Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!!


I love starting a new year.. It's a time to reflect on the old year and look forward to the next. It's a time for me to set goals for the year, for myself, my family.. hubby and I set goals as a couple.

What I do not do is make resolutions. Is there a difference between goals and resolutions? .. in my mind I felt like there was so I looked up the words to find their meanings..

Goal: the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something.

I see them as very different. When I set a goal.. it is something I can work towards every day. If I resolve to do something, and then I fail, it causes discouragement and I'm likely to give up on whatever it was.

An example: I made a goal last year to drink less coffee. My goal was one cup a day. Of course through the year there have been times that I had two cups or even three. Then I'd correct myself and go back to one cup a day. For health reasons this is a good choice for me. If I'd started the year saying my resolution was to only drink one cup a day, and then I had a day where I had more, I would have failed. My inclination may have been to just give up and not care. But with a goal, I can get back on track and not feel discouraged.

So as this year has come to an end I reflected on all the goals that I had worked towards, made progress, and felt a sense of accomplishment. Then I began working on new goals for 2015 knowing that if it is something important to me, I will make progress and when dealing with the bumps in the road that can happen to everyone, not all is lost.

Happy New Year to you all, and praying for a blessed 2015 for everyone!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Menu Monday!

Moving onto and into the New Year this week!! Won't be nearly has hectic as last week.. which is good! :) We had Christmas leftovers for a couple days and then a couple family members came down with a cold (and did not have much of an appetite) and so my menu for the end of the week did not happen. Those meals will now be part of the menu for this week. How's your menu shaping up this week? Any New Year celebrations going on? 

Clam chowder, dinner rolls, salad

Pizza casserole (new recipe to try), salad

Sliders, buffalo wings, stuffed mushrooms, chips & dip, veggies (Happy New Year fun!! )

Marinated chicken, rice, cesar salad


Chili, tortilla chips, salsa

Pork chops, mac & cheese, salad


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Our Christmas … and when do you put your tree away?

We had a wonderful Christmas with the family. Not all of them could be here, but that seems to be the case more often than not nowadays. I have kids in other states and they were not able to make it home for the holidays.

But we did enjoy our time together. Lots of family time, good food, and grandbabies.

I made my granddaughters quilts for their gifts.. here is a pic of them.. I wanted them to be different, but basically the same. This way they would know which quilt was theirs! ~smile~ They are jelly roll race quilts with borders added so they would fit their twin size beds...

I'm a person that enjoy getting the Christmas tree up as soon as Thanksgiving is over. I like to decorate and enjoy the holiday time. But when it's over, I'm done. My husband had to work Christmas night (he works nights and was home for the day but then had to head to work in the evening). As soon as he left my daughter and I started taking down all the decorations and putting them away. I left the tree up until Friday morning, then put it away, moved all my furniture back where it belongs and cleaned up the house. It felt wonderful! ~smile~

I do this every year. Usually it is the day after Christmas. I've had a few of my friends tell me they do this as well.

I know everyone has their own traditions. I once had an older neighbor lady that said her and her husband would get the tree on the 24th of December, put the kids to bed, set it up, decorate it and put the gifts under the tree for the kids to see in the morning. Then they would leave the tree up until January 1st.

It just had me curious this year.... what is your tradition?


Monday, December 22, 2014

Menu Monday!

Christmas is coming this week!! Lots of planning and prep work, packages to wrap, more cookies to make and a Christmas menu to plan and purchase for... all before Wednesday! Whew! … but I'm looking forward to the time together with my family. Hope your Christmas plans are coming together nicely. In the meantime, dinner still needs to be planned each night this week! How are you hanging in there? Menu planned? Christmas dinner planned? Do you have a traditional Christmas dinner? On Christmas Eve or Christmas day?

Yummy pinto bean soup, rolls, salad

Crockpot chicken philly sandwiches, chips, veggie platter

Christmas Eve Dinner with my family (still working on that menu)

Leftovers – Christmas Day is eating the leftovers from Christmas Eve

Marinated chicken, rice, cesar salad

Pizza casserole (new recipe to try), salad

Clam chowder, dinner rolls, salad


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Homestead Holidays!! Strawberry Cranberry Jam

***I posted this last year.. made this and gave it away as gifts.. it was so good!! And so easy..  frozen store bought strawberries and fresh cranberries..  very easy to make!!



If you’re looking for an easy, fun project that could also be a nice gift this may the answer!! I made a batch of this and it is soooo good!! As a gift it would be perfect coupled with a loaf of homemade bread or rolls, or even just given on its own. What is nice about this recipe is that you can use frozen strawberries and fresh or frozen cranberries. I bought several bags of cranberries in November and put them in the freezer. When I made this jam I used both frozen strawberries & cranberries.

This recipe makes a lot!! So you will have plenty to give as gifts and for your family to enjoy.

Here is the recipe:

Strawberry Cranberry Jam
Makes approx. 13 half pint jars

3#’s frozen strawberries
12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
1T lemon juice
2 boxes pectin
1t butter
8 cups sugar

Put strawberries, cranberries, lemon juice, pectin and butter into a large, 6 to 8qt, stock pot. On medium heat slowly bring to a boil. Stir to prevent it from sticking. Simmer and stir until fruit breaks up. If you want to hurry the process you can use a stick blender to smooth it out, or leave the fruit a bit chunky, the choice is yours.

Turn up the heat to high and add sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring it all to a hard boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down) and boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Fill half pint and/or pint jars. Put new lid on, ring on and put in a boiling water bath. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove from canner and let cool.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Menu Monday!

Another week flies by and it's time to plan the menu again.  A planned menu just makes life so much better. :)  Grocery shopping is on my to do list today as well as a few other household chores.  Hope you all have a great Monday!! 

Lasagna, french bread, roasted broccoli & kale

Crockpot hamburger/tater tot casserole, salad

Mexican chicken casserole, refried beans, brown rice, salad


Bulgogi (Korean dish, made by Leanne), brown rice, kimchi

Chicken noodle soup, dinner rolls, salad

Tuna patties, roasted potatoes, green beans


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Baking: Sugar Cookies...

What would Christmas be without sugar cookies... every year we make them.. it is just a tradition. This year my daughter Leanne made the cookies.. even got my son Isaac to join in on the fun...

I used a new recipe... one I found here (and it was very good!):

What are your favorite Christmas cookies.. what are your “must haves” each year?


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Homemade Gift Idea: Dish Towel Apron

I posted this idea a few years ago..  but it is so easy and so quick to make..  and is darn cute!!  Just thought I'd share it again!!  

Christmas is fast approaching! If you’re in need of a quick gift idea this dish towel apron may be just the project. It requires basic sewing skills and goes together very quickly. Using dish towels means no raw edges to think about!! :)

You will need 2 cotton dish towels that coordinate and some ½ or 1 inch twill tape.

I purchased my dish towels at Target. I got 5 in a package and the cost was $10. You will use 2 for the apron. I figured $4 an apron was pretty good (plus the cost of the twill tape, I had some on hand already). For my pack of 5 dish towels I got 2 aprons and an extra towel for my kitchen, or it could be put in a gift basket along with the apron.

You can find detailed instructions for the apron on this site: 

Lay out your towels…

Sew them together….


Use the twill tape for the neck and ties…

And you are done…


Monday, December 8, 2014

Menu Monday!

One week into December and my daughters and I are gathering together our cookie recipes. Hopefully we'll be baking up some goodies this week. Plus there is always so much to do this time of year. Menu planning is a must! How's your menu planning going?

Korean soup (my daughter did not get this made last week so it will be made tonight), egg rolls and salad

Pork chops, mashed potatoes, salad

Lasagna, french bread, mixed veggies


Enchilada bake, refried beans, tortilla chips & salsa, salad

Homemade pizza

Chicken veggie soup, dinner rolls, salad


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Out the Kitchen Window...

In the past I lived in 3 apartments and a house with no kitchen window. I was so happy when we moved into our little homestead to see that I had a kitchen window above the sink.. I spend a lot of time at the kitchen sink.

Over the many years I've lived here I've seen a lot out my kitchen window. I've watched kids playing and growing, goats and horses up at the house eating the grass.. I've enjoyed the morning sunrise coming through my window. I've seen my whole view covered in white snow in the winter, I've watched my hubby and boys mowing the grass and working on the property, I've watched the UPS man coming up my driveway to deliver my packages, I've seen visitors driving up to see us..

So much of life happens right outside the kitchen window. Today, I was at the sink, once again, washing a few dishes.. I looked up and this is what I saw...

Life right outside the kitchen window.. priceless...

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Family Traditions

Family traditions... how do they start? I once said.. if you do something once with your kids.. it will be a tradition and every year after that they will say.. Remember mom.. when??... Traditions are like glue.. they hold families together. Christmas is a great time to reflect on family traditions.

We had for many years a Christmas tree decorating tradition. I would make cheap store bought frozen pizza, have cocoa, eggnog, candy canes, Christmas cookies. Then we would decorate the tree. This tradition had its start very simply.

One year, we had 5 or was it 6 little ones?? We went out and bought a tree and brought it home. The kids were so excited. But the reality was that dad needed to get the tree in the stand and string the lights on before the kids could put the decorations on. But they all just stood there when the tree was brought in looking at dad and waiting for all the fun to begin. He felt a little stressed by it all. 

I jumped in and told the kids.. lets have some cocoa! Then I looked in my cupboards and freezer to see what else I might have to keep them distracted while dad did his thing. Here is what I found: Frozen pizza (the cheap kind.. bought for those “just in case” times in life), Christmas cookies, eggnog, candy canes, and hot cocoa mix. So.. I cooked the pizza and the kids enjoyed the cocoa, eggnog, cookies and candy canes.. and by that time dad was done with his job and the kids could decorate the tree.

After that, the tradition was started. Every year we'd bring in the tree, dad would set it up, put the lights on and we'd feast on frozen pizza, Christmas cookies, candy canes, eggnog and hot cocoa and then decorate the tree.

This year we put up the tree and my daughter Emily messaged me from California.. .. mom.. don't forget the pizza, eggnog and hot cocoa!

Family traditions are like glue.. they make memories, they hold us together and we never forget them..

Make some memories this year.. start some family traditions!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Menu Monday!


Happy December everyone!!  So much to do this month...  It's good to have a menu planned.. one less thing to think about each day.. How is your menu planning this week?

Kalua Pork, macaroni salad, steamed veggies

Split pea soup w/bacon, cheese bread, salad

BBQ chicken, roasted potatoes, coleslaw


Rice cake soup (Korean soup, made by Leanne), egg rolls, salad

Tomato soup, sandwiches, veggie platter

Thai chicken over rice (made by Leanne), salad


Friday, November 28, 2014

Homemade Christmas Gift Idea: Chalkboard Table for Kids

With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us, we are moving on to Christmas in our home. Today the tree goes up and the Christmas decorations come out and a little Christmas music will be playing to get everyone in the holiday mood.

Every year I like to make a few gift for my family. I don't make them all, that would completely overwhelming to me!! ~smile~ But I do pick out a few gifts each year to make.

I made this gift last year for my granddaughters. It was super easy. Chalkboard paint is easy to use! It was the first time I'd tried it and was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was and how quick the little homemade gift went together.

I found the idea from this website:  

I am fortunate enough to have an IKEA not far from me. As far as I know the items listed for this table (and chairs) could be mail ordered as well. However, any little table would work. It could be an end table (as this was) or a child's table. Little children chairs could be found pretty easily as well (locally or online).


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Updates from the Homestead

It's been a busy month. So much happening... our family Thanksgiving and birthdays for my kids...

My oldest son, Richard, turned 32 on the 16th of this month. I can hardly believe this! I was 18 when I had him. The moment the doctor laid him in my arms my whole entire life changed.. in an instant. He's grown to be a wonderful man. I love him... the picture here is one of him when he was in the Army. He spent 5 years in the Army. Two deployments... one to Cuba for a year and one to Iraq for 15 months. I'm very proud of him. He is currently finishing up his degree in Computer Software Engineering..

My daughter Sierra also celebrated her 19th birthday on the 23rd. She is such a sweet young lady. I love her so much and am so proud of her. This is a pic of her and her best friend (they've been friends since they were born as her friends mother and I have been best friend for 20 years) .. Sierra is on the left.. ...

My daughter, Emily, and her husband are moving to California. Her husband got a new job there and she will be working remotely for the same company she's currently working for. They are super excited. I'm a little sad, but very happy for them and this amazing opportunity. And the plus side.. my hubby and I will have a new vacation destination!

Lastly we celebrated our Thanksgiving as a family on Sunday. It was just wonderful. We had 7 of our 8 kids with us (one daughter was not able to make it as she currently lives on the East Coast). There were spouses and grandchildren, my son's girlfriend and family friends. There were 17 of us in all.

This was a family pic taken on Sunday...

Praying you all have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving Day celebration!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Roast a Turkey

In case this is your first Thanksgiving turkey...  :)


I am sure a lot of you reading this already know how to cook a turkey.  But I also know that many ladies have never done it before.  I was in my late 20’s before I cooked my first turkey.  My grandma or mom or mother in law had always done that part.  When I went to cook my first turkey I was reading lots of cookbooks and talking with my mother to learn.  It is not like we have the opportunity to practice turkey roasting too often! 

I thought I would just share from my own turkey roasting experience how I have done it.  There are lots of ways to do this and tips, etc..  and I am sure I won’t cover them all but will share what has worked for me. 

First is the actual buying of the turkey.  I typically have purchased frozen turkeys.  The week before Thanksgiving you can find turkeys at the best price of the year.  In fact I usually take advantage of these great prices and buy another turkey or two for the freezer. A mini Thanksgiving dinner at another time of the year is actually kind of fun.   A couple of years ago I bought a fresh turkey from Costco and it was good too.   

If you buy your turkey frozen you will need a few days to let it defrost.  Do not sit it on the counter to defrost.  The outside of the turkey will start to spoil before the center has completely defrosted.  This is especially true for bigger birds. I put my turkey in the refrigerator to defrost.  Two days ahead of time for a small turkey (say 12lbs or under) and three to four days for a bigger turkey.   

The night before Thanksgiving I open the turkey up and wash him and remove the giblets.  I put those in a bowl and put them back in the fridge.  The next day I boil those with some salt and use the broth for my gravy as well as cutting up the giblets to add to the gravy.   I rinse the turkey off in cool water making sure he has defrosted completely.  I put him in a large roaster pan, cover him up with plastic wrap and put him back in the fridge until the next day.  

I also make up my stuffing the night before.  Don’t put the stuffing in the bird the night before to save time.  This can once again cause spoilage.  After I make the stuffing I store it in the fridge.   

On Thanksgiving morning I pull the turkey out, preheat the oven, remove the plastic and stuff my turkey.  I find the easiest way to do this is to set the turkey in my clean sink and use a big spoon (or my clean hands)  to spoon in the stuffing.  Then I set the stuffed turkey on my roasting pan.  I melt a cube (we call them cubes here in my parts.. some call them sticks) of butter and if it is a big turkey I melt 2 cubes.  I take a brush and brush the top of my turkey with this melted butter.  Cover the bird with foil and put him in the oven to start baking.  

After he has baked for about an hour I use my trusty turkey baster and baste him with the melted butter that has drizzled to the bottom of my pan along with any other juices that have also accumulated. 

I continue to cook and baste for the required amount of time.  The closer I get to the finish time the more frequently I baste.  I also take the foil off for the last couple of hours so the turkey can brown nicely.
Now for some specifics: 

Temperature to Bake a Turkey:  
325 is what I have always done
How Long to Cook:
If your turkey is stuffed:
8 to 12lbs  about 3 hours
12 to 15lbs  about 4 hours
15 to 18lbs about 4 ½ hours
18 to 24lbs  about 4 1/2  to 5 hours
If you don’t stuff your turkey you can subtract about anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour off the above times.  
However my experience has been that this is a rough estimate. I have had it take longer or shorter..  Your very, very best guide will be your thermometer.   

The temperature of the whole turkey, no matter where you put the thermometer (but not touching bone) should read a minimum of 165 (and that includes taking the temp of the stuffing).  I actually like it when the temps are a bit higher than that say..  180.   

I also wiggle the drumstick and it should move very easily.   When the turkey has finished cooking, take it out of the oven and let is sit for 15 to 20 minutes.  This will give you time to make the gravy and mash the potatoes.
I hope you all have a wonderful day of good food, family and much thankfulness.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Menu Monday!


The weekend was so busy with lots of family here and celebrating our Thanksgiving dinner that my weekly menu was not even on my mind. But I managed to get one put together so I can do some grocery shopping... the week does march on!

Leftover Thanksgiving dinner

Turkey soup, dinner rolls, salad

Crockpot pork chops, brown rice, salad


Enchilada bake, tortilla chips & salsa, salad

Split pea soup w/sausage, biscuits, salad

Cream cheese chicken casserole, rice, salad


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanksgiving Planner!

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year at your home?  If you are, this list might help you to be a bit more organized.   

I'll be hosting my family's Thanksgiving meal on Sunday the 23rd.  We'll have about 16 people here including grandchildren.   Being prepared with good planning is a must!!  

3 weeks ahead of time
 Figure out how many people will you be serving and how big of a turkey you will need.  To calculate this, you need to figure about 1 ½ lbs of turkey per person.  So if you are feeding 8 people you would need a turkey that was about 12 pounds.  I usually buy them bigger so I will have leftovers. 
Write out guest list
Plan out menu
Gather recipes
Write out grocery list
2 weeks ahead
Buy turkey (if buying frozen ones)
Make dinner rolls and freeze.  I like to freeze them before baking.  I shape them into rolls; lay them out on a tray and flash freeze them.  On Thanksgiving Day I bring them out in the morning to defrost and rise. 
If your guests are contributing to the meal let them know what you would like them to bring.
1 Week Ahead
Clean out your fridge to make room for the added food items
IF you have not bought your turkey yet, they should be on sale this week. 
Do your grocery shopping of staple items you will need for the meal
4 to 5 Days Ahead
If your turkey is frozen you need to put it into the fridge to defrost now.  A turkey will take anywhere from 2 to 6 days to defrost depending on its size (figure one day for every 5 pounds of weight). 
Buy any fresh and perishable items you will need
Make cranberry sauce and refrigerate
Make salad dressings and refrigerate
3 Days Ahead
Clean your house
Get out and ‘good’ dishes or bigger serving dishes and get them washed
2 Days Ahead
Wash table linens
Get out your roasting pans, thermometer, turkey baster and make sure they are clean and ready to go
Wash and chop up veggies for stuffing and side dishes and put in refrigerator
Make pie crusts, roll them out, and put in pie plates. Cover each one with plastic wrap and put in fridge
1 Day Ahead
If you are making mashed potatoes for the crockpot you can make those up now and store in fridge. Tomorrow you take them out and put in the crockpot on low in the morning.
Make stuffing and refrigerate. If you are stuffing your turkey do not do that now, wait until right before you put the turkey in the oven
Assemble side dishes
Assemble any jello type salads
In the evening pull out your turkey, clean it and make sure it has defrosted and put back in fridge. Remove giblets and refrigerate
Set the table in the evening if desired
Assemble and bake pies
Thanksgiving Day
Put some Christmas music on (this is our little tradition ~smile~)
Stuff turkey and put in oven at appropriate time (or if you have a roaster oven you can bake the turkey in there leaving your oven for heating up side dishes and baking dinner rolls)
Put the giblets in water with a little salt and let those simmer. You can use the broth for gravy and the cooked and chopped giblets can also be added to the gravy
Pull out dinner rolls and let them defrost and rise
Set the table if you did not do this yesterday
Put the mashed potatoes in the crockpot
If you have a second crockpot you can put the stuffing in there to warm (if you are not stuffing your turkey.  I always stuff the turkey and have leftover stuffing in a second crockpot)
When the turkey has finished cooking, pull it out
Put the side dishes in the oven to bake (if you did not bake the turkey in a roaster oven)
Bake dinner rolls
While the side dishes are heating up and rolls are baking, make gravy
Take a deep breath
Light some candles
Freshen up
Greet your guests
Enjoy your meal and give lots of thanks the Lord for his blessings and bounty in your life

Monday, November 17, 2014

Menu Monday!


This week will be busy! I have shopping and prep to think about for my family's Thanksgiving dinner and a couple of sewing projects that I need to make progress on if they are going to be finished by Christmas! A planned out menu is a life saver on busy days. How is your menu looking this week?

Hot roast beef sandwiches, salad

Homemade pizza, coleslaw

Mexican chicken casserole, tortilla chips & salsa, salad


Teriyaki pork chops, brown rice, green beans

Chili, cornbread, salad

Our Family Thanksgiving Dinner


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hot Process Soap Making – New Video!

Making soap is fun and rewarding. It can be scary to start out but once you do it you realize how simple it is. And you realize how useful it is! I know my family and I could never go back to store bought soap.

In this video I'm showing you how to make hot process soap in a crockpot. There are 2 ways to make soap. One is called Cold Process and the other Hot Process. Here is the difference...

CP - This stands for Cold Processing. This is a soap making method. This is the method I use for making soap to sell. It involves combining your liquid/lye mixture with your oils and stirring until you reach trace (as defined below). Then pouring the mixture into molds. In a day or two you unmold, cut the bars and let the soap cure anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks depending on the recipe.

HP – This stands for Hot Processing. You follow the same procedures as CP but instead of pouring into your mold you keep cooking the soap. The soap is heated and cooked all the way through to the end. After you remove it from the mold you can cut the bars and pretty much use them right away.

I think hot process soap making is easier for the home soap maker, and you have usable bars of soap much sooner.

I use my older (like 20+ years old) crockpot for making soap in. In my opinion you do not need a separate crockpot for making soap. I've used this same crockpot often for soap making and for cooking in. When you are done making soap, you have soap, which is what you use to clean your crockpot with. It is entirely up to you if you want a dedicated crockpot for soap making. 

The Recpie..

Crockpot Hot Process Soap
18.9 oz coconut oil
30.8 oz olive oil
14.2 oz palm oil

20 oz water
9.2 oz lye

2.5 oz fragrance oil
And here is my video and below the video is a list of websites that you can use to find soap oils and lye.


Don't forget to sign up to my You Tube Channel

Soap Making Supplies:

Majestic Mountain Sage

Soaper’s Choice (oils only) 

Sweet Cakes Soap Making Supplies  

Milky Way Molds 

And for Lye...

Bitter Creek Candle Co. 

Texas Natural Supply 

Lehman’s Soap Making Supplies   (look under “Personal Care”) 

The Boyer Corporation (this is where I buy my lye from) 

Snow Drift Farm  

The Chemistry 

If you are interested in learning how to make cold process soap I have an ebook wit step by step directions and pictures...

Hand Made Soap - A Step by Step Photo Tutorial

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Striving for a Heart of Gratefulness

This is a repost from last year..  but my feelings are still the same!!  Be grateful, be thankful for all of God's blessings..  the big ones and the little tiny ones..  God's love is everywhere when we take the time to look and see them.. 

Thanksgiving always means to me a time to stop and give thanks. I’ve seen many lists on the things people are thankful for in their life. I have my own list as well. But I have really been contemplating something beyond this. I’ve been contemplating and thinking about a heart of gratefulness.

How is this different you might ask? Well I’ll share my thoughts. In my mind a true heart of gratefulness goes beyond my list of what I’m thankful for. It is a deeper meaning that I am going to strive for in my life. I looked it like this.. if you were walking through a desert of heat you would be so thankful, deeply grateful for every drop of water you had. If you stood next to a huge lake, water would be taken for granted. How many things in my life do I take for granted? 

It’s not about looking at those less fortunate than I am and realizing my blessings. It is choosing every day to be honestly grateful for all my blessings. I remember something from several years ago. I was driving with my van full of children to Walmart. Now, I live in a beautiful area. It is so beautiful that is considered a National Scenic Area (The Columbia River Gorge). I’m driving to Walmart and my kids are being noisy and my mind is focused on my trip to Walmart, what I need to do after I get home, food to prepare and chores to be done. Then it hits me. It is a completely beautiful July day. The sun is shining, the sky is an intense blue, the trees and mountains beside me are a deep, rich, vibrant green and brown the Columbia River to my left is stunning in its colors and calmness. If a tourist was driving through they would have been in incredible awe by the beauty of it all. But on that day for me, up until that point, it was just how I got to Walmart. I realized that in the hectic pace of my life, I take things for granted. The beauty of God’s creation right in front of me goes unnoticed due to focus on other things. 


How many other things go unnoticed in my life? The laugh of a child, the quiet of an afternoon, the noise of a houseful of grandchildren, a cup of coffee shared with a good friend, the rain making my area so green and beautiful, the hard work of my husband to provide for us, a load of clean and folded laundry, the wood stove simmering and keeping us warm, the work of my husband and sons who gather the wood in and stack it and bring it into the house so I can make a fire and keep us warm and toasty all winter long, a pot of soup on a cold winters day, the blessings of being a stay at home wife and mother, a clean kitchen, dirty dishes (as they say it shows I have someone to cook for), a child who learns a hard concept in his/her school day, a quiet evening spent with my hubby, new toothbrushes, dirty windows that show the handprints of little grandchildren who’ve been at my house, a barn full of hay to feed my goats for the winter, and my list could go on and on, the big stuff and the little stuff. Lord may I never take any of it for granted. 


So many things go way beyond my list, it is a daily heart that wakes each morning and says, thank you Lord, I am alive today, and I have so much to be thankful for that it can bring me to tears. If you’ve ever lost a loved one or been close to losing your own life, then you know how incredibly grateful you can be to simply wake up in the morning and step into the day ready to tackle whatever God has in store. Let me live daily with a heart that is truly grateful to Lord and chose not to take my life for granted. As a Peanuts cartoon I saw the other day said, “What if today I was just grateful for everything”. That is my desire, to strive towards a daily heart of true gratefulness to my Lord and Savior. Not all days will be great days, some will be hard, some will be sad, some will try my patients, but every day there is beauty, there are blessings and there is a Lord that has blessed me with so many beautiful simple things. Lord may I never take any of it for granted.