What is a Home?

What is a home?

What makes a house a home?  That question may be slightly different for each family, but it is the family that is essential to the home.  The structure could burn down, but the home would survive in the family that took it with them to the new location.

Home is much more than bricks, wood, or mortgage payments.  It is atmosphere, memories, unspoken or unwritten rules, it is essential.  Think about what you remember about your home growing up- you may have concrete memories of activities but those memories are wrapped in emotions.  That is the crucial key- emotions, atmosphere, the spirit of the place.  Was it a loving home, a home filled with fear, a home filled with laughter?  If your home was not a happy one, the good news it that you get a second chance.  You did not get to choose the home your were born in to, but you do get to choose the home you have now.  Now, you get to make your house a home and choose what you want to fill it with- laughter, happiness, good food, warm aromas and certainly the Spirit and peace of God.

To help women understand and to encourage them to make their house a home has been a long time passion for me.  Not that I have all the answers or make no mistakes, but I was fortunate to have a full time mother in my home growing up and she taught me many invaluable lessons.  I took those and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit,  improved upon them and set out to create a home in which my children could hear God speak, could be safe and free to be themselves, and would make many happy memories to look back on when they left home.  Not every home has children in it. Children are not what makes a house a home; however, if they are in the home they become a huge focus for as long as they are in your care.  The most essential element in the making of a home is the marriage.  If the marriage is not healthy, the home will not be, either.

Beginning with the end in mind is probably my mantra. If you want a marriage that stood the test of time, you must begin that journey with the mind set necessary to last the journey. If you want your children to leave home with a certain skill set or mind set or both, you have to begin parenting them when they are toddlers with those attributes that you desire in mind.  So that is what I did, I sought God and what he had in mind for my children and that is where I began.  Now, my four kids are 21, 19, 13, & 11.  I am seeing the fruit of all of our hard work- my husband is most certainly very involved- and it is good.  So, I desire to share what worked for me, what did not, & the lessons I learned as we have been on this journey.

Today, I am updating this post as I turn it from a page to a post. I love what I wrote 6 years ago. Those four kids are now 27, 25, 21, & 19. Two are fantastic mothers and business owners, one is about to graduate and go on to law school and one is currently beginning boot camp to become a United States Marine. What I have written is standing the test of time.

I pray that you will find the information in the pages and articles helpful, informative, and inspiring and I also hope you will laugh at the funny parts!  Without a sense of humor- life, marriage, & parenting will eat you up and spit you out!

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A Writer’s Day

Today was a perfect day.

I woke up happy.

Spent time with God on my balcony.

Reflected on a sweet evening with daughter #2.

Did my workout.

Snuggled with a grandbaby.

Worked a couple hours at my paying job (transaction coordinator)

Worked several hours and wrote 5000 words at my dream job. (Writer)

Marked chores off my list.

Cooked dinner

Took a walk with the love of my life in the fog and misty rain.

Completed the week’s homework assignment.

Soaked in a hot bath.

I mean, it really doesn’t get better than this! I wanted it documented so I can reflect on it when the day isn’t so perfect.

I don’t want to blow by the sweet everyday moments that add up to a beautiful life.

Thanks To My Dad, I Am Not A Racist

With Father’s Day coming up, I thought about a gift of a t-shirt or coffee mug- you know the usual. But then things erupted around us concerning the issue of racism. I decided that the best gift I could give my dad would be my words.

To be honest, my dad was a train wreck in many ways. He would never have one an award based on being a father. These words will not come as a surprise, he knows this. We have talked about it and he has apologized and most importantly, many of those bad behaviors do not occur any longer.

But the thing he got right, like really nailed it- was race and gender. We will save the gender issue for another day but it deserves a mention here. Never in all my days growing up, and I spent a lot of time with him in the shop tearing down engines and helping him rebuild those engines (yes, me a girl knew an engine inside and out by the time I was 12), did I ever hear my dad judge a person based on skin color, ethnicity, or gender.

My mom tells the story of when they were first married she made a racist comment, probably one she heard growing up, and my dad told here never to say that again. He said that wasn’t allowed in our house. And just like that, my mom stopped.

This is why I say that because of him, I am not a racist. If it hadn’t been for him, I would have grown up just like the generations before me. I heard the word “n” word plenty and it always turned my stomach because of the bitterness behind it. But that word was never used in my home. I was never tempted to use it and I knew early on that it was not okay- even if people who I loved said it. That wasn’t allowed in our house.

Perhaps, what is a child hears in the home carries far more weight than what is said in the culture around them.

Or, what a child doesn’t hear. My dad and I never had a discussion about this. I learned from his actions and words- both said and unsaid.

He came from East Texas. He may have carried thoughts and attitudes of racism but he didn’t give them a voice and they died without light and air and recognition. I do not carry that baggage that he never handed me.

As I watch with repulsion the acts of racism, I feel a bit helpless. There are big problems in the world. How can I impact such a huge thing? Me, as one person, can’t actually do a lot on a national or global scale.

BUT, what I can do is decide what is allowed in our house. I raised four humans who do not judge a person based on their color, gender, or ethnicity. They, in turn will raise the next generation that know a human’s worth is not based on skin color or heritage or gender. If we all would focus on our own home, society would be fixed. If we all focused on our own home, the world would get better. Matters of the heart cannot be fixed with legislature. Matters of the heart must be fixed at home with Jesus.

That is another thing we did in our home- faith was central. No where close to perfect, but it gave me the foundation to build my life on the Rock and not the shifting sands of culture or society,

My dad was key in that, as well.

I am living proof that one person can stop racism from infecting the next generation, and the next one, and the next one, and on and on.

Thanks to my dad, I am not a racist.

Thank you Dad! Happy Father’s Day!

A Poem About Fall

In the garden, Autumn is,

indeed the crowning glory of the year,

bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil.

And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time,

do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November.
Rose G. Kingsley

 

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Fall is the best time of the year to garden!  I have already posted a Fall Gardening Check List and I will be creating several more posts about fall gardening in the weeks coming.  I LOVE summer, but I am always ready for those brisk autumn mornings that are just around the corner!

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Celebration Day! 27 Years Strong

tony holly state park 2 2018

Today is our Anniversary!  27 years ago I made the best decision of my life!

As I sit here and think about what had transpired over these years, I am in awe.

There is a phrase I like to use about Tony when people are talking about marriage and so forth-

“Just as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, Tony Ross is a faithful man.”

It is the plain truth.  A few months ago, I was on my balcony watching the sunrise and reflecting on the past two years (this has been the most difficult season of life we have ever walked) and I said to God, “Just as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, you are a faithful God.”  It struck me then, I see God better because of the way my husband loves me.  THIS is what marriage was meant to be.

Big romantic gestures, long strings of words expressing his undying love are not his style.  He speaks love by his day in and day out small acts of kindness, grace, and faithfulness to me.

There have been those that have said Tony was too laid back for them or too boring. But here’s the thing- when the proverbial sh@# hits the fan- I don’t have to wonder where he is or what he will do.  I know- he will be by my side, leading the way, and telling me that it will all be okay.  Life is “exciting” enough, I’ll take a Mr. Steady over Mr. Excitement any day.

There are not adequate words to express what he means to me, to describe what 27 years of being one means, but I don’t want this day to go by without telling you how GRATEFUL I am at being Mrs. Tony Ross for 27 years!

Simple Beauty- Christmas Decorating on the Farm

I love Christmas time- I have a  desire to bake, cook, clean, decorate, and wrap gifts tied up with lots of ribbon that sparkles that I am just unable to suppress.  I do get some help from the kids, but mostly its just me and I love it.  Tony enjoys my creations, especially those emerging from the kitchen, but is also content to sit and watch.  Many wives gripe about their husbands not being involved but I don’t see it that way.  He loves what I do but its not his thing to decorate- plus, if he got involved and started having opinions then I would not get to do it my way uncontested.  I like doing things my way.  Therefore, we have a nice balance, I drape greenery and lights on everything that will stand still and then when the sun sets and our home is shimmers, we sit on the couch and he tells me, “It’s beautiful, baby.”  That makes my heart happy and we avoid silly fights.

So, as Thanksgiving came and went the bins of decorations came out.  I have collected many items over the years that I love.  I usually pick a few things up each year after Christmas has passed.  But the things I love most are vintage junk.  The junk ( more on the great junk in another post) plus Christmas photographs of my children when they were little make up the most treasured of our Christmas decor.  For a few weeks, I am once again surrounded by their little cherub faces and toothless smiles.  These framed photos are stored in the bins with the other lights and ornaments.  As the bins are emptied of the Christmas contents, I pack away all of my usual decor into the empty bins- giving me a clean slate on which to create.

Decorating for Christmas can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  Simple white lights mixed with fresh greenery is beautiful and elegant.  Add in some cheap dollar store bead garland and you have a classy display.  The greenery can be obtained by a county drive with a pair of lopping shears.

Cheyenne and the greenery

Vintage ChritmasWhite lights and greenery mixed with a vintage tool box, glittered Merry Christmas and a ceramic Santa painted by my very talented Aunt.

Coca Cola Christmas TreeThe only artificial tree that I have in my house, this white tree with white lights holds all my Coca Cola ornaments that I have been collecting for over a decade now.  The Coca Cola Christmas village was given to me by my awesome mother-in-law.

China HutchThis china hutch has a mixture of tool, white lights and glittered Pine Cones– the pine cones are a really fun project to do with the kids.  We made our pine cones about 5 years ago.  Each year I store them in large zip lock bags and they have lasted really well.

Merry & BrightThis in an antique window that I painted an ornament on.  The ornament is patterned after my favorite Merry Brite ornaments that hung on my parents tree for years.  I love those old ornaments.  As you can see, I need to fix the white stripes.  I stored this window in the storage room in our barn, this summer the cow got inside and licked off a lot of the paint.  I repainted the dots, but wouldn’t you know it I am out of white paint.

vintage santaSince, before I was born ( I am 41) this Santa covered my great-grandmother’s front door.  After she died, my grandmother moved into her house, so I have spent every Christmas Eve in that home and so have my children.  One day, I was over at Grandmother’s house and she was going to throw out this Santa.  I said, “I will take that, thank you very much.”  Now, it has hung in my home for over a decade.  My children  do not remember a year when that wasn’t apart of our house.

I love making memories.  I look at is as my privilege to be the keeper of those memories as well as the creator of memories for my family.  My Christmas decor is filled with memories of the people I have loved, many of them are no longer with me.  In this way, they live on.  In years to come, I hope nieces and nephews, grand children and children will pull something out of a box or smell are familiar aroma from the kitchen and remember me fondly.

 

 

 

 

 

A Merry Christmas – What A Great Weekend

Christmas 2012
Christmas 2012

My daily posts have been delayed since my Thursday post because me and my little nest have been celebrating our Christmas together.  You may find this odd, but then my family is odd in a sense (or more than one sense) but it is odd in a good way.

For long before I entered this world, my mother’s family have been celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve so that the children could go to the “other” side of the family on Christmas Day.  In all my 41 Christmases I have only missed one, when I was 7 and we lived in New Mexico.  So, for my whole life I have spent Christmas with all my aunts, uncles, cousins and extras (our family is open and if you need a family to share, we have one).  This is a highlight of my children’s lives as well.  For all their lives, we have to my grandmother’s for the day then go to my parent’s house to spend the night and all wake up together on Christmas morning and eat breakfast.  Then we pack up all the kids and gifts and head to Tony’s (my fabulous husband) family.  As you might imagine, I am beat at the end of all this merriment, but I would not trade it for the world.  When I went to college, I realized how odd my family was in the fact that I knew more than one set of grand parents and great-grand parents, knew my cousins and aunts and uncles.  I had a very large safety net and support group.  In this day of most families being far flung and fragmented I had a great rock.  In that way, we are odd.  I am so glad.

The problem that arose was with Tony’s work schedule.  As a flight medic, he worked a 24 hour shift and the medical field knows no holidays.  If your schedule falls on a holiday too bad.  Then there was the issue that we wanted to make Christmas memories with our family at our home.  What to do?  There is only so much time in a day…  Well, we decided that with the population increase and all that Santa might just need to divide up the delivery days.  So, Santa began to  hit our house on Christmas Eve morning or which ever morning fell closest to Christmas Eve and Tony was off.  This has worked great for many years, but this year posed another hitch.  Cheyenne, our oldest, had moved out and now had adult responsibilities, she can’t just come home and stay for a week on end so that we can all celebrate.

So, this year we moved the celebration all together.  Really, it is not about the day specifically, it is about the celebration of Christ our Savior being born.  That our salvation entered this world- that is the point.  So, to honor God and His gift we celebrate with our family.  The Hobbit was also coming out this weekend and we thought this would be a fun part of the celebration as we were all looking so forward to this movie.  The movie did not disappoint, it was wonderful.

And what a wonderful weekend it was all the way around.  I spent Friday preparing and Saturday cooking.  Jonathan helped me with every dish I made.  I am so grateful for his help.  We ate by candlelight on the fancy dishes, gold-ware, gold- rimmed stem ware and Damask tablecloth.  Of course, there was a small quarrel about who would light the candles- guess you never get too old to light matches.  Food just tastes better on a finely set table.

Because I believe that my children are destined for greatness, I have made certain that they know table etiquette and will know what to do should they find themselves at a table with more than one fork.  My older two daughters have done their share of setting the table and serving dinner, but this night was Sierra’s turn.  Sierra is a bit different from my other children.  It is as if she were born knowing that she should have servants, since we don’t have any servants, her father and I will do.  It has been quite funny to watcher her.  We do, on occasion, have hired help working on the farm and in the nursery and it never has occurred to her that she was either too young or too short to give them orders.  One young man in particular was 6 foot 4 inches tall and I walked around the barn to see her at a whopping four foot 2 inches and 10 years old telling him what he needed to do (her chores of course) for the day.  It is hard to describe the air with witch she carries herself, it was not a bossy or bratty way, just one of authority- apparently because he went off to do her bidding.

So, because of this she was not so crazy about some aspects of being the hostess.  When Savannah asked her for more potatoes- the food was served in courses so this was not a family style meal with the food on the table- she looked at her with such a “you have got to be kidding me’  look, it cracked us up.  She then got up and took Savannah’s plate.  Just before she returned, Savannah said, “she had better not bring me just one potato”.  Well, these two might just know each other pretty well because just as she spoke Sierra returned with her plate with one lone slice of potato on it.  Sierra then proceeded to tell Savannah that she needed to go on a diet.  The whole family cracked up!  Of course, if you have ever seen Savannah you would know that last thing she needs is a diet.  Anyway, it was a great meal and we made some great memories.

Dinner 2012

Christmas Dinner 2012

Our Menu:

First Course: Mushroom Soup

Second Course:   Beef CarbonnadeGratin Dauphinois, and Sweet Peas

Third Course: Pistachio and Chocolate Delight

Recipes to follow…

Christmas Gifts All Around!
Christmas Gifts All Around!

Sierra learning to be a good hostess.
Sierra learning to be a good hostess.

Jonathan won out and lit the candles.
Jonathan won out and lit the candles.

Now, on to the rest of the Christmas celebrations.  I thank God for blessing me with so much.

Little Girls Love Their Daddy


What better way to spend a snowy day than curled up with you dad napping. I don’t guess you ever get too old. I hope not. Cheyenne is 17 and Savannah is 15. There aren’t that many years left with these two at home. Good thing there are two more behind them.