All my people gathered to honor me on my birthday! It was huge surprise and they did everything! They even planned to feed all of the little people first, which makes for a much more relaxing dinner, even though the little people still wander in and out.


They arranged it, decorated, brought all the food, wine, everything!!


And then…they presented me with the most precious gift, words.  Everybody had written a letter to me and they read them aloud after dinner.  Oh my goodness! What a blessing!


But this is the thing, I found myself discounting every word.  I could not receive the beautiful words they had written.  What in the world!!! I am guessing I am not alone.  How many times do we receive a compliment and immediately discount it as somebody just “being nice”? Even worse, as we spend time in God’s word, how much of it do we actually believe about who God says that we are!

I am so, so grateful that I realized it and was able to take in, to savor every word, to recieve the beauty behind the words as they were so thoughtfully written and allow them to be the blessing to me that they were intended to be!

My prayer is that we will all become better and better at receiving and believing the kind ways others bless us!

Learning to live loved,


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Bucket List

I have always kept a bucket list of sorts.  Things that I would like to do.  Dreams that I would like to see come to pass.  This. This was on my bucket list. I have always wanted to find a little cute beach house, unlike the huge houses we typically stay in to accommodate our growing family, something for just the two of us, and my dog.  And my dog.  That’s the thing. Ricky is not a huge dog lover.  But I dreamed of taking my dog for a romp on the beach.  I just knew my birthday was the perfect time to make my appeal.  It really didn’t take much convincing…for whatever reason, he is a sucker for a birthday celebration.  So it happened.  I have taken many, many soul satisfying walks this week on the beach with Baxter running alongside me, weaving in and out of the water washing in and out.  I have loved every second.

My baby girl and her sweet family drove down for a twenty-four hour stay.  It was perfect.  We crammed beach-walking, long porch talks, sunset strolls, all of it into such a short time, short and sweet. Watching Ally acquaint herself with the beach for the first time was absolutely magnificent!! The squeals, the marching in and out of the water…absolutely precious!  Maggie giggled as the waves went in and out and at the antics of her sister! Thank you Morgan and Barron! Your visit was perfect!



So, if you don’t have a bucket list. Make one.

I’m going to run now.  I have one more day.  On my bucket list for today…walks on the beach, killer guacamole, finishing my beach novel, this blog post (are you so proud Ricky?), an outdoor shower and maybe another moonlight walk on the beach.

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Live Your Life

This morning the dreadful news came by way of a phone call from a dear friend that another dear friend and her husband had been in a head on collision last night and were in critical condition.  Everything that was going on until that moment came to a halt!! The Christmas decorating, the plans to clean, errands, all of it! I prayed, I paced, I called my husband, my kids. The reality of the news and the delicate rhythm of our everyday lives suddenly became a little too real.

I wanted to do something.  Rush to the hospital? Obviously pray, and then pray again, and again and again for these dear ones. But I wanted to do more!! And then it came to me.  I needed to live my life. I need to live my life with more fervor and intensity than I had thought possible! This life is fragile.  It is precious. Every single breath! I am praying for a complete and full recovery my friends! But in the meantime, I will live my life. I will laugh more. Hug my people more. Throw money in the Salvation Army bucket EVERY SINGLE TIME I walk by the bell ringing Salvation Army person. And I will do it all as a tribute to my friends who were caught off guard last night.

This life is short. We are never guaranteed another day, or even another breath. Go and live the life you were created by a loving Father to live!

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The Gift of Friendship

When I got the text with a picture of my friend’s back porch dripping with wisteria and the invitation to “come” I was on the tail end of a stomach bug that had wiped me out and my initial response was … no way! But because I was challenging myself to “Thirty Days of Happy” I reconsidered. On many occasions, I’ll hop a plane to Tulsa for twenty-four hours of catching up. We have it down, and our time together never disappoints.  I looked at the flights and saw that I could leave early on Tuesday morning, have lunch, coffee and wine and get back home that night and sleep in my own bed! It was a plan.

After picking me up at the airport we headed straight to Utica Square. It was absolutely breathtaking! Dogwoods and rebuds were in full bloom! We grabbed a cup of coffee, made ourselves comfortable on a bench surrounded by tulips, and began catching up. I think in a span of 15 minutes we had talked about aging, kids, grandkids, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the most delicious thing we had eaten lately. It was amazing!

We met one of her daughters and a grandson around the corner and continued the conversation over a delicious lunch at Stonehorse Cafe. I loved watching my friend with her grandson!

Then we headed to the wisteria. It covered her patio and the smell…it was intoxicating! Such a beautiful home and I always love my time spent within its walls.  We continued to pour out our hearts over coffee, what the Lord has been showing us, passages of scripture that have been speaking to us, new books we are enjoying, savoring the time we had together.


What a beautiful gift the day was and so refreshing!

But this is the thing…I almost missed this gift of friendship. Years ago, when we first met, I almost let the enemy steal this friendship from me.  You see, my friend is a strong, beautiful woman. On fire for the Lord, passionate, and I was intimidated. She had a bigger and more beautiful home than me, she had more education than me, she was more. I was working through some of my own insecurities, learning who I was in Christ, but still not believing that it was true.  I almost walked away, scared I would not be enough. That who I really was would be found lacking.

The enemy of our souls does not want us to have those divine connections that encourage. That call us on. That call us higher. He is a liar.

As you read this, is there a relationship in your life that comes to mind? Somebody that you have met that maybe the Lord wants to use in your life to grow you up? To encourage you? Are you playing it safe spiritually?

May I challenge you to open yourself up to the possibility of new friendship? Maybe you have been playing it safe. Maybe you are even avoiding friends altogether, afraid you might come up short. It is worth the risk.

As I type these words, I wonder, do I really want to put myself out like there like this? Why don’t I just write a pretty little post about our visit and how much fun we had with some pretty picture of my friend’s pretty house. But I can’t. I know the importance of telling our stories. That by telling our stories it gives others permission to tell theirs.

I sat on my porch just today with a beautiful young lady and heard some of the lies that the enemy had been telling her and the thing about it is this, they might sound a little different but they all have a familiar ring, “you are not enough.” But as believers in Jesus Christ, we are more than enough! Because He is enough!

One of the books that I took with me to share with my friend is Captivating by John & Stasi Eldridge. I had read it years ago but was encouraged by another friend to pick it up again. (There it is again, a FRIEND encouraged me to pick it back up) Oh my goodness…so timely!

“Our God finds you lovely.  Jesus has moved heaven and earth to win you for himself.  He will not rest until you are completely his.  The King is enthralled by your beauty. He finds you captivating.”

My friend, you are captivating and He is enthralled with your beauty. My heart’s desire is that we would all begin to believe the truth of God’s word. That we would trust Him. That we would step out and embrace all of the beautiful friendships that He has waiting!

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 Easter is probably one of my favorite holidays. It represents all that our faith in Christ encompasses! Resurrection Sunday! I love the worship, the way that everything takes on more importance as we reflect on the days prior to the crucifixion, the actual crucifixion, all building up to the glorious resurrection!

I was so excited to celebrate with not only my church family but with our immediate family! I had asked the kids weeks earlier if I could have them on Easter for lunch. I never assume. We are blessed to not only have all of our children close, but they have their  families close too. So it was all set! This girl, #3,  was so excited and asked if she could help me decorate for Easter.


I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of decorating she had in mind, but I was totally up for it! She did not disappoint! She made little signs…


and more signs…


She then proceeded to craft each of her brothers and her cousins a little Easter book.


We had put candy in all of the eggs, we had all of the food prepared, and then it hit! The stomach bug! And it hit with a vengeance! We started dropping like flies!

It all started with  #7.


Our big celebration was put on hold. We are still cycling through it. It was definitely not in my “Thirty Days of Happy” plan. But praise God everybody is bouncing back and boy does it ever make you grateful to feel awesome!

I love all of the music surrounding Easter and these are some we have enjoyed as a family forevah! Enjoy!

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Chalkboards Make Me Happy!

I love to change things around and it is so easy to do with a chalkboard! My chalkboard has evolved over the years.  It had a humble beginning, as an old piece of wood painted with chalkboard paint, no frame. Then on one of my trips to Round Top, they were pulling a beautiful gold frame out of a truck and I grabbed it! It was perfect!

It has been perfect for making baby and wedding showers special, really any kind of party! I have had so much fun with it over the years changing it out. I keep a Pinterest board full of ideas.

So this weekend it is all dressed up for Easter.

IMG_1200It is so much fun to change it up for each new season or holiday.


My amateur chalking skills were not enough when she got really dressed up for my daughter’s wedding. We had to recruit my very clever and crafty neighbor to make her beautiful! She took her off the wall and everything!! Thanks Helen! I love having a creative neighbor who just happens to be one of the sweetest people that I know! An awesome combo to live next door to!


She was sure fancy that night!



Other than those last two pictures, I apologize for my terrible pictures! I promise I am taking an online photography class, I really am!

If you are interested in creating your own chalkboard, or even a chalkboard wall, Paige Knudsen has an excellent tutorial over on her beautiful blog.

Thanks for coming along on this Thirty Days of Happy! It’s been fun for me and I am grateful for every single one of you who are sharing it with me!


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The Gift of Time (and Dreaming)

This morning started out with one of the most treasured gifts that Ricky could give me. The gift of time.

We got our coffee, and perused my Pinterest boards and talked about all the ideas rolling around my head. He looked at the pictures, really heard my ideas! He even got the tape measure! That really gets me excited!

We have been talking for a while now about the fact that we have outgrown our dining table. When we all get together with the kids and grandkids there are 16 of us. I have tried a “kid’s table” but really I am not a fan. I love the kids to join us, and recently we stuck a table on the end of our dining table and loved the feel of it!

IMG_0495I have loved farm tables forever and have collected quite a few ideas. The table I have now does have extensions, and I love the idea of being able to have a smaller table when there are fewer people, but gosh…there is something to be said for those nice long tables.  Love the look!



I am so blessed in that if I can communicate my ideas to Ricky, he can do it! I’m telling you, I hit a gold mine with this one! We measured and decided we needed a 10 foot table.  Yikes! What do you think? Do you think I will tire of having that huge table all the time?

Let me know soon…I think he is cranking up the saw. 😉

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The Psalms

I love the Psalms. A lot. But this morning I fell in love with them all over again. Y’all, I get it. I understand that we need to know who the book was written to, what was it’s intended purpose, all of that. But I also know that God wants to communicate with His children, that He is alive, close.  Then this…


He had my attention! OK…first of all…I read through the Psalm every month.  And I have never, ever seen this!  Are you kidding me!

This little scripture brought about the sweetest time with the Lord!  What if we knew that the next prayer that we breathed would be answered right away.  What would you pray?

Ricky and I were having this discussion earlier. You could ask for health but what good would that be without Godliness? The same with prosperity. I am still thinking about it but I think I would ask to have an increasing hunger and thirst for righteousness. To be so hungry for the Lord that nothing else mattered.

I think that my perspective on prayer is forever changed. God’s word will do that to you, you know?

I am so grateful.

Psalm 2

Why the big noise, nations?
Why the mean plots, peoples?
Earth-leaders push for position.
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks,
TheGod-deniers, the Messiah-defiers,
“Let’s get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!”
Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing.
At first he’s amused at their presumption;
Then he gets good and angry.
Furiously, he shuts them up.
“Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion? A coronation banquet
Is spread from him on the holy summit.”

Let me tell you what God said next.
He said, “You’re my son,
And today is your birthday.
What do you want? Name it:
Nations as a present? continents as a prize?
You can command them all to dance for you,
Or throw them out with tomorrow’s trash.”

So, rebel-kings, use your heads;
Upstart-judges, learn your lesson:
Worship God in adoring embrace,
Celebrate in trembling awe, Kiss Messiah!
Your very lives are in danger, you know;
His anger is about to explode,
But if you make a run for God-you won’t regret it!

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30 Days of Happy

April is finally here! The month I am declaring my “birthday month”! I decided a long time ago that the best way for me to “birthday” was to take all of the expectations off of the people I love and take care of myself on my birthday.  While it may sound selfish, it has actually turned out to be a very good thing.

Growing up, I shared a birthday month with my brother and sister.  She always got to hold the cake…


My birthday for as long as I can remember, has been a time when I really, really, in my heart of hearts believe that I am something special. Created and loved by a heavenly Father that knows all about me and still delights in me. I anticipate those times of quiet reflection, on the year past, on the year to come, all that He has in store.

So, I am calling this little celebration, 30 Days of Happy. You can follow along if you’d like. (or not, I totally get it!) I’ll be sharing some of my favorite things.

I am so grateful that Ricky gets it! This morning as I went for my second cup of coffee and this little surprise was waiting on me and inside the card it said “Happy Birthmonth!”. He’s in!


Who knows? You might decide to throw yourself a party!

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The One Thing

Image 7You would think that after living a whole lot of years that I would get some things so imbedded in me that I would never have to relearn them.  I guess not.  I just came out of a particularly busy season to NOTHING! Does that ever happen to you? Run, run, run, busy, busy, busy…then nothing! I’m not going to lie, the break has been wonderful! But it left me a little off-balance.  You know, kind of looking around wondering, now what?

Image 6

While in this particularly busy season, I abandoned the one thing that keeps me centered.    The Word.

I was reading lots of devotionals, inspirational ditties, even books about The Word.  But I wasn’t reading The Word. and I came up short, off balance, lacking, needy.

Image 4

Exciting activities  full of goodness, life, my very favorite things and people are not enough. I was created to have communion and fellowship with my creator, and there is NOTHING that can fill that space created for Him and Him alone!

Image 5I know that things will get crazy busy again, very soon. But I will stay in The Word! Without it I will come up short. And so will you. Hebrews 4:12 say that
“the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

I need my soul and spirit to be divided, I long for the thoughts and attitudes of my heart to be judged!

I am so grateful for a Savior that not only saved me but gives me His Living Word to sustain me!

ImageCommit with me in this busiest of seasons, to not abandon The Word. Even to really good things.

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