Monday, July 31, 2017

5 Things I Learned in July


I came across a blog post this morning on one of the daily ones I like to read (Modern Mrs. Darcy), and I was inspired to do the same type post myself.  The idea originates with Emily Freeman, author of Simply Tuesday.

Here are five things I learned in July.  (I could list way more, but I'll keep this short and sweet.)

One.

I really, really enjoy teenagers, most of the time.  With so much of June spent with Graham and Drew gone, our house was so very quiet.  I was thrilled to have them back home for the remainder of the summer once they got back from their last stint, which was a week spent as staff/counselor for a camp given for foster kids.

About this, oddly enough, our house has remained kinda quiet.  There has been major friendship drama at our house, and it's been a rough few weeks for most of my boys.  One doesn't care, one cares too much probably, and the other two just don't have that many friends that are close.  I love the teenage years, but I was in no way whatsoever prepared for the drama these years ensue.  I have prayed for so long for God to send them just ONE good friend, even it's just one, and the Lord has been faithful to do just that.  This is a weird season, and one that I am seeing repeated once a teenager hits the senior year.  Normalcy has been the theme for three years, and then BAM!  The senior year hits, and things begin to unravel.  I realize it's all just part of growing up, but it is not easy, and it's especially difficult watching kids suffer through.

I spent even longer in prayer this morning about all of this, and I trust that God has it all under control.  I trust His plan in their lives, but sometimes I forget to fully surrender my worries and cares to Him.  This morning in prayer, I committed all of this to Him again.

The theme in all this is that I prefer lots of life and laughter in my house.  The quiet we've experienced lately has not been fun.  I already knew this, but I learned it again during July.

Two.

I love the friends that God has given me, and this months was based upon spending time with them.  I did not have a ton of friends during my teenage years.  (Hmm...maybe I need to remind my boys of this, and how normal it is after all.)  I always had one or two around, though, that were really close to me.  With seasons of life, this has changed drastically.  I've let some friendships go, and I've gained others.  Life, and friendships, has an ebb and flow that is oddly beautiful.

Right now, in this very season, the Lord has given me four beautiful and dear friends that are more like sisters to me.  They're all my very best friends, and I don't love any one of them more than I love another.  They know who they are, so mentioning their names is pointless.  They're the ones I am with at least one day every week, the ones I pray with, the ones I am always making continual plans with to put a girls night out with on the calendar, and the ones who know that my home is always always open to them to come and visit and just sit and drink coffee.

I have other friends, don't get me wrong, but these are the four that pour into me, and that I pour into them, and their friendships are life giving to me.  They point me to Jesus.  They inspire me and push me to be closer to Jesus in my daily walk.  They do bible study with me.  They know every little nuance about me, and they love me in spite of my (many, many) flaws.

I am so thankful to God for these dear women He has given me.

I have spent much of this month with them, in one way or another.  Also, I have to brag on my sweet husband, who encourages me to spend time with them.  I don't ever want to take away from him, and I don't think I do, but he never minds when I run out with them for dinner, or to return something, or just go sit and talk on the phone with them for an hour or more.

Three.

I do not like to cook in the summer.  When it's hotter than Hades, who wants to add degrees to the indoor temps by turning on the oven?!  My family is AWESOME, though, and never complains over easy and quick dinners.

Four.

I love traveling, and am so thankful I was given the chance to go visit with my Colorado family, but there is truly no place like home.

Five.

I love summer time, and I love not having structure for a while, having a break from our routine of the school year.  But at the end of July every single year, I am ready to resume normalcy and order.  I love the structure we have with homeschooling, and I love the routine of it all.  The older the kids have gotten, the more order and routine we've had to adapt, but I do really enjoy it.

One week from tomorrow, Drew starts a class at a nearby tutorial, and two weeks from today, we will begin the 2017/2018 school year.  I'm spending part of this week planning out our curriculum, and registering with our umbrella and cover schools.  Also, our first box of curriculum comes in today.  I need to order some more, but will wait until next week to do that, thanks to our love (addiction?) of Amazon Prime.

Well, it was fun looking back over my calendar and remembering some of the things I had written down so I could remember them.  This is just one small reason (out of a million) why I love planners, and writing down every little thing that happens.  My Big Happy Planner contains the fun stuff, the sad stuff, the good stuff, and the bad stuff.  I will file it as a journal on the bookshelves in our room at the end of December and will start a new planner of the same kind and sort in January.

Here's an old picture of mine.



Thanks for reading my blog!  I might do this every month from here on out...it's fun to look back.

Love to all!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals and her friends, for this blog post.

I'm posting things in no random order, of my favorites from this past week.



Being on a book launch team is one of my very favorite things.  I'm currently on TWO, which is odd, because I'll go months or even a year, with not being on any.  These were two that I randomly came across and applied for, and was accepted within a week.  I always feel honored, because a lot of people apply for these things, and usually they'll only accept a few hundred, or a thousand.  (When I was on Jen Hatmaker's book launch team for her last book, over ten thousand women applied, just to give you an idea.)

The first book in the picture is Melanie Shankle's newest book that will release October 3.  I'm almost done with it, and I promise you, that you are going to want to read it for yourself.  These are memoir type books that she writes of days gone by.  Her other three books are about being married, being a parent, being a friend, and this one has relics from her childhood days.  I don't ever know what to expect her to write about next, but with each book, she gets better and better.  This one is laugh out loud funny, and I had headphones on while reading it on the plane, and had to stop myself from being obnoxious.  The overall theme of the book is being faithful in the small things, and watching how God so often works in our lives through all the small things and details we experience.

This second picture you see is me taking a personality test earlier in the week (an enneagram test), thanks to the second book launch team I'm on, for Reading People, by Anne Bogel, or Modern Mrs. Darcy.  I haven't started this one yet, but as soon as I'm done with Church of the Small Things, I'll read this.  I know from the review I read online that this book is about people, and all their different personalities.  I've already heard people talking online about how much it's helping them understand their family members more.  I am really excited about this one, too, because I love learning about people, and what makes them, them.


I cannot believe that it is almost August, and that in a little over a week, Drew will begin his senior year, and Jonah and Noah, their freshman year.  Time flies.  A new month means a new plan for Scripture writing.  You know this is one of my favorite parts of my morning quiet time routine.  I also love her new design.  I love checking things off a list!


One of my favorite parts of this summer has been spending time with this sweet friend of mine, and honorary Goodwin family member, Marissa.  She was here as a youth summer intern, and is moving back to her hometown in the morning.  (She lives near Gulf Port, MS.)  When Todd has worked nights over the course of the last few weeks, she has come over and kept me company.  She's eaten dinner with us, she's sat and watched me while I cleaned and put my house back together after having a worker here all day, she's listened to me, she's bounced Mom-type questions off of me, and she's poured her heart out to me.

I will miss her immensely.

My only respite from being really sad is that she will visit often, and hopefully we will visit her, and prayerfully, she will move here for good after she finishes school and looks for a permanent job.

It is so hard to believe that I've only known her for a little over a year.  We met on the Navajo mission trip my family went on last summer.


In my quiet time one day this week, I was looking for something and came across this in the back of my bible.  I had forgotten that I'd written this here, and decided to share about it on social media and my blog.  Things like this are my favorite things to see on social media, and I thought someone else might feel the same.  This was passed down to me, so I shared it in hopes of passing it along.  There are a lot of teenagers that follow me on Instagram, so I try to post things like this for them.


Books are one of my favorite things and hobbies.  I got majorly side tracked yesterday during the day and spent two hours unloading every book from this shelf, dusting if off, then making piles of what to keep and what not to keep.  This was the finished product.  I love having little trinkets from my past displayed with all my books, and I love having a totally cleaned off shelf.

I do acknowledge that I have a book problem.

As for the books I don't want anymore, I passed them along to Marissa last night when she came over.  I'll be donating the rest to our local library.


And speaking of books and libraries, how about this lovely room at The Broadmoor I visited last Sunday in Colorado Springs?!  This is pretty much my dream room.

I told you, books are my favorite.  This room screams at me to come, pick a book off the shelf, and curl up on the cozy little couch to read.


Speaking of favorites, this love ranks right up at the top of my list.  My niece Erika has been my little tag-a-long ever since she was born, pretty much.  She was like my real life little doll that I always wanted with me, and watching her mature and grow up, get married, and now being a twin mom has been one of the most rewarding things of my entire life.  I love her so very much and enjoyed every single second I spent with her when I was in Colorado this past week.

Also, while we were together one afternoon at the pool at our hotel in Breckenridge, and sat talking, it dawned on me AGAIN how much alike we are.  And how cool that we both have twins?!


This might have been my favorite thing from the entire week.  Getting Kinsley (left) and Kylie to sleep on me last Friday night was wonderful and heart wrenching all at the same time.  I was trying to soak all of them up that I could while I had the chance.


Sisters!  I loved spending time with them the past week.  Our times together are few and far between, and I love having this picture to document our time spent with each other.

I am so glad I was able to go for a visit!


Garden of the Gods was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  It was definitely a favorite moment from the trip.  Also another beautiful thing are the Colorado skies.  There was not a filter on any of my pictures from the trip, it's just always that bright and clear.

It has been a week!  From traveling to major house repair to some other things, I am glad the weekend is here and that we have some days to be together ahead of us.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

when I am not good at quiet time

Happy Thursday!

I have so much rolling around in my brain, but I don't exactly know how much of it I want to share right this moment, so I'm going to share again, about my quiet time, and how sometimes I am not very good at it.




I wrote about this already on Instagram this morning, but I'll share it here.  A few times a year, sometimes a little more or less, I get stuck in this rut with my quiet time habits.  As much as I love to pray and spend time with God, it does not always come easily or naturally.  I wanted to share about this, because I think it's something all of us believers experience from time to time.

When this happens to me, it's almost like I can't find the words to pray, or when I do finally getting around to spilling my heart, I cannot stay focused.  #keepingitreal

When I get like that, I pull out my old, trusty prayer notebook that you see pictured above.  There is nothing super special about this notebook, but a few years ago, I came across a blog post written by Donna Gaines, who is the wife of a pastor named Steve Gaines who pastors a huge church here in Memphis, about the power of prayer.  She shares about a personal testimony of how prayer impacted her family.

Go here to read about it for yourself.

This struck the very core of my heart, and I created a similar notebook that very week.  Maybe even that day.

I do not always use this notebook.

It can seem overwhelming at times when I don't have a lot of free time first thing in the morning, and I will be honest, it takes some time to pray through all the sections of my notebook.

And there are days when I honestly do not want to sit and be quiet and pray and read the word of God for an hour.

Again, I'm just being honest here.

On days like that, I might pray in short segments.  I'll always follow a basic acronym on these days, but I cut it short.  I pray according to ACTS.  Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication (prayer for others).  I ask God to give me pockets of time to spend with Him throughout the day, and He does do that usually.  It may seem short and sporadic, but I feel that is way better than not spending time with Him at all.

Quiet time is a daily act of self discipline.

It's not always easy.  Sometimes it may seem more scripted than usual, like when I'm using my prayer notebook, but that is okay.  Whatever it takes to help me spend time with my Savior every single day is worth any amount of time and effort that is put into it.

When I use the prayer notebook, like I did this morning, I still prayed according to that ACTS acronym, but I spent a longer amount of time praying each of the letters.  It's been a while since I have done that, and I felt conviction over not spending quality time with the Lord this morning.

For the A, I spent more time praising God, not for what He has done, but for Who He is.  He is faithful Friend, our Advocate and Helper, He is Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace.  These are His attributes, or characteristics.  Once I get going on this one, I could go on and on forever.  His word says Who He is, and often times, I use that, praying scripture back to Him.  It's easy to do this from the book of Psalm.  Especially those last fifteen or so in the book.

I always spend time confessing my sin (C).  Some days the sins I've committed against God jump out at me, like if I'm gossipy with a friend, but other days, it does not.  When it's not always obvious, I ask God to examine my heart and show me my sin.  And He always does.  I ask Him all the time to convict me quickly of my sin.  He will do that as well, showing me when I am judgmental or overly critical of someone, or if I am angry about something I shouldn't be angry about.  His word says in Colossians 3 that we are to put away anger, wrath, malice, and so on.  When I'm angry, I confess it, and ask Him to forgive me.

He is such a good Father to answer this way that I pray.  (I pray this for my whole family, as well, especially my kids.)

The thanksgiving (T) part comes so easily, because I have so very much to be thankful for.  My family.  Our health, all that He has provided us with, our home, clothes, a job my husband loves, wisdom in parenting during tough situations, friends, a beloved church home, and many more things.
The supplication portion (S) is everything else I pray for everyone in my life.  I start with my husband, move onto my kids, our extended families, lost family members or friends, our church family and staff pastors, our government, and missionary friends or people we know on the mission field temporarily right now.  For my husband and kids, I pray scripture over them as well.  I have pages printed out with that scripture on them.  For example, one thing I pray is that Todd would love the Lord his God with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his mind, and to love his neighbor as he loves himself (Matthew 22:37, 39).  I have the scripture printed out, and I insert the names.

I don't always pray through all those I listed under the supplication portion, sometimes just shortening it to ones I know personally.

And that is how my quiet time ended up going this morning.  It may or may not go like that tomorrow, but for today, I am so glad to have been able to spend quality time with my Father in heaven.

I finish up by giving Him my day, committing it all to Him, and asking Him to help me walk in submission to His authority over my life.

And He does.

One last thing I need to remind myself of often, and I would guess others would feel this way as well, is something I came across while looking for an old picture today.

The Lord loves us, and He wants us to pour out our hearts to Him.  His word says in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast our cares on Him, because He cares for us.

Can you even grasp that?  I cannot, truthfully, that He would so willingly take our burdens from us, and bear them Himself.  But that is exactly what Jesus did when He died on the cross for our sin.  He bore our sins, and made a way for us to live with Him eternally.  How He loves us.

If you want to know more, if you have questions, please reach out to someone today.  I pray these words inspire you to want to know God more by spending time with Him in prayer and in His word.

Thanks for reading.  Love to all.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Colorado Trip

A couple of weeks ago, my sister Lisa asked me if I could come with my other sister Trish to Colorado for six days.  It was all very last minute, and I had to juggle some things and details around, but we made it happen, and it was easy to do, since my kids are all older now and more independent.  I am so thankful for a husband who so easily agrees to me going, because he knows how much I wanted to meet my twin great nieces.  He has always pushed me to do things for myself, and for that, I am so grateful.  I know not every husband is like that.

We left my house at four on Tuesday of last week, and my mom, stepdad, Trish, and I all went to Chili's to eat at the old folks hour.  Our plane would land in Denver at 8:50 their time, an hour later our time.  After eating dinner and stopping to get a drink and a snack once we made it through security, we were excited to get going.  Also, we were a teensy bit nervous.  Neither of us loves to fly.  Thankfully, the flight was smooth, except for the last 45 minutes or so.  The turbulence was rough as we flew through dense clouds, and the poor and pregnant lady next to Trish threw up for the last half hour.  Trish took her baby for her, and just turned her head. (The lady had a baby, and a toddler.) We were glad to see the ground, once we landed!

Debi and Lisa came to get us, and we went to Lisa's house.  We pretty much went right to bed, we were so tired.  Well, we were, but Lisa and I sat up talking until after midnight.  I miss her when I don't see her!

The next morning, Erika (my niece and mommy to the twins) came over with the girls, and we left for Breckinridge.


Kylie is the one on the left of the screen (she scratched her nose on the way to GiGi's house) and Kinsley is on the right.  Aren't they precious?!

My heart was filled to overflowing, meeting these little angels/miracles from God.


On the road to Breckinridge.

It is a gorgeous drive.

Once there, we settled into our hotel room, had lunch, entertained babies, and then went for a quick swim.


I do not recommend swimming in Breckinridge.  The water was fine, really warm actually, but when I got out and felt that wind blow, I started shaking uncontrollably.  I covered myself up in like five towels to dry off, and was glad to go back inside and change into pj's until dinner that night.

While I was in the pool, Erika and I sat and talked for a long time.  I loved spending that time with her.  She is my original girl, I told her (and Todd's), and I loved hearing about her life with twins, and comparing stories with her.  I miss her!

After that swim, we all started getting ready for dinner.  Debi recommended a place known for their wings, called Eric's.

We ate, held babies, laughed and talked, then strolled around town for a bit.  I love Breckinridge!  It's my second time to go there.


Debi and me holding the girls while finishing up dinner.  Right after this I got up to go walk around with Kinsley, because she was getting a little fussy.


I love how so many of the trees in and around Denver are Christmas trees.  I never get tired of looking at them while I'm there.


Above is just a cute building I wanted a picture of.  This town is adorable and quaint, and reminds me of a Swiss village.  Not that I've ever been to a Swiss village, but I've seen Google images.


I actually took this picture above the next morning, but it's a used bookstore I wanted to visit.  They were closed when I went down to check it out, sadly.

I have so many more pictures of our time there, but if you're on social media, you can check them out there.  I'm allfiveboys on Instagram, or you can see them on Facebook.

We left around lunch time the next day and headed back down out of the mountains.  Thursday afternoon we arrived back at Lisa's house, had a late dinner, and hit the hay.  We were BEAT.

On Friday, we decided we would just stay around her house most of the day and rest.  It felt really good, because we had spent a whirlwind 24 hours in the mountains.  That night we went to Erika's house for dinner.



During our visit, I got both girls down for short naps before their nighttime routines.  They make my heart so happy, and I was literally trying to just soak them up.  I adore them!  They're each so different, and have such opposite personalities.

We ate a delicious dinner that my nephew Jaret made for all of us, visited some more, then that night I spent the night with Debi.


I love their dog, Cowboy.  And Cowboy loves me.  He sat at my feet all Saturday morning while Debi and Mike were getting ready and putting groceries away.  He is every bit as sweet as this picture makes him look.  Saturday morning, Lisa and Trish came to pick us up, and then we headed to a nearby town called Castlerock.  There's this huge shop there, The Barn, that I love, so we went there, to another shop similar to The Barn, and to lunch.


This was me waiting outside of the first shop.  I was so hungry and trying to get rid of a headache.  I sent this as a Snapchat to my family back home.

Jonah immediately commented on my new shirt and told me loved it.

I  love that.

After all of that, we went to Lisa's house to grab comfy clothes, and headed back to Erika's house to babysit for the evening.


They were going to a Colorado Rockies game, and Erika said she should get a picture with them, since she was all dressed up for their date night.

I. LOVE. THEM.

(Kylie is on the left, Kinsley on the right.)

We entertained the babies, got them all fed, bathed, burped, and then down for the night, and then they came home around ten.  We went back to Lisa's house and crashed.

Sunday morning, we stayed around Lisa's house for a while, then left around noon to go do some touristy things.

We drove to Colorado Springs to see the Garden of the Gods national park.



I might have teared up, it was so amazingly beautiful.  I have always wanted to go see this, and I am so glad we got to go!

Also, the Colorado sky is always gorgeous.

We ate lunch at a little local Italian place, then headed up Pike's Peak to North Pole, Colorado.  We shopped a little (I shopped a little), then headed back down the mountain.  Our last stop for the day was back in Colorado Springs, to see the hotel, The Broadmoor.



This was in the back of the hotel.  Does it not look European?!  It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  Another amazing thing in Colorado are all the lush flowers.  Flowering plants love the Colorado climate, and grow so beautiful.

We walked around inside for a bit, and I found where I would like to go spend a few hours.


Trish climbed up on this ladder and I almost killed her on it.  It was broken, I found out, and almost made her fall off while filming a video for Snapchat.  We laughed and laughed.

We dropped Debi off at her house in Parker, said our goodbyes, then left to go grab a late dinner before going back to Lisa's house for the night.  The next morning we left her house at ten forty five, and met Erika for one last lunch together before flying home.


The little turkey bought our lunches for us, and then we said our goodbyes.  She drove us to the airport, and then around three, we headed home on our plane.  I was so glad to see my family!  It is always fun when I go visit them in Colorado, and I am so thankful for this very unexpected trip.  I am so glad that Lisa, Jaret, Erika, Kyle (her hubby), Kinsley, and Kylie are all coming home for Thanksgiving.  It made saying goodbye so much easier, and for once, I didn't cry.  Well, I teared up when I said goodbye to Lisa, but the tears didn't fall.

As fun as trips always are, there is no place like home.  I was so glad that they were all there to greet me when I got off the plane.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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 things.  This is how I always am right before I go somewhere, but more about that in a few minutes.

Y'all.  Fellow reader friends.  I left out the main book I've been wanting to tell you about, in yesterday's post.  My sister in love, Tracy, wrote an amazing book!


She texted me a few months back and asked if I would read it for her, before it was sent to the publisher.  I sat down to read it, and the rest of my afternoon was spent glued to the pages.  I don't want to give away too much information, but just know that Tracy Sterling Jones Goodwin is a miracle from God.  She should actually be dead, but God was not finished with her here on this earth.  If you take only ONE suggestion from yesterday's book post, ignore all those other ones (Don't ignore the bible, though.) and purchase this book and be amazed at God's healing touch and sovereignty over all.

Here is a little more about Unstoppable God.



And also?  I'm going to post a picture of this book on Instagram with some instructions on how you can win this book!  I've got connections.  ;)  You will receive a signed copy of this book when a random winner is selected.  I'll post it today, and the comments will close on Friday at noon.

You can purchase this online at any of your local book places.

GO.  Buy it, and read it!

Moving on from that, I changed my blog again.  I couldn't deal with the other one, it was too much of a pain to have to find the tab to click on to post.  I can't figure out how to get the picture back up at the top, but I'll have to deal with it later.

I came across this image on Instagram yesterday from Lifeway Girls, and I shared it again.


I posted it to share with my own kids, and other teenagers I consider mine as well.  Mostly, my kids' friends, and the girls I work with in youth ministry.  Lately, I have been so saddened to observe that so many people think that God's love is based on our works.

I cannot say this enough: His love, His grace, His mercy are all free gifts that He gave to us when Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  He literally took the weight of the world's sin upon His shoulders, and died for us, so that we wouldn't have to be eternally separated from God.  Because of His grace and the salvation He gives to us when we believe in Him and put our faith and our hope in Him, He transforms our lives from the inside out.

For example, I used to smoke, curse, and lived a life that looked radically different from the one I live now.  When I placed my faith in Him by believing in Him, it was like He picked me up, turned me around, and I started walking in the opposite direction.

He changed the desires of my heart, and He changed the way I lived.  My life was no longer my own, but it became His, and now, I live my life in a way that I pray will bring Him glory and honor.  That is a full transformation.  A full transformation is NOT going to church on Sunday, and then doing your own thing for the other six days, ignoring what His word says, and ignoring Him.  He wants constant fellowship with us, once we belong to Him, and He wants our very best, not our afterthoughts.  He wants our every thought, word, deed and action to point others to Him.  We were created in His image, and we are to be a reflection of Him to a lost and dying world.

I pray these words inspire you to see what the bible says about living a new life in Christ Jesus.  Don't just take my words into account, in fact, forget my words.  Just see what His word says.

Moving on again.


The reason I have so much to do today is because at seven ten tonight, my sister Trish and I are flying to Denver to see our other sisters Lisa and Debi, and their families, and to meet these precious little angels and miracles from God!  I cannot believe they're already half a year old.  Time really does fly by.  I am so excited to meet little Kinsley Anne, and Kylie Grace.

I get so choked up every time I see pictures of them, because they truly are little miracles from God.  There was something wrong with them during Erika's pregnancy, and one or both of them were not expected to live.  My niece started a blog about them, but I don't think it's for the public yet.  As soon as it is, I'll share a link to it.  These girls were born as Mo-Di twins.  Google it, if you want to know more about what that is exactly.

Lastly, will you help me pray for a friend of mine?


This handsome young man is Chandler, and he is so special to our family because of how he has invested into the lives of our boys.  He's a youth intern at church, and his family are good friends of ours.  He left last night to spend five weeks in Southeast Asia.  He is with a team, and they will be doing all sorts of things while there.  Please help me to pray for him and the other guys on the trip!  I would love to have people praying for him everyday they're gone.

The girl with him is his sweet girlfriend, Grace, and she is where I got this picture from, with her permission to share.  (Thanks, Grace!)

I would very much appreciate the prayers for him.

Well, I guess I need to get a move on and start on all my lists of things to do today.  Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.

(I won't see you back here until next Tuesday.)

Monday, July 17, 2017

the books I've read lately

I am a bookworm.  I have been since I was in the first grade, and my teacher, Mrs. Shawl, introduced me to reading.  My very first book was a Garfield the cat book, and I've not stopped since.  Over the years, my love of reading included Sweet Valley Twins, and then Sweet Valley High, any little $2.50 teenage romance I could find at Kroger, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, The Babysitter Club, and many, many more.

I've told you before that I would ask Dad to drop me off at my favorite book store, The Book Depot, and four hours later, he would come back and get me.  I would go through every single book in my section, and I spent literally eons of time there during my teenage years.  Those were the days.

Fast forward years later, and here I am now, a homeschooling mom with four boys who hate to read.  I am appalled by that fact, and I have threatened to disown them.  They will read, but they don't do it for fun.  To this day, give me a good book, and I'll stay up half the night reading it.

That being said, I post lots about the books I read on social media.  Here is what I've been reading lately, and know that most of them can be found in the local library, or on Amazon.



I have been in a book rut lately, and my last trip to the library produced these two books by Katherine Reay.  The first one I read was Lizzy and Jane, and I started Dear Mr. Knightley last night.  The author loves Jane Austen, and all the books relate to her books.  I have never read Jane Austen before, but after reading these two and the one more I have waiting on me by her, I am adding them to my collection.

Last night I bought another book on Amazon, by an author that is new to me.


I follow a lovely blogger and fellow booklover on Instagram named Anne Boegel, and she recommended this one that her son recently finished.  The plan is for me to read it, and then I'll make it recommended reading for the boys, once our school year starts back in a few weeks.

I cannot wait to read this one, I LOVE a good suspense book.  I used to love to read mysteries by James Patterson (I still do, actually!) and Mary Higgins Clark, and this one has that vibe to it.


When I was a teenager, I started reading books by Robin Jones Gunn, the Christie Miller series.  I never finished them all, so several years ago, I bought them all, and read them, some for the first time.  My best friend is currently reading them and loves them just as much.  So, I recently read books by that same author, The Married Years, which is three books that go together.  These were super fast and easy reading.  Even if you're an adult, I recommend reading through all these books by this author.  Start with the Christie Miller series, then read the Sierra ones, then the Katie Weldon ones.  Then there are the college years, the married years, and now, the baby years.

You'll never regret reading them, and I love a great Christian fiction book.


I love Karen Kingsbury.  This is her latest book, in the Baxter series.  If you've never read one by her, start with the Redemption series, then go from there.  This is the latest Baxter family book, but the next one is in the making as I write this post.


I recently read Where We Belong, by Emily Giffin.  It was okay, but honestly, I had to look it up, to remember the details.  I do love Emily Giffin, and so far my favorite has been The One and Only.

Another one I recently read was Silver Girl by Elin Hildebrand.  It was really good, but she doesn't have chapters in her books.  That drove me bonkers!  I do have another of her books on my to-read list.

Lastly, I cannot write this list without including my bible.  I read it every single day, and I love the one I am currently using.



It is the HCSB Women's Study Bible.  I love that it's is big and thick, with margins wide enough for me to write in.  I love that it capitalizes the pronouns when speaking of God, and that His name in Hebrew is used.  Yahweh in the O.T., and Yeshua in the N.T.  Those names aren't written every time, but some of the time.  I love this bible.  Also, in it are good study notes at the bottom, and sometimes on a page, you'll see a word in the original language (Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek).

I cannot recommend it enough.  It's pricey, but Lifeway is good about putting them on sale for half price a couple times a year.

Well, that's what I'm reading, or have read lately.  I hope this inspires you to go get lost in a book of your own.

Love to all!


Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and her friends, for this blog post.

This week has gone by surprisingly fast.  Graham was gone all of Monday and Tuesday, to a nearby lake for Senior Summit.  All the graduates and several of the pastors at our church spent two days doing devotional type talks together, and eating and playing on the water.  The girls had a house to stay in, and the guys had another.  It looked like everyone had a blast, according to the pictures that I saw.  

I held dinner off until he got home Tuesday night, and we had three extras who ate with us.  There was NO food left, not even a crumb.  I'm guessing it was either really good, or they were all really hungry.

Our days have been pretty carefree.  Graham went back to work on Wednesday, there was church, there were friends over, and yesterday was spent with my in-love's at their house.  

In honor of these lazy days, here are some of my favorites about this current season.


I love folding towels, and even after they've been washed and dried, they come out smelling like sunscreen.  That is my favorite scent of summer.


Summer community groups are my favorite.  We swim, we talk, we laugh, we eat more pizza.  What's not to love?  I adore teenagers, and time spent with them.  


This summer I have spent one day almost every week swimming with my mom-in-love.  This is her neighborhood pool, and usually we have almost the whole thing to ourselves.

These days have been some of my very favorites of the summer.  We always talk to other people, too, and we have fun talking and catching up with one another. 


This is my beloved church home, where I pulled over one night to take a picture of the magnificent sky and sunset.  Sunsets and summer night skies are also some of my favorite things about these hotter months.


Night swims are another favorite of mine.  This picture wasn't actually taken during a nighttime swim, but it kinda looks darker.  The water feels cooler at night, but I know it's just the air around it, not the water.  


This picture has no significance of summer in it, but it's one of my favorite memories lately.  We were irritated with one another and I tried to hold his hand.  He gave me his finger to touch instead.  The same thing happened last night on the way home, I was irritated because I was tired and ready for bed (not at him, though, or anyone else, just at the fact that it was almost ten at night and I still wasn't in bed), and he forced me to hold his hand and then he kept making me laugh.  I took a funny video of him that afternoon trying to kill a fly and posted it as my story on snapchat, and he kept playing it for me.  It worked, and I wasn't grumpy by the time we got home.  

#marriageadvice

#notreally


The library might possibly be my favorite place in our town.  It's definitely my happy place, and I've been frequenting the doors a lot lately, on the hunt for new authors and books.  I got in a book rut, but finally think I've pulled through it now.  

Another (I'm serious) exciting thing happened this week, and that is that we bought a refrigerator.  It'll go in our kitchen, the one in the kitchen will go out in the garage, and the one in the garage will be hauled away by the kind people at Lowe's.  Woohoo!  I'm excited about having matching appliances.  It's old fashioned, freezer on top, fridge on the bottom, and it's black.

Well, that's about all I've got for this edition of Friday Favorites.  Laundry is calling me, and I've got to hurry and get dressed and go pick up some history curriculum I bought off of a homeschool group on Facebook.  I cannot believe it, but it's already almost that time again.  The week after next is when I plan to get our 2017/2018 school year planned out, us registered with our umbrella school, and all the curriculum planned out and some more bought.  I'm already dreading Drew being a senior and having to go through all of that all over again.  It's so emotional!  Bleh.  

But God is my strength, and I do not say that jokingly at all, I promise you.  He is literally my strength, my portion, and the One I constantly run to with all the issues on my heart.  

I cannot get through a day without Him.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  

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