the unpredictable life

Since my return to the workforce in January 2015, I have been absolutely not keeping up on this blog.  I have only really written about hoe busy, hard, tiring life has become.  While I never intend to be phony, or over enthusiastic about the truths of these feelings, I certainly don’t want this to be a place for whining.  I will be honest here for a moment.  This blog will not be what it once was.

I will post things about our (very small) garden, our family, our fun.  It simply won’t be the same.

I’m a working mom.  I’m a college student. Our kids are now in public school.  I’m on my way to be a firefighter/EMT.  Nick is no longer a pastor.

Our life is wholly and completely changed from what it once was two years ago.  I cannot see it being the same again.

Life is unpredictable.

I have often thought of posting here over the months.  The truth is I wasn’t sure how it would be received by you.  What I write about won’t be the same or what I think you expect.  So, if it’s okay with you, I’m going to write about what our life is now.  I may not write any knitting patterns soon, but I may pull off a project or two a year (not a month). The name of this blog might not make sense all the time, but we’re too far along to go back now.  It’s been 7 years!!  Thank you for staying with me.  We will still farm, and fun, and mom here.  I think you will like some of the new topics as well.

If you want to see what we’ve been doing this summer catch up on our YouTube vlogs.

I am simply going to write about us.  Our life right now.  Let’s begin (again).

when life laughs at you…persevere

I think it’s important not to take yourself too seriously.  In light of my last post, a follow-up is necessary.  For the past few months I have been the front-of-house manager for one of most popular restaurants in our area.  I mentioned in the last post how much I love the problem solving, right?  Yes.  Did I also say how much chaos is my thing?  Yeah.  I did.  Oh. My.  I love when I eat my own words.  It’s tastes great!

Here’s the deal.  I like to take crazy and make it make sense.  I’ve been pretty good at my job thus far.  Busy days are my favorite.  I like the feeling of stepping in when everything hits the fan, fixing it, and no guest in our restaurant even notices.  I usually laugh hysterically when several people come to me at once with what they feel are end-of-world problems.  I don’t laugh at them.  I laugh at how nuts things can get.  I usually take a deep breath, roll up my sleeves, and start putting out fires.  One by one in order of priority, I fix things.  Yesterday, things got a bit too much.  Even this chaos-seeker couldn’t get the fires under control.

It all started at noon.  I got a call from the busser.  Car problems.  He’ll be an hour or so late tonight.  No problem here.  Due to budget cuts, I was scheduled as the hostess.  No big deal.  I can buss and host.  Solved.  When I got to work, more little fires. BAM!  Taken care of in the first hour.  I was thinking it was a crazy start to a Monday, but things were quiet.  Business was slow.  A sick server’s shift got covered, another needed the next day off.  No problem.  Move this one here, and that one there.  Done.  Sometimes things get hairy.  That’s the way it is in the restaurant biz.  Just Saturday I was talking with a cooks’ father who was in town from Florida.  He’s had a successful restaurant in Syracuse for thirty years.  We chatted about how it is hard at times.  It’s just the way it is.

Everything at work stayed quiet the rest of the day.  Too quiet, in fact.  By four PM I was so bored I actually said out loud that I wished to bar would explode so I’d have something to do.  To give you some background on that statement, let me tell you that my first day managing we had a loud gun-shot sound in the middle of the dinner rush.  Turns out the bartender caught the edge of the bar glass with a wine bottle.  A six foot section of the bar burst into a ba-gillion tiny pieces.  Right under a hotel insurance adjusters’ dinner.  Yeah.  It’s gets crazy.  It always happens right when the restaurant is full too.

So, I’m so bored yesterday that I asked for an explosive mess.

I got it.

The busser let me know that he’ll be even later.  The restaurant was starting to fill and my servers were getting a bit frazzled.  I let him know to just get in when he can.  They would love his help cleaning up later.  I proceeded to the bar to make some drinks, wondering where the bar tender was.  At this point I was wondering if he was coming at all.  As I made a few drinks, the look on the servers faces was getting panicked.  The restaurant was filling very quickly.  I was tending to the bar folk to relieve their stress.  I was getting that feeling that things were slipping from me.  I couldn’t leave where I was…too much to do.

Muddling drinks in the midst of a “situation” feels like waiting for water to boil.  The time seems to never end.  I knew I needed to walk the floor and check on my servers, but the drink orders kept coming!  I got up and couldn’t get out from behind the bar.  I spied the pizza server and knew she could make drinks.  I called her over and let her loose.  I served pizzas for her and ran through the kitchen to check the schedule.

Just as I suspected.  Bar tender was an hour late, and now fired!  Okay, no bar tender tonight.  Things are getting nuts!

Throw in the fact that the service is getting slower, we’re on a wait list, and another local restaurant owner was very unhappy with his experience…that all adds up to this manager feeling like a failure.

Who’s that I spy?  An off-duty bartender walking in the lobby?  Get in! Punch in, and send the pizza girl back to her side.

Here come more and more people.  Food is in the window and needs running.  Here I go.  The bartender is doing his best.  I check on cups and run more to him.  Who’s that I see?  That’s right.  The thirty year restaurateur.  He asks how I am.  Uhhhhh.  Things are a little messy tonight.

“I know.  I could tell when I walked in.”

Defeat is an ugly mental state.  It was on every face of my people that night.  Times like that you just have to push through.  I was holding on to the idea that the busser would show up at any minute to smooth things out a bit.

Then I saw a text.

He’s not coming.  Just couldn’t get here in time with all the set-backs.

More defeat on the faces of my servers.  That meant that after all the rude people, failed team member, stress of knowing you didn’t give your guest what you wanted to give, you’ll now be taking on all the closing cleaning of the busser.

I  stayed to close because I knew my servers need a lift after all that beat-down the night gave them.  I figured that if we pumped up some old-school hip-hop after closing we could get the pep in our step back.

The service settled.  The guests went as fast as they came.  When the last one left, I went straight to the music.

It wouldn’t work.

And that was the night.

At every expectation of relief or hope of it getting easier, it failed.

Isn’t life like that?  There are certain seasons, days, years, that feel so defeating.  I was downcast in my heart while still trying to  encouraging to my staff.  I determined to just push through the crappy night.  There’s a word that I learned early in my Christian walk.

Persevere.

That word has a way of lifting me and propelling me.  Sometimes by one more day.  Sometimes by one more hour.  Just a bit longer.  I have a verse on my wall that I look at and consider almost daily.

In short…persevere.

rest

I keep sitting down at the computer trying to say something of importance to you.  I come up empty.  I think back on events of the week and find nothing that stands out.  Nothing to write in this space.  For the fifth time in a week I sat again this morning, waiting for something to come.  The nothingness that followed actually became the concept.  I find myself wanting something significant to happen each day.  Something to share, a photo to take, just something out of the ordinary.  I often forget to just enjoy a regular, uneventful day.

Contentment.  That word can cut me deep.  It isn’t so much that I’m not content with my life, it’s the quiet that gets me.  The moments of rest I’m called to by God are the hardest for me.

Be still.  Know that I am God.

That has always been a struggle for me.  I’m a busy-body.  A do-er.  I like challenges and problems to solve.  Perhaps, that’s why I’ve always found myself attracted to an over-loaded schedule.  I’d rather turn down a task than not have a full plate.  It makes sense to me.  I’ve always been that way.

I like deadlines, big events, and a dollop of chaos to unravel.  I know, I’m quite strange.  It’s just how I am.  I’m built for weird.

I’ve heard of a book over the last few years that tackles such a personality as mine.  Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.  I just began to read through it last week.  This is really speaking to me.  If I could re-write the title to better fit me, I’d call it, Having a Mary Heart with a Martha Mind.

Do you also struggle in busyness?  I certainly lean more towards Workaholic than I do Laziness.

If so, I think you would enjoy this read.  I love the way she has addressed the fact that Martha isn’t less spiritual of worse than Mary.  She points out the strengths and weakness in both.

As I look for areas in my life I need to rest in, I also know that being busy isn’t a bad thing.  I just need to make sure I focus on Jesus and the path the Holy Spirit leads me down.  I pray for discernment in my life constantly.  I ask myself what taking on something else would profit me, my family, the Kingdom of Heaven.  Is it worth it (time, effort, money, energy)?

Have you any thoughts here?  What do you do to decide your life obligations and activities?  Do share!

I am learning more each day the value of quiet.  Nothing to report, ordinary, mundane, life has many lessons for me.  I am grateful for the silence.  I have found that a new challenge is always around the corner.  The rest is worth taking while I have it.

Psalm 62:5-8

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

the assiduous life

Saying the word “busy”  didn’t seem like enough to describe how much our life has changed this last year.

Assiduous.

Taxing.

Overwhelming.

In the midst of a life swirling around us, we are forced compelled to turn our trust and hope and faith in God.

There are times in this life that feel heavy and troublesome.  There are seasons that feel that way.  There are years that have that oppressing cloud over them.  This is one of those years for our family.  The light is at the end of the tunnel, though.  That little flicker of hope is shining through.  There are days I’m convinced that I’ve imagined it.  Others, I know it’s there.

What am I talking about?

Relief.

Over the past eight months I’ve gone from Stay At Home Mom to Career Mom.  Nick has gone from Sole Provider to Mr. Mom.  We are about to embark on Homeschool to Public School…again.

We’re in that awkward phase.  The one where you know it’s rough waters ahead, but you can see that sparkle at the end.  The one where if you just push a bit harder, you’ll find rest, but you know you can barely take more.

I realize there are plenty of you out there that work full-time and have children.  This is new to our family.  The change in pace and rhythm has been a challenge from the beginning.  I fully understand the strain on family ties when there are two working parents!  It just takes so much work to work.

::I’m going to insert a confession here.  This is a bit of a therapeutic post for me.  I have hardly the time or brain mass to write nowadays.  I’m putting forth the effort now because I feel I need to write.  There’s only so much my poor husband can take.  Continue on if being my Whipping Boy is fine with you.::

Here we are.  Nick on the brink of advancing at work (UPS…finally), and I in the crossroads of Can’t Quit and Worn Out.  You see, my income is drastically more than Nick’s.  In fact, if I hadn’t had the Favor of God in my workplace, I’m not sure what we would’ve done.  For some reason we simply can’t understand or see yet, Nick had a very difficult time finding a job.  Very difficult.  So, here we are.

Forced Compelled patience.

I never thought we would be here…ever.  I’m a career mom, Nick’s the main caregiver of the kids.  He makes bread (seriously) and I make work schedules.  He runs the schooling.  I run a restaurant.

Things are changing soon.  Soon, the kids will be in school, the husband will put in more time at work, I will be on the hunt for an after-school caregiver.

Never thought we’d be here.

Here we are.

Humbled by the circumstances of life.

Open to the leading of the Lord.

Re-evaluating our past convictions.

Entering into the life of an average American family.

I must say, though we never dreamed or planned or wanted this life, we are walking though it with faith.  Hope that the light that we see or imagine, flickering at the end of a dark and trying year, is really getting closer.

Just a bit more to push through.  A wee more time.  Much more work.  A true path that has been laid knowingly and intentionally by a God that has a plan.

Forward we will march on in our assiduous life.

Romans 5:3-5

Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Free Planner/Calendar Stickers

Free Planner/Calendar Stickers

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I went on a bit on a planner sticker frenzy last week.  It all started with looking for functional planner stickers, and it ended with me making a large variety of stickers.  Stickers save lots of time for me when I’m planning.  They also look cute.  Double win here!

Without further ado, here is a linked list to stickers I found for free printing.  The Pictures are the ones I made.  Please use these only for personal use.  Enjoy!  And remember, if you don’t use a planner, you can still use the stickers for your calendar.  I use these full-sheet labels to print them out.

Happy Planning!!

Wendaful has lots of cute flags, weather stickers, pet care stickers, and tons more!

Lily Pullitzer inspired stickers found at Planner Palooza.

My stickers:

target youtube

SM cameras

SM band stickers

knitting yarn

doc and PT

dentist

banners

awana

christmas in june: homeschool goodies have arrived!

It’s that time of year all the homeschool geeks look forward to.  Curriculum purchases.  Throughout the school year I research and plan and drool over what we’ll do next year.   I try to adjust to the needs of each child, find the best deals possible, and buy a few items that are NOT curriculum to enhance our homeschool collection.

In years past I have bought a laminator, microscope, learning kits (butterfly pavilions, ect), high quality art supplies– this year it was 3 computers.  They were $200 each!  Thank heaven for tax returns.  The reason behind that purchase was a new curriculum for my 3rd, 5th, and 7th graders.

Switched on Schoolhouse (SOS) is what I landed on for the older 3.  The most important reason behind it was the fact that I’m working full-time.  I needed something that would literally teach them for me.  They will still need some guidance and questions answered, but this form of schooling is what will work best for our family life.  It grades automatically (glory hallelujah!), lists their daily assignments, and I can customize the school schedule any way I please.  It’s a bit on the pricey side in my opinion.  $400 for 5 subjects (Bible, math, language arts, history/geography, and science), but I am very excited that the will be getting a full and comprehensive education with very little prep on my part.

The younger 2 will be using LifePac by the same company, Alpha Omega Publishing.  I have never used that either.  It’s self-teaching as well for readers.  It’s very easy to teach Kindergarten from what I can see.  Therefore, Nick will be able to read and guide the little guy if work takes me away before we finish for the day.  That was an important element for us as a family this year.  It must all be streamlined so anyone (even a babysitter) can help the kids.

Liv has decided she wants to start school right away.  Our projected date for the new year is July 20.  It’s couple weeks earlier than the public schools which gives us a head start and the ability to take breaks when we want.  Everyone’s jazzed about the new learning setup.  Including this super excited nerd mom.

IMG_2885 IMG_2886What have you picked for the upcoming year?  Do you school year-round?  What tips do you have for other homeschool mamas?

yarn along

It’s been the longest stretch of no knits I’ve had in five years!  Partly due to busyness, partly to lack of yarn, it’s been a couple of months since I touched any knitting.  I’m happy to announce that I broke down and bought the yarn I needed to finally finish the updated version of Stripe the Squares, Baby!  Yay, me!  I can’t wait to feel that wool between my fingers again.

did finish The Three Musketeers recently.  Double yay.  I’m a fan of classic writing.  After spending so many months in the mind of Dumas, I needed some easy reading.  Currently on the night stand is 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs.  I believe it’s number thirteen in her Temperance Brennan series.  Yes, I’ve read them all.  In order.  Like a nerd.

What’s on your needles?  Have you read a good book lately?  Please share.  You can join the Yarn Along by clicking the link above.  Happy yarning friends!

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