Wednesday, January 31, 2018

some things we're eating this week

It's been a while since I've done one of these types of posts, so I thought I'd share some dinner thoughts and ideas for anyone who is in a rut, like I've been.  (I am ALWAYS finding myself back in the proverbial dinner rut.) 

On Monday night I had a dinner to go to at my friend's house, so that day while I was at Costco, I grabbed some easy freezer meals for them to have either on a night when we're all in a hurry, or for lunch.  My homeschooled kids do NOT like plain old sandwiches for lunch.  They always prefer a hot one.  So that afternoon, I made oven roasted potatoes to take to our potluck for that night, and I doubled the recipe to leave some here for the ones who were here (Todd, Drew, Jonah, and Rachel.  Graham and Noah were at a Grizzlies game.).  Here is all you do: dice however many potatoes you want, according to the size of your baking sheet.  Toss the diced potatoes with about three tablespoons of olive oil and half a packet of taco seasoning, and back at 400 degrees for an hour, or until they're all shriveled up and crispy.

I serve these with homemade "ranch" dressing.  According to Ina Garten, here is how you make it: equal parts of mayonnaise and sour cream, salt, pepper, a few dashes of worcestershire sauce, milk, and there you have it.  Drizzle in the milk while you whisk it all together to the desired consistency you prefer.  I usually add in some taco seasoning and on Monday night, I added a few dashes of hot sauce.  They also ate buffalo chicken bites with the potatoes that night.

Also in my freezer for easy meals are chicken tenders from Costco, and frozen meatballs to add to pasta and marinara sauce.  We will use those one night this week, maybe on Superbowl night.

Last night I made hamburgers.  We have an electric griddle, and I love making hamburgers on it.  It gets a little messy, but they always turn out perfectly.  To two pounds of ground beef, I added two packets of French onion soup mix and one egg.  I make thin patties and press my finger almost all the way through the middle of each patty.  That prevents them from puffing up in the middle.  With that, we had chips and French onion dip.  (Those are also delicious as hamburger steak with gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans.)

Tonight is church, so the boys go out afterward.  I like to eat something easy on this night, like oatmeal if I go to church, or if I stay home, I eat leftovers from one night.

I just came across this recipe, and I'm thinking I might make it tonight, though.  It sounds really good to me right now.

This is from Andrea at Momfessionals.  Click here for the whole recipe. 

Tomorrow night we aren't eating at home, and Friday night I will probably cook something easy.

I usually try to make three meals per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday), and then we eat leftovers the other nights or grab a pizza.  (I don't count Sunday nights, because we always eat at whatever youth function we're at that night.)  Sometimes I make a huge meal on a weekend night when all the boys are at home, because more often than not, we're never all together anymore.  Graham is extremely busy and is in class for two nights a week until April, and that has put a damper on family dinner nights.  I know it's just for a time, but when we're all home at the same time, I like to cook something they all love.  These boys are becoming men and have lives of their own nowadays (well, Graham and Drew, that is). 

Thanks for reading!  Hopefully this'll bring some inspiration to my fellow dinner rut friends.  Love to all. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

life lately

Blogging lately has been kinda hit or miss.  One reason is because our computer is on its way out.  Even as I write this, there is a black box that never goes away to the right of where the content goes.  It's annoying. 

Also, I haven't really been doing a whole lot of exciting things, so there is always that.

One thing I've been doing a lot of, though, is reading.  I finished the book I was reading Sunday night and made a trip to my happy place yesterday, after my Costco trip.  I picked up several new books, because I never know if I'm going to love or hate one.  If I don't love the book, I just put put it down.  Who has time to read something they don't love?

Not me.

Also, I got some fun mail last week!

This is a book that releases on February 6.  Baker Publishing book sent me this book to read/review/and help launch.  The parts I've read already are HILARIOUS.  Think Melanie Shankle...Lincee's writing is very similar to Melanie's and equally as funny.

Lately, I've been craving Asian food.  Twice this week, I have had it.

Once when our new neighbors brought over this plate of deliciousness as a thank you for trying to help get their cat out of a tree, and then again when Todd and I went on a date Saturday night.

These were homemade, and fresh out of ... well, wherever she cooked them.

The sauce was sweet and sour, but I didn't eat any, because they didn't need to be dipped in anything.

Our date Saturday night ended at Lowe's.

We were picking out tile for our bathroom walls to surround our new tub (when we get it). 

My favorite thing by far, lately, was the women's conference at our church I attended this weekend.  It was the best we've ever had!  Kim Jaggers was the speaker, and she shared her powerful testimony, then admonished us according to what is written in the word of God.

A couple of things she said stuck out to me.  One was that there is NOTHING that happens to us that God doesn't use.  Whether a victory or a trial, He uses it all to His glory, for those of us who are believers. 

Another thing was that when she was trying to consistently be in God's word daily, she would pray and ask God to help her to crave Him and His word more than chocolate, which is her favorite food.  She encouraged us to do the same,  praying that we would crave God and His word more than whatever our strongest craving is.  I have prayed something similar for years now, asking that the Lord would let me hunger and thirst for His righteousness.  I promise that when you pray something like that, He will always answer.  The love I have for His word could only have come from Him. 

And I know I have said this before, but I will say it until I die.  If you're a believer on the fence about church attendance, may I please encourage you?  Just go.  Jump in.  I crave times like this weekend so much, friends, and I cannot imagine not having a church home.  Here is one small way how the enemy is tricky: he will convince you that you're just not going to go.  He always causes doubt.  He caused that in Eve, back in Genesis when he asked her, "Did God REALLY say...?" (Genesis 3:1).  DO NOT FALL FOR THE TACTICS OF THE ENEMY!

Get yourself up, and drive to church. 

He does the same thing in the lives of people who DO go to church.  Once you miss just one Sunday, it's easy to start missing every Sunday.  It's like a snowball effect.  One leads to two, two leads to four, and so on, until before you know it, it's been months since you've attended faithfully.  Going is a commitment.  It's not always easy.  And sometimes it is just a mindset that you force yourself to take hold of, no matter how you feel.  I'm not saying go if you have the flu, because please, none of us need extra germs.  But GO.  Every time you miss, the more it happens, the more the enemy is having his way with you.  My pastor says something along the same lines, admonishing us to not slip into summer mode when the warm weather hits, and that even when we want to go and do fun things for weekends in the summer, to always come back home for church on Sunday. 

Trust me, friends, I have been there.  Time and again I have been there.  I know it's not easy, but nothing worth gaining ever is.  Consider getting involved.  Join a  bible fellowship class on Sunday mornings, go on Wednesday nights, and aside from those times you spend in church, get involved in a bible study, listen to podcasts, meet with other believers.  When you do these things, you are fed so continually with the truth that is God's word, you just grow closer and closer to God.  We were never meant to walk through life alone.  We need each other, and the ones I need most are my like-minded women friends. 

Notice I said women... because when you get married, your closest friends should always be the same sex as you.  Otherwise is just not appropriate.  And as married women, we should NEVER EVER confide in things with a man.  And likewise for our married men.  I didn't mean to go here, but I'm thinking maybe someone needed to read this today, who may have been doing this.  Don't.  STOP.  That is another small way that the enemy sneaks into our marriages.  And I've been there.  My husband has been there.  Neither of us are perfect, and we've walked a slippery road, but God has been so good and so gracious to us!

One reward of being so heavily involved in church are the friendships you gain.  Last night the girls' ministry leaders met at my friend Abbey's house for dinner, encouragement, and a devotion.  As Abbey gave us a devotion type talk on Titus 2, I literally sat there and thanked God for the women that were sitting around me in her living room.  And some of them were not there, but I was thanking God for them, too.  When you are involved, you gain lifelong friendships.  Those ladies are my people, and they are the ones I know I could call on in one second, if I ever needed them.  They would all drop everything and run to help with whatever I needed.  We've done that for each other over the years, though, taking care of each other when the need arose.  We've prayed together, we have fed each other's families when they were sick or had surgery, and we have worshiped together. 

I like to say that God knits our hearts together with certain people.  As I sat in that room last night, I know that He did that with all of us.  Part of it is really great leadership at church, but mostly it's God.  He is so good. 

Well, I just looked at the time!  That went by fast and kinda took off on another course, but I trust that the Lord will use these words for someone who needs them today.  Thanks for reading another long blog post.  Love to all. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

another post about prayer

I think God is trying to teach me about prayer, even though I thought I already knew about this topic.  He does that, though, and I will notice a theme about something every once in a while in my life.  The theme for my life right now is prayer.  Partly, also because our pastor is preaching on a series called Grow Together, and partly because the Lord is just teaching me all about this right now.

(I think that's the name of the series.  I could be wrong.)

As I was taking notes during the sermon yesterday, I made a note on the next page in my journal, to write a blog post about praying for our kids. but more about this in a minute.

Pastor Chuck's main point yesterday was this: pass on a strong, vibrant faith.  The title of the sermon was Pass It On.  (If you get the chance, in a few days, go to our website and listen.  Our web address is

Here are a few things he said during the sermon yesterday:

Everything rides on us listening to God. 

He preached out of Psalm 78:1-7, and verse one says that we should incline our ears toward Him.  How do we do that?  By reading His word.  (My version, the CSB, says, "Hear my instruction; listen to the words of my mouth.")  We MUST be in the word of God daily.  DAILY.

In verse 4 of Psalm 78, we see the PRIORITY of parenting.  "We will not hide them from their children, but will tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the LORD, His might, and the wondrous works He has performed."

Our priority is to TELL THEM.

In verses 5 and 6, we see the PRACTICE of parenting.  "He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children so that a future generation-children yet to be born-might know.  They were to rise and tell their children."

Deuteronomy 6:7 also says something similar about teaching them to our children, them being the words of God.

In verse seven of Psalm 78, we see the PURPOSE of parenting. " that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God's works, but keep His commands."

When Pastor Chuck said those words, I immediately thought about this verse in 3 John 1:4.  "I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in truth."

My prayer for my boys has always been that they would love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and that they would then love others as they love themselves.  That even though God will NEVER leave them or forsake them, they could certainly leave and forsake I've always prayed that they would CLING to God.  I did that when I was Graham's age, just turned my back on God for a time.  I had received salvation at a young age, but it meant nothing to me.  (Over the years, I've wondered if that really happened, but I know that when I was in Kindergarten, my Sunday school teacher Mrs. Nina McAlpin, led me to the Lord when I asked her about it.)  When He snatched me back to Him, and that is exactly what He did, because my life was falling apart, that is when I began my relationship with the Lord.

It's funny, and ironic, how things happen.  But after this wonderful message yesterday, and when Graham was on his way to play disc golf with some friends (he was driving them in his truck), he was involved in a wreck.  He was going through a green light, and a car ran the red light in the intersection he was in, and though he was able to slam on the brakes and turn the wheel to try to avoid hitting the SUV, he wasn't able to avoid him entirely, and he hit the driver side of the other vehicle.  He reacted well, though, and praise God, nobody was hurt.  I say this to also say that last night a friend reached out to me and one other friend, to pray for her son who was just going through a really hard time right in that moment.  I stopped immediately and prayed for that young man, and immediately, the Lord brought to my mind Psalm 91.

This chapter has given me comfort hundreds of times, friends, the first time being when Noah was hit by a car when he was in the second grade.  (He was fine, and it was actually more like Noah struck the car, but still...that was a day when I gained lots of gray hairs.  He darted out in front of the vehicle without completely checking up, but thankfully the lady was going under the speed limit, and all Noah had to show for the accident was rubber burn on his leg from where it struck the lady's tire.)  This chapter brought comfort to my friend last night, and then I decided to read the whole thing again myself, and I was struck with the words, once again.

I'm going to just write it out here for you, because God is so, so very good.

The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say concerning the LORD, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust:

He himself will rescue you from the bird trap, from the destructive plague.

He will cover you with his feathers; you will take refuge under his wings.  His faithfulness will be a protective shield.

You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, 

the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon.

Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you.

You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked.

Because you have made the LORD-my refuge, the Most High-your dwelling place,

no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent.

For he will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways.

They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the young lion and the serpent.

Because he has his heart set on me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows my name.

When he calls out to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble.  I will rescue him and give him honor.

I will satisfy him with a long life and show him my salvation.

God is completely sovereign.  He protected Graham yesterday, and I know He will protect my friend's son.  Sometimes things turn out differently than we hope, and though I may not understand His ways all the time, I know that God is sovereign, and that He is trustworthy.  And even if things yesterday had turned out very differently, I would still be saying that God is so, so very good.  Because He is.  His goodness is never based upon our circumstances, He is just good.  His word tells us that.  (Psalm 118:1 is just one example.)

So, for today, I am reminded again WHY it is so important to pray for my kids.  It is so that they will live a life all for Jesus, because that is the most important thing.  Get that one thing into place, and the Lord takes care of the rest. 

Once again, I am so thankful for my pastor.  I pray for him daily.  I encourage you to pray for your pastor as well.  I also always pray for our worship pastor, because I think those are the most difficult jobs within a church.  And I do pray for the other pastors and staff as well, but I think those two are the ones that are most in the limelight and it is imperative that we pray for the Lord to protect them and guard them, and to fill them with a fresh anointing of His Holy Spirit.

(Wow, this was so long.  Sorry about that, I'm just very grateful to God today and needed to write it all out.)

Love to all.

(Disclaimer: I pray these types of posts never come off as boastful, because TRUST ME, I have nothing but Jesus to boast about.  I just need to always reiterate how thankful I am for the grace and mercy of God.  I always only want the Him to get the glory, the praise, and the honor that He alone deserves.) 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Our pastor spoke on the topic of prayer on Sunday.  I thought I would share some of the notes that I took while gleaning from this wise man. 

I have to say, before I even start this, do you take notes in church?  It helps me listen better.  I also love to go back throughout the week and glance back over what was taught, and sometimes our pastor will say one thing that will stay in my mind all week.  I admonished my kids about this on Monday.  Two take notes, two do not.  One does not need to, he listens and gets it, but one does need to take notes, and will start next week.  :)  I made him copy down my notes in his journal, because it was so good this week.  It always is, but it just keeps getting better and better. 

Prayer is very near and dear to my heart.  I haven't always been that way.  I used to laugh at the people who always said they needed to pray over every little thing, because I thought it sounded like an excuse.  Lord, please forgive me for that!  How wrong I was.  I know now, as I get older, that the Lord wants us to go to Him for everything, no matter how big, no matter how small.

I've had some key people in my life that have taught me on this subject.  One is Beth Moore, whose studies I have done for years.  Another is Priscilla Shirer.  I've read her books for so long, even before she was a bible study teacher.  Her study on the armor of God is still one of the best studies I've ever done.  My friend Angela has taught me a lot on prayer, and she has no idea.  We used to attend a homeschool group bible study together.  An older lady named Anne taught me on this, admonishing us to not neglect praying for ourselves.  She used the example of a plane in distress- when that oxygen mask drops down, first you need to help yourself so you can then help others.  That is what praying for ourselves does.

My sweet friend Tarin who passed away last year taught me on prayer, showing me there was NOTHING my God couldn't do.  Tarin had cancer several times, but she never once wavered in her faith, trusting God for a complete healing someday, whether here on earth, or in His arms in heaven.  These ladies are only a few who have taught me on this topic, but there are countless others. 

In learning from these ladies, I became passionate about praying.  I don't even know when that happened, honestly, it just came out of nowhere one day, but I know it's from the Lord.  I believe in the power of prayer.  I have seen His healing hand in the lives of loved ones I have prayed for.  He has performed several miracles in the lives of the people in my immediate family, two of whom were my sons.  Doctors told us that Jonah was born with only one kidney (which apparently is not unheard of with twins), but after a prayer service at our old church, the next time we took him, miraculously, they saw TWO DISTINCTIVE kidneys on the ultrasound.  That had not been there a mere two weeks before. 

Two other miracles are my great nieces, Kinsley and Kylie.  One (possibly even both) of the them should not have lived.  But God stepped in, and today they are thriving, healthy one year old miracle babies.  I could go on and on and on, trust me, but one thing my pastor highlighted over and over in Sunday's sermon was that prayer changes lives.  It's changed mine.  When I started living my life for only Jesus, He totally transformed me, and I know that was the result of several people praying for me. 

We have the privilege of praying anywhere and anytime we want.  All we have to do is call on His name, and right away, He hears us, He is there with us.  His Holy Spirit lives within us, as believers in the Lord Jesus, and He immediately knows when we call on Him.  We also have direct access to Him!  We don't have to go through a high priest, Jesus IS our High Priest.  We don't have to pray to Mary, we don't have get someone "better in their faith" than us to pray...all of us can pray.  He hears.  Trust me.  He NEVER tires of us asking.  In a passage that our pastor read from on Sunday, in that one particular passage, six times it says for us to ask.  The word of God would not say that if He got tired of us asking.  (John 14:23-28.).

Even when we don't know what to pray, Jesus is there, at the right hand of the throne of God our Father, and He is interceding for us, on our behalf.  Have you ever been so overwhelmed by something that you couldn't utter one word?  I have.  And the only thing I've said in times like that was His name.  "Jesus."  There is POWER in the name of Jesus. 

When we pray, we should pray in the name of Jesus.  That is not just a cute little tagline to end our prayers.  When we pray in His name, we are saying to Jesus that we believe in Him.  We trust Him with what we are praying for.  We should pray for others as if we were that person.  That was some perspective for me.  Just this week, in remembering these sermon notes, the Lord has brought to my mind others I have been praying for...a family member, the husband of a dear friend, a young girl in our community group, our pastor and staff at our church home, and a thousand others.  I asked Him for that on Sunday, for Him to help me remember to pray for them often this week.  Also, when we pray in the name of Jesus, we are praying with authority. 

(Some of the above was from the notes I took on Sunday, other things are what I have added.)  This last one was our pastor's final point on Sunday, and it brought IMMEDIATE tears to my eyes.  When we pray, we have a promise, and that is that God loves us.  Why does He love us, you wonder?  God the Father loves us because we have loved His Son Jesus.  (John 14:23-24)  He also loves us because we have believed in His Son, and that Jesus is who He said He is. 

It's so simple and so beautiful. 

So, what are we praying for?  Are we only praying for small things?  There was a quote our pastor told to us, and though I can't remember all of it, the gist of it was this: Are we only praying for toys and trinkets?  Or are we praying for continents? 

Let's not ask God for just the small things.  Let's ask Him for some big things, like the night we asked Him to give our Jonah another kidney.  He may not answer in the way that we want or think, but He will answer according to whatever His good and perfect will is.  And I know that in ALL THINGS, God is always, always good.  His word tells me that, and I know that He works out all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28)

I am so thankful for our pastor.  I know that the Lord gives to him every word that he preaches each and every week, and I know that he is a man of constant prayer.  I pray for him every time I think of him. 

Thanks for reading my blog.  Love to all. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Monday Things

Happy Monday!  The sun is shining in all of its glory, and it feels so good to have it pouring through the windows.  My dogs, even, are relishing in it and are sunbathing on the floor behind me.

Well, Crash isn't.  He's drooling over the squirrels he can see in the backyard, and is standing on guard.

I'll start with this:

If you are local to me, I would LOVE for you to join me this weekend, at our women's conference!  It's Friday night from 7-8:30, and Saturday from 8-11.  It's twenty dollars, and there will be worship, a powerful testimony from Kim Jaggers, and teaching from the book of Matthew, chapter seven.

Will you join me?  Here is a link to sign up, if you're interested.  Bring some friends!|year:2018|campus:0|ministry:8|listview:0|featuredevents:0

I hope you'll consider coming!  As many women come to our annual tablescapes event, I would love to see that many there for the conference this weekend.  This is what truly matters in life, friends, this gift of salvation that will be talked about. 

Moving on from that, I will say here that I did not do much laundry this weekend and have MOUNTAINS OF IT waiting on me.  I'm not leaving my house today, though, so I have time to do it.  Sheet washing is included in this, and that takes forever. 

This weekend was nice~really easy and kinda low key.  On Friday night, my husband worked with the sheriff's department, so Jonah, Noah, Alex, and I all went to a Chinese buffet for dinner.  It was SO GOOD.  I was so hungry and was seriously craving some Chinese food.  Graham was at Rachel's house, and Drew was at a guys retreat. 

The next morning, Todd, Jonah, and Noah went to a car show.  It was one of the Christmas gifts, and they were in heaven.

Noah took this picture.  Those boys love cars and are very knowledgeable in this area.  They missed the guys retreat for this, and they were both fine with it. 

Meanwhile, I had a teaching opportunity with Chip.

I am teaching him that it's not nice to bite your older brother's ears. 

And it's really not nice to pee on the floor.

He fell asleep sitting up like this.  He finally laid down, and I got him out to cuddle him. 

He is rotten.

We had a little mini Goodwin/Hall family reunion at my in-love's house that night, then we came back home and I went to bed. 

Yesterday was church, and it was AMAZING.  Our Pastor is preaching on a series that will help us grow in our faith together, and he spoke on prayer yesterday.  I'll share my notes on the blog tomorrow. 

I need to start on my list of things to do, so I'm cutting this short today.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  I feel so sorry for all the students and teachers in my area.  They've been out of school all week because of the snow and ice that was all over the ground, and they all went back today.  I especially feel sorry for the teachers.  I remember vividly enough how wild the elementary aged kiddos could be when the weather had caused them to be out.  Let's just say that I wouldn't wish that on anyone. 

Meanwhile, it's a normal day for us today.  Friday means that we get to see my sweet daddy, and today we will do lunch out, since we haven't in a while.  I can't wait to see him!  It's been two weeks.

I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals (and her friends) for this blog post. 

Since I was gone all week, I'm sharing a few things around my house that are currently my favorites.

I got this 3 tier stand for my birthday from my in-love's, and it is still one of my very favorite things in the whole house.  I've changed it from Christmas to winter, and look forward to switching things up with all the seasons or holidays.  I actually use most of the things I've got on it, like the turquoise measuring cups and measuring spoons, and the salt and pepper shakers that are on the top shelf. 

This is two in one~the succulent looking plant you see was a gift from Christmas, and it was bought at Homegoods.  Homegoods is my favorite, and so is the plant.  I needed something kinda big and green on that spot on my counter tops, and I love how it looks sitting on this cutting board, which is also a favorite.  Okay, so this one contains three favorites.  The third thing that is my favorite in this picture is that Agatha Christie book you see.  I bought it last week before I left town, and I will read it when I'm done with the current book I'm reading now. 

Wood Wick candles are another favorite thing right now.  I received three as gifts this Christmas, and I love hearing them crackle. 

My She Reads Truth bible is my favorite bible that I've ever had.  I bought this back in October, and I still love it so much.  I'm reading through it right now, chronologically, with the ladies at my church.

This is my newest favorite coffee mug!  I had a sweet friend come over yesterday to borrow books for an upcoming trip, and she brought me this.  I love it, and LOVE what it says.

My favorite planner of all time is this one that I've had going on two years now.  It's called My Big Happy Planner.  I love the size and the layout. 

The Sisterchicks books by Robin Jones Gunn are my favorite books ever, and I'm currently re-reading them all.

And last, but not least, is my favorite view of all time.  Out of all the pretty things I saw this week while I was in Colorado, this is my favorite spot.  Back home, right where I belong. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Colorado trip & some Thursday stuff

I looked back on last Friday's anxiety-ridden post, and I am so glad that is behind me.  If you know me, you know that I HATE FLYING.  I mean I really hate it.  All the parts of it, except for being in the airport and people watching.  I used to love it, and I don't know what happened.  I'll say it again on here, even though I've already said it on social media~thank you for praying for me last Friday.  I was a mess.

That being said, I had a great trip.  My plane landed at eight thirty something Friday night, and my nephew Jaret was there to pick up Mom, Bill, Tyler and me.  (Tyler is my nephew.)  We dropped off my mom and Bill at my niece Erika's house, then we went to see my sister Lisa.  We only stayed a few minutes, then they took me to my sister Debi's house.  Debi and Mike were out of town, but they let me stay at their house the whole time, and even let me use their car while they were gone.  (They got back on Sunday.)  I enjoyed catching up with my niece Nicole while I was there~we never get the chance to just sit and talk.  

That Saturday morning, I went to Aurora to pick up my mom and Bill for lunch.  (And bonus, I did not get turned around once!)  I am directionally challenged, even with navigation sometimes.  We ate at this cool place called Which 'Wich? and it was so yummy.  We went to Wal-Mart and then we went back to Erika's.

I got to hold these little lovies.  And play with them.  I'm holding Kinsley, and Kylie is on the right.  Their first birthday was Tuesday!  I can't believe they're one.  

We had fun playing, then all of us went to dinner at On The Border to celebrate Erika's birthday.  

I had a blast sitting with my two nephews, Tyler and Jaret and Bill.  We laughed and laughed and laughed the entire time.  I think our table was the most fun.  

After dinner, I went back to Debi's house, and while Nicole was at a movie, I caught up on my chronological bible reading.

I read about four days' worth, then the next morning when I got up for quiet time, I was able to read that day and I've been back on track since.

I lounged around the house all morning and straightened up a bit, got dressed, then drove to Erika's again, for the girls' birthday party.

How precious are they?!  It was a magical unicorn party.  

Knowing my niece Erika, of COURSE it was a magical unicorn party.

After the party, Debi, her hubby Mike, and I went back to their house.  We had Chinese for dinner and proceeded to go to bed at eight thirty.

The next morning we woke up to ice and snow!  Ice in Denver is really strange.

But we still got out.  We went to lunch, to see the babies again, and then to the grocery store.

We had dinner at home that night.  

On Tuesday morning, we got up and got dressed (after I re-packed my bag) and picked up Mom and Bill.  On this night, they would stay with me at Debi's.  We had lunch at a really cool place called The Yard House, then we looked around a couple of stores.

The mall we went to was beautiful...this was outside the restaurant we ate lunch at.  

After this, we went back to Debi's, and I took a nap.  It was lovely.

That night we went to Outback Steakhouse and had dinner to celebrate my nephew Austin's birthday.  It was SO MUCH fun.  I never get to be with Austin, and he is so humble and thankful for everything he got that night.  We've never gotten to celebrate a birthday with him.  

He's so handsome.  It was a really fun night.  

Left to right are Austin, Jaret, and Tyler.

After this we went back to Debi's (I cried quietly in the backseat, because I hate saying goodbye.) and I went to bed pretty early.  

We had breakfast before we went to the airport yesterday morning, then when we got to the airport, we looked around for some murals painted on the walls that have something to do with conspiracy theories (Google that about the Denver airport), and eventually boarded the plane to come home.

Todd, Drew, Jonah and Noah were there to greet us at the airport!  Graham worked yesterday afternoon and wasn't home in time to meet us, but after we took Tyler home, we went to Booya's together for dinner, and I was back in my happy place.  Also, this picture below is my happy place.  

I was unpacked, freshly showered, I had a good cup of coffee, and my little puppy was in my lap while all the boys played Monopoly in the kitchen.  Well, almost all of them.  Drew was upstairs.  I always love going to be with family in Colorado, but I am always most happy when I'm back home.  These are my people and I missed them all desperately!  

Today is laundry day and I'm getting a haircut at two.  I'll also make a grocery store run and then I'll cook dinner tonight.  

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  My excitement does not convey what I am presently feeling like inside.  I'm flying to Denver tonight, and I am a nervous wreck.  If you pray, would you pray for me and our flight?  It is icy/snowing here right now, and that makes my already in place fear of flying that much worse.  Plus, I have mom guilt in a huge way right now, and that also adds stress. 

BLEH.  I would rather be doing anything else on this day, than flying tonight. 

I know God is in control, though, and I am already comforted by my praying friends.  I posted an SOS on Facebook, because I needed some prayers.

Because of said flight, I need to get busy, so this will be short and sweet. 

First up on the list is reading.  It's been a favorite hobby this week.

I read my first Agatha Christie and loved it, and now I'm reading this one right above, Life After.  It's a new-to-me author, and so far, so good! 

I plan on reading on the plane, and listening to worship music.  I also really want to try to figure out a way to download some podcasts to my phone.  Per the suggestion of one of my dear friends, I've been listening to Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth the past couple of days.  Her podcasts for this week have been from her womens conference that took place back in September.  I've been reading her book Adorned with a couple of friends, as well, so I thought it'd be a good idea to listen to some more podcasts on the flight.  IF I can figure out how to download them, and I don't guarantee that I'll be able to do that.

I've been doing a bible study on the book of James with a couple of friends, and it's also been a favorite thing this week.  I loved these verses I read in Luke yesterday, in wrapping up the homework.  It became a prayer that I prayed for my husband, my boys, and myself.  I love when the Lord does that~highlights a verse and turns it into a prayer in my heart. 

I am behind in my chronological bible reading, but that's also been a favorite from the week.  I had to do some catching up on Monday night, and then I got behind again when I got sick this week.  If I'm sick, I can't concentrate that well, so I just skipped and figured I'd catch up. 

I plan on doing that today before I leave for the airport.

Well, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  I would love your prayers for my flight today.  There is ice on the ground, and snow, and the temps are staying below freezing.  So, you see my need for asking.  Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

a couple of useful things pertaining to books and something yummy at Starbucks

Happy Thursday!  I was so happy to be awakened by my little Chip this morning at 5:50.  I hate going to bed at night when Todd is gone, and that was the case last night.  

Todd, Graham, and Drew left for Tupelo, Ms last night to work a youth event.  It's the third or fourth year that Todd has done this, and it's the second year for Graham.  They're doing all of the tech things.  It's a D-Now for several churches in that area, and they meet in an airplane hanger.  

I just think that sounds really cool.  

Anyway, I usually don't sleep well when he's gone, but I did last night.  Jonah slept in my bed and he slept great too.  

On to the useful things now...

In case you're not on social media, I saw on Karen Kingsbury's Instagram story this morning that on the Barnes & Noble website, there is a huge sale on her ebooks.  You can get all four books from the Sunrise series for $20.  That makes them five something a piece, and they're usually about $12 each, so this is great deal.  Here's a link for you.

If you've not read her books, what's stopping you?!  

Moving on now.

I finished my first ever Agatha Christie book on Tuesday, and it was SO GOOD.  I have another one coming today, per my sister Terri's recommendation.  I can't wait to read another one.  I loved Nancy Drew growing up, and these are so similar to me.  I love a good suspense book, but I don't consider it scary, at least not the one I just read.  Next up by her is Murder on the Orient Express.  

Also, for coffee lovers, have you ever tried Starbucks' Chai Tea Latte?  It's my favorite thing ever.  I always order a venti when I go, because it's not as bad as the coffee drinks, and it tastes like Christmas in a cup.  It's warm, kinda spicy, and so very soothing for a tired throat.  It gets flavor from cinnamon, nutmeg (I think), cardamom, ginger, and black pepper.  Don't knock it until you try it.  

If you try it and love it, at Kroger I found these little packets that you can buy to make your own at home.  (Think hot chocolate.)  You boil water and mix in the contents of the packet, and while it's not quite as good as what you would buy at Starbucks, it is pretty tasty.  Just pour in a little bit of the water at first, though, and the packets and stir it really well.  If you skip that part, it'll be grainy.  I added two packets into about 14 ounces of boiling water.  

I haven't looked at the health benefits of the chai tea lattes, but I don't think it has caffeine, or if it does, it's a lesser amount.  

This was a cozy day, in that picture above.  I was cold, and didn't feel wonderful, and had finished all that I was going to do at home that day, so this was me settling down for an afternoon of drinking hot tea and finishing the book.  Chip took the opportunity to take a nap in my lap.  

Well, I have a million things to do before this afternoon, so I'd better run. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

come on in/master bedroom & bathroom

Happy Wednesday, friends!  I tried to write a blog post yesterday, but we were having internet issues, so it never happened.  By the time everything was working again, I had lost the motivation to write.  I thought I'd share about our little makeover that we've had going on for the last few weeks, at least, my portion of it.  The boys rooms are still a work in progress, because they're never home to do anything.  

I'll reiterate for anyone who didn't already know: for Christmas this year, Graham and Drew got separate rooms and new furniture.  They got bigger beds, and the furniture they have now is what they can take with them someday when they leave home.  We painted in what used to be the playroom, and that became Graham's room.  Drew stayed put and didn't want any painting in his room.  We rearranged and they're all moved in and cozy in the new rooms.  We added a tv to Drew's room, and Jonah and Noah got one as well, since we eliminated our playroom in doing all of this.  

Because it was a secret, we did this along with painting our bedroom and bathroom.  That was what our gift to each other was, and it kept the whole thing a secret from Jonah and Noah, who didn't know any of this was going on.  I told them since we were painting in our room, we could just add on the playroom and change up the color.  They fell for it, and were surprised.  

It's been kind of a long process, because way before all the work started, we had to clean out.  We have gotten rid of SO MUCH STUFF.  Graham sold his drums, we had decide what would stay and what could be donated.  Closets had to be completely gutted and cleaned out, and to prove all this went on, there is still a pile of stuff in our hall that I've not felt like going through yet.  Their closets are all finished now, and completely clean.  We still have a couple of mattresses to sell (anyone?) and some stuff needs to be picked up that we will donate to our local Teen Challenge in Memphis, but after all of that, we will be done for a while.  (I am still hoping to clean out our attic this winter, though.)  

So here is what I do have pictures of: our room and bathroom.  We still have to hang the curtains, but Toddley has been sick, so it'll get done next week. 

This new bedding started it all.  This was my birthday present, and it pushed me on toward the color scheme that I wanted, which was navy blue walls, gray, and white.  (Also, I made that sign at my friend's bachelorette party back in May, and it looks like it was made to fit the room.  How cool is that?!)

I wanted white bedding so that I could change up the pillows and blanket at the end of the bed and make it look new.  That flannel blanket was a Christmas gift and I love it!  Also, those book shelves are something I'm still loving.  That was what Jonah and I did for two solid hours last week-we color coordinated all the books on the shelf.  

Before we had the walls painted, they were a dark red color.  Wallpaper was under the paint, though, in our room, our bathroom and in Graham's room, so all of that had to be stripped first, and then the walls had to be floated in some areas, and then they mudded, sanded, and finally painted.  The guys who did the work were amazing, and worked so quickly and efficiently.  

Our bathroom was that same dark red, but we had started removing some of the wallpaper that was under the paint, and we were only halfway done.  Needless to say, it's been wonderful having a completed bathroom again.

Also, the lighting was a bar with four giant bulbs that was hideous, and we had that huge bathroom mirror that was unsightly, so we trashed all of that and went with new.

The walls are gray-the color is Bay Waves from Lowe's Behr brand.

Our fixture is from Amazon, and it's brushed bronze.  The towel hooks are also from Amazon, and came in a six pack.  (We will use the rest in the boys' bathroom-that's our next project.)

We got a new shower curtain and rod, but the rod hasn't been hung yet.  When the painters removed the caulk around the faux marble walls around the tub, the walls started caving in toward each other.  Also, we have to replace our tub, and when we do that, we will do white subway tile from the tub all the way up to the ceiling.  Then we'll hang the curved brushed bronze rod we bought, and add this curtain again.  For right now, this tension rod is holding the shower walls in place.

Toddley hung these new towel rods (also from Amazon) and with the piece of wood reinforcing that wall that they're hung on, they are not going anywhere anytime soon.  

Our mirrors above the vanity came from Lowe's, and they were on clearance.  Bonus!  We were going to go with something different, but I'm happy with these that we found for a fraction of the price that the others were that we were looking at.  

Eventually I'll find something small to hang on the wall space between the mirrors, and on the empty wall behind that is reflected in those mirrors, but for now, I'm done.  I have no idea what I'd want to hang, so this gives me time to think about what might look good there.  I am so pleased with how it all turned out, and it feels great to have it all behind us now.  

Someday I may paint our bathroom cabinets, and add drawer pulls.  But before that, our next thing is the boys' bathroom.  We will paint the walls in there the same as what's in our bathroom, buy a new fixture and replace the mirror.  We will take down the curtains that are over the window in there and buy a new shower curtain and rod.  We will also hang two towel rods similar to what we have above.  It shouldn't be too pricey to do all of that, but I think it'll make a huge difference in the lighting in that small bathroom and it'll look bigger.  

I'm thrilled to be fixing up a couple areas of the house that have remained untouched for a decade or more.  I love sprucing things up, and while we're living here, we may as well enjoy everything around us.  

So that's it.  The lighting in the pictures isn't too great, but you get the gist of it all.  

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  

Monday, January 8, 2018

church notes

I know of several people who missed church yesterday because they didn't feel great.  I also thought I'd share my notes from my pastor's sermon yesterday, because it was SO GOOD.  It's always wonderful, and each week I leave, thinking there is no way he will top that.  And then, every single week, it just gets better and better.  I love my pastor and think he is the greatest out there, but I also know that it's not him coming up with these sermons.  It is the power of the Holy Spirit within him, and he would tell you that exact thing, if you were to compliment him. 

I also love his humility and his ability to shepherd the flock God has given him.  I could go on and on, but I'll continue on with notes from yesterday's sermon.

The topic was spiritual growth, and the main portion of scripture he used was Ephesians 4:11-16. 

Before he preached, we all took a personal spiritual growth survey, and honestly examined our hearts before answering.  Then our pastor started preaching, starting with what a lack of spiritual growth can cause.  Some examples are sin patterns that we can't seem to shake off, loss of the joy of our salvation, and hardness of our heart.  He might have said something a little different, but I missed all of it and tried to summarize.

His main one liner statement was this: God is relentlessly committed to your spiritual growth.  (He comes up with these one liners because he knows that we may not remember each point he makes weekly, but we are likely to remember short statements.  This is also where he laughed at himself and admitted how difficult it is for him to come up with these each week.  I told you he's humble.)

He continued on with how we know that God is committed to our spiritual growth, and all of these points are taken from his main portion of scripture in Ephesians.

1--the priority of spiritual growth

Paul writes (in Ephesians 4) of building up of the body in verse 12, until we all reach unity in the faith (verse 13).  We also know from verse 13 that we are to grow into maturity.  We will no longer be children (verse 14), but we will grow up (verse 15).  From Him the whole body promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each part (verse 16). 

The church becomes stronger through spiritual growth.

He gave us these verses to expound on that:

Psalm 92:12
2 Thessalonians 1:3
1 Peter 2:12
2 Peter 3:18
Philippians 2:12-13

2--the process of spiritual growth

First, God provides leaders for us spiritually, who teach us the word of God and to show us how to apply its truth to our lives.

He referenced Ephesians 4:11-13.

Second, we all start as spiritual babies, and over a period of time, we begin to grow spiritually. 

Third, we see the goal of the process: "...until we all attain unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God's son, growing into maturity..." (verse 13).

We will not be fully grown up spiritually until the day the Lord takes us home. 

3--the pillar of spiritual growth

The ministry of the local church is essential for growth!

Here are some scriptures he used to hone in on that:

Romans 8:28-29
Ephesians 4:31-32
Ephesians 4:14-16
Hebrews 10:23-25

"This is the point of union where the resources, gifts, and power of the Holy Spirit pass from one person to another, providing a flow of ministry that produces growth."--John MacArthur

In order to accomplish these things, there are three things we must evaluate.

First, we need to make sure of our salvation.

Second, have a strategy in place to achieve spiritual growth.  (Make time to pray and to read the Word of God.)

Third, decide now if you will be active part within the body of believers that God places you in.  (Church is not a place, it's the body of believers.)  We all need each other to grow spiritually!  Make a commitment to being a faithful attender of your local body, and then go.  Attend small groups, like Sunday school and Wednesday night bible studies.  I can't think of one person I know who has grown spiritually without faithfully attending a local body of believers. 

I pray this encourages you today, and that it challenges you.  If you're a member of where I attend and you missed yesterday, I will share a link on Facebook when our pastor posts it.  These are only my little version of his notes, and they do not hold a candle to what he actually said. 

Happy Monday, friends.  Love to all. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I haven't done one of these in forever, it seems, and I've missed writing about my favorites from throughout our week.  I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals, and her friends, for the writing of this post. 

First up on my list of favorites this week is the soundtrack from The Greatest Showman. 

Have you seen it?  I have.  Twice.  I'd go a third time.  It is that good, even better than La La Land, which I was obsessed with last year. 

Also, I've watched this at least ten times.

Do yourself a favor and GO!  Run.  Don't walk.  And then download the soundtrack either right before or right after.  I've practically memorized it.

I'm moving on now.

New Years Eve night was one of my favorite nights from the week.  Missy and Jeff came over, and there were plenty of teenagers around as well.  We munched on all our favorite snacks, we played games, and the teenagers shot off fireworks. 

We had another game night on Wednesday night.  There was no church, and I had been working around putting my house back together all day, so after dinner, we played Skipbo. 

The before and after of all my books.  This way of rearranging the bookshelf is my favorite way of seeing them.  It's so satisfying!

A new bible reading plan and scripture writing are a couple of my favorite things.  The bible you see above is one my dad brought to me on Sunday.  He had just finished it that morning, and now I have it.  I love that we share things like this.

My mantle lights are new, and are my newest favorite thing in the living room.  Also, all day puppy cuddles are the best.  This was us yesterday.  I never left my house and stayed in comfy clothes all day long, read my book, took a nap, and started watching a show with Jonah. 

It was blissful.

And then we had steak for dinner, and all the boys were in heaven.

For Christmas, with the money I got, I've been using it to spruce things up around my house.  I got this new plant that you see to the left of the oven, and the fruit basket to the right.  I also got new canisters and a new tray by the coffee pots that I didn't get a picture of.  The rest of our money has been put toward our bedroom and bathroom.  I'll post about that next week.  I still have a tiny bit more to do between now and then, and then I'll take pictures. 

It's been a great week!  I'm ready for normal life again.  My sweet dad is coming over today, and we're going to lunch and then to get my oil changed.  Fun times!  I always love our Fridays.  Thanks for reading the blog!  Have a great weekend.  Love to all.

Friday Favorites, 7.12.2024.

  Hi, friends! As you can tell, I'm forcing myself to be here often, because my life needs to resume some sort of normalcy right now; th...