Three 31


Finish This #70



For breakfast this morning I ate …

nothing. Every Wednesday morning, before Bible study, I go to the gym to get measured and weighed. It’s not exactly the world’s worst thing that happens to me on a regular basis, but it’s not the most pleasant either. But, as soon as we get to Bible study, I scarf down a bowl of fresh fruit including blueberries, grapes, and a banana. Every ounce counts, right?!

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

Prompt for Week #71
I like eggs …


Monday Musings … on Tuesday

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 know it’s Tuesday and I was supposed to share my Monday Musings yesterday but life happens and so do tummy troubles, allergy attacks, and busy schedules.

First things first … please, please, PLEASE go and check out Sweet Jesus Ministries. It’s an online ministry directed towards women and Yours Truly is a contributing writer. I’m really excited about this new adventure with Jan and Cristi (the other girls behind SJM) and I think YOU will be blessed too. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, find us on Pinterest, and subscribe to our blog so you will receive an email every time a new post is published.

The baby shower last Saturday was wonderful, plus I got to surprise a friend (Becka at Kiki La’Rue ) afterwards. I’m never – EVER – in the Keller/Southlake area but since I was that day, I had to visit Becka’s clothing warehouse in hopes she’d be there and she was. For the record: all of my friends are short and petite.


Husband and I (mostly Husband though) have been perusing Craigslist for quite some time now for new(er) vehicles. We were once a three-vehicles-two-drivers household but now that Husband has posted his truck to sell, we are in the better-get-serious-about-car-buying business. In fact, reality sunk in last night when a guy came to look at his truck. He didn’t buy it but it forced Husband and I to give more serious consideration to other vehicles we’ve been looking at. The struggle is real since we’re both cheapskates!

Speaking of Craigslist, this is reason #457163 I loathe car buying. On which planet is this Tahoe considered excellent condition? If a vehicle isn’t overpriced or its title is salvaged, it’s burnt to a crisp and described as excellent. Lord, have mercy.


Thank God for Husband for taking all parenting duties Sunday and Monday – I won’t go into details but let’s just say I wasn’t feeling well. Glad that’s over and I feel like a woman/wife/mother again!

For the first time ever, I’m working with a graphics designer to create a real, legitimate logo for my photography. In my mind, that’s equivalent to wearing big girl panties. But now the hard part is deciding what I want said logo/signature to look like. Any ideas?

Are boat neck tops flattering on plus size women? If so, I like this top. If not, forget I said anything.

New parents looking for advice on getting their baby to sleep, read this. CONSISTENCY is key! (You will thank me later.)

Ten reasons Kentucky Women kick ass … you should follow The Bourbon Soaked Mom, she’s my new virtual best friend, soul sister, and Kentucky kindred spirit.

A helpful guide to pray for your children.

I’m making these zucchini and carrot bites this week!

Dear Husband and Kamden, all I want for Mother’s Day this year is a card. Same as last year, except a new handprint inside would be nice. That’s all. Love you both to the moon and back!


What is Bible Journaling?

For most of my adult life, I have highlighted, written, underlined, scribbled, doodled, and ear-marked pages or passages in Scripture that I thought were important and did not want to forget. The majority of pages in my Study Bible are full of notes from conversations, experiences, and sermons. Bible journaling is an extension of me learning God’s Word and worshiping Him. I like to think of it as a journal, sketchbook, and scrapbook with paint, stamps, and stickers all wrapped up in one Bible.

Bible journaling is different for everyone because it reflects your personality and style. I do not draw but I use fine-point ink pens, colored pencils, stencils and paint, stamps, stickers, and decorative (Washi) tape. Expensive supplies are not required. You don’t even need a journaling Bible – designed with extra wide margins – to express yourself and create something meaningful. (I use this ESV Journaling Bible, in case you were curious!) Remember, Bible journaling is a personal worship style, there is no right or wrong way to do it. Because I have a Bible specifically used for Bible journaling, I don’t mind if Scripture is covered or words are difficult to read. Most of the time, I use the entire page for a journal entry and it’s never perfect, just like me!

Here is a picture of my latest journal entry and the supplies I used to create it:

James 1-17 WEB USE-1Every good and perfect gift comes from above.
~ James 1:17 ~

This was my first time using watercolor paint or Washi tape and I’m happy with the result. There are many ways to interpret this verse, but the word gift stood out and I thought of balloons and birthday parties. Jesus is the greatest gift of all and His blessings shower upon us daily. And because I like rainbow sprinkles on my birthday cake, the balloons are multi-color.

Instead of using a paintbrush, I used my finger to paint (dab) small circles and ovals.  I outlined each balloon with a Micron 05 black ink pen and drew the bold lines (balloon strings and outline of the box and ribbon) with a Faber Castill brush-tip marker. I filled in the box and ribbon with colored pencils, used alphabet stickers for key words, and made a tab using Washi tape. My approach to Bible journaling is very simple and beginner-level. I am not an artist but I enjoy reading Scripture, digging deeper and connecting to God in creative ways.

What do you think of Bible journaling? Is it something you might consider for your faith development?




Resolution Update // April 2015

Holy crap, tomorrow is May 1. This flying time stuff is for the birds. I felt like I accomplished zero, zilch, nada, nothing in April, but let’s take a look:


Lose 20% of my body weight
Take advantage of health coach provided by insurance Slacking at the gym which means less to post on MyFitnessPal and, to top it all off, the battery in my pedometer died. I didn’t like the stupid thing because it doesn’t give me credit for miles I travel on the bike but a battery that lasts just a few months is ridiculous.
Eat breakfast every day Kamden’s been on a scrambled egg kick so I usually finish what he doesn’t.
Take a daily multivitamin I’m taking Zyrtec religiously.
Exercise four days a week Nope.
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.
March – Still avoiding tomatoes.
April – No tomatoes.

Be showered and in bed by 10:30 every night HA – this is funny as I type this post at 1:15am. Besides, I function better on 6-7 hours of sleep, so I’m good.
Learn more about and use essential oils
Find a skincare routine that works for me I’m trying DHC again. I used it back in college, with noticeable results, so I splurged and treated myself to a bottle of olive oil cleanser and bar of soap. Honestly, I should have done this months (years) ago.
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 This continues every Wednesday but the participation is decreasing by the minute. I’ll go 100 weeks and decide its fate.
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 
Continue writing for MOMquery I don’t remember if I wrote an article or not, so I’m guessing the answer is no. Hashtag slacker.

In somewhat related to blogging news, I have accepted a contributing writer assignment to an online ministry for women. I’ll share more details when the site goes live, but I’m really looking forward to it. For some odd reason, I feel like I have more to share about faith than I do motherhood. Weird?


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 In April, I had three photo 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
March – pork tenderloin in the Crock Pot

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
March – roast beef and teriyaki pork tenderloin

Save loose change and cash out at the end of the year
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 am Bible journaling. I’ll share some of my creations soon, I promise.
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 In the works, but it looks better than what it did.
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 swap Ugh, no comment.
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! March – FAIL!
Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity
Send a “just because” gift to someone
Send 12 handwritten notes (one per month) I sent several birthday cards and just-because notes in April.
Send a care package to a soldier
Celebrate special milestones (i.e. birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) with snail-mail greeting cards Aunt GA turned 60 on April 23


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, March 13 – breakfast with the Zachry’s (and Kamden too)
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 April 10 – played in a benefit tournament (4-person scramble) for Glen Lake Camp. My foursome shot a 63, 9-under par.
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). PARTIAL SUCCESS – I wore my pedometer every day but I did not get a minimum of 8K daily steps. But some days were better than others and there were even a few days where I walked in excess of 10K steps, so maybe I averaged 8K instead. I’ll try harder next month.

Walk 10,000 steps every day for 30 days. Begin the “Total Transformation” challenge at the gym. Exercise like it’s my job. Purchase a pair of cycling shoes with bike clips. The month of March was a resounding success at failing miserably. The only thing I accomplished from this list was purchasing a pair of cycle shoes with bike clips, which I thought I did this in March but it doesn’t really matter.

Submit five articles for SJM. Exercise 2,000 minutes in 31 days.


I Remember My Nannie // Finish This #69



The thing I remember most about my great-grandmother is …

Oh gosh, there are so many things I remember about Nannie, my paternal great-grandmother. She owned and operated the original Edwards Florist in Sebree, Kentucky and had the greenest thumb of anybody I’ve ever met. She had hydrangea blooms bigger than your head, delicate African violets in every shade, an aloe plant that was 30 years old, and a huge fern that was 10 feet across. No doubt, she had the Midas touch for all blooming things. I think she had a significant impact in my blooming as well. I began staying with her an a young infant when my mother returned to work just weeks after my birth. Because of my parents’ work schedules, I stayed with her some Saturdays too.

I remember clearing out every cabinet and drawer in her kitchen, playing with pots, pans, cooking utensils, and dishes. I once fell asleep inside an empty cabinet but Nannie let me sleep in peace.

I remember playing tea party and make-believe waitress at a restaurant with her Blue Willow china. I never broke a single piece and now have the beloved dishes are in my home.

I remember going to Posey’s Main Street Market to buy groceries every week. It was almost a day-long affair as she meandered up and down every aisle and she always – ALWAYS – paid in cash. Speaking of cash, I remember my dad buying a used cash register at a yard sale. I thought it was the coolest thing for my make-believe restaurant. To enhance my imaginative experience, Nannie let me use her bills and loose change. All was well until the day the cash register stopped working. Nannie went to the garage, grabbed a crowbar, and opened the money drawer. Needless to say, the cash register went out with the week’s trash.

I remember watching The Price Is Right with Bob Barker EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. at 11am.

I remember hand-rolling dough for biscuits and stirring creamy milk gravy with a wooden spoon in Nannie’s cast iron skillet. She prepared three meals a day, rain or shine, and her kitchen was always full of family and friends.

I remember tossing banana peels under the giant magnolia tree, it always had the biggest, most fragrant blooms.

I remember playing around the trellis in the backyard and seeing a baby garter snake. I got scared and ran through the screen door on the back porch. Hashtag whoops. :)

I remember Nannie slept flat on her back with two small pillows under her calves to elevate her feet.

I remember Nannie letting me drive her car up and down the driveway years before I was 16 or had a driver’s license and gas was less than a dollar per gallon.

I remember Nannie giving my older cousins relationship advice, “Never date someone you wouldn’t marry.” I listened and married the only man I ever dated.

I remember Nannie’s favorite phrase was, “Well I declare!”

If Nannie thought you were ugly, she’d say, “You stood behind the door when the Lord passed out good looks.”

I remember Nannie had a rotary telephone on her desk. It was originally white but had faded through the years and the cord was multi-color because I adorned it with Sharpie markers. Inside the middle drawer was a large Ziploc bag and inside of that was a well-worn spiral notebook filled with every birth, anniversary, graduation, divorce, and death of every single person Nannie knew. And she knew a lot of people. I wish I had that notebook so I could write my own special dates: May 23, 2002 – high school graduation; May 12, 2006 – college graduation; March 31, 2007 – Nicole Edwards married Kevin Hutchison; December 19, 2013 – Kamden Alan Hutchison was born. She would have been smitten with my spouse and our handsome son.


I remember Nannie drinking a glass of warm buttermilk every day for good health.

I remember taking shelter in the bath tub, covered with blankets and pillows, when a tornado came through town. We were uninjured and the house was fine, but the two Bradford pear trees in the front yard were destroyed. When Nannie heard a clap of thunder, she’d say, “That’s the potato wagon going over the bridge.”

I remember Nannie keeping a gallon jug of vanilla ice cream in the deep freezer in the wash house. She probably knew my secret, but I hid a spoon in the blue coffee can filled with wooden stakes and rusted nails.

I remember Nannie letting me bring the neighbor’s white kitten in the house, I considered him my own and named him Snowball. He was the finest, most gentle cat but he shed like crazy. My mom got smart and kept a change of clothes in her car so I could wear clean clothes home every day.

I remember the last day I visited Nannie in the nursing home. I had known her to be a large, formidable, overweight woman. When she died, passing peacefully in her sleep, she weighed just 93. Her mind and body faded quickly and she no longer knew who I was. I don’t like remembering that woman, she wasn’t the woman I knew and dearly loved.

I remember Nannie. :)

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

Prompt for Week #70
This morning at breakfast, I ate …


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

My heart breaks for the victims and families of the 7.9 earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal. According to news reports last night, the death toll had exceeded 3,300. In such a densely populated area, I’m sure that number will continue to rise as rescue and recovery efforts intensify. This natural disaster brings back vivid memories of the earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti on January 12, 2010. It was a 7.0 earthquake and more than 250,000 people were killed. Having been to Haiti twice on mission trips, the scars will always be visible but humans are resilient.

Kamden is officially registered for preschool, which starts in August. He’ll be in the Toddler I class, for kids 18 months to two years. He will attend school two days a week. I think he will adjust accordingly because the preschool is located on our church’s campus; he knows most of the teachers (and some students) from being in the nursery and children’s area on Sunday and Wednesday mornings; and, he’s a laid-back kid who does well in social environments. His schedule, though, will have to be tweaked a bit because he is not an early-riser and takes a two-hour nap every day. Though we have some time to adjust, it doesn’t mean I won’t be emotionally prepared for my baby to start school. Le sigh.

Husband sold Blue last week. This is the first time in 16 years he has not owned a horse or horses. It also means we are no longer the owner of a white horse named Blue. I knew it was coming when he sold the gooseneck trailer several months ago, but it’s still weird not seeing him in the pasture or feeding every evening between 6:00 and 6:01pm. On the bright side, a family we know purchased Blue for their young teenage son who is learning to rope and we can go see him at any time. By the looks of this picture, I’d say Blue is in good hands! (P.S. I credit my years of spoiling Blue with treats, Oreo cookies and Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts are his favorite, and sticking a camera in his face regularly, he knows how to execute the perfect photo-op pose. Hashtag just sayin’. Hashtag you’re welcome Brake family.) ByeByeBlue

Last Wednesday, while running and chasing balls in the church’s gym, Kamden tripped and busted his lip. It was the first time the kid bled. I assure you, he’s absolutely fine. He cried for a minute and now, several days later, his lip is almost healed. But my sweet cherubim got his first boo-boo at 16 months.

On Saturday, Husband escorted Kamden and I to Family Day at Lockheed Martin’s assembly plant in Fort Worth. Due to security, personal cameras were not allowed so I don’t have any pictures to share. But we were able to tour the mile-long production line where F-35 fighter jets are assembled and painted. Lockheed did a tremendous job of hosting and creating a family-friendly, fun-filled event with great signage and entertainment, free food and drinks, kids’ activities, convenient diaper changing stations, and photo-ops with fighter jets (though the lines were super long and only three photographers were present). The weather was cooperative and icing on the cake. Speaking of cake, the chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing and chocolate shavings were deeeeeeeeeeeeee-lish. Not that I ate one two, just making an observation. :)

Some pretty serious thunderstorms went through our area late last night. I’m happy to report they were all, fortunately, south of us. But I’m reaching out via phone, email, and social media to some friends later today to check on them and their property. There was at least one confirmed tornado about 20 miles from us.

Don’t know about you, but my to-do list this week is about 8.3831640918 miles long. And that doesn’t include Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.

What is your all-time favorite cupcake flavor? I need some inspiration for a friend’s baby shower next Saturday, which is also Kentucky Derby Day. I have a tried-and-true recipe for neopolitan-ish cupcakes (brownie base with strawberry cake and cream cheese frosting on top) but I’m thinking of making something different. Leave a comment with your favorite (not too elaborate or time-consuming though) cupcake flavor. Double-bonus if you have a recipe too!


Finish This #68



My most recent splurge purchase for myself was …

a box of Crayola twistable colored pencils, alphabet stickers, stamps and ink pads, and gel pens for my Journaling Bible. I think I spent less than $25 but I got a cart full of stuff thanks to clearance pricing, a coupon in the Sunday paper, and an additional discount because I always carry my educators’ ID card.

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

Prompt for Week #69
The thing I remember most about my great-grandmother (or another relative) is …


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