Tuesday, November 29, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.

Monday, November 28, 2016

the weekend

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

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

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


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


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


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

We ate dinner, then went to Zoo Lights.





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

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



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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday Favorites


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

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

Here are some of my favorite moments from the week.


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Frosted sugar cookie is my favorite.


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

It's the most wonderful time of year.

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


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

And the Gilmore Girls.


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


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

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

Noah stayed back with Mom, Trish and me.

And lastly...


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

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

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

Love to all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What's Up Wednesday





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

What we're eating this week:

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

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

What I'm reminiscing about:


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

Also...


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

Somebody hold me.

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

What I'm loving:


We might have a slight problem with flavored coffee creamers.

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

I refrained from buying eight.

Also...


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

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

What we've been up to:

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

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

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

What I'm dreading:

Christmas being over.  I'm not even kidding.

What I'm working on:

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

What I'm excited about:

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

What I'm reading/watching:

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


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

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

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

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

I know.  So corny.  But ridiculously good!

What I'm listening to:

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

What I'm wearing:

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

What I'm looking forward to next month:

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

What else is new:

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

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

Love to all!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Show & Tell Tuesday

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

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

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

~want~

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

~need~

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


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

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

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

~wear~

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


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

~read~

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




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

They are:




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

Love to all!  


Monday, November 21, 2016

the weekend

Happy week of Thanksgiving!  I cannot believe it's already this week, but I am so excited to sit around the table with family and eat together, and then to come home and pull out all the Christmas decorations.  Many years ago, I used to decorate before Thanksgiving, but my husband really likes to celebrate each holiday on its own, so now we wait until the night of Thanksgiving or the next day before we decorate.

Here's what we did this weekend.

Friday night was super rainy, for which I'm thankful, and consisted of Todd, Jonah, Noah and I going to Pyro's (a local pizza joint) for dinner.  Graham and Drew had dinner with their friends, and went to see the new Madea movie in the theater.  After dinner, we went to Rack Room and bought new shoes for Jonah and for me.

After that, we went to Walmart, and Todd bought a new toy for the boys and himself.


These little gadgets are Rocket Copters and they light up so you can see where it lands.  They did this for almost a solid hour.  I love times like that!

On Saturday morning, the boys and I went to my dad's house to decorate the outside of his house for Christmas.  Dad lives on about eleven acres and with his age, it's hard for him to hang the lights, so for about the seventh or eighth year now, we've done this for him, along with my sister Trish.


This was our last tree.  We're goofy, we know.  We all have "our" jobs every year~Trish and Drew line the peer with icicle lights, I do the bushes with Noah usually, and Graham and Jonah decorate all the little trees that line the driveway.  We work together for the trees around the lake and the one by his house that we're hugging in this picture.

We always eat lunch while we're there, and it's always delicious.  We had chili and hot dogs on this day.

After we were done, Graham left from their house to go work at a campground for the rest of the day, and Drew, Jonah, Noah and I headed home.  But we made a pit stop along the way to look at some really pretty homes in the area.


We found this water tower and they convinced me to stop so they could climb it.  The ladder was about ten feet off the ground, though, so Noah was given a boost by Drew and he's the only one who was able to climb.  He made it to the top of the green in the picture and then I made him come down.
Noah's day was made, because he always loves to climb.  Always has, always will.

I was in awe of all the beautiful trees that have FINALLY changed colors.



Todd worked with the sheriff's department that night, so Drew, Jonah, Noah, Drew's friend Andrew and I went to Mom's and Bill's for dinner.  Graham got off work around six and he went to dinner with a friend, and then they all watched a movie when we got back home.  Not me, though.  I watched a(nother) Hallmark Christmas movie.

#obsessed


This is my church.  I was there early, with Graham, and we enjoyed an awesome service.  The worship was incredible and we had a special group there singing, the Memphis Youth Performing Arts Company.  It was a group of students, ages seven to eighteen.  I was back at three for choir practice and stayed until five thirty, then came home to get the boys and went to Burger King for dinner.  We met some of their friends there and afterward two of the girls came home with us and we watched the Hannah Montana movie.

I love that movie!  I forgot how much I enjoyed it and how much I miss that show.

It was a great weekend, and the only things on my agenda for this day are laundry, cooking dinner and taking Graham for his senior pictures.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Favorites


I have missed writing about my weekly favorites!  Happy Friday to you.  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for this blog post.

Since my week began in Parker, Colorado, I'll start there.



I don't know if I've ever mentioned on here before how much I love architecture.  I'm slightly obsessed with historical homes and I love driving around to look at them.  (This includes some buildings, as well.)  I love this little area in Parker that is similar to what a town square would be.  I love the homes that were turned into shops or small businesses and I love the fact that every where you look in Parker, you see Christmas trees.

I love Christmas, hence my Christmas tree obsession.  This is my favorite area in Parker, Colorado.


Also, while in Colorado, the sunsets and the sunrises are my favorite.  For some crazy reason, when I'm there, I wake up crazy early.  The colors were brilliant on the night I took this picture, but if you'd looked off to the right, you would have seen blues, pinks and purples.  It was beautiful.


My sister Debi bought this shirt for me for my birthday.  It's my new favorite shirt.  Have you seen the ad for Ruby's Rubbish on Instagram or Facebook?  I have, and I have actually seen this shirt, and I loved it.  All their shirts are cute, and super soft, and I'm about to order another one for my birthday.

I've been reading in Ruth this week, one of my favorite Old Testament books in the Bible.  I finished Judges on Monday, and the next book in the Bible is Ruth, so I kept going.  After Ruth, I think I'm going to switch to the New Testament for a bit, and I'm thinking of reading through Luke.  This way of reading and studying the Bible is my favorite.  It's the SOAK method, and you go one chapter at a time.  SOAK stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Kneel in Prayer.  I love going nice and slow, because it seems like I get more from it that way.

If you've never studied on your own before and you're overwhelmed, simply pray and ask God to help you understand.  When we ask for His wisdom, He is gracious to give it.  I always pray before sitting and reading.  Start there and see what happens.


My favorite place.  My beloved church home.  I love this student ministry and we had a great service Wednesday night.

I love worshiping with teenagers!  I always sit in the back and I had one precious girl ask if she could sit beside me.  Happy heart.

That same precious girl came over yesterday and spent about an hour with me.  I love that they know that my door is always open.


I've been reading through Psalms, lately, and these verses jumped out at me that morning.  Also?  Using my journal while I read the Bible is my favorite.  I write everything down.  Everything.  Where I'm reading, what I'm doing that day, prayer requests, praises that have been answered, every little detail of something I want to remember.

If you don't journal, you should try it for yourself.  I usually buy mine at Target, and sometimes I just use plain ole spiral notebooks.  That's where I record where I'm studying using the SOAK method.

Last night I spent some time with some of my favorite people on the planet, my in-love's.  We do Thursday nights with them whenever we're able.  We had delicious subs from a pizza place near them and the best cookies I've ever eaten.

Todd and Noah returned home last night, and all was right again.  That is my favorite~when all my people are back under one roof.

Happy day to you!  Love to all.