Today:

— is the day before my baby turns 4. She and I have already decided that she will be my baby forever (but she still has to stop whining), even if she grows to be taller than I am. She is snuggles and blonde wispy hair and the whitest eye brows and bluest eyes and sweetness and so full of heart and happiness and love. She is the girl that loves to talk about church and her friends. She loves to sing and dance. She’s our Addieboo. I hardly ever think about her entrance into the world any longer. Rereading it now, it’s almost hard to believe it even happened. Tomorrow, Addie will be treated like a princess by her older sisters. She will eat cupcakes and open gifts. And we will thank God for her. She is precious to us and we know God has great things in store for her.

— is the day before I start a temporary, work-at-home job. Our daily schedule has been adjusted to allow time for me to work for a few weeks now, giving us time to adjust to it. I don’t really know what to expect at this point so I’m just waiting. Anxious. Hoping my daughters to make too much noise in the background while I’m skyping with my new boss. 🙂

— is one of those days that I have to remind myself that diligence is important in my life, too. I really just want to read The Hardest Peace. {Full review coming soon!} I don’t want to cook dinner or break up fights or correct bad attitudes.  Coffee, book, blanket. That’s all. But my diligence in completing my tasks does two things – #1 Honors God. I’m not doing all things as unto the Lord if I’m laying on the couch reading, while my house falls apart. #2 – I’m modeling diligence for my daughters, even diligence in the small things. So I will read for a bit, because that’s diligence too, but I will also clean up the remains of our homeschool morning and make tacos for dinner. I’ll hang out with my hubby and put my girls to bed. And I’ll pray that God would give me strength to keep being diligent in all these things.

— is a good day to be thankful for where we live. It makes me want to start counting again, when I think about how blessed we are to live on this back country road, outside a tiny country town. I’m freshly reminded that we really live in the middle of no where. It’s not fancy. It’s not loaded with modern conveniences. But it is beautiful and peaceful and I love it.

sky{tall corn and the bluest sky, taken on my morning walk}

{Being OK} Thanks

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The last link-up for the launch of Being Ok With Where You Are was this week. I’m a little late to the party but chapter 9 is about thankfulness.
Stacey writes:

I wonder what if would look like in my life if I determined everyday to praise God, regardless.”

Bur what would my life look like if I didn’t determine in my heart the praise God?

Oh I know all about that one. It’s a bitter, angry, selfish place where everyone else has everything I don’t. It goes hand-in-hand with not being ok with where you are. It’s lonely, dark and sad. Living without thankfulness is much harder than living with it.

Just like Stacey, I started counting gifts with Ann way back in 2008 after a Sunday School class taught at my church. Not all my gifts make my public list (which I keep between Twitter and here) but I count and search and hope that I am installing thankfulness in my daughters.

Living without thankfulness is like cutting off your own arm. It is like punishing yourself to continue a pattern of bitterness when you could start to count gifts in your life and begin to see God’s grace in your life.

How can you honestly not find a single thing to thank God for today? I’ve had some bad days in the last few years. But finding even that one thing is sometimes just enough to remind me that the grace of God is just a short prayer away.


It’s also an amazing way to keep record of how God blessing is near, if we will only recognize it. Going back through these lists is like flipping through the pages of a photo album. I can see exactly what was going on around me for many of them. It’s a reminder to be that God is good. God is so very good. Even when it seems like we have no idea what is going on – God is good.

Have you started counting gifts yet? Did you notice that the leaves are the most amazing shades of orange and red right now? Did you pause to thank God for that smile on your child’s face? Did you thank God that the bills got paid, even if it’s just by the skin of your teeth? Did you just thank God that your children, husband, parents, friends woke up and you were all given another day today? There is always something. Just find that one thing and remind your tired heart that the grace of God can be real in your life.

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” (Psalm 34:3-6 NIV)

Blog News and More Gifts

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— I am so blessed to have been chosen to be on the Launch Team for a new book by one of my favorite author/bloggers. Stacey Thacker gives a little insight here on what she is hoping to accomplish during the first 48 hours her book is available. Check it out here and help Freeset Global. And get ready to read the book. Seriously, it’s great. I can’t wait to share more details of it with you all.
— Alyssa and I have been working on another review for you all. It’s for a fantastic reading program so if that sounds like something you could benefit from… check back soon!

And I’m trying to get back on track with my 1,000 Gifts. It’s been a long time. Again. But here are some gifts I listed on my Twitter and a few from today….
649. a yard full of muddy kids playing kickball
650.the chainsaw making space
651. celebrating Lauren with lots of chocolate & giggles
652. homemade waffles upon hub’s request
653. recycling Easter grass
654. funny weather with patches of sunshine
655. my girls & their friends
656. weekend chores that still make me stand in the yard just to look around
657. oatmeal cooked on the stove
658. stools at the island
659. research reports that everyone is enjoying
660. watching & learning about wildlife around us
661. resized & shined wedding rings
662.  A fun time subbing for a CFA writing class
663. trees that fall away from the house
664. dinner grilled just before the rain started
665. The conviction of God is so freeing.It’s not just a ‘no.’It’s a ‘yes, go this way’ from The Creator of the Universe.
666. when the tree did fall on the house, it didn’t do any damage
667. great opportunities
668. learning what God wants for this little spot on the web
669. when everyone else is gawking about what a misguided girl did on national tv, my girls are singing “we’re going vertical, praying for miracles, wanna see Heaven here on earth!” Thank you, 1 Girl Nation.

my house

It’s spring. We live in a new house that was finished in winter.  That means we are surrounded right now by mud and sand.  Lots of sand.  The bonus is my girls think it’s a beach. There is also a man made trench/pond/creek-type thing at the back of the yard.  So the girls took out their beach toys and will play in the sand for hours.  They get water from the creek for making sand castles.  Okay, they jump in the water sometimes.

We do a lot of laundry.
It’s messy.
It’s really messy.

But I cannot communicate clearly or often enough how thankful I am.

When we were first married, we used to dream about this house.  Something back in the woods, a manageable size, economical and easy to heat.  Built with our hands. Space for the girls to explore, learn and observe. Space to grow food… the kind that walk around and the kind that we plant.

And we are doing it.

Our first order of baby chicks will be here soon.
We watch a ruffed grouse out the living room window early each morning.
We look around at where the sun hits the ground and think about where my vegetable garden should go.

I am living my dream.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s hard. We have to wait for the time and money to be available before starting a project. In the midst of this, my girls have been sniffing the clean air a bit too much and have decided to test every single rule I put before them. Long days have been my portion. But I love my kids. And I love that we get to do life in this house.

Every day, I wake up and look straight out our sliding glass doors. Across the messy, unlandscaped yard to a beautiful sunrise. And with that new day, comes new grace. He never runs out. How I got so blessed to live this life, I don’t know. But I am going to love every minute.

Weekend

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It’s a broken-down truck, no church, no errands, cook a lot, visit a bit, be lazy kind of weekend.

So I will continue my 1000 Gifts… This list starts with tweets from over the summer, it’s been so long since I caught up this list. Kind of cool to read through my thoughts as we built the house!

530. (from 8/14/12) Standing right in the spot my kitchen sink will be and turning around to see walls up with window openings cut out. Love windows.
531. Zucchini bread baking.
532. Boiling tomatoes from my garden into sauce.
533. Plans for an italian dinner feast.
534. Watching for the trusses.
535. Finishing all the work for the weekend by 7:30 Saturday so we can relax all day Sunday
536. Cinnamon butter on whole wheat toast
537. football & good friends
538. freedom to educate our children
539. fast progress on our new house
540. Hands that can paint
541. a roof to keep the rain off
542. happy girls crafting away
543. a comfy bed for later
544. it’s taco Tuesday so I don’t have to think about what to cook
545. granola bars that turned out perfect
546. hand-me-downs
547. audiobooks
548. (from Sept. 20, 2012) The tubs and showers are being delivered.TODAY.THIS IS EXCITING. We are progressing, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes.
549. banana bread & hot apple cider
550. passing inspections
551. Sheetrock on the schedule
552. help from friends
553. A bucket of orange flowers rescued from a dying garden and moved to my front door
554. beautiful leaves
555. items off the to-do list
556. days off the countdown until we move in
557. beautiful apples.
558. Peaceful attitudes
559. garden produce, canned beautifully and stored for winter
560. The ability to serve others
561. a hard day’s work
562. the chance to practice patience
563. a coat of Clary Sage paint on new siding
564. solid phonics lesson with Lauren
565. made yummy allergen-free donuts
566. Showing friends the progress on our new house
567. convictions that lead to good choices
568. praying that grace becomes life to my girls
569. Baby Vicks
580. Glo-bugs
581. soft blankets to snuggle in with my AddieBoo
582. work days
583. deactivating
584. Happy girls playing in the snow before school
585. moments when we encourage each other to be thankful even when we are frustrated
586. (11/27/12) Today we will do school & laundry, I will bake vegan brownies and I will stain another closet door. That’s it.
587. moments of quiet in what turned into a busy day
588. seeing the light installed over the island at the new house
589. friends who help (again. But when you’re building a house, you are sincerely thankful from the bottom of your tired heart every, single time)
590. (11/28/12) The new house finally has heat. I feel like I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank You Lord for provision
591. Peeling oranges, ironing uniforms and packing lunches once a week – SO thankful for CFA and the blessing it is to our family.
592. A new deck on my new house
593. a quiet afternoon
594. a quick batch of cookies just for my hubs
595. an early bedtime for this sniffling mom
596. My washer dances and makes noises it’s not supposed to make but I pray that it would work for just a little longer. And it does.
597. My grandma’s sugar cookie recipe for a cookie exchange tonight
598. the tiniest bit of snow glittering in the corn field
599. a dwindling to do list, feeling like I’m in a snow globe at the new house
600. finishing the floors
601. our dog that is ever faithful & the perfect foot warmer
602. Bitty Babies for my baby
603. Chris Tomlin’s music when I’m tired
604. an iPod that decided to charge
605. checklists that are working
606. setting a goal
607. my morning call from hubby
608. Morning pancakes & snuggles
609. little girls in footie pajamas
610. three successful days of new schedules after a battle of wills
611. Feeling settled about my convictions on clothes & modesty
612. funny dreams
613. sleeping late
614. a list for the day that seems manageable
615. (1/12/13) I’ve wanted open shelves in my kitchen for a long, long time. Today my hubby put them up for me in the new house
616. ordering appliances!
617. leftovers
618. a quarantine room for sick kids that keeps every happy
619. sunshine
620. Water running in the laundry room sink
621. faithful friends & neighbors that help us so very much
622. being halfway done with winter
623. Organizing
624. reading
625. watching Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella
626. cleaning
627. looking outside
628. High speed Internet (finally!!)
629. an indoor moving sale to get rid of some extra stuff
630. my snuggly Addie
631. yummy frozen pizza
632. I smelled a skunk last night. Do you know what that means? SPRING is coming. Thank You Jesus.
633. Reading the Words I need to make it through the day, amazed once again that the God who created the universe cares for me.
634. Fixed the wireless printer, got a new vacuum, hubster mopped the floor – that’s a good Saturday
635. My sick baby ‘reading’ books and giggling
636. girls climbing trees
637. my mud room
638. voluntary nap time
639. Opened windows and the smell of Murphy’s Oil Soap
640. Green tea with honey
641. melting snow
642. spring sunshine
643. all the girls outside or sleeping and a new magazine
644. A pretty sunrise over the trees
645. everyone trickling out of bed
646. no sickness!
647. our family day trips finally here!
648. Fresh layer of snow & a Christmas episode of Little House on DVR = a slow, snuggly kind of morning