It's FRIDAY - who is ready for a weekend? My weekend is full of socializing, volunteering, relaxing and breaking out the Christmas decor. Go ahead and judge away, but since we always head to Mississippi for a good long trip during the second half of December, I pull our stuff out early - my decorations have to be up 4-5 weeks for me to believe its worth the time of pulling them out!! Plus, not to be all scroogy- but I think I may pack up Christmas decor before we leave for the south so I do not have to worry about it when I get back.
Here are some things I am loving on Friday.....
1. Santa's Bag App
One of these years, I plan on being responsible and starting a holiday fund in January, but unfortunately, that was not this year. However, I am trying to stay on budget or near budget with Christmas (I love buying others gifts and I tend to justify overspending on nephews and nieces and parents etc....) So, this year I downloaded the "Santa's Bag" app for my iphone - and it has changed how I Christmas shop. I set an overall budget and then individual budgets for my recipients. Under each person, I can mark what I buy, what I am thinking of buying, how much it cost, and then check each person off as complete when done. I am able to see how much I have spent in my total budget and how much I spend on each individual person - including if I was under or over their individual budget. This helps me plan accordingly and encourages me to take the time to look for good sales. For example, I recently watched the toy sales and found the exact gift I was planning on buying one of my nieces for $15 off - so that's $15 in "extra money" I have in case I go over on someone else (which I will inevitably do...) Jury is still out on whether this keeps me entirely on budget - but so far, so good.
2. Williams Sonoma Quinoa with toasted pecans and dried cranberries
You can find the recipe here. I LOVE this dish and have made it several times. Basically, anything with nuts and berries makes me happy (I must have been a small forest animal in a different life....) I made a huge batch for our small group supper club last night and we had a low turnout due to work, travel and sickness - so lots of leftovers. But honestly, I am kindof happy because I can eat this all weekend long. (side note: this preggo adds a few more pecans than suggested....)
3. Non Maternity clothing
The other day, while returning a maternity sweater to Old Navy, I picked up a cute vest (one size up instead of maternity sized because some days I just want something NON-maternityish you know? I have a maternity vest which is cute but a bit long and bulky) And today, since it's Friday and a bit more casual, I wore my new vest to work with skinny tan maternity pants, boots, a maternity chambray top and a tortoise shell necklace. And dare I say, I almost felt cute? Besides the stretchy band at the top of my pants and the fact that the shirt was loose with you know, a baby underneath....it was a normal outfit. So here is my "make me happy" outfit...forgive me if you see some version of this often this fall/winter.
(sidenote: maternity clothes are not so bad in 2015. I definitely have some of the drawstring loose tops, but a lot of the items are quite cute - just a bit more limited in selection, so I really can't complain - BUT still, this $17 dollar green vest has made my week...)
4. Blanket Scarves
Dave and I love finding a good show to binge watch together - and our newest pick is Reign about Mary, Queen of Scots. It's got history, action, mystery, romance - and of course, lovely costumes. Something for both of us!
6. Encouraging articles
I love words - and I love words that encourage and uplift and relate. So I had to share these meaningful words I found in an article titled Singleness, Suffering and Christian Hope. It's so true - I could have written this article (although not nearly as eloquently!) In fact, I wrote something similar a couple years ago. The pain of waiting for a spouse can be incredibly hard and often undermined by married friends, family and church leaders. (Thankfully, if you are like me, you had excellent company!) The bittersweet reality is that you excitedly celebrate every wedding, every baby, every special moment for friends and family while you wait for your own milestones to celebrate. You rock babies and silently pray that one day you will have your own. You spend holidays without a spouse, wondering if you will always be the single adult child that goes home. Even now, happily married, I remember that the waiting wasn't always easy. So, I was so touched by the tender way in which this man writes about his wife's and his years of waiting and suffering.
"Although our suffering (related to singleness, anyway) officially ended that night, every minute of heartache now served to make our present joy greater and fuller than if we had never suffered. Our suffering wasn’t merely being erased or compensated for. Instead, God was somehow using our suffering to enlarge and perfect our joy.
To us, that moment was a picture of our ultimate Christian hope: Ours is the only faith that would dare use a barbaric device like the cross as a symbol of triumph. God is not only with us in our suffering, as He proved at the cross, but He will transform our suffering, as He proved at the resurrection.
Lisa and I have never been happier than we were on our wedding day. But even the very best day of life on earth is only a foretaste — a dim hint — of what it will feel like when we finally meet the Lord.
If you are a Christian who is struggling with singleness, I am praying for your suffering to end. I don’t know how and when it will end, but I can absolutely guarantee that God will one day end it with a resurrection. I love the way Teresa of Avila put it: “The first moment in our Savior’s arms will make the most miserable earthly life seem like a single night in a bad hotel.”
As I finished this article at 1:30 in the morning, I looked over at my sleeping wife. I thought about all the nights she went to bed lonely. The scars are still there. But like the scars that remained on Jesus’ resurrection body, their meaning has been converted from shame to glory.
Tears filled my eyes as I leaned over and kissed Lisa on the cheek and remembered, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4, ESV). Thank God we didn’t meet when we were 21. Thank God He didn’t “spare” us from suffering. My tears of joy were only possible because, in our suffering, we had shed so many tears of sadness."
I have friends that are still waiting- for husbands, for babies, for healing in their families, etc- and I am still waiting with them, praying for those future happy endings and milestones - and I can't wait to rejoice with them the way they have kindly rejoiced with me. But, even when those answered prayers come, I will also be grateful for a God that uses years of brokenness to make the answered prayers all the more beautiful.
7. "Just Because" Flowers
I have felt particularly pregnant and big and sore this week (um, and whiney....) - and my sweet DH sent me the sweetest card and flowers. telling me how thankful he was for me. We aren't usually random gifts and flowers type of people (except for birthdays and holidays, etc) which made the gesture all the more sweet. Goodness, I am a lucky gal.
Happy Friday all! Just 2 weeks (less actually) until Thanksgiving! November really is a wonderful month, right? The weather is not too bad yet but the holiday spirit is in the air! I hope you spend all weekend doing things you love with people you love! Or doing nothing, just because you can!