Thursday, September 30, 2021

Thankful Thursday

 

Happy Thursday, friends. I'm joining in this week with Rebecca Jo and Leslie, for our weekly linkup. 

Needless to say, the thing at the top of my list this week has to do with something that happened a week ago today. I wrote a whole blog post about it, so if you'd like to read about it, click here for the full story. I am thankful for this verse below and the truth that it has meant in my life, both last week and in previous years. I'll write it out for you.

A person's heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

The short version of what happened last week was that my Kroger had a mass shooting that took place on the day and at the exact time I was supposed to have been there. The Lord allowed my lunch to run late and I ended up being pressed for time and had to go on to my next appointment, but I very well could have been in the store when it happened. Two lives were lost and several were critically injured, but a friend of mine was among one whose life was lost.

I'll eventually stop writing about this, but all of us who live in this idyllic town are shocked. I read somewhere yesterday that another Kroger nearby had all the cars broken into while the employees were at work in the night. We're never immune to evil and if we started looking more closely, we would see that it is all around us. That's not something I really want to focus on, though. I'd prefer to think on how many times the Lord has protected me or my loved ones during instances I had no idea were even going on. I know it happens all the time! I don't believe in coincidence, but I do believe that every moment of our lives has been planned out since the beginning of time.

I know that the Lord has delayed all of us before and I know He will do that again. Our days are numbered and no matter what is going on in the world (with something horrific like a mass shooting or a global pandemic that will never go away), He alone knows when our beginning was and He knows when our last day on earth is. I trust Him with all of my life and I refuse to live my life in fear. 

That's not to say that I am going to be careless with my life, but I know and acknowledge that all of my life and the lives of my family members are all planned out. I choose to trust the Lord with all of my heart and to lean on Him...even if I experience a moment of hesitation before I walk into that Kroger for the first time when it opens back up.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

I didn't mean to make this whole post about that, but I am just so thankful that the Lord guides my every step. He does that for all of who belong to Him. He is loving, kind, faithful and trustworthy. Do you know Him? I ask all the time, because it's the most important thing you'll ever read on this blog...the other stuff is fun and "fluff", which I love, but this is the meat of the blog and the most important reason why I write. I pray often, asking God to use this little space to glorify Himself and I hope you know that is always the intention of my heart. 

There is so much more I can say, but this is the gist of what has been on my heart this week, especially as I've been studying the book of Esther in Bible study. God's providence is always at work, even when it's nothing we see. 

There are some other wonderful things I'm thankful for from this week as well, and I don't want to skim over those. Some of those things are time with our parents, a full dinner table at dinner on Tuesday night and being together as a family of six (plus one extra) for the first time in way too long. I'm thankful for my sons that reached out to me to check on my whereabouts last Thursday and their extra long hugs when I saw them that day. I'm thankful for things like good and lighthearted books to read and escape into, a sound machine app at night to block out the sound of the comings and goings of my sons, and unexpected visits from Drew after he stopped by his old job at the Christian daycare near our house. (Is that not the sweetest thing? He missed his kids from there and he stopped by yesterday to play kickball in the gym with them for an hour...this is Drew, that works at St. Jude.) I'm thankful for Graham going and filling my car with gas that he paid for last night...I'd asked him to do that for me, but I didn't expect him to pay for it. I'm thankful for good dinners and snacks for when people are hungry and for hard working sons. Noah has come home extra tired after two hard days of work, and Jonah has a gained confidence in his abilities after working alone one day late last week. 

I'm thankful for little reminders from the Lord when I glimpse at the clock at the same time, everyday, at the exact same time: 6:33. It reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses—

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Matthew 6:33

I'll end it on that note. Thanks for reading my blog! Love to all. 




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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

What's Up Wednesday


Happy Wednesday, friends! Here is a little glimpse of what we were up to both this week so far and the month of September. 

What we're eating this week:

Well, Monday night we had pizza. Last night Drew and one of his roommates came over for Dorito chicken casserole, rice, green beans and rolls. Tonight we'll have something leftover, most likely. Tomorrow night I'm probably going to make meatloaf and Friday night I'll probably have leftovers again. Nobody is ever here, but on week nights, it's always Todd, Noah and me. 

What I'm reminiscing about:


This was five or six years ago, at my niece's wedding weekend in Denver. My sister Debi and I ended up beside each other and we were acting silly for this picture. I do remember loving the champagne we toasted them with. My dad was here last week and we started talking about another time when the four of us girls were together for Trish's birthday weekend in Nashville. We had made reservations to go to a dinner/theater type thing to see Steel Magnolias, and we assumed it was a dressy event. We pulled in and saw that it was a senior citizen's center and most people were in shorts and t-shirts, yet there we were, dressed to the nines. The dinner was mediocre at best and Debi was trying to have the best attitude about it and took a big bite and goes, "Mmmm! This is good!" and I spit out my drink. I was telling Dad about this on Friday and we got so tickled, because he could just hear Debi say that. 

Fun times. 

What I'm loving:


Seeing my sons thrive. I love that they're loving this phase of life. Noah loves his new (to him) car, Jonah loves his truck, Graham loves his dog and will love when his truck is back home, Drew loves his new job at St. Jude. Happy sons does my heart good. 

What we've been up to:

Not much, honestly. We've been at church a lot, because we had a night of worship this past weekend, which was so good. Todd was there for one night to help set up the extra equipment they used. Todd and I are still watching Manifest, but we're on the last season. We live pretty simple and mundane lives, which I love. The boys stay busy and are constantly in and out...so much so that I am using a sound machine app on my phone to help me rest better at night. I'm reading a TON.

What I'm dreading:

Going back to my Kroger when it reopens. I'm both dreading and looking forward to it, if that makes sense. I'm eager to see my friends that I've gotten to know after years of shopping there, but I'm not sure how I'll feel walking into the doors where a deranged man walked into it and started shooting people last week. For anyone new here, we had a mass shooting there last week, at my Kroger, a mile from my home. I actually should have been there at the exact time of the shooting, but my lunch date ran late and I had to postpone going to Kroger until after my appointment at two...but then I never went, because the shooting occurred. Here is a statement my town put out:


I wrote a post about this here. I am thankful that as terrible as this was, it wasn't worse than it ended. A friend of mine was there shopping who later passed away from her injuries. 

On with the lighter stuff now...

What I'm working on:

All of the usual. Writing, blog stuff, house stuff, a few other things.

What I'm excited about:

October! I love this month. I'm ready for the cooler weather. My husband and I celebrate our 25th anniversary on the fourth!

What I'm reading/watching:

I just finished Nantucket Weddings by Pamela Kelley, but I wrote about the books I read this month on Monday. Here is that post. 

We are watching Manifest, and when I'm alone and wanting to watch a movie, I'm watching The Hallmark Channel movies. I love their fall movies, but there don't seem to be as many this year. I'm not sure if that's actually true, but the ones I've seen have been great! 

What I'm listening to:

Currently, nothing. All is quiet here as I write this. Music wise, there is nothing new and as far as podcasts go, I have a few favorites...The Big Boo Cast, The Bestie Breakdown, The Naked Marriage...

What I'm wearing:

I'm still wearing some of the dresses I bought from this summer, because it's hot. However, I did transition my closet and switched up the order of my clothes, with the fall ones at the front. So, that means I'm wearing all the fall colors. For example:


The best of both worlds! Poncho, jeans, wedges, dark colors on my nails.

What I'm doing this weekend:

I'm sure I'll be reading a lot, and most likely I'll find myself here by myself, which means I'll be watching movies and eating something delicious solo. I'm not necessarily complaining. I'll go to church, which I'm always excited about.

What I'm looking forward to next month:

Cooler weather? I've said this already. Our anniversary. Lots of good things.

What else is new:

I have an upcoming writing opportunity that I'm starting to think about and get some ideas for. That's always exciting! I have some things I'm praying about and that I talked about with a friend last week at lunch. I am starting to think about the upcoming holidays, because I keep hearing we need to be prepared for delays this year. I think that's about all!

Thanks for reading my blog! I linked up with Shay for this blog post. Love to all!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Tuesday Around Town

 

Happy Tuesday, friends! I promised I'd come back in two weeks for another glimpse around the town I call home—Collierville, or lovingly known as The Ville. 

In the first installment of this series, I wrote about my home away from home—my beloved church. You can read all about it here.

This week I'm sharing about my other favorite place in town and additional home away from home—our local library! 

(I love the little picnic area pictured above that runs to the side of the library building.)

Here is the front—it's not a great picture, but you get the general idea. I am a HUGE advocate for using the local library, friends. I know not every town has one as nice as this one pictured, but even if you have to drive a town or two over, I cannot recommend joining the one closest to you enough. It has saved me literally thousands of dollars by borrowing books from the library. I love that when I check out there, on the receipt it shows me how much that book would have cost had I bought it in a store. If you are local to me and need some help with this, I would be willing to meet you there to help you get started!

Did you know that anyone can join any library? If you don't live in the actual town, you can pay a small yearly fee and join that way. I think this makes an excellent gift idea for the readers in your life and it's my favorite gift to give. We do this every year for my step-dad Bill. It's nothing expensive and he has used it for years and years now. He loves it and I love that he loves this place as much as I do. It's my happy place, but it's his as well and that's one thing I love having in common with someone. 

I never go and just get one book, I get a whole stack of them, because I never know if I'm going to love it or hate it, and because I often try new authors. This is my favorite kind of thing to get lost in.

Now I never thought I'd be saying this, but I no longer read physical books. I am not done with them forever and ever, but my sweet hubby bought me a Kindle over the summer for my beach trip with girlfriends and I've not looked back since. I love the backlight and that I can adjust the font size. It's a paperwhite, so there is zero glare, which is perfect for reading outside.

Even though I read on this Kindle now, I still use my library! I have the app "Libby" on my phone and I connected my library card number to the app, so I when I read books on this device, they're still considered borrowed library books. I wouldn't be able to use that app on this if I didn't have a library card. I think? I'm not sure. I also have the "Hoopla" app that works the same way, but it's not an app that Kindle supports. If I were reading on a tablet of some sort, I'd be able to use that app as well.

When the boys were little, one of our favorite things to do was go to the library. We went to story hour and they'd walk away with so many books in their stack that they couldn't carry them all in their arms. They all used to love to read, but I don't know what happened. As a homeschooling family, the library also helped us out with things we would go and get to supplement our curriculum. 

Basically it was a great place for them to explore and sometimes run off some extra energy around the lake in the back of the library. 

I can smell this picture, can't you? There is nothing that is more beautiful to me than rows and rows of organized library books. (Notice I said one key word there—organized.)

Aside from the actual library, there is also a small bookstore inside the door called Friends Again Bookstore. I love it in there as well, but I don't make it there very often. They sell books and movies/shows on DVD. I would love to join the book club there that they offer, but for now it's over Zoom only. I applied there recently, but the job position was filled. I'll be honest, though...it's kind of my dream job to work here. I know so many people in our little town and I love to read so much that I know I would be an asset to them, should I ever decide to apply there again.

Have I inspired you to go to your local library yet? You should! I can remember loving a library/bookstore ever since I was a very young girl. Our old library was off of our town square and I remember going there with my mom at a young age. I have loved to read since I was in the first grade, and had a wonderful teacher named Mrs. Shaw who instilled in me this lifelong love. Growing up, my mom was also a good example of this, because she also loves to read and I often witnessed her sitting with a good book. Once I was older, we often traded books back and forth and I still love to do that with her. One thing I know—if you read in front of your kid and make sure they have lots of choices of books to choose from pretty often, you'll have a reader on your hands. (In most cases this is true...mine are the exception and I'm rolling my eyes as I write that.)

Speaking of books, if you missed out on yesterday's blog post, you can click here to read about the books I read in September. 

Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

the books I read in September

Happy Monday, friends. I know my post on Friday was so heavy as I shared about a tragic event that happened in our community last week and many of you reached out with prayers for us as we go on in the coming days. Thank you! I do not want to make light of what happened and I am not...but I am going to continue on with my regularly scheduled blog posts. It's kind of how I deal with things...in assuming normalcy once again. 

What better way to escape reality than by getting lost in a good book? Which is why I laughed out loud when I saw the meme above. It's so appropriate!

I had another really good month of reading and read eight books.

The first book I read was Nantucket Neighbors, by Pamela Kelley. It's the second book in the Nantucket Beach Plum Cove series. 

This author is a really good writer and her books grab my attention immediately. This book had a little mystery and intrigue to it as she had a guest to check in and pay for a weekend that he never showed up for...there's also some speculation going around the community about one peculiar neighbor and what she does to support her living on Nantucket. I enjoyed the story and I loved getting to know the main character's family members more. There are at least seven books in this series and I plan to keep reading them all! Click on the picture of the book cover and you can either read more about the books or buy it for yourself. 

I have never met a Melody Carlson book I didn't love. I know that when I need an encouraging, uplifting and lighthearted read, I can pick out one of her books to transport me to a happier place for a few hours. I finished a book on Labor day, then read this one in a few short hours. I think I loved this book because the idea of living in a tiny house has always been intriguing to me, so I loved getting an "inside look" at that process. The main character in this book binge watches a tiny house show in one weekend and it inspires her to make major changes in her life, both in where she lives and in what she does for a living. As a widow, this change has been years in the making and the show catapults her into her new and improved life...even when challenges occur and even when her adult kids disagree and think she's gone mad. 

If you've never read anything by this author, you should give her a try! She also writes really great Christmas books.

It's been a long time since I picked up a Danielle Steel book, so I borrowed this one from the library.


I always love Danielle Steel books, but this one was not my favorite. It was good enough to keep reading, of course, but the story just fell a little bit short and I only liked two of the characters. That being said, it's about a family in which the couple are unhappily married. She got pregnant out of wedlock and their parents forced them to marry, and years later it all comes to a boiling point when their oldest daughter becomes pregnant at the end of her junior year of high school. The dad in the family decides to leave his wife and their kids, then becomes involved with someone just a few years older than his oldest daughter. It goes on to talk of love, forgiveness and moving on from past wounds in life. It was good, it just wasn't great, though it did have a nice ending. I'm not giving up on her, though, she has several books out that I want to read that are newer than this one.

I read a book by a new (to me) author and loved it so much that I put holds on two more of her books from the library.


I loved this book! It was full of twists and turns and kept me shocked up until the very end. This is about a couple whose baby goes missing while they're at a party next door. Their babysitter canceled on them, so when they leave her alone with a monitor and resolve to check on her every thirty minutes, they wonder how anything could go wrong? Until it does and she goes missing. I won't say too much, because I think you should read this book for yourself. I will be reading more by this author!


I love Denise Hunter's books, but this one wasn't my favorite! It was good enough for me to stick with it, but the ending went on and on. Also, it didn't have a lot to do with the title of the book, which kind of bugged me, but...anyway.

The book starts out with the main character at her sister's wedding. She runs into her ex-boyfriend, who is much nicer than he used to be. She ends up telling him that she is the new owner of a bookshop in need of repair, so when the weather turns bad, he stays (because he's stranded) and helps her out. It progresses from there, but the main character bugged the DAYLIGHTS out of me. She doted on her younger siblings and was indecisive, which are two characteristics that I don't like. All of that is kind of what ruined the book for me, but I still love her as a writer and will give her plenty more chances.


I'm not too upset about the dud of the book above, because this one redeemed it in my eyes. I love these books and this series! This was the third book in the series and it was my favorite of them so far. We were introduced to a new character in this book, Angela from California. She moves to the island when she inherits her late grandmother's cottage and she meets wonderful new friends as soon as she arrives. Angela cleans houses, which is near and dear to my heart because someone I know and love does that and it reminded me of her. I loved it so much that I read the next one immediately after. I think I'm going to do this until I've read them all.


Have I mentioned how much I love being invested in a great series of books? My favorite way to read them is one right after another. It helps me keep the characters straight in my head, for one thing, but they're also genuinely good books. They are not Christian fiction, but there is nothing bad in them. NOTHING. I love that. This book is about the best friend of one of the main characters, so I enjoyed getting to know her and continuing on with the lives of all the others. 

I ended the month strong with my final book, yet another by the same author.


This one introduces yet another new character and also continues with the other characters and family members that I know so well. And TWO weddings take place in this book, which you know I love. I won't say too much, because you get my gist—go and read these books, friends! They're excellent.

I will also say, she has become one of my favorite authors because of the fact that she corresponds with her readers. I'm in her Facebook book club group and she regularly talks back and forth with all of us. I love that and those always become my very favorite authors. Another excellent author I love is also like this, Robin Jones Gunn. It doesn't matter to me if the correspondence happens over email or social media, I just love that they "talk" to us. Sally Hepworth does this as well, and she follows me on Instagram! I love that. I will always invest money in authors like that.

So, do you have some good recommendations for me to read? I'd love to hear some ideas. In case you can't tell, I need light and fluffy. The world is too heavy for me to read heavy books. I hope you're inspired to pick up a book and get lost inside of it. Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. ❤



Thursday, September 23, 2021

comfort in the midst of devastation

 


My sweet little town was shaken by a mass shooting yesterday. 

I can't believe I am even writing that statement, but it's true. I live in Collierville, Tennessee and around 1:15-1:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, a shooter entered the grocery store that I shop in several times a week and that I live ONE MILE away from and started shooting people. He fatally shot one at the scene, and injured/critically injured several more. One of the ones critically injured was someone I used to work with, an old friend who loved my boys like they were her own grandkids, who later died at the hospital. 

Other people I know and love were there, either working or shopping, but they were able to escape.

I still can't believe I'm writing this. You know how much I love my Friday favorites posts, but I can't bring myself to participate in that today, as people I know and love are still reeling from yesterday's events. The thing I hear consistently when something like that happens and that sounds so cliché is true—I can't believe something like this would happen in my sweet little town that I love and grew up in, the one I feel so safe in. But nobody is ever immune to something like this, right? 

I couldn't walk away from the television yesterday as I sat in shock and watched it all unfold before me.


(These stats changed as time went on.) I've never been so thankful to have this godly man as our police chief. He is a friend we used to go to church with and whose wife attends Bible study with me each week. My heart goes out to all the emergency personnel as they are still working the active scene even as I write this post at 7:08 p.m. Thursday night. My own husband and oldest son are there as well, and were called in as part of Emergency Services with the Shelby Country Sheriff's department. This was my husband walking out the door before he left tonight.


So, what do we do when something like this happens? Who do we turn to when we can't walk away from watching the news play out before our eyes? How do we go on and about our daily lives once more? Do we cave into the fear and stay home? Do we push it all aside and try to deny that the world we live in is dangerous every single day of our lives? What do we do? How do we act?

Let me tell you about my friend, Jesus. He came to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10)

Who are the ones who are lost? 

According to 2 Thessalonians 2:10, they are the ones who are perishing because they did not accept the love of the truth and so be saved.  In John 3:16, Jesus tells us that God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. We live in a sinful (broken, dying) world and Jesus came to save us from certain death by giving us eternal life with Him on the very day that we breathe our very last breath here on this earth. 

We are sinful, because that is the very underlying disease that is in the heart of every person on earth. Jeremiah 17:9 says this: The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable— who can understand it? 

God is the opposite of sinHe is good, just, righteous, honorable, trustworthy! He is good, even when bad things happen around us. He does allow bad things to happen to good people, it does not mean that He doesn't love us. His desire is that everyone would come to know Him (2 Peter 3:9), but sadly, many people do not ever come to accept Him as Lord and Savior of their life. He doesn't force us into this kind of relationship with Him, He offers to all mankind the right to choose for themselves who they serve, and that is either the world or the Savior of the world.

In every occasion, God is good, because He is God. It's at the very depth of who He is. I trust Him with my life. I choose to continue on with my life as usual, I will refuse to cave into the fear of what could happen. I could be killed tomorrow by a car speeding down my road, I could be diagnosed with cancer in five years, I could die in my sleep this weekend or I could contract Covid at any given moment. The Lord knows all things all of time is in His hands and not one thing surprises Him. Isn't that comforting to you? It is to me. 

I gain comfort from the knowledge that His Word is true and that He is who His Word says He is. How do I know this in my heart? I trust. I believe. I have faith. At some point, one has to exercise faith in trusting this. Faith, according to Hebrews 11:1, is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. I choose to have faith that all of this is true.  

So, who is He?

He is my comforter.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says this: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kin of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

God is my refuge and strength. Read Psalm 46:1 below.

God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.

God is my peace.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

There is so much more that He is to me, but for the sake of time, I'll stop with those. When times are hard, He comforts me and He is close to me.

The LORD is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18) 

I know that I can lean on Him and He will carry me through whatever I face. 

You can have that very thing, my friend. If you are reading this and you don't know Him, what are you waiting for? Is He drawing you? Don't delay! We are not promised one more day on this earth. 

I love what Proverbs 16:9 says—A person's heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.

I am living proof of this statement. Yesterday I had made plans to eat lunch with my friend Dedee. We met at a place about fifteen minutes away from where I live and my original plan had been to have lunch and to leave the restaurant around 12:45-1:00 at the latest, because I had to make a Kroger run before going on to my next errand, which was a meeting on the town square at 2:00. That had been my plan and I actually have it written out just like that in my journal. But the Lord determines my steps, and my lunch with my dear friend ran way over what I'd planned. I didn't make it away from the restaurant until about 1:35 and I was so pressed for time that I had to go right on to my 2:00 errand, with the plan to go to Kroger afterward.

Friends, are you reading that if my day had gone like I had planned, that I would have surely been in that Kroger at that very instant of this evil act? 

It is no coincidence that it happened this way! The Lord is sovereign. He is the one who is guiding my every step. I ask once more: do you know Him?

He is so wonderful, even and especially in the midst of such tragedy. I still love Him, I still trust Him and I choose to live my life boldly for Him. There is evil all around us, even if we never come into direct contact with it, but it is there. Greater is He that is in me than he (the enemy, evil) that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

I choose to live. I choose to share Jesus with everyone I come into contact with. I choose to remember that His perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18) and I will not be a slave to it anymore. 

All of that being said, will you join me in praying for my little town? Please pray for the families who are affected by this tragic event. Pray for our emergency personnel and for the employees and customers who were carrying on about their everyday life when all of this happened. Please pray for all of the victims and their families. I cannot imagine their horror at what they witnessed take place. I have friends who were working there and who were shopping there when this happened, and one was critically wounded and died later at the hospital. Please pray for Olivia's family as they make their way here.

Our small town is devastated. Our comfortable, little idyllic town has been shockingly tampered. Please join us in prayer. 


Thanks in advance. Love to all. 

Thankful Thursday

 

Happy Thursday, friends! We would love for you to join us in this weekly linkup party! Just click that blue button at the bottom of this post and join in with Rebecca Jo, Leslie and me. We'd love to have you!

My number one thing to be thankful for this week is the fact that my pastor's wife was taken off the ventilator on Tuesday! He got to see her yesterday for the first time in just over two weeks and I cannot begin to imagine his immense relief. I cried when I heard this wonderful news! If you're on the fence about a relationship with Jesus and whether or not prayer really works, please know and trust me when I say that you should not wait one more day to place your faith in Jesus. And prayer does work! A couple of weeks ago at the end of our church service, most of us in the sanctuary got down on our knees and prayed for a miracle for Darlene, specifically asking the Lord to heal her enough that she could be taken off the ventilator before the two week mark. God answered our prayers, with just a few hours to spare before she hit that two week mark! All glory, honor and praise to Him.

I am so thankful that Graham is back home safe and sound and that his truck is safely at the shop. I know that sounds strange, but last weekend he went to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and somewhere near Nashville, his truck broke down on the side of the interstate. He had it towed to my husband's brother's house and it stayed there until Monday. That day after work he and a friend borrowed a gooseneck trailer and a truck to haul it back and brought it back to Memphis. On the road back here, the straps kept coming loose and they had to make about four stops before finally getting back here around two a.m. It was a long and sleepless night for Todd and even for me, since I kept waking up to pray. I've never been so glad to have him back home. (Below is a pic of his truck, which I both love and hate. It's beautiful, but it is a royal pain in the rump for him. I so wish he would sell this for what he can get for it and get something newer and more dependable.)

I am thankful that Drew is having a great first week of work at St. Jude. He's had a couple of long orientation days and he is BEAT, but it's all good. He has his assignments and he is ready to start his normal work schedule. I think that starts this Sunday. For now he's working weekend days and he's been assigned to the bone marrow transplant ward of the hospital. It seems particularly bleak there, as the patients are only allowed one parent to visit. I pray that the Lord would strengthen Drew for this job and that he would be a light that shines brightly for Jesus. (Have you seen the movie Patch Adams? If you have, Drew reminds me so much of the character that Robin Williams played in that movie.)

He was so tired after work on Tuesday that he wasn't up for going to the store for things to pack for his lunch, so I sent Jonah there with the makings of a good lunch for the next two days that night. I'm thankful that Jonah did this for me, because all Drew ate for lunch on Tuesday was a rice krispy treat. He was starving when he got off work.

I'm so thankful for my husband. He talked me off the ledge on Monday night when I had a major hormonal meltdown. He called in reinforcements for me in the way of Jonah and Noah and they were a major help to me that night. It's a long story, but all was well on Tuesday and I was back to my normal self. 

I am so thankful that my mom and Bill had an extra dryer to give to Drew and his roommates for them to use. Their dryer wasn't drying their clothes, so Drew and Sam went out to their house on Monday to pick it up. He promptly went home and put it to good use.

I could go on, but I'll end it there since I need to get started on this day. Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. ❤



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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Four Somethings, September edition

 


Happy Wednesday, friends! Once I month I link up with Heather G to share four somethings from the month. I'm a little early for this linkup this month, but the rest of my September blog posts are allocated for other topics. I love documenting things like this from each month—I love to look back on these every once in a while. Here are the things I loved, read, treasured and look ahead to next month. 

Loved:

So much! I loved putting out touches of fall here and there throughout my house (click that link for a tour) and I loved the cooler weather that we've had this month.


I loved seeing our dear friends and old neighbors one Sunday afternoon. They stopped by very unexpectedly and it made my entire week. 


And I loved seeing our sons flourish in this new season of life. I've written lots about them lately, so keep scrolling to see "a few things" we've had going on lately. 


Read:

So many good books! I plan on writing about my September books next week, so make sure and check back then to see more details, but I've been reading more mystery/suspense and I even read one book by a new (to me) author! Shari Lapena is being talked about a lot right now and her books do not disappoint. 

Treasured:

So many things good things. I always treasure the gift of time. This month brought a barrage of emotions and heartache as I saw people I know and love suffer with tremendous illness. 


Time spent in the Word of God is always something I treasure each day. 


And Bible study is something I always treasure! My friend Dedee hit it out of the park last week when she taught on Esther four. It's been so good to study this beautiful book with my friends and family from church.

Looking ahead:


I love October. I love it so much that we picked that month to get married in. We will celebrate 25 years of marriage on the fourth of October! I'm looking forward to celebrating. I have no idea what we're doing...originally we had talked about going out of town, and we will eventually, but I don't really want to travel right now. We went to New York to celebrate our twentieth anniversary and fortieth birthdays, so that was fun. I'd love to relieve where we went after we were first married...and I'd love to revisit New England. We went to Maine and the surrounding areas right after we first got married.


I'm looking forward to more cool weather and all the fun things that go along with that, like hanging out on our back deck and watching the fire and/or television. 

What are some things you're looking forward to in the coming weeks? I'd love to hear from you! 

Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! ❤ 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Come on in! Fall home, 2021

 Happy Tuesday, friends! Happy FALL! Insert all the heart eyes emojis and pumpkins here. It's my favorite time of year, especially when I need something to help me feel happy and cheerful. Anyone? I thought I needed that last year, but it seems even more necessary this year. 

I'm jumping right in with today's post. If you're new here, welcome to our home! 

This was taken back in the early days of summer when the flower beds were a little more precise and the grass was super green. We ended up having bug issues with some of our plants, which is what that dust is that you see on the soil and plants. Everything has grown a lot this summer! The bushes in front of the windows are almost up to the bottoms of them. Also, we have a "Don't tread on me" flag hanging under the American flag. I'm blaming Todd for that one.

This porch picture is from last year, but because the heat lasts so late, I won't get a mum until October.

Speaking of this mum, I did not keep it alive last year. I'm rolling my eyes at myself. I did manage, however, to keep all the hanging baskets alive all summer long, which I feel like needs to be documented. I did NOT inherit my mom's green thumb.

All throughout the house, I have small touches of fall. None of it is extravagant and I'll never win any home decorating awards, but somehow when it's all put together, it makes our home feel warm and inviting. 


Most of what I use is more than a decade old. A lot of it was handed down to me from my sisters. I like to use what I have, so I'll find books that are sitting around that look a little more "fall", like the Harry Potter books, or books with a darker cover. 


I don't move a lot of things around, I kind of just rearrange some of it and work in the fall stuff here and there. The lights on the mantel stay up all year, but the banner is new.


I can never decorate without giving the house a thorough cleaning. Because of our dogs, it gets dusty so quickly. I don't know what I ever did before we had a Swiffer duster. I use that thing just about everyday! It's great at catching dust and hair. 


This bookshelf above used to be where I kept our homeschool curriculum. There is a little bit of that left, but it's mainly my books and Bible studies that I've completed now. I need to finish clearing off some of the clutter and get rid of the studies and magazines I don't want to hang onto. One of these days...


(I like it better without the banner and will probably take it down.)


I love decorating this three tiered stand in the kitchen for all the seasons. This was a birthday gift to me one year and did you know they NEVER go on sale? I didn't know that then. 


I struggle so much with our dining room. It's a lot of wood furniture and flooring. If I were more gung ho, I'd paint the hutch with some chalk paint change out the knobs. Again, maybe one of these days.


Pretend you didn't see the dusty top of my fridge. I do clean it, I promise, but I obviously missed it on this day. I still love this arrangement my mom made for me years ago, but unfortunately it has to be stored here for when I decorate. My cat likes to eat dried floral arrangements. Again, with the eye rolling.


This little area gets used a lot. The plates get used all the time, that Google mini Nest you see is usually playing some music that sounds like the season at that time and the cutting board gets used on occasion. 


I got that saying from a Pinterest board. I love this letter board! It was a Christmas gift.


I *might* have a slight fall scented candle addiction. I have new ones now, though. I replenished my stash at Aldi's a few weeks ago.


I came across this image a few weeks ago on Instagram. It's something I have to remind myself of often. Our home is older and it could use some major updating on the inside. We are busy, though (I'm saying "we", because I cannot do things I want to do without some help) and realistically, this is nothing that is going to get done anytime soon. Maybe once our sons start moving out, we'll do more. Just one night last week, Todd and I were talking (dreaming) of all that we'd like to do. It's so much more than I'll mention on here and some of it may never get done. I'm okay with that, though, as long as minor things are accomplished, like painting in rooms that need a fresh coat. This is just the stage of life we're in, but I have to be really, REALLY careful and pray continually for the Lord to help me guard my heart. 

For me, this means that I have to limit my time on social media and to try and remind myself not to get caught up in the comparison trap. I have to remind myself that "stuff" and what our home looks like isn't all that important, in the grand scheme of life. Sure, I want it to look and feel welcoming for those of us who live here and for anyone who visits, but I don't need to focus on that so much that it becomes something I obsess over. There is nothing wrong with wanting your home to be beautiful for your family, that is not at all what I'm suggesting. It becomes an issue when it takes over the first place in my heart. First place in my heart should always be reserved for the Lord.

More than anything, I want people to feel welcome when they come over. I want them to feel the love of God and be able to sense His presence as we visit. I want our home to feel like a refuge and a safe place for all who come. I'm not saying that this is something that is always accomplished, especially after my Monday and a puppy with her SECOND UTI in as many weeks. All of Monday I felt irritated and frustrated and un-loveable. But, God is good and He is sufficient. I pray all the time that the Lord would help me to remember to focus on kingdom things, not on the temporal and earthly things I get sidetracked with every few days. 

I feel like this should be a linkup, but I'm about to just give up on those. They're so much more of a pain than they're worth! I hope you consider sharing some of your own home, if you're a blogger. If you're reading through this on social media, share some pictures of your home! I'd love to see them. 

Thanks for reading my blog, friends. I'll do this same post in another few weeks when I decorate for Christmas! Love to all. ❤

what's up Wednesday

  Happy Wednesday, friends! I'm linking up with Shaeffer and Shay for this monthly blog post on all the things from this month. I'...