Thanksday #92


As soon as church was over last night, Paxton turned to me suddenly and said, “I think I might frow up.” Which for him, usually means he’s exhausted and ready to go to bed, especially since it was literally 10 minutes from his bedtime. So I poo-poo’d his supposed “nausea” and headed out to say goodbye to Greg.

We walked down the hall and suddenly, right there in the hall outside the sanctuary, he lost his dinner. We raced home and he was fine until 10 pm when he kept saying he might throw up but didn’t; he just tossed and turned for four hours and finally fell asleep around 2 am after a pretty significant upchuck.

So I’m incredibly discombobulated today, due to lack of sleep and fear that every minor sensation in my stomach means I’ve caught his stomach bug.

Needless to say, I’m very thankful for:

1. Coffee. I cannot deal with just five hours of sleep. Can. Not. Deal.

2. Lysol. It’s so obviously a fumigation kind of day.

3. Paper Towels. I mentioned this briefly on Facebook the other day — I have a slight obsession with paper towels, and use an extraordinary amount of them every week. There is nothing like the feeling of being down to the end of your last roll…and then coming home from the store with a fresh 6-pack. There really isn’t. I know it’s probably not very eco-friendly and it’s not super cost-effective, but it grosses me out to no end to use cloth to clean countertops and stovetops and all things kitchen and bathroom. And since I’m not a super-duper cleaner in any other way, shape or form, I feel it’s important to at least clean these countertops with excellence. And with the quicker picker-upper.

4. Windex Multi-Surface Cleaner. I became slight addicted to this after staying with my sister-in-law at Thanksgiving, and I even sent her a text of gratitude. It smells divine and can be used on mirrors, counters, and (more!) since it’s also anti-bacterial. Cleaning counters with excellence. It’s our new family motto.

5. Normal Sleep Settings. I mentioned last week how my FitBit is showing very erratic sleeping patterns, which probably explains a general fatigue most days. Well after some investigation, I realized it was set to a “sensitive” sleep setting which pretty much tracks any movement (rolling over) as “restless.” After changing it to “normal” however, it now shows an 80-90% sleep efficiency, versus 50-60%. This doesn’t affect my sleep whatsoever, or make me feel more rested in the morning per se, but instead of stressing out every morning about ineffective sleep, I think, “not bad.”

6. Nitrous Oxide (aka Laughing Gas). I am a 40-year old ninny when it comes to the dentist. And this week I had to get a crown because I AM A QUEEN. (Why is it that just sitting in the waiting room of a dentist’s office makes my inside churn I resort to a fearful nine year-old girl?) When they called me back to the chair, I proudly stood and lifted my head high and looked down my nose like the Dowager Countess and said, “I’d like some nitrous today, please.” And the laughing gas, coupled with my Justin Timberlake album, brought me to a happy, happy place. (With an 85% sleep efficiency.)

7. Downton Abbey. Listen, I adore Downton for all the same reasons you do — the setting, the accents, the clothes, Maggie Smith, the DRAMA. But my most favorite thing about Downton is that IT IS COMMERCIAL-FREE. It’s so nice to watch something recorded and not have to fast-forward through five minutes of commercials every eight minutes. #firstworldproblems

8. New Blog Series. I’m starting a new blog series in a couple of weeks called A Beautiful Life. It’s based on Psalm 16:11 from The Voice, “You direct me on a path that leads to a beautiful life. As I walk with you, the pleasures are never-ending, and I know true joy and contentment.” The reason I’m so excited about it is that I’m going to have four or five of my most favorite bloggers as guests for the series AND YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THEM! I simply cannot wait to share their beautiful perspectives and watch how God weaves together this amazing kaleidoscope of beauty together. Make sure to tune in on Tuesday, January 25 as we kick off the series!


9. Beanitos Black Bean Chips. When your church corporately does a Daniel Fast, one finds it hard to let go of their tortilla chip and Cheez-It habit. (Or so I hear.) A friend introduced me to the Beanito Black Bean Chip last year during the fast, and I have to admit I am completely addicted. And I feel no guilt eating them during the Fast since they are literally just made of black beans, rice, safflower oil and sea salt. Know this about me, if there is a loophole to be found, I WILL FIND IT.

10. ALL CAPS. Obviously I am a fan of the all caps option today. I have no explanations.

Alright folks, my little sickie is off for his nap to make up for the fact he only got five of his required 12 hours of sleep last night. And that means I’m off to take mine since I only got five of my required seven-and-a-half to eight. Here’s to hoping my nap gives me a solid 90% sleep efficiency.

What are you thankful for this week?

Thanksday #87

I’m really homesick, y’all.

Homesick for where I’m from/home, the Pacific Northwest. (Which is a tad ironic considering I just used “y’all” in the opening line.) I don’t know what it is, but I’m having waves of homesickness crashing over me at the most random times lately. In all the 17 years since I’ve left and moved to the South, I think this is the worst.

I miss my people. I miss my parents and my brother and his wife. I miss my aunts and uncle and cousin. I miss my Grandpa, who’s not doing well right now. I miss my friends — my high school friends and my college friends — and their kids, some of whom I haven’t even met yet.

I miss them all.

I know there’s always visits, but it’s not quite the same, you know? A quick visit when it’s jam-packed with drive-everywhere-and-see-everyone-ness is wonderful, but it’s not the same as doing life with your people. And I really miss doing life with my people.

I’m not at all saying I want to leave here (because I adore it here and there no plans to), I’m just saying I want to go there.

Does that make any sense?

I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m complaining, because I am way not complaining. Just sharing that I’m feeling a bit homesick right now. I know many of you transplants completely get it. (Please tell me you get it.)

Anyway, the quickest way to pull myself up by the bootstraps is to be thankful. So here we go!

Thankfuls for this week:

1. Texting, Facetime and Skype. Because seriously, how did people stay in touch through varying time zones without it in the olden days?

2. New Routines. Hands down, the best part of this summer is having new routines. Which translated into Monica-ese means no routines at all. There are no set times to wake up, or leave the house, or pick up from school, or go to t-ball, or anythingIt’s the most peaceful and perfectly blissful place to be. (Until around August 1, when I’ll be blogging about my desperate need for the structure of a school week, and good grief we have 18 more days to go!)

3. Iced Coffee. Yes, still an addiction. But I got smart and brewed my own to keep in a cute little hot pink pitcher in the fridge, so I can have iced coffee anytime I want without melting the ice with hot coffee. Anytime I want!

4. Sweet, Sweet Sleep. I have no idea what the difference is, but since we’ve been back from vacation (um, ding ding?) I’ve been sleeping a-m-a-z-i-n-g-l-y. Like, deep and hard and wake up almost feeling fully rested. It’s phenomenal.

5. The DVR. Y’all. There is nothing like coming back from being gone awhile and seeing all your favorite shows waiting in little blue folders for you on your TV. I hunkered in one afternoon to catch two episodes of something delightfully awful, and am hoping this weekend will lend itself to a few more.

6. Cheap Reads. I’m in one of my read-everything-I-can-get-my-hands-on phases. So I’ve found a bunch of books on Amazon ranging from $1-3. They’re no Shakespeare, but they’re entertaining enough for $1.99. I’m on my fifth book in two weeks. I figure I’ve got about two more books in me before I push Kindle aside and take a several-month break, and go back to my old-lady Woman’s World and First magazine obsessions.

7. Trusting God Equips. The only way I am able to face an enormous fear I have is that I know God is calling me to it and will equip me for it. I can’t go into detail now, but will later. But if you think of me and picture me knocking my knees and shaking, you wouldn’t waste a prayer throwing one up for me.

8. Movie Theater Popcorn. Y’all know we don’t live near a movie theater, let alone a big multi-plex (do they still call them that?). But I took the kids to The Big City this week to see Monsters University at the big multi-plex. And they have the best popcorn. So I ate a lot of it. And I paid for it the next day (am I the only one who gets a stomach ache after eating popcorn?), but all that salty, buttery goodness was worth it. (And no, I don’t want to hear all about how bad it is for me, but thanks!)

9. Knowing it Was a Good Beach Trip. This will be the last I speak of the beach, I promise. But you know what distinguishes a good, long vacation from a shorter one? Coming home and being pleasantly surprised at your countertops. I absolutely didn’t recognize my kitchen countertops when we got back. And I ooh’d and ahh’d all over again when we got home at how much I liked them. Yep. Exactly.

10. Skywire. I am thankful that the walk across the Grand Canyon is OVER. I couldn’t take the stress, people. I was riveted but also couldn’t watch. And those camera shots from the helicopter made me nauseous. I don’t know how his wife survives these things, because the first time he took a knee (ON THE WIRE! OVER THE GRAND CANYON!) I lost my breath and threw up a little bit in my mouth. So I’m glad it’s over. My 40 year-old heart can’t take that kind of nonsense. And the stress wrinkle certainly doesn’t need any further assistance in looking like the Grand Canyon. He might be able to walk across that in about 10 years.

Well, y’all. I still miss my peeps, but I do feel better. Listing out some thanks sort of feels like a big ol’ hug from the West Coast. (Although, the West is a little too stiff for a big ol’ hug, so maybe it’s more like a “way to go, bro” fist bump.)

At any rate. It helps.

What are you thankful for this week?


Thoughts Like Raindrops


Picture it — Western North Carolina, 2012. It’s a Monday and it’s rainy and you feel like you live in a clichéd Carpenters song. And then you wonder why it couldn’t be Top of the World? Because how fun would that be?

The rain falls outside like a leaky faucet you can’t fix.




The gray clouds hang so low you could reach out and grab a handful and put it in your pocket. Although why you would do that, I don’t know.

The air is slightly cool; not nearly cold enough for mid-January in the mountains…and that makes you so mad you could cuss if you were a cussin’ woman. But you’re not, because your husband is a pastor and that would be in poor taste. That, and cussing is such an uncreative way to express yourself. So for the sake of goodness and brain-boosting power, you try to find other ways to express your disdain for the rain because it’s winter and it should snow already.

And you chuckle out loud to yourself for a second, because you realized you rhymed that last sentence.




# # #

So for me, it’s been a great start to the new year already. Our church started a 21-day Daniel Fast on January 1, and so there’s just six days left. (Not that I’m counting.) I always look forward to the Daniel Fast each year — yes, it’s hard to get off the sugar and all the other foods that are amazing and delicious and make the world go ‘round — but the rewards that come with it are phenomenal.

  • Spiritual life: big leap
  • Overall health & wellbeing: much more energy and clarity
  • Cravings: starting to disappear

But perhaps the main thing that keeps me going for the 21 days and then beyond? Sleep. When I’m doing the Daniel Fast (or any other eating plan where you cut out processed foods and sugar), my sleep is BEYOND AMAZING. It’s deep sleep. Hard sleep. Waking-the-dead sleep. Total-and-complete-shutdown sleep.

One day last week my alarm went off and I pushed snooze. No because it was an “Oh I don’t want to get out of bed, I’m too comfortable” reaction, it was more of a “There’s no possible way whatsoever my body will move at all. Just pushing snooze was more energy than my body had to give, and therefore I need more sleep” reaction.

It’s almost as if my body is making up for the months of insomnia I experienced last summer, and soaking in all the nutrients from food and fresh air from running and just hibernating.

It’s the greatest feeling in the whole entire world.

It’s common knowledge that there are often times I’m so happy to be in bed that I laugh myself to sleep. And it’s also common knowledge that when I make the bed in the morning, I longingly look at it and whisper, “I’ll be back soon” to it. But the past two weeks, there is no moment of opportunity to laugh. My head hits the pillow and I’m out. And the longing looks in the morning are deeper and more heartfelt. I’m literally counting down hours from 3 o’clock on.

Yes, I just wrote about five paragraphs about how much I love sleep.

Sort of a low in my blog life right now.

# # #

So eating well and sleeping well have been fab so far in 2013. And to raise the stakes a little, I’m also exercising regularly. Because yep…I signed up for a race. A 15k (9.something miles). My first (and last) race was almost two years ago and was a half marathon. (I always say, if you’re gonna go — go big. ‘Cuz why not?)

After that kicked my tail and then I just stopped running for a good long while, I realized that I need a significant goal to get me out of the warm bed and away from the DVR and get out there. Because once I’m out there, I am in love with it. I love being totally alone, no distractions, running and hearing my shallow panting and turtle pace and a few birds and just the other day I saw an owl! It flew right in front of me across my path. It was awesome.

The 15k is mid-May, which gives me plenty of time for my body to get into the rhythm again and find my groove.

# # #

I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t really have a point to this post.

# # #

How about you? How is 2013 treating you so far? What are your goals for this year?

# # #

UPDATE: This just brought all sorts of sunshine to my day. You must read.

# # #

Love y’all.


And That’s All I Have to Say About That.

I stayed up until 12:56 am last night this morning. The fact I was not only awake to see this time, but was awake writing is insane. Y’all know I love my 10 pm bedtime.

But I was working on my book proposal. And here’s the thing — I think I’m done.

Not done like, “yahoo, I’m done!” but done like, “put a fork in me.”

Because at this point, what else can I do but take the same content and reformat it into yet another randomly suggested pattern? Not much. I hear “Use the X-Y-Z format, it’s the best!” and then I hear “Oh but So and So used A-B-F and that sold a ton!” and then I hear “Letters are so last year. Use numbers instead, it shows your creativity. Try 47-18-2.” I’m hoping there’s a point in the process where the format doesn’t matter and it’s all about the content. Please? Right? Amen?

So I’m finalizing about a total of one and a half paragraphs, and that’s it. And I’ll do it later. But I’ll finish before midnight.

Because at the end of the day, if I don’t make it to the conference at all or miss my publisher appointments due to sleep deprivation, it won’t matter if I wrote the proposal in letters, numbers, Pig Latin or !Kung.


T-H-E-E-N-D. Audi-5000. Eace-pay out-ay and !Click.

(See how I did that?)

Time for Mama to catch up on her reality TV take a nap.

Thanksday #71

I fell off the bloggy wagon. I had a few good weeks of daily posting, and then this week happened. The upside is that I spent all my extra time working on my book proposal, sample chapters and one-sheet…and I’m nearly finished.


It’s the nearly that will kill ya sometimes though, you know?

The good news is that exactly one week from today I’ll be driving myself to She Speaks with proposal, sample chapters and one-sheet copies finished, printed and tucked away firmly in my bag, and it’ll be too late to second-guess myself. Or in my case, one-millionth-guess myself. (My old friend Self Doubt has been spending a lot of time with me lately.)

But doubt, fear and uncertainty aside, there is much to be thankful for. And for the 71st week, I’m choosing to elevate my ideas (see how I did that?) and focus on the gratitude.

Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Sweetness. Jaana hopped in our bed this morning to finish her last couple of hours of sleep with Mommy. And each time I looked over at her, she was on her side and had both hands together in a prayer-like formation tucked under her cheek, with a peaceful look on her face. Who actually sleeps like that? My little angel, that’s who.

2. Chick-Fil-A Cookies and Cream Milkshakes. Because sometimes it’s the whipped cream and a cherry on the shake that makes it all better.

3. Monica. It’s nice to know I have a name outside of “Mommy,” and it’s nice to hear it from time to time. (And I may or may not have told my kids one afternoon this week that “Mommy” was off-limits for awhile, and I’d accept only “Mama,” “Mother” or “Mom.”)

4. Clean Rooms. Jaana spent a few days at Camp Gamma & Papa this week. So I took total advantage of her time away and majorly cleaned out her room. MAJORLY. She has no idea what’s missing, because it was a toy graveyard before (ashamedly, she has more than any child should ever have). Two large, black garbage bags later, her room looks like an actual room. And she has spent countless hours in there, since she actually can find things and enjoy playing with things she forgot she had since they were previously buried. All is well. Mommy Mama is happy.

5. Sleep. I’m having sleeping issues. Half of the week, I wake up for a few hours in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. But those nights that I do sleep through…those are good, good nights. And I had one last night. And it was goooooooood.

6. Rain. It’s the middle of July, and it seems the weather in our little town hasn’t realized it should be over 68-degrees. Today is gray and rainy and a very Seattle-like 68 right now. And while my tan is fading and I’d love to be at the pool, it is quite lovely to enjoy a lazy day indoors with my family. Especially when it’d be awesome to nap and catch up on number 5.

7. Unexpected Gifts. Someone gave me a gift certificate for the spaaaaaaaaah. Out-of-the-blue. God must have been telling them about my sleep issues and how a deep-tissue, hot stone massage might work wonders.

8. My Little Snoodle. Our Children’s Ministry is doing a production in the fall, and it’s going to incorporate A Snoodle’s Tale from Veggie Tales. (Which makes me cry every single time.) And Jaana is going to be the Little Snoodle. As we speak, she’s behind me practicing her lines and absolutely owning it. I heart her.

9. Sierra Mist. Greg and I are addicted to this right now.

10. God Speaks. Even when I’m floundering. Even when I’m falling away. Especially when I get through the end of the day and realize I didn’t spend time with Him. He shows up and He speaks and He loves anyway. Where would I be without Him?

Your turn! Let me know what you’re thankful for this week and share the love. Leave a comment by clicking the bubble at the top of the post. It’ll kick ol’ Self Doubt to the curb and restore peace to your soul. Yes, it will.