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.