{Where I'm From Swap}

Happy Monday, y'all!

I joined my first Swap event recently with Kallie at But first, coffee a few weeks ago and am excited to share my experience with you today despite being several weeks late on the sharing.  I blame my busy schedule!

The swap was titled "Where I'm From" and it was an opportunity to get to know another girl somewhere in the US and send them a little something something from your hometown that they would like!  Needless to say, it was a blast, and I LOVE the person I got paired up with!  I wish we lived closer because I know Elyse and I would hang out!

Elyse is from Grand Rapids, MI so naturally everything was from near there or just the happening state of Michigan! :)  Here's what she sent:

Talk about being spoiled.  Homegirl totally hooked me up!

Let's break it down now...

1 // Slabtown Coffee Caramel Corn

Holy moly, y'all this stuff is amazing.  I am embarrassed to say I ate most of this in one sitting.  It was so good.  It's essentially caramel corn dipped in coffee.  Tell me that's not a heavenly combination!  I was reluctant to share so you know it was good!

2 // Beers: Founder's Dirty Bastard, Traverse City Cherry Wheat, Short's Brew Soft Parade
I have only had the Traverse City Cherry Wheat so far, but it was delicious!  I can't wait to try my other two.  Elyse and her hubby are big craft beer drinkers, so I sent her some of Fort Worth's Rahr beers in her "Where I'm From Box".  I told you;  I think we are soul sisters.
Founder's Dirty Bastard: "Brewed with seven varieties of imported malts.  Hints of smoke and peat, paired with malty richness and a right hook of hop power to give it the bad attitude that a beer named Dirty Bastard has to live up to.  Ain't for the wee lads." (Founders Brewing)

Traverse City Cherry Wheat: "Traverse City is the cherry capital of the world and now Montmorency Cherries for this colorful town in Michigan's 'Up North' have made their way into a wheat beer for the ages, for a taste that's totally cherry." (Atwater Beer)

Short's Brew Soft Parade: "a specialty pour brewed with toasted rye flakes and two-row malted barley.  Loaded with pureed strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, the brewers refer to this fermented potion as a fruit infused rye ale." (Short's Brewing)

3 // Leelanau Wine Cellars - Summer Sunset

I can't express how excited I am about this bad boy!  It's like a fruity, crisp glass of wonderful. I will be enjoying the rest of this beauty on the 4th of July!
"Our semi-dry blush wine will fill your palate with flavors of fresh strawberry, honeydew melon and ripe cantaloupe.  Perfect for a picnic or simply enjoying the Leelanau sunset from any vantage." (Leelanau Cellars)

4 // Bark Bars
The border collies were spoiled by Harlie and Cash, Elyse's sweet pups!  They got two delicious bark bars, creamy peanut butter and peanut butter and carab chip, to nom on and let me tell you they were gone in about 60 seconds!  The border collies love you so much Elyse!


My babies and I sent Harlie and Cash some tasty treats from Three Dog Bakery in Plano.  Naturally we had to take some tasty treats of our own home, too, but we were more excited to send Harlie and Cash their goodies! (P.S. Harlie's middle name is Mae too!!! Omggggg we are soul sisters.)

5 // Table Cloth and Plates
Elyse is one of the most thoughtful friends I have ever made.  She has this gorgeous deck I am seriously coveting and because I don't have a deck to sip my wine on she sent me these gorgeous plates and tablecloth to bring a little deck lovin' into my home.  She  has the same table cloth on her table on her deck and just wanted to share it.  Seriously love this new friend!



So, thanks Kallie at But first, Coffee for pairing us together!  You didn't know it then, but you have started a fabulous new friendship.  Only negative, she lives in Michigan.  Details details, I suppose.

If you ever have an opportunity to participate in one of these swaps I highly encourage it!

Happy Monday, friends!

{Time is a Gift}


So, there was this one time I fell off the face of the blog earth.  Whoops.  I am spread a liiiiiitle bit thin right now, so thank you for bearing with me and showing me grace!  Since I am transferring out of my current job in a month I have been working like a mad woman to document all I do, complete projects and make sure I have nothing open when it's time for me to say my "good byes".

A typical day in the life lately:
6:15 am - Alarm 1 - snooze
6:30 am - Alarm 2 - snooze
6:45 am - Alarm 3 - snooze
7:00 am - Alarm 4 - Finally crawl out of bed - I really have to cut this out and get up at 6:15 or 6:45 at the LATEST.
8:20 am - Out the door
8:30 am - Arrive at work
12:00 pm - Lunch break/work out if I don't go get lunch with people
5:15 pm - Head to class/sit in traffic
6:00 pm - Squeak in just in time to hear the opening remarks
9:00 pm - Head home
9:30 pm - Do some semblance of a work out if didn't get to work out at lunch
10:00/10:15 pm - Eat dinner
10:45 pm - Shower
11:00 pm - Dry hair/hop into bed and snooze or watch TV/read/quiet time

Repeat Monday-Thursday, and man Saturdays meet from 9 am - 4 pm.
Ridiculous, no?  Busy, busy, busy, but I am loving what I'm learning at teacher class and crave more time learning.

Since practically every minute of my life seems to be scheduled lately it got me thinking about what a precious gift time is and how much I under-appreciate the flexibility my schedule used to have.  I am a person who really enjoys being busy and involved too, and even I am now appreciating the luxury of creating your own schedule more now.

In my May and June goals I talked about wanting to be intentional with my time and the people I spent that time with.  I am so grateful for the time I spent earlier this month and last month really investing in my relationships.  Especially with Ryan, because LORD knows the stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep is really getting to me lately and causing me to be snappy now.  I am thankful he knows the real me, and is showing me patience and grace during this busy season.

My time with the LORD has been very sweet too, though I'm still falling short in my daily quiet time.  I have been overwhelmed with worry and anxiety about my first year of teaching.  I want to be a fantastic teacher, and there's a lot of unknown, a massive learning curve, and a huge lack of experience on my end and I don't want my students to suffer or even know this is my first year teaching.  They will only be in second grade once, hopefully, and I want them to look back at our time together fondly and laugh because it was full of joy and laughter.  My time with the LORD has been a constant reminder that He has ordained all of this, and if I doubt my abilities I am doubting that He has big plans for me, including conquering my anxieties.  I am so thankful I serve such a mighty God.  I surrender my anxiety to you, LORD.


Have you been intentional with your time?  Our time is such a precious gift; don't waste it!


{ABC's of Gratitude}

I. Am. Tired. Y'all.



As this has been the first week of teacher training that means I have had earlier mornings, longer days, and rarely made it to bed before midnight.  I have been productive though, and have been getting really excited, and nervous, to become a teacher!

So, as a pick me up, I'm taking a page out of Simply Clarke today and bringing you a list of things that are currently rocking my world on the gratitude meter.  By the way, if you're looking for an excellent read, Simply Clarke is always a good read and the posts are usually pretty inspiring, encouraging, challenging, and always a blessing.


Apricots.  They are so good!  I have had 3 this week. #sorryimnotsorry

Border Collies.  They make life better, and are so happy to see me when I get home!

Can'es.  Ryan brought me this for dinner last night, with 3 sauces because I'm obsessed and have no self control.  Thanks babe. :)  You know me well.

Dad.  I have had a lot of good conversations and texts with Papa McD this week.  I am grateful for a wonderful Daddy.

Elyse.  Through the "Where I'm From Swap" by Kallie at But First, Coffee I have gotten to meet a fabulous girl named Elyse.  I'm fairly certain we'd hang out frequently if she lived closer, but alas Grand Rapids and Dallas are pretty far apart.  I can't wait to share what she sent me tomorrow!

Friends.  I have made a lot of new friends through my alternative certification program, and I'm really enjoying my new friendships.  I get excited to see them each night, and if we're going to have to be there for three hours four times a week, and some full Saturdays, it sure makes it easier to have awesome new friends.

Gladness.  Despite the tiredness I am experiencing such gladness with this teacher training.  I am PUMPED to be a teacher!

Happy.  Going along with the gladness, I am so happy.  Happy to be transitioning, happy to be getting a classroom full of kiddos to teach and encourage, and happy to be using my time and talents to serve these kids.

Ice breakers. I've never had so much fun getting to know new friends. 

Jams. Due to my extended drive to and from class I've had a lot of time to jam out in my car. 

Kids. I've learned so much already and how to teach them, how to make it stick, and what they will likely be bringing to class with them (baggage, etc). Can't wait to serve them well. 

Laughter. I've done lots of laughing during training. Learning is fun when you're laughing.

Mornings. I used to sleep in until the last minute but since I have to leave work early I also have to get there early. The quiet time in the morning with The Lord and my border collies sure is sweet. 

Newness. New things are so exciting!

Opportunity. I have the opportunity to set my classroom up for success and to make it the best ever. #letsdothis

Purses and oversized bags. I have so much to carry these days I'm grateful for a spot to put everything. 

Quick trip coffee. You $1.15 glass of delicious, you. 

Rest. Running on empty isn't an option. 

Smiles. They can quickly change your mood. 

Teachers. I've had some great trainers/teachers this week that I really want to mimic some things after. 

Undies. VS semi annual sale is going on. #awesome

Little victories.

Wine. I got some fabulous wine from Elyse I can't wait to sip on.

Xtra hours of sleep this weekend. 

Yucatan sand volleyball. Can't wait to play this weekend!

Zero school on Sunday. Yay!!!

What are you thankful for?? Share in the comments below!

{Community Brew - Community}

Happy Hump Day friends!  I hope this Wednesday is treating you well.  This week is going pretty slowly for me, and I'm pretty tired, so I'm grateful we're already half way through this week.

I have been invited to participate in a Community Brew Link Up with a group of awesome girls to get to know, encourage, and be vulnerable with one another.  If you're interested in participating visit Rachel at Oh, Simple Thoughts or Madison at Wetherills Say I Do to learn more.

community brew link up

Today's topic is about COMMUNITY since this a community brew after all, and it's actually something I've learned a lot about in the past few years, so I'm excited that it's our first topic!


To start, this verse is very near and dear to my heart because my Big Sis in Chi Omega read this to me when we had Big/Little Reveal.  She told me our family was a chord of three strands and not easily broken, and that she would always be there as would the rest of our family.  Love that girl. :)

What does community mean to you?
My most recent community group really lived out what I believe a good community group to be.  We shared everything, ran things by one another, asked for wisdom/advice/prayer for things, laughed and cried together, and genuinely lived life together.  They challenged my thoughts and actions on a couple things (as they did with everyone in our group), and it was out of love and really made me think about the decisions I was making and whether or not those were pointing towards Christ.  They attended my wedding, we have attended other member's weddings, we have shared many early mornings, coffee conversations, dinners, and time together.

These women guided me with Biblical truth and scripture in love and pointed me to Christ always, especially when I felt abandoned or hurt.  Even when they questioned my actions, I was grateful they cared enough to ask me what I was thinking or why I was doing something.  They were truly a strong foundation and support for me, and I believe I was to them as well.  Though our group has since disbanded, they set the standard for what I want in a community of women.  Thank you girls for your encouragement, support, love, wisdom, advice, challenges, and for daily pointing me to Christ.  Words cannot express what community means to me because of y'all.



Why is it hard to pursue community or open up to others?
I was hungry for community when I practically begged to join "Katie's" community group.  I knew Katie from ChiO in college, knew she was plugged in, knew I needed community and I wanted in hers.  Through prayer and discussion the girls invited me to be part of the community and I cannot express my gratitude.

Was it easy to just divulge my deepest, darkest secrets, to ask for scripture, to ask for advice and accept criticism?  Negative.  It was hard, so hard, but worth more than gold.

For me, pursuing community then wasn't the hard part because I wanted it so badly.  Opening up just came with the territory.  I saw the benefits of giving all of me to the group, my baggage, my dreams, my goals, my relationships, and I jumped on it.  There were still times I knew I was in the wrong and it was hard to admit my faults, but the benefits outweighed the pride.  Always does.

Now I'd say it's harder for me to pursue community.  I know I will feel more involved and closer to the people at my church if I do get involved in community, but I also want to invest in them, and with the thousand things going on in my life I wouldn't be a good community partner.  I want to be all in.  Once the school year is underway though, whatever my schedule may be, I want in on community.  It's hard to believe it'll be as amazing as my most recent community group, but I know the LORD calls us to be in community.

I'm not totally without community though!  For a while now, my friend Jasmine and I have been in community.  We meet bi-weekly for breakfast and have recently started Hebrews.  I am grateful for someone to share the above with and thankful she is so patient with my schedule, and my frequent tardiness.

What does it look like to "live in community" with other believers and non believers?
To be honest, I don't have a solidified answer for this one.  I believe I'm called to love others - rich, poor, homeless, prosperous, sick, well - doesn't matter.  I am called to love people like Jesus did and unashamedly point them to Him.  For now, that's the answer I'll give you, but I am going to keep this in the back of mind and perhaps I'll have a better answer some other time.

Why is community important to you?
For the reasons expressed above, and because I know what my life looked like without community.  The Lord made us to be in community with one another.  We are designed to share our lives with people who can love, support, challenge, pray for, and lead us to Christ.

What does it look like to love your neighbor?
I have a new perspective on this after I learned what really being a neighbor looked like.  Check out my post here about being a good neighbor.  After learning this, I am 100% certain it's my job to be a good neighbor to all.  There's no excuse for not being one.

Long story short, community is really important.  What are your thoughts on community?

So, that's the first installment of Community Brew.  Did you enjoy it??  Join in on the fun!!

{Real Life Marley & Me}

I think Oakley Mae is competing for the spot as "World's Worst Dog", or maybe she just wants a book written about her.  How about a blog post, Oakley Mae?  That will have to suffice.

I really don't know what to make of little Miss Oakley.  Some days I think we're making tremendous process, other days feel like we have taken 3 steps backwards.  Silly girl.  It's a good thing she's insanely cute and an excellent snuggler.  (Not that we could ever give her away... even though I like to joke to her that we will!)

Anyway, OM inspired this post on Father's Day after an evening at my older sister's house.  Christen, my older sister, currently lives in a house that butts up to a golf course (I say currently because they move in 9 days!).

The border collies were really good when we first got to my sister's house.  Her dogs were less than thrilled to have other pups over, but everyone was getting along fine, doing the whole "smell it out" approach.  We were all sitting on the patio (Christen, my Aunt Peggy, my Dad, and me) munching on chips and dip when Oakley decided everything on the table was hers and she started growling, bearing her teeth, and lunging at one of Christen's dogs.  Jetta happened to be standing near the other dog and started getting aggressive towards her when Oakley started doing this.  I called Jetta off, took Oakley to time out in the kennel and loved on the other dog.  Dumb dogs.  Dumb Oakley for starting it all and ever thinking that salsa and guacamole were ever really hers.

Later, after her stint of time out, during dinner all the dogs were being calm and resting until Oakley decided she would walk around and spotted the fish tank with the giant part-piranha fish in it.  Oakley was certain this fish was staring at her and she was not having any of it.  She growled and barked at the stupid fish who just kept staring back at her, because it's duh, a fish.  I was done with dinner so I grabbed her collar and made her come sit by me when consoling her didn't work, primarily because I was afraid she'd lunge at the tank and it would over.  That would have been fun for absolutely no one.  After I let her go she growled a little more, but eventually lost interest.

Finally, my youngest nephew, Matt, and I went outside onto the golf course to throw the baseball around while the puppies stayed in the gated yard.  The border collies really wanted to come play, but couldn't figure out how to get out.  Jack, my older nephew, decided he wanted to join us and accidentally let Oakley out when he wasn't paying attention.

Oakley took off running.  She ran all over the golf course, around the pond (didn't swim thankfully), up and down hills, all over.  I had worn a sundress thinking we would just enjoy dinner and hang out on the patio catching up and spending time with my Dad for Father's Day.  I had clearly not anticipating running all over the place, climbing over the fence to the pond or anything.  Luckily, 7 minutes into her run, she came running up a hill directly towards me.  I squatted down to receive her and to my surprise she didn't take off again!  I was starting to think she was going to be a good girl and not run off again.


I walked her back to the gated yard and my nephews and I started throwing the baseball again.  Not 5 minutes later I watched as the border collies figured out how to lift the latch on the gate and escape.  Wouldn't you guess they shot off for a little joy run?  Luckily Jetta is a pretty good listener and I was able to call her back to me after she ran for a few moments.  Matt chased after Oakley who didn't follow Jetta back like she normally does, little turd, and Jack, Jetta, and I started walking in the direction we saw Oakley and Matt take off.

At some point they had headed towards the front of the houses near the street and I started to get nervous.  Oakley has this horrible habit of "herding cars".  We've never allowed her on our street to know whether or not she'd do it in town, but since we let the girls roam at the lakehouse she has had plenty of opportunities to herd/circle the mailman's car, any lost cars, or family or friend's pulling in and out of the drive.  I dropped Jetta off inside when we came to the front of Christen's house and heard Jack call to me that Matt had Oakley.

I ran around to the back of the house and saw Matt holding on to Oakley's collar with a dripping wet Oakley Mae, who took a quick dip in the pond, trotting beside him.


Matt is not a big kid, but he must be strong, because Oakley is pretty strong and probably ways almost as much as he does.  The image of the two of them walking up was quite a site.  All Matt said to me was, "Never let her out again.", and later, "She is not a good listener."  You are quite right Matt, and I am so grateful you ran with her for probably a mile.  You are a good sport!  I definitely owe both boys a dessert item of their choice for helping me wrangle Oakley.

So, despite spending much of the evening reprimanding my pup and not getting to spend as much time loving hanging out with family, it was a pretty fun and funny night.  For all the times Oakley Mae is bad, I can't help but love her anyway.  At least she keeps life interesting and is dang cute!  I couldn't ask for two better border collies... but I could ask for Oakley to listen a little better... maybe one day!

Car rides are fun with Oakley Mae.  She stands on the center console most of the ride when she's not trading off between the front and back seats.

Jetta Belle snuggled extra good on Saturday night.

We sent these pictures to Ry because we missed him and were ready for him to come home!

Share your funny dog stories below!  I would LOVE to hear them and laugh with you! :)

Dogs rock.  Even the troublemakers.


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