Wednesday, May 31, 2017

what's up Wednesday



I'm linking up with Mix and Match mama Shay and friends for this blog post today.

What we're eating this week:

So far we've had salmon, and nachos.  Not together, but one was on Monday, one was on Tuesday.  We have church tonight, and I have choir practice, so I am feeling like it's going to be something super simple, like grilled sandwiches.

What I'm reminiscing about:

I've seen a lot of camp memories on my Timehop and FB Memories feeds this week.  I love summer time!

What I'm loving:

Summer.  I love the easy going flow we have over these two months off.  I love all the late nights, late mornings, and time spent with friends.  (Theirs and mine.)

What we've been up to:

Yesterday I swam with my mom-in-love, and Drew stayed home.  I think he may have gone somewhere with a friend.  Jonah and Noah were with their friend, at his house.


What I'm dreading:

Graham is gone right now on a mission trip to Guatemala.  In two weeks, he and Drew will leave for the Navajo reservation for nine days, then they'll go to camp in Chattanooga, then they'll be at another camp as counselors for a week.  So for THREE AND A HALF WEEKS, I will be without my older boys.  I know the house will be terribly quiet with them gone for so long.

What I'm working on:

I'm not doing this yet, but I really, REALLY need to clean out and declutter my kitchen cabinets and drawers.  And the tornado closet.  It's terrible.

What I'm excited about:

I will be glad to see Graham on Friday night, when he returns!  I'm also excited about for my friend Abbey.  She gets married June 24, and we have a lot of fun things coming up together in preparation and anticipation of her wedding!  I'm excited about the first in a string of things that is tomorrow night, but I'll write more about that on Friday.

What I'm watching/reading:

I'm watching Good Witch on Netflix right now.  I'm also on the lookout for more movies (see yesterday's post about movies I watched Monday night.)!  I love a great movie.

I'm still working on the third book in the Married Years series by Robin Jones Gunn.  I'm also reading a nonfiction book called Tapestry of Roots, and it's about the Jewishness of Jesus.  It's so good, and I'm in a book club with the author and three other friends, and we're going through and reading and discussing it a handful of chapters at a time.

What I'm listening to:

I created a summer playlist on Spotify yesterday, of fun songs that are not my usual.  Andy Grammar, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars (his newest song), and Meghan Trainor.  They're all upbeat and catchy.

Also, as I write this, I'm listening to the latest Big Boo Cast with Melanie Shankle and Sophie Hudson.

What I'm wearing:

Currently, I'm still in pajamas, but yesterday I spent the day in my swimsuit and cover-up.

What I'm doing this weekend:

Welcoming Graham home, doing laundry, attending a youth ministry leaders cookout, and singing in a night of praise at church.

What I'm looking forward to next month:

Well since next month is tomorrow, I'll look ahead to July.  I'm looking forward to having all my boys back home for the entire month.

What else is new:

Not much.  I'm looking forward to weekly swim dates with my mom-in-love, hanging out with friends, the book club I'm in right now (I have ALWAYS wanted to be in a book club!!), summer time community groups with the high school students at church, and swimming with them, and just having time off to rest and relax before Drew's senior year starts.

Also, look at this adorable picture I took a screenshot of from yesterday of Graham in Guatemala:


LOOK AT HIS SMILE!  I love these faces, and I love how he is looking at and laughing at Kathryn...that sweet girl is precious and absolutely hilarious, without even meaning to be that way.

I love them all so much.

Well, I think I hear my husband stirring upstairs, so I'm off to go make his to-go coffee and to pack his lunch for the day.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

girls night IN

I love a good girls night, and last night did not disappoint.  I had two very sweet teenage girls over to watch movies with me.  Everyone was gone, but Drew and his friend Andrew were upstairs having a guys night watching scary movies, and we had the downstairs.

The girls came over around four, and ate dinner with us (nothing fancy, just hot dogs, Rotel, and cookies and a dessert that they brought), then we settled in to watch two movies.

The first was La La Land.


This is the third time I've seen it, and I still love it as much as the first time I saw it.  I'll say it again, though, you have to LOVE musicals to enjoy this movie, and I do.  Many of you do NOT and you will hate it.  It's a movie that is full on musical~they break out into song and dance throughout.

I LOVE THIS MOVIE, and I don't know why I don't own it yet.  I know the ending is not expected, but it's still so good.  It's all the emotions.  I feel like I screamed at some point in the theater when I first saw this movie....I know I gasped, at the very least.

After this one, we watched Me Before You.


Do not hate me for watching it.  First off, I read the book over a year ago.  I had no idea what it was about, but seeing that the movie looked good, I read it, and then proceeded to throw it when I finished it.  I thought to myself that I'd see the movie, because Hollywood always changes the ending.  Right?  Wrong.  The movie ended the same way.  I know it's super controversial, because...

SPOILER ALERT...

...Will ends up committing suicide with medical help.  (There's a name for it, that I cannot think of...but there was a story in the news about a girl doing the same thing a year or two ago.)  And yes, I am totally against people playing God with their own lives, and do not think that's right.  But this movie was really, really sweet right up until the end.  I'm glad I watched it, because I liked it.  I told the girls that it's wrong to do that, but they already knew that.  The actress who plays Louise in the movie is PRECIOUS.  I would love to see her in more movies.  I think she made the entire thing.

It was a fun night!  I love girly movies, and I never get to watch them.

I found out last night that I can watch several really good movies right now on Amazon Prime, and that's how we saw Me Before You.

I might "go to bed early" again tonight to watch another one.  ;)

I hope your day is great!  I am going to plant myself at the pool today, so I'm excited about that.  Love to all!


Monday, May 29, 2017

the weekend, Memorial Day, and the unofficial start of sweet summer

First off, it's almost June!  There are two plans for this month, for scripture writing.  Both are topical, and both look wonderful.



I'm doing the one on forgiveness.  God keeps bringing to mind someone that I need to forgive, and it's no accident that He does that.  I love how He works like that, and my prayer is that I am always receptive to His sometimes gentle leading.

Sometimes it's more obvious when He is leading me to something, other times it's quiet and gentle.

To kick off our weekend, we had Graham at the airport at five in the morning on Friday.  A team of twenty two went to Guatemala, some then, others twenty four hours later, and this was us saying goodbye.


They were bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Except for Alex, whom I swatted for not smiling.

I only cried when Todd prayed over them.

We got some breakfast to bring home, then I took a nap.  So did Todd.  I had been up at three a.m., because I was so scared of sleeping through an alarm.

Todd went to work, I did some laundry, then I went to get my hair highlighted.


Nothing says "summer" like lighter hair!  Plus, after the year of torture I've put my hair through, I felt for the first time in that long that it was safe to do this again.  My friend Ginger does an awesome job, and at first I was disappointed that it was so subtle, but now, I really love it and I'm glad it's subtle.

I'm usually of the mindset (when it comes to hair color) of "go big or go home".

I came home, took another quick nap (I had two twenty minute naps that day), then left with my stepdad at four to go serve downtown at the Union Mission.  Our church was finishing out a week of revival for them, and a team of us led worship, then brother Tommy Vinson preached, and another team of people served dinner to over five hundred people.

It was awesome.


Look at all of those people!  It was a really great night.  I will be honest here and say that I was nervous about doing this, but now, I am so glad that I did.  It's just something way out of my comfort zone, but I am learning more and more to step outside that safe spot and let the Lord minister to me by stepping out in faith.  It's funny when you do something like this to go and be a blessing, but it always ends up turning, and being a blessing for you.

And I am so glad Bill went!  I enjoyed serving with him in this way, and I know he enjoyed it as well.

I pretty much came home and crashed after this.

On Saturday, Missy and I went shopping together.  We have never done that, except for one time on accident, and we had a blast.  I even bought myself a couple shirts and a fun little clutch that I can use sometimes instead of a big purse.  It's turquoise and adorable.  She bought a fun purse, too, and some clothes, and we had lunch together.

That night Todd decided at the last minute to go work for the sheriff's department, and we had the worst storm we've had in years.  The winds were hurricane force, and somehow (or by the grace of God), we all slept through it.

I watched the next session of my current bible study on Saturday night, because at one point, all the boys went swimming and I was alone.


Todd ended up working all night long and didn't get home until around eight.  He took a shower, then went to church to help with the tech stuff, as usual.  After church he came home and went to bed, and the boys and I went to Burger King.

I woke him a few hours later, then we all went to Mom's and Bill's for hamburgers and hot dogs.



The night was GLORIOUS.  I love a good cloud, y'all, and last night did not disappoint.

After we left there, we went to our friends' house (the Stubblefields) to welcome our honorary family member Marissa.  She and her mom drove in last night to move Marissa here for the summer, and maybe longer.  !!!  This is the dear one we met on the Navajo reservation last year, and whom we all love so much.

Today we are taking it easy, and everyone is still asleep.  The dogs woke me up at six something, so I've basically been up with the sun, and now I am about to have quiet time.  I'm doing things backwards today.  I love days like this, when we have nothing planned.  Well, actually, that's not true...I did make plans to invite over some of their friends to watch La La Land tonight!  I thought I'd make a bunch of hot dogs and Rotel, and then we'll watch the movie.  I'm sure Todd, Jonah, and Noah are thrilled.  Ha!

I am, that is for sure.

Happy Memorial day...I am so very grateful to all who have served our country in this honorable way, and for those who laid down their lives for our freedom.  I always think of my childhood best friend, Stacy, and her family on this day...several years ago, they lost their beloved Chad in combat.  My prayers and thoughts are always with them.

Thank you for reading my blog.  Love to all.

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 by...it'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.


#epicfail

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 tent...you 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.

a list of random, something super exciting, and a giveaway

I have so many things rolling around in my brain, that I thought I'd just sit here and write a blog post instead of doing all those thin...