Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the itch

I've got the itch to be in my garden. It's rather overwhelming at times. I honestly could do away with all other necessary activities today and just get out there to have my hands in the dirt. I bought my seed plants yesterday (tomatos, rosemary, basil, cucumbers and peppers).

They are calling to me to plant them.

Unfortunately, the location where I'm going to plant them is currently occupied by two flowering shrubs that we wintered in my vegetable garden (we planted the entire plastic pot and plant into the ground) and since it requires massive muscle strength to remove them, I must be satisfied to thin out the perennials and do some weeding until the weekend when hubby is home and can remove said pots.

Unless I plant the yellow pansies I also bought on sale, in the front...

I'm pretty happy with the progress we've been making outside. We finally demolished the eyesore of a fire oven that we had (it did not work and was dead center in the yard).

We created a new fire pit in the back corner (well, we started to dig the hole and cut down two plum trees that were in the way - and for you tree lovers out there, rest assured, we Heaslips always plant more trees than we cut down).

I weeded 75% of the veggie garden and beds, and prepped the baskets and flower boxes (even though the May 24 weekend is still weeks away). We cut down a dead tree in front of our shed (we're undecided what kind of tree to replace it with - peabush? flowering pear? lilac standard? - too many choices) I've also bought some dirt (not nearly all of it), and replaced some worn gardening tools.

"Geepa Jim" was a big help and installed my hose hook. He also started the boys sandbox last weekend (this I'm rejoicing over as they kept wanting to "dig like mommy" and would pull up all my plants.

current sandbox "aka" - my raised garden; future sandbox

... I also moved a bunch of misplaced plants and rocks to better locations. Chris gave the yard it's first cut. (as an aside, this led to the cleaning of the garage and the checking and restocking of the camping gear) - I definately must blog about camping in the future.

In the landscaping beds, I get unusually happy looking at the fruits of my labours last fall - the tulips and daffodils are out in full, and the crabapple we planted is just about ready to blossom, and i can see my lilac budding.

Last SummerApril 2010

The sumac, hydrangeas and rosebushes wintered really well too. The perennials need some love - some are skinny, some are monsters (peonies, mums, hostas).

These are both peonies, the green one I planted, thinking it was dead but what the heck, and it came back - the purple one showed up this spring, after I cut down another bush in its place last fall (weird). The raspberry, strawberries and blue berries seem to be doing well too. Probably by next week the ground will be warm enough to plant some more - even though i just read that I can plant my spinach and lettuce now (and every two weeks until the fall - land sakes!)

There is something about being out there that just meets a need that I didn't even know was there - like deep inside of me. I am very relaxed in the garden - it's very calming for me, and I feel very fulfilled when i can cook or can the harvest I grow. Maybe it's because I have a "farming gene" - my Papoo (grandpa) was a farmer in Greece. My dad, he was an avid gardener too. I hadn't discovered just how much joy and pleasure it brings until the last 2 years in having a veggie garden...too bad I discovered it so late, I'm sure we would have shared many talks about it.

Now that I think about it, Chris and I were always happiest working on our gardens at the other two houses too. Not veggies but the flowers and landscaping. Maybe it has to do with his getting so many awesome plants from work for pennies or free. A definite perk of the job...
Anyways, as much as I've gotten done, there is so much more to do and since I'm sure there will be posts to come on the subject of my garden, i should really get out there and do some more! :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting it Together

If you want to peek my interest, or get me excited in any way - mention the word ORGANIZATION and then begin to talk about something that helps you stay or get organized, and I am hooked.

I think that the more organized one is, the more they can do and enjoy in a day. I actually schedule rest times in my day - time outs so to speak to just have tea, chat with a friend, play with my kids, etc. You know, those moments that just seem to pass us by? I think they pass us by because we don't PLAN.

I also believe that being organized does not look the same in every house, or every life, but the fruit is the same. A truly organized person is generally content and at peace most of the time - better yet, it rubs off on those around them. They will have peaceful homes and pretty balanced kids most of the time. I must re-iterate that no one is perfect and everyone experiences "dis"organization at times - at the hands of someone else, or their own folly. :) However, I find for organized people, this is not as often.

I also believe that how we do anything is how we do everything. If you organize your time (daily schedule/calendar), it will be effected by how you organize your home, your office, your family, your meals, your holidays, etc. which in turn effects how much you enjoy your life.

I also believe that to stay organized, one must have two non-negotiable skills - flexibility and discernment. Flexibility is a necessity because in life - things are CONSTANTLY changing, and we have to be able to go with the flow - and keep organized. Discernment is needed to be able to know when to stick with something, and when to adjust. Furthermore - knowing how to adjust to the change. The kicker is, that usually just as you've gotten something in order... life throws some change at you, to challenge that order. We all have choices, we can progressively get angrier and angrier and develop health issues, or we can complain and fall down and cry all the time - thereby alienating our friends (aka support system) or we can roll with the punches, adjust and later, laugh about it over coffee.

So at the risk of sounding to "preachy" - I am just so very very passionate about organization - it's almost an obsession... there's just something so amazing about making sense of chaos... there i go again... anyways, I'm sure that there will be more blogs on this to come...

Some of my favourite organizing tools? Here you go:

IKEA Home Organizing Systems
Though I still don't own one in entirety, I love these systems and drool over the catalogue as well as take my time in this department of the store.

Mabel's Label's are a must for keeping track of "Stuff" everything from your bins, spices, tubs in the kitchen or laundry room, wires behind the tv, clothes, kids stuff, etc.

Polestar Planners - for planning your life out, this is the best agenda I've come across. My personal favourite is the version simply titled Polestar Planner. Though I like the Family Planner Format, I find that I like the smaller size, and the content versatility because I also work part time and own a business.

For organizing the "extras" is a great resource, and this book by a similar title, but not the same author was something I picked up years ago and have used repeatedly. I just created my own forms on the computer that I print out:

For Family-Traditions/ Holidays Organizing - I love Emilie Barnes Books and Website:

I also love Sarah Ban Breathnach - Simple Abundance - for scheduling moments to enjoy life, the seasons and the people in it.

Specifically for Christmas, I purchased this book last year, and LOVE IT. Simplify the Holidays
Finally, to organize the kids: Accountable Kids - it pretty much speaks for itself.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tools for Healthy Marriage Maintenance

I copied these from a Christian fiction book series that I really enjoyed reading, I found them to be an awesome reminder for everyday - it's up in my kitchen.

Ten Secrets to a Happy Marriage

1. God has you here to serve one another. Love acted out, is serving.

2. Women need respect and nurturing. Love your wife so she knows you’d lay your life down for her. Continue to date her and admire her. Share a hobby – find something you can do to have fun together.

3. Laugh often.

4. Be patient. Love crumbles quickly under the weight of unmet expectations.

5. Spend more time trying to fix yourself than your spouse.

6. Keep short accounts. The Bible says, “Do not let the sun go down while you` are angry.” Make it a habit to forgive.

7. Determine up front that divorce is not an option.

8. Learn about the love languages. Not all people show or receive it the same way. They are fairly simple: acts of service, time, physical touch, gifts and words of affirmation. Learn them. Love is better received when it’s in the language that person speaks.

9. Words of affirmation are a love language for all men.

10. Men are born to be leaders. He cannot lead unless she gives him the confidence to do so. If you love your husband, build him up. Confident men do not seek love outside the home.

This is also up in my kitchen - when I want to gripe about how my husband is not "measuring up" - I read this, and ask myself if I am.

Proverbs 31 (Amplified Bible)

A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman--who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.

The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.

She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.

She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it].

She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her household's food from a far [country].

She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks.

She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.

She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.

She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].

She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit]. S

he fears not the snow for her family, for all her household are doubly clothed in scarlet.

She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made].

Her husband is known in the [city's] gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes fine linen garments and leads others to buy them; she delivers to the merchants girdles [or sashes that free one up for service].

Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!

She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].

She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.

Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying],

Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.

Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!

Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city]!

*If you really want a challenge, try reading it in the Message Bible.

Anyways, those are some of the tips I use on a regular basis, they are as I mentioned, posted in my kitchen so I can read them time and again, and hopefully walk in them as I mature in grace :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What's been going on...

To be fair, I stole this from an email I sent out recently to an old friend who lives too far away, but why try to retype an update on my life (career in this case) when you've already done it?

So here it is: I've given up leading the Music Ministry at our church. Tuesday was my last day. It took almost a year to get to the decision as God was working his vision into my heart for my life. It's been 16 years, so I have no problem saying so long and farewell, though I love the people so, and I supposed I will always love to sing and lead worship... it was time to move on.

I started to think about significance - what do I want to give another 10 or 15 years to? I want it to matter, and be what God's been preparing me for. I started thinking about where my kids will be in 10 years (teens argh!) so I want what I focus on to make a difference in their lives, and still reach outside of the church. I want them to be really "living life" and knowing Jesus. As i was saying, it took a year for me to begin to see again the dreams that He planted in my heart when I was 16 and again at 23 (or before that for all I know).

So now what? You are going to laugh...I'm taking over leadership of the Children's Ministry (I"m laughing at how absurd that sounds). However, we're re-focusing it to embrace ministry to "the Family" - have yet to come up with a name. In 6 weeks we'll move forward to start ministering to the entire family - marriages, kids, single parents, grandparents, etc.

I've got lot's of plans, some already started - a praying wives group (praying for our husbands weekly); an annual Motherhood Conference, monthly family "dates" - we've already done skating, a superbowl party, and harvest party. We'll be hosting mini-events (a princess party for girls, a superheros party for boys - a tween girls esteem building day), etc. A friend in the church already runs monthly date nights for married/engaged couples, and we're starting up a 6 week bible study through Focus on the Family for marriage building that will be ongoing as people catch the vision and importance. We just hosted our first Family Service this past Sunday morning, and it was great...we change the whole morning service to accomodate the entire family being together for the whole hour and meeting Jesus together.

I'll be partnering a lot of the projects with the non-profit/ non-religious organization my hubby started up with our Pastor called Elevate Niagara so that we have an open door to work with schools and recieve Government funding, etc...

We'll also be launching several summer and afterschool outreach programs for kids (there's already a successful Jr.Youth program that hosts these currently)

I'm probably the most excited about the summer programs because they will involve developing a youth mentoring/leadership initiative (like the one I was a part of as a teen) - we'll hire and train teens to run the programs, camps and events - blessing the family and all of Niagara. Down the road i see Music, Arts, Drama, Sports, Wilderness, etc. camps, as well as day programs, leadership development events and family focused camps (like father-son/ mother-daughter weekends) and winter camps. It's way bigger than my words seem to be able to contain and way bigger for me to EVER be able to do on my own - but definately worth giving everything to...

So - I'm crazy I know, and this is all when I'm super tired and just wanting to take a "break", but once you get the fire of vision ignited - there ain't no time to slow down...and somehow in the midst of this, whenever I think about it (all the time) - my energy comes back and is multiplied.

breathe, breathe, breathe...

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