Winds of change

There’s a saying in our parts.
If you don’t like the weather wait 5 minutes.
It will change.
Spring time in Alberta is a fickle creature.
One minute the warm sun is shining and the next it’s over cast and snowing.
In the course of a week we can go from -30 with the wind chill to +14.
I wish I was kidding.
If you were to take a peak in my front closet You would find our winter boots lined up next to our sneakers.
Spring jackets hung up in between parka. It’s seriously that ridiculous.
How do you even figure out what you’re supposed to wear in the course of the day if the weather can fluctuate that drastically?

It’s finally starting to feel like spring.
The nights are getting longer and the sun is finally greeting us we get up in the morning.

The disappearing snow has revealed ugly brown grass and trash that has blown in over the last few months.

Change is in the air and I am desperately trying to embrace it.

There is a lot more changing than just the weather….

I feel like I am changing too.

I’ve been posting less often but that doesn’t mean I have less to say.

Real life is always more exciting than what you see online anyways.

We have been busy living life.

We’ve seen some movies, had dinner with friends and officially eaten more popcorn than recommended I’m sure.

Sometimes life gets a little busy in a good way.

I mentioned before that my husband and I are changing the way our family does life together.

We added meal time devotions and after a few awkward meals together it has fast become a family favorite.

God has been changing our priorities so they line up with his.

He’s been opening our eyes and our ears to the things he wants for us.
It’s excising and scary all at the same time.

He has changed who we were in the last chapter of our lives to what he wants us to be in this chapter of our lives.

I’m not the same person I was a year ago for sure.

Sometimes the winds of change blow unexpectedly bringing a refreshing where you didn’t even realize you were dry.

So far God has taught me:
-to trust him for he is trustworthy.
- He is giving me ears to hear.
-a change in focus changes everything.
-God speaks in the mundane. Ordinary often the disguise of the Divine.
- He works all things together for my good.
-today difficulties are the result from yesterday’s disobedience so obey him today .
- you will never grown if you don’t spend time in His word.
-I need a “God margin” in my life. The space in my life between my resources and the goal he has for my life.
-behavior does not determine identity

So even when I’m ankle deep in missing socks God is with me.

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Saving simple

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[Chris_McVeigh]

Do you remember the first time you saw a computer?

I mean a real one, not the cool lego one pictured above.

Do you remember? Or have they just always been there?

What was your initial reaction?

I’m pretty sure I just dated myself a little but bear with me a minute.

It was 1987.

I owned more Banana combs then shoes. Loved wear my hair in a side pony and the bigger the bangs the better.

I loved wearing leg warmers and mixing and matching my slouch socks.
Stirrup pants were all the rage and I desperately wanted pixie boots but settled for a pair of kangaroo high tops.

I read “tiger beat” and “Bop”.
I saw “Back to the Future” In the theaters.

I blasted my music from my old boom box (even though only one side ever worked). I made my own mix tapes by “catching” sings off the radio and used a pencil to rewind my cassette tapes because it was faster.

Life was simple.

I remember the day we walked into the schools brand new computer lab and rows of Macintosh computers.

I wasn’t impressed.

Actually if I remember correctly I thought it was the most useless piece of equipment ever.
I would have laid bets that this “hunk of junk” would be a colossal flop.

Our computer classes consisted of learning how to cut, copy & paste.
Impressive eh.
Fast forward to my senior year in high school.
Out family owned our own personal computer but if memory serves me correctly we weren’t even connected to the internet.

Think “glorified typewriter” with a black screen and orange lettering.
Somehow I made it thru college without the internet.
And yes, it’s possible.
I lived in the college library.

It wasn’t until 1998 that we had the internet in our house.

Such a foreign concept now when almost every single device in our household can access the net and really you don’t even have to be home to access the net.

I miss those days.

The simplicity of it all.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that become our treasured memories.
Sometime it takes unearthing them to remember.

A few weeks after nana past away my aunt and uncle dropped off a rather large cardboard box filled with what at first appeared to be odds and ends.

I had requested her knitting needles and was very excited when I pulled them out of the box.

I wanted them because they reminded me of the summer she taught me how to knit.

Anyways, Deep at the bottom was a small wicker sewing box filled with all the letters that I had written to her over the years. I didn’t know she even kept them to be honest with you.

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Words scratched in pencil on loose leaf sheets. It’s almost comical what I thought was important enough to share with her.

Words expressing gratitude for presents and visits.
Gushing over all the celebrities that I thought were “cute” and vented over how annoying my little sister was being.

Simple stuff.

Kid stuff.

But to her they were treasured memories.

In some ways they are mine too.

In a world where Email has replaced a simple handwritten letter and Texting is slowly starting to replaced in person conversations.

We have deceived ourselves into believing this way is simpler.

It pales in comparison to a bundle of handwritten letters almost 30 years old.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Those letter sauce become almost a reminder to slow down.
Enjoy life.
Seek adventure and to stay true to who I am.
Enjoy the sunshine and real conversations.
To live life.

Looking at those letters had me wonder how long it has been since I received a real piece of mail.
Not flyers or bills but a letter.

When was the last time I wrote a letter? Chances are you can’t remember your last letter either….

sharing the Good News!

I didn’t grow up in church.

I spent most of my Sunday mornings growing up with a bowl full of sugary cereal glued to the tv watching cartoons.

Easter had always been about the chocolate bunnies, the brightly coloured eggs and getting a new dress to proudly wear to church on Easter Sunday. ( we were Christmas and Easter Christians but that’s a story for another time.)

I’ve changed a lot since Those days long ago. (still like a bowl of captain crunch though…shh! Don’t tell!)

My husband and I have been changing how we walk out our own faith in a real and tangible way our kids can understand.

Our middle daughter brought home her own set of “Resurrection Eggs” from church last night.

I didn’t really realize at first what I was holding in my hands but after a closer inspection and I’m super excited to be able to use them this Easter.

I know this isn’t a “new concept” but it’s new to me!
With a toddler in our home Easter can be a little complicated to explain in a way that she can understand.

Resurrection eggs are an effective tool in teaching about the significant parts in the story of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and then rising again in defeat over death.

If you are not familiar with them, they are a set of twelve eggs that you open up one a day (like an advent calendar) in the twelve days leading up to Easter.

Each egg has an object and a corresponding bible verse that talks about a part of the Easter story.

Basically, it’s just a tangible tool for teaching about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

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The Eggs are pretty easy to make and most of the materials you can purchase at the dollar store or a craft store. (no Pinterest fails here!)

Materials:
-clean egg carton
- permanent marker
-12 brightly colored plastic eggs.

Her set of eggs had all of the scripture references glued onto the inside of the egg carton.

Depending on how this goes I might make my own tags and tuck one inside each corresponding egg so the readers in the family have to wait for each day to unfold.

So what’s in her eggs?

I’ve included the scripture reference along with what’s tucked into her egg.

Egg #1: Matthew 26: 14-16
Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
*30 pieces of “silver” ( 30 sequins tied together)

Egg #2: Matthew 26: 26-29
At the last supper Jesus told His disciples that he would be going to His fathers kingdom.
*Bread for the last supper (she has a little glass stone)

Egg #3 Matthew 26: 47- 58
When Jesus was arrested they came with swords and clubs.
* wooden sword

Egg #4 Matthew 26: 69-75
Peter denied knowing Jesus three times and the rooster crow just as Jesus had said.
* fuzzy yellow chick

Egg #5 Matthew 27: 1-5
They tied Jesus hands with rope when he was brought before Pilate the governor.
* small piece of twine

Egg #6 Matthew 27: 27-31
Soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus hadn’t made fun of him
* crown of thorns

Egg #7 Matthew 27: 32-38
Jesus was nailed to the cross.
* small Woden cross

Egg#8 Matthew 27:48
After six hours on the cross someone gave Jesus a drink of sour wine with a reed and sponge
* toothpick with small sponge attached to the tip.

Egg# 9 Matthew 27-59
After Jesus died, they wrapped his body in linen cloth.
* small piece of fabric

Egg# 10 Matthew 27:60
A Large stone was rolled against the entrance to the tomb where his body lay.
* stone

Egg #11 Matthew 28:2
Three days past. An earthquake occurred. An angel rolled the stone away and sat on it.
* small angel figurine

Egg #12 Matthew 28:5-6
Angel said: ” Do not be afraid. The tomb is empty. Jesus is risen!”
* this egg is empty!!

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This will be my first year trying a different approach to sharing with our little ones the story of Easter.

So, if you have used the Resurrection Eggs before, do you have any tips? And if you don’t use the eggs, how do you teach (or plan to teach) your kids about Easter?

This momma needs to know. :)

Unplugged


over year ago I wrote a post titled Why do I tuck my iPhone In at night In it I muddled my way through trying to figure out what exactly the attraction was between myself and technology.

A year later I am still tethered and asking the same question.

I would like to think I’ve made small changes and it’s not as bad as it was but some days I’m not so sure.

Still, the downside is I always feel connected.  A false sense of connection really.

I check my email  throughout the day so it’s surprising to me just how easily I get sucked back into “one more email” then I’ll turn off the iphone and go to bed mentality.

Technology – it’s a blessing and a curse, right?  I’ve tried to take a digital sabbatical of sorts and for the most part I have failed.

Miserably.  Something always happens and I catch myself  grabbing my phone to look something up for someone or see if there has been a break in the news story I am wrapped up in.

This weekend I’m going to try again.

I am taking a mini vacation.

I would love to take Two whole days off and get some freedom, but I need to decide if I want to totally unplug. If I turn off the iPhone, I will surely be welcomed back to reality on Monday with hundreds of emails. If I keep it on, however, my mind will likely not get the total escape it needs.

I’ve decided that email and junk mail have this one thing in common.
They are both time sucking demons!

My body needed a break from the daily grind, and I know my mind needs it too.

Thus, I need to hide the tech for the weekend.
I just might need to hide my phone in my purse!

This weekend I’m going to spend more time looking up at the stars and less time looking down at a screen.

I deserve the break and you do too!


Do you find it hard to break away from the technology on vacation?

Does your work expect you to stay plugged in?

A lot can happen in a hallway

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“When God closes one door he opens another”

what happens when you find yourself waiting in the hallway?
One door closed and the other yet to be opened?

What then?

Well….you take one step at a time and put your trust in him.

That’s what.

So simple yet something that has taken months to finally sink in.

we have found ourselves in a “growing season in our walk” .  God is stretching our faith and tested us in areas we didn’t even realize needing tending.

It’s almost like a “reset”‘or a “‘do over” but what started out as unintentional has switched to completely intentional on our part and here we are “in the hallway” patiently waiting for God to intervene on our behalf.

It wasn’t always like this.

We lived our lives in the comfort behind “one door” and now we are moving towards another.

We weren’t living the life that he had designed or wanted for us. But with closed off ears which sadly, we  never even noticed.

From June until the end of November 2013 our family learned first hand what it was like to have daddy work out-of-town.
At first it looked like an amazing blessing.
A change in careers, change in site and a raise.
His shift was 10 & 4 so he worked 12 hour shifts for 10 days straight and was home for 4.
Really if you count travel time he was really home for 2 days.
Off early his last day of work he would drive 4 1/2 hours home one way.
When the weather changed and the roads started to get bad he would take an overcrowded bus home which wouldn’t get him into the city until after 11:00pm.
When he was home we would do our best to squeeze in 10 days of family time into 2 but it was hard.

We hardly went to church and it felt like all we were really doing was preparing him for another 10 days out-of-town.

I would pretended that it was like a normal 9-5 job but nighttime was an entirely different entity.

The kids missed their dad and I missed having my best friend lying in the bed beside me.

The youngest took to sleeping in my room night after night “because mommy was afraid of the dark”.
I found her snoring strangely soothing.

Summer came and went while we both worked and tried to get as much family time in as we could.
Summer quickly disappeared into fall leaving us both feeling exhausted and disconnected.
I have many girlfriends and this is how they spend their married lives.
Some fair well, others not so much.
I’m still confused why anyone would intentionally sign up for a part time marriage plus being a single mom the other part of the time.

The money is extremely good but it’s not the life we pictured having.

For ourselves or for our kids.

By the middle of September we had planned a week-long family vacation to sunny California where we were going to go to Disneyland, play at the beach and enjoy the sunshine.

A chance to reconnect, to laugh and to play.
The day before we left his job ended which throws an entirely different curve ball when you are about to embark on a vacation.

He was home for good this time.

Normally when you’re working with big oil the site shuts down for Christmas so we had already planned that he would start the courses needed for him to become an NCSO safety officers.
With a little shuffling he was able to finish the course just after the new year.

We are morphing into the family we believe God designed for us to be.

More connected to each other and to him.
To follow after him one step at a time, trusting him for our needs every day.

To be authentic in our faith walk so that people will know that we are followers of Jesus and “not a fan”.

And we want to show our kids too.

We have added a nightly meal time devotional which felt weird at first but it’s getting easier.

Because the middle two kids can read we get them to help and they seem to genuinely enjoy the conversation.

I enjoy hearing their answers and am not missing any tales of Lego characters or who got a “yellow” at school.

We just added a weekly board game night which if you know my hubby at all this is almost close to pulling out teeth.

Perhaps he doesn’t appreciate my mad skills playing candy-land?
Whatever the case  the kids love it.

I would have to say that real change started after my hubby and I attended a bible study at church called  not a fan “ by Kyle idleman

This is the first study in a long time that crawled under our skin and kick started our faith into a place neither one of us had been in a long time.

Our quiet time with God has increased and we are becoming more aware of changes that we need to make to draw into a deeper and closer relationship with him.

We are tithers even when it was sporadic but we never gave it a second thought if we were putting the money where he wanted us to.

We just put it our envelope in the plate and pass it to the next person sitting in the pew beside us.

But when your intentional about listening to God and putting the money where he wants it to go change happen. Even if you can’t see it at first.

We are stepping out in faith in areas of our lives that has surprised a few of our closest friends but that’s ok.

It surprised me too.

Trusting isn’t always easy but that’s something he’s working the kinks out of too.

We have changed our prayers and are believing God for an amazing work opportunity here in the city.
We are believing he will be able to stay home.
No more traveling for work.
And we took it a step further.
One of my husbands dreams has been to open his own company so we took a leap of faith and opened one believing he will get hired on as a private contractor and his business will be off and running.

We have had a lot of encouragement along the way but there have been those who believe they are a “voice of reason” and have been more discouraging than encouraging.

Who’s to say where this will end up. Where we will be at the end of this year? Or even a year from now?

That’s the funny part when you’re a follower. We are going to say things and do things that will seem foolish.
We are going to believe things that are controversial and against what the world says.

I have already lost friends over comments that made on Facebook because my views and opinions are different from theirs. I’m okay with that.

We will follow where He leads even if the door isn’t quite open yet.

For now we wait in the hallway.

Enjoying Him and each other.
Exactly where I am supposed to be.

Learning from hackers

hack·er
ˈhakər/
noun
1.
a person who uses computers to gain unauthorized access to data.
synonyms: cybercriminal, pirate, computer criminal, keylogger, keystroke logger; More
informal
an enthusiastic and skillful computer programmer or user.
2.
a person or thing that hacks or cuts roughly.

Have you ever noticed how the media glamorize the shenanigans hackers?

Most good TV shows and movies will have at least one character who specializes in computer hacking.

Can’t track the bad guy?
she can!
need to know what they’re planning on doing next?
He already knows and is sending the location out to you now.

But what about in real life?

I’m not just speaking for myself here but I’m not ashamed to admit that I have cheered when I have learned that a group of hackers has taken down an evil corporation revealing a closet full of ugly skeletons.

I’m not saying that their methods are something that I approve of but let’s be honest, they get the job done.

But when a hacker goes after one of “my own” I’m left scratching my head more confused.
What’s the reasoning behind it?

What could be gained by taking out a mommy blogger?
How threatening were her adorable valentine crafts? Or her recipes?
Or her tutorial for making liquid chalk?
Am I the only one left confused?

For the last few days I have been glued to my iPhone reading post after post as one of my fellow mommy bloggers struggles to regain control of her sites.

First her entire website was “mirrored” by a Hacker whose sole purpose was to siphon traffic away from her blog to theirs.

Then she discovered that several of her posts including her pictures were stolen by another mommy bloggers who shamelessly claimed the content “to be her own” and when asked to remove the content kicked up a fit.

Umm no, plucking it off Pinterest doesn’t make it your own.

Then my fellow mommy blogger lost everything.

All her posts and pictures to a hacker who brazenly flaunts his “victories” over Facebook.

Seriously, he lists each  of his hacks and displays them like cheap awards.
no matter how many people reported his page “it doesn’t violate any of Facebook’s terms” so they won’t remove it.
Confusing right?

Show a picture of a momma nursing her baby and they will punt you faster than you can say “pacifier” but slap a country name in front of the word “hacker” and they turn a blind eye.

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Watching her go through all of this has really opened my eyes.

It’s shown me once again that there is an ugly side to blogging. A side no one really wants to talk about.

It had bothered me so much that I have spent the last couple of days re-evaluating why I’m crazy enough to even want to blog in the first place.

I wish I was sitting next to you sharing a cup of coffee.
Am I the only one who thinks it’s so much easier to share your heart when your face to face?
Life happens face to face.
Not screen to screen.
So let’s pretend we’re sitting in a coffee shop chatting.
I hope that you know that I am being transparent &real.
That the words you see on the pages show you my heart.
Even when they seem random.
I want you to catch a glimpse of who I am.
What interests me. What I’m worried about or brings me to smile.
I write this blog to share tid bits of my life.
I love cooking.
LOVE it.
But I’m not a foodie blog.
I love crafting.
LOVE it but I’m not a DIY craft blog.
I love reading other blogs.
And leaving comments on their posts.
But,if it’s something that not true to what I believe I am not going to tell you how great a post it is.

I hope my readers feel the same when they comment on my posts.

I love entering draws and winning stuff.
But,I’m only going to support giveaways for products I would use or want for myself.
I’m still going to stick with what feels truer to who I am.
I’m not a journalist.
I will misspell words, make grammatical errors and litter a post with slang.
I type the way I speak.
I want my posts to capture real memories.
Adventures with four is my sharing place.
My venting place.
My “be” who I am place.
My live life and share life place.
In 20 years it won’t matter how many recipes I shared or giveaways I blogged about.
What will matter most is capturing snapshots of my babies as they grow up.
One day at a time.
Are willing to walk with me one day at a time?
Now having said that I started to think.
What if I was the one who was hacked?
What If I was the one who had logged in only to discover that my entire blog was scrubbed clean and instead of my content I faced a stark black screen and a scrolling taunt that I had been hacked.

Ever post I wrote and photo I took gone.

How would I feel?

What would I do? Would I know what to do?

I’m sure that I am not the only blogger that automatically assumes everything I write Has been protected on some level or at least saved. Right? I’m not so sure.

I didn’t even know how to back up my blog until a few days ago and I have been blogging for years.

When I made the switch from blogger to WordPress One of the first things I needed to find a web host that would import everything over for me.
I pay my fees and understood that they would “take care of me” so I didn’t give it a second thought.
Rookie mistake. I may know how to “export” my blog and save it to my own personal computer but do I know what to do with the information next?
And where do I go to find that out?

Her experience had taught me a couple of valuable “take aways”.

* back up your posts and if you don’t know how to find out! If you use a web domain that auto backs up find out how often they do.

* keep a hard copy of all your photos and another watermarked copy online so if you need to replace a blog photo you already have it saved.

* change your passwords regularly.
For everything. Make sure not to reuse your passwords.

Blogging has been an awesome learning experience but beside protecting myself I need to remember that life happens away from the screen.
For every new experience there are lessons to be learned even if that lesson comes via a hacker.

As for my friend she still trying to protect everyone else and has asked that we don’t leave comments on her personal Facebook page or blog about what is happening because she is worried that we will be targeted next.

I’m pretty small potatoes.

She has an entire team behind her helping her working around the clock to retrieve all of her photos and years worth of posts.

She will be back.

Stronger and smarter too just you wait and see…

Don’t be afraid to make a mess

Looking for ways to help your preschooler explore their world?
Toddlers are natural explorers and love learning about the world around them.

Sensory bins a great way to encourage learning and will keep your little ones engaged while developing new skills.

They are super easy to make and budget friendly too.

Don’t be afraid to let your little ones get messy!

Our first sensory box:

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I picked up the plastic bin with lid for just under eight dollars and filled it with:
*chickpeas
*split green beans
*black beans
*Romano beans
*pot barley
*bag of decorative stones.

I also purchased some new construction vehicles to create our “dumping and pouring” sensory bin.

Two toddlers can play comfortably with the size of this bin and when play is over the bin slides under the bed for perfect storage.

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I also found this great Math manipulative over at the measured mom (And it’s free too!!) which we used to extend our play.

Do your kids enjoy sensory tubs? What’s their favorite ingredients?