Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

HighTech 101– The Apple Calendar

Many people that are … Ahem… “Of a certain age” are intimidated with technology, but we CAN be taught! If I can figure this stuff out, anybody can. Auntie Em is here to be on your Board of Directors, so I’m going to do a few posts about some techno-groovy things that I use, and maybe you’ll find something you can use too! I’ll have lots of pictures and give you small bites at a time. Feel free to share with your grandmas and grandpas!

The Apple iPad/iPhone Calendar
I’m relying on my calendar more and more. The more I use it, the more sense it makes (imagine that!) and I’m doing better at remembering to enter things. No matter how good a calendar is, it is useless if you don’t actually USE it lol!
So– here we go.

Here is what it looks like. It should be on your phone or iPad when you get it.

apple calendar

There are different views you can select– list, day, and month on the phone; additional week and year on the iPad — depending on your preference and what you are doing. You can go back and forth. Today we’ll work in the month view.

Here’s how it looks when you start:

apple calendar blank month view

Adding different calendars:

You might want to use different calendars, to avoid confusion. This is the best time to do it, but you can do it later too. Obvious choices are “home,” “work,” “church,” “birthdays,” etc. I find that this helps me because I don’t want to look at everything at once! Tap “calendar” and this dialog box appears. Name your new one and pick a color. (Oops, this is on the DAY view… see at the top? I didn’t do that on purpose.) You can choose “year” and see all 12 months, or “list” and see the next events you have coming up. The “week” and “year” views are available on iPad but not iPhone. (or at least my old-timey iPhone 4!)

name new calendar and pick color

Here’s mine with all my calendars: (You can see how busy it looks when they are all visible.) When I’m blogging, I show only that one. I normally keep “me” and “work” showing all the time. You’ll have to fiddle around with it till you find what you like.

apple calendar all calendars view

Adding and editing events:

You can add an event by touching the date you want. A dialog box will pop up. In the “starts/ends” box you can check “all day” or, if you uncheck it, you can add start and stop times.

  • Note there are spots to add “repeating,” events. This is for yearly events like birthdays, or weekly or monthly events.
  • You can invite people to add it to their calendars (it syncs with your contacts if you have that option checked in settings);
  • Set up to 2 reminders for yourself, beginning with 2 days before and going to 5 minutes before; and choose which calendar to put it on. I don’t use the “availability” option, but if you share schedules or have someone make appointments for you, you would need to mark yourself as “busy” or “free.”
  • Note you can add a URL and notes too. For instance- I have a Prayer Request calendar. This is where I can update that.
  • If you add an address, then you will be able to look it up on your maps app.

apple calendar

If you need to review an event, that’s easy! Touch the event and this box will pop up. Any notes will show. If you need to change something, click “edit.” (Many times when I was first starting to use the calendar, I forgot to put it on the right calendar. You can set a default calendar in “settings.”)

apple calendar

That’s enough for now. If you’ve not tried using your Apple calendar, give it a whirl!

Next assignment: Fun with photos!

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Quiet Time with a Little Help from my Friends

Bible study

A few weeks ago I asked for input from my friends and readers about the logistics of their prayer and quiet time. I like to do that in the morning, but I’m very slow to “rise to the surface” and be able to hold a conversation with the Lord (or anyone else) or to read anything that requires much thought, which I believe a quiet time should do. Then you know how it is after work, trying to take care of all the home stuff. Consequently, my prayer life is not what it should be.

So, thinking that surely I’m not the only one facing this kind of challenge, I put out an SOS and consulted my Board of Directors! … Here’s what I got back. And please, if you have something that works for you, leave it in the comments. Even if you think it’s simple and VERY obvious– it’s not! Sometimes we need a V8 moment to make us see a very simple thing.

Lisa at Deep and Wonderful Thoughts shared this:

Hey there! Here is my first post. It’s very short, but conveys a picture and a message on prayer and the bible. http://deepandwonderfulthoughts.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/solar-powered/ I hope it helps.
Have you ever heard of BSF (Bible study Fellowship)? It is a daily bible study and a world wide organization. Fabulous! That is what I do. There are 6 day’s questions and on the 7th day, we discuss them as a group. Here is a link….if you’re interested. http://preview.bsfinternational.org/about

Denise at Rejoycin’ said:

Hi,
(1) Group support is always good, At different times I have been involved in meeting with a bible study group and we selected a topic book to guide us– sometimes videos.

(2) Otherwise, I love this link for options:
http://www.esvbible.org/devotions/
There are numerous options that you can browse through to see what interests you. Perhaps start with a short devotion, such as “Daily Proverbs” for 31 Days. Currently, I have been using “Daily Light on the Daily Path” which is very rich.

Unfortunately, I haven’t done cover to cover– although I tried numerous times. I wind up picking up a (3) Jack Hayford study book and doing a topic study or choose a book and use:

(4) Pastor Chuck Smith Commentaries… love this guy!!!!
http://www.blueletterbible.org/commentaries/comm_author.cfm?AuthorID=1

If you decide you would like a partner or online accountability group, I am game.
Online seems to work for me that is why I like #2, the esvbible.org/devotions… you can write online and take notes in your online bible. ESV has become my base bible after much research is choosing.

From Sarah Tun at A Life Examined:

Honestly, to grow prayer time and depth, I find rising early best… when the house is quiet and there are fewer distractions. God meets us whenever, wherever we are, if we’ll just engage with Him.

Linda from  Life Station Express shared:

Early on, back in the day, yes I believe it was the late 80′s or early 90′s we had a woman come speak at a women’s conference at our church. Her name…Joyce Meyer. Yes, before she became JOYCE MEYER!!!   Ha ha, well she said something in her teaching that I never forgot. She said she would get so upset when she couldn’t keep a rigid bible reading schedule for herself. Beating herself up when she just couldn’t get it all in at the proper time each day.
She said that she finally learned that for some folks reading in the morning works, for others, evenings, and still for others, before bed. Some used a bible study format, others used daily reading guides and yet others read as lead. Whenever, whatever, however, it matters not. What does matter, is that you spend some time in reading and prayer with the Lord.
Some of us need that rigid schedule and that is fine, for others going at it a bit more freely is ok too. I fall into the second category, but respect those who meet with the Lord at a scheduled time each day.
Taking God along with me as I go face the day is imperative! Spending time with Him also. But how I do it often varies with the day too.
Hope this helps! He wants our heart, our time and our life. How we work that out is important to Him too. He embraces our desire to be with Him each day.
Thanks for the great posts! Linda

Lori, an IRL friend and coworker said this:

Hey Melinda- I have always struggled with a quiet time also. I think almost everyone struggles with a structured quiet time. Recently my husband and I started a study with 12 other people called “Masterlife.” it has completely helped! Thats not to say some of the others I’ve been through we’re not fantastic. I loved Ruth by Kelley Minter.  There is so much I could write but I will stop before it gets too long.

My brilliant son-in-law (I’m being serious, not sarcastic) shared his way:

Go to: usccb.org and read the Catholic Mass readings for the day
Go to: dailyscripture.net and read a reflection on those readings
Go to: http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/daily.html to read another reflection on those reading
Go to: http://www.loyolapress.com/daily-inspirations.htm to read one final short reflection on those readings
 Then I spend about 10-12 mins meditating, usually on something from the readings (new 2013 practice that really helps me stay centered)
 Then I read email reflections that my mom forwards: one from Proverbs 31 ministries and one from Girlfriends in God. 
 Works very well for me.

(Back to Auntie Em) And isn’t it funny how God works? Right after I asked for suggestions, a friend posted on Facebook that she wanted to start a FB Good Morning Girls group. I’ve seen their studies and glanced over their SOAP method, but have never done one. So I took the hint from God and signed up! We are starting next Monday morning.

Thank you so much to everyone who shared! My prayer is that we will all find SOMETHING that works for us… and remember, that ultimately, God is our Heavenly Father who loves us. We don’t have to use a system or ritual; we just need to plug in to our Source of life and power, regularly, and with intention.

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Aging Parents

I have the best Sunday School class. We are a group of women ranging in age from about mid-30s to mid-60s, and how those ladies love. We share prayer requests and praise reports with our Facebook page– bring meals when somebody’s sick– take up money when somebody has a need– we try to give shoulders to lean on when we need them. Since we are all at different stages of life, there are some wonderful mentoring opportunities among our group. Several are dealing with aging parents, and don’t know what questions to ask, what to expect, or where to turn– so one who has dealt with all of that was happy to share her lessons learned. I hope it will help you, now or in the future!

Aging Parents

Old People Stuff (For lack of a better title)
1. Have hard discussions gradually. When it came time for my mother to sell the family property and move to an apartment, it was her decision. However, she had been processing for quite a while and we  had dropped “hints” along the way. No one had to push her once she had her mind made up. For our family as in many, we had to honor our mother’s independence as long as we could and we were able to do that with most major decisions. When it was time to move her closer to one of the four siblings, we had to let it be her decision too although I think we all knew that we would ultimately have to move her even if she disagreed. We started out by bringing Mom brochures of the assisted living places and then scheduling a tour. Our daughter was expecting our first grandchild (her great grandchild) so I told her I needed her close to me to teach me how to be a granny. She liked that idea. However, the funniest discussion we had was about how often I would visit her at the assisted living facility. I finally had to assure her that I would not be a burden by visiting every day but would could only when she invited me. She agreed by saying “I guess holidays would be okay!”

2. LONG TERM CARE Insurance is the best. If you do not have it, get it for many reasons. [Note from Auntie Em: Dave Ramsey recommends it when you turn 60.] It is not just for nursing home care. Our good friend who is battling terminal cancer is able to use the money to pay for in home care, including relatives who are certified nurses assistants. For my mother, it meant have a choice of going to an assisted living facility and when the time came to be able to go to a private nursing home versus a state-run facility, and believe me, there is a world of difference.

3. It’s very important for siblings to work together on the care of a parent. My family was blessed in a way because there wasn’t too much property left to argue over, and most of the “issues” we had as children growing up in the country with limited resources had been settled (you really learn to compromise when you have 6 people sharing one bathroom) or forgotten. Because I was the most stable one at the time, mother moved near me and as her health declined I had medical power of attorney (this is very important for the caregiver), and could also manage her checking account to pay bills. But my siblings also were involved, using their talents and resources to help out. My sister was a good listener and provided financial resources if needed, but don’t ask her to provide care on a daily basis. One brother was a banker and handled insurance, taxes, will, etc. But I had to keep him out of the hospital if my mother was there because he couldn’t sit still. Thankfully, my other brother who is a minister and has a “pastor’s heart” was a good hospital sitter and would always show up just when I was reaching the end of my rope. (Lesson here: Don’t be Superwoman! Ask for help.) I think the lesson here is to, if possible, keep the family engaged in the care of a parent. When our mother died, each of us could say that we had done everything we could do as a family and as a child so there no regrets or hard feelings that one had to bear the burden alone.

4. Hospice is not just for terminally ill people with cancer. I learned through a friend who also cared for an elderly parent that hospice could provide services, even when my mother was in the private nursing facility. They can contact doctors and provide medication and equipment. Taking my mother to doctor’s appointments had become almost impossible and required an ambulance. Hospice was able to contact doctors and had physicians who would come by the facility. The hard part of arranging hospice care was signing off on the DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) document but because my mother and I had already had some of those “hard discussions” I knew her wishes. Again, I kept all of the siblings involved but I was the one who had to sign it because I had the medical power of attorney. Hospice provided literature that helped understand the dying process and how the body and spirit begins to prepare for the transition. This helped me understand why Mom had no appetite so I stopped trying to make her eat by cooking all her favorites and bringing her milkshakes. When the end neared, the hospice service provided a full time nurse trained with dying patients who was able to keep Mom comfortable and minister to the family as well. Following the funeral, a pastor from hospice called several times to check on me and the family.

5. Read up on medications, side effects and interactions. I was definitely not a medical professional but I did get pretty skilled at knowing what drugs were taken for what condition. One thing I learned is that old people don’t like to drink water because it means having to go to the bathroom which for my mother was an ordeal!!! (We finally did convince her to wear Depends.) Not drinking water would bring on dehydration and UTI which would go undetected. A UTI can cause increased dementia in elderly patients and it can come on suddenly. Several times I thought my mother was having mini strokes until I learned to recognize the signs of UTI. Also, low potassium levels can also cause dementia like symptoms. Dehydration can cause the potassium levels to drop when patients are on some of the heart medications. This is serious and takes more than eating a banana to get blood levels balanced.

(Back to Auntie Em) I hope this has given you some food for thought! Another friend had burdens lifted when she sought out the social worker at the hospital where her mom was being treated. Ask questions! Many facilities have social workers, or they can point you in the right direction. They deal with your issues all the time, and can give you insights and lots of practical help.

“Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3

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TAKE YOUR MEDICINE

Since I haven’t been able to get a new post out this week, let me share one from my sweet friend TeeKay– she sings from the same hymnal that I do– as a matter of fact, she gave me the hymnal! She’s the CEO of my Board of Directors!

athimblesworthofwisdom

A Thimble’s worth of wisdom

Take Your Medicine!

Hypothetically, if you get sick, go to the doc, and the doc prescribes a medicine to help you get well, would you take the meds? The medicine is proven safe, is legal, has no side effects, and works well. I think most of us would take the doctor’s advice to take the medicine. That sounds reasonable and acceptable.

But how many of us become exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated or just emotionally drained, and still do not take care of ourselves by taking the prescribed medicine, which most often is to simply stop the rat race and breathe. Rest, take care of your mind and body, and get better. Take a break and say NO to unnecessary commitments.

Why is that so hard to understand? Why is that so hard to do? Why can’t we make the decision to do what we know is…

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The Luxury of Extended Time

Courtesy totalreikimastery.com

Lately I’ve been having to do everything in short segments: Put the laundry in the washer, bring the groceries in and put up only the cold things; start the meat browning, unload the dishwasher, turn the meat, put up the rest of the groceries, switch the clothes, MAYBE check Facebook or my messages and stats, or write a few lines of a post. Certainly no time to read my favorite blogs. I have so many “drafts” going… I’m getting ideas, but no time to sit and let them germinate.

And the same routine happens at work. I used to think my memory was really, really bad, but honestly, I think there are just too many “open boxes” floating around, and I have to keep them all on the forefront. Trouble is there’s only one forefront! The other things get pushed further and further back, and are easily forgotten.

Add to that the Art of Marriage seminar that Mr X and I are facilitating at church this weekend– I also feel like God initiated that! But there has been a good bit of last minute things this week.

(I have to throw this in: Our kitchen faucet came off a few weeks ago– we reattached it to the hose with super glue. It worked fine! But last weekend it began to leak while it’s turned on, and make a mess.. but there’s no time to go pick out a new one or fix it this week, so we’re just letting it drip into the sink until we can think about it next week!)

It’s enough to drive a person crazy!

You know Auntie Em preaches “Don’t take on more than God plans for you,” and I have always felt like I am called to the classroom. This is just a very intense time for us– we didn’t start school till the last week of August, but our contest season, football games (which involves scheduling National Anthem singers and concession workers), Christmas season (which involves fitting formal dresses and tuxes for over 100 teenagers, scheduling concerts and buses); and fall fundraisers still have their old deadlines… It seems like there’s hardly time to catch your breath.

I guess I’m saying all this to say– Guard your time, and your schedule. Eliminate what you can, what you feel is not God-led. Remember your priorities: God, your spouse, your children, your church, then everything else. Sometimes we can’t see clearly where we are overcommitted– talk to your spouse, or your Board of Directors, for input and guidance in this area. Practice saying NO, and don’t let anybody make you feel guilty for not taking on another responsibility. If they say, “Well God expects you to …,”  reply, “God expects me to take care of my family.” Or, one nobody can argue about– “Let me discuss it with my husband, and pray about it.” If somebody wants an immediate answer, what do we say? All together now: NO!

Plan ahead for the natural ebb and flow of the seasons in your life, and be flexible enough to make adjustments– if your child has a crisis and needs some extra face time with you, maybe do sandwiches instead of the full-blown meal for supper. If you know a really busy week is in sight, try to put some meals in the freezer. Don’t take on any extra time commitments during known “crunch times.” (As fun as singing “Messiah” before Christmas with a church 40 miles away sounds, I can’t do it during this season of my life. I’ll do it after I retire.)

Dearies, the holiday season will be here before you know it. Don’t let your schedule run you. You run your schedule!

Teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

I’m “hopping” on over to Friendly Friday– check it out!

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Auntie Em’s Open House

I used to wonder why some stores would have a grand opening several weeks after they had been in business. Now I get it- they want to get situated, get some kinks worked out, see what sells and what doesn’t. So, 6 weeks after the first Auntie Em post, you’re invited to Auntie Em’s Open House!

Since it’s a virtual, and not a flesh-and-blood open house, I’ll build my virtual house for all of our enjoyment!

Come on in! I’m so glad to see you! A few weeks ago, I examined myself and came up with some principles that I believe have helped me have a successful life, and I am only too happy to share what I’ve learned in hopes that somebody else can “read the textbook” and not have to “take the field trip!” A blog is the perfect medium to share, and I’ve had lots of fun, good mental stimulation, some serious Bible study, and I’ve met new friends. I’ve discovered that these bloggy friends are such nice people!

Please, come get someting to eat, then you can look around. I’ve borrowed my friend Carolyn’s gazebo and china service specially for today.

Courtesy of Carolyn at Aiken House and Gardens

My first post was Auntie Em’s Guide to Life, in which I gave a few guidelines that I at least TRY to follow! Now, finally, I have posts that elaborate on all those guidelines!

Be honest.

Examine yourself.

Know your rules; Know THE rules; Know the difference.

Be frugal.

Decide what YOU want.

I bet what you really want right now is to go for a little dip in the pool? Then we can get to the rest.

Let things go.

Extend grace.

Be kind.

Use real butter.

Plant things in places they will be happy.

Amend your soil and use mulch, and your gardens will flourish. (Again, both literal and figurative use applies here!)

Ask your husband what you can do to make him feel loved, and do it.

Make your husband your first earthly priority.  (not your kids)

Get a board of directors.

Read your Bible.

And that wraps up our tour! Thank you so much for dropping by, and this is the one time I will ask you to share this post with friends you think might like it; go “like” Auntie Em’s Facebook page if you haven’t already; follow me on Twitter and Pinterest (buttons are on the side) and follow my blog if you have enjoyed your visit! Leave a comment below saying hello and where you are from, please! Help me spread the Auntie Em love all over! And here is a little something for you to take home…

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Auntie Em’s Board of Directors

Who influences you? Who is your role model? Whose style do you study and copy?

We all are influenced by someone. I think it is wise to examine yourself, determine where you need guidance, and then deliberately choose your role models, instead of just accepting the ones who are shoved at us day in and day out. (Paris Hilton, anyone? Maybe not.)

For Style:

I have always been very intrigued by the British Royal Family. I was born just a few months before Princess Diana, and she was one of my stars for a long time. I wore ruffles and opaque tights like she did. I coveted a sapphire and diamond ring; never got one, but I did get a really nice knock-off! I was very sad about all her personal problems, marriage breakup, and untimely death. Now I’ve shifted my style love to her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge. If only I were 9 inches taller I might could pull off some of her looks! However, what I love about her besides her great fashion sense and beauty is her modesty, confidence, kindness, and sense of duty. She seems very comfortable in her skin, and those are great qualities to emulate.

In real life, my colleague at work, who is 16 years younger than I, is my role model. My guiding principle has always been comfort, and if I liked an article of clothing in 1986, then I probably still do! In our first year of teaching together, she hid my bathing suit (that I was so proud of, being able to fit in it 15 years after I bought it), then took me on a “What not to wear” shopping expedition! I also consult my daughters- I don’t want to be one of those women who, at 50, is trying to look 25, but a little fashion sense never hurt anyone!

The designer and decorator Laura Ashley managed to capture my decorating tastes completely. I bought several of her books to give me starting places. I love Shabby Chic and have recently discovered Pottery Barn.

For things spiritual: of course the authors of the Bible, but some others have influenced me too.

C.S. Lewis has written some of the best, most thought-provoking literature I’ve ever read. His children’s series (The Chronicles of Narnia– if you haven’t read them, go get them TODAY!) are perfectly entertaining as stand-alone stories, but so much deeper when you look at them through the lens of his Christianity. His Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity are 2 of my all-time favorites. He has influenced me time and again.

Andy Stanley, the senior pastor of Northpoint Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia speaks the Truth so eloquently and creatively; every time I listen to him it’s like a V-8 moment!

For mothering: My sister. She is 5 years older than I am, and I got to spend lots of time with her and her young kids before I ever married, so I had a lot of experience going into motherhood.

For music: my piano teacher, Jay. I took lessons from him from 8th grade through college, and a bit again after all the children were here and I needed to work my brain. Then he taught both my girls, so we have maintained a close relationship. If I can’t remember the name of a piece of music, I call him and hum it; he will be able to tell me what it is!

For mental and emotional health. TeeKay of AThimblesWorthofWisdom.wordpress.com . She left her position as choir teacher to study counseling. I got her job, and the benefit of her new career! She has been a friend and mentor for 30 years now.

For cooking: My mother-in-law and Paula Deen… Use more butter!

For wisdom in decision making: Mr X. He is very level-headed, and can see all sides of a situation easily. He can anticipate problems so that we can work them out in advance, which is very hard for me. I always think everything will work out just fine!

For how to be kind and giving, and to “bloom where I’m planted”: my mother. My goodness, she was the sweetest person you could meet. She took care of people – that was how she related to everyone. She was a 2nd grade teacher, and everyone I ever knew that had her or worked with her praised her kindness. After her stroke, when she lived  alone in an apartment complex, she was the young one of the circle of little old ladies living there. She organized domino games, took them out to eat, drove them to the grocery store or ran errands for them. . When she moved into a nursing home the last 3 years of her life, she had the same sweet spirit among the residents– she was a party waiting to happen!

So dears, think about it. In what areas of you life do you need encouragement or improvement? Choose a board of directors for yourself!

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Auntie Em’s guide to life

Hello Dearies; I’m so glad you are here! Auntie Em has learned a thing or two along the way and is happy to share them with you, so you don’t have to learn the hard way! (And now I’ll switch to first person!)

BE HONEST

Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things. Who can understand it?” Surely everyone knows your life will be easier if you are honest with other people. (Who can remember what they told to whom? Not me!) The trick is to be honest with yourself. People were fooling themselves back in Jeremiah’s day and we are still doing it. Have you seen women of a certain age wearing Spandex when they shouldn’t? Singers on American Idol who thought they were good? What about teachers who make a big to-do list at the beginning of summer, and when school starts, it’s still undone? (OUCH!) Deceiving ourselves can go from the frivolous (like Spandex or size 6) to much more important issues, like our weight’s effect on our health, or addictions, or bad relationships. Once you uncover your warts– a painful process– you can deal with them honestly. You might decide to still eat the brownies. But you’ll do it with open eyes.

EXAMINE YOURSELF

As long as we’re talking about honesty, this is a good time to say- examine yourself. Have you thought about why your dad’s not telling you about his out-patient surgery hurt your feelings? (My “rules” say you must share health concerns.) Have you been cranky and not known why? (I’m cranky when I’m cold. I get colder than a lot of people, so I know to bring a jacket, or if I’m on a car trip with Mr X, a blanket too.)

KNOW YOUR RULES; KNOW THE RULES; KNOW THE DIFFERENCE

My rule: My girls had to have dresses that I made at Easter when they were little. (This caused some stress for me!) THE rule: They need to be in church on Easter (and regularly) and it really didn’t matter even if it’s a new dress or not! Don’t get too hung up on YOUR rules.

BE FRUGAL

The “Tightwad Gazette” (Amy Dacyczyn) has had a significant influence on my financial life. In our world, “frugal” means getting the value that YOU determine is valuable. You save where you can, intentionally, so that you can decide what you want to do with your money. (We did piano lessons for 2 children from grades   1-12 but didn’t have cable TV until the youngest was 9 or 10.) We are also Dave Ramsey followers- don’t borrow money except for a house.

DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT (Don’t fall for advertising.)

Contrary to what TV ads say, every woman does not need professionally colored hair, salon nails, a tattoo, a fake tan, and the latest shade of the color-du-jour shoes. And it really IS possible to live on one income while caring for preschool children. Now I have a very fashionable friend who likes to buy inexpensive, trendy accessories, but she saves her bigger money for wardrobe staples. And I have some friends who don’t want to put a hold on their careers and feel like their career/child situation is in balance (usually with the help of a lucky grandma!). But your money (or time, or energy) can do only one thing. YOU get the facts and decide.

LET THINGS GO

You have control over one thing. You.

EXTEND GRACE

I love 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter.  “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (v 7) So very often, my students get all upset because of something a friend did or didn’t do, or say, only to find out later that their friend was preoccupied, or didn’t see them because they didn’t have their contacts, or were upset because their parents just announced a divorce. If we can jump FIRST to the conclusion that some offense is not about us, we will be much happier.

BE KIND

I don’t know why I’m still surprised when I find out that somebody who appears to be fine is actually dying inside. I’ve seen it so many times. Be kind to people and give them a break. You never know what’s going on in their lives.

USE REAL BUTTER (and the best ingredients possible)

Self-explanatory. Except it holds in all other areas. I have Wusthof knives and will never need to buy any again.

PLANT THINGS IN PLACES THEY WILL BE HAPPY

Azaleas will get big, and they have a natural shape. Don’t try to make them small hedges. You’ll work yourself to death and they won’t reach their potential. (This theory works with children too.)

AMEND YOUR SOIL AND USE MULCH

Fertilizer won’t help too-sandy soil. And the Texas sun will dry up your beds in a day if you don’t mulch. Weeds will spring up too. (Good relationship rule too, with kindness and love being both the amendment and the mulch!)

ASK YOUR HUSBAND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO MAKE HIM FEEL LOVED, AND DO IT

Guys are weird different and sometimes hard to understand. Reading books like John Gray’s Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and Gary Smalley’s The Five Love Languages will give you lots of insight, but you still need to be a student of your husband and ASK him.

MAKE YOUR HUSBAND YOUR FIRST EARTHLY PRIORITY (not your kids)

They will leave. He will not. (hopefully both) They will also be set up for good relationships when Mom and Dad have a good one.

GET A BOARD OF ADVISORS

Swallow your pride and pick some people you admire. Let them mentor you. HINT: They don’t even have to know they are doing it; in fact they might not even be alive! Look at different areas and see who you admire- fashion, decorating, spirituality, marriage, child-rearing, etc.

READ YOUR BIBLE

You will find many mentors in the Bible. Even if you are not a believer, you can’t go wrong! Love one another- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you– The borrower is slave to the lender– Don’t let the sun go down on your anger– etc. You’ll see lots of guidance on what to do, but also plenty of “what not to do” (David did what?), and how God will forgive ANY sin and still use you in marvelous ways.

So there you have it. Auntie Em’s guide to life.

I’m linking with The Alabaster Jar

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