Tag Archives: friends

Worthwhile Relationships

During the month of November, I’ll be participating in National Blog Post Month, where I’ll publish a post every single day. Sometimes, like today, I’ll use prompts. This one I wrote in about five minutes.

Today’s prompt: What are the most meaningful relationships in your life?

As a woman, I’m very relational. I have a LOT of relationships that I’m in, weaving in and out of closeness, but always talking, calling, texting, getting together with someone. I love feeling close to people, laughing, crying, sharing stories or hard things, just loving on and being with people. (Can you say extrovert?)

If you truly ask me to choose a most meaningful relationship, or the top 5, perhaps… I don’t think I could honestly do it. My no-brainer answer seems to be my husband. He’s the one that I know I’m stuck with (HAPPILY!) for the rest of my life, and come what may, he’ll be my person until we cross over into heaven – for which I am so grateful. He is amazing; he’s good to me, knows me well and loves me anyway. What more can I ask for?

But when thinking of other relationships that I’d put up there with my marriage, it starts to blur. I have three kids. I can’t very well prioritize one of those relationships with my other kids, right? I also have a Savior, who, admittedly, should’ve been the first relationship I mentioned, since that’s what He calls us to: relationship with Him. Reliance on Him. Love for Him. That should be my most meaningful… and it is, truly. It’s through my relationship with Him that I am given the ability to love, and the very love that I freely give to everyone else with whom I’m in relationship.

But after my familial unit relationships, I put great importance on my relationship with my original family unit: my parents and my brother. And grandparents, aunts and uncles with whom I grew up being close with my entire life, until I did “leave and cleave” to another family unit – whose relationships I also greatly value! And don’t even get me started on our close friends, their kids, our pastors, community group, co-workers at church, co-heirs and co-laborers in Christ’s Church! They are all of great importance to me. There are things to share with each other (not least of which is just sharing life together!) that I could just miss out on if I wasn’t willing and able to put myself in relationship with so many wonderful people.

So I suppose my real answer for the prompt is, well, all of them. All of my relationships are meaningful. Even if they don’t seem overly meaningful to me at this exact moment, they could be to the other person. And just that fact makes me value them a little more. Those people close to me, whom I see and talk to and do life with, those are my most meaningful relationships. Those are the relationships, all 30 or 40 of them, that I value the most, that I make the effort to develop, and that I would be horribly sad to see ended.

40 Things for Which to Be Grateful

While I’ve been doing this NaBloPoMo, it’s been interesting to see what I have to write about. I decided for the last day in November, I’d write forty things I was thankful for. So here they are. 

1. The roof over my head. A roof that is also known to be atop a hospitable place, known at least for good food and friendly faces, if not insurmountable messes.

2. The clothes on my back. I am always dressed in clothes without holes, appropriate for the weather, and typically at least a little bit stylish. I can be grateful for each of those things, and the incredible blessing that is all three.

3. My little big girl. At four and a half, EK challenges me every single day to be a better mama, have more patience, and pray about everything. I can see that my strong-willed daughter will be much like I was growing up, and I must prepare my heart for what is to come. But I am also immeasurably grateful for her heart, her energy, her intelligence, and her defiance, because they make her who she is. And who she is is wonderful.

4. My marvelous middle child. Even at not quite three, I can see J’s sweetness and gentle heart blessing others. While he certainly has his moments (I mentioned he was two, right?), he is generally thoughtful and kind. I don’t know how he does it, when the dominating females in his life have little patience (I mentioned EK and I are the same, right?) but he lives with us well. Just like his daddy.

5. My miraculous baby boy D. Spending a month not knowing whether you would live to see us or not was the scariest thing I have ever done, and I will be forever thankful for your healthy, joyous self. So full of smiles and giggles, you are the sunshine of our lives.

6. My kind and talented Hubby. He loves me unconditionally, and is a true saint in the way he treats me and puts up with my messy heart. He is patient with me when I am at my worst. He is an incredible father to our children, and I look up to him in every possible way.

7. The sheer number of good friends we have in our town. We have countless friends, new and old, that we love to hang out with, and that we could depend on in a time of need.

8. My church family. I really, really do consider myself blessed (#blessed, y’all) with a huge group of people who do life alongside me, who encourage me, teach me, push me, challenge me, and celebrate with me.

9. My women’s small group. These women are fun, insightful, encouraging, and genuine. We often have deep discussions, but we also enjoy hanging out together. Those are both so important, and I’m thankful for them and their discipleship alongside me.

10. My community group. These families are kind, funny, loving and helpful. We get together a couple of times a month, but I always find myself wishing we hung out more often.

11. The Bible. I know it sounds a little cliche for a Christian to say they’re thankful for the Bible, but I really am grateful for the comfort, encouragement, and conviction it provides.

12. My jobs. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed at the loosey-goosey, different-every-day nature of my jobs, and I often remember to do something or attend a meeting at the last minute. But these jobs allow me to spend an immense amount of time with my children and my husband. I am very grateful for that.

13. Food on the table. In the fridge. In the pantry. In my belly. Many people in this world – a staggering percentage – do not have enough of this basic thing of which I have an abundance.

14. Clean water. So many places do not have this luxury that we as Americans take completely for granted!

15. Sunshine. It is healing. I know, I know… it also could get you burned, but I think just knowing it’s right outside the window can make you feel better than a rainy, dreary climate.

16. Coffee. That precious, delicious treat that borders on necessity. Whether I make it, Hubby makes it, or the local barista makes it, I do so love it.

17. Wine. That deep red, or that bubbly… it’s a perfect addition to dinner or a snuggle on the couch watching TV. It’s certainly not a necessity, but it sure is a nice treat.

18. My family. For this one, I mean the dynamic between the five people that live in my house. We love each other and play well together. Sometimes we fight and get on each others’ nerves, but that won’t really go away. We work through it and move on. We love being together and for that I’m thankful.

19. My family. Like, the extended, everyone’s included family. I’ve got the best parents, brother, grandmother, and more I could ever ask for. They might live far away, but I love to see them!

20. My in-laws. You guys, I really hit the jackpot with in-laws. It’s a HUGE family, and I love every single person in it. I’ve got cousins, aunts, and uncles galore now, and also three more brothers, three sisters, and adorable nieces and nephews. I win on the family thing.

21. Music. It makes me feel all the feels. It relaxes me. It allows me to be in community with others in a special way.

22. Running and exercise. This is huge for me, since I use it as a stress reliever. I like being healthy enough to go on a run, blow of some steam, and sweat the feelings out.

23. Leggings and boots. They cover a multitude of sins (like not really wanting to be dressed, and feeling fat).

24. My health. I might not be the healthiest person in the world, by choice or genes, but I am far from unhealthy. I exercise, eat fairly healthy, and have been blessed with little sickness or other issues in my life. I’m thankful for that!

25. My car. I am blessed to be able to get from point A to point B with three children in tow. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to use public transportation with three kids under 5!

26. The right to vote. And to take birth control. And to drive, to stand up for myself, to work, to not work, to make money, to spend money, to be a person who can have any life I want. Women have come a long way. I’m particularly thankful for the right to vote this year, when it seems to have mattered a little bit more.

27. Technology. It’s proven to be dangerous sometimes, and when used incorrectly it can be awful. But it’s nice to be able to do things like check the weather, talk to friends, take pictures, and look up recipes all on my phone.

28. Heat. I’m particularly thankful for this one at this time of year, when it finally has gotten cold here. I’m thankful I don’t have to be chilly at night.

29. Gifts. The fact that we are able to buy gifts for our family and friends without worrying about what we gave up.

30. Humor. We love bent funny in our family. All things silliness are a blessing to me.

31. My love of reading. I truly do love getting lost in a book. It’s an enjoyable activity for me, and has been all my life. I hope I can pass it along to my kids!

32. Books. In addition to my love of reading, I suppose I should be thankful for what I read. I have learned so many things, been transported so many places, and felt so many emotions (all the feels!) due to the books I’ve read.

33. Sunshine. What a mood lifter! I never tire of seeing the sun.

34. God’s glorious creation. He has crafted each colored leaf, each ocean wave, each mountain’s peak, and ray of sunshine into a perfect masterpiece.

35. Modern medicine. I am thankful for vaccines and medicines that keep my family healthy, and the access I have to pretty much whatever we need.

36. The fact my kids are siblings. I love that they’re learning to share, love, give, and solve problems alongside each other. They are fiercely loyal to each other and rude to each other all at the same time. Perfect.

37. The holidays. I love seeing my family, Hubby’s family, lots of friends, and my kids all together. I love celebrating (no matter the reason) and I love all the sparkles and lights this time of year. I love sharing the wonder with my children, and helping them learn about why we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas (and other holidays as well). It’s such a warm and fuzzy time of year right now!

38. Dessert. Specifically cookies. My favorite. I don’t need to explain myself. 

39. The rain. What a cleansing and healing thing for the earth, and often for my soul. Especially thankful for it in the mountains right this moment. 

40. My town. Y’all, I love Winston Salem. I love this community, the diversity, the cool spots and nice places, the parks and playgrounds, the shopping, the eating, the beauty of a perfectly sized downtown. I just love it. 

Currently: The Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Monday! Are you all feeling as fat and happy as I am? I dressed in my workout attire all day today, thinking I was going to squeeze in a run or something, and nope. Still doughy from the week of indulgence. I’ll get back on the (exercise) horse tomorrow.

I’ve got a nice update full of photos for ya! I hope you had a wonderful holiday whether it was relaxing at home, traveling to see family, or hosting a million people (what we did). Thanksgiving isn’t a huge holiday as far as big get-togethers or high-stress functions (in my family at least) but we still had a big group come up from Georgia and a few friends around – including a “Friendsgiving” last night! Anyway, here’s a little about what’s going on Currently.

Eating || all the leftovers. You can see the menu we had planned here, but then we ended up with desserts on desserts, and then having a get-together with our friends last night, including even more food than we had had on actual Thanksgiving Day. Now our fridge is full of one serving of this and two servings of that, and we’re ready to just clean it out and stuff it full of salad for a while. Yikes.DSC_0033.jpgDSC_0078.jpg

Enjoying || so much time with family and friends! My parents, aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandmother came up this past week, all staying for a few days to hang out with us, which was AWESOME. We also hosted some friends for Thanksgiving dinner with my family, and again Sunday night for Friendsgiving, and frankly, it’s been so nice. It was all pretty low-stress and enjoyable, for which I’m extra thankful.DSC_0053.jpg

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Loving || these placemats I bought at Bed Bath and Beyond just before Thanksgiving. I don’t use placemats all the time, but these were so lovely for a Thanksgiving spread!

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Decorating || for Christmas, of course! I haven’t gotten everything up yet (or even out of the attic) but it’s coming along. For the first time, we strung lights up on our front porch columns today, so I can’t wait for it to get dark and see our work light up! DSC_0325.jpg

Planning || Christmas music for the next few services. My women’s service is having their big Christmas feast and lessons and carols this Thursday, so I’m thinking through what music should be where, etc. And we’ve already begun Advent (I can’t believe it!) so the Sunday services have to include a fair amount of carols from now on, too. I LOVE IT!

Baking || our annual Christmas sugar cookies! We do them every year at least once during the Christmas season, and I’m hoping to get a second time in with some friends in a couple of weeks. I always love how they turn out!

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Well, those are the highlights from our busy week. Who else hosted their Thanksgiving? What’s your favorite Christmas decoration to put up?

Friends and Fire and Fun and It’s Fine. 

We had a wonderful evening tonight. We went to our friends’ house and ate pizza and drank wine around their bonfire. 

It was an evening of not caring what the kids ate for dinner or whether they kept their coats on (it wasn’t that cold). It was an evening of catching up with friends we hadn’t seen in way too long, hearing our first “ghost” stories, and getting dirty with soot and sticky with half-melted marshmallows. 

I actually tried to take a few pictures. As you can probably imagine, they didn’t turn out well. Firelight is beautiful in person, but not as amazing when it’s captured by an iPhone camera. Round, red cheeks, flushed with cold and running around the yard. Pizza crusts on the ground, getting sniffed out by the dog. Sand, dirt, and grass making a nice coating inside jackets and boots. Scarves and hats blocking all the faces from view. 

I guess I’m okay with it. 

I’m really okay with it. 

Because these are the times that the pictures are etched in our memory by the firelight, and not by the flash. The faces with rosy cheeks and big grins aren’t because we shouted, “Say cheese!” They’re because we just played. We threw caution to the wind and let them throw logs (and their paper plates) onto the fire. We let them go in and out and out and in without micromanaging. We snuggled the children that weren’t ours and let our own run wild and share sippy cups. Because who cares? It was fun. It was fall, and fire, and friends. It was blurry photos, but who cares about that? We had fun. 

Celebrate. 


This weekend was one of celebration. First of all, I was able to leave the house and get my extrovert on after days of sickness keeping me quite housebound. That in itself is a celebration, in my opinion! 

But on top of that, I celebrated all weekend long. Friday, there was a huge party for my friend’s 50th birthday. An evening filled with food, drinks, friends and music, it was a celebration of a life lived well, a group of people who have loved each other well, and a continuation of relationships and fun. 

Then Saturday night, I went to a girls’ night. It was a celebration of cooler weather, of bonfires, of wassail and of silly games. I got to know a few new ladies and reconnect with some I haven’t hung with in a while. A wonderful celebration of girlfriends. 

Folks, is there any good thing that isn’t worth celebrating? I mean, seriously. Is there a single good thing, big or small, that isn’t worth a celebration of some sort? I don’t mean greeting card categories: “congrats on your new job!”, “happy milestone birthday!”, or “lovely engagement!” I also mean “good job not losing your sanity at the office today!” and “wow, you showered and went to the grocery store?!” Sometimes, the little things need a celebration. 

In this case, I’m a text-celebrater. I often text my hubby or my girlfriends to say “Everyone is napping at the same time!” Or “My favorite wine is on sale!” because darn it, it’s worth celebrating! In my opinion, celebrating small victories (or just times you went down a busy road and hit all green lights) can lift your mood, and why not share a good mood with your friends?

This post is part of my NaBloPoMo, where I publish a piece every day in November. It may stray a bit from my usual style, but I’m writing each day to exercise the muscle!

Currently

Happy Monday evening! Yesterday after church, I drove to Raleigh to spend a few days with my friend Katelyn. She had back surgery two weeks ago, and her hubs had to go back to work, but she wasn’t quite ready to be on her own. So here I am, babysitting my friend! We have been catching up, grading papers (she’s a third grade teacher!), resting, and meal planning for when I leave tomorrow evening. Hopefully she will be fed at least for the week! 

Anyway, here’s what’s been going on besides all this…

Pretending || to be a tourist in my home town! I read a post recently about having wanderlust, but not being able to travel, and being a tourist wherever you live instead. I liked the idea a lot, and so I mentioned it to Hubby and figured we would try it! Trying new restaurants, walking whenever we can, and taking pictures as if you were on vacation. In. The. Bag. 

Wearing || boots and skirts! It’s not really cool enough here to wear boots, but when I got dressed for church yesterday, I couldn’t say no to the boots. They were looking longingly at me… or maybe I imagined it. Either way, my pencil skirt and blouse NEEDED some boots to complete them. 

Enjoying || being back in the fall groove with my Thursday morning women’s service. They break for the summer, and so we’ve started back up, and this past Thursday, got to meet the new ladies in my small group!

Relishing || the last few days (weeks?) of summer sunshine. It’s already light for less hours a day, but the sun is still warm. And as much as I love fall, I also love the sun. So I’m soaking it up while it lasts. 


AND! Just because I noticed this post looks like I’m a mom of only two, here’s a picture of the baby, who could probably walk if he wanted to but he is too lazy. 

I hope your weekend treated you well, and that you have good things going on this week!

The Mommy Bloggers: Why Are They So Bad?

I read a disturbing article recently, bashing “mommy bloggers”. Somewhere along the way, we’ve labeled mothers who write, on blogs and/or elsewhere, with an awful name and lumped them into a group together, as if they all have the same goals, ideas, or talents.

I’ve only been writing for a couple of years now, and originally, I thought it would be to make some money. As it turns out, I’ve switched tracks and simply fallen in love with writing. Yes, just the process. I’ve made a little bit of money (not much, truly), and I’ve been published on several sites other than my own, but I don’t think that’s what drives me. I love sharing my life. I love encouraging and positively challenging others. I love sharing the Gospel. I love connecting with other women, parents, writers, and Jesus-followers.

You see, when I started writing my blog, the first thing I did was start reading others’ blogs. Like, a lot of them. So now, I have people whose words I truly admire, aspire to emulate, or simply laugh out loud while reading. I’ve enjoyed getting to know these other writers, and even becoming friends with several of them. I’ve seen their children grow, and their families get larger. I’ve seen hard times fall upon them and I’ve seen them pray and wade themselves back out of them. They have likely seen all these things in my life as well.

What I’ve learned is that other people like to connect, too. We all like to know we aren’t the only ones. We like to see that someone has made it through the stage of life that we feel we are stuck in. Parents really like to connect, because there is often wisdom to be gleaned from other parents, or at the very least, some encouragement that “This too shall pass.” We tend to feel we are stuck in some rut or another, with a tantrum-throwing toddler or an eye-rolling teenager. We love reading that someone else is also dealing with those issues. It reiterates the humanity of the situation for us.

So, “Mommy Bloggers”, I say this to you: I appreciate you. I appreciate your realness, your humor, your honest distress and the encouragement you’ve given. I can only hope that my words and the sharing of my life have encouraged, amused, and provoked thought in you, as well.