What this summer taught me about my marriage 2017

1 | My husband takes me for granted sometimes.

And then I sit and list all the ways he takes me for granted and try to get all mad about it. And wouldn’t you know, I take him for granted too. But then there’s Grace. Thank God for Grace. Being exhausted with a new baby and an energetic toddler can help you forget that it goes both ways sometimes. Whew, it was a crazy fast summer, let me tall yah.


2 | “Opposites attract” is incredibly true and incredibly frustrating.

I started to see how we move about in our daily lives with an ebb and flow that is quite powerful if you stop and watch. He steps in when I step out. I pull when he lets go. Normally we balance each other but there are times when the scales tip one way over the way. And that’s OK. When that happens we tend to have an explosive fight that brings us back to who we are and why we’re together: to serve a picture that is bigger than ourselves. To be parents to our children. To love on those around us through our marriage. It’s good. Really good. And hard. Really hard.


3 | Having hobbies is a huge relief.

I am learning more and more that hobbies really are life-giving. And if your husband/wife doesn’t have an outlet then things can get stuffy in the marriage department. And by stuffy I mean when you feel stuffed to the gills with all the adulting you have to do every day that when an opportunity comes for you to GET TO DO what you want instead of have to you take it. Then you come back to your relationship with a little extra umph and rejuvenation. We started giving each other time every other week to do whatever the heck we want for a couple hours. LIFE-GIVING.


4 | Having children brings out an entirely new side of romance in your marriage.

I know, nothing new when you hear this one. But seriously, wanna take romance to the next level? I mean like–going to the grocery store becomes a flirtatious game when you see who can pinch the other’s butt the most without getting caught while the kids ride in the basket– next level? Don’t get me wrong, all the normal stereotypical romance stuff is still great to do when we can but sometimes a butt pinch does the trick.


5 | The Solar Eclipse was a bigger deal than I realized.

My husband spear-headed us driving to Troy, KS to see the eclipse. I was sort of shoulder shrug about it all, but his excitement was catching. We had some bickering leading up to the event: I mean we were leaving both kids with a sitter for the first time and we were caravaning up with some other family members. So yah, you can see how all that could be stressful. But my word, it was the most amazing thing I’ve experienced in quite some time and it was pretty special to experience it with him. (Pic above marked the occasion for us!


6 | Tragedies really can bring you closer if you choose to let it.

From horrific shootings, hurricanes, and much more, I have seen a different side of my husband than before. We’ve taken moments to talk about these things with each other and share our fears and questions that come with these kinds of national tragedies. We’ve come together to talk about helping others and what it looks like to to be the change our world needs right inside the walls of our home.


I know, I know. I have SIX on my list. So unbalanced. But they were all needed so it is what it is.

This series is part of the “What We Learned” link up with Emily P. Freeman. Click over to read her list and what other writers are sharing about summer 2017.


What I’ve Learned from Spring 2017

This spring was full of a lot of new for me. A newborn. A new season of writing. A new understanding of myself.

Here are ten things I’ve learned this spring. The list is in no particular order. Let’s just say it’s an ongoing list… 🙂 I got the idea from Emily P. Freeman as she and other writers are writing about what they’ve learned this spring.

I like being reflective and sometimes it’s good to look back without being super evaluative too. This list is just what I needed.

1| Being Present with a Newborn and Toddler is incredibly hard.

Eleanor has brought a light into our home that feels so complete and right. Having a newborn has forced me to slow down as much as one can with a toddler running around. The transition was hard before she even arrived actually. Saying goodbye to being a parent of one was a challenge for me. BUT I’ve appreciated the quiet moments I get to have with her (rare as they are!) and seriously, these hands. Oh. My. Heart.

2| Facebook Fasting is good for the soul. Or how about Facebook Feasting is hard for the soul.

This is obvious to most of us but Facebook is such a drain for me. I can waste sooooo much time on it. I’ve discovered a few ways to fast from Facebook. I’ll write about it soon but right now know I have had to separate myself from my phone a lot in order to accomplish this. Like upstairs in bedroom while I’m downstairs separate.

3| Taking pictures of the mundane can produce gratitude and contentment.

A new practice I’ve been trying is taking more photos with my camera and my phone (when I have it). Not staged photos, but photos of the everyday. I talk more about why I’m choosing this practice here. The result has been overwhelmingly positive. There’s something about seeing my son’s toes up close that reminds me of how fleeting his boyhood will be. I just want to bask in the mundane so I can fill up on gratitude and contentment.

4| I need to prepare salads ahead of time to actually eat them.

This isn’t some food fix. This is just me realizing that if I want to progress with losing my baby weight and I need to do a little bit of preparing. I like planning and seeing something through anyways, so putting my salads in containers so I can just pull them out of the fridge has been a life saver. Especially with that toddler running around me while I’m holding my newborn. 😉

5| Giving myself grace is hard. Giving my husband grace is hard.

Speaking of losing weight, giving myself grace about losing the weight is a daily decision. Yes, I want to look like my old self, but I do want to be healthy. I definitely got into some unhealthy habits while pregnant with Sister so getting over that has been hard. And since we’re talking about grace, realizing that this is the first time my husband has had a toddler and newborn too is a daily decision also. We had a groove going so well with just one kid that at times we felt like roommates, but having the two under two years old has been a new grace journey for sure. Enough said.


6| Sabbath rest is vital to keeping balance in my relationship with Christ.

I really need to just write a post on this. I absolutely LOVE Shelly Miller’s book Rhythms of Rest. It’s not about rules or should do’s. It’s about real relationship and what that looks like in forms of rest. And it most likely wont look like what you think it should.

Check out other writers over on Emily’s site as they talk more about this spring!

Five 80s Movies You Need to Watch for Back to School

When I am starting to get that itch for fall, I have a few movies in my stash that I pull out just for this time of year. When peppermint candles burn in my house and garland adorns our mantel, I pull out my favorite Christmas movies. Spring in the air? I’ve got a movie for that. It’s sort of a tradition really. I do this with music too. And food. Can’t forget food. Hot dogs. All the hot dogs for the 4th of July. Hot dogs and The Sandlot. Who doesn’t love the Sandlot? If you don’t like The Sandlot, then you might as well move on buddy. You clearly are not a true patron of all things pre-teen that is Patrick Renna and duh, baseball of course.


When Labor Day weekend approaches, there are two things happening.
1) Summer as we know it has ended. Kids are pretty much back into the full swing of school. Parents are usually singing Hallelujah. Kids are typically in denial about how much they missed their friends and put up a fight about going back.

2) Starbucks brings the annual street crack Pumpkin Spice back and all is right in the world. Last year it came back as early as September 8th, so we’ll see what’s in store for us this year.

As you transition to this awkward time of year that is not quite fall but not so much summer anymore, and if you’re lucky to have a pumpkin spice in hand, you need to have these five movies on your watch list. I couldn’t imaging this time of year without the mass movie production that came from the 80s. I don’t know where I would be in life if I didn’t know “Hey, you guys!” existed.

Five 80's Movies Everyone Should Watch. Fun movies from the 80's.

Watching them all on Labor Day weekend is not a requirement, but if you’re looking to kick off the change in the weather and get through your the whining of your kids, then pop these movies in and I promise, everyone will be a little bit happier.

If there was only one movie I could pick for this time of  year it would The Goonies. The movie is totally geared for the end of summer with hilarious one-liners you’ll be muttering to your kids when they complain about chores or what’s for dinner.


Just remind them that there are three things they need to know in this life:
1) “Goonies never say die!”
2) “Hey, you guys!”
3) “The marijuana goes in the top drawer. The cocaine and speed go in the second drawer. And the heroin goes in the bottom drawer. Always separate the drugs.”

If all else fails and they are begging you to chauffeur them around, use this opportunity to teach them that they can’t always get what they want, unless the learn the value of the truffle shuffle. Oh and if you can’t get them to quit obssessing about the movie, use this as an opportunity to do a little history research to see what the cast is up to these days.


There’s all this great advice going around on social media about teaching your children to be open to new friendships and to “unwrap” that special gift that is a new student. Yah yah, that’s great but all kids need to know what life is like when you become the little ripass in class and that Saturday Detention is real. At least, it used to be. Enter The Breakfast Club. I am not sure how you get through life without watching this movie and learning that Simple Minds pretty much sparked a teenage rebellion. Plus, you can still teach them about that special gift you might find in a student they never would have considered giving the time of day to.


If anything, you could use this opportunity to reflect on how amazing 80’s music is and that Judd Nelson had great hair. Plus, who can forget Molly Ringwald applying that lipstick?

I have decided that I might lose some of you here with this one but I feel the need to remind us that John Travolta was a dancing/singing machine who also had amazing hair. And I just can’t help but think of Grease when I think about the end of summer and everyone going back to school. Not to mention that I have a soft spot for musicals  movies that have fun music.


(For you movie buffs out there, I know, I know. Grease came out in 1978, but to redeem the value of the 80’s, feel free to pull out Urban Cowboy or Staying Alive. Talk about steamy Travolta.)

Wanna remind yourself of some sweet nothings to whisper in your loved one’s ears? Need a refresher on Summer Lovin’? I’m pretty sure any husband looking for a good time from his wife would like to be called “stud” and taken down to the beach to get frisky in the sand. Just don’t take off your pants. Gotta watch out for that sand. Ah, teenage summer romance.


Everyone once in a while I find myself quoting Back to the Future. “Great Scott!”

“Where we’re going we don’t need roads.” I used tell that to my students during the first week of school. Good way to find out who my movie buffs were and if you’re a good parent, you’ll teach them to your kids. When I’m looking for some serious emphasis on what’s about to happen…

And who can forget the power of advertising in movies during the 80s? Back to the Future pretty much sparked the revolution that is using name brand products on screen. Pepsi and Nike are still sending Spielberg thank you letters to this day.

I don’t think you can begin the school year without reminding your kids how lucky they are to go to a school where they are free to express themselves and enjoy the luxuries of extra curricular activities that kids used to have to fight for. And if they don’t get what you mean, you show them Footloose. And then you play the soundtrack for them. Small town kids oppressed by crazy parents who forbade dancing sounds like an uprising all teens should be made aware of. If anything, it might teach them some better dance moves than twerking.


Oh, and don’t forget that Pumpkin Spice. It’s the best crack gift you can give to yourself this time of year.

What about you? Do you have any movies that you like to watch during a particular time of year? Do any of these movies make you think about going back to school?




My Secret (not so secret) Guilty Pleasure: Etymologies

The clock quietly buzzes as the neon light tries to fade out. It’s 12:30AM or something like that and my eyes squint as I try to finish off my term paper. I am searching for a witty end to wrap up my discussion about the symbolic meaning of who knows what with Shakespeare and his shrew. I had been at it for a couple of hours but all I really wanted to work on was my semester project for my History of the English Language class. That’s right. History of the English Language. Or as most students affectionately coined “HEL.” And I was excited about writing this paper.

When you’re an English major you find your niche of literature and topics that resonate with you the most. One of mine was language. Etymology to be exact. And since I’m on this little journey of writing everyday on my blog, one of the topics came up about writing something that wouldn’t “fit” your blog. So I chose etymology. Because, well, I just told you. It is a secret guilty pleasure of mine to look up the etymology of words all the time.

So what is etymology? I’ll let o’l Webster sum it up easily and quickly:

Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. By extension, the term “the etymology (of a word)” means the origin of the particular word

You see, what’s kinda bizarre about the English language is that it’s one of the most impure languages out there. Meaning not a lot of our words originated from Old English. A lot of our words come from all sorts of different countries and their languages. Example: “salsa” or “souffle.” What’s even nerdier cooler is that the more you know about how our language started in one part of the world and how all these countries kept invading this part of the world and forced their language onto Old English, which caused all sorts of meshing and merging and all sorts of craziness, then when you read etymologies, you’re like “Whoa, this word is of Scandanavian origin. Cool.” Just me? OK…

If you don’t know already, the Oxford English Dictionary is the mother of all etymologies. It is considered the rock source for word origins. At my college, the OED took up like a whole row of books on shelves in one complete aisle. Well, something like that. It’s pretty epic.

So, if you get this weird hankerin and wonder where that word came from–just me again?–then you totally need to look up the OED. I mean, who wouldn’t be interested in knowing that the word “booger” was recorded to be in the English language in 1890 and it’s always meant mucus gunk from your nose.

OK, so now you might be thinking of words you would like to know about. Let me give you a quick simple run down of how to read an etymology.

First, another easy site that is pretty reputable is And don’t worry, the way you read etymology on this site is how you would for the OED too.

Say you want to look up the phrase “tongue twister.” You would type it in the search box and you’ll get something that looks like this: (note this is from
Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 9.45.37 AM

When you are reading etymologies, the first year that pops up in the explanation is typically assumed to be the first time it was found and/or recorded in history. So tongue twister came around 1875.

Second, you will typically find part of it’s definition or its story behind its usage in whatever language it came from.

Third, this one doesn’t have it, but sometimes it will say something like “from Old Norse” which means, simply put, that’s the language that word came from. And if you keep reading, sometimes you find that it was in all sorts of languages before it somehow came into English.

Fourth, if you want to know specifically the year it came about and the original language, you always go with the first year that comes up in the definition and the first language that gets listed.

If you really get into it, you’ll find LOTS of words have a Latin origin ultimately. Which if you know anything about history and the Roman empire, that’s not all that surprising.

That’s my secret (not so secret) guilty pleasure share with you today! OH and then there’s The Bachelor and Bachelorette, but that’s reserved for a glass of wine and another day.

Happy word searching!

What about you? Ever wonder about this? Every tried searching for word etymologies?? Am I the only one?!?!?! Please let me know I am not alone by commenting below. 🙂

Some of us blogging buddies are committed to writing more weekly on our blogs! We have a variety of topics we’ll be writing about! To check out these lovely ladies and where their writing is taking them, click on their blog links below! And as always, tip your waters.
Aimme at
Abbie at
Emily at
Harmony at


78 Songs That Should Be on Your Summer Playlist


My back is damp as I lean forward in my seat. My shirt pulls away from the leather and I hang my arm out the window. There’s something freeing when you are driving 55mph on a country highway and the windows are down and you brave the wind with your torpedo hair flapping out the window.

If you would have been out in the middle of nowhere-Iowa this weekend, you probably would have seen my little family and I driving, bringing this summer driving scene to life. Asher was getting fussy, I was getting tired of the curvy roads, Mike was tired of driving, so we rolled the windows down and cranked out my Summer Music Playlist.

I am a lover of music and I am a lover of lists of all sorts. But when it comes to music, I am particularly a lover of music playlists that connect with a season or a mood. If you were to scroll through my iPod you would see quite the variety of playlists. I have traditional playlists, like Christmas or Classical Music. Then I got my “Dancing-In-The Kitchen” list. Or “Spring Break.” If I am feeling lovey-dovey, I play my list titled “LURVE.” I even have a list I like to call “Purple.” I love to have playlists that tie in with the change of the seasons. I tend to associate certain songs with certain times of the year. And as we were making our way up to Iowa, I knew I would need my summer playlist. After all, Memorial Day is an official season setter for some of us!

78 Songs that should be on your summer playlist. Songs for the summer.

So, for fun, I am giving you my list of 78 songs you should have on your summer playlist. And if you don’t have one, then don’t be afraid to start! They are fun to make and an easy tradition to start! My husband has even gotten into the habit of asking about different playlists as we are traveling or hosting a party or as Christmas time approaches. (And if I’m being honest, I even have sub-Christmas playlists!! Eeeeek!) I couldn’t bring myself to put these in any particular order besides alphabetical, so enjoy them as they roll!

(I did exclude Christian songs because I have those as a separate list for the summer! Maybe another post?? 🙂 And I can’t guarantee clean language or videos in all of these either.

I know, some of these might seem cheesy, but when I hear them, I think of summer and I just can’t help myself!!!

By the way, some of these videos are pretty fun to watch–The Cranberries with the eclectic wave on the screen?!?! Or Billy Idol’s hair!

What about you?? Do you have any staple summer songs? Share in the comments for the rest of us to check out!!

  1. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough — Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
  2. All These Things I’ve Done — The Killers
  3. America the Beautiful (cuz of 4th of July 🙂 — Ray Charles
  4. Any Man of Mine — Shania Twain
  5. Anything Could Happen — Elli Goulding
  6. Are You Gonna Be My Girl — Jet
  7. Below My Feet — Mumford & Sons (by the way,  if you seen them live, they sound just as good!)
  8. Black Dog — Led Zeppelin
  9. Blood — The Middle East
  10. Born In The USA — Bruce Springsteen
  11. Boot Scottin’ Boogie — Brooks & Dunn
  12. Can’t Hold Us — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  13. Dead Sea — The Lumineers
  14. Difference Maker — NEEDTOBREATHE
  15. Dirty Paws — Of Monsters and Men
  16. Don’t Stop Believin’ — Journey
  17. Don’t Worry Baby — The Beach Boys
  18. Dreams — The Cranberries
  19. Elephant Love Medley — Moulin Rouge Soundtrack (Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor)
  20. New York (Empire State of Mind) — Jay-Z & Alicia Keys (struggled to find a good one here)
  21. Express Yourself — Charles Wright
  22. Fall In Love With The 80’s — Reliant K
  23. Feel Again — One Republic
  24. Fishin’ in The Dark — Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  25. Footloose — Kenny Loggins
  26. Friends in Low Places — Garth Brooks
  27. Get Lucky — Daft Punk
  28. Gloria — Them ( This is from the movie The Outsiders and has part of my name, so I’m biased 🙂
  29. Go Do — Jonsi
  30. Good Life — One Republic
  31. Hangin’ Tough — New Kids on The Block
  32. Have You Ever Seen The Rain — Creedence Clearwater Revival
  33. The Heart — NEEDTOBREATHE
  34. Her Man — Gary Allan
  35. Ho Hey — The Lumineers
  36. Hotel California — The Eagles
  37. How Far We’ve Come — Matchbox Twenty
  38. I Believe in a Thing Called Love — The Darkness
  39. I Get Around — The Beach Boys
  40. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For — U2
  41. I Want It That Way — Backstreet Boys
  42. I Will Wait — Mumford and Sons
  43. If I Ever Leave This World Alive — Flogging Molly
  44. It’s Tricky — Run DMC
  45. Keep Your Hands to Yourself — The Georgia Satellites
  46. Kokomo — The Beach Boys
  47. Learn Me Right — Birdy & Mumford and Sons
  48. The Man — Aloe Blacc
  49. Me & My Friends — Tim Myers & El May
  50. Mony Mony — Billy Idol
  51. Moves Like Jagger — Maroon 5
  52. My House — Flo Rida
  53. Old Pine — Ben Howard
  54. Oye Como Va — Santana
  55. Party in The USA — Miley Cyrus
  56. Pour Some Sugar On Me — Def Leppard
  57. Praan — Garry Schyman
  58. S.O.B — Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
  59. Say Hey (I Love You) — Michael Franti & Spearhead
  60. Shake It Off — Taylor Swift
  61. Shake It Out — Florence + The Machine
  62. Shower — Becky G  ( I know, I know…)
  63. Slow Ride — Foghat
  64. Spirit In The Sky — Norman Greenbaum
  65. Suit & Tie — Justin Timberlake (feat. Jay-Z)
  66. Summer of 69 — Bryan Adams
  67. Summertime — Kenny Chesney
  68. Sweet Home Alabama — Lynyrd Skynyrd
  69. Team — Lorde
  70. This Magic Moment — The Drifters
  71. Thunderstruck — AC/DC
  72. Ticks — Brad Paisley
  73. Til Kingdom Come — Coldplay
  74. Uptown Funk — Mark Ronson (feat. Bruno Mars)
  75. Wanna Be With You — Hootie and the Blowfish
  76. Wink — Neal McCoy
  77. Winter Winds — Mumford & Sons
  78. Young Blood — The Naked and Famous

Don’t forget to share you favorites for Summer in the comments below!!!