Tuesday, January 21, 2014


"I want you to straighten my hair for Christmas"

she said as I pretended not to hear her...

I knew exactly what she was saying, but I was not ready to go there

"Mommy, did you hear me?" she asked incessantly, "I want you to straighten my hair!"

and I heard her

and clear

But for nine years I have been taking care of this little girl's hair...


Like a dance
a beautifully choreographed piece of work

(that I see no reason to change now)

Before the routine

we begin with our usual warm-up, detangling with care,
to make sure we don't pull anything unnecessarily

and then the dance is ready to begin...



 each section to prevent the curls from tangling together

wash and

each section into smaller sections to ensure the protection of each strand
A week later we shampoo and condition again, this time
with twists still in, allowing the hair to air dry overnight, and then 
the sections to give the hair a week of freedom


until the following week when we

by starting the entire process all over again!

But last week I decided to...

loosen up a little
deviate a little
provide a little

variation to our usual dance
(by blow drying my daughter's hair)

because I know that

she is growing up
and one day

I will have to take a seat altogether

(allowing her to dance alone)

So for now we're back to our perfectly choreographed routine...


because I can clearly see that we're moving along just fine!

Monday, January 20, 2014

"APFLH" Children's Art Studio... I Have a Dream 2014!

We had a great January kickoff in our Children's Art Studio... 
We started with a mini family reunion!
and some...

We made...

Chinese Lanterns
(not to be confused with rock...paper...scissors)

Canvas Art


(tip: If you can't find blank canvases... use printed ones, and have the children paint over them! I found these for only $1) 

2014 Dream Boards
Child Friendly Magazines
Stickers, Letters, and other Embellishments
Poster board

The kids went through the materials and began mapping out their long-term
and short-term dreams and sorting materials to help represent their vision... 

And this time even the moms got in on the action!

Notice my hubby's name, Winston at the center? 
Well, up close what it really says is "becoming Win's Ton"!
because I have chosen my husband's name as my one word for 2014
as it dawned on me one day that when I invest in him, I am investing
in the entire family.  What's even more amazing is that...
God has placed me with a mate who's very name says Wins Ton! 

Which means together we can't lose!!


The weather was/is so great here in Southern California that the kids and I
also went outside and had a great time jumping into the new year!
How have you jumped into 2014?

(Up next?... "Valentine's Session")

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A New Perspective... and A Field Trip Lesson

I was given very clear instructions...
"Mom, when we get on the bus sit by me, okay?"
Before we leave we're gonna pray...
"Just bow your head and close your eyes, okay?"
"Don't say 'yes Lord' or anything, just let him pray alone, OKAY?"
"Okay", I promised,
(because on Fourth grade field trip day you're just honored that...) 
she still asks you to go
she still wants you to go
to hang out with her and her friends
Shortly after we arrived we headed to the Endeavor exhibit
(which begins with a short film documenting the journey of the space shuttle to the CA Science Center)
It looked
incredibly small on the back of that aircraft carrier, then
incredibly large as it rolled past houses and onlookers
and I remembered...
that in September of 2012
I declared it one of the most amazing sights that I had ever seen
The space shuttle Endeavor being transported on the back of
NASA's shuttle carrier aircraft which I wrote about here
When the movie ended we headed downstairs to see it and realized it is HUGE!!
Upon entering the room, one of my daughter's good friends asked me...
"Well if the shuttle is this big, then how big was the plane?"
I didn't have an answer (and he must have known) because he ran off with his friends, as I was left standing there alone, his question still lingering
back on the bus
the kids were noisy from all of the excitement 
I suggested that everyone close their eyes and rest for 10 minutes,
but nobody liked my idea
So I closed my eyes to rest until...
I felt a small hand tapping me
When I opened my eyes, the little boy sitting on the other side of the aisle 
said "I wasn't too impressed with that"
as he pointed down to the souvenir bag on the seat next to him
It had a picture of the Endeavor and I finally had the answer to the question I'd been asked hours earlier!
"If the shuttle is this big, then how big was the plane?"
So I asked him...
"When we saw the film, did the shuttle look big or small?"
"Ok, when we saw the shuttle, did that look big or small?"
"Well maybe that's how it is with God..."
and before I could continue
those words must have pierced my daughter's ears,
instantly reminding her 
that she had forgotten to give me instructions for the bus ride back
She leaned over and abruptly asked him... "Do you want to listen to this?"
but his eyes were still on me, so I continued...
"Maybe that's how it is with God.  Our problems look so big, and we can't figure out how to solve them, but then when we put them next to God, they look so small because He can do anything!"
And with that said, I closed my eyes to rest

leaving my daughter

and with a new perspective

Click to read about... Finding Balance

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Same Black Dress... Styled by Mo

Last year I began wearing this same Black Dress after being inspired
by Sheyenne's support of the "Dress for Change" Consumerism Project

I spent the year showcasing my dress in many different ways to include

church wear
Black and White


Fall Fashions

(click any of the links above to follow along)

Well this year, I've decided to enlist some styling help with my black dress,
and since my 9-yr. old daughter had already asked if she could style me,

I agreed to start with her


"How hard could this be?"

First I asked her to choose a black dress...
My "same" black dress
My "new" black dress
Then she chose this shirt and sweater...

and that's when I remembered that we'd nicknamed her "Punky Brewster" for a reason,
but it was too late to turn back,

so I pulled these matching shoes from a box at the top of my closet...

asked her to choose between these 3 earring options...

 and then...
when a friend from church saved the day by giving me this necklace...

I convinced my daughter that it would perfectly tie the whole look together...

and Voila!

Since next month is the hubby's birthday, our anniversary, AND Valentine's day...
I've asked him style me for February and he (very reluctantly) said "yes" 

(check out our outfits hanging together here)

Then check out my black dress with old boots and new shoes!

The Brown Boots Live On (Part 3)

"The brown boots live on? Oh, that's nice..."

was the reaction I really expected because

I didn't think that as many of you would be

this interested
in the follow-up to this story,

this invested
in the follow-up to this story,

but your inquiries and suggestions have let me know that many of you get it...

you see
and understand

that this post was never really just about a pair of refashioned brown boots
(they're not that special)

But this post has always been an invitation for us to take better care of ourselves...

because we are that special!

If you're new to this conversation...
read the "Brown Boot Chronicles" from the beginning

(part 1) and (part 2)

and for the rest of you who have been asking...

Here are my brown boots in action!

And just in case you noticed...
YES, that is my same black dress


Look closer...

and you will notice other leftover pieces from the boot top!

Sure, I know they're not perfect, but I have another piece that I plan to use to finish up them...
and I have a piece to add to my scrapbook...
and I have another doll skirt in the works...

all because

I stopped
and noticed...

So that's what this is really about


to stop and check in with yourself
put yourself back on the list
take some time just for you

realizing that you'll actually have more to give as a result

To date, I have managed to find a way to re-use 6 pieces of boot fragments,
and I know that my grandma would be so proud!! 

And there are still two pieces left!

Ideas anyone?

Click here to check out my black dress as it goes tribal!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Flashback Friday... Junior High? No Sweat!

My coworker and I sat talking yesterday
about how long it takes the average person to run a mile and

I had to laugh out loud as

I remembered
and shared

just how long it used to take me...
Curtiss Middle School
9th grade
and although I wasn't the

the most popular

kid in school

I did alright...

got decent grades
had cool friends
received a small college scholarship

and even somehow managed to get nominated and elected
as Student Body President

I did alright in everything except...

Third period P.E

Because we were forced to run the timed mile, and I absolutely HATED the mile while
my gym teacher absolutely LOVED to yell out across the field

"TONDRALAH!  Hurry up... everyone else is FINISHED!"

(and to this day I'm still not sure why that man called me "Tondralah")

but even if he had gotten my name correct,
it wouldn't have mattered because

I had already decided
not to

sweat or
mess up my hair

No sir
No thank you

so much to his dismay

each week
I came in
dead last

taking my time because

I had already decided to

walk it
just take the 'Fail' and
exert the least amount of energy as possible while still completing the assignment

I had purposed in my heart to be an under achiever and I was okay with that


Well today, as I thought about it
the implications of having that mindset finally hit me
as I realized that my actions were actually

saying something
telling something

about that girl

Because I mean really, who wants to be that girl?

The one who comes in last place
each time...
every time...

And now I


that when you pre-determine in your heart
(either willfully or unconsciously)

not to try
not to strive
not to sweat

you've already pre-determined in your heart
to fail

every time

Monday, January 6, 2014

Basket Case (Home Organization)

A quick look around our house on any given day is proof enough that I am a basket case...


(by choice) and some days it shows...

and a quick look around our house on any given day is proof enough that
I am a basket case...

because I've learned that things just need a place to rest

and the


almost always leads to


the cycle that just continues...

So I've found that when everything has a place to call home...

a basket
a bin
a box

just some place to be

it is far less confusing
everyone seems happier
and things just work better... 

Clothing Organization

Kid's Room Storage

Food Storage

 Office Organization

Game Organization

Craft Organization 
The "New" Laundry System 
and even our back room
Children's Art Studio

and because I am a basket case and
I've learned that it must be this way in order for me to


any level of sanity
and productivity

within this shared space

because I am the one primarily responsible for



so I must do so
one basket at a time

appreciating that today as we leave this house

kids off to school
the hubby and I back to the nine-to-five

everything is in its proper place
everything is in order

(at least for now)

leaving me to wonder just how long it will be
before I have once again


a basket case

How do you organize your life?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Brown Boots Live On (Part 2)

It all began one rainy night last October...

My favorite brown boots got a "new look"

as I discovered the importance of "checking your own boots"

and learned the beauty of

using what I have
being grateful
wasting less

and with boot remnants left still sitting on my dresser
I began to wonder...

How would my grandma have handled this?
There's no way she would have thrown away her favorite boots or any piece thereof

No way!

She would have found a way to maximize every piece

And so I sat
and waited...

as days passed...

Until late December

when my little "American Girl" received one of her own for Christmas,
and it finally came to me!

Introduce my daughter to sewing AND use a remnant of brown boot

Two lessons in one!

So I...

1. Took the top cutoff portion from my brown boot and a choker necklace given to me by a friend
2. Pulled a needle and thread, attaching the two and...


3. Ended up with this custom made doll skirt that my daughter LOVED!!

So I have learned that...
"When you take time to stop and check your own boots,
then you will have more to give to someone else"

And the brown boots live on...
(read Part 3 here)

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