Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 20 - Gratitude

Eight years ago today, our first baby was born! Happy Birthday Elena girl! My thankful thoughts today were often centered around her precious life. She is indeed "fearfully and wonderfully made" as the heart pendant we gave her reads from Psalm 139.

1. The Barbie house was a big hit: "Cool! Awesome! This is the best birthday ever!"

2. Birthday portraits for all three were more than marginally successful...AND I didn't get all sweaty trying to decide what to order. (Usually a moment of sheer torture for me!)

3. Our whole family laughing together over dinner...genuine twinkles in the eyes.

4. My life is hid with Christ on high!

5. Eight years of adventure with Elena in our life!

At nine days old:

Today, turning 8!

Day 19 - Gratitude

Five things that I can thank Jesus for today...

1. Brenner Mills! Congratulations to our friends Aaron & Jen on their 3rd precious baby born this week. Your cup is overflowing and it is good!

2. 80's Night at Awana's

3. Our chore chart (copied from Confessions of a Homeschooler). It rocks!

4. Brown sugar-cinnamon scones. Homemade with whole grain. Mmmmm....

5. The fun and anticipation getting ready for Elena's birthday brings! (She is going to flip out when she sees her new Barbie house!)

Blessings to you one and all today!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 18 - Gratitude

Hi! I got my Lent calendar figured out and am switching to a forward countdown instead of backwards...just to make everything clear as mud! Today is the 18th day of Lent, the 46 days before Easter, less the Sundays making it a total of 40 days...the Sundays don't disappear though so don't worry about buying new calendars. If we all want to understand how the church keeps track of all this I suppose we can use google as well as the next guy.

So. Gratitude. Today. Ah, today there was much to be thankful for!

1. The shots that kept me from feeling (mostly) my dentist drill out the huge cavity that formed under an old filling...and the fun it was to try and drink from a straw afterward.

2. Two sit downs with dear friends...Maria for lunch and Kathy & Amy for book discussion, PLUS running into Tisha at Target and seeing Joy & Marcola when dropping off/picking up kids. Friends are such a delight in my life!

3. I found the portrait gift certificate!!! Two days before it expires and already had an appointment set up for the very last day. (It was in a usually untouched school folder of our resident ferret (aka Kai). Why in the world he would take it...oh, it just dawned on me that he probably thought it was "money" as it was all official looking and printed on photo paper. I haven't picked up that folder for maybe 3-4 months...totally a praise to Jesus for $50 back in our pockets.) I guess we'll always have a visual reminder of Kai's black eye and Zane's scratch on his nose!

4. I'm grateful that the credit card company noticed our info had been stolen before they charged us for the $2000 cash withdrawal (how do you do THAT online?), $563 from Avon, $800 at WalMart and some Converse tennies (among other things). And you better watch out if you are a Wally World shopper wearing lots of glitter make up & new Converse hi-tops...I'm looking for you!--Well, or would be if I set foot in the place...I try to steer clear of that giant box most days.

5. More confirmation about my tentative decision for next year's school curriculum. I think we're going to try out Adventures in My Father's World for a core study of American history coupled with Bible, science and all the rest while sticking to our Charlotte Mason roots!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sunday Thoughts on Gratitude

There are many people that I want to be like. As a Christian woman, there is the obvious Jesus. But what about the inspiring people in our time and time gone by who have came so much closer to that goal?

I finished listening to The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom this week. I don't ever think I will be the same. If you have not read the story, it is Corrie's account of her family and their role in the Dutch underground movement during WWII in German-occupied Holland. It is a magnificent tale of family, love, unbelievable anguish and, above all, the power of God. The character, well, person as it is not fiction, I resonated with the most was Corrie. The person I want most to be like is her sister, Betsie.

Throughout the story, Corrie is repeatably amazed by the heart Betsie has for others. From knowing the life details of each customer that comes to their shop, keeping a beautiful home even while they scrape by on ration cards, adding order and a glimpse of loveliness to a tiny prison cell shared by several women, to praising God for the fleas in the concentration camp and her heart breaking for the depths of unlove held by her German guards...she overflows with unselfishness.

It's the fleas that got me. It got Corrie too. She was aghast...there were limits to what she would thank God for and fleas were over that limit...though she reluctantly prayed along with her sister. After weeks laboring outside, Betsie's poor health resulted in her assignment being changed to the sock knitting room. Corrie ended up being transferred there as well and there she learned to be grateful for fleas. The guards would not enter that room. It was infested. Betsie and Corrie had hours a day to talk with each other and share God's goodness with the other prisoners around them. For three weeks, the fleas miraculously kept them safe from further harm.

Betsie loved Jesus so much that her life was continually offered up in exchange for showing his love to some other person. God gave her visions of the future so real she could smell the flowers. Corrie remembered those visions of loveliness and marveled when they became reality. Miracles happen everyday, even today. We just have to know where to look...and start with outside of ourselves into the face of Jesus. Lord, thank you for the fleas.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 23 - Gratitude

Indeed, I am blessed. Overall today, I am thankful for a sense of humor in the everyday.

1. The opportunity to learn how to use the shop vac in "wet" mode. (I wondered when my good friend had switched to liquid dishwasher detergent...she always uses powder, but I asked to borrow some and in good faith squirted in a whole cupful...of Dawn. Still not sure how to fix this mess...but it's good for a few laughs before bed...and so glad I didn't turn it on and crawl under the covers!)

2. A great visit from Eric's Dad & Charla...I'm thankful for them being willing to drive up to visit for the kids' birthdays & for taking the chance on my recipe experiments!

3. Almost 8-year-old's craft projects.

4. What is it Zane? Oh, yes, we can be thankful for...

...a springtime snowstorm! Sorry buddy, no "I pay ou-side!" today.

5. The open-door button of my van key remote when hurrying through bitter wind in no coat with arms full of groceries at Price Chopper. (I had to really think hard about what I was thankful for in that moment :) ! )

Blessings to you!

Day 24 - Gratitude

I spent almost the entire day at home yesterday. That was refreshing! 1-5, here are the things I thought to be grateful for:

1. A good day of school with...are you ready? tears! (We have been working hard to curb being overtaken by emotion at every small tick of frustration.)

2. Three very full meals even with a bare-bones pantry and fridge.

3. Baking cookies with Elena.

4. Eric and Kai spending time together on the disc golf course.

5. Mmmmm....fresh baked bread for lunch--can you see the steam?! (I was out of store bread & didn't want to leave the house to disrupt our day...what a great treat...I forget how easy it is!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Make Up...Will it Kill Ya?

Does anyone else have a creeping sense of dread when smearing substances of unknown nature across their skin day after day? I mean, really, can you pronounce anything listed in the ingredients from your favorite designer's make-up line? And I know everyone is going to die anyway...BUT now 20 years *or more* into the daily barrage of making myself up with cosmetics, I thought it might be time to change my ways.

A couple years ago I stumbled across the idea from an old friend's natural living blog and stopped using a few questionable items. More recently I purchased some Arbonne skin care and mineral foundation from my mother-in-law. Now I'm ready to add on even more or change some brands etc. and have been shopping around trying to figure out what in the world to use....ya know, reading reviews and comments etc. A great site is the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. There, you can search almost any chemically based household product and see what safety rating it has been assigned based on its ingredients.

So we'll see...I placed an order with Real Purity for some of their mascara and a couple samples of their mineral cream foundation. I don't think I'm going back to the Estee Lauder counter though...the gal who helped me this week was, well, very helpful, but I'm guessing their ingredients fall along the same line as most mainstream cosmetic companies'...with hazard scores off the charts! Ugh, and I'll have to try and break my Avon habit. Hmmm...that will be a challenge.

Wish me luck and comment if you have any tips or ideas about going more natural with face & body products!

Day 25 - Gratitude

My Lenten project is working (yay). I'm starting to really look for God's hand in the blessings around me.

1. The delight in finding a nest of these little guys in our back cute! (Even better was the dream Eric had about it in the middle of last night...he leaped out of bed (as he often does when dreaming of intruders) and yelled "hey there little guy, over this way!" I started laughing & told him there were no baby bunnies in our room to shoo back to the nest...he disagreed for a moment. Okay, he just read this and I am to stand corrected, he was not shooing bunnies, but calling for doggies--he whistled and made the smooch-smooch sound...I had forgotten!)

2. A visit from this little dolly, my niece Mia & her momma Chrissy. She's not so sure about all of us crazy hoodlums though.

3. Two hours, two homes, both much cleaner than before. Kathy & I's cleaning exchange is a major blessing in my life!

4. A decision that ended up being the right one and the relief that went with it.

5. I think the picture explains this one.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 26 - Gratitude

Hmmm...I forgot you don't count Sundays in Lent so I'm going to have to adjust my countdown. Later.

Today had it's ups and downs, but I am grateful for many things:

1. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. I'm listening to the audio book. My heart grieves. My life is E.A.S.Y.

2. The phone call while out was Zane. He wanted to "talk Mommy". He giggled.

3. Elena wrote, addressed, stamped and mailed a letter today with little help.

4. Other homeschool mom friends that nodded their heads in understanding at my morning frustrations. Having others that carry/share your burdens indeed makes them light.

5. Blueberry pancakes for breakfast.

Boys' Birthdays!

It's Birthday Season at our house...only one more to go this month. Here are some snaps of our fun times for ya to check out!

Four boys all born the same week, all but one the same year! That's my Kai-boy in orange.

We didn't wonder why he had a tummy ache that evening...

Almost every Vox boy child (and several of the girls) around age 6! It was a blast and they loved swimming altogether. I had my work cut out for me just making sure Zane didn't drown...he has no fear!

Speaking of Zane...he turned two on the 11th! Here he is seriously working on blowing that second candle out.

A bi-tar!!! And with Mickey Mouse to boot! He was in heaven!

That afternoon we drove out to spend a few days in Wichita. We celebrated with a trip to Coldstone Creamery. Mmmmm....

I like to take them all at once for birthday portraits. So they are all ready to go, but Momma couldn't find her $50 gift certificate and called it off. (Anyone who has ever prepared their young children for picture day can imagine the anguish in my own heart at calling it off...hours of dressing, blow drying, flat ironing, not spilling...all for naught. Sigh.) You can also see why I take them to a professional. This was the best one out of several. Okay, the last one was fun.

Day 27 - Gratitude

I started to complain about our unreliable internet service delaying my postings until the next morning...uhhh, hellooo... **whining** which is what I'm trying to stop!!! So I will be grateful that I can get online right now (and that we are switching providers in the next week).

Tuesday was another beautiful day! My sister and her family were still here visiting so finding things to be grateful for was easy:

1. Six babies having a ball!

2. A full table...and good food

3. A pretty tea party (these set ups are fewer and farther between anymore around here)

4. The wild and crazies enjoying their prim & proper tea

5. A quiet evening with Eric.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 28 - Gratitude

Six children, four adults, one house. We're having fun!

Today I am thankful for....

1. Bubble blowers:

2. Underdogs from Uncles! (notice the bike helmet...not a bad idea)

3. Sliding smiles! (This is my niece, Ava, or "Bayva" as Zane calls her)

4. Giggles during picnics of snacks under the backyard tree.

5. Interesting hours spent, yes, once again, smearing henna mud in Jo & I's hair. We are ravishing reds anew!

Day 29 - Gratitude

Sundays around our house are different from every other day. The mornings are usually a little bit rushed for me...but the kiddos relish the time not doing normal chores and crank up iTunes for their jam and dance session in the office. No, not overly pious tunes...Dirty Bit by the Black Eyed Peas and That's Not My Name by the Ting-Tings being their current favs. Oh dear! are my things I was thankful for yesterday:

1. The first day of Spring...beautiful weather near 80!
2. The monstrously large carrot we discovered that had over-wintered in our garden bed.

3. Delightful giggles as a van full of cousins arrived in the afternoon.
4. Authentic relationships...not much hyper-real stuff around for the day!
5. Grace.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 30 - Gratitude

Today brought unexpected events. A sick baby, again. Not being able to watch Elena's first soccer game of the season. Minutes turned into hours first scrubbing, then sealing the grout of our kitchen, bath & entry floors. A fun shopping trip alone with Kai. The time now is surely for rest...but first, here are my five things to be grateful for today:

1. Audiobooks...The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten motivation to complete today's work.
2. A kneepad to cushion the hard tile.
3. Good spirits for Zane...hopefully this time around he is truly well.
4. Fresh nodding daffodils, dripping with raindrops, in front of our home.
5. The glisten in Elena & Kai's eyes as they recount their fun on the soccer fields.

Friday, March 18, 2011

40 31 Days of Lent

So not surprisingly (to me, at least) it has taken me almost 10 days during Lent to figure out what I'm going to take up or give up during the season. Following the ancient church calendar is still relatively new to us...not being Catholic or formally part of any congregation where that is tradition...but we've been doing it several years now at Vox. And when I couldn't even recall what I did/did not do last year I realized I had better put some thought into it this time around. It was probably Dr Pepper. That's what I first thought of doing for this year...seriously, Resa? There has to be something more than rejecting my occasional indulgence in the sweet syrup of 23 mingled flavors to turn my heart and mind toward the Lord!

So I've been mulling ideas around in my head and I'm sure prayed about it here and there the last couple days...I've been a little under the weather so there where my mind has all drifted is a little hard to recall. Anyway, I've realized that I'm kinda whiny. How did I figure that out? Uuuhhh...I believe that would be in the three little reflections running amuck around here. I don't think the H.A.L.T. acronym (Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) will work quite as well to combat complaining for me as will conscience gratitude. Therefore, gratitude it is. Five items that I am grateful for each day, pictures optional, but posted to my blog to keep myself accountable. They will be, surprise again, bits and pieces of my life...most will be simple...all that incline my heart to thank God for the blessings in my life. Here's my beginning for day 31:

1. My new sewing nook at the far end of my laundry room. It makes me smile being able to sit down and create without having to set things up or go into the basement!

2. Notes to leprechauns on St. Patrick's Day. And the fact that she thought to use the dictionary to spell "leprechaun" when all I could think of was Google.

3. A big backyard and a big tree for climbing.

4. Hooded jackets to keep my boys cozy while swinging in early spring. Yay for recess!

5. That my husband knows to take us out for dinner when he's spent this whole day of vacation on the disc golf course.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

In Lieu of a Home Party...

I went in head first and signed on as a consultant! Of course I would do such a thing! It all started when I was surfing around one of my favorite blogs and ran across a post about the beautiful hair clips sold by Lilla Rose. I ordered one, have LOVED it, thought about hosting a party, decided I wanted to order several more for Elena and I plus some for gifts and today (with Eric's okay, of course) I signed on!

(Tutorial for the drop bun at left is HERE)

As a consultant I have my "own" website that friends can use to place orders whenever they want. And there is so much more to browse than just Flexi Clips! Jewelry, hair sticks, lanyards, eyeglass holders...all with an elegant and decidedly feminine appeal. This week is perfect for placing an order as there is free shipping on all orders over $20 through Sunday, March 6! Go's all ready at! I've also started making a Facebook page--ya know, one that you can "like" and all that, but it doesn't have much on it yet.

All in all it seems like a great company to be a part of and Paula, the gal I signed on under, has been really helpful and friendly. At this time I'm not planning on spending a lot of time on this...since it is mainly for my benefit :) if you're a local friend and want to try before you buy just let me know as later this week I will have samples of 5 different Flexi-Clips. And I'm sure I'll host a party sometime or other...but Sara's Thirty-One party and bridesmaid-Bunco night all come first :) ! Later....The Girl with the Dragonfly HairDo