The Night at the Theater That Recaptured My Heart

I received the tickets for this show from Omaha Performing Arts, but I was not asked to write a post in exchange for them. I just couldn’t help myself.

I’ve always been a lover of musical theater. The first show I saw was a tour of Phantom of the Opera in Minneapolis during high school and I was mesmerized. Phantom is not my favorite musical of all time, but you never forget your first show experience.

There have been many more memorable musical theater experiences since that first one, with Les Miserables in London and The Lion King in Las Vegas topping the list. As music majors in college, we went to shows in our area all the time. But with kids and life, we haven’t been to many shows in the last few years.

I didn’t realize how much I missed live musical theater until last night.

Omaha Performing Arts gave me two tickets to the first night of Once, a musical that tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. Once was actually a movie first and became well-known because of it’s Oscar-winning song, “Falling Slowly.” I’m pretty sure you’ve heard it. It was then made into a stage production and won EIGHT Tony awards in 2012.  From what I had heard, I was sure it would be a good show.

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Good is not an adequate or accurate word to describe what I experienced watching Once. From the moment my good friend and I walked in to the musicians jamming on stage pre-show, we were in awe. They weren’t like actors up there – they were musicians playing their own music and drawing me in to the show.

Once

 

photo credit: Joan Marcus

I found myself holding my breath from the beauty of the music several times during the show. Irish influence, a cappella, raw love songs – there was a little bit of everything in Once and I wanted more of all of it. When the first act ended with the singing and dancing of the song Gold, I had chills and tears and all the feelings.

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photo credit: Joan Marcus

I fell in love with live musical theater again last night. Once was everything musical theater should be and everything I had been missing but didn’t even realize. Captivating melodies, GORGEOUS harmonies, soulful dancing, and acting that made me feel almost like I was interrupting someone’s real-life private moments.

** I feel like I should mention there is language that may offend some people, including several f-words. I am not a fan of foul language, but it did not turn me off from the musical at all. Just wanted to throw that out there. **

I may have been in my own city watching this musical, but I was transported to my past experiences in London and Vegas and Minneapolis and so on. And it was pretty great to experience it with one of my dearest friends for her birthday!

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If you need me, I’ll be looking for more opportunities to head to the theater with my hubby, my kids, my friends – anybody who wants to go – because it has recaptured my heart and I can’t get enough.

Are you a musical theater fan? What was your most memorable musical theater experience?

If you want to see Once in Omaha now through May 17, 2015, get your tickets here. And if you’re NOT in Omaha, follow @OnceMusical on Twitter to find out when they might be near you and GET YOURSELF THERE.

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What I’m Loving: January 2015

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

It can’t be the end of January already, can it?!

January has been a full month for us – full of activity and family time and fun and…we’re ending the month sick. Boo. This weekend will be spent resting and trying to get healthy as we start a fresh month!

Here’s a little recap of what I’m loving in this first month of 2015:

Parenthood

I’m a late-comer to this fabulous show. I actually started in on Netflix a year ago, but I just didn’t get into it at the time. After I finished The Gilmore Girls, I decided to give it another shot because I adore Lauren Graham. I’m so glad I did. I’m only in season five right now so NO SPOILERS from those of you who watched the finale last night. NO SPOILERS, PEOPLE. I’ve come to understand three things about each episode:

  1. Someone will make a very bad decision.
  2. Something horrible will happen to someone.
  3. I will cry.

Once I discovered this about every episode, I enjoyed it so much more. And I have fallen in love with the Braverman family in all their messy glory. I will have to wait a while to see the finale, but I know it will be worth it!

Basketball mom

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Our oldest started his first year of team basketball – with actual games, he wants you to know – and it has been such a fun experience so far! We are not the tallest people ever (understatement of the year), so I was a little worried about how he would fare in this sport. But I don’t even care if he is any good because he LOVES IT SO MUCH. After their first game, a loss by almost 20 points, his coach asked him what he thought and he said: “I loved it.” He didn’t even get the ball once in that game, but he defended with every ounce of his small frame. And I just beamed the rest of the day because of his joyful attitude. It has also been fun to watch him learn and grow as they practice and play more. We also went to a super exciting Huskers basketball game this month!

Books to better me

Own Your Life Fringe Hours
I received two books to review to start this new year and together they are teaching me so much about the use of my time! Yes, I’m often reading several books at a time. That’s just how I roll. Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson and The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner have been both challenging and filling for me. Because of these books, I’ve been taking the time to evaluate how I spend my days. This has been eye-opening and I’m really thankful. It’s like God knew I needed to read them at the same time or something! Own Your Life has a more spiritual, prayerful approach, while The Fringe Hours is very practical and journal-like. I find myself applying things from both books to my daily life every day!

Inspiration for women leaders

I’ve been a member of the Influence Network for a while now and I can’t recommend it highly enough. This is a group that really cares about growth and influence in the name of Jesus. The classes, the posts, the podcasts, the forums – it is all so encouraging. And I always love a good place to connect and network! I am an ENFP, after all!

Just this week, the brand new ministry, Propel Women, launched with the purpose of supporting and encouraging women leaders. As the cofounder of Raising Boys Ministries, I’ve been longing for more guidance and wisdom in doing this leadership thing well while keeping God and my family as priorities. I love what I’ve heard so far and look forward to learning more in this area! You can sign up for their free online magazine here!

Scarves on sale!

I’m a sucker for great scarves and I have TWO great sales to share with you!

fashionABLE has extended their end-of-the-year sale and you don’t want to miss these low prices on scarves that make a difference in the lives of the women who made them! Shop at this link to get an extra 10% off your order! My closet is full of these fabulous scarves – you will love them!

COS Scarf Sale 1-30

Cents of Style has a major one-day sale on scarves today! Buy 1 beautiful, colorful spring scarf for $11.95 and you will be offered a cozy, black, cable knit, infinity scarf for FREE at checkout! Just use coupon code 2FOR1. Plus, Cents of Style always offers FREE SHIPPING! Remember, this sale is today, Friday, January 30th, only!

What did you love this month? What are you reading, watching, wearing, and listening to?

I’m linking up with Leigh for her monthly What I’m Into post!

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About This Blog Silence…

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I’m still here! And if you’re connected with me on social media, you know I’m still alive, but busy! Every time I think I have a few moments to sit down and write here, life happens and I’ve learned to just go with that flow. But I do miss writing here.

So what have I been up to during this busy season?

Family Stuff

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Big J had his first basketball game. We’ve been watching football and mourning the end of our team’s season. Puzzles and playing outside and cookies and mommy-son dates and homeschool…lots of good family stuff.

Date Night

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Our much needed first date night of 2015 was to see Into the Woods. I loved it. So much. And after having watched it, I would not let my own kids see it until they are quite a bit older. It is a wonderful musical, but the themes are quite mature and I’m not sure they even get most of the movie. But I will probably be buying the movie and watching it on repeat, singing along with every word. Of course, the best part of  seeing the movie was with whom I saw it – he’s my favorite.

Training

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I still can’t believe how much I love running, but I do. This month, I’ve been training to get a new 10K personal record. The Hubby and I are doing a unique 10K race out of town next weekend, so we’ll see then how the training pays off! I love using my Believe Training Journal to plan my workouts and then record how they went. Would you be interested in knowing more about my weekly exercise plan?

Reading

I’m devouring some great books this month and rediscovering just how much reading fills me up. I finished Lisa T. Bergren’s River of Time series – five books, Christian young adult fiction, set in 14th century Italy, exciting and lots of fun. I cried when it was over. Yes, I get a little invested in fiction books.

I’m reading three other fabulous books right now, too – Bossypants by Tina Fey, The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner, and Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. I’m really enjoying all of them and have a long list to choose from when these are done!

This is life, people. And instead of being upset or anxious when I don’t have time to write, I’m taking it as a hint that I need to breathe, to live NOW and write later. This post from Shauna Niequist has me thinking deeply about how much of life I have missed and how much more I want to notice everything.

I have a bunch of fun things to share with you this week, including two great exclusive discounts for you on some of my FAVORITE things, so don’t go away! I’m still here and I’m thankful you are, too!

What have YOU been up to this first month of 2015?

 

 

 

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What I’m Loving: Fall 2014

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I think these are my favorite kinds of posts because they function like my brain – jumping all over the place to share the things I’m loving right now! And I love reading “What I’m Loving” posts from others because they always share the best recommendations!

My very own Avengers

Avengers 2014 Captain America 2014 Iron Man 2014 Thor 2014

Taylor Swift, 1989

TS 1989

I don’t think I could have named a single Taylor Swift song before this album came along. It’s not that I didn’t like her. I just don’t listen to much country music. Then everybody and their dog was talking about “Shake It Off,” so I listened. It was fun. Those same people plus a bunch more started raving about the new album. And I caved. I. LOVE. IT. Get it on iTunes or Amazon or get the deluxe edition with a few extra songs at Target. Trust me.

Fleece-lined tights + leggings

I actually discovered these last year, but I’m ready to enjoy them all fall and winter this year. I love them for the warmth and greater structure they provide versus regular leggings. I managed to score some cute ones at our local Target before they sold out, but the fleece-lined leggings and tights were already pretty picked over! You can find them online all over the place, but get them before it gets too cold and they’re all sold out!

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman

This book is going to get it’s own post when I finish it, but don’t wait. Start reading it now. It’s full of Gospel and truth and grace. I needed this exact book at this exact stage in my life as a mother and it is NOT a parenting book. More to come when I finish it very soon.

Matching Converse

Converse

My oldest son and I have matching Converse All-Stars right now. Well, his are a cooler color, but still. He thinks it is awesome that we have the same shoes which makes me love it even more. I love pairing them with different outfits in new ways – jeans, skirts, even dresses! And they are super comfy. The shoes are great, but I love this connection with my boy the most.

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the ABLE scarf

You know of my love for fashionABLE and the brand new ABLE scarf tells their story of providing jobs and sustainable income for women. Those words on the scarf? That is their story, the story of what they are able to do because of the purchases you make through fashionABLE. I could not be more excited to wear this scarf and those words and spread the word for such a wonderful organization! When you follow this link, you’ll get 10% off your order! Use the code ABLE at checkout today {11/3/14} to get free shipping!

Since fall is my favorite season, I could probably do five more posts just like this one with more things I love, but I’ll stop there because I want to know…

What are you loving this fall?

 I linked up with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into linkup!

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What I’m Loving {August 2014}

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

These “What I’m Loving” or “What I’m Into” posts just make me smile – I love sharing what I love and I love reading what others love! I have a whole lot of new loves this month, especially as I’ve been planning my fall capsule wardrobe which will debut mid-September! Eek! I’ll try to keep this short…

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Evy’s Tree – Luxury hoodies from the lovely Amy, mom and designer extraordinaire. I will be living in these this fall. Seriously cute and insanely comfortable. So amazing that I have THREE of them in my fall capsule wardrobe.

Fix My Eyes

“Fix My Eyes” by For King and Country – I want to hang the chorus of this song in our living room as our family’s motto. And the actual song is super fun, too. The boys all have it memorized and we sing it at the top of our lungs together in the car. They also put on the best live show.

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Ballet flats – Like my friend Crystal, I am NOT a heels girl. Ballet flats + boots are my thing. The two kinds of ballet flats I can’t live without are from The Root Collective and Tieks. I’ve shared about The Root Collective before and I’ll be telling you more about Tieks soon. The Root Collective just released their new fall line of flats this week – GORGEOUS. Use the code FALL14 to get 20% off right now through September 7th!

Revelation Wellness

Revelation Wellness VIPtv – I’ve told you about Insanity, T25, and the 21 Day Fix, but THIS is what I’ve been looking for all along. Alisa Keeton has created a fitness program centered around the most important thing to me – Jesus. Revelation Wellness has workouts of EVERY level and each one is focused on worship and the Word. I can’t get enough of it. I’ll probably do whole post on it next month. VIPtv is just $10/month, can be played on any device with internet access, and you will LOVE it. If you sign up, just enter my name – Erin from Home with the Boys  – where it says, “How did you hear about us?” We’ll both be entered to win a free year of VIPtv when you do!

What I'm Loving August 2014

Caribou Coffee – This isn’t the nearest coffee shop to me and mine doesn’t have a drive-thru, but it’s still my favorite. Yes, it is worth the drive AND getting my kids out of the car to go grab a Turtle Mocha or Iced Pumpkin White Chocolate Mocha. My coffee heart belongs to Caribou.

TV: So You Think You Can Dance, My Big Family Renovation {full series marathon on HGTV next Thursday!!!}

Books: Finishing up the River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren

Movies: Guardians of the Galaxy {loved it}, Lego Movie {hilarious}

Last, but not least… 

Labor Day Sales – A long weekend and fun sales – enough said! Here are a few of my favorites:

 What are you loving this Labor Day weekend? Make it a great one!

 Linking up to Leigh’s What I’m Into post! Lots of fun posts to read over there!

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Crazy Tennis Fans

So, I haven’t had much time to write lately…can you tell?

BUT, the 2014 US Open Tennis Tournament started this week and my friend Sami and I had the crazy idea to do a draw challenge, kind of like March Madness but with tennis!

And just to prove our choices were in before the tournament started, Sami and I both did a video sharing our thoughts and brilliant picks. You can find her video right here.

You can watch mine below. It was done impromptu. At night. And I ramble. So you’re welcome – this is the REAL me. If you can’t see the video below, click here to watch!

Any other crazy tennis fans like Sami and I out there? We think ESPN Tennis should take us along to a Grand Slam to give the fans’ point of view. You would watch us, right?!

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4 x 4: Get to Know Me Before Declare!

Next week is the Declare Conference in Dallas and I am over-the-moon excited to be attending and speaking this year! Some of my very favorite writer friends will be there and it has been WAY too long since we’ve seen each other. And since I know no strangers, only friends I haven’t met yet, I’m looking forward to seeing lots of new friends while in Texas as well!

And to make us a little less like strangers and more like friends when we finally do meet in person, I’m linking up with the Declare 4×4 posts to share more about myself! Enjoy!

Family Standing 2014 blog

4 things about me

I’ve been married to The Hubby for 11 wild and crazy years which have led to us being in his last year of residency right now. LAST YEAR, PEOPLE. {cue angels singing} He is my best friend and such a hottie.

I’m a boy mom, through and through. Big J is 8, Little J is 6, and Double J is 2. Our house is loud and chaotic and full of Legos and just as it should be. I don’t really “get” this boy thing all the time, but I sure do love them!

In my “former” life, I was an elementary music teacher and loved every minute of it. I worked in the best small community and also coached junior high volleyball and helped direct the high school musical. It was my dream job and I am so thankful for the time I had there.

After years of HATING running, I gave it a real shot in April of 2012 and have loved it ever since. In just over two years, I have ran four half marathons with the last two being under two hours! I never in a million years would have thought I would be a runner, but here I am! And I love encouraging other women in their running journeys! {Anybody want to run with me on Friday or Sunday morning?}

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4 endearing quirks

I am LOUD, especially my laugh. You’ve been warned.

I don’t eat cheese, but I’m a huge Cheesehead {Packers fan}.

I’m a little obsessed with personality and strengths tests and exercises. I love finding out more about myself and the people I work with so we can work better together. StrengthsFinder is my favorite so far!

I can’t wait to wear these cowboy boots in Texas.

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The last time I saw Brooke in person – Double J was 6 months old! Excited to be reunited at Declare, but sad Amanda won’t be joining us!

4 things about my writing/blogging

I started blogging in 2008 when I was becoming a stay-at-home mom for the first time. The blog was supposed to be a way to share our family life with friends and family far away, but it has definitely morphed over the years!

Writing was never something I had on my list of dream jobs, but as I look back, I used to write stories with my friends starting in elementary school and I wrote for our high school newspaper. God knew how to lay a framework for writing without me even realizing it. Now I can’t imagine going even a few days without writing something!

I have a few magazine articles coming out in late 2014 and early 2015! I love the topics and the magazine I’ve been writing for and can’t wait to tell you more when they come out!

I co-founded The MOB Society for mothers of boys with Brooke in 2010 without ever having met each other in person! We’ll both be speaking at Declare this year AND we get to room together!!!

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4 of my favorite things

Football. It’s so close I can taste it… Go Huskers! Go Packers!

Popcorn. Air-popped with real butter or popped on the stove with coconut oil are the best.

Tennis dates with The Hubby. Yes, he usually beats me, but we’re pretty evenly matched, so we have fun and get a great workout…and then go eat yummy food in our sweaty tennis clothes!

Fair trade/ethical fashion. I love knowing my purchases are making a difference.

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Well, that was fun! I cannot wait to get to Dallas and share the weekend with a whole lot of Jesus-loving women who want to follow Him with wild obedience and declare His Name to the world! If you’re coming, make sure you let me know and say hi if you see me!

I will be speaking on Friday about affiliate marketing and how to handle it ethically and still make money! I would love to have you join me if you’re interested!

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Links I Love & a Nickels for Nets Update!

 

We’re over halfway through the month, so I thought I would give you an update on how we are doing with our monthly mission raising Nickels for Nets!

I am so proud of Big J and how he has been committed to asking people for nickels and telling them about the mission of Sweet Sleep – at taekwondo, the library, church, and everywhere we go!

As of Friday, we had collected $21.20 and our neighboring city friends had gathered at least $30.50 for a total of $51.70! That means SIX NETS have been sponsored so far! Woohoo!!! Let’s keep it rolling for another 12 days! How is your collecting going?

Nickels for Nets Box

Now, for a few things I’ve loved around the Internet this week…

*Simple Mom’s posts on writing a bookThe Big Picture and The Nitty Gritty – bookmarking these for someday…

*4 Steps to Casting a Godly Vision for Your Son – Ooh, this is a good one from Heather, relevant for sons AND daughters. It’s had me thinking a LOT.

*Amanda’s Armor of God series is Totally. Awesome. I’m storing up these ideas to use with the boys after Lent and Easter!

Happy weekend everyone!

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Too Busy Living Life To Write About Life!

Well, hello again!

Yes, I am alive! Yes, we are doing well! I just took a little unscheduled break here as life at home picked up and some exciting things were happening in other areas of this online space!

First, for the “real life” stuff…

The Hubby spent four days working noon to midnight shifts in the ER. Yikes. I. MISSED. HIM. But two days off were the reward at the end of that not-so-fun streak!

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We’re glad to have him home and he’s glad to be around when we’re all awake!

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Big J was invited to test for his next Taekwondo belt! He started Taekwondo in November and has really enjoyed it. I love the mix of fun and discipline these taekwondo lessons have been for him! The test was a combination of physical skills and memorization of the Taekwondo oath and tenets. He did SO well at his test, but we won’t find out the results for another week or so! We are proud of him either way!

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Double J started clapping this week, so all day long I just want to play pat-a-cake and find new ways to make him clap because it is TOO CUTE. And Little J has us in stitches with his funny voices, dramatic reading of books, and all-around craziness. The older boys also started AWANA at our new church and are already loving it!

I was able to witness a miracle as dear friends who were on the brink of divorce renewed their vows over the weekend. There were some major tears as we watched God redeem what seemed beyond hope. Nothing is beyond hope with God. I was blessed and honored to be there. Praise the Lord that He still works in mysterious and wonderful ways!

My local Bible study started up again last week, and this time around we’re reading Desperate! We hadn’t met since November and I missed those girls! I’m really looking forward to our regular meetings again, especially talking about coming alongside each other in our motherhood journeys! I also has a blast at our church’s ladies’ craft night! Everybody just ate and chatted and worked on their own creative projects – loved it!

And then there is this blog-o-sphere…

Today, I’m posting over at the Tommy Nelson blog with a fun way to get those younger kids actively involved in Bible stories! After being stuck inside on below-zero wind chill days, this activity has helped us get some crazies out more than a few times! And it involves animals, which the boys loved! Head over there to check it out!

But the majority of my computer time has been spent working on behind-the-scenes details for the new site, Raising Hearty Boys! As most of you know, I’m the co-founder of The MOB Society {for mothers of boys}, and we’re in the middle of some major expansion right now! In January we added Boy Dads: In the Trenches of Fatherhood to our network, which is now Raising Boys Media! Raising Hearty Boys is set to launch next as a place for parents to find all things food and fitness related for boys! I have always loved to cook and bake, and exercise has become such an important part of our family life, so I am thrilled to be serving as editor for this new site! I’ll post more details as the launch date approaches!

And last, but not least, I’ve been working on my God-sized dream. If you’ll remember, part of my dream is to do what God is calling me to do while keeping Him and my family prioritized. As I sit down to write this post, I realize just how many times in the past week I’ve chosen time with Him and time with the boys before getting online or sitting down to write. It feels good. It feels right. And I have a lot more inspiration to draw from when the time to write comes! What a blessing!

That’s a full plate right there, but life is good! What’s been on your plate lately? How can I pray for you?

 

 

 

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Where I’m Going From Here…

Now that the 31 Days series is over, I thought I’d share a little bit of what’s up next for me and this blog!

The 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life Challenge with Crystal and Laura and myself starts today! I may post about it from time to time, but my main role will be Twitter cheerleader {use hashtag #disciplined21} for all you lovelies joining the challenge and tackling a mega-project! Mine involves an e-book. I’m scared. Hold me. {You can still get your ebook and start with us!}

What I Wore Wednesday will be returning and I’ll be sharing a little more about fashion as a mom in a fun new place. Stay tuned…

I’m getting ready now for Truth in the Tinsel! If I don’t start now, I will be frantically trying to gather supplies in the midst of the already-crazy holiday season. I’m trying to prevent that with all I am. I’m also printing out the brand new Truth in the Tinsel printable ornaments to use on the days when a craft just isn’t going to happen. Have you seen them?! SO cute.

I’m revisiting and reworking my mission statements. Thanks to Kat, I have a mom mission statement that I wrote over two years ago, so I’m going back to it, praying over it, tweaking it, and working on LIVING. IT. OUT.

I also have a mission statement for how I take care of our home thanks to Sarah Mae’s 31 Days to Clean. It’s been tucked away in a binder, but I’m pulling that out again because I need to read those words more often!

And God has given me the gift of a clarified vision for this little blog space. I am praying I follow that vision with every post!

Oh yeah, and I signed up for a half-marathon. On Thanksgiving morning. With The Hubby. And it’s a TRAIL run. Who is this woman, seriously?! Please pray for me…

How about a few of my favorite pics from the last month just to wrap this up nicely?

Baby brother being loved on {and wondering what is going on?!} at the pumpkin patch!

Big J trying out fall soccer.

My Avengers trick or treating at the hospital.

Pumpkin faces and silly faces.

My first 15K this past weekend. Small race, but this was good enough for first in my age group!

So, friends, how was your October? What are you looking forward to in November?

 

*This post contains affiliate links.

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