We go to a lovely little church that is completely inclusive and open minded.  One of the things I love about it is that it values the questions more than the answers. 

It values the journey.

As you know (if you read regularly). I have been questioning whether to continue writing this blog.  I've been struggling with it and found my answer at church.

Ha! No, I didn't pray about it. I have bigger fish to fry there.

You see, our Pastor just returned from a three-month sabbatical. He's refreshed, relaxed and focused. I thought about it. That's what I want to be.  But I have so much to DO and I have so many people expecting me to write the blog.

But here's the deal:
The whole purpose of writing this blog was an attempt to stay in the present and appreciate it It definitely started that way, but it's different now.  I take my camera everywhere to capture these small moments so I can LATER write in my blog.  I do get to remember these moments by writing the blog, but I'm starting to miss out on that 'just living and appreciating the moment' part.

One of my very best friends recently told me something about myself...and it came as a complete shock.  After 38 years, you'd think I know this about myself, but I didn't.  He told me that I'm someone who needs continual feedback from people with whom I interact.  There was part of me that was unfulfilled writing the blog and I couldn't figure it out.  There are several of you who comment often (either here or on Facebook), and I'm so appreciative of that.  But mostly, I found it difficult to throw things out there with no response.

I have some other very important things to focus on right now.  With my eight year-old approaching 17, I want to be more engaged with her at the moment. She'll miss the blog for sure, but it's more important for me to parent now than preserve the past.  I'm also helping out with Greg's business and it's extremely important that we make this thing go - on so many levels.  Instead of sitting behind the computer, writing about our lives, I'll walk hand-in-hand with him on this journey.

So, I'm taking a blogging sabbatical until (at least) the New Year.  I own this domain, so I'm sure I'll be doing something with this site, I'm just not sure what yet.  Ella and I have a few ideas though!  If you're wondering, "Why now?" I just want to enjoy the holiday season without having to document every moment of it. 

Thanks to my loyal readers but an especially BIG thanks to those of you who comment on this blog.  It really helps me feel like I'm not having a one-way conversation - which can be a lonely place at times.  The comments are what kept me wanting to write and the reason I'll be back later!! 

Thanks everyone and I hope you have a great holiday season. 

There will definitely be a part of me that misses writing, but hopefully this is a step toward bigger and better things.

Anyone who has been to our house knows...Stout rules the roost.  He's territorial, he's tempermental and he's tough.  He's not very mean, unless you're a cute 1 year-old lab/husky mix who chases him, and even then - those swats on the nose are all done with claws pulled in.  Bottom line is...Stout knows what he likes. 

One of those 'likes' is his cat condo.  He loves it!
So, things were very peaceful on the homefront until....Belle discovered the cat condo.  It had been there for awhile and she never showed interest. But one day, she was being chased by the big black dog and she jumped up to discover it.

And, guess what? It's now her favorite place too.


But, every house needs a balance, and the feline balance of power is no exception.

At first they fought over the space. Hiss...growl...hiss...howl.

But lately, there has been peace. 
It's not perfect peace....Stout's rear end is covering half of Belle's body and all...but at least there is balance and harmony.
I returned home from work one evening after picking Ella up at a friend's house, only to see this note:
If you can't read it, I'll translate:

 "Mojo pooed and I love you. I went to Spring Lake. Call or Text when you can. xoxo"

Only those of us in a long-term relationship can appreciate the mixture of romance and dog poo.  I mean, it was necessary information.  It was a rainy and cold evening. If Mojo hadn't taken care of business, I would have had to brave the elements and take him for a walk. 

We usually walk him every evening, but if it's nasty out, we'd rather not (including him!).  And, even so, he's still not great at walking with me. He's so protective of me that he doesn't like to walk with just me.

Then, there's there's the obligatory 'I better tell her where I am' - he went to a brew pub to hear a chemist speak about the chemistry of brewing beer with some of my work colleaques.

Next, he says to call or text when I can.  Text? it's so cute.  Greg doesn't text (he's just learning). 

And then, an ending no girl could refuse - 2 kisses and 2 hugs.

Yep, he's a keeper. . . and a poet...ok, definitely a keeper!

No, it's not the latest Facebook quiz...it's what Ella asked me the other night. Yep, for real.

I recently introduced Ella to the Sister Act movies and she loves them.
These movies are her second exposure to nuns (the first being in the Sound of Music).   So, here's what she knows about them:

-They have something to do with God
-They sing
-They're funny

Hmm....in my eight year old's mind:
-We have something to do with God
-We sing
-We're funny

So, this translated to the fact that we should all have nun names. 

Ella has discovered the formula for finding your nun name:

Since all of the nuns in Sister Act had names that started with "Sister Mary...." you have to start yours that way too.  Then, you take something that means a lot to you - it has to be something you truly believe in.  That word is the last part of your nun name.

So here are a few of our family's nun names (as determined by Ella):

Ella: Sister Mary Harmony
Me: Sister Mary Hope
Belle (the cat): Sister Mary Beautiful
Cinnamon (the guinea pig): Sister Mary Squeaky
Nana (my mom): Sister Mary Shoes
Grammie (Greg's Stepmom): Sister Mary Flower
Aunt Lori: Sister Mary Goodness
Jessie (my cousin): Sister Mary Cool
Noreen (Ella's aunt, my sister-in-law): Sister Mary Giving
Grandma Joanne (Greg's mom): Sister Mary Florida
Baby Kitty (my mom's cat): Sister Mary Shy
Cuddles (Ella's beloved stuffie): Sister Mary Cuddler
Ms. Alaina (Ella's teacher): Sister Mary Sweet

So....what's YOUR nun name?

We've fallen in love. . . all of us. . . all 7 of us (3 humans, 2 cats, 1 dog and 1 guinea pig).   We've all fallen in love with Rex.

This is Rex:
Rex belongs to our friends who were out of town for the weekend.  Rex and Mojo played together when they were puppies (as opposed to now, when they are both so mature).  In fact, Rex taught Mojo how to go down the deck steps into the back yard to go potty. I know, it sounds strange, but that was when Mojo was afraid of EVERYTHING.

Rex is truly a wonderful canine spirit.  I think our cats would trade him in any day for Mojo.  He didn't chase them once!   Even Stout decided to get comfortable while the other boys were chilling out.
Yep, we all fell in love with him.  But, it was Mojo who fell most of all. They played all weekend, only taking 15 minute rest breaks every few hours (and nightly sleeping).  When they came inside, they always stayed together.

I think anyone would have fallen in love with Rex.
And, I think he kinda liked us too...
If you've been reading my blog, you know that I take the fortunes in fortune cookies very seriously.  I had a teacher in high school who taught us to open any book to a random page and read the first sentence we see.  She said that it was meant to be that we found that sentence and that it had some meaning for us in our lives at that moment.

For me, it's the same with fortune cookies.

Usually, I get wonderful fortunes, like "An unexpected gift is coming your way" or "Your talents are needed by others at this time."  But, I recently received this one:
Ok, I already know this.  I have a lot of energy. I can't sit still. I get it.  So, what's the fortune?

When I read it, I thought it was positive. I mean, I do tend to accomplish a lot in a small amount of time...that's good, right?

But, maybe not.

Is it telling me to slow down?  Is it trying to clue me into something I'm unaware of?

Since when does a fortune tell you something you already know?  That is just unfair.   What am I supposed to do with that?

I guess I'll just remain a bundle of energy. 

Even the word, "Bundle" is negative.  When I think of a bundle, I think of a bundle of nerves (i.e. stress).

Yes, this one has me perplexed indeed.

My all-time favorite fortune cookie fortune said this:

Women who strive to be equal with men lack ambition.

Now, that's a fortune!
Ella and I need your help.  You know how you buy yarn for a project and then have a bunch of leftovers? Well, we are knitting scarves for the local Center for Women in Transition and are taking yarn donations. 

It all started when I piicked up a knitting loom (never used one before) and started knitting a scarf.

Now, Ella loves using it, because it's much easier than using two big needles.  

It was a family affair - even Stout loves knitting!
This loom is so easy and fun.  I made this scarf in just a couple of hours.
And to model it, I found West Michigan's Top model!
So, if you have extra yarn lying around, we'd love to turn it into a scarf for a family in need. Just leave a comment or email me or facebook me to let me know!

It's that time of year....Christmas tree shopping at Jimmy Carter's (no relation) farm.  I love this place!

We discovered Jimmy Carter's farm last year when our friend Candace brought us there.  We had been going to a place closer to home only to find that they were SPRAY PAINTING the Christmas trees. 

Christmas trees should not be spray painted.

It was a gorgeous Autumn day to be tree shopping and Mojo had the time of his life! Acres upon acres of trees...
It took a few trips back to the woods, but finally we found our tree and tagged it. It's a beauty!
It was such a good day, we let Ella use the 'good' camera (which is really nice, because Greg and I have so few pictures of us together).
And, Candace found her tree too.  She has to pick out the trees no one else wants...I think it's cute, even if it has a 3 foot trunk!
Only four more weeks until we get to go back to Jimmy Carter's farm and bring our little tree home!

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    My name is Kristen Porter ~ I am a corporate attorney by day, and a writer/artist/renaissance-woman wanna-be by night. 

    This is my blog...my summary of life and attempt to capture small moments forever while appreciating their impermanence.  Those small moments are what make life so wonderful!

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