Sunny Saturday

Good.  Good.  Good.  This week was a good one.  The beginning of the week was full of friends and chocolate and Valentine's Day everything.  The latter half of the week was slow and sleepy and just what we needed.  Today I am looking forward to being home with my people, soaking in these last unhurried, cold Saturdays of winter.

Today I'm sharing some things that made my week a wee bit sunnier.

First up is the book, Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver.  She is the originator of Project 333, a capsule wardrobe movement.  She writes on her blog, Be More with Less, about living an intentional life with less.  Her book is full of practical advice as well as her inspiring story of living life with multiple sclerosis.  If you're into simple living or just want some advice on how to simplify your life a bit, check our her blog and her book.

Most everyone loves a bite of chocolate every now and again.  These cute little heart cookies from Trader Joe's have me exerting quite the amount of self control.  (I am not winning the battle.)  They are bite-sized and perfect to curb my sweet craving.

I have been waking earlier and earlier in the morning to do some things for me before my littles rise.  I used to get about an hour earlier, but I have stretched it to about two hours.  These precious hours give me time to move my body, talk to God, read, and enjoy a cup of hot coffee.  I didn't know how much I needed these hours until I had them and now I find myself wondering if I should add another fifteen minutes.  It fills my cup and prepares me for the day ahead.  

It's the week for flowers.  I was lucky enough to have a sweet friend and my husband gift me some blooms.  When it's brown and muddy and brown outside, a fresh bouquet is just what I need to brighten things up inside.

Only two more weekends left in this short month of February!  Have a Sunny Saturday, all!


Campaign for Love

Love.  We all want it whether we want to admit it or not.  We want deep, real, truth-telling, nitty gritty love.  We want to feel seen and known and valued for who we are - flaws and all.  We want someone to see us, know all the ugly stuff in our hearts and minds and still look at us with sincere affection.  We long for real agape love.

Today is Valentine's Day.  Whether you're searching for a significant other to love you unconditionally or have found your 'prince charming', I want to point us in the direction of someone who can give us all the things we desire in one beautifully wrapped package.  Jesus, the originator of the campaign for love, is real and alive and sees, knows, and values us.  Despite our flaws.  Despite our innermost thoughts.  Despite anything we say or do or don't say or don't do. 

Today while we are giving and receiving pink and red construction paper hearts, eating little nuggets of chocolate and maybe even going out for a date night, let's not forget the creator of the Earth loves us, unconditionally.  He doesn't recoil when he looks at us.  He looks at us with affection, with joy, with love.  He delights in us.  

Today is about love.  I am going to rest in the truest fact I know: I AM LOVED.



Constant contemplation.  Ruminating.  Yes?  No?  Should I?  Should I not?

Have you been there?  Stuck in a cycle of overwhelm in the midst of a big or small or somewhere in-between decision?  Have you made lists, talked with friends, prayed with friends, discussed it with your husband until he tries really hard not to roll his eyes after the tenth conversation in seven days.  

I am there.  Here.  In the midst of a decision.  Many decisions really.  And I want to throw my hands up in the air and tell some random person at Target my story and have her make a decision for me.  I am stuck.

My decision(s) stem from our kids, our life, and our desire to homeschool. As Luke begins kindergarten this coming fall, a transition will occur whether we are ready for it or not.  Decisions need to be made about all kinds of things. What curriculum do we use?  Can we still attend two different MOPS groups? Are playdates still feasible?  When will we do school during the day?  How do I connect Luke with other children?  Do I need to join a homeschool group?  What will it look like to instruct Luke with two other littles running under my feet?

At the moment, my answer to all of these questions is: I don't know.  And I don't.  I am in the middle ground of weighing options, making lists, my brain constantly going through what we could or should do.  I am frustrated with the not knowing.  The waiting.  The considering part.  Why?  Because the unknown is big and kinda scary and illusive.  And my brain is tired.  I have been spinning circles and I'm ready to just lie down and put my feet up.  Figuratively and literally.

As I sit in the space of the 'I don't know' of ruminating, I am searching for some kind of peace here.  Granted, I have not found it yet, but I'm slowly moving in that direction.  I'm trying to really believe it's part of the process.  I'm trying to make myself be in the 'I don't know' and not move too quickly through the hard, unsettling parts of decision making.  The contemplation part of the decision making process is vital to good decisions. Yes?  I think so.

I have my husband in my corner, listening to my words.  I have my girls in my corner nodding their heads and putting their hands on me to pray for clarity and peace and...answers.

In time, I know God is going to help me with all the answers to all my questions.  I know He is going to show up and help me decide.  I am praying for his gentle hand to guide me down the right path.  I know it's coming.  I just need to take a deep breath and sit in the waiting.  Think, consider, discuss, pray.  And wait.  My song and my heartbeat at the moment.



Jude is 1

He's been with us 12 months, although it seems he has been with us forever. Our Jude is a year old.  He is goofy and giggly and good at making us smile. He is our third child, our sweet surprise, our baby.  And we absolutely can't believe he is walking and babbling and doing all sorts of 'big' baby things (I'm not ready to say toddler).  

Here we go.  All about Jude...
  • Our little man is walking and it is the cutest thing in my world at the moment.  He sometimes gets going and doesn't know how to stop.  Other times he raises his hands straight up in the air as he races to go somewhere.  
  • Jude is a BIG eater.  He eats more than I do at most meals (which is really saying something) and will eat almost anything you put in front of him.  His favorites are pancakes and raspberries, and has a real love for Mexican food.  
  • His tongue.  Jude sticks out his tongue often when he finds something funny or just when he is being goofy.  It is the best.
  • Jude loves to be doing whatever Luke and Lily are doing.  He follows them around and they are now shutting their doors so he doesn't get into their stuff.  
  • One of Jude's favorite things to do is open cabinets.  His favorite cabinet in our house is the one under the sink.  Of course.  If I don't get it secured with a hairband, he makes a beeline to open it up.
  • Throwing things is another one of Jude's favorite pastimes.  He has discovered throwing things down the stairs and loves to throw anything he can get his hands on.  
  • It's hard to get Jude out of the bath these days.  He loves splashing with Daddy and playing with the washcloths in the tub.
  • Jude sleeps from 7-7 each night and takes a morning and afternoon nap.  We love him for it.
  • The way Jude snuggles with us after a nap makes my Momma heart melt. There isn't much better.  

This past year has been one of the best.  Jude has brought so much joy to our family and we can't help but smile everyday at his little grin and giggle.  We love our sweet Jude.


Sunny Saturday

Today we are celebrating our littlest's first birthday.  It is joyful, exciting, and a bit bittersweet.  Where did the past year go?  I can't tell you.  But time passes and Jude is one and we are going to celebrate today!

Here are some things that made my week a bit sunnier...

These barkTHINS are quite possibly the best little 'snack' I have ever eaten. I say snack because it sounds a bit healthier.  Yes?  Anyways, they don't have anything too terrible in them and the ingredient list is readable.  AND they are delicious.  I call it a win.

I have not done well taking care of this hyacinth from Trader Joe's.  In my defense, it did so well on it's own, I kind of thought it was one of those plants you don't do anything to for months.  I was wrong.  It just needs rotated in the sun and it won't flop over.  Regardless, I still find it charming and whimsical and a flowering plant in February makes me happy.

This week I tried this Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken for tacos and it was incredible.  And easy.  And we had no leftovers.  I was trying it out for Cooking Club this month and I think it's a keeper.  Tacos could be one of my love languages.

I can't believe it, but Jamie Ivey's first book, If You Only Knew: My Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free, came out this past week.  I feel like I have been waiting so long to hold it in my hands.  I preordered it and was giddy to open the box knowing it was inside.  Jamie is real and vulnerable and I can't wait to dig into this one.

Today is all about celebrating.  I love a good party.  Hope you have a fun Super Bowl weekend.

Have a Sunny Saturday, all!


Sunny Saturday

Saturdays are for lounging.  My new mantra.  Today marks the second Saturday in a row with 0 plans.  We like to roll that way around here.  Cue the pancakes, pjs, and two full hours of reading during nap time.  A lounging day indeed.

Today I'm sharing some things that made this week a wee bit sunnier.  

Flowers.  It has come time for fresh flowers in the house.  I picked up these beauties last weekend and they're still going strong.  A $3.99 bouquet at Trader Joe's does wonders for my countertop and my mood.

Who says Christmas lights are just for Christmas?  I picked up this copper string of lights on clearance two years ago and recently pulled it out (after all my Christmas things were stored). It brings a bit of warmth to our space during this gray winter season.  Anyone else still have lights up?

I love a beautiful card.  A dear friend gifted me this for my birthday and I just adore the simple and sincere message.  It doesn't hurt that it's super cute (possibly frame-able) and was made by my friend's sister-in-law. 

On Monday everyone got a snow day except for us.  The surrounding areas received a dumping of snow while we sat gray and brown and muddy.  (I might have been a little bit jealous and bitter.)  I pretended it was a snow day, nonetheless, and made this yummy no peek beef tip recipe.  It's always a winner and super easy to throw in the oven on a slow afternoon.  

Whether you are lounging on your couch like me today or out and about doing all the things, I hope you have a great day.

Have a Sunny Saturday, all!


Visual Clutter

The week after Christmas we slowly, slowly, slowly wrapped and packed and stored Christmas decorations around our home.  Instead of doing it all the day after Christmas, I gave myself grace and time to get them all put away over the course of a week.  It helped that we really didn't have much else going on in-between Christmas and New Year's.

After the counters were clear, the railing simplified, and the living room put back together without the tree, I let out a sigh of relief.  As much as I absolutely love putting the decorations out after Thanksgiving, I feel the same way storing them after Christmas.  Our home felt clean (even though it wasn't) and clear of visual clutter. 

I gave the room a good wash down with soapy water and swept numerous piles of pine needles into a dustpan.  As I started to go around to get all the items that usually stood on the end tables and the counters, I stopped.  It was so easy to clean, so easy to breathe in the space without the books and the knick knacks and the stuff.  So I didn't.  I didn't pull out the pile of books that stand at attention on an end table.  I didn't have Kevin move the oversized peeling faux-leather chair back into the corner.  I didn't get the few knick knacks I have sitting in random spots around the room.  I just didn't.  And I liked it.

If you know The Nester, she talks about quieting a room.  Her definition of quieting a room is removing everything, except for the furniture, rugs, and big art, from a space.  Then she suggests sitting in the space and looking for any areas that feel cold.  Add something meaningful to those specific places. Store everything else.  I guess you could say not putting all of our everyday decorations out after Christmas is my version of quieting our main living space.  The quiet feels peaceful, clean, simpler, and better without all the stuff.

   There is a reason my home is feeling better without all the stuff.  Visual clutter affects not just our homes, but how we feel.  UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families(CELF) studies show clutter has a strong affect on mood and self esteem.  The same study concluded the amount of stress women feel at home is directly proportional to the amount of physical stuff they have accumulated.  Visual clutter matters to the overall feeling of not just our home, but of how we feel.  Wow.

So, this quieting the room thing is working so far for me.  The books on my end table were just for show and I usually ended up straightening them three or four times a day because the kids knocked into them.  They are now corralled on the bookshelf.  The oversized chair that's peeling mainly just got jumped on and was in the way.  I got rid of it on the swap page.  The knick knacks collected dust and moving them to clean was a pain.  They can stay stored or maybe I will even make a trip to Open Door Mission to get them out of my house. The dark and cold winter months are a good time for me to quiet everything, to remove the excess and focus on what is truly useful and meaningful in my home. And the peeling chair certainly isn't it.

What could you remove today to make your home simpler and the things in your home more meaningful?

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