Friday, October 28, 2005

Contentment, from 2003

I was searching for an article to send to an editor as a "clip" (example of my writing) today, and bumped into the following, so I thought I'd share it with you all. The "baby" in the post is now 2-1/2 years old. At the time, we were living in a 1290 sq. ft. house in Florida.

These are baby days in our household. Our little girl, Alyssa Belle,was born on February 22, 2003. She's about 7 weeks old now and sucha cutie! We are so busy with her. I have had a hard time with beingcontent with the lack of work I can get done in a day. But time will fly and Alyssa Belle will one day have as long of legs as her 7-year-old big brother. Maybe I'll long for these colicky-cuddly days then, so I'm reminding myself to cherish these days now.

Now that Alyssa Belle is 7 weeks old (tomorrow), already things are getting easier than they were just a few weeks ago. So, today Iplanted my herb garden. Of course, it was planted in little peatpots rather than in the garden. I'll transplant the little darlings once they germinate. There's not a chance to go out and hoe for the plant babies when I have my human baby to tend!

Life these days is all about learning contentment. Either I can moan and rage at my little, overflowing home and its sandy-soil yard andthe lack of time on my hands -- OR, I can thank God for these four children blessing my life and make trade-offs in my mind. "Okay," I say, "no garden in the ground? Let's use pots." "The floors in the house are almost never clean? Let's make a game of clearing as much as we can." All day long, I pray for serenity and think of ways tomake this life of mine spin less crazily.

As I tell my children, "Do all things without murmuring and disputing." (a Biblical Proverb)

Now, that's easier said than done!

~ April 11, 2003

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

God's Vessels

I was given a gift today.   Our garage and master bathroom, and even my bedroom have been flooded with Hurricane Katrina donations for the past couple of months.  The boxes get moved, some get emptied, but then others arrive to take their place.  It’s been a lot of extra work.  Worthy of our time and space, I know, but sometimes it almost seems too much…

So two days ago, I offered some of the boxes on Freecycle, a really neat program where you give and take free items within your area.  I was a little worried that we wouldn’t be really helping any hurricane victims, which was the point of the boxes coming here in the first place.  But I mentioned that in the note, and added that the point is that the donations help people, so I’d like them to go out to whoever needs them.  

In response, I met the most wonderful people, and my life is richer for it:  

First, there was Misti, whose husband just offered a week of his time in Waveland, Mississippi.  He took a week without pay, leaving pregnant Misti and their four-year-old daughter.  They are glad he volunteered his time, but they are noticing the pinch of the lost paycheck.  Misti took two boxes, a case of Huggies, and a dozen outfits for her four-year-old.

Then Brandy came.  Her sister lost all of her belongings when her college flooded in the hurricane.  She had moved into the dorms just two weeks before.  Now, she lives in a “dumpy trailer” as Brandy calls it, in a location that seems a little shady.  But it was given to her rent-free, and there are no other options.  Brandy is the older sister, so she tries to look out for her younger sister.  But she says she can only do so much – they have a baby to care for, too.  I gave Brandy two boxes for her sister.

Natalie emailed me, asking if I had any extra toiletries.  I did, so she drove 40 miles round-trip to pick them up.  She is volunteering at the homeless shelter in Mobile, Alabama this weekend and will create packages of toiletries for them. Natalie was so grateful for the donations; they were running low because most items are being donated to Hurricane Katrina evacuees.  Natalie took eight boxes of donated hotel-sized toiletries.  

All of the people touched my heart, but it was Grace who melted it.  Grace emailed that she was “financially spent.” She’s been helping three families who lost much in the hurricane.  Her grown daughter, a mother of two in her twenties, came with Grace to my house.  The daughter’s home was in Ocean Springs, Mississippi and all was lost, even her only transportation.  Grace’s daughter nearly started crying when she talked of the past two months of hardship.  Clearly, she is not over the trauma yet.   I gave Grace three family boxes for the three families she is helping, including her daughter’s.  I also gave her six children’s goodie bags, full of toys, books, and candy for the children.  

This is the note I got from Grace soon after she got home:



And now it is my turn to thank God’s vessel – you - all of you who donated cash and items for us to share.  And I especially thank God’s vessels who still remember the Hurricane Katrina survivors in your prayers and in your thoughts every day.

Life is not easy for them yet.  

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Useful and Useless TidBits of Information

A Laundry Tip:

Folding and putting away laundry are the hardest part of the laundry cycle for me. So I've found that at the times when I have LOTS of laundry to do (almost always), it is less overwhelming if I do linens (towels, sheets) in every other load. Since linens are easier to fold and put away than the clothing of six different people, doing laundry this way gives me reason to procrastinate and grumble about only half of the laundry.

A Kitchen Tip:

Clear counters make the kitchen look cleaner, which makes them seem to collect less mess. I have found places for even my Kitchen Aid, toaster, bread machine, and crockpot in cupboards. When we had a smaller house, I kept a few of those items in the laundry room. This makes the slightly less convenient to pull out when needed, but I think that inconvenience is minimal compared to the time saved cleaning around the appliances. Try it and see what you think.

A Bathroom Tip:

I've mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating: If you clean your bathroom every day, you'll never have to clean it! I buy Clorox (or non-brand) wipes. Using just one wipe each day (two, sometimes), I start with the light switch and doorknob to the bathroom, then the sink faucet, I wipe the counter and the sink bowl, then the top of the toilet, then the seat cover, then the toilet seat, and finally - if the cloth is not too disgusting at this point (we do have boys) - I'll wipe the base of the toilet and the floor around it. I've mentioned each area because I want you to remember something I learned in nursing school (yep, I pursued nursing for three years - but, no, I'm not a nurse): go from clean to dirty, wiping from the cleanest area (the light switch) and ending at the dirtiest (under the toilet seat).

A Mopping Tip:

Tim thinks that one of my most endearing qualities is my ingenuity (resourcefulness). I think he only likes it because of the money saved, but as long as I'm endeared, who cares why! Yesterday, he caught me rubber-banding a rag towel around my flat mop head (the kind that is often used for dusting, and comes with a microfiber cloth that attaches to it with elastic). The extra cloths cost $5 each at the store, so I thought I may as well make my own. I walked around with a spray bottle of cleaner in my hand, sprayed the floor, then mopped it with my towel-rigged-mop. It worked like a charm, and the towel can then be washed in the laundry.

An Attitude Tip:

My housecleaning attitude has perked up somewhat ever since I realized that I really do have household servants like the woman in Proverbs 31. My servants are: the washer, the dryer, the dishwasher, the breadmachine, the microwave, the stove, the hot water heater, the mixer, and all the other electronic items that make my life easier. Why, even the toilet is a modern-day servant! All that my servants require is constant management. They are quite lazy without management. Each day I have to hand my servants their workload, and I have to keep up with them to make sure they are doing it well. Some servants require less of me, like the Water Heater, who is such a reliable old gal. She doesn't require all that the Dishwasher does, bless her!

Do you have any household tips to share? If so, comment them below!

by Lori Seaborg

Friday, October 21, 2005

Wow! Look!

I got an email today, saying I'd won in a category for the Juggling with Hamsters contest that was held at Now, isn't that the most fun kind of email? Read the winners' posts at the above link - they are really great! - and then send an email to Spunky with your choice for the grand prize winner.

By the way: This is the article that I entered in the contest: Feeling Overwhelmed?

Another cool thing is that The Old Schoolhouse magazine asked to publish two of my Hurricane Katrina photos from our Katrina website. Of course, I said, "Sure!" So when you get your next magazine, look for my itty bitty name under two hurricane photos. Now I'm a published professional photographer -- the 3 "P's"! That sounds great!

by Lori Seaborg

Saturday, October 15, 2005

October 2005 Keeping the Home Newsletter is Up!

Keeping the Home Newsletter
October 2005

My latest newsletter was sent out today!

* My Latest Obsession: Pine Needle Basketry
* Living Simply, by Crystal Miller
* An Invitation to
* Links I am Enjoying
* What's Happening in My House

The newsletter is sent out monthly. If you'd like a copy, sign up with one of the following links: (ads, but you can view my newsletter along with your other Yahoo! subscriptions) (no ads, and a Christian-run, family-oriented subcription service)

by Lori Seaborg

As Heard in Our House

"I think I finally realized how a lullaby works." ~ 10-year old son, after listening to me sing to our baby

"Hows that?" ~ me

"It bores her to sleep. It almost bored me to sleep!" ~ 10-year-old

by Lori Seaborg

Monday, October 10, 2005

One of the Three Things: Waiting

Waiting for a little brother or sister to emerge.
Lori Seaborg 2005

Sometimes a snooze makes the wait go by faster.
Lori Seaborg 2005

Ahhh, it's nice to have someone share life with you.
Lori Seaborg 2005

One of the Three Things: My Attempt at Pine Needle Basketry

A messy attempt, but yielding a strong and joy-causing result. I am definitely hooked on this free and useful art form! (at least until the next craft comes to mind...)
Lori Seaborg 2005

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Three Things

I've been doing three things lately.  Just three, because when you're a mama of four, all the other "things" you do are entirely taken for granted by your brood.  I hear that one day I will wish for grimy fingerprints on the walls, and floors to mop, and mouths to feed.  But for now, I am not wishing any of that; I am living it!  Daily.  So this is what I've been doing when I'm not doing Mom stuff:
1.  Hatching baby chicks.  Technically, God is hatching them, but I'm watching it happen (every 10 minutes or less, admittedly).  This is our third hatch of chicks since we got our chickens a year-and-a-half ago, but it is our first hatching without the help of a mama hen.  She decided to quit being a mother just as they started to hatch, spreading the eggs around (breaking one, sadly), and giving up on the whole agonizing mess.  I know how to sound like a mama hen, at least I think I sound like one, so I make noises at the baby chicks every ten minutes as I stare at them hatching.  Did you know it takes an entire day for them to pop fully out of their shell?  Quite slow, indeed!
2.  Making my first Pine Needle Basket.  There is something about our first break from the hot summer that makes me crafty (this usually happens in September, not October!).  We have Long Leaf Southern Pines on our property and the needles are falling in plentiful supply.   So, I thought I'd take up the Native American craft of pine needle basketry.  I can't believe how easy it is.   Here are the instructions I am using. 
3.  Starting a Prayer Journal.  Honestly, this journal dates back to 2001, but only has a few entries in it.  This week, though, I have been faithful to use my prayer journal for seven days now.  It only takes 21 days to create a habit, right?  I'm 1/3 there.  Prayer is the hardest thing for me to do each day.  I'm talking about the sit-down-with-Jesus kind of prayers, not the fleeting ones that are in my head all day long.  It seems that the kids have a mom-needs-to-be-alone radar.  Well, I can't entirely blame the kids.  I am also a complete scatter brain, so my prayers easily turn into thoughts about what to do that day, or what needs to be done, and Oh! I need to return the library books, better get them ready....  So the prayers don't get to the heart-to-heart level that they ought.  Enter prayer journaling, which for me is a natural fit.  I can write my heart out and keep focused.  When I do get sidetracked (I always do), I just jot down my bright idea, then get back to my journal.  And when the kids interrupt, I lift my pen, answer them sweetly, and start writing again. 
I'll keep you updated on these three things.  Hope you are having a great weekend!
by Lori Seaborg

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Scrap of Lemon

I had a scrap of a lemon this morning .... that sounds like a great beginning sentence for a novel, but I don't write those, so you're going to get something a bit more practical out of this... It was the hollowed shell of a lemon, I should really say, although that sounds much less poetic. I'd squeezed the lemon, and the hollowed shell was left.

Anyway, I picked it up at lunch time and scrubbed the sink with the lemon scrap. It shined up my stainless steel sink beautifully, and I think it might have shined the brass drain (which has not been looking so brassy.

My now-smooshed lemon scrap still smelled good, so I plopped it into a pot of water and added some dried ginger and cinnamon pieces. I turned the stove on med-high to get it boiling, then lowered the heat to low (You could just start yours on low to simmer, but I was preparing lunch nearby, so thought I'd get a jump on it).

My kitchen is smelling so good right now. It smells like October!

....All from the scrap of a lemon.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Goals in Baby Steps

Thought I'd check in with you all and say hello.  I haven't forgotten about you; I've just needed a little time to step back and reassess.  We've been helping the Hurricane Katrina survivors full-time for a month now (with Hurricane Rita thrown into the mix).  Since the need for our help is lessening, as more federal and corporate aid has been arriving in the area, we are slowing down our efforts. 
I've been operating with hurricane, hurricane, hurricane on my mind, and all of a sudden I have to remember what I used to do, pre-hurricanes.  Oh, yeah, I used to be a mom, a wife, and a writer!
Because it's easier to be goal-oriented when you have a buddy, I convinced Tim to create a list of goals, too.  We chose what we want to be doing, or have done, by December 31, 2005. 
When creating our goals, to get us thinking straight, we thought of what we'd like to improve physically, spiritually, mentally, professionally, and family.  For example, under Physically and Professionally, I wrote:
Physically, by the end of the year, I want to be:
- eating healthily
- exercising regularly
- sleeping regularly
- helping the family choose healthier eating choices
Professionally, by the end of the year, I want to be:
- submitting articles regularly
- writing daily
- working with Celebrate Moms
- done with my web site, so it is ready to go live by New Years
- have a publication or ebook done and ready for sale
Then, to make certain that our goals have a chance of being accomplished, we each wrote down a Plan.  On paper, I wrote down:
How to Achieve Goals: 
1.  Eat breakfast, and eat every four hours (I tend to skip meals).
2.  Menu plan; keep pantry and fridge full of healthy options.
3.  Walk or do other exercise every day.
4.  Balance proteins and carbohydrates, and eat veggies and fruits daily.
5.  Read in bed by 10:30pm nightly (this is so I will hopefully fall asleep earlier than my normal 1-2am!)
1.  Write daily.
2.  Work on web site so it will be done by December 31, 2005.
3.  Submit articles weekly.
4.  Work on Celebrate Moms weekly assignments
Because I am a scatterbrain, and it takes only one pretty butterfly passing across the window before I am outside and chasing it, or one little baby who looks too cute for words and simply must have her photo taken that moment, I broke down my plan into Baby Steps.  I looked at my list of "How to Achieve Goals," above, and wrote down something I could do every day.  This is what I wrote:
"Each morning (or the night before), write down:
1.   What to eat every 4 hours for the day.
2.   When to fit in exercise.
3.   Writing assignment of the day.
4.   When to spend special time with one family member that day.
5.   When to fit in 15 minutes of extra cleaning.
6.  What we will do in homeschool, and when.
7.   When to fit in writing time.
8.   When to fit in website design.
9.   When to read.
10.   When to work on special assignments or special tasks.
11. When to go to any meetings or errands, if there are any.  "
So, last night, I looked at the above Baby Steps List, and wrote down a time for each thing on the list.  And that is why I am here, blogging, at 12:35pm.  Otherwise, I'd be off chasing the blue-tailed skink that just walked across my windowsill outside. 
by Lori Seaborg