Why I Stopped Eating Pork (once upon a time)

A while back, I sent a survey to my subscribers (that sounds so official) asking what they’d be interested in learning about me. I put in one answer just to take up space, knowing no one would take it seriously or give it a second thought.

Except I think every person who answered the survey checked that answer.

I don’t know why I didn’t think anyone would pick it. Then again I’m not sure why I chose that as my space-saver topic to make the quiz look meatier, as it were… Continue reading “Why I Stopped Eating Pork (once upon a time)”

When I Had Church At The Airport

It was undeniably God-ordained, and it almost didn’t happen.

That’s how I explain an encounter I had on my flight home from Dallas, TX. I spent five days in Dallas for a work event, and while I was gone, Hubs and kiddos moved from #littleapartmentontheprairie to our #bighouseonalittleprairie. I left North Dakota, spent five days in Dallas, and returned home to rural Minnesota – all of which is symbolic in a unique way and I will attempt to unpack later. But for now, back to the trip home.

dallas airport Continue reading “When I Had Church At The Airport”

Hell in the Hallway

Recently, I prayed for a man who lost his job last winter and has been searching for another job since. It isn’t for lack of effort that he hasn’t found work yet. It seems his field is a competitive one and for whatever reason, he hasn’t been able to secure a new position.

My heart ached for him. I could feel the frustration in his voice. This in-between place he’s in is what I heard a man once refer to as the “hell in the hallway.” When God closes one door and while you’re waiting to find the next open door, you experience hell in the hallway.

hallway hell

Continue reading “Hell in the Hallway”

We’re Going Home

Right now, it’s 82 degrees outside with 46% humidity. A little more humidity, and I would call it the perfect day. (Not southern humidity, mind you.)

I’m sitting with our patio door wide open, letting the apartment fill with heat, because I. Love. This. Weather. These are the days that make the long, windy winters worthwhile. These are the days making you forget what it’s like in January. These are the days we spend months longing for.

In a few hours, Hubs will come home and I’ll have long since shut the patio door and turned on the AC so everyone can stay cool and content, but for now, this is my time, and this is how I like it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was not so cool and collected. I was not so grateful or blissful, or even one ounce of happy. Continue reading “We’re Going Home”

Stop Fighting And Start Serving

I waited tables for five years, and have shared before how grateful I am for everything that experience taught me about life.

The first two years I waited tables, I loved it. LOVED it. I was ready to quit college and retire waiting tables. It was fun work for easy money and the people absolutely filled my tank. It was a honeymoon stage, if you will.

Something shifted in year three and my perspective changed to it being not enough money for hard work and the people made me want to spit. I resented it and I grew bitter and another b-word in a hurry.

Push pause on that story and work with me here. Continue reading “Stop Fighting And Start Serving”

Harlynn’s Gift To Mama

I’ve really been struggling.

I’m leaving for a business conference, and it’s a high-energy, intense 3-day event. The last day of the event is April 9th, and I leave a room of 1,000 of my new best friends to fly home on April 10th.

Which should have been our daughter’s 4th birthday.

I’ve been wrestling with this, as probably only other loss-parents might understand. And I’ve been wrestling with the fact that I’m wrestling with it.

It’s a little messy in my head with all this wrestling going on. Continue reading “Harlynn’s Gift To Mama”

Awaiting My Exodus

exodus

I am an Israelite, and I am waiting for my exodus.

In reading through the Bible, you’re eventually going to have to read through the book of Exodus. I say “have to” because it’s not one of my favorite books to read through. The intricate detail of the ephods and the temple construction and the linen threads and the cubits and the rings and the poles and oh my gosh stoppit already, Exodus. It’s painful for me to read.

Until recently. Continue reading “Awaiting My Exodus”

The Bedtime Hoops: 4 Important Questions To Ask Your Kids Every Night (Guest Post)

A few years ago, I signed up for the 31-Day Challenge: a challenge to blog every single day for 31 (consecutive!) days. Through that process, I came to know Christine. While we’ve never met in person (yet!), we have always felt connected. I’m so pleased she agreed to guest post for me and share with you on the Mind Mumbles blog. I’m honored to know her, I’m blessed to call her friend, and I’m thrilled to introduce her to you all today. I know you’ll love her as much as I do. ~ Val

The Bedtime Hoops: 4 Important Questions To Ask Your Kids Every Night

 

This post was first shared on Her View From Home (www.herviewfromhome.com )

I love my kids, but by bedtime, I’m just exhausted. At 8pm, my patience shuts off. It’s like I have some sort of glitch in my mommy code, or maybe I just missed the patience upgrade with each kid or something? Continue reading “The Bedtime Hoops: 4 Important Questions To Ask Your Kids Every Night (Guest Post)”

The Straight Paths

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5,6

I was reaching into the cupboard to grab a glass. With my hand around the mason jar (that’s what us country bumpkins use to drink from), my arm stayed stiff-straight, reaching up to the shelf.

“Stop using faith as a foxhole.”

It was a phrase I heard with my whole body. My entire mind. “Stop using faith as a foxhole.” Continue reading “The Straight Paths”

The Best Wednesday Of My Kitchen’s Life

I’m not sure what you were doing last Wednesday night at 8:45, but I was rolling around on the floor in absolute awe and amazement.

Nothing freaky-deaky. Here’s what happened…

I was working away on my computer when I thought I should grab myself a glass of water. I turned around (my “office” is in a corner of our hallway, three feet from our kitchen) and caught a glimpse of our fridge.

“UGH. That’s so disgusting.” said Ma Val.

Handprints. Watermarks. Smears. Smudges. Dirt. Filth.

We, like so many modern Americans, have stainless steel appliances. I, like many frustrated housewives, have struggled to find a way to clean it and get it mark-free without the use of chemical cleaners. Norwex and water wasn’t cutting it. Shaklee cleaner wasn’t cutting it. Spit and elbow grease (calm down, I never spit on it) wasn’t cutting it.

NOTHING COULD GET RID OF THE YUCK.

I turned to my most trusted advisor for a solution: Google.

That’s when I came across this blog post that changed my life.

“Val, don’t be so dramatic. Cleaning doesn’t change your life.” Wrong. I love you, but you’re wrong.

When there is physical mess and clutter, I suffer from tremendous mental mess and clutter. I cannot think clearly or function properly in the midst of mess. The fridge smears were so distracting, I could not even quench my thirst and get a glass of water. I had to act right then, or lose sleep.

I grabbed one of Brent’s old t-shirts from under the sink, grabbed our gigantic bottle of vinegar (Thanks, Costco), and grabbed our bottle of olive oil.

I started with the dishwasher. The dishwasher has always bothered me, as it is always streaked with water stains. I followed directions and wiped (with the “grain”) using the vinegar first. Minimal change, but it made me feel productive, at least. There was some dirt on the t-shirt, so I knew it was doing something.

Secondly, I took a tiny bit of oil and started to buff the grain.

Oh.

My.

Word.

I had a brand new dishwasher. No joke, it SHONE. I heard the angel chorus. I started hollering to Hubs. “Look at this! Look!” In his ever-enthusiastic usual reply, he uttered, “Huh.”

I scooted over to the oven and shrieked in delight as I turned it into a brand new appliance. “This is unbelievable!” I may or may not have done a celebratory dance while sitting in the middle of the kitchen.

Then, I moved on to the real test. The filthy, disgusting fridge.

You guys.

In less than 20 minutes from the time I started scrubbing on the dishwasher, I had a sparkling kitchen and there was not ONE SINGLE grimy fingerprint on my refrigerator. I spun around from appliance to appliance marveling at the sheen. The shine. The shimmer.

I got my glass of water, but not before feeling one of the most incredible senses of accomplishment in my life.

Let me be clear: cleaning the kitchen is not my favorite thing. Not even close. That said, I’m really looking forward to being able to clean my stainless steel appliances again. Granted, these aren’t ~my~ appliances, because #littleapartmentontheprairie, but won’t management be pleasantly surprised when we move out (please, Jesus, now) and they think they have brand new appliances in the kitchen we’ve used for the last way-too-long-time-period!

I know you’re chomping at the bit to try this yourself, so I’ll wrap up. But remember this: if your bit is also stainless steel, now you know how to clean it without chemicals.

God bless vinegar and oil. Great on leafy greens, better on stainless steel appliances!