Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank #27

Much to my delight, I discovered an old journal today. The journal is a Count Your Blessings journal. Each day there are spaces to write 5 things you are thankful for. I used the journal some in 2002. It was fun reading over the items on each list. I was thankful for things like hearing Seth's voice on the phone (boy I am so thankful he isn't in Korea!), Jonathan falling asleep in my arms (wow that was a long time ago!), and being in TN to see UA beat UT in football at Neyland Stadium (what a great memory!). All the different pages made me smile and reminded me that it is a daily devotion to make my heart a thankful heart.
On to my list-- here's how my tank is being filled with thanks this week:

1. Snow: I am absolutely child-like when it snows. I had fun watching the beautiful snow fall and then playing in it with my kids.
2. Kind Neighbors: I am thankful for my neighborhood! I went to a baby shower for a neighbor this week. Yesterday, we had Jonathan out at the bus stop. He came back to the door complaining that no other kids were out there. About that time, our next door neighbor (who was driving out of her driveway) says, “Hey, you know there’s a 2 hour school delay?” We didn’t and we were so thankful she was there to help us out. (By the way, they had gone to school for regular school day the day before and it had only rained overnight! Oh well, it was wonderful to be helped out by our neighbor!)
3. Morning: "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23
4. Library Books: This new habit of mine (getting books from the library) is giving me such joy.
5. Phones: This week I finally made a call to a close friend of mine. It was so refreshing! I also received a call from a new friend. It was so encouraging!
6. Painted Toe Nails: This time of year, I am really the only one who pays attention to my toe nails. I am not sure anyone really ever does but they are at least visible in the warmer months. Anyway, I painted my toe nails this week. I am thankful b/c it makes me smile and b/c it reminded me that I need to do little things for myself.
7. Praying with my Kids
8. Winter Tub: Last year I decided to tub up some items by seasons. It was wonderful this week to be able to get the tub out of the garage and have everything I needed for the kids to play in the snow (snow shoes/rainboots, waterproof gloves, hats, etc)
9. Getting to Know you Surveys: I got one of these in my email this week. It made me think about what I am afraid of and what inspires me. These are good things to think about. (And, I am thankful that I am getting to know myself—Ha! Ha!)
10. Timeless toys: Toys like Brio Trains, Fisher Price Little People, Playdough, hotwheels and lincoln logs—-these toys are just priceless! They often provide my children with harmonious playtime.
11. Stress Free Grocery shopping
12. Getting Housework “Done”: No, I am not done with my housework but I am always thankful when I can recognize what I accomplished.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wednesday Words

Last night I was thinking about my focus and what I spend my energy on. I want to spend more energy on growth and less energy on things that don't matter.

"Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people."
A.W. Tozer from The Pursuit of God

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”
Psalms 42:2

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

$1 Coffee at Starbucks

I usually get lattes at Starbucks so this isn't that exciting for me. Still, $1 refillable coffee at Starbucks sounds like a good deal. For Starbucks, it is unbelievable even if it is for drip coffee. This is being tested in a few stores near Seattle. Here's the info from Newsweek.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Gravity of Motion Word Cloud

Word Cloud Definition (per the Snapshirt website): A word cloud is a visual depiction of content (words) used in a body of text. The word clouds we use at are arranged alphabetically and depict more frequently used words in progressively larger fonts.

This is fun! If you have a blog or website and you want to create your own word cloud (for free), go to Snapshirts. (Note: I ran this yesterday and today and I got a different selection of words. Also, you can customize it a bit once you have the word cloud.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank

In so many ways this week has felt uneventful. At first, I wasn't sure where to start my Thursday Thanks Tank. And, then, I remembered the reason I started this weekly exercise. There are so many little blessings in each day. It is the little things that I tend to overlook. It is the little happy moments that I often fail to appreciate. So, here are some small but significant things that made me happy this week.

1. Games: I played a Pirate board game with Jonathan and David this week. It was at a totally inconvenient time and I was very resistant to the idea. But, I gave in and got a lot of joy out of playing with them (much more than I would have if I have kept working on my 'to do' list).
2. Clean Bathrooms: In a house with 4 boys, clean bathrooms are an exceptional joy.
3. Jumper Cables and Kind Strangers: My car wouldn't start. I was at a friend's house but she had to get to a meeting. Her neighbor came out and helped us jump my car. I was thankful for the jumper cables, my car starting, not making my friend miss her appointment, and the kind man that helped us out.
4. Sweet Things my Kids Say: This week I had an unexpected conversation with David about Heaven. It was a great discussion. He had a lot of questions and I answered as best I could. The conversation ended on this note: "I want to go to heaven so I can see how BIG Jesus is!"
5. Water: I have been drinking a lot of water lately. It seems I just cannot get enough. The more I drink the thirstier I seem to be. I am thankful for how water is helping my body (I had a sierra mist last night and it tasted so sugary!).
6. Bubble Baths: Sometimes nothing helps take away the stress of a headache like a nice hot bath.
7. Pre-made coffee: I am thankful that each morning the coffee is already made for me in the coffee pot. I am thankful for the coffee and for the man that makes it for me.
8. Laughing with my husband: Oh, I am thankful for moments where my husband and I just laugh. Sometimes you just have to laugh.
9. Sunbutter: I am so, so thankful for this Sunbutter. Not only does it make a good substitute for Peanut Butter (which we cannot have in our peanut free home) but it also tastes wonderful. Most importantly, it is David's favorite sandwich--he prefers it over everything else.

Don't forget to be thankful this week! If you get a chance, make your own list of how your "Thanks Tank" is being filled. Also, check out Pam’s List at Without Fear and Carmen’s List. I find that reading other people's thankful thoughts only helps me in my quest to be thankful!

**Update: Check out Kim’s Thanks Tank list. It's wonderful- thanks for taking the time to share your thankful thoughts!


I am thankful for my little girl. I'll post more thankful thoughts later. For now, I wanted to see if I could share a video of Elisabeth.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wednesday Words

Here's something I read this morning that is making me think.

"O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to Eternal Life.
Saint Francis of Assisi

Monday, January 21, 2008

New Year Goals - Financial

I am improving my financial awareness. Money usually comes and goes for me and I don't always know where it goes! We set some financial goals for the year for our family. I decided larger goals will only be achieved when I set some small attainable goals for myself. Here are two of the changes I am making.

Clip Coupons: I am cutting out and using coupons. I have decided that this is a great way to save money. Not only are the coupons saving money for me but I am becoming more organized with my shopping in the process. So, it is much more than 45 cents here or there. We are already spending less on our grocery bill and it all started with clipping coupons!
Use the Library: I used to enjoy heading to Barnes and Nobles to get a book. It was more of an escape than anything. I would get my latte and browse the books. I would leave with a book for myself and often a few other things. My husband slowly brought me around to the idea of getting books from a used bookstore. You pay so much less for the books and you can sell them back! But now I have discovered a long forgotten joy from my childhood. The last few weeks I have been visiting the library. It is wonderful! I am enjoying books by authors I enjoy (just read two Jodi Piccolt books) and I am not spending any money.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Suggestive Advertising

Yesterday I was in the car when Thomas says to me, "Hey Momma, I want to do THAT." I turn to look and I realize he is pointing to the toliet paper that I had bought during the triumphant Fred Meyer trip. (Now, why is that still in the car? Oops.) So, I say something like, "What Thomas?" He points to the toliet paper and says again, "I want to do that."

Have you ever even noticed what the sweet bear is doing? It looks pretty fun to a 2 year old but it isn't exactly what I would call family friendly advertising!

Here's how the rest of the conversation went.
(M) "Oh, you want to do THAT, huh?"
(T) "Yes, I doooo." (M) "Well, see...only bears can do that." (T) "Oh."

That was end of the conversation. It wasn't exactly the most honest answer. It was as creative as I could get at the time. I was not about to try to explain advertising to a 2 year old while driving (and enjoying my beloved Starbucks). I am still amazed that the answer worked for Thomas!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not my WA Fred Meyer

I have had cabin fever a lot lately. I am enjoying living in Oregon but I am still adjusting to small town living. I know there are much smaller towns and maybe some people would laugh at my perspective. Lebanon has challenged my sense of contentment. I recognize it might not be all Lebanon. It might be a combination of having a 2 month old during the the rainy season in the NW and being new to town. All the same, I have been struggling to find ways to get out of the house. Yesterday I decided I had it all figured out. I would gather up the crew (David, Thomas, and Elisabeth) and head into Albany for a trip to Fred Meyer. (Oh, the beauty of this plan. I was motivated and looking forward to accomplishing something without stress.) David and Thomas could play in the Fred Meyer play area and I could shop. I built up the trip to the boys. They were intrigued. Thomas had never visited the playland and David just couldn't remember. I was imagining calmly shopping while in close proximity to other people. It was the perfect plan. So, we got ready, Elsie was fed, and the boys were looking forward to the adventure (they really seemed to be happy about getting out, too). I walked into Fred Meyer, with Elsie in the front part of the cart and the boys holding on to either side. I stood there looking around. Something wasn't right. I asked the checkout clerk and to my surprise, the Albany Fred Meyer does not have a playland. I kept my composure and we shopped. The boys were really well behaved. I was very, very thankful that! All the while, I couldn't help but think, "This sure isn't my WA Fred Meyer."

Here's a picture of the crew toward the end of the trip.

The trip was successful. It didn't go as orginally planned but I was still pleased. I did get out of the house. I did get something accomplished. And, I did swing by the Albany drive-thru Starbucks!

For my SE friends: Fred Meyer is owned by Kroger. I had not ever heard of them before we moved to WA. Many of them are Super-Walmartish, complete with grocery, clothing, and home improvement departments. They often have (but not always) a playland for kids. You can check your kids (younger than Kindergarten age) in at the playland and they are watched while you shop.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Year Goals - Organization

Okay, I have given up on writing one large post about the goals I have set for myself. Instead, I think I will just write here and there about what I am striving towards. That way, not only will I actually write but I will have more posts!

I have organization goals for the year. I have many areas that I can improve with being organized. (And, as I write this my 2 youngest boys are racing back and forth across the room and I can hardly organize my thoughts!) I think I will just mention one small organization goal for now (since, "Momma" "Maaaamma" is making it impossible to do more. I am determined to accomplish this little post).

Email Organization Goal: Do not keep more than one page of emails (approximately 20 emails) in my Inbox.

For some people, this isn't a significant goal. For me, it is keeping me on my toes. Sometime right after the holidays, I cleaned out my inbox. I had almost 300 emails in it!!! It is no wonder I never got back to people. My inbox was littered with advertisements, forwarded humorous emails, emails I thought I might want to refer back to and emails with picture attachments that I wanted to keep. It was very challenging and freeing to clear the emails out. By keeping the inbox uncluttered, I am actually starting to do a better job at responding to emails. It is also just one step in the decluttering process that I am taking on in other places in my home. Note: If you are waiting for a response from me to an email you sent, please resend your email. (Thanks so much for understanding.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank #25

It’s been a good week. We have settled back into the school routine, which is quite nice. I have had fun sitting here thinking back over this past week, remembering how truly blessed I am. Here are a few of the things I am filling my Thanks Tank with tonight:

Family Time: We had a Family Movie Night last Friday night. After dinner we all got in some PJs (even mom and dad) to watch a movie. We inflated our blow-up mattress and “camped out” with pillows and blankets to watch the movie. The boys are still talking about it! It is wonderful when we take time to make things special.
Honesty: I had a chance to see a friend from WA this past weekend. We were both really looking forward to it. It turned out the timing just wasn’t right. We were honest enough with ourselves and each other to admit it. That kind of honesty is refreshing.
Goals: I have been setting lots of goals lately. In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I have set some goals. Setting goals provides me with joy because it gives me a chance to focus on a “pressing on” attitude. I intend on blogging about my goals soon.
Communication: In addition to personal goals, we have been setting some goals for our family. I have been blessed and extremely thankful for the free-flowing, open communication I have had with my hubby.
Doctors: Today was doctor appt day. I had a check-up and David had an appt with his new allergy/asthma doctor. I am so thankful for doctors. I know my family would be hurting if we hadn’t experienced care from great doctors.
Kindness: That’s such a broad thing to be thankful for but it has show up a lot this week. I enjoyed seeing my husband share his knowledge (and labor) of plumbing with some new friends. Today, a new friend of mine babysat Thomas during David’s doctor appt. Those are just 2 examples. It is just wonderful to experience gifts of kindness—on the giving or receiving end.

That’s it for me. I am off to bed--about to be thankful for my pillow and the baby that is sleeping soundly! Don’t forget to count your blessings. And, feel free to let me know a thankful thought.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wednesday Words

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

I am really working on positive communication. I want to build others up with what I say. I want to be an encouragement. I want to focus on the positive instead of the negative. I want to encourage my spouse. I also want to find creative ways to encourage others from my spot as a stay at home mom. I am focusing on this. So far, the focus is mostly causing me to recognize when I mess up. Still, I know being aware is the first step.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank #24

Today was a great day. I spent the day enjoying my kids. The boys spent the morning painting and drawing pictures. They had long baths where they got to play and play in the water. I read stories to them. I played with and loved on Elisabeth. She smiled several times. Tonight Seth and I danced with them (the turn the music up loud and act crazy kind of dancing) and I got on the floor and tickled them (while alternately Seth wrestled them). There was so much more. Basically, it was a great day and today I am thankful for my kids.

Pictures taken on January 1st.