I was going to post a [this moment} this week, but I have too many moments and too many words in my head, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things from this first week of November. First of all, we all know that the most fabulous, amazing, miraculous, any-other-superlative-word-you-can-think-of thing that happened this week was this:
And honestly, it's going to take me awhile to be able to articulate what that event was like because I HAVE NEVER IN ALL MY LIFE. We'll leave that until the end.
You will also notice that college football will not have the honor of being a numbered thing this week because I've decided that college football is not a thing anymore.
(See also: Texas loses 24-0 to Iowa State. Apparently this was the first time the Horns have been shutout by an unranked team since 1961. Who is the terrorist who looks these stats up? Have mercy, please, little Sports Desk intern)
Ok, Moving on to things that are a thing.
1. College Visits
These little adventures are slowly, but surely turning into a thing for me. I'd say that when thinking of sending your first born to college you have two choices. A college visit can be a delightful experience where you, your husband and your offspring ponder the fact that ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free and that knowledge is power and that life is what you make it, blah, blah, blah. Or it can be a breeding ground for a defcon 4 panic attack where you find yourself telling a frat boy to scoot over so that you can sit on a bench in the Quad and put your head between your knees.
Luckily for everyone, including said firstborn, our first college visit to James Madison University was delightful. In addition to my iron will and strength, one reason was that our group was led around by the cutest college senior named Garrett who was so smart and charming that when he asked if anyone had any questions it took all I had not to raise my hand and ask "Would you consider rooming with my son and then coming home to live with us forever and ever, Amen?" Seriously, though, Joe is looking at a number of schools and he's only a junior so we are still in the "This is not even real, man." stage. Still, JMU in Harrisonburg, VA is a delightful place to be especially if you get a chance to hang with Garrett.
You can't get a more perfect shot of a University than this:
I was not aware that our 4th president was a leprechaun. He was but a wee little man.
We ate lunch on Main Street in Harrisonburg at Billy Jack's which has one of the best burgers I've ever had in all my life. (And let's remember that I've eaten a Whataburger a time or two) Caution: Just to be sure you know you're in a college town, there might be profanity written on the walls in the women's restroom. (Settle down, Mamas, they'll be fine)
2. Fixer Upper
I am obsessed with this show and this couple. It's important to note that I am very late to the HGTV party because home décor makes me feel inadequate, small and wholly confused. I have to have tremendous amounts of counseling and deep breathing sessions with friends and family to make decorating decisions. But I realized that watching HGTV is like college for people like me. I've learned so much about refacing fireplaces and mantles and cabinetry and flooring. But, mostly, I've learned that Chip and Joanna are my new BFFs.
3. FOR THE LOVE: Fighting for grace in a world of impossible standards
If you haven't read THIS BOOK, you must. It's hilarious and profound and inspiring. And to my friends who might shy away from Christian authors, there is a chapter called, "Dear Christians: Please stop being lame." Amen? Other chapters include Jen's version of Jimmy Fallon's Thank You Notes, encouragement for not buying into the lies the culture tells women about our (lack of) worth and fun chapters on marriage and parenting. Each time I close that book at night and lay my head down, I am reassured that Jesus loves me fiercely and completely. And even more important, I am reassured that Jesus loves my children even more fiercely and completely than do I. In a letter to her kids, Jen writes, ". . . as imperfect parents who failed often, we are terrified to send you out knowing we didn't do enough. But Jesus is enough for all of us. He is enough for you. No one is safer. No one loves you more. No one will lead you better." I've been sleeping well, friends.
4. JEWELRY FROM ORENDA DESIGNS
My dear friend, Lisa, invited the neighbor girls over this week to check out this wonderful line of bracelets, earrings and necklaces by her amazingly talented Aunt Peggy. Aunt Peggy does her work in Lisa's home state of Oregon. The designs are pieces crafted with genuine semiprecious stone, crystals, pearls and shells. Look, we all know I'm a fan of shopping anywhere and everywhere. The mass produced accessories at the mall and I are well acquainted. But I am a big fan of local artists.
(Or of an artist from across the country in Oregon named Aunt Peggy who apparently also used to be a disco singer and the publicist for the dancing raisins. Truth. Can you even stand how cool she is?)
You won't find these pieces at the mall. These are unique and gorgeous. Here are some of my favorites.
Four Directions Gemstone Bracelet
If you were a fan of a college football team in Austin, Texas, you could wear this with your favorite burnt orange top. But, we're not talking about college football today so it's a good thing this bracelet will go with just about anything.
Warrior Princess Copper Cuff
Well, what do you need to know besides Warrior Princess? There are numerous choices for stones on these cuffs. Ridiculously cool.
Any of the Necklaces
The stones on all of the necklaces are beautiful and you can find just about any color you like. Go straight to THIS WEBSITE to order. Please enter the code JENNSBLOG in the notes section so that Aunt Peggy knows you are a View from Behind Home Plate reader.
5. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE AND CHRIS STAPLETON ON THE CMAS
So of course when one hears that JT will be on the CMAs one takes a seat on the sofa and ignores her family. Even when someone had a project due the next day and had trouble with the printer, the mom on the couch waiting for JT might just mumble,"I'm sure you'll figure it out." And I have to confess that for a split second I was concerned about my high expectations and thought, "Well, what if it's not the spectacular, amazing performance that we all expect?"
Well, now. Help me with my unbelief Lord. I have never heard of Chris Stapleton but he was SOMETHIN' ELSE, too. The texts flying between various friends, Sister and me about this performance contained but were not limited to phrases such as this:
The Lord has done a mighty work in Justin Timberlake.
How can one man have so much?
Please slap me if I ever hesitate to buy tickets to see that guy in concert ever again.
Amen and Hallelujah.
I think my mouth was hanging open the whole time.
Great and wondrous are your works. Lord. Abundant are they. And you heaped a whole mess of them into Justin Timberlake.
Amen, Amen and Amen.
I believe Justin summed it up at the end of the performance when he just said, "Lawd Have Mercy."
Watch. Again. The whole thing. All of it. Both songs. Your Friday will be better. Promise.