Happy Go Stuckey


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What I Learned in June

It’s one of my favorite times of the month when we share what we learned with Emily.

Sharing-3

1. Simple cliche summer days really are the very best.  Perpetually air-dried hair with swimsuits and coverups as our daily outfits of choice. The calming lull of the dryer with our beach towels spinning away landmarks every afternoon. We rapidly move through boxes of popsicles and we always know where our flip-flops are.

Just 5 weeks into summer and I’ve learned it takes very little beyond a neighborhood pool and sunshine to keep us all content. We have settled very nicely into the sunscreen scented rhythm of summer and I am soaking it all up.

2. I read good books at a snail’s pace. You would think if I loved it, I couldn’t put it down. But I get completely wrapped up in the characters and hate the idea of them “moving out” of my brain so I read them slooooowly. Currently from my summer reading list, I am enjoying Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay. If you read Dear Mr. Knightley, this one is similar but still very different. I have only three short chapters left so I’m only reading two pages at a time. IMG_4379

3. I sorely missed my Stitchfix this month. I skipped my May fix for various reasons and I really missed that happy little green and white package. I scheduled one for my birthday later this month and I’ve been pinning things like crazy and watching the calendar. I like surprises; therefore Stitchfix has been a really fun experience. Have you tried it yet? IMG_3670

4. Colorful food inspires me to eat healthier. Our little back deck garden has been slowly producing some really beautiful things. Gold Zucchini (very similar to regular zucchini,) cucumbers, varieties of tomatoes and herbs galore. We normally eat a LOT of soups and chilis but in the summer– not a chance. It’s been so incredibly hot lately and I find myself searching for creative ways to cook without heat. We eat a lot of salads and tacos. I love the ability to create dinner with these beautiful colors.
colorful veg

What did YOU learn this month?

Catch up on what I learned in April and March

**Affiliate links are included in this post. This means that at no extra cost to you– I get a small commission if you purchase anything I recommend through these links.


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Summer Reading and Savor by Shauna Niequist

My favorite wall in our house is the one that is covered by books. We are all big readers around here. I always keep quite a to-read pile and then a secondary of to-read-after-I-read-the-others shelf. Some books I finish rapidly, others I put down and pick back up several time over the course of a month or two. (Curious what my summer reading list is?)

I am currently finishing Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay and I LOVE that it has carried me a month into summer and now smells like sunscreen and boasts a few water spotted pages.

I am not too strict about going in my planned reading order, and there are a small handful of authors that have earned themselves a sturdy place at the top. If anyone ever hands me one of their books, I add them to the top of the pile right away.

Shauna Niequist is certainly one such author. Her writing style is exquisite yet personable– and I definitely want to write a bit like her when I grow up. (I’m not an adult yet, I still like chips on my sandwiches.) 

The only problem I ever have with any of her books is that they end too soon. No matter the length of the book, I gorge on the first half and then pace myself with small microscopic bits until I come to the sad conclusion that I’ve read it all. She has an especially beautiful way of writing. Shauna paints word-pictures so vibrant you feel as though you’ve just taken your first bite of something delicious at her kitchen table. I love that. One of my favorite things to write about is food and people, therefore her books inspire me on a very personal level.IMG_3584

When my friends at the BookLook Blogger program sent me a copy of Shauna’s newest book, Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are I *might* have squealed like a fangirl. The book itself makes a gorgeous presentation with a linen-cover and lettering by Lindsey Letters.  In fact, because the format is that of 365 daily readings– it would make an excellent (Psst. Christmas is 180 days away) gift. Each reading begins with a verse of Scripture followed by a short essay. An included list of Shauna’s recipe staples cause you to bring this book from your nightstand to your kitchen — and that’s certainly a good thing.

I, personally, love that Savor is long enough to enjoy in small bites throughout the year. The message of this lovely book, to remember to live abundantly, where you are, as you are.. is absolutely something we can all be reminded of on a daily basis.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. If you have been here before you know I take that seriously. This is definitely one of those times when I can say, “I wholeheartedly, honestly LOVED it!”

Pick one up for yourself here–Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are


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Better than the Dream (Five Minute Friday)

He slid that stack of post-it notes across that big brown desk and just asked me– right out asked me for my number. No games, no made up reason why– just that he might need it “sometime.”

I scratched it down with a blue paper mate and tried to slowly slide it back, hoping not to come right out of my skin with the anticipation that he might actually use it and call me.

Nine years ago tomorrow, he used it. My phone rang with a number I did not yet know and it was him. Now that we’ve had the same last name for eight-tenths of a decade, I can definitely say– it was his nervous voice.

Facing each other at a wobbly table, we talked for an hour about music and our parents and the wonderfully wacky man we both worked for. The Romaine from my Greek salad fell into a stomach of butterflies and I stabbed at pieces of Feta with a plastic fork while stealing glances of the blue eyes that now look at me each morning.

And if I could back to a few months before that day, if I could have an hour with that girl? I would tell her one thing.

Hold on. Don’t give up. Keep dreaming. 

That guy you think you might never meet? He might be just around the next corner. And imperfect though you both are– you might just find yourself happy to see him every day for the next nine years.

And whether snuggling his babies, or snort-laughing at his antics in Target on a Friday night– this life?

It’s better than the dream and well worth the long wait.

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Ye Olde Dating Years

I’m back linking up with my Five Minute Friday crew tonight! 

the wild


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Unforgettable… That’s What You Are.

At my first blogging conference, I walked into a hotel lobby peppered with cuter boots than mine. I was instantly convinced that every last pair belonged to a better writer, as well. While weighing the idea to hide in my room and HGTV my way out of awkwardness, I met Amanda. A flight risk like myself, she was also eyeing the exits. We all but bumped into each other and immediately recognized a kindred spirit in the other nervous face. We spent the weekend becoming real life friends and taking silly smile booth photos. Having just one person who knew my name and was actually looking for me in a sea of people– well, it made all the difference.

Unfortunately, this place where we often hang out– this noisy internet– is the one place where we can get completely lost in a matter of moments, and I’m not even referring to the cat videos. The internet is bigger than big and full of so many other people doing what seems like the same thing we are, only maybe much better. Just when we might feel like we have our people and we know who we can count on to read our words or want to hear from us– or just remember us, we get counted out… again.

And then we feel so very small, right? Maybe even invisible. As though what we are doing may not matter to anyone else and maybe we’re just wasting our time and perhaps we should take up another hobby.

But therein lies the problem. If it is not a hobby, we don’t get really get the option to quit. If it’s a calling? Then we have been called by Someone else. Someone who knows just how small we are. How small we all are.

Far too often we make this all about us. We worry what our gift looks like when we offer it. We have anxiety over someone else’s victory because it looks like they preempted our own calling by a matter of days.

In short, we act as though there is only enough room for a certain amount of creatives in the world, and the person right in front of us in the queue is holding the very last ticket.

Can we all just agree that there is more than enough to go around? Enough room and sparkling goodness for us all to have a place in this world to do something for Him. Our view that the Church is crowded and that there is not enough room? The idea that we are not capable of bringing so great a sacrifice as our sisters? It’s silly and it’s small and it’s just not true.

He is infinite and there is more than enough space for us to have a place to shine. The world will not tire of more people walking in their calling any faster than we will stop needing His grace to take every step along that walk.

We were created one by one, intricately carved; not en masse. Our living should be with that in mind, individual and pointed upward, like the shiny upturned chin of a child, proudly bearing a crayon creation and searching for excited acceptance.

Can I just lean in and whisper something right into your uncertain eyes? Whatever you’re doing, He sees you. You aren’t nearly as invisible as you think. And if the whole entire world forgets you and I and we end up on the red-stickered table at the local Goodwill? We can remind each other of this very thing–

“For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love that you showed for His sake in serving the saints, as you still do.” Hebrews 6:10

the wild


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Drowning in the Mess of Yes, part 3.

Today we conclude the series, Drowning in the Mess of Yes. I have been so honored to be sharing these posts over at the WOW Weekly Moment and with all of you. Thanks Jacqueline! 

Want to catch up? Week 1. Week 2.


The One Free Hand Principle.
A few years ago I found myself with an almost three year old and a newborn. I had my hands full. Literally. And I suppose it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise to me when each time, for the past few months, I waddled up to the Target check out line with Lucy in the cart and nearly busting with soon-to-arrive Abby out in front of me—- the associate would raise their eyebrows and say, “Ohh girl. You’re about to have your hands full.”

No, Silly person, I am not— I thought as I smiled and swiped my debit card. I have ONE child in the cart. And yes, I have ONE more child in my gargantuan belly. And yes, that equals two children. But you see, I have TWO hands. One for each of them. Piece of cake.

(Spoiler Alert- I was wrong.) Of course, I soon learned this uncharted territory was not at all about the principle of addition but instead the multiplication that comes from having children, plural. Much of this came from my sweet Lucy never having shared me with anyone before and always having BOTH my hands free to do what she needed. It was quite a juggle with a fussy newborn who always wanted to be held in those early days. And when I couldn’t quite do what she needed, I must have said something like, “OK hon, wait until Mommy has a free hand and then I’ll get you that snack.”

In typical adorable toddler fashion, Lucy started noticing when I did have one free hand and claiming it for herself. We would be walking out the door to the car and I’d have my arms totally slam- full of Abby and Abby-paraphernalia and as I reached to turn the knob or unlock the car door, Lucy would say— “Mommy? Can you carry my baby doll with your one free hand?” Her hands would then be empty of course and mine would be even more full, but being three she didn’t understand or care about anything but that she could fill my otherwise unengaged hand with something she wanted for me to carry for her.

But here’s the thing. We may not blame our toddlers for failing to notice how full our hands are, but adults can be guilty of the very same thing! Sometimes others will notice that you have “one free hand” or this margin that we seek and they will want to help you fill it. Your whitespace may be perfect opportunity for them to pile more on you and thus remove it from their own plate. To some, especially those who don’t see the need for margin, your brave ‘No’ seems foolish to them. It can seem selfish, and no matter how you say No— how graciously, helpfully, kindly—your ‘No’ still disappoints. But that is ok.

Can we all just agree to give each other permission to disappoint one another once in a while? When we truly understand that we are all just striving to seek Christ and bring Glory to God, there is little room to judge one another’s busyness or lack thereof.

 “Do not let the awkward disappointment keep you from the ‘best yes’ appointments with God. —Lysa Terkeurst

Do not be afraid to say no, unless God has given you a yes. This fear of what others will think— our fear of man looks a lot like overcommitment sometimes, but it’s often just plain idolatry. We cannot sacrifice those things we KNOW God has given us to do on the altar of what everyone else thinks we SHOULD be doing.

What should I do with my Margin?
So what do you do with that little window of time once you find it?

  • Put on your own oxygen mask first! What is it that you need more of to be filled? Find what that is and be sure you make it a priority. I knew a wise Southern woman once who would get up early, stay in her room and spend time in the Word before any other human interaction. She said, “If I don’t talk to God first, I sure can’t talk to you!”
  • Seek to determine what your “thing” is. That thing that feeds your soul creatively, painting, running, writing, baking, crafting, reading, or just sitting in quiet. Whatever that thing is, PAY ATTENTION to it. Don’t squelch it out, protesting a lack of time. Know that God created that thing in you. If it thrills you and opens you up to serve Him and others more, He has created you not to ignore that piece of your self. Do not feel selfish for taking time to embrace those things that God has created you to love. Those unique parts of you are what makes you different from everyone else.

The point of all of this life is that we live to love and glorify God. That we love Him and love others, and not spend our lives exhausted from trying to perform. All that we are able to do for Him and for others, needs to come from His strength filling us first.

When we are filled, we have something to give.
When we are dry and exhausted and empty, we have nothing to give. Whether it’s children, or coworkers who need to know Christ’s love, or that person you just passed who could use a little help— we need to be filled so that we can love from the overflow instead of scraping up just enough to get by.

Know this, friends. We are filled to be emptied again.
God gives us the gracious gift of weekends away, afternoons for ourselves, coffee dates, morning hours with Him, walks alone to refresh— He gives us all of that, knowing that it does not last forever— and that we need to be replenished by Him as we are poured out for others.

The steadfast LOVE

I have so enjoyed our time together these last few weeks. I will leave you with a quote from Tsh Oxenreider that I often read as a reminder of why all of this matters so very much.

 “A slower-paced life isn’t just a good idea, or hip, or wishful thinking. It’s essential if we want to have time to be the Body of Christ. If we want to put others first, like Jesus? Then we must. slow. down. It’s the only way we as a Body can survive, thrive, be who we are meant to be in this rapid, rapid world.”  –Tsh Oxenreider


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On Birthday Cake and Why You Should Eat It.

You should most definitely, absolutely always eat cake at your child’s birthday party. Scanned Pictures 123

No matter what weight loss plan you are on, when serving cake to all those tiny friends of your little, go ahead and serve yourself one too.Scanned Pictures 144Because whether you delivered them after hours of rhythmic breathing, your loudest wail mingling with their very first cry–
or you lie in forced paralysis in a paper shower cap while a Doctor skillfully freed them from their tiny living quarters–
Today is your day too.Scanned Pictures 030

Maybe you stood in front of a judge and signed the most beautiful piece of paper ever with tears streaming and so much hope as you took them in your arms and turned to go home.

This day is just as much yours as it is theirs._MG_7086

That is why as you stay up until midnight, hanging that funky pennant banner and blowing up balloons– you will still be smiling to remember their very first day. It wouldn’t be right if you didn’t greet their birthday bleary eyed and stumbling towards the french press– Just like every other beautifully exhausting day of parenting. You’ll be laying out ninja turtle napkins and green lemonade and their first little baby grunts will be echoing in your ears. Little hands grabbing fistfuls of air as they search for your warmth. It’s always been you, from the very beginning._MG_6022From the first newborn diaper swallowing their wrinkly frame to the first time they giggled and shimmied out of your reach mid-change. They keep growing and we keep cheering them on.
Scanned Pictures 144We remember to put the candles on the cake all the while remembering their very first wobbly steps. We could no sooner forget the day they were born than our own names and each year that goes by we take plenty of photos with the camera, but we take still more with our minds.

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First taste of sweet potatoes, Click. First roll-over, Click. First night in a big kid bed, Click. First trip to the zoo, Click. First day of school, Click, Sniff. First, first, first–Click. We are the memory-keepers and whether you have found the time to keep all those moments in a Shutterfly book or you keep them all in your big mama heart, you keep them just the same. 

And even when they grow a little too big and our memory keeping gets quieter and more personal– to avoid the side-eye and the mortified whisper of our name– We will keep right on celebrating.
We will forever be, the faithful remember-ers.

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We will celebrate every year on this day– yes; but even more so– all the beautiful anything but ordinary days in between.

So grab that slice of Cinderella cake and a pink plastic fork and dig in to that slice of sugary goodness– and make sure they see you celebrating it all. You can eat salad tomorrow. But today– today we eat cake.

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Happy 6th Birthday to my first baby girl!


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Addition and Subtraction— Making Adjustments to Create Space. (Drowning in the Mess of Yes, part 2)

Last week, we looked at our need for margin and rest and the problem with a packed to the very edge schedule. When we first look at Scripture in Genesis 1, we see the example God gives of us of both working and resting well.

Even with the Father’s first lesson in rest— it is often difficult to come by. Very few people, regardless of life stage— find themselves without the need for MORE TIME. Last week, we finished with a challenge to ask God to take our schedules and mold them into His will for us. Let’s take a closer look at a few practical and spiritual principles for that mindset.

“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:1-3

Friends? As women, we have a real propensity to feel the need to do everything.
To do it all. To be all things to all people. We often feel that if we aren’t constantly, poured out, used up and coming up empty at the end of the day, we feel guilty. As though we aren’t living a life that is sacrificial.

But here’s the thing.

Our days can be FULL of things that we put there and not those things that God has put there. As we seek to serve our families and our jobs, every little thing we do MUST be committed to God. Everything must be checked with Him. He weighs our hearts. He knows our motives.

For a long time, I was someone who said yes far more than I said no. I have had a real problem in the past allowing myself to be held hostage to the GOOD things that I thought I should be doing; not even necessarily things God has asked me to do, but things I thought others thought I should be doing. In some cases they even were things that other people thought I should be doing, but not things that God put upon my heart to be involved in.

We make a lot of dangerous assumptions when we think that because we can do something, we should always be the one to do it. God gives us gifts for a reason, and they should not be wasted. But not every season is for every thing. It is good that our lives ebb and flow through seasons of involvement. If we are checking with Him before we give an automatic yes to someone, we will find that He may very often be saying no. And that no, when it comes from a God who protects and plans for us? It’s liberating! There is FREEDOM when God Dictates my schedule. There is exhaustion and anxiety when we live under a regime of trying to keep up.

Freedom in Rest

Five questions to ask as we consider what needs to be subtracted:
1. What is causing a deficit in my life? What is forcing a shortage of time and energy?
2. What is keeping me from having the needed whitespace around my day?
3. What is draining me mentally, emotionally, spiritually?
4. In what areas do I need more firm boundaries?
5. And one that I believe is most important, What is my greatest area of contribution? Carefully consider this last one when picking something new up.

Five questions to ask to consider what needs to be infused into our lives for proper balance:
1. Am I getting enough rest?
2. Alternatively, am I sleeping too much? How could I utilize that extra time?
3. Do I need to delegate more responsibilities?
4. Can I make a few choices of convenience once in a while to maximize my time and better serve my family?
5. What are a few daily rhythms I can adopt to promote rest?

Friends, I know this is such a battle. The issue of time and how to spend it wisely is so very elusive to many of us. But because we know that it matters to God, it must also matter to us.

The following quote from Emily P. Freeman is one that I love and think on often—

“Saying yes to rest means saying no to good things. But taking regular time off is not a punishment or a dare or a rule. It’s a gift. It’s taking a day to open your hands toward heaven and acknowledging that you don’t make the world go around.” Emily P. Freeman

I am excited to be sharing these words over at the WOW Weekly Moment this week. Hope to see you back next week for the third and final segment of Drowning in the Mess of Yes.

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