Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Once Upon A Realization | A Cute Pic of Haven To Boot | Hick From The Sticks

“You can see my fire is still doing great.”

He looked at me sympathetically. “I wasn’t going to say anything.”

I am no mountain woman. One of my greatest accomplishments in life is that of keeping the fire going until my husband gets home every day. 

Yes. We have a heat pump.
Yes. We use it sometimes.

But for some reason, we like fire. Maybe it’s the caveman in Ethan, or the Indian blood running deep under my pale white skin. It could also be that we’re both pretty cheap and hate spending money. In any case; we heat with a wood stove. 

But like I said; I aint no mountain woman. I’m pretty flexible, and I’ll try just about anything, but given the choice, I’ll take tea rooms and shopping over gutting a deer anytime. Somehow, though, life has a way of taking you places you didn’t expect to go. This morning, I woke up a redneck

It’s really a long story, how I came to this realization, but the fact is pretty bold faced. We meet all the qualifications. (Minus the racist thing...)

  1. THE WOODSTOVE. Already mentioned.
  2. THE DUAL PURPOSE KITCHEN. Ours is also a deer stand and coyote annihilation station.
  3. THE SCRAP PILE. It has accidentally grown to momentous proportions and (TEMPORARILY) sprawls out from behind the shed that’s supposed to hide it from view… I finally understand how those huge hillsides of rusty lawnmowers come exist. Hey - we’re all just waiting for the metal prices to go back up.
  4. WE EAT ROAD KILL. It’s true. Not a typical habit of ours, but still true. Actually, my husband just happened to be at the right place at the right time to witness a deer’s introduction to big trucks pulling large boats. The driver was all too happy to hand over a pesky nuisance to the camo-clad hunter who was just walking out of the woods. Pretty tasty, I must say…although I wouldn’t go so far as to pick up dead opossums off the curb, or anything…
  5. LIVING FAR FROM CIVILIZATION. The GPS always dumps out-of-towners at the end of somebody else’s long driveway.  It’s like the back roads are too confusing. It just gives up. (Not gonna lie…it took me forever to figure out how to get from my house to the nearest town after we got married. Much longer than you would expect.)
  6. VISITS FROM THE NEIGHBORS. It was around 1:00ish in the morning and I was trying to enjoy what little sleep a large pregnant woman can manage to attain. With no warning, the closet began to explode. It sounded like something other-worldly was doing it’s best to unleash itself into our bedroom. Having had many such nightmares as a child, I rolled over and ignored it. Being a little more sensible, Ethan got up to investigate. The sound, as it turns out, was coming from just outside the window, not the closet. Using his cell phone (we do have those, actually) as a flashlight, he ripped open the curtains and we saw… two very large black eyes peering out of a masked face. A raccoon had been chased into the bushes next to our house (as evidenced by the throaty barking of a dog somewhere out in the yard.) He had jumped from the bush to the screen of our window and was thumping and scratching there for dear life. Thank heavens the window was closed…

Reflecting on all this, over an afternoon cup of coffee, the warm realization creeps over me that I wouldn’t have it any other way. This here is home - with beans and cornbread and biscuits and gravy, and road kill and the breeze from our open kitchen windows. (How weird is that?! It’s December.) It’s fun to just relax and see what plans God has for you.

I remember wondering what I was supposed to do after I graduated. I was praying hard, but no direction seemed to come except one: Trust. So I did; and He took me on an adventure more wonderful and rewarding than anything I could have planned out myself. It was hard to wait when people expected a “driven” and “goal-oriented” answer. I wanted to give one - but I knew His plans were more important than mine. I could have barged ahead, taken my free college classes and made a little kingdom of my own. But why? So people would applaud? It’s not about building any kingdom but His. I’m so glad I waited until He told me what step to take, even though it felt like wasting my time. It’s worth it to know He’s with me...all the way out here in Shingle Hollow, North Carolina.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

33 Weeks | Catch My Breath

Thank you for the four outfits that still fit. 
That I didn't have a headache for Thanksgiving dinner. 
For the sunbeam who dances in my dust piles.
That Thing 2 is still inside me, at nearly 34 weeks. 

This doesn't nearly scratch the surface. I'm blessed, in love with my firefighter, and overwhelmed by the grace that holds my little world together. 

My most treasured hope is that of a tomorrow without feeling like a water buffalo, and nearly collapsing from sciatic pain every morning. Soon, very soon, this child will be here. 

Until then, have a cup of coffee with cream and a piece of pumpkin pie...  'Tis the season.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Tools For Surviving The Last Trimester | Kinda

This here is real life. #embracefingerprints

The last trimester is no picnic. These notes were sarcastically scribbled during nap time one day. Maybe you'll learn something new - and maybe you could leave me one of your own pregnancy life hacks! Deal? Deal.

M U S T A R D.  You heard me. I don't think I've had leg cramps this bad since I was five. (Secretly, I was terrified that I was growing for the first few days.) I have no idea who came up with it, or why it works, but gagging down a tablespoon (I take two, just to be sure) with water does some seriously amazing things.

T H A   B A T H T U B. I pretty much live there now; I'm surprised my toes haven't grown webs. Hot water dissolves Braxton Hicks. I never had one with my first go-around until a couple days before the baby showed up. Now, they cramp randomly, and with a vengeance. Hopefully I'll be one of those women who walk into the hospital fully dialated with 0 pain because light contractions did all the work.

T H A   S H O W E R. Nope. Bathtubs and showers are two different things.. The tub is great for relaxing crampy muscles, but the shower is a fabulous distraction tool for those aforementioned 'blinding headaches.' Hot water on the back of your neck takes away the burn of the hot water you're already in. (Good luck catching that lame joke...)

P E O P L E.  Between these days of suffering and woe, there are better ones. Those are the ones to stuff full of friends and family. Have somebody over, or go meet them for coffee. Whatever it takes - but get your mind off  of YOU. There's a bigger world out there full of bigger worries and struggles - reach out and be encouraging.

H E A T I N G   P A D.  I don't know what happened to my core muscles between Haven and Thing 2, but apparently they've given up and died. Hence, my back carries the brunt of the load. Hence, it gets pretty exhausted and achey. I was SO excited  when I splurged and brought home an electric heating pad the other day... #littlethingsinlife

P R A Y   B E F O R E   B E D. Really. It felt like I would never sleep again, until I asked Ethan to pray for me. That was the first night that I did - and it's been awesome ever since! There's only been one or two nights that I've woken up briefly.

P R E G N A N C Y   B R A I N. Woman, use it to your advantage. You're going to hear horror stories, and there will be some folks who scare the liver out of you with portraits of "
How tough motherhood will be" -- listen, nod and smile. Then commit yourself to God and DO NOT LET SATAN TAKE THE HAPPINESS RIGHT OUT OF THIS SEASON. It's an adjustment at first, but you were made for this. Happiness is a choice. It's not handed to you on a silver platter.

Well..unless you're in a bakery. I'm still dying for a donut.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

How To Waste A Whole Lot Of Money | BUT PRESENTS

#1. Flowers and Things

#2. The Joy

I mean, like, who WOULDN'T wanna open one of these? (I might hesitate, actually...they're so pretties.)

December is one. busy. month. So many birthdays, events and anniversaries, it's crazy! A lot of people would grimace and think mournfully of their thinning wallets...and I probably should too...but...I ADORE PRESENT GIVING. 


There is no such thing as spending too much time and effort on a present. In my opinion, this busy old world is slam full of short-cut-takers and trying-to-save-timers and ultimately, not meaning to, we end up coming across as "just-don't-carers" too often. 
Thinking about this, as December approaches, I thought I'd do a little planning and poking and see if I couldn't try to make the upcoming events more special for the ones I luv :)

While researching myself into happy-ribboned bliss, I thought I'd share the joy. Just because, well... who doesn't love looking at unopened presents?!

Tell me which one's are your favorite. 


I mean. 

**And yes. I know it's still October. But my baby is due soon and there's nothing like being prepared...

#3 Classico

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Whole30 | Saturday Night Rambles

I'd love to be a health nerd and a fitness fanatic...but it's just not me.

Before I married, Mom emptied her cookbook arsenal into my hope chest like any loving Mommy would. One of the cookbooks was called "Whole30." 

Lately, as an ailing pregnant woman, I have sprouted a sudden interest in food cleanses that generate extra energy and eliminate pesky allergies and stuff. This evening found me resignedly opening an introductory website to read what I would and would not be allowed to eat for 30 days. I fully expected to tweak the allowances here and there since a balanced diet makes more sense for growing a baby than a "juice cleanse" -- or some other such restrictive torment.

The list began with Dairy.


Like, not.

Then it whittled HONEY out of my life for a month.

Okay. That's not even funny. Life with no not funny. 


I know.

With those two eliminations, I made a third: the whole Whole30 thing. Nope.

But the concept is still great. 30 days of dedicated healthfulness. (No exceptions.) I love fitness challenges - believe it or not. I just lack the willpower to never have cinnamon rolls or pumpkin spice lattes. I need a weekly outlet for my pent up sweet tooth. But...for 30 days...and for some extra energy in this here third trimester...and not looking like a marshmallow for five years after the baby is born...

I made my own list of NOT ALLOWEDS. 

It's a secret. 

And I made a list of ALLOWEDS to make life a little easier.

It's not a secret.

I TBLSP of chocolate per day

2TBLSP of honey or maple syrup


Two cups of fruit 

So, I am resolved. No weekly sweet tooth outlet. No date night exceptions. Thirty days. And we'll see if it has any affect on crazy allergies and 3rd trimester exhaustion. 😛

If you were evaluating your ALLOWEDS and not ALLOWEDS, what would you scrap, and what would you not be able to let go of? (Note my 1TBLSP of chocolate...) 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Cozying Up to Fall | Recess

I’ve finally figured out why Mom always loved to send us kids out the door before Dad came home. 

Outside, there is no ash bucket to eat from. Outside, spilled milk is nothing to cry over. Outside, the sunshine and fresh air offer the serenity of wide open spaces. 

As a former Northern girl, fall is a long ago memory in light of Carolina October. Mid Carolina October, even. It’s 80 degrees and I’m sweating. More than likely, I’m also getting a sunburn. Even though part of me snubs to itself while remembering the throw blankets and hot cinnamon rolls that would be pure torture in weather like today’s… I’m glad that Me and Haven (and Thing 2) can escape to the out of doors for an evening reprieve. 

Still though, I've been doing my best to make fall a little more fallish. Cable knit blankets on the arm of the couch...butternut squash soup...side-braid hairstyles...sweaters in the morning (before the air conditioner kicks on...)

It's not working. 

But, like I said; I'll take the extension of summer while Haven learns to dig in the flower beds and sit on top of the slide instead of emptying the cabinets and unwinding toilet paper rolls.  ((This stage of life is very entertaining, to say the least.))

On other news: NINE WEEKS TIL WE'RE FULL TERM!!! This week has crawled by. It hasn't been the most fantastic, so  I bought a pack of newborn diapers to remind myself that preggo days will be over soon. 

They're so little.

 We can do this. 

So I try not to think about the nap that I'd love to take, and the cinnamon roll that I'm dying for, and keep taking allergy medicine to squelch the killer-mean headaches. Only a few more weeks. Just a few more weeks...

Did you have any tricks to make the last, uncomfortable weeks of pregnancy more fun? I'd love to hear em.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Your Fairytale | Is It Important?

Wide-wide blue eyes, staring up into mine. Every detail of her small, perfect face resonating with great big curiosity. She lays her hand on my lap; she wants to know. Everything. 

And I smile.

When I look at her, I’m living my dream. 

Every time I remember that, it shocks me. Everything I always wanted is right here in this little white house with all its’ to-do’s and been-done’s. The tiny quiet baby who is growing inside me, the chattering, hair-bow-wearing tornado who tears into everything when I’m not looking; the tickles and hugs when Daddy’s home…This is what I prayed for. This blessed chaos that ruins schedules and makes big messes; it’s what my existence always craved. Beautiful, crazy, living. 

Breathing in, letting go — I let the reality of this peace wash over; clear out. Daily, hourly, constantly, I’m fulfilling God’s plan for me; I’m a wife and mother. 

::Reality Check::

Yup. I also have to throw crazy-mean diapers in the garbage can (sealed up in a ziplock for preservation of sensory soundness). 24/7 MOM SQUAD isn’t the most glamorous job when the baby is screeching and the floors need mopped. But who said it was supposed to be?

Servanthood isn't the number one career choice these days.  "Selfless" isn't the buzzword on twitter. There's not much back patting for the ones who quietly, knowingly keep the wheels turning in a household; lunches packed, laundry done, good night kisses pressed to tiny foreheads. 

Sometimes in the day-to-day sameness of the fight for routine and sanity, I forget how much those things mean to God. 

That's right; to God. 

Every time my Bible falls open to either of these passages, I remember what an important job He has given me; what a blessing it is. 

"And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."

"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Nobody will be interviewing any of us moms on ESPN for cleaning the bathroom today. You can bet the family farm that there won’t be a round of applause after we finish balancing the checkbook - but I promise; “Little is much when God is in it.” Doing what He has asked will never be more than you can handle, or less than important in His eyes. He came to be a servant.

So what's my point? Embrace this. Slow down and focus. Replay the scenes that melt your heart. Remember the gentle hug from your husband and his secret in your ear. See the freshness of a new morning. Hear the giggles, see the smiles. Think on the "excellent" and "praiseworthy."

Most women can only complain. The negative is always there, broadcasting from worn-out, thankless creatures; but who says we can't focus on the happiness of this living; this calling to minister to "The least of these?"

Just a thought. But after all, you do have eternity to reap the benefits.