Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday Six

1. You know what's even better than a normal Saturday? The first Saturday of Spring Break! We are staying close to home this week with a few outings planned but that's it. I'm excited about a laid-back week at home with my people. I'm so grateful for a break from homework and driving and activities for one whole week.

2. Yesterday was the first day of spring and the arrival of some gorgeous weather. My friend and I hiked the Incline and it was the perfect day for it. I was so happy to be outside. This was one photo from our descent down Barr Trail. The sky was so blue and the fresh snow on the mountains was such a perfect contrast.
 And this was the view of Pikes Peak while we were driving to Manitou Springs. I never ever tire of this view.
3. Earlier this week, John and I snuck away for a dinner date. I stopped by the restroom before leaving and was mesmerized by this Make A Wish board on the wall by the sink. I stood there and read some of the wishes people had written and placed on the board and my tears fell. There are such deep hurts and needs in this world.
4. Our friend, Kara, is very much on my heart and mind these days. A few days ago I was grumbling about a task I had to do this week that was mundane and irksome.  As my thoughts/prayers turned to Kara, my attitude shifted. Just thinking about her life and the way she loves her family despite the hardship of cancer made me realize what a privilege it is to be healthy and able to serve my own family even in those mundane ways. I think the gift that Kara gives to all of us is simply the reminder to stop and take in the beauty of this life we've been given and to be fully present with gratitude. Her life is a blessing to all of us. I feel so very honored to know her. 

5. We have two birthdays to celebrate this weekend--John and Abbey! I took some giggly girls out last evening for some birthday fun and loved every minute of it. We have more celebrating to do today and tomorrow and I wouldn't be one bit surprised if Abbey finds a way to extend the fun beyond the weekend. Smile.

6. It's going to be another gorgeous Colorado spring day today and you better believe I'm going to soak up some warmth and sunshine and celebrate my people. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

SMP 3.11.15

SMP = Seven Minute Post (About the Beagle)

Every weekday morning after my husband and kids leave for the day, our beagle goes absolutely nuts. It's like "Hey, wait!!! Why are you all leaving me? What am I supposed to do now? {Panic} Oh, I know! I'll try to pull any remaining food off the countertop or the table or find something in the trashcan that I can eat. And oh, while I'm at it, I'll run all over the house. Running is my favorite."

Seriously, y'all. He goes NUTS. First he runs to the front window and whines while watching them drive away. Then he races to the kitchen and tries like mad to get things off the counter (and sometimes succeeds) and then he races from room to room and turns the trash bins over and strews trash all over the place.

Every. Single. Weekday. Morning.

I do not understand. After five to ten minutes of this, he finally calms down and is like a slug the rest of the day. It's the strangest thing. And it drives me crazy.

That dog.

I'm really not a dog person. But my family adores the dog and the dog adores his people. He even adores me though I pay him the least attention of anyone. He's a loyal creature and I could probably learn a thing or two from him.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

March Currents

Current Read: I bought All The Light We Cannot See this week and am a few chapters in and already hooked. I've not had much time to read this week but I'm hoping to make some headway on that book this weekend! I'm also reading through Bread and Wine, my favorite Lenten devotional. John brought the other book home from work this week, I Tried Until I Almost Died, and am reading a bit of that here and there too. Since my last post, I've read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I tried to read Ruby but had to put it down. I wanted to like it but it just felt too dark and oppressive for me.

Current Playlist: I wasn't kidding when I told you guys that I'm addicted to podcasts. That's mostly what I listen to, but I do find myself listening to this playlist a lot...

Current Color(s): I think red is my current favorite.

Current Food: I ran in Trader Joe's last week to pick up my staple items and ran into a friend while there. She turned me on to their brown rice/quinoa gluten free pasta. It's been my lunch every single day this week. Once drained, I stir in a spoonful of pesto and a spoonful of sun-dried tomatoes and top with some feta or parmesan and a sprinkle of pine nuts. SO good and so filling.

Current Favorite Favorite: I can't choose one! I'm smitten with Amazon Prime and my heated blanket from Costco. I'm equally smitten with my BEM portable speaker that John gave me for Christmas.

Current Addiction: Sugar. Two straight weeks of snow and cold made me want to hibernate and BAKE. Once I start eating sugar I really can't stop. It makes me feel terrible but it's so addictive. I have two sugar-free days under my belt and am hoping I'm back on track soon. Once you know how good you feel when it's not in your system, it's hard to not want to feel that good again.

Current Wish List: I really want a new bible. I have really nice NIV and NASB leather bibles but dug out my hardcover NLT (New Living Translation) last week and was RE-amazed at how easy it is to read and understand. The hardcover isn't my favorite plus it's starting to show it's age and wear so a leather-one is now on my wish list.

Current Need: It's a blessing to be able to say that I really don't need a thing. Except maybe a laundry fairy? Or a grocery-shopping fairy? I could use one of those.

Current Randomness: My friend and I came upon this yesterday on our hike. It's a carcass of some sort. I'm guessing a fox or a dog or a coyote, something with a tail because that's what the long part is at the top of the photo that her dog is sniffing. There was a lot of snow on our hike yesterday (drifts up to my knee) so something drug those bones there recently bc it was sitting on top of a lot of snow. We didn't see any tracks but we didn't linger long. I'm never afraid when I hike but that was a good reminder that humans share space with predators!
Current Triumph: I consider it a triumph that I haven't had a diet soda in eight months. Even better news is that I don't crave it anymore.

Current Annoyance: Oh y'all. My list is long but not sure sharing it is life-giving for me or you.

Current Blessing: I say this often but I am grateful for a strong marriage. It's not that we don't have ups and downs or hard times. We do. In fact, John and I have felt pretty disconnected from each other for the past couple of weeks. We made some time this week to talk it out and get things back on track. I am grateful for that. I'm grateful that at the end of every day he is still my closest friend and the one I want to spend the rest of my days with.

Current Mood: Content. Grateful. Happy.

Current Excitement: "Springing forward" this weekend. I'm excited about it staying light longer!

Current Project: I'm repeating my Great Closet Experiment that I did last spring. Basically, I'm trying to wear something different every single day and eventually wear every single item in my closet. From there, I'll either keep things or pass them on. I've finished one week and I've already gotten rid of a pair of jeans. It's a fun and different way to clean out a closet and to make sure that I'm being a good steward of my resources when it comes to buying clothes. To help me remember if I've worn something I started taking pics of my outfits. Here is week one, which doesn't include today because I am still in my pjs in my bed. I'm so proud of myself for getting dressed every single day this week in REAL clothes. Ha ha ha.
Current Link: I made this dairy-free version of Zuppa Toscana the other night and it was AMAZING! So delicious! I love it when I find healthier versions of my favorite recipes. This will go into regular rotation at my house.

Current Plans For The Day: Well, a couple of my kiddos have several places to be today so I foresee a lot of time in the car. I also need to do some grocery shopping and some laundry and I'm going to try like crazy to squeeze a nap and some reading time in there too. Happy Weekend, y'all!

Friday, March 06, 2015

Friday Five

1. I think this goes withouts saying but I am thrilled that today is Friday. Lately I've been trying to front-load my work week (borrowed that idea from a friend) so that I can enjoy a longer stretch of down time around the weekend. Down-time is a beautiful thing. Especially when you guard it fiercely and use it for things that fill your "cup" with life and joy and peace and happiness.

2. I went to see The Drop Box film a few nights ago. It was a limited engagement and I'm not entirely sure it's still playing in theaters but if you have a chance to see it, GO! It was a beautiful portrayal of the value of human life. You'll need tissues for sure.

3. I had a lengthy text conversation with my forty-something friends last week about the best anti-aging skin care products. We all have our opinions but I swear the secret to anti-aging--or at least to fewer wrinkles--is HUMIDITY. All of my friends and family in the south look so young and unwrinkled. I may live in the "land of perfect hair" (ha ha ha) but lack of humidity wreaks havoc on your skin, ladies!

4. I'm several weeks into this bible study with some ladies from my church. This is the third time I've started this particular study yet I've never finished the entire thing. I intend to finally complete it this time around. It's SO good and it lines up perfectly with some of the things I took away from the IF Gathering.

5. I just realized that every sentence in this list begins with "I". Ugh. Honestly, I get sick of hearing myself talk sometimes and it's a big reason I avoid social media and even blogging. It's just too much. Super tempted to go back and change this whole post right now! Have a great weekend, friends!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

SMP 3.3.15

SMP = Seven Minute Post

I'm giving myself seven minutes to sit down and just write. I don't have anything earth-shattering to share or anything on my mind really. So prepare yourself for random rambling...

Can you believe it's already March? I still haven't flipped my wall calendar to this new month which was brought to my attention yesterday by my youngest child--the one who has birthday this month. I kinda think she likes seeing her name written in that little numbered square. Did I mention that this youngest child of mine will be a teenager in a few weeks? Crazy!

It has been so cold and snowy here lately, but the sun is shining this morning and that makes me happy. I need the sun! I also need laughter. I was out with friends last night and I laughed so much. I think I forget sometimes how vital that is for me. For all of us really.

On that note, may your day be filled with light and laughter! If I was really clever I'd throw a joke in here but I've got nothin'. Peace out, peeps.

Monday, February 23, 2015

SMP 2.23.15

SMP = Seven Minute Post

We've lived in Colorado for almost twelve years and you know what? Snow days NEVER get old. Our district called one for today and we've all loved the pace of this day. John and I worked from home today (he's still working, actually) and there's a lot to be said for working in your pajamas while sitting under your electric blanket.

I do feel a bit stir crazy though after three straight days of being indoors. Thankfully I have a hair appointment tomorrow that will get me out of the house...and out of my pajamas. If the roads are still icy tomorrow I will walk to my appointment. That is how desperate I am for a haircut. 

Sounds like lots of our Arkansas friends and family have snow (or ice) this week too. My sister sent me a video of her four-year old playing outside in the "blizzard". A couple of inches of snow is definitely blizzard-like weather when you're four.

Stay warm, everyone!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ketchup

Ketchup = Catch Up

Our area is expecting a winter storm to move through today and tomorrow. I can't even tell you how happy this makes me. John and I made a quick Costco and grocery store run yesterday morning for snow day essentials (like hot cocoa and baking supplies) and I think half of Colorado Springs had the same idea--it was nuts! We are all settled in for a snowy weekend and now all we need is for the snow to begin. Forecasters continue to downgrade our snow totals but I think we could end up with at least a foot. I'm a little bit giddy about a weekend spent completely at home.

I realized while looking back at some photos on my phone last week that I am due for a "ketchup" here on the blog which has become a sort of family scrapbook for me over the years.

Here's some of what we've been up to lately.

Remember when I said January kicked my tail? I wasn't kidding. This was a picture of one of my to-do lists. I'm very visual and rely on hand-written lists (no electronic to-do lists for me) and a thick black Sharpie to strike through completed tasks. I've had to faithfully push through some busy months but you know what? I've had more white space on my calendar the past two weeks than I've had since mid-October which I've happily filled with hiking, catch-up dates with friends, and a good dose of alone time. Self-care at it's finest!
Will surprised us while we were in Arkansas over Christmas break by announcing his desire to attend college in Arkansas. We were kind of surprised he wanted to go so far away but his excitement was contagious so once we arrived back in Colorado, we started looking into a couple of different schools and making plans to visit. He and I traveled to Arkansas the last weekend in January to check out the University of Arkansas and Ouachita Baptist University.

I can't even begin to put that trip into words. It was amazing and I could tell you story after story after story of amazing things that fell into place for us. I really had hoped that John would take him on these visits but John insisted that I go, his reasoning being that my "mama" heart needed to see these places that my first born could potentially call home. In hindsight it was exactly as it needed to be and I was so grateful for that time with Will. We got to see lots of family while we were there too--it was an exceptional trip in so many ways!
He's made his decision! I'm trying to be respectful of Will's desire not to blab it all over the internet so you'll just have to stay tuned until he grants me permission to share.

John and I are in complete agreement that what he has chosen is the best fit for Will and are excited about this next step for him. Our excitement has been countered with a few teary evenings around the dinner table just thinking how very different things will look for our family in the next six months.

I'm not sure whose bright idea it was to take a four-day trip just days before a big event I'd been planning but I returned home from Arkansas and jumped into the final countdown to our IF: Local event. Craziest week I've had in a long, long time!

Last year some friends and I got together for a weekend and streamed the IF: Gathering conference. It was such a catalyst for growth in each of our faith journeys that we wanted our church to host it for our community. I'm grateful for a lot of hard work from a team of people that made our event a reality. I'm still trying to put it all into words (it's a separate blog post for sure) but it was a really beautiful time. John's words are really the best I have to describe it: We simply set the table and invited women to join us. They came...and so did the Lord. 
The same weekend of IF, Sarah had her Snowball dance at school. She was co-chair of the dance so she was REALLY busy for the week leading up to it. She went with a group of friends--that's just the way I like it.
I hate I don't have a picture of her dress--we found it by chance at Nordstrom Rack and it was BEAUTIFUL! I was cleaning up after IF and didn't get to be there for pictures. Sadness.

On February 10, Will turned EIGHTEEN!!! We took him out to dinner the night before his birthday and let him open his gift from us when we got back home.
He had some friends come over for dinner on his actual birthday. Will has really good friends and I love them all. It's going to be sad to see them all scattered around the country at different schools next year. 

Last Friday night we had a family Valentine dinner at home. John got each of the kids a little something and there was a little something for me as well (a necklace!) He is the most thoughtful husband and father. I am grateful for him every single day. 
I was with some friends last Friday and they asked what I was going to make for our family dinner that night. I laughed and said "SANDWICHES". My family requested paninis, which is really just a glorified sandwich, right? So yeah, I served sandwiches for our family Valentine dinner. And it was perfect.

John took me on a Valentine date the next night. We went to one of our favorite restaurants in Palmer Lake that was serving a four-course Valentine dinner. Deeeeeeeelicious. They even gave me a long-stemmed rose before the dessert course. We were home by 7pm which is just the way we like it.
 Last Sunday after church, I took this little cutie on a mommy-daughter date. Will and Sarah were off doing their own thing and she asked me to take her to Ulta and Bath and Body Works. She and two friends started an Instagram account where they review beauty products. I giggle a little bit because none of them wear much makeup so they mostly review lip balm and lotion and antibacterial gel and nail polish. Abbey had some money burning a hole in her pocket which she combined with coupons (cute AND smart, eh?) to stock up on goodies to review. Adorable. 
She got her braces put back on in January--round two! She'll get them on the bottom teeth in the next few weeks. She will also turn thirteen in about a month. I think I'm in denial...

I think that about covers what we've been up to lately. Life is good. Busy, chaotic, and full but GOOD. The snow has started falling here and it's beautiful. I see some cookie baking, hot tea, and some reading time in my immediate future. Happy weekend!