Little Home, Big World

…what would Ma do?

My Cathedral April 24, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Simplicity — bethanyjoy @ 2:40 pm
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‘Cause out here in the stillness, I find my house of worship

With column trees and canopy of stars, here in my cathedral.

– Chris Rice

One could do worse than to be a swinger of birches.

– Robert Frost

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.

– Henry David Thoreau

Just a few reasons why I love living where I do. This place feeds my soul…

Happy (belated) Earth Day!


The Benefit of Doubt April 20, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Simplicity,Virtuosity — bethanyjoy @ 9:50 am
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I’m convinced that the more we question, the more we open ourselves up to the possibilities, the closer we are to finding our truth – some might call it “belief” or “faith”.¬† I prefer to think of it as simply the truth that resonates in our heart, the kind that can change our thinking and the way we react to life.

I don’t care where you find your truth, whether it’s in the pages of a holy book or graffiti on the alley wall, in the lyrics of an angry punk song or the sound of the waves on the shore. What I care about is whether you are asking the questions, and searching out every possible answer, and ONLY following the one that fits into your soul like a missing puzzle piece.

It doesn’t matter if your truth is different from mine, or if your truth is different from your parents. But finding it matters.

After you’ve found it? When you’re full of excitement and conviction and absolute, unshakeable assurance that THIS IS IT?

Let go.

Not of your truth, but of the desire to convince everyone around you that your truth is somehow “The Truth.” Because while the truth you found may fill your emptiness and change your smile, forcing it to fit into another person is like taking a chunky wooden puzzle piece from your child’s alphabet puzzle and forcing into a delicate 1000 piece puzzle of the Mona Lisa. It will not fit, no matter how you manipulate it.

Give the people you care about the gift of respect, and allow them the benefit of doubt. They’ll find their truth when they need it.


Making Time: A Pep Talk In Pictures March 30, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Kids,Simplicity,Writing — bethanyjoy @ 9:48 am
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Some days, I feel like this:

Other days, I feel like this:


What makes the difference?

What lights you up inside?

Find out, and make it happen every day, even if only for a minute or two.

Trust me, it’s not being selfish. It’s being smart. Charge your light, and let it shine…

because everyone in your world will feel it if you don’t. ūüėČ


Unplugged Kids: Finger Knitting January 12, 2011

Filed under: D.I.Why,Kids,Simplicity — bethanyjoy @ 12:14 pm
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Is it just me, or is it growing increasingly more difficult to get kids “unplugged”? Not that it’s surprising, given the way technology has taken over life in general…in the process of putting together this post, I used my cellphone/camera and netbook, internet, and multiple apps. Ironic, no? Well, it is what it is! ūüôā So, this is the first techology-produced post in a¬†series of posts designed to help us get our kids doing more low-tech activities.¬†Once you’re over the inherent contradiction there, I hope you’ll give the following activity a whirl!

Unplugged Kids #1 – Finger Knitting

  • Why Try?¬†Finger knitting improves fine motor skills, gives you an excuse (not that you need one!) to snuggle up together on the couch for a few minutes and provides an opportunity for your¬†child to experience the thrill of “making something” – collars like those shown above¬†or scarves for stuffies¬†are a BIG hit at my house – C&E made the ones in the picture in less than 20 minutes.¬†Added bonus? A children’s therapist shared with me a very helpful tidbit of information:¬†activities that involve¬†the hands in¬†rhythmic, side-to-side¬†motions¬†are incredibly calming¬†for kids. Even my bouncy-tigger boy loves finger knitting – it’s one of the few activities¬†where he will voluntarily¬†sit still. ūüôā¬†¬†
  • Age Range¬†– 4+ (A 3 year old with excellent dexterity could probably¬†manage, but my kids all figured this out at the same age they learned to read.)
  • Level of Difficulty:¬†Easier than getting them into their snowsuits!
  • Materials Needed: thick yarn (bulky, bright and fuzzy seem to be popular with the kindergarten crowd) – once they’ve figured out the technique, you can mix different yarns by holding two strands together. But for starters, choose something thick and fluffy.
  • How To: I was going to do a tutorial, but then I thought, “Hey, self, save yourself some time and just link them to the awesome tutorial that you used to teach yourself!” So, go check out Pretty Ditty’s Finger Knitting Tutorial¬†for a great step-by-step visual. (You can also achieve the same result by wrapping the second row of yarn around your fingers above the first in the same manner – ie, looping it around each finger – and then passing the bottom loops over the top ones.)
  • ÔĽŅ

Let me know if you give this a try! I’d also love to hear any suggestions you have for Unplugged Kids activities – what quick, easy, simple projects or activities work for you and your kids?


Ten Things I Smiled About Today August 17, 2010

Filed under: Blahging,Simplicity — bethanyjoy @ 9:27 pm
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1. Sand between my toes

2. A frosty cold root beer and vanilla ice cream float – with a bendy straw, of course

3. One room free of boxes!

4. Printing and hanging a bunch of new pictures…I have the world’s cutest kids. Sorry, but I do! ūüėČ

5. The fact that we NEVER remember to put the kids in swimsuits before walking down to the beach in the evening. Seriously, you’d think we’d learn…kids + water = an irresistible attraction. A force of nature that cannot and will not be held back. There is just no such thing as a “walk at the beach” that does not involve getting wet…nor should there be.

6. A vase of sunflowers on the table

7. “Perfect” by Hedley…anybody who’s been in a relationship long enough to ride out some ups and downs, you know how amazingly true this song is.

8. Finally having room to set up “mom’s headquarters” (pics and a post coming soon)

9. My husband. He makes me smile every day, laugh out loud just as often, and the most annoying wonderful part of it is, he can make me laugh when I’m mad. So I don’t stay mad often. ūüôā

10. Waves, water, sunshine…realizing yet again how incredibly blessed I am to live in a place that feeds my soul.


Organizing Stuff…stuff. July 19, 2010

Filed under: Blahging,Frayed Shoestring,Simplicity — bethanyjoy @ 4:12 pm
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My writing brain is a little fuzzy today after a 4:30am start, so today’s post is simple:¬† Organizing is hard. Organizing a FAMILY home, well, I harbor a suspicion that it might be impossible…but I still like to pretend it could happen. Here’s a few ideas I’ve seen recently that, at least, make it seem doable…even just a little bit at a time.¬† ūüôā

Countertop storage (attention, moms of the cheerio-crowd!)

Storage idea for casserole/baking dishes

How to recycle veggie cans into useful storage (I love the cork!)

Printable Weekly Menu (for meal planning) – cute…now if I could only be diligent about USING it…

Do you know any good, easy, inexpensive organizing solutions? What works for you and your family?


Simple Goals January 5, 2009

Filed under: Simplicity — bethanyjoy @ 2:53 pm
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Well, the holidays are over. In a blur of last-minute baking, visiting, white-knuckling it through snow squalls and icy roads to get together with family…add in a 15 hour power shortage, school break, and a hubby working over-over-time, and you have the reason for the blogging lapse.

So, happy 2009! May it be an amazing year for you.

I am actually a big fan of the New Years Resolution. In years past, it has been the impetus I needed to overcome the post-holiday-dark-dreary-winter-day blahs. The key to making resolutions work for you is simply to pick things that matter to you — and are reasonable, simple goals.

I would love to be a runner…I gaze in admiration at the faithful who run down my street, daily, in minus-ouch weather. But jumping into a jogging routine in frigid January, kids in tow? Not likely to happen! That would be a foolish resolution, and would only set me up for failure. However, if I continue with my recent exercise routine, then I could likely start a walking-then-running routine come spring.

So, my goals for the year are as follows:

a) Continue to exercise for at least 15 minutes a day. (Small and consistent pays off.)

b) Knit through Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac. I adore these patterns, and knitting through the book will be a great motivation to tackle a few skills I’ve been avoiding getting serious with (hello, colorwork!).

So go ahead, pick something simple, and DO IT. You’ll thank yourself.


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