Fasting as a Church -Notes on My Experience

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This is the Last Meal I had before starting my fast for 24-hours.

This is the Last Meal I had before starting my fast for 24-hours.

“I used to fast with my mom.”

That’s what I quietly told my husband during church when the preacher talked about fasting the first time in January.

He nodded politely at me when I said it, as he does when he’s trying to concentrate on the sermon.

‘…But I really did fast with my mom.’  I thought. She’s the one who taught me how to do it, but I really didn’t focus on anything or concentrate on anything when we did it.  I just learned to pray, usually about something specific that we had a need for.

Just in case I haven’t made myself clear, when I state “fast” I mean that we skipped a meal, or two, or purposely not eat for a few days.

When I was younger and would fast, it would usually be for something I needed.  Or something that was concerning me.

◊ ◊ ◊ 

The preacher of our church asked us to fast for 24-hours as part of a “Spiritual Arsenal” series he was teaching on during the month of January.

A link to his blog post about the subject and his thoughts are here:

Jason Locke’s Blog: Spiritual Arsenal #4: Fasting

A link to his sermon about the subject is here:

College Church of Christ Sermon – Spiritual Arsenal, 4: Fasting

Essentially what we were to do was to fast for 24-hours, and during the sermon he asked us to fast on a normal work day, either Thursday, January 28th, or Friday, January 29th.  He asked that we consider it worship while we fast, and listen to what the Lord is telling us during that time.  We had a hashtag created for photos (#ccofcfasts) taken during the time and afterwards, and the preacher asked that we break the fast with fellow members (family and friends) and discuss questions about our experience.

Here were his questions:

(1) What was it like to go without food for 24 hours? Was it easy?
(2) Share about a moment when you were tempted to cheat-or cheated.
(3) When you felt hungry, did you pause to pray & listen to God? What was that like?
(4) What thoughts or feelings came to mind as you prayed & reflected?
(5) Do you feel encouraged?
(6) Is this something you’d do again?


My experience….

My husband and I decided on Thursday as our day of fast, and we started after dinner on Wednesday at 630 PM.  This meant that we weren’t going to eat anything until after 630 PM on Thursday.  I considered my running schedule while picking this day, as I wanted to eat the night before running, and eat after my run, and I run on Friday mornings.  See my half-marathon training plan if you want to know more about this.

A photo of the “last meal” (on Wednesday) is shown above, and I had picked pork chops, green beans and brown rice.  I also ensured to have a bit of almond butter as that is my current substitute for dessert.

That evening, although I wasn’t’ hungry, I was consciously aware that I wanted a snack, preferably peanut butter.  I intentionally did not get up to get it, but I found myself acknowledging my craving, yet not being hungry.

I was running late in the morning so skipping breakfast was really easy the next day!

But come 10 AM, break time at work and my time I usually have a snack, I heard my stomach audibly growl.  I took the time to fill my coffee cup, drink some water, write some notes down about this experience and pray.

My husband checked in on me, and here’s how our conversation went:

Conversation for break

The prayer I wrote down in my notes was “Lord, what is it that you want me to focus my prayer on?”

I kept busy during my hunger pangs.

At lunch, I sent my husband this text and as always, he has a quick wit and made me LOL!

Lunch Conversation with hubby

So during lunch, I typed up this blog post, while listening to Jason’s sermon about Fasting.

During the sermon he states the following things that hit me across the head like a brick thrown at me (and I am paraphrasing) –

God tends to show us a real need where we are needy.

The work of the Lord is the real need.

God can speak to us when we are needy.

Did you get hit across the head too?

Jason also goes into how sometimes we don’t like being quiet and needy (and not busy). Sometimes – we’re too scared to find out the problems we have inside.

My confession – I stayed busy.  I admit it.

I was scared what the Lord would tell me.

◊ ◊ ◊

I got through the rest of the day, asking the Lord what to pray for.

As my stomach systematically reminded me that I haven’t eaten since the night before, I closed my eyes and put my head on the back of my chair in my office to focus and pray.

My answers came in waves as I prayed, and I wrote them down in the order I got the thoughts about what and who to pray for.

Pray for Sebastian (my new supervisor);

Jim (his supervisor).

It’s not about me.

My friends.

Being thankful.

Giving Him glory.

After work, I left with a co-worker and we walked together to the parking structure I park in.  During that time, we somehow got into the conversation of how I was surprised how I liked my forced hour-long lunch.  My exercise now consisted of running in the morning even though I couldn’t go to a personal trainer anymore, and I enjoyed the time in the morning with my children that I didn’t have before because I left so early with my previous schedule.  I told him that other than the complaints everyone else has about the work environment, I really couldn’t complain about the change for me.

I said “Good bye”to my co-worker and walked to the car in the parking structure.

When I got settled into the seat of my car, ready to go …

It hit me.

That’s what The Lord was trying to tell me.

Pray for those supervisors and the work environment.

It’s not about me.

Be thankful He’s in charge.

Give Him the glory for knowing what’s best for me and my family.

Everything in the last hour and a half or so before I was ‘scheduled’ to start eating again was what I was I needed to hear/feel/pray for.  I felt the clarity of my situation and what He has done for me really set in.  What I told my co-worker was what I needed to hear.

The meal after the fastbreaking the fastMy husband cooked tri-tip beef cuts in the smoker and we ate a delicious meal after thanking the Lord for it.

As far as the questions, I think I answered some of them in this post.

Would I do this again?

Yes. But – My longer answer is this – I really like doing things like this with other believers.  That’s the part that made this special to me.  Other people I knew were praying during their hunger pangs and not eating at the same time I was.

I felt very encouraged by the preachers personal posts on Facebook, and several others who were going through the fast on the same day we were.

I was also encouraged the next day when we saw many of our personal friends at a house gathering to discuss what happened to us.  Hearing their stories made me feel like we are were all bonded through this and I don’t have the vocabulary to describe how that feels.

It’s just awesome.

I hope this post encourages you to try something new for the Lord, even if it’s not fasting.  Worship can come in many different shapes, sizes and forms, and this was definitely a time to get closer to Him and listen during those tiny times of peace and reflection.  I can’t believe when it “occurred” to me in such a small window of time and after I had to hear myself explain it to someone else.

But that’s just me.

I’d love to hear your story!


My Prayer for January

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Dear Lord,

The thing about being a follower of Christ is that seems so easy is to rely on you.

Yet, the thing that can be hardest for me, a follower of Christ, is to rely on you.

May this year, I rely more on you and not myself.

My January prayerIn a recent sermon, the preacher used a passage (shown in the photo) that I was unfamiliar with because it doesn’t seem to be applicable to me today.

But I was wrong.

I’ve been relying on me too long and it’s not working.

I want to give it all to you Lord.

I’ve been in the church my entire life so I would think it would be easy to consistently renew my mind, but, nah.

I have been and I will be working on getting out of my own way and to put more intentional focus on You, my precious Savior.

The key for me to understanding 1 Corinthians 14:14-17 was this:

My spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful….  I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit but I will also sing with my understanding.

Whoa.

I get it now.  Some people don’t understand what I’m saying when I praise you, the Holy Lord for everything.

I “get” that you provide for me, everything.

I “get” that it’s your possessions I’m taking care of the short while I’m here.

I “get” that your Son is to be glorified in everything.

I understand now and I feel blessed.

It is my prayer that someday I will speak in a tongue that someone else understands.  That someone else will be able to understand how much you, the Lord loves them and only wants the best for them.

Thank you for providing that wisdom my Lord to Jason to pass along to me.

In your Holy and precious name I pray,

Amen.


Our Trip to Ensenada, Mexico

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Trip-Us with the ShipEarly in January, my husband and I were able to take a trip to Ensenada on a Carnival Cruise ship.

The trip was awesome, and here are some highlights as well as a few things I learned about to plan the next cruise for our family.


FYI: We purchased the $50 per person per day option for drinks, usually called totally inclusive.  My husband and I figured that if we were able to drink five (5) drinks a day, that would make the purchase easily justifiable.  Mental note for those who purchase this plan – you can only drink 15 drinks a day, and the drink cannot cost more than $10.00.  This was easily do-able.

I’ll just let you know that we were able to meet that small goal.  Hee, hee.  Don’t be judge-y. We were without children you know.
Expedia.ca: All-Inclusive Packages for $999 with Expedia!

Trip-Queen MaryThe cruise left from Long Beach, California.  We took a photo in front of the Queen Mary, a ship that is permanently docked and is available for both dinner and nightly stays.  I’m not interested in the whole “being haunted” thing, so I probably won’t be making a vacation to stay on that ship anytime soon.

This is the Long Beach, CA skyline behind my husband. DeAndrasCrafts.com

My husband is standing at the very back of the ship in front of the Long Beach skyline as we left the port.

We picked a room with a king-sized bed and a window, and we discussed at length how we don’t know how people can pick rooms without windows.  It’s less expensive though, and we could see how being on the ship is exciting enough.  Other than sleeping or napping, you really don’t spend a whole-lot-of-time in your room.

The team of crew members treat you like royalty, and I personally love the small touches that cruises offer such as ‘all you can eat food’ at any time of the day.  It’s an extremely gluttonous experience if you haven’t experienced anything like that.  They also place extra towels on your bed each evening in the shape of animals.  The frog was my favorite on this trip.

Trip-Towel FrogThe first full day was spent in Ensenada, Mexico, and in the morning before we docked, I ran around the walking/jogging track as we came into port.

Note for any future joggers/walkers: If you use an app on your phone, the app may or may not take into consideration the movement of the ship.

This is my selfie as the ship parked into the Ensenada port.

This is my selfie as the ship parked into the Ensenada port.  I was bummed that I didn’t get to see the enormous Mexican flag that ~usually~ flies on the pole behind me.

According to the run tracking app on my phone, I was able to do the first mile in 4.32 minutes.  As I know that is not possible for me EVER, I knew the app didn’t take the speed of the ship moving into its calculation.  This also made it difficult to judge how far I actually ran that morning.  If I had to guess, it was probably about three miles, but I didn’t count the laps around the track.  The track has a distance marked on the deck as 1/11th of a mile around.  It takes 11 trips around the track to go a one-mile distance.

The shipped docked around 8:30 AM or so and cruisers were able to get off the boat for excursions and local shopping/touring.

We easily purchased a excursion that morning for a 10 AM departing time, to go see something called “La Bufadora” and wine tasting at an Ensenada winery.

This is my second (or maybe third, I can’t recall) trip to Ensenada, Mexico, and it was my husband’s third or fourth.  We had both been on mission trips to Ensenada, but separately and thus this vacation was our first trip to this city together.  Neither one of us had experienced “La Bufadora” and it was a spectacular site that was worth seeing at least once in a lifetime.

My husband is standing in front of La Bufadora in Ensenada, Mexico.

My husband is standing in front of La Bufadora in Ensenada, Mexico.

The cruise-ship provided tour guide said that there were only three locations of this type of phenomena in the world, and Ensenada is one of the three.

For me, one of the coolest things I experienced was seeing a rainbow in the occasional water spray after the water shot up from where the ocean meets the rock formation.

I wish I got video.  It was quite beautiful, loud, and breathtaking when the splashes occurred.

A rainbow formed in the spray at La Bufadora.

A rainbow formed in the spray at La Bufadora.

The drive from the ship to the spot where La Bufadora is located is about 35 to 40 minutes on a chartered bus that was part of the excursion purchase.

The tour guide told us all his favorite spots along the shops at La Bufadora, and we were one of the first visitors of the day there.  From the dirt parking lot where the bus parked, there is about a quarter-mile walk to the rock formation of La Bufadora where you walk in between local shops of clothing, purses, jewelry, souvenirs, and food of every kind imaginable.

If you haven’t been to Mexico before and you’re reading this to find out more about it, let me be the first to warn you about Mexican sales personnel.

They are VERY PUSHY.

And sometimes, just sometimes, if you know enough Spanish, you can tell they are not very nice when you politely say “no thanks.”

It’s just a hard day’s work for them and that’s how I like to look at it.

Also – The rumors about Mexican water are true – be very careful about drinking anything with ice in it as well, as that includes free samples of Pina Colada mix that the vendors push on you as you pass by.

Very few things are regulated in Mexico like they are in western countries, and water cleanliness is not a priority to them.

There were also people performing dances and singing for us, such as this fine gentlemen to allowed us to take a selfie with him.

Trip-With at LocalWe make sure we pack plenty of one-dollar bills for tips before we leave for any vacation, and this vacation was no exception.  We gave him a couple of bucks as he was not only serenading us, but let us take a photo.

I purchased a clam shell the size of my head from a local vendor that was filled with crab meat, clam meat, seasoning, and shrimp on top.  There’s no way to tell if something is undercooked while there, but I didn’t get sick so I highly recommend it.

We ate lunch at the taco shop closest to the parking lot.  (This was also something that was recommended by our guide and worth every bite.)

Before we left we paid the 50-cent fee (each) to use the bathroom at the taco shop.  Don’t forget about the water coming out of the faucet in the bathroom to wash your hands.  It’s still a good idea to wash your hands, but ensure that you pack a small container of hand sanitizer to use AFTER you wash your hands with Mexican water.

The trip back was relaxing and I took a short nap on my husband’s shoulder in the bus.

There was nothing special about the wine tasting at the San Tomas winery, although it’s always interesting to hear history of places and the wine tasting room had plenty of history in itself.  The wine we tasted was … well … it was … sweet, but it was not our preferred type of wine.  I’ll just leave that comment for your own judgement.

That evening was our “elegant” dinner on the ship, and the waiters and waitresses sand the song “Celebration” to us which was quite a treat.

We finished off the evening with a “Diva’s” song and dance tribute, and then a comedy show.  The day itself was exhausting, so it was easy to get some sleep the second night.

The second full day is on the sea, and we didn’t plan out much except to eat and play a few “what’s that tune” games.

We walked around before the games started to take photos on the ship and that’s where my Selfie Stick came in handy.

The cruise ships exhaust ports are in the background, along with one of the water slides.

The cruise ships exhaust ports are in the background, along with one of the water slides.

My husband and I talked about bringing the kiddos on a cruise like this, and for now, we’ve convinced ourselves that it would be possible.

First, it would have to be warmer, as the pool and the water slides would be a big seller for our children.  “Warmer” as in a daytime temperature of 75-degrees or higher.

Second, I think we would take grandma, or a friend to help be a sitter, as we would want to purchase three rooms and have the children in the middle.  Even though we are adults, our experience with trying to sleep during the third night reminded us that we are older adults and do not care for the young adults waking us up at midnight, 2 and 5 in the morning with his/her conversations and antics.  It was clear that one of our neighbors had a friend for the last evening, and I literally tried sleeping with my fingers in my ears.  It doesn’t work well at all.

The walls in between cabins are seemingly paper-thin.

Note for next time: Bring earplugs.

Lastly, we figured that the children would have to get off the boat for an excursion of some kind.  The bus ride was just the right length for us, but 40-minutes might have been too long for our kiddos.  Perhaps something closer or more exciting would have to be planned out for them.

Maybe after a three day cruise with the kids we could take it up a notch and go on a four or five day cruise.

All I know is that I like going on cruises.

I like them immensely.

This is my third one in my lifetime and I hope to go on many in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Name for Blog Posts


On My Hook – Temperature Scarf

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Jan 20-Scarf Pattern-Day 16A couple years ago, crafting personality Vicki Howell posted that she completed a temperature scarf.  I searched high and low for a link and I couldn’t find one!  Instead, I found the link to Yarnspirations 2013 Temperature Scarf forum, if you want to read more about it.

At that time, I thought “How cool is that?”  But I knew that I didn’t have time to start one as my life was really complicated back then.

One could say that my life hasn’t gotten any less complicated, but I have plenty of yarn and I really want to do projects that are both meaningful and fun.  This seems like something I would really enjoy, and at the end of the year, I would know that this scarf would be one of my projects from the Year of Twelves.

Virtually all of the temperature scarf patterns I found were for knitting, but the idea would be the same for a crocheter like me.

Temp Scarf HighsI looked up a couple different temperature/yarn matrices, but in the Central Valley of California where I live, it hardly ever gets colder than a high of 30-degrees.

This led me of course to come up with my own temperature/yarn table, and I present to you the process I used to start, and hopefully finish throughout the year, my crochet temperature scarf.


Temperature Scarf by DeAndrasCrafts

Photo only for Temperature Scarf Colors, high temps of 30-degrees and higher.

Photo only for Temperature Scarf Colors, high temps of 30-degrees and higher.

Notes:

  • This Temperature Chart was created for places that don’t get lower than 30-degree F
  • I specifically used this chart in the Central Valley of CA
  • I used the high temperature of each day
  • I get my temperature history from weatherunderground.com under the “History” tab of my city
  • If you choose to use this chart, please tag it on public social media as #DCTemperatureScarf
  • See my progress on Instagram by searching for #DsTemperatureScarf2016
  • Please link up with me on Ravelry if you do one!

Last Note: This chart was created for personal use only.  That means don’t profit from the sale of the chart itself because it’s free.  Please use it to CREATE things from it and if you are able to sell the things you make, more power to you!

Temp Scarf YarnI picked yarn straight from my yarn stash.  That was the point.  I keep it all in one bag, with very simple labels wrapped around them.

I modified Vickie Howell’s Color Card Scarf Pattern for crochet.  (My photos, her basic pattern from the website link.)

Gauge: Gauge is not necessarily important but I am a loose-stitch crocheter.  I wanted a 6″ wide scarf so adjust the chain at the beginning of the scarf than what she stated in her blog post if you want it smaller or larger by three stitches.  She used a size I hook.

I used a Size H hook

Pattern is written for U.S. terms, acrylic (4-ply) yarn

Modified Single Crochet (mod sc) stitch:

Start with a single loop on the hook, pull a loop into the st indicated (2 loops on hook,) yo and pull through both loops.

See the photos for help if needed. Jan 20-Scarf Pattern-mod sc1 Jan 20-Scarf Pattern-mod sc2

The pattern describes “FRONT LOOP” as the front loop of the previous (or bottom) row to the row you are working.

Subsequently, the “BACK LOOP” is the back loop of the previous row.

Directions

Ch 24. Sc in 2nd ch from hook and to end. Turn (23 sts.)

Row 1: Ch1 (counts as sc in front loop), mod sc in FRONT LOOP of next st, *mod sc in BACK LOOPS of next 2 sts, mod sc in FRONT LOOPS of next 2 sts; rep from * until last 3 sts, mod sc in FRONT LOOPS of next 2 sts, mod sc in BACK LOOP of last st.

 Do not finish off or change color of next row UNLESS the temperature changed per the table for the next day-row.

Row 2: Rep Row 1.

Rows 3-366: Repeat last two rows, changing colors as necessary for each day of temperature change on the chart.

Finish off.

Chain 24.

Chain 24.

Two rows (two days of colors) complete.

Two rows (two days of colors) complete.

Pattern of scarf up to end of day 7.

Pattern of scarf up to end of day 7.

Temperature Scarf Pattern - Up to Day 11

Temperature Scarf Pattern – Up to Day 11 for high temperatures.


Miscellaneous Notes

I started out with eleven rows (first 11 days of the year) and picked up the piece about every few days to catch up.

I carried the previous ends into the next row to minimize loose ends to weave.

I hope to update the scarf on a monthly basis in a blog post and on Ravelry.

Cheers to your crocheting goals for the year.  I hope I can keep this up!

Name for Blog Posts


Breaking Down My Goals – Financial

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D w-Total Money Makeover BookSimply put – saving money is hard for anyone.  Including us.

This is the last post on “Breaking Down My Goals” for the Twelve Goals of Twelve that I’ve set forth for the year.


In the financial area, and because I’m trying to be open and honest with my children (and anyone else who reads this blog,) we should be able to save $12,000 by the end of December.

We are intending for that amount to be earmarked for purchasing a new-to-us vehicle in the latter part of 2017.

I don’t intend on giving a month-to-month blog post devoted to this goal.  I’ll probably just let you all know if we complete it by the end of the year.

There’s no plan for this other than continuing on doing our budget every month per the Dave Ramsey plan guidance he sets forth in his book, The Total Money Makeover.

We’ve been following that financial peace plan for about six years now, and it has brought my husband and I peace of mind like no other.

Our story is like anyone else: Six years ago we were in debt up to our eyeballs, we had car and home loans to pay, and we couldn’t save two nickels together even if we wanted to.

It wasn’t until we learned through the Total Money Makeover book how to control our money so it wouldn’t control us that we learned what the definition of maturity is in the financial world – Children do what feels good.  Adults have a plan.

I highly recommend reading that book or attending a Financial Peace Course in your area.

I’m preparing two class sessions for church based off the book now and I hope to get my thoughts out on this blog too.

Have a great week and may your financial dreams of this year come true!

Name for Blog Posts   


A Letter to My Mother

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IMG_6279[1]Dear mom,

It’s been a year since your passing.

I believe you’ve been able to see all the goings-on with your family as they bring joy, and I know there’s no tears in heaven.

Life without you has been very different, and you are very much missed.

My children all have photos of you in his/her respective rooms, something that they asked me to do after you passed, and although I wasn’t ready to look at your beautiful face in those photos, they wanted to do it everyday.

When I tuck them in bed each night it is I who am blessed to be able to look at those photos and recall the wisdom you passed onto me with your love – your unconditional love that I took for granted all the years I got to spend with you.

Thank you for teaching me everything I needed to know to “make it” in this world.

I won’t ever be able to demonstrate love like you and I can only hope to strive to be half the person you were with that gift you had.

There are bits and pieces of memories that flood back to me now and then, and even though I may shed a tear because I am no longer able to share more memories with you, the blessings I receive of memories bring me nothing but smiles, joy and hope.

I praise the Lord that somehow through Him you have been able to whisper things to me, including the fact that you are proud of me that I run and am taking care of myself.

Please continue to plead with the Lord to work on softening my father’s heart, as it has been through so much in the past year.

Thank you for continually praying for me and my brother when you were here.  I have no doubt that it was because of those prayers that I am able to write this letter to you today, and share with my family the wisdom, grace, and love that the Lord blesses me with that you passed onto me.

I will be forever grateful to the Lord that he chose you to be my mother, knowing that only you were the one that could pray for me and watch me do the things that I had to do (including mistakes) in order to be the person I am today.

I know I’ll be seeing you in the future, and as you prayed the same sentiments before me, I continue to pray your prayer that the long life ahead of me be filled with Christ-centered thoughts, love, hope and peace.

I love you and miss you,

D’Andra


Here is my mom’s tribute on You Tube.


Breaking Down My Goals – Social/Blog

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Out of all the goals I made this year, the most challenging will be in this area – Social/Blog.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote out and put out for the whole world to see my Year of Twelves – meaning twelve goals of twelve things each.

I’ve gone over eight goals so far in the areas of Intellectual, Physical, Spiritual and Family.

For the Social/Blog area of my life, I intend on completing the following goals for the year:

  • Publish 12 blog posts a month.

  • Tackle 12 crocheting projects, either started or new.

  • Create 12 handmade gifts.

Notes on Posting My Blog Posts

  • Probably the most difficult and time consuming thing I will do this year is post twelve blog posts a month.  I posted a total of seventeen blog posts for the entire year in 2015, with four drafted but not completed.  This is a big change from the previous year.
  • Much of my projected posts for the year will be on events on my life, as I repeat once again, that I write this blog for my children, that they are able to remember how awesome their lives were.
  • I really want to throw in more photos and links of crocheting projects I’m both working on and have completed.

    This is a coffee cozy for a co-worker. The last thing to do for this gift is add his name.

    This is a coffee cozy for a co-worker. The last thing to do for this gift is add his name.

  • I’m going to focus on shortening my posts and writing more of them, rather than try to squeeze in so many ideas into one post.
  • And lastly, I’m not going to concern myself with the advertising as much as I have been in the past.  If I write a blog post and don’t get to include an advertisement at the bottom or within the text, I’m still going to push “schedule.”  (And potentially update it later if I have time. 😉 )

Tackling Twelve Crocheting Projects

The best thing about this goal is that I have a reason to crochet.

I would love to be able to use the excuse to people who see me crocheting something, “Oh, yes. I’m crocheting because it’s a resolution to get this project done.”

Here’s just a few things of what I have in the works right now:

  • A coffee cozy for a patient co-worker.  (I promised him I would make him one last year.)
  • A tiger for my youngest son out of the book “Edward’s Menagerie” by Kerry Lord. Edward's Menagerie Book
  • And an Elsa-hair hat (Frozen inspired) for my daughter.  There is this great pattern from Hopeful Honey that I hope to complete very soon.

This doesn’t even get into the stand-by projects that I have laying around.  There’s still three different afghans I haven’t completed that are sitting in bags in the garage.

Oh and I really wanted to get a “temperature scarf” started for 2016.  You know, because of how cool that would be.  I found a great chart through Pinterest, which led me to Cindy Kuo Designs in Ravelry.  She has a knitting pattern, but I would just do a single crochet line for each day.

As I write this, I’m starting to realize that I might have a problem….

Bah – Everyone needs a hobby right? 😉

Create Twelve Handmade Gifts

There may be some cross-over between the crocheting goal of 12-things and this goal.

I’m also going to include gifts to my children, or at least projects that I’ve declared I wanted to do for them for a while now.

This is most of the small toys collected over the past year or so. I'm hoping to get them and some yarn pompoms on wreaths for my kiddos.

This is most of the small toys collected over the past year or so. I’m hoping to get them and some yarn pompoms on wreaths for my kiddos.

I know I pinned a project a while back ago that I have all the materials for and just haven’t done – creating wreaths out of old, small toys they don’t play with anymore.  If I can accomplish this, that’s three things down and more “stuff” moved around or even gone through and gotten rid of for the home.

Win, win, win.

There’s also this really great project I’ve been putting off for years for my grandmother-in-law.  Once again, I have the majority of the components to make it, but the time consuming part of going through photos hasn’t been completed yet.  Hopefully this is the year I get that picture wreath done.

If there’s anything I’ve learned for the past thirty-nine years of my life, it’s that I have way to many projects to do and not enough time.  I’m hoping by writing out my intentions for many of these projects, I’ll be able to finish them, not only to give things away, but to get rid of so much stuff just waiting to be let go of in my home.

May you have a crafty rest-of-the-week!

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Breaking Down My Goals – Family, Part II

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Part II of my ‘Family’ area of goal-tackling is to cover my who, what, when, how, where and why of a, a-hem, ~ frightening ~ goal:

  • Complete 12 Home Improvement Projects of Any Kind

I’m almost positive this goal would not ‘frighten’ most people.

Let me tell you why I’m scared of this:

Last year, I spent the better part of two months painting my craft room and my husband installed DIY shelves after the painting portion was complete.

The results were glorious.Before & After of my craft room

Facebook and Instagram were my choices of writing “notes to my children” instead of this blog last year, thus the process of both painting the room and making the shelves didn’t get documented much.

What I do remember is how awful it was to paint a room by myself.

And on top of that, it forced me to organize my own junk.

Ugh.

I know, I know.  Don’t judge me for having so.many.things.  You would too if you’ve lived 39-years on this planet and was a craft hoarder.

The painting and shelf making happened in the months of May and June.

In October, my husband and I decided to stop putting off a home-improvement project we’ve put off long enough – replacing the carpet in our home.

If you’ve ever changed carpet in your home, then you may be able to relate to what a frickin’ nightmare it is to pack everything up as if you’re moving.

I have no idea how we got through my husband’s office.  He had dust off those shelves from years and years of dusting-neglect.

But – things were boxed up, the carpet guys came in, put the carpet into the house over the course of four days and moved a bunch of boxes back into the rooms they started in.

For the most part, that’s where the boxes stayed until January 1, 2016.  (Okay, maybe December 31st.)

I wish I could write that I threw up my hands in disgust and said “Today’s the day!  I’m going to get through these boxes no matter if the house is on fire!”

But, I never said that.  ….And don’t even have a tiny-bit of issues with it either.

The times I have written in this blog go over the time and time again where I have neglected housework to get the important things done.

Like having babies… and doing crafts with my children… and hanging out with my mom when she was alive.

You know, important stuff like that.

My house is a complete mess right now, and I’m okay with it.

It won’t stay that way and it won’t be because I wrote that this year I’m going to clean it and get through all my stuff.

No….  Papers to Go Through-Area Things to Go Through

It won’t stay that way Papers to Go Through on Counterbecause eventually, year after year, my children grow up, we get closer by getting them to help me do things around the house, and I’m able to get through the years of pile up of stuff, papers, and craft supplies that cover the floors, sit in boxes and basically take over certain areas of the house.

So this year, my goal is to tackle 12 home improvement projects of any kind.

I have a list that my husband and I started, and I’m sure we will add to it throughout the year.

Here’s a few items for you to feel better about yourselves and your probable cleaner-than-me house status.

  • Clean-up and find a better way to organize my youngest son’s closet.
  • Take down, clean and rearrange the stuff above the stove and counters in the kitchen.
  • Get through the past several years of paperwork piled up on counters, bags, and in boxes.  I would estimate that about 90-percent of these piles are children’s artwork and things brought home from school.  I actually have a really good way to organize it now, but there was a time when I didn’t have a good way to organize it, and these piles are just carried over year after year.  I know some can relate….
  • Complete the projects and find homes for the stuff in the boxes in my craft room.
  • Organize the boxes in our bedroom.
  • Get the garage organized more to be able to put one vehicle in it.

And if all that get’s accomplished, my husband wants to consider painting the interior walls of the house.  As much as I’m reluctant to do this, I think the reluctance comes from having to pack up things again.  After the craft room nightmare of not knowing how long the prep was going to take a full-time working mom, we are both on board with hiring someone this time.  I do know that if we do this, I want to start in the kitchen/dining area.

Some of the things I listed may only take anywhere from 15-minutes to a few hours.

That’s not the point.

The point is that I DON’T WANT TO DO IT.  I don’t just want to throw it out either, but it’s so hard to convince myself that I’m spending time on something important.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know it is.

Oh boo-hoo-hoo, right?  Be upset with me or don’t understand me if you will, but hey, at least I’m honest about it.

As always, thanks for reading.

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Breaking Down My Goals – Family, Part I

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Family Christmas Photo 2015This year I plan on being more intentional with planning things out with my family.

Not just my immediate family of adorable mini-me’s that my husband and I have created, but with my brother and his family, with my uncles, aunts, cousins and their families, and with my dad.

The three goals I’m listing in this area are:

  • Plant/maintain 12 different types of plants this year

  • Plan 12 intentional events with the family

  • Complete 12 home improvement projects (of any kind)

As I’m trying to improve the length of each blog post, this post only discusses the top two goals, and I’ll get to the third one in a subsequent post.


How I plan to plant and maintain twelve different types of plants

This is my barely surviving oregano plant.

This is my barely surviving oregano plant.

My dying peppermint plant still has a few green leaves on it!

My dying peppermint plant still has a few green leaves on it!

This is my dill (herb) plant. It was dying inside the house and seems to be thriving outside!

This is my dill (herb) plant. It was dying inside the house and seems to be thriving outside!

This is our five year old blackberry bush.

This is our five year old blackberry bush.

The strawberry patch is in full swing in our raised garden.

The strawberry patch is in full swing in our raised garden.

This is my pot of my mother's daffodil bulbs.

This is my pot of my mother’s daffodil bulbs.

This photo was taken in January 2016 of my blueberry bush. It's the one in the center of the photo with the remaining red leaves.

This photo was taken in January 2016 of my blueberry bush. It’s the one in the center of the photo with the remaining red leaves.

There have been many plants come and go into my home and garden.

You can see the photos I’ve placed in this post show various stages of plants, both edible and ornamental.

One of my favorite things to grow however is aloe vera. Aloe Vera succulents

My Aloe plants have thrived at this home for over ten years.  I hope to eventually turn them into a small side business for my oldest, who has asked in the past, but not followed through, on how to make money selling things.  I set up an Etsy shop that I haven’t opened, mainly out of fear that I won’t meet customer expectations.  I don’t have “extra free time” to run an Etsy shop.

My son however, might have that time.  It’s just getting him to commit to doing it with me!

But I digress.

This year, I really want to get to know my plants better.  I’ve been able to grow them and keep them alive, but I really don’t “know” how to take care of my plants.  This is really what the “maintaining” part of my goal is about.

In this post alone, I show eight of my garden plants.

My husband and I have agreed that this year, we’re going to add pumpkins and zucchini, and grow tomato plants again this year.

My indoor plants include Easter lily’s and common house plants, all of which I don’t even know the name of, but I will find them out this year!  All in all, I think I’ll have well over twelve different types of garden/house plants that I both plant and maintain this year.  I can’t believe I’ve never tried adding up the different types until now.

How I want to plan twelve intentional events with the family

If you didn’t already know (or for some reason couldn’t tell) – I’m pretty obsessive-compulsive about having things scheduled out.  In my defense, my husband is too.

In an original discussion we had talking about goals for the year, we wrote down a few important things we want to do with our three children.

One of the things that I’m going to try to do this year is put myself out there for my brother and his family.  His triplets are older now and I have been able to take care of all three of them plus my three in the past, so hopefully my brother and his wife can get a much-needed break.

The last time the triplets came to visit was memorable!

The last time the triplets came to visit was memorable!

I also hope that I can help organize a few more of my extended families functions too.

We have plans to go see an uncle, aunt and their children in Oregon, and help organize an event or two with my nearby cousins and their families.

Our children have been begging us to go to the snow this year, so we’re going to try to plan that first.  I’ll keep you posted on how we do!

Stay tuned for the next blog post on another ‘Family’ oriented goal, trying to complete twelve home improvement projects!

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Breaking Down My Goals – Spiritual

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When I first wrote out my twelve goals of twelve this year, I had no idea how I was going to accomplish some of it.

This goal is the one I should be tackling first as there is nothing more important than serving the Lord and how to serve Him better, yet I admit that I have a hard time “scheduling” a devotional time.

This post goes over my plan to devote time to prayer.

A gift never used for the greatest gifts given to meMy first child was born in 2005, shortly after the date of this note that was written in the book, “The Power of a Praying Parent” by Stormie Omartian.

This book was a gift, and as many times of life happen, I didn’t open the book to read it (or I don’t recall opening it) until January 2016 – just over ten years after receiving it.

Judge me if you will, but now is the time.

My goal this year in this “category” is to pray twelve intentional prayers.

By just skimming the contents of this book, it appears there are at least 31.

As this book is on my list of books to read this year, I will be selecting twelve of the prayers, or perhaps fewer, to write out and read over again and again.

I plan on trying to schedule my devotional time during my lunch hours at least two times a week.  I also want to get into a better habit of reading on Sunday nights, and this book will be one of the first on that list.

My goal will be met on a tangible basis by intentionally writing out twelve prayers in a notebook to look over, and write notes on if those prayers get answered, and if not, know that it’s all in God’s timing anyway.

I am in constant prayer for my children’s safety, health and overall well being, but I know I could be both praying more for them, and for more specific things that so many others ask for, when they reach out to ask for prayer.

That’s what I intend to accomplish this year.

Do you have any spiritual goals you’re working on?  Any devotionals that seem to be calling your name for the year?

I would love to know.

Thanks for reading as always,

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