December 2016

What I Did Instead of Setting New Year’s Goals

I am tired of feeling overwhelmed. Years of goal-setting and driving hard to achieve those goals left me feeling frazzled, stretched, and out of focus. When presented with an opportunity to read Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregorie’s new book, Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity, I knew I needed whatever they had to say to me. The book did not disappoint. Kathi and Cheri [Read more...]

Most Popular Posts of 2016

The end of the year is a time for reflection and review. I think we can all agree, 2016 wasn’t all that great. A review of the top news stories reveals all bad news, led by the election. Selective amnesia, anyone? With all the bad, 2016 had its high moments. The world celebrated together in Rio. Dory found her parents. Alabama won the National Championship. And who can forget Chewbacca Mom? [Read more...]

The Gift that Promises Forever

It wasn’t the gift I expected, but it promised forever. On our second Christmas as a couple, I held a secret wish in my heart as I sat beneath the Christmas tree. David and I planned to walk the aisle in August of the coming year. In my mind, Christmas seemed like the ideal time for the question and the ring. I opened my gift, a rectangular-shaped box wrapped in thick red paper. Inside the [Read more...]

My Favorite Books of 2016

I love reading, but when I became a mom, my reading time was devoted to Dr. Seuss and our weekly children’s library stack. I love a good rhyming life lesson as much as the next person, but I missed getting lost in a good story or learning something new about the world or myself from a new non-fiction selection. When I became super-intentional about goal setting a few years ago, I set out to [Read more...]

Christmas Joy #FridayFive Style

When #FridayFive started, it was a place to share favorite things—memories, books, links. It took on a life of its own with writing prompts to challenge us to think a little deeper and write a little more consistently. I love reading your different takes on the weekly themes. As I turn “joy” around in my mind, it seems like a good time to go back to my #FridayFive roots and [Read more...]

How to Encourage Gratitude in Your Children During the Holidays

I remember my excitement the day the Sears & Roebuck catalog landed in the mailbox of my childhood home. I carefully looked through each section circling the gifts I wanted to find under our Christmas tree. The Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine, Barbie’s Dream House, and a Cabbage Patch Kid made the list more than once. The more pages I turned, the longer my wish list grew. Every year, kids near [Read more...]

The Carol of Traveling Sounds

“At Christmas, all roads lead home.” ~Marjorie Holmes The sound of travel thrills me. My earliest memory of this auditory obsession dates back to the early 80’s. I remember walking up and down the dirt drive in front of my grandparents’ old chicken house just to hear the gravel crunch beneath my Jordache sneakers. Besides listening to my grandmother read, it was my favorite thing to do at [Read more...]

When Christmas Isn’t the Way You Want It

The concept of “leave and cleave” sounds lovely when you stand at the altar with your husband-to-be beside you. But when it comes to the holidays, it isn’t so lovely. The question of where and how to spend Christmas can cause discord in the most harmonious of marriages. My first Christmas as a Smith was dramatic. My husband’s job was as new as our marriage. He had to work on Christmas [Read more...]

Gifts to Encourage Spiritual Growth in Your Tween Girl

This time of year, kids can’t get through a conversation with an adult without being asked the million dollar question: “What do you want for Christmas?” Around October, I start jotting down ideas for my own kids. We keep it simple with three gifts per child, so I only need a few ideas to get me started. This year, my tweenager surprised me by asking for a new Bible. The [Read more...]