Decided to show up here again, at last!


( I like these and had an instant desire to make something with one. I didn't buy one yet..)

It has been a minute since I last blogged. To be honest, there are a lot of little reasons for my absence. I typically blog on the weekends, but the past few I just haven't felt like it or I've wanted to sit and read or hang with Brett instead.  Then it became so long I wasn't sure what to even type or how to pair words with the five million random pics I had floating around on my phone. I'm still not sure what to say or rather how much I want to share with the internet (actually, I prefer to keep most things private) but one thing I do still feel a calling to is to shout the good things. 

One of our pastors preached a couple weeks ago about the words "Can you believe it?" and how that can either be asked with negativity like oh man, things are so terrible I can't believe it, or with wonder and awe-like can you believe this is so good? I've tried real hard to live with eyes wide open lately, looking for the good.  It has been a real fight some days, if I'm going to be totally transparent.  But just look at all this. Can you believe it? :) 

Also, today I was reminiscing on the days when I blogged every day (what in the actual world?!), sat and edited photos for hours, and put tremendous thought and many tries into the words I typed. I'm realizing lately that things really can change and that is more than ok.  These days on the blog you get unedited photos from both my iPhone (an old one) and Nikon, a random spilling out of thoughts and words or maybe just a song lyric, and less of a planned and scheduled approach to posts and more of things just as they are. 

I had gum surgery a couple of weeks ago and it was awful. Not starting this post on a happy note, am I? :)
These little mac and cheese cups tasted so good to me though and I enjoyed several! 
It's that time of year again to hang out by the garden.
Still getting cold over here.
You know this-my favorite place to be. Under a blanket, coffee in hand, preferably my journal nearby.

I'm now "that" person who uses moisturizer on their face and neck twice a day. I had an expensive one (to me at least) I liked and when it ran out I started testing out this Neutrogena one, which I've also grown to like. Do you have a drugstore moisturizer (water based, not oil based) you like? 

Please share! 
Whew, this gum surgery stuff really wiped me out for a while! I took a break from exercising, ate whatever I could get down, and rested as much as possible. It was a whole ordeal though! 
Essie nail polish at least a week after I applied it! They are my favorite nail polish brand currently. I do two layers of base coat, two layers of color, and a top coat.

Brunch at my most favorite restaurant in Fayetteville. 

Farmer's Market is back! We have the dreamiest market you could imagine. 

Seriously, it's like something out of a movie. I saw students and friends and it was wonderful. 

A favorite book of mine. 
Getting those potatoes ready to plant.
A peaceful moment at the dining room table. Home is my sanctuary.

Wandering the woods is also a type of sanctuary to me too. 
I don't remember why I have this weird smile on my face but probably because of my mouth hurting and being in a hurry.  I wore this outfit both to work and church. 
Another day wearing my favorite blue beads. I have since donated these black pants because it felt like they were too short and too low on my stomach. Yes, I'm "that" old now. Ha! 
Put this little combo together and just loved it. Plus bonus-it was super comfortable. 
Fun glasses from some friends at work. :) 
Just tidying up and rearranging the empty pots. If it ever stays consistently above freezing we'll get something pretty in these! 

Took some black spray paint to the metal yard furniture and it looks so much better. I had forgotten how much of a (cheap) difference spray paint makes. 
Amazing feathers Betsy found! 
Always looking for that light.

Go Brett! He ran his first half-marathon last week and I was so proud! 
It was a really inspiring, hopeful, electric kind of atmosphere. Music playing, people cheering one another on, homemade signs, goals being met. I LOVED it. I teared up multiple times and told Brett that I just HAVE to train to do one myself after having such a big reaction. :) :) I mean, when they played Journey's Don't Stop Believing' was just a real high. :) (Brett and I saw them in concert together)

So far I'm up to running 1.8 miles straight. A month or so ago I didn't even know I could run a single mile straight so I'm stubborn as can be that slow and steady will win the race. 

Afterwards I pulled over for some pretty art.
A recent trip to the library.
Fake flowers for the win! I put these on the porch and they look lovely. Bonus-I don't have to remember to water them. 
Getting that food prep done to help my week go just a tad smoother. I texted my bff from college this pic since we went to Tech together. :) :) 

Ready for church, but had to add this warm jacket because it's always freezing (to me) in our sanctuary. We've been going back to the church I grew up in for a year now and I just love it. We're starting to get more involved so that we can get to know people better. 
Had a little cereal kick for a while. This is chex, Kashi peanut butter cereal, and oat milk. YUM.

Also yum! This makes the best, easiest lunch. It's tuna, shredded carrots, capers, celery, pickles, dairy-free yogurt, and everything bagel seasoning. In fact, I think I'll repeat this for my lunches this week! I just eat it with a spoon and then bring along some fruit, GF crackers, etc.
Love my pink shades because they give me a rosy view of the world. 

New joggers from Target! Such a comfy pant for work. 

I thrifted these Chacos!  
Now THIS is a good day. I just love sandals and shorts. 
Pulled out an old dress to wear to church.
When you wear the same size shoe as your kid....
this is a new feeling. 
Always trying! 
Yay for time with Grandma and Papaw!!! This was over spring break. I just love being with them.
More layers.
Instead of listening to whatever the girls had on this day in the car, I put my headphones in and had a worship service for one. 
Beautiful flowers and Grandma's kitchen. Two of my favorites.
Over spring break we visited Springfield and went to THE most fun trampoline park.  I got to jump too and get in the ball pit and try to make it through the obstacle course. Just the most fun! 
We also stayed at the cutest Airbnb in Ozark, Missouri.
Take a look around! 

We ate twice (once for breakfast, once for dinner) at Finley Farms/the Ozark Mill. It was an unbelievable experience! I actually first heard of this place on Instagram, through someone I follow. I saved it months ago and turns out, our Airbnb was about 3 minutes away. Serendipitous! 
This was right next to our table. I could feel the heat! What a dream.
I always enjoy a Mountain Valley water and fondly remember getting one each morning in NYC over Thanksgiving break. I think it's funny when our little corner of the world shows up in big places. 
Can you even believe how gorgeous this is?! It was just breathtaking.
The dinner was absolutely delicious too. This is catfish, salt and vinegar potatoes, and brussels sprout slaw.

This is the restaurant all lit up at night. If I try to explain the moment I had on the covered bridge, looking at this I'd ruin it. But something about all those lights holding the dark back just got to me. 

The kids and I had fun briefly at the Springfield Discovery Center.  I say briefly because they were some of the oldest kids there and had really outgrown a lot of the activities. 
Brett and I got Bass Pro Hats. Are we cool now? (lol)
Comfy pants.
Pattern lover for life. 

This was the inside of the other part of Finley Farms, called The Workshop. They had a couple of breakfast items, plenty of coffee, and a small store in the front.  I bought a shampoo bar to save for camping.  Each table had plants going down the middle which was super pretty and calming. 

This is the place! I can't wait to go back.
Remember: things aren't always as they seem. Yes, I was happy and having fun here in this moment. But I also had extreme anxiety part of this trip out of town and got through purely by the grace of God, Brett, and hugs and texts from friends. I am learning this-I can weather the hard. I can stare anxiety and negative/toxic situations straight in the face and even wonder how in the world I will make it through and I can STILL make it through, even seeing some joy outside of the situation along the way. 

It goes like this, as Ben Rector so perfectly puts it in his song "Joy"-
When the rain falls, when the sun shines
When the winds change in the hard times
I will stand firm, I'll be all-right
Cause I got joy in my life

I do-have joy. I work at it, grasp for it, have it spilling over a lot of the times, and journal it ALL to read over on the days when I feel it less.
Magic cookies and avocado chocolate pudding! If you're saying "eww" or haven't tried this yet, you should! You would never in a million years guess it was avocado. I'm sure you can Google a recipe for it, but the idea is that you're mixing soft avocados, cocoa powder, oat milk and sweetener. I think I used honey. It stores well in the fridge for several days! 
This dress, Vans, and jean jacket combo never gets old.
Wan-Mart tie dye shirt for the win! I can't imagine putting my Docs away for the year. Also, I can't imagine a time when I wasn't sure how I would like them or look in them because now it's almost comical how much I wear them. In winter-just about 5 or 6 days a week. 
I don't think I've written much about these two-but I take both faithfully! Especially the Joy-Filled, by Happy, Healthy Hippie. I'm close to two years in of taking this stuff and I never, ever miss a day because when I do I can tell my mind just won't quiet down. Joy-Filled (along with other things too) has been a huge game-changer for me and anxiety. 
A clean desk makes me feel calm. 
I'm really in to the quilted clothing thing, although I've seen some bloggers/influencers complaining about it. To each their own I always think!
This is what happiness looks like to me. :)
Another one of my favorite places in the world. 
Do you know the Ponca low water bridge? 
Early Easter baskets.
We stopped in at Osage Clayworks and had the neatest visit and experience with Sally, who worked there. She let the girls make a pinch pot and then trade it for one that had been fired already. We bought some handmade pottery dinner bowls to replace old ones that are just gorgeous. There was also a store cat lounging around, houseplants, and talk of a pottery class this summer. A dream!
You should visit this place! 
Trying to keep it healthy while on the road. The dirt road that is. I added pickles and a packet of mayo to this tuna packet and gobbled it right up. It was very good fuel for our hike afterwards!
We went to Paige Falls and it was stunning and magical. We saw so many interesting things along the way to the falls. 
We also saw so many wildflowers blooming. What a treat to see color again!


This was just one of the falls we encountered on the hike. We were all wishing we'd brought our swimsuits! We will definitely head back another day with suits, sunscreen, and snacks. 

I mean-these daisies with the waterfall in the background! Just glorious! The sun also came out and I had to shed layers because the weather had said it was going to be a cloudy, rainy day.

I kept saying I felt like we were in another state entirely! Or just another land than what we've experienced in Arkansas before. I highly recommend Paige Falls! While you're out and about, make sure to stop by JB's Trading Company for food, fuel, and more. It's also a favorite stop of ours.

Getting back on the treadmill after 10 days off was HARD. But I'm too stubborn to quit and this is SUCH good stress relief for me and it feels good to see if I can accomplish something big over time. So I'm back at it.
After I got my stitches out of my mouth I had popcorn and drank a smoothie through a straw. Bliss!

High pony and sandals.
Nothing more comforting than sitting by a fire. 

This book is speaking deeply to me.

Dressing in layers for this weird spring days. 
These are our new handmade pottery bowls! I had two servings of rice, ham, broccoli, and cheese casserole tonight in one and it was lovely.

No filter, no makeup for me, just us.
Universal Thread jeans for the win!! 

I liked this skirt so much but needed some jeans so just tried the skirt on for fun. 

I quickly used some nail stickers and loved how they turned out. 

Coffee in a favorite mug from Grandma.

The district superintendent came to see me for National Librarian Week. How very kind! 
And now to end with some Nikon pics, straight from the camera. I haven't forgotten my film camera, which I still adore and am forever delighted by.  It's just that I'm still a beginner and life has felt so full most days, just trying to keep up. It won't be like this forever, I just know it. But the last roll of film I shot I ruined, unintentionally (beginner, remember) and I just haven't felt like  I've had the margin to try again.

Back to the ruined roll-I opened the back of the camera before rewinding the film and sent the film off anyway, hoping at least one of the photos would come back ok. But-they didn't. Every single negative came back blank, not a single photo made it in the whole bunch. 

I did order another roll of film and do plan to try again. Just thought I'd share my beginner's story of failing because I feel like creative types always allude to this "failure" we must go through to learn a new craft or develop an old one but never come outright and say what the failure actually was.  Well, mine was ruining a whole roll of very precious photos.  

Still in the meantime while I'm learning, I need to keep picking my Nikon camera up too. It has a certain magical quality my phone just doesn't get.  Like capturing that light amongst the dark in the photo above.

Flowers, candles, and stacks of books are one of life's greatest pleasures to me. 

Things are blooming again! These lilacs smell heavenly.

I'm a big journaler. I've almost filled this entire thing up. I do occasionally write down things on my mind, but mostly like to list the good. It is so therapeutic to go back and read through all the happy little things and simple joys I've captured.  This isn't ever a have to, it's a want to. 

These are my good things. 
Can you believe it?! 

Tomorrow-the ULTIMATE good thing, the highest of highs, the joy that holds me tight is what we're celebrating-Jesus. Easter. Resurrection. Graves into gardens. 
I cannot wait to celebrate!!

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