Friday, January 28, 2011

Guess Who's in my iPod, Y'all?

So...yesterday I was driving in my car listening to the radio.

Sometimes I listen to Country Legends.
Don't judge me!

Anyways, I was listening to said radio station and not one but TWO Dolly Parton songs came on.
This made me feel happy in my heart and it also made feel that Dolly Parton should be in my iPod.

I decided to sleep on this to see if I really wanted a Dolly album or if it was just a passing whim. What a silly goose I am!...Who doesn't want a Dolly Parton album?...that's what I'd like to know!

So this morning, first order of put 16 of Dolly's greatest hits onto my iPod.
Also, I put Beyonce's All the Single Ladies on there too, because, just needs to be on there.

What a great way to start the day!
Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Precious Wisdom for a Mom with Ugly Business

Two of my favorite writers are Doug and Nancy Wilson. The couple has written a whole series of books on the Christian home and family and they are, in my opinion, superb. I haven't read all of the books yet, but the ones I have read (and the one I am reading) are some of my favorite books.

I just finished Praise Her in the Gates: The Calling of Christian Motherhood by Nancy Wilson. I cannot tell you how this book blessed me! As I have said before, the past 12 months or so have been difficult. We have struggled to keep a routine, there has been so much transition, lots of special events and traveling, lots of bad news, and very little "normal." I am sad to say that all this has taken its toll on my work as a mom and homemaker. I have had to say "I'm sorry," a lot this year to both Casey and Braelyn, for being over-emotional, impatient, critical, and at times disinterested in keeping a clean and orderly home. Ugly Business.

After a particularly difficult day with Braelyn (I love routine and Braelyn loves routine and when we are lacking in routine for a long time...she and I have difficult days), I was so fed up with myself (yes, myself...because I knew that I had not been giving her the structure, boundaries and patience that she needed) that I sent myself to a timeout. Good thing about adult timeouts is that that they're at Starbucks. Anyways, I left the book I was reading behind and took with me Praise Her in the Gates, because frankly, I needed a Come-to-Jesus meeting about my responsibilities as a mom, and I knew Nancy would give it to me straight. And she did!

I sat down with my white mocha and went straight to chapter 8...Loving Daughters. Man, oh man! What a heart adjustment I received! It was so humbling and convicting and long was the list of things I needed to repent of. But I was so thankful! And I was so encouraged! I went back to my little apartment refreshed, praying that the Lord would help me love my daughter matter the circumstances.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from that chapter:
The first thing that mothers must remember in raising young women is to be kind. A critical spirit is a destructive thing, and mothers must not be too hard on their girls.

Women are role models for their daughters, and they must teach them about meekness, submission, respect, deference, courtesy, and holiness by example.

Daughters need to feel important, loved, accepted, needed, wanted, and appreciated. Mothers must be diligent to praise their daughters, not for their achievements primarily, but for who they are.

I am happy to report that the last few weeks a good routine has been restored to our home. Bedtimes, mealtimes, chore-times and, not to be forgotten, playtime have all returned to their proper place. And certainly, the Lord has been hard at work in my own heart and mind. Sure enough...I can see a delightful change in all of us. Are things perfect? Right now, I have two unmade beds, a giant hamper full of towels that has been there since June (not exaggerating), and yesterday Braelyn was in her jammies all day until we went out to eat for dinner. But, my home is a pleasant place to be...and that is the goal and a grand reward for a mother's hard work. has been a hard year. Books don't really tell you how to manage your home well while moving or losing a loved one or grieving a miscarriage. I have yet to find that book. And I know...there is much grace for such instances. Much grace. But...the Lord has placed me in charge of managing our home come hell or high water, and because I am so well loved by Him I ought to do it with excellence. Among the many lessons I have learned these past months, I have learned that when my circumstances are getting the best of me...I must pray. I was not praying before. I was relying on my own resilience, which, I've come to discover is insufficient. I must pray very diligently that God would help me to continue in my duties with a joyful heart despite trials and sufferings and travels and special events.

Again, I cannot say enough about this book. All the chapters are filled to the brim with precious wisdom. I might do another post on another favorite section, but I do encourage you to read this book for yourself. I'm not really sure why I had to share all my ugly business in order to tell you about this book...but oh well. Now you know about a great book and that I have ugly business and as a bonus...that you're not case you happen to have ugly business too. ;)

May the Lord be present in all of our imperfectly pleasant homes!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

New Favorite Things

New Favorite Thing #1: The Pioneer Woman Cookbook
I just picked this baby up last week thanks to a beloved Barnes&Noble gift card.
Genius, this woman is. I heart her, and her cookbook is FABULOUS!! Lots of beautiful pictures. Lots of amazing recipes that you will actually use. And tons of great stories about her family and life on the ranch.

New Favorite Thing #2: French Breakfast Puffs.
OMG! Heaven!*
These puffs will be blessing my kitchen table A lot, which means there will be a significant increase in the amount of butter that I have to buy. Worth it!*
Got the recipe from the previously mentioned favorite thing.
Or you can get it here on her blog.

New Favorite Thing #3: The King's SpeechCasey and I saw this on our date night last night. SO, SO GOOD! is going down as one of my top 5 favorite movies. Really! I'm not kidding...Top 5.
I LOVE the characters. The casting is perfect. And the story is true...which makes it that much more wonderful.
It will make you laugh, and it will make you cry...not ugly'll just get a little teary...because you will love these characters and the friendship between them...AND...because paid to see a movie that was actually worth seeing...which hasn't happened in such a long time...and you were just about to give up on Hollywood...but with this movie you see that all hope is not lost. And so you might get a little teary over that.

There you have it. New Favorite Things.

* Denotes words that should be sung. Loudly. In falsetto.
(If you didn't sing it the first time, you should go back and sing it properly.)
(No, I mean it! Stop being so lazy and go sing it like you meant it!)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

For me...these seasons have collided.

My oh my. What a roller coaster 2011 has turned out to be! And as a result I am quite irritable, and tired and I have been taking lots of long baths. In fact, I finished Wuthering Heights due to all my long baths. Good book. A little disturbing, but a great read, nonetheless.

As I mentioned before, my sweet grandmother went into the hospital on January 1st. That was a Saturday. By Wednesday we began to realize that she was not going to recover from this heart attack...mild as it was.

Despite our heavy hearts, the wedding celebrations were upon us.

Prepare yourself...there are a lot of pictures!

Friday: Nails and Rehearsal Dinner

B's first mani/pedi

me and my new sis


the beginning of a new friendship

the fam
(no, i'm not prego...I know I kinda look it in that dress)

dad sayin' a few words

the cutest gifts ever!

Saturday: Hair and the Big Event

please do allow me to be a little silly about my wedding day hair.


back. i just loved what he did! ok...all done with that.

B's beautiful hair

this is the pillow i made for kelley and tyler.
i was pretty happy with how it turned out.
the beautiful bride
b and me

Mr. & Mrs. Tyler Jett
(Weird! my brother is like 12 years old...he can't be married! ;)

seriously...the cutest!

first dance

me and the pastor ;)

and here we the end of the night...completely falling apart

So...we made it through the wedding. Even Braelyn.
But the very next day, it was back to the hard work of watching someone you love slip away.

From Sunday through Thursday we sat with her, especially my mom and my uncle, and waited, and told her we loved her when she was awake to hear it. Then, late Thursday night, my grandma passed away.

She was the sweetest lady that ever was.
She loved the Lord and loved her family.
She was an artist. Talented. Although, she never thought herself so.
She was lovely, but again, never thought herself so.
She was funny and sensitive and strong. There were many seasons that my grandma was not well, but she always fought so hard. And she always pulled through.
But the last few years, we have seen her grow tired...and so, while I am sad to see her go, I delight in knowing that she is is not tired anymore, rather, she is rejoicing in the company of our beautiful Savior. Praise the Lord that we have such a hope!

I love you, Grandma. And I will miss you.
It has been a privilege to share so much of my life with you.
Anne Elizabeth Toops
1928 - 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Jazz Hands Anniversary!

Yup! 10 years today!

We celebrated last Tuesday since January is jam packed with the wedding and church preview service stuff. We went to Mark's for dinner (the food was very good, but the atmosphere was a little serious for our taste) and then stayed the night at Hotel ZaZa (GORGEOUS!).
It was a perfect little getaway.

Anyways, I have a little post brewing about our wedding day, but it'll have to wait...tons of cleaning and laundry and packing and list-checking to do. We leave tonight for Sugar Land.
Nails and rehearsal dinner tomorrow.
Hair, make-up and wedding on Saturday!

It has been an amazing 10 years.
I love going through life with you.
I love you.
I love us.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I tell is one of the great joys of motherhood to see your child delight in the Lord. While we were taking down all of our Christmas things today, Braelyn and I had a very lengthy conversation about Him. It was so sweet...I just had to record a few of my favorite bits.

Me: What do you think about God?

Braelyn: I love Him.

Me: What do you love about Him?

Braelyn: He is so powerful and nice and very pleasant and He thinks of good ideas. I like how Jesus died on the cross for our sins so He could forgive us.

He thinks of good ideas! I LOVE that!

Then, in a later conversation about the bigness of Jesus:

Braelyn: Jesus is bigger than this city. A thousand afenniny (infinity) fifty hundred eighty-two...Jesus weights that. He is HUGE!

Um...Precious! :)

What a blessing it was to talk with her about the Lord see her seek truth and see her thinking through hard see her smile at the kindness of our see her so intrigued by Him.

She reminded me today that God is fantastically intriguing.

I am encouraged. And I will joyfully go to bed with new things to treasure in my heart.
G' Night.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Am Resolved To...

1. Go to bed at 11:00pm. (This is quite a bit earlier than we usually go to bed. I know...crazy! That's why I am resolved to go to bed earlier this year, and consequently, wake up earlier. But for now, only the bedtime is an official resolution. ;)

2. Work on Christmas all year long. (Did this 2 years ago. Brilliant. Made Christmas such a pleasure. Already got some ideas goin'....which is half the battle.)

3. Be more intentional with my time in the Word. (This past year, I spent time in the Word, of course, but it was such a hard, crazy year, much of my time was simply maintenance. I do not want to continue in this way... I want more.)

4. Read more. (More good fiction. And even more Christian literature.)

5. Blog more. (I want to write more intentionally and more often, but I'm still thinking about what I want this to look like.)

I have a few other goals...but these are my official 2011 New Year's Resolutions. Only three days in, but so far so good, I think. ;)

Reality Does Not Go On Holiday

Well...2011 has begun...and it did not waste any time in dishing out a fresh dose of reality. Apparently bad news can come even on 1.1.11.

New Year's Day Casey and I were in Brenham playing a friendly game of Settlers of Catan with Justin and Brandi. Well, just after I built my first city, my mom called to tell me that my grandma (who, btw, has lived with my family for almost 20 years) had a heart attack. So we packed up our things and headed to Sugar Land.

This is her 3rd day in the hospital and she's not doing great, but she is hanging in there. While there might be progress in one area, a new problem will arise in another. She seems very fragile and tired. And she is. The last few years have been an uphill battle for her, I'm afraid.

Besides the stress of having a loved one in the hospital, we also have my brother's wedding to attend the big event is THIS weekend! We all had a lot going on before my grandma went into the hospital, and now we are all having to work harder and smarter to make sure everything is taken care of...especially my mom. Thankfully, we have each other (a blessing that might have easily been overlooked without this present crisis) and reinforcements are coming in the middle of the week to help. I said 2011 came with no honeymoon. Life is here in full force, with blessings and sorrows and everything in between. always, God is good and we love Him and trust Him and ask Him to help us keep our heads about us. We will make it through…what choice have we, after all?

For those who knew our news, thank you so much for praying. I will try to keep the blog updated.

Hope your New Year has had a little less reality. ;)