Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Learning to Enjoy Life at 57

There was a time, as a new bride, that 'enjoying life' was very high on my priority list. In fact, it was such a high priority that my dishes were often left undone, beds were not made and a lot of my homemaking necessities were set aside in pursuit of fun. My life was lived for what I thought would bring ME happiness.

Celebrating 31 years of marriage

The irony of my self-focus was that it did NOT bring happiness. It oftentimes caused conflict and strife in my marriage because my husband's needs were not met. Or I would be embarrassed if someone showed up unannounced and then fret and stew over what they may have thought of my unkept home. Living for my own pleasure was a sure fire plan for misery, no matter what the enemy tried to tell me.

My priorities changed over the years. The decision to homeschool and run a home-based business forced some major changes in my daily schedule.  Taking better care of my responsibilities became important because I learned that I could bring glory to God in my daily work.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV 

Easter egg hunt
This was a good thing... a work of God in my life... but somewhere along the way the pendulum swung the opposite direction and I lost finding joy in my days. I also found I resented my workload at times. I have sensed for a time that I needed to make some changes.

More Easter eggs

I decided to go on a treasure hunt each day to find God's gifts! A treasure hunt for joy but not at the neglect of my responsibilities. The first change I've made is taking a little break in the afternoons.  I close my bedroom drapes, snuggle deep under my bed covers, turn on my heating pad and grab my newest Christian novel. Yep, a novel! Not a book on counseling, or theology or anything instructional. An easy to read Christian novel about life in a small town with some quirky characters.  This special time gives me something to look forward to each day. I can't tell you what a great pocket of joy this has brought into my life. I am learning to enjoy life again at 57. Imagine that!

It's such a luxury and I thank God for every single minute of it.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 ESV

Monthly Sewing Bee at my house

Do you have something you look forward to each day? Does it cause your heart to be lifted to God in thankfulness? I'd love to hear what it is! (Don't you think that even a busy mother with a houseful of children or a working mother can look for pockets of joy in her daily life? )


A Typical Frugal Day! 
(Click on this link for more frugal ideas)

Here are a few things I've been working on this month:

1.  The summer months are here which means I'm back to my schedule of washing our little truck once a week. California is in a drought so I try to conserve water by using 2 buckets... one to wash and one to rinse. We get fined if the water runs into the street for longer than 5 minutes so I must be careful. I bought a large bottle of car washing liquid at Walmart YEARS ago. I use one capful per bucket and it puts a nice shine on my truck. I have saved a fortune by washing my own vehicles over the years. I keep a little whisk broom in the back seat to brush out crumbs on the floor. I found 2 cloth pouches with flaps at the dollar store. I keep them in the side compartment of the door for trash. 

A fun day with the family at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor

2. I bought a new pair of shoes last month. I saved the sturdy box, cut off the top and used it as a drawer divider. I keep a larger box in the garage to store small boxes until I find a use for them.

3. I'm finding more ways to COOK ONCE, EAT TWICE or more. We eat tacos once a week at my husband's request. So, I've decided to fry up 4 pounds of hamburger all at once to freeze instead of doing it once a week. It saves time, water and dish soap (only washing one frying pan). I'm looking for more and more ways to make life a bit easier around here as we grow older.

4. I was given some body spray as a gift. I love the fragrance but I don't use body sprays so I'm using the spray as a room freshener in the bathroom. It seems there is always an alternative way to use an unused item. 

Silly grandson! He loves to make people laugh!

5. I continue to buy one package of white socks for my husband out of each paycheck so that someday I will have a full load of 'whites' which will save water and money in the long run.

6. I made one large batch of Atkins Meatloaf and divided it into 4 meals for the freezer. This is one of my 'fast food' meals when I'm too busy to cook.

7.  I own 2 independent cats and one needy dog. I TRY to brush them daily to keep the hair loss down. But, their hair still can be a nuisance.  I keep a box of old sheets, curtains and thin blankets in the garage. I use these to cover their pet beds and any place they sleep. I change the coverings once a week. I shake them out on the lawn before I wash them and then run an extra rinse cycle with vinegar to clean my washing machine. The smaller and thinner material is easier to wash than the entire bedspread or the fee to have my furniture cleaned. Plus, it helps keep fleas under control by regularly washing their bedding. 

My grandson reading Resurrection Egg scriptures

8.   I made this recipe a few weeks ago. My husband thought it was Fried Rice (and I didn't correct him) and loved it. Honestly, I couldn't tell the difference, either. Much healthier than the original recipe with all the carbs.

Cauliflower Fried 'Rice'


2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sesame oil, divided
4 cups cubed pork loin
6 green onions, sliced
1 large carrot, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
20 ounces shredded cauliflower
6 tablespoons soy sauce
2 eggs, beaten
1. Stir peas and water together in a saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook and stir until peas are tender and heated through, about 5 minutes. Drain and discard water.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Cook and stir pork in hot oil until lightly browned on all sides and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate.
3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil the wok. Saute green onions, carrot, and garlic in hot oil until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower; cook and stir until cauliflower had a tender but firm to the bite, 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Stir pork and soy sauce into cauliflower mixture and stir-fry until mixture is hot and slightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Move pork-cauliflower mixture to one side of the wok; pour beaten eggs onto empty side. Scramble eggs until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes; stir cooked eggs into the pork-cauliflower mixture, breaking up any large chunks.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2015 Allrecipes.com   

Swiss Chard survived the winter
9. I used 4 Altoid containers to prop up my computer to let the air flow underneath so it wouldn't overheat. 

10. I've made some large meat purchases because the price was rock bottom low.  Hams went on sale for .99 cents a pound during Easter so I bought 2 of them to freeze for company. Spareribs went on sale for $1.29 a pound so I purchased 2 large slabs and then cut them into smaller portions to freeze. I try to buy meat at it's lowest price and stock up. I also use the ham for lunch meat which is so much cheaper than packaged lunch meat. My freezer is full! Praise God!

Saved, Stretched and Repurposed

~ Bacon grease (I put it in a jar in the fridge and use for flavor when sauteeing vegetables)
~ Envelopes (store seeds)
~ Egg cartons,cardboard kind (compost)
~ Vegetable and fruit peels, egg shells (compost)
~  Rubber bands from radishes (washed and reused)
~ Vegetable bags from grocery store
~ Coffee grounds (fertilizer for roses)
~ Water added to last bit of shampoo
~ Leftover ice tea used for hot tea instead of Earl Grey in the mornings.
~ Cut a restaurant meal in half to take home and use for lunch the next day. 
~ My neighbor saves her newspapers for me. I use them to put under the cat box and line garbage cans. She also gives me her coupons.
~ I saved the first cold water from the faucet while waiting for the hot water. I poured it into a bucket on the porch to water the herbs. 
~ I used 1/4 amount of suggested amount of fabric softener. Just enough to help the towels smell good. 
~ Blank back of paper, cut in squares and used for scrap paper. I keep a stack in most rooms to write down notes before my old brain forgets. :)
~ Paper bags from grocery store used to ripen fruit. 

I look forward to hearing if you have captured pockets of joy in your day. I'm hoping we can learn from each other as we find more ways to find joy in this life that God has graciously given us. 

Blessed to be home,


John Piper wrote: You are selling your soul for a bowl of oatmeal when you want God to just meet your earthly needs and call that love. That is not love. Love is when God frees you from your love affair with yourself and frees you to enjoy making much of him forever. You were made to know and love God. You know this is true. You stand by the seacoast. You stand by the edge of the Grand Canyon. You stand with your eye to a telescope, the Hubble telescope pictures or whatever. You stand there and you find your soul drawn out of yourself. And for a brief moment you are free from self-consciousness and self-absorption and it is the most full, satisfying, deep, wonderful moment and it will be forever if God is the universe and God is the Grand Canyon and God is the ocean. That is why you were made.


  1. I am always encouraged when I read your posts. Thank you!

  2. I was glad to get the idea from you to roll my washed out bags over a cardboard tube. Thankyou (that was you right?)

    I have just had an awful time with sticking to diets. So I started to just make a salad for our lunch every day. Today I began making them for lunch and for dinner. :) Much better meal and since I am making these only my grocery bill was a lot smaller today. I also no longer buy any kind of bags--except big trash bags.

    I wanted to find some ways I could give-- since I do not have my own income right now, In a sort of unequal yoke-- I had to get permission to give to church for the churches needs and for other needs. I asked my husband to tell me what amount I may give and I will stick to that. But he said if wanted to sell some of my things I could give that as well. so I think I will do that. I may begin with my cookbook collection, just keep my most favorite ones.

    I've been mending and ironing. I have a little min sew machine that I hope to use to make doll clothes for my grands. I get toys for the local to me grands at the thrift store.

    I have enough toys here, so since their folks are separated and did not have enough to share I gave some of those and I think I will give more.

    If I cannot sleep at night I look around to see if there is a chore to do before I sit down. If am not feeling well I usually sleep in a recliner--which is where I'll be tonight. I've just washedup dishes and dried laundry. so I'll fold clothes before I sleep.

    1. You are so industrious, Mary! I'm always amazed at what you get done while living in so much pain. You are an encouragement!

  3. What a splendid idea - carving out some time for enjoyment in the afternoon! So are you reading Jan Karon? Or would you share a title or two? Those are "my" kind of fiction :) I truly needed this reminder right now at this stage in life. Thanks.

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      Yes, you guessed it! :-) I am reading the first book of Jan Karon's. I'm almost finished. I enjoyed it very much!

      I hope you are finding some 'pockets of joy'.

  4. Great post!! Thank you for sharing your life and frugal ways.


  5. Hello Georgene,

    It is so wonderful to hear that you are rediscovering "pockets of joy" in your daily life. I too have gone through seasons where I forgot to slow down and enjoy the small things that bring me joy. Congratulations.


    1. Hi Mrs. B.
      It's easy to forget to slow down. It's sure a learning process for me! :-)

  6. I'm 56 and I live in north county San Diego! Where in CA do you live? I'm not sure I've read your blog before, but it came through my feedly feed and I really enjoyed it since we are so much alike! Great frugal ideas. When I write about frugality or being a keeper at home, women seem to like them the most!

    1. Hi Lori,
      We have 'connected' before through this blog and through yours. :-) It does get confusing with so many blogs to visit. I'm glad to hear from you, again!

  7. Hello Georgene, it is wonderful that you are finding joy once again in your days. I find two things can give me joy when other things can't. First is reading. I love to read but sometimes I go through periods where I don't want to read (or can't). I also like to go for a walk and enjoy the green grass, trees and nature. The small pockets of it in the city give me a lot of pleasure. I sometimes photograph it for my blog.

    Have a wonderful day and continue reading. xx

    1. Hello!
      Yes, reading is one of my favorite joys! If I have extra money then I love to spend it on a good book. Thanks for sharing your joys in life!

  8. p.s. I forgot to ask what are you all doing in the back yard with the sewing machines?

    1. We started a 'Quilting Bee' a few months ago. We're each working on our own projects. Three are working on quilts and I'm working on Christmas gifts (since I finished my quilt last month).

      Thanks for asking! :-)

  9. Hello, Georgene! I discovered your blog a while back and have greatly enjoyed it, but this is my first time to leave a comment. My 'pocket of joy' is puttering in my garden, taking photos of God's beautiful creation, and visiting sweet blogs such as yours. :)

    1. Hi Nana,
      I'm glad to meet you!

      It sounds like you have found a few wonderful ways to find your own 'pockets of joy'. Good for you!

      Thank you for leaving a comment! I always enjoy meeting new friends.

  10. Great post Georgene :) This winter I started putting together jigsaw puzzles over the noon hour. I get them free from the library. I pull the card table in front of the TV, have the noon hour episode of Gunsmoke on and puzzle away. I love it. That's my time and also the hour a day I spend going over my favorite blogs. Nannie

    1. Hi, Nannie!

      I really enjoy working jigsaw puzzles. My father and mother have always had a puzzle in the making.

      I'm glad you find ways to enjoy your day!

  11. I love a good book too however my quite time is spending time quilting. It's my downtime, my time to enjoy the simple art. Great post!

    1. Your quilts are always so fun to see on your blog post! You have quite the gift!

      Good to hear from you!

  12. I use leftover taco meat for spaghetti sauce the next day.

  13. Hi Georgene, I am 57 too and I was born at the very end of 1957 so 57 seems like a special year.
    Your yard and garden are both beautiful, you have made great use of the water you do have. The outdoor sewing bee looks like so much fun.m
    When We lived aboard Camp Pendleton, I often sat in our front yard and hand quilted or did other handwork while I watched my children play. Good memories!

    1. Hi Rhonda!
      We're the same age by a few months. :-) My birthday is in the middle of the year.

      Your memories of hand quilting in your front yard sound wonderful! I hope you can find some new 'pockets of joy' in this season of life.

  14. Hello, I have not seen a Farrells ice cream parlor since I was a teenager! We used to go when we were in Orlando. Glad to know they still exist. I love to write letters and I have several pen pals. If possible I try to write letters in the morning while enjoying my coffee.

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I think it's wonderful that you write letters to pen pals. Do you type the letters or hand write? It's definitely a lost art.

  15. Always look forward to your posts Georgene.
    Thanks for sharing what you do.
    Best wishes,
    Angela (Devon)

  16. Funny that you should mention little things that you look forward to each day. For me it is going on Facebook to see what my DIL has posted that day about my grandkids. She shares pictures, videos and some of the things that they say in the course of the day. It never fails to bring a smile and a giggle!

    1. Hi Debbie,
      I agree with you! Seeing current posts of grandchildren is a HUGE 'pocket of joy'. :-)

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  18. Hello Georgene, I'm going to start making some "pocket of joy" moments for myself each day. I know I have many I've just not been recognizing them lately. So I plan to start tomorrow. Thank you reminding me to do just that. I am always saving my vegetable scraps for my neighbor daughter chickens, in return I get fresh eggs as needed. I enjoyed your post. Blessings friend ♡

    1. Hi Shelley,
      What a great trade you are making with your neighbor. There is nothing like fresh eggs. The yolks are such a deep, rich color. I hope you are making time for 'pockets of joy'. :-)

  19. Georgene, message me your address through the customer contact form at lindaborn.com and I'll send you a complimentary copy of my novel about a small town full of quirky but lovable characters, entitled The Children Are Tender. Would love to think of you reading it during your respite time. I envisioned it ministering in this way when I was writing it!

    1. Oh, Linda! What a generous and kind offer. I'm so sorry it's taken so long to respond to your message. I didn't receive an email notifying me that you had sent me a note. I sent my address through your website. Thank you, thank you!!!

  20. Hello frugal friends! My apologies -- this comment is a bit off topic. This is a question for Georgene and any other commenters or blog followers who have downsized their home or moved into a less prestigious neighborhood in order to save money. Were you afraid of higher crime rates in the area you moved to? If so, how did you overcome that fear? I would be living alone, and I think that amps up the fear factor for me a bit. Any thoughts or advice you could share would be much appreciated. Thank you, and God bless!

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      Yes, I was a bit concerned when we first moved to this older neighborhood. I have been blessed with wonderful neighbors surrounding my home. The neighbors on both sides watch our place and we watch theirs. We help each other and share veggies. I feel as safe in this neighborhood as I have any other place I have lived. I hope that helps.

    2. Thank you, Georgene! It really does help to hear that.

  21. I loved reading this! The pictures are lovely. God bless you!
    - Mrs. White

  22. I just turned 58 on 7/4. Life takes on a different meaning at different times in our lives. I'm striving to do what I enjoy, and that which brings pleasure to my family. Time becomes more precious, and I make choices on what I choose to spend my time and energies on. I love how you read with your heating pad. I have one and it is a constant companion, I read and crochet on mine. Simple Pleasures are most definately the best. I enjoy your posts.


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