Day 31 . Keep Living Intentionally

The picture of living intentionally is different for everyone.
You don't need special equipment, a certain degree, or any specific training.

All you need is make the decision to do what you know you should.

Like many things I've learned, living intentionally is a constant commitment. Something you have to do daily, even hourly. And also something that reveals the human and imperfections in us. 

I want to thank you so much for following along this series! "

Your support, inspiration, accountability, and personal stories have helped me in my personal journey.

I invite you to stick around as we continue our pursuit to simplicity (& contentment) and hope you recognize the need to refer back to posts when necessary.

Thank you following along on our journey to simplicity & contentment. Please be sure to learn about our family, like our page on Facebook, and visit the right column to subscribe to our posts :)

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

Philippians 4:12

God bless!

Day 30 . I'll get around to it...

This month, I've thought of literally dozens of ways I could be living my life more intentionally.

And in a lot of ways, I have changed.
I've changed my habits, my attitude, my priorities.

But unfortunately, in even more ways, I haven't changed.

For some things, I've continued to tell myself, "I need to do that... after I _________," or, "I want to add that to my day, once I am _______."

There is always a reason to delay.
Always a reason to put it off, wait for a better situation.

I'll start doing pre-school activities each day with Evelyn, after the busy holidays are over.

I'll start making Christmas gifts, once I'm not so busy preparing to move.

There is always a reason.
But are they valid?

There's a quote that says something along the lines of.. "There will always be a million reasons to not do something, but all you need is one good reason to do it."

I think that reminder is the kick in the butt I needed. My daughter is worth taking time to grow her now (when she's begging for it) versus when it's more convenient for me.

What is still on your list to do in order to live more intentionally that you've put off? Let me know I'm not alone!

Thank you following along on our journey to simplicity & contentment. Please be sure to learn about our family, like our page on Facebook, and visit the right column to subscribe to our posts :)

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

Philippians 4:12

God bless!

Christmas music - wot already?

My children’s father – Roger Wilcock, my first husband – is an extraordinarily gifted musician.  He can take a bunch of any old ordinary people and make a choir out of them.  He is a really good conductor, a choirmaster of excellence, and he has a most beautiful voice.

If he sits down with a couple planning a wedding, as they wonder aloud about the organ music for entry and exit, he can play almost anything they suggest with no sheet music in front of him, because he just knows it.  He can transpose effortlessly, an important skill for the beginners’ section of brass bands and church music groups.

He plays all kinds of instruments – any brass you care to name, piano and organ, violin, sitar, gamelan, electric and acoustic guitar . . . all sorts.   When he was at York University studying for his music degree, his main instruments were organ and voice.

Here he is with his sweet and dainty wife, Carol.

And here he is looking grand as president of NAMM.

And there's a picture from the Hastings Observer of him with his choir - the Hastings Big Choir - in the Observer article all about it here.

The reason I am telling you about him today is in case you like to have carols playing in the background at Christmas time.  We do.

Every year in our house we get out our CDs of his recordings of Christmas carols, and they make the festive season perfect for us.  He is the kind of musician who knows better than to try to gild the lily.  He allows the music to speak – draws it forth – lets it be what it wants to be, what it really is; and so his playing has a very satisfying, timeless quality.  When he made his recordings of Christmas music, there were two CDs – one piano and woodwind, the other piano and cello, and we have them both.  I can’t find the piano and woodwind one online – I think it might have got absorbed into this boxed set somehow – but the piano and cello tunes are available for download (see the links below).  The cello was played by his good friend Ian Gill.

Christmas, for us, is not really complete without Roger playing the carols in the background – it’s become integral.

He’s a composer too.  Though he hasn’t got round to publishing all his compositions, there are two you can get online.  One was written for someone making a Tai Chi demonstration video, to go with the movements – almost dances – of the Tai Chi exercises.  It’s called Vitality.  The other is a set of beautiful meditational pieces.  It was commissioned for a book of Celtic meditations as an accompanying CD of original music, an evocative and inspiring piece to go with each meditation.  At the time (I was still married to Roger then) I took the phone call from the publisher, who said he wanted this music but it would have to be written in a week, ready for the next publishing meeting, and could Roger do that? “Yes,” I replied without hesitation, because at the time he was just starting out as a freelance musician, and all such opportunities were seemed valuable.  He did it.  He worked FLAT OUT for a week, and managed to compose an entire CD of original – beautiful, inspiring, thoughtful – music to go with the meditation CD, in time for the deadline. Then after the publishing meeting they came back to him saying they’d changed their minds and thought they wouldn’t use his compositions after all.  They did publish it in the end, as a stand-alone set, but it was written to go with the Celtic meditations, and I think it’s a pity they got separated like that.

Anyway, I thought you might like to sample his music.  He’s here on this boxed set from Classic Fox – I don’t know the whole set, but it has his piano and cello and his piano and woodwind in, I think. 

Here's an album he's done with Classic Fox, called Advent Promise - a set of traditional Advent pieces - and this one called Approaching Christmas.  These two Advent ones have some overlap, but some different ones too (I think).

He’s here with the piano and cello Christmas carols, which are just lovely - these are the ones we play at home.  Listen to the previews - oh, it's so fab!  Take, for example, Ding Dong Merrily On High - listen to how he knows just how long to linger on each note and when to move on, so it's sprightly but not hurried; lyrical.

He has an album called Classical Christmas too - though I have no idea who the Eden Symphony Orchestra might be!  

His Tai Chi pieces are available here.

His Celtic Spirit album is on i-Tunes here.

But mainly I wanted to tell you about the Christmas music, in case you wanted to get hold of it for the peacefulness and holiness of your Advent season – okay, I know we aren’t there yet, but it’s coming!


365 366 Day 304 – Tuesday Oct 30th  

Two DVDs explaining all about the health benefits of jumping on a trampette. What more can I tell you?

365 366 Day 303 – Monday Oct 29th 

This . . . er this . . . well I think it was a plastic cradle to house some element of the gadgetry connected with our Wii Fit.  We still have the Wii, and engage in bursts of virtuous exercise that do us the world of good.  But this plastic cradle turned out to be surplus to requirements.

365 366 Day 302 – Sunday Oct 28th   

Crew-necked T-shirts.  I look awful in crew-necked T-shirts.  A lot of women do, especially if they have got a bit plump and reached the age when the bust is sliding south.  The neckline needs to kinda slide with it a little way.

365 366 Day 301 – Saturday Oct 27th   

Hmm. Two Raymond Chandlers, I think, and A Writer’s Notes On His Trade, and maybe that one with the front cover gone missing is The Witch of Blackbird Pond.  Evidently old favourites in a state of disintegration.

365 366 Day 300 – Friday Oct 26th   

A hairdryer.  To avoid complication, I try to stick with the kind of hairstyles that will just dry themselves without attention.  Every now and then if I’m going somewhere that matters in a hurry I do need the assistance of a hairdryer, but our Alice kindly lends me hers.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Well, we've already lost power (before Sandy has even really struck), but I've got a small window while Taylor cleans the kitchen to the hum of the generator. Fingers crossed that it isn't out for a week again like last year after Hurricane Irene...

Today I'll keep it light and easy, I hope my pals can bring a smile to your face too

10 reasons why ferrets make me smile
 prepare yourself for an onslaught of cuteness

They love to snuggle. You won’t often find one of our buddies curled up sleeping alone. They lay in giant, tangled heaps ~ the more, the merrier. The same rules apply to your lap. If one is konked, snoozing happily and another walks by and spots them? Well, all of a sudden they discover that they’re just a wee bit drowsy too, and curl up around their best mate, slipping into dreamland with ease.

They are unbelievably soft and plush. Cricket's winter coat has recently grown in and he is so irresistibly soft I can't quite resist burying my face in it every chance I get. Thankfully he tolerates me because a quick ferret fix is guaranteed to bring a smile to my face, no matter what craziness is going on around me at the moment.

Floyd & Irma
They love to be chased. When given the freedom to run, they do. With glee. Never with the intention of ‘escaping’, but more as an invitation. Catch me if you can. Their little feet pittering and scrambling across the floor is enough to make me laugh every time.

Cricket, Irma & Floyd
They love to chase ~ each other, balls, toys, us. Sometimes we’ll manage to get all five of them riled up at the same time. Five fuzzy little ferrets running, jumping, wrestling, rolling, leaping… it is enough to make even the sourest among us smile. It’s especially fun to gather up all of the balls and throw them rapid fire across the room. It's a madhouse, really it is. And so much fun.

They like to snorkel. Especially Roux. She goes ‘swimming’ in her water bowl daily, not happy until she is nice and thoroughly soaked. She adores to be plopped in a tub with an inch or two of warm water. Blowing bubbles from her nose and having a grand old time. Irma particularly loves her showers with Jordan.

 They like to steal and horde. Especially items they have no hope of hiding. Like slippers, twice as big as they are. Their toys are most often found piled in one corner, a stash of goodies.

They are mischievous. Our ferrets have their own room. Once upon a time it was my studio until I decided my furry friends would benefit from it more. It is thoroughly ferret-proofed because their curiosity knows no bounds. They have a particular affinity for potted plants and if given the chance will attempt to dig to China.

They each have a distinct and unique personality. Each one is so different from the next. Roux is the sweetest of the bunch, gentle and affectionate. Floyd is a slow, methodical boy who spends more time sleeping than anything else; he is always snuggled up in a lap, any one will do. Cricket is feisty and somewhat naughty. Irma is a spitfire, Jordan’s spoiled princess who loves to be the center of human attention. Felix is a playful bugger who loves to scamper and rough-house. 

They are affectionate. Oh so affectionate. Roux will often be overcome with a love she can’t express and so set about licking and cleaning your nose... or your cheeks...or your chin... or your hand for a solid five minutes. All five of them love to curl up on your lap and would sleep there quite happily for hours if they were allowed that privilege. Anytime you need a boost, or a reminder that you are indeed loved, a warm and snuggly ferret is the perfect remedy.

Interested in seeing some ferrets in action? The following video makes me laugh every time I watch it. Roux is busy at her favorite game while Cricket shows off his leaping skills. And yes, that is Jordan snapping at Riley Mae in the background... sorry. :P

{The following creatively inspired and crazy adorable ferret photo shoots were snapped by Jordan}

To all of you weathering Sandy, stay safe, stay warm and stay dry...

Have a happy day Friends

Day 28 . Intentional Parenting

I am honored to have a guest post today from an inspiring woman after my own heart! 
Babychaser, as she likes to be called, is a homeschooling mommy to 4 blessings (5 and under), wife to 1 wonderful husband, and follower of the Lord Jesus.  She is the keeper of their little home where she cooks from scratch, grinds her own flour, chases babies, and hires out the cleaning (for now), trainer of those precious souls, and dreams with her husband of living on a little farm one day.  She blogs at Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace about all of the above and more.  
I have been incredibly challenged with her series this month on Intentional Parenting and knew a lot of my readers would benefit from her wisdom. Enjoy the post and be sure to visit her at!
Intentional Parenting
I was simply honored when Beth asked me to share with you, her readers, about Intentional Parenting.  I've been enjoying her series and getting to know her a little bit through her blog.  
When she invited me to share with you all, she did so with a little light hearted confession:  "Parenting in general is something I was confident in... until our oldest turned two."  I have to admit that when I read it I laughed with her, but I'd read it wrong.  What I thought she said was... "Parenting in general is something I was confident in... until our oldest two."
I thought it was hilarious because, of course, she only has two children.  But really, I was agreeing with her.  Somehow I'd twisted it around in my head and, for myself, came up with something like this:  
"I had this parenting thing all figured out until my last four were born."

So let's get started...  Hi, I'm the mother of four children, 5 and under, and most days I'm still learning what it means to parent them.  As I've spent this last month focusing on Intentional Parenting, I've been reminded that parenting well is hard.   
Parenting intentionally means doing it every day.  Sacrificing my own desires.  Getting up off the couch.  Keeping my cool.  And all of this whether I've had a full night's sleep or not.  
Parenting intentionally means looking to the Word of God to guide me.  Thinking Biblically about my children.  And dying to self.  

So how can we get started?  I'd like to share three things we can do to get started in parenting intentionally!
1.Start each morning giving your children to God! 

They aren't yours anyway, right?  God has entrusted them to us to train up for His glory... for His will.  Whether it is before ever stepping out of bed, in a quiet "devotions" time on the couch, or while sitting with a two year old on the potty and a baby in your arms, talk to Him.  "Lord, these are your children.  Help me to be intentional today in how I train them.  Help every moment to bring You glory.  Amen." 

It can be as easy as that.  And Jesus tells us that whatever we ask in His name, He will do.

    2. Unplug!

    If you can't do this all day, at least strive for part of the day.  When I turn off my computer and set aside the phone (we don't have a TV or that would be off too), leaving myself in the dark ages, without reach of the outside world, I am able to be completely here... with my children.  This opens the door to being intentional!  It's so much easier if you can at least unplug during "kid hours".  

    3. Keep them with you!
    This is one of the keys to being intentional in your parenting.  If you aren't with them, you have no way of knowing what they are doing, not to mention no way of controlling what they are doing or to what they are being exposed.   You may choose to keep it as simple as staying together as you go about your days or as extreme as choosing not to use babysitters, keeping them in the church service with you and staying together throughout your days.
      It seems so simplistic to say that this is all you need, but understand, these are three things to get you started.  This is your jumping off point.  From here you have the ability to train them, talk to them about God and his commands, build relationships and whatever else you want to do... and all intentionally.  

      Thank you following along on our journey to simplicity & contentment. Please be sure to learn about our family, like our page on Facebook, and visit the right column to subscribe to our posts :)

      "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

      Philippians 4:12

      God bless!

      Day 27 . Why do we want to buy stuff?

      Yesterday I talked about how I am now intentionally striving for contentment in our pursuit for a simpler life.

      I pride myself on being the "master" of window-shopping -- both online and in person. I can add 40 books and gadgets to my Amazon cart, walk around Target for an hour, and fill an entire cart at the dollar store, but then not spend a dime. 

      But lately I'm wondering if this is really contentment. Maybe contentment is not just resisting temptation on the outside. I also need to eliminate the dissatisfaction on the inside to truly to be content. 


      So, why do we want to buy stuff?

      It's normal at this time of year, as we approach the holidays, for Americans to get into consumer mode. Add that to the fact that we are about to close on our first house and we have about a billion things we could, should, or want buy and even more reasons to justify it.

      But really, why do we want to buy stuff? 

      Why am I obsessing over picking out the perfect new curtains? Why am I searching Craig's List and every thrift store with 15 miles for a new dining room table? Why do I stop at every single estate sale I drive past to see if they have any more mason jars to add to my already unnecessary large collection?

      1. Shopping is FUN

      For some people shopping is fun and a social, casual event, but for me, shopping is a game. I want a high quality, unique item, for the best deal.

      I love the hunt. I love walking through a store with my coffee in hand and getting the most I can for the least amount possible. 12 new baby shirts for $8? Sign me up!

      2. Everyone does it

      Seriously, do you know anyone who never steps their foot in a store nowadays? It's normal to consume. 

      3. The Big One - Advertising

      This is the one I now realize I've unintentionally become immune to. Advertising is everywhere. Having the TV on in the background, listening to the radio, on every blog you read, website you visit. 

      Even advertisements to consume for an idea are everywhere. I wonder what the statistic is for how much extra you spend for each hour you spend on Pinterest. 
      Shoot. No wonder my heart isn't content. 

      How do you change the spending habit? Or even more, the dissatisfaction?

      1. Think: What are you surrounding yourself with? 

      Do you walk through Target 3 times a week or drive past the car dealership everyday?

      Consider removing yourself from these situations which cause you to unnecessarily desire more stuff that you don't need. We are humans - put a chocolate cake in front of me, I'll eat it. If you're on a diet, don't hang out with cake or talk to cake and you'll increase your chances of never thinking about cake.

      2. Count Your Blessings. 

      I'd like to get into the habit that whenever I feel the urge to peruse Target or flip through Pinterest, I sit down and write a list of things I'm thankful for instead. 

      I'm thankful we don't have any debt.
      I'm thankful my toddler can entertain herself for 2 hours with a 50 cent piece of playdough
      I'm thankful my feet are warm.
      I'm thankful for coffee.
      I'm thankful my husband has the flexibility to stop home for lunch everyday.
      I'm thankful for fresh air.

      There are so many things I can be thankful for. But how often do I take the time to reflect on them? (Answer: Not often enough).

      3. Watch the video The Story of Stuff 

      And learn about who is really paying for what we consume everyday.

      What about you? Do you struggle with delaying gratification? How do you keep your heart content for what God has provided?

      Thank you following along on our journey to simplicity & contentment. Please be sure to learn about our family, like our page on Facebook, and visit the right column to subscribe to our posts :)

      "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

      Philippians 4:12

      God bless!