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Emotional Health/ Kids/Family/ Spiritual

On Fall, Life, Family Dinners, Homeschooling, Health, Husband & Winter

Colsie Leaf 2

Sometimes I just want to reach across this computer divide and see your faces and touch your hands and say a genuine hello.  To this day, I am in awe of the fact that thousands of you visit this little corner of the world-wide web and care to check in a see what I’m up to here at New Nostalgia.

I decided to take a break from the usual posts and just take a day to check in, say Hello, and open up my heart and life.

I sure wish we could have a two-way conversation, but since the closest thing we come to that is on Facebook or Twitter or your words in the comments, I will just blab today and fill you in a bit on life.  I sure would love you to blab back in the comments or any of my social media channels.  Please do!


Fall Weather Bliss

I live in the Midwest and the fall weather has me in awe everyday!  The trees seem especially beautiful this year, the oranges, reds, pinky maroons, yellows and greens.  It has been absolutely breathtaking.  For me, the beauty of nature is a constant reminder of the Creator & how He just cares for the details and makes all things beautiful in time.  Our weather has been amazing and I just can’t get over it!  It places this unexplainable joy in my heart every time I’m out and about, and can make the hardest of days beautiful again.  Why am I surprised that God’s ever-changing art can do that?



I Live In My Car

Speaking of “out and about” I –as I’m sure many of you– feel like I am in my car more often than not lately.  Todd and I have always been very careful to keep balance when it comes to our kids extracurricular activities & involvement in anything away from home.  That was much easier to do when they were younger.  Our girls are now 15, 13 & 11 and their lives are full! Cross-country running, soccer, youth group, guitar lessons, tutoring & more.

It feels busier than I’d like it to be, but honestly it feels right for this season. I find myself so thankful for their gifts, talents, abilities and the amazing friends God has graciously given to my 3 lovelies.  These are the blessings that keep them busy, and for that I am thankful.


Dining Together

A Recommitment To Family Dinners at The Table

Despite the busyness, I have recommitted to family dinners at the table.  I find that we are able to eat at the table at least 3 times a week, and that is better than none!  Even if there are only 3 of the 5 of us home (many times Todd and my youngest are off at soccer practice right at dinnertime) I still commit to calling them to the table to eat.  For awhile we lost this simple but powerful routine.  I have a daughter who has been walking through some hard emotional things included a Sensory Processing Disorder (which I will be posting about in the future) and there was a period of time where it was just too hard to even be at the table together.  I am so thankful for direction from above in treating our sweet girl and that she is now capable of joining the family at the table in a healthy manner.  If you find yourself in a crisis situation with one of your kids, let me encourage you that it will not last forever.  Do your best, Momma’s, and fight for your kids.  Provide as much support for them as you can, and when you cannot, pray your hearts out.  God is there and hears our Momma- heart- prayers for our children.

Colsie{photo taken of my Colsie girl by Laurie Cosgrove}

Me? A Homeschool Mom?

This sweet daughter I speak of is now homeschooling.  Sitting in a classroom caused much suffering for her before we found treatment for her, and it was a necessity to pull her out.  I myself homeschooled during my high school years, and have always said God did not bless me with the abilities it would take to homeschool my children.  I wrote it off as something I would never do. Friends, I recommend never saying never!

I do know myself well and after a couple of weeks of trying to do it myself, we recognized we needed more help for our girl.  My amazing Mother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law have come to our rescue and committed to teaching my girl. They are both teachers – so honestly we couldn’t be more taken care of.  We split her time up between the two 5 mornings a week, and I get her in the afternoons for other things like physical activity, photography class & reading time. It is working beautifully.  I cannot tell you how relieved I am. I cannot tell you what a gift it is to have these two amazing women in my Colsie’s daily life. Not only am I not a natural teacher, but adding the dynamics of her disorder just made it feel impossible to school her myself.  God is in the business of providing, and even calls himself by that very name –Provider.  It has been a long and  stressful process of finding the best life for my girl, but God has been there every step of the way.  He is very much our faithful Provider.



My Physical Health

The last couple months have brought quite a bit of turmoil when it comes to my health.  My cancer is still in remission, but the ongoing treatment I need has proven itself very challenging.  7 months ago I switched cancer meds and honestly it has rocked my world.  Just recently I switched again due to unbearable joint pain I was having. These meds mess around with hormones, and if you are a woman you know hormones are never a fun thing to mess around with. Not only did I switch cancer meds, but also at the same time switched mood meds, as they also had side effects of joint pain.  Friends, that month and 1/2 of detoxing from meds and slowly getting back on new ones were hard.  Excruciatingly hard.  Hard on my body, hard on my mental health, and especially hard on my family.  I am on my way back up and doing so much better.  Joint pain is almost nonexistent, which feels like a miracle!  Before, I felt joint pain in joints I didn’t even know I had!  My feet, ankles, hip & elbow and shoulders all hurt beyond and affected me much more that I even realized, especially on those rainy days when weather changes made them all double- flare.  I am so relieved to be relieved of this pain.


My Mental Health

As far as my mental health, I am due for a post to fill you in, but we are still in the process of figuring out what is best for me right now.  What I can tell you is that God Works All Things Out For Our Good, especially the very hardest of things.  The last few months have been super humbling to say the least, and so painful that we had to bring my in-laws into the loop to help us get through it.  Their gentleness and mercy toward me was the most beautiful picture of how God deals with us.  They have seen me at my lowest & instead of running away, they moved towards me with a love that showed me they are for me and willing to walk through the hard. They have been a huge part of keeping our family healthy and whole.  They have gently led me in a direction I needed to go and provided the means to get there.

It is still early in this process of discovery and healing when it comes to me…and I cannot wait to share with you how we are finding answers.  Sometimes it takes a humbling, a bringing down to our knees, before we can clearly see the direction we need to go.  This is what has happened with me recently & though it was painful, I am so THANKFUL.  I am finding the best answers for what is needed and I am feeling pretty giddy excited about God’s revelation and provision–given through the help of my sweet in-laws AND with the help of the most gentle and wise psychiatrist.  More to come on that in another post.

Todd and Amy Car

My Sweet Husband

Oh my sweet Todd.  I sit here and tear up when I think of this good, good man and all that he has had to carry.  He will be the first to admit he has not always reacted the best in dealing with all of the pain and turmoil in our family..especially that which comes from me.  Being an extreme introvert he has a tendency to go inward when life is pressing hard… BUT.. he truly has carried these heavy burdens in a way that is admirable and faithful.  He has been through much, has watched both his wife and daughter suffer in different but frightening ways, and his steady faithfulness to me and our family has been a healing gift to me.  He has been burden- bearer.  He has been provider.  He is willing to walk through the hard, admit when he is messing up, and take my hand to try again.  It might take him awhile to come out of his inwardness, but he always does. I am forever committed to this good, good man of mine, and I am super excited to be heading upward after being in the valley–hand in hand with my man–for he deserves a dang good view!


My Mentor

I read Titus 2:4,5 years ago.  It talks about how the older women in the church should mentor the younger women.  I have always loved that concept and idea. I have had a longing and stirring in my heart for a mentor in the form of an older-than-me and wiser-than-me woman for years.  I have prayed for this for years.  I have even asked a couple of women who I thought might be the perfect match for me, and nothing ever panned out…until recently.  My mentors name is Kim and God is so funny how He brings about things.  I will fill you in on the fun story in another post, but for now let me just tell you, God can make His purpose come about in strange ways–like elderberry hunting.  Yep, forging for elderberries caused my forging for a mentor to be fulfilled.

Needless to say, my Kim has been so perfect for me.  She, too, has 3 girls–all beautiful and grown.  She has a husband whom she loves dearly, and has walked through much life and gained amazing wisdom in the process.  She has taken me straight to God’s Word and I am seeing things in it that I never have before.  We. Just. Click.  She is one of the most precious gifts I have ever been given.  We have only met together 4 times but our hearts are entwined and she has taught me so much already.   I can’t help but squeal about it…WEEEEEEE!

If this is a desire of your heart, start asking God for it.  He WILL answer in His time.  It might be years down the road, but believe me, it will be the most perfect of time.



The Upcoming Winter Season

Usually when one thinks of winter, we think of cold & nature put to sleep.  I choose to look toward the winter season ahead with an anticipating excitement.  I know God will continue in His faithfulness to our family, and when I think of winter coming, I think of a cozy candlelit home, warm hoodie sweatshirts, and glistening snow.  I will use the blanketed snow as a beautiful reminder of how God’s love covers the dead and dying, how seasons come and go, how God promises new mercies everyday, and how He has made and continues to makes us pure-whiter than snow!  My prayer is that He would take this hurting, rag-tag- BUT stronger- than- ever family and carry on in His work of refining. It is a scary prayer, to ask to be refined, but I know that His only purpose is to make us ready for the next season, so that we might glisten like snow. A glistening to glorify Him. Only Him.

FAMILY/ Gardening/ Kids/Family/ Uncategorized

Embracing A Small Yard & Making It Cozy

Outdoor-Slow-livingOur spring here in the midwest seemed to take forever to behave and warm up.  The last couple weeks are finally warming up and I’m loving every second of it.

Our yard is quite small which honestly I have grown to love and appreciate.  Keeping the yard looking nice is quite a chore, so I could not imagine having a big yard!  My mother-in-law loves the outdoors and has a huge serving heart, so she has been over many days the last few weeks getting weeds out of the rock area of our play set and in all our planting beds around the house.  She is amazing! Thanks to her work I have been super inspired to get out there and add my own touches to making the yard great.

I have embraced the tiny yard size and have been taking steps over the last few years, to making it a great family space, one with lots of atmosphere and coziness.  It is working, as our family is finding ourselves out their together more evenings than not lately.  This is such a great reward for me personally, as it is what I have dreamed of as I have slowly added elements to draw my sweet family outside to enjoy!

Here are a few things I have done over the last few years to make it cozy:

Water Feature– we had a bit of landscaping done when we moved in over 5 years ago.  I knew I wanted a small sitting area and I have always loved the sound of water.  I asked our landscape guys if there was a simple, inexpensive way to add a water element to our small backyard.  They knew just the thing and made it happen within hours.  Basically, they dug a 2×2 ft hole that was about 18-24 inches deep.  They lined it with thick black rubber lining & added a water pump in it.  They put a metal rack over the hole, so the pump stuck out of the top just a bit.  They covered it with 3 large stones and then scattered slate-colored river rock around those large rocks.  We had our electrician put an electrical outlet close to the fountain, and now all we have to do is plug it in.  I add one anti-algae tablet to the water each spring when we first start it, and that is it.  It is the most loved feature in our yard and makes the sound of a running brook.  I love the natural look of it, & I love how low maintenance it is. You can see it if you  scroll down to the image of stringed lights, it is in the left bottom corner.

{my 2 youngest  back in 2009 dancing and singing in the rain.  This video shows the chairs I talk about below. I talk about the pots and my love for funky plants here.}

Lots of Chairs–we bought a bunch of chairs at Target during one of their end of season sales.  They are a neutral color which I love because I can add any color pillow to them for color.  I bring color to my yard with pillows and flower pots.  We bought about 10 of them, knowing there would be times we would want seating for friends.  I made sure they stacked nicely before purchasing because our storage is limited and our garage is just a single car size.

Fire Pit–I’ve pinned a bunch of fun fire pit ideas on Pinterest, but have never gotten around to any DIY fire pit projects.  A year ago my daughter and I took part in Black Friday shopping at Target, and they had a crazy deal on fire pits that I could not resist.  I’m so glad I didn’t.  We have had many fun family nights sitting around that pit, roasting marshmallows for apple s’mores or just using it to warm us up on chilly spring or fall evening.

A Place to Set Our Drinks–I’ve dreamed of a table and chairs for us to eat outside as a family on, but that is just not in the budget or practical in such a small space.  We do have a single driveway connected to our backyard, but now it is used as a basketball court and a table and chairs would just get in the way.  I have let go of my dream for now, although I do have my eye out for a foldable table to set out on the driveway with an umbrella and foldable chairs.  Something we could store away easily and only bring out when we want to eat as a family outside.  For now, I make do with a small table used to set beverages on.  We often eat outside, just with our plates on our lap or on a spread blanket picnic style.


Hanging Lights--these are another fav touch of mine.  There is something so whimsical about a string of lights and the glow they bring.  It adds an instant atmosphere!  I just bought one set, but would love to add more!


Torches–We have one table top torch that found at a garage sale, and my favorite torch sculpture that I wrote about here.  I love them both.  I keep oil on hand, but they really only need filled once a year.  We light them any evening we are out there.  Tiki makes a citronella oil that works really well to keep the mosquitos away, and the element of fire always bring coziness.  I love that I don’t have to make a pit fire every night to have the element of fire.  I have had to replace the wicks about once a year, but they are so inexpensive (less than $2!) and can be found at any hardware store or garden center.  I stocked up and always have them on hand.

Cozy Blankets— I have 2 blankets used only for outdoors.  One is a white, thick comforter that I use to lay on the grass.  It never fails, if I lay it out, within minutes there is someone with a book laying on it.  It is also great for when my niece and nephew come over to play.  We just lay there and look up at the leaves in the trees or gaze at the clouds.  I have another lightweight blanket for those nights that are chilly and the fire is not lit. I’ve been eyeing this great picnic blanket made for the outdoors with a waterproof bottom to keep you dry.  I love the colors in it.


Potted Plants &  Flowers–I keep this simple and minimal. Years ago I spray painted some cheap plastic pots with Hammered Black Spray Paint by Krylon-made for plastic. They are lightweight and look great. Right now I fill my pots with annuals every year, but I am wanting to take a couple and put some perennials in them.  I don’t like spending cash on flowers that are going to die every season, and if the majority of my pot is made of a perennial, then I can add a touch of color with some annuals which will really cut down on the cost each year.

Playset{the only photo I could find of our swing set, from last year}

Swingset--we have kept our swing set even though it takes up the majority of our yard.  My 11 year old still plays on it.  Just a couple weeks ago she and 4 friends had a fun picnic up in the tower of it.  I also have a 1 1/2 year old niece and a 4 year old nephew who adore it , and even the sand box gets used when they come over.   I even find my big girls sitting on a swing while on instagram or reading their kindle, so it is worth it.  We paid a pretty penny for it over 12 years ago when Teagan was a young.  It has held up beautifully over the years and I am glad we invested in a quality set. (Childlife Playsets)


Basketball Hoop–I know, I know, the sound of balls bouncing isn’t quite cozy, but this hoop definitely has added to the coziness we feel as a family in our back yard.  Maybe coziness is not the best word.  Maybe togetherness is better.  Regardless, even though we didn’t have a huge driveway and a bigger space would be ideal for basketball, we make do with the single car driveway and it has worked out just fine.  I have you all to thank for our hoop as it was purchased with money I made last year from sponsored posts.  If you all didn’t support this blog by reading it, we would not have a hoop!  Thank you sweet readers.


As you can see, even in a small yard it takes time to make it what you want it to be.  Each spring season I try to add a little something, always keeping in mind to keep things simple and meaningful.  When I invest into our little yard to make it cozy, I am investing in an area where slow living as a family can take place.  THAT, my friends, is priceless!