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Giving thanks - for today. I am alive. I have another chance to love people well. I have not given up.

Outside my window - I woke to snow flurries, but I think they have stopped now. I believe the forecast is for more snow today and the next couple of days. No bother, March is next week and Spring weather will inevitably arrive soon (ish).

Clothing myself in - blue comfy jog pants, maroon long-sleeve t-shirt, and fuzzy navy hooded-cardigan. White Crocs on my feet.

On the homefront - the next right things are beckoning. Today, I hope to resume the work I started in the master bedroom closet, our dresser drawers, the bathroom cabinets, and the overflow I left in the guest bedroom LOL. The landing will be next, but I don’t know if we can get to that today. Mom has an eye appointment, finally. Her PT will arrive around 11:00.

We are making separate lists of what we think needs to be done in and around the house. Then we’ll come together and compare and consolidate the lists into one comprehensive, master list of projects and improvements. First on John’s list is painting, of course. I think it’s a good thing that we have different priorities because we complement each other well this way. He is onboard with basic cleaning and decluttering before commencing painting, so we are good. The list will range from decluttering and vacuuming to constructing a permanent roof over our deck; new flooring to replace the carpet on the main floor to updating bathroom decor. There is so much. I suppose I should write a little something about how the topic of a recent podcast I listened to influenced my ideas about our home. But it is a topic for a whole other post. To be continued…

Also... discovering things I wish I'd had when our kids were young. This is crazy awesomeness for my just-learning-to-crawl-everywhere granddaughter.

On the menu - I actually have a menu. I love it when I have a menu, and all the better when it is a realistic, working menu LOL. Stir-fry was planned for yesterday, but when we asked Mom what she wanted, she immediately said pork chops. So pork chops it was. And a good thing because we were joined by two grandchildren unexpectedly. Stir-fry would probably not have gone well with them.

I got this menu because one day I just walked up to the board, picked up the marker, and started writing the list of what I know are favorites. I don’t know why coming up with a weekly menu has become so challenging. I think it’s the changes in our appetites and tastes. I try to make meals that everyone will enjoy, but that’s very hard when you’re dealing with limited options.

That being said, I’m working on something for the blog. When we were in the throes of raising five kids, I had a great meal plan system. Part of that was months worth of menus for breakfast, lunch, and supper (a nod to my childhood term for dinner), and prepping instructions for the night before - thawing, marinating, etc… I’m revamping those plans and adding them to the blog for anyone who might find it helpful. Sometimes you need autopilot; sometimes you just need inspiration. My best friend is working on something special that will be a huge blessing to people everywhere!! I’ll share that when it’s available.

A new recipe - As The Eclectic Cook says,

“You won't find much original here, if anything at all, truth be told. I've collected recipes my whole life and tailored them to fit our personal preferences or what ingredients I had on hand at the time.”

I spent some time last week browsing my Pinterest boards for new recipes I had already pinned and wanted to try. I found a couple but have only had the chance to try one. This recipe for Skillet Mac and Cheese with Sausage and Bell Peppers was a hit though and will be going in my cookbook and in the rotation for pasta days.

Next up to try are Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Charred Corn and Mango Salsa, Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes, and 10 Minute Easy Asian Cucumber Salad. *There was a fun conversation about sloppy joes on our local radio station yesterday. Did you know that in some locations they are referred to as YipYips? Interesting…

I’m totally looking forward to cooking alongside my husband on our deck in the warm weather - me on the griddle, him on the grill. Yeah, sounds like a winner to me. All the better if it’s being done under the new permanent roof in the shade :-)

Learning lessons in - the long arm quilting machine!! Yeah, I started learning how to use the machine. John will not be able to keep up with Mom and me once we resume piecing. Some days are quilting days, others are not at this point with her health. When she gets her glasses and sees the cardiologist to get her heart issues under control (to the extent that can be done) I’m hoping there will be far more quilting days than non-quilting days.

Rachel is showing interest in the quilting business but I think that may have been prompted by seeing all the possibilities for Harry Potter inspired quilts :-) Still, once the hook is in… just sayin’

Writing - these blog posts, however few and far between, are pretty much all the writing that is happening, unless you count the little bit of help I’m giving Rachel with her homework LOL. But you know, I’m really okay with that. I think God has been sifting and refining my ideas about the present purpose of writing - for me. For me, keeping a journal really is the most important reason for writing in this season of life. Whether that changes down the road or not is yet to be seen, and I’m not privy to that knowledge. So I’ll keep coming here whenever I can and I hope to start including more photos - my photos, not stock photos. They won’t be as good as those I can pick through and purchase/use, but they’ll be mine and they will be attached to the actual memories I am trying to preserve. Maybe I’ll improve my photography skills while I’m at it.

Reading - I hope to return to an actual book-in-hand as soon as we finish the tv series we’re watching… The Becoming is waiting for me on top of the cookbook shelf in the dining room.

Watching - do I really need to say it again? Eight seasons. I could factor the hours I’ve spent watching this mind-numbing series; hours I’ll never get back again. But no, I’m not going to make myself sad or feel guilty about this. I admit, I enjoy mind-numbing tv series as well as the next. There, I said it.

Listening - still that wonderful podcast - Out of the Ordinary. You see, I usually find these things well after they’ve begun, and when I really like them I have to catch up so I start at the beginning and work my way to present episodes. I’m not a read-the-end-of-the-book-first kinda gal. And oh by-the-way, there is this wonderful community at Black Barn Online that I discovered through the podcast. I have only just scratched the surface but I like it already. I subscribed to the latest issue of their digital publication, Paper and String, and it is incredibly lovely. I’ve never seen anything like it. Check it out!

New song - I tried to remember this last time I posted but had to ask Rachel about it. The first time she had me listen to it, it brought to mind what we often refer to as the ‘pink cloud’ in recovery and for new believers. That euphoric feeling of meeting an all powerful, all loving, good Father. The lifting of the burden of all our darkest hours, and the hope of redemption. And when a little time passes and we start to lose that sense of awe and wonder, we forget so easily that God is faithful. He keeps his promises. God stays the same and is worthy of our trust. This song of worship reminds me that no matter what is happening in my life or how much time has passed since the last time I recognized God at work in my circumstances, he is the same. He still is in control, he still loves and cares for me. He has not abandoned me and he never will. He is still the same God who led me through the fire. He is still just as good as when I met him.

Making - my making occurs mostly in the kitchen these days. My daughters, on the other hand, are going gang-busters on the making :-) Our Mastermind group met on Monday night, minus several of our members, but we had a wonderful, active conversation about next steps for their businesses. There is excitement in the air. I am taking full credit for this new product from Rachel’s Sugar Moon - they are so delicious!!!

It occurred to me last week that, right now, my creativity is mostly showing up in homemaking. Returning to the basics has always brought my heart and mind back from the edge when things are hard and somewhat chaotic. I’m finding that to be true this past month or two, and as always, it really soothes my soul to have the security of it all. I love being a wife, mother, and grandmother. I love that my mom chose to spend her final years with us here in our home in the midst of our oft times chaotic, noisy, big-family life. I love my very small, intimate circle of friends. I love our church family even though we haven’t attended in person worship much during the months and months of social distancing. I love our life. I love my life.

The week ahead - hoping to work on that list and get some projects done! I’ll report back later with progress :-)

Something to remember - I started using this book that I got for Mom last year. The questions are great prompts for what I might not have thought to ask. I hope to work slowly through the book with her. It’s working to engage in more conversation with her too, and that is a huge bonus.

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