Mothering is a Marathon

by Debi on March 26, 2014

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“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” {Isaiah 40:31} 

Have you noticed how mothering and running are similar? The day-in-and-day-out repetition of training and nurturing is not for the faint of heart. When I feel the race is never-ending and the reward, illusive – practical applications help put my feet on solid ground and my heart in the race.

~ 6 Aspects of Running Well ~

{taken from the runner’s manual and adapted for mothers of all ages}

When I spoke at Sally Clarkson’s Mom Heart Conferences this year – I shared my perspective on mothering. This post is a summary of my life message.

Continued at I Take Joy - where I’m a guest writer today – please follow me there.

 

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I just returned from the Denver, CO Mom Heart Conference.

I’ve been attending this conference since the late 1990′s. Each year these meetings hold fresh, new vision for me, personally, as a mother. I NEED THAT!!  15+ years later I’m still clearing the calendar to attend Mom Heart –  because, all these years later – I’m still a mom.

This year I’ve been asked to lead a workshop on longevity. {fitting, huh?} So I flew to Denver to join the wonderful group of committed mothers who make this conference happen. I lead my session and enjoyed interacting with mothers from across the country who dropped everything and invested much to attend Mom Heart. After my part was finished, I sat down with my Mom Heart notebook and took notes on the sessions that followed. Because I’m still a mom.

Inspired ~ that’s the theme of this years conference.

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And Inspired we were!! Sally Clarkson inspired us to keep our focus on what matters most in life. We live in an age of distractions and opportunities that can drive us away from the ones we love the most. I want to continue my journey as a mother with all my heart in tact. This is why I continue to attend this conference and will so as long as it’s offered.

California and Texas still have a FEW openings left. Won’t you join mothers of ALL ages from across the country at Mom Heart?  I’m convinced there’s nothing else like it. Bring a friend – you will NOT be disappointed.

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Today is a Gift

by Debi on January 4, 2014

Gift of time

Today, each of us will breathe in and exhale a day’s worth of living.

Time is a gift – we all agree. A moment has, within its design, the capability of effecting eternity. To invest our lives is a privilege.

Think of it: All of creation welcomes the dawn of a new day. Nature comes alive as the Lord graces the earth with another sunrise.

But for mothers – time may feel like a taskmaster – bearing down, and mocking our efforts. How can a mother work so hard and seem to accomplish so little? How can so many variables be tossed into a carefully planned day?

With mounds of laundry and dishes multiplying before our eyes, we spend our days in service, no doubt. But, when the work alone is our goal – the race to complete a day’s demand is a rat race indeed. Surely there’s more!

Continued at I Take Joy where I’m a guest writer today.

Let’s explore the possibilities of embracing the day ~ we can all use fresh start.

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Straight Lines {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 31, 2013

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~ Day 31 ~

I love to sew. But this has not always been the case for me. My first machine wash purchased for $10 at a garage sale, back-in-the-day. With a desire to decorate our home on a budget – I figured:

Anyone can sew a straight line.

After all – pillows, curtains, bedding – they’re all made up of series of straight lines. So I set out to conquer the unknown and simply add a few decorative touches to our home.

Little did I know that what would be made and remade was ME!

Learning to sew took me to the end of my patience, over and over again. Tim once commented, ‘it seems like you spend more time ripping out the stitches than you do sewing’. He was right! But with a few months of calling friends, digging through the manual and going at it again and again – I saw progress. The baby nursery was my first project. Seriously, if I had flipped burgers at McDonald’s and earned minimum wage to buy the items – I would have saved time.

But learning to follow directions, work with a pattern, and cooperate with a machine was a life lesson I needed, so desperately, to learn.

All these years later, when I take on a sewing project – I have flashbacks of those days – spending precious hours of nap-time laboring at a foreign machine that would someday be my friend.

For the last day of my 31 Days of Lovely series – I made pillows for the living room. 

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I visited a local fabric store, ALONE, to dig through the remnants. Feather pillows are my favorite and I found a discounted blend. *Score!

Once home, I spent the afternoon sewing straight lines. I now have a nice machine and rarely have to rip out seams.

So many times I’ve looked at our brown coach and thought of making more pillows. Setting aside a rainy afternoon to embrace this project is sheer -

~ Loveliness

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Thank you for joining me for a month of posts. The journey has been so much fun, I may continue making Lovely changes in our lives on a daily basis – it’s a nice habit. But these pillows look awfully tempting – I also my lay back and enjoy a rest.

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Spice Wash {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 30, 2013

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Continuing through our home on my 31 Days of Lovely trek – today is Day 30!

Reclaiming my kitchen –  since I was out of commission for 3 long months and another 3 at half capacity - there are areas of our home that have suffered greatly from lack of attention. Thus, the inspiration to take 31 days and make a difference - one day at a time – one small project a day.

My family did a fabulous job of taking care of me – but so many things that only a mother does were left undone. I think they cheered the day I returned to the kitchen!

With a houseful of men – we cook a lot! The boys guys make their own burgers and emulate the cooking shows where spices are flying and the tastes superb. Their burgers are amazing and I’m so proud of them for braving the kitchen. In the conquering of my kitchen – the poor spices ended up battered and worn. So – I culled out the old, outdated versions and gave the remaining – a bath!

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We actually have 4 roundtables of spices. Here’s a peak of the new, greatly improved version of our spice cabinet! {Note: I DO NOT do BEFORE pictures – the old is long forgotten}  Our kitchen cabinets look like this about once a year – for pre-holiday prep and I  savor the experience.

Now, when I open the cabinet I feel a smile instead of a sigh ~

~ Lovely

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Welcome Home {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 28, 2013

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~ Day 29 ~

A tradition in our family  started with my grandmother and has continued through three generations. When we have a family gathering or holiday – No Bake Cookies are expected.  My Grandma Best had them fresh, warm and tucked away in the cookie jar when we arrived for holidays.

We have company coming tonight. Our son, Levi, is returning from a long trip.  I can’t wait to hug his neck, see that smile and hear his stories. When looking for just the right external sign that says, ‘Welcome Home’ - this time-honored recipe is the obvious choice for our family.

Keeping the tradition alive and sharing the love on this 29th day of 31 Days of Lovely challenge. Hint – it’s a holiday favorite!

No Bake Cookies

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 stick margarine (I’m not a margarine fan but it works best)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated, canned milk (or cream)
  • 2 1/2 cups ‘quick’ oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy)
  • 1 tsp real vanilla
      1. Mix peanut butter and oatmeal in large bowl.
      2. Combine margarine, milk, cocoa, sugar and vanilla in medium sized pan. Boil for 3 minutes (exact!) over medium heat, stirring constantly. {until mixture makes a small ball when dropped into water}
      3. As soon as cocoa mixture is complete – pour over oatmeal/peanut butter mixture and stir completely mixing ingredients. (quickly!)
      4. Spoon onto wax paper – (while hot)
      5. Makes approximately 20 cookies (you’ll want more)

~ Lovely

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Outward Bound {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 28, 2013

 

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~ Day 28 ~

Outward Bound, by S. Walters, has been a part of our home and office for years. It was originally in Tim’s office and has made its way through the house through various seasons. The ‘ship picture’, (we’ve had it so long, it has a name) is an image I want to see everyday. Quality artwork never gets old. Recently, this work of art has been tucked away in our office. We actually have an office, which is the result of sons off to college. This is a new phenomena to our large family. The office is quite functional and ends up being used as a catch-all, late-night study hall for our 4 teenage sons – which is fine, but no place or such quality art.

The adjacent bathroom which accommodates these guys has fresh paint and new tile. Long story – but the old tile caved in … the redo took months and now is complete. Now we have a new, improved bathroom – without decorations. Guys don’t like much in their cave/style room, so I kept staring at the grey walls and wondering what to hang in the one, open space. I remembered this lovely, masculine print – hidden in the office.

Micah {13} and I measured and hung the framed art that has an obvious home.

Now we can see it everyday and the clean, new bathroom is converted with the welcome of color and purpose.

The office has an empty wall and an ideal place for that oversized map I’ve saved for just the right spot.

Grey towels (purchased at Wal-Mart for $2.97 each) complement this print perfectly!

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When I walk past this room – several times a day – I get to see Walter’s masterpiece, Outward Bound and the guys bathroom now has a complete look.

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~ Lovely

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Beauty Within {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 27, 2013

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~ Day 27

We have all been to a wedding shower or housewarming party, seen the new, crisp towels and said, “Oh, I need to get new towels!”.

So, on this 27th Day of Lovely – I did.

Walmart has dish towels for the best price I know. Plus, we go through them with all the heavy-duty use, so I no longer buy the fancier versions. I added this checked drawer lining too – nice, huh? Red and white checks make a heavy laden drawer ‘pop’! Our kitchen drawers seems to be in constant motion. It’s nice to have a fresh look and towels without stain, for now.

The holidays are coming soon. We’re making plans and anticipating family all around. This is one job, I  have done in advance. Again, it amazes me how much difference a little change can make.

{only 4 more days of left in my 31 Day Challenge - I’ve saved some of the best projects for last!}

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~ Lovely

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Tortilla Soup {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 26, 2013

~ Day 26 ~

When I make a meal like this one – it’s easy to prioritize dinnertime. The smell draws everyone through the kitchen to peek and the leftovers, are better than the original.

Here’s a recipe I’ve used for years. Like most of my favorite recipes, this one originally came from a church cookbook. I’ve tweaked this recipe and added some fresh options for a healthier, hotter version. I’m pleased to pass on this treasure and I hope your family enjoys it as much as we have.

Like any recipe I post – it’s been a hit for the girls and guys, young and old. This is a meal that I serve for company and take to friends in need.

This recipe serves a family of 4 – so I multiply it several times over. Enjoy!

Tortilla Soup

2 cups shredded chicken (from whole, natural chicken – save the broth – always!)

1 large yellow onion – chopped fine

2 teaspoons fresh garlic (pressed)

2 tablespoons butter

1 16 oz can stewed tomatoes

1 16 oz can Rotelle tomatoes

1 4 oz can green chilies (fresh is better)

Broth from the whole chicken (3 cups – skim off the fat)

2 cups of beef broth (organic is best)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

dash of seasalt

Cook the chicken on medium-low. Do not boil – it makes the meat tough. Drain, pull off the bone and chop. Use ALL parts of the chicken for a rich taste. I know it takes some work, but it’s worth it!

Saute’ onion and garlic in butter.

Add all ingredients (except chicken) simmer 30 minutes. Add Chicken and let simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on the pan.

Garnish with sliced avocado, natural tortilla chips and shredded Monterey Jack cheese. (add a plop of sour cream on top for a fancy look)

Serve this with Mexican cornbread, fresh tortillas, or loads of tortilla chips and Pioneer Woman’s salsa.

~ Lovely

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The Best Mess {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 25, 2013

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~ Day 25 ~

Sometimes the best mess is someone else’s. Today I loaded a few trash bags with what may be another person’s treasure – but trash to me. It’s been a while since I’ve purged the younger boy’s clothing, dug through drawers around the house for random items and decided to part with trinkets that have no place in my heart.

Now, our load is lighter and dresser drawers close easier. You can even see the carpeted floor in a closet or two.

When there’s less STUFF around, I find it easier to breathe & think!

When I chose to blog for 31 days – I needed this discipline. Not so much in writing, but in doing the little things that add up to big things. Resisting the desire to dig deeply into extended projects, I’ve  embraced one small act each day. I see the heavy burden of perfectionism from afar – waiting to pounce. Meanwhile, I’m not standing still – doing life one day at a time in the month of October in the midst of one of the busiest seasons my family has.

My advice is: Go ahead, toss a few random objects you won’t miss them anyway.

After you do – life just might be feel

~ Lovely

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Perspective {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 24, 2013

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~ Day 24 ~

Life on earth is limited to the rising of the sun and the setting of the same. Today, this 24-hour allotment ran shy of what my to-do list required of me.

In the midst of reshuffling plans to fit the constraints of time – my good plans were intercepted by the best of opportunities.

When our daughter, Priscilla shared the video of her wedding, I sat mesmerized by the memory of a dream come true. A video rose to the top of my unwritten agenda. This divine intervention was followed by an opportunity to hear our adult son tell of God’s greatness in his life; followed by watching a son teach his peers and another serve those younger than himself and another give a presentation with composure as the computer failed to display his carefully orchestrated visuals. I followed this trail of crumbs down a path that veered from my original map. Tonight, I watched our 13 year-old give a speech he dreaded and press through his fears – he left the room with a smile. A text from another daughter and a hug from a sweaty 10-year-old after an impromptu football game wrapped up my  journey, thus far.

Amidst the messy countertops, unfinished dishes, laundry threatening to spoil and chores left undone – I see grace. Overwhelming grace, in spite of my plans and because of  our great God who hears our cry and answers above and beyond what we ask or think.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

~ Lovely

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A Place to Rest {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 23, 2013

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 ~ Day 23 ~

The Lord builds into our very soul a place and need for rest! I want to build into our home a place to come and relax, be still and listen.

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a colder winter than usual. Although it’s only October and the days are  beautifully pleasant, I’m taking this time to prep for the colder days ahead.

We Chapman’s LOVE a fire and burn this baby often through the winter. Since we educate our kids at home, the bitter cold days of winter are some of our favorites. Freezing-cold days will find us sprawled out in front on the fire – schoolbooks scattered across the floor. And there is no better place to read aloud.

 Tim and the boys keep wood  chopped out back but the fire-place was a dusty, vacant hole – worn out from last years usage.

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 I painted the inside black with heat-resistant spray paint. This paint smells awful so we opened up the house and tried not to breathe it in. Samuel hosed the grate down and painted it outside. Once revamped – we loaded it with wood. A fire-place looks so nice when it’s clean and ready to burn. It completes a living room.

 A few weeks from now we can welcome winter with the ceremonial lighting of first fire of the season.

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~ Lovely

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Schoolroom Gallery {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 22, 2013

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~ Day 22 ~

 Our family is moving into a new season – one we’ve never seen before. Schoolbooks look like highschool and college texts, writing is hammered out on the computer and reading books are bigger, longer and strolled throughout the house. This room is transitioning from a traditional schoolroom to more of a library. We use it often, but in a different way. It’s less busy but more purposeful and reflective – even Mystique, our cat naps here to get away from the action.

I have had this gallery project in my mind for months and pined examples on Pinterest. So on this lovely autumn day we opened the doors and windows to bring outside in to us. Clearing off the table, I gathered picture frames in stacks and purposed to DO this thing! No time for fussing over details or thinking about this project any longer. Plus, piano lessons were looming so I had a time-limit.

 Since I had mulled over this idea in my mind so often – the execution was simpler than expected. Once I placed the center/focal point in place the rest was easy to see.

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 Now daily we can enjoy a blast from our past with beach photos, Levi’s artwork, scriptures and novelty items that have a special meaning to just us. I also hung an iron rack for  medals our sons have earned in sporting and  forensics events.

 Stopping to remember is natural and pleasant to all ages.

While working on this, the guys were digging through medals, remembering events, discussing the artwork and marveling over past photos.

I want the kids left in our home to remember where we have come from and what we stand for. Making this gallery wall of memories is one small way to reinforce what God has done.

 Memories splashed across the wall make this room our own.

Psalm 119:9 ”Your faithfulness continues to all generations ~”

 Now, when I walk into this busy, often messy, room – my first thought is ~

~Lovely

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