"Be thankful in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thes 5:18

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A New Look At Breakfast For Myself

My friend Laura, and Carrie at my church are inspiring me to eat different. I'm trying to make myself breakfasts like these. It really takes little time to throw some veggies in the pan and then cook an egg to throw on top. This morning I had some left over tomato basil from a get together last week. I threw that in with sliced garlic, red onion, 1/2 potato, and green pepper. Yummy!

I'm also eating my tuna salad w/ celery now instead of crackers. I'm actually enjoying it. Celery is my best friend right now. I grab it if I want a crunch in the evening. Celery takes more calories to burn that it gives you. I may buy stock. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Meet Sasha

Don't know much about her yet, but she looks like she intends to tell us. She seems to be a Russian variety of hamster so she got a good girlie Russian name.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm Growing Down and Taking on The Name Mrs.Dolittle

We've adopted a hamster (my camera battery is charging, but she looks like the above). I was going to say that we were fostering it but, nope, we've adopted it. A friend's dog discovered it in her yard. It had probably got out or may have been abandoned. As cute as she is, and as fast as she is, I'm going for the got out version of the story. This friend mentioned needing a home on her facebook a while ago but I did not consider it at all. We had been researching pets before we got the guinea pigs and rats and hamsters were on the low end of preference due to their biting habits, nocturnal behavior, and all around unsocial behavior. Still, as I thought about it, it was needing a home and I had a cage, bedding, food, an extra water bottle, a wheel, a hide out, and three kids crazy now about rodents. So, I said I would take the fur ball in. After all, what was one more!?

Okay, so she is cute (pictures coming soon). She is very cute. She was so scared yesterday that she did this little growl at us. She needed time. Then, we left for a few hours and came home to find her up and anxious to see us. She let the kids hold her, although she does not stay still like the guinea pigs or rats. She was very sweet. This morning she has bitten the kids a few times but, honestly, I can't blame her. If you can't verbally say "I don't know you and I've had enough for now", then teeth will work.

In the last 24hours we have had quite a few people hear about all the rodents we now have. Those who didn't know what our Christmas brought us, usually are appalled and try to be nice and sociable by keeping their opinions to themselves, especially regarding the rats. It makes me wonder what has changed in me? Why am I so okay with this? Why am I loving it? Have I turned into a weirdo?

The fact is, I actually also want a bird right now, for me, in the living room. I'm LOVING the nature around me. I love that the kids get home and want to go get a fluffy critter to say hello to. I love that they all are so ecstatic about the ends of our veggies and we get the joy of watching their little mouths as they eat. I'm loving it all. I've wanted a bird for a year or so after shocking myself by discovering that I love bird watching. I use to think it was the dumbest thing adults did, but now it calms me.

I feel like I've grown down. Yes, I meant it, I've grown down. I've returned to that excitement in childhood that longs for nature to be part of my life. I was reminded of this yesterday when we had the hamster at church because we had to pick it up between services, and all the little ones were flocking to us. There is something in us that loves that. As a child, pets were highly discouraged for me and I lived more like a grown up then. Now I'm happy to grow down.

I don't have the energy for large pets, nor the money or room but a having all we can of maintainable small beings is really adding to our happiness as a family. I don't know how, it's just magical. It makes us lighten up, have some laughs, and feel like we are meeting a need for one of God's creatures.

Yes, my kids still want dogs, kittens, bunnies, and probably more and I do have many things I have to say no to but it's been a delight to do what we can. It must be the delight of the garden and walking with the animals that is still in us all.

I don't mind growing down.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Monarch Field Trip- Beautiful Pictures

Yesterday was Caedmon's 2nd grade big field trip to the Monarch grove in PB. It was a gorgeous sunny day and Victoria and I drove down to go with him. I let her skip school to go with us for the day.
I felt so blessed again to be given such a wonderful camera. What a blessing this camera has been for us in so many ways. It's allowed me to start blogging more, to video the kids, for them to make videos (up and coming craziness soon), and it captures so well from far away even. It's been great. I'm very grateful to the giver, we all are.
A solitary beauty hidden in the leaves and basking in the sun.
A wonderful presentation was made to the children of the body structure and life cycle of the Monarch.
My little man and his beloved, well worn crocks.

Helping show life cycle pictures.

He caught mama taking a picture I guess.
Cal Poly gal working on the tagging research project to identify the Monarchs. She explained how they tag them with little stickers. She passed them around so they could see but hopefully not tag themselves.
He towers even over the tallest 2nd graders still.
When you are actually standing there looking up their is constant movement and fluttering in the branches above. I just loved the sun coming through. This really is a bit of an outdoor sanctuary.
This was WAY far away from me in the tree tops, and the camera still got it beautifully.

You have to be careful where you step as they are mating on the ground at your feet.

Again, AMAZING zoom power for a little camera. This is zoomed in to the branches pictured above.

Riding the waves of the wind together.
I took a few videos as well but this one was short and I loved that they all rode the wave of wind in perfect unison. It's simple but fabulous.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

That Darn Christmas Five!

I do have a goal of loosing 20 lbs this year. Now, I have a Christmas 5 so it's actually 25. I think a lot of that is toxins from bad food choices though and should fall off fast.....right?
So, I asked myself what would be doable and what would be motivating. I decided to make a take a few practical steps.

  1. Until I loose 10 I'm cutting breads and sugars. I really need to get my blood sugar healthier. I'm not diabetic but I know that sugar is what makes me gain weight, and throw my hormones off. Some practical ways I'm implementing this is to make something other than the bread in the menu. For instance, tonight the family is having cheese stuffed tortellini pesto and salad. I'm baking a big spaghetti squash to use some for tonight in place of the tortellini (very hard to not eat that yummy stuff!) and saving some for Friday when they have Spaghetti and meatballs and I can have mine on the squash. I'm opening a can of garbanzo beans to add to my pesto/squash for some protein. This afternoon the after school snack was bagels and cream cheese. I put the cream cheese on celery. I had two stalks. I'm not going to worry about fat or calories, just sugars.
  2. I'm drinking one cup of green tea at least a day. This is a good pick me up afternoon drink instead of a second cup of coffee. Coffee is not good for blood sugar levels. Green tea will help me detox as well and as I get older my body is loosing it's sharp detox skills. I don't like the taste of green tea so I'm adding stevia and a squeezed lemon wedge. It makes it much better.
  3. I'm training for a 5k. The 5k is on Feb 15th and that is half way through the training but I figure it's still a good motivator. I'm using this podcast right now to train. It tells you when to run and when to walk and it has a different set each week for nine weeks. I'm hoping to find another with less repetitious music (references appreciated).
  4. I'm going back to purposefully eating about 10 raw Brazil nuts a day. They help balance hormones and burn fat.
  5. I'm planning my life more. I'm literally starting to map out everything on the calendar this year. I'm planning family hikes ahead of time, meetings with the family, dates, talks with my husband, coupon plans, exercise etc. I've really realized that if I don't plan a time for something it probably is not going to happen. That being said, I have to say, when the kids were younger this was harder to do well.
I'm adding a weight loss meter to my sidebar to track how this goes. If you read in reader, you will have to click onto the blog to see progress.

Rat Mama- View At Your Own Risk!

Well, the girls went back to school and the baby rats were looking at me from their cage saying "where did everyone go!?" They were use to being toted around all day on one shoulder or another, hearing the noise of the family.
So, I put on my scarf nice and tight because if you don't have a collar shirt, they are a little ouchy, and I packed them on board. Don't worry, I did my kitchen stuff before doing this. The apron stays on me for other housework but I washed it, promise!Spazy likes to give kisses. Cute, but awkward.
When I hold out the camera, they kept thinking I was making them a bridge to some fun place somewhere. They were eventually doing this up both arms and I had to keep calling them back or it was a stupid picture of me.
Don't they make an adorable side fur?
Tickles are pretty heavy when you have both of them at once, something I decided not to do again.

"Oooooo, a bookshelf! If I jump can I make it?"

All in all, I let the girls make up for time from then on out. They are sweet, and yes, I've warmed up to them a ton from where I was before at the pet store declaring "No, no way!" and "Ewww, their tails!!!" I love them, they are sweet and I'm okay with being a rat mama.

My kids don't know how lucky they are that I'm a very embracing person.....

Saturday, January 8, 2011

When Harps and Clouds Look Pathetic

I was just thinking about this the other day and wanted to record my thoughts.

I did not understand heaven well until 2006 when I read "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn during the digressing health and resulting death of my dad. I was one of those people who thought it involved singing hymns for eternity. I don't know how I made it through with such a small view of eternity let alone, a small view of God himself. I'm thankful though that I had resolved that if that was what I was going to do for ions, that God would make it my greatest joy and satisfaction. Imagine my joy to learn that he had so much in store for us!

So, heaven. What will we do? Randy talks about how we will work in heaven and when I read that chapter title I thought "what!?". Work was not my idea of eternal bliss either. Then, I read the chapter. This is not from it, I read it years ago, I just mention it because it's related and produced from a better understanding developed from reading it.


Think of jobs.
Think of jobs that WON'T be necessary on the New Earth.
Police Men, Soldier, Lawyer, Doctor, Nurse, Detective, Bodyguard, Nutritionist, Health Instructor, Trainer, Inspector, Garbage Man, Grocer, Salesman, Tax man, Accountants, Maid, Pharmacist, Physical Therapist, Plastic Surgeon, Crisis Counselors, Social workers, Physiologist, and on and on. In fact, I'd love to hear some others think of that we won't have.

SO, if you think of it what does that leave you? See, all these jobs give us a sense of purpose and justice here because we are working to fix something. We are working to guide and navigate world under the influence of sin. People break the law, they fight over lands and government policies, they get sick, they need protection, they don't eat right, they get fat and diabetic, they can't figure out who did them wrong, they must purchase substance, they owe each other money, they are filthy, their bodies deteriorate and don't work right, they fight and the family is torn, relationships are torn, they can't have peace of mind, and this list goes on and on as well.

If you remove sin, you remove a lot of what is purposeful now but hard as well. So, I ask again what are you left with? Thinking about that made me so happy!

Artist, Foodies, builders, gardeners, leaders, crafters, sculptors, designers, decorators, explorers, teachers, researchers, writers, singers, jewelers, florist, gleaners, and on and on.

How do those occupations make you feel when you read them? For, me, it's thrilling. It's not work, it's each man doing what he loves for the common good of all without obligation.

  • The artist will reflect the perfect beauty of the new creation for the joy of all.
  • The cooks with delight in preparing gorgeous, healthy and the most flavorful foods ever eaten and completely good for the body. Their resources will be endless.
  • The gardeners will work with good soil, weedless, smelling wonderful and producing perfectly.
  • The leaders will guide groups of people for the Glory of God and with perfect unity w/o the element of human selfishness.
  • The crafters will create for the joy of all, along with the sculptors.
  • Decorators will make beautiful life ever more beautiful, again, with endless resources managed perfectly.
  • The teachers will teach with sheer joy with knowledge that is exciting to share,and their students will be eager learners, ready to hear.
  • The researchers will have the exciting job of eternity of learning, this would include scientist (no evolutionist here) discovering the universe without end. The joy of discovery will be ongoing excitement! Some will research the history of all time before, the mystery solvers!
  • The writers will tell of the joy of God's world as it should be, they will have material forever that is inspiring and stimulating.
  • The singers, OH, THE SINGERS! First of all, I think we will all be singers but there will be those who joy in it more than others. They will ASTOUND US ALL with the praises of God!!! They will be givers of joy to all make our souls almost burst!
  • The jewelers. Oh, man, they will have a blast! The bible talks about the precious metals and gems in heaven. They will be the purist form of everything. There will be no end to their supply. The jewelers will create for the joy of sharing God's beauty, not for profit or vanity.
  • The florist will have flowers we cannot imagine now. They will have them in plenty, huge and vibrant. Every dwelling could be filled with as many as they can handle. Who knows but that the flowers won't wither and fade as they do here!!??
  • The gleaners will have that excitement that children have walking through an orchard longing to take the product of nature and share it. The produce of the new earth will make us drool I'm certain. Gathering it in baskets and thanking our God for his provision will be an endless joy to us.
Now, here is the kicker....
We all can do any of these if we wish! We can learn in all avenues, we can help in all ways and we will LOVE IT. Even the builders will have such great joy in making dwellings for others. Though I do think God has made us all with artistic bents that will have full throttle in heaven and we will tend to lean toward those. Heaven and the New Earth will be joyful work forever with no potholes of sin along the way.
I cannot stop feeling excited about this! I look so forward to it.
On top of that, God is in our midst! He is there to guide and be our eternal joy and pleasure. No one will be seeking gain, fighting over profit, hording or stealing.
We will be able to set out on any day and explore w/o fear of obstacle. Roaming is in our nature isn't it? Children long to roam, or I know I did. They long to glean from the land as they go, to pick the flowers, to build the forts, to paint the scenes, to make the necklaces from the shells, and on and on. Those desires are built in us for a reason!

People, it will be lovely, beyond lovely. It will be what we really have always wanted in our souls.
I just think it's fun to think about, AND...here is the kicker......
Nothing we can conjure up is NEAR what it will really be!

So, drop your droopy view of heaven and get the real upgrade. There is so much more than we really understand.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Southern Fare So Good and Sooooo Cheap

I was looking a few months ago at Hillbilly Housewife which a site I like to go back to for some good frugal recipes. This one sounded gross to me but I had decided to try out some bean recipes for saving money. It turned out to be one of my favorite meals.
Perhaps it's in my blood to like it. My family is very rooted in southern tradition. Not the deep south so much but more of the Celtic descendants in KY. My mother's side of the family is from Hazard, KY which was home to the famous Hatfield and McCoy's (yes, I do have a bit of brawl in me too). My grandma has told me of living out in the sticks with no water and my great-grandma making either cornbread or biscuits for every meal. Her daddy would kill a hog and they would make sausage balls to last the winter. The sausage would go in a huge over sized jar and they would pour the drippings in to preserve the meat. Great-grandma would scoop out some sausage and grease enough to put in a cast iron skillet and make up the beginnings of some lovely biscuits and gravy. It's something we would call unhealthy now but you have to remember these people ate heavy when pickin's were good, and ate extremely lean for long stretches of nothing. Fresh produce and dairy also kept them healthy. They also would keep milk and butter down in the creek near by to keep it cool. My great-grandma had nine children so she learned to stretch food like a pro.
I've always liked southern food but much of what we call traditional southern food would not have been eaten regularly by poor folk in the sticks. I'm sure this would have though.
The dinner I found on the site was beans and Hoe Cakes. Hillbilly Housewife talks about Hoe cakes:

"Originally, Native Americans cooked these on hot rocks in an open fire. They were commonly referred to as Ash Cakes. Later on, settlers from Europe adopted the recipe, cooking the cakes on the blades of their hoes in the fireplace. This is where they get the name, “Hoe Cakes”. Of all the recipes in my collection, this one is the oldest, the cheapest, and just about the tastiest of all."

Her recipe is a good one but I made some adaptions as I had a hard time with handling the dough and forming it into cakes. This time tonight, I did not even bother forming it. I just plopped them down into the pan and once they cooked a bit enough to be firm and flipped, I used the spatula to smash them a bit into a better patty. You could easily do this with a muffin scoop for a more even plop and rounder patty.
The special element is bacon grease. My mom and grandma taught me that every woman should have a tub of bacon grease in her fridge at all times. If you don't eat this often it's not going to kill you once. If you are anal about it, I guess you could cook them in canola oil......*grrrr*. I only use about a Tbs in each of these dishes and a little goes a long way in flavoring.
So, here is my recipe:

I cook my beans in the crockpot out of sheer dislike for cooking beans on the stove. I like my slaves after all. I put about a lb. of pinto beans (about 2.5 cups) and cover it with about 6 cups water. Cover and let them soak in the crockpot overnight (if all the water is gone, add about two cups more). In the morning turn them on High and then low once they are nice and hot. Plunk in a Tbs of bacon fat and let cook all day. Check for water if it's too dry, add some more. Before serving season with salt and black pepper. I like mine seasoned well.

Hoe Cakes
2 cups cornmeal (I just mill popcorn from bulk ordering, but you can use any cornmeal)
2 cups boiling hot water
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbs Baking Soda
1 tsp salt
Bacon grease for pan

Mix dry ingredients with a spoon and poor in hot water. Mix well and let sit a bit to cool. From here you can just plop them in the hot oiled pan with a large spoon or muffin scoop. I use about 1-2 Tbs grease. Once the cake has cooked a bit on the bottom to be firm, flip and press down with the spatula to flatten. Flip again once opposite side is firm to cook original side a little longer. Remove from the pan once crispy brown. They cook best in a well used and seasoned cast iron skillet. Keep warm in the oven if you like.

Collard Greens
This is also good with turnip greens or mustard greens. I was glad to find two bunches of collard greens today at the produce place! Yes, I was excited.
Wash them well and chop off the tough bottoms. Line up the leaves and make a roll of them. Chop through the rolled up leaves about a half an inch thick. Then, go back through the roll and cut them in half horizontally.
Prepare a large stainless steel (or another cast iron) with a Tbs. of bacon grease. Once it's hot, add the chopped greens and toss to cook. Season with salt and pepper and garlic if you like (I do). Cook until they start to limp but are still bring green in color.

To serve:
I put one hoe cake on the plate, ladle some beans on top and put another cake on top of that. Then, I serve the greens on the side. Tonight we had strawberry lemonade with it which was great but iced tea is wonderful too.

Put your computer to pandora.com and plug in "blue grass" and have
yourself a lovely little hoe down dinner!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My First Vlog

If you are all curious or just want to laugh at me, go see my first ever Vlog. I think I called it my V-blog too lol!
There is also my gag reel included. I would not want to come across as perfect or anything.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Life Lessons In Laundry?

I was busy this evening cleaning out the Guinea Pig cage for Caedmon since it had to be moved from the dinning room to his room. While I was busy with this, Rick was helping him load his clothes in the washer. The conversation went something like this:

Rick "okay, you need to separate the whites from the darks."
Caedmon "okay"
Rick "no, that is dark"
Caedmon "but it has white on it and you said separate whites and darks"
Rick "that is just a tiny bit of white on something dark, so it's dark"
Caedmon "okay"
Rick "No, that is white"
Caedmon "but you said....you are confusing me!"
Rick " I know, I will teach you and show you what to put in the dark load, so just listen to me"

I was smiling to myself .
Those words sounded familiar from somewhere, and then it hit me. They sounded like God.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you." Psalm 32:8

And in Caedomn's words I heard myself. "You are confusing me Lord!" "I don't get it, what do you want me to do?" "I do this and it's wrong, I do this and it's not quite right. I want to get it right but I'm lost".

It reminded me how patient the Heavenly Father is with me. To him it's so simple, it's so whites or darks and he understands the wisdom of the common sense exceptions. I'm still trying to figure it out. He says to stop trying and let him teach me, while he shows me.

It also spoke to me of how it's hard to know how light or dark something is sometimes in life. Again, he says to let Him teach us.

I don't know, I just thought it was cool and I thought it was precious to hear an eternal conversation parallel over the loading of the laundry.

These are the moments I treasure.

This Is What I'm Burdened With

I read this just now via FB from Randy Alcorn's blog. THIS is what I'm feeling led to cultivate. It's a perspective the world would see as insane or just grossly optimistic. I see it as my highest goal this year.
"Gratitude never comes from avoiding difficulty, but from finding yourself sustained through it. The degree of joy rises to the degree of gratitude, and the level of gratitude corresponds to the level of God’s grace experienced in our suffering. God’s sustaining providence brings relief, even when life becomes unspeakably difficult.

Corrie ten Boom’s sister Betsie, in light of the command “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), insisted they should thank God even for the fleas and lice in their concentration camp barracks. Corrie resisted until she realized that the fleas and lice made it possible for her to open the Bible and teach it unhindered to other prisoners. Guards could have confiscated her forbidden Bible, but they refused to enter because of the vermin. Think of it—God is at work through vermin; it’s simply rare that in this life we can see it as clearly as Corrie finally did.

Cultivating thankfulness today will allow us to cling to God’s goodness and mercy in our darkest hours. Those hours may yet lie ahead of us—but beyond them stretch unending millennia of inexpressible joy that we will appreciate more deeply because of these fleeting days of darkness".

Emphasis mine

To read Randy's blog post go here: http://www.epm.org/blog/

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Downloading A Family Upgrade

We are about to start some new family systems in our home that I'm excited about. I know they won't go perfectly, be repeated with perfect diligence, or make life 100% peaceful, but I think they are a good step forward.

  • Family Meetings- I've wanted to implement this for years. Now that the kids are getting older and able to converse more, it's a great time to start. We really need to all try to be on the same page more. Rick and are were advised by our pastor to do this between ourselves and I think that those meetings we have will be a good precursor to the ones we have as a family. During these meetings we will: (1) Update the Calendar with every one's events for the next week and month. Talk about what they want to do that week that needs to be planned for. (2.) Update on the family budget goals. I want the kids to see the debt paying gaols Rick and I have on a big poster board so they understand how much focus it takes to pay things off, and they understand why we say no to frivolous spending requests. (3.) Payment for weekly chores accomplished (more on that in a min). (4.) Updates on family bible reading (again, more coming). (5.) Discussion time to share anything they want to discuss. Things they feel are not fair, not going well, ideas for better ways to do things etc. We will take time here to also point out compliments and praise for their hard work and any other notable encouragement. I'm also thinking of having the family menu ready for the week so they are aware of what they will be eating and don't ask for something else. I'm not decided if this is a good idea or a bad one yet.
  • Chores- The other day I woke up way early and could not sleep because an idea came to me of a much better way to do the chore system. When I get the materials I'm hoping to do a picture blog on it. The basic difference will be that it's completely self-motivated. The kids will have pockets for each chore that I fill with "bucks" for each chore. For instance, Victoria's will have a pocket to water the cats every day. That pocket will have 7 "bucks" in it. If she wants that "buck", she has to do the chore before she can go claim it. They will all have a chore wallet where they will keep their "bucks". There will be a cut off time for the am and pm when mommy goes and claims the "bucks" they have neglected to do. At that time, they will be asked to do the chore w/o getting the buck. On Sunday meeting times, they will cash in the "bucks" for real money we attribute to each buck. I will also have an extra row at the bottom for bonus "bucks". These will be extra jobs available to them on a "first come, first serve" basis. He or she who does the job first, gets the buck! I see this as being highly motivating as the bonus jobs will be high values. Stay tuned for a practical guide for putting this together.
  • Frugal Lunches- I'm really going to stretch myself this year when it comes to the kids and Rick's cold lunches. I'm not good at making lunches and even I feel what I send them with gets boring. I had some strategies last year but some life events really threw me off. I'm hoping to dive into some experiments in tons of different wraps they can take and I'm going too look into the wonderful world of Bento by way of my friend Judy who has an adorable Bento blog. She inspires me with her rice balls and veggi segments. I'm thinking of things that can be eaten cold, remain healthy, and stay cheap. I'll keep you updated on that as well.
  • Bible Reading Together- Last, but certainly not least, Rick and I feel excited about a family time solution. We have struggled SO VERY BADLY at having a family time. I'm a "get to the point" kind of gal, and Rick is a "give them the total history and details" kind of guy. The kids get bored usually and with their attention spans differing so much, we would get one interested and then loose another, etc, etc, etc. Then, we started the idea of everyone coming to family time with their own activity. A quiet activity like coloring, crafting, etc. That worked fairly well but they seemed to zone out at times and we were not sure they were in tune with the story or reading. Tonight we tried something new. We started a bible in a year reading plan that the blog I participated in last year is doing. When they heard we were going to read the first THREE chapters of Gen, there were moans and groans, whines and pines. We will be adding to the plan by reading the Proverb for the day of the month as well. So, heavens.....FOUR chapters! They did not realize that we decided not to do the first chapter of Matt tonight to start out, even though it is on the plan. It is the genealogy of Christ and we did not want them to murder us in our sleep for pushing them too far. The fact is, once we got going they loved it! Everyone read two verses in rotation so there was no time to NOT pay attention because your turn would be soon. We told Caedmon he did not have to read but then he wanted to and he read beautifully. I started him off with one verse and he asked to do two. It was great. We ended it with a deep discussion on why God guarded Adam and Eve from getting to the tree of life after they had brought death upon themselves. Good stuff.

So, that is the big upgrade plan. I look forward to it. It's kind of the family New Year's plan but very doable I think. It's more just a way to make sure we flow, bond, and otherwise navigate life together moving ever forward slowly. Oh, and we will be taking minutes so we can look back to remember and/or clarify anything.

What new hopes or ideas do you have for you or your family this year?

My First Day Of The Year

We stayed up till 2011 rolled in. It was simple and quiet. Emma didn't make it and asked to go to bed around 11pm. The guinea pigs were squeaking and seemed to know there was a reason to be up late too. I'm sure their life in the new year is going to be much better from the months they spent in a small dog cage on a front porch. They are seeming so happy. Oreo in particular talks to us when we come in the door or get up in the morning, and even randomly through the day when she wants attention. They are so funny too because they want to be socialized but their instinct is still to run and hide when you go to get them. That must be confusing if you were a guinea pig.
Victoria and Caedmon traded off turns on the Wii playing their new Lego Harry Potter and Star Wars games, while Rick and I watched a movie and a few episodes of "The Big Bang Theory". When Midnight came around the Hispanic population set off their bombs fireworks. They really like to blow things up celebrate. Then, the mission bells starting ringing and I was imagining happy giddy monks in their brown robs (yes, they really do look like Friar Tuck) flying up and down with the bell ropes.
In many ways the new year seemed uneventful to me. I'm not sorry about that. The fact is, life will go on in it's normalcy whether it's Dec 31st or Jan 1st. I will still have a messy house that I struggle to keep up on. I will still need to workout all year to stay healthy. I will still need to cook to save money. I will still work at being loving to my husband and children (especially more now that I have a teenager). Life is not really exceptional because it's New Years, or I should say, I won't get any superpowers injected into me if I conjure up some grand emotions about it. Still, 2010 was a year of a lot of learning for me and I'm glad of it. I liked what John Piper said on his Facebook this morning:

"God promises new troubles (Mat. 6:34), new mercies (Lam 3:23), and new hope (2 Cor 4:16) for every day this year."

So, although there are a lot of things I wish to implement in the new year, I'm realizing that it's going to take daily renewal and resolve rather than a big rush from a clean slate. Slates are easily dirtied with use.

So, today, it's raining, more Wii games being played, and Rick and Caedmon are building Lego's. I'm showered and put on some more PJ's and clean socks, grabbed a coffee and had a banana muffin with walnuts and white chocolate chips. The kids have been laughing and bickering, doing their chores and leaving dishes around. The pets have been playing and making their own messes. Rick and I have loaded dishes and wiped counters. I've prettied up the kitchen a bit and removed some clutter. I'm about to put soups on to warm from last night and am hoping to FINALLY play some Mario as the kids have promised me I finally get a turn.

Life is not magical today, it's normal and I am blessed. God is good in rain and shine, trial and thrill, stress and satisfaction.

This is life...
This is 2011...
Bring it on.