What I Learned in August

What I Learned August 2014 Square

Hi everyone! It’s time to join Emily and a ton of other lovelies to share what lessons the past month has brought. Welcome to the August 2014 of What I Learned! 

What I Learned in August || TeriLynneUnderwood.com

Finding a rhythm takes time. Y’all, we are 3+ weeks into the school year and still haven’t managed to find a good flow. I’m determined not to rush the process and make my family crazy with my need for routine. We’ll get there … and about the time we do, football season will be over and we’ll start basketball and it will all be chaos again. But I have to say, the first few weeks of high school have been great!

When school starts I want it to cool off — NOW. We’ve been to two football games already and I’m really sick of the heat. Related to this, I also learned in August that painting a Tiger paw on the road headed to the football stadium when it’s 95 degrees outside and you don’t have any shade will lead to heat exhaustion. And if you had a heart attack 4 months prior, all the people around you will really freak out and worry and you’ll be greatly embarrassed by all the fuss.

My cleaning style is “Pick-Up Artist.” This quiz on BHG.com was fun to take and pretty accurate … so, here’s the truth about my cleaning personality —

Your house looks magazine-ready. Upon closer inspection … (You hate those, don’t you?). If only you could shift even some of that impressive neatnik focus off crooked picture frames and onto, say, dusty door frames. You find yourself putting a lot of time into cleaning but feel like the results aren’t visible. Stop the cycle and learn the secret to whole-house cleaning that will make your efforts all the more noticeable.

Capsule wardrobes are awesome!! I love my simplified closet and the fact that every thing I put on fits and I feel good in it. I am still looking for a fabulous pair of chocolate brown dress pants and some awesome wide leg jeans but otherwise, I think my fall capsule wardrobe is complete. {Also, if you are trying a fall capsule wardrobe and want to join a collaborative Pinterest board to share your outfits, inspiration, ideas, etc., please leave a comment. I have one started and would love to add you to it!!}

I always try to share a little bit from my quiet times/Bible study on Instagram throughout the month. Here are few nuggets from the past few weeks:

quiet time images ||august 2014

So, I think that sums up what’s been going on around the Underwood house for the past month. Looking at my calendar I’m guessing all the things I learn in September will be football or cheer-related. :)

What fun stuff did you do in August?

xo,
Teri Lynne

chalkboard image via canstockphoto.com

for your weekend

for your weekend {8-29-2014}
{This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.}

great reads for your weekend || TeriLynneUnderwood.com

 

Oh y’all! My favorite time of year has arrived — college football season!! Last night Texas A&M beat Steve Spurrier’s team at South Carolina without Johnny Manziel and I was delighted! The Vandy game was delayed due to rain and didn’t kick off until almost 10 pm. If I hadn’t been exhausted from helping unpack at my grandparent’s new house all day I totally would have stayed up to watch that.

Tonight is the first home football game in our little southern town … which means the banners will be hung around the stadium and I will get teary when the band plays the national anthem. Here’s hoping our Golden Tigers have a great year!!  Saturday my Auburn Tigers will be playing Arkansas and I’ll be making my first day of football season meal — chicken stew and cornbread. I’m pretty sure a yummy Texas sheet cake might be the perfect dessert.

And it’s Labor Day weekend which means no school on Monday and since it’s still hot as blue blazes here in North Alabama, we may end up in the pool. All in all, this weekend is looking fantastic!! I thought I’d share a few things that have caught my eye this week and give you a little bit of reading material for your weekend.

Great articles

Back to School: 1970s vs. Today — hi.lar.i.ous. Scott and I were dying over how funny {and so true!} this post was.

One of my very best friends and her husband are leaving next week for China to pick up their precious new son, Joel. Read more about their journey and the ministry who will be filming their experience on Sandra’s blog.

And this little gem seems to have gone viral {at least based on my Facebook feed}Jen Hatmaker Ruined My Marriage. Seriously, just read this during a TV timeout in the middle of one of the games you watch this weekend. And don’t take a drink before you start reading or you may spit your soda all over your computer screen which would be bad, very bad. :)

Last week I mentioned my fascination with capsule wardrobesthis week I created mine. I shared a bit about it here on the blog and will be revealing the pieces I chose and what I am still looking for in the next couple of weeks.

Great reads

I finished Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews last week … love.

Now I’m reading The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. So, so good.

Great pins

I’ve been looking for a cute gift for my cheer girl and this might just be the one I choose — how adorable is this applique?

And of course you I’ve been pinning to both my Autumn and football boards like crazy!! :)

Great sale

Make sure you check out the Jesus Calling Collection sale at Dayspring!  40% code is JCOFF40!!

Jesus Calling Product Line on sale - 40% off!If you haven’t subscribed to my newsletter— do it!

Once a month {or so} you’ll get an email from me with information, ideas, and inspiration not found on the blog. It’s all my very favorite stuff and I’d love to share it with you!!  If you subscribe, you’ll receive a free download with ideas for invigorating your quiet time. {This month, I’m sharing more about the Bible study I teach on Wednesday nights — good stuff, I promise!} It’s super easy to sign up, I promise.

Hope your weekend is fabulous!! What are your plans??

xo,

TL

Here’s a summary of my week in photos — unpacked at my grandparents’ new house which is only an hour or so away from me; spent some time in Philippians; James Ed!; challenged by David’s writing in Psalms; and painting my girl’s Tiger Paw. My life is so spectacularly glamorous. {not} for your weekend 08292104

My Fall Capsule Wardrobe {an experiment}

Fall Capsule Wardrobe || TeriLynneUnderwood.com
{This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through them I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.}

Okay, so I’m definitely not a fashion blogger. However, I do love to look cute AND I have a limited clothing budget {and what I do have typically ends up being spent on my girl … can a momma get an “amen” on that??}.

Fall Capsule Wardrobe || TeriLynneUnderwood.com

I mentioned last week my interest in developing a capsule wardrobe.  I have several reasons I wanted to give this a go — but the biggest one is this: There are so many big and complex things happening in my life right now that I really {really!!} need my clothes to be simple. There’s enough drama about what to wear happening with my girl, I need to be the calm one.

And, since we’re on that topic, can I take a little detour here? Thanks …

Our girls are watching us to see how we dress and how we feel about our appearance and how we manage our wardrobe. I want my girl to see my owning my clothes not my clothes owning me. I want her to see that I don’t have to have a closet bursting at the seams and I want her to be confident in how to dress comfortably and stylishly without breaking the bank.  Those things won’t happen because I made Pinterest boards or bought a ton of items on clearance at Target because they were cheap. Just like everything else I want her to know, teaching her to comfortable in her body and with her clothes will happen because I’m intentional about it — and, as with most things, it will start with me living that way myself.

Okay, back to the capsule wardrobe thing. :)

It all started with Hayley‘s book, The No Brainer Wardrobe: Feel More Like Yourself. Truthfully, Haley rocked my world! I had never considered I could have more outfits with less pieces if I was intentional. But, honestly, it all seemed like work. So, I kept doing what I was doing {filling up my closet with random good buys and impulse purchases}. Along the way I started pinning posts of capsule wardrobes and reading more about the idea. And then, last week Erin posted an Instagram photo about beginning her Fall Capsule Wardrobe plan and how she was using the free {woot!} planner from Caroline at Un-Fancy.com.

And, as they say, it finally clicked! I read a ton of posts Caroline had written about her journey and her philosophy of clothes. And every word made sense. For the first time, I really thought, “I can do this!” And so last night, clipboard in hand, I emptied out my whole closet. My girl helped me evaluate every single item and we came up with my capsule wardrobe.  {Mine is just a little larger than Caroline’s 37 pieces but it’s still well under 50 items.} It wasn’t easy — September to November in the south can be a mixture of all four seasons.  But I did it. {I will share all the items in my capsule wardrobe in a later post. I promise.}

Since I put all my other clothes away, I had to choose from the capsule wardrobe for what to wear today.  Here’s what  I came up with:

trying out a capsule wardrobe || TeriLynneUnderwood.com

tank – Zulily || scarf – Dayspring || Jeans – Simply Vera from Kohls || bracelet – Mercy House Shop || shoes – Corkys

I have a feeling that adorable navy tank from Zulily is going to be one of my favorite items. It is super comfy and long. And where would I be without my adorable scarf from the Redeemed collection at Dayspring. {FYI, this scarf is just $12.99 right now and I literally wear it at least once a week.} So, here I am in day one of my experiment with a capsule wardrobe and so far, so good.  Just for fun I thought I’d share the outtakes from my attempt to get a photo of myself. Seriously, full length selfies are not simple for the over-40 crowd.

full length selfies are harder than you might think!

Anyone else tried the capsule wardrobe plan? Advice? Fears? Doubts? Questions?

Leave it all in the comments and I’ll keep sharing my journey to a simplified closet.  Maybe we can form a support group or something. :)

xo,
Teri Lynne

Linking up with Lindsey for the first time — joining all the loveliness I’ve been following for years at What I Wore Wednesday.

 

On Fruit and Monday Mornings

Sometimes the most important needs are the ones at home.
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Sometimes the most important needs are the ones in our homes.

Some Monday mornings don’t look quite like we had planned. I had all sorts of plans for this Monday morning. Most of them centered around coffee, the Ellie Holcomb station on Pandora, and a ton of writing. But the fruit … oh the fruit. The fruit so desperately needing to be turned into something else before the fruit fly invasion began. The fruit beckoned.

And so I found myself baking apple/pear bread and orange/cranberry/peach bread. While the breads were in the oven I went ahead and washed the sheets on James Ed’s bed and vacuumed the living room and dining room. Because, really, what else was I going to do in that hour. When the timer buzzed, I gave James a piece of the warm bread and cleaned the kitchen and then went ahead and made my bed and hung up all the Sunday clothes. Before I knew it, Scott was home for lunch so I sat with him for a bit and then got supper started.

Now it’s 2:30 p.m. and I have a couple of hours before time to pick up Casiday and I find myself reflecting on the past few hours. I didn’t do one thing on my list. In fact, I haven’t even written down the list I had in my mind when I got out of bed this morning.

I haven’t done much the world would celebrate today.

I didn’t pen any words to inspire a nation torn by race and fear and anger. I haven’t made a dent in the epidemic of starvation around the world or even the poor in my community. I didn’t accomplish a big goal. And, it’s looking like I may not even get out of my yoga pants.

It would be easy to think these things like clean sheets and warm bread and vacuumed floors are small and don’t matter. And maybe in the grand scheme of the world, they don’t matter much. But in my world, they matter. They matter a lot. Because clean sheets are the best feeling when you lie down at night and vacuumed floors are perfect for wrestling on with the dog and warm bread fills more than stomachs.

Life is full of so much we cannot control and understand. We can’t fix hunger around the world but we can give a warm slice of bread to someone we love. We can’t provide beds and mosquito nets for those in need but we can wash the sheets for those in our homes.  We can’t build homes for everyone without but we can take care of the places we live.

Yes, there is a place meeting needs over there … for mission trips and sacrificial giving and serving in our communities and around the world. But sometimes, the need we’re meant to fill is right here in our homes … in the kitchen with the overflowing sink and the laundry room with the mountain of clothes and the yard with the mess of toys and the living room with the dusty tables and the bedrooms with the unmade beds.

So on the days when you can — go! But on the days when you can’t — stay. And wherever you are, do it all for His glory.

Whatever you do, in word and deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:17

From my heart to yours:

What you do matters!!

xo,
Teri Lynne

P.S. Don’t forget about the incredible sale at Dayspring on the Jesus Calling Collection!

For Your Weekend {a little early}

for your weekend square
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Oh my word, y’all! This week has been crazy busy for us … and the weekend looks even more chaotic. {Can someone please tell me how to be two places at once???}

My preference is to share some of the goodness I’ve found through the week on my Facebook page over the weekend. But I’m afraid that might not come to fruition. So I gathered them up here for you in one place. And I’m sending it out on Thursday afternoon so you can peruse them as as you have time over the weekend {or if your weekend is shaping up like mine, next week}. And maybe we’ll just make this a semi-regular thing … good stuff for your weekend. Whatcha think?

fun stuff to peruse for your weekend

Great books

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds is FABULOUS! I’ll write more about it soon … but honestly, go ahead and order your copy now. One of the best books about how to truly study the Bible I have ever read. I received an advance reader copy from Crossway this summer but didn’t have an opportunity to sit down and read it until the past couple of weeks. Seriously, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

I’m an autobiography lover and what could be better than Julie Andrews writing about her early life? I’m entranced with her stories. I’m about two-thirds finished with Home: A Memoir of My Early Years and have loved every word.

Great articles

I Waited Until My Wedding Day to Lose My Virginity

Saving my virginity was a spiritual decision. Because it was a spiritual decision that affected my sexuality (not a sexual decision that affected my spirit), my whole life fell into step with my spiritual worldview. I wanted to be pure because my spirit was in line with Jesus Christ, who is the essence of purity.

We Are Taught to Embrace We Are Told to Let Go … September McCarthy for Mothers of Daughters

I loved everything about this post. In fact, I even sent September an email with more of my own thoughts and questions on this topic. Girl moms especially should take the time to gain from September’s experience and insight.

And because I actually do read posts not directly to girl moms, check out this amazing article from Family Matters … Six Little Thoughts on Chronic Busyness

Prepare for a little conviction and all that because it is so. so. true. In this crazy Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook world where we feel the need to document everything we are doing, it’s easy to get so caught up in the doing and miss the joy of simply being. {I wrote on something similar here.}

Great pins

Fall capsule wardrobe … anyone else tired of so many clothes and so few choices? I’m seriously working toward the 40 {or 50) hanger closet. This fall is my big experiment on creating a capsule wardrobe. And I think this pin is going to be my starting point. {Also, this article which I also have pinned is a fabulous discussion about wearing what you love.}

And speaking of fall, FOOTBALL!! My girl is cheering her first game of the year tomorrow night. I am so excited! I’ve got a whole board dedicated to football— tailgating, fashion, food, decor and more.

Lunchbox ideas. Oh y’all. This is the bane of my existence lately. My girl isn’t a huge sandwich fan so I’m constantly looking for other ideas. {If you have genius in this area, help a sister out!!} We’re only two weeks into school and I’m already out of ideas. Not good. I added the post below to my lunch for the girl board.

lunch box ideas via Happy Money Saver

Make Ahead Cold Lunches via Happy Money Saver

Also, now would be an awesome time to subscribe to my newsletter … you’ll get a free download with ideas for invigorating your quiet time. And I’ve got some fun news to share in the September edition.  Don’t forget the Jesus Calling Collection is on sale for 40% off at Dayspring right now.  Use code JCOFF40 to get your discount. {Check out the post I wrote earlier this week for more about why I love the whole line!}

And, last but not least, how about this adorable picture of Buddy the Basset —

Buddy the BassetThose ears … oh my!

Enjoy your weekend!

xo,
TL

Hey, how about if you share one of your favorite Pinterest boards in the comments … I’d love to see what you’re pinning lately! Thanks!!

Jesus Calling: One of my Favorite Devotionals

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
{This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.}

I offer rest for your soul, as well as refreshment for your mind and body.

{Jesus Calling, August 19}

I’m not really sure when or where I received my first copy of Jesus Calling, I just know once I opened the pages I was captivated. For years I’ve been personalizing Scripture in my prayers … but hearing the words of Scripture personalized as a message to me from Jesus opened up the Word of God in a whole new way.

Check out one of my favorite devotionals - Jesus Calling bySarah Young

Since then I’ve given countless copies as gifts and recommended it as a resource for women, for students, and for children.  AND I’m thrilled to share with you Dayspring is offering the whole Jesus Calling product line for 40% through September 1! Yes, you read that correctly – 40%  OFF THE WHOLE LINE!! {Anyone but me thinking about Christmas gifts???}

Jesus Calling Product Line on sale - 40% off! We have many of these products … I have my worn out hard copy of the devotion as well as the Kindle version for when I’m traveling. I keep Jesus Today on my dresser. My teenage daughter reads each day’s devotion from the large perpetual calendar in her bathroom as she gets ready in the mornings. I love giving the kids edition of Jesus Calling to the children in our life … it’s perfect for children to read on their own or to use for family devotions.  {Confession: I often read the day’s devotion from the kids book just to get another perspective.} Recently, Dayspring added another item to the product line and I LOVE IT!!! Sarah Young - Jesus Calling - Pass Along Holder with Set of 40 Cards These pass along cards are the perfect way to brighten someone’s day. I keep a couple in my purse in case I bump into someone who needs encouragement and I’m sure I’ll be adding them to cards I send to others. Each pass along card has a portion of a devotion from Jesus Calling and they are great! A set of 40 cards with a case to keep them from bending is only $9.99 — but with the 40% the cost is just $5.99. You can also get pass along cards with quotes from Jesus Today.  I’m considering using them in place of traditional gift tags on all our Christmas gifts this year. I’m thrilled to be able to offer you this great deal! Dayspring is one of my favorite companies of all time and I love working with them. Be sure to check out all the other monthly deals and the clearance items — you never know what you’ll find!!

Don’t forget use code JCOFF40 from now through September 1 to get 40% off the Jesus Calling Collection.

Happy Shopping!!

xo,

TL

Do you use a daily devotion? If so, which one?

{Dayspring has graciously provided me with products to review in this post. I was happy to share my thoughts about these products – like the pass along cards – because I already loved the Jesus Calling devotional so much. Seriously, I give copies away for all sorts of occasions. Which makes me especially thrilled about sharing this discount with you because now you can get a copy and buy a few to give away as well!!}

A Monday Morning Choice

choose life

It’s 8:06 a.m. as I type this. I have a major writing deadline at noon today. My house is a wreck. The laundry is out of control. My back is aching. The storm last night left a HUGE mess in my backyard. And my quiet time this morning was less encouraging and more convicting.

I hate it when Monday barges in like she’s the boss of me.

Every part of my flesh wants to whine and put on Facebook how overwhelmed I am, how badly my week is starting, how tired I feel …

choose life

But there’s this:

. . . Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice, and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days . . . {from Deuteromony 30:19-20 ESV}

Choose life, He tells us. Choose Him.

And so this Monday morning with the week ahead full of things to do and places to be, I whisper a prayer . . .

Lord, I choose life. Life to the full, abundant life in You. Help me to grab hold of moments and let go of fears. Replace my longing for more stuff with a passion for more of You. I choose You, Lord. Thank You for choosing me first.

Maybe you need some encouragement this morning also? If so, may I invite you to read more about a very different Monday morning in my life, one that started peacefully and gently … but one that still offers me the same choice?

The bottom line is this, Monday {and every day} we have a choice about how we’ll face the hours ahead. And I choose Christ. I choose life.

How will you choose life in the middle of today’s chaos or calm?

xo,
TL

Why I Read Fiction

why I read fiction {and encourage you to read it too!}

If I’m totally honest, I sort of decided when I was in college that fiction was the lesser form of writing. I can’t pinpoint the moment when I stopped reading stories … but somewhere along the way I did.

Fiction was reserved for vacations … I called reading a novel my guilty pleasure. And did penance for the waste of time by reading more and more “real” books.  Somehow I’d begun to believe only nonfiction had real value in my life. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

A couple of years ago I found myself sitting in the airport with Tricia Goyer, author of both fiction and nonfiction. I found myself embarrassed by the realization I hadn’t read any of her books and the only reason why is that she writes fiction. After just a few minutes of conversation, Tricia and I were fast friends. We talked about writing and books and parenting and life. She challenged me and inspired me. And I wanted to read what she had written. So I started with her Big Sky series.

And I loved it! I wanted to move to Montana and be a part of the West Kootenai community.

And my love affair with fiction was begun.  Since that conversation almost two and a half years ago, I’ve read over 100 fiction books in all kinds of genres.  I continue to read everything Tricia writes but I also find myself with a slight addiction to young adult fiction … I read all four books in The Giver series in less than two weeks and I’d be embarrassed to tell you how many times I have read The Hunger Games trilogy. I have also built quite a collection on my Kindle of crime/thriller fiction. I know, it’s crazy!

This is what I have discovered — I love good stories. Period. If the characters are interesting and the plot is compelling, I will love the book. Regardless of its particular category.

why I read fiction {and encourage you to read it too!}

Today, I want to share with you why I read fiction … and why I encourage you to read it too.

First of all, stories are the way we best understand life. We tell the stories of our experiences and use them to help ourselves and others explore what we have learned.  Second, stories are the most effective means of communicating truth. Jesus was the consummate storyteller. Consistently in Scripture, we see Christ illustrating profound spiritual truth through the stories of every day life. And third, stories are what we remember best. My favorite memories of my grandparents involved the stories they have told. My Bigmama is the best storyteller I know. I love when she tells me about raising her children and serving in churches and even just going to Walmart.

Reading fiction has helped me become a better storyteller. As a Bible teacher and speaker and writer, I tell a lot of stories to illustrate my messages. I want to improve my ability to communicate and to help others grasp the depth of God’s promises to us. Studying the art of story has been an important part of my growth as a teacher.

I have a lot of friends who, like I used to, almost proudly proclaim they don’t have time for reading fiction. I know what they mean. I get where they are. And I don’t judge or condemn them for their choices. But I know this, for me, reading fiction has been a game changer. It’s helped me to see the profoundly beautiful story in Scripture and to dig into the people of Scripture … to consider their real lives and their real struggles and their real joys.

So, if you don’t read fiction, I invite you to give it a try. And if you do, will you please share with me your favorite author? I’d love to know what you are reading!

xo,
TL

P.S. You can check out what all I’ve been reading by looking at my 2014 Reading List … it’s even divided by nonfiction and fiction.

The Wonder of Growing Up

don't miss the wonder of watching your child grow up!

freshman year

That’s my girl … on her first day of high school. She was equal parts excited and terrified as I dropped her off last Thursday. We managed, for the first time ever!, to be ready early on the first day of school … and so we have actual first day of school pictures achieved without any screaming or crying or rushing. A gift, y’all.

Then, because clearly the Lord has opened the floodgates of blessing for my girl, we arrived at the school right behind her two very best friends and all three of these beautiful and precious girls hopped out of their mommas’ cars and into hugs and squeals and relief at not being alone on the first day of high school.

I pulled out of the circle drive in front of the high school and realized how quickly the time flies. I’ll only be driving her to one more first day of school because we’ll blink and she’ll have her driver’s license and then we’ll blink again and it will be graduation day.

And while all the emotions swirled in my heart and mind, I looked back at all the other firsts — preschool, kindergarten, new schools, dances, ball games, recitals. And then I thought about all the lasts — morning nap, time she played with American Girl dolls, day of elementary school, night in our home in Georgia.

It’s good, y’all. It’s really, really good. Firsts and lasts are gifts. They mark progress and growth. This girl of mine is becoming less a girl and more a woman. It’s happening right before my eyes. And that is a gift.

It’s easy to lose sight of the wonder of our children growing up.

We want to slow time down, hold them close, and keep them safe. I get it. It’s our natural instinct as parents to protect them. But I’m finding the definition of protecting changes as my girl gets older.

Everything used to be very black and white — stay off the street, don’t touch the stove, wear your floaties when you’re in the pool. But these days, there is so much more nuance to the conversation. We make far fewer blanket statements and far more individual determinations about what she can and can’t do. We’ve begun giving her more leeway to make her own choices and more responsibility for herself.

Oh we’re still here reminding her to do her homework and making sure she eats plenty of protein-rich foods. But we’re watching her mature and become the most amazing person … and I love it!

Our job as parents is no where near done.

But 14-1/2 years into the process, I see the results of choices we made when she was little. All the reminders about saying “please,” “thank you,” “yes ma’am,” and “no sir” are now habits of common courtesy and being polite. Involving her in all the ways we serve in our church and community have given her the ability to see needs and take action for meeting them.

When she was little we watched in awe as she rolled over, scooted, crawled, and took her first step. Now we are watching as she takes her first steps toward young adulthood … she’s wobbly but we are right there to lend stability to her uncertainty. It’s a beautiful thing to watch your baby grow up and see how God is answering the prayers you prayed {and the ones you were not smart enough to utter!}.

Far too often I encounter parents who long for the years behind, wishing away the beauty of today. I made a decision while pregnant to embrace every season and celebrate the excitement it brought.  And so, while the awareness my girl may only live in our home for four more years definitely makes me a little teary, I choose to enjoy today. To embrace all the experiences ahead of her during high school and to encourage her to jump in with both feet and live well.

don't miss the wonder of watching your child grow up!

Life is fragile … and I am determined to cherish these moments and etch these days in my heart and mind. Our children grow up way too fast for us to risk missing the wonder of watching it happen because we were too busy or distracted or overwhelmed.

My challenge to you is the same as it for myself: Choose to enjoy today!

xo,
TL

What is a lesson you are learning as a parent?

A Prayer for the First Day of School

a prayer for students, teachers, and moms

a prayer for students, teachers, and moms

It’s the first day of school, Lord.

It’s a big day for all of us. Students full of questions and doubts and excitement. Teachers full of ideas and plans and dreams. Mommas full of all the emotions.

Protect our babies, Lord. Whether it’s the first day of kindergarten or middle school, or college, those students are our children. And we want today to be full of good things. Let them make friends and reach out to those who are lonely.  Give them attentive minds and caring hearts. Use our babies, God, to be a blessing to others.

Bless the teachers, God. These men and women who have committed to invest in the next generation. Give them discernment and wisdom to see each student’s unique abilities and gifts. Multiply their preparation and may their plans be fruitful. Fill the day with moments of wonder. Remind them of their special place in the lives of their students and give them confidence in their abilities as teachers.

And for all the mommas, Lord, a prayer for peace. Give us plenty to do so we don’t have time to fret. Let us be extraordinarily grateful for the privilege of parenting. Fill us with wisdom as we watch out babies grow. Grant us patience and kindness as they stretch their wings. Hold us close to You as we learn to let them go.

It’s the first day of school, Lord.

Watch over all of us — students, teachers, and moms. Guard our hearts. Focus our minds. Draw us to You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

image via canstockphoto.com

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Win $500 in zulily’s Back To School Giveaway

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

There is nothing better than getting all of your back-to-school shopping done in one place…unless you can get it done AND paid for! Enter to win the 
zulily Back To School Giveway where both you and I can each win $500 in zulily credits! While you’re back-to-school shopping on zulily.com from 8/4 – 8/11, pick out your favorite item (apparel, shoes, accessories, gear and more) and post a link to that item in the comments section below. zulily will announce their winner on 8/12, and if we win, I’ll announce who my winner is on 8/13!

Thanks zulily for making the task of back-to-school shopping fun! 

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