Sue's Happy Thoughts

Just over here blogginn' some of my happy thoughts on LIFE, HOMESCHOOLING, HOME DECOR and more!


cre·ate

verb: bring (something) into existence.

It’s hard for me to get through a day without creating something, or dreaming about what I’d like to create as soon as I get the chance. Time, energy and money are the usual constraints for projects around here. It can be hard for all those things to come together at the same moment!

Well, we’re at the point in this quarantine that time and energy are ready to team up, so if I can be clever with limited funds, a few creative projects can start happening!


First up: painting the stairs… I have an ongoing list on my phone of things I’d like to do around the house and a vague “paint the stairs” has been on the list for over a year. We moved in over 9 years ago and picked a shade of brown that looked appropriate for a floor and called it a day. Days actually, because painting stairs and former attic flooring takes more than just one day.

Fast forward to my calendar suddenly being empty and inspiration striking! I love the look of patterned tile on stairs; I love all the wall paper patterns that are trendy right now… So I was hunting online for a pattern I could mimic with what I had on hand. I couldn’t find the perfect pattern, but then thought of mud cloth fabric. What a fun idea for stairs that were already perfectly imperfect!

Supplies on hand were: left over black paint from my bathroom, a foam brush, and a pencil with an unused eraser. I scrolled through google images of mud cloth fabric, looking for any designs I felt confident enough to try.


I love the way it turned out! The best part of this risky design idea was knowing that I had plenty of white paint to just paint right over the whole thing if I ended up hating the outcome!

Are you trying any DIY projects this month?


cel·e·brate

verb

1. acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event) with a social gathering or enjoyable activity.

This week I’m celebrating my 38th birthday… and yes, I had to double check the math before typing that. After 30, I think I kind of lost count. I suppose mine will be just one of many birthdays spent in quarantine this month.


I’m not a big party person, at least parties for myself, so I’m okay with it.


When I was a kid I lamented over never feeling “special” on my birthday. My birthday was 4 days apart from my dad’s and Easter was always on or close to our birthdays. Every year, we had Easter dinner with my Grandparents and my dad’s Aunt. For dessert, my mom would make my dad’s favorite, a cherry chip cake with pink cherry frosting. On top of the cake was a plastic Easter bunny with Easter eggs. Over the years, the colors became so faded that the bunny was looking pretty rough, but she kept using it anyway.


I was pretty jaded that for MY birthday party, all my siblings got Easter baskets full of candy and gifts, we had Easter ham for dinner and someone else’s favorite dessert.

Looking back, I hadn’t known that money in my house was tight, and that throwing a second big get together a week after this special family dinner might have been financially tight. I hadn’t known that my dad’s own childhood was rough and my mom had probably spent many years trying to make HIS day special. It was the only day each year I remember having that kind of cake, after all.


My dad passed away in 2016 and it has been bittersweet to celebrate without him standing next to me to blow out candles. I'd happily enjoy HIS favorite dessert with him, of course.


I’m honestly not disappointed in the slightest at the idea of a quiet celebration with a curbside pick up dinner and my kids making me a jell-o poke cake for dessert. I’m quite content.



My birthday reminds me now that this IS a celebration of life and we can’t just live for THIS one. This life is temporary, it doesn’t last. But we are promised so much more if we are part of the body of Christ.


I love this passage from 1 John 2:24-25.


1 John 2:24 "So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father.

And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us."


Our life here is filled with ups and downs, failures and victories, joy and sadness.

I’m so thankful for my husband and children, a safe place to call home, food on our table and so much more. Others might not have much to celebrate at all. But if we are in Christ, we can all look forward to the day when Jesus will wipe away every tear and we can celebrate and thank Him for the greatest gift available – merciful redemption and our names written in the book of life, an eternity with Jesus.


Wow, so that got super deep and now I feel a little silly jumping back to some light heartedness, but hey that’s life right? If you’re really cool and reading this right away because you subscribed to these ponderings of mine, then you are privy to an exclusive coupon code this week. Today through Saturday, April 11th, you can use the code BIRTHDAY in my Etsy shop to receive 25% off your entire purchase. As always, spend over $35 and the shipping is free! Happy Quarantine!

/hōm/

noun

noun: home; plural noun: homes

1. the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.


One of my favorite quotes is from Laura Ingalls Wilder. “Home is the nicest word there is.”

Today marks three weeks since I’ve left the house for more than a walk around the block. And honestly? I’m not mad about it. I will admit that there are definitely some hard things for my family right now, including our businesses being heavily affected by the closures and cancellations in the world around us, but my suddenly clear calendar is also a blessing.


With homeschooling, self employment and years of house church, our general lifestyle really is anchored in our home. We’re happy to be here and we genuinely enjoy each other. This house is modest and pushing 100 yrs old, but it’s also cozy and warm and a welcome refuge from the outside world.



Last summer, I felt very strongly that although my business was flourishing, the Lord wanted my attention focused back on my family and more firmly in my home. I was doing the balancing act of mom, teacher and boss lady. If something needed to be put on the back burner in this season of life, I knew it would be my business. So I started making decisions from that point forward to not close my business, but shift gears in a way that really planted me more firmly in my home. My kids are middle school and high school age and I have become increasingly aware of how short this homeschooling season really is. I graduate one kid in a year and a second kid the following year. Time is short and I want to enjoy these moments teaching them, encouraging them, praying over them, helping them navigate all the teenage emotions, and preparing them to head out into this big, big world.



So I shifted gears. I said no to many events and opportunities. I kept my calendar from filling up and worked instead on increasing online traffic and sales while sitting at the dining room table. Because God is good and I think He wanted to show off a bit… I still met all of my original sales goals for the year, with considerably less stress, less hustle and less time running out the door.


Fast forward to March 2020. I had scaled down this year’s schedule significantly compared to last year. I was committed to spending even more time at home, but still had certain events I was looking forward to. And then BAM. Businesses closed, events cancelled. As an organizer of a couple events that I had to personally cancel, I shed some tears. Hard work that now had no pay off was hard to swallow and I had to let myself take a day and grieve.


Over the past few weeks I’ve been deleting commitments from my calendar and I haven’t

been sad. For years, I've longed for small stretches of time to actually lounge and relax… days that I can sip coffee and listen to a Bible project podcast and not constantly be thinking of how productive I need to be.


Confession: I sat and worked on a puzzle this week. A PUZZLE!


I graded tests and papers without feeling overwhelmed. I made muffins.


I’ve also created jewelry and shipped out Etsy orders and done product photography, etc. but it has been enjoyable. The world around us is chaos right now and like I said, our financial situation is not secure, but I can honestly say that there is PEACE in my home.


One of my favorite passages of scripture is Philippians 4:4-7.


4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.



When we remember that the Lord is coming soon, we fix our eyes on the hope (a confident expectation) that we have in Jesus. We can have peace in the midst of the struggles and chaos of this world because we know how it ends. If we live in Christ, we know we have everything we need in His coming, even if things aren’t great here and now.


PEACE, PEACE, PEACE.

Let’s spend the next few weeks filling our homes with it and maybe we won't be in such a rush to walk out the door when all the opportunities return.

Stay Tuned, there's more to come!