New Year, New Site

Blog is moving

Welcome to 2015!

Every year begins like a clean slate. Yes, there were things that happened last year that we still deal with. There are things that change who I am.

But the beginning of the year is a great time to evaluate your life and set goals for the future. It is why I believe New Year’s Resolutions are so popular.

I like to pick one word to focus on for the entire year. It is kind of like summarizing all my resolutions into something concrete. This year my word is “Build”. More on that next week….

This year is beginning with a change. I’m sure there will be more than one thing change, but this is now.

Living In Green Grass is Moving

It is nearing time to renew my website. When you have a website there are lots of fees associated with it, beyond just the URL. It doesn’t have to be expensive but it adds up over the year.

I cannot justify spending money on the website when we are pinching pennies as tight as we do. There is just no extra. This is one thing I have to sacrifice.

By letting this go, it is a gift to my family. It is one thing I can contribute to help us get back into the black every month instead of continually draining our soon to be non-existent savings account.

If you have come to love this blog, do not worry! I am still blogging, just moving to a free wordpress.com hosted blog.

You will see very few changes.

There is a different look to the site.

There are some slight changes in the way posts will look. I don’t have as many tools I can use to design a blog post.

I have no control over ads or ad placement. I’m very sorry about this. If one shows up in the middle of a post I cannot help that. It is WordPress placing it there.

Finally, the blog website is slightly different. “WordPress” now appears in the middle of the URL.

It is ready to go! Check it out at:

livingingreengrass.wordpress.com 

Please update any bookmarks you have. If you follow via email, you will have to re-subscribe. I have no way of transferring that over. Any other social media platform is still valid.

 

For the next few weeks I will be dual-posting to both blogs. Sometime in the end of January/beginning of February the old blog will disappear.

I’m excited for this new year. A year of building and growing.

And it starts with continuing to get us toward financial stability. It starts today.

 

What goals and dreams do you have for this year? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear about them.

 

~Crystal

I’m happy this year is finally over.

 

geralt / Pixabay

It is that time of year when nearly everyone looks at their life no matter your race, religion, or nationality. I am no different. This last week of the year often leads me to a time of reflection and a time to set goals.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any time you’ll know that 2014 was a rough year for my family. We had lots of change, necessary change, but it has led to a lot of stress and personal hardships.

I’m tired. I’m worn out. I’m ready to be done with this.

I picked one word in January that I would focus on my entire year. Naively I chose “Whatever.”

It took me on a journey I could never have fathomed. A journey that grew my faith, and left me with no idea what was going on. A place where I couldn’t plan because there was no way to tell the future. A time where I had to rely on my faith in God, because without that faith I would have lost all hope and direction.

And through saying Whatever I saw things happen that would have never come otherwise. God answered prayer in a very real way for my family. Things happened in a timeline that has no logical explanation.

Because of that faith, my husband ended up in a job he never imagined. Not his dream job, but a job that will hopefully lead us to a better future.

A job that has left us underemployed for the time.

Being underemployed has been a very humbling experience.

I’ve witnessed how hard it is to get assistance and been denied many times over when all I wanted was to go to the grocery store without stress. Those rules are there to prevent others from abusing the system. But it feels like so many families are being punished for the wrongs of a few.

I’ve learned how to swallow my pride and accept gifts of others. I’ve always been the giver, or at least been able to give something back. This year I’ve been a taker. That has been hard.

I’ve watched our savings account slowly dwindle, down to nothing. Leaving us without a penny extra. I’ve always been good at budgeting, setting aside a little money each month for annual expenses. This month I had to clear those items in the budget too. All line items now read 0.

We are beginning January with little reserve. We have enough to get us through January, and probably February. If nothing changes before then, March is going to be interesting.

My current plan is to file taxes early and pray for a large return to supplement us through another year.

A pretty sad plan, but it is something.

Some may see this as an example of failure. Some may wonder how my faith continues. I said Whatever to God and it has lead me down a road of sadness and pain.

But I have learned so much.

My compassion for others has increased and grown. There is so much rich history in the stories of other people. I can learn and glean from their experiences, they give me faith and hope.

I have always been content and thankful for things that are around me, but I took many simple basics for granted. Having to strip our budget down to necessities only has made me question everything we have. Is it a true need to thrive and function in my day or is it something that I can live without? Is there a workaround? Can I use something we already have instead of buying the ‘right’ item?

I have learned that I don’t need nearly as much as I thought I did.

My husband and I have been married for over 12 years. We have never walked through something as difficult as this together. We’ve had to support each other when all feels lost. I’ve watched him lose hope and dreams, and been there to pick up the pieces. He has done the same for me.

Above all though, it has increased my faith. I have seen no solution to some of the situations we’ve been in. I have seen no way out. However, sometimes at the last moment, God has provided. Prayers have been answered, and the answers have been better than I could have ever imagined.

So this year has been one of sadness, one of pain, and one of growth.

It is a year I’m thankful to have walked through, because I am a different person than I was 12 months ago, but one I am also thankful to see leave.

I’m ready. Ready to move on. Ready to take where I’m at right now and grow it into something new, something better, something beautiful and glorious.

I’m ready to give God my 2015 and see what he turns it into.

It is time to Build.

~Crystal

The accidental tradition

mccartyv / Pixabay

Every year we buy the girls a WebKinz. It has become a tradition in our family.

In order to continue to play the online game, the girls have to enter a new code once a year. This is a cheap way to give them a game they love.

And until this year they’ve played it often. Then they discovered Minecraft. WebKinz has lost its glitz and grammar, being replaced by something more pixelated, yet more interesting.

So about a month ago I asked the girls what they wanted for Christmas. Miss Crafty let me know, “aside from our annual WebKinz, I’m not sure.”

I was so confused. They don’t even play online any more. It is just another stuffed animal to add to their collection.

I pleaded my case but was informed it had to be a WebKinz because they each get one every year.

So I took to Amazon to select their annual present, envisioning myself doing this every year. With this expectation, I’m going to be mailing them WebKinz when they’re 30.

I decided to mix it up this year. They’re getting the same animal. The only difference is that one poodle is pink, the other is black.

I quickly ordered their first Christmas present and set my mind off of it.

Then the girls came to me Monday night, they had another request.

They wanted me to hide their WebKinz in the house. Make a Christmas morning scavenger hunt of sorts. Wherever did they get that idea?

As they reminded me, I did it last year.

Then it all came flooding back. Last year I bought their WebKinz early and hid them in my room. I completely forgot about them until late Christmas Eve. The wrapping paper was buried in the garage and it was cold outside. I didn’t want to go find it.

I was lazy.

So instead my husband and I hid their presents in the house. We put one of them in a dresser and the other in the cereal cupboard.

Apparently they had fun because they requested I repeat the game this year.

But they’re upping the stakes and created some rules:

  1. All Christmas presents from my husband and I need to be hidden.
  2. They need to be hard to find–but not too hard. They don’t want to spend hours looking for them.
  3. Presents can be hidden in the front of the house or the school room. Nowhere else. We have a small house so I have about 400 square feet of space to work with.
  4. Aside from the WebKinz, presents still need to be wrapped. This way it is easier to tell if it is a new thing or something they already owned.

So on Christmas Eve when everyone else is busily sleeping, I’m going to be snooping around the house looking for creative hiding places for wrapped gifts.

Participating in a new tradition.

All because I was too lazy to wrap a couple stuffed animals last year.

 

What are some fun traditions you have in your family?

 

~Crystal

Our Christmas tree fits my family

Christmas Tree

I love our Christmas tree.

It is a small but mighty pink tinsel tree.

It is a whole 4 feet tall.

It is loaded down with mis-matched ornaments.

But it is awesome.

Because it fits my family so perfectly.

 

Many years ago we didn’t have a Christmas tree.

My husband and I didn’t care. Neither of us love to decorate for the holidays so it wasn’t a priority in our family.

But as the girls grew they started getting into the awe of the holiday. I decided it was time to get a tree.

We didn’t have much money that year, but I really wanted to give them a tree. Looking at the budget I knew all I could spend was $20. It was going to be difficult to find a tree for that amount. We didn’t have a tree stand so I knew I needed a fake one.

Soon after I got an ad in the mail for a local discount store. They had 4 foot tall trees on sale for $15. I am horrible at spacial relations and understanding how big things are simply by their description. I thought 4 feet would be an average sized tree. At that time Miss Crafty was 3 and The Inventor was 2. I thought in all things small and mighty so 4 feet sounded huge.

I loaded the girls up in the car and we drove the 1/4 mile to our local store. As we walked down the tree isle I watched the girls eyes light up. They were lost in a sea of Christmas colors.

We came to the 4 foot trees and were surprised with options. I let them choose from blue, pink, white, and green. Being girls, they quickly chose pink.

I set it up in their bedroom. We had few ornaments, and most were handmade scraps of paper made by preschoolers but they had so much fun decorating and re-decorating the tree for a few weeks.

Many memories were made that first year and all of them bring smiles.

A couple years later we were given an 8 foot tall traditional Christmas tree.

It was beautiful. It was huge. I have many memories with that tree too. Every year we tried to decide whether we’d put up the large you-can’t-help-but-miss-it tree or our quaint pink one. Sometimes we put up both.

Last year we decided to put up the big one. It was in the way. It was beautiful. The girls had lots of fun.

Did I mention it was in the way?

That became a problem.

The girls were playing tag the weekend before Christmas and forgot about the tree. As they ran through the house The Inventor smacked straight into it. Down went the tree, cracking the base beyond repair along with many ornaments we had gathered over the years.

We cleaned up the mess, and got out our trusty pink tree. It sat in the room, feeling so small and perfect.

So this past weekend when it was time to set up the tree again I gladly went and got the tiny box that houses our pink tree out of the garage.

And I smiled as I listened to the girls hum Christmas carols while putting on ornaments, beads, and candy canes.

Our tree is once again waited down and overfilled with homemade ornaments and things collected over the years. It is a little rough around the edges, and is on the short side.

But it fits my family perfectly.

Because we are not a picture perfect family.

We are a little rough around the edges.

We make the best out of what we have and we happily use them.

We come up with creative solutions to solve our problems, living within our means and being content with what we have.

Because our small pink Christmas tree is full of memories and love.

It is a tradition around here. And one I am thrilled to have.

 

What kind of memories does your Christmas tree spark

 

~Crystal

 

Fulfilled Fridays 19 and Link-up

OpenClips / Pixabay

Today I’m being short and sweet.

I have been fighting a very nasty cold. It has knocked me down and even the simplest things like doing laundry is a challenge at times.

But this week has been full of some ups too.

[Tweet “It has been a huge #blessing to have my family help out while I’ve been sick.”]

Miss Crafty has taken over the house. She is doing some laundry and nearly all the cooking. She is helping her sister when she needs something, and is really taking care of most of the things around the house. I am so grateful for her.

Today I am sending my husband to the store with a very detailed grocery list. We only grocery shop once a month and it has been over 4 weeks since I’ve been to the store. Our cupboards are getting bare. I can remember every time over the years he had to grocery shop for me because I couldn’t make it. Times like when I gave birth, or was recovering from surgery, and now this.

It has been a very humbling week full of hidden blessings indeed.

Hopefully next week I’ll be back up and going again.

Until then…..thanks for stopping by for another Fulfilled Fridays.

~Crystal

Now it is your turn!

There are very few rules.

You don’t have to follow me on social media or subscribe although I’d love it if you do. Links to where you can find me on social media are off to your right.

If you’re feeling extra generous, tell others where to find this link-up. I’ll make it easy for you if you use twitter!

[Tweet “I linked up at Fulfilled Fridays. Come join me! #linkup #bloggers”]

You don’t even have to link back but it’d be awesome if you did! Simply share a post, recent or in the past about anything good.

Perhaps it is a recipe, craft, a moment in time, something you overcame, something to inspire, or just a journal. Anything goes.

If you don’t have a blog, leave a comment and share below. Let’s celebrate why our lives are fulfilled!!!!

And if you have a few minutes after posting your link, please spread the joy. Take some time and visit some of the other bloggers.

Grab my button:

 

Living In Green Grass
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The Linkup:

The link-up goes live every Friday at 7AM MST and closes the following Thursday at 5 PM MST. By linking up at Fulfilled Fridays you will be added to a weekly link-up reminder email. You can unsubscribe at any time and will not be re-subscribed if you link up in the future.

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