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I have this thing about writing with pencils. I used to write everything with black ink, but the more children I had, the more necessary it was to make adjustments, rearrange, reschedule, and sometime scratch things right off my calendar and to-do list. When I couldn’t stand the mess of changes continually happening in my life, I began to write with pencils; at least with a pencil, I could erase and write in the new plan.

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As always, I have so much to be thankful for. It’s an unusual Sunday because all of our older kids are out of town with their group of friends. Only seven kids home for dinner (we’re borrowing one for the day) and somehow it feels like I have the week off from cooking. I had better give dinner a little bit of thought or I’ll have an unhappy crew on my hands.

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sisters braiding hair while waiting for the bus

supper club – friends gathering around one another’s tables for many years

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Some people plan couple’s massages. Not us, we like being a little different (as you may have noticed), so we scheduled couple’s colonoscopies. One of the perks of turning 50 is paying better attention to our health. Having an oncology nurse for one of my best friends hasn’t given me wiggle room with things like mammograms or now this – the dreaded colonoscopy.

We could have done our colonoscopies separately, but we chose to have them “cheek to cheek” rather than lose two weekends to this loveliness.

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When Jen Hatmaker writes a book, you just might want to read it.

Sometime in mid-July, before we left for Whidbey Island, I was offered the opportunity to read and review the newly updated edition of Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. It seemed perfect at the time; the book would arrive before we left and I would read it while on vacation. I sent the required email and promptly forgot all about it.

Three weeks later I found a package on my desk from Tyndale House. Imagine my surprise to find a copy of the book, along with instructions to review it soon – like late July.

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Every July my book group meets to plan what we’ll read in the coming year. I always have fun sharing our list here knowing that some of you will  enjoy these books too. If you’ve read any of them, share your thoughts. If there is something here that grabs your attention, share that too.

Comments are what make blogging fun- I love hearing from you.

I’m ordering my list and taking them along to Whidbey Island at the end of the week!

August: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

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16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1Thess 5:16-18

Sometimes it would be so much easier not to give thanks; days are hard, wakeful nights are long, and tears are near. I don’t think God expects us to be thankful for all circumstances, but in all circumstances. The sure knowledge that he is with us and that even in the hardest times we are loved by our amazing God, should lead us to be thankful.

This isn”t always easy to do, but I practice it with my simple Sunday Gratitude posts. If not one person reads this, it’s okay because it is an exercise in obedience for me. When I really consider all that I am thankful for, it lightens my heart.

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a great visit with my sister Elizabeth and her kids

spending a fun day at the pool

lots of time wearing pajamas and sipping coffee

my car full of middle school girls going to youth group

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I woke up this morning at 4:15. This was not a good thing, but it became a good thing when I got up at 5:00, made coffee, and sat down with my Bible study. My little group of friends and I are studying Children of the Day: 1 & 2 Thessalonians and I’m enjoying it so much. Beth Moore’s passion for God’s Word is downright contagious.

At 5:30 the sun crept up over Moscow Mountain and it was so pretty that I grabbed my camera and went out in my pajamas to take a few pictures to share with you. If you were here having coffee with me, you could have seen it for yourself.

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our niece and her sweet baby who came to visit Friday

movie night with Annarose’s friends

which morphed into a teen dance party – the yard lit by white lights

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waking up to sun shining on the water 

snow covered mountains in the distance

this lovely home on Camano Island, loaned to us for a few days

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This isn’t really a post, it’s a, “Oops, I forgot to mention that.” I’m doing a summer Bible study with a few friends and I want to encourage you to grab a few and do it too. Living Proof Ministries (Beth Moore) has set up a program that looks easy to follow. You can do it on your own, with one friend, or a whole group. The schedule is simple and all you need is the workbook, Children of the Day: 1 & 2 Thessalonians by Beth Moore, and a Bible. You can order the workbook from Amazon with the link I just gave or from Lifeway. The schedule and information on how to do the study are on the LPM Blog (it starts this week, but it’s not too late).

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Yesterday I wrote a post explaining that I am transitioning to using all of my children’s real names on my blog. I thought it would be fun to write a short post about each of my youngest six and introduce them to you.

Ladybug’s real name is Annarose. Anna is a family name on Russ’ side and I have an aunt named Anne. We like all of our children to have a name with some biblical significance and Anna is the name of the woman in the temple who fasted and prayed night and day for the coming of the Messiah. This was her response when she saw the infant Jesus, “At that moment, she came and began to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).