Sunday, November 29, 2015

Turkey Day Dish

We are wrapping up a lovely holiday break.  The house is an utter disaster, four out of four kids have been in tears in the last hour, tonight's dinner is a compilation of air popped popcorn salted and buttered and reheated whatever catches your fancy from the fridge.

These rainy family filled days have been full of all of the good things of life: naps, board games, football games, fun dips and drinks, long hours lounging in bed with the lamps on and a good book in my hand, staying up too late, sleeping too late, pumpkin pie, Piecaken, Turducken, you get the idea.

In about an hour we'll put the exhausted kids to bed and I will go from room to room fluffing and tidying so that the morning will greet me with a smile, but there is something that I read recently that has changed me in so many ways and I wanted to share it with you.

I'm not sure one sentence from a book has ever stayed with me like this one four word sentence.  I may not even be quoting it verbatim, but in my mind this is how I remember the words.  As soon as I read this sentence, I had to put the book down and process for a day or so.

It is the application of these four words that infused my holiday with peace that in turn filled me with joy.  So, here you have it.  Eat more chicken.  OK, really, here you go...

Rest begins with acceptance.

I imagine the freedom that comes from understanding this concept will play out differently between you and me.

There are so darn many things we don't have control over.  We can fuss and get all worked up but at the end of the day nothing has changed.  Could taking steps toward happiness begin with accepting what is?  I'm saying, YES it can.  Change what you can, pray over the stuff bugging you, and then try accepting what is, and then step back and see if your perspective doesn't begin to change.

One of the hardest things for me to accept was that my family hated the "Family Fun Christmas Shopping Day" experience I tried to create for us several years in a row.  Bunch of freaks.  They went postal on me every year I tried to implement the new "fun" tradition.  After year three ending in shambles I raised my white flag and ditched the tradition.  (I wanted us to get dressed up cute, go shop for gifts all afternoon, end at a restaurant with a good dinner, the kind where you can order a Coke and an appetizer if you want, and then come home to watch Elf and eat Candy Cane cookies by the fire)  Turns out, all my peeps hate shopping.  Long story short, I accepted the fact that I live with mentally strange people and now I just shop and eat alone and it rocks.

This year I accepted that my high need for order and the fact that I live in a house with other people who make messes ev-ah-reeeeeee-where often clash.  Somehow I was able to accept that the Mickey Mouse, blanket, sweater, orphan sock, and dancing Santa on the floor don't have to derail me.  Might've been a Christmas Miracle, but I'm going back to my earlier statement that accepting what is might just be the ticket to living in rest.

In the midst of stuff littering every surface, I put into action what I could control.  I lit my candles and tree.  I drank fun drinks.  Every day I napped.  I read a book and played games with my kids.  Most nights we restored the order before bed so we could start again the next day.  It makes me think of Nester when she says it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.  Being able to accept reality brings rest.  None of it has to be perfect.  Change what you can, pray about what you need to, and accept the rest (no pun intended).

(awesome quote taken from Sarah MacKenzie's book, Teaching From Rest)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Day 8 Unplugged

Long story short the house is louder, messier and happier with the absence of TV.

We had a busy weekend at church and so the plan this week was to have a movie night Saturday.  Y'all.  It was the best movie night ever.  After a week of no TV we all had the jitters.

The ol' Pizza Hut special supplied our dinner and then we piled into our bed to watch Inside Out (cutest movie ever).

And then Saturday turned into Sunday with all of its football game glory and here we are to today, Monday, and this is where I am at a crossroads.  Here is the deal.  I have eight kids at the house today.  And our routine is to let them chill in front of a movie in the afternoon during rest time.  Don't hate me, but I think I'm going to let them watch a movie today.

In the meantime, the TV is OFF and they are playing, drawing, and running around with screaming giggles playing chase.

If this is what balance could look like then I like it.  Solid times of play and an occasional window for TV watching.  Not even every day, but during special times.

Yesterday afternoon we came home from church and I loved what happened.  Some kids were on the couch with their journals.  Some were at the table doing things.  Everyone found what they wanted to do and got to it with little to no direction from us.  They are figuring out how to do things in their free time.  This holds immense value.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Day 3 Unplugged

Monday morning I woke up to the sight of Shane carrying our big screens to the closet.

We are unplugging from TV and video games this month, except for an occasional football game perhaps.

I have a love/hate relationship with the idea of unplugging.

Why are we unplugging?

Heck if I know.


Well, it's because we are super-spiritual parents.

(insert laughter here)


In all seriousness there are several reasons, and they all boil down to this:

We want to reprogram. 

I can tell you this about my experience regarding the effect of TV.  Whenever we get around cable, it only takes one short day for the bad attitudes to start taking over.  The switch is nearly instant.

The first two mornings this week the poor children sat around twiddling their thumbs not sure what to do.  It took a couple days for the creative juices to start flowing again.

Last night they played board games with Shane.  They went to bed early and asked to have time to draw with their little lights on.  Today they've been creating smoothie recipes.  They are playing games.  They are creating new games. 

Here is something else that has been happening.  The boys are singing.  For some reason this has surprised me.  But they seem happier and I guess when you are feeling settled on the inside, sometimes it just comes right on out in song.  How does it go?  For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

It is like an atmosphere of joy has invaded our home.
I'm not telling you that three screen free days have morphed my kids into perfect creatures. What I am telling you is that the atmosphere has quickly changed for the better and the change has been pretty drastic.

I'll be real honest.  I use screen time every day in my household and while I'm pouring my guts out now is probably a good time to remind you that we also eat sugared cereal. 

The books say to have quiet time in the afternoon and give the kids a choice to read or rest. 

Confession: my version of that is Wii or a movie.

I can't say for sure what has stopped me from enforcing the reading and resting.  Probably because Wii is easier.  There is no backlash from that so I suppose I just choose the easy road by default.

I'm pretty sure we'll reintroduce Wii/TV back into our home.  I can't imagine not having any of that stuff and I like the idea of learning balance.  But these short three days have fascinated me and I thought you might be interested.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Morning Rotations

To say I have been discouraged with getting the hang of schooling with a toddler would be an understatement.

Last year when we fully switched to the WholeHearted learning model, we began experiencing the freedom and joy which I believe every homeschooling mother and family can know.  Joy returned to our learning experience.  Along with the joy came freedom in our days.  My ministry of discipleship to our children is homeschooling them.  We use real, whole books to learn, along with living real life together.

That being said, there are some parts of school (which we call the disciplined studies) that require practice and they require my full attention to teach.  Having a precious toddler running here and there and needing me was stretching me too thin to feel we were accomplishing the things we needed to be getting done.  That left me feeling like a failure.

God has given me this directive to educate our children at home.  He has filled our table with the blessing of a lot of children.  And yet...I did not know how to manage it all and the result was a discouraged mama.

Monday I found a darling lady named Sarah who made a video.  In the video she said something that sparked my attention.  She mentioned the idea of morning rotations with mom.  She has six children herself.  She schools three, and the other three?  A three year old and two year old twins.  Needless to say, she is speaking from experience on how to handle the load.

This is genius.  For morning rotations, you have each older child take a turn at watching the toddler so your focused attention can be on teaching the one on one stuff.  It is such a simple concept.  Each older child gets a turn at watching the toddler and your hands are freed to do the one on one teaching that needs to get done.

These pictures are every mother's dream scenario. 

With incorporating morning rotations, this is becoming our every day reality, even with an active toddler running around.  Little darling loves to climb on the table, find a writing device, and go to town on any paper and surface she can find.

Who me?  Yeah cutie, I'm talking about you!

We are experimenting with times the older kids can handle watching their baby sister.  I think a good starting point is 15-30 minutes a session.  Break and let mom be on duty, then settle into another rotation.

Sometimes I am the queen of forgetting to, you know, PRAY and ask God to give me specific wisdom on how to keep going and what we need to do to change and get back on track.  I get discouraged on how I feel we are failing and I let myself stay stuck for a bit.  So I pray and tell God that things are hard and I feel like I'm failing, but I don't think to ask if He would show me something specific to try. 

This week God was gracious to lead me to an answer to the problem I'd forgotten to pray about. 

He also reminded me that I go without so many things because I fail to ask.

Lesson learned.


If you want further encouragement on managing the schoolroom, check out Sarah Mackenzie at Amongst the Lovely Things.  Not only is Sarah the cutest thing you've ever seen, she is bubbly and full of wisdom.

(p.s. Just as I was about to press the publish button my phone rang.  It was my dear friend calling.  She has been praying about my discouragement with me.  She was standing at the stove stirring her apple butter and I was able to share with her that our prayers have been answered, that I found a solution to the problem.  So much goodness.)

Friday, October 2, 2015

the ONE thing that changed our marriage and rescued us

The night before, I had moved my pillow and a comforter to the couch so I wouldn't keep him up with my coughing.  Mid-episode of The Pioneer Woman I finally drifted off to sleep, it was the middle of the night.

I woke up to a kiss on the cheek and a Salted Caramel Mocha, and out the door he went for a day of work.  Our day went on as usual.  There was no big fanfare.  We threw burgers on the grill for dinner and topped them with bacon, cheddar and sautéed onions.  The six of us sat around the table and ate on paper plates.  After dinner we all ended up in the driveway enjoying a perfect fall evening.  The kids rip-sticked and shot hoops, the baby found a left-over bracelet from our yard sale and held her arm straight out in front of her so it would not fall off her arm as she toddled around.  We sat in camp chairs and talked.

There were no cards, no gifts, no diamond rings, no fancy trip.  It was us and a Thursday that carried on like the one before and the one that will come again next week.

But, even though it was business as usual, yesterday carried an infusion of celebration with it.  It was one of the best celebrations I have ever known.  Our day held contentment.  It held gratefulness that we have lived to tell about 15 years of commitment to each other.  Some years, this day has found us with a strained relationship, the hard times.  But this year our friendship and love are in a settled place and that is a gift more valuable than any store-bought thing.

If I could say there was one thing that has shaped our marriage more than any other it would be this:

Prayer.  Pray about every little tiny thing that is in your heart.  Keep praying and keep asking.  Trade in the fussing for prayer.  When the years come and go and you still don't have your answer you keep on.  Don't walk away from it.  You've been praying for seven years and things are still the same?  Keep on.  Don't you dare stop.  The work is hard but you keep fighting in prayer.
He may be a jerk and you may be angry but keep doing the hard work of trusting that God can give life to the dead places. 
Even when you go to bed alone and feel like you are stuck in a prison of marriage, keep on.  Don't stop praying and believing God can be trusted with even the most broken things. 
When you take one step forward and two steps back, keep praying. 
And when you see him blossom before your eyes because he has changed?  Celebrate. 
When you see yourself becoming a woman who is night and day different from the one he said his vows to? Rejoice. 
When you realize that contentment is defining your days and laughter has returned to your home?  You thank Jesus that He can restore anything.  You remember that He can be counted on.  Remember.
A good marriage does not happen by accident.  You show me a man and a woman who have a thriving marriage and I will show you two broken people who have hung in there and fought in prayer until the change came.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Schooling 101

It's weird.

I look at this picture and from the evidence it would appear that these little boys are joyfully chipping away at furthering their education while I stand nearby and menu plan for a large family on a budget.

(why is this picture upside down?  all I can say is the devil is alive and I don't know)
We are all taking a break.  The boys are resting their hands and mine is a mental health break which includes dreaming of sectionals and writing.
So, here's the deal.
The shiny has worn off of the new and we are settled into the real trenches of our new days which includes ABC's & 123's.  We are still trying to establish our routines for the new year and as usual, I am battling my Type A perfectionist side that doesn't tend to mix well with what I have been called to do.  We are still settling into a new house.  Most of the unpacking is done, I still have some organizing to do, but we are almost done and completely settled.
One of my biggest challenges right now with being productive is something we like to call "THE TODDLER." 
We recently moved into an older home that we renovated and it is bigger than any other house I've ever lived in and it takes me a few minutes to find that little stinker.  Not to mention she has several hiding spots she tends toward.  It's not that I don't like interrupting lessons to play find the monkey, I do, it's just that it makes for frustration from time to time.
My latest wild goose chase led me to a remote corner behind a chair where she was trying on big brother's tennis shoes.

Here are a few things I'm reminding myself of today:

  • I have the time to accomplish what I need to accomplish today.
  • It doesn't all have to get done.
  • Despite how I feel, God has given me every tiny ounce of grace that I need to navigate the waters of today.
  • Seeing as how it is almost noon, I should probably get out of my jammies and get ready for the day which always helps change my perspective.
  • Take breaks.
  • It is not only OK for big brothers to chip in on sharing the load, it is vital.  I am one woman with two hands shepherding a whole herd of precious children.  I need help.  We all have to work together to make this work.
  • Pause to read an enjoyable book.
  • Smile.
  • Sing.
  • Laugh.
  • Find my chocolate stash and hide for a few minutes.
  • Pray.
  • Make sure my eyes are focused on Jesus and not the chaos.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Something New

August 17th and January 1 share more than one similarity, the main one being a new start.  I like today better than January 1 because we are focusing on backpacks/fresh haircuts/new clothes/Pinterest signs/cute front door wreaths/school supplies and the focus is not on diets.  So much more fun!

Pictures of newness fill the Internet and it is a sweet sight.  Little ones launching out into another year of growing up. 

We have been renovating a house and are trying to wheel that bad boy into the driveway.  It has been a month of living out of boxes which has been a stretch for me and my high need for order.  This year we are tag teaming some of teaching load with our sweet friends.

This little darling got tubes last month and has been a new child!  Happier and talking more, I am so thankful we did tubes!

So, about the house.  When we purchased it Shane wanted to renovate it and flip it, I on the other hand fell in love with it the first time I walked in the front door, and wanted to fix it up to raise our family here and stay put forever.  So guess what I did?  Prayed, prayed, PRAAAAAYED and asked the good Lord to change Shane's mind and let us stay.

You can imagine my surprise when one night we were at a Kid's Eat Free eating establishment and Shane grabbed the blue crayon, flipped the coloring page over, and started mapping out what it would look like for us to stay in our reno.

Such a happy night for me.

Can't wait to show you pictures of the house!  I have been in paint sample heaven! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer Storm

The summer we had the above ground swimming pool went down in the books as one of the best.  My large flower pots on the patio brimmed over with pink wave petunias.  The profuse pink blooms looked opulent against the blue backdrop of the pool.  Our mornings were filled with sunny water laughs.  Afternoons were for lunch and naps where we refueled for another round of evening water fun.

My favorite memory of that summer was the day the storm rolled in, just as we were heading inside for the afternoon.  The overcast sky quickly began turning to an ominous gray.  The temperature outside dropped nearly ten degrees and the trees were alive with wind.  The air sounded almost like the waves of the ocean as the leaves whipped back and forth.

We ate lunch, got everything cleaned up, and turned on the lamps to illuminate the dark rooms.  The storm was brewing outside of our windows, but we were inside safe and warm.  The sky unfurled its grip and the rains came.  Loud peels of thunder boomed, shaking the very core of our home.  We sat cozy under blankets, contented as the rains fell from the dark sky.  A perfect morning morphed into a perfect afternoon.  The candle smelled a little sweeter in the air that day.

That summer storm pushed the pause button on an already lazy day.  It allowed us to rest a little deeper.  Part of the beauty of it was how unexpected it was.  Those dark skies took us by surprise that hot July day.

Most days at home hold the same predictable rhythm.  But every once in awhile, an unforeseen shift in the plans happens, and a moment of deep rest unfolds.

James 1:17

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

An "At Home" Day

Summer is fast approaching and I've been thinking of all the Mama's and kiddos who will quickly be making the shift from mornings off, off, and away to school, to mornings where everyone stays put right at home.

The transition into summer is painful the first week or so.  Everyone is adjusting to the new normal that will be the canvas summer is painted on.

The memory of our first day of Summer 2013 will stay with me forever.  It was not even ten in the morning and I had already pulled out all of my tricks, handed out the snacks, and was looking at the clock wandering if 5 o'clock would ever come.  The day crept by like molasses and I was petrified as I stood there looking into the eyes of my new reality.

It got better.  We relaxed.  We found our groove and settled into our new routine.  There were fights to break up.   We lived to tell about it.  It turned out to be fun.

But that first day.

Lord have mercy.

That first day is usually awful.

The day before is great.

Long, lazy days filled with sunshine and snow cones fill our thoughts with nostalgia.

But then day one of summer comes and slaps us harshly awake.

There we stand in the middle of the kitchen, wide-eyed and clutching a cup of coffee for dear life, begging God to make the days fly because they are already fighting and we haven't even had breakfast yet.

My first suggestion for setting us up for a great summer is to give ourselves an "At Home" day.  For me it is always Monday.  There is no magic to Monday, but it works for me.  You might like Thursday and that's perfect.  I would say, any day Monday through Thursday would be great.  Weekends don't count.  There is something freeing about having a consistent weekday/weeknight that you can count on for quiet.  Mine is Monday.

I almost never dress cute or put on make-up on Monday.

Monday is our day to ease into the week.

Monday is for home.

It is not for practices or appointments.

It is a slow paced day with not much expectation.

Every piece of laundry gets washed every Monday.  I like to serve a crock-pot meal for Monday dinner.  It keeps it easy and laid back.  I know that Monday night bedtime is going to land on time and early for the kids.  There will be plenty of time to read and get a good nights rest every Monday night.

Monday is sacred for us.

In our culture of fast paced always moving, going, doing, we need a day at home.

If I was working full-time, I would suggest the exact same thing.  Have a night every week where you are at home.

Schedule it and guard it with your life.

The groceries and appointments can fit in somewhere else, but you decide your day and time and stick to your guns.

Creating this white space will do a world of good for your sanity.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cinco de Mayo

For a long time Cinco de Mayo was one of my favorite holidays because it was the only foreign language phrase I could speak fluently.

The smell of barbecue filling the air on Memorial Day and the way we close out the Fourth of July every year with watermelon and margaritas and chairs lining the lawn as we watch the sky light up are good holidays too, but there is something special about Cinco de Mayo.  A guaranteed day every year that we'll eat Mexican.  It's a pretty special thing.

Let's be honest.  I don't need a holiday to have a reason to celebrate with Mexican.  You should've seen the boys faces light up when I served up this lunch on a Tuesday which they assumed was another day of the same ol' same ol'. 

You can never go wrong with a plate of cheese Doritos topped with taco meat, freshly grated cheddar and crisp romaine. 

One of my favorite dinners is a layered dish in a 9x13 pan.  Layer in this order: bag of cheese Doritos, one pound of seasoned taco meat, warmed ranch style beans, bag of shredded lettuce, shredded cheddar, chopped tomato, diced onion.  Mix.  Serve with a wedge of lime?  I don't see why not.  Oh so good and oh so easy!

Happy Cinco de Mayo to you and yours.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Quiet Your Space

Have you heard of the concept of "quieting your space?"

It simply means removing the things from your room that you don't love.

My front room has been feeling too cluttered.  When I walk in it does not greet me with the peaceful feeling that I'm trying to create in our home.  The problem was my wicker rocking chair.  It was blocking the window and we just don't use it anymore.  So I did something really hard.  I removed the rocking chair.  And guess what happened?  I feel like the room looks a million times fresher, bigger, brighter and happier.

I did the same thing in my living room.  It was feeling tired and blah so I removed the area rug, the coffee table, and an ottoman that had a hole in it.  Same results-the area looks so much cleaner and brighter.

If you have a room or space in your home that is in need of a little loving-try removing some things and see if it doesn't perk the room right up.  I know it is hard to get rid of stuff, especially if it has sentimental memories attached to it, but I really think I am finding that a peaceful space is more rewarding than too much clutter crowding out the life we're living today.

As much as I adore Pinterest and am always adding more, more, more to my boards, it is interesting that a key concept to creating a home I love involves removing to make space for less, less, less.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Bad Dreams

Sometimes the kids get scared at bedtime.

They had a bad dream or saw something scary and when it's time for lights out their little hearts are fearful.

When this happens at my house the selfish part of me feels bummed out.  At the end of the day I am ready to disengage and be done.  I'm ready to hang up the mom hat and put on the relax hat.

Times like this remind me that in my own strength I can't be the mother God wants me to be.  They remind me of how it is such a blessed gift that I can lean on His Grace & Strength to love in those tiring moments when I feel spent.

It feels like we stumbled onto an effective remedy to this problem by accident but looking back I am sure it was the leading of the Holy Spirit.

One night my son was unusually fearful at bedtime.  The night before he had a scary dream and so this particular night he did not want me to leave nor did he want to be left alone in the dark.  We did two simple things that changed the atmosphere of his world and allowed him to fall asleep peacefully.

The name of Jesus.
The first thing we shared with our son is about the power of the name of Jesus.  We let him know that when we call on Jesus the enemy has to flee.  Maybe he knew that already, maybe not.  Either way,  we wanted him to know that the name of Jesus is powerful and always just a spoken word away.

Worship music on YouTube.
The next thing we did was pull up worship music on the phone and we let the words fill the air and change the atmosphere.  A worship Pandora station would also work.  It was quick for me to grab my phone and pull up a couple songs and for about 20 minutes we sat quietly listening to truth about God.  This song is one of our favorites to play when the kids get scared.

This is one of the most valuable tools we as believers have in our arsenal and oftentimes it can be one of the most forgotten and underused weapons.  Pray not only for peace, but also for God to reveal anything in your home or your child's life that could be causing the fearful thoughts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My 5 Day Game Changer

Over the course of the last 14 years I have changed up how I handle the grocery budget and shopping many times.  As our family grows the challenge to be a good manager of my resources has also grown.  I've done it all-once a month shopping trips, twice a month, weekly, you name it and I've tried it.

It seems like there is always a good handful of days at the end of the month where the grocery money has been spent and the cupboard is bare and I still have mouths to feed.  When this happens it discourages me because it is evidence that I didn't do a good job at managing my resources for that month.


I have discovered a game changer that is working like a charm for me.

In the old plan (the one that failed me, as in most months except February) I would divide my month and grocery money into four weeks and make four trips to the grocery store.  It was overwhelming to think of that many meals for me, and inevitably, there would be that pesky half-week at the end of the month I hadn't planned well for.

So you know what I did?

I started dividing my month into 5 day segments.  That means 6 trips to the store.  And I divided my grocery budget by 6.  Now I am taking 6 trips to the store and it is helping me really pick and choose wisely what we need for the week.

So for instance, if your budget is $600 for the month and you decide to divide up into 5 day segments, you'd have $100 for each trip!

We have discovered the Kids Eat Free places in town where we can all eat for under $20 and I am sure to include that in my 5 day rotations.

I'm not sure why it has been so much more freeing and less overwhelming to shorten my shopping trips to every 5 days but it really has worked wonders for me.

Last month I even had a spare $20 at the end and guess what?  I used it to buy some plants for my front flower bed!  Now that was a great feeling!!!

If menu planning/grocery shopping/and being a good steward of your resources is challenging for you, I highly recommend trying to rethink your current system.  It is crazy to me that I still am working with the same budget and the same days in each month, but by re-working how I plan for it, it has given me freedom.  (it's also easier to keep the fresh produce and meats handy)

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Art of Life

It's Monday morning and we're barely stirring and the day already feels hard.

Sometimes people say they don't know how I do it.  I get embarrassed because so many things get left undone in the course of a day.  I love my life but a lot of the time I feel like I'm failing and doing a terrible job at what I'm supposed to be doing.  Somehow, I think acknowledging that it is the hardest thing I've ever done might take away some of the glory from God or make me sound like I'm complaining, which I don't want to do, so I don't often talk about the hard parts of my job.

There are dishes, floors that constantly need to be swept, fights to break up, lessons to teach, clothes to wash, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, diapers that need changing, nails that need trimmed, piles of paper, meals to be planned and shopped for, toilets that need attention, I could go on and on but you get the idea. 

Yes, it is a lot.  It is a busy life.  Several years ago a couple of my friends gave me the best advice that has stuck with me and come to mind so many times.

My friends told me not to look at other people and feel condemnation because I don't think I could do what they do.  They said that line of thinking is wrong.  I probably couldn't do what you're doing because God hasn't given me the Grace to accomplish those specific things.  He has given me the Grace to accomplish what He's asked me to do and He's given you the Grace to accomplish what He's asked you to do.  His Grace fills in the gaps where our human hands leave holes. 

Creating spaces that fill me up is something that I can do even in the midst of the busyness and messes.  This morning my son looked at me and said, "Mom, are you OK?  Do you need a drink?"  I'm assuming he was asking if I needed some coffee but I also know it's 5 o'clock somewhere.  Funny moments like this are part of each and every day of mine.
Keeping God's Word and encouraging books near are also part of my every day.  I think it is so important to stay encouraged and to continually be filling my thoughts with pure and holy things.  The hard stuff fights to crowd out all of my thoughts.  Replacing it with the good and lovely takes me being proactive.  It comes in 5 minutes here and 10 interrupted minutes there.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Leaning Artwork

As I look around my house I notice a decorating approach I've used several times.  I've started leaning artwork and décor against the walls.  I like the way it gives a casual and laid back feel to the room.  It is super simple.  When I don't have the time or energy to find an anchor and a stud, I just prop the artwork against the wall and I am done.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to spruce up my mantle for spring.  It was so fun to take everything off of the mantle and pull out some brighter and cheerier things.  I leaned this pear painting against the wall and then leaned an old window on top of it.

I'd say the only drawback to leaning artwork is that it is not super stable.  One game of indoor football or Frisbee gone wrong and you could be left with a broken piece of art or maybe even an injury.

I've been thinking of this concept of leaning quite a bit.  Scripture tells me not to lean on my understanding of situations. I find that my nature leads me to do the opposite.  I end up relying on my insight into the situation as my first go-to. 

Instead of applying Scripture to my circumstance, often times I ignore what would ultimately bring me into a place of obedience and blessing because I've asked the wrong questions and placed my confidence in the wrong thing.

So how then is it possible to redirect the thoughts and place them in their rightful place?

It begins by stepping back and asking yourself one very important question.
What have I attached myself to in this situation? 

Is my focus on my disappointment?  Is it on the thing that is lacking?  Is it on my fear of moving into the direction I feel He is leading me?  Have I attached my thoughts to the fear that something new is going to fail me?

Fear keeps a life small.

Our little unspoken thoughts (as well as the spoken ones) can trip us up.  If our thoughts are leading us down any path other than the one that takes us to the trustworthiness of Jesus, then we can be sure we've attached ourselves to the wrong line of questioning and thinking.

Processing the new, processing what has already taken place, processing that new direction, all of these things should lead us to a different place.  Not to the place of our understanding of the situation but to the place of the reliability of Jesus.  He has a path marked for us, and we can be confident that He will make our path straight as we keep redirecting our focus towards Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


When I was a teenager I babysat kids to make a little extra money.  I have vivid memories of the hours between when the kids were in bed and when the parents came home.  The house was quiet.  It would be dark outside and the house would be dark, except for the dim light of a lamp or two and maybe the light above the oven or kitchen sink.

I'd sit on the couch, watching a TV show, and my eyes would grow so heavy.  I'd try my hardest to stay awake, but as the clock crept closer toward midnight, most of the time my eyes would doze.  I couldn't help it.  The later it got the more sleepy I'd get.  It was like the painful sleepy if you know what I mean.

I remember always feeling terribly guilty if I nodded off because I was the one in charge of watching the kids.  Even though they were in bed peacefully sleeping, no matter how late it was, I felt it was my job to stay awake.  And then, every once in awhile, I'd nod off on the couch.

He who keeps you will not slumber.

He doesn't sleep and He doesn't slumber.

We all get in bed at night and go to sleep.  We also all occasionally slumber.  To slumber is also to sleep, but more specifically it is to sleep lightly or doze. 

He who keeps you will neither slumber or sleep.

The Lord is your keeper.

You have a keeper and a helper and He is always watching and ready to help.

Psalm 121

Friday, March 13, 2015

Date Night

Our neck of the woods has been so dreary.

The weather has been gloomy for weeks.  Along with the cloudy days, my crew has had one sickness after another.  I've been joking that we're running a hospital out of our home.  I have missed three Sundays of church and Home Church because of my nursing duties.

Several years ago we had a run of sickness like this and it felt like it might never end.

Tonight we had planned on having a date night and by golly, we're keeping to it.  Normally Friday nights are for couch bed night.  This morning we told the boys couch bed is being moved to Sunday and tonight is Date Night.

We are feeding the boys frozen pizza and they are so excited.  They love party pizzas.  We are putting them all to bed early and then it is Date Night at the Casa.  I'm thinking we'll get Tacos and bring it home.  We are so addicted to that place.  And the cheese dip, oh the cheese dip, come to Mama.

The next part of our date is pretty random but maybe not that random.  I blame Little House.  We've been stuck in the house for weeks so we've been watching our fair share of Little House On The Prairie.  Ever since Ma offered Doc Baker a piece of fresh blueberry pie and a glass of milk I can't get my mind off of a fruit pie.  My Mamaw taught me to brush melted butter over the top of the pie crust before I bake it and to sprinkle it with sugar.  I'll promise you right now that nothing smells better than a fruit pie baking away in the oven.  We've been eating healthier but shoot.  Tonight I'm having pie.  Pie and Tacos.  Yes-sir-ee, we are bringing some sunshine up into this place.

The boys were sad about having to reschedule couch bed night.  I don't know though, I think it's so good for them to see us prioritizing spending time together, especially in the midst of weeks like this when life has just been so, so hard.

Sometimes creating the beauty and the happy places can be tough, but we're creating the good even in the midst of the imperfect.

Well, my afternoon coffee is ready.  I'm off to finish fluffing the house so that everything is just so so that I can enjoy my little at home date.

Don't forget to light your candles and turn on your lamps and do something nice for yourself this weekend.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Our Curriculum

Recently I've had a couple people ask about what we are doing, so today I thought I'd share what we've been up to in the school room.

From the beginning, I have been drawn to the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling.  I have found that there is no "right" way to educate your children at home.  All of my friends and I do different things.  Sometimes it takes some trial and error, but in the end, I suggest a lot of prayer over the matter, and you'll land in a place that fits you, your children, and your lifestyle.

I like Charlotte Mason because it allows for plenty of time to play and be children.  Our boys have plenty of time to play Lego's, build things, and play outside.  I also like the emphasis on short lessons.  Especially with boys, their attention spans are short, so it is good for all of us to know that we will sit, focus, give our good effort, and be done in 20 minutes with the writing lesson (or whatever lesson we are working on).  With the older boys, we use narration as a way for them to assimilate the lessons.  I believe that when we can verbalize ourselves what we have heard, then the information is ours.  This means that I read our history/science/geography books out loud and the boys tell me back what they heard.  Again, it is a simple and natural way of learning that is very effective.

Starting in third grade my boys begin Teaching Textbooks for math.  Their entire teaching/worksheets/grading is all done on the computer and we all love it.  I also like Teaching Textbooks because I can reuse the teaching DVD's with the younger children.

There are two resources that I HIGHLY recommend for your bookshelf.  They are two resources that I literally refer to all the time.  Honey for A Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt and Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson.  My pages were starting to fall out of Educating the Whole Hearted Child it is so well loved and worn that I had to punch holes in them and stick them in a 3 ring binder.  We follow the model laid out in this book and our children (and myself as the teacher!) are thriving with it.

Just yesterday I got to experience the fruit of this lifestyle of learning.  The baby was down for her morning nap, my 6 year old was playing Lego's, and me and the big boys were all kicked back in the living room reading our books.  It made me smile that they have learned to grab books in their free time.  (this took awhile, and was a slow process, but it is becoming more and more the culture!)

We don't do laborious workbooks for grammar, spelling, etc.  We do copywork.  I write the example on the board and the boys spend 20 minutes copying my example.  This natural way of learning makes so much sense to me.  It is simple and it exposes them to the greatest writers.  They copy Bible, poetry, and all kind of literature.  Sometimes they have creative writing and I give them a prompt and turn them loose.

We have had so much freedom in our homeschooling this year.  I wish I would have known this freedom all five years but I spread the curricular safety net and relied on packaged curriculum for the longest time.  There is nothing wrong with a packaged curriculum, but when every little thing wasn't checked off the lists, it left me feeling like a failure. Many of my friends use boxed curriculums because it fits their personalities so well and their children thrive with the checklists!  When we did My Father's World, I really enjoyed the content.  The thing that bogged me down was when I didn't do all the suggested crafts and such, it left me feeling like I was being a bad and ineffective teacher.  Higher Up Further In is what we've chosen to use this year.  It gives me tracks to run on and there is room for a lot of freedom in adding in the other books that interest my boys.  There really is a fit for every family.

The CM approach is laid back and my children are learning so much.  Last year my oldest son took his first standardized test.  I was a nervous wreck because I thought, "What if we've been failing!"  He exceeded our expectations.  It was so reassuring to see how he was thriving in his school work!

My biggest piece of advice-Pray, pray, pray.  Ask God to lead you and give you and your husband unity on the direction you are to pursue.  God is faithful to gently lead us into all that He has for us.  I have learned (the hard way many times) that going in the direction He is nudging is always the best place.

Give it some time.  You will find what works with your style of teaching and your child's style of learning.

I rely heavily on the assurance that God's grace will fill in the cracks of my mothering.  We believe this is what He has called us to and we lean in on Him for help.

Don't be discouraged if you have to try several things before you find what works for you.  We started out with Abeka DVD's, then moved to My Father's World, and are using Higher Up Further In this year.  Unless something changes, we will be staying with the Higher Up Further In curriculum.  Every book we have read has been so good.  It has kept all of our attention.  That is saying something when I am enjoying the reading as much as my children are. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pretty Table

The boys assured me they did not need to be reminded how to set the table, and that they already knew how.  Turns out, they were right.  This table makes me so happy.  It is nothing fancy, but it is simple and pretty.  Yesterday I mentioned how we like to use candles at the table.  The Dollar Tree sells a 2 pack for a buck.  It is a simple touch that adds a lot to the atmosphere of the dinner table.

Yesterday when I went into the kitchen to begin preparing the meal the house was so loud and chaotic.  I've got one boy laid up on crutches with a sprained ankle, one on the sick bed couch recovering from a sickness, the baby was exploring everywhere and dad was late getting home.
We had a chicken salad dish for dinner that I made up this past fall.  We all love this dinner and the kids actually request it.  One day last fall the weather was exceptionally pretty and so we made an impromptu decision to spend the afternoon at the river.  Normally I would plan the details for a trip like this, but there was no time to plan.  I threw apples, cheddar, a cutting board and knife, bottled waters and a package of Oreos into the cooler and off we went for a day of reading and fishing down by the river.
That evening when we came home we were all really hungry and so I just started pulling stuff from the fridge and freezer.  This dinner comes together in a snap.  I put 4-5 frozen chicken breasts on a plate and defrost them in the microwave.  After cubing them, I sauté them in extra virgin olive oil until nicely browned and season them really well.  Last night I used creole seasoning. 
I add mixed greens to a really big bowl and lightly toss it with just a tiny bit of ranch dressing.  Then I add diced apples, cheddar cheese, bacon bits if I have them, and the diced chicken.  The whole salad gets tossed together and topped with plenty of salt and pepper.  I'm not sure why we love this salad so much.  Maybe it is because we had it on a night when we had spent a super fun day together outside as a family.  Maybe because it is just really that good.  I like it because it is fast to throw together and I have a standard rule that a salad supper like this should always be followed by bowls of ice cream for good measure.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dinner Time

There are parts of our day that we have down solid.  Then there are other parts where we fall apart every single day.  As I've stepped back and evaluated, I've decided that our dinner time routine is next on the list of things to get better at.

I menu plan, grocery shop, and try to make healthy meals for my family.  My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to is that the few minutes leading up to dinner would be less chaotic.  Here's how it usually goes down. Each night I go into the kitchen to begin preparing the meal.  Then, about 5 minutes before it's ready, I call the boys in to set the table and fill the water glasses.  That may not sound chaotic, but I can assure you, it is usually not an orderly peaceful time in our day.  We sit down and everyone has their colorful plastic cup they've been drinking from throughout the day.  The table usually never looks pretty.  It usually looks thrown together.

As I was thinking through this, I thought how easy it would be to create some order to our dinner routine.  Here is what I want for our dinner to be like in the evening.

Sit down as a family to a beautifully set table, where everyone eats off of a real glass plate, drinks out of a real glass, and has a napkin with silverware at their place setting.  We do candles (I'm out right now, but a trip to the Dollar Tree to replenish my stock is in my near future), so the candles of course will be lit.
Yesterday as I was thinking through the current, hodge-podge dinner time routine we have, I realized how simple of a thing it would be to change.  We eat at 5pm most days.  As I thought through this, it made so much sense that at 4:30, the boys could come in and set the table.
I think we'll call it Table Chores.  It will include putting out the plates, glasses, napkins, silverware, water pitcher, water glasses filled with ice water, and the salt and pepper shaker in the center of the table by the tapers.
I'll fess up to some more bad table habits we have.  People start leaving the table and dispersing before the meal is done.  This is something else I'm ready to tackle.  Everyone staying at the table until the meal is over.
The chaotic breakdown continues after the meal.  Every night the table needs to be cleared, the floor swept, food put away, dishes washed, counters wiped down.  We restore the order for the next meal.  It's never a smooth sailing machine, so we're going to work toward some better habits in this area.
I'm spelling it out, starting tonight.
I'm about to head into the kitchen now to show the boys what setting the table means. 
Sometimes I wander if we're the only family who hasn't figured out an orderly dinner time!  I suppose it is just part of the process of having a home with small children.  Everything is a process.  It sure doesn't have to be perfect.  We have not arrived where we are doing everything perfectly. That isn't even my goal.  What we do have a lot of love between us and little by little we try to grow and get better.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pinto Beans

You may have heard me speak of my bean phobia.  I've attempted cooking them twice in my cooking career of nearly 15 years and both batches were so awful that we tossed them.

Sometimes my ideas to do something just come out of nowhere.  Like when I was at Kroger last week and tossed another bag into my buggy which I assumed would sit in my pantry until Thanksgiving when I attempted some gosh awful hard Martha Stewart pie recipe that called for pie weights.

But oh no.  Last night, out of nowhere, I got up from the couch and marched straight toward the pantry to pull the beans out.  Then the fear set in again which led me to watching about 30 minutes of You Tube videos on how to soak a cotton picking bean overnight.

I was so stressed about it.  In the end, I rinsed the beans and put them in a cheap old plastic bowl.  I covered the beans with water and went to bed.

This morning when I got up I drained off the soaking water and put the beans in a pot and covered them with water.  I let them simmer all morning and I gave them an occasional stir when I passed through the kitchen.

I was feeling like the Christian Wife Woman Of The Year when they started looking right!

After 2 hours, I added 2 teaspoons of garlic powder and 2-3 teaspoons of salt and let them simmer a bit more. 

Would you look at that?  It is like bean magic.  With the good amount of seasoning I added (just the garlic and salt) these bad boys tasted so good.

I put some in a bowl topped with a little grated cheddar for lunch.  Tonight I'm going to serve these with fajitas.

In the old days, women would make beans on Monday which was laundry day.  It was an easy dinner to throw on and just give a quick stir every time you passed through the kitchen.

The good amount of seasoning is what made these a winner in my book.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Crazy Train

The doctor stood at the podium as she shared about one evening standing at her kitchen sink looking out her window.  Her daughter sat at the table coloring as she looked out the window.  The neighbors were whizzing by on their way to this and that.  As she watched them going here and there, she wandered if they had made the right decision to scale back in an effort to be home more.

She called it getting off the crazy train.

"That is how everyone I know is living-in utter, busy chaos!"
excerpt from Own Your Life, Sally Clarkson

Several years ago, Shane and I got away to Amelia Island.  Looking at the pictures from the outside, it looks like the most dreamy scenario you could imagine.  Thick cut bacon, French toast, Eggs Benedict, coffee, and juice, all enjoyed while sitting in rocking chairs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

It was a restful, beautiful time away.  Everything about the Island brings us joy.  It is quiet and when we are there we sleep, read, walk around the charming downtown area, and eat the best foods this world has to offer.  We watch the sun rise and the sun set on water.

But there is something that you can't see from these pictures.  You can't see the turmoil that was going on inside of me during this trip.  It was probably the hardest time I've ever walked through.  It was a dark time.  It was the first time I understood what it felt like to feel anxiety on the inside.
We had stretched ourselves too thin and it was all coming undone around the edges.  Life had come crashing down and we found ourselves trying to dig out from a heap of rubble.  Having a life that was at peace felt like a million impossible miles away.

One look at our calendars told the story.  Every space was claimed for something or someone.  We were tired and worn down.  He was busy working for a growing church.  I was running a growing business while trying to homeschool our children and run the house.  We had no margin in our lives and we were so tired.

Little did we know that God was at work.  As I stared at plates of the finest delicacies, I could not even eat.  Something had to give.  The idea of letting something go put fear inside of me.  You know what though?  He was whispering the new thoughts.  I just kept shrugging them off because the new meant change and my earthly eyes couldn't map out exactly where the road might end up.

We sat still, read our Bibles, prayed and prayed some more.  Seeing the new plan unfold took longer than we wanted.  A good two to three years of seeking, praying and waiting.  In the end, He called us to get off the crazy train of too much.  The crazy train of too busy.

His mercies are new every morning.  The sun goes down and the sun rises and He is always there on His throne.  He's got plans for you and me.  In the years since this trip, the landscape of our life has changed drastically.  We are at peace.  We were asked to give up some very, very difficult things.  It was hard.  It was unsure.  We were scared.  And just like always, He has been here on the other side of the threshold of obedience.  And just like always, His hand of blessing and provision has been abundant.
When we are in the center of all He has asked of us, to the outside world it may seem like a lot-people may wonder how you do it-but He gives the grace, strength and energy to accomplish the tasks He has asked of us.  If you are crumbling under the weight of life today, it might be time to ask if perhaps He has something different in mind for the hours of your days.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The 10 Minute Tidy

It is Sunday afternoon, and as I survey the damage of a weekend lived full, my eyes see pockets of clutter here there and everywhere.  Every single room has been touched.

Stacks of opened mail, dirty clothes, dishes, cluttered bathroom counter tops, toys, cups times a million, and it can be overwhelming to know where to begin.

Try the 10 Minute Tidy

You will be amazed at what you can whip into shape in only 10 minutes.

Here's how it works.

-Set the timer for 10.  (I use the microwave timer)

-Work from left to right.  Picture breezing through your house in a circle.  I like starting in the Master Bathroom and working room to room from there. 

-Go fast.

-The ONLY thing you are doing is tidying every room, so you can't let yourself get sidetracked.  You are only putting things away as fast as you possibly can.  It can be helpful to grab an empty laundry basket. Toss the things that need to be put away in other rooms inside of it so that you can move quicker.

Stay focused and try to beat the clock.  You will be so proud to step back when the timer dings and see how far you got.

It is tempting to decide you want to rearrange your spice rack into alphabetical order but you have to stay strong my friend.

I can't tell you what a 10 minute tidy will do for the state of your home.  It took me 2 rounds tonight and I got this puppy whipped into shape.  There is still a layer of dust and crumbs everywhere, but the house is picked up and looks a million times better than it did. 

The 10 Minute Tidy will take you from sloppy and disordered to cozy and well-kept 10 minutes at a time!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

In The Mood

Is it just me, or do these crisp, sunny, winter days put you in the mood to clean too?

There is just something about them that makes me want to raise my blinds and Windex the glass till it sparkles.

Once I was in the most beautiful home.  Not the fanciest I'd ever walked into, but definitely one of the most peaceful and beautiful.  There were no luxury bells and whistles about her home, but it was truly beautiful.

We spent a good amount of time in her kitchen, and I always remember how warm and welcoming her space was.  And I remember her windows.  The blinds were raised and the glass in her windows shined and glimmered.

She told me she used plain old Windex and paper towels to shine them up like that.

She gave me a tour of her home and I'll never forget her guest bedroom.  The walls were painted an aqua turquoise color.  Picture the blue waters of the Caribbean and that was the color on her walls.  The two windows in the simply decorated room were open and the sheer window panels were blowing in the gentle evening breeze.

It was so beautiful and relaxing.

I always think about her home when I raise my blinds and Windex my glass. 

It is such a simple and quick thing and yet it always makes the house feel so clean and pretty.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stay Here

I've always got some new idea brewing in the ol' hopper.

Us dreamer/creator types are funny like that.

Just this morning I was daydreaming about my next venture I've been thinking on.  I was feeling like I was ready to pounce on it and move forward.  That is, until I opened my Bible to my reading today, and these words caught my eyes.

You did not lack anything, did you?

It is enough.

I hate to be the burster of bubbles, but sometimes God tells us to stay put.  That where we are right now is enough.  That right here, today, we are exactly in the circle of His Desires for us.

It can be so tempting to jump on the hamster wheel and start spinning our wheels endlessly.  The promise of more this or more that can lure us in.

I only want to take opportunities that are mine.  I want to faithfully stay when He asks me to stay and likewise, I want to faithfully say yes when He says to move into the new.

This year He has called me to stay put.  Until March, I believe He has asked me to refrain from any type of commitments.  It has been hard a couple of times, especially when I get excited about some new opportunity, and yet in His Faithfulness He reminds me that being right where He has placed me is enough.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tough Pill To Swallow

Saturday I donned my best daytime casual outfit.

Sam's Club jeggings and my plaid shirt from Targe'.

My mission was to go into the high end teeny bopper jeans store and try on everything under the sun.

After getting stuck in most of it, I left empty handed.

Walking to my mini-van, the one with the finger smudged tiny handprints on the windows, I realized something.

You'd think I'd have known it by now, what with all the kids running around and all, but catching my reflection in the hand printed glass, I realized it loud and clear.

I am a mother.

The kind who wants mom jeans that don't look like mom jeans and I want comfortable things that don't evoke images of streusel topped blueberry muffins.  Is it too much to ask to give me a pair of jeans that come up to my rib cage?  And I'm in no mood to fool with Spanx. 

About the mom thing.  I was starting to have my suspicions.  Earlier this year I was meeting a friend at the coffee shop.  When I arrived, I found an open set of chairs, claimed our spots and settled in for a little light reading before my friend showed up.

I whipped out my Christian Homemaker's Handbook and set to reading about smart routines for cleaning a home.  I barely made it through the first paragraph before I began feeling incredibly uncool and uncomfortable with my reading choice.  It's just that all the young college kids were there and I still think I'm 23 but my Homemaker Handbook was giving me away.  I discretely tucked it back into my bag and started scrolling Facebook on my phone.  A much hipper, trendier way to spend my time at the coffee shop.  I think it helped distract from my velour.

I am sorry to say that two times I have tried to bust out a homemaking book at the coffee shop.  Why does all this nonsense go back to my jeans?  Because there is no getting around it.  I'm getting older.  You already know my increasing propensity to choose pie for dessert every single time.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoy using a pencil these days.  And now the jeans business.  It's all just kind of hard to take in.

You do have my solemn promise that though I may eye the elastic waisted Kim Rogers pant every cotton picking time, they are only eye candy.

Monday, January 26, 2015

What Did I Keep?

My first Stitch Fix arrived this week and oh what a fun experience it was!

It definitely accomplished my biggest goal.  It got me to try on pieces I never would have chosen at the store.

Choosing what to keep was hard for me.  I adored the pair of trouser jeans they sent me.  The problem was, they were a little too big.  I loved them so much and wore them around the house for over an hour, but in the end, I kept having to pull them up and they were just a little saggy looking. 

The jeans did confirm something for me though.  They were a nice pair of jeans and they felt AMAZING.  Oh my stars, they were so comfortable.  They also showed me that trouser jeans are a missing link in my 40 hanger closet.  It was eye opening to see how many outfits I could create from that one pair of dressier jeans.  They were a lightweight denim suitable for year round wear.  They looked cute with sandals, heels and flats.

Then there was the blue shirt.  Oh how I loved the blue shirt.  It was pretty and comfortable, BUT.  It made me feel like a Southern Baptist version of Madonna and in the end I just didn't feel like I could pull it off.

Why oh why must I be cursed with such conservative pearl prone tendencies?

It was super cute but I just could not bring myself to do the buttons, and for the bigger price tag, it needed to be a perfect fit for me.  It was $68 and that is why I just couldn't keep it.  Sadness :(.  Isn't it the cutest though?  If it would have been more affordable, I TOTALLY would have kept it.  The cut/style/color were good, so I will keep an eye out for things along these lines.  Please tell me there are other pretty shirts in the sea.

This is the piece I ended up keeping.  The Laila Jayde Dolman (mine is a charcoal grey color).  This is exactly the type of thing I was looking for.  It is perfect because the fabric felt so good.  It is a simple and versatile piece that is not going to go out of style next year.  It looked good with black pants, jeans and my white linen pants.  Scarves and jewelry will transform the look of this shirt. That is what I call a perfect addition to the closet.  Win Win Win.

It was helpful to be able to try on in my own home.  Don't you just hate it when you try on clothes in the store, get home, take a look in the mirror, and realize it looks all wrong in real life?  Being able to try on at home allowed me to sit on my couch wearing the clothes.  It allowed me to pair my shirts and shoes with the items to see how they fit into my current wardrobe.

Three of the five pieces they sent, I loved.  Only one was a perfect fit, so that is what I went with.  In my notes to my stylist, I asked them to please send another shirt and pair of jeans like the ones I sent back.  My next fix will come in a month because I asked for another pair of jeans to try.  I'll keep you posted.

Here is a link to my referral if you are interested in trying a Fix for yourself.

And I want to give a shout out to all my fun Facebook friends.  Man, y'all are so much fun!  Now, let's get back to talking about food, shall we?