Category Archives: holidays

Currently: Christmas Time!

Y’ALL. I started this post in plenty of time to get it ready for posting last Wednesday, but then I FORGOT. SO! Here’s my Currently post for December, a little later than it should be. Oops.

December is here! Advent is here! And I am literally the happiest person. It’s my favorite time of year. Everything is extra beautiful, covered in greenery and frost, anticipation runs through our veins, and gift-giving abounds. It really is the most wonderful time of the year. So, since it’s the first Wednesday of the month, I’m linking up with Anne in Residence and Catherine of A Short Blonde for December’s Currently party.

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Lighting || both of our Christmas trees, and our front porch columns! If I had my way, I’d probably cover everything in lights because I love them so much. But Hubby thankfully anchors me down a little bit. Here are our trees and front porch!

Spending || a little less than usual on Christmas presents, I think. I’ve just slowed down a little on how much I’m doing. I know my kids will get plenty from their grandparents, too, and Hubby and I aren’t getting anything else for each other because we just splurged on a Vitamix and a couple of pieces of furniture. I don’t want Christmas to feel “small” for anyone, presents-wise, but I doubt that will be a problem!

Choosing || which of our family photos we’re turning into canvases for our own home, and which we’re giving to our parents! (Did I just ruin their surprise?) It’s the biggest decision to choose a favorite photo from our recent session with Urban Bloom Photography when they were ALL.SO.GOOD. Here’s a little preview…

Sending || Christmas cards! I just finished addressing them and put them in the mail yesterday! It’s one of my favorite things to do at Christmas, and I absolutely LOVE getting them in the mail! I ordered a few less than last year because I always have ten or so left over and now I’m afraid I’m going to have to order a few more! YIKES.

Singing || ALL of the Christmas music. I love Christmas music, specifically Christmas hymns and songs about Jesus (because I’m a worship leader, duh) and also just regular songs about snow and Santa and the whole deal. This year, EK is remembering lyrics and learning Christmas songs at school so it’s extra fun to sing with her!

Leave a comment and tell me what you’re up to Currently!

‘Tis the Season – of Indulging Your Taste Buds!

During the month of November, I’m participating in NaBloPoMo, where I try to write and publish each day.

I don’t know what it is about this time of year that makes me abandon any sort of diet or food regulations I might normally have going for me. Perhaps it begins with Halloween and the amount of candy that enters the house. Or it might have to do with being inside more often… which typically leads me to baking a lot. Or maybe it’s just that the holidays are full of sugary treats and fatty, sharable sides. Who knows. But what I DO know is that I LOVE food that tastes good.

Now, for me, saying “food that tastes good” covers a multitude of sins. I love fancy meals. I love farm-fresh eggs and meats. I love organic fruits and veggies. I love cuisine from all over the world (here’s looking specifically at you, Italy and Thailand). BUT! I also love a good slamburger (the term coined by my husband for a greasy burger from a no-name burger joint). I love a late-night hotdog from a street cart. Coldstone ice cream creations can cheer me up any day. My kids don’t have to beg to get me to eat at Chick-fil-A. To me, they taste good. And that’s what matters.

But this time of year, I lean in to those home-baked cookies, the cinnamon-sprinkled drinks, and the heavily-buttered breads or potatoes. I want large cuts of fatty meats (hey there, prime rib!) and richly-flavored, creamy soups (butternut squash soup, anyone?). And who can blame me?! It’s getting dark at 5:00pm and I’d like to have some compensation for the stealing of my daylight.

So today, I celebrate the pumpkin muffins with maple-pecan drizzle, the eggnog spiked with bourbon, and ramen from the Bahtmobile (our local Asian food truck). I celebrate shortbread cookies, King’s Hawaiian rolls (why are they so good?!) and 18-pound hunks of prime rib – if you’re having Thanksgiving lunch at our house, anyway. I celebrate good ol’ GBC (if you’re from around here, you should know that’s green bean casserole) and mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and Honeybaked Ham. It’s going to be a good couple of months, y’all, in the world of flavors. Indulge. ‘Tis the season!

Currently – November Is Here!

Happy November, y’all! I am loving the weather, the pumpkins on everyone’s front porches, the warm drinks, and the gorgeous colors around here these days. I’m linking up today with Anne in Residence and Julie of A Hopeful Hood. Join us and let us know what’s happening in your world currently!img_0358

Realizing || that I had been pushing myself too hard. I love running, working out, and being healthy, but I wasn’t getting enough rest/sleep to support my rigorous habits. So I’m trying to take more days off (or at least take it easier) and give myself a little grace when my schedule and lifestyle just can’t fit in that long run on my training itinerary. My second half marathon will just wait until spring.

Stirring || up the first cups of hot chocolate for the children, and spiced cider for myself! If I don’t feel like making the kiddos hot chocolate from scratch, Swiss Miss usually does the job for them… and my favorite store-bought cider is from Trader Joe’s! Less additives, more flavor – and spiked with some bourbon? Yes, please!

I wanted to capture the steam coming off the top of this cup, but I didn’t quite manage it.
Appreciating || the extra time I’ve spent reading recently. I’ve been watching a little less TV, listening to more podcasts (eating them UP actually – post coming soon) and reading every chance I get. “The chance” in my life right now looks like after the kids are in bed, while they’re napping, or real talk: on the toilet. But I’m reading through several at once (usually just one novel at a time, and several non-fiction of some sort) and enjoying spending more time in the quiet with some hot tea in my hand.

Here’s what I’m working with right now: top two I’m currently reading (or finishing finally), and the bottom two are next up. Not pictured: The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin. It’s on my Kindle, which just doesn’t photograph very well.

Investigating || the Enneagram, and therefore learning things about myself I didn’t know before… or, at least, I didn’t have words to describe it. I’ve just learned about the Enneagram (check here for a synopsis of what it is if you’re new to it, too) and finding out my type, and learning about it within a Christian perspective (with resources like this). It’s been so fun to find out my number, and read up on it! I’m a 4w3, categorized by most as The Individualist or The Romantic. The other exciting thing is that our community group is going to walk through the Enneagram journey together as well!

Following || Jess Connolly and Emily P. Freeman on Instagram! They’re my new follows of the month, and they post encouraging things almost every day. I’m also listening to Emily’s podcast, The Next Right Thing. And obviously I’m about to start Jess’s brand new book!

And here are the only Halloween photos I got yesterday. We had a great time with our neighborhood tribe, especially since we had to make up for being sick on Halloween last year!

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EK wanted to be “Blackbird”. As in the song by the Beatles. So obviously she won Halloween.

A Good Friday Prayer

Tonight, I helped lead worship at my church’s Good Friday service, as I’ve done for the past few years. It’s a truly beautiful service, somber, quiet, slow… but not without hope. Our pastors do an incredible job of planning this evening full of dramatic lighting, powerful songs, and the last words of Jesus as he prepared to give his life, and as he hung on the cross. It’s haunting.

When I got home, I was still in the mood the service had left me in. I was lost in thought, as I had been on and off all day. Good Friday has always been a sobering day for me. But as I put my youngest son to bed, I started to sing him one of the songs we had sung in the service. It’s appropriately called “Passion Song”, written by some friends of our worship pastor. (Click that link. It will bless your soul to hear it.) It’s based on John’s view of how Jesus’s last week went down. The pastor who spoke just before the song presented it perfectly, emphasizing how Jesus was John’s very best friend, the only person who had ever known him so completely. Here are the words, so you can see the powerful emotion packed in them…

I was with Him when He rode into town
And the crowds gathered round Him like a King
Their smiling faces joined a sea of branches waving
Though they were masquerading in the end

And my heart rose in my throat
When I heard them sing
Hosanna in the highest
Oooh oooooh oh

We went upstairs broke the bread and drank the wine
From the only living vine that we would taste
And I watch them take Him up the mountainside
Where He was crucified though innocent
And they mocked Him and cursed Him with their mouths
And told Him to come down if He was God

And my heart broke in my chest
When I heard Him say
Forgive them it is finished
Oooh oooooh oh

I remember in the garden
When He sweat like drops of blood
And how He begged the Father
Just to let Him pass the cup
I can still feel the anguish
When they pierced Him in the side
And how the ground beneath us shook
Upon the very moment that He died
Oooh ooh oh oh oh

Three days later we found an empty grave
And the stone was rolled away where He had been

Tears of joy streamed down my face
When the angel said
Oh fear not He is risen
Oh fear not He is risen
Oooh ooh ooh oooh oh oh oooh

You can see how this song would be lingering in my psyche, right? So I’m singing it to my son, as I’m settling him in for bed. And when I finally wipe the (my) tears away, and get to his goodnight prayer, I began to pray like always, and for some reason, I was led to utter the words, “…and thank You for giving Your Son. I could never give my son.”

And I cried some more.

You see, the sacrifice is beyond what any one of us could do. In the Old Testament, Abraham was told to sacrifice his son. Whether he would’ve (or could’ve) actually gone through with it we’ll never know. There was a ram in the thicket, and God was preparing, even then, to give His very own son to save the world. Jesus willingly gave his life to pave the way for us to enter into fellowship with his Father. One of our pastors this evening titled it “a beautiful exchange”. His life for ours. What else could possibly be a better exchange for us?

I let her stay up late. 

I wrote this piece during the Christmas season, when things were very busy, and I just hadn’t had enough time with EK.


My daughter is like me. She’s so much like me that it’s a little bit scary. For instance, she can run pretty well on a low amount of sleep. I’ve always been that way; slumber parties, college, newborn babies’ schedules: I’ve been a champion of productivity through it all. But now, I have a few toddlers and preschoolers, and they still need sleep, but EK is a the winner. She is often her normal self, even when I know she hasn’t gotten enough sleep.

The week before Christmas, things were hectic (surprise, surprise) and I was up late doing some wrapping. EK wandered out of her room, and found me amid rolls of wrapping paper, ribbons, and tape. Instead of getting frustrated that she’d been in bed for PLENTY long enough to fall asleep, I asked if she’d like to help me. She was thrilled. Hubby was working and the boys had long been asleep, so we stayed up for almost another hour, wrapping presents, tying bows, and she even got to label them all.

At the end of the hour, we were both sleepy, but we had had so much fun just being together, working side by side on a task, and seeing a pile of nicely wrapped gifts at the end. She looked at me when we were finished and said, “Mom! It feels like the middle of the night!” And while it was only about 10:00pm, I knew it must feel that way to her. I was tired too – and I stay up that late every night.

I walked her back to her room, tucked her in, and slid in the bed next to her. She requested a carol or two, and we sang them together. We said our prayers (the second time that evening) and I left to get ready for bed. I knew that letting her stay up with me had been a special treat, a sweet memory for my daughter to latch on to throughout the busy week ahead, when the house would be full of people and I wouldn’t have much time to be with only her. The next day, she didn’t seem extra tired or even a bit grumpy. I think the one-on-one time with me might have been just as restoring as that hour of sleep she lost.

4 Simple and Inexpensive Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day can be a tough time to get good dinner reservations, and it can be an expensive flowers-and-chocolates gift day. If you’re looking for something non-traditional, or something that won’t break the bank, try these ideas for a fun date night!

1. Breakfast for Dinner. Whip up some heart-shaped pancakes, and top them with whipped cream and strawberries (if you core them, then slice them, those can be heart-shaped too), make some hot cocoa (maybe with a little raspberry liqueur if you’re feeling fancy) and enjoy it by candlelight. It’s basically a meal and dessert at the same time!

2. Backyard Star-Gazing. What could be more romantic than snuggling on a blanket in the back yard, looking at the stars? If you like to know what you’re looking at, Sky View is a neat app where you can hold it up and actually read the labels for the stars you’re seeing.

3. Have a Game Night. Whether you like playing cards, or you prefer board games, it can be fun to just chat and play games together. Fun and easy games that can be played by just two include Rummy, Speed, or Crazy Eights (card games), Phase 10 (a card game of its own), Dominos (we like the Mexican Train version!), Quiddler or Perquacky (word games) or the game of Set (this can be a solitaire game, too). Most of these can be found at Wal-Mart, Target, or on Amazon.com!

4. Reimagine a favorite date you’ve been on before. Have you had a history of wonderful dates together with your sweetie? Take an old idea, and revamp it! Cook the meal you shared at home instead of going out for it. Watch the first movie you went out to see together on DVD on your own couch. Make those fancy cocktails at home. Even if the location isn’t the same, the revisiting of a treasured memory can still be fun. If you have kids now, make it a kid-friendly experience, while sharing a little of your history with them!

What are some inexpensive dates that you’ve enjoyed with your love?

Currently: Christmas Edition and Photo Explosion!

Well, it’s time for a little Christmas update! We had so much fun hosting my family here for a few days, eating a TON of food (can you say 8lbs of prime rib?) and sweets, and giving and getting copious amounts of presents. Hubby and I spent most of Christmas Eve leading worship at three services at our church, thankful that our kids could enjoy the day with family, even if it was without us. Here is a little more about our Christmas, and what we are currently doing…

Smelling || my new candles from my brother and his girlfriend. They. Are. Magical. And no pun intended! 

Playing || dress up! In addition to a few new games and building-type toys, the big kids got several new dress up outfits, and they’ve been hamming it up big time. They both love playing dress up and pretending, so between my mom and me, we spoiled them with some new outfits. 

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Eating || this hunk of prime rib. It was so amazing I forgot to take a picture of it cooked before we ate it all! 

Enjoying || several days with family we don’t see as often. It might’ve felt chaotic with so many people and so much stuff, but I totally enjoyed it.

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Waiting || to take down our decorations and lights until New Years. I really enjoy the way my house looks when it’s this time of year, so I am rarely in a hurry to take them down.

Anticipating || seeing Moana later this week! I’m excited to go to the theatre again, and I’m hoping the kids all do as well this time as they did when we saw Finding Dory a few months ago. Snacks seems to be the best thing for maximizing their attention span.

Well, that’s pretty much it for what we’ve been up to. Here are a few more pictures that don’t really fit anywhere, but are super cute. I sure love my people.

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