August 31, 2011

Doing More than “Just Enough”


Volunteering to co-host the “Dress Like a Girl Challenge” with Melissa has prompted me to give serious consideration to how I present myself to the world.  I work in an office that is home to both high level executives and hourly employees – I am somewhere in between, with work attire ranging from scrubs (it’s a health care company) to suits.  I often feel as though I am not pulled together, polished, or something is just off with how I am dressing.

Then it hit me this morning as I was fiddling with the outfit that I had quickly thrown on before making my husband’s coffee, switching a load of laundry, and replying to e-mails.  I am not devoting any true time to getting ready for my day.  Yes, I put on business casual clothing, swipe on a bit of powder and lipstick, and check to make sure that my hair is not resembling a bird’s nest.  But I never go beyond that.  I am doing just enough…..and that is no longer good enough.

So today, I let the dishes sit in the sink, and went back to my closet to give serious consideration to what I was going to wear.  Here is what I came up with (Please excuse the weird head tilt--- posing is not my strong suit)



While I don’t want this to turn into a fashion blog, I will be posting my daily outfits for awhile, just to give me some accountability.   Do any of you have tips/tricks/suggestions for dressing better?

August 26, 2011

I Broke My Own Rule

Before Joycie was born, I swore that I would never allow my child to sleep with me. I had seen too many parents who had struggled to transition their baby out of Mama’s bed and into their own room. I figured that if I avoided it from the start, I could avoid the struggle.

Needless to say, I was a little agitated when M put a half-awake Joycie down in our bed. He promised that he was only going to let her snuggle with us for awhile before moving her to her crib. Knowing how easily M can fall asleep, I figured that I would be the one doing the moving.

At 5:45 a.m., I woke to the beeping of my alarm clock, and a tiny hand resting on my cheek. As I lay in the stillness of the early morning, breathing in the scent of Johnson’s & Johnson’s Baby shampoo, and traces of chocolate milk, I realized that I didn’t mind so much that M had broken the “rule”.

In a larger sense, I realize that is the balance that I have to find as a parent. I want Joycie to become a good person, with a strong work ethic and high morals.

To instill that in her, I need to provide her a home with rules, expectations, and boundaries. On the other hand, I want her to have a creative spirit and a joyful soul, so I must teach her the moments when can ignore the “rules” and embrace the moment.

So while, I do not intend on letting Joycie take up residence in my bed nightly, I am not going to protest too loudly if some morning in the future, I wake up next to that little body.

What parenting “rule” have you broken?

August 24, 2011

August 23, 2011

Another Blogging Milestone….


I have been blogging for close to five years. I can remember getting excited when one of my posts garnered a comment from someone who I didn’t know in real life.

Then I giggled as I gained a few followers.  Now, I am celebrating another blogging milestone – co-hosting a blogging event.

Check out Melissa's Blog for all the details.

August 12, 2011

Bigger Picture Moment: Joy in the Repetitive

The familiar notes of a jazz flute float thru the speakers…as the next track on the CD begins to play. I look in the rearview mirror to see Joycie’s tiny face split into a grin that I swear spans ear to ear.

As the beat picks up, she begins to clap her hands and kick her feet into the air. I have come to learn this is how she dances – or at least how she dances while strapped into her car seat.

I chuckle softly at the excitement that she shows. We have listened to this track five times this morning, and each time she acts so surprised to hear it, and then reacts with such joy.

While she dances, and the singer sings of God’s glories……I wonder why I can not find such joy in the repetitive things of my life. Lately, life has been a cycle of work, working out, worship, and not much else. I find myself growing discontent, restless, – dare I say bored by the routine.

“Lord, I would love to find joy again.” I think as I drive.

“Then choose to embrace it.”

As God’s child, I can never lose my joy – as all of my hope rests in Christ. However, I can choose whether or not to live out my joy. So as I dropped Joycie at daycare, and pulled into my usually parking spot at the office, I made a choice to embrace the joy.

It was another day at work…..but I joyfully danced my way thru.

August 10, 2011

August 09, 2011

Daily Gratitude: Vacation

Last week I turned 29, and blogged about how I was going to update daily with something that I was grateful for…, yeah….that didn't happen.


It's not that I do not have a myriad of things to be grateful for but rather I have little time to capture the moments in this medium. I file the memories away in the corners of my mind and my heart with every intention of sharing them each evening. But there is dinner to make, aerobics class to teach,  a little girl who wants me to spin her around the living room while we listen to praise music, and a handsome husband's whose strong arms beckon me to cuddle just a few more moments…..and so I don't turn on my computer, download the picture, and release the torrent of words that I wish to share.

In the past, I would have felt guilty, offered my profuse apologies and vowed to get back on track. However, I am learning that I often make grand plans and promises that I can not keep.  Instead, of re-pledging to post daily, I am simply going to tell you that over the next year I will be sharing my moments of gratitude.


Let's start now. I am grateful for my upcoming vacation. Spring and summer are very busy seasons for our family. Since we own a blueberry farm, we spent March, April, and May carefully tending the blueberry fields – watering, fertilizing, pruning, weeding, and protecting those tender buds from late spring frost.  As the May flowers begin to wilt under the June heat, the blueberry bushes bring forth their fruit and "picking season" go into full swing.


For you non-farmer types, picking season is the 6 to 8 weeks where the crop is ripening and we spend every spare second we have working to bring that crop to market.  Picking season is hectic on full-time farmers, but for us full-time farmers with full-time real jobs it is utter chaos. A normal week during picking season, has the men of the family on tractors from 5:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. or later.  My sister-in-law, mother-in-law and I like to joke that we are "widows" during picking seasons, as we only see our husbands long enough to say good morning, scarf down a bite of supper, and good night.


Picking season can leave me feeling disjointed and disconnected from M. And so, each year we plan a week long escape at the end of the season. It is a time to reconnect and regroup both as individuals, as a couple, and now as a family.


This year, M and I are taking Joycie to Chattanooga. We have rented a cabin just 45 minutes south of the city.  It's a quaint two room cabin situated on a shimmering lake.  We have plans to take Joycie to the Tennessee Aquarium and the Chattanooga Zoo. But those are the only plans we have made. We intend on spending the rest of the time just hanging out – lounging in our pajamas while enjoying a pancake breakfast, taking long walks around the lake, and maybe dancing around the living room.



August 05, 2011

17 Months



Dear Joycie,

You are now 17 months old….and becoming quite the active little girl. As always, we will begin your letter with your stats:

  • You are 40 inches long and weigh 22 pounds.
  • You are wearing size 18 month bottoms, size 12 month bottoms, and size 4 shoes.
  • You have 10 teeth.
  • You are still in size 3 diapers….and I am thinking you are going to be in those sizes for quite some time.

Your vocabulary continues to grow. This month you’ve learned to say ‘No, no, no’, stop, shoes, oustide, ahts –at (what’s that).

You can point out various body parts including your hair, head, teeth, tongue, hands, arms, feet, and tummy. When asked you can make the sounds of dogs, cats, cows, and ducks.

If we had to choose your favorite toy, the Dora the Explorer guitar and microphone would win. You love to play with them, dancing and singing along to the music. However, you love being outside more than anything.


Daddy is in the process of building you a swingset so that you can enjoy the hot pink swing that Nana and Papa bought for you.  When you aren’t swinging, you like to explore the yard – picking up sticks, rocks, and dirt.

At school, your teachers say you are very loving. Each afternoon when Mama picks you up, you give your teachers hugs, blow kisses to your classmates, and tell everyone we pass bye-bye.


You are a constant source of joy for us.  The silly faces you make, the funny noises, and your infectious laughter warm our hearts so much.


Mama & Daddy

August 04, 2011

30 Before 30


At 5:59 a.m., I turned 29 years old and officially entered the last year of my twenties. Up until a few days ago the thought of entering this “last year” had not crossed my mind. Then suddenly I was hit with an overwhelming urge to create, do, be and experience more – as though the life I have right now is somehow not enough or that once I turn 30 I would be unable to achieve any measurable goals. 

Since I am 100% blessed to have the life I am living – a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, a job I love, a nice home, car, and my health – I pushed aside the idea of creating the list…..and moved on.

However, in the quiet moments of the day, I felt myself once again needing to write this list. A conversation with a dear friend helped me to see, that creating a “30 Before 30” list does not mean I am unhappy with who I am now. Rather, the list gives me direction and focus in what can often be a busy, hectic and demanding life. 

Therefore, I am submitting to the blogging world my “30 Before 30” list.

1. Dance in the rain with Joycelen.
2. Take a week day off from work, have M do the same, and spend the entire day at home with Joycie. (Bonus points if we spend the whole day in our p.j.s)
3. Run a 5K race with Mikey.
4. Run a 5K race with my running group in each of the 4 seasons.
5. Run a 10K .
6. Complete a half marathon.
7. Run a 5K race with my running group in each of the 4 seasons.
8. Attend a Nascar Race
9. Attend a professional football game.
10. Take dance lessons.
11. Try at least 1 new recipe each month.
12. Taking a cooking class with M.
13. Visit at least 2 states that I have never been to before.
14. Take a mission trip to another country. However, if this can not happen a mission trip to another state will be fantastic.
15. Start a children’s choir at my church.
16. Take an unplanned, uncharted, unknown roadtrip with M & Joycie.  Just load up in the car and go.
17. Chase lighting bugs with my nieces and nephews.
18. Spend an afternoon listening to my grandmother tell family stories. Record these on video.
19. Treat my Mama to a spa day.
20. Spend a day fishing with my Daddy.
21. Treat my sister to a girl’s day out - mani’s, pedi’s, a little shopping, and a nice lunch.
22. Complete a bike race.
23. Ride in a “poker run” with M.
24. Find something to be grateful for every day for the next year. Post a picture of the item on my blog.
25. Practice random acts of kindness. The goal is at least one each month for the next year.
26. Have something that I have written be published in a newspaper,  magazine or online.
27. Research, begin, and if possible earn my personal training certification.
28. Take a digital photography course.
29. Spend the day playing tourist in my tri-county area. Visit the attractions that bring out of town folks to the area.
30. Read at least 1 new book each month.  A new book can be defined as either a newly published work or an old work that I have never read.