Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankful Thursday ✽ Happy Thanksgiving

It's been a wonderful day. Not without it's difficult moments, for it's still just a day on earth, of course. Some sickness, some bumps and bruises, broken washers and mistakes have all been included in our Thanksgiving. But the beauty of Thanksgiving isn't that it's a day when everything goes completely right, and we say, oh how wonderful is a break from our daily life filled with woe. No, the beauty of Thanksgiving is that no matter what happens, it's existence reminds us to give thanks for what God has blessed us with, no matter what may seem to go wrong, or how rough things may be. And it gives us a wonderful excuse -or reminder, whichever you want to consider it- to spend time with those we love <3.

In between reading Thanksgiving story read-alouds, baking, and eating goodies together with my family today, I'm trying to take time to dwell on the grace and mercy of the Lord in all the blessings he has given me this past year. This year... it didn't go like we expected. It especially didn't go as we would have hoped going into it. We still don't understand why some of the things we went through had to happen. But even these circumstances have been used for good and have brought hope with them. And through this trying year, the Lord has upheld us. I'm going to sit down to a table tonight around which will be ten of the people I love most in the world, and we'll have plenty of good food with which to nourish our bodies, and we'll have memories to look back on, and be making new memories together, as well. We'll clean up this big mess all this cooking creates, and then we'll gather in the living room to decorate our Christmas tree, with ornaments that directly point to Jesus, and we'll discuss their meaning.

I've also tried to make some time to text each of the people outside my family I care about most today, because I believe this day is the perfect time to remind people that we are thankful for them, as well. It's funny that I've often said it's a bit lonelier here then it was last time we lived here.. which is true, I don't have as many local friends. But as I was texting the people that I most especially wanted to know I was thinking of them; family, best friends, people who have gone out of their way to bless me this past year; I was reminded again of how blessed I have been with wonderful, encouraging, beautifully caring friends, even if they aren't very close travel-wise. And those were just the people I could text! There are some people at the churches I volunteer at and, yes, even our church that I still feel rather new to, that deserve thanks for the ways they have blessed us this past year as well, if I had only had their number. I've been immensely blessed with the people God has put in my life! And I am also thankful for you blog readers. Some of you are becoming friends to me as well, and thank you for caring about me and what is going on in my life!

Above all I am thankful for my Father in Heaven, His love for me, His patience with my slow-to-learn heart, and His rest for the weary spirit. And I'm thankful for a Savior who walks alongside us with such marvelous love, that He would give Himself over to death, that we need not live without Him.

"Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
I'll praise the mount I'm fixed upon it
Mount of thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I come
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above."

"I  will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD." -Psalm 116:17

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Coffee Filter Leaves ✽ Yarn Pumpkins

A few weeks ago, I planned to spend my Saturday crocheting and listening to a documentary. Then Mama and Daddy took Andrew on his belated birthday zoo trip, and Josiah was distraught at being left at home without Mama... so we browsed Pinterest together for a few minutes, and then I gathered up a few supplies we had sitting around the house and we started crafting together instead!

The first thing we did was make coffee filter leaves, inspired by the Artsy Mama blog...

Josiah colored his entire coffee filter, then went over the whole thing again with a black marker... several times. It was so wet BEFORE we sprayed it that it was ripping, and you could barely see any color! But after we sprayed it, all the color came back up to the top?! albeit muted. We used parchment paper over the pan, just because I didn't want Mama's pans discolored. And we set the coffee filters to dry on paper towels because I didn't want the table stained (Emmi saved her napkin because it was just "so pretty"... haha!). I was soooooo careful; there was even paper under everybody's coffee filters so it wasn't a problem if they went over the edge, because I didn't want Mama coming back home to her furniture rainbow colored because I decided to be fun for once ;). Also, washable markers are nice, otherwise her baby may have ended up discolored too ;). Haha!

Of course, they had to dry - for hours, because some small people (::cough, cough:: Joey) were so heavy handed with the markers and water, that they were soaking, haha. And so after supper I traced this cute little leaf template Tori made me onto one of them with permanent marker... three times, because if I placed it perfectly, that's how many I could get out of each filter. And I picked it up to move it and work on another... and realized with horror that I had forgotten to put something under it, and the permanent marker had bled through with every. single. stroke.

Rubbing alcohol works wonders to get marker off the table, for your information. Haha! And three sheets of paper under the coffee filters steers clear of accidents. And I DID tell Mama about the table. I'm just glad I didn't have to tell her with it destroyed, ha...

Then we had to cut alllllll those leaves. Children's scissors work better than regular scissors on coffee filters... I found that out on the last coffee filter, of course. I should have asked Tori for a simpler template ;). But they were so cute when they were done! And now they are hung up over our closet door, and they make me happy, but you don't get a picture "in use" because our closet needs cleaned and one of the doors is down for repairs ;). It was interesting that, although they were just random color "clouds", Mama could tell which filter was who's! Tori asked why I didn't make they use fall colors... she's like "pinks?". So now I'm a stinker and point out every pink leaf I see, hahaha!

While we waited for the leaves to dry, we made yarn pumpkins! We used some of my gift cards as the wrapping card. I thought I lost either five bucks or a pumpkin for a couple minutes, because it was wrapped in there so tight that I couldn't get it off, haha! But it eventually cooperated ;). These were MUCH less hands on for the supervisor than the leaves were (I was able to clean up our leaf mess while they worked), but they seemed to go over well, anyway... everyone wanted to make another! I walked into the church I volunteer at last week, and everybody was making some of these. They curled the pipe cleaner into vines, though, instead of twisting it into a stem, and it was cute, so I think we'll do that next time :).

What are some simple but fun crafts you've done that you would suggest I try with my little crafting buddies next :)? Have you ever made coffee filter leaves? Because they really are gorgeous!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Tis Grace is Needed ✽ Grace Alone

When darkness falls, the road grows dim,
And all around is dread of sin,
Hope and confidence becomes small and few.
Yet when Christ the Savior draws and cleanses,
'Tis at this moment, grace shines through.

When confidence runs sure and deep,
Self assurances cause grateful hearts to sleep,
And blinded hearts turn from the throne-
His mercy piercing through the shroud convinces,
Tis grace is needed; grace alone.

Through paths of sunshine, moon or shadow,
whether broken heart or joy defines the hour;
Christ's sacrifice, his love, free gift to me
Of righteousness, undeserved, on me bestowed,
Makes grace my only, worthy, lifelong plea.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no man may boast." -Ephesians 2:8-9

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thankful Thursday ✽ I Redesigned My Blog!

"What I need is a more grateful heart to the giver of every good and perfect gift." -Stonewall Jackson

Thankful today for... paper and pen, and nicely put together to-do lists (even if they mock me for how much I thought I could handle in a day, haha...) - that Daddy shared his photoshop kit with me, because I seriously use it all the time - for my laptop that I use to run my Etsy, my blog, and to keep up with all my long distance friends - for my bed, with it's new blue comforter and even newer blue sheets (I've wanted blue since I was ten, haha! But then I really liked some purple ones we found when Mama and Daddy bought our own house 8 years ago, so... yeah, this is a long time dream come true ;)...) - Daddy finding my fall outfits in the garage (that will teach me to switch out seasonal clothes... haha!) - a visit from Daddy's family last week - a working vacuum cleaner - lessons from the old testament - the special needs respite programs churches around here hold - nutritious food - "Anne of Avonlea" - natural hair cleaning methods - laughter - my water tumblers - salted caramel - to have finally posted my October wrap up post (Tori very correctly said, I might as well start November's... oh, it's been going for a week now, but it will probably still be late ;)...) - my new blog design :)!

 Soooooo, did anybody catch the new blog design yesterday :)?!!! If you haven't been around for very long, you might not know that I used to blog at "Home Life", rather than "Forget Not His Benefits". That blog was started November 3rd, 2006, and went through sooooo many changes and phases. And it's early years are honestly laughable now, but everyone starts somewhere ;). Some things, some personal preference and some due to unfortunate circumstances, made me decide to start afresh four and a half years ago, and I designed my new blog completely around an online blog background template, planning to never change it again.


This summer, it grew legs and disappeared. Actually, I think the host site did something to it. But either way, I was distraught. My never redesigned blog was going to need some major redesigning, because I can't even find the old background anymore. It was left blank and ugly. Did I mention I've never liked the thought of a plain white blog? My own blog became one with no consent of mine overnight.

At first I though it was a glitch, like the few months prior when I could NOT view my own blog home page, even though y'all could. But it never came back, and I realized that I had to do something. I took down my header, because my family picture was outdated and it looked pathetic as the only thing designed on the page. I added some flower emojis just to center my title, but it aggravated me that on anything but my computer, it warped it so it wasn't really centered. It was a temporary fix, because I didn't know what I wanted to do with it. And then I kept blogging, and realized the flower emojis were actually showing up as my name, and it looked tacky. So I decided it HAD to get finished, and when I thought about it, you know what? I decided I like having a white blog. It might not be the cutest blog background ever... but it looks clean and neat, and it matches my mobile version. It doesn't look seasonal, and it can't disappear on me (if it does, my whole blog is gone, so I have bigger issues... hmmm, should back it up again...) And the best part to me was that none of my pictures clash with my background! I know that sounds silly, but it's the one thing about any blog design I've had that I have always hated, haha!

Sooooo, I designed the new header yesterday! I know it's very simple, but I actually like it better than the more involved ones I have done before, and it's in my favorite font, which is fun ;). I changed up my description, and my sidebar. My labels are down at the bottom now, where they can still be helpful if you want them, but they don't clutter what you are stuck looking at. Annnnd, I updated my "About Me" page (just added a new family picture, that if you've been around for a couple weeks you've already seen, and updated my age; hi, new followers, I'm actually 20, haha!). So, I just wanted to mention that. *eyes my screed* you have got to get better at the length of time it takes you to mention something, Bri...

And I was going to comment on the 18,500 pageviews y'all have given me, but it's already gone up, so oh well ;). Haha! Thanks for caring about my little home on the internet <3. Each of you readers bring me a smile!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

October Review ✽ Hello November

Happenings (in pretty much no certain order, because none of it is connected anyway... just wanted to be honest, hahaha!):

-First, some Noah pictures for your viewing pleasure, because he brightens anything up...

Because I love the way he actually listens to me and 
carefully holds his banana with both hands so it won't 
break while he snacks while waiting for breakfast to finish
cooking, and his little feet are one of the cutest things ever <3. 

Because he utterly and completely fell in love with "puntins"
when Mama and I took the little boys to Hobby Lobby, and
it is literally the only round thing he has seen that he KNOWS
is different than a ball, heeheehee...
And because we listen to music together far less than we
used to, but it's still one of our favorite things to do <3.

And also, he found out that "balloon" has an L in it, so he no longer calls them "Boon", but, "Ballelelelelleooooon", hahahaha! Mama and I almost couldn't take it, it was worth wasting time standing still in Walmart just to stay by the balloon to hear it over and over, hahaha!

 -Tori celebrated her sweet sixteen birthday <3. We had a little party for her, and she and Mama went downtown to browse arts and cute shops! Tori is our artistic comedian... our sensitive no-nonsense supporter... rising to the occasion whether you need a laugh, some strategic witty affirmation, or a leaf template draw, hahha... or if she feels your Facebook feed or Blog needs a little livening up... don't worry, she has you covered there too, hahahaha! #chickenwings And, she blogs about her art off-and-on here, if you want to take a look ;)....

-We welcomed some adorable new family members... meet Misty & Dawn.
Misty is slightly more clumsy because she's prone to not being able to reach as far as she thinks, spends most of her time preening, and has an adorable little "necklace" around her neck that just happens to include a heart shaped spot. She was formerly considered to be the bolder of the two, but that wore off quickly, as Dawn got over the change and began to show her true colors, haha!
Even though Dawn's wings are still closely clipped, she can get up such a wind that she blows half of their loose feathers out of the cage, spends most of her time eating, and she's got the perfect light blue and grey color scheme. Definitely the more aggressive bird... but also the warmest to people (??? Or just isn't too afraid to show her disgust with her beak???). Now that she's figured out her home, she's nice to Misty, though, so that's a plus!
They both a.l.w.a.y.s. snack with us at quiet time. If we make popcorn or cookies or something and sit at the kitchen table to play a game, two minutes later we look up and they are at their respective feeders. Whether it's because it's finally quiet in the house, or what, I don't know, but I think it's just adorable. And I love their little noises when I get downstairs early in the morning to read my bible. They run to the top of the cage when they see me, though, so I'm not sure the feeling is mutual ;). They are most skittish in the mornings, I think because the noise level goes from 0 to 1... and then to an 11 within a minute, hahaha! Their first week here, they were getting used to noise in the day, but Andrew got up one morning and opened the dryer door louder than usual, and they pretty much fell off the perch, hahaha...

This is their definition of "exercise", hahaha...

 Um, I guess I was thirsty. That is the only reason for 
having so many full cups at one time. It was ridiculous, hahaha!

-Josiah went to the dentist, and he let them clean all his teeth without a single qualm! This was a big step for the little guy, since this miniature grandpa who isn't afraid of anything (except bugs in the bathroom and sneezing - poor allergy tortured little guy!) cried the whooooole time Peter got his teeth cleaned this spring, and it took Mama and I together working with him just to allow them to count his teeth and take a quick 2-minute look to determine outward oral health. Plus, he just looks cool in sunglasses, hahaha! He also looks adorable in sunglasses that he's taken the lenses out of, and it almost makes me wish he needed real glasses, although not really because I wouldn't truly wish that on somebody, hahaha. I did tell Tori though... it's almost a given, with the fact that my eyes are so bad, that I'll have a couple children with glasses, and I'm convinced it'll actually be the cutest thing ever. Am I mean?

-Abbi watched a five minute video of a rundown of teddy bear facts, and became OBSESSED with Theodore Roosevelt. She started a whole research project on him; devoured books on him, looked for facts about him and teddy bears, kept her findings cataloged, shared snippets of his life with one of us every time we turned around, even added his birth date to our family calendar, hahaha! We were all like, "Who has a birthday on the 27th?...." and someone eventually said it in front of Abbi, and she was like all offended we could have forgotten when she answered that it was for Teddy Roosevelt, haha. So Mama picked up some Teddy Grahams and let them have a little "party" to celebrate Theodore Roosevelt's day of birth ;). (Also; Abbi and Josiah's eyes glare terribly and somewhat scarily in pictures, hahaha! You'd think they were cats!)

-Daddy and I went in for our "yearly" eye exams.
The optometrist to Daddy: "So, after what we've just went through, I'm going to guess that these glasses do nothing for you."
"No, they are terrible, they have magnification and I was told I have 20/20 vision."
Optometrist: *studies them a little more* "Hmmm, that is a really random prescription."
*Daddy doesn't need magnification*
The optometrist to me: "Would you mind telling me what reason they gave for giving you bifocals?"
"They didn't give me a real reason... they just said it would be easier to adjust to them?"
"Hmmm... we'll talk about that."
*I don't need bifocals*
Which I am actually thrilled about, because, this means
1. It's just a good sign my eyes are adjusting well (assuming I really did need two visions before, which I am going to assume, since three different prescriptions from two different people called for them ;).)
2. ...okay, I frivolously am thrilled that it opened up new possibilities for the frames I can get, haha. See, I've always have to steer towards larger lens glasses, because I needed room for my two vision centers. Now, I only have the one; so I can look at frames that formerly would have been too narrow!
Also, a few years ago my eyes were as bad as -5 something, I think, and my left eye was worse (you could TELL my left lens was thicker than my right!). Now, they are only -4 something, and they are BOTH the same prescription :)!!! You will NEVER find me without glasses (my prescription, even improved, is still so bad that they will only give me Polyglass glasses, because it's the only way to cut down on how thick I need them, hahaha...), and I'm guessing the improvement I see from here on out will be smaller than it has been so far, just because I'm guessing the first few years would see the most changed, and it's been four years now. But I'm just kind of thrilled I'm down to a single prescription for all distances and both eyes!
I get chatty about glasses, okay? They changed my life. Sorry... Until you know what it is to be amazed that tree bark has so much texture at all, let alone from all the way inside, it's hard to explain the way it touches everything about your life, haha!

- We celebrated reformation day with a lot of little games and treats this year. Joey won some "Counsel of Worms" Gummy Worms for "nailing" the theses closest to the center of the door ;). Then we kicked off our Christmas holiday with Christmas music while chili cooked, and our customary first Christmas season movie night. That last bit was started to keep the house quiet so trick-er-treaters wouldn't know we were home... it's stuck, but thankfully we don't have many people stop by in the cul-de-sac! And Christmas is a lovely time of year, y'all <3. I'm so glad it's back ;).

-I blogged all. month. long... about selling on Etsy, of all things ;). It was a really neat thing to finish well... and I think it was definitely worthwhile. But I'll be choosing a far less demanding/narrow topic next year, hahaha! And won't work on my Etsy SEO at the same time. But, it helped me get back "into" blogging, and so if nothing else, I'm thrilled with that :). I was concerned about doing Write31 and then the GiveThanksx7 challenge back to back (the very reason I skipped Write31 last year), but KBR didn't hold the challenge this year. While I was disappointed, it's actually been wonderful to do it through my journal instead, so I'm confident it was for the best. And I'm glad I went ahead and did Write31, since the one reason I would have given it up ended up not existing! Also- I developed a ton of future Write31 themes, as I moaned about how I should have picked ANY other topic (because I felt too lazy some days to focus on putting together such technical details correctly), so I'm good for years ;). Hahaha! But I specifically chose this topic this year because I didn't want one I'd have to be actually emotionally open in, and it worked for that... so it was all good ;). It really was fun, now that I'm past that day 18-23 stretch, hahaha!

Laughing at:

As I make a crock pot meal, every time:
I'm so tired of the meal not cooking, and at least once it was because someone unplugged it behind me, sooooo... everybody knows what I'm doing now ;)...

*Calmly playing Monopoly with older siblings* -like, "hadn't talked for a few minutes except to pay rent" sort of calm.
*Emmi lets out a fake/dramatic OUCH!!!! from the other room*
Sister across the table, awake and animated all of the sudden: "FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!!!"
Glad that was as fake (but also just as dramatic) as the ouch, hahhaha....

*Our bathroom door won't unlock anymore*
Nothing like being gotten out of bed in the morning because a sibling didn't know and now they are stuck and you are the only one home who had any sort of success prying it open the night before, hahaha!

*Mama talking about how she always wins Monopoly*
Mama: "Unless Mom played, then she won."
Andrew: "It must be a mom thing."
Mama and I: "It's all that taking care of finances."
Andrew: "Hey Bri, get married and have kids so maybe you can win. You usually lose."

Daddy: "All Andrew could do was pay attention in the game. He couldn't pay money, because he had none."

Heard from the kitchen:
"Oh, cool, we can replace the boy's room door too. Daddy got two knobs!"
"Ummmm... you do know you need a door handle on BOTH sides of the door, right?..."
"Oh. Yeah..."

Peter, admiring the birds when they were first brought home: "Awww, they are scared. See? They're jiggling..."

Tori, standing right under the bird cage: *screams* "There is a bug!!!!!"
Birds: *screeching, scolding, flapping, terrified*
It was because Tori accidentally hit the cage when she jumped, but it sounded like it was because of the bug, haha. So Tori was like, "Sorry! Wait. You are BIRDS. EAT the bird!
....THE BIRD?!?!?!?! Hm, is that why we have two?
I meant eat the bug."

Josiah: "Ewwwww, Bri is making coffee with water in it!!!!"
And what else would I do?????

Bethi: "A'right, this could be bad for my future, but I'm 'onna do it."
I am relieve to say all she as doing was purchasing something in Monopoly (yes, we play it a lot), but it was concerning at first, hahaha!

*Tori and Andrew and I laughing in the boys room*
Bethi: *sails/crashes down the hall* "What'ch'a talkin' 'bout, huuuuuuuuhhhhh?!?!?!?"
Andrew: *jokingly locks the door before she can get in*
I collapsed laughing at this unexpected turn of events, and Bethi explains that "If you jiggle it just right it opens whether it's locked or not".
Guess that's why she said it needed replaced...

Tori: Ends up with four empty paper plates after trying to get somebody else to throw hers away.
Tori: Frisbee throws them all at once across the kitchen and gets three in the trash can.
I didn't know she could do that...


-"Hostage of the Nighthawk" and "The Runaway's Revenge" by Dave and Neta Jackson. More of the stories in that collection I was reading last month. I still have another one in the book I forgot I hadn't read yet until I was checking the titles and realized I still know nothing about John Paton ;)...

-The book of John and some of the Psalms.

-I finished "The Valley of Vision". But it's still on my shelf, because Mama gave me this copy because it was highlighted in (even though it said like new condition, haha), and I plan on starting it over as soon as I get caught up with all the things I'm trying to complete right now, because it is literally just that encouraging y'all.

-The KBR magazines ;). Has anybody noticed that these end up on my list more often than they come out (once a season)? They are worth the subscription, y'all!

Quotes I liked:

"Autumn; the year's last, loveliest smile." -William Cullen Bryant

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." -Lucy Maud Montgomery

"If God is preparing you to make an impact on this world for His Kingdom, chances are he will take you through a season of solitude.This is a season when you learn that you can't lean on anyone but Him for your confidence and when you gain the strength to stand alone even when no one stands with you." -Leslie Ludy

"Trust in Him at all times, oh people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our Refuge." - Psalm 62:8

The Shop:
-Well, I spent all last month blogging about the shop. Honestly, I'm glad to have a tiny break, hahaha! But...
-We held a giveaway for my Romans 12 canvas!

-The custom canvas continues to be my best seller. Who wants one to give as a Christmas gift ;)?
-I realized that most of the people who order my custom canvas also want the text customized... so I added that as an option in my shop!
-I took more pictures, and found EtsyRank. Yay!


*I hear a suspicious noise from upstairs*
"Josiah, come here!!!"
Josiah, sauntering downstairs like it was his decision, calm as a cucumber, he never could have been doing anything wrong, could he?...
"Josiah, are you playing with Andrew's (remote controlled) car up there?!??!"
Josiah, steady as anything: "No."
Well, he seems confident and sure... okay... "Alright, I just thought I heard it."
Josiah: "Oh, I was just... making the sound that it makes."
Josiah: *no longer looks as confident*

Um. My about me page was so outdated. And I just ran a major blogging event without giving it a thought. Ahh, well, such is the professionalism of me. *bangs head on my keyboard* hjdksrulbyuirbyieubryia

Grateful for:

-Our adorable little birds :).
-Getting to make some fall crafts with my younger siblings <3.
-All those who gave of themselves to make the truths of the bible known.
-The wonderful smells and temperatures and activities of fall!
-Sweet Tori!
-Christmas! Hahaha :).
-Monopoly ;).
-God's grace shown through preserving the saints of his kingdom.
-Hot cocoa.

"Bless the Lord, oh my soul... and all that is within me"...