Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas ✽ Joy to the World

"Happy day after Christmas, and merry rest of the year. Even though Christmas is over, the light of the world is still here!" -Matthew West

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." -Isaiah 9:6

"So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come Peasant, King to own Him
The King of Kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary." - "What Child is This?"
"And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them." -Luke 2:8-20 

I hope your Christmas was filled with that same wonder that all who heard that glorious news that very first Christmas, whenever it was, experienced... that awe and hopefulness. But more importantly, I hope it was full of that belief and joy that those shepherds experienced... confidence in the Savior so deep, that they couldn't wait until morning, and wouldn't keep silent, until all those they could tell that wondrous news to had been given the gift of hearing. May we, like Mary, treasure up all the details that came together perfectly in this event, all the fulfilled prophecies, all the humble believers God used, and ponder the true worth and meaning they hold for us <3. 

Our Christmas was spent at home, enjoying the day together. We made a yummy dinner, watched some Christmas movies/documentaries, celebrated the last evening of advent, and opened gifts... lots of gifts, because there are a lot of us, and it's hilarious how long it takes to get through us all, haha. I'm hopeful that I'll get to share some little bits of our day in a future post, but I make no promises, because every year I say I will, and every two out of three years I end up not. But there were some hilarious and adorable little moments that I'd love to memorialize, soooo....

Each year, I tell myself that I need a break - as soon as Christmas is over, I'm not doing a thing. I'm exhausted, I want to look back at memories instead of being worried I'll fail somebody... and I want to read. Because no time of year makes me feel more like reading, and no time of year is so impossible to get around to it in.

But each year... December 26th comes along, and I am thoroughly cleaning closets, drawers, folders, boxes, and papers. Because I've done nothing un-Christmas-y, certainly not cleaning optional things, for weeks, and my new gifts must not be desecrated by being placed with mess ;). I should just start scheduling it in... It's funny, but as much as I need a break by the 20th, I am totally ready to get caught up on life by the 26th, and relish it, haha. Over the next week I'll answer all my emails and letters (although I'm far less behind on these than most years?!), and I usually do a blog post... which is where this blog post, complete with Christmas chocolate and hot chocolate in my very own Christmas mug as a gift from Bethi <3, comes in ;). With all "my" space clean, all my correspondence caught up, and all my extra to-dos for the month having all been Christmas focused, THEN I finally really get around to taking my "break" (and enjoy it three times as much), which I try to take simultaneously with an internet break, and fill with lots and lots of reading, bible study, and for-fun creativity... oddly enough, this creative time often ends up being art of some sort, even though I'm not good at it and don't do a ton the rest of the year. This year, I got gel pens and a bible study with lots of bible journaling ideas sprinkled in it... and so, I'm quite confident that art will once again be the elective of my choice ;). This year we older four are also going to spend a few days with my aunt before the new year!
But, before I get busy catching up and then vanish off the face of the earth for a currently undetermined time (I'm having some issues with my wrists/hands after all the non-stop crocheting, and so my usual "yay, I'm going to stay off the internet!" is turning into, "I hope if I don't pick up a crochet hook or my phone or turn on my computer for a while, I can get rid of this"... haha.), I wanted to share something very special with y'all, and to ask if you could share it with others you think may be interested in helping. Each year, Reece's Rainbow, a special needs adoption ministry, holds a Christmas blessing fundraiser through December. The goal is to get all the children on the "Angel Tree" a $1,000 grant. This grant helps with their adoption costs, and at times can be the only way that families can commit to a child they would bring into their home without hesitation were the cost not an issue. Many of the children are over that $1,000 dollar wall, and some are significantly higher, which is a joyful thing to witness! But there are still many children who's accounts are under this goal, and only 5 days left.

So, if it's something that the Lord lays on your heart to help with, would you mind chipping in with even jut a few dollars to one of these precious little ones? It adds up to such a big difference in the grand scheme of things. God takes those thousands of "just a few dollars" and uses it to bring about the ability for a family to take these precious and needy souls into their home, where their life is changed forever and they can experience love, for many for the first time. 

You can go here to make a direct donation to a child's account. If you'd rather get yourself something fun with your Christmas money, you can take a peak at my shop and 50% of all the proceeds from all my sales the rest of the month are going to go into the account of the child with the smallest sized grant come December 31st. Thanks to the purchases several made purchasing Christmas presents, we were already able to make a donation to one of the little ones, and it was such a blessing to me to know that those "little dollars" that would have been spent anyway were adding up to bless a child in need! So, if those purchasers see this post... thank you, from the bottom of my heart! I may have "made" the donation -but you made it possible! It was a beautiful display of working together to bring about God's glory!

Add This to Your Blog!

 And if you can't make even a small donation... could you share this in anyway you can? Somebody you know might be able to help. If you share this, something could even happen to bring one of these children to the attention of their future family. You never know what a small act can bring about <3. And no matter what else you can do, please say a prayer for the little ones this organization helps. "The prayer of a righteous man produces much", and these children do need so much. Maybe the prayers and funds and exposure they get this Christmas can be the means that have them in a loving home next Christmas <3.

Rejoicing in Hope,

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas/Winter Tag ✽ Only Two More Weeks Til Christmas!

How are we so close to Christmas?! I'm enjoying the season, but feel like it's been really short... I'm glad it happens every year ;).

I'm here to fill out the Christmas/Winter Tag started by Belise from Sparkle for Jesus, thanks to Maddy from Little Bit of Sunshine!

The rules:

Thank The Person Who Tagged You.

Thank you again, Maddy! This looks like so much fun!

Answer The Questions And Tag At Least Three Other People.

Yes :)! I love the time to remember our Savior's gift of love to us, the chance to spoil those around me with some extra love, the cozy smells and sights, and the time together to do things (such as look at Christmas lights) that you can't do the rest of the year! We celebrate Advent every year, and read Christmas books together, and watch Christmas movies and drink lots of hot chocolate ;). I love Christmas!
Our family celebrates St. Nicholas Day each year. We make a special breakfast, open a few gifts, read about the legend of St. Nicholas, and either go to the zoo and look at the lights there, or make some hot chocolate and take a drive around the nearby neighborhoods and look at the house lights. VA's lights are awesome... everybody goes all out for the "Tacky Light Drive", and the involved neighborhoods are SO bright and colorful at night! This was our substitute for the zoo while in VA, but we enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it here, as well, after we moved back to SC... the first attempt was a laughable disaster, haha. Let it suffice to say, we went too early in the season... but besides that, an entire. neighborhood. lost power as we got to it (of course one of the ones that was supposed to be really good). Hahaha! We went again later that season, and it went much better, so we tried again this year, and had a really fun time!

3. WHEN IT COMES TO WEATHER, 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, 1O DEGREES?
Ehhhhh...  well, 70 degrees does NOT feel like Christmas. But if it gets too cold, I freeze, because I'm cold in the summer anyway half the time, and my family just stares at me in disbelieve when I randomly shiver. So, maybe 60-30 degrees? Because starting at 30 we get our small chance of snow ;). One year (2009?) it snowed 8 inches here in SC... that was a red-letter year for us, haha!

Snoooooowwwww. My Gramma got snow while we got rain the other day, and rain in summer and spring is beautiful, soothing, and delightful... but rain falling on the month's dead leaves and making everything brown soggy just makes me sad. Snow is so much prettier at this time of year! And we take fun snow days when it falls, since that's so seldom, so that adds to the appeal ;). 

"Winter Day" to me implies blankets, hot chocolate, a book, some knitting, and soups, whether snow is involved or not. So obviously, I would choose to stay home, haha!

I've been to the mall once in the past 18 months or more, haha! I would definitely choose a walk in the park, with people I love and good conversation! (You really can't hear each other in a mall...)

Don't make me choose. I can't.... Lol. I like "It's a Wonderful Life", and "The Fourth Wise Man" (though sometimes we save that for closer to Resurrection), and "The Christmas Shoes" still makes me cry. The "Muppets Christmas Carol" also holds a very special part in our traditions, as it's been our Christmas Eve movie for as long as I can remember. And VeggieTales "The Star of Christmas"... haha!

Y'all, I can't choose for this one either! The first night of Advent? Meeting up with family? Walking the zoo? Making Christmas candies? Actually, that tradition really sped by last year. There are so many of us working on them now, that it doesn't take long for all the treats to be knocked out... kind of like when we went apple picking last year, and because there are so many of us, we had picked a many as we could use within ten to fifteen minutes. It was sad, haha.
I'm laughing right now because we just watched "Christmas With a Capital C" last night, while we stayed up and ate ice cream until I was shivering, per tradition, and yeah. Lol. I say Merry Christmas, and I hear the chair rant from this movie every.time. I hear Happy Holidays ;).

We get up and eat cinnamon rolls while we watch a documentary on the Christmas Story together. The rest of the day is then spent making dinner and opening presents, because we typically open the gifts one at a time, youngest to oldest, in rounds... and that takes... a lot of time, hahaha!!! But it's really fun to get to experience it with each person, rather than rushing through it thinking only about yourself ;).

I love so many Christmas Songs... "Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel", "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day", "Once in Royal David's City", "Angels We have Heard on High"... but my favorite might be one we listen to from Todd Agnew's "Do you See What I See" CD (the one we listen to while putting up the tree), "In the First Light"...

"In the first light of a new day no one knew he had arrived
Things continued as they had been while a newborn softly cried
But the heavens wrapped in wonder knew the meaning of his birth
In the weakness of a baby they knew God had come to earth

As his mother held him closely it was hard to understand
That her baby, not yet speaking, was the word of God to man
He would tell them of his kingdom but their hearts would not believe
They would hate him and in anger they would nail him to a tree

But the sadness would be broken as the song of life arose
And the firstborn of creation would ascend and take his throne
He had left it to redeem us but before his life began
He knew he'd come back, not as a baby, but as the Lord of every man

Hear the angels as they're singing on the morning of his birth
But how much greater will our song be when he comes again to earth
Hear the angels as they're singing on the morning of his birth
But how much greater will our song be when he comes to rule the earth!"

Have you noticed I'm not that great at choosing favorites yet? Cause yeah, I'm not. 

None, thanks. *sips the hot chocolate that I made specifically for doing this Christmas Tag.* Did you know Hot Cocoa is made with water and Hot Chocolate with milk? I think I might actually have like peppermint tea when I was younger, but I don't remember it very well, actually. Never had the other "peppermints", and I really don't care for "true" cocoa very much unless there's marshmallows.
 I'd like to tag my sister Tori from The Book Wyrm (!!!), Ashley from Precious Moments, and Grace Anne from Totally Graced to do the Christmas/Winter Tag next :)! It's so fun to see all the different answers and hear about everybody's different traditions and favorite moments!

(I just at this moment received another order for the music chalkboard in my shop. Again. I've got 4 going out this week... anyone else want one while I'm at it ;)? Lots of music lovers are getting a great gift this Christmas, if I do say so myself ;)...)

Bethi as she puts Noah to sleep: *plays really brisk, happy music*
Me: "Bethi, try something SOOTHING, like 'Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel" or something. It worked for me last time." *gives her a couple other options to choose from, because it always takes me two songs to see him asleep*
Bethi, 3 times in a row on different occasions: "Didn't work. He didn't go to sleep until I turned on (insert some brisk, happy song or another again)"
Me as I was finishing up this blog post: *turns on one instrumental version of "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel"... then another*
Noah: *asleep beside me before the second is over*
Love that silly guy <3. But why?! Lol! Personally, I think Bethi gets restless during the more soothing songs, and it keeps him awake, haha...

Have you filled out this tag? Share the link with me! What would the perfect snow day hold for you? What did you think of Tori's new blog :)?!??!?!! Go follow her for the best sarcastic jokes slipped in in the most natural way. It's wonderful.

Friday, December 8, 2017

November Review ✽ Hello December!


-Josiah composed some music...

-Tori invited Bethi, Andrew and I to join her in a three month bible reading challenge. Then Abbi invited herself ;) (and has done better than I have keeping up :P). I'm loving going through the bible from cover to cover again, and always enjoy it more when I have some accountability. Which I need just now, because. I am so behind. BUT, at least I'm reading far more than I was the couple months before! Just not as fast as my sibs, haha. I'll get there...

-As an extra Reformation day activity, we colored/designed illuminated letters, and wrote some poems (inspired by Martin Luther's penning of songs such as "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" ;).

-Daddy's family came to visit. Things are so loud, and hilarious, and memory filled when we all get together. Some of us laugh for days over the predicaments we get into trying to carry on four conversations at once. We had a pizza party, and the little boys gave a fashion show, since they were given some new clothes ;).

-I decided to do the GiveThanksx7 challenge that wasn't being held, in my journal. I was disappointed that it wasn't up this year, but knew that I woudn't have had time to really be involved this year, so it would work out better anyway... I ended up journaling 11 times and blogging 5, so, yeahhhhh, I'm betting that I would have been terribly uninvolved in an actual event this year, since I would have felt I had to make time to interact too. It worked out for the best, I suppose. But even the few days I was able to fit in were such a blessing to me, and I am so thankful for the encouragement to make time for this activity that even just having done it past years set up!

-The blog got a new design. And, according to my about page, I went from 18 to 20 overnight. Hi, I have aging super powers. (Or would that be the opposite, because if I age twice as fast as the rest of you, that might actually mean I was ill? I don't know. I guess it depends on if it ends after I'm an adult but before I'm actually old or not.)

-Mama made some curtains for our room, and I got adorable sheets that match the new spread we got this year, and I love it <3. Now, our closet door needs repaired, and I can finally hang up the picture frame I've been saving as the crowning finishing touch since before we moved in last year, hahaha!

-I got my new glasses <3!!! I love the frames, I'm still adjusting to the totally new prescription. So, we'll see. At least I'm not sick; I know a lot of people can get headaches and nausea from switching glasses, and I've actually never had that except the one time they actually messed my glasses up, so I am thankful for that!

-We had a Christmas decorating, family-only party ;). I loooove getting out the tree and seeing all the lights, and sipping hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music... Lots of Christmas music. It playing daily over here. I love it <3.

-We celebrated Thanksgiving with one child sick to their stomach, one child who's foot ended up bruised when a chair was set on it, and a washer that needed repaired. Despite these unexpected and tragically comic, the day was a great reminder to count blessings, and then ended on a really sweet note as we gathered in the living room to decorate the tree.

-We had our Christmas party with my Mama's family. It was wonderful <3. And we went to see the lights at the zoo with them. Not many animals are up that late at night, but it seems most years there is one animal exhibit that we find something interesting about. This year it was the bears; they were asleep literally RIGHT up against the glass, and they were so fluffy and furry and soft, I admit I wanted to pet one SOOOOOOO bad!!! I made sure Josiah got to see it, because he's still secretly best buds with "Popcorn". We looked at them for a couple minutes, and then as we walked away, Josiah told me he still liked Popcorn better. "I like Popcorn, too, but it was fun to see the real bears like Popcorn so close, wasn't it!?" I answered.
"Yes," he agreed... "...and scary." Poor thing!
By the way, I say secretly best buds, because loving a toy as much as he loves Popcorn is apparently deemed weak in his mind. Last night we went to look at Christmas lights, and the little girls and Noah each brought their special toy with them. Peter forgot his bear until we were all in the car and beginning to leave, haha. So I ran back in for him and got it, and noticed Josiah's bear laying on the floor, so I grabbed it up too. I opened the car door, and Josiah took one look and told me, "I didn't want to take my bear." Of course he didn't, that's a "little guy" thing to do, right? I should have known not to bother... "That's okay. I can hold him instead."
Josiah thirty seconds later: "I want my bear since he is in the car anyway." Yes, he never would have stooped to wanting him if I hadn't been silly and brought him without consulting him ;).
Josiah when I went to tell him good night a few hours later: "Bri, guess what? I'm not even scared anymore, even without a bear."
"I'm glad, buddy." *smiles inwardly at the fact that he might not need that bear to sleep in his own bed... but he's still hugging it regardless* They are all so different, it's adorable.

-My Aunt Amber let us know that they will have another little one joining their house next spring... another precious baby boy <3! James is just a doll, and they will be so close in age, it's really sweet!

-Our church held it's last service in the old worship facility; work has been finished on the new sanctuary in the front, after many months of work!

Laughing at:

Proof that our house is loud, but this doesn't keep us from sleeping:

Especially Josiah. That boy can go to sleep as well as Daddy... I'm beginning to wonder if he's not even faster. But again, per Josiah's "tough rules", sleep is for the weak, and so when we point out he was asleep, he lets us know, fighting to look as wide awake as possible, "I was just resting my eyes." Or, in the case of last night, blinking his eyes. For twenty minutes.

Me: "Goodnight Joey."
Joe: "JoSIAH."
*taken aback look* (Um, it had been too long since I used that one!!!) "No, Josiah."
.....and on and on...
Me: i have run out of nicknames. now what.
Josiah: "....you can call me hair-hair."
"Oooooookay, goodnight hair-hair..."
Me: *turns to Peter* "Good night chicken nugget." (This one started with Andrew, don't stare at me like that.)
Peter: "I'm not chicken nugget."
"Goodnight Flynn Nugget?" (What? That was Tori.)
Peter: "That is better."
Josiah: "Um. No. That is not better."

Me: *yawns*
Tori: *sad noise back*
Me: "... I yawned?..."
"Yeah, but it sounded sad."
"I'm actually not sad."
Bethi: "Instead of ba-room-ba-shhhhhh, there was a train noise."
Tori: "Bethi... there was no joke. Why do we need a ba-room-ba-shhhh noise?"
"Eh, I just pretended Bri made a joke, and so then there was a train."
Tori: "Life is bad when you have to pretend people are making jokes..."

Bethi made the PERFECT low bun while watching a movie... without pins, so it stayed for all of 2.4 minutes, until she moved. But I got a picture so she can always look back at what a wonderful hairstylist she is without even trying ;).


Andrew continues the tradition of the guy putting lights on the tree wrapping small boys up, the same tradition Daddy started years ago when Andrew was a little guy ;).

Noah, anytime he disagrees with anything: "Never! NEVER!!!"

Noah, after watching a movie trailer that left most of us with terribly mixed up thoughts, and no words as to what we might thing of this sequel: "Um. Blah." Me too, bud. Me too.

And through another trailer of the same movie:
Noah: *silent*
The camera pans over the ocean:
Noah: "I love it! Water!!!!"

Newsflash: Noah is no longer a baby, and is EXTREMELY animated now that he can talk so well.

Emmi constantly: correctly uses a long word in context that we had no idea she knew the meaning of.
Emmi as soon as she does so: "What does that word mean?"


-The Bible. Because I'm supposed to read ten chapters a day and have already gotten quite behind, so I'm reading the old testament pretty much every time I read.

-But also "An Old-Fashioned Girl", because even though it's not fall anymore and that was the only reason I was going to read it... now I was looking forward to it ;).

-Lots of blogs. Does that count?

Quotes I liked:

I'm going to pretend Christmas hymns count, because I'm currently obsessed, 'kay?

"So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come Peasant, King to own Him
The King of Kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe,
The Son,
Of Mary."
-"What is Child is This?", William Chatterton Dix 

"Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor does he sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men."
-"I Heard the Bells", Longfellow

"Oh little town of Jerusalem
Looks like another silent night
The Father gave his only Son
The Way, The Truth, the Life had come
But there was no room for Him in the world he came to save
Jerusalem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
The Savior of the world is dying on your cross today
Jerusalem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping."
-"While You Were Sleeping", Mark Hall

The Shop:

-There were lots of fun deals at Under The Tapestry this month. I participated in a discount for baby items, ran a Black Friday special and a Cyber Monday special, and all that good stuff! Plus, there is a clearance section in Under The Tapestry now!

These items found their forever homes...

My second favorite set of beaded bobby pins, because that grey looked stunning after it was entwined!

This chalkboard which I originally designed for a precious friend, and decided to take pictures of and list just cause I could... and, since then, is still my second best seller.

Another little turkey hat... last year I sold one in a preemie size, and I did so again this year, and <3 my heart.

My favorite ever self-designed bookmark. I LOVE the elegance of this one!

And there are more of each of these items, soooooo ;)....


Well, while writing this post, I accidentally said we celebrated Christmas instead of Thanksgiving, so I was kind of jumping the gun.

Do you remember when I mopped the floor and broke a peanut butter jar on it half an hour later this summer?
Well, I mopped the floor and then dropped a tub of sour cream on it 12 hours later this month. I am so predictable.

Trust me, there were more fails such as these. I'm just drawing a blank right now, lol. Even despite my Thankful lists and letters and blog posts this month, I feel like I remember less of the humor from this month than usual, even though I know I laughed often?!?!

Grateful for:

 (Yes, I know AND have been informed that this picture is terrible quality. But y'all. That little guy's face <3.

-My Granny, and how just sending her a text with heart emojis in her favorite color makes her day <3.
-Noah's little verbal self. It's sad he isn't a baby anymore... but he is a pretty priceless little stinker!
-Time to sit and write or read.
-Abbi's excitement to be reading through the bible with us.
-Knocking things off of my to-do list in preparation for it getting longer in December ;).
-Grace, Grace, God's grace!
-The company of our little birds for my early morning bible study (of course, they just eat the whole time, but, you know ;)).
-Another wonderful month!!!

My wrap-up post is only a week late - aren't you impressed? And it's December already... how? Years get shorter the more of them there are, I really do believe. What are you most looking forward to this Christmas? How was your November :)?! Tell me the most exciting event you had this past month :)!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thankful Thursday ✽ Christmas Time is Here

We decorate our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving.... but then we decorate our Snowflake tree after the rest of the house has been switched over to Christmas decorations afterwards.

Emmi decided she was more fun to decorate than the tree was ;).

It was Noah's turn to put the "little tree" topper on! Love it...

He clapped for himself with us!

After you've had a busy day having Christmas with extended family and walking around the zoo to look at lights, and you come home exhausted and hangry even though your Grandma kept you supplied with fruit snacks, and even getting in your comfy pjs and eating a slice of cheese can't help... laying on the hard kitchen floor and eating chocolate while sipping your beloved milk is the perfect way to relax if you are a Noah. And holding hands. That helps too <3. Sweetie!


Happy, Merry Christmas time, y'all! It may still be November... but just barely. We celebrated Christmas with extended family this week, plan on decorating our room tomorrow, and it's the last Thursday before December... so, this post will be my Thankful Thursday Christmas addition ;). Can you believe that Christmas is in 25 days? I had planned to get waaaaay into Christmas prep this week, because I don't want to be rushing at the last minute again... but I'm also trying to get caught up on EVERYthing else, because I know I won't have time to do so while I'm doing all these Christmas activities, and don't want to worry about them. So that didn't work out very well... ha. I have 3 orders from my shop to make this week, and December was my shop's best month last year, so I'm determined to stay on top of things, this year! I've mostly finished planning and have set goals... now just to stick to them ;).

(After having said that... I got distracted looking up the Christmas crafts I want to make with the girls tomorrow. I made a list so I wouldn't forget. After that, I started remembering where I had decided that I needed to put some of the things. Then I realized I needed to think about how I could fit some stuff on our desk. I re-arranged said desk, then went through the books on my wall shelf. Now I have a stack of things to put away sitting on my bed, and am no further in my day's blog post. I'm really good at sticking to goals. *will finish blog post now* ... hmmm, lunch...)

Through this week and looking forward to the coming weeks, I am thankful for...

Time spent with family - Enjoying my cousin James' first Christmas time with him - The fact that come next year he will have a little BROTHER joining us!!! - Christmas lights - How much Joey has gotten into Christmas... I love that little guy <3 - Hot cocoa in the early morning as I read my bible, or during quiet time as I spend some time with my siblings - Christmas stories and books - Christmas cookies - Dark chocolate, because Christmas time does not feel like it's really here yet until you have had a dark chocolate kiss... dark chocolate is my favorite, but it's still 3 times better at Christmas somehow - Christmas songs - Getting to finally put together Christmas graphics for a ministry I do volunteer social media content creating for - An impromptu grilled cheese sandwich and chips after browsing shops and picking up my glasses with Mama - The cute boots Mama bought me yesterday <3 - Browsing through books together - Clearance finds - Reds and sparkles and cute typography - Catching up with people I haven't talked to much over the summer - The sweet lady who first taught me to create with my hands through her gift of knitting lessons. I find myself grateful to her every Christmas! That knitting led to crocheting... led to tatting... led to loving to create in any way possible, and now I can sew, transfer lettering, and quill (which I am strongly considering bring to my shop for "real"... would anyone be interested?) - To-do lists and goals... and the reminder that even if I don't get it done when I'd LIKE to, doesn't mean that I can't get it done by when I NEED to - Sitting down to a good book just because it's Christmas and I want to make a little more time to stop rushing through things that can wait if it has to (::cough, cough:: continual Etsy reconstruction... whyyyyyy. They've changed the system again, according to the people in my teams and groups...) - Noah's little hand waving and voice asking me to "come on!" - All my notebooks and pens and pencils, bibles and books available around me - Traditions and "just for fun" activities - Little one's excitement at getting to do something they have looked forward to - The kindness of the stranger at the zoo, who, though he had already cleaned the koala exhibit and was locking up, let us take a peak inside because he heard that some of us had hoped we'd make it in time to see them. And they were AWAKE AGAIN. I think the zoo changed their diet this year, because I've never know koala bears to be this active ;)!

What are some of the things you have been thankful for this month? What Christmas activities are you working on this week? Has someone done a kind act for you lately :)?

Rejoicing in Hope,

Monday, November 27, 2017

Christmas is Coming ✽ Grace is the Reason

One of my favorite things is a cup of something delicious early in the day and creating and designing <3! The past couple of years, we have done little pepper cups with turkey wrappers at lunch. The first year I thought it was just a fun thing we were doing, haha... the second year I didn't realize we were doing it until it was lunch time, and they didn't even turn out that cute, ha. So THIS YEAR, I set aside some time the morning before to make them cute and reusable! I designed this little turkey with elements from three turkey examples I liked (with a little touch of my own as well), and then I SCANNED it, rather than tracing it 11 times like I did last year ;). Now we can print multiple sheets of three out each year and the little ones can color them themselves, so they can be involved! These turkeys are really cute after you put the bell pepper "tail" behind them :). Tori had to take her's a step further... it ended up with eyelashes and impressive coloring, and yeah, she's the artist... I don't know why I'm the one who did this ;)...

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving <3! We had a truly wonderful one. As I shared in my post that day, things didn't go perfectly... but it was full of more blessings and reminders of the gifts I've been given than I could have asked for <3. It was a wonderful day.

The time since has been busy and happy as well. I've had sales going on in my Etsy shop, and been making gifts and cleaning and planning Christmas. We had Mama's family over last night; Grandpa and Grandma, Aunt Tessa, Aunt Amber & Uncle Jason and little James, who isn't nearly as little as he was last time I saw him!

We had a pizza party and exchanged gifts, and we went to the Lights Before Christmas display at the zoo. It was so fun to spend that time with them! Josiah's favorite light display was this 3D zebra... he had to make sure Daddy saw it, and when Daddy let him know that "Yeah, that's cool!", Josiah let him know "But it's not real." We can't let that be confused ;)... And we think maybe they forgot to turn off the Boo at the Zoo recordings. We've never been, so we can't say for sure... but we hit the end of the "cave" exhibit, and SOMETHING started screaming (Daddy and Grandpa stuck around and determined it wasn't the lemurs as Mama thought originally), and most of us just ran for it. I knew it was completely ridiculous, because you could "tell" everything was fine, but I seriously was envisioning part of the wall falling, it was so loud and unexpected, and I was pretty sure it wasn't lemurs, ha! That was more than enough excitement for us ;).

Grandma commented a couple of times on the fact that one thing has changed dramatically since last year... over half of us are now at about the same height. It was sooooooo confusing. In all the past years (well, since Andrew was born, anyway) we've had a bunch of little people in the group. This year, although there are still quite a few little ones, even Andrew has almost hit our average height, and I was NOT finding enough small people when I would try to make sure we had everybody! That's one I'd really not thought of until it happened...


I was reading John 11 recently, with the story about the death and resurrection of Lazarus. I have heard someone say once that there must have been something about that family that we don't think about when we read about them. That even though Martha was so "cumbered with much care" and had deep doubt seated in her heart; even though Mary was a follower to the point of questioning Jesus as Martha did, though she had sat at His feet so intently when things were going well; even though it is questionable that Lazarus was the real leader of the home in more than just social status, since he isn't mentioned in the most talked about story of the two sisters, and it is Martha who invites the Savior to the home; there must have been something about them, that the Lord loved them so much and loved their home out of all the ones in the area.

John 11:5... "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus". And John 11:3... "So the sisters sent to Jesus, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill." John (the "disciple whom Jesus loved") and, as we learn from the narrative, Mary and Martha, were confident that Jesus loved this family. There was no question about this. But I don't think it was because this family had any better qualities than we see.

They believed in Christ and loved Him. Mary hung on his word; the sisters knew he was their only hope when they faced the fear of losing the loved brother who was their only means of support. But we get that from the story.

They were generous and hospitable. We see Jesus staying at their home in the story of Martha and Mary's choice of what to do with the time they were given, and we see him staying at their house during the passover in chapter 12, and I imagine they gave him a room when he came to raise Lazarus. They were kind and their door was open... but that is in the story, too.

So we see all that. You could say that maybe those qualities out weighted their shortcomings. Or you could say that maybe they did things that maybe we don't see in the story. Or you could say that it wasn't anything that they did at all.

It was simply the grace of God. He opened their hearts to His word, and he loved them as His children, for that's what they were... from no deed of their own, but just because of the grace and the love of our glorious Redeemer.

The same grace that is given to you and to me. The same grace that is the only means of our hope.

How thankful I am for this grace... and for that love.

Rejoicing in Hope,

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"...