Monday, August 8, 2016

The Date to Create

I am a fan of unusual 'holiday's' only because they can be so FUN! Today has been given the designation of The Date to Create. I spent all of 2 seconds looking up this holiday, and it was worth it - there is nothing creative to be found. Oh irony how I adore you!

So what do you do with a holiday that is so unimaginative, which I suspect is part of the point? You fill it with creativity of course!!

Being creative isn't limited to artists, or authors, or any of the other 'creative type' labels. Creativity can also be solving a problem, making a meal, even cleaning your house! 

Allow me to share an example. I am participating in a new lettering challenge on Instagram this month, featuring COFFEE as the topic for prompts. So, yeah, I had to participate! The goal is to practice your hand-lettering. This is great as I aspire to getting better and better.

The other day the prompt was Obsessive Coffee Disorder. Well, needless to say, my lettering was not the thing that ended up being 'creative'. I put together a whole list of definitions, symptoms, etc... The creative mood struck and off I went. 

That is is what creativity looks like. You have a focused intent, and then find inspiration in the midst, and you follow it wherever it leads.

Here is another example - when you go to make dinner, and you feel creative, you add a handful of fresh herbs to the jar of sauce in the cabinet. Creative! 

A quick recipe my family enjoys in the summer: 4 Roma (or any paste variety) tomatoes diced; 1 clove of garlic, crushed; 1 can of black olives, sliced; a handful of fresh basil and a handful of fresh oregano, minced; some olive oil. Place all ingredients together in a bowl, sprinkling on olive oil to coat (maybe a cup), then add some salt and pepper to taste. Leave it sit while you cook a box of pasta - spaghetti noodles work the best. When the pasta is done, toss it with the veggies, and serve! This has a fresh taste, utilizes garden produce, and is super fast and easy! We adapted it from a recipe I found years ago, and you can adapt it as well.

Here is an easy path to creating - grab your kids crayons and go doodle!!! Or color a page in a coloring book. Or borrow their construction paper to make a card. 

How can cleaning be creative you ask? As you clean, move things, add things, subtract things. Look around the room, and see what can you change that will provide you with a better environment? It may be as simple as swapping pictures or books from one room to another. It could be as elaborate as new curtains or rugs. 

No matter what you do today, just create something!!! Use today as the prompt and encouragement to get creative and inspired!! Use it as the catalyst to do something you've been wanting to try. Remember it isn't about perfection, it's about creating. It's about trying something and seeing where it goes!!! 

My enabler tip of the day - Michael's has a coupon for 40% off any 1 regular price item....totally worth walking into the store and picking up that thing that you have been eyeing for awhile. Maybe grab a new planner to map out all the creativity you generate from starting today? 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Unit Study Release DAY!

I am so easily excited about things!! That is because I really like my life, and I have found that when you put the effort into looking for the positive, exciting, joyful moments - they get easier and easier to find! And you smile more!!

Plus, I tend to stay highly caffeinated to make it through each day. Which is the opposite of what you are supposed to do if you suffer from a chronic illness. My thoughts are - seriously? I would like to function like a normal human, or at least a semi-normal human, so whatever. I'm going to die someday, so if it's from coffee, at least I will die drinking one of the very best of all God's creation!

I am so excited TODAY though, because despite the very ironic, and non-joyful start to my week, TODAY I am finally sitting here, ready to....  release my Unit Study!!!!!!

Almost 16 years ago, I wrote a Unit Study for homeschoolers, called Our Family Impact, based on my passion for genealogy. I had discovered that I really enjoyed history, and having worked in Vital Records for our County, helping others with their family histories, I got hooked.

When my daughter was born, and I was home, I realized that genealogy was a great way to encourage students to enjoy learning history and geography. I wrote, self-published, and then sat on this Unit Study. The goal of the study was to interact with family members in order to truly learn what history was like. I was not born in 1923, so to chat with someone who grew up during the Depression, and hear what life really looked like was so much more meaningful, than just reading about it.

Here we are, many years later and everyone is interested in their family history. Since I am attempting to embrace all that God has created me to be, and since I want to encourage others in my world to START their writing journey, TA-DA!!!

I was actually ready to release this last fall, but thought it would be better as an e-Book. So I redid the whole layout, re-edited it, re-formatted it and then, well, insecurity set it.

I went back and re-formatted it once again last month, so it is now available as a downloadable PDF file. It is also offered in a bound paper workbook, but honestly, I think the PDF is better, since you can just print off the correct number of worksheets to use with all your children.

It has also been updated a bit to reflect the changes that technology has brought. Not completely though, as I think one of the most important things we can teach our kids is the ability to do some of the actual work required of life, and not just use the internet for everything.

AND, since I'm SO excited, I am offering a discount for $5 OFF!!! YEAH!!!!! Visit our Online Shop at to download the Our Family Impact Unit Study. The discount is only valid through Sunday, August 7th.

I also need to say a huge thanks to some super awesome people, who encouraged me along the way!! My hubs and daughter both literally pushed me to go faster!! One of the sweetest friends I have, who walked through the insecurities with me (FYI - you know who you are, and you best be getting to some writing yourself!! Luv ya!). My besties who kept asking me 'why not'? My mom, who originally edited the whole thing for me, and encouraged me to DO something with it years ago.

If you are sitting on something that meant a lot to you, and you are passionate about, let me encourage you to get up and move forward. No matter how scared or insecure you may be, taking the first step is often the only way to overcome it!!!

I hope you all enjoy!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Simplify Your Life Week

Since my world seems to be one of irony currently, let me share this week’s ironic occurrence shall I?

This week, the first week of August, has been designated National Simplify Your Life Week. I HAD a brilliant post planned for Monday. Today is Thursday, more than half-way through the week. This is the first chance I have had to sit down. This is not the brilliant post.

It continues: As I was learning some amazing things about patience and waiting, and scheduling margin into my life for the unexpected, we had at least FOUR (yes, you counted correctly and I’m pretty sure it’s actually a larger number) unexpected things come up, all of which required less simplified, and more chaotic, as we shifted, moved, and re-created margin.

Then, my chronic illness reared its head, despite my actual and for real, scheduling of it. This week, was to be a week of rest, as next week will be a week of no rest. (I learned years ago, that if I know my schedule will be especially hectic one week, I will need to literally plan rest time immediately prior to, and immediately following, extreme busy. Otherwise, I will head into relapse land, which leads to nothing positive, at all, ever.)

So, it is Thursday, I am pretty much wiped out, during Simplify Your Life week, despite my best efforts. And since I believe in transparency and honesty – WHAT A STUPID WEEK FOR IRONY!

The most ironic part of it all though, is I don’t actually think it’s stupid! I have laughed over and over! I just got done sharing with you all, how God’s time and plan don’t always match mine, but that was okay because it was okay!!

All the planning in the world, all the simplifying and organizing and creating margin doesn’t ACTUALLY do you any good when the unexpected happens. Whether it is positive or negative unexpected, it can still create utter chaos and stress.

I believe that the truest way to simplify one’s life is to let go of unnecessary expectations. Quit worrying about the dust that is collecting on the shelf. (Seriously, unless you have an entire group of OCD people that don’t actually know you, coming to visit, who really cares? Just so you know, I personally care very much about the dust, but in the long run I have learned I would rather spend my time caring about people and not dust.)

Stop worrying about impressing others, creating a picture perfect life, trying to do it all. First, you simply cannot do it all. Ever. (You do know that all those perfect pictures in magazines are staged, right?)

Second, decide which things really matter. Dust doesn’t matter, people matter. Mac & cheese with a can of mixed fruit for the side, when you can’t stand up long enough to make anything else is a GREAT dinner. Heck, the $$ menu is even better! It doesn’t matter what someone else thinks about how you feed your kids tonight – it’s food. They’re eating. You fed them. Case closed.

My ‘brilliant’ post of Monday looks nothing like today’s. I think that was the point.
PS - I could stand up today, so we had asparagus and steak. Last night I was grocery shopping, so everyone picked their dinner and put it in the cart. See, simple.  

Stuffed Mushrooms

'Tis the season for baking, cooking, roasts, etc… The cold weather always leads me into my kitchen, with a need to create hot, warm, fi...