hello. goodbye.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

hello october, goodbye september
hello rustling leaves, goodbye hot summer sun
hello comfort food, goodbye cookouts

hello pumpkin flavored everything, goodbye boring flavors
hello trick-or-treating, goodbye quiet evenings
hello mums, goodbye daisies

hello scary movies, goodbye walking outside in the dark
hello fall decorations, goodbye naked walls
hello pumpkin candle, goodbye lilac candle

hello colorful leaves, goodbye greenery
hello infinity scarves and sweaters, goodbye tank-tops and necklaces
what are YOU saying hello and goodbye to?

Proverbs 31 Woman

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Nearly two years ago, I did a Bible Study here on the blog of the Proverbs 31 woman.  I really enjoyed going through the study with y'all and learning all that I could.  I thought this would be a great time to revisit the study and hopefully learn something new!  Each Sunday we'll have a new post with a breakdown of a verse or two, until we make our way to the end.  It's 12 weeks, finishing up right before Christmas.  I’m so super excited to share this study with y'all.

I have striven, for years, to serve God in every aspect of my lives.  I've just always had this drawing to the Proverbs 31 woman and thought if I learned more about her, that would help me serve Him better. Seems to have it all together, doesn't she y'all? She blesses her husband, manages her home, plants vineyards, weaves cloth, helps the poor, travels to the ends of the earth for good food and apparently never sleeps. She also is dignified, optimistic about the future, always wise, and amazingly kind. I mean, it's not like she was busy or anything.

In the meantime, here I am just muddling through. Trying to balance running kids, laundry, housework, meal prep, doctor appointments and family time. She seemed to just glide gracefully through her million things while I have a hard time juggling my few.

I want everything to be perfect. Perfectly perfect. I want to have the perfect balance, perfect marriage, be a perfect parent and run a perfect household. I want to be the proverbs 31 woman. I want to do it all and be it all.

Going through this study, I realized it's not about be “perfect.” It’s about living life with purpose, diligence, priorities, forgiveness and repentance.

I have to say, Solomon is one of my favorite Bible authors.  Song of Solomon is among my favorites as well, even having a tattoo of one of the verses on my back.  So knowing that Solomon wrote Proverbs 31 made me super happy and made me want to learn more!  Proverbs 31 is a beautiful poem of the characteristics of a virtuous woman and noble wife. While the book of Proverbs was written by Solomon but when we come to Chapter 31, there is a new voice. It’s a mother’s voice, telling her son what to look for in his life partner. It was Solomon writing the advice his mother, Bathsheba, had given him. Solomon wrote it using his pseudonym name, King Lemuel. It’s not just wisdom given from a mother to her son, it's God’s Word. It’s what we, as women, are to attain to. What we should strive to be.  Let's read through it's entirely before beginning our study.

A wife of noble character who can find? 
She is worth far more than rubies. 
Her husband has full confidence in her 
and lacks nothing of value. 
She brings him good, not harm, 
all the days of her life. 
She selects wool and flax 
and works with eager hands. 
She is like the merchant ships, 
bringing her food from afar. 
She gets up while it is still dark; 
she provides food for her family 
and portions for her servant girls. 
She considers a field and buys it; 
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 
She sets about her work vigorously; 
her arms are strong for her tasks. 
She sees that her trading is profitable, 
and her lamp does not go out at night. 
In her hand she holds the distaff 
and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 
She opens her arms to the poor 
and extends her hands to the needy. 
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; 
for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 
She makes coverings for her bed; 
she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 
Her husband is respected at the city gate, 
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 
She makes linen garments and sells them, 
and supplies the merchants with sashes. 
She is clothed with strength and dignity; 
she can laugh at the days to come. 
She speaks with wisdom, 
and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 
She watches over the affairs of her household 
and does not eat the bread of idleness. 
Her children arise and call her blessed; 
her husband also, and he praises her: 
“Many women do noble things, 
but you surpass them all.” 
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; 
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 
Give her the reward she has earned, 
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. 
Proverbs 31:10-31 

This week we'll begin our study on verse 10.  It begins with A wife of noble character who can find?The King James Version has this verse as Who can find a virtuous woman?  So what would this wife of noble character look like?  When we look up the definition of virtuous, it says having or showing high moral standards and chaste.  The definition of noble says having dignity and elevation.  So set your standards and morals high ladies.

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. 
Proverbs 12:4 

The second part of verse 10 says She is worth far more than rubies. This virtuous woman is so rare that when you find her, she will be worth more to you than rubies. We are not called to be women of the world, who are very easy to find. We are to be rare and hard to find.  God attaches a pretty high value to this rare, virtuous woman.

She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. 
Proverbs 3:15 

Don’t get discouraged when you read all the Proverbs 31 woman accomplished.  It's sure easy to do reading all that.  But we need to remember these aren't things she did all in one day. This is what she completed over her lifetime. She drew all her strength from God and He enabled her.  She fixed her eyes on Him and never looked elsewhere. Wow, what an amazing example for us to follow!

While I was doing my study, I was searching around the internet and trying to learn all I could about this amazing lady. I was shocked at some of the opinions women had of her. I saw comments like "this passage is all about women being slaves to their household and that it's chauvinistic". I guess I shouldn't be shocked, we do live in a fallen world. But I've always saw the virtuous woman as this beautiful woman that I WANT to be.

This chickie is far from a Proverbs 31 woman but it sure is my heart’s desire to be one. I believe if you love God and you want to be a Proverbs 31 woman, you absolutely can. But the only way to do that is by fixing your eyes on Him. Get in His word and read it. Spend time with Him. It’s going to take some time and there will definitely be some bumps in the road.  There will be lots of heart work God will need to do on us to develop our noble and virtuous character.  And those moments might be ouchie.  He sure does love you right where you are but he doesn't want you to stay there, He has much better things planned for you.

Come back next Sunday to continue our study on this amazing virtuous woman!

A Beautiful Mess {Book Review}

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home:
Painting, Crafting, and Decorating a Cheerful, More Inspiring Space
by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman
About the book:
Step inside the world of Elsie and Emma, the sisters behind the d├ęcor blog A Beautiful Mess. With tiny budgets and a crafty, can-do attitude, they overhauled each room in their first homes with DIY projects using family photos, vibrant fabrics, flea-market finds, and affordable furniture. Now, you can learn how to paint, craft, and decorate your way to a happy, bright space with distinct personality. In the same upbeat spirit and modern style found on their blog, you’ll find fresh, all-new projects including: 
• An inspired geometric-pattern coffee table made of balsa wood
• A hand-lettered statement wall featuring your favorite quote
• A quick and easy electrical tape update for your refrigerator
• A set of beautifully designed serving dishes
And more! 
Packed with bonus styling tips from hanging the perfect gallery wall to making mismatched furniture work, Happy Handmade Home is design inspiration for personalizing your own space.
If you knew me during my scrapbooking days, you knew I had one obsession...Elsie!  You can call it girlcrushing or fangirling...nonetheless, I was absolutely obsessive about her.  At one point my friend Tanya even sent me her autograph made out to ME!  And just so y'all know, it's still framed and displayed.  I actually contribute a lot of my personal style to Elsie.  Before I started stalking following her, I didn't realize it was okay to mix patterns and colors.  And with her confidence, I found myself being more confident and not worrying so much what everyone else thought.  That's why when I saw this book up for review, I just KNEW I had to review it.

I've been following Elsie and Emma from the getgo. And I've been reading their blog, A Beautiful Mess, since it began basically. I've loved watching them grow and expand. I love their style and am always super jealous of Elsie's hair. And now, the girls have expanded into writing books.

First of all, I loved the photography in this book. I loved the inside look this gave us into their homes and personalities. While we do see a lot of that on the blog as well, I loved seeing all that pictures and inspiration. I've already gone through and thought about which projects I want to attempt myself. And I've passed it on to my daughter, as I'm sure there are some cool projects in there she'll want to try.

This is the perfect inspiration book. It's more than just a book of how-to's. The girls have infused it with their personalities, and it's also just a lot of fun. I also love that all of the projects are in one place, for easy reference.

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rare Bird {Book Review}

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rare Bird
A Memoir of Loss and Love
by Anna Whiston-Donaldson

About the book:
On the other side of heartbreak, a story of hope rises.

On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.
In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother’s story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. "Anna’s storytelling," says Glennon Doyle Melton, "is raw and real and intense and funny."

With this unforgettable account of a family’s love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us—beyond all earthly circumstances—safe.
This is a book about facing impossible circumstances and wanting to turn back the clock. It is about the flicker of hope in realizing that in times of heartbreak, God is closer than your own skin. It is about discovering that you’re braver than you think.
I'm always so excited to dig into a new book and this was no exception. I had read the back cover, knew the gist of the book and was still excited to start. I snuggled into bed beside my husband, who was already snoring, and began to read. Within minutes my eyes began to well with tears. Eventually working my way into a full-fledged sob.

Think of the worst thing that you can imagine as a parent. The one that gives you nightmares that wake you up in complete and utter despair and pain. Where the pain would be so insurmountable, you can't even bear the thought. How would you ever survive the death of one of your children.

Anna’s son Jack died in a freak flash flood while playing with friends in their neighborhood. Oh, how many times I've allowed my kids to play in a warm summer rain. It is simply something that is so inconceivable to consider. How could that happen? How could God let it happen?

This isn't just a memoir. This is a grief-handbook, a beautiful one. At some point in our lives, grief will wrap it's hand around all of us. It's important to know in that moment that we are not alone and that we can reach out to one another during extraordinarily hard times.

I'm not going to lie, this book will make you cry. But you won’t be able to put it down. You will be pulled into their family and feel like you know them intimately. You will grieve with them. Hope and beauty seem to pour out of these pages that you initially assume will be filled with darkness.

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.

Meal Planning Monday

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday- baked ziti and

Tuesday- creamy chicken and rice casserole...this is super super yummy and it's easy!

Wednesday - baked potato chowder and bread bowls for mi familia.  This is an absolute FAV of my family and there is very seldom any leftovers at all.

Thursday - upside down meatball casserole  but I will use THIS meatball recipe {and hope to make extra to freeze, they are amazing}

Friday - crock pot chicken, gravy and stuffing but mine will be made with homemade chicken stock and homemade stuffing...mmm, i bet it will be delish!

Saturday - pizza and movie night :)

Sunday - joes famous bbq ribs, cheesy potatoesand ranch bread...can't hardly wait for this comfort packed meal!!!

Embarrass Your Littles

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kids love seeing their parents get affectionate, whether they admit it or not. Sure, you might hear shouts of "gross", "ewwwwww" or "get a room". But deep down, they don't hate it nearly as much as they let on. Normally, the shouts are said with a smile on their face.

I think it's great for kids to see Mom and Dad putting their relationship first. Most of the time, especially in today's society, the opposite happens. Parents are making their kids a priority and at the end of the day, they just don't have any time left for each other.

It's really important that our kids can watch us giving our spouse love and respect. That they can see we are still pursuing our spouses heart. The byproduct is that my kids see their parents dating. When children see their parents giving each other time, affection, and respect it is a reassurance of our love and makes them feel secure.

Our kids are watching us. They are learning to be comfortable with affection and to be affectionate with their own partner in the long run. Kiss your husband, dance with him and hold his hand. Pursue his heart. Show them your romance. What an absolutely perfect place for them to learn about love!

Here is one of my fav stories...

A few years ago the kids and I went to visit my Grandma in the nursing home. We were there during lunch and sat in the dining room with her. There were many tables in the room with people scattered around them. One table in particular caught my attention. The entire table was empty except for an elderly man and woman, sitting right beside each other on one side. I thought it was totally cute and figured they were married. Grandma told me they weren't married, they were just "dating". Which made it even cuter.

On the drive home, the kids and I were talking about that couple and how cute it is that they are "dating" when they are probably in their 80's or older. And Jade made a statement that not only made me laugh but also made me stop and think that maybe, just maybe, her Dad and I ARE showing them what marriage should look like.

Jade said..."When I'm old, I hope my husband still slaps my butt when I walk past him"

Now I'm not saying by any means that Joe and I are inappropriate BUT we are a very affectionate family. "I love you" is a daily statement in our household between all of us. Hugs and kisses are never ever spared. And yes, there might be an occasional butt slap when I walk past him.

We are not only telling our kids what a happy, healthy marriage looks like, we are showing them. Go ahead, embarrass your littles. Show them you're healthy marriage. Pursue your husbands heart and plant a big ole' smootch on him today.

Oh Hello Truck Pulls...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tonight we are going to have a big night out at the HARMONY TRUCK PULLS. Oh my stars yes, y'all know I wait for this night all year long!!! I have not missed the truck pulls (except when they were rained out) for about 16 years. Every year, faithfully, I am there at 6 when the gates open. I get my GOOD SEAT (which is completely necessary to view the truck pulls) and then we go grab something to eat. And the food at the fair, goodness, it is amazingly good.

The air is crisp, the food is good, the trucks are loud!

What could be better?!?! Love me a full size dodge diesel with stacks ::sigh:: LOVE LOVE that truck!!! Gotta have some redneck in ya to love these pulls. My boots are ready, my bag is packed and my camera battery is charged. Can. Not. Wait.

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Before Amen {Book Review}

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Before Amen
The Power of a Simple Prayer
by Max Lucado

About the book:
We all pray . . . some. 
We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray. 
But wouldn't we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency? 
Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests. 
We aren't the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested. 
And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn't we use the same? 
In Before Amen best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.
Who in the world has a problem praying? Certainly not anyone I've met...Our Pastor doesn't, my Mama never did, no one ever did on the Waltons and even my littles don't...so why did I? A question I'd asked myself a million times inside my head. For some reason I've always felt guilty asking for things for myself during prayer. I would gladly pray for everyone else but when it came to me, I just couldn't do it.

Have you ever had a praying problem like I did? Do you wish you had a deeper prayer life? Are you new to prayer or wish you felt you were better at it? Do you want a deeper connection to God through your prayers? I know y'all, me too! Then this is the book for you! This is a great book to help you build a deeper prayer life. If prayer is something you struggle with (and this is an area I think we all can grow in), this is a great book to work through.

I love that this book is easy to understand, but complex in meaning. I'm not a fan of needing a dictionary beside me to read a book. This book is understandable, straight away. Max admits to being a prayer wimp, which I totally understand. I think there’s a little wimp in all of us, but thankfully we can learn to pray with greater confidence and boldness…this book will show you how!

Special THANK YOU to LitFuse for providing me with a review copy. My review is my own personal opinion.

Be sure to enter the Before Amen iPad Mini giveaway. AND if you pre-order a copy of Before Amen by 9/29, you'll receive a FREE ebook copy of Max’s best-selling Second Chances: More Stories of Grace.


One grand prize winner will receive:
An iPad Mini
Before Amen by Max Lucado

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 29th. Winner will be announced September 30th on the Litfuse blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit the Litfuse blog on the 30th to see if you won! (Or better yet, subscribe to their blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Meal Planning Monday

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday - No peek beef tips, mashed potatoes, corn and homemade bread

Tuesday - Tater tot casserole

Wednesday - Tacos, quick and easy...plus its the littles fav meal

Thursday - Buffalo chicken lasagna and 7up biscuits

Friday - Truck pulls! So that means amazing fair food.

Saturday - Class Reunion

Sunday - Breakfast for dinner...pancakes and sausage

Where Were You?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It's funny how thinking back to that day you know EXACTLY where you were, what you were doing, what song was playing on the radio and what the weather was like. I was at work sitting at my desk when a woman came in and said "a plane just hit the world trade center". At first we all thought it was just a stray plane that wrecked into it. It didn't take us long to learn differently. Soon after we heard of a second plane going into the other building. We all rushed to the only office in the building with a TV. I stood in that office, crammed full of people shoulder to shoulder, and watched as the towers fell. The room was completely silent as people tried to wrap their minds around what was really happening. We then heard of the third plane and we were told they were closing the building. I worked for a state agency so they erred on the side of caution and closed the building.

My first thought, once I realized we were under attack, was I wanted my babies in my arms. I wanted them with me so I could protect them. I wanted to hug and kiss them and keep them safe. I wanted to be surrounded by my family and have my husband’s safe arms around me. I left work and went straight to pick my kids up from daycare. I took them home and spent the rest of the day snuggling and cuddling.

My son remembers this day differently, as one of my "not so stellar" mama moments. I was in a hurry that morning and was running late for work. I had a toddler and a baby, mornings weren't my friend most days. I was rushing and shushed them in the sitters door and left, forgetting to kiss them goodbye. I know, the thought of that now makes my eyes well with tears. The sitter had the news on, as everyone in the nation did, and my son didn't really understand what was going on. He just knew it was something bad. He spent the morning crying because his Mama didn't kiss him. Isn’t it horrible that he still, to this day, remembers that clear as a bell? Sigh. What that did do was make me slow down and take that extra 10 seconds to kiss my littles goodbye, even if it meant being late for work. Actually, I still to this day kiss my kids before bed every night and before they go to school in the morning.

I was never more proud to be an American than I was that day. That evening we got out our American flag and hung it on our front porch. Basically every home or business you drove past had either a flag hanging or a sign showing their support for America.

That day we bonded as a nation. That day we knew, as a nation, that we needed God, we needed prayer and we needed hope. But oh, how quick we are to forget. Today, remember that day. Remember how quick we were to fall to our knees and cry out to God. And thank Him, for everything.

Ps...And kiss your littles. Always.

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