Monday, November 19, 2018

weekend catch up

It was a whirlwind of a weekend, after a week of not doing much of anything.  (I am currently sharing my car when I can with one of my boys during the days, and I could drive his truck, but I prefer not to unless it's important.) 

On Friday morning, I finished packing an overnight bag and headed to my church at eight thirty that morning.  Along with some sweet (and new) choir friends and my worship pastor, we loaded the bus and headed to Mobile, Alabama for the night.  There is a college in that town, the University of Mobile, that is known for their incredible fine arts program, and each year they put on a "Christmas Spectacular".  I looked for a video to post for you, but none of them were good quality and do not do justice to how amazing they actually are. 

We went just for that one thing, and headed back the next morning.  (It's a six hour drive, and it was worth every minute.)


Here were all of us who went. 


This was our bus~it was so nice!  Those blue lights inside the window stayed on the whole time.  We had a really nice driver, and a lot of us were able to have our own seats for the ride.  (All the couples sat together.)


A few of us posing right after we had dinner at The Olive Garden.


This was one of my favorite parts of the night.  Look at all those brass instruments!  I loved the drums, too, and the fact that this song was a rap song that one of the students wrote for an old poem we all know and love is a testament to the fact that I have teenage sons. 


This is my friend Wendy, whom I have loved getting to know better over the last year.  She and I roomed together on Friday night, and now I feel like we're friends on a different level, because we've seen each other in pajamas and no makeup. 

It was a crazy fast, really fun trip.  We arrived back at our church at three thirty Saturday afternoon. 

I'm used to traveling with teenagers in the youth, so I learned some things on this trip that I did not previously know. 

1.  When you travel with only adults, you make a schedule and you stick to it.  We even ran AHEAD of the schedule almost every time, and for someone who is a time freak like I am, it was nice, I won't lie.

2.  Adults are SO MUCH MORE QUIET than teenagers, and on this bus, I think a time or two you could have heard a pin drop.  (That is SO not the case on the previous buses I have ridden on.)

3.  Because of number two above, it's much easier to fall asleep while on the road.

4.  No pranking is ever even thought of while traveling with just adults.

5.  People are more fun in a setting you're not used to seeing them in.  (Our worship pastor is such a great guy, all the time, but on this trip, he was like a kid in a candy store.  I also really enjoyed talking to a few new friends I had not previously really talked with before.  I love getting to know new people.)

6.  You can watch Hallmark Christmas movies while traveling with adults, and actually hear what is on the television.

I'm sure I could sit here and think of several more, but I need to get moving and do some things around the house before I go to the grocery store. 

It was a great weekend that flew right by.  I was at church bright and early yesterday morning, and then again at three for choir practice, and when I was writing down things I am grateful for from this past week, many of them had to do with my church friends and being in a choir.  I'm grateful to be a part of this group.  We are close knit, like a smaller group within the larger group.  I am grateful for our pastors and staff people there, as well, and for the fact that they remind us that God has given us every good gift, and He wants for us to enjoy life.  This weekend was proof of that for me. 

I cannot imagine what my life would look like if we were not involved in a local church.  I say that to encourage someone today.  If you don't already attend one, find a local church and start going.  Get involved, because when you're involved, that is where the friend making happens.  All of my friends, almost, are from either churches I've attended over the years, or from bible studies.  Just go!  It's a great time of year to start, and then continue with it into the new year.  I promise that you will NEVER be sorry. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

dinner and a movie

The older I get, the more I love to stay home.  My food is also way better than what is offered in most restaurants, and I don't mean to say that in a braggy type way, but it's true.  I love to cook, and my food is seasoned the way I like it.  The last few times I've eaten out, unless it was Mexican food or sushi, I didn't care for it that much.  I sound old, don't I? 

Last night was not a date night, but Todd, Noah, and I all ended up at the table eating dinner at the same time.  Jonah ate earlier, Graham and Rachel went to a college bible study, and Drew went to a friend's basketball game.  Noah had Rotel with taco meat inside (YUM!) and I made a giant pot of taco soup.

My favorite.  I thought I'd share the recipe for anyone who wants to consider making it for themselves.


Taco soup:

2 lbs of ground beef
2 packets of taco seasoning
1 packet of dry ranch dressing mix
1 can of Rotel
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 large container of V8 tomato juice (or generic brand veggie juice)
sour cream
shredded cheese
cilantro
Fritos scoops or tortilla chips to crumble over the top

Brown the meat, drain the fat, add in the taco seasoning and a bit of hot water to make it melt into the meat.  Add in the ranch dressing mix, Rotel, corn, beans (but drain and rinse off the beans first), and tomato or veggie juice.  Simmer in a covered pot for about thirty minutes.  I like to garnish mine with the shredded cheese, sour cream, and cilantro.  It would also be really good served with cornbread.

It's so easy, and so tasty.  I always double this recipe so we can eat on it all week.  For a healthier option, you could switch out the ground beef for shredded chicken (rotisserie chickens from the grocery store are good cheats). 

After dinner, we ended up alone again, Toddley and I, so we decided to watch a movie.  I have been wanting to re-watch The Firm (filmed in Memphis).  I loved it when I was in high school, and I think I had only seen it that one time.  The movie was good, but the book was INCREDIBLE.  I remember reading it in high school before the movie came out, and it was all anyone could talk about, also because we knew so many people who were in the movie as extras.  (I live near Memphis.)  It was every bit as good as I remember. 

Then I talked him into a fire, and started it before the movie.


So cozy!  I love cold weather.  This is why.  It was a glorious night, and one that I stayed up past ten.  Ha!  I'm always up at four something, so I'm in bed by nine thirty most nights.  Like I said....I am making myself sound old.  ;)

It's another cold night in my part of the country, so maybe this will inspire someone to make something warm and comforting for dinner tonight.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

the weekend and some other happenings for this week

Happy Monday!  It's raining and cold here today, which is kinda awesome, I won't lie.  Except for the rain part...I don't mind it, but it's a pain to deal with when you have dogs. 

It was a really fun weekend!  I thought I'd share about the few things that made it that way, and a little of what my week is going to look like, and why I'm so excited to get to Kroger. 


This isn't weekend related, but who loves a clean home to start off the weekend with?  I do.  I am really strange in the sense that I like to clean two times every week, on Friday mornings and on Mondays.  I love starting off the weekend with a clean slate on Friday, and I like to put everything back in order on Monday.  This is a random picture I sent to Drew when I spent some time in his room last week, cleaning it. 

Disclaimer: I hardly ever clean my kids' bedrooms.  They are all plenty old enough to be able to do this, and I am not their maid.  They make the mess= they clean the mess.  I ever had THEM do some cleaning, vacuuming, and laundry for me yesterday while I was away at choir practice.  It's good for them to know how to do this!  So moms of little ones~teach your kids now to do this for themselves.  Now that I've said that, I'll tell you that I did this for Drew because he is hardly ever home anymore.  Between school, studying, his new afternoon job, and doing things with friends on the weekends, I knew he would appreciate Jonah and I doing this for him last week.  And he did.  All we did was dust, straighten up a few things on his desk, moved a chair and some little benches around, and vacuumed.  It took very little time, but it was something I was happy to do for him.

I did the same thing for Graham when he was taking all those classes to be on the sheriff's department back at the beginning of this year.  He was never home during that time either, so I would do this same thing for him every once in a while.  As for the other bedroom, well, Jonah lives in it, so end of story.

On Friday, my mom came and picked me up, and she and I went to a holiday market thing in Memphis, to walk around and browse all the lovely things inside.  I got some ideas for gifts I want to give this year, so I'm glad we went.  I love looking at stuff like they had at this market.  After that, we had lunch, then ran into Academy and Target.  It has been AGES since I've browsed Target, but we looked at everything, I think.  It was a fun day.  That night, Todd, all the boys, Rachel, and me went to our favorite sushi place for dinner.

After dinner, we came home and  Todd made this for us.

 
Yes ma'am.  First fire of the season, with the purpose to warm us up (and not drive out wasps).  Isn't it beautiful and cozy?  I love a good fire.  This was after Todd tried to kill us all by not opening up the damper first.  We had to open up the front and back doors for ten minutes to get the smoke out of the room.  (I'm cracking up as I'm writing that...he NEVER does that!) 

On Saturday, we were out the door at nine thirty, and headed to my dad's house out in the country.  Every year we do all of his outside Christmas lights for him, and I think this marks about the tenth year we've been doing this.  He used to be able to help us more, but nowadays, he just tells us what to do and drives around on his riding mower to bring us things and to check on us.  We have this down pat by now.  Trish and Drew always do the deck lights, I do the bushes and trees by the road, Jonah and Noah do the trees in the turn around part of his drive, and around the lake, and by then Drew joins in with them to help, then we all kinda help each other do the bush lights by his house and a few of the trees by their bedroom window.  It sounds like a lot, and it is, but with all of us, it only takes about two or two and a half hours. 


He saves us major time by having all the extension cords laid out and the lights at the bases of all the trees, and the week before, he and Trish do the flagpole Christmas tree.  If you're local to me and a friend I trust, reach out to me for his address, and drive out to see it all after Thanksgiving night.  It is always beautiful!  He likes to put out these thousands of lights to represent Jesus as the Light of the world.  That is always his prayer, and he prayed those very words just Saturday. 

After all the lights have been done, Sandy has a huge and delicious lunch ready for us. 

It is always so much fun, and this year, I was delighted that it was so cold.  It made it feel more festive.

After lunch, we all came back home, and for the rest of the day, this was me.



I was FREEZING.  I had on these fuzzy boots, knee length socks, a long john shirt, a sweatshirt, and the hoodie pulled up around my face.  I also had a heater blowing on me.  We agreed that it was finally time to turn on the heat.  We like to see how long we can go without doing that. 

That night, we went on a double date with my best friend and her sweet hubby.  LOOK WHAT HE BOUGHT FOR US.


YES!  We will have a day soon when we do this all day long and maybe make some goodies to enjoy.  We went to The Butcher Shop for dinner, which is a yummy steakhouse that has been around for ages.  We had so much fun together. 


It's blurry!  We were turning to get a good angle and laughing all the while.  We were trying to get the chickens in the background.  The sign said, "Save the chickens, eat more cow."  I thought it was funny. 

We're nerds, we know. 

Yesterday was full of church and choir practice, which is always enlightening.  We're getting ready for our Christmas night of praise on December 2.  If you're local to me, I'd love to have you!  It'll start at six thirty, and there will be all kinds of beautiful songs to sing with us. 

So, I thought I'd share a funny story.  I love peppermint flavored chapstick, and I bought some on Friday at Target.  I had one a while ago, but Callie ate it!  I'm rolling my eyes.  Callie is our "special" German shepherd.  I put the new one on the table by where I sit in my chair, and y'all, I saw bits of plastic yesterday afternoon, on the floor around me, and noticed that once again, she ate my chapstick. 

This dog is so weird.  She is literally scared of her own shadow, and she prefers only the peppermint flavored chapstick. 

I'm excited about my grocery trip today, because I used the Kroger clicklist for the first time!  I know, you're probably rolling your eyes at me, but I really have no good reason to use this.  I'm perfectly capable of walking in and doing my own shopping, but for some reason, I am just not feeling it this week.  It was wonderful to sit and "grocery shop" last night, from the comfort of my cozy chair and pajamas.  I will be going to pick up said groceries today between nine and ten. 

Praise! 

I'm also doing the rest of the laundry today, cleaning the downstairs, and catching up on chronological bible reading and scripture writing.  I always get behind on the weekend, don't ask why.  The rest of the week is planned out as well, with one of my best friends coming over for lunch and a much needed time to catch up on all the things on Wednesday.  I can't wait to see her, it's been too long.  We're also getting an estimate for new windows, I'm planning out dinners and when I can see my in-love's again, and then on Friday, I'm going out of town for just one night with some friends from choir.  We're going to Mobile, Alabama to see a Christmas spectacular.  I know the week will fly by, like it always does. 

I love this time of year.  There is always so much to look forward to, and I have some fun things coming up in the weeks ahead.  Well, I need to get started on this day, so I'll stop here.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

life lately

This has been the year of unintended blog breaks, and even a tiny social media break, at least as far as posting things.  Who knew?  I have had a hard time being inspired to keep this thing up, but I do finally have a few ideas rolling around in my head about things I may write about in the coming weeks.  We'll see.  ;)

I thought I'd share about what we've been up to the last couple of weeks (and one week that I posted next to nothing). 


I have loved Halloween the past two years, because my bestie has come over to hand out candy with me.  We did do that a tiny bit this year, but the rain started and drove us either back inside or home again (for her), so it was a short night.

The night before, I had volunteered us both to man one of the registration tables at our church Fall Fest.


That is a GIANT tub of candy.  We had so much fun welcoming the hundreds of people who came by our table and seeing all the kiddos all dressed up.  It was a fun night and we have already determined we will do this again next year, as long as we can be the welcoming committee.

My choir had a ministry event thing the Sunday night before this, a night of praise and worship at a church thirty minutes away, and it was AMAZING.  There is something really special about going away and worshiping with people we don't know.  It was refreshing.


November happened.  And with it, a new plan for writing scripture.  I started back again in October, after a break this year, and I don't see myself stopping anytime soon.  I love love LOVE writing out scripture.  I'm actually thinking of just starting to write out whole books in 2019.  I've already written out James (three different times), 2 Timothy, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians.  I'm thinking of doing all the books that end in I-A-N-S, 1 and 2 Peter, the three short letters of John, Titus, Philemon, and Jude.

Speaking of 2019, I am also looking ahead as to what I'm going to do for my bible reading for the year.  I am going to try to read through the bible again (I'm currently doing that now for about the fifth or sixth time), but this time using the guide in the back of my bible.  I want to read and mark on every page of the bible I've been using for a year now, and then for Christmas for myself, I'll pick out a new bible for me to start using.  I really love my current bible, though, and I may just buy a nicer version of the same one.  Mine is a gray linen cover, and it's already starting to be out of shape and will fall apart after about another year, if I had to guess.

The guide in the back of my bible mixes in the reading.  Each day, there is some Old Testament, a Psalm and Proverb, and some New Testament.  I've done it that way before, but I'm looking forward to it again.  Currently  I'm reading in chronological order.


This was the last day of writing for the month of October.

Speaking of writing, last Christmas, I received so many journals as gifts, about ten, I would guess.  I'm on my last two!  I took a break from journaling a lot, too, so there were weeks that would go by with nothing entered inside.  In August, I started back again, journaling something every single day almost, and I'm so glad to be doing this little thing again.  Inside I write my daily plans (like to-do lists), I like to write out prayers, or things and people I'm praying for, and then I love to document when God answers.  I also write things I want to remember, like when Drew made his first A in his first college class, I write out scripture, and I take notes in church every time I go.  All of that makes me fill out journals really quickly.  It's been two months since I started this one pictured above, and I'm at the end already.  (Some of the journals I received as gifts were really thin.)


I have LOVED all the fall foliage lately!  This was on our town square this past weekend.


I love our house best when it's all dressed up for fall.  I love the leaves all over everything, and while so many friends of mine are already decorating for Christmas, I can't quite quit with fall.  I love our little turkeys that Jonah placed in our yard last Thursday.  All these things will stay out until Thanksgiving, and then when Todd goes in to work that night, it all comes down and the Christmas goes up.  I actually take the fall stuff down Thanksgiving morning while the Macy's parade is on, then all the Christmas will already have been pulled out of the attic as well, so we can start when we get home.  I don't like to be gone for long that day, because of this.  We usually will go to my mom's and stay for about three hours, then we're back home for the dogs and for this.

Also, speaking of this home that I love, we had been seriously praying and talking and thinking about putting it on the market to sell and buying another one locally.  We decided against that, finally, last week, and decided to just fix this one up and make some much needed improvements.  So sometime in the coming months, we will be under construction.  We plan on having this siding taken off and replacing it with vinyl siding, which is much more durable that this we have now, we'll be getting new windows that don't leak air and heat, and we'll have the whole house replumbed, because we are so tired of waiting on the next leak.  I am so excited!  If you want to suggest colors, I'm open to them.  For the house, trim, shutters and door.  Also, hopefully, we will also be replacing this green awning with a shingled wooden one.  (Ahem, Big Daddy.)


On a cuter note, look at my precious great nieces.  Kinsley is on the left and Kylie is on the right.  I want an outfit just like theirs.

My niece is starting a photography business in Denver, and she's using this to advertise.



This was our womens event at church Monday night of this week.  It's one of my favorite events, Tablescapes, and it was so much fun.  That's my table you see pictured, and after a good dinner, we listened to some incredible music.  The group is called High Road.  I'll post my favorite song they sang below, though this one features Jason Crabb, and he was not there with them.

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They were so good, I could have listened to them all night!

I got inspiration for my table from this verse, which is one of my favorites.


What hope we have in Jesus!  What life, what LIGHT, even in this dark world we live in.  He is so good, y'all, and not just when things are going our way.


Drew brought some drawings home yesterday from some sweet little kindergarten and first grade students.  He started his new job this week!  He works from three to six Monday through Friday afternoons, at a Christian daycare nearby us, and he is with this age group of students.  He already loves them, and I would say that it's mutual.  He will keep these forever.  This boy loves children so much, it thrills my heart to know that he is walking the path that God has laid out before him.  He is in school to be a nurse, and Lord willing, his focus will be pediatrics.  His dream job would be to work at St. Jude someday.  I'm so proud of him!  He also passed a huge test over the weekend, a nursing school entrance exam.  I know without a shadow of doubt that the Lord helped him through that.

I told someone recently that it is so exciting to see God's plans begin to unfold for someone's life.  I miss the days when my boys were little, but I really love their ages right now, and I wouldn't go back even for a second to trade this time with them.  It's not always been easy, especially for Drew, in the last couple of years, but to see light at the end of a very long tunnel is such a sweet gift and a huge relief for this momma's heart.  It is hard to see your kid struggle, and without saying too much, it's been a long minute of watching this one in particular go through some rough patches.  Friends and girls did not help at all, but praise God he has some sweet friends finally, and there is even a girl in the picture that he may or may not like more than a little.  (Because of his sweet spirit and kind heart, he is a good candidate for friends treating him less than honorably.)

I don't love one of my kids any more than another one, but I talk about this one because of how hard things have been for two years.  I say this to encourage someone else who might be going through something similar.  Don't stop praying and believing that God will bring you through the trial.  I'll say it again, friends, God is infinitely good, and He is sovereign!  His greatness, no one can fathom.  I certainly cannot wrap my head around all that He is and the things He does, but I am so grateful that I have Him, and that He has saved me from an eternity of being separated from Him.

You can have Him too.  Reach out to me, if you want to know more about Him.

I guess I'll end on that note and go do that laundry I hear calling.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

{Simply} Tuesday

It is a GLORIOUSLY beautiful day in these parts, and I am glad for that, and for the pretty sunshine.  I saw my first fall colored tree last night at Kroger, and I was ridiculously excited about it.  Jonah was wanting to make a milkshake and we were out of ice cream, so he drove us up to Kroger while I talked to my mom on the phone the whole time.  It was on our way out of the parking lot that I saw the pretty fall tree.  It seems that at least where I live, the trees change later each day.

I'm hoping to see some more pretty ones at my dad's house today when I drive out there.

Things have been pretty mundane around here, so I've not had a lot to write about.  A few things stuck out to me in the last few days, though, and I thought I'd share about them. 


This verse LITERALLY jumped off the page of my bible to me, friends.  I don't even remember why I was reading there last Friday (Thursday?), but it stood out to me so I made this image on the YouVersion bible app I have on my phone.  I love Psalm 34!  I love it so much, it may be one of my very favorite Psalms.  Also, it's a song that I have on repeat every single day at my house. 

Here it is, if you'd like to listen for yourself.

https://youtu.be/hoDi7HupAus

We sing this at church a lot, and I always love it so much. 


Speaking of church.....I took this Sunday night, on my way out.  I'm so grateful for my church family!  We made the decision to start attending faithfully when our boys were as young as two, before that we had been hit or miss, but I am so thankful to God for bringing us to that decision point in our lives.  I cannot imagine life without attending a church faithfully every week.  It is very wise for us to put ourselves under godly preaching and teaching as much as we can, which means weekly or even multiple times each week.  I cannot say this enough about attending. 

Well, I was going to say a little more on this, but I just realized the time, and I have got to get ready for the day.  I have to be at bible study in 45 minutes, so maybe I'll finish this tomorrow...then again, maybe not.  Maybe I'll just keep it short and sweet.  ;)

Love to all, and thanks for always reading! 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  I love them, and this one is particularly exciting, because I'll be seeing my dad for the first time in two weeks.  He was on vacation, and they left on a Thursday and came back on a Monday.  It seems like it's been forever since we last had lunch and solved all the world's problems.  I'm so glad he's home safely and that their vacation was so wonderful.  I can't wait to hear him tell me about his favorite parts. 

It's been a good week, but I'm glad it's the weekend, because most of the people in my house have been sick with sinus infections.  They all seem to finally be feeling better now, though. 

Here are some of my favorite moments from this week gone by.


I have had some really good quiet times with the Lord this week, and this picture above represents one such day.  I've been reading in the Gospels, but on this particular day, the Lord led me to this Psalm.  I'd been praying and He recalled to mind this verse that says His name is holy and awe-inspiring.  He is!  I love to talk about Him, about His goodness, His kindness.  He is my favorite subject. 


This weather all week has made me feel like Lorelai feels when it snows for the first time.  I feel like magic is in the air when it's cold outside.  Words cannot describe my love for this kind of weather, and sleeping in my bed with no heat, but under a huge and heavy blanket is my absolute FAVORITE.  We pulled out our heavy blankets one night this week when it dipped down to the lower forties.  It was divine.

And I think I want a weighted blanket.  Thoughts?


Tuesday was a night I will not soon forget.  I had the privilege of going to hear a Holocaust survivor speak on this night, and I went with my best friend.  Her name is Eva Schloss, and she is eighty-nine years young.  Hearing what happened during the Holocaust is so much different that just reading about what happened.  She wouldn't even speak of such things, but just urged everyone to buy her book to read.

My friend bought it and said she'd share, so I look forward to reading it. 


On a MUCH lighter note, I have so enjoyed reliving some of my favorite moments from the trip my hubby and I took to NYC two years ago to celebrate our twentieth anniversary and fortieth birthdays.  It was the trip of a lifetime, I feel like, and getting to attend church services at Brooklyn Tabernacle was the icing on the cake.  I want to go back! 


In going through the scripture writing plan for this month, this was my favorite verse from the week.  Nothing is too difficult for God, and for that I am so thankful.  Whether it is a huge need or a small need that we have, I have learned to just take it all to Him.  He is the One in control, and even when He doesn't answer in the way I want Him to, I recognize His will and that His plans are far better than mine.  I am so glad I can take all my needs to Him. 


My church is having a dinner theater production this week, and I got to go last night.  It was so much fun!  I laughed so hard at a few of the scenes, and I am blown away by some of the talent I saw.  These type nights are my favorite, and it's fun to be among friends that are like family.  I met a new friend last night, speaking of, we ended up sitting together for the play, and I was glad we introduced ourselves.  It's hard to believe we're in our eighth year of attending CFBC.  It doesn't seem that long, but then again, it seems like we've been here forever.  I love my church family so much and I love serving alongside them and being in fellowship with them. 

Thanks for reading my blog!  Have a great day and enjoy your weekend.  Love to all!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

quiet time habits and helps

Time with God is so important to me.  It always comes first in my life, and I prefer for that to happen before I carry on with my day.  I don't always jump out of bed and have this time like I used to, because I started feeling like I wasn't "awake" enough to let it absorb.  There is no time schedule for me with this, because I do not work outside of my home.  I have my cups of coffee, I make breakfast and lunches for the people leaving each morning, and once they're out the door is when it usually happens.

Some days I have to leave my house early, though, and on those days I will have this time later on in the day.  I can always make time to pray, though, and I will do that while I'm getting dressed or if I'm driving in my car alone.  It's the reading part that will sometimes have to take place later in the day.  And then sometimes I'll get caught up in the events of the day, and I will very occasionally miss it altogether.  I'm okay if it's just one day or two, but if I get three or more days behind in my bible reading plan, it's hard for me to catch back up.  

Speaking of plans, it is good to have a bible reading plan.  I know of some people that can play Russian roulette with their bible, and open it up and pick a spot and read there just for the day, but that is not me.  I need to always have a plan.  Currently, I am reading through the bible in a year, in chronological order.  I've done this several times with the women in my church, and it's one of my favorite ways to read the bible.  We are in the Gospels right now, in the New Testament, and the reading is so good.  

When I'm not doing the chronological reading, I will pick books to read through at a time.  I like consistency, and because I'm a reader (I think), I prefer to go book by book.  It seems more complete to me, to do it that way, but I know it could just be different for me.  Earlier in the year when I was reading through a portion of the bible that was particularly difficult, I added some reading plans to the one I was already doing, because I needed to read the word and GET it.  This was when we were going through all those good and bad kings in the Old Testament.  

One of my favorite things to do in my quiet time is to write out scripture.  I started this three or four years ago, in November, when I saw a plan on social media, and I continued for two or three years in a row.  This year I stopped, because I knew just reading the bible in a year would prove to be challenging for me again.  For some reason, though, this month, I started doing scripture writing again.  I am LOVING it, and I honestly think the Lord just had me do this because He knew what a blessing it would be for me right now.  


I don't just turn to the passage and write it out and then be done.  I open my bible and read it first.  Sometimes I read it again, out loud.  If it's not already underlined in my bible, I will underline it, and then I will write it out.  I also love to pray what I read.  You just take whatever scripture you're reading and personalize it for your prayer.  I know I did that on this day, when I was writing scripture from Ecclesiastes.  I used to do this on notebook paper and I have it all in a big binder, but now I just use my journal for this.  If this is something you are interested in, just go swtblessings.com for a plan for each month.  She no longer does them by the month names, but she has been doing them by themes.  For instance, the theme for this month is purpose.  You can just pick a theme, print it out or get the wallpaper for your phone, and then start.

Speaking of journals, I do this a lot.  There is no rhyme or reason for what all I write.  I got out of this habit over the summer, for some reason, and I really missed it.  I had my summer journal that was all cute, but it ended up being mostly church notes.  When school started back, I called it a day with that journal and shelved it, and then began fresh with a new one.  You read that right.  I don't always finish journals, and I am totally okay with that.  I get a lot of journals for Christmas, because everyone knows how much I love them, and I love receiving them as gifts.  Last year, though, I hit the journal jackpot, and I am STILL using all the ones I got for my birthday or for Christmas.  


Here are all the things I put inside my journals.  (I already mentioned church notes and scripture writing.)  I always write down all the prayer requests I have, either for me or for someone else.  I have to do this, or I would be unable to keep up with what I tell people I'll pray for.  If I tell someone I will pray for them, I almost always stop right there and pray, either with them in person or over the phone, or for them while I'm at home and I've commented that on social media.  Occasionally I will forget to do that, but the Lord is always so faithful to remind me of what I said, and then I will pray immediately, when He brings it to my mind.  

I write down my days.  Call it a bullet journal style format, or a to-do list, but some days are really busy, and I will have so much to remember that if I don't write it all down, I will forget it all.  I have to do this to keep me sane.  Not everyday is like that, like yesterday.  I stayed home all day, but I did have some things I wanted to accomplish, so I wrote it all down and got most of it done.  (I didn't clean or vacuum, like I said I would, but I sure did finish my third book for the month.)  I like checking things off a list.  It makes me feel so productive.

So often, I write out my prayers, especially when I'm so frustrated that all I want to do is cry.  I really hate crying when people are around, so I just write down whatever is on my heart, in a letter form to the Lord.  He is omniscient (meaning, He knows EVERYTHING) and He knows my heart and what is going on inside of it, so I know that type of prayer "counts".  Sometimes these type of prayers are angry or frustrated, and sometimes they're just heart wrenching, like when I pray every single day for TWO people in my life right now.  (I pray for many more, but these two people are in heartbreaking situations right now, and families have been destroyed and torn apart because of the sin they're walking in.)

I keep track of all the good things that happen.  God is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), and I love to reflect on all that He has done.  Nothing helps me do that more than writing it all down.  I love to see how He answered prayers I prayed.  I also just love to write down all the things I want to remember.  When Drew got his first A on his college A & P class, I wrote it down, and then I wrote out a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God, for hearing my plea on Drew's behalf and helping him to do his very best.  I remember when Jonah was seven, he taught himself how to ride a bike without holding on.  I found that journal recently, and I reread the entry for that day.  I had forgotten it, but it was something so little that made Jonah so happy that I wanted to remember it forever.  

I also write down ideas for things like blog posts, new recipes I want to try, a bible study I want to write, books I want to read, and people I need to reach out to that I haven't spoken with in a while.  


One last thing, and that is that I use my bible.  By "use", I mean I write in it, I write out prayers, I write people's names the Lord may bring to mind while I'm reading a passage, I write some of my pastor's sermon in the margins, I underline, highlight, and use colored pens.  I have a closet full of bibles that I've marked all up, and I want my boys to have them someday when I'm no longer here.  If I want to teach or show them one thing, it is that I love Jesus, and I love the word of God.  I want them to know why I prayed certain things for them, and I will write it all out in the pages of my bible, next to the passage.  I have my grandmother's bible, and that means the world to me, seeing all that she wrote in the pages of her bible.  I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

One thing I know: life is hard.  Without Jesus, it is completely hopeless.  Even WITH Him, it is still hard, but we have His word to read, study, meditate on, and teach to our children.  I cannot imagine even ONE SECOND of walking this life without Him by my side.  I pray I never experience that...while He will never leave us or forsake us, we can certainly turn our backs on Him.  I know one person who is walking that right now, and she is one of the people I pray for every single day.  I pray that the Lord always helps me to cling to Him like no one or nothing else.  

If you want to talk more about that, or any of this above, reach out to me!  Comment or email me at allboys@gmail.com.  I pray this inspires someone to get started with their quiet times again, or maybe even for the first time.  Thank you for reading my blog!  Love to all.  

weekend catch up

It was a whirlwind of a weekend, after a week of not doing much of anything.  (I am currently sharing my car when I can with one of my boys ...