Thursday, April 17, 2014

Smoothie time!


This morning I made the first smoothie of the season. Four bananas, a carton of strawberries, and a splash of water to make blending easier. It was delicious! A smoothie is not the best selection for a cold morning but the bananas were ripe and the strawberries were perfect. I split the smoothie with my husband and then toasted an English muffin. It was a great breakfast.


Today I finished a rather funny novel, The Homeschool Experiment by Charity Hawkins. It's about a Christian woman who decides to homeschool her three young children and all the misadventures they have over the course of a school year. I wouldn't classify it as Great Literature but it was a delightful read.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Odds and Ends

I've been taking my last blog post to heart, going through the house and weeding out things that I can let go of. I took a pair of boots and a bag of clothes and books out to the car. I just need to stop by a donation bin to drop them off.

We visited Target a couple days ago and I picked up two plastic storage bins. Can you believe that I was so excited to own two new $2.79 storage containers? We have very little storage in our house so things just lie around and drive me crazy. One bin is going to be used to store quilting fabric, as right now it's loose on a shelf in our closet. The other bin is now housing a bunch of electronic odds and ends, things we use but not everyday. Blank CDs, a thumb drive, our webcam (for talking with my nephews in England), a pair of headphones. It feels great to have that stuff off our kitchen counter!

Now I just need to find a pen container to hold all of the pens that are also on the kitchen counter. I looked at Target but they only had two and both were ugly.

It really is the small touches that bring a house together. Decluttering, practical storage, a place for everything and everything in its place.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stuff

I often think about simplification. How will simplifying my life make it easier to fulfill my mission? What can I do to clear the way to doing what God wants me to do?

I am someone who relaxes when the house is clean and tidy. I stress when the kitchen is a mess and the house is cluttered. The status of my home really does affect my ability to maintain a calm outlook. Every so often, I try to reduce the clutter as it seems to pile up while I'm sleeping!

This article was really interesting. This paragraph in particular caught my attention:
Consider these statistics cited by professional organizer Regina Lark: The average U.S. household has 300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards. U.S. children make up 3.7% of children on the planet but have 47% of all toys and children's books.
300,000 things? Really? Do we need so much stuff? Do we buy bigger houses just to store the stuff? Why is it that I still have stuff in my spare bedroom, just sitting in a pile, that I brought with me from Arizona? If it's been sitting there for a year and a half, do I really need it? What am I going to do with the stuff when we decorate my daughter's room? It either needs to find a place in my home or it needs to go.

Here's a rather blunt way of looking at it. When I die, someone is going to have to sort through my stuff. Do I really want to leave my husband or my children such a big burden? And if Jesus returns before I die and cleanses the earth with fire, it's all going to burn. So I should loosen my hold on my stuff. I won't be taking it with me to heaven before or after I die.

Blunt, yes. But necessary. There's no point in cleaning around a bunch of stuff if I don't really use it. I need to just let it go!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Jesus Bible - A Book Review

I was really excited when I found The Jesus Bible available for review. I ordered it for my soon-to-be daughter. This Bible is recommended for ages 9-12. My daughter is 11 and will probably be 12 before she comes home, but as a new English learner, this Bible will be valuable to her for a few more years.


What I love about this version of the Bible -


I love that the devotionals are set up to point to Christ. Throughout the Bible, the devotionals discuss a verse or two and always tie it into the life or character or teachings of Christ.


I love that each book starts with a brief outline and answers the following questions: Where is Jesus in this book? Who wrote it? Why was it written? What happens? What do we learn about God in this book?

What I didn't love -

The devotionals and commentary could have used a bit more proofreading; I found a typo in one of the devotionals in Proverbs. And I wish that the highlighted verse didn't stand out of the text quite so much. It made the reading rather jarring.


Disclaimer -

Obviously I couldn't read the entire Bible and devotionals before reviewing it. I flipped through parts of the Bible, read Proverbs and Ecclesiastes in their entirety, and read part of Isaiah.

I'm glad I requested The Jesus Bible and hope that my daughter finds this version of the Bible useful in her journey toward God. Much thanks to BookLookBloggers for a free copy in exchange for my review. All thoughts are my own!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Exploring Washington

On Sunday, my husband and I explored a bit more of the eastside. We drove through Woodinville, Maltby, Monroe, Duvall, Cottage Lake, and Redmond. Washington is beautiful! We really liked most of the areas we drove through, enjoying all of the budding trees, the hills, and the lakes.

We even saw deer!



And our cats are definitely enjoying the sun's return.



If everything goes according to plan, we'll be wandering even further north this weekend. I can't wait!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Unhappy adoption news

Our agency finally gave us a time estimate. They expect that we will travel to pick up our daughter in the spring of 2015.

I can't believe it's taking so long. When I first received the email, I was in disbelief. Then I was angry. Then I cried. Then I was angry. Then I cried.

I feel I am grieving for the loss of another year with my child. If our agency's estimate is correct, we are missing another birthday. Another Christmas. Another Thanksgiving. Another year passes without her having a mom and dad.

It's upsetting. I want her to come home.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Small change making a big difference

Usually I exercise in the late afternoon while my husband is out for his run. Last week I decided to try something new. I started exercising in the morning after breakfast. What a difference it makes! I start the day off feeling productive and it carries me through the day.

Normally I spend way too much time in the mornings reading things online - Facebook, my RSS reader, a couple forums, my email, etc. For the last week, I've been allowing myself to browse the internet during breakfast but then I kick myself off the computer to exercise for 45 minutes to an hour. It really is making a huge difference. Because I've started the day off well, I continue getting things done. By three in the afternoon, I already feel like I've accomplished a lot. I think this is one schedule I will try to make a habit.