Three 31



Today, we’re supposed to experience a ‘heat wave’ with temperatures in the mid-60s. So, to remember days (last week) gone past, I thought I’d share pics from Kamden’s first steps in the snow.

Unfortunately, going outside in the frozen tundra (dramatically speaking) meant dressing him like a homeless little red riding hood. Because we live in North Texas, we don’t see frozen white stuff very often and when it does happen, it doesn’t stick around too long, and we don’t own a lot of winter weather gear either. For all that Kamden has, he lacks a heavy coat, scarf, and pair of gloves. But, we made due with what we had available: plenty of shirts to layer, an oversized sweater, socks as hand mitts, and a kitchen towel for a scarf. Besides, we weren’t outside but just a few minutes – long enough for me to snap these few pictures!










The bits of snow in his hair … be still my beating heart! Kamden and I are going to enjoy the mild (though rainy) temps today before another round of wintry mix makes it way through North Texas for the remainder of the week. By the weekend, though, it’s supposed to be sunny and 50. Most folks laugh, but the saying is true – “If you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait five minutes!”

What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods today?


Monday Musings


Every Monday, I publish whatever is on my mind -consider it a smorgasbord of thoughts and randomness- as a way to clear my head and prepare for the next week ahead. By doing so, I hope to calm the chaos and organize the scattered. Cheers to 2015 and blessings to you!

monday musings

I skipped last week’s edition because I was distracted, busy, tired, and lazy. Basically, after a long weekend spent in Little Rock, the last place I wanted to be on Sunday night was in front of the computer typing a blog post. Unfortunately for you, I find myself in a similar situation now for this post. I’ll keep this quick …

If you are a boy mom, blogger or not, you must participate in this swap.

Growing up in The South is pretty neat, believe me.

I’m perfecting the most delicious blueberry muffin with streusel topping recipe in the history of ever. I’ll share it soon, pinky swear promise.

I recently watched an episode of Scandal. Wow, Olivia Pope.

I need your help. I need staycation ideas for my little family of three. I don’t know if I’ll ever get Husband on a real vacation, but I’m hell bent on making memories away from home somehow. I’d hop on a plane tonight and fly around the world, but I can’t get Husband to go out to dinner in Fort Worth. The struggle is real, y’all. The struggle is real. (Please leave your ideas and suggestions in a comment!)

If you are in the DFW area and are interested in Bible journaling, I’m hosting a workshop next Sunday, March 8 at First United Methodist Church in Joshua. Bring your journaling Bible (or sketchbook or whatever you have) and supplies, and be ready to work on a journal page. Invite a friend too. We will have another workshop on Sunday, March 29. If you plan to attend one or both sessions this month, please let me know I can have plenty of chairs and tables and space available.

Announcement Slide - 030815




Resolution Update // February 2015

How is February over? The last few days (more like several weeks), I feel like that proverbial chicken with its head cut off. Running around from place to place with no purpose, no direction, no real sense of why I’m doing what I’m doing and it’s such a beating. I’m trying to find rest but in the quietness my head spins with guilt for being still or taking a break and lists of to-do’s start forming. That nagging voice inside my head is screaming You should be cleaning this disaster of a house you call home. You need to write more blog posts and keep your commitment to MQ. You need to play and read more with your son. Your husband is tired of leftovers, it’s been three days since you’ve last cooked a meal. Perhaps if you went to the gym more often and prioritized your health and well-being, you wouldn’t be in such a funk. You should really get your head out of your ass and stop all this nonsense. You need to be more grateful and less cynical. You should be thankful for what you do have instead of worrying about or dwelling on what you don’t have. I’m wallowing in the trough of self-loathing and discontentment. I see what others have and automatically assume their grass is greener. This post is supposed to be about my resolution update, I should really pay more attention.


Lose 20% of my body weight
Take advantage of health coach provided by insurance Still using (nicolemhutchison) and wearing my Virgin Health Miles MAX wrist pedometer most days. Unfortunately, Kamden has a massive diaper blowout literally minutes before we were getting in the car to head to the airport. I took my pedometer off to give him a quick rinse in the bath tub and forgot to put it back on. It’s very disappointing especially since my family and I spent considerable time walking around Arkansas’s capital city, particularly the downtown area, and I won’t get credit for the steps.
Eat breakfast every day Not really.
Take a daily multivitamin Still taking vitamins, along with a Zyrtec for seasonal allergies.
Exercise four days a week Didn’t happen, unfortunately.
Work out with a personal trainer
Drink 150 ounces of water every day
Complete a juice cleanse
Complete a 90-day challenge
Eliminate something from my diet each month (i.e. sweets, fried foods, sugar, fast food, etc.)
January – Rough start at the beginning of the month, but I’ve managed to stay away from excess sugar for two and a half weeks. Small steps.
February – I avoided tomatoes like the plague.

Be showered and in bed by 10:30 every night
Learn more about and use essential oils
Find a skincare routine that works for me
Participate in a “new-to-me” group exercise class January 9 – tried a 60-minute cycling class, January 24 – tried INSANITY, January 28 – Zumba with Miss Ivy
Schedule annual appointments with OB-Gyno, eye doctor, and dentist January 16 – comprehensive eye exam; January 19 – purchased eyeglasses at Warby Parker; January 20 – teeth cleaned; January 21 – cavity filled (booo!) 


Create a blog post calendar … and use it!
Attend a blog conference
Attend a creative writing workshop
Publish a blog post every day for a month
Publish a “how to” post
Publish an original recipe
Continue the weekly FINISH THIS link up Week #53 was posted January 7, I’m hoping participation will increase as the year progresses.
Start a blog series January 5 – Monday Musings began; January 24 – weekly meal plan with menu/recipes
Meet five bloggers in person
Host a sponsored giveaway
Host a bloggers’ watch party for 50 Shades of Gray Hosted a *dinner & movie* night with 10 friends. We ate sushi and watched 50 Shades. We had a fun evening of good fun and lots of belly laughs but, at least for me, the movie was even more disappointing than I expected. I blame the guy who plays Christian Gray, whatever his name is. He’s a terrible actor. I wish the rumors were true and his wife would demand he quit, sequels II and III would be so much better without him.
Continue writing for MOMquery I’ve been a major slacker on this but I managed to submit a post on breast pumping supplies. I seem to be the go-to person when it comes to that subject. I could be known for much worse, I suppose.


Organize and back up my photos
Sell my current camera and upgrade to this one I’ve changed my mind and WANT this one.
Acquire a 85mm prime lens
Acquire a telephoto lens
Expand Three 31 Photography by scheduling at least 10 sessions
Take a Lightroom class
Join a camera or photography club January 19 – first meeting with Cleburne Photography Club


Refinanced our home mortgage for a lower interest rate February 11
Execute our living wills
Create a gallery wall in the living room
Hang a family picture above mantel/fireplace
Rearrange the living room furniture We’ve temporarily moved furniture to accommodate foam floor tiles for Kamden’s larger play space. Our living room is oddly shaped so placing furniture correctly and effectively is a challenge. Making it work for an active toddler is perhaps the biggest challenge of all. So far, Kamden loves having his toys spread between the living room and bedroom so he can walk or push trucks/tractors on the floor. If I need him “safely contained” for a moment, the Pack-n-Play fits perfectly between the wall and Husband’s recliner, blocking Kamden in the living room. This method is our alternative and compromise to those pesky corral-looking panels and gates most people have in their home. I don’t want Kamden to get hurt, but I want him to explore and be a kid too. It’s a fine line, of course, but so far this method is working.
Buy new comforter + bedding for guest room
Buy new side tables + lamps for master bedroom
Repaint the side table in Kamden’s room
Install new kitchen sink + granite countertops
Make our home more energy efficient
Have a technology-free weekend
Find a cleaning schedule … and use it!
Eat at a celebrity chef’s restaurant
Try a new recipe every month
January – Loaded Baked Potato and Chicken Casserole (Husband’s reaction was meh.)
February – Blueberry Muffins

Make the perfect omelet
Host a dinner party with other couples/families
Host a “Friendsgiving”
Host a game night
Meal plan for a month … and stick to it!
Use the Crock Pot once a week for a month
January – used the CP three times (roast beef and pinto beans)
February – meatballs and homemade spaghetti sauce

Save loose change and cash out at the end of the year There is now a Mason jar on the counter will loose change!
Purge the entire house and donate or toss things we don’t use
Have my car detailed inside and out
Sell my car and buy a used SUV or crew cab pickup truck


Find a Bible reading plan (such as this one) that works for me … and use it regularly!
Read and study Scripture regularly and more thoroughly In addition to reading and studying Scripture, I began BIBLE JOURNALING this month! It’s a way to illustrate thoughts and reflections while reading the Bible.
Seek opportunities to improve (i.e. parenting, photography, blog writing, etc.)
Have regular conversations with Lisa January 14 – the shenanigans have begun!
Create a new resume
Get a job with new resume
Join a professional organization and get involved in the local chapter
Finish The Story Bible study
Create and lead a small group for parents with young children
Read 12 books (one per month) 1. Being Christian – Rowan Williams; 2. Captivated By You (Book 4 of The Crossfire Series) – Sylvia Day; 3. Chic & Slim: How Those Chic French Women Eat All That Rich Food And Still Stay Slim – Anne Barone; 4. Fighting Back With Joy – Margaret Feinberg
Keep a prayer journal
Keep a blessings/gratitude jar
Participate in a book swap
Get my hair cut at the start of each season January 16 – hair cut
Have my eyebrows “threaded” by a professional
Get a facial/mani/pedi every other month


Create a 529 Savings Plan – Opened account and made a significant deposit on January 30
Potty train (no more diapers) by second birthday
Continue weekly classes at The Little Gym January 8 – Kamden was promoted to the “Birds” class (for kids 10-18 months)
Enroll in Kinder-music
Schedule one play date a month
Mommy + Me photo session for Mother’s Day
Plant a tree
Make a special craft or memento
Install book shelves in his bedroom
Read a book before bedtime every night We read books every day, but not before bed. Kamden gets a bath, massaged with lotion, dressed in pajamas, takes a bottle of milk, and goes to sleep. This routine has worked beautifully since he was a newborn and I hate to make adjustments right now.


Surprise Husband with a meaningful gift
Continue donating breast milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas January 5 – Donated 332 ounces. January 22 – My pumping days are officially over. You can read why here. As sad as I am, I was able to donated 3,300 ounces to the MMBNT.
Donate to a charity
Throw a surprise party for someone
Attend a wedding
Attend a baby shower
Leave a 100% tip for excellent service
Volunteer at least five hours each month January – FAIL! February – FAIL!
Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity
Send a “just because” gift to someone
Send 12 handwritten notes (one per month)
Send a care package to a soldier
Celebrate special milestones (i.e. birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) with snail-mail greeting cards January 6 – sent cards to Nana for her 84th birthday


Go to Bova for a custom ring design consultation
Go to Bova and have my ring and earrings cleaned
Have a ladies’ night once a quarter February 13 – dinner and movie
Attend a college sporting event
Attend a professional sport event
Invest in quality luggage … and use it!
Visit three museums January 6 – Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas; February 20 – Clinton Presidential Center & Library
Visit Ruthie in Austin
Visit Lisa in Virginia
Visit Jenny in North Dakota
Visit Jacqueline in Houston
Visit Heather in Houston
Visit Jen in Arizona
Visit a Presidential Museum February 20 – Clinton Presidential Center & Library in Little Rock, Arkansas
Visit a popular landmark I’ve never seen before
Go to Lake Ouachita (Arkansas) with Husband’s family
Go to Fredericksburg, Texas
Go hunting
Play a round of golf
Go to a drive-in movie
Shoot a bow-and-arrow
Compete in a shooting sport
Complete a fitness challenge
Go paddle boarding
Attend a cooking class
Attend a line dancing class at Billy Bob’s

And for good measure …

Read and study the Bible for 31 consecutive days following a specific reading plan. DONE!

Exercise 1,500 minutes in a month, or 75 minutes every week day, and avoid “bad for me” foods. FAIL!

Walk a minimum of 8,000 steps every day for 31 days (must wear pedometer).


Finish This #60


Something that has impressed me this week…

The City of Little Rock, Arkansas. Kamden and I flew to LRA (via Southwest – they are the best for cheap fares, convenient flight times, customer service, and kind employees) last Thursday and met my mom, two aunts, and a cousin from Kentucky for a long-weekend visit. One of my aunts attended a conference at the Marriot Downtown (where we stayed), but we managed to spend the majority of our time together touring and eating our way through Arkansas’s capital city. I’ve driven through Little Rock countless times, via I-440 from Texas to Kentucky, and stayed overnight once, but this was my first time to be downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods for several days. Even though the weather sucked, it was bitterly cold most of the time, we enjoyed our time together. If you’re in the downtown area, hop on the electric rail cars instead of driving and parking. The Bill Clinton Presidential Library was really neat, but it did not exceed my expectations set by George W’s museum in Dallas. I wanted to visit Heifer International’s corporate office but we just didn’t have time. I was also disappointed that Bourbon & Boots is closed on the weekend. No worries, I’m already planning our next trip to Little Rock in July!

SITES TO SEE River Market // River Rail Electric Street Cars // Clinton Presidential Center // Heifer International // Bourbon & Boots

GREAT EATSCajun’s Wharf // Boulevard Bread Company // Flying Fish // Local Lime // Heritage Grille Steak & Fin

My favorite meal of the weekend was our lunch at the Local Lime, located at The Promenade at Chenal, a 15-minute drive east of downtown. The food was amazing and the award-winning margaritas did not disappoint! The tomatillo salsa was my favorite of the six signature varieties and the pork carnitas and drunken beans were delicious. This is one establishment that I wish was in the DFW area.

locallime.collageFrozen margarita // Six signature salsas
Queso Blanco // Guacamole // Pork carnitas

Someone who has impressed me this week…

Not to sound conceited, but I’m impressed with myself for finishing this post last night. Faithful Followers, please forgive my absence and lack of Monday Musings, I’ll try to make it up to you next week. Since coming home from Little Rock, I’ve been trying to get Kamden back on his regular schedule (specifically sleeping past 7am) while Husband’s been working from home the past two days due to inclement weather. I’m hoping enough snow falls today so I can get a picture of it with Kamden but then I’m done. I love winter. I love snow. I love cold weather. But I loathe the way people in DFW react to a little moisture on the roads. Hashtag rant over.

Bloggers, please add your post to the link up through the link below. :)

Prompt for Week #61
A random piece of advice…


Finish This #59


I am thankful for

FAITH // because I have a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and I am digging deeper into God’s Word with a year-long Bible reading plan, half-way through The Story study (which I’m really loving), and allowing my creative juices to flow while Bible journaling. I’ve got a lot going on but any time spent in Scripture is a good time!

HUSBAND + KAMDEN // for so many reasons. I love being a stay-at-home mom and getting to spend every day with Kamden. I also love Husband to the moon and back and I hope he is as proud to call me his wife as I am to call him my husband. Valentine’s Day (Feb 14) marked our 12th anniversary of being together and March 31 we’ll celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary. Holy Crap!

LOVELY LADIES // I got to spend last Friday evening with 10 women who rock my socks, make me laugh, and love me despite my inappropriateness in regards to 50 Shades shenanigans. Even though I hated the movie, I loved spending time with these babes. In the realm of friendships, I am so much more blessed than I realize. I’d rather have these 10 dimes than 100 pennies any day! And, let’s be honest, Jules and I are smokin’ hot.


JESS + CRISSY + IVY // These trainers at the gym kick my butt with smiles on their faces. I need it though.

JENNY + LISA // Virtual friends are sometimes the best friends. Seriously, I’d be SOL without these two keeping me in check.

WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUUSE FRO-YO // because, well, it’s better than a DQ Blizzard and it satisfies my sweet cravings. And there is a fro-yo shop besides the grocery so I don’t have to make an extra stop or wrestle Mini Man out of his car seat for a quick trip inside. In fact, I left the cart full of bagged groceries on the sidewalk patio while Kamden and I went inside for a cup of fro-yo to go. In less than a minute we were in and out. That’s awesome service and convenience to the max! I offered him a taste but I think the cold really turns him off … oh well, more for Mama!

CHEAP + QUICK AIRPLANE TRIPS // Instead of a 6-8 hour drive with a 14-month-old,  we have a 47-minute flight. Just like my favorite trainers at the gym say about an intense workout, you can do anything for 47 minutes!

HANDSOME VALENTINE DINNER DATE // Kamden and I went to a Valentine-theme fundraiser dinner at church last Sunday evening. The youth (and their adult leaders) put on this elaborate affair every Valentine’s Day to raise money for their summer mission trip. I think I had the most handsome date in the room. Of course we had to use some props provided in the photo booth – I’m shocked he let me hold the giant mustache in front of his face though. He’s adorable and I want to eat him up. Nom Nom Nom.


Bloggers, please add your post to the link up through the link below. :)

Prompt for Week #60
Something that has impressed me this week…
Someone who has impressed me this week…


Monday Musings


Every Monday, I publish whatever is on my mind -consider it a smorgasbord of thoughts and randomness- as a way to clear my head and prepare for the next week ahead. By doing so, I hope to calm the chaos and organize the scattered. Cheers to 2015 and blessings to you!

monday musings

I’ve decided to change the format of Monday Musings a bit. Let me know if you like it or not. Here we go, I am currently:

reading // For studying: The Bible, Twelve Women of the Bible, and The Story. For personal improvement: Fight Back With Joy and Made to Crave. For pleasure and to rid my imagination of the terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-acting-in-the-movie: 50 Shades of Grey.

pondering // On that note, I watched 50 Shades of Grey last Friday evening with a group of lovely ladies. Our dinner was fabulous, our laughs were contagious, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, but, personally, I thought the movie downright sucked. The acting was on a level of terrible I cannot even put to words. It was really bad. I seriously hope they make drastic changes before the second and third movies are released. There was no chemistry between Christian and Ana and it felt forced, uncomfortable, and very fake. It was like I was watching an amateur impromptu performance. Ugh. I’m still ‘pondering’ my thoughts from what I saw on screen for a comprehensive review that I’ll share later, but, like always, the book(s) are always better than the movie!

singing // “Ghost” by Ella Henderson – I don’t know why I like this so much, but it’s got a great beat and it’s one of my favorites during cycle class at the gym. It also reminds me of my time spent around water in the Holy Land: Sea of Galilee, Jordan River, and the Dead Sea.

I keep going to the river to pray
‘Cause I need something that can wash all the pain
And at most I’m sleeping all these demons away
But your ghost, the ghost of you
It keeps me awake

serving // homemade pancakes to Kamden, he eats them up like crazy. The best part? No sugar or ingredients I cannot pronounce!

listening // to complete silence. Husband and Kamden are sound asleep and I’m basking in quiet solitude before the start of another day. It’s pretty blissful, I admit. :)

needing // Affirmation. I’ve got so many good and wonderful people and things going on in my life right now, but Satan is really bugging me and putting words of discontent in my ears. It’s frustrating to say the least. I’m so thankful for who and what I have in life, I am happy. But … it seems like the grass is always greener on the other side. I hate feeling like this.

thinking // of a big bowl of white chocolate mousse fro-yo with rainbow sprinkles and a cherry on top.

planning // to challenge myself (and love handles) at the gym this week by going to five hour-long classes in three days. I won’t be able to go Thursday or Friday so I’ve got to kick it in high gear while I can.

giving // my breast pump to Katy was such a blessing. Not because our friendship has blossomed over our similarities with faith, family, and boob milk, but she’s Bible journaling with me! While we doodle in our Bibles, we’re secretly arranging the marriage between her daughter and my son.

feeling // excited that I get to spend a long weekend with Kamden, Mom/Nana C, Aunt Georgia, Aunt Kathy, and our cousin Carol. It’ll be the first time Carol has seen Kamden in person, she’s in for a real treat!

strengthening // my endurance on the bicycle in Crissy’s spin classes twice a week has been great. My goal has been to ride 20 miles during the 60-minute class and I’ve done it three times now. Husband also said I’m beginning to have an apple butt. Oooooookay. I guess that means I need to buy myself some boots with fur, right? :)



In defense of Christian Grey

Valentine’s Day is this Saturday but before we get to the most annoying and commercialized holiday with overpriced merchandise ever conceptualized, the anticipated release of 50 Shades of Grey is tomorrow, Friday, February 13. Mark my word: there will be A LOT of babies born next November. I’ll be spending the evening with a dozen of my most rambunctious and lovely lady friends at dinner before our date with Christian Grey. I’m secretly hoping the movie theater has vibrating seats, how cool would that be? But what really has my panties in a bunch is the excessive criticism and bashing of a freaking book that the majority of haters have NOT even read. And, for Pete’s sake, 50 Shades does not include sexual assault, domestic violence, or rape. Two words for you: CONSENTING ADULTS.


I’ve refrained from reading movie reviews or watching trailer previews because I want to see the movie with a clear mind in order to form my own opinion, which I know I’ll have and will probably share in a later post. I’m trying hard to stay away from negative articles trying to convince me I’m less of a Christian or support domestic violence because I’ve read this erotic fiction. Truth is, I’m tired of the lies and judgment. I’ve stowed my twitchy palms long enough. I follow a lot of blogs and I like the people who write them, and I know we will always have issues or topics we will agree to disagree on, but I’m not letting this weekend go by without adding my perspective and some truth to the conversation.

First of all, if you did not read 50 Shades of Grey, 50 Shades Darker, and 50 Shades Freed, then you don’t possess the context to form a valid argument. Your opinion is null and void. You cannot take the last scene from the first book (albeit a VERY INTENSE one) and start labeling Christian Grey as a sexual predator or an abuser. In that particular scene, Anastasia Steele asked to go in the play room and experience the ‘how bad can it get’ sexual fantasy. It was worse than she suspected but that is really the beginning of Christian and Ana’s redemptive love story. Neither one wanted to be without the other, and they were both willing to make compromises in order to rebuild their faith and trust in one another.

50 Shades is much more than a fantasy love story with steamy sex scenes. It’s a story of two people deeply committed to one another and the chrysalis of a man devastated and broken by superficial infatuation and healed and restored by genuine love, affection, and devotion. The irony is not lost on me that the man’s name is Christian. I wasn’t originally going to correlate Christianity with 50 Shades but there are some great similarities, much to the dismay of the rock throwers living in glass houses and writing rubbish articles. We are all sinners and have secrets or skeletons hidden away in our closets. We have all fallen short and disappointed those whom we love the most. Because we are human, we are going to satisfy earthly or physical desires and temporarily lose sight of God’s ultimate plan for our lives. But, among the garbage that we bring to the altar, God is always in pursuit of us and seeking a relationship with us. Humans throughout history have made some really strange or stupid decisions – Adam and Eve in the garden, Noah’s drunkenness, Hosea’s marriage to a prostitute, Peter’s denial of Christ not once but three times, and David’s infidelity and act of murder – but, despite these acts, God is behind, beside, and in front of us seeking to soften our hearts and asking us to return home, to be in union with Him. We are all the Prodigal Son, even Christian Grey. Especially Christian Grey. Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. It is in love we are broken, and it’s by love we’re redeemed.

Don’t be quick to judge by participating in what I like to call selective theology either. That is, treating the Bible as Chex-Mix and only picking out verses that appeal to your personal preferences and beliefs. Or, taking a particular scene from 50 Shades of Grey and labeling the character as something or someone he is not. The folks behind damning articles about Christian Grey didn’t read any or all of the books and they have no context or history of the characters to base their judgment. Readers of 50 Shades are privy to the private life of Christian and Ana. We get a behind-the-scenes, front-row, and overhead perspective that includes the good, bad, and sometimes ugly parts of human nature. What a couple chooses to do in the privacy of their own home is their business. I’m not forcing myself into your bedroom and you’re not welcome into mine. I really don’t understand or comprehend the immature and unrealistic idea that 50 Shades destroys marriages. If reading a book or watching a movie is bad for your relationship, you have deeper and bigger problems than you are willing to admit or acknowledge. Or, you are threatened by a fictional character and easily allow others to influence (invade) your personal space.

So, dear reader, whether you decide to read or watch 50 Shades of Grey or not, I hope you do so for entertainment and remember it is fictional and fantasy. It is meant to be read and seen by mature audiences, meaning adults who are capable of distinguishing between fact and fiction, reality and fantasy. And, for those who are adamantly against it, stop judging and lying about what you think is contained within the pages.

I’m sure you have a comment and all I ask is that you keep it clean.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,636 other followers