Here in Texas, the roadsides are covered with blankets of bluebonnets, Texas paintbrush, primroses and crimson clover. The palette changes as the season wears on and the bluebonnets yield to the black-eyed Susans, blanket flowers, and goldenrod. I love them all...even dandelions!
From gentle spring showers to crashing thunderstorms, rain is one of my favorite things. Now, the humidity after the rain, that's another story.
3. Birds singing
I like to sit out on the porch early in the morning and listen and the world comes to life. There's a time when the birds begin to awaken that the morning is suddenly filled with song.
4. Open windows
I love it when it is finally warm enough to open the windows and let in the fresh air. The house needs airing out after being closed up all winter. There's a good reason for the saying "like a breath of fresh air".
5. Baby animals
Everywhere you look there are signs of new life. Every field is sporting calves or lambs or baby goats. The chirping of baby birds are evident. We have seen the local ducks laying eggs all over the place and are looking forward to seeing some downy ducklings soon, too.
6. Little girls in Easter dresses Image by wesbolton via FlickrAt church last weekend, everyone was in their Easter finery, but the little girls who were dressed up were running and telling everyone to look at their pretty dresses. It was like little princesses everywhere.
7. Little boys in ties
My youngest son was so excited waiting for Easter to come because he just got his first necktie. He was absolutely adorable in it.
8. Easter pageants and programs
I was moved to tears by the one at my church. Sometimes we forget just how great the sacrifice was.
Just like in the Itsy, Bitsy Spider, the sun comes out and dries up all the rain.
The new leaves on the trees are a vibrant, almost lime green. The new grass is peeking out. The basil on my windowsill is growing like crazy. Everywhere you look, something is green and growing.
Last month I finally read Ann Voscamp's amazing book, 1000 Gifts. I'm now joining in Ann's Multitudes on Monday. Here are my first 15 gifts:
1. toothless smiles
2. new clothes for Easter
3. the wonder of the resurrection
6. the pleasure of a burden lifted
7. gentle spring breezes
8. the smell of flowers carried on the wind
9. the squirrels playing chase in the big tree out front
10. the smell of homemade cookies
11. a little boy's excitement over his first necktie
12. the completion of a goal
13. finding unexpected treasures
14. family photographs
15. curling up with a good book on a rainy day
Well, I'm back and finished with my ten week challenge. It's been a wild ride. and I would love to say I got everything on my challenge list done, but I would be seriously lying if I did. The truth is more like "best laid plans of mice and men".
I started out full of hope and with great energy. I ended up a little frustrated and worn out. Here's how it all went down:
First, the good news
•Bible reading challenge: I did it! I read the entire bible (ESV) between Valentine's Day and Easter.
•Prayer journal: I started one, but I do better just journaling as it strikes me rather than at a prescribed time during morning quiet time. I will actually end up doing more journaling doing my own thing.
•Bible study: I completed about half of "Becoming a Woman of
•Menu plan: Got the menu plan and shopping list figured out and it worked wonderfully,,,the first month. More about that further down.
•Church jobs: Completed care pastor training. I'm currently behind on transcription, but I'm waiting for a piece of equipment.
•Reading challenges: I got them all updated in my records and completed the Christian Non-Fiction challenge.
•Reading: I planned to read 12. I actually read almost twice that.
In the Shadow of Evil by Robin Carroll
5 Dreams of Every Woman by Sharon Jaynes
Passport Through Darkness by Kimberly L. Smith
Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
Dealing With Death God's Way by Pastor Lee Armstrong
1000 Gifts by Ann Voscamp
9 Days in Heaven by Dennis and Nolene Price
That's When I Talk to God by Dan and Ali Morrow
Heaven is Real by Todd Burpo
Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander Mccall Smith
In Grandma's Attic by Arleta Richardson
The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis
More Stories from Grandma's Attic by Arleta Richardson
Max on Life by Max Lucado
Bluebonnet Time by Lucas Miller, Harold Underdown, Flo Oxley and Amy Watson
American Commencement by Michael Farris
The Fun of Getting Thin by Samuel G. Blythe
21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart by Neal D. Barnard MD
Fast & Fresh Vegetarian by Marie Simmons
The Bible (ESV)
The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker
Devotions for Lent by Credo Communication and Tydale
•Homeschooling: Got some good time in with the kids and have been working on one read-aloud that we'll finish this week and are starting another right after.
•Vitamins: Nope. Didn't happen.
•Water: Increased water, for a while. Reverted to not enough water and too much iced tea.
•Beauty routine: I never got off the ground. I slathered on some lotion a few times when my skin was dry enough to crack, but beyond that, nothing.
•Home Sanctuary Challenge: I really wanted to, but life interfered.
•Creative challenges: None of these happened. Sigh.
•Diet: Did the No-S Diet for one month with no positive results.
•Exercise: Did Zumba 3-4 times a week for a month and then injured myself. More about that later.
•Changed the chore system and then changed it again. It's still a work in progress.
What went wrong
•The menu plan was going along great until my freezer died. Suddenly I was scrambling to use what I could to avoid loss and at the same time adjust my shopping to account for no longer having a freezer.
•The storage units I have been waiting to access since my mom died two years ago suddenly came available. Every spare moment and quite a few that weren't spare went into cleaning out two large storerooms and part of two others. Yes, she had four big storerooms. And they were packed.
•I was exercising faithfully until I injured myself moving heavy boxes and furniture in the above mentioned storerooms. It was a few weeks before my back quit hurting every time I moved.
Obviously, I bit off way more than I could comfortably chew. In addition, the storerooms and injuries threw me for a loop. From now until the end of May, I initiating what I'm calling "The Kinder, Gentler Challenge". Here is the plan for the next five weeks:
1. I'm starting a new bible reading program that will take me until the end of the year to complete.
2. I'm working to significantly clear out my house. My house was already pretty crowded, but I hauled home tons of stuff to sort out from my mom's storerooms. Now it's time to go through it all and clear things out.
3. I'm researching nutrition to make improvements to my eating and increasing my activity level to get healthier without straining the newly healed muscles.
4. I plan to read enough to keep up with my scheduled book reviews and complete at least one reading challenge.
5. Set up a comfortable area to write and craft.
That's it. Anyone else interested in coming up with 3-5 areas to work on over the next 5 weeks? What are you going to do?