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Showing posts from March, 2014

The End It Project: a sparkling smile

The End It Project is my journey toward a life that is wholly unsupported by slavery. Each month on the 27th (because there are roughly 27 million slaves in our world today) I research a different topic and share my findings here...

So, this month I focused on oral hygiene (sparked by needing a new toothbrush). I found a lot of companies that haven't taken a stand either way, which forced me to make a decision - accept a don't ask, don't tell mentality as being ok, or only support companies with explicitly ethical business and manufacturing practices. Being me, I went with the latter.

In that light, I wasn't able to find anything bad out about toothbrushes, but I did find a really good one - Smile Squared was founded in 2010 by a couple who had seen the impact that regular dental care could have on the lives of children in Third World countries. They have a one-for-one program, and you can get adult and kids' bamboo (the Chinese factory was personally visited by fo…


This week's gifts...
337. Getting to walk outside - and see turtles
338. Bedtime (it was a long day)
339. Hot vanilla in Adam's "Mr." mug
340. Tea tag wisdom: "Gratitude is the open door to abundance"
341. The occasional shred of cheese
342. Buoyantly bouncing squirrels
343. Safe travels to Fayetteville
344. A gluten-free place to stay
345. A Mum who is still happy to see me
346. Sitting in the sun and being calm with Brooklyn
347. A coffee date with Dad
348. A hot bath in a deep tub (being an apartment-dweller has its down sides)
349. Being in Fayetteville when Brooklyn got an ear infection
350. and being able to see her pediatrician on less than two hours' notice
351. A little nap
352. Forgiveness, grace, and the ability to unsay "never"
353. Getting to pray with Adam before his test
354. Mama Carmen's Espresso Cafe

The leaders of the IF : Gathering conference put together a study through the book of John that's been going for a littl…

In Short

Just a little post today - Brooklyn's recovering from an ear infection (poor baby) which (thank God) happened while we were visiting Fayetteville, so we were near her pediatrician, but as a result of traveling and not feeling well, there aren't a lot of pics this week.

She being well taken care of, though - there's a steady rotation of grandparents and great-grandparents who are anxious to speed her recovery with plenty of snuggles and attention.

I have no doubt she'll be her silly self again soon - and that she'll be back to practicing How To Stick Out One's Tongue (In the Most Adorable Way Possible), which she was working on when she started not feeling well.
Mamas, any suggestions for pre-and-probiotic foods she can eat to counteract the bad effects of the antibiotic she's on? [Join the conversation on Facebook]

Visible and Invisible

The weekly reckoning...
317. A cool breeze to temper the warm sunshine
318. A convicting If:Equip study
319. The gift of coffee-time alone in which to get some contracted work done
320. Paypal (finally) getting my last name changed
321. Brooklyn "helping" me with the laundry
322. Gluten-free garlic grilled cheese from Dempsey Bakery
323. Brooklyn collecting the color blue
324. Safe driving as Adam spent his day navigating interstate construction in an Army bus
325. A 30-minutes pre-dinner nap for Brooklyn - unexpected rest for me
326. Clear roads as Adam drove to an Army school
327. Not having had to use our heater for over a week
328. Our slow apartment internet - uploading pictures takes awhile, leaving perfect time-slivers for cleaning and tidying
329. Hashbrowned eggs with purple potatoes and farm fresh eggs from my parents' chickens
330. Getting the front half of our apartment clean, even with Adam gone
331. Brooklyn taking a 3-hour morning nap
332. The way she make…


Brooklyn has developed a camera smile - I usually prefer candid shots, but this is too cute not to love. She also pulls it out when she's considering doing something that she thinks she shouldn't do. Hi, Mummy! I'm so adorable you're gonna just let me do whatever... right?

She still likes to sit in my lap and play, but she's quickly realizing that there's more she can do if she's out of reach. Like pull games out of the game cabinet. Or try to eat my running shoes (ew). Or choose her own book off the bookshelf. Or adjust the temperature on the space heater so that it blows continuously and she can sit in front of it (I'll join her in that one).

My weather source is ready for Spring and in denial - it's consistently 10-15 degrees cooler than predicted. We've been having to walk indoors this week --- but right now it's almost 55 so I have a droplet of hope that we will actually attain the predicted high of 63.

Inside has become boring. Brookl…

Natural Beauty

Mommy fashion, week four: makeup! Now, I am not a big make up person - partly because I object to being held to a false standard (I'm not even painting my imperfect face in order to emulate natural perfection - no, I'm competing with Photoshop. I think not. /end soapbox) and also because we're gluten free and gluten is in a lot of cosmetics (why?) But even if you're not gf and enjoy wearing make up for your own personal reasons, as a mommy (especially as a new mommy, or the mommy of a little girl) less is more. Your eyes and brows and lashes are lovely the way God made them, and instituting farewell-and-greeting kisses with your husband will redden your lips (s'true!) --- but if you insist on creating some sort of smoothing glow, then a Sparkle Bar from Lush is perfect (don't be turned off by the price - I've been using those two regularly for almost three years). Brooklyn is learning to give kisses - which makes me wary of putting anything on my skin, bec…

Ingratitude and Grace

This week's gifts...
295. Mile-markers in the mall floor tiles
296. Extra time that I didn't expect to have
297. The continual dripping of melting snow - the rhythm of Promise!
298. That Brooklyn doesn't mind the stroller
299. Grace to not only get through a long day without Adam, but to do so with a good attitude
300! Happy bouquets of bright gerbera daisies
301. My parents getting to come for a visit
302. The rain holding off so we could go for a walk out-of-doors
303. Adam's three day Drill (abnormally) ending on Saturday, giving us a Sunday together
304. Breakfast in bed - French toast!
305. Pharrell Williams' song "Happy"
306. Inspiration from Sunday's sermon for a blog post on Tuesday
307. A stroller with a cupholder
308. Obliviously adorable armadillos
309. A warm sunny day
310. Adam getting my oil changed before he went to work, so that I wouldn't have to
311. White fluffy clouds providing just enough shade
312. Brooklyn sleeping (almost) …


Nine months old! That's 3/4 of a year - and we're nearly back around to the season she was born in.

We have seized the warmer weather these past few days and spent some time outside. There are several lovely stroller-friendly trails nearby that we've really been enjoying.

Our favorite is a section of the Arkansas River Trail - it's lined with friendly wildlife. We saw deer that just stood and stared back, and got within a few feet of armadillos who never even realized we were there. Brooklyn wasn't really sure what to think of the strange grey thing rooting through the leaves and snuffling loudly.

She's gotten to where she can co-hold things without dropping them (she carried a piece of mail all the way from the box at one end of our complex, back to our apartment - without letting go or putting it in her mouth) and she delights in doing so. I don't mind her hanging on to things that are already in the cart - it keeps her from taking it upon herself to add…

A Heart for Hospitality

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. [Hebrews 10:24-25]
Sunday's sermon at the church we've been attending here in North Little Rock was on the importance of community - for accountability, for encouragement, and for general Christian growth. I like the idea - I'm less good at applying it, though. All my life, community is something that has eluded me (save a few too-brief exceptions), but I'm trying to be more proactive about it.

At present, my proactivity comes in the form of organizing. When things are out of order (and I'm not talking about a chair being pulled out or a pair of shoes left by the door - I'm referring to the labyrinthine layout of our extra bedroom, where all of the things we haven't had time to unpack yet have congregated, except the way our whole apartment looked like t…

Take a Walk, Slow Down, Smell the Flowers

This week in mommy fashion: skirts! Specifically, broomstick. They're washable, they come in different lengths, they're cooler in the summer than jeans (my preferred favorite) and prettier than shorts, and they're full (which allows for better mobility - a must!) I have several from a Himalayan shop on Block Street in Fayetteville that are knee-length - they have elastic and ties, so I was able to wear them while I was pregnant (bonus!) This one was given to me, and I was originally planning on dying it with indigo, because white and I are a bad combination, but I've worn it several times in the past few weeks and I'm tempted to leave it white (at least, until I get something on it. Then I can always overdye it...) Those silk wrap skirts are good, too, as far as being cool and comfortable - but they need to be hand washed (translation: soaked in a sink full of cold water, swished whenever you walk by and remember, then hung up over the shower curtain rod to dry) a…


From the Middle English word for springtime, we derive our word for the span of time between repentant Ash Wednesday and glorious Resurrection Sunday, the gradual dawn of the world (and the heart)-Spring's awakening from Winter sleep. I love contemplative transformation... it makes me want to write poetry. The crescendo of Dark to Light, loss to victory, Death to Life, despair to hope - my heart soars with the lyrics and I reach for a coffee sleeve (my preferred poetry-writing medium) and my favorite poetry-writing pen (yes, I have a designated pen).
I hope to post a relic of this time of examination each Sunday of Lent. This first week, if you will indulge me --- a poem...

In icy grip the frozen ground with snowy chains is Winter-bound; Stunted, held - old life wasted, new life kept from springing forth by the bitter hand of Death.
In darkened dreams the weary bones still, lie and wait for Hope to come... But with apparent triumph, Darkness falls: deeply blinding, binding…


It's Five Minute Friday! Bloggers all over the internet, writing for five minutes (no stopping, no editing!) on a prompt provided by the lovely Lisa-Jo, then sharing comment love and encouragement with each other. Head here for more details and to join in!
[to my Bear]
We are often willing to take on Big Things. Unplanned changes. Cross-country moves (temporary or permanent). Enormous sacrifices. Reckless expenditures of money. Hours of volunteer time. Eternal devotion. There seems to be some sort of nobility in the superlative, the sort of thing that epics are made of. Especially when they're mingled with words like "never" and "always."
But what of the small, the ordinary, the thankless? Changes seen coming, discussed, debated, and argued over, and finally accepted as adequate only because nothing better presented itself. Short moves (my least favorite), convoying items a carload at a time. Quietly (or not so quietly) giving up some small thing that we t…

We All Fall Down

This week's gifts...
274. Adam home unexpectedly early
275. The companies that do have ethical labor practices
276. Harmony in the setting-up of a budget
277. A perfect Five Minute Friday prompt
278. Successful felting of Deadline Project #2 (I prayed over it before committing it to the washer...)
279. No more deadline projects!
280. A decent cup of coffee, from Onyx Coffee Lab in Fayetteville
281. Plumb's "Blink" album
282. A unified use for every seemingly unrelated thing that I'm naturally good at
283. A new project, with a goal but no deadline, that should keep my busy for at least the next 20 years
284. Being iced/snowed in at home
285. Adam having a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get to work in
286. Prayer, answered before it was asked
287. A husband who sweetly cleaned the snow and ice off my car, in case I would want to go anywhere
288. An extra ice scraper to give to someone who needed it in the moment
289. How much Brooklyn loves waiting in line

Leave me al…

Just Like You

Brooklyn's started being very adamant about wanting to Be Big. She's gotten quite good at sitting in chairs - she loves the backs of chairs (they're all different! where ever you go!) and she likes sitting up straight and looking around. See, I'm a Person, too!

She's been exploring on her own of late - to some extent. She likes being able to go and get into things, but her favorite place to be is sitting on our laps, playing with a toy. If it flies out of her hand, out of her reach, then she gets really creative trying to get it back without getting out of our reach.
[I love how red and curly her hair is in this photo!]
Oddly, she still enjoys car rides (she prefers Adam's truck, because she can see out the window, but she doesn't mind my car) maybe because they usually end in getting out and seeing people. He took her to Auto Zone last night and commented on how much she loved standing in line - a bored captive audience is the perfect target in her quest …

Renew, Reuse, Recycle

First, the winner of last Monday's giveaway! Thanks for joining in, everyone - I had a lot of fun, and I'm planning more giveaways in the future! So, pulled from my favorite hat by an adorable baby...

(immediately after pulling it out and opening it up, she tried to eat it --- that's something we'll need to work on, for the future!)

Mommy fashion --- this week: layers! Kind of like scarves, in that cardis can protect your shirt, cover anything that gets on your shirt, and dress up an otherwise dressed-down outfit. They're also fairly readily available... I haven't made it to cardis yet in my research (this one is Banana Republic and probably Not Good) but since they're popular, that means "trendy consignment" type stores like Plato's Closet (or even a thrift shop) will have a pretty good selection (or, if you're a knitter, you can make your own). Regardless of the manufacturing ethics of the item, resale and second-hand is awesome --- usi…