Thursday, May 31, 2012

Brave Beauty - Day 152

It is funny to me that since our daughters are so close in age (15 months apart) - they are both losing teeth at the same time! Granted, my oldest started first, but still, it seems like every week or so the tooth fairy has to work overtime! Because she got a head start, Katie is a lot braver about it. In fact, she has been doing the last several ones all on her own! She is always so proud of herself for accomplishing it herself! This one that she is holding is one that she had to have a crown put on at age 3...long story short, don't give your kids fruit leather (even 100% fruit) everyday after their nap. Turns out it is almost as bad for your teeth as candy! But we have learned, and although she chipped her two front adult teeth on a trampoline (another thing best to avoid it turns out!) - she has NO fillings in any of her permanent teeth! Makes me so happy! And so proud of my beautiful and quickly growing up daughter!

“Beauty is a radiance that originates from within and comes from inner security and strong character.”   Jane Seymour

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dreams of Driving - Day 151

I think it is pretty obvious - but I just adore my daughters! Last Sunday we were running some random errands, and my husband had one he went in on alone while the girls and I waited in the car. My youngest crawled up in to the front seat with me, put her hands on the wheel and said, "Actually...I think I COULD drive this thing!" - then turned and gave me this adorable smile. Thank goodness I had my phone in hand in time to snap this picture! I love it - but oh dear...look out world! Amy driving? Not sure if the world is ready for that. But I also realize that she will be 8 this year - and that happened in the blink of an I'm sure the arrival of driving lessons will. In the meantime - I plan to enjoy every minute of her childhood!

“She is my joy and heart’s delight.”    Rober Wever

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Treasuring every moment - Day 150

As we pack up our house in preparation for our move, and work on fixing it up so it looks as nice as possible, it is amazing for me to realize how fast the time has flown! There are certain things that if feels like we just did yesterday, and then we find a receipt, or read the date on the lid of a can of paint and realize it has already been 5 or 6 years - sometimes more! And I had no idea just how many pictures of our daughters we had up on the wall throughout the house...until we have been taking them down and putting them in boxes...many many boxes! Just a reminder to be grateful for each moment - they really do fly by faster than you realize...

“Welcome every morning with a smile. Look at the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail.”  Unknown

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sacrifice - Day 149

Today is Memorial Day - and the most poignant memorial to our armed forces I have ever been to was at Pearl Harbor when we went to Hawaii. This picture was taken on the Arizona Memorial - and I found myself overwhelmed with emotion for people I had never known who had given their lives for my country. I can only imagine how those who knew them must feel. So today - I am grateful for the sacrifice that so many before made, and so many are now making to defend and protect this land that I live. May I never take it for granted in any way...

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.”    Lee Greenwood

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Birthday cards from my kids - Day 148

Yesterday was my birthday - something that seems to happen every year whether we want it to or not! One thing that I have grown to love about my birthday, as my kids get older, is that they are more excited about it than I am! They count down the days (and remind me how old I am getting...) and can't wait to get up and wish me happy birthday. This year, they worked hard to make special cards for me, then hid them until yesterday morning so I wouldn't spot them! The morning started with my oldest daughter Katie (who is a morning person) coming downstairs singing the entire Happy Birthday song to me, and presenting me with her card. About a half hour later, my youngest daughter Amy (who is NOT a morning person) came stumbling downstairs looking rather disheveled - and cuddled up on my lap until she woke up more. Then she remembered what day it was, and ran to get her card for me to. The funny thing is? I think those cards are my most treasured birthday gift of all! 

 “Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.”    Pindar

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Apple Blossoms - Day 147

One more blossom I have to share! I know I have shared pictures of nearly every variety - but I truly think spring is my favorite season for this reason! Anyway - these apple blossoms are on one of our trees in our yard. The enjoyment of them is a little stranger this time, because I realize that we most likely will not be here when the fruit they are there to create is ready to eat. But I am thankful that they will be there nonetheless - and that someone will enjoy their sweetness!

“The apple blossom exists to create fruit; when that comes, the petal falls.”     Kabir

Friday, May 25, 2012

Yellow - Day 146

We never completely tilled our garden under last year, so my kale plant is still alive and well. In fact - I have never had my kale get taller than me and break out in yellow blooms like this year!!! Still - I love that happy, yellow, bright spot in the yard. There is something about the color yellow that just makes me happy - I think because it looks like sunshine, even on a rainy day!

“How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.”   Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beach Memories - Day 145

Today I realized it has only been 2 1/2 weeks since we arrived home from Hawaii...and I was amazed that in many ways that trip feels like it was ages ago! So many things have transpired since we got back that it was pushed aside so quickly. But at the same time, I know that no matter how much time may pass, and how many roads we may travel, we will always have those memories - just as we will have the memories of every other moment of our life as we live it. What a blessing!

“Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone.”   Unknown

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beauty Everywhere - Day 144

A book I remember reading recently talked about beauty - and pointed out all the ways that you could see how beauty is in every way part of our Heavenly Father's heart. His Creation alone shows it in so many ways. So the desire, even need, to be surrounded by some form of beauty is something not to be shoved down or ignored. Beauty is essential to our existence - and it can be found nearly anywhere. I am so grateful for all the different ways God has placed beauty in my life!

“Beauty is not caused. It is.”   Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blooming Unexpectedly - Day 143

See this soft and dainty little flower? I think it is quite delicate and beautiful, and it is from a plant I never would have expected - my chive plant! Now I do love chives, but they do have a, well, rather pungent odor, and they just look like a little cluster of grass. But out of something rather unremarkable, blooms something lovely. I want to do the same - no matter the circumstances...hard as it may seem. 

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”  Abraham Lincoln

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lilacs - Day 142

I say this about a lot of different flowers, but I really think that my favorite flower is the lilac. I just can't help loving the way they smell! And they are so pretty - it is like one big flower, that is made up of  hundreds of little tiny flowers. Amazing what can happen when something so small sticks together! Their only drawback, I've found, is they tend to harbor lots of tiny spiders...which makes me a little less fond of them when I bring them into the house!

 “Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.”   Virgil A. Kraft

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Strawberry Blossoms - Day 141

I love fresh fruits and vegetables, but I have to admit - I do have a special preference for fruits usually! As much as I love picking a carrot out of the garden, can that really compare to a fresh and ripe strawberry? This year, thanks to a kind friend, I have a bunch of little strawberry starts in my hanging baskets - and am delighted to see little blossoms springing up all over them! I am especially grateful that, unlike say an apple blossom, strawberry blossoms don't make you wait long after they blossom to enjoy their goodness. Not that the apple isn't worth the wait! But I'm glad the lowly strawberry does its work quickly! I can almost taste them already (or I might if my kids don't beat me to all of them!)

 “This special feeling toward s fruit, its glory and abundance, is I would say universal…We respond to strawberry fields or cherry orchards with a delight that a cabbage patch or even an elegant vegetable garden cannot provoke.”   Jane Grigson

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Smelling the flowers - Day 140

Sometimes it is so easy to get focused on the schedule, plans, and agenda that I forget what is truly important. Then something reminds me of how quickly life is passing, my kids are growing up, etc...and I realize that none of those things that seem so important really matter at all. Its my reminder to slow down and enjoy the path!

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”   Walter Hagan

Friday, May 18, 2012

Shelter from the Storm - Day 139

This wasn't really a "storm"...just a bit of drenching tropical rain - but with my fancy camera, I had no desire to stand out and soak it in while I was taking pictures of the waterfall that we had walked too! Fortunately - this tree was the perfect size to hide in and still be able to peak out and see around. And a few minutes later the rain stopped again, and we ventured out again. I am grateful for my Heavenly Father - and the shelter from ANY storm that I know I can find in Him...

“We need not join the mad rush to purchase an earthly fallout shelter. God is our eternal fallout shelter.”   Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wandering in Beauty - Day 138

Sometimes you just need to take some time to wander aimlessly - and soak up some of the beauty along the way. No schedule, not rush, no agenda, and no reason but absorbing the beauty of God's creation. I treasure those moments...

“Let’s find some beautiful place to get lost.”   Unknown

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The right environment to grow - Day 137

One of the most amazing things to me in Hawaii - was how BIG everything grew! Sometimes I felt as if something must have happened to make all of us shrink in comparison! But then I realized what the right conditions for growth can accomplish. This place was beautiful - but every 10 minutes or so it would rain for a couple minutes, then the sun would come back out. Rain and heat - sometimes two things that are easy to complain about - but look what they accomplish? 

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”   Albert Einstein

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Unknown Dreams - Day 136

As we walked along through the botanical garden in Hawaii, this little flower caught my eye. I somehow don't think that if it could have made plans for its life that it would have wished to fall off its tree and lay on the ground. And yet, it was so strikingly beautiful where it was! For whatever purpose, and in whatever circumstances, I want to shine in whatever place God directs me - even if it seems so different than what I would have planned...because I know that He knows best!

“Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.”   Unknown

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dophins - Day 135

I love dolphins. I think every little girl (or used to be little girl) must feel the same. While we were in Hawaii, we went to the Sea Life park there - and the dolphins were definitely the highlight of that day! We got to watch a fun show they put on with them - and the girls would have pretty gladly spent most of their time just hanging out by their pool. They just look like they are having so much fun! Who can resist that?

“Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?”    Unknown

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Being a mom - Day 134

Happy Mother's Day! I have to say that I have been incredibly blessed with my two daughters - I love them so much that it hurts! Being a mother is one of the equally most rewarding and difficult tasks I have ever undertaken - and yet I wouldn't trade it for anything! I don't think I really understood my own mother's love for me until I became a mom. And then there are those days when my kids do the things to me that I remember doing to my mom, and I feel the strongest urge to call and apologize to her 25 years late! Mostly the little annoyances! 

Anyway - I am so grateful today to be blessed enough to be a mom to my two sweet daughters - and also to be blessed with the gift of my own mother. I know that not a day goes by that she doesn't pray for me - and each of my siblings...and I plan to follow that example by praying the same way for own children! Love you Mom!!!

“Being a full time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs…since the payment is pure love.”   Mildred B. Vermont

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Courage - Day 133

This picture - and this place - will always speak courage to me. This is Hanauma Bay in Hawaii, and here I conquered, at least for a while, one of my fears. I have recently taken some swim lessons, but I wouldn't say I really know how to swim. I know in my head...but my body doesn't want to cooperate when my feet don't touch and fear takes over. Here however, with the help of my sweet sis-in-law (who swam with me and held my hand the whole way), I determined that it was worth it to conquer the fear - and oh the sweet rewards! I snorkeled and saw a whole different world under the water - and had the opportunity to swim with a TURTLE!!! If you look at the picture, it all happened smack dab in the middle of what you see. I still can't believe it...but I will remember that feeling for quite a while - that feeling that I had just conquered the world...and call it to mind when fear raises it head again...

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”   Ambrose Redmoon

Friday, May 11, 2012

The road ahead - Day 132

Something about this picture from Hawaii speaks to me on  very deep level. We took it from right beside the road, and it looks over a bit of ocean and beach, over to rolling meadows with sun and shadow playing over them, then directly into rugged and beautiful mountains. It feels like you can reach out and touch 3 different places! I kind of know that feeling right now, as uncertainty and change loom in my future. And yet I know that in God created all of these places - here in this picture, and everywhere else. And know matter where the road winds - I never have to let go of his hand! I'm so grateful...

“When the road ahead seems too long, look back to see how far you’ve come. For, even if the hill before you is steep, the view gives you hope to finish the journey.”   Daniella Kessler

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Change - Day 131

I don't like change...really never have. It is something that I tend to fight a bit all the time. And sometimes the very change I hate to begin with, once I adapt to it, is something I love. Even knowing that, I still struggle with it. Don't know why - but I tend to be sentimental and attached to the way things are. It is comfortable and familiar and safe. Nonetheless...I am desperately trying to look at each new adventure and change as a chance to take God's hand, close my eyes, and trust HIM with each step of the journey - and to realize that it is a journey. I don't have to get there in one leap - but one step at a time...

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but doing it.”    Greg Andersen

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tropical Sunsets - Day 130

Another one of my favorite parts of each day of our time in Hawaii was the sunsets. The condo we stayed in was west facing, so we got a wonderful view of the sunset each and every day. I loved to go sit on our lanai (balcony) and watch them. My husband snapped this picture of me sitting out there on our last evening - soaking up every last drop of our final sunset (not counting the one while we were at the airport waiting for our flight - that was a bit tough to enjoy!)

“It is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream.”    Bern Williams

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Plumeria - Day 129

One of my favorite smells in Hawaii were the plumeria flowers...I could always tell when we walked or drove past a tree loaded with blossoms! Such a sweet smell! And I never realized until going to Hawaii that they actually grow on a tree! For some reason I pictured more of a to learn something new!

“To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.”   Beverly Nichols

Monday, May 7, 2012

The waves - Day 128

Last night was our first night sleeping in our own beds since arriving home, and something was missing...besides the obvious that it was a lot colder, it was also quieter! I fell asleep and woke up every day in Hawaii listening to the surf pounding on the shore. And spent a large portion of the day listening to it. There is something mesmerizing watching the waves crash to shore, one right after the other. I could have sat and watched it forever...

“The sea, once it casts its spell holds one in its net of wonder forever.”   Jacques Cousteau

Sand in your toes - Day 127

I'm a day late getting this posted - but since we just arrived home yesterday from Hawaii, hopefully that is okay! Anyway - right here is one of my FAVORITE memories of Hawaii...and the thing I will miss the most. We stayed right on a nice quiet beach, and nearly every morning and evening, right around sunrise and sunset, we walked the beach. I can't explain it, but the feeling of sand between your toes, and the water washing over your feet was heavenly! 

“May your time be filled with relaxing sunsets, cool drinks and sand between your toes.”   Unknown

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Dishwasher - Day 126

I am definitely learning to appreciate the little things in life! My dishwasher is one of them. I grew up with my 2 brothers and 1 sister and no dishwasher. When people asked my mom if she had a dishwasher, she always said she had 4 - I don't know if we were as amused by that response as her! But when I got married, I had a dishwasher in our first house, and my husband taught me to use it. Now...I think I might rely on it too much - but I am sure thankful to have it!

“What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”   Unknown

Friday, May 4, 2012

Floating on the Wind - Day 125

Dandelion seeds fascinate me - they are so light and fluffy - and do their job so well! And when they are blown to the wind, there is no telling where they may wind up - wherever the wind carries them...

“A dandelion seed can float for miles until it finds its home, and once it takes root it evolves into a beautiful blanket of gold, but for now only the wind knows where it is heading.”   Unknown

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spring Chickens - Day 124

I think baby chicks are one of the cutest things in the world! They look so serious, small, and helpless all at the same time! My sister-in-law also loves them...she currently has nearly 50 chickens, counting all the baby chicks they got this year! This is one of them! The only thing I find a bit sad, is that they only stay this cute and little for a very short time...not that they don't have a different cuteness when they are full grown, but it just isn't the same! Just like kids, they grow up far to quickly!

“Life is much shorter than I imagined it to be.”   Abraham Cahan

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sweet Nieces - Day 123

I treasure in so many ways the experience of being an Aunt. When I was growing up, I had no aunts or uncles, and just one cousin. We didn't exactly grow up together, so it has been such a new experience watching my daughters have SOOO many cousins, and experiencing the joy of being an Auntie! I love it - and think I have some of the sweetest and best nieces and nephews! These are my brother's 3 daughters - I just LOVE them to pieces!!!

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”   Helen Keller

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Flowers - Day 122

It is so nice after going through the month of April, the days getting slowly warmer and more promising, to have May arrive and realize that spring really and truly has arrived! There have been a couple of strange years where we had a bit of snow come down in May - but fortunately that is rare, and I think should just be outlawed so we don't have to worry about it anymore!

“April is a promise that May is bound to keep.”   Hal Borland