Friday, June 29, 2012

july inspired scripture art freebie

Ok..another gift!

It looks familiar, but this time with scripture.
The best quality will be from this link.  Go to file on the left hand side of the screen.  Download it to your computer and then print!  It's centered to fit an 8x10 frame, but will print out on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper.

I love how Galations 5:13 can relate our celebration of Independence Day to
our calling to honor our freedom in Christ by loving and serving others.

Enjoy and Happy almost July!
And check back in next week for more surprises inspired by
xoxo -Jackie

Thursday, June 28, 2012

4th of july

I have always loved this holiday.
The tradition, the celebration of independence.
The kick off of summer with hot dogs and watermelon and lots of red, white, and blue.

But I also love it because it's the day before my birthday.
And as a child my parents told me the fireworks were to celebrate me too.

And so the 4th of July has always been filled with anticipation.
It feels like a New Year's Eve of sorts for me.
A chance to evaluate the year and set goals for the one ahead.

And this year I was so inspired by this blog post and this movement to join in on the Birthday Project.

So I will be doing 40 acts of kindness in honor of my birthday.

I thought it would be an awesome way to share with my kids how much more fun it is to give than receive.  And I thought it would be a memorable way to ring in this new decade.

I'm going to be realistic and am listening to the advice of loved ones to not try to do this all in one day.  But this weekend I'll be prepping things to begin our acts of kindness next Monday through Thursday.

And celebrating with me, friends and family will be doing an act of kindness in honor of my birthday.  If you'd like to join in too...feel free.  The more the merrier.  If you happen to get a picture of the act send it to me at and I'll include you in an upcoming post sharing all the kindness.

But  today I'm sneaking in an act of kindness early for you.
It's a July desktop wallpaper.  With a girl reminiscent of the childhood me doing something I always loved, playing with sparklers.

You can click on the picture and then right click to save it as your desktop picture.  But if that doesn't work, you can also download it by this link on google docs.

If you don't know how to save it from there, go to FILE (it's on the top left hand side of the screen) and then click download.  Save it on your desktop.  Some computers will then allow you to right click to save as your wallpaper.  If not go to your system preferences, then click the icon for desktop/screensaver and select the image.  Then it should appear as your wallpaper.

Feel free to send friends over to download it also.

Happy almost July!
You can expect more surprises here next week too!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

the light

of the morning is always so inspiring to me.
So new, full of promise.  So quiet and so reflective.
Sometimes, this light that streams in my dining room is stronger.
More vibrant.  This morning it reminded me of other mornings where the Lord used it very specifically to bring me hope.  Just when I needed it.
And I suspect, my eye being drawn to it this morning, was no exception.

Just yesterday my five year old, after vacation bible school announced
that God speaks to people.  It opened up the conversation about how God is always talking to all of us.
IF we just have eyes and ears to hear.

How a beautiful bird, or fluttering butterfly, or the glorious layers of colors on the mountains, and shades of light are God's artwork showing us he loves us.
And sometimes God uses those things to speak to our heart just when we need to feel His love.

So this morning I rise early, unable to sleep after my seven year old has finally gone back to bed after waking me in the wee hours.

She has hit another wall with her learning.
And with that comes tears and stress and waking in the night.
And this morning light, well it reminds me of this...

"weeping may last through the night, 
but joy comes in the morning."
Psalm 30:5

I completely know this isn't the heaviest of trials.  With her dyslexia and other learning challenges,
I just so badly want her to cross through this challenge and find some success.
To know that she can do it so that she can believe in herself.

Yesterday was a rough one for her.

And I am reminded how very much these little ones in our care, how we
are teaching them always.  And every challenge is a chance to breathe life
into them that it's ok to stumble.  We all do.  But it's the trying again that
matters.  And that mom and dad and God are all here.  She's not alone.

And I remind her of how she was afraid to dive in the pool.
She thought she couldn't do it, but then she did.

Or how riding a bike is hard at first, but then all of a sudden you can do it.

It's the same way.  This is hard right now, but practicing it.  Little by little
one day it will be easier.

"Remember Dory in Nemo?" I tell her.  Remember how she said, "Just keep swimming?"
Don't you think all those fish trying to swim free from the net found it really hard.
But they had to tell themselves to just keep swimming until they could break free.
"I know you're working so hard.  And I'm so proud of you.  I want you to think of those fish when it gets hard, and just keep trying.
Soon you will break free."

Right now she's wanting to shut down.  She's filled with "I can't" thoughts that bring lots of emotion.
But I know that the Lord is walking with her and He will let her break through to the other side of reading success.

I look forward to seeing that moment.  I'm praying for it for her.  And I'm confident in the midst of these struggles that the Lord is using them for her, for me as a mom.  To strengthen both of us and in the mean time I'm patiently waiting, knowing that when the growth springs forth, how beautiful that day will be.

"And (s)he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds; 
as the tender grass springing out of the earth 
by clear shining after rain."
2 Samuel 23:4

July is a special month for me.  It's my birthday!  And with that I have a couple of fun things to share, including a freebie.
So check back in with me.
I'll be sharing soon.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

a family affair

We did it.
Yesterday was spent tilling and digging and planting.
And working together.
Being silly.
And getting quite a work out.
So we're total newbies at starting from seed.
Most of what we planted you can't yet see.
We'll track our progress here.
To see if our lettuce and spinach and peas and carrots and peppers and cucumbers 
and pumpkins and watermelon and corn and squash etc. etc. etc.
will sprout up and show us their pretty leaves.
No idea if this will really work.
Especially since we're kind of late in the season.
But we're excited to find out.
And even if they don't, the working together part
is totally worth it.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Happy Friday everyone.
Happy beginning of the weekend.
This sight, though not captured super well, was what I saw out my kitchen window as the sun was setting one night.
It took my breath away.

This bright, golden, streaking cross.
Calling out to me.  Reminding me that He is here.
He is always here.  Jesus sees me in the every day, in the struggles, in my doubts.

I've been deep in thought on so many things.  It often feels like too much to explain and so I've been kind of quiet here.

I've been contemplating where I am and where I'm heading.
I haven't mentioned this yet..but in just about two weeks I'll be turning 40.
And it suddenly has made me very introspective about a lot.
Perhaps soon I'll unfold it all here.
I can be so very introspective and sentimental.  I thought I felt strong about this birthday.
But suddenly I was hit by this wave of sadness over how fast the last decade has gone and how I guess it sort of felt like it would always be here.  And then I wonder will this next decade be just as fast.  A friend of mine about to turn 50 said it goes even faster.  Why, oh why does the time speed up as we age?

I wonder if homeschooling will slow me down or cause the pace to feel more pressured.  I'm praying it's the former.  But sometimes I fear it's the latter.  I have lots of unknowns of how it will all go, how I'll handle it all, balance it all.  Oh that unreachable 'balance it all' place.  Perhaps it's more about the letting go of balancing anything.

I do feel the Lord guiding my steps and so I'm faithfully trying to not over think.  I'm practicing just being where I am today.

I've also been feeling an increase in fatigue and joint pain that can come with the heat for lupus patients.  Sometimes I like to be in denial that I have it anymore.  Especially when I feel good for awhile.  But it seems all the go-go-go of our schedule at the end of the school year must have also taken a toll.  So I'm falling asleep early a lot at night..which means not a lot of posts and not a lot of creating.

But my mind and soul are itching to put pen to paper.  In my head I've drawn and painted and dreamed up much. But in my mind they remain for now.

I turn the energy I have over to making this a fun summer for my kids, with lots of swimming and entertaining friends.  Tonight we surprised them and took them to see Brave.

This next week they have vacation bible school and I'll have a rare three hours each day where they're all in the same place at the same time and the house will be quiet.

I'm praying for renewed energy and I pray this finds you all well too!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

life keeps moving

Remember me.  For those of you still checking in...I apologize for the extended absence.
I left you with my last post on Mothers day.  And this is what my treat was later that day.
An afternoon at the spa with my oldest friend.  Girl time, alone time, and pampering time.  
Just what I needed.

Life has been moving at a break neck pace for me around here.
But today, today is the first day in as long as I can remember that I don't have anything planned
and no obligations.

So I've taken the time to try to upload the ginormous amount of pictures to tell the stories of the reasons for my absence.  
Spring ball ended..and we hosted the party for the boys.  I can't take credit for this adorable idea, another mom did it.  But had to share it with you.
Tournament baseball season started.  Kicking off Memorial Day weekend with a slew of games against other area teams.
We celebrated Daddy's birthday.  (Yes, he likes making crazy faces for pictures, as does his mom, as does our youngest daughter.  I think it must be genetic)
That night he and I got to go to the Dodger game for a date night celebration.
The fourth grade moms put on and set up the decorations for the 5th grade graduation.
I forgot to photograph the inside, but this was the outside desert table, with a 'smart cookie' theme.
The idea came courtesy of pinterest of course.
And I've been doing lots of research into these...
and raising these....
You see I jokingly told my husband all I wanted for Mothers day was chickens.
And my husband said ok.
And that started the building of this.
That is now coming together to look like this...
I'm loving the gray yellow combo and knew I had to use it for this!

These pictures reflect more hours than I even know
in research and decision making and planning
and running to the store to buy paint etc.
We have a builder helping us because my husband
has been traveling with work.
But I have been very much like a job foreman
answering questions, overseeing and picking things up.
That flap that is down is showing
how we'll access the eggs without disturbing the chickens.
Beneath it will be drawers to keep food and supplies.
And we're taking extra precautions to make everything
completely secure from other animals.

There will be an enclosed run soon, so that they can happily play around.
It's one sweet chicken pad don't you think?
They say happy chickens produce more eggs.
Hoping they'll be very happy.

And just in case it doesn't work out, 
our back up plan is it'll be a great playhouse for the girls.

Soon I'll be painting the shutters black and we'll add a window box for flowers.  
I did a mock trial on photoshop.  And I really like what it adds.  
Truly, I know, it's just a chicken coop.
But it has been a really fun project. 
And the girls already have them named.
Charlotte, Lily, and Hannah. 
Can't wait to meet them!
Life has this funny way of twisting and turning 
and suddenly you're traveling down a path you never imagined.
But it's fun enjoying the ride.

The coop came as an addition to this that has been in the making for far too long.
It's for our very own vegetable garden.  We're trying to really 
maximize the land we have and become more self sustaining.
I love this youtube video from the urban homestead by the way.

We're waiting to completely enclose it with a metal mesh
to keep all the animals out.  Even though we live in the city,
we live in the hills where we have raccoons, opossums, deer,
coyotes and of course rats and squirrels.  I don't want to go through all that work
just to have the critters eat everything.  But the mesh was on backorder.
So I'm afraid our garden will be getting a rather late start.
At least we'll have pumpkins and squash for the fall.

And on to our other adventures.
Ava is still in her Lindamood Bell program.
It will last through July most likely.  We're going at her pace.
Jackson's school finished on May 31st.
Audrey graduated from preschool this past Thursday.
(and she wouldn't smile normally for a single picture)
My baby, my last preschooler, done.
This season ending really hit me hard.
My husband was out of town.
I was pms'ing.
And I was just plain feeling sad.
Sad that this part of our lives of having a preschooler is over.
I really love this age.
My husband's answer was,
"You could just have another baby."
Oy vey.
My plate is so insanely full.  
And that is my husband being a very practical guy.
Simple problem, simple solution.  

OH and I almost you see my boy's hair???
He decided he wanted to try it short.  The only other time
it has been this short he was 2 years old and it was his very first haircut.
He already says he wants to grow it out.
It's cute, but surprisingly more work because it likes to stick straight up. :)
Here's the before & after...

The last day of school for the preschool is always a beach day.
This is our eighth and final year.
Jackson's first, Ava was a teeny baby not even crawling.
Some years I would hire a babysitter to have one on one time with just that child.
But this year having all the kids off was really nice.
The girls played.
And Jackson, well Jackson did what boys do.
Crazy flips in the sand.
And discovering strange living things washed up on shore.
I'm still trying to figure out what this thing is.  It gave off a magenta red ink,
it looked like a big heart moving as though it was breathing, but
it had little tentacles that would pop out.
Anyone know?
He put it back in the ocean after observing it for awhile.
(*update - found it.  It's the Californian black sea hare, Aplysia californica.  A typical sea hare that
releases a purple ink when disturbed.)
And here Miss Audrey is with one of her favorite friends this year.
I love the tradition of kicking off summer with a beach day.

And we've resurrected an old tradition that had fallen away a bit.
Family hike day.
With time for nature study and story time.
He preferred to carve a spear.
And then she, to fly with the butterflies.
Love this freedom.
And they've been counting down to our next hike day.
Which will be tomorrow.
Whew...that was a lot to catch up on.
Hope I didn't bore you to death.