First things first. How is it November already?
Now that I have that off my chest, I'm ready to link up with Jennifer over at Conversion Diary for some Quick Takes. I know you are waiting with anticipation of epic proportions.
1) Month of Thankfulness: It seems to be a new trend to spend the month of November posting a daily update on what we are thankful for that day (or to use interwebs lingo, it's trending). It's a big hit amongst my youth minister friends fo' sho' - see, I can be trendy. I was going to spend some of October gathering different bits of Scriptures on thankfulness and gratitude, but it seems Ann Voskamp not only anticipated my thoughts, but being the rockstar she is, far exceeded my expectations with her little "craft" to go along with it (including a version for Spanish speakers). It can be found on her website in this post. You might want to check out her post from today also, about how/why November is statistically the hardest month and how we can help combat that. If you're not already in love with Ann's blog and books, get on that! I wish I had the discipline to have thought out my own activity for November, but I am so thankful she already has. And there is my first post on thankfulness! :)
2) NaBloPoMo: Say that ten times fast. Go. If you don't know what that stands for (as was my case not too long ago), it is National Blog Posting Month. BlogHer hosts one every month (I think), but November is THE official month to encourage bloggers to post daily. Speaking of my desire to grow my writing discipline, I've chosen to play along this month and try to post something every day. No worries - I have no aspirations to wax philosophical on a daily basis. I have always intended to provide some type of "inspiration" for the day through the blog though, be it quotes or Scripture, so at the very least I hope I can acquire the discipline to share something meaningful each day to help us along the (sometimes trying) journey...like when the baby decides to throw up on you at 10 pm and then pee all over his dad when you're getting the tub ready. Yup, for days like that, we need inspiration. Or wine and chocolate, but I can't send you that through this little bit of electronic space, sorry.
3) Halloween Photos: First, Halloween is nuts. These kids are way too active to try to get them to stand still and look at the camera and smile long enough for a nice picture. So, here are our "action" shots. Little dude was the Gingerbread Man (next year, he's going to be a turtle or a rock to inspire less movement) and Li'l G wanted to be a pumpkin, so she was a punky punkin. Who knows - I tried other things, but she settled on a pumpkin. The Hubs' cousin has everyone over for Halloween in costume, so we went as Popeye and Olive Oyl. Not the best family selfie, but maybe there will be others posted on Facebook I can grab later...
4) Saint Swap: Speaking of Halloween, how do you decide how much candy is enough for the kids? I really don't like the kids to have candy or sweets, though their dad sneaks them donuts when they go out. Ok, I'll let them have a few bites here and there too. I just don't want to share my chocolate. Anyway, here's my little post on having a Saint Swap to transition from Halloween into All Saint's Day. Let me know if you have creative ways of rationing candy or celebrating All Saints' Day. (Oh, and after a question on what to do with the candy you swap, hat tip to my friend Amy from high school for this Advent activity - cones of paper with the date, an Advent Scripture reading and some candy for a home made advent calendar.)
5) Natural Foods: Speaking of rationing candy, how do you ladies who really do the natural foods or no processed foods for the kids do it? It seems to take so much energy to figure out what to give them that they can eat, especially the one year old, but doesn't require a lot of prep time...oh, and that we can afford on a limited budget. When I've been intentional about looking at labels, I feel like there just isn't much out there that wouldn't increase our grocery bill by a couple hundred dollars a month. Insert sad face here. I definitely desire to purchase and prepare better foods, or rather real food versus a bunch of chemical, fake foods. I also know I get overwhelmed easily these days and want to be smartly frugal as well as healthy. So, I suppose I could ask Mary to hijack one of her Tuesday question free-for-alls, but we'll start here. Any ideas? And...go!
6) Audrey Assad: I just wanted to share how much I am loving her new CD. I love that she left her label to focus more on worship music. I love the soft, reverent, current tones. I love every lyric, every song. Mostly, I love that it is the perfect soundtrack to naptime at the Casa. Audrey Assad, you're my naptime heroine. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I pray, they sleep. Can't get much better than that!
7) Foster parenting: Ahhh, I was set to write about something probably trivial here, then I sent a note to a friend from high school who has been fostering a little girl. Her response broke my heart with the complete unreliability of anything having to do with foster care, not always to fault the system or the players. It is just not an ideal system. When foster parents such as this amazing family give their love, their whole hearts and their home, knowing that separation may be inevitable, those ups and down and the unreliability become ever more infuriating. This is, of course, not only because of the pain this family now experiences, but more so that little person in their care. If the foster family is suffering, how much more so the child? It is a pain I cannot imagine, as is the case with so many of the stories I hear at work. My heart and prayers go out to these children, and my admiration and prayers to the foster parents who go into the work with humble, loving hearts for the good of the children and not the extra cash from the state. Here's a November double-hitter: I am so thankful you give of yourselves so freely that another little person might know what it is to begin to feel loved and feel safe. God bless you all.