Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday Musings ~ Stretched

...a few thoughts, a little scattered...

Last week I picked up a new pair of flats, (sidenote: yes, you are right, I prefer heels, more specifically high heels, but a girl needs a couple of pairs of flats) and tossed them in a suitcase for my work trip, one that I knew I was going to be sitting in a room working at a table for pretty much 5 straight days.

Before noon on Monday I had a mean blister and I limped to my room for flip-flops at the lunch break. I had hardly even walked in those new shoes, but also couldn't hardly walk in them. I tossed them in the hotel closet not to be brought out again for the rest of the week.  

I kept thinking I need to wear them, that will stretch them, but I could barely put them on because they hurt so bad. 

And, sometimes I need to be stretched in life, but I would rather just toss ________ to the closet than have to bear the stretching because it is so painful. 

For the rest of the week, the other pair of new flats I packed were just fine, my tennis shoes for a workout were fine, but I never tried those black flats on again.  

Maybe something else new, or even something familiar will sidetrack me long enough to ignore, forget and not deal with ___________ stretching me because it is too painful. 

When I got home I unpacked those same black flats and put them to the side.  Maybe I try to take them back, surely on the case of wearing them less than 3 hours and only down a hotel hallway they could be returned? They might not ever stretch, I know I can find another pair that won't give me immediate blisters. 

And, sometimes I don't toss __________ to the closet because it's hard, but instead I try to give it back and replace it with something new all together, because the stretching is too painful, 

Then I remembered reading a fashion hack somewhere suggesting to put on a pair of socks with shoes that are a little tight to loosen them up and stretch them out a bit. So, I put on a pair of socks and got those flats back on my feet. 

And, I remembered, stretching isn't always pretty; but with a little time to work on it, perseverance and a little support it can be less painful. 

I'm also reminded of the faith of the Leper, who with a blistered body stretched out to Jesus "If you will, you can make me clean" to which Jesus touched him and said "I will, be clean.". {Mark 1:40-41} One day I will pick those flats up without even thinking how long I might have to wear them or how far I might have to walk in them because they are stretched, broken in and are no longer painful. 

And, I remember stretching isn't always pretty, but eventually the socks can be put away. I keep putting one foot in front of the other for when I am stretched I learn, my faith is strengthened and even if it is painful, it is always good. 

Just like a new pair of shoes. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Favorites - wrapped up in a bow

Happy Friday!  I haven't done Friday Favs in a while, so linking up today for a few recent favorites...

Shine by Bethel Music.  Have you heard this song?  We sang it recently at church and this lyric stuck with me, all the way into the week.  I love when a song does that, speaks truth into me against fears and doubts. In fact just this week, I said this line to myself over fear.  Sometimes lettering words of songs or verses or quotes that really matter to me make them stick with me a little more.
Recently at work we got this email, which was basically like an email from Santa himself:
I love office supplies, definitely one of my favorite things!!  My request: Pilot Frixion Click pens that are erasable and actually DO erase!  {Click here} to get some for yourself! 

A few days ago the girls over at Junk Gypsy posted this photo of Archie in some new goods at their store. And, while I was at work in a pretty comfy outfit I was wishing I was in this. I have that T, but the mix of patterns and colors is definitely a favorite for me!! 
Photo on right via Junk Gypsy Instagram
This week I've been on a work trip, and in the late afternoons I've gotten out to the pool for a break from the all-day-hotel-ballroom-fluorescent-workplace. I finished up one  book and started Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs {click here} one afternoon and finished it before bed that night. Annie is such a great communicator and I could relate to so many things in this book. Words and people are favorites for me, and she finds so many lovely things in the everyday which reminds me to find lovely in the simple and everyday. If you're looking for a lovely read {click here} and get it for yourself and for some friends too! 
Speaking of work travel, the endless supply of hotel towels are my favorite perk of travel. And, when they are tied up like a bow, it's like like Santa was here before I arrived, they really feel like a gift to the week away for work,
I've taken a few little trips here and there over the last few weeks and I've been using my new little suitcase. I had a great red carry-on for a lot of years and it logged a lot of miles, but finally gave out. I picked this one up on clearance at Marshall's and it has been perfect for little trips. Bonus, it matches my large purple suitcases and has my favorite color green! ;)  #itsthelittlethings
Have a great weekend and click over to ErikaNarci and Andrea for more Friday Favs!  As always stay connected with me via Facebook and Instagram


Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Musings ~ Generations

...a few thoughts, a little scattered...

I can remember the day I got my license so vividly. I was working at a horse camp and my Dad came to pick me up, took me for the photo opp and I was officially a driver, then I went back to camp. I got a new saddle for my 16th birthday, and also I got a truck. 

A truck that had been passed through generations of our family 
My Papa drove it 
Sold it to my Mom and Dad 
Dad drove it with all 4 of us lined up in the single cab out to ride our horses 
Mom drove it when she went back to College and to run us around 
Dad would drive it on Monday nights to go get the trailer, the horses and meet us for 4H 
Dad drove that route in reverse after 4H practice on Monday nights 
My brother drove it as his first truck 
My brother re-did the engine his Senior year in Auto Mechanics class 
The Heavy Half was my first truck 
It gave me freedom and responsibility all in one 
I learned character in that truck 
Inside that cab a lot of my life had happened over the years 
Behind the wheel I learned a lot of lessons 
How to hook up a trailer and haul my own horses 
How to get around town and to work on my own 
How to fix it if it wouldn't start or needed a little oil 

That truck taught me the same lessons I had while riding as a passenger. 
Lessons taught by the generations before me.

I'm thankful I've known generations of my family, even beyond my Papa and the lessons passed down through the generations to me. 

Even the most unexpected ones, like an old '79 GMC. 

Today marks 4 years since my Papa left this life for eternity and I've been thinking about the generation that is leaving us, the stories and lessons and lives they lived, there will never be another like them. Perhaps they were the greatest generation. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Home Tour: #everydayreallifediningroom

Welcome! Today I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner for the dining rooms in the Every Day Real Life Home Tours.  I love this #linkup because of these words from Kelly; "...I also like to just see real life normal homes.  Ones decorated on a budget and by moms of young kids who "can't have nice things" or apartments where single girls live or a retired couple's home.   I always want to just knock on doors of homes in my town and ask if I can have a tour.  I love to see how people live." It's not about perfect or designer, it's just about home, every day. 

I fall into the "single girl in an apartment" category, so my space is small-ish, but perfect for me.  I recently moved and with moving always comes a little rearranging and if you come back here to my home again, you'll see the living is also the dining and the dining is also the living and the living is also the office, and the office is  also the living.  #openconcept :) 
I received this towel as a gift and it is a favorite, know someone who would love it? {click here}

If this is your first visit here, or your 100th, true confessions: I love Marshalls/Home Goods, bargains and green; the more hi-lighter or chartreuse the better.  So, imagine when I was looking for bath rugs and stumbled across this rug shortly after moving.    
AHHHHHH.  Perfection!! I didn't have a rug in my dining room before, but this place I felt like it needed something, so I picked this rug up thinking "maybe" it would fit.  And, it is perfect.  This pic was the day I got the rug, also shortly after moving in, but I had to get it in place an send it to my Mom to see. 

The shelf in my dining is I guess equivalent to my "buffet:, but doesn't hold any dishes, only my collection of pewter serving pieces and antique cake stand I searched the fields of Round Top for. The picture above I lettered myself, it was one of the first pieces I did during an art class at my church. The words are song lyrics; I completed this piece during a hard season and had to frame it.  My dining room also doubles as a lettering studio, so it's the perfect place for this piece.  
Sometimes the table looks like this (from my old place)  For more on lettering {click here}.
Back to the shelf, I found it in Hobby Lobby one summer, while everything I owned was in storage. It was missing a piece of the bottom "X" on one side and I had my Dad swing by to look at it and see if it could be fixed. He was certain we could fix it and I was certain I needed it after asking the Manager for a price to which he replied "$24".  #loaditup I knew my stuff wouldn't be in storage forever, and I loved this shelf. It was in front of a window before, as seen above. The metal boxes under neath are also a Marshalls find and are great extra storage. Hiding in the corner is my studio cart, aka The Everything Cart from Ikea {click here},  which easily rolls out as needed for painting. 
If you read the Living Room post, you'll know the heart of my home, and my heart, is words.  My favorite wall in my house is solid words from Primitives by Kathy and a few extras thrown in.  In my new place I see this wall much more than I did before and I really love that it is more of a focal point. I have a few pieces that had to be sorted, arranged and hung up...

They start on the floor, I sort and arrange how I want, then snap a picture so I will remember as I am putting them on the wall. I measured the entire collection width and depth, then found the center and started with the middle and worked my way out.  
Hanging things like this can be a little daunting, especially when you need two nails and it to appear mostly straight on the wall. I use painters tape, a level and move it around as needed. I was a little more meticulous this time than I have been in the past {read: used a ruler and level a lot}, but am pleased with how it turned out. Here's the starting point and blank wall...
And here is the room all together, finally. True confessions: I moved the end of January and this wall was the last thing I did in April during the flood days we were off work.  #procrastinator Of course, once it was done I keep kicking myself of why did I take so long to do that!
Centerpiece on my table is a years old silver tray, I think it has a couple of dings in it because I found it in clearance corner for about $10 at Marshalls.  I don't remember where I got the candle sticks without candles and the antler balls are from Hobby Lobby and the plates from Target holiday collection a few years back. This is Texas, and deer silhouettes aren't just for holidays! ;)  
Before I go, the table is one of my favorite gathering places, my own home, my Mom and Dad's, family gatherings, a friend's house or out at a restaurant.  {One day I will have a Neighbor's Table, the greatest love mission a friend Sarah has started.}  More than the fancy dishes or place settings, the life that happens when gathered and lingering at the table is my favorite.

If you missed last week, {click here} for links to living rooms.  Thank you for reading, stay in touch via Facebook and Instagram


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What I Wore ~ 40 in 4

So, the "40 in 4" weeks are in full swing and even though it's only a couple of hours longer to the work day, what makes it the longest is days that I don't leave the office when we're typically out and about most days during the year.  However, I've been getting lots of projects completed and crossing things off my list, which makes this Type-A happy!  :)  Here's a few looks from recent work days...

Our Department Assistant aka Department Guru is pregnant and due later this summer, which we are all very excited about. I've been telling her to check out Target for a few maternity clothes because they always have great deals, and I have several friends who score great mom-to-be wear from Target. I think I wore this on a Monday and when I got to work she asked if I got this shirt from the maternity section because she just got one over the weekend too.  #blessmyheart  No. But, I love twinning just as much as I love stripes + camo so maybe one day soon we'll both show up in our stripes. Stay tuned... 
Speaking of stripes and Target...this outfit is the above but in reverse. Banana Republic button up and Target Who What Wear midi skirt.  I have previously posted this skirt in the original print and I have also seen new summer prints out, and also these on clearance racks.  #mixandmatch  Also, summer 2016, the summer I reverted to my Junior High trends of knots in shirts. #noshame
I picked these pants up on a Cartwheel women's sale at Target and I've posted about the cardigan a few times before too.  The pants are still in stock, {click here} and I have already worn them several times. They have also been paired with the stripe shirt above. This post is beginning to resemble results from the the likes of Cher's closet in Clueless.
That necklace above, $7 from Walmart a couple of years ago, also available in turquoise as seen below. :)  #creatureofhabit. The dress is also a few years old from Gap, one I found on the racks in a tall (touches the floor even with wedges!!) and my Mom took in the arms a little to make it fit me better.  Every time I wear this dress I get so many compliments when really I just feel like I'm one step above pajamas, and reminds me I should step out of the black dress comfort zone more often.  
Though "jeans Friday" is no longer in play, this was from the last Jeans Friday of the spring. This is another one my my summer tops I found at Marshall's; black, white, blue, yellow, pink, which goes with so many things and of course anything goes with jeans!  These are Gap "girlfriend" jeans, and the first of that style I have found to fit, as I've said before, try and try jeans and when you find a pair that fits, BUY!

Before you go, I've linked up with The Pleated Poppy  today, click over for more What I Wore posts, she has great style and finds the best thrift shop deals!  I need to scout out some local thrifts! 

And, connect with me via Instagram + Facebook


Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday Musings ~ Spilled Coffee

...a few thoughts, a little scattered...

Last Friday I met a few girls for coffee (and ended up also being delicious breakfast) on the summer coffee tour to our neighborhood coffee shops. You can imagine a table full of girls even at 7am, lots of stories, laughs and chatter.  

We started talking about lettering, another girl letters and as she was air-drawing her lowercase calligraphy "f" she caught the edge of her latte, and it spilled.  We giggled, someone snapchat-ed (is that a word) it and the gracious wait staff brought her a fresh new latte.  She quickly said "I feel bad, I was over half way done with my latte and now I have a new one". 

....spilled coffee....
sometimes we can laugh about, sometimes someone immediately fixes it for us

We prefer our coffee life to look picture perfect, not sloshed out for someone to clean up

When life spills over out of the cup, it's better when in community. The ones who are there to pick us up, help clean up the mess, fill our cups again and share some laughs when we need them and maybe some tears too.  

Even when you (I) look back and walk away from a table of empty cups, a mess might have been made, but we are (I am) filled up and better because of the community we have around us. This morning happened to be mostly girls I don't know, but the table is one of my favorite gathering places and common threads are quickly found, even if you have to be a little vulnerable with your story and get to know someone new.   

Since I have Fridays off, I stayed to read and write a bit after the group left.  I opened up to the next chapter in Thirty One Days of Prayer For The Dreamer and Doer, entitled "Authenticity". How important it is to have community where we can be authentic, and our stories are safe. Where spilled coffee happens and no judgement is cast, but hope and grace abound.  

...and I spilled my coffee... 
in my book, where there was no wiping it up, and it was going to leave a mark 

And sometimes life is like that, a little messy, a stain remains, but still we press on and those mishaps are markers for us of seasons and growth and hurt and happy and stories and laughs.  I quickly texted the pic above to the group who just left, "I spilled my coffee too", because sometimes we need to know even when we are by ourselves that community is still around us and we aren't by ourselves with the mess.  

Others also need to know; they aren't the only one who spills their coffee. 

Thankfully, Jesus is always near to our mess, he never leaves us to ourselves to clean it up. He walks alongside us, sometimes making all things new and sometimes we have to grow from the spills that leave a mark with discipline and love.  

My book reminded me...."God's word urges us to live a transparent life in community with others. He calls us to be authentic and genuine to ourselves and to those around us because there is freedom in truth."  {Click here to pick us this devotional, highly recommend if you are a dreamer!} spilled your coffee....
I did to. 

Let's keep going in community, with our friends and with Jesus. 
The mess is worth the memories, it's the story of our lives. 


Friday, June 10, 2016

Home Tour: #reallifelivingrooms

Welcome! Today I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner for the start of Every Day Real Life Home Tours.  I love this #linkup because of these words from Kelly; "...I also like to just see real life normal homes.  Ones decorated on a budget and by moms of young kids who "can't have nice things" or apartments where single girls live or a retired couple's home.   I always want to just knock on doors of homes in my town and ask if I can have a tour.  I love to see how people live." It's not about perfect or designer, it's just about home, every day. 

Today is the first link up of this series and we're talking living rooms, {click here} to sit down on the virtual couch of living rooms from all walks of life!

I fall into the "single girl in an apartment" category, so my space is small-ish, but perfect for me.  I recently moved and with moving always comes a little rearranging and if you come back here to my home again, you'll see the living is also the dining and the dining is also the living and the living is also the office, and the office is  also the living.  #openconcept :) 
I received this towel as a gift and it is a favorite, know someone who would love it? {click here}
I've had this screen for over 10 years, a random find in an antique store that I couldn't walk away from. It's hung in various places in my home, and currently it's close to the front door, maybe somewhere within me it gives the feeling of a screen door entry. 
So this is my favorite thing about my new place...the sunshine.  When I was moving I thought there weren't many windows in here, until I moved and started living here.  The blinds are typically pushed back, the door open, screen keeping out the bugs and the sun shining in. I've never been one to have to have "everything in place" for someone to come over and if you dropped by this is pretty typical of what you would find when you walked in. The TV tray might have a Yeti full of water or tea, maybe a coffee mug, or nail polish or a book. 
A known favorite when I moved was this built in.  I love books, (and reading books) and bookshelves.  The first load of boxes I brought over were books, 9 boxes of them, and this was one of the first things I unpacked. Which also gave me 9 boxes to immediately re-use. :) 
Other favorite: words.  I have maybe one or two things on my walls that aren't words, but most everything I have hanging is words. I often times just catch one specific quote or verse from these walls and it's just what I need to keep going. Other favorites here are the pics in frames that weave a sweet story of my life. 
Without the sun shining in, this is the living room, including the pillows fluffed. Yes, that is a partridge in a pear tree in June. #allyearlong #noshame The flower pillow is an oldie from Target, and I've seen it in lots of home posts through the years. The TV armoire is a gift from home of one of my besties who was killed in a car accident 2006, and a treasured piece of furniture in my home. Also, I'm not much of a TV watcher, so sometimes the doors will stay closed for a few days, or sometimes I keep them open all the time.
Here's a closer look into the of my sweet besties gave me this chicken wire frame and it makes me happy with tons of pictures of my family, littles, besties, quote and memories. The blocks below are part of a collection of Kelly Rae Roberts, again, words that matter and inspire and speak truth in this house.  
I picked these nesting tables up on a whim at TJ Maxx a couple of years ago. They are a blue-gray color and don't really "match" anything, but "go", and I love them. The toy box awaits a new friend in this house after losing my sweet Barney
I switched from a real coffee table to an ottoman with tray a few years ago too, mainly due to space. I debate back and forth on getting rid of this oversize chair and ottoman for something different, but I also really like them....  I wrote about stacking books on the tray previously {click here}, magazines and other books come and go on this tray.  
...and books. This is the 3rd table to the nesting set, actually the middle in stacking order, and is perfect for a little side table as the chair/table are out in the middle of the room. The book, "What Do You Do With An Idea" was a housewarming gift and such a good story. I also keep {fresh flowers} in the vase on this table. 
Thanks for stopping by, see you next time! Stay connected in the meantime on {Instagram} and {Facebook}!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

#LinkUp: Show & Tell ~ What's in your Bag?

I am linking up today for What's In Your Bag?  with Momfessionals and I love this post because I love handbags and organization and there's a good mix on her page! 

Currently, I'm carrying this bag, which you can catch up on the deal on this post {click here}.  It's a Longchamp and I guess is the large size.  I like big handbag because I don't like carrying multiple things and this will hold a work notebook or iPad too for meetings. 
Here's a pretty typical look into  my bag #organizerocd 
The only downside to Longchamp bags is they only have one small/not really functional interior pockets. And, I just can't do the everything dump in my bag, so Marshall's to the rescue, with a 3-pack for $9.99.
So, what's inside...planner, small notebook, business cards, USB drive, pens, coupons, giftcards.
and here it is all zipped up together... 
Lipgloss/lipstick is typically in the side zipper pocket of my bag, but see above and they had to have their own place in this bag, so they are in a small zipper bag. Also, have you had Ice Breaker Sour mints, sooo good!
I've had this little camo Jon Hart pouch for a long time, one of those things I picked up in a store on a sale because it was already pre-stamped and I do love the crown anyway! In it, all the things I think I don't need this, but then when I have it I'm glad I do...tissues, powder, nail file, ibuprofin, nail clipper, lotion, etc.. #packrat
And, my wallet is a Vera Bradley, but one of their "slimmer" wallets. I also found this (and a backpack, that's for another time) in the same print and I have really liked this wallet. It is lightweight, has more card slots than I need, 3 different divider sections and outside zipper for change.
I typically have a book with me, right now I have my Bible Study book, I am leading a study on Ecclesiastes using Tommy Nelson's A Life Well Lived study and it has been really good!  Also a notebook for teaching notes.
So, that's what's in my bag! Now, I might have to order a diaper bag because I saw it on the link up and it's camo and cognac and adorable, but I am happy to share the changing pad with someone, I don't need that!  #single


Monday, June 6, 2016

Monday Musings ~ Sunflowers

...a few thoughts, a little scattered...

Over the weekend I went for a walk and suddenly the bayou perimeter is covered with sunflowers almost the entire way of my route. I hadn't noticed them growing or blooming, mostly because I've been inside due to all the rain and not out for my usual walk/jog/bike ride for what seems like a long time now.  I pretty much never take my phone with me (shout-out to the iPod), as this is my time to check out and listen to music; of which, I usually couldn't even tell you one song that played because I get lost in my thoughts.  

Every now and then I find myself wishing I had my phone, to capture something I see along my route. On this particular day I wanted to take a picture of the sunflowers. It was evening, the sun was finally peeking through the light was beautiful, the breeze was blowing. 

As I was walking, I kept thinking about sunflowers, how hearty they are, that they grow in extreme/excessive sun, and despite days of clouds and rain they were still standing at attention basking in the evening sun when much around here just looks washed out.

A couple of miles down I turned a corner on my route; there was a girl, with her phone, adjusting just right, to take a picture of the sunflowers. I smiled. Her Mom and sister stood nearby looking on, their dog in tow patiently waiting and no one said "hurry up" when I was in earshot. 

Sure, I've always been a subscriber to the "stop and smell the roses" philosophy, but the days get away from me and I forget to soak up the moment. I kept thinking about those few moments for that little girl, when the sunflowers caught her eye, nothing else mattered for just a second, she wanted to capture the flowers. She was up close to one particular flower, what was it that caught her eye of that one flower out of hundreds? Also, the patience of her Mom to stand by and proudly watch her snap the picture(s). 

My soul is fed in little moments, not big extravagance. I can distinctly remember 1000 little moments much more so than one or two grand events. Sure the grand events were great, but the person who spoke a specific word to me, the taking of time to invest in me, the little thing someone notices, the intentional interaction, those are the things that stick out to me. And, matter most to me. 

Somehow in all of those little moments I realize I am like the sunflower, standing in the sun, pushing through the downpours, floods and days of dry sunshine that feel like the desert or even sometimes flourishing in the breeze of a perfect evening. Over my shoulder is God, watching and cheering me on, He chose me, He knows every detail, His eye is on me, He's focused. I'm that little girl and He's putting together millions of appointed moments into my life that give me strength to stand up and just asks that I show Him off to the world.