Saturday, March 20, 2021

March Newsletter

 

A little St. Patrick's Day bouquet.  : )


This year I'm hoping to keep us in fresh flowers.  Depending upon the type of flower it can last for quite a while!  I'm constantly amazed at the intricacy of flowers - so beautiful - and the smell......  : )

Well, here we are again with the next newsletter.  March almost gone and looking ahead to the new month of April.  Here in the north, April can be quite the fickle month - we can have some very nice and warm days or we can have a couple of snowstorms!  So we just go with it and plan and see what happens.  : )  

We've been using March as a month of really getting things done in the house because soon we will want to be out raking and planting and cleaning up the yard.  While puttering around the house one day, I noticed how important the daily routines are and how consistent they've become.  

*In the morning I make the coffee and read the Bible and have prayer time.  I get up and open the blinds and set the breakfast table.  I go make the bed and check the e-mails.  I get into the shower and get ready for the day............it just all flows and becomes routine and ready's me for the day ahead.

*In the late afternoon after all the work is done, I'll go around and turn on a few lights, light some candles, get into the kitchen and begin the supper - again, a routine that tells us to stop and rest and be grateful for the day that is now behind us.

*In the evening, there is a meal to eat and dishes to wash up.  There is the eventual closing of the blinds and the turning on of the outdoor lights.  There is a book or magazine to pick up or there is the knitting or crocheting to work on.  There is a favorite DVD to plug in (no TV for me).  Then the eyes start getting tired so it's back to the bathroom to wash up for bed.  Time to say the prayers of thanksgiving for the day that we now say goodbye to and climb into bed.

It's in these routines, for me anyway, that are homey and comfortable and important for peace of mind.  I'm a person who needs the daily routines of life - something to count on, the stability.  If you still have children at home, let this be a part of their lives as well.  Children need to have something and someone to count on that says "this is our home" and "this is what we do."  Bring them into it and share it with them.

In this newsletter I will share what I've been doing this month, what I still need to do, what I've been reading, etc.  So, come along with me as I share my little part of our home with you.  : )

*I have definitely put our Spring/Easter decorations up inside and outside of the house:









It's so fun to put these decorations up - and, like Christmas, even though we put up the fun little bunnies and chicks, we need to keep Christ in Easter as well.  Without Easter, we are lost souls.  He is our Risen Savior and Lord!!!!!

*During my morning prayers I always pray that God will provide the fruit of the Spirit (as in Galatians 5:22-23).  Every week I take a different fruit and I've looked each up in the dictionary for the definition (not that we don't know what each one already means but it just adds clarity sometimes).  For instance, one week I pray for "patience" - the definition to this word helped me tremendously - "the capacity of calm endurance."  So throughout the week, whenever I felt that my patience was being tested, I kept repeating the definition to myself - "please Lord, give me the capacity of calm endurance."  He did.  : )

Another week it was praying for "kindness" - the definition was "friendly, generous, and warmhearted toward others."

Another week it was praying for "goodness" - the definition was "desirable qualities, upright, moral, sympathetic, understanding, charitable."

With these two, I found it interesting (and never thought about it before) that "kindness" is what we do towards others and "goodness" is what is within us so that we CAN be kind towards others.  I love that!

Can you imagine how our world would change for the better if everyone would study things like this - to know what God wants and expects from us?  

*I ALWAYS have to have something to read!  Here is what I'm reading now:

Again, I'm reading about nutrition and incorporating it into our meals as much as our budget will allow.  I enjoy learning about this, not to get crazy and try any and every "diet" out there because I seriously don't believe in dieting but I do believe in healthy eating and being careful in what we put into our bodies and having it become a way to eat.  So I read books and magazines like this to just keep giving me ideas - I take what I can and leave the rest if it sounds a little "out there."

It's not April yet, but this is one of my favorite Spring books to read!  If you can get this book, I highly recommend it.  : )


I just purchased this at Hobby Lobby so I'm not that far into it yet, but what I've read so far is very good.  Our pastor brought it up, I wrote it down, was thrilled to see it, and bought it right away!  What a woman of faith Elisabeth Elliot was - if you have a problem with forgiveness, I would suggest reading her story.

*Like I said above, we are trying to really get things done in the house.  One of those things was to have our son over to help us go through boxes of his things that we've collected over the years.  What a job.  But we did it quickly and efficiently and lots of things were thrown out, lots of things were given to charity, and a lot of things were for him to carry off in his own car to put into his own home!  : )  Of course, there are always those things that one is not quite certain of - keep or give?  So they have their own box and we will keep it until we feel we know what to do.  But, just going through all of it has given us SO much more space and we were able to consolidate it all in one spot instead of three.  A VERY good feeling.

I've been going through other things as well.  Purses to be exact.  I have 3 but they all needed to be cleaned out!  I have a black purse, and two brown purses (different shades of brown - dark and light) to go with my black and brown shoes.  Anyway.....it's amazing at how much junk accumulates in our purses.  So much got thrown away, and so much got put into separate bags (makeup in one, wipes and lens cleaners in another, paper and pens in another, and so on......) and now it feels wonderful.  Whenever I switch purses I just take the separate bags and put them in the other purse.  Much more organized which also saves a lot of time.

I've also been trying to do something that I've seen on Pinterest (but isn't a new idea) and that is called "laundry stripping" - basically it's just soaking your laundry in a solution of washing soda, borax, and a bit of laundry detergent and letting it soak for about 4-6 hours.  I've gotten away from soaking my whites for a while now, but I'm back into it again because I love to keep our whites white!  I tried the above ingredients in our tub with our sheets and there is a notable difference - not as bad as some of the pictures I've seen - which made me feel good.  : )  There is a concern (if you want to call it that) that is brought up in the fact of front loading machines and top loading machines and how front loaders don't clean as well because there is no agitation - the clothes just kind of flop around.  I believe that is true because I had a front loader for years and now have switched to a top loader with the agitator and our laundry feels much better.  So.........if you're not used to soaking laundry I'd suggest it.  And, since it's already soaking in detergent along with the other products, you won't need to add any other detergent to the washing machine when you finally get to washing.  Just wash as normal (sometimes I set it to a double rinse cycle).  I'm also beginning to hang clothes up again which helps with both putting wear and tear on the clothes but also the utility bill at the end of the month!  : )  

*I've been enjoying my charitable projects:

Sent out another newsletter to the Senior center - this is for St. Patrick's Day.

Working on prayer shawls.

Crocheting quilt blocks.

Sewing a baby blanket.

Sending flowers to those who might need a little lift.

Sending out cards for the same reason.

Again, if you have children or grandchildren it would be a wonderful thing to let them help you in this.  Show them that this way of giving back is just a normal part of life.  Instill within them the desire to help where needed and to constantly be keeping their eyes and ears open to opportunities to serve.

*Here are some extra photos to share with you from various things done:

A reading from my devotional Bible that I wanted to share with you - it was a major reminder to me!


More pretty flowers.  : )


The benefit of being up early - gorgeous sunrises!

Our March calendar page.  : )


Trays of bananas for the dehydrator.

Split pea soup in the crockpot.

Sunday night game night - I started to miss this as it used to be a family tradition when our son was young, so my husband I decided to just do it for ourselves.



We had our son and his wife over for games and desserts.  We're part Irish so every year we try to do a little something.  


Starting seeds - above tomatoes are growing and some lettuce - in the other I planted some zinnias and then in the little cups I have marigolds and lavender.  I have a LOT more to start!!!  I really want to get a tiny greenhouse this year because I really don't have any room to put a lot of trays out in our house.  I planted these on a day that was cold, windy, and snowy.  : )

It was THIS day!!!  After it was a said and done, we had between 3 or 4 inches, which isn't too bad - it's all gone now.  : )

Today is National Quilting Day!  Although I'm not a quilter (though I would love to be) I CAN sew the rag quilts and really enjoy it.  So.......I will be sewing along with thousands of others today and see what I can come up with!  I've cut out some blocks and my room is ready.  : )  

Lately, I've been thinking how important it is to do these kinds of things - we used to do them and I don't know why we've gotten away from it.  Looking up days of celebration and then just doing it for the fun of it.  A way of making our day-to-day lives more interesting and something to look forward to.  I mean, why not?  I think this past year has made us weary and it's taken something away from us - our zeal for life, our making the most of what we already have.  So, I encourage you - whether you're single, a married couple, a married couple with children, empty-nesters, empty-nesters with grandchildren.........start today by doing something out of the ordinary.  Let's bring that back!!!  It's good for our mental, emotional, and physical health.  Here are a few to get you started:

*Again, today - National Quilting Day - pull out those scraps and try it!!!!  If not a whole quilt, maybe a baby quilt, or a wall hanging, or a placemat, or a potholder..........just do it!!!!  : )

*March 25th - it's National Waffle Day!  Invite someone for waffles - make some sausage and/or bacon to go with.  Or, if you are still uncomfortable with someone over, do it for yourself!!!!  

*April 5th - it's National Deep Dish Pizza Day!  Order out or make one at home!!!!

*April 7th - it's No Housework Day!!!!  Sounds good to me!!! : )

*April 12th - it Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!  Mmmmmm........who doesn't love grilled cheese?

Those are just a few to get you started.  Seriously, let's start celebrating again.  Things are just so serious and heavy, we need to allow for ourselves some time of cheer.  When we were homeschooling, we would do this kind of thing all the time and our son still remembers.  Let's continue to build memories.

And, how is your cleaning coming along?  I don't know about you, but there are SO many things that get in the way of just settling in and focusing on deep cleaning!  I'm getting there, but it's been slow.  As long as SOMETHING is getting done, that's all that counts.  : )

*Lastly, we look forward to April.  And Easter.  It will just be the four of us again this year and because of not knowing yet what time of day our get-together will be I'll need to begin to think of meals - if it's right after church we usually have brunch, if it's later in the day, we'll have the traditional ham dinner with the fixins'.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate this year so that we can spend some time outside.  What does YOUR family do to celebrate the Risen Lord?  Any special traditions?  Is there any way of thinking of others and helping where and when you can?

*Send Easter cards?
*Make a list of people you can call?
*Any Zoom meetings?
*Give money to charitable organizations?
*Give groceries to the local food shelf so others can enjoy an Easter meal?
*Be a witness to those who don't know Christ?

Well........I think that is about it for this newsletter.  I hope you have enjoyed reading it because I enjoyed writing it.  : )  Thank you SO much for your time in stopping by and I hope you can enjoy the next few weeks ahead.  God bless you and your family and everything you do to make your house a home.  Again, it's important work!  Love you all.

Mary





 





 






12 comments:

  1. Love your pictures!!! I am almost finished reading An Unwilling Guest, that you recommended from GLH, and I was just looking at her books but didn't know what to choose so I gave up and thought I'd re-read one I already have. I will go look for April Gold! I have LOVED An Unwilling Guest. I'm reading a chapter each night right before I turn off the light. I also finished Rainbow Cottage which was Excellent! Rarely does she have a story I don't like. I wish I could find the original books, but they are too expensive these days. Loved your newsletter! Hugs!

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    1. I'm so glad you like "An Unwilling Guest" - I don't think there are any of GLH books that I don't like! I, too, liked Rainbow Cottage - that's a summer read for me. : ) I was so fortunate to find all my old books at antique stores for very low prices!!!! Thanks, Janine! A hug to you!

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  2. I just went to Thrift Books and bought April Gold, Happiness Hill and Honeymoon House! All paperbacks, but in great condition. I was going to buy the April Gold in hardback like yours on ebay tomorrow...and forgot and added it! Oh well, saved a few dollars. I also copied the original artwork to print for my bookmark, or to glue inside the cover. If the cover is something I don't like, I can recover with the original artwork.

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    1. Yea! So glad you were able to buy April Gold. Let me know what you think. : ) I also have Happiness Hill (loved that one too!) but haven't heard of Honeymoon House (I'll have to check that one out!). I think the covers on the paperbacks is why I don't buy them because it made them look like romance novels (which, in part, they are but not in a Harlequin way!!!). Have fun reading!!!! : )

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    2. I had to come back and re-read slower, because the other day I cldn't concentrate. I'm part Irish, too, and while I go all out decorating, we don't do anything special - and your desserts look so yummy!!! I could comment on everything you wrote, but I won't ; )

      I DID just win the ebay auction for April Gold...I couldn't stop thinking about it! So in the last hour I determined that if I was the only bidder then it was meant to be (only $8 total), and that I would give the paperback to a friend, since I know it will bless whomever I choose to give it to! Yours is red and mine is green, but with the same lettering, and it is in great condition. Can't wait for my books to arrive!

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    3. REALLY glad you got April Gold in an old hard-cover!!! That's a great price. : ) Again, let me know what you think about it when you finish reading. : ) Have a good day ahead.

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  3. Hi Mary~

    What a beautiful, fun filled, informative post! Your decorations are so pretty, and the flowers look so fresh and ready for Spring!

    I agree, I do so much better with a routine as well. Sometimes, life gets in the way, but I still try, doesn't always work out, but I try :0)

    Have a great week!

    Hugs and Love,
    Barb

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    1. Hi Barb! Thank you so much for commenting. : ) You are SO right in that routines are great and keep us on track but we DO get sidetracked quite a bit just with the day-to-day things. I think that's the beauty of homemaking though - we're here to do what we can do whenever it works!

      I hope you, too, have a great week ahead.
      A hug to you as well. : )
      Mary

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  4. Mary, Loved seeing all your lovely Saint Patrick Day goodies and your Easter decorations too. It's an odd thing here in Scotland, but we don't really celebrate Saint Patrick's Day as such; certainly not the way we do in the United States.
    You could say it's because there are so many of us in the states with Irish heritage, but we have that here as well. Easter too, is something that is quite subdued, but we can make it special with our decor, sending cards, and preparing a lovely meal. Restrictions mean that Churches are still limited to 50 people in attendance.
    I love Elizabeth Elliot's work! She is such an example of faith, endurance, and yes, forgiveness.
    This was a lovely "March Newsletter," and as always, so encouraging too.

    God Bless,
    Christine

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    1. Hi Christine! So nice to hear from you. : ) I must admit that I don't exactly like St. Patrick's Day in that it (before covid) used to be all about partying and drinking. They even have a parade (which they didn't this year) which I feel is so totally unnecessary because it leads to other things. But, we just make it light and a chance to get-together. I re-read the entries into my dad's Bible of the names of our family that came over from Ireland - so I guess I do it for them! : ) And I do love Easter and SO glad that churches over here can now be total open. Our pastor had such a good sermon on Sunday that the church (God's people) were meant to be together and worship together and fellowship together and that's why the past year has been so difficult for many.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment - I really appreciate it. : ) God bless your day and upcoming week!!!!
      Mary

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  5. I'm very late to the comments, but "April Gold" is another one of my very favorite GLHill books. Definitely in the top 10 and maybe top 5 if I sat down and thought about it. I like to read it in the fall or winter. Something about making the "new" house cozy and livable and then the Christmas baking and selling...

    Sallie

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    1. Hi Sallie! I, too, love when GLH writes about how the characters in her books just make the most of very little and they do it with joy and, yes, all the baking and cooking....it makes me hungry while I'm reading it! : ) I feel like I'm right in the room with them. Thank you for commenting, Sallie!

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