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Monday, March 28, 2011

Multitudes on Monday

We had a really great weekend. Saturday morning we went and handed out socks and gloves to homeless people down in Sacramento. It was really rotten weather; windy, rainy and cold! It really made us appreciate all the more when we got into our warm car when we were done and headed back to our warm, dry house. The kids all did amazing. I was sure they were going to complain and ask when we would be heading home, but they were so kind, and it was just wonderful to see them thinking of others before themselves. We had some great conversations about how blessed we are after that experience. It really got me excited about the 30 days of service starting FRIDAY! 

44. Waking up with energy
45. Singing at the top of our lungs, driving
46. Going for an unplanned run and feeling great afterwards
47. Fun, unexpected hail storms that cover the ground in ice!
48. The hot cocoa that ensues after such a hailstorm
49. Sipping tea on a rainy morning
50. Green traffic lights!
51. Handing out socks and gloves to cold homeless people
52. Coming home to our warm house afterwards
53. Sunny days!
54. Holding hands and praying as a family
55. Surprising my kids with a trip to the doughnut shop when they least expect it! 

Happy Monday, friends!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

30 Days of Service Ideas

Ok, 30 Days of Service is only 8 days away! We've been working on our end coming up with ideas on how we can serve our community, our neighbors, our friends, and our family. Here's what we've come up with so far: 

Help at the SPCA
Bring treats in to the teachers at Superman's school
Give a grocery gift card to someone in need
Visit a retirement home and bring something homemade
Pick up trash in our nearby town
Volunteer at a homeless shelter
Send letters to military
Donate clothes
Pay for the person behind us in Starbucks, leaving a note inviting them to church
Bring cookies to fire station
Bring cookies to police station
Donate a goat or a share of a goat through Heifer International
Bring toys to the children's hospital
Make backpacks with supplies for foster kids
Bring cookies to an elderly neighbor
Visiting one of the neighboring farms and ask what we can do to help
Let someone go in front of us at the grocery store and offer to unload their cart for them
For the kids: Do someone else's chores for the day
Call up a random friend and ask what I could do for them that day
Bring coffee/cocoa to a sick friend
Help do small tasks at our local Christian adoption agency
Send extra gifts to the kids we sponsor through World Vision and Compassion International

What other ideas do you have? Please share! We only have about a week left to come up with at least 30 of them! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Got Hail?

We had a hail storm like nothing I've seen in my life yesterday. I know to some of you, this is no big deal, but around our parts, it was a hugely fun surprise and we were all running around screaming like kids in a candy store (with money in our pockets). 

Here's M-Dog taking a dare and going out for a run in it: 

That's a pretty big hail stone, if you ask me!

It was just so beautiful coming down and seeing it cover our driveway like snow:

Seriously, the kids had so much fun. I did, too.

The chickens were out roaming when it hit, so they went for cover under our steps:

J-Man was pretty sure it was the neatest thing ever. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Multitudes on Monday

34. A job for Superman
35. Hot showers
36. The opportunity to adopt
37. Lazy pajama days
38. Fallen trees narrowly missing our well pump
39. A husband who spends all day cutting up fallen trees when he deserves to relax
40. Joy in my life
41. Healthy foods
42. Sleeping in for a little while
43. Our church

Saturday night was incredibly windy, and we lost two more oak trees. Amazingly, one of them narrowly missed our well house by landing on a fence post. We spent most of the weekend huddled inside staying out of the elements, but on Saturday morning, I attended a meeting for an awesome ministry, Safe Families, which I hope to talk about more in the future. Have you heard of it? Check out the link. You'll be moved just reading about it! I'm hoping to help get it launched at our church soon. Enjoy your Monday! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Challenge to Challenge Me {and others}

We've been watching the show "Secret Millionaire." Have you seen it? If you haven't, you should. It's inspiring. It makes me dream of having millions of dollars that I could excitedly give away to deserving people serving others. But alas, I have not millions of dollars. I do, however, have my health and five young kids who are forced lucky enough to be dragged around with me everywhere I go. So it got me thinking--what could I do for others? Well, I could think of a lot of things. I thought, wouldn't it be cool if I could do 30 acts of service in 30 days? Yes, I know. It seems a bit crazy. But hey, that's my cup o' tea. Craziness is my middle name. 

Superman says I should give myself two months to complete such a task. Maybe he's right. I know life can get in the way of big dreams, but 30 acts of service in 30 days sounds a lot more catchy. I'll give myself some grace. We may have a day that we don't get out of the house because of sick kiddos or uncontrollable farm duties, but I'm aiming for 30 days. April 1-30th to be exact. So, here's the challenge:

Complete one act of service every day in April. It can be something as small as letting someone go in front of you in the grocery line to paying for the person behind you at Starbucks to serving in a homeless shelter to donating money to a worthy cause to visiting a convalescent home. You decide! I will be listing my ideas over the next few weeks, and I would love it if you add to mine. We can all help each other out. I highly recommend making your list ahead of time, and roughly calendaring each day, so you won't forget or get caught up in daily activities and let the day slip by. 

I have a special prize for each person/family that completes this challenge and provides me with a brief written account of their acts of service.  

Want to share this challenge on your blog? Please do! Feel free to copy my logo and/or link back to this post, but please let me know if you've posted it on your blog so I can keep up with you! Share it on Facebook, Twitter it, whatever. Let's spread some love for 30 days and change our world!  

Questions? Ask away!  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Multitudes on Monday

24. Stopping to stretch while running and seeing a ladybug crawl by
25. Settling into a soft bed and blankets
26. Quiet moments on a day when I'm exhausted
27. Standing outside at dawn, listening to the sounds of nature
28. Having a llama eat out of my hand
29. Feeling happy
30. Friends stopping by unexpectedly
31. Hot cocoa with almond milk
32. Having a working car
33. New Bible to mark up! 

Something big is coming soon. It'll be a challenge of all challenges. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 11, 2011

What's Been Going on Around Here...

Some of this...

We got a llama last weekend and named her Tina. Have you seen Napolean Dynamite?
She's a guard llama, so she's not cuddly. Yet. I'm working on her. 
And some of this...

Our sheep, Martha, had two baby lambs! They are named Sunday and Monday
since we didn't know if they were born Sunday night or Monday morning. 
We had to dock their tails last week...we're still waiting for them to fall off. 

And some of this...the goats are bonding with the lambs. Here's Esther being a
good auntie.

Tasty is growing nice and fat. She'll be "meating" her demise in a few months. 

Spring is springing! Our Tulip tree has decided flowering would be 
more fun than remaining dormant. 

Our orchard is planted and ready to grow! Superman and his dad (mostly his dad)
spent a lot of time and effort planting the 71 trees. 

N turned four and decided she wanted her ears pierced. Again. The last time
she had them pierced, one earring fell out, and the hole closed up. Whoops!

And on Ash Wednesday, we did this. The kids each prayed for forgiveness
for something specific and I put a little cross of ashes on their foreheads
to remind them of what Christ did for us.

My gratitude journal has been going wonderfully and it's stretched me to 
consciously think of things throughout the day that I am thankful for. 

And this. I've been spending lots of time outdoors admiring the amazing
creation surrounding us. It has been nothing short of breathtaking. 

My commitment to pray for Superman for Lent has been wonderful. I was enjoying the early morning peacefulness so much, that I decided to get up even earlier so I can savor those quiet moments of solitude with the Lord. It was just going by too fast. I've prayed more in these last few days than in weeks combined. Waking up in the dark, writing in my prayer journal, and watching the soft light of dawn slowly make its way over the hills has been an unintended reward. Here I thought I was giving a sacrifice by getting up early, but instead it has been a blessing. 

So that, friends, is what's been going on around our house. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I have never participated in Lent before. I really didn't know much about it, other than the fact that people around me seem to give up soda or sweets for 40 days. This year, I felt prompted to look into it more. What I read, I liked. "Lent is a time of sacrifice for Jesus." "The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ." (from Wikipedia) It intrigued me. 

I want to make a sacrifice. Not something like no sweets or no t.v. or no coffee. Those are all great things to give up, but I wanted something different. I wanted something that would push me closer to God, force me into His arms. I prayed and thought and prayed and thought. And I finally came up with this: 

For the next 40 days, I am going to get up early and spend time in prayer, specifically praying for the miraculous healing of Superman

I normally spend time each day reading my Bible and praying, but this will be different; more intense.

Although Superman's health has improved drastically since last year, he is still plagued by a few things that just will not let go. And I'm ready to get up a 1/2 hour earlier for the next 40 days to spend time praying specifically for his healing. And I expect the Lord will do miraculous things! Whether he will heal Superman, I do not know. But I do know that our God is a God of awesomeness, and I know He does not disappoint. 

So, today marks the beginning of Lent. We will pray and experience Ash Wednesday as a family, repenting of our sins and asking the Lord's forgiveness, while thanking Him for the many, many blessings He has given us.

How will you experience Lent?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thankful Tuesday/Multitude Mondays

I realized after deciding to do "Thankful Tuesdays" that there is an actual movement of people participating in this idea of documenting the multitude of gifts we've been blessed with. I'm not all that creative, after all. I suppose I could still do my own thing on Tuesdays, but I liked this little picture so much, I decided to switch my days to share to Mondays. What can I say? I want to be on the "Multitude on Mondays" bandwagon. Especially when it involves a cute picture. 

9. The opportunity to homeschool our kids
10. Watching kids play soccer
11. Experiencing gratitude more in my day
12. Kids napping
13. Sitting next to Superman 
14. Knowing we're making a difference in our kids' lives
15. Rainy days to snuggle on the couch
16. Having a closet!
17. Kind people who think of others before themselves
18. Children learning to read
19. Running outside
20. Superman's health improving so much in the last year
21. In-laws helping more than asked
22. Hugs from kids (mine in particular!)
23. Singing songs to my girls that my mom used to sing to me at night 

Friday, March 4, 2011

And the winner is...

According to

Amy V.! 

Just send me a message with your name, address and whether you want a Kindle edition or regular hard copy, and I'll send this awesome book your way!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

One Thousand Gifts: A Challenge (The beginning of Thankful Tuesdays)

A friend of mine mentioned this book in her blog a few weeks ago (thanks, Karen B.!), and while perusing someone else's blog, I saw the book recommended again. I didn't really have any idea what it was about, but I respect both these women and was intrigued. 

I haven't finished the book yet, but have gained enough insight to make me ready to take the challenge: Find gratitude in everyday life, in everyday things. Gifts that I would normally blaze past, never noting. Noticing things as they come, not creating a forced list of "things to be thankful for." One thousand things, to be exact. This concept truly goes hand-in-hand with my post about "unconditional gratitude;" it just seems to want to flow naturally from me. Once again, the Lord is all about timing. Had I read this a few months ago, I may have taken the challenge as a "fun" exercise, but reading it now has made me really want to dwell on each piece of gratitude and savor its place in my life. 

I was going to wait until I finished the book to start the "challenge," but being March 1st, and how much I love starting new things on the first of any month, I think I'll start now. One thousand gifts. Can you think of 1,000 things to be grateful for? You can join me if you like. It'll take me months, I'm sure, and it's gonna be a journey. There will be days of discouragement when the last thing I would like to do is find gratitude in my circumstances. I'll be jotting down pieces of gratitude throughout the week in my "gratitude journal," and then recording them here every Tuesday for "Thankful Tuesdays." I know, "Thankful Thursday" would sound better, but Thursdays are busy for me, so Tuesday it is. 

As I sit here typing, the first few gifts surround me: 

1. My giggling children playing nicely
2. Warm fire crackling
3. Hot coffee steaming, filling the house with its tasteful aroma
4. Baby lambs drinking from their mommy
5. Worship music playing
6. Dryer running, something I take for granted. So thankful I don't have to hang clothes out to dry in  this cold weather!
7. Sun streaming and dancing off pink blossoms on trees 
8. Beginning of March, the signs of spring coming

Have a wonderful day! Hope you are able to pause and find gratitude in some of the less "obvious" gifts surrounding you today!

P.S. Don't forget about the giveaway on Friday! You can enter here. I forgot to mention, the winner can request either a Kindle edition or hard copy version!

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