It’s good to be back.

Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn't.  I'd understand either. But I haven't been blogging and I even took a month off from Instagram.  Hardly revolutionary or shocking in these staggering times we're living in.  I had decided to write it all off, not even beginning to know how to string words together on the coronavirus, mistreatment of blacks in America, and the many deeply disturbing things in the world.  In fact, I still don't know how to string words together about most of it. 

But then you know what? I listened to a short message from the pastor I listened to practically my whole life.  Two things stuck out from his short talk.  One were the words "life-giving".  The other? "I love people."  Yes and yes.  Very quickly, this summed things up for me. In my personal and private life, I hope and pray I am life-giving.  Also, I love people.  There is no qualifier before the word "people", just...people.  

And so, it is with those truths that in this season I find myself challenged to really get to know my neighbors, to have conversations about my own heart, truth, prejudices and wrong doings with the people closest to me and then to do something about it.  Last, to not hide in fear because I might say the wrong thing, but to share what is life-giving.  Because perhaps, maybe you'll start to recognize your very own life-giving moments and memories too? I think and *hope* the one thing we can all agree on right now is that the world needs more life. 

Life-giving photos, sentiments, words, smiles, meals, acts of kindness, music, art, and books. 

Here are my offerings: 
I hope you'll leave a little lighter,
a little brighter,
a little bit more of a fighter for what's good in your world and the good of the people in it. 

We, probably like you too, have found ourselves exploring local places like it's our job. 

How was your Fourth?  
I love this holiday. 
This year I told Brett "let's burn it down", meaning 2020. (lol)
We had an amazing night of fireworks, followed by two nights of fireworks sightings from our neighbors!

This is me, summer of 2020.
I got local peaches! Something I never do. 
What an absolute treat.

Been taking myself for walks to pray, breathe deep, stand still and notice, and capture the magic with my camera.
I will forever have a complete obsession with wildflowers. I'll never get over them!

I have tended these tomatoes like they're my babies.  My motivation is canned tomatoes, to store up for the fall and winter! 
The girls like to pick these and eat them right away. 
I have been painting, out of complete necessity. If you've been here long, you know this about me.  I always think of the band Need to Breathe and their explanation about the band name.  Basically it goes like this-what is it you have to do, in order to breathe? 
For me, it's reading (duh, I am a librarian after all) and painting.  
I just can't not paint. 
This busy, full table made me smile.  A very normal Saturday morning: a book (mine), puzzle (Anna's), art book (Betsy's) and leftover breakfast.  Oh, and coffee (always mine).
So pretty, that color!
We did camp for one weekend, I forget when but it was fun! 
Camping hasn't quite worked out of for us, as many things haven't this spring and summer.  It seems at times that disappointment is our most frequent friend. 
Yet, I'm trying to keep learning the lesson I've been speaking out loud to the girls. When everything and all our Plan A's and ideal vacations and trips and plans have been taken away, the one thing someone can't take from us is our attitude. We can be sad (and boy, have we been) and even cry and be deeply disappointed in how things are going, but then we have to choose.  Either stay deeply unhappy forever, or come up with Plan B, spontaneous fun, and a desire and will that joy will be ours. 

I truly believe this works! 
I've had my fair share of days I'd rather just lay in bed and not even bother. 
But, this rosy, steely attitude has taken me further and shown me much greater joy than lying in bed for days.
God has given us several rainbows the last few days and I feel like He's filling our hope back up!
I'm living that grad school life again. 
6 hours down, 6 to go in the next three weeks. 
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE being a librarian and learning all that there is to go along with it?
It's true! 
Come on now, it wouldn't be a normal blog post if I didn't share some outfit pictures from my cheap, dirty Wal-Mart mirror, now would it?
With all the mask wearing and glasses fogging up, I'm getting contacts for fall, I'll have to get used to seeing myself without glasses!

Also: wavy hair for the win.  I haven't used the blow dryer since MARCH and that makes me want to shout with happiness.
Homemade peach cobbler with a bit of coconut cream on mine, instead of vanilla ice cream.
Painted nails are back and that makes me very happy. 
I use Dazzle Dry polish and I am completely in love with it!
If I take my time and do a good job (around an hour or so) the polish lasts at least a week.  If not more! 

Also: Branch straw, from Trolls made me laugh.
I really have been taking pictures and the ones on this blog post aren't even all of them!
I have plans to make another book for people to purchase if they want, with photos not published on the blog and a list of good things. 
Speaking of that, I'm opening my Etsy art shop again! 
It was a clear, definite YES for me. 
I'm so excited!
I don't have a date yet but I'll tell you when I do!
Hair in bun, getting things done.
Also: if you need me, I'll be wearing skirts with knotted tees for daaaays.
See? I told you!
I made this tie dye shirt, by the way. My inner-90's child was so pleased!
Kimonos for life. I love them! They are the easiest thing to throw on and have an outfit look completely put together.  Plus, all that color and pattern!
Sent some happy mail recently.
One of my truest, best friends on the planet. 
I love Mary!
Our trip to meet totally got derailed, thanks to covid.  Who knows when we'll get to meet in person? But for now, happy mail, IG messages and video chats! 
Water will forever calm, heal, and relax me.
Buying local pottery!
I have driven past this place so many times but never knew they were open until Natalie (of Freckled Hen Farmhouse) posted about them.  This mug makes me ache for Florida because the blue reminds me of the ocean.
We tie-dyed! And now we're in love with tie-dye and want to dye everything.
See? Another skirt/knotted tee combo.

This will be in my Etsy shop sooner or later.
I have been enjoying the sales some this summer, thanks to the virus and online shopping. I got this shirt from Ann Taylor Loft and really like it a lot!
This year has given us coronavirus, but it has also given us kayaks. We are a kayaking family now!
The kids and their cousins have been catching lots of crawdads this summer.
Another Ann Taylor Loft shirt.  Also, Wal-Mart jeans are just about the only ones I'll wear now!
Time and Tru is my favorite of theirs!
I printed off some photos from Social Print Studio and then put inspiring stickers on them before I hung them all on the wall.

Feeling good in this shirt from Cracker Barrel (of all places!) and jeans from Wal-Mart. Necklace by my sweet, smart, talented niece!
Speaking of sweet, smart, and talented, Mary made Illustrated Faith scripture/art cards and I couldn't love them more! You can get your own here!
We LOVE Grandma and Papaw's house!
It was VERY hard and sad for me to go months without seeing them and boy was I glad when we got to resume visits! 
Betsy and I painting a chair at their house!
Reunited and it felt so good!
Lol. I don't even remember what this was, but I think it was a kale/veggie/healthy stuff combo with a good dressing on top. It looks delicious, doesn't it? 

This is where we stop for now.  As we enter July, I'm looking at grad school and keeping up with the girls. The usual exercise and keeping close friendships, picking up the camera and pen to document the good. 
And questions, so many questions that come more quickly than I can process or answer about the next month ahead.  What will school/our lives look like? 

I just don't know. 
The only thing I know is that I'll keep looking for the light.
Jesus has never, ever, EVER left me and He has turned my darkness into light over and over. 
I'll preach it 'till eternity. 
I'm happy to be back here and I hope you'll keep stopping by to read and remember, there is GOOD to be had and found in the world. 
Sending you light and love.