Thursday, March 31, 2011

one thousand gifts & a little giveaway

one the character qualities that always draws me to another person
is that of a grateful heart.

gratitude is contagious. don't you think?

& i believe having an attitude of gratitude can be the deciding factor between happiness and joy.
happiness occurs when all is well in life, for the moment anyways.
versus true joy.  joy blooms in our lives when practicing gratitude has been cultivated.

a joyful spirit & a peaceful heart.
those are two things that sometimes elude me when things are falling apart.
who am i fooling?  they often elude me at the mention of the possibility of the maybe....well before the falling apart has even begun. which honestly, it rarely does.
i disappoint myself when i see how quickly my happy nature gets all out of whack the instant a crisis arises or the instant i decide to worry about something. which incidentally seldom comes to fruition anyways.
but i feel that having a grateful heart cultivates that joyful spirit that i truly long for.
& then when i'm focused on what i'm grateful for, peace often follows. & quickly too!

i'm not all 'my glass is half full'
 nor am i all for faking when times are hard just to appear like all is well.
having said that i realize there is often a fine line between working things through privately and carefully deciding when to react or respond.
geez, what do i know?! it's early in the morning and i'm trying to make sense of the all the thoughts rumbling around in my head about a thankful heart.

what i'm trying to say is that i truly want to be authentic
 i want to be real.
but equally important,
i want to always have my eyes open for the things that i'm grateful for.

years ago, when the girls were little i made a thankfulness journal.
sounds sorta corny,  yet i wanted them to practice the principal of counting their blessings & naming them one by one.
being grateful takes practice
it takes an effort to look & see, taste & see that He is good.
& He loves to give good gifts to us.
i want them to look , see, & then be thankful. not just for the biggies either.
that little simple things in their lives, in my life, are worthy of being thankful.

 while i no longer keep the little journal on the kitchen table, i find other ways to keep my girls talking about the good in their life. no matter how small.

one of my sweet bloggy friends, tara, sent me the book "one thousand gifts".
it's the current homecoming queen in blog world as it seems everyone is talking about it!
& everyone is loving it too!
well i could hardly put it down.
i've been familiar with ann voskamp since she traveled with a group of bloggers on a compassion international tour several years ago.
while her writing style is sometimes a tad hard for me to follow, her desire to count it all blessing
to write it out
to make a tangible choice of cultivating a thankful heart
is the gospel in action
and inspires me to keep on keeping on with being thankful even in the hard times.

i have a copy i'd love to give away.
while this gift isn't glamorous or pricey,
it packs priceless words of encouragement that i'm certain will bless you immensely!

i'd love for you to have a little copy of your own,
so leave me a comment.
you don't have to tell me something you're grateful for, but it would be sweet to see my comments just filled in with the chorus of grateful hearts.
so, lay it on me....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Emily's mission trip to Peru!

i am so very proud of my emily.
several months ago she came to us & asked if we would allow her to go on her first mission trip.  she was so excited about this opportunity & has waited to be old enough for a few years.

personally, i have never been on a mission trip, nor have i traveled out of the country. dan however has been on multiple mission trips & has traveled to many countries. he traveled with campus crusade and lived in Russia for a little over a year. emi is our first child to go on a mission trip such as this & we are all so excited for her!

i want to share a portion of the support letter that she wrote.....

"Our church is very mission focused. Many of my mentors and older students that I have contact with have shared about their own experiences and they sound awesome! I’ve wanted to go for many years, but I wanted to wait until I felt like I was ready. Around Thanksgiving the church talked about having many mission opportunities. One of them was being able to go to Peru for 3 weeks, June 8th through the 30th. Immediately after hearing about this opportunity, I knew I really wanted to go and I had no doubt about it.

This mission trip will be about sharing the gospel to kids, teens, and adults in Peru. Our main focus will be teaching the kids how important it is to remain pure until marriage. Purity is something very close to my heart. Last year I asked for a purity ring and I wear this as symbol of my own conviction to remain pure until marriage. I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to share with others the importance of purity. This trip will allow me to see other people’s culture and what they believe in and therefore get to share with them my beliefs. While we are here we will also build a church for them.

I have a strong passion for sharing God’s Word with others and am so thankful that He has opened this door for me. I look forward to doing God’s work in Peru and letting you know all about how God has worked through this team when I return at the end of June. Thank you so very much.
In Christ, Emily"

 i'm so proud of you sweet emi!
i can't wait to hear all your stories, be a witness of how this amazing opportunity shapes you
& see how the Lord does great things in & for you!!

 {this final image is actually a close of emi's purity ring}

Monday, March 28, 2011

a busy week & a new sponsor

the last couple of days we have had severe thunderstorms.  
caroline & one of her sissy's came in during the wee hours of sunday morning 
( prior to the actual time i needed to get up and get ready for work). caroline woke me up saying "mama, i think we just had an earthquake"
i hugged her, mumbled something along the lines of  "its ok, we don't have earthquakes in georgia, now go climb in bed with sissy. & i love you"
yes i polished off my mom of the year trophy later that day too.
i ended up laying awake worrying about the neighbor dog who sadly spends much of her life outside, tied to tree. breaks my heart.
i'm hoping since i didn't see her this morning, it means someone brought her in to the garage, which is not primo 
but atleast it's better than plan a.

working a weekend shift always throws my groove off. & since i rarely have to work sunday, working a sunday shift really throws me off. i hate missing church and then i just feel behind first thing monday morning. 
behind on monday morning is not a great way to start off the week.
especially a busy one.
but aren't they all? for goodness sakes, i feel like we've been in a busy mode for the last year!

this week madison & emily have cheerleading tryouts. it's a weird feeling savannah not being involved.  speaking of savannah, we are knee deep in planning senior year parties, events, college forms, etc. a friend once warned me that having a high school senior was like having a part time job.
thankfully savannah is quite independent. she handled all her college applications and due dates on her own!  she will be going to UGA in the fall and has been invited into their honors program.
i couldn't be prouder.
i am not a big party planner, so i'm feeling a tad overwhelmed with that. she & 3 of her friends decided to do it together. i really wanted to host it here as did she, but knew there would be no way our home could handle upwards of 200 people, especially if it rains!

this week we have another big deal going on.  dan & i will be taking emily to apply for a passport. emi is going to peru with our church for three weeks....three! june on a mission trip.
i will share more about that later, but she is knee deep in fund raising.

one of my most favorite friends will be heading in to atlanta friday & staying over at our home! 
we'll hit the atlanta mart & then take her to one of our many favorite places to eat.
can't wait to see her!

i was tickled to see that rocker sheryl crow has a new cookbook
featuring healthy immune boosting & easy recipes.
i'm definitely looking forward to grabbing this one!

while i'm on the subject of books....
i read the birth order book years ago but i honestly think it was before i had such a large family.
so i've pulled it back out, the new updated edition.
i love to understand why we do what we do. especially in the family setting.
& especially in a family setting with all girls.

& finally, i wanted to introduce my new sponsor, DaySpring.
if you're reading in google reader or via email, you won't see the banner on the sidebar,
however if you open my site and visit DaySpring you will see there is currently a 25% special.
you can also purchase One Thousand Gifts for 25% too!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

happiness found in books & the happiness of a dog

anytime i return from running errands
this is what brinkley does.
he waits patiently for someone
to throw him a tennis ball.

when we're done
he's the happiest dog in the world.
if all of life were this simple.

 speaking of happiness....around here, books make us happy.
when the girls were little i would encourage them to take care of their books
& not color in them or tear them up.
i would say "books are our friends"
caroline would repeat, "books - friends"
we still say that 
in her former 2 year old voice of course.

a couple of weeks ago,
i thought it was sorta cool that everyone's current reads were all classics.
dan read & loved the bonhoeffer book if any of you are looking for a great biography.

i believe 2010 was the 50th anniversary of 'to kill a mockingbird'
so we picked up a couple different anniversary editions.

once i pulled everyone's reads together
i then decided to photograph some of our collection.

clearly i had a little too much free time
because who does this?

these are two super cute whimsical versions of the classics cinderella and thumbelina.
'cinderella, as if you dind't already know the story'
'thumblina, tiny runaway bride.'

i love to collect red hardbacks.
 'the little red book of wisdom' is wonderful,
written by a friend of ours
& one i highly suggest.

'revolutionary parenting' is one of my favorites on the subject of parenting.

& i also love books with deckled edge pages.

my latest read...
it deserves its own post.
'one thousand gifts'
& will change your heart.
i'll be posting & giving away a copy later this week...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

latest crush= jones design company

 several weeks ago i placed an order with jones design company.
emily's blog has been one of my favorites 
& her prints are my latest crush. the postal carrier bent the super thick sturdy envelope
to jam fit it into my mailbox
& my prints were all crinkled.
& how bent crinkled imperfect days are often a catalyst for learning.
the catalyst that causes me to stop & perhaps change my perspective.
being quite the generous entrepreneur,
emily sent another shipment,
unbeknownst to me.

the other day we had showers off & on for the entire day.
it was completely overcast & we were due to have heavy rains that evening.
while taking out the trash, dan noticed
our mail,
including the new second-replacement shipment from emily,
was laying flat on our front entranceway.
& damp!
thank goodness he found it before the downpour!
the prints are all safe & sound
dry & unwrinkled
but seriously?

i was so thrilled to see her latest prints
so i ordered the i love you & tree images that are shown.
 and thankfully they arrived on a dry & sunny day,
 completely pristine and crinkle free!

i love my growing inventory of jones design goodies.
if you haven't dropped in, you must swing by...i bet you'll fall in love with her & her creations too.

& for a little funny~
 thought i'd share this...
when i opened up my photo files to upload the jones design company images
i found this..
yes. i share my laptop with a certain un-named middle school daughter!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


 today is a glorious spring day
today i have ferns
& herbs

 today i have a new cookbook
& a fabulous new magazine

today i carried my new lilly market bag

& filled it with yummy things for dinner

 today we ate our favorite green leafy veggie, roasted brussel sprouts

 today i made lemon honey glaze for our tilapia

& we ate jasmine rice

 today my youngest two sat outside and laughed together

& she loved on our sweet doggy

today little one & i finished
the lion the witch and the wardrobe
& today i cried when aslan spoke beautiful words to lucy

& today
i am grateful
for all of this

(lemon honey sauce~1/3 c light mayo,2 Tbl honey, 1/4 t salt, 1/8 t pepper & the juice of a lemon.
whisk together and serve on top of your grilled tilapia.
garnish with parsley, which i forgot)