Simple Woman's Daybook {April Edition}

"The good news is that there should be a ton of new content coming in 2014! "  Famous last words, anyone?!  One of my goals for 2014 was to blog more consistently.  As I posted on January 1, I had quite a few posts in draft at the end of 2013, and my anticipation was that that would lead to much new content in the first few months of 2014. 

Alas, we are now into the second quarter of the year, and I have posted a grand total of eight times.  And not once in the month of March!

Time to get on the ball and start posting!  :-D  

It's been a weird few months.  We've been dealing with some med-related sleep issues that have had the whole house in a bit of chaos.  This last week has been SO much better, though.  Many friends have been praying. We are thankful for sleep!  I'm beginning to feel a tiny bit human again. 

There are so many posts...both those languishing in draft, and those still trapped in my fuzzy brain...that I hope to finish and publish soon.  I decided that perhaps the best way to start things off would be with a Simple Woman's Daybook post:

08-09 April 2014
(Yes, it took two days! :))

Outside my window...
Sunny with a few clouds.  Feels like spring right now, but Thursday it's supposed to be over 80*, and Monday it's supposed to be back in the 50s.  Arkansas weather is just all over the map these days! 

I am thinking...
How thankful I am for spring this year!!  I don't know that I've ever been so glad to see spring arrive.  We had some crazy-wild winter weather this year, and this lifelong southern girl got tired of it really fast.  So ready for warmer (although not hot) temps and sunshine and budding green things and colorful blooms!

I am thankful...
for our new Orange Belt!!
Bayley had her first Tae Kwon Do belt testing on Saturday.  She has worked so hard, and this is such a milestone for her.  We are so excited for and proud of her!

I am also thankful for Christ First TKD.  We have prayed for years for an opportunity for Bay to be involved in martial arts/self-defense, and Christ First TKD has been SUCH a huge blessing.  As their creed says, "We are a Christian black-belt school, dedicated to excellence and following Christ on a quest to be the best!!"  We love the Christian focus and are thankful that it is an affordable program. 

In the kitchen...
Working on a goal this month to reduce food waste in our household!  It seems we get to this point occasionally...where life gets crazy, and I don't keep up with things as well as I should, and suddenly we're tossing food.  Not just the occasional leftover, but produce, and bread, and buttermilk, and occasionally...eek!...meat. Then meal planning...and implementing...becomes a major priority until it becomes routine again. 

So far this week, I've cooked three batches of meat...enough for supper Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and freezer portions for 6 meals later in the month.  I've also made buttermilk ice cubes (to preserve some almost out-of-date buttermilk for future use).  Billy is even getting into the challenge...he pulled some foil packs of tuna out of the pantry and tried one yesterday.  Someone (I have no idea who at the moment) gave them to us some time ago, and we've never tried them.  Yesterday we tried the garlic and herb..it was surprisingly good!

I am wearing...
My "Advice from an Owl" tshirt Billy bought me last year.

I am creating...
Order, bit by bit, in our home and in our schedule.  We've gotten so far off track in so many areas recently-time to rein it in and restore order! :) Hoping to post more on some of these changes soon!

I am reading...
Due to the sleep deprivation issues we've been dealing with, I haven't been reading nearly as much as usual, other than "easy on the brain" fiction during some of the late night/early morning hours.  I've recently discovered a new fiction author I'm really enjoying: Alison Strobel.
I'm trying to get back to more "real" reading, though.  Books I am getting back to now include GTD for Homemakers and My Sacrifice, His Fireby Anne Ortlund.

I am hoping...
That our "fence switch" goes smoothly.  There has been a welded wire fence around the backyard of this house ever since I played in it as a little girl.  The city is now requiring that we replace it with chain link or privacy fencing.  *Sigh*  We can't afford to hire a fencing company, so we are doing it ourselves.  I'm a bit anxious about that, as well as sad to lose our current fence.  There is honeysuckle growing on this fence that my grandmother started many years ago, and I love to take pictures of the birds perched on the wooden fence posts.  Glad I have lots of photos to remember it by!

I am looking forward to...
Church on Sunday!  I've missed the past two Sunday mornings due to pain issues and kids' illness.  We didn't have evening service this past week, and the week before that, we had a meeting on our proposed constitution, followed by a fellowship.  The meeting was interesting, and the fellowship was great, but I'm looking forward to worship Sunday morning and then getting back to our Behold Your God study Sunday night!

I am learning...
More and more about the benefits and uses of essential oils!  I'm hoping to do a whole post soon about our experience so far with oils.  So thankful for friends who've shared their experience and knowledge with us, and for the benefits we've seen in our family (particularly with the above-mentioned sleep issues!)

Around the house...
About to dive into some spring cleaning/decluttering/organizing around here! Hoping to do some serious work in the dining room, kitchen, and my bedroom over the next few weeks.

I am pondering...
This week's Behold Your God Bible Study, on the subject of worship.  Pondering these thoughts:
"...the church should answer its many questions about worship by asking, 'What pleases God?' instead of asking 'How do prefer to worship God?'" ((Robert Godfrey)
"Fundamental to offering God acceptable worship is having a correct view of Who He is.
The measure in which we know God is the measure in which we will be able to worship Him.
Instead of spending all our time discussing 'how' we worship, we need to be asking God to help us change the way we think about Him." (Ron Owens)
"Worship might be defined simply as viewing the worth of God (His character and actions) in His Word and responding to that worth in every area of our lives. It involves bending our hearts, minds, and wills. It includes an intentional self-forgetfulness as we become preoccupied with the splendor of His majesty."

More from this study soon!

A favorite quote for today...
"God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other afflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives. Felt weakness deepens dependence on Christ for strength each day. The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away. To live with your ‘thorn’ uncomplainingly — that is, sweet, patient, and free in heart to love and help others, even though every day you feel weak — is true sanctification. It is true healing for the spirit. It is a supreme victory of grace." -- J.I. Packer

Feeling much weakness these days...help me lean harder and harder, Lord! 

One of my favorite things...
My new Erin Condren planner!!  I've wanted one forever, and they went on sale right when I was desperately searching for something to replace my handmade calendar that was about to run out of space.  Because we're headed into a new and somewhat more involved in the outside world season, Billy told me to go ahead and get something good. I carried a thick DayTimer/DayRunner/Franklin planner for years, but for the past few years, our life just hasn't justified something quite so heavy-duty (or expensive!)  With the sale, my Erin Condren planner was a great compromise...not quite as involved as my former beloved refillable planners, but definitely a few steps up from my handmade and make-do versions of recent years.  (Watch for more on my new planner soon!)

A few plans for the rest of the week:
A slow week this week...thank goodness!  School, church, TKD, keeping up with the kitchen, working on the house a bit.  Peter and Bayley are working for a friend for a few hours on Friday, so Em and AG and I have some errands planned for that time.

A peek into my day the last week or so...
New Planner!
Inside new planner :)

Girls at Yellow Umbrella for lunch (with Daddy and Peter, who avoided the photo :)) after our annual homeschool testing
Our Orange Belt!!  So proud!!

Bay and Peter at post-belt testing celebration lunch at La Huerta :)
Bay's celebratory lunch of choice...beef nachos :) 

What about you?  What are you studying in Bible Study right now? Reading any good books? Have a favorite planner you'd like to share? What are you thankful for today? Please share in the comments...I'd love to hear from you!

Disclosure: The above link to the Erin Condren website is a referral link.  If you sign up for her newsletter and make a purchase through that link, I will receive a $10 credit to the site.  :)

Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email.  (And if you really want to make my day, leave me a comment below, or drop me a note via the email box in the sidebar. :))

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