Thursday, February 28, 2019

What's Up Wednesday, but on a Thursday

I'm linking up with Shay and her friend Sheaffer for this blog post.  Shay is "Mix and Match Mama", and all her recipes are FABULOUS.  Go check out her blog!  Here's a link for you. 

1.  What we're eating this week:

So far, on Monday night we had pizza, I made some crockpot Mexican chicken on Tuesday and then shredded it for nachos, but for me, I ate it as a taco bowl and crumbled a few tortilla chips on top.  It's my favorite thing ever.  I use six chicken breasts, mix in two packets of taco seasoning with some water and stir it well, then pour it over the chicken, adding enough water to cover the meat.  Cook it all day on low, shred it with two forks, and enjoy.  It's delicious.  For my bowl, I added a spoon of rice, a spoon of black beans that were leftover, lots of chicken with the juice, a bit of shredded cheese, some lettuce and hot sauce.  I'm going to the store in a bit to buy some things to get us to next week, and to figure out what's for dinner tonight.

2.  What I'm reminiscing about:

My sisters and a really fun weekend in Nashville back in September, to celebrate Trish's birthday. 

Also, Debi was just in town, and we had such a great time visiting.  I miss them when they're gone.  Debi and Lisa both live near Denver.

3.  What I'm loving:

My local library.  I visit weekly, sometimes bi-weekly.  I'm going today to return and pick up some more, and THIS TIME, I'll have my list. 

4.  What we've been up to:

Debi was in town, so we spent time with family a lot the last few days. 

Jonah has been detailing cars this week, and that is his happy place.

5.  What I'm dreading:

Nothing  I can think of!

6.  What I'm working on:

Um, I don't work outside of my home, but I have a couple of projects I'm wanting to get back to in the next few weeks, and one is a writing project. 

7.  What I'm excited about:

Well, this isn't for me, it's for my hubby, but he was asked to be a part of some special training that is taking place next week in New Mexico!  I'm so excited for him, and he gets to go with his best friend, and that is always so much fun.  I've gotten to do this kind of thing a lot in the last few years~travel, take trips with my best friend~and I am so glad that he is finally getting a turn.  It's an all expense paid trip, and they leave Monday.  I know he is going to have a blast, and I'm proud that he was one of the ones asked to be a part of this.  I'm also really proud of him because he was asked something else recently, but I can't share that just yet.  #proudwifemoment

8.  What I'm watching/reading:

I just finished Parenthood again last night and started over with Gilmore Girls.  Imagine that.  I also recently started the new show New Amsterdam.  I'm reading all the books!  I read five in February, and I need to hurry and finish my current one, because it is freaking me out, and I cannot read scary books when Todd is away.

I'll do a book review later today.

9.  What I'm listening to:

The Holy Roar album by Chris Tomlin, the I Am Reminded album by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, and all the songs for the night of praise that is THIS Sunday night.

10.  What I'm wearing:

Pajamas, at the moment, but I went shopping on Tuesday and hit the clearance jackpot at Steinmart.  I can't wait to wear some of my new things. 

11.  What I'm doing this weekend:

Cooking, Todd is working tomorrow night (most likely), grocery shopping, singing, and getting him ready to leave town for a week.  They've all requested a roast, so I'll do that Sunday night.

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

I have a fun girls' weekend coming up, it's BIRTHDAY SEASON officially starting on March one, I have TWO awesome conferences coming up that I'm attending, and warmer weather and date nights.

This was us on the Peabody rooftop last year sometime and I can't wait to do this again.

13.  What else is new:

I think I covered it all. 

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

weekending/Hello, Monday linkup

I'm linking up with the ladies listed above for this post.  I found this post through a new blogger "friend" I recently came across, and you can find her blog HERE.

My sister Debi flew into Memphis Friday night from Denver, so that is how we got our weekend started.  Drew, Jonah, Noah and I all met her, my mom, and stepdad for dinner at O'Charley's that night.  It is always so good to get to see Debi, and I feel like we've had lots of quality time together, already.  My husband and oldest son worked with the sheriff's department that night, so they weren't with us.  (My husband actually worked all weekend long.)

On Saturday, we had #alltherain.  It was supposed to get really bad here, but I am so glad that the path of the storm turned and we missed most of it, though it did rain good and hard at one point later in the day.  Of course it was right when I was leaving my house.  I hadn't been anywhere all day, and was meeting Debi, Trish (another sister), Mom, and Bill again for dinner, this time for catfish.  It rained scary hard the whole time I was driving, and I could see fine, but I just talked to Jesus the whole time.  Anyone else love to pray and drive?  I feel like it's the only time I'm not really distracted, and I always get some good praying in whenever I'm alone in my car.  After dinner I went to their house and stayed until almost nine.

After church yesterday morning, we all went to lunch (y'all, we never eat out this much) so Todd and Graham could visit with Debi before she leaves again, because our lives are crazy right now.  We ate Mexican this time around (my favorite!), and then I came home and took a ten minute nap before I had to leave again for choir practice.  That lasted until five thirty, then I stayed for church that night (I usually don't), and I am so glad I did.  The service was really sweet and worshipful, and I was emotional the whole time, I think partially because of the dear eighty-eight year old man that sat next to me.  The whole time we were singing worship songs, he was singing the tenor part, and he was taking notes in his bible, which was worn out from years of use, and he was affirming my pastor as he preached, and would interject, "That's right.", or "Amen!".  It was the sweetest night.

And y'all.  My pastor can PREACH.  He was preaching on the antichrist last night, from 2 Thessalonians 2.  It was fascinating, and for the second time that day, he was fired up.  I love a great church service, don't you?  Our church has gone through a lot of change this last year, but I keep feeling like God is right on the verge of doing something so big within this body of believers.  We are reading through the new testament this year as a church family, and I have never been a part of something like that before.  It is AMAZING.  Each week our pastor preaches from one of the chapters we read that week, and we're all praying for him to be used by the Holy Spirit as he has his own quiet times each day.  There is something about unity in a body of believers that is powerful!  We're always praying that would continue.

I am so thankful God put us here at Collierville First Baptist.

Today I'm doing bible study homework and some things pertaining to that and housework.  I ordered my groceries for the week through Kroger Clicklist, and y'all.  That is a blessing!  I share my car with Drew four days every week, so that his gas guzzling truck won't drain his bank account, and this makes grocery shopping tricky sometimes.  I called him last night and asked if he would mind swinging by Kroger and picking up the groceries for the week, if I ordered them and paid online.  Of course, he didn't mind, and he is doing just that between eleven and twelve today.  I don't say that this is a blessing lightly, I truly mean it.  I always thank God for them as they deliver them to my car and pray for them as they load them up for me, especially if they're doing it in the rain, like one day last week when I did the same thing.  It is worth the five bucks extra, trust me!

Also, I don't love Kroger, and this makes it so much more pleasant.

I have plans tomorrow, Wednesday, and almost every night this week, so it's a busy week, but I don't mind that.  This coming Sunday night is the first night of praise for 2019 at my church, and if you're local to me, I'd love to have you come!  This is NOT a concert or performance, this is a night of praise and worship.  The songs are easy enough for people to sing along with us, even though some of them are new.  The words are always on the screen, and we'll also be singing some old favorites.

Here's some information, if you're interested!  It lasts about an hour and a half.

Well, I need to get moving on this day.  Have a great one, friends, and thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Friday Favorites

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

As I type this, it is raining where I live.  Again.  I really try not to complain about the weather, because the Lord always gives us whatever is needed, but it's hard to stay positive when it has rained an inordinately huge amount these past few weeks.  Also, if it weren't for our dogs, I would always love rain, but when you have dogs that don't like to go out in it to take care of their business, get my drift.  As of right now, this is supposed to go on until tomorrow night.  (It started at 3 p.m. yesterday.)

Moving on now, and asking forgiveness for complaining.

This has been a strange week.  It went by fast, for which I'm thankful, because we've all been a little under the weather.  We've all had colds or sinus problems, nothing serious, just enough of a "sickness" to make us feel kinda bad.  I think my husband had it the worst, because his started about a week ago, and then he had to work really hard at our church for a youth event all weekend.  I think part of what made his so bad was sheer exhaustion.  I'm glad to say we're all feeling better for the most part, but because of that, things have been on the mundane side this week.  Nothing earth shattering happened, and we really didn't do a whole lot of anything.

I made a really good dinner Monday night, thanks to my friend Lori, who gave me her recipe. 

This was the makings for creamy chicken noodle soup.  It was DELICIOUS.  I posted a recipe on Facebook for it, under this picture, so if you want to check it out, you can find it that way.  This might be my favorite version of chicken noodle soup that I have ever had.  Nothing tastes so good when you are sick!

I posted about this book on Instagram this week.  My friend Denise gave me this years ago, and it's one of my favorite books that I own.  It's also falling apart, from years of use.  When my prayers start to sound a little redundant, I like to pull this out.  It's filled with scripture you can pray over situations in your family life, and for prayers you can pray over your family.  I love praying the word of God back to Him. 

This was me during my quiet time on Tuesday.  Mornings like this are my favorite.  I sat down to pray and to read the bible, and a whole two and a half hours later, I was cleaning up for lunch.  And yes, I use all those bibles you see pictured.  I love reading different translations and versions of the bible, and I love looking up what the words mean in their original language.  I realize this just validates that fact that I am a nerd, but I can't help myself.  God has made me fall in love with His word and I don't ever want to take that for granted. 

I also loved where I wrote scripture from that day, and it's one of my favorite stories in the bible, the healing of the lady with the issue of blood in Luke 8.  When I read, I always pray first.  I ask God to help me know and to understand what I'm reading, I ask Him to speak to me through His word, and I ask Him to pierce my heart with His word.  And He always does all that I ask.  Not every morning turns into two and a half hours, but anytime with Him is so good.  Prayer is the key to reading the bible, though, and many people don't know that.  If we don't pray, we're just reading words on a page, and they end up not meaning anything to us.

This is why I love reading slowly through God's word.

A couple of my favorite boys are in this picture.  Alabama sweatshirt and two over toward the right.  This is just the tenth grade boys at D-Now last weekend.  I think this was their favorite one yet.  They stayed at the church and had fun all being together.  Usually they're split up between three houses. 

Well, that's about all we've been up to.  The only other thing I did this week was bible study on Wednesday.  That has become my favorite week day, because of all the sweet ladies I get to see.  I have loved getting to know some new friends since we started this in January.  I hope your weekend is great!  I'm looking forward to seeing my sister Debi this weekend.  She's flying in tonight from Denver and we always get together a lot when family is in town.  Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  This whole day and weekend are JAM PACKED, and I am going to write this and then I'll basically be running through the rest of my day.  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, for this post. 

It's been a really good week.  It's gone by fast, which shouldn't surprise me anymore, but it still does.  I haven't seen a ton of my husband, because he's been working at our church every night, to prepare for this weekend, but more about that in a minute.

Here are some of my favorites from the week.

I was standing at the stove cooking dinner on Monday night, when I took this.  This little corner in my kitchen is my favorite, with a bunch of other favorite things.  I got that lamp for my birthday, and I love how it brightens up what was a dark corner in the kitchen.  Those cook books you see?  They're my favorite, especially the one on top.  I love my little frame with a favorite passage out of Isaiah, and just a couple of months ago, I bought that utensil jar from HomeGoods.  The Dutch oven lid you see is my favorite pot that I own.  My mom bought it for me as a gift while I was recovering from surgery a few years ago, and I use it almost every single day. 

I also love that on this night, my sister Trish came and had dinner with us. 

On Tuesday, I went to my favorite place in town (and my happy place, the local library) and got a pretty good collection of books.  I've already read one of them.  It was SO GOOD!  It reminded me a bit of the Mitford books.

After I took this, I ran to Kroger, then I went to my friend Eileen's house.  We meet every couple of weeks and get all caught up on life and such, and on this day, we sat at her table and just talked about what the Lord was showing us in our lives through our bible reading.

I love this woman so much, and I've not even known her that long.  She had THREE bibles laying open on her kitchen table that day, and I laughed later on, because last week, I had three on my table one morning as I did my bible reading and bible study homework.  We're a lot alike.

Avocados for lunch are my favorite.  So are bible study days, for that matter, and this was what I ate on Wednesday. 

I came home that day and had two cards waiting for me in the mail!  I feel so fortunate.  This one was from my dad, and I teared up when I read what he had written.

And this one was from my best friend.  Cards in the mail are one of my very favorite things ever!

I also got candy from my mom, and she and my sister made some goodies for the boys (brownies and cupcakes), and then last night we ate dinner with my in-love's, so it was a great day.

I used to always cuddle my kids, but now I do this with my animals.  If I sit down, this kitty is in my lap.  Here we were yesterday afternoon, while I was trying to read my book.

But then later on, I got this picture, without her.  I finished a really good book yesterday, and I read most of it yesterday, in between doing things around the house.  I'll share about this more next week, when I do my February book review.

I love days like yesterday.  I had nowhere to be until after six, most of my house things were done early on in the day, I caught up on laundry again (I always fall behind on Wednesday), the weather was nice outside, it was just a quiet, peaceful day.  Those are always my favorite.

This weekend is crazy because it's D-Now weekend for three of my boys.  Graham is a leader again, and Jonah and Noah are participating.  This weekend is like a weekend long retreat, but it's in town and at host homes in our area.  (Except that Jonah's and Noah's grade boys are staying at the church, which they're so excited about.)  There's always a preacher they get to come speak, a band that leads worship, and they'll have activities tonight and tomorrow morning and afternoon.  Lunch and dinner will be eaten at church tomorrow, and breakfast on Sunday, then after morning church, they'll be dismissed to come home again.  There is a special service that night that will officially end the weekend. 

This year is bittersweet for me, because for the first time in a long time, I will not be a leader.  I'm not really involved in youth anymore, and while I'm excited for the boys, I'm a little sad for me.  It works better this way, though, because it's hard to have our animals be alone all day.  This way I am free to come home and take care of them, and then I'll also be hanging out at church with them.  Tonight I'm doing registration and tomorrow night I'm helping serve dinner. 

(Todd is always part of the tech team, so he is there as well.  Drew isn't going at all this year, he's no longer in youth, and he didn't want to be a leader.  Which is good, because for half a day tomorrow, he has to go through a CPR course for his work.)

It'll be a busy weekend, but a fun one.  Speaking of, I had better get moving.  I have a list waiting on me!  Thanks for reading, I hope yours is great.  Love to all! 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Let's Look linkup (a day late)

I'm a day late to the linkup party, but better late than never!  I meant to write this on Tuesday night, but life just happens, and I forget all the things.  I'm joining these two ladies whose blogs are listed above for this linkup.  Here's the Mix and Match Mama blog for you, if you've never checked her website out, you should.  Some of our favorite recipes that I make today are from her. 

I love to read.  You know that by now, even if you're new here.  I first fell in love with reading when I was seven years old and in the last half of my first grade year.  I had this incredible teacher, Mrs. Shaw, who encouraged us to pick books we loved and to read as often as we could.  My first book that I ever read was a Garfield book, and then I was hooked forever.  When I was young, my favorites were Nancy Drew books, The Babysitter's Club books (I had all of both series), and Sweet Valley Twins. 

In high school, my book choices grew up a little, and my favorite books were the Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn, Sweet Valley High by Francine Paschal, Goosebumps by R.L. Stine, anything and everything by Judy Blume, all of the Christopher Pike books, and Mary Higgins Clark books.  By the time I graduated, my mom and I were sharing all the books we read and to this day, are still continuing in that tradition.  I love all the books. 

I remember when I was a teenager and with my dad on Saturdays, before I drove myself, he would drop me off at my favorite used bookstore in Germantown, The Book Depot, at ten or eleven and pick me up four hours later.  I would get lost in the shelves and would read anything and everything I could get my hands on.  Nowadays, most of my books come from my happy place, a.k.a. the local library.  Here I was just Tuesday, with my latest book haul.  Sometimes I buy books I know I will love from Amazon or Costco.  (I just bought one at Costco last Friday.)

If I could do two things over, in the raising of my children, it would be to homeschool them from the start of their school career and to teach them to love to read.  By the time they were doing book reports in public school on books they hated, it ruined their love of reading.  They will read the required reading for schoolwork, but that's about it for them.  I won't say they HATE reading, because they've all read books for pleasure, but they definitely do not share my love.  That breaks my heart.  This is why, when asked about homeschooling, I tell people to read all they can with their kids, from early on and to never stop.  Kids are smart and understand far more than what we give them credit for, in my opinion, and if you make it a habit early on, they'll never depart from it.

Here is a bit of what I love to read, and some of my favorite books of all time. 

First off, this is what I love to read the most.

The living, active word of God.  This is the one book I will read over and over and over again until the day Jesus calls me to His side in heaven, and it is the one thing I memorize and study and write out.  Talk about teaching them when they're young and them not departing from it, THIS is what I taught my kids with.  They've all grown up in a home that loves and lives for Jesus.  They've been taught from birth, practically, to walk in His ways, and I pray and trust in Him that they will never stray from Him.  Even if they do stray from Him, I pray it's not for too long a time, and that the Lord would keep them all on a short tether.

I read my bible everyday, almost.  (Sundays are the days I almost always skip, but I'm getting the word from our preacher on that day, so I am still "reading" it, even on off days.)  Sometimes I do this in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon (like yesterday), and sometimes I do this at night.  God is not legalistic about the time I spend with Him, and when it is, just so long as I spend time with Him. 

Along with this, I am always in a bible study of some sort, so I will add that to things I read.  My current study is called Mirror Image, and it's a study on the book of Malachi.  It was written by a good friend of mine, Amy Dobson, who goes to the same church as me and is the women's ministry leader at Collierville First Baptist Church. 

On a lighter note, here are a couple of my favorite recent reads from December. 

This book was SO GOOD. 

And so was this one.

(I miss Christmas.)

I haven't had as much reading success in February so far, but I'm still hopeful that one of the ones I picked up on Tuesday will be great and that I'll be unable to put them down.  That is my favorite!

If I had to pick my favorite book(s) of all time, it would be a tie between two series.  I love them equally and I have read both series at least five times.  I read them over again every other year.

This is one book from the Yada Yada series by Neta Jackson.

These books inspire me in my prayer life.  Any book that does that is a win for me.  These are the books that made me want to find a prayer partner, or group. 

I love them all and cannot say enough about them.  If you've not read these, give them a try! 

And my other favorite series of books of all time are from Robin Jones Gunn.

These are the Sisterchicks series of books by the same author I loved as a teenager.  I love all of her books, but this series wins the title of first place tie in my heart.  These are Christian fiction, and they inspire me to never put anything or anyone above God's place in my heart, and they also inspire me to be a good friend to the ones God has given me. 

These are the ones that I would call "comfort books" (better than comfort food), and my go to, if I ever get in a reading rut.  Don't take my word for it.  Give these a try for yourself! 

What are some of your favorite books and authors?  I would love to hear from you.  Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

weekending/dreary Monday

Todd and Graham were out of town for most of the weekend, so things were pretty low key around here.  On Friday night, Noah went to a friend's house, and Drew stayed at the neighbor's house, because he was watching their cat.  So, Jonah and I were here alone.  I had been craving fried rice, and wanted to attempt to make it, so after using Google to find the recipe that looked the best, this is what we had for dinner.  (When I made this, I thought four of us would be eating it, so I doubled the recipe.  There was plenty, needless to say, but it was finished off last night.)

It was SO GOOD.  Here is a recipe for you. 

I made a couple of changes to the recipe.  First, I used half olive oil and and half sesame oil to fry the egg and saute the veggies.  I also added a splash of both oils while cooking the rice prior to this.  (This recipe works best if the rice is leftover or made early in the day and completely cooled.)  Second, the veggies I used were a whole bag of frozen peas and carrots.  They were perfectly diced.  I just let them drain in a colander so that they would be thawed.  The recipe didn't call for a garnish of toasted sesame seeds, but it was much better with them, because it added a little crunch to each bite.

Seriously, you should try the recipe.  It makes for great leftovers, too, which I didn't think would be the case.  I had this for lunch, and so did Noah, and then Drew finished if all off for part of his dinner last night, along with the leftovers we brought home from Nana's and Big Daddy's Saturday night.

For the rest of Friday night, Jonah worked on polishing my car.  He got a polishing tool for Christmas, and he has been wanting to try it out.  He worked on it Thursday, and Friday, Saturday, and again last night.  He's still not done.  #perfectionist

On Saturday morning, I went to a baby shower for a sweet friend, then came home and took Jonah to Popeye's for lunch.  I got gas and tried to find a new shirt of pair of pants (for the second weekend in a row) and didn't, so I came home and watched a show.  Drew and Jonah went to Drew's team's basketball game (Drew is a coach this year).  That night we went to my mom's for dinner. 

Todd and Graham made it home safely around one thirty a.m., praise God.  I always worry when I know they're tired and on the road.

Sunday was church all day, which I love.  It's not "church", necessarily, but choir for me starts each week at three in the afternoon and lasts until five thirty, so it does kinda feel like it.  I came home and made us a quick dinner, then I sat and read.  I had to quit the book I was reading, and so I started a new one I bought, and I'm thinking I may have to quit this one as well.  February hasn't been a great month so far, for reading.  Hopefully that'll change.  Poor Toddley, he went to bed before eight and slept until seven thirty this morning.  He was exhausted.

I'm home all day long today, and I am so happy to be.  I have plans to catch up on laundry, clean the downstairs, vacuum, enjoy a long quiet time, catch up on bible study homework, read, and eventually, cook dinner.  Sounds like a perfect Monday to me, because it's supposed to rain on and off all day. 

Well, thanks for reading my blog.  I hope your day is great.  Love to all!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Friday Favorites

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

I wrote a whole long blog post yesterday, about what has been rolling around in my brain, and it left me feeling kinda raw and vulnerable.  I decided not to let the blog post go straight to the other forums it usually goes to after I hit "publish".  I kinda chickened out with it, once I was finished and had read the entire thing again.  Also, I feel like for the rest of the day, I wrestled with some other things I couldn't get off of my mind, and after much prayer, and tears, I let it all go.  It was an emotional day, but it started that way when one of my sons came to me with an Instagram post the son of my friend who died in the fire before Christmas shared.  He told me what the young man said in his post on Instagram, and then he left the room, because I think it got to him.  Even writing that makes me well up with tears.  When I went to look at his post myself, the minute I saw it, it took my breath away.  It was a picture of him hugging his mom, and him saying how much he missed her and her hugs. 

Goodness, I have to stop, or I'm going to get started all over again.  The reason I even share all that is to say that yesterday was a DAY, if you know what I mean, and also that when words fail, prayers go straight to Jesus.  I love what Psalm 56:8 says: "You yourself have collected my wanderings.  Put my tears in your bottle.  Are they not in your book?"  And if you want to pray for this young man, and his whole family and dad, your prayers would not be wasted. 

Some days are harder than others, but I cannot picture what a day without Jesus would look like.  Also, some days the enemy really messes with me, and I think this happened yesterday, now that I'm looking back.  For anyone who thinks he is not real, read 1 Peter 5:8.

Moving on to much lighter things, now.

This was on my Timehop this week.  I think this was five years ago, when Drew used the camera on my phone to zoom in and take pictures of these snowflakes that were on the back of my Suburban.  I remember him doing this like it was yesterday, and I remember being in awe of our Creator God when I looked at these.  I had never seen snowflakes up close before, and I thought the design we drew as young children in art class was a made up version of a snowflake.  It amazes me how intricate and unique each one is. 

This is one of my favorite pictures he has ever taken, and he has taken some pretty amazing pictures.

This piano is probably my favorite thing in my entire house.  I rarely show it, because weeks go by and this will sit untouched.  Or months, even.  One night this week when Todd ended up working late, I sat down to piddle around on this after dinner.  I say "piddle around", because I do not formally play.  I have some songs I've taught myself over the years, like Lean On Me, and an old song by Richard Marx from back in the day, but that's about the extent of what I know.  I can play all the scales and with both hands and I can play them with my left hand playing the harmony.  I found a chord tutorial video on YouTube, though, and ended up learning two worship songs.  I don't know if I could play them again right now if I were to sit and try again, but on that night, I could, and I even sang along.  (Kind made me mess up more, though.  That makes me laugh at myself.)

Though it does need a good tuning, it still sounds remarkably well, for it to have been so long.

I took this yesterday morning, after I folded a load of towels.  This tea towel is my favorite.  It gets used, and washed, then put out again.  When I posted this picture yesterday morning, I had no idea how true it was going to be for the rest of my day.  Also, the blanket it sits on is one of my favorite blankets ever. 

And lastly, my quiet times this week have been some of my very favorite.

I read Matthew 27 this week along with my church family, about the crucifixion of Jesus, and I cried like a baby.  I do this every single time I read about this, and the pain and suffering that Jesus went through.  I never want to "get over" what He did for ME by dying on the cross.  And every time I finish reading about this, I pray, and every time when I tell Him thank You for what He did, it never seems adequate.  It could never be enough, just to say those words.  He knows my heart, though, and how much He means to me and how I mean those words from the very depth of my soul, so I have to trust that He hears me when I say them to Him. 

Speaking of reading in my quiet time, I need to get started on this beautiful day.  My dad is coming over today, and we're making a Costco run while he's here.  I have a few things I'd like to get done before he comes in a couple of hours.  Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

This week is flying right by!  I am so glad it's Thursday, and a day I can stay home.  Especially because the weather is supposed to turn gross later on, and even though I may not know what's for dinner now that I canceled my dinner plans with my in-love's, I'm okay with this.  I'll figure something out, I'm confident, because we still have lots of food and leftovers from the past couple of days.  

Yesterday morning as I was getting dressed and ready to leave for bible study, I was also busy getting my husband and oldest son out the door.  They left town and won't be back home until late Saturday night.  Every year they work a D-Now event in Mississippi that is huge.  They do all the setup, technical (lights, sound, video), and tear down for a local production company.  It's become tradition by now, and the extra money is always nice.  I never sleep quite as well, when Toddley is gone, and this was true last night.  I was ready to get up at three, then again at five.  I finally came downstairs at five thirty.  I also go to bed extremely early every night, so by ten o'clock, it's pitch black all over the house, with the exception of the lights from whatever screen my boys are looking at (Netflix, Xbox).  I'm always a little uneasy.  I have no reason to be, I just always am.  I am very thankful for our three dogs...two of them have mean barks, and it's like a built in alarm system.  ;)

Except for Chip.  His bark sounds like a little girl screaming.  I kid you not.

Moving on, now.

Recently, I have had a few conversations with friends about old hurts that I've had in my life.  Some are from forever ago, and some are pretty recent.  I am sad to say that some of the most painful hurts I have ever experienced have come from within the church (the body, not a building).  

I'm currently doing a bible study on the book of Malachi with some precious ladies every Wednesday where we attend weekly services, and it is CRAZY how relevant this old testament book in the bible is for this present day and age.  This is my second time going through the study since last August.  I am still getting things out of it, and new things from the first time.  It's so interesting, how God's word works.  It is truly living and active, like it says in Hebrews 4:12, and it pierces our hearts.  That just means that no matter how many times you've read something, you may "see" something new for the first time.  I like to think of this is as God's highlighter.  In doing this study, I've been thinking about things and situations, like those old hurts I mentioned before.

I suppose the struggle for me is that some of the hurts have come from people within a leadership position within where we attend services.  (And don't try to go guessing about who this is; it is nobody who is in a position currently, and it is not even necessarily where we attend right now.  This spans over about three decades.)  This gets me to thinking about those priests in Malachi, who were far from God.  Even though they were supposed to be leading the people they were in charge of, they were so far from God that they caused many to stumble.  It makes me wonder, how in the world did they get from one point to the extreme opposite?  Was it weariness?  Burn out?  Their eyes were no longer on God, but on the circumstances around them?  I'm not making excuses for them, but just hear me out for a few minutes.

It sounds like it would be easy for any one of us to also become that way.  IF we take our eyes off Jesus.  I always say that nobody is immune to falling from God.  I do believe that once we have received salvation, nothing can no longer separate us from Him (Romans 8:38-39), but we can certainly stop prioritizing Him in our lives, and if we do this for too long and are not very careful about guarding our relationship with the Lord, before we know it, we too could suddenly be very far from Him.  

I will give you an example.  In my own life, if I neglect to spend time with the Lord every morning, things slowly begin to spin out of control.  I'll be okay if this happens for a day or two, maybe three at the most, but any more than that, I become irritable, I snap easily at everyone around me, I don't spend as much time thinking on things of the Lord, and every relationship in my life suffers.  I am speaking from personal experience, trust me on this.  (Also, I know people who are going through this RIGHT THIS MOMENT, who were once close to the Lord and are suddenly far from Him.)  If I am not reading His word daily, His instruction becomes less and less in my everyday life, and I grow farther away from Him in our relationship.  

I'm going to stop here and say that sometimes this just happens, and when that happens, God is always so merciful to us and He extends grace to us.  Sometimes sickness can cause us to abandon our daily routine, or a circumstance in life that is out of our control.  In that kind of situation, God is not legalistic about how much time we spend with Him or even if we miss a few days of reading His word.  

What I am talking about above is more of a choice, and it's based upon laziness, or distraction, or being too busy, or maybe us not choosing what is more important--spending time with Him or doing something else that takes us away from that time.

Proverbs 4:23 addresses this.  "Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life."

And also, what is in our heart overflows into our mouths.  Luke 6:45 talks about this.  "A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart.  An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart."

The heart and the mouth are connected, so my point is, is that if God's word isn't in my heart often (daily, even hourly sometimes), the junk in my heart will start to bubble up and spill out of my mouth.  We know this is true, because Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"  

Again, I'm thinking of situations I've been in throughout life that are hurtful, and God is reminding me that though these people said or did something hurtful, whether purposefully or not, they are human and as believers and followers of Jesus, we all battle our flesh, or our sinful nature.  That is why we need Jesus.  It's like the old picture of spending time with your best friend.  Don't you want to talk to them often and spend all the time you can with them?  If you don't see them or talk to them for long periods of time, it seems as if they lose their place of importance in your life.  You grow farther and farther away from them.  On the flip side, if you make time to talk to them or see them often, you grow closer to them.

All this just makes me think of living a life filled with integrity.  I'm not saying perfection, because nobody is perfect.  The Lord sanctifies us every single day, and that will continue until He calls us to His side.  If I am walking closely with the Lord, as I claim to be doing, that should be evident in every area of my life.  It should come out in my talk, what I do in my own private time when nobody is watching me, how I treat people, what I speak when others are listening, in my thoughts.  Also, if we are someone in a leadership position, we have to be extra careful, because we could either turn people TO the Lord, or our words could cause someone to stumble.  As I am learning in Malachi, the priests in that day did just that (causing many to stumble), and God does not like it when someone messes with one of His own.  A verse we looked at in our homework last week was Zechariah 2:9.  "...for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye."  
If I am reading His word daily, friends, I am being convicted of multiple things daily.  If you're reading God's word and you're not being convicted, maybe there is a heart problem.  I don't mean read as in hurry through your daily reading just to get it checked off your list.  I mean read the word slowly and savor every single letter.  Start in prayer.  Ask God for help in knowing and understanding what you read.  Ask Him to pierce your heart through His word and to change you through the reading of it.  Ask Him to give you eyes to see and ears to hear what He is showing you in His word.  If you pray that, I promise you, He will answer.  And He will bring about conviction and change.   

Now, in those old hurts in my life.  Whether apologies are ever said, I must forgive.  Read what Ephesians 4:32 says.  

"And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ."  

Whether an "I'm sorry" is ever uttered or not, I am to forgive.  God has forgiven me, and if He has done that, who am I to withhold that from someone else, especially a believer?  Something else I can do is ask God for help in moving on in life.  This is especially hard when something like this comes from someone within the church (again, the body, not a building).  We are all imperfect human beings.  For those of us who are believers and followers of Jesus, sometimes we say or do the most hurtful things.  Everyone does this in one way or another, but we must also remember that the world is watching our every move.  The bible clearly states that we are to be set apart (1 Peter 2:9).  

Well.  I suppose that went on for a little longer that I'd intended, but I pray these words encourage someone other than myself today.  I always think that if I'm struggling with this, surely someone else is, too.  Thanks for reading my blog.  Love to all.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Prime Purchases link up

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I am doing (yet another) link up today, since I love them and "meet" new people via their blogs.  Also, I love seeing what other people buy on Amazon Prime, and I am always on there looking, even though I don't usually make a purchase.  I have all kinds of things saved to lists, though, like books and things I'd like to buy eventually. 

I'm linking up with Tanya at The Other Side of the Road again, for this monthly series.

Five days into the new year, I purchased these puzzles for my great nieces birthday, a kind similar to this.

They are easy for them to do, at two years of age, they are wooden, and they're simple.  All those factors made them an easy choice for a gift.  They love books, and I started to get them each a book, but my boys LOVED these kinds of puzzles when they were young.  Click HERE to see which ones I picked for them.  The ones I picked were Farm and Vehicles.  They were a hit, so I'd call that a win. 

My next purchase for the month is this quick dry polish, by Seche Vite. 

I always use this stuff.  Always.  I polish my nails every few days, and if that is something you do yourself, this is a must have.  It's what a lot of salons use in their manicures.  It's like a top coat, but once you apply it, the polish is totally dry in about twenty minutes.  I'm still careful, because if you hit your nail hard enough, it'll mess up, but to the touch, they are dry.  HERE it is on Amazon. 

A bottle of this stuff lasts about four months, because once it gets to a certain point, it gets gummy, and you just have to toss it.  Adding polish thinner takes away its fast drying abilities.  Ask me how I know.  Thankfully, it's inexpensive.

Next up, is this book.

Nowadays, I don't buy a lot of books.  I like to borrow them from the library.  This is one that sounded so good to me I wanted to buy it, so that I could share it afterward.  I love sharing books and love having books shared with me.  HERE it is on Amazon. 

(I have a library book to finish, then I'm going to read this one next.  I'm on book two for the month so far, so this will be number three.  To read my January book review, scroll down a couple of posts, I mixed it in with Friday Favorites last week.)

And last, but not least, I bought this polish.

I mentioned that I do my own nails, and I recently had to throw away a bunch of old polishes I'd had for YEARS.  I am slowly building my collection back up, and this is one of my favorite colors ever.  It's called Alpaca My Bags.  HERE it is on Amazon. 

PSA: I know that $10.50 sounds like a lot for polish, but no other polish goes on as smoothly or lasts as long as OPI.  I've tried a lot of brands, including all the drug store brands like Sally Hansen and Revlon, but they cannot compete.  I've also tried Essie, and while I also like that brand and it goes on smoothly, it chips very quickly on my nails.  I don't know why.  I know people that prefer Essie over OPI.  I'm on OPI girl, plus, with names like that, who wouldn't be?!

Also, I do my own nails, and I buy a new color every two or three months.  I was spending $20 every week and a half getting my nails done with gel polish at a salon, so I'm saving big time by doing my own now, and my nails are getting healthy again.  Gel polish tore my nails up and made them tissue paper thin.  They're still not great, but they're getting better.

I've already purchased several things from Amazon this month.  I'll share them next month, though, but they were either for my sister or for a gift for a baby shower I'm going to on Saturday.  With their prices and free two day delivery for Prime members, you cannot beat Amazon shopping.  Sometimes, I do prefer and actual brick and mortar store, like for clothes and shoes, but I've never been dissatisfied with our Amazon purchases.  Almost all of our Christmas gifts were purchased through Amazon this year, and it's like that every other year as well.  In the month of December, we have guys showing up with packages multiple times everyday, plus, Graham buys truck things through Amazon, and my hubby is always purchasing things through them as well.  Someday, I think Amazon may take over the entire world.  I cannot even remember what we ever did without it!

Thanks for reading, friends.  Love to all. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

a little bit of weekending / Hello Monday link up

Thanks, Google Images, for your image. 

Good morning and happy Monday!  I'm linking up with Tanya over at The Other Side of the Road for this post, and meanwhile, I thought I'd share a little of the weekend we had.

On Friday night, we all kinda went our separate ways.  Todd and Graham (my hubby and oldest son, for anyone new) went to a conference for men at our church called Men Matter.  I'm so glad our church did this for the men around town, because as the heads of the home, they have a lot on their shoulders.  Men need friends, perhaps even way more than women.  They really enjoyed the night, and this went through Saturday around lunch. 

While they were gone, Drew, Jonah and Noah went to Taco Bell for dinner.  Later on, Noah went to a friend's house to spend the night.  While they ate dinner, I went to dinner with my best friend.  We promised each other back in December that we would make time to be together more often, since it seems like we NEVER see each other nowadays.  We ate dinner at Huey's, and sat and talked for a good, long time.  I dropped her back off at home, and headed back to mine.  The guys came home and we chatted, then I went to bed. 

They went back to the conference on Saturday morning, and Drew and Jonah went to a basketball game that Drew coached, and I went shopping.  I really need pants, and went to buy some, but even though I found some, none of them screamed for me to buy them.  I'll wait a little longer to buy some.  (I HATE shopping.)  I grabbed some breakfast from McDonald's while I was out, then went to Kroger to grocery shop for the week.  I came back home, changed into comfy clothes and took a nap.  I also read my book, which I finished that night, and then started a new one.  I also started our dinner early, around two, because it had to simmer for three hours.  It was good, and I've made it before, but it made me have instant heartburn, so I was miserable for the rest of the night. 

Yesterday morning found us at church, bright and early for both Todd and me, and then after church I did a few things around the house to get ready for that night.  The boys all ended up having friends over to watch the game, and we had a house full.  I actually left, though, and took some cake to my friend's house and we sat and talked and unmuted the tv every time the commercials came on.  The game would come back on, and we'd turn the sound back off.  I'm laughing at that.  Nobody was at her house, and mine was full, so it seemed like a good idea to go see her and visit for about half the game.  We even watched part of the half time show, but turned it off as well.  We just had zero interest in watching. 

It was a great weekend.  We had lots of time together, which makes my heart smile, and it was restful, even if a little busy.  For today, I have a few things to do involving cleaning and laundry, we have a garage door repairman coming to give us a quote for repairing the door that broke on Friday night, and I'm catching up on bible study homework that I didn't do on Saturday.  I know what's for dinner tonight, and I couldn't be happier about that little fact.  I love when I don't have to stress about dinner.  What are your plans today?  I'd love to hear from you!  Thanks for reading my blog, and thanks for the comments lately...I think a few of you are new to this old blog, and I'm glad you're here.  Have a great day and love to all! 

Friday, February 1, 2019

January Book Review and Friday Favorites

It's Friday!  My favorite week day, my favorite blog post day, and a new favorite kind of day, because I am talking about books!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and her friends, for this post.

I cannot believe I've never done a book review on here before, but I was recently given this as a suggestion, so here goes nothing.  I hope you find yourself some books to read! 

First off, because January lasted approximately seventy four days long, I read a whopping eight books.  That is highly unusual, and I know I will not keep that up at all throughout the twelve months of 2019.  I would like to read about five books a month, but we will see.  Because I'm turning on the television way less nowadays (less Netflix, more reading), I've read a bunch.

1.  Girls Night Out, by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke.

I have read their other books and loved them, but I did not care for this one.  I especially did not care for the way it ended, and I found myself feeling anxious while I was reading.  I won't give anything away, but this is a book about three best friends who are trying to make amends in their friendship.  One friend feels left out while the other two have gotten closer.  (Is that not the way it goes?)  To do this, they travel to Mexico, and the rest of the book spans about four days.  I'll stop there, because I don't want to ruin the rest of the book for anyone, should they decided to read it for themselves.

This book goes back and forth between the characters and time.  For instance, chapter one would be "the day of" and then the next one would be "four days before".  That drove me bonkers.  Also, I don't love when the chapters switch back and forth between characters.  I found myself constantly checking to see whose perspective was being told, and what day it was.

There is language in this book, that I don't approve of (I think this is the case for all of them except one), but I can overlook this, usually.  Out of five stars (five being best), I would give this one three.

2.  Cozy Minimalist Home, by Myquillyn Smith.

I sat down to flip through the pages of this book one night, and I kept reading until I was finished.  I loved this book!  It's all about decorating, and using and loving what you have.  My takeaway from this book is that if any type of decorating stresses me out (like when I pull out fall or Christmas stuff), I shouldn't let that happen.  I took on this mindset this year when we decorated for Christmas.  I added some favorite things to what was already out, and I didn't move as much out as I usually do.

She does actually give a good how-to on decorating, as well, and how to create the space you will love and use.  Out of five stars, I would give this one five.

3.  An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones.

I had been wanting to read this book, and while it started strong, it went on and on and on for about fifty pages too long.  It was a good story, don't get me wrong, and one that makes you think long after you've finished the book.  I'm not sure why I didn't love it, but I just did not.

Also, THERE WERE NO NORMAL CHAPTERS.  Just breaks, and the characters would switch.  I need chapters.  I really, really need chapters.  I'm slightly OCD about where I stop while reading a book, and the end of a chapter is a good stopping point.  I'm rolling my eyes at myself.

Out of five stars, I would give this one three.

4.  Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng.

Nowhere in the book does it ever allude to the whole book taking place in the eighties, but that would have been nice to know.  I can't remember if that was in the description of the book, but if it was, I missed that detail.  It doesn't matter, really, but it took me a while to catch on.  The back of the book mentions an adoption involving a Chinese baby, but once that part happened in the book, it either went on for too long about details that didn't seem to matter, or not much was mentioned at all.  I thought there was going to be some enthralling tale of an adoption gone wrong, but I was mistaken.  I think the back cover mentions how one family deals with two strangers that come to live in their house as tenants. 

Out of five stars, I would give this two.

5.  When We Were Young, by Karen Kingsbury.

I'm so sad to say this about this book, because this has been a favorite author of mine for over a decade.  But, friends.  All of her books have become redundant, and I no longer enjoy reading them.  Except for maybe two, I have read all the books she has ever written.  This book is all about a couple who met while they were in college, and later get married.  Their marriage goes through a few ups, but since social media takes over their lives, things start to fall apart for them.  All of that is mentioned on the cover of the book, so I'm not ruining anything for you, I promise. 

I found myself wanting this book to be over, but it seemed to go on and on and on.  I was ready to quit several times, but I persisted and just hurried through the last several chapters.  Many Christian fiction authors have become this way for me in the last two or three years, which is why I've branched out of that category...they all seemed exactly the same, without much substance.  There are two authors in this category that I still love, but I've read and re-read all their books in the last year, already, and they just don't write as fast as I'd like them to.

Out of five stars, I would give this three.

(I feel so harsh.)

6.  How To Walk Away, by Katherine Center.

I LOVED THIS BOOK.  I would consider it PG-13, so consider yourself warned.  This book is about a girl who is forever changed by a plane crash, and that happens in the first two chapters...the rest of it is even better.  I don't want to give anything away! 

I started this book and immediately was drawn into the story, and could not put it down.  I texted my sister Debi right away, because we like to share books and authors we like with one another, however I later found out that she read this book as she sat on a plane.  I may or may not have given her a mini panic attack.  (Sorry, Sissy!)  I think I lost sleep over this book, because I wanted to know what happens next.  The ending totally surprised me, but it was fantastic, which is like icing on the cake.  Just go and buy or borrow this book.  You will never regret the time you spend reading this book.  I posted a picture of this on Instagram and tagged the author, and she "loved" my picture and commented on the post.  I thought that was cool!

You know it's a good sign when you're hurrying through your day so you can sit down and read.  I found myself dragging it out, because it was so good.

Out of five stars, this one gets all five!

7.  Before and After, by Barbara Delinsky.

I used to read her books years and years ago, but I stopped somewhere along the way.  This one sounded good, so I borrowed it from the library, but I was disappointed.  The story was good, though the description on the back was misleading and the book wasn't about the story that was going on at the beginning.  It's about a girl with a past who moved to a new and small town to escape her history, but as the town is rocked by a scandal that takes place, she finds herself drawn back into the public eye.  (Think primary and secondary should have been more about the secondary character, according to the description, but it wasn't.)  It was interesting, but a little long, with a good ending.

Out of five stars, this one gets three.

And, last but not least...

8.  Something in the Water, by Catherine Steadman.

This is written by an actress that was in the show Downton Abbey.  (I am not familiar...I couldn't get into the show.)  This book was so good!  I finished it on the last day of January, which is why this review isn't posting on the last day of the month.  The story starts in a shocking way, then the rest of the book goes back in time to let you know what happened to get you up to that point.  The characters are good, my heart was racing most of the time, and I kept wondering how in the world they could have gotten themselves into the situation they did.  Because of strong language, I would give this one an R rating.  I didn't know that when I started it, or I might not have read it, based on that fact, but I was captivated with the story quickly, so I kept reading.  Just know that going into this, if you read it for yourself.  The language in this one is a little harder to overlook.  I feel bad about that, because I really try to be careful about what I let in (to my heart).

That being said, it was a fascinating read.  It's also part of Reese Witherspoon's book club selection, which I've found that I like.  She has good suggestions, and the books she picks make you think long after they're finished.   I love books like that, when I imagine what I would do if I were in that scenario.

Out of five stars, this one also gets five.

So, there you have it, friends.  Those are my thoughts and opinions about all the books I read in January.  I can't wait to read some more in February!  Let me know if you read any of these and tell me what you think.  I'd love to hear from you!  Also, feel free to comment on here with book recommendations...I am ALWAYS looking for new books and authors.

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...