So excited to finally be able to share the news that has been the main topic of conversation between Strider and I for the last 8 months or so....his a cappella group has just released a brand new cd....TODAY!

I can testify first-hand to the incredible amount of hard work and passion that went in to making this truly remarkable album. I'm serious...you'd have no idea just to hear it, but these talented men have been busting their vocal butts for months to make this a reality. And for those who don't know, a cappella means without any instruments...that's right, every single sound was made just by the guys' voices (along with some sneaky clapping at points)!

Hear a free sample song from the album now. Home originally performed by Phillip Phillips and now brilliantly covered by the Toccatatones at High Point University. Also, this album is available on iTunes as of today so make sure to go and check it out then buy it....you'll be doing your earbuds a favor! They cover some awesome favorites like "Walking In Memphis" and "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire, as well as some lesser-known but equally awesome songs you will love. 

Their cd release concert is tomorrow night and you better believe this blogger will be screaming her head off like the huge fan she is. I am so proud of Strider for his part in this CD and thrilled that the world can finally hear all the guys' talent! Woooo, go Toccatatones!

Edit: you can now listen to and purchase this entire rockin' cd on iTunes!



You may have noticed that my posts have been more sparse over the last two weeks. this is because i'm busy getting all settled in to my new job!! 

Being a full-time nanny is going great so far, but it also certainly a huge challenge. From 7 am till usually 6 pm, I am now hanging out with a rambunctious almost 5 year old boy called TL and a sweet-when-she-isn't-teething 7 month old girl named Baby K (yes, these are internet-safe versions of their names). Definitely a far cry from the board meetings I've been accustom to for the last few years...though the fussiness and immaturity are sometimes eerily similar. haha

Moment of honesty...the 6 am wake-up, 25 minute drive, and 11-hour days are less than fun. BUT...I feel very blessed and for all it's challenges, I am learning a lot and enjoying it. The new wake-up time also puts me going to bed by 9:30-10 these days...hello granny!

Don't despair (as if you would!), this blog isn't going anywhere...I just need to get settled in to how my time looks during the day and probably pre-schedule posts a bit more. I'll figure it out!

My lack of a personal computer is also compounding the issue - so if you have an extra computer lying around that you are just so tired of, I suppose I could take it off your hands!

So, any advice on fun activities while juggling a 5 year old and a 7 month old? (metaphorical juggling, obviously)


blog braggin'!

Everyone knows that one of the best parts of blogging is getting to meet awesome people. And unfortunately, the only way I have been previously able to show some love for my fav-bloggers was through a sad little page with a lot of text-only links. Snooze-fest.

But NO MORE I tell you!

I'm very excited to announce that I've finally finished the real version of my Blogs I Love! tab. It's all grown up now with button lined up in a fancy size-set table (yay for doing html coding with only minimal code knowledge!). 

It practically shouts "I'm a real boy!"
…or…at least I think it does since it took an inordinate amount of emails, coding, and uploading to make it look that way.

So please click on the tab at the top now and go marvel at all the awesome blogs there. 
And meet some new friends...
...and do the hokey pokey...
...cause that's what it's all about! Hey!


a song for the birds: a to z

Found this great little A to Z get-to-know-me list at Lashes & Beard the other day so I thought I'd join in and share some random-ness about the girl behind A Song for the Birds. If you decide to post your own A to Z list, make sure to let me know—these are way fun to read through!

A // Available or Married?
not married, but certainly not "available"

B // Book?
obsessed—always have been. my shelves are beautifully fully and there is nothing I enjoy more any time of day. 
current reads are: Twelve Extraordinary Women, RUMO, and hopefully soon, Red Letter Revolution.

C // Cake or pie?
both. since I love to bake and do professional cakes on the side, I have to show some love for a good cake. 
at the same time, a really well made chocolate cream pie is like my kryptonite. seriously.

D // Drink of choice?
hands-down a "cuppa" of tea or very rich hot cocoa 
(alcohol-based drinks are pretty rare for me, but on the occasion a tom collins with gin is my go-to)

E // Essential item?
the lovely butterfly necklace Strider got me for my birthday almost two years ago, I wear it every day

F // Favorite color?
100% depends on my mood. blues are my go-to, but I also love
greens, yellows, purples, and greys. 
really, anything but orange – yuck!

G // Game to play or watch?
Clue or Dutch Blitz—Strider's family is really in to family game time so I'm on a steep learning curve 
to catch up with everything they play. the only one I feel confident I'll never understand is Rook. 
also, I don't play games with fake money because money is complicated enough in real life 
lastly, I am a huge and dying fan of the Myst computer game series—nerdy, I know.

H // Hometown?
essentially still in it—after 24 years, it's actually starting to grow on me

I // Indulgence?
new fabric/craft supplies. cool mint oreos. rewatching tv series I love.

J // Job?
in transition to something new and exciting (God is so good!)

K // Kids and names?
someday—I cannot wait!! well, really I can wait. 
come back to me in 3 years.

L // Life is incomplete without...?
Christ, my family, Strider

M // Music group or singer?
depends on the mood really—I prefer "organic" music with minimal computer processing/effects
favs include folk, indie, acoustic, jazz, classical, worship, 60-70s classics, blues, crooners, etc.
open to almost anything but techno, dubstep, or country

N // Number of siblings?
one gorgeous, amazing sister who is moving home in a month!
and my cousin Lindsey (Reece's mommy) who I really consider more of a sister than a cousin

O // Oranges or apples?
both. alternately. every day at lunch. and bananas too!

P // Phobias and fears?
fear – I hate being afraid. I don't like scary movies, horror books, or creepy costumes. period
actual "fears" are that I won't be a good wife/mom, even though I know God has plans to the contrary. 
silly phobias—storm drains and spiders to the max. I blame my 7yo self for watching It and Arachnophobia

Q // Quote?
"Let love be genuine." - Romans 12:9a
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." - Loa Tzu
"it is a warm green rain / with love / in its pockets / for spring is here, and does not dream of death" - Brautigan
"A room without books is like a body without a soul." - Cicero (attributed)

R // Reason to smile?
life – so very very blessed by an amazing, loving God.

S // Season?
"Fal-inter": Right at the end of fall when everything is crunchy and brightly 
colored, when the air has turned chilly but snow and Christmas are still to come.

T // Tattoos?
yes – all meaningful, all easily concealed. and one more in-the-works with my sis!

U // Unknown fact?
I love big. I have a small group of friends, but I care very very deeply for them and
would be 
willing to do far more than they would ever ask, if they needed. 
I love giving gifts and serving the people I love the most. Sometimes this is to my detriment.

V // Vegetables you love?
Almost anything. Exceptions include: cauliflower (it is suspicious), beans (gross texture), 
brussels sprouts and collard greens (who even likes those!), okra, and chickpeas.

W // Worst habit?
picking at my nails/cuticles – Strider has pretty much helped me stop, but it is a recurring stress habit

X // X-rays you've had?
lots—I blame a combination of clumsiness and dedication to high school sports

Y // Your favorite food?
mmmm. my mom's cheesy chicken. and mint oreos/junior mints/york patties/anything chocolate & mint.

Z // Zodiac?
gemini but I could really care less and think it means nothing


worth of wisdom

The study my sister and I are doing focused on wisdom this week, specifically the differences between knowledge wisdom...and the lasting importance/value of the latter. I've been thinking about it a lot and what it takes to grow to become a wise woman of faith.

Thoughts for this weekend:
Who are the women you consider wise in your life? How so? How can you seek to be wise as well?

Also - a huge thank you to my incredible cousin Kelly who I spent forever on the phone with last night. You have blessed me so much with your wisdom, encouragement, and prayer! I love you!


the.book.chat: rereading

Today is another book chat link up with Sweet Green Tangerine and I Believe in Story! (I love this weekly link-up!)

And today's awesome and totally-appropriate-for-me question is: 
Do you ever pick up a book on your shelf, that you've already read, and just read it again?

My answer: ABSOLUTELY!
Once I fall in love with a book, we're friends for life. And it's not very nice to just leave a friend sitting on your shelf longing to spend time with you but instead collecting dust, now is it?

Certain books are like comfort food to me. For example: no matter what "kind" of sick I am, for some reason saltines and ginger ale always seem like a good choice. As does Harry Potter—rereading Harry Potter is my #1 go-to sick day activity. Then there's Little Women, which I reread every year at Christmas and surprises and delights me all over again with every read.

A few of my major re-reads include:
Anything by Walter Moers
The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde
Alice in Wonderland (usually every few years or so)
Les Miserables
Poetry by Richard Brautigan
Sense & Sensibility/Pride & Prejudice
...and several more.

I will say that Strider is an avid no-reread, no-rewatch man, occasionally to my frustration. He just doesn't see the point since he says he's already experienced it and already knows the ending. But for me, a great book isn't about the ending…it's about each page between the covers…which I love to explore over and over!

I know some people would say that with so many fantastic books out there, if I am constantly rereading, I'll miss out on something new. The truth is, I do have a healthy stack of new reads as well, but I'm also okay with missing out on something if it means I get to enjoy one of my favorites again. And the absolute beauty of books is that each person can enjoy them (old or new) exactly as they want.

Now I want to just go home and read all day…. 


current shape of my life

Lately, I've been sewing together so many hexagons, I feel like the shape itself is starting to invade my life (kind of like when you buy a car and then start seeing it everywhere). So here are some fun hexie-shaped snapshots of my life right now—and if you look closely, you'll even see some hexagon-ception happening!

  1. current "to-read" stack—always adding more before I ever finish them
  2. my brand new job—as of next Tuesday, I will be a daily traveler of Interstate-40
  3. sewing hexagons—a new and fun, but also tedious and challenging needlework skill
  4. lady grey tea—tasty with breakfast and a nice change up from my usual spiced tea
  5. reece isabel—I couldn't love her any more and try to see her and her incredible parents as often as possible!
  6. chicken & rice—marsala chicken and rice turned out pretty tasty last week, and despite 4 days of leftovers, I'm committing to cook more and cook healthier in 2013
  7. proverbs 31—continuing the study with my sis and trying to be more purposefully in the Word

Hexagon photo collage idea shamelessly borrowed from Secondhand Sundays (Bekuh is cool).
Proverbs 31 image source: The Proverbs 31 Mama


the little Cara Box that could

You may remember that few months ago I partnered up with Kaitlyn from Wifessionals in her monthly Cara Box Exchange. This awesome blogger phenomenon is literally sweeping the nation! Okay so it's not on CNN on anything, but there are a lot of really incredible bloggers involved.

So…way back in December, I was partnered with the oh-so-sweet Nicole from Life in the Boys' Locker Room. I sent out my box to my other partner and waited in anticipation for my box to come from Nicole. And waited. And waited.

After several emails, Nicole and I realized that my box was lost (thanks a lot USPS). She said she would send out a new box straightaway – which, was promptly lost as well. I felt awful and told her not even to worry about it. I mean, she'd already taken the time to make me TWO boxes – clearly she's awesome. But Nicole said it would just not do!

So last night, after 2 months and a billion emails, I received my totally rockin' December Cara Box! 
Nicole is rad like a 90s scrunchie set!
Check it out…so much cool Christmas stuff I can save for next year! And do you even see that Mary-Kay facial kit?! Plus, I can't show you because I tore in to everything like a little kid, but each gift was individually wrapped and numbered with a sweet "gift guide" note explaining why it was included. I love everything and could not have been more impressed with Nicole's determination and more importantly, her sweet spirit in wanting to make sure I got my box no matter what. Thanks girl!

What I love most about this funny story is that the whole point of Cara Boxes is getting to know other women bloggers – and what better way to do this than through a hilarious postal service debacle. You can still sign up today to be a part of the February Cara Box swap so make sure you join up now…and that you get the tracking insurance. 



Happy Monday morning!
I've been hearing this song a lot on the radio while driving and the lyrics really strike me every time. I am such an incredibly blessed person and this is a great reminder of the beauty and benefit during the hard times. Take a few minutes today and just pause to listen to the song or read through the lyrics - I think it's awesome.
(Click the arrow to play)


Laura Story - Blessings
We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough

And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It's not our home

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise


favorite blog friend friday: Heavens to Betsy

Happy Friday everyone!

I have a particularly great blogger to share with you today…she's sweet and funny and pulls off bangs like I only could in my wildest dreams…it's Betsy from Heavens to Betsy!

Her About page lists baking, crafting, decorating, and being a photographer as her interests so you know she's way cool. Plus, her recent bedroom redo is making me wish I had a cool nook to stick my bed in like her. Also, I may soon be stealing her Baked Oatmeal with Fruit recipe to make for Strider.

She recently started student teaching with 3rd graders so courage is high on her qualities list. (It's courageous with 3rd grade, but insanity with middle school.) Also, she really loves Jesus and is genuine in her heart to serve Him – which I love and admire. I also love her beautiful and simple photography style. 

Her favorite quote is: "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God" by Corrie ten Boom. Which you can have fo' free in this really pretty print that she made. (so talented!)

So make an awesome new blog friend today and stop by Heavens to Betsy!