Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ramblings . . .

I'm in the midst of an upheaval of my thought processes towards food and the stuff we use on our bodies. Well, perhaps "upheaval" is a bit strong, but the more I read, the more I think I need to be more natural in what I do. And this I realize is my own personal journey, but I did want to share a few resources in case anyone else is interested in doing a bit of research on your own. First off, I would not describe myself as an "environmentalist"--I appreciate nature, I believe we should be good stewards of what God has given us, but I'm not freaking out about our ozone layer, or melting polar ice caps, etc., etc. But I think we have become a "throw-away" culture. Everything we do is for our own ease and convenience. We buy everything pretty much ready made, plastic containers, diapers, feminine hygiene products, all bodycare products, etc. EVERYTHING has chemicals in it. Take deodorant for instance, the #1 ingredient is aluminum. Ever heard the saying "Don't put on your body what you wouldn't put in it" (or something along those lines) ;o) Anything we put on our body is absorbed by our skin. Some think the aluminum in deodorant might be one of the things that could contribute to growth of breast cancers. Maybe that is true, maybe it is not, but it kind of makes sense to me.

Anyways, I've had a whole other world opened to me lately as I've discovered people (via internet) who do things like make their own laundry detergent, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. out of simple and natural ingredients. And honestly I'm intrigued. Not only because I think it would probably be healthier, but it would also save me a whole lot of money!! (Yes, yes, it does mean more work though, which means more time.) Two blogs I have stumbled upon that are giving me lots of great ideas are: Passionate Homemaking and Keeper of the Home

These sites got me going on coconut oil, which I really think everyone must look into! It is amazing stuff, and so much better for you than using, or other vegetable oils out there. It is also a great skin care product, and many of the recipes I found--like for deodorant--use coconut oil. I have tried it in a few of my recipes in place of the oil/ that was called for. It tastes very good! I think things are moister and fluffier. Wal-Mart carries an organic brand called Spectrum of the unrefined, expeller (sp?) pressed version, which is supposed to be the best stuff, for about $10 for a pound. So, it is a bit pricey. But very tasty. ;o) There are also places online that it can be ordered by the gallon for what I believe would be cheaper (but I haven't done that math yet).

I also read the book Real Food What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck. I'm not going to say I agree with everything in this book, but it definitely got me thinking some more about the foods our society indulges in today and what part they may be playing in the diseases/obesity issues we face.

All that to say, I'm baby-stepping my way to a healthier lifestyle. I was always pretty happy with what we ate, for the most part my kids love their fruits and veggies, we do whole grain-breads, we're not eating hot dogs/chicken nuggets/Mc.Donald's for lunch every day. But I think there is more to it than that. And I don't say that to scare anybody or make anyone feel like they are doing everything wrong, because there is a lot of information out there, and it can even be conflicting, and that can leave you feeling overwhelmed and helpless. I do think there is something to be said, for perhaps just starting small, picking one thing God leads you to believe is important for yourself or family and learning to do that well. Perhaps that will lead to other small changes you can make, but perhaps not. I guess that is where I am at right now, and I will see where this journey takes me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jackson is Thankful . . .

I always pray with the kids before bed, and usually my question is "What are you thankful for today?" Sometimes the answers are pretty standard, like "My mommy and daddy, " and sometimes they think of something special that happened to them that day. For the longest time Jackson was a broken record, night after night thankful that "Daddy go to work." I think it had something to do with his softy mommy allowing him to keep the door on his bedroom open at night, whereas Daddy usually had him close it. So you see, he had it figured out, if Daddy was working in the evening that meant Mommy let him keep his door open. Smart boy. Lately though he has changed things up on us, and his "thankfuls" have become a sort of breathless rant that leaves me and the girls in giggles. It goes something like this . . .
"I'm thankful for books--and the library--and Papa Roy's combine--and tractors--and the farm--and Rissy--and Bella--and the Magic School Bus--and Cubbies (that's what he calls going to the same babysitting room at church as Marissa and Isabella)--and Larry Boy--and animals--and the zoo--and the seals--and the goats . . . I LOVE CAMELS!!!!" I have probably forgotten another ten things he mentioned. It seems whatever he sees, or whatever pops into his head gets spouted off. It's pretty funny. But you know, he isn't so far off, there is an awful lot to be thankful for, and sometimes we overlook the everyday blessings. If only we all looked at things in a similar way . . .

Monday, April 27, 2009

Simple Womans's Daybook~April 27th

FOR TODAY Monday, April 27, 2009

Outside my window... Overcast, cold, and damp--which sounds kind of dreary, bit it's actually kind of nice after 3 days of "summer" last week. Spring came back.

I am thinking... About how I look forward to the end of something--like our school year--and then realize another whole year has zipped by just like that. "Slow down the hands of time . . ."

I am thankful for... Nice, soaking, rains yesterday--the grass is now undoubtedly green

From the learning rooms... Our last week! We are mainly just tying up loose ends, putting the finishing touches on the United States notebook, assembling our names of Jesus poster, and then packing stuff away

From the kitchen... Josh gets to be home for lunch today so we're grilling burgers, supper will probably be a lighter and "thrown together" affair

I am creating... Space perhaps? I'm stealthily going through the kids' things (like our huge amassing of stuffed animals that never get played with) and tossing things that serve no purpose anymore. It's liberating. ;o)

I am going... To clean the kitchen--I suppose--I SHOULD clean the kitchen . . .

I am reading... Still working on A LANTERN IN HER HAND by Bess Streeter Aldrich, began using IDOLS OF THE HEART by Elyse Fitzpatrick in my quiet time

I am hoping... "Hope is the thing with feathers. That perches in the soul . . ."

I am hearing... A howly kind of wind, a distraught Emmett, running feet

Around the house... Inside--blech, Outside--beautiful blooming trees on my street, pinks, lavenders, and whites--BEAUTIFUL!

One of my favorite things... Caught my first whiff of lilac on the breeze this morning.

A few plans for the rest of the week... the girls and cousins (Lexi and Ava) get to model their flower girl dresses from last summer at our ladies evening at church on Tuesday, Cubbies Award night for Isabella, and some sort of "SCHOOL'S OUT!!!" celebration for Friday

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...
My sweet Isabella--this picture just makes me smile. ;o)

Head here to read other daybooks or make your own ;o)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Some TLC

So today I awoke and found myself a bit under the weather, stiff and tired, and blah. I made breakfast for the kids and told them I might rest a little bit more in bed this morning. I asked them if they could be good helpers today, not fight, etc. (Josh has a busy day and won't be home), and then retreated to the sanctuary of my covers. Of course, I got snuggled by Emmett for awhile, and then Jackson too. And then I was driven over by various vehicles--which is actually strangely relaxing when Emmett does it. He has a really gentle touch. Isabella brought me some extra blankets and covered me up. Then she tried to make me some chai (she forgot to add the milk to mix with the concentrate though--close). ;o) Marissa asked if there was anything that she could make for me and tended to Emmett when he was causing havoc on the kitchen counters again. Isabella made me a get well card. And all that to say, I'm feeling pretty loved. Sometimes, in the midst of all of our "daily-ness" you know, the fighting, the selfishness, and the frustration that inevitably emerges, I get caught wondering if we are getting anywhere. But today, I'm touched with the compassion, love, and caring that shows up in full force when one of us isn't "up to snuff" so to speak. I'm also amazed at the responsibility emerging in the girls. Were I to get REALLY sick I have no doubt they could manage a decent breakfast for themselves and brothers, and even pull off a lunch too. Not only could they manage, but I think they would be thrilled to be "in charge." And it kind of startles me to realize that! Oh, I know they still need ME, but we are kind of at a cross-over point--on one side reliance, the other self-sufficiency--and that's a crazy thought for me. Sometimes it seems like the neediness will go on forever, and then suddenly you find yourself on the brink of something new, and wondering just how that happened. I really am blessed with some sweetie-pie girlies. And I'm feeling much better too. ;o)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Little Tidbits

The above picture showcases what my kitchen has seen a lot of lately--little helpers. Remember Emmett's "artiste' phase"? Well, he is branching out, we are now in the "chef phase". Cooking has become rather frustrating for me--wherever I turn someone is THERE, sitting on my counter, eating the sugar straight, stirring pots of boiling water (that someone usually being Emmett). And as I migrate around my counter tops, trying to get out of his reach, he pushes his handy chair around, and gets right back in the action again. Sometimes, I try to be as quiet as I can so he doesn't know I'm in there, getting ready to prepare something, but it seems that "radar thing" kicks in again. *sigh*

Yesterday, I noticed Emmett hadn't been seen for about 10 minutes. I realized with a start my cupcakes were downstairs cooling on the counter. Yep, you guessed it--I interrupted him biting off the top of his 9th cupcake (of 18). They were supposed to be Isabella's snack for Cubbies. I quickly whisked the remaining 9 away--thank goodness we had just enough. ;o)

And Jackson gave the Home De.pot workers a good laugh yesterday. Not only did he show up at the store in full "Bob the Builder" regalia, but he also attempted to pee in a display toilet near the front. As I'm attempting to pay, the checker exclaims, "Oh, your boy!!! He's peeing in the toilet!!!" I turn around and there's Jackson, his hard hat and tool belt on, with his pants dropped. I think I got there in time. He was quite angry with me for interrupting him, just not getting the fact that we can't pee there. The checker meanwhile is utterly delighted and rolling on the floor with laughter while she tells all the other workers. With what dignity I could muster, I rushed Jackson across the store to the real bathroom where we took care of business in an orderly fashion. (Kathy you were so right, I should have never taught him to "go" standing!!! What was I thinking?!?!?)

But my girls are still good for making me feel that hopefully I'm doing *something* right. I had mentioned earlier this morning that I needed to get the kitchen mopped. Well, while I was busy working on things elsewhere, those sneaky girls surprised me and swept and mopped it all by themselves!! They didn't do too bad of a job either! A very sweet surprise.

Tonight Daddy was able to be home, and we got to play some hide n' seek and a round of "Gu.ess Who". The girls have gotten to be such good "hiders". Marissa found an awesome spot in a laundry basket and covered herself back up with clothes. I was seriously impressed. ;o) It took Daddy F*O*R*E*V*E*R to find her that time.

A good day . . . (and woohoo! I'm 2 for 2 in my workout/quiet time--a small success, but a success none-the-less)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Morning has Broken . . .

After a really good lesson on self control at ladies Bible study yesterday, I set out this morning to make some changes--changes, that I've actually been contemplating for awhile, you know those little thoughts that nag you deep down "You need to do this . . . " or "You should be doing this . . ." And for whatever reason, you ignore those thoughts, because usually it means, more work, more effort, or greater inconvenience on your own part. You know, THOSE THOUGHTS? (Hopefully, I'm not the only one . . .) ;o) But as of lately, my conviction has been that I need to be setting my alarm each morning, blocking out an hour for exercise and personal Bible study. If I don't do these things first thing, they just never happen. The day always gets way too busy and I push things aside. And it's not that I'm lazing in bed all morning long--"sleeping-in" is 7:30 around these parts, but I let the kids dictate my morning usually, and then things "get away" from me.

So, this morning, I set the alarm for 6:00 a.m. Which really is not that awful of a time. I get up at 5:30 on Sundays (and those days sometimes just hurt!!), so that is a whole half hour of sleep more. Doable I think. And of course this morning, Jackson gets up at 5:30. Somehow he always knows my plans and sets out to foil them! But I was able to work around that. And I am so glad I did.

If you have never gotten yourself out for an early morning walk/run you just have to try it. It's beautiful (of course, this, coming from an admittedly morning person). The air is cooler, the slant of light perfect, the birds singing cheerfully. I love to be out by myself at this time. I have always liked to use my walking/running time to pray. It is so very refreshing and just what I need. It always makes me grateful for the mercies of a brand new, sparkling day. As a mommy, I desperately need those times of quiet and beauty to recharge myself for the challenges of another day.

So, here I am "DAY ONE." I'm off to a good start--just hoping I'll have the discipline to see my change through. ;o) But I'm issuing a challenge--what is it that you have a feeling you should be or need to be doing? What are you waiting for? Seize the day!!! ;o)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook~April 20th

For today, Monday, April 20, 2009

Outside my window...
Beautiful, happy sunshine. I've opened nearly all the blinds.

I am thinking...
I should probably start the process of potty training Emmett. The girls were soooo easy and trained by two. Jackson scarred me, perhaps permanently . . .

I am thankful for...
The Eastern Redbuds are beginning to bloom--I LOVE THIS TREE! It is my most favorite of all the flowering trees, I love the textures of purple flowers against an interesting bark.

From the learning rooms...
I haven't looked at the curriculum yet . . . *blush* I can tell you we have TWO WEEKS left. Woohoo!! And if I'm feeling ambitious it is possible we might knock both weeks out this week. Wouldn't that be awesome? ;o)

From the kitchen...
Sage Meatloaf, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Sugar Snap Peas

I am wearing...
A long sleeved green tee, denim shorts (but they go to my knees--what are those called?), barefeet, pony-tale
I am creating...
I'm in between sewing projects right now--just finished a dress for Marissa.
I am going...
To fold laundry after I finish this post up. I think I did around five loads these last two days. Now to put it away.

I am reading...
Finishing up Real Food What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck; still slowly reading A Lantern in her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich. Some books can be devoured quickly, others must be savored, like this one. I need an afternoon sitting on my in-laws' front porch on the porch swing while a gentle breeze blows my way. That opportunity has not presented itself. ;o) Therefore I haven't gotten very far.

I am hoping...
Oh, lots of little thoughts and dreams are tucked away right now, just waiting on God's timing and plans

I am hearing...
A lawnmower! Spring really is here.

Around the house...
We did some major decluttering in the girls' room yesterday, so that's happy news. We won't mention any of the other areas . . . ;o)

One of my favorite things...
Spring is ranking pretty high up on the list right now, walks with my kids, picking dandelions, sunshine, fresh air, simplicity

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Just our normal church activities--I don't think I have anything out of the ordinary planned

Here is picture thought I am sharing... Yay, I finished one dress for Marissa! It's a pretty easy pattern once I got rid of the need for button holes in the back. And I think I have a total of $5 for fabric in the cost of making the dress. The pattern I bought last year, I had interfacing, matching string, elastic already in my stash at home. Gotta love that!!

Please head here to read other daybooks or make your own!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Happy 30th Josh!!!

Poor guy has to spend most of the day working, but we're looking forward to a tasty supper together (Fettucine Alfredo tossed with some grilled "garlic-y" shrimp, crusty cheesy bread, a Caesar salad, and of course a yummy chocolate birthday cake) before heading out to evening church, and him, back to work. It's not the most fun way for him to pass such a MONUMENTAL birthday, but it'll do. ;o) Happy, happy birthday!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This week I:

So. This week has been a busy-with-a-capital-b week. Part of it my own fault, part of it because I had no choice. Sometimes I find it interesting that even though I am a stay-at-HOME mommy, a HOUSE-wife, part of a HOME-schooling family, many of our endeavors take us out of aforementioned humble abode. A run-down of the week:

Monday--We were home. I did laundry.

Tuesday--covered for the preschool teacher at Titus Tuesday (women's group at church), had a nature walk at Pi.oneer's Park. Got robbed somewhere in between those things. Well, maybe. I left Titus Tuesday with a cell phone and a wallet of change, however at Pi.oneer's Park following our nature walk the cell phone was missing. I figured I had left it at home, it fell out of my purse in the van, etc. BUT I did leave my purse (kind of buried behind my seat) in an unlocked van. I know, I know. But it was a NATURE CENTER and you've SEEN my van. If I was a betting woman I would think a thief would pick the pretty Escalade sitting near me. Of course, that would probably be locked with a security system . . . Anyhoo, upon further inspection I discover ALL of my change missing from a ZIPPED wallet. (Last time I checked change does not move by osmosis). So, that is how I came to the conclusion I was robbed. Thank goodness he left my four library cards all with extensive fines, and my & Nob.le educator's discount card or I would be absolutely beside myself. But all he (or she) got was about $6 in change. I think I can recoup those losses. Now, the cell phone I'm a bit sad about. That is a bummer. Maybe it will still turn up--along with the two DVD's the library would really like back and my toothbrush--all which have been AWOL for weeks now. (For those wondering, I HAVE since gotten a new toothbrush--out of desperation I broke into the stash of extra kid toothbrushes and now have a pink one with a light up timer. It's a bit short but it works.)

Wednesday--The zoo opened! Of course we HAD to make opening day, and really I'm glad we did. I think the animals knew it was the first day, they were the most happy, alert, and friendly I have ever seen them. Kind of like they missed all of the people or something. Especially those gibbons--LOVE the gibbons. They make me laugh every time. I might put together another slide of some of our pictures. Then I had to take the boys in at 1:00 to recheck the ears. It was supposed to only be an "Emmett check" but that got changed when I noticed varying colors of fluids leaking from Jackson's ears. Crazy. And so, he is on another antibiotic, meaning I am going on three weeks of making sure I don't miss a dose for somebody in our family. Happy spring. ;o) As evening rolled around we had a violin lesson (and discovered we're about ready to snap the A string--not good news), Aw.ana (yay Marissa finished her 3rd book of the year--I'd like to say it is because she has an endless thirst for knowledge, but truthfully, she has been on a mission to get the honor to squirt the leader with a supersoaker--we're very proud) and orchestra rehearsal for me. Everyone was tucked in around 9:15.

Thursday--A field trip at the Dog's stadium, Jackson did a mediocre job. They got to take home posters, to which Marissa asked me, "Mommy, what's a poster?" And then preceeded to use them as telescopes (they were rolled up you see), megaphones, play pirates, etc. I realized that we have never had the opportunity to own a poster before. We got home, finished up schooling for the week, took Isabella to speech, and discovered a load of towels from Monday that never made it to the dryer. Oops. Tried several times during the course of my Thursday afternoon to get on the internet and blog about my week, but the internet *broke*. I tried everything in my bag of tricks (which basically consisted of restarting and unplugging things . . .) had Josh walk me through his bag of tricks over the phone (a bit more complicated than mine). And nothing. I went to make supper, eat supper, get baths started and figured there must be something seriously wrong. I was rather annoyed. And then I decided to pray about it. Wouldn't you know, lickety-split I'm online again. Not that God answers all my prayers that way, but it was a good lesson to me that even when I think something is too silly or too minute to pray about He's still God and He's still listening.

I'm kind of tired. Emmett took a 4.25 hour long nap today, Jackson 3.5 hours, so I think they're tired too. ;o) But we've got grocery shopping tomorrow, and perhaps a library trip-although that depends if all of my holds are in yet. And on Sunday, Josh turns *drumroll please* 30!!! Which of course, can't pass without notice, especially since I am still 29 and holding. ;o) I have six more months of 20ish bliss to cling to. He will be sure to hear of it. Often. Even though he could care less what we do to celebrate I have four munchkins who want to PARTY regardless of whose birthday it is. I must oblige them.

So there you have it. My "week-at-a-glance." But no complaints, life is good, a bit busy, but colorful, pulsating, and full of many, many good stories. ;o)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Weekend

I realized I had too many pictures I wanted to share, so I thought I would try my hand at creating a slide. It took me awhile, but I *think* I got it figured out. Ever so slowly I am moving up in the computer world. ;o)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The One about Slimer

So, today, I was heading upstairs, and met Emmett, who was heading downstairs. I glanced at him, and his face gave me pause, because you see, he looked like this: Emmett, in his ever-ongoing quest at self-sufficiency, decided it was high time he styled his own hair. He has been thwarted in the past by a Mommy close at hand to remove the offending hair pomade from his grasp. But this time she was nowhere in sight and so he got busy. He was quite thorough.
Of course, this put a bit of a crunch in my midday plans, as now a bath was in order. But even a "lather, rinse, repeat" couldn't get all of it out. For what little hair he had he sure did manage to massage that pomade down deep. I got him out of the bath, dried him and dressed him, and then saw the back of Marissa's head. *cue Ghost.buster's music*
"Umm, Marissa why is there a big glob of pomade in YOUR hair?" I ask--surely she didn't "pull an Emmett" too!
"Ohhhhh, I felt Emmett playing with my hair, I didn't know he was putting that in it!" she tells me, feeling for the big hunk of stickiness plastered to the back of her head.
Ah, lovely. Emmett has opened a salon. You're all invited. And midday bath #2--complete.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Life Lately

I must admit, I don't have anything of interest to report. Lately, my walls have remained free of drawings, there hasn't been anything dumped out (unless I count the bubble solution the boys broke out in the living room), and things have been--dare I say it--fairly normal. However, I do feel myself wearing down. As much as I enjoy homeschooling and the curriculum we use, I'm ready for this school year to be finished. I'm ready for a reprieve from Awana, a change to bi-weekly violin lessons . . . Overall, just ready for life to s.l.o.w down. I've found myself going somewhere every day this week, and when that happens, the housework REALLY slides. I'm just not a person who likes to be out and about, and when I have an appointment or activity to get to it kind of hangs over my head all day and distracts me from getting my normal routine accomplished. So, yeah, there has been A LOT of distraction lately. I'm really looking forward to a laid-back summer routine, and hoping to use the vacated schooling time to get busy on closet and storage areas, work on sewing projects, and just enjoy my kids--because you know, even when the time appears to be moving slowly and we find ourselves anxious for that "next new thing" the fact remains, these kids are growing up way too fast! Sometimes I need to remember to stay mindful and grateful for "right now" because it's the only one I get. *sigh* I do wish I could keep them young forever because it has been the best time of my life--even if I am a bit weary and worn sometimes . . .often . . . every day. ;o) They are still every bit worth it and I would do it over and over again TO INFINITY just to get to be their mommy. But, a maid WOULD be nice . . .

Monday, April 6, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook~April 6th

For Today, Monday, April 6, 2009

Outside my window...

Cheery blue skies and white cotton ball clouds, a happy sun, and a dastardly wind ;o)

I am thinking...

About having no definite plans for Easter apparel at this point, and I'm not sure if I have the time to pursue "matching outfits." Somehow the last month got away from me.

I am thankful for...

We didn't get the huge snowstorm that was predicted, so all the new blooms, forsythia, daffodils, etc. are safe for the time-being. ;o)

From the learning rooms...

Two days left in our math curriculum, learning about some pioneers, another state or two, and we'll probably try to do some more in depth stuff about Easter

From the kitchen...

Swiss Chicken, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus--Yummy!

I am wearing...

A grey sweater, jeans, "dressy" black tennis shoes, a pony-tail

I am creating...

ummm, Messes? Does that count? ;o)

I am going...

To get to a store and stock up on tea and chai--I am completely and totally out, and feeling a bit lost

I am reading...

I am revisiting A LANTERN IN HER HAND by Bess Streeter Aldrich (LOVED this book as a girl) I am hoping to reread several by this author and also some by Willa Cather.

I am hoping...

That a warm and pleasant spring day is somewhere in the near future--and that Anna has her baby this week ;o)

I am hearing...

All is quiet except for the hum of the computer

Around the house...

Well . . . let's just say I'm desperately lacking in motivation and you use your imagination ;o)

One of my favorite things...

Emmett's voice and antics

A few plans for the rest of the week:

I had an appointment and bloodwork today and Wednesday I finally get the permanent (well, it BETTER be permanent) crown put on my tooth. ;o) I have mangled up the temporary one pretty good--how it remains on my tooth I do not know, but it is quite "wiggly." A few orchestra rehearsals, Good Friday service--I'm hoping that amidst all the running around there will be time just to stop and reflect and enjoy too.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... Nestled amidst the mess are four children playing together and coexisting without any fighting (for a few minutes at least!) ;o)

Head here for other daybooks or to make your own.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Miscellaneous Ramblings and Musings

Yikes, the week passed in a blur! I'm happy to report the kids are all feeling much better, although Josh is now in the midst of his own double ear infection. According to him they ARE quite painful--he almost took himself to the emergency room last night, but finally got some relief sleeping in an upright position. Hopefully he'll start feeling better soon too.

Friday, I was feeling rather adventurous and decided to take all four kids to the library. Usually, I wait for a time Josh is home and take just the girls. I always feel bad about this, because Jackson really enjoys the library. However, the last time he ran away, and it is rather embarassing to be wandering the library saying, "Jackson where are you?" and having him answer with "I'm right here," and I still can't find him because I can't tell where sounds are coming from. I'm sure I am very amusing to watch--like in stores when he hides in the middle of a clothes rack. But I digress. He was well-behaved on Friday. I might even dare say *perfect*. He didn't run away, I didn't lose him, and when I told him he was done with the computer and it was time to go he got right up without a fit. I was in awe. That may be the highlight of the entire week. ;o)

Among other news, Emmett is getting hilarious. I laid him down for nap today and he began BARKING. I didn't even know he could bark. ;o) He also refers to his sisters as "Bellas". If you point to Marissa and say "Who's that?" he says "Bella" and if you point to Isabella, well she's Bella too. Maybe they look alike to him? He's a total goofball, which is nice balance to Jackson's intensity. I've been doing a lot of reading this week on "sensory integration" issues, and am almost positive this explains a lot of Jackson's quirks. I feel like I am finally beginning to understand and get a grasp on what makes him tick. I'm kind of excited. ;o) I've also been reading up on coconut oil, which it seems is useful in cooking and as a beauty aid. I think I may be able to phase out some skin/haircare products and use this instead. So tonight, I coated Emmett in it (he has lots of dry skin issues) to see what will happen. I'll let you know my findings. ;o) I just got the cheap stuff at Wal-mart. It would seem that "unrefined, cold-pressed, etc" is the best way to go. That wasn't what I bought. I told Josh "There's a wind of change a' blowin' . . ." And he just eyed me warily. But I am excited about all the new stuff I've discovered in the last week.

And in keeping with the totally off-the-wall and random style this post is exhibiting, I also have a bit of a "Marissa funny" to share. Last night she told me she knew what she wanted for her birthday--which is a good six months away. Just what is she holding out hope for so far in advance? "I really want a book light," she informed me. And I laughed, because how many seven year olds out there are really hoping to get book lights for their eighth birthday? But I understand too, because I still fondly recall the pink bed light clipped to the top rail of my bunk bed and all the reading I did up there before calling it a night. It IS time I got her a light, and maybe I won't make her wait until this fall. ;o)

That about sums up the week. I did a lot of baking today, and I even have lunch already for after church tomorrow--chili in the crockpot. The weather seems like a perfect "chili day" and it could be the last one until fall. I really like chili, but it's just *not right* to eat it in the summer, you know? ;o)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Tribute

Today, yes, April Fool’s Day, marks what would have been the 103rd birthday for Josh’s grandma—Jessie Louise Cooley. I only had the privilege of knowing her about five years, but she is not a person you forget easily. She was a tiny lady, her shoulders slumping from osteoporosis, with a shuffling/high-stepping kind of walk that I can still close my eyes and picture perfectly—but really cannot describe in a way that would do it justice. She was feisty, and she was sharp. The first time Josh brought me over to meet her she sat me down at her little kitchen table and told me a very animated story about her days as a waitress and how she had landed her first teaching job and ended up in western Nebraska. She was a born story-teller, with an amazing ability to keep the attention of her audience.

She has been on my mind these last few days, not only because today is her birthday, but because I ran into yet another person this past weekend at the home school conference who knew her. Since “Cooley” became my last name, I really cannot count how many times I have heard, “Oh Cooley, you wouldn’t happen to be any relation to Mrs. Cooley.” And always, for a second I’m baffled, wondering which Mrs. Cooley? But truth be told, there really is only ONE Mrs. Cooley. ;o) This woman I met proceeded to tell me about the profound influence Grandma Cooley had on her spiritual walk back when she was a 12 year old at a summer camp. And I am still pondering, days later, what a life, what a testimony!

What you must know: Grandma Cooley was known for saying she spent the first half of her life living for herself, so the second half belonged solely to God. She lived as simply as she could, doing without as much as she could so that she could GIVE as much as she could to missionaries. EVERYWHERE (and I do mean everywhere!) she went she was handing out tracts and telling others about Jesus, the checker in the grocery store, the waiter at the restaurant, and even the person who dialed her number by accident (!!!). She never let an opportunity pass her by. She had a refrigerator and a stand-up freezer in her kitchen—both PLASTERED with photos of family, friends, and missionaries. If your picture was there that meant you were getting prayed for daily. She was an avid letter writer--not only to the many missionaries she supported--but also to her grandchildren, desiring with all her heart that her family would have a personal relationship with Jesus. She taught “Good News Clubs” (at one point, up to four a week) for children to come and hear about Jesus. She continued this into her NINETIES!!! She was caught mowing her yard and climbing ladders to clean leaves out of her gutters well into her nineties too. You might say she was a tad stubborn. :o)

Truly, she was amazing. I have never known another person like her. And as so many have found out, she is unforgettable. What an incredible legacy to leave on earth! It is so special for me, to cross paths with someone whose life she affected. But it also makes me wonder, some day, when I am no longer here, will I have left a legacy such as hers? Am I going to live this life holding on too tightly--to money, to belongings, to reputation, to my time? Or will I give it all away like she did? Will I “live out loud” in a way that encourages, effects, and changes others? It’s something I have been pondering lately—it’s so very easy to say it, to think it, but to truly LIVE it like she did . . .

So, today, I am praising God for the life and ministry she had, and the privilege of knowing her, even for a short time. Happy birthday to her!