Just booking it…

When the tv shows wrap up for the spring, the days get longer, and commitments get somewhat slower, it becomes the perfect time to snuggle up with the pup and read a good book.

Here are my latest reads, what I thought, and where to find them…

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

51+Wav-RDNL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Terri Blackstock is one of my long-time favorite authors. I love her take on Christian fiction, because it always has a hint of intrigue and mystery. In her latest, Casey Cox is on the run – and under suspicion of having murdered one of her best friends. Dylan Roberts is hired to help the police find her and arrest her. But somewhere along the way, Dylan starts to doubt that Casey is guilty…

 

Step by Step by Candace Calvertcover72349-mediumThis was a fun read. Fast-paced and with fun, wholesome characters at the same time. Right now, the Kindle version is available for just $4.99 on Amazon. A fun, romantic, uplifting read, Step By Step was a new favorite. Candace Calvert expertly weaved her story together, showing us Taylor’s struggle and ultimately, how she would fall in love again. Can’t wait to read more. Tyndall House books are always a win!

Very Like a Queen by Martin Lake

jacket.aspxI’m a sucker for historical fiction, especially for some of the lesser-known characters. Martin Lake’s novel was the perfect fit for that, as it imagines King Henry VIII’s mistress Alice Petherton’s life at court. She’s already seen the downfall of three of Henry’s wives, and she would like to escape her time at court with her own head still in tact. Fun read, with lots of court intrigue. The talent Lake shows in weaving Petherton’s tale in with the well-known stories of the time is fantastic. The Kindle version is $6.49 on Amazon.

The Marriage Contract by Katee Robertcover65563-medium

This was a fun read! Family drama, the mob, romance… it’s all there.The characters were well-developed and realistic. The plot was fun – not always predictable, which can be hard! I’d love to read more from this series! Definitely recommend.

Life gets away…

Where do the days go? I know they are made of seconds, minutes and hours. But they go all to fast, and I don’t know how to make them slow down.

I feel like I’ve blinked, and summer is wrapping up. When your day job is in higher education, August’s arrival means it’s full speed ahead for weeks on end.

So I’ve got 25 days until my summer is over. My to do list at home and at work is entirely too long. So… here’s to working a little smarter and finding a better balance. I want to start my year with a clean slate, a plan, and energy.

And I think knowing that is going to be half my battle.

How do you find a better balance when things get busy?

[Really. tell me. I can use the help!]

 

Oh, hey there…

Oh, weekends.

It’s almost 2 in the afternoon, and I’m sitting in bed. It feels heavenly. I haven’t been a total sloth today. I’ve done 2.5 loads of dishes and I’m working on round two of laundry.

But right now? I’m curled up in the middle of the laundry, watching Law and Order: SVU and enjoying a good snuggle with my pillow.

It’s been a {quite a} few long weeks. I’m tired. My brain has been on overload. My body too, if I’m honest. So it’s time for a day of rest. Real rest. Mind, body and soul. And it feels good.

I told someone recently that I’m a complete extrovert. Until I’m not. And then I tend to shut down for a few days. This is that day, and it is a much-needed weekend of little to nothing.

So here’s to catching up, finding my voice, telling a few stories, and enjoying every minute of it.

How Blue {Apron}…

IMG_6797 The days are long, the weeks are busy and a little too often, there are not enough hours in the day. Who’s with me?

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I got a wonderful treat from a friend who had a free Blue Apron week and shared it with me.

Y’all.

I’m a fan.

For $59.94, you get three meals for two people each delivered to your door. No shopping. No meal planning outside of selecting your options from the website.

So, on Wednesday night when I was teaching, our first box arrived and Brett was tasked with cooking dinner. He’d made fun of the idea of groceries being delivered. And then he cooked our first dinner.

IMG_6809After he made our spicy orange chicken wings with shiitake-sesame rice – which we devoured – he looked at me: “That just might be worth it.”

At about $10 each per meal, it’s not cheap. It’s a little more expensive than what I would put together going to the store. But it’s so much cheaper than going out – and it was a heck of a lot more fun.

Also, I didn’t cook a single one of these three meals. Brett enjoyed it so much, he did every single bit of the cooking. Color me happy. It was super fun. Sure, I watched and talked and drank some wine while he cooked. But I didn’t have to cook because he enjoyed it so much. And he’s looking forward to our next box.

IMG_6697For our first box, we got the orange chicken wings, steak tacos and mole verde, and goat cheese and kale quiches with butter lettuce and chive salad. All three were delicious. We ate the quiches and salad for a weekend lunch, but the other two made some great weeknight dinners.

Everything arrives fresh, chilled, packaged nicely, and adorably labeled.

Our second box comes next week, and I’m so excited. Here’s to new cooking adventures with Blue Apron!

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An unconventional Disney day…

If you’ve been around me for any time at all, you know I’m a Disney nut. I married a Disney nut. We will forever be Disney nuts. We have come to terms with our nuttiness.

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But right now, it has been a year since our last Disney trip. I’m missing the happiest place on earth. And after a hectic holiday season and a few trying weeks, when a long weekend popped up, I made my pitch. “Honey, please? I just. I just want to go to Disney. Let’s get in the car after work tomorrow and go.”

Y’all. Darling husband? He laughed at me. Yes, he wanted to go too. But it’s not in the budget and that was that.

So he asked me something instead. He asked me to give him one of my three days that weekend, morning to night. Keep my schedule and to do list clear. So I did. And it was one of the most fun days we could have had.

Brett planned an at-home Disney day for me.

IMG_6202He sent me off to start the day at Pure Barre to get a workout in, since “We would have walked 10 miles for a workout at Disney World.” On the way home, he told me to go pick up my favorite drink to get as we walk down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. I snagged a skinny Mocha Light Frappuccino from Starbucks and headed home. I found a Disney banner hung and a scavenger hunt waiting that led me to a new pair of ears.

We went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch, saw the new Star Wars movie in theaters, and then went home for an afternoon showing of Aladdin. To finish the evening, we pretended we were in Epcot at Le Cellier and cooked steak and poutine. It was perfect.

I’m still missing Disney World. But thanks to a vey precious man, I’m not missing it quite as much as I was before. I think we should do it once a month – or at least once per season.

Here’s to Disney days – wherever they are.

A surprise delivery…

IMG_6076The other day, I was sitting at the office trying to be productive when I got a phone call that someone was trying to deliver flowers and they were being rerouted to my office.

I couldn’t figure out why I’d be getting flowers. It’s not my birthday. Or anniversary. Or anything. Nothing fun had happened. So when they arrived, I was in for a surprise.

IMG_6073In perhaps the best marketing strategy I’ve stumbled across in quite a while, The Bouqs had sent me a beautiful bouquet announcing their same-day delivery service in my area. I’d previously used this fun, online florist (that ships right from the side of a volcano) to get a treat to my mother-in-law, so they had me in their system.

I enjoyed these gorgeous flowers for 10 days. They filled up two vases, so I enjoyed them in two different areas of my house.

You can check out The Bouqs here – go find your new favorite!

{Affiliate links used. Because I am so not opposed to free flowers. And if you use one of my links to shop, you get a $10 credit, so it’s a bonus for you too.}

More than a song…

Some days are hard. I think that’s the thing I’ve come to realize about life as a grown up.

For all the amazing things – and there are many, many amazing parts of the adult world – there are some seriously crappy times.

I used to think you could ignore the bad days. I thought you could wish them away. I thought you could be good enough that they wouldn’t happen. Really, how funny is that? I’ve (slowly, I’ll admit it) come to realize that there is nothing you can do about it. You are going to have bad days. Sometimes you are even going to have bad weeks or months. You can only control so much. Some people aren’t the brightest crayons in the box. Some times things just don’t go your way.

I’m learning to be grateful for the bad days. On the bad days, I’m reminded of how much God loves me. I’m reminded of how lucky I am to be married to a man who will go to the greatest lengths to make me smile. (That’s a longer story for another post). I’m reminded of how awesome it is to have friends who know you so well that the rest of the world can disappear when you sit down together with coffee or wine.

I was having a bad day a couple of weeks ago. Driving to work, I was listening to music from my phone and I just froze. I’ve had Casting Crowns’ Thrive album for over a year, but I had never noticed the song that came on. It was the perfect song for that moment. I’ve listened to it almost every day since because it is a reminder I need in my life.

Just take a few minutes and listen.

It kind of leaves you speechless doesn’t it? Here’s to finding time to be held.

*****

“Just Be Held”

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding onAnd when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it goSo when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be heldIf your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always willAnd not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who wont let go