkins hanging on a clothesline.  I experimented and finally came up with this arrangement ~
 
 
They look better in person.  I probably should have taken the picture at night so the design details would show up better.  If I had to name the look, I would call it "romantic farmhouse."  ;>)  But really, when my friends were over the other evening, they were surprised that my "curtain" was actually napkins.
 
[My little aloe vera plant looks a bit pitiful in this picture.  It was a find at Aldi for $3.99.  Succulents can be a little pricey at times, so I snatched this baby up.  And it's actually pretty healthy ~ the sides just got so heavy they fell over.]
 
**Using things I already have on hand has been a great way to save money as well.**
 
4.  My fireplace mantle was a source of confusion when we first moved in.  I have quite a few mantle-worthy items, and it seems like I put things up, arranged, rearranged, and then removed them and started the whole process over again a thousand times before I decided that, once again, *simple* was the way to go. 
 
One day while walking around the property, Brad came across a pile of old bottles.  [We've heard that many years ago, there was a trailer on this property so we're assuming those residents are the ones who threw the bottles in the woods.]  The glass bottles were all different shapes and sizes, and some had product names on them.  We looked these up, and it appeared they were from the 1950s.
 
I started using some of these as flower vases, and eventually some ended up on the mantle.  I liked the look and in the beginning was purchasing fresh flowers weekly to put in them.  I love fresh flowers, but I later decided it was time to do something a little more permanent.  Hobby Lobby helped me out with a sale on the day I decided to go in and look, and here's what I came out with.  I think I spent around $8.
 
Speaking of using things on hand, my father-in-law gave my husband the above horns a long time ago.  They sat in our basement of our old home for many years, but I like them better here, and it's a nice reminder of my husband's Texas heritage.

 
5.  Lastly [although I'm sure this will be an ongoing topic], while searching through/cleaning out our storage building, I came across my husband's grandfather's flag that was given to the family at his passing (Brad was 8 years old at the time) and also this same grandfather's pipe, which Brad says he used to sit in his chair and smoke every evening after supper.  These are now sitting proudly on top of our bookshelf. 

I love to decorate with items/antiques that have meaning.  As a child, I used to be scared of antiques.  My parents bought me a beautiful antique bedroom suite when I was quite young, but I refused to sleep in the bed.  It made noises.... And for many years, I steered away from antiques.  But now, I love them, including small pieces that involve family history ~ although, I do prefer they don't make noises.  So far, so good. ;>)
 
 
 
~ Rhonda

Monday, September 4, 2017

Our Little Homestead

Hebrews 13:14 - For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.

With the above being said, I never want to become so obsessed with our home and the care of it, decorating, etc., that I lose focus on what really matters.  The goal of moving here was to keep things simple, and so far, I feel like we're doing that.  I see how I could easily become a worshiper of "simplicity," and I don't want to do that either.  But I also do not want to feel guilty about enjoying what the Lord has provided for our family.  I want to use this blessing wisely ~ use what He has given to us to be a source of comfort and safety for our children, to bless others and be a place where all can feel welcome at any time and Christ is glorified in the process.  That's a hefty goal but a goal nonetheless.

So now that you know my mindset on all of this (if the above made any sense whatsoever), here's a few more details about our little simple homestead....

Here's the definition of a FARM (according to Webster's) > A piece of land used for growing crops or raising animals.

My children were telling some friends at school the other day about our home and living on a farm.  One of the children involved in the conversation said we didn't really live on a farm.  Well, I beg to differ.

According to the above definition, we live on a farm.  And we built a modern farmhouse on said farm, so I don't really understand the argument. :>)


Front view of our home.  Simple.  But needs rocking chairs. And maybe a swing.



No, we don't make a living on this piece of land, but crops are being raised (all thanks going to my next-door neighbor, AKA "my dad"). 


(We *intend* to have a garden next year.  With moving and getting settled, there was not enough time in the schedule this year.)

There are definitely animals being raised on the property.  And they have a purpose ~ chickens are providing eggs, the goats and the miniature donkey are keeping their section of land cleared, and one day the two Great Pyrenees may be a source of a small income for Matthew and Amelia.  The turtle?  He's just along for the ride.  The rescue animals we have are probably the kindest of the bunch, including the cat, Maebelle, who is doing a pretty fine job of being a mouser, and the long-haired Dachshund, who is an expert mole catcher.


The girls recently had a fence upgrade and playground added to their "chicken condo" as Brad likes to call it.


April.  This sweet goat *may* think she's a dog.
 
Itsy the Donkey, Lillie the GP, and May, obviously the goat.  Lillie will not let this goat out of her sight.

I'm fully aware and am thankful that this world is not my home, but I couldn't be happier with our current setup.  I find it very relaxing to sit on the back porch and watch all the shenanigans ~ as long as I don't have to feed them!   Speaking of that, this *farm* gives my children an opportunity to work and expend some energy on something besides video games, television, and iPods.  We have all those things, but it's a blessing to have these living distractions that require care, upkeep, and attention.
And if more proof is needed, here ya go.  A tire swing says it all.
So, there's the beginning of the tour.  There will be more to come, I'm sure. 

Happy Labor Day!

~ Rhonda

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Most Productive Day

Yesterday was one of those days that when the day was over, I felt like I had earned my time to rest.

The day started like this ~ I woke up at 4 a.m. and threw on some comfy clothes, quickly brushed my hair [I think - who really knows what they're doing at 4 a.m.], fixed me a nice cup of coffee and headed out the door with Brad, Amelia and Matthew.  I took them to the airport so they could go spend the weekend with Brad's mom and dad.  Matthew, Brad and Ralph (Brad's dad) are going to the opening game for the Texas Longhorns.  This will be Matthew's first time to go, and he was BESIDE himself with excitement.  I wish I could be there to see it.  But the price of plane tickets.....

I was back home around 7 (got in a bad rain storm and had to creep a good bit of the way home) and went straight to work on some transcription that the doctor had requested I get back to him ASAP.  Afterwards, I cooked some breakfast, worked on some invoices for my job (end of month, Yay!), and then took a little nap (actually I think it ended up being close to an hour).

I got up and made out my weekly menu and grocery list and went to the grocery store.  Came home, put up groceries, and then cut the grass.  (I recently discovered that I LOVE to cut grass.  Something about the satisfaction of looking back over my work when it's done I guess.  I just find it relaxing somehow.)

Afterwards, I had to go feed the animals.  What a chore!  Amelia and Matthew usually do this job, but I can't have the animals waiting until Monday to get fed....  Nobody wanted their own food!  The cat was eating the dog food, the puppy was not eating his puppy food but wanted the regular dog food; the adult dog, Lillie, would not eat her food, so I think the puppy ended up eating both his and her food.  I had some old bread I was giving to the donkey and the goats but the dogs were eating a lot of that and everyone was fighting over it.  Whew!

But there's good news.  When I finished feeding the crazies, I walked over to check on my *two* hens.  (Back in the spring, my uncle gave me 7 chickens.  Unfortunately, 5 of them turned out to be roosters! I sent those boys packing and now my hens have a much more peaceful life.)  I looked in the nesting box and saw two eggs!!  The girls are finally laying!


(I also have *6* new girls that will be joining them soon [but not soon enough - their box is getting smaller and smaller but they're not quite ready to be in the pen yet].)



I then cleaned the porches, took a shower and then commenced to some high-speed house cleaning.

I invited my BFFs over for the evening and some of them had not seen the house yet, and that's always a motivation for me to gets things nice and tidy.

(I love our little modern farmhouse.  We downsized and got rid of SO much stuff.  And now cleaning is a breeze!  In less than two hours, that job was d-o-n-e.)

It was then time to get myself ready and then start preparing our meal for the evening - grilled chicken, baked potato, corn [which I left on the stove and forgot to serve!], salad and rolls. 

They started arriving around 6, and it was so nice to sit down with my friends on the back porch, enjoy our meal and catch up.  (I was wearing my t-shirt that says "Be Still," and that was my plan for the evening.)

After lots of lively conversation, they left around 1 a.m.  It was a great ending to a nice day.
...............................................................
I intended to sleep late this morning but woke up around 8 ~ actually, I guess that is sleeping late. I had to make my own coffee this morning [Brad's job].  I worked on my Sunday School lesson for in the morning and now I have time to do some leisurely blogging ~ see above :>).  I moved my desk in front of a window so that I now have an outside view ~ certainly beats a wall view ~ and here I sit with nothing major on my plate for today. [Except I guess I have to feed those nutty animals again....] (Cari wants to go on an adventure to find the restaurant that was in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes.  We may do that, but there's currently a gas shortage so I'm a little unsure about driving two hours.....)



So, there you have it.  An example of a productive day.  They are RARE ~ so I felt it was important to document. :) 

I also had the thought yesterday that this is what life would look like if I lived alone.  It's okay for one day, but having a [sometimes messy] house with six people to fill it up is much more my preferred way of life.

Proverbs 16:9 ~ ~ A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.

~ Rhonda

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