Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest post on Along for the Ride!

Laura at Along for the Ride is featuring my blog today! Yay! I LOVE her blog, and being featured on it is like a dream come true for me! Check out my guest post at: http://iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com/2012/02/featured-sponsor-walk-in-joy.html

And while you're there, be sure to look around at some of the amazing, inspiring posts that Laura writes!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Miscellany Monday: Angels and Demons and Spring

1. I finished Angels and Demons this weekend. It was fun to read a real page-turner again. Lots of the books on my reading list demand more ponderous treatment, and when I read a lot of those in a row (something I've been doing a lot lately), I forget what it feels like to truly lose oneself in a good, thrilling plot.

Do you want to know what's sad about my Angels and Demons experience? I've seen the movie before,  and though I didn't really remember a whole lot from it (remembering movie plots is not one of my strong points), I remembered who the villain was. So I kept that in mind as I read, looking for giveaways in the character's conversation and actions. However, the author did SUCH a great job convincing me he was a good guy, I actually bought it. I told myself I must have been remembering wrong, that the villain was someone else entirely. Guess who felt dumb when the truth came out in the last thirty pages? Yeah, that would be me...

2. Spring Cleaning. For real. This week. Blah. Wish me luck...

3. Speaking of spring, I'm so ready for this half-hearted winter to die.
That, my friends, is all. My Monday musings are short and few, but I hoped you enjoyed them anyway.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tutorial Tuesday: Instant Oatmeal

 My husband LOVES Quaker's Instant Oatmeal. However, he does not love the price of said oatmeal, and neither do I. Usual prices for a box of 10 packets range from $2-$3.50, and they are pretty skimpy servings (in my opinion). When we would made this oatmeal for breakfast in the morning, I would usually use two packets and Tyler would use three. At this rate, we would eat up one box of oatmeal in just two breakfasts. Driven away by the cost and the short life of a box of oatmeal, we didn't eat any for a really, really long time. And then, thanks to Pinterest, I slowly started to realize that I could make those yummy packets of goodness myself for cheaper. As an added bonus, I would also know exactly what was going into my oatmeal, and it would be free of preservatives, dyes, and cellulose. Huzzah! I love it so much, I'm going to share it with you!

Confession: I have no idea where I found this recipe. I even tried looking around online this morning, with no luck. Actually, I was surprised at how hard it was to find a recipe that is as straight-up and fool-proof as this one. I hope you'll like it as much as I do!

2 & 1/4 cups rolled oats (also called old-fashioned oats)
3 cups quick oats
3/4 cup sugar (you can use white or brown; I prefer brown--it really gives it that Quaker Oatmeal taste!)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp cinnamon (or more, if you are a cinnamon lover like me)

Special Equipment:
Some sort of container

Step 1: Measure out the rolled oats into the blender. Process on low until powdery. (In case you are wondering about the splotches on my my Bosch, it happens to be some of the green beans I pureed for Noah a while ago. And yes, I was too lazy to clean it off.)

 Step 2: Put the powdered oats, quick oats, cinnamon, salt, and sugar into your container. Mix it up, using either a mixer or your hands to incorporate the brown sugar (otherwise, you'll end up with great big clumps of brown sugar in your oatmeal).

Here's what it looks like when you're done mixing:

Personally, I like to keep my oatmeal mixture in this big container. If you want to go for a real "instant oatmeal packet" feel, scoop 1/2 cup of the mixture into little ziploc baggies. This recipe makes 10 servings of 1/2 cup each.

To prepare, mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 3/4-1 cup boiling water or milk.

This oatmeal is quite satisfying. I only use 1/2 cup now (compared to the 2 packets I used to consume). I think Tyler uses about 3/4 cup, compared to his normal 3 packets (which would be a cup and a half). This oatmeal give both of us 4-5 breakfasts, twice as much as a box of Quaker Oatmeal. I think the difference between Quaker's instant oatmeal and ours is that theirs has a lot of fillers in it, making a very thin oatmeal. Ours, however, makes a serving that is nice and thick. It isn't too sweet, either--just enough to know the sugar's there.

Variations: This recipe is easy to customize. Add dehydrated strawberry chunks, blueberries, apples, or raisins for a fruity flavor. Add some nutmeg and extra cinnamon for a yummy fall-spice flavor. Use powdered coffee creamer to make the oatmeal creamy. If you wanted to be super healthy, you could leave out the sugar and replace it with high-quality maple syrup or honey when you make it.

 Although I don't have an exact estimate of how much it costs per batch, I estimate that it costs around $1.50. Considering that it lasts us much longer than the usual box of 10 packets, I consider this to be a really great deal!  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Miscellany Monday: First words, Spring wishes, and Sugar Avoidance

Some things that are on my mind this Monday morning:
1. I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure that sometimes when Noah babbles "mamamama," he means me. Not every time, but sometimes. I try to encourage it as much as I can by responding each time he says it, whether I think he's saying my name or not. I love it.
2. I am sooo ready for spring! I'm done wearing socks and long-sleeved shirts and jackets. My spring wardrobe is calling, calling me from the bottom of my closet. I want to take my Noah to the park to push him in the swings and eat picnics on the grass. I should move somewhere warmer.
3. I want to stop eating so much sugar. I've been craving it like crazy! Ok, I actually don't eat a ton of sugar. The only sweet things I have in my house (besides fruit) are hot chocolate, marshmallows (to go with the hot chocolate) and graham crackers. The graham crackers are really for Noah, but I'm pretty sure I've been eating most of them. And if an opportunity arises to eat sugar somewhere else, I am ridiculously weak and indulgent.
Ideally, I want to steer clear of sweets and other processed foods until the weekend. And then I want to indulge within the bounds of moderation. I want to feel in control of my cravings. I'm rather tired of craving things that aren't good for me. So, I'm going to try much, much harder to be in control and stop thinking about when I'll get my hands on a piece of chocolate. Any tips/tricks?  
4. I'm in need of some bloggy inspiration. I feel like I've hit a bit of a slump in my writing, but I can't quite figure out how to get out. Any suggestions?  
5. I'm still dreading Spring Cleaning. But I'm slowly gathering the courage to tackle it. My biggest motivator is that I need clean walls in order to paint downstairs during Tyler's spring break. And they are far, far from clean at present....*sigh*
6. I only have two books to finish for my February Book Project goals! So far I have read a small collection of Emerson's essays, a book of poems by Emily Dickinson, a collection of short stories by O. Henry, and I Am the Messenger by Markus Zursak. Thi is my best reading month by far, and I'm just a little proud of myself. Next up is Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and The 5,000 Year Leap by Cleon Skousen. I have only week and a half to read them...wish me luck!
Have a happy Monday!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Tonight, as I sit on my living room floor and listen to my baby murmur as he drifts off to sleep in his crib, there is a small sadness in my heart. The reason can be contained in one little word:


This is my son, taken on Sunday of last week. He is up on his hands and knees. Last week, this was a new and amazing accomplishment. Today, it is a thing of the past, outshone by a newer, more exciting adventure. Today, Noah started to crawl.

He's never content to sit still now. Noah never misses a chance to use his newly discovered abilities. Leave him for a second, and he will roll over and get his knees under him so he can scooch away. Especially during diaper changes. Sticking his naked little bum in the air. He is so proud of himself. You can see it in his smile, in his eyes.

Before this week, I knew that if I put Noah down in a safe environment with a diameter of approximately 5 feet, everything would be fine. He would his darnedest to get to off-limits objects--computer cords, my slippers, pens, a wicker basket--and he couldn't do it. I knew that if I kept it a few yards away, there was no way he could get it. Noah was safe, and so was our stuff. Not anymore. Today, he had that cord in seconds. Nothing is too far away for him now.

This morning, I was excited and proud to see his first real forays about the house. Tonight, I am somewhere between bittersweet and melancholy. The more I think about it, the more I realize that this is the first of many mobility developments. Crawling is the first step. Next, it's walking. Then, it's going by himself to play at a friend's house. His first teenage dance. His first date. His first solo trip to the grocery store. Serving a mission. College.

With every new mobility skill aquired, he doesn't just learn to move around more by himself--he moves farther and farther away from me, away from Tyler. Into greater circles of danger. Right now, I'm concerned about finding a sturdy baby gate, moving the furniture to cleverly conceal thev ever-enticing cords, and putting covers in all the outlets. In a few years, these dangers will be completely irrelevant as new harms step in. The older and more mobile he gets, the more danger surrounds him. And the less I'll be there to protect him. Mostly because he won't need me there to protect him like he needs me now. And partly because I just can't (and shouldn't) control all aspects of his safety forever. 

I suppose I'm really mourning the fact that he can't always just be my baby. That's a good thing in a lot of ways. I'm so excited for the years and adventures to come, even with all those stages of slowly flying the nest. But it also hurts, in a way that's right in between bittersweet and melancholy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday: Awake, my soul!

Today, I read a post from a blog called Finding Joy that I really identified with. It's a great post--click here to read it. You know the way you feel when you outright messed up? When you snap at your husband, or speak a cross word to your child, or stomp out of the house with a glowering grimace on your face. You spend a few minutes (or longer) seething and wallowing. And then you realize that you've fallen into a trap that is much too familiar. You've made the same mistake for the umpteenth time, and you despair of ever being smart enough to avoid that trap.

Well, at least, that's how I feel when I make mistakes for the billionth time. Someone else felt that way, too.
2 Nephi 4:27-28
"And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yes, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul."
If Nephi, one of the greatest prophets of the Book of Mormon, felt this way, then maybe it's ok for me to feel that way sometimes, too. Especially if I can remember this better:

"O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh...
...I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my rightousness."
(2 Nephi 4:34-35) 
 I love the phrase, "Awake, my soul!" It's like our souls are our watchguards, keeping an eye out for those familiar traps. It's as if Nephi's saying, "Wake up, soul, and stay awake! Keep watch for any pitfalls coming my way!"

I really, really want to avoid that trap the next time it comes around. But if I don't quite make it, I'm so thankful that Christ is there to pull me out again!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tutorial Tuesday: Heart Garland

It's Valentine's Day! I'm excited to share my new favorite handicraft with you today! If you are as addicted to Pinterest as I am, you have probably seen something like this:


 And, if you're a sucker for whimsical paper creations like I am, you probably pinned it. This particular garland, with four hearts on it and with personalized paper, is selling on Etsy for $15. Cheapskate that I am, I took one look at this listing and smirked to myself, "I can do that for waaaay cheaper!"

These hearts are fairly easy to make. If you wanted to, you could just look closely at the picture and figure it out yourself. That's what I did with my first one. But, just in case there's someone out there who doesn't want to figure out all the measurements and what-not, take heart! I've done that part for you!

You will need:
A stapler
A craft or utility knife
A straight-edge cutter
A book that you're willing to cut up (at least 9 inches tall)
A hole punch
Something to string the hearts together--twine, wire, ribbon, etc.
(Please note that the pineapple is optional. I just thought it might add to the sweetness of your crafting experience...er, actually, I was too lazy to move it out of the way.)

To make one heart, cut several pieces of paper out of the book using your utility or craft knife. Cut each page into strips that are 1.5 inches wide. Trim one strip to 5.5 inches high. Trim two strips to 6.5 inches high. Trim two more to 8 inches high, and another two to 9 inches high.

More bars, more places...even if it's upside-down!

 On your 5.5" strip, make a mark 2.75 inches down. Take a 6.5, an 8, and a 9 inch strip and group them together at the top, shortest to tallest, with the shortest strip on the outside. Still keeping the shortest strip on the outside, align the tops of the strips to the line on your 5.5" strip. Do the same thing with the remaining three strips, aligning them to the same place on the opposite side (opposable thumbs sure come in handy here!). Staple all the papers together near the middle of the shortest paper.

 The 5.5" strip should now be in the middle, with the other strips flopping above it. Kind of like a tree. Or a bouquet of flowers. Or maybe not. It's rather late right now, and my brain is tired...

Can you see the staple? Hopefully that gives you a better idea.

Using your handy dandy opposable thumbs again, fold the outside strips down to the bottom of the middle strip. Holding them in place, fold down the next two strips to form the second heart. Repeat with the last layer to form a third heart. All the strips should line up with the bottom of the middle strip. Staple near the bottom to hold all the layers together.

Ta-da! You now have a lovely heart. Repeat the steps above to make as many hearts as you desire. That's the great thing about this project. The supplies you need won't run out for a long time (depending on the size of your book), allowing you to make just 4 hearts, if that's what you want, or 40.

Use your hole puncher to make a small hole near the top of the center strip. Thread your choice of stringing material through. Now it is ready to hang up!

I decided to use my garland as a small accent under my shelf. I like it so much, I might leave it up for a long time.

This is such a cheap, quick, and versatile project! I spent a total of $4 on it: $2 for the twine, $2 for the dictionary from my local thrift store. You can use many different kinds of paper--cardstock, construction paper, music sheets, maps, etc. This garland would make a great gift, or you can use it as an elegant touch to a bridal shower or even a wedding reception. I can see a road of endless possibilities opening up before me...which I shall leave for you to explore further. It's late, and I'm going to bed!

Have any ideas/tips to add? I'd love to hear them! Every comment makes my day a little brighter!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Miscellany Monday: Spring Cleaning, Crawling, Valentines Day, and More!

It's the start of another week! Huzzah! Here are a few miscellaneous things on my mind:

  1. I'm especially excited for the next few days, mostly because of Valentine's Day. It's my turn to plan (we switch off--one year I plan Valentine's and he plans our anniversary, and the next year it switches), and I am quite proud of my creativity. I hope to post about my brilliant plans in the near future!
  2. To go along with V-day, I am posting a special craft for my second Tutorial Tuesday. I hope you'll like it!
  3. Our Bountiful Baskets haul was AMAZING this week! Asparagus, broccoli, oranges, pears, apples, an eggplant (hmmm....), and a pineapple are just a few treasures from my basket. I think my dinnertime creativity has really taken off lately, thanks to our weekly Bountiful Basket. Having so much fresh produce on hand really makes me plan our dinners around vegetables, which means we are usually getting our daily 5. I think this might be the first time in my life this is consistently happening. Sad, I know.
  4. We got our tax refund this week! We were able to use a portion of it to pay off our hospital bills from Noah's birth. Tyler keeps joking that Noah is officially "ours" now. It feels great to get that debt out of the way. Probably just as exciting about our tax return (at least, for me) is that we get to buy an actual couch for our living room! Right now, we seat our guests on a futon. It's comfy, but it's not too exciting. I'm looking forward to a good 'n' proper couch. :)
  5. I love how Tyler makes me laugh every day. He is so good at it. That's all.
  6. Noah is this close (two fingers squinched together) to full-on crawling! I can't believe it! Just in the last two days he's learned to get his knees under him and rock back and forth with his little bum in the air. It's so darn precious! I will be investing in baby gates soon.
  7. Spring cleaning. Blah...it's my first year with my own house to clean. We have a big house for such a small family. A big house with lots of baseboards, vents, windows, floors, carpets, light fixtures....and guess whose little fanny gets to clean it all??? Me! I was trying to think of the easiest plan of attack, one that would not make me spend all my precious free time (aka naptime) up to my elbows in suds for the next two weeks. Unfortunately, such a plan would, by my calculation, keep me "spring cleaning" until July. I suppose I should just bite the bullet and take the two-week route. Any suggestions?
That concludes this week's exciting episode of Miscellany Monday! Tune in next week! This is Sarah, signing out.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday: Prayer

Recently, I've been reading a few of Emerson's essays. They are a bit difficult to get through at times, but I absolutely love many of his ideas. I found one such gem in his essay entitled Self-Reliance. He says:
"Prayer is the contemplation of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul."
This reminded me of something that C.S. Lewis said. "[Prayer] doesn't change God--it changes me."

 I usually think of prayer as a time to come closer to God, to thank Him for his blessings, to open the secret chambers of my heart to Him, and express my need for His help. At night, it helps me reflect on the day's events and make a little sense of them. In the morning, it gears me up for a new day and motivates me to do my work better and more faithfully than I did yesterday.

The more I think of these two quotes in conjunction with each other, the more my perspective on prayer changes. Prayer is not just about building a continously stronger relationship with our Heavenly Father, although this is very important. I think it is also to help us see things, based on our faith and attentiveness, from God's point of view. This is, indeed, the "highest point of view", is it not? When we see things from a greater eternal perspective, I think it can very easily cause us to behold our lives a little more jubilantly. And this, in turn, leads to the personal change that Lewis spoke of.

Thanks for reading my little Thursday Thought! Do you have any insights on the power of prayer? Send them my way!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tutorial Tuesday: Tea Napkins

I saw a tutorial to make these adorable napkins on Design Sponge, and I decided to try my (very inexperienced) hand at making them. I had so much fun whipping these up, I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and write my first tutorial on it!

(Please note that I am not claiming the designs as my own.)
What you'll need:
  • 1 yard of fabric (linen or 100% cotton works best)
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Ruler/Measuring tape
  • Scissors/Rotary cutter
  • Some pretty embroidery floss (however many varieties you want)
  • An embroidery needle (these usually have a larger eye with a dull point)
Cut the fabric into 10x10" squares, using scissors (if you're confident in cutting straight) or a rotary cutter (if you're a little squeamish about making mistakes). Actually, you can cut it in whatever size you want, depending on if you desire larger or smaller napkins. Just know that whatever size you want, you'll need to start with a square that is about double the size. I knew I wanted smaller cocktail-type napkins, so that's what my measurements will give you.

 Using a ruler or measuring tape, make small marks at 3/4 of an inch on all four edges of the napkin. This really helped me to know I was ironing the seams at the right length.

When you've made your marks, flip the napkin over. Fold the edges down until you see the marks, and iron straight.Turn the edges down and iron one more time, so that all your raw edges are hidden.

 Unfold the corners. The creases you've ironed in will make four squares, which I've outlined below (sorry, I know this picture isn't the best quality). Snip off each corner at the dotted line.

It will now look something like this:

You still with me? Ok, back to the ironing board! Folding the first layer of creases down, take the snipped corner and fold down, as pictured below.

Keeping the corner in place, fold the edges along the second seam, and iron to keep the mitered corners in place. Repeat this process for all four corners.

You are now ready to sew! I only gave my seam 1/2" seam allowance, because I'm still a little leery of not sewing straight. If you're more confident in your sewing skills than I am, a 5/8" allowance would be splendid. Go ahead and zip around all four sides with a straight stitch. When you come to the edge of a side, you can easily pivot by manually turning the needle down into the fabric (in order to keep the fabric in place), lift the presser foot, turning the napkin to the new side, putting the presser foot down, and continuing to sew on the new side. It's much easier than tying off and starting anew with each side!


Now you can add some fun embroidery to the sides. Use two strands of embroidery floss. You want to keep your knots minimal, so don't tie anything yet. Leave a nice, long tail on your startin stitch to tie a knot with later.

For this napkin, I'm embroidering x's in one corner. Start by making one side of each x, as many as you want.

This is what it looks like from the back, if you're curious.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of completing the embroidery process, so my words will have to do. Once you've completed half of all your x's, simply make the other half by coming back the way you came. When you've reached your original beginning stitch, you can use the two tails of thread to tie a neat, little knot. Trim the thread as close to the knot as you dare.

You can either repeat this embroidery stitch on all your napkins, or you can mix it up with a few different stitches--flowers, words, stars, etc. Using a few different colors is another way to make your napkins unique and pretty. Once you understand the basics of it, the possibilities are endless (and the results are beautiful)!

You now have a set of nicely mitered, embroidered napkins, perfect to use for desserts, tea, hot chocolate, a nice lunch, or a special breakfast!

Thanks for reading this little tutorial of mine! If you decide to make these napkins, I hope you have as much fun as I did!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Miscellany Monday

Good Monday, everyone! I am excited to begin a new tradition on my blog. It is called Miscellany Monday. I saw some of my fellow bloggers doing this, and I loved the idea so much, I decided to establish my own Miscellany Monday! Without further ado, here's some of those miscellaneous thoughts that have been floating around in my head this week:

  • Picture time! I heard a fantastic parenting tip from one of the women in my neighborhood. She said that whenever her kids did something ridiculous and maddening, like drawing with a sharpie on the wall or decorating the bathroom with toilet paper, she would grab her camera and take a picture before saying or doing anything. This gave her time to think about her reaction to the child's mischievous activity. I thought this was such a smart idea! I think you would have to be careful about how you let the child perceive the picture-taking, though. If they think that their surprise photo shoot means that they can get away with their misdeeds, it can easily make the situation worse. I think, if I decide to implement this trick in my home, I will take the picture with an "I'm taking this picture so your daddy will know just how much trouble you're in" attitude. What do you think?
  • New fitness goals. I have made a fairly crazy ambitious fitness goal. I subscribe to a 20-minute yoga podcast on Itunes, and I decided to try doing one of their workouts 5 times a week. I also want to do some specific strength training 3 times a week, and to do a general cardio workout twice a week (zumba, here I come!). Phew. Just typing this list makes me tired! However, the yoga and the strength exercises (combined) really only take 30 minutes, so it's not too bad. My plan of attack is to wake up 30 minutes before Noah usually wakes up and get it in quickly before we start our day. Good luck to me!

  • Baby's first cold. Yep, the sicky winter germs finally made their way into my baby's system last week, giving him a really runny nose and keeping him awake at all hours of the night. I now know what a parent means when they say with an exhausted look "Oh, my kids are sick." Last night, Tyler and I stayed up until 1 am watching our fav TV show (Psych), only to be awakened by our upset little boy about 45 minutes later. Basically, we were up with him for a full three hours, and we had just enough time to snatch about three more hours of sleep before he was awake again. It's so frustrating to see such a little baby feeling so uncomfortable without being able to do much about it. Since he's too young for cold medicines, we've been spending the weekend pretty much locked in his room with the humidifier going, keeping saline spray, apple juice, and tissues at the ready.
  • Downton Abbey! Please tell me there are some fellow Downton Abbey fans reading this! It keeps me at the edge of my seat with each new episode. I love Mary (isn't she so gorgeous?!) and I was so sad over what happened to Matthew in last Sunday's episode. And the grandmother makes me laugh out loud almost every time she opens her mouth. Maggie Smith is just brilliant! Ok, I'm done gushing now.
  • The abbreviation for miscellaneous. When I was little, I noticed that my parents labeled some of our storage boxes "misc." I always thought that the full word was "miscular". Even now, whenever I see something labeled "misc." I still think of that silly word. Don't ask what "miscular" is supposed to mean, because I sure don't know.
Well, there you have it. My miscellaneous Monday thoughts! Hope your week is off to a great beginning!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday: A Dilemma

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's the return of Thoughtful Thursday. And, sadly, I don't really have anything brilliant or thought-provoking for my comeback. Instead, I have a question. And I really need some help answering it, so if you're reading this post, I hope you will share your thoughts!

So. Here's my dilemma. I keep running out of steam by about this time every week. I always start each week with fresh resolve and courage: I set my goals, I roll up my sleeves, and I get started. Monday and Tuesday are usually great days--I'm busy with my goals and projects and I'm content. On Wednesday, I can feel myself start slipping, but it's still usually a good, productive day. By Thursday, however, I've had it. I cringe at washing the dishes, I dread making yet another healthy dinner, and the Cheerios littering my kitchen floor (thanks to a baby who is still in practice-feeding mode) just make me mad. I still manage to get things done, but the happy-go-lucky attitude is long gone. By Friday, I've pretty much given up. If I get anything done, it's a miracle, and I feel like I deserve a Purple Heart or something. Then, thankfully, Saturday and Sunday come, resetting my internal systems to gear me up for another shot at a new week.

 I don't necessarily think I'm piling too much stuff onto my plate. Even when I'm motivated to accomplish my goals and projects, I still save plenty of time for watching Star Trek and tickling Noah. So what is it I'm missing? How can I keep that proverbial saw sharp and ready to face each new day with the right amount of determination? What are some things you do to turn the daily grind into the daily joys? How do you turn "just surviving" into "thriving?

Maybe I need to look at this on a more elementary level. Maybe the question I needs to ask is not about maintaining the same enthusiasm all week long. Instead, maybe I need to ask if it is right to expect the same enthusiasm to be there on a daily basis at all. C. S. Lewis talks about how man's faith in God goes through natural cycles of peaks and troughs, and the best way for faith to grow is to learn how to make the best of each point in the cycle. Can the same be said for my enthusiasm problems? There you go. I guess things did get a little philosophical today, after all.

Well, like I said before, tomorrow is the day I feel like a martyr for doing all the stuff I have need get to do. I welcome any tips from you to help my day go better!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

End of Journaling through January

This post covers days 30 and 31 of my Journaling through January series.

Wow, I can't believe that January is over! It has been such a great experience writing this Journaling through January series. There were a few days that I didn't get to post, but I always loved it when I took the time to write about the prompt for the day. If you've stuck with me through the whole series, I really appreciate it! It's been a great month, and I'm looking forward to February, where you'll get to see me experiment with a few different kinds of posts!

To wrap things up, here are the two final prompts for days 30 and 31.

Day 30
We've written about the Lord's blessings in our lives. Now write about how you can be a blessing to others.
  • Having a happy attitude. Being around people who are happy and have a bright outlook on life always make me feel happier. I hope to have the same effect on those around me.
  • Always be willing to serve others.
  • Give encouragement to those who need it.
Day 31
What about our Lord will you remember this year? What reminder will you carry with you about the character of Jesus?

Jesus taught us to become as little children, "for of such is the kingdom of heaven." This year, I want to learn more about what this really means, and how to apply it. I think part of it means that we need to be humble enough to be taught and to be obedient. It means to have an innocent mind and a pure heart. I'm still learning, though, and I have the perfect companion to help me remember what I've learned so far. I literally carry him around in my arms for hours every day. :)

Journaling through January is a series which can be found on iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com