Changes Afoot

What is your new year looking like so far? I’ve been reviewing 2017 today, and preparing to finalize my goals for 2018.

For me, this year is shaping up to be quite a bit different than my past three years, since we’re going to be moving. We have moved before in January, but never this distance! And the school term officially starts in early February, which makes things different again.

Changes 01

I’m excited about this new year. I’m excited to think about all the different things I’ll be learning along the way. But, if I were to be completely honest, I’m a little scared too.

I’ll be changing jobs. I’ve had the same job for over three years now, so it looks big to be going into something new—but it’s very exciting, too.

I’ll be working for a family, one that I feel like I’ve gotten to know fairly well over the past year. And I love the children. They are your typical adorable, sometimes annoying, lovable bunch, and I’m looking forward to getting to know them better, and helping them out with different things.

Changes 02

At this point, I’m still not really clear on what, exactly, I’ll be doing for them—very likely cleaning (which I enjoy doing! shocker, isn’t it?), as well as perhaps some meal help and things like that.

One thing that has really been making things interesting, though, is that their ninth baby is due soon. And since I’d like to be there over the time the baby is born, so I can get to know family routines before the baby comes, and then help out afterward for a while, I’m planning on moving 1 1/2 to 2 weeks earlier than the rest of my family. All going well, of course.

So right now, I’m thinking about everything I need to get done in the next threeish weeks before I move, trying to get the most important stuff completed first. I’ve got some sewing to do, a little sorting and some packing, and a few online bits and pieces to wrap up.

Changes 03

For now, while I ponder the move, my goals for 2018, and my new job, I’ve got the door open to the beautifully warm, overcast day outside. There’s a sewing project sitting on the ironing board, and papers scattered across my desk. Life is good!

“Blessed be the Lord: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city. . . . Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” —Psalm 31:21, 24

What are you working on right now? Do you have any big changes coming up in your near future?

Old Word, New Word: Hope and Rejoice

Well, I wrote a blog post yesterday, and assumed it had saved (because WordPress always saves what you write, right?). No. Obviously it was too long or something.

How did your 2017 go? Mine went by in a flash, and I’m still trying to figure out what happened the last two months! In many ways, it felt like a rebuilding year for me—recovering from several difficult happenings, and going on to deeper depths with the Lord.

Old Word, New Word: Hope and Rejoice 01

Near the beginning of last year, I wrote a blog post about my word for the year. “Hope” was—and still is!—something I had much to learn about, but that was the main thing I wanted to remember throughout 2017. There is hope. Whether I can see it or not, it’s there, and sometimes simply clinging to the promise of hope was all I could do in certain months.

But God was faithful through it all, just as He always is. I’m so thankful!

There are several key things I remember from my year of hope—of rebuilding.

  • The wonderful youth conference I attended in Dec. 2016. For the first time in months, I was able to reconnect with the Lord (I’m SO thankful for that!)—and, as a result, many of the things I learned then are things I’m still pondering and applying to my life.
  • In February and March 2017, I learned a lot about prayer, and how it works in real life. I’m so thankful for all the Lord taught me during that time! It gave me strength and sustenance in the following months.
  • A family trip to the States in June and July was so encouraging and wonderful. We were able to reconnect with old and new friends, and for me, it was a great time of encouragement and some healing from the previous year’s events, including my brother’s death.
  • What I had learned about prayer in February came into play quite a bit in August through October. I had several major things to work through in those months, and prayer was the main thing that sustained me through that time. One-year anniversaries of traumatic events are, quite simply, tough. But God sustains us through them, for which I am ever so thankful! This was probably the time when I saw my word “hope” come into play the most—because that was all I had to cling to. And hope in Christ was more than enough to bring me through. Because He IS enough.

“So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” —Hebrews 13:6

  • Throughout the last half of the year, we knew we had to move out of the place we’re renting, but had no clue where we were going. Again, hope came into play, as the only thing we really had to pray then was, “okay, Lord, we know You’ve got somewhere for us to go to—please reveal it in Your time!” And it seems like He has (but that’s another story for another day!).

Over and over again throughout this past year, I saw specific ways where the Lord reminded me of my word for the year, giving it to me in moments where I’d normally be really struggling over uncertainties in my life. He was so good. If I sat down and listed each time, I’d probably fill books! 🙂

It wasn’t an easy year, in many ways. Often, I found myself struggling in the valley, wondering if I’d ever see beyond the tears and current storm—or if it would just last the rest of my life. But He has brought us through, and although I’m positive 2018 will probably have its own unique struggles in it, I am also confident that none of them will be any bigger than our God.

Old Word, New Word: Hope and Rejoice 02

“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” —Hosea 2:15 (emphasis mine)

Despite the valleys I went through last year, and the ones that will probably come next year, I’m going to continue claiming hope over them. The Lord our helper is with us (see Hebrews 13:6 above).

Twenty-eighteen is already nearly two days old according to my calendar, and as I’ve been pondering what my word for this year should be, I keep coming back to a theme: Rejoice. Give thanks. Be joyful. Since I appreciate action words (it’s been good to tell myself to “hope in the Lord” this past year!), I’ve decided this will be my theme for the new year.

No matter what comes next year—and I’m sure there will be plenty of joyful moments as well as painful ones!—I want to remember to rejoice. Because God is good.

What is your word for the new year? Or, if you don’t do “words”, what’s one thing you’re hoping to remember as a guiding line for the coming year?

Christmas and Life Update

I’ve planned on stopping in many different times to do just a quick blog post, but each time, the thoughts just didn’t come together.

So here I am today, with a few spare minutes so at least I can say hello!

My time lately has flown by, often crazy busy but in other moments slow and wonderful, too—all wrapped up into one beautiful package called “life”.

Christmas and Life Update 01

I’ve had my busy moments.

I’ve been working on a variety of projects lately—getting some sewing completed, starting some more sewing, in between swapping stories with my brothers and working at my away-from-home job quite a few different days.

Christmas and Life Update 02

Besides some of my own projects, part of my time and brain space has been taken up in trying to understand how buying homes in New Zealand works, and what one needs to do or have to buy a place.

Beyond that, there are endless questions about how to organize a cross-country move (thankfully it’s only four hours away, but still…!), and all the technical little details about how we’re going to get ourselves and our stuff over there in good time—and still somehow leave this house in decent (i.e. mostly clean and tidy) condition.

Christmas and Life Update 03

It’s an intense time. But it’s wonderful. I’m thankful I only have to do one day at once, and that the amount of stuff to think about for just today is all I really need to worry about for now.

I’ve also been away from home quite a bit these last few weeks, so that adds more socializing (yay!) and also another level of busyness.

But it’s also been slow…

As much as life has been full-on, though, there have been times that it’s been amazingly slow and I had time to just enjoy the moments.

When I was on a trip over to the West Coast to pick up my brother, I distinctly remember several times where I was able to just sit and soak in the gorgeous scenery flowing past. I also read quite a bit, and finished a book on that trip.

Christmas and Life Update 04

Another afternoon, I had time to sit down with a cup of coffee and read a magazine for a while.

Over Christmas, my brothers and I played lots of different games. That was relaxing, and a great way to bond. It was beautiful.

Christmas Day, our family went out to the beach for lunch, and had a delightful time. The boys loved swimming in the sea, and I greatly enjoyed watching them and having some quiet time to enjoy nature and think.

Also over Christmas, our family did a little celebration of Hanukkah. I remembered the second-to-last day of the holiday, but we started then and lit one candle per night for it. But still, it was a time to reflect on the story from thousands of years ago, and for me, it’s always fun and relaxing to have candles burning in the window after dark.

Christmas and Life Update 05

Otherwise,

I’ve been working on my plans for the new year. Due to moving, and lots of anticipated life craziness over the next few months, I’m (working on) keeping things down to more of the basics. They still aren’t all finalized, but I’m hoping to take more time for that on New Year’s day.

Despite everything that needs to happen in the next 3 – 3 1/2 weeks before I move over to the West Coast, I’m still feeling very relaxed about how things are going. God is good!

Oh—and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and will have a blessed new year!

How is life treating you right now?

When Christmas Plans Go Awry (Christmas Embers Review + Blog Tour)

After sitting down to write this blog post, I turned on my writing music playlist and the first song that came up was Take My Life and Let it Be by David Nevue. And somehow, in a strange, yet wonderful way, it feels fitting.

Right now, whether I like it or not, I’m going through a season where each day I have to choose to follow and trust the Lord in the direction He’s leading. It’s tough. So, so tough. In some ways, I’m starting to freak out a bit about a few (big) things that need to happen in the next four weeks…and yet I still have no idea when they’re going to happen! But each day I just have to lay it down and say, “in Your time, Lord. You’ll reveal all in Your time.”

In some ways, it feels like our Christmas plans have gone awry. I never thought we’d have to move so soon in the new year, but that’s what it’s currently looking like. And with the Lord, it’ll be okay. I know it will.

“…ever, always, all for thee…”

Christmas Embers Tour Banner

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links help support this site—thank you!

Last year, I was part of Chautona Havig’s launch team, and followed along with the progress of her 2016 Christmas novel as she wrote it. She said it was the hardest writing project she’d ever had—and I believed her, especially when I had the chance later to read the book.

And today, I’ve got the privilege of participating in a blog tour for this book!

Wow. Christmas Embers is an incredible story. Heart-wrenchingly terrible, and yet so true and in the end somewhat—can I say it?—almost beautiful.

About the book:

Christmas Embers by Chautona HavigBook Synopsis: It’s a truth universally unacknowledged that sin will hunt you down and advertise its presence the moment you try to hide it.

Emily Byrne sits in her daughter’s classroom listening to the deepest wishes of twenty kindergarteners as she sketches them. But when little Joey Cordell breaks down, weeping and insisting the only thing he wants to find is his father, she isn’t sure where her Christmas project will take her.

Davia Cordell came to Rockland for one purpose—find her son’s father before she dies. An ex-prostitute, she’s well aware that the news will cause waves, but what’s a mother to do?

As these women join forces to search for Joey’s father—a Rockland area pastor, no less— Emily learns compassion for a woman who just wants the best for her son and can’t quite imagine that Jesus wants anything to do with her.

Each day, Davia weakens until Emily isn’t confident she’ll find the boy’s father in time—if at all. Doubts form. Should she look? Is it right to risk destroying a family like this—an entire church? The weight of that responsibility crushes her as Davia wastes away before her eyes.

A mother’s love. A boy’s confidence. A family’s faith. A preacher’s failure. Is redemption even possible anymore?

Christmas Embers: a story of love, failure, and redemption.

My review:

Emily has undertaken an interesting project as a feature for her blog for Christmas: Interviewing children in her daughter’s class at school, and asking them what they’d like most of all to receive for Christmas. However, she isn’t prepared for the result when Joey says that out of all the things he could choose, he hopes his dad will come to live with them, so he can get to know him.

But does Emily really want to know the answer to Joey’s question?

When Joey’s mom is on her deathbed, will Emily be able to find her answer in time—or at least figure out how to temporarily help provide for this little boy?

Christmas Embers Quote

This book is such a tough story. Adultery in any form is just awful, and Ms. Havig does an excellent job bringing it out. She doesn’t mince facts, although despite the subject matter, I am impressed at the level of cleanliness in this book—things aren’t washed over, but they aren’t necessarily in your face, either. This isn’t your typical Christmas story, but it beautifully illustrates the reason why Jesus came. And SPOILER ALERT! the ending is absolutely wonderful. It isn’t perfect—no good story usually is—but it’s very well done. END SPOILER ALERT!

In all, I’m thankful to have had the chance to read this. It’s one of those superb books that you never really forget, because it’s so good. It’s tough going in some ways. But it also contains an extremely pertinent message in today’s day and age. And the children in here? Adorable!

I haven’t faced anything nearly the same as what the characters in this book had to work through. But even if Christmas isn’t the happiest holiday for one reason or another, remember: God’s still there. He’s still in control. And He still loves you, wherever you are.

Buy your copy here.

Chautona Havig ProfileAbout the author:

Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment.

Christmas Embers - TruthGiveaway!

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize of a 6 month Kindle Unlimited Subscription!!

Click here to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Other blog stops:

Carpe Diem, December 5

A Baker’s Perspective, December 5

Mary Hake, December 5

Moments Dipped in Ink, December 6

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 6

Daysong Reflections, December 6

Fiction Aficionado, December 7

A Simply Enchanted Life, December 7

Genesis 5020, December 7

Blogging With Carol, December 8

The Power of Words, December 8

Bigreadersite, December 8

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 9

A Greater Yes, December 9

Radiant Light, December 9

Just Jo’Anne, December 10

For The Love of Books, December 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 10

Aryn the Libraryan, December 11

A Reader’s Brain, December 11

The Fizzy Pop Collection, December 12

Books, Books, and More Books., December 12

Quiet Quilter, December 13

Seasons of Opportunities, December 13

Christian Book Devourer, December 13

Allofakindmom, December 14

Texas Book-aholic, December 14

Pursuing Stacie, December 14

Pause for Tales, December 15

Reader’s cozy corner, December 15

margaret kazmierczak, December 15

Red Headed Book Lady, December 16

Purposeful Learning, December 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 16

Janices book reviews, December 17

Christian Bookaholic, December 17

Karen Sue Hadley, December 18

Remembrancy, December 18

Blossoms and Blessings, December 18

Let’s discuss: Have you ever read a book before that exposed sin for what it is? What was the latest novel you’ve read that challenged you deeply on a physical or spiritual level?

NaNo 2017 Recap and Life Update

Some days, I dream I’ll be able to become the kind of blogger that takes just fifteen minutes or so to slap a post together and get it posted. I often enjoy that type of blog, because I often feel like I get to know the author better that way somehow—but I haven’t tended to be a good blogger over the last while. Sigh.

HOWEVER, now that NaNoWriMo is officially eight days over, I feel like my brain is starting to return! Hurray!

NaNo was so fun to do this year. After I won in 2013, I really wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to participate again, because I anticipated life getting busier (maybe I was planning on getting married at sixteen; who knows? I can’t remember!). Anyway, even though I did no prep whatsoever for NaNo this year (a BIG no-no in my book!), I was thrilled to be able to participate.

Beach Outing

And even better, I somehow finished. Don’t ask me how that happened; but it did, and I’m thankful!

Since winning NaNo, I’ve focused on a bunch of different things, but the most exciting has been working on the website redesign. Due to several Black Friday sales shared by a blogger I follow, I was able to both purchase the themes I needed to start the redesign, as well as buy website hosting! That was thoroughly exciting, after waiting several months for enough funds to become available.

And, of course, it’s always thrilling to be playing with code and website colors, fonts, and designs again. That’s one part of blogging that I thoroughly enjoy, so it makes my little heart happy to be able to work on it again.

NaNo 2017 Winner Badge

However, life isn’t all fun and games—today, for example, I need to get some book reviews uploaded to the LRD website. I stopped uploading through the month of November, partly due to the lack of available reviews, and partly due to my (ahem) writing at the time. Near the beginning of the month, I decided getting into creative writing would trump working on reviews for the time being. But now that we are into December, it’s high time to tackle that project again.

Then, when that’s done, maybe I can start working on the complex problem with category presentation on the redesign, or perhaps get started on a sewing project I’ve been gazing longingly at for the past week or so.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to dream up a way to get blog posts written and posted easier. Because I do love blogging; I just tend to get to feeling a little stifled at times by the things I “must” do before I can get a post up.

What have you been working on lately?

What Happens When an Author has a Large Family?

…she writes a story about them!

I’ve participated in several launches for Sarah Holman’s books in the past, but I’m thrilled to be able to help promote this book this time. I’ve always enjoyed what she wrote, but (just between you and me!) it’s gotten even better in the last year or so as she’s gotten a professional editor to go over her books as well.

LaughterBlogTour

I’ve followed this story from almost its inception when she first started planning and writing it. It’s completely different from anything she has put out before, since it is non-fiction, but it’s also a beautiful snapshot of a lovely family.

Note: Some links in this post may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links does not cost you anything extra, but helps keep this blog going.

There Was Always Laughter in Our House by Sarah Holman

Description

What do you get when you mix two parents who grew up in the city, six kids who have always lived in the country, and add homeschooling? You get a whole lot of laughter!

Homeschool graduate and author Sarah Holman shares stories about her family that range from thought-provoking to side-splitting. She shares both hilarious mistakes and heartbreaking moments in her family. In this collection of stories, she endeavors capture some of the answers to the questions people have often asked her about growing up in a conservative homeschool family as well as some of the wisdom she has gleaned along the way. Sarah invites you to open up this scrapbook of memories. She hopes that you come away encouraged, inspired…and laughing.

LaughterQ3

My review

Well, today I’m supposed to be participating in the blog tour for There Was Always Laughter in Our House, but I realized yesterday that I had barely read past a quarter of the story! (I’m choosing to blame NaNo for this.)

Full of a mixture of funny and somewhat challenging instances where plans went awry or the family worked together on unit studies (and many, many other stories!), There Was Always Laughter isn’t your typical biography. I’d classify it more as something of a memoir, but it isn’t organized the way you’d normally expect one to be written. It’s somewhat of a random jumble of different odd facts and tales about Sarah Holman’s family, and even though the chapters might not have one continuous thread of “we did this, and then we did that, and then when we were a bit older we did such-and-so”, it’s an engaging read and one that I’m thoroughly enjoying.

I love the little glimpses into Sarah and her sisters’ relationships. They work at fighting evil together, they play together, they drive their brother batty and he makes them go crazy. It’s real life, and she’s got a lot of things spot-on in here.

Such as:

“My brother was a very manly man, even when he was small. He would rather dig in the dirt than play with his sisters. Every stick became a sword, gun, or club.”

(That’s my brothers, summed up perfectly in three sentences. I love it!)

Or:

“One of the issues with Christian homeschoolers is that the Bible is a book that the child becomes so familiar with early. It often leaves them feeling bored in most Sunday schools and even church services. […] Boredom breeds a large amount of misbehavior and annoying conduct. The best way to rout it out? Do what my parents did, and what Mr. and Mrs. Kline did. They didn’t punish me, they challenged me. ‘You already know that? Great, then try learning this.’

(I’ve found this very true in my own life—and Sarah finally put it into words for me! Yes, thank you, Miss Holman!)

Okay, I won’t bore you with more quotes, but I did think those two, especially the last one, was worth a little pondering. In all, I’m loving this story, and can’t wait to get back to reading.

Preorder your copy now for $2.99—price will be going up after launch day, which is next Friday, the 24th! (Paperback should be available in time for the launch as well).

LaughterQ4

Sarah HolmanAbout the Author:

Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined. You can find out more about her at her website www.thedestinyofone.com.


Free book!

Father Forgive (free)

Father, Forgive Them, an Easter story, is free right now! Claim your copy here, or click the image above.

Blog tour stops

November 16
Reachel — What stories are you going to include, Sarah?
Grace Pennington — An interview
Esther Filbrun — A review
Tarissa Graves — A review

November 17
Leona Ruth — A review
Chloe — A review

November 18
Kaylee — A review
Alexa – A Thanksgiving Story

November 19
Liv K. Fisher — Short Girl Jokes
Kelsey Bryant — A review

Little Things and NaNo Update

Early this morning, I remembered that today marked a year exactly since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that disrupted our lives and the lives of thousands of people here in New Zealand. Wow. Amazing how many changes can be made in a year, and how two minutes at midnight has created challenges for people to this day. One main road still hasn’t been opened yet as a result (although the current hope is that they will be able to open it within a month).

So much in such a little time.

Little Things and NaNo Update

I was listening to a podcast earlier today as I cleaned a few windows in my bedroom that have been bugging me for weeks. Michael Hyatt, a well-known leader in the business world, was talking, and he said something about how our words and actions can influence people either positively or negatively, depending on how we use them. He went on to say that our attitudes and perceptions of life can, in some cases anyway, be huge determining factors in how others relate to us—or even if we end up keeping our jobs or not! Again, another case where little things can influence huge changes, either good or bad.

Lots to ponder there.

The main project for me these last two weeks has been writing. Since I signed up for NaNoWriMo, I’ve been writing at least a little each day. It’s been so, so fun. And while I know that we shouldn’t just do life for the fun aspect, I do think it’s okay in the creative sphere to really challenge yourself to turn up each day and get something done. The challenge is good, but it’s also fun to do.

Last week, I finished the first children’s story I was writing, and began a second that I’ve been pondering off and on for a little while. I’m almost to the end of the second now, and I’m not sure where I’ll be going from here, as I’ll still need nearly 23,000 words of something to write in the next fifteen days in order to win NaNo.

One thing that I have found fascinating over the course of this challenge is the fact that my creativity levels can be depleted. Some days are better, some are worse, but overall I’ve witnessed a general slide in the creativity to a not-so-full state. That’s fine, as I know I’ll be able to tank up over the next few months again, but it has been an interesting trend to follow.

I also have been amusing myself greatly by how much I forget to include one particular character in my more recent story. It’s a dragon, who is supposed to be a little bit on the arrogant slash snarky side, but he keeps forgetting to act his character or I forget he’s even there…this is when I’m looking forward to doing some editing so I can put him back in later. 🙂

In all, NaNo has gone a lot better than I expected so far, I’ve loved (almost) every minute—except for the few times when I realize I’m writing an extremely boring scene!—and I’m looking forward to the final sixteen-or-so days.

Now, I’d better go see if I can figure out another story to write, or else make some good progress on planning out the story I’ve been wanting to write for years!

What projects have you been working on lately? Have you ever listened to podcasts by business leaders? What is one useful tip you have picked up or been given recently?

November’s NaNoWriMo and a Thankfulness Challenge

Last Wednesday, I did something crazy that I’m hoping I won’t end up regretting (I don’t think I will): I signed up for NaNoWriMo this month. (NaNo, as in National Novel Writing Month, or the crazy challenge writers take to write 50,000 words in 30 days.) I’ve participated other years—and even managed to get to 50k in 2013!—but since then, I’ve gained a lot of other responsibilities, so this is proving to be an even bigger challenge than it was back then.

But it’s been so, so fun as well. It’s thrilling to watch a story develop under your fingertips; to “live” in another place and try to put all five senses that you’re discovering there in word form so that someone else can experience it as well.

November's NaNoWriMo and a Thankfulness Challenge 01

Pre-food near-starvation mode

As an aside: One thing I’ve discovered about myself (to my surprise!) is that I tend to write a lot more clearly than I speak. That’s become a continual annoyance to me, because words flow so well through my fingertips, but not necessarily through my lips. But that’s okay. It’s always good to have at least one thing to hone in life, right?

Back in 2013, and again in 2014 and 2015, I believe, I participated in another month-long challenge in November: GiveThanks x7. It was hosted by a girl’s magazine, The King’s Blooming Rose, with the goal being to write down seven things I’m grateful for every day of the month of November. It proved to be a lovely time of creating a habit of thankfulness, a frame of mind I’d love to be in constantly.

This year, although the magazine isn’t hosting the challenge, they do encourage us to do it ourselves. So I thought I’d share my “thankful” lists from the last three days.

November's NaNoWriMo and a Thankfulness Challenge 02

Post-food relaxation mode (at this point, I’m thinking there are probably some interesting and useful parallels between sheep and humans, as the Bible often points out).

November 1:

  1. Haunt Fox by Jim Kjielgaard—a fascinating nature book!
  2. Peacocks—they’re so pretty!
  3. Beautiful mornings
  4. November
  5. A new dresser for my little sister
  6. NaNoWriMo
  7. Work away from home!

November 2:

  1. Summery days
  2. Motel-quality sheets (what luxury!)
  3. Stories to write
  4. Roses
  5. Bible memory verses
  6. Pitcher plants—fascinating things, especially when wasps get stuck in them!
  7. Dear friends who are willing to help when it’s difficult to get something done ourselves (oh, that I might be a friend like that to other people!)

November 3:

  1. The quails I heard early this morning
  2. Brothers that I can delight with stories
  3. My happy little sister
  4. God’s faithfulness
  5. The color of fresh spring green
  6. Taking walks with my little sister
  7. Her delight in nature

Have you ever written fictional stories and/or participated in a writing challenge? What are some things you are thankful for today?

Rose Propagation

Since we found out late last week that we’re definitely going to have to move (the previous week or two saw a few ups and downs in that area, but the final verdict is that we can’t stay here), everyone has been doing a lot of thinking about what they want to keep and move, and what they’re willing to either pass on or dispose of.

The thought of moving again is daunting, but it’s always encouraging to remember that the Lord knew about this way in advance! I’m so thankful! And He will continue to lead. He is so good.

Rose Propagation 01

Anyway, one thing I’ve been thinking about is the fact that I want to get a few starts from some of the beautiful rose bushes around here. The roses have just started flowering, and they’re so gorgeous. I feel quite spoiled to be able to bring some inside, too, for when I can’t be outside to enjoy them! I think they’re one of my most favorite flowers!

A while back, I heard something about rooting a rose in a potato, but I haven’t taken time to look that particular fact up to verify it one way or the other. However, after doing some other research, it sounds like roses aren’t too hard to propagate—apparently, they tend to grow roots fairly easily. So I decided to try it out—we’ll see what happens!

Rose Propagation 02

This particular rosebush produces one of the most beautiful flowers, both scent-wise and color-wise—you can’t see it very well here, but in real life the outside edges are deep red and the inside is a creamy ivory color.

For now, I took starts from six different bushes. I did skip several, as some aren’t flowering yet, and others don’t appeal to me quite as much. I may try to start more if I decide I really like them, but this is enough for now.

I took somewhere between 2–4 stems from each bush, and wrote the bush “number” on a bit of masking tape and attached that to the stem. After trimming off excess from the the lower portions of the stems, I scraped a bit of the outside “skin” off to make a wound. Apparently, in some cases, that encourages the stems to grow roots better. Then I packed them all into a big vase someone gave us a while back, and added water.

Rose Propagation 03

One website said it can take as little as two weeks for roots to appear, although it’s more typical to take four or more weeks. It will be interesting to see what will happen! After all, it’s worth a try—and if it doesn’t work, I’ll either just leave with no rose bushes, or research another method to try.

Have you ever wanted or tried to propagate roses? If you did, how did you do it? What are some of your most favorite flowers?

Springtime Memory-Making

Today is a beautifully sunny spring day, almost untypical for this year’s weather. Usually, Canterbury’s spring consists of some rainy days but mostly sunny ones—this year it almost seems like its the opposite! However, after three years of drought I’m enjoying every moment I hear rain drumming on the roof.

This afternoon, the little guys had a hose running into our front creek, and took great delight in dousing each other and all the land around them with a liberal helping of water.

Springtime Memory-Making 01

Springtime Memory-Making 02

Springtime Memory-Making 03

Reminds me of old days back on the farm when my brothers and I used a small pool for swimming in…or played in the spray from the sprinkler. Great memories!

Springtime Memory-Making 04

You can see our oldest lamb, Daisy, on the far left of this picture.

Springtime Memory-Making 05

And here are the two newest additions to our family: Dusti (left) and Debbie (right), both born yesterday! They’re so cute right now, just learning to take the bottle, and both have good appetites at this point!

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Springtime Memory-Making 07

Springtime Memory-Making 08

Keep looking to Jesus. And, if needed, get out the hose every once in a while. Apparently, it’s great fun!

What are some of your favorite memories of springtime when you were a child?