Simple Bounty

Finding Beauty, Grace and Sanity in a Busy World

My New Blog January 16, 2013

Filed under: Health — katieosborne @ 12:55 pm
Tags:

Obviously, I haven’t been blogging for some time, but wanted to let anyone who might be subscribed here know that I have started a new blog: http://nourishingtheosbornes.wordpress.com/

The primary focus at this time is healing my son’s stomach issues. I hope to write on other family and home related topics as time goes on. Right now, I’m talking about the GAPS diet. Come join me if you are interested!

Advertisements
 

Getting Intentional About Relationships September 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — katieosborne @ 2:47 pm
Tags:

I love late summer and early fall. For me, much more than the start of a new calendar year or the first buds of spring, fall is a time of new beginnings – probably because I always loved the start of each new school year. I feel most alive in the fall – the crisp air, the last of the harvest, the knowledge that we will soon be tucked away indoors for quieter days. I am determined this year to become more intentional in my relationships. I say this to myself from time to time, but it is becoming apparent to me lately just how important this undertaking is. I am naturally independent and introverted, and it is therefore easy for me to isolate myself and neglect nurturing my relationships. But that is not how God intends me to live, and to be honest, it is not really how I want to live, though it is in many ways easier.

I do crave relationship and connection, it is just not something that comes naturally to me. God made us relational creatures. I am made for intimacy with others. I desire to know and be known, yet relationship building is hard work – emotional and sometimes uncomfortable work – and sometimes, oftentimes, it’s easier not to. I am not the type to become fast friends with someone. It’s a slow process that, for me, involves shedding self-consciousness, learning to trust, allowing my façade to give way to a willing vulnerability and honesty. I long to be free of those hindrances in my relationships, but getting to that place where I can be comfortable, at ease, my real self, can be intimidating.  And in the day to day of life with toddlers and a home to care for, it is easy to put off my relationships because honestly, the work around here never ends. There’s always more to do. But God does not call me to have a perfectly clean house; he does however call me to be in relationship with others. That is important work – hard work – good work.

I have a hard time finding balance in life. Whether it’s a week long sewing binge that causes me to neglect responsibilities around the house or whether it is striving for a pristine home at the neglect of my kids, it seems I tend toward extremes. I get very involved in one thing. Because I am rather driven by guilt and by the need to be (or at least appear) perfect in order to prove my worth (something I’ve been ruminating on recently – perhaps a post sometime down the road) – anyway, because of those factors, I focus too much on trying to keep up with my house – probably because that is a very tangible measure of how hard I am working. And having a relatively clean home is important, to be sure, but I can become focused on that to a fault (although you probably wouldn’t guess it since if you walk into our home on any given day, you’re likely to find a mess of some sort, likely many sorts). Then I can be irritated if my kids need me too much (whatever that means!) or I can neglect to allow myself any leisure time to refuel and do something enjoyable, all because I have made crossing off tasks on my to-do list my definition of success.

So, the trick is to find the balance between taking care of my home and taking care of my relationships -to take the time and energy to connect with others on a meaningful level. I am getting out my calendar, and I am planning time to cultivate relationships with people who are important to me! What a tragedy it would be for me to get to the end of my life and regret all the missed opportunities to connect, really connect with those I love and those I could have grown to love.

Serving a to-do list is no way to live. God calls us to serve one another, and I can do that best when I am nurturing my relationships and taking the time to appreciate God’s gift of friendship.

 

He Gives and he takes away July 1, 2011

Filed under: Family Life,Pregnancy and Childbirth — katieosborne @ 8:33 am
Tags: ,

*This post contains discussion of miscarriage; if this is an issue you are sensitive to, you may not want to read on.*

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21

June 29th. Eleven weeks pregnant and bleeding on Jonas’ birthday. The doctor confirms by ultrasound: the baby is gone. This is not new for us – miscarriage number five, in fact. But the shock and the grief don’t seem to change, no matter the number. I really wasn’t expecting this, though it seems I should, and I don’t think it has really sunk in despite the red and the machine showing no heartbeat. Yet this is the reality God has planned for us, by no mistake.

June 30th. Too much bleeding and frequent clots, some the size of my palm. Eventually I am weak and dizzy. We end up back at the clinic by noon where I am dilated so the doctor can try to get the clots and tissue moving out. I pass the baby as he works. He needs to monitor the bleeding for a while, so I lay, knees up, covered with a white sheet in a sterile room. They give me Pitocin and Methergine to encourage my uterus to contract and the bleeding to slow. Time passes and there’s still a lot of blood. I may need a D&C, and I really don’t want that. I squeeze eyes shut. The doctor pushes hard on my stomach and we give it some more time. And I pray repeatedly that the bleeding would slow because I want nothing more right now than to avoid a D&C and go home with my family.  I breathe a jagged breath and exhale, and the sadness swells, but I am okay. I am held. I feel safe, despite the circumstances, even here, staring up at ceiling tiles while resting on a hard table  – and I am surprised by this calm. You see, I am the one who too often chooses fear and distrust, instead of just resting in the One who has never broken a promise.  Now I sigh a thank you for His peace that truly is beyond our understanding. And I am thankful, even today – maybe especially today. Thankful in the midst of grief. I know that even my gratitude is not by my own strength, but a gift from the God who works all things for good. I feel a deep peace in the midst of sorrow. A strange joy even. Joy? It’s inexplicable, but as I lie there, I have a sense of joy as I recognize God’s working in my heart, there in that lonely room. Joy as I think about my two children sitting in the waiting room, and how this cycle of miscarriages could be my only fate were it not for God reaching down and protecting two of my little ones who grew in my womb. And I realize once again how very precious they are.

I am sorrowful over the baby that will not be in my arms come January. If I had my way, none of this would have happened. But I know it isn’t my way, but His, and though I don’t understand, somehow it is the better way. I would never let that baby go. I would hold on with all my strength. But it was not my child to keep, and God’s purposes are greater than my own, and his strength is greater too. And somehow, only by his grace, he has made this okay in my heart, and I can feel free to cry and grieve, free of fear and anger and confusion and guilt and all those things that rob a person. And I give thanks for pure grief. And I give thanks that it is often in the hard things that we feel most alive. That there is something worthwhile at the heart of pain. That we can see God more clearly, even when we can’t see the why. That we can feel His love for us and be reminded of its truth in a way that surpasses our everyday existence. And I give thanks to an answer of ‘yes’ to my prayer. Another hard push on the stomach, one more clot with some tissue, and my body’s work is done and the bleeding can slow.

I don’t know why this happened, and I don’t feel compelled to ask the question. And that is a very good feeling. I look back over my life, and I see God’s hand, and I know I can trust Him. And I tell myself to remember this truth when I’m back in the midst of the everyday where frustration and anxiety are too often my companions. I am still such a child, and despite God’s faithfulness, too often I choose not to rest in that. Too often I try to do it by my own strength. And today is a good reminder to me that God is all-sufficient and I don’t need to struggle, but can relax into his arms that do not fail. Today, by His mercy, I can say despite my circumstances, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

 

Our Homeschooling Journey Begins May 25, 2011

Filed under: Education,Family Life — katieosborne @ 10:24 am
Tags:

Jonas will be five next month, and we are easing our way into school this year. I’ve started a light and loose schedule this month that we will carry through the summer. This is basically what it looks like:

At breakfast we read a chapter from their Bible. This spring I bought a much needed new children’s Bible called Mighty Acts of God by Starr Meade. I HIGHLY recommend it. It far surpasses any other children’s Bible I’ve seen. (Not that I have seen them all, but this is really good). She makes God’s character and his plan for His people the focus of each story. It is a good book for kids as old as (I would guess) fourth or fifth grade. The language is not too simplistic. There are sophisticated concepts woven in. There are discussion questions at the end of each 3 page chapter. I don’t usually do the discussion questions with my kids, as they are often over their heads at this point. I love that we will be able to use this for many years since there is the opportunity to go much deeper than we currently are.

After that, we do a character study type book. Right now we are doing God’s Wisdom For Little Boys and God’s Wisdom For Little Girls. Each page has a character trait with a little rhyme and a verse from Proverbs. We read one a day from each book. The kids like them. They’re pretty simplistic, but it is a good starting place to discuss issues of character.

Then we do catechism questions. I got off of doing this for quite some time. I don’t know why, as Jonas has always loved answering the questions. I am pleased to see that even little Bridget is picking up on the answers. She knows four of five of them right now.

We pray, then the kids have time to play while I clean up the kitchen and get started on some other tasks.

Weather permitting, we head outside for a few hours. Usually the kids just play in the yard while I tackle the never ending weed problem or read or write on a blanket under the tree. The kids and I have enjoyed a few picnic lunches in the yard in the last couple weeks. What is it about eating outside? It’s lovely. Sometimes we walk to the park, and I would like to start taking regular nature walks at the various parks and nature centers in our area.

At or after lunch we do some read alouds. We read a lot of picture books. Some of the current favorites are Make Way For Ducklings, Blueberries for Sal, Fly High Fly Low, Miss Rumphius, The Little Island,  and Ferdinand. The kids have also been really into the Let’s Read and Find Out Science books. We have a couple from the library, and they are especially fond of A Nest Full Of Eggs. These are really educational and well written. I’ve learned from them too.

We try to incorporate singing our Sunday School hymn of the month into our bedtime routine. We don’t do it every night, but a few times a week. I think it is important for the kids to gain a background in the great hymns of the faith.

A few days a week are themed, and I haven’t been too consistent with getting into a weekly groove with these yet, but I hope to in June.

Monday is Music Monday. This summer I am teaching Jonas about the orchestra with the book The Story of The Orchestra. This book is really geared toward older kids – maybe 2nd to 5th grade, but Jonas is rather precocious, so he is able to understand it and enjoy it. The pages are colorful and full of pictures, diagrams and lots of tidbits of information. It comes with a CD that has musical examples that correspond to various pages. I thought that teaching him about the instruments and how they work together was a good place to start before going on to study specific composers. I have also introduced the kids to Bernstein’s Children’s Classics which contains Peter and the Wolf, The Carnival of the Animals, and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. I put this on occasionally while the children are drawing or painting. I find that Jonas really tunes into the music and story while he is working. He’ll ask me questions sometimes, and it surprises me that he is paying that much attention doing two things at once. Another thing that I want to start doing on a regular basis is playing classical music at dinner. Once we start studying specific composers, we can listen to his work during the dinner hour.

Wednesday is (supposed to be) Nature Walk Wednesday. I haven’t made this happen yet. I think it is important to get them out in nature, exploring and observing. I bought a copy of Fun With Nature Take Along Guide. We haven’t started using it yet, so I can’t comment on it, but from what I saw flipping through it, it looks like it will be fun and useful.

And Friday is Fine Art Friday where we learn about a painter or do a picture study of one of his works. We are learning about Norman Rockwell right now. For younger children, I highly recommend books by Mike Venezia. He writes about artists, musicians and other figures in a really interesting and informative way.

I am not doing academics this summer, and I don’t intend to get too heavy into it this school year, though we will start math and reading since he is more than ready. I want the focus to remain on instilling our faith in the kids, character development and developing in them a love for beauty and noble thought, which I think is best done through exposing them to God’s creation, the arts and great literature. With that as the foundation, I believe their love for learning will flourish and we will just ease our way into the more bookish aspects of schooling.

 

Chocolate Coconut Dip March 31, 2011

Filed under: Food — katieosborne @ 1:42 pm
Tags:

Looking for a super simple, fairly healthy and very delicious afternoon snack that your kids (and you) are sure to love? My friend, Amanda, made this for our family when she brought a meal over after Bridget’s birth. I had forgotten about it until recently.

You’ll need a can of coconut milk and a bag of chocolate chips (we use 60% cocoa). I actually do a half batch, and it still goes a long way. Warm them on the stove until melted and smooth, then stick it in the fridge. We spread it on graham crackers, smear bananas and apples with it and dip pretzels in it. You can also use it as a frosting, though you’ll want to let it sit out to soften it before trying to spread it on a cake.

100_7087

100_7093

 

Spring Sewing Underway March 28, 2011

Filed under: Sewing and Crafts — katieosborne @ 2:28 pm
Tags: , ,

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted sewing projects. I made a few simple tunics for Bridget this winter, but other than that, the machine has been quiet until the last couple weeks, during which time I’ve managed to make four peasant shirts/tunics, a petal knot dress (the first since last spring), and a couple other experiments. I have also started on a couple tops for me. Ooh, yes, I guess I did make myself a couple new skirts this winter as well.

But anyway, here are the peasant tops. I just based them off of the bodice of a dress pattern I already owned, but there are also some tutorials out there if you do a search. They are super simple and quick to make. I am really hoping to do little more than buy the girl a few pairs of shorts this summer.

 

100_7116

(Momo’s Wonderland collection, Heather Bailey’s Nicey Jane, Anna Maria Horner’s Little Folks, Sandi Henderson’s Ginger Blossom)

 

100_7105100_7113

And this is the latest petal knot dress. Sandi’s pattern is still such a favorite. The fabric is from Momo’s Freebird collection. I just love the colors.

 

100_7117     100_7097

 

god is always good March 13, 2011

Filed under: Christianity,Health — katieosborne @ 3:09 pm
Tags: , ,

We spent most of Friday and Saturday at the hospital with Jonas.

The short version of the story: Friday morning he woke up with a fever. He was lethargic and complaining of the light. Ben’s mom came over to stay with the kids, so I could go to the store. I wasn’t gone more than 45 minutes when I got a call to come home. Jonas had had a seizure, something that had never happened before. He was sleeping hard when I got home, and I took him to the doctor, where he sat in my lap, barely conscious a lot of the time, falling in and out of sleep. Still feverish.

The doctor was concerned because it didn’t fit the typical definition of a febrile seizure, and based on other observations, he thought there was a possibility of meningitis. So, off the the hospital we went for lots of tests and waiting. Everything came back fine. We don’t know what caused the seizure.

Yesterday, when I facebooked the news that we were heading home, one of my cousins responded, “God is good!!” It’s a statement we commonly use to express thankfulness for God granting healing or positive resolution in our lives. I’ve been thinking about this lately: We never meet bad news with “God is good!” And yet, he is. He is always good. His decisions are always right and work together for the good of those who love him, even though we cannot comprehend his ways. If the diagnosis had been meningitis, God is still good. If the illness led to my child’s death, God is still good.

I think that one of the biggest challenges in life and one of the most worthwhile is to be able to say, in the midst of trial and even the worst of tragedies, “God is good.” To be able to see his grace in the darkness. In the worst case scenario, is my faith such that I would see His goodness and blessing? Is my heart capable of giving thanks in all circumstances?