Surprise!! Friday Favorites
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.