Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What's On My Nightstand, the longest edition ever

I love to read.  My hobby began when I was in first grade and I read my first Garfield book on my own.  It developed from there and before I knew it, I could usually be found with my nose buried in a book.  My siblings were grown and out of the house, so reading was my constant companion.  Reading spilled over into my love for writing, and as long as I can remember, I have also loved to write.  I have a constant parade of words marching through my brain, which is why you can usually find a journal in my purse or a note on the app on my phone.

My love of reading includes blogs, articles, magazines of interest (I do not love every magazine, only helpful ones), poetry and hymn books.

I know.  That last one was weird.  I just love words in general, and I love things written a long time ago.  (I currently have a book on hymns that we're reading together, Jonah, Noah and I.  The hymn is written out and the story behind the hymn is also on the page.)  

I was asked how to know what to read recently, so I thought I would share that process with you on here.  The process of picking out books is a personal one, so I would start with that.  

What interests you?  Do you only read fiction?  Nonfiction?  

My tastes are changing as the years go by, and this year I've read way more nonfiction that I have of any other type of book.  Another reason I know so much about books is because I am always looking for a new one.  I talk to people, I read blogs that tell me when a new one comes out, I review books for companies and I have a constant "recommended for you" list on Amazon.  

I also follow a lot (A LOT) of authors on social media, and I become familiar with them so I can be on book launch teams and sneak preview lists.  I don't remember how that started, but it happens quickly.  The more launch teams or sneak preview lists I'm on, the more my name is "out there" and I'm regularly contacted by publishing companies and Lifeway.  I am currently on Jen Hatmaker's launch team for her new book that will release in August, For The Love, and before that one, I was on Kelly Minter's for her latest Bible study, What Love Is.  Included in the list are Beth Moore and Jennifer Rothschild, and just last week, somebody sent me a free book to read and a whole bunch of little mini booklets to hand out at church, on how to end human trafficking.  

I have plenty of time to spare, but I might run out of room in my house.  

All that being said, I thought I would share what books are currently on my nightstand.

1.  Hinds Feet In High Places, by Hannah Hurdard.  I LOVE this book!  My friend Abbey pretty much forced me into reading it (ha!) and I love it.  It's not that old, but the way that it's written is old fashioned.  It's written as an allegory.  

2.  Having A Mary Heart In A Martha World, by Joanna Weaver.  I shared about this book on Monday, on social media.  I made it to the halfway point last night and hope to finish it today.  I want to loan it to a friend I will see tomorrow.  It's about slowing down and taking the time to rest at the feet of Jesus, and clearing our lives of busyness and worry.



3.  One Year Book of Devotions.  I just picked this one back up recently.  I was craving a morning devotion, so I started this one last week.  Each day has a verse and a story.  I don't always do these, and that's not all of the Bible that I read.  I recently stopped reading the Bible in its chronological way because I was not paying attention to what I was reading.  So while I am reading everyday, I pick a portion.  Yesterday I read a bit in Titus, 1 and 2 Timothy.  Today I am reading Philippians.

4.  Secrets, by Robin Jones Gunn.  This one is short, fictional and mindless, because that's what I need before falling to sleep.

I'm also trying to finish a book we're doing in community group on Sunday nights, but I'm not including that one.

Some other great ones I've read lately are:

1.  A Little Salty To Cut The Sweet, by Sophie Hudson.
2.  Home Is Where My People Are, by Sophie Hudson.
3.  Nobody's Cuter Than You, by Melanie Shankle.
4.  Multiply, by Francis Chan.

And lastly, what I'll be reading next:

1.  Sparkly Green Earrings, by Melanie Shankle.
2.  The Yada Yada Prayer Group Series, by Neta Jackson.  (There are 6 or 7 in this series, and this will be my third time to read through them.  They are my favorite.)
3.  No Longer A Slumdog, by K.P. Yohannan
4.  Where The River Runs, by Kelly Minter.  

Out of that last list, I already own them all, except for the top one, which I ordered this morning. 

I get stuck on authors sometimes, and will read everything they've ever written.  I also make myself read all throughout the day.  Let's face it~homeschooling four boys does NOT take seven hours everyday, and when they're working, I have a rule about trying to stay home.  I do not sit and watch television all day, either, and there is only a certain kind of "clean" you can get your house to.  So I read.  While they do their work, I am either piddling around in the kitchen and cleaning or organizing it, or I'm doing my Bible study homework, or I'm reading and taking notes.  I am very disciplined about what I let myself do or what I don't let myself do (binge watch Netflix everyday), and if I'm reading, I'd like it to be helpful, so I take notes.  

I have the time because of those things listed above and I read really quickly.

I realize that this doesn't work for everyone, but it's what works for me.  And it gives you a glimpse into me that makes me seem really weird and freakish.  I am appalled to tell you that my family does not share my love for reading.  In fact, they pretty much despise it.  They do read, though, because I make them.  Currently Jonah is reading an autobiography on LeBron James and Noah is reading a fiction book by Mike Lupica.  Graham and Drew are not reading anything at the moment, but we might change that later today.

I've been asked these questions in the past, which is what compelled me to write this lengthy (and maybe boring, to some of you) post.  I always love talking about books, though, so it was easy for me to write.  :)  

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.   



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

who do you look to?

This morning my son Drew and I went with our friend Abbey to see his best friend's spring choir concert.  I am so glad I went!  That was not in the original blue print for our week, but I am all about the spontaneity that homeschooling allows us.

The reason I went is because of my friend.  She would never say this about herself, but as a mom, I appreciate her honesty.  Drew contacted her yesterday about riding with her to Andrew's concert, and while she didn't mind, she has a rule about boys and riding in her car, and that is that she will not ever (in any circumstance) allow herself to ride alone with just one boy.  I love that rule and appreciate her for living her life in a way that is above reproach.

I am reminded of a verse that I love about this, found in 1 Timothy 4:12:

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

And it kinda goes along with what I wanted to write about today.

I was watching the high school choir perform this morning, and I was reminded of the fact that we need to be careful of who we follow.  (Or, of who we look to as an example.)  For instance, in one of the songs the choir sang, at the end of the song, they all started swaying to the left and right.  Their director was doing the same, and they were simply following her lead, looking to her again and again to stay on track.

And much like the choir was looking to their director, so people are looking to me.  To you.

Instantly, I was convicted of things I allow in my life.  I have mentioned on here recently that I have made a promise to God and to myself to only read a specific type of book this year (and hopefully, from here on out).  I was also convicted of what I watch.  And while I don't watch anything most people would consider bad, I am always thinking about what I am allowing into my mind and my heart.  I have this philosophy about that~garbage in, garbage out.  I tell the boys that all the time.  What you put into your mind and your heart will eventually come out of your mouth.

Saturday night when Todd went to work and the boys were all gone, I tried to watch a movie.  I won't mention the name, but it wasn't even like it was R rated.  It was PG-13, and I kid you not~I could not get the blasted thing to stay on play mode.  I tried so many different times and finally gave up on the movie, chalking it up to the fact that maybe I wasn't supposed to watch it.  It was as if the internet wasn't working, because the movie wouldn't buffer.

I turned the box off, then tried Netflix.  I settled in with watching the last two episodes of Call The Midwife, and guess what?  The internet worked perfectly.

I'm not saying that God made that happen, although He certainly could if he wanted, but He did allow that to speak into my life at the moment.  Well, maybe not in that exact moment, because I was frustrated, but later on when I started thinking about the turn of events.

The reason I mentioned the above is that I want to honor God in my life.  I want to honor Him in what I say, what I do, what I think, what I read, what I watch, what I post on social media and in the tone of voice I use.  I want to look to Him (and others who resemble Him) closely, to see which way to go.  Much like the choir this morning looking to their director, I want Him to be mine.

Who knew that going to a simple choir concert would speak to my very soul this morning?  Maybe it'll speak to yours, too.

And just for fun, here are a couple of pictures from our time there.


You know how you pray for ONE GOOD FRIEND for your kid?  (At least, I do.)  This boy has been an amazing friend to my Drew.  They had a rough patch for about nine months, but God restored their relationship and they are the best of friends.  I love this boy like he's my own.

And lastly, and because I love churches...


This one was beautiful.  I thoroughly enjoyed going this morning.  And I got to see one of my most favorite people on this earth.  Otherwise known as Abbey.

Love to all.


Monday, April 27, 2015

our weekend & some random thoughts

I am so thankful I got to see my sister Terri one last time on Friday, when we all went to lunch together.  Have I told you her story, how she almost died about a year ago?  She is truly a miracle.  She went into the hospital with what she was told was pneumonia, but she ended up with multiple things going on and was moved to two different hospitals within a two month time period.  She was also told she would have to use oxygen the rest of her life and that she wouldn't be able to walk without a walker.

Well.

She must be mighty stubborn, because she has defied all the odds.

That was the start of our weekend~lunch with Terri and Dad.  The boys were with us, too, and after lunch, we ran a few little errands then came back to my house.

And this is where my theme for the weekend started~I put on pajamas after they left and stayed in them all weekend, but clean ones, of course.

On Friday night, Drew invited a few friends over, and we all watched Finding Nemo, while I made copious amounts of popcorn and bowls of ice cream.  :)  With strawberries and Nutella.  I do love some teenagers coming to hang out on a weekend night.  It was fun.

I didn't sleep hardly at all Friday night, so all day Saturday, I just rested and read or watched television.  (I've got some allergic reaction on my skin that I went to the doctor for on Thursday, and though Friday and Saturday were miserable, by yesterday, I felt much better, thanks to God and the medicine I'm on.)  We were supposed to go to my dad's for dinner that afternoon, but the boys went without us.  Todd went to work at the sheriff's department and I stayed home and watched the LAST FEW EPISODES OF CALL THE MIDWIFE ON NETFLIX.

Dang it.

I hate ending a good show!  No other show compares to a really good one you've just finished.

While I ate dinner and watched television, I sat like this.


I know this pup has given me gray hair and years of grief.  But y'all.  If you can just imagine how sweet he cam be when wants to be.  He can sense when his people don't feel good, and he will come snuggle up with you, as if to soak up all the yuck that you feel in your body.  He can be precious.

And he can be a royal pain, but I'm focusing on concentrating on the good today.

I got a phone call from my mom-in-love telling me that they had decided to come home from Nashville Saturday night instead of Sunday.  I was totally fine with that!  This boy of mine has my heart, as all of them do, but his presence was definitely missed while he was gone.


This is Nathan and Noah.  Are they not precious?

I know they had a wonderful time together while Noah was there visiting.

It was around midnight when Noah got home.  My mom and dad-in-love brought him home for me, since Todd was working, which I appreciated.  When he got home, they discovered a twin thing had happened: they were dressed identically.  And as they came upstairs, laughing and talking, I was struck with how thankful I am that God chose ME to have twins.  I feel strongly that everyone should know the joys of being a mom to multiples.  They were glued together as they went into their room, my room, the bathroom while changing for bed, and finally, they slept together in Noah's bed, after catching up for at least an hour and a half.

Sigh.

To say that they missed one another is the understatement of the year.

I let them sleep late on Sunday morning since I was staying home from church, because hello broken washing machine and neighbors going to church.  I washed two big loads while they were gone and got caught up again on the laundry.

In case you missed it, our washing machine has been broken for eight days now.  We had a repairman come out in December to fix the belt or transmission or something, and he failed to put it back together correctly.  Because of his error and a little piece that he possibly broke, Todd discovered last Sunday that all the imbalance had knocked a hole in the tub and water was everywhere.  This has all been a huge mess as we've dealt with our insurance company and now the insurance company of the business that was here in December.  Hopefully we'll have an answer this week.

Or the kids just might get a lesson on a laundromat.

First world problems, I know.  I am so thankful for our neighbors for letting us use their washer.

In unrelated news, I came across an image from the internet over the weekend and loved it and wanted to share.


I used to be mean and would "vent" about my husband to my girlfriends.  I confess that to you.  God convicted me of this over a decade ago, through the words of my earthly father, and I started praying that He would help me to stop that destructive behavior.  I know people who talk about their men like they are pieces of dirt.  I have done the same thing, so no condemnation from me, and I am not judging you.  But I am telling you, that if you do this, for the love of your man and for the love of God, please STOP.

(Also, I am older than a lot of you who read this, and I am taking into play my role of being a Titus 2 woman.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, read that chapter, or the whole book.  It's three chapters long and it is RICH with wisdom and insight.)

In Ephesians 4:29, Paul tells us that we are to let NO UNWHOLESOME TALK come out of our mouths, but only what is kind and helpful to build others up.  (That's the gist of the verse, I just didn't say it in all its entirety.)

I also used to talk to my precious husband like he was stupid.  (Toddley, if you're reading this, I am so sorry for how I used to talk to you!)  And again, if you haven't done this yourself, we all know those wives who act this way.  May I encourage you to not take my word for all of this?  Go to the Bible.  Look up all the verses you can find on "words" and see what the word of God says.  Look up in Proverbs, about not being a nagging wife.  (King Solomon compared a nagging wife to a dripping corner of an attic!)  Look at Ephesians 4:29, look up Galatians 5:22-23, on the fruit of the Spirit and look at the verses before those and what we are told not to do.

If you are reading this blog, I love you in the faith.  Even if you aren't a believer, I have a godly love for you and I pray over the people who read these words.  I have prayed time and again that God would give me the words to say on here and to allow me to be a vessel used by Him.

I pray that now, that if these words struck a chord with you, that you would know that it is never too late to change.

As great as I feel about myself on a daily basis (hello, sarcasm), I know that I will screw it all up again tomorrow.  Or tonight, if I freak out over somebody else not doing something the way I want in the kitchen.  But God has given us His grace as a free gift.  I have been redeemed of my past, my present and my future sin.  We are to constantly strain toward Him, as we run this race called life.  We are to fix our eyes on Him (Hebrews 12).  We are to pray and seek Him and His word.  And we are to not just read His word, but we are to take it and apply it daily (by the second, by the minute) to our lives.  Because when we are in His word, and we do that, we are TRANSFORMED by His word.

I would love to talk more about this, if you should so feel led.  I'm a keystroke away.  As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  Love to all.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

on perspective and being grateful

I don't know where the idea came from, but I decided that 2015 would be the year I took my eyes off of our circumstances and instead, fixed them on Jesus.

That includes being thankful to Him for one thing (sometimes more) every single day of the year.

I will be honest here and admit that I haven't remembered to do this everyday, but I have this awesome planner that I write everything down in that has helped me to be able to go back and get caught up.  And when I say I write everything down, I mean I write every little detail of my life in this planner.  Including things like what we had for dinner on what night, when Todd works late and what kids were at my house on Friday night.

Because of my details in my planner, I can easily see what I did each day, and that helps me determine what I chose to be thankful for on that day.

I don't get hung up on facts, like if I've been thankful for the same thing a few times~I don't care about the facts, I just focus on thanking God for the moments.

I can already say that I have been able to tell a huge difference in the way I view life.  For instance, even in times when my washing machine is broken for the seventh day, I am so thankful for the kindness and generosity of our sweet neighbors who let me use theirs while they're away.

It takes my mind off the circumstance and puts my eyes on Jesus.

The only reason I even mention this to you on the blog is because it's profound.  And it's never too late to start!  I do try to keep it to one sentence each day, but some days call for multiple things and multiple sentences.  I make each day its own.  Try it for yourself!  I dare you.

Love to all.


And may I ask you a favor?  I made another submission to The Today Show parenting panel website.  Click here and read it and vote.  Thanks!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Favorites

This has been a WEEK!  I have been busy from last Friday all the way until today, when my life resumes it's normalcy once again.  But what a fun week this has been.

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

 

Last weekend was our women's conference at our church, and it was so much fun.  I love helping lead worship and I love being with my friends.  It was such a great time, that I was sad to see it end.  One of my favorite moments from the conference was seeing these little pretties attending with us.


I adore these precious girls!  This is Emily (left) and Emma.  THE Emma, if you know what I mean.  I think I've mentioned her a time or fourteen before on the blog.  They were being silly in this picture they took of themselves with my phone, and their smiles are normally MUCH prettier.  :)  I won't show you the one that Emma took of herself, because it's pretty special.  But you can imagine.  I love their personalities and I love them.  These are definitely a couple of my favorites.

A lot of my favorite moments from this week happened while we were in Dallas for a student leadership conference.  Here are a few of my pictures that I didn't show before.






Yesterday was my favorite day of the week, the day we go to our homeschool group.  I love the ladies in this group so much that I cannot imagine my life without them.  I took this picture on my way inside.


And today I get to see my dad and my sister Terri, who is here from North Carolina.

Well.  Speaking of them, I should probably get dressed now.  I hope your weekend is great!  Love to all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

roadtrip

I love traveling.  I love Jesus.  And I love my friends.  When you combine those three things in a minivan and two days together, that is the recipe for a really good time.

A few months ago, the youth pastor at our church offered a trip to those of us are considered youth leaders.  (Volunteer and paid, but I'm a volunteer.)  The catch was that it was only a one night trip, and it involved us traveling to Dallas.  I didn't really think I would go, but when I was talking to my sweet hubby about it, he encouraged me to go.

It turns out that this is a free conference offered to those in youth ministry every single year.  It's put on by Student Leadership University (SLU) and it's called Youth Pastor Summit.  Because even those in pastoral positions need encouraging.

IT. WAS. AMAZING.

Seriously.

My sweet friend Abbey came to my house Monday morning at six fifteen and we went to church to pick up another friend and her son (Lauri and Chandler, who might be THE MOST AMAZING teenager I have ever had the privilege of knowing.).  We met yet another friend downtown (MK), and then we were off.  We made several stops (breakfast, gas and lunch) and arrived in Plano around two forty-five Monday afternoon.  The conference began at three, then we broke at five thirty for dinner.

The worship was amazing and the speakers were incredible.  It was basically a twenty four hour period of being encouraged and taught by others.  Every time a new speaker came out to talk, it was better and better, and I never wanted it to end.

On Monday night, we met a friend for dinner (Erin) who used to lead our girls.  It was so good seeing her!

The event was held at Prestonwood in Plano, Texas, and the church was AMAZING.


This was only the fellowship hall and youth center.  It's bigger than Bellevue, if you live in Memphis.  There are multiple campuses.  My friend Erin works at the North campus as the girls ministry leader.


While the sun was setting on Monday night, I sat on some steps that overlooked this area and watched the sun go down, as my dear husband made me laugh and laugh over Drew's driving antics.

Yes, I said Drew's driving antics.  Somebody got his permit!

For each session, there was a different speaker.  The speakers were Ed Newton, Josh Griffin, Doug Fields, Jay Strack and Bob Goff.  The worship was led by Michael Ferren, former lead singer of Pocket Full of Rocks.  (I used to listen to them!)  There were break out sessions on Tuesday, but I didn't go to anybody new.  My favorite speaker was at the very end, the author of the book Love Does, Bob Goff.  He was funny and endearing and encouraging.

We were dismissed around three yesterday afternoon, then we started the journey home.  (I navigated almost the whole trip and Abbey drove, except for about an hour when I drove on Monday.  The soccer mom van was fun to drive!)  The trip home was fun and entertaining.  We only listened to music for the hour I drove on Monday, and the rest of the way?  We talked.

Seriously.

I love talking, obviously.  And singing random songs with Abbey, who is like my other half.

I was so tired coming home that I might have been a tiny bit delirious.  I laugh a lot when I get like that, so needless to say, I cried most of my makeup off.

It was such an awesome trip.


In our goodie bag, we found a Student Life brochure for summer camp, and I know the people on the front!  In fact, next to the girl that is the second one from the left, is Graham.  I would know that profile anywhere.  Left to right are MK, Graham, Hannah, Chandler (amazing teenager), a girl I don't know and Holly (another amazing teenager who's a freshman in college this year).


Y'all.  This sweet little old lady turned SEVENTY FOUR YEARS YOUNG yesterday and she is STILL ministering to those who are teenagers.

I am NOT too old for this.  I have another thirty six years before I reach her age, though I don't know that I'll last quite that long.


This is Bob Goff, in all his shoeless wonder.

And this girl.


I adore her.  The more time I spend with her, the more dear to me she becomes.  And to think three years ago, I didn't know her is astounding to me.  She's quickly become one of my closest friends.

It was an amazing couple of days.  I slept so good last night, I was exhausted.  But in a good way.  ;)  I hope your week is going good!  Love to all.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

a weekend away

I love my husband.  I love my kids.  But sometimes, a mom just needs a little bit of refreshing and some time away.  I refuse to feel guilty about admitting this to you, because I know I am not alone in this sentiment.  I have learned that if I don't take the time to make sure I am being fed spiritually, then I am of no good to anyone.  It's also why I always like to be doing Bible study.

This weekend our church had its annual women's conference.  We had a familiar guest speaker this year, a special lady and wonderful speaker named Jean Stockdale.  Jean has taught Bible study to ladies for twenty six years now, and she writes and records them for women all over the world.  Needless to say, this weekend was exactly what I needed.

I love spending time with like minded women, and there is something so powerful about coming together as women of God to worship and study His word.  I wouldn't have been anywhere else this weekend, even if my life depended on it.  God knew who needed to be there, and He had us there for a reason.  I feel bad for the ladies in our church who missed out on a wonderful weekend.

I had the privilege of helping lead worship at this for the second year.  There are times when I miss singing in a choir, so it was an honor to sing for Jesus this weekend.  I sang with five other really sweet and talented ladies who love the Lord.


Jean spoke out of Ephesians both days, and I can't wait to read back over my notes and the book she had made for us to look at while she taught.  I always get so much out of these types of things, and this weekend was no different.  One thing that she said last night that stuck out to me was that now is no longer the time for us to be just casual Christians.  The days are getting more and more evil, and it is time for us to stand firm and to stand out.  No more pleasing of men and no more hiding away His truth.

We laughed and we cried together this weekend.  This precious woman of God and our women's director, Mrs. Barbee, are two of the most Godly and humble women I've ever heard speak.  It was such an honor to sit under the teaching and to glean wisdom from all that Jean had to say.

If you ever get the chance to attend a women's conference, I urge you to try it!  Time in the word is time that is well spent.

Love to all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

life lately

I am not very good at blogging lately.  Life has been weird and not quite normal, and it seems I can't get my stuff together enough each day to do multiple things.  That, and I've been busy.

I thought I would share what we've been up to these past few days, since almost half the week is already gone.

Saturday was one of those amazing days that are very rare~the kind of day that finds me sitting in my chair, doing nothing but watching Netflix all day.  My current obsession is Call The Midwife.


I am seriously bummed that I am on season three.  Season four is currently airing on the BBC, and you can bet that I have it set to record.  :)

I finally left the laptop on Saturday afternoon to get dressed.  My friends Scottie and Abbey and I went to see our girls off to prom.



These girls have my heart.  Don't they look beautiful?  It was an honor to be able to see them all dressed up and to take pictures with them.  There were two more girls that we went to see and take pictures with, but my pictures didn't turn out.

When all of the girls left, we decided to go grab a bite to eat and headed to Panera.


We decided that next year, we are SO going to prom.

And these ladies...I have to just stop here for a moment.  I love them so much!  And age is just a number, as far as friendships go.  In this picture, the twenties, thirties and forties are represented.  And another of my closest friends is in her fifties, so seriously~age is just a number.  I thank God for these women in my life!

After dinner, I came home and Drew and Graham invited some friends over to watch a movie. It was fun having all of them over!  I love a full house.  It makes my heart so happy, and I feel like their friends are just an extension of our family.

Sunday was church and community group.  Drew didn't feel good, so he stayed home while Graham and I went without him.

Yesterday was normal until last night, when I laid wide awake until three in the morning.  I read my book, I watched Call The Midwife on Netflix, I started a new devotion then I finally took three Benadryl to force sleep upon me.  It worked.


The devotion is from my Bible app.  It's She Reads Truth, Hymns Part I.

Today has been a nice day~school work, a nap for me, (no sleep last night, remember?) and after dinner, all the boys went out to play basketball.


They're all taking showers and then they're watching the next movie in a series they've been watching since Sunday.  And that means I will get to go upstairs and watch my favorite show.  :)  And hopefully get some really good sleep afterward.

That's been what we've been up to.  Love to all.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Favorites


It's Friday again!  Happy day to you!  This week has been a big ole blur, and I'll tell you why.  But first, I am linking up with Momfessionals for this blog post.

One of my favorite moments from the week was Resurrection Sunday.  I love this day so much!  Normally I love the church service that goes with this day, but while I know it was good, I couldn't concentrate because I was too  busy trying not to claw myself to death.  My crazy skin reaction had me going nuts.


I love my five boys so much.  The first and most important one was taking the picture.  :)  I love that we dyed eggs at my mom's house the night before.  It was fun making a memory there and dyeing eggs with my sister.  That's one of our favorite past times.

Another favorite moment was when the rearranging of the room took place.  In moving most of their furniture, their room got a good deep cleaning.


That was on Monday.  Toddley called me that afternoon and asked what I thought about making a quick, one night trip to Franklin to attend his sister-in-law's surprise 40th birthday dinner.  We knew about it and were not planning to go at first, but at the persistence of his brother Tim, we decided to go.  So, on Tuesday morning, we all threw some clothes into some bags, took Crash to the vet to be boarded, loaded up the 'burban and took off.  It worked out well, us going, because Toddley had a job to do in Gallatin, which is about 40 minutes north of Nashville.  The plan was to get to Franklin, check in, let the boys swim and then we would leave for dinner.  This was an adults only party, so the boys went to grab some dinner for them and brought it back to the hotel.  We let Graham drive.  After they ate, they swam some more and then hung out in the lobby until we came back to get them.  Then we went to Tim's and Tracy's house for a little while.  Our youngest nephews were in bed, but they did get to see and play with Nathan, their cousin who is the same age as them.  And their youngest, Zeke, ended up waking up and playing too.  Here are some pictures from our quick trip.

Jonah requested the highest floor of the hotel, and it was six stories.  So guess what floor we were on?  You got it.





While they swam, I read.

This one is Todd's dinner.  He ordered cedar plank grilled salmon and assumed it was just grilled on the plank, but no!  They brought the whole thing out and his meal was a foot and a half long.  We ate dinner at Amerigo.


This last one is Drew with Hank, their dog that they love.  Even though he looks nothing like Crash, his personality is very similar to his.  It looks like he's smiling in this picture.


It was a quick and fun trip, and Tracy was very surprised to see all of us at the restaurant.

Yesterday was our homeschool group day, but Jonah woke up sick in the middle of the night, so we stayed home.  I will admit that though I missed my friends, it was LOVELY getting to stay home and just relax.  I was tired because I didn't sleep at all the night we were at the hotel.


I don't know if Jonah had a 24 hour stomach bug, or if it was just a really bad sinus headache that made him sick, but whatever it was is gone!  He woke up feeling wonderful this morning (his words) and asked me if I minded if he vacuumed the downstairs.  As if.  In this picture above, Jonah slept for three hours.  You know he is ill if he naps during the day.  This kid has sleeping issues and hardly ever sleeps.  Graham drove himself and Drew to school while we were home.  It's hard for them to catch up when they miss, so they needed to be there.

Todd had a maintenance night at the sheriff's department last night, so we ordered pizza and rented a movie from Redbox.  We watched Annie.  While part of me loved it, I was sad that it was so different from the original.  And for some crazy reason, I cried several times during the movie.  Call it me being sentimental or hormonal, but I did.  Graham laughed at me while I kept wiping the tears that were pouring out of my eyes.

Sometimes I cry at really dumb things.  Just a little tidbit about me.

So that was our crazy, whirlwind week.  I am glad today is Friday!  I hope you have a great weekend.  Love to all.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

post number one thousand seven hundred and one


Did you read the title?  That is a huge amount of blog posts.  Does that make me a chatty Kathy?  Even if it does, that's okay.  I pray over this blog all the time, that I never write anything to glorify myself, but that I make much of God.  I picked this year as another year to memorize Scripture with a bunch of women online, and the first two I picked are two that I pray over my whole life~whether if I'm home with my family, or on this blog or social media.  I'll write them below.

2 Corinthians 10:17 and 18:  But, "Let the one who boasts, boast about the Lord."  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.  

There are a few of you who have been faithfully reading this thing for as long as I've been writing.  I think that's been a little over seven years now, which blows my mind.  I started this blog as a way to keep track of our life, and one of my very first posts was at a time in my life when I was completely overwhelmed and was reaching out to someone else in desperation.

How far the Lord has brought me.

The bunch of online women memorizing Scripture that I mentioned?  There are several of us who have been reading Beth Moore's personal blog for a very long time.  I believe that started at about the same time that I started this blog.  There are several of us who are real life friends now!  Well.  If you consider a Facebook friend a real life friend.  We are sisters in Christ, who have prayed over each other for years now.  It's really neat seeing how that happens, and it's one thing about social media that I love.  (There are also tons of things about it that I hate, but I prefer to focus on the good.)  And I do consider them real life friends, by the way.  If I ever make my way to their corner of Texas, I will meet them.

They were some of my first encouragers on this blog.

Don't you think there is something so powerful about your girlfriends?  (If you're a guy reading this, then just ignore the next little bit.)

I want everyone to have the kind of friends that I have!  I know that family is important, too, but your family HAS to love you.  Your friends choose to love you, and mine do not judge me at all!  I can be real with them, and they've all seen me at my best, at my ugliest and at my worse.  They've seen me laugh, they've held me up as I've cried, and they have listened to hours' worth of conversations.  Where do I find these friends, you wonder?

At church.

I know church is a touchy subject for some of you.  You've been burned by "church" people.  You think we're hypocritical.  (We are not all that way, I promise!)  You think we're judgmental.  You can't find "your place".  (Been there, done that.)

But don't give up on finding a church family.  I do believe that church is not just a building you go to once a week to get filled up, then leave for the next six days.  Church is us~a body of believers.  We should be the church whether we're in a building or outside of a building.  But having a place to corporately worship together multiple times each week?  There is no replacement for this, in my book.  I do consider us being able to attend a church a privilege and a freedom that we should enjoy.  I don't believe we'll always have that freedom, because I do believe we're in the last days.  (Come quickly, Lord Jesus!)  I love my church family so much.  They have continually been the hands and feet of Jesus.  Our pastor provides us with Godly wisdom each week that is applicable to our daily lives.  He equips us with what we need to be able to disciple our own family.  Whether you're a part of a large church, a small church or a home church, it is important to find a body of believers to belong to.  (A home church might sound strange to some of you, but I have several friends who belong to one of these.  I think it's cool!  It's usually just a few families who meet weekly to worship, pray and someone shares a message.  The people who meet in homes are the church body to each other, and they do life together each and every day~much like those of us who belong to other churches do!)

I have found my best friends in church throughout my life.  I'm not saying to make that THE reason you go, but it is definitely one of the top privileges of being someone who regularly attends.  I love being around like-minded believers.  Everyone probably does.  Do you ever feel they're the only ones who "get you"?  Surely I'm not alone in this.

In order to do all this that I have mentioned, you must be active in serving.  I love being fed by my pastor each week, but I also take joy in being able to feed into others.  How?  For me, it looks like being a leader with the youth.  I help lead eleventh grade girls Bible fellowship class each week.  I help lead community group for them each week.  I am around for activities and lately, I've been involved in the Wednesday night worship.  I am someone who is around all the time, and, hopefully, someone who is readily available.  I may not consider myself a "teacher" (that is NOT AT ALL my spiritual gift), but I do "teach" them by the way I live my life.

The reason for going to church is important~as believers, we need to be fed each and every week.  After that, our job is to go out and BE the church to others.  We do this by sharing about Him to people who are unbelievers, to serve others, to share His love and by discipling those in our lives.  For me, that means that I am to disciple my kids.  And any others the Lord puts into my life.

If there is even one person reading this that this speaks to, then I pray that it encourages you.  I also pray that it challenges you to be on the lookout for a church family, if you don't already have one.  I have been in four churches my whole life~the one I was born into, one that I was active in during my teenage years, one that we went to after we married and had kids and the one I belong to now.  I certainly don't consider myself a church hopper, but due to life and the way it ebbs and flows, we have had to move around a little and find a home according to the needs in our family.  The church we are at now is one we've been at for five years now, and they are my people.  I finally know more people than I don't (well, maybe not) and we have settled in.  As always, if you would like to hear more about where we go, feel free to comment with your email address and I will talk to you more about this.  

Thank you for reading my blog.  :)  Know that I pray over you.  Love to all.

Monday, April 6, 2015

our weekend~Easter edition

We had a really great weekend.  Saturday we went into an area of Memphis called Binghampton to hand out goodie bags with the story of the gospel in them.  It was a glorious day to be out and about, and I am so proud of our teenagers!  They are not fearful at all and have this boldness about them that I wish I possessed.  


This was the group that I was with walking down the road.  We met up at a community center before and after, then we headed back home.  

Todd went to our church to prepare for the service the next day, and shortly after he left, the boys and I went to my mom's house to dye eggs and to eat our celebratory dinner.  

When we came back home, the boys wanted to go back to our church to help, so I dropped them off and came home alone.  


I might have eaten several pieces of my all time favorite candy.  Some bunny who loves me gave me these.  :)


I love these little beauties!  They're coconut cups from Dinstuhl's candy.  

There goes trying to be good!

I couldn't sleep at all Saturday night because I was having a reaction to something on my skin.  So I was up by four forty-five and got to watch the sun make its appearance.


We went to church in our brightly colored clothes and sat through the first service.  

\
I love this picture of them!  I told them to squeeze in, and they squished Jonah and Noah.  We were all laughing hysterically.  Hence, Drew's face.

During the second service, we sat out in the lobby and I made them pose for pictures.


Todd took this of the boys and me after church.  For lunch we went to La Hacienda with my friend Scottie and her kids.  Then we all came home and Drew and I napped while the others went outside.  Todd played basketball with the boys and I sat and tried not to claw myself to death.  

I was going to go to the doctor today, but whatever it was is gone.  Thank the good Lord for that.  I was miserable the majority of yesterday.

I hope you had a great weekend!  Love to all.  

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday edition of Friday Favorites & and a birthday post


I'm linking up with Momfessionals for this post.

Good Friday.  It's always a somber day for me, as I read the story leading up to Jesus being arrested, charged, crucified and buried.  This morning I read out of the book of John.

I pray that you took some time to read the word of God, to pray and reflect on the significance of this day.

I have a lot of favorites from this week, even though I've been strangely absent on the blog.  :)  I just wasn't feeling it this week.  It's rare, I know.

It's been a great week!  One of my favorite moments from the week was my bible study homework.  We are wrapping up our study of 2 Timothy, and as I finished one of the last lessons, I found myself so sad to say goodbye to Paul.  At the end of 2 Timothy, Paul is at the end of his life.  He knew he was about to die.  I get so attached to the people I study in bible studies.  The tone of his letter took on such a different tone in this book.  Here's a picture of what some of my notes looked like.


I love to use my colored pens in my bible study homework.  :)

We'll finish 2 Timothy next week and start on Titus.  I cannot wait!  We're doing a summer study, too, and I am so glad.  I hate saying goodbye to these sweet ladies God has given me for two whole months each summer.  The title of the one we'll do over the summer is Living In The Spirit.  It's another (shorter) precept study by Kay Arthur.

Another favorite moment from this week was on Wednesday night at church.  John  had the youth gather around him on the stage as he taught.


It was really sweet.

Also, at church that night, Drew was twinning with the youth pastor's wife.  I had to take a picture.


Mint green has made a comeback.

Thursday night, I met with some really sweet friends that I will remain friends with for the rest of my life.


We have been having girls night out together for years and years and years.  Tammy is on the right and Rene is in the middle.  We haven't been out in forever, though, so it was so good to see them!  I see Rene more often, just because she lives in Collierville.  I love them so much!  Several years ago, Tammy was given tickets to go see Celtic Women at the Orpheum, and it was very last minute, but that was one of my favorite moments I've ever spent with them.

Today is a favorite from this week, because it is Drew's birthday!  This crazy kid of mine.  I adore him.


He loves kids and hugs and he loves to serve others.  He was really excited about today because we were doing a ministry project in the Binghampton area of Memphis.


We were going to have an easter egg hunt with some kids in this area, but we had to cancel because of the weather.  So instead, we met for lunch at Panda Express, then we went to church to stuff goodie bags for the kids.  We're taking them to the kids in the morning, as we go door to door.

While we were at the church, Drew got a couple of birthday presents.


A sparkly turtle tattoo and a princess balloon!  So funny.  I love his friends~they all are so sweet to him.

I got to hang out with this sweet lady!


Sweet Abbey.  I adore her.

Our day ended with Drew's favorite dinner and some friends.


We started off watching High School Musical but ended the night with Sharknado.  And before we started the movie, I painted all of the girls' fingernails.  :)  It was a great week and an even better night.

Love to all!

P.s.  The writing of this post took me thirteen hours.

Friday Favorites

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