Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Makeover! My Blog Has a Brand New Look!

Life on Purpose and Principle has undergone a complete makeover! You can find me now at Oh Sweet Mercy, come on over and check out the new look!

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Committment...

I just purchased a domain name. It's mine for a year. It's a committment!

God has given me a love for writing and photography, and while this blog has been fun and relatively easy, it is time to streamline my stream of consciousness into one place. I've cut the clutter in my house dramatically, it's time for some cyber-decluttering as well. 

Thankfully, I have a friend that can help me with this process. Because I don't have a clue what I'm doing! She swears I will love wordpress (which I have always hated), we'll see. In the mean time, stay tuned for changes and The Big Move to my (soon to be announced) new domain. 

If you'll excuse me, I will now go freak out. Just for a minute.

Good night!

Booksneeze Review! Downside Up by Tracey Mitchell

I just devoured this book!! Hop on over to my Book Review blog and read why, then get yourself a copy! Just click on the image of the cover...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Grandbabies, Moving, a Marriage and a Graduate...Oh My!

Today is June 15, so we are half way through the month that marks the halfway point of the year. That means that six months of 2013 are gone. History. What? How did that happen? Where have I been? Well, I've become a grandma, a mother-in-law, drastically downsized, and celebrated my youngest stepson's graduation. All within four months. Doesn't seem like that much to look at what I just typed but mercy-sakes-alive I feel like I've just escaped a hurricane...albeit mostly unscathed. 

I've wanted to blog more, but there just hasn't been time. Too much to do! I can't remember too much of the first quarter of the year...I was holed up and hibernating as usual. Except for March 28, when our first grandchild was born. No way I'd forget that! That little guy started out at 4 lbs and 7 oz...

Grandpa and Jr, just a couple days old
and soooo tiny!

...but look at him now: 

Isn't he precious? He's about 2 1/2 months here and almost 9 pounds!
He's also rolled over already and just continues to amaze us all.
 He is just so cool. I get all verklempt every time I'm around him. Just love him to pieces! And I'm completely proud of his parents, they are doing a great job!

April started off with a few trips to the hospital as the grandbaby was there for a bit (born 6 weeks early). The next thing I know, we are moving out of our ginormous, old, five bedroom house and into a super cute teeny, tiny two bedroom. Thank goodness it was only six blocks away, that made the move so easy. Still, I had a house full of stuff I didn't want to move and had to get rid of, plus deciding what I could and wanted to keep, get it packed and all that fun stuff that goes with moving. Makes me tired to just reflect on it. 

Here's a virtual "tour" of our new digs:

The "Cracker Box", which sounds infinitely better than
"Sardine Can". 

The Welcoming Committee, sans furball
Say hello, Sister and Mister

Step inside into the kitchen, which is about half of
the downstairs. Seriously. So actually it's a pretty
nice size, as long as  you have a small table. Which
We do. We also have a Mister who loves to be in
every picture. And a dishwasher! I'm in heaven!

This is Friday, so I have our table ready for the start of Shabbat.
Since it stays light until midnight these days, thanks to my
favorite Dumb Stupid Time, we do our Sabbath-welcoming
around sundown, looooooonnnnggg after supper. No, we are
not Jewish, we just desire to honor Yahweh's commandments
and I don't see anywhere in His word that the Sabbath was
changed from the seventh day, so we honor the Sabbath and
rest on Saturday. It's wonderful!

Moving on, we have Mister and Sister and the furball in the
living room. There is just enough room for the four of us
to lounge around, but still room for company! We just have
to sit vertically, is all.

Not sure if this gives any indication of size, but it's the view from
the other end.

Not much to show here, it's a teeny, tiny bathroom.
When Sister saw it she said "That's not a bathroom,
that's a closet with a toilet in it". Apparently, the
tub and sink are extraneous. 

Going upstairs, you land in the kids' "room". Yes,
they share a room. I was concerned a bit that it
might prove to be disastrous, but really, it's going
exceptionally well. Mister stays out of Sister's stuff,
which is a miracle. Sister wisely reduced her
possessions to something more managable.

Our room is the other room upstairs-with the door. I
wish the cable hook up thing was on the other side of the
room, it would have a better "flow" to have the bed
against the other wall, I think. Since we have about
five miles of co-ax cable crammed behind the tv, I'm
thinking we could pull it off. Not sure I want to ask
Hubby to move furniture yet, though. I love the cozy
feel of this space. And, I found a use for the homemade
wrap I used to carry Mister around in when he was a a "swag" valance, I think that's what you'd
call it. Mister is sharing his ducks and blankets with
me, isn't that so sweet? 

The tiny-ness of the house is balanced out with a humongous
back yard. We're going to put in a fire pit some time soon.
We love campfires! If we were going to live here longer, or buy it
I'd want to put in a garden.

Lots of potential here for flowers and stuff...if I had a proclivity
for that sort of thing instead of killing plants! I have a pallet there
leaning up against the house that I plan to plant culinary herbs
in, as soon as I can get to it. And look...central air!! Aaaahhh

So, instead of a regular kind of garden, I have a Container
Salsa Garden on my back steps. A couple of Roma type tomato
plants, a cherry tomato, two bell peppers and two hot peppers.
I have some mint growing in the window well to the left. Just

got them planted...late as usual, but hopefully we'll have enough 
to do some spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce and salsa!
If you have known me for any length of time, you know that organization has never really been what you'd call my "strong suit." I think I did a pretty good job of letting go of things we really didn't need. I know that my husband was surprised a few times with how easily I agreed to get rid of some things. Truth be told, I was surprised too. There was still a lot of work involved to get things packed and moved (in less than two weeks), plus unpacking and figuring out where to put things. 

The task now will be to not accumulate a bunch of stuff in the year or so we live here before we head west. I know that this move, I reduced things to things I didn't want to live without in this new home. The next move will require more difficult decisions, because neither one of us wants to move all this stuff across the country. When it comes right down to it though, there isn't that much that I couldn't walk away from if need be. I'm going to take time over the next year to find and consolidate those precious things that can't be replaced...ultrasound pictures of the kids and special mementos and such...and limit myself to what will fit in a decent sized box. As we get closer to moving, I'll do the same with books and other things that I would like to take but need to take less of. The kitchen things will be kind of hard though, cast iron pans are almost irreplaceable...when you consider the time and effort put into seasoning and maintaining them!

It's nice to know that I am less attached to "stuff" than I used to be. I think I used to see my "things" as part of me in a sense, and it was hard to get rid of them with that kind of perspective. Now when I look around, I just see stuff for the most part. And stuff is just has no power over me other than what I give to it. 

The night we moved into our new home, Number One Son stopped by to tell us he and his fiancee were getting married...the next day at 4:00 in a town an hour away. Hubby didn't take that so well, but in his defense he was exhausted from moving all day! And to spring something like that on him at that moment...well...yeah. Thankfully, they put it off a couple of days at least so we could be there. There was no way we could have been there on the original day, so I'm glad they moved it so at least some of his family could be there.

Mr and Mrs Number One. Hoping and praying for a long,
happy marriage for them!

Next up, my youngest stepson's graduation! Of course that meant planning and putting on an open house, for which I agreed to make meatballs. I love making meatballs, really! I had 15 pounds of venison and hamburger I mixed up to make them. Yum! Hubby cooked up some chicken wings at his job, and their famous Pit-tatoes...which I discovered are NOT gluten free. So, consuming those and veggie dip made with Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (which I discovered AFTER I ate it...) and coupled with several days of extreme busyness before and after the party...well, I felt pretty much like I got run over by a very large truck. It took several days for me to "recover"! But it was a great party, our Marine was able to come back and surprise his brother, my Arizona in-laws were here and got to meet their GREAT-grandson, and my stepson made out like a bandit. Plus, the weather was absolutely gorgeous! Our Marine's high school graduation and open house two years ago was in weather reminiscent of what I imagine sitting in the foyer of hell would be like. Sooooo hot!

Four generations of Yoder boys! Jr is on Great Grandpa's lap,
next to Grandpa with Mister, and our Marine. In back are
the Graduate and the Number One Son, who recently made
me a mother in law. It was so nice to have all the boys
together again!
So, yeah...I've been kind of busy. I think that finally, things are put together well enough, although there's a few projects that I have yet to complete. They aren't essential, but I'm hoping I can get them done. And I love having waaaay less space to maintain. Housework is getting done in half the time, or less, and everything pretty much has a home. I have really enjoyed this Sabbath, because I really felt like I could REST. Last Sabbath was not restful at all, but I enjoyed the opportunity to be a blessing to our Graduate very much. Today, I could just rest and not even think about anything on any "to-do" list. Aaahhh...

Before I sign off...I must leave you with another picture of our sweet grandbaby...I just can't get enough of him!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

GODS AT WAR by Kyle Idleman: A Review

As a lifelong bookworm, I just love getting free books to review for booksneeze! Hop on over to my book review blog and check out my review for gods at war: defeating the idols that battle for your heart by Kyle Idleman, author of not a fan.  Just click on the book cover image below: 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Moving and Downsizing WooHoo!!

After five and a half years in the house we are in as of the time of this post, we are saying goodbye to Gigantic, Old, Dusty House and hello to Teeny, Tiny, Considerably Less Old and Hopefully Less Dusty House. I can hardly believe that a week from tomorrow is Moving Day! I haven't started packing yet, and I'm not even remotely stressed. Some of you just may have experienced stress reading that last part about not packing with only a week until moving day...I'm sorry to have stressed you out! Oddly, this is the first move I can ever remember that I did not have some kind of dread deep within, even when the move was wanted. 

I am very thankful to have a home to live in, a home that is safe and comfortable. And if we owned this home and had the money, it could really be fixed up nicely. I love the old, dark wood here. I love being close to the library and the butcher shop. But I won't miss the dust! There's not much you can do about dust in a house that is over one hundred years old. Battle it or give in...and honestly, I surrendered. It was just too much. I also will not miss living on a very busy road. Our new house has a dishwasher and central air, and I can't tell you how happy that makes me!

We are only moving six blocks away, and it's temporary...until we move to Arizona in a year or so. It will help us accomplish two very important steps in getting to the Valley of the money and get rid of stuff. Obviously, we'll need money to move across the country. And I am NOT taking all this junk with us. I'm tired of dragging it around with me. And the way this is working out will make it fairly easy to downsize. First, we move essentials...beds, couch, kitchen stuff...then we figure out what we have room for and move that. The rest of it will get sold, given away or thrown away. 

It's true I've struggled with clutter and KTMS (Keeping Too Much Stuff). I even did a post a while back about being SOS (Sick of Stuff). And it's also true that I could have gotten rid of said stuff at any know, I Can Quit Any Time I Want To...but it's much easier when you just don't have room for it. I know I'll have to make some tough decisions, but it's just stuff. I'm tired of feeling choked and suffocated by stuff that just sits around collecting dust.

So now, I need to plan the moving strategy, then see if it matches my husband's. Most likely it does not, since men and women think completely differently. But one thing I love about our relationship is that most of the time we work very well together. We've learned when to give and when to take and when to leave the other alone (most important!), and I know even if our strategies are not identical, we'll get through the move just fine. 

I'm going to post this and get back to Pinterest. I can't believe some of the things you can do with pallets...amazing, I tell you. I've got ideas for summer projects...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Moving West

Have you ever packed up and moved across the country? Was it the best thing you've ever done or a total nightmare? If you have kids, how did they adjust to leaving their family and friends nearby? If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

We've made the decision to move to Arizona next year. Yes, that's right...this summer-hating, sun-avoiding, lover of ice cold air conditioning has agreed to move to Arizona, to the Valley of the Sun. Have I lost my mind? Am I having an identity crisis? Perhaps...but here's the reasons (in no particular order) why we've decided to do this and why I've agreed (and, gasp, even encouraged this).

  1. MY HUSBAND IS S.A.D.  He needs the sun like the rest of us need air and water. I dread the winter, because he hibernates. I feel like a single mom a lot, and that makes me sad. There's a saying that goes "when mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy", but I think that applies to daddy as well, at least at our house. When daddy's happy, mommy's happy, and the kids are happy. It all rolls downhill.
  2. IT'S BEEN A LONG-TIME DREAM  My husband has wanted to move out there for years. His dad and brother live there, and I know he would love to be closer to them and do more with them. I always used to tell him "THERE IS NO WAY I WILL EVER LIVE IN ARIZONA. EVER. THEY HAVE TOO MUCH SUN, TOO MUCH HEAT, AND THEY HAVE SCORPIONS!" You know how they say "Never say never"? life is fraught with examples on why that is good advice..."I'll never have kids" (I have 5)..."I'll never drive a minivan" yep...drove one for six years..."I'll never get married again" well, I did...and I'm glad I did!
  3. THEY DON'T DO DUMB STUPID TIME THERE Yes, that's right. I want to move to a dry, scorching, land of blazing sun and scorpions to escape the stupidity of "daylight savings time." I hate DST that much. I know I'll have to adjust to a new time zone, but I'm thinking waking up at six am in Arizona, when it's 8 am in Indiana, will instantly turn me into a morning person. Maybe not, but at least I won't have to suffer for months on end in the spring anymore. 
  4. I CAME. I SAW. I FELL IN LOVE.  I've been out there twice now...I know, I know...two times? Big deal! But, I just fell in love with the landscape...mountains and cacti and palm trees. Desert landscaping in the more mowing!! And who can resist a desert sunset? Not this girl. 
  5. AIR CONDITIONING I told my husband that as long as I didn't have to leave the house during the day, and our car had good AC, I could handle it. Once that scorching sun dips down below the horizon I think I could handle the heat. My skin reacts to the sun much like a vampire's. And besides, it's that dry heat...
  6. THE OLDER KIDS ARE GROWN UP AND MOVED OUT We've wanted to move out of the area, at least, and out of state, for years now but stuck around because of the school system the older kids were in. The youngest of the oldest has finished school and moved out and since we homeschool our kids, school systems are not an issue for us. Which is good, because apparently, Arizona schools suck.
  7. DESERT STARGAZING, CANYON HIKING, AND OTHER SW NATURE THINGS My daughter longs to go out to the desert and gaze at the stars we can't see from where we are now.  I share the same desire. She's also a rock hound and loves critters of all kinds. And what boy doesn't love sand? There is a lot of cool naturey things there that you just don't find in the midwest. Like Black Widow spiders and Palmetto bugs...those are almost deal breakers...
  8. WE DON'T WANT TO DIE WHERE WE ARE It's not like Indiana is that bad, but honestly, I'm just tired of living here. I was born in the county I live in, and aside from a couple years living in a neighboring county...just inside it...I've spent all of my 41 years living here. I'd love to experience something different before I die. And the desert is vastly different.
  9. WE'D BE CLOSER TO OUR MARINE My middle stepson has escaped the Midwest and loves living in California. I wouldn't want to live there, since they'll probably fall off into the ocean some day, but to each his own. We don't think he'll be back here, and we miss him. It will be nice to be closer to him, and to a Marine Mom I met online and have become good friends with. I know another Marine Mom from Ohio that said she'd join us out in Arizona, which would be way cool!
  10. THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO DO THERE I checked out various city websites there and was blown away by all the activities they have there. Maybe it's just the town we live in, but there's just not much of anything to do here. No wonder teenagers get bored and break into cars. Just sayin'. There's also way more homeschool groups there, and they look like they're pretty active. There's a few around where we are, but I haven't found many that are very active. Well intentioned, sure...just lacking on follow through.
We've set a date of mid-June next year, but since we've got some youngin's wanting to get married the first of June, and another youngin wanting to get married in May...we might have to push it out further. If we do that, I'd say let's not be stupid and move in the middle of the summer. I hear it gets really, really hot out there. I'd say lets be moved out there by my birthday in November. That would be the best birthday present ever!

The Arizona State Flag...
The top half of the flag represents the 13 original colonies of the United States and the western setting sun. The copper star in the center of the flag identifies Arizona as the largest copper producing state in the union.
The lower half of the flag is a field of blue, the same Liberty Blue found in the United States' Flag. The red found in the rays of the setting sun is also the same shade of red found in the United States' Flag. The Blue of the lower half of the flag and the yellow of the western setting sun are the Arizona State Colors. The red and yellow colors found in the rays are the colors flown by the Spanish Conquistadors led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in his unsuccessful search for the Seven Cities of Cibola in 1540.
The Arizona State Flag was adopted by the Arizona State Legislature on February 27, 1917. The blue, red, yellow and copper flag was adopted despite numerous dissenting votes and then Governor Campbell's refusal to sign the bill.

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