Friday, July 28, 2006

Looking Forward to Being Home

I love cooking and cleaning and meal planning and budgeting and the whole shebang. I think I was made for it (wait. . . I WAS made for it!) I'm sure, once I'm doing it full-time, there will be moments when I'll miss the peace and quiet of the work world, when the kitchen sink is the last place on earth I want to be and when I won't care whether we're eating a balanced meal or not. But, I have faith that those will be fleeting moments.

I have always loved home economics. I got my first cookbook for Christmas when I was 6. I still remember the "gourmet" recipe for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My grandma taught me to knead yeast bread, make pie crusts and simmer homemade spaghetti sauce for days. My mom taught me the art of stirring cookie dough by hand for a perfect soft/crispy combo and frying taco shells to perfection.

When I was about 7 or 8, I begged my friend's mom to give the two of us sewing lessons. She was a skilled seamstress and I was dying to learn. I have happy memories of the "sewing camp" she put on for us. I learned all about the basics of sewing and although the dress I made was quite a sight to see (a turqoise cotton jumper spotted with bright colored bubbles), I proudly wore it everywhere the rest of that summer.

In high school, I probably spent 3 out of 4 weekends babysitting. Several of my employers were "relaxed" housekeepers. I loved babysitting for those families because as soon as the mom and dad were out of the driveway, I would convince the kids that we were going to give their parents the best surprise ever. . . a clean house. We would race around putting away toys, cleaning bathrooms, washing up dirty dishes, and vacuuming. The kids were never disappointed by the surprise look on their parents' faces (assuming they were still awake when their parents arrived home). It was a spectacular sucess every single time.

Now I'm 28 and only a few weeks away from getting to start my life as a full-time homemaker. It took God a long time to get me here. There were several years when I wondered if all this household zeal was for naught. If I was destined to keep house and cook for one, for the rest of my life (some of you are still there. . . don't give up hope!) Thankfully, just when I was certain it was time to readjust my dreams, God brought along Josh. One minute there wasn't a glimmer of hope and the next minute I was Mrs. R. checking in for my first prenatal visit. Wow! When God decided to get the ball rolling, He gave it a big shove!

I am not planning or even hoping to get everything perfect. I'm totally comfortable feeding my ever-happy husband canned chili and boxed brownies. I don't like to iron. My shoe rack is a mess, there is dust on my ceiling fans, and I have weeds in my garden. That's life and I'm completely fine with life being less than perfect. But, I am really excited to take off this "career girl" hat and put on my apron.

I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to being home!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Blessing Box

I'm not sure where the idea came from or exactly when it started, but I have a little decorative box that has come to call my "Blessing Box." The idea behind this box is to fill it with things that I can use to bless others, but as it's turned out, this box has become a blessing to me. I've enjoyed it so much and it's been such a handy little tool that I thought I'd share the idea with you. The idea is so simple and can be personalized to suit everyone! As soon as my kids are old enough, I plan on helping them create their own blessing boxes--kids edition.

How to Build and Use a Blessing Box

  1. Find a smaller sized, sturdy box. I chose a decorative one with a lid, but a plastic box would work just fine! Just be sure that it isn't too big (no bigger than a shoe box). The idea is to keep this simple.
  2. Put your address book in the blessing box. I keep my address book on the computer, so I just printed out my list of addresses and put them in there. A few times a year, I make sure it's updated.
  3. Fill your box with all sorts of cards--thank you, get well, just because, blank, happy birthday, etc. I have two or three varieties of the packaged cards (where you get 8 or so of the same note card) as well as favorite greeting cards I've picked up along the way. Looking through greeting cards is one of my favorite activities. . . so when Longs or Walgreens has a sale on cards, I usually go and find several favorites to add to my box.
  4. Buy a book of stamps to keep on hand.
  5. When you come across a little extra money, buy a few $5 gift cards from Starbucks or Jamba Juice or any other favorite treat. These are great to tuck into just-because cards as an unexpected surprise.
  6. If you are financially able, keep a few extra $20 bills in there or gift cards to the grocery store or Target. There have been plenty of times when I've heard of someone in need and wanted anonymously help them out. If mailing cash doesn't seem safe, remember, not every card has to be mailed. . . some can be delivered through the grapevine or dropped off on doorsteps!
  7. Keep a notepad for jotting ideas down. My husband mentioned that he loves this certain soup from a local Chinese place. In my blessing box I wrote: Surprise Josh with take-out soup. I haven't had time to implement the idea (and besides it's been too hot for soup!) but I didn't want to forget the idea. I have several other little reminders to myself in there or fun ideas I've "stolen" from someone else that are just on hold until the right moment.
  8. On the other side of that note pad, jot down simple things about others that bless you. Not necessarily just things that a person does, but also include godly character qualities that you have seen demonstrated.
  9. Be creative! If you love tea and that's your signature, tuck a few tea bags in to share with others. If you love homemade coupons (I do!) keep a few of pre-made coupons to fill in on a whim. Maybe you love stickers, or handkerchiefs, or. . .anything! The idea is to keep your box full of inexpensive things that can be used to brighten another's day.
  10. Keep your ears open and your heart tender. Pray and ask God to help you see the needs of others around you and to help you be a blessing.
  11. Set aside a time at least once a week to bless someone. If you haven't much time, write a quick card to someone who could use the encouragement and drop it in the mail. Maybe include a gift card or gift certificate. Or check in your notebook to send a thank-you-for-being-a-blessing card to someone listed there. If you have a little more time, implement one of your more elaborate ideas such as unexpectedly dropping off fresh chicken soup to a down-and-out friend. Or doorbell ditching an elderly neighbor leaving them a flower and a homemade card. You get the idea!
  12. Pray daily for the person you've blessed until your next Blessing Box Day. That's where the real blessing is!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Week 28 is up. . . see post below.

Baby Bump

Tabblo: Baby Bump

On February 10th, Josh and I found out the most exciting and life changing news we'll probably ever learn. . . we are expecting our first baby. 

... See my Tabblo>

Monday, July 24, 2006


Fletch (see link on sidebar) introduced me to this cool photo publishing site. I found out that you can upload it into Blogger. Let me know what you think of this new photo viewing option. . .

Friday, July 21, 2006


One of the wonderful things that I have enjoyed about my first year of marriage have been the unexpected letters I've received. The wise women (Lisa K. and Yvette R.) who hosted two of my bridal showers sent each guest home with pre-addressed, stamped envelope that was dated for a specific month.

I have received all sorts of encouraging letters from many dear friends and family members. To all of you who have sent a letter, I wanted to say thank you, thank you. What a blessing they have been!

Aren't they cute?

Josh and Lucy (our neice)

Here's a snapshop from our 4th of July Festivities. Lucy (and her family) came up from Southern California for the week.

Observing Josh with his neices and nephew, I have every reason to believe that he is going to make a great dad! I have not a doubt in my mind. I am truly looking forward to seeing him hold our baby for the first time.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I removed the "Currently Reading" section on my side bar. I like Blogspot, but the sidebars are a little unwieldy to manage (unless you're a pro at writing code in HTML). So, I decided that I'll just post quick book reviews every now and then when I run across a good book.

Lately, I've rediscovered the joy of borrowing books from the library. That place is a goldmine and it's all free!! So, I've been reading voraciously and have finished several books in the last few weeks.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey: Even though this book is geared toward people in financial crisis (aka lots of debt), there is a lot of practical wisdom that anyone can use. A lot of things didn't apply to our situation, since, thankfully, we don't have any debt. But, even so, I did learn a lot about goal setting and planning for the future. It's a lot of stuff you've probably heard before, but it's a good reminder and it never hurts to examine your finances and make sure you're being a good steward. The book won't take long to read so if you're looking for a productive way to spend the weekend, set aside a few hours to read this one.

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon: I was looking for some light, fun reading and this book hit the spot. This is the first book in the Mitford Series. I usually shy away from series books, especially "Christian" ones, as they tend to be sappy and poorly written. This book, however, was a pleasant surprise. It's delightful and well written and not at all trite. Check it out. . .

The Most Important Place on Earth by Robert Wolgemuth: I heard about this book on Focus on the Family. This was one book that I decided to purchase instead of borrow. I am so glad I did! It is excellent and full of challenging ideas for creating a home that exudes the love of Christ. It is geared toward the family setting, but honestly, I believe any Christian would benefit from reading this book. Even if marriage and children are years away, this book will challenge you and give you plenty to pray about. I will definitely be rereading this book several times as the years pass. There is so much "there there" that one read-through isn't enough.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Faithful in Little, Faithful in Much

As my tummy has been growing, so has my awareness of the responsibility I have to drive safely. I've always tried to be a safe driver who obeys the law, but it's so easy to let the speedometer creep up past the legal limit when I'm running late to work! Especially since the road I take almost invites speeding.

But safety isn't the only issue. The law is there to keep me safe, yes. But, even if I can drive "safely" while speeding, there is still the issue of being obedient to God and the authority He has put over me.

By the conviction of the Holy Spirit, about 3 weeks ago, I started becoming very aware of my tendency to push the limits and break the law. He reminded me that "(s)he who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much (Lk 16:10)" Every single morning on my drive to work, I was not being faithful in this little area.

I asked God to help me be obedient. And, He has been faithful to answer that request. He has been reminding me each morning as I close the car door and as I turn onto a new road that He is giving me an opportunity to be obedient.

The fruit of obedience is reward enough, but for the last two days, God has given me an external motivator as well: motorcycle cops! Yesterday there were two and today there were four, just past a bend in the road I take on my way to work. In exactly the place that invites speeding.

I think I'm going to tape a little piece of paper right under my speedometer that says "Faithful in little, faithful in much."

Friday, July 14, 2006

Loving People

I would like to learn to be a little more dog-like. I think God gave us animals for many reasons, but one of them is to teach us about unconditional love and grace.

Specifically, I'd like to be a little more like my dog. (Even though I am no longer the official owner, Olive, the dog, will forever be "my dog.") Every time I stop by for a visit at my parents' house, before I can even get to the front door, Olive is running from the window to the door and back to the window in excited anticipation of my arrival. And then, when that happy moment arrives when I actually cross the threshold, she literally jumps for joy. She is so excited to see me that she cannot contain herself. If dogs could smile, she'd be grinning from floppy ear to floppy ear! She runs around in excited circles until I scoop up her wiggling, wagging body and give her a good rub on the head. When I put her back on the ground, she's calmer but still excitedly attentive. She follows me around and is happy to flop down next to me, wherever I settle. In her world, at that moment, I am the main event. She doesn't care if I'm a bit tired, or stinky, or dressed in mismatched, wrinkled, outdated clothes. She's happy to see me and she lets me know.

How often do you give that kind of welcome to those who enter your house? Okay, not exactly like that (the wagging would be a bit much!) but when your friends and family members enter your home, do you let them know that they are they the most important thing at that moment? Do you make them feel special and welcomed and loved?

I can honestly say that I often fail at this. (And, odds are, you do, too. ) I have the best intentions, but fatigue or busyness quickly get in the way. Not so for Olive! Why? How is it that no matter what else is going on, Olive will always, always, always be at the door wagging her tail off? The difference between my feeble attempts and Olive's gloriously successful greetings is this: Olive isn't trying to make me feel like I'm the most important thing to her at that moment; I actually am the most important thing. She doesn't spend any time thinking about it. It is a natural response that flows from a deeply-rooted doggy-truth: Olive loves people.

Shouldn't we all be a little more dog-like?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Baby Bump-25 Weeks

Here is the latest and greatest picture. This was taken about a week ago. It's hard to believe that in just about three months, this wiggly little baby will no longer be kicking inside of me. I can't wait to meet him/her!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

So proud!

My husband works his tail off at work because he is a good employee and really believes that working hard is a witness for Christ. I'm so proud of him because he's been faithfully giving 100% since he was first hired over 2 years ago with only small scheduled increases to show for it.

This morning, his boss called him into his office, and informed him that the company wanted to give him an unsolicited promotion! I am so excited for him because he was willing to work hard regardless of whether or not they rewarded him, but it is always encouraging to know that your work is being noticed.

God is so good! He always provides above and beyond what we need.