Winter 2021: a big update!

(up before everyone, studying)
I just have not been able to get a blog post done for numerous reasons so I decided this afternoon was the time to catch up!  My, my how 2021 has shaped up to be so far.  I'll start with this-while this post is filled with smiles and memories and light, things haven't been that way constantly.  They never are.

We've had some very hard things this year.  One of those is a family member diagnosed with a brain tumor. :( Suffice it to say, we've are heartbroken and sad a lot lately.  I only say that as my forever gentle reminder that no one's life is perfect.  It might look that way here or on my Instagram, but if you've been here any time at all, you know it's not true.  For that reason I find sometimes (ok, most of the time) it's really hard to be authentic on social media.  The truth is my time is extremely limited these days, between working and finishing up grad school.   I'm also actually very introverted in a very extroverted job.  Combine that with being a highly-sensitive person and it just makes it very complicated to step a foot into the world of social media.   In my down time, I usually am recharging so that I can interact with all 500+ of my students, my co-workers, family, and friends, not posting a lot.  

Is this making sense?  Do you get these thoughts/feelings too?

Just wanted you to know that when I'm posting the good here, it's to help my brain remember on the hard days all the light that really is there, getting in the cracks and crevices of life.  At the beginning of one of my favorite songs Kirk Franklin says "even in darkness you are light!"  and THAT is the point of these posts.  Even in darkness, there is always light! So let's take a look at that light.

If you feel led, please pray for our aunt.  
I can't remember if I posted this already or not, but I got the CUTEST lunch pail from my sis for Christmas! I use it multiple times a week and it makes lunch prep so very easy.  Plus-that floral pattern! All the heart eyes. 
Sometimes I have an afternoon coffee while I study and sometimes it's store-bought kombucha. 
:) Still doing lots of recording myself and Zoom meetings with my virtual students! I often think how far teachers and students have come in the last year and I am SO PROUD of all the technology we've mastered!
The morning and evening skies sure have been something else lately.  Usually these are snapped with my phone while I'm either coming or going from work.

I mean, seriously?  I see and feel hope in these skies. 

One of our millions of at home, cold days I decided to put my highlighter cardigan (named because of the bright color) on to cheer myself up.  Plus a pair of real pants! Total game-changer and mood booster.

The yolks in eggs from my sisters or the organic, store-bought ones are such a bright yellow color! 
Inspiring art by one of my students!
A pretty card for a special friend.

A lot of favorites in this snap-red nails, florals, and a good cup of coffee.  Not to brag TOO much but I make some of the best coffee ever.
I haven't been this thankful for fires in a long time! With all the extreme cold and snow the fires have felt so very good!
Candles are part of our evening ritual.
My favorites are the candles from Wal-Mart-either Better Homes and Garden brand or Great Value brand.

Did my makeup a tiny bit different on one of the many at home days due to snow and I liked how it turned out. My favorite makeup brands are Mary Kay and E.L.F.!
Pretty frost. 

You should give this song a listen!
Made some art for Valentine gifts for my family!

I also had fun decorating the table a bit fancier than normal for our special at home Valentine's dinner with the girls and Brett's mom. 
In-progress picture of our ceiling redo!  Brett added siding and trim to the entire ceiling and it looks so amazing!! I need to post a picture in the next post of his finished product.
My favorite place to be to recharge-in the chair by the fire with a blanket and cup of coffee.
Saturdays are for slippers.
The spring fog and fairy webs were back today!
This warm, buttery sun one afternoon while I was studying just melted me. 
The car wash is my fave. :) 
There's a certain spot in the road where it's never busy and the speed limit suddenly drops from 50 to 30 (can we say country speed trap?!) so I usually slow down even less than 30 mph and take a pic of the morning sun.  It's a small habit I've found myself falling in to and it feels like I'm honoring the day ahead by stopping to take it in for a minute.  How could you not with this view?!
Scene from the driveway. 
I've really been trying to make healthy choices, even in the midst of non-stop productivity.  It's not easy.  I don't always make it happen.  I mean, I ate Taco Bell today! (I blame this on the conversation at my sister's where Taco Bell came up, lol)

But, one easy thing I can always prep is roasted sweet potatoes or roasted veggies.  The kids even go crazy for them!

Easy outfit that I liked. It feels SO GOOD to not be in five thousand layers.  No offense to you layer loving people! I'd just rather be in spring or summer clothes. 
I wrapped up books for both my schools and attached an original poem on top for one of our Read Across America events!
Pretty light. 
My sunrise ceremony. 
****I wasn't driving while this was taken so nobody freak out.****

The lake froze solid and didn't thaw for days. 

I actually felt terrible this day due to my endometriosis which still acts up horribly.  You'd never know though unless you were Brett helping me through month after month.  I've adjusted my diet, I exercise 3-4 times a week, I take magnesium and still...I feel exhausted, nauseous, and have bad pain.  I say all that as a reminder that if I posted this pic with my cute side braid and didn't tell you the story behind, you'd never dream I was feeling that way! I'm the ultimate pro at hiding it.  I will say the changes I've made have greatly reduced the number of days I feel this way and for that I'm grateful.

Remember-there is always more to the story than what you see! :) 

Playing in the snow with our neighbor friends.
Brett is so sweet to keep flowers on the kitchen counter this time of year. 
Work in progress.....
and a finished piece! The snow days gave me margin to finish this one.
Cluttered, but creativity at its finest.  I piled all of our art stuff up during the epic snow days and hung up signs that said "Camp Snow".  Then I told the girls to pretend like we wanted to be home all those days and to have fun with it.  And we did!
See?  Here's us having fun.  We put 80's music on and cranked it up, then the girls made a fun ramp with their car and this was a whole evening of entertainment. 

One of my favorite Instagram accounts for meal prep ideas!

One of my favorite pictures from the whole snow ordeal.  What you can't tell is that Betsy found a broom handle and wrote "I love mom" in the snow.  

Just some quick phone photos taken through the window to document the record breaking snow we had!

Enjoying an afternoon cup of coffee and sweet potato brownies.
I go extra on the marshmallows for the girls' hot chocolate. 

The face of someone determined to still keep their body moving even when it's gross outside.  My goal for the year is to exercise 4 times a week.  Some weeks I only get 3 times in, but I'm working hard to be disciplined.  
Pattern mixing, painted nails, and a fire.  All three small delights.
This is us.
Luckily Brett had taken a day off already before all the snow dumped so he drove us over to the farm!

The view from my bed. 
Now for the Nikon pics.  
This was our winter wonderland!
This must have been one of the first days of snow because it ended up being much deeper than this.  The girls had the time of their lives! I joined them a couple of times and then I stayed in where it was warm and wished for spring. 

The day I took these we had a good, long hike in the snow and I legit worked up a sweat!!

Found polka dots. 
When the snow first started coming down!
Anna baking homemade pretzels.

I moved my favorite green dresser into the dining room and I adore it there!
When it's not piled with craft supplies it's piled with candles and jars. 

What in the actual world?!?!? 

You all, snowflakes blow my mind.  Like I'm amazed at them every. single. time! How could you not be? They are so intricate and artistic and beautiful.  I just can't wrap my head around it! Then to think the same God that designed these made us? Mind-blown.
My mom had her annual tea party for her birthday and it was absolutely beautiful! 

Everyone was safe here, promise! 
Brett took the girls to the very edge of the pond where it's like 2 feet deep (if that) and taught them how to slide!  The girls loved it!

Yes, we were safe.  Yes, the girls know not to even step on the pond if we're not there.  :)

I love our girls so very much.  The extra time at home with them for the snow and virtual days was really special to me.  

There is NOTHING like it when the sun finally decides to come back out! 
I mean, nothing. 
I hung extra string lights a few weeks ago and they are really brightening up the evenings as we transition into spring.  The best time of the year is coming!! Gardens, suntans, flowers, eating outside, camping, sundresses, smoothies, salads....sigh.
Then this morning we woke up to a spring fog with fairy webs in the grass and all.

So here we are-almost March.  We're looking forward to a lot and at the same time holding a lot these days as well.  I did get my two vaccines and I know a lot will disagree with even getting it, but I'm deeply grateful.

If you need me this spring, I'll be over here trying to love the people in my world (and there's a lot of them!) really, really well. I'll be working away at my health, grad school, and growing in God. 

I'll be continuing to live the dream of being a library lady.  Seriously, not a day goes by that I don't think about this dream come true and what a good job I want to do. 

I'll continue popping in on the blog, leaving a trail of light and hope for my future self.  I hope it will brighten your path as well and give you eyes to see that "even in darkness there is light."


Winter 2021: a big update!

(up before everyone, studying) I just have not been able to get a blog post done for numerous reasons so I decided this afternoon was the ti...