Tuesday, June 24, 2008

At least making an attempt to simplify

I promise to upload some pictures soon. I didn't take very many as I was so busy with hostessing duties. Everyone liked the food but the two "stars" of the day were the key lime bars and an open face vegetarian sandwich I put together. My husband was amazed at the number of lentil salad fans there were but wasn't surprised at how many people loved the potato salad. There is a reason I've used that recipe since the mid '80s (recipes available on my recipe blog, link on side bar).

I had a lot of cleaning to do today, with my husband's help. There was no time to do the dishes yesterday so I stacked them in a box and put all the silver ware and serving pieces in a bucket of hot, sudsy water overnight (all in the garage!). I wouldn't do that to them often but I figured once in awhile wouldn't hurt.

I knew today still had a rather long "to do" list attached... not only the dishes but putting the house back together for everyday living... so I stopped by Panera this morning after dropping Christopher off for work. I enjoyed a bagel and coffee while reading and "thinking" for awhile. One nice thing about places like Panera, I could refill my coffee cup with decaf and cream to take home to my husband (to be warmed up later for an afternoon treat).

I enjoyed looking through magazines at Border's but didn't buy anything... just too expensive right now. We just found out our car is going to cost over $430 to be fixed, yikes! The coffee and bagel was a much needed treat for my mental and emotional, if not physical... health. (I took extra insulin knowing I was going to have a bagel, though.)

I haven't been stopping by the thrift stores or garage sales much this summer. However, I stopped by Goodwill on the way home just to see if they had anything in my price range that I needed (as in a few dollars). I found a perfect punch bowl and cups for only $2.99. I'd seen a lot of them but nothing that was what I was looking for and here (the day after the open house), I found a set I liked very much. It has thick, chunky glass cups and a heavier than usual bowl. For that price, it came home with me to be ready for another get-together.

As I told one of the women who works at Goodwill this morning, you know money is tight when you can't afford the thrift stores. However, God is very faithful and has provided all necessities. I have nothing to complain about. :)

Part of what I was thinking about... pondering so to speak... this morning was how so many of us really are living a life of our own decisions. Oh, there are events that happen like illness and job loss that many have no control over. At one time, a person lost their job mainly because they were bad at it. For about the last twenty years, people have been losing jobs because they have been going overseas or being bought out by bigger companies (but we won't go down that road today).

No, today I was thinking how we can choose a life of busy-ness or simplicity. I have been very busy with "good things" the past two months. Lovely trips to see friends and family, a graduation, an open house, birthdays, making the house pretty (and everyone commented on how nice it looked), planting flowers in containers for the front porch and deck... creating an backdrop of all things pretty for family and friends to enjoy. Christopher thanked me over and over for the food and how nice everything looked.

The season of busy-ness was well worth it but now I must balance it all with a season of rest and reflection. I could accept more work at the bookstore to help pay for the car repair and rising cost of... everything. However, in the long run that would not be good for me or the family. There comes a time when we have to say "enough is enough" because there will always be something more that should be done, or purchased, fixed, mended, etc. No, I have drawn the proverbial line in the sand and said... enough for now.

I need a season of simplicity to do some Bible study, reading, pondering, reflecting, and generally getting a great deal of rest. In the past, I could keep going like the Energizer Bunny but these days that would be foolish. I don't take heat well, anymore, so July and August become to me what January and February are in mid-winter... time to retrench... this year not only on my "to do" list but also with all spending. I still have places in the grocery budget I can simplify to make more space for "stocking up".

Slowing down my pace for awhile will help me have time to work on some warm weather menus and think of even more ways to economize. When my work was done today, I spent an hour on the living room sofa with my feet propped up (another reason for a sturdy, thrift store coffee table!), writing down thoughts and recipes in my scrapbook journal (including the graduation open house menu so I'll remember it). How good it was to read through the pages where I had my list of "things to pack" for Lancaster County as well as my various "to do" lists here at home... those items which can now be checked off as done. :)

Checking off items on the "to do" list... now that is truly a good thing.

Photo: Grandma's Garden by Robert Duncan; available at allposters.com


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

I am glad that you know how to pace yourself and that you don't beat yourself up for knowing that "enough is enough." So many women need to learn that lesson...

Mrs. K's Lemonade Stand said...

What a lovely blog. I plan to sit a spell and explore more this afternoon! :)

Mary said...

Hello Brenda,
Haven't commmented or emailed for so long, but I always read your blog. You are a blessing! I am so glad you have drawn that line in the sand and will rest and take care of yourself. Looking forward to seeing the pictures and I must look at that potato salad recipe! Be well and God Bless!!

Carrot Top said...

Thank you for commenting on "the line in the sand." It's what I know I should and need to do, but it's so hard... You're right, there are always new pillows to sew, rooms to paint, carpet to change out...and once the "project" list is completed, we want to start it all over again!

I need to put into practice the lesson I was giving my daughter today on contentment!

Anonymous said...

I think you are wise to learn to pace yourself. I am still learning this. I enjoyed this post and enjoy your blog.

God bless!

Lori in PA

Alesha said...

Hi Brenda,

I just wanted to let you know that I tried your Lemon Cake recipe last night, and wow was it a hit!!! So yummy and moist, yet light too! I'll definitely be trying it again.

I have to take time to slow down quite often too. My fibro forces me to do it sometimes, and other times, my emotions are just stretched and need to be eased back into place. I know then, it's time to slow down and rest and read the Word and listen to God's heart.

I pray your time of rest if profitable.

Daughter of the King said...

I would not normally ask..but you have to read my blog post for today, as I read yours I thought* wow Lord we are on the same page*...isn't it wonderful when God confirms something like that?
..plus I spent a whole .99 at Goodwill today......yep...we are frugal, gotta be.

Firefly Nights said...

Glad your open house went well. I know you must be tired.

Sure wish we had a Panera's in our town. The nearest one is half an hour away.

Aren't magazine prices outrageous?

You seem to have the best luck at the thrift shops. What a good deal you got this time.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad everything went well... and you survived! I love the way you write about your daily struggles and victories. You have more challenges than a lot of people but you still manage to carve out a beautiful life for yourself.

Kelly said...

I am just getting caught up with you! My have you been busy! Your menu looks great! And I can relate to your son with his allergies, mine have been just awful!
Take Care of yourself~


Debbie in CA : ) said...

Brenda, always fun to drop by for a visit. You have inspired me with your wisdom, helpful hints, and faithfulness. Thank you. You have also encouraged me to jump from lurker to commenter to blogger. I'm over at Wisteria Cottage -- come by for a visit. : )

cheri said...

Brenda, thank you for your encouragement to pause, reflect, remember, savor, enjoy.

Like one of our pastors once said, "We are human beings, not human doings."

Paula said...

Dear Brenda,
Your blog is so lovely and I enjoyed your post so much. Thank you for visiting me and for your kind words.

I know your dear granddaughter was thrilled with the Victoria Rose tea book! It is such a sweet book. I am so glad you were able to vacation with them in Lancaster County. I have heard the Amish country is so beautiful and I admire their simple way of life. I can just imagine how lovely that tea room was!

How wonderful that you have the same tea book about the English ladies, and your sweet thoughts about having them for "company." How true that is!

I hope you have a lovely and restful day!

The Lord bless you,

lady jane said...

I'm so thankful the open house was a grand success, Brenda. I'm equally thankful God gave you strength to do what was needed, and rest for the morrow. :o)

Thank you for sharing a bit about the wedding open house when your daughter married. It's a lovely idea and one I'll share with others and perhaps pattern when my Lizzie marries.


Simply Heart And Home said...

This is my first visit to your blog. Very nice to meet you. Your blog is lovely and your words spoke to my heart about slowing down and living more simply. Thank you