Monday, August 22, 2011

Bug Hunt

So today was gorgeous!  High 70s and sunny...I could stand every summer day to be this beautiful!  I sent the boys outside so I could get some things done and they quickly got to hunting for bugs.  They were in and out of the kitchen grabbing empty food containers that I had in a bag to go into the recycling bin.  They needed them to make "habitats".  I wasn't going to argue because they were having fun and were really into it.  Plus, they were all getting along and enjoying each other...big plus!

The paper and markers were used to sketch out bug house plans!  Very creative.  The exciting find of the day was a snail named Howard.

They wanted to find Howard a wife that they could name Shelly, after her shell...get it?  Don't ask me where the name Howard came from though.  Anyway, they did find another snail but it was small so they decided she was too little to get married and they let her stay in the garden.  Yes, let her grow and explore life and live among the flowers!

So here's Howard in his new habitat...or bachelor pad as he's not yet married!

Boys + bugs = happy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

So, not too long ago I finished reading "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp and loved it!
                   It's "a dare to live fully right where you are".  
A beautifully written and thought provoking book that challenges the reader to let go of your grasp for control, to see beyond life's pain and loss to catch God in your everyday, everywhere moments.  To begin to recognize His love for you by counting your gifts each day.  And it's so much more than a "gratitude journal", it's an awakening to the grace of God in the everyday, a realization of His never-ending love for you by counting the little things, the gifts that we can all too often take for granted in the rush and crazy disconnecting crush of life.  Ann was challenged by a friend to begin a list of 1000 gifts.  That list started out as a to-do and turned into a journey that transformed her life as she discovered deep joy....even through some very hard times.  The book documents that journey.  Here's the book's trailer...

This book is both challenging and affirming.  I underlined so much as I went along.  I read and re-read to really get it in.  I've grabbed it again as I've encountered tough times and battled lots of stress and fear.  I really wondered, how can I give thanks for this situation?  Well, in her words she writes,
"Fear thinks God is finite and fear believes that there is not going to be enough and hasn't counting one thousand gifts, endlessly counting gifts, exposed the lie at the heart of all fear?" 
She discovered that jotting down gifts, things once taken for granted, revealed that God is always there, always loving, always working things for good, always to be trusted.

Reading this book made me want to embrace and enjoy my life and live it to the full...right where I am.  That's why I began this blog.  So thankful to Ann Voskamp for writing this life-changing book.

I began my own journey of counting gifts and looking for "kisses" from God in my everyday.
And I'm linking up with Ann Voskamp on her blog today to share with others who are also on the journey to 1000 gifts and beyond.

And, here's a smattering from my gift list so far....
    1. "Koala baby" hugs
    7. Breezes through the sheers
  12. My little boys who pause during their day to kiss & hug their mommy & tell her they love her
  19. A mother I just met, further ahead of me, sharing words only You knew I needed to hear
  29. Great friends who care for me and rescue me during a migraine
  40. Freedom
  44. $ to go grocery shopping
  51. Peace in the storm
  64. A washer and dryer that work to clean clothes
  77. The past, already dealt with can hold no pain for me today because of Your grace
  79. Excited boys going to vbs
  80. Being treated to dinner by a dear friend
  82. Timely provision
  84. Giant marshmallows
  90. Boys and their legos
  97. Caterpillars in the garden...a promise of a gift to come
  98. This scripture
102. Opened eyes to my own mistakes and self-centeredness
104. A lame sparrow healed and flying, after the precious prayers of children
106. 2 trucks SOLD!  Only God!
110. A husband who loves me
112. Things aren't always what they seem
 On the journey....won't you join me?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Simply Good TV

Anyone seen "Little House on the Prairie" lately?  Two weeks ago I found it on Netflix and ordered the series pilot movie.  That's a good place to start because it gives you the story of the family before they arrived in Walnut Grove.  I thought the boys may enjoy the series, so when the dvd arrived we made a family movie night of it.  As the theme song played my mind went instantly back to my childhood home as I sat watching this with my sister and parents.  My mom would usually end up in tears because of some heart wrenching lesson from the show that night.  Well, just hearing that music and remembering had me in tears...good tears and I knew that we were on to something good here.  And I was right, all of us loved it and the boys were so interested and engaged in the story.  We sent it back and right away ordered up the season 1 discs.  If you haven't seen this since you were a child I highly recommend getting it especially if you have kiddos.  My 3 boys (8, 6 and 5) loved it, and, along with my hubby and I, are enjoying each episode we watch. We are eagerly anticipating the arrivals of each disc.  It's good, wholesome, family entertainment that makes you feel good and inspired to thankfully live life to the full.  It's funny, when this series began I was just a little girl and loved watching Laura and Mary, intrigued by their life on the prairie.  Watching now, as a mom, I am loving watching Ma and Pa and how they build a life together for their family.  It's like watching an old favorite with new eyes.
Highly recommend!    

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fun with My Boys

The boys and I just shared a great outing together.  Woke up yesterday
morning and asked them what they'd like to do for the day.  A trip to the zoo was unanimous.  So, after breakfast we headed down to the Brandywine Park and Zoo just a few blocks away.

They wanted to head to the river 1st and check out the wildlife before checking out the zoo life.  I wasn't really planning on that, but okay, sounds good.  So, I set out with my little explorers and we climbed out onto rocks in the water (me in my skirt and flip-flops) to get a better look at ducks, geese, fish, cranes, and even a water snake.

and here he is

I was actually surprised at how into it I was.  Well, the weather was gorgeous...sun-shiney blue skies, low 80s, low humidity...perfect!  We found some really big rocks and camped out there for about an hour and a half.

The boys waded in the water around the rocks and yes 2 of them actually slipped and took a little "swim" and got pretty wet.  It was inevitable really.  But, you know what, they were fine and so was I.  Funny, because when we first got there I went all "laying-down-the-law-mommy" and told them to keep their shoes on, no feet in the water, no touching the water even (what???)...I just knew someone would be soaked, or worse, get some crazy "river illness" (yes, I know, I need to chill).  But as I was exploring with them I thought, what in the world am I asking of them?  Letting them explore down on the water and not get wet?  What kind of downer am I?  So I found as I was there with them that I got comfortable and just didn't care about anything else but enjoying that present moment.  So, I said, that's it everyone take off your shoes and get your feet in the water. 

Yes, even me!  So much fun!  Felt good to not care about anything but just having fun and exploring.  Those boys are great!  I had the best day with them and made some wonderful memories!  Oh, and we did make it to the zoo.  Ethan and Samuel went soaking wet, but they didn't mind, and neither did I.  We got the see the new tiger, Zhanna, which was the highlight of the zoo trip.

this was the best I could do...she wouldn't look...shy I guess

I capped off the day by taking them to Red Robin for a late lunch.  They beg to go there every time we pass by, which is about weekly, so I was excited to have a little cash on hand to treat them. :)

Awesome day!  Smiles and laughter abounded.  Love those boys!!
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