Monday, April 30, 2012

One Week Down; Three Weeks to Go

Happy Monday! With only three Mondays left in the school year, I am one happy girl. 

But today, I'm here to talk about my Whole 30 adventure. 
First, let's talk about the response from my friends and family. 
Basically, I can roll up all of the responses into two general comments: 

1. You're doing WHAT? What are you going to eat? How can you live off of that? Are you CRAZY? 


2. How awesome! I want to do it too!

Before you get mad at my friends who fall into the #1 category, let me take up for them for just a second. I meant what I said when I told you I eat like a teenage boy. My best friend Kara literally said, "Where's my best friend and what have you done with her?" when she found out. And considering I don't eat any vegetables except for green beans and fried okra (it counts, okay. Back off. Please), they are totally justified in this response. It is a bit extreme, which is partly why I like it. The more extreme, the more accomplished I feel when it's all over. 

Btw, Kara called me yesterday for all of the specifics; she's thinking of starting Whole30 with a friend from work. You can do it, Kara. Just say no to Sour Patch Kids and Diet Dr. Pepper and you got this. 

The good news is: week one is officially over. I've heard it's the hardest week. Let's hope so because Tuesday's headache was a force to be reckoned with. I do feel much, much better and am now having very few cravings. And while I'm in no way doing this for weight loss, I'd be lying if I said that wouldn't be AWE-SOME, and I swear my clothes are looser already. 

My favorite I ate last week:

this here smoothie. 

Super easy. Super quick. 
Three ingredients. 

Just mix one and half frozen bananas, one to one and a half cups of strawberries (frozen or fresh), and 3/4 a cup (or so depending on how many strawberries-- you just want enough to add some liquid to help it blend) fresh squeezed or no sugar added orange juice. Easy peasy and fab-u-lo-so. 

Here's hoping your week is off to a great start and that my will power keeps on trucking for the next twenty-two days. 

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Little Fishy

Just stopping by to document the first magical summer-like moment of 2012: the first swim of the year. 
It was wonderful. 
Here's hoping it set the stage for summer 2012. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

So Much Alike and Yet So Not At All

My kiddos are as different as night and day. 
Libby is loud and excited and knows what she wants. 
Hollyn is meek and silly and as patient as can be. 

And yet, when I look at these two photos in which they are about the same age, I can't help but think about they are both alike in the fact that they make me so darn happy, make every day an adventure, and make me one proud mom. 

And yes, I'm still alive after starting the Whole 30. 
Four days down and here's what I can report: 

Day one was exciting. I ignored how tired and grumpy I was because I was a girl on a mission. 
Day two was for the dogs. I had one of the worst headaches I've ever had and went to bed at 8:30. Booooooooo on Day 2. 
Days 3 and 4 are much, much better, thankfully. No more headache (yay!), and I'm really not hungry at all. I think my body is starting to adjust,  and I'm starting to get creative with food that includes no sugar of any kind and no grains of any kind. Not the easiest thing I've ever done, but I'm staying focused.
Keep the encouragement coming. 

Happy Thursday to you and you and you!

Oh, and today I'm linking up with my favorite blogger. You should join me; all the cool kids are doin' it. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Last Meal and Testament

First things first. I have two winners to announce. 


Jane, you won the red shirt, and Katherine Elizabeth, you won the white shirt! 
Please send me an e-mail with the design you'd like, your shirt size, and your mailing address. 
You can reach me at 
And if I don't hear from you by Friday, I'll draw a new winner, so don't drag your tootsies! :) 

And now, let's take about my latest endeavor. 
I am a girl who loves a challenge. 
Apparently, I am also a girl who loves sugar detox headaches, because starting Monday, I am partaking in the WHOLE 30

What is the Whole 30, you ask? 
Well, you may want to ask me again next week, because today I'll tell that it's pure torture. 
But, really it's more like an eating program designed to detox your body of the bad stuff as you fill it with the good stuff. And it lasts for thirty days. It's supposed to help you rethink eating and establish new habits while also getting rid of the bad stuff. 

By "bad" stuff, I mean:

-no sugar or sugar substitutes of any kind except for the natural sugar found in fruit. (Have you tried shopping for things that don't contain sugar? Good luck. I now believe that EVERYTHING contains sugar. Boo on this.)

-no grains. That means no bread. Bread in my house is a food group all its own. No bread=no fun for me.

-no beans except for green beans. I DO like green beans, so this one I'm OK with...

-no dairy. Not a huge problem for me seeing as how I'm allergic to milk protein. I know, it's terribly nerdy and inconvenient. But, for the first time in my life, it's coming in handy; I can't miss the dairy that I'm already used to not eating. 

-no alcohol. Also not a problem for me. 

-no peanuts. No soy. No white potatoes or rice. 

So, basically this means I can eat the following: 

-meat (except for prepackaged meats that are sitting in a sugar preservative bath. Told you sugar is in everything. I spent fifteen minutes reading the ingredients of every package of bacon the other day trying to find some not soaked in sugar. No such luck.) And no ketchup or barbecue sauce or honey mustard, all of which hold a special place in my heart.

-veggies. No sauce or dressing though. (Not a huge help for NOT make fun, but I really don't eat a lot of vegetables. It's shameful, I know.)

-fruit. This one I can handle. I like smoothies, and I like fruit. However, I can't live off fruit for the next thirty days..... I'm also not supposed to drink fruit juice but can use it as a sweetener. 

-nuts. Almonds and cashews. Again, I like them, but three days in and they are already getting old. 

-Unsweetened almond milk. I use it in my smoothies. 

-eggs. Well, I can't actually eat eggs. I'm allergic to egg protein. Terrible, I know. But if you do Whole 30, YOU can eat eggs. Enjoy them for the the both of us, OK? 

-coffee. Again, I won't be drinking coffee. I can't bring myself to drink it black. This is huge for me, BTW. I will surely miss my cup o' Joe every day during fourth period. 

If you're still here after reading that, it means you: 

A.) Think I'm crazy and want to hear more from the crazy lady who is saying no to chocolate, bread, ketchup, and coffee for the next month. 
B.) Think I'm noble and brave. (Although let me say I didn't feel so brave when I was drooling over the Pizza Hut commercial last night...)
C.) Are simply curious and want to see if I actually survive. (That makes two of us, BTW.)
D.) All of the above. 

If you know me  in real life you know that my eating habits closely resemble those of a college kid. Seriously, it's bad. And very un-grown-up like. And while I think it's OK to not grow up in some ways, good eating habits are not one of those areas. So, this is me trying to make a positive change in my life. 
I promise to keep you posted. 

Until then, I'll be dreaming about my last meal, the one I enjoyed Sunday night which consisted of stuffed crust pizza, a large fountain Coke from Sonic, M&M's, and homemade cookies. I went all out. 

Three days down; twenty-seven days to go. 
Prayers for self-control are greatly appreciated. 

And if you didn't win my giveaway, don't be discouraged; I have another one coming up next week. 
It's a good one. 
Get excited. 

And in case you're wondering where I came up with semi-crazy idea, well you can thank one of my favorite bloggers for inspiring me to take this food adventure. Emily, thanks for being an awesome role model. Let's hope I can be as focused and creative as you have been! And you're right. The banana ice cream is the bomber.comer.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

This Weekend

Lazy weekends are my favorite, and in that department, this weekend did not disappoint. 

We played pretend.

Stared at Hollyn's baby blues. 

Finally started reading this book. 

Drank several cups of the good stuff. 

Tried to keep Libby out of the Easter candy. 

Abused some poor, naked Barbies. 

Went back to the doctor for a follow-up visit. 
(All is well, by the way.)

And took a little detour back to the E.R. last night. This time it was me and the hubby. He got into a fight with a stick in the backyard. The stick played dirty and poked him the eye, tearing his cornea in two places. Dirty, rotten stick; go live somewhere else....or better yet, become someone's firewood. 
Not cool, stick. Not cool. 

I hope your weekend was low-key and stick-free. 
And before you go, have you entered to win one of the shirts I'm giving away? 
The giveaway ends tonight. 

Remember, the winner chooses what color and design she wants. 
Personally, I'm loving this red one. 

Happy weekend-ing to you and you and you. 

And if you want to see more of my pics on Instagram, you can find me there at leemeandthegirls or on Twitter at mccallald12. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who wants an Africa Shirt? GIVEAWAY!

Well hello there. I must say that I feel like a completely different person than I did in my last post. It's amazing what a shower and a night in my own bed can do for me. Thanks to all of you have asked about Hollyn. She's still pretty sick, but we are working on it. Please continue to pray for her recovery. And while I'm home today forcing her to sit still long enough for her breathing treatments, how about a giveaway? Yes? Good. This one is special. 

Bloggers, meet my friend Dianna. 

We met at Created for Care when we were seated at the same table for dinner. And she is WONDERFUL. Seriously, I don't that I know someone more genuine and loving and patient. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed getting to know her and to hear her sweet story. After struggling with infertility (and all of the heartache that comes with it), Dianna and her husband are preparing to bring home their SON from Ethiopia! There are currently #28 on the wait list and are aching to have him in their arms. You know how sometimes you meet someone and think, "She will be an amazing mom one day"? Please tell me I'm not the only person who thinks that sometimes....Anyway, she is one of those people. I can't wait to watch her story unfold and to see her son's sweet face. 

In the meantime, while they continue to wait, Dianna wants to give ONE of these to TWO of you: 

These are her fundraising shirts that she's selling on her blog. She actually gave me one at Created for Care-- the one right to the left. And it is seriously one of the softest, most comfortable shirts I've ever owned. I LOVE it and would probably wear it every other day if that were socially acceptable...or if I did laundry that often. 

Dianna wants to give one white and one red shirt away. You can choose which of the three designs you want on your shirt and your size (of course). I'll simply choose a red shirt winner and a white shirt winner and then we can work out the details. 

Here's how you can enter (you can do one or all-- your choice): 

1. Visit Dianna's blog. You'll notice it's new. And she needs some followers. Follow her and come back here and leave a comment saying you did. Plus, by following you'll have a front row seat as her story with her son unfolds. You know you don't want to miss it.

2. Leave her a comment on her blog encouraging her during this time of waiting. I know how hard it was for me to wait for a date I'd had marked on my calendar for months while waiting for the birth of my girls...imagine waiting indefinitely. Once you'd left some happy thoughts on her blog, come back here and tell me that you did so. 

3. Follow my blog or remind me that you already do. 

That's it. Easy peasy. Just please leave a SEPARATE comment for each way you enter, please. 
I'll have Libby choose a winner on Sunday, April 22

And if you don't win or want one in each color, you can order them from Dianna. 
Just check out her blog for  details. 

Here's hoping your Thursday is the best one yet. 
The commenting may now commence. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Thought We'd Be Home in an Hour

So the other day I talked about how awesome March was and told April that if it wanted to top last month, it had some serious work to do. Apparently, April could care less about being better than last month and instead took my challenge and threw it back in my face.
 April, we are so not friends. 

Here's the skinny: 

Saturday afternoon I came home after being gone for the day working on some things for an upcoming Christian retreat I'll be working. And by the time I got home, Hollyn's breathing was concerning to say the least. Lots of constant, dry coughing followed by short, shallow breathing. This is one of my least favorite parts of being a Mom, the whole 'my baby is sick but I'm not sure how sick'. Is she 'emergency room sick' or 'lay low and wait it out sick' or 'wait until tomorrow and try to find a clinic that's open on Sundays' sick? We went to bed in my bed together (which we NEVER do) at about 8:30. A few hours and lots of non-sleeping later, Lee and I decided that she clearly wasn't getting better and needed to go to the emergency room. So I headed out with her while Lee stayed home with Libby. Note: Barring fire or natural disaster, we DO NOT wake up Libby. Getting her to go to sleep is all but an act of Congress, so the thought of waking her up is just non optional. Plus, I was SURE that we'd go to the ER, they'd all but laugh at me because this clearly was NOT an emergency, give us a breathing treatment, and we'd be home in an hour or so. 

Yeah, so I was wrong.

After four and half hours in the ER, three failed IV attempts, one shot in the hip, two oral doses of medicine, and a blood drawing, Hollyn was admitted to our local hospital and diagnosed with bronchialitis, not to be confused with bronchitis. (Actually, the differences are very minute-- basically both are scary and the risks of pneumonia are lingering close by with both.)

I've been a mom for seven and a half years, and thankfully, until now I've never had a child spend the night in the hospital, other than the few short days we spent there following each of their births. After spending the past three days and three nights there with Hollyn, let me just say that I don't think I've ever felt more like a mom than I did while hunkered down with Hollyn in the hospital bed. 

There is just something so humbling about watching your child struggle to breathe. It's hard and scary and exhausting. But the whole time I found comfort in the fact that it could be so, so, so much worse. 

And although our night in the oxygen tent felt like what I'd imagine it would be like to sleep outside in the Amazon when there's a cool breeze in the air, overall I am just thankful for good doctors and modern medicine and a very helpful big sister and one cooperative baby girl. And words like 'oxygen level' and 'raised white blood cells' and 'croup tent' are words I'd like to permanently remove from my vocabulary.

But if you want to make me feel loved and show me how much you care, I've realized that it takes nothing more than being concerned about my kiddo to do just that. My friends completely rose to the occasion, and I am one loved mom with one very loved little girl, who happens to be very, very, very excited to be home.....even if 'home' for the next few days will consist of breathing treatments, watching her like a hawk, and camping out inside. We are so blessed and so thankful for a quick recovery for our little one. And to all those moms out there who are living in and out of hospital rooms with their little ones, my heart goes out to you now like it never has before.

Here's hoping your April is showing my April who's boss. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bees, Babies, and Bloom

This week has been intense. Lots of going and doing and planning and un-planning. More on that to come. But for now, I will work on summing up this week with three simple words: bees, babies, and Bloom

Let's start with the bees, shall we? 

 This adorable picture came from here; unfortunately, the bees I'm talking about weren't nearly this cute.

Let's just say that the bees have been the bane of  my existence since last Sunday when they showed up at our house....ready to party....and brought all of their friends......for an extended stay. Now don't get me wrong here, and heaven forbid don't call PETA, but the idea of having hundreds of bees swarming outside of our bedroom window and crawling in through the fan connection has made me a little squeamish and screamish. I like bees; I do NOT like bees in large groups hanging out in my backyard. And today we forked out some serious dinero to the tune of $240 to HOPEFULLY send the bees on their way. However, we still have to deal with removing the hive they've created from our roof, or attic, or wherever it remains hidden from sight. I certainly won't be crawling into the attic to find the bee hive. Volunteers for this job, however, are gladly accepted. I will pay you in cake balls. Please come quickly. 

On a another note, if you read my last post, you saw where I was thankful for my oldest friend (Heather) and her second pregnancy, which lasted significantly older than her first, which came to an abrupt halt at 24.5 weeks. 
Well, little did I know that while she was on my mind and I was writing about her, she was at the hospital having an EMERGENCY c-section that thankfully resulted in the birth of this adorable baby boy. 

Seriously, if I didn't have plans this weekend I'd be making a road trip to squeeze on him. And while I am SO THANKFUL for him and his health (even though he had a very scary welcome to this world), this has been a hard week. (You can read his birth story here. Warning: bring Kleenex and DO NOT READ it if you are currently pregnant. You and your hubby can thank me for that little tip later.) This may come across as selfish for me to say that I have had a hard week, as I have no way physically suffered from this and certainly am no where close to Heather and her family in terms of all they've endured this week. However, selfishly, I am so very sad for my friend. If you know me personally, you know that I am the kind of friend who truly carries the burdens of those I care about; it's not that I'm a worrier but rather a protector of those I love. If a friend has a problem, I have a problem too; I've always been that way and will probably always BE that way. And I'm a-okay with that. I love completely and fiercely and strongly, and I've come to realize that this is a good thing. But sometimes in loving so thoroughly, it sets me up for heartache,
 aka Heather's story this week. 

I literally remember the moment she first told me she was having triplets. I cried. She laughed. I sat staring at the computer screen for a long, long time. And then I remember talking to her when she knew they were coming soon...very, very soon. I sat at the kitchen table and cried and cried and cried for my friend. For you see, Heather is Mother Earth, and I'm Mother Not So Much. She is the greatest Mom I know and is truly the mom I most admire. And I so desperately wanted her babies to be alright and for her to have a good experience. Well, when that didn't happen,  my heart literally broke for my friend. I promise if you could wish something away for someone you love, I would have had that problem kicked in the first twenty-four hours. 

Well, when she told me she was pregnant with baby #4, I was equally overjoyed and terrified. It's not at all that I thought he (or she at the time) wouldn't be okay, it's just that I was desperate for her to have a good birthing experience. By GOOD, I simply meant non-traumatizing. I wanted her to have her baby in the most uneventful, classic, 'normal' (if there is such a thing) way possible and then to spend the next three days clutching her beautiful, fully developed baby and eating up every second spent with him or her. Instead, she had what is hands down the most traumatizing birth story I've ever heard. Her new son is going to be alright, but not after some time spent in the NICU. And I honestly hadn't slept well since his birth until I talked to Heather yesterday. She assured me that she was going to be fine, even though right now she's tired (Heather, I can tell you're tired even when you politely say, "No, I'm fine.") and very sore from all her body has been through in the past few days. Everett is doing better each passing minute, and her other two kiddos were thrilled to meet their baby brother yesterday, and for this I could not be more thankful. 

And yet, I'm sad for my friend; my wishes for her to have a happy birth experience are gone. And this is one of those times when I just have to have faith that God is control because to me, this seems so unfair. After all Heather went through with her first birthing experience, after the amazing care she takes of her body, after her having the most healthy eating habits of anyone I know, she still fell victim to the 1% chance she faced of having a uterine rupture. 1%. How is that even possible? We hear 1% and we don't even hesitate; we don't even blink. Hearing 1% gives us confidence and courage, but that Heather-- she takes the odds and apparently they laugh in her face.  And it hurts. It hurts me FOR her, so so so much. I have cried a bucketful of tears for my friend this week and have literally ached in wanting to trade places with her. She can have one of my birthing experiences, which all though Hollyn's was a dream, Libby's seemed bad at the time, but I promise it's nothing compared to this, and I'd gladly give it to her if I could. Accepting the fact that reality doesn't care about our hopes and wishes and dreams is really, really hard sometimes. If only we could wish and plead and will ourselves into getting exactly what we think is best. But, then I think about all the unexpectedness God has brought my way. All the times I THOUGHT I knew exactly what I wanted and what was best, when really He had something exponentially better waiting just around the corner. And although I can't see the sunshine through the clouds right now, I have faith that God will use Heather's experiences and strength to encourage someone else and help them believe in Him, because Heather and her babies are truly walking (or in Everett's case 'will be walking before we know it') miracles. 

Whew, okay now that I interrupt this cry fest to tell you that you need to invest some time this weekend indulging in this. 

I've been waiting for it to be in my hands since the moment I read between the lines on Kelle's blog that she was in fact writing a book. I started it Wednesday and finished it today. I literally had to force myself to take a break before the last chapter simply because I wasn't ready for it to be over yet. I wanted more. I didn't want to stop reading. It's so beautiful-- literally. It's outwardly the prettiest book I've ever seen and is packed full of her pictures. Her beautiful, story-telling pictures. But the beauty doesn't stop there; the story is raw and real and breath-taking. Yes, it's about her special needs daughter, but really, to me, it's just about being a mom and trying to keep your chin up and do the very best you possibly can no matter what your situation and circumstances may be. I literally felt like I was drinking in her words and crying right along with her. It's one of the most honest, heart-felt stories of motherhood I've ever heard. And I absolutely loved every stinkin' word on every stinkin' page. 

And it literally hurts me to hear so many people out there bashing here and her story, saying that she's not honest enough or living in a fairy-tale as opposed to reality. To those people, I really just want to know if you've ever spent any time with someone with that beautiful extra chromosome. If you've been around me a while, you know that at one point in my life I loved a little girl with that blessed extra chromosome like a sister. And I was friends with a lot of others with beautiful almond-shaped eyes and the biggest hearts I've ever known. And let me just tell you that they are some of the most amazing, kind, caring, WONDERFUL people. And if Kelle wants to focus on all that good that comes from loving a little girl with a little something special, then please get out of her way and let her do her thing. I think she is amazing and does a wonderful job of embracing the blessing she has been given. I personally believe the world has a lot to learn from her about unconditional love and honesty and embracing motherhood like it's the greatest gift ever. Because, if you want to be totally honest here, sometimes when I'm buried in laundry and cooking dinner and feeling guilty because I sent Libby to church with chipped toenail polish (thanks again for pointing that out, Mom), and have had all the whining I can take for one day, I need someone to remind to that motherhood is a gift. And Kelle Hampton does that for me. So please back up off of my encouragement and peddle negativity elsewhere; we're all stocked up here, thanks. 

And now that I've officially stepped away from the soapbox, I hope that you have a fan-tas-tic weekend. Mine will be filled with a reunion with some of my very favorite people. Here's hoping the bees don't migrate to your house and that your local bookstore has a copy of Bloom waiting for you.

Today I'm linking here. And if you made it through this novella of a blog post, you most be a loyal fan, and for that I am over-the-moon thankful.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

5 Thanks: March

March was one awe-some month. Busy, but wonderful.
Choosing only five thanks this month was not an east task. However, I'm a girl who like a challenge, so here you go:


Created for Care was exactly what I needed. It was a great time with some great people, including Andrea, the lady behind the fantasticness known as C4C. Thank you, Andrea, for all of your hard work. I was so blessed through your selfless actions and service towards me and the 450 other ladies who enjoyed spending the weekend with you.


Spring break this year provided the perfect stay-cation opportunity for our family. Good times, good friends, and good memories abounded.


Pretty sure there's nothing my daughter loves me than being in the spotlight, and this year's school play did not disappoint. So, so proud to be her mom.

#4: 7

This book was exactly what I needed this month, making a perfect pre-Easter read. If you haven't already purchased your copy, would you mind telling me exactly what it is you're waiting for????


If you're been around here for a while, then you're heard me talk time and time again about my oldest friend, Heather. A few years ago, she was pregnant with triplets and delivered at 24.5 weeks. Well, I am happy to report that she's carrying baby #4 and is almost in the home-stretch of this pregnancy. So very thankful; God is so good. You can follow her story here.

Here's hoping April gives March a run for its money in the goodness department.
And do tell-- what were YOU thankful for last month?

Today I'm linking here. See you there?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Secret Church and Easter, All Rolled into One

On Friday night, Lee and I got the chance to experience the blessing that is Secret Church.

Long story short, Secret Church is a simulcast put on by David Platt, author of Radical. It's a six-seven hour long intensive Bible Study, meaning we were at church learning and praying and growing from 6pm to 1am. And it was wonderful. He holds Secret Church twice a year, and this time approximately 50,000 people around the world took part. And the prayer focus this time? The Horn of Africa, which includes Ethiopia. It was so good to know that so many people were joined in prayer for this nation and its people. If you ever have a chance to participate, I HIGHLY recommend it. David does an amazing job. He even managed to make me feel better about myself, seeing as how he's the only person I have ever heard who talks faster than I do. And in seven hours, I was NEVER bored, which is saying a lot because in college I had trouble keeping my ADD at bay for anything more than fifty minutes. I can't think of a better way to spend Good Friday than studying God's word.

A few highlights from my 215 page 'study guide' that we completed Friday night:

-"Man with all his shrewdness is as stupid about understanding by himself the mysteries of God, as {a donkey} is capable of understanding musical harmony." -John Calvin

-God' capacity to forgive is greater than our capacity to sin.

-Will we embrace our comforts, or will we embrace the cross?

-The ultimate reason suffering exists is to exalt the glory of God's grace through the suffering of God's Son for the salvation of undeserving sinners.

In other news, our family had a wonderful time celebrating this Easter weekend. Here are a few snapshots from our time together:

And most importantly, my weekend was made when Libby made this for me yesterday.

Talk about one proud momma. That would be me.

Here's hoping your Easter weekend was filled with blessing after blessing after blessing and that you're off of work today. We are making the most of every moment and are celebrating with Chinese food for lunch and a redbox movie. You?
Today I'm linking here. Join me?

Friday, April 6, 2012

This Week in Instagram

1. The girl loves cookies; let's just say she gets it honestly...
2. Coffee--- love, love, love it, and it tastes even better when it comes from this cute cup. Cute cup=better coffee. Proven fact.
3. This book is amazing. It's been exactly what I needed this week and what perfect timing. Can't think of a better way to spend the week of Easter than drawing nearer to the One it's all about.
4. Gnomes make me happy. It's as simple as that.

Instagram feed: leemeandthegirls

Here's hoping your Easter weekend is filled with praise and worship.
 I'll be celebrating, egg hunting, and peep eating.
You too?
Let's be friends.

Today I'm linking here. Join me?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Failing Miserably

See this face?
(Yes, it's mine; you are correct. No you can't have it; yes, I realize you'd probably never want....especially if you could see it all  up close and personal life. Can you say, "Wrinkles at thirty-two" ? I can.)

This is the face a girl who's failing miserably.
If you do recall, in January I choose a word for 2012.
My word for this year?

Well, at four months in, I can already tell you that this has been a big, fat, fail in the most failiest of failing sense.
I genuinely want to be that mom who has time to sit and play Pictionary before bed, who can still do everything and be everywhere and be everyone to everyone.
Never gonna happen.
Who am I kidding?

My calendar is booked solid.
I literally don't have an open weekend until July...and even then I only have one available.
 It's teetering on the edge of ridiculous and tottering on the edge of borderline insane.


I was the girl in college who could take eighteen hours (five of them being lit. classes that required at least a novel per class per week...and don't even get me started on the papers I had to write. Trust me, you don't wanna go there.), hold an office (or two) in my social club (Your college may have sororities. Mine has social clubs. Tit for tat.), serve as an SGA senator, write for my college's newspaper, plan a golf tournament for charity, work out daily, watch all the TV my heart desired, make a 3.8 GPA for the semester, spend hours a day being silly and doing nothing, and still have time to spend hours giggling with my girlfriends. Granted I didn't sleep at all in college, but WHO CARED? Sleep was a thing you did when you were old.

Well, now I'm old.
I must sleep. Do you hear me? It's non-optional at this point.
But that's just it... everything in my life right now FEELS like it's non-optional. I love it all. There's nothing I feel like I can cut, hence the FAILING MISERABLY I mentioned earlier.

The problem is, I give so much of myself to my friends (whom I love), my Christian non-profit that I serve on a board for (never gonna stop loving this one. Don't even try to touch it. It's untouchable and completely and utterly non-optional), my household responsibilities (the cooking and cleaning and whatnot that one can only put on the back burner for so long), my other commitments in and about that I truly enjoy, trying to squeeze in time with my girlfriends (none of whom live close to me, I might add), and my job, that at the end of the day I feel like my kids and the hubby get what's LEFT instead of what's BEST of me.

Clearly, this is not okay.
It's not who I want to be or what I want to teach my kiddos.
I don't want to feel like my family time is something else for me to try to squeeze onto the last free line in my planner.
That is most definitely NOT how it is supposed to be.
I know this. I get it. I can see it clearly. I ever preach it to my friends.
But I stink at taking my own advice.

I was recently reminded of this when reading 7. I'm pretty sure that Jen Hatmaker wrote this section with me in mind. I overbook, overload, over plan. I give away way too much of myself to this and that and essentially leave what's left of me for God and my family.
I have to make it all work and keep juggling all of these balls in the air or I'm literally afraid they might all come crashing down around me. Pretty sure it'd take a St. Bernard or two to find me underneath all that I've got on my plate. You know- the one I like fuller than most.

I like to be busy.
I like to be involved.
I like to participate and sign up and volunteer.
But something's gotta give.

So, this is me trying (again) to prioritize. To say no. To cut back. To breathe. To plan everything around my time with God and my time with my family rather than vice versa. If no one is dying or bleeding, it's not an emergency. It can wait. It will be okay. The world will not end if I'm not in charge of that or if I let someone else take care of it.

*Note: If you see me out and about and hearing me chanting anything of things to myself, please just ignore me and walk the other way. I apologize in advance.*

So, my lovely readers. Thoughts on this? Advice? Do try to be kind, please.
 But I would love to hear how YOU make it work?
And if you don't make it work, share that too.
We can fail miserably together.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Libby: As of Late

Sometimes I swear my seven-year-old has a full-time, full-grown agenda all her own. She is seriously one busy kiddo. Does it ever end? Not at our house. It seems like no matter how we try to cut back or weed out, the busier we get. I digress. Anyway, here are some of the highlights of things that have been keep us smiling lately....busy, but smiling.

Dr. Seuss's birthday: Libby was Fern, complete with her very own Wilbur.

My little artist won second place in the first-grade coloring contest. In case you skipped first grade or simply don't recall, this is a BIG DEAL. We're talking huge. Gigantic. Enormous. Pretty sure this was a way bigger deal in our house than when I get named STAR teacher a few months ago. She even got free ice cream at lunch (aka best first grade prize ever in the history of first grade prizes).

And, most recently, was Libby's first grade play. In case there was any confusion, she was a spider. Whoever painted her face, thank you for using washable paint; we can be friends. She had a great time, and her teacher deserves a medal. And leave it to Libby...she not only learned her lines, but she learned ALL of the lines. She can literally recite the entire play...start to finish. Whoa. It's intense. The kid has a crazy insane memory. No clue where she gets that....okay so maybe I have a little clue, seeing as how I can still recall what I wore to my friend Amanda's ninth birthday party. Yup, totally serious.

Here's hoping your Monday felt more like Tuesday and that you have big plans for Easter. We always celebrate with my parents. You? And in case the Easter Bunny calls, what is YOUR favorite thing to get in your Easter basket? What's the best thing the Easter Bunny ever left for you....or the funniest? Do tell.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

7: A Review

While I was at Created for Care, I picked up a copy of this book. It was the last one on the shelf, and I heard it calling my name from across the room. And now, after finishing it in two days, I want to make sure you don't miss out on the goodness that is 7.

This book is about what I suppose is best called an experiment by Jen Hatmaker. Over the period of ten months, Jen (and her family and friends) took part in seven, four-week ventures, each of which focused on cutting back on the excess in our lives and focusing on drawing closer to God.
Her 7 categories?
Clothes, shopping, waste, food, possessions, media, and stress.

The last one will be getting its own post later this week, but for now I want to share with you about why I loved this book. Do you ever feel like God sends you certain books at certain times in your life? This book came to me at THE PERFECT TIME, when cutting back on the fluff and focusing on the marrow is already at the fore-front of my mind. This book was great in that it not only encouraged me to cut back on the useless (or at least seemingly useless) excess that sometimes hoards all of our attention and focus on living a more Godly life.
Yes, please.

Some of the sentences I highlighted or underlined:

-Sometimes conviction is mistaken for guilt......
-"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
-I spend more just on clothes in one year than the average Ethiopian family earns in almost five.
-I'm tired of calling the suffering "brothers and sisters" when I'd NEVER allow my biological siblings to suffer likewise.
-There is something so marvelous about women comfortable in their own skin.
-We get one shot at living to expand the kingdom, fighting for justice.
-We like our stuff. We need our things. Usually the things we think we need become the very things we need a break from.

Curious yet? GO GET A COPY. ORDER ONE RIGHT NOW. RUN, DON'T WALK to the local library. The message Jen gives about the ways that LIVING is consuming our LIVES is undeniable; I am desperate for my life to be about more than the latest fashion trends, the popular new TV show, and keeping every restaurant in town in business. While the section on possessions literally had me debating leaving work early to hurry home and clean out every closet in my house, I was surprised by how much I learned from the section on waste. I certainly need to do more to take care the world in which I live. And like I said, the section on stress and my response to it, is getting its own post later this week.

This book confirmed the way I was already feeling. And to be honest, parts of it made me feel ashamed and even disgusted by where our (as a country) and my (as an individual) priorities are sometimes. It was a much-welcomed push in my life to make some much needed changes in my life.

If you read it or have read, please leave a comment letting me know what you thought. I'd love to hear how God used this experiment to broaden your horizon and draw you nearer to Him.

Next on my reading list? Crazy Love by Francis Chan. No, I haven't read it yet. Yes, I realize it's been out for quite a while. Again, I think God waited until NOW to put this book in my hands. We shall see.

Oh, and I officially paid a deposit today for my new blog design. Can't wait to get started on my new look! Any suggestions? What's the best looking blog you've ever seen? I would LOVE your ideas and thoughts on this.

Here's hoping your weekend was way less busy than mine; pretty sure I'll need to sleep until Tuesday to recover from this jam-packed weekend.