Saturday, June 29, 2013

My 6-month Check Up

Well, like it or not, 2013 is half over.
We are near the end of June & in the snap of a finger, we'll be posting about fall decor,
our Thanksgiving dinners, putting up our Christmas trees & making our Christmas lists.
It will be here just that fast.

I thought I'd take a quick second and post an update ...
a 6-month check up, if you will, on where we are on our 2013 goals & resolves.

I posted our plan of attack for this year in January as sort of a list to keep us on target.
Nothing like reaching the year's end feeling like a complete loser, knowing all the thoughts & ideas,
all those resolutions & good intentions that you had for the new year just didn't pan out.

I even posted my words of the year {intentional & purposeful} & the books I planned to read.
I truly did have/still do have good intentions!

So, I'm going to lay it all out here today ... for you & for me.
We'll see how well I've done & where I need to improve & pick up the pace.
I've got 6 months left to make it happen.

OK ... taking a deep breath ... do you want the bad news or the good news first?
Good news?
Me too.

I've been living each day very intentional.
My frame of mind has been right where it should be in this area.
I've loved more, lived more, & have been more fulfilled because of it.
I've celebrated small moments just like they were big ones.
I've taken time to seek out daily pleasures like smelling the flowers & rain showers,
hearing the voices of my man & my boys when they call home at lunch,
finding a sweet note laying on the stove when I wake up,
or sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch reading a good book.
Intentional living & purposeful days have been very rewarding.

Speaking of books, I had quite the stack of books that I planned to read this year.
I am happy to report that I am attributing
my better state of mind & overall more positive outlook
to a couple of these really good books that I've read.
I'm not even kidding.
I could go on & on about these books.
Someone else may read them & not be as enthused, but for me, they've been the perfect books
and I've read them at just the right time in my life.
I can't wait blog about the others in detail later, but for now  
I'll tell you about this book that wasn't even on my list!


Last year, the sweet ladies of our church put together a huge birthday basket for me
& in it was this book, Secrets of the Vine.
I don't even know who put it in there, but here's a BIG thank you!
For whatever reason, I just started reading it about a month ago.
Yes, it's short & I could've read it in a day, but I am taking it slow ... studying it, more so.
{Plus, I have about 4 other books going, as usual.}
I have needed to read this book at just this time in my life ...
& in my opinion, every single Christian needs to read this book.
It is so applicable to all areas of life.
I've learned many wonderful truths about John 15 as Jesus is teaching about the vine.
It discusses 4 levels of 'fruit bearing' {doing the good work of God}.
I've been challenged  & corrected ... & I love it when that happens.
There's nothing like growing in the Lord.

Here's the pic I posted in January of the books I wanted to read, showing my progress.
I've got several marked off the list.

Course, the top 5 books, I've read before ...
I'm just refreshing on them &/or using them continually as my daily devotionals.

This next book has been so good to read.
I'm not only motivated by it, but encouraged to examine my attitude & motives.
The leadership in our church is currently reading & discussing this book
& it's getting rave reviews from all of us.

So, I'm giving myself a thumbs up for staying on target with my book list for 2013.

Two more of my goals were to 1) SIMPLIFY  and 2) PLAN AHEAD.
Happy to say, I've cleaned out closets, cabinets, the garage, the pantry & anything in between.
The boys have as well.
All in all, I've donated LOTS of bags & boxes to Goodwill & have amassed a large amount
of potential yard sale items.
If I don't have the sale in the next couple weeks, it's all going to Goodwill too.

As for planning ahead, we've stayed on task.
This has been especially helpful for our church & ministry work & eliminates much stress in the process.

Now on to the not-so-good news.
It's tough reporting the not-so-good news, but here we go.

The other top priority for 2013 was to get healthier, make better choices in food & exercise,
& ultimately to lose some weight.

James is doing a fantastic job.
He's down 30 pounds & is consistent to the gym.
He's set & met many goals there & is feeling better than he has in a long time.
The biggest plus: his blood pressure is lower!
He's been in stage 2 hypertension for several years & as of just a few days ago,
he now down to pre-hypertension!
His slight frustration is that he's not losing faster, but overall is very pleased with his progress.

As for me, I was very consistent until late April.
I was charting & journaling my calories ... & walking about 3-4 miles each week.
I lost a total of 20 pounds.
Now, while I'm totally happy with that, I am not happy with the fact
 that I fell off the bandwagon in May.
June wasn't any better.
I slacked off on counting my cals & due to some physical issues, I was not able to do much walking.
And it showed up on the scales ... of course it did.
Along with that came the emotional toll & that sluggish 'I'm eating junk' feeling that the body
tries to get our attention with.

So, on June 17, James, me, my sister, & my niece started on a low-carb program.
James does low-carb pretty much all the time & loves it ... but me, no ... I'm not crazy about it.
I decided to join in though cause I needed a jump start.
I basically needed a big slap in the face ... a wake up call to get back on the wagon.
I figured I needed & deserved the punishment.

The program calls for 10 days of eating 30 carbs or less.
Not a lot of carbs there, people ;)
On the 10th evening, you have a carb night.
You can indulge in carbs for a period of 3 hours or so to spike your insulin.
The next day, you start back on low-carbs & one evening every 7 days, you have a carb evening.
They say that this, coupled with exercise is a sure fire weight loss.

On my 10th day, I was down 8 pounds & feeling quite proud of myself.
{We were all down from 6-8 lbs each.}

Here's the shocker for me: 
I found that I didn't miss the carbs near as much as I thought I would.
I figured that I'd being dying for sugar & bread, but I really wasn't.
James, being the seasoned low-carb veteran, helped me to know what to eat.
Even on the carb night, I didn't eat what I thought I would.

So, much to my surprise & especially to James' surprise, I've decided to stay on the program.
As I said before, I have 6 months left in this year to continue moving forward.
I'm certainly not satisfied with my sllloooow progress, I am happy to be making progress.

We are planning a fall vacation, so that's my current motivation.

I feel encouraged, especially looking at my goals from this perspective ...
6 months left in the year to make them happen, to check things off my 2013 list.

And if you are feeling a bit off schedule, there's no time like the present to get back on the bandwagon.
We can do this!!

Oh ... by the way, I'd like to ask you for a super quick favor.
Please go to the block of Google Friends over in the right column 
& click Join this Site
This doesn't subscribe you or obligate you to anything. 
It's just a way to let me know that you visited me here at Call Her Blessed. 
If you're reading this by email, you'll need to click Here to sign in.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

2013 Summer Bucket List

Happy 1st day of summer, y'all!!


I do lists very well.
There's just something about the simple act of writing things down on a piece of paper.
I feel compelled to perform each & every task ... all for the shear joy of marking it off!
OK, not ganna lie, I enjoy the sense of accomplishment too, but oh how I like marking things off my list.

So, in the spirit of my mad list-making skills ... coupled with the fact that today is the 1st day of summer,
I thought a 2013 Summer Bucket List was in order.
Woot Woot!

Annnd ... I'm already feeling quite accomplished cause I've already got one thing to mark off the list.
Yep, I'm starting this summer off right by buying myself a new pair of sunglasses!

I crack myself up that I actually walked out of the store with a pair of throwback glasses,
quite reminiscent of my high school years.
{Actually, there's a whole of things that are in fashion at the moment that are straight
 from the late 80s - early 90s ...ha, it's kinda funny.}
Anyhoo, I kinda liked these golden glasses.
I think they are the perfect start to the summer, right?

And while I was going all glasses glam, I talked myself into a second pair.
These were purchased solely for the purpose of not taking myself, or life for that matter, too seriously.
Yept, I bought a pair of 'intelligent' specs.
Back in the day, I had a couple pair of 'attitude' glasses ...
& here I find myself buying yet another pair all these years later.
I'm calling them 'intelligent' glasses this time around cause they are all smart & nerdy looking.

I took these silly pics & messaged them to James ... I figured he needed an afternoon laugh ;)

In my usual list-making fashion, I want desperately to write this purchase on my bucket list
just so I can mark it off.
I'll refrain though ... I'll refrain.
Wouldn't want you all to see how crazy I really am.

Now, onto the summer fun!
James & I came up with this list & we are ganna try our hardest to mark off as many things
as possible & have tons of fun in the process.
You know how summer goes, here & gone before you know it.
Hopefully this will encourage us to take advantage of every evening & weekend available
 to pack it full of memories.

Here's what we came up with:

buy new sunglasses
amusement park
camping either in our travel trailer or rent a cabin
Gene's Hot Dog & Root Beer Stand .... & Frazier's
drive through Falls Park & visit all our old stomping grounds in Anderson/Pendleton
fireworks/Fourth of July parade
explore downtown Indy
eat at 3 new restaurants
swim at my sisters every time she invites me over
paint the lower bathroom & laundry room
sit on the porch/patio & read as many mornings as possible
go to the state fair
eat fresh!
drink lots of iced tea
lose 20 pounds
sew more on my sewing machine
play putt-putt
grill often
eat dinner on the patio any evening that it's not a thousand degrees

I would add 'go on vacation', but that's at the top of my fall bucket list!

I know I'll think of other things to add to the summer list the very minute I publish this blog,
but for now, I think we are off to a great start!
How 'bout it ... make yourself a fun summer bucket list!
And if you already have, I'd love to hear about all your fun plans =)

Happy Summer 2013, people~


Monday         Make It Yourself Monday        The Better Mom       C.R.A.F.T     Sunny Simply Life
Tuesday    Domestically Divine     A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                   Women Living Well    Southern Lovely     The Thrifty Home
Friday    Happy-Go-Lucky     The Thrifty Groove      Farm Blog Hop
Sunday  Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Looking back at the weekend through photos - part 2: Father's Day!

I'm a silly, silly girl.
There's just no two ways about it.

Why, you ask?
Well, the easy answer is that in the midst of all the weekend hubbub, not one single picture
was taken by me of my sons with their dad ... or of me & my dad.
What in the world?
What kind of mom & daughter am I anyway?
One with good intentions, but with slightly too many irons in the fire.

Forgive me for my huge oversight.

I did, however, take several pics of the decorations at our church,
all to make the fathers feel special & loved.
They liked 'em ... several of them told me so.

I decided on a manly look to coordinate with our fellowship meal theme:  Father's Day Meat Fest!
This plate, found just earlier in the week on clearance at HobLob for $3.20 was just perfect.
It was from the same line as the napkins that I had bought already at Marshall's.
Lucked out Blessed with that.

I found these adorable free printables all about Father's on a blog & knew we had to use them.
{Thank you, Aleisa!}
I used double-sided tape to adhere them to plain brown gift bags ... & sticking the fuzzy mustaches
to the top of each bag was just the perfect accent.

Our standard black tablecloths were topped with a portion of a red gingham plastic tablecloth
{one gingham cloth was cut into fours} & then a square of burlap to finish the look.
I wanted it to look like a little BBQ diner ... nothing fancy, but homey & fun.

Here are the napkins that I was so happy to find.
The theme was already decided upon before I found these ... they couldn't have been any better
if I had designed them myself!
You kind of have to go to our church to understand how appropriate this whole 'meat' theme is.
Our FLA men are meat lovers of monumental proportions.

I love the detailing on these red & white plates too ... Thanks Tammy, for finding & donating these.
I wanted to incorporate Mason jars, as well, & decided to use them as holders for the plastic ware.
The bottom of the jar was filled with brown paper gift filler.
Next, another plastic gingham cloth was cut into small piece & put inside to keep the utensils
from falling too far down into the jar.
The twine tied around the top was just added charm.

I had the basket & the red geraniums already.
A burlap place mat & more of the plastic tablecloth provided the right amount of filler in the basket.

Even my red crock pot matched ... and by the time fellowship meal time rolled around,
the table was laden with not only several more crock pots, but many covered dishes & desserts.
We did our fathers up good ;)

And here's where the mustache madness started ....
Carissa ordered these adorable cupcake toppers especially for Father's Day.
FYI, our FLA men are pretty serious about facial hair too.
The more beards & mustaches, literally, the merrier!

Aren't these awesome?!
Great job, Carissa.

And while I'm at it & everything is looking so fun & festive,
I want to show you a few more pics of our brand new church building!

We are leasing this space for 2 years & after a near complete renovation,
we could not be happier to be here.
It's a blessing to which we are so grateful for.
There were so many men, women, & young people who worked so hard to make it what it is.
{This was a dark grey & red martial arts studio when we leased it - the transformation is remarkable!}
We aren't completely finished {still working on details, decor, etc}, but here are a few pics
of how great it is!

This is our island, made by James R.
It's made with recycled barn wood, over a hundred years old.
We use it as our drink station.

Isn't it such a sturdy & manly piece of furniture?
These legs have heaps of character.

We put in this kitchen, every bit of it.
With having a fellowship meal each Sunday, this is a much needed area & we are so thankful for it.
As soon as we are able, there will be a stove {by the fridge} & an ice maker {under the microwave}.

New lighting adds to much to a space.
This hangs over our serving area.

And there are two of these over our island.
{Someone should have moved her purse & books off the counter...ahem}

This is our fellowship area.
Someday, we'll have a separate room for fellowship, but until then, this works just fine.

And here is our beautiful sanctuary area.
It's no cathedral ... nothing fancy at all, but it's awfully beautiful in my eyes.
From the chairs, to the lights, to the carpet & tile, to the sound equipment ...
each is an example of how God has smiled on Family Life Assembly.

This is looking in from the front entrance.
Doesn't it look wonderful?!

You know, come to think about it, I think showing these pictures of FLA is quite fitting
on my Father's Day post.
The men of our church, some fathers & some fathers-to-be, worked so hard on every inch of this space.
Look at the work of your hands.
What a great job & we thank you for it!

I'll post more pics as we get some additional things finished up.
Again, I can't even express how happy we are with our new church building.

Now, to wrap up this Father's Day post,
A major highlight came at my sister's house.
She & Allan hosted our whole family -- mom, dad, my brother, my sister's family, & our family --
for a cookout & a swim party.
We really had a great, great time.
I didn't take any pics at her house, but I am sharing a couple of hers.
This pic of her fridge, all decked out to honor all the dads in the house.
Isn't this a neat idea?

And, I'm so glad my sister wasn't as forgetful as I was about taking pics!
Here's one she took of our dad & her son, Ben.
I love this picture of them!

All in all, my day was spent loving my church family, loving my blood family,
laughing & eating together, & making memories to treasure.

I hope your day was filled with the same.

Much love~


Monday         Make It Yourself Monday        The Better Mom       C.R.A.F.T     Sunny Simply Life
Tuesday    Domestically Divine     A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                   Women Living Well    Southern Lovely     The Thrifty Home
Friday    Happy-Go-Lucky     The Thrifty Groove      Farm Blog Hop
Sunday  Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways

Looking back at the weekend through photos - part 1: Amish grocery & Cassie's party~

In a perfect world, one that did not include me feeling terrible all week,
this post would have gone up on Monday.

However, we all know the world is far from perfect.
And as for the 'feeling terrible all week part," well, this is about the 3rd week of that.
I'm troubled about it, way more than I let on, but I'm praying for understanding, direction, &healing.

Anyhoo ...

I have enjoyed looking back over these pictures & reminiscing about what a good weekend it was,
so I'm posting ... better late than never.

On Saturday morning, we headed out of town to Liberty to celebrate James' cousin's open house party ...
she graduated from high school.
We decided to go a bit early & stop at our favorite Amish grocery store.

We were smart this time & brought along a cooler so we could buy lunch meat, cheese,
& products that needed to be kept cold.

 I had to snap a pic of these EXTRA LARGE carrots ... seriously the biggest I've seen ... ever!

 Look at the size of this one!

We had a good time here, as usual.
We stocked up for ourselves & bought several Father's Day gifts for both sets of dads.
Even James himself got his Father's Day gift from here.
We'd been looking for an outdoor rocker & then switched to a porch swing.
We hadn't bought it yet because we wanted to check a couple more stores before making the purchase.
Good thing we hadn't ... cause we'd forgotten about how much he loved these handmade chairs
when we were at this Amish store the last time.
Yes, James is slightly obsessed ... one of his life's missions:  find the perfect rocking chair.
This one is a glider, & after trying out every.single.chair there, he says this one is right there at the top.
No, it doesn't necessarily 'go' with our living room decor, but that's alright.
He loves it & has been in it every night this week.

As for my prizey, well, I had to have one of these huge hanging baskets.
I've always wanted one of these great big ones, I just don't ever break down & pay the high price for one.
Much to my disbelief, these were only $14.99!!
If I'd had room to haul a couple more, I sure would have.

 It's hard to tell from these pics just how big this thing really is ... so, so beautiful!

After packing our Suburban full of our goodies from the Amish store
{cooler full of food, glider chair, hanging basket, Father's Day gifts...not to mention 5 people},
we were happy to arrive at Cassie's party with some precious cargo in tow.

You see, taking up another big portion in the truck were these yummy desserts!
We were the delivery service for a special cake & nearly a hundred cupcakes,
with the exception of the 24 that were accidentally left on our dining room table.
We'll leave that story untold.
{I have a strict 'no throwing anyone under the bus' policy here at Call Her Blessed ...
& I'm not going to veer from it now.}

We were happy that not a single cupcake was smashed.
And for the record, the peanut butter & jelly were my fave.

Here's the sweet graduate herself, Miss Cassie on the left, with cousins Garrett & Riley
& Garrett's girlfriend, Carissa.
We had a fun time celebrating with Cassie & visiting with family.

Our prayers and best wishes to Cassie for a bright future.

Now, for the Father's Day portion of the weekend, stay tuned for part 2!


Monday         Make It Yourself Monday        The Better Mom       C.R.A.F.T     Sunny Simply Life
Tuesday    Domestically Divine     A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                   Women Living Well    Southern Lovely     The Thrifty Home
Friday    Happy-Go-Lucky     The Thrifty Groove      Farm Blog Hop
Sunday  Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mornings are made for front porches~

I could wish my life away for things I don't have.
Like a really big southern wrap-around front porch ...
one that's attached to an old country farmhouse ...
that is perfectly positioned by a little creek on one side
& a hillside of flowers on the other.

Yeah, I could do that, but what good would that do me?

Instead, I am being grateful for what I have.

What I have is a tiny snippet of a porch.
It's attached to very normal, subdivision-style house that is perfectly positioned smack-dab
in the middle of lots of other houses that look amazingly similar to mine.

There's no field of flowers ... no ...
but I absolutely adore my little flower bed, pots, & hanging baskets.
There's no creek streaming nearby, but there's a pretty lake across the street.
It's peaceful to watch & I especially like it when the blue heron swoops in for a visit.
The lake also hosts many father & son fishing adventures ... & seeing that makes my heart happy.

And then there's James' rocking chair.
It takes up residence on the porch each sunny morning.
The quilt is one of two ... it's from when the twins were little guys & had a patriotic bedroom.
It ties in with the buntings & is the perfect finishing touch.

Above the buntings, James hung the country star ...
& although it's a bit small for the space, it's ganna work out just fine.
Besides, he said it's attached to the house so well that even a tornado won't blow it off ;)

So, this little porch ... it's where you'll find me most mornings ...
with grateful heart & a cup of coffee.


Monday         Make It Yourself Monday        The Better Mom       C.R.A.F.T     Sunny Simply Life
Tuesday    Domestically Divine     A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                   Women Living Well    Southern Lovely     The Thrifty Home
Friday    Happy-Go-Lucky     The Thrifty Groove      Farm Blog Hop
Sunday  Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Oven Roasted Potatoes

Since finding the roasted broccoli recipe
I've been experimenting with roasting all sorts of veggies.
Potatoes in the oven work very well with this method.
It's a much healthier version than fried potatoes or french fries in oil.
And it can't get much easier than this one.

Wash potatoes & dry very well.
This is key to getting them to crisp up.
Cube as many potatoes as you'd like, leaving the skin on.
Or instead of cubes, cut them into wedges or into the shape of steak fries.
You can use whatever potatoes you have on hand ... russet, red, or sweet ...
or a combo of these.
{I use about 6 med-lg potatoes for our family of 5.}

Place potatoes on baking sheet, coated with cooking spray,  in a single layer.
Season as desired.
We like salt, pepper, seasoned salt, grill seasoning, garlic powder/salt etc....
whatever combo strikes us.
Drizzle 2 Tbsp. olive oil over top & toss together, coating all potatoes.

Bake in 400 oven for approx. 30 minutes til browned & crispy.


Monday         Make It Yourself Monday        The Better Mom       C.R.A.F.T     Sunny Simply Life
Tuesday    Domestically Divine     A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                   Women Living Well    Southern Lovely     The Thrifty Home
Friday    Happy-Go-Lucky     The Thrifty Groove      Farm Blog Hop
Sunday  Suburbsmama   
Sew Many Ways