Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday Encouragement

I've been up since five this morning, though I did dose off again between six and seven.  From about seven o'clock to now, I've been praying off and on about a situation in my life that feels a little overwhelming, or at least it did until about thirty minutes ago.  And here is the point for this blog post, and it's very short and sweet.  God hears.  He hears every prayer, every cry, every sigh of turmoil and exhaustion.

Don't give up on praying.  One of the gazillion things that amazes me about God is that even when we don't know what or how to pray, Jesus is there interceding on our behalf.  So when I'm too tired to even think of words, I imagine that, and know that when I cry out to Jesus, He takes that as an SOS from me, and He intercedes for me. 

I love this image that I just saw on Google images.

The word of God tells us not to worry, but to pray.  (Philippians 4:6)

And as proof that He heard my cry this morning, He led me to a passage that I had just heard someone else mention.

I was flipping through the topical index in the back of my bible, and I saw the word blasphemy, so I wanted to read what the bible had to say about what it was, and I also looked it up on my phone so that I would know the definition.  My pastor preached a sermon a few years ago about blasphemy being the unpardonable sin, and I had several ideas of what it actually is, so that's why I did all this today.  I read here in Matthew 12, and then in the passage right below it, I read about a topic I've talked about several times this week: good fruit from a good tree, or bad fruit from a bad tree.  I had talked about this with a friend earlier in the week, and about the passage that says the world will know who we are according to the fruit we produce (the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control).  Then I read a verse that literally jumped off the page to me.

It's the second part of verse 34 out of Matthew 12: "For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart."

This doesn't always happen when I pray, friends, but today, the Lord knew that I needed comfort and a little bit of reassurance, and He led me right to this passage.  He proved to me for about the millionth time that He hears me and He knows what is going on.  And He cares!  That's the most beautiful part about it all: He cares about us and He cares about what we go through. 

So whether you're facing an issue with someone, a medical scare, a family problem, or something else: take comfort in the fact that He knows your need, He hears you, He sees you, and He loves you.  He wants you to cast your cares upon Him, because He cares.  That is from 1 Peter 5:7, and it's just one of the many verses that I cling to when I need comforting or reassuring.  Because this world is rough, y'all, and it's never easy navigating our way through all the muck.  I literally cannot imagine trying to live without Jesus.  He is the only hope that we have in this world.  Do you know Him?  I would love to talk more about Him if you want to know more. 

I pray you leave this blog post encouraged today.

Love to all. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Tuesday in Nashville

Last week, I was browsing Instagram, and I saw an invitation from an author/Bible study teacher that I love for a launch party for her newest Bible study which releases on July 1: a study on the book of Job.  It was in Nashville, which is only about three and a half hours away, and I immediately called my best friend and asked what she thought about a one day trip there and back.  She loved the idea, we made sure our hubbies were okay with it all, and the planning commenced. 

On Tuesday morning, I picked her up at nine thirty and we hit the road.  To give you insight about our time together, I had the radio set to K-Love, which never lasts long once we head east on I40, and it stayed there all day.  I had it turned down and we talked the whole way there and back.  We are an enigma to people everywhere.  And we realize that and always thank God for giving us this gift of friendship. 

Forever now, I have wanted to visit this bookstore in Franklin, which is about half an hour or a little more outside of Nashville.

One of my favorite authors, Karen Kingsbury (pictured below) has a book out called The Bridge, and this is the bookstore that inspired the book.

We spent more than an hour inside of this place and inhaled the lovely smell of old books and talked about all of our favorites. 

We did not buy anything, which I still kinda cannot believe.  We walked around for about three point seven minutes in the blazing heat, and gave up and headed to a yogurt shop to cool off. 

We passed some really pretty buildings, though, like this one.

We drove around and looked at the beautiful historic homes in this area, then wound our way into Nashville, via back country roads.  Which are my FAVORITE. 

We ended up here.

A sweet friend of mine told me about this store about a year ago, but I remembered to ask her about it again while we were planning the day last week.  We both bought some very inexpensive books here after we melted from the humidity inside the store, and we started to the downtown area. 

We ate a quick dinner at Burger King in our crowns.

And we changed clothes, then we went to Lifeway, which was just down the street.  Also, the area we were in was slightly sketchy and we both got a little freaked out when we went to the car after we ate.  All the while my crown blew away and I chased it down the driveway in wedges, screaming Missy's name.  I don't even know why I chased that dumb thing, y'all, but whatever. 

The Lifeway building was beautiful!  We loved getting to listen to what Lisa Harper had to say about her new study on Job, and we also got to see/hear Mandisa and Christine Caine.  It was short and sweet, but we were both so thankful we went, when we walked back to our car.  Also, the giant store in the lobby was incredible!

We drove around looking for a place to eat dinner (we snacked at BK) and finally settled on Chili's, where we ended up eating for free, or basically, because the food took forever.

We left Nashville at nine, and I was pulling into my garage again at twelve thirty.  It was a fun day!  I felt like I'd been hit by a truck all of yesterday, but I'm better today.  It was totally worth the drive and the time, and anytime we are together, we have a blast. 

We thanked the Lord all day for how He led us guided us to where we were going.  Everything was so convenient for us to get to, and it worked out perfectly with us starting in Franklin and ending in the downtown area.  When we went to McKay's, it was literally RIGHT off the interstate.  It was about seven minutes away from Lifeway.  And then Lifeway was also right off the interstate.  I just think it's awesome how the Lord directs our steps.  He keeps showing me that.  We prayed several times together that day, and every time we did, we would thank Him for that. 

He is always so good to us. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

the weekend

Are you catching a theme for my blog during the summer?  I can't think of a title (as usual) and I seem to write about the everyday, mundane things that make up our life right now. 

This one will be the same. 

I had a great weekend.  I felt like it was very social, more so than normal.  (Said the introvert.)  My mom and I got it started on Friday.  She called me up, and found out I had no plans, so we made some together.  We basically just went to run a few errands for her in Germantown, and I played chauffeur.  I LOVE driving her car, it reminds me of my old Suburban.  (I love Madame Blueberry, my new adorable car, but I miss that heavy feeling of the Suburban.)  We ate lunch first, because duh, and then we visited a couple of fabric places she loves. 

I LOVE fabric stores. 

The color, the neatness, the precious baby and toddler clothes that are handmade all make me really happy.  These stores are always aesthetically pleasing to me, and while I do not sew even a button on a shirt, I love going with Mom.  I'm amazed by her brain and her ability to sew and calculate how much she will need, and even how she just makes up her own patterns when she can't find one she likes.  Talk about being a math whiz.  You pretty much have to be, when it comes to sewing.

She crochets, too. 

And seriously, I cannot sew on a button.  Toddley does that job in our house.

That night we all loaded in my car and went to Interstate Barbecue, an infamous Memphis BBQ dive.  And it was a dive.  It was really good, though.  I loved it, until about one a.m. when it decided it didn't like me.  I think barbecue in general just doesn't sit well with me, so I won't eat it again for a very long time. 

On Saturday morning, I went with Mom to one of my best friend's baby shower at church.  It was so much fun!  Their one year anniversary was yesterday, and they will meet their baby girl in less than a month.  I am so happy for them, and can't wait until she gets here and I can go love on her during the day. 

I love baby showers! 

This was us one year ago.  She's gained a few pounds since.  (BABY pounds, none other.)

After the shower, I went with Mom to run an errand, then our last stop was the grocery store so I could buy what I needed for dinner that night.  Which was AMAZING. 

I love everything (almost) that Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) makes.  This is her recipe for beef stew and cheese grits.  For the meat, I bought a chuck roast, diced it, and browned it in olive oil, butter and with salt and pepper.  When it was browned, I poured in enough beef stock and red wine to cover it all.  Once it started boiling, I reduced the heat, put the lid on, and simmered it for two hours, stirring occasionally.  For the grits, I brought to a boil water with salt added in (use the measurements on the container).  I poured in the grits and stirred them constantly for about six minutes.  Once that was done, I turned off the heat and added in shredded cheddar cheese (that I grated myself because it's so much better), sour cream, and pepper.  (Trust me on the sour cream, it takes these otherwise ordinary grits to over the top delicious.)

This was so good, I cannot even explain.  I will be making it again and again. 

On Sunday was church, then I had choir practice, and then FINALLY, we had community group again. 

We haven't met since the end of March.  If you don't know, this is a time we meet each Sunday night with high school students, and we eat together, then break into age/gender appropriate groups and study the word of God.  In the summer we have pool parties, and I have asked a few godly men to share a devotional type talk with them all combined.  This was last night.  We told them they could stay in the pool and they all listened really well.  We had pizza (from Little Caesar's, not Dominoes), ice cream sandwiches, and we got all caught up.  Well, kinda.  We are planning on meeting with our freshman girls in a couple of weeks for a girls only night out and swim party. 

I love community groups because I love a good small group.  I also love that students that may not come to church will come to community group.  We meet in homes around town and I love that part, too, because it's a good way for people to be involved without the teaching part.  I hope to move up with these ninth grade girls in August, when they become sophomores, and the same is true for my sweet best friend Missy.

We told them we would commit four years to them, and if the Lord allows, we still would love to do that. 

This was part of my chronological reading this morning and I loved it.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I went to a Wednesday night womens class at church, and Mrs. Barbee taught on the Lord being our banner.  I love that class!  I look forward to it each and every week. 

I have a crazy fun day planned for the entire day tomorrow, one that involves Missy, and I can't wait to share about it later in the week.  Also planned for this week is camp!  Three of the boys leave on Thursday and Toddley leaves Wednesday.  Graham is staying behind, as am I, and my sister might come spend the night with me a couple of nights.  I have a hot date Saturday night (well, with my Dad and Trish) and I plan on an otherwise low-key weekend.  I can't wait! 

The fam returns sometime Monday. 

This week is going to fly by, I can already tell.  I am spending today getting ready for tomorrow and making lists of what all needs to be done until they all leave for camp.  When I have so many things rolling around in my head, I tend to forget a lot, so that is why I make lists.  I have already started on one and will add to that one as I go about the day. 

Well.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday Favorites (summer reading edition)

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

Missy, I'm going to talk about you here! 

My friend came in yesterday and was shocked to discover a couple of books I had on my counter.  They're by Danielle Steel.  I used to read her books all the time a long time ago, and occasionally, I still pick one up.  I read one recently by her, and it was one of the best books I've read by anyone in a long time.  They're not all trashy, though some can be that way, like all of her earlier books.  Her later ones are way different, and she is an incredible story teller.  Anyway, I always read the back and try them, and sometimes I put them down, and other times, I keep reading. 

Here's the thing.  I love Christian fiction books.  But those are hard to come by, and I kid you not when I say that short of just re-reading the ones I have over and over and over again (which you all know I do every year or at least every other year), I think I have read so many of them that they're all becoming redundant.  I like to vary things up in the books I read, and when you read as much as I do, only one genre can very quickly get really boring.

So I read.  I read books that made my best friend gasp when she saw it yesterday.  I'm laughing as I write this. 

I love you, Missy, and you know I love messing around with you even more.  (Big personality and control freak and all.)

Here are some of the ones I've read recently (some I loved, some I did not), or that are in my "to be read" pile and stacks around my house. 

(This first picture was one I posted on Instagram last weekend.)

I've been reading on the Kindle app lately, at least for part of the time.  I recently read The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin, and while I loved the vivid scenery she depicted in Paris, I did not love the book.  I kept reading it, though, but probably will not read anything by her again.  (It was a recommendation from a book blogger.) 

Yes, I read blogs about books.  My favorite one is Modern Mrs. Darcy, or Anne Bogel in real life.  I was on her launch team last year for her book, Reading People. 

I am almost finished with Everybody Always by Bob Goff.  He also wrote Love Does, and I cannot recommend his books strongly enough.  These are nonfiction, memoir type books, which I love.  He gives you practical ways to love people near you in this hard and not-so-loving world that we live in.  Love Lives Here is one I haven't read yet, by his wife, Maria Goff, or Sweet Maria, as he so lovingly calls her.  I know it's good, though, because of all those book blogs I'm current on.

Adorned is also one of the best books I have ever read, but I'm not finished with it yet.  I'm taking it slow, because I want to think about it carefully, and because I'm reading it book club style with two sweet friends of mine, Abbey and Kristy.  And we can't seem to meet often enough. 

I am looking forward to reading the book by Lisa Harper, as well, The Sacrament of Happy.  I follow her on Instagram, and she's one of my favorite people on there.  I love her writing style, and I look forward to reading more about her daughter Missy that she adopted when she was over the age of fifty. 

(Yes, we keep Cheese Its close by.)

These pictures have zero filter and were not at all posed.  I went around my house and took the pictures as I saw them.

I've never read a book by Dorothea Benton Frank, but I loved her and will read something by her again.  This is not Christian, just plain old fiction, and it wasn't too bad.  (That is code for the fact that it does contain some language I don't use, which I can skim right over.  I know, not everyone can do that, but if I see a word, I replace it with another one and keep going.)

(This picture was from last Saturday.)

This one is promising!  I have read two by her before that I loved.  Her stories are always wrought with family ins and outs and sometimes tragedy, and the dynamics that happen in both situations.  The other ones I read by her are The Secrets of Midwives, and The Things We Keep.

Another Lisa Harper one I just found yesterday that I haven't read yet, and the book I read everyday. 

More books, waiting to be read.  These don't all belong to me, either.  One is my stepdad's and one is a friend's.  I have read about half of the book Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, but I honestly forgot I was reading it, and it eventually made it's way over to this collection.  It's another memoir type book (spiritual) about life around the table.  It's a collection of stories and recipes.  A couple of these I have tried and didn't like, so I put them down.  (Who has time to read something they don't love?!)

These are our school bookshelves, and in cleaning them out and organizing them for August, I came across some of these classics that I haven't read, with the exception of The Hiding Place and Silas Marner. 

My haul from my happy place on Wednesday.  I'm unsure about all of these, because I only had a few minutes to skim the aisles, but I'll give them a try and if I don't like it, I'll just put it back down.  I've read one other book by Nancy Thayer that I loved, but I've tried reading two other ones by her, and they didn't hold my interest at all.  Who knows if I'll like this one.  That top one is by an author who has another book that I want to read out right now that I keep reading about, but the library didn't have it, so when I saw the same author, I thought I'd give this one a shot.

Other authors I've read before and mostly liked are Emily Giffin, Colleen Hoover (she would be what you consider rated R in her writing, but the book I read that was so good was told from the perspective of a woman who had been physically, verbally, and emotionally abused, and it was RIVETING and therefore, I could not put it down, though it was hard to read most of the time), Denise Hunter, Kristin Hannah (who has been around FOREVER but only recently has been talked about because of the book The Nightingale), Mary Higgins Clark, Agatha Christie, Sophie Hudson, Melanie Shankle, Neta Jackson, Robin Jones Gunn, Karen Kingsbury, Elizabeth Elliot, Priscilla Shirer...I could literally go on and on, but you get the picture.

Between books, I watch Netflix series.  If the tv is on, it is usually turned on to Gilmore Girls, but not too long ago, I watched all the seasons of The Good Witch, and When Calls the Heart.  I say this, because sometimes I get tired of reading, or I'm not in the mood.  I'll turn on a movie occasionally too, but I honestly prefer tv shows.  I have several on my queue on Netflix, waiting to be started.  Fuller House (I'm rolling my eyes at myself) and Heart of Dixie are the two I can recall off the top of my head. 

I am sure plenty of you will read this and roll your eyes.  And that's okay.  But I do not work.  I stay home most of the time, because my kids are growing up on me and always have their own plans each day.  They don't even swim with me and my mom-in-love anymore.  When they are gone, I read, or I watch Netflix.  I don't just sit around my house all day, either, I am usually cleaning, grocery shopping, getting things ready for dinner, cleaning out the pantry shelves and refrigerator shelves, doing laundry, cleaning my bedroom, vacuuming, studying something in the bible, listening to podcasts, reading up on things like books and fun events hosted by favorite authors, or staying on top of the commitments that the other people in this family have made.  (I have a huge planner for all such things.)  I love every single second of my life, and am thankful that I have been able to stay home all these years.  (Honestly, I only started staying home full time when we started homeschooling.  Before that, I have always worked part time or kept kids in the mornings or afternoons.)

I do leave home occasionally, to do things with my mom, or to meet someone for coffee or lunch (and the occasional dinner), but I don't usually do a lot of things that require me spending money.  Because I do not work, I try to be a good steward of what the Lord has provided for us.  He has given me the love of reading to help me be content.  So I read.  A lot, and a lot of different styles. 

I have set things every week that happen, like swimming in the summer, and church on Wednesday night, which I recently started attending again, after a break since about October.  Other ways I fill the time are by praying continually and off and on throughout my day, doing bible study homework, browsing through Instagram (my favorite), listening to K-Love or other worship music (and sometimes fun summer playlists like my sister and I listened to on the way to the pool on Tuesday), and getting ready for Sunday if I sing on the praise team.  I keep pretty busy, trust me.  And as boring as this sounds when I read all of this again to spellcheck, it is really a fulfilling life.  It's not for everyone, I know, but thank the Lord that He made us all so differently!  How boring would it be if we were all exactly the same?! 

Well.  That went on way longer than I thought it would, but I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it all out for you (which is another thing I do almost everyday...I write).  If you know me, and most of you do, you know that books are my favorite.  I'm actually planning on trying to sell a bunch of them that I know I won't read again.  I'm working on those details, though, and planning a day for people to come over and browse. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

a little of what we've been up to

Firstly, as I write this, I am listening to the Big Boo Cast.  If you've never listened to that, it is a podcast by Melanie Shankle and Sophie Hudson, two of my favorite bloggers-turned-authors, and BOTH of whom I have met in the last year.  I love them both, and the podcast is just a bunch of random things they talk about, from makeup to Mississippi State baseball national championships (Sophie's alma mater and passion).  I was talking to my best friend yesterday about this.  Apparently it is a thing for us to go and meet people whose books we love.  We have a third outing planned that is coming up and I am beyond excited for our whirlwind, one day trip there and back.

But that'll be another post.

If you would like to sample this podcast, here is a link for you.

Also, y'all, now is the time to read fun and lighthearted books.  It's summer, and we all have spare time on our hands, or most of us, and it's a great time to try their books.  My favorite books are by these ladies and I will read them again and again for years to come, because while they are funny and interesting, they are also so encouraging as we all walk through this life together in need of some uplifting and biblical truth that we can apply to our lives.

Speaking of books, I am thinking of selling some of mine that I love, but that I won't read again.

Different subject now.

I have been reading the bible chronologically since January.  If you know me at all, you know how much I love the word of God.  But y'all.  Sometimes, it is just plain old hard to read.  And I am thankful for that, because like our lives are broken and messy, that is also the case for so much of what we read in the bible, especially where I am reading right now.  The thing about the chronological bible is that the way this one is written, and how I've learned in the past, is that the bible is one continuous story, with the common thread of redemption throughout.  That just means that we see Jesus in every single part of it, even in the Old Testament.  The way I've been taught in this is that there are different eras of the bible.  For example, the first would be creation, then the exodus, and so on.  Right now I am in the divided kingdom era, and all the kings are bad!  Well, some of the are good, or they start good, but then they end badly.  (I can expand more on those eras someday, but for now, I don't have my cheat sheet.)

I've been going to a Wednesday class at church where the ladies are teaching us as we read, and last night I heard really sweet, reassuring words.  They were essentially that sometimes the bible is just hard to read, it's unsanitized, just like our lives are, but that even though it's like that, it is still the word of God and we just need to PRESS ON.

I feel like someone else needs to hear that today.  Press on!  Whether in bible reading, or in life circumstances.  Just like the Lord is faithful, be faithful in your relationship with Him.

Someone dear to me sent this to me the other day in a text, and I needed it so much right then.  It's an older lady that has recently been brought into my life, and while I'm not quite ready to share about that just yet (hello, slow processing problems), know this: if you ever  feel like encouraging someone, or if you are reading in the bible and come across a verse and you think of someone, friends, that is the Lord putting them on your heart.  Reach out to them!  I assure you, they need it right that moment.

I so appreciated this verse.

Also, does anyone else love Instagram and hate Facebook right now?  No?  Just me?  I cannot tell you how many folks I have unfollowed in recent days.  I especially love Insta stories.  I watch them often.

I came across this yesterday on there and loved it and shared it on my own account.

This was one of the best pieces of marriage advice I ever got twenty something years ago.  It is so true!  It is understood between my friends and me that husbands and families always trump our own time together, and if I say anything to anyone about my man, it will only be good.  I don't complain to my mom, or to my best friends, you can ask them.  If I have a complaint about him, I take it to Jesus.  That is my advice to you.

And on a much lighter note, did anyone else love the Indigo Girls in the nineties?

I heard about this recently, and think this song Galileo is beautiful of them singing while The Colorado Symphony Orchestra plays behind them.

Here is a new favorite of mine, too, that I found on Monday.  This one's a worship song, though.  It's We Turn Our Eyes by Travis Cottrell and it features his daughter singing with him.

This is from his newest album.

Also this week, I met with a couple of dear and older-than-me friends Monday morning for coffee.  On Tuesday, my sister and I went and swam with my mom-in-love.  Yesterday I went to my happy place and loaded up with some new books.  After that I met one of my best friends and we prayed together, then later on we all went to church.  My boys and Todd all went to youth and I went to my women's class.  Today I am doing laundry, and going to Walmart.  And possibly posting pictures of the books I want to sell.  I also have bible study later on and I plan on cooking an actual meal tonight.  It's been a while.

I hope your day is great!  Thanks for reading.  Love to all.

Monday, June 18, 2018

the weekend and a few other things

We had a glorious weekend.  Well, other than my sinus problem that made me feel sick, but I didn't let it stop me from having fun all weekend.  We got our start to the weekend on Friday. 

I was living vicariously through pictures that Drew sent me the night before at eleven, and couldn't stop looking at them.  I miss this kid when he's gone.

This was Drew and Griffin at Window Rock in Arizona.  He said they were fighting and then they started laughing because it looked like they were dancing.  Isn't that scenery beautiful?! 

I also came across this fun memory of Abbey and me from Arizona two years ago.

That was the summer we spent a ton of time together.  Like three and a half weeks.  First was the Navajo trip, then summer camp, then Street Reach.  I miss going to Street Reach so much! 

Dad came over at eleven thirty, and he, Jonah, Noah, their friend Weston and I went to McAlister's. 

Look how adorable he is in this hat.

I love this man so much.  I am so grateful to God for all the time He gives us together.  Our Friday dates have been going on for about twelve or thirteen years now, and the only time we miss is when one of us is on vacation, or if we're sick.  I LOVE that my kids know all their wonderful and amazing grandparents!  Memories are my favorite thing of all, and my kids have tons of them as well. 

Friday night came around and Toddley and I went out on a date.  The kids all went out together, and we tried a new sushi place.  It was DELICIOUS and cheap.  It's called Tokyo Grill, for all my Memphis friends, and it is nothing special to look at it, but the food is incredible. 

After dinner, we drove around and looked at houses.  We've decided (tentatively) that in about three years, we're going to sell our house and move into the Sea Isle area of Memphis.  The houses are old and charming, the oak trees hang over all the streets, and Mama wants a pool. 

And no, I'm not kidding. 

I am all for this plan!  Plus if we have a pool, the kids will all come visit often.

Todd and I used to drive around and look at houses all the time in our younger days.  It's still a favorite past time of ours.

On Saturday, I went out with my mom and my sister Trish.  We had fun!  We did nothing in particular, we just had lunch and spent some time looking in stores.  I don't love shopping, but every once in a while, I love to go and do this with them. 

Then I came home and finished my book.

Actually, I think I did this on Saturday morning, because I don't remember drinking coffee when it was a hundred and thirteen degrees outside.

That night Todd worked, and we all stayed home.  I watched a movie and called it a night pretty early.

Yesterday was church.  My favorite part of perhaps the entire weekend was sitting beside my mom and worshiping next to her.  We had an incredible service, from Sunday school to the main service, and I was blown away by all the men who sang in choir.  I had the day off from choir, and it was lovely!

My friend Debbie said she counted one hundred and forty men who sang!  My step dad Bill is in the top row, fourth from the left.  I made him go up and sing.  :)

The service was so sweet, and afterward, we celebrated Father's day by going to Booya's for lunch.

I didn't get a picture, but this one from last year will have to do. 

And this one of Dad and me was from five years ago, when we had a daddy and daughters date night.

I don't have one of Todd.

We came home and took naps and then he watched a movie or two and I read.

It was glorious.  I'm almost done with this book.  This month has been great, as far as books I've picked.  Last month was full of duds.

We just snacked for dinner, and at eight, we went to get Drew!  I was so glad to see that boy.  I miss him when he's gone.  He told me he would be sleeping in today, and it's ten o'clock now, and I still haven't heard him moving around. 

And, just for fun, here are some of what came up on Timehop this morning. 

I love these guys!  Alex, Ben, and Andrew are the extras.  We were swimming at Mimi's.

And this cracked me up, because I vividly remember this day, the day my then-79 year old dear old dad dove into the pool and just about gave me a heart attack.  I positioned myself nearby so I could rescue him if the need arose.  I was just talking about this day last week, and then it popped up on Timehop today.  Funny.

On the agenda for today is all the laundry from Navajo and the weekend, cleaning, and a grocery trip after I meal plan for the week.  #fun

Have a great day!  Love to all. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

(more) tips and tricks on keeping things neat and tidy

I had someone else ask me about my thoughts on this subject, and in cleaning up things some on Monday and Tuesday, I thought I would share (again) on things I do around my house and in my car, even. 

Also, have you ever noticed that you can tell a lot about someone by the way the outside of their house looks?  You can.  Try it for yourself the next time you pull up to the front of someone's house before you go inside.  This is why I like for my porch to look cute.  And by that, all I mean is that I have a fern and I turn the porch lights on every single afternoon at dusk.  There are nose prints on my front door, for goodness' sake, so I'm obviously not THAT serious about it.  I don't take myself too seriously, and I don't strive for perfection.

I'll start this off by saying this: some people are just made to be like this.  Other people are not.  I am thinking of myself right now.  My mom is this way, so it was a pretty sure bet that I would be just like her.  When I was growing up, she expected me to clean my room every once in a while and to pick up after myself.  Even though by the time I was in my teenage years, my sisters were all grown and out of the house, she did not wait on me hand and foot, nor did she clean up my messes.  I'm glad she didn't, because that is part of what shaped me into being me today.  I was a slob, though.  My room might have been clean, but I had this huge closet that was a great place to stuff things into, and most of the time that was what I would do.  I would clean it out every other week, though, because I never would have found anything if I hadn't.

My love of cleanliness and keeping up with things didn't come until I was married and taking care of our own home.  I cleaned up my stuff, but I don't remember helping her around the house.  (Sorry, Mom!) 

If you are not naturally this way on your own and you desire to be this way, ask the Lord for His help.  He knows the desires of your heart, so you might as well ask Him and tell it to Him.  Especially if this is something you think about all the time, or if it is something that keeps you awake at night.  I have one friend I am thinking of when I write that.  I won't name names, though. 

Also, I love this verse, because it reminds me of this subject.

(Thanks, Google, for your images.)

To me chaos and disorder equals confusion.  I cannot live in disarray.  My brain won't let me.  It's like cooking dinner when your kitchen is already dirty.  I don't know how anyone could do that...first, the kitchen needs to be cleaned and the sink emptied, then the cooking can start and you can make your mess.  I pray this verse all the time.  I might pray something like this: "Lord, I know You are not the author of confusion, but of peace.  Help me to have peace and order within the walls of our house."  You might think that sounds hokey, but I promise, it's not.  The bible tells us that the Lord cares for us, that we are to cast all our cares upon Him.  If we care about something, He cares about something, because He cares about us.

My main statement for this blog post: start small and start slow.  Pick one area in your house that you are in all the time, and start in there.  It might be a table, a closet, or a cabinet.  Take one little area at a time and make goals for yourself to reach.  I do this all the time, saying that I'm going to clean out one room per week until it's done.  I did this back in December and January upstairs at our house, because we were redoing rooms and moving people around. 

My problem areas are all near or in my kitchen.  My dryer is a catch all, and I am always having to clean off the surface.  The spot on my counter in the kitchen where mail goes is another area that I am always fighting.  I hate paper clutter on the kitchen counters, and it gets junky really quickly.  I have a cabinet in my kitchen that is also a problem area, and when August gets here and school starts back, I am going to get rid of most of what's in that cabinet to make it more useful.  (It's huge, and that's part of the problem.)

Once you start with one spot, it is very easy to keep going.  Doing a little motivates me to do a lot more.  I always pick a day when I'm needing to stay home to help me with this.  I like staying home on Mondays, because all the laundry needs to be done and the house needs to be put back in order.  The weekends are fun, but I let everything go on Saturday and Sunday. 

Picking a day and time helps.  If you're too busy, then maybe you need to get out of some of your commitments.  I used to say yes to too many things, and now I have such freedom in telling people no.  :)

Cleaning the house a couple of times a week also helps.  When things are cluttered, you can't get to surfaces to clean them.  I always clean on Monday and Friday.  I like to start the week and the weekend with a clean house.  I wipe the counters down in the kitchen every single day, sometimes multiple times a day.  I do the same in the bathrooms.  I'm in there and I'm washing my hands, so before I wash, I put a little water in my hands and wipe everything down, then I wash my hands, then I use the towel to dry the counter and my hands.  Easy schmeasy.  I have boys, so the bathroom gets done pretty regularly.  I don't do well at cleaning the bathtub, though and make the boys do that.  They help clean the whole house, actually.  Sometimes I'll get them to do it all, sometimes just their rooms and the bathrooms they use.  I always do the kitchen and downstairs bathroom myself.

Having dogs helps, believe it or not.  I don't want my house to look and smell like dogs live here, so I vacuum everyday and that always makes me want to do more.  Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't. I use room sprays and fabric sprays like Febreeze to help things smell fresh, and I love to have candles lit. 

Another huge helpful tip is not to buy more than you can use.  My mom in love and I were talking about this on Tuesday, and while I love the thought of buying things I use while they're on sale and in bulk, to do that, I need the room to do that, and if it's going to take up too much room, I won't do that.  I use every bit of storage space I have in my house, so I don't need forty-eight bottles of barbecue sauce when Todd gets them for free.  (AHEM.)  (That actually happens quite frequently.) 

I buy what we need, when we need it.  I always wish I could live totally minimally.  I sort of use that concept now, but not really.  I use what I buy and I only buy what I use right away.  I don't have tons of gadgets and tools in the kitchen.  If something I'm tempted to buy can't easily be stored in a cabinet, I won't buy it.  This same thing applies to my kitchen pantry.  I don't like to buy too much food at one time, because I need and want it to stay organized.  If it's not neat and organized, we never know what we have in there. 

Even with toys, to you moms with little ones, you can use this same type system.  I would never bring toys into the house without getting rid of something.  We had a place for everything, and I tried to make it easy on my kids to clean up after themselves.  We would sing that silly little "clean up" song by Barney to do that, and I would  try to make it fun for them, even sometimes turning it into a competition to see who could put things away the fastest.  Because boys love them some competition.

It seems like we are always cleaning out closets and drawers, too, whether in the bedrooms or in the bathrooms.  Ultimately, I keep things from getting cluttered, and while I may let things go for a short while, I'll get serious about it again, and start over. 

Those are just a few small things I do around here to keep things neat and orderly.  None of it takes a ton of time, and it's very simple to do and to get started with.  My brain works in weird ways, basically, and one small thing (like vacuuming) will spur me on to do something more.  I hope this helps you out some, and I hope it inspires you to start setting goals to get things organized. 

Most importantly, pray about it, as simple as that seems.  Ask the Lord to help you with this task, and then, give it your best.  I love this verse from 1 Corinthians 10:31.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 

And then get to it. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

update from the last post I wrote and some simply Tuesday things

I told you about things I was praying for the last time I wrote.  I thought I would update on a few of them.

My sister Lisa is still in pain, but she is still better off than she was before the second surgery.  I talked to her on Saturday, and the recovery is just slow going.  She has had a really rough past year or so, with all this stuff going on.  Bless her.  She keeps going to the doctor every few days to be checked out. 

We attended a crawfish boil Saturday night for my nephew Tyler, who is getting married in September.  I know she hated she couldn't be there, but we took pictures for her so she could see, and they Face-Timed her while they opened gifts.

Also, it's hard to pass up a photo booth.

This is Trish and me.  It was fun.  It was also hotter than blue blazes outside and I needed a shower the second I got home.

I also wrote about our friends who are missionaries in Cameroon (Africa), Tim and Jenny, about the fact that their Visas are expiring and they had applied for residency.  (They were denied the first time and the paperwork didn't go through fast enough when they appealed that decision.)  So, at the recommendation of the people they also deal with here in the U.S., they are flying back here today.  Not HERE, here, but back to the U.S. 

They have peace about it and are trusting God that He will get them back there by August. 

I told you about several people I know who are on mission trips right now, and I don't really have an update from them, but I'm still praying for them.  One such young man I know of who is in India right now, wrote about a wreck he saw there over the weekend, and the carnage that he saw pertaining to it that greatly disturbed him.  He knows that so many of the people in India do not know anything about Jesus, and most likely, it was the case for the deceased person that he saw. 

I have talked to my Drew twice now, and a few times over texting.  I talked to him Friday night when he had gotten settled into the hotel room in Amarillo, and then I talked to him Sunday night.  I just wanted to hear his voice.  They're going on day two of bible school now, and I praying that they have a great amount of people turn up for it, and that he gets to see one of kids he loves so much.  He hasn't seen her yet, but is hoping and thinking that today will be the day. 

Side note here: today it is supposed to reach ninety nine degrees where he is.  I am praying for all of them, that they are drinking plenty of water and Gatorade. 

I think that's about all I wrote about last week. 

On another note, we had a good weekend.  It was somewhat weird, because my husband worked an all-nighter shift with the sheriff's department, so it feels like it was fragmented.  We had the crawfish boil Saturday night and on Sunday, we were all in different places.  We had a worship night at church, so Todd was there all day, and then the boys were there until later that night. 

I woke up feeling sick yesterday, and I THINK I'm better, but it's kinda early still, so I'm not sure.  I had plans for today, though, so we are sticking with them.  I have a few errands to run first, then we will continue on with our day.  Yesterday I did about five loads of laundry, and I'm still not finished.  I'll do that this morning before we leave. 

I miss the days when we were all together, all the time.  These days are so strange to me, because we're always spread out, but I know it's just part of life and them growing up.  I hope I treasured those days while I had them.  I think I did.  I hope the boys would say that I did.  Babies don't keep, that is one thing I am sure of. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

some things I am praying for right now

There is so much!  I'll just start.  

My sister Lisa had surgery two weeks ago today, and has never really ever started to feel any better.  As far as I know, she was in pain pretty much non stop, but this week she started running fever.  She went back to the hospital and they determined that she had some infection and that they would need to take her back into surgery.  She had that surgery yesterday and was sent back home to recover.  Just last night she sent a text saying that she could already tell such a big difference in the level of pain she had then versus what she felt after that first surgery.  It was already much better.  Praise God!  She lives in Colorado, so it feels pretty helpless to be so far away when she's there.  I'm so glad my sister Debi is there nearby, though, and Lisa's oldest two kids, Jaret and Erika, are also there close.  I know she is being well taken care of between the three of them.  

I know Lisa would appreciate it if you would consider keeping her in your prayers as well.  I'm praying for an easier time of recovery this go-round, and for her to be able to get back up on her feet soon.  She is not one who enjoys being idle, but because she has been so sick, I don't think she ever even uttered a complaint.

Thank you for helping me pray for her. 
I have some friends who are very dear to us, the Lands, who are missionaries in Cameroon, Africa.  They've been there in training and actually in Cameroon for about a year now, and their visa expires this month, on the fourteenth.  They started the paperwork to achieve residency there a couple of weeks ago, but it was completely revoked.  If they do not receive an answer by the end of the day on  Friday (I have no idea what the time difference is between us and them), they'll have to purchase tickets to fly back to the U.S.  And they don't want to do that, not even their girls, Whitney and Kaitlin.  Our friends are Tim and Jenny.  Will you help me pray for them too, for God to move mountains for them to be able to remain there?  I know He can do that, and I am believing and trusting in Him for a miracle on their behalf.  They have had one setback after another since being there, so I know that the enemy is not happy with that, and is trying everything in his power to render them ineffective.  #nottodaySatan

(These are the friends who gave us their cat, Twinkles, many years ago when they were moving from Memphis to Arizona, and they are still some of our very best friends.)

Thank you for helping me pray with them.

Just today alone, I received emails for two dear girls who will be on mission all summer.  Anna is in Peru and Abigail will be in Thailand.  Will you help me pray for them, too?  I am praying for God to work in their hearts first, then in the hearts of others they will be ministering to over the course of the next few weeks.  Some are already there and one just left this morning for orientation and training.  I am praying for safety in traveling, wellness, open hearts and minds, unity, focus on God first, and for relationships with one another and with those they'll meet while they're there.  

Thank you for helping me pray for these two, as well.  

There are lots of other students traveling over the summer that I'm praying for, but I don't have the list near me.  I do know that one boy who is a friend of Graham's named Alex that also left for training today while he is gone all summer.  I know he could use your prayer, too.  

My last one is the nearest and dearest to my heart, and that is this boy of mine.

Drew is leaving in the morning for a nine day trip to the Navajo reservation in Arizona for the third summer in a row.  He absolutely loves this trip and these kids and I know he is looking forward to it once again.  He will be helping teach elementary age students and also in the picking them up and delivering them back home each day.  There are two that he is particularly fond of: the girl that he has his arm around, and the boy on the other side of him.  (He loves them all, but these two won his heart three summers ago, for the first time.)  I am so excited for him, but man, I will miss him while he's gone.  He has such a huge personality in our house that he is always missed when he's gone.  They're driving there and back, a two day trip each way.  Tomorrow night they will arrive in Amarillo, Texas and eat dinner at a Mexican restaurant, then will reach the reservation by about dinner time the next night.  It is a very long, very tiring drive and trip.  

We are spending all day today getting ready for him to go.  Everything has been bought that he needs, we just need to pack it all now.  

Will you help me in praying for Drew while he's gone?  He will leave tomorrow morning and will return on Sunday, June 17th.  

Thank you!  And thanks for helping me pray for all the other ones I mentioned above.  I know there is power in prayer, and when two or more are gathered to pray in His name, He is there with them.  He hears every prayer we utter.  

Love to all.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

a few things I love right now and how I spend some of the hot summer days

I posted about a creamy lime pie the other day, and I promised to share a recipe, so here you go.  I don't know Perri, but I go to church with him and his wife, and this is his recipe.  I don't want to take any undo credit.  It's so easy!  I use a ready made graham cracker crust, but you can also make your own with graham cracker crumbs and butter. 

Perri's Lemon Pie

For the filling:

2 cans of condensed milk (don't skimp here, folks, go ahead and go full fat)
3/4 cup of lemon or lime juice (my addition here is that I added the zest of all that I used)
1/2 cup of sour cream

And that's all!  Blend it all together well, fill the pie crust and bake at 350 for ten minutes.  I love mine all chilled, but Drew prefers it warm.  It is AMAZING.

I have made both types now, my first being the lemon.  It was wonderful.  But the lime?  Out of this world.  Drew and I both prefer the lime to lemon. 

You could also make this filling as pudding and fill little cups and then top it with cool whip and graham cracker crumbs.  Just don't bake it~refrigerate it instead to set. 

Moving on now.

I am loving the laid back routine of summer so far.  Eventually I will tire of this, and all the extra people that are always present, but for now, my heart is happy.  I told my friend at dinner last night that these are the days when I pray extra hard over the food I make, and that the Lord would multiply it for us.  What I made last night was one occasion of doing that, as I made it, it didn't seem like it would be enough, but it was. 

I have said this before, but I love the smell of sunscreen in the summer.  And give me all the coconut scented things.  Lotion, hair products, soap.  You name it, I love it all.  My favorite lotion right now is from Home Goods.  It's a big bottle with coconut oil infused lotion inside and the scent it coconut lime. 

I mentioned reading on Monday, and I have plans on going to the library today.  My last trip there was unsuccessful and I hated all the books I brought back home, so I'm trying again today, with a narrowed down list.  Also on my list of things to do today is making a couple of grocery store runs, to Aldi and to Costco.  We need new snack options around here, and I'm looking for ones that are fewer in calories.  My mom in love always has good luck at Aldi, so I will give it another try.  (I don't love our Aldi that is near me.)  And our dogs are almost out of food, and Drew needs water and Gatorade for his mission trip that he leaves for on Friday, so we have to go there too.

Does anyone else dread cooking in the summer?  Just me?  Okay.  I am always scrambling to find something quick, easy, and light in the summer months because of the heat.  This week isn't quite as bad, I think, but every other week is.  The problem with finding different things to cook is the fact that not all my kids will be happy with what is being offered.  I like to offer things for dinner that everyone likes.  If you have some ideas that you would like to share, please feel free.  I can always use meal inspiration. 

I love swimming.  Honestly, I could (and used to) do this every single day and never tire of it, but nowadays, I like to go with my mom in love once a week at least.  The boys used to go with me, but this is the second summer when it's just her and me.  I did this yesterday and loved every sun filled hour that we spent together. 

They have a beautiful neighborhood pool, and at this point, it was just us and one other lady who was laying out and reading a book.  Later on, right before we were about done, a group of teenage boys showed up and made us laugh and cringe.  (They were flipping into the pool and scaring Phyllis.)  Bonus: I walked away with a little sun and no sunburn.  We sat in the pool and solved all the world's problems for at least an hour and a half.  The boys swim at a couple's house that we go to church with.  They're always so sweet and thoughtful to let them use their pool whenever they want.  (Thank you, Benji and Catelyn!)

I like to clean out things during this time off in the summer months, and I have a few areas I need to do this to today.  Two of which are in my kitchen: the pantry and the refrigerator.  The pantry, especially, is next to impossible to keep organized.  I found this new person on Instagram to follow that has given me a few ideas for this.  Her account on Instagram is House Peace.  Her stories are more informative than the pictures she posts. 

I've already accomplished this task for our school shelves here in the living room.  I have piles started for when August comes, and I have a list of what I need to purchase for Jonah's and Noah's sophomore year.  I can't believe I'm saying that...their sophomore year. 

Y'all.  Who knew Crocs were considered "in" again and that white Crocs were a thing?

This was Drew yesterday, when his came in the mail.  I'm dying inside.  I think they're so ugly, but he LOVES them.

If you want to read some funny things about them, go check out this picture I posted on Facebook yesterday.  The comments crack me up.

Well, I need to run.  I have a lot to do this morning, another of which is all the laundry.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

summer reading

I love to read and go through spurts with my best hobby.  (And by the way, when I was a student in high school, I hated that phrase, "summer reading".)  As much as I love to read, I will go through short periods of time when I won't hardly pick up a book.  I think Netflix is partially to blame, at least for me, that's the case. 

Anyway, reading takes on a whole new level of love during the summer months.  I have no idea why.  I love to read some books by all my favorite and trusted authors, but I also read some by authors I have read for years and years.  Some of these, since high school.  Fiction is my favorite, but I like to throw in other books, as well. 

Like this one I picked up from Costco last week.

I still love her show, Fixer Upper, and to this day if I need the tv on for background noise, I will turn on this show.  (We don't have cable, only Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu.)  I also love to read cookbooks, especially from women whose shows I watch, like her and like Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman).  I love these cookbooks even more when they are beautiful and when stories are woven throughout. 

If you're in the market for a beautiful and inspiring cookbook, this one may be for you too.

And if you've never read through a Pioneer Woman cookbook, you may want to try hers as well.  She has several that are available. 

I can read several books at one time, if they are different types of books.  I will be reading this one above for a while, and I'm also reading Everybody, Always by Bob Goff.  It's an inspirational memoir book on how to love people like Jesus loves.  I almost always will have a fictional book going at the same time. 

This was me last night, starting a new book.  It's one I picked up from the clearance books at Barnes and Noble last Friday when my dad and I went there.  I love to shop that section of books, but I hardly ever go, because all their other books are expensive, and why shop there when I have Amazon Prime?  Amazon is where most of my books come from, and as much as I love it, I still miss little bookstores.  They're such a thing of the past, and they're usually more expensive, but I love the thought of them.  I especially miss my old favorite used bookstore that closed down a year or two ago. 

I love picking up a book I know I'll love and staying up late to keep reading until the next chapter. 

Anyone else?

And on a completely different note, I made this on Friday.

Nothing says summer like a pie filled with something yummy and citrus.  This one is a lime pie, kinda like a key lime pie, but the limes were just regular ones.  Drew and I are slowly eating our way through it.  It's delicious!  I'll share a recipe later in the week. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Friday Favorites, 7.12.2024.

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