Wednesday, November 11, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 11: Necessity

Today's theme is "necessity."  Last night I was thinking about what I might take a picture of today, and I was running through a list of things in my head that might qualify as necessities.  Which brought me to the conclusion that we have an awful lot of things in our lives that are actually luxuries!! :)  Obviously food and water and clothing are the basic necessities, but I decided to focus on a different kind of Bible!  I guess to many people in other countries, a Bible would actually be a luxury too.  The reason I'm putting it in the "necessary" category is that as a Christian, my faith is obviously a huge part of who I am.  And (to quote the Bible :)) "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."  So I couldn't really have more than a basic knowledge of God (such as what I might understand of a Creator...through nature, etc.) without the Bible.

I will be the first to admit that I struggle often with consistency in Bible study, especially since adding a new baby to the family.  Some days I just don't get a quiet time at all, and I really miss it.  Thankfully I know this is a season, and one day (hopefully soon!) I'll be getting a bit more sleep, getting up earlier, and having that uninterrupted time first thing in the morning.  Until then, I'm so thankful for the multitudes of verses I memorized as a kid...God brings His word to mind when I need it!  I also get to do Bible study with the kids each day for school.  We just finished up a study from Philippians, we're reading bits of Peter's life in the Gospels, and we've started into "The Dig," a study from Luke.  Even though these are all geared toward children, I'm finding the principles apply to me, too!

On a related note, in this busy season of motherhood with a small baby, one of my go-to devotionals has been She Reads Truth.  In seasons where I have more time to dig deeper and journal, I really like the Bible studies from Love God Greatly.   Hello Mornings also has some great resources!  I would love to hear any of your favorite devotional books or websites/online resources, as well.

So to me, the Bible is a necessity.  :)  I'm thankful that here in America we have the luxury of owning one (or many!) and the freedom to study and learn from God's word.  I know I take that for granted way too often.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 10: Special treat

At the risk of boring everyone with yet ANOTHER post about Ari...well, I just couldn't not post about her first birthday, could I?! ;)  And since the theme for today is "special treat" I thought it would work out well, since I have pictures of her with a cupcake. :)

It's hard to believe our littlest girlie turned ONE yesterday.  It just doesn't seem like she could possibly have been here for a whole year already!  As you can see, she has developed quite the personality!
 We sang "Happy Birthday" to her more than once throughout the day. :)  She would get the biggest grin every time!
 She was pretty happy about the cupcake with its bright candle, too!
 Looking over at her siblings...they are her BIGGEST fans!!
 This one and the next are out of focus, but I just loved her expressions anyway. :)

 Julia "helped" blow out the candle since Ari had NO idea what to do with it.  She was still grinning from ear to ear, though.  Then she proceeded to stick her fingers in the frosting. ;)  
Later on, we attempted to recreate this photo from last year.  We got some funny shots...this is one of my favorites. :)  

We will be having a "real" party for Ari on Friday, with presents and a theme cake, and grandparents!  So I will probably put up a few pictures from that too, eventually.  In the meantime, hope you've enjoyed these!  Happy birthday, baby girl!  You are so loved!

30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 6, 7, 8, 9: Tradition, Unexpected, Laugh, Keepsake

Well, I already missed some days...but that doesn't surprise me.  :)  There were a few days that it was more important to do family stuff or get to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour than to try to keep up with my blogging plan.  So, here goes with trying to catch up!

Day 6's theme was "Tradition."  We are big fans of tradition around here (or at least the kids and I are! ;)) and we have a few traditions that are pretty special to all of us.  Things like the Jesse tree during Advent, or honey rolls at Thanksgiving, or taking family pictures (almost) every fall.  I think our traditions are always evolving, to some extent...we add something new here and there, and suddenly it might become a tradition.  I love that.  I love how families each create their own unique rituals, sometimes on purpose and sometimes completely by accident!

I'm posting a picture of this book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions.  To be honest, I've owned it for several years and haven't yet made the time to read it!  But it looks excellent and in my browsing through, it seems to have some good thoughts and ideas for ways to make our traditions even more meaningful.

Day 7's theme was "Unexpected."  I'm honestly not sure what to post for this one!  The only thing that comes to mind was how "unexpected" our sweet Ari was, but what a blessing she is.  I feel like practically all of my recent posts are about her in some way or other, though!  But hopefully you won't mind yet another picture of her. ;)  Or two...because another one is coming up in a few paragraphs!

Day 8 was "Laugh."  We do a lot of laughing around here, and I'm so thankful for that.  Imagine a family where nobody had any fun?!  Our kids make us laugh a lot, and Jim is a funny guy too. :)  Smiles and laughter and love really make a house a home, I think!

Day 9 was "Keepsake."  I'm going to go with this picture of Ari and her Great-Grammy.  Because a picture of these two is destined to become a keepsake, right? :)

Stay tuned for Day 10...coming up!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 5: Friends

Today I'm thankful for all the friendships I've been blessed with.  Friends are a special gift, aren't they? :)  I realized when getting ready to put this post together, I don't have nearly enough pictures of my friends!!  So I'm just throwing in a few that I found as I was zooming through my photos.  I wish I had pictures of more of you!!
 @the ladies' retreat last year with my friends Natazche and Gail
 @Story Land last fall--Julia and my friend Amy
 after Ari's birth, with our neighbor friend Amy

reading at the library with one of our awesome librarian friends, Miss Susan

I love how so many lives touch other lives.  I believe God sends each friend into our lives for a reason!  I'm thankful for old and new friends, far away and local friends, close friends and casual acquaintances.  And even bloggy friends whom I've never met, but feel like I know!! :)  Friends teach me so much, encourage me, give of themselves, bear burdens, pray for me, and inspire me.  So to each of my friends who may be reading this post: thank you, thank you!!  I pray that I will be a blessing to you in return. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 4: Small

Today I'm thankful for small shoes...and for the small person who wears them. :)  I found these little Robeez a while back at the thrift store for a dollar and I just love them!!  I will be sad when Ari outgrows them.  I'm currently on the hunt for some soft soled boots for her to wear around this winter.  So far the thrift store hasn't produced any, but I'm still looking!

Thanks to all of you who have commented on my posts this week!!!  I'm sorry I haven't had time to respond, but thank you all so much for hanging in there and continuing to check in and encourage me even though I haven't been a faithful blogger this year.  I do love sharing here as I get the chance, and hopefully this month will springboard me into more of a routine again. :)

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 3: Most

For today's post, I'm cheating a little bit and using a video instead of a picture. :)  The theme for today was "most."  I could do all kinds of things with that theme, but I decided to go with this video, because this was the MOST steps Ari had ever taken in a row, at least at this point in time!  (I haven't counted since then...but I think this still may be the most she's taken at one time. :))  


Up until Saturday, she hadn't taken more than 2 or 3 tiny steps without holding onto something.  Then Saturday evening, while my parents and grampa were here, she took quite a few.  And later, after supper, she did took even I had to capture it with the Kindle.  Sorry the video quality isn't great, but it's a lot faster to upload a Kindle video than one from the nice camera!

She is getting braver all the time, and is walking without holding the furniture much more often now.  So today I am thankful that Ari's's so much fun to watch her learn new things!!

Monday, November 02, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 2: Home

In this post, I am keeping it real!  Today's theme is "home."  Most of you who know me in real life know that while I LOVE being a wife, mom, and homemaker, I
Or as Flylady says, a "SHE" (sidetracked home executive).  Embarrassingly, I majored in Home & Family Management in college.  Let's just say it is easy to get As and Bs in classes when you are not actually living "real life" and actually managing a home and family!!!

Anyway.  I've struggled even more to keep up with things since Ari was born.  I recently realized I hadn't cleaned off the top of my piano since BEFORE she was born!!!  (Can you say "DUST?" Not to mention the baby cards and Christmas cards that were still residing there!!)  I've been feeling less exhausted and more motivated lately, so I'm working on getting things back on track.  

So in the interest of keeping it real, here are some scenes from my home today.  A few before and afters...because it always feels good to straighten up!  And hopefully some of the "befores" will be an encouragement to someone else.  I sure wish I had my act together all the time, but I have to keep reminding myself that while keeping my home neat and clean is important, and something to be constantly working toward, it's a journey.  And "home" is more than just the house and the things and the cleaning up...home is most of all the people.  And I sure do love MY people, and someday I will miss the messes they make.  (Okay, I make lots of messes too. :))
I did finally clean my piano top. :)
 Table & wall behind the couch...lots of book clutter!
 Ahhh, that's a little better.  (Note the different angle to include the cute napping baby. :))
 a little moose theme going on in my kitchen...
 Look Mom, my dishes are all caught up again! (my mom will get this... :))
 more moosie-ness
 Caught her changing positions in the middle of her nap :)
 Back to sleep!
 Love my Gooseberry Patch calendar
 OH, the hutch!...clutter central because it's right inside the front door!
There, that's much better.
 And the table.  Boy, do we have table issues.  Especially since we use it for school, too!  The above pic is how it generally looks on any given day.
 Wow, there was a table under all that mess!  Yay, we found it!

And one more shot of "home" for today...a tasty supper of homegrown chicken!  

Sunday, November 01, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness in Photos, Day 1: Family

After a busy October in which I neglected my blog again, I'm ready to give myself a challenge this month.  Let's see how it goes. :)  I really want to do 30 days of thankfulness this month, like I did a couple years ago, but with a different twist...I'm planning to combine it with a photo (or photos) each day.  And every post will hopefully have a different theme.  I got the idea from a month-long photo challenge that I found on Pinterest, from a blog that unfortunately seems to have disappeared since then.  I think the original idea was to actually *take* a photo each day, but I'm adapting it and will use any of my photos that goes along with the theme, no matter if I took it that day or months ago. Anyway, today's theme is family!  I'm so very grateful for the family God has given to Jim and me.  First he blessed me with just the right man, then he blessed us both with four beautiful kids who make me smile every day.  I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite pics from our little day trip to Maine back on Columbus Day.  
 on York Beach
 the big kids
 me and my littles and bigs :)
 running down the beach
 my traveling companion
 exploring rocks along the cliff walk
 such a beautiful day!
 and a beautiful girl :)
 love this one.
 little miss blue eyes
heading back along the cliff walk

Family adventures are the best adventures!