Week in Review: 2014 {Weeks 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, & 28}

Really, I should just start calling this series Month in Review.  And after you read this, you’ll understand why I can’t keep this blog updated.  :-p

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June blew by like a hurricane and left us all kind of wondering what just happened to half our summer.  The older two spent a week at Summer Sizzle, our church’s week long event for junior high and high school students to kick off the season.  With events every morning and evening, they stayed crazy busy. Ellie had ballet camp the same week, and the younger two both had swim lessons.  Can anyone say “lots of windshield time” for this mama?

The following week Chandler attended Kanakuk Kampout (please, people, stop misspelling words in the name of being catchy or clever; it is neither).  An all day “k”amp for grade schoolers, also hosted at our church, she had an awesome time.  Since she will be joining her sisters at Summer Sizzle next year, this was Chandler’s second and last year at Kamp.

The next week we took a mini-vacay as a family to St. Louis / Bloomington, IL.   While not what I would classify as a true vacation (I did not come home rested.  In fact, I came home desperately needing a nap.), it was a wonderful trip for our family.  We visited the Arch, Six Flags (thank you, Read to Succeed program!), and the zoo.  Then we drove up to Bloomington to visit friends and represent Lifeline at a benefit race there.  Amania was able to see her two friends, Sophie and Tessa, and we were all able to connect with a really great group of people we would not know if it were not for adoption and our involvement with Lifeline.  During our time in Illinois, I couldn’t help but reflect on how much larger our family’s world has gotten because of adoption through Lifeline.  We have gained so many wonderful friends by serving with the ministry and because of our now forever-connection to Haiti.  It’s a beautiful thing, really, how adoption expands the family by much more than the addition of a child.

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After returning from St. Louis / Illinois, the older two girls promptly started a soccer camp for a week.  Chandler celebrated her 11th birthday.  Grace had fundraisers to help pay for her trip to Haiti.  Then she left to serve in the kitchen at Kanakuk in Missouri for a week.

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The next week we all breathed a small sigh of relief as life slowed down just a smidge.  Although it still ended up being a rough week for other reasons.  For the 4th we went down to Wichita where we stayed with friends on the lake.  Now that was a vacation.  Seriously, much-needed and uber-appreciated downtime spent on the lake, in the pool, on a lounge chair….all doing nothing but soaking up sun and laughing with friends.  Glorious.

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Last week Emma went for three days to Junior High Rampage, our church’s three day retreat for, well, junior highers.  She went to Schlitterbahn in KC where she got a sunburn on top of a sunburn (from the weekend in Wichita) and came home with some of the most horrific blisters I’ve seen from burning.  Still makes my skin hurt to think of them.  Chandler also got to attend her last week of Camp Enosh.  The girls have attended this camp, put on by a local church, for years.  It’s a bittersweet year for this girl as she closes the book, so to speak, on some of her favorite activities, knowing some really fun stuff of a different kind is coming up for her next summer.

On the other end of the spectrum, Ellie is attending her first week ever at Camp Enosh this week.  She’s been watching sisters go for years, and she’s finally old enough.  She was super-excited this morning to finally get to experience all she’s been hearing about since she was a toddler.  We are also preparing to send our oldest off to Haiti for a week soon.  Once she gets back, that signifies the end of major activities for the summer, and I’m pretty sure I will be very happy to have all of my chicks back in the nest.

Meanwhile, over the past few weeks, we’ve been working on some projects around the house.  I purged some more spaces.  Honestly…..I don’t think I’m a hoarder(?!), but sometimes I frighten myself with the amount of **stuff** I continually find to get rid of.  The guest room got a little update.  We removed the overly formal bedding, put in a lighter, more contemporary set, added curtains, a side table (that needs to be painted), and changed up the decor a bit.  Matt hung a calendar command center in the kitchen for me that I’m excited about.  This should keep the fridge less cluttered and hopefully help limit the number of times I answer some of the same questions every day/week/month.  I also bought and hung a fun little chalkboard piece with my favorite, oft-repeated Katie Davis quote.  Then my love surprised me last week by staying up all night (crazy man) and painting the school room.  I didn’t realize just how much I hated the old color until it was gone.  It was an awful 1970’s-hospital-green.  Flat and dull and depressing.  Now, grey and orange, with fun accents….I’m actually (kind of) excited to be down there and start school again.

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Our school files from over nine years of home schooling.  I threw away a full three tubs of papers and still ended up needing just as many tubs.  I’m not sure how that happened. I really should check with someone who knows….I’m not sure I even need anything that’s over a year old, but if we do, I have it, by golly!

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This wreath should arrive this week.  It’s going to hang on the old window in the previous picture.  So excited!

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All I need today…

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The  freshly painted bar area, conveniently located in the freshly painted school room.  I’m currently very in love with the mirror, the light, and the ram’s head.  And the orange paint.

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This is snake number two in less than a week.  Found in our basement.  Thankfully we have our very own St. Francis living with us, so this snake had a much more peaceful departure than the first one we found.

This book is currently at the top of the stack.  Not amazing, a little hard to connect with, but some very good bits throughout.  Definitely worth the read.

Lastly, I was challenged / encouraged this past week by a friend to start counting the gifts again.  Somewhere in the past six months I stopped counting.  The gifts I was listing were starting to sound so repetitive to me so I quit looking and listing.  And I became ungrateful without realizing it.  So I was thankful to be reminded this week to always be look for those gifts, to keep my heart and eyes open to the good things God is up to in my life.  Because He’s always up to something good.

2996.  chaos and finding our way

2997.  middle girl and turning eleven

2998.  oldest child off to camp and my heart breaking just a little

2999.  a weekend of rest

3000.  God speaking, revealing, leading me back to His way

3001.  husband who loves, serves, sacrifices, gives

3002.  newly painted school room

3003.  hospitality

3004.  recognizing spiritual dryness

3005.  choosing not to stay there

Wishing you a wonderful week, my friends!

For His Glory ~



The Stack

I love books.  I love looking at them, smelling them, perusing them, buying them, and, of course, reading them.  One could say I’ve even been doing a bit of collecting them over the past several weeks, as the stack of books by my bed has sort of taken on a life of it’s own lately.

I have posted a summer reading list the past few years.  But the months of January and February often rival summer in my ability to burn through books.  The cold weather makes me want to just crawl in bed and read.  This year is a little different, in that the weather hasn’t really been cold and February may not lend itself to much reading.  Nevertheless, I’ve got to do something about this pile.  🙂  Here’s what’s in it:

The Winter of Our Disconnect – I started this book (ironically enough) in early November on the very same week we turned our cable back on.  🙂  It is entertaining and humorous and very interesting.  However, it also seemed a little long.  I made a note on my iPhone (also ironic) of what page I stopped at and finally ended up returning it to the library because there were other books that I wanted to read more.  Perhaps I can finish it this summer.  Or…maybe not.

Choosing to See – A really good book about the Chapman family, their loss of Maria and their navigation of the process.

The Family – recommended by a friend who has some really incredible children, I’m planning to read this to see what wisdom can be gleaned.

Kisses from Katie – I am reading this one right now.  It’s a very quick, easy read.  My favorite quote so far (and I’m fully intending to use it in the future; in fact, I’d love to print it, frame it, and hang it above our coffee maker), “It’s just a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus.”

Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle – another girl in our house has turned ten, so later this spring she gets a trip with me where we discuss those things she needs to be prepared for in the coming years.  In a house with so many people and so many voices, we have to be deliberate about these things.

Bringing Up Girls – We need all the help we can get.

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist – our Sunday school class just finished this video series.  It was really interesting and I’m looking forward to reading the book.  Slowly.  And someday.  🙂

The Whole Life Adoption Book – one of many that fall under the adoption category.  Again, I’m looking forward to reading this one – someday.

Grace Based Parenting – still a good reread that I want to get to.

Adopted for Life – another adoption book that I want to read.

Dog Problems – borrowed from the vet, being returned to the vet.  🙂

Strong Willed Child or Dreamer – I read this one a long time ago and need to reread it.  I’ve got a couple (or three) that could fall into this category.

Writer’s Inc and The Well-Educated Mind – let’s be honest here and say those are never getting read all the way through.  Both sit there as reference material.  And to make me look brainy to people that may pass by our bedroom.  😉

Large Family Logistics – a friend was reading this a few months ago and it looked interesting, so I picked it up online one day when I saw it on sale for half price.  I’m really enjoying it.  So far, just the encouragement to persevere has been very timely.

Not in the picture because it was taken before Christmas and I have since added to the stack – Age of Opportunity.  We loved Tedd Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart and I’m really looking forward to this one by his brother, Paul, that is geared toward parenting tweens and teens.

That’s it for me.  For now.  So, what are you reading?

For His Glory ~

~ Sara