Letter to my List

Dear List,

I love you. I’m not sure what I would do without you. Digital or paper, as long as I can cross you off, I’m happy. You are more than a tool, you are my friend.

You seriously help me get through my days, because I lose so much in the juggling act of my mind. It helps so much that you are taking good care of those things for me. And the other night when I couldn’t settle down to sleep, you were there for me… letting me just pour out all the jingle-jangle in my brain.

I like how you remind me of other things I need to do, especially the ones that have been forgotten for months. Somehow, time with you, just brings it all to life.

But I do have one request. Could you stop hiding? I really don’t like playing hide and seek, even with my kids.

We’ll be spending a lot of time together over the next few weeks. So let’s play nice. Let’s make sure paper works with the pen or pencil I have on hand – I really don’t think those squiggly, scribble marks make you look that great.

You know what looks great on you – horizontal lines. THAT is a great look for you. Not everyone can pull it off. Would you like your lines in monocolor or multi-color this year? I am would like to do whatever makes you happiest….

Happy Holidays to you.


31 days of Christmas Planning – the WrapUp

I can hardly believe that it is the end of my 31 days series. I wrote this series in a month that included not just Marc traveling, but my own traveling. Gone from my home and family for five days and coming home just ahead of Sandy – and I still did it. Can we have an early Christmas party just to celebrate that?!

In some ways, I feel like I exhausted the topic of getting ready for Christmas, and in some ways I think I could do another 31 days on the subject. In all ways, I am pretty glad to have some space to write about some more ‘random’ things as I journey along. I still have quite a bit of work to do with my own Christmas planning. (Do you know it is only 21 days till Thanksgiving?!)

 I hit my original goal of getting all my thoughts written down so that in the future, I have my list of all that I want to remember to do.

 Here is a landing page of all my posts from this series (for me and you):

 Also, this post marks the end of hopecaptive.blogspot.com. I am permanently migrating my JourneyNotes over to hopecaptive.com. Please take a minute to visit my new and in renovation space. I look forward to continuing the journey over there.



31 days of Christmas Planning – Be Generous

I just got home from a conference where I learned about Pure Charity. Pure Charity is a new player in the giving arena. It sort of takes social media,  groupon and credit cards rewards programs, a ton of corporate partners, and some great non-profits and mixes it all together. (That’s terribly oversimplified – you should watch the video here.)

What I love about this is that our credit cards and stores have already trained us to be rewards members – earning money, credit or savings. This just takes those already well-developed habits, and makes it so you have a giving account.

Through Pure Charity, I learned about Generous Tuesday. We have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and now Generous Tuesday.

It is my experience that the holidays – and not just the gift giving part – often make me feel squeezed. There isn’t enough of me, my time, my creativity, my money.

But you know what? That is just not true.

We are more than enough. We bring to the holiday table all the uniqueness and creativity and joy that we were born with. It might not look like your neighbors or sister-in-laws or Martha Stewarts. AND IT SHOULDN’T.

And we have more than enough. We do.

The best antidote to feeling squeezed, in my experience, is giving. Make it a priority to give your money, your time, yourself.


Check out Pure Charity.

Remember Generous Tuesday.



31 days of Christmas Planning – homeschool

One of the many blessings that comes with homeschooling is the flexibility that allows different routines and plans.

Holiday seasons are perfect times to take advantage of our flexibility.

In the past we have:

  • taken extra vacation time
  • had special baking adventures
  • done our regularly scheduled school at a muuucchhh sllloooowwweeerr pace
  • read some of those lovely books that we collect

This year we will probably do a mixture of all those things, add some sewing projects (the girls both  have their own sewing machine), and do some sort of video fun (all the kids are experimenting with different forms of video making/editing).

31 days – the Pajamas and Ornament Tradition

On Christmas Eve, after we have gone to an early Christmas Eve church service (I wonder if the kids are old enough to go to a midnight service this year… hmmm), we all get to open one present. The present is always a set of pajamas and an ornament. 
For years, I made matching pajamas. But I became increasingly frustrated with our local fabric shops’ (there are two shops) selection of winter flannel (and the prices). One year, I did the math and realized how much I would save if I just bought pajamas -both in time and money. Maybe someday I’ll go back to making the pajamas- it is rather romantic – but this year, I’ll be shopping for them. Sometimes I have tired to match our colors, and sometimes I have enjoyed getting just the right set for each of the kids distinct personality’s. 

When I was a child, my mom would get us a new ornament every year. I still have a wooden truck ornament from 1984, among several others. We have continued the tradition with our kids. Each year they get an ornament that they will put on our Christmas tree. When they are adults they will get a box of ornaments from each year of their childhood lives. 
Christmas Eve wraps up as we open the presents, put on our pajamas, hang the ornaments, read a Christmas story, and go to bed hoping for some hours of sleep before the morning comes.