Tuesday, January 29, 2019

simply Tuesday

We were supposed to get a snowy mix today.  Or last night.  We did not.  I'm rolling my eyes at the weathermen in the area that usually seem to get it wrong.  I would love a good snow during this winter.  I don't know if we'll get it or not, but Memphis is crazy enough to be cold today and high fifties/low sixties by the weekend.  Watch it dump a huge amount of snow in middle March.  

While I love the snow, I don't want it to last too long...because I like to be able to get out and go places, but it is pretty to look at for a few days.  My sisters in Denver have snow right now, and it's so beautiful.  I'm not sure they feel the same way...I don't know if I would either, if I lived there.  

So today, on this beautiful, snow-less Tuesday, I have one who is missing his classes today, and possibly work, because he feels horrible.  I'm guessing it's sinus related, because it always is for most of us.  Good thing for him, he had an antibiotic that he never finished when he had this before, just a couple of months ago, so he started that again yesterday, along with sinus medicine.  The other two will be doing school work as usual.  I reported grades and attendance for them this morning, and plan on doing other mundane things today, like laundry, cleaning my bedroom and bathroom, more laundry, and reading the book I started on Sunday night.  I have nowhere to be today, and I'm okay with that.  

(Pictured: my new lamp from Homegoods.  It has a removable top so that you can fill the base.  I added red bulbs for February.)  

I even know what I'm having for lunch already (the same as yesterday), and I know what I'm making for dinner tonight (salmon, roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli).  I love days like this.  After an extremely busy past three weeks, this feels good.  It always takes me a while to ease back into routine, but I've been having to figure out scheduling issues as well, because I'm sharing my car with Drew for at least three days each week.  I think I have finally figured it out, and I am so glad.  When he takes my car, I have his truck here to drive, which I did last week, but it made my back hurt, getting into and out of that thing.  It's tall!  I'd decided that I wasn't going to do that this week, and so far it's working, although he is at home today.  

Well, I supposed I'd better get started with this day.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  

Monday, January 28, 2019


I'm so excited about this Monday!  There are so many reasons why.  First off, the grocery shopping FOR THE WEEK was completed yesterday after church.  My hubby and I had a Costco shopping and lunch date afterward, and got all the things to get us through most of this week.  We may run out of a couple of things, but it feels good to be done.  I usually do this on Monday, but since Drew started back to school and I'm letting him take my car a few days each week, it has hindered that.  That means that after church yesterday, I never went back home until after five thirty last night.  It made for a long day, but it was so worth it.  Secondly, I get to stay home all day!  I am semi caught up on all the laundry, I have no bible study homework this week, so after some cleaning type chores around the house, I plan on reading the new book I started last night, and doing my nails.  And the last and BEST reason I am so excited about this day is that I get to see one of my very best friends tonight!  It's been a little over a month since we last saw one another, and I couldn't be any more excited.  We could go to McDonald's to eat, I don't even care where we go, I just really need to see her. 

Now, about that weekend thing.  It was a good one!  On Friday night, Todd and Graham worked with the sheriff's department, and Drew had made plans, so Jonah, Noah and I went and had dinner with my mom, stepdad and sister.  It was really good, and it was a fun night.  It seems like it's been forever since we've been out there, because we've been unusually busy, but also because my mom hasn't felt great for several of those weeks.  Good old Memphis weather messes with everyone's sinuses these days, and thanks to all the rain and jumps in the temperature outside, everyone has been battling this.

On Saturday, also because we have not done this in forever, my sister, mom and I went out for the day.  We just ran around, looking for nothing in particular (except for nail polish) and enjoying each other's company.  We shopped, ate lunch, and shopped some more.  I bought a shirt for Jonah (that needs to be returned), a candle from Homegoods, and with the last of my Christmas money, I bought a fun new lamp.  It's really cute, and one that you can remove the  top and put things inside the base.  The base is clear, the shade is light linen color and it goes great in our living room, and with the other lamp in here.  It was only $29.  Bonus! 

That night was the company "Christmas" dinner at one of our favorite places.

It was so good, and by the time we got there and started eating, I was so hungry.  My favorite things there are the Parmesan crusted chicken and the garlic sirloin steak.  That makes me hungry, just writing that.  We usually go to The Peabody afterward, but nobody was in the mood. 

We came home afterward, and after a shower, I went to bed early, because I was stuffed from dinner.

Yesterday was church in the morning, our Costco trip and lunch date, we went to Lowe's so that my hubby could get some quotes for new garage doors and the installation (!!!), and we came home to unload the groceries.  I helped, then went straight to church for choir practice for the next two and a half hours.  After that, I came home and snacked for dinner, and was in bed by nine. 

I told you, it was a long day.  (Of course, I'm always in bed by nine, because I get up at the crack of dawn.)

Today this is on my agenda.  I plan on sitting and soaking in some time with Jesus.  I love mornings like this, when I have nowhere to be and nothing else to do.  I also plan on lighting my newest candle.  (I know I keep buying them, but it's because I use them all up, and I was in need of another one to replace the one I finished off last week.  Also, I'm finally tired of the evergreen scent, and went with something entirely different this time. 

 This smells heavenly!  Also, how cute is that jar?  I love the D.W. Home brand of candles that Homegoods sells, they smell the best and they burn evenly, as long as you don't trim the wick.  (I had always heard the opposite, but now that I've done both ways, not trimming the wick makes it burn the most even.)  Some of you are rolling your eyes, I know. 

Well.  I'm going to stop for now.  I'll see you back here tomorrow.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Friday Favorites

Good morning, and happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and her friends for this blog post. 

I think this was another week that was not only busy, but one where I started and erased several posts.  You know the days when #allthethings are rolling around in your brain, and you don't know quite what to do with them all?  That was me. 

I thought I'd share some favorite things and moments from the week, and one that is not so much.  ;)

I'll start with that one, for fun.

This thing intimidates me!  I won't say that I'm scared of it, but I kinda think I am.  My husband was here for me when we made dinner in this on Monday night.  It wasn't my favorite dinner (it was bland) and this is not my favorite way of cooking.  I know people rave about the Instant Pot, but I just don't get it.  I have time to cook regularly, so I guess I feel like I don't need this, or that I ever have a need to make dinner quickly.  It's just another gadget to me.  I'll keep trying it (maybe), but I will take the Crock Pot any old day. 

I appreciate my husband buying this for me to use, but I'm glad he didn't pay a lot for it, in case I continue to not use the thing. 

On a much more fun note, I got some fun things last Saturday!  The book you see, for one, that I can't wait to read as soon as I finish my current library stack.  Speaking of books, I'm doing a book review next week, on all the books I read in the month of January.  The other things I bought last Saturday is the makeup you see.  I keep having weird skin problems, and I keep on feeling like it was the good makeup I was using.  I was washing my sponge and making sure to keep the brushes I use clean, but my skin continued to break out.  I've also had rashes, but those stopped after I stopped using the expensive department store brand moisturizers.  (Isn't that weird?  The cheap stuff is better for my skin.  Go figure.)  The lipliner and  black tube of lipstick are one of my favorites I have ever used.  I tried them for the first time last summer, and the color and the quality are great.  Ever since last summer, I've taken to wearing nude colored lipstick.  That is a first for me, I have always loved a good lip color.  The brand is NYX. 

I love this L'Oreal blush that is an old favorite, and I like their powder, too.  I also love Physician's Formula bronzer, but I use that in the summer.  The eye shadow palette you see is by Elf, which is a new favorite for me, and I bought a beauty blender sponge thing in the same brand.  I also use a face primer and illuminating lotion all in one by Elf that makes the makeup feel like it stays in place.  I start with that, then I use the under eye age rewind, concealer if I need it, then I do the new Fit Me foundation by Maybelline.  I wasn't sure if I liked that, but I do!  I set it all with powder and then I do blush and the rest of my face.  All these things can be bought at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, or CVS.  And none of this is heavy, if it was, I wouldn't use it.  I like the coverage of makeup but I don't like the heaviness I would sometimes feel. 

I'll stick with this for a while and see if my skin problems go away, and in the meantime I will hang on to the better stuff, in case I want to go back. 

We celebrated Christmas with my husband's brother and his wife and family last weekend at my in-love's house, and this letter board was my gift.  How cute?!  But then, look in the corners.  Life with boys.  I'm rolling my eyes, as I write that.  "Boah" is my youngest son's nickname...his friends started calling him Young Boah a while back, and it stuck.  Even though they make me roll my eyes all the time, they also CRACK ME UP, and having a house full of boys is my favorite part of being a mom.  It's a little different with them all being teenagers now, but I love every minute.  God has given us the gift of loving every stage of life with them, and whatever stage they're in currently, it's our favorite.  I not only LOVE them, but I really, really LIKE them.  There is a difference, and you know what I'm talking about.  They are incredible guys.  I am so proud of them all.  In a few short weeks, the oldest will be twenty, then the middle one will be nineteen, and the "babies" will be sixteen. 

If you know me, you know I love Jesus and the word of God.  I love to write it, learn it, study it, memorize it.  It is probably my favorite thing to do during my quiet time each morning. 

And another favorite is bible study.  These chairs had some beautifully sweet and kind ladies sitting them on Wednesday night during our small group time in the bible study we are doing at church on the book of Malachi.  I loved that whole day...we are doing this twice every Wednesday, and during both small group times, we had such great discussion over the homework we had completed that week.  I'm so thankful for that!  I love sharing and hearing about all God is teaching me through His word, and these precious ladies shared a lot, as well!  There is nothing better than a group of women who are hungry for the Word. 

Well, my dad is coming over today for lunch, and I'm cooking for us, so I had better run.  I have a list of things I need to get done before eleven thirty!  Thank you for reading my blog!  Have a great weekend.  Love to all! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Dinner Ideas on a Simply Tuesday

Happy Tuesday!  I will forever think of Emily P. Freeman every Tuesday.  If you've never read that book with the title Simply Tuesday, I recommend it.  It's such a great read, and I love her style of writing.  She has a blog, too.

Is anyone else in a major dinner rut?  Come January, I only want soups or stews, but the people in my house do not agree.  That being said, dinner is sometimes a struggle.  I thought I'd share what I made last night, and what I'm making tonight, and then give you a few ideas of what I do when I need a quick, go-to meal.

Last night, I pulled out the Instant Pot my hubby bought back before Thanksgiving.  Until about a week ago, it had been sitting, unused and in the box, in our tornado closet.  Todd pulled it out a week ago, though, read the instructions and did a trial run, then he made some hard boiled eggs.

He'd been wanting to try it, so I figured I'd make something with it last night.  After a quick search for Instant Pot meals, I found one for orange chicken and rice.  Here's a link for you.  

First, I remember reading that it always takes longer than just the recommended time the recipe says.  It has to pressurize (I think?) and that takes at least fifteen minutes.  We added all the chicken, covered with the sauce and started it up.  All in all, I think it took thirty minutes.  And look how pretty dinner looked!

It was just okay.  One boy loved it, and five of us thought it was good, but not great.  I think there needs to be salt added into the recipe, because though all the sauce ingredients pack a major flavor punch, flavor and salt are not the same thing.  I would definitely add salt.  And maybe adjust the sugar amounts.  I'm not sure.  I threw the recipe away this morning.  

Tonight is one of my family's very favorite meals: beer cheddar Joe's.  I got the recipe from Shay at Mix and Match Mama.  Here's a link for you.  My whole family loves this meal.  When I make it, I serve it with just plain old white bread.  I do make one adjustment to this  recipe, and again, it's salt.  I add about half a teaspoon of salt to the mixture when it's cooked, but start small and adjust, if you need to do that.  It may sound like a lot, that half a teaspoon, but I usually make a double recipe of this.  I also add in a little dash of hot sauce at the end, and I shred my own cheese.  I never buy the bagged stuff, thanks to the inspiration of The Pioneer Woman.  

Tomorrow night is church, so Todd and I will eat leftovers of something, and my boys will eat out after church.  On Thursday night we're going to my in-love's for dinner, and to help them put some things back into their attic, so I won't be cooking then, either.  I'm not sure about the weekend yet.  

My family loves breakfast for dinner, but last week, I made a breakfast casserole, instead, and then we had chocolate chip pancakes as well.  Here is a link for the one I make.  The only adjustment I make is that I leave out the peppers.  Nobody likes bell pepper in the house, except for me.  For the pancakes, nothing beats them made with Bisquick.  

Another go-to dinner is spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, and garlic bread.  (For the picky eaters, I also make some Alfredo sauce.)  I use the Barilla brand for everything.  For the bread, I like to buy a loaf of French bread from the bakery at my grocery store, slice it, then add butter and a sprinkle of garlic powder.  I bake it at 350 for about five minutes, then I turn the oven off and let it sit inside there for ten more.  (We like it softer.)  We also do pizza nights on the weekends usually, and French dip sandwiches with au jus.  (Slice the hoagie rolls, add the meat and cheese, bake for about ten minutes, and I use the packets of au jus.)  There are other meals I make on repeat, but I figured this would be a good start, if anyone is looking for a little dinner inspiration.  

For the rest of this day, I have a bunch of texts to send out, I have a meeting at church at ten with some sweet ladies, I have bible study homework to complete before we meet tomorrow, I'm having lunch with my friend, Eileen, and I have laundry to finish.  It's a bit of a busy day!  

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

Monday, January 21, 2019

Hello Monday/Weekending

Happy Monday!  I am trying a new linkup today, with the blogs you see listed in this photo above.  I am joining in via The Other Side of the Road.  As I write this, the sun is pouring in through the living room doors, and it feels so good!  I've been cold for the last week.  Just in general, I mean, and I keep thinking I'm getting sick, but I feel fine.  (Usually I'm always hot.)

I am so glad to have survived this weekend.  For an introvert like me, it was a busy, people-filled weekend, and I am looking forward to today and being low key.  It was a great weekend, just busy and go-go-go.  We had Christmas with my husband's family on Friday night, even with a full Christmas dinner.  My husband's brother and his family live near Nashville, so they were here for two nights.  My boys always love being with Nathan, their oldest son, because he is the same age as Jonah and Noah.  We've always kind of considered them as triplets, because there are only about three weeks between their birthdays.

Aside from the marshmallows catching fire in their oven, it was a pretty mild night.  (Seriously, there were flames leaping from the oven.  It all turned out fine, though, so no worries.)  Then, on Saturday night, we attended the annual mini-reunion we have every year with all of my dad-in-love's side of the family.  Again, it was a fun night, but that is a lot of people.  I like to find a spot in the corner somewhere and just hang out there, talking to anyone who comes near.  That night got off to a rough start, because I didn't feel great the whole way there, and then as soon as I stepped out of my husband's truck, I stepped into mud and it went IN MY SHOE.  I had to wash it and my foot off in the bathroom, but it was fine.  Then, they had a propane heater out in the garage to warm the area as we ate out there, and it accidentally got turned off, releasing an odor that made me sick again.  Like, I really thought I was about to get sick and had to hurry out of the room.  Aside from the dramatic start to the night, it all calmed down from there and we were able to enjoy ourselves.

Yesterday was church all day, and it was so good!  It always is.  After choir practice last night, I came home and put on pajamas, ate a dinner that consisted of my go-to comfort food, and watched a couple of my shows.  I went to bed pretty early, because weekending is hard sometimes.   Today I have to grocery shop before Drew leaves for work.  He has a part on his truck that needs to be changed, making it a risk for him to drive it, so I'm sharing my car with him for the day.  I also want to spend time reading.  I started a new book on Friday night, and I think it's going to be really good.  I plan on starting a monthly book review post, so you'll want to check back here for that sometime next week.  Aside from the things I've mentioned, I need to do bible study homework, read in the book of Matthew, and I have a TON of laundry to catch up on, and I need to put together an idea of meals for the week.  My house feels gross, so we'll be working on that sometime this week, but I may get a jump start on that today.  For now I'm going to go drink my second cup of coffee for the day and work on the rest of the pot.

What are you up to today?  I'd love to hear from you!  Thanks for reading my blog.  Love to all!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday Favorites

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

I'm also trying a new linkup with a couple of ladies (Liberty and Shelley) on a post called Best of the Weekend.  Click the link with that title and you can go see what that's about. 

It has been a week!  I think this is a new season of being busy for me.  I'm not complaining, either, I really like it, after months of not being busy.  It feels good to have somewhere to go, though, and I've enjoyed getting to know several new friends recently. 

I have some favorite things from this week I thought I'd share with you.

First up is this amazing soup.

Have you tried this stuff?  If you're a fan of Campbell's tomato soup, it's similar, but with WAY MORE flavor.  I don't think I'll ever go back to the Campbell's brand again.  I suppose it's that roasted red pepper part that gives it that punch of flavor.  My mom introduced my family to this stuff a few years ago, when we all had the flu.  She brought over several boxes of this stuff, and it was the only thing Drew could taste while he had his turn with the wicked flu.  So, thanks, Mommy!  This stuff comes in a box, like chicken or beef stock, so I like that you can refrigerate it if you don't want to make the whole container.  You just shake it really well, then pour it into the pan to heat, and you don't have to add anything.  I think I added pepper to mine, because I add that to everything I eat, just about, but that's all.  Easy, quick, and delicious.  If you're feeling extra decadent, try it with goldfish crackers.

Next up: my favorite thing from my birthday weekend in Jackson, Tn.

This key ring is called the Big O key ring.  I've been wanting one of these for over a year, but never could justify spending $40-45 on one.  I kind of gave up looking at them, because even on Amazon, they were pricey.  Then my bestie and I went to Jackson for my birthday one weekend in December, and in browsing cute shops, came across this one, for $25.  (Yes, that is still an expensive key ring, but what else does one spend birthday money on?  It's the one time a year I allow myself to be frivolous with the money I get as gifts.)  I was going to buy it and pulled out some of my birthday money, and then she snatched it out of my hand and bought it for me, along with one for herself.  I LOVE IT.  I still love it, even a whole month later.  I wear it on my wrist (that's the purpose) while I'm out shopping for groceries, or anywhere I'm not going to be inside for long, and it's so convenient.  Here's a link to another one that is about the same price, from Swoozies.

My sister Debi sent me this a while back, and anyone who knows me, knows that coffee mugs are my favorite.  I love this one so much, because every time I use it, I think of her.  Thank you, Debi!  It's one of those been there mugs from Starbucks.  It's also the perfect size that I prefer.  I use it, it gets washed, then I use it again.  It pretty much never gets put back in the cabinet.

This was also a birthday gift that I picked out from my mom and dad-in-love, this lamp, and it is still one of my favorite things in my whole house.  (I took this picture this morning to show my step mom, because she is in need of a small lamp.)  I love lamp lighting, and I had been wanting a small kitchen lamp for quite some time, and one day while we were out Christmas shopping, we stopped by a store that is new to me, that my mom had told me about.  It's called Home Centric, if you're local to me, and it's in the Forrest Hill shopping center, close to the movie theater.  Think HomeGoods, but even cheaper.  This one was only ten dollars!  And the shade came with it, which is usually how they get you, price wise.  I love that it lights up the whole corner of that area in my kitchen.  It takes a regular sized light bulb, and my hubby buys the warm lighting ones that are energy efficient.  Or, more energy efficient.  Like I said, I love lamp lighting, and he knows I like to leave them on while we're home.  I think it makes a space feel cozy.

Side note: the cookbook the lamp is sitting on is my favorite cookbook ever.  It's Southern Living Easy Weeknight Recipes, and a friend recommended it to me years and years ago.  Each recipe only has a few ingredients, and each one takes no longer than about 45 minutes, from start to finish.  You should consider looking into one for yourself.  All the pages are stained from all the love I've given it over the past decade or so, since I got it.  I think it was a gift, as well.

A few favorite moments of the week for me have been times of good discussion when I was in bible study on Wednesday, seeing my mom in person for the first time in about two weeks, being able to help my dad with a few things, reading a book that was so good that I couldn't put it down or stop thinking about it, catching up with a sweet young lady the Lord brought across my path, having good family dinners throughout the week (I LOVE having all my boys at home at night around the dinner table), and spending time talking to each one of them this week.  Like I said, it's been a really great week.

Today my dad is coming over for our weekly date, and I'm running errands with him.  I was up before dawn this morning and couldn't go back to sleep, so I ordered my groceries via Kroger Clicklist.  This is only the second time I've done that, and I literally thanked God for it right after I submitted my order, because today is a tiny bit crazy.  This shaved off thirty minutes of my afternoon.  I also have to run to the library for the third time this week, and to Target for some gift bags.  Tonight we are having Christmas with my in-loves and my husband's brother and his family, and aside from taking all the gifts, I'm also taking a couple of dishes as well, so I'll be cooking this afternoon while Dad is here.  Tomorrow night is our annual Goodwin family mini-reunion, and it's always a (crazy, crowded, chaotic) fun time.  Then I have to be at church early on Sunday morning, and that day is full, as well.  I know the weekend will fly and I'll be glad to have Monday to catch up on rest and house stuff, since we'll be gone a lot.

I better get started with today.  Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

how Marie Kondo motivates me

I can't remember if I've mentioned Marie Kondo on here.  I'm sure I have.  I found her show on Netflix about a week ago and I've already watched all eight or so episodes.  And she is now permanently residing in my head.  I want to clean out #allthethings and I plan on doing more, over time.  I've worked on a few areas already, and I thought I'd share.

But first, if you don't have Netflix, Marie Kondo is the author of a book that was trending for several months called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  Her Netflix Original series is called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.  She is cute as a button, but she does weird things, like introduce herself to the house and bows to it on the floor, and she says that before you decide to discard an item, you should thank it for the years of use it brought you.  I'm not planning on doing any of that, first, because an item is an inanimate object, and no, and secondly because it's weird.  I thank Jesus and people, and that's it.

She also says that when things you own don't spark joy, get rid of them.  Even though that's not how I word it, I see her point with this, because if I don't LOVE something, I won't keep it.  The areas she concentrates on are clothes, books, kitchen, miscellaneous and then she suggests different ways of folding clothes and new ways to store them, and she also suggests that storing things in short, thin boxes helps keep things tidy and easily accessible.  I want to go buy all the thin boxes now, too.  Or trays, those would work as well.  I see a trip to the Dollar Tree in my very near future.

Anyway, I love this kind of show (and have been known to watch other videos that are similar on YouTube), because though it is entertainment, it is the kind that motivates me to do things in my house.  Here are a few areas I've worked on.

This is how she teaches people to fold things in her show, even jeans and t-shirts.  I spent ten minutes on this kitchen towel drawer on Saturday.  Since then, I found a little white box I already had that was empty, and I stored all those stainless steel cup lids you see in the top right corner.

I already showed you this one the other day, but I spent about ten minutes on this cabinet as well.  It was a jumbled, hot mess before this picture was taken, and I couldn't read any of the labels on any of the spices.  I realize this doesn't look great in the picture, but trust me, it is a whole lot better than it was.  I could barely fit that blue container of salt into the cabinet before I cleaned it out!

My husband tagged me in this picture yesterday, and I don't know what nonsense this is.  ;)  I have a book problem, if you can even call it that.  I do plan on cleaning out some of the books I have (I do this one time every year) and I need to organize them better and redo my bedroom book shelf, but I will always have more than thirty books.  I reread them occasionally, and refuse to get rid of my favorites.  But I could definitely stand to donate some to my local library.

See?  Here I am, getting started.  I've read these and don't necessarily want to hang onto all of them.  A couple of these I will pass onto someone I know will love and read them.  These were only on this computer desk that you see.  There are more still up on the shelves, but those are keepers.  I also keep old bible study books I've completed, because I like to go back and look at them from time to time.  I just need to figure out a different place to keep them.  Right now, they're kind of all over the place.  I cleaned out the tupperware cabinet the other day, but I didn't take a picture.  I got rid of all the glass jars I had, because who needs all those?  If it's taking up needed space, it needs to go, because while we do have a good amount of cabinet storage, I need every bit of it.  Today I'll work on a few more cabinets and drawers in the kitchen.  And maybe my bedroom bookshelf.  Maybe.  That may take several hours, though, so it may wait until next week.

Jonah's and Noah's closet stays cleaned out, because it's small.  I just cleaned mine out before Christmas, so it's still nice.  Graham's is decent, though he needs to donate some shirts he no longer wears.  Drew's needs help.  We also plan on doing this in our attic before the warm weather returns.  We just need a whole Saturday, and so far we haven't had one since Christmas.  Maybe next week, we'll do this.

My other huge area that overwhelms me is our tornado closet.  As in, it looks like a tornado blew through it, but really, it is an actual closet under the stairs.  I need to clean off all the shelves and get rid of the games we no longer use, and the old books and school papers.  It stays messy looking because we also store extra things in there, and there are two safes in it, as well.

So, that's how Marie Kondo has motivated me.  Plus it's January, and a great time of year to purge.  I love doing this kind of thing, it is extremely satisfying seeing bags and bags of stuff being hauled out.

Anyone else doing this kind of thing?  I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

simply Tuesday, and about the act of encouraging others

Remember how yesterday I said how much I was looking forward to the company Christmas dinner tonight, and not having to think about what to make for dinner?  It was canceled and postponed until a later date.  I will say, though, that I came up with a yummy dinner idea for tonight!  And I came across a breakfast idea for Drew for this week.  I don't think he minds eating the same thing everyday, but I thought I'd at least buy the ingredients and offer to make this for him some, maybe alternating days.

Needless to say, Kroger is on my agenda for today.  And maybe one other place, but we'll see how much I get done this morning.

At my church, every once in a while, we have this thing called Girlfriend's Cafe.  We all have matching coffee mugs that we take with us when we go, and we enjoy dessert and coffee and fellowship, then someone in our church shares their testimony.  We have them at least two times every year, and it's always one of my favorite events.  I share that because we had one of these last night.  A sweet friend from church shared her story with us, and I know it was not easy for her, because part of her story included sharing about her son, who just recently passed away.  As I sat there and listened to her share, and then after she spoke, seeing so many godly women rallying around her and encouraging her, I was reminded, AGAIN, about how important fellowship is within the body of believers.  If you attend a service each week, I want to encourage you again to get involved.  Get into a smaller bible fellowship class (we used to call these Sunday school classes), or get involved on a Wednesday night in a small group somewhere.  There are so many ways to plug in, and you'll never regret the decision to do just that.

I say it all the time, I don't know what I would do without the women God has given to me in my life.  These are friends that I've met either in church or in a bible study, who are my closest friends.  I cannot imagine not having this in life, and though that is not the reason to become more involved, it is a definitely one of the benefits.  I will just confess here that I am one who very easily makes a friend or two, and then just latches on to them.  I have to pray about this, though, asking God to help me to never exclude people.  I'm not saying that everyone can't have a best friend.  I have one, and I thank God for her, but I can definitely reach out more than to just that one friend.  I'm also not suggesting that we can't ever do something with just the two of us, but God always reminds me that it is better to invite other people alongside us.  I've been the one who didn't have friends, so I remember what that feeling is like.  And all I have to do is remember, and that is like a reality check.

That was a long and roundabout what of encouraging you in your church involvement (church as the building).  If you live close by me and do not have a place to call home where you attend services each week, please reach out to me.  I would love to have you come and be involved.  All of our spring semester classes just began last Wednesday night, so come join us tomorrow night, even!  It's not too late.  I would love to see you there.  I will be in the Malachi Mirror Image study that is offered on Wednesday nights, but there are lots of other options.  If this is for you, reach out to me in some way and I'll help you out all that I'm able to.  Most of the classes start at six thirty, but a few of them start at six.  All that information should be available on our website.  CFBCFamily.org.

I'll be preparing for tomorrow morning and night today.  (Malachi is offered twice every Wednesday, at nine thirty in the morning and at six at night.)  I'll also be starting on my sixth book of the month!  I read that one I got Friday from my happy place and finished it last night.  I'll do a book review at the end of the month, and will try to do one every month in 2019, per request.  (Just a hint: I've only loved ONE of the books I have read so far.  I'm hoping number six will change that.)  So far I've read one nonfiction and four fiction, and it was the nonfiction book I read that I loved.  All the other ones, I found myself hurrying through.  (Anyone else do that?  I can speed read like nobody's business, and I've utilized that skill with all the fiction books so far this year.)

I have loved my Timehop the past few days.  This time last year I was in Denver, for my twin great-nieces first birthday party, and tomorrow, they turn TWO years old!  They have changed so much in this last year.  I'm so thankful for every opportunity I've had to see them, and I'm so glad my family has gotten to know and love them.  It helped tremendously that my nephew got married in 2018, and that they traveled to Memphis a couple of times.  I am reliving my own boys' childhood through seeing my niece raise these miracle angels.  (I will forever call them that, because they are little miracles.)

Look how sweet.  Kinsley (left) and Kylie.  They have grown by leaps and bounds and talk and "read" books, and dance their little tushies off.  Erika is such a great mom to them, and every time I see her with them, I'm blown away.  She is so calm with them and is also fun and laid back and super creative when it comes to cute party ideas.  (I'm so glad I had mine before social media, though, the pressure to live up these days is intense!  I could never have done with mine what moms do today.)  Anytime I think of something I did with mine when they were little, I'll share it with her, because I didn't have anyone to tell me things like that.  Just yesterday I shared a little organization tip with her, on how I would store all their wooden puzzles.  That was our birthday present to the girls, because my own boys loved puzzles, and I figured they would love them, too.  And they do!  :)  That being said, though, I don't overshare with Erika, because I don't need to, and I didn't love a thousand different people giving me advice.  I am all about everyone just finding out what works for them, because each family is so unique.  I try to respect that about moms who are younger than me.

While on that topic, I also never share only the bad stuff.  I think the statement in the American language that I hate the most is, "You think it's hard now?  Just wait until _____________ (fill in the blank)!"  Just yesterday I told someone that.  Every moment in life is hard, whether in parenting or something else.  Every milestone and change is hard, though sometimes fun at the same time.  When my son graduated last year (and my oldest one, the year before that), I didn't want people to assure me that it was going to be okay.  I wanted a moment to cry for a bit, and afterward, I knew I would move on.  And I did.  But sometimes, we just need a moment to experience all the emotions.  I don't like to shy away from them, I think embracing how we feel in all the moments is part of parenting and growing.  My favorite kind of person is one who won't console me, but who will sit with me and just be near, and maybe cry with me.  I try to be that for others, because who wouldn't love someone like that?  And life is hard, y'all.  Life WITH Jesus is hard, but without Him, it would be impossible.  

I say that all the time, about life being hard, even with Him.  But He never promised anything would be easy.  In fact, He promised the opposite.  "I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace.  You will have suffering in this world.  Be courageous!  I have conquered the world."  John 16:33.  I'm so glad I have that peace that only He can offer.  This is another reason why, when I'm talking to young moms, I love to share the good stuff.  I love encouraging younger women.  I love saying to them, yes, it may be hard in this moment, but the good stuff far outweighs the bad.  That little reminder always helped me, when I was in the throes of raising all my boys.  Some days were just killers.  Others were great.  

If you are a younger mom and ever want to talk, let me know!  Or if you're a younger lady.  I love to encourage people, and this makes sense, because the gift of exhortation is in my top three spiritual gifts.  Feel free to reach out to me anytime.  I have a lot of time on my hands, these days, because my kids are all getting older and are around less and less.  God is always so gracious to keep putting people like this in my path.  

I'll leave you with a verse image out of Matthew eleven that I read yesterday, because we all need this reminder, every day of our lives.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  

Monday, January 14, 2019

a few random things

I was going to share about our weekend, but we did absolutely nothing, so there's nothing to share.  (This is not including Sunday, that is always a jam packed day for us, and yesterday was no exception.)  It also rained all day Saturday and I had big plans to get out to the grocery store, but NOPE.  Not in the rain.  I read all day and took a gloriously long nap, because I was freezing.  (It was also cold.)

About those random things. 

Do you ever create a "wish list" on Amazon?  I just added a few items to several lists I have on there.  For instance, on one list I created a couple of weeks ago, I titled it 2019 Books To Read.  I follow a few people who read the same kind of books that I like, so when they do their monthly book reviews, I add books to that list.  I don't always buy the books, either, most of them I borrow from the library.  Occasionally, I will buy one that I think I'll love.  I did this in December with a book that ended up being in my top three books of 2018.  (One Day in December, by Josie Silver.) 

Another thing I just added to a new wish list I created today are these packing cubes.  I have heard several people talk about them, and I want to try them for myself.  Ideally, I would love six sets for the six of us in our family, but realistically, I will try one set before buying five more.  I love the pink ones.  They're not a bad price, either, and though they look small, they hold a ton.  One review I read posted that one of the larger ones held five of her sweaters, and a few tee shirts as well. 

Other things I have on my list are things like a body scrub, Papermate Flair felt tip pens (all mine are almost out of ink), a felt letter board I've been wanting, eye makeup remover pads, and some witch hazel I've been wanting to try (as a toner) but keep forgetting about.  Nothing I need, just things I don't want to forget about.  I use my books wish list all the time, at the library.  I also keep a list in whatever purse I'm currently using, but I like the list, too, in case the piece of paper gets lost. 

Back to my Sunday...after church last night, I did end up at the grocery store.  Drew's spring semester at college started today, and I needed a few things before he had to leave this morning.  He will be at the campus that is located downtown four days a week, and to help him out a bit with gas, I let him have my car.  He promised to add some gas to it each week, because my vehicle gets way better gas mileage than his gas-guzzling truck.  Anyway, I did that after church, then came home and did a few things, and went to bed early.  (And again, I was FREEZING, and couldn't get warm....at one point, I wondered if I was getting sick and had fever, but I feel fine today, so who knows what that was about?)

On my list of things for today is bible study homework, laundry, and cleaning again.  It seems like I JUST dusted, and it's already dusty again downstairs.  I need to do that same thing upstairs, as well.  I'll make dinner for my family and will eat early by myself tonight, because there's a women's event at our church at six.  Tomorrow night we are having what I call the company Christmas dinner.  We used to have this yearly dinner in the month of December, but who has time for one more thing during that month?  So now, we usually do it in December.  My husband and his dad own their own small business, and have for years, and other than one additional employee, the whole thing is family run.  It's always a fun night, and I am looking forward to it, PLUS, I don't have to think about dinner tomorrow night!  Bonus.  (I love to cook, but the thinking about what I'm going to make wears me out.)

I would also love to finish the book I'm reading today, because I have two more waiting on me.  I went to my happy place on Friday and borrowed them.  I may start cleaning out my kitchen cabinets and drawers today, thanks to Marie Kondo and her Netflix show I love.  I did this on Saturday in my spice cabinet (I was inspired by my friend Kelly), and I thought I'd start in the most used room in the house.  I also want to do this in every other room, but after the kitchen, I want to tackle the downstairs hallway and closet in the middle of the house, then I want to do my own room.  I can definitely organize things better in there, because there are two catch-all spots that are bothering me.  Well, I need to get off this computer and get started on this dreary Monday.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

P.s. Here is a before and after picture of the cabinet I completed on Saturday, thanks to my friend.

When my sister Lisa moved, she gave me these spice rack tiers, and I love them.  And now I can read all of what I have.  I threw away a ton of spices that were expired, or that I hadn't used in over a year.  The top shelf is for baking and birthday candles, the middle shelf is where I store recipes mostly and a few rarely used items, and the bottom shelf is definitely the most used.  Oh, and I just found that pepper shaker!  I thought I had accidentally thrown it away a long time ago, but nope, it was just hiding under this bottom tier, and was laying on its side. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Friday Favorites

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

This was a busy week for us!  We had new things start up at church this week, and it just seems like I had multiple places to be every single day.  Yesterday afternoon ended up clearing up for me, though, and it was kinda nice to not have anywhere to be until seven last night.  But more about that in a minute. 

Also, I was enjoying the last of our lazy mornings, because starting on Monday of this coming week, it is back to college classes for Drew.  That just means that when he leaves, he will need have had a hearty breakfast to help him last until early or later in the afternoon.  His schedule is different this semester, and he is at the downtown campus four days a week, with very little time in between classes.  He has a lab at a campus closer to our home, on Fridays. 

On Monday, I grocery shopped for the week, and got an easy dinner ready for the boys, before they watched the big championship game.  We are fans of Alabama football (well, I don't really care about sports at all), and they played (and lost to) Clemson.  I heard Dabo Swinney (the Clemson coach) give an interview a couple of weeks ago, and the minute I heard him speak, I knew he was a believer and follower of Jesus.  Isn't that funny how one can determine that about someone else so quickly?  He was being congratulated on a game well played (and won) in that interview, but he gave accolades to the opposing team and said that they played a great game.  Anyone that humble always stands out to me.  And then after the game Monday night, I heard an interview with him the next day, and he mentioned Jesus and gave all the glory to God. 

Anyone that does that is my favorite type of person.  Someone else said about him that anytime anyone gives Dabo Swinney a microphone, he uses it to tell others about his relationship with Jesus. 

While the game was on, I escaped to dinner with a couple of really sweet friends.  We like to avoid football, if given the opportunity.  ;)

On Tuesday, after a quick morning meeting at my church, I got to go visit my friend Eileen, whom I haven't seen in ages, due to family health problems.  On my way back out later on, I took this picture.

Isn't this beautiful?  First, I love cute apartment complexes.  Second, that sky and the sun shining so brightly, and all those airplane vapor trails are a few of my favorite things. 

I mentioned our church starting back up with regular activities this week, and we started our bible study on the book of Malachi.  I'm so excited about this at my church!  There were so many women who signed up for this, and the "small groups" on Wednesday nights aren't so small!  That is a really great thing to be able to say, and I'm excited at new opportunities God has given some friends of mine and me as we begin this together. 

This was me, the next day, during my quiet time and then afterward, doing bible study homework.  Bible study homework is one of my very favorite things to do, and even though I just completed this one in December, I'm excited to do it again with all these ladies on Wednesdays.  (That bible at the top of this picture is the new Keyword Study Bible I got as a birthday/Christmas gift.) 

While running errands this week, I ran by here, which is one of my favorite places to be.  I plan on going back there today with my Dad to grab some books.  (He loves going here, too.)  I'm almost finished with one and I don't want to be stuck all weekend without another one.

I didn't really get any pictures worth sharing, but last night we celebrated my husband's birthday with dinner out downtown, and then afterward, we passed out blankets and food to homeless people.  The only reason I even mention that, because you know I never want or mean to sound like I'm bragging, is to thank you all for your help in this.  We put out on Facebook that we would be doing this again this year, and many of you donated blankets, food, and money for us to buy food for this night.  If you had any part in that at all, THANK YOU!  We handed out about thirty bags of food (sandwiches, granola bars, peanut butter crackers) and more blankets than that, because many of the ones we saw didn't have anything. 

We are very thankful for your help in that. 

Well, thanks for reading, friends.  See you back here on Monday.  Love to all! 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

"Let's look at..." (a year long monthly series)

I'm linking up with Shay from Mix and Match Mama (and her friend) for this post, called "Let's look at...", and this month it's on the coziest spot in my house.  (Also, I am a day late, so I'll plan better next time.)

I have three favorite cozy spots in my home, and I love them all equally.  They're all very different, too, and serve very different purposes.

Here's my number one spot, though.

This is "my" chair.  If I'm sitting, this is where I'm sitting, and even if someone else is sitting there when I walk in the room, they'll get up to give me the chair.  We bought it back in the late summer/early fall from a friend of mine who was downsizing, and it was in great condition.  It's a Lane recliner, and I am not kidding when I say that this chair feels like a hug.  Everyone should have one such spot in their home, and they should also have an amazing recliner to sit in, because life is short.  It's my best spot to read (and I have an AWESOME reading light that my sweet hubby bought for me when my eyes started giving me fits over bad lighting) because of the light, it's where I sometimes sit and eat lunch while watching a favorite show, and it's the best nap spot in the whole house.  I also sometimes sit and have quiet time here in this spot while our Christmas tree is up.  I love this spot, and I love this chair.

But I also love this spot, in the above picture.  My kitchen table is where I sit and do all my talking to Jesus (other than when I'm driving or doing my makeup) and it's where I read the bible and have quiet time.  (Except for sometimes in the Christmas season, like I said before.)  I love this spot.  Not pictured is a red cabinet that used to belong to my dad that is where I keep all my quiet time resources stored away.  I sit with my back to the kitchen windows, and in the winter time it feels especially nice and cozy when that south morning sun pours in and warms my back.

And finally, I have a third favorite cozy spot, and it is pictured below.

It's our bedroom!  A year ago we redid some rooms in our house and in the process, spruced up ours as well, with new paint in here and in the connecting bathroom, and we got all new bedding.  I have so much to say on this topic of the bedroom you sleep in.  For years, Todd and I neglected this room in our home, because we had young kids, and it was never a priority.  We would redo their rooms and just shove things into our own space, thinking it was better in our room, than in theirs, because it would make their rooms messy.  But our kids are older now, and I have no idea why we waited so long to do this to our room.  We also bought an excellent mattress for ourselves several years ago, and again, I wonder why we waited so long.  Everyone should have an excellent mattress.  Everyone.  If you don't, consider making that a priority to make happen in 2019.

Even if the mattress isn't a possibility, consider switching to a great new pillow, instead, or even change up the bedding.  Small touches like that make such a huge difference.  All this bedding came from Steinmart, and I think that white coverlet was $30.  I ordered a long, drapey dust ruffle off of Amazon, one like this, and the pillows were inexpensive as well.  Like I said, even small changes pack a big punch.

So, those are my spots.  I look forward to seeing other people's spots in their own homes.  Anyone else love looking at other people's houses?!  No?  Okay.

Thanks for reading, friends.  Love to all!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

bible study and resources

I thought I'd share a few resources with you, and the way I have my own personal quiet time each day.  There is no right or wrong way to this, by the way.  The point is to just start, and then be consistent, or as much as you can.  It's still early enough in the month, that anything I am doing, if this is something you want to do alongside me, you can join me and easily get caught up.  These are things I used to share with the teenage girls I helped lead...I don't know if any of them read this anymore, but they loved these kinds of ideas.  Surely someone else will, too.  And who doesn't need inspiration from time to time?

Moving on. 

The first thing I'd like to recommend is joining a bible study.  If you are local to me, and this sounds something you'd like to be a part of, we have one starting tomorrow, at my church, and it is not too late to join!  We are studying the book of Malachi, and this is a thirteen week commitment.  There will be a time to meet with your small group and we will talk about the homework.  The large session is where the author of the study and my friend Amy will teach. 

The "mirror image" part is where we then take what we've learned and see it reflected in our lives.  You can go to CFBCFamily.org and sign up!  The times and days are listed in this picture.  I love this type of study, and this large/small group thing and hope to see a lot of women joining us.  Lord willing, this will continue as the women in our church write more and more studies like this one on Malachi. 

The bible study thing I love most is that it brings about accountability.  To be consistent and to grow in our faith, accountability helps tremendously. 

Aside from bible study, I have quiet time each day.  I always begin with praying and then I ask God to pierce my heart with His word and to change me and help me to know Him more. 

This year, we are reading through the new testament in the bible as a church family.  We were given opportunity to purchase these journals to help us along in that, and though it is GREAT and I have one, it's not needed to read and study this way.  (We are using the HEAR method: Highlight a verse that jumps out, Explain the context, Apply it to your own life, and then Respond to God in prayer.)  I've done this for years now, using a similar method called SOAK (Scripture, Observe, Apply, Kneel in prayer).  I've done this in a spiral notebook and in my current journal.  

I love to "pretty things up" and used Washi tape to decorate the plain old spiral notebook.  Again, the point is to just start reading the word each and everyday and as best you can, be consistent.  

This was the verse I chose that stood out to me today, when I read Matthew six.  I love this verse.

Another thing I do is mark up my bible.  I love to highlight inside wherever I'm reading, and I love to put notes in the margins.  I use black pens and I use Papermate Flair felt tip colored pens, as well.  

The bible I'm currently using is the She Reads Truth bible with wide margins.  The cover is gray linen, and though it won't last long (it's like a hardback book), I love this bible.  

See?  I've done this for so long that I no longer even think about it.  I do this so my boys will have my bibles someday when I am no longer here.  (I have my grandmother's and it is something I treasure.)  

Bibles are meant to be USED, not kept perfect and put on a display shelf.  That is my thinking, at least.  I do know some people who are physically unable to ever ever write inside of a book.  

I love to write scripture and do this in a journal.  You can go to swtblessings.com to print out the January copy.  Writing out the word plants it deep within my heart.  I have pages and pages filled out with scripture I've written out over the years.  This never gets old.  

This last image is one from a couple of years ago.  A sweet lady I follow on Instagram diagrammed something like this and it inspired me to do one of my own.  

This is still pretty much the way I have my quiet time.  (And see?  I really do love that verse...Matthew 6:33.)  In the last year or so (when Chip came to live with us), I pushed back my quiet time until I've had my coffee and "woken up" a bit.  I felt like I was sleep walking my way through it some mornings, and now I sit down to do this around eight something most mornings.  On the mornings when I have to be somewhere early, I really try to be early at this, because I don't like to leave until I've had this time with the Lord.  There are some mornings that there is an exception to this rule, but for the most part, it holds true.  (Sunday morning would be one such day, especially if I'm singing on frontline that day and have to be on stage at eight thirty for rehearsal and sound checks.)  

I am also still using a journal.  I wrote about that last week.  I keep track of everything inside whatever journal I'm currently using, including sermon notes from my pastor's sermons each week.  I take A LOT of notes.  :)  I use one at a time, because if I have too many going, I lose my mind a little.  

So that's how I do things.  I pray this helps someone understand a little more of how to read and study the word of God.  My favorite method is to just go slow.  And the key is starting with prayer.  Thanks for reading!  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...