Monday, December 31, 2018

Books read in 2018....

The goal for this year was to read 52 books.....and i completed it with 21 days to spare and added 3 more to the 52 
Totaling 55, for those who struggle with simple math, #handraised because honestly i usually struggle. 

Sisters-Lisa Wingate
Before We Were Yours-Lisa Wingate
Matched-Ally Condie
Kissing Father Christmas-Robin Jones Gunn
Waves of Mercy-Lynn Austin
The Precious One-Marisa de Los Santos
At Home in the World-Tsh Oxenreider
The Light we Lost-Jill Santopolo
The Noel Diary-Richard Paul Evans
The Masterpiece-Francine Rivers
Beartown-Fredrick Backman
The Turquoise Table-Kristin Schell
In This Moment-Karen Kingsbury
The Broken Road-Richard Paul Evans
The Shadow Sister-Lucinda Riley
The Broken Way-Ann Voskamp
Murder on the Orient Express-Agitha Christie
Bittersweet-Shauna Niequist
Flora & Ulysses-Kate DiCamillo
Miracle on the 17th Green-James Patterson
A Name Unknown-Rosanna M. White
An American Marriage-Tayari Jones
Crossed-Ally Condie
If I Run-Terri Blackstock
The Christmas Wedding-James Patterson
If I'm Found-Terri Blackstock
If I Live-Terri Blackstock
I'll Be Your Blue Sky-Marisa de los Santos
There You'll Find Me-Jenny B. Jones
The Pearl Sister- Lucinda Riley
The Invisible Library-Genevieve Cogman
Sandy Toes-Robin Jones Gunn
Salty Kisses-Robin Jones Gunn
Sunset Lulaby-Robin Jones Gunn
My Plain Jane-Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Austenland-Shannon Hale
Three Wishes-Lisa Tawn Bergren
Stuff I've Been Feeling Lately-Alicia Cook
Book of  a Thousand Days-Shannan Hale
Come & Eat-Bri McKoy
Discipline that Connects-Jim & Lynne Jackson
Horseradish-Lemony Snicket
Embraced-Lysa Terkeurst
The Mysterious Howling-Maryrose Wood
The Ministry of Ordinary Places-Shannan Martin
Poldark-Winston Graham
Cozy Minimalist Home-Myquillin Smith
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage-Ann Pattchet
Where We Belong-Lynn Austin
Chasing Slow-Erin Loecher
Demelza-Winston Graham
Jeremey Poldark-Winston Graham
Warleggan-Winston Graham
The Read Aloud Family-Sarah MacKenzie

Then there is this fun detail about the books i read this year.
you can click here on last years book list and see the book list from the previous years as well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas from our house to yours.
A Thrill of Hope
Click below for....

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Good Grief

The Stages of grief are an interesting thing. How do you walk through the first stage when another one faces you?
I don't really have the answer except to just walk through them all individually. Every stage is important for one reason or another.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Things I Learned this Fall

I participated in this link up with Emily P Freeman when she did what she learned every month. she has now revamped it to what she has learned in each season. 
Here is mine:

1. Bridges to songs are my favorite

2. Who actually really cares

3. There is something special about borrowing a book from someone and seeing what they underlined and marked and circled and noted. It gives you a little glimpse into their heart.

4. I feel like i have known this for a while, but actually writing it down and marking it as something, for whatever reason in the fall i usually slow down on the book reading. I really haven't figured out what it is about the season that makes me slow down. The books don't seem to be uninteresting but for some reason i slow down which is shocking to me because chilly weather and warm drinks make me think, i want a cozy chair and a book but it just doesn't happen that way.

5. On our last night of our cruise, I mentioned to my hubby that i was glad that we waited till our kids were 8 and 11 to take them on their first cruise. that i couldn't imagine taking them any younger. he leaned in and said, "and maybe they could have even been older."
I made the comment after seeing a set of parents juggling a 9ish month old baby and a toddler at dinner and not seeming to enjoy it all.

6. The Month of October holds a new meaning for me. Aside from it being my most favorite month, it now holds the realization that breast cancer has touched our family.

7. a mammogram appointment seems scary, especially when your little sister is walking through the battle of breast cancer.
I posted about my very first one and this was what i said:
So this happened, yesterday. 
Maybe you've seen my posts about my sisters journey, you've most likely seen hers.

My very first mammogram 
These gowns aren't the prettiest but there is something comforting about them.
They aren't scratchy like the paper drapes. And while I know they get cleaned between patients there is something soft and comforting about them. Knowing they have been draped over the shoulders of countless women who have gone before me, had this procedure, been brave and strong through positive and negative outcomes.
I didn't feel nervous but teared up when i started talking to the tech. She was kind and compassionate. Gentle in her answers and instructions.
I was told I would either get a call back and not to worry about that call back, it was in fact my first. Or a letter. It's been over 24 hours and I haven't gotten a call back. Guess it will be a letter. Also guessing that means all is well. .
So here is the first year of tests to be preventative and proactive as my little sister told me#checkyourself

Wednesday, November 07, 2018


When I had this little one i never imagined the ups and downs that would come with parenting him. There is so much i love about him and there is so much that drives me crazy about him. (those things are probably the things that are just like me)
The downs can hit pretty hard
Sometimes in the heat to of the moments i just can't think
later i process it all and try to jot it down
the other morning i pulled him aside and let him know how i process things and that i wanted to read him something i wrote down:
God did not make you hearing impaired as a bad thing. You were created that way to do something great. It may be difficult now but you are one amazing little boy. You will be able to use your struggle with hearing to help people one day. We don't know how or what that will look like right now. It may not be today or tomorrow. Maybe it's in a month or a year or when you are all grown up but it will happen and when it does i hope you see God in that.

Saturday, October 20, 2018


it has been over a month since i posted about my sisters breast cancer.
I am so thankful that i was able to be there the night before her surgery and the day of the surgery. 
seeing her the night before and enjoying a yummy shrimp boil and then seeing her after surgery was really good. wrapping my head around it all via phone calls and texts was really difficult. it was good to see her and hug her and know that she was okay and they she would make it through this and did.
she is over two weeks out from the surgery and since then we have found out that she now needs chemo as well.
and not just any chemo but the awful kind. she told me it is called the "red devil"
my heart just broke all over for her and the circumstances of it all.
my best friend sent me a text the day or the day after that i found out asking how my sis was doing?
I was a mess trying to hold it all together and looking into the info she sent me about the chemo and decided to tell her, since she asked.
after texting back and forth she asked me how i was doing?
this was my response:
heart broken
wishing i could be there
do more
feeling guilty
there are way too many emotions going through me right now
sometimes its easier to just not think at all
its been a rough week here but i'm sure not nearly as rough as hers
so i can't complain
i just really hate this for her

the emotions are still heavy all around, even when we think things start to settle with them all. i am thankful that my mom is able to be there with her and help with her boys while her hubby has been helping her.
 Here is her post about the next step in this journey:
Image may contain: one or more people and people standing 
Medical update for anyone who’s following me on this journey. I’m 2 weeks post op & have met with all 3 doctors. As of now my margins are clear & they got it all out! My surgeon & oncologist ordered 2 different tests, oncotype which tests 12 genes & mammaprint which tests 70 genes. My oncotype came back low risk & after surgery we were under the impression that I would not have to go thru chemo. Then the mammaprint came back as high risk, so chemo will help with the risk of return.
I’m having a port placed on 11-8 and then chemo will probably start 11-12. The regiment I will be on is AC-T. AC is a combination of 2 drugs called Adriamycin & Cyclophosphamide (aka the red devil) & T is Taxol. There will be 4 rounds of AC, once every 2 weeks & Taxol which will be once a week for 12 weeks. It will be a long 20 weeks but nothing I can’t handle.
Thank you all for the continued prayers. Thanks Jennifer for my cute mug. #lesleys_breasties #cupofcourage #shebelievedshecouldsoshedid #spiritleadmewheremytrustiswithoutborders

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Looking Back September Edition

Beauty in the every day

more cookie making (if you saw last month and all the cookie making then, well you understand)

We took the kids to an aquatic center for Labor day. it was lots of fun in the sun.

The week of Labor day i had off. Our office was closed for vacation. It was a good week to be closed for personal reasons that i will probably share at some point.
I was able to go to breakfast with my sister in law. it was a great time to chat and catch up and enjoy some yummy coffee and fruit bowl

and then after a week of being off there is this
there isn't much more that needs to be said. i think it is understandable.

There is way more that goes on my Instagram account that doesn't always transfer to the blog. here is one of those things. I posted this: We spent so much time deciding the details of the kitchen but a stainless steel farmhouse sink was always a must. My hubby wasn't too crazy about the ss idea for this very reason. Me, I kind of like it. I mean, one day they won't be there or be that little. It's easy to wipe off but for now I will leave those smeared finger prints on there. 

Side note: i haven't regretted the stainless steel choice of sink once.

Last YMCA football game. it was a good one.

They came home with report cards with all As an Bs.
As and Bs aren't something we expect. We want them to do the best they can. I am happy when they are happy with their best.

My mother in law celebrated a milestone birthday this year and for her celebration she wanted all 11 of us to head to Pigeon Forge to celebrate.  

It has been 16 years since my hubby and i have been. we went to Gatlinburg on our Honeymoon and made a visit to Dollywood. I didn't remember a singe thing about it but had a great time.

On September 25th my sister had a double masectomy. I wrote about some of it here. She is doing well and i may write more later but i got to help with the boys while she was in the hospital. my parents were there as well. My sister has taken a picture of her oldest headed into school (public school kindergarten) ever day since school has started so she asked me if i would snap one of his on this day. here he is headed in.

after school that day i got some snuggles with her youngest too. I love them both bunches.

My mom brought me my dance jacket from when I was in dance and Little girl wore it to her last dance practice of the month. She looked adorable. I love that my mom saves special things from my childhood.

Golden boys upward team didn't win his last game of the month but he did score the one and only touch down of the game that day. We still have the month of October to play ball.

We ended the month celebrating niece #2s birthday. It was a time of all girly things. They got their nails done, a facial (cucumbers included), their hair done and make up (complete with all the glitter)

I started quite a few books this month but have only finished a few. Here are the ones that i finished:

Friday, September 14, 2018

Walking out of the fog

 it's been two weeks since my sister's biopsy results came back and that the diagnosis was a double mastectomy. i believe i walked through a haze for a few days. my hubby was the only one i told.
she texted me wondering how to string words together in a post on Facebook to let others know. she was having multiple people ask the biopsy results.
her words are beautiful and painful and raw. here is what she said about the beginning part of her journey:
Mammogram, Biopsy, Carcinoma, Mastectomy
These are words I never thought I would hear spoken to me from a doctor- especially not at age 35. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind full of appointments, tests, hospital gowns, needles, ice packs, questions, prayers and lots of tears.
This is a brief run down of what’s going on-
August 17: Went for my annual checkup & found a lump in my left breast. A mammogram & ultrasound were scheduled.
August 22: Several nodules were then found.
August 27: Went for a consult with a surgeon. She did another ultrasound to confirm the spots and scheduled a biopsy.
August 29: Biopsy was done
September 4: Got a call with results. She said the preliminary diagnosis is mammary carcinoma, mixed ductal & lobular carcinoma. It’s intermediate & wanted me to have an MRI done that day. I went that afternoon for the MRI which scanned from neck to belly to see if there were any other questionable areas.
September 5: Met with surgeon & was told that estrogen and progesterone receptors were positive. It is currently ductal & the MRI did show a cyst in right breast also. We are still waiting for the rest of biopsy results to come back for HER2 results. We are praying it will be negative!
So after hearing all of this- what now? We discussed several treatment different options but surgery is a must. The plan is for a double mastectomy. Hearing those words makes me cringe but it has to be done. I meet with oncology and plastic surgery next week and will update when I can.
I hope this answers many questions.
Thank you for all for the love, support, texts, calls and prayers. #prayersforHER2- #maybepinkismycolor #fightlikeagirl #lesleys_breasties

Her strength shines through her words. I have always been blessed to call her my sister. I ache for what she feels. I told my best friend that i felt like it was all a bad dream and it wasn't even mine. I have cried more tears then makeup can cover, which means that she has cried even more. I will stand beside her in any way I can and ask that you stand with us in prayer during this time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Ministry of Ordinary Places

I feel greatly blessed to have been chosen to be part of the launch team for this book. this is the third launch team that i have been part of.
i have followed Shannan on Instagram for a while and i read her first book Falling Free

Here is a little about the book (taken from the books website)
Popular blogger Shannan Martin offers Christians who are longing for a more meaningful life a simple starting point: learn what it is to love and be loved right where God has placed you.
For Christ-followers living in an increasingly complicated world, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to live a life of intention and meaning. Where do we even begin?
Shannan Martin offers a surprisingly simple answer: uncover the hidden corners of our cities and neighborhoods and invest deeply in the lives of people around us. She walks us through her own discoveries about the vital importance of paying attention, as well as the hard but rewarding truth about showing up and committing for the long haul, despite the inevitable encounters with brokenness and uncertainty. With transparency, humor, heart-tugging storytelling, and more than a little personal confession, Martin shows us that no matter where we live or how much we have, as we learn what it is to be with people as Jesus was, we'll find our very lives. The details will look quiet and ordinary, and the call will both exhaust and exhilarate us. But it will be the most worth-it adventure we will ever take.

I posted a review of the book here on Goodreads.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book.
just know that there was so much more thank what is below.

You can pre-order a copy of the book here.
you can also read the first chapter of the book in the link above.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


I love seeing Gods hand work in things. 
We sure can meddle and want to control.
There was so many questions with school and 5th grade.
This year was the first year for the 6th graders to move to middle school so there was a lot of shuffling around of teachers in the elementary schools. 
There was so much i wanted to know and questions that i wanted answered. We just had to wait and see. 
When we got his teacher assignment the day of open house, I had no idea who she was. We met her at open house and all seemed okay. 
Then the first few weeks of school went by and more changes happened to the 5th grade.
There were a few changes for Golden boy but his home room class stayed the same. 
After hearing from her and all the other 5th grade teachers on curriculum night I am convinced that he has the best teacher for him. She is his home room and first block teacher, which is reading. She has a love of reading that seems to have rubbed off on my boy.
i love how God works in the details and when we give over that control we tend to have.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Looking Back August Edition

this was the month of cookie making
teeth loosing
fresh starts
new beginnings and adventures

date night with friends

this post on how I finally finished out my coffee station

we took the kids to see Christopher Robin.
I wore my red shirt to show some Winnie support. It wasn't a crop top (sorry, not sorry)

she lost another tooth. this one she pulled all by herself.
new game we bought and sat down to figure out how to play. Ticket to Ride Europe.
More Cookies
popsicles the day before school started.

a new adventure in dance for this one

water park day with a friend while the kids are in school.

first football game of the year.

they are falling out by the handfuls.

cheer camp. a new experience for her. 

started this book and helping with the book launch. I still have not finished it but know that it is wonderful and you should really preorder it here.
work night out with some of the girls from the office and friends.
the week after the cheer camp the girls that attended were able to go to the first football game and do a cheer for before the game.
oh yeah they are still falling out.

Books I read this month: