monday gifts

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Thankful for… 

friends to pray with and just be with. This has been a tough time for my church family and city, with the loss of Pastor Ty and Terri. (See news story and video here.. goodness, I love my church.)

comfort when we’re mourning.

the inspiration of lives lived without regrets. People who gave and loved wholeheartedly.

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how life goes on and we choose to celebrate and have joy! My birthday week friends enrich my life and mean so much to me!

when the room is filled with the sound of half a dozen conversations between friends. That is music to my ears.

gigantic blocks of cheese.

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relaxing walks to de-stress from challenging caregiver days.

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goofy fun with neighborhood youngins.

the way God is helping me see more clearly so many beautiful gifts in my life. Every day is full of moments and people and good things. Often I miss out, dwell on petty things, or just plain don’t notice. But I’m learning to treasure.

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Mississippi in July

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Last month my dad, brother, sister-in-law and I made our way down south to visit family and friends.

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Here are some photos and memories from the week spent in my hometown.

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Another year, another shameless and freezing Father wrapped in my aunt’s blanket. They do crank the A/C, understandably so! It was over 100 some days + massive humidity.

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Mamaw and I took walks together first thing in the morning.

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20150714_083525Fishing at the farm. Again, Dad schooled us. It was painful. 20150714_082459

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At the big family get-together. Crystal, Joe, me, & Mamaw.

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Cousins playing guitar. Uncle Danny soon joined in.

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Exploring downtown Pontotoc with Joe & Crystal. We introduced Crystal to the town museum (including the jackpot: fantastic high school yearbook photos of dad and his siblings!!). We were the only ones there and the ladies who run the place were starved for visitors. So they occupied several hours of our time with a guided tour. When they were pointing out allll the features of the mural (which you can see here!) I kept smiling. Leslie Knope would have loved it so much.

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Crystal and Rambo, being calm for 5 seconds. That puppy adored her and was so sad to see her leave.

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We played loads of games as always. Best times ever! Mamaw got kinda sassy and cutthroat with her great-grandson there when we played Monopoly Deal. Also to be noted: a free-flowing supply of sweet tea.

There were a few sad notes to our trip, one of them being that my uncle is very sick. It is tough to know that people I love so much are suffering.

And so? I tried not to take any of it for granted.

Long talks with Mamaw about anything and everything. Saying “goodnight” to her every night. Listening to all the stories my dad and his brothers and sisters tell, and laughing till it hurts. Making a fancy dinner for the family with Joe. Getting Sonic with Joe and Crystal, with Jacob on speaker phone. (Eli we missed you.) Seeing dear church people. A day out with Crystal for some girl time and shopping. Listening to Brian Regan on the drive. Dad getting a BC Powder accidentally blasted in his face. Laughing at how bedraggled and tired we all looked while eating breakfast on the drive home. Dad calling Siri “Fenecia” as usual. Eating homemade ice cream, sweet tea, chicken, bbq, Mamaw’s fruit cake, veggies. And the list goes on.

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what I learned in July

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A 747 can hold over 45,000 gallons of fuel. Not that it is usually filled to capacity but still. I’m reading a book by a pilot right now and I feel like I have a working knowledge of planes and flight. (This has nothing to do with green tomatoes.. I just put up that picture randomly/because I love my tomatoes.)

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It’s important to actually print out your photos and do things with them. Not just leave them on your phone or computer. Stick them where you’ll see them often, because they will warm your heart. I already knew this but I learned it again.

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I overuse the words “my friend Val.” She is in most of my stories and I am sure everyone I talk to is sick of hearing about her. But she’s my constant, and I can’t help it. The only point of doing things separately is so we can have something new to talk about the next time we’re together. Her grandmother gives me pickles- I think that sums it all up pretty well.

Linking up with Emily & others to share what we learned this month.

monday gifts

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Thankful for…

my colorful rug, always reminding me of Jamaica.

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Saturday wanderings with best friends. 

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when beads and small children and sidewalk chalk combine in a crazy way that makes you wonder, “what is going on??!”

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the fun blessing of being a part of an outreach & vbs this week with my church.

getting to meet beautiful neighbors:

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when friends linger on a Sunday, lazily amused by the antics of a small boy and a puppy.

when I miss my people who are too far away.

when I fail at Bible memory group.

when I got really sad news but I had a friend to share it with.

when I get to arrange flowers and bake cookies and be really proud of my friends.

when I’m stressed out although I have no reason to be.

when God is good. (Which is all of the time.)

monday gifts

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Thankful for…

this right here:

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safe travels, crazy travel companions.
my family. I love them.
homemade ice cream.
games.
mega humidity.

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pool days.

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very large fish!

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sweet tea in plentiful abundance.

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mornings that do not start well. :)

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salads that are beautiful and dinners with friends.
this life, right now. The hard parts and the wonderful parts. I am blessed.

monday gifts

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Thankful for…

the smell of tomato plants.
lightening bugs.
rest & antibiotics to get better.
puppies and toddlers to bring cuteness into our lives.

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voxer karaoke from my brothers.
the book of Romans.
those days where everything is just “off.”
fireworks + friends + sonic afterwards = the simplest, best things.

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what I learned in June

You can grow cacti from seeds! And it is so fun! Val started hers last summer and now she has a little crop of them, about half an inch high with big spikes. (Yes. They are ridiculously cute and we are actually obsessed with them.) She gave me some seeds and I planted them. After 4 weeks of nothing I had pretty much given up when suddenly:

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They grown and change every day and you can distinguish different varieties!

Coral is freaky. There are some really crazy time-lapse videos of coral done by the BBC which show different corals attacking one other. By flinging their guts on each other to see who will be the digestor and who will be the digestee. Whoa.

Reading Pioneer Girl didn’t ruin my childhood. (It’s is a previously unpublished manuscript by Laura Ingalls Wilder.) I was so worried. But ultimately it was just interesting and made me respect her more as an author, instead of shattering my childhood impressions with “what really happened.”

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Related: vocabulary gets picked up along the way among family (or friends!) and takes on its own meaning, and this is nothing new. I will forever say ridiculous things like “melcome wats” or “I meant what you knew” or “paintbrush!” and certain people will know precisely what I mean. For the Ingalls family it was this phrase: “Potatoes do hold the heat!” which actually meant “someone is being greedy” in a joking way.

“As our potatoes became scarce, he [a guest] would help himself first to them and hurry to eat them so quickly that he always burned himself on them. Then clapping his hand to his mouth he would exclaim ‘Potatoes do hold the heat!’ This happened so often the rest of us made a byword of it.”
-Laura Ingalls Wilder in Pioneer Girl

There is an Arthur wiki page. As in, the PBS children’s show. Has an exhaustive website of information. The reason I know this is a texting conversation between me and Kathryne, beginning something like this: “Cool it, buster” “For some reason buster always makes me think of a rabbit” “wasn’t that the bunny on the cartoon Arthur?” and ending with one of us confessing we once had a small crush on The Brain. We were both a little too old for this cartoon, then and now. This is embarrassing.

Linking up at Chatting at the Sky!