ingrained

Hi friends!

I’ve launched a new blog that’s focused on the construction and interior design of our new home! I’m so excited to have this new outlet up and running, as well as a pinterest and instagram account for ingrained. I am striving for some big things in the years to come and am honored you’ve been with me this far.

Make sure to subscribe at http://www.ingrainedhome.com to get updates as they happen!

❤ Kaytee

Transitional periods

It’s been well over a year since I’ve made a post, and although I am making one now it’s likely you’ll no longer see OregonDomesticated popping up. You see, so much has changed in the time since I began this blog and so much is continuing to change that… well… It’s time for more change! 

I’m going to be launching a new blog with a more solid focus – the home. I still hope to share recipes, hobby farm tidbits, and crazy daily happenings, but to be frank our home is going to be a greater priority in my life than it ever has been before. I mean that in terms of my kids and my husband of course, but also in terms of where we dwell. 

I’ve always said that if I had a million bucks I would go crazy with home decor more than anything else. Well, we still don’t have a million bucks. Not even close. But we do have a dilapidated, leaky old mobile home and a more urgent need to build on our property to keep our family safe and healthy. In starting a new business with friends this past year (check out Rohst Coffee Co.) we definitely do not have all of the capital we’d hoped to have saved, so we are doing our best to feel our way through this whole thing. Thankfully we’ve been talking with great contractors and financing specialists and are trying to put our trust in God with this project. 

As evidenced by this blog and really, if you’ve spent some time with me you know, I LOVE bargains. I love diamonds in the rough. I love repurposing, refinishing, and reinventing. I’ve got so much salvaged wood from our 1908 barn that it just ain’t right; no girl should have this much fun with old wood! The challenge of building a forever home on a serious budget may seem like a nightmare to some, but this is JUST my kind of challenge and I have a feeling that there is a brood of crazies out there reading this who feel the same.

From picking plans, to getting a contractor, and from the big things like a roof over our heads to the little things like cabinet hardware, I am so excited to share in this whole process with you. Paint colors, flooring, light fixtures, and furnishings – I hope to blog about it all. It should be known that I have grown a lot in my design taste, and I’ve become pretty bold and unapologetic in what I love in a home. I hope that as you see that in our journey, you find that for yourself as well. This blog will become dormant, though I will hopefully move some of your homemaking favorites over to the new site. Once I’ve got it up and running I’ll be sure to share the new link here.

For now I will leave you with this – regardless of the curveballs and sleepless nights, life IS good. Challenging, messy, damaging, nourishing, awful, and awe filled. It’s all of it. I want you to know that you can reflect all of this in the space you call home, and it can be so, so beautiful. 

Past, Present, Future

The last few months have been a whirlwind of change with even more change on the horizon. I’m not sure where to even begin!

In November, my husband and I took a week long trip to Maui and stayed on the same beach we honeymooned on almost 5 years ago. It was a much needed break for us as we don’t get much one on one time between our little family and our jobs. We had the opportunity to slow down, relax, and reassess. We missed our girls (as we left them at home thanks to all of their grandparents), but it was such a great trip and it helped us to realize some things.

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We both recognized we needed to make some changes as a family, and we also both recognized we had some personal and career goals we’ve long thought of but want to now put into action. For me, I had already made the decision to stop teaching at the dance studio where I began my career in order to have more time to be a student of dance while my body still allows, to complete more book education and certifications, and to balance family life better. Since I began teaching dance and fitness in 2011 it was always a side gig; family is and will stay my greatest priority, but I allowed dance to be just a hobby in my life. Since beginning ballet again in Fall 2013 after birthing AJ, I have really fallen in love with it all over again and have found another home with that studio. I know now that this is what I want to do long term. It was nearly 18 years ago that I took my first dance class and through the ins and outs and ups and downs of life, I was able to come back to dance (thanks to a dear friend) after a few years away and I have a whole new appreciation of what it means to be a dancer, a teacher, and a coach. This is it; this is what I want to do. This is what I want to build a career around, to continually pursue improvement in. I am finally owning it and I couldn’t be happier. Additionally, my husband has always wanted to own a business and he’s beginning to pursue that path as well, on top of having a more-than full-time job. Since our decisions this past Autumn, we have already endured many changes and know that it’s just the beginning, but we both have passion for what we are working toward and are still young enough to achieve our dreams with the help of our Heavenly Father and the support of our family.

In December, I danced in my first Nutcracker ballet. Although I took ballet classes for many years when I was younger, I also continued to play soccer in the Fall so I wasn’t able to be part of a Winter production. At the start of the new year, our studio Owner/Director asked all students to write out some goals for the year which was slightly terrifying but also really motivational. If I wrote my goals down, and someone else knew about them, then I might be held accountable! EEEK! But you know what? Since doing so, I have been working my butt off and have already seen and felt so much improvement in my dancing, and I am having so much fun! This spring, the studio is putting on a production of the ballet The Sleeping Beauty; auditions were last weekend and casting will be out soon. I am so excited that NJ and I will BOTH get to dance in this production, our first mother-daughter performance. Hopefully the start of many, so long as my girls want to dance.

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I’ve also started working on my AFAA Group Fitness certification and the process has already helped me make my Zumba classes and my dance classes better. I want everyone who attends to have fun and leave feeling better than when they arrived. In making some changes to the way I teach I’ve already received some reassuring feedback and I hope to keep making people happy. Encouragement is contagious.

There is so much in our future right now that is uncertain, but by taking hold of the present and by leaning on the Lord I am finding a whole new lease on life. I know that no matter what may come, our immediate and extended family will always be around to catch one another and to lift each other up. Putting things in God’s hands isn’t easy, but I know that more than anyone He holds my best interest, and that obstacles are meant to be overcome.

– BE BRAVE. TAKE RISKS. NOTHING CAN SUBSTITUTE EXPERIENCE. –

What are your qualifications?

It’s been so very long since a made a post here; the last couple of months have been insanely busy and I haven’t had the chance to absorb it fully but hopefully after Christmas I will be able to share some of the exciting things that have happened.

I’m hopping on here in hopes that God can use me today; that maybe these words He is directing me with can help you where ever you are.

Last week I began a short study with Love God Greatly called “The Road To Christmas”. It covers the genealogy of Jesus in the generations leading up to his birth, specifically focusing on the women. Just halfway through the study it is becoming very apparent to me that most of these women were tainted and shamed, often living as outcasts; not exactly what comes to mind when we think of a King and his ancestors.

Some of these women were prostitutes, or unable to bare children, or even thought to be having an affair because of an immaculately conceived child. If we try to put ourselves in their shoes and see through their eyes, then they were probably dispised by those around them, known and labeled for their sins. Honestly, in reading these stories my initial thought was “How can I possibly relate to these women?” Ahh, but how quick we are to judge, right?

In each of their stories, God used these women for his greater purpose. Though Elizabeth was old and barren, he gave her a child; John the Baptist. Rahab was a prostitute but God used her in his plans for the city of Jericho. And Mary, just a poor virgin, came to bear the Son of God.

My faith tends to go through seasons, some of closeness to and some of distance from God. When I am in a season of distance it’s usually because I have allowed sin to separate me from Him. He has not pushed me away because of that sin, but in sin and imperfection I tend to deem myself unworthy or perhaps feel a need to hide like a child in trouble. If I’m not attending church services or studying scripture or going out of my way to help others I sometimes feel less “Christian”. As I type that out, especially after reading about these women, it sounds so silly.

God never promised that we would be perfect women; He never said we would be without sin or shame, and He never said our roads would be easy. But He has said that He can use us, each and every one, and these scriptures prove it. Some of these women were entirely faithful to God and some had faith as small as a mustard seed, but He was able to use them for His greater plan. The blood in their veins ran through Jesus’ body here on earth. They are part of the story of the Messiah, and often they never saw it coming. If some of the most shameful women in Bible can put their faith and trust in God and allow Him to guide their paths, why can’t I? Why can’t I accept that He wants to meet me RIGHT WHERE I AM? Why can’t I accept that the only person who sees me as unworthy is myself? If I just put my life in His hands and allow His work and His timing, what kind of greatness could He do through me?

As the saying goes, God doesn’t call the qualified; he qualifies the called. What is God calling each of us to do, and are we listening?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” – Proverbs 3:5-6

The joy in vomit and poop

It has been a rough week. On Wednesday, a stomach virus hit our household and anyone who has been sick themselves while caring for a sick child knows the experience borders hell. As I get older I realize that my body no longer copes as well with sickness as it once did and “bouncing back” is more like crawling back. Times passes so slowly when your head is in a toilet or garbage can, and when your 3 year old and husband begin to follow suit there seems no light at the end of the porcelain bowl.

In an effort to keep our one year old well, we quarantined her and I began sanitizing and laundering as soon as the 12 hour puke fest ended. Between the dizziness and dehydration and body aches I tried to keep my household under control. I am so thankful for those who reached out to help or see how we were doing. As it had not yet been 48 hours since the bug cleared I skipped my classes for Friday, but in my ever ridiculous mind decided I must make my Saturday Zumba class and ballet rehearsal. Though I was definitely not feeling 100% I am glad that I went because I craved a break from my home. It lifted my spirits, as did my dad cleaning my car while my parents had the girls and my husband cleaning the house so I could come home and relax. Things were on the mend!

This morning little AJ had an explosive poop while playing on her sisters bed. At that moment I broke into tears. I had not even gotten caught up on the usual laundry after doing nearly 15 loads of illness related laundry, and just as I thought that today might be the day I was able to get some clean clothes for my family and things into order, I now had a few poop covered loads to do. It seems small and insignificant, and that never ending laundry could cause me to cry may be laughable, but I simply felt overwhelmed. Sometimes it feels like the punches just keep coming.

Being out of fabric softener I took that as an opportunity to escape, so here I sit in the store parking lot trying to get grounded. Flipping through verses I came to James 1:2

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” (‭NLT)

Consider it an opportunity for great joy? Yes, Lord, I guess poop and puke can be particularly joyful in light of other things.

Of course that’s not exactly what is being talked about. It goes on to say that testing of faith brings perseverance. I also know that, hard as it may be, I can choose to look at the blessings and not the burdens. My family is now well, and thankfully it was only a stomach bug that plagued us and not something worse. My baby did not get sick, and I actually have a home and nice things to clean and launder. Despite this short lived illness, we are healthy and we are happy and we are loved.

Hard times give us the opportunity to put things in perspective and focus on the bigger picture and it allows God to grow us stronger in our faith and trust that HE IS GOOD, all of the time. What a joy that is. ❤

Fall Decor

I’ve been finished decorating for the harvest season for weeks, but my lazy booty has been putting off photos and a blog post. Oh, and cleaning my house in order to make it presentable for photos. 🙂 But, I figure I can cut and crop the mess out to *pretend* to have my act together and to share some of the things that have inspired me this fall.

I’ve not really done much autumn decor in the past aside from making a wreath during my first pregnancy; one of my first Suzy Homemaker projects that kicked off my love of making things by hand. We aren’t really Halloween people, and I prefer the colors of the harvest decor and the longevity of it, too; I can keep it up through Thanksgiving and it’s socially acceptable! (hehehe)

JoAnn’s had some smokin’ deals at the start of September and so I took full advantage after pinning my heart out. Here is some of what I came up with!

IMG_4668I found some really great wreaths at JoAnn’s. Although I do like taking a basic frame and crafting my own, all of the individual things that go into a detailed wreath can really add up in cost. This one was $15 and I really enjoy the organic feel to it. I generally have a yellow floral wreath in the center of this picture wall, and in winter one with pinecones. This one blends well with the color scheme of the dining room.

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Another $15 wreath from JoAnn’s; love the burlap bows. Again, probably something you could make yourself and add other special touches to, but it my experience it ends up costing more. I’ve had the window sitting in our shop for over a year, having no idea whether I should repaint or refinish it or even where it should go. Once I had this wreath, I knew exactly what to do with it. I put a nail on either side and wrapped some twine around each a few times after stringing it across. Tied it on top and hung it on a drywall screw. Simple, and now I can switch out different decor items to hang on it year round.

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This sign was cute but very simple when I got it. I had some burlap from an old project and some handy twine, and also a hot glue gun. That’s all it took to make it more personal and detailed.

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I grabbed a few of these faux floral items that were discounted just to see what I could make of them.

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Mason jars are so fun and easy to work with. The burlap and yarn I already had and so I just hot glued them on and trimmed some flowers to fit. There are two of these sitting on some large (and ugly) speakers on either side of our TV. It adds a little bit of color, at least!

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This milk jug normally sits vacant behind the kitchen sink but the leftover flowers worked out great.

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This bamboo tray sat on the china hutch for the longest time but finally made its way to the dining table. The beautiful yellow pitcher from my grandmother has been a constant, but had left some scratches on the wood table. Now, the whole set can be moved to clear space and without leaving marks.

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NJ so badly wanted to help, and how can you deny a 3 year old who wants to use her creative abilities “by my own”? She had her very own bookshelf in the living to decorate, and so she picked out all of these items and placed them just so (after placing and replacing them a few times).

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Although this item was found in the “fall decor” section, it’s something I absolutely plan on using all year round by drawing seasonal pics on it. I had a hard time placing it but it finally found its home on a blank wall in the dining room.

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Another piece found in the fall section, but let’s be real; wine is not seasonal, so this will be a permanent fixture.

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My hutch is one of my most favorite possessions and at $75 it was probably one of the best deals I’ve ever gotten, too. It’s solid (and heavy) and totally beautiful. Also totally dirty in this photo, but oh well; you can’t win them all. I can add all sorts of accents to it but really, the hutch itself is what catches my eye. Everything else is just a little sumpin’ extra.

So we’ve finally made it to the back porch, and this is where I’ll leave you. I didn’t bother washing my window, or clearing the bugs. I even left my dead sage plant and unplanted hydrangea for you to thoroughly enjoy! 😉 The back door is beat up and I don’t plan to repaint it. There is a mixture of colors that might make some cringe, but I think it speaks volumes for how our home is. A bit messy, dusty, and hodge podge, but it feels like home. It’s the door through which we welcome our guests and enjoy a few evenings here and there. I hope you’ve been able to draw a little inspiration from my recent additions like I have from the other beautiful homes I’ve seen. Fall is a time for us to slow down and enjoy the cozy things in life. ❤

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Battling Insecurity

For as long as I can remember, I have been insecure. I have cared so much about what others think, and have sought to please others for so long, that it’s very much a part of who I am. Most days, I don’t like it.

I’m often wondering if I’ve said or done something to annoy or anger or hurt someone else. I’ve come to recognize that I am a person who sometimes lets their mouth run away without really thinking about my words, and although I am regularly trying to work on it, I fear I’ll never been a quiet and contemplative person. Try as I might to change myself into someone who is poised and stoic, that’s just not how God made me. I’m emotional, I’m hasty, and I’m easily wounded.

I am a people pleaser by nature and I want to be liked and accepted. Should I really care so much about what others think? Maybe, or maybe not. But I cannot help that if I feel disliked I get an awful pit in my stomach, and I replay over and over what I could have done to set this person off, at times for days on end.  I could pretend to be proud and to say “I don’t care what so-and-so thinks about me”, but the plain truth is I DO care. I DO want to be liked, and I don’t want to bother or frustrate others.

Through the Bible study I’m currently participating in there is something I have come to realize about this. I can’t please everyone. And not everyone will like me.

Alright, so I have known this for a while and have heard this for most of my life but it has now taken on a new meaning for me. The things people dislike me for are my faults, my imperfections, and my sins. There will always be someone who will dislike or dissect these parts of me. People who choose to share my bad news, who will point out the things I do wrong, who will have something hurtful or untrue to say. I can’t change these people and I can’t make myself a perfect person in order to gain their acceptance.

So, what can I do? I can remember that these people are imperfect sinners, too, and that they may be battling their own insecurities. I can be forthcoming and honest and transparent about my imperfections, but continue to try to encourage others through that and to remind them (and myself) that we are all going to fall short sometimes. I can choose not to place their opinion on a pedestal; not by saying “I don’t care what others think about me” because that would be untrue, but by saying there is someone whose opinion matters MORE.

The most important and valuable thing that I can do is to acknowledge to myself and my God that I am imperfect, but to remember that He sees me; He sees my heart and my intentions, and my hope is in Him. And as long as I keep Him close and continually ask Him to work in me, that’s all I can do. I’ve already got His love and acceptance; I didn’t need to earn it.

Romans 8 : 1-2
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

Fall Peek

I am one of those people who anxiously awaits the changing of the seasons, and so I began decorating for Autumn before Labor Day even came and went (but don’t hate me; it was only by a day or two!) In past years I’ve skipped decorating for this season to save money, and I also had hoped we would move at some point which we did! I finally fell head first into Fall decor this year and I can’t wait to share some of the fun little DIY’s you can do on your own! I’m still adding some final touches, but here’s a quick preview.

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– K

Grocery Ambition

I’ve been working at “being good” at grocery shopping for what feels like forever (ok, maybe 4 years) but can’t seem to really get something great going. I hate the tedious work of couponing and often don’t need the things that manufacturers discount, though when something comes along that fits our needs I definitely take advantage of it. I’ve tried most times to provide food that is minimally processed (though, I totally keep a stack of Totino’s on hand for emergencies) and in doing so it’s hard to save a lot of money. Eating well isn’t exactly cheap and it seems ideal to be able to save money and have healthy food for your family. Ultimately, for us, that means the goal is to waste little-to-none and don’t buy what we don’t need. After being lazy for much of the summer I felt inspired to revamp how we shop and I got just the boost I needed recently.

We have a side by side standard fridge and a large upright freezer that have been crucial to extended meal planning and minimizing grocery store trips. In our great big pantry there has been a cubby for an apartment size fridge and I’ve been waiting oh so patiently since we moved in last July to find a good deal. A friend of mine was recently selling one for $25 and I am SO thankful I was able to get my hands on it! With two fridges and a giant freezer, I feel primed for meal planning success.

My hope for September is to make one extra large trip at the start of the month and then only going twice after to get produce and dairy alone. This means I’ve planned out our meals for the entire month and when writing my grocery list, accounted for every ounce of meat and cheese, snacks galore, and even some special treats here and there. To take advantage of our freezer space I have done a little research and trial and error on what foods freeze well. Some are tried and true and some take some tweaking, but I feel confident in the foods I’ve chosen and knowing they can keep in a fridge or freezer for a few weeks and not go bad. Here is my list of what freezes well and how long it will last.

  • Butter – When there is a good deal on good butter you better believe I stack my cart high. It can just go right in the freezer and will last for several months, and when you’re ready for use they can thaw in the fridge or at room temperature.
  • Beans – Prepping and cooking dried beans can be time consuming if you’re trying to avoid canned beans. You can do this once a month and portion them into 12-14oz servings and freeze.
  • Cheese – OK, so I’ve never actually tried this one but I have heard that if you grate block cheese and then freeze it in a freezer bag it can stay good for a few months. I’m going to give it a shot this time and see how it goes.
  • Most Veggies and Fruit – I love to use fresh fruits and vegetables where I can but if I am trying to make fewer trips to the store, I’m going to go the frozen route, too.
  • Meat – I make one Costco trip at the start of the month for all of my chicken and ground turkey; we get our beef from the cattle farm across the road. I portion and freeze it all and pull it out as needed.
  • Peppers – Another item that isn’t cheap, and our neighbors have been kind enough to share some of this years harvest with us. You can dice them ahead of time and FoodSaver them to take advantage of those sales that pop up or a large crop.
  • Muffins, Bread, English Muffins – Just about the only bread I’ve found that doesn’t freeze great are bagels; they get a little too chewy and filmy, if ya know what I mean. And for the above listed I wouldn’t freeze them for any longer than a month as they can get burned. Generally we keep all of our bread stuff in the fridge, anyway, until we’re really to start eating it which helps double its life.

Aside from these things, most vegetables keep very well at very cold but not freezing temps. A huge bonus of having two fridges is that we can have different settings in each and designate one for standard temp items and one for the things we like to keep extra cold (maybe some white wine?) 😉

Now that we know how to extend the life of our food without things going totally gross, it’s time to plan out what we’re using and how much we will need.

Pinterest has revolutionized meal planning (for me, at least). I’ve made one board for recipes I’m interested in and then once we’ve tried them and liked them, they get moved to a board for those yummy things. This way I don’t have to hunt through 400+ recipes to find that ONE I am in need of and when I’m not sure what to make, I have a go-to list. Another thing that has changed my meal planning and my overall organization is Evernote. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I HIGHLY recommend. It’s like a digital binder with different notebooks to organize notes of all kinds; meals, finances, to do, work, travel, key home measurements, schedules, etc. There is an App for your phone and one on your computer and it syncs between the two to keep you on top of things.

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First things first, I choose our meals. In the past I’ve done this on a Bi-Weekly basis but since I’m going for the ‘gold’ this month I’ve just made one list. I do it in Evernote so I have it for reference at any time and I organize it by type of meat (you can do it however you’d like but this is easiest for me). Once I’ve got my list, I sit down with my grocery notepad and start jotting down the ingredients and specific amounts if necessary. I love this notepad I got from Target, although I don’t really use the lefthand side anymore.

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Once I’ve got all the meals accounted for I work on the lunches, snacks and extras. It’s sometimes hard to gauge how much food we will go through in a month but if we set a limit we tend to be less wasteful. We don’t buy juice, cookies, or ice cream as those items are expensive and offer little nutrition. If we need something sweet, we make it ourselves. On top of that I grab a few quick freezer meals just in case because you never know when something can come up. The Bi-Weekly way of doing this has gone pretty well in the past but I end up making extra trips for one or two items and then leave with WAY more than I came for. I figure the fewer trips I make to the grocery store, the fewer chances I have to make poor choices, right?

What are your best tips for eating well and saving money? How often do you shop? What have you found that helps your food last? I wanna hear them!

Before the New Year Resolutions

So it’s the end of August… I know that. And I’ve never been HUGE on New Years resolutions; maybe because it’s cliche, or maybe I actually feel more likely to fail if I resolve in accord with the rest of the world, but here I sit with an urge to revamp. We are effectively two-thirds done with 2014 and there is still so much I’d like to do. Most people in my life know that I struggle with slowing down, with sitting still, with shutting up, with remaining focused (and to combat it I’ve become a list maker). I want to do everything all at once at the quickest pace possible, and I want to be good at everything I do, but the fact of the matter is that it just is not possible. Over the years I’ve also learned it can be a detriment to myself and my family and friends.

As a result, I’ve spent the past several months trying to slow down and simplify; to remove distraction and things in excess, to talk less and listen more (still working on it), and to become more organized and focused and intentional with my time. I couldn’t kick my busy addiction cold turkey, so I’ve gradually been pulling back. I fear I’ve asked too much of my husband, kids, and our families in order to pursue my interests. In trying to make this lifestyle change I have done a lot of praying and going deeper with God, trying to seek out the root of the issue in order to change my heart and mind. It’s been a pretty private battle and I’ve had to look in the mirror I’d been avoiding and come to terms with things I need to change in order for my marriage and my children to flourish.

I look at my kids and I’m shocked at how much they’ve grown and cannot fathom how it happened so quickly, and if what everyone tells me is true then it won’t slow down anytime soon. How can I make the most of it? SLOW DOWN, that’s how.

The list of things I would like to accomplish is long, but I’m going to cut it off at the knees and narrow it down to a few things to focus on for the remainder of 2014. Here it is:

  1. Begin a schooling routine with NJ – I’m not particularly organized by nature and I have had to work really hard to GET organized, and I think it’s something I’m going to work at my whole life. With this being true, it may be an uphill battle to homeschool my children. NJ may be only 3 years old, but I have the hope that if we begin small amounts of school work now it will help ease our whole household into the homeschool lifestyle. I’m not going to hold her to any educational standards, I’m just going to try to establish a routine with organized materials. I want her to grow a love of learning. She is already so smart and eager and I’d love to encourage her in that.
  2. Complete a Bible Study – God has been in my life for the entirety, but I’ve never actually completed a Bible Study. Sad. I’ve started a few, and done well for a couple of weeks, but “life” gets in the way (aka, I didn’t make it a priority). I’ve been following the blog at Love God Greatly (formerly Good Morning Girls) for most of this year, and attempted to participate in their Spring study, but I lacked follow through. This study session is focused on the book of Esther and I have joined a small group to study along side with, for growth, encouragement, and accountability. It begins September 1st and lasts 8 weeks. I’m looking forward to getting started.
  3. Learn to build a good fire – This seems silly, but then you’ve probably never seen be attempt to build or maintain one. I’m bad. Like, really bad. I’ve gotten hundreds of pieces of great advice on how to conquer the mystery of the flame, but I cannot seem to get the hang of it. We’d like to use our wood stove as the primary heating source in the winter for many years to come, so this has GOT to happen.
  4. Own less and spend less – We’ve spent several years working toward living debt free and this month we finally made our final car payment. Although it took a lot of sacrifice, it feels so good that our only debt remaining is our home. We still have a lot to pay down and save up before we can build our dream home and in order to get there, focus is a must. This is another area that does not qualify as a strength for me. I like nice new things occasionally and I like getting to go out to dinner or get a pedicure from time to time. We allow ourselves these special treats sometimes but abstaining has taught me a real lesson in contentment. Am I really happy with what I’ve got if I’m constantly wanting more? Is it really going to better my life, or will it set me back? Do I thoroughly consider where my money is going, what it’s getting me, and if it’s worth it? Questions I’ll have to continue asking myself in order to remain centered on our ultimate goal.

The key is reminding myself that this is enough. That these few things deserve my attention and if all I achieve in the next 4 months are these 4 things, that will be OK. Because more than checking things off of a list or completing a hundred tasks, my FAMILY deserves my attention. If I let myself run get overrun with my busy behavior once again I know I’ll regret it. Now, if someone could just bring me a bubbly beverage so we can toast to “LESS is MORE”, that’d be grrrrrrreeeeaaaat. 😉

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