home || about me || tutorials || shop || my favorite blogs || home education

09 October 2013

Many Useful but Unrelated Tidbits

I have a bunch of random things to share with you today...and if you make it to the end, there's a prize. {Well, sort of...it's a discount code...surprise!} I guess now you don't have to read the whole post.

Let's start with this picture of Maren...I have no idea what she is doing, but I included it since it's, well, random.

I love to read. My goal for 2013 is to read 33 books. I'll let you guess why 33, because a woman never tells her age.

My aunt gave me this little prayer book for Christmas several years ago, and I've just recently started using it again. There are a month's worth of simple prayers for morning and evening. My prayer life has been richly flavored by Baillie's words over the past couple of weeks.

I also just finished The Thirteenth Tale, based on a recommendation from a trusted fellow-reader-friend. {Side note...if someone who loves food is a foodie, and a picture you take of yourself is a selfie, what would you call someone who loves books? Just doesn't quite work. Also, if you live in Colorado, you are not eligible to participate in Amazon's affiliate program. Sad. Not that I was planning on getting rich from it or anything, but I love to buy books, so thought I'd give it a go. No go, Colorado address.}

I liked The Thirteenth Tale. It's dark and eerie and has a pretty great, unexpected twist at the end.

Maren learned to change diapers. Almost. It's backwards, but it worked! And...one less diaper for me. Literally, one less. This was her first and last attempt.

I've decided to do some things a little differently in my shop. I've read several books this year, and I've just been generally convicted lately about simple living. I'm pretty terrible at it, but as a family, we're working on getting better. It's so hard not to chase after the next new, better, smarter, more fun or special thing. I like to shop. I like to decorate. I like to cook. I like to read. I like clothes. I like stuff. There, I said it. But, I'm trying not to let all those things consume me or my family's resources. 

The thing is, I also LOVE to give things away. I like giving gifts to my friends and family, I like filling boxes at Christmas for children who might not have much, I like supporting various missionary friends, and I really find great joy in giving and supporting people doing special things. 

All this considered, I started praying a couple months ago about how I might use my Etsy shop to serve, love and help others. I received some great feedback and support from a couple of special friends. {Thanks Hannah and Heather! You should visit their blogs and shops...two very special ladies!} And, what I've decided is that I want to use much of my income from Oh Write to offer support to friends and family who are walking through the adoption process. My goal has never been to get rich from my Etsy shop, but I do really LOVE the idea of using it to help others! 

Effective immediately, 50% {hopefully even more...just need to see how the numbers all pan out!} of my sales will go directly towards helping families who are adopting. I have 2 special friends who will likely be my first recipients. I'm in the process of working out those details...but hopefully I'll get to share about them with you soon. I've always had a hard time promoting my shop for my own benefit, but now I'm thrilled for the opportunity to use my creativity and time to bless others...so go buy something! Ha. But, seriously, it's for a good cause. {wink}

Finally, I've come across a few great posts recently, and maybe you'll be blessed, encouraged, or informed by them, too.

Tsh reminded me to take time for Friends of All Ages. I'm constantly blessed by my friendships with older and younger ladies...how about you?

Is your family broken? Elisa shares the truth that we ALL come from broken families. Such a freeing reminder!

Do you read Edie's blog? I can hardly wait to try some of her October recipe suggestions...and please tell me that we're not the only family NOT eating like this every day?!

These Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Tacos were delicious. Every single one of us loved them and raved about them...and they're a great meatless option, if that sort of thing matters to you!

And, that about wraps up this post.

Oh, yeah...a prize!!! Use code RANDOMLOVE for 20% at the shop.

How about you? Any random goodness in your life lately?

08 October 2013

a model child

Depending on how long you've know me, or how long you've read my blog, you may or may not be aware of how Truett's life started out. Most days I completely forget about those early weeks...facing the news of his heart problem, the days in the hospital with my sweet 6-week-old baby, weeks following the surgery filled with prayer and hope that he would be 'okay'. 

Well, let me tell you, Truett's heart is working just fine these days. My sweet, fragile, helpless boy is fragile and helpless no more. {He is still occasionally sweet, thank goodness!} Parenting him is a mystery. Prior to having a second baby, I was aware that children have unique personalities with different needs. But now I know the magnitude of this truth. Oh boy...literally...oh boy!

To be honest, prior to having Truett, I thought I had the mom thing pretty well figured out...even that I was exceptional at it. Maren responded well to discipline, she was smart, funny, mostly-agreeable, a good eater, good sleeper...and then came Truett. Ha!

I love him fiercely...he has taught me so many lessons in his short {okay, sometimes it feels long!} two years. He is affectionate and snuggly, he loves to read books, he is an introvert {like his mama...really, most of the time when we have lots of friends over, I'll find him looking at books in another room, or playing quietly in his bed!}, he has a great sense of humor, and brings much joy to our family. I honestly love him so much.

But, he also makes me crazy! He's so hard for me to parent. We are learning and growing together, but there are days that end in tears...for both of us. He is stubborn. He throws fits. He is messy {I know, he's a boy!}, he's aggressive, and often I just don't know what to do with all these different things. 

God is so gracious...and reminds me often of my own sin as I'm working at training and disciplining Truett in love. This business of being refined through my kids is hard, though! I'm thankful for the glimpses of God's great love for us...no matter how massive our mistakes and wanderings, he loves us enough to patiently guide us back. Admittedly, I'm not always as patient as I wish...and way too often I focus on my immediate desire for behavior modification rather than the lasting implications of heart-change for my kids. I mess up...I yell sometimes, I get lazy sometimes, I try too hard to do things on my own, without the help of the Lord. But He faithfully reminds me that he has not left me to my own devices in this calling to be a mother! He's given me a wise, loving husband...He's given His relevant, encouraging, challenging truth in the Word...He's given me gifts of prayer and rest. Thank goodness...because really, I'm not sure I'd make it any other way.

So, here's a story...last week, our family was all under the weather. Truett had a cough that was lasting a long time, and he has a history of ear infections, which had me concerned that his ears were bothering him. We were having a really rough morning at home...he'd been particularly whiny. I decided to go ahead and take him to the doctor just to be sure he didn't have something more serious than a bad cold...but also sort of dreading a trip to the doctor's office with my feisty little guy. 

Truett remained disagreeable right up until the doctor walked in, and then something unbelievable happened. The doctor asked him to sit on the table, and his reply? "Sure." She asked him to take some big breaths for the stethoscope..."okay." Can you open your mouth really wide? "Okay." He proceeded to let the doctor poke and prod, check his eyes, nose, mouth, ears...he coughed, breathed, and moved on command. I sat there in awe, and considered asking the doctor to come home with me. She turned to me, and I kid you not, the lady said,

"He is a model child. I wish every 2-year-old was as cooperative as he is! He would be a perfect child for a student to observe because he is so compliant. Most parents would pay to have their 2 year old behave this well!" {Yeah, sign me up to pay for my kid to behave this well!!!}

I wanted to laugh hysterically and bawl all at the same time. Also, I wished I had a tape recorder (ummm...that dates me just a little bit, right?) so I could remember those words. I have a feeling there will be times in my future when I'll want to replay them over and over to myself, to teachers, church nursery workers, grandparents...a model child. It still makes me snicker to type that out. And I'm realizing now that even if I DID have a tape recorder, no one would ever be able to hear those words again, because nobody owns cassette players anymore! 

So, these are the lessons I'm learning, and the little gifts the Lord is giving me to help make it through. Do you like that picture above? Truett loves Maren's purse and pink Bible. He opens it up and recites {several times a day} "Then Jesus went to work. The end."

I can't help but think, Yup. Jesus certainly does go to work...every single day. He works on my heart, and Truett's...and I'm so very glad He does.

01 October 2013

Things worth mentioning

The thing about having a blog is that the writer gets to pick exactly what gets published...as the writer of this blog, I choose my favorite pictures, I tell stories that {usually} make me happy, and I write when I choose. Recently, it came to my attention that you, as the reader, probably don't get a great representation of what our life is really all about. I love my family...we try to make lots of great memories together, and that's about what you hear. Truly, I want that to change. Mostly, I am very grateful for the life the Lord has given me...I have an incredible husband, 2 clever kids, and some pretty special friends and family members. But we have some bad days, too. I get mad and impatient, Truett hits Maren with his helicopters, Maren's room is usually a wreck (I like to think it's because she's so creative???), and Brett forgets things. A lot. We're all learning and growing...just like you, I'm sure! 

So, until I get a chance to take a picture of Truett having a meltdown, here are some carefully selected photos of Maren's first day of school, which was really the second day since she was throwing up the night before the first.

It is next to impossible to get a good picture of these two together...both looking at the camera and smiling. But, I sort of like this one...it's real life. They're good buddies most of the time. With Maren gone at school now, Truett gets some peace and quiet (which he relishes) and I am able to be quite productive. (miracle!)

If I ever get around to it, I have some fun things to share with you. I'm making some changes to my Etsy shop, I've got some good posts written in my mind, and a few more honest, hard ones, too.

Happy October!

03 September 2013

Spending my moments...

I'm in a rut. Life has been more disjointed and haphazard recently. I think I've been feeling behind and more disorganized than usual...and the combined effect is a paralysis of sorts.

What I'm learning ever so slowly, is that my responsibility lies is many small moments of obedience...obedience to the small things the Lord calls me to each day. When my focus is plagued by worry, fear, and anxiety about the future, I too-quickly succumb and find myself trapped in moments of disobedience. My joy dissipates until it's unrecognizable and I begin to wander somewhat aimlessly through a fog of doubt, unclarity and weariness.

I found myself in such a place this morning as I faced a looming 'to do' list, kids that had awoken too early, and a generally grumpy disposition. And then the Lord gently led me into a different place when I opened his Word to 2 Corinthians and read these words...

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. 
Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:15-18 esv

And now I'm doing my best to serve and love and take captive each moment...paying less and less attention to the temporal, transient things and relying on that grace extended in a way that increases thanksgiving. As it turns out, when I pursue this way of living, all the stuff that so quickly brought me to my knees in a fit of worry doesn't seem so important after all. And I find I have more time to spend on my knees in thanksgiving to the glory of God.

31 August 2013

The merits of rising early

In honor of Labor Day weekend, I woke up this morning at 4:45...am...in the morning...yes...very crazy early...on a Saturday. Thank goodness it was worth it. The kids slept in their clothes last night so we could wake them up and be out the door, bed-head and all.

We went to the Colorado Classic Balloon Festival, which is an amazing, free event we try to attend each Labor Day weekend. Truett was a little traumatized by the early morning. The loud, flaring balloon torch thing that lit up directly as we were passing by very closely didn't help much, either. He mostly sat in my lap the entire morning. Two-year-old boy snuggles? I'll take them when I get them!

Maren, on the other hand, was thrilled with the morning's festivities. What's not to love about a field full of colorful objects ascending in the air around you?

They have a sweet, special relationship. I'm glad Maren loves her daddy so much.

Maren's favorite balloon was the pink heart one, of course.

Turned out, our little spot was perfect for watching balloons take off over our heads. Someday Brett and I are going to go for a balloon ride.

So may balloons!

I can't say Smokey was my favorite balloon, but he did take off right behind us, which was pretty cool to watch.

Tired little guy...

A balloon chair! This is NOT how Brett and I will enjoy our one-day ride!

The black and white checkered balloon was a neat contrast to all the colored ones.

...and, the poor guy didn't even make it through his lunch.

Tiredness aside, I'm glad for our little Labor Day tradition. What fun things are on your agenda for the weekend?

28 August 2013

Come and see...

Autumn is just around the corner and I've been busy creating some fun new additions for the shop! If you click on the pictures, they will take you right to the listings.

My favorite cousin gave me a flaxseed wrap as a gift a couple of years ago, and it quickly become one of my favorite things she's given me. I have since given several away as gifts...new moms love them, grandmas love them, teachers love them, kids love them...and you will, too! These wraps can be stored in the freezer or warmed in the microwave...I especially love mine heated up during the cooler months.

I've also been having fun creating these special little collages. I love mixing the different patterns and colors...each one is unique! The current listings are for 4x6 small houses...wouldn't they be a great addition to a gallery or collage wall?

I've got several more new items that will be listed soon...and, how about a coupon code?! Use SEPTEMBER20 for 20% off your orders throughout the entire month!

19 August 2013

She turned 5

It happened. Maren turned 5. The strange thing is, I remember things about being 5. I'm sure she will, too. We had a day filled with celebrating her, and doing things she thought were very special. No big party with friends this year, which was kind of nice. I'm pretty sure she didn't even miss it!

We had a special breakfast and opened a few gifts in the morning. She got a Caboodle for all of her little treasures.

A special outfit from Uncle Ben, Aunt Allison, Paige, Will, Annie and Isaac...

Maren also got to open several cards from far-away family.

We surprised Maren with a trip to the American Girl store in Denver. Felicity came along.

We stopped at the bank for Maren to cash her birthday checks...she was very serious about signing them by herself...so grown-up!

Maren chose to get Saige with her money...and we all enjoyed a birthday lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.

After lunch we did a little shopping for some new shoes.

Truett spent the day with Papa and Gigi, and we celebrated with a family dinner at their house when we were finished with our 5-year-old-date-day.

A little swimming...

...we forgot swimsuits (oops!)

Getting warmed up with Gigi!

We were glad to have Maren's great-grandpa join us. Maren still has 5 living great-grandparents!

Uncle Mike, Aunt Tiffany, and Ian joined us.

Some new puppies...

And homemade chocolate lovers birthday cake with pink frosting. I might have to share this recipe sometime...it was SO yummy!

I love Truett's face in this one...

Five things I especially love about Maren:

1. She is creative and loves pretend play
2. She makes friends easily everywhere we go...and is quick to make others feel loved and welcome
3. She is loyal and has a special love for her family...and a special friendship with Truett
4. She loves to sing and worship
5. She has a unique vocabulary and asks endless questions about the world around her

15 August 2013

Summer...a post in pictures

Have I really not posted since May? Obviously, a lot has happened since then! Thank you for your sweet emails and inquiries as to my whereabouts. Our little family has had a full summer of learning, growing, making memories, visiting family, and mostly just enjoying time together. I've chosen some highlights from our summer to share...knowing I'll never take the time to go back and document each individual event.

We've enjoyed spending time at our neighborhood pool...both kids have become quite the brave little swimmers this year.

In June, we celebrated Truett's 2nd birthday! I could write so much more about my special little guy, but that will have to wait for another time. Our family is blessed by his quirky, happy self each day and we loved having a couple of opportunities to celebrate his life early in the summer.


Maren loved participating in VBS this year...this was hat day with her special cousin/friend, Hannah.

We also celebrated extended family birthdays with a picnic at the park. My sister-in-law, Tiffany, and cousin Carisa are always so much fun to see!

Fourth of July...and maybe one of my favorite pictures of these two. Truett's green blanket is a permanent fixture in our lives...and I love how close Maren and Truett have become. They are at the most fun ages right now...lots of laughing these days!

Sweet boy...

Maren loved riding her 2-wheeler in the parade this year. What happened to my baby?!?!

Maren and Gigi enjoying the bagpipes.

Papa got to ride in the parade, but came to watch the last half with us.

We took the kids camping twice this summer. The first time was a disaster, but the second time was so much fun. We spent a weekend with friends and family from church...22 adults and 22 kids! We had a beautiful campsite with the best company...I think our entire family is already anticipating a return trip next year!

It was impossible not to praise God in this beautiful place...we serve the most inspiring Creator!

Brett and I splurged on a date night...complete with babysitter, dinner, movie and ice-cream. We saw Mud at a small local theater downtown and both loved it. I am always grateful for opportunities to date my husband...he makes me laugh, we share our dreams and talk about what we're learning. Nights like these are always so special.

Towards the end of July we packed up and drove across the country to visit my family in Michigan. We stopped in Chicago to pick up my brother, Zach. He lives just a few blocks from Millennium Park, so we took a couple of hours to walk around the city.

The kids loved playing in the fountain...especially after lots of hours driving in the car.

Our final road-trip destination was in northern Michigan at my family's lake house. We had a chillier-than-hoped-for week, but we still made plenty of great memories. The kids didn't let the cooler temps keep them out of the water!

Truett loves playing with buttons and steering wheels, so he spent lots of time in the boat.

The adults didn't spend much time in the water, but Grams was always willing to warm Maren up after her swims.

Truett had a great buddy in my dad. They spent lots of time together during the week.

The kids found a caterpillar and managed to keep track of it for a couple of days...such fascination!

I could not believe how brave Maren was on the tube! She loved going fast and being whipped in and out of the wake. It's been a long time since I've laughed as hard as I did while tubing with Brett and Maren.

Maren also loved the EZ Ski...she would've gone around and around all day if we'd have let her.

My cousin's little guy, Max, is 3 and he and Truett had a blast together. They had little conversations, jumped together on the trampoline when the big kids were doing something else, shared snacks and toys, and became great friends.

We celebrated Maren's birthday early with my parents. She got some new things for her ballet/tap class she'll be starting this fall. I think she was just a little excited.

We really missed having my brother's family with us at the lake this summer, but were thankful for other extended cousins...it's such a blessing to have so many kids so close in age! Maren, Ellie, Hailey, Drew, and Jack had so much fun together. It's a treat to watch this new generation making similar memories to ones I cherish from my own childhood...the kids ate s'mores, raced around the house with sparklers, jumped on the trampoline, played capture the flag, took nighttime swims...all things I remember doing as a little girl in this exact same place. What a gift to share these memories and to make new ones with my own kids!

Whew! That was a lot of pictures...hopefully I'll post again before October. :) Happy summer!