Grandma Love and Lipgloss

I am very much looking forward to a trip to see my Grandma this weekend!  I am always wishing I could spend even more time with her, but I treasure and truly enjoy the times we do get to spend together.  I was there a couple weeks ago and we enjoyed quite a fun girls' day at the mall...particularly the Lancome makeup counter.  She loves the mineral makeup they have, and the lady was so sweet to help my grandma replenish her supply.  She also qualified for a free gift, which is always a delight.  Of course to help her do that my grandma was so sweet to let me pick out a new lipgloss and blush, both of which I am loving.  Lancome has a new lipgloss called, "La Laque Fever," and I chose Optical Rose.  The blush is called Mandarin Sky.

We also had fun trying out the Ahava products, which we loved!  The hand and foot creams are the best, as well as some wonderful smelling new bodywash.  It was especially fun for she and I because we have both been to Israel, where Ahava originated.  All the products contain sea minerals from the Dead Sea, where I picked up some scented sea salts to bring back for her earlier this summer.  Even more fun is the definition of the Hebrew word, "Ahava," which means love.  I love you Grandma, and I'm always blessed by your beautiful company.  I'm looking forward to having more fun with you this weekend!  Thanks for the treats! 
(And for reading my blog) :)


Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1.  I am pretty tired today.  Kevin recently told me, in response to my complaining, that in Proverbs it says, "A fool is a person who wants to go to bed late and get up early."  Guilty.

2.  I'm sure I'm in good company when I say I can feel Fall coming.  My excitement is certainly building for this crazy beautiful and refreshing time of year.   We were in World Market yesterday and celebrated the season that is soon-to-be by buying some Pumpkin coffee.  Yum!  I can almost taste the chili, hot cider, carmel apples, and pumpkin desserts!

3.  In the next week or so, Kevin and I are pretty intent on completing our first DIY project as a married couple.  We are going to attempt to make a budget friendly upholstered headboard, and we're really excited about it! We're also excited about the upcoming the Labor Day sales that will certainly work in our favor.  I have some cute photos of our adventure in the fabric store yesterday, but I'm feeling a little too lazy to get to that right now. (See #1)

4.  Have you seen the show Masterchef?  Kevin and I are loving watching it online.  It makes me want to get up and cook some sort of gourmet meal everytime it's over.  I've decided for now I would like to conquer the daunting challenge of perfectly poaching an egg!

5.  Have you heard of the pacifier that automatically closes when it drops??  How great is that!  Some friends were telling me a couple days ago about one they received as a shower gift.  I am loving the idea, and the ones I found are super cute!


Happy Miscellany Monday!


Song(s) for the Sabbath

I chose two songs today, simply because I love them both and I am so thankful for their messages. Worship is one of my most favorite ways to experience intimacy with God, and one of the best ways for me to go from frazzled and anxious to peaceful and trusting. Enjoy this beautiful weekend, and take at least a moment to rest in what is true...an unfathomable love and incomparable kindness from an amazingly gracious Father.

Friday Fun

Friday was the last day of my first official week of homeschooling!  We had a great week, and I am so excited about the year that is ahead of us.  It is an obvious blessing and privilege to teach one-on-one, and there are just so many ways we get to be creative.  It is also awesome that I can still collaborate with the great gals who were my co-workers last year.  I stopped by my old school on Thursday, and I was so thankful and encouraged to get to chat with them for a bit.  Teachers definitely need each other!

For our homeschool, Fridays will typically be the days we try to do a fun and educational field trip or activity, or a social event with other homeschoolers in the area.  Today we had a blast at the Frazier History Museum in downtown Louisville.  They currently have a pirate exhibit, and today was especially designated for homeschoolers. 

We made a homemade pirate "ship," listened to a storyteller give an account of the adventures of a real-life woman who pretended to be a male pirate, and heard all about real life treasure hunting expetitions from Rudy Lewis, a certified "treasure hunter" himself.  We also saw a demonstration on swordfighting, and explored the many different displays.  It was a lot of fun, as well as such a blessing to get to do this as a school day!  We will visit this museum many more times over the course of the year, as we continue to study and learn about American History.  I'm thankful it's the weekend, but I am excited and motivated to be even more creative with my lessons next week.  It is so much fun to love my job!  I am extremely thankful, and I give God all of the glory.  What a beautiful way he answered my prayers while I was in such an uncertain time.  I am so looking forward to the story that enfolds this year.


Bucket Fillers and Superman

My big bro recently sent me a couple links that he knew would intrigue the teacher in me.  He was definitely right.  The first one is How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids.  I saw a couple teachers use parts of this in their classroom last year, as well as, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?, and I really love the idea.  There is an adult version of How Full is Your Bucket?, which is all about how we invest in, build up, or deplete one another daily.  It is written by the authors who also wrote "Strengths Finder," an awesome book that helps teach you how to identify and build on your strengths in life, rather than focus on overcompensating for your weaknesses.  "How Full is Your Bucket for Kids" is meant to teach children how to daily build others up or, as they put it, be a "bucket filler."  It is a super cute concept, and a great value for kids to learn.  Both books do a great job at really emphasizing what a difference our words can make in the lives of others.  This is something I would love to do in a fun way with our kids some day.  Here are a couple cute ways it has been used in classrooms:

Mrs. Saccoccio's Class Blog:

Beth Newingham's Class Website:

The second link my brother sent me is the trailer for an upcoming documentary, and it will definitely make you think, and perhaps respond.  It's a documentary sharing the often tragic details of the education system in America, called "Waiting for Superman." I am definitely curious to see the entire film, although the clip is already heartbreaking in a lot of ways.  With the heart and occupation of a teacher, it is so difficult for me to graspt how crazy and difficult it is for so many children to get a chance at a great education.  You should definitely check it out.  Thanks for the great info. Darin!


Wordless Wednesday

Well, maybe a few words...

Thank you to my mom for sending me these beautiful First Day of School flowers!! I was wonderfully surprised yesterday at the home where I work when these showed up at the door. Big, beautiful pink gerbera daisies - my favorite! My mother is the epitome of thoughtfulness. Thank you mom for making a great day even sweeter! I love you!


Back to School Sweetness

Last week I headed up to my friend Traci's house to help get the triplets ready for their first day of kindergarten!  Such a surreal experience; it seems like it just wasn't all that long ago when we were praying and waiting so intently for 3 sweet little baby boys to be released from the NICU.  Nonetheless, their super-cute, sweet little selves were so ready to start school, and so excited for the whole experience.  Traci let me be part of the big reveal as we surprised them with their backpacks, helped them prepare their school supplies, and watched a BrainPop Jr. video about kindergarten. 

The next day we walked them to the bus stop, eagerly awaiting, with Traci fighting back tears.  I had the oh-so wonderful job of holding sweet baby Scarlet.  She is SO precious!  The rest of the day we enjoyed the simplicity and company of only two children, managing to actually have a real adult conversation.  (Although we of course we missed and spent a lot of the day talking about the triplets!)  I think 3 yr. old Armani was in shock with the opportunity to get all the attention and have no one to have to shout over!  When the boys came home they were all smiles and Giovanni said, "It was great!  The teacher said we could come back tomorrow!"  What a fun and special day.


Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1.  On Friday Kevin and I were invited over for dinner by a dear, sweet couple who went to Israel with us.  They also invited their daughter and son-in-law, as well as another young couple who was on the trip with us.  We had the best time and seemed to laugh the entire night.  One of the couples is pregnant with their first, so our conversation involved some pretty lively discussion about baby names and baby products.  (It doesn't help that I might just have a little baby fever!)  My favorite latest discovery: the Moby Wrap.  I would love to try this some day!

2.  Today was my first day of homeschooling - yay!  It was an abbreviated session, but it was so much fun.  Having so much flexibility can surprisingly be a little difficult to get used to, but even after today I have so many new ideas for how to do things.   As a newbie homeschooler the first thing I realized is we have way too much curriculum! :)  That's not necessarily a bad thing, it just means I have to be really intentional and discerning about teaching what's most important as well as what he enjoys.  We started out the day by reading The Dot by Peter Reynolds.  It is one of my absolute favorite children's books!

3.  Kevin and I ate at one of our favorite restaurants, Bonefish Grill on Saturday night, thanks to some generous friends who blessed us with a gift card.  Earlier that day, Kevin did a session at a leadership event at our church, talking about walking with the Spirit, living out the biblical "one anothers," and discipling like Jesus by being "on mission" together for Christ.  So it was anything but ironic when we had just the opportunity to do that Saturday.  While we were waiting for a table, a couple invited us to sit with them at one of the smaller tables in the bar area.  We intended to only sit there until our buzzer went off, but as it turns out, we were having so much fun getting to know the couple and a mother and son whom they had also invited to join us, that we ended up staying the entire time!  The crazy thing is, we actually did go to our table when it was available, but it just didn't feel right to leave our new friends and the opportunity for fellowship that God had provided.  Three sets of strangers enjoying a nice dinner together on a Saturday night.  An unexpected blessing and a great lesson on being aware and available to God's leading at all times.  Our prayer is that God will open up even more doors for him to move in through these new relationships.

4.  Do you know my husband has never had a sloppy joe???  Crazy, I know.  So it's on my list to cook this week.  I found an awesome slow-cooker recipe for "Dressed-up Sloppy Joes" on Our Best Bites.  Maybe I'll serve these yummy fries to go with them!  (Don't worry- I'll have the trusty old "Manwich" on stand-by.  Yum!)

5.  At the homeschool conference Kevin and I attended a few weeks ago, we heard a fascinating speaker, Israel Wayne, talk about raising kids, having a Biblical worldview, and societal norms passed down from long ago that we have unfortunately come to accept without questioning.  Kevin loved every one of his messages, and has been telling everyone what he learned.  Definitely worth checking out!

Happy Monday!


A Ruthless Romance

      Throughout the summer I have been leading a small group of lovely gals through a study of the book, Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge.  We are a little over half-way through, and it has been a powerful experience.  I have mentioned before how much I love the truths of that book, and this time has been no different.  We have been challenged to constantly consider who we are taking our internal question of worth to; is it God?  Is it men?  The world?  We have reflected on the messages we believe about ourselves that come from wounds from our past.  We've also talked about how spiritual warfare is incredibly real, and we must be equipped with the armor of God on a daily basis as we are faced with an enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.  We must claim Christ's truths over the lies we have come to believe about ourselves.  We have discovered that something women don't often think about is how we are specifically hated by Satan because of our beauty.  The Eldredges describe women as God's "crowning moment" of creation.  He created women to be the great beauty.  Satan started as the most beautiful angel in all of heaven.  It was when he became so completely full of himself and blinded by his own beauty that God kicked him out.  Thus, he has what the authors term a "special hatred" for women and their beauty.  I think he often expresses this hatred by convincing women to hate themselves.  Yet we must not cower in despair.  It is essential to realize and remember that the One who is in us is so much greater than he who is in the world.

Monday night we had a beautiful discussion about the way God romances us.  Do you think of God that way?  As being passionately romantic and in constant pursuit of you?  In our culture we are trained to think that a fairytale often involves a man sweeping us off our feet, bringing us flowers, and wooing us endlessly.  Well, let me just tell you, to a great extent, I have that man.  I don't say that to be trite, but to say that God answered my prayers with a wonderfully romantic man...yet I still greatly struggle with my beauty, my worth, my value, and peace with who I am.  Why?  Because on Kevin's best day he cannot and was not intended to answer the question in my soul that I am asking.  And if I am not allowing God alone to be that truth in me, I won't be able to enjoy Kevin anyway.  True intimacy will continue to allude me.  Single or married, happy or sad, at the highest mountain top or the lowest valley, the affirmation of our question of beauty must come from our Creator alone.  At all times.  Anything else is temporary, futile, and not at all what we were created for.

If you don't think God is pursuing you, perhaps it is because you are not paying attention.  I encourage you this week to pay attention.  Listen carefully.  Create a comfortable space in front of a window in your home.  Early in the morning or at some quiet point throughout the day just sit there and dwell on any element of beauty God is using to woo you.  Is it the incredible sky, or the breeze through the trees?  Is it a colorful garden, a flourishing field, or a beautiful bird with an intricate sound?  Perhaps it's a song you hear, or a prayer that's been answered.  It could be the little ones you have running around who have an amazing energy and fascination with life.  Maybe it's a scripture that seems meant just for you, or a quiet whisper in your heart that you desperately want to believe He could actually be saying to you.  The beauty around us speaks boldly to the beauty within us.

Monday night I encouraged my friends to let that moment come.  Allow yourself to feel silly, and giddy, not fearing the vulnerability necessary to receive this great love.  Cast off the weight of the world that you are consistently tempted to bear.  Believe that what you most deeply desire to be true of you is being adamantly whispered in your soul by God, and shouted by him in his astonishing creation.  It is true.  I have been greatly convicted lately that it is not the romance around me that is missing; it is my insecure unwillingness to receive it.

Take some time to dwell on Luke 10:38-42 this week.  It is the story of Mary and Martha.  Mary "sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said," while Martha, "was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made."  Do not miss any priceless moment to sit and listen to the Lord this week.  Look for the times you can be absolutely present with someone God has placed in your path, who you can pour love on before getting anything on your "to-do" list accomplished.  Do not wear yourself out trying to prove your precious worth.  Instead, rejoice in this passionate romance in which you are playing a beautiful role.


Wordless Wednesday

   Ahhh...summer.  Leaving so soon??