Tuesday, January 24, 2017

More on Sanctuary

As I pursue my word Sanctuary for 2017, another word keeps popping up.


I’ve been doing what so many other people do at this time of year, decluttering, cleaning and freshening up my house. I often find myself in good company, when I ask a friend what they’ve been up to and their reply has something to do with, “Cleaning my house and getting back to normal after the holidays. I took X number of bags to ARC yesterday!” We all get deep satisfaction from reclaiming lost space, which also means reclaiming lost time.  Less time spent taking care of things.

As I clear away books, clothing, household items that are no longer useful to me, my goal is to leave some of the space empty.  Like my time for quiet reflection each morning, the lack of clutter in the space around me gives my mind a place to rest.

The simplicity of cultures like the Amish have always intrigued me.  I used to view their lifestyle as a model of self-discipline and deprivation. Like fasting. As I find myself craving simpler surroundings and wanting to let go of too much stuff, I'm drawn to the clarity that a less complicated lifestyle provides.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Grandpa's way

I'm in week 2, following along with Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary, focusing on the word Sanctuary for 2017. Yesterday, Rachel posted about the importance of morning routines.

My morning routine consists of waking up to freshly brewed coffee, thanks to my DH.  He is out the door for work before I even begin to stir, but I think of him first thing when I wake up (I do, Sweetie!), grateful for the pot of coffee that awaits me.

I pour the first cup, add sugar and a healthy blop of cream, feed Lilly a biscuit, and then head to my favorite chair to choose from a selection of devotional books that I keep close by.  Sometimes I have to fight the urge to put the TV on and catch up on the morning news, which is never a good idea, because then before I know it, an hour has passed by.

I wake up slowly, I always have.  I'm fortunate these days that I can take my time easing into the day.  After devotions, I get dressed and start some chores.  This is where I tend to be a bit scattered and could use a better routine.

Yesterday, the Home Sanctuary post linked to an older post about "messy perfectionists."  Boy, can I ever relate to that term, coined by Rachel.  It's the art of putting off doing things, because we don't have the time or the energy to do it perfectly.  I'll wipe the kitchen counter up later, when I have time to scour the sink the way it needs to be done.  I'll put that basket of clothes away after I get my closet organized the way it should be.  I'm so good at that.  Rachel advocates doing small things and calling it 'good enough.'

My grandfather had another phrase for the same kind of thing.  A fireman who provided for a family of nine during the Depression in Newark, New Jersey, my grandpa was a man who got things done.  In the early 40's he acquired a piece of land in rural New Jersey, and set to making a dream come true.  Building a house, putting in gardens, and raising chickens.  He didn't have a lot of money, but he had a vision and the determination to make it all happen.  For building materials, he gathered wood and supplies from an old house that was torn down nearby.  When things came out a bit wonky, his favorite phrase was, "A blind man would be only too glad to see it."

My family still remembers stories of the outhouse he built using old doors for several of the sides.  I still laugh when I remember him telling about his friends, who would try to find their way out, late at night after a good beer fest.

That was my PopPop.  A man who did things his own way and got the job done.  While I tend to be more of an observer in life, I have to remind myself that I have his genes, and if I dig deep enough, I can figure out a way to get the job done, even if it's not perfect.  Whether it's a chore that I'm faced with, a story I want to write or any kind of challenge, the first step is to begin.

Me and PopPop and Dusty (1959)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Favorites, January 13th

This week I have been blessed with the beauty of ordinary days. Following the holidays and my son's wedding last Saturday, it finally feels like the new year is ready to begin.

 This week's Friday Fave Five --

1.  The excitement and pure joy of Joe and Sam's wedding lingered into the week. It's been hard coming down off that cloud! I returned to work on Tuesday, which was a reality check. I finally took down the rest of the Christmas decorations here at home. As much as I love the high points of life and the celebrations -- they give us momentum to get through the tough times -- I do love my ordinary days.

2.  My dad came by for tea earlier this week.  He is doing amazingly well after having knee replacement surgery less than a month ago.  He even danced at the wedding!

3.  The new practice management software at work is operating smoothly. In the long run, it will make my job easier. I'm feeling pretty good about how I've been able to transition to this new program -- being the "non-techie" person that I am!

4.  Flavored balsamic vinegar.  On Wednesday, I whipped together a supper of chicken breasts, sauteed with mushrooms, onions and a bit of celery.  Flavored with cranberry pear white balsamic vinegar, topped with cherry tomatoes, served on rice -- to die for.

5.  One of my Christmas presents was a series of books by Mary Coley.  She writes mysteries that are set in the Pawhuska, Oklahoma, area. The first one was such a good read, and I've already started on the next one.

How was your week?



I'm joining Rachel at Home Sanctuary in my quest for peace, order and beauty in my home this year. In fact, I've taken the word Sanctuary for my word for 2017.

Today, the idea is to shop at home and come up with a centerpiece or focal point.  The timing for this couldn't be better.  Dan's mom just gifted us with a beautiful washstand that his great-grandfather made.  We found the perfect spot for it in the living room.  I've been looking at it for the last day or so, trying to figure out what to put on it.

Here's what I came up with -- shopping at home.

Two of the vintage children's books were my dad's and aunt's. The other two I picked up at a thrift store. The candle holder and white twiggy stuff I moved from the coffee table and added a new candle to replace the Christmas-scented one that was all used up.  And the little hedgehogs, I found at the hospital gift store while my dad was having his knee surgery last month!  I love shopping those hospital gift shops, they have the cutest things and the prices are always so reasonable.

So, there you have it.  It took me all of five minutes.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Welcome 2017!

I'm declaring this week my personal new year.  I expected it would be hard to jump into new year's stuff with Joe and Sam's wedding following so close to Christmas.  So, here I am, straggling into the new year, a couple of weeks late, grateful for all of its newness and opportunity.

I should mention, that we still have a few Christmas decorations up outdoors (and our Christmas tree, though undecorated, sat in the living room until last night).  But, we are in good company in our neighborhood, and it's nice to see all the lights with the fresh snow we had last week.

Coming up with a word for 2017 has been hit or miss, but I've finally landed on one.  Last year, my word was Clarity. Oh, how I longed for perspective and clear vision in the midst of all the changes in my life. As the year evolved, I found that my word was changing though. About mid-way through, I found a quote that has been hanging on the bulletin board by my desk.

Am I trying to reinforce the Outcome
 or am I trying to
 reinforce the LOVE in this Relationship? 
                    (Kathi Lipp)

Without realizing it at the time, from that point on my word became Love.  The surest way to find clarity in a situation is to look for the love in it.  I thought my word for this year would be Love, and I sure need to keep working on it.  But, another word has presented itself instead.


I'm going to join Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary, and strive for peace, order and beauty, in my home. I'm a homemaker at heart, always have been. I love to nest, I love having a house filled with people I love and I love being just the two of us or all by myself at home. Now that it's just two of us, I'm inspired to find new routines, new recipes, new ways of doing things to make our house a haven from the busy world outside.

Rachel Anne is blogging three times a week on the topics of peace, order and beauty in your home. I'm going to be following right along.

Do you make New Year's resolutions or choose a word for the year? The Word for the Year is something I see a lot of these days, and it's always inspiring to hear what words others choose.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Some wedding!

Lots to do today, but I just want to post a few pictures from the wedding on Saturday. The day could not have been more perfect!

The storm last week had us on pins and needles for the all the travelers, but everyone made it in. Saturday dawned crystal clear and cold, and the fresh snow made the day glisten.

 We held the ceremony outside as planned! So gorgeous. Here are just a few photos:

The ceremony and reception were in Golden, just at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.  A perfect backdrop.  Sam's sister and her friends made bouquets and boutonnieres  of fresh greenery and pine cones.

The flower girl needed very little coaching from Grandpa, and went down the aisle like she was on a mission.

The grooms:)

Sam's mom came up with the idea to have guests sign a guitar.  Both of the guys love music and Sam is an awesome guitarist!

Our goddaughter Lori and her parents were here.  Lori took LOTS of candid photos for me, for which I am so grateful! Best present EVER.

I think every single person there held this baby at least once -- our grandson.

Everybody danced until some of them literally dropped:) (That's me on the left in the conga line!)

It was such an awesome day.  I have lots more pictures and need to take some time to sort through.  More to come later!


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wedding countdown

It's snowing lightly, a precursor to the 6 to 12" that's predicted by tomorrow.  Softly flitting snowflakes that would be so pretty if it weren't for the fact that we're expecting 20 or so people to fly in during the next two days for the wedding on Saturday.

By Saturday, there'll be sunshine -- cold temps, but sunshine, and the streets will be plowed and those of us that live here will be assuring our Arkansas guests that there's nothing to it, driving on snow-packed roads.

The 20-minute ceremony will be outdoors, and I'm telling myself that the hot chocolate/coffee bar, basket full of hand warmers that we'll pass out, along with the sight of a beautiful backdrop of snow covered mountains, will keep everyone warm. What do you think?

I vacillate between being so excited to have all of my closest friends and family and loved ones in one place for this awesome celebration! -- and being nervous that I'm forgetting something, because really what do I know about throwing a party for a slew of people?  I'm the girl that loves a houseful of people -- my little house will hold a dozen, comfortably. Twenty if we really want to get to know each other well.

I'm almost done with my to-do list, which includes everything under the sun, from preparing Welcome bags for the out-of-town guests to buying pantyhose (can't remember the last time I wore a pair) to stocking the fridge for our house/dog sitter with his favorite beverage. The decanter for the unity ceremony arrived today, and tonight Sam's sister and her friends will come in, all prepared to decorate and put flowers together.  I can't wait to see what they've come up with. We have been sharing Pinterest ideas -- what did people do before Pinterest?

Mostly, I'm just happy for Joe and Sam, and the joy and love that is being shown to them by our family and friends. I'm happy they've found each other, that Sam will officially be a part of our family.  The wedding is just the icing on the cake.