This morning I set a goal of pricing, tagging, and hanging 32 items for the upcoming consignment sale (shout out to MomsTotsTweens!). Not too lofty, but enough to make me feel like I'm making progress. This afternoon, I'm looking at a stuffed garment rack which holds the 132 items I finished.

Lesson: Know thyself. And be happy when thyself blowest thee away by surpassing thine expectations.

Just Love Coffee. It's hip. It's organic. It's fair trade. It's adoption support.

It's HERE!

Thanks to all our Las Cruces friends who ordered a bag (or two...or five)!
You're going to love Just Love Coffee. Let's keep percolating with purpose!

To order more, visit https://justlovecoffee.com/about/beneficiary/theleonards/...or wait, and we'll do another bulk order in a month or so.

Comment below and let us know what you think of the beans you ordered. Be sure to tell us which variety you have!
We took the day off from school to maintain my kids' (read: my) sanity while out
getting the oil changed,
meeting with bankers,
and running various other errands.

But sometimes I think my kids learn more on those days than on our "school" days.

Like at Jiffy Lube, where one kid paid very close attention to the informational tv explaining car maintenance. I'm sure he knows much more than I do now.

Or at the bank, where the other kid figured out that it doesn't make sense to charge someone a bank fee just because they jumped through 871 hoops with their accounts instead of 872. (We got our money back.)

But my favorite lesson of the day: honesty is often shown through actions rather than words. So when one of my kids found a $20 bill on the floor of the dressing room that he shouldn't have been in, we talked about why turning it in was the right thing to do.
"You didn't earn that money, and no one gave it to you, so to pretend that it's yours is a lie lived out by your actions."
The sales associate was impressed by his character when he walked up there and handed him that tantalizingly crisp bill. And when we came up to pay for our stuff later, he took both the kids to the bouncy ball machine and got them a colorful, bouncy treat.

So, that - that was a morning well spent.
I usually run from sugar-free cookies, because the sugar always seems to be replaced with some sort of rat poison, packaged in attractive bags in the baking aisles.

THESE, however, are delicious. This drooling little munchkin and I whipped them up in about 10 minutes and stuck them in the oven (although a good percentage never made it that far).

We started by throwing 2 cups of cashews into the food processor to make the "flour." To that, we added
 - 4 mashed bananas
 - about 2/3 cup soft butter
 - 2 t. vanilla
 - 1 t. salt
 - 2 t. baking powder
 - 4 cups oats.

Top it all off with chocolate chips (NOT sugar free...so I guess technically, these don't qualify as sugar-free cookies but I'm going to call it officially close enough) and you've got yourself a delightfully healthy cookie!

See the original recipe here: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/nikkis-healthy-cookies-recipe.html

Oh, and my kids totally play the "sugar-free" card on these: "Mom, can we have another sugar-free cookie??"

I'm a slllllooooow learner.

For so long I've been caught up in the task of pleasing God. It's hard, time-consuming work and to be honest, oftentimes it's not enjoyable.

And I've felt there was something missing because every now and then, I wasn't so focused on the work. My eyes were looking up and the work was somehow still getting done, but I had joy...until the next day, when I'd look all around and see the tasks to be done and dive back in again.

I understand grace. It's just that sometimes, I feel a sense of duty to make that grace worthwhile.

But I've been reading this book. It's not new; it's been around almost half a century, but it's put into words what I've felt deep in my soul for a long time.

It's written by a shepherd, and is about the Good Shepherd and His sheep. I'm coming to understand more and more why the Bible is filled with analogies about sheep and shepherds, and all things wooly. I'm growing to realize that when my eyes are fixed on my Shepherd, I don't have to worry about all the tasks. He leads me through them, but it's not that I'm doing them because I've decided that's the way. I have to let Him decide the way, and just walk in faith, trusting that He is The Way. They are no longer a chore, but rather time spent with my Shepherd, and I delight in Him as I do them. I love these words by Philip Keller:
The focus of my attention has been shifted away from myself to my Shepherd. The movement of my soul has been brought to Him for direction rather than left in the dilemma of my own decision making. The responsibility for my activities has been placed squarely in His care and taken out of my hands. This means subjecting my will to His wishes, but therein lies my rest and relief from my own stressful way of life.

Such people, our Lord said, would go in and out freely and find pasture.
Life is becoming more joyful. Days are more filled with conversation with my Good Shepherd, and are being drained of joyless tasks - even though what I do each day isn't really changing.

I'm a slow learner. Often I turn away from my Shepherd, drawn away by thieves and robbers made up of worries of the world, gluttony, my own emotions, and the list goes on. But He always comes after me to bring me back. And I'm blessed to know that I'm a growing and changing 30-year-old sheep.