Monday, January 8, 2018

Mama A's Favorite Things: January 2018

I remember as a teenager (and even as a college student and young teacher) trying to get home in the afternoons to watch the Oprah show at 4pm.  I loved watching her sing along with her musical guests, interacting with her audience, and I thought she was a smart host and not afraid of saying the hard things that sometimes need to be said out loud.  I don’t agree with everything she believes in, and I don’t agree with everything she says, but I sure did love watching the audience on her “Favorite Things” episodes.  They would absolutely lose. it. in the audience—and who could blame them?   Each person would receive thousands of dollars worth of Oprah’s favorite things (sometimes including a CAR!) 

As much as I would like to be able to say, “You get a car!  You get a car!” to each of you sweet readers, I’m just not Ms. Winfrey and rolling in the dollars.  However, I do have a few things that I’m loving these days and thought I would pass along to you.

I have been on the fence about Ugg boots for quite some time.  I like the idea of my feet staying warm, but I’m not in love with the idea of spending a lot of money on shoes.  I had a pair of LL Bean duck boots, but they always rubbed blisters on my heels, so sadly I had to get rid of them.  The Cecile is a fantastic boot and we just had several inches of snow and I’m happy to report they kept my feet dry and warm. 

This came from my cute cousin in Delaware as a Christmas present and I LOVE IT!  It is a chunky and not perfectly round mug, and I love her signature font on all of her pieces.  I can see where this line of dishes could become a bad habit, so it’s probably good she doesn’t have a store around here.

A year ago we were all down with the family flu—stomach virus, colds, fever, and exhausted.  My good friend, Kim, loaned me her Young Living diffuser and some oils and I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired that I gave it a try and I immediately ordered my own starter pack and jumped on the oils train.  Now, I do not believe that oils will fix everything that ails you, but there are a lot of wonderful benefits I’ve seen in my own home.  We’ve used them for stress relief, sleepless nights, aches and pains, congestion, headaches, and aromatherapy.  

Grits have been one of my most favorite foods since I was a little girl.  Mixing in some sharp cheddar and bacon or sausage, a little salt and pepper—heaven on a cold morning, or perfect for dinner.  I’ve experimented with making them off and on for years, but this week I made the most perfect pot of grits thanks to this recipe.  My husband did not care for the garlic, but my daughter and I ate them until our bellies were hurting.  

I used to enjoy watching The Weather Channel when I got ready to go in the mornings, but once I became married to a night owl who enjoys sleeping in (and small children), I decided to not turn on the television and remain quiet to keep people sleeping as long as possible.  For the last few months I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts on my phone while getting ready.  I have a variety that I love, the these are the ones I keep coming back to each week.  Luckily, they all release new episodes on different days, so I have new material almost every morning:

For the Love  I know Jen is one of those people that Christians either love (or love to hate) these days.  But I think she’s witty and so far I enjoy the topics she’s covered on her podcast (friends, fall, food, new beginnings).   
The Lazy Genius:  Kendra is a regular person with good ideas about systems, appreciates pop culture, and a mom just trying to make it each day.  In short, she’s normal.
Relevant:  This is a favorite for my teenager and she loves to listen to it while we’re riding in the car.  Current events, funny stories, great guests, and new music. 
The Next Right Thing:  Emily is one of my favorite writers.  Her voice is soothing and she invites grace into the ordinary.  Perfect for a Tuesday morning when I’m feeling less than graceful. 

Full disclosure, if you sign up for Young Living using this link I receive a small compensation which helps me purchase more oils for my family.  All other links in this post are things I love and adore and just wanted to share--these people/companies do not know me and I will receive no compensation for my reviews. 

Monday, January 1, 2018


Let us remember our past, but let us recognize we are standing in the present.

Let us embrace the things that have been placed in our laps and let us choose to hold them with great care.

Let us stand a little braver, a little stronger, and with a little more confidence in the fact that we don’t have to have it all figured out just yet.

Let us delight in the skills and talents that bring us great joy, while remaining thankful for the gift of creativity and craft.

Let the momentum of the first of the year remind us that we are also given a fresh start each morning. 

Let us be renewed by His Grace, and in our gratefulness, let us share it with those around us.

Welcome 2018.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


I'm busy this time of year, just like everyone else.  When December arrives I find myself in the midst of so many wonderful events.  It's the nature of the season, and it's the nature of my profession.  I love the concerts.  I love the decorations.  I love the thrill of wonder on the children's faces in my classes as their ears listen classic and traditional seasonal songs for the first time in 11 months or so.  I relish in all the sweet moments.

Christmas is also a difficult season.  We're tired.  We're broke.  We're struggling to make ordinary things a little more magical and it's easy to get all caught up in the festivities and find ourselves completely spent of time, sleep, and money.

I'm getting older, but I've never been able to get through the holiday season without at least one serious cold, a case of the blues, and dark circles under my eyes.  I take great pride in my celebration of the holiday season, which can sometimes be a sickness all to itself.  I'm all too happy to jump on the holiday event bandwagon, but like a kid who ate too many funnel cakes at the fair, sometimes it leaves me feeling a little less than jolly.

I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about all of the many things I must take care of on my list.  I fight the urge to have a pity party in the evenings when I just want to sit down on my couch.  Doubt and hurt feelings are quick to rise to the surface, and I find myself feeling extremely tender and vulnerable about this season and my involvement in all the things.

This season exposes all of our human limitations and makes it crystal clear why the world needs a Savior.  

We just don't always like to hear the Truth in those words. 

I want to be important.  I want to be current and valid and dependable.  I want my voice to have weight, and I want others to hear me and like what I have to say.  I want to create and celebrate and participate and do great things.  I want to bring others into the wonder of the season, and I want to sing and write and share.  

But, I must be remain aware of the stark truth: I can't save the entire world.  My birth was not one heralded by the angels, and my death will not pay the the price for sin.  

This season is not about me . . . this season is for me.  

Then let us all with one accord, sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made heaven and earth of naught
And with His blood, mankind hath bought
Noel. . . born is the King of Israel


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