Weekend Highlights Mixed With Things I’m Loving

I thought about writing a Things I’m Loving post on Friday, but clearly that didn’t happen so I thought I’d post a little recap of the weekend/lately with some of the things I’m loving.

We snuck in a Redbox deal on Thursday for a free movie! I’m totally a fan of freebie deals.  I signed up for their text club and it finally paid off.  I was hoping it wasn’t only going to be deals we wouldn’t use.  We ended up watching the movie “Home.”  Overall, I liked it!  Not my favorite and not one I would watch again, but I didn’t fall asleep to it either, which says a lot. 🙂

We did a lot of walking, talking, napping, and vision chatting on Friday/Saturday.  I’ve been trying to plan for our Africa trip and figure out what we want to do, where to stay, and just general planning.  We got passport photos done and now need to mail in passport paperwork!  Asher needs a passport and I need my passport updated with my new name!  Definitely a little sad that I haven’t used my passport since our honeymoon, but thankfully I’ll be using it soon.

Also, lately one of my/our favorite things to do is find neighborhoods and run or walk them while looking around at houses.  We’re starting to get a vision for what types either of us like and what we don’t like.  There are some neighborhoods where certain houses are great, but we don’t like the overall vibe of the neighborhood or we want a slightly different location.  Now this is not to say that we are even thinking of buying at this point…cue slightly freaked out about that type of commitment! I’m still dreaming of living in the mountains… Plus, we have other goals we want to meet financially first and we are just plain not sure what God has for us next and He hasn’t clued us in yet as far as we know!

I’ve been playing around with the voice memos on my phone and doing mini podcasts for fun.  I so love listening to podcasts and it’s been fun to practice speaking!

I just did our budget (we are still using GoodBudget formerly known as EEBA) and I am feeling hopeful and excited about this next month.  I love when we are able to put a lot of money in our loan extra folder and keep on paying off the last of my loans from my master’s degree.  Plus, we made two big payments this month so that always makes me feel like we are making progress.  Dave Ramsey’s snowball idea is totally a true thing and I love it!  I am definitely an excel spreadsheet kind of girl who loves seeing what we spent, where, and how we are doing.  I’m feeling ready for September and all it’s going to bring….well assuming it brings more fairly warm weather! I’m NOT ready to give up our daily walk/runs.

Oh! And one more fun thing to share.  I’m going to Alabama to Highlands Church for a conference in October and I am pumped!  I am super excited to get to go with some fabulous ladies and go check out a new church.  And I’m thankful for a husband who is helping make this happen.  Cue…wait..I’m leaving my baby for a few days for the first time!? Ek! I’ll have to do a little update post on him sometime too since I stopped doing the monthly ones.  He’s the best and such a little personality. 🙂

That’s more than enough for now…if you made it this far, high five!

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On Learning Patience

I have been so keenly aware of how impatient my little guy is lately. He wants his milk and he wants it now. He wants to knock over the garbage one more time and don’t dare get in his way. He wants the right book at the right time.  He wants to be picked up when he wants. He wants the door open or shut. Whatever it is he’s got an opinion. 

So for lunch, I was cooking up some tasty garlic Parmesan orzo for him and he was hungry. He’s starting to understand that when things are on the stove that sometimes he can get a little taste before it is done and that eventually it will be on his tray ready for him to eat!  Needless to say, if he’s hungry he starts crying to get up to see the food and then wants to put his hands in it. He does not understand one bit that the food will be so much better cooked! Orzo without cheese…no thank you! 

I’ve had to wait (many times impatiently) for many things in life and I’m still waiting on other things. I’ve definitely thrown my own whine fests about timing to God. 

I never thought it would take me close to six years to get back to South Africa. And yet tickets are booked and come December I’ll put my feet back down in that country. I left on December 6th, 2009 and with how flights worked out we will arrive on December 7, 2015. Plus, I get to bring my husband and son. 

I sure am excited to see all that God has been preparing for us and to be back “home.”  This season sure has been a long lesson in patience and waiting on God. 



I am here curled up in my bed with Asher just having fallen asleep for a nap. I figured I might as well check in since my last post never made it to the publish stage. 

We went on two walk/runs yesterday and even got to see the cows on our second one! The little calves were cute and skiddish around us. The older ones just stared. 

The weather has been absolutely perfect the last few days. Sunny and just warm enough. I could live in this weather all year. 

I’m fighting disappointment and sadness today and leaning into the wait. I sure seem to think there’s constantly something in life that helps us learn how to wait well and about contentment and being present. Every stage of life so far seems to show something to do this. 

Here’s what I am thankful for in this present season: 

1. Walks outside!

2. Cozy beds

3. A son who makes me smile and laugh and teaches me to embrace life. 

4. A husband to text and who comes and tackles me when I am sad. 

5. Medicine to help my poor dog who has allergies. 

6. Trips to look forward to soon. 

7. A jogging stroller to use. 


Jesus Calling for Little Ones

I’ve been having fun receiving books to review for my son and this was another one that I was curious about!  I occasionally use the Kids Jesus Calling one with kids at church so I thought I might as well give this one a shot too.

When they say “little ones,” they mean it!  This is made like a board book and seems to be made to withstand some rough handling.  The pages are thick and sometimes stick together, which is not totally unexpected.  I love the board books where the kids can easily turn the pages.  I would put this one more toward the middle of the road.  Some pages he was able to turn by himself and others stuck together so he would turn multiple at once.  The illustrations are appealing as well as simple enough too.  There are things to point out on each page, but neither is it too busy.  I would say the book could be used for a very young child (0-2) to look at and shorten the sayings but that a lot of the content would be great for a little older kids.

In terms of content, there is a bible verse and a short devotional with each picture.  I love how the devotional style really invites kids to interact with Jesus and know that He wants to talk to them.  Some of the verses felt out of context with the devotional and there were a few potential theological issues as well.  At times, I agreed with the devotional content, but wished they had used a different verse.  Though, overall, I felt the book did a good job at speaking to kids about important topics such as how Jesus is with us, prayer, worrying, giving thanks, forgiveness, and joy.  I like how this book is different from others in this genre since it is not just a kid version of stories from the Bible.  I think it will be a good addition to our library and will provide a different way to talk about the Bible and God.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Awesome Marriage


I love marriage. I love being married.  I love seeing marriages thrive.  There’s something so powerful about watching two people who love each other and love God.  I even “let” God talk me into studying counseling with an emphasis on marriage and family while I was still single.

Now, there are a lot of books out there that tout advice and suggestions to married people or are about getting ready for marriage.  Since that is an area that I’m interested in continuing to learn about I thought I’d snag this book by Kim Kimberling to review.

I was thrilled that the author was easy to read and I did not feel like I was slugging my way through the reading.  There were a lot of marriage stories and stories about couples who went to counseling.  He didn’t shy away from sharing the stories that ended in divorce or where the couple didn’t change.  I felt like he provided some real perspective on the fact that happily ever after really does take a lot of hard work and perseverance.  These stories are scattered throughout each chapter.  He breaks up the chapters into what he calls the 7 Secrets.  Each secret can stand alone and also builds on the others.

I loved that he started out with recognizing the areas that hold us back and the patterns that we are repeating unsuccessfully.  Oftentimes, I find that I have habits or behaviors that I keep doing expecting different results.  Or I just want the other person to change.  This chapter touches on these areas and also highlights the benefits of counseling.

Now this is totally a book that centers on God and God’s involvement in the marriage relationship, which I personally think is a bedrock for a thriving marriage.  The second chapter really drives this point home.

Some of the other chapters focused on giving a couple tools for their marriage specifically in terms of how to connect, listen, being present, balancing time, and fighting.  There is a mix of practical things which were helpful, but likely could have been expanded on a bit more.  Personally, I felt the chapter on sex was not all that helpful and have found other books to better dive into that.  So, I wouldn’t recommend the book if that is the area that you are looking for help.

Overall, I liked the stories in the book best!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Few Thoughts

With Asher taking longer naps, I’m finding myself being able to jump into all sorts of fun things lately and I am loving it!  Plus, we have had a week full of fun morning activities too.  We’ve done a fair amount of walking/running too.  We went to the beach with friends yesterday and Asher had a blast walking around.  My little explorer would probably go far if I let him.  He just loves life and I find myself catching more and more of that from him–a good thing!

Then, this morning we headed out to the park for a play date with all sorts of friends, which was good for us!  He’s at the age where he can climb all sorts of places, but is not quite trustworthy to know that he can’t just walk off drop offs.  He likes to think that everything is a stair and well…he has no fear many times.  He’s also getting all sorts of his own opinion and personality–well…I guess he’s had that all along.  Nothing like an exuberant child!  Sometimes he reminds me of what I imagine I was like as a little girl.

Oh and continuing with the random thoughts.  I’m almost a fan of periscope.  Part of me is like who has time for this and why…and then the other part of me thinks it’s just plain fun.  I was just listening to Seth Dahl who is a children’s pastor and heard the best line.  Someone asked about what ages to teach certain things like speaking in tongues or praying or healing, etc.  The response back (from the guy speaking with Seth..I didn’t catch his name..maybe Jeremy?) was that instead of focusing on an age to “create opportunities not expectations.”  I love that!  Model the type of culture and environment you want.  Let the kids explore as they feel prompted and then I imagine they might have an easier time having it become a heart prompted thing rather than a performance or check list type behavior.  Plus, then you can cultivate conversations about those areas and hopefully create safe spaces.

Well, there’s probably more than a few thoughts for the day, but I’ve had fun checking in for a bit and now I’m off to read a book (The Miracle in the Middle by Charlotte Gambill). Ha, scratch that…nap time is over 🙂

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1 Year Old!

12 Months

FINALLY! I’ve had this post stuck in the drafts for over a month now…Asher’s birthday has long come and gone.  Thankfully, I wrote up the answers back around his birthday because I doubt I could have remembered the answers!  He is in full on toddler mode now and looking like a little boy!  I had been waiting to make up the picture above and then realized I never took one with his owl either…so that is still on my list!  Once that is taken then I can make a post with all 12 owl pictures for fun!  Oh and I really would love to do a birthday recap post too!  He had a pretty fun day.  He really has changed so much and I love watching him grow.  Celebrating him is so fun.

What we have learned…throwing a birthday party can be a lot of work and fun!  Asher’s also learned clapping and waving finally.  His “words” have gotten more variety and he’s pretty adorable when he changes his tone.

What we are enjoying right now…summer!  We are loving going outside–Asher is pretty insistent about going down the stairs and outside.  Sleep is great still too!  He’s sleeping longer naps in the afternoon and sleeping well at night too.  He still loves his books and loves to pull them off the shelf.  He’s a pretty cute little drummer too.

What our biggest struggles are…figuring out schedules and time!  June was a busy month and here’s to hoping July is a little quieter.

Asher’s most exciting milestones…making it to his 1 year birthday!!  Clapping and waving and walking are also things he’s doing well! Still hanging out with the 7 teeth but all are through far. He’s our talkative little guy most of the time, but he also has some quiet moments and seems to be a good mix of both.

What we are looking forward to…date night and a quieter month!  More time outside and maybe some beach time.

Asher’s likes and dislikes…he loves to walk and explore!  Opening and closing things is still a favorite as well as eating all the food all the time.  This kid can eat.  He loves brushing his teeth and drumming on anything and everything.  He hates when people shut the door or when he can’t reach the handle to the door to get out.

What sleep looks like…sleep has been great but a little erratic due to VBS, family gatherings, and the like.  He’s going to bed somewhere between probably 7:30-9 and then sleeping until like 7:30-9 depending on the day.  He’s been giving us great 2 hour or more naps in the afternoon.  Usually he will wake up in the 3-5am range to eat and then go back to bed.  All in all, we’re doing just fine.

What we are eating…so much food!! Seriously, I say it all the time but this kid can eat!  He’s pretty much eating what we are eating.  He’s down to 2-3 nursings a day (generally when he wakes up, somewhere in the afternoon and then sometimes one  at like 9 or 10 or nurse to sleep).  Hoping to transition to 2 and then eventually be done…

Who we have seen…so many people!  We got to celebrate Asher’s birthday with a mostly family party!  Relatives who live in China were home and my brothers were home.  They all had fun seeing how much Asher has changed since they last saw him!  We also got to go eat with Carrie, Mardo, and Micah which was so fun.

At the last doctor’s appointment…he had his 1 year check up!  He weighed 22 lb 4 1/2 and then was 31 1/4 inches tall.  So, 91 percentile for height and 63 for weight and 87 for head.  So he’s still our tall and skinny kiddo!  He’s mostly in 18 month clothes with cloth diapers.  He’s still wearing size 4 disposable diapers for bed.

Things I’m Loving!

This week has been a total mix of incredibly slow and super fast. Pretty sure by Tuesday I kept thinking it should already be Friday. But here we are.  So here’s a fun list of what I’ve been loving lately!

1. MapMyRun Challenges!!  I love that their challenges now can be against people you know. I’m currently competing against my brother and aunt to see who can complete the most workouts by August 28th!  We started on July 30th. I’ve logged 7 so far and am presently in the lead but they are both close behind me!  I’ve been doing a lot of running and sneaking in walk/runs as a family before bedtime!  I love a good challenge!  Here’s a picture from one of our runs to the park!

2. The way that Asher now brings me books and sits in my lap. Adorable. Oh and you better believe he’s got favorite books. He’s kind of particular. 5 Little Ladybugs, That’s Not My Tiger, Let’s Count, and Bebes Animales are a few that get read a lot!!

3. Speaking at Kids Camp! I absolutely love the atmosphere there and just the sweetness of kids excited about God. Being a counselor was one of my favorite things to do in the past and so I love seeing others in our church get that experience! Also, I’ve been loving digging into the GROW network from Highlands church and just getting excited about all God is doing and is going to do! 

4. Looking up things and starting to plan out our Africa trip! I am still a little like wait we are really going… But we are! And it’s going to come soon! I’ve been scanning Airbnb and looking around for fun things. So if you have any tips for traveling with a toddler or suggestions for things to do in South Africa let me know! I’m so pumped to show Ryan and Asher where I used to live 😊 oh and how sweet is that houseboat airbnb?! Not sure about it with a toddler but still!

5. Dove Mint and Dark Chocolate Swirls. I’m usually not a fan of dark chocolate and prefer white chocolate all the way but the mint is SO tasty in these! My mom keeps a stash in her freezer so I snag some whenever we are there. 

Say and Pray Bible

I was so excited to receive this book since I thought it looked like a fun combination concept!  I love the size and the thick pages.  The stories are very, very condensed.  They give a focused sentence or two around a story in the Bible.  Each story does include a verse reference and another verse over by the prayer.  The prayers are also kid friendly in length.  Various people, animals, and things are labeled in the picture so that while reading you can point them out.  Thus far, my son seems to like looking at certain pages and we have had fun pointing to the different things labeled.  I think this will only continue to get more use as he gets older and we can have more conversations.  I could also see using this as a launching point to help kids remember and retell the stories that they know in more detail than is provided.  This would be a good book for parents who have knowledge of the Bible.  I imagine this book is best for younger children (under 5) or for children who are starting to learn to read.  I feel like the illustrations are pretty nice as well–not too cheesy like some kids books and more on the animated side than the realistic.  All in all, I like the book and am excited to add it to our bookshelf!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”