a post wherein I write for the first time in a while

It’s been a minute.

4 months of minutes.

On the one hand, I’m sad about that. I miss creating in this space, learning to craft the words that I share with you all.

On the other hand, though, I am thankful. I’m thankful that it’s been 4 months because in those 4 months it’s been a learning of unfurling my tightened grip on, “of course I can do all the things”, and realizing afresh, “oh right, I can’t”. More than that, too, is that I really don’t want to. I gave up rest trying to do it all and that was a sad trade. Not just the physical rest that is relinquished when I’m running around like a mad woman, but the soul rest that is neglected when I’m acting in such a way as to say, “catch ya later, God”. Good things don’t spring out of that.

So, 4 months it has been. In that time my son has gone from the occasional timid step to running laps in the house, my husband has completed another MBA class, and my daughter has gained that gap in her mouth that brings with it her mother’s song and dance routine to “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”. We’ve begun planning AK’s 2nd grade year (someone please explain HOW), we’ve hosted sweet family, we’ve taken a trip to Colorado to visit more sweet family, we’ve traded in snow days for tank-tops, we’ve begun planning a vegetable garden for next year, Jack’s word count has tripled, and, well, we’ve just lived life.

It’s been sweet and oh so stretching, new and routine, happy and hard, peaceful and stressful. It’s been LIFE, in all its hope and hard-won holiness. There’s been celebration and sweet provision, anxieties and arguments, the best kind of laughter and the painful kind of tears. It’s been a weird weave of normal everyday and not what we expected at all. In it all, those bonds that weave the 4 of us together have had kinks and knots worked out of them, stray strings that need to be pulled have been, and the cord as a whole has tightened. They’ve been a blur, these 4 months, but as we’ve been on this side of things, able to take some deep breaths and survey what’s come, we’ve seen the fresh shoots of growth and the ripe fruit the Lord has worked out from it all.

And we are grateful.

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In completion of this little post today, I thought I’d share a few bits and pieces that I’ve been enjoying as of late. A few favorite things, you know, which are always a delightful thing to be able to share.

Madewell is having a 25% off summer must-haves sale right now! I ordered this tank in the heather mercury color. I love their whisper cotton v-neck tees, so I’ve no doubt I’ll feel equal love about the tanks.

Another classic tank that I’ve added to my wardrobe this month is this striped tank from the A New Day line at Target. Just an easy comfy tank that I’ve worn dressed up and down many times already. Such a good price, too.

I’ve been slowly getting rid of the kid’s plastic plates and cups collection we’ve accumulated over the past few years and replacing them with bamboo pieces. Love these plates from Amazon that we got in the “coastal” color scheme. AK wanted the set that “looked like the ocean”. :)

We are in the midst of planning our women’s fall retreat at church and the topic this year is “Emotions” — we’re going light. I was so excited to discover the book Untangling Emotions recently and have just begun to work my way through it. The Lord is so kind in the details.

I’ve listened to almost every episode of the Good Enough podcast and every single one has just been excellent! The Self Care, Pinterest-Perfect Homes, and Work and Vocation episodes are definitely my top three, but truly, just listen to all of them. Thankful for the wisdom, humility, and grace displayed in these conversations.

I LOVE french toast, like really really. So, when our dear friend, Rachel, came over for brunch a couple Saturdays ago I had to make Peanut Butter Crunch French Toast from the Half-Baked Harvest cookbook. If for only that recipe, you should buy that cookbook. The peanut butter and the crunchy topping with the cinnamon whipped cream and the fresh berries!? Oh glory! Meanwhile, though, I’d try the Whipped Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Raspberries. It’s going on my list. I cannot imagine you’d be disappointed. That girl knows her way around a kitchen.

There’s always more to share, but I shall stop there.

Enjoy your Wednesday, lovelies!

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bits and pieces || volume 1

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Hello and Happy Tuesday, sweet friends!

It’s a new week and I do hope this new week finds you well and delightfully refreshed after the weekend. If you follow me on Instagram it will not surprise you to hear me say that I love Sundays. Sundays have become the sweetest and most restful days for us over the past months, a true Sabbath. Having that day before we open our eyes to Monday again each week has made such a difference in the rhythms and atmosphere of our home. I take it in like a balm every single week.

It’s been about a month since I’ve blogged and the other day, I found myself thinking about how I needed to explain to you all why it had been so long, but I caught myself. Two kids, homeschooling, husband in MBA classes periodically throughout a year along with his everyday job. This is our life right now. Though I wish I could be consistent with how often this space is filled with new words, I just can’t, and I’ve become okay with that. I want to use this little piece of internet that I have well, with intentionality and thoughtfulness, and not just throw words up on a page to achieve a post. This space is important to me, but the home I keep and the 3 beautiful souls I share it with are far more important, so sometimes this means blogging has to sit simmering on the back-burner for a time. So, I will post as I can and be so grateful for that.

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That handsome man and I celebrated 10 years of marriage on January 31st. A decade. That feels so surreal to say and also completely normal. I love our life together. He is truly my favorite part of everyday. Thanks to our sweetest brother and sister we got to have a night away right after our anniversary and it was the best. Really truly the best. It was all kinds of needed and such a grace to have. More to come on this later. On another note about that man of mine, I just have to say I’m so proud of him. He is currently in his last week with another MBA class and he, once again, has blown me away with his diligence and his perseverance in a loaded schedule, all while never ceasing to be fully husband and daddy to his three. To be the one by his side in any season is my favorite place of all. You better believe, though, that we are absolutely counting down the h o u r s until we can celebrate the end of this class and a nice 6 week break! It is needed.

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I began a new rhythm this past week, and I’m quite fond of it already. I began a daily rhythm of reading for at least 20 minutes during the day. This is not my before bed reading time, but reading time during the lighted hours of the day. It’s forced me to slow for a bit and set aside my to-do list and sit my bum down on the couch with a cup of coffee or tea and let myself rest for a bit. It has amazed me what this 20 minutes does for me and the progress I’m already seeing in my books! I highly recommend this to you, my friends.

I am currently reading:

The Life-Giving Home | My Life in France | The Road Back To You | The Awakening of Miss Prim

In my need for some more fiction on my reading list I borrowed that last book from a dear friend who LOVED it and whom I very much trust in her recommendations to me. So far, it’s a winner.

A bit more pieces to share:

  • In a season where my heart has been heavier and I’ve been processing some deep heart things, these are a few songs that have been keeping my eyes stayed on my surest hope: O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer, He Will Hold Me Fast, He Will, Red Sea Road, Is He Worthy, All That Is To Come, In Every Way (particularly the line, “You are fighting every battle, in my weakness you are strong…”), Good to Know the Father (a song a good friend & pastor of ours wrote. One of my favorite songs we sing.)

  • I’m in the midst of watching, for the first time, the BBC adaptation of Sense & Sensibility and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Edward and Elinor will always, always be a favored couple of mine in the Jane Austen books. I would also very much like to go live in the cottage where the Dashwoods reside after they leave Norland.

  • Have any of you seen First Man? Truth be told, though I love Claire Foy and Ryan Gosling, I was not a fan of this movie.

  • I’ve been dealing with a rather rough bout of skin irritation lately that appears in the form of intense itchiness. Nothing is visible, but the discomfort is miserable. It worsens a great deal at nighttime which has been affecting my sleep nightly for the past several weeks and I’ve begun doing a bit more research into what could be going on and things I could do to help it. One thing my mom recommended is that I make sure I’m using fully natural soaps, with no dyes or fragrances. Like the truly truly natural ones, not the 99.9% natural. Well, some dear friends of ours in GA have begun making soap and lip balm from the beeswax of their little brood of bees and it’s just lovely! Their happy business is called Beelements. I just got a bar in the mail from them and have begun using it. Jessee (our friend) told me that it would probably take several days for it to really begin to make a difference — after the remnant of my other soap clears out — so I am hopeful that with this soap and some other changes I’m trying to make I will have some relief soon.

  • A favorite easy breakfast of mine lately: blend 1 cup almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 heaping tablespoon of peanut butter, and 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder until fully mixed in your blender and sip away.

  • I made this bacon and brussel sprout salad the other night with avocado toast alongside and I was quite happy with the results.

  • I bought this drawing book for AK a while ago, but she hadn’t shown much interest in it until the other day. She pulled it out and flipped through it and seemed to decide it was worth a try because about 20 minutes later she held up a drawing of the most adorable duck I’d ever seen! I was so proud of her and so impressed and I know this book encouraged her confidence so much to see what she was capable of.

  • Our food processor has been on its last leg for a while now — I’ve literally been holding it together to make it work — and the other night, I finally fully broke it. Suggestions for a new one? Should I go basic or look at one of those brilliantly fancy machines they have now?

  • I have been searching and searching for a lovely everyday necklace that I can personalize and I am still so unsure! However, I found this website and they have several sweet and simple options that I’m currently perusing. Do any of you have that one necklace you always, always wear?

Well, friends, I’ve taken up plenty of your time on this not so short catch-up post, but it’s been lovely being back typing to all of you.

I hope each one of you are enjoying a pleasant Tuesday and I’ll talk to you soon.

Until next time, lovely ones!

what's filling my headphones lately

A few months ago I was in a rut; a rut of setting up my iPad in the kitchen or on the bathroom counter or on the table and accompanying my task hours with yet another episode of whatever it was I was watching at that time. This was more than a Netflix binge or the occasional dinner-making-accompianment, my iPad had become another appendage. And, I'll tell you, all the "entertainment" I was getting did nothing towards any kind of "growth" that my heart or mind was in need of.  My loving husband, noticing this pattern in me, encouraged me to make a change. He gently had the iPad intervention. I could use this time to pray, to just be quiet, listen to music, and hey, try some podcasts.

And so was sparked my love of podcasts. This is one of those things that make me thankful for where our world is with technology. To have access to sermon after conversation after interview after personal testimonies like this is such a neat thing. To hear words that nuture my heart and feed it with truth. Words that challenge me and make me think about issues/subjects/questions and consider what I think, why I think that way, and what are the hills to die on. Words that bring wisdom and bring humor. Words that refresh, that help, and that spur me on. It's a treasure trove that I continue to discover more of.

Many of you have asked me to share the podcasts I listen to so here they are.

The numbered list holds the titles that I listen to on the regular. The other list holds the titles of ones I listen to fairly frequently, that I want to try, or that I go in and out of in listening to depending on the guest, the subjects, my mood, etc. ;) 

The Regulars:

1. Glorious in the Mundane Podcast with Christy Nockels

2. The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey

3. The Village Church - Culture Matters

4. The Village Church - Sermons

5. Ask Pastor John

6. Kenwood Baptist Church

A few more: Revive Our HeartsTimothy Keller SermonsWomen's HopeThe Gospel CoalitionRelevant PodcastThe Influence PodcastThat Sounds Fun with Annie F. DownsRead-Aloud RevivalSurviving Sarah.

Let me know your thoughts and/or if y'all listen to any of them! And send me any suggestions you think I should try, too. 

Have a great Tuesday, my friends!