Friday, October 28, 2011


This past week has been a huge lesson in patience for me. I guess, I could say that about every week if I was truly honest. But this week especially, I feel like God imparted some much needed wisdom on my heart -- hard truths coupled with a freeing comfort that I can't quite put into words yet.

I hate the fact that I need more patience. Every time I lose my patience, I'm so disappointed in myself. I'm especially upset if I lose my patience with my girls. Now, sure, they are absolutely the primary vehicles with which God gives me opportunities to learn patience (*translation: they can drive me insane sometimes*), but they are my precious daughters. I want to have the utmost patience with them above all. 

But something that Beth Moore said about patience really hit me hard the other day, and I've carried it with me since. She explained that one reason most people don't have patience (with others) is because the people that try our patience bring out the worst in us, and we don't want to see the worst in us (even though we know it's there). We want to be happy with ourselves; we don't want to confront what it is in us that needs to change.

Wow, that is SO me! It is the exact reason that I lose my patience with my girls, but also with everyone else. I hate the fact that I'm not perfect, that I still need to work on things, that I'm sometimes prideful, judgmental, selfish, etc. And when another person comes along and does something to really drive me nuts, I lash out (usually internally, but I still do it). How dare they come along and show me how terrible I can be?! How dare Elizabeth spill her drink AGAIN and show me how much of a control freak I can be about being the "perfect parent?!" How dare Stephen get home late and show me how unhealthily co-dependent I can be on him?! How dare that person cut me off in traffic and show me how selfish I am about my time?! And the list goes on.

Understanding this cut me to the core. The truth about myself hurt at first because I was finally forced to look at myself in the mirror and admit that I'm way not as awesome as I pridefully believed myself to be. But then, miraculously, I felt more free than I have felt in a long time. Maybe it's because I had been so desperately trying to hide the truth from myself (which is a tiring and useless waste of effort). Maybe it's because knowing why I lose my patience will help me to learn from daily frustrations and change and grow as a person. Maybe it's because I was able to set the others in my life free from the ridiculous expectations I had been wrongly placing on them. It's probably all of the above.

I think what really brought me to my knees, though, was another thought that Beth Moore shared on the subject -- Could it be that the very people that frustrate us the most, are the exact people God places in our lives to force us to face our ugliness and get rid of it? Could it be that He loves us enough to drive us just crazy enough to change us and make us complete, lacking in nothing?

Remembering that God cares about me enough to keep working on me, to keep changing me, to keep helping me become who He knows I can be... that freed my heart in ways I just can't describe.

So with my new found freedom, I'm going to face myself more honestly, and continue on this crazy journey that I'm on, thankful that God has not given up on changing me into the person He wants me to be. :)

And just for fun, here are a couple of "outtakes" from the other day when I was doing a little photo shoot of the girls. They really are a blessing even if they do drive me nuts sometimes! ha!

Love to you all!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Brandon Prizer

Wow, I can't believe that we are already in the month of October. Time has flown by! I know it's been a while since my last post, but life literally ran away from me the past month. I'll try to be better about posting this month.

Anyway, what got me writing today was a little email in my inbox this morning. I have gmail, and the calendar for it is cool because it will send you email reminders of events, birthdays, etc. Well, although I didn't need it, I got a reminder that this month is my cousin, Brandon's birthday.

Brandon is my youngest cousin on my mom's side of the family. If you know anything about me, you know that I am extremely close to my mom's side of the family. We were all blessed to live within 10min of each other for my whole life, and because of the crazy lives of my parents and Uncle and Aunt (and because they all like each other), it happened that my brother and I spent a ton of time with our cousins -- more than most people, I would bet. When we were very young, especially, it felt like we were always together. Gran and Grandad watched the 5 of us on nights too numerous to even begin to count, and we spent every holiday, birthday, etc. together. It felt as if we were siblings (except better because we didn't fight as much).

I can't even begin to express what a significant blessing it was for me. There just aren't eloquent (and big enough) words to describe the bond that the 5 of us share. Our relationship is something sweet and special, and it shaped so many things about who I am as a person now. Emilee is practically my sister, and probably one of my best friends in the entire world, and Blake is one of the most inspiring people I know.

But today, I'm thinking about Brandon. He's in college now, and I'm so proud of what he has accomplished so far. But whenever I think of Brandon I'm always brought back to our play time together when we were little. Every once in a while, for differing reasons, Emilee would have to be gone, and it'd be just me and the boys, and since (at the time) Ryan thought I was his yucky big sister, and Blake thought I was just a boring older kid, I would find myself sans a playmate. But I could always count on Brandon to play with me. It didn't matter to him that I was older, or a girl that liked to play with Barbies, he was always willing to spend time with me.

It meant more to me than I could express, and I was just so happy to hang with him. One of my fondest memories of those times was a day when, after we had spent time together, I told my mom how much fun I had with Brandon, and how happy I was that he was willing to play with me. Without skipping a beat, my mom simply said, "Well, that's because he likes you." -- not "he's your cousin," or "he just likes to play," not even "well, he loves you," but "he likes you."

Let me tell you, that is a memory I will cherish forever. I mean, think about it: of course your family loves you (or should love you). They are your family! That's what families do! But for your family to like you?! This concept blew my little elementary school aged mind! I will never forget the joy I felt by being liked by my cousin, Brandon.

I'm happy to say that the years together only tightened our little bond of 5. We all like each other and enjoy each others' company now, and are happy to admit it. But every October, when Brandon's birthday comes around, I think about how different my life would have been if Brandon hadn't been there to simply like me.

It still blows my mind to think about it. So this month, as with every October, I'm unbelievably thankful for Brandon.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Can You Imgaine That Kind of Love?"

Confession: I am an incredible coward sometimes. Seriously! I'm not ever afraid to make friends, and I'm certainly not afraid to love them with as much love as I can muster. I'm not even afraid of looking like a big dork in front of them because I know that's who I am, and it's cool. But I can sometimes be afraid to share the deeper parts of my heart because of an irrational fear.

Those of you who know me best will be surprised by this because I'm usually a pretty open person. There's not a topic that you could ask me about that I would flinch at opening up about. What I've realized is that I won't usually offer to share. If someone else brings it up, sure, but I won't actually start the conversation. I'm not afraid of rejection, really; I'm more afraid of being criticized. I know it's ridiculous because the friends I have are way better than that, AND there is no amount of criticism that can change who I am. But it doesn't change the fact that being criticized hurts, and the fear of that pain makes me afraid of sharing sometimes -- not all the time, but definitely enough that I've decided I want to be better about it.

So today's post is a little more personal than just updates and the usual fluff. I write it because my heart has been moved to share, and because I need to face my fear (however irrational it may be):

I think that God knows us so well, He knows exactly how to communicate with us specifically so that we will be impacted by His love perfectly. Each person hears His voice in differing ways, and I definitely hear Him through music (as most of you know), but the funny thing is that, I hear him best through narrative. I cant count the number of times I have been reading a book or watching a movie (totally unrelated to God), and His still, small voice spoke into my soul and brought me to tears. It happens at the most random times and always moves me significantly.

Last night was one of those times. Stephen is out of town for a week, and I am terrible without him. He has literally become my other half, and I hate it when he's gone. The worst is at night when I have to go to bed sans my darling. I will just lay awake in bed for hours without catching a wink of sleep. A while back, I discovered that if I fall asleep to a chick flick I can get at least a little bit of sleep, and last night that's what I was doing.

I was watching a movie called "Beastly," and for those of you who haven't heard of it, it's a modern re-telling of "Beauty and the Beast." It's set in a high school, and yes, it is ridiculously "angsty" and cheesy. However, it's beautifully shot, and the two leads have great chemistry. AND it has a happy ending, so I was cool with it.

What I was NOT expecting was to have God move me so greatly during my attempt to simply fall asleep. That's the way He works in my life, though, so I guess I couldn't really be all that surprised. I think He moves my heart the most when He has to interrupt me.

Anyway, in the Disney version of the story, the Beast is really a big, hairy...beast! In this modern version, the "beast" is a guy named Kyle who is made to look "as aggressively unattractive on the outside as [he is] inside." His heart is ugly, and so his body reflects that. He has a year to find someone to love him, or he's stuck like that forever. Eventually, he finds his "beauty," in a girl named Lindy, who isn't bothered by his ugliness, and you can probably guess the rest.

One significant change to the story, though, is the ending. In the Disney version of the story, Belle tells the Beast that she loves him after he's died. Of course, this makes it all the more magical when he comes back from the dead, and all is well. This newer version, on the other hand, didn't take the story in quite that direction. Kyle, doesn't die, but he DOES think that he's run out of time. Lindy tells Kyle that she loves him just after his year is up. The amazing thing about this portrayal is that Kyle believes that his ugly looks are now permanent, but it doesn't matter to him anymore. Love has changed his heart. Lindy loves him no matter his looks, and thus, he no longer has to look good. It is then that his body changes back....but it changes as a reflection of what has taken place in his heart already.

As I watched Kyle's heart transform, and then his outward appearance transform, God quietly whispered, "That's what I did for you; I loved you even when you were at your worst, even when you thought you were ugly, and MY love transformed you." And when Kyle asks Lindy, "Can you imagine that kind of love?" it was as if God was directing that question my way.

Last night, God gently reminded me of His powerful, amazing, and yes, magical Love. I was reminded of how He changed me, and how He sees me as beautiful. I guess I needed that reminder more than I thought I did because it really blew me away. I'm so very blessed to be loved by "that kind of Love."

Anyway, just needed to share that. Love to you all!


Friday, August 26, 2011


I figured it was about time for a Bush family update, so here we go!

Cecily: She's in her 4th month, now, and I can't believe how much she's grown already. She can roll over (although, when she does, it still surprises her), and we just started her on solid food. She's not a fan, though. Ha! She's a sweet baby, and I'm so blessed to have her. My only dilemma, now, is that I kind of let the both of us get into a bad habit. When Elizabeth was Cecily's age, I had her sleeping in her crib. Well, Cecily has been a different story. Because of several different issues that I won't bore anyone with, Cecily naps in her baby swing and sleeps in a "position-er" called the "Nap-Nanny." Yup, she's not sleeping in her crib yet, and I'm dreading the day she gets too big for these contraptions, and I finally have to transition her to her bed. Ugh! Oh well, it will happen one day soon!

Elizabeth: I guess the biggest update for Elizabeth is that I am currently on the hunt for a good dance school to get her involved in. She is so nuts for dancing that I really want to give her a chance to learn, but it hasn't been the easiest process. I'm struggling with finding a place that will be good for her personality (and our wallets). I feel like every place I investigate is almost good but not quite. Sigh, I've just got to keep looking.

Stephen: He leaves for his big science conference tomorrow morning, and it will be the first one that he gets to speak at. I'm really proud of him, and I know he'll do great! I'm bummed, though, because he'll be gone for a week! :( Luckily, my parents will be here for part of that time to help me keep my mind off how badly I miss him.

Jen: Well, I guess my two new updates are that #1 I'm working out again. I joined a gym that has daycare, so I can take the girls and get some good exercising in while they play. Elizabeth really likes it, and today when I went to pick her up, she asked me to go exercise more so she could play longer. Ha! #2 I decided that I need a new hobby that is something that just I can do and enjoy. I used to scrapbook, but two children and a crazy schedule is not conducive to a hobby like that, so I have picked up a hobby I haven't done since middle school: cross-stitching. I used to LOVE it, so I'm going to try it again. I'm really excited to have a chance to do something creative and relaxing just for myself. Stephen has been sweet and supportive of my need to be creative, so he hung out with the girls one night so that I could go to Michael's and get all of the supplies I need. He's the best, and I'm pumped to start something new.

Well, I guess that the Bushes for now. Love to you all!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Pics, as Promised

Thank you to all who put up with my rather negative previous post. As always, I have the BEST friends and family ever, and I can't tell you how encouraged I felt after your many sweet comments.

And I was also reminded by many of you (and the girls themselves) that the good really does out-weigh the bad when it comes to my little darlings. I recently read this really cool article about parenting written by a dad who is currently in the thick of it with his kids, and he made note of the fact that when they are really young, and you use the phrase, "the good out-weighs the bad," you are not talking about percentages. Percentage-wise, the hard stuff actually occurs about 85% of the time, and the good stuff occurs about 15% of the time. The thing that you have to realize is that the good 15% is so unbelievably amazing, it makes you forget everything else - like today, Elizabeth was getting into the car, she looked at me and said, "Mommy, you are the best of the best!." Now THAT is something that made all the troubles of the day worth it!

And so this is where I am right now, dear friends: doing my best and enjoying that sublime 15%. :)

So as a thank you for all of the wonderful encouraging, and also as a little bit of bragging on my part, here are some fun new pics of my sweet girls.

A list of my latest joyful 15%:
- today Elizabeth went down for her nap with NO problems. Yay!
- Cecily tries to "talk" to me, now. She makes the CUTEST noises.
- A clean bill of health for both girls from the Dr. yesterday.
- Elizabeth sings herself to sleep at night.
- Stephen and I got some fish for Elizabeth for her birthday. She named them "King," "Queen," and "Princess."
- in the car on our way to the store, just me and Elizabeth, "Mommy, I really miss Cecily!"
- "Mommy, I love you....and I like you!" <--- this is my favorite!

Love to you all,

Monday, August 15, 2011

Trials of Motherhood

You know, there are great days and hard days and I waited until now to write this post because I knew that if I wrote when I wanted to, I'd write something unpleasant.

This morning was a troubling morning for me as a mother. I haven't had many of these types of mornings, but when I do they ruin me for about a week. Today was one of those days when something about Elizabeth was brought to my attention that caused me to question my abilities as a mother. I know it sounds silly, but every once in a while this happens.

You see, Elizabeth is a great kid, but she has had the great misfortune of being born with the exact combo of Stephen's and my personality traits. This particular combo makes her wonderful, but also extremely difficult at the same time. She's friendly and outgoing like me, and she's determined and ready to learn like Stephen. These traits make her super fun and very good at learning things.

Unfortunately, they also make her over-bearing and stubborn. These are things that I have known about her for a long time, now, and Stephen and I are doing the best we can to teach her to be the best little girl she can be. Some days it works out, and she behaves well; other days.....not so much.

Most of the time Elizabeth's infractions occur with Stephen and me only, so we deal with her and move on. Sometimes, though, they occur with other kids. It's inevitable, I guess. When you get a bunch of kiddos together all between the ages of 2-5, there are going to be little squabbles. Usually it's not a big deal because all of the kiddos are somehow involved and at fault, and the parents step in when needed and deal with them. That is how I've always viewed "playdates." To me they are a chance for mommies to have some much-needed adult time, and they are also a chance for kiddos to learn to socialize. Unfortunately, kiddos are simultaneously great and horrible at helping each other learn how to treat each other. By hanging out together, kids can help each other pick up good habits, but they can pick up bad ones too. Learning how to deal with this has been a MUCH trickier process than I ever expected.

You see, I have some incredible friends who all understand this process. They are dealing with it too. Most of us have an understanding between us that everyone's kid will be a little monster sometimes, but we never judge each other because we are all in the thick of it and doing our best. Most of my friends also understand the need for kids to be taught to be good but also allowed to work things out amongst themselves sometimes. Elizabeth has learned some of her best playtime lessons by being scolded not by me, but by her little friends. All of these play times have been good experiences for Elizabeth and me, and they have been a great encouragement in so many ways.

However, this morning I was hit with something I never experienced before. At our usual Monday morning playdate at our favorite place, Elizabeth was playing with some of her friends and then some other kiddos of mommies who had also brought their kids to the same place. She was extra hyper because she was so excited to be at her favorite place with her friends. When she is hyper, she has trouble controlling her actions, and we have been WORKING on that A LOT lately. However, the excitement was just too much for her. She was other-enthusiastic, and started being bossy. She tried to force the other kids to play the way she wanted to. I noticed and took what I thought was the appropriate action.

Then, a few minutes later, Elizabeth got so excited she yelled right into another child's face. I know my own child, so I can say confidently that Elizabeth was NOT being malicious. She was being aggressive (and we are working on that too!), but she meant no harm to this little kid. She considers ALL children she meets as friends, whom she loves. However, his mother was very upset. She loudly told her child, "it's okay, son, she's just being mean." I, of course, took this as her not-so-subtle cue to deal with Elizabeth, so I, again, took her aside and dealt with her. I made her apologize to the boy, and I also informed her that if it happened again, we'd leave. I then apologized to the mother, and she basically told me that it wasn't okay, and she thought Elizabeth had something against her son.

Well, after that, I kept an extra close eye on Elizabeth, and she played nicely for a while after that. But she got hyped up, again, and yelled again. This time it was at another kid; a kid that she knows well. He was not upset by it, and it was clear that she was just playing around, but it was too late. Elizabeth had disobeyed, so I told her we were leaving and started to pack up to leave. As I was doing so, the first boy's mother came up to me and informed me that she was uncomfortable with her son ever playing with my daughter again. Without revealing her exact wording, I'll just say that she decided that Elizabeth was a bad influence and not to be trusted around her boy.

I was mortified. I was extremely embarrassed, and had no idea how to react. I was deeply hurt, but mostly just angry at myself. As we drove home, all I could think was, "how could I be such a horrible mother that I'd allow my daughter to become 'that kid' that no mommies want their kids around?" and "how could I possibly have ever thought that I could handle motherhood?"

I know it seems extreme, but those are the actual thoughts that went through my head. I couldn't believe what had just happened, and worse, I absolutely had no idea what to do next. I had no idea how to parent my child anymore. I mean, I have been doing my VERY BEST every day since she was born, and this is what I have to show for it?

Then, of course, my mom's favorite parenting advice ran through my head, "never take too much of the credit or too much of the blame," and she's right, but I won't lie; I've been battling myself, trying to make myself believe that all day. I want my child to be the kind of kid that others (no matter the age) want to be around. I want to raise her to respect and love others with her words and actions, but I know that I only have a small role in that, and it's hard.

Now that the day is over, and I sit here reflecting, I still don't know. All I know to do is to keep doing my best every day and pray that God gives me the wisdom and discernment to know how to teach Elizabeth to be the best kid she can be.

I'd appreciate your prayers for me as I continue traveling down this tough, and sometimes confusing road.

Love to you all,

P.S. Sorry that this was kind of a downer post, but hopefully I can post a more positive one, soon.

Friday, July 29, 2011

In Other News: Crescent Rolls Are Fantastic!

First off, no, this entire post will not be dedicated to crescent rolls. They are just super tasty and versatile, and I have used them to bake this week, so they are on my mind. :) Oh, and the store bought brand are WAY not as good as the name brand. Just sayin.....

Anyhoo, how about an update and some fun pics of the girls?

Here's what's up in the Bush household these days
Stephen - My dear hubby is in his last (hopefully) two years of his program here, and needless to say, it has gotten TOUGH! He has so many projects and deadlines to work on (not to mention his dissertation that is looming over his head) that he is really feeling pulled in all directions right now. I'm proud of him, though, for working so hard AND trying to be a good Daddy on top of that. In fact, his dedication and work-ethic are some of the qualities that I love most about him. Keep him in your prayers; he is a BUSY man!

Elizabeth - For those of you who didn't already know, she just turned 3, and boy are we feeling it! And I mean that in good ways and not-so-good ways. She has definitely been giving us trouble lately because she is just at the age where she is trying to become independent, and she does NOT want to be told what to do. (Of course, as soon as I'm tempted to be upset over this, I am reminded that I can be the SAME way; it's just that my tantrums look different.) However, she's also at such a FUN age. She's super chatty (which I love), she's able to make little jokes, now, and she loves to do crafts. So we've had a lot of fun doing all sorts of crafts this summer.

Cecily - You know, I am truly so blessed to have a little sweetie pie like her around. She's finally at the stage in her little life where she is aware of a lot more, and she's so responsive. She smiles A LOT, and she's laughing now, too. She always manages to brighten my crazy days, and I'm so thankful for her. She's super social just like her mommy and big sister, so she wants to be included in everything, and cries when she feels left out. It's adorable to see her TRY to talk to us, and she makes the funniest faces. She'll be 4 months next week, and I cannot believe how the time has flown by already.

Jen - The biggest thing with me right now is not going to really be a surprise to anyone, but my back is giving me trouble again. It was inevitable, and I'm not going to waste time feeling sorry for myself, but I would appreciate all the prayers I can get. As I continue to lose weight, it will improve slightly, but I won't really be able to get any better until Cecily is able to do more things on her own. Please be in prayer with me that my back will hold out a little longer! I would be truly grateful!

Well, I guess that's it for now! Thanks to those of you who still read this thing!


P.S. Here is a great quote by Oswald Chambers that has been on my heart this week: "Never seek justice [for yourself], but always be willing to give it."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Three Years Ago Today...

* I was beginning the hardest and most wonderful job I would ever have.
* I was overwhelmed with God's beautiful handiwork.
* I was teaching my husband how to change a diaper.
* I was praying that God would help me be the best mommy I could be.
* I was thanking a good God for a safe delivery and a sweet baby girl named Elizabeth.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Elizabeth Joy!

**Disclaimer: I know I'm posting this a day late, but in my defense, I actually DID write it on her birthday! :) **

More pics to come soon!


Saturday, July 23, 2011


I must confess that I am a complete girl in that I'm pretty addicted to romance. Let me clarify, though. I'm addicted to REAL romance - not the trashy dime-store paperback novel crappy-excuse-for-romance stuff. I'm talking the real deal.

So, naturally, I fell in love with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice when I first had to read it for school. It soon followed that I read Emma out of the pure bliss of finding an author who was a good writer AND a romantic at heart. I had every intention of reading all of her other fine works, but was sadly side-tracked by real life.

Thankfully, I can sometimes find short moments during my days to read a little when both girls are sleeping. A few months ago, having not ever lost my love of good literature and well-thought-out love stories, I went back to my favorite author to get my fix on my greatest addiction, and I wanted to share because I'm convinced that I'm not the only romance addict out there. ;)

I read Sense and Sensibility first, and of course, loved it. But I enjoyed that book purely for the ending. Austen is a master at creating great characters and allowing them to change dynamically throughout their stories. Just watching her characters grow and develop is very fulfilling, but the best part of this book was the happy ending and the realization of just how much her two main characters had changed (for the better).

However, her novel, Persuasion, is a different matter entirely. I found myself absolutely captivated by every chapter, every twist in the plot, every character, every subtle joke and beautiful setting. There were points in the story where our lovely author had caught me up so much that I found myself worried for the fate of the protagonist and actually smiling at the outcomes of certain events. I even laughed aloud at one point. I don't want to give the plot away because it's SO good, I want everyone to go out and read it now, but I just have to say that it is one of Austen's more satisfying tales of life and love.

One thing that has always been a little frustrating to me about her writing style is that she is SO good at writing dialogue, and she is SO good at writing passionate confessions of love from her male characters that I expect her to do the same for her female characters, but she never does. At the end of every novel, when the male love interest finally confesses his undying affection, the words are beautiful and eloquent. But afterward, when the female character is supposed to respond in like kind, Austen just tells us that she does, but gives us no dialogue to read. Now, there's been a lot of speculation by scholars as to why this is. I agree with those who say that it's probably because she wants to leave it to the imagination of the readers. BUT it still drives me crazy when she alludes to passionate words and then doesn't give us the satisfaction of actually reading them.

All that to say, however, I can honestly admit that in this novel, she has given me almost enough to make me forgive this one issue. Her main male character, in the height of passion, reveals his love in some of the most romantic words I've read in a long time, and in response, we actually get to see and hear a few from the main female character. It's not a lot, but it was enough for me to be absolutely elated! My heart soared with the two love-birds as they were finally given their happy ending (and don't tell me that I just revealed a spoiler because everyone knows that Jane Austen ONLY ever wrote happy endings), and I haven't been this satisfied by a love story in a while.

Ahh, I can't even explain the satisfaction I feel from finishing a great book, especially one so well-written and well-executed. Jane Austen has, again, captured my heart!

Go read it. You won't be disappointed!



P.S. I'll be posting about Elizabeth's 3rd birthday soon!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Another Post Already?

To those of you who know me well, this will not come as a surprise, but to those who don't, I am a HUGE book nerd. I don't often have time to read books, but when I do, I eat them up like chocolate-chip cookies (the chewy kind -- NOT those crappy crunchy ones).

I can't help myself; I simply love to read. Getting lost in a book is probably the most relaxing thing I can ever do. (And I wouldn't be a good English teacher if I didn't recommend it to all of you, too!)

Anyway, one of my all time favorite book series is Harry Potter. Now, no matter what your views are of this series (or books in general for that matter), I am proudly going on record stating that I am simply NUTS about them, and when the girls are old enough, I will definitely be urging them to read them too!

I love them for so many reasons, and I won't bog down this post with all of them right now. However, having recently had a conversation with my dad (he is currently reading them), I've been thinking about my favorite reason for liking them.

Of the many great things that J.K. Rowling does with her series, the coolest (and bravest in my opinion) thing that she does is champion a character trait that most others either forget or discredit all-together - Kindness.

In her books kindness means everything. Those who show kindness are considered great and even powerful. I would argue that Kindness is considered the most valuable character trait in her characters, and Dumbledore refers to its power many times throughout the books.

In fact, Harry's mother is known specifically for her kindness, and it is the trait that is shown as Harry's greatest asset in his fight against Voldemort.

In the end, it is small, seemingly random acts of kindness that ultimately cause the defeat of "You Know Who," and that made me so very happy to read.

It got me thinking; kindness is a trait that is so over-looked in our society today. In fact, a lot of people view it as a weakness. But what if we chose to act more kindly to others? What if that was our first reaction to a situation instead of a last resort?

What if I choose kindness the next time someone cuts me off in traffic? What if I choose kindness when I see someone walking the streets for a hand-out? What if I choose kindness the next time Stephen and I have a spat?

I might be viewed as weak by some, but could it be that I actually have more power than they think? Could my small, seemingly random acts of kindness lead to victories that I can't even see -- victories that affect more lives than I could ever know?

I dunno. I'm probably just spouting platitudes that you have all seen and heard before, but it's been on my heart lately, so I think I'll take a cue from MJ and "take a look at [myself] and make a change."


P.S. If you haven't yet, go read Harry Potter. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Long Time No See!

I don't know if ANYONE still reads this thing because I have been TERRIBLE about keeping it up. I'd love to say that life got in the way (and it's kind of true), but the truth is that I just haven't felt the gumption to write. Oh, I've had plenty of things I felt like writing....I just couldn't make myself sit down and type.Maybe it's because I now have two little girls who demand so much of my time, I just selfishly want to "vegg" during the few moments I have to myself. Or maybe I just haven't felt like writing.

In any case, I'm back, and with a firm commitment to write more -- if for no other reason than I want to keep up my writing muscles. It's good to write, and it's even better having written!
Even if no one reads this anymore; I will, and I'll be glad for it.

Here are some fun pics of my girls to start us off:

So, the story behind this one is that Becca Desloge sweetly made two matching apple hats for the girls to wear together. I wanted to get a picture, but I could only force ONE of them to wear it. Sigh, maybe I'll try again later.

That's all for now, my wonderfully faithful readers. Next time I'll hopefully have something a little more meaty.

Blessings to all!