Monday, February 28, 2011


539. A pleasant homeschool morning (we seem to have more of those these days!)
540. A note from Erik
541. kids reading for fun
542. Boy Scouts!
543. An hour and a half of quiet in the morning. Divine!
544. A husband who prays
545. A boy who plans his own birthday party, including diagrams
546.Photo ops
547. A long anticipated talk with a dear friend
548. Free sparklers from a stranger
549. chocolate covered cherries
550. No one was in the shower when it shattered
551. The exploding glass noise wasn't a window
552.Energy to do yoga at 6 a.m. despite 2 1/2 hours of sleep
553.Kids who like to help around the house
554.Ethan, all 11 years of him
555. Ethan's gracious, enthusiastic, unprompted gratitude to his friends for their gifts
556. Kids being kids
557. Lego block cake that really looked like Lego blocks
558. Elaborate games of Nerf battle
559. Getting it all done on time so I could enjoy the party
560. Erik being able to join us
561. Making a little girl's night by giving her an extra piece of cake
562. The blessing of so many friends for our kids
563. Erik :)
564. Bed, when the adrenaline high is suddenly over
565. "Thank yous" from the kids, out of the blue
566. time to write
567. "Ethan, you're doing so well at piano. You're getting better and better!" and his response, "That's because of you mom!"
568. The water coming back on (after being off for 24 hours in the kitchen)
569. Ethan's initiative in gathering friends for a game of Capture the Flag
570. Our old maid is coming back tomorrow!!

Tales of the Kingdom

I was recently gifted a book called Tales of the Kingdom. It's a series of allegorical stories about life in the Kingdom of God. Each story ends with a "moral." I've been reading them to the kids each night for the past few nights, and a couple of the stories have really touched me. Maybe the morals won't make much sense without hearing the story, but I like them, so I'm going to share them. If you don't understand, you'll just have to read the book!

"And so the hunter stayed because she found the orphan she had been seeking-herself. She discovered that the Kingdom was for outcasts, and one must become an outcast in order to follow the King."

"So the Apprentice Juggler lost his place in the troupe, but found another. For all who live by the rhythm of the inner timing, which the King approves, find a place in the Kingdom all their own. More than any, they live happily ever after."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blooming Brenna Knits

I would like to take this moment to promote something super cute! My sister-in-law (a.k.a. a fantastic woman who blesses my brother and our whole family to no end) has started an etsy shop called Blooming Brenna Knits selling these adorable baby hats (and booties too!). She's hoping to make a good business of it, so please go check it out and buy something!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Simple Gifts

504. Homemade chicken noodle soup
505. great internet service (you appreciate something more when you're without it for a few weeks!)
506. fresh rosemary
507. playing Settlers with the kids
508. playdates with new friends
509. a walk in the woods
510. Ethan pulling out witty, adult like comments
511. Families out walking together
512. Friendly vegetables people who "song" (free) small things like parsley
513. Making dinner with the kids
514. Megan's joy in setting the table for me without prompting
515. A sweet, silly moment with Megan at bedtime
516. A crisp day outside with the kids
517. A clean house
518. The satisfaction after exercising when I really didn't want to
519. A schedule full of good things
520. Dark chocolate
521. Family night
522. a long email from my brother
523. Ethan's prayers about his Chinese test
524. Learning with my kids
525. Snow!
526. Megan skipping
527. friends who pray for me, even when I don't ask
528. Ethan at 6:15 drawing schematics for his new Lego creation
529. Godly men who influence and encourage my husband
530. reading to Megan, curled up under a blanket together
531. Megan reading to me
532. Amazing opportunities for our kids
533. last minute gift carriers from the States
534. chocolate frosting
535. a reason to wear layers (we don't need them in the house!)
536. tea
537. naps

I actually have much more on my list, but I'll post it later. I've been in the habit of writing more down every night so my list gets long quickly! So many good things in life when I just take the time to notice!

Good quote for the day

I saw this quote on a friend's Facebook page this morning, and thought, "How true that is!" so I wanted to share it with you:

"It is an odd business; the more I live, the more I fail. The more I fail, fall forward, and am caught by the Arms of grace, the more I reveal the message of the gospel. The more I pretend to have arrived and offer others advice on how they can do the same, the more I... become like the prodigal's older brother, self-righteous and angry." Dan Allender

Friday, February 18, 2011

Only in China

Just as we finally drifted off to sleep, after listening to the grand finale of fireworks to celebrate Chinese New Year, Erik and I were startled by the sound of glass exploding. Not breaking. Exploding, in what was the scariest noise I've ever heard (Erik says the scarier sound was the one I made while freaking out). Assuming what it is natural to assume only on this night of the year, we jumped out of bed to see where an errant firework had broken through a window and begun to set fire to our apartment.

I ran into the living room, but the curtains there were drawn and undisturbed. I ran upstairs - nothing. Dining room - nothing. I ran back into our bedroom to check the office, but I knew that the sound had come from the other direction, so I turned around and looked in the bathroom.

And that's when I saw this:
I have to wonder if China is the only country in the world where your shower door spontaneously shatters at the stroke of midnight. I said, "Erik, it's the shower!" three times before he stopped responding with, "What?!"

So now, an hour and a half later, my body still feels like I was jolted to life by those metal paddles, and the periodic crackling of glass continues to sound from our bathroom. I shake my head in wonder.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

More Gifts

This list was started in Thailand, then continues here in China:

475. An invitation to dinner with friends (who I was hoping wanted to spend more time with us)
476. Attempting to order Subway in Thailand makes me realize what a blessing it is that I can do it in Chinese
477. Thai middle school girls with bows in their hair
478. "That means I really love you mama" (when Megan grabbed me for a second good night hug)
479. Ocean breezes
480. sand castles
481. A massage on the beach
482. lazy time with friends
483. being reunited with Erik (we had 3 days apart when he had meetings)
484. Breakfast next to crashing waves
485. The smell of new books
486. Words of wisdom and life from a man I deeply respect
487. A run on the beach with the sun on my back and wind in my face
488. The return run with sun on my face and the wind at my back
489. Waves over my feet as I walk along the sunrise
490. Good friends I can be myself with
491. Ice cream cones and atomic fire balls that remind me of my childhood
492. Erik playing with Megan in the water
493. doing life together
494. Finding my prescription allergy meds over the counter
495. Discovering that getting up at 2 a.m. to drive 3 hours and make a 7:25 a.m. flight isn't as bad as you might think
496. A fun talk with my mom and brother at the same time
497. Wisdom and love from my friend and coach Dayle
498. Time to think, reflect and pray
499. Blessed silence after hours of non-stop fireworks
500. The courage of kids on the ski hills
501. Snow! (but only on the ski hills)
502. Incredibly mild weather - daytime high has only been below 30 degrees 10-15 days the whole winter. Below 20 maybe once or twice. I see 57 in the 10 day forecast.
503. A lazy vacation week with Erik at home

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Big Momma

Me, "I love my little Megan!"

Megan, "I love my big momma!"

Pause while I chuckle.

Megan, "I mean . . . I love my bigger momma. I love my bigger than me momma!"

Pause again. More chuckling from both of us.

Megan, "I love my momma!"

Yeah, that sounds better.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Social Network vs The King's Speech

I like movies. I'd like to be in a movie. The closest I've come is being in an anti-smoking video when I was 13. I hope to this day that every copy of that video has been destroyed.

Anyway, it's award show season, which means that we commoners get to watch unrealistically skinny people wear stuff that costs way too much, then go win trophies and talk about how surprised and thankful they are.

So now is the time to try and predict who those skinny thankful surprised people will be. As is often the case, this year it's not much of a race for Best Picture. It really comes down to The Social Network and The King's Speech (although I'd really like to see True Grit, The Fighter and 127 Hours. Black Swan was impressive, albeit wildly disturbing and I don't recommend it; Inception and Toy Story 3 are also must-see movies).

It's interesting that both of these movies are based on true events, and for both of them the main actors didn't meet the people they were playing yet make the characters fascinating (although in the case of Mark Zuckerberg perhaps not altogether accurate). Both movies are sharply written, but in the case of The Social Network it's fast wit as opposed to The King's Speech's balance of drama and humor.

Personally, I vote for The King's Speech. Erik and I watched it last night, and we were struck by the message of the film - the idea of looking back to the roots of what drives you, and questioning the identity you've come to claim for yourself as a result. I'm all for a movie that has a good message without being preachy. Watch it, if you haven't already, and let me know whether those other ones are worth my time.