Writing About Life

Last week we took a sort-of-vacation, and I vowed to myself that I would make 1 Billion + 1 changes to my blog.  Half way through vacation, I’d made .0000000000001 changes, and pulled almost all of my hair out.

Here and there you can probably see some of the changes I made to The Full Vine.  Once I got the hang of it and finally decided what I really wanted to do, it was a breeze. 

Then I realized with stunning clarity that the most needed changes had little to do with blogging, and a lot to do with my attitude. 

I’m taking a little break from The Full Vine in order to focus on God, my Sweet Babboo, and our two boys.  It’s time to make sure I’m living life and not just writing about it.

So I want to thank you for reading my incredibly insignificant writings, and thank you for all your wonderful comments, which have meant so much to me.  Until we chat again, stay encouraged; and may your life remain full of the very best…

“I am the vine.  You are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

i think i can i think i can

i can set pencil to paper and make a new world

it can be music, it can be drawn

and i believe i can learn something new

my second attempt to create a set of featured posts. 

(If you’re new to The Full Vine, welcome to the tail end of a blog-maintenance hiatus.  If you’re used to reading TFV, God bless you for your patience!  It’s almost done!)

Until Next Time

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I’m feeling better, the sun came out,

and it’s time

for an important announcement:

We’re going on vacation! 

Kinda sorta.  Maui?  Not exactly…  Chilly New England.

My Sweet Babboo is off from teaching this week.  He’ll be working a second job (what a hero, allowing me to stay home with the kids!) and we’ll be here, same as always –

BUT

we will not be getting up before it’s light,

he will not be face-to-face with 9th graders all day (9th graders of the world, you understand, right?)

and

I will not be blogging.

In honor of a vacation-of-sorts, I’m taking a week off to do some maintenance work on The Full Vine.  I truly love writing to you each day, and I want to make it the best experience possible for everyone who pops in. 

While Mama works, please continue to stop by and nose around my re-do’s and experiments.  Most of all, have a wonderful week, and know that I’m thinking of you.

To kick off my week of semi-silence, here’s the REAL soul food thought for today:

Every time I bend over to scoop up one of my chillins, I am stooping.  Bending.  Creaking a little, maybe, but stopping in the middle of what I’m doing to fully hold and lift them.

Your right hand supports me. 

You stoop down to make me great.

Psalm 18:35b

It is impossible for me to fathom the Sovereign Creator bending down to notice and help me.  But somehow the feeling of lifting my hefty 20lb 7 month-old helps me grasp it a little.  He’s helpless, even though he’s huge.

I’m helpless, too.  And I am not judged for that.  God isn’t pointing his finger at me and scolding me as I’m so apt to do to my own children.  He’s gentle and humble.  Jesus Christ the Man proved that.

Thank you, God, for supporting me, being gentle with me, and stooping down to identify with me in my weakness.  I love you for it.

                                                                                                                                                          

Until next time, friends!

For a little more Full Vine reading, grab a cup of something steamy and click away:

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cloth Napkins: Never Old Fashioned

Faw the Boids

Guess Who Went No Poo?

Homemade Pizza

The Frugal Woman’s Toilette: Her Face

The Half-Hour Headband

Little Boy Blue

The Garden That Was

Lunatic with a Lens

Time to get the groceries!

Wallet?  Check.  Phone?  Check.  Keys?  Check.  Kids?  Diapers?  Check.  Camera?

What?

Well now, I ask you: What trip to the market would be complete without a Nikon in tow?

I would have missed these silent watchers if I hadn’t had that crunchy, broken lens with me.  Noticed the sun, looked up blinded, shot the sky.  It wasn’t until I viewed the picture at home that I could see the seagulls up top.  Hey, fellas. 

That same day, my neighbor caught me shooting the dead ornamental grass in our yard.  Her house was in the background.  I think I give her the creeps. 

What are you taking, Heidi?” she asked me.

(Did she mean what PILLS am I taking?  Is there one for the artistically insane?)

I’m taking pictures of anything and everything that moves, and a lot of things that don’t.  Here’s to my fellow lunatics with lenses!

Nibble and Sing

Is anyone else out there feeling a little mopey?  Glands swollen?  Cold sores?  Graphic enough today? 

If there ever was a time for griping, it’s winter.  Then again, winter is the best time for being thankful.  No matter what I’m dealing with, things could always get worse.  And if things get worse, there’s still plenty to be thankful for.

So today I will not be very interesting or zippy or witty… just grateful…

…for you – thank you as always for stopping by to read my musings.  I am truly honored.

…for chicken broth – now don’t you feel special? 

You rank right up there with CHICKEN BROTH.  You should really feel very special.  It’s miraculous stuff.  Sniffles, flu, it will fix anything.  A nice hot ladle-ful is all I need.

…for birds. 

That’s right, birds.  Riley, Quinn and I were puttering around the backyard today and the chirping stopped me in my tracks.  God must have known we’d need cheery noises now and then.  They remind me how simple life is: get up, nibble something, and sing.

Once I’m past the getting up part, nibbling is easy (thanks for the chocolates, Jon!) and singing is absolutely like breathing. 

If it’s been a while since you sang, give it a whirl.  As long as I can croak out a note, I’ll chirp my tune in my corner of the world.  Happy chirping in yours.  🙂

Pumpkin Bread For Warm Fuzzies

These are the kinds of days when I need need need to surround myself with Warm Fuzzies.  Heating pad.  Cup of tea or coffee.  Nice slumpy afghan, or maybe the fleecy innerds of my bed. 

This morning I’m sporting my bushy sky blue bathrobe, a heavy nordic hat, and a pair of bright red pom pom slippers. Oh, take my picture now.  I’m ready for my photoshoot!

Some days REQUIRE pumpkin bread or its cousin, chocolate chip bread.  Today I’ll share the pumpkin recipe with you, since I just devoured it for the last 48 hours. 

My Sweet Babboo doesn’t like pumpkin.  So I have to be honest and admit that I ate almost the ENTIRE loaf myself.  Riley-boy helped.  A little. 

He certainly helped to make the bread, dumping ingredients into the mixing bowl and mashing play-dough with an old beater.  Quinn was a good helper too, reading and bouncing and making all sorts of noise.

What a couple of cuties, eh?

Chilly days like these, I am sorely tempted to buzz off to a coffee shop and buy a $4 drink and an expensive, heart-stoppingly buttery scone.  But why?  Can’t I make it fresh at home?  Is it really worth the price tag for going out in the weather I’m trying to conquer? 

Homemade bread helped.  I got all warm and fuzzy inside when I slathered my warm slice with butter – and especially when I shared it with my little boy (the one who has teeth).

Pumpkin Bread

(This recipe comes from “Healthy Meals For Less,” by Jonni McCoy.  One slice of Pumpkin Bread costs 9 cents.)

What’s In It

15 oz. can of pumpkin

1/4 C. maple syrup

1 egg

2 TBS oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 C. flour

1/2 C. brown sugar, firmly packed

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp allspice

1/3 C. raisins or chocolate chips if you like (I used…guesses?… CHOCOLATE)

How To Make It

Place pumpkin, syrup, egg, oil, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and mix to blend.  Don’t over mix.

In a separate mixing bowl, blend together the rest of the ingredietns. 

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and mix until blended.  Add raisins or chocolate chips.

Pour into a gread 9×4 loaf pan. 

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean in the center.  Mine was gooey.  It was divine.

Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.  Then remove the bread from the pan and let it cool completely on a rack.  Slice and serve.

Mouth-Stuffing

And now you may pamper yourself any way you like, served up warm with pumpkin bread on the side.

Enjoy!

For a picture-free, easy-to-print version of this recipe, please click on the following link:

https://thefullvine.wordpress.com/pumpkin-bread/

Cuddle With the Color of the Ocean

Oh, the virtues of a brandy new bag of yarn, delivered effortlessly to your door in winter!

AAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Plymouth Encore Light Blue Grey, welcome to the family!  You will become an afghan for my tired, cold Mommy bones and I will snuggle under you at the end of countless frigid days to come.

What do you think of the color, mateys?

I am in LOVE with blues and reds, which is no surprise, since these are the colors which create purple. 

Purple was my muse growing up.  I’ve since expanded my affections further into the rainbow…  But these have a special place in my heart. 

I can hardly wait to feel this project take shape in my fingers as I cuddle with the color of the ocean.

(p.s. Two Tuesdays from now I will post my February Centerpiece!  Working on yours yet?  Get on it!  Go out in your backyard and find something for your table!  Creativity is tested in winter, and you can do it.  Email me a picture or two and I’ll post yours alongside mine.  GO!)

We Have Our Fingers In Many Pies

My older sister has four kids.  She homeschools, raises chickens, you name it, she does it. 

Is she Super Mommy?

Her recent texts reveal the truth.  Want a peek?

S. spent the morning being, um, busy.  She ate toothpaste, got into Q-tips, brushed her teeth with the floor cleaning toothbrush, took out books and distributed them into several rooms, fell off a chair and bit her tongue making it bleed. 

A. did puzzles, which S. wrecked.  A. picked a scab and came to me with blood trickling down his leg. 

There have been tears over not being able to read the word “short,” complaints over not being able to measure and cut straight lines like Mommy’s, belches and toots, someone being sent out to run around the house 4 times and do 27 jumping jacks to help with energy…and school work. 

Tonight is youth group, and that means rushed, quick supper without [my hubby] and getting home well after bed times. 

…add a room clearing diaper explosion.  And S. emptied the dirty diapers into the clean ones again…

And this was all in one day?! 

I asked her permission to share these bits with you, and this is what she said:

…just don’t build me up to something I’m not.  I cling to the verse about his mercies being new every morning.  Our days are busy but our hearts are full of love.

This only proves how super she is.  

Moms all around the world are dealing with crazy days like this one.  Remember who to lean on.

Had a day like that recently?

Maybe I’m Growing or Something

what in the world is “soul food sanctuary?!”

what happened to SUNDAY’S VERSE SATURDAY?!?!

I*DON’T*LIKE*CHANGE!!!!!!

Neither do I…  But sometimes you have to roll with it – just go with it, when a lightbulb flickers on and you realize you’re on to something good.

I used to write “Sunday’s Verse Saturday” because I had a hard time remembering to get my heart ready for Sunday worship.  Sometimes that’s still true…  But I realized something really cool this week:

Lately, my inspiration for Sunday morning’s sharing time has come from much earlier in the week.  God is so incredibly gracious.  I don’t deserve a lifeline or a rock to cling to.  But every week He gives me sustenance for my soul. 

There’s a reason it’s called “daily bread.”  It’s not just for church time, or for the day before.  I cannot take a step forward without His help.  I need Him DAILY.

Some will say that this means Christianity is a crutch.  I’d say………..it’s a stretcher.  I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit my abject need for His love.  There I am, on the front lines (as are you), trying to live by the skin of my teeth, trying to become something better than what I am, and failing and failing and failing.

The mercy of Christ is what gets me out of bed, turns my heart into something new, and allows me to be of some use and help to the people around me. 

This week, Psalm 26:2b,3 kept pouring through my head:

Test my motives and affections. 

For I am constantly aware of your unfailing love.

And I have lived according to your truth. 

That is my prayer – a little scary, to think of Almighty God testing me…  But not really scary, because I remember His love and it never ever fails to reach even me.