Thursday, July 21, 2016

Kidloland: The Cutest App for Toddlers

Today I wanted to share with y'all a darling educational app for toddlers. A rep from KidloLand contacted me to check it out, and I jumped at the girls don't use tablets very often, and a big reason for that is I don't want their heads buried in a tablet all day. But another reason is I'm overwhelmed with all the app choices out there. How do you know the right ones to choose? KidloLand made it easy for me! I think designated screen time can be a good can give your children some quiet time, which equals a mini break for mom or dad. And the right app can make learning fun...and we're all more apt to learn if we don't feel like we're being taught.
KidloLand was created for children between the ages of 0 and 5. I love that the app offers so many play options. From classic nursery rhymes (the app boasts more than 260 rhymes and educational songs) which scroll the words across the bottom (a big plus for Lily, my 5-year-old, who is learning to read) to alphabet songs (perfect for Hadley who is learning her letters) to more than 100 games and learning activities, there's something for every child.

 My girls really enjoyed how much they were able to interact with the app. If they chose the Nursery Rhymes option, they didn't just hear the words to the rhyme. Characters surprised them by dancing, making noises, and coming to life with their touch. They especially loved the parachuting cows from Old MacDonald that would moo every time they were tapped. Seriously, they thought this was the funniest thing ever! And below you'll see Old MacDonald dancing a jig! How cute and bright are the characters?!
After having fun with the nursery rhymes, Lily and Hadley next checked out the educational songs and learned about:
* Animals and their sounds
* Numbers 1 to 100
*  Lullabies
* Fruits and Vegetables
* Colors and Shapes
* Months and Days of the Week
* Vehicles
Lily especially liked the Games & Activities section of the app. She was able to choose from more than 100, so this kept her pretty busy! And as a 2-year-old, Hadley is still working on some hand-eye coordination, so many of the activities were perfect for her too. She enjoyed the Jigsaw Puzzle games, which work to develop fine motor and problem solving skills, and would proudly announce "Ta-Da" when she completed one. It was really cute and made this mom smile! I loved helping Lily with the Connect the Dots activities. It reinforced numbers and helped her understand sequencing.

I'm always looking for toys or games for my girls that come well-recommended. KidloLand has been recognized time and time again and has received both an Academics' Choice and a Tillywig Award.
If you're interested in downloading the app, you may do so here:
And here's some really good news...5 lucky readers will win a free, 3-month subscription to KidloLand. All you have to do is:
* Follow me on Instagram, here!
* Tag friends on my original Instagram post for additional entries.
* The giveaway will end at 8 p.m. EST Monday night, July 25, and the winners will be announced on Wednesday!
** I was gifted a free, one-year subscription (worth $39.99) to KidloLand in return for writing this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **
Finally, Hadley doing Hadley: "Mommy, leave me alone and let me play with my app!"
I hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Street Corn Salad

I found this recipe in the July issue of Southern Living magazine, and I knew I wanted to try it. I'm always looking for good side dishes to serve with summer food (burgers, sandwiches, grilled chicken, kabobs, etc.), and this one fit the bill.
I tried this last week and served it with homemade tacos. We absolutely loved it. And to top it all off, once put together the colors are vibrant and bold...and y'all know I always like my food to look pretty. The radishes offered some nice crunch to the salad, and the cilantro added a little spice in my opinion. Yum yum.
Street Corn Salad
Southern Living magazine
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 cup cherry tomato halves
1/3 to 1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (or feta)
Combine first 4 ingredients; whisk in olive oil. Stir together corn, radishes, and tomatoes in a medium bowl. Gently stir in dressing; spoon mixture onto a serving platter, and sprinkle with cheese.
I hope everyone has a great day.

Monday, July 18, 2016

My faith

I've been wanting to write about my faith for a while now, but I also knew I wanted to put a lot of time and effort into the post...because, at the end of the day, it's the most important piece of who I am...

It makes me a little nervous to share all of this, only because it carries a big role. I take it very seriously. Proclaiming I'm a Christian also means that I need to act (or maybe not act...but be) the part. And I don't mean that in a fake and phony way. I just mean that when you state you're a Christian, you need to try to live your life as such too. And goodness do I mess up...daily, repeatedly, in my interactions with the things I say; in the things I left unsaid; in the things I do; in the things I don't do but should. But then I thought...well that's just it, Lindsey. Christians aren't expected to be perfect. No one is. Christians do mess up. Time and time again. And that's kind of the beauty. We get to mess up, and then we try again to get it right. The messing up continues, but the Lord helps us up and continues to love us...and continues to guide us if we will let Him.
I am not one of those who can tell you the exact date I became a Christian. I think it was more of a process for me. I honestly feel like I always believed in God and Jesus, because of my upbringing. Raised by Christian parents, I attended Christian schools and went to church and Sunday school most Sundays. I rarely missed youth group (even if at the time it was more of a social thing); I went on trips with my youth group, and I was surrounded by friends with very similar upbringings. I was a WASP, in short. Ha!
But believing in and having a relationship with are two totally different things.
I remember having a conversation with a girlfriend (hey, Becky!!) in college. We were at City Grocery having a glass of wine, and I told her that I just didn't feel very connected to God. I knew I believed in Him, but our relationship was lacking. It was then that she told me that a relationship with God is just like a relationship with anyone have to spend time together; you have to talk and open yourself up to that person. I wanted a deeper relationship with God, but I wasn't putting in the effort. It was a one-sided relationship. He was very much there for me, but I was going months on end without talking to Him. That really changed a lot for me. It just kind of clicked and made more sense. I needed to stop waiting for God to make the next move, and I needed to do my part too.
Shortly after, Lent came around, and I decided to give up coffee and take on daily prayer and devotion. Wow. Two big things. The coffee was the easier of the two. I lived in the sorority house at the time, and every morning I woke up earlier than normal and went to the Founders Room with my daily devotional and Bible. I read and prayed for about 30 minutes. This act of commitment grew my faith because I had an active relationship with God. Because I spent time with Him daily, I began to see, hear, and feel Him more and more.

There are several books that have really grown my faith, and I wanted to share them with you. Before I do that, I wanted to mention another thing that has really deepened my relationship with God. I keep a prayer journal, and I date it and write down specific prayers. I try to give a little detail rather than just a name of a person so I can look back later and remember the circumstances. This has made such a difference. Praying for others will change your life. It connects you to God, and it connects you to people. It softens your heart and grows your compassion for others. And it means so much to people on this Earth. If I tell someone I'm praying for them, I make a point to do it. Writing that prayer down gives me some accountability too. It's written down, so I can't forget it! Another benefit of a prayer journal is this: you can look back and see how prayers were answered. Or if they weren't answered in the way you or others had hoped, you can still look for the prayers that were answered in a difficult situation. That looking and searching has impacted me greatly.

And now, a few of my favorite books:

Traveling Mercies
Anne Lamott

This book has probably been the biggest game-changer for me. Even today, it remains one of my favorite books I've ever read. I really related to Lamott because she isn't a conventional Christian. Let me explain. For the longest time, I felt like I had to fit in this box...I had to look the part, dress the part, say the right things, participate in the right extracurricular activities, hang out with the right people. And that's just not me. I'm a little quirky. I have a weird sense of humor. I'm more liberal than I am conservative. Her book made me realize that I can be both, and that was (and still is) freeing for me. I've underlined so many lines in this book, but here is one of my favorites: "[Grace is] the force that infuses our lives and keeps letting us off the hook. It is unearned love -- the love that goes before you, that greets us on the way. It's the help you receive when you have no bright ideas left, when you are empty and desperate and have discovered that your best thinking and most charming charm have failed you. Grace is the light or electricity or juice or breeze that takes you from that isolated place and puts you with others who are as startled and embarrassed and eventually grateful as you are to be there." I love her take on grace. This book is a memoir, so Lamott shares a lot of personal stories as she talks about her journey to become a Christian.

Mere Christianity
C.S. Lewis

Oh how I love this book. I read it in college for the first time, and I read it with a notebook beside me, eagerly taking down many of the words I'd read. This isn't an easy read. It takes time and a lot of thought to get through it. Lewis starts off explaining the reasons God must exist, then later on he delves into the most vital components of Christianity: forgiveness, morality, charity, faith, and hope. For people who have doubts and wonder if God really does exist, Lewis states: "Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning." Good stuff. Later in the book, Lewis writes about whether being a Christian is hard or easy. "That is why the real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system."

When Bad Things Happen to Good People
Harold S. Kushner

Trying to understand why awful, unimaginable things happen to good people day in and day out has been one of the hardest things for me to come to terms with in this life. I've heard time and time again, "Everything happens for a reason." "This was all a part of God's plan." "God needed another angel in Heaven." And so on...none of the above has ever made sense to me. None of it has brought comfort; none of it has left me satisfied.

A friend and former classmate of mine died of melanoma about nine years ago. She was newly married, and she had just given birth to a baby girl. How? Why? You want to tell me this was a part of God's plan? In trying to find answers for myself, I ran across this book by Kushner. It has changed my life in so many ways. Kushner is a rabbi, and his son was born with a degenerative disease that would cut his life he was faced with these questions on a daily basis. Kushner uses the Holocaust frequently in the book to discuss why people question God's goodness. "Where was God? I have to believe He was with the victims, and not with the murderers, but that He does not control man's choosing between good and evil. I have to believe that the tears and prayers of the victims aroused God's compassion, but having given Man freedom to choose, including the freedom to choose to hurt his neighbor, there was nothing God could do to prevent it." In other words, God weeps with us...daily.

Kushner later asks, what good, then, are our prayers? He talks about a female friend whose husband died of cancer. She had prayed that he would be healed, and he wasn't. He died. Kushner asked her if her prayers, then, were answered. "But what did happen? Your friends and relatives prayed; Jews, Catholics, and Protestants prayed. At a time when you felt so desperately alone, you found out that you were not alone at all. You found out how many other people were hurting for you and with you, and that is no small thing. ... In your desperation, you opened your heart in prayer, and what happened? You didn't get a miracle to avert a tragedy. But you discovered people around you, and God beside you, and strength within you to help you survive the tragedy. I offer that as an example of prayer being answered."


Finally, in my own life I have noticed a recurring theme. When I spend time with God, when I am aware of God, when I lean on Him, my life is so much richer. When I put other things first, when I stray from my relationship with Him, my life just seems dull and flat. I have so much more joy when I put God first. I have so much more peace. I look at the world differently, and I feel more complete. That's not to say that life is easy when I rely on God. Bad things still happen; life is still hard...but I'm better able to cope; I'm a better human being, and my life is so much more full. I pray the same for all of you.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Life Lately

Happy Hump Day! Can y'all believe summer is almost over? At least it is (season-wise, not heat-wise) for us in Mississippi. Lily starts school August 4! That seems crazy early, but it is what it is. We're trying to soak up these last few weeks of slow and freedom. Here's what we've been up to...
Lily has been wanting some one-on-one time with me lately, so we decided to start a little tradition that we like to call "Lily-Mommy Day." I'm not sure how often we'll have these special days, whether it will be once a month or not quite as often. But, it's a day or a half day dedicated to time with just the two of us. We sat down and worked on a list of things she wants to do, and that list is full! We went on our first Lily-Mommy Day last week, and it was so, so special...truly something I'll always remember because it brought her so much joy. So this is something I definitely want to continue and want to do with Hadley as well when she gets a little older.
We dropped Hadley off at my parents' house, and Lily and I headed to Toys R Us. She's been saving her money, and she had $18 in her piggy bank. I'm trying to slowly teach her about money, about saving, about working hard to earn a dollar. I don't know if I'm doing any of this right, but I'm trying. Anyway, we went down every aisle at Toys R Us, and I helped her pick things that she could afford. It was a good way for her to realize that toys are expensive and that some things are just out of your price range unless you make the decision to continue to save. Anyway, she ended up choosing two small Barbie dolls, and she was SO proud of her choices. I picked up a little something for Hadley too so she would feel special.
After the toy store, we went to Chuck E Cheese for games and pizza. I hadn't been there in probably 25 years (no joke), and I quickly remembered why. It was packed, and all the kids there were so aggressive. One tried to steal Lily's tickets. Ha! It was fun nonetheless, and after we had pizza Lily picked out a few trinkets with the tickets she'd earned.

After pizza we headed for a sno-cone, and then it was time to pick Hadley up. It was a fun, fun day, and I'm thankful for our time together!
This past Saturday was a special day because we adopted a kitten! We had to put my sweet Sam to sleep last year, and I have missed her so much. I didn't want a new fur baby right away, but I knew I'd want one at some point. The itch had come, and I have been so ready for a kitty in our house! I went to a local animal shelter on Saturday and was able to spend some time in the kitty room with about 15 kittens! I went in thinking I wanted a black female kitten, and I came home with a grey male! That's life, right? The girls stayed with Rob while I went, only because we thought it might be too crazy if they went too. I bonded with our little guy right away. He is the most affectionate, mellow ball of fur. After a day or two of living with him, we decided on the name Teddy. It just fits him to a "t," and I've been over the moon with an animal in the house. They're just good for the soul. We're in love, and I think he loves us too.

Before getting Teddy on Saturday, we went swimming at my parents' house. How good does my Dad look? Thankfully he is doing really well on his chemo regimen and is not having many side effects at all.

This past Friday was a big day because we finally had to bite the bullet and say bye-bye to Hadley's pacis. Both of my girls have taken pacis straight from the womb, basically, which is both a good and bad thing. Good when they're fussy/for self-soothing methods; bad when it's time to take them away. Hadley has only used hers to sleep since she turned one, but it's still been such a comfort for her. Anyway, our pediatrician told me it was time, especially with Hadley's trouble articulating some words. So, Friday was the big day. I thought up an elaborate story, and I'm here to report that it worked and has gone very smoothly! Friday morning I let her help me gather her pacis, and we put them in a gift bag. I told her we were going to mail them to the North Pole so Santa could deliver them to babies who needed them at Christmas. I wrote Santa's address on the gift bag, and I even let Hadley apply a stamp. Then we went out to the mailbox and put the bag inside. Hadley put the flag up, and we said "bye bye pacis." Once I got the girls into an activity inside, I ran outside to recover the bag so our mailman wouldn't think a crazy lady resided at our house. Ha! Hadley has slept perfectly fine without them. She's whimpered a little bit and has asked for them, but she's eventually fallen to sleep. When she asks, I just remind her that they're gone and that they've probably already made it to the North Pole. I tell her how proud of her I am, that she is such a big girl, and for good measure I tell her that Santa is very proud of her too. I have to admit my heart broke a little taking those pacis away. No pacis signify the end of babyhood, to me at least, and that hurts. Next up is potty training, but we're not there yet.
We went to Chick fil A last week for lunch and to play in the inside play area. The girls had a blast, as they always do there, and I did my usual and took a few pictures. I love this one because it captures the moment perfectly. "Seriously, mom, leave us alone and let us play." Point taken!
I posted a Chrissy Teigen recipe yesterday and shared the photo on Instagram as well. I was so excited to see later in the day that she had liked my photo! In reality, her assistant probably liked the photo, but a girl can dream, right? :)
And finally, our playroom has looked like a bomb went off in it the past few weeks. I've been too overwhelmed to clean it, so I just do what we all do...I shut the door and pretend it doesn't exist. Anyway, a few days ago I told Lily she needed to start cleaning it up. Not long after, she called me and told me she was finished cleaning the playroom. And below is what I walked into. I had to remind her that putting everything that's on the floor onto the bed does not equal cleaning. Ha...nice try though, right?
I hope everyone has a great day...we're going to visit my parents this morning, and our afternoon is open. I'm cooking tacos tonight and am trying out a Street Corn Salad recipe. If it's good, I'll share soon!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Roasted Cauliflower, Feta, & Orzo Salad

I've mentioned before how much I like Chrissy Teigen's cookbook Cravings. I've tried out her Dump and Done Ramen Salad, and we loved it, so I was anxious to try another one of her recipes. The Roasted Cauliflower, Feta, & Orzo Salad stood out to me because it just seemed different and unlike any flavors I'd tried together before. And it didn't disappoint. Seriously, one of the best salads I've ever made. And the good thing is, you can serve it as a salad, a side, or it's even filling enough to stand alone. The flavors just go really, really well...the creaminess of the feta and the sweetness of the dried cherries just seem like they were meant to pair with the roasted cauliflower and spinach. Plus the red onion packs some punch. I thought it tasted great as soon as it was ready as well as the next day after being refrigerated.

Roasted Cauliflower, Feta, & Orzo Salad
{Cravings Cookbook}
1 small head cauliflower, broken into small florets (about 5 cups)
4 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup orzo pasta
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2/3 cup dried cherries
4 cups baby spinach
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a bowl, toss the cauliflower with 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until softened and the edges are charred, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a pot of salted boiling water, cook the orzo according to the package directions, but for one or two minutes less than called for (just so it's underdone). Drain in a colander, rinse under cold water, drain well, and toss with the remaining 1 Tablespoon oil right in the colander.
In a big bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked orzo, roasted cauliflower, onion, feta, and cherries and toss until coated with the dressing. Throw the spinach on top and toss one more time. Taste, and add more salt if you'd like.


I hope everyone has a happy day. Anyone else think it feels like a Wednesday?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Our 4th + Classic Pimiento Cheese

Oh we had the best 4th, and I hope y'all did too. I feel like the 4th is just the epitome of summer...time outside, swimming, grilling out, family. I really love it.
We started off the day with donuts from Krispy Kreme. I love a good themed donut.
We spent much of the day just hanging out, getting stuff ready for the evening. We had my parents over for dinner so I was busy cleaning and cooking, and Rob bought some fireworks and sparklers for the girls. I picked up these cute T-shirts and necklaces for them from Target.
Hadley refuses to take a "normal" selfie...she cracks me up!

 I had to get in on the themed dressing this tee from Madewell.

I knew I wanted a light dessert since we were having burgers for dinner, and as I've mentioned several times...I love a good theme. Enter fruit pizza. I've actually never made one before, but I love how it turned out. Tasty and pretty!
There's not much more I love in the summer than pimiento cheese. We eat it year-round, but it's especially good in the summer. I've shared my recipe for White Cheddar-Chive Pimiento Cheese, but if you're looking for a more classic version, look no further. It's fantastic on a sandwich or just spread on crackers. For an easy appetizer, we cored some jalapeno peppers, and Rob grilled them to reduce some of the heat. Once they cooked, I stuffed them with the pimiento cheese. Such a good appetizer!
Classic Pimiento Cheese
{Southern Living magazine}
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (I used lemon juice)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons finely grated onion
8 ounces coarsely shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese
8 ounces coarsely shredded sharp yellow Cheddar cheese
Stir together first nine ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Stir in onion. Fold in pimiento and cheeses. Cover and chill 8 to 12 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, and stir well before serving.
I hope everyone has a great day! Thank you for your kind messages yesterday...they truly warmed my heart and brought me peace.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fragile I never wanted to write this post, and now here I am...writing it.

 Rob, the girls, and I went to the beach about two weeks ago, and we found out shortly after arriving that my Dad has relapsed. This is his third time to be living with mantle cell lymphoma. A recent CT scan revealed the news, and with those words, "I have a mass..." my world froze again.
I've written about my Dad before. He is and always will be my hero. He's been my number one fan my entire life, and I have never once doubted his love for me. And I have always loved him big. I guess you could say I'm a Daddy's girl.
I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was nearly 10-years-old. That was, of course, the hardest thing I've ever experienced, and for a long time I kind of felt like the "hard" was over for me. I'd already gone through the unimaginable; it was someone else's turn next. Until it wasn't.
Dad was first diagnosed with this particular type of lymphoma over seven years ago. I was finishing up nursing school and planning my wedding when we found out. I remember wondering how I would move forward, and somehow, I did. After intense chemo and a stem cell transplant, Dad went into remission and returned to work. I can't tell you how thankful we were. Life went on...and yet, there it was...I kind of felt like I was living always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Hoping and praying that it wouldn't yet at the same time wondering when it would.
We found out Dad had relapsed for the second time a week after I had Hadley. I'm an oncology nurse, and I understand the reality of relapse. I remember Dad telling me the cancer had returned, and I sat in the glider in Hadley's room and cried until I couldn't cry any more. Once again, he opted to go through intense chemo and another stem cell transplant. How he did it (physically, mentally, emotionally...) I'll never know, but I'm forever grateful that he did. The second stem cell transplant was much harder than the first. The recovery took longer; some of the side effects lingered. Thankfully, remission was again achieved, and Dad even returned to work part-time!
And now...the damn shoe has dropped again. I'm going to be honest, my first reaction was, "Seriously, God?!?! Pick on someone else. We've had enough." But I know that's not how life works. And I know that my life (our life) has been so much smoother and easier and wrinkle-free when compared to so many in this world. But still...
I am a little angry, but mostly I am sad. I am so sad that my dear Dad has to deal with this again. It's so freaking unfair. Sometimes I wish cancer would take the form of a person, just so I could hit it, kick it, scream at it, and pull its hair. I want to ask cancer...couldn't you have chosen the guy around the corner? The father who doesn't really love his kids? The man who really isn't so good? But there again...I know that's not how life works.
So how does life work? Ha...I wish I knew. I do know that random, bad things happen to good people every day. And that's just the nature of this fallen world we live in. Thankfully God is with us through it all, and it's by his grace that we survive any of it.
Dad has already met with his oncologist, and a third transplant is highly hasn't even been mentioned, I don't think, and if it were, I doubt Dad would go down that road again. He has started chemo (both oral and IV), and he'll have another scan in about a month to make sure the chemo is working and is effectively shrinking the mass. The hope is that chemo alone will send him into remission, and that is my prayer every day. Thankfully, Dad has taken both of these chemos in the past, and he has few side effects (if any!) while taking them. That is such a blessing.
So, where do we go from here? Baby foot in front of the other, one day at a time. I've already had a few meltdowns. I cried in front of a co-worker, and I cried again at church on Sunday, in front of a precious doctor I know and adore.
The nurse in me, the realist in me, understands our reality. If you just Google cancer relapse you can see for yourself. No one ever wants to relapse, a second time or a third. But the daughter in me, the optimist in me, just can't go there. I am choosing (and it is a choice...a choice I have to make each day!) to be positive; I am choosing to have hope; I am choosing to believe in the good and not in the bad.
And in the meantime? I've described it this way to a friend...but I feel like I'm going about my normal life yet there's this dark cloud that hovers above my head and follows me everywhere I go. I'm able to function, to go and do, to laugh and to live and to love...but I'm still aware of that dark cloud. I've felt this way before, and the good news is the dark cloud clears (at least a little bit) over time.
So...yesterday, today, and every day going forward I'm doing this: I'm doing what we should ALL be doing every day anyway. I'm loving my people extra hard. I'm giving more hugs (and you better believe they last a little longer); I'm letting petty things go; I'm making those phone calls or sending those e-mails or text messages. I'm listening more. I'm more willing to forgive. I'm recognizing our common ground as broken humans just trying to get by. I'm letting messes go; I'm seizing the day; I'm choosing fun over vacuumed floors. I'm putting on my bathing suit, and I may even just do a cannon ball off the diving board. Y'all, this life is so precious. Why does it take the hard to make us realize this? And at the same time, I'm thankful that I am realizing this...that I am making each day count more and more.
The past few weeks have been hard. Thankfully, God's grace is bigger than anything I will ever experience on this Earth. We've been lifted up by friends and loved ones, people just reaching out to say they are praying...friends offering to put us on prayer lists, loved ones offering to take us to lunch. People being the Lord's hands and feet on this Earth. Through the bad, there has been so much good. I have had days where I do the ugly cry and can barely catch my breath. And the next day I have woken up and had such a sense of peace. That is God's grace, y'all. Friends have prayed for us when I haven't been able to pray. God's grace. Laughing with my Dad while he was getting chemo, sharing funny stories with him about my girls, watching him (really watching him) love and hug and hold Lily and Hadley...God's grace.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, friends. They mean more to me than you will ever know. Love to you all.