What I’m Reading in 2016

I have included affiliate and referral 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 really, really love to read and it is one of those things I wish I had more time to do. Reading makes me feel more alive and gets my creative wheels turning. I need reading in my life. We have to schedule our priorities to make them happen, so I’m putting reading on my calendar this year and keeping books near me at all times to fill in the gaps of the day.

I’m also making a plan of what I want to read. I have SO many books on my shelves waiting to be opened and new books are coming out every week. I feel like if I make a plan for this year, I will hopefully stick to it more closely and cross off a whole lot of books on my “to-read” list!

To help me in starting my list of what I’m reading in 2016, I decided to take the 2016 Reading Challenge laid out on by Anne Bogel on her blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, and here’s what I came up with:

What I'm Reading in 2016

a book published this year

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch – Kristen is an honest, godly voice that I respect so much, especially her thoughts on service, marriage, and parenthood. Her first book, Rhinestone Jesus, was beautiful, and I need to read these new words from her about children and parenting. This is a topic our world so desperately needs to address.

a book you can finish in a day

Four: The Transfer by Veronica Roth – When I finished the Divergent series, I meant to read the follow-up novellas telling the story from Four’s perspective, but I just forgot! I know I can tackle at least one of the four novellas in a day.

a book you’ve been meaning to read

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling – It’s true. I’ve never read the Harry Potter books. I’m not really sure why, but I think it’s time.

a book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – My parents gave me this book for my birthday last year, but I’m including it in this category because I mentioned it to our local librarian and she raved about it! I’ve already started in on this novel and it is fascinating.

a book you should have read in school

Night by Elie Wiesel – When I was looking at lists of books I “should” have read in high school, I thought maybe I had read this one, but after reading more about it, I guess not! I know it is a heavy subject matter, but I do look forward to reading this autobiographical account of the Holocaust because of the history and importance of remembering.

a book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF

The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson – I am giddy to read this series for many reasons, but most of all because my nine-year-old son can’t WAIT for me to read it. It was originally recommended to us by Ellie Holcomb at her concert Big J and I went to together. He devoured all four books in the series and is now just waiting for his mom to catch up!

a book published before you were born

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer – I see this book quoted all over the place and I love every quote I’ve seen shared. And it has been sitting in my Kindle library just waiting to be read, so this is the year!

a book that was banned at some point

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – The Hubby says I need to read it. The end.

a book you previously abandoned

A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester – I didn’t abandon this book because I didn’t like it. Life just got busy and it was forgotten. I really like what I had read so far, so I’m excited to read the rest! God has put hospitality and service forefront in my heart and mind this year and this book falls right in line with that calling.

a book you own but have never read

Nobody’s Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle – Melanie’s books always make me laugh out loud and I know this one will be just as humorous! I just love the way she writes, and I’m can’t wait to read her take on friendship.

a book that intimidates you

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – I know it’s funny I’m intimated by the book upon which one of my favorite movies is based, but I just haven’t been able to tackle it yet! I think it’s my own mental block, but this year I WILL overcome! Actually, this is the first book I’m going to “read” as an audiobook because everyone is raving about listening to books. I’ll let you know how it goes!

a book you’ve already read at least once

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – I read this entire series in the summer between seventh and eighth grade. I’ve been thinking about reading it again as an adult, so I committing to it this year because of this challenge!

 

Are you taking the reading challenge? What is on your list to read this year?

 

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Sharing Music for the Holidays! (Giveaway)

This post is part of the #ShareTheHolidays campaign with Omaha Performing Arts. I received two free show tickets. All opinions are 100% my own!

Nothing gets me in the mood for the holidays more than music. Once Thanksgiving is over, Christmas music is playing in our home 24/7. As a music teacher, I made it my personal mission to make sure all my students knew just about every classic Christmas song under the sun. Now I do the same with our children and I even made a printable for families to use for learning a Christmas song per day during December!

The Christmas music lover in me is THRILLED with the holiday lineup from Omaha Performing Arts this year! Just take a look at this amazing schedule:

  • The Brian Setzer Orchestra 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour – Sunday, November 15, at 7:00 PM, Orpheum Theater, Slosburg Hall.
  • Vienna Boys Choir – Christmas in Vienna – Thursday, November 19, at 7:30 PM, Holland Performing Arts Center, Kiewit Concert Hall.
  • Cyrus Chestnut Trio – A Jazzy Christmas Wednesday – December 2, at 7:30 PM, Holland Center, Scott Recital Hall (1200 Club performance – a night club setting).
  • A Celtic Tenors Christmas – Wednesday, December 2, at 7:30 PM, Holland Performing Arts Center, Kiewit Concert Hall. 
  • Michael McDonald – This Christmas, An Evening of Holiday & Hits – Friday, December 4, 8:00 PM, Holland Center, Kiewit Hall.
  • Joyful Noise – A Gospel Christmas featuring Salem Baptist Church – Sunday, December 6, 4:00 PM & 7:00 PM, Holland Center, Kiewit Hall.

Yes, please. To all of the above!

To go along with these wonderful holiday events, the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign runs November 1 through December 31 at several Omaha venues, including the Orpheum Theater and Holland Center. People attending concerts at these locations can bring non-perishable food items, which will benefit the Food Bank for the Heartland!

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The Hubby and I will be heading to see the Brian Setzer Orchestra 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour next weekend! I can’t wait to hear his take on holiday music and I can’t wait for a date night with The Hubby! I think this calls for a fun holiday dress, right?!

We would love to have you join us for the Brian Setzer Orchestra on Sunday, November 15th, so we’re giving away two tickets! Just leave a comment with your favorite Christmas song and I’ll pick a winner this Sunday evening at 9PM CST!

Which of these shows would you most love to see?

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ONE DAY ONLY: Boots + Scarf Combo for $32.95!

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!

The great boots + scarf combo deal from Cents of Style is back and better than ever! You guys went crazy over this last year, so I was super excited when I knew it was make a repeat appearance! Please grab this deal RIGHT AWAY because it always sells out FAST!

COS Boots + Scarf 1

For this year’s combo, you’ll get a pair of CUTE tall riding boots with strap and buckle detailing, a half zipper on the inside, and a fair amount of room in the calf. They come in two colors: black and tan. I am loving these and SO glad they have extra calf room to fit boot socks!

COS Boots + Scarf 5

The scarf in this year’s combo is a knit infinity with small pom-like knit details.

COS Boots + Scarf 2

It comes in 7 great fall colors and looks super cozy! I’ve got my eye on the cream and gray!

COS Boots + Scarf 3

Here is a step by step instruction on how to get the boots and scarf for $32.95 & FREE SHIPPING!

  1. Add boot to your cart.
  2. As soon as the boot is added, a pop up will appear and offer to add the scarf for $4.00.
  3. Proceed to checkout.
  4. Additionally, when checkout button is clicked a boot cuff offer will popup for $2.99.
  5. Apply “BOOTSCOMBO” coupon code and it will drop the price of the boot and scarf to $32.95 (plus $2.99 if cuffs are added)
  6. FREE SHIPPING- as always, with Cents of Style!

Here’s a peek at the boot cuffs you can add on to your order for just $2.99:

COS Boots Cuffs

When all is said and done, you could have new boots + a new scarf + new boot cuffs for less than $36 shipped! And you’ll be all set for fall!

Ok, don’t delay one more second! Go grab this deal, then come back to tell me what you picked out! Happy shopping and HAPPY FALL!

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What I Wore

I have included affiliate and referral 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 know, I know. Style posts two days in a row. If you don’t really care about fashion, I’m sorry. But if you do enjoy talking fashion, like me, then YAY! More style talk!

I’ve been wearing lots of shorts + tanks thanks to the hot, humid weather, but this week I mixed it up a bit with a maxi skirt, a hoodie, and my favorite cowboy boots!

Here is what I wore this week…

What I Wore 8-12 Gathered Maxi Skirt

Basics can be beautiful, right? I love having staples that can be thrown together easily, like this black Target tee (very favorite tee in my closet), gathered maxi skirt from Beautiful & Beloved, and Saltwater SandalsThe skirt is 40% off right now and available in this smoke color, as well as berry!

What I Wore 8-12 Sienna Ashley

This outfit just screams fall. I was in my happy place because it was cloudy and a little cooler. Not THAT cool, but I was comfy in this inside! I paired the new Sienna Ashley from Evy’s Tree (get 10% off at that link!) with a great Elegantees tee, my new favorite Kan Can jeans from Noelle Mae Boutique, a fabulous Noonday necklace, and my thrift store Skechers find!

What I Wore 8-12 Jump

See? Happy place.

What I Wore 8-12 Accent Ruffle Tank

Big J was invited to a horse-riding birthday party this past weekend, so I had to break out my favorite Lane cowboy boots! With all the stuff you find in the stables and riding arena, I was glad to have jeans and boots on, even if it was quite hot. This accent ruffle tank is another great piece from Noelle Mae Boutique! I know it will be a valuable layering piece for me this fall! (I AM wearing a cami under it – it’s just nude colored!) Remember, you can get 10% off your first Noelle Mae Boutique order when you shop here!

That’s it for What I Wore this week! Make sure you check out all the fun What I Wore posts all linked up over at The Pleated Poppy!

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Hands-on-Prints Books: Engaging Kids in Reading!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Hands-on-Prints books. I received books to facilitate my review. This post contains affiliate links.

We are a book-loving household. We have books of all kinds coming out of our ears. I’ve really tried to trim down our selection over the years, but I can’t seem to stop adding to our collection when I find something that looks good!

The introduction of Kindles in to our home has helped slow the rapid growth of our stacks and stacks of books, but there is still nothing like holding a physical book in your hands, especially when it comes to children’s books.

Hands On Prints All

I’m thrilled to introduce a new series to you that will really engage your children in books through great content, wonderful illustrations, and their senses!

Hands On Prints Books

Christinia Cheung earned a Masters in Early Childhood Education and established a Montessori school that celebrates differences in personality, learning preferences and cultural backgrounds. Through these experiences, she was compelled to write her Hands-on-Prints books.

Hands On Prints Boys

This series of five books inspires simple and complex learning about the world, especially incorporating sight and touch to create an interactive visual experience for children. Hands-On-Prints books really are a unique set that my children and I are greatly enjoying!

Our family favorite is Around the World from A to Z!

Hands On Prints AZ

Around the World from A to Z takes kids on a journey to explore the activities, famous landmarks, and cultures of countries. Rock climbing at Mt. Rushmore, martial arts at Mount Fuji, and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef are just a few of the fun adventures highlighted in Around the World. My boys loved seeing what activity would be on the next page and finding the location on the map in the upper right corner of each page!

Hands On Prints AZ Finger 2 Hands On Prints AZ Finger

Each page also features a raised, textured cursive letter of the alphabet for little hands to trace! Our oldest showed his younger brothers how to trace them correctly and I’ve caught them doing it over and over again. This book has so many things to get kids involved in learning! We are big fans!

Hands On Prints Chartres

Several years ago, The Hubby and I visited Europe and one of our stops along the way was in Chartres, France. We explored the gorgeous and incredibly unique cathedral in this town and were fascinated by the story of its construction. Because of that visit, this next book is a sentimental favorites. Geometry through Architecture: The Chartres Cathedral details all the ways shapes were used in the building, particularly as symbolism in the stained glass windows. I loved looking through this book with Big J and showing him our own pictures of the cathedral from our visit. He is his mother’s son – very interested in reading and history – so this was a great connection point for us!

Hands On Prints Coconuts

Other books in the Hands-On-Prints series include Nuts for Coconuts, A Persistent Vine, and Do I Have To? What If I Don’t Want To?

Hands-On-Prints books take children on adventures that develop their knowledge and a sense of discovery! I love how these books encourage kids to think outside of themselves and their normal circumstances. They truly do inspire the best in young learners!

Which Hands-On-Prints book would be most interesting to your child?

Leave a comment with your favorite to be entered to win! Giveaway ends Tuesday, May 26th at 9PM CST!

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Sensible Portions Puffs: Snacks for the Whole Family!

This is a sponsored post from Hain Celestials. I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are 100% my own.

I know I’m not the only mom who has kiddos CONSTANTLY asking for things to eat, right?! I’m always on the look out for better-for-you snacks to feed the whole family when they need to munch on something. The boys have found a new favorite in Sensible Portions Puffs from Hain Celestials!

Puffs

Made with organic corn and no fillers, Sensible Portions Puffs are baked and deliciously seasoned bite-size poppable treats for the entire family to enjoy! Sensible Portions Puffs are made with the belief that an after-school snack, or a movie-watching treat, can be fun and delicious while also being a better-for-you, smarter snacking option.

Puffs Eating

The boys take after me and like something a little salty for an afternoon snack along with some fruit or string cheese. I don’t want them to fill up on junk, especially with dinner right around the corner. Sensible Portions Puffs satisfy that salty craving with their four yummy flavors: Veggie, Cheddar, Tomato Basil, and Sour Cream & Onion.

Puffs Boys

The boys loved all four flavors, but the Cheddar were definitely a favorite! The Hubby enjoyed all of the flavors as well, while I had a strong preference for the Veggie Puffs! These really are the perfect thing to snack on – low-calorie and without any nasty fillers! You can grab your own at WalMart stores for just $2.88 a bag!

I want your family to be able to give Sensible Portions Puffs a try, so we’re giving one of you four bags – one of each flavor! To enter, just tell me about your favorite better-for-you snacks for your family! For an extra entry, tweet this and come back to leave a separate comment telling me you did:

Tweet: Enter to win 4 bags of #SensiblePortionsPuffs from @homewiththeboys! http://ctt.ec/3dJF1+ #giveaway

Leave your comments by Monday, May 11th at 8PM CST to be entered!

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It’s a Henkaa Mother’s Day Giveaway!

I was given this dress as part of Henkaa Mother’s Day celebration! I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

I’ve had my eyes on a Henkaa dress for quite a while. Maybe obsessing a little bit.

A Henkaa dress is the perfect item for any woman to have in her capsule wardrobe because it can be worn so many ways. And a Henkaa dress is the perfect investment for a mom because it can be worn before, during, and after pregnancy – not many clothes in our closet can do that, right ladies?! I wish I had a Henkaa dress when I was having babies!

My first Henkaa dress, the Iris Midi, arrived last week and I’ve had so much fun styling it! The fun thing about the Iris is that is has SLEEVES! Yes, sleeves, but it can also be styled as a sleeveless or strapless dress, too! Talk about versatile!

Henkaa Iris Midi Dress

The style on the left was for a date night with The Hubby! The fabric of the Iris is so luxurious – perfect for getting fancy and throwing on some heels for a night out! In that style, the halter top was made by tying the sleeves behind the neck.

For the style on the right, I went a little more casual with some of my favorite fair trade accessories from (affiliate link) The Root Collective and Work of Worth! This would be a great look for brunch or a baby shower. I love that the sleeves make this dress a piece I can keep in my closet year-round!

I can’t wait to try the Iris in many more styles! Here are a few of the 15 ways it can be worn:

iris-lineup

 

Henkaa has tons of tutorials and inspiration from real women to help you make the most out of your convertible dress. The tutorials helped me figure out how to wear new styles in not time at all!

Did you know Henkaa also has a versatile bag in their line-up? The monogram multi-way bag is perfect as a diaper bag, daily carry-all or travel companion and can be worn as a handbag, cross-body bag, shoulder bag or backpack! Detachable straps and TONS of compartments on both the inside and outside make this a bag you will take with your every day to carry whatever you need – diapers, books, gym necessities, and more!

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Henkaa and I are teaming up to give one Iris convertible dress + one monogram multi-way bag to one of you beautiful ladies! I’M SO EXCITED!!!

Henkaa Mother's Day Giveaway

To enter this marvelous Mother’s Day giveaway, tell me which color Iris dress you would pick and where you would wear it to celebrate Mother’s Day – fancy brunch, moms’ night out with girlfriends, a day of shopping without kids, or something else fun!

This giveaway ends Sunday, May 10th at 8PM CST. One random winner will be chosen and announced Monday, May 11th! Only open to those with a US shipping address. Must be 18 or older to win. One entry per household please.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Mother’s Day Gifts at Sweet Prices!

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’s time to celebrate moms and DaySpring has a sweet deal to celebrate the special ladies in your life! Now through May 3rd, use the code MOTHER35 to get 35% off one gift for mom!

These are a few of my favorite Mother’s Day gifts for my mom (or for me!)…

Lisa Leonard - Gold Bar Mama Necklace

This gold Mama bar necklace from Lisa Leonard is just gorgeous. Regularly $52, get it for Mom during this sale for just $33.80 AND free shipping! Anything from Lisa Leonard is a win!

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If Mom loves to journal with her morning coffee, this Beautiful Beyond Words gift set would be the perfect gift! Get the journal, mug, and plaque for just $21.43 during this sale!

SHINE

Tell Mom how much appreciate the light she brings to your life and home with this Shine Letterpress Block Set! These letterpress blocks are one of my favorite things ever in my home and you can’t beat this deal – just $29.25 for this set with the code MOTHER35 + free shipping!

And, the best deal of all, is this fabulous Daily Grace Cake Pedestal, which is on sale for just $12 now through May 4th! Yes, you CAN use the MOTHER35 code on top of this sale, bringing the total to only $7.80!

Remember: DaySpring also offers free shipping on all non-clearance orders of $25 or more! Treat several special women in your life to these lovely gifts this Mother’s Day!

 

Which Mother’s Day gifts would you pick from DaySpring for the special woman in your life – or for yourself?!

 

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February Goals

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!

This starting of a new month with purpose and goals is really growing on me! And last month, I found myself coming back to these goals over and over again, not as an obsession, but as motivation. And it really worked to help me press forward when I needed the push. What can I say – accountability works for me, whether it’s checking in with friends or a blog post like this one! So here we go…

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First, here’s how my goals from last month went…

JANUARY GOALS

  • Read 1 book from my Joy Book List – I finished Bossypants by Tina Fey and it made laugh out loud every time I picked it up. There’s more language than some of you might care for, but as a fan of Tina and 30 Rock, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I also started In This House, We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo from my Joy Book List. In total, I finished FIVE books in January, including Bossypants, Own Your Life, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, and the last two books of the River of Time series – Bourne & Tributary and Deluge.
  • 2 date nights with my man – We had a great date night going to see Into the Woods and eating way too much popcorn. We didn’t have another date “night,” but we did get to go with one of our best friends to Kansas City for the day for a race! Which leads me to…
  • Run 70+ miles, including a 10K PR – Well over 70 miles – 90.42 to be exact – AND a 10K PR this month! I ran a 56:44 at the Groundhog Run in Kansas City, an underground race like none other I have done! That beat my old PR by almost three minutes!
  • Drink 64oz+ of water each day – This has become a full-blown habit for me and I know I am healthier overall because of it!
  • Set office hours for online work – Much, much better. Still working out the best hours for work during the day, but I’m also more able to compartmentalize than I was before.
  • 1 family game night a week – Beat the Parents is our new favorite, but the boys also love Puppyopoly and Qwirkle!

And on to next month…

FEBRUARY GOALS

  • Finish TWO books from my Joy Book List – I mentioned I’ve already started In This House, We Will Giggle, so that is book #1. I plan on FINALLY reading The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle this month as book #2!
  • Try a new restaurant with The Hubby for date night – We received a generous gift card to a super fancy restaurant in town, so we are making it happen this month!
  • Run 80+ miles and start half marathon training – It’s that time of year again! 12 week training plan means getting started February 16th! Anybody else training for a spring race?
  • Focus on home atmosphere – January was a good month, but it also felt hectic and cluttered. As we’re heading into the months of getting ready to move, I want more than ever slow down and simplify with our hearts and our stuff. I read some great stuff in Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life that has me inspired in this area!

I’m seeing a trend in my goal-setting that lines up well with my strengths…I might have to write a little more about this since I hadn’t noticed it until now! Have you done the StrengthsFinder test yet?

I’m linking up with Hayley at The Tiny Twig for her monthly Goals with Grace post! Check it out to be inspired and share your own goals! And share your own goals here in the comments or link to your post so I can visit!

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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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