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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Heavens Declare...

**My blog has moved to ChroniclesofaKeeper.com**



This verse was our CC memory work for science last week. (Which was a welcome relief from the periodic table. *shudder*)

Every day we would take a moment to go outside just to marvel at the handiwork of God. We would discuss how God's glory was being declared by what we were seeing in the sky. God's glory. 

I love how Lil' Man's tutor explained it to the kids, "The glory of God is His goodness and greatness". 

Although we enjoyed some pretty awesome night skies and there were some really great scenes in the sky during the afternoon, the sunsets were definitely our favorite.  All the beautiful colors of His artistic hand. Simply breathtaking.


Lil' Man definitely is an appreciator of the arts. He loves to draw, paint and color. He also loves learning about different artists and their styles of painting. I was surprised at how much he paid attention during the art portion of CC. He thoroughly enjoyed learning about a specific artist each week. 

I felt like the connection to convey the verse we were discussing for the week with what he understood and enjoys was perfect. One day, I commented on how the sky looked like a beautiful painting. He looked up at it for awhile and then turned to me and said that, "It is like Claude Monet, but better, because it is God".

God's glory is declared all around us. Be purposeful to pause and observe the declaration of His goodness and greatness. Last week, all we had to do was look up at the sky to be reminded.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Pressing On: Week 4 C25K

**My blog has moved to ChroniclesofaKeeper.com**


This, my friends, happened.

I didn't even cheat on the time spent for the jogging portion. 

Most people may snicker when seeing this. But people, listen. My lungs have the air capacity as that of a mouse. Seriously. The hardest part of running for me is the breathing. It is physically painful.

I was so thrilled that I actually completed the whole workout for today. That never happens. I have been very wish-washy in the use of my C25K app.

Today though, even my goats and chickens were cheering me on.

These three sat here and watched me the entire time.


Galina even tried to run beside me (or from me) at one point.


The goats ran and did some crazy little jigs everytime I circled their area.



I love my little cheering section. 

My favorite part of the run, was the last 5 minutes. I soooo wanted to cheat and make those 5 minutes quickly turn to 1 minute on my app. As a last minute push to get through the end of my run, I pulled up my iTunes playlist. 

I really need to get some running songs. I was in the same situation I wrote about last time. I decided to roll with it. 

I turned Lauren Daigle's "How Can It Be" up and pushed myself through those last 5 minutes. I ran. It hurt, but I ran. 

And just before the point of death...



 I dragged my weary body to my husband and said "I did it! I actually ran for 16 (albeit, non-consecutive) minutes!". Y'all, that is the most my body has ran in many moons. 









Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Favorites

**My blog has moved to ChroniclesofaKeeper.com**

1. I have a new hair product that I am absolutely crazy about. 


I bought it for Miss Priss and those wild and crazy curls she so appropriately sports. I love how it keeps her curly 
locks soft and manageable without doing them any damage or taking away from their natural beauty.

2. I love this sweet little guy. His smiley face in the midst of a day that was...a little maddening was just the relief I needed. 



3. These make me so happy.


I don't know what they put on these pads. I do know, that they make my life so much easier and my bathroom so much brighter.

4. This week, Zyrtec definitely climbs to the top of my favorites. Yes, it most definitely is a favorite of mine this week. My eyes are no longer looking all red and puffy, my nose isn't constantly sniffling, and I am no longer sneezing a million times a minute. What a relief!

5. Date night. Nothing says date night more than dinner and a movie...at home. Johnny Carino's to go, a rented movie on the Roku and all the kids in their beds for the night makes for a perfect little "night in" for me and the hubs. I love that Carino's offers their yumminess curbside.


Well, there you have it. My top five Friday Favorites. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Reluctant Homesteader: Spring.


**My blog has moved to ChroniclesofaKeeper.com**

Well, spring has sure made a grand entrance. The temperature has been perfect, my allergies have been miserable and the storm season has already began to flex its power. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with this season.

I love the freshness of spring -  the blooming of flowers and the mild warmth of the sun. 

I hate the misery of spring - the wretchedness of allergies and the terror of severe weather.

I had planned on working on my garden this week...but due to ridiculously-out-of-control allergies, I have not been able to do anything in my garden. Not even plant my onion sets.

They are just hanging out in the mudroom waiting to be planted.




Hopefully, tomorrow, I will be able to get out there and get something done in my garden. 

The chickens have been enjoying the warmer weather. I decided that one of my hens must particularly be fond of the change of seasons, because...I have a new layer. Yay!

I am so happy to have a brown egg layer again.




However, as much as they enjoy the warmer weather, they are definitely not a fan of the rain. Poor girls, two of them did not make it inside the coop last night when the torrential rain came pouring down. They are fine, just a little irked by the whole situation.

The goats are doing well. I think I finally have solved the lice issue. (Bleh) I decided it would be best to just clip away Josie's hair and give her another good dusting of diatomaceous earth. Hopefully it will work. I really don't want to wash her down with any pesticide shampoo.

Of course, she may actually prefer the shampoo after experiencing me clipping away all her hair. If you are wondering, it is definitely not easy to hold onto a goat with one hand and use clippers to cut the goats hair with the other hand. She might be a little patchy in spots.


         

The clippers? Oh, I borrowed my husband's clippers. He informed me that they are now to only be used for the goats and I am to order him a new set of clippers. I can't imagine why he would not want to cut his hair with those clippers anymore???

Shiloh thinks she got out of the clipper experience. 




She will soon discover that she has no reason to look so smug.

These goats. So cute. 






Shiloh thinks the "duck face" is way overrated. She has been working on her "fish face". 


Happy Spring, y'all!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Waiting For That Still Small Voice...

**My blog has moved to ChroniclesofaKeeper.com**


You know that little hamster running his little heart out on that little wheel? That is pretty similar to how my mind works. It just spins away...constantly. Seriously, it never stops.

Sometimes I will ask my husband what he is thinking about. There are times when he says, "nothing"...and means it. What?

I simply don't understand this.

My mind always has something to think about. The nights are the worst. No children to interrupt and distract my whirling mind.

And not to sound all crazy...but conversations? Yes, I have them in my mind sometimes too. Maybe it is because of the lack of adult interaction on a day to day basis. Who knows.

In case you are wondering, I have mentally planned conversations for, but not limited to, the following situations - 

1. If I should be chosen to be on The Voice. I still haven't decided whose team I will be on...decisions, decisions.

2. Acceptance speech for when I make head detective (based on my countless years of watching Law and Order).  

3. My interview with Matt Lauer about my new best-selling book. 

4. The witty banter that will be had when Jimmy Fallon decides to have me on as a guest...no reason, just because.

5. When I give my "about me" speech while participating on Wheel of Fortune.

Embarrassing? Yes, I'm sure it is. Oh well, it keeps me entertained while I am cleaning out the chicken coop and goat barn.

A few weeks ago in my Bible study (Called to be a Keeper by Lori Merrill) we covered the topic of prayer. While I initially felt pretty good going into that week's particular topic...it only took me a minute to realize I was missing a pretty big and important piece. 

Listening.

The last year or so, I made it a point to focus more on my prayer life. Talking to God was going to be more of a priority. I didn't want it to be just after devotions, before meals and at bedtime. 

It has been awesome. Because now, I talk to God...a lot. And, y'all, it is so good. 

In fact, I am ever so thankful that He is God and is not like me. If I had to listen to me as often as He does...I would probably hit the mute button and let me ramble on while I go and take care of other pressing matters. 

I'm thankful that He, instead, wants to hear from me...and often.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

So now, that little mind of mine is still constantly going. But more often than not, now I am having many little conversations with God. You know, instead of with the coaches from The Voice or Mariska Hargitay.

Which brings me back to the thing which is listening. 

You see, in my valiant effort to talk to God more, I was neglecting the whole listening part of the conversation. Mainly, because it is hard. Making time to do nothing but listen, is hard. Waiting for God, sometimes, is hard. 

Over the last few weeks I have made a conscious effort to make time in my crazy day to just sit and be silent. Clearing my mind of all the thoughts that are running around and not trying to "speak" for God, but to just be still before the Lord. 

I am learning that no matter what I have going on or no matter what I am doing making that time for Him is worth it. The value of that time with Him is immeasurable.

One whisper from God is more precious than any stone you may ever be given.

He is so good. I already knew this. I am still awed, though, by the ways in which He has revealed Himself to me these last few weeks. It has been nothing short of amazing.

I think we sometimes equate waiting to hear from God with some sort of major life decision. It often comes naturally to make time to listen to God when big decisions are being made...such as - if it is time to buy a house, go on a missions trip, add to your family, move states, get a new job, and the list goes on and on. What we miss, is all the other times He is wanting to talk to us.

He wants to be a part of our whole life...not just the decision making part of our life. He has shown me that He cares. Even in the little mundane things of life, He cares and is faithful

Listening.

I know it is so hard sometimes (most of the time). Believe me, I get it. I have a husband, three kids, 8 chickens and two goats. Time for listening seems unattainable. 

Here are some ways I have found to make time to listen that work for me. Not every way will work every time. That is why I have a list (one that will continue to grow, I'm sure). 

1. Get up earlier. Before the hustle and bustle of the day begins, I just focus on Him. Clearing my mind of all other thoughts and listen

2. In the evening, after everyone is fed and in bed, I take a long hot shower and do nothing but listen.

3. Washing dishes is a mindless task. I have found this to be a good time as well to just listen

4. Driving in the car. I put the kid's music on in the back of the car and I clear my mind and listen

5. Late at night when I can't fall asleep, rather than turn on Netflix or peruse through my Facebook feed; I listen. 

What are some of the ways you make time to just be still and listen? Please, share! I am always looking for ways where I can make time to just...listen. 


             



Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Break Recap

**My blog has moved to ChroniclesofaKeeper.com**

What a beautiful day it is outside. I should be out there enjoying it. Instead, I am all curled up in bed with this guy.


Rough. I know.

I am taking advantage of this lazy moment to do a little "spring cleaning" on my phone. Deleting TONS of pictures and freeing up some storage space is always a good thing. I need my storage space on my phone for important apps. You know, like Trivia Crack.

As I am uploading my pictures to where I normally store them, I came across pictures I took of the kiddos enjoying their spring break last week at my parents' house. They had so much fun. 

Well, Miss Priss had as much fun as one could...with the food poisoning and all. Bless her.

She enjoyed some moments of silliness.



She loved the little indoor picnic on a rainy day.


She was treated to some pampering.



But, hands down, her favorite part was being in her Papi's arms all week. 


The cousins all had a blast being together for the week.

They planted herbs.


Went to an aquarium.

Camped out on a sofa bed to watch Frozen while eating a donut. 


Fishing, of course.


Ate shamrock(ish) pancakes for St. Patty's Day.


Enjoyed some sidewalk chalk art.



And even had time for a little game of catch.


I'm thankful to my parents for putting up with a house full of kiddos, two extra adults, loads upon loads of laundry, noise that never ceases, and being near eaten out of house and home. 

It was definitely a fun week...very exhausting...but, still a fun week.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Reluctant Homesteader: Little Gardeners

**My blog has moved to ChroniclesofaKeeper.com**

Gardening. The organization of planning what will be planted in which bed, the planting of seeds and starter plants, the freshness of a newly planted garden bed, the anticipation of that first vegetable; I love it all.

The last few years have not been anything to write home about as far as my overall garden production. I start every spring with high hopes and lofty dreams of this beautiful grand garden...only to be disappointed by mid June. 

One would think I would just throw in the towel one of these years. But, No. I am determined to make it work. 

This week I bought my onion sets. Hopefully I will get to plant them this weekend. If I can get even a handful of onions to grow this year, I will count it a win.

I have been out of town visiting my family this week, so I have not been able to work outside in my garden. But...my awesome mom had a fun activity planned for her grandkids. One that will help get me going with my garden in the coming weeks.


Using recycled egg cartons for seed starters containers.

The kids, well, they had so much fun planting their little seeds. Me? Well, how can I not be excited about get a jump start on my cilantro, basil and green beans. 

Of course...we aren't quite sure what seeds ended up in which spot. Who really knows if anything will even grow or not. It was kind of hit and miss with the whole planting process.

Really though, plant or no plant. It was all about the fun. 

And fun...it was definitely had. 








Sunday, March 15, 2015

Late Night Blues

1:40 in the morning. Wish I was asleep. Really wish I was asleep.

The kiddos and I are spending the week down at my parents house with my sister and her kids, my brother, his wife and daughter, and also my youngest brother. A fun (semi) relaxing week is what I was expecting.

Currently, however,  I find myself lying on a pullout sofa, listening to the sound of a train going by and feeling the rhythmic breathing of my sweet little girl asleep next to me. 




Waiting. Waiting for that moment when I need to quickly grab the small trash can that is positioned at the head of my little sofa bed. Miss Priss has not had the best of evenings. 

I am hoping this evening is not a foreshadowing of how our spring break is going to play out. 

I am hoping that the 6 times my sweet girl had needed to make use of that trash can is a direct result of something she ate and not because of a stomach virus. 

I am hoping that the other 5 children that are under the same roof this week will remain perfectly healthy.

I am hoping that the 7 adults that will be occupying space with said children will also stay healthy.

*sigh*

An evening that was entirely dedicated to planning a spur of the moment day trip to Branson has been completely undone by this unfortunate event.

*double sigh*

However, I am thankful for the many helping hands that are here to so willingly assist me during this unfortunate event. Seriously. I am so very grateful for all of them and their willingness to forego all that is clean and sanitary to help my little girl feel safe and comfortable during this time. 

So, as I lie here listening to the tick-tock sound of a clock, jumping up for the trash can at any and every movement my daughter makes and bemoaning the shattered opportunity to go to Branson...I will do my best to be content and thankful. 

Counting sheep is not, in any way, part of my current circumstance. So, I may as well count my blessings instead. Goodnight, y'all.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Reluctant Homesteader: The Great Debate

**My blog has been moved to chroniclesofakeeper.com**


Trying to decide on getting some chickens/and or goats? Here, let me help you out with your decsion.

 Why you SHOULD get yourself a sweet little brood of chickens and a couple of cute playful goats?
  • Because, they are just so darn cute! Seriously.
  • Watching a chicken chase after something is the funniest thing you might ever see. They run with their little heads down, bottoms up and their shoulders are in a stance that is akin to a big burly football player prepared for the big tackle. 
  • Having goats eat from your hand is such a fun experience for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Every day you get to kind of feel like you are on an episode of Little House on the Prairie. I always envied Laura. 
  • Instead of having magazines such as Fitness, Time, or People lying around your house, you, instead, have Hobby Farms and the Hoegger Supply catalog for your leisurely browsing material. 


  • Nothing better than farm fresh eggs.
  • Watching the antics of a goat is entertainment at its finest. 
Josie loves to stand on top of their little mini-house. 

  • While all the other kids are learning how to say "dog" and "cat" during Spanish class, your kids will want to learn how to say "chicken" and "goat".
  • When your rooster has had a frightening day, he will wait for you on your back porch and want you to carry him back to his chicken house.



Why you should NOT get yourself a sweet little brood of chickens and a couple of cute playful goats? 

  • Taking care of animals in the rain is not all that enjoyable. 
  • While learning about the artist Jim Davis during art time, your son will draw his own cartoon character (as instructed). It will be of a big funny chicken...with a rooster on top of her. He will then share it with the rest of the children in class and proceed to divulge more information about his drawing. "Roosters like to sit on top of chickens all the time. It is how they stay warm.". You will turn red and (because you are laughing uncontrollably) exit the room. 
  • Your chickens will all decide to flee the chicken yard at the most inopportune time (because you may or may not have remembered to close their gate). You will have to round all your chickens back up. This will, in turn, make you and children late to their Spanish class.
  • Your new life's nemesis will be a coyote. One that is dead set on destroying your little homestead way of life. In fact, because of this said nemesis...you will find yourself:
    • chasing after him in your pajamas like a crazy person trying to keep him away from your rooster
    • trying to "track him" after seeing him stalking the chicken area...causing you to be late to your morning ladies' Bible study
    • firing a shot off at him (and missing) while standing barefoot in the snow  
    • scaring your family half to death because you bolted out of bed to run outside at 3:45 in the morning due to his yapping and wailing outside your window as he was trying to get into your chicken coop
    • feeling a slight sense of accomplishment when (so far) your chicken/goat fence's new barbed wire accessory has seemed to deter him
Putting up the barbed wire...
So there you have it. I hope I have made your decision easy for you. Clearly, having chickens and goats is the way to go. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Well, Bless Your Heart

**My blog has been moved to chroniclesofakeeper.com**


When my sister and I were growing up I remember a time or two when I caused her some grief.  I particularly remember that when I would call her "cute" it would drive her crazy. She thought it was patronizing and I felt the need to establish that she was not only the younger sibling, but that she was young (as compared to me who was "so much more grown-up").  It was not enough that I would merely say "she looked cute", but I would, of course, always say it in my most irritatingly sweet "grown-up" voice that I could muster. Passive aggressiveness with a smattering of sweetness. Just plain annoying. 

Y'all know what I am talking about. I'm sure there has been a time when you have either been so annoyingly sticky sweet just to rub someone the wrong way or have had it done to you. Dig deep...I'm sure you will find that time.

All those moments of annoying my sister are coming back to bite me in the rear. 

"Bless your heart"...

Okay, random people at the grocery store, post office, feed store or just about anywhere my children and I are at. I know what you mean when you say it to me in that tone. Seriously, I do. 

I've narrowed it down. There are three kinds of people who like to "bless my heart".

1. There are the people who give me the most disgusted look they can come up with and spew the words "bless your heart" at me. I know they are not wanting to bless my heart. They are usually judging me for having three children ages 5 and under. Not only having these three children, but being out in public with them. It has been on the tip of my tongue to "bless their heart" right back.

2. Those who look at me with a look of despondency and "bless my heart". They usually are under the belief that I am a soul that is heavily burdened by my children. They are under the impression that I am obviously missing out on the more exciting things of life because of my kids. 

3. Then there are those rare few. The ones who have been down this road before. The mother whose children are grown but can remember how it can be a little bit of a hassle to grocery shop with three little ones...two which take up most of the cart space. They remember those times of struggle. But, when they "bless my heart"...they are doing it with encouragement in their words; A smile in their eyes. They know the reward far outweighs the struggle. These kind of people are more than welcome to bless my heart all day. 


Yes, I may look a little haggard at times while I am touting about three little ones...but don't let the bags under my eyes fool you. Instead, see the smile on my face as I hear the sweet cooing from my littlest one, hear the laughter from my mouth as I watch the joy and curiosity that is my daughter and see the softness in my eyes as I watch the thoughtfulness and compassion that is my oldest son. 

My quiver is full and my heart is very blessed because of it. 





 









Monday, March 9, 2015

What's Your Song?

**My blog has been moved to chroniclesofakeeper.com**


Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:11)

I have always loved listening to music. It has always been one of those things I felt connected with me. I love the stories in a song, the musical flow, the way some songs could just resonate within me. 

I am not just talking about serious songs. All kinds of songs - from serious, to happy, to sad...to whatever. Maybe I get it from my dad, who is also a lover of music or, maybe, it is my Latina roots that love the "feel of the rhythm". 

I remember while I was in college, I sooo loved the theme song from the Golden Girls. Because, for one, I loved watching the Golden Girls. One semester, in my junior year of college, it wasn't at all unusual for me to be 5 minutes late to one of my classes due to watching this show. Poor Dr. Devries...she was so patient with me and my tardiness. Secondly, It reminded me of my best friend. My college roommate and I became friends when I was 12 years old and we formed one of those crazy awesome lasting friendships. Every time I hear the song, I think of her. 

Of course, like anyone else, some songs just connect with me more. I still cannot explain why Boston's More Than a Feeling has always been a favorite of mine. Really, I have no explanation.

So, I am sure that no one would be surprised to know that the worship (through song) portion of a church service is one of my favorite parts of church. Naturally, we are all inclined to our own style, as am I. But, when I just focus on whom I am singing to and whom I singing about, I start to forget about my preferences and I focus on Him

One of my absolute favorite worship songs is Great I Am sung by Phillips, Craig and Dean. It is such a beautifully written and composed song. Whenever I hear it, I feel like I am standing in His presence and everything else around me is shut-out and...it is just Him.

Y'all, I can't even begin to tell you how excited my soul was yesterday when we sang this song at church. 

One of my favorite parts of the song is this line - "There is no power in hell or any who can stand before the power and the presence of the great I Am, The great I am, the great I Am." I am so thankful for the greatness and awesomeness that is my God. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:3)

Do you have a certain song that absolutely puts you into that place of worship? You know, that song that puts you in a place where it is just you and Him. What song is that?

 I hope you enjoy a special time of worship through song with Him that extends beyond your Sunday morning church service. I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. (Psalm 104:33) Challenge yourself to take some time during the week to spend focusing on Him through song. It truly is such a sweet and special time.




                                                                      

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Training Day

**My blog has been moved to chroniclesofakeeper.com**


You know when someone asks you to do something and at the time it sounds like a great idea and you enthusiastically agree to do it (mainly because it is always fun to do things with your friends.)...but then later, you may have feelings of regret. The OKC Memorial Marathon is 8 weeks away. I am kind of in that moment of regret.

Back in January, agreeing to run a 5K with my friends sounded fun and totally doable. Well, time has passed and I am now within an 8 week window to get my non-runner body in shape to run a 5K. The enthusiasm I felt in January has somewhat slipped away, being replaced with a feeling of dread. 

I have been putting off my "training" for weeks. Finally, a text from my friend (who is running with me) made me realize I needed to get with it...and fast. My C25K app needed to start this week. 

Before I went out for my run, I decided to give myself some motivation. I officially signed up for running the 5K. When registering, I was to select an account type. The only option they gave me was "Athlete". I tried to select something more along the lines of "novice"...but could not find that option. 




I did like the GPS the option they gave me when signing up...I almost considered it. You know, in case someone needs to find my body that is passed out somewhere along the city streets of OKC.






Okay, I'm officially signed up. I have no choice BUT to get out there and start running. I go to my C25K app to get started...and this. Not the time to be asking for my opinion on something I am really not wanting to have any part of at the moment. 



I began my warm-up. Okay, this isn't too bad. I'm still not happy...but I am feeling a little better about it. Then she (the app) tells me to run. Bless. Neither my lungs nor my body appreciated that demand. 

I think my rooster was scared. (Oh yeah, did I mention I have to run on my property??? I have 3 kids ages 5 and under...I have no where else to go run.) The only times my rooster has seen me run is when I am chasing a coyote...so he immediately went into panic mode. Poor Lucky. A good 12-15 minutes he crowed his feelings of worriment. 

I was trucking along pretty well, all considering. I was getting towards the end of my run when I was wishing I had a playlist to run to. I think it would make it more enjoyable if I had something to listen to besides the sound of my own labored breathing. 

I pulled my phone's playlists up...yeah, pretty sure I am not going to get my run on listening to Lil' Man's Classical Conversations playlist. I just didn't see it happening, even though I'm sure it would be awesome to run to songs about President Wilson, a timeline of the world, or to go over what the area of a square is. Not.

My next option was a playlist for Miss Priss...it was her Hidden in My Heart scripture lullabies. I love the songs, but they make me feel all relaxed. Again, not what I needed for my run. 

Then I had the one song I bought for myself. Lauren Daigle's How Can It Be...LOVE the song. Still not quite what I was looking for. 

Oh well..onward I went. Until finally, these sweet words...cooldown.



Then the sweetest words of them all...




Okay, I did it. It wasn't too bad. I can do it again. 




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