Saturday, November 1, 2014

finding my voice

Once upon a time, I used to write here in this little space nearly every day. 
It was like breathing. Or washing my hair. Or something.  

Wake up. Brush teeth. Smooch husband. Eat. Take care of child. Blog. Eat. Sleep. 

I've taken breaks before, but it's been months and months since I last typed out a post or even thought about writing one. I couldn't pinpoint exactly why. Changes and busyness and needing a breather from the internets are a few reasons. As I folded a mountain of my sweaters today, I thought more about why I've tucked my pen away. The answer hit me square between the eyes. 

I had lost my voice. 
Or I hushed it for a while. 

I go through seasons when I need to listen more. A time when it's important and wonderful for things to soak in and simmer without my own voice getting in the way. It's necessary to create space and slow down enough for me to hear the sound of my breath and the beating of my heart. Sometimes that trumps writing and sharing and hitting the publish button on a blog. Those are times when it's good to just be. 

This afternoon as I piled those sweaters onto the shelves of my closet, I felt the tug to write and to share again. So here I am, imperfect and fumbling over the keyboard and not at all in my blogging groove and....smiling. Because even though breathers are good, I missed this

I won't make any sweet promises or grand writing plans because I can't be trusted and would probably fail before tomorrow's end. So I'll just say that I'll listen to those tugs when they come along and write because I still believe every word of this paragraph I wrote last October:

"I don't scrapbook or journal so this is my space to share and record all the things I want to remember and keep alive. This is where I get my chat on. This spot is where family and friends can come to get glimpses into our days and hear my rambling thoughts. I want for Josiah to be able to come here when he's older to read and laugh and know me and my heart more. To see himself, his childhood, his journey through the eyes of his mama." 

And that's all she wrote.
For tonight.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

taking care // move

Since ringing in the new year two months ago, I can count on one little hand how many days I have not worked out. The old me (cliche anyone?) would've hollered that it's a miracle of miracles, but the new me isn't all that surprised. The combo of 1) making the decision and commitment to move everyday and 2) knowing myself and what works best for me, has led me to a happy, sweaty place of truly enjoying and craving exercise. 

What, what?!! I know. 

My routine is very simple. I wake up early. This is key because I know how I tick. If I wait until the day and it's activities are well underway, I lose the motivation and may not fit it in. So while Josh and Si are still snoozin' away in warm beds, I rub sleep from my eyes and hop on the treadmill for a few miles while I catch up on all my favorite Netflix shows. Another key! I've discovered that running + entertaining television = I keep moving. It's a win win in my book! Once the warm weather comes, I plan on taking my runs outside in the fresh air. The treadmill is a huge lifesaver for me in this bitter cold, but there's nothing like pounding down our open country roads, the sun on my face and good tunes in my ears. 

When I'm done on the treadmill, I do basic strength training using my own body weight or light hand weights 4-5 days each week for about 20 minutes. I use the Max Capacity Training App on my phone for this and LOVE it! Because left to my own devises, I can be a clueless mess. I need to be told exactly what to do (push ups, lunges, squats, yada yada) and exactly how long to do them (thank you, timer!). Every once in a while, I will pop in a workout video or follow a routine I found on Pinterest to mix things up, but the majority of the time I stick with my normal routine because it works for me. 

If you're struggling, but it has been on your heart to make the commitment to move more often, I would suggest that you pray to God to help you and guide you! That is not a strange prayer at all. He is there for you in every single aspect of your life and maintaining a healthy body is a big part of it! He will give you the strength you need. 

I'd also recommend discovering what works for you :: at the gym or at home. group classes or on your own. all at once or broken up throughout the day. jogging or yoga. organized sports or walks around the block. outside or inside. morning or evening. I'm 100% convinced that in order to stick with a commitment to move, you must know yourself when it comes to exercise. What works well for others will not necessarily be the best for you! I know that I enjoy working out solo at home in the mornings. Knowing that about myself, it would be a silly move to get a gym membership and sign up for all sorts of evening group classes because I will dread going or not go at all. 

So that's that! So simple, but so effective. In the last few months, I've seen great benefits from moving every day. I don't smile through every workout and I'm not perfect or hardcore or super fit. But I feel strong! I feel more energized! I've lost weight! It's almost like our bodies were made to move. :) Taking care of this one body, this temple God has made is becoming more and more important to me. This is a wonderful way I can bring Him glory! And thank Him for His goodness. And not only do I feel good and confident, my positive mood is a benefit to my family and all those around me. All that from less than an hour of moving each morning? I think I'll keep it up. :)

for more chatter on taking care ::

taking care exercise_

Friday, February 21, 2014

vintage february

February is a winner. It never disappoints. 
It may have it's downfalls (hello! it's winter!), but it holds so. much. happy. And happy wins. 
Here's the proof. 

My birthday. 
I turned 31 last week and I'm convinced they are right. The 30s are the bomb. More on that later. 

Valentine's Day. 
We really don't do gifts and such, but the hubs and I lived it up at a February 14th wedding and there are swoony vintage valentines clipped up on our kitchen chalkboard. I could stare at those beauties allll day. They're staying 4-ever. 

Memories of days of yore.
Josh first wooed me with his dimples 12 years ago this month. For that V-Day he got me a BIG CARD (see photos below) that I've kept and shall keep for my entire lifetime. He had his college buddy cross out all of the "Loves" and change them to "Likes", of course. In calligraphy. It was that big card that first got me to smooch him outside my freshman dormitory. I knew then that he was a keeper.

Happy, happy love month to you, loves. 
I pray you are loved well. And that you love well. Every month of the year. 
Does February hold any special memories for you? I'd love to hear. Anyone else with a BIG Card? I must know. 

valentines-2 valentines-7 valentines-8 valentines-5 valentines-3 valentines-4 valentines-6 valentines

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

taking care // fill me up, pour me out

The last time I wrote in this little space of mine, I invited you to come alongside me as I chat about anything and everything taking care. It's been well over a week and I've left you hanging, so let's start this thing already, friends! Pour yourself a cup of something and pull up a chair.

When I think of taking care, my mind drifts from dreamy sleep to eating well, exercise routines and skincare products. Those are all important and you can bet your cookie I'm going to bring 'em up. Eventually. For today, though, it's only fitting that I start with the most beautiful, wonderful, important, crucial, special thing I can do to care for myself. And that is to nurture my relationship with God.

It's in Jesus that I find true-blue and lasting comfort and forgiveness, rest and peace, joy and love, contentment and energy. All of the good stuff. His love inspires and motivates. Jesus is the balm to my hurts. The joy to my day. The calm for my fears. The friend who is always there.

He is my greatest gift, my most precious treasure. 

If knowing God more isn't taking care, then I don't know what is. 

To list every way I can grow closer to Him would have me here all the live long day, so I'll share a few simple but powerful avenues the Lord has provided for me (for all of us!) to know Him more.

*His Word  My Bible reading has never been perfect. Far from it! I have wondered at times where to start, which chapters to focus on, how much to read each day. All this seemed silly to me after printing out a read-the-Bible-in-one-year plan. The plan tells me exactly what to read, how much to read, when to read it. Starting with Genesis and going straight through to Revelation seemed the best choice for me, while other plans mix things up a bit. Now, this doesn't mean that I always and forever only stick to the plan, but it's a wonderful guide and has given me direction, which I most certainly need. Plus, I love running my handy yellow highlighter over the day's reading. It's the simple things in life that thrill me!

*Prayer  I'm going to confess something now. I am officially the worst bedtime prayer person of.all.time. I do say them with Josiah when he is being tucked in for the night, but since I am out like a light the very second my head hits the pillow, prayers at that time are usually not happening. Instead, I find myself having my chats with God during the mundane, still moments of my day - when I'm blow drying my hair, putting away dishes, stirring the pot, vacuuming crumbs, pulling wet clothes from the washing machine. The more I pray during these times, the more it happens and pours out and becomes a wonderful habit.

*Devotions  Jesus Calling is one of my favorites that I open up nearly every morning. It's short and sweet and somehow, someway, the words are always fitting, like they were written oh so perfectly just for that moment, just for me. :)

*Memorizing scripture  Knowing verses by heart is such a beautiful, comforting gift I can give to myself! I've chosen to focus on one passage each week to give me time to understand the meaning and allow the words to soak in. Have you heard of French Press Mornings? It is a lovely site that offers the prettiest, most encouraging scripture cards. I print out one of the free printables, stick it on the fridge, and use it as a tool to help me memorize a passage every week.

*Books I have a list that's nearly fourteen miles long of amazing, though-provoking, life-changing, heart-poking Godly books I The Preacher Man just brought home a 400 pager today for me to add to my stack. I'm continually inspired by others who are inspired by Him. And so I read. And read. And read.

*Community  Taking care of my relationship with God includes surrounding myself with those who encourage me in my faith. Whether I'm asking Josh questions as we relax in the evening, sitting in the pew on Sunday morning with my church family, or chatting in an online space or across the table from friends, there are opportunities for conversations that build me up, challenge me, and draw me closer to them and to Him.

I fill myself up with my Jesus and pray that He spills out into every part of my life.
He is where taking care begins. Nothing else matters without Him. 

knowing Him more-4 knowing Him more-2 knowing Him more-5 knowing Him more knowing Him more-3

Thursday, February 6, 2014

taking care, a series

Take care! 

I pen it at the bottom of a handwritten note. I type it in a text to a friend. I smile and say it when I'm parting ways with an acquaintance at the grocery store or hanging up the phone with a loved one. When I write or speak those words, I mean them. My heart wants the people on the receiving end to truly take care of themselves, the best they can. 

But when I examine my daily life pressed up against those words, what do I see? Am I taking care? Treating myself well? Living healthfully? Drawing closer to God? Doing what brings me joy? Being the best me I can be? 

Honestly, since moving to Michigan over 3 years ago, I have done a less than stellar job of taking care of myself well. I wasn't exercising as much, eating as healthfully, sleeping enough, being as good about carving out time for things important to me or always making time with God a priority. 

I had my reasons. 
We had moved a new place. I was overwhelmed and sad and lonely. I was a new mom.
This was a season when I needed to give myself some lack and heaps of grace.
But then it took a turn :: I was tired. I was busy. I put others before myself. I was lazy. I was waiting for the perfect time to do this or start that or try this. 
Read : excuses. 

The stars never aligned. And I rode the excuse train for far too long. 

Haven't we all fallen into that trap sometime or another? And haven't we become more discouraged and held onto our excuses more when we look at that gal. The one who ran 4 miles, washed, dried, and folded 2 loads of laundry, read a novel, cooked a healthy breakfast, did a craft project, taught half the alphabet to her fully clothed, smiling children - before 9 in the AM. All while wearing a fabulous outfit, her hair perfectly styled. 

I don't know about you, but I can't measure up to that. I see her and I quit on me. 

But I'm not her. (Does she even exist?? If she does, rock on, sister) I am me. The only me there is and ever will be. And I truly, honestly want to be the very best me. All of me. Inside and out. Sometime after this new year began, a switch flipped and I'm more determined than ever to make this happen. 

I'm not striving for perfection here. Perfection is not realistic or attainable. Me and my Type B self are reaching for grace. For calm, for health, for growth. There's a stirring inside me and I just have to talk about it. With you. And you and you. 

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to share my heart and thoughts, questions and opinions on taking care. I have a rough draft of an outline and can promise it's going to be a mixed bag of goodness. You can look forward to me chatting your pretty little ears off about everything from sleep and skin, to the spiritual and simple, to soup and sweat.

All the S's will be covered. 

I promise other letters will be used, too. 

I'm no expert, dears. I'm simply a girl who wants to be the best version of the mind/body/spirit God made, on this side of heaven. The One who took the time and the care to knit me together, to create me as His own dear child, is calling me to live a full life. Taking care is one of the million ways I can serve my Creator and bring Him glory. 

I'm learning that I am an all-around-better wife, mother, friend, Christian, etc. when I pour care into myself. I want to be filled up to the brim with Him so that I can pour more and more into my people. And everyone else in my world and beyond.  

So dear ones, will you come with me on this journey? I sure do hope you will. Because we are each unique, special creations, me taking care of me isn't going to fully line up and be exactly the same as you taking care of you. But no matter where you are at in life (mama, college girl, grandmother, etc. etc.), I know we can all learn from each other and grow together. 

So join me? Pretty please! With sprinkles on top. This will be WAY more fun if you jump on in. 
I'l be back soon. xo

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

dear january

january 2014 collage
Dear January,
You started out a bit of a stinker, with your bitter winds and snowy drifts keeping us housebound for dayssssss beyond the breaking point. But I will give you this - you redeemed yourself by providing oodles of free time spent cuddled up indoors devouring stacks and stacks of reads, playing dress up, catching up on long forgotten projects, and crafting our little hearts out. Oh, and binging (bingeing?) on Netflix shows. There was definitely that. When we did brave your cold, we were in awe of your simple beauty - the magical way the (rare) sunshine shimmied through the icicles on the trees and the snowy trails of deer tracks through the backyard. Even on your hard-ish days, you were filled to the brim with the good stuff - smiles shared, the giggles during bath time, warm handmade hats from dear friends, and dinnertime sillies just to name a few. So thanks a bunch, January, for the memories we now get to tuck away for keeps. And for keeping us on our toes by kicking off 2014 with some unexpected, but happy twists.  
Until next year! xo

*A handful of blogging gals I read always write letters at the end of each month. I think it's the perfect way to remember, reflect, and wrap things up with words and photos! So this is the start of me tying up each month with a bow in 2014.*

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

tie your scarf on tight

I have one word for you. 


Ohmyword. Why didn't y'all tell me about this show? The minute I clicked play on the first episode, I was hooked. Actually obsessed might be the better word. I've blown through more episodes in the last week than I am willing to admit. I gasp and ooohhh my way through each 42 minute installment on Netflix and when it ends, I cannot help myself from starting the next. It's embarrassing and pathetic. And awesome. This show gets me through my treadmill runs and makes folding piles of laundry fun. Yes, fun. I know! It's some kind of miracle. 

Dear Olivia Pope. I want your wardrobe. And your gumption. Throw in your smarts, too, and your apartment and your cheekbones. I'll take it all. 

In other news, the polar vortex snow monster rages on leaving roads unsafe and school cancelled and my sanity in question. Have mercy! I refused to stay locked inside all the live long day, so Si and I bundled up and headed out into the elements. It was definitely chilly, but cold schmold! Breathing in the fresh air was good for the lungs and the head and the heart. We shuffled and skipped our way through the snow and around our circle playing follow the leader, pointing out bird nests and making snow angels. 

Today's winter walk gets a gold star. I think we'll take another tomorrow, scarves not optional. 

And now it's prime time for slippers and a show. I bet you can't guess which one.

Stay warm, dears. xo

snow day_-3

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

library stacks

library day_
One of my favorite places in all the land is the library. Maybe that sounds nerdy, but it's true. I'm owning it. 

Nerdy is the new black. Or something. 

Back in the day, I used to work in the children's department of a local library and it was a match made in paperback heaven. I got to read and chat it up about books like it was my job. And it was. Also, I never had to pay late fees, which is a dream come true for a girl who can't seem to return anything on time. 

Oh, I miss that job! So to fill the card-catalog-sized hole in my heart, I browse the stacks of our library once a weekish. I always pull up my ever growing Amazon "good reads" wishlist on my phone and hunt down the titles that catch my eye. Si tags along most of the time and marches behind me with his arms full of Mo Willems and Star Wars and Jan Brett. Then we do story-time or music class and hang out in the kiddo area flipping pages and playing trains. He loves it, of course. I'm raising my boy right. 

Since I dig talking books, I thought I'd share this week's library stack. I can't give a thumbs up or down just yet for all of these as I'm slowly working through them. 

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food // This book changed my life, dears. No joke. Life changer. Here's a quote. >> I had to get honest enough to admit it: I relied on food more than I relied on God. I craved food more than I craved God. Food was my comfort. Food was my reward. Food was my joy. Food was what I turned to in times of stress, sadness, and even in times of happiness. << Hellllooooo conviction. This book opened my eyes to the way I have used food, instead of God, to fill gaps and holes, and in those situations I'm always left wanting. My cravings should always be for Him, more of Him, not more chocolate. He is the only one who can truly satisfy. UPDATE! My girl, Sarah, is giving away a free copy over on her blog. Check it out! 

Where'd You Go, Bernadette // A few friends have recommended this novel to me and I'm itching to start it. I heard it's a unique, delightful, and witty read. 

The Giver // I'm scratching my head as to why I never was assigned to read this in elementary school?? Word on the street is that it's going to be made into a film. I have a firm rule that books must be read before I head into the theater (or Redbox) and I'm sticking to it. 

The Husband's Secret // This is the read of the month for my fab sister-in-law's book club. She was telling me all about their group over Christmas and now I'm green with jealousy. I want a fun book club! I appointed myself an honorary member. I mean, I am reading the same book. 

Gone Girl // I'm about a third of the way through this thriller and can't flip the pages fast enough. I did have to quit reading it at night before bed, though, because it was giving me weirdo dreams. Be warned, it is not a lighthearted book and it doesn't use the cleanest language (swear word alert!), but the story is intriguing and twisted and I'm on the edge of my seat. Oh, and Ben Affleck is set to play the main role in the upcoming movie. I sorta like him. 

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking // I started this in the fall but had to return it to the library before finishing it. I'm fascinated with personality and behavioral traits, self quizzes and the like, so this book is right up my alley. I've always thought of myself as the introverted extrovert, an equalish balance of both since I am a child of one of each. This book is giving me a lot to ponder. 

That's it for this stack! What are you reading, friends? Do share! 


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