Blog Archives

2017 Focus Word for the Year: Courage

I made another video. Here it is. Wellness Wednesday post on Thursday. It has taken three days so I may just go back to blogging only after this. Now that write that, I’m thinking that sounds like I may need to muster up the courage to “keep on swimming, keep on swimming…..” Sigh….one take was too long and had too many, “and, ums”, another was great until I realized some child had licked his finger and smeared my lens to be…”funny.” (insert grumpy emoji here) and there were other issues. THEN, it took our internet about 12 hours to upload, no joke. Yea….not feeling warm and fuzzy about this YouTube thing right now…

Well, here is, yet another, attempt at YouTube. If nothing else, it has me wanting to blog again. 🙂

 

 

 

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Advertisements

Getting there….

I catered all by myself today. I went up and down stairs about 24 times so that counts as working out, right?

So…I’ve been working on my youtube channel but have, yet, to post. Besides being exhausted in the evenings, crazy busy the rest of the time, I think I’m a tad nervous about getting those out there.  Okay, maybe more than a tad. Also, I’ve been running into technical difficulties i.e. aggravatingly slow internet. It takes HOURS to upload one video. I could go into town and use wifi but I’m away from the house enough. That’s not a good reason, to me, to have to be away from the house. SO, I think I will be taking advantage of this freak-of-nature transformation that has occurred, that being I’ve become a morning person against my will and natural selection, and arrange my routine so that I upload before 5am when our internet is unmetered and much faster.

That’s it for now. Wish me luck.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Coming soon…to a blog near you..

My name is Michelle and it’s been three months since my last blog post. Confessions of an intermittent blogger… I have posted about how I procrastinate with posting previously  so that’s all I’ll say about that. o.O I have been encouraged to try vlogging because it does take less time and it does fit with my tendency to talk to myself. It’s a work in progress but I’m working on it! Some folks are interested in our goofy, large family and how we do things as well as our catering business which we blend with homeschooling. Crazy? You betcha!  SO, we do have tales to tell, tips to offer, recipes and adventures to share. I have been intrigued by the homeschooling YouTube community and am going to try a Virtual Homeschool Coop so there will be posts for that, as well. SO, stay tuned! I do miss being here so will be trying a different platform.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

I’m Up Already

This blog has been yelling at me to sit down and include it in my morning routine. Alright already! I’m up. I’m here. I have a morning routine….when the heck did I become a morning person?! I keep giving myself excuses as to why I don’t have time to post but, truth be told, I just haven’t had it at the top of my priority list. Our family was involved with a play at the local theatre, business has picked up for our little catering business, school, nuff said. We’ve been swamped and I’ve been tired. I’m extra tired because, since opening our business, this night owl has been evolving into a morning person. I’m still getting acclimated to this thing called “moving” before the sun shines it’s face.

Unless I stay up late, I, typically, get up between 4 and 5:30. How stupid is that? If, IF, this very light sleeper has not been startled out of sleep by a five-year-old staring at me or whispering to me, “I need to go potty,” and/or the loathsome cat decides to meow incessantly and jolts me out of sleep and/or….fill in the blank….IF I’m permitted to wake up on my own, I get up around 6am. I get up, start coffee and the laundry, fold a couple loads, get dressed, Bible, blitzes and emails, oh my.  When did this happen? Part of me misses being a night owl but I am pretty zonked in the evening and am not very productive. I sat down with this post and 4:45am and realized that I *like* being up before everyone else. I’m still not completely converted…I want to go back to bed. I feel sleepy but if I lay down now, I will sleep all morning and I have to pack for my birthday get away.  I have only scrapbooked once since starting our business. I am WAY behind and need to get back to it for my family’s sake and for therapy. I’m looking forward to solitude but, by golly, I’m chugging a Rockstar and staying up late and (crosses fingers) sleeping in to my heart’s content in the morning.

I might even write a blog post while I’m there! Will wonders never cease?!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

A Stitch in Time

Several years ago, I met a “mom of many” who became a sweet friend but, at the same time, she made me sick. She sewed most, if not all, of her children’s clothes and they usually matched. Sometimes she would even match. Our kids were in homeschool band together and during rehearsal, moms would chat in the nursery and this friend would sometimes discuss sewing techniques she had discovered. I remember thinking, “I need to try that! (except when she spoke of an easier way to make the boys’ ties…my eyes glazed over for that one. I’ll just buy the matching vest and tie, thank you).  I used to sew all the time. In my younger days, I would take advantage of the quiet of the night and sew til 3 a.m. so as to finish my project. My first two girls had a few matching dresses, many that didn’t match, costumes, doll clothes and I made all of the kids’ stockings until child number 8. I have fabric for everyone’s stockings. I just don’t see that hunk of time sew. I asked my friend (we both had “only” 6 kids at the time) how in the world she found time to sew so many outfits. She told me that some days, she only gets one stitch done. Say whut? She said she leaves her sewing machine out with her current design left under the presser foot ready for the next five minutes she can sneak in and sew a seam. My personality type was stymied. I’m the kind of person who wants to get a project DONE in one sitting. I could not wrap my brain around it.

I have implemented that principle of getting things done in bite-size pieces in many areas but mostly with housecleaning and business projects. I can organize a pile for five minutes then stop when the timer goes off. That’s a big deal for me! I did have it down for the sewing at one time but got out of practice. Now I have a new laundry room with a sewing table and I feel motivated and obligated to get back to it.

One area I struggle with the “one stitch at a time” method is writing. For example, I need to quit right now and head to the shop to carve a cake and make curly Q fondant strips for the mane but I’m having a hard time stopping because I’M NOT DONE, YET!!! Oh, fine….I’ll be back….

Okay, I’m back. It is not easy to get back on the train of thought after being derailed by the to-do list. So…where was I? Oh, yea…early this morning, I took a moment to read a post from one of my favorite bloggers and guitarists, Mark Lee.  His latest post is “Embrace the Chaos,” which totally describes my life, talks about learning to blog amidst the nuttiness of life rather than wait for that ideal day or idea. He also suggests working this habit into other aspects of life.

That takes practice and an attitude of “must write.” People often ask me, “how do you do it all? How do you balance the big family, homeschooling, theatre, owning a business?” Balance? Um, no. We have had to learn how to blend.  Having babies constantly in our home became a part of our norm. Home educating became a part of our lifestyle. Theatre came into our lives and it’s just “what we do.” The catering scene has become a big part of our days and that’s just it, it’s something that becomes a part of our schedule. Sometimes we work what needs done for the business around our homeschool; sometimes homeschool is worked around the job that needs done. I know I need to squeeze in two loads of laundry a day in order to maintain the piles and keep everyone in clean socks and underwear. I use a lot of post-it notes and checklists to stay on track. I’ve also learned to use a timer to limit time spent decluttering or cleaning projects. If I didn’t, I would spend the whole day on that one project until it was done. I have other things to do! Like write. I have blogged many times here about how I haven’t been blogging, yet have not once considered quitting. I don’t think I can. Some of us think through the written word! I need to blend the writing into the batter and stop treating this as if it’s “extra;” something I can do after I get everything else done. Being  practical, if I need to set a timer, I’ll have to learn to stop then pick it up later and add “another stitch.”  I received a Bluetooth keyboard for Christmas and it’s one of my favorite tools. I fumble around with texting and trying to email on my phone.  My keyboard not only removes that frustration but I can sit in the car waiting for play rehearsal to finish and start another post on the WordPress app…which I have done. But you’ll have to wait for that one…it needs a few more seams.

I did it. I have proven to myself that it’s possible for this “must finish” personality that I can step away from the project and come back to it later then just  add to it in between the other parts of my day. Guess what else I did today? I started hemming some jeans I found at Goodwill. I only have them cut and pinned…and waiting for the stitching to begin.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

 

NEW

Laptop

It’s a new year and that means the title of this post probably brings the expectancy of a typical cliché New Year’s post about resolutions, weight loss goals, and new beginnings. I might get to those things later and I will be able to only because of our NEW internet service! I had all but given up on blogging again due to lack of internet and lack of time to linger at my favorite coffee shop and mull over my next blog post.  I’m one of those that takes advantage of insomnia and early morning quiet to write so even when I have managed to scurry out for internet usage, it was for business. I also got a NEW used phone (LG G2) this past year and that has kept me connected with my business and some marketing. But blogging over the phone is a pain. I hate texting and I hate, loath and despise autocorrect. I’m pretty sure I have lost years of my life just fixing words that were fine until they were “corrected.” I did get a NEW Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard so I can now TYPE on my phone(I love this thing!)…SO much faster for me. It’s still not the same when trying to manage a website, invoicing, blogging, and, dude, Pinterest.

We live in a little bowl of a valley and all attempts at internet service, thus far, have ended in disappointment. Our first internet was dial-up. Nuff said. Next was Bridgemaxx which worked great at first but then bogged down. They kept coming out and resetting things and troubleshooting. We realized later that we had it installed in the winter and as leaves grew in on the trees that surround the giant dip we live in, connectivity was comprised. Bridgemaxx had great customer service and refunded us everything we had paid for our attempt. They were also straight up honest when they came out again a few weeks ago to see if their new tower they put up would work for us. The apologized and said it wouldn’t work for us rather than tell us, “Oh, yeah! You have a signal! That’ll be a $50 installation fee with 6 months of customer service headaches.” Kudos, Bridgemaxx! We tried the Verizon Mifi Hotspot after that first attempt with Bridgemaxx. It kinda worked but the terrible customer service, overcharging and terrible customer service were enough for us to willingly pay the early cancellation fees and rid ourselves of that pestilence.  The other problem with Verizon was the terrible customer service. Did I mention that already? Boo, Verizon.  The last service we employed was Frontier. It was adequate but it was SO slow all of the time and EVERY time I called they said it was because we had reached our data limit so our data had been toggled. It could have been day two of the monthly cycle and they still told us that. Finally, we were told that it did appear that we might have an alignment issue but for an additional $6.99 a month, they could come out and take care of that for us. Say whut? The dish is on our roof. We didn’t cause any alignment issues but WE have to pay for THEIR alignment issues. Sorry, we don’t pay for sucky service like that. Boo, Frontier.

FINALLY, after the Bridgemaxx tech failed to get a connection for us that last time, he recommended Exede. If there are commercials for this service, I missed them as we don’t get TV.  I’d never heard of it! We had it installed Saturday on a cold, windy, rainy, cloudy day and it worked great from the get-go. I’ve been holding my breath waiting for it to stop working…. It’s still working…and it’s FAST! I have yet to have to deal with customer service as it’s still early in the game but they did assure me that all of their customer service representatives are in the U.S. Suweet!  Nothing against anyone outside of the U.S., it’s just hard to work out a problem when neither person can understand the other.     If this continues to work, I will put up the 12 or so blog posts I tried to post through my phone but…did I mention my phone signal in our giant pothole is a little slow, too?   SO, unless my propensity for jinxing technology (as anyone who knows me knows I have) shorts out our service, you can look forward to (or dread) NEW posts  during this NEW year.   I’m back!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Normalcy

Normalcy may never return. Life was crazy before but the insanity that comes from children becoming adults, having a big family, owning a business that is scraping by, a marriage that isn’t picture-perfect* compounded with health issues is oppressive. I’m sure my perspective would be greatly improved if I weren’t neglecting my spiritual walk a.k.a. my relationship with Jesus. I would love to blame my lack of blogging on the fact that, yet another, of my computers crashed a few months ago and is irreparable, BUT God saw fit to provide us with another laptop (a later post of God’s provision) so I’m gonna have to come clean and say I’ve been procrastinating. I’ve literally been waiting until we get our act together and I can see light at the end of the tunnel. (I’ve also been waiting on spare time…a laughable prospect). Yea, so, that’s not any time soon and the “holy nudges” to “get back to it” have increased in their nagginess so here I am.

“I don’t know where to begin” is a phrase folks use when attempting to introduce the start of a tale. Well, my blogging tale began long ago in 2003 on Homeschool Blogger (my earlier posts are long gone) so I’m just going to say “I don’t know where to middle.” We have been on a ridiculous roller coaster ride that sometimes seems to spiral endlessly downward then swoops up a steep incline then plateaus barely long enough for us to catch our breath. I’m not sure I will try to “catch up” here but I know our family enjoys many adventures, experiences trials a.k.a. “growth opportunities,” playing in the kitchen conjuring up scrumptious recipes and edible works of art, has great taste in music, has a house in such a state that I will have DIY and organization projects to provide an endless supply of post material and does too many weird things to not share. In other words, whether I post retroactively or not, my life is way too entertaining and educational to not write about; the good, the bad and the ugly, it makes life…interesting.

SO…if you’re still there, I’m still here. I’ve posted several times about not posting so at least that’s consistent. I will try to do better and provide some variety. I really do have a ton of recipes to share so once I find a recipe plug-in I’m happy with, I will get right on that.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

*(I’ll expound on that later but no worries, we are not going separate ways – we’re just flawed people still learning to live with each others’ flaws…and if that doesn’t work, we’ve made a bargain to kill each other because that’s easier on the kids to deal with than divorce).

How To Not Blog

Capture

If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably forgotten that you were doing so as I haven’t posted in eons. I have come close to giving up many times and just deactivate the account. BUT, there is something very motivational about investing dough in having my own domain. Also…I REALLY love to write.  However, being an inactive blogger, I can now offer my expertise on how to overcome the need to write and, maybe, even lose interest in writing:

  1. Never read any other blogs. There are so many gifted bloggers out there, you may receive encouragement or inspiration to write from them so, whatever you do, don’t read other blogs.
  2. Don’t read books. Duh. For the same reason listed above. Readers are leaders and leaders tend to WRITE STUFF DOWN! Spare yourself. The solution for the temptation to read is to keep a to-do list so huge that you’re constantly exhausted and fall asleep every time you start to read…anything. I’ve made a habit of this and it really works!
  3. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT read the Bible. Being that it changes you, convicts you and confounds you, it will compel you to write stuff that may benefit others…or just really annoy others which will also a boost your enjoyment of blogging.
  4. Avoid contact with your children and do your best to not enjoy their company. Especially if they have changed your life for the better, are beautiful people, are geniuses, are adorable, and/or are hilarious.
  5. Do not become a foodie. The thing about foodies is that they not only enjoy food but they enjoy the effect food has on everyone else. That is why they have this compulsion to take 23 photos with commentary of the one recipe they have to share with the world because they know that the world will not be the same until at least 28% of the world’s population have tried, what they know is, the best recipe for Macaroni and Cheese.
  6. Write off writing. This is a problem if you homeschool or teach writing in any capacity because there is something contagious about writing assignments. Just reading a kid’s book report can cause an irritating itch to write something. Writing a thank you card or even a tweet has been known to trigger an irrational urge to write more. Sometimes, 140 characters are not enough. Writing anything is like practice and practice makes…well, you know. And whatever you do, DON’T read about writing! You’ll just be shooting yourself in the foot.
  7. Don’t make memories with family or friends. They are precious and you’ll want to preserve them by keeping photos and journaling.  Celebrating any type of birthday or holiday would fall under this category. 
  8. Turn off the radio and get rid of your I-pod. I call music “the rhythm of the soul.” It touches places within us in a way nothing else can. Of course, that would be counter-productive for one trying to shake the addiction to writing as listening to music will bring to light things from within that will move you and move others should you feel constrained to write about the things that move you. Music has access to our love, anger, sadness, joy, dance, courage, fear, betrayals, loyalties and worship that absolutely nothing else has. You know what else happens if you listen to music? You develop favoritism for types of music and the artists that God has endowed with this aggravating gift then you attend a concert or two which creates and appetite for more and a devotion and desire to show your support and an unexplainable need to take way too many photos at said concerts then you find out other fans (as well as the artists) love concert and gathering pics so you feel obligated to get them posted so others can enjoy them and, well, you can see how this can be a problem.
  9. Don’t own a business. Being a business owner just offers way too much material for writing. You meet so many interesting and amazing people, you have a plethora of problems, and have way too many adventures. You don’t need this in your life if you’re trying to stop writing.
  10. Don’t be clever. Creative people come up with all kinds of DIY projects, home improvements ideas, organization tips, etc. It’s really hard to not share ideas that someone else could use. You take a pic of some brainchild you come up with, the next thing you know, you’re posting it on Facebook and someone asks how you made it which encourages a how-to blog post and the next thing you know, it’s all over Pinterest which makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and you are encouraged to post again. Subdue the urge to be artsy fartsy. There are plenty of other people out there with…shudder..ideas.
  11. Lose the camera. Just don’t get into photography. I’ve already addressed this in other areas but you’ve seen the blogs and websites. People who take pictures can’t just leave them there on the memory card. What’s not shared is lost, remember? So just stop taking pictures. Nuff said.
  12. I mentioned being tired before but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being overcommitted and exhausted. It helps if you don’t have a regular routine that includes time to write. If you simply hope that when you sit down at the end of the day, you can jot down a few words to post before your eyes clamp shut, then you have a great formula for successful avoidance of blogging.
  13. Procrastinate. This is THE sure-fire method for making sure writing doesn’t happen. It’s self-explanatory. Acquire this skill if you lack it.

I have some of the items on this list down-pat. I have too much to do; my to-do list is never done. I get up early and stay up late. I’m always tired. Oh, and I DO have the spiritual gift of procrastination.  I know there are things I need to change so I can stop writing; I need to sell the business but that event alone, should it occur, would still provide writing fodder. We should have never started it in the first place. It’s made life way too interesting. I either need to put the kids up for adoption or hunker down for the years to come but, darn it, I have grandkids. Maybe I should just become a hermit. But then boredom might be a issue. Bored people look for something to do and the mind might wander to then thought may occur that I could write about where my mind wandered.  Then there’s the food…darn it, I love food. I love cooking food and eating food.

I’m in such a quandary! This writing thing is a pesky problem.  Any suggestions are appreciated. This time-consuming addiction has got to stop.

My name is Michelle and I haven’t blogged since…. October 16, 2013.

This one doesn’t count, right?

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

In order of priority of things that need to get done, writing a blog post is at the bottom of my list. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” (Awful grammar, I know, and the report has precious little to do with this post but no one expresses the sentiment better than this gal.)  I still repeat that wise quote, “Ignore the urgent, take care of the important.”  This is one reason why I decided I was way overdue for laying some words down. It is why I did NOTHING yesterday because rest is important and we worked our butts off this past week and we needed to recover. (The boys did help our friends by moving their horse’s corral fencing yesterday, not a small job, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised to find you can teach kids to enjoy hard work. They said they were glad to have something to do and got to do something we certainly don’t do around here. Plus the horse was happy to have fresh grass!)  It is important that I fit in laundry and school and feeding my crew and reading to my children and cleaning at least some of my house and, and, and….

Here’s the thing; as a business owner,  that urgent/important thing morphs into a gelatinous glob and there are things you urgently NEED to take care of because it’s important they happen A.S.A.P. because the health inspector could show up any minute OR, if you don’t enter sales into QuickBooks, you can’t file your sales tax and don’t get me started on that, OR, if you don’t return that call that potential client will find someone else OR, if you don’t post something on HootSuite, people will forget you’re there OR, if you don’t update the website OR, if you don’t test a recipe OR, the bills (need I say more?) OR, OR, OR… All of these ORs monopolize my days and I have only fragments of  time to get anything done. One of my husband’s mantras is everyone is given 24 hours in their day. Any homeschooling mom and/or mom of many will read that and wonder how many times I’ve punched my husband. Throw in running a small business and I wonder myself, “how long until I have to hide the evidence?”

I learned a long time ago that I need to take time or myself, to do something that recharges me or I don’t function at optimum levels. My enthusiasm and energy are depleted; I can’t focus and am easily discouraged and overwhelmed.

SO, before I am engulfed by these post-it notes of urgently important things I have to do,

1-IMG_5189

I decided to sit down and just write. It’s not very creative but it’s writing. I miss it when I don’t do it.  I need the practice plus it’s where I think and it scares me to consider the possibility that when I go a month or more without writing I haven’t been thinking that whole time!! That should scare everyone.  I keep thinking that I will write or read like I used to before the business: at the end of the day when I finally sit down with my feet up after a hard day’s work and sigh and relax with my laptop, notebook or a good read. That was before the business. Now, the end of the day ends with me collapsing too exhausted to read more than a paragraph, a page at most.  Forget writing. By that time, writer’s block has become writer’s rigor mortis. Maybe it’s time I became a morning person.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Just keep blogging, just keeping blogging….

It is exceedingly difficult to maintain a blog when you don’t have an internet connection to call your own. It is also challenging when you don’t really know if anyone is reading so why bother? I have many demands on my time. Am I wasting my time trying to keep up a blog when I’m not sure I’ll ever have a readership? Well, if I bless just one person, it’s worth taking the time to figure out a system to keep the word flow going. So, here I am, starting a sentence with so (something I was taught not to do) and trying to figure out how I am going to get this here post from my laptop to WordPress while in a coffee shop or at Wendy’s where I’ll be next Tuesdaywhile my cadets are at Civil Air Patrol and schedule at least few more posts to go out in the same period of time I need to reconstruct our business website. No stress.

“Squirrel” moment: I’m hearing the buzz about how PCs will be going by the wayside and I-Pads and the like will be “it” with handy-dandy accessories like wireless keyboards to go with them.

  1. An I-Pad with a keyboard may as well be a laptop. I’m sure there will be or are cases that will hold the pad and the keyboard together like, um, a freaking laptop so what’s the dif?
  2. The keyboards I’ve seen so far are tiny. The designers are, obviously, men who have never typed with wet nails. Some of us multi-task so fix this issue. If you’re going to make the keyboards that small, it’s texting, not typing.
  3.  It makes more sense to me to just make an I-Top: a laptop with an I-Pad screen. This stuff is out there already, I know, so don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I love laptops. I will dig my heels in and make mine last as long as I can while all the fad-followers throw theirs out then suffer the small screen and smudged nails then they will look at me with envy and wonder “where did I manage to find such a wonderful relic?”

Back to the subject at hand. I love to write. I love to learn. I enjoy sharing what I learn. Therefore I shall blog. If, ever, anyone out there profits from my Wild Thyme, do comment! Bloggers are affirmed when they see comments and know they should stick around! If you think this blog worthwhile, send others this way!

I have some other posts ready to go; I just need to get the photos that go with them in order. I prefer to take the photos, arrange them while I write but I can’t do that with this situation. I’m going to have to prep my posts, order my pictures and have them in files on my flash drive which means transferring them from my external and blah, blah, blah…I’m going to have to be all organized and stuff. But the posts aren’t happening so that’s what I’m going to have to do. It’s just one more thing I have to devise a system for…sigh. I, obviously, haven’t done that, yet, so I will get on the stick! Hang in there with me!

Thanks for stopping by!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle