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Thursday, December 8, 2016

2 for 1: Stitch Fix Summaries!!



Well, my most recent Stitch Fix box came right before Thanksgiving. At that point, I realized that I didn't post about the September box. Both boxes had some interesting pieces in them, but I have to be picky because of the holidays coming up and that whole verse about storing up treasures that moths and vermin destroy which is so hard to remember during the season when my email inbox is full of so many discounts that my head is spinning. Thank you for the reminder, Gospel of Matthew. Amen.

Anyway, here are the September items.

Loveapella Leila Knit Dress


So this dress? I don't know? Do you know? I kinda gave this dress the side-eye for awhile. I couldn't decide if I even wanted to try it on because it looked kind of like Maw-Maw's sofa. (I don't have a Maw-Maw, but if I did this would be her sofa.) Then I thought maybe it might be interesting in a retro/Mrs. Roper-from-Three's Company way, so I gave it a shot and tried it on. It was a tight fit, not flowy like Mrs. Roper would like, so I wasn't feeling it. I returned it.

Razzle Dazzle BreemanV-Neck Pullover 
Octavia Arthur Stripe Infinity Scarf


This was a cute, basic sweater and it fit well. It was itchy though, so I sent it back. The scarf was really cute, but I have some where around 7,453 scarves so I couldn't justify it (Come on over, vermin.). I sent these back as well.

Daniel Rainn Vallarta Tassel Tie Top


This top was adorable. It fit well and it was different from anything I had in my closet. I was all set to keep this, but then I realized that the little button on one of the sleeves was broken, so that I wouldn't be able to roll up and secure the sleeves except on one side. I felt like that might cause some equilibrium issues, so sadly, I had to send it back. 

Edyson Hampton Corduroy Skinny Jean


These green cords are really cute and fun for fall and the holidays. I kept these. I found this rosy/beige sweater at Old Navy that was a fraction of the price of the above sweater and put it with this Noonday scarf and boots. I think they could be cute with different shoes and a fancier top for a holiday party as well. 

Now on to Box #2 which arrived the day before Thanksgiving. It was so fun to have my mom here when it arrived because I could try everything on and get legit opinions from her since she has two x chromosomes. The people here with that xy chromosome business tend to comment the same exact thing on every outfit I show them. Something along the lines of "Yea. It's good. Did you go to the grocery store today? What is there to eat?"

Here's what Mom and I got to peruse in my November box.

Seychelles Snare Cozy Shearling Booties



These booties were great. 

(Pause. I can't say the word "booties". I just can't. I don't know why. It's like the word "moist" or "ointment" or "chunks"or the word for the end of a baby bottle which I cannot even type. There is no rational explanation for my aversion to certain words. In any case, from here on out, I will refer to any form of the above pictured type of  footwear - no matter how tall or short - as boots and only, boots. Thank you for your kind understanding. You now may return to your regularly scheduled blog post.)

I loved the lining and these would be great for keeping your feet warm while you're enduring the "Forced Family Fun" that is choosing a Christmas tree with all of your people or standing outside in the freezing cold wind, holding the bottom of a ladder while affirming your husband's effort to rival Clark Griswold's decorating prowess.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I already have a pair of grey suede boots (albeit with a higher heel) that I love. They are from the Ivanka Trump line and if you had told me when I bought them that my boots would have the same name as the president-elect, I would have thought you needed to settle down and get a grip on reality. 

(Ahem. Anyway, let's all breathe deeply, America, and know that everything is going to be okay, and no matter your political beliefs, at least we can look forward to the fact that surely Ivanka is going to kill it with her Inauguration wardrobe. Right? Right.) 

Papermoon Timmers Lace Detail Blouse

This top was really cute. It was plaid which is one of my love languages and also had some lace detail on the shoulders which made it interesting and a little dressier. Unfortunately, this didn't fit exactly like I hoped it would because . . .um . . . the short answer is "carbohydrates". Still, I put this little outfit together to show you what a cute top it would be if it wasn't gathered up on one's muffin top. I had to send it back after the photo. 



Here's the back.



Market & Spruce Bernadette Lace Overlay Raglan Top

This top was so soft and comfortable that I could wear it to sleep. Despite the fact that it was so comfortable it has a slim fit without being too tight. I thought it would look great with a pair of black jeans and my grey Ivanka boots. It could even be dressed up with a skirt and some blingy jewelry. This was a keeper.



Coffeeshop Corleese Double Breasted Knit Jacket

I was super excited about this jacket when I pulled it out of the box. I am not able to wear a lot of winter coats and jackets because they generally have wool in them which makes my eyes and skin itch. This was lightweight, but warm and as soft as a sweatshirt. Unfortunately, the waist was WAY too high and the jacket was too short for me. I kept pulling it down and trying to adjust the belt. Blah. I had to return it.





Just Black Cordelia Skinny Jean

The last item was a pair of black jeans that are pictured in the photos above. I have a pair of black jeans so I sent them back.

Well, that's it for today. I actually received a Stitch Fix gift card from my sister-in-law for Christmas two years ago. It was a great gift for me. I continue to run into lots of people who have tried it and the reviews are honestly, mixed. In any case, I am a fan. If you have a friend/sister/sister-in-law/mom/girl person who loves fashion and maybe hates shopping or just would love a fun little box of goodies each month or even every other month, I'd suggest a gift card to Stitch Fix to get her started. You can go to www.stitchfix.com and if you do, I'd be so grateful if you'd use my referral code below.

stitchfix.com/referral/4559584

Have a great day, Friends!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Gathering My Thoughts

Outside my window:
It seems the world has not quite woken yet unless you're the Freedom JV basketball team who has practice most days at 6:30 am. (Be near, Lord.) It's getting colder around here. I'm never quite ready for cold and I certainly didn't think I was ready for driving to 6:30 am practice. And yet, I love peeking out at the cold through the branches of the Christmas tree. Our schedule has not allowed us to finish decorating all in one day. It's a process to be completed in stages, but for now I'm perfectly fine with simple green branches, white lights and the blue angel that has been my husband's since he was a child. Maybe 6:30 am practice isn't so bad. All is calm. All is bright.



Listening to:
Coffee brewing and my puppy dog snoring.

Clothing myself in:
Nike running pants, long sleeve Nike shirt under a black tshirt, running shoes. Perhaps the clothes make the runner? I hope so, but so far it sure is cozy and warm inside this house. The clothes might make the reader.

Talking with my children about these books:
Drew and I are still reading Mockingbird together. Joe and I recently discussed this article. To Kill A Mockingbird is my favorite book of all time. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the first book I read in high school that I remember actually loving. [Thank you, Mrs. Layton. Sophomore English :)] I remember being startled by the use of offensive words and I remember that the use of that language and the teaching of those books in no way taught me that my teachers, my school or the authors were "validating that these words{were} acceptable" as is mentioned in the article. Quite the opposite. I remember that the use of that language taught me specifically how horrific a use of a single word could be and how important it was in teaching me the mistakes of our country's often shameful past. I do not pretend to know what it is to read those words as a person of color. I obviously can only speak to it from the perspective of a 16 year old suburban white girl whose opinion, I guess, would be deemed irrelevant to those discussions. In any case, that girl never once imagined that the authors of those books found that language acceptable. Not for a moment. Of course, we hate for our students to feel uncomfortable. The fact is that those words make us all uncomfortable and they should. Our history is uncomfortable and I'd say if we can't acknowledge that and look it directly in its evil eye, we miss the lessons that move us forward. I'm just so sad that these beautiful stories might be taken away.

In my own reading:
I feel very fancy and important because I have a friend who just finished writing her first book and I was thrilled that she asked me to be one of a group of women who are lucky enough to read it before it goes to publish. I was nervous going in because even though this friend is smart and charming and funny and when I think of her writing a book, I think, "OF COURSE! BEST SELLER! CAN'T WAIT!", the responsibility of holding that binder full of her heart and her sweat and her years of work is a daunting task. I'm so glad to say that the book is really, really good. My friend is really, really talented. I'm really, really smiley about it. :-)

Thinking and thinking:
About calling.

Merriam-Webster defines calling as a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction or divine influence.

My pastor frequently mentions that when our obedience matches God's calling, blessing happens.

Jen Hatmaker reminds us that in many ways the perception of calling is a luxury of the privileged. We get to labor over our "calling" because we are educated and financially stable, so many of us eschew the honor of ordinary work and instead fret over the perception of wasting our lives. You don't have to wait another day to figure out your calling. Your gifts have a place right now, in the job you have, in your stage of life, with the people who surround you.

Sophie Hudson says this: if for some reason, you have convinced yourself that you're not needed any more, that your best days are behind you, that you're not relevant enough to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ - or Heaven forbid, your family - STOP IT. RIGHT NOW. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. Don't you dare discount your importance, your influence, your calling. You are uniquely built to impact others in ways you cannot even imagine. So when you're tempted to back down, to back up, or to back off? YOU STAY IN IT.

Beth Moore says that we get so paralyzed wanting to do something great that we never do any good.

And the incomparable, Ann Voskamp says that God has not called you to awesome. He has called you to humble, faithful, and free. Leave the awesome to Him.

Anyway, all those things have jumped at me lately as I think and think about calling. And oh, am I thinking about it. I'm not concluding anything exactly. Just thinking and thinking.

Carefully cultivating rhythm:
The rhythm of our family is very much dictated by whichever sport is in season. For now, that would be basketball which does normally lend itself to a more set schedule than baseball. Drew has practice twice a week. Kyle has practice six days a week, often in the dark early hours of the morning. I'm filling in the calendar and trying to figure out how I can manage shopping and wrapping and mailing and schlepping to and from practice and games and still enjoy the season. Really, I've seen this movie so many times and I know how it ends. Depleted, exhausted, cranky, and feeling like I screwed the whole thing up. I'm hoping that I can take some time each morning to sit in silence and read from a book called Why this Jubilee? Advent Reflections on Songs of the Season by James C. Howell which was a suggestion of our pastor. I think the only way to get through this season with a sense of peaceful rhythm is to intentionally find times for silence. Howell mentions lines from Oh Little Town of Bethlehem and their "treasury of silence". 

"How still we see thee lie." "The silent stars go by." And then, "How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is giv'n'."

What a shame to run full steam ahead through the advent season elbowing past the wondrous gift?  I am missing so many wondrous gifts. Hoping to bring silence to the rhythm of my days so that I can clear a space in my cluttered heart to receive Him.

Learning lessons in:
Feeling at home. I am absolutely a homebody. The peaceful calm I have always felt when coming home was so real I could almost touch it - even if I'd only been away for a weekend. I didn't feel that peace here for many, many months and I was startled and anxious about the fact that for so long I felt like I was visiting this house or even worse living in a hotel. There have been many nights I have had vivid dreams of walking the path down the stairs of our former home, turning the corner, going to the sink and making coffee in the same space I did for seventeen years. It was disconcerting to me and I prayed for a sense of belonging here. Slowly this space is becoming ours. It's starting to feel warm and comfortable and safe. I notice when I walk in the door that my heart slows a bit. We are really, truly almost home.

Encouraging learning in:
Making your darn bed in the morning? I've been encouraging this for a good 15 years now. The learning curve appears very steep. :-/

Keeping house:
The above would help. While my mom and dad were here we put a lot of our photos and prints up on the wall. It feels more complete now. My kitchen is essentially complete. Of course, there is lighting I'd like to do, a rug here and a pillow there, but the construction is done and I am beside myself with happiness.

In the kitchen:
I'm loving this website. The recipes are really easy and don't use a lot of weird ingredients. The recipes I've made have been hits with all of my people. Score.

To be fit and happy:
I think it's time to mix it up a bit. The only exercise I've done for the past twelve years is running. I'm getting slow and more importantly it's getting cold out there. No bueno. I'm thinking yoga or some other class. I can't let go of running completely because I'm pretty certain that will put me in the looney bin, but it's time to branch out. What fitness classes do you like? Comment please?

Giving thanks:
For the moments when we're all around the table together. It is rare but it does happen. I recognize that these moments are no small things, especially since I know the days are coming when one or two will be away from the table and not because they are simply five minutes away at the high school for a practice. All five of us, together, around the table. Even if brothers are interrupting and ragging on each other and arguing? It is loud. It is exasperating. And it is good. I am grateful.

Loving the moments:
When the view from behind home plate gives way for a bit to the view from the gym bleachers. Last weekend, I even more so loved the moment when my boy remembered that life is more than just about putting a ball through a hoop and a couple of points on a scoreboard. On Sunday Drew and his team played a game at the gym where Gavin Rupp, a local boy who died of cancer in 2013, went to school. If you've read here before you know that Gavin's story made a significant impact on my family and me and pushed me to give much of my time to volunteering in the pediatric cancer community. It also gave me a friendship with his mama that is a true testament of beauty from ashes. Before I could even point out Gavin's #15 on the court, Drew said, "I know. I see". Before the tip I watched him rub his foot along the circle. I watched him score the first two points of the game. I watched his team win by two in the end. I don't know if Gavin helped us. Drew thinks he did. Either way, my boy gains inspiration, perspective and courage from a boy he never knew. That's a moment to love.



Planning for the week:
Hoping to get my Christmas cards out asap so that my friends will have my new address, a basketball game or three, some Christmas cheer with some girlfriends and setting up for the Kyle's Kamp Holiday Store for Kids with Cancer.

Have a great week, friends!

PS Newly revamped prompts stolen from Elizabeth's Gathering My Thoughts posts.

Friday, December 2, 2016

5 Things on a Friday: which involves ridiculous amounts of food

It's Friday! 
And it's 23 days until Christmas!
And only one month left in 2016!

I do have to say that although we're all supposed to live in the present and be grateful for just today, I'm guessing there are quite a few of us who are looking forward to the new year and thinking, "Hey, 2016, don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Speaking of, I heard the best description of this jacked-up year the other day when I was listening to Knox and Jamie, the hosts of The Popcast, which I have mentioned is one of my new favorite things to listen to in all the world. Knox said, "I think it was a bad year, man. I think that as a nation this is the year that we look back at pictures and we had braces and a perm and maybe a sweater tied around our neck in the school pictures. It just wasn't good."

Yes, sir. That about sums it up.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that you ate all the things and loved all the people and didn't discuss any depressing or controversial subjects like inflatable Santas in your front yard, the return of high waisted jeans or the Texas Longhorns. 

It's time for 5 Things on a Friday so here are some of my favorite things from the last week (or two).

1. Thanksgiving with My People

I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time in about 15 years here at our new home. We are about 99% done with the kitchen so it was functional. I actually enjoyed cooking this year, especially alongside my mom. It was seven of us for the entire week and we had the greatest time having my parents in town. We spent time watching football which was glorious (Go Cowboys) and maddening (Why do you hate me, Longhorns?). We watched Drew's team play in three basketball games,went to a winery, read some books, watched some movies, hung some pictures, rearranged some furniture and laughed at my daddy's jokes until our tummies hurt. Oh and we ate. A LOT. 

We went straight to Anita's after picking up my parents at the airport. Because it's important to give thanks for breakfast burritos.


Mom and I almost did the superfreak when we realized halfway through the cooking of the turkey that we had my new oven set to "convection" as opposed to "traditional". Neither of us had a clue what that really meant for the state of our bird. Despite the initial panic, cooler heads and a glass of wine or two prevailed and our turkey turned out perfect.


On Saturday, Steve and my mom and dad and I went out to Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg, Virginia. The wine was amazing, the music was great and the view was gorgeous.



After Sunday night service at our church, we went to dinner at Tuscarora Mill, one of my favorite restaurants in the area. Please notice that all three of my boys are wearing collared, button down shirts because as we know 2016 is nothing if not full of shock and awe.


So basically, I guess the number 1 item on my 5 Things list should just be "food". Let's just say that none of us suffered any hunger pains last week.

Also, this is my favorite photo from the whole week. Kids these days. They just cannot be away from their devices.



2. Sponsor a Millennial

Someone posted this a couple of months ago and then a friend mentioned it to me again. This is genius and hilarious. It is well worth your four minutes. I'm just gonna say this "totes lit fam".




3. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine


Drew and I are reading this book together. (or more accurately, I am reading it aloud to him at night.) I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy reading aloud to the boys and I would argue that a child is never too old for his mama to read to him. I never think we have enough time for this, but we do. It is true that we make time for what's important. Middle school is hard. My youngest is not a baby anymore and he is finding his own voice and his own path. It can be a bit disconcerting for me. Snuggling up next to him, reading and staying connected to him is as important now as it was when I was holding his pudgy little fingers and pointing to each word in Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Mockingbird is a beautiful story with some difficult subject matter and we are sighing and laughing and learning along the way as we read. Drew didn't even flinch when I got choked up and started to cry when I realized why the title was Mockingbird. Reading is good, yes? Reading with them is even better.

4. Greenheart Juices


One of the few smart, responsible choices we made this week was when Nancy and her daughter,  my mom and the lovely and talented Mrs. C. and I hopped in the car to head to the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning and I grabbed something that did not contain white flour or sugar. Nancy introduced me to Greenheart Juice Shop a number of months ago. The story behind this company is so touching and the juices that I've had are really good. My favorite so far is Liquid Gold. I've also had the Glorious Greens and the Summer Garden. This was just what the doctor ordered after I had eaten all the carbs in the land last week.

5. Kyle's Kamp's Holiday Shop for Kids with Cancer


Well, this isn't exactly something that happened this week, but it will be happening soon. If you've read here long enough, you know of my involvement with a pediatric cancer fundraising organization called Kyle's Kamp. Each year Kyle's Kamp sets up a Holiday Shop for kids being treated for cancer at Pediatric Specialists of Virginia Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Children can "shop"(for free) for their siblings and parents. Volunteers help the kids wrap the gifts and send the children home with packages for their families. If you or your group would like to donate gifts to the Holiday Shop you can contact me at kyleskamp.jennifer@gmail.com. We need teen gifts, mom and dad gifts and children's gifts. Gift cards are welcome as well. This is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas Season. There is a lot of darkness in that place, but for a moment the patient can focus on giving to the people who have loved her along her journey. For a moment, in the midst of chaos and darkness, all is calm, all is bright.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving & FYI: 2016 is still being weird

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, like you, I only have approximately eleventy million things to do before my parents come this week. I am so excited I can barely see straight, but I wanted to take some time to write and clear my head. I have a few very important things to discuss. Or maybe they're not important at all.

It's just that recently I read a tweet that said, "2016 is drunk" and I couldn't agree more. And yet, some of the odd happenings of late are not all that bad.

Case in point, I've been firing on all cylinders with all manner of chopping and sauteing and mixing and whatnot. In less than a week, I have baked two loaves of banana bread, two loaves of pumpkin bread and a pecan pie. I have whipped up a huge pot of tortilla soup and frozen it so that we can have it for the Texas vs. TCU game on Friday. I have made and frozen a sweet potato casserole and the makings for a spicy sausage dressing. I have spent more time on food websites than I have fashion websites. (Whaaaa???)  Also, there was throw pillow throwing and hand towel hanging and fall flower arranging. I am feeling very much like my life might become the Pinterest board of my dreams.

What I'm saying is that if you know me in the cooking and decorating department, this is the equivalent of 2016 ordering a double on the rocks.

After all of that all-star homemaking yesterday, I was feeling like I needed to hit the bed early, but then this happened.



This particular accessory was not what my puppy had in mind when he was planning his fall wardrobe.

Early yesterday morning I noticed that one of Mack's eyes was looking drainy and cloudy and not fully opening. If you know me in the pet owning department, you know that I barely do "walking of the dog" much less "looking in the goopy eye of the dog." Later in the day I thought maybe it looked fine so I blew it off while I did my version of the Rachel Ray show in the kitchen. By evening he was squinting up at me again, so Steve took him to the vet and they found a scratch on his eye. They gave him some antibiotic ointment and said he has to wear this cone thing for seven days.

As a very new dog person, I had no idea the trauma this particular situation would bring. Mack was virtually paralyzed when he came home. I expected him to be crying and whining and trying to fight that thing off. Instead he wouldn't walk into the house from the car. When Steve set him inside the door he just stood there staring at us motionless. He didn't eat, pee or poop for the rest of the night. If any of us tried to call him he just stared through us. It was the saddest thing I've ever seen.

This morning when I woke up at 6:00 am, I took him outside determined to make sure he was going to get used to this thing and not have to go to dog therapy. I had to spend no less than 30 minutes nudging him along in the dark, cold of the morning, but he finally figured out how to walk and do his business. I then came in and fed him his food handful by handful by which I mean directly out of my hand. Again, if you know me and my experience with dogs, this is nothing short of a Thanksgiving miracle.

In other words, 2016 just ordered a round of tequila shots for everyone in the entire bar.

Ok let's move on to something that is a bit more in my wheelhouse, but still proves to us that weird things are happening all over the land of the free and home of the brave. When I tell you this you will think I'm a big fat liar.

JCrew is having 40% off your purchase today and free shipping.

It's not even Black Friday! It is Tuesday, for the love! And JCrew acknowledges that this is the first time they've ever done this. I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE SEEN MORE THAN 20% off at JCREW AND IT HAS NEVER BEEN ON EVERYTHING. AND FREE SHIPPING?

2016 has just jumped up on the table and is downing Jack Daniels straight from the bottle.

I need someone to wear this top to a holiday party. It comes in three different color combinations.



Look at the back.


Also, these tassel earrings come in three different colors and are simply adorable.




I also need to tell you that Anthropologie has 25% off of all tops. Not just sale tops. ALL THE TOPS. It ends tonight so hustle up.

2016 has stumbled out of the bar and is still clutching his bottle in the Uber on the way home.

I've been eyeing this top for a long while now and it is finally on its way to me.


I think this is so cute. I'm not sure I can pull off the shoulder baring trend, but if you can this is your top. Bonus: you can wear a regular bra. It also comes in navy.



That's all I've got for now. And I really need to go because I have to make a giant batch of my grandmother's cornbread dressing and also some Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Maple Cream Sauce. I even think I might make some Dill Chicken Salad with pecans just because, I don't know, maybe someone will want something to snack on. I mean, I have no rational explanation for this.

All, I can say is:  Lock up the liquor cabinet folks. 2016 has no plans to sober up yet and if we take a deep breath and stick this out, it might end up kinda fun.

PS I'm so grateful for you who show up here especially since I've been pretty inconsistent lately.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fall Daybook: November 14, 2016


Outside my window:
It's grey and quiet. A bit Monday-ish, I guess. I like it.
I am thinking:
a lot about the Thanksgiving dinner menu. I haven't cooked Thanksgiving dinner since the very first year I was married in 1995. We have often traveled for Thanksgiving and spent many having BBQ in Austin before heading to the Texas game. I'm excited and nervous to cook this time, but my mom will be here as a back-up so my guys are breathing deep sighs of relief.
I am thankful:
that I kept this four page (actually eight pages - front and back) hand-written letter my mom sent to me back in 1995 when I cooked that dinner. I pulled it out today and my heart almost exploded. My family was very big on handwritten letters back before email. I cannot imagine sitting down to write that many pages out by hand today, but my mom did it because she knew I needed that letter desperately. She gave me instructions on exactly how to prepare everything from the turkey to the gravy to the pumpkin pie  Some of my favorite lines:

Rolls: Heat them. (she clearly knew I needed very specific instructions)
Pumpkin Pie: Just buy a frozen pie. Save yourself the trouble. 
I am anxious for us to get together and really get to know Dan. I know you're going to like him. I hope we don't scare him to death. (At that time Dan and my sister had been dating for three months. Today they've been married for 18 years even though I'm quite sure we scared him.)

What a gift this letter is. I will never lose it.



In the kitchen:
There is a leftover Costco cake that I'm trying to pretend isn't there.
I am wearing:
black running shoes, the only pair of jeans that fit this morning (see above), and a grey tshirt. Pretty Monday-ish
I am listening to:
The Today Show, the washer and dryer spinning approximately six pairs of American Eagle khaki pants and my puppy dog snoring. Again, very Monday-ish.
I am reading:
Well, lately I have had a real hard time pulling away from the train wreck that is the internet/Facebook/Twitter, but this morning I decided that for the rest of the month I will take Facebook off of my phone and actually read a book. So I am reading Truly, Madly, Guilty by Lianne Moriarity. I started it in August but that feels like 100 years ago now, so I started from the beginning last night.
I am going:
To finally get my haircut and highlighted for the first time since July. So all of my people will be singing praise to the Lord because this is absolutely the rock solid truth:



I am hoping:
to try to make this Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Maple Cream Sauce. At Drew's birthday dinner out last week we had White Chocolate Bread Pudding that was so good I can't even talk about it. So, I might give this a shot for Thanksgiving.
I am looking forward to: 
Honestly, I'd say to a time in the hopefully not too distant future when my favorite jeans might fit again. Lord, hear our prayer. And please, Lord, save me from the Costco cake the boys won't let me throw out.
On my Ipod:
I've been listening to The Popcast, a podcast that is totally up my alley and hilarious. The tagline for this podcast is "a weekly podcast about all things pop culture. Our mission is to educate you about things that entertain, but don't matter." YES, PLEASE.
I am praying:
for my country.
I am wondering:
if we are really serious about this fashion statement. I saw this while flipping through Us Magazine at a doctor's office. What is happening here? Have we just decided that JLo can do whatever she wants because I guess I get that. And of all the things the Kardashians have done? This might be the worst.


A quote for today:
"When we intentionally and regularly remember God's work on our behalf, our faith is more likely to weather the storms later on." - Community Bible Study workbook
A verse for today:
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light," 1 Peter 2:9
One of my favorite things:
A bunch of twelve year olds playing football in the moonlight.

A few plans for the week: 
Basketball season starts up this week for the two youngest boys with practices and scrimmages and Joe will be sending in his final college applications this week. I'm hoping to read and clean and cook and in general prepare for all the giving of all the thanks next week.
A peek into my day:
It's pretty exciting. I won't lie.




Friday, November 11, 2016

5 Things on a Friday: Including #Momgoals

It's Friday!

Thank goodness because it's been a tough week.

So, it's all happy here for 5 Things on a Friday. And it's gonna be quick because if the internet has taught me anything this week, it's this: GET OFF THE INTERNET. TALK TO SOMEONE'S ACTUAL FACE.

So, I'm going to spend the weekend with some actual live people. But let's start 5 Things on a Friday with someone I wish I could hang out with in real life. This first video inspired me to have new goals for my life. Which will not bode well for my sons.

1. Somebody's Mom at the Warriors Game

I love this woman with my whole heart.





2. Zella-ish Leggings from Costco

Y'all. I went to Costco yesterday only to buy salmon and a birthday cake. As everyone does, of course. ;-)

I came out with salmon, a birthday cake and these running pants/leggings by Marc New York.(who the way, I have decided is basically some guy whose real name is spelled with a "k" and not a "c" and also lives in Toledo and not New York.) I keep reading about Zella leggings from Nordstrom and they get great reviews, but also cost about $50 a pair. Now, to be clear, I have only had these Costco leggings on for about an hour, but they are so comfortable and so warm that it's possible I won't take them off until Monday. They only cost $16.99 and come in this blue color and a purple/pink color, too.


3. Funny Memes

I think we all know that Facebook has been trying to kill us in the last few weeks and after election day it only got worse. That's why I was so happy when I saw funny memes that had nothing whatsoever to do with politics. This was my favorite this week.


4. Thoughtful Gifts from My Husband

Speaking of tacos,one day this week my husband told me that he had ordered me something from Amazon and that I should expect it any minute. He seemed so pleased with himself. I could not imagine what my romantic, generous husband had purchased for me right out of the blue during a regular ol' week. Well, I'm sure you can imagine the joy I had when I found the Amazon box on the front step and opened up these.



Now that's all I'm going to say about that. Because if I say anymore it would just be like bragging. I don't want to make you feel bad about your man. Some of us just get lucky is all.


5. Matt Redman's 10,000 Reasons in Times Square

I'm not at all sure how I happened on this, but I cried through the whole thing. Need a little hope today? Watch this.



Have a lovely weekend, everyone!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Some Joy for Today: Happy Birthday, Drew!


Hey, Drew!

We are so blessed that your birthday falls on this day.

Our country is full of fear and anxiety today. For months, there has been shouting and finger pointing and name-calling and worry about what might come to pass at the end of this day. All around us there are heavy hearts. There is a lack of hope and a sense of dread.

And that's why we're so lucky that this Election Day happened to fall on your birthday because in the heart of our home we can push those things aside and instead focus on gratitude and celebration. But most importantly today especially reminds me that we do not place our hope in the things of the world. We do not place our hope in the promises of humans. There is only One in whom we place our hope. And He will never fail us.

As I lay in that hospital bed waiting for you to come twelve years ago today, there was a moment when panic washed over me. I suddenly feared that my luck had run out. All of my pregnancies had been uneventful. I had two perfect, healthy children. How could I possibly expect to have another? How could I just come into this hospital and take for granted that everything would be okay the third time? Had I done the right things? Would the doctor be skilled enough? Would I remember how to breathe, how to push, how to take care of you? How in the world could I ever have expected that everything would work out?

I remember your Grammy coming in soon after and putting her head right up against mine. I remember the tears stopped and my heartbeat quieted. I don't remember what she said exactly. Knowing her, she probably raised her eyebrows at me and asked, "Do you trust Him? Or do you not?" She has asked it many times since. And even though we'd not had a sonogram to find out what you were and I had not had any intuition at all as to what you were up to that moment, I remember looking at her and saying, "It will be a boy."

I wasn't 100% confident of that. I wasn't 100% confident that you would be healthy and strong. But I was 100% confident that the Lord was trustworthy. I was 100% confident that He would be faithful and that He would equip me for whatever was to be.

And today, we know that God was every one of those things twelve years ago. On that day, as on every day before, God knew exactly what He was doing. He was completely in control. He gave us you. Exactly the baby we needed and wanted. Red faced and red headed and screaming your little lungs out. He knew the plan for our family that day. He knew that you would complete our home. He knows the place you will have in this world. He knows how many days you have and how many people you will bless in those days.

So today we will not live in fear. It will be easy for our family because we're lucky enough to celebrate you. We will remember the promise that your life held in the moment you came to us. We will remember that our hope is not in circumstance and not in humans. Our hope is in the Lord. Our joy is in His promise. Our confidence is in the knowledge that He will not fail us.

We know this for sure today. We know because on November 8, 2004 He gave us you - a boy full of hope, full of promise and full of joy. We're so glad He saw fit to give us the gift of you.

Happy Birthday, Little Man. We love you so.