Monday, September 19, 2011

Enough, more of the good kind


Enough already.

I have enough.

Stop hounding me with more, with better, with newer, with nicer.

I have enough.

I am enough.

God is enough.

"Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God." {Proverbs 30: 7-9}

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: 'He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.'" {2 Corinthians 9: 6-9}

He's scattered them in my bank account. He's scattered them in my home. He's scattered them in my heart. Pour me out, Oh Lord.

"Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: 'He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.'" {2 Corinthians 8: 13-15}

Pour their hope into my heart.

God is enough for this. Hope and faith are knowing and trusting that we can have just enough now -not hoarding, storing, stowing away- and still have just enough later.

More to read, if you dare, from some of my new favorite blogs:

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Something new is starting.

Well, just as soon as I take the necessary time to extract the ideas from my mind and translate them into something that can be seen on your screen, then it will surely be starting.

I've had ideas stewing for a while, and although I've been saying them out loud for a time now, I feel like my speaking them has remained part of the process. Only now do I feel secure about what the product will be. I say this because I have a new kind of peace that it is altogether something I can and want to do in terms of both the type and amount of time required.

I am excited!

I have been working -slowly but steadily- on putting together a play-based early childhood education curriculum. It's basically just lesson plans. As a teacher I never had enough time in one grade level to create the type of lesson plans that I wanted; ones I can take always with me as a framework, adding, subtracting and changing it as needed and desired, but a good, solid framework nonetheless. Lessons that are in-tuned with the real needs of children, relevant to their experiences and the world around them; lessons that work together in a meaningful flow from lesser to greater complexity yet are intertwined in just the right way; yes, this is it!

Scaffolding lessons. In child development theory, scaffolding refers to the just-right balance between too little and too much help in a child's learning. It is the zone in the middle -the Zone of Proximal Development- in which children learn the most.

This morning I noticed that this Zone is where God places each one of us, so that we too may learn the most. He doesn't sacrifice our safety unless it is necessary, but sometimes pain is the catalyst for learning.

Psalm 18 describes the way God supports us perfectly.

"He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." Psalm 18: 16-19

My original intent with the lessons was to create a curriculum that I could use, but that might also become a published book. I believe this is attainable and would be awesome, but I ran into two problems: 1) I'm really not motivated at this point in my life to begin and carry out this enormous project, and 2) I realized the perfect "curriculum" would basically be the one School for Little People (at which I taught pre-k for 2 1/2 years) created for their staff (along with a few additions and some editing it would make a fantastic book, but if and when that happens would have to be in conjunction with the school and its teachers). My other similar idea was to make a website out of the contents of the book, but I basically ran into the same two problems as stated above.

Listening to God's scaffolding for how I could offer my passion for play-based early childhood education here, now, and within this military lifestyle in a way that would be neither too little or too much, I finally found the way.

Bubble wrap. Yup, you heard me.

Thank you, Lisa, for the awesome birthday present and enormous amount of bubble wrap that came with it. I will be donating it to a friend; the bubble wrap, not the present!

It goes like this: I love play and I love showing little people how to play (okay, they don't need much showing, but they do need some direction!), especially with the everyday type stuff around them. It is fascinating to me! Also, I have had a number of friends who are parents ask me for suggestions about what to do with their kids that will be simultaneously educational, playful, and age-appropriate.

Bubble wrap!

In the coming weeks I will be creating a website, which you will also be able to access from this blog. On it I will be using my teacher training and experience to offer ideas for parents (or teachers or babysitters or whoever is interested) for what on earth to do with their kids all day (you know, besides wiping noses and behinds and cleaning up the path of litter that follows them). The website will include play-based lessons and activity ideas. I can hardly wait!

So, what about bubble wrap?

If you don't have any at home, you can look for it at recycling centers or possibly ask for a donation of used bubble wrap from department stores. Otherwise, it can be purchased by the roll at Target, Wal-Mart and the like.

The best and most obvious choice is to pop it! Instruct your child to keep the bubble wrap away from faces and especially mouths, as well as anything hot of course, or something that could become clogged like the toilet or sink. Then again, in that case you might choose not to plant the idea in their heads!

Let your child hold a piece of bubble wrap about 1'x1' and pop it as they please. Talk about how it sounds, feels, and looks before and after it is popped. Allow them to pop it with fingers, elbows, feet, toes, and knees. If you like, turn on music and allow them to pop to the beat as they parade around the living room.

Bubble wrap is also a wonderful way to do print-making. Print-making is when you take an image from one surface, apply an ink or paint medium to it, and transfer (print) the image onto another surface. A sheet of popped or unpopped bubble wrap is your print. You will also need paper and paint.

In a prepared space (i.e. the table or patio floor covered with newspaper, your child covered with a paint smock, and all pets secured in a separate room) allow your child to apply tempera paint to the textured side of the bubble wrap. They may use their hands or a brush, and cover as little or as much of the bubble wrap as they choose. You may explain that painting more of the bubble wrap will make a bigger picture at the end. Feel free to experiment with multiple colors as well.

When the wrap is painted, lay the paper on top of it, and model how to press the paper onto the bubble wrap. Slide your hand over the paper to make sure all parts of the wrap have come into contact with the paper. Help your child slowly and carefully peel off the paper. Wha-la, a bubble print!

I was inspired by this idea today, realizing it would be just the type of thing I will be posting to the upcoming website. Enjoy and, as always, I'd love to know your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life long learner

I have never been one for primping. I'm generally a wash-n-wear, make-up-free, no-ironing-please kind of girl. I like getting ready to be quick and hassle-free. I do own a straightener, hair dryer, curling iron, and three or four pieces of make-up (use them each about four times a year). Whenever I use them though, it doesn't take long before the curl falls or I get tired of being careful not to get make-up on anything.

I don't like to fidget, and these things make me fidget.

I do, however, like to look decent (particularly my hair because it's probably my best feature), and it occurred to me recently that a five-minutes-or-less, not-going-to-fry-my-hair routine is something I could do and would maybe even like.

In addition to all that, I also realized the desert has been destroying my hair. My split ends are actually fringe and my hair looks like it belongs on a horse!

The problem is, I don't really know anything about doing hair. Everything I learned about person grooming came from sitting on the end of my Mom and Dad's bed watching Mom get ready in the mirror. This is also how I memorized a flower for every letter of the alphabet. Seriously!*

Introducing the mayonnaise treatment.

This looks like something I would have done at age 13, having read about it in some magazine with JTT on the cover. While I have heard of applying mayonnaise to your head, I'd never actually tried it until Sunday.

According to the recipe I used, just mix mayonnaise with a bit of vanilla extract (to tone down the disgusting mayonnaise smell), and apply all over to hair. Check. Then wrap in plastic wrap for about an hour. Check.

It was disgusting, but it worked!! After a thorough wash and condition my hair felt and looked fantastic!

Mayonnaise treatment was step one. I also stopped by Target for split-end repair treatment, leave-in conditioner, and a brush. Yes, I haven't had a brush since 2003. I think I forgot what they were for, but thanks to Aveda (click the "How to make coarse hair smooth and straight" video), now I know!

The procedure does require three arms, but you can attain a moderate degree of success using just two. I was actually pretty shocked that I pulled this off, even with a $5 brush instead of the $20 one advertised in the video. Three days away from turning 28, and I finally learned how to do my hair!

I'm pretty sure this is more than you cared to know. For some reason I couldn't help but share.

*P.S. Anemone, Bluebell, Calla Lily, Dogwood, Exacum, Forget Me Not, Geranium, Holly Hock, Iris, Johnquil, Kalanchoe, Lily of the Valley, Morning Glory, Nasturnum, Orchid, Pansy, Quince, Rose, Sunflower, Tulip, Uvalaria, Violet, Wysteria, Xeranthamum, Yarrow, Zinnia. I have no idea if half of those spellings are correct.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

They do exist!

I absolutely love fall, mostly for its warm colors and cool, crisp air. Living in warm climates for the past six autumn seasons has been disappointing because my two favorite things about fall have been largely least until after Thanksgiving, by which time I'm ready for winter!

Even though I haven't been able to see fall outside, I always decorate for it inside, starting with the front door.

I created this door decoration from pieces at Hobby Lobby several years ago. While I've admired its color and texture, I also thought "fall-colored" berries looked kind of made up. I had never seen anything like that actually occur in nature (naturally occuring, by the way, is my favorite kind of decoration).

To my delight, and I admit bewilderment, I discovered today that "fall-colored" berries actually do occur in nature! And in Arizona of all places.

I found these on a bush while out walking Charlie. Aren't they great? I think I will start a collection inside a glass bowl or vase.

On another note, even though it feels and looks (almost) nothing like fall around here, I have the windows open. Yes, it's 91 degrees (a 20 degree cool down for us). Yes, I have perfectly good air conditioning. However, I am also really in need of some fresh air!

I have been working on refinishing that Ikea Poang chair we bought at a thrift store a few months back. Due to threat of rain I again brought it in off the back patio into the dining room today. I had just put a coat of varnish on the bottom sections and needed a safe place for them to try. The stifling stench of the varnish filled the main area of our apartment. I turned on all the fans.

Still smelling after a trip to Target and the Post Office, I returned the chair to the safest side of the patio, hoped for the best, and opened up the windows! Yes, I opened up the windows!! For probably the first time since we moved in and checked that they worked properly. Even though the A/C will have to run a bit more while the fresh air pours in, it will be worth it. The scent of rain in the distance and the cooling respite of clouds makes the windows open even more lovely.

And, yes, that is a wooden spoon propping the window open...reminds me of my childhood:)

Oh, and this is me apparently feeling cute yesterday and taking a self-portrait after getting all cleaned up from running the Saguaro 8-Miler. It was a great day and an even better run!
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