Tag Archives: quiet time

Making Time For Devotions

If you’ve been following along with my blog you probably have seen that we are really trying to make some positive changes around this little cabin. I will be the first to admit that towards the end of last year I was not a very happy Momma. We were in the midst of a very rough parenting phase with my two special needs kiddos who are 16 & 11 (going on 30)… their attitudes and behavior were at a point that I really doubted my parenting skills and abilities. Something had to change, actually a lot of somethings had to change.

Personal Devotions

One big thing that I had gotten away from was my daily devotions. I wasn’t having my ‘quiet time’ in the mornings before the kids woke up which meant I wasn’t having any one on one meetings with my LORD. Boy have I missed those sessions!

Well, 2019 is the year for me to stop wishing for CHANGE and to start making it happen! I’ve been posting a lot about some of the things we’ve been working on and one of those the past couple of weeks has been to start making time for devotions.

Not everyone may feel the same as I do but I really do need some time to myself. I need time to plan, to organize my thoughts, and talk to my LORD. I also have things I want to do like blog, arts & crafts projects, and I have a ton of reading to catch up on.

First things first though is making time for my daily devotions. I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of getting up early before the kids so that I can have my ‘quiet time’. I’ll admit that this hasn’t been easy especially on cold mornings like this today. Then yesterday I got up early but I had issues with the coffee maker and ended up not getting to my ‘quiet time’. I like to get comfy when I study or read so I like to have a drink with me. Sometimes I will snuggle up with a warm blanket and other times I might like to sit outside on the porch just depending on the whether and how I feel.

I also keep a notebook with me to jot down notes and also to keep track of different things I am praying about or people/situations I am praying for. One of the really important things I really try to include in prayer is our homeschool journey because without GOD’s help I can’t do this. This is a good way to keep myself organized and I can look back through my notebook to see just how much GOD has done for me and my family through the year.

Before we moved I had transformed part of my closet into a place where I could find some ‘quiet time’ even in the middle of the day. I kept my BIBLES, devotionals, and prayer journal in my desk there. It was so easy to ‘find’ time because I had everything organized. However here, in this little cabin, I don’t have a dedicated space so it has been more of a challenge for me.

Secondly, I never seem to know where to start when it comes to reading my BIBLE. Sometimes I’ll go through a phase where I just open it up and read wherever and then other times I try to follow along with a book like one of these here:

First Light Women’s Daily Devotional & Journal

Starting Your Day Right

I have started both of these books at different times but have never completed either one of them… sad but true. This year I am determined to finish one of them!

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I also like to keep some of these FREE booklets in my bags so that I have something to read when waiting at appointments or such:

Our Daily Bread

In Touch

There are also a wide variety of email devotionals and apps that you can use from your phone which make it so much easier to do this on the go. I have also found this site HERE which has many plans to use and I am going to try to read through the BIBLE this year… even though some of it may be more listening than reading. This is a goal I have had since I was young and I’ve never completely read through the entire bible yet. The site has several other FREE plans to help you with your spiritual life and you can even join as a group with friends to encourage each other.Y

Many people think that devotions need to be an in depth study but that’s not true. Your devotions should be what feels right for you. The LORD will lead you to more in depth studies when HE knows you are ready… and HE will make it all POSSIBLE.

I do have a couple of Proverbs 31 studies that I’ve bookmarked to work on this year as well as some others that I’ll share as we go through the year. I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with too much information. If there is something specific that you FEEL led to study then you can always do a GOOGLE search on the subject (ex: becoming a proverbs 31 woman bible study) and find many options to choose from.

If you aren’t sure how to set up your prayer journal you can find lots of useful ideas and printables HERE or some more great ideas HERE.

Family Devotions

I feel that not only do I need to do my personal devotions but I probably need to start including more time for family devotions as well. Now we do have some BIBLE studies and such worked into our homeschool routine but sometimes we may need to add to it.

We may try to start having a scripture reading at a designated meal time or maybe just have a certain time of day to read scripture… I’m not really sure about my plans for this addtional devotion time yet but I am working on it. Sometimes we have BIBLE discussions in the van when we are going places so really it could happen anytime and anywhere.

I have found a few different ideas for family devotions HERE and HERE. If you don’t like either of those you can check out this GOOGLE search. My kids and I really enjoyed using this book here too:

Our Daily Bread for Kids: 365 Meaningful Moments with God

Couple Devotions

This is another area that I think is important but we don’t really do this yet. We have discussions on occasion but never anything set or intentional. Now for this to work it has to be something that we both can agree on and something we can work into our schedules.

Many other people may find it difficult as well but remember that you don’t have to physically be in the same place at the same time. You can decide to them via phone, FACETIME, or SKYPE or maybe just have a designated time each day to spend on your devotions.

I’ve found a few ideas for couple devotions HERE and HERE.

Not married or don’t have a partner? You can always spend a little time praying for that special person. I know I prayed for Mr. Awesome before I even met him and I am so glad I did. I loved these books HERE and HERE for this.

In the end I don’t think you will regret any time you spend on your devotions. You should definitely start out slowly and work your way into this new routine. It takes a little while to get a new habit started and if you happen to be like me this will be a habit that will grow on you and get easier as time goes by. This one habit can make such a BIG difference in your whole LIFE… I know it does in mine.

If it seems that you are having trouble getting it started then pray for GOD to lead you in the way you should go. Maybe you are trying to do too much? Or maybe what you are trying to do just isn’t what is best for you or your family.

Have a blessed weekend!

My War Room

I don’t know how many of you have read or watched ‘The War Room’. This is one book and one movie that I can read and watch time and time again because the message is so powerful.  Even before watching the movie and reading the book I had a desire to have my own little quiet space just for me. After watching the movie and reading the book that desire grew.

So with the recent changes of rooms in our house I had intended on turning a corner of my closet into my private little area. My ‘War Room’ if you will. Things just didn’t work out as planned when we first changed rooms. My closet had turned into the catchall for everything that didn’t have a home.

Some other events happened and it made me realize there was some things that I needed to get rid of. While clearing out those things I was able to make room in another area of the house to move our pantry cabinets that had previously been in my closet.

I also had a desk on the porch outside that my brother had brought to me before with the intention that I could use it in my private little space. It has been touched by the weather and isn’t quite as pretty as it once was but I enlisted some strong muscles to help me bring it in.

I also gathered a few little items from our shed and from around the house. Just a few little things that meant something to me, things the kids had given me or things the kids had made for me. Some of them were items that others close to me had given to me.

I moved a collection of Bible verses to hang on the wall. These had been hanging on the bulletin board in the kitchen but kept getting covered over with other things. Now they can give me inspiration and motivation to start my day with.

I also brought in a small bulletin board that wasn’t really being used. I may use this to post little verses or maybe even pictures that kids make for me. I reclaimed a small CD player and gathered up some inspirational and relaxing CDs to play. In another closet I found a basket to put all of my current books in there to set on the desk.

I put up a couple of small shelves, one of which my oldest son had made, to use for knickknacks that people have given me. My oldest son had given me a tiny turtle, a little peacock came from my sister, and a couple of beautiful mugs that other people have given me.

I had a peacock clock, which if you don’t know already I enjoy collecting peacocks, that is now sitting on my desk ticking away.I also placed one of my favorite coasters on the desk to hold a drink or a cup of coffee.One of the drawers is now home to my prayer journal and my daily devotionals.

There’s even a space for my laptop. I was able to run an extension cord from an outlet close by so I have a little bit of power in my little room also. (This is only temporary until I figure out a better solution.) DD 17 gave me a little lamp from my desk and I was able to finally unpacked some Christmas gifts from a couple years back.

Among those gifts was a water globe to hold pictures, I intend to put pictures of my kids in it, a small little battery powered fountain which makes a very soothing sound, and a beautiful candle holder that may hold a scented candle in the near future.

My space is not big but it’s cozy and it’s filled with things that remind me of the people that I love the most. So while I’m sitting in my little space I can look around and see things that remind me of my friends and family and it helps me just to get in touch with those feelings and those people that I’m praying for in a deeper way.

I have some other ideas about things about a few things I may add. I will probably add an aromatherapy device of some sort as I know that Santa has brought me some oils. I may hide a stash of chocolate in one of the drawers for emergencies. I’m sure there will be a few other things as well that I think of but I plan to try to keep it as decluttered as possible.

This morning was my first day to enjoy my little space and let me tell you it was so relaxing and peaceful.  I was able to come in and put a CD on very softly, go through my devotionals, go through my prayer journal, and  give thanks to our most awesome God.

It is a very humbling experience to actually be able to spend time in the presence of God. To just sit, relax, and be still. I thank Him every day for all the blessings that He has bestowed upon me, my family, and my friends. I thanked Him today for bringing the images of what I needed to do to rearrange my house in my life in order to have this little space. I thanked Him for the awesome sense of peace I had this morning while in my ‘war room’. Note: I need to put some tissues in a drawer.

This morning I went through my normal activities and had so much peace from them. I prayed about a few things like the fact that our furnace has not been working properly. I asked God to touch it and to guide me as to what I needed to do. I got my answer and I will be replacing the thermostat soon.

Another prayer is something I have been praying about everyday for the past several months. It concerns a person, I don’t know who this person is yet for sure, but I am praying for God’s wisdom and guidance for him and for myself. Today I heard the words ‘Prepare him room’. (I know this is a phrase from a song we hear at Christmas but I wasn’t playing a Christmas CD.)

I will be taking that phrase quite literally as I’ve seen what needs to be done. I have faith that God is working for my good and that He has marvelous things in store for me. I’m telling you that this morning’s experience in my war room was one of the most humbling, gratifying, and blessed time that I have spent with my Father.

I desire to have more of these moments and experiences in the near future. I know that now I have a place where I can truly ‘be still’ and listen for His voice. It is His voice of wisdom that I have been so desperately seeking and that my heart yearns for. I long to hear Him whisper the promises of His love and His plans for me. Now I have a private place to meet with Him. I left my closet with a happy heart!

My desire now is that everyone can have a place like this to go to.I know a lot of you may not have a spot in your home or a closet big enough but just try to make some little space for yourself to spend time with God. This has been over a year in the works. Before this ‘war room’ my space was a little ottoman beside my bed. My nightstand held a stack of books and a small lamp. The top drawer of my nightstand held my prayer journal and devotionals. It was a very comfortable little space and I enjoy it so very much. However it was not my own little private space as my kids would often come in. I enjoy having them around me but sometimes Momma just needs a place to get away for a minute or two.

I challenge you each to find your own little corner, your own little closet, or just somewhere that you can go into and quietly spend some time alone doing something that makes your heart happy.

Have a blessed day! While I was finishing up this post my furnace started working! God is so good!

  

See also:

Pray In Secret

Pray In Secret

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. – Matthew 6:6

I’m sure we have all heard or read this verse at some point in our lives. It has been my desire to have a ‘secret place’ to pray. After reading ‘The War Room’ this desire became more intense. While I do feel it is important for my kids to see me praying, sometimes I just need my own little space.

Yesterday morning was one of those times. It was a bit cold in the house so I decided to turn on a heater in the bathroom before my shower. My plan was to have some quiet time while the bathroom warmed up a bit. I was sitting on the ottoman beside my bed trying to read my devotional when DS3 popped in. He had a million and one questions, maybe more than that, and he was super excited about Christmas.

Well DS14 heard little brother’s excitement and decided to make some noise of his own. His room is right next to mine so it just added to the disruptions. I was able to settle down the little one and send him back to his room for a few minutes. However DS14 was up and at it.I had to take a few minutes to get him calmed down and settled back into his bed.

I checked the bathroom and it was still a bit chilly for my liking so I attempted my quiet time again. I prayed about a few things that had happened the night before and asked God to show me what to do. I also went through my prayer journal and reviewed some of my previous requests. One of them was to be able to create a little space for myself, a prayer closet of sorts, where I can find some peace and relaxation.

I don’t know for sure if it was the Holy Spirit or just my imagination, which would have had to have been influenced by the Holy Spirit, but an idea popped into my head. I know it sounds crazy but I kept hearing the words, ‘pray in secret’, and some visions flashed in my head. I saw what needed to be done. Every obstacle was no longer an obstacle as I had seen the solution to fixing several issues, even the issue from the night before.

My faith and energy was renewed as I finished up my prayers and quiet time. I hummed a little tune as I showered and got ready for the day. I worked with a purpose to finish our morning tasks so I could set about making the vision become a reality.

Well, at nap time, it happened. I was able to rearrange some furniture in the laundry room to make room for our pantry cabinets. The pantry cabinets had been in my closet as we had no other place to put them. They had previously lined a wall in my bedroom when I had one of the smaller rooms. When we switched rooms a month or so ago I had planned on making a portion of my closet into a quiet area but the cabinets had taken up more space than expected.

Once the cabinets were out of the closet I had more space but some more things needed to be rearranged. I wasn’t sure how to do it but I had faith that it was going to happen. My dad helped me to carry in a desk from the porch. My brother had brought me the desk when we had switched rooms as I had all intentions of using it at that time. This poor desk had gotten wet and didn’t look as nice as it did before but I intended to use it anyway. We brought the desk in and left it near the closet door.

Then came the measuring and trying to decide where to put it and what would need moved. My closet is kind of a catch all for many other areas of the house. I have a filing cabinet that holds cleaning supplies, some paper supplies, and some files. There are a couple of shelves that hold other various items like my crafting tote, my sewing box, and my sewing machine. And another that holds the surplus of items that are bought at Sam’s club.

Not too mention that I have totes upon totes overhead that hold our party supplies, party decorations,camping/overnight supplies, extra bags, etc. And of course my clothes and shoes have a place in there as well. It is not really a huge space, even though I had once thought of converting it to a small bedroom, but it holds a lot of stuff. Last week I had went to my closet to hide for a bit as I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and needed a place to clear my head. Well, that wasn’t the place but after spending a few minutes in there I was motivated to declutter and organize it. This was a good thing as it made this project so much easier.

It took about another hour to finish the rearranging and moving stuff around. After taking a stroll through the house and shed to ‘shop’ for things I was able to pull it together. There are still a few more things I may add but I don’t want to clutter it up as I want to be able to relax and just ‘be still’.

I will be writing another post in the next day or so to show you my ‘war room’ and what I’ve put in there. So until then I pray that you may be able to find your own little ‘private space’.

See My War Room for how it came together.

Getting Routines Started 101

‘Your first obligation as a parent is to not bring chaos into your kids’ lives.’

OK, I should’ve written this before I started on the other posts about routines. I didn’t realize, until I was writing another post, how complicated and daunting routines can seem. Truth be told we all have some kind of routine already.

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December 1, 2016

Well, today started early, like 1:30 am early. I went to bed last night with a headache and woke up sick. No fun at all. I turned my phone on and had all kinds of messages that I had missed during the night. (I almost never turn my phone off but my headache was really bad.) I did feel better after I took a shower though.

After my shower I did have almost a whole hour of ‘quiet time’. I spent that time going through my prayer journal and thanking God for the answered prayers. I also added a few new ones. I read my devotional and worked on a study that I had out. I also let my Bible fall open and read out of Psalms. It was just what I needed to help calm my soul and renew my strength this morning.

After messaging my best friend I had a long talk with God and had to hand something over to Him, something I should’ve immediately handed over last night, but stubbornly thought I could handle it on my own. (Which is how I ended up with a headache.) I felt such a relief and got the answer I needed once I let go. God is so good!

I am so thankful to have friends who can make me feel better when I’m down and who remind me that I don’t need to stress over things.

The kids were up super early and started tattling right away. My one son was in a grumpy kind of mood which did improve a little but not much. In fact, he is grumpier right now than he was this morning  He is currently voicing his opinion about bedtime through his bedroom door.

Then I remembered it was December 1st which meant that I needed to change out our school calendar. This lead to me realizing that I had forgot to print out the new calendar stuff for December (I admit I forgot last year too). So I grabbed the laminator and the paper cutter. I printed off the pages I needed and got to work laminating them.

My 3 year old loves to watch the laminator. He gets so excited to see what we are making. He was also my little helper and helped me to carry everything over to the playroom and get it all set up. We had a card left over, St. Nicholas day, and I didn’t know what day it was for sure.

So we went to the laptop and asked my dear friend, Google, for the answer. My son was very curious as to who ‘Doogle’ was and where he lived. He wanted to see a picture but forgot about that when I offered to let him put the final card in place. (December 6th in case you were wondering.)

We did manage to get our school work finished by 12. The girls have really been dragging their feet this week. I’m so glad tomorrow is Friday! I tried to get my daily chores finished and pay bills while they were working but that was pretty impossible today.

I did my laundry, as my laundry day is on Thursday, and then I carried my hang-dry items to my room. My oldest daughter was in there working out so I set them on the dresser with the intentions of going back to finish them shortly. The other clothes got dried and I left the ones that needed pressed on the dryer until I could get them. Well, I didn’t remember the wet ones until after lunch and they left a wet mark on my dresser. I just finished pressing the others after dinner. Now though I can say that task is completed for this week. Yay!

I did manage to finish my grocery list this morning, print my sales lists, and clip coupons. I pulled out my big coupon binder and started to get it set up again.One of my goals for 2017 is to be a better steward of what God has blessed me with. I think couponing will help me with this goal. At one time I was doing extremely well but I kinda fell off track with all of the different things I’ve been taking care of this past year.

I set out with $200 and my first stop was to put gas in my truck. Then to make a few more stops. I managed to find a few books to go under the tree and a few for stockings at Dollar Tree. I also picked up a few things to go along with our Advent study which I also confess has not began like I thought it would.  Being sick with the flu last week really did a number on me and I’m still not feeling quite 100%.

At another store I found a great deal on some meat. There was a BOGO sale on ground pork and ground pork patties. Well, I happened to find 4 packs of patties on sale that had been marked down $2 on top of the BOGO making them almost free! Then even better I found some stew beef also marked down $2. I know some people don’t like these sales but I grab them whenever I can unless the meat looks questionable. I have a big freezer and I know that even cheap cuts of meat will become tender in the crock pot or pressure cooker.

After two more stops and saving over $100 in sales and coupons I still had a little cash in my pocket. I stopped by the ‘relaxation station’ aka Island Shack Tanning Salon. I know, tanning isn’t really healthy, but the warm beds really do help my sore muscles a lot. Plus I usually sneak in a little nap in too.

After my quick nap I stopped to put air in my tire as I had found a note on my windshield informing me of a low tire. So sweet of someone to let me know, I really did appreciate that. Then back home to unload my grocery haul.

Upon exiting my vehicle the geese and the cat promptly notified me that I had forgotten to feed them earlier so groceries had to wait. Big sister heard me pull in and came to help. She had unloaded most of them by the time I had finished feeding which was a great help.

The kids all helped me to put away the groceries. They like to help because they can see what goodies and treats I might’ve gotten. They also enjoy trying to guess what Momma is going to make by looking at the groceries that I brought home. After everything was put away I sat down for a moment to try to decide what I needed to do and what was just gonna have to wait until tomorrow.

I still need to dig out our Christmas stuff. Who am I kidding? I still need to put away the Fall decor! (Speaking of which, I did find the cutest little pilgrim salt and pepper shakers today, on clearance!) Christmas is all packed neatly in some large green totes so I know where it is, I just haven’t brought it in.

I did bring in a tote and some boxes with the intentions of packing away the Fall decor but dinner had to be made. Then the clothes were calling me from the top of the dryer. I still haven’t vacuumed the floors either, but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

Today was visitation and Daddy had already promised to help them with a craft today. They made some paper Christmas trees. I even broke out the art supplies which included sequins and pom-poms. I wasn’t brave enough to bring out the glitter though. They turned out really well even thought some kids really didn’t want to follow along with the video.

christmas-trees

I love it when he does things like that with them. It helps them to strengthen their bond and also creates memories that will last for a long time. He also made his own tree, that they helped to decorate, to take home with him. The boys made him some ‘presents’ to go under his tree too.

Dinner consisted of Sloppy Joes, seasoned fries, and some homemade coleslaw (1 bag of slaw, a bit of mayo, a little sugar, and a splash of white vinegar. I’ll have to work on that recipe as I just kinda dump and taste as I go.) One of the little boys got excited when he saw the buns and the cheese. He had been asking for hamburgers but he thought Sloppy Joes were close enough and he actually asked for seconds.

After baths big sister wanted to try her hand at some No Bake Cookies. (Last night she made Easy Sugar Cookies.) She involved everyone in the process and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They enjoyed measuring, stirring, and of course the taste testing! I’m not so sure that chocolate right before bedtime was a such a good idea though as little man is refusing to go to bed now.

So all in all we had a great day. Lots of memories were made too. That’s what life is about. We have to do the best we can with what we have. Each and everyday is a new day with a fresh start.

I think my kids will remember these days when they get older. They won’t be worrying about whether or not I vacuumed the floor. They also probably won’t be traumatized by not having a Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. (We’ve agreed that we will set it up on St. Nicholas Day and I drew a picture of a Christmas tree on my desk calendar for them to look at.)

They will also look back on the pictures and hopefully remember how much fun they had making crafts with their dad. We may have our differences but I am so thankful that we have been able to work through them and/or put them aside for the sake of our kids. Even though our relationship as husband and wife is over we are still connected through our kids and will always have that bond. It is important for us to continue to work together to be the best parents we can be for our children.

I am off to bed but first I need to walk little man to his bed. Then I have a few things that I need to add to my prayer list. Have a blessed night!

 

 

 

Dancing barefoot in the kitchen

Yep, that’s how I am most days, barefoot, and that’s where I am most of the time, the kitchen. Why? Well that’s how I am most comfortable and that is where most of the activities in our house are centered around. I do keep a pair of flip flops at each door in case I need to run out for something like the mail man or chasing a pig outta the yard. For the most part I am barefooted though.

I’ve heard all the barefoot and pregnant jokes when I was married and pregnant. I’ve read the ‘dangers’ of going barefooted, especially the stuff you can catch from the ground. (I do usually wear shoes outside.) I have broken a few toes because of being barefooted and I’ve stepped on more Legos than you could ever imagine. The fact that there are still Legos in my house is a true testimony to the power of forgiveness!

The kitchen is the heart of our home. I really enjoy cooking so I am always trying out new recipes or letting the kids help me fix a snack or a meal. It is usually filled with good aromas coming from the crock pot or the oven. I always have sweet tea or hot coffee ready for anyone who comes to visit. Most days we can even rustle up a piece of pie or slice of cake too. If you come hungry I’m sure can find something in the fridge that can satisfy your hunger too.

The island is fairly good size for an older mobile home and it is used for everything from schoolwork, bread making, sewing projects, and vacuum repair. It is also the place where a lot of visiting takes place. The younger kids and Grandpa have claimed the playroom and the older kids have pretty much claimed the living room. So Momma has claimed the kitchen. When I have visitors, which isn’t that often, we usually sit or stand around the island to chat.

This island was also the center of activity during wedding preparations for my oldest daughter’s wedding in June. (See Who can you count on? for more about that.) My family and friends all gathered around this island to prepare the food and decorations for the wedding and reception. We shared lots of stories, caught up on news, and had a wonderful time. We made many memories around this old island with its peeling cabinets and chipped counter-top.

Our kitchen is a dine-in kitchen as we converted the formal dining area to a bedroom for my special needs son. We have a big kitchen table with benches. I love this table and I had prayed for a table big enough for all of us to sit around. My then husband and I went to the flea market, the first and only time I’ve been, and on our way out I spotted this table back in a corner. We found the seller and asked about the price and the cost to deliver it. Well, it was way more than what we had on us and over the budget I had set for a table. I was sure that it would be gone before we saved the money so reluctantly we left and came home.

A few weeks later he had went back to the flea market. He came home sooner than I had expected and he was really excited. He asked me to help him carry out the two tables we had in the kitchen. I wondered what he had gotten and soon I found out. A pickup pulled in with the most beautiful kitchen table on the back. (Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.) The man had seen him walking around and had asked him if we had found a table yet. Within a few minutes the table was bought for the exact amount that I had saved and set back for our table.The kids were so excited to eat their first meal together. Before this we had two smaller tables for the kids to eat at.

That is a good memory and when I look at this table I am reminded of that day and how happy we were. It also reminds me of how God always provides us with what we need and many things we want. (See Are you needy? for more examples.)

Now the table is used for school work, art projects, meals, dinosaur adventures, monster truck rallies, play-dough sculpting, and so much more. It has the marks of being well-used and sometimes I contemplate having it refinished but I kinda like the character it has.

Our kitchen also has my roll top desk which is where I happen to be sitting, barefooted, at the moment. This is where a lot of my work gets done. I do a lot of planning for meals, school, budgets, outings, and other activities that must happen. I also take care of the bills and other household related things here too.

My kitchen is pretty much open to the playroom where the kids spend a good amount of time. I can cook, work on projects, make a grocery list, or just browse the internet for my next project while keeping an eye on them. I can also hear everything going on in the play yard from the kitchen.

If my kids come in looking for me they will usually come to the kitchen first. They know that is where Momma can normally be found. They also know that is where snacks and other goodies can be found. Unfortunately our cat knows this too and has developed the bad habit of jumping on the counters which we have been trying to discourage with a spray bottle of water.

When my kids have made some discovery outside or have created some interesting architectural structure that I need to come see they will come looking for me. They will bring my flip flops with them because they know Momma probably won’t have her shoes on. They keep me from having an excuse.

Another thing we have been doing is playing music throughout the day. There is just something about music that can calm the soul. It can reach deep inside a person and make their heart happy. It is not uncommon to walk in to the kitchen and find me dancing around while cooking or cleaning. If the kids come in and laugh then I will grab them and ‘force’ them to dance also. Sometimes a whiny kid will be ‘forced’ into dancing, as well. This has become a fun outlet that is an immediate cure for the ‘grouchies’. We all know that grouchies can’t survive for long around music, dancing, or laughter.

I want my kids to have good, consistent memories of their childhood. If seeing Momma dancing barefoot in the kitchen is a memory that is forever etched in their minds then I’m happy. If they break into a smile every time they hear ‘Walking in the Sunshine’ then I’ve succeeded at this mission. (This is also a proven cure for the grouchies that was passed along to me by a dear friend.)

So how long has it been since you’ve danced barefoot in the kitchen? Why don’t you give it a try and see what happens?

Living the country life?

Original Blog Post April 6, 2016
What does living the country life really mean?
I know I think of farms with cows and chickens.
I think of lazy mornings sitting on the back porch sipping my hot coffee while wondering what to do to pass the endless amount of free time I have.
I think of working in a garden with lots of beautiful plants springing forth.
I think of my kids playing barefoot in the yard.
Then after a nice dinner, made from things we have grown on our farm, we sip some sweet tea and watch the sunset go down from our back porch swing.
In reality things are not quite so simple and not so peaceful.
I wake up before the alarm goes off and hear the roosters crowing. I try to carefully roll out of bed because any movement will wake up one or both of the little ones in my bed.
I tiptoe to the bathroom with my clothes in hand and softly close the door. No sooner do I turn on the water then I hear the pitter-patter of little feet, see a hand under the door and hear ‘Mommy, is you in der?’. Sigh, that’s how most mornings start around here.
I try my best to get up early and have a little quiet time, a little sliver of time for me and time to talk to God but it rarely happens the way I have it planned in my head.
After a quick shower we make our way to the kitchen for a chocolate milk sippy for him and one for my his big brother (yes, they do look out for each other) and he heads to the couch for his daily dose of Animal Planet.
Meanwhile I go back to the kitchen and start with pouring a cup of coffee and trying to remember what I need to do next.
Breakfast… Yes, I should probably do that. I grab my phone and check my calendar for the recipe (I’ll probably write about that another day) which is blueberry muffins. I don’t feel like making muffins. Actually I don’t feel like doing anything but going back to bed.
I mix up the muffins (using frozen blueberries from our farm) and pop them in the oven. I remember to set the timer too! (Last night I forgot and I almost burned the cookies.) I have about 15 minutes so I hurry back to the bathroom to fix my hair.
I sneak back to my room and read my daily devotional and say a quick prayer to ask God to watch over us and guide us through the day. It bothers me that I didn’t have my ‘quiet time’ as I do need it to help get me through the day.
I pick up a few stray items on the way back into the kitchen and grab my laptop off my desk. I thought I would sit down really quick and figure out a few more things on this blog thingy I’m trying to do. I grab a sheet of paper and jot down a few ideas as well as some other things I think of that need to be taken care of.
The minute my butt hits the stool the other kids start waking up. I start to get bombarded with questions and problems.
‘Mom, she has my shirt!’
‘Mom, I’m hungry!’
‘Mommy, mommy, mommy!’
I close the laptop because it is only stressing me out trying to figure out technical details with life happening. I wonder how anyone really has the time to do this and is it really worth it? This has been a similar scenario for the past few months when starting a blog was first brought up to me.
Right now I’m typing this on my phone and praying it will post correctly. The cats are at the door begging to be fed. The roosters are still crowing and so is one of kids. I can hear Oscar, my gander, scolding me for being late to feed.
Mornings are crazy here. Actually most days are crazy here. After breakfast I will head out to feed the animals and then come back in to oversee our morning chorea and start our school lessons for the day.
I have somehow lost the simple country life I dreamed of and it has been replaced with a chaotic, noisy life. I wouldn’t trade it though. I know this is just a season we are going through.
I know I will find moments through the day to speak to God and there will be quiet times when he will speak to me. There will be moments with the kids that I will always cherish. I may get stressed from time to time but I can use these times to push to my goal of the simple country life.
For now I’ll drink my cold coffee and then put some water on to boil so I can make some tea. I might not have a back porch swing yet but I can watch the sunset from my back steps and dream.

Dear Special Needs Parent

Original Blog Post on July 12, 2016
Dear Special Needs Parent, I see you in the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, and at the park. I see the smiles that hide the tears. I see the tired look you try to hide. I hear the little sigh you let out when another mom talks about ‘date night’ or a milestone their child has reached. How do I see and hear all of this? I am a special needs mom, a single parent, a homeschooling mom, and so much more.
I know how hard it is to get up at the crack of dawn because your kid is already up and calling for you, even though they didn’t fall asleep until late. I know how hard it is to divide your attention between the kids, the chores, and all that has to be done. Much less finding time to do things for yourself like shower.
Honestly, I can’t remember the last ‘date night’ I’ve had or even the last time I was away from my kids for a night. (Maybe when the 3 year old was born?) I know that when you try to plan an outing it drains you because of all the things you have to be prepared for. You are exhausted by the time you get everything and everyone packed and ready.
Things that were once fun can still be fun but they are oh so exhausting now days. We have our good days when nobody has a melt down (or maybe just a couple of melt downs for the day), nobody wets the bed, and everyone eats what you made for dinner.
Then we have the bad days. The days when everything causes a meltdown, from the French Toast you make every Tuesday to keep things on a simple routine, to the thunder they thought they heard, or the little brother who is stuck on singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (which was big brother’s favorite song yesterday but is irritating him today). Sigh, I know.
Then we have the really bad days were we just want to go back to bed. The days when you have done 3 loads of laundry before 6 am. When you have showered your 13 year old 4 times before 7am and stripped his room (and the bathroom) and completely disinfected and sanitized it for the 3rd day in a row. The days when he has forgotten/refuses to do anything for himself and calls you every bad name he can think of and then some that you can’t and don’t want to understand. I’ve been there. Sometimes these phases last a day or two or sometimes a week or two.
I can remember a few years ago when I had to clean my son’s room. It was a horrible mess. I grabbed rubber gloves and trash bags. I went to his room and opened the window. I filled those bags and started tossing them out the window because it was so nasty and I just couldn’t bear the thought of cleaning the stuff again just to have him repeat this scene again in a day or two. I was about 3 weeks from my due date with our 8th child. While cleaning I started throwing up because it was so bad. I ended up in the hospital for 3 days, at one point they thought I would be delivering the baby early. This was a week before Christmas and we had already planned a party for friends and family. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The party was cancelled and all last minute Christmas shopping went undone. But we made it through that and you will make it through whatever it is that you are going through right now too. (A very healthy baby boy was born 2 weeks later.)
I have my kids 24/7 with only a slight reprieve two times a week (when he feels like coming or something else doesn’t come up in his schedule) for maybe 2 hours a time (which was scheduled to be 5 hours each time but he never makes it that long). I can’t leave because something always happens. Sometimes I go to my bedroom or sit outside but the kids usually wander away and end up with me so I really have almost no ‘Me time’.
I know the brave front you put on when you are out and about. I know the fear when the kid next to you wipes their snotty nose on their hand and then goes to play with your kid. I know that if my kid catches whatever that is that life will be miserable for the next week or two. Not too mention the fact that it will eventually spread through the house and I’ll end up sick trying to tend to 6 kids by myself too. Yep, I know.
I also know that we need to be there for each other. We need to be a support system for each other. Whether by joining blogs or Facebook groups. If someone offers to help then let them. They can do dishes, wash laundry or just sit with the kids while you nap. Maybe when you the kids get comfortable you can even sneak away to do the grocery shopping by yourself.
Don’t keep trying to do it by yourself as you will just crash and burn. Trust me, I know.
If you are a friend or neighbor, maybe a parent or sibling of someone who has a special needs child please know that they do need you and they need your support. I can’t tell you how much it means just to chat for a minute on Messenger or a couple of texts when I am having a hard day. Let me tell you that I will never turn down food, especially ready to eat food. When someone shows up unexpectedly at the door with an armload of pizzas it is a wonderful feeling to know they were thinking about you.

Who Am I?

I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, a daughter, I am a person just like you. All to often we forget that the people who are subjects of the rumors and gossip flying around are people just like you and I. They are someone’s child, parent, sibling, friend or spouse. They are real and they have feelings. When you listen to the tales spun by someone you should always consider the source and what it is that this person may have to gain from speaking out about another. Remember that you are only hearing the side of the story that they want you to hear.
The ones telling the stories try their best to dehumanize the person they are talking about. They make them out to be a horrid monster with no feelings. A witch or a crazy psycho. They put the blame for their problems on the other person and have a fine tale to explain how the other person is responsible for whatever situation they are in. They never stop to consider how their lies will affect the other person, their friends, or their family. When confronted with the truth they will deny ever having said those nasty comments.
If you are drawn in by someone’s sad story please remember that you may become the target of their next sad story. Trust me, I know this all too well.
Before repeating of commenting on the remarks think about what you would do, or how you would feel if that was you they were talking about. What if it were you mother or father? What if it were your child or grandchild? What if it were friend?
I am a not a monster but a flesh and blood human being just like you! I breathe the same air and my heart beats just like the one beating in your chest. I am not perfect nor will I ever be perfect in this lifetime. I cry, I laugh, I have the same struggles as everyone else, maybe a few more. I lose my temper sometimes, I yell, I scream, and sometimes I say things I don’t mean. I have made my share of mistakes, just as you reading this have, and I try my best to learn from those mistakes. I admit that I haven’t always handled every situation with the best of grace but I try.
I am often too trusting, too selfless, too loving, and too patient. I often bend over backwards to help others and make life easier for them. I try to find the good in every one and every situation. Sometimes I try to hard. I usually expect to be treated the way I have treated others. I forget that we are all human and we will all disappoint one another in some way or another. Sometimes I just expect and anticipate too much from those around me and then I am so disappointed and hurt when things don’t turn out the way I had expected.
Lately I am stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. I constantly have to push myself to go further and do more than I feel I can. I try not to complain. I have found strength I didn’t know I had.
I have heard so many things about myself that I know are not true. It hurts, it really does. I have cried so much about these lies and rumors. They have caused me so much heartache and more so because one of the people responsible for starting them was someone I love and care about deeply. I never expected this. I never expected to be constantly harassed and humiliated on an almost daily basis now. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt so bad if I had expected it, I don’t know.
Lately I have felt this bitterness creeping up inside of me and it is the most awful feeling. It chokes out all of your peace and joy. It overshadows everything else and makes it impossible for you to see the beauty of what is in front of you. It is a thief and robber.
It told me that I should be angry and upset. After all, I am the one who was left to be the ‘responsible one’. I am the one who is working 24/7 to keep this family going. I am the one who wakes up several times during the night to help the little ones go back to sleep. I am the one who is here dealing with the day to day needs of a large family and dealing with the extra challenges of special needs children. I am the one who sleeps alone in my bed EVERY night and prays for GOD to heal my broken heart. I ask HIM to wake me from this horrible dream. When I open my eyes I am still alone and I have no shoulder to cry on when I realize again and again that this is not a dream. I am the one who was committed and faithful only to have my heart broken time and time again. I am the one who NEVER gets to take a ‘break’ from it all. When I ask for a break I always get the same response, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve got other plans.’.
Then in the darkness of night I know that GOD is there and HE has my back, always has and always will. HE is the greatest comforter of all and HE has the biggest shoulders of anyone. HE understands me completely and HE listens. Without HIM I can do nothing!
Then I look at our family. It brings me to tears. They are a constant reminder of the dreams we had and the promises we made. They don’t deserve this. I try my best to shield them. They know Mommy is sad but they don’t know why. They don’t see the sacrifices I make, they don’t know the pleading and begging I have done to try to change the outcome.
When all else fails there is nothing left to do but to get rid of the bitterness that haunts me. The only way to get rid of the bitterness is to forgive. How do I forgive when I feel like I can’t? I remember the forgiveness that GOD has shown me. I will be the first to admit that I don’t deserve the mercy and grace that my LORD has shown me so many times. I pray that HE will change my heart and help me to forgive when I feel I can’t. With GOD’s help I can forgive even when it seems impossible. I will grant forgiveness even if it hasn’t been asked for.
So right now, I forgive all those who have gossiped about me. I forgive those who have had a hand (and the ones who won’t admit that they did) in the destruction of our marriage. I have been bitter against everyone who has spoken badly about me, those who have encouraged his addictions and selfishness, those who never supported us. I forgive you all even if you don’t want me to. I forgive him for all the things I have been through these past couple of years. Please understand that just because I forgive does not mean I will forget.
I also ask for forgiveness. I must ask that all of the ‘exes’ please forgive me as I, at one time, believed the stories about you. The stories that are all to similar to the stories being told about me. Please know that I apologize for anything I may have believed without getting your side of the story.
I also ask for forgiveness from those who have been affected by the lies and rumors that have been told. Please know that I am deeply sorry that you may have been affected by what was going on in my life. I also forgive anyone who has believed these lies and rumors and those that have contributed to the spreading of them.
I will remember those who have been there for me. I thank each and everyone one of my friends and family for supporting us through this time. You will never know how much I have appreciated each and every one of your thoughts and prayers. Most importantly I thank GOD for giving me the strength to get through this. Its not over yet and even after the legalities are taken care of it still won’t be ‘over’ as we have a family together.
So, Who am I? I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I am soon to be the dreaded ‘ex-wife’ and that’s OK. I am still a work in progress but I know GOD is not through with me and I have hope and faith that there are better things to come. I pray that GOD will plant a seed of forgiveness in the heart of everyone who reads this so you can experience the fullness of HIS mercy and grace. If you have never experienced HIS forgiveness I pray that you will and you will understand why I must forgive.

Do you ever just want to get away from it all?

Original Blog Post April 26, 2016
Today has been one of those days, well actually the past few months have had several of those days, where I just want to get away.
I want to grab a few things and take a hike. Go somewhere remote for a few days. Somewhere quiet. Anywhere but here. I need some space to think about recent events. I need some quietness so I can think. I just need a bit of time to sort a few things out in my head.
I try to sneak in quiet time every day, the key word being try, but somehow it always gets interrupted. About the only quiet time I have is when I wake up before the alarm and lay in bed afraid to move because I might wake up one of the kids that have climbed into my bed during the night. I need some space to think about recent events. I need some quietness so I can think. I just need a bit of time to sort a few things out in my head.
It seems that my poor brain might explode with all the thoughts and ideas swimming around. The constant list of To-Dos that need checked off and the multitude of other items that need my constant attention.
I just need a break.
I think about a cabin in the woods, or just a tent. Nothing around but me and the trees. Maybe the sound of a babbling brook in the background. As I think of how peaceful it would be I am reminded of how lonely I would be. I am not a person who is good at being alone. Never have been and probably never will be. I need someone to be near me even if we aren’t talking just so long as they are close then I am OK.
Then as I think some more I know I couldn’t leave the kids behind. I know there are way too many responsibilities here at home and I know that this is nothing more than a wishful fantasy. Maybe one day. So for now maybe we can all get away. Go camping and enjoy the great outdoors. Maybe I can take the kids for a LONG hike and put them to bed early. I can stay up and watch the stars, alone… but not alone, and just think about nothing more than how peaceful it is.
I don’t know about you but I am ready to just get away for a bit.

Take a peek into my morning

 Original Blog Post April 21, 2016
Its 9:00 am and I’m sitting on my bed feeling overwhelmed already. I was determined I would make it through the day without crying or feeling sad but that’s not the case.
Something my husband said the other day still haunts me and it saddens my heart for him, our children, and for what the future holds if he doesn’t change the path he is on. I know he says he is happy but I can’t help but feel sad when I think of how he will feel when the day comes and he realizes what he gave up on and what he missed out on.
A friend texted me this morning just to let me know they were thinking of me and that made me smile. Something that I haven’t done a lot of lately. I’ve been worried about my friend too and have been thinking of them and their problems.
I feel a bit guilty because I have not been as faithful in my praying for others the past few weeks so I will set my prayer notebook out to remind me every time I walk into my room. It doesn’t take long to take a peek at someone or something I have written down. I can focus on praying for that person or situation instead of focusing on my own problems. It will also keep me from trying to take things into my own hands and leaving them with God which is where I need to leave them.
I haven’t accomplished as much as I wanted to yet and I’ve lost my focus. I’ve settled many disputes over Legos and train tracks, fixed broken toys, cleaned up spilled milk, and fed the animals (and the kids). Time to take a little break and look through my list.
Hmmm…
Wake up ✔
Quiet time/devotion X
Shower✔
Get dressed ✔
Take vitamins ✔
Make coffee✔
Empty dishwasher✔
Fix breakfast✔
Kids dressed ✔
Feed animals✔
Lots of ✔s but one big X. Maybe that’s the problem? I didn’t start out right. Yes, I had my cup of coffee and a little ‘me’ time but I didn’t really need alone time I needed some ‘we’ time. God and me time.
So I’ve snuck to my room for a couple of minutes to read my daily devotional from a book by Joyce Meyers and another from ‘Our Daily Bread’. Just what I needed. It was almost my story told by another person. It reinforces choices I made in the past that I have been questioning. The last sentence says ‘But if our loving Father has handpicked us for our task, who are we to whisper, “I can’t do this”?’. Wow. He knows what we need before we do!
Now I’m feeling refreshed and ready to tackle my next projects and get our school day started. Time to formulate my plan of action. I need to put some oil in the diffuser and turn it on… essential oils have made a big difference since taking the kids off of their medications.
There is a load of laundry that needs folded and put away. I can do that while the kids eat their snack and tidy the playroom.
The kitchen trash can needs emptied so I can give that to one of the girls to take out and hand the mail to another to carry to the mailbox.
I also need to set out some pork for dinner, maybe I should try to convert that recipe to work in the crockpot?, maybe.
After snack and chores we can do our Morning Time get started on our independent work.
The bathrooms need a quick clean which can be done while they are working and maybe I can sneak in a quick vacuuming while the boys watch a ‘Signing Times’ video? .
Ok, focus has been found. Not a whole lot of things to work on but enough to help me feel I’ve accomplished a few things. Then I will take another little break, read another passage from my notebook, and pick another person and/or situation to focus on and formulate my next ‘plan of attack’ for the day’s chores.
It’s almost snack time so I will head back to the kitchen. I can hear the kids arguing about turtles. They are trying to decide if turtles are reptiles or dinosaurs. Now I hear my special needs son calling someone a ‘Butthead’ so he will be going to his room for a little quiet time of his own.
I’m sure this will result in a tantrum with lots of yelling and screaming but it will be followed by a few minutes of quiet and then he will come out and apologize. Then he’ll give me a hug and say he wants to have a ‘Good Day’ and we will start over. (This reminds me that he still needs a haircut.) But before that I need to rescue the alligator from a ‘net’… Have I mentioned how much the kids like Animal Planet and Steve Irwin?
I’ll check back in a bit.
Snack was bananas and some chocolate graham crackers. There was denial of the name calling, followed by a tantrum. After a few minutes in his room he did ask if he could come out. (This was much sooner than anticipated because I think he really wanted his snack.) He apologized and all was well for a few minutes.
Sigh, then the girls were arguing over a word search book. Little sister said she had it first and Big sister said it was her book. Little sister brought the argument to me as she was sure she was in the right. I looked at the book and it was Big sister’s book so I explained to Little sister that she can’t take someone else’s things and claim them. Then that put Little sister is in a grumpy mood… no fun!
That being said the clothes didn’t get folded during snack time. Then when I made it back to the laundry room there were no empty baskets.
The oil diffuser did get started and the trash was carried out. Bonus: The bathrooms got cleaned and I did get the bathroom trash into the trash bag before it was carried out.
I set the pork out for dinner but haven’t had time to decide if I should try to put it in the crockpot.
Morning Time resulted in Little sister going to her bed for a little quiet time. The little boys were fighting over the alligator and the ‘net’. My other son was just LOUD about everything and he would start giggling and shouting ‘I farted!’. which would send everyone else holding their noses and shouting ‘EWWW!’. This repeated itself over and over again.
After giving up on accomplishing any more Morning Time activities I set up the laptops and got out the morning work for the kids. Everyone is now working quietly.
The girls are sitting at the island and the 4 year old is sitting with the 9 year old ‘helping’ her with her math. (Crazy thing is that he can usually get it right.) She is more motivated to get her work done when she ‘teaching’ someone else so they both benefit.
Grumpy sister is quietly doing her work after a little bit of trouble getting started. Teenage sister helped her get through a little problem she had with irregular plural nouns. She is feeling pretty motivated because I gave them a couple of coloring sheets for Earth Day and she really likes to color.
Loud brother is actually coloring quite intently. It takes a lot of concentration to keep the crayon in the lines and he is drawing the family standing on top of the earth picture. I need to go over his lessons but I think I’ll wait a bit. Then we also need to do his reading lesson… that will be so much fun! Actually he is getting much better at reading and as long as he has a fun activity to do after it he will be motivated to get it done quickly. If he isn’t motivated it will take us FOREVER!
The 2 year old has pulled out a puzzle I recently bought at the thrift store and he is working diligently on it while watching Dinosaur Train. I notice that one of the maps has been pulled partially off the wall so that’ll need fixed. Maybe I can do that before I vacuum?
It’s 11:30. Time for me to make some lunch, tuna sandwiches with some tomatoes from the garden?, and maybe fold some clothes while they eat. I will sneak in a little quiet time when I go to put away my clothes and look through my prayer notebook. I will look over my To-Do list and look at what I had planned on getting done today.
Maybe at nap time I can search online for the outfits for the boys. Oldest sister’s wedding is quickly approaching and there is still so much to do. I will at least work on my desk mess a little bit. I know there is a pile of papers that need to be filed so maybe I’ll start there. Then hopefully I can try on the outfit before I go to bed and I noticed yesterday that I need to use the lint roller on it too.
Reading over this makes me realize that sometimes I just put too much on myself. Maybe you do too? There will always be something that needs to be done. Just take it one thing at a time, do the most important things first, break big jobs into little jobs, take rest breaks, and ask for help when you need it!
I hope you enjoyed taking a little peek into my day. I know sometimes I feel like I’ve failed but then I read about the struggles of others and I know that we all have our ‘days’. Sometimes those days are actually weeks or months. Each and every person has their struggles and their own way of dealing with it. Sometimes seeing how others deal with things can help us in our journey.
OK, I gotta go now as Loud brother is now Hungry brother and keeps repeating, ‘Mom, I’m hungry.’
I hope everyone has a blessed day!
NOTE:
While making lunch I realized I didn’t have any tuna so I checked the refrigerator and I had enough lunchboxes from dinner last night to warm up for lunch.
Grumpy sister was still confused about irregular nouns so I went over the work sheet with her and it was such a blessing to watch her face when it ‘clicked’ and she finally understood. She went on to finish the worksheet on her own and got them all correct.
I heard the UPS truck at the front gate but it was gone before I got to the door. Little boys were running around being crazy so I sent them to the gate (which was closed and locked) to retrieve the package for me. I stood at the door watching my little guys and saw how much they are growing and changing on a daily basis. They retrieved the package and picked some flowers. The were so proud when they handed me the flowers and the package.
Big sister helped to clean up after she finished her work and she actually did her reading lesson with no prompting or constant reminding!
Hungry brother probably told me 20 or 30 times he was hungry before I got lunch on the table but he did eventually eat.
Take each day and cherish it. Make memories that will last. Just focus on what is really important in your life. For me right now it is my family. Sticky floors and dirty windows can wait until tomorrow.