Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for the writing of this blog post.

This has been a wonderful week of kicking off some of our favorite Christmas holiday traditions.  First up on my list of favorites this week is from Saturday night.


My dad's house is my favorite because it's HOME.  I grew up in this house, and I love it best when it's all decked out for the holidays.  I also happen to love the charcoal gray paint and black shutters.

Every year, on the night (or two nights) after Thanksgiving, we go to Dad's for dinner, pile up in our cars and head to the Memphis Zoo for Zoo Lights.




This might be my favorite tradition!  It's always my family (this year, minus Todd) and Trish and sometimes her son Devin, though this year he didn't go.  Look at our sweet daddy!

Every year I take an obligatory picture of my boys by a tree there.  They love when I do this, I'm sure!  Look how big they are.

It's always such a fun night.


On Sunday night, for what seemed like the first time in FOREVER, we had community group with some of my favorites.  Including this one you see smiling so hugely while she attempted to make paper snowflakes.  She kept on cutting them in half on accident.  She even made one that turned out looking like a peanut.  Strange, I know.

They were doing some prep work for tonight's Coffee House that takes place after our town's magical Christmas parade.


I love my Christmas coffee mugs and dishes.  This mug pictured above is my favorite.  It says Jesus is the gift.  And you know what?  He is.  I want you to know Him like I know Him, if you don't.  You can always comment on here and leave me your email address if you'd like to know how.


Speaking of coffee and favorites?  I love the Starbucks Christmas cups!  I love how they have so many different ones.  Also, this night out with Andrea tops my list of favorite nights this week.  It was so good spending time with her Monday night!


I have been reading in Luke this week and all of last week with the SOAK method, and it's my favorite.  I'm loving all the parables and how the Lord is so gracious to tie them all together for me, showing me something new.  The boys are reading through with me, and using the same method.


On Wednesday November 30, I wrapped up an ENTIRE YEAR of scripture writing.  But I'm not stopping.  Instead of writing on notebook pages for the coming year and keeping them in a three ring binder, I'm just writing it all out in my journal that I use everyday.  This has been one of my favorite things to do in 2016.  It's been a huge blessing, and I am so thankful for the word of God.


So many favorite things of mine are in this picture.  The coffee mug, that a sweet (now) senior gave me last year, this table runner my mom bought from Home Goods and cut in half and shared with me, and this candle.  This candle is AMAZING.  It crackles like a real fire, because it has a wooden wick.  It's Nature's Wick.  The smell is heavenly.


These brownies were my favorite guilty pleasure on this one night.  They're so easy to make.  I bought a cheap box of brownie mix and made them per the instruction (I substitute oil for coconut oil).  I baked them until they were ALMOST done and not jiggly, then took them out of the oven and covered them in Hershey's chocolate bars.  I turned off the oven and put them back in the oven for thirty seconds, and when I got them out, I spread out the melted candy bars and they turned out looking like this.

They were delicious.

I should have eaten one, though, because two was too much and I went to bed with a stomach ache.


My favorite ornaments on my mom-in-love's tree.  We helped her decorate yesterday.  I said this on Instagram about this picture: "Todd and Jennifer.  Hanging together on the Goodwin family tree since 1995."  My mom-in-love Phyllis made these ornaments herself back in the day.


Poor quality (a picture of a picture) but best and favorite throwback Thursday picture EVER.  I so clearly remember this day.  It was the day we buried Todd's grandfather, Granddaddy Densford, the dear man whom Jonah is named after, and who called me Juniper.

The boys were seven, six and four.  It was when I could dress them alike and coordinating and they had no opinion of it yet.  And it was when they would all wear sweaters.

Sigh.

Also, the dear man in the Santa suit was Phyllis' cousin, and he passed away a couple of years after this picture was taken.


I took this picture this morning.  My favorite nativity is pictured, and Callie keeps eating the people.  If she makes her way to sweet Baby Jesus, she will be forever dead to me.

I'm kidding.  Kinda.

Andy the Wonder Dog she will never be.

Thanks for reading!  And thank you so much for all the sweet comments lately, you know how to make a gal feel loved and read.  ;)

Love to all!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bible study, a sweet opportunity and a long awaited girls night out

I used to struggle with not knowing where to read in the Bible.  I've done reading plans before, with my Bible app on my phone, I've read the Bible chronologically in a year, and I've read it a different way in a year, and some days I would just open it up somewhere and read from where I opened.  (Like Bible roulette.)  And though I don't always read like I am right this moment, for now, I am always in the book of Psalm and then another book.

I started reading with the Good Morning Girls online community in October and I've continued on solo since then.  We read through Judges, then I read Ruth and now I'm in Luke.  I know, random, but it is the Christmas and advent season, so I liked the idea of Luke.

I read one chapter a day and on Monday through Friday.  I still read on the weekends, but I do my own thing.  I love the nice and slow way this makes me read.  And God has this way of tying up the chapter I'm reading with what I'm reading in Psalms.  It's so cool that He does that, and He's done it multiple times.  I am so thankful for the word of God!  It's how He speaks to me, through the reading of His word.

Before I read, I pray, asking Him to help me understand what I'm about to read, and I ask Him to show me something in His word, then I journal where I'm reading, and I write everything out in a spiral notebook.  That is not at all an exhaustive list of how to go about this, but it's what I'm doing for now, and it's always likely to change in some way.

I thought I'd share, because I've had people ask me how I go about this.  I also use the SOAK method: Scripture, Observation, Application and Kneel in Prayer.  I write out a verse that jumps out to me, I observe everything about the verse and what's going on so I can put it in context, I apply it to my life, then I pray over it.


This is what the pages in my spiral notebook look like.  I decorate them sometimes, with fun washi tapes, and I use colored pens because, why not?

If you don't have a regular reading plan, I really recommend this way.  It's slow, it's easy and it's predictable, and it doesn't matter when you start.  Just start somewhere.  Getting into the habit of this is the hardest part, but I cannot say enough how crucial this is in my life.  If I don't have time with God everyday, I am grumpy, irritable and extremely short tempered.  This summer while on the Navajo mission trip, I'd been busy each morning and finally, I realized what it was~I'd not had good time alone with the Lord.  So one morning, I inhaled my breakfast and practically ran out to the tree on the property.  I prayed, I read His word, I wrote in my journal and I felt so much better afterward.

Today, the boys and I have a really sweet opportunity to serve the Lord by meeting a wish for a friend of mine.  I'll write more about it tomorrow, but I'm excited to get out and do this today.  We are including my stepdad in this, because we also need his expertise.  One way I pray each day is that I ask God to help me look for ways I can serve Him by serving my husband, my boys, and others.  God totally brought this about one day last week, and I cannot explain the urge I had to reach out to my friend by texting.  He answered my prayer in this way, and most likely, He answered her prayers through me replying.  I am so thankful for how He works!

Tonight is our annual Christmas tree lighting on our town's square.  I love this time of year, in case I haven't said that lately.  ;)  Also?  I am making my favorite dinner known to man.  Chicken tortilla soup.

Last night, my dear, dear friend Andrea and I met for dinner.  We met years ago at Renewed Moms, where the boys and I used to attend Bible study and homeschool classes, and became instant and fast friends.  I'm so thankful that even though the boys and I no longer go there, we've kept in touch.  We try to meet every so often and go out for dinner, and last night was the first time since about September that we've seen one another.  It was a really great night of catching up.  I can always count on her to make me crack up laughing and to pray for me.


After dinner, she treated me to my favorite Starbucks drink~chai tea latte.

We stayed until nine, when we got kicked out (they were closing), then we just went back to Chili's and sat in my car talking for another hour.

I am so very thankful for God's gift of friendship.  His word says in James 1:17 that every good thought and perfect gift is from above, and that is what my friends are to me.  I have a wonderful group of iron sharpening friends and I thank God daily for them.

Since it's almost December, here's the new scripture writing plan for the month.


Care to join me?  I now have a solid thirteen months of scripture writing in a giant three ring binder.  What a blessing it's been in my life.  I encourage you to consider trying this for yourself.

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.

Monday, November 28, 2016

the weekend

What an amazing four days in a row with my favorite people.  It was such a great holiday and weekend.  On Friday, I needed to make a run to Hobby Lobby, so I ran and picked up my friend Missy and we went together.  I was so surprised that it wasn't crowded at all.  I kinda forgot about the whole Black Friday thing, because I never participate in that, but I needed a couple of things.  Well, perhaps I didn't NEED them, but I WANTED a couple of things.

It was fun, running that errand together, and it's been AGES since Missy and I have had the chance to sit and catch up.  It was much needed.

That night, we had a 50th anniversary vow renewal and reception to attend.  I love this sweet couple!


I started reading this book on Saturday (I think it was Saturday), and I am almost done with it now.


While Todd took my car somewhere, my mom, sister and I went out to a couple of places in Germantown, then had lunch and made our way back home.  Trish came back at four and she, the boys and I rode out to my Dad's house together.


There is NO place like home.  Todd missed out and stayed home for the Iron Bowl game that Alabama and Auburn were playing in and went to bed early because he felt sick.  (Whatever it was passed, thank goodness.)

We ate dinner, then went to Zoo Lights.





It was a really fun night.  We didn't get back home until almost ten thirty and I went straight to bed, because I had to be at church early yesterday morning.

After church, Jonah, Noah and I went to Taco Bell with the Holmes (our youth pastor and his family) and caught up, because it seems like it's been AGES since I've had time with them.  I had to be back at church by three for praise team practice, then choir practice at four, then community groups after.



Some goofy guys showed up as elves, and on the verge of being inappropriate (hahahaha) and then the girls made paper snowflakes for this Friday night's coffee house after our parade.

We have LOTS on our agenda this week!  Lots.  A possible dinner out for me tonight, then our Christmas tree lighting on the town square, church on Wednesday night, a Christmas concert on Thursday night, parade on Friday night and another Christmas concert in Jackson, TN on Saturday night.

Are you tired yet?  I am.  But I love this time of year!  I'm so thankful for all these traditions and that it brings about time with my family.

More than that, though?  I love Jesus and the fact that all of this is about HIM and what He did for us, and the hope we have in Him.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday, and happy Christmas season!  Two of my favorite things are wrapped up in that one little sentence.  I hope all of you had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving day.  I know we did!  Thanksgiving is my favorite day, because usually on that night once we're home, we decorate for Christmas.  We did that last night, but more about that in a minute.

I'm linking up with Andrea and her friends today for this post.  Click HERE to see some more of these posts.

Here are some of my favorite moments from the week.


I was struck by this image on my way into church on Sunday.  I am so thankful for the fact that God placed us here all those years ago.  It'll be six years in May that we've been at this church.  These people are my other family, and I love them.  I am so thankful for our Pastor, and our music pastor (who is like another pastor to those of us in the choir), our youth pastor, our kids pastor, and all the other wonderful people who work there on staff.  They are all my favorites, and I literally thank God for them all the time.

I can't go any further without saying that all of those I just mentioned are people, and while I am thankful for them, I am MOST thankful to Jesus Christ, and His ultimate gift for us, of eternal life.  He is the One who has put this love for Him and others in my heart, and He is literally my EVERYTHING.  I cannot imagine life without Him, and I pray that I never have to.  Not that He would ever leave me, because His word says over and over that He will never leave us or forsake us, but we, as flawed humans, can certainly turn our backs on Him.

I pray that He always keeps me closely tucked into His side, and that I always cling to Him (Psalm 91).

I pray that for all of my loved ones, under this roof that I sleep under, and my extended families, and I pray everyday that my lost loved ones will come to know Him.


This two hour slice of time that I spent with my oldest son Monday night was one of my favorite moments.  He's not a huge talker, and sometimes I think that he just likes a good companionable silence.  We did that some, while we were waiting on his senior pictures to be taken, and we talked some.  I always wonder what is going through his mind.  Sometimes he opens up a lot, and sometimes only a little, but I do know that he talks to Toddley all the time.  For that I am so thankful.  Not every son and dad are that close, and while they mess around with one another constantly, they are very close.


Hello, Lovies!  These are all of my favorites.  Well, not really.  I wasn't as crazy about that salted caramel mocha as much as I'd hoped I'd be.  It's pretty salty.  I know that sounds gross to some of you, but at Starbucks, it's the perfect mix.

Noah and Graham are in love with the peppermint mocha, and last night, I made hot chocolate for Noah using that creamer.  It was so good!

Frosted sugar cookie is my favorite.


Tuesday night was another favorite moment.  Our music pastor had the music department members come for a chili dinner at 5:30, then had us stay to decorate the church.  How brilliant was that idea?!  Someone has to do it, and you might as well bring in food, because we Southern Baptist folks like to eat.  I love seeing our church all decked out for the holidays!  Also, I cannot wait until Sunday, because we are singing some beautiful Christmas carols.  The stage will be beautiful too, I know, because of all the trees and the new little something something my husband, my oldest son and the technical director were involved in this week.

It's the most wonderful time of year.

If you hate Christmas, I'm sorry.  You might need to unfollow me until after the new year.


My favorite author wrote this beautiful new book, and I am SHOCKED that I haven't even started it yet.  That will happen today, though.  I must stop with the Netflix.

And the Gilmore Girls.


Reading Luke this week has been one of my favorite past times.  I love what God showed me in Luke two this week.  I love the word of God!  It is truly living and active.


My mom and sister Tricia and I were the only ladies in attendance at yesterday's Thanksgiving lunch.  They're some of my favorites!  We were missing the other half of us yesterday.  It seemed so quiet!  It was a nice day, though.  My nephew Tyler and his  girlfriend Terry did stop by right before we left.

This is why Thanksgiving is their favorite.  They were heading to the woods to shoot their guns.  The smile on my husband's face was so genuine and child like.  This is their favorite hobby.

Noah stayed back with Mom, Trish and me.

And lastly...


This is why Thanksgiving is my favorite.  We come home and do this.  Even though I lost some stuff last year and have to replace some things today (garland, and something else small), we got this done and then sat and ate Rotel and watched Elf when we were done.  Graham and Drew went out with one of their friends and came home sometime after midnight, but they had to wake me up to tell me they were home.

The only downfall to the whole day is that later last night, my mom and Jonah got really sick.  I think it's the front that was coming in or something, but they were both PITIFUL last night.

Well.  I have to go and get dressed and get started on some laundry.  Go read some more Friday Favorites from the Momfessionals blog and enjoy your day.

Love to all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What's Up Wednesday





I'm linking up with Shay from Mix & Match Mama for this blog post.

What we're eating this week:

Well, it's been kinda crazy this week, with three of the boys and Todd at home on Monday night and Graham and I were having his senior pictures made, so while we were gone, Drew ran and grabbed some pizza.  Then, last night I was going to the church to eat dinner and decorate for Christmas, so I had chili there, but here at home, I made Gilbertini for the boys.  (It's their favorite, and I will write about it one of these days.)

We are all looking forward to some amazing food at my mom's tomorrow, though!

What I'm reminiscing about:


Timehop breaks my heart sometimes.  This was our old Andy the Wonder Dog, and I miss him!  He loved laying in this spot during Christmas, and this picture is just precious and kinda magical.  It's been a year and a half since he's been gone, and he would have been fourteen in December.

Also...


 I mentioned Graham's senior pictures?  I had a couple of "moments" on Monday night while we were at Holland's studio getting them made.  In this picture, I couldn't help but remember his last time we were there.  He was only nine months old, and we were having his baby dedication pictures made for free because two years before, they lost most of my wedding pictures.  But from nine months old to almost eighteen?

Somebody hold me.

I texted this to my sisters and mom and made myself cry.  Also, when he put on the cap and gown for graduation, I had to walk away.

What I'm loving:


We might have a slight problem with flavored coffee creamers.

I rejoiced quite loudly at Kroger yesterday when I saw salted caramel mocha.  I've never had it and have looked for it every year for three years straight.

I refrained from buying eight.

Also...


Have I mentioned my love of all things CHRISTMAS?!?!?!  This time of year is wonderful and reverent and holy and awe inspiring.  I love Jesus so much, and whether He was born in September or December is no matter...this is a time of CELEBRATION as I rejoice in Him, my Savior, the Light of the world.  I pray that everything I do and say and think during this Christmas season honors Him.  And I pray that He uses my family as lights for Him wherever we go.  I pray that everyone will know who He is because of how we love Him and others.

This was after our music department decorated our church last night.  Our worship pastor Travis is brilliant.  He invited the whole music department to church at five thirty and fed us chili, then had us stay and decorate.  We started at six and I was walking out by seven twenty.  Easy as pie.  The man knows what he's doing.

What we've been up to:

Well, I mentioned decorating last night.  While I was there, the boys all went to our outdoor mall and walked around last night.  Toddley was at the church working on something different with his friend Jeremy.

We've also been enjoying a slow week.  The boys did their school work on Monday and Tuesday and are enjoying the rest of the week off.

I have also been slightly obsessed with all the Hallmark Christmas movies.  I had to go and delete a bunch of things from our DVR to make room.

What I'm dreading:

Christmas being over.  I'm not even kidding.

What I'm working on:

Tonight we'll be pulling all of the Christmas out of the attic.  I'm thinking of getting rid of all the stuff we don't use while we're up there and taking it to the curb to be picked up tomorrow morning.  (Our amazing town and sanitation workers choose to work on Thanksgiving morning so they can enjoy the rest of the weekend off with their families.  Isn't that awesome?)

What I'm excited about:

Read all of the above once more, please.  Christmas.  Maybe it's because I'm a December child.  This is MY month.

What I'm reading/watching:

Honestly?  I'm not reading anything at the moment.  However, I brought this book downstairs with me this morning.


Also?  I'm really looking forward to the three books I'm about to read and review on my blog.  I'll post about them in the next two weeks, maybe less, if I can pull myself away from Gilmore Girls for five minutes.

I love Christmas books.  Love, love, love them.

I'm watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and looking forward to the four new episodes coming out in a few hours, but I will not watch them, most likely, until January.  I've been rewatching to refresh my memory and I'm almost back at season seven, which is the last season.

I'm also watching Hallmark Christmas movies.  I'm getting redundant, here.  My favorites so far are Finding Father Christmas that premiered a week ago on the Hallmark Mysteries & Movies channel, My Christmas Wish and December Bride.

I know.  So corny.  But ridiculously good!

What I'm listening to:

Our choir Christmas cd.  We are having a Christmas night of praise and worship on December fourth, and I really need to learn the music.  I've missed a lot of choir practice lately.

What I'm wearing:

Pajamas so far today (lazy morning) and sweaters.  It's been cool here lately, and I am so thankful!

What I'm looking forward to next month:

All of our traditions.  That's what I most love about Christmas.  It's not the gift, or the decorating, it's the traditions that happen with family.

What else is new:

I'm turning forty in two weeks.  A little over two weeks, actually.  God has shown me a lot about myself in the past few months, and I've let go of a lot of things I was hanging on to, and He has taken away some issues that I've had (anxiety, fear).  I feel myself changing inwardly, and it's a good thing.  I'll write more about it, maybe after Christmas.

And that's about it!  Thanks for reading my blog, and don't forget to go and check out some of the others who linked up with Shay from Mix & Match Mama.

Love to all!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Show & Tell Tuesday

It's Show & Tell Tuesday on the Momfessionals blog, and I'm linking up with her today for this post.
This is a fun post!  Who doesn't love to make a good wish list?  I am always clicking away on Amazon and adding things to my cart, or creating wish lists.  What did we ever do before Amazon Prime?!

I don't even like to think about such things.

This list includes things I want, need, would wear or read.

~want~

My birthday is coming up (I am turning 40 on December 14th!) and I keep getting asked what I want.  My answer is simple, yet complicated: I always want books, journals, colored pens, washi tape (something new that I love) and fun spirals (again, this is a new one).  Then I always have to further explain my answer, because I am a specific person.  One thing I want this year is money.  We've lived in our house for thirteen years now, and there are some rooms in need of updating.  I asked for the money to buy things for that, because this is something I won't just go spend a bunch of our money on.  Specifically, I want things like new throw pillows, new things to hang on the walls, new curtains (for the dining room) and I would love to update our bedroom.  

~need~

I need shoes.  Plain and simple.  I always have issues with my feet, and I need something comfortable and practical, but I'm a girl, so I like cute ones, too.  Some that I like right now:


I bought tennis shoes for myself Friday night, and I love them because of how comfy they are.  I could probably use dressier shoes, too, but for now, I can live with what I've got.  

(I hate shopping.  Especially for myself.  Because of that, everything I own or that I buy had better last for years.)

Also, I need some new jeans.  I don't love jeans and only own one pair, but I really need a new pair.  I'm probably going to go find some this weekend.  

~wear~

I love these right.  I could wear one every single day.  I love things that are flowy and roomy and so comfy that you could sleep in it.  


I could wear this on a weekday, or to church.  I love the neck on this one, too.  

~read~

This one is easy.  I love reading Christmas books, and there is no better author of Christmas fiction books than Debbie Macomber.  Here are my three picks by her.




I also have three books on their way to me, thanks to my favorite author, Robin Jones Gunn!  I will be reading and review these three first as soon as they get to me, and I'll review them on my blog.  

They are:




Well, this was a fun one to write.  For some more gift ideas, go visit Andrea from Momfessionals.  There are tons of great gift ideas there.  

Love to all!