Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday, Friends!  I am linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and her friends, for the writing of this blog post.  By the way, if you don't ever do this, now is a fun time to go to her blog and look at all the other link ups.  I have found that people post about their homes at this time of year, and you know that is one of my favorite things to do...look at people's homes.  :)  Call me nosy or a wannabe decorator, I just love looking around and being inspired. 

Speaking of people writing about their homes, click here and read my post from yesterday, called "come on in...". 

It has been a stellar week for me.  The weather has been my favorite, which is cold and slightly dreary, and I've made some great dinners, which is a favorite for all the men in this house.  I call that a win.  I had mentioned that I was in a cooking rut this week, but I totally forgot that we bought a whole ham from Costco on Sunday.  Jonah and Noah LOVE ham at Thanksgiving, and this year, nobody made one.  I'm laughing, because I had NO IDEA they loved ham so much.  So we bought this with them in mind.  I made it for dinner on Tuesday night, along with some potatoes, green beans and leftover potato salad.  Last night I made a giant pot of chicken tortilla soup, and tonight I'm making my boys their favorite homemade mac and cheese that I've made for years, and we'll be adding in some of that leftover ham.

I also have some actual favorite THINGS to write about this week, which is unusual. 


First up is this song, and this entire album, both of which are my current favorites.  I actually wrote out some of the lyrics from this song in yesterday's post.  In all the lovely that this time of year brings, I never want to get carried away with all that stuff.  Jesus is the reason why we even celebrate, and I want to keep Him front and center in my mind and in my heart, where He deserves to be.  Some of the words from this song are a great reminder for me.  Like I said, go visit yesterday's post (click here) and read for yourself.


I posted about this earlier in the week, but it's totally worth mentioning again.  I buy all my candles, hand soaps and body lotions from HomeGoods.  This candle smells AMAZING.  I have burned it for two straight days, and there is still a lot left.  I actually burn my candles all the way down to nothing, believe it or not.  I love them and I love smell good things and for my home to feel (and look and smell) warm and cozy and inviting, so candles are a great, inexpensive way to accomplish that.  This is my current favorite candle. 

I'll share one from last year, too, that I am still enjoying.  It is also from HomeGoods. 


This was part of my Christmas gift from my mom last year, and there is still some left.  I love this jar and will keep it forever.  The same is true with the green one above.  Candles are one of my favorite things to gift to people and to receive as gifts. 


I dropped off some library books earlier in the week one day, and the day was dreary and cold.  Remember how I mentioned that it's my favorite kind of day?  I took this picture to document it.  I love all the trees surrounding the library.  They look like Christmas trees.  


I started this book around three o'clock yesterday afternoon.  I finished it by nine thirty last night.  Everyone who knows me knows how much I love to read, and the book has to grab me from page one, or I can't get into it.  I know, I know, people say give it a few chapters, but rarely does that help, if the beginning is boring.  I have read books by Fern Michaels before, but I totally forgot how much I love her style of writing.  I can almost see what she writes, her words are so clear and descriptive.  More than I love to read regular books, I LOVE to read Christmas books, and this one is currently in the running for one of my favorite books of the ENTIRE YEAR.  You read that right.  I loved it that much.  

I've been keeping track of what I have read all year, and only a few books so far were so good that I put asterisks beside.  This was one that got several.  If you're like me and love to read, check this one out.  


Here are my other books from my library run the other day.  I'll be starting that top one today at some point.  


 I have so loved all the scripture writing this month!  I completed two plans, one from Spiritually Hungry and one from Sweet Blessings, and they were both so good.  These verses are from one of those plans.  I loved the mentioning of singing to the Lord.  I love to sing praises to God, and am in choir at my church, so this stuck out to me.  I have been singing a lot this week, as I've listened to our music over and over to learn it before our Christmas Night of Praise this Sunday night at my church.  If you're local to me, I'd love to invite you!  The music is new and different this year, but all the songs are easy to learn and sing along with us.  It starts at six o'clock, is free, and is at Collierville First Baptist Church.  It's all singing on this night, and I promise you that you will leave with a lightened heart.  Come join us!  

That about wraps it up for this week.  Thank you for reading my blog!  I hope your weekend is wonderful.  Love to all!  

Thursday, November 29, 2018

come on in...

On a much lighter note than yesterday's post, I thought I'd invite you in to take a peek at what our Christmas decor looks like this year.  Every year, I do things different.  I do not buy anything, usually, though this year I did add a few new things, two of which were gifts, and one little tree that I bought at the cutest little shop on our town square called Southern Farmhouse.  Also, consider this your warning that this is going to be a long and picture-laden post.  Christmas is my jam, and I go all out, because I am a stay at home wife and mom, and I have all the time in the world. 


The first stop is our dining room.  Last year for our church's Tablescapes, my mom made this arrangement for my table.  And then after it was all done, she told me I could bring it home and keep it!  I also bought this tablecloth for that same event last year, and I've used it all year long.  It also is quite helpful in keeping our German shepherd off of our dining room table.  Yes, that was a whole thing one time. 


I kept this hutch in the dining room pretty simple.  That wooden trough was a gift from my sister-in-love last year, and the trees are some my boys "bought" for me when they were little.  The snowglobe was my mom's.  Also, I keep all our extra dishes in this hutch, including the Christmas ones that are now residing in my cabinets.


Mom inspired me to even decorate the top of my refrigerator, because why not?!  Almost everything in this post is old, by the way, I'll tell you if something is new that I love.


Someone on Instagram inspired me to put garland in this area.  That garland is artificial, but doesn't it look real!?  Thanks, Mom!  She gave it to me a couple of years ago, when I lost all of mine.  (I did later find it.)



I still love this tiered stand my mom-in-love gave me for my birthday last year.  It's my favorite thing in my house at this moment, because of how cute it looks.  This top picture is the front, and the bottom one is the back.  This week, I went back and added more ornaments that she gave me. 


Cute little frame one of my favorite teenage girls gave me several years ago, and it perfectly hides the peppermint chapstick I keep hidden there, because the same German shepherd I mentioned LOVES to eat my peppermint flavored chapstick.  I'm not even kidding.  She only eats the peppermint flavored kind, never the tubes of regular I have everywhere. 


This cabinet was my dad's.  I love it, missing knob and all.  This snowman was one my mom had when I was a little girl.  All of my quiet time resources are inside and on top of this cabinet.  I always have quiet time at the kitchen table, until the Christmas decorations go up, then I do it everyday by the light of the tree. 


This is my kitchen table.  I love this little snowman dish!  Every single year my boys put a nose ring on him, and I laugh when I see it, every time.  These are the rest of  the ornaments I got from my mom-in-love Monday night.  That's just a pie plate that they're in.


These little guys are on the bathroom counter in the downstairs bathroom.  They were a gift from Drew's first kindergarten teacher (he had two). 

I also have peppermint scented soap on the other side of the sink, which I bought on Saturday from HomeGoods.  I like to buy all our hand soaps, lotions, and candles from there.  They're so inexpensive!  Here's a candle I bought last weekend, that smells up the entire house. 


I also burned this thing ALL DAY LONG, and it is going to last so long, because it barely made a dent.


I put a few little things on the piano, including the Clauses that my dad gave me several years ago.  I love them, because they were around when I was a young girl.  I am such a sucker for things like that, and that snowman I showed on the red cabinet.



The Christmas tree in the daylight, and the tree in the wee hours of the morning, when it's just the animals and myself up and moving around.  I love that time of day!  Early morning has always felt so reverent to me, perhaps because it's when I do my best talking to God.  I can't tell you how many times I've been up at  four, and then prayed myself back to sleep in the recliner.  I love having this time with Him, with nothing around to distract me.  He always puts someone on my mind during this time of day, too, which I think is one reason why He has me get up so early. 

Also, how cute is that box around my tree?  Todd and Jonah made it for me last Friday.  I'd been wanting a tree collar, to deter the cat from eating the tree, but Todd found one similar to this and he and Jonah got the pallet for free, then whipped it up in no time.  I love it so much!  I stuffed burlap inside of it that I had laying around.  And Twinkles has NOT been eating the tree.  Bonus.


Little table in between the windows in the living room.  The little potted tree is one I bought from that cute store I mentioned, Southern Farmhouse, and the tall ones came from a shop my mom worked in years and years ago. 


Please excuse Chip's wagging and blur.  This is the landing at the top of the stairs.  I got this cute flocked tree at Marshall's a few weeks ago, and have been anxiously awaiting putting it on top of that cute little antique barley twist plant stand.  I love the way it looks. 


I love our bedroom.  I added twinkle lights and garland around the windows this year, to make it a little more Christmasy.  


And these guys reside on top of our bathroom counter.  I love them and think they're adorable, but when Todd walked in the night we put all this up after riding with the sheriff's department and saw them, he almost throat punched them.  They scared him.  I'm laughing as I write that.


My stepdad made me this tree.  I love it!  



This year on the outside, we put the new tree up, and then Jonah put lights in the crepe myrtles that flank the house.  I love the way it all turned out, and while it looks like a ton, it really isn't, and is less than I do every other year.  Believe it or not, from start to finish, it took about three hours to do everything inside the house.  The outside of the house was done the Friday after Thanksgiving, and I have moved a couple of things around, or added to them.  Like I said, I LOVE Christmas.  It really is the most wonderful time of year, at least, in my humble opinion.  

I love it all, but I don't want anything to distract from the real reason why we celebrate, and that is Jesus.  He is my hope, my joy, my Savior and King.  He is the Light of the world, in Him there is no darkness (John 8:12).  I pray that I represent Him well everywhere I go, as an image bearer of Him, and that when people walk into our home, that they feel His presence.  We've had that happen before, a cable guy say that our house "felt" different than other houses he had been inside.  My other prayer is that the Lord uses us in our home to minister to people in need.  God has given a gift to my husband, in being able to reach people where they are.  We were at a shoe store not long ago, and my husband ended up giving the gentleman there his phone number (and got his in return) so that we could have him over for dinner one night.  

So that is my prayer.  I pray that as I go busily about during this season, that I lavish love and kindness everywhere I go, even when I'm in an annoyingly long line at the grocery, or as I fight Christmas traffic.  The Lord has lovingly lavished those things on me, so it's a responsibility I have to pass that on in His name.  I hope to take those opportunities to pray for those around me, especially all the ones I know and love who are lost and don't know Jesus.  

My current favorite Christmas song right now is one by Francesca Battistelli.  It's called Heaven Everywhere, and I'm going to write out a few of the lines. 

.................................
Somehow, there's a little more of love
And maybe there's a little less of us
Or maybe we're just slightly more aware
There's a little bit of heaven everywhere

It's the smile on a man who has finally found hope
It's the tears of a mother whose child has come home
It's the joy that we feel and the love that we share
There's a little bit of heaven everywhere

It's funny how it takes a holiday
To show us how the world could truly change
If we all took the time to really care
There'd be a little more of heaven everywhere

It's the grace that we show to a world that needs hope
It's giving our lives knowing they're not our own
It's the joy that we feel and the love that we share
There's a little bit of heaven everywhere
...................

Isn't that beautiful?  I will leave on that note.  Thanks for reading, my friends.  Love to all.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

musings and such

Last night something hit me, and it was something I already knew, but it was reinforced again, as I sat downstairs watching The Great British Baking Show.  Graham went to the Christmas tree lighting event on the square with Rachel, but the rest of us stayed home.  Having kids out of high school kind of throws all hint of traditions out the window.  One of mine works full time and volunteers with the sheriff's department on the side, and one goes to school full time and works part time every Monday through Friday. 

Even on Monday night when we went to my in-love's house to get all their Christmas decor out of the attic, we went without Drew, because he had work, then school work to come home and get finished before the next day.  And Graham also hadn't planned on being there either, because of a bible study he goes to every Monday night, but it was canceled at the last minute, so he was able to be there with us.  (I'm so thankful for that!)

I know I've said it all before, but I can't help but keep thinking how strange this phase is.  I know I'm supposed to adapt easily as a parent, but it's not as easy for me to do as I had thought it would be.  The theme in my life right now is that I struggle with change.  I'm rolling my eyes at myself.  I don't mind getting older, turning forty didn't bother me, almost two years ago, and turning forty-two won't bother me either, I'm sure, it's just the thought that my kids are growing up on me, and we are rapidly approaching an empty nest.  I know I still have a few years, but in my mind, the boys should still look like this.


Graham was the age the twins are now (fifteen, almost sixteen), Drew was fourteen and the twins were eleven.  I'm going to need someone to hold my hand the day they start moving out.  Like, for good, I mean.  Just yesterday Drew was talking about saving as much money as he could so he could start thinking about moving out after his second year of college.  Um, that is a mere year and a half away.  He wants to work in a hospital, so they will pay for him to go through school.  I told him that was a great plan, but that he needed to talk to his friend and old Sunday school teacher about it now.  And Graham could pretty much move any day.  I don't know if it's on his radar yet, but he could easily make the move and be on his own.  It'd be tight for him, financially, but he could do it, especially if he were to have a roommate. 

I don't write all this to ask for sympathy, because truthfully, I am also loving this stage of life as much as I did when they were young.  They're turning into great men and guys, and they are genuinely fun to be around.  They still make me laugh harder than any other people on this earth, and we always have fun together.  Whoever said the days are long, but the years are short hit the nail on the head, is all I'm saying.  I cannot believe how quickly almost twenty years have flown by.  It seems like all I did was blink, and POOF!  There they went.  Also, it's true that once your kids get to middle school, it flies.  I told that to a friend just a couple of weeks ago.  And when I say that, know that I homeschool.  For homeschooling families, time usually goes by a little slower it seems, because we are together all the time. 

I'm just reminiscing a tad, I suppose, on this lovely day.  I will say that feeling all these emotions I feel right now is forcing me to look for more moments of togetherness.  I am more present in all of the moments that happen, and more often than not, I never take pictures of them anymore, one because they never like them and don't let me post them, and two because I want the moment, not the picture.  If you're a mom of little ones, remember this.  Take a picture or two to document what you're doing, and then just put the phone down.  And then consider going home and writing all about it in a journal.  That's what I always did, because smart phones were not a thing back then.  I still do this, in fact.  Every moment I want to remember goes in my journal.  Whether it's about them, or our parents, I write about it.  I use whatever journal I'm currently using, but you could keep one just for moments with family.  You could also have the pictures printed and keep track of them on a year long basis.  I did that a few years ago when I got a new journal for my birthday. 

Another little piece of advice I will give is to say the words "I love you" as much as you can.  Almost every single time any one of them walk out the door, I say that to them.  I say it to them at random times.  I say it every single night before I go to bed, if I'm at home.  I say it to Rachel, whom I love like she's mine, and I say it to a few of their friends who stop by (Alex and Andrew, my bonus sons), and those friends ALWAYS say it back to me.  (This sounds strange.  The two boys I mention were around so much and so often, that they know I love them like they're my own.  I do not randomly say it to just anyone.)  If something were ever to happen to me, I never want them to doubt my love for them.  Also, I grew up with my mom saying that to me all the time, and I'm following her example.  I still say it to all our parents, and to our siblings, nieces, and nephews.  I'm affectionate, and I say "I love you" all the time, what can I say? 

I think it's that I'm so full of love with the Lord that it just overflows into every other area of my life. 

That's what I'll go with, anyway, because it sounds better than me just being weird.  ;)

Well, this post took a bit of a different turn that I had originally planned, but I'll go with that as well.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  (Ha...now you know why I say that.) 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

{simply} Tuesday

I have all kinds of the Tuesday things going on today, things like bible study, a run to Goodwill for a drop off, grocery shopping, hair cuts... you know the sort of day.  Tonight is our town tree lighting ceremony on the square, and I think for the first time in eighteen years that I am going to skip it.  It's gotten way overcrowded, and the boys honestly care nothing about this anymore.  When they were young, it was magical.  Not so much nowadays.  They're talking about going still, and meeting friends there, but I'll stay home and read a Christmas book.

Speaking of, I love to read Debbie Macomber Christmas books.  She is like the queen of Christmas fiction.  (That is a thing, right?)   Here is my current read, and I think it's a newer one, because I've never read it before. 


Another great one I read last year that made me laugh out loud was An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer.


I need to add a library run to my list of things to do today, and add some more festive books to my list.  Do you have any to recommend?  I'd love some new ideas and authors.  (I've read all of Karen Kingsbury's and Robin Jones' Gunn.) 

I started keeping track of the books I read this year.  My best friend Andrea gave me the cutest journal for my birthday last year, and because I loved it so much, I put it to good use all year long.  I only used about eight pages, so I'm going to keep it up in the same journal in 2019.  If I counted right the other day, the current book I'm on is number thirty six of the year.  I had to quit several, because I have no time to read things I don't love.

If you don't already know about Shay Shull (Mix and Match Mama), she gives great book reviews every month, and lots of what I read are books she recommended.  She also has great recipes. 

I'd also love some great meal ideas, too, if you have any you'd like to share.  I'm in a bit of a rut again, with cooking, and the people who reside in this house are wonderful and sweet, but of absolute no help on this subject.  I'm burned out, though, so I would love to suggestions.

Well, I need to go get dressed for the day, I have to be somewhere in an hour.  Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

the weekend and a busy week

I loved every second of the time off my family had over Thanksgiving break.  Todd and Graham were off and Drew finished his last class on Tuesday afternoon, then was even off from work on Thursday and Friday.  It was glorious. 

On Friday night, we all went to my dad's to celebrate Thanksgiving.  We ate Mexican food, and it was the best meal.  We always love seeing his lights after we put them up, and I did get a picture, but it was raining and not all the lights worked.  Here's the one I took:


I think he had a timer issue with some of the lights, but by Saturday night, all was well again.  We will be going out there again so we can see ALL the lights the next time. 

Before we left for his house that afternoon, I watched my favorite Christmas movie (White Christmas) and Todd and Jonah built a box to go around the base of our Christmas tree.



We stuffed it with some burlap I had on hand, and I love the way it looks.  This will also keep our cat from eating the tree.  Hopefully.  I'll show the rest of my house one day this week, maybe, but I love the way it all looks for Christmas.  I went a little more with simplicity this year and didn't go overboard. 

On Saturday, I went shopping with my mom and sister, for a few things I needed to buy (some peppermint scented all purpose cleaner, some hand soap for the downstairs bathroom), and had the best time looking at all the Christmas decorations.  I love to look at all the beautiful things, but I only bought what I needed and practiced some major self control.  ;)

That night, my friend Missy and I got together with some of our girls from community group that we used to lead each week, and it was fun getting to catch up with all that is going on in their lives.  I had a moment of nostalgia as I remembered fun times gone by, and all the memories we made together when they were in high school, and honestly I was a little sad that things have changed.  Have I mentioned I don't love change?  It was a fun night, but it was bittersweet.  It was so sweet of one of the girls to invite us along for the night.


Sunday means we're at church, and the service was incredible!  The worship was so sweet, and I am loving the series my Pastor is preaching, on getting involved and serving.  I am so thankful for our church home and family.  We had choir practice yesterday afternoon even though there were no services that night, because our Christmas night of praise is THIS Sunday night, December 2.  If you're local, I would love to have you there!  It starts at six, and at Collierville First Baptist Church.  After rehearsal, I came home and watched a Hallmark Christmas movie.

It was hard getting everyone out the door this morning.  It was even hard making my first cup of coffee; I brewed my first cup in the Keurig with no cup in place.  I am rolling my eyes at myself.  But everyone made their way out, and now I'm about to make a couple of lists I need for this week to keep things straight.  I have something almost every night this week, but I think this is the only week it'll be like that.  I don't love being busy during this time of year, I love to take things nice and slow and soak up every moment of the time we have together during my favorite time of year.  The things I have going on are things like our town tree lighting, the town Christmas parade, a Wednesday night rehearsal and sound check for the night of praise, going to my in-love's to get all their Christmas out of the attic, and a few other things. Everything is fun, it's just all in this one week. 

Well, I need to stop writing, I suppose, so that I can get started with this day.  I hope you have a wonderful week!  Thanks for reading, and love to all! 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday, friends!  I am linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and her friends, for the writing of this blog post. 

IT IS OFFICIALLY MY MOST FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR! 

In my house, my husband likes to wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas, and on Thanksgiving night, which is technically after Thanksgiving, we pull out all the decorations and get to work.  We did this last night, after spending fifteen minutes in the attic going through things, and about thirty minutes after we were out of the attic, we got busy.  It was a gift having all my boys, plus Rachel, here to help.  The last two years it's only been Jonah, Noah, and me. 

But before I show you the after picture, I'll share about some favorite things from this week.


This night was so much fun, and was definitely a favorite moment from the week.  I love some good music, y'all, and this night did not disappoint.  Some friends from choir, me, and my worship pastor went to Mobile, Alabama for one night to see the Voices of Mobile Christmas Spectacular.  It was phenomenal!


This house is currently my favorite house in town.  Doesn't it look like it's out of a Hallmark Christmas movie?!  It is beautiful all year, but it's magical at Christmas.


On Tuesday night, we spent the night at church decorating for Christmas.  It's always a fun time, and this year was no exception.  (This responsibility falls to the worship pastor at my church, so he figured if he offered dinner, more people would show up, and it works!)


I am so proud of my oldest son for so many reasons, but this Christmas wreath on his truck is definitely in the top five reasons.  It lights up at night, and he makes his lights that are on the undercarriage flash red and green at the same time. 

Christmas is our favorite.


One of my bonus sons came home from college and brought me this pin!  It was a proud mom and favorite moment from the week.  I love him so much, and am so proud of him for doing so great during his first semester! 


We had a delicious lunch yesterday at my mom's house for Thanksgiving and after we were home, and everything was all lit up for Christmas, this was me sitting back and relaxing.  I was going to watch a Christmas movie, but instead talked to my mom in love for an hour, and then my sister Lisa for about an hour and a half.  I talked to my sister Debi the night before for a long time, too, and these conversations are always so very good for my soul.  I am so grateful for all of my sisters.  God blessed me with the best, and I don't ever want to take them for granted, especially because Denver is a long way off. 

Well, I need to get busy with a few things, so I'll end it with that thought.  Thank you for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

overflowing with thanksgiving

Years ago, over a decade now, when I started this blog, I used it as a journal to remember things I wanted to have in a central location.  Sometimes I still use it in that way, but my prayer has been that as the Lord has blessed my life and taught me things, that He would allow me to pass that on to someone in need.  I have changed the name of this space several times, but for at least eight of these last eleven years, it has been Overflowing With Thanksgiving.  Here is where the name came from.

"So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, being rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude."  Colossians 2:6-7.

My translation that I first memorized those verses in said the word 'thanksgiving' instead of gratitude. 

In light of those verses, and because tomorrow is Thanksgiving day, I thought I would share some of what I am thankful for. 


I am so thankful that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.

Jesus is the Light of the world, in Him there is no darkness.  When we are apart from Him, as an unbeliever, we walk along in darkness.  When He draws us to Himself, then we start to walk in His marvelous light.

Life is hard, even with Jesus in my life.  I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like if I lived without Him.  It would be impossible, I know that. 

Do you know Him?  I ask that all the time.  Please reach out if you don't, I would love to tell you more about Him in greater detail.

I am thankful for the wonderful people whom I share a roof with.



Our life is nowhere near ever being perfect.  Todd and I bicker and argue over the dumbest of things, my kids can act disrespectfully toward me occasionally, they fight and wrestle and argue and do all those things brothers do.  But we all love Jesus, we are all healthy, and we have so much to be grateful for, like the beautiful place we get to call home, the food that we have to eat, clothes on our back, and vehicles to drive.


I am so thankful for all of our extended families.  Todd and I have three wonderful sets of parents who love us, pray for us, and help us out all of the time.  Just the other night, Todd called my stepdad, and asked him if he would come eat dinner with us and then help him replace our attic stairs.  And Bill jumped at the chance.  We each have sisters and brothers and nephews and nieces, and we love each and every one of them, and thank God for them. 


  (I thought I'd let Kinsley and Kylie represent our extended families, because they are so precious.)

And friends, in our families, we are all so healthy, and again, we have so much to be thankful to God for.  He has so richly blessed all of us, and I have to praise Him for that.  Yes, we've had issues and scares (like cancer scares or even cancer itself in some cases), and we've had some big health problems (like when Tracy had a heart transplant), but y'all.  God has been so good to our families.  He has been so very gracious, and He has seen us through each and every situation.  He never once left our side!  I give Him all the praise and glory. 


This building represents a huge part of our lives, and that is that I am so very thankful for our church family, because they are family, and not just friends.  God placed us here within this church family almost eight years ago, and I am so glad.  I love living and attending here within my community.  I love our "little" town (it is no longer little), and I love living right here where God placed us.  I thank God for our pastor, and all the other pastors and staff that work here at CFBC.  Just last night, I was thanking God for this family here, because I spent time with some of them, decorating for Christmas.  I do not take lightly the fact that we have the freedom of attending a church like ours, and I thank Him for this.  I have never once regretted being a faithful church attender.  I would like to encourage you to do the same thing, if you don't already do this.  Find you a church that is close to you, and start attending.  Make it a priority. 

There are a million other little things I am also thankful for, but because of the whole time thing, I will stop with these.  These are my biggest blessings and gifts from the Lord.  I love taking the time and writing out what I am thankful for, and though I've done this in the past, I just started a new journal on Sunday night, to start keeping up with all the things again.  (And by things, I don't mean actual "things".) 

I pray for each of you who may be reading this, that you would feel the love of God through the words on this blog, and I pray that if you're not already a believer and follower of Jesus, that He would draw you to Himself.  I pray that you have a wonderful time of celebration tomorrow with family and friends.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all, from my family to yours.  God bless you, and love to all. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

weekend catch up

It was a whirlwind of a weekend, after a week of not doing much of anything.  (I am currently sharing my car when I can with one of my boys during the days, and I could drive his truck, but I prefer not to unless it's important.) 

On Friday morning, I finished packing an overnight bag and headed to my church at eight thirty that morning.  Along with some sweet (and new) choir friends and my worship pastor, we loaded the bus and headed to Mobile, Alabama for the night.  There is a college in that town, the University of Mobile, that is known for their incredible fine arts program, and each year they put on a "Christmas Spectacular".  I looked for a video to post for you, but none of them were good quality and do not do justice to how amazing they actually are. 

We went just for that one thing, and headed back the next morning.  (It's a six hour drive, and it was worth every minute.)


Here were all of us who went. 


This was our bus~it was so nice!  Those blue lights inside the window stayed on the whole time.  We had a really nice driver, and a lot of us were able to have our own seats for the ride.  (All the couples sat together.)


A few of us posing right after we had dinner at The Olive Garden.


This was one of my favorite parts of the night.  Look at all those brass instruments!  I loved the drums, too, and the fact that this song was a rap song that one of the students wrote for an old poem we all know and love is a testament to the fact that I have teenage sons. 


This is my friend Wendy, whom I have loved getting to know better over the last year.  She and I roomed together on Friday night, and now I feel like we're friends on a different level, because we've seen each other in pajamas and no makeup. 

It was a crazy fast, really fun trip.  We arrived back at our church at three thirty Saturday afternoon. 

I'm used to traveling with teenagers in the youth, so I learned some things on this trip that I did not previously know. 

1.  When you travel with only adults, you make a schedule and you stick to it.  We even ran AHEAD of the schedule almost every time, and for someone who is a time freak like I am, it was nice, I won't lie.

2.  Adults are SO MUCH MORE QUIET than teenagers, and on this bus, I think a time or two you could have heard a pin drop.  (That is SO not the case on the previous buses I have ridden on.)

3.  Because of number two above, it's much easier to fall asleep while on the road.

4.  No pranking is ever even thought of while traveling with just adults.

5.  People are more fun in a setting you're not used to seeing them in.  (Our worship pastor is such a great guy, all the time, but on this trip, he was like a kid in a candy store.  I also really enjoyed talking to a few new friends I had not previously really talked with before.  I love getting to know new people.)

6.  You can watch Hallmark Christmas movies while traveling with adults, and actually hear what is on the television.

I'm sure I could sit here and think of several more, but I need to get moving and do some things around the house before I go to the grocery store. 

It was a great weekend that flew right by.  I was at church bright and early yesterday morning, and then again at three for choir practice, and when I was writing down things I am grateful for from this past week, many of them had to do with my church friends and being in a choir.  I'm grateful to be a part of this group.  We are close knit, like a smaller group within the larger group.  I am grateful for our pastors and staff people there, as well, and for the fact that they remind us that God has given us every good gift, and He wants for us to enjoy life.  This weekend was proof of that for me. 

I cannot imagine what my life would look like if we were not involved in a local church.  I say that to encourage someone today.  If you don't already attend one, find a local church and start going.  Get involved, because when you're involved, that is where the friend making happens.  All of my friends, almost, are from either churches I've attended over the years, or from bible studies.  Just go!  It's a great time of year to start, and then continue with it into the new year.  I promise that you will NEVER be sorry. 

Thanks for reading!  Love to all. 

Thursday Encouragement

For a couple of years, I got out of the habit of attending Wednesday night church.  I used to go to youth each week for this, but it beca...