The First of Many Lasts

The First of Many Lasts

Summer is over…What??? Technically there are like 10 days left, but once school begins, summer is over around these parts.

This, the last summer with my boys home…before they are off to start building a life for themselves. It snuck up on me…this last September…as will the first of many “lasts” we’ll meet over these next 260 something days.

experience john dewey

My boys at home will have their last first day of school and that morning they will devour the traditional first day of school oven apple-pancake {recipe to follow}. Sure, I’ll make this again…but it’s the last time I’ll make it as our traditional first day of school breakfast.

I am pretty sure the youngest will not appreciate me coming up to college and making this for him in his dorm.

helicopter mom

Rats.

This will be their last fall at home to enjoy the impromptu air-soft battles and bonfires with their high school friends.

The last year of Boy Scouts as a Scout.

The last year of boundaries and curfews…of video game limits and reminders of hair cut needs and “please for the love of all that is safe CLEAN THAT ROOM”!

The last holiday season I can be SURE they’ll be home for Christmas.

When a family chooses to home educate the kids, it means that the kids are always here. Some days it’s more like:

The kids are ALWAYS HERE!!!!!

When these guys leave, it will be the first time in over 20 years that the hubby and I will be alone for more than a weeks time.

I only experienced sending one kiddo off to public school. Poor kid…I drove him crazy because it was months before I let him get on the “big, bad” school bus.

Sorry my first little guinea pigs; I swear I thought I was doing the right thing .

guinea pig

The timing was perfect when the two oldest headed to college. We were driving each other mad with post crazy church recovery and there was an urgency for the freedom to leave and become their own person…to soar into the world un-tethered. 

It was scary. But we were ready…I was ready. Turns out, those little guinea pigs are MORE than fine on their own!

These guys at home?

Our relationship is different. I’m not burdened with the incessant fears of insecure parenting; nor am I a helicopter parent micro-managing their every move.0

We worked hard to instill in them security in self and family…and in God without all the hang-ups of crazy church. They are independent young men of character with a strong moral compass.

Not sure where I read this, but it sums it up nicely:

We can’t “child-proof” the world;
but hopefully, we can “world-proof” the child. <tweet

The reality is, my sadness is not from fear of  the “bad things” in the world that can “get” them. It’s not that I am saying “my poor little babies are going to be gone FOREVERRRRR”<<<insert wailing here.

Instead, it’s about that totally quiet, empty house we will have. I am going to miss the little things and hope they remember to call once in a while…maybe stop by for dinner now and then. 

Truth is, like my friend Kim says….I am going to miss them. 

Truth is, I am surprised that this first day hit me the way it did. I’ve been touting my joy about the LAST year of school since last May.
Now that it’s here, I’m like….teary eyed! Will wonders never cease?

So as I enter this year of “lasts”, I’m praying I appreciate the time we have together, take a lot of photos, and hope I didn’t screw them up! Only time will tell.

were always bluffing

Any almost empty-nesters out there? How about those with kids already “grown and flown”? Tell me, what is your biggest concern? Your greatest success story?

Oven Apple Pancake
Print Recipe
A delicious cool weather breakfast served with powdered sugar or maple syrup.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 min
Cook Time
27-32 min
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 min
Cook Time
27-32 min
Oven Apple Pancake
Print Recipe
A delicious cool weather breakfast served with powdered sugar or maple syrup.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 min
Cook Time
27-32 min
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 min
Cook Time
27-32 min
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Toss apples, sugar, raisins, and butter in bowl. Pour into pie pan. Set pie pan onto cookie sheet.
  2. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes until apples can be pierced with a fork easily.
  3. While baking, mix flour, milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until smooth like a thin pancake batter. If needed, add dashes of milk to get that consistency.
  4. Remove pan from oven when done. Increase oven heat to 450 degrees.
  5. Carefully pour the batter over apple mixture. Place back in oven and bake 15-17 minutes until knife comes out clean from piercing the center of pancake.
  6. Remove from oven. The pancake will have puffed up. Let sit 5 minutes to rest, then serve with powdered sugar, syrup, or plain!
Share this Recipe
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www.citychickinthecountry.com


Back In The Saddle Again

Back In The Saddle Again

Just LOOK at the date of this post and compare it to the date of my last post.

Then, Easter was upon us and there was still snow on the ground; a LOT of snow here in NEPA. I was planning for the boys second semester of 11th grade, battling the winter blahs, and wondering WHAT the next step in my life would be.

rhododendrons

Now, June is here, and it is hot and muggy with passing t-storms. The boys are done with finals, the winter blahs have turned into summer YAYS, and I am happy to have had several days off from my new-ish job.

Yep, that’s right: I am an employed Chickie Girl :). 

Back in February I shared about my new job at Wegman’s .  I am shocked at how much I enjoy working . I love being and home and running things, but the things that need to be run seems to be less and less!

The pay is decent, the atmosphere super busy, interesting, and the people are really nice. It’s only been a few months, so time will tell…

God has a way of working things out DESPITE crazy fretting over the future. He’s awesome like that. <click to tweet 

Over the past 4 years I have struggled with the typical mid-life angst defined by some as a “mid-life crisis”. 

The never-ending changes of family…

          kids graduating high school, going to college, moving out…

                   illnesses, the loss of loved ones, caring for extended family…

          combine these situations with small, yet annoying financial struggles…

                     a cancer scare for the hubby {all is 100% fine! PHEW}…

         restoring broken relationships post “crazy church”…

                    my {will I ever get this under control} self-image and weight issues….

And THEN add the thought of my home devoid of my magnum opus {ie: my children} and you have a bit of chaos going on inside my head!

Of course, all of those things did not happen on ONE day, which makes my life seem a little less insane, right??? I hope I’m not too whiny. I despise whiny!!

So, the task at hand is to get back in the saddle again; to strike balance with home, work, health, my writing {sorely neglected}, AND {shock of shocks} getting more involved in church.

Yep, that’s right: I am a church going Chickie Girl…

Join me later as we continue the conversation…

www.citychickinthecountry.com

 


Let Your Imagination Shape the Miracle of Lent This Year

Let Your Imagination Shape the Miracle of Lent This Year

Ash Wednesday has arrived and although I am not headed off to have the ashes of last years’ palms ceremoniously placed on my forehead, I will spend time reflecting on the character of Christ and what it took for Him to leave His Father and come here…of ALL places.

Dwelling among His own creation, teaching, touching, healing, loving…only to have them spit in His face; despised and rejected by the very ones He chose to die for.

Let’s take a minute to let our imaginations travel back to this historic time in history

I developed this habit of making the story come alive in my mind. This approach helps the truths held captive in the words escape to run freely to my heart.

It solidifies them and I feel the closeness of Jesus…the God who would be Man. The Man who is God.

Crunching gravel under foot.

Carts pulled by animals; shopkeepers and craftsman clanging about. 

Crowded! The multitudes descend upon the city to prepare for the Passover Feast.

Children run around. Adults smile down at them…or shoo them away!

The aromas of food waft out of the small, family owned inns and taverns.

The joint smells of humans and animals. The smell of hard work.

Also the smell of death…as animals are sacrificed to atone for the sins of the people…the individual.

All the while, many fail recognize that Messiah-the last sacrifice-was walking among them. Buying items, eating food, tousling the hair of a child, healing the wounds of broken hearts.

What do YOU see? Hear? Smell? Feel?

Lent is like the road TO the cross. The month and a half before the BIG day…Easter. A lot of Christians choose to say Resurrections Day because of Easters ancient meaning. Generally I agree, but society uses Easter generically these days, so my question is “How do we keep Christ in Easter”?

keep christ in easter

One tradition started last year was to have my own Easter Basket set out. It is not full of chocolate bunnies or colored eggs, but rather mementos I have found to remind me of this road to the cross…and ultimately to the empty tomb!

The idea was given me by a wonderful friend Katharine from Just a Thought. If you stop by her place, tell her I said hey!

In just a bit, I’ll share what has made in into my little basket!

Another tradition of Easter is giving something “up” for Lent. As a kid, I would “give up” crazy things like sky-diving or liver. {Hem hem,I was not a very “good” Catholic}. Last year was my first attempt at sacrificing something I enjoy over Lent. It was a positive experience.

Do you follow this tradition? 

One thing I am doing this year is spending some serious time studying the life of Christ in the weeks leading to the Cross. I found this great on-line resource. Utilizing this with a few books, I hope to gain deeper insight into the world of the first century church.

jerusalem

Bible History On-Line has a wonderful interactive map of first century Jerusalem. Follow the image above, click on various areas and you will be taken to an informative page on that subject.
Kuddos to people who put this site together!

I know at the end of this Lenten road there will be the empty tomb of the resurrected Christ.
But what will be found along the road?
I am hoping for a little illumination!

How about you? Do you have any hopes for this year?
I’d love to hear about the. 

www.citychickinthecountry.com


3 reasons Why I Love She Reads Truth {FREE} Bible App

3 reasons Why I Love She Reads Truth {FREE} Bible App

She Reads Truth {SRT} is a bible study/devotion tool available online or as an Android / iTunes app. 3 reasons to LOVE this tool are:

1. It is free….almost anyway :).
Following online carries no cost, but there are nominal fees {$0.99-1.99} for some of the app plans, the current study {Esther} being $1.99. The free options {i.e.Hymns, 1,2 Peter} are just as lovely as the purchase ones {i.e John, Hosea} .

Additionally, they sell what looks like a great study/accessory tool kit, however I have not yet purchased any for review. I am contemplating buying the Lent study. If so I will let you know all about it!

2. It sticks to the simple truths of scripture.
Hmm? Maybe this should have been first!
So far everything I have read has been nothing but spot on encouragement to develop a more serious faith walk. 

3. It is simple to use.
Simplicity is a passion of mine and following along with SRT is SUPER easy.
The scripture of the day is right there on the screen to read so no need for a bible or another app to be opened. Nice.

Then with a swipe on the screen, you are taken to the devotional; another swipe, you are taken to the community board where you can write a personal comment/reflection or discuss the study among a collection of insightful women.

Here’s a bonus LOVE:

4. The graphics at the end of the devotions are GORGEOUS eye candy!
Here is an example taken from a screenshot on the Android App page.

She Reads Truth - screenshot thumbnail{screen shot credit Android; graphic credit She Reads Truth}

A beautiful photo/graphic along with scripture/related quote is set at the end of the devotional.
The straightforward “click to share” button lets you tell the world about your days’ discovery…. hashtags included .

I’ve taken quite a shine to Instagram as a result of this sharing capability…you can check out my Instagram account here !

Discover She Reads Truth through the following links:

Facebook 

Instagram

Twitter

Bloglovin

Subscribe

There you have it folks.
If you give She Reads Truth a try,
let me know what you think.

Happy studying!

  www.citychickinthecountry.com

 

 

 


What Do You Do When You Don’t Want Them to Repent- Part 3

What Do You Do When
You Don’t Want Them to Repent- Part 3
This is a three-part series. Start here.

Welcome back! I am alive and well…albeit STILL coughing. I appreciate the prayers and kind notes to feel better. THANKS.

A little review:
This is the last installment of a three post series on praying for those that have hurt us. Over the past few weeks, God has shown me that:

1.  I need forgiveness as much as {more than} “them”.

2. Other people’s sin, ultimately, is between themselves and God. 

3. My forgiveness does NOT nullify their sin, nor does it mean there will not be consequences.

Last on my list, I had to admit …

4. I needed to take personal responsibility for my part  in the conflict.

If you could kick the person in the

 “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble,

you wouldn’t sit for a month”.
~T. Roosevelt

Now, if you are a church goin’ person, you have inevitably read Philippians 4:13:

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Thing is, I have to WANT that strength!  Like a little kid I want to do it MY way…despite all the times He has cleaned up after I did things “my way”.

Tell me, have you ever been here? Battling for control even though you KNOW He should to have it??

There is hope for me…for us…if we can just get to the point where we can say…

We don’t *want* to not want to. 

Does this make sense?

Paul said it this way:

“For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do;
Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me;
What a wretched man I am!

Romans 7:15, 21,24 a

I could have stopped here, given up, and felt like a horrible failure.

Rather, I continued:

Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:24 b-25

At some point we all reach a crossroad: Which way do we go?

Which way do *I* go?

Do I continue on that path of withholding prayer or do I change direction and follow what God says?

I am weak, but I know in my weakness He is made strong.<tweet

1 john 4-4

I confess and repent…I will pray for them and trust that God will change my heart because of it. 

This is an ongoing process, so this is not a “one and done” deal. It takes time. But for the first time in a long time, I want “them” to find peace with God, you know?

Oh, and please keep in mind, forgiveness is not an open door to let toxic people IN. This says it perfectly:

forgiveness is not about keeping hurtful people in your life

{Please note that while the article from which this quote came was very good, I may not support all the views expressed on this site. Read with caution}

Someone asked me recently why I put myself “out there” on the big ‘ole web for all to see. To be honest, it’s not always easy. I think God is awesome and the way He constantly leads me down a path of self-revelation is worth sharing if let’s someone out there know they are not alone. 

Any blogs out there that have influenced your life? I’d love to know which ones. I have a >>list of places<< I love to go if you’d like to check it out .

 Mercy Me  has an awesome sound and their lyrics are always spot on!Listen and enjoy…and say a prayer for the “them” in your life. You know who they because they are the ones that popped into your head just now .

Have you struggled with the question:
What Do You Do When You Don’t Want Them to Repent?
Insights, thoughts, general comments are all welcome here! 

www.citychickinthecountry.com


Right Now is the Time to Go Back to Work

Right Now is the Time to Go Back to Work

Today I had hoped to share the last installment of  “what to do when you don’t want others to repent”, but as I  battled this week-long, abominable head-cold, my ideas were sounding as muffled as what my clogged ears could hear.
 
The post will be ready  to go next Tuesday, so please, love me anyway and come back then for the last installment.
In the meantime, I can share some great news that requires very little creative writing .
 
I am {re}entering the workforce!
I took a job in the Prepared Foods kitchen/division of Wegman’s  grocery store. Wegman’s is similar to Whole Foods Markets…without the pretentious atmosphere and exorbitant prices .  I’ve been shopping there for years and over that time, sporadically asked employees if it was a good company to work for. 99% said yes.
If you are returning to work after a lone absence, I highly recommended doing a little research. It’s imperative to know who you are working for.
As I searched around, I discovered Wegman’s is #12 on Forbes’2014 list of top companies to work for in the US.
FORTUNE announced this morning that Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is once again on the magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, this year ranking #12.   For Wegmans, this marks the 17th year in a row that the family owned supermarket chain has appeared on the FORTUNE list.  Wegmans is one of only 13 companies that have been on the list since it began in 1998, and a such is recognized as one of 2014’s Best Companies All Stars.
{source}
So far, I am impressed with our interaction and the package they offered me. As a matter of fact, I was kind of shocked at how much this family owned business offers to even their part-time employees. 
So…Woot…yay…and all manner of party responses welcome. But not too loud. The head cold…remember? 
~Henry Ford
Right now is the right time for me to go back to work because if I wait until my boys {who school at home} graduate high school {May of 2016}, I will more than likely be an emotional basket case unable to apply for any job.
 
Who is going to hire a 50-year-old woman who cries during an interview?
 
Them: So, what makes you ready to come back to the workforce?
 
Me: {Sniff} Well you see, {sniff, sniff}, I spent the last 20 years raising these awesome kids {sniff, cough}, and well, now they are GONE and what ELSE would I do with my time??? I mean, what else can compare to {now full-fledged bawling} primal, all-consuming, blessed gift of being a mother….everything else will pale in comparison, ya know?? But here I am {sniff, snort…tissue please}, ready to jump back in…away from my kids….can I show you pictures???
Anyone who knows me knows this is not such a far-fetched scene.
kids on the beach va I loved being a SAHM
By working part-time now, I hope to curtail {some of} the inevitable empty-nest sadness by having an established job…and the opportunity to take on extra shifts.
To be honest, jumping back into the workforce is  scary. I have friends who have looked for employment for a LONG time with WAY more to offer than me. This process took over 3 months…I actually thought I was not going to get called at all. 
I don’t have a “career” to return to nor do I have a college degree. I ‘m not minimizing my abilities, mind you. I am an intelligent, organized, person that has worked my tuckus  off educating my children at home and, so far, got two of them into college with decent scholarships 
 
I have acquired a boat load of skills over the past two decades, but translating that into a resume’ was a challenge.  
This may sound crazy, but I kind of resented that listing “home educator” as my last “job” would not express all I’ve been “doing” over this extended amount of time. It was difficult to define.
All you home schooling moms out there….
make a list of the “duties” you carry out over just one year and
be PROUD of what you do!
And if you figure out how to add that into your resume’…
or who your “supervisor” contact is, let me know .
I opted to write an introduction letter and attached it to my resume’.
I gave a VERY brief introduction and a  list of my skills/knowledge. I was actually told this worked in my favor, so I am sharing with you all in case it could help you out as well.
I won’t lie. I am a bit nervous because I have not had to be at the same place and the same time for a LONG time. Plus, my life always seems to have some sort of craziness going on. But the curiosity of this next step is just too much not to take a chance on!
So, on Saturday morning I will be off for orientation which will include food safety codes and OSHA regulations 0_0.
Prayer appreciated.
Anyone else out there returning to the workforce
after a long absence?
Have any advice?
What about improving ones skill set?
Did you head back to college or take classes?
Inquiring minds want to know!

What Do You Do When You Don’t Want Them to Repent- Part 2

What Do You Do When
You 
Don’t Want Them to Repent- Part 2

The other day I  shared  about ^this^  struggle. I left off with:

“Where do I go with the ugliness of this?
There really is only one place TO go…”

I knew where to find clarity:

Prayer and reading the Word of God
are the venues with which God speaks to us<tweet

Sadly, this is often my second or third…of fifteenth “resort”, not my first.

Then I wonder why I feel like I am showing up to a battle with foil-covered cardboard armor and a tree branch for a sword?

what do you do when you dont want them to repent {photo source}

With my defenses weakened, it was easy to fill my mind with my OWN ideas about justice, loyalty, self-righteous indignation, etc. .

As I drove away from my friend’s house, there was a LOT of confusion rattling in my head!

What about justice?

Or consequences?

Does forgiveness exonerate bad behavior?

If I forgive, am I somehow being disloyal to my family {also the recipients of the horrible actions}?

Since I KNOW God is not a God of confusion but of peace {1 Corinthians 14:33}….I wrestled for guidance.

I HAD to be brave {and I am rarely brave}. I had to boldly ask God to show me what this confusion was all about; but I feared that He would show me things I didn’t want to see.

I was right.

Seeing my judgy self is never a “fun” thing, and my arrogance is astounds me.

Yeah, by comparison to “some” I may be squeaky clean, but by comparison to a holy God…”None is righteous, no, not one” {Romans 3:10}.

OUCH. Here comes the discipline…

Hebrews 12:11
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

The first thing I had to admit was that I need forgiveness as much as {more than} “them”.
Their sin, my sin, your sin….all the same in the eyes of God and I needed to repent.
Another ouch as I was wallowing in all my “rightness”!

The second thing I had to admit was that other people’s sin, ultimately, is between themselves and God.
It is my responsibility  to trust that the consequences of their infraction has nothing to do with my forgiveness of the act itself. Which leads nicely to…

The third thing I had to admit {accept} is that my forgiveness does NOT nullify their sin, nor does it mean there will not be consequences.

This quote encapsulates a hard truth:

“It is a fundamental principle of life that God may forgive and cleanse us of all wrongdoing, but the consequences of our sin may, and in fact, often, remain. The innocent suffer for crimes committed by someone else, but such suffering is not punishment for those crimes. A crack [cocaine] baby may die soon after birth because the mother used crack during pregnancy. The child dies, the mother lives. The child’s death is not the punishment but the consequences of the mother’s sin. Her punishment will take a different form”.
~Bill Arnold NIVAC commentary
{credit to where I found this quote. Please note that while the article was very good, I do not support all the views expressed on this site. Read with caution}

Consequences are up to God, not me.

The truth is, just like me, all they need to do is ask God for forgiveness, repent, and they will be cleansed…He remembers their sins no more. 

Hebrews 8:12
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

These very same bible verses are what *I* cling to when dealing with my sin. Why would I want to withhold that from anyone???

Now we are getting somewhere!

The proverbial light went on and I began to see that the only sin I can “control” is my own and this includes the way I respond to being hurt by others. 

One little conversation led to to this self evaluation and I am really glad it did. 

This leads me to the final hurdle. The last concept I have a hard{est} time admitting

Come back next Tuesday as we continue the discussion on “What Do You Do When You Don’t Want Them to Repent”?

How about you? Have you had to deal with this issue?
What is/has God taught you?
PLEASE share…I need all the encouragement I can find!

www.citychickinthecountry.com


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