getting back into a routine

Sunday, January 26, 2014

So I'm finally getting back into a regular-like routine of blogging again, and this time around I will put up a few pictures of happenings around our little nest lately!
 
 
Yes, I have finally gotten around to crafting a bit more and made this lovely wreath with Erin! It looks so good on our front door. And a bonus - the "N" was actually the cake topper at our wedding! I chose yellow because it's vibrant and different than blue - cause everything we have in our home is blue - we just love it. But we also love yellow, and were actually the yellow to my sister-in-law's rainbow at her wedding a few months ago! Both colors work for us (And yes, I know they're boy scout colors.. Ha!)

 
Marshall's masterpiece.. He's been hard at work the past week or so making this garden! If you see on the other half of the photo, there's still some dirt that hasn't been overgrown yet that shows where the garden was last summer. This year, it's much bigger - and much better! He's treated the soil, fertilized it, and planted it. What's missing right now are the tomato cages, ready for the first leaf to show. This year we'll have tomatoes, peppers, squash, greens, red chard, spinach, and a few others. I am so excited to have fresh homegrown veggies again! This time I will perfect the art of blanching and freezing for later, since I know with a garden this much bigger we will have a lot to go around.

 
And last.. earlier today I met other military spouse bloggers in the greater San Diego area for a blate! (blogger date) It was loads of fun. We went to Blo Carlsbad and got all our hair done fancy, then went out to eat at this nice restaurant overlooking a golf course and the greater Carlsbad area. It was a beautiful view! Here I am posing with Erin, and again with the rest of the group at the hair place! This group is such a blessing! I opted for a fishtail braid (and don't forget the head massage!) so it was nice to learn how to do that. It's nice to get pampered every once in a while!

 
In the chairs (front row): Jes, Victoria
 
In other news, yes, I will still be going to sign up for some classes at Xtend Barre this week. I am super excited about that! I am also excited for my first day in second grade tomorrow!! I think I will be doing 2 full days a week until the end of the school year - gets me enough practicum hours and also keeps me busy! I can't wait to talk to the teacher again! She had such a fun class last year, so I'm excited I'm able to go back! It's such a relief to have all of the paperwork done through the school district - so now I can enjoy counting up those hours! And another bonus - I will most likely be seeing some students from the first grade classrooms I was in last year!
 
I also have homework to finish by tomorrow night.. A stats test and an article review. Wish me luck! This week is module 3 of 16 (then after that I'm DONE!) so I'm trying to get on track to finish all homework by Friday so I have the weekend free - a necessary adjustment! This is the week I'm finally able to get my schedule on track! And we'll see if a part time afternoon job pops up anywhere in there. I'll hopefully hear back from the preschool tomorrow as well. Busy day tomorrow!
 
Have a blessed week! Monday's aren't all that bad!

Sunday Share

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Blogs by Christian Women

Well, here goes another post! After being out of the loop for some time, it's going to take some adjustment to get back into that rhythm of posting blogs regularly again. So for now, I think I'll link up with a wonderful community I've found here in the cyber world, Blogs By Christian Women, where we are invited to share our lives through faith. What a wonderful way to connect with other Christians! From what I can tell, the Sunday Share (I know, a day early) is a link-up where we post about our favorite blog posts and share it on their website. So, here it goes! Favorites lately are listed as follows:

Favorite Reads of 2013

a gracious whirlwind

Ball Etiquitte

I know the original post on the website said to link up 2 of your own posts, but I decided to put 3. Why? Because books, life happenings and travel and family, as well as etiquette and appearance, are all fairly important to me. So go ahead and read up on somewhat recent posts of mine!

And about this blogging regularly deal - I cannot guarantee anything! Though, I can tell you, that tomorrow after church I will be going on another "blate" - blogger date - with other SD area milso bloggers! This one is much closer to me than last time, in Carlsbad, and we will be getting our hair done fancy and going out to eat by a golf course. Details of that later! In the meantime, I have to finish a lot of my homework tonight, while we wait for the barbecue pork roast to finish in the crock pot :) Gotta start using that crock pot more often- it smells delightful!

Oh, and Monday is my first day at the elementary school for my practicum hours - I'll be in 2nd grade! Also Monday I should be hearing back about the preschool job, so we'll see what happens. Just taking it all as it comes. And another thing - I am so relieved to not be in as many classes this semester, but it's still a lot of studying! I have quite a bit of homework to finish by Monday night but I am sure it will all get done in time. So there's that as well. I have a never-ending list of things to do- that's life, right?

One more thing.. Has anyone heard of Xtend Barre? A combination of pilates and dance? I will be looking into classes with them soon - hopefully this week! Good thing is, I can walk to the studio! Love our neighborhood.

Till next time!

 

plugging in & finding a rhythym

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

So I know it's a little late but  I decided-what better time than now to post an update? My posting has been kind of sporadic, and I'm afraid it may stay that way. But it's totally okay. We're living life! Here is what has been going on lately (first few updates are all me on the home/school front)...

Tomorrow morning I have an interview at a Montessori (AMI) preschool - just like the preschool I went to at Fort Knox all those years ago. I have been very interested in AMI for a while, ever since researching certifications (though the process to be AMI is quite extensive!) so am excited for the opportunity to at least see it first hand. Even better -  I can WALK there from our house! And it's only a few hours in the afternoon on weekdays. It sounds too good, but we'll see how the interview process goes. Prayers for that!

Also tomorrow I am going to the elementary school (which I can also WALK to!) to get the details on my placement - which grade I will be with, and set up hours with the teacher. I am wanting to do half days - Monday to Wednesday in the morning - which will give me more than enough of the required hours that need to be logged, as well as a flexible enough schedule to get errands, bible study on base, and school done as well. It also gives room for an afternoon shift if I in fact can get that (or another) job in question.

I kind of feel like this all fell into place - now it's a matter of the schedule sticking, and hearing back.  I wasn't exactly looking for anything, but I may have found it. Blessings in disguise, right? I'm excited for by the end of the month when I really will have my schedule set in place. And it wouldn't hurt to have an internship and a job where I can walk to both- not to mention a flexible schedule too!

As for school, this is a much slower semester than any I have ever had before - which I'm totally happy with! Extremely pleased. I just need to remember not to rush myself to finish quizzes days early before they are due, and to finish math (stats - fun, right?) before the weekend so as not to scram at the end - and I'll be totally fine. I kind of made that mistake this past week - the first week of my final semester - I didn't give myself much time at all for school. But hey- I am so happy to have a mostly relaxing final semester! I can't believe in about 3.5 months I will be done with college!

In other news, we went to Home Depot today to get a bunch of goodies for Marshall's garden this year! It will be twice as big as last year's and will include better quality soil and some yummy veggies - the collard greens I'm most excited about!

 I haven't been completely on track with my new year plans that I posted about previously - at least nothing too in depth. I have patterns for different stuffed animals but still need to fix the sewing machine, I'm getting the internship set up tomorrow, looking at the 2nd cake decorating course, doing daily devotionals, and am already started on my 6th (or maybe 7th?) book in my pile for the year, as well as starting to outline a few books - early writing stages. So I guess I'm working on that list a little, but just not as in depth - the resolutions will come in time! They are for the whole year, after all.

Last, I think I will include the books I am reading right now. My absolute favorite authors I have discovered last year are Francine Rivers and Robin Jones Gunn. Oh, their books just touched me so! With that, I'm currently reading The Atonement Child and Canary Island Song, respectfully. I have heard amazing reviews of both (and really all of their books!) and always look forward to some quiet time throughout the day to stop and read a chapter or two! This girl needs bigger bookcases - or some sort of amazing office storage organization extravaganza! But more on that later.

Oh, we also went to Disneyland right after the new year - but I'll post pictures of that later I guess. Right now I need to focus on prepping for the interview!

Moving on now... It sure looks like this is adding up to be a great year! Have a blessed week everyone!

my cup is never empty

Monday, January 13, 2014

Well, I've definitely been missing from the blogosphere lately. But no apologies here - living life is more important at this point in time than just writing about it, right? I've already read quite a few books this new year, oh and today is the first day of my final semester of college. (I seriously wanted to say 'university' and sound all British, because I've really taken to tea lately!) Anyway, so exciting! I am waiting to hear back from the local school on my field placement, then just have to send those forms back to my prof by the end of the week to get everything going. And get a schedule in place. I am so blessed that I can WALK to my practicum at the school! Loving our neighborhood!

Though, let me backtrack a bit --- There was a low time during the fall where  I was just never fully happy, when I just found things to be upset about because I could- with where we lived, with my life, with anything. I was just really discontent. I was being selfish, and putting my thoughts and wants before any others, especially God's. He comes first, and He wasn't there, though I was walking the walk, you know, and was really feeling closer to Him than usual, as in going to the bible study each week and completing a marriage study as well- But something was missing.

Submission - that's what it was. His agenda is greater than mine ever will be. So now, since I will put God first and submit to his will, and that of my husband's as well- as marriage is outlined to be (Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Peter 3; Genesis 3:16; Colossians 3:18; etc) - I've been much  more content and happy the past few months. Now I can see our neighborhood in a new light- Yes, I do love our quaint little neighborhood! Remember the park next to the school I was talking about a while back, that's half a block? Scruffy loves it! And it takes less than 5 minutes to walk to the beach. Wow. Who can beat that?! (Scruffy absolutely adores the beach too! Though she won't get in the water- Pacific waters are absolutely freezing year-round)That fact alone is why we moved here (the  beach - not the freezing water!). A little 2 bedroom house is all that we need in this time in our lives, and the house fits us perfectly. Especially the backyard - it's big for this area -and we love it.

Moving past that, now I'm just finding a way to make it function better. Tomorrow I'm going to Ikea with a good friend, and we're going to find stuff to make both our homes function better. One thing I'm excited about - the international chocolate, oh, and finding a bookcase-desk combo. And a cute little tea kettle. I can't believe the low prices at that place! So excited!

Anyway, I thought I'd put that thought out there.  I haven't been writing as much lately, mostly because before I didn't have anything good to write about. But it's there - it's always there - I just didn't look for it, I was instead looking into my own downfalls, or what have you, when I should have been looking to God. Do not give in, ladies! There is always good, you just have to look for it! And that starts with looking to God when things get rough or you are discontent - not yourself. Lessons learned lately.

And yes, I've already finished 5 books this month. But now, since school starts today, I probably don't think I'll be able to make it to 15 in one month again! I will only have 2 classes at a time, plus getting my practicum hours, so it won't be near as time-consuming as any prior semester, but still. I want to be on the dean's list again - I haven't since this past summer (but was every term prior to that at Liberty), and would really like to finish strong. So there's that goal. This has gotten pretty all over the place now. Anyway.

Alas, Here's to 2014!

favorite reads of 2013

Thursday, January 2, 2014

So I basically concluded that if you were to ever get me anything - any gift of any kind - just give me a gift card to Amazon, or the bookstore, or cash for books, or even just a book itself! Because seriously, what more is there to life than to get lost in a good book, to grow your library and knowledge of the world, to escape to another realm and live through the obstacles of another life through their eloquence of words stringed together on a thin piece of paper bound by glue? Or, if you'd rather get something else, say, furniture perhaps, just get me more bookcases. Loads of them. Wall-to-wall. Ones with desks in them. Ones that stretch to the ceiling. Enough to make my office literally looks like a library with rows I can walk through- neatly alphabetized and categorized shelves of which I can stick a ruler to keep my place, while pondering another read for the day. Perhaps one day, I will have a room dedicated to be a library - not one just on the wall around my desk as I long for today, but in rows of shelves laid out like one at a school. My own little schoolroom, complete with little desks, a chalkboard, and a comfy corner nook set with tea and cake and candles, to read away and kindle your dreams! I will make room for it in our current little two-bedroom abode - anything is possible! Oh, I can dream, right? I sure can dream.

But the point of all this is to come to a time when I want to shout for all to hear, my favorite books of the year! Clever how that rhymes, right? Well, it's hard a bit to narrow it down, because, um, I've read 75 books in 2013 (well, at least that number).. But I kind of narrowed it down to my absolute favorites - the ones dog-eared, laden with tears forever in the pages, the ones I forgo sleep for and started journals about, ones that kindled seemingly forgotten dreams and passions and loves of mine- ones that I really, I mean actually found myself in. The favorites of mine, the best, that I personally laid eyes on this year, for hours at a time. And what joyous hours those were! And yes, as you can see, the absolute favorites are still more than a few in number for I read many this past year - so bear with me, and grace me with your eyes a little longer, will you?

And please, do not hesitate to chime in and say - oh! I read that too! Because I would love to hear that. Has anyone else read and loved these books - or did you think something else of it? Have you heard of them before - seen them somewhere perhaps, or did it come up in everyday conversation? Do you long to live a life like those described in these papers, do you find yourself aching for something more that just reading words printed on fibers of trees would ever quench? Or do you have another view altogether? Perhaps you think I am just crazy. That's okay too! Crazy is good. We're all a little crazy. Probably more than just a little, actually. I guess that makes me pretty crazy then. Better to be crazy and well-read than sane and unfamiliar, by cultural standards.

I think I somehow narrowed it down to my top 15 - that's FIFTEEN out of more than SEVENTY-FIVE! In no particular order, though, of course.


So, without further adieu ---
 

Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers

I absolutely couldn't put this book down. It made me cry, laugh, and challenged me to see a world that many of us often overlook, because it doesn't fit in our neat little bubbles of life and safety. In California's gold country in 1850, a young girl was sold into prostitution by her own mother- living the only life she knew for years and years, which left her empty, cold, and bitter. Until a man, Michael Hosea, comes to rescue her from the brothel, marry her, and show her true, unrelenting, compassionate, redeeming love - the love of God for his people. She runs, he rescues. This continues until there is nothing else to hold onto but truth, and to let go of her horrific past and to let God consume her life with his redeeming love. Based on the biblical book of Hosea, following a paralleling story of Hosea being called by God to rescue Gomer. Redeeming Love is a powerful story of God's all-powerful, unrelenting, redemptive, and all-consuming love.

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Jesus > Religion - Jefferson Bethke

Do I sense a cultural upheaval perhaps? Yeah, cause fabricated American Christianity, in so many words, is just that - a mask, a comfort zone, a box of where we want Jesus and his truths to fit in our little neat fine lives, then do the rest our way, rather than His.. This is a guide on how to truly understand the Jesus of Christianity for who he is. One of the most thought-provoking and applicable books I have read this year!

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Cottage By The Sea - Robin Jones Gunn

As soon as I heard of this author, I knew I had to find her books - and fast! This is the first one I picked up. Tears, the whole time. I loved it all. I need the rest! Two women start a wedding planning business in Oregon, and immediately one's father becomes deathly ill. But he lives away at a cottage by the sea in California, with a woman the daughter has never met. Sad to leave the business and her best friend, but needing to be at her father's side, this is a story of highs and lows. "Her journey tosses her through highs and lows of hurt and healing, betrayal and renewal, wrong assumptions righted, and the brightest future one could ever hope for. All just around the corner, at the cottage by the sea."

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Faithprints - Rebekah Montgomery

Leaving faithprints wherever we go - how to mobilize our world and be the hands and feet of Jesus. I just love this. Montgomery urges readers to pray for confidence to seize opportunities to serve others, rather than sit on the sidelines as we watch an injustice happen, as so many of us do. In this book you will learn practical ways and insights through stories of faith and downfalls and triumphs on how to use your spiritual gifts and natural talents to do good in God's Kingdom, and to impact our world for the better. I soaked up every page of this book!

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Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis

Starting with mere particles and space, Lewis builds a case for Christianity- logically, piece by piece, expounding upon truths and not-truths, fallacies, purpose and meaning, Jesus, and the human experience. Seriously, I wish I could give this book to every human on the planet- no matter what you believe, you have got to read this- yes, it should quite possibly be a human requirement to read this book. How much different this world could be- if people actually, truly, understood life itself!

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Disciplines of a Godly Woman - Barbara Hughes

Things we women need to keep ourselves to, in order to be stewards of God's grace and truths. Oh, how we need this, especially today, and every day to come. A guide to cultivate spiritual disciplines, making us consistent in our daily lives and especially our relationship with God. An exceptional read!

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The Greatest Gift - Ann Voskamp

Following the line of Jesus all the way back to Jesse, Voskamp poetically gives us a background on what Christmas is truly about - the gift of a Savior - of God in the flesh, of a baby borne of a virgin, of this little God-man. Redeeming Christmas for what it truly is, rather than the consumerism and accepted debt that our culture turns it into. Oh, my soul.

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Real Talk for Real Teachers-  Rafe Esquith

I had the absolutely exquisite pleasure of visiting Esquith's 5th grade classroom last August- just a few days after I read this book and it came out, in fact. I just cannot get enough of it - he is a revolutionary in the field of education, of which there are not enough, I'm afraid. If every American and world citizen were to read his books, perhaps we'd be a place that puts teachers with higher esteem and dignity and salaries than movie stars and lottery winners. Perhaps we would see the importance of education for our culture, our lives, the future, everything that we know and hold dear and life as we know it as it exists today. Perhaps we'd see teachers as the solution, not the problem, and in turn treat them as such. Perhaps.

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Bonhoeffer - Eric Metaxas

He is an incredible man. Deitrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor and an author, lived an incredible life- one full of God's grace and love and passions. He preached the true gospel in the face of evil, when many were looking away.
"Eric Metaxas takes both strands of Bonhoeffer’s life—the theologian and the spy—and draws them together to tell a searing story of incredible moral courage in the face of monstrous evil. Metaxas presents the fullest accounting of Bonhoeffer’s heart-wrenching decision to leave the safe haven of America to return to Hitler’s Germany, and sheds new light on Bonhoeffer’s involvement in the famous Valkyrie plot and in “Operation 7,” the effort to smuggle Jews into neutral Switzerland."

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Dirty God - Johnnie Moore

How to find and be the hands and feet of Jesus in the most unlikely places - reaching the most unlikely people. Sometimes, you just gotta get dirty to do God's work. This is your manual. " Moore outlines the central importance of the doctrine of grace while introducing readers to a humble and human Jesus who reaches out to us at our worst and pulls us up to our best."

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Touching Heaven - Leanne Hadley

This book is too much for me to contain, and I feel stronger than I can ever fathom to put into words about this. It will probably always be my absolute favorite book that I have or will ever read. Eloquent stories of a children's hospital chaplain during her residency, outlining the final days of 10 different children, aged 6 to 15. This book is bent up, bruised, sloppy wet with tears, and turned all over with dog-ears on the pages. I would read it every day if I could, but then I'd be so happy-sad I wouldn't know what to do with myself other than drive down to Rady Children's and hand out stuffed animals and words of encouragement and cookies and puppies and pillows and glitter to all the little souls, who are hurting in pain that I am all too familiar with from my younger years, and some years not too far ago. It should be a human requirement for all to read this book as soon as one is able to read- I mean, yes, absolutely, everyone who is reading these words right now - do me a favor, and if you gain nothing else from this post, or only want to find one book to take away, let it be this one, and read it now!

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Kisses from Katie - Katie Davis

After reading Katie in Uganda's book, I so long for missions. For international missions. Someday I will! This book will challenge you, tug at you, and leave you wanting more. I love her story - how she forgo college, stability, and the "American dream" at a comfortable home in Tennessee in order to go back to the place she knew her heart was - at an orphanage in Uganda. She has started a ministry, has adopted dozens of little girls, and is truly being the hands and feet of Jesus in a place that desperately needs his truths. Meeting the lost where they are. Giving them hope, care, a mother, a Savior. Oh, my soul. I long for just an ounce of her immense faith and love for Your people, for our neighbors.

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Feminine Appeal - Carolyn Mahaney

True, inerrant, biblical feminism - far from the skewed view of the place of women today. That is to be a daughter of God, a wife, a mother, a mentor, a woman of true grace - for a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Exploring the 7 virtues of a godly wife and mother, taken from Titus 2, Mahaney teaches us how to live with true feminine appeal and become a woman who lives for God, and helps others to do the same. It should be a human requirement for every woman alive to read this book- absolutely incredible!

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Crazy Love - Francis Chan

Love is crazy, love is true, love is God. From the book itself: "It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you've verbalized it yet or not, we all know something's wrong." Once you experience God's love in the eloquent way Chan describes it, once you understand God's true love for us in this crazy kind of world, well, that changes everything. When you're wildly in love with someone, everything changes.

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Love Does - Bob Goff

From the back of the book: "Bob Goff has become something of a legend, and his friends consider him the world's best-kept secret. Those same friends have long insisted he write a book. What follows are paradigm shifts, musings, and stories from one of the world’s most delightfully engaging and winsome people. What fuels his impact? Love. But it's not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob's love takes action. Bob believes Love Does." 
Love does things. It changes people. Love makes life happen. Don't miss it. Read this book today!

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All quotations taken from Amazon listing.

a new year - and new resolutions

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 is going to be the best year as of yet in our little nest. Why do you ask? Because of the many great plans we have! For now, here are a few of my resolutions, or goals, or plans, or what have you (Note that these are mine personally-though I think the stud will appreciate the garden bullet point!):
Whats your New Years Resolution???

~Read through the Bible - completely - twice

~Tryout for an area orchestra (flute and/or piccolo)

~Read 75+ books - no joke - because I actually read 75 books total in 2013 (school textbooks included)

~Finish t-shirt quilts (after a few years off and on)

~Make stuffed animals for children's ward, labor and delivery departments (CP naval hospital & Rady Children's in San Diego)

~Maintain a garden, including fresh flowers (for each day), fruits, and veggies

~Visit Room 56 again (Hobart Elem - LA), as well as KIPP Academy in San Diego, and spend some more time at South O

~Paint canvases - scenic, custom, etc. (Etsy shop perhaps?)

~Complete Michael's cake decorating courses # 2-4 with Erin

~Intern and eventually work at an ACSI school with certifications

~Begin writing children's books (various themes planned!) and publication process (!!!)

~Pilates on a regular basis, as well as training for and completing 5k's in the area (Including the one at Disneyland!!)

~Make tea and light candles and do my devotionals to start each day in peace and contentment- soaking in God's word and truths

~Start a sponsorship with Compassion- praying about this!


...After seeing this list, can you see what's important to me in life? It seems to me that whatever is on somebody's list of resolutions or goals at the beginning of year tells you a whole lot about the person! So, next time you are getting to know someone, ask them their life goals and resolutions and inspirations - they may surprise you!

What's holding you back from your new year goals? What does 2014 have in store for you? Chase after your dreams, ladies! You can see I have a few, such as getting published, the stuffed animals (which I'd like to turn into a nonprofit one day), and to join an area orchestra with my hobby of the past decade. Who knows if this will really hold true - Only God does. With Him, you are capable of wonders!

Everyone have a blessed start to the new year - 2014, here we come!
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