Thursday, November 30, 2017

a moment alone with the Lord

I know I'm not the only one who goes through ups and downs in life.  Some days are great, and everything is as wonderful as it could be.  Other days are not so much and are just tough, in general.  Sometimes I know the cause of such troubles and heartache.  Sometimes I don't know why I seem to be a little down in the dumps.  On the inside lately, I have been kinda blah about everything and just not full of joy, like usual. 

I had such a revelation with the Lord in my car while I was driving yesterday, that I feel like I have to share it on here.

First off, sometimes when I drive, I listen to K-Love or Air One.  Other times, though, and this is my favorite thing to do of all, I pray.  Yesterday was one such time.  I have to start by saying that I have really tried to be consistent lately in my quiet time with the Lord each day.  Some days it goes on for a while, other days it lasts for about twenty minutes.  Even though on those days when I do have my quiet time I read, I find that I will sometimes skimp on the prayer portion.  Note to self: do NOT skimp on that part.  If I skimp on anything, it should not be prayer.  He wants for us who believe in and who are followers of Him, to come to Him with everything in prayer. 

So while I was driving to Costco yesterday, I was praying.  I love to praise God for who He is; His attributes.  He is faithful, Prince of Peace, a good and loving Father, who is slow to anger and rich in love.  He is merciful and mighty and just and full of grace.  He is my strength, and He is the song I most love to sing.  After the praise part, I always ask Him to examine my heart and show me my sin.  This could be anything from gossip to a mean thought I had about someone.  Whatever it is, I confess it and I ask Him to forgive me and to change me.  The thanksgiving part comes next, followed lastly, by supplication, or prayer for others. 

I always ask for Him to use me, and to guide me and lead me throughout my day, and then I ask for Him to help me to walk in submission to Him throughout my day.  I don't want to leave that last part out...asking Him to help me walk in submission to His authority in my life means that He allows me to pay close attention to when the Holy Spirit might lead me to something, like a place or a possible conversation like what I am about to tell you about. 

I got my things from Costco and while I was there, I stopped to look at some books.  (I refrained from buying any.)  I overheard a lady ask a sales associate about a book, and since I knew of the author and the lady that worked there couldn't help any, I spoke up.  I told her my boys had loved books by him and that the ages of the book would work for the age range she was interested in buying for.  And then, we had this moment, the lady buying the book and myself, and realized we knew each other from our days at the local elementary school.  We realized we had homeschooling in common and we both started the same year.  We ended up talking for about ten minutes, each encouraging one another, and then we exchanged phone numbers and I left.  (I gave her my number because she was curious about homeschool curriculum and had questions about what we liked and didn't like.)  I left feeling like she had encouraged me, but the Lord showed me that maybe I had encouraged her as well. 

The reason I share this is two fold. 

One, is that the Lord is so good to us.  He is such a wonderful, kind Father to us, and He hears us when we pray.  He knew I had been a little down in the dumps lately about a few things, mostly self-esteem type issues over different areas of my life, and He gave me this sweet friend to lift me up and to encourage me.  Because in the short time we were together, that is what she did, reminding me of some really sweet things that took place under my watchful eye while I worked at the elementary school. 

The second reason is this: do not neglect prayer.  Take it all to Him each and everyday.  When you feel little fiery darts coming your way (like I have lately), most likely it is the enemy trying to mess with you in your life.  One of my favorite verses in the bible is Ephesians 4:27.  It says not to give the enemy a foothold.  Because that is all he needs, friends.  One little foothold leads to more and more and quickly, strongholds are forming in your life and your heart is becoming bitter and hardened.  I take great comfort that greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

When I got back to my car and was pulling out of the parking lot, I was just overcome by the goodness of the Lord.  I started praying again, praising Him and thanking Him for all that He showed me through a divine appointment He had set up before this day was ever even a thought in my head.  I ended up doing that for the entire drive back to the Ville, which was about fifteen minutes, and in that time, I experienced His presence in my car while I was driving. 

What does that feel like, you wonder?  I don't know!  All I can say to explain it is that I was overcome with gratitude in my heart and by the emotion of the moment.  Tears were pouring out of my eyes, but I could clearly see and I wasn't sobbing.  I was just praying and the tears were streaming.  I promise, I was not a danger to society, like I said, I could clearly see.  I was just having a moment, and thanking Him and without even realizing it really, I was praying Scripture back to Him. 

I encourage you, if you are in a season of life that is difficult right now, or tiring: pray and ask the Lord to give you little pockets of time to spend with Him.  Whether that is at home before anyone else is up, or in bed late at night, or while driving in your car, when you find moments to pray, pray.  He knows the timing of your life and He will help you in this, I promise.  Quiet time doesn't have to be hours and hours long, friends.  It can be one chapter in the bible, or it could be a section of Scripture.  Any time with Him is better than no time.  Ask Him for help with this as well!  I promise, He is faithful and just, and He will help you. 

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

P.s.  Here is the December scripture writing guide, and check out the theme!

How appropriate and reverent and holy it will be to write all of this out.  Join me? 

Monday, November 27, 2017

the weekend and some things

Every year for Thanksgiving, we celebrate with my dad and step-mom on that Friday.  We always get out there while it's still light out, which is usually around four, we eat dinner around four thirty, and then we all ooh and aaahhh over the Christmas lights we hung a few weeks prior.  It's our first official night to see the lights all lit up, and it always breathtaking.

Here's the actual house, which I never seem to get a picture of.  It'll always be home to me.  

Then, we leave his house and go to the Memphis Zoo, for Zoo Lights.  

They had several new exhibits this year, like these giant ornaments...

...and this pretty reindeer...

...and these singing deer.  

It's always worth the trip and the crowds, though this year was the most crowded I think it's ever been.  We go on what is probably the busiest night of the season, which is maybe something we should consider next year.  It would be fun to go on a week night, when nobody is there.  

Also, you get to use the tram for free the entire time you're there, but if you are local and reading this, make sure you stand at the pick-up for that at the sign that says Zoo Lights.  It will not stop at the regular zoo hours tram stop signs.  

Perhaps the most favored thing of all to do each year is to watch the ice skaters (fall).  We always stay and laugh and watch.  We're never brave enough to try it on our own.

I always love this tunnel of lights, but it's blurry.  This was right before they all rode the carousel that you can also ride for free.

 I just love all the lights.  

It's fun because of the cold, but on this night it wasn't bad.  We have gone before and frozen half to death, and we have gone before in hot weather.  I like it best when it's cold, and I'm all snuggled up in cozy clothes.

Earlier in the day on Friday is when Chip came to live with us.  Our friend brought him over, and while we were gone, a sweet teenager dog sat for us.

He's adorable. 

We were up early on Saturday morning, and we sat and watched White Christmas together.  Also, I love our Christmas tree this year!  We put less ornaments on it, if you can believe that.  The boys did a novel job at getting this and some other decorations knocked out.

We were up even earlier on Sunday morning.  This was us snuggling.  Somebody just wanted to sleep in my arms.  

Meanwhile, all the other animals have lost their minds in this house.  Crash attacked Chip Saturday morning over his food, Callie is just living in her kennel because Chip terrifies her and she won't eat, and the cat tried eating Callie's food this morning, after Crash ate her first bowl.  I seriously cannot make this stuff up.  It's funny that something so tiny can cause such chaos in the house.  And who would have thought that I'd have more patience with Chip than Jonah?  He makes Jonah crazy, and he prefers Chip only when he sleeps.

Quiet time has been on the back burner with the pup around, but this morning I finally got back on track when Jonah and Noah woke up and came downstairs.  I've been having it, but it's just been later in the day.  I was able to pray while I sat in my chair and held Chip in the wee hours of the morning.  This isn't the ideal week for a new puppy in the house, either.  Todd will be gone every single night, as will one or two of the boys, so it'll just be a couple of us at home with him, three at the most.  I'll take any and all the help I can get, but I'll also live, if it ends up just being me.  I am definitely a seasonal widow all of this week, as we are all our separate ways, but it's only temporary.  

I keep waiting on my old self to kick back in...but for now, I'm embracing the spontaneous and relishing in the moments.  This Christmas season will definitely be one to remember.  Prayerfully Crash and Callie will regain their sanity and start acting "normal" again.  Whatever that means. 

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.  

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Favorites

We've had family in town for a week now, and it's been the best week.  They arrived from Colorado last Saturday and they're going back home today.  Even though it's been busy for them all, I felt like we got to see everyone a lot.  I don't always feel like that when family comes in town.  Family is my favorite, and even though we missed the ones who couldn't be here, we enjoyed the ones who were here, for the time they were here. 

A little tidbit about myself: I HATE saying goodbye.  Especially when my sisters are in town, because I never know when I'll see them again.  I always tear up when I say goodbye, and even writing it out makes me that way. 

I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and her friends, for this blog post.

I mentioned family...this is my sister Lisa.  We went and saw the BEST movie Sunday night.  I had some free time because we didn't have any church or community group going on.  Seeing movies in the theater is one of my favorite things to do.  I love movies, and I love going to the movie theater.  I don't go that often, because I'm really picky about what I spend money on, and if I don't know that I'll love it, I won't go.  I knew I would love the movie we saw, though, Wonder, because of all that I had read about it and heard about it that week on The Today Show.  Also there with us were my sister Trish and Mom. 

Also, we have new reclining seats in our local theater, and they are the best.

One of my favorite moments from all time was the moment when my twins got to meet and later on, hold, my niece Erika's twins.  Their dream came true and they've been waiting on this moment since they first found out she was pregnant with twins.  I might have teared up a good bit when this all took place. 

If you're considering a new bible, I strongly recommend the She Reads Truth bible.  I got mine about three weeks ago, and it is my favorite that I've ever had.  I love getting new bibles and marking them up and making them my own.  This one has white colored pages (I prefer white over cream) and the margins are nice and wide, so that I can write in them.  I keep reading on the reviews of this bible, that people complain about the thin pages, but in my opinion, they're no thinner than any other bible I've ever owned.  This is not a journaling bible, with thick pages for that kind of thing.  It's a regular, wide margin bible.

Also, these are some of my favorite verses in the New Testament. 

I love having a bible reading plan during this season, and this one is my current favorite.  There are lots you can buy, but I was able to download this one for free, through The Daily Grace Co.  I think it's over now, though.  If you're my friend in real life, though, and would like to do this, I wouldn't mind making you copies.  I put all of this into a three ring binder and will start on December one. 

This is my favorite little book to read at Christmas.  It's good to read and to pause and remember to be still before the Lord each day and during any moment that He gives.  I love to use any pocket of time that I have to talk to Him, to read His word, to sing His praises.  I don't always have time for a whole hour each day, but He is always so faithful to give me time when I pray and ask Him for that. 

I read this last year and will read it again this year, as part of my quiet time after I've done my bible reading.

I made three apple pies on Wednesday.  They are my honey's favorite.  It's the recipe out of the Better Homes and Garden cookbook, and I've used this same one for twenty one years.  The double crust recipe is out of the same book.  I have people comment on how good the crust is, but I think there are two things that help tremendously.  One, is to follow the recipe TO THE LETTER.  That is crucial to any dough recipe.  Two is to not over-mix, or over-knead.  The more you knead, the tougher the dough can become.  This is especially true if you used cold, cubed butter, but this recipe calls for shortening instead of butter.

This same crust would be AMAZING with the ingredients for a chicken pot pie.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year.  Not necessarily the day itself, although I love family time, but that it's the start of my favorite season.  Words cannot adequately describe how much I love this time of year.  I'm already sorry for over-gramming.  If you get aggravated with that kind of thing on Instagram, please just keep scrolling and ignore all my posts.  Instagram is my favorite form of social media, by the way, especially the stories portion. 

This is one of my favorite moments from yesterday at Mom's.  I loved seeing the babies light up over this little musical box thing that plays Christmas carols.  This was my Noah's favorite thing about Christmas when he was little.  I also love that Noah loves Christmas as much as I do.  He might be the only one who shares in my excitement over this season, and all things that are pretty and decorated. 

Tonight we're eating with my dad and stepmom, then going to see the lights at our local zoo.  That is one of our favorite traditions with them, and it kicks off our other traditions that we so love. 

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 


I just now remembered that I've not yet introduced our newest addition to the family.  This is Chip, and he comes to live with us today.  (I might be crazy, I realize that.)  This was all very unplanned, and last minute, but sometimes, when you see a picture of a pup, you just know that somehow he is yours.  He needed a home with lots of love and that is what we are.  I can't wait to meet him!  He and his sister are coming here today, then Graham's girlfriend and her family are getting her and taking her to home with them.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

what's up Wednesday

It's been a while since I've linked up for this what's up Wednesday post, so I thought I would do that today, since it's a special holiday week.  I'm linking up with the blogs mentioned in the first picture above.  Here is where you can link up, too, if you want! 

What we're eating this week...

Well, since it's Thanksgiving, I'll be eating a lot of that.  But we are eating other things, too.  Monday night we all ate dinner at Firebirds with a huge group of family and friends.  Last night we had beer cheddar joe's, tonight we'll have some kind of pasta or chicken sandwiches, and then the rest of the week will be turkey and dressing and all the delicious trimmings.

What I'm reminiscing about...

I still love everything about this picture from a few weeks ago.  It was a Sunday morning, and we were on our way to church, and I loved the lighting, and how the leaves had fallen onto the roof.  This is the perfect kind of fall day, in my humble opinion.  Cold, kinda dreary, but not raining.  This day screams nap. 

What I'm loving...

Family, a lot of them being in town, and my twins getting to meet my niece's twins.  Left to right are Jonah with Kinsley (both baby "A"), and Noah with Kylie (baby "B).  This was at my mom's on Monday. 

What we've been up to...

See above picture.  Also, this.

I love getting babies to sleep!  Twice on Monday, Kinsley slept on me.  I always end up with her.  It's funny, how that works out. 

Also, yesterday I grocery shopped.  I am spending today making pies and cleaning and decluttering to prepare to decorate for Christmas tomorrow night.  I can't wait!  I love decorating for Christmas.  Today I plan on playing around with how the living room is arranged...there is one little corner that I'm going to try to shift so that all the furniture can stay in here this year.

What I'm dreading...

So my cat Twinkles has this obsession over the Christmas tree, and every year she tries to eat it.  I always end up throwing things at her to get her to stop.  (Light weight things, I'm not that mean.)

Also, for about three hours, my house is torn upside down while the decking of the halls takes place. 

What I'm working on...

Christmas.  Also, Jonah has been busy figuring out what we will decorate with outside this year.  He was organizing and checking all the lights yesterday.

What I'm excited about...

I won't repeat myself.  Just read all the above.

What I'm watching/reading...

I'm watching This Is Us, The Good Doctor, and Todd and I are watching The Good Wife.  I plan on adding Christmas movies to the mix in the next few days.  I've watched a few so far.  I'm reading Kissing Father Christmas, by Robin Jones Gunn.

What I'm listening to...

All the choir Christmas music.  I need to learn it all before December 3rd.  Actually, by the 29th, because we have a full rehearsal that night and a microphone will be involved for me, so I really have to know it by then. 

What I'm wearing...

Cuter stuff for church, comfy clothes for home.  That is about what my life consists of these days.  Yesterday after I ran my errands, I came home and put pj's back on.  I was freezing and wanted to snuggle up under a blanket while I watched a movie. 

What I'm doing this weekend...

On Friday, we will do Thanksgiving with my dad.  After we eat, every single year, we go to the Zoo for Zoo Lights.  I love this tradition every year, and the boys always look forward to it as well.  On Saturday, I know a football game is coming on, and they will be watching.  I'll be hiding somewhere in the house, or maybe I'll be out, who knows?  Sunday is always church. 

What I'm looking forward to next month...

Duh.  It's not the day, though.  I am always sad on Christmas day, because that means it's all over for another year.  I love the whole season, and all the togetherness. 

What else is new...

I have a nephew getting married in 2018!  They're thinking the fall, but it's not for sure yet.  I have another one graduating.  And a niece graduating, as well, in Colorado.  I can't believe it's that time to start thinking ahead, and that another year has gone by. 

Thanks for reading!  Happy Thanksgiving, to you and yours.  I hope your time together as a family is wonderful.  Love to all. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

the weekend

We had a great weekend around these parts.  When you start your Friday night off with these, it doesn't get much better.

If you go to the Momfessionals blog, and click on her Friday Favorites post from a few days ago, she will have a link you can go to for the recipe.  We love chicken pot pie, and I have never found a recipe that didn't seem dry.  These were perfect!  There was tons of liquid added in, so I knew these would be good, and it was declared a "repeat dinner".  Meaning, I will make this again, and soon.

I'm pretty sure that chicken pot pie is my husband's love language.  We had this for dinner, and then the kids all hung out upstairs.  We watched a few episodes of our current show. 

On Saturday, everyone slept late, except for me.  Callie ALWAYS wakes me up, but I don't mind, since I'm a morning person.  I enjoyed coffee and did some laundry while the rest of them started waking up.  It was a lazy morning, then we all got dressed and left for the airport to meet my family that flew in from Colorado.

I was so teary when we saw them all.  I am an emotional mess most days, but something about seeing my nephew Jaret, who hasn't been here in too long, and then my twin great nieces and watching Todd and the boys meet them for the first time...well, it was just too much, and I was fighting tears the whole time. 

Kinsley is on the left, and Kylie on the right.  I'm pretty sure Todd was flirting with both of them when I took these.  I know he was with Kinsley.  He was playing peek-a-boo with her.  Are they not precious?!  I love them so much.  They are each so different.  I love how you can already see their personalities shining through.

Once we got home from the airport, and when the storm passed us by, the boys and I went to Mom's house for dinner.  Todd worked that night and we stayed at Mom's until about eight.  I went to bed a little early.

On Sunday during church, I went out in the hall with my niece and her hubby, and the girls, so that I could play with them some.  I'm glad I did that, because I got to snuggle them both.  They were both so sleepy, but they were so good. 

I came home and ate lunch after church, and took a nap, because I was freezing.  I had choir practice at three, but my head started throbbing, and then I got sick to my stomach, and I had to leave early.  (I took some medicine and felt better after I ate.) 

Mom, Trish, Lisa and I had all made plans to go see Wonder, and we got to try out the new recliners.

I made her smile for a selfie.  :) 

If you haven't seen that already, you should go see it!  It was the best movie, and I am so particular about what I like to see in the theater. 

I made myself sick again by eating popcorn and was about to die when I got home.  None of the teenagers who were here were sympathetic to me being so sick, though, and they all made fun of me.  (Movie popcorn and I do NOT get along, even the popcorn without butter.) 


I just went to bed.  I was on the last episode of Gilmore Girls, but I fell asleep.

It was a great weekend.  I'm looking forward to this week!  We have a baby dedication today at three, then we're all going to dinner at Firebirds afterward.  And it's Thanksgiving week!  I can't wait to eat the yummy food and come home that night to decorate for Christmas.  It's the best time of year! 

Also, happy birthday to my nephew, Devin! 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals, and her friends, for this blog post. 

This week has been so nice, because it's been FAR LESS busy than last week.  I have taken a major step back from all forms of social media this week, because of that, just browsing instead of actually posting.  It's been nice. 

Here are some favorite things from this week.

 This is one of my favorite pictures of Graham!  He was ten when it was taken.  This was a night that we went and watched my dad-in-love graduate from a class he had taken.  I remember it like it was yesterday!  We sat at this round table, and per usual, the kids were all cracking us up. 

I love his little mischievous face and that glint in his eye. 

Also?  Timehop is my favorite app. 

So, years and years ago, in talking to one of my best friends one time, I found out about her that when she wears fuzzy pajama pants like the ones pictured above, she refers to them as lovey pants.  On Tuesday, after I had done all that needed to be done that day, and because I was so cold, I came home and put on my favorite pair of lovey pants.  And then promptly texted Andrea to tell her.  :) 

And I might have accidentally made her a wee bit jealous.  Sorry, friend! 

The dogs get all kinds of attention on the blog, but this one does not.  This is our cat, Twinkles.  We did not name her.  About eight years ago, some of our good friends were moving across the country, and they couldn't take their cats on the journey.  So one friend took one cat, and I forced Todd to bring home this one.  Y'all.  She is the sweetest, smartest cat I have ever had.  She thinks she's a dog, because she listens so well.  She is extremely social, and no joke, comes when you call her name.  She seriously listens better than Callie, our "broken" German shepherd.  She drinks all the water out of the dog bowls, and has been known to eat a piece or two of their dog food.  When I call them to go outside, she trots along behind them, crying to go out with them.  We don't let her out, though, because she has no claws, not even back claws. 

Isn't she beautiful? 

If I'm in the chair, she's in my lap.  She only sits with me, too, often times crying if someone different tries to hold her.  She's my favorite cat I have ever had.  I don't like having more than one cat, but I do love having her.  She alerts me to bugs in the house, all the time, because she is much quicker than the dogs.  A few weeks ago we had a roach in the living room, and I wouldn't have seen it if it weren't for her.  She and Crash work together on this, though, once she finds the bug. 

For this reason, I love having cats. 

When I'm busy, this is where she can always be found.

Yes, we bought her this little shelter to protect her from the mean old dogs.  They love to run up to her and sniff her.  She always yells at them, though, and will slap their noses.  She makes grown dogs cry. 

I love her.

Earlier in the week, one of our neighbors had a tree cut down in their yard, and this was where I found Jonah and Noah.  They were watching.  A favorite activity for boys is watching big machinery do things like that.  It was quite fascinating.

This was my favorite part of girl's retreat last weekend.  I love my friend Sunday's message about forgiveness.  I wrote this out on one of the blank pages inside of my bible.  I love using those pages for things like this.  On some of the other pages is marriage advice Sunday's mom gave at a prayer dinner back in May.  Doing this guarantees I'll not lose whatever I write inside. 

Quiet time by the Christmas tree is my favorite.  And in ONE WEEK, my Christmas tree will be to the right of our fireplace.  I cannot wait!

My kid was cleaning on his own the other day.  I caught him doing this while I was doing bible study homework and texted it to my husband.  It is my favorite, when my family does things for me without me having to ask them!  Jonah did this for me, and then last night Todd did something for me, and I told him this exact same thing.  I love random acts of kindness for the ones we love, and for those we do not know.

Well.  My dad will be here in one hour, so I had better end this and get ready.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

what's up on Wednesday

I have nowhere to be all day long.  I love days like this!  I know some people cannot fathom something like loving to stay home, but really, it's an introvert's dream, especially after a busy week and weekend.

Even though I'll be home all day, I do have a list of things I need to do around here.  

I need to clean, because even though things are always picked up and tidy, the furniture is dusty.  

I need to figure out what to do with a few things I no longer want, like pictures/paintings and such.   

I really need to catch up on laundry.  It's been a struggle all week, because I keep having to leave.  I need to wash sheets, too, which takes time.  

I will vacuum, because of the dog hair.  I hate dog hair.  I use the Roomba almost everyday, but every three days, I run a regular vacuum.  The Roomba does make it tolerable.  

I plan on finding a book to read.  I'll probably pull out all my Christmas books today and find one I haven't read yet.  [Hopefully there is one I haven't read yet, if not, it looks like I'll be making a run to my happy place, otherwise known as the library.]  I am reading one right now, but I don't love it, therefore, I'm going to just stop reading it.  I'll donate it, most likely, to the Friends Again bookstore outside the library.

I need to catch up and finish bible study homework for the week. 

I will start with some paperwork online for Drew, on account of his upcoming graduation in May.  I also need to see if something that I need to turn in can be emailed or submitted online, instead of mailed or handed to someone in person.  [I love technology, and it's frustrating when not everyone is caught up to the times, like when things have to be mailed or brought to someone in person.]

If time allows, I may start decluttering things before we pull out the Christmas decorations next week.  We always decorate the night of Thanksgiving, and I am always scrambling to find spots for things that need to be moved during the season.  Also, we will pull out everything from the attic next week, probably on Tuesday, and put away all the Thanksgiving things I have up right now.  

I'll catch up on the show Todd and I watch.  He watched at least one episode after I went to bed last night.  

Well, speaking of all these things, I need to get started!  [So much for me not posting today, right?]  Love to all!  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

useful [and a little non-useful] information

Today was a good day.  Well, except for that part when I woke up at THREE A.M., and I didn't think I would ever fall back to sleep.  But I finally did [fall back to sleep] and woke again at seven.  I immediately grabbed the book I needed to read a chapter of for today [more about this in a minute] and enjoyed my first cup of coffee.  By the time I needed a second cup, I'd finished my reading.

I'm currently making my way slowly through the book Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.  For lunch, we [Abbey, a sweet friend Kristy, and myself] met in the church lobby at the tables by our bookstore, ate lunch, and discussed the chapter.  I love these ladies so much!  I am so thankful for their friendships and that we can laugh and be completely honest with one another about hard things, and that we can pray with and for one another. 

I've said this so many times, but it bears repeating.  Growing up, I struggled with friends.  As in, I didn't have many.  It was HARD.  The ones I did have were not the greatest, and I am sure because of that and some really poor choices I made, my parents might have grayed a little prematurely.  [I need the laughing face emoji here.]  But really, it wasn't funny.  It was sad and unfortunate. 

BUT GOD.  He knew that all of that would go down exactly the way it did, and He had a plan already set in motion in for my life.  When He grabbed hold of me and my heart, He knew that in later years, He would restore to me what I had always missed out on.  Friends.  The true ones, that love Jesus with all of their heart. 

Now, I'm not saying to attend church services to gain friendship, but once you become involved and start meeting people, those are who you end up wanting to be around the most.  And while on that subject of church, commit to going all the time.  If you are a mom of little ones, I honestly cannot imagine what raising kids without godly people around you at all times would look like. 

We live in such a different world than the one I was brought up in.  Friendships are developed on social media these days, instead of around a table, and our views of what  a real life friend looks like has become skewed.  Nothing replaces face to face relationships, and time spent with those friends.

I could go on and on, but you get my drift.  Today just made me extra thankful.

Moving on, now.

Today I changed up my quiet time spot, in preparation for when the Christmas tree gets put up!

See that wall space to the right of the fireplace, where the lamp on the desk currently is?  Well, that desk will get moved out of the room, and the tree will go right there in its place.  I love that spot, because it can be viewed and enjoyed from all over the living room, the room we are in the most.  There is nothing as peaceful and joyful [to me] than having quiet time by the light of the tree. 

I can't wait to decorate!  We do this on Thanksgiving night. 

Also, I can't wait until a good portion of my family arrives from Colorado!  They get here Saturday, and I am counting the minutes until I get to squeeze on these lovies.

And on that note, here is another piece of useful knowledge.  Someone I follow on Instagram gave a little tutorial for a new-to-me app yesterday morning, and I checked the app out, read some of the ratings and noted its five stars, then installed it to my phone.  It's an app that allows you to write on pictures.  It's called Phonto, and it's easy to use.  It allows you to either take a picture, or use the pictures on your phone, and then you can click the little icon that looks like a pen to start writing.  You can pick the font, the size, and even the angle of the writing.  You can move it around or tilt it a little.  Then, when you're done, you find the option to save, and it saves to your phone.  From there you can share to social media.

It sounds rather complicated, but it's not.  I love it!  I made this little collage last night on a different app [PhotoGrid] and then saved it, and used that collage on the Phonto app.  I love playing around with pictures and such, and this one of the baby girls makes me so happy.  I seriously cannot wait to see them!

Well, this was an odd time to write a blog post, and because of the time of day, I most likely won't write again until Thursday or Friday.  So, thanks for reading!  And see you later in the week.  Love to all! 

Monday, November 13, 2017

catching up

If I didn't have to make a Costco/Kroger run today, I would not leave my house.  But we are out of several things, and I am being forced to go.  [Not really, but since my husband has this thing called a job, and I do not, I am the one who goes to the store the majority of the time.]  

I am tired of going.  I read recently how women are guilty of claiming they're busy like it's a badge of honor, and I do not agree with that at all!  I do not like being this busy, and I really try to avoid it all costs.  However, sometimes it is just like that, even if for a short while.  Last week was one such time.  I had things to do every single day of the week, and every night except for ONE, I was gone.  Needless to say, I'm excited about being home every night this week. 

I also named this week bestie week, because I saw Missy Byrd every single day for seven days straight.  That was accidental, but also a bonus.  
Last week on Monday night, we finished our book club for the year.  We have been meeting since May [or possibly April] and we decided to break for the holidays, possibly for longer, on account of life.  We started out as five friends reading a book our friend Angela wrote, but we are ending as four.  We only read TWO books in all those months.  That makes me laugh, because I am a fast reader.  I spent that day doing things like going to Costco and Kroger, then coming home and making dinner and finishing the book we were reading.

On Tuesday night, we had Tablescapes at my church.  That morning I was home, but as soon as Drew got home from his chemistry class, Noah and I left to go eat lunch, then to go to church, to decorate my table for that night.  We were all divided up that night, and it ended up being just Todd and Jonah at home.  They went to Huey's for dinner, as soon as Todd helped Jonah pull his last tooth.

On Wednesday, I had bible study.  I spent that morning at home doing things like cleaning, vacuuming, and laundry, then catching up on homework.  After we met, this was the only night I stayed home, and Todd and I caught up on everything and our show.  

Thursday was a fun day.  It started off with a fun little day in the life challenge on Instagram, where a bunch of people documented their day doing mundane, ordinary things, using the hashtag #onedayhh.  I found out later on from the lady who started this that the hh stands for hour by hour.  It used to mean something different, but she changed it a couple years ago.  I had a lot going on that day, so I had a lot to document.

First up was quiet time.

I used this table cloth for Tablescapes, so I was glad to have it washed and back on the kitchen table.  In my quiet time, I'm reading through the book of Proverbs.  I also went through Ruth again, because we have been reading that in community group on Sunday nights with the ninth grade girls.  

Next on the list for my day was taking Drew to get his portrait made with his cap and gown.

Bless.  I heard the lady laugh when she placed the cap on his head.  He has curls galore.

I took him to get lunch right after this, and then ran into Target for a new journal, then we joined Noah back at home.  He wanted to stay here while we did all of this, and Jonah was at work with Todd for the day.  [He had worked ahead in his school work last week and was able to skip that day and go to work with him.]  

Then we came home and stayed put until that afternoon.  The boys in the family all went to the shooting range for guys night with our church family, and Missy and I met another friend at Germantown Baptist for dinner and to hear one of our favorite authors speak.  We sat at tables with women from that church, and I got to meet a sweet friend who I've been friends with on social media for more than a year now.  We also saw another friend [Adriana] and got to catch up with her as well.  There were several more ladies at the table with us, and it was just a really fun and refreshing night.

My friend Adriana made this collage.  On the top left is Tami [left] and Adriana.  Then Tami and me, Missy and me, then most of our table, minus three ladies.  They joined us a little later in the night.

I got to meet one of my favorite bloggers and writers, Sophie Hudson, and I am laughing, because that is how we spent the entire night.  She is even more funny in person than she is on her blog and in her books, and we left so encouraged by what she shared with us.  [She used Luke 1 to speak on women and friendship.]   

When we all got back home, our sweet honorary Goodwin came to see us!  Marissa was in town for the whole weekend.

This was, by far, my favorite part of last week.

On Friday morning, the boys and I were dressed early, so that we could go to the Veteran's day parade with Dad.  It's a tradition, and though they might not be as excited as they once were over this, it was a really fun morning.  We had lunch at The Arcade afterward.

It was beautiful and chilly!  We sat under blankets.

This is how long we have been doing this.  They used to love to make posters for the Veterans as they walked by.  There are several years that they [or we] made the local news.

When we got back home, I took a short nap and then packed for a girls retreat that we had that night and Saturday until lunch time.  Missy picked me up at three, we made a run to Kroger for our sweet Abbey, then we went to the retreat center, which is only twenty minutes from here.

This is Marissa and me, on the beautiful deck at the back of Pioneer Lodge, where we all stayed.  

Theresa and Marissa in the same spot.  I have to stop here and say that the ladies who were doing the cooking for that night and the next morning did it AMAZING job with all of our food!  I am so thankful to them for doing that for Abbey, it was a big, hard job, and they pulled it off beautifully.  Theresa was one who helped, then Lori and Andrea did the rest.  Theresa was also one of the ladies who spoke this weekend.  

Those of us who were able met there early to help Abbey with a few things, and to pray.

This is where we met for our sessions throughout the few hours we were there.  I say "few hours" because the retreat starts at five Friday night and ends by one on Saturday.  It is a WHIRLWIND of a few hours, with very little sleep involved.  

I love how this room looked with all the lights!

We ate dinner, then we had our first session.  After that session, we all broke off in our family groups [which were named after Disney princesses-my group was Belle, because Abbey knows my favorite Disney movie was Beauty and the Beast.]  We played games as a group, and this was the favorite thing.  A rock wall on one side, a free fall on the other.  

There was a bonfire and fireside chat with Sunday, where she spoke about the biblical role of being a woman, and there were s'mores.

The next morning was breakfast, then more sessions, where several women spoke on different topics.  Fun was had by all, and I think there were eighty something girls there.  

I came home and crashed.  We had pizza for dinner and I was in bed as soon as the Alabama/Mississippi State game was over.  

Yesterday was church, then choir, then community group.  

So now you see why I stopped blogging last week.  

And today?  I am going to two places, then I am coming home and getting back into pj's.  It was a really busy week, but it was REALLY fun, and I am already missing my bestie, whom I will not see again until Wednesday, most likely.  She was definitely the bonus of all the crazy things we did.  

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  

Friday Favorites, 7.12.2024.

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