In the Waiting

It’s a habit of many people to choose a word to define their year.  Sort of a mantra or theme for the year.  I’ve done it in the past and never really stuck to it except for once or twice (like the year I had my gastric bypass surgery my word/theme was “Healthy”) because I usually am distracted by allthethings life throws at me and a theme doesn’t usually emerge until I’m looking backwards at the end of the year.

This past year, I had a few things change in my personal life that came from some hard choices I had to make – choices about continuing to walk down a path I was on or stop, regroup, and find a new path; choices about health (again) and about where to invest my time and energy. Nothing necessarily negative, but things that may seem small at first glance but can shape your future whether you realize it or not.

And in making some of those choices I kept hearing one word in my head – or one theme at least.  And that was this:

WAIT

Now, if you know me at all, you know that I am not generally a “waiting” kind of gal. I am a “get things done,” “take charge,” “make it happen” kind of gal.  I don’t generally sit around waiting for things to happen. I make things happen. Both in my personal and in my professional life.  It is very much tied to my identity – who I believe I am, who others believe me to be. It’s what I’m paid to do as well! I’m good at it. Very good.

And so, this idea of waiting has been a hard one for me.

Very hard.

desertGod has moved some things out of my life that I thought were the things I was supposed to be doing – things I was very passionate about and very invested in. And he has moved other things into my life that have caused me to slow down (full stop, actually) and to say no to a lot of things I would really like to be doing or to say “not right now” to other things I had been doing.

And that’s just not who I am.  I’m the girl you can count on when you need help. I am the one who will help you organize all the things, get the events done — set up, clean up, show up.  That’s me.

So, now what do I do with this waiting?

It’s so foreign to me.

And yet it feels like it is exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now.

I feel like God is moving chess pieces, lining things up, working on my heart and in my life to prepare me for something – what I do not yet know – and my job is to rest in this quiet period and prepare myself for what is to come.

But when you are a do-er and a maker-of-things-happening, waiting, especially when you don’t know what you are waiting for, is very hard.

If I knew, I could be preparing, right? If I knew, I could study, or research, exercise, whatever.  But since I don’t know, I can’t.

And maybe that is part of what I need to learn.

That sometimes (most of the time, if we’re honest) we don’t know what is coming around the bend.  And we are certainly not in charge of our future, however much we want to delude ourselves into thinking that we are.

This year (so far) is an exercise in trust. In faith. In really reaching deep and in saying “Ok, God, I don’t know where this is heading or what it is you want me to do, but I’m going to put one foot in front of the other every day and trust that you will lay the path before me each day.”  And isn’t that really what we are called to do?

Matthew says (in chapter six of his gospel) “So don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I am really trying to live this out this year – taking one day at a time – one minute at a time – and letting God direct my path.

Some days I am better at this than others, my family can surely attest to that!  Some days I am so frustrated at not knowing what is coming next, where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing.

And when I find myself spiraling into this miasma of trying to fill the void with something, anything I stop and wait.  I stop and pray “Ok, God, I know you have plans for me. I am here for what you set before me. Lead me. I will wait.”

But, I think, in the waiting I am learning. I am growing. I am finding out things about myself that I might not have found otherwise. And I’m trying to learn patience and trust. To let go of my need to control my future and let God handle that.

And isn’t that what faith is about?

I mean, if we really believe God is sovereign, all knowing, omnipresent, and Lord of All, why don’t we let Him rule our lives as He designed us to do anyway?

Is it that we feel as if He might get it wrong? Or put us in a situation we can’t handle or don’t want?

I think, maybe, He does just that.  (and sometimes we do it to ourselves, if we’re honest. We do have free will. We are not slaves to God) But maybe, just maybe, it’s in those times when we are out of our comfort zone, out of our happy place, that God is there beside us ready to carry us through – to show us a part of ourselves we may never have seen otherwise. To lead us to a new plane of reality we’d have never reached if we’d stayed in our comfy place.

I’m still not content here in this period of waiting. I’ll be honest.  I am ready for things to happen and for me to know what is next so I can just go do it.

But I’m also learning to lean in to God. And to slow down and listen to what the Holy Spirit is teaching me in this fallow time.  And hopefully, on the other side of this, I’ll be better prepared for what is to come.  And once the brakes have been taken off, I’m ready to race forward into whatever that is, fully charged and ready to invest all.

 

Things I’m loving right now

  • Cool mornings with foggy pastures
  • Seat heaters (for those cool mornings) which make you not want to get out of the car.
  • Palmiers and hot tea – so addictive.
  • Children who place their lunch “orders” the night before to make morning prep easier – It’s so nice at 5AM when you already know what lunch needs to be and you’re not having to try to be creative when your brain is not awake.
  • Cuticle therapy cream – makes my dry hands feel soooo good.
  • iOS 7 – so bright and pretty!
    IMG_3851[1]
  • Headsets – when you have five consecutive hours of conference calls.
    IMG_3852[1]
  • Heating pads and Aleve – when you’ve had a headache for a week +
  • Puppies who keep me company during the day
    IMG_3849[1]

What about you? What are you loving right now?

 

Things I’m loving right now

I thought I’d share with you a few of the things I’m “into” right now – things that are making me happy –

First up on the list is my iPad.  Yes, I’ve gone over to the Borg, but you knew that already, didn’t you?  Early in the summer I got an iPad. I debated for a long, long time on getting one. I had an e-reader already (love my Nook) and did I really need an iPad?  Well, I have to say, I don’t know what I did without it before. It is so nice to use in lieu of my laptop and e-reader and relatively portable (even though it is heavier/bigger than my Nook) and I love the many apps I have on it. Forget my Bible at church? No problem. Need to look something up? No problem. Watch a movie on Netflix? No problem.

As a matter of fact, I wrote most of this blog post on my iPad while I was sitting in carpool line and then just uploaded it to post. I’m addicted, I tell you.  Best tech investment I’ve made in a long time.

Next would be somewhat directly related to my iPad and that is my newfound love for the Inspector Lewis series. I love the dialogue. I love the story lines. I love the fact that I almost never figure out “who done it” until almost the end of the show. It is well written, intelligent, and has great casting.  And I also love that I can watch all of the old episodes on my iPad via my Amazon Prime membership. LOVE that. I sit it on the counter and watch while I’m cooking dinner, I watch while SuperMan is watching something else I don’t care for on TV, I watch whenever and wherever I can.

And, adding to the list would be that Amazon Prime membership. I debated getting one, but it sure is nice to have my shipping covered for things from Amazon – and the streaming video is absolutely awesome. Well worth the membership fee.

What about some non-tech things on my list of things I love?

Well, I am hopelessly addicted to these granola bars from the Pioneer Woman’s website. I love the rich taste the addition of molasses gives them. Dipping them in chocolate is an added indulgence although not really necessary to me – they’re good all by themselves.

And I’m really enjoying my fruit – it’s apple season and I am eating at least one a day these days. (no doctor for me!) I’m putting them in my oatmeal in the mornings, eating them for an afternoon or before-bed snack. The Honey Crisp are my favorite and they’re back in season again (hooray!)  I’ve also made two apple cakes in the last week and I’m thinking of another apple-themed dessert for this weekend… I’ll share the recipe if it works out well.

What about you? What’s making you happy these days?

comments graphic2

Today

Good morning!

Grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage and join me. I’m so glad you’re here!

IMG_2143[1]

Today I’m…

…wondering about Big Girl’s not feeling well… if I need to call the doctor or let her rest and hope she feels better tomorrow.

…grateful for the leftovers in the fridge so that I don’t have to cook tonight.

…thinking about making some pizzelles but wondering if I should wait until the weekend.

…avoiding the laundry that is waiting to be washed, folded and put away.

…working on my to-do list for work.

…enjoying the cooler temperatures that came after the rains.

…hearing the re-runs of “Family Ties” in the other room – my sick girl entertaining herself.

…thinking about the reading I need to do for my Bible study tonight.

…enjoying the creation of this new shawl I started on Sunday. I can’t wait until it is finished and I can wear it.IMG_2142[1]

…looking forward to the fall – the decorations, the festivities, the food, and the fun. I can’t wait to go pick apples, pumpkins and walk in the woods with the colored leaves cascading down around me.

…contemplating whether or not I will “do” my hair today or just pull it up on my head and let the crazy curls do their thing.

…reading “The Secret Life of Bees” and really enjoying it. I just finished another book last night and will share the review with you soon.

…trying to focus on the positive and less on the negative.

Linking up with the Simple Woman’s Daybook today.

 

 

comments graphic2

Around Here: Success and not quite success in the kitchen

I love trying new recipes.

This is new for me as I used to be very hesitant to do that. If I went to the trouble of cooking something (and I was hungry) I wanted guaranteed success. I wanted to know my time, effort and ingredients were going to reward me with yumminess to enjoy.

I don’t know when this changed – maybe when I started baking more (years ago) or when – but it has changed indeed.

Now, it is fun to start with a base recipe as an “inspiration” for me and get in the kitchen and try to come up with something totally new for us to try.

Sometimes that yields delicious results.  Sometimes disasters. And sometimes things are just “meh” – they’re edible, they’re not terrible, but they aren’t necessarily things I’d repeat without some major reworking.

Yesterday was one of those days. I had this craving for some cheese tortellini in a vegetable soup. I had no set recipe in mind, but I knew what I wanted taste-wise.

IMG_2131[1]

I ran out to the store in the morning after taking the girls to school because tortellini is not something I normally stock in my pantry.  After my dash to get supplies, I decided to try doing things in the slow cooker rather than on the stovetop.

So, in everything went… Chicken broth, some stewed tomatoes, a bag of frozen “Italian” veggies (which translates to zucchini, squash, bell peppers, onions, carrots, butter beans), some other random veggies that I had in the freezer (like some shredded spinach) a bouillon cube, some garlic, copious amounts of Italian seasoning, etc.

It simmered and bubbled all afternoon.  When it was close to time to eat I cooked the tortellini in a pot of simmering water. I wasn’t sure if the girls would like the soup or the tortellini so I figured I would not mix the two unless they chose to.

I also grilled some chicken strips I had marinated in balsamic vinaigrette to serve in the soup or alongside with a salad if the soup was a bust.

I have to say, I’m glad I did that.

The soup turned out to be one of those “meh” kind of meals. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either.  Sadly, the best part of it were the tortellini (and they were store bought so they shouldn’t have been the tastiest part as far as I was concerned)

SuperMan and I ate it.  The Big Girl said “NO” and the Little One ate the tortellini out of the soup and nothing else.

Oh well.

These type of nights I’m grateful for Velveeta Mac & Cheese and instant pancakes (yes, I serve those things, just not very often!)  At least I know everyone had something to eat for dinner – even if it wasn’t what I had planned.

Big Girl said it was the “weirdest dinner ever” because she ate grilled chicken with pancakes.

We also tried a new dessert, which, if you follow me on Facebook you saw the link to yesterday. It was about the same in terms of our liking it.  It wasn’t bad, but I probably wouldn’t make it again.

IMG_2133[1]

It reminded me of the lava fields in Hawaii.

Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

And it was only one meal…

However, I didn’t satisfy my craving for the soup I had in mind.  I may try something again one day (maybe a minestrone base?) but I’ll have to wait until the kids forget about last night’s experimental dinner first. Smile

9:15 am

It’s 9:15 on a Thursday morning. The first Thursday of the summer vacation for the girls.  Angelina came stumbling downstairs about thirty minutes ago, complaining that Daddy woke her up when he got up and that is why she slept so late. I find this funny because it’s really only about fifteen minutes later than she has been waking up all week, but to her it must seem like a major upset to her schedule.  Mary is still crashed upstairs, falling into the sleep patterns that teens seem to have – stay up late, sleep even later. I’ll go wake her in just a little while – I’m trying not to let her sleep past 9:30 simply because it means she is up so much later at night when she does (and then I’m up that much later!)

img_1602

I’ll lure her into wakefulness with some of the chocolate muffins I have baking in the oven. It is one of their favorite breakfast treats and I’ve been making muffins every morning this week – lemon poppy seed, berry, chocolate, etc. They love them right out of the oven, when they are so steamy that you can hardly eat them and the berries and chocolate chips are just gooey goodness in your mouth.

img_1600

I’m sitting in my office at my desk, have already read through the emails that came in last night while I was sleeping. Most are just ones where I have been copied on the message and require no action. There are a few that I’ll have to tackle with some action, but right now I’m just not ready for that.  So, I’m sipping my second cup of Earl Grey and half paying attention to the Live! with Kelly Ripa show.  Kristin Stewart is on and I wonder, as I look at her, when she will change her makeup and hair style so that she doesn’t still look like Bella Swan. 

img_1599

My office is rather a shambles – I have all sorts of papers scattered about and things are upside down as I make piles of things to take with me on my trip next week – things to take to Mom, things to remember to take to HQ.  The suitcase is 80% packed with my work clothes and I still need to pack the non-work clothes that I’ll need for the layover at Mom’s before and after the HQ trip.  Have yet to begin to pack the girls’ clothes although I am hopeful Mary Beth will take care of hers and Angelina’s should be quick and easy – toss in some shorts, tops and bathing suits and she’s good to go.

I’m getting a little, well, stressed is not really the right word and anxious sounds negative – so I’m not sure how to describe the feeling – about the trip. I am getting that half-here, half-there type of mindset. I remember living this way years ago when I was traveling a lot for work – part of my mind is in the present moment and part of my mind is already on the trip, anticipating things that will occur and trying to be sure I’ve planned/prepared/packed for those potentials. It’s a little stressful and makes me feel disconnected, in a way, from my family, but it is also the way I have learned to make sure that my trip is not any more stressful than it has to be – by trying to be prepared for as much as I can ahead of time. Now, I just have the added challenge of taking care of the family as well – preparing for their needs while I’m gone as well as my own. (as I type this I’m making a mental note to double-check that all the bills are paid and nothing is due while I’m gone.)

The weather is cool outside right now – has not warmed up yet for the day, although it is supposed to be another scorcher. I’ve just reset the thermostat to 75, which is where I try to keep it all day long. I usually have to turn it down at night when Rob gets home as he likes it a little cooler (we all do) when we sleep.  There’s supposed to be rain coming in and cooling things off but today the temps are supposed to be in the 90’s. I wish the pool was open and I could take the girls this afternoon, but they are repairing tiles and Angelina has her ballet recital rehearsal at 4:00 today.

I’ll have to get prepared for that little excursion – making sure that the skirt on her costume is pinned in place and getting her all dolled up and ready to go in time. That should prove interesting since I have conference calls right up until the time we have to leave. Thankfully, she is getting more self-sufficient and Mary Beth is big enough to help her, too.  I can’t wait to see the dance and to snap pictures of the rehearsal.  Recitals are Saturday and Sunday and then we will be finished with all of our obligations for the summer.  Then it will be time to relax and enjoy (in between work, that is)

So, what are you up to this morning?

What’s in your magic toolbox?

And by magic toolbox, I refer, of course, to the toolbox of wonders used by most of us modern women – the Makeup Bag!

I thought I’d share some of my absolute favorite products today – things I don’t ever want to run out of and usually keep “backups” just in case I run low.

Moisturizer: My newest favorite is Alba Botanica moisturizers. I have such sensitive skin and I find it hard to find something that doesn’t irritate my skin instead of moisturizing it.  I stumbled on this at the drug store one day and LOVE it. I’ve tried both the Jasmine & the Aloe versions. Love them both. The Aloe one is lighter (good for summertime heat) and the Jasmine one smells heavenly. Love them both.Smoothing Jasmine & Vitamin E

Foundation: I am hooked on the ones by Cover Girl –  you know the ones? The ones that have the Olay moisturizers? Simply Ageless. They are nice. Stay on all day. Not too heavy, although I rarely wear foundation in the summertime anyway (it slides off in this Southern heat)COVERGIRL and Olay Simply Ageless Foundation

Powder: I’m in love with Clinique’s compacts. I use the SuperPowder Double Face makeup as powder most of the year, and then in the summertime I use it as my foundation/powder. Love the coverage. (and it doesn’t irritate my skin)Superpowder Double Face Makeup

Blush, Eye Shadow: I am in love with Bare Escentuals’ eye shadows, blushes and bronzers. I love that they last forever, they have a TON of colors and they stay on all day long. They also have fabulous brushes. I usually buy their brushes and they are very high quality and last forever. I think I haven’t bought a new make up brush in four or five years. They are great and easy to care for.image

Eye Liner: Another Bare Escentuals item I can’t live without. LOVE them. They brighten your eyes and last without smudging. I think I have one in every color!

Mascara: You can’t go wrong with the old standby here. I’ve tried tons of different mascaras. They all have pluses and minuses – clumpy, glumpy, crazy brushes, great length, etc.  But I always seem to go back to the basics: Maybelline Great Lash mascara. It works. It’s inexpensive. Why not?

Lips: And this is one area where I do diverge quite a bit. I have a few “old standbys” that I use regularly, but to be completely honest, I don’t wear lipstick very much. I work from home. Who is going to see it? I wear it if I’m going out – usually applied looking in the rear view mirror as I drive – and that is about it. The rest of the time I wear some sort of chapstick-type product to keep my lips moist. (Nivea is my favorite here)

BUT, if I do wear lipstick, here are some of the ones I love:

BUXOM by Bare Escentuals. Love them. Love the colors, the minty tingle you get when you wear them, the fact that they are not sticky-icky on.

image

If I’m going for more color (i.e. a punch of red on the lips) I usually use Bare Escentuals Pretty Amazing. I have this in a beautiful red/rose shade. Love it, although it is a bit gloppy to apply.

Okay, so that is about it for me. What about you? What are your must-have beauty products?