Thursday, April 8, 2010

1000 gifts: spring break edition

Before I get into spring break events, an announcement: I've started a new blog under my own real name (the name I hope to publish under someday!). Little Women for the 21st Century is a very personal blog, with lots about my ups and downs, my husband, my kids, my faith, etc. Because it's so personal, I've been a little shy about putting my full name on it. Some of you know my full name, and you'll have no problem finding my new blog.

Why a new blog? Because "Writers need a platform; we need to get our name out there and building an audience for our work for when we do have a book in hand." (See this article, Creating the Breakout Blog: a platform guide for the pre-published writer. (Btw, Guide to Literary Agents is one the most informative blogs I've found so far. A treasure trove of information for writers.) So my "platform" blog will be about all things writing-related: writing progress, writing motivation, books that I dissect for their writing craft. I'll continue to use this blog to post family events/photos, faith-related musings, etc.

So, on to spring break in Hilton Head, South Carolina. It was a wonderful week, and allowed me to add to my list of all the gifts God has given me that I'm thankful for, to live out the command "give thanks in all things" (1 Thess. 5:18) in my daily walk.

25. A gift of airplane tickets to Hilton Head.
My mom made this trip to Hilton Head possible. I would never have been able to go if she hadn't splurged on some plane tickets. Thank you so much, Mom!

26. Perfect beach weather.
We had sunny 70/80 degree weather the whole time, all six days. Beautiful!

27. Books to travel with.
Heather asked me if I needed any books to take along. I never turn down her offerings - she had read C.S. Lewis' "Weight of Glory" and other essays on her spring break - now it was my turn. Absolutely amazing. I plan to blog about at least two of these essays. I was raving so much about them that Mom even agreed to read one or two.

28. Beaches and gardens are a great combo
Flowers everywhere and blossoming dogwoods and red buds; beautiful live oaks draped with Spanish moss scarves; going barefoot on the beach, the sugary feel of the sand; the soothing sound of the ocean waves.

29. Watching my kids fall in love with the beach
Serious and Dreamer giggling ecstatically over discoveries of shells, sand dollars, and starfish. Proudly showing off the pits they dug in the beach. They are both frustrated that building sand castles out of sand-filled buckets is much harder than it looks but even their frustration is endearing.

30. Hermit crabs with painted shells.
More giggling from the girls over the hermit crabs at the Shell Store (my favorite store in Hilton Head. Full of all sorts of tacky tourist stuff, but it's just plain fun. I even found a peg-legged pirate nutcracker there to add to my collection!)

31. Live sand dollars
Discovering how amazing a live sand dollar is. How much it moves, though it never goes anywhere!

32. Alligators snoozing in the sun
The new fence behind our timeshare that allows us to get pretty darn close to the alligator that likes to snooze on the bank - and still feel safe.

33. Poolside barbecue
With my Uncle Dave, Aunt Diane, cousin Mark his wife Mada and their kids - Dreamer and Moriah became instant friends. They also had a lot of fun playing with a lizard that Matthew caught.

34. My mom being willing to do anything, go anywhere
She even took all four kids (Matthew, Moriah, Dreamer, Serious) on a tour of island playgrounds so Mada and I could have the afternoon off to go shopping together

35. Sharing how amazing a personal relationship with Jesus is to me
Got to share this with my cousin's wife. And she was really interested, not just skeptical. Also listened to her share her background and beliefs.

36. Dolphins swimming just off the beach.
On my last morning on the beach, I finally got to see a dolphin swimming. It always takes my breath away!

37. Movies for the kids makes traveling easier.
Flew back home without Mom - just me and the girls for over 17 hours of travel but they were both so good! A long three hour layover ended up whizzing by because I found another really good book to read and was able to rent a movie for the girls to watch.

38. Hiding Easter candy.
Easter Sunday with my Dad. Dreamer and Serious exclaiming every time they found another stash of hidden candy in the living room.

39. Bunnies that poop jelly beans
Finally being re-united with B., Blaze and Starlet after over a week when they got home from their trip to Kansas with all of B.'s family for Easter. Aunt Melissa bought Easter baskets for all the girls (even Dreamer and Serious). The wind-up bunnies that "pooped" jelly beans were a big hit.

40. “We just need to pray, Daddy.”
Blaze tells Daddy not to get upset when the truck gets stuck in mud.

41. All four girls love to ride in the backhoe with Daddy.
Dreamer got an exclusive ride home with Daddy in the backhoe after we drove him out to a job site to pick it up. He let her “drive” it part of the way home.

42. Pink roses smell the best.
B. brought home a pink rose (my favorite) for me, for no particular reason

43. Our names are written in heaven.
A WT (wonderful thing) from the Word: Luke 10:22 "...rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

44. A day off from work.
Getting to sleep in, time to have two cups of tea; not having to get dressed to go anywhere until 10am; wonderful fellowship, good discussion at mom’s Bible study, then a relaxing afternoon. My favorite time of day: the twins are upstairs sleeping, little lumps of angels under dark pink comforters. I’m sitting in the recliner in the living room next to the big picture windows, situated precisely so that my legs and feet feel the delicious warmth of the afternoon sun but the rest of me is in shade so I don’t get too hot or too sleepy. I have just discovered something wonderful in a book, and I have time to think it over, and even take some notes.

45. Inspiration about my job
one day I was mulling over my belief that fulfillment is incomplete if you are only achieving something for our self - lasting fulfillment comes from doing things for others. So then I got to thinking, what about my profession? These days I enjoy teaching more and more, I am helping people learn things. But the stuff that I teach, it doesn’t really change lives anyway, or help people (beyond increasing their skills for their job). I got to thinking if there was anyway I could add more “value” to what I teach. Occurred to me that I can demonstrate how GIS is used to help better people’s lives through planning better communities, more responsible use of the environment, disaster relief: how GIS is used to increase emergency response to disaster, anything from routing an ambulance to get to an accident faster, to pinpointing safe places for shelters and the best routes to get to them before a hurricane hits. Exciting! Will have an opportunity to teach a short class in mid-April, will make sure to mention this.

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