I love a surprise. A good surprise. I think I love surprises because my personality conflicts with routine. You know the good kind of surprises I’m talking about:
- the surprise party
- the surprise visitor (the one where the kid doesn’t expect his/her parent to be home from deployment yet, then he turns around and SURPRISE! it’s mom or dad. I’m not even a crier but this one gets me every single time).
I feel the need for a disclaimer here…please do not surprise visit me. Just give me a little heads up. I do not keep a company ready house. Early on in our marriage, Stefan would tell people to “pop in anytime.” That caused some heated dialogue and quiet moments of reflection for him (some might call it the silent treatment. whatevs). I was SO mature. If you must “pop in” know that every other Thursday my house is cleaned by professionals because cleanliness is next to godliness and our greatest weakness is someone else’s strength and I don’t want to try to do something that someone is gifted in and can do better or some crap like that. I like to justify things.
- the surprise gift for no reason
- the surprise check in the mail for one million dollars (this one actually hasn’t happened, yet, but I’m naming and claiming, people).
- the surprise weight loss without trying (this one, too, hasn’t happened, yet, but I think I would be so appreciative and humble if God saw fit to allow this. I would use it for good).
ANYWAY, I think that’s the longest intro to any blog post ever. What I’m trying to say, Friends, is “Surprise! Friday Favorites is back!”
Imagine my surprise when my eldest called (actually texted because I don’t talk on the phone) and asked me if I wanted to come for Mom’s Weekend hosted by his fraternity. Um, not just yes.
(Yes, this function isn’t new this year. BYX hosted mom’s weekend the previous two years. Yes, I did not get an invite previously. Yes, it always falls on the first weekend of March madness. Yes, that’s exactly why I didn’t get the invite previously. And, maybe also because I threaten to wear a prom dress or show up with his little league button pinned to my top.)
My favorite daughter and I loaded our two full-sized suitcases for the 48 hour trip and we hit the road. In our defense, we weren’t sure what the weather was going to be like and what if, by chance, we needed to change clothes 4 times a day. While I don’t like routine, I do like to be prepared.
We had the best time! But, I think my favorite part of the entire weekend was that I got the invite to play a game, not only with Kaden and his sweet girlfriend, but also a whole group of their friends. At one of the frat houses. ON A SATURDAY NIGHT.
These young adults give me such hope for our future.
Which is ironic considering the game we played requires lying, manipulation, and deception; BUT, it was SO FUN.
It’s currently one of my favorite things. It took a couple of rounds to catch on, but once you learn it, you are hooked. I ordered it as soon as I got back to Waco.
The Resistance. (click on image for direct link if you want)
The quick explanation is that most members of the group are “the good guys” while there are a few “spies” mixed in the group and you have to figure out who the spies are before the mission fails. There is a lot of talking, debating, arguing, and blaming. It’s most fun played with more than 6 people. Probably not appropriate for the youngsters (maybe 12 and up? Kyle (almost 11) played and he didn’t quite get the concept).
Whenever I take a long car ride (like going to Arkansas), I make sure to load up on books. Y’all know I love to read (I will eventually devote an entire blog post to Book Club). Unfortunately, I get incredibly car sick so I can’t read in the car. In fact, most of the time I drive because I get so sick. I can listen, though.
People often ask me how I read as much as I do and my answer is another one of my favorite things.
It may be cheating the system a little bit, but I listen as much as I read, maybe more so. I’ve never been much of a systems-follow-the-rules-gal, anyway.
I REALLY love when the book has Whispersync because then I can switch back and forth from reading on my kindle to listening on audible. It syncs up to my current location without missing a beat.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite book I read last year. It’s actually in my top 5 favorite fiction books of all time. You will want to talk it through with someone, and at the very least, you will want to ask your friends to pray for these sisters. And, you will be serious in your request. I understand this because these sisters are REAL AND NEED PRAYER.
If you need to talk to me about it, I will gladly meet you for coffee, lunch, whatever. These things need to be discussed and processed. Let it out, sister (or brother). Let it all out.
Lastly, if I’m being completely transparent, this isn’t one of my favorite things; however, it is helpful and beneficial for my husband and he is one of my favorite things.
For over a year, Stefan has tried to have “the talk” with me. Not that talk. The other talk. The one that makes me nervous, makes me cry (I don’t understand this reaction at all), and immediately puts me on the defensive.
The money talk.
Stefan is the most gracious person I know. For real, he’s a saint. He has not ever once guilted me or shamed me for spending. He has simply said, “This is our financial picture. I think it would be helpful for you to know it so we can stay within the guard rails.”
Here’s what I hear (in the best Charlie Brown teacher’s voice I can muster), “Whamp, whamp, wha, wha, whamp, guard rails. Guard rails mean rules. Rules mean I’m pinned in. Pinned in means jail. No one tells me what to do. Don’t put Baby in a corner.”
You can see how sometimes this might be an area of conflict for us. And, also, pray for Stefan. He’s married to someone who gets very irrational when finances come up.
In an effort to usher in peace for him (which is ultimately what I want!) I downloaded an app at the beginning of the year to help me track my expenses and stay within the very generous guard rails we’ve established.
It’s simple, easy, and a great starting place. For me, it is easier than envelopes, Mint, or anything else I’ve tried. The only thing I wish it had is a sharing/syncing feature. Stefan can’t access it or see the spending unless he gets on my phone.
It’s been VERY eye-opening for me. When it’s all said and done, I DO want to be faithful with everything (big or small) God has entrusted to me: kids, house, talents, relationships, and money.
And, since it’s almost 1:00 in the afternoon and my fitbit says I’ve walked 349 total steps today, I should probably go do something productive. Like clean my house. Or take a walk.
That’ll surprise everybody.
You know that friend that you run into every now and again; and, inevitably, you remember how much you like this friend and think to yourself, “I just don’t spend enough time with this person. I really like her.” So, as your conversation wraps up you mention, “We should go to lunch sometime.”
Then, you run into said friend a few months later and you hug, catch up, and as your conversation wraps up you mention, “Really, we should go to lunch soon. I mean it.”
Several more months pass. Same song. Second verse, “For real, lunch soon. Let’s not just talk about it.”
Eventually, you see said friend and she hasn’t seen you yet, so you walk really quickly hoping that she doesn’t see you because one, you’re embarrassed you’re so terrible at follow through and two, you hope she’s not mad at you because you just can’t seem to get your crap together.
So, I’m hoping you’re not mad at me and really, I am embarrassed it’s been so long.
Instead of giving you ALL THE REASONS why I haven’t blogged lately (they will come in later posts, pinky promise), I thought I’d blog about something I know you will LOVE. Think of it as my make-up present to you.
My sister, Val, had the (enviable) privilege of being on season 3 of HGTV’s huge hit, Fixer Upper.
I know, right?
As a long time Wacoan, it’s so strange (but exciting) to see our #WacoTown step onto the world’s stage. Thanks to Chip and Joanna, Waco is now a hot spot destination. Which is crazy to most of us who live here. Believe me, when I was 15, I could not wait to leave this town because “there is nothing to do here.” Now, we get to watch our sweet-little-baby-town blossom into a star. It’s almost like J.Lo’s transformation from Fly Girl to Vegas Girl. Almost.
I sat down with Val (like a real reporter except exact opposite) and asked her about the process, the show, Chip and Jo, and what her house looks like now. We asked for questions from social media and you guys had A LOT of questions. Hopefully, I asked her everything you want to know.
Me: How did you get picked for the show? What was the process?
Val: I submitted an application online, skyped with casting producer, and after that, signed a contract. But, I think the process is different for every person.
Me: How long was the process from when you first submitted your application to day one of filming?
Val: Well, it’s hard to answer because I really think each couple (on the show) has a different experience and timetable depending where the show is in the season. For us, it was about a year from when we submitted to when we started filming, but, we signed a contract while they were filming season 2 so we thought maybe we were going to be on that season. Basically, we started the process in February 2014, but started filming February 2015.
Me: Once all the interviews, applications, and contracts were signed, and house was secured how long did the actual renovation take?
Val: 2 1/2 months. Middle of March 2015 to the end of May 2015.
Me: How much design input did you have?
Val: I sent pictures of spaces I liked so they knew my style; and, I told them I wanted the honed black granite and marble countertops for the kitchen. I also said I wanted subway tile and wood floors. That was it. I trusted them with all the other design decisions.
I also know Joanna’s style and wanted the look that she has perfected. I wanted the white cabinets, the shiplap, the subway tile. There is no one that does it better as far as I’m concerned. Her signature style is farmhouse, rustic, and white so I’m always surprised when people (on social media) offer critiques like, “I’d like to see wood cabinets or not so much shiplap.” It’s like asking Justin Beiber to sing opera. That’s not his gig. Let him do what he does best.
Me: Really? That’s the analogy you’re going to give?
Val: It was all I could think of in the moment.
Me: This question is from your instagram post: Does Joanna do all the design?
Val: She definitely has the vision and the final say in design, but like all great designers, no one works alone. She has an amazingly talented team.
Here’s what a lot of people may not know, Joanna isn’t a surprise to Waco like she is to the rest of the world. She’s been a Waco staple for design and inspiration long before HGTV. You don’t get to be on HGTV without immeasurable talent and proven work.
Me: THE NUMBER ONE QUESTION PEOPLE ASK: Do you get to keep all the stuff they stage on reveal day?
Val: Some things. For example, I got to keep the custom table that Clint made for my craft room. And, the lighting fixtures stay (someone asked about that). Joanna gifted several things–the ‘M’ sign in the living room, the botanical print, and the color-swatch prints in the craft room.
The furniture, decor, rugs, etc. are not included in the budget, but are available at cost.
Me: What did you buy/keep from the staged house?
Val: The coffee table, the bar stools in the kitchen and craft room, the chalkboard sign in the kitchen, and I tried my hardest to convince my sweet husband and family that I should purchase the thousands of dollars bookshelves.
Seriously, on reveal day, your emotions are so high and you look around at the beauty that is now your home and you want everything…and you tell yourself you’ll never be able to find bookshelves that beautiful ever again in your whole life. Thankfully, not everyone was caught up in the emotion of the day. I was wisely counseled to “back away slowly from the bookshelves.”
Me: What other rooms get done?
Val: Whatever rooms you want to include in your budget. For us, we did the game room, too. It just wasn’t on the show. I really want to put signs on the doors of the rooms that didn’t get renovated that read “Ran out of money.”
Me: Is the budget accurate?
Val: It was in our case.
Me: On a scale of 1-10, how enjoyable was the process?
(See, I’m not the only dramatic person in the fam).
Me: Are Joanna and Chip really like that (in person)?
Val: What you see on tv is what you get. Joanna and I are friends in real life, but it was my first interaction with Chip and he really is a goofball. They are real people–just like you and me.
Me: Tell me about the shoe closet. Does Mike really have 500 pairs of shoes?
Val: No, he does not, but he has A LOT.
The shoe closet was small, but it was a small space. What viewers didn’t see is that they customized the shelving to fit the size of Mike’s shoes. There was not another way to configure the shelves to accommodate the space. They made the best use of the space considering the restrictions they had to work with. So, it was small, but it was also customized for a size 14 shoe.
Me: Do you pay for the big reveal poster? Do you keep it?
Val: No and No. Where would I put that thing?
Me: Someone wants to know about the landscape. What kind of plants and such.
(lots of laughter)
Val: Oh, that’s cute. Clearly they don’t know me.
Me: I’ll just say they are green. For now. That work?
Val: Yes, perfect.
Me: The reveal. A lot of people were talking about your genuine surprise at the reveal. What made it so genuine?
Val: Okay, yeah, I want to talk about this. So much of the reveal is about personality. Mike and I are expressive, demonstrative people. I grew up with sisters (who are also dramatic and expressive) and I don’t know any other way to respond than with emotion, high emotion. I hate that some viewers pick apart (and question the sincerity or gratitude) of homeowners because their reaction or response was not what a viewer expected. I know some homeowners are so nervous that they are on the verge of throwing up on reveal day. Can we just agree that everyone on the show is super excited and happy and grateful to have a home fixed up by Chip and Joanna despite how their response or reaction may or may not live up to what someone expects? Unless you experience it, you just don’t know how you’ll respond.
Me: Well, that’ll preach.
Val: I think a factor that worked in our favor was that we did not go and look at construction one time. Once we walked out of the house on real estate day, we did not go back to look at progress.
Me: I did.
Val: And other family members–which resulted in a phone call from production that politely asked “please ask your family to refrain from visiting the house so often.”
Me: (guilty face emoji)
Val: It was so difficult to not swing by and check out the work, but I truly wanted the genuine surprise. I even had my daughter screen my texts…just in case someone wanted to let me know something about the house. We had to work for the surprise.
Me: So, if you wanted to see the progress you could, but you’d be less surprised on reveal day.
Me: Would you do it all again?
Val: In a heartbeat.
And, because I aim to please. Here’s a breakdown of some of the questions you may still have:
Living/Dining/Kitchen walls: SW Repose Grey
Kitchen pantry door: SW Magnetic Grey
Craft Room walls: SW Silver Strand
Kitchen Cabinets and Trim: SW Alabaster
Craft Room Cabinets: SW Dovetail
Master Bedroom walls: SW Mindful Grey
So many of you asked to see Val’s house now, after living in it for 9 months. I know I’m partial, but Val is a really good decorator and carpenter. I’ll let the pictures prove my point.
And, because I like to keep it real (and so does Val), you see the door to the right of the game room door?
That’s the bathroom. It didn’t quite make it on TV. I can’t imagine why.
Finally, no one asked, but I’m sure it’s because you were afraid I’d say no.
Of course, you can have my autograph. I was kinda the star of the show. Serving tea is a big deal.
It feels good to be back on the ol’ blog. I’ve missed you. We really should have lunch sometime.
I’ve had a writer’s crush on Emily for a while now and when she posted yesterday about an opportunity to link up on her blog about what I learned in 2014, I knew immediately there is no one I’d rather share my ‘first’ link up with than her. She’s the real deal and I admire her greatly. I actually got to sit on the front row in one of her workshops when I attended SheSpeaks last summer, but never mustered the courage to meet her. Seriously, aren’t we all braver behind a keyboard? Here’s to more courage in 2015.
I’ve been considering this topic for all of 24 hours now and I must admit, I’m not sure I learned much of anything in 2014. I am learning things, but nothing cemented quite yet. That’s how it goes with bull-headed people. We like to learn things over the course of a couple (several) years while the compliant, meek, gentle, and Proverbs 31ish woman learns things in a matter of days…probably during her quiet time at 5 AM before she flitters off to make home-made bread and tends to the mending and ironing of her kin-folk.
Bull-headed people also only have one 5 o’clock in their day.
It’s in the PM.
And, my iron is a water bottle (seriously, it’s amazing how wrinkles fall out with some water sprayed on them–who’s the proverbs 31 woman now?).
So, here’s my list of things I’m learning. Maybe a few things have sunk in this year. Let’s hope so. I’m so grateful for where God has brought me, but I’m still so desperate for His grace and leading.
What I learned (am learning) in 2014
1. Turning the big 4-0 was not abominable or horrific.
Actually, it was the exact opposite of horrible. Something about turning 40 is freeing and satisfying. I like the forty-year old version of who I am. Oh I am well aware of the areas God is still rooting out of my life, but He is transforming me and maturing me and I am grateful that life experience is sometimes the best teacher. I’m fairly certain the eighteen year old version of myself would be disappointed with the forty-year old version because the eighteen year old version thought I would have had all my crap together by the time I was 40. Nope. Here’s the deal, my forty-year old self is confident and secure about not having all my crap together.
Bless my insecure, immature eighteen year old self. She didn’t know any better.
2. Drink Sangrias in Spain.
In September, Stefan and I went to Costa Del Sol in Spain. Think Beverly Hills of the Mediterranean. Now, picture US there. Comical. An air-condition contractor and his forty-year old wife who doesn’t have her crap together.
(One of the things I am most grateful for in this life is the opportunity to travel with my husband on incentive trips. Incentive=mostly free. Crazy how businesses will give you thank you trips for buying their equipment).
Anyway, Sangrias. That’s what we are discussing, no? (I’m pretending I’m still there, no?) I’m not positive about all this, but my theory is if you live on the Costa del Sol you must eat like a super model about to walk the runway in Milan. Meaning, a six month old baby eats more than they do. So, imagine my surprise when I ordered a hamburger and was given a Polly-Pocket sized hamburger instead.
Y’all. Not okay.
So, I ordered a Sangria at almost every meal. Not for the drink, but for the extra fruit. It’s what I call being resourceful. You almost made me hangry, Spain. Almost.
3. My eyes actually CAN produce tears at appropriate times.
I’ll spare you all the details of my crying issues. Just know that for most of my life, I’ve never been able to cry when I’m supposed to and always seem to cry when it makes no sense whatsoever. For example, I went to the sports doctor for my runner’s knee and started crying when he walked into the room. WHEN HE WALKED INTO THE ROOM. Not crying because of pain, not crying because we are having a conversation. Crying because he opened the door and walked in. I like to make awkward situations even more awkward. It’s a spiritual gift.
But, this year, I’ve experienced more appropriate tears…crying with those who are hurting, crying with those who are rejoicing, crying with those who are afraid.
I still cry every time Kaden leaves to go back to college.
And, I cry thinking about my other kids growing up, moving out, and moving on.
I cried for days when we said good-bye to our Wrigley. She died of a heat-stroke in September.
I also cried like a baby watching the Fault in Our Stars.
And, at some of those mother’s day commercials. Sheesh. Those were brutal.
Here’s the point, I’m learning that a tender heart is beautiful. A strong heart is beautiful too. But, when a person has both a strong and tender heart…now that’s the most beautiful thing.
I may even start crying now.
4. NYC with girlfriends is always a good idea.
Especially if you’re celebrating your 40th birthday.
And, your husband gives you birthday cash to shop.
5. “Great Things for God” needs re-defining.
I was at lunch with a friend today and we were discussing how sometimes people say things which inadvertently puts undue pressure on us as Jesus followers. My friend said, “For example, like when someone says, ‘God’s got big things in store for you.’ Or, ‘You’ll do great things for God.’ ”
Those people mean well. They do. They are words meant to encourage and edify. I’ve said those sentiments, or something like that to people. But, I’ve been the recipient of those phrases frequently this year and it’s been paralyzing to me.
Because I’ve defined “great things for God” and “Big things in store” erroneously.
I’ve seen it over and over in myself and in other people. Christians waiting for the big thing they are supposed to do, the world-changing opportunity to declare His glory, or the great thing God prepared you for and prepared for you.
And, while I believe we are God’s masterpieces created in Jesus for good works He’s prepared for us, I also believe we spend a lot of time waiting for those “big things in store” while missing the opportunities for good works right in front of us every single day.
Because mundane doesn’t feel miraculous. Our small lives don’t feel “great” or “big” and so we question if our small lives are what we were made for, or if we are missing the big, the majestic, the great, elusive, world-changing thing God has prepared for us.
Here’s what I’m learning:
The world will be changed through small, mundane lives who live out the gospel with great love.
Changing a child’s diaper in the middle of the night is a great thing.
Teaching and shaping 22 fourth graders who are rowdy, restless, and disrespectful is a great thing.
Loving a teenager through dark, rebellious, and messy decisions is a great thing.
Working long hours without validation or recognition to provide for your family’s needs is a great thing.
Listening to the heartbreak of your friend’s failing marriage is a great thing.
Praying with your daughter before she walks the lonely halls of Jr. High is a great thing.
Fighting for your marriage is a great thing.
Cleaning and re-cleaning your house after a long day of refereeing sibling arguments and 3-year-old temper tantrums is a great thing.
Holding your tongue when the gossip mongers start in on their next victim is a great thing.
Sacrificing your reputation for the sake of loving the scandalous is a great thing.
These are the big things God has in store for us. These are the great things we do for the kingdom.
Look at us being world changers!
I think I actually have a tear in my eye.
I know, I know…everyone’s busy. But, humor me for a minute and pretend to be interested in what’s been keeping me busy.
I’ve been missing Kaden something fierce this summer. I’m okay. I really am. It’s okay. It really is. (Sometimes I repeat things in an attempt to convince myself to believe whatever I’m saying.) He is exactly where He needs to be, but I need to acknowledge the pain of letting a child go, letting a child grow up, and the process of adapting to a new normal. It’s tough. At least it is for me.
It’s okay. I’m okay.
Maybe there’s another blog you read that tells you having a child leave home is awesome and painless. Let me know when you find it so I can send pathetic, pity-party, miserable emails to that mother. Maybe she’ll take pity on me and send me something. Like prozac. Or money for therapy. Or a restraining order.
Anyway, Kaden asked if I wanted to come to Fayetteville with him to help him move into his new home, meet his roommates, and be super impressed with his 4 flat screens “on one wall in our living room, so on college game day, we can watch 4 games at one time. It’s so awesome.”
It’s all fun and games till you have to pay for cable, and, oh, a couch.
The kids and I jumped at the chance to go. Stefan had to stay back and work because impromptu road trips aren’t cheap. Especially if you buy all the essentials.
I guess a mattress, box spring, and bed frame could be considered essentials, too.
Although, Kaden survived all of June in his new place without a bed. He also didn’t have electricity or plumbing.
For a month.
I don’t even know what to say about that.
When we got to the new place, Kaden warned me that his room was a “little unsettled.”
Clearly, he would have failed the vocab test that asked him to define “little unsettled” and use it in a sentence.
But, can I just take a moment and brag on my favorite daughter?
That’s totally a rhetorical question.
She came up with all the good ideas. And all the good solutions. And all the good attitudes.
Because there are a lot of chiefs in our family and maybe an indian. One. maybe.
We all had opinions about Kaden’s room.
Finally, we agreed that Kaden would take the boys fishing and Kendall and I would stay at the house and organize and clean the pit.
After deciding that blowing everything up was not a valid option, Kendall and I worked hard to make his room look like this:
And, it made my mama’s heart full of joy knowing that I left Kaden with clean clothes and an organized room. And, in the hands of the One who loves my child more than I do.
When we got back to Waco, it was all things school prep: registration, supplies, shopping, doctor checkups, parties.
So by the time the kids went back to school, I was ready to take a day to relax and rest…
Which brings me to the whole reason for this post.
Friday Favorites: Comfort Items
My sister, Vonda, told me about this slipper. It’s a game changer for me. I almost never go bare foot in my home. Two reasons: my house is all tile except in bedrooms and I have temperature issues and my house is all tile except in the bedrooms and I have an aversion to sweeping everyday.
The strap doesn’t stretch out and the bottom has a sole in case you want to wear them out. Like to take carpool. Or, maybe run to the grocery store.
My life is uber glamorous.
These are the most comfortable pants in the world. Again, hypothetically, if one stayed in them all day long, one could run into the grocery store real quick if one needed something. Like swedish fish. Just off the top of my head.
Or if one needed this:
3. Talenti Gelato
Because a day of comfort requires gelato. And, this gelato is what they serve in Heaven. At the banquet table. With Jesus at the right hand of God with a spoon in His left eating this gelato.
My favorite flavors:
Coffee chocolate chip
Sea Salt Caramel
Caramel Cookie Crunch
But, I cannot help you when you eat the entire jar in one sitting. I can only fist pump the air and say, “I feel you.”
And, if you need a good book to curl up with I offer two suggestions…and I’ve shared them before. Please forgive.
There you have it. My favorite comforts for a respite. But, rest a little bit and then, let’s get back to work. I’m more convinced than ever that people need Jesus. They are right in front of us crying out for more to this life and we have the opportunity to offer Hope. Hope that anchors our soul and does not disappoint.
Y’all are my favorites.
Have a great weekend.
If you’re in Fayetteville, stop by and say hi to Kaden, but don’t let me know if his room isn’t clean. Ignorance is bliss.
Last year at this time, I was getting ready to move my eldest to college…7 long hours away. This period of time is also known as the season I should have been in counseling but self medicated with Swedish Fish, Milk Duds, and irrational fears and emotional meltdowns.
Do you know what my eldest has the nerve to do again? GO BACK TO THAT SCHOOL! SEVEN HOURS AWAY! (WPS!) Look at me, I’M YELLING! AND EXCLAIMING!!!
He’s obeying us, I guess. We told him to “live courageously,” “live a good story,” “make His (as in God’s) name famous.” Whatever. He’s such a rule follower.
I kid. I am eternally grateful for his obedience. I don’t mean Kaden’s obedience to Stefan and me as much as I mean Kaden’s obedience to Christ. I couldn’t be more grateful and humbled for how Kaden is working out his salvation. Don’t get me wrong, I celebrate with Kaden today, but I know that Kaden is as capable as you and I are to rebel.
Oh, bind our wandering hearts to you, God.
I’m getting WAY off track here.
It’s that time of year, again, though. Some of my dear friends are walking through the “firsts” with their eldest. Many are packing up their first-born daughter or son and preparing to move their child to the University of Not Under My Roof or the College of They Are Stealing My Baby so that their child can pursue the dreams and work God has prepared for him or her.
Contrary to how we ‘feel,’ let’s remember that having our children live with us till we die is not exactly a realistic, nor healthy, dream or goal. Although, it’s normal to feel that way this time of year and there’s room at the table for you, too. 😉
And, now that we are ready to shoot out our precious Arrow, let’s send them off with gifts for college.
Friday Favorites: Back to School College Edition
1. GIFT CARDS FTW
(that means “for the win” for those of you not yet familiar with the vocabulary of teens. At least, that’s what I think it means. It could mean something totally inappropriate and cringe-worthy. Most of what I know I learned via stalking, I mean looking, at instagram. So it probably doesn’t mean that at all. Forget I even mentioned it.)
I’m sure the person that made this up meant well. (And, has a lot of time on her hands.)
But, “emergency” is loosely translated in college, so the glass will be broken with 12 hours because a midnight run to the Border or Whataburger is always an emergency. Always. Especially if you need fries after a night of dancing in da club. So I’ve heard.
Then, there’s the issue of the glass. It will never, ever, ever get swept up. Ever. Oh, right. You thought that the kid would actually open the back and remove the cash the reasonable, makes-the-most-sense way. Awwwww. That’s cute.
So, let’s give our students practical, pragmatic things like:
- Amazon Gift Card – E-mail
(Did you know some textbooks can be purchased on Amazon now? I guess so can other non-essentials, but let’s believe the best.)
- Apple Itunes Prepaid Card (5)
- Gift Cards to Campus Book Store
- Gift Cards to fast food restaurants around campus
- Target/Walmart gift cards
Disregard this next tip if you have an organized, methodical, and systemized teen. If you do not have the previously mentioned child (can it go without saying that I don’t?), punch holes in the corner of the cards, buy a hinged key ring, and put all the cards on the ring. I make no promises that your child will not lose them, but maybe we decrease the chances this way?!
We’ve used several different kinds of portable chargers in this house and I come back to this one every single time. It’s worth every cent.
Or a small coffee pot. Doesn’t have to be a Keurig. I happen to like Keurig because it’s a single serve use and sometimes in a regular coffee pot, if one forgets about the grinds and the filter long enough, mold and various other scientific experiments (lots of fuzzy stuff) can grow on the used grounds. So I’ve heard.
4. Eno Hammock
Sometimes your child will need a break from college. and roommates. and responsibility. and people. and parents. So I’ve heard.
5. These next two are more specifically for girls, but if you want to buy them for a boy, no judgment. But, please don’t mention my name or that you got the idea from me. I’m all about being here for you, but when your son starts getting made fun of in the dorm shower because his “mommy bought him a monogrammed towel wrap,” I will not be able to help you. You will be a mom on an island.
(with a hanging clip so it doesn’t sit crumpled on the floor)
My favorite thing you can give your child is wisdom for what lies ahead for them. Kaden shared his thought about the first year of college here.
Oh, before I forget, here are some things I would refrain from sending…as thoughtful(?) as they are:
Deck of cards with family portrait on all the backs.
Sewing kit in a cute burlap covered lidded Mason Jar (unless your kid actually does know how to sew a button on)
Fishing tackle box filled with cute, little notes, candies, change, and dental floss. If you’re going to send a tackle box, fill it with tackle. Maybe. Just an idea.
Framed picture of yourself. And, if you’ve autographed it, repent. Seriously. I may even suggest you fast and repent. Turn from your ways.
Okay, Mama!! God has been preparing you for this moment. And, you and God have been preparing your child (for 18 years!!). Walk in that confidence. YOU CAN DO IT!!