A Rich Week

Life has been very full the last little while. And I’m loving it.

Last week was mostly spent tidying up after moving, finding new homes for all our things, etc.

This week, I worked two full days at my new job (helping out a family; SO much fun!), and starting a project I’ve taken a break on for the last two to three years: School work. And, while stretching, and while I am behind (I’m working on it, I promise!), I’ve been enjoying it so much.

I never officially finished highschool. I guess you could say I’m a dropout, but when I stopped doing it, I was just starting to get my website up and running, and was learning a TON about webdesign.

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For the last two or three years, that has been my life. And it still is. I’ve still got a lot to do there. I have no idea how I’m going to balance it all, but I figure if I want something bad enough (like having the chance to learn more and still get my website work done), I’ll find a way to do it.

So this week, in between thinking about all the different things I need to do or keep in mind when working at my new job (like remembering to get noisy jobs done before nap-time!), I’ve been studying the ancient Americas. Did you know that advanced civilizations popped up in Central America before the Mayans—or at least ran concurrently with them? Or that in the Pacific Northwest, there were tribes of Native Americans who owned slaves and had a very defined caste system, as Captain Cook discovered when he visited? Or that some Native American cultures spent years planning some of their feasts?

I didn’t know those things. And between several different books that I’m currently reading right now that are scheduled in our school curriculum, I am finding a few fascinating tidbits.

Which is why I wanted to go back to doing school in the first place, so YAY!

I’ve also been reading Peace Child, and although the first chapters are fairly disgusting and hard to read, the transformation that I know is coming is going to be amazing to see too. And their reasoning behind why and how they did certain things…wow. Don’t get me started. Add in the language used to tell the story, and it’s a masterful book, which makes my readerly heart very happy!

So that’s a little of what I’ve been up to lately. Have you learned anything interesting or done something new (or the first in a long time) this past week?

New Home, New Memories

Well, moving week is behind us now. And I’m thankful.

At the same time, it was hard to say goodbye to our old place. I have some wonderful memories of being there, and even more great memories of living in that area. Over the last eight years, we haven’t moved any further than about 10 minutes’ distance from any one place, even though we lived in four different houses in that time.

This time, it’s four hours away. And I miss our friends from over there.

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Still, I can’t help but be thankful. We aren’t renting any more. Yes, we’ve got a mortgage, but this is our house. We were able to choose where we could go. And I love this place already, even though we’ve only lived in it for a week! We have wonderful friends over here, and I’m looking forward to getting to know them (and others in the area) even better over the next few years.

During this move, I’ve realized I’m also very thankful for my memories. While it was hard to say goodbye to an area that was very much home for eight years, I’m thankful that I can remember all the good things that happened there. Like I wrote the day before we moved,

There will always be a part of me left behind here. Life was lived to its fullest many days. There were heartaches and joys in the three years we’ve lived in this house—one dear sibling was added to the family, and another was taken away. I’m thankful for the time we’ve spent here, and the memories, and in some ways, I’ll miss it.

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Now, we’re working on developing new memories…growing deeper as a family, getting to know each other better. We’re all thrilled that my oldest brother can live with us again, since his work is only six minutes’ drive away. We love being able to hang out again.

God is good.

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These guys? They’re experts at this unloading thing by now!

We’re still settling in, for sure. I haven’t finished unpacking yet, because I don’t have a place to hang my dresses yet. I’m thankful for room in Mom’s closet, and for the fact that an old solid-wood wardrobe was left here, which I’m currently refinishing (that post will be coming soon!). The house is mostly tidy now, and Mom got all our books sorted and up on shelves again which is wonderful! I love seeing all our books together in one place. Makes me want to get reading again. 🙂

There’s this huge old ivy bush at the front of our place, and right now my youngest siblings are having heaps of fun climbing to the top and bouncing down the sides. I love watching them play together and enjoy each other’s company! God is good! I’m so thankful for all He’s done!

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Well, I’d better get out and do some more sanding on the wardrobe. I glued a few cracks this morning (one that I inadvertently crunched earlier after I glued and sanded it a couple days ago—oops!). Just a bit more to do there, I think, and then I can apply the stain/varnish stuff. Can’t wait to see what it looks like in the end!

What are you working on right now? What’s one memory that you have that you’re thankful for?

Moving Preparation

Happy Thursday, everyone! The day is brilliantly sunny outside right now, with a few clouds in the blue sky. It’s also pretty warm out there, so I’m sitting inside with a fan on.

Lord willing, we’ll be moving in two and a half weeks. And although that isn’t very far off, I’m also looking forward to having it done. Mom’s done an excellent job of getting packed up as much as possible ahead of time in places like the library, bathroom, and kitchen—getting rid of the stuff we don’t use on a day-to-day basis.

(Which is wonderful, except for times like last night when I was making rhubarb crisp, and some of the ingredients I wanted to use were packed! 🙂 Thankfully, we had substitutes that worked well!)

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I was originally planning on moving a week and a half ahead of the rest of the family, but at this point that doesn’t look like it’s as needed as it was before. I could still go, but we’ll see what ends up happening. I’m praying for direction.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a list of things I need to get done—including get some reviews scheduled for over the time we move. This morning, I got all the pre-uploading stuff done, so as soon as I’m finished writing this, I’ll tackle that again.

For the most part, I feel like I’m pretty-much on track to get everything done that I must get done before we move. That’s a good feeling! After I’m done uploading reviews, I’ll be able to work on other things like making sure I’ve written reviews of all the books I’ve read (fell off the bandwagon for that one these last few months!), or maybe getting some sewing done. We’ll see!

What are you working on today? What’s the weather like where you are?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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?

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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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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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?

Website Building and the Vine

Ever since—well, almost before Learning Resource Directory was launched, I’ve been wanting to change to a different name. I knew I wanted something shorter, easier to type, and catchier, but laid that aside to let my subconscious mull over it while I got more important things, like the website launching and more book reviews written, done.

Just a few months ago, I finally came across the perfect name. And although I’m not (quite) ready to share that with you yet, suffice to say I’m thrilled to finally have a name I love!

I bought the domain name several months ago, but didn’t have time to do any more then, as I wanted to research hosting (Gretchen Louise’s tips have been extremely helpful in that area!). I eventually decided to do in-between hosting on Bluehost, where I’m currently hosting this website. I’m not planning to stay here long-term due to a plethora of problems I’ve had, but for now I’ve got another year on the contract I’m on and I may as well use it.

Website Building and the Vine

This past week, I’ve transferred the domain to Bluehost, and am now getting into the exciting phase of deciding on a theme and how to put it together, what I’d like for a logo, how I want the reviews to show up (static, like I have now, or more of a blog layout?), etc., etc.

For someone who’s been through all this designing and tweaking multiple times before, for multiple websites, this is where all the magic (and a lot of the “Oops! I broke it. Now what did I do wrong…?) happens. Next job is to contact someone who designs themes, who has done one particular theme I’ve got my eye on, and ask if she does 30-day money back guarantees in the off chance it doesn’t end up being the right theme for what I need.

And as I sit here, pondering the work I have ahead of copying and pasting, and messing up and trying again and maybe—just maybe—getting it right the first time around for some things, I can’t help but think of that passage in John 15 where Jesus speaks of the vine and the branches. He’s the trunk, the roots, where all the nutrients and plant strength comes from. If that gets cut off, the vines and branches can wither in just a few hours.

Just like a new domain name on a new host—it has potential to do a lot, and if fed the right bits of code and has the correct files that are all interconnected properly, it works well and delivers the information to those who need or want it.

But if just one part of the coding is wrong—even one character off, it’s broken.

Like what mysteriously happened last night when somehow the connection between the two major parts of the website and this blog got disconnected, and they went down. Turned out all I needed was a few bits of text—a database name and a username, and perhaps a password—put in the right places, and we were live again (don’t ask me how they were wrong in the first place, but anyway—it’s obviously fixed now, if you can read this!).

Sometimes, it seems to take daily checking to make sure this website is up and running like it should, no pages showing funny gobbeldy-guck or not showing up at all.

And I have to think how important it is to keep going back to the trunk, the Word, to make sure everything’s still lined up right. No character misplaced, no essential file accidentally deleted. It often takes daily refreshing—both the browser tab kind, and the prayer and reading kind.

But it’s all worth it. Because, in the end, if we are still being fed through the trunk, getting the nutrients we need, we can thrive and grow and through that growth be a blessing to others.

Keep your eyes and heart on Jesus!

What have you been doing lately? Have you ever worked on putting a website together?

Hospitals and a Little Thing Called Thoughtfulness

Hospital waiting rooms are notoriously tiring. And actually, that’s one statement I agree with—because I’ve experienced it! Three hours doesn’t hold a candle to the many, many other people’s experiences in such things. But as for me, while I did find it somewhat tiresome, I did have a book to read and interesting people to talk to, so that made the time pass faster.

For a lot of my time in there, there was another couple waiting as well whose fourteen-year-old son was in for a complex procedure. We got to talking a little, and I enjoyed the glimpse into their lives. Very sweet couple. At one stage, the husband decided he needed his morning coffee, so he made himself one with the service provided in our room (very nice of the hospital, in my opinion!). After downing his first cup, and another hour or so passing, he said something about maybe having another cup.

“Maybe I should join you,” I half-jokingly replied, “this instant stuff isn’t nearly as good as the real, but at least it’s caffeinated.”

Bouquet from Little Brother

He set to work making himself another one, and soon a steaming hot beverage came my way as well. I was surprised; strangers, even ones you’ve talked to some, don’t normally do things like that for you! And while, yes, that coffee was not nearly as good as what I’m used to, his act of kindness really blessed me while I waited. Which totally made up for it!

Last evening, I walked into my room, tired and ready to finish up for the night—and discovered a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a mixture of daffodils and plum blossoms, sitting on the table under my window! One of my youngest brothers gathered it for me as a surprise, found a container to put it in, and even found something to set under it so it wouldn’t mark the table. What a beautiful, cheery gift to give! In my opinion, that’s one of the best bouquets I’ve ever received—I know the heart behind it is pure gold. Or close to it, anyway.

All that to say that on two different occasions just recently, I was very blessed by little things people did for me. So next time you see an opportunity (and this goes for me as well!), do something for someone else. Be that blessing to them. You never know how even a little thoughtfulness might brighten someone’s day considerably!

What was one time you remember someone did something special for you, even if it was small?