And now for my rapping debut….ahem…..

I like CDs and I cannot lie.

You other brothers can’t deny

that when you pop that case,

slide it in its place

you get…umm…happy?

Hmmm, ok, think I’ll keep my day job.  But really, I am an unapologetic CD lover.

I get made fun of really all the time.

Hurts a little but I never cry…

haha ok ok, I’m done I promise. I just love them – getting to pick them out at “Wally World,” opening the plastic by those little triangle folds, wrestling with the most horrible sticker ever, and finally skimming through the songs in the car like I’m at buffet. Little bit of this…little of that….ewww this is horrible….hmm I like this one.

My husband got me a CD for Christmas. I can’t say I recommend the whole album, but there is one song that got me thinking (even though I don’t entirely love it either). The song is called “Most People Are Good.”

Have you noticed that there’s some really horrible things going on in the world? Like, horrible, tragic, unimaginably bad things. Is that because the world is getting more and more messed up and violent? Or is it because we have more to-the-minute coverage and knowledge of virtually everything going on? I guess it’s a little of both. I know that sometimes it seems like everyone is out to get each other and that “good” people are few and far between. But really, I don’t think that is the case. Sometimes “good” is found in unexpected places.

Awhile back, I was working in the kitchen and needed some eggs (you can already tell that this is going to be an exciting story, huh? 😉 ). I opened the egg carton, and on the inside of the lid, I saw this…


In case you can’t read it, it quotes Psalm 118:24

This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

See? Unexpected. I know I had never looked for Biblical encouragement from a carton of eggs before. Even on the days where it may not feel like it, we have much to be grateful for and rejoice about. It reminded me that no matter what is going on, that God is still in control and that he sustains us.

It’s kind of crazy how small gestures can totally make someone’s day. Not too long ago, I did a little activity with a group of girls that to me, was no big deal. However, I got 2 thank you notes from two ladies I really admire saying how much they appreciate me and the activity we did. That meant so much to me. I kept both notes, and they’re stashed in my Bible for safekeeping.

There are so many simple things we can do each day to prove there is still good in the world. We can tell a friend we haven’t talked to in awhile that we’re thinking about them. We can hold the door for a stranger. We can let someone go ahead of us in line at the grocery store. We can snail mail a birthday card (who doesn’t love getting one of those?!). We can volunteer. We can pray.

I know these little things don’t mean that most people in the world are good, but I think that whatever we look for in the world, we will find. If you look for the scary and bad things, no doubt you will easily find them. If you optimistically look for positive things, you will find them too.


Today, do a little good in a world that needs a lot of good.





(Thanks un-named friend for helping me narrow down my topic for this week 🙂 haha)

Unsolicited Marriage Advice From A Non-Expert (aka #33)

Unsolicited Marriage Advice From A Non-Expert (aka #33)

When you go through a major life change, there is no shortage of “expert” advice whether it be from friends, family, coworkers, or the ever popular Google search. I think it’s part of the fine print – “Dear Kelcey: In light of the recent change to your lifestyle, you may now anticipate an influx of advice and opinions.” It’s not a bad thing – I just think it’s others’ way of helping you learn from their experiences and re-live them from their new perspective.

When we got married, we were given a lot of advice. Like, a lot! Some of it was great and we took it to heart, and some of it, though it was well-intended, was frankly really quite terrible. Those are the instances where you just smile and nod politely until the moment passes. At work, we had a little shower for a coworker who was recently married. We all took turns going around the circle and imparting words of wisdom to the bride to be. Same rule applies: some of it was really touching and thoughtful, and some of it made me squirm.

There are a lot of people I care about getting married in 2018. Each are planning their idea of a perfect wedding day; sending out invitations, picking out tuxes and gowns, cake sampling, “sweating for the wedding,” and everything else that goes along with their big day. Not only that, they are trying to figure out what happens the day after their wedding – what real life will look like. They’re navigating questions like where they will live, what household items they need, what will their job situation look like, how will we do thing called life together….just like we did 6 years ago.

So now, here are a few things I’ve learned that I wish to share…

Put God first.

If you’re like me, you have heard this countless times throughout your life. You’ve probably heard it so many times, that sometimes it’s hard not to smile and nod through it. You know that’s what you’re supposed to do, but what does that really mean and how do you do it? For the first few years of our marriage, I thought that we were doing this. We were happy. We enjoyed sharing a home. We always had fun together. We would go to services Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night (when work didn’t interfere…I’ll touch more on that in a minute). We were being hospitable. We were trying to make wise decisions. We weren’t doing “bad” things. Those things are all good, but they do not always indicate that your priorities are in order. You know what we weren’t doing? Praying together. We’d have time to watch multiple episodes of a TV show, but not read our Bibles. We weren’t very involved with our local congregation; it was more of a “hi / bye” thing. We were facing trial after trial and trying to figure out how WE could fix it, instead of remembering that God is in control. I’ll draw you a picture…

This is what you are supposed to do. God is first. As you each grow closer to God, you grow closer to one another. As you grow closer to each other, you grow closer to God.

good triangle

This is more what I feel like I were doing (I won’t speak for CJ…that’s why his line is nice 🙂 ).

bad triangle

I was learning how to be a wife and put someone else’s wants, needs, and desires above my own (which didn’t always happen). I would go through phases of really wanting to be a strong Christian, but it wouldn’t last long or I wouldn’t take action to better myself. At this time in our lives, I was in a really horrible job environment. Like, really horrible. Which is weird because I loved what I did! I don’t think I am to blame for all of it, but now looking back, I wonder how much of it I brought on myself because I wasn’t acting like the person I knew I should be and keeping my priorities in line.

So, remember that putting God first takes intentional action and is not just checking off your attendance or being a “good” person. If you are not purposefully seeking him in all things, keeping him at the forefront of your mind, and studying the Bible on a regular basis…you aren’t doing putting him first. Until you do, your marriage cannot be all that he intended for it to be.

The climate of your relationship will change.

With all of these soon-to-be married couples, I can’t help but be a little jealous in a reminiscent sort of way. Sometimes I find myself saying “remember when we were like that…” or “remember when you used to…”

There is something very special about your relationship before you are married; all of the anticipation, excitement, and unknowns. There are parts of that relationship that will never be the same after you are married. But, that isn’t a bad thing…it’s just reality. For example, I used to get “Good morning, beautiful” texts in the morning before class. Now, I get a playful “go get’em” pat as I walk out the door. I used to pace the floor and peek out the window (being ever so careful to not get caught peeking out the window) whenever I knew he was coming over to pick me up. Now, those sweaty butterflies have been replaced by me eagerly listening for the sound of his car door in the drive as I put away dishes. We used to daydream about getting to spend every night together cuddling until we fell asleep. Now, that lasts a few minutes and then it’s a quick goodnight kiss before we roll over. Sometimes we play and say “I still love you” as we roll and retreat to our own sides of the bed.

In some ways, I miss the pre-married versions of us, and from talking with some older ladies, I think I always will in some sense. But as we age together, I discover more and more amazing things about him and love him more today than I did the day I became his bride.

You’ll discover some obnoxious quirks, but even more endearing qualities.

When you live with a person, you get to know them on a whole new level. You’ll learn how many times they hit the snooze button, if they shed like a dog or not, and if they snore like a freight train. CJ, bless his heart, is one of the most forgetful people I know. Honestly, sometimes it really frustrates me and I feel like saying “how could you forget that?! You’re 30 years old!” So, I’ve taken on the role of the “master remember of all the things.” Then when he does remember, it’s like an unexpected Christmas present! I’ve also learned that he doesn’t like the corner of his sheet tucked in. I’m not really sure how the tallest person in our relationship (me) likes it tucked it and CJ can’t even reach the corner, but goodness knows if it’s tucked he’s gonna kick it out! He doesn’t understand why we even make the bed in the first place, but I finally convinced him that “adults make their beds” (even though I know he only does it to make me happy). He’s learned that I talk (or most often than not, giggle) in my sleep nearly on a nightly basis and that I like the sound of the dishwasher. He’s learned that my reset button is a long and tight hug and that clutter is my arch nemesis.

But on a more endearing note, I’ve learned that he can fix just about anything armed with a few tools and YouTube. Reese’s Trees are the way to his heart (and Dr Pepper, Cracker Barrel, brisket…ok, food in general). He is a rule follower. He wholeheartedly wants what is best for Avery and I above what is best or convenient for him. He is the most genuine and best person I know.

Once you’re married, you will start learning these things about each other, and it will continue as you go through life together.

Every day won’t feel like a fairy tale. It doesn’t mean you  have a bad marriage.

I told someone once that dating/marriage isn’t like a fairy tale from a Disney movie, and they got really upset and said how that was “disappointing.” There are definite moments when it feels like that, but no, every day, 24/7 is not a fairy tale. I think it’s best if I bust that bubble right now because if you go into marriage with that as your expectation, you will quickly find yourself upset and disappointed when real life sets in.

Ask permission.

I’m thinking out of everything, that this will be the least popular piece of advice. It is Biblical for the wife to submit to her husband. That rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but if your husband is acting like the man God wants him to be, then submitting to him is much less of an issue and more of a pleasure. Submission doesn’t mean not having an opinion and rolling over every time he says something. Submission is letting him lead your family with honor.

I ask CJ’s permission before I plan to do anything and it’s not because he has to “OK” my every move or because he’s a control freak. I ask his permission out of respect and as a courtesy to him. I ask permission before I make plans with a friend for the evening. We ask each other before spending money outside of the normal day-to-day expenses. It really doesn’t seem weird to me. It doesn’t mean that I’m any less valuable than he is, or vice versa, but it keeps us on the same page and working as a team.

Take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class.

I’ve talked about this in an earlier blog (#8). End of story – take it. Take it now.


So there you have it…unsolicited marriage advice from yours truly. I hope that something I said was helpful and that you will be able to use it in your marriage. If you are getting married, or seriously considering it, think long and hard about the commitment you’re making. But know that you are embarking on one of the best and most special adventures ever with the person you love most.


22Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:22-33





Have you ever had to make lemonade out of lemons? Well the other day I helped make lemonade out of kids and the flu. No, not literally you weirdo. The flu this year is no joke! People we attend church services with started dropping like flies a few weeks back, but it hit an all-time high this past week. And if the sick people at work would keep their cooties at home, I’d be much obliged.

A lot of the ladies take turns rotating in and out each quarter of the different Bible classes on Sundays and Wednesdays. This quarter, I’ve been working in the 4-6 year olds’ classroom. I love that age group! They’re old enough to not need a lot of “crowd control” and can interact with me, but still innocent, pure, and young enough to be excited about learning new things. Plus, they think I’m just hysterical *sarcastic hair flip*. Right now, we’re learning about the Judges. In one of the classes recently, we studied Ehud, Deborah, and Samson. They all listened intently as I told them about the judge who was left-handed and “poked a fat bad king in the belly with a sword” so that he died and the judge who killed 1000 men by “whacking them with a donkey’s jawbone” (Yes, that’s all Biblical! Ehud – Judges 3:12-30 and Samson – Judges 13-16). They liked the story of Samson so much that we had to tell it a couple of times, actually.

My assigned time to teach this quarter are Sunday mornings.

I got a text Wednesday mid-morning asking if I could teach the 2-3s that evening. Both teachers were out with the flu and the usual helper had a family emergency to take care of. No biggie. Ok, well, little biggie…I had to talk myself down a little bit because I had nothing prepared, but I also know that people can’t help things like that and I don’t mind covering. Little bit later, I get a text saying that the other lady who covers the 4-6 class is sick, but who she asked to cover was already covering the baby class, so maybe we could just combine the two classes. Starting to freak out a little bit. I still hadn’t found anyone to be my “helper” and was concerned about my ability to teach a 2-6 year old class on my own, about a lesson I hadn’t even looked at yet. Few minutes later, I get a text that said the helper in the Elementary school class has the flu and won’t be there either. Dropping like flies I tell you!! Now, the classes are down more bodies than we can make up for. So, I called the lady I had been texting (a good friend that I really look up to 🙂 ) and we start to hatch a plan. We decided to combine our classes and make it a review day. Our plan came together quickly; we would have class towards the back of the building so that we wouldn’t disturb the adults with any extra noise, we would sing a few songs, review the books of the Bible, I would re-tell the stories I taught last week about the Judges (her idea), and we would play “baseball” to review everything they should have learned this quarter so far. I feel like I should explain baseball…we divided up the kids into 2 teams, when it was a child’s turn to “bat” they would stand by the “home” cone and I would toss them a ball (they were very concerned that I took one of Avery’s balls from home to use haha). The other teacher would ask them a quiz question from the previous lessons. If they got it right, they got to take a base. If they got it wrong, they were “out.” Three strikes, and your team is out.

So we had this great plan, but were a little nervous about having a class of  an unknown # of non-sick children across a HUGE age gap. But guess what – it worked and it was wonderful!!

The kids were great! We had ZERO behavioral problems. They participated in the singing, and even the bigger kids did some of the fun hand movements with the littles! One of the older boys led a prayer. They showed how much they’ve been practicing their memorization of the books of the Bible. They listened carefully as I told them the stories of the Judges (“whackin’ ‘em with a donkey bone” is still a class fave). They were ALL able to tell me one thing they learned or remembered from the story. And they got the vast majority of the baseball review game questions correct!! We enjoyed our time together, and most importantly, helped them to learn and remember important things from God’s word. To say it was a pleasure is an understatement.

For me, it is so easy to get overwhelmed with things that “might” happen or that “could” go wrong. I end up getting worked up or stressed out over nothing and things that don’t happen. This experience reminded me of that. Things happen and plans are going to change. But just because a circumstance is different from what I had planned does not mean it’s going to be a horrible disaster. Actually, the opposite of horrible disaster seems to be true in most cases.

More so than that, these kids were coming to Bible class! How can I be an effective teacher if I am not excited that they are there and put forth my best effort to have an engaging class? I should be thrilled that they are there! That I have my health and can fill in for those who did not. That I might in some small way, have a good influence on these kiddos and encourage them on towards Heaven.


“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13



I won’t sugar-coat it – my friends have some serious problems. Like, big elephant-sized problems. And lately, it seems like all of their elephants got together for a party to see how much damage they could do.

I’ve always been the go-to for encouragement. Some have told me it’s because I seem like I have it all together…which makes me laugh because my friends know better than that! And yet, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked for “Kelcey wisdom” or just to talk. I’m really not very wise, but I try to give sound, Bible-based advice and go through all of the emotions with them, but most of the time, I try to keep my mouth shut (as much as possible) and genuinely listen. I take it pretty seriously because I know that some of their decisions may be based on what I’ve said, and that I will be held accountable for my words. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Not to mention, I’m not proud to say I’ve spoiled more than one friendship by saying something that though it was true, didn’t need to be said. Listening is what a lot of people need the most.

Ok, I am NOT whining or complaining about my friends having needs. But y’all, it is exhausting! Especially when it feels like those elephants are trampling all over me while I’m trying to be a good friend. There was a time last week, that I just had to let my emotions out on the way home from work, because I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. I felt totally spent and like I had nothing left for anyone. Like I had given everything I had. Like I was just…empty.

We have a *very* open office concept at work. It really isn’t all that bad, but I have about a 60 inch table with 12-18 inch “walls” on the 3 sides and a little locker/cubby thing behind me. Side note, we sit in rows of 3 and I am on the inside (think “window seat” in an airplane), and usually there is enough room for me to get behind the other two ladies. But sometimes there’s not enough room…and they’ve become experts in my, ahem, “schedule” that goes along with the large amount of water I drink 🙂 . Anyways, the point of all that was to say that I listen to a lot of music during the workday.

So I’m sitting here and “Lean on Me” comes on. Not really on my all-time faves list, but I like to listen to lyrics, so I didn’t change it.

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on for it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on for it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can’t carry
I’m right up the road, I’ll share your load
If you just call me

-Bill Withers

My favorite line is “for no one can fill those of your needs that you won’t let show” ❤ ❤ ❤ !! It can be SO hard to open up about the not-so-glamorous parts of life and bare your soul to someone else. But if we don’t share, how will others know? And if they don’t know, how will they be able to help?

In this time of picture-perfect social media where it looks like no one else has any problems whatsoever, we need those people to go to about real-life stuff. We’ve all got it! Each of those friends that need me now have been there for me on multiple occasions in the past!

We need each other to listen, to give advice, to hug, to cry, to laugh, to reassure us of decisions, to redirect our paths, to sympathize, to build up, and to encourage. I am quite certain that God gave us friends for all of these reasons, plus some!


Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2




My parents were very pro-chores growing up…and not for money, either! We did chores because we were a part of the family (a rather large family) and work needed to be done. I remember thinking I was hot stuff when I finally got $20/month for sweeping the garage in high school. During the summer when we were older, we would babysit ourselves and get BOB (Bank of Blane) money based on our behavior and how well we did my dad’s to-do list each day. As the oldest, I took very seriously my job to boss around everybody else and let them know I was in charge 😉 . It used to irritate me that it seemed everyone else was playing and having a good time during the summer while we “slaved” away. I don’t feel like that anymore, especially now that I have my own house and family.

Dad would make a list of what needed to be done and assign names to (most) of the chores. My youngest brother always got easy jobs like emptying the bathroom trash cans and spot clean with the dustpan. But, I guess he was in elementary school at the time, so it was probably fair. Anyways, I would get the chores like unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming/dusting, or the laundry. With 4 kids, there was *always* laundry to fold.

Don’t judge me, but as a kid I used to have a fantasy about my big, tall husband and how his clothes would one day swallow me up. I’m sure it comes from having a 6’6” father, who obviously seemed even bigger when I was growing up. I would turn on KOMA (the 50s/60s radio station) and pretend that the shirts and socks I was folding was for my one-day future family. I would think about how fun it would be to one day have my own family and home, to do the housework, the laundry, and be the best June Cleaver ever.

Fast forward a few years…we had maybe been married for a year, and I remembered that fantasy. So, I put one of my legs in CJ’s clean jeans…..and…..that’s about all I could get in there (it’s ok, laugh! He’s short. He knows it. I know it. It’s all good 🙂 ). That fantasy died and I never have tried again. Lucky for me though, his top half is much broader and I can still steal his shirts (OU gave him the best pullovers!).

The other day, I was folding laundry and it hit me how excited I used to be about having the things I have now and the routine chores that go along with them. A loving husband. A beautiful daughter with baby clothes that keep going up in size. A house of our own. I have these tasks to do because God has blessed me with everything I ever wanted. I am living in the very moment that I used to daydream about!

It’s hard to be pumped about chores, to-do lists, and daily routines. It is also hard to not be overwhelmed by them at times. But let us not forget that it is because of the good gifts from God that we have people to love and care for in the first place. Or, if you’re single, that you were given the strength and opportunity to follow your passions and build a wonderful life for yourself.


“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life…”

Philippians 2:14-16



Bonus Material  🙂

  1. I feel like a lot of my posts are about cleaning or being overly emotional (which truth be told is a lot of who I am, and if you’re reading this, I assume you know this about me already). But, you guys keep reading, and so, I’ll keep writing. I am open to ideas and suggestions though…hit me with ’em!
  2. Day 18 of 2018: non-resolutions going strong! I rarely have my phone on me at the house. I did delete the Facebook app (but not my account because, well, I like it!) and maybe only look 1-2 times a day (if that) and only scroll for a few seconds, which is a BIG change for me. I can honestly say that I’m enjoying being more unplugged! I feel happier, compare less, and can actually ask people what they’ve been up to and have a real conversation. Instagram is the same, but that wasn’t near as big of a temptation for me and the baby pics gotta have an outlet (haha)! Also, my contacts have come out at night on *most* days. High-five, Kelc!


Happy 2018!!! It’s gotta be true what they say, that “the days pass slowly but the years fly by.” I clearly remember being in 5th grade with the whole Y2K thing looming over our heads. Is that really nearly 20 years ago? That was also the year that OU won the National Championship, just FYI 🙂 BOOMER!

How do you feel about New Year’s Resolutions? Love them? Hate them? Love to break them? According to my very official Google search, 41% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions. In 2017, about 21% of those were about weight loss or healthier eating. Only 9% of people felt successful in keeping their resolutions. The next biggest buckets were Life/Self Improvements and Better Financial Decisions. And, you know, about 67% of statistics are made up anyways 😉 .

I don’t make “official” resolutions, but I do think about things I want to try or do differently in the upcoming year.

Make prayer a priority

I have so many things I’m working on myself for, but this is a biggie. I keep listening to sermons, talking with others, trying to find out how to be better at it, knowing all the while that I just need to DO IT more frequently and conscientiously. It’s like I keep trying to figure out the secret as to why it doesn’t come as easily or naturally for me as it seems to for some others. Even though we are to approach God with reverence, he also wants us to go to him as a child would to their father. Jesus had to teach his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:5-15 and gave them a model prayer, commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” If something is taught, it must need to be practiced as well, right? My biggest problems are that I try to pray “on the fly” and don’t put near the amount of thought in them as I should, or my mind wanders and drifts different places and I forget that I was even praying in the first place and not just seemingly talking to myself.

So, this year I’m adopting Nike’s line of “Just Do It” when it comes to my prayer life.

Become “Unbusy”

There’s a whole “unbusy” movement going on, and I love it! It’s all about living simply, savoring the “real life” moments, re-prioritizing, unplugging, and changing the way we think of “making the most of your time.” CJ is the laid-back to my crazy and has already told me when I need to say “no” to something. As you know, I can get frantic if I have a lot to do in a (seemingly) short amount of time or if we have too many things planned. Especially because most of the time I feel like I can and should do it all. Recently, we had nearly every waking hour for a weekend scheduled – all with fun stuff, but it sent me spinning. He calmly told me to take something out. I so did not want to, and it was hard to make the decision, but after I did I felt like I could breathe again. If I want to hang out less or not be as involved in certain things this year, don’t be offended 🙂

Detach from my phone

I want to be on my phone less while I am at home and MUCH less mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. I call it “creeping,” but it’s like my first instinct when I have a few minutes or I’m standing in a line is to scroll and catch up on the “news.” Sometimes people announce a social media hiatus with a “I won’t be on here for awhile…” post. That’s not my plan. I plan to just quietly suspend them for a certain amount of time (still thinking about how long). Clearly, I also didn’t start officially Jan 1, because you’re reading this 🙂 .

I have one of those “On this Day” apps, and besides seeing the pics from years gone by, most of what I see embarrasses me with how stupid (sorry Dad, had to use the “S” word) it is. Plus, when we post too much about what we’re doing, it makes it really hard to have a real conversation….because you already know exactly what they’ve been up to! It is nice though because my family (some across the country and some across the world) feel much closer than they actually are. When we get together, it doesn’t feel like we’ve really spent much time apart. By far my favorite thing to do is to share pics of my little sweet thing, but I think her FL Grandma will do an awesome job of holding the fort down for me 🙂 .

After proofreading, it appears I also need to detach from 🙂 ‘s, but, I love them too much and don’t feel like I can express myself or tone properly without them, so….. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 sorry ’bout ‘cha.

Take out my contacts every night

Self-explanatory. World’s worst over here!


Wherever 2018 leads us, I hope and pray that we may always keep God at the forefront of our minds, that we keep everything in proper perspective, and that I may be able to encourage you in even the smallest of ways.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, 

and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him, 

and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6




“My child will hate reading!!” That’s what I used to think to myself when we forced her to sit still for a few minutes in our lap and read. We received some advice (pretty sure it came from my mom, like most good advice) that a way to teach her to sit still in worship service was to literally have her practice at home. It makes perfect sense if you think about it – if she only has to sit still and quietly 3x a week, she probably won’t be very good at it. Side note: Yes, I realize that she’s a toddler and “still and quiet” are not her greatest strengths. But for her age, I feel like she is very well behaved and rarely has to be taken out.

Anyways, we’ve made it her habit that we read books each night before bed. We always read her little toddler Bible first (we’ve been through the whole thing twice already!) and then she gets to pick 2 (sometimes 3) books. She has to sit in our laps. Daddy always reads her Bible. Mommy usually gets picked for the other 2, unless it’s “The Foot Book” because Daddy made up fun movements to go along with that one.

At first, it was a serious battle every night. She’d be squirming and screaming while we were wrestling and trying to read louder and LOUDER. As she grew, the squirming lessened, the screaming stopped, and she happily plops into our laps with her books each night.

This is actually not the point of this post 🙂

For a few days, she got on a “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” kick and wanted to read it every night. I’ve decided that I much prefer the board book versions of Dr. Seuss because they are shorter! I got pretty good at saying the made-up words that rhymed, but there was one page that rubbed me the wrong way.

Did you ever fly a kite in bed?

Did you ever walk with ten cats on your head?

Did you ever milk this kind of cow?

Well, we can do it. We know how.

If you never did, you should.

These things are fun, and fun is good.

These things are fun, and fun is good? I mean, yes, it can be. I totally get that it’s a rhyming children’s book, and if you want to walk with ten cats on your head, have at it! But just because something is “fun” does not necessarily mean that it’s “good.”

It reminds me of a song that’s on the radio right now. It goes like this: “How am I ever gonna get to be old and wise if I ain’t ever young and crazy?” You guys, that’s just foolish. Are you going to make mistakes in your younger years that you wouldn’t make when you’re more mature? Yes. Will you mellow out a bit as you age? Probably. But do you have to make all the mistakes? Surely not – ever heard of learning from history or others’ mistakes?

Most of those mistakes were probably made because it seemed like “fun.” It seemed fun to sneak out of the house to party with friends. It seemed fun to race your car. It seemed fun to cut class. It seemed fun to go too far with your boyfriend/girlfriend. It wasn’t fun when the party got busted. It wasn’t fun when you totaled the car. It wasn’t fun when you failed the class. It wasn’t fun when you had to grow up much too soon and face heartache. Everything has consequences.

It also makes me think of that “Never have I ever…” game. Basically, you hold up 10 fingers and take turns saying something that you’ve never done. If you have done the activity that was said, you put one finger down. First one to have all their fingers down wins (or loses based on how you’re playing). Depending on the crowd you’re with, it can go wayyyyyyyy off track and get out of hand in a hurry. So because I’ve never smoked pot and So-and-So says it’s fun, I should do it too? Don’t think so. Because I think it’d be fun to go to the Mediterranean, should I go? Yes please – start saving pennies! Because I’ve never skydived and my much-cooler-than-me sister has, I should try it? Sure, but someone would have to push me out, haha.

See what I mean?  There are things in my life that I did because they seemed “fun” or “funny” that I am not proud of (like we all have done). We have to be wise when making decisions.

Hopefully I didn’t just make myself sound like the biggest Party Pooper and Debbie Downer of all time 🙂 .

Fun is relative, but wisdom endures.

No, I don’t think Dr. Seuss was trying to brainwash my child. It just got my wheels turning.


And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17


Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

Ecclesiastes 11:9-10



I can be pretty high-strung about some ridiculously trivial things. For example, I’ve made it my mission to sit on the “unpopular” cushion of the couch so that they all get worn-in semi evenly. I also utterly despise the amount of clutter that accumulates on my husband’s nightstand/dresser; receipts, mail, old magazines, paperclips, socks (and clothes I folded a few days prior), screws, and coins (aka “owl food” for Avery’s piggy bank) all seem to find a home right there and NEVER stay gone long. But the thing that just drives me batty are dirty floors. (Point of Clarification: at my house. I don’t like dirty floors at my house. So don’t stop inviting me over thinking about your floors, because I don’t notice anyone else’s 🙂 ok, let’s continue).

I love our house. It is the perfect space for our family, we love opening it up to friends, and it feels like home. But, it is 20 years old with original tile in the kitchen – chipped, cracked, WHITE original tile. I hate that tile. I hate that tile so much. Not because it isn’t in mint condition, but because it’s WHITE and always looks dirty.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned them before, but we have 2 large dogs. One is actually nearing horse-size, I’m quite certain. They essentially spend all of their time in the backyard mostly because, as I said, I hate dirty floors. Don’t feel bad for them – they prefer to be out there too and never want to be in the house long even when I do get crazy and let them in. So how can my white floor show so much dog hair for outside dogs?!

Let’s move on to the toddler. Oh my, I love her dearly, even with the amount of crumbs and spills she is capable of. Such is life, I know. Bless her heart, I think I’ve already rubbed off on her a bit because sometimes she’ll pick up a crumb and hand it to me like she found buried treasure. She also loves throwing things away, which I totally don’t hate either. Anyways, she thinks she’s real clever and will try to fake me out that she’s eaten more of her dinner than she has. She’ll sneak her little hand to the side of her tray while she’s talking to me, and quietly drop whatever it is I told her she needed to eat. If she’s feeling real brave, she’ll act excited about something and catapult crumbs like confetti. I can deal with dinner shenanigans, but what I cannot handle is when she drags her beloved blanket (“Night Night”) across the floor and through the kitchen. CJ laughs because he says the floor is probably equally clean throughout the house and that the kitchen is no different, but Night Night is promptly banished as soon as it hits the tile.

It is seriously embarrassing how upset I can get when I see dirt/dog hair on a floor that I just got done cleaning. Bless you who have managed to stay friends with me for any period of time! There have been times when I literally had to tell myself “just look up. Don’t even look down at it. Just look up.”

That got me thinking – how many other areas of my life can benefit from just “looking up?”

  • Experiences. Last month, we went on a date to see Brad Paisley in concert. We watched several people stop for pictures, people holding their phone up to record the show, and some even scrolling through Facebook while Brad was on stage. I’m sure we have all been guilty of letting our phone be more of a priority than we should at times. But if I am too concerned about getting a good picture or video to share on social media, I’ll miss the whole experience! Put the phone down and look up!
  • Kids. This is an area that is really hard for me, because they’re only little for so long and I feel the need to “document” everything! Similar to the concert, there have been times when I am so focused on videoing or getting a picture of Avery that I miss experiencing life with her. It is sooooo hard for me not to have my camera pointed at her at all times. Slowly, I’m trying to teach myself to enjoy the moment and look up!
  • Scenery. There was a time in our marriage that we were able to go on quite a few hikes. I am as clumsy as a baby giraffe and found myself constantly staring at the trail. Obviously, watch the path and don’t lose your footing, but don’t forget to enjoy the view. When is the last time you actually looked at the stars in the night sky? Or imagined shapes out of the clouds? Look up.

Most importantly,

  • Jesus. Hebrews 11 is sometimes referred to as the “Hall of Fame of Faith” – talk about some great examples of a faithful life! Noah was ridiculed and worked to build a humongous ark before he could even understand what a “flood” was because God told him to. Abraham left his homeland and believed that God would keep his promise to make him into a great nation, even though he had no children at the time. When his son, Isaac, was born and Abraham’s faith was tested, he still believed that God would keep his promises. Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, and continued to lead them in the wilderness even though he would not be allowed to see the Promised Land.

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,  quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Hebrews 11:32-34

I’ve been blessed with some amazing mentors and role models. It’s easy for me to identify characteristics in others that I admire and try to copy them. But as great as they are, my ultimate example for living a faith-filled Christian life should always be Jesus. But how can he be my example if I don’t spend enough time with him through the Bible to really get to know him? I have to do a better job of studying for myself and in prayer so that I can emulate him in all that I do.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Look up!



“How cool is it that the same God that created mountains, galaxies, and oceans looked at YOU and thought that the world needed one of you too?”

That is not my own original thought, but let that sink in for a second. Powerful, isn’t it? That was posted by a friend on Facebook who travels frequently and seems to always be outdoors…so, she has really seen first-hand the wonders of God’s creation.

Have you ever had your breath taken away by nature? For me, it happens when I’m in wide open fields – bright blue skies, tall green grass, a light breeze, and a warm sun. What about being on a mountaintop? Or on a boat in the middle of the ocean? Or even just enjoying the fall colors? The changing of the seasons? The same God that created all of that created YOU with just as much thought and attention. More so, actually! We learn in Genesis that mankind is the only thing made in God’s image and that his creation is “very good.”

Is it possible to feel very special and very small simultaneously? Pretty sure that’s what I’m experiencing right now…

Is there anything else quite like holding a newborn baby? You can just feel their parents’ love and pride…if you hold them too long, you might also feel their protectiveness. Newborns have irresistibly kissable cheeks, precious facial expressions, soft skin, and seemingly endless opportunities. They are perfect. A good friend recently brought her sweet baby into the world, and I think I’m still on a baby high from getting to snuggle and love on him. I can say without doubt that the way I experience meeting my friends’ little ones is on a whole new level of awe after experiencing parenthood myself. I refer to it as my “mommy heart.”

Even though we don’t get to meet those little sweet things until their birthday, God already knows all about them.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:13-14

That’s a pretty familiar passage for most people. It’s used as nursery décor, at baby showers, and is even printed on t-shirts. But when is the last time you really thought about it? Every detail was deliberately planned out; yes, even the parts that we are self-conscious about. When I think about the word “formed” I think of playdough. I’ve only mastered a playdough snake or a ball, but God is the master designer of us all. To “knit” takes patience, planning, and a pattern. I’ve never even attempted knitting, but I know several of my friends are extremely talented and can make scarves, hats, shirts, headbands, you name it! But as awesome as they are, they’ve never knit a flamingo or even a small sparrow.

That’s where most people’s familiarity with the psalm ends, but let’s keep reading…

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Psalm 139:15

I’ve gotta say, I think that’s my favorite part! It feels so familiar…so intimate. What about “in secret?” Most women don’t know that they’re pregnant until several weeks into the process. But God has already been at work! He knew I existed long before my own mother did. He knew about my daughter long before I could love her so much it hurts!

Not only does he know each of us to a level we cannot comprehend, he cares for us individually and knows the good and bad we will face in our lifetimes.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:16

I obviously do not know how long I have to live. What a fearful world that would be! I don’t even know what the next 15 minutes will bring. But God does. He knows my highest highs and my lowest lows – even those that are years away! Before I even drew my first breath, he formed my days. All the places I’ll go, all the friends I’ll make, all the relationships that will be formed, all the jobs I’ll have, all the trials I’ll face…he knows about them all and nothing’s going to get past him.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sure feeling loved and special.

Even when I wish my legs were a little shorter, even when I’m feeling unfilled at work, even when my family suffers, God knew the world needed someone exactly like ME and created me just as I am.

So no matter what your day has brought you so far, please remember this: you were designed to be the amazing person that you are, you have a purpose, and you are loved.



“Trusty Rusty” is his name. Or hers…I’m really not quite sure because my 2007 Toyota Corolla doesn’t exactly give off a gender vibe.

I remember going car shopping with my Dad like it was yesterday. I had been driving an early 90s bright blue Plymouth Grand Voyager minivan to school. Don’t get me wrong, the van had its perks (like hauling tons of friends and tubas around) and because it was owned by my parents, was spotless and in top-notch shape. However, for a self-conscious high schooler, it wasn’t exactly the vehicle of my dreams. My wish list was pretty simple…power locks/windows, “leg room” (a must for my family), and a trunk that could fit a Tuba. Don’t you wish you were as cool as me? Ha! We had test driven a few other compact cars, but I remember falling in love with the Corolla for the first time with its navy blue paint, tan cloth interior, and yes, ample trunk space. Dad negotiated with the salesman and we headed home with my new car without telling my Mom. We both giggled and thought we were so clever when we told her we were on our way home with “the blue car” (what our family called the van).

When we left the dealership, the car had 14 miles on it. It now has 138,577 (I just went outside to get the exact ODO reading. You’re welcome 😉 ). That is A LOT of miles. A lot of memories.

Trusty Rusty has seen me through high school graduation, moving into the dorms at OU, countless random road trips, a move to Colorado for the summer of 2010 and met us in Florida in 2012. It’s chauffeured all of my boyfriends, dozens of tuba boys (and a few girls), best friends, and new friends. It’s carried our first dog, 2nd dog, and most precious baby girl. It’s nearly had its speakers blown out from blaring “Carry on my Wayward Son.” It has survived hail, a few minor accidents, run-ins with cement parking blocks, and a DIY fender replacement job after CJ accidentally backed into it. It has been my safe haven, my way of helping others, my freedom, my shelter, my getaway, my escape.

Before Hurricane Irma hit Florida, we received a lot of texts/calls asking if we were going to evacuate. We decided not to for different reasons, one of which was because we could not all (the 3 of us plus 2 large dogs) fit in either of our vehicles. We tried, really, and if we had to get out of dodge, we played Corolla Tetris enough to figure out that we could do it for a short distance with CJ driving, the 65lb dog in the front seat, and the 110lb dog on the sliver of a middle seat (and overflowing onto my lap) in the back between Avery and I.

Ever since then, I’ve been feeling especially materialistic. Ok, honestly, I’ve wanted a new car for a while – something bigger and without a rusting roof (a common problem for this model year) – but not being able to comfortably fit our growing family makes me feel less shallow and needy, so I tell myself that’s the reason. I see friends who have new cars every few years, how much technology has changed in 10 years, and I can’t help but feel a little inferior. But they have another thing that I don’t have…a car payment. And you know what, my car is just fine. It’s only broken down on me once (a story in itself which turned out to be a measly battery issue). It gets great gas mileage, which is HUGE for someone with a 90 minute round-trip commute. And its seat is formed perfectly to my dairy aire.

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.

1 Timothy 6:6-7

As nice as it can be to have new shiny things, my happiness should not depend on that. I wrote an article last year about not “Keeping up with the Jones’s” that I have to remind myself of frequently. I’ve been blessed with reliable transportation and the freedom it can provide.

And so, in a few minutes, I will get in my car, turn on the cold a/c, turn up the radio, and be grateful for my blessings and the memories accompanying them.

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Luke 12:15