Saturday, September 30, 2006

Baby Steps

We have had quite a busy summer here in the Howard family. Jim Bob has been very busy with work, the children with exploring the beauty of creation all around us, and my youngest has been consumed with learning to walk! I cannot believe that she is already there. You know that feeling when your baby starts to walk; something inside of you wants to scream, "Oh, you are so precious with your little toddle of a walk, but would you please slow down! Mommy's not ready for you to grow up yet!"

Have you ever noticed the excitement, joy, and elation mixed with fear in a beginning walker's face? This time is such a ride of emotions for both the toddler and me every time. Such is the pattern of life.

When we walk, sometimes we fall, but every time we make it without falling, there is such a sense of completion, satisfaction and pure joy; the joy of the Lord. Can you even begin to imagine how it is for our Lord every time He sees us walking the straight and narrow to Him? Like a little babe, we look to Him for encouragement that we can do it. We have excitement, we have joy , we have fear in the walking, yet He is always there; leading us, encouraging us in every step of the way... and He dances over us with joy when we cross the finish line.

We are walking some exciting steps here in the Howard family of late. We are growing and learning new things daily. We are relying on the Lord. We feel His joy. We praise Him for His unfailing care. Our God is great! Praise Him!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Secretary Desk and Tea

I have wanted (needed actually) a secretary desk for a very long time. I've looked in consignment, I've looked in garage sales, I've looked in retail outlets, antique stores, etc.
But I have never found one that was exactly to my liking; nor were any of them at a price I could justify paying.

Ingenuity and resourcefulness to the rescue! I've been reading a lot lately at Homeliving Helper about resourcefulness and creativity. "Why spend so much when I can just reuse or recycle what I already have?" Maybe it's the Scot in me, but "me blood boils" at the thought of the lack of thriftiness in our postmodern society's ways.

Last weekend when we were rearranging our children's bedrooms—trying desperately to get the girls into one room so we can have ours back—we realized that a bookshelf that was sitting in our girls' bedroom just wouldn't fit in there anymore. So, we thought about where we could move it in the house (homeschoolers can always use more bookshelves in just about every room, can't we?) when we suddenly had an idea. Why not just put it behind the old Singer sewing machine I've been using as a desk in our living room? So, we did. It looked a little strange as the wood on the two pieces were of different stains, and the styles of the furniture were from different eras (as in... about 80 years apart).

Creativity to the rescue...

"Doilies anyone?!!" I went into my linen closet to retrieve the lace doilies
A surprise from my hubby nestled next to Pride and Prejudice.
and place mats and napkins I've collected over the years. Then, I went down to the basement to iron them all. I brought them up at last and placed a few select ones on the bookshelf and desk, carefully hiding the cords and other worn parts of both pieces. Next, I took out books that I love, and some of the things I will need to have readily-accessible for school this year, as well as the tea cup that my sweet husband just bought for me as a start to my new tea cup collection (inspired by Deborah Brown's collection—hanging on the antler chandelier!). I placed the tea cup there to remind myself to take some time out for tea everyday to refresh, rejuvenate and start our family's evening off right.

Here is the lovely result of my efforts:

Teacups and lace; MPR Classical streaming through the speakers... AHHHhhhhh!

A lacy wall-hanging drapes over the side of the bookshelf to remind me of my role to "Bless this Home."
I believe I will enjoy this spot to write, study, plan, and prepare for years to come, Lord willing.

I wonder sometimes, how many times have I spent money instead of just simply recycling and being creative with what I have?

Anyone else have a similar experience that you would like to share? I'd love to hear of your creative and resourceful—as well as frugal—exploits!