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Friday, October 20, 2017

5 Friday Favorites: October 20, 2017 Edition

Yesterday I thought it was Friday the entire day, so today seems weird.

You're welcome for that compelling introductory sentence. My apologies to Mrs. Shannon, my senior English teacher.

It's time for 5 Friday Favorites!

1. Whole 30 Approved Chicken Salad


I am officially done with the Whole 30 program, but I did notice that there actually are some benefits to your body and your spirit when you eat real food. (duh.) So even though the end of my diet Coke ban has gratefully arrived, I've been loosely following the program in the past couple of weeks. In fact, there were 3 out of 5 days this week that I did not have diet coke. If you read here before you know I never was perfectly compliant anyway due to the fact that the diet coke ban lasted only 22 days and not 30. Also, I had some wine and coffee creamer on occasion because I don't hate myself.

Anyway, I've been making this chicken salad a few weeks in a row and I have it for lunch almost every day.  First, you have to make the mayonnaise which is super easy, but you need to follow the directions in the link I provided perfectly. The rest of the recipe I got from my mom at some point. I don't know if she made it up or what, but it reminds me of her when I eat it, so it makes me really happy. 

Whole 30 Mayo (I got the recipe HERE)
About 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
2 eggs, boiled and chopped
1/2 cup ? (I don't know, maybe a handful or 2) halved raw pecans
A bunch of fresh dill, chopped
2 slices of dill pickle, chopped (There are certain pickle brands that are Whole 30 approved. You can google it if you're not on the "whatever" plan like I am right now)
Salt and Pepper

Mix it all up. Think of your mom. Be happy. (If the thought of your mom doesn't make you happy, I'm sorry about that. Go ahead and think of my mom. She's awesome. I'm lucky.)

2. L'oreal Infalliable 8 Hour Pro Gloss


I know I tend to have a favorite lip stick/gloss/balm about every other week and that's because I might have a problem with purchasing things such as these. I, however, can honestly claim  this one as a favorite because I've used it for years. The Coral Sands is practically colorless. It does have a pretty shimmer though, so it can be used alone or over a deeper color. And who doesn't need a little shimmer?

I suppose the correct answer to that is no one, actually. No one needs a little shimmer, I guess. Let's move on to what you do need today.

3. Dani & Dannah




Y'all. These girls are singing my song. And the 2nd one? I'm dead. Pretty sure #don'tcalltyrone will be trending soon.


4. We're Going to Need More Wine
by Gabrielle Union


Ok. To be honest I can't really claim this book as a favorite of the week yet because I just picked it up yesterday. I did, however, hear an interview on the radio with Gabrielle Union this week. Before I heard it, I knew very little about her and afterward I felt like she would totally be someone I could hang out with. I also find that memoirs have become some of my favorite books to read. I think every one in the entire universe has a story to tell and Union's is very compelling. She spoke about a brutal rape she endured when she was working in shoe store at 19 years old. She was also funny and smart. I think this will be a great read.

Speaking of memoirs, I just finished Amy Schumer's The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo and although I turned red and found myself covering up the pages so my people wouldn't see the language, I did find it pretty funny, pretty smart and even at times, pretty sweet. Again, if you are offended by a little language don't read the Schumer book because there's more than a little. In fact, if you're offended by a whole lot of language, I'd steer clear as well. I just feel the need to reiterate this one more time: THERE'S A LOT, A LOT, A LOT OF LANGUAGE, 'kay?



5. Farm Girl Flowers



One of my favorite feeds to follow on Instagram is Farm Girl Flowers, a company out of San Francisco.  If you want to get away from vague and/or political and/or annoying posts on Facebook for awhile, go find their Instagram page and I promise it will make you so happy. The photos are beautiful. I can also vouch for the fact that if you order for delivery they will come looking exactly as you hope in that cute burlap sack. 

Speaking of Instagram and all the other social media outlets, if you don't follow me on social media, you can now do so by clicking on the Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook icons on the top right of this page. I can't promise a lot of interesting things, but I can promise no anger, no vague finger pointing at people who are on my last nerve and no profane language. Unless the Texas Longhorns lose that day and then disregard all of that.

Have a great weekend!

Disclosure: The View From Behind Home Plate is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn small fees by linking to amazon.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

In Defense of Joy, Celebration & Dawg Piles


I've written here before about how to be a delightful fan. Athletes are under a lot of scrutiny because those who behave badly get a lot of press. In youth sports, parents and their children are under the same microscope for the same reason. For any youth athlete, an emphasis on sportsmanship is important and I am incredibly grateful to the coaches who have taught and modeled good sportsmanship to my kids throughout the years. There is a right way to both win and to lose. 

In the NFL there is a penalty for too much celebration. I understand that sometimes it gets to be too much. I am never in favor of taunting or belittling an opponent with celebration, of course. As well, there is a popular quote that is prevalent among athletes, even the young ones. It discourages too much enthusiasm and is known as the "Act like you've been there before." rule. I'm pretty sure my husband would ascribe to this theory. But, I was contemplating these ideas recently and this is what I thought. 

It's pretty profound, so get ready.

Those kinds of rules? They totally bum me out.

Friday, October 13, 2017

5 Friday Favorites: October 13, 2017 Edition

It's time for 5 Favorite Things on a Friday. Have a look!


1. All The Plaid For Fall


It's finally feeling like fall here this week and if you've read here long enough, you know I am a sucker for plaid all the time, but especially in the fall. I bought this shirt a few weeks ago at Gap. Since my moral code prohibits me from wearing another college's spirit wear I chose it for the blue/grey colors and wore it to Penn State when we went there for a tailgate and game a few weeks ago. I love the fit. It was perfect for wearing tucked, half tucked or untucked. So, basically it meets all your tucking needs. Gap is having 40% off with the code HAPPY.


Here's a photo of my boys and me at PSU just so you can see that you don't have to be all pensive and moody in your plaid Gap shirt like that model. What's her problem? Maybe she needed to go untucked?


In addition to plaid, I'm a sucker for St. Patrick's Day, so just think about how happy your March 17, 2018 self will be if you have this in your closet that day. It's already on sale and you can get an additional 50% off with the code LUCKYU so obviously JCrew has St. Paddy's Day on the brain, too.



Also, maybe the fall weather just makes you want to watch Netflix all weekend. Or maybe you're like me and you know that the Texas Longhorns seem to prefer to push a lot of their games to double overtime. (Lord, have mercy.) No matter the time of kick-off and no matter whether they win or lose, the Horns tend to force me to take to my bed after a game. If you're going to need to be prepared for immediate lounging and/or sleeping, these plaid nightshirts are on sale at Nordstrom.

2. Sapling Press Greeting Cards




Last weekend when I was in Texas for my high school reunion, my friend Lori and I went shopping around our old, yet newly revamped, town square. Our square used to boast a donut shop, a hardware store and a flower shop to meet all your Homecoming Mum needs and that was about it. Now it is teaming with cute little boutiques and shops. We stayed in one shop forever and read every last greeting card by this company. We were cracking up and eventually each bought at least four cards that we'll probably end up sending to each other. So funny.

3. Chance the Rapper


Y'all. This is gonna seem super weird because usually I put songs on Friday Favorites that I hear on Christian radio and also I AM OLD. I don't know anything about this guy except that this summer a bunch of the young folk in our area went to see him in concert. As previously mentioned I am OLD, so I just kind of scoffed at the whole thing because "those crazy kids". I somehow happened on this performance last week and I cannot even pretend to be hip enough or smart enough or enlightened enough to know exactly what all he is getting at here, but this is what I can tell you. I watched it three times and I cried every time. Not just teary or a little choked up, but legit tears were rolling down my cheeks and I don't even really know why. I'm not sure I really get it, but I think it's beautiful.  My kid is going to be so embarrassed that his dumb ol' mom thinks she's cool listening to Chance the Rapper, but he's going to have to deal. I'm a fan of this song/poem/rap/what-have-you. Also, I'm old.

4. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer


I bought a trial size of this primer at Ulta awhile ago and I really didn't know exactly the purpose, but I figured that at this point in my life, since there seemed to be no spackling or caulk available, this might be a good call. I actually bought it again recently and I think it does help makeup go on smoother and maybe helps it stay put. It's also supposed to help with fine lines and wrinkles and large pores. Whatever, I don't know about that. I could be throwing my money away, but things are getting real around here on my face, so I am sticking with it.

5. If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free by Jamie Ivey




I've mentioned Jamie Ivey's podcast here before and I listen to it every week. She recently wrote her first book and I was lucky to sign up for her launch team so that I just finished an advanced copy. Jamie is so honest and open about her journey. She emphasizes the ways God pursues us no matter how far we run from Him. It is a beautiful, vulnerable story that it worth your time. The book doesn't release until January, but you can pre-order it HERE.

Have a great weekend! And GO HORNS! BEAT OU!!!

Disclosure: The View From Behind Home Plate is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn small fees by linking to amazon.com

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Reunited

Well, hey, friends.

I've been out of town for almost an entire week so it feels nice to be back to my regular life which includes, but is not limited to, ignoring all the laundry that needs to be done, pretending that dinner is going to fix itself and wondering if there is a chance I might not need to put on real clothes today.

I was in Texas for my high school reunion and chose to add a couple of days on either side of the weekend to spend with my parents. (Also, the airlines feel like they're justified in asking you to empty all of your bank accounts and sell off one of your children if you want to fly Friday - Monday, so you might as well stay awhile.)

Rockwall County Courthouse

My family lived in Dallas until I was nine and then my dad bought a boat and decided we should live on a lake, so we moved out to a suburb, Rockwall, which is about 25 miles away from Dallas on Lake Ray Hubbard. The reunion was a delight. That would be because there is perhaps no better way to spend your weekend than hanging out with people who have known you since you were 10 years old wearing a ruffled purple shirt and Luv-It jeans with a comb stuck in the back pocket while you went roller skating on Friday nights.

My best friend from high school, Lori, came in from Birmingham (we left our people at home) and we both stayed with my parents so it was exactly like our sleepovers in high school. My mom and dad couldn't sleep waiting for us to come home and they made us breakfast each morning.

(Yes, my 48 year old self did get a text from Mom at 1:30 am saying "HELLO?!?!?" And for the thousandth time I praised God on behalf of my 17 year old self for the lack of Iphones in the 80s.)

We got ourselves all dolled up and had my parents take our picture about 75 times. We all like to drone on about how self-absorbed the new generation is, but I'm here to tell you that Lori and I spent an enormous amount of time curling our bangs and taking photos of each other in high school. The only difference this time was that we didn't have to rush to the drug store with our Kodak Disc Camera to develop our film.



Thank goodness for the Iphone which saved us the delay in throwing a fit over the state of our hair in said photos. Listen, you can take the girls out of Texas, folks, but you can't take the Texas out of the girls. I just cannot imagine the joy and sheer amount of time wasting the Photo Layout App would have brought to our high school selves.



Much of the conversation among my classmates throughout the weekend revolved around ye olden days. We talked about the fact that we didn't have a McDonald's until our junior year and when it was built you would have thought Jesus Himself had shown up. Over the years, my grandmother must have mentioned no less than three hundred times how proud she was of our first stoplight which came in at the intersection of the Sonic and one of our two 7-11s. What would really surprise my kids is that in the 80s at my high school if you broke a rule, you had a choice between detention and "getting licks" from the principal/coach. Our principal/coach who everyone adored had a photo of John Wayne on his wall. When you were told to put your hands on the desk and look at The Duke you knew what was coming. Getting licks was never as bad as you thought it would be. At least that's what I was told by all my delinquent friends. ;-)

We noticed a lot of changes in our not-so-little-anymore town, but the essence of the place was the same. Let it be known that Friday Night Lights is still alive and well in the great state of Texas. I got all misty eyed and giddy when my mom and I attended the Homecoming Parade. Everyone was wearing their Angry Orange shirts. 

Photo from Lisa Hayden Grandy -Class of '87 :-)

(Sidenote: we are the Yellowjackets so I really have no idea why we weren't yellow and black, but in Texas we do what we want, so whatever.)

I thought I might break into a full on meltdown when the band marched by playing our fight song. Then I got down right embarrassing when I yelled out to one of the Homecoming Princesses I recognized, "I KNOW YOUR MOM!".

Photo from Kathleen Plagens Evan's FB page - I KNOW HER.
When Lori and I drove up to the football game Friday night, it seemed at first like walking into a time machine except that now our quaint little town's stadium rivals some college stadiums in size and stature. When we got our tickets we were instructed to go up the elevator to meet the Class of 1987 on the mezzanine.



Elevator? Mezzanine? I don't mind telling you I was a little bit like this:



But once we got in and started seeing faces and hugging necks it seemed like not a thing had changed in thirty years.

Here we are on the Mezzanine because FANCY PANTS

I know that when we look back on high school we sometimes tend to remember how much angst there was. How much confusion about who we were supposed to be and who we really wanted to be. I was no stranger to insecurity and self-image issues. I wish I could go back and tell that girl how important she was to God exactly the way she was and that her hair and her weight and her looks were not at all what was important. But, I can't.

Last night I watched This is Us and there was a line that resonated with me so deeply after having spent my time among people I had known so long.

There's no such thing as a long time ago. There are only memories that mean something and memories that don't.

Of course all of the memories aren't the best for any of us because being a teenager is hard. But the memories that meant something to me this weekend were all the ones filled with being deeply, truly known and with a whole heckuva a lot of laughter. We laughed an awful lot during those days of football games and parades and trying to figure out who we would become.

At this 30 year Reunion there wasn't a lot of "What do you do for living?" or "Are you married?" or "How many kids?"  We're kind of over that at this point. There was just a whole lot of laughing. Laughter that made tears roll down my face and my stomach hurt and my cheeks sore. And make no mistake that I AM HERE for laughter. And my friends delivered.

BIG


TEXAS-SIZED



LAUGHTER.



Cheers to you, Rockwall High School Class of '87. You are full of the memories that mean something. I am so grateful.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Hey, Nineteen



Today is my firstborn's 19th birthday. Last year on his 18th birthday, I wrote about all the ways he has made me better since he showed up at 5:25 am on October 6, 1998. He was then and continues to be irrefutable evidence that the Lord gives us a child as a gift, but also as a teacher.

Last year, the future was uncertain. He was in the midst of writing essays and filling out college applications. My heart was anxious and in constant prayer that God would make the way clear. That he would handle disappointments with grace and trust. That he would keep his eyes fixed on God and believe that He would make the path straight.

Today he will spend his birthday away from us for the first time. With new friends in a new place. I won't make him cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We won't go to his favorite restaurant for wings and cheese fries. I won't watch him open gifts.

And yet, in a shocking development, I did not wake up with an empty, anxious heart due to the absence of him today. Instead my heart is full of so much gratitude, so much peace, and so much joy. But the overriding peace I feel today is a immeasurable trust in the way the Lord has and will continue to love us through every change, in every season.

Today if there comes a moment when I feel his absence too deeply, I'll do what I told him to do if ever he felt homesick. I'll remember that even though we aren't under the same roof today, we both fell asleep last night under the same moon, we woke up under the same sun, and we are breathing in and out under the same sky. Better yet, we are held by the same God who has proven time and time again to love us more than we could ever deserve.

Bonus: The Lord saw fit to send my kid to a school where he will spend his birthday in a place called Happy Valley. Can't ask for more joy than that.


Happy Birthday, Kid. I love you so much.

"I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you."
Philippians 1:3


Friday, September 29, 2017

5 Friday Favorites: September 29, 2017 Edition

Well, honestly, I've been racking my brain all morning to determine what I could call my favorite things from this week. Basically I've had my head down in my laptop all week with writing and other than that it's been orthodontist appointments, picking children up, dropping children off and trying to understand what my dog wants when he whines at me.

WHY CAN'T DOGS JUST SPEAK ENGLISH? It's 2017, for the love. This doesn't seem to me to be an unreasonable request.

Anyway, I did think of some things, so that just goes to show you that even in a boring, task-filled week, there are always things to bring you some joy.

Here we go.

1. A TShirt I Need



Well, I think my future self will definitely find this tee a favorite. I don't need to say much about it because it pretty much speaks for itself. Suffice it to say, I'm gonna need this shirt.


2. White Barn Cranberry Woods Candle



As a person who tends to tap out all of her feelings and thoughts on a blank computer screen - even those thoughts that never get posted - I can have periods of time where I spend hours, if not days, in my head without truly connecting with other people, especially women. Oh, I'll have texts here and there and some phone calls, but my girlfriends and I are in a season where everyone is busy and we have a hard time finding moments to sit face to face. Well, a couple of girlfriends and I found one measly hour to sit and chat this week and that one hour was truly a gift to me. We were able to cover news about all of our kids. And do you know what? It sure is a blessing when you have women around you who truly, deeply care about your kiddos. We all have the capacity to keep more than our own children in our hearts. As I left that coffee date, I felt so grateful for that. We were able to laugh and share and even cry a bit. And we did that by looking into each other's eyes, not by sharing over a phone screen. So, connection with friends is on the favorites list this week. And you're thinking, "What does that have to do with a candle?"  Well, I am a huge fan of candles and all the while we were chatting this one was burning. I've found that White Barn candles always keep their scent when you burn them, so go get one of these. Then invite your girls over. It's good for your soul.



3. Ellie Holcomb's You Loved Me Best



I've mentioned before that I downloaded Ellie Holcomb's Red Sea Road album and I love so many of the songs on it. This one hit me particularly hard this week. My friends and I are at an age where grief and loss, if they haven't shown up on our doorstep yet, are closer than ever before. I have prayed often lately for friends who have lost a parent. There have been a number of friends in the past few years who have lost their spouses. And I have walked through divorce with a few friends as well. Even if we haven't endured a journey of loss yet, it will come for each of us. This song is such a beautiful reminder of how we are held and loved in those seasons by the One who will always love us better than anyone on Earth every could. Even those who can boast the most loving, attentive, forgiving spouses, parents and friends? Those folks are still human. The love of our Heavenly Father cannot be matched. No matter what season we find ourselves in, let's rest in that love. What a gift.

4. All in All Journaling Devotional: Loving God Wherever You Are 
By Sophie Hudson



I have long been a fan of Sophie Hudson. First of her blog and podcast and then of her books. I might have mentioned this journaling devotional before, but I have just recently been working through it. It is aimed at teen girls and I will tell you that if I had a teen girl in my home I would buy her this devotional in a hot second. Her tone is conversational and sweet and funny and therefore, really easy to read. Honestly, I'm not sure I've found a more truly enjoyable devotional, so you do not have to be a teenager to benefit greatly from the way the Lord speaks through Sophie. I think most of us grown women still have a good measure of our teenage selves hanging out in our hearts most days. Bonus: The book itself has a beautiful cover. It is just a lovely thing to hold in your hand.  

5. Sunset at the Ballpark


"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies above proclaim His handiwork."
Psalm 19:1
The Lord can find us anywhere, friends. Even at the point when I've been sitting in the parking lot waiting for 30 minutes past the time practice was supposed to end so I hop out of the car to stomp up to the field to see what the heck is the hold-up, for the love, because I am starving and the Texas game starts soon. Then I see this and realize that, well, that's what the hold up was. God wanted to show-off.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Disclosure: The View From Behind Home Plate is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn small fees by linking to amazon.com

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: September Edition




I'm linking up with Sheaffer Told Me To The Larson Lingo and Mix and Match Mama for What's Up Wednesday today.



What We're Eating This Week

I'm in the last week of the Whole 30 program and so in my kitchen there are vegetables, chicken, eggs, Lara Bars and a huge amount of frustration and boredom because I am OVER IT. There have been some definite benefits for me with this program and my cravings have not been too terrible. It's just that as of this minute all I want is a giant cheeseburger and a Diet Coke. Perhaps that's because although I have avoided restaurants and drive thrus for most of this month, I just drove my kids through Chick-Fil-A after an orthodontist appointment and the only thing I ordered for myself was an Unsweetened Iced Tea. It was the one of the saddest moments of my life.

What I'm Reminiscing About


We are starting Drew's 13U fall baseball season with basically the same group of kids he's played with since he was 7 years old. Facebook can be a maddening place at times, but when the "On This Day" posts pop up, I love it. I have come to love these boys who are now moving into their teenage years as my own. Whether they are eating all the food in the house, playing tackle football, having diving contests in the pool or playing darn good baseball, I can't help but picture them as seven year olds. I am so grateful for these little "baseball bros". They are a joy.

What I'm Loving

Podcasts. I've mentioned them before here, but listening to Podcasts is the absolute best way to get through errands or laundry or a two hour drive to a baseball tournament in bumper to bumper traffic. I'm loving quite a few of them including: The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, For the Love with Jen Hatmaker, That Sounds Fun with Annie Downs, and The BigBoo Cast.

What We've Been Up To


Lots of work continues to be done on our house. We are having a screened in porch built that is just about completed. We're looking forward to fall days watching college football out there. I'm pretty sure my husband will live there until December.

What I'm Dreading

Not a darn thing.
What I'm Working On


At Kyle's Kamp we are gearing up for the 5th Annual Gavin Rupp Open which will be Monday, October 2nd, so as I do every year, I'm working on getting a volunteer schedule together. We have so many people in our area who were inspired by Gavin's story and who come out to help every year. When these people show up year after year, I know that though his life on Earth was short, his presence and influence are never ending. There is no doubt that this boy's life made and continues to make the world better We'll be raising money for the Sib Strong Program which supports siblings of cancer patients. If you're interested in what that program is about, I wrote about that it HERE.

What I'm Excited About



My 30th high school reunion is coming up in just over a week. It is completely bananas that it has been that long since I shamelessly walked around in public wearing stirrup pants and purple eyeshadow. I cannot wait to see my people in my hometown again. The three above plus a few other ex-cheerleaders would appreciate your prayers that we don't get carried away and try to reprise our routine to Prince's Kiss that we learned at Cheerleading Camp in 1986. I'm not saying it's logical or mentally or physically healthy, but we aren't necessarily accepting the fact that we aren't still 18. I could foresee this as a problem when we attend our High School football game. 

What I'm Watching


I have bitten off more than I can chew in trying to watch the entire series of 30 Rock before it leaves netflix this weekend, but I'm giving it my best shot. I dream about Liz Lemon and Tracy Jordan pretty much every night. 

What I'm Reading


I listen to The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey Podcast every single week. She has her first book, If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free coming out in January and I'm thrilled to be on her launch team. I just received the book earlier this week and I'm so looking forward to reading her work. 

What I'm Listening To


I rarely buy an entire album on Itunes but I got crazy and bought both Ellie Holcomb's Red Sea Road and Nichole Nordeman's Sound of Surviving. Both are so, so good. I will warn you though, you will need to wear waterproof mascara when you listen because you'll cry.

What I'm Wearing


I can tell you what I'm not wearing. These boots. I've basically been wearing shorts and flip flops because it's been like the middle of summer all the way through September here in Northern Virginia.  Dear Fall: Dude, stop messing around and focus. You're up. On the hop, man. My new boots from the Nordstrom sale aren't gonna wear themselves.  

What I'm Doing This Weekend


We decided at the last minute to go to visit Joe at Penn State and I am trying to remain calm about the whole thing. I haven't seen his face since August 18th which if you do the math is going to be 42 days and that is absolutely ludicrous. I am going to have to use all my will power not to run at him like a maniac. 

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

Don't tell Summer I said this because I do have undying love for heat and sun, but I'm looking forward to fall weather. Virginia is its best self in the fall. It is a glorious time. Also, the aforementioned boots.

What Else Is New


The only thing that is new around here is my search for something to replace Diet Coke in my life. My newest attempt is the orange flavored La Croix. It's a pathetic substitute, but it's working for now.

Bonus Question: What Fall shows are you most excited about?


Duh.

Have a great Wednesday!