I Am Not a Blogger

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Here’s a little bit of everything to catch you up, people.

2014 has been pretty great so far. We’ve been able to have some fun as a family in the unpredictable Florida weather, we’ve eaten a ghastly amount of cookies. I’ve learned-slash-admitted a few more things about myself. It’s been like having tiny lightbulbs flicker on while I do laundry or take a shower or talk to someone (I’m an external processor all.the.way.). It’s been a month of mini-epiphanies. Nothing huge or world-rocking, more just “hmmm, ya, I think that’s true/good/ok”.

Some of my gleanings:

-I am horrible at waking up.

-I am a professional guilt-carrier.

-The shared freedom in both of the above reminders is the realization that sleep is SUPER important to me (this is one of those “duh” kind of ideas, but my stubborn brain has tried to convince me that I can still run on four hours of sleep–a la college days–and happily take care of a family the next morning) aaaand that guilt sucks. It’s just stupid. And I tend to feel it most about things that truly don’t matter, like whether or not I woke up early in January. Fugget about it.

-Cookies made with oatmeal and applesauce–never mind what else is in them–are completely acceptable for breakfast. And your children will love you.

-People are walking miracles. Cue the sappy music, but c’mon! Good grief. Tons of miracles walking around. Seeing this truth is slowly growing a longer pause in my unthinking and graceless words.

-I complain. Even if it isn’t always out loud. It’s grody. The seeing miracles and living in and living out grace thing, though, gives me far fewer reasons to whine.

-I’ve been reading more and writing a little less. Not on purpose, it’s just worked out that way.

-I really love reading and I really love writing.

This podcast, listened to in three parts–while cooking dinner, cleaning up, and after kids were tucked in for the night–was so well timed that I goofy-grinned while shredding cheese that evening. I’m not a blogger. I love reading blogs and I love writing them, but I’m not a blogger. I am a writer. Even saying those words, thinking them, typing them out, makes me feel arrogant (or like I’m setting myself up for embarrassment), but I think it’s true. No matter what weird phases I’ve gone through, those two things, reading and writing, have been my constants.

-Blogs with tips, projects, and daily posts are amazing. I love visiting them and have learned some wonderful things from them, but I can’t do it. I’m far too flighty and forgetful to write something worth reading every day. Aaaand exhale…I did it. I admitted that I am not “good” at blogging. I don’t have a writing schedule or tons of helpful advice. And, when I have time to write in the evenings, all I really want to do is read, sleep, talk or watch The West Wing (we’re on Season 3 in case you’re wondering–pleated pants and shoulder pads for days).

-I don’t know what this blog will become or if it will fizzle out entirely. I never say never anymore. For now, I’ll keep reading, talking, and writing. I don’t know what about, but if I think it’s worth sharing, you’ll hear about it. Promise. Just as soon as I finish ooone more episode of West Wing.

Oh, and the “goal” for February is to be extra aware of and picky about what’s going on our calendar. Making space for that Philippians 4:8 stuff.

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Advent and Abby the Elf

Ho! Ho! Ho-my-gosh, it’s December. Really and truly, it’s here! As promised, here is a little peak into our Advent/Christmas/Holiday celebration this year. First on the list is our little friend, “Abby”, who’s come to visit us this month! The idea came from here and Abby came from Target for three buckeroos.

Of course if the girls ask whether or not Abby is real, we’ll tell them the truth, but so far they just think she’s a super fun, very kind, full of joy nocturnal elf. Walk with me, friends, as I tell you the ever-developing story of Abby: the Joyful Elf.
Fresh from the store, she was outfitted for a sport that we here in Florida can only dream of.
Abby before
A little tugging of her skis and a few snips with the fingernail clippers and she was ready to meet the girls!
Abby after
She greeted her expectant hosts with a note explaining her name, which means “the Father’s joy”. She went on to say that God wants each of us to experience His joy and that we know it the best when we spend time with Him and when we serve the other precious people He has made! Abby is “a joyful servant (or a happy helper)” and is “excited to help others to know and share God’s love”. She’ll be helping the girls around the house and the neighborhood and discovering new ways to learn about God’s heart for ourselves and others!
Abby arrival
We love her already.
So far, she’s helped us set up our advent wreath, invited the girls to play with play-doh, taken a fun ride on one of the Christmas rocking horses, and, this morning, played hide-n-seek in the garland at the top of the chalkboard! The girls are having fun looking for what Abby has done in the night and, c’mon, who doesn’t like a little make believe?
Abby playdoh
Abby horse
Abby hiding
Next time, I’ll show you our very simple, very cheap (some are even free!) decorations…enjoy the rest of your Wednesday, peeps and keep an ear out for small wonder-hacked Target ornaments in your kitchen!
P.S. Ignore the mountain scene (well, you can look at it all you want, actually. It’s kind of nice. Imagine you’re floating on the gentle waves. It will be replaced soon, so live it up while you can!)

Quote of the Week #17, Link Likes 5.18.13 and a General Catching Up

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Well, friends. We did it. We moved to Florida. We hugged the necks of the Texas friends we’ve come to love; the ones who unloaded the few possessions we arrived in Austin with, the ones who babies mine have grown with for the last two years, the ones who pondered and prayed with us about some big questions, the ones who fed us, clothed us (I got nothin but love for my TOMS people), celebrated with us, threw us surprise parties, sat the heck out of our babies (does anyone get what I just said?), helped us buy The Swagger Wagon, the ones who welcomed us with arms more open than we could have ever dreamed, the ones whose lives we were made a part of. Yes. We said goodbye to those amazing folks. Some we’ll see again. Others, maybe never. For all, though, we are forever grateful and honored to know you!

I. will. nottttttt. cryyyyyyyyyy.

Where was I? Oh yes, we’re in Florida. For the last two weeks we’ve reunited with dear family and friends who’ve supported and loved us from afar for the past two years. A special shout out to my family and Gerald Teano, who moved us into our new place…like multiple BOSSES. Seriously, we even have things hanging on our walls! New Cox Family record. We are inhaling deeply the scent of the Atlantic; taking in the once again familiar sights of palm trees, people walking around in their socially-accepted underwear; returning to our beloved Ocean City Church. I’m watching everyone outside of the glow of my Scotch-Irish halo be kissed by the sun a bit more everyday. I’m not bitter. (although, Kylie mistaking a Snow White sticker for me the other day may have been pushing it).

We’re here, we have no idea what’s going on…and loving it. Our lives are intersecting with old and new friends. We’re finally meeting the spouses and babies that popped onto the scene in our absence. Things are good! It’s still a bit surreal. I’m having to learn road names again, where the best health food and thrift stores are now, and how to uncreepily invite our fellow gated community neighbors to a stranger’s house for a potluck. #firstworldslashwhitegirlproblems So, ya, we’re good.

Gabriel, Cox Family Head, brings us our Quote of the Week: “Even the dumpsters smell good”. If you were starting to feel sorry for us as we just left the “Live Music Capital of the World”, fret not. Now we live in a land where even the giant containers of rotting trash can make you feel like a kid on summer vacation. Beat that, Anywhere Else!

And to wrap this puppy up, here’s some mental chewing gum for you (this one’s for all the Mammas and the Pappas out there). See you around!

3 Mistakes We Make Leading Kids @ Growing Leaders

When You Feel Trapped by Motherhood @ Mothering

Being an Awesome Parent Even if You Don’t Have a Yard…or “Play Silks” @ Clean.

One Thing You’re Daughter Doesn’t Need You to Say @ Chatting at the Sky

Friendship (and the Glorious Mess That Goes With It) @ A Small Snippet

And this, just because.