Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Happy Wednesday, friends. I'm double posting today, because I love these types of posts. I'm linking up with Shay at Mix&Match Mama and her friend Sheaffer for this blog post.
1. What we're eating this week:
So far this week we've eaten Beer Cheddar Joe's (a Mix&Match Mama recipe and general crowd pleaser), grilled chicken and mashed potatoes, and I have hamburgers planned for tomorrow night. We are doing lots of grilling because we have a new Blackstone griddle-top grill. Here is one that is almost exactly like the one we have, in fact it may be this one pictured. It was cheaper than the price you see, though, because we got it while it was on sale. We love this thing, and my husband has been doing most of the cooking lately.
2. What I'm reminiscing about:
I don't know why I started thinking about this trip, but the other night when I was watching tv and alone in the house, I started looking back through old pictures from a trip we took to Iceland over ten years ago. It was supposed to have been a working type trip (similar to a mission trip), but because of an active volcano that kept erupting, our plans changed and we went to a little island (Vestmannaeyjar) and ministered to a young pastor and his family. The part I was thinking back on was what we did on our last day~and is perhaps one of the neatest things I've ever experienced thus far in my forty-three years. We went to the Blue Lagoon and swam.
The pictures are terrible, because it was over ten years ago, but you get the picture. The waters are milky and you cannot see through to the bottom. The water is supposed to be healing and rejuvenating and people are sent here sometimes for certain treatments. You better believe I took some of the mud that was in the water along the bottom and smear it all over my skin. The water is warm because it's located near a lava field that is known for its geothermal power...so basically, the water is warmed naturally. It's milky blue color comes from the high concentration of silica that is found in the water. That silica is what forms the mud and the mud is known to be healing for many skin conditions. Sign me up to go back, please. Not only for this, but for the dear people we were with and got to know while we were there, Mike and Sheila.
Moving right along, now...
3. What I'm loving:
Daytime lunches with my husband. We both went to different stores yesterday and then got back home around the same time. After we'd put everything away, we each made lunch for ourselves and then sat down to eat at the table together. Sometimes we do this at the breakfast hour, but I am a quality time girl, and this makes me happy. I also love good conversation, and we always have that.
4. What we've been up to:
This week it hasn't been much. We enjoyed a day at home on Monday because it was Memorial day, but we didn't do anything special. The guys all slept late and we just kind of hung around and stayed comfy all day. They were able to get the yard mowed before the rain came in, so that was good. We grocery shopped yesterday, I went to my favorite nail place and got my nails done (!!!), we've just done a few things here and there.
5. What I'm dreading:
I can't really think of anything that I'm dreading right now. Unless it's just the forseeable future as plans are laid out because of the pandemic. Our town keeps canceling events, and I sort of feel like I'm waiting on the next ball to drop.
6. What I'm excited about:
This weekend! Two words for you:
A couple of my best friends and I are leaving Friday morning for a little weekend getaway! I cannot wait.
7. What I'm watching/reading:
I've watched all the shows since March. I loved watching Friday Night Lights all the way through. I rewatched Parenthood over the past couple of weeks. Todd and I finished the show Waco last night. Just this morning I started How I Met Your Mother. I go to bed and watch Grey's Anatomy or Gilmore Girls. Todd and I also finished watching The Voice over the weekend. I have other ones I watch from September-April, like The Good Doctor, New Amsterdam, This Is Us...I could go on but I'll stop. I love tv right now.
I'm still reading the last couple of Sisterchicks books by Robin Jones Gunn. My next book will be Being Known by the same author, and then I may continue on with her and re-read all her other ones.
I'm looking forward to reading Sophie Hudson's new book when it comes out as well. She and Melanie Shankle are my favorite go to authors for a funny memoir.
8. What I'm listening to:
I always play my favorite playlist on Spotify, but I also love other artists like Natalie Grant. Just last night I watched her one hour concert at the Ryman Auditorium with just her and hubby Bernie Herms. She's been posting songs since the quarantine hit and I've loved listening in.
9. What I'm wearing:
All the comfy clothes. I also have sort of a uniform for when I go out: cropped jeans and a cute shirt, a comfy dress from last summer, or leggings with a long t-shirt and cardigan. I'd love to wear shorts, but maybe after the weekend I'll have a little bit of color on my legs.
10. What I'm doing this weekend:
Having fun with girlfriends! We're not doing much of anything once we get to where we're going, but I foresee a lot of laughing, some good eating, and maybe relaxing by a pretty view of water.
11. What I'm looking forward to next month:
I don't know! Normally I would say spending time with my mom-in-love at her neighborhood pool, but I don't know if it's going to open. This may be the most boring summer of all time. Who knows?
12. What else is new:
I think I've covered it all.
Thanks for reading! Love to all.
As I was writing out Scripture the other day, I was in Philippians 2:12-18. I'm going to write it out for you, because I love the passage in its entirety, but if you have a Bible, open up on your own and read it in your version. Anytime we can open up the word of God on our own, we need to do that, even if it's on a screen in front of us. I learned this from my Pastor.
Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blamess and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn't run or labor for nothing. But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrificial service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. In the same way you should also be glad and rejoice with me.
Here are some things this passage brought to my mind.
We should obey the word of God.
In verse 12, Paul was reminding them to keep on obeying the divine commands he had given them, which was the word of God. I love these verses as a cross reference to get a glimpse of some more meaning:
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:5-6
That little phrase work out your own salvation with fear and trembling literally means to continue to work to bring something to fulfillment or completion. Believers and followers of Jesus have a responsibility to continue to actively work toward obeying through the sanctification process. Sanctification is like a refining process that we will continually be going through as believers. We will not be done with this process until the Lord Jesus calls us home to His side.
Don't grumble and don't complain. And while you're at it, don't be so quick to tell your opinions to the world. I am preaching to myself, as well.
In verse 13, we can know that God is the one who brings about this working process in us; we are not working for our salvation, it is free! We are working to look more and more like Jesus. I love verse 14~Do everything without grumbling and arguing. I don't know if we've ever needed this reminder more than we do right now, today. In the middle of this pandemic and all these new suggestions and recommended guidelines, I have seen more people bite and attack one another for differing opinions on social media, and I am so tired of it. We are not to grumble and we are not to argue, friends. Doing either of those produces NOTHING. In fact it could cause a believer to stumble or a lost person who doesn't know Jesus think they don't want any part of Him, if that's what His children act and look like.
Shine bright for Jesus.
When we do those things~not grumbling and arguing with those around us or those who disagree with us, we shine like stars in the world! We are to be a light to others, just as Jesus was the Light of the world (John 8:12) and we are to shine for Him. I love the picture that brings to my mind! In doing that, we are holding firm to the word of life, which is the word of God. This brings to mind a picture of someone holding something out for you to take when it looks appealing~that is how we are to make the gospel look to those around us who don't know Him~appealing and attractive. That'll make you think for a minute, won't it? It should! My friend always says that the word of God is like a mirror image~when we read it we should see our own sin. Think on how you've seemed lately to someone who doesn't know you? Were you rude? Did you ignore them totally when you were checking out? Did you throw your hands up at someone who cut you off on the road?
Paul the writer finished off this section of Scripture by saying the rest of these words to the church of Philippi. He labored and was thrown into prison for the sake of Jesus and getting out the gospel and eventually was martyred for his tremendous faith, and he would in fact be poured as a drink offering. I love reading all of his epistles, and this is one of the "prison epistles", meaning he wrote it while in prison. His last letter to write, 2 Timothy was also written in prison and probably while he was chained to a Roman guard. Think of that the next time you read that little jewel of a book.
I pray you were encouraged by these words, friends. I think they're such wonderful and timely reminders to all of us in this crazy time. Let's try to stop biting and devouring each other with our words on social media...are you with me? It doesn't do anyone any good by stating your very loud opinions all the time and nobody ever changed a mind based on something one read on Facebook or Twitter. Let's try and do our best at keeping the peace around us at all times.
Love to all.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
It's been ages since I've done a day in the life type post, and because I love to read them I thought it'd be fun to do one of my own. You may not be into this type thing, and that's fine! Don't feel pressured to read along.
I had a really rough night of sleep, and was awake until almost two a.m. on Monday morning. I was also awake every hour almost, and finally jumped out of bed at six something. I slept uninterrupted for the last couple of hours.
Every day when I wake up, I always come downstairs and let the dogs out first. I have an app on my phone that I use to turn on all the lights downstairs (mantle lights, the lamp in the living room, the kitchen lamp, and the light over the kitchen sink), and while the dogs are outside, I start my coffee and straighten up the blankets on the couch for them to lay down on. They always go right back to sleep in the morning and I never feed them before eight o'clock. Once my coffee is ready I make the coffee in the coffee pot side of our coffee pot for the rest of the ones who drink it each day. (I prefer the Keurig side, they prefer the coffee pot side.) I let the dogs back inside and I sit in the living room for about forty-five minutes and watch a show to go along with my coffee. (I used to watch the news during this time, but not anymore and I am almost finished re-watching Parenthood. For the third or fourth time.)
I finally got up to feed the dogs around eight and then I made my second cup of coffee for the morning and settled in at the kitchen table to read blogs that I love, schedule my own blog posts for the week, and finally to eat a breakfast bar and have quiet time. I do that part last because by then I feel like my brain is fully awake.
This was me on Monday at the kitchen table doing all of those things. I decided to switch it up a bit and listen to worship music while I had the first part of my quiet time, which is writing out scripture for the day. I was catching up and doing two days, though, since I missed it on Sunday. Right after this time, I did a day of my Bible study homework.
Usually I will also make a list for the day and maybe do a bit of journaling (not always, though) and I'll get up to fold the clothes in the dryer. I almost always take them upstairs to do this and while I'm up there, I make the bed, fold the clothes, and get dressed for the day. (Or I at least wash my face, put on some moisturizer and stay in comfy clothes.)
After I finished reading in the chronological Bible I read from daily, and started on my homework, people started coming down for coffee. This was Toddley grinding some coffee beans for the cannister that sits out on my countertop. (And yes, I am still drinking from a Christmas mug.) After he did that and cleaned up after himself, he made himself some toast and eggs. Then Drew came down and had the same. Toddley sat at the table and ate while I was here, so I stopped doing my homework for a while and talked to him about their night on Sunday. In between all of this, Chip got sick in his bed, and Drew wanted to wash his sheets, so I freshened up the load in the dryer, moved the sheets over once that was done, and washed Chip's bed.
I finally got up from the table at 12:20 to make myself a little bit of lunch, then I went upstairs to make the bed and fold a load of laundry. I helped Drew with his sheets and he put his new comforter on the bed, because he broke his right index finger Saturday night while playing basketball in the driveway. He usually does that by himself, but it's hard to put sheets on one-handed.
(I am on a mission to finish the leftovers in the fridge. This was like four bites of pasta leftover from a night last week, so I added some parmesan. I also had cantaloupe that I cut over the weekend.)
I did the things in my own room, then I helped Jonah with his newly discovered curly hair. No joke about his hair~Sunday night after the boys had been swimming all day, Todd looked over at Jonah's hair and noticed it in ringlets after he had let it air dry. So today I borrowed some of Drew's hair stuff and showed Jonah how to apply it. He has since told me he doesn't like that particular product, so we ordered two more bottles for him and Drew. (His favorite bottle of curly hair elixir was empty.)
See? Newly discovered curls when he doesn't fight with it. I made him let me take this picture so I could text it to my mom. I think he's adorable. On the off chance that he reads this, he is going to kill me for all of this.
I came back downstairs to empty the dishwasher, then went and sat down for the next hour to read. Todd and I ordered a bunch of things we were out of on Amazon, then he got up to make a run to Lowe's, and I took a fifteen minute nap. Remember me mentioning I didn't sleep much Sunday night? I got up and did more laundry, put the dog bed back down, switched over the blanket and towels from the wash to the dryer, and helped Todd pick up some in the garage. I'm sitting down now to write this (It's 4:40 in the afternoon) and shortly I will be getting up to make dinner. I feel like I need a snack because my lunch didn't last long. Also, Todd just made trip number two of the day to Lowe's to exchange what he just bought because it was broken. 💁
In the meantime, the guys all did the yardwork for the week, Graham vacuumed and then left, and Jonah went to visit Todd's parentals. I am fairly certain that Noah is upstairs asleep. Make that Noah and Drew...when I went upstairs for a minute, I peeped in at both of them, and they were both sound asleep. I talked to my mom and made an appointment to get my nails done. I watched an episode of Parenthood, too, putting me at the last two episodes. There's a new show I really want to start watching, so I'm trying to finish one before I start the other. My friend gives me great recommendations on Netflix, and she's been telling me what to watch.
After I made dinner, I went and lit two of my favorite candles, and we ate dinner close to six.
I cleaned up after dinner and got all the counters clean again like I like them, and I went to sit down for the night. I follow this girl on Instagram whose account makes me so happy~her account name is Alyssa and the account is reset.my.space. She will motivate you to get things cleaned up in your house often if you follow her. I've already done this forever, cleaning as I go and starting and ending the day with things picked up, but you should check out her Instagram. I love it when social media motivates me.
All the boys were still out and about and all left to go swim. Graham was gone most of the day, but he came home for a minute and then left again. While they were gone and after Todd took a shower and put his pajamas on, he came down and we watched the first episode of Waco on Netflix. I could barely keep my eyes open!
You should know that by seven o'clock, I am done for the day. By this point, all I want to do is sit and read a book or watch a show. I may get a little something sweet to snack on and sometimes I will make myself a cup of coffee after dinner, but mostly I just take my water into the living room and chill for the rest of the night. I love to be busy early in the day so my ending of each day is free and relaxing. I know each of us march to the sound of our own drums, though and this is just what works best for me. This wasn't a typical day but it WAS a typical quarantine edition day. Sometimes by the time people get up in the mornings I've done several loads of laundry and cleaned the whole downstairs. Other days I sit for hours at the kitchen table and spend that time with Jesus. The only other thing I'll do for the night is a walk through of the kitchen to make sure everything is loaded into the dishwasher, and I'll start the dishwasher. And I love to take a shower before bed and this particular night happened to be hair washing night, which takes forever. I go to bed with my wet (and moussed) hair piled on top of my head and when I wake up the next morning it's mostly dry.
I typically head upstairs anywhere from nine-nine thirty and I lay in bed and watch Netflix or Hulu. On most nights the last time I look at the clock is around ten. I have actual plans tomorrow, so it'll be a different kind of day. If you're still here reading, congrats for making it all the way to the end.
Love to all.
at May 26, 2020
Monday, May 25, 2020
Happy Monday, friends! I'm linking up with Tanya from The Other Side of the Road for this blog post.
It was such a great weekend. At the risk of sounding redundant, it will always feel so good to have a "normal" weekend, with life going on as usual. Here's a little bit of what went on...
We ordered pizza for dinner on Friday night, because it's the weekend and I like pizza on weekends. Poor Todd, though...we ordered it and almost immediately he got an emergency weather call-out with the sheriff's department. Trust me when I say he did not complain; he has missed working shifts with the sheriff's department so much. As much as he's missed working, he has thoroughly enjoyed growing his beard out. I've always liked him a little scruffy. (He has to be clean shaven to work with the sheriff's department.)
I also met with a friend at our church and outside for a while...I didn't anticipate being gone for long, though and my son came looking for me because he was worried. I think we just got carried away with our conversation, and before I knew it, three hours had gone by. Three! That's so crazy.
I was up early on Saturday and dressed and at my church by about eight forty-five for rehearsal for Sunday morning. The tech team was needing to double check and run through the timing again to ensure it was all running good for Sunday, when we had a live worship service. After that, I came home and ate lunch, then we just kind of chilled around here until about four thirty, when we left to go to Mom's and Bill's for dinner. It's been ages since we've been out there, and we had a delicious dinner. We stayed until close to eight, then came home to feed the dogs and we finished watching The Voice, even though I accidentally found out who won. I'm okay with it all, because the preacher I wanted to win is the one who won!
Sunday was so good, because we were back in the building for a live church service. I have never been so glad in all of my life to be able to attend a worship service. I asked the Lord just Sunday morning to help me never take that for granted again.
(I borrowed this picture from a gentleman I attend church with, Randy Daniels.) There were fewer people there that I thought would be there, and we skipped rows and left empty seats between us. It felt cautious and safe and overrall good just to be back to worship together. We had five different locations inside the building to attend: the worship center pictured above, the fellowship hall with a setup ideal for families with young children (no nursery services are available), the youth area, the bookstore conference room (only for people wearing masks the entire time), and the choir suite. Three of the areas had live singers on stage to make it not seem so much like you were staring at a screen, and all of this was done via fiber optic cables running throughout the building, so there was no lag like there may be with internet. According to my husband, who works on the tech team, things went pretty seamlessly. That is a huge answer to prayer. It was very complicated, and the tech team did an incredible job getting us all set up and ready. I am so thankful for all their hard work.
After church on Sunday, my whole family went to a friend's house for a cookout and to swim. It was lovely being at home alone! I am such an introvert, so I had a great day of watching tv and making my favorite dinner. I had a couple of phone conversations, then I sat down to try to plan dinner and meal ideas for the week and to update some lists I have going on my phone. (More about that later in the week, though.)
I'll leave you with something funny I saw on social media last night:
This is why men die first. I could totally see my husband doing something like this. It reminded me of another night a couple of years ago, when we went to visit my dad-in-love while he recovered in the hospital for one night with his knee replacement surgery.
See? Proof that this kind of thing is why the husband usually dies first. Women are generally more careful than men. I laughed out loud when I saw that, needless to say.
How was your weekend? I'd love to hear! Thanks for reading, love to all.
at May 25, 2020
Friday, May 22, 2020
Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for this blog post.
It's been a quick week! Things have mostly returned to normal around here (minus the fact that my husband is still around a lot) and it felt slightly busy. Graham was gone just about every day this week, and all day on those days, which is such a blessing. Their company is coming into their busy time of year, finally after months of being the opposite. Drew went back to work as well, at the local Christian daycare in our area, and he has been so happy and maybe more than a little tired. Quarantine schedules have everyone thrown off their normal. Noah worked this week and Jonah worked some as well.
I thought I'd share some of my favorite moments from this past week.
Ignore my terrible hair. But how cute is this shirt? I love the saying, because for a couple of weeks in a row, I wrote a series with that same title on the blog. And also, I often talk about "the golden days" in which my boys were all younger, and as magical as those were, these days right now are pretty special as well. I know that all too soon I will not have them all at home under the same roof as me, and I will miss the loud, crazy, chaotic moments that them being here brings to me.
I foresee this shirt as being one of my favorites for the summer. What is NOT my favorite is my hair. I desperately need some color put back onto the roots and have an appointment scheduled for Monday, June 1. It cannot come fast enough.
This moment last weekend was one of my favorites. It was my mom-in-love's birthday and Todd wished her a happy birthday by trying out his new cordless leaf blower on her. I'm rolling my eyes as I write that statement. You should have SEEN THE DOG hair that floated back down to the floor when he was done being silly.
See that cute mug? Well, it was my favorite. It's her favorite, too. She told me a story about how their best friends were passing through on their way to see their daughter that lives in Texas, and when her friend complimented the cute coffee mug she chose for that morning before they left, Phyllis slipped it into her bag without her knowing. When she raved over this one, I decided to send her home with it, even though it was a gift from a young lady I go to church with and even though I loved it that much. She inspired me to do that, and that's how I always want to be~never so tied down to something that I wouldn't be willing to give it away at a moment's notice.
Also? She totally earned it by putting up with her obnoxious son over the leaf blower incident.
I don't remember where I saw this or got it from, but I loved it enough to save it for this week's favorites post. I love this quote and know it to be so true. Quiet time with the Lord each day should be the very last thing we neglect when we become too busy. I don't hardly ever miss this time each day, even if I have to do it outside of the normal morning time I have and wait until right before bedtime. The time of day it happens is irrelevant, but what matters is that we spend time with the Lord every single day!
This is my current Bible study! I ordered this on Tuesday and got it yesterday. I miss Bible study so much. I decided to do this one on my own, so I bought the book on Amazon then order the bundle of teaching videos from LifeWay. (They were $20.) This is a six week long study and each day of homework so far has taken about 45 minutes to an hour. That will be extremely off-putting for some of you, I know, but I don't mind that. It is so good! I love her teaching, too, and she teaches this from the Holy Land. It's so cool to see places in Scripture come alive as she's there showing you that this or that battle took place right over her shoulder.
Bible study is one of my favorite past times.
I shared this one night this week, as an appreciation post for my best friend. This is a hard time of year for her, due to a lot of loss in a short amount of time, and I was praying for her and felt led to share this picture. But also, I am so thankful for the godly friends that the Lord has given to me. I don't take them lightly, because for years this was not the case. They were one of the desires in my heart though, and God was faithful in hearing my prayers. He always is and I am always so grateful to Him. I can't imagine a life without my friends, and they are always one of my favorite parts of the week when I get to see them.
Another favorite moment was Wednesday night. I got to go to church! We are reopening Sunday and we had praise team practice to go over all the songs. It was so good to be back! Man it felt so good to be back in the worship center. It is going to be so good on Sunday! If you need a place to attend, I'd love to have you come....we are meeting with guidelines in place, and there will be five locations inside the building for you to choose to sit in for worship. If you're interested, reach out and I can help you if you need some help.
Well, I need to run. Thanks for reading! Love to all.
at May 22, 2020
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Happy Wednesday, friends. This week is moving right along, is it not? I actually have plans today even, woohoo! I can't always say that.
I'm still reading along in my Bible, in chronological order. I've thoroughly enjoyed being in the book of Psalm. For the past few days, I've been reading it out loud. I love doing that, and I can't recommend reading in that way enough. Something about reading it out loud makes you really slow down and pay attention to the words you're reading. I'm such a fast reader that I tend to really fly through what may take some people twenty minutes. I have stopped and gone back to read so many times.
Just Monday I read Psalm 78, and the words are so familiar to me. I'll pause right there for just one second.
I'm pausing here because for the last few months, I've been studying and helping write a Bible study on the book of Hosea. I'm one of six ladies of our writing team at my church, and this study will be available to purchase around the end of July or the first of August, and we'll take it together as ladies in the fall. (And if you're local to me, I'd love to have you join us!)
That's the reason the words of Psalm 78 seemed familiar to me on Monday. Because of the subject matter of the book of Hosea and to grasp somewhat of an understanding of what was going on at the time the book was written, I read many other passages of Scripture, and though I can't remember if Psalm 78 was one of them, it was similar enough that I wrote in the margins of my Bible how much it reminded me of the book of Hosea. I read something about God being moved to compassion that sparked the thought of this all, but I love how Scripture ties together so beautifully.
I love reading in chronological order, and I love seeing a thread of something all throughout the Bible.
When we read the Bible and we think of another passage, to me that is what that verse means that says the word of God is living and active. It can perceive our thoughts, and my pastor once said that as we read Scripture, the Scripture is reading us. Isn't that amazing? I've experienced this so much in my life that I know it to be true.
Do you have a story or a thought along these lines, how you thought of a verse at "just the right moment"? I'd love to hear it, if so. It's so good to share these stories! It's faith building. This is one small reason why I write in journals, for the purpose of remembering.
Thanks for reading, friends. Love to all.
at May 20, 2020
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
I have grand plans for today. My pantry and I will be spending quality time together today. It's been terrible since the whole pandemic thing happened, and with six of us living here, you can imagine how out of hand it can quickly become.
I love the kind of week when I know everything that is for dinner already. I know we're all the same right now~in a cooking rut because nobody ever gives suggestions. I tell them if they don't give me ideas or requests, they have to eat what I like. Thankfully, none of them are the type to complain. Last night we had spaghetti, salad and garlic bread. Tonight we're having chicken on the grill, along with veggies of some sort. Wednesday night I have to be at church during the dinner hour, so I won't be cooking. Thursday night we'll have cabbage with smoked sausages and cornbread, and one weekend night we will have beer cheddar Joe's, since I never made that last week.
What are your dinner plans for this week? Do share!
Also happening this week is my husband being gone a lot at night. Church starts back this coming Sunday, and he will be there to help with all the technical things. That's why I'll be there Wednesday night, too, for praise team rehearsal. I'm so excited to be starting back to church! I wasn't scheduled to help with worship this week, but a sweet young friend asked me to fill in for her since she'll be working. With Todd gone, I foresee watching a lot of streaming tv. I am not complaining about that.
What are you watching right now? I would love to hear suggestions for that as well! I'm currently re-watching Parenthood, but I also love Gilmore Girls, Grey's Anatomy, Madam Secretary, and Friday Night Lights. I have several shows in my queue as well, but I'd love some more!
I plan on finishing the book I'm reading today. I have a little less than half left, then I have one more in the series, then the new one I got received last week. These are all books by Robin Jones Gunn. There are several by her that I'm missing, so I'm hoping to start ordering them from some place online soon. I don't care if they're used or not, but these books are hard to get ahold of, even at the library, and I don't want to spend a fortune.
Are any of you doing a Bible study right now? I have a couple at home that I've not yet started, but I'm thinking of ordering one this week. I am always reading in the Bible, and right now I'm doing the chronological Bible, but I want more in depth. I'm leaning towards a Kay Arthur Precept Upon Precept study, or one by Jen Wilkin. I am planning on reading a book over the summer with the women in my church, as well, Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Don't think that'll keep me too busy, it won't. The book is just reading, but a study is more in depth and what I'm craving. If you have thoughts on that, I'd love to hear those as well. I'm just full of things I'm looking for help with, so if you have thoughts, please share them.
Well, thanks for reading, friends. Love to all.
at May 19, 2020
Monday, May 18, 2020
Happy Monday, friends! I'm linking up with Tanya from The Other Side of the Road for this blog post.
It was such a good weekend! On Friday night, we were all in different directions. Noah was working, and Graham went to dinner with his friend. Drew wasn't even hungry, but Todd, Jonah and I ate pizza.
My sister Trish texted me that night and asked if I wanted to go with her and Mom on Saturday to run to a few places and eat lunch. My answer was very quick and definitive: YES. So that's what I did on Saturday morning until early in the afternoon. It was so nice, and I went to Hobby Lobby! It felt so normal, and I know I say that every weekend, but it excites me to be normal again. (Except for people wearing face masks everywhere, that will never feel right.) That day was my mom-in-love's birthday and they came over to celebrate that night.
I love this picture of her with Graham and Wiley, during Graham's graduation festivities three years ago. This is a nice picture and all, but this one below is a more accurate depiction of what her celebration looked like:
Todd bought a new cordless leaf blower Saturday afternoon, and decided to test it out on his mom. Can you tell we mess around a lot when they come over? And it's always very loud. We had hamburgers for dinner, and aside from a grill misshap, it was a great evening. We had two kinds of desserts to choose from and the birthday girl got to eat a little of both because everyone knows that calories don't exist when it's your birthday.
Noah worked his last shift at Papa John's pizza Saturday night. He went in at 3:30 and was back home before 7:30. He decided to quit because he is working with his friend Jacob, for Jacob's relative's landscape company. The hours are daytime hours only and the pay is really good. Noah worked almost every single weekend from the time he was hired at Papa John's, and he was tired of never having Friday and Saturday nights off. He would occasionally ask for a weekend night off, but not very often. He said he won't miss working there, and I believe him, but it was a great first job. When the weather cools off again and he no longer cuts grass, he has plans to get a job somewhere else.
We had our last week of online church Sunday morning, and I didn't participate in the first part of it because I was on the screen singing on the praise team. Next week we get to meet in person! I cannot wait.
The rest of our day was pretty low key. The weather was a little gloomy, and we just took it easy. It was a great weekend. How was yours?
Thanks for reading! Love to all.
at May 18, 2020
Friday, May 15, 2020
Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals (and her friend Shaeffer) for this blog post.
This week went by so fast, and it felt normal again, which thrills my heart. I stayed pretty caught up on laundry, which is always so nice, we got started in the process of talking about our (soon to be ready) flower beds, we got the time scheduled for it to begin, my guys worked, I cooked, I got to go to church one night (to record music for this Sunday), and the light at the end of this quarantine tunnel is officially visible to me and getting brighter.
Here are a few favorite things about our week.
My favorite author came out with book two in her series, Haven Makers. I received the second one free to read and review on my blog, but I hadn't read the first one yet, so I ordered it and read it over the weekend. I can't say enought about this book, but it was so beautiful, and comforting to my soul. Robin Jones Gunn has a way with words that nobody else has, and I've been reading them for thirty years now.
Reading has been my favorite part of the week, and a huge theme, since I'm on a reading kick. (I go in spurts.)
This is the series I'm in the middle of reading right now. This may be my favorite book of the series. I say this about all of them, truthfully, and it changes according to where I am in life when I read (and re-read) the books.
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is my favorite speaker and person to listen to on a podcast. This book was so very good! In reading this on Monday, I discovered that I would like to read some of Robert's books as well as more of hers. He is a great writer, and I can almost hear him speak.
I am currently in the book of Psalm for my daily chronological Bible reading. Psalms is my favorite book in the Bible! I say that all the time, too, though I really mean it this time. I love to read the Psalms, pray them over my family, and write them. I have a notebook I've been writing them in ever since we've been quarantined.
Also, each week my friend Amy (who is also the director of women's ministries at our church) has been teaching on a Psalm. I've enjoyed these online sessions so much!
One of my favorite moments from this week was this past Saturday when my favorite checker at my local grocery store handed me this beautiful card. I almost cried, I was so touched. I have this in my room on my bookshelves, because I want to remember how God felt very close to me in that moment when she did this. He does feel so very close to me sometimes. Not always, but sometimes I can almost tangibly feel His presence.
Another favorite time from my week was Sunday. The day started out rough, but it got infinitely better when I left home at one and didn't return until bedtime. I went to visit my stepmom and dad, and then my mom. It was so nice being out of my house all day! I needed that kind of a day, because I haven't really been anywhere in two months now, other than the grocery store. What began as rough, ended in a way that was glorious. I was thanking the good Lord for it all the way home.
Another highlight of my week was on Tuesday night, when I got to go to church! This is our last week of online church only, and the praise team met on Tuesday night to record the music for Sunday. That will never be normal, by the way, and is every bit as intimidating as it sounds. I'm not a huge fan of doing that, but it was needed and it was my turn. Starting next week, we will begin meeting again at the building, but in various rooms throughout. That will be interesting, but I am so excited to see that light at the end of this long tunnel we've lived in since mid-March.
Thursday night was another favorite. I met a couple of my best friends in the church parking lot, and we ate dinner together and caught up once again. You have no idea what these Thursday nights mean to me~to all of us, really.
That's about it for my week~how was yours? I'd love to hear about it! Thanks for reading, and love to all.
at May 15, 2020
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Anyone else feeling the sentiment of this? I'd love for this to be a motivational post that gives all of us new dinner ideas. I thought I'd share mine from the week.
One night we had roasted turkey breasts covered with Cajun seasoning, oven-roasted potatoes with olive oil and "everything but the bagel" seasoning, green beans and rolls. It was really good, and those turkey breasts are delicious when you follow the instructions. You cook them at 325 degrees for about two hours and they're perfect every time. All my sons love this, and because they're all grown and have huge appetites, I buy two of the small turkey breasts to feed them all.
We had hamburgers on the grill on Wednesday night. I love mixing French onion soup mix into the hamburger mixture for mine. It flavors them unbelievably well, and every time I make these, they're gobbled up faster than I can write this sentence. We have to make extras when we make these. This is also my husband's new thing to do on our new grill.
Thursday night (I'm writing this on Wednesday night) we are having chicken fajitas. For this, I marinate chicken in a bit of taco seasoning, cumin powder, and olive oil. Todd will do this on the grill as well, and we'll bring it all in and cut it into chunks. While he grills, I will sautee mushrooms (in butter, worcestershire sauce, and a splash of soy sauce), bell peppers and onions. I'll have shredded cheese to garnish them, along with sour cream, salsa, and if we're lucky, avocado. I just eat mine with a rolled up tortilla in my hand, and I eat them with a fork.
We may have pizza Friday night, because Noah is working and it's been a minute since we've had that. I have a bit of hamburger meat leftover, so I may do some beer cheddar Joe's on Saturday night. (I may have to buy some more meat for this.) I got this recipe from Shay at Mix and Match Mama, but just Google Shay Shull's "beer cheddar Joe's". The boys love this and I love to eat the mixture over rice.
That's about it for our meals this week. What are things you've made and eaten this week? I'd love to hear! Thanks for reading, love to all.
at May 14, 2020
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Happy Wednesday, friends! I thought I'd share a couple of things I like to do to add to my quiet time each day. I don't always do this, but sometime (like on Monday night when I had time to kill before I headed upstairs for bed), I tacked this on to the end of my day. I like to end the day like this sometimes, particularly if I've felt a little gloomy, or even when I'm feeling extra thankful to the Lord for how He has brought me through something.
I almost consider this a funny fact about me, because nobody would ever guess how much I love YouTube except for my best friend Missy. We share this love and we both utilize it ALL. THE. TIME. There are several bands and pastors that I've subscribed to. One pastor is Francis Chan, so when he uploads a video, I get a notification. I watched a video last night of him teaching on Jeremiah 1:5. It was so good! He uploads short videos all the time, at least once a week, and I love to hear him teach. They're usually about fifteen minutes long.
I also love to subscribe to some of my favorite worship leaders, like Elevation Worship, CityAlight, Kari Jobe, Hillsong, and others like them. I love worship music and to have it playing all throughout my day. Since we've all been quarantined, one of the biggest things I've missed is going to church for worship. It's not at all the same to worship here at home during the Sunday service. In lieu of that, I worship the Lord at different times during the day, like when I'm cooking or if I'm in my bathroom upstairs getting dressed. I have a couple of bluetooth speakers in my house that I use when I play music. One is my Google Mini Nest here in the kitchen. I can say to it, "Hey Google, play ________.", and usually a playlist from Spotify will start playing.
We are Spotify subscribers, too. You can join for free, but we like to be able to listen without ads, so we have a family plan for a small amount each month. We're able to listen to all kinds of music on here, and my husband uses this exclusively in his truck while he's driving. I have playlists that I listen to on Spotify all the time, and my favorite is one I made that has a lot of worship songs that I like. (I'm really particular about worship music....not every Christian radio song is a worship song. My preference is when they're taken out of Scripture.) The other bluetooth speaker I have I keep in my bathroom, and it's a little Bose speaker that Todd bought me years ago for my birthday. He loves to buy me electronics. I love that thing! It's portable and can be moved, but it pretty much stays up there, except for when we take it out on the deck with us.
I love music and ever since I was a young girl, the Lord has used songs in my life to bring me closer to Him. Some of my earliest memories from childhood involve music. Even Sunday when I went to see my stepmom and dad for Mother's day, we sat and listened to music together while I was there. Almost every time we're together, we do this, it's nothing new. Dad loves older music, but he also loves all of my newer stuff. There have been many a Friday when we sat in my living room and worshiped to a Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir song I pulled up for him to hear.
A lot of times when I'm listening to a song that I know is out of Scripture, I will turn to the passage in my bible and read it along with what I'm listening to. I just did this last night as I listened to one of the newer songs that I currently love, The Blessing, by Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes. It's taken from Numbers 6:24-26.
I just think that doing this at the end of the day is really sweet. It's like the lyrics that you've listened to are emblazed upon your heart, and what a sweet thing to listen to right before you lay down at night. Look at these lyrics of that song The Blessing that I mentioned. This was what I listened to right before I went to bed:
May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And tHeir children, and tHeir children
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And tHeir children, and tHeir children
May His presence go before you
And behind you, and beside you
All around you, and within you
He is with you, He is with you
And behind you, and beside you
All around you, and within you
He is with you, He is with you
In tHe morning, in tHe eveningIsn't that beautiful? I love to pray these verses in Numbers 6:24-26 over my family, and I love the other verses the song mentions. I'll write them out.
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you, He is for you
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you, He is for you
But showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands. Exodus 20:6
Know that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps his gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love him and keep his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9
But from eternity to eternity to LORD's faithful love is toward those who fear him, and his righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep his covenant, who remember his precepts. The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Psalm 103:17-19
I love to pray Scripture over my family, and these songs are what leads me to this a lot of time. So that's just another thing I like to do sometimes. Like I mentioned, I don't do this every day, but I do when I have the time or if I'm wanting to fill the time and don't like what is being watched on the living room tv. Thanks for reading! Love to all.
at May 13, 2020
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Happy Tuesday, friends! I have to say that I feel so much better today. I went back and re-read what I'd written on Sunday night when I wrote my Hello Monday post, and I was in a rough place. I'd been emotional and had walked around wearing my heart on my sleeve, and any time that happens, I need to stay away from the keyboard. Anyway, I know my mom was praying for me, and I'm grateful. I feel normal again.
Yesterday was such a gift of a day. Neither Todd nor I had any place to be, so we sat at the kitchen table together that morning, he doing something for work, and me in my quiet time of reading the Bible, then we went into the living room. He watched Live PD all day, and I read a book. More about that in a minute...but it was nice and slow and we just enjoyed being together and quiet. I love days like that.
Also, last night is the first time I've cooked a meal since Thursday of last week! It was a good meal, one that I've learned that we all love, thanks to being quarantined at home together. When we were having the meat shortage at the beginning of all of this, I was at the grocery store looking for meat to make for my family that week, and came across boneless turkey breasts. The first time I bought one, and every time since I've gotten two to feed us all. Last night I made that with green beans, roasted potatoes, and Sister Shubert's rolls. To the turkey breasts, I spray them with cooking oil and cover them in a Cajun seasoning. You bake them at 325 for two hours, and they're perfect every single time.
In feeling so much better yesterday, I had some moments of extreme gratitude that we have seen all of the sets of parents within a week's time. I do not ever want to take that lightly or for granted. Years ago, Todd and I could have moved away for him to work somewhere else, but we stayed here near our families, and I can't ever regret that decision. At times I wish we lived somewhere else, but I am forever thankful to the Lord for His gift of grandparents. They all had such a vital role in the lives of our sons, and I wouldn't trade one second of that time for all the money in the world.
The boys are genuinely excited to see my dad again on Fridays. They've missed him! I have missed our time together each week, as well, this has all felt so unnatural. I've never been one to stay away from family. If you're a mom and live near family and are reading this, I know you feel the same way. It's not always something we think about, but when I hear my sons talk about doing this or that with their grandparents years ago, I'm so glad for all those memories they have entwined with their childhood years. They each played such different roles, all the grands, but not one was better than the other. We are richly blessed to have lived this life here in the same home, in the same town I was born and raised in, for all of these years. I love that my sons will always consider this home, and it's one of a million reasons as to why this will be our forever home. (My husband will come around to this same type of thinking someday, I'm sure.) While I never want to be attached too much to any earthly possession, I am so glad for all of this and that we have this beautiful place to live.
I'm probably thinking all of this because of the book I read yesterday. My friend gave it to me to read and pass on, and it was wonderful. It's called, You Can Trust God to Write Your Story, and it's written my Nancy DeMoss and Robert Wolgemuth. It's all about the providence of God. Isn't that beautiful? I love that word, even though it's one that isn't used much anymore. The whole book talks about how every single moment of our lives is divinely written and played out by the hand of an Almighty God. Everything we have is from Him, and He is the one who gives people the ability to provide for their families. He is the ultimate Provider, though. Everything is for Him, too, when you live your life for Him and keep the right perspective. It's why I always say that in the grand scheme of life, this or that doesn't matter all that much. God knows how everything is going to play out, and just yesterday as I was driving along one of my favorite country roads, I remembered the verse in Luke 12:27~Consider how the wildflowers grow; they don't labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these.
If He can take care of the birds in the air and the flowers in a field, how much more will He care for us? Someone probably needs to read that again, and I know I was in need of remembering that over the weekend. This is what I consider to be kingdom thinking. It's a good mindset for us to have, those of us who are believers. We may get sidetracked or distracted every once in a while, but we need to pray that the Lord would help us with taking captive those thoughts and making them obedient to Him.
Thanks for reading. Love to all.
Monday, May 11, 2020
Happy Monday, friends! I'm linking up with Tanya at The Other Side of the Road, and her friends, for this blog post.
How was your weekend? Ours was okay. The weather here has been so pretty, and cooler, but it's making my sinuses go crazy and I have suffered with that since last week. I wanted to try to get out, but then I would and would start feeling dizzy, so I slept a lot. I seem to feel better when I take naps.
I've been on a break from cooking since Thursday night. We have food in the house, I just haven't cooked a meal. I don't know what they've been eating, but I've eaten leftovers twice. I did make some pasta for me on Friday night (the rest of them were out and Todd wanted Popeyes), and Jonah had some too. I started this book that night, because the sequel to it released just last week, and I received a copy of it to read and review here on my blog. I don't say that lightly; I am always so grateful to authors for including me in this honor of helping launching their books. I don't know how they get my name, but I am glad they do. Robin's assistant is always the one who reaches out to me to send me books. And though I was sent a free e-version of the book, I still bought myself a hard copy, because I prefer that to the electronic version. (This time that couldn't be helped, nobody is sending out physical copies right now because of COVID-19.)
Robin Jones Gunn is my favorite author of all time. I've been reading her books since I was about thirteen years old, and now I'm forty-three...so for thirty years, she has had this place in my heart. She has this way with words that is beautiful, and I can always see the picture with words she paints. This book is so very good. It's so much more than just "so very good", it's really beautiful and I cried through a good portion of it. I needed to read some of the words inside of it this weekend, and it was like a balm to my weary soul. I always feel a little gloomy when I don't feel good, and add to that sons who wait for the very last minute to do anything (even for mother's day), and well, I just needed to read truth from Scripture and the reminder that God sees me and hears me when I cry.
Yes, this is a fiction book, but it is all of that and so much more.
There is a verse for this book that the story plays off of, and I love how the New Living Translation captures the words:
Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. Romans 5:2
This is the first book in the series, Haven Makers. This particular book is all about the bond that women form as friends, and all of her books would make excellent book club books and include questions at the end of the book, should you want to do that. There is something so sweet about friendships and godly women who love and spur you on to love and good works. I'm grateful for my friends that fall into that category, and I think that's why I always love books like this. Don't just take my word~try them out for yourself! You can order online at any of your favorite retailers.
Right now in the chronological order of the Bible I'm reading through, we are in the book of Psalm. It has been so good! God knew I would need these words right now, and this was what I read on Saturday morning in my quiet time.
After this time with the Lord, I dressed and went to Kroger. I was standing in line to checkout, when I heard someone say my name, and I turned around and saw my favorite cashier who works there, Donna. We caught up for a few minutes, and then she handed me a mother's day card!
Not just any card, either, but a beautiful one with one of my favorite passages of Scripture written on the outside. I was shocked, needless to say, and may have teared up over this precious gift. I wished I could have given her a hug, but I thanked her profusely for this gift, and put it in my purse to open later. Wasn't that a sweet kiss from the King? He is always so good to me, and so loving! I almost feel like He personally reached out and hugged me through this sweet woman of God whom I've gotten to know over the years.
Todd and I went to Lowe's for a few things when I got back home from the store, and then I came home, ate lunch and took a long nap. That night he was outside with the boys doing things with their vehicles, and I stayed inside to watch my show on Hulu, eat dinner, and finish the book I raved about above.
Sunday we watched church online (only two more and then we can meet in real person again!) and celebrated these two lovely ladies.
Normally we would have gone out to lunch to do this, but you know, Corona and all that.
It was a pretty good weekend. How was yours? I would love to hear!
Thanks for reading, love to all.
at May 11, 2020
Friday, May 8, 2020
Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals and her friend Erika for this blog post.
I so rarely include products in these Friday Favorites post that I thought I would actually do that this week and make this a useful space. A couple of weeks ago, I ordered this from Amazon. I use ground beef a lot and this tool is called a meat masher. I used to break up the meat with a metal spatula, but we threw it away and I've been needing a replacement for a bit. I love this tool! I have used it almost everyday since I bought it and for multiple things.
This thing has over a thousand five star reviews on Amazon. I used it Wednesday night when I made loaded baked potato soup and mashed up some of the potatoes with it. It only cost around $9.
I also ordered my favorite mascara last weekend.
Anyone else been using this stuff since the beginning of time?
To read the rest of what I've bought lately on Amazon, scroll down to yesterday's post.
Cinco de Mayo was my favorite night of this week. I came across this yummy recipe for baked tacos and it was family-approved. Jonah asked me to make it again soon. I topped mine with sauteed onions and bell peppers, sour cream, and salsa. For the recipe, just type into the Google search bar "Mix and Match Mama baked tacos" and this recipe will come up.
Anyone who knows me knows that I could eat Mexican food everyday of my life.
Farm fresh eggs are my favorite, and these came from Graham's friend Chase. His family sells honey and eggs, and I've been on the receiving end of both. I love gifts like this! Aren't they beautiful? I really love the multi-color.
I created this image on YouVersion this week, and this passage I read is one of my favorite passages of scripture. It's easy to create verse images on YouVersion, if they don't have a background you don't like. You can click on the camera gallery option and choose one of the pictures off of your phone. This particular background is a screenshot I took of some new phone background images someone I follow on Instagram offered to us last week. It sounds complicated, but it's really not.
This particular day of scripture writing was my favorite, and the good Lord literally stopped me in my tracks as I read the passage and wrote it out. I ended up writing an article for it for the online magazine I contribute to, so I look forward to sharing it with you soon.
Our church is my favorite. I love that during this time of being quarantined they've included songs like this for the kids at their homes. Last week the song was Waymaker, and it was the same look as this~bright and simple to engage them for the service. I am so excited that we have a plan in place to start worshiping together again on May 24. It's going to be really different and so strange, I'm sure, but I can't wait.
We still need to add landscaping to the front, but our completed home renovation is complete. We need to landscape and repair the fence in the back and finish a couple of things inside and we will be done. We're just waiting a bit, because we've spent a lot of money and this whole quarantine has been hard on us financially. (Is that oversharing?)
These two guys are always some of my favorites.
This was us sitting on the deck Wednesday night. The weather here turned really cool, so it was perfect fire pit weather.
It's been a really great week. It's been busy, which has been nice. I've made giant strides in writing my portion of the Bible study we're currently editing and I'm almost ready to completely hand it off. I've written it, I've taken it as a student, I've re-written a lot of the days, my friend has taken it as a student and gave me some great suggestions to add, and now I'm almost ready to let it go. I have to add references and maybe edit two more pages, and I'll be able to do that. By the time you read this, I will have turned it all in. Big giant gulp.
My friend Barbee said it best: this whole process is like a young mom handing over her newborn baby for someone else to rock.
I couldn't agree more.
Thanks for reading, friends. Love to all.
at May 08, 2020
Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend—mine was really good. Here are some of my top moments from the weekend. I read. A lot. I fini...
Happy March! I have to be honest~I love every single season that God gives me to experience. I love summer because there are friends galor...
Most of you know by now, of my sister-in-love, Tracy. She is 42, almost 43, actually, and since she was about 20 or 21, she has had a ra...
I loved this morning's devotion from Jesus Calling, so I thought it would share it with you. All of the below is written by Sarah Young...