Tuesday, April 30, 2013


It's been a while since I last wrote anything. It's been crazy here, to say the least. My father had a cancer scare, which by God's Grace turned out to be nothing. Gabe's been dealing with a lot at work. I've been doing my best to breathe as the girls' birthday approaches. It hasn't been easy.

On one hand, I am much calmer this year than any other year. God gave my father a second lease on life, I am grateful for that. I want to honor my daughter more, and cry less. Does that make any sense?

All of that was going extremely well, until...a nameless person approached me and asked me "what's wrong?" because I "seem a little off.", which I suppose in itself was harmless. However, after being briefed about my situation, this person proceded to lie to me about having suffered a loss herself, and then called me "bitter."

If this person reads it, I am sure she knows who she is. To the rest of you, (unless of course, I've already told you who she is, and I know you will keep the secret), she will remain nameless.

So, there you have it. I'm breathing right now. In, out, in, out. God's grace is sufficient. He gives me the strength I need to face down each day as the 17th approaches. We have several new pinwheels out front. I will update with pictures later this week.

Until then, say a little prayer for me please. Thank you.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Every year, in the spring, especially from mid to late April til the middle of May, I have myself a freakout. My firstborn was lost during pregnancy on May 17th. I had my next-born the following May 17th, at 35 weeks. My firstborn is Riley Grace, and we miss her every day. My next-born is Ella, and when she is not driving me insane, she is the light of my life. Having both birthdays on the same day is not easy to say the least, and I spend most of the time leading up to May 17th either dreading it or feeling guilty for dreading it.

This year, I bought Ella a pinwheel at the dollar store. She "gave" it to Riley, but putting it under the cherry tree she has dubbed Riley's tree. Then, she informed me that she would like to collect some pinwheels for Riley. A dear friend gave me an Americana-themed pinwheel. Thank you, Brenda!

Last week, Ella took her own money to the store and bought a rainbow colored pinwheel for her sister.
Then, today, I was surprised by the FedEx guy, who brought a pinwheel all the way from my American hometown of Berwyn, IL courtesy of my friend Desiree. I love, love, love this one. Dragonflies have always been my special "sign" for Riley, so this is so special to me.
Don't you love this one? We certainly do. We have them under Riley's tree, which will be blooming within the next week or so.
Ella is grateful to everyone who has given or donated one, and she is hoping for 8 by May 17th (so we are halfway there!), because it would be Riley's 8th birthday. Ella will be turning 7 that day. Where does the time go? Anyone who wants to send us a pinwheel, please contact me at joanna.unbehaun@yahoo.com  Tell everyone you know. I want this birthday to be special for both of my girls.

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Life Scavenger Hunt

When you're a homeschooler, it's hard to find new and exciting things to do with your kiddos. While researching our Bible memory verse, I found a Family Devotional Program for the spring season. One of the first things that was listed was the New Life Scavenger Hunt, where your child is given a camera and they take pictures of living things. I received a Panasonic Lumix for my birthday last October, and Ella loves playing with it, so we grabbed that and off we went.
Forsythia bush in our yard
Robin in the churchyard
We saw some ducks too
this is Grandpa Bruce, who is definitely alive!
Ella spotted some curly onion grass
And these beautiful lilac buds
Ella's friend Hallie joined us. Aren't they adorable?
Hallie found this dandelion, which is a living thing
We also found this potato...it's arguably alive :)
Hallie's brother, Luke also made the "alive" list
And so did these two :)
It was good to see both girls learning about things that are alive (flowers, birds) and things that are not (rocks, household appliances), and even better to tell them that God created all these beautiful living things for us to enjoy.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Bubbles...an experiment

I've been so incredibly stressed lately. My girls' birthday is coming up, and my husband's job is stressful, and life is stressful in general...So today, I decided to de-stress by doing something fun with Ella. A few days ago, I saw a post on Facebook about industrial strength bubbles. We took 6 cups of water, one cup of corn syrup, and 2 cops of non-ultra Joy dish soap. Mix it all together, and you end up with something that smells wonderful (like lemons!) and looks like this....
We took bubble wands, made bubble wands out of straws, and used kitchen stuff (like that spatula) to make bubbles.
This made big bubbles. They were so strong that they didn't pop in the air, or after they landed in the grass.

See what I mean? This sucker wouldn't pop. Soooo.....
Ella jumped on it.

All in all, it made for a good time. And we have some bubble liquid left, and I read it gets better the longer it sits, so we'll have more fun another day!

Monday, April 8, 2013

All the Small Things...and Some Big Ones Too

Yesterday, in church, I got a huge wake-up call. The pastor said "What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?" Wow. Am I thankful for everything He gives me: my family, my friends, the food we eat, my house, my animals? Yes. Do I actually thank Him for everything? Nope. So, with that....here are all the things I am thankful for....
North Carolina sunsets
My silly husband Gabe.
Dale, our choir leader, who is so cool he has no problem with me taking pictures like this
Ella Rhiannon, who is always this sassy

If you know me at all, then you know that we homeschool. While I don't take pictures of everything we do, I did manage to snap a few during Scripture Memory. Today, we memorized 2 Corinthians 5:17 ("Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, behold all things are become new.")

I try to make sure she doesn't just memorize Scripture, but reads...
...and writes it as well
We also raced through a sight word review to see how fast she could read them
After school, we try to go outside and play. One of the wonderful things about living in the mountains of North Carolina is that she gets a firsthand look at nature.

There she is checking out big sissy's pinwheel
I leave you with this...Thank Him for what you've got. Thank Him for your faith, your spouses, your children. People die, people move, circumstances change. Children grow. Everything is different every day. So, just take a second to thank Him.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Where the Roses Never Fade

This is one of my favorite Christian songs. As someone who believes in God, and as the parent of a little girl who's gone on to Heaven, I believe that I will one day see her in that place "where the roses never fade."

A few things about me.

*I'm a Christian who's done some very un-Christian things.
*I'm working every day to do right by my husband, and our living child.
*The very fact that I say "living child" means I have one who is not. Her name is Riley Grace.
*I homeschool.
*I'm happily married to a great guy.
*My "living child" is a six year old named Ella.
*I love to cook.
*I love to laugh
*I love almost everything and everyone.

Ella, Gabe, and me (Christmas 2011, our family portrait is outdated)