Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Resolution - My Spiritual Walk

I love New Year's resolutions. I love challenges, starting over, and pushing myself to improve. In the past, I've written out many New Year's resolutions, most of which I was unable to keep. This year, I'm going to concentrate on several resolutions and make a plan to reach the goal.

The most important resolution of this year is to become closer to God. Without a personal relationship with God, my life is worth nothing. Sometimes I feel like I'm just going through the motions, attending church every week, and claiming to be a Christian. But I know that I struggle to act like one. Why? I believe it's because I don't know how to love without selfish motives. Jesus said that there are two very important commandments - "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27).

I've decided to start the Bible in 90 Days challenge. I found this schedule online. I printed a copy and will be starting tomorrow. Yes, this plan encourages a very quick reading through the Bible. I believe that such a fast reading plan will help me understand the overview of the Bible, showing how God works throughout history. I'm hoping that reading the Bible in 90 days will help me understand how God continues to watch over His people.

I will also be attending Bible study every week. We are studying the gospels. We are currently reading through Matthew and read the corresponding stories in the other three gospels as we come across them. In this way, we can see how all four books tell the same story. It's a great Bible study and I look forward to each week's meeting.

Toward the end of the 90 day Bible challenge, I will start praying and thinking about my next step. I know another weak point in my spiritual life is prayer. I might look into keeping a prayer journal, as it's something I've wanted to do in the past. Maybe I will study what the Bible has to say about prayer and what this means to me as a Christian. There has to be more to prayer than just thanking God for each meal.

Hopefully, with a specific quarterly emphasis, I can dedicate myself to smaller goals and enrich my spiritual life. God promises that if we seek, He will answer. That is my biggest prayer this year.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" (Matthew 7:7, 8).

Lord, help me to find. I am seeking. Please give me wisdom, understanding, and help me to love both You and everyone I meet. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I didn't mean to disappear for over a week. Last Tuesday, we were notified of a family emergency. With less than two hours notice, I was on my way to Texas. After a harrowing 22 hour drive (a good portion in a snowstorm with almost 0 visibility) we arrived in Dallas.

Christmas did not go as planned. I find this especially ironic because I was struggling just over a week ago with plans with my hubby that had fallen through. Hubby and I had guests visit over Christmas, an old college friend and also my sister-in-law. We were eagerly anticipating their visit but I had to leave 12 hours after our first guest had arrived. I never even saw my SIL. Oops.

I arrived home late yesterday afternoon. Our friend left early this morning. At least I got to see him before he left. Hopefully we'll be visiting my SIL this spring to make up for my missing her visit.

Now I feel like I've fallen so far behind. I missed a week of cleaning. I have tons of laundry to wash. I was planning a couple of blog posts for the holiday season but never wrote them. Hubby and I haven't finalized plans for New Years. Because of the emergency, I missed my weekly call with my grandparents (it totally slipped my mind).

God protected myself, my brother, and his wife on our long drive to and from Dallas. My father is doing better and hopefully will not have another trip to the ER. Hubby had a good visit with his friend and sister while I was gone. I have much to be thankful for, even though things did not go according to my plan. Funny how that works.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On My Nightstand

I love 5 Minutes for Books. My library to-read list is huge because of the book reviews. I currently have 258 books on my list and it grows almost every day.

For January, I plan on reading:

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (my hubby's recommendation)
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss (I've seen the movie but have never read the book)

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fondues & Hot Dips
Rotary Magic
The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret C. Sullivan
Miss Manners' Guide to Domestic Tranquility by Judith Martin

I will probably read more than this, as I usually finish a book every two to three days. But this list covers the bare minimum of my reading list.

Monday, December 21, 2009


When will I learn not to multi-task? Today's attempted multi-tasking resulted in a messed up pie crust, a load of towels sitting in the dryer wet, and two seams of sewing that now need to be ripped out.

But I did get a lot done today - dishes, vacuuming, three loads of laundry, a pumpkin pie baked, Bible study, exercise, and some time spent with hubby.

We're headed to the laundromat tonight to wash a couple blankets as we have guests arriving tomorrow and Wednesday. We're not using the heater in our apartment and they will probably appreciate having clean blankets to use at night.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dealing with disappointment

I have to learn to not be so upset when plans go awry. My disappointment affects my hubby and then he feels bad for something that isn't his fault. I have no desire to harm him but I don't know how to accept change. We were planning on going out of town tomorrow morning, driving up to the mountains for a picnic and a hike. Unfortunately, hubby now has work scheduled immediately after sundown. Because there is no guarantee that we can return so early in the evening, we have to stay home.

I'm extremely disappointed because we rarely leave Phoenix and my heart is in the forests, not the city. I love hiking, love the mountains, love picnics, and really wanted to spend the day with hubby away from the city, the noise, the pollution, and worries. The Sabbath is a great day to spend enjoying God's nature. I haven't seen the mountains in several years and I long to get away from this city.

My disappointment and tears about canceling our trip made hubby feel really bad. I hate watching him withdraw into sadness and his own disappointment. But I don't know how to accept change in plans with grace. We're going to go hiking tomorrow, just on one of the Phoenix "mountains." It just isn't the same.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sewing - fat quarter bag

This is my first completed sewing project. The bag only required a fat quarter of fabric and several hours of work. The hardest part was sewing the handles on correctly but I figured it out eventually.

I had hoped to use the bag for taking my Bible and Sabbath school lesson to church but it's not quite the right size. My original plan was to sew several of these for Christmas presents but I'm not sure the intended recipients would have any use for them. I guess that means I can keep the unused fat quarters for some other project!

Instructions - Part 1
Part 2

Here is hubby modeling the bag for me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The hazards of learning to quilt with the church's fabric is that you soon want to buy fabric and make your own quilt. I've decided to make a quilt for my grandfather and grandmother. They live in Wyoming and I think they'd appreciate having something homemade and warm to cuddle up with. My grandfather's favorite color is green and my grandmother loves red. Hopefully I can incorporate those colors without making the quilt look too Christmassy.

I haven't yet finished up the quilt for Bags of Love but I'll be adding the border this week and the top will be complete. Then I have to wait three more weeks before we meet again so I can receive instruction on finishing the quilt. I can't wait that long to start another quilt!

Hubby and I made a run to Jo-Ann Fabrics this evening and we purchased most of what I need to start on this quilt. I will be using all cotton fabrics as I don't yet feel confident enough to branch out into chenille or flannel. I picked out the fabric shown above. The store was almost completely sold out of fat quarters so we're going to stop by another Jo-Ann's store tomorrow night to buy those. Once I have the fat quarters, I can start cutting out the squares to piece the top. I'm really excited to start my own quilt, though I won't be keeping it. Maybe once this quilt is complete, I can make one for myself.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Quilting day

Headed off to the women's ministry meeting in about half an hour. Hopefully today will be the day that I can finish my quilt top!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Preparation day

On Fridays, I try to make sure the house is clean before sundown. I iron all of our church clothes. I wash my hair. On Sabbath, we leave all of the dirty dishes in the sink or in the dishwasher to be cleaned on Sunday. The only thing I have not yet been able to integrate into our household is pre-cooking.

Sabbaths usually find me in the kitchen for each meal preparing something easy but doing all the work. I have not yet wrapped my mind around the idea of pre-chopping/washing/slicing or pre-making our Sabbath meals. This is not yet a habit but something I desperately need to work on.

Today was a little bit different, though. We have company coming over in an hour to spend some time with us tonight and share dinner with us. Hubby and I made homemade pizzas this morning. We mixed up, kneaded, and let the crust rise. We chopped up all the toppings. Now, when our guests arrive, we just toss toppings on the crusts and bake. Easy.

I also assembled a lasagna for lunch tomorrow. When we get home from church, I will just pull the pan out of the fridge and bake it. Then I'll toss in the frozen garlic bread and bake that as well. Easy.

Why can't I make this a habit? It feels good to sit here and know that sundown is in half an hour but I'm ready for it. I'm ready to spend time with family, friends, and God. The house is clean and peaceful. I have the Christian radio station playing on my computer and incense burning on the table. I'm ready for the Lord to visit.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A bit of randomness

I just shaved my hubby's head. He looks great.

Bible study starts up again tomorrow night! I'm really excited.

I haven't done any sewing this week. But my desk is half clean.

There are several pounds of bananas on my counter but I'm eating apples every day. For some reason, they appeal more right now.

And I'm craving chocolate. Trying desperately to hold on to that feeling of glee when I realized I lost three pounds last week. I can beat the cravings.

I love my husband!!

(How's that for a bit of randomness?)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Please, no more.

I've been feeling overwhelmed lately at my awareness of sin and evil. Most entertainment thrives on glorifying some type of sin. The news reports mostly gossip or information designed to shock because of the violence or horrific nature of the crime committed.

Hubby and I recently watched The Accidental Husband. The trailer looked cute. I thought it would be an interesting movie. Unfortunately, the movie glorified lying, premarital sex, and disloyalty. Even though the movie had a "good" ending, I walked away frustrated. Whatever happened to consequences? What about morals?

This afternoon I started reading a new book. I didn't research the book enough because I was blindsided by one of the characters, a child, being sexually violated. The actual act wasn't described but the insinuation and the characters dealing with the emotional aftermath was too much for me.

Sometimes I just don't want to know. Yes, there are horrific acts going on every day. When I can't do anything about it, should I expose myself to knowledge of what's happening? I understand that we need compassion, that we shouldn't become calloused, but it seems to me that sometimes by exposing ourselves to so much we become exactly what we're trying to avoid - uncaring, callous, unseeing individuals.

I know there is a text in the New Testament about evil and how much of it we should know about. I searched for the text this afternoon but couldn't locate it.

Enough is enough. I know about human trafficking, sexual immorality, abuse, violence, etc. I can't take much more before I'm going to spend my days locked in the closet because I can't stand to see what's going on. I wish there was something I could do to help. Because I can't help, I'm going to screen the information I allow in my home. That's the only thing I can do.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fridays - Bathroom

Friday's cleaning assignment is the main bathroom. I have to:

  • Sweep floor
  • Mop floor
  • Change towels
  • Wash sink
  • Clean mirrors
  • Scrub the toilet
  • Wipe down shower

This week has been a total success with my cleaning schedule. We have company coming over for lunch tomorrow and I didn't have to spend the day running around and frantically cleaning the apartment. I still have a few things to do that will take awhile (my desk!) but I'm making progress.

If Jesus came over to visit this evening, I wouldn't be embarrassed by the state of our home.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday - Master Bedroom

Today was all about the master bedroom and bathroom. My weekly chores include:

  • Wash sheets
  • Sweep bathroom floor
  • Wipe down sink/counter top
  • Clean toilet
  • Straighten closet

General tidying is done daily, as is the vacuuming.

This afternoon, I also spent some time sewing my test project. I'm doing a trial run of one of the Christmas presents I'm making. I've never attempted this project before and wanted to see how it would it turn out before making the official gifts. I'm still trying to decide if I want to post about the sewing and put up a picture of the gift. The gift recipients don't usually read my blog but they do have the website address...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cleaning schedule

I've been frustrated lately with how our home looks. There are always dirty dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor, and the bathroom is never fully clean (just being honest!). Whenever we invite people over, it's always a scramble to have everything presentable before they arrive. I knew it was bad when I was embarrassed to let the maintenance guy come in and work on something.

I decided I needed to make a change. Our home should not be this messy. There was really no excuse for it, other than my laziness. When I was first laid off from my job last October, I thought that transitioning into homemaking would be easy. It's been over a year of trial and error and I still don't have everything right.

On Sunday, I walked around our apartment and made a list of every single thing that needs to be cleaned. It was a very long list. I broke it down by room and then labeled each item as something that needed to be cleaned daily, weekly, or monthly. Then I assigned each room to one day of the week. Each day, I will concentrate on that specific room while completing a few additional daily chores.

Wednesdays are all about the living room. Each week on Wednesdays, I will:

  • Tidy and wash off the table
  • Dust desks/end tables
  • Straighten the game shelf
  • Water the plants
  • Clean couch cushions
  • Clean off printer shelving

I also have monthly chores for each room, the living room chores assigned to the 2nd Wednesday of every month.

  • Clean light covers
  • Wash patio windows

I also have a few daily chores that have nothing to do with today's room assignment.

  • Wash/put away dishes
  • One load of laundry - wash, hang, iron, put away
  • Wash and tidy the kitchen counters
  • Sweep kitchen floor
  • Vacuum the apartment
  • Clean the kitties' litter boxes
  • General pick up around apartment
  • Make bed
  • Personal items (devotional, exercise, reading, etc.)

I started this new system on Monday and it's worked very well so far. My daily chores don't take that long and then I work on the room assigned for that day. I estimate I'm spending between 2 and 3 hours each day cleaning. This might get faster as the apartment stays clean instead of doing damage control. The only challenge is working around the times when hubby is working at home. He spends a lot of time doing phone support for clients and I can't be heard in the background. During those times, I find quiet cleaning to do or I take my breaks and read. Right now he's on the phone so I'm writing my blog post. Now I'm off to read until he's finished and then I'll make dinner.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2nd half of Nano

Day 16 - 1,930 words
Day 17 - 0 words
Day 18 - 1,684 words
Day 22 - 0 words
Day 23 - 2,271 words
Day 24 - 2,706 words
Day 25 - 3,472 words
Day 26 - 859 words
Day 27 - 4,035 words
Day 28 - 8,902 words
Day 29 - 1,018 words
Day 30 - 0 words

Novel total - 51,025 words

Woohoo! I wrote almost every day in November, which is part of the challenge. I really don't like having 8,000+ word days because I'm so far behind. Hubby is already encouraging me to plan for next year. I'm not sure if I want to attempt another historical. There are tons of historical facts that I made up because I had no idea. This may be a silly question, but did the Egyptian houses have windows? Details like these I just had to guess about and told myself I would do more research later. Like in January.