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My usual splurges...

So when I start getting in a shopping mood, or walk into a store with an eye to buy...something, anything, just for the fun of getting it, I've noticed there are a handful of things on my list that ALWAYS get top priority. They are my little much loved materials that I am inclined to view, and of course, inclined to purchase, even if I have multiple types of the same thing already sitting at home in some drawer or closet. I doubt I am the only person with this tendency. I feel like it says something about a person to determine what those things are. It may not say anything incredibly profound or deep, but provides a little insight into the individuality of a person. Or it is just funny. Or it is a piece of random but valuable information that I tend to enjoy knowing. I started thinking about it the other day after purchasing yet another multi-surface sanitizing spray, and concluded on the following items as the ones that have made the cut for me.

1. Multi-surface cleaners.

Thought I'd start with this one because I already mentioned it. Especially if the bottle says "Kills 99.9% of Bacteria" and even more so if it adds on "including the FLU virus". I do love having a clean house, and I am definitely a germ snob. If you've ever been to my house and have been obviously sick in some way, you can be sure that as soon as you left I lysol sprayed the doorknobs, light switches, bathroom faucets, and anything else you may have touched. I am fascinated by the many scents of multi-surface cleaners, the plant based ones, the ones safe for highchairs and toys, and any other amazing way they are advertised. Love these, and will keep adding to my collection.

2. Skin-enhancing face creams.

These items may include foundations, concealers, day creams, night creams, spot treatments, face masks, etc. The common factor is that they are made for the enhancement of your SKIN. I have many a friend who has been blessed with lovely skin. They can, in fact, jump out of bed, or the pool, or even just get through a whole day, with skin that is crystal clear, and grease-free. I have never had that skin. I didn't have it as a teenager, and still do not have it as an adult. So because of this, I've developed an interest in make-ups and creams that say "skin-clearing...skin correcting...calming...brightening...decreases size of pores...all day staying power...matte finish...revitalizing...replenishing...regenerating" and so on and so on. I am such a sucker for these items. I like to think I have found the sweet items that really work for me, but I will always leave that door open to try something new, if the back of the bottle offers a fantastic result...which we know is always accurate.

3. Clearance Shirts.

This one is not limited to Target, but seems to be most dangerous there on a consistent basis. You know the clearance racks they have there. Granted, it has to be a cute shirt that I, Nick, or Jackson will actually wear, but if I find it, and it is specifically less than $5.00, it is so difficult to pass up. And for some reason for me, it's shirts. I can pass up pants, dresses, skirts, shoes, whatever else, but shirts capture my attention. And it is not just the shirt that I feel is won in this hunt, but the ridiculously discounted price as well. And I have to say, adding Jackson items into the mix has made it even harder to pass things up. Those baby clearance racks are goldmines at times.

4. Candles.

I would say, if I'm at the store, and feel I've landed my necessary purchases slightly below budget, my reward will most likely be a candle. Especially at Walmart, where candle prices are excellent. I like candles that smell like the season we are in. So clearly autumn and winter are phenomenal for candles in my opinion. Spiced apple cider, falling leaves, pumpkin spice, vanilla latte, cinnamon, evergreen, nutmeg, fresh pine...you know the kind. Can't get enough of those through the holidays! But spring and summer have their scents too for me...rain, fresh linen, an occasional citrus or flower scent. I love smells that coordinate with seasons. Right now I've got "firewood and cocoa" filling the house. So good.

5. Ice Cream.

I love ice cream. I love mint chocolate chip in particular. It is fresh tasting, and has that hint of crunch and sweetness with the chocolate chips. So delicious. However, any ice cream will do, as long as it has chocolate included in it in some way. Before my wedding, I was very strict with my nutrition, and I don't think I ate anything unhealthy for at least, lets say 6 weeks. And among many highlights of my honeymoon, one was the DAILY stop Nick and I made at the local ice-cream shop.

So I could go on with a longer list, but the point of the list is to highlight the always consistent, return and restock items that make me smile. One disclaimer here, you should know that while I do appreciate these things, I am not scooping them up and buying them everyday or in large quantities. I am actually quite frugal. But when occasionally the time is right and those few extra dollars are mine to spend, it would not be unlikely for it to go towards one of these items! So it may be handy of you to sort through your own little list and share it with your loved ones, so when you have a bad day, they'll know to cheer you up with a little mint chocolate chip, firewood and cocoa, a $4.99 plain stretch t-shirt, some neutrogena skin clearing foundation, and a bottle of Clorox multi-surface spray.

Summer of 2010, introducing Jackson to my favorite ice cream

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Hi Jesus

I am beginning to experience the joys of introducing your child to Jesus. My little Jackson is 23 months old, so most of what he knows of Jesus is in the context of an exciting bedtime story and prayers and songs. But that alone is exciting to me. Here is this little small human, and one of the first words spoken on his lips is Jesus' name. He knows that Jesus loves him, just like mom and dad do (he's recently been calling us just "mom" and "dad"- I"m hoping the "mommy" and "daddy" phase isn't possibly ending so soon!). He knows that Jesus is powerful, just like daddy when he flies him through the air, and that Jesus is always with him, just like mommy is all day long! Nick and I are teaching Jackson what love is, what power is, what faithfulness is, and then we are slowly beginning to pass those traits back to Jesus, not us, while at the same time introducing him to God's story, the Bible, one story at a time. Currently we are most interested in Noah and Jesus calming the storm. But I am loving the privileged feeling I get when I pray with him before a meal. It is such an honor to look into his sweet and curious eyes and tell him that Jesus helps us when we are sad, that Jesus is stronger than the wind and the waves, that Jesus loves him. Discipleship takes on a whole new meaning with your child. My Jacksy is very smart. At 23 months he is speaking in 8 word phrases all day long. He likes to be with people. He likes to tease and have fun, but he can also be very focused, very serious. He can be shy sometimes, or not shy at all. He likes to snuggle at bedtime, but doesn't have too much time for snuggling during the day when there are things to do. He has an amazing memory. He likes to remember things other people have said or done, perhaps even months later. I love getting to know this little person. Discovering his personality, what makes him laugh, what he is interested in, but I've found that nothing compares with the sweet joy of introducing my son, who I absolutely adore, to my Savior. Each and every day I get to do this in many ways and I pray I will take every opportunity that comes. 2 nights ago I was putting Jackson to bed, and we had already snuggled together for quite some time and it was now time to put him in the crib and say goodnight. He didn't want me to go and held tightly to my neck and whimpered as I tried to lie him in the crib. I said, " It's ok Jackson, Jesus is with you and you can talk to Jesus while you fall asleep". He immediately released his grip and in a contented and tired voice said, "Yeah....hi Jesus! Hi Jesus" He laid down in his crib and I said "Goodnight buddy I love you!" He smiled and as I stepped away I heard him say "That's better, Jesus". Now, I know these are sweet nothings right now. Unbelievably sweet, but nothing more than a 23 month old understanding. But I know they are stepping stones. It's a foundation. And it is so precious to hear. I pray that our obedience to not just exposing but engulfing our son in God's truths will result in his own salvation and relationship with Jesus. Just as soon as possible! I know this is not profound thinking for so many of you parents out there, but it is in my heart today, and most days, so it ended up on the page!

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