Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
Psalm 63:3

Sunday, December 26, 2010

merry & bright & blessed

we've had a wonderful weekend celebrating our Savior's birth...hope you have, too

Thursday, December 23, 2010

$100 giveaway

Use your Master Card here and find some incredible last minute offers. And go to It's Almost Naptime {she's hilarious} to leave a comment and have a chance to win $100 Master Card from BlogHer. Fun, fun!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday catch up

{I should be knitting, I should be knitting...}

Busy times here as I'm sure they are at your house with your loves. 

Last week we drove to see Sweet Daddy in Illinois and spent a cozy, snowed~in weekend with him. We had Christmas movies on, needles in hand {well, just me,} cookies baking, and a fire in the fireplace{well, fakey logs...but a lovely fire.} Christmas bliss. 

And that, my friends, is the very reason we don't go and stay with him on this assignment during this season. Cookies and TV and sitting on our buns inside do not make for healthy, happy family and that's exactly what we would do, day after day, with only swims in the hotel pool to get our blood pumping. {We did leave the hotel to drive through blizzard conditions to attend possibly my favorite church ever.}

After four days, the bliss had to come to an end. Back home we went. We arrived after a loooonnnnng 6 1/2 hour drive...{doesn't sound too long, but I hadn't slept well the night before and we lose an hour on the way it's an hour later than it would've been in Illinois.} The kids and I unpacked the car, then put up our artificial Christmas tree...yes, I made the leap...and really like having it. I totally get the appeal, and my pine-allergic husband who has graciously allowed us to have a real tree in other years...appreciates it, too. It's just right and so fun to unwrap our ornaments and answers the kids' questions about the meaningful ones.

{I should be knitting, I should be knitting...}

The rest of the week went by quickly with a visit to Apple Valley to celebrate Grandma's birthday, a day full of friends {and more cookies} at our house, and a birthday dinner for Uncle Nack. Oh, and a new haircut and a touch of online shopping.

Today, it's back to knitting and Christmas movies in our pj's...with bread baking this time. No more cookies for a bit...oy.

{really...I should be knitting, I should be knitting...}

Yes, it's crunch time, yet I find myself tweaking my FB profile and adding photos, then becoming distracted by others' pictures and verging on becoming a creepy voyeur. {I mean, let's get real...that is the point of Facebook, right? That and presenting the best possible picture of our lives. Okay, rant over...I am, after all, a willing participant in it and enjoy keeping in touch with peeps through FB.}

Saturday, December 11, 2010


O Christmas tree...

I'm on the fence about getting one or buying a can't-even-believe-I'm-saying-it artificial tree this year, because I so get the convenience of it now.

This may be the third year we don't have a tree up in our house because of our wanderin' ways.

But I mostly grieve for the {you who know me well can say it with me} experience of it.

Opa and Anne to the rescue! They took the kiddos and I had a couple hours to scramble and do as many errands as possible. Anne even took pictures...couldn't have asked for more.

Still undecided about our own tree, though.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Yarn Along

Two of my favorite things: knitting and reading. Linked up with Ginny at small things again.

This week is fuh-lying by! There has been little time to read or knit. Monday, we did have a quiet day at home. So Bean and I were snuggled up reading these two books. On my needles is a mitten that matches the headband from last week. Not sure who it's for, yet. 

{Bean's skirt is still on the needles. It will hopefully be a quick finish...but may be bumped to a birthday gift for her in January. We have 3 chapters to go in Peter Pan. And the Lisa Samson book that I said I would finish within the week is still on my headboard. I read a little and get sleepy. Not a comment on her writing...just my lack of time to read or sleep.}

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

North America

Not officially being on the road, we received an intriguing exploration offer last week. 

My Aunt Mary Ann has worked at a private Montessori school in town for 25+ years. For a long time she administrated the preschool and now teaches the primary class.  I had the opportunity to work with her doing after school care there while I was in college. Truth be told, she trained me in many of my first our family swimming pool as a snack bar worker, as an office clerk, and as a lifeguard. I owe lots of my work ethic to her...{not that you would know much about my work ethic in my current...position.}  

The school is such a neat place and develops individuals for life-long learning. {Montessori and Classical education {the educational philosophy we use} have some similarities ie: the multi-age, ungraded classroom and the study of history vs. social studies.}

Each year, the school creates an environment that focuses on a continent. Each class takes responsibility for a region or era in the continent's history and develops a way to experience part of that culture or history with an interactive display. And she invited us to come and experience it. 

the girls grinding corn

Bug inside a pueblo

drum circle by our hosts

a ride in the Model T

This year's focus was North America. The display included a "Detroit" motorworks with assembly line, a Plains Indians area, a civil war encampment, a pioneer homestead, a Pueblo Indian dwelling, and an exhibit displaying the traditional art of Huichol people from the Mexican mountains. The display was open to invited visitors, but the best part was watching classes spend their free play times experiencing what they had worked so very hard to build. Very cool.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Each year as the weather drops below freezing I feel a stronger urge to hole up and wait it out. So like the proverbial ant, I gather. After I fill our pantry and freezer, I start filling the garage, as the outdoors becomes a veritable refrigerator and our storage capacity increases exponentially. If I don't need groceries, I won't have to go outside until April, right?

And I cook...soup, bread, casseroles {remind me to give you our new fave - chicken enchillada casserole} know, warm stuff.  And my latest experiment....

Have you tried a Larabar? Lovely stuff...healthy fruit and nut bars, with the main ingredient of dates. {You may remember last winter's fling with dates.}

Back to the bars...I like the density and sweetness of them. And their ability to emerge relatively unscathed from the depths of my knitting bag is a plus. Which makes them the ultimate sneak-into-a-movie snack...if you are one...who...does...that.

Of course, the delusion that I am eating something healthy to offset the handsful of Halloween-moving-right-thru-Thanksgiving-to-Christmas candy I drop down my gullet or my new habit of eating crackers and cheese at 9:30pm {yeah, how did that begin?} helps.

But I don't like paying close to $2 for each bar. Alternative?

I googled for a minute {that's sounds bad, doesn't it?} and found a couple of homemade versions. Choosing this one, I found it fast and easy. I made one batch with toasted pecans and dried cherries. The next was with unsweetened coconut and dried cranberries. 

Yum. I called the kids over and popped a sticky wad in each of their mouths. Thumbs up from them. Mom-tested, kid approved. Now we have a stash in the refrigerator apple bin, so that when grabbing for snacks, the kiddos may see them and remember they likey. And now you know and can help yourself when you're here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

product review {for the ladies}

I think there are a few male people who read this's get rid of them, shall we?


...fallopian tubes...


still there?

...mucus plug...

yup, that ought to do it....are they gone? 

I just want to declare my love to the world for the Diva Cup! {I've declared it face to face with a couple of you....}

If you want to know what I'm talking about, click on the link.

Again, appealing to both my frugal and crunchy's a winner. The fact that I don't have to run out for supplies at the last minute helps, too. The only fly in the soup of convenience is messing with the cup in a public restroom, especially a port-a-potty in the middle of the Pennsylvania mountains...nope, didn't think that one through. But other than that...I *heart* Diva Cup

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny at small things and others in another Yarn Along.

As you can see, I have a new project barely started...another headband/earwarmer.
Alas, today will be dedicated to sewing door draftstoppers and designing our Christmas cards...after our usual school day. I may not get to my needles for a while.

Still no Christmas decorations...but maybe this afternoon.

Bean discovered this forgotten book that I found at a garage sale last summer...$1 ~ score! It includes the original versions of The Wind in the Willows, The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan. The pictures of Barrie's Peter Pan must have intrigued her and so we find ourselves in Neverland at least once a day. It is a lovely place to be. 

It's snowing here and the kids are begging to go out and play. Welcome December!

{Update: Draftstoppers ~ check. Bit of merrymaking ~ check. And it's still snowing.}

Monday, November 29, 2010

Double whammy

He complained of a sore throat last night. And again this morning. Surely, a good momma would have known when he uncharacteristically, almost fell asleep on the couch. And there was the not getting into trouble all day. But it took a trip to buy a thermometer for me to confirm what I should have already known...Bug has a fever. 

And Sweet Daddy left this morning. {It feels so good to be in our house, I didn't want to go back, just yet.}

After a sweet week with Sweet Man {ahem, no big projects...just fun} and a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend, sickness is probably just what we need to slow down. And I apologize in advance to anyone we saw this weekend...and hugged...and kissed. Yes, indeed, that's what friends are for...keeping the contagions spinning.

I have a couple of projects in the works: Christmas cards to order, Christmas bins to unpack, and that big stack of books still to work through. Plenty to do.We'll be okay...right?

This isn't an SOS call...though if someone swung by with a load of some fresh fruit and veggies...produce that has actually grown on a tree or in the dirt...I wouldn't kick you off my porch...'cause we're out of that stuff. And since you're going anyway, we need ice cream...yeah, ice cream would be good....and....

{UPDATE: Fever's gone, he's back...peace out.}

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yarn Along 2

My's been a week since I posted. No worries, though. Sweet Daddy arrived home Friday and we've been enjoying time with him and catching up with other loved ones.

My Yarn Along this week is a quick knit {Headband/Ear Warmers}...when I say quick, you know I mean I started it and ripped it out and started again about three times, right? Once I was going, it finished up in about 2 hours and was perfect for a long, windy walk.

My read is a book I've been reading bit by bit for a few months now The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education, Leigh A. Bortins {the founder of Classical Conversations.} An encouraging and confirming book for anyone considering Classical education.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Speaking of which, Small Things is not linking today because of the holiday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yarn Along

I love Ginny's idea over at Small Things where she does a weekly Wednesday post highlighting a current read and a current handmade project. Since I operate in much the same way...toting a bag around with me containing a book and a project...ready for an opportunity to work on either...I have accepted her linking invitation.

{Yuck...I took this pic after dark last night with the lamp time I'll surely try with sunlight.}

I picked up another Lisa Samson {she's my favorite, dontcha know!!} book last week. This one is a pretty lighthearted read...from the p.o.v. of a teenage girl. I may be done with it by the end of the week. Of course, it is the third in a series...haven't read the other ones, yet. That, apparently, is my M.O. 

And I'm knitting a Christmas skirt for Bean...right under her nose. She keeps asking what it is and I answer that I haven't decided yet. Is that wrong?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Home again, home again

We're here, friends. And it's good. And decidedly boring. No big outings...just reading in front of the fireplace, watching a little PBS.

Coming home, I confess that I shed a few tears when I opened my silverware drawer and saw the knives for which I registered lo these 11 years ago. Silly, I know...I didn't expect to have that reaction. But after 2+ months in spaces owned by others, I'm sinking back in to this house and enjoying using our things.  I still don't understand why it's important for me to be in my own space, but I guess it is. It must be part of the American dream v. kingdom of God struggle I have. 

We haven't been without a little distress...Bug and I were sick as of Wednesday. He, with a little stomach bug and me, with a sinus infection. He was fine the next day. And at the first hint of my sore throat, I sucked down Emer-gen-C and that stuff. By yesterday, I was back to normal. 

Thursday, my sly friend asked me to watch her kiddos while she went to an appointment. I asked if when she came back, I could go to the grocery to do my big shop sans enfants. But then she canceled her appointment, and still granted me an hour and half of kidsitting. Very sneaky, sweet friend! Thank you and I owe you!

Stocked up are we. I can barely close my freezer. I've decided I'm done with the I'm out of a couple things, we need to run to the store nonsense...especially when I'm a single mom. I bought 3 of anything non-perishable and 2 of perishables. Totally went over our grocery budget for the month. Speaking of which, we are an all cash household! No more credit card purchases except to gain points or order something from afar. The monkey is off our back and it feels so good.

Friday, we shared lunchtime with other dear friends and made a trip to the library and a little thrifting.

Saturday, we had brunch at Opa and Anne's house. They had built a huge leaf pile {Mount Leafmore} and the dogs and kids rolled around in it...I think there were some adults in on the action, too. It was a lovely afternoon, sitting on the porch, knitting and visiting with Anne. We were able to catch up with the neighbors a little, too. Heading home after a while, we had de-leafing showers and attended a great Saturday night church service.

Sunday, I indulged my crunchy tendencies...a batch of granola for my favorite breakfast, a batch of granola bars for my boy. Cooking up a storm. Yesterday, a meal for my friend who just had a baby and some Corndog Muffins for the kids. I'm thinking about whipping up some sourdough starter...never done that before.

So fun being able to catch up with friends and family. To shop in our familiar aisles and go to our library and get too many books. The library cracked open its borrowing policy like I was Aladdin at the mouth of the cave. I uttered the magic words...I'm a teacher. Bingo, bango...6 weeks of time with these tomes...and we may need every bit of that to get through this stack. Bug has recently discovered Encyclopedia Brown  and Judy Blume {don't worry, just the Fudge books...not the other ones ;) }

Sweet Man returns home this Friday for 10 days. He thinks he will tackle getting our back fence up and building bunk beds for the babes. You go, babe.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Last Days in Illinois...

Well, at least for we squeezed a few more fun things into our time here. Sweet Man may be here beyond Thanksgiving, so we might return. I kind of hope so...we've enjoyed our time here.

{RTS and SBR:: This is for y'all, if you ever come to Bloomington, Illinois with your sweet men.}

We discovered two Bloomington-Normal gems this week...and found out that we had missed some fun harvest activities. One frustration about this area is that there is no centralized community calendar, so I  found out about the events after the fact. Bummer.

There are plenty 'o pictures in this post...I could split them up in to 3 posts, but things are a bit crazy as we pack up and I'd forget anyway. Leaving Monday, stopping to hug our Indiana beloveds...then on home.

It's been a chilly, but beautiful week.

First gem is Miller Park Zoo. It's the perfect size...we stayed for 3+ hours, but you could see everything in less than two, if you don't dilly-dally like us. Our faves were the meerkats and the river otters...hours of amusement for us. There was a fun public park and playground surrounding the zoo, which we didn't have time to explore, this time.

{FYI : very affordable esp. with a coupon, but the family membership is reciprocal or discounted with 100+ zoos including Columbus Zoo and the Wilds.} Check out these cuties.

Friday night, we went bowling with Daddy. The kids love it...another thing I'll pin on their short stint in Thursday School. We can hardly pass a bowling alley without a whine. We played one game without bumpers and 2 with. Bean had 1 strike and Bug had 3. It was fun.

The other gem of the area is the Sugar Grove Nature Center. This past Monday, the kids and I wandered out here to do some letterboxing. We didn't end up finding the hidden treasure but we discovered this fantastic place {once again, the journey is the destination} and brought Sweet Man back on Saturday for a guided nature hike. Then we played! in the crazy-cool play area. Sweet Man has clear charge from me to recreate at this at our next home.

{FYI: Free and open to the public. About 20 minutes south of Bloomington. It has miles of grassy trails through pastureland and some woods. They have all kinds of programs and events going on and a nature center with several reptiles in aquariums, a nature library, and a bird-watching room. Support memberships are available.}

Monday, November 1, 2010

in cognito

ever want to pretend you're someone else for a little while?

there's been a bit of that around here

an eagle preying on a fairy

the fierce pirate

Wall-e and our southern belle

lead singer and drummer in a bluesy, funky, raucous band

can you see us, Sweet Man and me? 

{just's needtobreathe...
Sweet Man and I were able to see them live last Saturday!!!

if you haven't heard them...
run to Pandora or grooveshark and plug in their name...
then pick Washed by the Water, Stones Under Rushing Water, or Lay 'Em Down, really anything...
they rrrrr-hock...
and I must raise my glass to Miss Abi for turning me on to them in the first place...thanks, Ab!}

Saturday, October 30, 2010

And the winner is...

...very scientifically chosen {a piece of paper picked by Bug}'s Abi.

Congratulations! As soon as I get back into town {~ Nov. 8ish} and locate the book in a random box, I'll get it to you.

And Bekah, you can still borrow my penciled, dog-eared, commented copy...I know right where it is.

Love you, both!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

this and that

Okay, back to the frivolities of life, shall we?

It's a cold, rainy day here. We may venture out later 

but for now we're enjoying a cozy school morning.

Here are the haps ~

~ we decorated yesterday

~ a wedding for the happy dolphin couple, Squirtle & Hannah

~ playing a little Set
you can play, too

{Hannah beat the tail off of Squirtle, by the way.}

 ~ making Great Pumpkin cookies on which to snack 

while we watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" tonight, 

you blockheads!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

radical {baby} steps, part 2

We need a dose of global thinking in our home. I wake up with nearsighted glasses...focusing on the immediate circumstances of life...meal preparation, schedule, errands, laundry, and mostly how can I maximize my comfort today?

I desperately need a reminder to look around me and most importantly up

My kids need it, too. All of us can so quickly go from this is the best day ever to why me? why can't I have that? it's so not fair.... 

They follow their momma's lead, y'all.

So, can I effectively make it part of our day? 

When a why me? tantrum erupts with my kids, my immediate response is to holler getagrip! at the plaintiff. You have no idea how good your life is! 

I go on to explain about living conditions of faceless, nameless people.  Sometimes, I may even go as far as to describe groups who are not allowed to express their faiths or don't have the chance to even know about Jesus. I imagine they hear my Charlie Brown headless adult voice.

Abstract...meaningless. Maybe they understand...but is it really sinking in with them me? {Sidenote: I do recognize groups of people, who may not have immediate challenges of just surviving the next day, also have the need for the grace of the Savior. We all need the good news of the gospel.}

I want to discuss specifics with Bug and Bean. I mean, point to the country on the world map, look at faces, talk about foods and houses, and imagine what it would be like to have to hide to go to church. {My radical friend, takes that one step further to get the message across to her radical.}

I've read about other families using a prayer guide to focus on praying for people around the world.Wouldn't it be great if I had written those book titles down somewhere? Or bookmarked the pages? Yes, what a fabulous, organized idea that would have been....

There are several daily prayer guides available...but I'm impatient. I want to find something to use during our couch time...tuh-day

The last chapter of Radical outlines ways that we can implement God's principles in a practical way. {Thank you, David Platt...I appreciate specific tasks and just need a point in the right direction.} He references Operation World and their prayer guide as a way to increase awareness and actively pray for people around the world, daily for a year.

When I checked out the website, I found this and clicked on Pray Today and found information about the country and people Operation World is praying for this very day. Jackpot! {The organization has a larger book and other materials available.}

So, we've included global prayer in our couch time last week. We use the computer to look up the guide, I read some of the information about the people, and then I do a search: "images name of country  people."  As we pray, we flip through the images...the visual connects us me with reality.

Perhaps someday we can meet some of these people...but for now, how exciting that we can learn about them and their cultures and pray for them like God asks us. 

I believe prayer can move God and absolutely change circumstances...I am hoping it will also move and change our family.

{Added later:} A quote from Radical : “We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes” (139).

Don't forget to enter for your chance in the giveaway...leave a comment on yesterday's post.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

radical {baby} steps & a radical giveaway


I'm nervous about this post. It's of the thinking out loud, composing my thoughts sort. Expect some transparency. And some disjointed thought. Please do not interpret any presumption on my part...please don't infer an assault on your life...this is truly me working through God's message for me through this book. Okay, done with the disclaimers.

I have finally finished Radical. I hear's about time...I've been reading it since May/Iowa. you want to hear the scoop?

Actually, there are so many other people who have more beautiful and intelligent things to say, like here. {Really, please read that link...His words through her are exquisite.}

Proceed with caution...the words may compel you to read the book...or send you running in the other direction. The book may mess with your head...or your life. If you are active in a fellowship, you'll question why you attend a certain church. If you are shaken like me, you'll begin to really pay attention to every dollar you spend {which is a very good thing for me, indeed.} If you lean to the radical already, well, watch out, world.

Watch this.

Radical by David Platt from Taylor Robinson on Vimeo.

So, thoughts... well, first my definitions based on my understanding and my experiences....

The American dream: If I work hard and treat people well, I will be rewarded with a fulfilling and comfortable life...and that's heaven enough for now. 

The gospel of grace: I can do nothing to earn my way into heaven. I deserve separation from God for my mistakes. The only way for me to join God in heaven is to believe and accept the sacrifice He has given for me in His son, Jesus. And because His love is better than my life, I should be willing to sacrifice anything to share the news and glorify Him.

Oh, yeah, we're getting right into it.

David Platt, author and pastor of an Alabama church, challenges followers of Christ to examine the contradiction between the American dream and God's gospel of grace. They cannot be assimilated...they don't fit together. He asserts that the individual cannot be believing and working toward the advancement of both. As a believer, I must choose one course...the success of me or Him.

My responsibility as a recipient of His grace and a follower of Christ is to share the news and extend that grace by sacrificially giving {my time, my material possessions, my loved ones, my commitment to giving in spite of what others do with my time & money, everything I have} all the while giving Him the credit. Period.  Specifically, God asks me to take care of the widows and orphans. And to go and talk to others about Christ...wherever they may be. 


Thank God, He's already given me a little insight.

I have a voice in my head that says, You deserve this. You've worked hard and been good. It's time to indulge. My American dream, right? Be it food, or spending, or comfort, or squandering time...the message and motivation are the same.  

The voice makes sense to me...partly because it seems logical...cause and effect, right? And partly because I have heard that message all my life as a middle-class American. Mostly, I believe it because I like a justified indulgence. 

But my American dream needs to be continually exposed in the light of the gospel. I'm beginning to recognize the arrogance of a selfish perpetuation of a culture of comfort which distracts me from my greater purpose as a follower of Christ.  

This book is an answer to prayer I didn't {and still don't want to} pray: LORD, help me silence the lie of the American dream. 

How do I know it's a lie? Well, if I believe that I deserve anything that God's provision has allowed me to have, what does another mother, who doesn't have access to the same resources, deserve?  Does she deserve struggle and suffering and the gut-eroding fear that she cannot give her children the fulfillment of basic needs?

Why do I have clean water from 3 sources within 10 feet and others have to walk miles to carry filthy water back to their families? {One of my favorite Christian communities, Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has partnered with this clean water program.}

I'm not talking about the consequences of personal choices...I know that enters into the mix. I'm talking about cultural, socio-economic obstacles that are part of this basic as where one is born to the more complex issues of outright injustice.

Our world does not operate on the you get what you deserve principle. The universal question why do bad things happen to good people? continues through the ages. And people who have done unspeakable things have never come to earthly justice. I include myself in the latter.

So, just what am I supposed to do with all this? What do I now?

I don't know...I need to simmer a bit more...and ask some more hard questions of Him and myself.

How much of this do I believe?

How far am I willing to go?

How do I function as a contributing citizen in a system that contradicts my God? The emperor has no clothes.

Not to mention, I know I'm opening myself up to some scrutiny. I am very aware that you may chalk this up to me having an emotional response to tragic stories.  I sound  flaky or condemning. You will be watching am I living? Has my paradigm shifted? How will my fickle flesh feel in a month? Prone to Wander isn't just the blog's my heart status.

Can't I just walk away unaffected? It'd be so much easier. Just don't bug me about this right now, God....

So, do I really want to be different? I am at least shaken out of my slumber, once again.

I don't have answers. But I'm asking for the answers. And my finite brain can begin to analyze the choices I make in my day as extending grace or withdrawing it. I think?

That's about as far as I've gotten in the practical sense. {Oh, and a new practice with the kids that I'll talk about in my next post.} 

How do I sustain? Only by maintaining an awareness of the healing, understanding, and joy He has given me.  Just a moment of remembering my life 15 years ago...wandering in a fog, trying the world's answers to fulfillment. The gratitude floods back. When I recognize the miracles of timing and purpose...the times I trudge through my life focusing on my feet...He is working with precision with this little old life of mine. If I take a moment to look, His fingerprints are all over my life.

I love the Serenity its entirety, but I especially love the lines that are not so well known.

God grant me the serenity 

to accept the things I cannot change; 

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; 

Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

Reinhold Niebuhr

Yes, that is what I believe. He rescued me from the muck of far He has brought me, knowing all the while I will be far from perfect. But I will have love...and I'll never be alone. He has done it for all of us....and now it's my privilege to tell you and others. That's radical.

And there you go, the culmination of my conviction in a {very convoluted} nutshell.

Here's the deal. I have an extra copy of Radical {don't worry, this is a good use of our dollars} and I'd like you to have it. So, leave a comment by Friday evening and I'll choose the winner on Saturday. {Terribly exciting, my first giveaway!}

Monday, October 25, 2010

Whirlwind weekend

Saturday evening, with just enough chill in the air, under a full moon, my friend Sarah married her sweet man. I'm blissed out for her. {Since I didn't okay it with her, I won't show faces, but these gorgeous flowers are safe. They're my favorite...I carried white hydrangea for my wedding.} I'm thankful my sweet man indulged me a quick trip to Ohio to join in her celebration. And we couldn't have done it had his parents not taken us in for the weekend and watched the kiddos Saturday eve.

Just to round out the fun a bit, we caught one of my brother's last shows with a great band. He's in 3, but One Under is my favorite of them. This clip is from over a year ago, but it gives you an idea. He's the bass player {on the left.} Note the requisite white-man-playing-bass head bob around 4:30 into the clip. Alas, the lead singer/guitar/songwriter is moving to Colorado, so One Under will be no more. This is a fitting song to hear, indeed.

Sunday, we went to church with Sweet Man's sister and her family. She even sent us on our way with very full fajita bellies...we should ambush them more often.

We arrived back in Bloomington last night. Shooooo-weeee!

Trick-or-treating is Thursday, if we get their costumes finished, that is. I'm in charge of Bean's; Sweet Man creates Bug's. And surely we must find another pumpkin themed activity...we haven't hit our quota, yet.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

You may be expecting this...

It's pumpkin~time!!!!

And we hadn't even begun the festivities until Friday...gotta keep pace with the harvest madness of last October.

After a little reading, we blew off the rest of the school day and drove to perhaps the most charming pumpkin farm I've seen. The day could not have been more beautiful and the kids and I really enjoyed it.

{Bug said he wished the boys had been with us, SBR.}

momma and 6{!} piglets

our jumping Bean

momma goat and 3 day-old kids

isn't he handsome? 
{possible suitor for your ladies, MLG?}

the dirt-tunnel and climbing the giant haystack

Later we went to dinner at the home of old friends who live here in town. What a lovely day.

{Bug & Bean each had cuffed pants on so we brought plenty of the farm home with us to the hotel *sigh* and now I'm picking pieces of straw out of my clean hotel sheets.}

Friday, October 15, 2010

Big secret

You ready? I'm going to tell you something only my husband knows about me. So far.

I don't wash my hair.

With shampoo, that is.

It's a movement, ya know. I read about it years ago, and wondered if I could ever make the leap. 

More recently, on Sortacrunchy, Megan wrote about being shampoo-free...easy peasy...just stop buying shampoo. When you run out, don't replace it. Here's another great post on the hows and whys. {She also explains how to cleanse your face with oil and how to become a cloth TP household. I'm not there yet.} 

I've rinsed my hair with diluted white vinegar for many moons now...and loved the results: softer hair, cleaner scalp, a bit of lighten-ing. 

So, a few weeks ago, I ran of shampoo and decided to do it.

The results are in: I love it...I'm sold. No more coupons or Big Lots buys...two ways in which I used to buy  product. Just baking soda and apple cider vinegar for me. I'm an every-other-day-wash kinda girl, in case you were wondering.

It appeals to my crunchy and frugal tendencies...I don't claim to be full-blown crunchy or frugal...I just lean  those ways. {Sortacrunchy and other sources suggest using Bragg's which can be a little more pricey. I've used that and store brand AC vinegar...both work. But there may be more information about using filtered or unfiltered...haven't looked into it, yet.}

It doesn't hurt that I've deluded myself into thinking that I'm also cleaning my tub as I rinse, saving time on scrubbing. See, it's a win-win.

{For the kids, I still use whatever we have on hand...usually stray hotel bottles. And Sweet Man's on his own in the toiletry department.}

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lisa Leonard giveaway

Do you read Lisa's blog?

Look to the right...she's right there on my blog roll. Or click here. Her writings about her sweet family can always tweak my perspective and help me remember my blessings. Her pictures are beautiful. And then, there's her lovely, personalized jewelry...pop over today, leave a comment about the bravest person you know, and have a chance in her latest giveaway.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mecherle Park, Part Deux

In August, on our way to Des Moines, we stopped.

Sunday, we went back.

Bean and her butterfly kite

The boys and Bug's double-string jet kite