Saturday, February 28, 2009

10 favorites

I wanted to post this yesterday as a Friday's Favorites edition. I ran out of time, and well, it's Saturday. So I'm one day late. It's OK... it's all the same. It's like a belated birthday card from a dear friend. It may be a few days delayed, but you're still glad you got it. Or a messy dessert. It may not look so good, but it all tastes the same.

Today is my mom's birthday. Well, not really. She was born on Leap Year so she only has a real birthday every 4 years. Last year was leap year and my sister had her son on February 29, so that was cool. So now my mom has a grandson born on her leap year birthday, Silas.

Anyway, my brother stopped by and brought us coffee and my mom a steamer.

"You lucked out," he told my dad and I. "You get free coffee because it's mom's birthday."

That's alright with me. What a sweet brother.

So, I have many goals for today... it's a day off and I need to make it productive. BUT, I wanted to start with a little creativity.

I want to share with you some of my "favorite things" of life right now. I felt a little materialistic when I did this but then I thought, you know what. There's nothing wrong with taking pleasure in the small blessings that bring a smile to our face. As long as we don't let them stack up and crowd out what is Truly important.

So here we have it: My current "Favorite Things" list. There is 10.

1. yellow ruffle purse
A couple of years ago, I was shopping in Chicago. I love shopping but I get bored of it quickly. I was likely just popping in and out of stores, and I happened to go inside a shoe store called Aldo. At the back of this store they have a selection of purses. I saw this yellow purse and I knew at that moment that I would like to have it. The price was right, so I did it. It also came in purple or black & white, but I went with yellow. Yellow is one of those colors that goes with everything because it matches nothing. I'm not quite sure who came up with this purse but whoever it was is creative- it's ruffly with zippers on the outside, almost appearing as though you could unzip it. It's quite an art. Anyway, I often get asked where I got this purse from, so I'm answering the question now: Aldo! Don't let the shoe displays fool you-- they have GREAT purses!

2. watch it
I went through a time in my life when I was VERY passionate about watches. I loved collecting them and tried to find ones that were unique. I still love watches but the fire has died down a bit. However, I really like this one below because it's colorful and fun, yet fancy enough to be dressy. My mom sells gift items and baby clothes/blankets that she makes in a store in Washington and Dunlap, so often I accompany her to vendor markets to help buy inventory for her shops. I attended an accessories marker with her once, and they have watches like the one below at wholesale price. It's a great perk to being in the merchandising market!

3. the fabric necklace
This is a scarf, but I called it my fabric necklace because when I wear it, that's what I feel like it is. Another unique item, thanks to one of the companies my mom buys through. There are many different colors/styles, and so if you think you would like one, she sells them at Holiday Presence in Washington on the square! Anyway, the multiple colors and fabrics makes it easy to wear with virtually any outfit.

4. reese's peanut butter cups
Enough said. We've been going strong since I was 5 years old.

5. bonnet hat
So it's not a bonnet. :) It seems like one, though. In fact, I've had a few friends try to wear this as a bonnet... but really, what you do is wear it on your head similar to how you would wear a bandanna, as it protects your head but is open in the back. I saw this at Anthropologie before Christmas and was unsure if I should get it... so I had my sister-in-law give it to me for Christmas, and I am glad she did! I have really enjoyed wearing it... it's not your everyday hat.

6. keys
I love playing the piano. So much. I don't consider myself a highly musical person but there is something so relaxing yet exhilarating about sitting down and playing songs. I wish I had more willpower and patience to learn some difficult pieces... the only times I ever pushed myself to do so was when I took piano lessons as a kid and in college. Nonetheless, it's fun to improvise.

7. peanut butter
Forget the recent recall. I LOVE peanut butter. It goes with everything. In fact, let me share a recent discovery. I was eating brownies with friends and decided to frost my slice with peanut butter. It was sensational. Please try it. Why did I not think of it sooner? Did I not get a big enough hint every time I bit into a Reese's?? In fact, I have plans to mix peanut butter with cream cheese or whipped cream to make a fluffier peanut butter frosting and then frost brownies sometime soon. Let me know if you are a peanut butter + chocolate addict like myself and I'll invite you over for a taste. Among my other favorite food items to combine with this spread is Ritz crackers, bananas, apples, celery sticks, honey, and raspberry preserves.

8. canon
The brand rocks. And specifically, cameras. My first camera was a Canon Powershot, and now I've graduated to the Rebel. I hope to upgrade at some point in the future, but for now, it's treating me well!

9. candles
Look at that scent. Does a room smell any better than white chocolate mousse? Candles make me happy... I love a space that has a warm aroma.

10. apple
Actually, I love both the fruit and the brand. I encourage you to eat apples often-- they are so good for you and have amazing health benefits. Do you ever have those days that you eat heavy food and feel "blah," or you just plain don't feel well? Often, when I get this way I eat an apple, and almost instantly I feel better. It's not a cure-all but it seems to work more often than not. I was recently reading that apples can often act as an antioxidant and are good to eat if you have problems with indigestion.

Onto the actual image... I also love the apple brand. :) As a creative person, my office is fully equipped with Apple products that seem to serve my needs quite well. The only item still on my "wish list" is an Apple iphone, but after research, I realize now that AT&T isn't the greatest service around here and as a VZW customer I just have to sit tight. Furthermore, VZW offers phones equivalent if not better in features than the iphone, although, I still think iphones rock. :) And so do macs!

Hope this has been fun. Love you all. Comment if you have a similar favorite.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009


It is time for an update!

First, thanks for all of your feedback on my previous post. I love to get audience participation and see who likes what. It appears as though the “Childhood” piece came out as the winner. Oh, if only we could return to the days of bright colored crayons and chocolate frosted cupcakes.

Mild Wish
Maybe it’s Florida’s fault. Or perhaps it was that 65 degree tease we had a couple of weeks ago. Whatever is the culprit, my recent wish has been for warmer temperatures. The fact that we will be in the 40s this week makes me happy. Now I know it’s just February, and furthermore, I live in Central IL. We get snow in May and 70 degrees in December. But a girl can have a wish, right? So until further notice of a blizzard, I’m going to keep checking for sunny skies and mild air.

I used to despise it. In fact, I always thought: How can anyone drink this? It’s awful. It’s bitter, and it doesn’t do a thing for me.

Then, I went to Starbucks. I ordered a mocha frappucino. It was good, albeit a little strong for my taste. But then I kept drinking them, and pretty soon I was adventurous enough to drink coffee with hot chocolate mix in it. Before long, mocha fraps became a “sweet” drink to me, and I was hooked on hot mocha coffee drinks and drinking coffee straight up.

That’s my story about how I developed my coffee addiction. Actually, it’s not that bad. As with soda, I am very strict with how much I allow myself to drink. No more than one a day, and I make very few exceptions. Otherwise, I’d be up for the next 72 hours with my heart beating out of my chest. I can’t subject my body to too much caffeine or else I might fly to the moon and back with the resulting boundless energy. BUT, I’m not past driving through a Starbucks, stopping in at the local coffee shop, or brewing a cup in the afternoon for a nice little pick-me-up.

In my “old age,” I have discovered one truth. I don’t really care for TV all that much. Now. Don’t get me wrong. There are a few programs I watch and enjoy. Such as:
Gilmore Girls- I could watch this show everyday and not tire of it with its witty dialogue and timeless characters.
Roseanne- *gasp* I know, you may be thinking I’ve completely lost it, but I think she is hilarious.
The Cosby Show- Bill Cosby=hilarious.
Full House - Who doesn’t love Stephanie, Michelle, and DJ?
Fox News- to catch up on world events.
American Idol- Season 8! This is one show I will not miss.

So I have my little list there. And there are times that I do just crash and watch a good show or two. But most of the time, I just can’t make myself do it. Unless it’s something I really want to see, I can’t make myself sit still. I usually end up a) restless, b) thinking about what I should be getting done, c) appalled at what they actually put on TV these days, or d) all of the above.

The same goes for movies. Now. I LOVE movies, and I love going to the theater. It’s so dumb, but that is one of my favorite things. There’s nothing better than getting a big old bucket of popcorn, a coke, and sitting in a dark theater to see a show. Actually, I have always secretly wanted to go to a movie by myself. Not because then I would be able to eat more popcorn (although close friends may suspect that as the reason ☺) but because there would be something so empowering and cool about that. Maybe someday I will.

Anyway, my point is: there are a lot of really great movies out there with a neat message, but then, there are also a lot of meaningless films with nothing much to gain. I have made it a conscious decision to choose wisely. I especially love the ones based off of a true story or that hold some sort of inspirational/motivational value to them. Chick flicks, action films, and fantasy movies are all great, yes, but what do they teach us? What kinds of values do they subtly instill within us? At the end of the day, were we better off for seeing it?

I don’t know. Part of me thinks that if I never watched TV or a movie again, I wouldn’t be missing much. Please don’t think I shun TV, movies, or those that watch them, because that is far from the case. In fact, I partake just as much as the next guy. I guess I just wanted to bring it up because over the past year or so, it has really been on my heart to be more careful about how I spend my time with that kind of entertainment.

Lately, I have reunited with the joys of family. I have always, always loved my family and I really like being with them. However, the blessing of each member and the fact that everyone lives so close has really stuck out to me. I have had the fun pleasure of being with two of my older nephews this past week, and it’s so great. It’s like reliving childhood. We play Nintendo, tap out songs on the piano, beat up on each other, and watch Disney movies.

Also, I have had fun with my older siblings, too. Just tonight, I was at my sister’s house. I was reminded that my love of dessert runs close in the family as she was cutting me out a piece of cookie dough cheese cake, and after making a cut, said, “Wait, that piece isn’t big enough,” and promptly sliced me a piece double the size. That’s right!!

And my brother. Growing up, he was always a) my playmate and b) someone who beat me up. These days, he has been both of those and more to me. I hang out with him quite a bit, actually—we often “rock out” in his basement or enjoy coffee and jazz while chatting. It’s great!

Does anyone else use Skype? It’s actually very cool. I was introduced to it about 6 months ago. It’s a free, easy-to-use messenger service that you can download online. You may then use it as an instant messenger service. You can also call others and hear them as a phone call for free (anywhere in the world), as well as use the video chat feature if you both have web cameras. It’s a great tool for chatting long-distance, although I use it mostly for chatting w/friends around here.

Dairy Queen
Just opened on Friday. I worked there for 6 years back in my high school/early college days. That was probably one of my most fun jobs of all times. Oh man. Good memories. You work there with all of your girl friends, listen to music, fill candy ingredients, decorate cakes, make dilly bars, and get customer orders. On busy nights, especially during the summer, you’d be running around on your feet for 4-6 hours at a time, but it’s such a blast because you see all kinds of people. DQ is like hangout central in the summer. Anyway, going there always reminds me of those times in my life. And to this day, I can tell you nearly everything on the menu. I can’t wait until it warms up and I can walk up there and place my order without freezing in line!

Well… I should end it here. It’s late and I’ll be up early to walk w/a friend. I just wanted to pepper in a fun little update that was a bit more lighthearted since my posts lately have been more of the ponder-session nature. I’ll likely venture into that direction again soon, but until then, here’s my categorical contribution.

Love you all!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Top Ten Speaking Images

I love words and quotes, but more than that, I love pictures. An image alone can speak volumes, and sometimes I hesitate to assign words to a picture because then it is locked into that one interpretation. However, I do it often. And for today's Top Ten Tuesday, there will be a series of 10 images and/or designs posted. Each has a word, a phrase, or quote(s). Vote for your favorite!

Click on the image to enlarge.

Have fun! Love you all!


Monday, February 16, 2009

i hope.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.*

What do you hope for? I have a vivid imagination, so often my hopes are just a daydream away... but at the end of the miniature soap opera or music video that I have played in my mind, what do I have?

Nothing. I can't see it in tangible life. I cannot suddenly hand out copies of my hope and often I can't even fully articulate it in words. Oh, how I wish I could.

Really, though. Where is our hope? In Christ's Redeeming Love. In His Son, who died for not just one of our sins, but for all of them. And He did not die for just one of us, but for all of us. To have faith is to be sure of that.

As for what we cannot see: one day, we will. Do you ever just "feel" God and "know" His character and His goodness and His mercy? That is being certain of what we cannot see.

I had a childhood dream that I saw Jesus during Sunday School and I went running up to Him and gave him a huge hug. Little children were gathered around Him as you see illustrated in children's Bible story books.

I am doing a Bible Study right now that is taking me through Daniel. I love it, but it is a very in-depth study. It's the meat and potatoes of the deal. The other day, I read a passage about Daniel encountering the glory of God by God himself or a heavenly being. It was such a bright vision that Daniel lost all of his strength and could hardly speak or breathe. Can you imagine actually being in the presence of God? At times, I fear that I take that circumstance too lightly. To actually "see" God would completely knock us flat on our stomachs. It would be no small thing. Yet, we have access to this Almighty God through his Holy Spirit! Are we daily talking to Him? Studying His Word? Is He our hope, or is it placed somewhere else in this world?

Being self-employed has given me a lot of perks. One "perk" in particular has also, at times, been my biggest downfall. I have been given free reign of my schedule. Therefore, I choose how my day goes. If I don't "show up for work on time," I won't hear from any boss except myself. A lesson in priorities was long overdue about a month ago. One night, after I had spent all evening wasting time, I thought: How is it that now that I have more time to use, I end up wasting more of it? And for what?

So, I did what I always do. And it works like a charm. One Wednesday evening a long, long time ago, a sermon took place that changed my heart forever. The minister talked about "online" time and how it can so often zap us if we don't watch out. After that evening, I drove home and made a pretty little note card that said "Do Devotions Before Online Time." I taped this onto my laptop. This was during my college days at ISU, so needless to say, I had a few strange looks when people would walk by and see a big old piece of paper taped onto my laptop, but it is what I needed to do. What is most important in my life? Facebook? My blog? My mac?

Anyway, that's a long way of saying that I once again implemented this process in my life. I must start my day with God. And certainly, He must always come before my most prized time-wasting activity. Since I must inevitably be online during working hours because of the nature of my work, devotions always occur before I go to work, which means being up a little bit earlier. Seeing as I am NOT a morning person, this has been a challenge, but I am doing it. :) And it has been such a blessing.

Praying and reading the Word changes you whether you plan on it or not. I once heard it said, "When you don't feel like spending time with God, that is when you need Him the most." You enter the day a better person because of it.

Love you all!


*My opening lines were from Hebrews 11:1.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

to hear

Think of someone who is close to you.

When they are joyful, do you know it? If they are upset, can you sense it? Can you identify the times that you please them?

My Utmost for His Highest says,

"... If I love my friend, I intuitively detect what he wants, and Jesus says, 'Ye are My friends.' ...The destiny of my spiritual life is such identification with Jesus Christ that I always hear God, and I know that God always hears me (John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God, by the devotion of hearing all the time... What hinders me from hearing is that I am taken up with the other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes but I do not hear Him."

This concept jumped out at me tonight. Lately, I have been hearing again and again the importance of drawing close to Jesus. It is not necessarily about the circumstances, but about the relationship. Life goes on, and well, it always will. Where we are in it is irrelevant if we don't have a foundation in Christ. He must be Who we know and follow, and then our lives will take shape accordingly.

So many times, I look at my circumstances and think: Why? How? When? Lord, for what reason? What does this mean?

We can ask God questions, and we should. Yet my focus would be better directed in His Word, searching out Truth and drawing closer to Him. The answer is often not a "yes" or a "no" or a "him" or a "that," but it is a lesson He teaches, a life that He touches, or a patience that He grows.

The deeper I know Christ, the more in tune I will be with what He is telling me. Just as I know it when a friend is pleased, I will know it when my ways are pleasing to the Lord. And just as I know when my friend is disappointed, I will sense it when my life does not match the Truth.

I know I may have used this example before, but my former elder once asked me, "How do they know when money is counterfeit?"

I didn't know the answer.

"They study the real thing," he said.

By knowing what is real, what is honest, what is lovely, and what is TRUTH, we can quickly discern what is not. And when the "what is nots" take over, it becomes very difficult to hear the Lord.

Let's devote ourselves in the right place!

Love you all!


Monday, February 09, 2009

tuesdays with morrie

I recently went out to dinner with a friend who strongly suggested the book "Tuesdays with Morrie." I had seen this book on a book shelf in our home for years, and it always intrigued me, but for some reason I never read it.

After such a high recommendation, I came home and frantically searched our entire house for this book, running upstairs and downstairs until I found it hidden away in one of our book cases. I took it to Florida with me. It is a very easy read yet it is so deeply profound.

The book is about a man, a college professor, and their relationship throughout the years. It is structured around the fact that on every Tuesday, this man (Mitch) goes and visits his dying college professor whom he connects with after being unlinked for years. During this time, Morrie (the professor) teaches Mitch wonderful life lessons, and opens up his world of understanding. A lot of the principles taught in this book can be applied to our lives spiritually, although the author was not a Christian nor was the professor in the book doing the teaching.

Some of my favorite lines from Morrie:

"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."

"Don't cling to things, because everything is impermanent."

"You can't substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship."

"The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in."

"If you hold back on the emotions--if you don't allow yourself to go all the way through them--you can never get to being detached, you're too busy being afraid."

"The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it."


We are bombarded daily. As far as I am concerned, if you are a citizen living in a home in the United States, it's a little hard not to be influenced by our society in some way or another. Everywhere you look tells you who you should be, what you should do, how you should act, what you should buy, and what you should look like. And somehow, when that's all done, it's supposed to make you happy.

The truth is that no matter how many of society's little games that we play, we will never find anything remotely satisfying about them. We may evoke a temporary happiness or excitement, and it can give us pleasure for a moment and even smiles for a season. But after the new cable is installed and there's still nothing to watch, the cell phone gets scratched up, the diet is over, the new outfit has been worn more than twice, and the self-help book is read, we find ourselves spinning around and circles and absolutely empty. It's all useless. And what does it even matter, anyway? In the end, all of it burns with the rest. We don't take possessions or even our earthly bodies with us to anyplace eternal. Why do we place such huge importance on ourselves?

I have been on a missions trip several times and have always found one recurring theme by the end of the week: contentment and joy by way of living for awhile with little. Take away the fancy house, the car, the cell phone, the computer, and all my toys, and what do you get? PEOPLE. Living, breathing people who need to be loved. Our mission in life is not to accumulate things but to touch lives. To me, "things" are just an obstacle in the way of getting there.

So many times I flip on the TV only just to turn it off. It really sickens me what they televise these days. You can't look anywhere without seeing or hearing evil. It's all about entertainment. I don't get it. To me, it's just a big waste of time. Don't get me wrong, I've watched my fair share of TV and there are definitely shows that I think that I need to see every once in awhile, but all in all, I get discouraged when I keep the TV on for too long. Anymore, the only shows that interest me are the news, "learning" opportunities, or movies that I know hold some sort of a grounds to an inspirational story or history.

Any other form of media can be the same way. Take radio. Or the web. It can suck the life right out of you and take away ALL of your time if you let it. It's one of those mindless activities that can go on for hours and hours, and pretty soon, what have you even accomplished?

It is all a part of how our society works. And I hate to paint all forms of media as terrible and evil, because I believe when used in the correct light, they are excellent tools. TV can educate us if we watch the right programs, and it keeps us up to date with the current happenings. Radio can be great if we're tuned into an encouraging station. The web is an awesome resource of information and a wonderful way to communicate. It's just like anything else in life: you must use it, not abuse it, and everything in moderation.

That is all for this evening... I really enjoyed the various profound quotes and "life lessons" from Morrie that I read about in this book. Anytime we can learn from the older and the wiser, we do a good thing.

Love you all!


Thursday, February 05, 2009

FL 2

In less than 48 hours, I will be home. As promised, I am bringing with me some warmer temperatures. I just checked the forecast and Central IL can expect 56 degrees on Saturday, so. You're welcome.

In all honesty, that was very likely the high here today. Florida has been experiencing some cooler times over the past few days, and the weather men make a point to announce "freezing temperatures overnight" to all the natives... around here, that's the cue to get out the old parka. However, we from Illinois are out at the pool every day without fail, mid-50s or 80 degrees. Bring it on. If the sun is out, so are we.

Actually, let me paint the truth-- over the past couple of mornings, since it has been a bit cooler, we have had fun with some other activities that didn't require a swimming suit right off the bat. For instance, yesterday morning we went to the zoo. I was heartbroken because we went directly after breakfast spontaneously, and I was caught off guard without my camera (a rare occasion, I know right.) Anyway, my favorites were the brightly colored and LOUD parrots, and the flamingos. The parrots were awesome, they just squawked very loudly and looked at me funny when I tried to whistle back. There were a lot of them, though. Noah loved them, too.

At one point, we were on a path that opened up into a big, sunlit grassy field, and all of these flamingos were just hanging out. The purple hat ladies were there (or is it red hats? I don't know, but whoever they are, I want to be in that club when I meet the age qualifications) checking out the pink birds at the same time as us. So it was like double entertainment. The flamingos were SO COOL. First of all, up until this point in my life, my only encounter with flamingos has been seeing their picture in children's books or on some National Geographic TV special. But this was real life. About 30 of them, surrounding us! They are very tall (taller than me!) and are a bright salmon pink, with very long, skinny necks that twist in all sorts of directions to get done whatever it is they need to get done. They stand on these very skinny sticky legs that literally look like they will snap under the bulk of bird they are carrying up top, but to my amazement, a lot of them stand on one foot a lot of the time. When they walk around, they have this attitude that's like, "Alright, OUT of my way! I'm coming through, and I don't know who YOU are, but this is where I'm going." I just love them.

I told my friend about my love of flamingos tonight and she said, "Taryn, you really are the bird lady." Well, shoot. They always told me I was the cat lady. So then I decided when I'm old and gray and about 90 living in some house, I'll just have lots of birds AND cats, and I'll just let the cycle of life continue on as it may.

Anyway, I feel I am getting off topic. My real reason for this post has yet to be introduced.

I was sitting here tonight thinking about my first FL post, which really wraps up the first week of my stay here. It was a nice intro to the sunny state for me; a real relaxing time observing all the pleasures of the beach, some fun times spent with my friend, and a great vacation with my parents.

Then came week two. Enters the Steffen family with Tom, Tasha, Noah, Oliver, and Naomi. Silas stayed home. Although, he is the sweetest boy ever, and about 3 times a day the question gets brought up, "I wonder what Silas is doing right now?" So it's almost like he's here.

So my plan is to devote the rest of this post to the cool kids that I am vacationing with this very last week. We have had some good times, and tomorrow is my last day with them. It's going to be warmer so I expect some sufficient pool/beach time.

Let's start with the boys.

The Boys

There they are. Noah and Oliver. They are 2 years apart and are such great buds. They get along great most of the time, and love to run, laugh, play sports (with more athleticism than me, I might add), and tackle each other (and sometimes me).

Noah is the oldest. He's the leader of the pack and pays attention to what's going on. He's a very sweet, sensitive boy. He is also quite clever and athletic and fun. On this trip, we have one white car to transport us all, so I have had the great pleasure of sitting in the middle back seat whenever we go to and fro. Naomi is always on my left, and often, Noah, sits to my right. His favorite activity has been tickling me while we are driving. I am the most ticklish person on earth. All you have to do is tell me you are going to tickle me and I start laughing. So you can only imagine how much fun he has with that one.

Oliver is the next in line. He's a lot of fun, too. He has a smile that melts your heart and he is my little helper. Often, it's Ollie who notices that you need a hand and he immediately and willingly jumps in to assist. The other night I was watching the 3 and we popped pop corn and watched a movie. The boys and I were going to town on the pop corn, so I told them if we ran out, I'd just go pop another bag. He told me, "You're the best baby-sitter ever." Why, I asked. Because I let you have popcorn? "Yes," he said. "You let us eat pop corn, as much as we want, and you let me drink pop." I had to smile, but then I bit my lip. Pop, before bed? What was I thinking? Oh well. It maybe caused me one more tackle session to break up before the boys finally drifted off to sleep, but hey. It bought me the "best babysitter" award, and if it's as easy as popping 2 bags of pop corn, I'll hang out with Ollie every night.

The boys have had so much fun running up and down the beach and finding sea shells and stars. They are quite the explorers and have zest and excitement for about anything out here. It's great to see their bright-eyed youth!

The Girl

Naomi, also known as "The Princess," or "Nomi," is a definite girl among an all-boys family. She is a tiny little ball of energy, always dressed in pink or purple, with a spry gait, fast movements, and a low, husky voice. She loves attention although you have to choose your attention-giving wisely, or else you hear her famous lines, "Don't listen to me! Don't HEAR me!" She's a complete riot. Her talent lies in humanizing every little toy or object you give her. She makes up stories and conversations with anything from miniature fairies to water torpedoes to forks & knives. Although, again I might warn: It's best not to let her know you're listening to these imaginations, or else she'll reprimand you with, "Don't listen to me!" She is a lot of fun and loves to have fun. Any sort of twirling or running is a good time for her.

I once heard a comedian say, "When I was a kid, my only goal in life was to get candy. That was all I thought about. Family, school, play: these were all just obstacles in the way of me getting... more candy. I'm serious, my brain just thought GET CANDY GET CANDY GET CANDY all day long." I think of that a lot when I'm around Naomi because she has a similar goal in mind (as do all of the world's 3-year-olds), but it's humorous to watch. Anyway, she's an energetic little girl with a sweet heart and an adorable face.


I don't want to leave out Silas. He will be spending a few days at our house because I am getting home before the Steffen clan, so I'll maybe feature him in an upcoming post. Also, I don't want to neglect Steffen baby #5, which is in FL with us, as well. He/she will be arriving in August sometime, and I'll give proper introductions to that little one when the time comes!

Also, one last thing. It's been great hanging out with Tom & Tasha out here... they are great parents and a lot of fun. We have had some nice times together over the past couple of nights... especially once the kids have drifted off to sleep and the place quiets down. :)

There are so many blessings in family!

Love you all!