So, I'm going to brag a bit about how good God is to me and my boys.

Yesterday, I posted about working through the 31 Days to Clean book, but other than the cleaning assignment, I hadn't really read the day's entry. Adam had left that morning to help a friend move and the little boys and I were on our own.

I had plans to have a friend over for coffee and then, if Adam was gone for the whole afternoon, I was going to walk to the library and to a little toy store called Duck Soup. I planned on getting each of the boys a small, new toy. They've outgrown most of the ones filling their toy bin and I wanted to get them a treat. We rarely ever go out and buy new toys for them because we've already been so blessed by friends and family, and I don't believe in them having a ton of toys anyway.

And then I read the entry for the day in 31 Days and, hurrah! My Mary Challenge for the day was to have a friend over for coffee! God set that up so well (before we even know what to ask, huh?).

Then I found out Duck Soup had closed. I figured I'd just take the boys to Wal-Mart or somewhere else later. I was a little disappointed, but didn't feel like the day was ruined or anything.

After lunch, my friend came over with her kids and returned some books she'd borrowed and then pulled out two Yo Gabba Gabba! plush toys. "My littlest one doesn't play with these anymore," she said, "Would you like them?"

Guys, Yo Gabba Gabba! is this household's favorite kids show. It's the only one the boys watch.

And my friend was handing me our two favorite characters.

The little boys were very, very excited. I might have been a tad more excited, but that's okay.

God gave my kids some new toys, through the generosity of a friend.

It gets even better! Adam and I have a lot of big-kid toys like LEGOs, Duplos, and Matchbox cars in the back of a closet for when our kids get older. I pull them out whenever we have other kids over so they don't get bored while grown-ups talk. I pulled out Duplos for my friend's three-year-old and my little boys loved them. I'd thought that the Duplos were still way over their heads, but they proved me wrong. They're nowhere close to building with them, but their new favorite thing is to rummage in the bins and pull out pieces.

Another new toy and we already owned it!

God is so good.

Théoden fell asleep last night holding Brobee, and Plex is nearby in this picture. They were into the Duplos again this morning:

Also, I submitted a story last night for the second Machine of Death anthology. You can read more about it at, but it's basically a writing contest with a shared thesis for every story. The selections will be announced in October and will be published. The thesis is based on a Dinosaur Comic strip, and the first anthology was kind of amazing. I feel like my story needed more work but I sent it in anyway. I thought the deadline was Sunday at midnight and fortunately checked last night while I was working on my story--- the deadline was this morning at around 3am EST.

Anyway, it's called E. coli. One of the contest rules is that the title has to be somebody's test result. I've found a few things I wish I could change, but oh, well. It's submitted. And I'll just keep writing new stuff! If you'd like to read it, email me or let me know on Facebook and I'll send it to you-- I don't want to just post it online right now, though.

Also, 31 Days is kicking my butt a bit. I'm keeping up with the cleaning okay, but it's really challenging my heart. Aren't you glad that God never leaves us alone, though? He never lets us go, and even when that's uncomfortable, I'm so grateful.

The entry today was about priorities. And I had just skimmed a few verses in Psalms and was counting that as my Bible study when I read 31 Days and it was all like, "Do what you say are your priorities and what you treat as priorities really line up? Are you spending time meditating on the Word of God?" and it was exactly the kind of reprimand I needed.

Right now, if I'm honest, I sort of shuffle myself, my little boys, and Adam around in the first priority slot, and then housework and God take turns being in fourth and fifth. Yeah, that's not good. It makes for one cranky, easily irritated Mama and Wife. I'm working on that, but more importantly, the Holy Spirit is working on that in me, and as long as I'm heeding that call, He's not going to stop or let go.

And finally, I have noticed a movement in a lot of the people I know toward the art of hospitality. Sometimes, I forget that this is actually part of the Christian calling. Entertaining people is one thing; intentional hospitality that loves on people and fills a need for them is another. I want to make that more and more a part of my life (within reason; I don't want to get out of balance). So, let me ask you, when you go into another person's home, what makes you feel comfortable and loved? What makes you feel like you belong?