Beauty on a Mountaintop

Beauty on a Mountaintop

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Every little bit counts

Friends, I have a confession. I have A LOT of stuff. I love stuff. I get attached to stuff. I fear getting rid of stuff, because "what if I need it some day?!" But if I've learned anything in the last 18 months of being a stay at home mom, it's this: when I make more room for stuff in my life, I'm making less room for the people in my life. When I choose to allow hundreds of toys into my life, then I spend more of my day cleaning up. When I choose to own 35 mugs, I do more dishes. When I hold onto clothing that I wore in high school, I am choosing clutter. That's just one more thing to move from house to house.

My life is beautiful and full with these four daughters of mine, and I've decided I need to stop treating my stuff like it's my fifth child. I give that fifth child so much of my time and energy, my patience is drained by it and my four real children all suffer because of it. It's time. Time to let stuff go, throw stuff out, sell, and donate. So in my home starting tomorrow I'm instituting Throw it out Thursday! Every Thursday I will continue this mission of decluttering my home. I know it will be hard work. I know I might get emotional (don't judge, m'kay?). But I also know that it will be SO SO worth it.

Do you have too much stuff? Do you feel like you're always organizing, cleaning, and putting things away? Want to walk this journey with me? Lets free ourselves! Here's where I recommend you start: go to your library or local bookstore and check out Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley -- The FlyLady. The book exudes her warm, loving, firm presence, and I could not have gotten started without her. I also recommend going over to The Purposeful Housewife with Allie Casazza. She writes about how minimalism is especially important to us mamas. If FlyLady got me started, Allie kept me going. She's got tips, tricks, and lists, with humor woven throughout.

I haven't been doing this for long, this decluttering mission of mine. I haven't even been doing it very consistently if I'm being totally frank with you. But I have noticed a huge difference all the same. Even the little bit of effort I have put into it has helped. I see the difference and I feel the difference because


So here is a challenge for you, with just a couple days until Christmas. Many of you are looking forward to opening up presents from under your tree. Your children don't know it yet, but they are getting new toys or new clothes. You may not know what you are going to receive, but you spy a few not-so-neatly wrapped packages under the tree with your name on them. Why don't you do some decluttering BEFORE Christmas? Why not make room in your house and in your life for the gifts you are about to receive? You probably have some things in your kitchen cupboards or drawers that you don't ever use and don't really need. Maybe you have three colanders or 30 butter knives. Maybe you have had a bundt pan for five years and not once used it. Or maybe you can start in your dresser drawers or your children's overflowing toy chest. I bet there are some things you'll find that you don't need, and you don't really want. Now in the spirit of giving, find a local "Pay it forward" group on Facebook, or create an ad in the "free" section of Craigslist. I bet there's a family who doesn't have what you have. There just might be someone who needs a little bit of the thing you have in excess. Maybe you won't find anyone who needs butter knives or a bundt pan. But then again, maybe you will. And to someone who finds themself in the dispiriting position this Christmas of not having money to buy things for their family or home,


So I encourage you, I challenge you, I implore you! In the midst of freeing up space in your home, reach out as well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Well hello again

I am sitting in my living room, in the middle of my comfy couch, listening to the rain drip outside and the heater thrum inside. The Christmas tree is glittering in my peripheral vision on the left while the coffee pot lights glow merrily on the right - perhaps I'll have just one more cup.

I have missed being in this space! September and October were so fun blogging here, but as November came, and with it the National Novel Writing Month, I realized I wanted to dedicate the month to novel writing. I haven't ever written a novel before, and I didn't finish a novel last month, but it was fun to dedicate my time to that process for 30 days. I have two stories I was working on and I made a little bit of progress in each. So for my first year participating in NaNoWriMo, and with four kids 7 and under underfoot, I call that a success!

Now we are two weeks into December and Christmas Eve is just 10 days away! With the weather outside getting a little frightful (we've been having freezing rain, which is just not as magical as snow) I have been enjoying more and more of my 'winter activities.' I find that every winter, when the house is toasty and the outdoors are dark, cloudy, and cold, I want to get out my yarn bag and crochet, or lay on the couch and read, I want to play more with make-up, or cuddle with whatever daughter is amenable to unending snuggles! Winter is some of my favorite time of year.

So for today I think I will crochet. I think I'll lay on the couch and read, and I'll snuggle my kids. I will also probably do some dishes, vacuum, and make a giant pot of homemade chili, if I'm being totally honest. But first, I think I'll go have that second cup of afternoon coffee.

Coming up...
Throw it out Thursday!*

*Disclosure: this will not happen every Thursday. But it's a fun post name, right?!

Monday, October 24, 2016

This week's goals

I can't believe it's Monday again! Last week passed so quickly with Tristan being home, we did so much relaxing and enjoying and spending time together. The girls' moods were brighter, their attitudes better, and it was just SO nice. I didn't finish everything on my list from last week, and some of it will need to get done this week, so you may notice some repeats! I wanted to start this week off by getting up early and having 'me' time where I exercise and then read my Bible. Last night I set the alarm for 5:30, but when 5:30 rolled around and my alarm went off  my brain said "nope!" so I turned it off and didn't get up until 7. I guess I'm not quite ready for an early morning routine like that. Bummer. I'll do these things this week instead:

  • Carve pumpkins with the kids (Tristan suggested we do Larry the cucumber and Bob the tomato from Veggie Tales- I will post pics when we finish!)
  • Bake pumpkin seeds (yumyumyumyum)
  • Laundry (I'm down to about 1/3 of a laundry mountain ;)
  • Go to a local farm and get produce
  • Buy Christmas presents (I've got the shopping itch bad at the moment)
  • Make a fall/pumpkin/jack-o-lantern inspired craft with the kids (any suggestions??)
  • Shine my kitchen sink (this has been quite neglected lately)
  • Read to the girls at bedtime (we're currently reading Stuart Little)
  • Rearrange the furniture (okay, I probably won't actually do this, but I'm kind of in the mood to)
  • Vacuum. Twice. 
  • Start a new art project (I'm thinking a painting - maybe one with words!)
  • Read voting pamphlet - I like to make sure I know a bit of both sides of all the issues that I'll be voting on
  • Exercise during the day
  • Bible and prayer time
  • Prep the house for a weekend visitor!
Oh I have an exciting week ahead of me! I think I'll go dive in, starting with that sink!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Truth Be Told Friday

It's 7:58 as I sit here, drinking my lukewarm coffee and begin to type. I have been up for an hour and a half, breastfed my sweet baby, taken out the garbage, changed my three year old's poopy diaper (she's not potty trained yet, please don't judge me) and gotten my two older girls up, ready, and onto the school bus. I think I forgot to have them brush their teeth. This my dear friends, is real life.

Tristan has been off work this week, and so we have been on a 'stay-cation.' I haven't done as many dishes, nor cooked as many meals, I haven't put away the laundry that's been washed, I haven't even folded it. My house is a mess.

But do you know what I did do? I drew. I read. I watched football with my hubby (or at least read on the couch next to him while he watched football). I took my oldest daughter on a drawing and hot chocolate date. I took my three big girls on a play date. I exercised in the middle of the day. Tristan and I took our dog to the dog park. One morning, Tristan slept in till 11. One morning I slept in till 11! Our whole little family went to the pumpkin patch. We had a lot of great self-care time and great family time over the last week! And now, I think it's nearly time to bounce back.

Truth be told, my house looks like this.
My kitchen counters are covered.
My living room has laundry everywhere.
My coat closet has exponentially more on the floor than it does on hangers or in cubbies.
And it was all totally worth it.

I think the hardest part about self-care and choosing family time over cleaning is the mess that's there waiting for you when you're done. It's hard for me to not feel regret. Or shame. I come to the end of this really great week and really look at the state of my house and I feel ashamed at the mess and regretful that I didn't take care of it sooner. In those moments I need to take a deep breath and have grace for myself. My worth is not found in how tidy or 'pinterest perfect' my home is. My value cannot be undone by a messy house and my value does not increase if my house is perfect. I have worth because of who loves me. Because I was chosen and loved and sacrificed for by a really big, awesome, personal, loving God.

So today I will move forward in that grace. Maybe I will put my homes to rights today. organizing the coat closet, cleaning the kitchen, and putting away the laundry. Or maybe I'll just close the closet door, put the laundry baskets in the baby's room, and have one more day of vacation. One more day of drawing, playing doctor and patient with my three year old, watching my baby crawl, and cuddling with Tristan on the couch. 💕

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Art - my not so recent work

I have been wanting to write a post with pictures of some of my artwork, and today, here it is! I'll include finished drawings, sketches, and half-done works to give a broader sense of my work. I would also be happy to do a Q & A post if there's any interest in how I got started drawing, how long I've been drawing, if I have any training, etc. Comment below if you want to see that!

Lorelai, First Halloween, Age: 11 Months

Fruit !

Melanie's Stuffed Bunny

Mimi and Melanie

Psalm 119:32

Bird and Flower


Drawing is so good for me. Yet, it's one of those things I often don't make time for. Can any of you relate to that? Do you find that just because something is good for you doesn't necessarily mean it makes it onto your busy schedule? That is one of my struggles every week. Making time for what is good for me. Lately I've been been doing more drawing and it has felt so wonderful! This is my self-care. It's easy to put off taking care of me in order to take care of my family or home, but I'm trying to turn the tide on that and getting back into drawing on a consistent basis is one step in that direction. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

This week's goals

I can't believe it's Monday again already! This week is a special week for us because my husband has the week off of work! His hard earned vacation time will be enjoyed as a stay-cation. So this week, most of my goals will be centered around enjoying our family time.

  • Take the dog to the dog park together (we first met at a dog park :) )
  • Go to a farm and get some produce
  • Bible study daily
  • Grocery and household shopping (I might even get to go sans kids!)
  • Carve pumpkins with the kids
  • Bake pumpkin seeds
  • Finish up my commissioned drawing (I'll be doing a post with some of my artwork soon!)
  • Exercise
  • Watch a movie with my hubby (haven't done this in ages)
  • Laundry, laundry, laundry (just all the time)
  • Meal plan the next two weeks
  • Day-Date with Tristan while our big girls are at school and our little girls are napping

I don't always complete everything on my weekly list, but creating a list still helps me so much. It gives my life focus and direction. It puts me in a position where I'm leading my life, and not just reacting to my life. It helps me know where I'm going and where my family is going, because I'm able to see what we are choosing to give our time to. 

Creating a weekly goals list is like an architect designing before building. If all you ever did was get out there and put one brick on top of another brick and next to another brick, you're more likely to end up with a wall than a castle. If you want to build a castle it takes two things: Plans or designs for a castle that lay out where each brick will go, and it takes you getting out there every day and laying those bricks where your plan says to. 

Now that I have my plan, I'm off to start laying brick. Mighty things are built with small acts. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

This week's goals

Here. Goes. Nothing. I have decided to do a weekly post (probably on Mondays) with some goals for the week, things I want to accomplish, attitudes I want to work on... after all, I'm here with a desire to be vulnerable and transparent (which is a little scary). I got this idea of doing a weekly check-in from this blog that I love. At some point down the line, I'll have to do a post and share with you all some of my favorite blogs! But, for today, here are my goals for the week:

  • Refold all the laundry in my girls' dresser (I don't know if your kids do this, but occasionally mine will look for a specific item and unfold everything in the process!)
  • Work on my commission drawings (did you guys know that I draw?!)
  • Choose to bless Tristan when he works long hours instead of taking my day out on him
  • Deodorize the carpet with baking soda and vacuum
  • Bible study every day (found this daily scripture writing plan on Pinterest)
  • Laundry. SO MUCH LAUNDRY :)
  • Make a big batch of homemade chili (yummy recipe on Pinterest)
  • Cuddle with girls and pray and talk and snuggle and tell secrets for 5 minutes each once they're in bed at night. Best 20 minute decision ever.
  • Pack away outgrown clothing (since I've got four daughters, we keep quite a bit of clothing that each of the older three outgrow so that sisters can have a ready wardrobe when they size up! Unfortunately, I've gotten behind)
  • Read to my girls more <3 
  • Exercise every day - even if only briefly, every little bit counts!
  • Make a list of household items we need to buy this month
  • Have intentional away-from-kids "me" time
  • Budget our next check

I am so excited for this week! I have a lot of goals, I'd better hop to it!

Warmly, Susanne