Sunday, November 25, 2012

simple sentiments

as we move into the holiday season what a great reminder to us all.
our children love the gifts but most importantly it is us they desire.
our time, our attention and affection.

so as we glide through the next few weeks:
spend more time.... slow down....
won't you join us?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

friday faves - book edition

this week's friday faves is going to center around one of my all times favorite items, books!
the written word has long been one of my more treasured past times... whether reading a novel, a bible study or doing my own writing, all things books hold a special place in my heart.
so with the cooler weather upon us, cozy jammies and nights with hot tea or a great glass of wine to the books i dive right in. here are a few of my favorites in all different categories: 

 this cookbook is by far one of the most used at our home.
there are notes in many of the pages of recipes i have "doctored" up over the years
but nothing in here disappoints. it is often given as a gift to a new bride as she is sure to
find many wonderful meals for family and friends.

dorthea benton frank is my #1 favorite author to read.
her sweet stories, set in the south, colorful characters, oh my it is just too much.
adore everything she writes. have each of them perfectly sitting on the bookshelf in my room.
oh, and sorry, but if you ask me to borrow one, i may not be able to part with it. : )

crazy love by francis chan. 
it's fantastic. it's going to change your perspective on life, on god. 
on everything really. can't say it enough friends, go. read. this. book.

the little golden books, need i say more? 
really too many children are passing these up these days.
many of these stories have the sweetest life lessons, precious pictures...
my children have a huge collection, some dating back 30 years.
and you know what, we still adore them.
such innocence i long to hold on to as long as i can for these babies.

oh junie b jones! she is at our house one popular girl.
her silly character in the junie b jones series has us laughing outloud.
we are really enjoying getting to know this spunky kindergartener.

kate morton, you are new to me but oh how i love your novels.
they are totally different in terms of what i would normally read and they are a bit long
but oh how wonderfully written. 

this book i read shortly after finishing the help.
it was such a great read. if you loved the help you will love this too.
or at least i hope you do! 

this book is such an incredible resource. 
a valuable resource of a parent of a preemie.
highly recommend.

the help. it wins the award for my favorite book ever.
i was one of those people who even hesitated seeing the movie because i had such vivid images
of this story in my mind that i feared seeing the movie would ruin it. it didn't, it solidified this story for me.
and skeeter may just remind me of one of my most favorite people....  

and this my friends, this right here, it is wrecking me.
it has been more open and vulnerable to myself than ever before.
new things have been unearthed and growth like none other is happening.
powerful book. but i do warn you, it digs deep, super quick.
jennie allen knocks the socks off of a bible study in this one! 
can't sing her praises enough.

so what are your favorite reads??

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

freedom found ~ jennie allen stuck

the last few weeks my small group has been going through the jennie allen study, Stuck.
so far it has been good and made us all take a close look at ourselves.... 
however, in preparing for this weeks study i came across these bullet points 
and they really spoke to me:

freedom is found in
* allowing God to defend me, even if it means I don't see it until heaven
*accepting that life is not right and fair now, but it will be
*loving instead of defending, fearing or fighting
*giving freely and not having a sense of entitlement
*embracing my faults rather than proving my point
*releasing others perceptions and understandings of me, 
and holding on to God's, since He knows my heart
*embracing the death of my rights and desires 
and instead receiving His will for me

they are such radical statements, such a contrast from how the world views life.
can you imagine with me, for just a second, what would happen
if more Christians took this stance? 
 wow, what if that happened?

what would our world look like?
it might look pretty different.
i know if i held onto those concepts a little more closely,
applied them in my daily life a little more regularly, 
my world would look different.
there would be more of Him and less of me.

one thing i am realizing as a momma is this,
they watch me, they model me. 
what they see me do, how they see me react is how they in turn react.
knowing this fact there is nothing more on this earth i want to do 
than help them grow into a relationship with their Heavenly Father.
i not only want to be His hands and feet to the world but 
most importantly to me, i want to His hands and feet to them.
in my actions, living out my faith.
it isn't enough to take them to church on sunday and say prayers before bed.
talking my faith and never really living it.
living it, tested over time, that is where they will learn.
they will learn about His love by how i act and react.
what better way to do that than demonstrating to them what true freedom looks like?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

get out and vote!

get out and vote!
if you haven't already used your voice
today is the day.
so grateful for this privilege
to live in a country where our values can be heard

Sunday, November 4, 2012

simple sentiments

this adorable little print is available on etsy. such a cute shop!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

gratitude, it is a lifestyle

this month many of us stop and consider the things we are thankful for.
thanksgiving day our nation stops to do just that. 
religion and politics aside, a day of thanks.
this month each monday i am going to write about the things i am thankful for.... join me would you? 
and if you do email me your blog address as i would love to follow along.

Friday, November 2, 2012

friday faves

this week for friday faves i am going to do my list of "faves" for all things fall.
here in florida it takes until november to really start to feel like fall and even then it's a bit early 
to feel any cool air on your skin.... however my heart loves fall and all that it brings. 
here a few of my favorite items for fall: 

starbucks brings out pumpkin spice latte and well, frankly, it is my favorite coffee ever.

yes, i know football season has been going for a while. 
however, it is when the weather cools that i fall even more madly in love with SEC football.
especially auburn tigers football.  
so when it gets cool and there's a bunch of great games scheduled, our house is BBQ city.  
it's good stuff. 
war eagle!

so this denim top is from american eagle and i am sure it is lovely.
mine is from old navy and i adore it.
wear it often. wear it with everything. so glad these are back.

and have you seen this yet? oh yes the shops at target has stepped it up a notch.
they have partnered with neiman marcus for some truly lovely gifts.
this my friends is a tory burch travel mug. and yes it is on my wish list. 
there is a matching lunch box too.... 
it is all so reasonably priced. hop on over to their website to check out!

and thanksgiving is upon us... 
it's my 2nd favorite holiday. easter has it beat because that is the day i can celebrate my faith. 
in a big time way. love it.
but thanksgiving runs a close 2nd. 
a day where we can focus on the things we are thankful for. love. it.
and to top it off, it also starts the time of year when people really look into their hearts and 
the generosity and love of the human spirit is shared. 
working in the schools i get to see this often, first hand. 
the generosity of teachers and staff towards students and their families.
the love they pour out to make others holidays a little brighter. 
it makes my heart hurt with gladness. 
i wish we did this more often, stopped and looked around us, shared what we had 
with those who had so little. can you even imagine? 
be still my heart. 

so here are a few of my friday faves this week... what are yours? 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

set me free

a few years ago i took a hard look at myself, at my life and how i was living.
what i quickly came to realize was my life was full of stuff.
it was full of obligations: things, people, commitments, all of which i had said yes to.
but more importantly were the things i had said no to.
of course this wasn't done intentionally. honestly, it happened and i didn't even know it.
the things i had committed myself to were great things. they were things that most of us 
may look at someone doing and think, wow, that's great. 

so what's the problem you ask... 
well i became overwhelmed.
i wear many hats: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee, volunteer, the list goes on.
all of these "hats" take time. 
work a 40 hour work week and come home to be full time mom and that alone is exhausting.
rewarding, fulfilling, but down right exhausting. 
combined with everything else i had on my plate and it is no surprise my head was spinning.

i found myself at the end of 2010 thinking, what am i doing?
what am i doing with my time? why am i so tired?
quickly my mind raced with all those things i had said "yes" to.
extra committees at work, volunteer hours for a service organization, helping with this event or that....
and again, the list goes on.

2010 was a life changing year for us.
what i learned that year is that every minute, every moment, it matters.
how i spend my time matters. the things i say yes to also mean, intentionally or not there are going to be things i have say no to as well. there are only so many hours in the day.

so as many of us do in late december i pondered how i wanted to spend my life here on this earth.
what mattered to me.
it was clear as day, the first thing i had to do was simplify. so 2011 was a year of doing just that.
for the first time in my life i let myself say no. no, to one more committee, one more volunteer event. 
there were even a few things i let go completely. 
and can i tell you a little secret, it was so freeing!

you see, i didn't have all the answers at the time but what i knew was this:
God has blessed me with a family that is remarkable.
i am in awe of them daily. i am in awe of God that He created us as a family.
the responsibility of what i had been blessed with weighed on me heavily.

it resonated with me then and there that nothing i do matters unless God and my family are first.
i can do all the volunteering, and extra work committees and good deeds in my world that i want...
at the end of the day i only get one chance to pour into their lives.... 
to lead them into a growing relationship with their Creator.... 
so in 2011, once the de-cluttering and simplifying had occurred i became very intentional.

it took bringing my life down to the bare basics for me to see what truly mattered.
what truly mattered was that my kids have their momma present as much as possible during these years.
what truly mattered was for them to have a momma who spent time in the word, 
time praying, time with her Heavenly Father... time cultivating her relationship with their daddy.
building a strong foundation for her family.

there is nothing wrong with volunteering, with pitching in on extra projects at work.
 there is definitely a time and a place for that...
but i encourage you to give yourself permission to say no to one obligation outside your family.
use that time instead to spend time in His word, pray over your family, date your husband 
or spend some extended quality time with your kids.
you might be surprised at what you find out. 

i don't claim to have it all figured out. lord knows i don't. i am self proclaimed hot mess! 
but one thing i can share is that i have learned that saying yes, no matter how noble the task, 
also means saying no to something else. there are just so many hours in the day.
now when i am faced with those choices i am very careful about my answer.
there hasn't been a day yet where i have regretted simplifying my life down to the bare bones.

when life became overwhelming i went to the only place i knew, Him.
and in Him i found peace.