Getting Back to Normal (Kind of)

Getting Back to Normal (Kind of)

I am sitting in a hotel room in a small Texas town with my computer.  I am supposed to be catching up on emails and blog posts, but instead I am shopping all of the Cyber Monday sales.  I can’t help it.  I need these great deals to fill all of the stockings I have to fill on Christmas morning!

I am in this hotel because I drove 6 hours to Dallas yesterday and didn’t want to drive all the way back home late at night.  I am not good at night driving and now that it gets dark at 6:00 I start falling asleep by 8.  So I stopped about 1/3 of the way home and spent the night.  I was in Dallas to see my niece’s play and take my oldest daughter back after she spent Thanksgiving with us.  Another of my girls went along to spend the week there, so the drive was a fun fest of chatting and singing and planning.  I mostly love to listen to them talk to each other.  It’s amazing to have adult kids who really love each other and I just soaked in the sweetness.

I feel like I am still recovering from our Thanksgiving, which was wonderful!  We had 4 families over and there was so much food that I am still full.  We emptied out the living room to add 2 extra tables and everyone brought their favorite dishes and we stuffed ourselves.  There was so much pie that it was slightly shameful.  We could have opened a diner with as much pie as that.  After the food was put away we played games and that is where the magic happened.  We laughed so hard I had sore muscles around my rib cage.  There is nothing better than a day with good food and great friends!  I hope that your holiday was just as wonderful!

We did go Black Friday shopping which turned out to be not so great deals, but a good time anyway.  I had 2 of my girls with me, my 16 year old son and his friend.  We ran around the mall and Target, saw “Mockingjay – Part 2” and ate Chickfila.  I think we spent a grand total of $25 on deals, but it wasn’t about buying.  It was really about the time spent together.

Once we got home from shopping and ate some leftovers, I was worn out.  I laid in my bed at 8:15 and Levi (my 8 year old) came to talk to me.  He scootched under the covers next to me and started to tell me some of his ideas about a book he wants to write and how I can help him with his Disney collection and on and on.  But I was so tired that I kept falling asleep.  He would hear me snore a little and push my shoulder, “Mommy!  You fell asleep again!”.  I tried to stay awake and he kept talking until finally I must have fallen so hard that he gave up because I woke up at midnight with the lights on and he was gone.  Poor kid.  I will make it up to him with a good listening session one night this week.

I am so happy that it’s Monday and we can get back to school and normal activity.  Or as normal as it gets when you have to boil all of your water like you’re living in circa 1807.  Our hot water heater died and we are struggling to figure out what we want to do.  The plumber has been working with us to figure out if we should change over to an instant hot water system or replace the tank.  I don’t really care as long as I can get this settled within the next few days.  When an appliance goes out on Thanksgiving week you really get to discover what you’re truly thankful for.

AND since they say things happen in threes, I am praying this is the last of our appliance deaths for a while.

I need to get back to my cyber shopping before I have to check out of my room.  Have a great week, friends!

Home from Vacation and Straight to Thanksgiving

Home from Vacation and Straight to Thanksgiving

I should be starting this morning with enthusiasm.  I have grocery shopping and Bible study, answering emails and getting the house ready for Thanksgiving all to do this morning.  But instead I am drinking hot tea in my jammies and considering a 10AM nap.

Our family was on vacation last week and now I am so worn out from all of the running around and eating and keeping up with active boys that I need a break from my break.

We went to Disney World.  It was wonderful and magical, but I got so tired that by the time we pulled in the driveway on Saturday night at 10:00 I wasn’t sure if I could make the walk from the van to the house.  Yesterday I stayed in bed until noon while watching trash TV.  After that I dragged myself to my recliner and stared at the walls, not even trying to get anything done.  I slept almost the entire day and I still don’t feel caught up on rest.

I’d like to stay in my post-Disney stupor today too, but life won’t let me.  We are having a houseful of people here for Thanksgiving, which is such a wonderful blessing!  Since I love my friends, I can’t just lie around wishing the holiday elves would bake the pies and find room in the fridge for all this food.  I have to actually get up.

This morning while I was unpacking my suitcase and putting away the vacation memories, I decided not to put my hair supplies away just yet.  You see, I got a little obsessed with doing fun things with my hair for Disney.  I created a different style for each themed park and it was so much fun that I am thinking of doing some more things with my hair for the holidays.  Maybe a Christmas tree or some kind of fountain.

Here are the styles I did last week.  I got so much interest in them on social media that I will do individual tutorials for them over the next few weeks.  I just need time to recover first.

Right now I have a week filled with baking and shopping and cleaning and hopefully getting some rest before I have to get up at 4:00 on Black Friday to take my teens shopping.  In preparation for Thanksgiving Day, I made a Pin board with some great tips, games and recipes.  This will help me when I get to the store and forget what I was planning to cook.  If you have a great Thanksgiving recipe, I hope you’ll share it with us over on Facebook! I need all the help I can get.

We will be moving all of the furniture out of our living room to make space for a few more tables on Thanksgiving.  I am not sure where the sofa is going to go, I may be crawling over it for the next 4 days.  Hopefully I can still get a few naps in while we get ready for our guests to arrive!

Happy Thanksgiving week my friends!


It’s Really All About the Shoes

It’s Really All About the Shoes

It’s the time of year when I have to check the weather app before getting dressed every morning.  It might be 50° it might b0 90°, who knows?!  You can’t put away your sandals and lightweight tops because even though it’s too cold to wear them today, you might need them tomorrow.

Every October I celebrate the season changing by wearing my red boots every day. It’s a fin challenge to make that work and now that it’s over, I am enjoying my other shoes again.  While I don’t wear Louis Vuitton, I do love a pretty shoe.  Truth is, even if I could afford $1,000 for a pair of shoes I wouldn’t wear them.  I have foot issues.

I have Plantar Fasciitis and bunions and yes, I realize this makes me sound like an old lady.  I remember my grandmother complaining about the corns on her feet.  Now this is me.  I may as well get myself a giant sedan and start driving 10 miles per hour through town.

Anyway, I love shoes.  I spend my spare time searching high and low for some I can wear that are prettier than Crocs or Birkenstocks.  I do own both, but you have to admit they are purely functional.  The Birks keep my feet healthy so I wear them around the house, but when I go out I require cuteness.

I have talked about my Otz shoes before because they have a trendy, earthy look like Toms, but they have footbed support.  In fact, I like them so much that they made it onto my Holiday Gift Guide for Women.  I am not sure why they haven’t become more popular, but I get constant compliments on mine and they are so easy on my feet that I wore them to Disney and Universal Studios without any problems.

Loving these little summer dresses!

Interestingly, my red boots are also comfy for my feet as long as I don’t do too much walking in them.  For general running errands or going out with my friends they are just fine.  When my feet are not hurting, I can be more relaxed with my shoe choices, but I can’t ever wear shoes with no arch support, as in flats.  That eliminates about 93% of the shoes out there.  I see this as a good thing.  It makes shopping a lot easier.

I can wear wedges occasionally.  I have several pair and I wear them anytime I can.  These slate ones are my new fives. I found them at a thrift store, never been worn, in my size, for $20.  SCORE!


They are Dansko and if they were new they’d cost $150, so this was a steal!  They are surprisingly comfy and I also own a brown pair of Dansko Boots that I adore! (but did not get such a great deal on)

I’m looking forward to winter shoe weather because I love changing it up and even though it’s cool now, I did wear a pair of sandals earlier this week… my toes were a little chilly.  But it was totally worth it.


I am into loose and easy clothes these days. Sadly, I have gained back some of my weight that I lost, but I am still determined and working on it.  Life, as you know, gets in the way of our goals sometimes, but I am not giving up.  You’ve got to just keep looking forward!

So as the weather cools down I am playing with my shoes and layers and mixing and matching.  I am definitely an experimenter with my clothes and I have passed that love along to my girls who always look adorable!  Well, really my whole family is pretty snappy lookin’.

Family at church

Here’s to cooler weather and new shoes!  I’ve got both my sandals and my sweaters ready, just in case.

Have a great weekend.


The Story of the Washer and Dryer

The Story of the Washer and Dryer


Do you ever have a moment of, “How did I get myself into this?”  Well that describes my entire Saturday.

It started a few weeks ago when I noticed that our washing machine wasn’t draining all of the water out and the clothes were dripping wet after the cycle ran.  So after each wash, I would have to run an extra rinse and spin cycle.  OK, no big deal.  That only doubles my laundry time, which is pretty lengthy already.  THEN, the dryer started to get fussy,  I assume it was wanting some extra attention since the washer was being so demanding, and it stopped drying as well as it used to.  The clothes would come out damp.  So I started hanging half of the wet clothes on the line outside and the other half stayed in the dryer.   I do actually enjoy the simplicity of hanging clothes on the line, but I didn’t see it as being a long term solution.  I’m no Ma Ingalls.

In defense of my machines, they are both over 12 years old and in washer/dryer years that’s like 115.  They have been troopers about the extreme workload that is expected of them in our home.  So maybe they were just dying of old age and exhaustion.  But last Friday, the washer bid us its final farewell.  We knew from the banging noise and burning smell coming from our utility room that it was over.

I called a repairman and he came to call time of death.  “No point in trying to fix it,” he said, “the _____ is completely busted and the ______ needs replacing which would mean pulling out the ______ and ______.  It just ain’t worth it.” (I don’t speak repairman so this is a loose interpretation)

He told me the dryer wasn’t far behind, so may as well replace them both.

I texted James and let him know that our Friday night date just went from dinner and a movie to walking around Lowes trying to find good deals on laundry sets.  And by good deal I mean not a good deal because these machines are so expensive now that I think the two of them cost more than my first car.  He wasn’t happy about it, but after 29 years of marriage he was smart enough to know that he would be less happy living with a wife who had to drive 10 miles to the Laundromat every day with 6 loads of dirty boys’ clothes in her car.

We took our time, looking at each machine and Googling reviews and trying to gulp down how much money we were about to spend.  We found a dryer in the clearance section that we decided to buy because it was significantly reduced in price, then chose the matching washer that they had in stock and we could take it home to install first thing in the morning.  Great.  Ring it up.  Oh sure, our next 2 sons won’t be able to go to college, but they will have clean clothes.

The next morning was install time, aka tear the house apart and make messes that will take weeks to clean up.  Because the new washer is a top load and the old ones were front load on pedestals, I had to tear out the shelf that spanned the top of my machines and remove another shelf across from them.  That meant finding new places to store all of the things that we kept in the shelves and drawers we were removing and not replacing.  Plus, I don’t know about you, but I tend to find things I didn’t even know I have when I empty cabinets which left me with a plethora of odd and ends that are still sitting in my kitchen while I try to find new homes for them.  It’s everything from a specialty light bulb to party napkins.  I’m at a loss.

The kids pitched in and we got the room emptied and cleaned after a couple of hours, although the kitchen looked like a utility room bomb had gone off.  James jumped in at that point to install the new machines, which involved 2 trips to the hardware store and at least an hour of digging around in our garage looking for spare dryer parts we could rig because the “great deal” we got turned out to be missing some essential pieces.  I only cried twice, which is a good day in our world.

After a few more hours, they were both scooted into place and ready to try.  I loaded exactly 6# into the washer, according to the manual and turned it on for its inaugural run.  Beautiful.  It swished and cleaned the clothes like any good youngster.  I felt kinda sorry for it, all innocent and showing off without knowing what it was about to get itself into.  We run our machines pretty much all day every day.

I piddled around during its cycle to keep my eye out for leaks, excessive shaking or any protests from the machine, which was great because it gave me 45 minutes to put away some of the junk that we had piled in the kitchen.  It did great, no problems.  When it was done, I reached in to pull the laundry out and made a startling discovery….. in order for me to get the clothes in the bottom of the machine I have to stand on my tiptoes, lay my stomach across the front of the machine and tip myself all the way into the drum with my head and some of my upper body inside of the washer.  My feet actually have to lift off of the ground.

Flashes of falling in, screaming for help and my family not hearing me for hours only to walk into the utility room one afternoon and find me head down in the washer with my legs kicking wildly went through my mind.  This. Is. Not. Good.

And the dryer is not much better.  The opening is so low to the ground and the drum is so deep that I practically have to get on my knees and, again, get inside of it to reach the clothes in the back.

Here’s the good news: Our clothes are clean (and the utility room is spotless).
Here’s the bad news: I think I am going to return the washer and dryer and get another set of front loaders with pedestals.

I just can’t see myself doing this when I’m 60.  I could break a hip.  Or die a sad and unnecessary death.

When I informed James that I thought I was going to return them, he looked at me, stumped.  I am sure it sent a panic through him of having to go through this whole experience next weekend.  All he said to me was, “But, but, they are here now and usable. Plus it will cost so much more!”

Yes dear, but you will be saving on the chiropractor bills from the back issues I would have from loading and unloading these machines over and over.  Not to mention the cost of taking me out to dinner every night because I am too exhausted from trying to wedge myself out of the washer three to five times a day.

He managed to convince me to try them for another week and then decide.  You’re my friends, so I am telling you now…. if I disappear in the next 7 days, call someone and tell them to check the washing machine.

Don’t Ever Scoot Your Chair During Prayer

Don’t Ever Scoot Your Chair During Prayer

This funny blogger will encourage you and lighjten your day!

I’m beginning to wonder if there is a sign on my back that says, “I’m a magnet for embarrassing things.” If not, then God is just getting some fun out of watching me squirm.

It happened on Saturday morning.  I attended a sweet ladies’ fellowship and prayer meeting at church.  We were divided into small groups of women sitting at round tables and were given instructions by our table leaders.  Each leader would read some things about prayer then we would all pray together, then she would read a little more and we would pray more and so on.

I was sitting in a spot at the table where there was a table leg right in front of me, which caused to me awkwardly straddle my legs around it. It was uncomfortable since my legs were forced into an odd position.  So during one of the prayer times I decided to adjust a little.  My chair was turned where I couldn’t move my legs enough to relieve the numbing that was starting at my hips and working its way down, so I lifted my buttocks a little bit and scooted the chair to the left.  Seemed innocent enough, right?  Well not in my world.

As soon as we stopped that short prayer time some of the ladies at our table took a little break to go use the restroom.  Then one of them leaned over to me and whispered, “Honey, are you having some discomfort?”  Thinking she must mean me wiggling around because of the table leg in my way I said, “A little, but I am OK.”  She asked if she could pray for me, which I thought was kind of odd, but OK.  She prayed, the ladies returned from the restroom and we went on with our table time.

As our time of praying went on I shifted again to keep my legs and lower back from going into spasm.

After the whole event was over and people were milling around, another lady quietly asked me if I was feeling OK.  The way she asked gave the impressions she was deeply concerned for me, so I asked her, “Why are you asking me that? Do I not seem OK?” She gave me her best poor-darlin look then she told me, “Well you seemed to be having a little gas during the prayer time.”


Her care for me was so sweet I didn’t have the heart to start laughing right then.  I just told her I was fine and thanked her for her concern.  Then I went to ask the first lady if when she asked me about discomfort she meant she thought I was having gas and she said, “Yes, I was very concerned for you.”


These ladies thought the sound of my chair moving across the floor was me letting out a big one during prayer!

I could die.

Can you imagine the reputation I have now built for myself there?!  I barely know most of these ladies and now they all think I have digestive issues.  And it’s not like I can go around to each person and say, “Hey, in case you thought I was tooting last week, I want to let you know it was just the sound of my chair scooting on the floor.” Nope, I am simply left with this giant hole in my dignity.

I don’t know if I will ever go back to another prayer meeting, but if I do I will be sure to sit still no matter how badly my legs ache and never.move.a.muscle.  Either that, or just wear a t-shirt that says, “Yep, I’m the one.”

Have a great week!

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One Rotten Pumpkin Can Spoil the Whole Bunch

One Rotten Pumpkin Can Spoil the Whole Bunch

Where did Monday go?  I think I missed it somehow.  In fact, I somehow missed the entire weekend because when I sat down this morning to recount the past few days I can remember nothing.  Either it was so simple there’s nothing to remember or I blocked out something dramatic.  Or option number 3….I’m old and my memory is shot.

Whichever excuse, I have nothing to share about the past few days.

With the end of October looming, I am doing some holiday prep.  I don’t like these holidays that sneak up and are over before you can think, so I like to plan out some of the tasks early and get them out of the way.  I made a few Christmas lists and Thanksgiving invites and I set the pumpkins out on the porch.  Finally.

I bought 5 pumpkins about a month ago and they have been sitting in a pile at the edge of the porch ever since.  I have so many ideas for what to do with them, but in the end I just plopped them on a bale of hay with some mums and called it a day.  One of the pumpkins had already gone rotten, so I felt like it was becoming an urgent situation.  I didn’t want the rot to cross over to the other pumpkins and ruin them all, so I spent about 10 minutes setting them around on the porch.  I don’t foresee having any spare time in the next few weeks to decorate the porch more than this so I am settling for git-er-done over Pinterest-worthy.  Story of my life.

I also got some mini pumpkins for the mantle, but it’s not looking hopeful that they will get put up there.  It will only get done if I have a burst of creative energy at the same moment I have unexpected free time.  In other words, not gonna happen.  It’s OK, I can use the mini pumpkins for the Thanksgiving table decorations if they’re still sitting on the floor by the fireplace in another month.

In case you’re also doing some holiday planning, don’t miss my Holiday Gift Guides for Men and Women.  I filled them with products that our family owns and loves!

The next few days are filled with being home and working on my next book while homeschooling the boys.  I went to Costco and picked up easy meals (in other words, expensive) and told the boys to be prepared to do their own cooking and cleaning while I am wrapping up this manuscript.  Frankly, they are thrilled since their meals consist of frozen pizza and pre-made burgers.  I recommended they add a salad to their meal at least once a day, but the chances of that are slimmer than me making a Pinterest worthy fall mantle.

At least there will plenty of lettuce and greens for me to have all the brain food I need while writing.

We have worked out a schedule for the rest of the week where I am giving them lessons while I work.  It involves them checking in with me every hour to let me know what they are doing and I can give instructions.  I am writing each boy’s check-in down on a tablet next to me so I don’t forget which boy was supposed to be doing what and when.  If I don’t write it down then 3 hours will go by and I will get up to stretch and wonder where the boys are.  I won’t remember how long it’s been since they came to talk to me or what they were supposed to be doing.  They are getting too smart to fall for that, “So…. what do YOU think you were supposed to be doing?!  I mean, I know what it is, but do you?” routine.

Motherhood ain’t for the weak.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week with your family and get at least a few pumpkins to decorate with.  Just set it in the middle of your table and enjoy!

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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!

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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!