We Did This. We Built Busy

I do this thing where I will emphatically, without any doubt in my mind, come to a decision. Done. Decided. Good to go.

But then, as I’m in conversation with others and start to feel a hint of either disapproval or maybe even just differing viewpoint on the subject, I start to doubt. This of course leads me to obsessively attempting to explain myself. I start to feel crazy at the thought that the other person doesn’t agree, because does that mean I’ve made a mistake? I believe what I believe so strongly! What does it say about me if what I believe so strongly isn’t reflected in the beliefs of the people I so admire?

I tailspin from there.

I’m just being honest with you. I don’t know why I feel the need to preface today’s post with this little caveat, I just do. Maybe it’s because I process my thoughts through my writing, and I’m really trying to get to the other side of this annoying little habit of mine. Because really, it’s super annoying.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with defending my beliefs on busyness.

Here’s the thing. The pull of my heart has been away from busyness and towards a life of hard work and meaning. I’m starting to understand that most of us confuse hard work with busyness. We think we are achieving so much by our busyness, yet simultaneously making ourselves and everyone else around us miserable in the pursuit of busyness.

You might say, “But I don’t pursue busyness, it just happens. Life is just busy!”

Bull crap. Cancer happens. Loss of a loved one happens. Fertility struggles happen. Busyness doesn’t just happen, we choose it. We choose it by not choosing the alternative. We choosing it by not asking ourselves if there is an alternative. We choose it by allowing others to dictate to us what is important. We build a cage of our own making, and then flail against it’s bars bemoaning the loss of our freedom and our happiness, never once stopping to notice the tools that built the cage which are still in our very own hands.

We did this. We built busy. Continue reading “We Did This. We Built Busy”

Five Things

1. Yesterday the kids and I met up with friends and we explored a local bog. Who knew we had a local bog? I sure didn’t. But it was so fun. The sun was out, the kids were crazy about the mud, and it was yet another reminder of all the amazing things this life has to offer.

2. Last week at the library, I picked up a new cookbook: Eat Like A Gilmore, The Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of Gilmore Girls by Kristi Carlson. This cookbook is so much fun. The author catalogues many of the dishes mentioned on the show and tailors the recipes to who made it. Sookie’s are from scratch, Luke’s are quick and easy, and Emily’s are fancy. I’ve enjoyed reading through this book as each recipe shares a little recap of the episode the dish was mentioned in. And yes, I’ve cooked from it too!

3. In other Gilmore Girl news, I started listening to the Gilmore Guys’ podcast and it makes me so happy. They start out as just two guys having a conversation about each episode (you heard me, each), but they eventually start to gain traction and begin including actual cast and crew. Yes, there is an episode with Milo Ventimiglia. I haven’t listened to it yet but holy cow, I can’t wait. Most recently I listened to the episode where they interview Sam Phillips and Helen Pai and discuss the music of Gilmore Girls. It’s so fun, I learned so much, and I came away with an even greater appreciation for the genius behind the show. Check it out. (It’s right between episode 306 and 307 – I guess interviews aren’t part of the serial.)

4. Thing I’m currently mulling over: Are we all just making it all way, waaaay too complicated? Also, why are we all so afraid to just do the things our heart is asking us to do? And can we just agree that the Buzz Feed quizzes that have you answer a few questions to guess your age are sometimes just the encouragement you need? Why THANK you Buzz Feed for guessing my age to be 22 based on the random things I said I liked.  Continue reading “Five Things”

Two Important Things I’m Trying To Do For My Kids Right Now

I want to be careful in how I deliver today’s post. I know we all have our own opinions on what makes a “good mom,” and sure, we can be pretty critical of both ourselves and others on this subject. I have to be honest, though. I truly believe that even the worst of the “worst” moms have a heart for their kids. I’ve just seen too many people facing too many big things that, well, for lack of a better way of saying it, kind of get in the way. It’s not that their heart is bad, or that their heart isn’t for their kids, but that life can get really complicated and really messy really fast. So I don’t want to deliver today’s post in a way that either a) makes you feel like there is one more thing you need to work on or, b) causes you to feel critical of other moms. If you are a mom, like me, then we are all in the same boat. It’s all hard. We are all trying our best. Some of us mess up super publicly in big ways, while others of us mess up privately in smaller ways. It’s all the same, folks. We are imperfect people, parenting imperfect people, in imperfect ways. So grace all around.

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With that being said, I have two things I wanted to share with you that I’ve been attempting to do on the regular. They are small things that I believe will have a big impact in my kids’ lives.

I’m not sharing these new practices with you to beat you up or make you feel like you need to do more. I’m not sharing them with you to make you feel like I’m doing such a good job as a mom. I just really get the fact that this parenting gig is hard, and I’m acutely aware of my faults, and I needed a few, simple, practical ways to try and do better.

My goal, as always, is to encourage and inspire. So take heart that we are all in this together. Take heart that I too mess up as a mom all the time. And take heart, because it really is the simple things that matter the most.  Continue reading “Two Important Things I’m Trying To Do For My Kids Right Now”

A Quick Kitchen Refresh Project

Many of you know my love-hate relationship with my kitchen. I love to cook. I love to have my family and friends gathered together in the kitchen, cooking and laughing and enjoying each other’s company. But my kitchen. You guys. It drives me CRAZY.

Everything in it is custom fit/made, so you can’t just change one thing without necessitating a total overhaul. Our fridge is way too small for a family of five, but we are limited to the custom spot that the previous owners designated for the fridge. My tile floor is freezing cold and the cabinets, oh…the cabinets. I shudder at just the thought. They are SO UGLY. They have this horrible yellow-orange hue that makes me crazy, crazy I tell you!

Last week I had just put the two little kids down for a nap and I went to the kitchen to get something and I don’t know how to describe it other than to say something just, uhh, snapped. I had a mental and emotional break and suddenly, I HAD TO GET RID OF THOSE UGLY CUPBOARD DOORS.

I looked at them. I realized they were attached with just a few screws. I thought, “I can handle that.” So I went to the garage where Mike keeps his screwdrivers, found one I thought would work, and went after it.

I took down all the doors on one section of my cabinets where we store our dishes and a few pantry items. It instantly made the kitchen feel lighter, fresher, and more modern. I was happy to be able to display our pretty dishes, many of which are hand made by my super talented sister in law who is a potter. And I felt proud to yet again be making our living space more fun and functional – not by buying something – but by finding creative solutions to the things that bother me.  Continue reading “A Quick Kitchen Refresh Project”

A Few Nuggets Of Parenting Wisdom

I’ve been a parent now for about six years. So naturally that makes me as darn close to an expert in a field as you are going to get (cough, cough).

Here are a few nuggets of parenting wisdom that I thought I’d share from my vast years of experience:

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If you make your child food especially for them, based on your careful observation of their preferences, and deliver it too them with all the hope of those brave souls who anxiously stepped aboard the Titanic, then you too, will sink in the merciless ocean of your toddler’s icy glare of disapproval.

This will also happen if you make anything else. They basically just hate your food.

Kids have a knack for finding and destroying the things you hold most dear. It doesn’t matter how high up on the shelf or how tucked back in the cupboard you place the item. The emotional attachment you have for said item will create a magnetic force that will draw your child to the beloved item and so overpower them that their natural reaction is to destroy your heirloom and your heart to tiny, tiny pieces that can never ever be repaired.  Continue reading “A Few Nuggets Of Parenting Wisdom”

What Joanna Gaines Taught Me About Thriving

I have a confession. I can be a bit…shall we say…contrary. Which kills me to say because my oldest son absolutely drives me crazy with his contrary ways. I don’t know where he gets it.

Anyways.

I resist watching movies or reading books that everyone else goes gangbusters over for the simple reason that I don’t want to be a joiner. If everyone else loves it I automatically have to hate it. I know, I KNOW. You don’t even have to tell me. Contrary.

In my defense, I don’t tend to actually like the popular things; at least, not in their time. I started doing yoga before it was cool. My style tends to be a little more vintage and classic than current trends. And no, I don’t like Beyoncé. I won’t and I will not.

So, even though my husband and the rest of the entire world absolutely love the show, Fixer Upper, part of me kind of wants to hate it. But I JUST CAN’T.

A friend gave me The Magnolia Story and I devoured it in two sittings. As much as it pains me to admit, I sent away for my membership into the official Chip and Joanna fan club. I’m sold. In love. Smitten.

If I’m going to hop on a bandwagon, it might as well be the super inspirational and impeccably designed Gaines family wagon.

Let me tell you what got me.

Honestly, I could take or leave the design aspect. There style isn’t really my own. I don’t go for the rustic, reclaimed look. I like a mix of vintage and modern. I’ve said it before, but my style is a cross between boho-vintage and granny-chic. But that is neither here nor there. Continue reading “What Joanna Gaines Taught Me About Thriving”

A Little About Me

Oh. Hey there!

I took last week off from blogging because the weather was fantastic, my husband had a few days off from school, and well, I just needed it. I needed to focus on my family and take care of myself a little bit, and leave everything else to another day. It felt good, but I missed you!

Hey! How are you?

It’s been awhile since I’ve introduced/reintroduced myself, so I thought I’d share a little about me. Here goes. Continue reading “A Little About Me”

Five Things

I’ve been listening to some great podcasts lately, so I thought I’d share a couple!

1. That Sounds Fun With Annie F. Downs: Check out episode #23 with Michael Wear. It’s a fantastic interview and the most positive take on politics I’ve heard in maybe two years. Seriously so good. Also, fun fact, I’m super excited to check out his new book, Reclaiming Hope. It’s my next book to review, so stay tuned!

2. The Village Church – Culture Matters: Check out episode #42 with Makoto Fujimura. This podcast really inspired the way I think about art and faith. As someone who has always been a big art lover, I really connected with Fujimura’s ideas on creation, creativity, and faith. At the end of the podcast, I was really interested to hear the hosts’ thoughts on Martin Scorsese’s new film, Silence.

3. Stories Podcast: We’ve never played kid’s music for our kids because, well, it’s horrible. But, when we are in the van together and I want to entertain the kids without putting in a DVD, I rely on this amazing podcast full of fun kid’s stories. It’s great!

4. I started watching The Newsroom with Jeff Daniels on Amazon Prime. OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS. This show is amazing. I don’t know how I haven’t heard about this show before. Honestly, this is one of the most masterfully crafted pieces of entertainment – either from a tv show or movie – that I’ve ever seen. Daniels is brilliant as a lead anchor in a nighttime news show, and the show is so impeccably scripted that each episode leaves me feeling inspired. Also, though it does have strong language, it’s such a relief to find a show that isn’t 100% about sex. I get it. People like to have sex. Can we all just move on? It doesn’t make interesting entertainment for me. This show, though. SLOW. CLAP. Continue reading “Five Things”

Two Children’s Books, Reviewed!

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetI recently signed up to become a book reviewer and I’m looooving the gig. It’s been fun seeing what shows up at my doorstep.

Recently, I received two kids books that I was pretty impressed with, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you. This isn’t a sponsored post. I was simply given an advanced copy of these books in exchange for my unbiased review. Take a look!

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Same Kind of Different As Me, by Ron Hall & Denver MooreProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset

Denver Moore spent years as a homeless man on the streets of Fort Worth Texas, until he met Debbie and Ron Hall who befriended him and gave him a fresh start in life. Together, they wrote this book and traveled the states, reminding others that we are the “same kind of different,” because we are all different from each other. Their story gives “homeless” a name, a story, and a face.

Same Kind of Different as Me is a touching and inspirational story of compassion, faith, and of the importance of becoming the hands and feet of Jesus. The story is told in a way that is easy for children to understand, but is sure to inspire readers of all ages.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Denver Moore, and would be a wonderful addition to any home library, inspiring us all with the important reminder that, “You can help somebody too.”

I. Loved. This. Book.

It inspired me. It moved me. I can’t wait to read it to my kids.

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Jesus Calling, The International Children’s Bible, with devotions from Sarah YoungProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset

First, let’s start with how the Bible looks. It’s a hard back, with lovely illustrations and regular weighted paper pages. The back of the Bible says it translated at a third grade reading level. Some third graders will be ready to care for this Bible, which looks and feels more like an adult Bible than the heavier weighted pages of a board book geared towards the toddler aged set, but some will not.

The Bible reads like a book, with the chapter and verses clearly marked. I liked that they kept the text simple, both in the translation and in the sense that they kept it free from extra notes or references. The appearance is clean, straightforward, and easy to read.

Scattered throughout the Bible are devotions that start to nudge kids towards understanding and applying the truth of the text. I particularly liked the “Jesus Calling Moments” where a single verse and truth is pulled out to help the little readers understand the heart of the message.

The back of the Bible has a fantastic dictionary, a quick reference guide titled “Where Do I Find It?,” a thoughtfully curated list of God’s promises and memory verses for young readers, and a space for notes.

I loved the translation, and found it easy to read and understand. Although translated at a third grade reading level, it is simple enough for even younger children to grasp if read aloud to them. For example:

The Lord listens when I pray to him.

Psalms 4:3

This Bible would best suit children who are already reading on their own and are ready to start spending time reading for their own personal interest and application.

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So, what did you think? Helpful? Let me know if you’d like to continue hearing my reviews of other books as I receive them. They will cover a variety of topics, genres, and ages.

Happy reading!

Show Me How You Hygge

Hygge

Have you heard of it?

I’m so in love with this Danish concept and, truth be told, it’s offered some real inspiration for my home and life this winter. The Dane’s created the concept as a way to survive the cold, dark days of winter. Sound familiar? Can I get an amen??? I mean, pass the therapy light and extra large cup of coffee and count me in cause this girl needs her Hygge.

So what is it, you might be asking?

According to the adorable website, Hygge House, Hygge is:

Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. Whether it’s making coffee a verb by creating a ritual of making it then lingering over a cup to a cosy evening in with friends to the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal. Hygge is being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special.

Some refer to hygge as an “art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, contentedness, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.

Ummm. Sign me up, sister. Continue reading “Show Me How You Hygge”