Category Archives: Thankful

A small token of thanks (Giveaway)

I wasn’t really nervous when I pressed “publish” on Wednesday’s miscarriage post because you guys have proven over and over again that you are a kind, caring, and compassionate bunch.

But still.

When you share something so personal, there’s at least one toe-curling moment when you wonder if it will fall completely flat. What if all you do is open old wounds, or nothing about your story resonates with anyone else?

Based on your oh-so-sweet responses and emails (I’m working on answering them, I promise!) that have been flowing steadily into my inbox–emails full of heartache and trials but also so much hope–I’d say that we really are all in this messy thing called life together. I’d say that God knew what He was doing when He gave each of us a specific role to play and formed us uniquely in our mothers’ wombs so that no two of are exactly the same, in experience or our reactions to it.

You have been such a blessing to me over the past 3 days, if for no other reason than that you affirmed that what I shared was needed and timely for you.



As a small token of the BIG love I have for you guys, I’m giving away a fun little package to one lucky winner.

It includes:

  • a cute gold striped pouch from Target
  • an 8 piece set of thank you cards + envelopes
  • a pretty paper bead bracelet made by Ugandan children that I bought to support one of my favorite organizations, Parental Care Ministries
  • a short camera strap made from a scarf by my talented friend, Lia


To be entered to win, simply comment with the name or description of a woman who has inspired you or helped you out in a hard time. You can tell me how, or you can simply leave her name.

BUT I have one request: if you win, would you take one of the thank you cards from your package and write that woman a note, telling her what you just told me? She will cherish it. I can promise you that.

I’ll pick a winner randomly and announce it next week.

(Open to residents of U.S. and Canada only; sorry international, peeps!).

Thanks for being awesome, and “may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

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Feature Friday: An Amazing Birthday Made Possible by an Even More Amazing Man

Okay, so you may be reading the word “birthday” and feeling a little queasy since I’ve mentioned it in practically every post this week (or at least two : )). But, I assure you that birthday week is almost over (although birthday weekend is still to come—*evil chuckle*), and, after Monday, you won’t have to read about anything to do with my birthday anyway for a whole year.

But I couldn’t resist sharing some of the details of my day yesterday because it was pretty incredible.

It started with sweet little boy voices chirruping, “Mama, wake up! It’s your birthday!” at 7:30 AM (actually, it started when Della woke up and wanted to be nursed at 6:30 AM, but then I went back to sleep). Now, the 7:30 AM part may not sound too birthdayish, but when you see why…just keep reading.

So, I came downstairs, and my husband had gotten me an assortment of pastries from our fancy new Fresh store (Brookshire’s semi-organic grocery)—I wasn’t in picture-taking mode yet (think sleep creases on my face, half-open eyelids, and probably a bit of drool-crust…cuh-ute), or I would have shot a quick one of the almond croissant, blueberry muffin, and pecan sticky bun that I (partially) consumed.

The boys sang happy birthday, and Shaun informed me that I was to eat first and then get ready because I was going somewhere until 2 PM (that’s 6 1/2 hours of kid-free time, people!) at which point they would join me.

I was genuinely surprised by this announcement, but the minute he said it, I was pretty sure what he had up his sleeve. Many moons ago, he told me that someday he would like to treat me to a spa day. And a few weeks before my birthday, I said something like, “Baby, do you think I might be able to have a couple hours off one afternoon to go get a pedicure or something sometime around my b-day?” and exasperation flashed across his face for the tiniest instant, and I knew what that look meant: “Woman! Would you stop stealing my thunder?!”  I also knew it meant that he was already planning to give me some time off, but when and how (and HOW!)…I hadn’t a clue.

So! First pic of the day coming…and it ain’t pretty.  I mentioned when I showed you how I style my curly hair that I often let it air-dry, and yesterday was no exception. Hello, wet-head!


Shaun had programmed the address for my destination into the GPS, and about halfway there, I figured out I was heading to The Ranch at 7 Mile Hill, a local spa retreat set in the rolling countryside.

At that point, I started thinking super-deep thoughts like, “I wonder if I get a manicure.  If I do, what color should I choose? Hmmm…I would love it if they had a really deep, non-shimmery peacock blue. Probably won’t, though.”

And that, folks, is what really goes on in my brain sometimes. Oh boy.

Well, lo and behold, I walk in, and the lovely spa owner greets me and take me to get dressed in my fluffy spa robe and then I meet my manicurist, Erica, who I recognized from the only other time I had ever gotten a treatment at this spa—5 1/2 years before when I was 8 months pregnant with Ezra, my firstborn. How time flies.  But I digress.

So, Erica asked me if I had a color in mind, and I started to say, “Well, I was really  hoping…” and then I stopped. Because there it was.  The perfect shade of peacock teal. No shimmer. Just gloss.

OPI’s Ski Teal We Drop


…which looks like this on my fingers.


Enjoying my spa manicure, complete with scrubs, hot-towels, hand-massages, and even a “luminescent gel” to make my hands glow. Fan-cy.


And then the pedicure, of course. Another truly luxurious experience that included a paraffin treatment. Let me just say that, with all the abuse my feet take in the name of fitness (plus a natural propensity for calluses), I haven’t had feet this smooth since birth probably.

Next up was lunch, which I got to eat in this lovely space:


30 minutes all to myself to eat this yumminess and read magazines in a lovely room while soothing music plays in the background and not one single person asks me to get them a drink?

Heaven. Or as close I’m getting on this earth.


Mmmm. Now my mouth is watering!

Next up was my hour-long Swedish massage with Andrea, who, I’m convinced, has magic hands. It was only my third massage ever, but it was far and away the best.


My hair finally dried (with hair as thick as mine, it usually takes about 3 hours), and here’s what it looks like after Andrea got after it with my head massage. Just as a side-note: if you ever want to bend me to your will, rub my head. And yes, I realize that makes me sounds like a genie and probably gave a few of you the willies.  But don’t worry. I’m not actually inviting you to touch my head. I’m simply saying that I reeeeallly love me a good head-rub.

I left the spa with pretty hands and toes, moisturized skin all over, and not a care in the world. I called my husband who had said he would meet me in town, but he wasn’t quite ready, so he told me to go do whatever I wanted until he called me back.

So, what’s a girl to do with unexpected time on her hands? Hit up the local Tar-jay, of course…

…where I scored some awesome deals…but took no pictures, so we’ll just move right along so that perhaps you can finish reading this before my next post on Monday.

I had an appointment for a haircut at 4 PM, and by the time I got done with Target, it was around 3:15, and Shaun had called to say he would meet me at the hair salon.

So, what’s a girl to do with even more unexpected time on her hands?

Put a hole in her head, of course.



I’ve been thinking about getting that nubby little bit of your ear cartilage pierced for a while now and remembered that there was a not-too-divey looking tattoo parlor on the way to my hair salon. So, I pulled up in the parking lot and stared at it for a while, trying to decide whether I really wanted to do it.


A placed called Resurrection Ink that displayed the American flag and had flower-pots and wrought-iron benches outside (that you can’t see) couldn’t be too scary, right?

So, I charged right in and informed them that I wanted that nubby bit of cartilage on my ear pierced, and they said okay and informed that it’s called a tragus. Good to know.

So, I forked over $30 (my husband just gasped) and marched boldly into this room:


Here I am, about to let a very nice young lady named Jennifer punch a hole in my ear and testing out my mirror-picture skillz (pretty terrible).


The hole is marked with a pen (can you see it?).

I can still turn back, but I’m not stopping now.


If you are the least bit squeamish, please don’t look at the next pic. It’s not gory, but it is a little funky-looking.


Yep. That would be me with a giant needle sticking through my ear. It was kind of interesting, but it really didn’t hurt that much.


Sorry for the blurry shot, but here she is: my new (and last) ear adornment.

I walked out of the tattoo place at 3:59 and drove 3 minutes down the road to my hair appointment, where the lovely Hollie (It makes me inordinately pleased that she spells her name with an “ie” too) did a little thinning, a teensy bit of trimming, and restored my bangs—which had gotten completely out of control—back to order.


See that cute little blonde boy in the background? Yeah, we were having quite a party. Hollie is incredibly patient.


Della was fascinated by all the hairdryer noises. By the way, aren’t you impressed that my husband dressed my daughter in an actual outfit with a matching (albeit slightly askew) clippie, and I didn’t even set it out for him? I was.


Okay, I know this pic is kind of gross, but I wanted to prove to you that, even when I get the barest of trims, there’s a lot of hair on the floor.

Hollie was even nice enough to give the boys impromptu (much needed) haircuts. You rock, girl!


Next up? A trip to the movies to see The Lion King in 3-D with my newly shorn cuties!


…and then a jaunt to the Dollar Store so the boys could use their stockpiled chore allowance to buy incredibly cheap knock-off action figures that I have spent a good portion of this morning putting back together every time they fall apart. Heck yeah.


By the time we got home, it was time to hustle all the munchkins into bed, so we did, and then just Shaun and I sat down to enjoy this:


Yes, you are seeing that right: homemade turkey chili (I loooove chili!) and cornbread prepared by this amazing man:


It was absolutely scrumptious too!

And here comes the part of the program where I do an entire commercial for my husband:

Mamas—if you’re like me, you’ve probably said something like this: “I am so glad that my husband helps me with the kids, and it’s great when he watches them for me, but really, it’s not the same as my day at all. When I’m with my kids, I’m doing a million things—laundry, dishes, homework, cleaning sticky hands, changing diapers, ad nauseum. And when he does it, he feeds them corndogs, plays with them on the floor, then lets them watch a DVD, and sticks them in bed. I’m grateful, but my version is so much harder. Wah, wah, wah.”

Well, although that is sometimes true (let’s face it: meal-prep and multi-tasking are not most men’s strongest suits), yesterday, Shaun smashed any Daddy-as-babysitter clichés to smithereens.

While I got pampered and dawdled to my heart’s content, he got up at 5 AM and proceeded to spend his day like this:

  • Revamping my blog site (did you see how much more space there is and how much better/prettier everything is?). Such a fun surprise!
  • Feeding/taking care of our children (I didn’t set a single thing out for him or prep anything because I thought I was going to be around to do it all)
  • Cooking dinner for me
  • Cleaning out/organizing our disastrous, as-yet-unfinished master bathroom, which had become a dumping ground for unused home décor and leftovers from projects. I don’t have a before picture, but I’m not sure I’d show it to you anyway. It was that bad.
  • Taking multiple trips to our barn with all three children in tow to stash all of the things he cleaned out of the master bath.
  • Taking an hour-long conference call with a very important client while Della was strapped to his chest (awake) in the ErgoBaby and both boys were playing downstairs (and coming up every 5 minutes to ask him if he was done talking)
  • Learning to sew with my sewing machine (yes, you read that right) so he could create a custom laundry net (complete with a zipper) to catch the portion of clothes from our upstairs laundry chute that had formerly been falling behind the washer where they languished until I crawled back there to yank them out—not fun
  • Spending the entire movie watching Della out in the foyer because she decided to blow up her diaper and then be fussy 
  • Changing who-knows-how-many poopy diapers because my sweet little angel is finally getting her first two teeth, and it’s wreaking havoc on her digestive system
  • Helping to wrangle the kids while I got my haircut
  • Reading the Bible to our children and singing our usual bedtime silly songs even though I know he just wanted those little critters in bed!
  • Watching Downton Abbey with me until midnight, even though I know he was beyond exhausted

Just reading this list makes me want to take a nap! And yet, he never once complained or acted resentful. He just told me I deserved a day off and did everything in his power to show me that he loves and appreciates me. I don’t know that I’ve ever been more thankful/prouder to call him my husband. He is a true servant-leader and the sweetest man. He is not perfect. But he is beyond perfect for me. And I thank the Lord Jesus that he is mine.


I love you, Alby! Thank you for making a birthday that I wasn’t really even looking forward to one I’ll always remember.

P.S. I think I told you that I would have the October Giveaway up today. That’s been bumped to tomorrow, but I promise it will be worth the wait.

P.P.S. Shaun wanted me to tell you that he does own more than one shirt.

P.P.P.S. I am guest-posting for the incredibly sweet Rebecca of Simple as That today sharing a fun fall Family Tree craft that’s brand-new! I hope you can take a minute to go check it out and browse Rebecca’s absolutely lovely site, which is chock-full of fantastic ideas for easy crafts with kids and features her stunning photographs (she’s very talented, folks!).

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