Fridayness

I’m still all over the place.  I can’t nail down one solid thought…not for the life of me.  All the randomness floating around in this wild brain of mine.  The littles and I just got home from lunch at the park with Josh Kelley.  I might have positioned our quilt, not once, but twice, near a red ant homestead.  And a picnic with our littlest can be quite the challenge when she wants to touch everything and stick her finger in everything and dump everything out and drink all the drinks.  And I stepped in gum and a wasp hit me in the forehead.  For most of the lunch I cursed in my head.  True story.

Want to know what I have decided is zero fun?  Picking out and then actually purchasing appliances.  Pretty confident appliances are the very last thing on the planet I want to spend money on…especially when you have a bathtub which does not hold water.  The bathroom and I will forever be at odds…I hold grudges.  And even when you go super cheap on your choice of appliances it still costs an arm and a leg.  Why, oh why.  I will say, the appliance guys kind of made it all worth it though.  They were two older gentlemen and they were the kindest in all the land.  Amon and our littlest loved them.  And one of them even said, “I see you got an undercut.  Looks good.”  Well that right there made my day.  I wanted to hug his neck and give him a bag of cookies…only I ate all the cookies yesterday from all the angst of picking out appliances alone with a 3-year-old and 18-month-old.  Sigh.

Have you seen the new Noonday Collection fall line???  Well stop right now and take a peek.  It’s amazing.  I could easily buy a small fortune in their new stuff.  So much to love.  I love supporting companies which think outside of their selves and stretch those hands out far and wide.  It’s just a good good thing.  Make your purchases doubly count and choose Ashley Mills as your ambassador at check out.  I feel like hosting a party is in my near future :)

I have 2 Bible journaling classes this weekend…and not in our home.  Remember, it’s me, the extrovert trapped in an introvert’s body, so I might be a tad on the anxious/nervous side about it all.  And yet very excited.  I even have to use my computer during one of the classes to show my examples via some sort of projector media.  Oh the nervousness.  Technology makes me all sweaty.  And there are still plenty of spots, and by plenty I mean all of them :) for September’s Bible journaling class.  You can check out the details HERE.

I read this passage yesterday in Colossians and cried my eyeballs out.  This is from The Message:

Colossians 1:18-20 “He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.”

Boo-hooed you guys.  I was a goner.  What kills me, what really gets at my heart…everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding…oh my.  No one is an outsider because there is no outside in Jesus.  We are His and He is ours.  We are welcomed, cherished, loved, adored, created in His image.  The worth we have in Christ absolutely slays me…plenty of room for every last one of us.

And Alissa and I did two new HIIT runs this week.  Crazy good ones.  THIS ONE and THIS ONE are awesome if you want to get a major sweat on.  I’m at a place in my head now where I love feeling strong VS thin. And these two runs made me feel strong.

That’s about it.  We’ve got car rider line in a mere hour and then it’s off the Sonic happy hour because it’s what we do on Fridays.  Oh happy day!

Enjoy your weekend!!!

8 Things

1.  I’m on a new lunch kick which includes an almond cracker, mustard, turkey, pickle and cheese.  It’s divine.  Amon loves it too, but he loves pickles and cheese way too much to wait and devours those right away.  Pickles rule our world currently.

2.  I took the plunge and got an under cut.  I let my friend Brooke do it and honestly, I totally love it.  She did an awesome job.  Afterwards I drove through Taco Bell and ate it alone in my quiet car before having to pick up kids.  It was like a mini vacay.  I snagged some of my hair for Brooke’s picture and it reminds me of a rats nest.  And taking a picture of the side of my head proved to be quite difficult for me…I feel like I look very, ummmm, serious and somber…a true deep thinker.

3.  If you’re local you should check our my brother Chris’ Made South events in September:  Supper & Songwriters at Carnton Plantation, BBQ & Bourbon Market Preview at Harlinsdale Farm and Made South Market at Harlinsdale Farm.  We will actually be out of town and I hate we are missing it.  I’d be there in a heartbeat.  You can check out tickets HERE.  And 10% of proceeds from all three events will benefit Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital of Vanderbilt at Williamson Medical Center.

4.  We’re inching closer.  The Ngungwane playground fund is officially at 24%.  Every bit counts and every bit is so exciting.  You can make your tax deductible donation HERE.

5.  This is where Amon waits when our littlest one is still napping and he’s awake before she is.  He sits and listens and looks under the door and sometimes is a tad on the loud side.  They’re kind of thick as thieves.

6.  My nephew Cooper, who made Josh Kelley and I an aunt & uncle, turned 15 this past weekend.  You guys, I can’t even.  He’s way taller than me and so darn cool it’s killer.  How can this tiny baby nephew who use to call me Wa-wa and give me crab kisses be this big?!?!?!  He’s like a full on man-child now.  Big kids tend to be fond of cash money gifts so we obliged, but we did buy him giant balloons and then I made him let me take pictures of him doing what he loves most.  15 is kind of a big deal.  Geez I love him.

7.  More orders.  Key fobs, name pillows and canvases oh my.  If  you’d like to place an order message me HERE.

And 8.  I have a new go-to dinner with THIS chicken recipe (I only use a 1/4 cup of everything instead of 3/4 and it’s amazingly delicious…and I nixed the cilantro & lime & magic green sauce because I always run out of time and start eating the chicken the minute it comes off the grill…sooooo good) and THIS cooked veggie recipe (I use any and all veggies, but the cauliflower is my fave.)  It’s easy and quick and I can prep everything the night before and really quickly.  Make it and enjoy!

Happy Thursday!

Doing Ordinary Well

You guys, I feel like I type that phrase a lot “you guys”.  I might use it too much, but I feel like I know you people so “you guys” feels appropriate.  Anyways…you guys, I have been so out of sorts lately I feel like I haven’t had a thing to really type.  We’ve been in the thick of life, but in a good way.  Things are busy and our day-to-day is full.  So many things to get done in the short 24 hours and sleep is at the far end of the list these days.  I’m tired!

One thing God keeps reminding me is to do what we’ve been given to do with great care and love…do what needs to be done…the ordinary…well.  Sometimes I trick myself into thinking I need big, grand plans to serve the Lord, in reality I just need to do what needs to be done with extraordinary love for Him.  We have to buy groceries so talk with the people at the grocery store.  We know our Kroger peeps by name and they know us.  Ask people about themselves, hand out compliments like crazy and encourage, encourage, encourage.  Kids have to be taken to school.  Bake cookies for those relentless teachers who are in the car rider line every single morning…God bless their souls…extra jewels in their crowns.  Bag up extra cookies for your kids teachers…goodness knows they need them.  When someone crosses your mind don’t let them not hear they were on it.  Let them know…text, email, mail a card.  I personally love a good snail mail to show up it our mailbox.  It makes my day.  We need to hear we’re thinking about each other.  Let’s pray for each other and then let each other know were doing so.  It’s a spirit lifter.  Isn’t it nice to know were not doing this life solo…we’re in it together.  And isn’t it funny how all too often the people who are closest to us…like my favorite Josh Kelley…they get overlooked in this department.  I’m so bad at assuming he just knows he’s on my mind or I’m praying for him.  I need major improvement in this area.  Everyday I see more and more how loving God and loving others is not complicated like I make it sometimes.  I want to go into each day with an open heart, open eyes and open hands.

We’ve been slightly consumed with our foster parenting lately.  We might have procrastinated until the bitter end to get in all our required training before our 1 year date.  This means Josh Kelley and I have been having lots of Monday/Thursday date nights in a DCS office.  Romantic and swoony right?!?!  Nothing says hot date night like a Jersey Mikes sub, a 2004 government slide show and a handful of hard candy.  We’ve also found ourselves spending more and more time with our littlest’s parents.  I told Josh the other day I feel more like a grandmother now.  It feels like we’ve gained 2 adult kids and a granddaughter.  We love this couple.  We love their daughter.  And the more time we spend with them the more we get to know them and their personalities and the more our love just grows.  We are cheering them on and going crazy in the stands…running plum out onto the field in celebration to say “We are for you!  We are in this together!”

We all sat around a big table, along with some of their family, eating pizza to celebrate our littlest’s momma’s birthday.  I found myself getting lost in the sanctity of the moment.  These are the things only God does.  These are the moments only He can orchestrate and invite us to be apart of.  Two families brought together by not an ideal situation and yet there we were…eating, laughing, singing happy birthday and polishing off almost an entire Baskin Robbins Oreo ice cream cake.  What a privilege God allowed us to be apart of.  This foster parent gig is not easy, but man oh man, what an honor.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense or not.  My heart feels like a hot mess 98.1% of the time, but I know there is great love to be found in the ordinary…in the mundane day-to-day…that we can indeed show Jesus to those around us just by doing the ordinary things well and with great love.

Here’s to another ordinary Wednesday filled with extraordinary love opportunities.

September Bible Journaling Class

September isn’t even here yet and it has proven itself to be a tad on the crazy side for us Kelleys.  We’ve kicked off ballet, baseball and swimming plus work and life in general and coaching starts up this week for Josh Kelley.  When we started looking at dates for September’s Bible journaling class we ended up deciding to try out a Sunday afternoon this time around.  So we shall see what the outcome is :)

So here are the details:

When:  Sunday September 20th

Time: 1pm-4pm

Where:  Our house…near Nashville, TN

Cost: $50

This month’s funds will go towards the Ngungwane playground fund again.  We’re at 22% and we’re going to keep after it.

This class will be 3 hours in length and we will talk about the process of Bible journaling and I will share how I go about this each day.  We will also talk about supplies and tips, tricks and techniques I use.  There will be time for questions throughout the class as well as time for you to do some of your own Bible journaling and practicing.

Each person will bring their own supplies.  You can read about the supplies I use on THIS POST, but please feel free to bring the items which work for you.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PURCHASE THE ITEMS I USE.

There are 16 spots available for this class.  If you would like a spot email me at pitterpatterart at gmail dot com or Message Me Here.  You can reserve more than one spot, so chat with your family and friends and make it a girls afternoon.  This will also be a kid free time…sorry, no kiddos.

I am teaching this class to larger groups, women’s events, conferences and private parties/small groups, etc now.  It totally delights my heart to bring the class to you.  You can message me HERE if this is something you are interested in.  Every penny from these events also goes directly towards Ngungwane’s playground fund.  A win, win!

One of the things I so love about these classes is meeting new ladies.  I’m one of those extroverts trapped in an introverts body.  I love to meet new people and chat, but it’s hard for me so having people come to our house or arranging a meet up is like playing friend match maker for me…takes the hard part out of the mix :)

Thank you as always for reading and being so kind.  You guys blow me away with your thoughtfulness and encouragement.  Hope your day is awesome.

Happy Tuesday!

Thoughts From The Couch

*Harper isn’t feeling her best today.  My head is swirling with thoughts of strep or mono.  Hmmm.  We shall see this afternoon.  But for now were posted up on the couch…I’m working on my computer and she’s playing iPad games and watching movies.  The two littles are asleep.  This makes me want to say “Praise Jesus” because whew, an 18-month-old with a slight attitude is no joke.  But I digress.

*I have decided I’m going to start giving away flowers in all the pickle jars which are accumulating.  I feel like this is a pretty innovative idea.

*Amon pulled out an entire draw of silverware onto the floor in our kitchen today.  Let’s just say I’m afraid the drawer…which on first type I seriously spelled it droor :) I need a nap…is unsalvageable.  This will make reason #13 as to why we need new kitchen cabinets.  Oy.

*I’m still putting along through Philippians which I LOVE!!!!  Today I got a little sidetracked and ended up back in Matthew for a bit, but so glad I did.  We talk A LOT in our house about the power in our words.  We need reminders.

*I’ve been thinking about dreads.  And ones wrapped in colorful yarn.  I feel like it’s inevitable once I get my brain really stuck on something.  Now who wants to learn how to dread.

*Our bed is still unmade for the day and it’s calling my name.  It’s all cold and shuffled like.  Perfect for a nap.

Josh & Laura Kelley Fun Fact #67:  We make our bed almost every single morning.  It makes me feel like our house is cleaner than it really is.  It also provides space to throw all the laundry.

*After picking everyone up at school the other day, we ran into Joanns.  I never let the kids get treats at check out because with 5 kids that adds up fast and even though I’m madly in love with sugar we really try to limit treats during the week and save them for the weekend, but this was their lucky day.  Joanns had tons of clearance checkout candy anywhere between .25-.50.  I told everyone they could choose one thing and you guys, they went crazy!  Hudson picked Wonka Randoms.  They’re these gummies and after he shared one with me and I heard all the kids reactions to them as they traded their candy with one another “I got a foot and an alarm clock” “I got a bicycle and trash can” I soooo wish I had bought them out.  They are the funniest shaped gummies ever.  Teapots, unicorns, palm trees, badminton birdies, a monkey’s face…so many hilarious things.  Wonka does it again.

*We’re at 22% of our playground goal.  This is exciting because that’s almost a 1/4 of the way there.  $16,250 is a lot of money, so every bit counts.  I’m going to continue to tell you about this sweet playground because it’s easy to lose the passion and fervor when you come home from a trip like this one…it’s easy to become distracted with life around us…but I’m determined to keep this fire stoked…to remember these awesome kids and these amazing people…this community which we have made a commitment to.  I just keep praying and asking God to do what only He can do.  Please consider making a tax deductible donation HERE towards the playground and consider sponsoring a kiddo or joining us on a trip.

*I’m going to make THESE really soon.  I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately.  I just re-read that last sentence and it made me a little sad…and embarrassed feeling.  #ivegotprobs

 *And I’ve been thinking about getting some workout tanks since some of my tees are full of holes.  I think these would do nicely.

Now I’m off to continue hanging on the couch!

Happy Thursday.

What A Day

All the kids were out of the house today which meant I accomplished a massive to-do list.  Orders and emails and all those little things which just pile up and a Target trip solo…which was like a slice of heaven even if I was purchasing things like dishwasher tablets…and the scheduling of 5000 appointments for our littlest.  Maybe not 5000, but it sure does feel like it.  Foster care is crazy amazing, but equally crazy exhausting trying to keep up with everything…it semi consumes us…and makes us lose our mind when all the working parts of foster care are just not working quite right…so many moving parts.  It’s a process for sure.  We’re learning patience and passion.  We’re learning when to listen and when to fight.  We’re learning what we already knew…that family is worth fighting for.  It’s been a day.  I need a cookie :)

We’ve only been in this foster care gig for just shy of a year so far…I kind of can’t believe it’s already been that long…and I’m still learning so many, many things.  I did want to share a little foster care tip today though.  We always choose to celebrate our littlest parents’ on their special days.  I know this isn’t always an option for everyone, but it is for us, so it works great.  We made a special canvas for her mom on Mother’s day along with some yummy chocolate and a card.

 And for Father’s Day we made her dad the sweetest Chatbook of all the pictures of his little girl in the time she’s been with us.  This is my new favorite gift.  Chatbooks are crazy, crazy easy to put together (computer or app…I used the app on my phone), really reasonably priced and he loved it.  Her mom just gushed about it and her birthday is coming up soon, so I ordered her a new one today.  I’m thankful for pictures to document this time with her not only for us, but for her parents too.  I try and always think about how I would feel to be on the flip side of this situation and how desperately I would want to be included in my kids’ life and see what all I was missing.

Check out Chatbooks and use my code to get your first book free.

And here’s some recent work.  I am open for orders so if you would like to place an order send me a message HERE.

Name pillows

10×10 canvases

6×6 canvas

 Hope you guys had a great day…possibly quite productive too :)

Happy Wednesday!

What I’m Learning

Life is starting to pick up around these parts.  School is in and we’re getting into our groove.  We’re working on routines and earlier bedtimes and wake times.  We’re entering a new season where each big kid is doing a different activity.  We limit them to one…and if they want to sit a season out they totally can do that too.  We’re about to start the wild juggle of 3 small bodies needing to be in 3 different places at once plus life in general.  We’re working on how we work together as a family.  We’re working on how we love together as a family.  We’re talking through scenarios and situations which arise while the kids are down the street at school.  I’ve already had to talk to Harper about how “some people just aren’t nice” “we don’t know what their home situation is like or what they are working through in their own heart” “it’s hard, but we have to work at loving” “not everybody is going to like you”.  I lay it all out and tell her how even when you are an adult you are faced with these situations and scenarios.  I’ve reminded everyone we don’t always make the best decisions ourselves…we are all flawed sinners.

I find myself thinking far too long about how it’s easy for us to feel like outsiders.  Comparison is a joy stealer.  I find myself spending too much time with hurt feelings or this feeling of just not fitting in. Isn’t it funny how even as adults we still can feel kicked out of the club or unwanted?!?!   I find myself thinking far too long and hard about myself in general.  Why do we put so much confidence in flesh when our worth is in Christ alone.

I’m reading in Philippians right now and I am loving it.  Like all the love for Paul right now.  Galatians wasn’t my favorite, but I really enjoyed Ephesians and now Philippians is rocking my world and I’m not even done with chapter 3 yet.  It’s reminding me of my purpose in Christ…what our goal not only as individual followers of Christ is, but also what our family goals should be together working as one unit, but yet individuals.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

(ESV & The Message)

Pray with a glad heart.  Be motivated by pure love.  Aim for a flourishing finish.  Be confident in the Lord.  Speak the word boldly without fear.  Rejoice.  Our courage and unity will show them what they’re up against.  Count others more significant than ourselves.  Everything He wants to do in and through us will be done, so we can hardly wait to continue on our course.  May our love flourish and that we will not only love much, but well.  Live a lovers life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus would be proud of.  Get everyone involved in the glory of God.  Be joyful.  Encourage and comfort.  Show affection, sympathy, joy, love, humility and interest for others.  Be emptied out, take the servant roll.  Humble ourselves.  God is to be highly exalted.  Don’t grumble or dispute.  Provide people with a glimpse of the living God.  Shine as lights in the world.  Carry the light-giving Message into the night.  Be poured out.  Cheer on and serve one another.  Show mercy.  Be glad in God.  Be found in Him.  Put no confidence in the flesh.  What we once thought was so important, really isn’t compared to the high privilege of knowing and serving Christ.  Know Him.

Everything points back to Christ and these characteristics of His.  Nothing says to think about ourselves…instead empty ourselves out for others…be poured out on His behalf.  It’s so easy to get swept up into what the world says is important.  It’s easy to think about ourselves…our feelings…our wants…our desires…our agenda…how to advance “us”…make our life or our cause grander…and yet Jesus lived a life so contradictory to this.  He chose the servant roll.  Not just loving, but loving well.  He chose the rare things: love, mercy, kindness, acceptance, grace, encouragement, sympathy, humility and crazy interest in others…shining for the world to see.  Being the light we should follow.  Leading by example.

I know I fight my flesh everyday.  I know Satan knows exactly where to strike…what really gets at me…what really gets at our family.  Today I find myself confident in Him…in His love and grace and His ability to stand firm and fight for us.  I’m taking thoughts captive.  I’m praying for His peace to wash over.  I’m making a conscious effort to remember we are to be emptied out for Him.  May He be exalted and His glory known.

Smorgas

A little this and a little that today.  I try to prep some food ahead of time each Sunday.  Easy things like tuna, boiled eggs, pre washed veggies and fruits, baked chicken…just things to make day-to-dayness a little easier on everyone for lunches and dinners.  My new favorite protein punch are these crazy easy fish cakes.  They are sooooooo good!!!  I make a batch ahead of time just to have on hand for lunches or whatever.  And I never use lemon because I just never have a lemon.  Make them asap!

picture source

I’m going to attempt my first ever pot/crockpot of beans.  Ever.  I bought pinto and white beans.  I hear it’s crazy easy.  My mom use to tell me this and my MIL still tells me.  I’m going to finally act all adult like and make beans.  Grandeur is my life.

Lots of orders still coming up.  Thank you!!!  You keep my hands busy and my heart full.  More and more key fobs.

  So our Kroger is getting better.  On Friday I was feeling extra brave and let Amon push around one of those tiny shopping carts.  These are new to us and you would have thought he won the candy lottery or something.  And it might have been the cutest thing ever watching him push it up and down the aisles and load my groceries for me.  I died.

When we got home I ran to the restroom while he insisted he would put the groceries away for me.  Lately I feel like I can’t remember anything and it completely slipped my mind about Amon and the groceries…until I opened the refrigerator a few hours later.  Doesn’t everyone keep their cake mixes, vanilla and powdered sugar chilled?!?!?!  He’s a good one.

Amon and our littlest have been hiding in one of our kitchen cabinets.  It makes me laugh/annoys the fire out of me.  We don’t have a pantry so there’s food in that cabinet…including crushable food…like chips, popcorn, etc.  As I walked by I heard Amon whisper, “let’s eat popcorn.”

Solomon has always loved spicy food.  The spicier the better in his mind.  He loves peppers and jalapeños, but this weekend we discovered he’ll even eat them like an apple…which kind of grosses me out.  Geez I love this kid!

The other day Hudson and Solomon were totally twinning for school.  They dress themselves so I didn’t even notice until they got home that afternoon.  And then there was Solomon’s socks, necklace and Hudson’s hand around Sol’s shoulder which made this a keeper.

And I feel like I need to report Alissa and I did not get the treadmills this morning.  Outwitted by our worthy opponent again.  We win some, we lose some.  We did however do THIS workout instead with some Lorde blaring and a disco ball spinning and loved it!!!!  We used the squat rack for some added weight to squats and kettle bells with the lunges.  Kind of can’t wait to feel the pain tomorrow.

 Hope you guys have an amazing Monday! Here’s to a great week.