January 29, 2015

Valentines in the Apartment

I love decorating for fall and Christmas, but totally slack on the other holidays. I love seeing other peoples houses decorated for the holidays and I grew up in a home that decorated and celebrated every holiday full out so I am not sure why I haven't adopted this trait. However, this year at Target I found the cutest burlap banner in the dollar section and had to get it! So here is some of my valentines decor around the apartment. Hoping that when we are in a house I can have more space and room to stick cute decor! Also will be scanning the isles the day after valentines for all the sales! I of course had my trusty side kick by me while snapping pictures. All of the prints are from Naptime Diaries advent or other bible studies. LOVE them! Hoping this February is full of love.

I am going to work hard to not be so negative and see all the joy and love in everything and everyone.

January 27, 2015


Reading: I just finished reading the last two books I reviewed in my previous posts. "A little salty to cut the sweet" and "Sparkling green earrings". Loved both of them and since Miss Boo Mama has a brand new book out I snatched that up in my kindle and have been reading it. Those interested it is called "Home is Where My People Are" and so far I love it. I am just finished reading the book of John with She Reads Truth.

Thinking about: Oh, this is different depending on the hour of day that you ask me. Right now at 9:42 a.m. on this Tuesday morning I am thinking about the house inspection later this afternoon. Oh, yeah I didn't mention that... We are in the process of buying our first home. That deserves a post in itself and I will get to that when I can find the words for a complete sentence. So far my mind is on a roller coaster just like my emotions and mood.

Listening: I cannot stop listening to Bethel music. I watched their live stream of their newest recordings two weekends ago and fell in love. Seriously Jenn Johnson's voice is angelic.

Watching: Stalker. and just about every other reality show... I am a closet reality show junkie. I guess that makes me an out of the closet reality show junkie now. But, back to Stalker. I love it! It freaks me out every time I watch it and thank goodness its only on one night a week.

Planning: Well, this one changes depending on the hour of the day as well. I have been engulfed in planning our house that we don't even have yet. I also feel like I am always planning for our future. When I say planning its more like dreaming... I can't wait to start our family and am having the toughest time "waiting". God is doing work in this impatient soul of mine as well as teaching me to have faith. Blind faith.

Loving: this sunny and 75 degree weather Texas has been having. The sun has been shining and it is really bringing the Spring Fever! I am still holding out for one snow day though. I am also forever loving my fur baby.

January 26, 2015

Sparkling Green Earrings- Melanie Shankle

This book is similar to "A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet" in that is a book written by a southern mom and full of wisdom. This book showed up on my Kindle recommended list after reading another one of Big Mama's books (Antelope in the Living Room). Oh yeah, Big Mama is Melanie Shankle... I hope I have a cool nickname like that sometime in this life of mine. 

Anyways, this book is basically gold. It is chalk full of realism, wisdom, and hilarity. I know I am not a mother yet, but I think this book is just a little glimpse into the life of motherhood. I highlighted basically the whole book and journaled my favorite excerpts.  I want to share those with you, who am I kidding I want to share these mostly with myself since I am the one who reads this jibber jabber. 

"Real motherhood is different.  It's better and its messier and it's more complicated. It will break your heart and make you laugh harder than you ever imagined. You find yourself alternating between feeling like your friends talked you into some pyramid scheme so you could share in their misery and thinking this is the most fulfilling thing you've ever done in your life."- Big Mama

Love those words. I hope I can remember them when I step into the season of motherhood. Life is messy, complicated, and awesome! 

Just like Boo Mama, Big Mama has the ability to throw some words at you that really hit you in the gut...well at least they did for me. 

1st world problem- Oh, we can't have a baby right now because we have to go to Colorado and ski, then to Italy to tour.... Hello it's not our plan! God is in control! God works on His timetable not ours! 

Wow... those words were like a punch in the gut. I find myself saying that crap to not only myself but actually out loud to people sometimes. How incredibly selfish am I to think that I am going to plan when we actually have a baby when the only reason I am even here today is that its God's plan? Yep, Big Mama got it right when she said 1st world problem. 

"God doesn't always answer prayers as we expect- - He answers better!"

Super thankful for that truth... God's plan is always immeasurably better than my plan! There's that phrase again, I just love it! I need to write it on my walls. 

Big Mama also had a specific verse that she prayed over for her baby- Isaiah 44:3-5. 

"He may take away the Earthly things we look to for comfort and security so that we can feel Him better and love Him more." 

"He takes our disappointments, rejections, and hard times, and he makes something beautiful. He creates life and shows us what beauty looks like in places where we look and see nothing."

"He blesses us beyond our imaginations, in spite of all the broken roads we've walked. He reminds u that he sees us-nut just for who we are at any given moment, but for what we could be one day."

Woo wee... those three truths are huge! 

Big Mama reminds us through the stories of her baby girl that the "days are long, but the years are short".

"Looking back the sweetest things are often the hardest."

Big Mama said that "having a child was the beginning of a glimpse into the kind of love Christ has for us. Sacrificial love. Love that doesn't keep score. Love that isn't dependent on whats in it for me. Love that is consuming and protective and unconditional."

Y'all, just a glimpse into the love Christ has for us, that is HUGE! I am not even a mom, but I know the kind of love my mom has for me and the kind of love my sister in laws have for their kids. That kind of love is fierce. 

Big Mama shares her prayer for the future and I just couldn't and haven't been able to shake it. "I want to be home. I want to have time to bake cookies and haze lazy morning watching Bert & Ernie with a snuggle girl in pajamas who was;t going to be little forever". Yes and Amen are my thoughts on that. 

"Kids- we like to believe they are better versions of us, but the truth is, they are us." If that statement doesn't make you want to be the best person you can be then I don't know what's wrong with you. I see that truth every time I am around my nieces and nephews and sister and brother in laws. 

"God gives us these raw, little people, and we have to form them and mold them and teach them how to operate in society. And if we get a glimpse of all the ugliness that lies right beneath our own polished surface? Thats a humbling lesson."

"Having bad manners is worse than having no money"- Suzanne Sugerabaker, but maybe can take a cue from the toddlers and not filter out all the real parts.- Big Mama

--I told you this book was full of gold!-- more wisdom ahead!

"The kids aren't going to get it right every time, but neither are we. Our job as mothers is to do the best we can to teach our children that life is better and friendships are richer when we treat others with kindness, when we use nice words, and remember to share. To remember that people have a few cracks in their hearts even if we can't see them and that love is always the best response."

**Trust God... Jump into the deep end with Him!

"You will never be fully prepared. Only the reality of doing something every day prepares you for what it is really like." 

Well if that isn't another shot in the gut I don't know what is... This truth is something I need taped to my forehead. 

"You can't give your kids perfection- thats where the grace of God enters and he fills the gaps". - such a comforting statement 

"God can't take us anywhere if we keep clinging to little bits of the past".

Big Mama stated that God's theme in her life tended to be "like ok you're in the comfort zone let's keep moving". I think we have all probably heard that God does most of his work in growing you when you are out of your comfort zone, but boy is it hard to listen sometimes. At least for me it is... if it's not for you I need to read your book.

"Sometimes the best families are the ones God builds using unexpected pieces of our hearts."

"Motherhood gives us the first true flips of how God loves us. The kind of love that is irrevocable, unrelenting, unconditional. It's the closest humans get to living out 1 Corinthians 13. Motherhood is a Holy Communion with goldfish crackers and juice boxes". 

"Nothing survives when it's being smothered. Life, real life, requires being free to move about in the great big ocean, not being cradled in little hot hands that will stifle independence and creativity. We can't keep our kids in a bucket and expect them to go far."

"Raising a child is a fleeting moment in time that sometimes gets swallowed up in the daily routine of car pools and soccer practice and it is the most important thing we will do. It's the daily balance of treasuring the moments even as we wish some of them away. It's treading water in a sea of imperfections. It's a delicate balance of guilt and joy."

Daniel 112:3 "...Shine bright." Prayer for the babies!

** When we loosen our grip he tightens His.

"He doesn't make mistakes. He loves unconditionally. His plans and purposes are perfect. He created her/him with a purpose and a plan for this time, this generation." - for the babies

"God is always there. Watching, catching, loving, and molding her into the person she was created to be. She's safer in His group than she'll ever be in mine."

January 24, 2015

A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet- Sophia Hudson

Also known as, one of my most favorite easy reads ever! My mother-in-law stumbled upon Miss Boo Mama's blog and soon after told me to read this book ASAP. I remember reading it right after finishing up my first semester of graduate school when I thought I was going to die and the last thing I wanted to do was read. But, boy was I wrong. I am so glad I read this book and now I read everything that is written by her or any of her friends. They make me laugh and I kind of just want to be them sometimes.

Some of my favorite things that Miss Sophie wrote I highlighted and jotted down in my journal and want to remember forever. Miss Sophie is a hoot and a half (I think that would be a phrase she would say) and she is a lovely southern gal so you can't help but love her. These are her words, not mine, I just wanted to write them down for my memory and because y'all need to read this book!

"The welcome mat is out, the crazy is on full display, and there's always room for one more around our table." - the southerner's motto

I want to remember and keep this motto in mind- ya know you can't ever have too many bodies at a dinner table. Speaking of which... I can't wait to have an actual dinner table!

Love... is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask and receive from God.- C.S. Lets

Boy am I glad we receive grace from God because He knows I need it.... a lot of it. My love habits sometimes a lot of the time stink.

"Life with kids: fun and fulfilling, it can be an also and a choice. "- wow Miss Sophie way to open my eyes... so you're telling me having kids can be a definitive choice or just an also. Way to make this baby fever/pusher awayer? open her eyes.

"Having a wedding is easy, being married is hard". Enough said.

"God is so much better than I deserve"- AMEN sister!

Miss Sophie was talking about Ephesians 3:20-21 as she was talking about her plans vs. God's plans. God's plans are "immeasurably more" and I just love that phrase. God prepares you for it even when it's nowhere on your to do list. That God of ours, sure am thankful for Him.

...Learned to listen and to laugh, to forgive, some Earthly love is unconditional God is always at work in the day to day.

"Sometimes the Lord has to take us back to a place we've been so He can remind us how far we've come."

Good news- He can meet us anywhere.

Miss Sophie states that "the character of a marriage is forged in the difficult times when you're grappling with heartbreak or illness or disappointment or even betrayal."

She spoke about a specific verse that she prayed over for her baby and I think I highlighted and circled that verse twice. Ephesians 3:16-19

She also stated a simple fact of life- "Southerners love their grandmothers"! Yes they do!

God is always doing something the very best thing, the thing we ourselves would certainly choose if we knew the end from the beginning He is at work to bring us to our full glory- Elisabeth Elliot

His plan is always greater than our plans.

Remember the Lord's goodness. Say it out loud. Thank Him for what He has done for you in the past. Make a list of what you've seen Him do in your life. Speak it. Remember.

I haven't done this yet, but writing down here again makes me want to do this.

"Life isn't always easy sometimes you will get your feelings hurt, sometimes you may even be the one who does the hurting, but you stay with it. And you get after it, and you love each other, and you forgive, and you keep coming back to the table."

Sometimes I don't want to go back to the table, but life is beautiful even when its messy so Miss Sophie's statement is a good reminder to keep on trucking.

**"At the dinner table the Lord gets to work. He knits together our hearts, strengthens our bonds, and connects our narratives. The table is where he links generations, where he prompts us t join hands and bow head and remember and laugh and pass our stories back and forth to each other."

I have always loved family dinners and I think I have figured out why... As Miss Sophie says, the table is where God is doing work!

January 22, 2015

Ski Trip 2014

For the past 6 years I have been going on the Mav family ski trip. This trip is one that everyone looks forward to all year long. This year we went back to Wolf Creek and stayed in South Fork for the second year in a row. Previously we stayed in Pagossa Springs and we have been to Winter Park. I have loved every place and have fun memories from each trip! You could basically stick us all in a cardboard box and we would have fun.

This year I was able to bring my Dad and sister along and they experienced the Mav/O family fun for the first time! My dad grew up in Colorado and was an avid skier and apparently skiing is like riding a bike because he didn't miss a beat. Kenn decided to ski instead of try snowboard, but I think next year she will be a boarded like the rest of us! 

We took three cars up there this year. The O crew and Randi had to wait until Friday evening to leave and drive through the night to ski the next morning, but our car and the Mav car headed out bright and early (way too early for anyone to be awake) for the 13 hour road trip. Our car pulled into South Fork around 4pm and it was so good to be able to unload and explore in the day time! We set up a fire for the Mavs to come "home" to and started a pot of Chili. The crew this year was not as big as most, but we still have tons of fun! Amanda and Tatum stayed home as well as Ally's kiddos. Coby and Bradey didn't make it, but we are hoping next year we are full to brim with people!

We love going to Wolf Creek because they are known for getting the most snow! This year was the least amount of snow that we have ever had. The house last year was covered in snow, this year we pulled up to dead grass and only snow on the roof top. Our last two days of the trip it snowed all day and night and made for the most perfect last day of skiing! 

Our menu consisted of some great meals. We had Chili, potato soup, taco salad, and homemade lasagna! We also cooked breakfast in the mornings and delicious deserts each night. I took approximately zero pictures of our yummy meals and 100 pictures of us feeding the deer, which is totally illegal so don't do it! But, how could you say no to those faces! We also managed to take not one single picture all together as a group or even coupled up... I attribute that to a no make up and only pjs trip- also called best vacation ever. 

I phone pictures... low quality, high fun

January 15, 2015

Family Pictures

Back in December we talked my talented photog mother-in-law to take our family pictures. We went up to Oklahoma because we figured it would be easier for my Gram and Papa and also because who doesn't like pictures with a country backdrop? The weather turned out pretty spectacular, minus the wind and Cheryl was able to get some great pictures.

I just have to say looking through the pictures is like watching a funny movie... If my mom isn't talking my dad is and if my eyes aren't closed Kennedy's are. The dogs are running around throughout the pictures and getting stickers stuck in their feet in between their playtime. The stickers were bad... way bad... poor Deuce and Skeeter had to pretty much be carried back to the house. Goal #1 for 2015 is to spray the heck out of those stickers. Here are some of my favorite captured memories. Thank you so much Cheryl, so glad God chose you to be my mother-in-law!