Friday, October 29, 2021

Friday Favorites, 10.29.21


Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea and Erika for this weekly blog post, my favorite one each week. How has your week been? Mine has been really good...and I am so glad today is Friday. My favorite way to get the weekend started is by spending this day with my dad every week. One thing I've learned well in life is that time is a gift and at his young age of ninety, I take advantage of all our moments.

I bought these cookies at the grocery store this week and they've become my new favorite. I always want a little something sweet after a meal and one of these does the trick. Side note—I remember my mom loving Pepperidge Farm cookies when I was young and I'd find them hidden. I find myself doing the same thing! I may not actually hide them, but I put them up high where people are less likely to look. The packaging has shrunk over the years, as has the quantity of cookies inside the bag...but as you can imagine, the price has gone up. Funny how that happens.

This night was a favorite! Favorite food, favorite hit all my buttons. We love going to Texas de Brazil and we had some VIP cards that were about to expire, so this was an unexpected night out. My husband was also there, as were my in-love's, because we usually consider this a "company Christmas party". 

The color of fall is my favorite! This is the street before our street, but this tree is gorgeous! I love that the leaves are FINALLY starting to fall off the trees and change colors.

We don't have trees in this part of our backyard, but a few leaves do make their way over to this area eventually. 

I was given the sweetest, most thoughtful gift this week! A sweet friend from Bible study gave me this print at church when I saw her at Bible study on Wednesday. It's called "God's Fingerprint" and is a piece that a man created after he became a Christian. He discovered that a fingerprint has 66 lines in it, the same number of books the Bible contains. He read through the Bible and chose one verse from each book, then assigned each verse a line, so when you look closely, you see the lines in the fingerprint are Bible verses! I love it so much and I immediately found a prominent place in our home to hang it, a place everyone will see it and pass by often. Thoughtfulness is my favorite!

Yesterday was my favorite day of the week—most of you know how much I love a day at home with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I got dressed for the  day into these clean and cozy pajamas and proceeded to do what my sweatshirt says: I watched Hallmark Christmas movies. 

I also finished a book. Reading is my favorite! (I'd originally said I was going to share the books I read this month in this blog post today, but I'm going to make it a bonus weekend post instead. I like to use all the days in the month to read to make my number higher!) 

Oakley's favorite person is her daddy. This was her hanging out beside him when he got home from work yesterday. The faithfulness and loyalty of a dog is astounding to me and I love the love they have for their humans. Their love is unconditional. 

It doesn't take much to make me happy...and I love these small, quiet moments that I always seem to find each week. I had grand plans for how I'd spend by day yesterday, but none of that happened. I'm okay with this! Sometimes you have to just let go of your expectations and embrace a little spontaneity, right? How was your week? I'd love to hear from you! Thank you for reading my blog, friends. Love to all. ❤

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday, friends! I'm joining in with Rebecca Jo and Leslie once again for this weekly blog linkup. 

In lieu of our upcoming eighteenth anniversary of living in our current home, I thought I'd share (I think for the first time) about how we came to live in this house. This was all inspired by a memory that popped up on my Facebook memories this week, so I've already shared it on social media. I am so thankful for memories like this, for the gift that family always is, for spaces like this where I can come to share. I'm also grateful for readers like you, who read faithfully and are so kind to always encourage. Often when I pray, I include you in my prayers! 

This was a sign that hung in our garage for years. Todd finally took it down because he wanted us to have it forever. It's rolled up in a tube somewhere out of these days I would love to have it framed! So, here is our story.

The year was 2003 and our life was crazy! Graham was 4, Drew was 3, Jonah and Noah were seven months old. We had been living in the cutest little house on a cove here in town, but we were bursting at the seams. Both babies could not sit in their high chairs at the same time in our kitchen, and both "sets" were sharing bedrooms. We had two bathrooms and three bedrooms in that house, which was a good size, but we had no backyard, we had no garage, we lived on a busy corner on the street and we flat just needed more room. We began the search for a home to buy (our first!) in or around August-September of that year. 

We found the perfect home for us, one that was never even put on the market! My sister Lisa was a Realtor at that time and a friend in her office was selling her home, so we came to look at it, fell in love, and the rest is history. They had three daughters, we have four sons, so some changes needed to be made, things needed to be cleaned and spruced up, but otherwise, it was perfect. In the midst of all that, my stepdad was selling the home that we were living in at that time and renting from him and Lisa would call me and tell me I had to be out of the house in an hour, that she had clients coming to look at it that day. I don't remember much from that time, can see why parts of it are blocked in my mind. It was busy and a whirlwind—and keeping the house picked up and getting all four kids out the door in a little amount of time was beginning to wear on my nerves. And packing? Who had the time for that? It was all I could to keep our heads floating above water! Also, you need to know it was during this time that I almost drove off and forgot a baby in his carrier...poor Noah! I got to the end of our driveway and Graham started yelling, "Mommy! You forgot a baby!". It's a wonder that's the only time that I did that.

Also in the midst of this time, we had planned a family vacation to  Gatlinburg with my in-love's and my husband's brother, wife and son. (Eleven people in less than 1,000 square feet is never a good idea, by the way. That was the first and last time we ever did that.) We closed on our new home and the next day we left for Gatlinburg. Fast forward a couple of days and Todd gets a phone call from our next door neighbor. He asked Todd why there was a moving truck in our driveway if we were in Gatlinburg. Todd immediately called my sister Lisa, because he knew her name was written all over this. He was right! 

While all of this had gone on, she had been planning to get us packed, for the house we would be moving into cleaned/repainted, moved in, unpacked and new furniture purchased. This wears me out even typing that! I cannot imagine how in the world she was able to accomplish this, except for with the strength of the Lord. She enlisted all of her kids to help, plus my parents and step parents, my sister Trish and her son Devin. 

So, even though our neighbor ruined the surprise for Todd, nobody wanted to ruin it for me or the boys. For the rest of that week while we were gone, he made it his goal to torment me over all the things he knew we had to do when we got home, and by the time we started the drive home, I was a wreck. Add to that hours of travel with four kids ages four and under, confined in a minivan and having to stop and use the restroom quite often, well you get the picture I'm trying to paint. We had stop after stop to make...there was a reason for this, but I had no idea. The reason for all the extra stops is because someone in my family kept telling him to delay a bit longer, they weren't ready! 

When we finally got in later that night, we pulled into our old house and I immediately noticed that it was empty. We had a carport that attached to the back of the house and our doors into the house were sliding glass doors that went into our living room. Everything was gone. There was a garage door opener on our mantel, though and Todd got it and turned to me and said, "Let's go home."

We pulled into our new home and opened the garage to see all of our family in there and this sign there to welcome us. (I made myself cry when I wrote that.) I honestly don't remember much after that...I do remember walking in the door from the garage that leads into the kitchen and that being as far as he got before Todd just started crying. I think I was in shock and cried after the fact, but I had to process it all first, which has always taken me a good amount of time. I don't remember what I said, I just remember walking around and looking on in astonishment. Lisa had hired painters to paint in the rooms that she knew we wanted to change, so in Graham's and Drew's (shared) room and in our bedroom and bathroom. Everything had been cleaned, even the carpet, and she bought us new furniture! We had new living room furniture and she'd given us stuff that she no longer used, so we had tons of lamps and pictures hanging that were like new to me. I'm sure she bought some of that stuff, I honestly can't remember a lot of the details, but I remember loving how our family filled our house that night. 

Also, someone ordered a bunch of pizzas and I remember the pizza guy busting it on the sidewalk in front of the house...for some reason, when that concrete was poured, they created a step that didn't need to be there. Sixteen years later we got that fixed, after countless falls and near face plants. (I'm shaking my head and cringing at all the people who tripped over that thing.) The pizza guy was unforgettable...he had those warming containers in his hands, and he went one way and they all went another way. 

It was an unforgettable time in our life that I always want to remember and relive. It's biblical to remember all the things the Lord has done in one's life and perhaps that's why I will always share this story with anyone who wants to hear, and also every few years on social media. It's a blessing to be able to remember it and think about it again, but the biggest blessing was for my own little family. How selfless and loving was it of my sister to think up this grand plan? They have shows for this now on HGTV, but Lisa was a trend setter. Of course we said thank you over and over to all of them who helped, but really, how do you adequately thank someone for that kind of a gift? 

One way I can do that is by being willing to talk about this story over and over again. Another way we can honor her is to always be looking for ways to give back to others. We do this as best we're able and there have been years that we've been able to do above and beyond what we do during other years. We love to give during the holiday season and try to find families in need. Sometimes we do this in small ways, other times we do it in bigger, grander ways. The Lord had blessed my sister with the ability to be able to pull something like this off, and He has blessed us to be able to continue in that example. The scale of the giving is not what's important, it's the condition of your heart in which you give. What an honor to be able to think back on this, to remember the joyous moment that night was and all the memories we've created here in our home, to share it with you and to be challenged to ask the Lord for more opportunities to love others like He loves us.

I pray this has brought a smile to your face today. Thanks for reading, friends. Love to all. 


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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

What's Up, Wednesday


Happy last Wednesday of the month, friends! Can you believe we're staring at the end of October? It's right now that I am starting to want to pause time. Most of you know that it's not the day of Christmas I love, it's the whole season and the reason why we celebrate. People seem more willing to hear about Jesus, they're nicer, kinder, more generous and loving...I am excited about it this year! I'm linking up with Shay and Sheaffer for this monthly blog post, where we talk of all the things from the month so far. I love looking back on posts like this! 

What we're eating this week:

Well, I made meaty Rotel with chips for us all Monday night, but only Todd, Noah and I were here to eat. They all laid down some sod really quickly, then we had that for dinner. On Tuesday night we all went out to one of our favorite places—Texas de Brazil! All the guys love all that meat...who am I do I! Two of my favorite things there are parmesan chicken bites and their bacon wrapped fillet cooked to medium rare. My mouth just watered! On Wednesday, we were on our own and tomorrow night I am making chicken, cheese dip and rice (in the crockpot). We (I) eat leftovers on the weekend, or sometimes I'll grab something like sushi or pizza for whoever wants to eat with me.

This is what I'm having tonight. I made it over the weekend and it's delicious. It's also something I made up...I have been calling this risotto, but it's actually orzo. I cooked that per the package instructions, and added in mushrooms and onion I'd sautéed, along with spinach, bacon crumbles and Rotel tomatoes. I stirred it all together and topped it with parmesan cheese. 

What I'm reminiscing about:

Oh, just these days. We used to LOVE going to the zoo once the fall weather hit. We discovered that when it's cool outside, the animals are extra frisky and fun to watch. I think we spent at least a third of their lives at our local zoo. We were members at one point, but my dad just kept up his grandparents pass and let us all go with him. It would get him, all his grandkids and one extra adult in on that one pass. It was the way to go! Zoo memberships were about $100 a year back then and it paid for itself after we would visit one and one half times. (This was probably ten or eleven years ago...left to right are Jonah, Noah, Drew and Graham. 

Those were the days.

What I'm loving:

Our flower beds and the front porch on our house. These little croton plants are thriving, as is the mum that I added after I took this picture. Our flower beds need to be weeded and we need to replace these impatiens with pansies, but everything is so pretty right now! I will never regret spending the money to have them done professionally. 

What we've been up to:

Todd and Graham work a lot, either with their full time job or with the sheriff's department, so that takes up lots of their time. Drew, Jonah and Noah are also working full time jobs and when all of them are NOT working, they love spending time with their friends. They all went to a car show over the weekend and were in heaven seeing all those fancy cars. They also love to have or go bonfires, or spend a night around a fire pit. They all have such great friends. I'm grateful! I have been the keeper of them all. I've been going to Bible study, writing, reading books, cleaning, watching movies on The Hallmark Channel. Those are all my favorite things. 

What I'm dreading:

I can't really think of anything that I'm dreading right this moment. Unless you count the stress of Christmas shopping. I always sort of dread this each season for our sons, because once they're a certain age, their stuff is expensive and no fun to buy.

What I'm working on:

Everyone to be on board with early Christmas decorating. I'm thinking the second week in November. (I just stopped to tell Todd this and he completely disagrees, but it's fine. He'll be fine. It's going down and I'll have everyone convinced it's normal. We did this same thing last year and it was a good thing, because we all came down with covid the week before Thanksgiving and would not have felt up to doing it all the night of Thanksgiving!)

Also, I'm working on some writing projects.

What I'm excited about:

I put that one there of Christmas, but I am excited about all the things that the holiday season brings about. We're having a fun event at my church again this year—Tablescapes, where the women in the church decorate and host a table and we have live entertainment. It's always a fun night, even if the days leading up to the event are hectic to get organized.

We also decorate our church for the holidays as a member of the worship ministry. 

What I'm watching/reading:

I am watching all of these! Plus some old favorites.

Almost everyday I watch a movie while I eat lunch. 

I'm working on a post about the books I read this month, so check back on Friday! I postponed it until the end of the week because of other things I already had scheduled. I'll make it a part of my Friday favorites post this month.

What I'm listening to:

Currently, the sound of my dogs being excited over neighbors coming home from work. We have some windows open and they love to stand there and people watch. Music wise, I am listening to Pandora radio and podcasts that involve friends talking.

What I'm wearing:

Currently, black pants, a charcoal gray poncho with a cowl neck and black and leopard flats. I love my cooler weather wardrobe. 

What I'm doing this weekend:

I have absolutely no idea. Probably nothing out of the ordinary...I know that Halloween is this weekend, but I don't think anyone is going to be here. If nobody is here, I don't pass out candy. I honestly keep the blinds shut and the porch light off, because the dogs always go crazy with people walking around! I think all of the boys are going over to Drew's for a Halloween party. I think that sounds fun! I've heard about some of their costumes that they have....and well, let's just say gone are the days of the cute costumes. I do have one son that is going as a Teletubby. 

What I'm looking forward to next month:

All the things! Thanksgiving and all that yummy food, time with family, traditions that we keep each year...all of that is what makes this time of year so magical. I will say that some of that has dimmed now that all our sons are older, but it still makes my heart happy. If I could say one thing it's to slow down and cherish all the moments while your kids are young. Everything changes after they start to drive. 

What else is new:

I think that pretty much sums it all up. 

Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. ❤

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

a blog post about random things


Happy Tuesday, friends! I have been racking my brain over what to share today and I kept coming up blank. Originally I had planned on another Tuesday Around Town post, but I didn't prepare for that ahead of time. This will be a smorgasbord of things in no particular order that you may or may not have heard me talk about before.

You know that I love for things to be cozy around my home, but what you may not know is that I am never satisfied with the exact way things look in certain areas. I'm using my kitchen as an example here...I can never seem to get it quite right and after the holidays when I put things away, I can never remember where I had things! Almost every year I have to go on a major hunt around my home for everything I put away during the Christmas season. I know what you're going to say—if you move something, put it in the box you pulled the Christmas item out of. Oh, if only I were that organized about Christmas. It's something I am terrible at putting back, so it sort of ends up all over my house. I'm rolling my eyes at myself.

I have major issues with my feet. I am prone to things like plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and soreness, especially in my left foot—I have fractured the same bone in that foot two times in four years, just by walking in shoes that aren't supportive enough. I am not a fancy person when it comes to clothes and jewelry, but one thing I don't skimp on is a good pair of shoes. So, when I read that the Ugg brand is a good supportive slipper, I asked for that as a combined birthday/Christmas gift. These will be two years old this year and I can honestly say that it was money well spent. I need a replacement pair this year and have started looking online. I found some that are comparable, according to Amazon, and much less expensive. I figure they may be worth a try, but how fun are these? I have LOVED them.

I can't remember if I've ever shared this, but see how the pups are all at the fence? We have new neighbors whose dogs are my dogs new best friends. Every single day they're all over at the fence barking good morning at one another. Look at how vicious Crash looks! He actually chews on the fence post in all of his exuberance.

My best friend and I are constantly texting things like this back and forth. My world would be a sad and lonely place without her as a part. I sincerely hope and pray that you have this same kind of friendship with someone, who is the type of friend that is iron sharpening.

Hello, my name is Jennifer and this meme perfectly describes me. I get it from my dad! I cannot tell you how many times Todd has said to me, "Let's get you fed."

This is the best book I could ever read and the most I'll ever use. If you have older kids, do you have this book? If not, you should buy it immediately! I recommended it again recently and a friend thanked me for my recommendation at church Sunday.

Nothing makes me smile and laugh like puppy cuddles and kisses. She gets me every single time!

If you ever want to know what it's like being a mom to sons, this picture pretty much perfectly describes what mere words could never say. This will always be one of my favorite nights...we'd had my hubby's parents over for dinner and Todd did this to his mom with our new leaf blower! She is a good sport, I have to hand it to her! I was yelling at him to stop because he was also blowing dog hair all over the place. I'm rolling my eyes again. 

I am literally counting down the days until I can put Christmas up. I love this time of year that is about to be upon us and I want to get the most out of those days that I can. Our world just sucks lately, and that is sugar coating what I really want to say about all of what's going on. Nothing feels normal and I don't think it'll ever be normal again, or at least what it was like before the dreaded c-word and when the whole world was shut down. I try to eek as much joy out of situations as I can and Christmas does that for me. So yes, I'm most likely decorating early again because I need something bright and happy! I try not to be one who wishes the days away and I'm really not, I'm just anticipating what is to come. 

Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. ❤

Monday, October 25, 2021



Happy Monday, friends! How was yours? Mine was super easy going and otherwise boring. It was AMAZING, in other words! I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before, but I am an introvert through and through. What that means is that I need time to recharge after a busy (people-y) week. Most of you know that in a week's time, I really love to have one full day at home with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I do actually "get dressed" for the day, but I'm in comfy clothes all day and makeup is either non-existent or very minimal. Last week I did not have a day like that. Because of that, it was so nice to have a weekend like this one.

My husband and I had leftovers for dinner Friday night and he started a new show that sucked me in- Body Cam is a show similar to COPS or the old Live PD that we used to love, but way better. I alternated between watching with him and finishing a book. I did finish a book and started another one, then I went to bed pretty early. 

I love Saturday mornings! It's the one day a week that I don't have anything to do other than feed the dogs, so I love to kick off the weekend by watching a movie while I drink my coffee. Most of you know I am a Hallmark Christmas movie-loving girl, so needless to say, that is what I watched. I also love their Fall Harvest movies, but I was so disappointed with those this year. I'm ready to move on to Christmas movies! Have you seen this?

I watched You, Me and The Christmas Trees Saturday morning—so good! I got up early Sunday and watched an older one, Christmas Everlasting. Again, it was so good! I finished it Sunday night. 

I had church on Sunday and I think I was there all day. It was a really good day. Todd worked Saturday night and Sunday night, so after Sunday night church, I went and grabbed some food and came home to eat it. I finished my second book for the weekend and made a yummy risotto dish for my dinner Saturday night. 

This was amazing. I sautéed half an onion and a small container of mushroom in a little butter, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce, then added in some bacon crumbles and a whole bag of spinach. I cooked the risotto and mixed it all together with a little parmesan cheese to finish it off. 

What'd you do this weekend? I am so irritated with our dumb weather. It was 72 degrees at nine o'clock last night. I'm rolling my eyes. Fall weather desperately needs to come back! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Come back tomorrow to hear about the books I read this month! Love to all. 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Friday Favorites, 10.22.21


Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea and Erika for today's weekly blog post. 

Every once in a while I wonder if y'all get tired of these linkups that I participate in weekly/monthly, but when I look at my blog's statistics from each day, those are the days that appear to be everyone's favorites. I'll give an example—a regular post with no linkup might receive anywhere from 30-100 views in a day. When I do a linkup post like this one, sometimes that post will get up to 300 or more views. See what I mean? I am kind of a nerd when it comes to statistics like that and I also love to see the monthly demographics of my blog. I'm always shocked when I see how many people from other countries read this old blog. If you're new here at all, you know that I love "fluffy" blog posts with the linkups I mentioned, but way more than that, I love to share about Jesus. If you're ever reading this and want to know about Him, please reach out with a comment and I'll send you my email address and we can chat there. 

Moving on now, here is my weekly run down of favorites.

Most of you also know if you've been here for any length of time, that my husband volunteers with our county's sheriff's department. He worked all last weekend doing that, so I was here alone most of the time. He bought this new dog bed for our Crash and I crack up every time I see our German Shepherd Callie laying on it—she NEVER lays on a dog bed. She prefers either the floor or the small couch in our living room. Isn't she pretty? 

It's like a doggy daycare in my house with all those toys spread around. Dogs are my favorite. Also last weekend, I watched my oldest son's puppy all weekend while he was out of town. I really am like a doggy daycare. I keep telling him he owes me a nice gift for my birthday and Christmas this year.

Christmas is my favorite! Most of you know I'm in choir and this was a picture I took at choir practice last week. We've been rehearsing our Christmas music for a few weeks now and it makes my heart happy. It's not the actual day of Christmas that I love so much—it's the time that leads up to it that is my favorite time of year. From November until New Year's day, people are kinder. I love that this season represents Jesus, even if the date is not historically correct. That's not what matters. What matters is that the season is all about Him and my goal in life is to love Him the most, to love people and to point others to Him with my life in every way that I am able. 

That is why the holiday season is my favorite and that is also why I will probably be decorating our home for Christmas early in November once again. I'm going to plan a night at home where I make a good dinner and invite Drew and his roommates over and I'm going to put them to work! I'll have them get our Christmas stuff out of the attic and assemble the tree for me and help with the decorating part of it, then I'll do all the rest earlier in that day or on the next day. It's not a lot of work with all the helping hands, it's just that I love this season so much, I want to enjoy it every bit that I can. 

Two things from this picture above that are my favorite—reading and reading on my Kindle. I never thought I'd love a Kindle so much, because I'm a huge fan of actual books. That being said, I love the screen with no glare, I love that I can enlarge the font size and I love the backlight. I had a tablet that I used to use with a Kindle app for years, but it's not the same at all. In fact, there is no comparison. I tried to read an actual book last week and stopped and found it to read for free on my Kindle instead, because I hate having to mess with a reading light. 

Such a first world problem. Reading is my favorite hobby and I've read an astounding number of books this year. I write a blog post each month about the books I read that month, so check back here the last week in October to see which ones I loved and which ones I didn't.

Another favorite for each of us in our house, even our dogs, was the cooler weather we've had this week. On Tuesday afternoon I decided to open all the downstairs windows and this was what they did for the rest of the evening. Crash's favorite thing other than riding is to stand at the windows and watch the world go by. He loves to smell the air outside too, and he stood like this for a long time. Eventually we have to shut them because they won't stop barking at people. 🤣

Favorite things that I agreed with or that made me laugh that I saw on social media this week. 

Some of my favorite moments this week have been while I sat right here and either had my quiet time or finished Bible study homework. I love it when the Lord feels so near! I experienced that several days this week as I soaked in His Word and spent time with Him in prayer. 

This was my favorite lunch this week! My mom-in-love came over after Bible study on Wednesday and this was what we ate. And yes, that is candy corn with peanuts in that bowl. She gave me some much needed godly wisdom and advice about something that was weighing heavily on my heart and I am so grateful for her. 

I don't have pictures for these things, but my dad came over yesterday instead of today because it was the only time I could get scheduled for a hair appointment to get my hair colored. Any time with him is always a favorite. 

And finally, hair day is always my favorite day. I was going to get my hair toned down a little bit for winter, but I completely changed my mind and just decided to get more highlights. I really prefer lighter hair these days, mainly because I think it makes me look younger. (Sometimes I just need my mom to speak truth to me like she did this week. I'm so thankful for her!) Who wouldn't want that? I was having some fickle moments in the weeks leading up to this appointment, which is why I waited two weeks between my cut and color appointments in case I changed my mind. If I've learned one thing in life, it is to NOT make rash decisions because I always end up regretting them. Like when I got bangs that one time. Bangs on me are NEVER a good idea.

Well, thanks for reading my blog, friends! I hope you all have a great weekend. Love to all! 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday, friends! I am joining in with Rebecca Jo and Leslie for this weekly blog post. I always appreciate the time it takes to write this post, as it forces me to slow down and really think on some things that have happened in the seven days that have passed. I love this image above because I agree with it wholeheartedly—no matter the circumstance, there is always something to be thankful for.

I am thankful for the living, active Word of God. I was reading in Colossians last week in my Everyday with Jesus Bible—did you know these verses are why my blog is named what it is? In the translation I memorized years ago, it says overflowing with thankfulness. This is Colossians 2:6-7. 

I had this thought as I went over Bible study homework this week in preparation for our last time to meet on our study of Esther. This is how my preacher translated the verse Hebrews 4:12 for me years ago in a sermon—he said that as we read the Word of God, the Word of God reads us. That is why a particular verse might jump out to you, or why you might seem to see something as if for the first time. I love that and have experienced it too many times in my life to even begin to count. Here is the actual verse of Hebrews 4:12...

For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 

I am thankful for the honor and privilege it's been to study the book of Esther alongside some pretty amazing women. I will never take that lightly! 

I am thankful for opportunities the Lord gives me to serve Him. I consider it one of the highest honors of my life to be able to help write Bible studies for women all over. I will say that I am really not capable of doing such a big thing. But the Lord has helped me and He has given me a love and passion for studying His Word and He's instilled in me a passion for sharing that with other women...and as far as the actual writing has gone, after I've studied it myself and the Lord is faithful to do most of the work. 

Here is how it goes: I will read the portion I'm assigned to write over and over and over again, as well as reading the whole book to gain the proper context. I begin to pray and ask the Lord to show me how He wants me to get started and every single time I start with my first assigned verse, He gives me inspiration and the rest of it takes off pretty quickly. As I study on my own, I break down the portion I'm assigned into sections, as in days of homework. I like to work for full days at a time to keep the momentum going, but I make myself keep working until a break makes sense. That's the part that goes by pretty quickly for me. God is faithful to help me each time and I am so thankful for that, because I'd never be able to do this without Him right beside me.

Like I said, I am so thankful for this wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord through writing and I am so sad to be finished with this wonderful Bible study! The eight weeks FLEW by. But, it's onto the next thing, now that we're done with this and I'll start the writing process all over again beginning next week. I can't wait!

I am always thankful for the truth the Lord reveals to me through His Word, and I am so glad that every time I read the Word of God, it brings about conviction over some area in my life. This was what I experienced this week as I finished this study and by the end of the last day, I was WEEPING over the pages.

Do you see why I consider this such a high honor and calling? I don't make a dime doing this, by the way and it's the same for my friends. This is the ministry the Lord has placed us all in for this time in our lives and all the proceeds from the sales of these studies goes right back into the price to keep putting these out. I'm just grateful to be able to be able to be used by God and it's an exciting place to be right now—here for whatever He has in store. I don't know what's next or for how long this will go on, but I'm here for it until He either shows me it's time to stop or until He puts something new on my heart. I don't want to keep doing this just because I've been doing this...does that make sense? 

It was like when I volunteered with the youth. I didn't commit to each year because I'd been committed before that, I really evaluated and prayed over where to serve and asked the Lord to show me when He knew it was time for me to move on and He did exactly like that! He began to turn my heart more toward adult women in around October of my last year of volunteering with the youth (a year went from August-July). I finished out that year by limping to the finish line and then I stopped. Right after that I began to meet with my friend Amy and she shared this dream of hers about a writing team of women working together to put out Bible studies for our church...and now, here we are four years later, having just finished our third study and working on our fourth.

My prayer is that it will be the same for this. If I ever need to move on from this to give someone else an opportunity, then I want to be open to that and willing to let this go. 

Well, I didn't really intend for this to be all I wrote about today, but I think that's a good stopping place. I'm just feeling very thankful, humbled and reflective as I finished out this Bible study this week. Do you attend a Bible study? If not, may I encourage you to prayerfully consider doing so? There is something so precious about meeting together with like-minded women each week. Friendships and bonds are formed, relationships with the Lord are strengthened and each week you leave feeling encouraged. Who wouldn't want that?? If you're local to me or if you want to participate online again, we're starting a new study in January, one written by someone from the Revive Our Hearts ministries that Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth runs. I'd love for you to join in with us! I'll share some more information here as the time draws closer. 

Thanks for reading my blog, sweet friends. Love to all. ❤

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Wednesday Encouragement


Are you like me and sometimes battle discontentment? If you answer honestly, I would guess that your answer is yes. I think if we all really think about this for a few minutes, we can all think of things that made us battle this just in the last few days. I think we all go through periods of this from time to time and I think that will continue until either we reach the age that we literally don't care about anything trivial, or until we breathe our last breath here on earth. I'll let you know which one when I reach that myself. 😉

I'll be honest with you, I had some moments last week as I saw my entire Instagram feed on vacation for fall break. I'm smiling now because it seems ridiculous to even write that, but it's true. I think ninety percent of my "friends" on social media were at the beach, maybe five percent were at Disney World and the other five percent might have been sick with something. This is why I have a love/hate relationship with social media. When I let it get to me, it can tend to make me envious. When all is well in my world, I use it to catch up with friends I wouldn't see otherwise and I love seeing their lives documented. I can go both ways pretty easily, if you want to know the honest truth.

(After I realized how dumb I was being and snapped out of it, I went back and "liked" or "loved" all their pictures.)

Other areas in my life where I struggle with this feeling of being discontent may be in witnessing someone else's marriage, seeing their beautiful homes, hearing of them getting to do something I would have loved to do, getting a job I might have wanted, fill in the rest of the blanks with all the things. We all know that is one huge downside of social media and when we let those feelings of discontentment go unchecked, it can lead to us sinning more in other ways. 

Let's use the marriage one as an example—let's say a friend we know is having a hard time in her marriage. If she follows this one gal on Instagram whose husband is attractive, loving, attentive and helpful to his wife every time we see their cute little Instagram stories, that might tempt our friend to convince herself that it would be okay to go and try to find that same quality in someone else. Someone who is not her husband. She goes to church and she loves Jesus, but maybe this is something she has convinced herself would be okay. After all, doesn't the Bible tell us that we should be happy? (It does not say that, but our friend doesn't know that because she doesn't really read the Bible all that often.)

This could happen to anyone of us. None of us are ever immune from temptation! The Bible does tell us that we are provided with a way out of that temptation, though. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 says this: No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to bear it.

When we sin in one little way, it leads us to sin in bigger and more harmful ways. If our friend had just taken a break from social media or unfollowed that one person who made her think that marriage is supposed to be perfect one hundred percent of the time and used that time to focus on her own marriage, well then, do you see how that would have worked out? Before a marriage was destroyed and trust was broken? Do you see how this thinking goes, when left unchecked? 

It's not just for marriage, it can be with having a desire for things to look a certain way. I'll throw myself under the bus again. I love for things to look pretty. I love things to be tidy, organized (as best as I'm able), pretty and I want it to look cute in that little Instagram square, because how satisfying is that when all your little squares are so attractive? I'm rolling my eyes at my own self. I love being at home, I love to decorate, and I love seeing how other people decorate their homes. This wouldn't be a problem, if I stopped right there. It becomes an issue when I become obsessed over how things look or when I let it cause me to be envious of what someone else has that I don't. That is when it becomes unhealthy and that is where my struggle usually is! 

I was doing Bible study homework yesterday when all of this dawned on me. I even stopped what I was doing and wrote a reminder for myself to write this post, because I wanted to make sure and remember. I've known this is where my struggle is for quite sometime now and years ago, I claimed some verses in Proverbs as some of my "life verses". I thought I'd share them with you and explain why I claimed them as my own.

Two things I ask of you; don't deny them to me before I die; Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me. Give me neither poverty nor wealth; feed me with the food I need. Otherwise, I might have too much and deny you, saying, "Who is the Lord?" or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God. Proverbs 30:7-9

I have been asking the Lord for a very long time to give us just what we need. I don't want to have to so much that I forget about my need for Him and I don't want so little that I'd be tempted to steal. My husband once heard me say this to someone and jokingly told me to stop praying that way, he'd love to have more money. But really...don't we have everything we need and a lot of what we want?

I say all of this because it is important for us to live in this way. When I was a young mom, we made the decision that I would stay home and be a full time mom. That meant that we went without a lot of what we thought we needed. We didn't eat out, we didn't take extravagant vacations, we didn't buy expensive things or drive fancy cars. I never got my nails done and my mom cut and colored my hair for me when I wanted her to or when I needed a trim or new style. (I am so grateful she did that for so long!) 

Don't feel sorry for me, because this was actually my dream job. From the time I was in about the tenth grade, I knew I didn't want a career. Now, I never really said this to anyone, because I knew even back then that if I told people this, I'd be made fun of. I wanted to be a wife and stay at home mom. I'd seen my own mom do that and excel at it and I knew I wanted to do the same thing. How sweet was it of the Lord to give me my dream job all these years? I worked for Graham's first year of life while my mom-in-love kept him for us, then by the time I had Drew a short (almost) thirteen months later, we realized it made more sense for us to just let me stay home. 

Sure, money was tight, but the Lord was always faithful to provide for us. He provided us with free babysitting anytime we wanted, He provided us with groceries in the form of our parents who loved to help us out when the need arose, He provided us with nights out at restaurants in the form of our parents picking up the tab, He provided us with fun things to do almost every single week through my dad who spent every Friday with us, He provided a home for us through my mom and stepdad who bought a home and then turned around and rented it to us, He provided us with fun vacations in the form of us joining my in-love's and He provided the best memories for us in all the camping we did twice a year for many years in a row. 

He even provided for us through a friend of my mom's one time after my husband had major abdominal surgery. We had medical bills through the roof and someone my mom knew from work asked about us one day and she just had a little bit of a meltdown and she confided in he and his wife about all that we'd been through and how worried she was about us not being able to make ends meet. I am here to tell you that after that conversation, they paid off every one of our bills to the penny! How amazing is God? All praise and glory to God! I write this with tears close to brimming over and ruining my mascara.

(I did have periods of time over the years that I worked a part time job. Usually this was at my church in their mom's day out program or it was at my kid's elementary school for the duration of their years there. I also kept kids before and after school or played chauffeur to some of them and people actually paid me for this. I was always willing to supplement some income whenever it was needed and that was so helpful! But by the time we became a homeschooling family, I quit once and for all and never returned to working outside of my home.) 

I never want to forget any of this, my friends. It is biblical for us to remember all the things that the Lord has done. I just read that yesterday as I read Deuteronomy 6:4-9. We are to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls and might, we are to talk about the ways of God and remember all that He has done, we are to teach these things to our children and think about them as we come and go. There are a million other ways I could share with you all about the faithfulness of God, but because of time limitations, I'll wrap it up right there. I pray that this was an encouragement to someone who needed this reminder today. God is faithful! Don't worry about it, my friend, He has got you and He will never let you go. 

Love to all. ❤

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

share four somethings, October edition


Happy Tuesday, friends! I'm linking up (perhaps a few days early) with Heather Gerwing for this month's "share four somethings", where we talk about something we loved, something we said or read, something treasured, and something ahead.

I'll jump right in!

Something loved:

So far this month, I've loved celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary with my main squeeze, I've loved cooler temperatures and putting out my cute fall stuff, and I've loved days spent at home getting things done or reading a good book.

Something read or said:

I'm in the process of writing a blog post about the books I read in October, so I'll save the something read for that post. Keep checking back, though! I'll post it the last week in October. 

My favorite thing recently said came this past Sunday from my Pastor. Many of you know his wife has been extremely sick from covid and pneumonia. She was on a ventilator, then they were trying to wean her off of that, then she was moved to a restorative care unit in another hospital and had a trach collar, but now they have removed that and he told us in the service on Sunday that for the first time in five (six?) weeks, she was watching our service online! I truly feel like this is a miracle, friends. I know that God still moves in ways like that and I know many of us were praying for that. God is the same yesterday, today and forever! 

Sweet Darlene still has lots of recovery ahead, but she is moving in the right direction! I cannot imagine the relief and gratitude my Pastor feels. Also, because it's Pastor Appreciation month, I have to say once again how thankful I am for this godly man. He leads us so well and even in his own turmoil and anguish over the uncertainty of his wife's outcome, he still encouraged us and preached almost every week. I truly look to him as someone ahead of me in life whom I trust and whose opinion I value. 

And because I am a visual person, here is a picture of them from their last anniversary. I know many of you were praying for her with me and I am so thankful for your prayers and encouragement. 

Something treasured:

Oh, just all the memories like this one from the memories on Facebook. 

And moments like this, when we're all together under one roof again. Drew came home last week for dinner and this was what he did afterward. He loves his dogs and misses having them for companionship. 

The days are long, but the years are short.

Something ahead:

Oh, nothing much. Just ALL. THE. CHRISTMAS. I am 99% sure that it's going up early again this year and I am here for it! Now to just convince the rest of the family so they'll help me get it all down and into the right room.

This is always a fun post to write. Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. 

Friday Favorites, 7.12.2024.

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