April 22, 2013

The First 100 Gifts

Around Christmas time I picked up 1,000 gifts. If you have not heard of it you've pretty much been living under a rock! ;) I've been making my way through this book in a relaxed manner. I would love to sit down every night and plow through my stack of books "to read", but Senior year has been busy!

Even at the slow pace that I have been reading, this book has been great. It helped me continue to see God's blessings over the past couple of weeks. Believe me when I say that they weren't the easiest days to get through.

So many sentences have hit home, and I'm not even half way through! I've been having a hard time not spamming my friend's news feeds with Ann Voskamp quotes every time I sit down with the book.

"God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy." page 56

I couldn't stop smiling when Ann wrote about the time she took macro pictures of a pile of cheese. Her husband (a farmer) walked in from working hard outside. She was afraid that he wouldn't understand why she was thanking God for shredded cheese.

"I like finding you like this." He said putting on arm around her.
"Crazy like this?" She said blushing in silliness. With a laugh he says, "Perfect like this." He nodded toward the plate of cheese "You being happy in all these little things that God gives. It makes me very happy."

*dies from the cuteness* Lord, can I please have this kind of husband someday?

On March 31, I started making my own list. It's been fun finding the next gift to write down. For those of you that are interested, I have decided to share my first 100 gifts here on my blog. Come back to this post for continual updates on the list!

  1. fresh daisies from people who care
  2. cows on a hill
  3. a resurrection to celebrate
  4. unconditional love 
  5. Goober 
  6. finding stickers on my jeans 
  7. tutus that bring smiles 
  8. being called sweetie 
  9. warm sun rays on a cold day 
  10. friends that share a love for photography 
  11. Sunday naps 
  12. the first Robin of spring 
  13. sock monkeys 
  14. the comfort of a mother 
  15. April showers outside my window 
  16. holding a tiny newborn baby 
  17. the art of patience learned over a lifetime 
  18. my dog's soft head and wiggly tail 
  19. homemade trail mix 
  20. cozy sweatshirts 
  21. we don't belong here 
  22. Lucy notes 
  23. memorizing my life verse in kindergarten 
  24. high fives from the little boy I just met
  25. basketball games during business meetings
  26. graduating with people I've grown up with
  27. blessings God has allowed
  28. throwing my graduation cap
  29. opening a new jar of peanut butter
  30. Grandpa's large hands holding Mancala stones
  31. bare feet on freshly washed tile

April 15, 2013

Outdoors at Last!

With exception of a few snow days, we've been stuck inside for months. It was nice to FINALLY get outside. The grass was still on the muddy side, but these kiddos needed to get some energy out. We had a case of cabin fever at its finest.

Lucy could not pull her rain boots on fast enough! She quickly zoomed off on her beloved princess bike. It must have been nice to feel the wind in her hair again.

The boys wanted to help pick up pine cones in the yard. Partly because of the game they were playing. Note: I love hearing them talk in their own imaginary worlds. Cocoa and I decided to pick up sticks while the kids played. I wanted to keep the sticks inside my bucket. She seemed to have other plans...

We cannot forget Buck! He was happy to have some company as he frolicked through the grass. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, this dog loves to be outside. How have you been enjoying Spring?

April 10, 2013

Sibling Day 2013

"You don't choose your siblings. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them."

I was looking for some pictures that I could post in honor of today. I smiled when I found these! We truly are Wisconsinites! Jonny, thanks for being my brother all these years. Not that you had much of a choice. ;) 
I look forward to making many more memories with you. ♥

April 9, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

Back in March we had a week full of Dr. Seuss activities. I have been meaning to post about it, but life has been pretty busy! The kids love to make popsicle stick puppets, and we hadn't made any since Groundhog day. I wanted to find a way to incorporate them into this craft. Making a Topsy Turvy cake seemed to be very fitting.

Lucy got to work painting Bowtie pasta red

Gabriel and I worked on drawing characters from the books. I gave him a few verbal prompts here in there. 
"What would you put on a cake for Dr. Suess?"

Our finished Cat in the Hat puppets

I carefully cut small slits in the paper with a razor blade and reinforced it with packing tape. The puppets took the place of candles at the top of the cake! Unfortunately, one of our artists was under the weather. We saved his puppet for him, and it was added later on.

I found this fun Lorax game on pinterest!

Rachel @ Joyfully Weary provided this awesome Cat in the Hat Matching Game printable.
You can find more Dr. Seuss themed activities here.

At the end of the week Lucy handed me this super detailed drawing. It was a great way to say thank you! :)

April 4, 2013

The Cross: Hope and Second Chances

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith also is vain. 1 Corinthians 15:14

I yawned and looked in the rear-view mirror on Monday afternoon. Was Easter really over and done with? As my tires rolled off of the driveway this quote was read on K-love. It pretty much described what I was thinking.

"Easter Morning either changes everything, or it changes nothing. It can't just change a couple things." -Bob Goff

We serve a risen Savior! Have you heard the good news? Jesus wasn't left hanging on a cross, and the tomb is empty also! Our salvation is built upon this Love and Power. What an awesome reason to celebrate. My question is, why does our celebration have to stop? Doesn't Christ's sacrifice deserve more than a day of recognition? The love of Christ within us should spill over. His resurrection gives us hope for today, tomorrow, and all of eternity.

I'm a pretty big fan of second chances, but I usually struggle with giving them to others. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that God never had this mentality. He is the King of second chances. We were lost in our sin, but He loved us enough not to leave us there. Our story can have a happily ever after! After accepting Christ as our Savior, God no longer sees us in our sinful state. He sees the image of His Son - the One who took our place. Our sins are blotted out completely! (Acts 3:19)

“In spite of your failures or in spite of your successes, 
our identity is now secure 
because it is not wrapped up in what we do for God 
but what He did for us." -Mike Donehey

The biggest surprise in all of this is that God never demands that we pay Him back. We could forever be in debt to Him, but the price was too tremendous for us to begin with. He opens His loving hands and says, "There is nothing you could do to make me love you any more or any less." He longs for us run to Him with our arms stretched out. This is a Father that loves to be called "Daddy".

Oh, Your cross it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh, Your cross it's where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven's heart