Thursday, May 25, 2017

life lately

This has been a really good week.  I have loved (most of) the weather.  Yesterday was cool!  It felt like the perfect fall day.  Here are a few things I or we have been up to so far.

The moms received flowers from our church family as they honored the graduates this past weekend.  I am still enjoying this beautiful gerbera daisy!  These are my favorite kinds of flower.  It is thriving where I put it on the kitchen table.  It loves the filtered sunlight that comes through my kitchen windows.

This is a bonus, because it doesn't have anything to do with this week, but I am on my third of fourth copy of this lovely devotional book.  I don't love devotionals all the time, often just preferring the bible, but lately, I've been struggling with quiet time first thing each day, so I will read the page for that day and pray, and then later on, I'll have a more quality quiet time.  I'm on my third or fourth copy because I love it so much that I'll buy one and then give it away.  It's about sixteen on Amazon, it never really goes on sale.  But I love the theme of friendship woven throughout.

I spent the day Monday with one of my very best friends, Abbey.  It was unexpected and quite lovely.

I love my newest nail polish.  It's more of a dark lavender than this picture looks, or a light to medium purple.  After having on white for two weeks, I love seeing the bright color.  (I LOVE bright colors.)

I ran errands with Mom that day, because the boys were gone all day long.  Literally, from nine until ten thirty that night.

Also on that night, I went to book club!  I'm in a weekly summer book club with four of my friends, including the sweet lady who wrote this beautiful book.  It's all about the Jewish-ness of Jesus, and we sat and talked about the first four chapters for hours on that night.  That is my favorite kind of night!  I could sit and talk about Jesus and how wonderful and mighty and majestic He is all the time.  I'm buying a copy for my dad.  He will LOVE it.

These books are what I've been reading lately.  I love Robin Jones Gunn!  I'm on my third book in the trilogy, and then I'm passing them on to Missy.

I also preordered a book from Karen Kingsbury last night, one that will tell the beginning of the love story between John and Elizabeth Baxter.  I'm so excited to get it in the mail!

After that, I'm buying the next three of the books after these above.

I buy my favorites and borrow the rest.  If they're written by an author I love, I always buy them.  I re-read them, too, so I'm not wasting money.  Although, money spent on books is never wasted.

This was a snapchat I received from Todd Tuesday morning.  He and a few others had some training from the Coast Guard for work with the sheriff department.

I love this quote I found on Instagram this week.  Marriage can be so very beautiful (and so very hard), and it deserves being honored every single day.  I would love to go back and tell that to my twenty year old self.  I was very selfish early on in our marriage, and the older I get, the more I realize this.  I love growing older with my man.  The older we get, the better we get, I feel.  We're much more wise now, we're kinder, we're gentler, we are just better versions of ourselves.

This was my view for quiet time yesterday.  I love to make things pretty in our home, and I am all about a pretty space for my morning quiet time.  I love the flower, and I love this candle!  It's one my mom in love bought me for Christmas that I had picked out for myself, and I started using it yesterday.  The scent is Island Margarita, so it smells like lime and coconut.  It's delicious smelling and beautiful, all at once.

Today I am spending time completing some of the bible study homework that I'm doing on my own, I plan on reading the third book in my current series, and I'm going to read some of that Tapestry book I pictured from our book club.  I am so glad I love to read...I failed at making my boys love to read, I feel like, and I shared that with my best friend Christa yesterday.  I told her to read to her little girl now, that way, Annaliese will love to read someday.  They're never too early to be read to!  I did read to my boys, but not as often as I would have liked.

Also, I forgot to mention that Christa and Annaliese spent the afternoon with me yesterday.  It was LOVELY.  I made us lunch, then we had coffee, and just sat and got all caught up while Annaliese watched a cute movie.  I love afternoons like that!

It's important to invest in our friendships.  I'm thankful I have the opportunity to do that.  My friends are just one of God's many gifts to me.  I thank Him for them all the time.

Well, I need a second cup of coffee, so I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

show & tell Tuesday (travelogue edition)

Happy Tuesday!  I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals for this post.  I don't always do the show and tell type posts, but this one was so fun and easy for me.  I knew right away what I'd share about.

I'll start off with saying that we love to go camping.  This is why~for the fun, the relaxation, the unpredictability of it all, and the memories.  We've had many camping trips over the years, good and bad, and one thing we found out is that we only like to go with friends.  It's much more fun that way, and we have had some doozies.  I'm sharing about our first ever three night camping trip, with some of our very best friends, the Dicksons.  They used to live next door to us, but nowadays, they're three and a half hours away.  We go visit them whenever we can, though, so it's like nothing has changed.  Except for that path that led between our houses~it finally grew back from being so worn down for years.

This was back in October of 2011, when we went to Blanchard Springs in Arkansas.  It's somewhere in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains.

Sweet little unassuming Arkansas town we drove through.  More about this town at the end, though.  I'm going to go in order.

Travis suggested this campground.  I like to leave home around lunch time, and get set up before dark.  We also like to stick kinda close's a lot of work going camping, and if the drive time is shorter, it's a bonus.  All of it is hard work, but the in between part is what we live for.  Setting up is hard, too, and moods are usually not the best, because someone is ALWAYS hungry.  This was the time of day we finally arrived to the campsite.

Right off the bat, I knew this would be an unforgettable trip.  As much as I love to camp, I HATE SPIDERS.  Travis had warned me that there would be many on this trip.  (gulp)  When we first got there, I made the mistake of shining the flashlight on the ground, and I saw hundreds (thousands, maybe) of granddaddy longlegs.  As much as I hate all spiders, I am most terrified of those!  The legs freak me out, especially because they come off so easily.

Notice all the hoodies and all the extra quilts and blankets, and how you can't even see Jonah's head on the left.  It was FREEZING.  We used to sleep on sheets of foam covered with sleeping bags and blankets, but nowadays we do air mattresses again.  I miss the foam days, though.  I always sleep so good outside.

Literally, it was freezing.  It was 32 degrees or less.

But look how beautiful it was!

In making breakfast that morning, we attempted our first round of campfire cooking.  Travis had learned that you could make biscuits and cobblers in a dutch oven by burying it under the coals.


The middles were actually pretty good.

We ate eggs and bacon, too.

One of the best parts about camping is all the exploring that happens.

This wasn't far from our can see our vehicles behind the post.  Do you see what's on the post?!  It's a "baby" tarantula.

I almost died.

I'm pretty sure Travis did this to keep his ears warm.  It stayed in the forties and low fifties that day and I froze half to death.  I'd go wash my hands in the bathroom all the time to have hot water and warm air blowing on me.

We were also right by the bathrooms, which came in convenient, but more about that in a second.  See all the cute little kiddos?  Myles and Zander are still some of Jonah's and Noah's best friends.  Zander chased me ENDLESSLY with granddaddy longlegs this whole trip.  He also called them his best friends.

Look at all the kiddos!  There are two more nowadays, that Travis and Katie have currently.  This was before Caleb and Ellie.

The views were amazing!

This last picture pretty much sums up the whole trip.  I love the ones of Todd and Travis.

To this day, this is my favorite camping trip we ever went on, and the views definitely helped.

We would do all the cooking and we'd make the boys have kitchen duty.  They would also help collect firewood and sticks and after those things were done, they'd be free to go explore on their bikes.  Because you NEVER go camping without your bikes.

I'm pretty sure this picture above was day two.  The days did get warmer progressively, but to tell you how cold it actually was, know that before we left home, I had made and frozen a giant pot of taco soup.  I stuck it in our cooler to act as ice for the trip and on the second day at one o'clock, it was still mostly frozen.  I cooked it low and slow, and added water often to help in the thawing process.

We explored more the second day and that night had a delicious dinner of taco soup and peach cobbler.

And s'mores.  You cannot go camping and not have s'mores every single night.

On day three, this is what Travis and Todd did for a few hours.  They were trying to get more wood and came up with a system for throwing a rope in the tree and pulling a branch down.  I'm not sure if that's allowed or not, but I've never laughed so hard watching two men do something.  I referred to them as Dumb and Dumber.

For dinner the last night, we had hobo packets.  You take ground beef, potatoes, onion, and green beans and add butter, salt, and pepper (all on a piece of foil) and seal it all up and cook it for about 30-45 minutes over the campfire.

It's the best thing ever.

On our last night, in the middle of the night, Noah became sick and started throwing up and kept on doing that for several hours.

I was so tired of making the trek to the bathroom in the middle of the night, so I grabbed our camp chairs, our sleeping bags and pillows, and we slept sitting in the chairs in the bathroom.

It was still so cold, but we were so toasty warm in the bathroom!  I died laughing when Katie walked in during the middle of the night, and about jumped out of her skin when she saw us.

He was fine when he woke up the next morning.

We packed up and headed home after lunch on Sunday.  We went through small towns again, and remember the picture at the top of the cute little unassuming town?

Well, they have random speed mountains (bumps) set up throughout the town, for anti-speeding purposes, I assume, and we hit one of them.  I am pretty sure our vehicle left the ground, as did the wheels on the trailer we were hauling, and everything went EVERYWHERE.  We had things fall, and break, and that pot of taco soup went all over the place, even on the ceiling.

We laugh about it now, but it wasn't that funny at the time.  We made more memories that I can even recount on that trip, and to this day, it was my most favorite camping trip ever.  It was our first camping trip with the Dicksons.  At least two more happened, possibly three, before they added baby Caleb to the mix.  I think on our last trip, Katie was pregnant.  Believe it or not, this was not the worst trip, though all those things happened.  Our worst ever trip was to Tishomingo in Mississippi, when we had two boys go into a stranger's camper, Katie and I were both sick, I locked BOTH SETS OF OUR KEYS in the suburban, and the rain forced us to pack up early and go home after our first night.

Even though not every trip is a success, they're all memorable, and we've learned that this is why you go with friends.  You tend to laugh more, too, which helps.

I'll post again soon on how we do camping.  It's a ton of work, and you have to pack every little thing you could possibly imagine, but it's worth all that effort.  We never relax more than when we go camping as a family.  Now that I've written about it, I want to go again.  Except that I don't do camping when it's hot.  I prefer the cold, when bugs aren't so rampant.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Monday, May 22, 2017

the weekend

Friday afternoon found Jonah, Alex, and me at my mom's house in the country.  Todd was working the third night in a row at the barbecue fest downtown, Graham and Drew were at the CHS graduation, and Noah was at a birthday party.  We went to mom's around four thirty and hung out and had wings for dinner.  It was a gorgeous night!

I'm so glad they have a Keurig now.  I enjoyed an after dinner cup of coffee.  We watched Say Yes to the Dress on TLC while Bill read his book and Jonah and Alex played outside.

It was a glorious night.

I was up early Saturday morning, doing laundry, straightening up, and having quiet time.  I eventually started a new book, and finished it later in the day.

The books I mentioned by Robin Jones Gunn the other day?  I read the second book in that particular series.

I also went to a graduation party that day, and then later on, we had a family night.  Well, minus Graham, but he went and represented our family at another party.  We made a run to Costco, and had dinner while we were there, then we went to The Clark Tower, where on the eighth floor of the parking garage, you can see a lot of beautiful cars owned by one man.

The view was really pretty and the night was gorgeous.

Then we went to Gibson's Donuts, where I don't think I've ever been.  I's terrible, but let's just say that was the night I blew my healthy eating habits for a few hours.  I partook two gloriously delicious donuts: maple bacon and chocolate with sprinkles.


Yesterday was such a special day at church.  They honored the high school and college graduates in the morning service.

My sweet friend Andrea, and also the greatest dental hygienist in all of the world, took this picture of us while I was trying not to cry.  I was fine, I just had teary eyes, but what else is new?  The part that about made me lose my cool was when they had people come and surround them and pray over them.  Two sweet men who have mentored Graham over the years came and prayed over him~his friend Benjie and his bible fellowship teacher Daniel.  I couldn't even speak, y'all, I was so incredibly choked up.  His grandparents were also all around him, and I was so moved, I was pretty much useless for the next five or ten minutes.  I was also on the praise team that morning, which was unfortunate, since I probably cried off all of my makeup.  I should have rethought not switching Sundays with someone.

Here they are at the end of the service.  I love these teenagers so much!  I cannot believe they're all graduated.

Tonight, we are having an end of the school year fiesta for our community group.  Last night after choir practice, I went with Missy to eat dinner, then grocery shop for tonight.  We accidentally made it a fiesta when we found this aisle at Walmart.

I pray you have a Missy in your life.  Never in my life have I had more fun than with her.  We can make a fun time out of ANYTHING, and we always laugh like crazy.  She is my person, and I am so thankful to God for her.

I even dropped everything for her this morning at eight o'clock and met her at the car place so she can have her van worked on.

I adore her.

I am so excited about tonight!  I can't wait to hang out with a few twenty or thirty something of my favorite people group on the planet~teenagers.  They're fun and I love any and all of the time I can get with them, especially before they leave us for college in the fall.

I have such fun plans today, but I can't share about them!  It involves a very special appointment with another bestie of mine.  I can't wait!  Thanks for reading my blog.  Love to all!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  Looking back on last week, I am so glad that graduation is behind us.  Though some of my favorite moments came from that, I am so glad it is done!

I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals and her friends for this post.

Speaking of graduation, and though I am thrilled that it's behind me, I still am thinking back to last weekend and I smile.  It was such a great time with family and friends galore.  Graham might have had the largest family representation there.  Family is my favorite.

I wish I'd gotten a picture with all of the family there.  These are my favorite pictures from the weekend.

My poor sisters.  After a weekend with glorious weather, they both flew home and two days later, a bunch of snow dumped on them in Denver.

I sure love to visit there, but I don't know if I could live there and go through so much unpredictable weather.  Debi's trees and bushes may never recover from what fell yesterday.  :(

Monday night was another favorite moment, as we sat (mostly together) and watched a Redbirds game.  It was such a fun night and the weather was perfect.  Nothing says the start of summer like baseball.

I shared this on social media when I saw Proverbs 31 ministries post it, but another favorite of mine is friends.  I am so thankful for my people!  I love when friends are close enough to dig through your kitchen drawers, and likewise me in their house.  I was so grateful for my husband and best friend Missy Sunday night when they cleaned up after Graham's graduation party.  I sat and watched them.  I was exhausted, and the foot I broke a year and a half ago was throbbing from being on it too much all weekend.  They forced me to sit while they did the work.

Morning quiet times are my favorite.  I love my morning routines.  I pray, read Scripture, write Scripture and then later on will do bible study homework.

This one is out of sequence, but the message our Pastor preached on Sunday was one of my favorites.  It was all about parenting with integrity, and I loved everything the Lord gave him to say.  Church notes are another favorite.

Lastly, I took my mom-in-love to a doctor's appointment yesterday that she needed a driver for, and while I was waiting, I started this book.  Robin Jones Gunn is my favorite author.  Her writing reminds me of my teenage years, and I always go right back to such a happy time.  I bought these books a couple years ago and gave them to one of "my" girls in community group right away to read, and she returned them to me this week.  I started the first one, Forever With You yesterday and finished it last night.


If you've never read Robin Jones Gunn, check her out!  Just make sure you read in order.  Though some of her books are for teenagers, it was fun to go back and read them again.

Well, happy weekend, my friends!  Thanks for reading.  Love to all!