Sunday, December 30, 2007

Something to think about

I was talking to a friend the other day and she said something that has really struck a chord with me. She was talking about an opportunity that she had been offered to make some money from home. Most of us would jump at that chance. The thing is, she's a very busy woman and a very smart one too. :) When she got the details of what the work would entail, she found that it was ultimately lacking in value--to anyone. And she asked herself this question:

Do I want to give up any hours of my life to do this?

Wow. That really struck me. The importance of realizing that we are trading a limited commodity (the time we have in Our Life) for anything that we choose to do.

A good question to start asking ourselves as we make decisions about how to spend our time in the year to come. Is it worth giving up hours of your life?

Womb for Rent

I read this interesting article today. What do you think?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

For me, cooking is a means to an end. A necessary evil in daily life. I don't look forward to cooking anything. If I could hire a cook I would. The funny thing is...mealtime just keeps coming around and I'm still here with 8 people to feed. (I may not like to cook, but I do enjoy eating, as does the rest of the family.) I have this crazy idea: Maybe I could learn to like to cook. Maybe there is some other approach or perspective that I could grab ahold of that could transform cooking from a chore to an enjoyable pursuit of some sort.

So tonite I started looking on the internet, and decided to check out what Rachael Ray might have for me. She has a nice web site full of fun, good stuff. One jackpot I've just hit on is this page where you can specify what type of meal you want to make, what main ingredient you want to use, and the method of cooking (including your choice of 15, 30, or 60 minute meals). This looks like a great resource for somebody like me that often gets to 4 or 5 pm and is thinking, "Well.....I have chicken.....what could I make???"

This pursuit may die off before the first "inspired" meal makes it to the table. But, something needs to change here, sooner or later. It'll be years and years before I'm to the point where there's nobody to feed, so I can just eat a Larabar for dinner. And, there aren't any $3.99 Senior citizen Early Bird Specials anywhere around here, either.

I will tell you that I have a wonderful recipe for a Tomato Bisque soup that I have on my health and wellness blog. It's pretty easy to make, but my favorite thing about it is that I make it once and have it available to eat all week long. That's one kind of cooking I can get into. :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2007 End of the Year Meme

This is my fourth year doing an end-of-the-year meme!

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Opened my health and wellness business,and self-published my first two books.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I kept my resolutions. I lost and kept off approximately 20 pounds. I met and surpassed my business goals. Definitely have more goals for next year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes! A dear friend just had her 5th child, and first son, on December 15, all the way on the other side of the world! And, my niece had a baby girl, making me a Great Aunt.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit? None.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? There are lots of things I would like to have in 2008, but not because of a feeling of lack. I'm pretty satisfied with most things from this year.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? I don't know the exact date, but reconciling with my best friend after more than a year of estrangement was definitely a highlight.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Relational reconciliation, authoring the books, and going back to homeschooling some of my kids.

9. What was your biggest failure? Can't think of any. It's been a good year for the most part.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Not that I remember.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I didn't really "buy" this, but have received it because of some decisions I have made: Financial peace for my business, because of how I run it debt-free. It is giving me a wonderful new experience with money, which in turn is giving me a new motivation and vision for our regular finances.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted?

14. Where did most of your money go? The usual places--bills. But some got to go into expanding my businesses, and a couple fun things too.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My books and my businesses.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007? Better Together by Jack Johnson

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier!
b) thinner or fatter? thinner!
c) richer or poorer? richer! (slightly)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

20. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? Probably sleeping.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?

22. How many one-night stands? What a stupid question.

23. What was your favorite TV program? Brothers and Sisters, Kid Nation, Survivor, Big Love.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I don't do hate.

25. What was the best book you read?

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Jack Johnson

27. What did you want and get? a Bodhran

28. What did you want and not get?

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 36 this year and don't remember much about it.

31.What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying? Having a live-in cook and housekeeper. :)

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? The smallest wardrobe known to North America.

33. What kept you sane? Running my businesses, and achieving some goals. Also, keeping things simple.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I don't "fancy" too many celebs. Reece Witherspoon is still a favorite, though.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? I'm not stirred by much, politically.

36. Who did you miss? I've missed being able to call my grandfather. He died a few years ago and I still think of things that I would like to tell him. I also always miss my mom and siblings. Don't get to see them often enough.

37. Who was the best new person you met? Probably Kim and Claudia.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. Take chances.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Yesterday I had energy like I haven't had in probably more than a year. I changed an entire room from an abandoned bedroom into a playroom, I caught up on laundry, tackled mountains of clutter, did a somewhat heavy chore, vacuumed, moved things, reorganized, and purged for probably 12 hours yesterday. (seriously!) I was On. Fire. It was awesome. I'm feeling pretty good this morning, so am hoping that my energy whirlwind will keep going.

The only thing I can think of that might have caused my energy to increase so much is some new vitamins and supplements that I started taking the day before. They are items that I am considering selling at my health and wellness site, but I like to try things out first and see if I think they are worthwhile. I think we have some winners here! (**You can now buy them here and here)

Despite healthy eating (even to the extreme), working out (when I was), various vitamins, etc. I really haven't felt good for a long time. I always feel tired (nap time!) and about one step away from getting sick. Some things that would supposedly help me feel better (eating more protein and less fruits and grains, exercise, taking a vitamin that other people raved about) actually made me feel worse--and not just for a day. I mean that even after weeks or months of consistently trying to give it a chance. So, this is very fun to have felt so good yesterday.

We will be celebrating Christmas tomorrow since my husband has to work on the 25th. Of course the children are very excited, and I guess the parents are too. :)

When I was growing up we knew a family whose mom had an unusual way of handling Christmas gifts. I don't know if her husband really stunk at choosing gifts, or if he didn't get any at all. Either way, she ended up buying herself the stuff she really wanted, and would then nicely wrap the stuff and sign the gift tag, "To Marsha, with all my love, Jack." I guess it became a family funny--I don't think her husband had a problem with it.

Although I haven't gotten desperate enough to have to do that, I did order some books for myself for the kids to give me. (they didn't know what books, nor how to order. I saw them on sale and asked my husband if he wanted to get them and he said, "Yes! Order your Christmas gifts!")

One thing I did this year was I bought myself a gift. I guess I could have heavily influenced my husband to get it for me, but I knew what I wanted, and in the spirit of trying to be kinder and love myself more, I decided to give myself this gift, with love. It's been wrapped and hidden away for weeks now, and I am really looking forward to opening that tomorrow.

I almost freaked out and sent it back twice, because it's not a necessity, and because I wondered if I had spent too much money on myself. (which was ridiculous because it wasn't really that much, AND I used money from my business account to get it) The thing that caused me to keep it was realizing that if my husband had shown an interest in this item, I totally would have bought it for him. So, if it would be ok to buy it for someone else, why would it not be ok to buy it for myself? Surely I'm as deserving of a special gift as anyone else.

So, there is my Love Yourself holiday story for you. :) I hope you all have a great Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I found out about this funny homeschool family video today. Very clever. What a hoot. Be sure your speakers are on.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jack Johnson: Better Together

Another recent discovery that I loooove!


Maybe I should just change the name of this blog to 'Random' because it seems that's all I do here these days.

First up--Creed. I've heard about them for years but never listened to their music. Discovered their song Lullaby and really love it. This video isn't worth watching, but at least you can get a feel for the song. Just. Beautiful.

Other than that, things are marching along here. Homeschooling has it's daily ups and downs. Fortunately, it seems that we mostly have ups, or at least even days, so that's something to be thankful for. Now I'm thinking about "what-ifs" for next year and my other kiddos...

While some of the country was buried under snow and ice, we enjoyed a gorgeous 78 degree day here this week. What fun!

I've been thinking, again, about our ideas of how God is involved in our lives. Here's something I don't understand. Let's say that something terrible happens to someone. As they walk through this difficult thing, they may say something like, "But I'm so thankful to God for helping us because if this had happened (earlier/later/last year/next week) it would have been so much worse." Now, explain this to me. We're supposed to believe that God got involved to the point where the event was scheduled in a somewhat helpful way (as if tragedies ever are....), but didn't get involved to the point where the tragedy was avoided? I guess God can do whatever He wants to. But, honestly--when crappy stuff happens, why would we think that God got involved only to an extent, but otherwise chose to leave us with a bad situation?

It's stuff like that that boggles my mind.

My own experience with bad things happening caused me to feel almost like I had to attribute any ray of sunshine, anything helpful or encouraging at all, to God. I think it was partially out of shock (and therefore habit), and partially out of desperation to not feel alone, and perhaps even superstition that a bad time is not the time to start questioning God (might get zapped!!). I understand that we grab ahold of whatever brings us comfort, and that's worth something. It just doesn't seem really honest, though. (for me) I'm still searching for answers--I'd honestly like to get to the point where I can feel an honest satisfaction about my beliefs. Otherwise I just feel so inauthentic.

Christmas plans are coming along. We made the tough call to not travel to my mom's this year. It's a 12-hour trip that would have to be sandwiched in between almost no time off for my husband. He's been working 3-6 24-hour shifts weekly since May of this year, and the poor guy is just wiped out. Between his own need for a restful break, and finances, staying home was the more reasonable choice for us. But the closer we get to Christmas the more sorry I am that we won't be seeing everyone. :( (boo hoo!)

I spent last evening wrapping gifts after the children went to bed. It is starting to look like we will have quite a large avalanche of gifts here. I guess with 8 people in our family that's kind of inevitable. The children are getting very excited, of course. Less than a week left of school days, too!

We still need to go to The Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park. This magnificent drive-through Christmas light display has become one of our favorite family activities for December. After we drive through and see all the lights, we get to walk through the petting zoo, the model train exhibit, and see lots of other neat things there. Very fun!

We will also be going out to purchase ornaments for this year. Before we were even married, my husband and I decided that rather than just purchasing boxes of ornaments, we would just accumulate ornaments that had special meaning to us. So, on our first Christmas we got "Our First Christmas Together" type ornaments, plus "baby on the way" ones too. :) Since then, each year we get each child a special ornament that they like. We all look forward to this, and it makes decorating our tree really special. The kids love being reminded of what they picked in years past, and we remember trips we've taken (we buy ornaments or souvenirs that can be made into ornaments when we go places) and so on. it's really fun. Our tree is really getting full now, with so many kiddos. I can remember when we only had about 6 items on our tiny little 18" seedling tree. :)

The parties have begun. Two of my kiddos will be attending a party tonite, we have 3 different places for family members to be tomorrow night, and there is an open house for my husband and I to attend on Sunday. Monday night is my oldest son's band concert. Tuesday is school parties. :) I'm not ready!!

Good news--Big Love Season 2 is now out on DVD! I was delighted to get the first disc here on the day the series was released, and it was very fun to get to see what was happening since the big cliff-hanger from the end of Season 1.

Now I'm off to do grocery shopping and get ready for my busy evening. I think hot cocoa may be in our future as well....

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Help this little girl get a liver

It's not every day that we have an opportunity to save a life, but today is one of those days. Jessica is a little girl in need of a liver transplant. An online friend of mine is spearheading a benefit sale to help this family with their medical expenses. Lots of great gifts for you if you participate, and of course a wonderful thing to help with. Check it out here.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Random Update

So my blog has become sorely neglected. What can I say? My blog is mainly a tool for me. It's not a job or a responsibility. So, although it's nice that a few of you stop by every now and then to see if I'm written anything new, life tends to crowd out blogging these days.


Back in August I wrote about my feelings about a lost friendship. Within about a week of writing that post I got a letter from that lost friend. It wasn't a good letter, but it prompted a painfully honest and raw reply. Communication happened. Apologies were made. Miraculously, a restoration has taken place.

For several months now I've thought about posting something to let you know about this, since so many of you emailed me privately to tell me how sorry you were to hear about that loss. I've tried to form some deep, meaningful, profound post in my mind, and even sat down to write it a few times. It has never really flowed out of me in a way that seemed fitting for the depth of the experience. So, tonite you get this understated announcement to let you know that miraculous redemption is possible. (saying it that way seems almost ridiculous, except that I really did not think this could or would happen) It's a good thing.

A month ago I told you that I'd started taking cello lessons. Well, it was a short experiment. I decided not to continue. Driving 60 miles round trip for the lessons and worrying about a $1300+ instrument in a house full of kids turned out to be the straws that broke this camel's back. However, what I learned was that I still do love the cello, and that I will still be looking forward to finding the time in life when I can more comfortably and realistically pursue that.

I finally had my quiet retreat! I started planning it back in September, and it finally happened. I had 5 days of solitude here at home while my family went on a trip without me. I had really been looking forward to it. But, what I felt about it was different than I expected. I wouldn't call it a great experience. I wouldn't call it a bad experience. It was something that I felt (and still feel) mostly ambivalent about. I did enjoy the quiet (although not as much as I thought I would), and I did enjoy getting to do whatever I wanted to whenever I wanted to. However, I missed my kids more than I expected that I would. And I didn't want to do anything productive at all, so I didn't.

I think it was good for me to take the opportunity that I had to do this, both to satisfy my interest in what that would be like, as well as to let the rest of the family see that they can survive without me for a few days. :) But, I don't know that it was an experience I'll be craving to repeat for awhile. Just...kind of a quiet shoulder-shrug kind of a response to the whole thing. Which is surprising to me. :)

That's about the size of it. :)