Finding Light in Strange Places

2 Oct

A couple of weeks ago Bennett picked this flower, roots and all,  and brought it inside as a gift to me.


I was just a little agitated because I didn’t even plant these this year, it came up in a totally random place, and it sprouted way later than it really should have. It just seemed like it was meant to be there. I’ve really been trying to pick my battles, so I filled a vase with water and stuck it in the windowsill with little hope that it would last.

I haven’t written a post in quite a while. I was really struggling with some things that I needed to figure out and I just didn’t feel like I could write anything without sounding dreary and depressing. I had what I felt was a very rough year at work and as the year continued, more and more things started to pile on. It wasn’t all bad, but when I looked around I saw family members battling cancer, a dear friend doing the same, and a young cousin that lost his life in a tragic car accident. I felt like I had done my very best at school and wasn’t seeing the results I expected to see. I was very much “in the dumps”.

I kept thinking I must have done something to have so many negative things going on around me. As much as I thought of it, I couldn’t find a “why” so I started praying about it more. I started noticing that these people who were dealing with these things on a first-hand basis weren’t asking “why me”. They were praying for God’s help and praising him for small miracles. I saw them finding strength in Him. I saw them helping others find strength. I also saw families coming together and finding peace after the loss of my cousin and then the passing of my friend at the end of the summer.

I know that none of these individuals or their families have completely overcome the issues they are and have been dealing with, but I know that things have been made easier because of their relationships with Him.

I have really been working on my relationship with God and have been trying to praise Him and turn to him in my time of need rather than depending solely on myself. I feel a new peace, less worry, and more strength. I know that He has a plan for me and will not make me carry the weight on my own. I feel better at home and at work and I know that my family and my students are benefiting from my renewed spirit and positive attitude.

Tonight I am writing in honor of and praying for my cousin Lora, her new baby Harper, her husband, and twin girls. Lora delivered Baby Harper last Sunday at 26 weeks. He weighed in at 1 lb 9 oz and is fighting hard right now. You can read more about Lora and sweet Baby Harper on her blog Raising Steppe Sisters.

One of my favorite lines in a Grateful Dead song says “Once in a while you’ll be shown the light, in the strangest of places, if you look at it right”. When I looked at that flower tonight, growing  in a vase with just a little water and sunlight, I thought of myself and the happiness I’m feeling from getting that necessity that’s been lacking in my life and of little Harper thriving in less than favorable conditions. I know that both of us will be just fine as long as we trust in the Man upstairs.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done.  Philippians 4:6


Normal, What’s That?

1 Jul

The past couple weeks have been nuts!!! There has been nothing normal about it. We have been on the go and travelled more miles than my tired tushy cares to think about. I figured I’d throw out a quick and dirty recap for you though.

In my last post that was, well, forever ago, I told you about my first out-of-town work trip. I went to Pickwick with my friend Angela. I was excited and nervous about my first trip without either of my boys and took this picture from our balcony the day we got there.


Besides all the learning and the majorly long ride we had on the third day of the trip, we had a little time to take in the beautiful scenery that is Pickwick and the Tennessee River.


Angela and I headed back around noon on Friday and made it home in time to see Bennett for a few hours before Chris and I hit the road for a town outside Indianapolis. We left at 2 am and by the time Chris took this picture, we had been on the road for nearly four hours.


You know I had to take a picture of the stadium where the Colts play since my boy Peyton used to play there.


We got to Indy just before 10 am, took about an hour to stretch our legs, and then hit the road for another seven or so hours before we got to my dad’s in Paris, TN. We woke up early Sunday to head home to our B. Why did we make this fast, but long trip? So we could replace an item that brings so much joy to our little family. If I show you this picture of B from Sunday afternoon, can you guess what it is?


Yep, we got a new boat! No, I don’t like it as much as our last boat, but Chris is in love and I know he’s got big plans to make it everything I want it to be (mostly).

Chris had to leave Monday morning for Oklahoma City for work. I know he was slaving away and missed us terribly. Hold on, nope, nevermind. He was working in a ridiculously  cool mall and staying in a great hotel. If you follow him on Instagram, I’m sure you saw the pics of the pretty pool in his hotel and his fave new restaurant, Twin Peaks (in his words “like Hooters, but with better food”).

Well, my girls called with a great idea. They suggested we drive to Nashville for some fun in the sun and a little shopping. The Opryland Hotel gives teachers a discount and you’d think that means a funky room in the basement, but we had a great room with a beautiful view. If you’ve never been to the hotel, I would highly recommend it for your next trip to Nashville.

When we arrived on Tuesday, we went straight to Nashville Shores, which is a huge water park with fun stuff for people of all ages. Afterwards, we checked into the hotel, got cleaned up, and went to a restaurant in the resort for dinner. The food was amazing, but the atmosphere and scenery were unbeatable. Bennett was so confused by the abundant foliage and couldn’t understand that we were still in the building.

We got up Wednesday ready to explore the other sections of this 3,000 room resort. I just could not get over how incredible it was. My pictures don’t do it justice, especially since my camera died less than halfway through.




We checked out of the hotel and headed over to the Opry Mills Mall. We had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe and then spent hours upon hours shopping in many outlet stores and several stores I’ve only shopped online and in my dreams.

After this whirlwind trip to Nashville, Bennett and I passed the time until Chris got home Saturday night. Ahhhhhhh, now we are back together, in our house, back to normal…until mid-week when we hit the water to celebrate the 4th of July.

Hope you are enjoying your summer no matter how abnormal it may be:)


So Long, Suckers

18 Jun

I’m leaving for my first out-of-town business trip tomorrow. I’ll be gone for four days. I know it doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but I have never been away from Bennett longer than two days. I haven’t been the least bit worried since I worked out a schedule for who would be keeping B during the day…until yesterday.

Chris, B, and I were driving down the road and I was explaining the schedule. Chris gave me the craziest look and asked something along the lines of “How do I know what he’s supposed to wear?” I know you’re thinking he must be the least hands-on father ever, but he’s actually awesome and extremely involved.  He just doesn’t do things the way I do, which is fine, as long as the kid isn’t leaving the house And no one is trying to set foot through the door.


A  couple weeks ago Lindsey told me she put dinner in the Crockpot for her family since she’d be out for the night. I told her that I had the “so long, suckers” attitude. You know the frame of mind where you think “They can fend for themselves. As long as they’re alive when I get back, then we’re good to go.” But yesterday I kind of panicked.

So today I cleaned the house so that their Tazmanian Devil-like behavior wouldn’t compound mess on top of mess, laid out four days worth of clothes, which are in piles across the dresser to be worn in order from left to right, and went to the grocery store and purchased snacks and food that require no more prep than being popped in the oven and flopped on the plate.

Now I’m getting a little excited to get away, relax, and see if they can make it without me and learn something new. I’m going with one of my best friends and, since we’re going to a town that I’m pretty familiar with, I am determined that we are going to have a blast. I know I’m going to miss my guys, but I’m looking forward to this girl’s vaca/work thing.

Cross your fingers for us and if you see B this week and he doesn’t match, say a prayer, because Chris abandoned my plan:)

Have a great week!


How To Save Your Sanity This Summer

6 Jun

I dream about my summer vacation all year long and think about how nice it will be to not have to drag myself out of bed every morning.  And then it gets here and I spend about a week at home working around the house and I’m over it.  I do like to sleep in a little later each day, but I start getting cabin fever pretty quickly.

This year I decided I was going to nip the cabin fever in the bud before I started to question my sanity. I looked around to find some fun stuff to do without spending a ton of money and thought I’d share what I’ve found so far.

Monday I took Bennett to story hour at our local library. It was completely free and included a snack and drink.  The kids listened to a story, got to see a real piece of construction equipment (which went with the book they read), and then broke into two teams to play a game. Here is a copy of the themes Munford Library will be following each week. image

Before we left the library, Bennett picked out a book to take home for the week. He chose The Lorax by Dr. Seuss because he loves the movie. So, the next day, we read the book, watched the movie, and then pulled out the paint and sketch paper to make our own Truffula trees.  He followed my lead and painted the whole thing by himself except the actual Lorax. He didn’t make it quite as far as I did, but he had a great time while we worked on them, so I think we’ll try to do some kind of activity with each book he checks out this summer.


Our local movie theater has teamed up with several sponsors to offer a free movie on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this summer. They are also offering a child’s drink and popcorn for $3, which is much more manageable than normal prices.  We went this Wednesday and have already snagged tickets to next week’s show as well. Here is a copy of the schedule for the movies at Atoka’s Cineplanet 16.


A friend reminded me about  This program is offered across the country and offers registered kids two free games of bowling each day throughout the summer.  Shoe rental is not included, but only costs $2. You can also get a family pass for up to 4 adults for about $25. This allows each of the adults to play up to two free games per day with the children.  I think this is a steal!

Otherwise, I think our days will be filled with swimming with friends and play dates at the park.

Got any other summer sanity saving ideas? I’d love to hear them!


A Taste of Something New

4 Jun

I was totally prepared to post my summer bucket list in Holly’s linkup, but, unfortunately, some things got in the way and I just couldn’t get to it. I will say that I’m already checking off a few things on my bucket list. I did take B to this summer’s first session of story hour at our local library.

Another thing on my bucket list is to try to cook at least one new recipe each week. During the school year, I hate cooking after I get home.  I try to sling something together just to get the job done.  One of my favorite things about summer is that I get my love of cooking back.  I thoroughly enjoy working away in the kitchen with a good adult beverage and some tunes blaring throughout the house.


I decided to use my extra time this summer to find some yummy new recipes to add to my rotation once school gets started this fall. Of course, I immediately went to Pinterest. Here are the things I’ve tried so far.

The first thing I made is Bacon Ranch Potatoes. These were easy and went really well with  pepper stuffed bacon wrapped turkey that Chris was cooking in the picture above. I added some onion slices to the foil pouch as well and we loved the flavor. Next time I make these I will leave them in the oven for about an hour so that they’ll be good and tender.


The next thing I tried was a hit. I used Oikos Plain Greek yogurt instead since it was on sale, but we’ve already gone through two batches of this awesome, healthier version of ranch veggie dip. Bennett and I have been devouring carrot sticks and sliced red bell pepper thanks to this concoction. I even added a small amount to a veggie packed breakfast scramble, which gave it a great flavor and creamier texture.


I tried two more recipes tonight. The first is roasted Brussels sprouts. I didn’t follow this recipe to a T. I used frozen Brussels sprouts and garlic powder instead of onion powder because that’s what I had on hand. They were ok, but not something that will be a frequent flier in our kitchen.


Our main dish ended up being really good though.  I used frozen uncooked shrimp instead of fresh, but otherwise followed the recipe. Bennett wasn’t a big fan of the shrimp, but I think the flavor was just a little too strong for him. Chris ate his weight in every shrimp that was left in the pan. He thought they were very similar to shrimp scampi. This was super simple to put together and will definitely show up on our table again.


If you’d like to see more on these recipes or what I might be cooking up next, follow me on Pinterest.

I’ll keep you posted on my next ventures in the kitchen this summer. Do you have any suggestions for me to try?


My Kind of Town

2 Jun

I’ve talked a little bit before about the small town that I was raised in and where I chose to move back to start my adult life. The town of Munford has a motto that is posted right in the middle of town. As you pass the small city hall you will see “My Kind of Town.”

I’ve always thought of this as my kind of town. When I moved to Memphis during college, I enjoyed being close to school and being just down the road from the mall, downtown, or anything else that I might want to get into, but I always knew that I would be coming back home to Munford.

All of the other education majors would ask about why I would choose to teach in Tipton County if I could make more money working out in Memphis. My friend and I would tell them about the great atmosphere and southern hospitality that make it ideal for settling down and raising a family.

I love that many of my childhood friends still live here. I love that many of our parents were friends and our families have known each other forever. I love that our kids can grow up together and that I can, generally speaking, trust anybody.  I love that there are teachers in our schools who taught us and that I had teachers who taught my parents.  I love that, even though our town has grown at an amazing rate,  giving us many more things to do in town, we can still drive down roads that don’t look like cluttered neighborhoods. We can find a country road where we may not see a house or another car for miles. We can see beautiful green pastures and fields and glimpses of the Mississippi River.

However, this past Thursday night, while we were at Bennett’s last ball game of the season,  a thieving predator swooped into our driveway and drove away with our boat. The bottom-feeding loser had to be watching because 14 minutes after I pulled out of the driveway, a friend identified the boat several miles from our house. He must have seen that Chris and B had their uniforms on and that we wouldn’t be back for a while. I guess he knew what he was doing.

What he didn’t know is that almost every house he passed for the first mile is a relative of mine. He also didn’t know that his truck would be identified by my aunt, a cousin, and two other friends as he drove down this road. You see, another reason that Munford is my kind of town is because there are so many people here that are willing to look out for each other and lend a helping hand. So, although the police have not located the boat, they do have leads that are helping them with the search.

I have been very upset by this violation to my personal property, not only because of the principle, but also because I had to watch my 4-year-old son cry because his boat and brand new fishing pole had been taken. We have had so many good times on that boat whether it be fishing in a local lake or just hanging out on the Mississippi or Tennessee Rivers.

So, as I sit inside on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon, when I would normally be cruising on my boat, I have a message for the low life SOB that has some bad karma headed his way:

A) You will reap what you sow and must face the consequences at some point.

B) You may have taken this


But you will never take all of the wonderful memories that were made


or the ones that are yet to be made.



C) Just so you know, we don’t take kindly to folks like you around here. So, if I were you I’d take my ass somewhere else because these country folk may appear pure as gold, but we all have a little redneck that’s ready to come out when someone does our people wrong.

This leach on society has my invitation to pack his crap and hit the road, because THIS is MY KIND OF TOWN.



4 Things I Love About Blogging

28 May

I started blogging on January 1st of this year. I decided to give it a try to help keep me accountable for sticking to goals that I set for myself.  Although the frequency of my posts varies, there are consistent reasons that I love blogging.

1) One of my original goals was to document more of our lives. I wanted to do a better job of keeping up with the things my family does and the amazingly fast growth process that Bennett is going through.  I’ve only been blogging for a few months, but I already love going back occasionally and reading a post or looking at some of the older pictures I’ve posted.  It is cheaper than printing a million pictures and allows me to describe the events in more detail than I would in a scrapbook.

2) Blogging has allowed me to make connections with friends and family, old and new. I’ve had old friends tell me they like reading my posts and keeping up with the things that we’re doing even though we don’t get to talk very much.  I’ve seen family members that we haven’t seen in years that say they read my posts to watch Bennett grow and change. I’ve also connected with new friends that either write their own blogs or just enjoy reading blogs.  Some of these women have given me good ideas, tips, and support which has been greatly appreciated.

3) Who can pass up cheap therapy? Sometimes I just feel better after sitting down and putting my thoughts out there. I’ve told you I’m very social, but every now and then I just need to vent without getting tons of feedback. Typing out these posts allows me to think things through and really wrap my mind around them.

4) This last thing really hit me today. I’ve been way off of my routine with eating and working out and after taking the time to catch up on my blog reading, I feel inspired to get out there and get back to it.  I’ve looked up some new recipes to try this summer while I’m off and I’m just waiting on sunset to hit the pavement. This is one of my favorite things about blogging, knowing I can jump on the Internet at any time and read tons of motivating women’s stories.


What’s your favorite thing about blogging or reading blogs?