The Day the House Won

The Day the House Won

Do you like to rearrange rooms in your house?  It’s kind of an annual thing around here.  We get an itch to move the kids into different bedrooms and clean everything while getting rid of junk.  The problem here is that my kids do this totally rude thing of growing up and developing new interests and needing space for their new equipment or work, so we have to find ways to accommodate their growth.

In this case, in addition to growing needs, a room became available.  Our oldest daughter, after spending the summer in Dallas, decided to stay there for a little longer.  So she came home for a couple of weeks and we spent time getting her room packed up.  I also got to do some fun shopping with her because the temps are significantly colder where she will be and she needed to warm up her wardrobe.

OK, that’s not completely true.  I would have taken her shopping anyway.

I would have taken her shopping even if the temps were the same.  I wanted to help her set up for success and my way of doing that is though clothing and closet organizers.  We had a great time together!

On Saturday morning she left with her packed-to-the-gills car and the other kids and I got started cleaning the room out and prepping it for the new tenants.  It’s a 2 room combo so my 2 daughters still at home decided to move into it and share the large space.  While some of the kids moved stuff from where the girls were before, 2 boys and I scrubbed and arranged and cleaned while it was emptyish.

Messy house funny

I can not express how good it feels to know that every inch of that space is super clean.  I expect it to last no more than 3 days.

By about 4:00 Saturday afternoon I was so tired you would have thought I had moved one of the pyramids in Egypt one enormous brick at a time.  I was literally falling over.  I told the kids I needed an hour to rest and I closed my bedroom door.  I may have even slammed it a little…. not out of frustration but from being too exhausted to take the one step necessary to close it gently.

I napped so hard that my face had marks in it and I had no idea where I was when I woke up.

Later that evening I did manage, with the help of the boys, to put away the junk that had exploded its way into my living room.  That’s how room rearranging goes.  You pick up something and don’t know where to put it so you dump it in the living room.  My house was a disaster area.  A friend asked for pictures to prove my house was mess, which I did not take for fear of seeing them later and having nightmares.  Just imagine an episode of hoarders and you will have a pretty good idea of what my house looked like.

messy house funny

I am going to have an intervention on myself pretty soon.  I keep WAY too much STUFF!

We did manage to get the living space of our home pretty well picked up, ordered pizza and all went to bed too tired to even think about the next day.  Thankfully I had prepped our Sunday clothes earlier in the week.  If I hadn’t, we would probably have had to go with a toga theme for church.

messy house funny

Our pastor started a new series this weekend about loving one another, which I am super excited about.  Love and forgiveness sounds so easy in theory, but in practice…. not always.  If I hadn’t been so tired I might have gone up and told him how much I am looking forward to the next few weeks of his sermons.  Maybe next weekend.  Wait, no.  We are moving the boys’ rooms next weekend.  I’ll just have to send him an ecard.

messy house funny

This week I will be starting my big October project of finishing the first draft of my next book.  I have been working on it, but I am planning a big push to finish it and get the editing process going.  That’s part of why I want to get the kids all settled into their new spaces….. they need some attention from Mom before I go into my writing cave.

messy house funny

Lastly, my daughter and I went to see a movie called “Captive” while we were out shopping.  It was pretty good for the 18 and up crowd (keep in mind we are SUPER conservative about what we let our under 18 kids see).  The content was definitely adult in nature, but never went so far as to be disturbing.  I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.  And that’s just because I thought it could have used a little more of a point, but I like to be spoon fed in a movie.  I’m lazy like that.

Have a great week!

It’s Fall Y’all!

It’s Fall Y’all!

I am pretty sure in heaven it will be fall weather all of the time.

We are rounding the corner to pumpkins and 75° and warm drinks and wearing layers and it all adds a spring to my step!


The past few days have been filled with family and relaxing and church and all things lovely.  On Friday I had my first full day at home in weeks.  I celebrated by not getting dressed or brushing my hair for the entire day.  I’m thinking of making it a weekly event.  I may even put it on the family calendar so everyone can be prepared for the less-than-stellar look.

After a whole day of playing games with the kids, homeschool assignments and folding laundry, I prepaid to go to bed around 9:30.  After lying in bed for about half an hour I got an idea, what if I went ahead and colored my own hair?!  Because that is the next best thing to sleeping.

I had ordered some do-it-yourself hair color in July and it’s been sitting in my bathroom staring me down ever since it arrived, daring me to use it.  I’ve been too nervous since the first time I colored my own hair I ended up looking like something out of an old horror movie.  I cried for 24 hours afterward until my stylist could get me in to fix it.  But having it done is so expensive that I decided to try it again and apparently Friday was the night to do it.

Frankly, my gray roots were scaring people.  Mostly me.

The color was from eSalon and was pretty easy to do and only took about 45 minutes.  The color looks nice, not as pefect as when I pay the big bucks, but I didn’t cry all day Saturday so that’s one check in the positive column.  I will definitely do it again.

On Saturday morning my kids dressed like pirates so they could go to the city for free donuts and some fun shopping.  My 3 youngest boys couldn’t go pirating (it was just for big kids this time) which I felt really bad about because they had gotten up early and dressed for it.  It nearly broke my heart to tell them they couldn’t go so I told them, “You guys think of something fun you’d like to do and I will take you tonight.”  They chose to go out for Mexican food with ice cream after, which is something we very rarely do.  They sure know how to make the most of the mom-guilt.

Also this weekend I had my first Honeycrisp apple of the season and I picked up some pumpkins for the porch.  Someone should really write a song to the Honeycrisp apple, so enormous and delicious and the perfect amount of crunch.  It’s just another way to celebrate fall.


Sunday we went to church followed by lunch out with an older couple we have grown to love since we have been going there.  Yep, eating out twice in a weekend and I am feeling pretty spoiled.  Let’s just call it fall celebration number three.

After lunch I took the sweetest nap and then went for a walk with the kids.  Really…. the simple goodness just never stopped.

I may have to make this an annual event…. after school starts and the weather cools down I spend a day in my pajamas eating Honeycrisp apples and having Mexican food with friends.  You have my permission to adopt this tradition for yourself.


Sadly, according to the family calendar I will have to actually get dressed each day this week.  There are activities happening every day, but it’s all pretty close to home and we will be together.  That’s all a girl can really ask for.

I hope you’re having a nice September and a wonderful week!

Be sure to continue the conversation over on Facebook!


Sometimes I Wanna Be Amish, but I Don’t Want to Make Quilts

Sometimes I Wanna Be Amish, but I Don’t Want to Make Quilts

All I can say about the past 2 weeks of my life is wow, wow, wow.

Between the book release then a trip to Orlando and a conference last weekend… is entirely possible that I am going to die of overexposure to fun and goodness.  Is that possible?  Like, I am actually craving housework and salad.

On the day the book came out, I drove around to a bunch of bookstores and left little notes in some of the books.  It was such fun to see my book in the stores.


The next day I flew to Orlando with 4 of my kids for 5 days of fun at Universal Studios.  The thing I struggle with the most when life gets so busy is sticking with my health plans.  I had such a great restart to my diet a month ago and planned to spend my entire time at Universal Studios Orlando eating healthy.  I had a suitcase full of healthy snacks and was armed for the battle.  In the parks I planned to eat bunless burgers with lots of veggies, stay away from sugar, etc.  But by the third night after days of running around and keeping up with the kids, I fell into bed at 11PM with some Oreos and half of a leftover giant pretzel.  Epic fail.

But you know what?  It’s not permanent.  I can just turn it around again.  This is my carousel ride of life.  Take good care of myself, down again, do a better job next time, fall off, eventually I will be more on the ups than the downs and that’s OK with me.  I am trying.

Last weekend our pastor preached about a time that is coming when there will be no more pain or diet problems or sin dragging us down.  We will be free of all of that and right now we can believe that to help get us through the hard times.  Oh boy I can’t wait for that day!

1 Peter 3:6-7 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

I am back to work this week with book writing and my Young Living oils team and a normal diet that consist of less Oreos and more lettuce.  I am also thrilled to be back to my little road for my morning walks instead of hotels and theme park workouts.

Speaking of theme parks, in case I didn’t say it, we had a fantastic time at Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure.  My kids that went with me all agreed that it will go down in our memory as one of our best vacations ever.  I really had no idea how wonderful the whole place was and will definitely go back!  Just give me a few months to recover.


After arriving home from Orlando we had one day to prepare for the Forge conference where we had a vendor booth and ladies’ luncheon happening.  The luncheon went so well (thanks to my BFF Sara) that I am going to pray about doing it again next year.  It was a lot of work, but such a sweet time of love and fellowship!


As much as I enjoyed getting all dressed up for the past couple of weeks and being out amongst the English, my wanna-be-Amish side is kicking in and I am ready for some home time.  I won’t be doing any canning or quilting, but I will be mopping some floors and hanging laundry on the line.  I am looking for simplicity and time with just my family.

We are also cleaning out bedroom for one of my great “shifts.”  It happens every year or two.  The kid’s needs change and we have to move bedrooms around.  It’s also a good time to rid ourselves of the junk that seems to accumulate.  We will attack it one room at a time until everyone is settled into new digs.

I am glad to be mostly home again and just enjoying some normalcy.  Grocery trips and Bible studies and homeschool and house cleaning are the name of the game.  I don’t travel again for a month and I plan to embrace every second of this time!

I hope you are falling into your routine of back to school.  Doesn’t it feel good to be back on schedule?!

Have a great week!

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Somebody Bring Me Some Calgon!

Somebody Bring Me Some Calgon!

OK, it’s official.  I am so done with my husband being gone.  I already knew he was the solid one in the relationship, but after a week without him I am more sure than ever that he is the glue and I am all of the random pieces.  The mere sight of one more broken appliance will put me over the edge.

I don’t know how single parents do it.  Or military parents…seriously, you all have my mad respect.

It’s like the whole house goes into some kind of other dimension and the boys don’t get their chores done and as sweet as the girls are, they have been kind of out-of-it for the past several days. And after last week’s M-word situation, I was not sure I was the best person to be leading these troops.  I am fairly sure my 8 year old would have been a better option considering I walked around afraid of my own shadow all week.

Somebody get me the biggest box of Calgon you can find.

Despite being as jumpy as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs, I decided to do something bold and get up Saturday morning to take the whole crew down to the city to participate in a protest at the nearest Planned Parenthood.  These rallies were taking place all around the country and we all felt we should be there.

I say it was bold because….

1. I was husbandless so that meant I was completely responsible for this crew and I think we can all see how that is going.  James and I used to attend these allies fairly often when the kids were little and I remember a few of them getting pretty ugly.

2. The Van.

I was going to have to crank up the old 15-passenger van.  And when I say crank, that’s pretty close to what it’s like.  This old thing has so many miles on it that it could be in the Guinness Book of World Records.  I don’t know how it is still working.  None of us like to drive it, it putters along, the A/C doesn’t work, it smells bad, it rattles like an old roller coaster and worst of all it gets about 2.7 miles to the gallon.

We only use it for emergency family outings, and even then we look into the price of a rental car first.

But I had to use it because we outnumbered the seats in my car and James left the minivan at the airport.  So we found the crank and off we went.

The event was very well organized and besides being so hot you could fry an egg on our foreheads, it went well.  The 600+ people there were peaceful and very upbeat about raising awareness of what is really going on inside that facility.  We saw lots of friends there and were blessed to have been a part of it.

Family participation in a rally

Afterwards I decided to run a few errands.  It’s not often we all go to the city together, it being over an hour away and us having to drive what basically equates to the Beverly Hillbillies’ vehicle to get there.  So we ate lunch then picked up some clothes for the boys.  We are going to Orlando in a few weeks for an awesome blogging event at Universal Studios called Family Forward and the boys needed shorts.  I also decided to get myself a hat, which I am not sure about yet.  Hats don’t like me very much.

We were all worn out from standing in the heat for 2 hours then shopping afterwards, so we drove home in the old van and collapsed.  Later that night we all ate dinner in my bedroom and watched the Duck Dynasty wedding, which was adorable and I cried through almost the whole show.  I love their style (except for the scraggly beards and head bandanas) and the values were so sweet.  Lord, bless them.

After church on Sunday we came home and worked on a video trailer we are making for my book that comes out NEXT WEEK!!!

It’s so close y’all!  Have you ordered yours yet?!

My 12 year old is the director and we had a great afternoon together shooting it.  My daughter Hope did all of the artwork and it’s the cutest thing since Princess Charlotte.  We are wrapping it up this week and you’ll be the first to see it!

working on a book trailer as a family

I fell asleep on Sunday night before the kids even knew I was out. They were all still awake and I just had to trust that they wouldn’t have any loud parties or burn anything because I would have slept through it all.  Mama was DONE.

This week is full of more book promotions and trying to keep my sanity.  Which basically describes my life in a nutshell.

Have a good one!

Feeling SpOILed

Feeling SpOILed

This past weekend was a heap o’housecleaning and packing.

It began on Saturday morning after my walk.  When I got home we all sat around in the living room going over plans and schedules and who needed to be where and when for the week.  We talked about budgets and how to juggle the cars and when to do the grocery shopping, etc.  You’d think after all these years it would be simple, but it never is.

My husband James and our oldest son were planning a trip together for the week, leaving at 4:30 on Sunday morning.  So we all needed to plan for their exit needs.  In addition to that, the rest of us had gotten a little tired of the house staying messy, so we decided to make Saturday a deep cleaning day.

OK, maybe that’s a little exaggeration.  *I* was tired of the mess.  I think they were too, they just didn’t know it.

We divided up the household chores and each person had an area they were responsible for.  I had the dining room and my own bathroom (which was a little sneaky on my part since I cleaned my bathroom a couple of days before.  Shhhh….).  Levi was going to be my “cleaning assistant” which basically meant more work for me than if I had just done it by myself.  He likes to talk a lot and forgets that we are supposed to be working.  But that’s OK….I like hanging out with him so it all evens out.

In the morning I poked around doing a few other jobs like 8 loads of laundry and giving the puppy a bath and then I told Levi, “I’m ready.  Let’s clean the dining room now.”  He acted excited at first, under the false assumption that it was gonna be a picnic.  Like we would just erase the random drawings on our white board, sweep and we’d be done.


Mom clean is different than kid clean

When Mom cleans it is a serious thing.  We pulled books off of shelves and dusted, we moved furniture and scrubbed under it.  We cleaned out baskets of junk and polished all of the furniture.  At one point he disappeared under the guise that he had to go to the bathroom, but this isn’t my first rodeo, mister.  I am onto that trick.

After a few hours we were mostly finished and it was time for me to move onto to helping James pack for his trip, so I told Levi we could finish the rest tomorrow.  “Tomorrow?! How much could there be left to do?!?!” he exclaimed as he slapped his palm to his forehead.  I hated to tell him that I could work on just that room for 2 more days.

To make it up to him I let the boys watch a movie, even though we don’t usually watch movies on Saturday.  That soothed his tired little self.

Poor James had been feeling queasy all day, so I offered to pack for him while he told me what to do.  It was also a great way to spend time together before they left.  He sat in our bedroom recliner and pointed while I located what he needed and put it in the suitcase.  By the time we were finished he was looking a little green so he went straight to bed with the plan to get up at 4:15 the next morning in order to be at the airport by 5:30  (in case you don’t like math, that’s an hour drive to the airport from our house).

But the next morning when my backup alarm went off I checked on him and it was pretty obvious that he wasn’t going to be able to go on the trip.  He was just too sick.  Jacob and I made the quick decision that I would drive Jacob to the airport and hopefully James could catch up with him the next day after 24 hours of rest.  I literally flew out the door without even drawing my eyebrows on.  By 4:45 we were on the road.

Even though I was unprepared for the early morning drive, I did enjoy spending that time with Jacob.  We were talking and then about 15 minutes before we got to the airport he realized that all of his supplements and oils were in James’ suitcase.  They had planned to check one bag and filled it with the liquids and that bag was still at home.  Uh oh.

When you get used to having oils in you life it’s hard to live without them.

I said, “Let’s just see what’s in my purse.  Maybe I have at least some peppermint (Jacob’s favorite oil and one I always travel with!).  I set my purse next to me and started digging around in the bottom of it as I drove, going by feel alone.  If you’re wondering why he didn’t just look in the purse for me, it’s an unspoken law of nature….men don’t look in ladies’ purses.

As I blindly rummaged for the familiar shape of the bottles, I pulled them out one at a time.  “Here’s some Thieves!” He grabbed it from my hand, “Oh cool, I’ll take that!” as he shoved it into his bag.  I dug again, “Oh,” I held out a bottle, “I found peppermint!”  “Hey thanks!” he liked that.   “Here, I have a bottle of Abundance…”  He took it saying he had always wanted to try that one.  On and on it went until he had about 8 oils, 2 packets of NingXia Red and several NingXia Nitros to take with him.  And there were several more he didn’t want to take (in case you’re wondering, he opted out of lime, Slique, Valor II and Northern Lights Black Spruce.  My purse was like a clown car of Young Living products.

I don’t think I realized how many oils I carry with me since I just toss them in there and use them individually.  I saw for how spoiled I am and had a moment of gratitude for these gifts.

The only bottle I may shed a few tears over is the Abundance.  I use it every day and I have a feeling I’m not getting it back.  It’s one of those oils that every time I recommend it to someone they message me a month later and say they never want to be without it ever again.  And being the mom in this situation….well we all know the rules.  The kids don’t feel they have to return moms’ things.

I’ll be ordering myself a new bottle this week.

Once I got home it was time to dress the boys and head off to church.  The sermon was wonderful, which kept me awake.  Well, that plus I drank a NingXia Zing mixed with lemon, frankincense, Light the Fire and an ounce of NingXia Red on the way to church.  Nothing was holding me down after that.

After church I helped James a little and then settled the kids in for some down time.  One of my girls and I decided to watch “The Karate Kid” because she had never seen it.  It was a flashback of the 80s complete with big shoulder pads and music by Survivor.  By the time it was over I was thinking about popping open a can of Tab and playing with my Rubik’s Cube.


This morning James was feeling well enough to go so he headed to the airport to catch up with Jacob.  Those of us staying home will be doing our normal weekly activities of swimming, sweeping and trying to keep up with laundry.

And I’ll be refilling my purse with oils, of course.

Have a great week!

Be Who You Promise Yourself You Will Be

Be Who You Promise Yourself You Will Be

Last week the Young Living International Grand Convention was pretty much amazing.  In addition to learning about great products and hearing some speakers who were nothing short of incredible….I also got to spend time with 2 of my favorite people in the whole wide world.  Two of my older kids.  They went along with me for the week.

Doesn’t get much better than that.

Except when I got home to the rest of my family.  Yep.  That was even better.

We spent the week at the Gaylord in Dallas, TX which is a huge hotel and convention center.  I was looking forward to getting some extra walking steps in since I’ve been sitting so much lately working on promoting my book (being released on Sept 1….woohoo!).

A couple of years ago when I started getting healthy and traveling so much, I made a commitment to myself to take the stairs whenever I was staying in a hotel.  I would allow myself to use the elevator up when carrying luggage upon arriving and down upon leaving, but the rest of my trips back and forth to my room had to be stairs only.

So last week when I walked up to the front desk and checked in the clerk said, “Here you go Mrs. Pennington.  Your room is on the ninth floor.”

Say wha?!

My heart stopped, “Do you have any rooms that are lower, like below the fourth floor?”


“We are completely full and that’s the only room.  Don’t worry, the elevator is quick and you’ll love your room!”  Then she handed me my ninth floor key.

As we hauled our giant load toward the elevator I told myself I don’t have to do it.  It’s too much.  I will be walking so much already that taking the stairs will be too tiring.  Just skip it this time.  You need you beauty rest.  On and on my mental excuses went.

We settled into our room and after an hour we headed out to go register for the conference and visit with friends.  I knew it was decision time.  Do I take the elevator or the stairs?  Down NINE floors.

In the words of the great William Shakespeare, “To be or not to be, that is the question.”

Tanslation: Do I be the person I promised myself I would be or believe the excuses that I was whispering in my own ear.

I decided to BE.

If you tell yourself you will do it...keep the promise to youself!

So for five days I walked up and down those stairs.  It really changed the way I thought about going up to my room!  Did I really need to?  Would I have to come back down soon?  If so, could it wait and only make a single trip?

I’m dedicated, but I’m not insane.  If I could avoid an extra trip I would!

Once or twice a friend was going to my room with me and I would take the elevator, but honestly I felt a little guilty about that.  I could have met her at the top.  Oh sure, she would have to wait for 10 minutes, but I could have done it.

For the first twenty-four hours I was really struggling by the time I got to the fourth floor.  I’d have to stop for a second and pull myself together at each landing.  By day three I struggled around floor six and by the end I only got tired as I rounded the corner from eight to nine.  I’ll bet if I stayed a few more days I would be doing the whole trip with ease.

So what did I learn, besides to be more careful when making promises to myself?  I learned that I am stronger than I think.  I learned that when I put my mind to it I can do something hard.  I learned that what I think determines what I can accomplish.  I learned that I don’t need to carry so much in my purse.

I mean, do I really NEED those breath mints and water bottles?!  That’s a couple of pounds I could NOT have on my back while I climbed.  Once night when it was after 10:00 and I was dawg tired, I stood there looking up at the stairs.  My purse was heavy so I looked in it to see what I could ditch before I started my ascent.  There was a whole water bottle in there.  So I opened it and right there at the foot of the stairwell I drank that entire bottle.

Of course I realized immediately that only meant I would be carrying the water INSIDE myself instead of outside.  But no matter.  It wasn’t hurting my neck or shoulder as it passed through my digestive system.

As much as it was kind of a pain to take the stairs all week, it was also something I needed to do for myself.  It was definitely a confidence builder.

So now I need to make a new promise….one that pushes me even further.

Have a great week!

Be sure to follow me over on Facebook for more conversation!
I’d love to hear if you have any promises you’ve made to yourself!


I’m Trying Not to Be a Mom-Zombie

I’m Trying Not to Be a Mom-Zombie

The Focused Conference in Virginia last weekend was wonderful!  We laughed, we learned, we ate…..pretty much in that order.  I got to meet so many amazing women….it never ceases to amaze me how many brilliant people are out there.

Right now I’m sitting in the airport trying to figure out a way to sum up the past few days.


I would normally do that on Monday morning, all casual and lounging in my recliner with my kids around me chatting me up.  But that won’t be possible since I have to pile my boys in my car tomorrow morning by 8:00 and drive them to their orthodontist appointments in the city.

I really love our ortho, but I do occasionally wonder about the wisdom of choosing one so far away.  Most of the time it’s no big deal, but after flying home from Virginia the day before and getting back after dark….I really don’t much feel like waking up early and leaving home.

But I really DO want to spend some quality time with my boys who I am missing like crazy right now, so I need to look at it as a gift instead of a burden.  I can sleep another time.  Not sure when, but I am confident it will happen someday.

And as a double treat my boys get to go with me after the orthodontist while I get my haircut.  I get it cut at ULTA where there are plenty of makeup and hair products for them to peruse while I am in the chair.  I had to promise them In & Out burgers PLUS a trip to the Lego store to make up for the torture.

Tuesday and Wednesday are turning out to be really full days also.  So I will need to pick up some under eye repair cream while I’m at ULTA tomorrow or I will start to look like a mom-zombie.

Speaking of busy, I will only be home for a few days before heading back to Dallas (by car this time since several of my kids are going with me) for the Young Living International Grand Convention.  It’s no big deal….just 12,000 of my closest friends hanging out together.  The word “madness” comes to mind.  I plan to pack a LOT of food to take with us, not to save money but because I expect the lunch lines at even the fastest food places to be so long you will be ready for dinner by the time you get to eat.

It’s a good thing I like raw fruits and veggies.

If you have tips for packing up food for traveling over a week hop over to my Facebook page and share them with all of us!

Have a great week!



Do you go to retreats?  It has been a long, long time since I attended any kind of retreat where I wasn’t speaking or working.  But this past weekend I got to go to one and let me tell ya…..I was not prepared for the deep introspection and personal conviction.

It was a good/hard kind of experience.

Good….God dug deep and pulled some weeds from my heart.

On Friday morning my daughter and I drove to Dallas, where the retreat was being held.  She rode with me so she could spend the weekend with my older daughter who lives there and visit my wonderful sister-in-law and her family.  We had a fantabulous ride up just talking and listening to podcasts and sharing ideas.  We arrived and I took my 2 girls to lunch and really just enjoyed some down time together.  Afterwards, I left them and headed to my retreat.


It was hosted by my Young Living leader and oh-my-lands she is good at making you feel cared for!  Every detail down to the light fixtures in the hotel was perfection.  We played team building games and ate amazing food and had NingXia Red at every meal. #spoiled

The real learning of the retreat was on Friday when we attended sessions about building a vision and understanding what motivates you and knowing your purpose.  It got pretty deep and for a while I felt like I had been hit by an emotional mac truck.  I have been through the ringer over this past year and it kind of just all came down around me.  I know we were supposed to be learning business ideas and being inspired in our Young Living dreams….but I had so many aha moments that were personal mixed in with all of the lightbulbs flashing over my head for my business that my brain nearly exploded.  In a good way.

I was taking notes as fast as my little hand would write.

At around 3:00 on Friday we took a break for a few hours before dinner.  Most of the ladies headed to the pool, but I just couldn’t take the extreme temps so I went to my hotel room and spent some time with my notebook and my Bible.  Me and God had a long talk.


I definitely felt refreshed and made some decisions about how I spend my time and where God wants me to focus.  I got to talk with my leader about my thoughts, which was amazing to be together in person so we could really connect and have a meeting of the minds.  And my roommate was so great too, she let me spill my thoughts out to her and helped me think through some things well into the wee hours of the night.  #blessed

On Saturday morning I went for a facial before heading to pick up my daughter and drive back home.  Have you ever had a facial?  I had never had one before and Lord-have-mercy, it was unbelievable.  If I could I would get one every week.  My skin is still thanking me.

On the Saturday afternoon drive home my daughter and I talked a lot about what we had each done while in Dallas and made plans for the next few days.  She and I are traveling together again next weekend.  We are going to the Focused Conference in Virginia.  More time together.  More learning.  More bonding over everything from gluten-free food to books we love.

When I got home it was hard to decide….to unpack or not to unpack.  Ultimately I could have just left it all on the suitcase and used it again next weekend.  The problem is that one trip was driving and the other is flying.  Flying requires a whole different kind of packing.  Little bottles, Ziploc bags, shoes that slip off easily….for my driving trip I just kept tossing things in the car like I hadn’t a care in the world until I had, in addition to my suitcase, several tote bags full of random, completely unnecessary stuff. So I decided it would be best to go ahead and put everything away (except the suitcase) and get it all back out again in 3 days.  I do feel more organized with it all put in its place instead of living out of a suitcase in my own home.

For the next few days I will be reflecting on all that God showed me last weekend and asking Him to help me keep those nasty weeds OUT of my heart and help me plant something beautiful and fruitful in its place.  I have let too many unwanted things grow in there lately and I am glad to be rid of them.  I’ll be reading my Bible and pouring God’s Word over those recently touched areas.

And I will be thanking God for His mercies….I sure am feeling His goodness these days.

How about you?  When was the last retreat you went on?

A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

Back in the day when my kids were little, my husband would walk in the house at the end of his workday and say, “Hi honey, what did you do today?”  And I had nothing to say.  I felt like I had been crazy busy, but when someone asks you and you can only think of small things like diaper changes and spilled crackers and crying babies and nursing the baby it feels like you did nothing.

And that’s how I feel about last weekend.  My thoughts are a blur of activity, none of which are worth telling you about.

Unless you want to start on Friday morning.  That was pretty exciting.

I woke up and decided instead of doing my morning run I would exercise in the pool.  I just felt like a change of pace.  But it was a bit of a “if you give a mouse a cookie” situation because I discovered a big mess of pool toys left out from the boys swimming the night before. I so stuck my head in the house and called for the boys to come out and clean them up.  One of them was in the kitchen and he came out and started cleaning up with me.

But then as we put away the toys I noticed that there was rain water (from who knows when!) in the container where they keep the smaller toys, so we cleaned that out, and then I saw that the large toy storage was a mess, so I called another boy out and I had him straighten that and another boy came out and I had him start trimming some overgrown limbs that were dragging in the pool and the last, unfortunate son came to see where everyone was so I had him carry the cut limbs to the burn area in the back of the yard.

I finally got in the pool after half an hour of working with the boys. But only about 10 minutes into my exercises someone came running to tell me that our 16 year old son Noah had been bitten by “something”.  I got out of the water, wrapped myself in a towel and went into the kitchen where he was sitting with ice on the sting.  As I was assessing the situation he said he was starting to feel worse.  His hand (where he was bitten) had swollen to nearly double its normal size and he was covered in hives.  He said he felt like he couldn’t breathe and that’s when I started to freak.  My husband was walking in the house so I yelled for him to take our son to the hospital.  He rushed over to us and immediately agreed and while I helped Noah to the van while my husband ran to get his keys.  Our oldest son, Jacob, came out to see what was going on (I may have been screaming, I really don’t remember) and he jumped in the car with them.  They drove off and I ran to change out of my wet suit and I followed right behind.

Oh.  My.  Lord.

That was pretty much all I could say in prayers as I drove.  We live about 15 minutes from the hospital if you’re speeding.  A few minutes into my drive I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to ask people to pray.  I knew my son was already having blurred vision when they left so my mind was not working and I couldn’t think of who to call….so I just put it out on Facebook.

“Y’all please pray for my 16 year old son.  We are rushing him to the hospital.  More later. XO”

Two minutes after I asked for prayer my husband called me and said as they were pulling into the emergency room driveway our son just started breathing.  He kind of woke up, didn’t feel faint, could see and was breathing fine.  He said the swelling and redness was going down.


A beautiful testimony about how God answers prayer!

We decided that they would sit right outside of the emergency room while I ran to the pharmacy and got whatever the pharmacist recommended.  As long as he was breathing fine and didn’t have any other symptoms we didn’t think we needed to spend the morning in the ER.  But at the same time….we didn’t want to be far away if it happened again.  I took the bottle of Benadryl the pharmacist suggested to the hospital parking lot and gave the OTC meds to Noah, but honestly….except that his hand was still very swollen you couldn’t tell anything was happening to him.  He was completely fine.  I just stared at him amazed by God’s miracles.

Then I did what any mother would do…..I started to cry and pet him and kiss him and be generally annoying.  I announced that when we got home I would be sitting next to him and staring at him for the next 24-48 hours.

And here’s the message for you kids who might be reading this: If your mom was just scared out of her mind that you might die any second and she tells you that you will have to sleep next to her that night so she can listen to you breathe….there’s no point in arguing about it.

We waited there for a while then decided it would be OK to take him home.  He announced that he was really hungry and could we get him some food.  These boys are always, always, always hungry.

It’s as it should be.

So we fed him burgers and let him sit on the couch all day eating ice cream and playing wii because frankly I was too worn out from the morning to even think about him going back outside.  Plus his swollen hand was useless and he was a little sluggish from the Benadryl I gave him in the parking lot.

And the rest of the weekend after that is a blur.  While I am sure I did some other things, I really don’t remember much.  We cleaned house and went to church and to my friend Sara’s beautiful anniversary party and we shopped a little and I worked on book stuff and I barely recall any of it because the only thing on my mind was hugging my kids and thanking God for them and trying not to cry.

On Sunday evening I asked my husband if we could buy our son a pony…..or maybe a car.  He gave me this shocked look, “A car?!?!”

I know, I know.  I just wanted to do something for Noah so he would always know how glad I am that he is here.

He will have to settle for all the burgers he wants ‘cuz I can’t afford a pony or a car.

Have a great week!

Puppies & Parades

Puppies & Parades

Well, we have a new family member and it will come as a surprise to many of you who know me to be not-so-much-of-a-dog-person.  I mean, I like dogs, I have one outside that I love to death, but I don’t feel a need to make googly eyes at them or think of them as people.

All that to say, yes, we got a puppy.  It just kind of happened (it was definitely a God-thing) and now we are all in love with him.  He is so little and fun and playful and happy and just what we needed around here.

I wub him.


He’s very wiggly and hard to photograph.  So the best I could do was press him against my face to keep him still for a flash of a second.  Immediately after we snapped that photo he dashed off to chase a piece of knotted rope.

We had a nice Fourth of July weekend.  It started early on Saturday morning as some of the kids and I went to a nearby town to be in a parade.  We rode in/walked with a float for the local pregnancy center and handed out candy and toys to the kids in the crowd.  I didn’t make it the whole time because I wore the wrong shoes and my feet were killing me.  But my kids stayed on the float ’til the end while I watched from the sidelines for the last half.


After the parade was over I was so tired, I guess from the heat of the day, that I went home and pretty much slept until it was time to watch fireworks.  It was just a plain old American Saturday.

The next day was just like every other Sunday.  1. Church 2. Lunch 3. Nap

That’s it.

Sunday at its best

James and I have been trying to squeeze out some alone time on Sunday evenings so we locked ourselves in the bedroom and ate dinner and talked.  It was nice, but too short.  With so much going on this summer we need to really make the time to stay connected.  I was so tired that I think I fell asleep once while he was talking.  I tried to hide it, but snorting myself awake probably gave me away.  There’s just no casual way to recover from that kind of faux pas.

This week I will be putting together some promos for my book that’s coming out in September and I am actually now writing my next book to release in 2016.  God has surely blessed me to allow me to be used for His glory in this way.  I give Him all the credit!

I want to close this Monday weekend update with a bit of the message from yesterday’s sermon on 1 Peter 5:6-9…

We can expect that the devil is prowling around just watching for an opportunity to devour us.  The only sure repellant of that hungry lion is a person who is FIRM in the FAITH!  Hang onto your faith, spend time in the Word, keep your weapon sharp and be watchful.  The victory belongs to the Lord!

Have a great week!