Thursday, February 1, 2007

100 Points for my 100th Post.

When I made my very first post on this blog back in October, I wasn't at all sure of how long I would keep this up or if I would even like the whole world of blogging. And now here I am, celebrating and making the 100th post milestone! I had tried keeping various written daily journals before, but never seemed to last more than a week. Quite frankly, it has surprised me how much I enjoy and look forward to my daily writing time on this blog. It has been a great way to reflect, record, document, and share a bit of myself. I have connected with old friends, made new friends, and just really enjoyed exploring various subjects and experiences. Expressing myself in this way has truly enriched and changed my life. As I was thinking about a good way to mark this 100th post, I decided that I would compile a list of 100 thoughts, photos, lessons I've learned, miscellaneous points, etc. So, Happy 100th post, thanks for joining me in the journey so far, and here goes..........1. Messes are evidence of fun, creativity, and abandon....what psychologists sometimes call FLOW. Don't sweat the messes of life.2. I never buy paper towel without designs. And I never buy paper towel with designs that I don't like. I would much rather pay more for a roll with a design that I like and that matches my kitchen than to buy the roll that is on sale.3. During my college years, I was ranked nationally for three-point scoring in basketball.4. Enjoy the journey. Sometimes, there is more joy and growth in the journey than in the destination.5. Inject as much RED! as possible into your life, home, wardrobe and scrapbooks.6. sell out to Jesus....110%!7. I am fearfully and wonderfully made! So are you! And Jesus, the Savior of the world and son of God, calls us by name! BY OUR NAMES! I would even venture to say that He calls us by our nicknames!8. When you are out looking for worms, don't miss the beautiful dragonfly that crosses your path.9. Kids--young and old-- need unstructured and unplanned time to just be. A little bit of boredom and alone time is great for stimulating the imagination.10. Create something with your hands every day.11. Be mindful about the words that come out of your mouth. Words are powerful and can either cut and scar someone's soul, or build them up with great encouragement. Be known as an encourager. Use words to build up and not destroy.12. Commit Random Acts of Christ-Centered Kindness as least once per week. It will radically change your life!13. Sing your Heart out!14. Download favorite songs from different times in your life onto your i-Pod. Let your i-Pod become a musical scrapbook of your life. Mine contains 80s flashbacks such as "Eye of the Tiger" and "Grease"--ah, such memories. It will make your heart smile every time!15. Children grow so fast. Take the time to savor every day, every new skill, every diaper change, every mischievious act, every three-year-old tantrum, every teenage mood, every new discovery. Don't wish days away, for those wishes quickly come true.16. Eat a small piece of good chocolate every day. Savor it in your mouth and let is melt slowly and wash over your tastebuds.17. Be involved in a church plant at least once in your life. Our family was part of such a church in my early teen years, and my husband, family and I are now part of Compass Church which just launched in October. It is quite a ride!18. So many things in life are uncertain. Be certain of at least one thing in your life--that you are loved deeply and passionately and fully by the God of the universe. And that He desires strongly to be in an intimate relationships with you. Yes, you.19. Everyone is an artist.20. If you really want to experience passionate worship, spend some time in the kids' program in your church. Watch them dance to the music, sing their hearts out, ask the hard questions....I have been deeply affected by spending time with children worshipping kid-style.21. Take a long, hot uninterruped bath at least once per week. I have the hardest part with the "uninterrupted" element of that equation, but such time is good for the body and soul. Oh, yes, and I'm not suggesting that this should be your only hygienic activity of the week....please shower on the off-days!22. Every now and then, trade in your Starbucks favorite for a simple cup of tea. Kind of like periodically de-cluttering your morning routine.23. Savor one hour of quiet time every day. Read, nap, write, let the kids choose quiet time activities to do in their rooms by is good for the spirit. Do not feel guilty about is good for you and for the kids.24. Dress up and make believe. Feel free to don your favorite dress-up clothes, dance around and be silly, and just enjoy the freedom of following your imagination. This is good for adults as well as children!25. I vomited every day on our honeymoon to Kauai, Hawaii....yes, I was pregnant. We were married in May but didn't take our honeymoon until December. So, I was sick most mornings, craved the tuna sandwiches from the pool bar in the afternoons, and was exhausted by mid-evening. But it was still a spectacular trip!26. The best thing a family can spend is TIME.27. When the storm comes, don't take cover. Learn to dance in the rain.28. Playing in the snow can make even the coldest day much more enjoyable.29. The shortest verse in the Bible is "Jesus wept." That is such a powerful verse to me. Jesus hurt, as we do. Jesus felt pain, as we do. Though He was perfect, Jesus knew that if He experienced what we do, we would be much more likely to relate to Him, accept Him, and grasp His truth.30. Use your pain. Pain and hurt are holy. What does that mean? I believe that one of the reasons that God allows tragedy and hurt and pain is so we can connect more intimately with others who are also experiencing hurt and tragedy and disconnection. Hurt is often the most powerful connecting point between souls, and can be the seed through which God's hope sprouts.31. Go barefoot. Socks and shoes are very overrated.32. Give yourself permission to buy a bouquet of fresh flowers. Especially in the winter time.33. Wow, it's a long way to 100, isn't it?!! Press on toward the goal......34. You can never display too many photos in your home. Photos garb the walls of your home with heart and connection and love.35. If you can, buy a Dyson vacuum sweeper. They are awesome and never get clogged....and not having to deal with replacing bags and that whole business is priceless!36. Buy locally. Art, produce, clothing.....let your money work to develop your community.37. Surround yourself with things that you love. I am in the process--a very LONG process--of trying to declutter our belongings and reduce them down to the essentials of what we love and really need. This is a hard--very hard--and slow process and we are not there yet, but I think the end result will be very worth it.38. Never stop learning new things. As readers of this blog know, I am in the middle of learning Spanish. And if you know anything about second language acquisition, I am WAY past the optimal time to learn a second language. But I am learning and enjoying the process, and I love the prospect of being able to communicate more effectively to a broader range of people. My next conquest: The guitar.39. Set aside one 2-hour time slot per week to create together as a family. This could be making a meal, or designing Valentine's cards, or painting a canvas together, or working in your family flower garden. Cooperation and collaboration as a family can totally change the tone of family interactions.40. Read the Bible every day, even if it is only one verse. Ponder on the truth of one verse and ask God to teach you something through His words.41. If you want something, tell your Father God. How many blessings do we miss because we don't pray to God the desires of our hearts?42. Empty toilet paper rolls have many different uses--tunnels for Matchbox cars, sand toys, telescopes, binoculars, hiding places for Little People, sculpture kids have shown me that the possibilities are endless!43. Try to always clean your sink spotless every night. This is some advice of the Fly Lady that I have tried to heed. It gives you one little spot in your house that you can feel good about, as if it is totally spotless and sparkling. It can bring a sense of settlement before going to bed each night. And if you miss a night, just eat a piece of chocolate (See # 16 above) and call it a day!44. Wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate and start buying for Christmas. Thanksgiving is increasingly getting passed over on the way to December 25. Thanksgiving should be a very holy and meaningful time of connection and reflection. Don't give in to the retailers' desire to make Christmas commerce a three-month affair. Take time to give thanks, reflect on God's bounty, and cherish life's blessings.45. Never let a birthday pass without a big celebration! This is the day to celebrate you and all God has made YOU to be.......celebrate big! Do what you love to do. With the people you love most. Eat your favorite foods. Take a break from normal routine. Let people give you gifts. Celebrate you!46. Seafood is always best when it's fresh.47. Give children their own space to create. Even if it's a small bedtray with a drawing pad and crayons, give them the tools they need to explore their creativity. We have an easel in our library room (right off the kitchen), a mobile creation station made out of a wooden bed tray with compartments for all types of creative tools, and an artspace in the basement playroom where a table and supplies are designated just for the kids, to create whenever they want to. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money.....and the benefits will be tremendous in the life of your child.48. Give the gift of books. Not a holiday passes in our family without giving our kids books. At Christmas, we always have a book basket which we fill each year with books about their particular interests. Valentine's bags and Easter baskets always contain books, and one of their birthday gifts is always books. Give to your child a personal library which they can then pass on to their own children. Make reading a legacy.49. Kindness matters....and so does nice.50. Keep Sunday sacred. A few months ago, I committed to doing no work on Sunday. No grading. No laundry. No dishes. I gave myself permission to rest....nap as long as I needed to, create, play with my kids, watch movies. It has made a huge difference in my mental clarity and productivity the rest of the week. Half-way to 100!51. Bloom where you are planted. Choose joy. And decide to be a "glass half full" type of person. Remember that the grass is rarely greener on the other side of where you currently are.52. Take time every day to play, whatever that means to you. Play replenishes the soul and energizes us for the tasks of the day.53. Always, always, always keep your camera handy. I cannot tell you how many times I have captured a precious moment or a one-of-a-kind experience just because I thought to throw my camera into my purse. And I have also been disappointed when moments have occurred and I didn't throw it in.54. Be Jesus to those around you. As the saying goes, you may be the only hint of Christ that someone ever encounters.55. Look for miracles all around you. Jesus promises that they are there.56. Take the time necessary to learn about and celebrate the diversity in our world. Teach your children about diversity and how important it is to embrace and connect with people different than themselves. Expose them to various cultures and foods and traditions. Answer their questions honestly as they arise. Teach them to love and befriend people regardless of their skin color, disability, religious belief, or other characteristic. Help them to foster peace and harmony.57. Accessorize! Even the oldest and plainest clothes can look new and trendy with a fun necklace and earrings, a colorful scarf with a coordinated pendant, or even a unique handbag. For extra fun, I like to tie my colorful scarves to my purse and maybe even pin a brooch to it for an instant splash of bling.58. Embrace the joys of Play Dough! Don't let the mess scare you off! Play-dough is so good for kids' development and is just plain fun for all ages. Even the very smell of playdough is sentimental for many of us......I bet I can make a bigger Play-Dough snake than you can!59. One of my very, very favorite movies of all times is the original "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." I remember that when we were growing up, the kids in our neighborhood would get together to watch it when it was shown once per year on TV. It just reminds of a perfect childhood fantasy....however, I could do without the Johnny Depp remake. Why mess with a good thing?60. Everything tastes better with a little salsa....especially when it's fresh!Except eggs......I don't go there.61. I love making fresh homemade guacamole. Combining fresh bright green avacados, fresh diced tomatoes, lots of garlic, lime, and fresh cilantro. The secret is to throw all the ingredients in a Ziploc bag and start mushing everything together with your hands. Then, when everything is melded well, cut a corner off the baggie and squeeze into a festive bowl. So yummy!62. I have a collection of handmade pottery pieces that I have gathered from various places we have traveled. Currently, I have pieces from Atlanta, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Toronto, Kauai, Hawaii, Cabo San Lucas and Riviera Maya, Mexico, and various small studios throughout Michigan, and my very favorite Sturgeon River Pottery in Petoskey.63. I love ketchup. It drives my husband crazy that I love to eat ketchup on a good steak.64. Savor and record the sweet things kids say. Example: This morning, I was cuddling in the chair with my 5-1/2-year-old daughter, Kennedy, when she says out of the blue: "Mom, won't you ever be done with college? Me: "Well, I teach at college, that's my job." Kennedy: "But don't you want a different job. Or you'll NEVER be done with college! ME: "You're right, I'll probably be in college FOREVER!" Kennedy: "But don't you want to be a vet. I do! Because I don't want to be in college forever like you are." ME: "I don't think I'd make a very good vet, but you will! I'll stick to college." So sweet!65. Embrace the promise of Christmas.....never underestimate the power and significance of the birth of the perfect Jesus as a gift to save the world. And never, ever lose sight of the real reason we celebrate.66. {Give what you got}. This was the main message at church from Josh today. Don't limit your giving to money. Think about your talents, abilities, interests, passions....and give them to God! He will do amazing, amazing things with whatever you got. I plan a full post on this at a later time.67. I really love Rachael Ray's cooking style....though I think she needs to stick to cooking shows and stop trying to be a talk show hostess. She cooks with creativity yet keeps it simple, doable, fun and semi-healthy.68. Never pass up the opportunity to hug a child and let them know how wonderful and unique they are. Some children go a lifetime without hearing these words.69. I love watching old episodes of shows like Gilligan's Island, Love Boat, the Brady Bunch, and I Dream of Jeanie. So full of nostalgia.70. Zoos are some of my very favorite places. I just love observing animals of all types, learning about their behaviors and habitats, and just wondering at the diversity of God's creation. Some of my favorites are the hippos, polar bears, giraffes, elephants, monkeys, penguins, and any kind of marine life.71. I truly believe that Lake Michigan is the most beautiful body of water in the United States, if not the entire world. We are so very fortunate to have this gorgeous lake nearly in our backyard, just minutes away.72. The year I was born.73. If at first you don't succeed, maybe you need to redefine success! Every time you put yourself out there and do your best, you are a success. Many times, success as defined by the world is very over-rated anyway.74. Caffeine Free Diet Coke is my vice, my beverage addiction. Milky, spicy, hot chai tea runs a close second.75. Cherish and display your children's art work...or should I say heart work. They are precious representations of your child's creativity and unique perspective on the world. Don't hide that artwork in the garage or closet.....give it a prominent place in your home and maybe even its own frame!76. Be the change you want to see in the world.77. Mentor. Find a way to share yourself and your life experiences with a young person in your community. You can never make a better investment....and the dividends are a lot better, more fulfilling, and more guaranteed than those offered by the stock market.78. I indulged in four little Valentine's chocolates tonight.....a couple of days early, but I couldn't resist. My new favorites are the Lindt valentine truffles with the white chocolate melty centers. Divine.79. Every lunch tastes better when it is part of a picnic. The kids and I often picnic with our lunch--whether it is out on the lawn or at a park in the summer, in the middle of the kitchen floor for a tea party/lunch, or a "carpet" picnic in the living room in the dead of winter.80. We had lunch today at a Chinese restaurant. When I tried to sneak a few fresh green beans on my son's plate, he started screaming "I don't like green beans! I don't like green beans!" Now, most of the diners were obviously executives having business lunches, so I quickly moved the beans from his plate to mine. What can I say: I guess the kid doesn't like green beans!81. A great white t-shirt is the staple of my wardrobe. Now if I could just figure out a way to keep it white and kid-finger-print free! Actually, I have discovered that the clear color-safe bleach type of Dawn dishwashing liquid is quite effective for laundry stains (thanks for this tip, Suzie!).82. I am awed....completely flowers. Take time, I mean REALLY take time to look at the small details of flowers and how they are constructed. The tiny protrusions and the amazing patterns they make. How something that looks so delicate can be so strong to withstand wind and rain and little kids running through them. Totally amazing. Through the lens of my camera, I have really gained appreciation for the awesome beauty of flowers in God's creation.83. The old adage is true: Laughter is the best medicine for a lot of life's woes. Research tells us that kids laugh hundereds of times per day, while the average adult laughs less than 10 times. So, take the time to laugh and don't worry about how silly or unsophisticated you might sound. And the best target......laugh at yourself!84. Drink milk (this is for my good friends, the Dykemas, who operate a dairy farm!).85. Send at least one hand-written note per week. Who in your life would be encouraged by a handwritten note amidst all of their bills in their mailbox? Who do you appreciate but have not taken the time to tell? A few hand-scrawled words have the amazing power to change the course of somebody's day.86. Never take your refrigerator for granted. I always have, never thinking about the convenience. We just got a new one after living out of a dorm-sized refrigerator for over 2 weeks......for the first time, I can say that I honestly appreciate and am thankful for this amazing appliance.87. Seriously, for all you non-blog-writers out there, I urge you to try blogging as a means of creativity and self-expression. You just might find yourself celebrating your 100th post sooner than you think and cherishing it as an important part of your day.88. In my senior year of high school, I owned and wore a full-body-outfit that was bright pink with white polka dots. My mom actually sewed it for me after I selected the material. And I mean BRIGHT PINK! I wore it with a bright white wrap belt and a white banana clip in my hair. Oh, my. What was I thinking? I look forward to seeing Kennedy's reaction to that outfit when she gets into her teen years.89. Tell your story. However it makes the most sense to you, share your story with others. Whether on a blog, through a scrapbook, making a movie, or writing a book.......we are meant to use our stories to intersect and connect with others. Tell your story.90. The year I graduated high school from good old MHS. Yes, I was one of those over-achievers who was valedictorian, senior class president, student council vice president, athlete of the year......etc. But, it's funny how those awards--which seemed so important at the time--mean very little to the actual course and fabric of my life today. It reminds me to see the bigger picture and realize that time really has a way of giving us perspective.91. Soak in the sunshine whenever you can.92. As a child psychologist, I am often asked about toys that I recommend for children. My very favorites: A set of play silks. These are basically 3-foot squares of silk that can be used by children in so many ways--costumes, baby blankets, leashes, tents......stimulates kids' imaginations. A great, great investment. These can be sewn or purchased from places like Magic Cabin.93. The day that I married my wonderful husband, Matthew, was the happiest and most amazing day of my life. To be loved so fully by the man of my dreams, and to be surrounded by those who had influenced us through our lives, was just such a privilege and wonder to experience. So good.96. Nothing changes you to the very core of your being like becoming a mother. Parenthood has been at once the most joyous and the most challenging experience of my life. It forces you to search to the core of who you are and rearrange your priorities. It also gives you new perspective on how deeply God loves us, in spite of our utter failure and inadequacy and constant rebellion.97. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.98. Puppies take as much work, patience, and consistency as having a human baby. Think first--long and hard--before getting a new puppy when you have a newborn in the house. Yes, there is a story here about a young couple with an active young toddler, a pregnant Mommy, and a very mischievious chocolate lab puppy named Kooper. I'll tell you the whole story some day........99. I am so proud of my husband for his commitment to the football players that he coaches. This photo shows his greatest professional accomplishment--leading his team to a state championship. One of my proudest moments was watching from the sidelines as he won this championship. I will never forget how proud I was of him at that moment. This is a memory and experience that can never be taken away or minimized for Matt or for our family.100. Wow, what a journey this post has been. I tried to interject a little more of my story here, along with some of my random observations, life philosophies, and favorite photos sprinkled in along the way. I look forward to continuing this blog as a way to creatively document, explore and communicate the substance and fabric of the everyday life of me and my family. Until tomorrow ...... Happy 100th Post, Half-Baked and Firefly Free! It's been an awesome ride so far, and I am better for the journey.