This isn’t a recap of the traditional Oktoberfest with it’s 18 long days of beer and shenanigans. Just a brief synopsis of the general goings-on of the Baldwin tribe during the month of October. Of course it will be peppered with beer and flowing with shenanigans all the same. Here we go…

We lost a friend. John Cagle was a hero who lost his life fighting with the Marines in Afghanistan. In the four months he had been deployed overseas, he was fighting on the front lines for 90 days. Almost every single day he was there, he was in combat. John was 19 years old and grew up in the youth group at our church. My husband, as a youth leader, formed a bond with this kid. In turn, I got to know one of the most passionate, out going, funny, and respectful young men I’ve ever met. Seriously, not many people John’s age have the tenacity, strength, and true passion that he possessed. Yes, he had his struggles and was not perfect, but I hope my son has the kind of heart and love for God that John did. We said goodbye to our friend at a soul-stirring and inspiring service in his honor. So many people loved him and miss him very much…most of all, his mom, Carolyn, and brother, Andrew.

Date on picture is incorrect. This was last year, Christmas 2010. Please pray for the Cagle family.

Joe and I finally did it. We went away for a few days to celebrate our anniversary. Sans child. On our own. Just us. No one else. In another state. Alone. Did I mention we were alone? Asheville, North Carolina was the setting. We stayed at the amazingly fabulous Grand Bohemian Hotel right in the middle of Biltmore Square. The River Arts District, Biltmore Square, The Corner Kitchen, Wedge, and The By Water were some of our favorite spots. I fell in love with the Olde World Christmas Shoppe too. We walked everywhere, met the nicest people, saw really cool art, ate really good food, drank delicious locally brewed beer, spent time with an old friend, and had a romantic love fest all around. Thank you to my brother and sister-in-love, my mom, and sister from another mother, Tameka, for making this possible. We could not have done it without you!

  

Well people, I can actually say that I got to see the miracle of life! I was invited to share in the labor and birth of my dear friend Mary’s baby. I was so honored and excited when she asked me early on in her pregnancy. After the, “Aww, really?!” and “I’m so honored!” I had to ask….”Are you sure? Are you sure you want me?” I tend to get a bit woozy at such things, but Mary had confidence in me, so I thought, I too, should have confidence in myself. Mary was truly amazing. She had an all natural, no drugs, water birth. She handled it like a champ…I was so proud of her, and thankful to be part of such a blessing. Her husband, Cliff, was an amazing support to her and I was able to get a sweet shot of them during the process…

Such love and preciousness

And here she is…beautiful baby Hope

Is she not the most precious, yummy baby?! Photo taken by her momma.

More notables….Jonah and I had a wonderful Fall day at my Dad’s in mid-October. We went fishing, had lunch, carved a pumpkin, and played all afternoon. Jonah loves his PaPa very much. Later in the month we went to Berry Patch Farms to pick a pumpkin, go for hay rides, and have some good ol’ fashion Fall time fun. Grandma was able to come with us…Jonah was very excited that. We had a great time! We also celebrated our sweet Tameka’s birthday with her and her family. Such fun! Finally, we went trick-or-treating with the little guy last week. Jonah wasn’t feeling so well, so we had to skip festivities with friends to do light door-to-door treat gathering from a few neighbors in our own hood. He was still the cutest pirate around…

We celebrated a lot of life and love last month, and even though we lost our friend and brother in Christ….we are celebrating that his soul is still alive! He is in heaven and we will see him again…we will celebrate, and dance, and feast. Yes, we will.

You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
~C.S. Lewis
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I have been somewhat neglectful with the old blog lately. I have a few posts I’ve been working on for weeks. None has been finished or posted. I started feeling kind of slack about it until I realized…maybe it’s not actually neglect at all.

I recently heard something that kind of shifted my thinking in regards to life and my priorities. This ‘thing’ also relates to the incessant striving mentioned in my last post. In my personal frenzy to have it all figured out, I am often in a state of trying to find balance. For years, I’ve said, “I think I’m starting to get more balanced”, or “I need some more balance.” The reality is that life is crazy and always changing. To say that everything in one’s life is balanced would indicate that every single responsibility, need, desire, etc…has an equal amount of importance. Well, that is obviously not the case. There are some things that will always take precedence, and there are things that will shift back and forth in their importance ratings. Then you’ll get slammed with some new little chachki that needs to be added to the mix. There is no way we will ever be truly balanced, and that is really quite freeing. Thanks for that godly insight Michael Shreve.

Now for a few things that I am currently enjoying and not so much a fan…

Let’s start with the naughty list:

1. Having to clean vomit out of a memory foam mattress. Really Pepper??? You couldn’t hooke it up on the hard wood floor, or even the removable comforter? You had to climb onto the bed (where you are not supposed to be) and puke into the highly absorptive manmade textiles? Really?

2. Our dog, the puker, also has a flea infestation. Not that she does these things on purpose, but for the love of pete…COME ON. It is taking awhile for this army, in all it’s stages, to leave us alone.

3. Hot temperatures in the Fall. I’m done. It is Autumn. Bring it.

Now on to the Joie de Vivre List:

1. Brussel Sprouts

Yeah, that’s right. Brussel sprouts. Just saute those bad boys over a little olive oil, and you have one of the most fabulous treats in all the land. Really good for the immune system too!

2.  Zumba!

My friend, Amy, has become my fitness accountability partner. She is a marathon runner, a fabulous momma, and a great friend. She invited me to her weekly Zumba class, which has now become my weekly Zumba class. It is totally fun, and I love it. Someday I hope to be a sassy Zumba instructor. Thank you, to Amy, who has been so encouraging and awesome. I love you chica!

3. All things pumpkin

It’s that time of year people. The most wonderful time of year. FALL! With Fall comes pumpkin everything. I have already made pumpkin cream pies, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin muffins. I’ve imbibed in Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, as well as their pumpkin scones. I have tasted a most excellent bourbon barrel pumpkin brew by Heavy Seas at Local Republic called ‘The Greater Pumpkin’. AND I have found pumpkin creamer for my coffee. Target shines through again as revealing the first fruits of pumpkin creamer…granted it is Coffee Mate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited and this will do for now, but I am awaiting International Delight’s pumpkin spice creamer. I don’t play around, and I have two more months to frolic in my pumpkin festivities. Oh, frolic, I will.

4. Live Music

I have been able to see some seriously stellar music as of late. Bon Iver and Ray Lamontagne. Justin and the boys killed it at the Bon Iver show this summer. And Ray…oh such velvety goodness, as usual. Brandi Carlile, who I had been on the fence about, opened up for Ray. I am now a fan. She is amazing and puts on a really great show. I also got to work the Artist’s Market at Music Midtown last weekend. My friend Jessica owns Aristeacrats, a groovy tea shop, and creates art through tea paintings. She invited me to help sell her fab goods at the event. I got to hear and see some really great stuff. The Black Keys, Manchester Orchestra, and Young the Giant. I am now a fan of Mona as well. Thanks MM, and of course, Jess, for having me come along.

5. This Angel Baby

My sweet Jonah is always on my love list. BUT! Lately he has been in the most scrumptious, thoughtful, loving phase. The stories and one-liners are endless. I’ll just say, I’m trying to savor every precious minute and squeeze those yummy cheeks as much as possible. Oh my.

I just read this excerpt from a book written by Lysa TerKeurst…

I have finally landed. That’s the way I feel since I stopped
that intense search for what I am supposed to become in life. I still have goals
and hopes for my future, but they no longer send me into a striving frenzy. But
I must continue to pursue truth that keeps me grounded and God’s love that keeps
me filled. Then my desperate hollowness is replaced by a desire for holiness.
And though it took me years to get it, and though I definitely don’t live it out
perfectly, I have finally found what I’d been looking for.

I so relate to this, and I am so ready to cease the striving frenzy. How exhausting and counterproductive.

I had never heard of her before, but I will most definitely be reading more by Lysa. Good stuff.

 

Twenty years? Really? It seriously feels like just a few weeks ago that I was sitting in Ms. Jordan’s Physical Science class. It was 9th grade, and she always kept the room dimly lit. Why? Why was it always so dim? Was it because of her constant use of the overhead projector? Was it her unabashed love of Black Sabbath? I don’t know, but it set the tone nicely for a post-lunch nap. On this particular day, I was staring blankly ahead as my buddy Eric Huff leans across the aisle and whispers, “Have you heard it yet?” “What?” I reply. “Pearl Jam, Ten?” As he covertly flashes the cover of the album to me under his notebook as if he possesses some serious contraband. With sleepy eyes I shake my head, no. His eyes widen, he grins, “It rocks and it is going to blow your mind”.  The rest is history, as they say, and I’ve always been grateful that Pearl Jam’s Ten album was such a big part of my history. The record had already been out for about a year at the time, so it took awhile for that Seattle goodness to make its way down to us southern suburban kids. We were already primed and ready though. We had Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice In Chains, and Soundgarden slowly streaming in…voices for our generation during such times of change and teen angst. Not only were these bands a voice and something to identify with, but a new kind of music for us when music had felt stale for so long. Ten was seriously a life altering album. To this day, it remains one of the only albums that I can listen to over and over from beginning to end, and enjoy every minute of it. It was and still is so completely bad ass…rock for rock’s sake. Sure it would have been amazing to have grown up in the 60’s when some of the best music to date was created. Maybe we didn’t live in the era of Hendrix or Zeppelin. We weren’t growing up with a modern-day Page and Plant. But we had Cantrell and Staley. We weren’t in the time of Bonham, but we had Grohl. We had Cornell, Cobain, and of course Vedder and the boys. This twenty year marker leaves me a bit sentimental. You know, the nostalgia of it all…my high school crush on Jeff Ament, the importance of that album in respect to music history, my love of the Cameron Crowe movie ‘Singles’ and how Pearl Jam is in it as the band Citizen Dick (led by Matt Dillon), the fact that it makes me feel pretty stinkin’ old, but more than anything…how great it was to be a part of such a movement and to see some incredible live music in its heyday.

You know, I debated on what track to post with this. As I stated before, they are all unbelievably awesome. I ended up with this more mainstream pick, because the riff still gets me at 34 years old, just like it did when I was 15. And if, for some reason, you don’t know anything by the band, it’s a good introduction. I feel it is the essence of Pearl Jam…

 03 Alive- Pearl Jam

Ok, couldn’t leave it at just one….

12 Release- Pearl Jam

My friend Jaime is the most beautifully off the wall, and over the top friend I have. She is fun, passionate, inspiring, and fabulous. She, in her genius, is the one who gave me the idea for my ’34 Things’ list. We have had some funny and enlightening conversations as of late that reminded me it’s time for a blog update on my birthday checklist. I am trying to be proactive and mindful of the list. Let’s take a look-see at how things are coming along…

*I’ll be going to the Street Grace public speaking class in October. Also, the trafficking awareness/prevention group I’m a part of will reconvene this month after a summer hiatus. So very much to do. Looking forward to growing and learning…

*Joe and I are going away for our anniversary! We have not settled on where yet, but the decision has been made, Joe has put in for his vacation hours during that time, and the childcare has been arranged. Booyah! Yes, I said booyah. I’m excited.

*I will be travelling out-of-state next March for my friend Robin’s wedding. I’ll be flying to Texas, I’ll get to see some folks that I love to pieces, including my sister from another mister…Rachael. We will get to have a girl’s weekend together, AND see our dear friend begin the next chapter in her journey.

*I’m eating a lot of  spinach again, and have been going to a Zumba class every week. I am now in love with Zumba. One day when I’m back in stellar shape I’d like to be a Zumba instructor. The road to better health and weight loss has begun people.

*I am emailing with my sweet niece all throughout the week now. I still want to actually speak with her more, as well as the rest of the kids, but it has been so much fun connecting with her regularly.

*I have really been putting my worry in check lately. It is not easy, and some days are better than others. I have been using some cognitive behavioral methods, as well as repeating scripture over and over during those moments. SO…I am tackling two goals in one. Word.

*My family and I have been talking with and forming more of a relationship with the family next door. They are great, and have a precious new baby! I’m looking forward to getting to know them more.

*I’m smiling more. For more on that story, read on.

There you have it…my progress thus far. I still have eight months and two days to go. Stay tuned…

In other news…my husband and I have been through some pretty difficult life stuff the past few years. Despite the rocky seasons, we have maintained quite a healthy relationship. It hasn’t always been easy, but we are still very much in love and excited about the future. All of this to say, that I have been doing a bit of an experiment at home. Joe works really long hours, and usually by the time he gets home it’s almost my bed time, I’m in my pj’s, and I’m exhausted. This scene has been going on for sometime now, and I’ve been feeling the need for some change. I’ve started implementing little shifts in the daily routine that have made me more peaceful and full of gratitude. As for my hubby, he’s a happy camper…

~I try to always greet him at the door when he gets home. Even if I’m washing dishes, about to fall asleep, whatever…I meet him there to kiss his face and hug his stinky, hard-working body.

~Smile.  Instead of having the countenance of not enough sleep, too much stress, or wariness…I smile.

~The other night it was late, and instead of jumping in my janky old pj’s…I put on some lip gloss, and actually flat ironed my hair. At night. Before bed I did this. Before Joe got home. Of course he noticed and loved the unexpected change. I almost did the bend and snap when he came through the door, but I didn’t. Maybe next time…

There are a few things lately that have been giving my life, how you say, a certain je ne sais quoi. They are as follows…

Mountain West Church

This has been our church home for a little over two years now. I’ve been to a lot of churches, and have never experienced one like this. One thing I love (as funny as it sounds) is that it doesn’t feel so churchy. It really is a family. It’s not perfect, but God is truly in the hearts of those leading it, and He is doing awesome things through it. I know almost every person on the photo montage above, and have been so blessed by them, among many others. God has really set in the hearts of many at Mountain West to not just “go to church”, but to “BE the church”. It’s really a powerful, yet precious thing to see. Just a few more reasons why I love Mountain West…

(photo credits to Mary Gates & DeAnna Garmon Gilliam)

Bon Iver- Bon Iver

Justin Vernon has done it again. Bon Iver’s most recent self-titled album has had me hanging on every dreamy chord and lyric from day one. I have been diggin’ the band for a while now, but somehow this album has captivated me more than any album has in quite a while. I can nap to it, write to it, clean to it…next I will try exercising to it. I feel like I will be motivated to cardio by the melancholy goodness that inspires me in other ways. This ain’t your mama’s exercise mix. We’ll see…

This Beer

I have finally joined the IPA bandwagon. I don’t know why I wasn’t a fan before, but apparently my palate has changed. I don’t drink a lot, but this is my current fave.

Pinterest

Yes, my last blog was about Pinterest and dream paging. I would just like to add that Pinterest is also a good organizational tool for filing recipes, ideas for kid activities/crafts, and various DIY projects, etc… Also, it is important, as with anything, to have a healthy balance with such a tool as this. Just like all the other social media out there, it is easy to get sucked in. And while it’s not a bad thing, I try not to let it take up too much time. Pinterest and I are working on having a healthy relationship.

School Supplies

Yes, school supplies give me warm fuzzies. Even though school is starting ridiculously early these days, when stores start putting out those scholastic necessities, I get nostalgic. I remember the feelings and even the smells from back in the day. I would get so excited to organize my school box, and later, my backpack. The presence of school supply displays also means we are getting closer to Fall. Fall is my favorite season, hands down. I am so ready for this heinous heat to be replaced by cooler temps, and for the changing of the leaves. There is a great quote by Tom Hanks’ character in the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’. In writing to Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen Kelly, he says, “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” I love it!

There you have it. Now enjoy your day, and go smell some pencils!

if you dream it, it will come

It all began in the Winter of 2004. Two friends, a lot of dreams, and both experiencing significant life shifts in parallel. Individually, what we were going through was very different, yet the feelings involved were the same. Stacey had been leading a dream interpretation workshop which I decided to crash. The group shared and discussed eachother’s nightly dreams once a week. No interpretations or explanations were viewed as right or wrong, just different. Whether it was derived from a Jungian interpretation or spiritual vision, the exploration of our dreams helped us tap into something…ourselves. At the time, Stacey and I would regularly hang with one another at a neighborhood coffee shop. We’d laugh, catch up, talk dreams, and discuss books like The Artist’s Way and Simple Abundance. Julia Cameron and Sarah Ban Breathnach (the authors of said books) are masters of inspiration, self-awareness, and living authentically. Both books touch on dreams (waking and sleeping) and introduced to us the idea of making those dreams more tangible.

The Artist’s Way calls it a ‘Image File’ or collaging, Simple Abundance calls it a ‘Illustrative Discovery Journal’. Basically, you get any sort of print media, cut and paste images that inspire you to create pages or boards that reflect you.  These pages become daily reminders of your dreams, the desires in your heart, and how you were truly created to live. Not too much thinking involved, just guided by your own fancies. Now mix this introspective craft with a little wine and a girl’s night…and the birth of the Dream Paging Duo was formed. We made our own name for it…Dream Pages. Since that winter we’ve had Dream Paging meet ups, workshops, and everything in between. Looking back through my notebooks and boards it’s amazing to see how many of the images and dreams have actually come to fruition. Such a powerful tool to remind you of your true reality when the mundane and busyness start to drag you down.

Now, fast forward seven years and some change…enters my childhood and life long friend Jessica. Jess is always in the know of all things cool. She’s a creative, she’s hip, and funny as the dickens. All that said, my fabulous friend introduced me to this thing called Pinterest. “What the heck is Pinterest”? I asked. After receiving my invitation…ooh la la, joining the network of pinners (this is done through your Facebook or Twitter account), and figuring out the ways of the Pinterest site, I am officially hooked. My first thought upon my maiden Pinterest voyage was that this is the new dream paging. Pinterest is the modern way to catalog, remember, and share your dreams and tastes with the human collective. My second thought was, “Oy. Why didn’t I think of this”?!  Alas, I have stumbled upon something very cool, and while I still love the old fashion, hands-on dream paging…Pinterest is another useful medium of expression and dreaming. Besides, one day I may be on some island that I dream paged long ago, with no access to paper or glue sticks. There will be a moment when I need to start cataloging my dreams for the next chapter in my journey. I’ll just pull up Pinterest on my iPad, or whatever fancy doodad folks will be using at the time, and start pinning til my heart is content. And my dreams are realized.

*Stacey and Maggie still have very different lives, but remain close friends. Stacey is an artist, certified counselor, and general rock star extraordinaire. Maggie is a stay at home mom, writer, she’s kind of good at various things, and a lover of too many cool things to mention. They still dream page together today.

*Jessica owns a tea shop, plays the fiddle, enjoys concerts and amazing music with her fab friend Maggie. She will go on to invent a hybrid Weimaraner Pu-Erh Blended Shetland Sheepdog, named Klaus, who will be well-versed in Anselm’s Proslogion philosophy, and will tell all her secrets.

Follow Me on Pinterest

I’ve always wanted a little boy. My heart’s desire became reality and BOOM! The fruit was delivered in 2007…my Little J. Yummy and snuggly baby days full of gas, eating, and sleeping, have given way to preschool days of much less sleeping, still plenty of eating, the same, if not more gas, and now, gratuitous nakedness on a daily basis. I have a pretty deep, contemplative child (even though he’s only 4). Yet the fact remains, he is boy through and through. My life with Little J the past few weeks…

~ J ruuuuuunnnnnsssss through the living room, into the dining room, all the while huge gaseous explosions erupt from his behind with every step. He abruptly stops. “Oh that must have been the spinach salad from earlier, maybe the chicken, but DEFINITELY the spinach salad”.  Running on.

~ Arriving home from a field trip, our sweet neighbor drives by and stops to chat for a minute. Jonah half-heartedly waves as he moves on to play in the yard, and jump along the walk way during our conversation. Moments later, “Mama! I gotta go potty”, “Just a minute buddy, we’ll go inside in a minute”. Mind you, my child is the master of holding “it” when he’s not in the mood, or doesn’t want to be bothered with going. Picture if you will, landscapers are mowing the lawn, the neighbor across the street is loading up his car, and I’m talking to our friend. Then, with a heavy tone of impatience, “MAMA”! I look around to see J, butt naked from the waist down, arching his back, tummy out, urinating in our front yard. My neighbor says, “Oh my, I guess that’s my cue to go now”.  I could literally hear her laughing in her car as she drove down the hill and around the corner. Meanwhile, I’m laughing, trying to cover my child and all of his business. We finally make it inside.

~ Describing his own poop is a favorite pastime of Jonah’s. “It’s a poo poo forest”, “It’s a ginormous carrot”, “It looks like a sock”, “It looks like a hat and some snowflakes”, “It looks like Pepper’s face” (our dog).

~ We have some awesome friends who have two little girls that Jonah has grown up with. One day I dropped him off for about an hour to playdate with them while I got some things done. The three kids and my friend were sitting down for lunch when I arrived to retrieve my little guy.  As I got closer to the table, I notice it…my child, eating a PB&J with no pants on. In front of a room full of ladies. Nice. His disenchantment with pants, up until this point, had been an at-home thing. Apparently the shorts came off within the first 5 minutes of his arrival.

~ Play date #2 with some different friends- Jonah decides after his bathroom intermission to come out with no pants OR underwear on to play trains.

~ No pants dance #3- Fourth of July gathering at my brother’s home. Family and many friends we hardly ever see are mingling, and eating. Jonah enters a living room full of adults (most of whom he never sees), all of them are eating, he strips off his pants, and hops up on the coffee table to sit down. Who is this child?!!! I promise I have been very diligent in my teaching of manners and respect. Apparently he has his own ideas. We’ve been having many discussions.

~ In addition to the no pants phase, J really detests shoes right now. Even in public he tries to take them off. I picked him up from Sunday school last week to find him with no shoes on. Thankfully he was fully clothed, and I was almost too scared to ask if the pants issue had come up. I had to know though, and apparently he was having too much fun to notice his shorts were still on.

~ Little J was throwing a Nerf ball back and forth with his daddy while I was making dinner. From the other room I hear Jonah rip a huge one, and I’m sorry to say it was extremely juicy and gross. Almost as if he had the runs right there in his undies.  Anyhoo, he starts laughing and laughing and says, “Man, that toot toot sounded like syrup”. Could he paint a better picture? I don’t think so. He already has a way with words. Yeah.

~ We were putting Jonah down for bed one night, and Joe was home early enough to read to him. I walk in during their cute cuddling and book time. Jonah pats the bed next to him and says, “Come here Mama, read stories with us”. I lay down next to Jonah near the bottom half of his sideways turned body. He immediately rips a huge one right in my face. J is really good about excusing himself after such a display, but I got nothing. “Um, was that a toot Jonah”? I ask. I was expecting a quick “excuse me” since he was clearly so enthralled in story/daddy time. Instead this was his reply, “Yeah, that was me, but don’t worry..it takes practice”. He now prides himself on his flatulent abilities.

This is just the tip of the iceturd with my precious and precocious little fella. Though I am often shocked and amazed by the journey, I wouldn’t trade it for all the non fart loving children in the world. And like those baby days, I still get a lot of awesome snuggles.

Say what you will…this is happening, and I can’t wait to witness the end. Maybe I’m not die-hard since I’m waiting until after opening weekend to see the final battle. AND I won’t arrive in full costume. I just don’t like the crowds. The above image is righteous, isn’t it?! Gave me chills the first time I saw it. Reminds me of my own life sometimes…

Bittersweet the emotions of this ten year jouney, but looking forward to closing it in the company of my love and some good friends. Harry would want it that way.

The Challenge (cont’d) again

Finally, part two of my birthday list extravaganza (see first post titled ’34 Things’). I am pretty stoked that I have already begun chipping away at some of the items on this life goal bender. Laugh, shake your head, roll your eyes, hold me accountable, whatever…I’m just glad I’m writing and you’re reading.

21.  See more live music. This is really a passion of mine that hasn’t been given much attention in recent years…mostly because it’s become such an expensive ordeal to buy concert tickets. I’m already on board to see three upcoming shows (which is a miracle in and of itself). It makes me feel like a kid at Christmas…I can’t wait!!! I was seriously fortunate enough to see Mumford & Sons a few weeks ago. That experience warrants its own post really, and the opening band Low Anthem totally blew my mind. Let’s see how many more shows I can add to the list throughout the year!

22.  Since 2004, I’ve wanted to take classes at the International Sommelier Guild to become a sommelier. I have a love of wine, a dream of making it, and I would love to write about it. I’ve always been too broke to go, and there is no financial assistance for the program. My knowledge would grow so much, it would be a great “in” to the industry, and I could really pursue that avenue which I’ve been dreaming about  for so long. They are the only professional body that has sommelier accreditation by direct instruction. I hope to save enough money to start classes by the beginning of next year.

23.  Random acts of kindness on a weekly basis. I’m talking basic gestures and possibly radical acts of kindness that may seem weird or make no sense.

24.  Continue to let go of worry. I tend to worry, and I’m learning how to walk more freely of such nonsense.

25.  Remember and incorporate the magic of childhood into my adult life. This also includes keeping magic and wonder alive for my little J. Things were dreamy and exciting back then…Christmas, Narnia, flowers, fairies, unicorns, stars, outer space, pirates, creation, lollipops, and the rock candy I use to buy with my allowance at the Sanrio Surprises store. Yeah, those were the days. My Miss Piggy Big Wheel, building forts with my brother, playing tag til I couldn’t breathe, and running through the sprinklers naked. I’ve decided I’m going to get one of those little Woodland elf doors that you put at the bottom of a tree in your back yard. Jonah will be so ecstatic when he sees that elf friends have moved in our back yard…so will I!

26.  Participate again in Princess Night with the Atlanta Dream Center. I would also like to see some of our community and church family getting involved in bringing this ministry to our local streets and surrounding areas.  There is a need.

27.  Grow more of my own food. It is pretty fabulous picking produce from your own yard, and eating it minutes later at a fresh and healthy meal.

28.  I like to laugh, a lot. I want to laugh more again.

29.  We (my husband and I) are not satisfied with the current state of public schools. My child will be starting kindergarten in a little over a year. It is sobering and bittersweet how fast time flies. There are only two schools that we are remotely interested in sending our little guy to- both of which are independent, tuition supported schools. Right now there is no way that we can afford such an education, but stranger blessings have happened. I have also been debating on homeschooling Jonah. All of this is overwhelming, and requires much thought and discernment. I hope by my next birthday we will be well on our way to having a sense of peace and knowing in this very important decision.

30.  Cook and buy more locally grown food.

31.  Plant some vines on my dear friend, Susan’s, farm land this Fall for wine making. We have been talking about it for years, she has graciously offered space to me, and this is the year to try! It can take a while for those grapes to come in, so time is of the essence.

32.  Move to a new home.

33.  Finish my FAFSA on time to start school within the 2012/13 calendar year. I did not finish it in time this year. It’s not hard and doesn’t take much time. BUT! I didn’t get it done and a sister needs a little help from the government to go back to school. Grants? Yes please.

34.  Learn to actually play my lap harp without the guided inserts. Greensleeves, anyone?

I don’t know how this is all going to happen, but wouldn’t it just be the tits if it did?! I’ll keep you posted…

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