Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Favorites

Today is my birthday!!

I won't hesitate to tell you how old I am….

I'm 41!

I'm proud of every single year I've had on this earth and really, the past 3 years I've been actually finding myself.  I used to think I was somebody, but when I really started to listen to that person, I realized through a very, very painful and traumatic occurrence, that I really wasn't that person after all.  For most of my life, I had hurtful, poisonous, smothering things said to me, and I took on that persona, little knowing that I would have a major metamorphosis years later! However wrong that persona was, it was comfortable and familiar to me, kind of like a rotten, stinking, torn up coat...

Now, at 41, I'm finding that I'm someone new, and I'm just starting to figure out who I really am!

So today, I want to do a kind of Friday Favorites and a Birthday Wish List combined!!

Here we go!!

I'm loving lime! Right now, lime is just about the most refreshing flavor I can think of.  I bought a whole bag of limes at my favorite local grocery store and I love to slice them and put them in my water or squeeze them over sautéing chicken or float them in punch! 

It's no secret around my house that I'm a Paper Freak. I get high just by going into places like Office Max! I've always loved paper, journals, notebooks, spiral binders, good pencils and my Bic Crystal stick pens in blue ink! I love index cards so much that I admit to hoarding them.  I have every size and color.  I do love index cards, but I don't do weird shapes.  I only like real ones in different colors and sizes.  They're good for note taking, recipes, reminders and little sayings.  And yes, I have tons of these in my favorite basket!

I love the new blue canning jars from Ball.  I bought some last summer to can my salsa verde in, and now we use them for drinks! They're pretty indestructible, which is good with my big family, and they've been holding up really well.  I think I'm going to buy some more.

Now, I've professed to being a Paper Freak….right, I'm fine with that….but I'm also a Pen Freak! I love love LOVE Ultra Fine Tip Sharpies, and these are all of my favorite colors!! These write really nicely and are juicy without being clumpy or too watery, and they're perfect for journaling or scrapbooking. Hmmm…maybe I'm going to buy a package of these too!

And last, but definitely not least….Back in the Spring, I got new bedding for our bed.  We have a California King sized bed on account of my husband being 6 feet 7 inches tall, and you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find bedding that's nice for a bed that size! I wanted to get good stuff because I didn't want to wear it out and I wanted it to last.  

I went to Target to look around and I found Threshold brand linens! 

Now, the last sheets we had were Fieldcrest linens and let me tell you that those sheets had a high-end price tag but were junk! Ugh.  I wanted to avoid that problem again! 

So I was extremely careful about picking sheets and pillowcases for our bed.  I spotted Threshold brand and was able to touch and feel the sheets and pillowcases, and I thought that they felt like super good linens.  And now, after several washings, these sheets are supreme.  I'm so happy with them.  They fit our huge mattress so well without wrinkling or stretching.  I bought these and we adore them.  They don't match my duvet cover very well, but the print I was going to get is unavailable right now……

I discovered the Threshold towels and washcloths too….Ooooh, these babies are thick and luxurious, and these little loves are soft and poofy yet substantial also! I bought several washcloths for the bathroom when we finished our remodel…which is another post all together.  

Threshold also makes home furnishings that are simply divine.  I love this cabinet, and it would look fabulous under my front window in the living room…..and this bench would be perfect to replace our 40 year old, broken down piano bench!

Thanks for hanging in there with me through this long post….

What's on your Friday Favorites list? How about your Birthday Wish List? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I'm sitting at my husband's computer, listening to my girls play the piano and looking at small girls' artwork….being so happy with hearing everyone getting along and loving playing with each other….and looking forward to the two youngest girls' nap time, when I'll take a nap too!!

Today I've also been doing laundry.

In our Large Family, we generally do at least 6 loads every single day.  Around here, not doing laundry for even one day means the Dirty Clothes Beast takes over and threatens to become deeply rooted, so I try not to skip a day. What I mean is, we try not to skip a day!

We don't usually struggle over laundry here.  Everyone in this house knows we always have a Laundry Monster.  As long as there's always a load or two of clothes going in the washer, my husband is fine.  As long as clothes are put away and not scattered about, he's okay.

I usually have one person doing everyone's laundry and folding the clothes from the dryer. I rotate the people doing laundry each week, but sometimes one person does the laundry for three weeks at a time, especially if they're not doing a great job.  I have a medium sized hamper in the hallway where everyone puts their clothes.  That hallway hamper ultimately gets sorted into three large white hampers out in the garage laundry area.  I have a large hamper for whites/light colors, dark colors, and sheets/towels/burp rags.

Now, does this laundry system that works for us ensure that our laundry is always perfectly done and that everything is always immaculately put away?


You must think this is SuperMama's blog!! HA!

We get behind on the laundry almost every single week.

For two weeks now, I decided to do the laundry myself.  I needed something to do and I wanted to see if I could slay the Dirty Clothes Beast for even one day.  My definition of a good battle with dirty clothes is that all of the hampers in the garage are empty and the washer and dryer are humming along merrily.

We have a HE Top Load washer and a regular old dryer.  We had a really fancy dryer to match our really fancy washer, but after two separate visits from the maintenance guy, he advised us to just go to our local washer and dryer store and get a simple dryer.  We couldn't keep having the maintenance man out, so we took his advice, and I love our simple old dryer.  Here's a little secret for you: I almost gagged when I saw that, to match our washer, we'd maybe be spending over $800 for a dryer!!! I'm super happy with the old dryer we now have and it's not so temperamental and it's easier for the small girls to navigate!

So, let me share my favorite laundry detergent and stuff with you!!

Let's make one thing clear: I'm not one to be making my own laundry detergent.  The liquid stuff looks like snot and is slimy and gray, and the powdered stuff makes my nose sting and is messy.  I'm a bit of a Laundry Products Snob, and everyone at this house knows this and is fine with this….

The reason I'm a Laundry Snob is because I've tried almost every single product out there.  This is true.  Most of the products I've tried had dismal and disappointing results.  

I'm pretty strict with our clothes.  I have to hand them down, so I want them to be bright and look good and not dingy or pilled or feel stiff and scummy….

So I use Kirkland brand laundry detergent for HE washers.  It's basically the generic brand of Tide, which used to be my absolute favorite, and which I used for about 15 years until the company decided to mess with a good thing and secretly changed the recipe! I now use Kirkland.

This stuff is amazing and is a fraction of the cost of Tide.  I love it and I pick up a bottle every time we go to Costco so we don't run out.

The next thing I use for my laundry is OxyClean.

This white powder is really indispensable to me.  I buy a big box at Costco and it generally lasts for over two months.  I keep it on top of my dryer and use a scoop in every single load I do.  I sprinkle it on top of the clothes, after I pour in the Kirkland detergent.  I've tried on several occasions to live without this stuff, but without it, my clothes never failed to be dull and dingy and stains never left, no matter what I did.

For stains, I use OxyClean spray.

This spray is the best thing I've found for stains, no matter what they are.  Of course, I try to spray every stain right away, but let's be real here, that hardly ever happens in this house!! But I've sprayed stains on every material with OxyClean and just threw the item into the dirty clothes hamper and forgotten about it, and every stain comes out! I buy two bottles generally and they last over two months each.

We also use fabric softener sheets in the dryer, and I like Up and Up sheets in Clean Linen from Target.  Clean cotton or linen is my favorite smell, and these are very subtly fragranced and not overwhelming, and they really do the job for not very much money! As a side note, I don't use fabric softener sheets for towels, washrags or burp rags.  I've found that using fabric softener of any kind on these things makes the towel or burp rag less absorbent.

So there you have it! These are the things for laundry that I love and that work the best for me.

Do you have any favorites that you swear by? Share them in your comment!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I'm worn out.

That's just the honest truth.

In every way, shape and form I'm exhausted.

Can you relate?

Being a mama is the hardest job I've ever done.  It's the grittiest, dirtiest, toughest, most stark task to ever stare me in the face.

Being a wife is the most relentless journey I've taken.  It's the longest, most serious, most daunting rode on this trip.

Being a Christian is the most disciplining, most sharpening, lowest, most important walk I've ever been on.

And today, as I contemplate everything that's blowing around in the tornado of my mind, I'm just worn out.

I have so many thoughts I'm thinking, so many things I'm feeling, so many ideas forming that I can't keep track of them all.

My shoulders are constantly aching and rock hard from tension.  I catch myself slumping over in abject defeat.  At times, I feel as though I willingly let a loaded semi truck run over me multiple times.  I feel as though I'm standing in a crowded football stadium with my head thrown back, howling at the top decibel of my range, and nobody is even glancing my way.

I see all of this and feel all of this and I've come to the realization that our enemy, the enemy of our mama souls, rejoices in this mind set.  Defeat is his glory.  Exhaustion is his play ground.  Recriminations and endless marching guilt are his joy…..I know this well….

But what to do about it?

I've decided to do some maintenance.  I've decided to do some personal "house cleaning" in my mind and heart.  I've decided it's time to do some overhauling of my soul.

I know I've committed to this overhaul…..

But how do I go about it? How do I clean out the vaults of years past, where the thick dust of discouragements reside and refuse to be hidden? 

How do I sweep out the hallways of regrets and harsh, overpowering voices?

I'll tell you, this seems like a challenging and fearsome task to me.

At this moment, I'm really not sure how I'm going to go about getting healthy in my heart and mind.  I don't know if there are any formulas or programs for cleaning out my spirit…

But in the midst of my bone-deep weariness, I keep coming back to one thing:


I keep wanting to grab my Bible and immerse myself in it! I keep finding old notes and thoughts written in other times of drought and marrow-piercing fatigue that speak volumes to me.  I keep thirsting after my Bible's wisdom as one who wanders in the desert for weeks without water! 

So, I know that my relief lies within that sweet, well-used but neglected Book.

Would you do me a life-saving favor? Would you say a prayer for me? Would you lift me up before the Lord whenever you think of me? Because I know that therein, with the kind of strength that lies in numbers of prayer warriors, I know that I'll be renewed!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lucie's Wisdom

The other night we were having family time and reading the Bible, and out of the blue, Lucie, who's 5 says…….

"If God's alive, why doesn't He come visit us?"

I just thought that was so sweet and it exemplifies her literal mind.  Daddy tried to explain, but you know, a 5 year old probably isn't going to understand such a lofty recourse.  

I look forward with joy to the day in which she will understand, and, as all of our older children have done, give her heart to Him!!

On another night, she said:

"Is God beating in my heart?"

I see her trying to gain an understanding of God and His ways, and it's really exciting to see!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Trades of Hope

My friend Katie, who blogs over at Katie's Keepers, is having a great giveaway today on her blog.

You know I almost never link to giveaways on my blog, but this one is a giveaway with a really solid and wonderful purpose.

She's highlighting "Trades of Hope" today, which is an organization that helps women all around the world gain skills to make a better life for themselves and their families.  The organization teaches these women skills like making jewelry, shoes and bags and then they sell the stuff they make so that the women can put food on their tables and a roof over their family's heads!

You can go on over to Katie's Keepers and see what beautiful things these women make, and you can also make a difference by investing in the things that they make!

Here's the link:

Katie's Keepers

Thursday, June 19, 2014

God Is

I was cleaning out an old folder that I had tucked into a nook in the kitchen and as I was sorting through the papers and scraps and notes and tidbits, I noticed a rubber-banded bundle and I absently set it aside….

I would see that little bundle during the days and it would whisper to me and call to me to sort through it, but the busy of the days and the absent minded moments got the better of me…

This morning I finally sifted through the small papers and shards of notes written in times past.  They all had to do with scriptures that I had read several years ago, most of them from back in 2008 or further out….

How my soul was glad to rediscover these tiny jewels! How I delighted and rejoiced over the rich and wise words that I found, and still find, to be water to my dry soul and firm ground for my uncertain feet!

Here's one of the things I wrote lo, those many days ago:

God Is My….

Trust, escape, strong habitation, rock, fortress, safety, deliverance, hope, upholder, praise, strong refuge, help, righteousness, salvation, strength, power, comfort, redeemer, and truth!! 

And this was all encompassed in Psalm 71! ALL of those wonderful, settling things were woven throughout just one passage of scripture!

I'm not at all a packrat and for the most part, I don't tend toward sentimentality, but I'm so very delighted that I saved all of my past notes scribbled on note cards, hastened on paper scraps, and jotted on my most favorite of recipients, the lowly index card!

Here's the portion of Psalm 71 that particularly jumped out at me back then, and still does today:

"But I will hope continually
and will praise You yet more and more!
My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
and Your salvation all the day
for I do not know their limits!
I will go in the strength of the Lord God~
I will make mention of Your righteousness,
of Yours only!"
Psalm 71:14-16

This week, I plan on going through the wealth of all of those notes written in a different time in my life.  I plan on leafing through the gems of knowledge and soaking in the truths of the words of the Lord!

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Shadow hills...
Sky meets earth
in every shade
of gray…
Stone, smoke, slate.
Clouds embrace peaks…
On and on 
Abundant and never-ending…

Poem copyright leeswords2014.  Cascade Foothills picture courtesy of someone's pinterest.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Favorites

I'm jumping on the regular Friday Favorites bandwagon!

I've tried some new things lately that I want to blog about.  They're totally random, and in no specific order.

These are my all time favorite chips! Really! The combination may sound weird, but they're incredibly light and crisp and they really don't taste like sweet potatoes.  They're a bit grainy and they're also gluten/wheat free.  They taste wonderful with salsa and guacamole and ranch and probably just about whatever else I can think of to put on them!

This is my kind of ice cream! Now, in my last post I mentioned that I'm lactose intolerant, so I very, very rarely eat ice cream.  I think I have ice cream about once a month, if that.  This is the ice cream I usually have and I only eat about 1/4 of the pint before I give it to one of my girls.  We're usually a Breyer's family because we like to eat as natural as possible.  But I really love Haagen Dazs for flavors like vanilla, coffee and this one!

I simply adore fresh guacamole, but sometimes I don't have avocados or they aren't ripe or I'm in a hurry, and this ready-made version of guacamole is pretty good.  It's smooth and rich and garlicky and I love that.  I love it spread on turkey slices or on corn taco quesadillas! MMM!

Just so this list of favorites isn't totally devoted to food…..I bought this eyeshadow a few months ago and I guess I was too afraid to use it back then, but now, I love its color on my eyes! I have green eyes that can be olive green or light green with an orange or brown rim around my pupil and I picked this color for contrast.  It isn't as dark as it looks, and this Perfect Pastel line of Maybelline eyeshadow is a good choice if you don't want to wear the super pigmented eyeshadows out there.  It's a nice enhancement on my lid!

I recently tried kombucha and let me tell you, I got hooked! This is my favorite brand of kombucha, but the strawberry is pretty good too.  Kombucha is like a mega dose of nutrients, enzymes, probiotics and taste all wrapped up in a drink! It's a superb replacement for soda, and many people have testified that drinking kombucha actually cured them of a soda addiction! Kombucha is also a liver detoxifier and it can be a pretty powerful one at that.  I noticed that even though I loved it, my skin started to itch badly and I noticed some other signs that it was doing its job, and since I'm nursing, I decided to quit the kombucha because all of my toxins were pouring in to my breast milk and Jack was NOT a happy camper! Poor guy had some really bad tummy aches! I'm looking forward to getting back on the kombucha wave after I'm done nursing.  If you're pregnant or nursing and would like to try kombucha, I advise caution and drinking just a bit for the reasons listed above.

So, I hope you all had a great Friday!!! 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gluten Free

***I did not receive any compensation from Bob's Red Mill for writing this post.  I just love their products!***

Today I want to talk about being gluten and wheat free.

I've been eating a gluten/wheat free diet for about 7 years.

I can tell you that the decision to go gluten/wheat free was the single best decision I have ever made for myself.

7 years ago, I was sick.  I was really sick.  I was in tremendous pain every day, in every single joint of my body.  I was really overweight.  I was having so many health issues.  I can't remember how I heard about the gluten/wheat issue, but I had read just a couple of articles about how those two proteins might be affecting my health.

Back then, celiac disease wasn't even on the books.  Gluten/wheat sensitivity was just starting to be an issue.  I didn't have many resources to learn from, but I did learn, and I decided to go gluten/wheat free.  I also took dairy out of my diet, as I knew that I was lactose intolerant.

In the beginning, I would still use wheat in my baking for the rest of my family.  But then many of my kids started to display signs that gluten and wheat weren't sitting well with them either, so I made my kitchen totally wheat and gluten free, as well as soy free too.

Fast forward to today, 7 years later. I keep my family pretty much exclusively gluten/wheat free.  I feel better and beyond the first 6 weeks, I have never, not once, craved bread or pasta or cake or cookies, and the reason why is that I came up with my own gluten/wheat/soy free flour blend!

The picture at the top of this post is of Bob's Red Mill, and we live a little over an hour away from the mill.  All of the gluten/wheat free flours I use are Bob's Red Mill.  You can buy their flours and mixes in just about any grocery store in the US.  I've used other brands but I keep coming back to Bob's Red Mill.  Their flours are very finely milled on site, with only top quality ingredients and it makes my flour mixture so smooth, and that's beautiful!

So, I do make my own all purpose flour blend.  After trying the gluten/wheat/soy free blends out there on the market, I was disgusted and disappointed.  These mixes aren't cheap! So, about three years ago I decided to start tinkering and try to come up with my own blend.  I wanted it to be smooth and light and not clumpy or sticky or stiff.  I came up with a blend that I've been using for a few years now, and I think it's the best blend out there.  

With gluten/wheat/soy free cooking, the texture can be sandy or crumbly.  I didn't want that, so I'll tell you what I use in my blend.  I won't give you the recipe or exact measurements but I can give you some tips on what to do and what not to do, should you be interested in trying the gluten/wheat/soy free diet!

First off, you do need xantham gum.  This is a necessity so that your baked goods won't be crumbly.  This helps to keep your treats and biscuits together.

You also DO NOT want to use bean flours!! These flours not only make your baked goods taste like refried beans, they also come with all of the side effects that beans make in your tummy! Please, do not use bean flours.

On that same note, you DO NOT want to use brown rice flour, which is the key ingredient in most of the gluten/wheat free flour mixtures out there.  Brown rice flour is exceedingly sandy and makes your goods turn out gritty with a sandy texture.  I stay away from brown rice flour!  

I make my all purpose flour blend in bulk and store it in the kitchen cupboard.  I make pancakes, cakes, cupcakes, muffins and even flaky, buttery biscuits out of the mixture. I like to use organic components if they're available.  Most of the ingredients I use in my cooking and baking are organic, but for this flour blend, some of them are conventional.

Here are the key ingredients:

Organic white rice flour
Sweet Sorghum flour
Tapioca flour
Almond meal flour
Baking Powder (I use Rumsford Aluminum Free)
Xantham Gum

These are the things that I use in my flour blend.  This is the perfect blend, and I know this because I used to make muffins for my favorite local coffee joint, and I'd bring them in and they'd sell out and people started requesting my Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip muffins.  I don't make muffins for them anymore, but people still ask them for my muffins! I don't have a commercial kitchen and that nagged at the owner's conscience.  I looked into converting my kitchen and licensing it for commercial goods, but it was outrageously expensive and the regulations were prohibitive and ridiculous.

Now, these ingredients are what I use. I use the baking powder for a light, high texture.  The salt works with the baking powder.  I can't give you the exact portions or measurements, because I cherish a dream in my heart where I open up a gluten/wheat/soy free bakery in my town.  There aren't any good bakeries within a 1 hour travel time that are exclusively devoted to gluten/wheat/soy free baking.  My home kitchen is devoted to gluten/wheat/soy free baking because I know the importance of avoiding cross contamination for those who are true celiacs.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I do hope you have fun experimenting!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I think some days of this 31 Day Challenge will see me being one day behind!

Today I'm going to share my friend Tesha's blog post.  Her story is amazing and she is dear to my heart, even though we've never met in person and even though she lives far away from me…she's still dear to me.

This post that she wrote hit my so hard, right where I needed it, right when I'm finally ready to hear it.

It's beautiful.

I hope you like it.

Fasting and Finding Out I AM Enough!

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Today has been a splendid day.

This day marks the last day of my husband's two week vacation.

The weather has amazingly cooperated to enwreath us in golden sunshiney days with an abundant, arching blue sky to smile benevolently over the long days.  Each day's bolstering breeze blew through our thriving green garden with such sweetness, one would think it was the very breath of God! 

As I nursed Jack over this two week sojourn, everything seemed a bit more joyful inside of me.  As I gazed through indebted eyes at the ivory curve of breast against my sweet, small son's softly curved cheek, I found myself resting more fully.  Drinking in the velvety, dark curl of his lashes, contentment rose up within me.

This is where God's will is found for me, right here in the seemingly mundane.

You know, my foot may slip a bit and my heart may grow faint and overwhelmed.  My strength may momentarily desert me and flag slightly as I walk along this daunting road of motherhood, but I find myself more steadfast on this day, and into the coming days, because of this:

"If I say 'my foot slips,' 
Your mercy, O Lord
will hold me up.
In the multitude
of my anxieties
within me,
Your comforts 
delight my soul!"
Psalm 94:18

Saturday, June 7, 2014


I missed posting yesterday!

It was Grocery Shopping Day for me and it was pretty busy.  I left the house at 8 AM with 2 of my girls and we just meandered through our store.  I forgot my grocery list and wanted to be certain that I was getting everything that was in my mind and not in my mind, so I just wandered.  

It was really nice!

I arrived back home at 10:30 and took my son to a yard working job he has in the adjacent town.  I took Jack with me because he had just woken up from his nap and he had to eat, somewhere along the way! I dropped Russell off at his job and then was 5 minutes late meeting my friend for lunch.

A little rabbit trail here: It sounds strange, but I've yet to master the nursing-in-public-with-a-blanket thing! I know! After nursing 8 children you think I should be a pro, huh? No dice.  At lunch with my friend Jack decided that he was okay to wait for a while (sweetie man) and this gave me time to scarf my little bacon cheeseburger without a bun, and then I grappled and wrangled him under the blanket and fed him!

But then I had to pick my son up and rush home and find something nice for the younger girls to wear because last night was Kellie's end of the season violin recital.

So in between making sure that everyone ages 8 and under looked decent, I made dinner.  We ate dinner very quickly and then took 3 trips to the church where the recital took place.  Yes, 3 trips.  That's what you have to do when your only car is a 5-seater sedan and you have a Large Family!  

I also fed Jack at the Very Last Minute, while everyone was being shuttled to said church…..and he may even have finished his feeding in the backseat while Daddy rocketed fiercely through town….but don't tell anyone!

That's why I didn't blog yesterday.

Today I thought I'd do something easy and share my recipe for salsa. I like to think up original recipes.  I'm kind of weird like that.  I love cookbooks and have several very pretty cookbooks with lots of good ideas in them, but I seldom use cookbooks because recipes confuse me! However, I love to cook so I come up with my own recipes and write them down.

Here's the recipe for my salsa.  This is the easiest, quickest salsa ever and it freezes well!

**Note that this recipe is very mild.  Of course you can adjust the heat level by adding in any chile you want, but I love the mild stuff.  It's also super convenient and cheap because it calls for canned diced tomatoes! And one more thing: in place of the fresh lemon, you can use 1/4 C bottled lemon juice, such as Santa Cruz Organic Lemon Juice**

Mama's Blender Salsa

3 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 of a sweet onion
1 can diced green chiles
1 generous handful cilantro, chopped
3 cloves garlic, paper removed and smashed with the back of a knife
1 fresh lemon, juiced
Salt, to taste (I use kosher salt)

Add all of the ingredients to the container of your blender.  Process until the ingredients are well blended.  Taste and adjust the salt, if desired. Freeze in cup sized portions in freezer bags or freezer containers. This salsa is great used as a sauce for enchiladas!

**More notes: I've also canned this salsa using the water bath method.  It's wonderful that way too, and the water bath method is safe for salsas due to the acids from the tomatoes and the lemon juice.  If you're using the water bath canning method, I always pour my salsa into a large pan and warm it on the stove until it's steaming and then I pour it into my pint sized jars.  It makes about three pints or so, and you can double or triple the recipe!**

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Right Now

Right now I'm…….

Seeing: My computer screen

Hearing: I'm hearing the hum of the fans in our room, the younger girls' room and the living room.  They cool our house in the evenings and help some of the children to sleep!

Smelling: I'm smelling Tangy Tangerine, my vitamin drink that I have every morning, and Valor, the Young Living Essential oil that I put on this morning.  It's kind of a cedar smell and it's a blend that helps me so much with anxiety and being calm.

Tasting: My vitamin drink!

Needing: I'm really needing Jack to sleep every night for longer than three hours! Last night he slept 5 and a half hours! I'm so proud of him!

Wanting: I'm desperately wanting my favorite coffee drink and a big, juicy burger with everything on it! Lately I've been craving calories and fat because I don't think I'm getting enough of either. My diet is regrettably sparse and this is bad because I'm nursing and I need those calories to make good, rich milk for Jack.

Regretting: Not being able to get my hair cut last month.  But I'll try today to make an appointment with my amazing hair girl for next week.  It's hard to get in with her because she only works certain days.  I love my hair cuts with Amanda!

Wishing: For a bigger house. We're a large family packed into a very small house. This was fine when everyone was small, but now that we have quite a few teens and young adults, it's really, REALLY tight around here!

Thinking: I'm thinking about how hard the Teen Years are for me to navigate! I thought the Toddler Years could be hard.  I don't believe in the old adage of the "Terrible Two's" at all.  We never struggled with that time period, but I'm finding out that the Teen Years are very, very challenging for me, especially with so many girls! 

Laughing: I'm laughing about how funny and adorable Pennie is when I try to teach her how to wiggle her eyebrows up and down! It makes me so happy to think of her trying to do that! She involves her whole face in the lesson!

Recovering: From another terrible bout with a cold/allergies, in which I've lost my voice again for the second time in two months! I've had a cold or allergies every single month since the end of December.  UGH! I'm mostly over it but I still can't talk very well and I still cough terribly at the worst times, like in the middle of the night and in the early morning.

Believing: I'm *trying* to believe that the situation with our van will be solved soon.  It's been sitting out in the driveway for almost 15 months now, totally dead.  As we've saved up the money we've had our mechanic working on it, and the last time he was here was the first week of April.  We haven't seen or heard from him since, which is very odd and not normal. He's a very reliable Christian man. We haven't had a vehicle in which we can all travel as a family for that long!

Anticipating: We're gearing up to do some major things to our house in August! 

Dreaming: Aside from dreaming about food, I'm dreaming about having a newer, reliable car that is clean and in very good condition.

Praying: I'm praying for my children.  I'm praying for good friends of ours who need a good job so that the mama can stay home with her toddler boy and have more babies and be a housewife.  I'm praying that God would direct my husband's path in the next few months and that I'll have the courage to follow him.

Singing: I keep singing (in my head, since I have no voice) "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" from the musical "Evita".  My favorite rendition is performed by Nicole Scherzinger (whom I absolutely DO NOT endorse at all usually).  

Wearing: I'm wearing a gray and blue striped maxi skirt and a dark gray tank top.

Remembering: I'm remembering my daughter Samantha when she was small and I'm marveling that she's almost 16 now.  I'm wondering where all of that time went.

Trying: I'm trying to be more joyful and happy and smile more.  I'm not a joyful and light person, but it makes my husband happy, so I've resolved to try harder in that area.  I'm also trying not to procrastinate so much.

Questioning: I'm questioning the Lord an awful lot lately as to where He wants us in the next two years.  He sure is quiet about it!

Fearing: I'm fearing these grueling Teen Years! Right now I have a 19 year old son who's pretty much an adult now.  I have three teen girls now, and I'm beginning to think I just need to tighten up my seatbelt and hang on! 

Loving: I'm loving my new bedding! And I'm loving Jack too….

Working: Working on a list of ideas for the posts I'm going to do in the next 31 days.

Choosing: To keep my mouth shut more often.

Emailing: I've been emailing my dear and wonderful choir director about songs that I'd love to do, and that she thinks I can do, for Opera Workshop this Fall.

Suffering: Itchy skin.  Not being able to sing.  Cravings.  

Recognizing: I'm recognizing how much maintenance the Christian walk requires.

Practicing: Patience.  Joy.  Long-suffering.  Being teachable.

Smiling: I'm smiling because my life is so awesome.  I'm smiling because I have so much to live for.

What are YOU doing right now?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

31 Days


I've got so many blog posts running around in my head! I'm not sure what to blog about but I want to blog about everything that happens here and everything I'm thinking.

I ran into a challenge.

I think it's an old idea, but I'm jumping on the bandwagon of this challenge.

I'm committing to 31 Days of Blogging.

I'm going to do a post every single day for 31 Days.

I want you to know me better and I want you to see that I'm just a regular mama who happens to have 9 children.  I want to post pictures so you can see that I'm not SuperWoman.  I want to share my thoughts with you so you can see that I live life with every single one of my five senses: I touch life and taste it and hear it and see it and feel it, sometimes with no filters.  I want to share my heart with you so you can see that I'm flawed and I'm fallible and I'm just like you, a traveler on this journey called Life and I just happen to be bringing 9 kids along.

So, my 31 Days will start tomorrow.

I'll see you then!