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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

18 Years and Counting...

taking a moment to find joy in the little things

We had a fantastic weekend...a gorgeous, 7 mile hike one day and a trip to a lavender farm in our favorite town the next. 

We celebrated our 18th anniversary this weekend. Here we are 18 years later...

blessed with these two...

I bought this fabric at IKEA earlier this week. We got some fabric markers and the girls have spent HOURS coloring it in. For some reason they seem to color better if they are laying on top of it. 

Frogs, frogs....everywhere frogs. Our yard is hoppping!

And this....evidence the skunks are active again. This is about the time of year that we see the babies come out during the day. Haven't seem them yet, but I'm sure it won't be long.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;

the old has gone, the new has come!

2 Corinthians 5:17

When I was in college I had a t-shirt with this verse and a butterfly on it. It's a common association. Go ahead and google'll see many butterfly images that pop up with this verse.

I think the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly is a beautiful illustration of how Christ can transform our lives....the old has gone, the new has come....we are completely new in Christ. 

When we first encountered this particular butterfly the other day, we assumed it couldn't fly because of its broken wing. It let us get rather close...even let us pick it up...but then it flew off surprising us all. 

This verse came to mind, as well as the reminder that God heals our broken places. Sometimes our scars will still be visible or noticeable to others, but He will give you wings to fly. He will transform us into His image - and we will become new creations.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 

Psalm 147:3

Thank God for that!

linking up with Beauty Observed , Still Saturday and Weekend Brew 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Fun

taking a moment to find joy in the little things

We had another beauty-filled week! After a hectic, exhausting week of VBS at our church, we headed to the coast for a day of rest and relaxation. It was supposed to be a scorcher in the valley, and the beach sounded like the perfect place to be. It was very foggy and cool when we first arrived, but after a couple hours, the sun broke through and it looked like this.

This picture just makes me smile...childhood unedited! 

It's always fun to have close encounters with other creatures (well, I guess that depends on the creature....I certainly don't want a close encouter with a skunk, rattlesnake or grizzly bear)

Lately every time I try to teach the girls the next part in their piece they whine and balk. So today I wrote it all out on a huge piece of paper and taped it to the wall in the hallway. Then I stood there and played it by "reading" it off the wall. They were thrilled and immediately gave it a try themselves. I'm sure the novelty will wear off eventually, but for now it's exciting and inspiring them to practice. 

garden goodness....

When I lifted the garage door the other day this dead salamander was hanging in front of my face. Its tail was caught in a spider's web. Freaked me out a bit!

I did a little photo shoot with the girls this week and these are some of the outtakes.

40 days until I enter a new decade of life...
Can it be possible? I don't feel like I'm almost 40.
I remember when my parents turned 40. We had big over-the-hill parties with lots of black decorations.
Hopefully this next decade will be full of wisdom and maturity.
One can hope....

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What's Your Thing?

Do you have a passion that defines you or your family? Something that makes you or your family a little bit different from others?

Here are some examples of things that come to mind....

  • living simply
  • sports
  • knitting
  • reading
  • homeschooling
  • public schooling
  • travel
  • missions
  • hiking
  • service
  • music
  • movies
  • gardening
  • photography
  • games
  • social media
  • environmentalism
  • natural living
  • animal rescue
There are many more, but you get the idea. 

I think when you can identify what you are passionate about and then intentionally pursue those things - either as an individual, a couple or a family - you will create a family culture that is pretty awesome and pretty unique to you. It also helps you live the one life you have well. 

I'm pretty sure that when people think of my family they can identify what is important to us by how they see us spending our time and energy. 

I've noticed that quite a few of my passions are things I can share with my children and husband...
  • sponsorship and advocacy through Compassion International
  • music - mostly in the form of violin playing, but it's fun to have favorite family music to listen to together.
  • regular adventures (mostly hiking)
  • reading - I love reading books on my own, but also love sharing stories with my kids through read alouds. There are several series that we have enjoyed reading as a family, too, and it's fun to talk about them at dinner or on hikes.

Because we have identified our passions, we are able to eliminate excess from our lives and schedules. When opportunities present themselves, we can measure if they will add value to what we are spending our time and energy on and then make decisions accordingly. 

It doesn't mean we won't try new things, but it does mean we are intentional about what we add to our schedule and lives. Not too long ago we tried taking karate lessons as a family. After 5 months we realized that although it was a beneficial and worthy use of our time, none of us were passionate about it. 

Relationships are also built and nurtured when you are pursuing shared passions. Currently my husband and I are brainstorming ideas of what we can pursue together as a couple. There was a time in our lives where we were moving quite frequently (about every 15 months) to a different state. We grew close as we relied on each other to find our niche in the new community. But now we've been here in the same community for five years and we need a shared passion to dream about and pursue (beyond raising our girls because it won't be long before they are on their own). 

One final benefit of identifying and pursuing a passion...freedom from guilt. I can release any guilt I might feel for not doing what other people or families are doing. We are all different (thankfully!) and my thing might not be your thing. That's ok. 

So tell me....what's your thing? (or your family's thing?)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Some Random Favorites

  • As a homeschooling mom who wants a creative education for her children, and as an enthusiastic Compassion sponsor and advocate...I LOVE THIS

  • Despite the fact that I haven't had much time to read, I still bring home books from the library every time I go there (which is easily 1-2 times a week). 

  • One of the things I love most about summer is the local farmer's market. It's actually extremely small and there is only one booth I like to visit...the fresh flowers. I am fully enjoying this week's bouquet of dahlias. 

I hope you have a beautiful, adventure-filled weekend! It looks like we are headed to the coast to soak up some sand and sun! I'll leave you with a verse that's been running through my head all day...

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31

linking up with Beauty Observed , Still Saturday and Weekend Brew