Monday, August 31, 2015

Blog Hoppers: September and my favorite things

Summer officially died today. Not because it's cool or because school started. Because this happened....


Math. It snuck into our afternoon and totally killed the summer vibe we were rocking just yesterday. 

School doesn't kill it. I like school. 

We have a schedule and we wake on time and get going. I have the opportunity to miss my children because they are away from me with qualified adults who care about learning multiplication and long division. I enjoy seeing their faces mid-afternoon. I enjoy the re-telling of every minute of the day. (It's just the second week...this will get old soon). 

We don't spend the summer mathing. We spend the summer avoiding the multiplication table and run away from any type of division. (And also spelling).

Since it's here and there's nothing we can do about it, I thought I'd post some of the things I'm loving right now. 

1. All things Hatmaker-ed. Of course "For the  Love" came out a few weeks ago and Jen Hatmaker has been everywhere. For her virtual BFF/stalker, this has been a fantastic couple of weeks. 

What you may not know is that she has a very talented husband and talented friends that are worth noting.

Brandon (the hubs) has a book "Barefoot Church" that I'm working my way through. It steps on my toes and makes me think (which was hard up until summer died today...). He is witty and worth a read. 

Legacy Collective. This is a new kind of giving community focused on partnering, pioneering, and funding sustainable solutions to systemic social issues. Please visit their website for more. It is a worthy cause to consider. It's new and truly looks to meet needs. 

Noonday collection uses fashion to create meaningful opportunities around the world. They partner with people around the world and provide jobs to women to get them out of trafficking situations and help them provide an income for their families. They also have beautiful pieces. 

Tiffany Wade has some fantastic earrings (those over there <----) that I'm waiting impatiently to receive. I'm not sure I'm cool enough to pull them off but I'm totally gonna try. 

2. I love our new small town. There is ease in the car line. I can walk sister in her school freely. There are about 40 kids in the pickup line at the middle school. I have my car line time back where I read books and listen to podcasts or just sit without any words. 

We went to the football game and saw all our friends and cheered like we knew what was going on. We wore our school colors and yelled "go go go" at the boy with the ball. Also, they have blizzards at the concessions stand....

This small town has a slower pace that I'm learning. We have to leave the house to beat the train in the mornings. We have to leave the house early enough to follow the farmer into town because he takes his time. I want that to be a beautiful thing instead of an annoying thing. I'm not there yet. Like I said, I'm learning. 

3. Books. I love books. I'm always reading several at a time. Besides the two mentions above, I'm reading Savanah by Eugenia Price (because I read about too many vampires and teen girls this summer), Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler (because my soul sister loves me and knows how to meet me when me when I'm low and need to remember that HE LIVES and SAVES and LOVES ME), and Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson (because he is 11 and is killing me slowly....). 

4. Podcasts. Have you tried out these things yet?

I have a pod cast for 20 minutes of yoga that I don't do daily, but I have the app and that's about 7 1/2 calories worth. (Caloric math is hard.... diet coke plus hamburger equals zero calories, especially if you have on your yoga pants.)

Torah Class is so good. I listened to Torah Class podcast for the three years I commuted to Gladewater. It takes each chapter of the bible and studies it from a Hebrew Roots perspective. It is wonderful. I learned so much about the Hebrew culture and Jesus and really understood Leviticus. It is worth an hour a week of you have it. I made it from Genesis to 2 Samuel.

The newest podcast I discovered is Happy Hour by Jamie Ivey. She interviews the people I want to hear from and asks their 3 favorite things. It's like having two friends sit in your car and talk about all things random and interesting.

5. MUSIC. (This will always be on my favorite list).

Music sustains me. It lifts my spirits. Lifts my soul. Gets my feet moving and my face smiling. It effects my family in beautiful ways. Pulls us from ruts and prepares us for the next ball game. Sits me still in my car or gets my feet moving in an awkward car dance. We love music. I didn't realize how much is was a part of our lives and how that was not the norm until we made new friends and they rode with us in our car. Sweet new friend still likes us but made mention to his mama that we listened to some stuff not on KVNE.

We listened to MercyMe, All Sons and Daughters, David Bowie, George Ezra, and Wiz Khalifa all on a drive into Tyler. MUSIC. (Click on the artist for the song we play from them in the car).

But here are a two of my favorites....

The whole album is excellent. This song, "Flawless", is soul quenching our family right now. We actually listened to it last night during homework sessions and this morning to start the morning centered...

I love everything All Sons and Daughters releases. They are beautiful worship songs. These are the songs that make me look like a crazy women in my car...sitting still, eyes closed, singing, maybe a tear...

The others mentioned (David Bowie, George Ezra, and Wiz Kalifa) aren't so much soul quenchers but are feet movers. I think those types of songs are important too.

There you go...5 things that don't include math.... except for the caloric math equation which will save your life one day unlike long division.

This post is a part of the Blog Hoppers circle for September. Click HERE for The Lavender Drop and my holla momma Jana. Almond Oat Muffins are on the blog this month...YUM! Follow her link to the next blog and hop on our circle until you get back here. 

Joyfully Full of It....

Friday, July 31, 2015

Blog Hoppers: And now it's August

Joy-ful: feeling, expressing, or causing great pleasure and happiness....

We just moved. (I'm not sure if you've heard anything about it....but we did.)

It was a whole thing for us. We are not the moving type. Or the wait for stuff to happen type. Or the not exactly according to plan type.

So it was very hard and pushed us over the comfort cliff, way passed any resemblance of a comfort zone. Non-zoned territory. 

In the middle of it all, when I felt lost and out of control, I hunkered down and put all my feelers up to catch anything that may sneak passed. And I totally forgot to trust God with this move and the people I moved with...

So once I pulled my head out of the sand where I was wallowing in fear, anxiety, and loneliness...and covet-ness.... I found that He was still waiting for me to trust Him with the move AND the settling in. I trusted we were supposed to move here but totally forgot to trust Him once we got here. 

I don't know about you, but when I do it on my own I get all bitter and whiney and ungrateful. It's not pretty. The beginning of this summer was just not pretty. And the crying, oh the was just out of control. 

Once I remembered that I was going to trust God with ALL the people and the stuff and told Him "Okay, I'm here. I don't know why and I'm a little touchy, but you brought me here. I trust you have a reason and will sit and wait (even though I don't want to)...because I trust you have prepared a place for my family... Please show me the 'place'." 

I trust. Because that's all I got. I tried the other stuff...(remember the "not pretty" from above....)

Every morning this week I reminded Him I was trusting. (In case he forgot) Each day I looked for why we were here. 

And we made it to August. Looking back, the month of July was full of good family time, time with just me and handsome, new friends, a possible new church, volleyball, basketball, baseball, bowling, and cows.

So maybe I just needed to stop telling God why it wasn't right and it was messed up and how to fix it. And start each day with the words...I TRUST YOU.

I started using the first5 app from Proverbs 31 ministries and it has been excellent. Just what I need to start the day remembering to TRUST. I also recently listened to Lysa Terkeurst (president of Proverbs 31) talk about spending the first 15 minutes with God. 5 praying, 5 reading the bible, and 5 listening to worship music. The 5 minutes go by so fast and they are the best minutes of my day. There is something about good worship music that pulls me out of the funk.

This blog is called Joyfully full of it. Sometimes I lean heavily on the Joyful and a lot of times I lean heavily on the full of it... I'm working towards heavily full of Joy... That's easier to type than it is to grasp. But today I'm feeling the joyful...

I have teamed up with several beautiful women who blog about life and love and learning and listening.... click HERE to see what Jamie has to say and follow the links back to here.

Joyfully full of it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

How my investors save me

I have learned that I still handle stress and hurt the exact same way I did 20 years ago when I decided I was DONE being his good girl that just got trampled on. DONE. You know what I do? 

RUN from God!

I'm supposed to read my bible....nope! I put that down for 10 years. I'm supposed to go to church? Nope....stepped away from that for 10 years. I'm supposed to love others? Nope....that proves to be too painful. 

It explains why I switched schools 3 times during my 4 1/2 years in college. It explains why I never invested fully in any group of people. I can't do hard. I don't want to try. And I am certainly not going to cry or pray about it when I could RUN!

We closed today on our home of 13 years. The home I brought my babies home to. The Lewis Compound, where we were going to live forever! 

We expected it to happen June 8th...didn't. Then we were "guaranteed" by the lender it would be before the end of June. (That man made so many empty hurtful promises to everyone involved including the buyers.)

So now, it's July 10th. And we are driving to the closing. And I feel sick and angry and bristled. Being hurt is not cool. Learning life lessons is not cool. 

Through the long process some women have really invested in me and prayed for me and reached out. Which is exactly what I needed them to do, (but I was for dang sure not gonna ask.)

And I wasn't asking God anymore either. This pain was so similar to when my dad was dying and my family was falling apart. Just like then, I was tired of praying about it and making hard decisions to honor Him and put my family first when it all felt like every decision was slamming back in my face! I was ready to RUN. Bristled. Angry. Hurt. (And not feeling very nice). 

But I'm not gonna run this time. I'm not going to turn away from God and reject the people that are selfish and hurtful. I'm not going to stop reading my bible and seeking His truth and striving to honor Him when I feel like I can't get myself off the floor. 

You know why? Because of my soul sister and my Holla mommas. These women who didn't forget me or let me be alone. They reached out at odd (but perfect) times. They stayed the course when I was drying up on the inside. They KNEW how to love me when I don't want to be loved. They thought I was worth their investment of time and love and prayer. 

They are the hands and feet of Jesus. They carried me to his feet instead of letting me stay slumped against the wall. They carried me with prayers and encouragement and real friendship. 

I still feel a little broken and raw. 

But I'm not running this time. Thank you soul sister and Holla mommas for holding me up when I couldn't handle it anymore. You honor Jesus with your friendship. I am eternally grateful!!

Joyfully full of step at a time. 

My soul sister has beautiful words this month about her people. Jump over to her post about her village via the link below. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Blog Hoppers: July and the Summer Blahs

July Blog Hoppers post..see the end of this post for the link to Jennifer's post this month. Hop around until you get back here. Be inspired, be tickled, and become a chef....all within this circle!

(Debbie Downer took over for the first part of this might want to skip down until you see the numbers......)

(Thought you would like to see that my people feel the same)

It's July. What the heck? A whole month has passed and all I have to show for it is a good tan.

Summer. Remember when we would sit around all day and eat cucumbers and ranch and chicken pot pies. And watch Anne of Green Gables.... No responsibilities, no baseball practice, no work.

I have friends that look forward to summer beginning in September every year. They can't wait for their babies to be home from school so they can enjoy being together and adventuring without school to cramp their schedule. And bless their hearts....they really mean it!

I'd love to be that excited about summer and all the possibilities that go with it.

BUT that's not what summer is to me.

Don't get me wrong. I mostly like my kids some days. (that's a's not that often......) But for us, summer is unscheduled and erratic. I still have to work. But instead of having a 2 hour commute by myself to listen to whatever I want on the radio, I have my two people with me. They are BIGS now so they have an opinion about what we listen to and where they sit. (Exhausting).

Of course we moved and my total commute is only 2 minutes...but I still don't get those two minutes alone.  They are always with me. Always talking/fighting/eating. (exhausting).

I still can't get us out the door before 9. It's like summer hits and I can't seem to get it together. Yesterday I sat in my book reading (because its summer and that's what you do) and then looked up and realized it was 8:58 and the children were not awake and ready to head out the door.

My body thinks that its summer and we can relax and chill and take or leave the responsibilities that sneak up on us.  My mind stresses out because I still have to work and take these people with me and feed them 3 times a day. (all the food...and snacking...)

Top it off with a move and you have the SUMMER BLAHS.

We've been here for almost a month. I haven't been back into Tyler. I feel good about how much I have saved this month on gas. But the alone-ness and too much together-ness is wearing me down. I miss my Friday with my Holla Mommas (and no children). I miss looking forward to picking them up from school to see what someone else fed them and how much they missed me.

It's July...just July. We have two more months of this "bliss" to get through.

So, I thought I'd share some non-Debbie Downer thoughts. I hope you aren't Summer Blah-ing...but if you are, chin are in good company.

1. Beth Moore has released a 6-week bible study that I'm going to tackle in a couple of week.
It's called LIVING FREE: Learning to Pray God's word. You can get a copy here. I feel like it may be just what I need to fight the summer Blahs.

2. Tyler Museum of Art is having a lego exhibit on Friday, July 10. If you have a lego-lover, I would suggest you take them to the air conditioned museum and feel very fancy and cultured. Learn more here.

3. Michael is playing in the state baseball tournament in New Caney in a couple of weeks. I don't know how that helps you with your summer blahs, but I thought it needed to be mentioned....

(He's the one on the right. The other one is cute too....just not Michael).

4. I read a fantastic book series last month....waiting for the last book to be released in September. Of course it's young adult fiction. (no s-e-x) And the subject matter is fantasy (magic, witches, fairies), which may turn some people off. But once again, I found myself up until after midnight reading and then again from 3-5 reading a couple of times while reading this series. The author is Sarah J. Maas. The series is Throne of Glass.

(My brother wasn't interested based on the cover...)

I read Kiera Cass' series The Elite last summer and stayed up hours being stuck in the kingdom with the main character. The Elite Series doesn't have magic stuff in it. Just a girl that gets to go to a castle to fall in love with a prince. 

5. I'm also reading Trim Healthy Mama. It's not a diet but an eating plan. I have enjoyed the writing and agreed with a lot of what they say (which is biblically based). It is a long book, so i'm not officially on the diet (but it's not a diet...) because I need to finish the book to get it all down. It seems to be more reasonable for getting my family on board. Nothing is completely cut out... except maybe alcohol.... I feel like after reading the "Biblical basis" chapter that there won't be a "But beer is okay" chapter. (I'll let you know if I find it when I finish the book..)

I hope you find time to read and love your people this month.

What books are on your "To Read" list for the summer??

Hop on over to Jennifer's blog here for some real peace and inspiration.

Joyfully full of it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Holding Promises

We have three towels at our house.

We have three Forks at our house. 

We have three days left at our house. 

So many things are happening in such a short amount of time. I'm very excited about where are going and overwhelmed with blessings and joy for where we have been. 

God has been so faithful to my family during this transition. But it is so easy to forget to focus on other things to get overwhelmed in the little things. 

So today as I drive out to the new house with yet another load, I'm reminded that he promises to stay with me. He promises to prepare a way for us. He promises that he will always be with me.

I have this prism hanging from my rearview mirror. It is left over from my ceiling fan in my bedroom when I was growing up. Somehow this piece of glass has made it through all these years. 

In the morning it's shoots rainbows across my car. In the afternoon it shoots rainbows in my eyes. 

This morning I caught a rainbow in my hand in the palm of my hand. I am reminded that he holds me in the palm of his hand. I'm looking today at these rainbows as promises from him.

No matter the storm you face, hold tight to his promises. 

Joyfully full of it,


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Blog Hopper: June - Summer Accessory

(See the Blog Hopper link at the bottom for the next blog in our circle)

We leave for the beach in two weeks. Two weeks!

I'm almost ready...I think. We should have everything moved to the new house finally. We should have enough shirts and bathing suits for the week. We should have everything we need for the annual beach pictures (but maybe not the right color scheme...sorry Amber). We should be prepared and have everything we need. 

As I start to stress a little about moving, end of school, michael graduating, then vacationing, I realize there is one accessory that I have overlooked. It snuck up behind me. It's ready to go on vacation with me. 

It's my cellulite. My thigh biscuits. The terrible thunder thighs that I've had for my whole adult life. 

How could I have overlooked them? When did they expand to include my tummy? Why didn't this bother me until I started really beach preparing? 

Two weeks is not enough time to do a dang thing about it!! You can't even recover from surgery that quick. So, it's going with me. 

And guess who else cares about it? No one. Not another person going on the trip cares about the state of my thighs. 

I have two beautiful sisters going on the trip. Two gorgeous women that love deeply and bring me great joy.

Amber has known me her whole life. She has been with me through thick and thin. (Literally....right there with me pre and post children). She puts up with me and even answers my calls. If anyone has dirt on me, it's her. And I feel pretty certain she doesn't look at my thighs and think....Thank you Jesus for dad's thighs and long waist. ;)

Katie is my sister in law. Katie and I have talked about my thighs. Katie could care less about the thighs that plague me. If she wasn't so polite, she would have already asked me to drop the subject.

I have decided to emprace my accessory with confidence and pride. I am not as fit as I wanted to be. But I get to spend a week on the beach with my people. My family has relocated almost officially and we are surviving. Handsome has been fantastic and level headed. And our love and friendship is solid. God has been so faithful. 

Sometimes your accessories don't matter as much as you think. Your people love you for who you are.  Our Heavenly Father looks at you and takes great delight in you, His beautiful creation. 

Chose to celebrate you for you....thunder thighs and all!!

Joyfully full of it,


Beginning this month, I'm participating in a blog circle with some amazing and beautiful women.  Click here and see what Bella has to say this month. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Nice People

Its the end of an era. The end of sanity. The end of school. The end of elementary school for one of them. The end of life in Tyler.

And I'm overwhelemed today. It's that dumb feeling. Girls understand. I just don't think I can handle one more thing.

Of course, that means God stepped in and showed me kindness in ways I did not expect.

Little Man is so over this moving and unsettled lifestyle we are currently in the the throws of. And I can't blame him. He keeps forgetting things and getting lower than usual grades...and crying, oh the crying. He feels overwhelmed. Useless. DONE.

As the end of the year approaches, so do the projects. He has an extra credit project that he simply forgot about. And we don't have a computer and printer at home so he could not crank it out last night (last minute) for today. We decided to admit defeat and drop this extra credit. We emailed the teacher explaining our situation and that we have decided to take this added stress off our plate.

She replied quickly. She replied with words that encouraged little man. And he got a second wind. It was a beautiful thing to watch. This woman I don't even know, cares for my kid at the time of year when we are all just done.

Thank you sweet teacher for caring when we didn't think you would and for showing my kiddo how to be strong and courageous when you are ready to quit. He saw that she cares. He saw that she believes in him. And he decided to step it up and not be done but to take on the challenge and hold his head high.

I needed someone to be nice to my kid this morning. I needed someone to say, I understand and got your back. I needed someone to have a tri-fold and give it to little man so he could complete his project and feel proud of his accomplishment.

We might just make it the 12 days left of the school year.

I hope you are encouraged by someone just being kind because it's the right thing to do.

Joyfully full of it.