Monday, September 1, 2014

Homemaking: Gratitude

It's so easy to take our luxuries for granted, isn't it? The day after my birthday, our washing machine died (after 14 years of good service to us). I am a homemaker that does at least one (or two) loads of laundry a day. To be without a washing machine was awful! I would be willing to give it a try "the old fashioned way"...I'm not opposed to hard work, however, I don't have a wringer and squeeze the wet clothes out as much as I like and they were still dripping and absolutely soaked. It would take them *forever* to dry out on the line. 

Chris is amazing and can fix almost anything. He was going to take a look at it...but we found it to be a motor issue. Rather than spend the money to fix a 14 year old washing machine, we decided to put our money toward a newer, more efficient one. We went to Lowe's together and found one that we liked and could afford (as we praise God that we had some money in savings for such a time as this!). It took a few days before they could deliver it...so in the meantime I did a couple loads of laundry at my mom's house and also did a couple of loads at one of the local laundromats (which cost $2.00 a load! Can you believe that? I think that is super expensive!).


Above, you can see our new washer...look at the difference of white next to our 14 year old dryer! ha! You will also notice the walls behind it are terrible-looking. While we had the old washer out of there, I took that opportunity to finish peeling old wallpaper behind there and up on the walls all over. All I have left to get is some wallpaper up close to the ceiling that is difficult for me to reach even standing on a chair (we have 9 ft. ceilings). Then I will be able to get the walls painted. They are ugly plaster walls and need some repairing done as well...any holes that were made in it chip away and make bigger holes. It's not fun! ;)

Enough complaining though...as this post is devoted to an attitude of gratitude! I am so, so thankful that the Lord, in His provision, allowed the old washer to die while we had enough money in savings to afford a new one! I have been putting this new washer to good use! One great thing about it is that we have a gas hot water tank and it is said to only cost us $10 a YEAR for that...and the kWh use with our electric was drastically lower than other washers we looked at...so we will save money on electric as well. It is *much* better on its usage of water as well! Although we didn't purchase the cheapest washer...we should save in the long run on all the other costs a washer entails. For the homemaker trying to use her husband's hard-earned money wisely, this is *such* a blessing!


We are still getting use to the different settings, noises and ways to use this washer! One thing I absolutely love about this washing machine is that there is *no* agitator in the middle! In the winter, my hands get so dry and cracked from doing dishes, laundry, washing my hands etc. It can be quite painful. Doing laundry, I often bashed my poor knuckles upon that horrid agitator while taking clothes out of the washing machine! I am so terribly excited to not have that with this one! It also leaves more space to wash clothes...


Laundry is probably not most people's favorite chore...but oh how good we have it! These washing machines are just wonderful and helpful inventions. Although, now that women aren't scrubbing clothes by hand anymore, we need to make sure we exercise our arms other ways! :)

As I sit right now, listening to a load of laundry being washed, I am filled with gratitude to a husband who works hard to provide and a God Who gives him that strength and ability!

With a heart of thankfulness,
Katy

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

May I ever be simple & content...

A rich young man came to ask of Christ:
“Good teacher, will you tell me
What must I do for eternal life?
I’ve kept your laws completely.”
“Sell all you have; give to the poor.
Then heaven’s treasure shall be yours.”
How hard for those who are rich on earth
To gain the wealth of heaven.
Now Jesus sat by the offering gate
As people brought their money.
The rich they filled the collection plate;
The widow gave a penny.
“Now she’s out-given all the rest;
Her gift was all that she possessed.”
Not what you give but what you keep
Is what the King is counting.
Oh teach me Lord to walk this road,
The road of simple living;
To be content with what I own
And generous in giving.
And when I cling to what I have,
Please wrest it quickly from my grasp.
I’d rather lose all the things of earth
To gain the things of heaven.
Yes, I’d rather lose all the things of earth
To gain the things of heaven.
SIMPLE LIVING (A RICH YOUNG MAN)
Written by: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend (emphasis: mine)

I love the song above. You can hear it beautifully sung by Kristyn Getty HERE. You'll enjoy it! I promise! How it reflects the desire of my heart... to truly be content and live simply ~ all to the glory of God!

He is no fool who gives what he cannot 
keep to gain what he cannot lose. 
~ Jim Elliot

A little bit of simple...


Sunny days usually mean that laundry is outside soaking in the sun...


We are still working on preparing for winter...


Simple spots around the house...



I found a fantastic way to store the school books we are currently using...


 On top are my files for each child that keeps any completed papers done this school year. In the box (which my parents got me for Christmas years ago) I keep our binders, answer keys, handwriting books and the like...



My window stars are getting quite faded...I'll have to make more soon...



More corners of my home...






Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
~ Philippians 4:11-13


My hope is that you can be content in whatever your situation is right now. Whether in want or in plenty...that you may keep your focus directed on Jesus Christ. Life's circumstances can keep us focusing on the flesh. To keep our focus on Christ can only happen if we spend much of our time in His Word and prayer! Hide His Word in your heart! One way to do that is through SEEDS family worship. My family and I love their CDs and I just ordered a couple more. Their songs are a GREAT way to memorize scripture!

Keeping it simple,
Katy


a-wise-woman-builds-her-home

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rebuilding the Rock Wall


You may remember seeing photos of my rock wall in different posts of the past. Because we didn't get dirt behind it in time...it heaved and was all uneven. My mom came over to help me begin rebuilding it. X and I tore it all down and mom and I began building it back up. These rocks are *very* heavy and it is hard, back-breaking work!


When finished, we will take that heaping hill of dirt (now weed-covered) and start filling it in against the rocks and work at flattening that area out so I can garden there next year! :)


The corner is finished...so I started putting dirt there!


I took these pictures a week or so ago...so we have gotten further on it than shown here. I'll be sure to share pictures when it is finished. I am hoping it looks nice!! **I also have two different kinds of vines growing on my arbor....I am *really* hoping they take off and cover it over the next year or two...wouldn't that look so pretty?

In other news....our washing machine finally died after 14 good years of service for us. So, although we hated taking the money out of savings to do it, we bought another one. We got a nice, top loading high efficiency washer. The cost to run it with our gas hot water tank is only $10/year! It also uses much less electric than the other brands we were looking at. Our new washer won't be delivered until Thursday (oh dear!) so I may have to run out to my mom's or the local laundromat to do one or two loads tomorrow (since I have spin class tomorrow morning...my icky clothes *must* be washed!). Mom let me do a couple loads at her house yesterday...and while they washed, I mowed her lawn and my great-aunt's lawn. Then I brought the clothes home and hung them out on the line to dry.

Oh me, Oh my....I have to admit there is a little excitement for me to be getting this new washer. It does not have the agitator in the middle...which will be lovely for my poor knuckles! Hitting them on that thing (especially in the winter when my hands are dry, cracked and sore) was awful! Plus...just getting a new appliance is exciting. Oh, the things we love as adults, eh? Can't imagine being so happy about this if I were a teenager! How time changes us! :)

When Chris gets home from work, we are going to work at getting the old washer out of there....I can't wait to clean behind it. It gets so yucky and I can't ever reach back there to clean it. I am looking forward to giving it all a good scrubbin'! Hope your evening plans are just as fun! ;)

Warmly,
Katy

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Celebrating Another Year!

I am officially another year older. My loved ones made sure to make me feel special. On my way to bed, last evening, I found this sign *from Xavier* hanging from my door...


Before your heart completely melts...be prepared! There's more of this beautiful love I have been shown! 

Xavier left this on the back door for me to find this morning...


**Sigh** I know...can you believe these kiddos are mine? Such beautiful hearts they have!

This was what Jaxson made me (notice anyone missing from the family?? Haha...somehow he was making this card for me...but forgot to add me *to* the card!)...


Madelyn wrote to me too...in all her thirteen-year-old sweetness...


 After worshiping and learning at church this morning...we went to a small picnic at my mom's (I know...if you read my previous post you'll know that picnics give me great anxiety...thankfully, this one was promised to be super small and low key so it wasn't stressful!). My sister and her family came for it as well as my Grammie (my mom's mom) and my Great Aunt Jo (she lives next to my parents and we just love her to pieces).

Eloise was full of cheer and happiness! When I came through the door of my parents' house she proclaimed excitedly, "It's your birthday, Aunt Katy!". She was so excited to tell me that there were even presents for me! ;) She graciously let me take her photo...


Dinah and Jaxson (I didn't use my flash in this picture..thus the blurry look)...


The girls just love Jax...


Madelyn and Dinah-girl...


Xavier (notice my boys shed their church shirts when we got there....probably a smart thing to do...they play rough!)....


My mom and sister made BBQ chicken, salad, canned corn (from the garden), baked potatoes and fruit! We ate outside and the weather was so lovely for an outdoor picnic!


Running and playing...


Cory and Chris...cooking the chicken and visiting...


Aunt Jo, Jaxson and El...





Since I don't eat cake...Eloise made me my own *calorie/sugar/fat free* cake...


Dinah got to take a turn in the wagon...


....and then, my photo card ran out of room. It's *full*....I believe I have over 6,000 or more pictures on it! I have been using the same card for over 5 years! This little SD card is holding memories from all through those years! I need to buy a new card....or at least a flash drive to transfer photos to so I can delete them from the card. Although I post a lot of photos here, I don't post *all* the photos I take....so I can't rely on my blog to hold all the pics. But...because the card was full, I couldn't take any more pics of the day! Bummer! I am thankful though...it was a nice time!

So now we are home, relaxing. I am looking forward to a nice, quiet, slow evening with those I love most. Although the older I get, the less I am worried about celebrating my birthday...it is nice when your family loves on you a bit! ;)

Thanks for stopping by to celebrate with us. :)

Off I go to enjoy time with my husband and children!

Warmly,
Katy

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Living With Anxiety

 “Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but 

only empties today of its strengths.”

~ Charles Spurgeon

I have a confession. I suffer from anxiety. Many people do and it just so happens that I am one of them. The things I get anxious about are seemingly silly to most people and really don't seem to make sense...but the anxiety is real and is something I struggle through and pray over *often*. 

I will tell you what makes me anxious but warn you now that it probably isn't going to make sense to you. Picnics/Potlucks and functions with a lot of people....those things make my anxiety soar...to the point of tears. *But* before you label me with a social anxiety disorder...here is the truth: I like people. I enjoy my friends and family. I am not shy nor do I get nervous being in crowds (although I am not a fan of crowds...but who is?). 


The time leading up to going to a picnic sees me tense, sometimes irritable, and/or in tears. It really makes no sense...except for the fact that at home I feel safe. Safe from what? I don't know. Just safe. I feel like I can breathe. It honestly makes *no* sense to me at all and truly, I don't think it has to make sense. It is what it is and my family (especially Chris) lovingly helps me through. God is in control and *He* knows what is going on with this crazy little brain of mine. 


This anxiety used to debilitate me terribly. I had trouble leaving the house at all. There were other issues as well...and honestly, I'm not sure when it all started. I haven't always been this way. It could have started when I was 16 (when I was in a car crash that left me in a coma for a week) and just progressively got worse over the years..? Or maybe it isn't from that at all? I have *no* idea. Fortunately, when I was dealing with the brunt of these issues years ago, my mom encouraged me to look into medical help. After a lot of fighting that idea...I finally gave in and now take a pill daily. It helps relieve the brunt of my anxious thoughts and issues (OCD was setting in before taking the med). 


I will be the *first* to tell you that I did not want to be on a medication for this. I wanted to pray and seek God and let Him heal me. However, at that time, I couldn't focus enough to sit and read my Bible or any book really because my thoughts were just so *all over the place*. I am also the first to admit that nowadays there seems to be an abundance of people taking pills for something. I am *not* a fan of that either. However, that being said, I do recognize that sometimes, medications are necessary for things. Remember all the terrible happenings with the Andrea Yates story? Sometimes, meds *are* necessary. It's humbling...and admittedly embarrassing to admit it...but true. 


Although I still have anxieties over some things...I am not nearly what I was years ago, when my children were younger. Now, I *can* read my Bible, spend time studying theology, homeschool my children, pray and strive to live a righteous life to glorify my Savior. The anxieties can still be difficult to deal with... but because I can focus on God's Word and have the uplifting support of Chris, family and lovely Christian friends, I can deal with the anxiety that arises from time to time (summer is the most difficult for me...as there are a lot of picnics/potlucks/reunions etc!). 


I take a medication in order to help me better cope with things. It is not the answer to all my problems...but it is something I need right now. I hope to one day wean off of it...if the Lord wills. And if not, then I will remain humble and take it...and glorify God that He squashes my pride. He shows me that I am *not* in control...and had I been healed without medication, there is a good chance my pride could have swollen rather than properly giving Him the glory He deserves (we can tend to do that, can't we?). 


I share this personal information with you because if you are dealing with over-whelming anxiety/depression and are trying to "do it on your own" or "just waiting to be healed by God"...it may not happen. I do *not* counsel anyone to just get medication for whatever ails you...but rather, encourage you to pray, talk with your husband and your doctor. If your thoughts and actions could be seriously harming to yourself or others....please, don't let pride stop you from considering a medication to level things in your brain. 


I do want to caution you though...


Often, people have sin issues and *that* is what causes their anxiety/depression issues. If this is the case, it is a heart issue...and not a brain issue. No medication will help you with that...the remedy for that dire situation is throwing yourself at the feet of Jesus. Repent and believe that He is your Savior. He is your all in all. Only He can make a wretch into a saint. 


Although I am a child of God and live to glorify Him, I am still a work in progress. He is daily sanctifying me...I have so far to go and honestly, I struggle (deeply) with the realization that I will never fully be perfect until I live with Him. Again, this humbles me and always leads me to drop to my knees in awe of the One Who made me...because in and of myself, I have *nothing* that would make me worthy to be His and yet, YET, He lived a perfect, sinless life ~ dying in my place (and rising again in three days) in order that I can be made perfect in His sight. Practically unfathomable...but you open His Word...and there it is. From Genesis to Revelation ~ every word of it points to Christ. 


If you want to discuss this...anxiety, depression or the truth of Christ...any of it ~ please feel free to email me. My email is on my profile page or up on the left sidebar somewhere! ;) I would love to hear from you, truly. May the Lord draw those who need this here and now. If I can pray for you...please, please let me know. I will do so! 


And quickly, I will share a couple of places I went this past weekend that had my anxiety through the roof! But look! I survived and after all that internal stress....it wasn't bad at all. Oh how the Lord is teaching me! 


Chris's paternal annual family reunion....


 My love with our girl, Madelyn


Our church held a baptism service at one of our member's home. They had this beautiful, homemade pond! It was a gorgeous setting for a glorious time of worshiping the Lord through song and following His example of baptism...



Afterwards, people enjoyed food and fellowship and the children had fun on this zipline! That's my Jaxson flying down there...


Look at this God-made carpet! Outside of the pond, this moss was growing and made such a neat natural carpet look! It was such a beautiful place, truly!!!


 Thank you for visiting here and it is my prayer that if the Lord has brought you here and you are struggling with things as I had, that you will seek help in some form.

Warmly,
Katy

“Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith. 

I don't agree at all. They are afflictions, not sins. 

Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, 

our share in the Passion of Christ” 

~ C.S. Lewis


a-wise-woman-builds-her-homeStrangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Simple Beauty


My aunt and uncle were taking a road trip to their daughter's house for two weeks. They asked if the children and I would take care of their goats and chickens, get the mail and such while they were gone. I just love their home. It is incredibly sweet and if I had gotten their permission, I would have shared photos of the inside. It has character and is just so lovely! It's not extravagant or showy...it's simple and truly beautiful!

Her flowers outside were blooming and pretty!


While the children started to feed the animals, I went to collect the mail (as their mailbox is beside a blind curve and a busy road)...


The goat house (below)....isn't it just perfect? I seriously could have taken many, many beautiful photos around their property.


My Jaxson...helping feed the animals!


We were very excited that while my aunt and uncle were away, their chickens started laying for the first time! While they were gone, we collected over a dozen eggs for them! We washed them up and brought one of our egg cartons from home (since we have a lot to keep up with our chicken's egg production). I was so excited for them to come home to fresh eggs from their own chickens!

They even have a pool and gave us permission to swim...so while the children swam for a couple of hours, I mowed the front lawn. I wanted my aunt and uncle to be able to come home and just relax and be happy to see that things were neat and taken care of while they were away! :) When they got home, my aunt called me and asked if I had wanted a workout!? :) I had to admit that push mowing their front lawn was *quite* the chore....it doesn't seem too large at first...but after awhile, I realized I got in over my head! But I finished...I was quite determined. I couldn't leave it half mowed! How silly would that look!? :) The bottoms of my feet were terribly sore afterwards and I skipped spin class the next morning to rest them!

At home, the sun has been shining and temperatures have been comfy. I took a few photos around my home to share...just simple things.






Can you believe we are halfway through August already? 


For us, that means school, school, school and books, books, books! Schooling is going well so far this year...and I am grateful! 



Things have been busy around here lately...birthdays, tearing down and re-building our rock wall (my mom is the master builder...I am just a helper...I'll get photos to share soon!), a reunion, baptism service, mowing, schooling, cleaning, and spin classes! It's a good sort of busy though so I am not complaining! :)

Amid it all, the Lord is working on me with *so* many things. Sanctification is quite the process, isn't it? His Word and the wisdom of theologians of the past as well as good, godly friends are such blessings to me. He is ever teaching me and although it's not easy to struggle through things sometimes, in the end, it is so worth it. To know He is ever with me ~ growing me and changing me for His glory and my good ~ what could be better?

My husband is a constant source of strength, wisdom and encouragement for me. He also admonishes me in love when I need it. I am so thankful for his leadership and companionship. When we were first married, almost 14 years ago, I was unsure, nervous and jittery. What was I doing? Was this the right thing? Was Chris the man I needed and who needed me? How the Lord has shown me over the years that He has had this all planned out and knew *exactly* (from before we were born) what we needed. To watch my husband grow in the Lord...as he constantly leads our family in a righteous way (and as he is daily in God's Word) is an amazing blessing to me! Seeing the Lord work in our lives encourages us to live more holy, Christ-like lives. We are so terribly far from where we want to be in our sanctification...but each day, God moves us one step closer in the right direction. May He be glorified!

Today's post has been a bit lengthy...lots of photos and words to chew on. If you have followed along until now, thank you! I appreciate the time you take to come and visit for a bit. It is my prayer you find my blog to be a peaceful, God-honoring place to just sit and rest for a moment.

Oh, I wanted to let you know (in case you are interested) I added a few more books that I have read onto my BOOKS page (found in the right column towards the top). To me, it is fun and interesting to know what others are reading and it also gives me ideas of what I may want to look into reading. Maybe you feel the same? If so, check out the page! I will tell you though that I read mostly non-fiction books. Most are theology. So, if you are looking for non-fiction recommendations, I don't have many! Also, the list I have made of what I have read is not finished. There are so many books I have read over the past years and I often forget to list them. When I remember one that I would recommend, I add it to the list! I hope you will check it out!

May your week be God-glorifying and may you find your ultimate satisfaction in *that*!

In love and kindness,
Katy