Tuesday, August 22, 2017

the eclipse, and a quick little road trip

After church on Sunday, we went our separate ways for lunch, then all met back here at home to pack and head to Spring Hill, Tennessee, where Todd's brother Tim, his wife Tracy, and their three boys live.  There were seven of us going, my six, plus one.  And I have to say, our little Madame Blueberry (my car, and Chevy Traverse) handled us all quite nicely.  I was pleasantly surprised.

We made it there without stopping.  It's only about three hours from here, and I was so thankful that we didn't have to travel with heavy traffic.  I had been dreading that part.  When we got there, we unloaded our things and got settled a bit and took a tour of their new house.  Well, new to me...I hadn't been there before.

We ended up eating dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant (my FAVORITE!) then went back to their house and hung out.  We had birthday cake for Rachel, since that day was her eighteenth birthday, and some of them went outside, and then Tracy and I had a chance to sit and talk.  We really don't see each other often enough, and when they're in town, it's for a reason, like a graduation or Christmas, so we never get alone time.


I had a couple of favorite rooms in their house.  The lighting is weird, but this is their dining room.  The colors are gray and turquoise.  That is my favorite color combination.  (Also, is anyone else like me and love to look at people's houses?  Just me?  Okay.)

I also LOVE their bedroom.  I love a statement wall like this one.


(Ignore their bed that is on the floor and awaiting its new set.)  I love navy in a bedroom, and particularly THIS navy, because it has hints of royal blue.

Anyway, on Monday, we got up and had breakfast and piddled around their house until we left to drive to Lebanon for the eclipse.


Tracy and me, all dressed and caffeinated.

We got lunch on the way and pulled into a state park to use their restrooms and ended up staying there because it was shady and we could see really well.


We call these three the triplets.  Jonah and Noah were born on March 10 of 2003, and Nathan was born a short few weeks after them.  My in-love's went from two grandsons to five in about four weeks.


Love these two.

Apparently, I had no pictures of Drew and Todd.  Typical.


Required picture.  It's not good, but oh my goodness gracious!  I was so skeptical that we would be able to even see the eclipse and wasn't super excited about it, but it was AMAZING.  The temperatures dropped, the lighting outside began to change, and all the nighttime bugs came out.


This was at one thirty something.  Look how dark it was!  I might have cried a little.  The magnificence of God just blows my mind, and that He could make this happen and that we would see it is just a beautiful thing.  Tracy and I were both about to lose our minds over it all.  She teared up as well, and there was screaming involved.


This was while we were waiting, and they had no idea I was behind them.


And here's the whole group of us.  We had a great time, and I am so glad we went and were able to witness the totality of the eclipse.  We were missing one of our nephews, who opted for going to school that day.

We said our goodbyes right after this, and began the long trek home.  Lebanon is past Nashville, so we had lots of heavy traffic coming back and a couple of wrecks, so we drove most of the way home on back country roads.  Three and a half hours turned into about six.  Maybe five, but we stopped a lot, too.


Like at this place, in Bolivar, TN.  This particular building is abandoned now, but some of the newer buildings on the property are still in use.  This is a mental health facility, and I grew up hearing horror stories about this place.  I wanted a lot more pictures, but since we were technically trespassing, Todd wouldn't linger too long for me.  How creepy does this place look?!  There are buildings to the left of this one that are also abandoned and look straight out of a horror movie.  There's ivy growing up the walls and they have barred windows, and well...you can imagine for yourself.

We ordered pizza on the way home and then brought it home to eat.  We finally made it back by about seven fifteen.  We ate, I made coffee for Todd and me, I read a little, then took a shower and crashed.
It was a really fun day and a half.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals (and friends) for this post.

This time last week, I was waking up in the country.


A dear and sweet teenager invited Missy and I to spend the night at her house, while her parents and sister were out of town.  We chose Thursday night and had a blast.  We ate dinner together, then went back to her house to watch Father of the Bride and to talk.  We finally fell asleep sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, but for Rachel and I, it was close to two a.m.  Poor Missy was up and couldn't sleep, looking at the clock for one last time and three something.

It was a long day, and later on that day when we were alone in the living room watching television for noise, basically, we both took naps.   I am NOT a night owl at all, and usually go to bed before ten and am up sometime in the six o'clock hour.

Also?  Those views in the country are one of my favorite things.


In light of all the sadness taking place in our country and this world right now, this has been one of my favorite verses to cling to.  I mentioned to several people this week, and on this blog, how thankful I am for the hope I have in Jesus Christ.  Things are pretty bleak without Him, and I don't know what people do who don't know Him.  Well, actually, I do know what they do~they walk around pretty fearful and miserable.  If you want to know more about this, please reach out to me in the comments, and I will send you my email address and we can talk more privately.


Reading has been a favorite past time for me this week.  I finished one book, and I'm reading three other ones right now.  I know this is a huge problem for some people, but honestly for me, it's not, at least at this moment.  The books are all VASTLY different, and I am easily able to switch back and forth.  Two of the books are so deep and good that I like to go slow with them and then give myself a break with something lighter.  I am loving this fictional book by Beth Moore, The Undoing of Saint Silvanus.  I started back in the spring and never finished it.  I'm almost halfway through it.

Another favorite thing of mine is what's in my cup.  We made a Costco run last week and bought some more K cups for our Keurig.  I've missed having them!  I love our Keurig and will often make a cup midday just because I love coffee so much.


My favorite babies in all the world turned seven months old this week!  Kinsley and Kylie are getting so big and are going to start crawling any day now.  I love them so much!  I just look at this picture and smile so big.  I am so glad they are coming home for Thanksgiving this year, and cannot wait for my family to meet them.

I mean, that smile on Kylie's face.  I can't stop staring.

(These are my great nieces.)


One of my favorite things is starting a new journal.  I was out of my current journal and went to Target yesterday to buy a new one.  I stood in the aisle for THIRTY MINUTES looking at them, before I finally picked this one.  I disliked it the least out of all the others I looked at.  I take into consideration the paper and how thick or thin it is (I prefer thick paper), how wide or narrow each line is (I prefer college ruled), and whether or not the pages are perforated (I prefer for them not to be).  I will make it work and will finish using it, but the next time I'm either going to Lifeway or to Barnes and Noble.


Best and favorite picture ever.  I look at this and wonder where in the world all the years went.  I posted this to Instagram last night after two of them were arguing over why a certain picture frame in the hall fell.  That was going on, and the other one was sliding down the stairs on his stomach because he drank coffee at night and it made him hyper.

Oh, they're fun.  I do love them so.  I would love to go back to this spot and recreate this picture.

Well, laundry and house cleaning are calling my name, so I need to run.  Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Church of the Small Things, by Melanie Shankle

Several weeks ago, I was picked to be on the launch team for Melanie Shankle's newest book, Church of the Small Things.  I have been a reader of the Big Mama Blog (her blog) for years now, and when she started writing books, I was thrilled.  Nobody makes me laugh like Melanie Shankle.


Her first three books were, The Antelope in the Living Room, Sparkly Green Earrings, Nobody's Cuter Than You, and this one that has yet to release.  This latest one releases on October 3, but you can pre-order it now for some great deals and coupon codes.  To read more about that, go here.

This is my blog tour day (actually, I don't know if it is or not, I cannot remember the day I signed up for) and I thought I'd share a few quotes I loved from the book.


This was a theme throughout the book.  Something I loved reading in this book was the encouragement to look for the opportunities that God has for us in the everyday, ordinary life moments.  For instance, I have always kinda been envious of people that have obvious ministries in their life.  That's not something I really felt like I had until I read this book.  Sure I know that being a wife and mom can be that, but I couldn't help but wonder if there was something more.

While I was reading this book, the Lord was so sweet to show me a huge ministry that I have in my life, and it's so ordinary, that I have overlooked it for a long time.  That is that people come into my home all the time.  It can be teenagers who are either friends of my kids, or who I help lead and disciple.  My boys love having people over, and I love to welcome them in.  This means that I usually have a stocked pantry and refrigerator.  I want them to come in and to feel totally welcome here.  Sometimes they all go upstairs right away, or sometimes they hang out here with me.  I also have friends who come over pretty often, and who know they're always welcome.


This quote is probably one of my favorites from the entire book.  I love this because of where God has me right now: as a homemaker, homeschooling mom.  I know that God uses me in these everyday, mundane moments, and for that, I am thankful.


This was a book that made me laugh out loud, made me cry, and made me utter a prayer for the Lord to open my eyes to what or who is around me.

I loved every single page, and want to encourage you to read it for yourself.  You can go to the website that I gave a link to above, or you can pre-order on any of your favorite book selling websites.


Love to all.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

some music I love right now

These times we are living in right now are not for the faint of heart.  My heart aches over the fact of how broken we are as a country, and for how far we have strayed from God.  How His heart must grieve. 

When going through times like these, I am so thankful that Jesus is my hope.  I cannot imagine what people who don't know Him do without His presence in their lives.  I literally could not get through even one day without Him.  One thing I know: God is sovereign.  He is in control.  We can trust Him.  And someday, He will return for His bride (that's us believers, and His church).  

Until then, I cling to His word.  I pray.  I praise.   Music helps.  

That being said, here are some songs I love right now.

I love mashups of songs, and this one is currently in the number one spot.  This is Caleb and Kelsey Grimm.  Caleb is one of the members of Anthem Lights.  


What a beautiful name it is, the name of Jesus.

Next up is this song by Tauren Wells, Hills and Valleys.  I cannot listen to this without my eyes welling up with tears.  


I love the line, "On the mountains, I will bow my life to the One Who set me there."  I always pray and ask that the Lord would help me to walk in submission to His authority in my life.  This song is another reminder that the Lord is good, when He gives good things to us, and even when He takes away from us.  He is sovereign.  I keep mentioning that, but it's a truth that resounds in my heart right now.

I love this version of the song Holy Spirit by one of my favorite singers of all, Travis Cottrell.


This song moves me every single time I hear it, and I have witnessed the presence of the Holy Spirit deal with someone as they listened to the lyrics.  He is powerful and His presence can often times be felt.  

These are just a few of my favorites right now.  I always have music playing, whether on the radio, on a CD, or on Spotify.  I can't think of anything better I'd rather be listening to than some music that will lead me into the presence of the Lord.  

How desperately we need You, Lord Jesus.  

Amen.  





Thursday, August 10, 2017

a time of refreshing

My friend Missy and I went to a nearby church last night to hear Jim Cymbala speak.  I don't know what I was expecting, but what last night ended up being wasn't what I thought it'd be.  I had kinda gotten out of the mood of going to the service, even though I knew it'd be good, but life happens, and I ended up feeling frustrated and kinda tired/defeated by the time rolled around that Missy said she'd come and get me.

It was a bit of the same for her.  She had someone come to her house, and they ended up sitting there talking the whole time, and when she came to get me, she had run out of time and hadn't eaten dinner.   Plus, her son and his wife were coming over.  We even joked about just going back to one of our houses to watch it via the live stream that Bellevue said would be available.  But we kept going, realizing that if both of us were feeling like we didn't want to go, that we should go, because that meant the enemy didn't want us there.

I'm so glad she's so stubborn.  ;)

Also, the whole way there, we talked, I cried a little, and by the time we arrived at Bellevue thirty minutes later, I was already feeling lighter.  Sometimes I just need to be reassured that my kids aren't the only ones who sometimes make me feel crazy.  (More about that in a different blog post.)

We were a few minutes late, because we went to a wrong building at our first attempt to go in, and by the time we parked and hiked to the church (it is HUGE), the music had started.  This was so refreshing for me to sit and be a part of.  Usually I'm one of the ones helping lead in worship, either in the choir, or on a praise team down front.  I love doing both of those, by the way, and am honored to be able to serve in that way, but sometimes it's so nice to just participate.

The time of praise and worship was wonderful.  The presence of the Lord was already so evident, but it just kept getting better as the night went on.  When Jim came up to speak, he spoke on prayer, which is one thing he is passionate about.  The Brooklyn Tabernacle is known not just for their choir and his wife who leads them, but for their Tuesday night prayer meeting.  He spoke for a little while, and then we just started praying.

In looking on YouTube this morning for a testimony of a man he shared about, I came across this.  This is so close to what he said last night, and if you have the time, listen to it.  It's only about five minutes long.

 

The reason I'm even going on and on about this is because I have been struggling with having a consistent quiet time lately.  I've been reading in my bible most days, but I've been neglecting the prayer portion.  I wrote about my notebook a week or so ago, mentioning this, but things never really got any better after that post.  Part of the issue has just been me.  I've been up too late, not sleeping enough, and I've been waking up already tired.  Partly it's laziness I'm experiencing.  Some days it literally feels like I am in a rut, and I can't get out.  It could be because I've taken on some of the burden one of my kids has been carrying.

I went in last night having no idea that he would be speaking on prayer, and not even really knowing how much I needed to hear (and then experience) about that topic.  It is no coincidence, though, I will tell you that much.  God knew, and of course the whole night was exactly what I needed to hear.  He is so very faithful, though, and He knows our hearts, and He listens when we pour out our hearts to Him.  I guess I write this to encourage someone.  If you're feeling discouraged or let down, or frustrated at all, then I want to encourage you to pour it out to God.  He already knows, but the confessing it to Him is what makes the difference.  It's like He takes all that is weighing down our hearts and puts it onto Himself.  He truly does lift every burden.

If you are a part of my family, then know that I prayed for you last night.  God hears the cries of our hearts.  I trust Him with all that I prayed for, and I believe that He will answer accordingly.   I believe a time of refreshing is coming your way, so keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

Love to all.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

things I'm looking forward to

I'll start with tonight.  I found out last week that the preacher of the Brooklyn Tabernacle church in New York City will be at Bellevue tonight preaching for their Awesome August that they have every year.  I am so excited!  I love this man, and even more than his preaching, I love his heart for the Lord and for others.  I am going with my bestie and am also looking forward to a whole hour of driving (30 minutes there and back) and catching up.



Just for fun, here is The Brooklyn Tabernacle church in Brooklyn, NYC.  I will never forget being there, or that trip that we took last October.  We had to get up so early to be there, and were concerned about our timing, but before we left that morning, I asked the Lord to work out all the details and the timing for us to make it in time.  We took the train into the city, switched over to the subway once in the city, and then got off at the Brooklyn stop.  We were walking up the church, and were about to get in the long line of people waiting to get in, when one of the security men stopped us and started motioning us inside.  We skipped the whole waiting in line portion!  How cool of God to do that for us, while we were there?!

That is just ONE teeny little God thing that has happened to me over the years.

Anyway, I'm really excited about going to church to hear Jim Cymbala preach again.

I can't wait to (hopefully) be able to see the eclipse!


We are traveling to go see this, and I really hope it all works out and that we're able to see the eclipse.  We are going to (near) Nashville to spend a night with Todd's brother, his wife, and their family for this, and then we'll drive somewhere to watch the next day.


(Thank you, Google, for your images.)

I'm really excited about a week in September that my family will be vacationing.  We are going to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and I am SO looking forward to a week of relaxing and eating fresh seafood.  Also, in almost twenty one years, I can count on one hand how many times we have vacationed at the beach.  I think it's about two times.  Honestly, the majority of us prefer mountains and lakes to beaches, but every once in a while, I think it's fun.  I have also always wanted to go to South Carolina, so I'm excited about that, too.

And speaking of mountains and lakes...


We go camping every fall, usually in October sometime, and I am looking forward to this as well.  We may change things up a little this year, and do something different for our annual camping trip this time around.  I know that camping isn't for everyone, but it's been one of the greatest things we started doing as a family about seven years ago.  There is something so sweet about being in the outdoors when it's cool outside, and when cooking over a campfire is involved.  I can hardly wait for our trip this year.

Aside from these things, I am looking forward to many other things that are just everyday little things like being back in choir practice on Sunday's, studying the bible with a group of teenage girls, fall weather and cool nights, church events coming up soon for the cooler temps, the upcoming holidays.  I try to enjoy every phase of life that we're in, but I can't help but look forward at what is to come.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Also, Happy Anniversary to my precious in-love's, Phyllis and Wiley.  Today is their FORTY-EIGHTH wedding anniversary!  That is so awesome and inspiring.




Family photo from the early 80's, and one more recent that perfectly depicts them and their personalities.  We spend the majority of our time together laughing over the most ridiculous of things!  They're so much fun to be with.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Simply Tuesday

I love the thought of that title, and it's a wonderful book written by Emily Freeman, but I still haven't finished it.  And may I just talk of books for a few minutes?  I haven't finished that one I just mentioned, and I haven't yet finished the one I'm on a launch team for, Church of the Small Things by Melanie Shankle.  I only have one or two more chapters, though, and I still love it.

Funny story (not really, but it's true): last night I was so grumpy.  It happens periodically.  ;)  It dawned on me last night, that I had never gotten around to having my quiet time yesterday morning.  The grocery store trip I was planning took precedence over my normal morning routine, and it just never happened.  I finally realized that last night, and I got up to have my quiet time after eight o'clock.  Life just happens that way, sometimes, and when it does, I try to not beat myself up over an abnormal daily routine.


So, this was me, at night, finally spending time in my bible.  Better later than never, right?  I wrote out two days worth of scripture writing (I usually miss every Sunday), and then I spent time reading Psalm 51, and writing out a page worth of praises to God from that Psalm.  It's one of my favorite books in the entire bible, and I visit it often, especially when I'm confessing things to Him in prayer.  As soon as I'm done with this post, I'm going to go do more of this.  I did pray this morning, first thing, but then I started making breakfast in shifts for people in my house.  (First for Drew, then for Todd and Graham.  Jonah and Noah are still asleep.)

I have three other books waiting on me to read them.  I need to put my phone down more and pick up my book instead.  Maybe then I'll finish.  I'm not reading anything fiction as of right now, and it is driving me a little crazy.  I know that probably makes some of you cringe, but it's true~if I read a nonfiction book, I like to have a fiction one going at the same time.  I need mindless in the afternoons, when the caffeine lull hits.  I keep failing at the whole library thing, and picking duds.

We are currently trying a new kind of coffee, and it is delicious.  We are coffee snobs, and always buy whole beans, and then grind them at the store after we make our purchase.  (At Costco.)  We are not making a Costco run this week, though, and I was needing to buy coffee at the grocery store yesterday, though, so I decided to give this one a try when I stumbled across it at Kroger.


I love coffee.  We all do, actually, the six of us.

I have been looking forward to this day for a week.  Sometime after lunch, we will go see my in-love's and spend the remainder of our day there.  (Along with the dogs, of course.)  Most likely we will swim when I get there, then we'll eat dinner, and we might go back to the pool afterward.  It's been forever, it seems, since we've seen them, and we missed our weekly visits, because Phyllis was sick.  I'm glad she's finally better, because I've missed her!

I love taking the dogs with us to places, and more than I love it, they do.  When we start packing up their things like their food and the leashes, they realize what's about to happen and start panting and jumping up and down.  It's precious.  Who would have thought I'd love dogs this much?  Not me.  I hate their hair that dirties my floor, but even all the hair is worth the joy they bring.  (Remind me of this the next time Crash does something bad.)

Speaking of him doing something bad, yesterday morning when Todd came downstairs, I found him looking intently at the dining room table.  I asked him what he was looking at, then he had me come in there to see for myself.  We were looking at dog paw prints, y'all.  I am not even kidding.  Not the cat, but the dog.  Which one, you wonder?  Crash.  I promise you, Crash's name is literally all over the table, just about.  Probably what happened, we are guessing, is that he jumped on the table to have a better view out the dining room windows, where the bushes are.

He hasn't confessed to it yet, but I think he's guilty.

I have seriously thought of writing a children's book based upon his bad behavior.

I'm not sure how I stretched three things to talk about into an entire blog post, but I am officially out of things to say, and I need to get started on this day.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all.


the eclipse, and a quick little road trip

After church on Sunday, we went our separate ways for lunch, then all met back here at home to pack and head to Spring Hill, Tennessee, wher...