Tuesday, February 21, 2012


 "In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength."

These words from Isaiah 30:15 as rendered in the NIV are ones which often come back to me at times. In other versions of the Bible, "repentance" is sometimes given as "returning."

To turn again to God. To come back from the places strayed and again experience the welcoming light of the Lord.

Tomorrow marks the start of a returning off sorts for me...the returning to life with out blogging (and a few other things). For Lent, I'm giving it up. To relearn what it is to experience life without thinking, "oh, that would make a great blog post," and to rediscover my identity apart from online life. My identity in Christ. The One who I will remember gave His life for me, for us all, 40-some days from now.

It's an opportunity to gain some perspective - God's perspective - on how blogging has positively and negatively impacted my life. To see any areas where idols have popped up - ones that are hard to recognize when you are in the midst of a situation. And I'm hoping it will help me to hear Him more clearly on what He would like me to write about.

So...if you often stop here for a visit, I wanted invite you to do something from now through Easter. Would you consider replacing the 5 minutes or so you usually save for reading what you find here and take that time with God? Sit in silence with Him. Be quiet before Him. Rest in Him. And feel Him restoring your strength and your peace.

And I hope to meet you back here in April.

Friday, February 17, 2012

the stuff(iness) of life

Discovery of the week #1: A cold + many nights of interrupted sleep = lack of inspiration

Discovery of the week #2: Losing your sense of smell due to a stuffy nose can be a blessing...when changing diapers, chopping onions and I'm sure at many other times when I was oblivious to unpleasant odors. It also made me appreciate regaining my olfactory capabilities all the more...I never thought I would be excited to actually be able to detect by smell when a diaper needed changing. ;)

And two other random thoughts, because maybe the only way to unblock writers block is just...to write.

Ben has taken to asking "what?" multiple times when spoken too - as though asking for the information to be repeated because he hasn't heard correctly the first time. Except it comes out as "whawp? whawp?"

The other night Reese came downstairs and announced he wouldn't be able to go to school the next day because he took his temperature and it said "F"...for "flu."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

3 gifts on thursday

A little later in the day than usual, but here it is. :)

For previous 3 Gifts installments, click here. If you would like to have a "gift" featured in this series, please see the bottom of this post for details.

1. the gift of giving your brain a break
I always thought multi-tasking was a good thing - a skill to be honed, and, as a mom, necessary for survival. But then I heard a quip on the John Tesh radio show last week about the negative effects of multi-tasking on the brain and found this NY Times article on the subject from a couple of years ago. Having been in hyper-multi-task mode for the past two years and finally reaching burnout, I believe the truth of these articles. Counter-cultural though it may be, it is a gift to slow down and focus on only one thing at a time.

2. the gift of great audio stories
One of the radio stations we tune into hosts a Saturday morning children's program featuring audio stories. I love this lower-tech approach for entertainment - the stories are well done and I think it teaches our children to listen carefully and use their imaginations to picture the action and characters. Lamplighter Theater is one of the segments (you can listen to free audio clips here - find it in the middle of the page). Adventures in Odyssey is another feature and you can listen to past shows in the right column of their main page.

3. the gift of a Dayspring giveaway
My friend Courtney is hosting a Dayspring giveaway on her blog through Sunday. Visit here to enter.

If you have a "gift" you'd like me to consider wrapping into a 3 Gifts on Thursday package, please email me the details. It can be anything you are hosting or have heard about: from a giveaways to service projects, household/parenting tips, resources, promotions/coupon codes, items such as books, music, movies, etc (ones available for purchase online). If I choose to incorporate your gift suggestion into a 3 Gifts post, I will email you to let you know when it will be featured.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

banded in love

Yesterday, my parents embarked on another mission trip to the Dominican Republic toting these with them:

Twenty-eight reversible headbands to hand to girls in the community where the mission team is working to build a kitchen for the Lighthouse Community School. Each headband represents a purchase from my shop and this is my thank you to you who have done so. :)

And, if you want to try some Dominican-style cooking, here's a casserole recipe my mom brought back with her...it's one of our favorites.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

3 gifts on thursday: sweet strawberry love

 Ever notice how strawberries emulate the shape of heart? Which makes them a LOVEly thing to give, and eat, on Valentine's Day.

For previous 3 Gifts installments, click here. If you would like to have a "gift" featured in this series, please see the bottom of this post for details.

1. the gift of muffins
Whether for breakfast, a snack or paired with a warm drink (tea for me!), muffins put the comforts of home in the palm of your hand. We've been eating a lot of Morning Glories lately, but I came across this recipe for Meyer Lemon Strawberry Muffins which may greet the kids at breakfast on Valentine's Day.
picture source: my baking addiction

2. the gift of hidden treasure
I discovered Radical Culinary on etsy last week when I saw this yummy item favorited by someone in my circle:
Hidden Treasure Strawberry Cupcake from Radical Culinary

While the strawberry-in-cupcake would be a delightful treasure, reading Sam & Carey Walker's profile and see the other yummy treats they cook up is equally a pearl.

3. the gift of fruit like candy
Instead of giving more candy and sugar...how about something just as sweet but so much healthier...freeze-dried strawberries (organic is best)? Here are a couple of links to online sources of organic freeze-dried strawberries: North Bay Trading  &  Just Tomatoes. Trader Joe's also carries packets if you have a store near you. (though I can't remember if they are organic)

If you have a "gift" you'd like me to consider wrapping into a 3 Gifts on Thursday package, please email me the details. It can be anything you are hosting or have heard about: from a giveaways to service projects, household/parenting tips, resources, promotions/coupon codes, items such as books, music, movies, etc (ones available for purchase online). If I choose to incorporate your gift suggestion into a 3 Gifts post, I will email you to let you know when it will be featured.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

valentine's day: "cards" for school friends

I'm always faced with a dilemma around every card-giving season - do I spend money on something that most likely will be tossed in the very near future or do I find another way to express the sentiments fitting for the occasion? The alternative way most often wins out. Probably because I tend to toss most cards rather than keep them. Though I'm trying to find ways to amend that. But images of our children sifting through mountains of paper after we've dearly departed and wondering, "Why did she keep that?" float through my head.

Knowing Reese's class would be passing out Valentine's next week again posed this dilemma: Do I buy the box of Valentine's for him to sign or do I think of something more useful, practical and less wasteful of paper? The practical side again won out and here's the result of my brainstorm:

Because, who doesn't love new crayons? (or in this case, just one.)

Here's what you do:
1. Buy some crayons (one for each of your child's friends)

2. Download this page from my scribd account and print it out. There are 16 tags on one page. If you're really frugal and eco-conscious, conceivably, you could print this on the blank side of a pre-used page. Just make sure it's wrinkle free and free of sensitive information. (Note: for some reason, the font looks different on the scribd screen than in the original PDF. When I downloaded it from Scribd, however, the text appeared the same as my original copy.)

3. Cut out the tags. I used a paper cutter, but scissors work too.

4. Using a glue stick, apply glue down the length of the blank side of the tag. I had Reese do some, but in the interest of glue conservation, did most of this myself. ;)

5. Bring the ends of the tag together, aligning them and then press to seal the paper. Be sure to leave a loop opening big enough for the crayon to go through. Depending on your child's age, they may be able to do this part themselves. I needed to help Reese.

6. Have your child select a crayon (Reese loved this part!) and insert it into the loop. Then press to seal.

7. Once the glue dries, your child can sign their name on after the "xo" portion of the tag.

And here's what it looks like on each side:

sharing with:

Monday, February 6, 2012

the saving and the sacrifice

Back in December I began dream-praying about a family tradition for Lent because it finally struck me that we were without one.

Easter for me has always held greater significance than Christmas. And by always, I mean when I began believing Jesus was more than just some guy who did something that people seemed to like. I love the Easter season because it's not filled with the hoopla which accompanies our remembrance of His birth. I love the quietness and contemplation and the wild joy of again celebrating the day when life conquered death.

I began by thinking what I loved about our Jesse Tree tradition - the daily readings, candies from a tree, eating by candlelight, the kids looking forward to this event each year - and I re-imagined what it might look like for Easter.

And what took shape was this:
picture source

A devotion for each day of Lent and a special section for Holy Week. One which looks at God's saving stories and His stories of establishing in the "old" what would and will be shadows of the "new." It's a devotion meant for all ages - one meaty enough for an adult but with the ability to be scaled back for young children without losing meaning and significance.

And instead of daily candies, there are seeds or coins. The seeds idea planted by Ann Voskamp's Advent tradition and the coins imparted by the rector of our church.

If you would like a copy of "The Saving & the Sacrifice," please email me and I will gladly send you a PDF file of it. Lent begins February 22...

Linking with:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

100th day...now

This week the kids reach their 100th day of school. Dave though that went by fast. ;)

And through these weeks, I continue to count the gifts of knowing this is where God would have them, in spite of my feelings and fears. The gifts of:
  • Brianna and Reese consistently saying they had a good day at school
  • giving them the choice whether or not they want to do their homework/study we strongly suggest it, but they get to make the choice - something I could never have done while homeschool, tempting though the thought
  • their teachers choosing that profession - especially when that profession means they must bravely enter a classroom of coughing, sneezing, runny-nosed children
  • crossing guards who look out for other people's safety
  • the bookends of walking to school most days in spite of the struggles to do so
  • resting in the framework the school routine provides - a framework not of my creating
This isn't to say I may enter into serious doubts about this choice when we face difficult challenges which may come with a public school system, which is why I must record this now. The trusting that God spoke clearly in want them here, now. Maybe not forever, but for now, yes.

And here's the way I helped Reese mark this 100th day of school:

I gave him some suggestions and this Lego theme is what he chose. Lego seems to be a theme lately. I provided the art direction, but he gathered the Lego, set up the men, helped take the pictures and had to check and recheck our count was correct. (We cut and pasted the pictures into Publisher after Pickniking them and printed this on a standard letter-sized paper - the back of a school paper, in fact. I love recycling.)

Friday, February 3, 2012

SweetHeart Love on a String Tutorial

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a writer of Sustainablog to do a tutorial for Valentine's Day. As God would have it ;) I had just put a little something together as an extra gift for customers at my shop in mid-January to mid-February featuring upcycled fabric scraps.

I hope you will join me over here, for the tutorial.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

3 gifts on Thursday...

...will be back next week. I'm working on a devotion for Lent (which I'll share about in the next week) and need a little extra time to polish it off. In the meantime, you can click this link to see previous 3 Gifts posts.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

today (photo journal)

It's been an uncommonly warm winter and though I love the snow, I've also enjoyed the reprieve from the long weeks of teetering between rainy slush and the take-your-breath-away cold. (Side note: it boggled my mind yesterday to learn that there was an almost 100 degree F difference between here and Fairbanks, Alaska. Their thermometer read -49 degree F! Yes...minus 49)

It was a day inviting walks to be taken and sun to be soaked up. And so we did, the two young ones and I...

stairway to heaven?

a mini-Gandolf?
and Ben doesn't look so sure about this doorway