Thursday, February 26, 2009

Friday Felicities ::: February 27


Things that make me happy (on Thursday evening instead of Friday) ...
  • making lists

  • cleaning off the top of my desk

  • messaging with friends on Facebook

  • anticipation of a great evening tomorrow night with one of my bestest friends and some free tickets!

  • chicken noodle soup

For more Felicities, head over to Becky's. :)

I'm unplugging for a few days and will see you Monday!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bloggy Book Tour ::: Daisy Chain

This book was interesting and not what I expected. It's the story of a girl who vanishes one night and her childhood friend's search to find out what happened to her. As he searches, he uncovers truths about his family and his small town and does quite a bit of growing up in the process.
This is the first fiction book of Mary DeMuth's that I have read. (Previous exposure was to her Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God book and I enjoyed that). I'm still not quite sure what to say about this book ... I didn't dislike it; however, as a mom of three little girls, starting off with the abduction of a young girl is probably not the best book for me to dive into right now. I will say that I enjoyed the colorful characters that she wove through the book. The young boy that is the main character learns more about several of the town's unusual members and learns, I think, a good lesson about not dismissing someone at face value based on appearance or oddities.
You can find about more about the book by scrolling down for a synopsis.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing

Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth

Zondervan (March 1, 2009)


Mary E. DeMuth is an expert in Pioneer Parenting. She enables Christian parents to navigate our changing culture when their families left no good faith examples to follow.

Her parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2007), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005).

Mary also inspires people to face their trials through her real-to-life novels, Watching The Tree Limbs
(nominated for a Christy Award) and Wishing On Dandelions (NavPress, 2006).

Mary has spoken at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW Conference, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and at various churches and church planting ministries. Mary and her husband, Patrick, reside in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France, and planting a church.


The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance from a small Texas town in 1973 spins three lives out of control—Jed, whose guilt over not protecting his friend Daisy strangles him; Emory Chance, who blames her own choices for her daughter’s demise; and Ouisie Pepper, who is plagued by headaches while pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis.

In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.

Daisy Chain is an achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story crafted by a bright new literary talent. It offers a haunting yet hopeful backdrop for human depravity and beauty, for terrible secrets and God’s surprising redemption.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Daisy Chain, go HERE

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What's on Your Nightstand ::: February 24


Last month I posted that I was going to be reading the biography of H.A. & Margret Rey: The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret & H.A. Rey by Louise Borden. I sat down with this book on Saturday and finished it in about an hour! This biography is written on a grade school student's level and tells the tale of how the Rey's escaped from a Paris occupied by the Germans on two bicycles, and how they eventually made their way to America. This book would be a great resource if you were wanting to expose your 2nd grader (and up) to World War II without delving into topics that they are not ready for. The book is full of illustrations and photos of Mr. Rey's journals - did you know that Curious George started out being called Fifi? I must say, I prefer George. :)

I also finished rereading Living Simply by Joanne Heim. I was reminded in a conversation with my best friend recently how deliberate we have to be if we want to live a simple life. This book is such a good reminder for me of those things that are priorities in my life. Not that I don't know they are priorities, but somethings the excitement of saying yes to more activities, more things, and more busy-ness makes me forget. Things like evening routines with my children to make their bedtimes a sweet time for them and me, family traditions that I want to start or continue (those things don't happen if I don't plan them), having simple friendships with girlfriends and making time for them. If you are looking for encouragement to slow down, I highly recommend this book.

Up for my March reading? Hmmm. I'm not sure! :) I am dying to read the third book in the Inkheart series, but the wait list at my library is forever long. I still have Sabbath Keeping by Lynne Baab to read, and several fiction options on my shelf. We'll see!

For more nightstand posts, head over to 5 Minutes for Books. :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook ::: February 23

Outside my Window ... it's dark. And chilly. And quiet. The evening is winding down.

I am thinking
... on some decisions that we need to make re: school for next year. New stuff for these parents and am pondering pros and cons and cons and pros.

I am thankful for
... food in my cabinets that comes together into a decent supper, even when I don't really want to think too much about what to make. :)

In the learning room
... just normal stuff going on 'round here. A little of this and that although I am doing some research on Lent/Easter and digging around for little activities and craft for the girls. Like Advent, I want to set aside some time to talk about the coming celebration of the resurrection with them. Any thoughts or ideas? I'm all ears!

From the kitchen

: spaghetti, salad, baked squash
Tuesday: applesauce chicken (crockpot), noodles/rice?
Wednesday: Quesadillas (cheese for the girls; chicken and spinach for the adults)
Thursday: either breakfast for dinner (eggs, breakfast burritos? something like that) OR something that I'll pull from the freezer
Friday: pizza night
Saturday: grocery shopping day so a new menu start here and I don't have it planned yet :)

I am creating
... a new menu plan for the next month. Starting a new journal (and trying a new format with this one - a 6x9 binder instead of a spiral notebook so we'll see if it works or not).

I am going
... to try and keep this week fairly uneventful. This week is the final week of a huge recording project Travis has been working on. He has the last of the recording to wind up, then mixing it all down into something that he'll send off to be put on CDs next Monday. Hard to believe that we are at the end of this, and with that will mean some busy evenings for him and quiet ones for me and the girls. We've borrowed a few new videos from our cousins and have some popsicles in the freezer to get us by (and keep them quiet) in the evenings while Daddy is working. :)

I am wearing
... blue comfy pants, long-sleeve blue shirt, socks, etc. Monday clothes. :)

I am reading
... I'm between books right at the moment. I just finished The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson and need to find something in my stack to pick up next! I recently read Month by Month Scrapbooking by Amanda Probst and thoroughly enjoyed - several creative sparks went off as I read and I'm looking forward to perusing it again soon.

I am hoping ... to survive this busy week. Sometimes that is a good goal! :)

I am hearing
... just quiet. T is reading the girls a bedtime story tonight so all is quiet out here where the computer is.

Around the house
... a few things scattered here and there from a day of play.

One of my favorite things
... popcorn in the evening, after the munchkins are in bed for the night. Add a diet coke and a book and it's just about perfect.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ...
like I said, busy week but I don't have much on my plate to compensate. I'm going to do some research on Lent like I mentioned, and some other miscillaneous spring planning, but otherwise, just the norm.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you ...

February 20, 2009

From my Girls' Night Out on Friday ... that's me in the hot pink striped sweater on the right. :)

Do visit Peggy's to see all the other daybook posts this week!

Memory Monday


In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed tested by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being which is more precious than gold which is perishable even though tested and is consumed by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

I Peter 1.6-7

Well, how's this for a first shot? Seriously, it has taken me THREE weeks to get this far. Obviously, writing the verse out and setting on my desk (and hoping that I would learn it by osmosis) did not work for me the first two weeks. This week, I buckled down, but still had trouble with it. I'm sticking with this one as it needs more work (ha!) and still plan to tack on v. 8-9 when I can get 6-7 under my belt.

Memory Monday is hosted by Joanne @ The Simple Wife.

Friday, February 20, 2009


  • It's Friday. I love Fridays. Actually, there's not really a day that I don't love, but I love Fridays because my girls love Friday. Friday nights are pizza and movie night AND Fridays mean that the next day is Saturday. Saturdays are cinnamon rolls and Daddy stays home all day. We lurve us some Saturdays. :)

  • This morning I logged off my computer for about two hours. I am amazed (and slightly saddened) at all I was able to accomplish with out the distraction of email pings and what not. It has clarified a few things that I was questioning and I will be unplugging more. (HT: Mer @ Lifeat7000feet for the idea). I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to work from home for my church, and I can do that because of the wonders of technology/internet/email/etc., but the partial attention that I sometime give my home and family is not something I'm proud of. (For more on this, read Katherine's timely post at Raising Five for today. Spot on). Technology is a good thing, and I love it, but I need some boundaries.

  • We are enjoying these in our house:

The girls spotted them at Aldi's - all the Valentine's bouquets had been reduced to 99 cents each so they each picked one out to enjoy at home. Fun treats. :)

  • I'm still working on my 365 photo-a-day project and enjoying it for the most part. There have been one or two days where I have just not been in the mood to take a picture or tote my camera - but they have been few - and (I think) only one day that I missed. I'll try and take a few album pics soon once I catch up the journaling. I'm liking this project as a whole. It's been interesting (probably only to me!) to see what I am choosing to highlight each day. :)

  • I have a few things in the works for March, one of which is going to be a no-spend/low-spend challenge for the month. I'm not going to be legalistic about it, but I am going to keep track of my non-essential spending, i.e., Sonic drinks, scrap "necessities" from Joann's, books, etc. :) I think it will be very beneficial to me to see where it's all going.

  • Tonight I'm going out with some girlfriends for dinner (heehee, before the no/low spend challenge of March!) to celebrate an upcoming baby. These are my "company girls" and I am eager to trade a few hugs and see everyone face to face. One of the husbands of one of these girls was at our house last night doing some music stuff with Travis - his wife had him pick up a diet coke for ME at Sonic on his way over ... now that's a true girlfriend. :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I'm enjoying the sunlight streaming through my windows right now, even though it is still too cold to go out with girls and enjoy it. A little sun on the face is good therapy for me any day so I'll take it!


Friday Felicities ::: February 20


Things that make me happy:
  • watching the 21 mo. old trying to zip up her sleeper and realizing she can't see the zipper because it's under her little tummy. :)
  • new specs without scratches. I can see!!!!
  • the geekiness of making a graph/chart in my journal and mapping out things for the future.
  • Everyday Food magazine ... perused the new issue last night while Travis worked on music and it's all. about. pasta. My, my.

Happy Friday. :)

Hosted by Becky.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Painting Project Revealed

I am not a painter. In fact, when painting projects arrive, I usually run far, far away. However, this one did not seem too daunting so I attempted it on my own. And it worked!

We use our dining area for our school room. It is a small windowless room - one of the few faults that I have with our sweet little house is that the dining area gets no natural light. Anyway, I wanted some kind of whiteboard/chalkboard in there for school, but as we are low on wall space, I was trying to be creative.

I ended up using chalkboard paint which I purchased from Joann's. The container was not very big, and I used over half of it for this project. I put the chalkboard on the back of my pantry door - our wall is paneled (or looks like it) and the door is the only flat surface I had to work with.

Painting Project ::: Step One

The first coat is going on:

Painting Project

As you can see there is quite a bit of white showing through the black after one coat:

Painting Project

I can't find my photo of the finished project, but as you can see below, the 2nd coat made a big difference! I let it dry for one hour after the 1st coat, and then let it set for about 18 hours after the 2nd coat. By the next morning it was ready to write on.

Painting Project

Yum! Chalk! (Ick.)

Painting Project

And here we are using it for school ... a success!

Painting Project

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Recap

Valentine's ::: New Dress
New dresses for girlies.

Valentine's ::: My gift
My Valentine's goodies from Travis ... cough medicine for me and N2 and Diet Coke (or some facsimile thereof). Absolutely perfect. :)

Valentine's ::: Our goodies
Our goodies that we were giving to friends at church. Easy-peasy.

Valentine's ::: New Favorite Photo
My new, favorite pic. Love these munchkins. :)
My apologies for all the blank posts you might have received. Blogger kept pubishing after I typed the title. Strange!


Saturday, February 14, 2009


Introspection on this Valentine's Saturday. I'm becoming more and more impressed that I need to do some shaking up in my priorites and how I am spending my time. My children are growing too swiftly, right in front of my eyes. How am I using these moments I have with them? Or am I letting them slide so I can get one more thing done on my to-do list, read one more blog, finish one more project that could easily wait until rest-time/bedtime, etc. Am I teaching and training them ... or reading about others' ideas for teaching and training far more often?

Everywhere I look there are posts about keeping it real on blogs ... some do, some (supposedly) don't. I don't know quite where I fall in that. I have purposefully chosen not to share many frustrations on here. One, you never do know who is reading. I would be so grieved if I shared a struggle that wounded another. Two, while I do blog about my munchkins, their privacy is also important. I don't need to air their faults and foibles out here. They are sinners ~ I am a sinner. 'Nuff said. My private journal is the place to wrestle with these things. I once read where someone said her journal was her confessional and her blog was her place to converse:

"Now I realize both of these journals - my log and my blog - serve a purpose; they allow me to create, consider and converse. In my blog I reflect; in my notebook I plan. In my blog I chat with others; in my notebook I chat with myself. My blog is a community; my notebook is my confessional."

Of late, I have been neglecting one in favor of the other. I can tell by my emotions, frustrations, and lack of focus that I need to hunker back down to basics. What that looks like will be in process I'm sure, but this is a start.

Forgive the rambling... Muddy thoughts on a foggy Saturday a.m.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Felicites ::: February 13


Things that make me happy...
  • kleenex
  • hot coffee on cold mornings
  • opening a new box of sidewalk chalk and watching little girls play outside a long, long time
  • anticipating a little mommy-time this afternoon culminating with an evening out with T (thanks, babysitter Jodi & Grandma!)
  • seeing a movie (don't make fun of me ... okay, maybe you can a little, but it looks funny & clean!)
  • a new scrapbook book that is making wheels turn in my head
  • a new journal that has been embellished and is ready to be filled in. (I wasn't quite done with the last one, but it was falling apart, and we can't have that.) :)

Happy Friday. :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Notes ::: Bulleted

  • The weather today is beautiful. Slightly on the chilly side, but when I was sitting outside while the girls played, I actually got pretty hot in the sunshine.
  • I am making a big batch of beans today. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with them, but somehow, they will end up in tonight's dinner. This recipe is a distinct possibility, substituting polish keilbasa for the hamburger meat.
  • My husband completely rearranged the kitchen on Sunday afternoon. Well, not all of it. But a bunch of it. And it looks so much better! This is the before:


And, the after:

February 8, 2009(b)

So much more room and light!

  • I have a cold. Bah. That's all I have to say about that.
  • The girls and I finished our lunchtime read-aloud - Winnie-the-Pooh - yesterday. I'm trying to decide what we should do next. N1 is pushing for another WtP book, but I would like to do something different and then come back to Pooh Bear. Tempted by Little House in the Big Woods, but not sure yet.
  • Working on a little painting project. I may have something to show tomorrow ... we'll see:

Painting Project ::: Step One

  • Yesterday, we didn't do much for Valentine's day love around the house. We had Bible study at church in the morning, and the N's had Awana last night. That makes for a full day. This morning, N1 suggested that we go get donuts this morning, and that sounds like a great idea to me. :) We ended up bringing the donuts home to eat because Mama didn't feel 100%, but we were able to drop a cup of coffee by Daddy's office which is always fun.
  • This photo makes me laugh:

February 11, 2009

She was groovin'.

  • With that, I'm going to finish up some church work and hang with my girls who are now up from their rest time (which was way, way, WAY to short today).
  • Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Shimelle Class

I know I've mentioned the classes that I've taken by Shimelle before. She has a new one that starts next week and it looks very neat! Called Here, There & Everywhere - it's a look at the places you've been and the places that you dream of going. You can follow the link to find out more about it! :)

Bloggy Book Tour ::: Against All Odds

Against All Odds is the debut suspense novel from author Irene Hannon. Terrorists are threatening the daughter of the ambassador to Afghanistan and the ambassador wants his daughter in protective custody NOW. The problem - he and his daughter, Monica, aren't on speaking terms and the last thing she wants to do now is hear what he has to say. Enter the FBI hostage rescue team and Evan Cooper. He finds himself attracted to Monica and intrigued by her faith in God ... neither are part of his game plan which is to do his job well and move on.

I enjoyed this book. The style of story resembles a Dee Henderson novel (think the O'Malley series or her Uncommon Heroes novels). And, I always enjoy a peek into our nation's defensive lines and what the life of an unsung hero might be like. If you enjoy mysteries with a hint of romance, I recommend checking out Against All Odds.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentine's Day 2

I mentioned yesterday that I was going to try and love on my family an extra-special bit every day this week. Since our park trip yesterday didn't work out, I have been trying to come up with a little goody for my girls today. Unfortunately, I have a middle munchkin running a fever and feeling puny in general and N1 has ballet this afternoon. So, the plan will be to pick up a little Sonic drink for the girls on the way to ballet. It will be happy hour (so an inexpensive treat) and they love getting a diet sprite with different flavors mixed into it ... diet cherry sprite is a big hit.

I also want to help them make some little Valentine's for their church friends to hand out on Sunday. I thought I would share a few CUTE valentines that I have seen on Etsy. The cool thing about these valentines is that you print them yourself! I love this idea. No matter if you have one child or twelve ... you purchase the PDF file and can then print as many as you need. All you need is cardstock and some kind of paper cutter. Brilliant, I say. :)

Anyway, here are some cute ones that I've spotted:
  • these daschaund valentine's. She has a cute freebie on her blog in this post - just email her for the PDF file.
  • these little alien valentines. (I admit it. I have a soft-spot for cute little aliens.) :) She also has cats and mice if aliens are not your thing.*
  • adorable octopuses ... octopi?
  • sweet little children with jumpropes and balloons.*
  • not technically for Valentine's but would work in a pinch.*
  • and lastly, one of my favorites - coffee love. I'm hoping to get some of these printed to give to a few girlfriends.*

Hope you enjoy!

PS. The * at the end of the line means that I have purchased from these shops before and have nothing but good things to say about them. :)

Children's Classics ::: A.A. Milne


The timing of this week's Children's Classics post is perfect for us ... you see, we are about one chapter away from finishing our first A.A. Milne book! We've been working our way through Winnie-the-Pooh during our lunchtime read-aloud.

I had never read the original Winnie-the-Pooh. We have read a few versions of the classic tale (and several Disney storybooks with the modern Pooh illustrations) but, having now read the original, they don't even compare. The original story is so clever and very, very funny. To me, it's like those old episodes of The Muppet Show. The humor is definitely geared towards a small child - a bear and small pig in a forest having adventures - however, the subtle humor will make it very enjoyable for an adult.

My favorite chapter in Winnie the Pooh is the one where Rabbit, Pooh and Piglet set about to kidnap Roo. Kanga and Roo have been introduced to the forest and the threesome are not sure about these new neighbors. They liked things the way they were, thankyouverymuch, and decide that if they kidnap Roo, then Kanga might leave. There was just one other thing: when Piglet was taking to Christopher Robin, he learned that a Kanga was "Generally Regarded as One of the Fiercer Animals." Piglet, in his timidity, went on to say that, of course,

"I am not frightened of Fierce Animals in the ordinary way, but it is well known that, if One of the Fiercer Animals is Deprived of Its Young, it becomes as fierce as Two of the Fiercer Animals. In which case 'Aha!' is perhaps a foolish thing to say."

For more reviews and thoughts on the writing of A.A. Milne head over to Five Minutes for Books. I definitely recommend this book - especially as a read-aloud - for your children. My girls are five, three and 21 months. The five year old follows along with the story quite well; the three year old has a little more trouble, but the fact that she is familiar with the characters from other books and a few videos has definitely helped.

Monday, February 09, 2009


Do you do anything for Valentine's Day? It's still a "holiday" (and I use that word very loosely) that I'm finding my way on. Having not dated until I met my husband, it is safe to say that Valentine's was not a bright spot on my radar. Most V-days were spent in denial of the day or heading out to a dinner and movie with girlfriends so that we didn't spend the evening alone.

While I will agree with almost anyone that Valentine's has been blown way out of proportion by Hallmark and American Greetings, I love having a special day of love to celebrate with my husband AND my girls. Not that my girls (or my husband) don't know that I love them, but a fun day of little "love" treats on a day not their birthday can be a bright spot in the middle of cold, gray days.

I've been trying to think of things that I can do for at least one family member each day. This morning my girls helped me pack their Daddy's lunch for work and we had fun planting a little surprise in Daddy's lunchbox.

Mr. Incredible

I'm hoping to send something in T's lunch every day this week and come up with a few treats for the girls as well - today we had a spontaneous picnic at the park. Unfortunately that backfired on us with a disastrous diaper incident so I'm working on a plan B. :)

Any plans in your neck of the woods for this week?

National Handwriting Day Winner!

The winner of my little National Handwriting Day giveaway ... congrats Stephanie. :)

I hope you all enjoyed writing a little note to someone over the last few weeks. I've already made on note for my calendar for next year to do something fun on the blog to celebrate this annual event. :)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Friday Felicities ::: February 6


Things that make me happy....
  • rest time :)
  • lighting a candle and letting the N's (with supervision!) blow out the match
  • visiting with friends over dinner
  • the anticipation of watching Toy Story 2 (or the Buzz 2 movie as N1 calls it) tonight
  • sunshine and spring like temperatures today
  • curling up on the couch with a book while munchkins rest
  • inspiration and encouragement from all around me ... I just need to be watching for it

For more Felicities, head over to Becky's.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Amy at Hope is in the Word tagged me for a fun book meme and I'm happy to play along - thanks for the tag, Amy! :)

Tell me about the book that’s been on your shelves the longest. . .

The book that I've had the longest (though not specifically this copy) is The Happy Giraffe. This was a children's book that my mom had growing up ... one year for Christmas my Dad went on an ebay hunt and bought a copy of the book for me and my sister. I've enjoyed reading it to my girls, even though I can't leave the copy down low for them to look at by themselves. It's pretty fragile!

Tell me about a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (i.e. a person, a place, a time, etc.). . .

Can I mention an author instead? Agatha Christie was my go-to-gal for the last few years of highschool and the beginning of college. I had finally completed my collection of all the Nancy Drew books (in hardback) and was ready to move on the the next level of mysteries. My Dad bought me a 4-in-1 volume of Agatha Christie and Sam's Club and the rest is history.

Tell me about the most recent addition to your shelves. . .

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke. :) I thoroughly enjoyed Inkheart and kept hoping that Inkspell would pop up on so I could read that one. (And we won't talk about how long the waiting list at the library was for the book, now that the movie for the first book has come out!) I spotted it last week at Sam's for $6 and took the plunge.

Tell me about a book that has been with you the most places. . .

Probably my Bible, in some form or another. For the past five years, I've used the KeyWord Study Bible and love it though it is showing serious wear and tear.

Tell me about a bonus book that doesn’t fit any of the above questions. . .

I couldn't think of just one so instead I took pictures of our bookshelves. For our tiny two-bedroom home, we have a lot. Both Travis and I love books, and while I'm constantly trying to clean them off to make a little more room, they stay pretty stuffed. :) What can I say ... we're book people! You can click the picture below to see more bookshelf pics in Flickr (I've added a few notes here and there for fun). :)


Ladies, should you choose to accept this challenge, these are the rules:
1. Tag 3-5 people, so the fun keeps going!
2. Leave a comment at the original post at A Striped Armchair, so that Eva can collect everyone’s answers.
3. If you leave a comment and link back to Eva as the meme’s creator, she will enter you in a book giveaway contest! She has a whole shelf devoted to giveaway books that you’ll be able to choose from, or a bookmooch point if you prefer.
4. Remember that this is all about enjoying books as physical objects, so feel free to describe the exact book you’re talking about, down to that warping from being dropped in the bath water…
5. Make the meme more fun with visuals! Covers of the specific edition you’re talking about, photos of your bookshelves, etc.

I'm tagging Dana, Pattie, Leann, and Cheryl!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Oh Joy ... Where are You?

Funny how when you say your going to work on something, you find yourself at odds with it at every turn. Still plugging along with choosing joy over here ... trying to figure out what that looks like in the life of a believer and more specifically, in my life. However, in the last week, I have felt under the pile. One of our sweetest members of our church had heart surgery last week and had unexpected struggles to regain consciousness. Another sweet family lost a father/grandfather. One of my best friends from college flew to be with her family as her mother passed away after a very brief struggle with cancer. And yet another precious girl (recently married) shared some hard, hard struggles in her marriage and I am aching for her.


And yet, in the midst of life, we are promised joy. That His joy will be our strength. To me that's one of those things that I get the faintest glimmer of when I squint my eyes up really tight and stare at one spot for a long time ... but any movement and I lose my focus on what that really means. (Does that make sense?) :)

The women's study that I attend has started a year long walk through the book of Isaiah. Heady stuff, my friends. I have been plugging along, slowly and steadily, and in my lesson this week I learned something ... one of the themes of Isaiah is JOY. While much of the book is Isaiah's prophecy of the coming judgment of Judah and the nation of Israel, he also promises them a coming Messiah and, oh, the joy of that thought!

The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
You shall multiply the nation,
You shall increase their gladness;
They will be glad in Your presence
As with the gladness of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
Isaiah 9.2-3

The Bible Knowledge Commentary points out that "the light will increase their joy like the joy at harvesttime or the joy of winning a battle and dividing the plunder. 'Joy' is another emphasis of Isaiah’s, mentioned more than two dozen times in the book. This will be a supernatural work of God much like the nation’s deliverance when Gideon defeated Midian. It will be like taking a burden off one’s back."

Did you see what I see? It is a supernatural work of God. What if this theme or goal that I've chosen is nothing that *I* can attain, but only by striving onward toward Christ (like a soldier following his general to battle) can I find His joy? He will increase their gladness ... not them. It's not something that I can conjure from within myself. It is borne out of a life cultivated by Christ. One that is actively striving after Him, pursing Him, reading of Him, talking to Him. Then HE will provide and sustain me with joy.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Bloggy Book Review ::: What's Age Got To Do With It?

I received a copy of What's Age Got To Do With It? by Robin McGraw from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I must admit: I may be the only person in the United States that has never watched an episode of the Dr. Phil show or Oprah. My knowledge of Dr. Phil is based on his guest appearance on Sesame Street with Dr. Feel. That said, I know even less about his wife, Robin.

I have to say that although this type of book is not something that I normally pick up, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Robin is a passionate advocate of women's health and well-being and she encourages women to become an informed and proactive caretaker of their body. Too often, wives and mothers use so much of their energy into caring for their husband and children, that they neglect to care for themselves. I know I fall guilty of this. My girls' annual well-checks are diligently scheduled on the calendar, as are the required dental checkups, yet mine somehow manage to slip through the crack until they are well-overdue.

In this book she discusses eight facets of her life that she has focused on and made herself aware: fitness, nutrition, skin care, hormones (i.e., perimenopause & menopause), makeup, hair, fashion, and faith. She is encouraging and realistic when she speaks to her readers - don't try and change everything at once. Pick an area that you want to work on and get to work. For example, if you are interested in improving nutrition in your life she encourages you to become your own "health detective" - write down what you are eating and how it makes you feel. If you see patterns, you may want to exclude certain foods from your diet. If you want to improve your skin care, make sure you are getting enough sleep and drink enough water.

Because she is the wife of a Hollywood celebrity (and probably has WAY more discretionary income that most of my humble blog readers) there is the occasional mention of the $150 spa treatment that did wonders for XYZ, but with almost every topic, she also offers simple over-the-counter and home remedies that can also work within any budget. I appreciated that.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention her last chapter on faith - I believe this quote sums up why she is passionate about this topic:

I truly belive that God has a plan for each and every one of us. And I believe that we should honor that plan. In fact, this belief is one reason why I think that I am so accepting of my age. I know that each year, each day, and each moment is a gift from God. I honor the path in my life that God has put me on and know that it is a privilege to be alive and to wake up and have another day with my husband and children.

She is honest and open about her faith ... hopefully the woman that randomly picks up this book at Target or Barnes and Noble will look past the facial remedies and fashion tips (while good) and see that that only way to truly be content with the body and life that one has is through Jesus Christ.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook ::: February 2

Outside my Window ... Drizzly and rainy. Supposedly there will be snow later today and tomorrow, but I'm not holding my breath. Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous. We even broke out a few spring-like dresses for little girls for a change.

I am thinking
... on 1 Peter 1.6-7. I'm adding some scripture memory to my days, joining in on Joanne's Memory Monday. I was actually wanted to memorize v. 8-9 of chapter 1, but when I realized the sentence didn't start there, I had to go back a few verses. :)

I am thankful for
... Sunshine in the midst of a cold day. Lotion for rough and dry hands that wash lots and lots of dishes. A little bit more space in my closet after some much needed purging.

In the learning room
... a little this and that. No themes happening right now. We're just working through our books as we have time and interest. (That will change when kindergarten begins in earnest this fall). Lots and lots of make-believe has been happening here lately, along with some life-skills of sharing and taking turns. Sometimes that is more important.

From the kitchen
... this week's menu:

: Upside Down Pizza, salad
Tuesday: leftovers
Wednesday: Quesadillas (cheese for the girls; chicken and spinach for the adults)
Thursday: Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
Friday: pizza night
Saturday: probably more leftovers :) I'm planning two big meals on Monday and Thursday because I'm making dinner for a friend with a new baby (tonight) and we're going to possibly have some company for dinner on Thursday. Either way, there will be PLENTY of leftovers this week.

I am creating
... updating pages in my 365 album. I need to catch up the journaling on a few days, but otherwise, I'm staying on track. Made several cards yesterday and they have actually already been written in and placed in the mailbox. Yea! (Have you written and mailed a note to someone this month? If so, leave a comment on this post celebrating National Handwriting Day for a chance at some notecards). :) Also have a painting project that I'm mulling over, once I get over my fear of painting on the wall ... not my strong suit at all!

I am going
... to take a meal to a friend today who recently had a bouncing baby boy. I am eager to meet the little man.

I am wearing
... black yoga-ish pants and a long sleeved gray and pink t-shirts. I should have socks on - my feet are cold.

I am reading
... Inkspell by Cornelia Funke. Living Simply by Joanne Heim.

I am hoping ... for good news and needed improvement for a freind this week that is in the hospital.

I am hearing
... silence. It is rest time. :)

Around the house
... it looks like something exploded under our dining table so that was dealt with first thing. :) Also, it's laundry day and I try to get 3-4 loads done on Monday. Makes the rest of the week's laundry much easier if I can get a jump start on our stay-at-home-day.

One of my favorite things
... Sharpie pens.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ...
very little is organized. I have a tiny munchkin that is running a fever today and that may mean we stay close to home. Thankfully, we haven't had any colds or flu this winter and I'd like to keep this little bug confined to the one child. :)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you ...

January 27, 2009

My picture of the day from last Tuesday. Parent observation day in N1's ballet class - 15+ little girls in tap shoes. Ei-yi-yi!

Do visit Peggy's to see all the other daybook posts this week!