Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Black and White Wednesday

Our praying mantis egg sac hatched this week, and I thought it would be fun to edit these photos in black and white. I think this is our fourth or fifth year of hatching these babies and it's one of my favorite traditions.

 Linking up with  Black and White Wednesday 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Unstuffed by Ruth Soukup

This week I read yet another book on decluttering. I find that I get highly motivated to declutter when I'm reading a book about decluttering, but soon the inspiration wears off. So if I'm regularly putting this message into my brain, I'm constantly thinking about it and following through with the many great ideas presented in the books.

Unstuffed focuses on three larger areas of life - our home, our mind and our soul. The book is divided into three parts, each part dealing with one of the three topics, and each of the three larger parts is divided into three chapters.

Part One: Home
  1. Living
  2. Storage
  3. Kids
Part Two : Mind
  1. Schedule 
  2. Paperwork
  3. Other People's Stuff 
Part Three: Soul
  1. Friends
  2. Wellness
  3. Spirit
I love that Ruth starts out this book by encouraging readers to take an honest look at how their home is used. So often we fall into the trap that our home needs to look a certain way and so we fill rooms with furniture or other items that don't fit our lifestyle. When you walk into the front door of my home, you walk into what was designed to be a living room and dining room. However, we use this space for music and homeschooling. 

Ruth gives very practical advice like resist and eliminate temptation by staying out of stores, and also presents assignments and challenges to get your home and schedule under control. When it comes to guarding our soul, Ruth offers encouragement for setting boundaries and establishing healthy habits. 

If you already are familiar with the idea that living with less can actually lead to living more fully, then this book will not offer any new ideas. However, it's always an encouragement to read another testimony of how decluttering has positively affected lives.

I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for this review.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Good, Random, Fun ~ Week 21

the GOOD
In 2016 I'm attempting to do #52weeksofstorytelling with a different theme each week.
Week 20/52 - Connection

It's so fun watching my girls connect as sisters and friends. We've built our family culture around music and books and adventure, but sometimes the connection happens in ways we wouldn't expect. This past week my youngest daughter used her saved $ to buy rollerblades. My older daughter tried them out and decided to use her saved $ to buy a pair as well. They have spent hours rollerblading in the garage and driveway. They turn on music and create routines. I love hearing the laughter even more than I love the quiet house! I took this pic when I found them lying in the green space next to our house...they were exhausted and resting, laughing and talking. I don't know how long this phase will last, but in my opinion, they've already gotten their money's worth out of this experience. Someday I'll say, "do you remember when you and your sister turned our garage into a roller rink?"

more GOOD
Right now my garden is just beautiful...the right amount of sunshine and rain and it's a happy place to be. I love taking walks around my yard to see what's blooming and how things are growing. It really brings me so much joy.

frogs, ducks, flowers
waterfalls, snails, views
these are the random little things that make my days beautiful

the FUN
more macro goodness from my backyard
(except the sea anemone...that would be from the sea)

I'm linking up with Good, Random, Fun , Seasons and Life Through the Lens

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

More Backyard Fun

taking a moment to find joy in the little things

We didn't have any grand adventures this past week, but there is still pretty to be found in my backyard. I don't know how many of you can relate, but creating a beautiful home (especially backyard garden) is an act of worship for me. It stirs something deep within me and nurtures me in a way that nothing else can. Whether I'm out there physically doing the hard work of planting, weeding or watering, or simply walking around and taking notice of what is blooming and's refreshing to my soul and helps me connect with God - the Creator. I'm so grateful for my garden and for the neighborhood we live in. We are blessed to live near two lakes and right next to a's amazing how much wildlife we experience daily. I love hearing the birds sing, the ducks quack and the frogs croak. I love seeing my garden grow and mature over time. We've been here 6 1/2 years now, and every year I add a little bit more to the garden. 

our corn has sprouted!

We have a family of 10 ducklings that visits our yard daily. They are quite comfortable around us now, and if we are out in the yard, they come right up to the fence in hopes that we will feed them. Sometimes they'll even come through the fence looking for food.

We had a close encounter with this baby duckling this an attempt to rescue it from our storm drain, we inadvertently separated it from the rest of its family. We were only trying to help, but in the process of rescuing this one, the others and the mama found a way out and left. We kept this little one overnight in our garage, but then returned it to the lake in hopes that mama would return and find her missing duckling. 

Another duck that visits our yard daily looking for food. We love having them visit us. 

I was out shopping when I spotted this real banana on display. I asked the salesperson what was up with the banana for sale, and he didn't know what I was talking about. It turns out his co-worker stole this banana from his lunch bag and put it up for sale as a joke!

Last year (or the year before) I let the girls "recycle" their finished school books. When I told them they could recycle this year's math books they spent a good 10 minutes ripping out each page quite dramatically. It was very funny to listen to and they are eager to finish and recycle part 2 of their math books. 


we are so close to being done with school - end of year testing on Monday!

I signed the girls up for a summer writing class and I'm already regretting it

we are kicking off summer with a week away in Central Oregon

Black and White Wednesday ~ Statues and Sculptures

On a recent outing I came across the most beautiful outdoor seating area. I'm not really sure what to call it because we were several stories high in the city, and on the grounds of a medical complex. It was a place of beauty and respite for those who were weary with the  heaviness that often comes with illness and disease. There were several statues and sculptures and we enjoyed looking at them.

 Linking up with  Black and White Wednesday 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Chase Away Cancer by Ellie Poole Ewoldt

This is exactly the kind of book I don't like to read as a parent. And yet, Ellie Poole Ewoldt tells the story of her boy Chase and his battle with cancer in a beautiful, uplifting way. Chase is 2 when he is diagnosed with a rare and agressive cancer, but he is brave and strong. 

It's heartbraking enough that Bob and Ellie have to walk this journey with their son, Chase. But even more heartbraking that the intensive care and frequent hopsital visits and stays tear them away from their three other young children. 

"Once again, cancer and the treatment of it were pulling our family apart."

This is the true story of a family, faith and fighting and is written straight from a mother's heart. It's a beautiful story about hope and love. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for this review.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Good, Random, Fun ~ Week 20

the GOOD
In 2016 I'm attempting to do #52weeksofstorytelling with a different theme each week.
Week 19/52 - Ordinary

An ordinary seed can become a beautiful, bold sunflower. An ordinary day can become a haven of rest or a grand adventure. An ordinary life can end up touching so many other lives. It comes down to you bloom where you are planted? Do you let light shine through you? Do you approach mundane tasks with purpose and joy? Do you give thanks in all circumstances? It's all the little, ordinary things, and how we approach them, that add up and turn life into a beautiful, extraordinary journey.

waterfalls and growing girls
flowers and frogs
these were the random sightings in my life this week

the FUN
more macro fun from my backyard this week

I'm linking up with Good, Random, Fun , Seasons and Life Through the Lens