What Does a Perfect "Normal" Day Look Like?

My Erin Condren planner that I love, but am still learning to use efficiently.

Seriously, inquiring minds would like to know. How do you do what you do well everyday?

Now, I know that days that truly feel perfect, the ones where you mark everything off your to-do list plus some, are few and far between, but when you do have days like that, how do you do it? What is your thought process? What does your routine look like?

I feel like this has been something I've been trying to master for years now, but staying well-disciplined in the mundane (Read: Housework) is not my forte, so it's a constant battle. Obviously, a lot of people feel this way because there are tons of pins on Pinterest, posts on blogs, and articles in magazines about cleaning schedules and setting routines to have a successful day. I just haven't been able to nail the perfect one on the head for me yet.

I'll go ahead and answer my own question by saying these are the things I would love to accomplish everyday (in my current place in life):
  • Quiet time in prayer and my Bible
  • Exercise
  • Some cleaning/housework
  • Blog --> Whether it be writing, networking, or behind-the-scenes work
  • Tasks to help me accomplish my search for a part-time job
  • Helping the boys with school work, filling out school paperwork
  • Downtime (Reading, Pinterest, dreaming, decorating our new home)

Now for the fun part... Audience participation! I would love for the comment section of this post to be a place for discussion. What would a perfect "normal" day look like for you? How do you accomplish things you feel like you need to everyday? Do you do the things you enjoy first (and hope for a Dave Ramsey style snowball effect) or do you follow the "Eat That Frog" mentality? Are you the type of person who thrives on staying busy or do you struggle with motivation? Do you have any links to blog posts or online articles that helped you get on track? Seriously, no matter what life stage you're in or how easy or silly or crazy your answers may be, you never know who you may help by sharing, so please, share away!

I'm super anxious to get some feedback on this one!

Hope you guys have a great day, no matter how perfect or not perfect it turns out to be!


Hi friends!

What. a. year.

It's been a crazy one around here with lots and lots of changes. Some good, some sad, some exciting, some terrifying. I've started about a hundred posts to write about it, but never got so far in any of them to actually clicking 'publish'.

We started the year with my sweet grandmother going into the hospital (You can see her in this Stop and Smell the Roses vlog with me here - Oh, how I treasure this video now, southern accent and all). I was thankful to see her on Christmas Eve as her sweet, usual self, but shortly thereafter she got very sick and never really snapped back. She had just celebrated her 90th birthday, so I'm thankful for the long life she lived, but in April we lost her presence in this life, and friends, it has rocked me. Growing up she was literally my second mother, the one who took care of me while my mom worked, made my pancakes, tried to convince me I really should try to eat something besides PB&J's, and tickled my back for what seemed like hours. She knew how to love, even in the hard times, and it still doesn't seem right that I can't pick the phone up and call her. Good grief, I miss this precious woman.

The day we were planning to leave Tennessee after my grandmother's funeral I got a call from my dad letting me know that my grandfather, who we call Pops, was ok, but his house had caught on fire during the night and was most likely completely gone. Sure enough, as the day went on and we were able to go visit him, we found out the house was a complete loss. This house has been in our family for many years, a beautiful place on the lake where we would spend holidays growing up. Really, my biggest thought was just how grateful I was that my Pops was ok. He's now getting ready to start rebuilding any day, and hopefully, he'll have his new home in a few months. Although nothing can replace the sweet memories I have in this house, I'm anxious to see the new one and make more memories with my family there. The picture below is of what use to be the kitchen and eat-in area. To the right where it looks really bright is what use to be a bathroom that no longer had a ceiling due to the fire.

April was also when Dipal started a new position with his company, a role that would need us to make a 2 hour-away move back to St. Louis from Southern Illinois. It's been so bittersweet. St. Louis is pretty special to us because it's where we started life as a married couple and where both our boys were born, but Southern Illinois definitely made it's way into our hearts as well with some of the most wonderful people we've ever met. Thankfully, it's not too far away and we've already been able to go back for a lake weekend with some super great people.

We started looking for homes when my husband started his new position, (in between his surgery and recovery of a torn meniscus in his knee, because there was that too) but weren't able to find the one that felt right for a few weeks. We closed in June, did some work to the house, and finally moved in on July 11th. It felt like the longest transition ever, especially since Dipal had to travel to St. Louis for his new position multiple days a week throughout that whole time. We were all ridiculously exhausted, but we've finally started to all come around now.

Part of the reason it took so long to find "the one" when we were looking for a house was because of my crazy research I was doing to make sure we landed in a great school for Jayden to start kindergarten. I'm happy to say we were super successful! We have one happy kindergartener on our hands, which makes for a happy mommy!

Jackson has also started at a new preschool and he's loving it as well!

We also took our first family beach vacation right before starting school! So crazy that as much as we travel we've never taken a family trip to the beach... Dipal's manager literally told him he needed to take a vacation with the family and get away from work for a few days once we got settled, so we decided to take a spur of the moment trip to Gulf Shores, where we had some great friends already vacationing. It was a much-needed getaway for us before getting started in the school routine.

You know, I've really been beating myself up about not being able to keep up with a lot of things lately, but after writing this post I'm reminded that we've been through a lot this year. I really feel like God was preparing me for all of this as I kept landing on scriptures and devotionals in the first months of 2013 that talked about keeping joy and faith through the hard times. Honestly, I've not been great at doing that... Joy has been hard to come by naturally, and I've spent a lot of time telling God how much I can't handle all of this, but I also know that none of that surprises Him.

And let's not forget that there has been a lot of good mixed in between these things too. There's been hard and there's been good.

I still know God has great things in store for our family and I'm excited to see them unfold. And as I read in my She Reads Truth devotional yesterday, I'm praying that God "grants each of us strength and patience and gives rest to our weary souls."

Afraid {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute Friday 

How many times have I opened up this white page to write with no words making it to the screen? This desire to write, one that had been long lost for so much time, resurfaced as a new mom simply wanting to connect with her family from afar. Then, suddenly the internet boomed with mommy blogs, decorating blogs, whatever you could ever imagine blogs, and I wanted to be apart of it. Could this be the path God has laid out for me? Will this be how he uses me? But what if I'm wrong? How do I know this is my purpose? Why isn't this easier if it's what I'm called to be doing?

I'm simply afraid.

I'm afraid to invest time in something that could embarrass me. What if I fail? What if I never measure up to the others who have so diligently been writing during my years of fear? I'm so far behind now. What if I embarrass my family? Will my children think I'm crazy when they grow up and read the words I wrote during their toddler years? How can I love something so much, yet be so afraid to do it?

A Lesson on Fear {Just in time for Allume!}

As soon as I got comfortably seated at my computer a few nights ago I heard a cry from the boys' bedroom. It had been storming and the thunder was loud and the lightening bright outside the windows. Our youngest was scared because we forgot to turn the night light on in his room and the storm outside didn't help his case.

I walked in and asked him what was wrong and listened to his tearful, panicked voice. Despite the fact that Daddy had already been in to turn the night light on, his little heart was still fearful. So, we did what my husband and I try to teach the boys to do when they're scared - We prayed.

I laid my hand on my sweet little boy's back and began praying that the holy spirit would be with him, that He would bring peace. I began thanking God for the rain and how it brings water to the grass and the trees and the crops in the field. I thanked God for the thunder and the lightening that shows the hand of a mighty God who created this earth and everything in it. I spoke Jeremiah 29:11 to reassure my little one that God has plans for our good. And I thanked God for loving us, for providing a safe home where we're protected, and for letting me be this little boy's mommy who's entrusted with loving, protecting, and teaching him.

As we finished praying there was a noticeable calmness in Jackson's breathing, to the point where I wondered if he had fallen asleep. He hadn't, he just turned and looked at me and flashed his signature big grin, told me he needed to go potty just one more time {a nightly declaration in hopes of having just a few more minutes before having to go to bed}, and then snuggled his favorite stuffed doggy and went right to sleep.

I gave myself a figurative pat-on-the-back for a mommy job-well-done and came back to my computer where I stumbled upon two posts that really stirred my heart. One from Kristen Welch at InCourage and one from Alia at Narrow Paths to Higher Places. {You really should read both of those!} I connected with both of these posts so deeply because I have been the girl that they both wrote about so many times. The new girl, the girl looking for a place to fit amongst people already in their comfort zone. I lived it in middle school, in college, as soon as I got married and moved away from my beloved Tennessee {and all my sweet family that make Tennessee home}, and I've been living it again over the last three years that we've lived in Southern Illinois. And now I'm on the verge of jumping in the unknown again as I head to my very first blogging conference today.

I'm excited to go, and I completely feel like it's something God has called me to, but if I'm honest, I'm also completely terrified. I've watched the twitter steams and facebook posts of internet friends who can't wait to meet or reconnect in real life, and I'm truly excited for them, but I'm also scared that in the midst of all these women kindling friendships I'll be awkwardly walking around solo praying for someone to notice me and think I'm worth having a chat with.

Overwhelmed with my fears, I walked into the living room, announced to my husband I was going to bed for the night where he instead talked me into sitting with him for a few minutes. As I sat there I started thinking about what had happened earlier with Jackson and how I prayed for him when he was scared, and it hit me. Why am I not praying about my own fear? I should be thanking God for the wisdom I know is going to rain down on us while we're gathered together. I should be thanking God for the loud noise of women's conversations as they we fellowship, and the bright camera flashes capturing the joy this event will bring.

I'm a "new girl" going to Allume. I don't have a perfect blog and I don't have a ton of internet friends that are dying to see me when I pull up in Harrisburg, but I have a God who loves me and has called me to go, so I'm going, with a suitcase of cute clothes and open expectations. I'm hoping blog improvement and new friends are a result of obedience, but if not, I know whatever God has planned for me is for my good.
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lordand I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.     Jeremiah 29:11-14

What I Wore Wednesday: Gameday Attire!

Hi friends!

I thought I would take advantage of the opportunity to share with The Pleated Poppy's What I Wore Wednesday link-up again. I seriously love looking through all the outfit ideas you can find over there from everyday people! So fun!

While we still have a tad of warm weather lingering and we're in the midst of football season I thought I would go ahead and share what I wore to our alma mater's football game a couple of weeks ago.

It's no secret that in the south we love our football, but we also like to look good while we watch football, so there's no lack of cuteness on Saturdays in the fall.

Forgive me for not having a posed full body shot of the outfit. The thought crossed my mind, but I didn't want to be modeling at the tailgate... That would just be awkward. Hopefully, having these two little cuties with me helps my apology.

{Dress} ModCloth
{Belt} Forever 21

Here's a pic of me standing up in the dress if that helps at all. I also happen to be standing with my handsome hubby. {Bonus!}

He works the teacup arm almost as well as I do. ;)

If you've never shopped at ModCloth you really need to check it out! They've got some super cute clothes at great prices, and even better, if you go through my link {} before October 2 you'll get $20 off your first $50 order and I'll get $20 for referring you! That = Awesome!!

Hope this gives you a little inspiration in your future game day wear! Now go check out The Pleated Poppy for more cute wardrobe ideas!

  pleated poppy

What I Wore Wednesday: Bold Color and Printed Shoes

Happy Wednesday friends! I hope you guys are having a rocking week so far!

There's this little link-up party in the land of blogs you may have heard of called "What I Wore Wednesday" hosted by the fabulous Pleated Poppy. Ok, actually, it's huge, and if you're not checking it out you're missing out on some great fashion inspiration! :)

I really love getting dressed up, but honestly never feel too confident about what I'm wearing because I'm either beating myself up about how I haven't lost enough weight yet or I think my clothes aren't nice enough, but on Sunday I threw together a little outfit that I was actually quite proud of, so I {sheepishly} asked my husband if he would be willing to snap some pictures of me before we left for church and he obliged.

I've seriously had the pants in the picture for almost a year now and could count on one hand how many times I've worn them. I've tried them on thousands of times, but usually don't have the confidence to walk out the door with them, more so because of the material they are than the color. They're a lot more stretchy than they are denim and I get scared it may be a not-so-good look from behind, but the sweater I wore helped alleviate most of that fear.

Shirt - {A gift from} Tommy Bahama
Belt - Forever 21
Earrings, Sweater, Skinny Jeans, Flats - Target

Hope you guys have a great rest of the week! Make sure you go check out all the great link-ups over at The Pleated Poppy!

pleated poppy

Stop and Smell the Roses: Falling for Fall {Candles}

Stop and Smell the Roses 

 Happy Wednesday peeps!

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend and got to do a little celebrating and/or relaxing. Despite what the thermometer says, fall is definitely on it's way, and in my {humble} opinion it can't come fast enough.

I am loving the return of football, my homemade wreath hanging on the front door, and the smell of yummy candles floating throughout our house. In my anticipation to get fall underway I thought I would share with you a couple of my favorite scents for fall candles.

Have you guys started preparing for fall yet? If so, what's your favorite thing about the season?

Hope you all have a great week!

{P.S. Check out all the other Stop and Smell the Roses vlogs at!}


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