Friday, July 29, 2005

This is something I posted on my livejournal a while back, almost a year ago. I was going back through some of my entries and found this and thought I would post it here. It is something that I am going to be looking at again that is for sure.

This is an exerpt from the book, "Mrs. Dunwoody's Instructions for Excellent Homekeeping."

Mrs. Dunwoody’s Notes for Planning a Superior Day

1.Make a plan for your day. Otherwise you'll find yourself making the fatal mistake of dealing primarily with problems rather than opportunities.

2. Concentrate. I have observed that concentration is a key aspect of effective use of time. The amount of time spent on a chore seems not to matter as much as the amount of uninterrupted time. Few problems can resist an all-out attack. If you dedicate fifteen solid, uninterrupted minutes to an immense task, it will not seem so overwhelming the next time you return to it.

3. Learn to rest and catch your breath. To work for long periods of time without taking a break is not the most effective use of your time.

4. Don't procrastinate. It is the thief of time. Start off your day by doing the most unpleasant chore first. You will get such a feeling of exhilaration knowing that although the day is only half an hour along, you have already conquered the most troublesome task of the day.

5. Sift and sort. Don't assume the most important matters will "float to the top." You must sort through the clutter of the day and categorize. Ask yourself, "What needs immediate action, and what can I tend to by the fire's light this evening in my favorite chair?"

6. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Perfection does not existthere is a great difference in striving for excellence and striving for perfection. The first is attainable, gratifying, and healthy. The second is impossible, frustrating, and neurotic (not to mention obnoxious). It is also a terrible waste of time.

7. Never lose sight of the “big picture.” Some things need only five minutes or so, tending to a day, while others may need five hours. But if you can try to maintain a perspective, and remember that people (especially children) are always more important than things, you will do well in life.

"Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life."-Emerson

Simple things really but very helpful I think!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Kick It!

I am dancing a jig today! I have a new stove!!! For those who do not know, I have been using a stove that was, well, I thought it was possessed. It didn’t work well at all. The oven was either way too hot or way too cold. Just when I thought that I had it figured out it would pull a stunt and burn the food or cook it way too slow. I did ok with it though. I made bread, etc in it anyway. And I never once let myself kick it. It wouldn’t have helped so I held my temper and prayed for patience. But it was a trial. I learned a lot about controlling my temper. And not collapsing over stuff going wrong.

Well, yesterday my husband’s parents were going to town and saw a stove for sale at someone’s house. They stopped and bought it for $75. Then later my husband saw it and stopped to buy it and the man told him it was sold. When he told him who had bought it David realized that he was going to get it anyway!

When I got home, (I had been selling peaches), there was my old stove just outside the back door. I walked over to it, remembering all the meals and the headache that it had been. “Well,” I said, “You did you job. And I am thankful that I had you. But now you’re done. I never kicked you but,” and I gave it a good hard kick. And I kicked it again. David grinned and offered to get the shotgun for me. :-)

But you know, that was as far as I could go. Even though that thing had been nothing but trouble, it had been my stove. And suddenly I couldn’t be mad at it. I had fixed meals on it for several years for my family and others. I had learned to make delicious bread in it, in spite of it's fits. I had made cobblers, pies, casseroles, etc. How could I totally despise what suddenly looked like my old friend that had done it’s best? To my surprise I started looking at that cantankerous old thing with a bit of fondness.

I am very happy with my new stove. Though I haven’t been able to try it out yet, I know I am going to like it. (It is a gas stove and we need a longer connector pipe thingy.) I am not sorry to have a new one. But I am not going to be mad at my old one anymore.

Other happenings….

I didn’t get to make fried pies yesterday like I thought I was. I ended up having to go my in-laws and watch the peach selling operation while they went to town.

I did get an antibiotic yesterday. I started taking it last night. I don’t like taking medicine but I need to get this infection cleaned out.

Well, I will post this and get on with some other stuff. That won’t be much since I don’t feel well, but….

Money Saving Tips

Here is a link to money saving tips on your grocery bill. There are a lot of good ideas here. Thanks, Crystal for posting these!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Fried Peach Pies

I am making fried pies this morning. David loves them and I enjoy making them. We had company last night and it was late when they left. So this morning I will also be cleaning my kitchen. :-) I want to start putting up some peaches now, too. If I wait much longer we will have sold peaches to lots of people without getting any put up ourselves! What a disaster that would be!

Yesterday I got the house cleaned back up. Yes, company was coming! And also yesterday was the first day for almost a week that I had any real "get up and go." I didn't make it to the NP yet but I think I am better now. I haven't had fever for a few days now and my energy is coming back.

Does anyone have a good meal planning system for a low income grocery plan? I need to learn to plan menus better. I really just don't know how to do it. Any tips or ideas would be great.

Gotta go fix breakfast for some little kids that just woke up. And fry some pies. MMMM!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I am going to attempt to write the post I lost earlier.

You know, life with 3 little kids can be demanding and stressful at time. :-) Sometimes more than others. Like when I am sitting down and my feet are being stepped on while someone asks for something or fusses. Like when I am nursing the baby, my 18-month-old son is fussing for milk and my 3-year-old daughter needs some tissue to wipe her bottom. Or when everyone is hungry, the baby needs to nurse and supper needs to get finished and the house sounds worse than a zoo. Times like that are demanding and hard.

I am learning, however, that the way I handle it makes a big difference in the way it affects me. For instance, when things like getting jammed up trying to get through a door irritate me, and the person causing the jam is about 2’ tall, it just builds the stress level. I then can’t be the person I need to be to meet my kid’s needs. I lose the ability to be a stable, steady, “nothing you do or anything else is going to shake me” person in their lives. Little kids need that.

So, God has been showing me that many things that I think are big, serious issues are not, and that little stuff or big stuff is not worth losing even a little peace over. (Like getting my feet stepped on.) This is a hard thing to learn. But I am learning to just not let myself get irritated about stuff. I don’t mean stuffing it, but I am learning to train myself to not allow myself to go around getting irritated at big or little things. I have not arrived on this, that is for sure, but I am working to renew my mind in this area. I am willing to pay the price since I have seen what difference it can make in my day and attitude with my kids. Romans 12:1-2 is something I am thinking about in this area.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able the test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

It is hard but I am learning. I am willing to be a living sacrifice in this area and allow Him to work in my life. He will receive and is receiving glory from the transformation in my life.

Just for fun

Thought this looked fun. The idea is to go through the list and make stuff you have done bold.

Swam with wild dolphins.
Climbed a mountain.
Taken a Ferrari for a test drive.
Been inside the Great Pyramid.
Held a tarantula.
Said 'I love you' and meant it.
Hugged a tree.
Bungee jumped.
Visited Paris.
Watched a lightning storm at sea.
Stayed up all night long and watch the sunrise.
Seen the Northern Lights.
Gone to a huge sports game.
Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
Grown and eaten your own vegetables.
Touched an iceberg.
Slept under the stars.
Changed a baby's diaper.
Taken a trip in a hot air balloon.
Watched a meteor shower.
Given more than you can afford to charity.
Looked up at the night sky through a telescope.
Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment.
Had a food fight.
Bet on a winning horse.
Taken a sick day when you're not ill.
Asked out a stranger.
Had a snowball fight.
Screamed as loudly as you possibly can.
Held a lamb.
Organized and planned a surprise party for a loved one.
Taken an ice cold shower.
Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar.
Seen a total eclipse.
Ridden a roller coaster. (The kid version when I was 8 counts, right?)
Hit a home run. (Family game counts in my book)
Fit three weeks miraculously into three days.
Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking. :-)( Not your normal
dancing but Cilla remembers!)
Adopted an accent for an entire day.
Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment.
Had two hard drives for your computer.
Visited all 50 states.
Loved your job for all accounts.
Taken care of someone who was really sick.
Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
Have amazing friends.
Danced with a stranger in a foreign country.
Watched wild whales.
Stolen a sign.
Backpacked in Europe.
Taken a road-trip.
Gone rock climbing.
Midnight walk on the beach.
Visited Ireland.
In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them.
Visited Japan.
Bench pressed your own weight.
Milked a cow. ( It was a good attempt!)
Alphabetized your cds.
Pretended to be a superhero.
Sung karaoke.
Lounged around in bed all day.
Protested something you feel strongly against.
Gone scuba diving.
Kissed in the rain.
Played in the rain.
Gone to a drive-in theater.
Done something you should regret, but don't regret it.
Started a business.
Dropped Windows in favor of something better.
Toured ancient sites.
Taken a martial arts class for 7 years or more.
Swordfought for the honor of a woman.
Played a DVD or VHS for more than 6 hours straight.
Been in a movie.
Crashed a party.
Gotten divorced.
Started an office war.
Gone without food for 5 days.
Made cookies from scratch.
Won first prize in a costume contest.
Ridden a gondola in Venice.
Gotten a tattoo.
Rafted the Snake River.
Been on television news programs as an "expert."
Got flowers for no reason.
Got so drunk you don't remember anything.
Been addicted to some form of illegal drug.
Performed on stage.
Recorded music. (Everyone has heard of the song, Our Wagon Train, right?)
Eaten shark.
Gone to Thailand.
Seen Siouxsie live.
Bought a house.
Been in a combat zone.
Buried one/both of your parents.
Shaved all of your hair off.
Been on a cruise ship.
Spoken more than one language fluently.
Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone.
Bounced a check.
Performed in theatre.
Read - and understood - your credit report. (Easy, "You have no
Raised children.
Taken a bicycle tour in a foreign country.
Found out something significant that your ancestors did.
Called or written your Congress person.
Picked up and moved to another city to just start over.
Walked the Golden Gate Bridge.
Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking.
(I remember the days in Aunt Rachel's station wagon!)
Had an abortion.
Had plastic surgery.
Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived.
Held someone while they were having a flashback.
Piloted an airplane.
Pet a stingray.
Broken someone's heart.
Helped an animal give birth.
Been fired or laid off from a job.
Won money on a T.V. game show.
Broken a bone.
Gone on an African photo safari.
Ridden on a motorcycle.
Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100km/h.
Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol.
Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild.
Ridden a horse.
Had major surgery.
Ridden on a passenger train.
Had a snake as a pet.
Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing.
Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours.
Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states.
Visited all 7 continents.
Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days.
Eaten kangaroo meat.
Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground
Eaten sushi.
Had your picture in the newspaper.
Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about.
Gotten someone fired for their actions.
Gone back to school.
Changed your name. (When I got married?)
Petted a cockroach.
Eaten fried green tomatoes.
Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read a book by them.
Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, or cups because your apartment needed hem.
Taught yourself an art from scratch.
Killed and prepared an animal for eating. (Grasshopper counts, right? And fish?)
Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt.
Skipped all your school reunions.
Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language.
Been elected to public office.
Written your own computer language.
Thought to yourself that you're living your dream.
Had to put someone you love into hospice care.
Built your own PC from parts.
Sold your own art to someone who didn't know you.
Had a booth at a street fair.
Dyed your hair.
Been a DJ.
Been arrested.
Hated someone.
Fell in the North Sea.
Swam naked in the ocean.
Watched every episode of a TV series since it's series premier.
Had a 3-hour conversation with an animal.
Put makeup on a boy.

Okay, now you guys try it!

I could just cry!

I just wrote a post. It took me all morning, off and on in between taking care of my family and other responsibilities. Then I lost it. It's gone. I will try to write it again, but I already did! :-(

Monday, July 25, 2005

Peach Heaven

Right now we are in full swing in our peach orchard. Peaches are getting ripe, some of the earlier varieties are now too ripe and are falling off the trees. David is busy every day that he is home, picking and sorting. Every other day he goes to Abilene to the farmer's market and sells peaches. And then usually picks when he gets home. We have people coming out to the farm every day. Some come to pick their own but more come to buy them already picked. It is fast paced right now, but won't last long. The middle of August we will be done, or somewhere around then.

I haven't been feeling just right the last few days, well, for a couple weeks really. I am running a low grade fever a lot and am not sure why. I am going to make an appoinment with a NP today. She is really nice and seems to know her stuff.

Well, my little people are starting to get up. I need to take care of them. I had more that I wanted to write, but there will be another time! :-)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Blogthings - You Are Chocolate Ice Cream

You Are Chocolate Ice Cream
You have a flair for the dramatic and love to party.
Your personality is super strong and unique.
Many people crave you constantly - while you turn a few off.
You are most compatible with coffee ice cream.

I love chocolate and chocolate peanut butter!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

"But I might need it!"

I have to write about what has happened to me over the last few months.

First a bit of background.

I grew up in a very disfunctional family. Even though I was homeschooled, my family was not what you would call organized. We were not a good example of a homeschool family. Although the way our house was kept, or not kept, was just one of the problems, it made it very hard for me after I got married. I had to learn from the ground up how to keep a house clean. I could plow through a big nasty mess, (and I will spare you all any further details), but as for knowing how to maintain a clean house I was clueless. It was hard, let me tell you! I would go in to make a meal and if the kitchen was clean I would have it totally wrecked in no time. My husband called in the "Shipwreck Mentality." Get the meal fixed and on the table at all costs and don't worry about the mess, we will never need this kitchen again. When we go to bed, it will all disinagrate anyway and be gone by morning. Only, it wasn't. I would wake up to a huge mess in the morning. Oh well, now we have to get breakfast done at all costs. So I would make another meal on top of that one and wreck the kitchen further, if that was possible. And of course when you are living that way, you don't wash the dishes after a meal. My normal routine was as follows.

  1. Fix a meal and wreck the kitchen.
  2. Eat and leave the mess.
  3. Fix the next meal as best as can be done in a wrecked kitchen.
  4. Eat and leave the mess.
  5. When it is time to fix the next meal, start trying to plow out from under the mess and hurriedly clean up the kitchen a bit. Fix the meal and wreck it all again.
  6. Eat and leave the mess 'cause it is time to go to bed.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6.

Needless to say this was a hopeless way to live. My poor husband suffered through all this, trying to help me.

Slowly I learned new habits. I started looking for help anywhere. I listened to people that had functional homes and lives. I asked my mother-in-law for advise and help. (I will write more about all the things I learned later.) Changes were made slowly but I did change.

However, even with all the changes, I was still struggling to maintain my house. I have a small house and didn't think that I had that much stuff in it, certianly not as much as some people. But my attic space was a disaster that I thought needed to just be organized, my laundry was impossible and I was constantly picking up clutter. I thought that I needed to just work harder.

I did a lot of praying about it. And crying. I felt like God kept saying to focus on Him and not worry about the mess. So I did as best as I could.

Then one day I just realized what I was doing. God just opened my eyes. It all basically boiled down to a trust issue. I was holding onto stuff that I didn't need because I was afraid that I wouldn't have what I needed if I didn't. I might not be happy. So I had saved stuff that I didn't like or want, stuff that was junk or that I just didn't need. Once I realized what I was doing, I saw how silly it was. So I got busy and pulled junk from every corner of my house. I threw away a bunch of it and hauled the rest to the Goodwill and a yard sale the youth in our church were having. Now here is the funny/pitiful part. Less than a week after I got done getting rid of it all, someone came to my house. I told them what had happened, (my house looked great), and they asked me, "So, what was in here making the mess?" I couldn't answer them. I couldn't remember! Some attatchment I had to all that stuff!

Realizing that I can let go of stuff and I will be okay has changed my life. My house stays much cleaner now. I just had a baby almost 8 weeks ago. My house didn't fall apart and turn into a landfill like with my other babies. Oh, it gets cluttered and looks lived in, but it so easy to manage now. I am so excited about my new way of life. And I know it sounds funny that a housework problem could be caused by a heart issue with God. I am so glad that He showed me this, and I am looking forward to learning more.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Purpose of my Blog

Before I get too far on my blog I would like to write a bit about my purpose in writing here.

One reason is that I need an outlet to express the things I am learning about in my life, in the areas of homemaking, my journey with God, etc. Writing is a good way for me to do this. And if anyone benefits from reading about my struggles, victories, etc, then they are all worth it.

I have been blessed by reading some blogs of other Christian women. I appreciate them and other women who open a window into their lives so that we can see their victories, failures, ideas, get advise or encouragement when we need it. Being a homemaker is not exactly encouraged in our society. Many of us stay at home moms feel pretty alone sometimes. I want my blog to be another voice of encouragement to women, cheering them on in their calling as mothers.

I am also looking forward to meeting new friends through blogging. Although I will not be able to spend a lot of time reading blogs, I look forward to getting to peek into other women's lives a bit and see the world from their perspective.

The last thing I want to say in this post is that I will not be letting this blog run my life. :-) Those may be famous last words, but that is my resolve. I have not decided yet just when I will post, but it will be morning or evening, and I think I am leaning toward morning. If I don't set a time to do it it will run my life. I am going to keep a list of things I want to post about on my desk and then when it is time to post, I won't forget to post it. (This is an idea I borrowed from Candy, thanks for sharing that Candy.)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Something About Me

I don't know if anyone is reading my blog yet or not, but I would like to introduce myself and my family in this post.

My name is Nichola Files and I am married to David, the best guy in Texas. We have been married for 4 1/2 years now and have 3 children. Keilah (3), Jakin (18 months), and Sarah (7 weeks). We live on a farm in Central Texas. We raise peaches in the summer and have a pick your own peach orchard where people can come pick their own tree-ripened peaches. In the spring we operate a greenhouse where we raise garden plants such as tomato plants, pepper plants, etc. We sell most of our plants wholesale to garden centers and feed stores. We also raise cattle and do a few other misc. crops. Right now we are very busy and covered up with peaches. We have a very good crop this year and are staying very busy harvesting and selling the peaches.

I stay at home with our children and help run our business. That is a full-time job. :-) I love what I do and am very content. Some think that I could have had a life, made something of myself, been somebody. Those who think that have not seen what I do! I am constantly learning and growing in my abilities and talents. I have often told my husband that I am not missing out on building a career, I am doing it right here. I spend a lot of time taking care of my kids, changing diapers, training, feeding etc. And I spend a lot of time cleaning house, although I am learning to spend less and less. :-) But I also spend a lot of time taking care of our business, thinking of new ways to market our products, learning how to build websites, talking with customers, etc. I love what I do. If I could have picked a career out of a book, this is what I would have picked.

This is a small introduction. If anyone reads my blog then you will find out in future posts more about me.

If you read this, would you do me a favor and comment so I will know that someone is reading this?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Hello Blogland!

This is my new blog! I will use this place to record my thoughts about different subjects and life issues.

I am excited about the posts to come. and will probably edit this one later! :-)