Wednesday, March 30, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Days 300 thru 305

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!

Scripture Blessings:

"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

Thursday, March 24, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 299

Giving thanks for some amazing blessings:

1. I received the Powerful Woman Writer Award from Deidra at A Storybook World. Thank you Deidra! I'm passing this on to:
The Golden Eagle
Karen Lange at Write Now
Angie at Notes from the Writing Chair
Jill Kemerer
Melissa at Through the Looking Glass
and Carol Riggs at Artzicarol Rambling

2. I have a poem published with Yahoo Associated Content, which is interesting, and pretty cool at the same time. Check it out - New Hope You have to look carefully for the last three words, placed under the changing advertisement. This is an adventure in publishing for me, and at this point I'm just checking it out and seeing if the process, and payment is worth it.

3. Hula-hooping with my daughters this afternoon.

4. Free Dress week at the Dance Studio.

5. Gumball machines.

6. Practicing tap steps while writing a blog post!

7. Our Monday Homeschool Co-op is having a coin drive for relief efforts in Japan.

8. A really, really nice lady from our dance studio is dropping off my youngest daugther's ski jacket - which she left at the dance studio earlier.

9. Playing the medieval game, Fox and Geese, with my oldest daughter as a fun part of our homeschool history. Here's a link for The Rules of Fox & Geese and a fancy looking board set. We just used a piece of paper with a pen made board, and pennies for our geese, and a dime for our fox. It's amazing that such a game of "unequal" sides can be won by either side - the 13 geese, or the lone fox - depending on how you play.

10. My youngest daughter's recent enthusiasm for scrapbooking!

11. The Lord is patient with us.

Scripture Blessings:
Psalm 86:15-16
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and have mercy on me;
show your strength in behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you
just as my mother did.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Days 294 thru 298

Whew! Days have flown by and I haven't kept track of my blessings very well. This project has grown tougher as the year has progressed, and I'm not sure why that has been true.

So, here is the best I can do, with limited time, and limited notes:

Today, I'm giving thanks for:

1. New leaves.

2. The way our cat watches my husband's every move. He is her favorite person.

3. Watching my husband play with our cat. When I married him, he hated cats. Now he loves our cat.

4. A new adult tap class at our dance studio. My husband and I are both taking it together.

5. My "squeaky" husband tap-dancing in his work shoes.

6. Waking up with a story in my mind.

7. Writing a rough summary-outline of a story, first thing after waking up.

8. Researching names in a language that I'm unfamiliar with . . . to break my tendency to name my characters randomly, and similarly.

9. The sleepover my oldest daughter went to last weekend.

10. Getting a garden bed cleaned out - away with those old leaves.

11. Hasty gardening - my new method that I hope will help me get the work done quickly.

12. Vacation plans.

13. An unexpected visit from family.

14. Vacation meal plans with my sister-in-law.

15. The gift of a trip from my in-laws.

16. My parents are home for a few days.

17. My mom brought me home a sparkly blue hat from her travels. Now I match her, and my daughters. My mom has a sparkly silver hat, my oldest has a sparkly black hat, my youngest has a sparkly pink hat, and now I'm sparkly blue.

18. My mom gave my daughters a couple of interesting crinkle shirts that she found in Mexico. They shrink into a tiny size when they aren't being worn, but stretch out and look baggy while worn. Interesting material.

19. My Dad is back to tinkering with stuff to make it work. He may not be happy that their water-based floor heating system burst and flooded their basement, but it gives him something to fix. He likes fixing stuff.

20. Looking forward to PJ day with our Wednesday Co-op group.

21. Pancakes for lunch today!

22. Worship last Sunday was awesome.

23. The Story of the World books by Susan Wise Bauer.

24. Yukon Ho! - a Calvin and Hobbes book.

25. A bulletin board full of homeschool art, and homework.

26. Finally feeling as if I've given my Shakespeare students enough creative options for a project. We were all tired of writing papers every time.

27. Being able to commiserate with a friend over troubles.

28. Thinking of a t-shirt that would read: "So many Bible verses, so little time." Just my quirky brain trying to be creative with an old theme.

29. The new Youth leader at our church is putting together a group to go to Creation Fest Northwest!!! Woohoo!

30. I'll be leading worship, and speaking the message tonight at our Lenten worship for our new church. And I feel mostly ready, and I have notes.

31. Surprised by a package on my doorstep!

32. Our album from Snapfish has arrived!

33. Fun looking at an album . . . and plans for how we would make it better, and more cost effective next time.

34. Reading the line up for Every Day Poets in April. My poem "april second" will be out April 2nd. :-)

35. Sharing crazy dream story ideas over breakfast with my daughters.

36. My oldest daughter finished her math before breakfast today . . . now I have to check her work, but I'm excited that she took the initiative.

37. Finally learning how to embed video - hope this works:

38. The corner store . . . supplying us with all our last-minute-oops-I-forgot-that-at-the-grocery-store needs like chocolate chips for chocolate chip pancakes.

39. The melting pot of the English language - old English, Celtic, Viking/Scandinavian, Latin, Greek, French - all mixed together in the wonderful, complex, rich language.

40. Piles and piles of books. Ok, I need to re-shelve in the midst of my planning/dreaming/reading/homeschooling days, but there are few "things" in this world I like better than piles of books.

41. Looking forward to Creation Fest Northwest 2011:

42. Looking forward to seeing Nick Vujicic at Creation Fest:

43. One blessing of having a messy house today - our cat loves to play with stray socks left on the floor.

44. Science Experiments with friends.

45. Art with friends.

46. Story sharing with friends.

47. Latin with friends.

48. The fruit of the Spirit in sign language.

49. An afternoon cup of Vanilla Chai Tea with honey.

50. When we surrender our lives to Christ, the Lord grows the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

Scripture Blessings:

Galatians 5:22-23
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."

Friday, March 18, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 293

Giving Thanks and Praise for these varied blessings:

1. My favorite love song of all time L-O-V-E

2. I finally, after a great deal of scrutiny from myself and my nine year old daughter, re-submitted my revised poem "Octopus Rising" to Every Day Poets today. I really appreciate the feedback from the editors at that site. My nine year old daughter still isn't satisfied with it, and thinks it needs another stanza, but I decided to re-submit it anyway.

3. After days of feeling shut in the house with sickness, I loved every moment of my beautiful two mile walk in the sunshine this morning. The Northwest is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

4. Trader Joe's Grocery stores.

5. Hasty gardening for an hour - the kind of gardening that gets a giant wagon load of old leaves, weeds, and branches picked up and composted as quickly as possible.

6. Red and green grapes.

7. Soft, wet dirt that's easy to weed.

8. Weedy strawberry plants that never stop growing - this is kind of a mixed blessing.

9. Finding a brown worm in the rich soil . . . a sign of a good place to plant.

10. Primroses.

Scripture Blessings (from a devotional I received via e-mail today):

"My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:2

Thursday, March 17, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Days 291 and 292

Giving thanks and praise for these awesome blessings, from yesterday to today, from sickness to wellness, from dancing, to scrapbooking:

1. I slept in a long time, but then when I woke up I was filled with energy.

2. I'm well!!! Woohoo!

2. I rode the exercise bike for 45 minutes today.

3. I danced for an hour.

4. Looking for information about the two dance conventions my girls will be attending and their instructors, I found this link Rock Steady Ministries church dance ministry in San Diego, CA. Although my girls are tappers, they thought this was really cool too.

5. Shackles and Rock Steady's Easter Performance are both fun to see, just to know that there are Christian dance ministries, and church dance teams.

6. Metropolitan Ballet of Tacoma is a wonderful ballet company that highlights Christmas with performances of their Nativity ballet. The studio owner is a woman of faith who happens to be passionate about ballet. I love seeing her ability to share her faith through her choreography.

7. Boomin by Toby Mac.

8. Tonight a fan-made video that is a pretty cool take on Toby Mac's Tonight song.

9. Watching old episodes of Sliders on Netflix.

10. Reading Adam of the Road with my oldest daughter for literature and history.

11. Reading Winnie's War with my youngest daughter for literature and history.

12. My youngest daughter is feeling better!

13. My oldest daughter is having fun with friends.

14. Reminiscing about our Florida trip, while looking through old photos.

15. Learning how to create a Snapfish photo album.

16. A 2009 Splash Fight with Aleta, the Dolphin, at the Dolphin Research Center, Florida.

17. Aleta

18. Sparkly ears for a sparkly girl. (2009 photo)

19. My Goofy Family

20. God gives us our memories, which are brighter and bolder than any picture.

Scripture Blessings:

"The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times,
a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure."
Isaiah 33:5-6

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Days 289 and 290

Giving thanks and praise for:

1. Restful days, and good books. (the silver lining in sickness)

2. Board games played while sick. Is my family the only one that does marathon board games with sick kids?

3. Keeping the temperature down for my youngest daughter . . . success so far.

4. A cat who thinks it is her job to cuddle the sickness away from sick family members, and yet instincively knew that when my husband was sick that he is an anti-cuddler while feverish.

5. Fever-induced conversations are always interesting. When my youngest daughter started saying some strange things, I knew to take her temperature again. Sure enough, high fever, and time to take medicine.

6. Mega pots of noodle soup. Today is day 6 of family illness, and we are on our second pot of homemade rice noodle soup, with a quinoa variety for me.

7. Distracting books, like John Taylor Gatto's Weapons of Mass Instruction. Gatto was an award-winning teacher for 30 years, and now, he tries to get people to think about the difference between schooling and education. Reminds me of a philosophy of education class I was required to take to become an educator. Good for a distraction, at least in moments when I don't have a headache.

8. Daffodils.

9. Cherry Blossoms

10. Tulip buds, just peeking open with color.

11. Wet dirt that allows weeds to be pulled with ease. I did some front door gardening today, determined to get some fresh air, even if I am sick.

12. Nations Foundation Promo Video is a great video to watch, to see the kinds of cool mission minded stuff going on in the world today.

13. Grab Bag is a fun video that showcases several Christian musicians goofing off in a hallway, with great music style.

14. Our Naturopathic Doctor likes to laugh, and is great with my kids.

15. Friends ran the Lenten worship tonight.

16. My youngest daughter's Pirate folder she made for Ships Ahoy - a co-op class that is spending the year learning about the age of exploration, and navigation.

17. My hubby went to the store for me. Much thankfulness.

18. Having a retired missionary as part of our church.

19. Willing, and able helpers.

20. The Lord comforts us.

Scripture Blessings:

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the LORD

Monday, March 14, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 288

Giving Thanks and Praise for:

1. Limericks.

2. Writing limericks with my writing class.

3. Writing about spy gadgets with my writing class.

4. Pictures and ideas for spy gadgets.

5. Characters who fumble with spy gadgets.

6. My Shakespeare class resonated with Hamlet and Horatio so well they thought it was "creepy" to see them played as 30-something characters.

7. Kenneth Branaugh as Hamlet.

8. Turkey veggie soup with quinoa.

9. Catching up with my blog reading while sick.

10. My hubby has gotten well, just in time to take care of the rest of us.

Scripture Blessings:
"So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith." Acts 6:7

Sunday, March 13, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 287 Super Blessed!

Today I just feel super blessed! Maybe it's because I've been keeping track of my blessings all day . . .but here are just a few.

1. Winnie the Pooh.

2. My hubby is feeling better, although still feverish, he is maintaining a 100 degree farenheit temp instead of 102.

3. How many people does it take to replace my hubby as a tech man at worship on a Sunday morning? Umm, at least 7, or at least that's how many I counted around the soundboard trying to figure out which wire hooked where, and all that. I am very thankful for all the amazing help, talent and thoughtfulness of the guys and gals who subbed for my hubby today at worship.

4. This awesome poem Pooh Friend at Rainy Day Poetry. Check it out.

5. In worship today, many people prayed for Japan. We keep praying, and I am thankful for prayer, and the comfort and peace found in prayer.

6. A friend and mentor of mine spoke today at worship. She has such a loving heart, and loving wisdom. She is a "small town girl" who took her relational ministry to South Africa, following a clear call from the Lord.

7. Reflections on the Death of a Friend a poem by CD Sinex at Every Day Poets that moved me.

8. Remembering Hamlet's "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio . . ." from a high school drama day.

Book Blessing:
9. Hamlet

Writing Blessing:
10. Screenwriting Tips for Novelists is a great post at Writing at High Altitude.

Scripture Blessings:
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"
Matthew 25:37-40

Saturday, March 12, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 286

Today I'm giving thanks for these blessings:

Writing Life Blessings:

1. Waking up to write a poetic prose piece that might have a kernel of something usable/publishable in it, and having fun while writing it.

2. Revision planning, and revision for The Crystal Sword that I think will make it readable. I hope.

3. Looking for places to submit my poetry and short fiction, and stumbling across this list at Strange Horizons Stories We've Seen Too Often and laughing my way through most of it. I have to admit, yes, I have a tendency to use some overused plots, but for the most part, this list made me a feel more confident about my writing.

4. My husband, who claims not to be creative (ha!), woke up this morning thinking about a fantasy story involving dragons, half dragon-half lion creatures, and a new fantasy creature altogether that turns into a ball of rock when flamed by a dragon, but then is able to come of its protective shell several months later. Maybe it was just his fever making his mind creative, but it's good to know that we can talk about our wild imaginations together now and then.

General Life Blessings:

5. The rain is soft, fast and light at the moment - a kind of tickling sound on the roof versus the pelunking and drumming sounds that woke me this morning.

6. Finishing a batch of e-mails that had to be written.

7. Sticky notes.

8. Fasting during Lent had me daydreaming about different types of dessert I like with chocolate this morning. Chocolate haystacks, chocolate melted over salty cashews and a banana - my own version of Chunky Monkey, and chocolate cashew butter cups, homemade. MMM. And now, I have to find my Bible if I'm going to resist.

9. Books from my college days that I actually kept like Making the Journey, and Seeking Diversity: Language Arts with Adolescents. I'm not sure that either of these books make my top 100 list, and I don't agree with all the methodology or thinking in either of them, but they are a great jumping off point for teaching workshop type writing classes.

10. My oldest daughter is reading the newspaper these days, and today she brought me an article to read about faith.

11. Christ calls us for His glory, not our own.

Scripture Blessings:

"For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen."
Romans 11:35

Friday, March 11, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 285

Today I'm giving thanks and praise for these blessings:

Writing Blessings:
1. I am a writing ninja! Actually, I'm a revising writing ninja, or a NiNoReMo participant, which is really cool. See my sidebar, or follow this link here Ali Cross, Dojo

2. I'm looking forward to participating in Write On Con, an online conference. Again, see the sidebar, or follow this link Write On Con

3. I'm recommitting myself as a writer today. Sure, I've been writing, but I feel like I've been going through the motions. Commitment means dedication.

4. I wrote a really rough beginning of a new project: Diary of a Moth. I plan on putting it on the back burner while I get back to revising The Crystal Sword, but I like writing something totally different now and then. It gives me a new perspective and passion for the revision of my "old" story.

5. And then, there is this story, "The Feathered Prince"/"The Swan Prince"/"The Sky Prince" that is in the back of my head off and on . . . not very together, but still there. I may just give myself permission to write on that a bit today.

6. Yesterday I received a request for a revision of my "Octoupus Rising" poem,and today, after 15 revisions of a five line poem, I think I might be ready to re-submit it. Maybe.

Book Blessings: (This is part of that 100 Book list that I'm slowly continuing)

7. Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George is an amazing, and wonderful fantasy adventure that turns our expectations of heroines upside down. I love this book.

8. Starlight Animal Rescue: Runaway by Dandi Daley Mackall is a book that my youngest daughter picked up at the age of seven, when she couldn't seem to find anything at her reading level. Well, within the first few pages, I wasn't sure she was old enough for the book, so we read it together. We both loved this book, and feel that it is not only the best of the series, but the best book we've read by Dandi Daley Mackall. There is some heavy hitting subject matter, but yet, it is handled in really well, in a background of newly awakened faith.

9. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is not a huge favorite of mine, but yet I feel that it is a must read, the beginning of many themes that are seen in science fiction, fantasy and mainstream books today. Can man create a better version of mankind? Is it the way we are put together or the way that we are treated that determines our actions? Read the book, and see what you think.

Blessings from general life:

10. I had time this morning to think, read, write, and pray.

Scripture Blessings:

"Listen to my words, LORD,
consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, LORD, detest.
But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
toward your holy temple.

Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make your way straight before me.
Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongues they tell lies.
Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield."
Psalm 5

Thursday, March 10, 2011

365 Days of Blessing, Day 284

1. Great blogging advice posts like Blog Baby from Karen Lange.

2. Visiting our niece, J, who lives in Portland, and chatting.

3. J’s laughter. I love how each of us has a unique laugh, and I love the sound of hers especially.

4. My husband’s love of video editing.

5. Powell’s City of Books, in Portland, OR – especially the Rose room, and the Red room.

6. Homeschooling on a long car drive.

7. Talking with my husband and daughters on a long car drive.

8. French Fries at Burgerville, cooked in canola oil so my girls and I can eat them, and they taste great.

9. Fire in Fiction by Donald Maas.
10. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse.

Scripture Blessings:

"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Days 280, 281, 282, and 283

Sunday Blessings, Day 280:
1. Confession

2. Forgiveness

3. Awesome God Music

4. Word of God Speak Music

5. The Lord's Prayer

6. Communion

7. Sharing the Peace

8. A message from Elizabeth Chocrane, a missionary to Nepal.

9. Fellowship

10. Hope takes risks.

Monday Blessings, Day 281:

1. Free Verse Poetry

2. List poetry

3. Acrostic poetry

4. ABC poetry

5. Students writing for a half hour in 10 minute chunks.

6. Students excited about sharing their work with partners, and then with the whole class.

7. The end of Taming of the Shrew.

8. My Shakespeare class had complete consensus on this opinion: Katherine is not tamed at the end of the Taming of the Shrew, she's just learned to say what she needs to say to get what she wants.

9. Finishing my outline/summaries for the three classes I'll be teaching next year.

10. Hope peseveres.

Tuesday Blessings, Day 282:

1. No cavities at the dentist office for my daughters!

2. My old dog finally had her stitches taken out, and is free from the cone of shame.

3. My daughters finished their math lessons with ease . . . I'm not sure this will ever happen with joy, but ease is good.

4. Fat Tuesday is fun.

5. Chocolate melted in the microwave, and then mixed with cocounut to make a large homemade haystack. Yum.

6. Chips.

7. Caffeinated soda.

8. A hamburger, dripping with goodness.

9. A clean car.

10. Hope never fails.

Wednesday Blessings, Day 283:

1. Ash Wednesday: a time for repentence, discipline, reliance on the Lord, undeserved grace and faith.

2. Fasting

3. Prayer

4. The book of Acts in the Bible

5. Psalm 51

6. Ashes, and olive oil

7. A friend of mine started a new blog, check it out: Faithfully Frugal

8. The Ash Wednesday devotion from Upper Room

9. Today's daily devotion from Luther Hour Ministries Lenten Devotion

10. Hope in Christ

Scripture Blessings:

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:1-8

Saturday, March 5, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 279, Loneliness as a Blessing?

Saturday 279

This post is a different kind of blessings post. It’s a post about loneliness, the kind of loneliness only found in a crowd of people you love, or arm in arm with your spouse. It’s not a loneliness that makes sense as true loneliness, but a loneliness born out of feeling different, socially clueless, and separate. It’s that kind of loneliness that can only be cured by confiding in a friend, having a good cry, and renewing a relationship with God through Bible study and prayer. And then stepping forward, and getting on with life.

An acquaintance of mine, on the verge of friendship, offered me her heart of loneliness, and I listened, but didn’t call her, didn’t follow up, and then, in the heart of my own lonely moment, I realized just exactly what she meant.

Loneliness isn’t about not being blessed. Sometimes it’s about being blessed abundantly, and not feeling worthy. Sometimes it’s about feeling just different, as if the uniqueness God has given us is a separating force keeping us from true communion with Him and others. It’s when, despite busy schedules and a tight knit family, we feel adrift, or lost in the babble. We hope there is someone out there like us.

So, where in the world are the blessings in this?
1. Loneliness gives us compassion, the kind that compels us to do something when someone confides his/her loneliness to us.
2. Loneliness draws us into a closer relationship with the Lord. He understands us completely. He knit us together in our mothers’ wombs, and knows the number of hairs on our heads, and the uniqueness of each of our souls.
3. Loneliness teaches us a little of the agony Christ must have felt on the cross when he cried out, “Oh God, oh God, why have you forsaken me?”
4. Loneliness gives us reason to be thankful for the Lord’s amazing grace and mind-blowing love which we receive only through the gift of his Son’s life, death and resurrection. The Lord loves us so much, He wanted to be reconciled with us, and did it in the only way that would truly open our hearts – through the gift of His one and only Son.
5. Loneliness makes us appreciate our loved ones with greater grace.
6. Loneliness gives us a reason to reach out to others.
7. Loneliness is the consequence and antidote for selfishness, and self-centered thinking.
8. Loneliness has been experienced by others, time and again. It’s ok to feel lonely now and then, and even have a good cry. A good cry meaning one that pours out and spills over into the arms of God, and then lets it all go.
9. Loneliness usually lasts only for a short time, and then we find ourselves hugged, loved, and understood by the Lord, by our family, and by our friends.
10. God doesn’t want us to feel lonely for long.

Scripture Blessings:

"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven -
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search, and atime to give up as lost;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani,' that is 'My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?'" Matthew 27:46

"Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a certain servant-girl came to him and said, 'You too were with the Galilean.'
But he denied it before them all, saying, 'I do not know what you are talking about.'
And when he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there,'This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.'
And again he denied it with an oath, 'I do not know the man.'
And a little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, 'Surely you too are one of them; for the way you talk gives you away.'
Then he began to curse and swear, 'I do not know the man!' And immediately a cock crowed.
And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, 'Before the cock crows, you will deny Me three times.' And he went out and wept bitterly."
Matthew 26:69-75

"So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?' He said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Tend My lambs.'
He said to him again a second time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love Me?' He said to him, 'Yes Lord; You know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Shepherd My Sheep.'
He said to him a third time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love Me?' Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, 'Do you love me?' And he said to HIm, 'Lord, you know all things; You know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Tend my sheep.'"
John 21:15-17

365 Days of Blessings, Days 273 thru 278, and some books again

Sunday 273
1. My daughters had a fun time at a friends house.
2. Set up for worship has been taken off my shoulders by another group.
3. My husband is training two young men to take on some of the media and sound needs for worship.
4. We sang old songs and new ones for worship today.
5. I had time to plan for my classes, and catch up with the work I procrastinated during our mid-winter break.
6. Oldest Dolphin at the Dolphin Research Center a little old, but still good about Teresa, the oldest dolphin at the Dolphin Research Center – she's somewhere in her 50's.
7. Five Love Languages
8. Five Love Languages for Parents
9. My Utmost for His Highest
10. Luther’s Small Catechism

Monday 274
1. An awesome day at homeschool cooperative.
2. Haiku poetry.
3. Tanka poetry.
4. Onomatopoeia
5. Taming of the Shrew, Act 4.
6. Getting grades done.
7. Chatting with someone about Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, and the revolutionary war, and just enjoying being a parent-teacher.
8. My oldest daughter danced for the first time in four weeks.
9. Excitement for our daughters' first dance competition of the year, coming up this weekend.
10. Hearing that a young man we’ve been praying for has “clear” blood test results.

Tuesday 275

1. We started our day late, but we were able to get some homeschool lessons done.
2. An hour long conversation with a friend that was much needed.
3. We have a friend who’s going to help us with our downstairs bathroom ceiling and wall water damaged areas soon.
4. So many welcoming, kind faces at our dance studio.
5. Realizing I’ve been a crabby patty, and then doing something about it.
6. Having an awesome hubby who gave me some time alone by being with the girls at dance class.
7. Taking some time to just relax.
8. Our dog broke her “cone of shame/healing” but the vet said she is healing despite that.
9. Heart to Heart An amazing post about God's amazing grace.
10. Drunk With the Holy Spirit See this post about Living With JOY!

Wednesday 276
1. Time - God's gift of Time.
2. Time to pray.
3. Time to heal.
4. Time to talk.
5. Time to enjoy silence.
6. Time to sing.
7. Time to dance.
8. Time to write.
9. Time to cuddle.
10. Time to hug.

Thursday 277
1. There is a mirror in our upstairs bathroom now, above the sink. Maybe I’ll have better hair days now. ;-)
2. Only one more thing to do and then our upstairs bathroom will be complete.
3. Edward, a fluffy friend from Harbor Hope Cat Rescue, was adopted into a forever home.
4. Homemade smoothies.
5. Smoothies from recipes.
6. Smoothies from our own imaginations.
7. Smoothies from the grocery store.
8. Smoothies from Marlene’s Health Food Market.
9. Getting a few things done for Ash Wednesday planning.
10. Imagination Will Be the Death of Me Check out Melissa's funny, but true post about how our imaginations can sometimes get the best of us.

Friday 278
1. Dr. Seuss, the Master a post honoring Dr. Seuss.

2.My Favorite Dr. Seuss book: The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins

3. Red Fish, Blue Fish
4. The Cat in the Hat
5. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
7. Horton Hears a Who

Regular Blessings:
8. My daughter's exclamation, "Now I know what it means to go swimming in soft powder." - Skiing was fun, but challenging today.
9. Going over jumps in the small terrain park.
10. Bowling with a fun group from our church.

Scripture Blessings:
"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1