Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reading in January

With Beloved Builder's help, I typed up a hefty reading list for 2012.  After reading A Thomas Jefferson Education last fall, my desire to read to learn became hard to satisfy, what with reading to kids, making meals, driving to classes.  But I'm carving out the time because I now understand that my own education and growth is also very important, as an example to my kids, as a person and it is just plain enjoyable.

This month I have read:

Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman.
I read this story on my iTouch via the Kindle app as we travelled home from visiting my Kansas family over New Year's week.  It is the story of Mary Beth's journey to hope, after the tragic death of her little Maria.  My heart grieved as the story unfolded, such heartache this family, and others, have been given to carry.  At the same time I was very encouraged by Mary Beth's REALness.  She shared so openly about her struggles with anger, pain, and depression and the faith that keeps her moving forward.  An encouraging book.

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp
This is a book that will be on my mind for a long time.  There is so much to think and act on that my heart and head are full.  Again, I was surprised by and encouraged as Ann shared so openly about her own struggles.  We really are not alone in these dark places we find ourselves.  So many of us have different circumstances, but the same struggles.  Eucharisteo has become a song in my mind, as I am learning to look deeply for the gift in the daily grind, in the desperate pain I see all around and in the sweet moments that abound in each day.  Joy is increasing as I search out the gifts the Father has lavished right here, where I am.

Money Saving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine.  While much of what Crystal Paine has to say in this book is material on her blog or in other resources I've read, there are some points she expands on that really build upon basics that I know or am learning.  The chapter on time management has me looking at my own schedules and habits more closely with the intent to redeem more of my 24 hours per day for productivity, relationships and eternal focus.  The charts in the back of the book are great tools, to use as they are printed, or to springboard from. 

This book is one that I plan to have my daughters read.  Crystal is a young woman who is a homemaker and a business woman, with a far reaching platform.  She is also a woman who recognizes what she has been given, and offers it back to the Lord.  It brings me great joy to be able to introduce my daughters to women who are living in faith, wisdom and fear of the Lord. 

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
What a fabulous time we had reading The Hobbit in January as our family read aloud.  My precious, those sweet people who share life with me, have made reading a great story together the best of time!  During the month we enjoyed quoting poor Bilbo, discussing our favorite dwarves and playing the riddle game with our Karate instructor

The movie is scheduled to be released in December, so we may have to read the book again next fall.


Driving kids to here and there, actually the driving after we've reached their drop off point, or before they's hopped back in the van, is a time I've decided to fill with Audiobooks.  We have a rather large collection of audiobooks on cd, and downloads on the computer that I chose from.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
One of my great enjoyments in recent months is the discovery of classic literature.  This was indeed a swashbuckling tale that I enjoyed during the hours of driving to and from ballet & piano classes.  This story has enriched several conversations with my family and I look forward to spending time with more classics on my own, and with the kids!

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
This recording by Ancient Faith Radio, has been delightful.  It is one of my goals this year to listen to all of The Chronicles of Narnia and I am excited about these recordings by Dr. Chrissi Hart.  The Chronicles of Narnia are available as podcast for free download from Ancient Faith Radio. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Imagination and Creativity ~ this moment

For Chica's 9th birthday in December we (mom, dad & sisters) gave her a dollhouse, the dollhouse of my dreams!  It was a big project, so here we are a little over a month since the birthday and still putting on some finishing touches.

But the Doll family has moved in.  To celebrate, Chica served up a lovely turkey meal.
made with Sculpey by Chica's loving hands

I don't have the lighting quite right, but you can see the beautiful Doll family, made by Chica.  She's been making these dolls for 3 or 4 years, and we're so glad they have a home now.

When we had shared a little about the search for a doll family,  Chica told us, "I just couldn't tell the Doll family they would have to move out. They are my doll family."  The search is over, we have found the perfect dolls.

linking up with SouleMama, and Amy Finer Things.

Monday, January 23, 2012

darkness & gloom will become like the midday light

whenever man is made the centre of things, he becomes the storm-centre of trouble.  The moment you think of serving people, you begin to have a notion that other people owe you something for your pains...You will begin to bargain for reward, to angle for applause.

I read these words and hear a hearty agreement rise up in me.  A recognition of the doing for appreciation as the Author of joy has shed more light on this dark heart of mine.

The words of Isaiah are printed on the page in front of me and I hear Him

And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday.  And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.  Isaiah 58:10, 11

do it for Him, through Him.  He guides, satisfies, gives the strength and will make me a spring of living water that does not fail to pour out LIFE.

Each day is filled with the many graces, gifts of a loving FATHER.  And each day is full of the grace to offer all gifts back to Him through through the pen and voice and through the serving of others.

These past few weeks I have been sharing some of that which I have read in Ann's book,  One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I encourage you to check it out, see if the words touch your heart as they have mine.
still counting #700-715
pink sky through the tree branches
spelling board is hung
doves nest making
reorganized book shelves
the Father does not leave us in our sin
and He reminds me, I am one of His favorites
cold air on my face

Learning to open my hand to the gift, even in the hard moments.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Deal Alert! American Girl Crafts

Yesterday Chica and I found these kits clearanced at Michaels for $5.99, down from 29.99!  The Powers Blvd & the N Academy Blvd Michaels had them for this price.  I hope this helps you grab some inexpensive kits in your area too!

Monday, January 16, 2012

remembering...and imagining

This gratitude journey is growing, and showing up in places all around me.  It is contagious and I see it passing from one person to the next within the walls of my home, and at the dojo and across the miles.  It makes me more thankful, feeling that though I am small and frail and stumbling along, I can be a part of this magnificent happening.

Recently as we were winding down for the night I read this post by Katie Davis of Amazima. and my family gathers around, wanting to know what it is that has caught my breath. 

"Remember,” she mumbles sleepily, “I just want to remember. Some people don’t have a bed, mom. I didn’t have a bed, mom. God gave me a bed. And I wanted to remember what it was like to not have one.”

My heart wept, remembering, that I have always had a bed.  And I have complained about my bed. Have I ever even said thanks for a bed?  But I have offered up complaints that it is too soft, or too big.  And I only have slept on the floor or cold earth in fun.  Honestly I can't even imagine not having a bed.

We had the sweetest of prayer times that night, as each one of us could only think of the things for which we are thankful, around and around the prayer circle.

May we continue have our eyes opened, our senses awakened to the bountiful graces that surround us on every side, in every place.

   A warm cozy bed
   perfect pillows
   his warm feet snuggling my cold feet
     Pink mountain in the morning
    Sweet words of affection in the morning

Friday, January 13, 2012

{this moment}

A sampling of our evening activities as we wind down from the busy fullness of the day and enjoy simple, finer things, gathered together, with a little independent creating and delighting in a little music and an excellent story.

{this moment} - A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Visit SouleMama if you'd like to join us or see more moments.

also linking in with

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Purex UltraPacks Laundry Detergent, Product Review

This month we have recieved another new product from Purex, the Purex UltraPacks Laundry Detergent to try out.

You can view the UltraPacks Fact Sheet here.

The Purex UltraPacks bricks are very easy to use, simply take one from the pouch, and toss into the washing machine.  Then load the clothes, and press the button.
  While I didn't find any noticable difference in the cleansing power of this products, I did enjoy the ease of tossing in an UltraPack brick and not having the mess of liquid laundry detergent. 

I can definitely see this product being a helpful tool when teaching children to do their own laundry.  The laundry detergent being contained in the brick bubble makes it easy to get just the right amount, and no sloshing or dripping.

We were sent the Mountain Breeze scented variety.  While I always prefer the Free and Clear products, our family has enjoyed the light and pleasing Mountain Breeze scent.

One of the sweet perks of blogging is the opportunity to sample new products in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Counting Again...

This act of sacrificing thank offerings to God -    - this prepares the way for God to show us His fullest salvation from bitter, angry, resentful lives and from all sin that estranges us from Him.  At the Eucharist, Christ breaks His heart to heal ours - Christ, the complete accomplishment of our salvation.  And the miracle of eucharisteo never ends:  thanksgiving is what precedes the miracle of that salvation being fully worked out in our lives.  Thankgiving - giving thanks in everything - is what prepares the way for salvation's whole restoration.
~ Ann Voskamp, one thousand gifts, a word to live...and die by

I started this book a year ago, and put it aside.  Other thoughts pressed in, life changes happened.  But  the book made it's way into my hands again, and the oxygen of gratitude that the LORD breathes into my soul lungs continues on.  As I desire to leave a heritage of bitterness in the past, and to pursue my FATHER with a wholehearted love, the counting begins again, on the computer, in words, in photographs, on an electronic device, on a white board in the dining room, on a family calendar.  We will offer the sacrifice of thanks throughout our days, whether in or out and wait expectantly for the whole restoration.

  • gifts as we start a new year #660-672
  • Creative nieces, reflecting their creative Maker
  •  A pile of sisters, cousins asleep in the back bedroom
  • My husband and my dad, dreaming of spring time adventures
  • Long hair flying
  • Late night forgiveness, grace, unconditional love between a grandfather and a struggling boy
  • Candy affirmations, hunt for the beautiful, cheery, uniquely presented kind for the precious rhombus peg among all these round pegs
  • Grief washed by understanding.  The cycle of dementia is being repeated, but this time it is different.  This time it is washed and carried by grace.
  • Girls with New Year sparklers
  • Girls and Boys and Men with New Year firecrackers, loud and bright

  • Puzzles at both houses to slow us down as we connect pieces and people
  •  Filling a pew, worshiping together
  • Pink mountain in the morning

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 Goals ~ Reading List

This year it is one of my goals to work hard at reading more, on my own and with my family.  To keep me inspired I am joining Book Chick City in her 100 books in a year challenge.  It is a big BIG challenge in this season of life, but it will be fun to see how far I can get.

With Builder's encouragement I have put together a basic reading list for 2012. We've worked on several goal catagories and I am excited.  Here's what I plan to read or listen to this year:

Books to Read
7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey
One Bit at a Time Tsh Oxenreider 
Age of Opportunity Paul David Tripp
Eternity in their Hearts Don Richardson
Men of Valor!  Women of Virtue Bishop Richard G. Fenner
The Screwtape Letters CS Lewis
Abigail Adams Phyllis Lee Levin
The Last of the Mohicans Cooper
Civil Disobedience and Other Essays Henry David Thoreau
Sense & Sensibility Jane Austin
Changed into His Likeness Watchman Nee
Cast of Characters Max Lucado
Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment Jeremiah Burroughs
The Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane
The Student Whisperer Oliver DeMille
A Life that Says Welcome Karen Ehman
Facing the Facts Stan & Brenna Jones
Visual Spatial Learners Alexandra Shires Golon
A Landscape with Dragons Michael O'Brien
The Cambridge Seven John Pollock
Raising Kids for True Greatness Dr Tim Kimmel
Seasons of a Mother's Heart Sally Clarkson
Sacred Marriage Gary Thomas
Dancing with my Father Sally Clarkson
The Hidden Value of a Man Smalley & Trent
The God of All Comfort Dee Brestin
Sailing Alone Around the World Captain Joshua Slocum
One Thousand Gifts Ann Voskamp
Money Saving Mom's Budget Crystal Paine
Choosing to See Mary Beth Chapman
Audio Books
Treasure IslandRobert Lewis Stevenson
The Lion, the Witch, The WardrobeC.S. Lewis
Martin Luther "In His Own Words"
Forgotten God by ChanFrancis Chan
The Horse and His BoyC.S. Lewis
Jesus, the Only Way to God John Piper
The Pursuit of God  A.W. Tozer
Made to Crave
A Place of Healing Joni Erickson Tada
Prince CaspianC.S. Lewis
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader C.S. Lewis
The Silver Chair C.S. Lewis
The Last Battle C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ringing in the New Year with Family

Builder blessed us with a trip to my hometown after Christmas.  We were able to stay at my dad's new house, which is only a few blocks or around the lake, from my sister's home.

My wonderful brother in law and my sweet little sister
My mom, my sister and me with some of our daughters

Totally fun girls day out courtesy of our dad/grandpa

My Granny Grace

Celebrating my dad's 65th birthday
The fun was non stop.  The visits with grandparents, cousins and aunts/uncles was refreshing and encouraging.  This was a really great way to ring in the new year.  So many things to be thankful for as we start 2012.