Monday, October 16, 2017

the weekend

This was me, attempting to wake up today.  I have no idea why I am so tired!  Now that I'm up, I'm fine, but waking up was another story.  I turned off my alarm and slept in an extra fifteen minutes.  It felt a little scandalous, doing that, but I'm a rebel.  For the last two nights, I've had kids out extra late, and I'm blaming my tiredness on that.  Waking up on and off, making sure they're home will do that to your sleeping. 

This was a great weekend!  You can tell it's finally feeling like fall around here, because we spent time outside.

On Friday night, Toddley worked with the sheriff's department, but the boys and I went to a friend's house for a cookout and bonfire.  There were lots of teenagers there, and lots of yummy food.  Eventually we started the bonfire, and though it was nice, it could have been a good twenty degrees cooler, to suit my taste.

I love a good bonfire.  Tis the season for them!

We left and headed home around nine thirty.  I rode with my friend and her hubby, and coming home, Noah joined us.  He's not much of a night owl either.

On Saturday, I did a lot of laundry and straightening up after I had quiet time.

I love these verses in Ephesians five, on wives and husbands, and I pray these over my husband and my boys for their future selves. 

I didn't feel great for the rest of the day, though, and just laid around, messing up my plans to hit the grocery store.  That afternoon, we left at four fifteen to go to my dad's house. 

My dad lives in the country, on about ten acres or so, with a lake in the front of the property.  On that lake is a deck, that had seen much better days.  Over the summer, he had it redone, and so, this deck revival party was planned to celebrate.  I spent many a night out on this deck over the lake with friends and family.  When I was young, this was where we had get-togethers, and the teenagers always loved coming out to the country for a bonfire. 

I have so many memories wrapped around this lake and deck.  One is when we had a big bonfire right by the lakeshore one time, and I sat too close to the fire.  The bottoms of my shoes melted!  This guy ended up giving me a piggy back ride back to my house, because I couldn't walk in them, and the ground was freezing.

Countless hours were spent out here when I was a young girl, and I lost count of all the hayrides, bonfires, and youth events we held here.  The deck is new now, though, and Dad strung some Christmas lights and plans on leaving them up all year long.  I'd love to buy him some of those lights with the giant bulbs and string them from the lampposts. 

It was a fun night.  The boys all fished, and we ate hot dogs and chili. 

Yesterday we spent at church.  I was there from eight thirty until almost one thirty, then again from three to five thirty.  Community group was from six until eight, by the time everyone went home.  I came home and watched a couple of episodes of The Good Wife (SO. GOOD.), then went to bed.  Todd and three of the boys spent yesterday afternoon at the racetrack in Millington.  A show they love, Street Outlaws, was here for the weekend, and they got to go and experience that, even meeting a couple of the guys. 

Jonah was there, too, but I haven't gotten that picture yet.  I know they had a blast, but man, they spent the entire day there!  I know they're tired today.  Todd and Jonah didn't come home until after two this morning, and it was after one when Graham got back.  Needless to say, I am letting them sleep in today.  Drew didn't go~this isn't really his thing, so he kept busy while I was gone most of the day, then he was here with me again last night when he came back from community group.  This is a huge perk of Todd working with the sheriff's department.  Most people don't get to be so close to the track, and they definitely don't get to meet the guys from the show.  He worked Saturday night so that he could do this with them on Sunday. 

Well, laundry is calling my name, and I have to go grocery shopping now.  Have a great day!  Love to all. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and her friends Erica and Narci, for this blog post.  To see their blogs, click on Momfessionals, and you can access theirs through hers. 

This week is a big blur!  Monday was spent getting ready to leave early Tuesday morning, and on Tuesday and Wednesday I was gone both those days.  Yesterday was spent with me doing laundry, vacuuming, having quiet time, and catching up with a friend~all while in my pajamas, because I was exhausted~and then last night I was alone and started watching a new (to me) show (The Good Wife).  Oh, and I caught up on all my favorite shows and am current once again (This Is Us, and The Good Doctor).  I also watched an episode of Gilmore Girls while I was in bed last night.

I suppose tv watching is a favorite past time for me.  I don't always watch it that much, but I was so tired yesterday, that it seemed like a good way to spend the day, once all my stuff was done.

This week is all about moments.  On Monday, after doing house work stuff, and getting ready to go out of town for one night, we had dinner with my in-love's.  Spending time with family is always a favorite thing of ours that we do, and we had not seen them in ages!  We went to Chick Fil A, then they came here for cookies and coffee.  My dad-in-love had knee surgery a couple months ago, and since then he has had a few other issues, so he's not really been out and about.  He was finally released to drive again last week, and now they're getting out again, so we were so glad to see them!

Tuesday morning at seven, I picked up my best friend Missy, and we hit the road to Dallas.

We got there, and met up with one of our favorite authors, Melanie Shankle, and her best friend, Gulley.  If you've never read a book by Melanie (also, writer of the Big Mama blog), you should buy her books and read them all!  They're The Antelope in the Living Room, Sparkly Green Earrings, Nobody's Cuter Than You, and Church of the Small Things. 

After this, we ate dinner at one of my new favorite places.

I'm sad we don't have these in Memphis, but if we did, it may not be one of my favorites.  Our waitress was adorable and so helpful! 

Then on Wednesday, we got up and drove to what is now one of our new favorite towns.

McKinney, Texas.  Their square was my favorite.  I thought Collierville's town square was adorable (and it still is), but this square was huge!  And more old fashioned, with neat shops. 

I knew about this town because of some of my favorite blogs, Momfessionals, and Mix and Match Mama.  I also happened to know it was close to Dallas, where we stayed Tuesday night, so why not?

I was really excited about Spoons Cafe, where we ate lunch, and now have a new favorite combo: fried okra and ranch dressing.  Who knew how delicious those two things were together?! 

On our way out of the town and back home, we loved driving down this cute street and looking at all the beautiful old homes. 

But this one was our favorite.

I LOVE historical homes!  And driving around looking at homes is one of my favorite things to do.

As much fun as it is to travel, there is no place like home.  I love being back home with all my favorite people, and I enjoyed my lazy day of catching up yesterday. 

I mentioned catching up with one of my best friends yesterday~Christa and her daughter came over yesterday afternoon to pick up some books she is borrowing, and ended up staying for dinner.  Todd and the boys left for a basketball game, so it was just us girls.  We had taco soup and enjoyed talking and being together.  They left pretty early because Annalise wasn't feeling that great, though, and afterward is when I watched all the other shows. 

It's been a great week, and I am looking forward to the weekend! 

Thanks for reading my blog!  Happy Friday, and love to all. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

first annual best friends trip

If pictures offend you in any way, you may not want to read this post.

Last week while on our anniversary date, I asked Toddley if he would like to go to Dallas for one night so I could meet one of my favorite authors.  Melanie Shankle is an author and blogger I've read for years, and as part of her launch team for her newest book, Church of the Small Things, I was invited to a VIP meet and greet on Tuesday night at a Barnes and Noble in Dallas.

Todd would have gone with me, had he been able to take off for a couple days, but his work scheduled wouldn't allow for that.  So, after I found out my wonderful step-dad Bill had enough points for a FREE night in a hotel room, and woke up to the confirmation email on Thursday morning of last week, I promptly called my best friend Missy and asked her to go with me.

So, our planning commenced, and on Tuesday morning at seven, in the pouring rain, I picked her up.

She was DRENCHED by the time she actually got in my car, and this was us two hours later and her mostly dried out.  Her shorts and hair were never quite the same.  We stopped just outside of Little Rock for a break to stretch and got back in the car and stayed there until Texarkana.  Her hubby Jeff recommended stopping places for us, and we were both so thankful for that!  He knows his stops and told us where we would be safe.  We had decided to pack enough food for picnics to cut back on spending money.  Oh, we did buy breakfast while outside Little Rock, because I was hungry.

Here we were in Texarkana!  We had a great spot for a picnic, and the weather was PERFECT.  We ate and walked a bit more to stretch, and got back in the car and kept driving.

We made one more stop for gas after lunch at noon, and by three thirty or so, we arrived at our hotel.  I have to stop here and say that the roads in Dallas are terribly confusing, and never in my life have I ever felt so dumb while driving.  I seriously accidentally ran two red lights, because I couldn't tell which light I was looking at, and I went while I wasn't supposed to.  The lanes keep changing and my Waze app could not hardly keep up, or warn me fast enough to tell me to get off at a certain exit, or in a certain lane, because the road was about to fork.  It was INSANE.  After that one time, we stayed off the interstate the rest of the time and took service roads that ran alongside the interstate.

We checked in, unpacked, had a snack, changed, then left for Barnes and Noble.  We were a tiny bit late, but no worries.  We were ushered upstairs to where Melanie and her best friend Gulley were talking, and quickly sat down.

Then after, we got her to sign our books, and we had a besties picture taken by the sweet girl Alexis, who was in charge of her book launch team.

Melanie loved that we were best friends traveling together for hours for thirty minutes to meet her and then play around the rest of the time.  She asked what the rest of our plans were, and when we told her we were excited to go to The Container Store nextdoor, she said, "Dream big, ladies!".  We did.  Dream big, that is, but keep reading, because we are nerds and small things are ridiculously exciting to us.

We looked around and were awed.  They're a bit pricey, though, so I didn't buy anything.

After this, I remembered how much I had loved Chuy's that one time I went a few years ago in Dallas (at another location), so we asked a sweet lady if there was one nearby, and she directed us to a really fun location about ten minutes down the road.

I was stopped at a redlight when I took this.  It looks like a gold building!  It was just the sun setting, but man.  I think it's beautiful.

We made it to Chuy's with little mishap, and were charmed to pieces when we saw how adorable the location was.

We decided to eat outside, because who doesn't love adorable patios?  We had a delicious meal that made my mouth numb it was so spicy, and Missy died laughing when I kept saying, "Chili rellenos", and basically had a blast.

I made her pose in the restroom with me, for a Snapchat to send to our sweet friend, Marissa.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel, which is where more driving mishaps DID happen, but I won't speak of those here.  Just know that Todd and Jonah were unfortunate enough to hear the entire thing while I was talking to Todd on bluetooth in my car, and we laughed so hard that I had to RUN inside when we got back to the hotel.  And poor Jonah may never be the same.  We were crying, we laughed so hard, and I thought I was going to be sick.  Also, it's not good for me to laugh that hard while I'm driving, because I can't see that well when I'm cracking up.

We talked a little, and I pretty much fell asleep while Missy was talking to me.  And then we simultaneously woke up at 5:30 the next morning.  We ate breakfast, packed up, then left for a nearby town, called McKinney.  I have to stop here and say that I love to read blogs, and two of my favorite bloggers live there.  They both always write about how cute their little town and downtown square are, and since it's only about half an hour away from Dallas, I though it'd be fun to go.

And now I know why they love their little town!  It is precious.  We had so much fun!

Our first stop was an old cotton mill that is still in working order.

We took these then saw a sign that read, "No trespassing, No photography".


 I LOVE old buildings!  I got out of the car and took a few pictures.

After this we drove to the square.  Well, we turned around a few times after going way out of the way, then we finally reached our destination.

We had a little restroom break in that first building you see, that is really old and neat.  Then we walked around to a few stores.  I love old drug stores!  I bought a magnet.  Well, Missy bought it, actually, and now I owe her money.  She also bought me a Christmas present there!  I wonder if she's going to make me wait until Christmas....

We walked all around the square, then stopped for lunch at an ADORABLE restaurant called Spoons.

I should have gotten a tee shirt, but oh well.  And I am usually pretty excited about food, and mine was AMAZING.  That was me when the waitress brought our food.  Who knew fried okra and ranch dressing were so good together?!  I never would have thought, but the waitress recommended it.

The picture right above is a little coffee shop called Snug on the Square.  We also stopped at a beautiful place called Home-Ology  and it was decorated for Christmas.  That was right about when we threatened to not come back home.  Who doesn't love Christmas?! 

We passed this street while I was trying to get back to this house you see below.  I love old homes!  This was one huge and gorgeous.   Missy was very accommodating to my whims. 

After this, we made one last stop...

 I know, I know, but we don't have these!  I told you, we are simple people, Missy and I, and these are the kinds of things and places that excite us.  I really wish we had a Trader Joe's here, but oh well.  We each bought some stuff, then the sweet guy checking us out gave us cute little bags for free, when he learned we lived in Memphis and didn't have one of these near us.

After Trader Joe's, we stopped for gas one more time and refilled our waters, then got back on the road to head home.  We passed a place where all the pecans go to die, and some really cool little small towns, then finally were lead back to the interstate for the remainder of our drive.

We stopped in Texarkana for snacks and a chance to walk around and were so thoroughly cracked up over ourselves, that other people were staring.

Me: "I didn't know you like cinnamon raisin bread!"

Missy: "I like cinnamon.  I like raisins.  I love bread.  What's not to like?!"  Then she proceeded to gesture so wildly with her arms that she dumped half her bottle of diet coke into her purse.

We stopped again near Little Rock for gas and another refill for our waters, and got home by nine o'clock last night.  We threatened to not come home, though, we had so much fun.  I never knew that two full days would feel so long and that we would have so much fun.

In all that time together and for FOURTEEN hours together in the car, never once did we ever run out of things to talk about.  We talked about everything under the sun: movies, music, church, Christmas and family traditions, you name it, we discussed it.  Our favorite topic to speak of?  Jesus.  We both (might have) choked up at least once or twice over how good He has been to us.  Our last two hours were spent singing praises to Him along with Chris Tomlin and Travis Cottrell in the car.

We also spoke of how thankful and fortunate we are for sweet husbands who don't mind us doing things like this together.  They were both so loving and encouraging for us to make this trip, and we are both so grateful!  How precious they both are.  Also, we were both so thankful for Bill (my step-dad) who made arrangements for us to stay free at our hotel Tuesday night.  Thank you so much, Bill!  I know you're reading this.

Thanks for reading this long post, if you're still here.  I wanted to make sure to write it all down before I forgot of all that we did and the things that were funny only to us.

Love to all.

(We're thinking Hot Springs next year, because our favorite bible teacher will be there for a conference, plus it's a tiny bit closer than Dallas.)

Monday, October 9, 2017

the weekend, and a little about this week

I love a good, lazy morning at home.  I have nowhere pressing to be, and nothing super important to do right now, so I'm enjoying taking my time with all of my morning habits.  Technically, my kids have already had a week off for fall break, but because their friends are off this week, I'm being nice and letting them take off this week as well.  It always evens out, the amount of time they spend doing work, so I never really stress about them being caught up.  They always manage to catch up before May.

Also, I get them wanting to be off with their friends.  I would be the same way, so I always have compassion for them and give them that day or days off to just be young and have fun.

Also, and then I'll move on to another topic, I am so thankful that we homeschool.  I love the flexibility it gives to our lives, and it makes for a good education and little stress in these teenage years.  So many of their friends are overbooked and overextended and incredibly stressed out about school, sports, etc. and mine are not that way.  They may not ever go on to win the Nobel Prize, but they're well balanced.  And though school is important, it's not THE most important thing.  I pray that they always remember that.  Their relationship with the Lord is the most important thing, and I always pray that they will remember the things they've learned on that topic.  That is, to guard their time with Him, to make Him first in their lives, and to pray continually about any and everything.

Moving on now.

We had such a great weekend!  It was a little strange, because Graham and Drew were gone all weekend.  They left Friday afternoon with their friend to drive to Chattanooga to visit a friend at school, then went on to Knoxville the next day to meet up with their friend's parents for a bike race that he was in.  They got home close to ten o'clock last night, and I immediately thanked the Lord for His hand upon them as they traveled and went about a weekend spent driving, and away from family.

Raising kids that are almost grown (well, one is grown at eighteen) is not for the faint of heart.  Having teenagers, though in some ways is easier, in other ways it's just a whole other set of things to pray about.  Especially when a young lady enters into the picture.  It seems as if every single day, the Lord is showing me how to let go a little more, and to let him become who God meant for him to be.  I keep thinking of the day we left the beach a few weeks ago, as tears streamed silently down my face as we pulled away.  I cherish the moments we have as they are now, because I don't know how long that moment will last.  Things change so quickly!

While they were gone, Todd, Jonah, Noah, and I went out for sushi Friday night.  We ended up at Office Max after that, because we need to replace our printer.  (Todd ended up going with a different option, though.)

Saturday was so nice and quiet.  Todd and Jonah went to his shop to work on one of their vehicles to prepare it for being sold, and Noah slept late.  I watched Gilmore Girls (a LOT of GG) and alternated between that and laundry.

That night Todd worked with the sheriff's department for an event, and Jonah, Noah and I went to my mom's for dinner.  The sunset was incredible that night!

Bill built a pergola over part of their back porch, and then he hung those cool Thomas Edison lights with huge bulbs, so after dinner, he and the boys enjoyed sitting out there and making s'mores in the fire pit.  It was a little hot for my taste, so I sat inside and read/watched a movie with Mom and Trish.  It was a good night.

Yesterday was church, then we came home for a little while to eat and I took a short nap.  I was back by three for choir practice, and Jonah and Noah met up with their friends there to play basketball.  I went from there to community group, and because it's fall break and we only had four girls, instead doing bible study, we just sat and talked and got to know one another a little better.  It was a really sweet night, and I am loving getting to know this new batch of precious girls.

I wish I'd gotten a picture, but we were too busy talking and laughing.

Today I am cleaning the house to get it back to normal from the weekend, and going grocery shopping, and doing laundry.  And THEN, I'm packing.  (Insert all the excited face emojis here.)  As part of the launch team for Melanie Shankle's new book, Church of the Small Things, I was invited, along with a guest, to a private book signing and meet and greet in Dallas, Texas.  Todd couldn't take off work for two days, so I invited my best friend Missy to go with me, because she has also read all of Melanie's other books.  And yes, Dallas is a little bit of a drive, but I'm not scared of a long road trip for just one day and have done that before.  We will leave bright and early tomorrow morning and won't return until sometime after dinner on Wednesday night.

I am so excited, I can't hardly stand it.

Seven (plus) hours of talking, laughing, singing and having fun on the drive sounds perfect to me.  Then we will get freshened up and go to meet Melanie and her best friend Gulley.  After that, Missy discovered that The Container Store is next door to the book store we'll be in, so we'll go browse in there, and then go eat dinner and go back to the hotel.

On Wednesday, we'll eat breakfast, check out, go to a fun little area I've been wanting to visit, then start the drive back home.

I told Missy that this is our first annual best friends trip.  And we have proceeded to text Bitmojis and Gifs ever since.  We even texted those to each other at EXACTLY THE SAME TIME this morning, and we said exactly the same thing.  We are two peas in a pod, she and I.

Well.  I think I need to get started on this day.  I see list making in my near future.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

(I'll see you back here on Thursday.)

Friday, October 6, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  Oh, this day.  It's my favorite by far.  I love the thought of a weekend at home with the people I love most.  I love that my dad comes over every single Friday, and I love our talks.  I love that there is a built in day of rest for us and that we get to meet with our church family and worship the Lord together.  I love it all. 

I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals for this post. 

We have had some beautiful skies to look at this week.  This was taken last weekend, when I was on my way to meet a friend for dinner.  I love clouds!  They're my favorite part of the sky to gaze at, but here is the reason why. 

"LORD, Your faithful love reaches to heaven, Your faithfulness to the clouds."  Psalm 36:5.

That's one of my very favorite bible verses, and I quote it all the time.  I also have a necklace my sister Debi bought me with a picture of clouds inside the globe, and it might be my favorite piece of jewelry.

Reading is my favorite hobby.  Sadly, I've not read this very much this week, but I'm about halfway through.  I will most likely finish it either tonight or tomorrow. 

Bible study and quiet time have been my favorite moments from this week.  I'm reading along with some online women a plan called Rest and Release, and I'm (sometimes) sharing the images on social media to post alongside them.  Yesterday was just one verse that we focused on, but usually it's a small passage of scripture to read, and we go back and forth between the old and new testaments.

On Wednesday, one of my favorite authors and bloggers came out with her latest book.  You need to read it!  I actually get to go meet her on Tuesday....but more about that next week.  Insert the excited face emoji here.

My favorite person in all of the world and I celebrated our twenty first wedding anniversary this week!  We went out to dinner and came home and watched The Voice after. 

I love him so.

At the risk of sounding redundant, this book is one of the best and favorite books I've ever read.  It's so informative with history, but it's fiction, so it is fascinating.  It's a fast read, but we're going slowly with it, in book club.

Today is hair day, which is always a favorite of mine as well, and speaking of that, I need to go get ready!  Thanks for reading, friends.  Love to all. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

throwback Thursday

Here are a few of my favorite things from either years or days gone by.  Anybody else love looking at throwback Thursday pictures? 

I saw this on The Today Show's Instagram account yesterday.  I cannot BELIEVE twenty seven years ago is when this show aired for the first time.  I watched it faithfully for years and years.  I even remember being in the hospital to give birth to my oldest son (eighteen and a half years ago) and Todd and I watching it from my hospital room.

I'm serious.  Time flies.

My favorites on the show were Brandon, Kelly, and Dylan.  (And Dylan's not even pictured...I guess he came along later.)

This night two years ago was one of my favorite nights ever.  Our cousins were here from Chicago, and we were up half the night playing a game called Shanghai.  It's kinda like Phase 10, but with playing cards.

It's pretty well known that anytime Missy and I are together, we have a blast.  This was no exception.  I think we were on the way to Jerry's Sno Cones in this picture, for our last summer hurrah as a community group.  These girls are forever etched into my heart.  I miss seeing them all, since they're mostly all at college nowadays.  They're so busy they can't even return a text!  (ahem)  (Not even kidding.)  

To this date, this was my son Drew's favorite year at camp, and originally, we weren't even supposed to have been in town for them to go.  It was the year I had surgery and we had to cancel a family mission trip we were supposed to go on.  Once we canceled, we immediately signed up the boys for summer camps with the youth.  This was the year that God used this sweet guy in the front with a backwards hat, in a huge way in Drew's life.  Chandler and Drew are STILL close today, and meet often.  I am so thankful for the ones who pour into the lives of my kids!  Also, Drew is still super close to all these guys.

Another fun memory that involves students.  This was on a night we were all church for something called Impact.  We reach out to those who haven't been to church in a while and then we would hang out in the youth area afterward.  I don't know why we took the picture, but it makes me smile.  Abbey looks so mean.  #yeahright

Last weekend my niece Erika posted this picture of the babies.  They're getting so big!  I get to see them in a few weeks, they're coming in town for Thanksgiving!  Kinsley is on the left and Kylie is on the right, waving.  I need some baby love fast!  

Well.  I need to get a move on!  I have laundry and some chapters in a book for book club calling my name.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  

the weekend

This was me, attempting to wake up today.  I have no idea why I am so tired!  Now that I'm up, I'm fine, but waking up was anothe...