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Monday, October 24, 2011

A Sugarless Birthday Bash?! Say it ain't so!

So, my sweet, tender, quiet Miss G decided being 2 wasn't all that exciting, and she wanted to turn 3. Well, she doesn't technically turn 3 until Friday, but we celebrated this weekend with family. It was an absolutely beautiful day. I love it when the Lord blesses us with perfect weather. Last year, for Miss G's party, it rained like nothing else, and we were all stuck inside. And as fun as making S'mores in the wood stove was, it didn't allow the kids to get all their craziness energy out. 

I was trying to fall asleep a few weeks ago thinking of what type of games to do for her party, when the idea of "Shoot the Tail on the Donkey" came to mind. That was quickly settled. Shooting a BB gun at a birthday party? Heck yes! 

It was a blast. Everyone participated, from my 98-year-old grandpa down to 3-year-old Miss G. 

J-Man ended up taking the prize on that contest. 

Each of the kids made their own boat to race down the "Lazy River" (a.k.a. the irrigation canal that runs through our property): 

And even though we did stray some from our no-grain, no-dairy, no-sugar lifestyle, we didn't throw it all out the window:

Better-for-you-than-some-other-things Popcorn Balls (from Everyday Paleo)

No-grain carrot cake with delicious cream cheese frosting (from Primal Palate).

It was a wonderful, fun day. And these were two of my favorite parts:

Seeing my grandpa enjoying himself!

And this adorable face!!!

Happy birthday, sweet girl. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shanti's Top Ten Reasons to Adopt

I was thinking this morning that Superman and I have truly been blessed by our children. I can't imagine if we had skirted God's call and avoided adoption in the first place. I mean, it would have been easy. We could have skipped the paperwork, home visits, birth parent visits, court dates, endless paperwork (oh, did I already mention that?) and general pain-in-the-rear-ness that comes with adopting. But it wasn't even a question for us. We knew that was what we were supposed to do; so we did it. Even though I had intense hesitation about adding a fifth child to our brood, the Lord softened my heart and allowed me to experience the joy of having such a beautiful, wonderful girl in our lives. But you know what? That softened heart didn't just happen. I told the Lord that He would have to change my heart because I sure as heck didn't think I was ready to be a mom of five. And I left it at that. I figured if He wanted me to take another kid in, He was going to have to make a miracle happen. And miracle-maker is His middle name. Well, maybe not, but you get the point. 

Can you imagine this picture with one of these kids missing? Me neither. Oh, and that bronzed tall man isn't too shabby, either. 

So, here are my top 10 reasons to adopt: 

10. Stretch marks? No worries! You get to skip that part!
  9. Morning sickness, being uncomfortable and having to use a body pillow to sleep is for the birds!
  8. Seeing a living example of how we are "adopted" into God's family is priceless.
  7. Knowing you are making an actual, real difference in the life of a child is one of the most amazing feelings.
  6. Realizing you can love someone who isn't "from you" just as much as your birth children.
  5. There's always more room in your heart to love than you think.
  4. Passing on your traditions and beliefs to children who may otherwise have never experienced a Christmas   
      morning or Thanksgiving or birthday celebration is incredibly rewarding.
  3. Knowing you are changing the world...even if it's just a small part of it.
  2. You will be stretched and pushed beyond your comfort zone and forced to grow, even if you don't think 
      you want to. 
  1. Joshua, Michael, Naomi, Grace and {insert name here}. 

There are thousands and thousands of kids around the U.S. and the world waiting for a family to love them. Are you being called? 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My New Favorite App

So, I try to plan my meals each week. Sometimes that doesn't happen, and it gets to be 3:00 and I think, "Shoot! What am I going to make for dinner?" Because of our no-grain, no-dairy, no-sugar diet, everything has to be prepared from {pretty much} scratch. There's no quick box of crackers for a snack or whipping up a pot of pasta. There's always a lot of dicing, cutting, slicing, cooking involved in every meal. And so, if I haven't planned, I can get a little stressed trying to figure out what I can put together quickly. 

Enter my wonderful, helpful iPhone. Now, I'm not a techie. But there are times when I love having an iPhone. I always keep my grocery list on there so it's on hand. My calendar is on there so I can access my plans when needed. I can quickly map directions or Google something or catch up on last week's message if I missed church. And the other day I thought, "It sure would be nice if I could find an App where I could have my meals planned for the week, linked to my grocery list so it automatically adds the needed items to my list." And guess what? Someone else was as brilliant as I am (ha!) and already created it for me! After searching through a couple different ones, I settled on this one, called the "MealBoard" App. It's so perfectly amazing, and exactly what I was looking for. 


I enter the name of my recipe, and can add all the ingredients (or not) and pick which ones I actually need on my grocery list. I am still playing around with it, but right now my meals are planned for the next week, and my grocery list is done and ready to be checked off. Have I mentioned before that I love to check things off? It makes me feel accomplished. 

Here's a link if you want to check it out yourself! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall Traditions

I love fall. The morning crispness, changing leaves, the soft warm sun or grey-covered sky. The smell of dampness in the air. Cinnamon, baking, scented candles. Cute boots and soft scarves. The anticipation of trick-or-treating and the warmth of Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the bend. Days and nights smothered in traditions, loaded with children's laughter and giggles and wide-eyed wonderment. 

It's a season before the cold of winter, before the leaves fall and dampness turns into wetness. It makes me want to snuggle up, read a book, watch a movie, play a game. Last night we played hide-and-seek in the dark while the clouds covered the early-evening sun for us. As I write, chili bubbles in the crock pot and warm brownies sit on the stove, cooling and waiting for little mouths to gobble them down.

For us, fall means a visit to the pumpkin patch, fresh apples from Apple Hill, watching the turkeys return to our property, shorter days, baking treats, Miss G's birthday (she's turning 3!!), carving pumpkins, roasting pumpkin seeds (see my amazingly delicious, accidentally-discovered recipe below), and just more of a relaxed, slow pace.

So last week, I made a pumpkin pie from scratch. I put all the gunk from the pumpkin into a bowl of water and added a bunch of salt. I figured I would get to separating the gunk from the seeds later that evening. Well, that night, the bowl full of orange gooey-ness stared back at me, and I didn't want to touch it. So, there it sat...for two days. Finally, a brilliant idea came to mind: what else would a 7-year-old boy like to do, but put his hands in a sticky mess and separate seeds from stringy pumpkin? So J-Man and M-Dog did the dirty work for me. After they got them all nice and clean for me, I made the best batch of pumpkin seeds I've ever had: 

Shanti's Accidentally-Delicious Pumpkin Seeds

Seeds from 1 pumpkin
1/4 cup salt
Few tablespoons olive oil
Garlic salt to taste

Dig gunk out of pumpkin. Place into bowl of cold water and stir in 1/4 cup salt. Let sit for 2 days. 
After 2 days, have a child separate out the seeds and get rid of the gunk. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Rinse seeds in colander and toss in bowl with olive oil and garlic salt. Lay out on parchment paper-covered cookie sheet and roast in oven for 15-20 minutes. Take out and enjoy! They WILL go fast! 

So, what are some of your favorite fall traditions?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Life As We Know It

Got an e-mail today from my mom letting us know my grandma is not doing well and was being taken to the hospital. Now, my grandma is 93 years old, but has not been living for years. She has moments of muddled clarity when she smiles and remembers who I am. When other people's grandparents have passed away, I have often felt empathy for the surviving family, but would think, "well, he was 90 years old"...or "85 years old"...or "95 years old," and my empathy was limited. It sounds cold, but I figured at least they were able to live a long life. I guess it's because I had never lost anyone "older" who was close to me. My ignorance fed my lack of understanding. Until now. Of course, my grandma hasn't passed away yet, but it is the inevitable fate of each of us to move on from this life at some point. I know that her time is not far in the future, I just don't know the exact hour or day. 

And my heart is filled with mourning. I suppose it's not the sadness of missing the relationship, but of the memories that are tied to her. The realization that it does, indeed, all come to an end, and that her passing is just the beginning of a long chain of events that happens in everyone's lives. Grandparents dying, parents dying, friends dying, loved ones dying. It is the realization that the chapter of my life that contained her will be closed, nothing but memories of the past.

It's sad. And my heart aches for my dear grandpa, 98 years old and still sharp as a tack. A kind, gentle man who has been nothing but supportive and loving to me and my siblings our whole lives. As he faces the imminent death of his dear wife of more than 70 years, I can't imagine the sorrow he feels.

But amid the sadness, I sense the hope that lies within me. The hope of a new tomorrow, the hope of what is to come after our short life here on earth. My saddened heart leaps for joy at the thought of being in the presence of my Heavenly Father one day, surrounded by perfection and basking in the worship of our Savior. I am not afraid of dying. I know that my life here is but a passing breath and that before I know it, I will be in that Heavenly place, singing joyfully with my grandma and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who have passed before me. 

And so, that is how I feel today. Mournful, joyful, thoughtful...thankful. Thankful for the life I've had and the life I'll have. Thankful that I have been blessed with grandparents who have always cared about my well-being and have invested in my life. Thankful that my children have grandparents who adore them and would do anything for them. Thankful that I have the hope of eternal life and hopeful that my children will each make a personal decision to have a relationship with the Savior so that they, too, will one day join me in Heaven, where we will sing, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God!"

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm Not in Hiding Gorging on Sweets...

It's been almost a month since my full confession. I haven't been hiding. Somehow, these past few weeks went by without me noticing. Or, I guess I noticed, but I couldn't believe that it was really almost June, and therefore it couldn't be. I've been off sugar for about a month. It hasn't been that bad. Yeah, I want need some chocolate. I pass by the local ice cream joint and my mouth salivates. I see commercials for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and I want to jump through the screen and live in that chocolatey, peanut-buttery world for a bit. But, it hasn't been that bad. I guess it depends on your definition of bad

I've been doing lots of baking. Peanut butter cookies, gingerbread cookies, shortbread, pineapple upside-down cake...all made with almond flour and honey as a sweetener. I'd like to say I haven't eaten any of the stuff I've baked, but I'd be lying. And since I'm in "full honesty" mode, I wouldn't want to do that, now would I? I don't know if it's physically possible for me to bake something I know is yummy and not eat some. I suppose I could make things taste nasty, and then sit and laugh as I forced my kids to eat it, knowing I was conquering my addiction, but I truly do find joy in baking for Superman and the kids. And, it's something they look forward to. It's the highest compliment to me when my kids say, "Mommy, that's sooooooo yummy! Can I have more?!" To which I reply, "HECK NO! That's MINE!" I jest, I jest. 

We've wrapped up school for the year, and although my incredible in-laws are going to continue to do math and reading with the kids over the summer, I'm taking the summer off. Initially, I felt that if they were working with the kids, I should probably be doing something too, but I eventually convinced myself that I need a break. I'll be a better teacher in the fall if I have a break from being "teacher." 

The weather has been downright strange these last few weeks. I'm longing for warm weather, but I'm sure in a few weeks I'll be complaining about the 100-degree heat. 

I've continued my ongoing list of 1,000 to be thankful for. Here's what I've written down over the last few weeks: 

102. Laying in the sun on a warm day
103. Watching my sister on t.v.! (She was on the show Yard Crashers!)
104. Skipping school on a day I just want to relax and enjoy the kids
105. Kids sleeping in
106. A stocked fridge
107. Kids making good choices
108. A husband who makes his family a priority (mine!)
109. The smell of alfalfa
110. Going to the fair
111. Wildflowers growing
112. Strawberry season
113. Morning walks with the kids
114. Homemade marshmallows!
115. Date nights with Superman
116. Reading my Bible in a quiet house
117. Cuddling baby animals
118. Hiking with the family
119. Hearing the kids recite memory verses
120. Dinner with friends
121. Seeing J-Man play his guitar on stage
122. Eating cold, fresh, ripe strawberries
123. Realizing how much I love running when I can't do it because of an injury
124. Finishing school!
125. Knowing that Superman has 88 days off of work soon!
126. Having grandparents who are still alive
127. People watching
128. Living in the country
129. Watching "Secret Millionaire."
130. Picking up our weekly fruits and veggies at a farm down the street
131. Purging
132. Seeing clean homeschooling cupboards after purging
133. Knowing there is still sun behind all the clouds
134. Living in a place that has local fruits and veggies year-round
135. Being spontaneous
136. Feeling close to the Lord
137. Seeing our kids be generous with each other
138. Finding a sports doctor who can help my Achilles tendon
139. Hearing birds chirping early in the morning
140. Seeing a hummingbird up close
141. Painted toes
142. Homemade waffles on a Sunday morning

I was participating in the 100 push-up challenge (for the second time), and for the second time, I hit the wall at 60 push-ups. I'm serious, I could NOT do another push-up. I stayed on that day for weeks, trying to gain more, but I couldn't. That's when I decided 60 is good. Sixty is just fine. Sixty is plenty. So, that's that. Tom, my friend, how are your push-ups coming along? 

I injured my Achilles tendon after running my fastest mile almost 3 weeks ago. I'm going to a sports therapist, and he has already helped me immensely, but I still have a few more weeks to go until I can run again. Thank goodness I just pulled it, and didn't tear it. I'll be patient, but in the meantime, I'm going stir crazy for some running. All in good time, I suppose. 

Now I'm trying to figure out how to continue my no-sugar commitment over this summer when birthdays and hot summer nights and memories with the kids all beckon me. Can someone please invent some type of virtual reality where I can binge on sugar and have the same satiety while not actually ingesting anything??

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hello, My Name is Shanti and I'm a Sugarholic.

I've always loved sugar. Really. Anything sugar. When I was younger, I used to eat spoonfuls of brown sugar as a snack, and I'm not exaggerating. How I didn't get my first cavity until a few years ago, I'll never know. I would still eat Fruity Pebbles every morning if I could...or Lucky Charms...Or Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch. It runs in the mama's got a sweet tooth, my grandpa's got a sweet brother and sister have sweet tooths. It's a curse, I tell you. When I was a teenager, I used to eat sugar cereal for breakfast, and for lunch, I'd buy something sweet like a Hostess cupcake or chocolate bar. I'd snack on candy in the afternoon and then force down a bit of food for dinner...and end the night with a bowl of ice cream or another bowl of sugar cereal. 

I've been lucky in that obesity does not run in our family, so I could pretty much eat as much junk as I wanted, and never "see" the repercussions. I mean, I would feel it...lethargy, irritability, aching muscles and joints, foggy-headedness, mental unclarity. It was all there, but I never attributed it to the sugar. Heavens no. 

Most of you know our family has been on the Paleo Diet since last year. It includes cutting out dairy, legumes, all grains and sugar. It was going great. My joint pain was gone, my energy level increased dramatically, my monthly cycles regulated, and I just felt more clear-headed. But a few months ago, I slipped. I ate a piece of cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory. For any normal, non-addicted person, this would be no big deal. But for me, it was like an alcoholic slipping and having a drink. After that, I could not stop thinking about sugar. I fought it for a few days, but in a moment of weakness when I was out by myself, the Kit Kat called my name. What would one little Kit Kat do? Surely nothing. But that one indulgence led to another....and another...and another. 

My sugar indulgences became a dirty little secret. Here I was, eating everything "right" at home, and any time I was around other people. But the moment I was by myself or just had the girls with me, it was "let's get an ice cream cone!" (vanilla soft serve dipped in chocolate? YES PLEASE!) or "let's have a little treat" or "let's share a cookie from that UH-MAZING cookie shop." It had now been months since my little secret had started. I felt like a cheating wife. I was the hypocrite of all hypocrites. I couldn't even tell Superman even though I knew he really wouldn't care.  The sugar cravings were consuming my thoughts. Every time I ate a meal, it was immediately followed by almost unbearable yearnings for something sweet...preferably chocolate. I realized my desire for sugar had become an idol for me. I felt like a total failure. And then, I hit bottom.

I was at Costco with the girls and was perusing the aisles, fighting off my urge to buy a bulk-sized box of chocolate bars. I casually picked up a container of chocolate-covered the ingredients. Corn syrup. That's a deal breaker for me. Ironic, I know. Moved on to the chocolate-covered caramel clusters...corn syrup again. Ok, ok, I knew I should have stopped there. But by now I was on a mission. And then I spotted it. A box of divine fudge made by a local Chocolatier. Ah, yes! I found it! I proceeded to polish off a POUND of chocolate over the next 24 hours. And I was sleeping for like 9 of that. 

And that was it. That's when I hit bottom. I was feeling physically awful...I was waking up a ton at night, getting up in the morning with that old joint and neck pain rearing its ugly head, and that nasty afternoon slump was in control of my life. It was time to confess. All day, I had butterflies in my stomach. I don't know why I was so scared to tell Superman, but I felt like I needed to confess this dirty secret to someone fast, or I was gonna keel over from anxiety. 

That night, we sat on the couch together after the kids went to bed, and I told him I needed to talk to him about something. It's not very often that I preface a conversation with those words, so he was thinking this was something serious. I proceeded to tell him everything...all about my slow fall to destruction, how sweets had totally consumed my mind and I couldn't wait for a "fix" after each meal. I said I felt this addiction had become an idol for me, and I was trying to figure out if there was an underlying psychological cause for me feeling I had to keep it "secret." Superman had a little smirk on his face. He was sympathetic, understanding and encouraging. Of course he didn't make fun of me, or scold me or tell me what a loser I was. 

He told me I was being really hard on myself, but said he would support me in getting off sugar if that's what I wanted. And I said yes. You see, I can't eat sugar in moderation. I don't believe I would ever offer a recovering alcoholic a drink and say, "It's's just one!" Likewise, I just cannot allow myself to indulge in sugary sweet delectable desserts. Sad? Yes, a bit. But there have been too many times when I have gone off sugar successfully, only to re-introduce it "just for special occasions" months later, and slowly have it become an obsession again. 

So, there you have it. I'm a Sugarholic. I'm on Day 4 of no sugar, and the first few days were...well, let's just say, NOT FUN. It could be a combination of not feeling well in general and sugar withdrawal, but all I know is that I did not fell well this weekend. Today is better. The cravings are starting to subside a bit. 

I struggled with whether to confess this publicly. It's quite humiliating, really. Especially because I am constantly preaching about how wonderful the Paleo diet is. And it is. If you follow it. I know that progress in a situation like this comes from openly confessing it. I know once I share a struggle, I'm more likely to stay accountable. So as embarrassing as it is, it is what it is. 

I apologize for being hypocritical. Those dirty, dark secrets can sure take over when you let them. I'm sorry for misrepresenting myself. I have always strove to be an open book, allowing others to see my struggles and triumphs, wanting to be authentic. I hope you are able to forgive me, and if you see me, ask me, "Have you had any sugar lately?" I want to be held accountable! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lent Recap

So, you may remember that back in March, I made a commitment to pray for Superman during Lent. It was something I chose to do, getting up 45 minutes early each morning to cover my soul mate in prayer. I'm not talking a typical quick "Please bless Superman" prayer, but a thoughtful, desperate plea for the Lord to heal him. I created a private prayer blog, something I could go back and read to remind myself what the Lord had or hadn't done. It was something new for me...making those moments the center of my day, the most important thing I did each morning. I mean, I regularly pray and read my Bible, but never anything like this. There were days when I truly felt the Lord was listening to me, answering my cry for help. There were other days, however, when I wondered if I was wasting my time by praying. Here's a sample of one of those days:

"Lord, I'm feeling discouraged. Is it worth it for me to pray? It seems that Chris is just as bad now as he was 26 days ago when I started praying for him. Last night I begged you to help him wake up this morning feeling energetic and encouraged, and that his inflammation would be better. Lord, what is the purpose of his pain? I know you don't have to answer me, but I am so frustrated. I feel like it is pointless for me to get up early each morning and pray for him if you have no intention of healing him. Am I wasting my time? It hurts me to see him so discouraged and beat down. The poor man is at his wit's end. Please, please, please help him! Help him to at least see a glimmer of hope at the end of this trial, Lord. I know you are Lord of all, and you have plans to prosper Chris and not harm him, but I feel like I (and he) need a little bit of encouragement. Are you still there? Do you care that he is suffering? Please, Lord, give us some guidance. I love you and we just want to be in your will. Help us to have clean hearts that can hear you speaking to us. Take away anything that may be hindering us from that closeness with you. Thank you for all our blessings. Help us to remember gratitude even in the midst of discouragement."

It was rough at times. There were mornings following sleepless nights, when I wanted to turn off the alarm and roll over in bed. There were even tears of discouragement, feeling as though my prayers were being shot off somewhere into space, floating through the unknown. I ultimately felt I needed to press on; I knew the Lord had not forgotten me or my requests. He's all about his timing, not mine. All I needed to do was put Him first, and He would take care of the rest. 

So pray I did. And by Easter Sunday, Superman was having more "good" days than "bad." It wasn't an overnight healing miracle. It was a gradual transition that would probably have gone unnoticed if not for our fervent unrelenting prayers, and our conscious attention to the details. I would still say he's not 100% healed. However, I think this portion of my "Eve of Easter" prayer sums it up: 

"...Lord, this night concludes my Lent commitment to rise early each morning and pray for Chris' healing. Although we may not have seen a dramatic healing miracle overnight, I thank you for the obvious strides he has made over these last 46 days. Thank you for healing him piece by piece, bit by bit. Thank you for giving us encouragement when we felt as though all hope was lost in regards to his health. Thank you for reminding us that you are fully in control, weaving an intricate tapestry, and we are merely the tools you use to accomplish your tasks. Lord, I pray that you would continue to heal Chris' body. I pray that you would continue to bless me with the commitment and energy to get up early until we can call his body "healed." Please, Lord, help us to notice positive changes in Chris' health and to give you and only you the glory. May we never forget who healing comes from and never be shy about sharing the good news with those around us. I pray that Chris would feel your presence so evidently that he can be nothing but joyful when he wakes up each morning..."

You know what? Last night, Superman said that he had the best day he has had in probably a decade. For the first time in years, he was pain free. I don't know whether that will last consistently or not, but I do know that he's on the healing track. I know he is being healed. It's just happening on the Lord's timetable. So, I'll be patient. I'll keep praying early every morning until that glorious day when we can sing praise: Superman is healed! 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Passover, Good Friday, Easter...and Good Deeds

First things first:

91. Bonfires
92. Singing songs around said fire
93. Worshiping with 20,000 other people!
94. Prayer time
95. Knowing there are less than 6 weeks until summer!
96. Sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch on a sunny spring day
97. Watching buds turn into flowers, then turn into fruit
98. Homegrown eggs
99. My niece, Jelena, going home from the hospital!
100. Reflecting on Easter and the significance it bears in my life
101. Enjoying chocolate after a looooooonnnngg time away from it!

We had grand plans for Easter break. We had a mental list of things to get done around the property by the time Superman went back to work today. It didn't quite work out the way we planned, as so often is the case. We imagined each day, accomplishing tasks and neatly checking them off our lists. Instead, weather, laziness, and sheer enjoyment of down time took over. We pretty much got nothing done. Well, nothing we had planned. But we did do some other things:

Tina had her first haircut (with us): 

Her previous owner gave me a halter lesson so I can take her on walks. Now I can force her to love me! 

On Palm Sunday, my sister did a little activity with the kids, laying palm branches down and having them walk over them as Jesus did: 

On Passover, we read the Passover story and had the kids paint ketchup on our door frame to symbolize what the Israelites did: 

On Good Friday, we had a bonfire with the kids and read the passage of Jesus' death. We sang songs around the campfire, roasted hot dogs, and just had an all-around good time: 

Superman likes to say he doesn't know how to play the guitar, but he does. And now, I have evidence: 

N wanted to pray with daddy after hearing the Bible passage about Jesus' death: 

And then, of course, Miss G wanted to follow! 

And for Easter, we joined 20,000 other people in worship to raise funds and awareness for 3 very worthy causes. It was an incredible time of worship, and I'm so excited to hear what kind of funds we raised! Here we are lighting up the arena: 

30 days of Service wraps up this Friday! Can't believe it's already been almost a month. Here's what we did over the last few weeks: 

*Mailed packages to family for Easter
*Wrote notes to teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week
*Weeded at Granny's house
*Let someone go in front of us at the store and bought their child (with mommy's approval) a pack of gum
*Cleaned the office of our favorite adoption agency: 

*After getting my new iPhone (WOO HOO!!!), I wrote a letter to the supervisor of the sales gal, saying what an excellent job she did
*Washed dinner dishes for Granny and Grandpa after eating dinner at their house
*Took cookies to Superman's grandparents
*Had a day where each kid picked something kind to do for someone else that day
*Loaded groceries into the car for an older couple at Costco
*Put flowers on graves at the local cemetery with cousins:

*Picked up trash for Earth Day:

*Took Easter eggs and a note to friends thanking them for their friendship
*Paid for parking for the person behind us going in for Easter services at Arco Arena

We only have 5 more days left! This week we'll be mailing off a package to our "adopted" soldier! 

So, we didn't get anything on our list accomplished. But, we did get a lot of life accomplished, and it was worth slacking off so we could experience that life with the kids!

I'll be writing up a summary of my Lent experience this week. I need to reflect a bit before I put it into writing!
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