Hi, I’m Danica.

I guess I’m a lot of things: a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a crafter, a cook, a reader, a writer, a homemaker, a pianist, and probably a lot more too. But at the end of the day, I’m just a Christian trying to find and obey God’s will.

what I’ve been up to Feb 4

Bible Study

Last year, I purposed to memorize 52 verses. I made a plan, wrote out fresh 3x5s, and got to it. Near the end of the year, I was feeling a bit…wandering. You know that feeling? Like you pull out your Bible and sit down with your coffee and just — BLANK. But you know what? God wants to speak to me. He wants me to hear His voice. He wants to strengthen me according to His Word. The inspiration may ebb and flow, but taking in truth is never in vain.

All that to say, in November, when I read this post by my sister, something about it was alive to me. I took that as the Holy Spirit speaking, and those verses became my study plan. I wrote them down in several versions. I chewed on each part. I determined to not just gloss over super-familiar verbiage and instead leave no rock unturned in my search for food. It really was the Lord speaking to me!

Since then, I’ve done a few short reading programs using YouVersion’s app on my phone. I bought a cheap composition notebook and have been copying down verses I’m memorizing and meditating on (besides my usual journaling, which is just a must in my life!) I’ve kept several different Bible translations at my fingertips, eager to hear familiar passages in new ways. God has been speaking.

MuTu

I’ve mentioned here before that after Fiona’s birth, a nagging issue of diastasis recti became impossible to ignore — or, at least, detrimental to ignore. I have no idea how long the problem had been growing, but after her delivery, it was painfully obvious that my muscles were no longer doing their job of protecting and holding my insides. It was time for a game plan.

For four solid months, beginning immediately after her birth, I began following a program developed by Julie Tupler. I wrapped my stomach day and night and faithfully did the best I could do check off my daily exercise. The awareness and strength I developed during those four months was very significant. The simple tips she gave — how to get out of bed, how to stand, how to simply breathe — in ways that would help and not hurt me were extremely valuable.

Four months later, having done the same thing day in and day out with not much change in sight, I decided to try out another program that my friends had begun, MuTu.

For anyone suffering from a very severe diastasis recti, I would highly recommend beginning with Tupler. It is gentle, it is clear, and it is healing in a very deep, steady way (in my personal experience; I have absolutely no professional expertise!) However, beginning MuTu was just what I needed to keep me on the straight and narrow: variety, activity, and consolidated to one chunk of time each day. Some of the exercises I skip, because thanks to Tupler, I could immediately sense too much strain on my connective tissue. I went through MuTu’s 12 week program and finished last spring. Throughout the summer, I kept up a bit of exercise each day, although I fell completely off the wagon in August, due to our lives’ busyness. No worries: the beginning of a new school year meant finding a new place for my 30-40 minutes of exercise to fit, and it’s been working since. I feel strong and I know that starting the morning with a high-intensity workout means more energy for the rest of the day.

Vitamins!

At the end of the summer, articles started flying around the internet about super-flus and viral epidemics. I was glad for the reminder to beef up our vitamin intake! I asked a friend for some recommendations, and we’ve been taking Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and a probiotic each morning (with extra C as needed for a boost!) This past week, a few kids were down with a fever, so it certainly isn’t a guarantee for no sickness (but then, nothing is!)

Reading

I finally made myself a reading list for the year. I have until September to complete it, and I’m way behind, but I’m more on track than I would have been! I like to read. But it takes effort. Half the effort, for me, is just having a book to read! So far, lots of books not listed have made their way into my chair-side stack, but I’ve crossed off a few. My favorite read in a very long time? John Adams. Fascinating. Challenging. Inspiring.

What are some of your favorite books?

Netflix

And the only reason more books aren’t crossed off is because I’m also completely into
tp://www.cbs.com/shows/blue_bloods/”>Blue Bloods. I’ve skipped a few episodes here and there, due to content I wasn’t digging, but for the most part, I really enjoy this show. I like the characters and stories and just the strong Dad and family vibe. Yay for a portrayal of men who love integrity.

(You know I write this with fear and trepidation. Because, of course, after telling the world I like this show, you just watch — it’s going to all take a dive and turn into something I’m embarrassed to have ever seen. Ha!)

Easy Cleaning

E-cloths and Norwex enviro-cloths: pretty much the only thing I use anymore for anything. Throw in a toilet brush and vacuum cleaner, and you’ve pretty much summed up my entire cleaning arsenal. Stains on carpets, fingerprints on glass, grease on stovetop, grime on walls… So simple and easy. And not dangerous. However, I did finally try out my friend Renee’s dish wand trick for the shower, and I’m a convert. Dawn dish soap, white vinegar, and tada — you can scrub your shower while taking a shower. Works for me!

What have you been up to?

some favorite children’s books Feb 3

Reading is a really special thing. Learning, loving — it all happens so rapidly when there’s a little one tucked in the crook of my arm with a book in front of us. It’s a favorite thing to do at our house! I was asked about some of our favorite titles, so I wandered our house and checked the bookshelves this afternoon. These are some that caught my eye — books that have made frequent appearance in the last 8 years, or were enjoyed immensely and are already being asked for again (chapter books!)

Thanks to the internet, libraries are so much easier for a stay-at-home mom to use. I always have running lists of books to borrow, and max out my “hold” permission regularly! So I hope that after reading my list here, you’ll leave some titles for me to try out!

with my babies…

Good Night Moon

Litte Fur Family

Moo Baa Lalala

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear

Mommies Say Shhh

for winter days…

The Hat

Bear Snores On

Flannel Kisses

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Owl Moon

just for reading…

Caps for Sale

Ten Red Apples

Little Bear’s Trousers

Beatrix Potter’s books

Frog and Toad

The Biggest Bear

Hairy Maclary stories

The Brave Cowboy

Papa Small

Patsy Scarry’s Big Bedtime Storybook

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

A Glorious Days

A Children’s Garden of Verses

A is for Annabelle

favorite just-for-fun read-alouds

Little House books

All-of-a-Kind Family

Moffatt books

Chronicles of Narnia

Rascal

The Saturdays

for devotion and inspiration

The Jesus Storybook Bible

The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories

Hero Tales

With Daring Faith

Shadow of the Almighty (making our way through!)

*****

Would you like to share a list of your favorite titles? Comment here, or on Facebook, or leave a link to your blog post! I love new books!

spirit-led school days Jan 29

Routine and I have a strange, love-hate relationship. If I’m being positive, I call myself Spirit-led. Other times, I just think I’m a pendulum-swinger. I’m learning from my tendencies toward the latter, and allowing it to be molded more and more into the former — this is the work of God in my life, leading me as a Good Shepherd.

We have our schedule. It’s posted in plain sight. It was thought about, long and hard, the result of prayer and pondering. But it is a tool, in the end. It is not our master.

In September, stirring everyone with an exhortation to be “up and at ‘em” is altogether fitting and even fun. By the end of January, the constraints of climate seem to just beg for more fluidity inside. And so it is required of me that I learn to observe needs, act as guide and not sergeant, hold big picture in mind and enjoy the twists and turns that it takes to get there.

Take now, for instance:

Morning chores amounted to a bit of tidying and taking care of laundry. I’ve been poking away at tidying my room, but really, spending more time sitting on the edge of my bed in prayer for this one and that one, and dreaming with a friend via the internet about future homes.

The boys woke up with a big Lego plan, and you know what? That doesn’t happen often. So I set aside the school plans I’d written for the morning, told them to turn on an educational CD they received for Christmas, and play their hearts out. They will be there for hours, slowly assembling Star Wars ships, pausing regularly to listen to the familiar stories of Boston Tea Parties and First Continental Congresses.

Girls are at the table coloring, after playing Peter and the Wolf for awhile (where Peter looked an awful lot like a baby doll who was rescued by her mama from a fox?)

We need this time. We all do.

And as I learn to keep big picture in mind, and am led by a Shepherd as I lead my little lambs, I regularly am amazed to find that He knows how to get it “all” done. Sometimes doing it His way requires being fully engaged for more hours than I would like, letting the day creep into evening hours rather than being tidily finished and wrapped with a bow at 4:30. That’s okay. I have not died yet from too much noise and activity, although I’ve come close at times (can you say stimulus overload?)

There are plenty of days when the chief exercise is learning to do what we must do whether we want to or not. There are plenty of “work hard and fast” hours, followed by “here’s your list of school work, now do it” mornings and afternoons. But then there are these moments, too, when I realize that He knows how to fit in the special things:


a baby who snuck away from me, a brother who loves to read to his sisters


General Washington and Alexander Hamilton planning an attack


early morning company, enjoying the rare treat of looking at family photos


Liberty’s Kids, in a new (therefore fun) spot.


impromptu “school” project with my big girl

living truth Jan 27

Carolyn Mahaney writes:

But we must not succumb to despair or low-grade guilt [over our failures]. This maligns the gospel and does not produce the fruit of repentance or serve our children. Rather we must return to Scripture. We must remind ourselves of the truth that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness, that He is busy conforming us to the image of His Son, and that He works all things (even our mothering failures!) for our good and the good of our children.

I have been thinking much about living a gospel that is consistent with what I preach. A conviction to preach with my life—transmitting faith by how I actually believe, by what I actually lean the weight of my life upon. A heavenly Father who sees, provides, and is enough and so much more; a Healer who hears, cares, and touches; a Savior who takes stone and gives flesh, delivers from dark into light and freedom; a Helper whose constant presence brings joy and hope in and above every circumstance. This is who I believe God to be on paper. And it’s who I want my children to know! And so, my life… Oh, God, let my daily, moment by moment love for You paint a picture that is real, powerful, and faithful to the testimony of my lips and of Your word.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! How blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.”

More than words. May my decisions—what I will say, how I will feel, what I will do—point to Jesus. A big Jesus. A glorious Jesus.

time out. Jan 26

I am trying, once again, to get outside with the kids each afternoon. Some days it doesn’t work. Some days I just don’t want to. But the boys love when I go out with them, even it’s just me pulling on my boots and yelling, “Okay, who wants to tromp through the field with me?” And Beatrice would live outside if she could. “Snow Mountain,” the huge pile created by the snowplow each year, is her favorite place in the world right now.

I’m not really an outdoorsy type: I don’t own hiking boots or even sneakers, I don’t ski or canoe. But is there a category of outdoorsy that just needs to breathe fresh air and see vast sky every day, and thinks a great afternoon is one spent walking for miles? Because that’s me. And so this time outside, even if it means giving up a shower or another load of laundry done or whatever, it’s good for them and it’s good for me.

Today we missed it; sick boy and sleeping baby and such. So I’m looking at vast sky via pictures. Reliving the joy of snow angels. Remembering the thrill of following bunny tracks and deer tracks and bird tracks and others we don’t know. We have so much fun.

babies grow, what do ya know Jan 17

Ryan said, at dinner on December 31st, so how was your year? William happily recollected every single event — from the week before. I laughed, but who am I to laugh? I can’t recall much more than that without significant effort.

Until I turn to glance at the pig-tailed girl beside me, laughing along with the rest of us. Suddenly I realize how much a year can hold.

She was just this last January:

She had the biggest year of all. She

– learned to sit
– learned to roll like a pro
– learned to crawl
– learned to stand
– learned to walk
– learned to run
– started to eat “real” food
– learned to say Mama, Da, Boo[k]
– learned to relocate a hundred small objects every single day from one end of the house to the opposite end

So that now, I look up and see this:

Kind of amazing. A miracle happening right under my nose.

I saw these pics as I organized my albums the other night. Fiona on the go. Each one of these shots makes me chuckle: short legs, little arms, funny faces. Little tiny person, but oh, every bit a person.


“I’m so grown up” face


busy little legs, tiny toes


hand! ack!


soft, sweet arm. she’s so big. so little.

I love this Fiona Elspeth.