The “light” of delight

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The “light” of delight

A few weeks ago, we got a sizable snowstorm here in Pennsylvania. I’m a summer girl, so I’m not exactly thrilled about the white stuff, especially when it arrives in excess. But I have a curious toddler who loves the outdoors and seemingly all things weather, and he did enjoy watching the flakes fall. Yet, what seemed to REALLY catch his eye was a little moth on our front door (as pictured above). Every time we walked over to look at the snow, all he could do was smile, point and say “bug!” with great excitement, the kind you wish you could bottle up and save for a rainy day (but then again, he also loves rain).

That pure joy humans are able to experience is a gift, one I believe is inspired by God. I didn’t have to look hard to find a bit of biblical backup. Since kicking off my 2017 theme of “light,” I’ve been paying close attention to anything that has to do with light, especially Bible verses. I recently came across this one:

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

I was drawn to the word delight in this verse – in part, because I may overuse that word on a daily basis, thanks to my mom who also says it quote often, but also because it has “light” in it. So I wondered, is there a connection? I turned to my Strong’s concordance (which uses the King James Version of the Bible) to check it out. King James uses the word “rejoice” in this instance and when I looked up the Hebrew word “siys,” I discovered one of its meanings was “to be bright, i.e. cheerful.” Ooh did this make ME smile, maybe even bigger than my son’s repeated response to that moth.

If you substitute that description back into the verse, envision God being bright. I believe this verse can mean that God lights up about us. HOW COOL IS THAT?! Experiencing this, either as the person “lighting up” or the person over whom another lights up, is just such a special feeling. Pulling up to my house after work and seeing my son banging on the door shouting “mama” with a devilish grin is one of the best things about my day. Spending time with a friend you haven’t seen in ages, discovering that carton of ice cream in the freezer you’d forgotten about, getting recognition at work for a project on which you worked really hard. In the midst of our daily chaos, God grants us things to light up about, just as He does when he looks at us in His limitless love.

So friends, what makes you light up? Please comment below and let’s multiply our joys!

P.S. Ladies, I’ve stumbled upon a cheap drugstore makeup treat that really adds some “light up” glow – E.L.F Sunkissed Glow Bronzer. As we look forward to getting that true sunkissed look in the coming summer months, use this to fake it for now!

Super human

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Yep, that space in the title is purposeful.

Unlike the space in “extra ordinary” that caused my grimace a few years back. While working as a live meeting PowerPoint operator in a previous career, I gently pointed out this error to the presenter, who insisted he was right and refused to change it…and it was ALL over his presentation! Like me, his peers did not agree with him and he looked foolish.

But this week, I do agree with the space. I am feeling SUPER human – not superhuman and endowed with magical powers, rather fully flawed, and perhaps a bit extra ordinary!

I spent my day Monday running errands with my dear husband and toddler. On our way out of a home improvement store, we saw a deal on a grill too good to pass up.  Well, after we got it home and all set up in our yard and ready to grill our lunch during our son’s nap time, we found out our sweet deal really was too good to be true. It was not a propane-powered grill, but rather a natural gas grill. Say WHAT?! I never even knew those existed. So back to the store it went, on our neighbor’s borrowed trailer, killing our relaxing afternoon and lunch. And dare I mention, our son never actually did take a nap?

My mom calls me in the middle of all this and listens to my sob story patiently before breaking the news that my Uncle John had passed away. His heart stopped, and mine felt like it did too, right in the middle of my first world problem rant. My perspective of the day changed dramatically after this exchange.

Later in the week, in the midst of a snow storm and frustrating attempt to work from home while watching aforementioned toddler, I get a text that my friend is in labor! How exciting, and yet stressful, as I have to figure out childcare for my son, as I was asked to join her in the delivery room (more on that in a future post!). My once again gracious husband stepped up, called out of his night shift job (and he’s the top guy on his shift) and took over so I could go be with my sweet friend. I got to experience life’s best gift, the gift of birth and new life. And it could not have happened at a better time.

You see, my friends, we face challenges every day. Sometimes we rise above them, like superheroes. Other days, we falter. We complain, we lose, we fail. And we need to be okay with both results, because of this world and its seasons:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-14)

Praise our Father in heaven for the little gifts He gives us each day. We live in a broken world, but not without the hope of a happily ever after on the other side.

So despite my failures and ups and downs this week, I embrace my super humanity because it helped me connect with many, many people today, especially as I watched a live feed of my beloved uncle’s funeral in FL. He touched so many lives! And to see a baby being born and all the joy that can possibly fill up a delivery room and the hearts of parents and grandparents who so longed for this baby girl!

We only get to do this life once. So let’s be super humans, being real and open and not minding our faults and failures. Let’s love each other and do life with each other in all these “time to” moments.

It’s not you, it’s me.

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It’s not you, it’s me.

This post has been weeks in the making. As per my 2017 theme of light, I am identifying unhealthy eating and drinking habits, starting with coffee. Coffee by itself, in moderation, is NOT unhealthy, and many scientific studies show it has many health benefits. But the way I drink coffee is NOT healthy… due to the addition of 3-4 tbsp of sweetened creamer, which adds 120 calories and a hefty amount of sugar to this otherwise delightful nectar of the gods. So I set out on a journey to remove the crap I add to coffee – i.e. drink it black.

I found a sweet blog about how to purchase and prepare coffee to your liking, in an effort to drink coffee in its purest form. I was excited to be able to share progress with friends and readers, and possibly pictures of myself looking overjoyed while sipping plain, black coffee. While I followed a few tips of the aforementioned blog, I skipped ahead and just started drinking coffee black. And I realized something in the process – I don’t like coffee.

Say WHAT?

Then it happened. Coffee and I broke up. But, dear coffee, please know it’s not you, it’s me! Here, all these years, I tried to make you something you weren’t. I had to let you go so I could grow…

Okay, okay, this is sounding slightly ridiculous, but here is the moral of the story: sometimes, we do things in life and they become part of our routine, our habits, when maybe they shouldn’t. At some point, it’s good to question these things – your faith, your political views, your health, your finances – the hard stuff! In a time when nearly everyone has a very social or public opinion, we often feel obligated to pick a side. But rather than jumping on a bandwagon, we should take a pause and do a wee bit of soul searching. When we bring light into these areas of life, we may just discover we need to make some changes, ones that will have meaningful and long-lasting effects on our lives. Why? Because as a wise teenager once said:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.

And even if you aren’t missing life, you may not be living it to its fullest. Making the choice to quit coffee may seem trivial, but I know it’s one of many positive changes to come this year. So cheers to light in 2017 – bring it!

P.S. I am now drinking green tea (with raw honey – a much healthier addition), and we are very happy together.

2017: Year of Light

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2017: Year of Light

Yes, I know. 2016 has been a vicious year. I’ve read too many social media posts about the U.S. presidential election and sadness over celebrity deaths and how this YEAR is conspiring against us all. I’ve felt that way at times too. I’ve struggled as a mother to try to have it all together, but very often, I came up empty and felt like a failure. I have dear friends who faced divorce or loss of a parent. An old friend from college lost her battle to cancer, leaving behind a young son and husband on Thanksgiving.

In the midst of all of this, I clung to my faith and my 2016 “theme” which was Strength. Let’s just say the good Lord worked in many magnificent ways to reveal truth to me about this topic, most notably that always trying to do things in my own strength is futile and I need to lean on others and God to really thrive. One of my favorite Christmas gifts was the Strong’s Concordance, which will help me study the Bible more deeply and strengthen my faith – and how about the tie to my theme!

In preparing for 2017 and pondering my new theme, I felt very strongly that Light is what I need to focus on. Perhaps it was inspired from a line from my favorite Christmas songlet your heart be light. Or maybe it’s because I’m suffering from a slight case of seasonal affective disorder and I’m just clinging to whatever sunlight I can get! I feel like I have a lot to learn about how to lighten my burdens and develop better habits – especially financial and housekeeping – that will free my soul to enjoy life more abundantly. I am also seeking a light-er, healthier body this year.

My concordance (mentioned above) notes over 350 references to Light and its variations. I look forward to exploring many of these during my 2017 journey – it will be delightful!

I challenge you, friends, to define a theme for 2017. I find it way less stressful than a resolution and feel it can actually be more impactful as you let your theme pervade your life and bring light to things you may not even have considered when you kicked off the year. Please feel free to comment/share your 2017 aspirations below.

As I am desperately trying to teach my 18-month old to say by this weekend — Happy New Year.

My Christmas needs saving

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Today I got smacked right in the kisser by this calendar post.

It’s the week leading into Christmas and I’m finding myself to be a bit grinchy this year. And I love this season..the music, friendly gatherings, time off work, our cozy family room complete with wood stove and lovely decorated hearth.

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Cozy family room at Christmas

I  am blessed beyond measure – mom to a happy, healthy toddler and wife of a handsome, loving man and rock star dad. And still…my inner Scrooge has been rearing its ugly head for weeks.

So what gives? Or rather, who gives? I’m not giving myself a break.  My checklist is a mile long and I cringe every time I get close to crossing something off and my plans get foiled.  I’m also not giving myself the opportunity to relish what this season is actually about…another very special baby boy, Jesus.

That’s right, Jesus. Over 2,000 years ago, He left heaven and entered this crazy world  (well, pre-Christmas craziness, so how bad could it have been?), as a baby, born in a stable full of animals to a 15 or 16-year-old girl and her fiancé.  Now THAT would be a killer reality show moment! And every year, we have the opportunity to acknowledge His birthday, and here I am, whining and making it all about me!! I actually said a few weeks ago that I was annoyed that I’d have to go to church on Christmas morning. Um, excuse me, did I mention it’s HIS birthday?! How did I let things get so out of control?

Fast forward to today and this humbling calendar reminder. I’m going to make a conscious effort for the rest of 2016 to re-focus. Remember what, and who, really matters.

And in the midst of the mundane, I’m going to remember a King leaving all of glory to save me and all of us, making His entrance on an ordinary night to ordinary people. And this King celebrates you and me every day because He loves us. For this, I will delight in Him and enjoy celebrating Him this Christmas.


If you need a quick, cheap way to liven up one of the holiday’s most thankless tasks – washing the dishes – try this!

Cheap Entertainment

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This week was crazy. Worked late two nights, wrote my Lucky Life Editor contest finalist entry, and spent three much-needed nights in a row with friends. Tomorrow will be a day of rest-ish.

In the midst of this chaos, I am planning my sister-in-law’s baby shower. It’s turning out to be a significant expense so my “fun money” budget is basically obsolete this month. Instead of crying about it, I’m finding thrifty things to do, cheap entertainment one might say.

On Wednesday, I had the privilege of seeing a fine documentary, Miss Representation, at a local university for free! Thank you higher education! In a nutshell, the film shows how the media assigns value to women based on their youth, beauty, and sensuality, ultimately limiting their life outlook, potential, and career options. Whether you agree with this or not, it’s definitely food for thought. And, I’m definitely going to start scouring local publications and sites for more free movie screenings and events in my area. Why haven’t I done this til now?

Being the office party planner, I was also up late one night baking these amazing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, courtesy of The Food Network. I brought them to my office for a post-work  happy hour in honor of a colleague’s birthday and they were a hit! I am actually still awake now because I am baking more… can’t get enough! These are a delightful autumn twist on a classic favorite and they are super easy to make. I think baking is another great source of entertainment I ought to tap into more often. Sure, you need to run out and buy a few ingredients, but you can spend time listening to music while you mix up a batter, and afterwards, you get to eat yummy treats! And do share – don’t let the goods go to your hips!

Last batch of cookies is beeping – bed time! Sleeping is also a delightfully free activity I love.

Thank you, Triple A Cafe

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I am blessed to work with some great people in a small creative agency. My office space includes 2 other desks, occupied by some amazing women who share the same first initial “A.” Together, we make up the Triple A Cafe and we even serve delicious coffee daily from a red coffee pot. While we all enjoy our work, at times we feel we need an outlet to share our daily musings, passions, and areas of expertise. So we made a plan and set a deadline to each start a blog by December 16, 2011 (note that today is November 6th, thus I made the deadline).

I enjoy shopping, mostly the bargain type. From clothes to food to furnishings, I look for deals and find ways to be creative through them. And I’m always trying to outdo myself! I hope to share some of these real-life retail adventures with you.

More to come.

Thanks Triple A Ladies for your inspiration and for being my friends.

Coffee rules