Category Archives: random thoughts

random and staccato (disconnected)

Call It a Win.

Our church used to have this banner in our worship space that read “Seek, Find, and Win for Christ”. I never really liked it, mostly because for me, it called to mind a crusade-style jaunt into foreign places to force them into being Christians. I know that isn’t how they meant it when they hung them up, but for some reason, that’s what it conjured in me.

However, this week my century-old church launched its third campus, its second remote (in comparison to the original church building) worship venue. This has been over eight months in the making, including hundreds of people working, volunteering, making calls, donating money, crunching numbers, designing spaces, planning (and planning, and planning some more) and finally executing our first public worship service in the venue this morning. It was a beautiful thing to behold, all our work, prayers, and hopes for the project actually coming to fruition. I knew that God had shown up. He had shown up by preparing the space. He’d shown up by preparing hearts, working out kinks, bringing new people into our space, and just showing up there, in the moment, present in our worship and our teaching, in our conversations and prayers.

After I had time to slow down a little bit, and think on the morning, I was reminded of that banner. I think that for the first time, I felt the sort of victory that the banner had intended to depict. I thought of our advertising we’d been putting out over the past couple of months, preparing a community for a new opportunity in their area to get connected and hear about Jesus – the seeking of new people to come alongside us in our journey. I thought about people who told us they came today in response to invitations of current members, or those who came as a result of a radio ad or a Facebook sponsored post – people who had found us and would now hopefully be wooed by their Savior. I thought of the wonderful morning. A morning wrought with hard work and months of planning, but a morning that went off mostly without a hitch, a well-attended and genuine worship service that planted its first few seeds in a community, in a group of peoples’ hearts – indeed, a win for Christ.

Because, as our pastor mentioned this morning, Christ is center of our services, and of our lives. He’s the reason we do what we do. He’s not just the reason for a season or a guy we idolize because there are some cool stories about him. He’s the reason we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). Everything we do should be about him, even if it’s just raising our kids, going to our job, ordering coffee from the barista, or getting our groceries. Building his kingdom is what everything’s about. And if I had to guess, I’d say that he would consider this morning a win.

Thanks to Elaine Garrison for this amazing photo!

Currently: September!

Y’all! Is that fall I smell in the air?! I am beside myself for a this magical weather. Even if it just lasts until 10:30am, I am so excited for a cool down. It’s a glimpse of what’s to come, surely! Now if the rain would just calm down… but I know that I cannot complain, since those towards the coast are in for much worse pretty soon. 

This month, I’m linking up with Anne in Residence, and Lowanda of Sunshine and Elephants for our monthly Currently link party. Leave a comment, or link up and join us! Thanks for stopping by… and here’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods currently…

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Celebrating || the start of school! We’ve really amped up this year with our first true school experience (my oldest is off to kindergarten!) and the fact that the baby (age 2) began preschool on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. It’s blowing my mind that all three of my kids are in some sort of school! And that they’re even old enough for that to be happening at all… time flies when you’re having fun busy with small children!

Watching || Our TV shows that are starting back up soon! We are excited to continue New Girl and I’ll be glad to get going on This Is Us. We also flew through that new installment of the Netflix Wet Hot American Summer Series (Ronnie Reagan, yikes) while we were on vacation last month, and recently began our trusted favorite show for the hundredth time: Arrested Development (the original, though I’m sure we’ll watch the Netflix add-on of that as well). We’ve also recently watched all the Star Wars movies, and several of them with the kids. They looooooove them. #nerdalert

Welcoming || a little tease of cooler weather! All last week the high was in the mid-70s and I was not sad. I have a new pair of suede booties that are BEGGING to be worn (thanks, Target!) and my scarves have been forlorn in my closet for months. I know that it won’t truly be cold enough for scarves here in NC for at LEAST another six weeks but I am READY!

Preparing || lunches for my kinder-girl and breakfasts for all. I’ve been trying to get some semi-meal planning done, which for me isn’t necessarily preparing a week’s worth of a meal schedule, but more like baking (healthy) muffins for breakfasts (or lunch!) and making twice the amount of (again, healthy) waffles I need in one morning to cover another morning’s breakfast. I pack most of EK’s lunch the night before, since she mostly just snacks for lunch (raw carrot, pretzels, cheese, fruit, maybe a PBJ or a turkey wrap). If I’ve got leftovers I know for sure she’ll eat (here’s looking at you, mac and cheese) I’ll send those along as well.

Photographing || the first day of school, as well as getting a fall photo session booked. I want something updated for Christmas, even if it’s a hot mess like it sorta was last year. It’s still tough to get a nice photo with all five of us in it, and so I usually end up with a collage on our Christmas card. But I’d really like to have something approaching a nice family photo this year. SO – bribery it is! (Jelly beans and M&Ms work best for my brood.) Here are our first day of school photos:

So now, tell me: what’s going on in your world currently?

Relishing the End of Our Summer

I’ve really enjoyed this summer. We’ve been burning the candle at both ends, in some ways, but it’s been a really fun, hectic, exciting, yet still relaxing summer. I definitely feel like we gave the kids a good time, made enough time for some dates, read a lot of books, and got a lot done around the house/yard.

Spending an unexpected week at our favorite beach was a definite highlight – shout out to our friends who let us rent their timeshare from them for a week! Bringing the kids to the beach Hubby grew up visiting was really special for all of us… including their first miniature golf experience! The beach is a good place for that.

We spent a lovely week at the lake with Hubby’s whole family, and had TONS of cousin time. Our kids got to fish, feed turtles, ride the boat (a lot!), swim “across the ocean” (basically between two of the docks), and spend a couple of mornings tubing! It was great to see them all playing together and even relaxing a bit.

We got to visit my parents’ house (the house I grew up in) once more before it sold… and we actually got to be there when it went under contract. We must’ve been a good luck charm!

Now that kindergarten has begun, and preschool will begin for the boys next week, I’m down to visiting the pool for the last few times and hitting up our favorite parks again before our schedules get crazy. We’ve done extra play dates with friends and chased our favorite food truck around town (seriously, my kids love the Bahtmobile!) and now we’re preparing for what will feel like a slow down, but will really just be a settling into routine. I’m thankful to have arrived safely at this point: back to a routine, to learning, to doing new things. It’s going to be a good year.

‘Twas the First Day of Kindergarten

‘Twas the First Day of Kindergarten: An Ode to Parents’ Feelings

‘Twas the first day of kindergarten,
And all through the town
The fathers and mothers were
Not at all sitting down.
They were packing the lunches
And setting out clothes,
Filling the water bottles
And wiping their nose.
For, you see, they were trying
To keep themselves busy
So it’d be easier to hide
All the crying and wishing
For just one more day
With their sweet little dears.
So they washed some more dishes
To hide the falling tears.

But then they remembered
The tantrums and tears
Over small things and large things
Like scratches or fears.
They’d make mountains of molehills
And things inconsequential.
They kept saying, “MOM!”
Till there was potential
For a nervous breakdown!
Or at least an explosion
Of some stressful shouting
That would cause a commotion.
They remembered those times
That they’d almost forgotten,
Of cleaning up messes
And wiping all the bottoms.

But between feelings of love,
And feelings of relief,
The parents would still know
That the school day is brief.
Their children would return,
Tired but happy.
They’d want to chat, have a snuggle,
And maybe take a nappy.
Then it’s dinner, and a bath,
And send them off to their beds,
The moms and dads needing
To rest their own heads.

It takes energy to love
All those little ones well,
And to worry and fret
Over healthy food or weird smells.
We’re entrusted these kids
For the shortest of seasons.
How can we not also
Give hundreds of reasons
To be protective and kind,
Giving all the hugs and kisses?
One day they’ll be grown,
And we’ll be the ones who miss them.

Currently: AUGUST?!

Vacation might’ve caused this post to be a little late, but it’s here!

I cannot believe it’s already August! Where has this summer gone?! My firstborn starts kindergarten THIS MONTH and I am ridiculously crazy over it. I can’t decide if I want to jump for joy or lay in the bed and cry. Who knows what I will do! Anyway, I’m linking up with Anne in Residence and Shea Lennon for this month’s currently. Link up and join us!

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Snacking (on) || Right this second? Quaker Oatmeal Squares. Usually? Something a little healthier! My recent selfish snack of choice is crackers with goat cheese and pepper jelly. WOW, y’all. Find yourself a good pepper jelly (mine is a local jalopeño jam – delightful!) and some goat cheese. My cracker of choice is Wheat Thins. YUM!

Anticipating || Two BIG things this month. First, as I mentioned, my oldest starts kindergarten at the end of the month! I am out of my mind about it. I know she’s ready and excited and as prepared as she can be… but still. Y’all may read about my tears when she goes… And the next big thing is the launch of my church’s new campus! We have a “soft” launch at the end of this month (including only the team that we’re sending) and a “public” launch at the end of September. We’ve got exactly a month to get used to our new space, work out all the kinks, and promo the campus to get the maximum amount of people aware. HEY-OOOOOO it is HAPPENING.

Borrowing || a new Bible study idea from one of my pastors. He suggested a translation of Isaiah by Alec Motyer, Isaiah by the Day. I’ve only just started, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

Admiring || my family and how well we all get along. I’m on vacation with my hubby, his parents, his brothers, and their families. It’s SO FUN to all be together since usually we’re too busy to get together all at the same time. We’ve all got our own things going but we get along just fine when we are able to make time for it!

Purchasing || a new L.L. Bean bookbag for EK! It was my favorite part of school supply shopping… and the best part being that we didn’t really need them every year because those things wear like iron. Best investment ever – and I let her choose the pattern and her monogram style and color. She did a great job, I think! It gets here this week and I can’t wait to see it… although it’s going to make Kindergarten a little more real.

Well there you have it- my life currently. What’s going on in your world?

5 Reasons I’m No Longer Organized 

This post originally appeared on Everyday Exiles

By nature, I am an organized person. I love order, labels, color-coding, and fancy pens. Y’all know that last one falls under the same category, right? I love it when the toys in our house have all their own pieces in their own receptacles and are under the correct labels. Talk about a happy place! But how often does my home actually show that I’m organized? Very rarely. Let me tell you the reasons why.

1. I’m a busy person. I know – we are all busy in our own ways. To be honest, busyness often enhances my productivity. I have five spare minutes, and I cram as many things into those five minutes as I can. But where I start to slip is when I let go of the organizational systems I have in place. My clothes are put away according to what type of garment they are. Pajamas here, workout clothes there, casual shirts here, blouses there. But then I have a pile of gently worn clothing that doesn’t fall into the “dirty laundry” category, but hasn’t been refolded or hung back up? Talk to me, huge stack of clothes I tried to lay out nicely but instead are all now wrinkly so I either have to iron them or throw them away. (Ahem. I will never iron. So you see the problem.) It’ll take more than those five spare minutes to put you all away, so destined you are to stay there on the ottoman at the foot of my bed.

2. I don’t live by myself. I know, you’re so surprised that since I’m an organized person, my family can’t just fall in line with me! I, too, frequently fail to see why if there is a labeled bin for toy cars, why are there toys cars not only in every crevice of my home, but also in the bins labeled “Dress Up Clothes” and “Kitchen Items”? Or how about when I have special places for canned goods in my pantry, but there are often canned goods, sitting lonely on the shelf that IS NOT FOR CANNED GOODS. It must be that the leprechaun that haunts kindergarten classrooms in March also haunts my kitchen. All the time. I digress.

3. I love organization so much that I am always finding new and better ways to organize my home. Pinterest is a win AND  a fail for me. I find a good way of doing things, use it for a while, and then I see a new idea. Well, let’s try it! Oh, Hubby and the kids can’t follow my train of very organized thought, packed away into separate see-through containers, stacked on the bottom two shelves of that bookcase in the guest room? Okay, fine. I guess it was a little confusing. Let’s go back to the other way!

4. We have a lot of clutter. I used to think that clutter was knick-knacks from flea markets and bric-a-brac from trips I’d been on in the past. I have very few of those, but I still have a lot of clutter. Nowadays I think my “clutter” is the coupons I don’t want to throw away in case we want to replace our windows this month, and the book my mother-in-law lent me that I honestly do want to read but should probably give back since I’ve been borrowing it for a year and haven’t cracked it open. I’ve heard about the Konmari book, and I think I’d be all about it: if it doesn’t give you joy, toss it. Okay, great, toss that spinach and the annoying bedtime book my kid won’t stop asking me to read.

5. I’m too tired. I know that being organized is energizing for me, and will absolutely save me valuable time with many tasks around my house. The systems we have in place that work are wonderful ones, and I’m always raving about how I’d love everything to be that orderly. But the truth of the matter is that if I have an extra few hours somewhere, I’d rather be taking my kids to the park, sneaking in a date night with my husband, or having a glass of wine with a friend. I don’t have the energy to organize the laundry room’s cabinets or to choose which cloth napkins give me the most joy. You can find me snuggling my babies, watching Moana for the thirtieth time.

If you can get organized, I highly recommend it. It saves time, effort, and often some of your sanity. But if you’re like me, and you just haven’t kept it all together, that’s okay. Empty nesters have a lot of time, I hear.

Book Review: Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan

 

If you’re a woman or a parent or you just enjoy funny books, drop what you’re doing and buy this book right now. Bunmi Laditan is witty and hilarious, snarky and sweet as she writes a novel about a new mom who tries to impress her potential mom friends. It’s a sure way to laugh out loud in a coffee shop and make people think you’re nuts.

New mom Ashley joins a “boot camp” led by her mom idol, and proceeds to botch everything – and we find out about her little one, her hubby, and her mother-in-law along the way. She struggles just like all of us have struggled with aspects of motherhood, SAHM life, or just trying to be a domestic goddess in a Pinterest world. It makes you feel better about yourself, while also falling in love with Bunmi’s quick humor.

I found out about Confessions of a Domestic Failure because I’ve been a long-time follower of Bunmi on her Facebook page, and I’m always impressed with how she blends her humor, a little satire, and a lot of feel-goodery all in one post. She’s got a one-in-a-million style, and I love that about her. I downloaded the book to my Kindle right when it came out, and finished it within a week – and mind you, that was a busy week, not a vacation where I could just read and read. I put it down only because I had to! I urge you to get this book, because I giggled and cried and would love to chat with you about it when you read it!