{good} stuff

good stuff I've found recently around the web, all with the twang of New Year, New Starts....

Good Stuff on the web -blog

{Plum Paper Designs} << clickable link

love those fancy, designer planners but just can't justify spending $50 + on them? This Etsy shop has  nice, semi-custom planners with add-ons, stickers and personalized covers ~with less sticker shock

{Only Passionate Curiosity}

Printable homeschool planners.  >>prettier than the plain ones I make up in Word, with big O's for checkboxes.....

{Elisa Pulliam}

PDF-books: How to Start the Year Equipped and Thriving. These look very good and she was having a BOGO sale...though Jenny-the-late has missed the ending day

{7 Ways to Conquer your morning routine

for those non-morning people among us. New Year, New Start!  Er...or something...

{Daily Page Notepad}

Thyme is Honey Etsy shop....simple but eye-pleasing daily checklist. Because, I will forever be an optimist that I can get my act together, and I will keep buying stuff to somehow, magically attain this goal...plus, I love paper....

{What Comes Next}

A Study in Brown blog. She writes about seeking simplicity and experimenting with living with no internet in the house.  I don't think I would like this, I don't think I could do it, and yet, the thought intrigues me with the possibilities....


Happy New Year, bloggy friends!



Merry and Bright

cranberry snow-copy

This holiday season has been merry and bright and full of friends, family and fellowship.

We have an annual winter bible conference with our church every year and we get to enjoy hosting people in our home.  Some years we have people from other countries, and some years we have our bible college boys return- with new spouses.  It's all very sweet.

We had one of the bible college girls who spent time encouraging Meg come stay with us, along with her family. When we traveled to Boston with the kids a few years ago, they let us stay at their farm.

So, it has been a very busy couple of weeks here with cleaning and getting ready for guests, having & feeding guests and attending our conference.  Whew, kind of exhausted here!

stained glass bible window

I don't know about you, but the New Year inspires me to get more organized and set new goals.  I am reading {albeit, slowly, and haphazardly- It's the Jen way...}

Which is kind of humorous, since I am adding these books to my collection/stack of "get organized" books...but, ahem, I'll give it a go, one more time...

I am planning on reading through the New Testament several times this year.  Witness Lee was a Bible teacher whose books I really enjoy.  I know people who knew him personally and he made a deep impact on those people.  It's well-known that he read through the New Testament once a month, continuously and I thought I'd like to do this, too.  I know that there is no way I'd keep up with reading enough to read it every month, so I decided I'd like to do it every two months.  There is a great site a friend just showed me where you can schedule your Bible readings- including the whole Bible, online.  You can plug in how long you want to take and what days you want to read.

Read His Word  is the site.  I made an account and now when I check in, it tells me what I need to read for the day.  Way cool :)  }}much less clunky then me taking the page number of my N.T. and dividing it by 60 days...which is what I was going to do...

I mentioned before that Simply Convivial has a series on Getting things done -

she also is starting up a new series on digital home management

My last big goal is to spend as much time as possible sitting on the couch with Sky, watching HGTV.

How about you, any good New Year's resolutions sites?


7 Quick Takes -Tedx edition



I was invited to attend TEDx Orange Coast at Segerstrom Center of the Arts.  I could bring a friend, so my best friend, Sky went with me.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.  There are two big 4- day TED conferences each year, and then there are smaller, locally planned, 1 day conferences called TEDx.  TED  brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). TEDx does the same, but in a local venue, organized by local people. The theme this year was: Redefining Relevance.

The photo above is is Jazz musician Ray Goren who is 12 years old.  Wow.



Our introduction to TED was through Ted Talks online.  Ted Talks are a way to share what TED is, a way to share the world's most inspiring voices.  Sky found TED talks online, and would come home and share them with me and the kids.   I didn't know how it would all work when we got to TEDx, I thought we would move around and pick the talks we were interested in.  Instead, everyone went to the main concert hall and each speaker followed each other with a few breaks in between.  It was like listening to a college professor lecture,  a lecture where the speaker was sharing their biggest passion to you.  It was very easy to listen to, and easy to capture the inspiration.

The sign we are standing next to above was made by Ryan McCann, retired quarterback for the UCLA Bruins.  He makes art using fire. His wooden portrait "Coach" can be seen at the UCLA Hall of Fame.


My favorite speaker was Jack Andraka, a 15-year-old high school student who invented an accurate and inexpensive test for early detection of pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers.  He began searching for a way to test for pancreatic cancer after loved ones died of the disease.  He decided to find away to test for a certain protein and then had to research through thousands of protein to find a likely candidate.  Next, once he found his protein and researched a way to test for it, he had to convince University professors to lend him a lab.  It all sounded impossible, but he did it.  He had this message for teens on facebook:  "We don't want to see your duck-face photos, instead, you can be changing the world or curing pancreatic cancer."



The lovely ladies/beekeepers from Backyard Bees had a table in the lobby.  They make and sell honey products, rescue/remove/re-home bee hives and manage hives.  Sky has a big interest in keeping bees, but our lovely, golden neighbor is allergic to bees, so we don't have a hive.  Maybe someday. Did I mention that they are local?  One of the ladies lives in my neighborhood.  :)


Other favorite speakers:

*Nigel Nisbet.  A Mathematics teacher from England.  Moving to the U.S. and teaching his first highschool class here was a bit of a negative revelation.  He finally had success with a bar of chocolate...{he had my attention there!}  He moved into challenging his students to think about something they can touch, feel, and smell.  He had such success in the classroom that he became the Mathematics Specialist for LAUSD; instructing other teachers how to teach Math effectively.  From there he moved on to the nonprofit MIND research Institute.  He is working on using a computer game that is fun, engaging, visual and interactive to teach students Math.  The game looked good- I'm hoping for a homeschool version someday :)

He spoke about teaching students effectively, teaching them to think in Math.  The hands-on aspect of his talk spoke to this homeschool mom.  I hunted him down afterwards and tried to put in a pitch for smart, determined homeschool moms everywhere.

*Lara Lee, named a "Master of Innovation" by BusinessWeek...smart, positive woman.  She said "Channel your fear. If you want to change directions, you need to lean into it."  She was referencing riding a motorcycle and how you have to lean into the turns, and how the faster you are going, the more you have to lean...which can be really scary at first.

*Pascal Finette,  he talked about Chaord: Chaos and Organization.  He said to participate in the culture, and not be only a consumer, but a producer.  "It is those who participate that will create change."  He also said, "Let go of something to make room for something."  He said a lot more that I wrote down, but I'll stop now...hopefully soon I will be able to link to their recorded talks.

*Reggie Littlejohn, former high-power attorney who now leads the fight in combating abortion, gendercide and sex trafficking in China. She represents Chinese refugees in their political asylum cases and is President of Women's Rights without Frontiers.  She is actively working to change things for women in China.



Mike Kenyon from Free Wheelchair Mission spoke.  They provide wheelchairs for the disabled poor in the developing world. He spoke about being on a mission trip with his church and realizing that the disabled were totally invisible in poor countries because the could not move about and were often left alone in small, dark homes or even laying out on the streets.  In his talk, he said, to "focus on one need, one issue" and "go out there and make a difference because out there is someone who needs you." I had the chance to talk to a representative of Free Wheelchair Mission and learned about how they make and ship the wheelchairs.  They are really ingenious.  The seats come off, and are like regular backyard plastic chairs, except thicker and stronger.  The rest of the wheelchair comes apart and is shipped in flat boxes.  The wheels are bicycle wheels, better suited to rough/uneven terrain and easy to fix or replace.  There is a bicycle pump on the back and a patch kit for easy repairs.  They also have a second model for children that is more adjustable.  This mission really spoke to my heart because my stepmother has to use a wheelchair most of the time now.  Her wheelchair is electric and very well-made and very much a necessity.  I can't imagine not having access to a good wheelchair like so many of the disabled in poor countries.  I think this is a charity well worth giving to.


All in all, it was an amazing day.  It was one of those experiences where your sleepy brain wakes up and comes to attention.  I haven't felt so challenged and stimulated to go out and be part of the change since I was in college.  As an adult with a full life of family and duties and cares...it's kind of easy to get into a comfortable routine.  I liked how TEDx challenged me to think deeply about things I hadn't really thought a lot about.  I hope we can attend next year.

*7 Quick Takes is hosted every Friday over at Conversion Diary. Click over to join up!

7 Quick Things {lost} edition



My mother passed away on Monday, her funeral was Friday morning.  My thoughts and feelings are such a jumble...they change each day.  {Lost} describes me.  Despite the problems my mother and I had, and despite the hard feelings I had for her- I always thought we had time to repair our relationship. She was only 60 years old.  Even when she got so sick and was in the hospital, I thought I had time to tell her how much I loved her, and the things I admired about her...  I was planning to tell her those things as a pep-talk to inspire her to stay sober.  Instead, I told those things to the people at her funeral- desperate for them to see her beyond her last few years. Time can be a cruel thing.



I put together a slide-show for the memorial, it came out really nice.  My sister and I requested the song "Day O" from the movie Beetlejuice to be played as everyone walked out of the service. For some reason, my mom loved that song, she got such a kick out of it.  We also brought Hawaiian leis for her pall-bearers to wear as they carried her out- she would have liked the touch.


My mom loved birds, and had many, many parrots over the years.  We all sat around the table one night and agreed that we were glad that she had given Beau away (a double yellow headed mexican amazon parrot she had since I was 9 years old) She had always threatened to leave her with us as an inheritance (they can live to be 75 years old!)  We were all part of the "I've been bitten in the face by Beau club" and were really glad she had given her away a few years ago.  We had a good laugh over that bird.


My house is just now, after 3 weeks, slowly being put back in order.  We had our week-long Bible conference and guests from Korea.  They asked to stay an extra week, and then we had a teenage friend stay the week after until highschool Bible camp started.  They call it the "School of Truth" -kind of a cool name :)  and then, in the middle of Bible conference my mom was hospitalized and it has all been chaos for me.  We had to send Demi to camp without a sleeping bag- we couldn't find it- we sent him with a pillow and comforter.  2 days later Sky found his sleeping bag under a pile of dirty laundry.  Yeah, it's been that kind of time here.


I tried to keep up with my p90x exercising during Bible conference, but I had to stop after that with my mom sick.  I was doing so much driving that my diet fell apart, too.  Chick-fil-A happens to be right next to where I jump onto the 91 freeway, and it became a comfort food for me, unfortunately.  It is not very close to my house, so it is a big treat.  I also have to admit to the navajo sandwich from cheesecake factory as a comfort food.  The week my mother died, Sky took me there 3 times. Love that man <3



I'm out of thoughts, but I thought I'd share this sunflower from my front yard. I edited it with a watercolor filter on photoshop elements. I love sunflowers, every year Sky plants several different kinds in our front and back yards.  Love that man <3

I'll leave you with this song- a reminder to say what you need to say, even if it's a hard thing, while you can...

*7 Quick things is hosted every Friday at Conversion Diary. click over to join up.

{Inspiration} sometimes you need it

Sometimes you know what you should do, or you know- intellectually, what a good course of action would be- but you just cannot do it.  Or maybe it's more hit-and-miss, but you'd like to be more consistent.  Sometimes you need some inspiration.  Sometimes you need a good nudge.  Sometimes you need some encouragement.

  • I stumbled onto this e-book called Maximize your mornings, and this little movement called "Hello, Mornings"  This movement is about reading the free e-book, and then joining up with groups of women to work through the book and encourage and keep each other accountable with our morning goals.  The biggest one being, get up on time.

The newest round has just started, but you can read the book anytime.  I'd love to hear what you think of it and if you will be joining up with the next round.


Leading Little Hearts Home  Rebecca has this to say: "I think many people pick up on the importance of keeping our children's hearts. I think we have seen a huge shift in direction as parents have been inspired to turn their hearts home and have even been willing to shelter their children from negative influences.

But what of this purpose and direction? Do we have goals that drive us? And are those goals from our Master?".... (click over to read the whole post, it is worth your time)


  • This is an inspiring gymnastic routine, just beautiful.

  • it reminds me of this old cartoon, of the line and the ball from my childhood:

what thoughts, ideas are inspiring you today?