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7 Inches of Snow

IMG_3943I just learned how to use the panoramic camera on my phone. Check out this beauty. A few days back we got 7 inches of snow and some sun shine.

Volunteering as a Family of ‘Dog Walkers’

Serving others is a skill and life passion that I want to pass on to my daughters. What better way to do that than volunteering as a family. We (myself, husband, & 2 daughters) have taken a late shift to walk dogs so that my husband can join us after he gets off work. On average, we walk about a mile and a half total. Generally we walk a hand full of dogs in the winter and three hands full of dogs in the summer per shift. We get to spend around 15minutes with each walk.

We’ve walked Chihuahuas, Pit Bulls, Huskies, Cattle Dogs, Great Danes, Labs, Yorkies, Poodles, and a mix of muts. Sometimes they have 3 legs and some times they have 4. We love most all of them. Some of the dogs don’t like to interact much and enjoy their walks out side quietly. Some dogs like a mix of walking and off-the-leash time playing. Some dogs refuse to walk and enjoy being held as we walk. Most dogs have a personality that make us smile. We’ve been bit, scratched, and slobbered on. I will also mention that one dog who humped everything. We couldn’t count how much poo we’ve scooped. We commonly use phrases like, “likes to chew on balls” (Tennis balls of course) or “another 100+ pound lap dog”.

Some dogs are so sweet that they are hard to leave there, but those dogs are usually adopted before we return on another shift. I love it when our walks are interrupted when people have an appointment to visit the animals. It’s always good to introduce the dogs to the families first before they are adopted. We’ve met dogs that don’t like my husband probably because he is a big man. Some dogs don’t like me and prefer the girls. With any dog you meet, you just never know.

Last but not least, we get to watch the sun set behind the mountains. Pikes Peak is always a joy to see, well if clouds are not covering it.

My call to action for you today is to get out and serve. If you don’t feel blessed, bless someone/something else. Be the blessing!

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#6 Foster Kitty Family – February 2015

February’s foster family was turned into the Humane Society by a worried citizen that found them behind a dumpster. They are ALL SUPER loving and the kitties sleep on us humans. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were given up by an owner that could not care for them. This is not wrong. No. I’d rather any story and cats being ‘given up’ to the humane society than the ‘dumping of pets’ possibility. It’s cold here! There’s lots of traffic. Who knows what could happen to kitties borne to mommas that have been ‘dumped’. I just wish I could promise that every cat that is adopted would be promised a decent life. I will now step off my soap box….

Anyways, I’m loving this family. When we sit down, a kitten or 2 will use us as a pillow. I’ve not run across a more ‘hug’ needy bunch of kittens.

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#5 Foster Kitty Family – December 2014

December’s family was handed over to us from another foster family. They could only help a few weeks and we could help a few weeks. It worked out great. There was an awesome Momma with 3 kittens. That momma cat was the cleanest and most caring momma we’ve cared for. This family was the hardest family to give back to the humane society to adopt out. I did almost drive over to adopt them when they were on display.

These cats enjoyed the Christmas Décor in every sense of the word enjoy. They climbed on it, took it down, rearranged it, chewed on it, and jumped off of it. We enjoyed how the tree would change every day and sometimes we’d see little heads pop through. Momma was just as loving as her babies. I thought about keeping her to help raise other kitties, but we usually get batches with mommas already included. Great family. I hope they went to loving homes!

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#4 Foster Kitty Family – October 2014

Our October guests were saved out of a Hoarding case. Many of the felines saved from that home could not be adopted out because of FIV. Because of the Hoarding person, many of those cats had to be euthanized. My plea is if you can not physically, mentally, or financially care for pets/animals….. take them to a Humane Society or other rescue type place. Give them a chance.

These poor babies didn’t know how to walk on carpet when we brought them home. I had to clip the tips of their nails so they could walk a few steps before getting stuck. The Siamese kitten instantly took to being held and kept me warm as I worked on my laptop. The gray kitten was a bit awkward. She suffered with parasites and a congenital eye problem. She was a hot mess. The gray kitten tolerated being pet and preferred her alone time. I’ve heard from the Humane Society that they both found good homes.

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A Week Before Lent and Looking Back – 2015

Our family observes Lent and it’s right around the corner. February 18th it begins and on April 2nd it ends. Our church here in Colorado Springs had suggested last year that we follow Lent. They provided formal church services to begin Lent and to end it. I’m glad we took the time to observe it.

Why did our family observe Lent last year and why we will again:

Our church present Lent as a time of year to give up something that distracts/occupies our time. Some thing that takes time away from the Lord. In place of the distractions, it was suggested that we prayed. We just moved to the area when this challenge was given and our hearts were in need of some tending to.

I had no idea how much of an impact this sort of observance could have on our lives!

What did we give up:

First we prayed and considered the cost of the Lent fast. Then we made the commitment. There was no forcing and much grace if needed. This fast was not something we’d destroy our relationships over.

I gave up digital gaming/social media like Facebook.

My husband gave up fast food.

My oldest daughter gave up snacking, flavored drinks, and TV.

My youngest daughter gave up meat.

How did observing Lent affect the family:

My youngest daughter’s experience:

She said it was hard to give up meat. There were a few vacations and birthday celebrations that she stuck to her fast with. She felt like she was denying herself enough food and made her realize what homeless people might feel like. It was only a small thing that she gave up but some people don’t have that choice. She learned that she could rely on the Lord for strength. During one week in the beginning, she wanted to give up and eat meat. She said she prayed for help and she was able to complete the whole Lent fast.

My oldest daughter’s experience:

She said it was hardest to give up snacking. She said that she hadn’t realized how much she used snacking to comfort herself throughout the day. She said she was hungry all the time and as a teenager that didn’t surprise me. In the place of snacks, TV, and flavored drinks she’d turn to her iPod or read some books. She would pray that the Lord would inspire her with crafting ideas or ways to entertain herself. During meals she would eat a larger portion and drink tons of water. She lost weight even though that was not a goal or needed. She tells me today that she gained back every ouch.:) She felt healthy during the fast and now. She said the first few days were the hardest to endure. To help cope, she built up a hidden stock pile of goodies for the day that Lent ended. Her pile included: 1 Twinkie, 1 Gatorade, 1 bottle of Coke, 1 can of Mountain Dew, 1 small bag of chips, 1 jar full of chocolate candies, and some chocolates that she purchased in Washington DC (Coco Salsa). She learned that even when life “sucks” it gets better.

My husband’s experience:

My husband went into Lent with a habit of buying his lunch from a fast food place. He had to stop that habit and plan his lunches ahead of time. Leftovers were always eaten during that time. He would be out and about when he got hungry and would save himself for a meal at home. We saved a few bucks during his fast but he didn’t spend much to begin with.

My experience:

To be honest, I didn’t think my choice of items to fast from was a big deal. That is until about a week into it. I didn’t know that I had been pacifying myself in front of cell phone games and Facebook posts. I was good with the false accomplishment I was feeling from my games and by other’s posts online. I can remember getting so stinking frustrated over not being able to use my electronic pacifiers. I was pissed off! I crankily prayed that God would step into this void in my life. Later that night, got the inspiration to make a quilt for my Grandma. Queen sized quilt. I figured that she’d love my craft. I sketched some plans and sewed a “Tree of Life” quilt. Like a good grandma… she did love it. My biggest take away from Lent last year was that I wasn’t creating or living like I was created for. That fast showed me that the Lord had so much more for me. All I had to do was log off and go get it.

The whole family benefit:

Lent 2014 was the first time our family had practiced denying ourselves for a long period of time.

We learned that we could actually NOT get what we wanted and be okay. Honestly, it’s been easier to say no to things that we know are a distraction. We learned that the Lord had our backs and would provide comforts and love us through temper tantrums. That was a big one. During Lent, our senses were turned on and our hearts were opened. The months post that fast have been great. We have all moved forward from stumbling blocks uncovered during Lent. Personally, I am committing to be a creator with the gifts that the Lord put in me.

So what is on your heart that you need to fast from? Interested in Lent? If you have never fasted from something over a month, give it a try!

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Proverbs 12

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Gems like this are like tiny morsels that sink into my being!

We step very slowly through the bible each morning and discuss what we read. When I say slow, I mean slow. It took us 3 YEARS to read Joshua though 2 Kings.

So the words sit in our hearts and brains before we move on. This morning we listened to and discussed Proverbs 12. Wow. Did you know that Proverbs reads like Pinterest Posts? So many one or two-line bits of wisdom composed into chapters. If you are a person that likes to put words over photos, look for inspiration in Proverbs.

This morning, we found a gem that speaks to us as a family. We foster kittens/mommas and I LOVE doing this. Right now 2 kittens are sleeping on my lap. Their paws hug my arms.

I never knew what the bible said about caring for these animals. Now I know the bible calls this ‘righteous’.

Proverbs 12:10 – The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

2# – A Snip From Our Book – What do you think?

Ordinary Day

“Are you going to get started with your day or do I need to light a fire under your butt?” Faith’s mother interrupted with no regard to the day-dream she was enjoying.

The morning had just started and Faith was enjoying a moment of peace by the window in her front room. Between school work and a busy social calendar, it seemed like she didn’t have much time to sit around to think any more. She knew that there was a pile of books waiting on her but she would rather continue watching the golden Aspen leaves flip around in the breeze. They looked like butterfly wings fluttering around the tree branches.

Her mom’s grouchy question couldn’t break her concentration from the world outside the window for too long. She did her best to block everyone out of her quiet time. Faith was trying to figure out how to paint the colors of the leaves. She wondered if she could mix water-color paints to match. The leaves were stained with fiery reds, saturated yellows, and burnt oranges. The neighborhood was lined with Pine Trees and Douglas Firs that were holding on to their green foliage. They helped to round out the full picture of Fall.

The air outside had shifted from clean crisp summer days to the fragrance of fallen leaves. Faith could smell the smoke from wood burning fireplaces. The tempo of everyone’s lives had changed from the slower pace of “relax and enjoy” to running around with busy school schedules and weekend soccer games.

The thought of everyone’s busy lives made Faith sigh. She picked up her hot chocolate and took a sip.

Faith was 13 years old and a fairly normal girl in the eighth grade. She wore her red wavy hair in a messy mound of a bun on the top of her head. As she sat there, she adjusted the head band that kept the annoying stray hairs out of her face. She stood about the same height as her class mates so nothing really stood out about her appearance. Except for her firey red hair.

“Yes mom,” Faith answered as she dreamily looked towards her mother. She decided to not let her family sour her day and put on an upbeat artistic expression. She waved her hand through the air as if she were holding a brush on a canvas and continued, “I was just trying to figure out how to paint the trees.”

The sarcastic reply that she gave her mother made Faith giggle under her breath. That was the motivation she needed to get her day started. Faith stood up with her drink and walked into the kitchen. Her nose was greeted by the smells of her sister’s cooking.

The kitchen was filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread and cut herbs. Faith’s sister, Annmarie, seemed to have a knack for waking the family up with a new food creation for breakfast. Faith always thought that Annmarie was trying to share her love in the food.

Today’s creation included an egg Quiche sprinkled with Cheddar Cheese, Parmesan Cheese shavings, a pinch of Rosemary, and a few scraps of shredded roast from last nights dinner. Annmarie took the time to slice, butter, and crisp up each piece of bread from a fresh-baked loaf. Once the Quiche was cooked just right, Annmarie stylishly presented the food and handed her sister a plate.

Like her sister, Annmarie was 15 and had an average build with a head full of red hair. She wore her hair about the length of her chin and flipped it out to frame her face. Even though she was feeding her family like Betty Crocker would, Annmarie would rather be anything than normal. She did as she pleased and enjoyed pushing the perceived stereotypes that people had put over girls. She preferred to wear her hair a bit shorter and spikier and enjoyed dressing a bit edgier. She often pushed her mother’s comfort levels by asking for things like cartilage piercings or if she could date.

“I don’t want eggs,” Faith mumbled as she put her plate back onto the counter. She only wanted the bread. So she picked up the hot buttered toast and took a bite. The bread crunched in her mouth as the creamy butter coated her tongue.

“Good! More for me,” grinned Annmarie as she scooped up Faith’s Quiche from the counter and put it onto her own plate.

Today was the first normal feeling day that Faith or Annmarie had in a while. There father was deployed again and every time he left it seemed to make everyone crazy. The first few months and last few months were always the hardest and trying to stay focused was impossible. Having a family member just up and leave tended to leave a hole in everyone’s life.

Just Write Something

After reading a post called “Why Writers Today Should Be Accepting More Jobs for Less Money”, I was left feeling a little deflated. I am now an aspiring writer and now I find out that I will not make money from it. Well, thankfully I haven’t started writing to make big money. At least not right now.

I will take your advice on writing. “It doesn’t have to be great, it just has to be done”.

I spent a few hours editing and rewriting the book today. That seemingly unending project does not provide me with any sense of accomplishment. It’s like I’m doing a lot of nothing. So, this is the place to write and writing will be done today.

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Earlier, as I sat down to write, my 13yr old daughter came to me with her pile of books and we talked about formal logic for about an hour. Yes, we are learning “Formal Logic”. Before I started home school, I had never heard of studying formal logic.

Somewhere during that hour, Logic and this posting started to dance together in my mind. Maybe I am not a paid writer yet and maybe I am not even a writer by any formal definition yet. But I’m presently studying to become one.

Right now in life, I am homeschooling a 8th and 10th grader and learning their subjects. I am taking care of house hold chores and fiscal budgets. I am going to keep my heart a safe place for my husband. I am mentoring my daughters on what it mean’s to be a woman in Christ. I am chasing after the heart of Christ. I am reading books outside of home school subjects, every night (this is new).

But……. in my extra time, as a hobby, at-least-for-the-next-few-years, I am learning how to be a writer. So… I will write and maybe figure out how to find a writing gig that I can “take less money for”.  Cheers!