Life has been full, and blessed, and I have lost count . . . so here is the best blessing count I can give for the last several days. It's long, so just skim if you are daunted by the length. I'll try to keep them daily and short from now on.
1. Spring Skiing.
2. Fresh snow.
3. Math homework done on the car ride to the ski hill.
4. Lettuce wrap sandwiches for lunch for three days in a row, and no complaints! My kids actually like them, and continue to like them.
5. A big bundle of red grapes.
6. Coke Zero. I know it isn't good for me, but I still like it.
7. Winnie's War by Jenny Moss, a book that I added into our homeschool curriculum. This book by a first time author gives us a strong, young heroine who battles the Spanish influenza that swept the country near the end of WWI. I'm not sure it's on my top 100 must read books, but it is well written and I highly recommend it to anyone studying this time period with a 4th-6th grader.
8. My favorite quote from Winnie's War:
"Hope is a thing with feathers -
that perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -"
This is the epitaph that Winnie writes for her mother's grave. Trust me, this book will make you seek out a box of kleenex.
9. Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray is part of my older daughter's curriculum, and I highly recommend it for anyone who would like to read a story based in Medieval times, following the exploits of a young minstrel who gets separated from his father and his dog.
10. My favorite quote from Adam of the Road:
"'A road's a kind of holy thing,' Roger went on. 'That's why it's a good work to keep a road in repair, like giving alms to the poor or tending the sick. It's open to the sun and wind and rain. It brings all kinds of people and all parts of England together. And it's home to the minstrel, even though he may happen to be sleeping in a castle.'
It was, somehow, a solemn moment. Four wild geese flew overhead just then, and made it so that Adam never forgot what Roger had said and how he looked when he said it."
11. Recently, I learned that the most well known haiku poet, Mtsua Basho, was also a samurai. How cool is that?! And why didn't I know? Oh well, I know now, and I love it!
12. The old pond:
a frog jumps in,-
the sound of water.
13. That great blue oak
indifferent to all blossoms
appears more noble
14. speaking out
my lips are cold
in autumn wind
15. Won't you come and see
loneliness? Just one leaf
from the kiri tree.
16. With dewdrops dripping,
I wish somehow I could wash
this perishing world
17. The bird, a dark speck
against the storm clouds, wings home
before the winds strike.
18. Pulpy lemonade
tastes summer sweet on gray days
- a hint of sun inside.
19. Having a haiku moment! Just try writing one!
20. Learning more about haiku poetry while teaching it to my writing class. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to share my joy with them. They found it to be a painful writing exercise, but I'm proud of them for trying.
21. Haiku Diem is a fun site where one poet is attempting to write a haiku each day.
22. Hollywood Connection Dance Convention! Seven hours of dance classes each day for each of my daughters, plus a competition that took place Saturday evening.
23. My daughters received Silver in their age group, and dance category!
24. Christian hip hop teachers are cool.
25. My oldest daughter had an awesome time at the convention.
26. My youngest daughter survived the convention . . . and had some fun moments. She liked her Jazz and Sassafrass classes the best. She also liked performing at the competition.
27. My oldest daughter knows how to take care of herself in a room full of 100 dancers, with 4-5 friends with her and a few parents she knows. She was confidant enough to step out when one teacher went over the top with her criticism of the class' "fumbling feet" and "inability to focus." It doesn't sound that negative as I write it, but this teacher was cranky and down on a bunch of 11-14 year olds who were giving their best, and I wasn't the only parent who took offense. Thankfully, only that one teacher at the convention was out of line. The rest were awesome.
28. I loved how the tap teacher worked on the kids' performance techniques and personality.
29. I also loved how one of the jazz teachers spent time teaching the kids life lessons in joy and self-worth.
30. I was wowed by my oldest daughter ability to learn hip hop. Hip hop is usually not her style, and she did great!
31. The petite Jazz and petite Tap groups from our Dance Company took First Place Gold in their age category! They were awesome! (and they are 6-7 years old)
32. Counter Rhythms, a select tap group number, and Flapper Fusion, also did awesome at the competition.
33. I learned some valuable parenting lessons this weekend.
34. I also learned that without keeping my focus on Christ, I am lost. I know that doesn't sound like a blessing, but it is. I needed a reminder on Sunday morning when my youngest had a series of meltdowns at the convention. Finally, we took time out and took time to pray, and we worked through it.
35. Flashmobs with my daughters.
36. My youngest daughter talked on the phone yesterday with a friend! This was a Big, huge step in gaining self-confidence with friends.
37. My oldest daughter had a conversation with my youngest via cell-phone to encourage her before she called her friend.
38. Our beagle has learned to "talk" to use kind of like our older Rhodesian Ridgeback does with a series of throaty rumbles. However, our male beagle has a higher pitched rumble, with a series of yawning whines. He's looking at me right now with that I-need-attention-now look.
39. The joy of petting a dog, or two.
40. Have I mentioned before that my daughters have taught our cat how to give "high fives"? I never knew a cat could be trained to do something like that, but they read about it in one of their books, and started training.
41. Kids are optimists most of the time.
42. I have experience in being miserably, painfully shy. Again, this is one that doesn't sound like a blessing, but it turns out that it is one now. My youngest daughter is experiencing some of the same kind of social anxiety that I once experienced, and she knows that I understand what she is going through lately so she is willing to try taking some of my advice . . . like smiling at others, saying hi as a start, and then finding something to compliment or a question to ask. If we can get someone else to do the talking, then we don't have to . . .
43. Prayers for my daughter's self-confidence.
44. Prayers for all the girls, and women in this world who need to know the love, joy, and peace of having Christ as their savior, and shepherd.
45. My daughters are both looking forward to seeing some of their friends today at our Wednesday Family co-op, which is a smaller, less formal group of kids and moms coming together to play, do Science experiments, Latin practice, Writing, and Art.
46. Looking forward to Lectio Divina tonight for our Lenten Worship. Holy Reading can be very meaningful, and wonderful.
47. Our new church has an interim website online with three of our Sunday sermons, and two of our Wednesday night worships online. I highly recommend the sermon videos with Pastor Joel Parker, Pat Lelvis, and Elizabeth Cochrane. ILCGH - check it out to see some of what we've been up to these days.
48. Just now, I got over my fear about what I looked like and sounded like on camera and actually watched the video of the message I did last Wednesday night. The Lord definitely showed up and provided His grace, while I tried not to "um" too many times. Lenten Message March 23rd With God's help, I did ok for a formerly painfully shy kid. I prefer jumping around and pretending on stage in front of a group of enthusiastic VBS kids. It's harder to just be me in front of a group of people.
49. I've lost eight pounds since January 1st. Not quite the 20 I had hoped to lose before mid-April, but I have a few more weeks . . . maybe I'll at least lost another 7 for a total of 15 by then. I know this is mostly vanity, but it's about health and fitness too. A facebook friend of mine challenged me to try to lose 40 pounds by my 40th birthday, and I have 4 and a half months yet to go for that goal.
50. The more weight I lose, the higher I can jump! I'm just working on my own personal anti-gravity method.
51. The more weight I lose, the longer I can dance!
52. My youngest daughter started the day with reading in bed.
53. My oldest daughter started her day with dancing in the living room.
54. I started my day with push ups, sit ups, leg lifts, ironing, Bible-reading, biking, and blogging.
55. Experimenting with a new muffin recipe. Here it is so far:
1 and 1/2 cups of my gluten free flour mix (Garbanzo bean, Fava Bean and Sorghum flour)
1/4 cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons flaxseed
1 Tablespoon Chia seed (replaces eggs and some oil)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon guar gum (replaces that nasty gluten stuff that naturally occurs in wheat)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 overly ripe bananas mashed to a pulp
1/2 cup coconut
1//4 cup almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 to 1 cup water (I didn't measure this well enough to be sure, and added too much later, then let it sit and thicken for a while)
Currently cooking in a 350 degree farenheit oven.
So far, the dough scrapings taste delicious!
56. My childhood inventiveness in the kitchen is now paying off. I always wanted to create "my very own" recipes. Now, I have to make my own to eat without IBS, rashes, headaches, or other food intolerance symptoms. All my childhood experience has made me less fearful about subsitutions, and even (gasp in shock from any professional/proud amateur chef) not measure things exactly. If I waited to measure everything out exactly while subsituting, I would go crazy. Sure, this way, I have some flops. But I've learned some basic amounts of different ingredients that work well. An "eyeballed" amount, or a pinch work fine when I cook every day.
57. My daughter is challenging me to scissor leg lifts . . . I can only do five, but five is better than none.
58. My dogs have a lot to say today, determined to love me away from my computer.
59. I love the book of Acts in the Bible, and how women show up in the Biblical account. Lydia, Damaris, and Priscilla are all my heroines.
60. Just realized that my cooking experiments could make a great allegory for my writing life . . . may have to put together a post on that tomorrow! Hopefully those muffins turn out well.
61. (an extra blessing on a 60 day count? God provides!!!) The steadfast endurance of the Lord's apostles. From them, we have a Biblical adventure that rivals the Oddyssey for excitement, and teaches us how to follow Christ!
"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." (Paul is saying goodbye to the disciples in Ephesus) Acts 20:22-24