My Favorite Things 2015


One of my favorite link ups and posts to make all year is Melissa’s My Favorite Things. I love to see what others have shared and get some great recommendations for gift items for Christmas.

#1 Morningstar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Burgers

A favorite at our house and so quick to make! These burgers are great smashed up as burritos too.

#2 Roc Deep Wrinkle Serum

This serum has been a wonderful addition to my beauty regimen.

#3 Liverpool Sienna jean leggings

Super comfortable and when worn with a tunic, and not like the pic above, no one knows they’re not real deal jeans.

#4 Polar: A Photicular Book by Dan Kainen, Carol Kaufmann

Two other photicular books are available: Ocean and Safari. I have a sweet little niece who is going to get one of these for Christmas.

And last but not least …

#5 Off the is a great source for finding new books to read.

My Favorite Things from past years:

  1. 2014

  2. 2013

  3. 2012

Check out other bloggers favorites!



“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts …” Colossians 3:15 NIV Bible

Tidying the Nest


Earlier in the summer amidst all of the clutter and chaos my house became after we began a renovation on an RV all summer (post to come), I looked around and thought, “This house is a disaster and as soon as the kids move out I’m purging all this stuff BIG time!” Technically, I might have actually said that statement out loud more than a few times. I think my receptors to words like clean, tidy, organized, and stress-free were heightened because I heard these words everywhere associated with Marie Kondo’s book. So, after much hype on blogs and GMA, I drank the koolaid and bought the book.

Ms. Kondo is touted as an organizer extraordinaire. She has developed a method of organizing called the KonMari method that has literally swept Japan’s households clean of clutter. Ms. Kondo describes her methods in detail throughout the book as well as sharing some of her personal history. All of that aside, I was underwhelmed by the book. I’ve read organizing books before, and just maybe I was hoping for a cleaning fairy wand, but I was disappointed.

What I did like about the book:

Her methods for folding are genius. I’m still working through the discarding of my clothes but I’m impressed so far. As a lifetime baller of socks, the idea for storing socks has really helped me save time and helped me to quickly get to the socks that I want. Also, the order and manner of discarding is unique. When I sorted my tops, for instance, the book instructs you to pile all of your tops from everywhere in the house (except the ones in the laundry) together to sort. Instead of room by room or closet by closet, she has you gather all of the like items into the same location before you discard. I found this idea easier than other methods and quicker. Lastly, Ms. Kondo states that the discard will take months. She’s right. Her approach is more comprehensive but I believe it will yield better results. This idea is obvious yet candidly refreshing.


What I did not like about the book:

Some of the practices that she would like you to incorporate as you are tidying are unrealistic and are perhaps better understood in a Japanese culture. I found some of them odd and off-putting. For instance, she suggests that you remove all of the contents from your purse each night, thank the purse for its service and allow it to rest for the evening before refilling the purse in the morning. Not going to happen here. Poor purse. She also requests that you verbally greet your home when you arrive and as you tidy your space and discard items that you thank the items for their service. Again, not for me. These practices are probably a reflection of her Shinto beliefs.

Ms. Kondo also shares parts of her personal history to explain her passion for organizing. I found most of these personal stories distracting to the book’s purpose. One story would’ve been sufficient instead of interspersed throughout the book. Perhaps, these personal insights would’ve been better suited to a memoir rather than a book on organizing. In addition, I also found the English translation glitchy at times. While the words were probably translated right, the overall gist was wonky in these places.


Ms. Kondo’s mantra to use while discarding is: Does it spark joy?  Overall, I’d say this book is a 2.5 stars joy out of 5 stars joy rating. I’m encouraged to use what I like from the book and discard the rest.



So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” 1 Peter 2:1-3 The Message


Beach Trip 2015


One week turned into two, then three, and now its been a month since I posted last. We had a wonderful time with our children on our beach trip. The weather was perfect and the water beautiful.

dawn on the beach

We watched the sun rise

dawn on beach 2

and we watched the sun set.

sunset on beach

We breathed in and out,

rosemary beach

letting go of stress that had been mounting for months.

family beach 2015

A much needed rest for the soul.



“The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'” Exodus 33:14 NIV Bible

Which one?


Every day we make decisions. Some are huge and others are tiny in comparison. Still, others are made without us ever really engaging our brains. We’ve made the same choice so many times we don’t even register it. More likely than not, we do what we do because our mama or daddy did it that way or we saw it done that way or perhaps we learned it along the way. Then one day, an opinion opposes our own and suggests a new alternate path. The suggestion might’ve come from a person or something you’ve heard or read but all of a sudden, you find yourself faced with this eternal question.

Which one?

  1. Thick or thin pizza crust?
  2. Creamy or crunchy peanut butter?
  3. Install the toliet paper to be pulled over the top or pulled from underneath the roll?
  4. Squeeze the middle of the toothpaste tube or squeeze from the bottom of the tube?
  5. Close the lid or leave it open when flushing the toilet?
  6. Sleep with the pretty side of the sheets against you or the seam side towards you?
  7. Eat with both hands above the table or 1 hand above and 1 hand in your lap?
  8. Coke or Pepsi?
  9. Leave book jackets on books or take them off?
  10. Remove the ‘don’t remove’ tags from pillows, blankets,etc. or leave them on?
  11. Take a bath or don’t take a bath before bed?
  12. Sweet or unsweet tea?
  13. Heinz or Hunt’s ketchup?
  14. Brand name or generic?
  15. Decorative pillows or no pillows on the bed?

So many choices – Which ones will I choose today?



“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV Bible


PicMonkey Collage“Earth laughs in flowers.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


I’ve been enjoying the brief moments of sunshine we’ve had over the last few weeks. When the sun’s rays peek out of the clouds, I can’t help but head outside and enjoy them! Remember to slow down long enough to view the beauty around you today.



“The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field;” Psalm 103:15 NIV Bible

What I’m Into: January – March

jonquil 2Welcome Spring! I’ve missed you!

I’m so ready to put the winter behind me. In our small corner of the world, we’ve spent most of the past 3 months battling various pesky germs that produced flu, upper respiratory troubles, and bronchitis. We’re all finally healthy!

During those months, any renovation on the house took a backseat. The only contributions have been hanging a tree trunk in the living room to serve as a curtain rod and cleaning the carpets. We couldn’t work outside either. Even on the days that the temperature was warm enough, the yard was a mucky, muddy mess and with the type of clay that we have here, in combination with the moles that have done a number on my yard, you could seriously be stuck up to your knees for days unless you have a buddy to pull you out or you want to pull out of your boots and walk barefoot through it.

I did, however, manage a trip to Austin, Tx in February for If Gathering 2015. Had a GREAT time! In the middle of all that January – March brought, I also stage managed two local pageants with my steadfast backstage crew (thanks, family!) and now, the fun begins preparing the local winners for their respective state pageants in interview.

Best books I read during January thru March:

  1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle — A re-read for me. I enjoyed it as much as I did when I was a kid.
  2. Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon — I recommend this book if you’re a fan of Mitford. I enjoyed getting back to Mitford and the town’s endearing citizens.
  3. Light Through An Eastern Window by K.C. Pillai — A unique perspective on portions of scripture.
  4. Serena by Ron Rash — She is some kind of woman.
  5. The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler — I gleaned more from the book than I did from the workbook study.
  6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr — By far, this book is the best of the bunch. I wrote a review last week. Click here for it.

Musically, I’ve listened to a mix of songs but these pieces are some of my new favorites.

Balmorhea “Lament”; Sleeping At Last “In the Embers”; Olafur Arnalds “This Place is a Shelter”; Marc Broussard “The Wanderer”; Mezzoforte “Cruising”; Zach Sobiech “Clouds”

Current favorites in TV and film:

  • Cinderella
  • Insurgent
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Fixer Upper
  • Elementary
  • Dinner at Tiffani’s

Most Viewed Blog Posts:

For January, my post about using a personal stylist was the overwhelming winner. My most popular post for February and March was the same: If Gathering 2015.

Other Posts around the web that I loved:

What Reader Species Are You from Laura Kelly

Mind Maps: What They Are and How to Use Them from Modern Mrs. Darcy

Mundane Faithfulness Kara Tippetts — Any post really is a blessing but this one, “Letters to my readers upon my death,” is recent and displays her incredible spirit.



I’m linking up with What I’m Into at Leigh Kramer.



“…stop and consider God’s wonders.” Job 37:14 NIV Bible