Thursday, June 30, 2011

Red, White, and The Blues

On this day I am thinking of three colors.
Red, White, and Blue.

Red makes me think of hearts.
Hearts make me think of love.
And my heart is full of love for my family, my friends, and my God.

Today, my red heart turned blue when I heard the news from a friend
 that a beloved family member passed away today.
 He was only five years old.

He was holding on for a bit,
 but is now gone from every ones life forever.
And though we know he is in a better world, we are still filled with grief.

I got the news at 4:00am this morning.
My heart was heavy with sadness and I had a troublesome, burdened, sleepless night.
I can not even fathom the thoughts, emotions, and sadness, the family must be feeling.

I was wordless and I cried.
 And do cry, almost every time I think about it.
All children have a special place in my heart.

Today, I held my kids a little longer and a lot tighter than usual.

All the little things that usually bother me, like clothes left in the floor,
 toys strewn across the bedroom, the thumb sucking, not finishing their meals...
none of those things seem to matter at all today.
All those things appear to be pathetically silly in retrospect.
All that matters is right here. Right now.
My beautiful girls, healthy, alive, and happy beside me.

There is a time to be still and thankful.
And that time is now

It is a very sobering and gripping thing to hear of the loss of a child.

Children are so authentic and innocent.
If I could pick a color to represent the soul of a child.
I would choose a white crayon.

To me, white represents everything clean, pure, and untainted.

So this year, as we celebrate our fourth of July weekend,
I will be humbly thankful.
Full of genuine love and appreciation
 for my family, my friends, and especially for our children.
I am keenly aware today of my blessings,
 not just for my freedoms, my country, and my family,
 but for the grace, mercy, and favor that the Lord has given me today.

For today, I have my children.

Safe. Sound. And Saved by Gods grace.

Thank You Lord.

Just one of the children I love. Such sweet blue eyes.

My very deepest condolences and all my love go out to the family today.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Single Grain Of Rice

I grew up in a household with a traditional family, mother and father,
 who loved each other and who still to this day are committed to being with each other
 through the "good and bad, sickness and health, til' death do them part".

 I grew up in a happy home with a great sister sibling,
who I love very much,
and many friends.

 My mother is Filipino,
and as any person who has ever known a true Filipino knows,
 the food we ate growing up was divine!

There is nothing in the world like some white rice and good Filipino side dishes,
 like adobo, sinigang, and freshly fried lumpia (aka, the egg roll).
My friends always talked about my Moms cooking and through the years
 she has even had several people ask her to cater parties and other events.
 I mean this woman can cook!

If there is anything I miss about being minutes away my parents, it's Moms cooking.
And of course, their company. I miss my family!

Growing up we ate rice pretty much on a daily basis.
I remember getting tired of eating rice.
Now, as an adult, I love it.
It's a staple here in our home and my kids love to eat it too.

As a mother and wife who strongly believes family is the most important community
 along with the foundation of God, I am a strong supporter of home education.

My husband and I have discussed our options for educating our kids as a team, together.
And we re discuss the options as each new "school year" begins.
We have decided to homeschool again in the fall.

During this past school year, I ran a child care center right here in my own home,
 along with teaching my Kindergartner and all the preschoolers.
 But, as time went by, I realized that I wasn't able to fully accomplish my goals
 with my own children, as well as care for the others to the magnitude that I would like to have.
So with that acknowledgment, I resigned my day care business.

Since my resignation, I have been able to accomplish what I set out to do in the beginning.
Even though it's summer, I continue to teach the children in every aspect of life.
 From ABC's, 123's, place values, and proper grammar in every day life,
 to how to do laundry, take on leadership roles,
and how to get along with and effectively deal with others.
Every moment is an opportunity to learn something new.

For our family, the benefits of homeschooling have been vast and invaluable.
But this doesn't come without a price.
Then again, everything worth doing usually comes with a price.

The path we have chosen isn't a care free, easy lifestyle all the time.
In fact, we have had to learn to be fairly disciplined
with our time and certainly with our money.

Just as rice has become a staple in our home,
so has learning new things on a daily basis.

My 6 year old now knows that everything we need to know
can be found in a book or on the Internet. (Pretty much.)
Everything else can be learned along the way.

My goal has and always will be, to instill the love of learning inside of my kids.

Anytime the kids have a question about a strange new found insect
or a new vocabulary word they come running like a gazelle from a hungry tiger
 to the laptop, ready to escape wordlessness and enter the world of knowledge.

As parents, sometimes we can get tired of all the questions,
and "how do you"s, and constant "but why"s.
 But if we will but listen to the children and begin to understand
 their excitement and desires then we can begin to impart
 a sense of admiration for self learning and an eagerness for knowledge.

We used Sonlight Christian Homeschool Curriculum this past year
and among the wondrous, life saving materials for our K5 school year,
there was a book called A Grain Of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman.

It was one of our favorites for the whole year!

In this book, there is a humble farmer,
seeking the hand of a princess, who he is madly in love with,
but can not have.

Along the way, he earns the opportunity
 to have any wish granted to him that he can imagine.
Except the hand of the princess.

The young farmer wisely chooses a single grain of rice,
 doubled every day, for the next 100 days.

The less wise Emperor obliges his request.

By day forty, the simple farmer was granted
eight-hundred-and eighty-eight grains of rice.

In other words, he had become just as, if not more,
rich and powerful than the honorable Emperor himself.

Just as the single grain of rice revolutionized the poor, simple farmers life forever,
I also believe every single moment of life offers a new "spark" of knowledge
that has the ability to transform lives.

And as long as the heart is willing to believe,
and the mind is willing to learn,
our kids can make their dreams come true as well.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Beauty: Inside and Out

Such a sweet and beautiful child.

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful;
for beauty is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament. 
Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower,
and thank God for it as a cup of blessing. 
 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Road Trippin'

We took a road trip yesterday.
One of our favorite pass times is hiking.
So, after church, we headed up the mountain and toward some of the best trails in the south.

All of the following photos are taken with my cell phone camera.

Waiting on Mr. Takamine in the parking lot...

Yes, I know, this is a very "high school" thing to do... snap shots of yourself...
 I have a teenage neice who is constantly doing this. She is adorable.

The truth is, Mr.Takamine had just bought me those new shades, I kinda like them.
Also, I can't help but take pictures... It's what I love to do!

It was a long drive up the mountain.

It was a perfect day for a walk through the woods.

We all had a really great Sunday here in the South.
Enjoy the beauty of nature and take a hike this summer.

Happy Trails :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My New Love

This summer I have had a bit of a fascination for avocados and limes.
I absolutely love them.
Separately or together... it doesn't matter.

It's all good!

I spooned some avocado on top of my simple salad the other day,
with a little splash of juice from a freshly sliced lime and a sprinkle of salt on top,
and voila, a delicious, fresh, and healthy meal.

My favorite of ALL time salad dressing is oil and vinegar.
That's really good as well.

There isn't anything better or fresher than a bowl of gorgeous greens on a hot summer day!

The Last Year And A Half

I celebrated my full first year of blogging this year.
 I believe it was February of 2010 when I first started my blogging journey.
So, I guess technically I've been blogging now for one year and four months.

I worked dreadfully hard trying to get my blog up and running and looking "spot on".

I really had no specific intention for my blog when first starting out.
I just needed a way of releasing some creative energy.

I love to read.
I love to write.
 And I love to photograph... everything in my life.

I have always kept journals and created photo albums
and couldn't think of a better way to combine the two things.
A blog was the perfect solution.
I remember many of my first posts.
Most of them were about food and our homeschooling adventures.

I don't think I can even bare to write about the incident again,
and what happened to almost my entire first year of blogging.
Hours of photography and writing lost forever.
But if you can bear to read about the messy, mistaken, issue of confusion
that haunts me still, to this very day (but only when I think about it) ...
 you can read about it here on my post rightly titled : "Poop Happens!".
(Don't let it happen to you!)

As I reflect on my months of blogging and the last year and a half of my life,
I can think of a million things that I have learned along the way.
I can think of a hundred reasons to keep on blogging.
And I can think of dozens of people who have inspired me to write (and shoot).
However, I can tell you of only One Who has made all this possible.

"The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life
 is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.”
~David Viscott

"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believes."
~Matthew 9:23
Here are some images taken with my first camera
and used during my first few months of blogging.
I found them yesterday and they inspired me to write this post about "yesteryear".

I heart pizza!

I know... Just another flower... I loved the color of this beauty.

Homeschooling fun!

Everyday attire.


Love for Limes. I remember using these lime pics for a post last summer.

Green... My fave.


I remember taking these pics at the pool last summer... they were so delicious!

If you are a reader or follower of my blog...
when I am gone and write no more,
tell my kids I loved to blog,
 and that it is my memoir to them.
And that I love them greatly.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Just Laugh

"Carry laughter with you wherever you go."  ~Hugh Sidey

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Written In Black And White

...And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up,
and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh...
~Luke 21:28

...And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us:
and establish thou the work of our hands upon us;
 yea, the work of our hands establish thou it...
~Psalm 90:17

...In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul... 
~Psalm 94:19

Every Sofa Needs A Pillow

Please excuse this rather boring and somewhat shallow post about "stuff"
but it seems that I am running out of images to work with.
(Which is every bit of my inspiration for writing these days.)
While my camera is being repaired, I have no way of creating new ones, 
so for now, don't be surprised if you see the old college photos
 being used as I begin "scanning" to my hearts content.
(Well maybe not  "college " photos, most of those are incriminating.)

I recently bought some new furniture for our living area.
It took me quite some time to find a style and texture of leather that I really liked.
Never the less, I found it.
And while I don't have any photos of the furniture yet, I did take some snapshots of my favorite little accessories that I added to the living space.

On most of my walls and tables you will see wrought iron and wrought iron type things.
and not much color other than the photos of my family I have scattered around,
(which happen to be all be in color, in my living space).

I also redid the guest bath and used all black and white photos.
I hope to get some shots of that later on,
when my camera makes a full "recovery" from the accident.

Below are a few shots of some of my favorite new "things" in our living area.

Every sofa needs pillows...

I loved these candles... Got 'em at Target!

 The picture you see there (of our kids) beside the candles, in the image above... 
that was taken by our favorite local photographer.
 She is amazing in every way.

I am happy with my newly decorated living space, for now...
 but I thrive on change, and will likely be moving things around soon. 
Changing space is something I like to do on a regular basis... if I can find time for it.
Mr. Takamine, my husband, thinks it's a silly thing. But I like it.
If I could, I would probably buy new pillows and candles every few months.
But I can't... at least that's what Mr. Takamine tells me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Daddy

My Dad is awesome.

Life has been an amazing adventure because of my Dad.

 He is a hard worker. He is kind, genuine, smart, fun, and loyal.
He would rather play with his toys and explore the world rather than do anything else.
He loves bicycles, long boards, kites, canoes, cacheting, Mountain Dew, music and Mom's cooking.
He reads lots of magazines on all the above subjects and he loves the Lord with all his heart.

I love my Daddy!

This is Dad...

Thank God for Daddies!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Geranium

My wonderful mother in law bought me a geranium last summer as a gift.

I killed it.

It broke my heart because I think these little beauties are so sweet.

This year I decided to try again.
So I bought one for myself.

And guess what... It's still alive!

"Country Boys"... Thank You for your beautiful flowers
and your brilliant plant care givers,
particularly the young man who helped me understand
 the simplicity of caring for this nice little green and pink pretty.

I like your place a lot! I'll be coming back...


The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.  ~James Bryce

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.  ~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.  Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.  ~Attributed to Groucho Marx

The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television.  ~Andrew Ross

A house without books is like a room without windows.  ~Heinrich Mann

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Tree Swing

I have passed by this tree swing a million times and have always loved this sight.
 I think it's a splendid view... And I finally got a shot.