Thursday, May 14, 2015

Visiting New Orleans

Reposted from May 2012. We are celebrating a three year journey at seminary that is coming to an end this weekend. We are so thankful for God's grace throughout our time in New Orleans and at NOBTS. It has been infinitely better than we could have asked or imagined! 

As I alluded to in an earlier post, there was really nothing in me (or Andrew) to ever want to go back to New Orleans. Not for a visit. Not for a vacation. Not even for a football game. We had both been before on short visits and Andrew had spent an unsuccessful tenure at the seminary back in 2008. I say this to drive home the point that the fact that it even came up in conversation (and in a positive way) was an act of God.  

I distinctly remember how timid Andrew was even mentioning the idea to me. He even told me that he almost didn’t say anything about it at all for fear I might not react very well. Not me. I’m sure he didn’t know that his mention of going back to NOLA was the fringe of a conversation that would change everything. 

After we got it all out in the open we both realized that God had already brought a measure of healing to our hearts simply through talking. What’s more, we were both experiencing an unusual excitement for a city that the thought of at one time, made me nauseous. If that isn’t Jesus, I don’t know what is. 

We were left with a weird foggy vision of something God was starting in our lives and a big “what now?” We decided the next logical step was to plan a visit. Andrew wanted to go as soon as possible but we were at the start of a 6 week long whirlwind of busy weekends so we had to wait. I was glad for that because I think it gave us time to come out of the rush of excitement that comes with doing something extreme. It gave us some time to think, plan, reason, and break the news to our families… who mercifully gave us their approval. 

The weekend finally came. I could go into ardent detail of every moment. I could honestly devote an entire post to the food alone. But I won’t, for now. I’ll just sum the weekend up with a few words. 

Joyful. Intriguing. Exciting. Adventurous. Providential. Prayerful. Peaceful. Assured.
And with that, our decision was an easy one. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

It was probably the best one so far. The first Mother's Day we celebrated with a 10 day old so if we didn't have pictures to prove it, we wouldn't remember it. Last year we celebrated by swimsuit shopping which is as delightful as it sounds (rookie mistake). 

Andrew kept asking me what I wanted to do this year and I finally decided on a day of "doing what I want to do when I want to do it." Which is only possible to a certain extent when you have a two year old. 

So the day consisted of church, a Dave's hot and juicy with bacon, a Mad Men marathon, a walk, a sea salt and dark chocolate bar, dinner at Outback with friends, and ice cream in bed at 10:30 while watching Shark Tank. 

Isn't that all a mother really wants? 

It was delightful until I woke up puffy from all the water retention that happens when you spend 24 hrs eating trash and watching TV. But I wouldn't trade it for the world!!

I also decided my gift to myself would be sleeping in on a Monday and I daresay I out gifted everyone. Jamesy and I are still in PJ's. He is playing with Buzz and Woody and I am trying to get things organized for the big graduation week/weekend ahead! 

Yes, that's right... Andrew is graduating this Saturday and we couldn't be more excited, relieved, anxious, exhausted, or filled with awe and wonder that this seminary journey is coming to an end. Which is basically how you feel when you have a newborn. And with that, this post has come full circle! 

I always complain that I never had good pics with my boy so Andrew captured this one last night. And I've gotta say its a money shot. I can't get enough of those sloppy wet kisses!!!

Friday, May 8, 2015

On Being the Royal Princess's Namesake: An Open Letter to William and Kate

In the media storm that has been my life since the birth of the royal princess, I have not been able to properly and publicly share my deep gratitude toward the royal family for choosing me as the princess's namesake. I hope this letter conveys all that I feel.

Dear Wills and Kate, 

My most heartfelt congratulations on the birth of your first daughter. She is a gift to both the two of you and the world, as we are all sure she will fulfill her responsibilities to her title with the dignity and grace of her mother and late grandmother. 

I was as surprised as the rest of the waiting world when you announced her name: Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. I must say I am honored and a bit taken aback. 

Kate, you and I have shared everything through the years. I've always known you cared a great deal about our friendship by the way you emulate my fashion sense. But to name your daughter after me alongside both the names of my mother and the late princess? Well, its just too much. 

I haven't yet spoken to Pippa. I would imagine this came as quite a surprise to her as well. I'm sure if she is at all hurt by your homage to me, she will understand in time and we will move on the way sisters do. 

Please be assured that I will make every effort to be an exemplary model for our little darling. She is (as well as you, Wills, and sweet George) a very important part of my life. Hope to summer with you soon! 

All the Best and God's Blessings,
Charlotte the First

Teaching God's Word to My 2 Year Old

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to share God's Word with James now that he is 2 and developing his vocabulary and comprehension. I'm sure there are a million ideas out there but here is what has been working for us.

I bought James a lot of Bible story picture books. We have the Jesus Storybook Bible but it is a little beyond his attention span right now. Some of the books we got that he really enjoys are: 

I love the ABC Bible Verse Book the most because it has a verse that begins with each letter of the alphabet as well as cute illustrations that help drive home the meaning of the verse. 

I was toying with the idea of helping James learn a memory verse but I had some doubts about him memorizing and the last thing I wanted was to pound something as important as God's Word into him and cause him to resent it (and me). 

But then I thought about the fact that we are learning our ABC's, songs, colors, body parts, etc. and thought we might be able to learn a Bible verse in the same fun repetitious way. So one day while we were reading the ABC Bible Verse Book we got to the letter  G and I knew it was the PERFECT verse to learn first.

God is love! 1 John 4:8 

What better foundation could there be for James' understanding of God and his character?

So we wrote it on our chalkboard and started practicing...

And low and behold the most precious thing happened! 

I'm praying my sweet boy will always know in his heart of hearts that just like 1+1 will always equal 2 and B will always follow A, God is love and always will be! 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Crescent Connection 4 Mile Bridge Run

Do you remember that time I crashed that Rock n Roll Marathon blogger meet up? Well, it was providential because through a friend I made there I have been given the opportunity to run the Crescent Connection Bridge Run as a BLOGGER!!!

Hold your applause, that's not the best part. 

Since I am running the race as an official blogger, I have the great privilege of getting you registered for the race at a discount. 

Yay me, yay you!

Here's the info. Register before May 10!! Contact me if you have any questions or need help. 

The race is just 4 miles and spans the beautiful Crescent City Connection bridge crossing the Mississippi River... at sunset to boot!

The CCC offers a really doable training plan for both joggers and walkers. And if you start today, you are only a few days behind. 

It's been a tough few months for me and this race could not be coming at a better time. I'm excited to hit the reset button, set some goals, and gear up for a great summer kickoff at the Bridge Run. WHO'S IN?!?!?!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Most Embarrassing Moment

When I saw that Momfessionals was doing a link up today about most embarrassing moments I knew I had to write a blog post. First, because there is no shortage of material for me to write about but mostly because my MOST embarrassing moment also happens to be one of my best memories. 

It was Spring of 2004 and I was crushing hard on this really cute red head named Andrew Donaldson. As luck would have it (and we all know I'm a lucky dog) I had won 4 tickets to a nearby amusement park because I was the 9th caller to our local radio station and correctly named who performed at the Superbowl halftime show. 

I chose to invite my best friend, her boyfriend, and... dun dun dunnnnnnn ANDREW DONALDSON. 

He said yes and I'm pretty sure I celebrated by buying a new swimsuit, spending some time in the tanning bed, and picking up some Golden Corral rolls with my bestie. This pretty much sums up 2004 for me. 

The day of fun at the amusement park came and it was so crowded that we had to park a half a mile away on the side of the road. We rode all the rides and did all the things and when it was time to go Andrew and I decided to walk to get the car and just pick our friends up at the gate. I was pretty sure this was a ploy to spend some alone time with me so I mustered up all the cutest, sweetest, wittiest, coolest things I could think of to impress Andrew. 

Being the ever chivalrous man that he is, Andrew insisted I walk on the inside so I didn't get hit by a car. So I did. However, I did not take into account the fact that it had rained earlier and it being South Georgia and all, the ground was mud. I'm sure I had on some kind of platform flip-flops with zero traction that did not help the situation. 

We were walking along and I was so focused on impressing this boy that I was not looking where I was stepping. As you probably have already guessed, I slipped. However, since I was walking on the inside I didn't just slip and fall down. I slipped and fell down into mud which slid my tan little fanny down 
down into the bottom of the ditch. On the side of the road. Do you guys have a visual?

Andrew described it like this, "It was like you were there one minute and then disappeared the next." He said he just looked around for a while before he realized where I was. I'm sure since he was preparing for ministry and all he might have had a moment of terror at the thought that I had been raptured and he missed it.

I just sat there in the ditch unable to organize my thoughts because it was so dark and I wasn't really sure where I was either. Hello God? Is that you? Fortunately, the Lord allowed me to see another day on earth. I made it out of the ditch. And somehow Andrew Donaldson didn't write me off then and there. 

It still lives on as one of the funniest things that's ever happened to me and even though I was mortified, I'm glad for the memory!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What's Up With James?

I thought I'd do a catch up post on the little fella so I could remember what he is like at the sweet age of almost two. After all, this blog was intended to document our time in New Orleans and as it turns out, James Timothy Donaldson has become a pretty big part of life.

James has the longest eyelashes known to man. I would gladly trade with him any day and never have to wear mascara again.

James is a weird eater. He goes through phases of eating like a horse and then barely eating at all. He JUST started eating chicken in addition to bacon and those are the only meats he will touch. This proves he is an American male living in the South. Otherwise, he loves grapes, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, apples, milk, cheese, yogurt, mac n cheese, cheerios, shredded wheat, animal crackers, raisins, and french fries. And all sweets except ice cream. Weird.

We have really loved having a baby in New Orleans. There are so many things we enjoy doing with James around the city. Some of our favorites are the Audubon Zoo, City Park, LaFreniere Park, Story Time at the Norman Mayer Library, the LA Children's Museum, Palm Tree Playground, playing at the Disney Store and PB Kids, and like most other moms and tots - Chick-fil-a!

James loves to read (finally, this took a while) and his little attention span is getting longer and longer. Some of our favorites are Giggle, Goodnight Nola (which he calls nite nite gola), Chugga Chugga Choo Choo, Talking Train, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Little Blue Truck and a book just called Trucks. 

James is always happy when he is outside. This is one characteristic that has stayed exactly the same since he was born. So, we go for A LOT of walks and play on the playground almost every day. There are some major perks of living at the seminary. We have 3 playgrounds and a lot of green space to safely explore. James also can't get enough of watching the train go by right outside our apartment. Which leads me to his biggest obsession....

Planes, Trains and Automobiles! The kid loves machinery. He even got really enthralled when NASCAR came on TV the other day. I never thought a day would come when I would be watching NASCAR and saying things like "Sweetie, where's your backhoe loader?" 

James also adores playing "airplane" with his daddy. Andrew puts him on his back and runs around. Just watching them is exhausting so when James asks me to do it I tell him I can't because I'm too little. HA! (He will probably figure out pretty soon that this is the furthest thing from a good excuse!)

James really has the sweetest little spirit and is truly a joy to everyone he meets. He gives lots of hugs and kisses. He loves his grandparents and always has the best time when he gets to visit with them. He is so blessed to have some pretty incredible cousins who adore him. And the feeling is definitely mutual! The hardest thing about having James in New Orleans is being so far from our families. We miss them all the time. 

James, you are the best thing that ever happened to your daddy and me. We love you more than anything and know you are going to grow up to be an amazing man of God. It is a joy to be your mama. I love you!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

How I Use My Erin Condren Life Planner

Hey Girls!

Let's talk planners. I am not very organized but I find a lot of success keeping my ducks in a row with a paper planner. I haven't been able to get on board with electronic calendars so if that's your thing this is not the post for you. (I'm talking to you Andrew!).  My only criteria for a good planner has been that it needs to be fairly compact, have a monthly and weekly display, and plenty of room to write on each day.

I had been eyeing the Erin Condren Life Planner for about two years but wasn't comfortable committing to the higher price tag. But then last year the planner I bought at Target was a dud and things got a little out of whack in life. So I took the plunge after reading COUNTLESS reviews just like this one and received my shiny new ECLP the first week of January.

There are plenty of other spots online to read about the ECLP but I have had several folks in my real life ask me about it so I thought ya'll might like to know my experience with it in case you are thinking about getting your own!!

Disclaimer: I am not being compensated AT ALL by Erin Condren. They have no idea who I am. The point of this post is just to inform y'all about a product I am recommending to every woman I talk to these days!

So here are some pics of my ECLP. You can explore all the endless options for covers and personalization on the website so I won't spend much time telling you about that. (sorry for the fuzzy iPhone shots)

Let me tell you some of the things I keep track of in my ECLP:

On the Monthly View Calendar 

1. Important dates and appointments. (This is where my 11 year old self would say, "duh.") I will jot down events and appointments in the monthly view as they arise and then use that as a reference to write them in the weekly view when I do my weekly planning on Sunday. 

2. Bills. Andrew is our primary money man but there are a couple of payments I am responsible for so I have those marked on the monthly view on the day's I need to mail/pay them. NOT ON THE DAY THEY ARE DUE. I try to mail/pay them about a week before they are actually due.

3. Birthdays. EC includes some cute little stickers for birthdays, hair appointments, etc. that are precious but not necessary. However, I do tend to use them from time to time to accentuate the day of someone's birth. I do as many of these as I can as soon as I get my planner for the year. Not only does it help me remember but it also helps me budget for presents! If you are a scrapbooker you will LOVE the stickers.

4. That time of the month. You can only fight the crazy if you know its coming. I think thats in Proverbs :)

5. Vacations/Holidays/Guests Visiting/Travels. I like to draw a thin line through all the days that any of these events are taking place and write them in ALL CAPS. (Don't ask me why). 

6. Grocery Budget. In the sidebar of the calendar are some lines for notes and this is where I keep track of my grocery budget. And lest you think I'm good at it- I ALWAYS go over.

Blankish Monthly View (don't you love the inspirational quotes at the top of every month?)

Appointment Stickers

On the Weekly View Calendar (this is where it gets good)

1. Meal Plan. At the bottom of each day are four lines and on one of them I write that night's dinner. I do this planning on Sunday.

2. Weekly Bible Reading Plan. This varies depending on what I'm studying but I will write the passage I am reading for that day on another line at the bottom or at the very top of the day in the Morning section. This is also part of my Sunday planning.

3. Workout Plan. I will write how I intend to work out on yet another one of the lines at the bottom of each day or in the slot for the time of day I plan to do it. (This hasn't been going great for me this year.)

4. Goal or Verse for the week. I write these on the notes section. Usually its just something to encourage or motivate me to get through the week.

5. To Do Lists. This includes errands, housework, phone calls or emails to respond to, or any other household business that needs to be taken care of. I generally write these in the section of the day I plan to do them, usually "day" because that translates to "nap time" for me.

6. Meetings or Appointments. See #1 in monthly view.

7. Thoughts/Ideas/Baby Milestones/Brainstorming/Answered Prayers. I basically try to use up the paper on my weekly calendar when I have an idea or something happens that I want to remember. My planners have always been little journals to me and I love looking back at them.

8. Prayer Plan. I will plum forget to pray about some things and writing down prayer needs helps me remember. I write this in the morning section because that is the time of day I set aside for focused prayer.

Up close blank view:

Filled in full week view:

Some Other Tidbits

There are several sheets of lined and blank paper in the back for notes. Like probably 25ish. I use those with discretion because they are limited.

There is a great little plastic zipper pocket at the back where I keep receipts from the grocery store.

There is a small two pocket folder

There is a perpetual calendar that is a separate little booklet that I haven't used yet.

There is a moveable plastic bookmark that I use to mark the week I am in. It is included.

I purchased the pen holder in addition to the Life Planner and I feel it was more than worth it.

You get all kinds of extra little goodies and stickers with your LP purchase!!!

So Girls, if you are interested I would say get yourself one. I feel like I am getting more than my money's worth out of mine and it is only March!!

They are currently selling the Jan-Dec 2015 LP's but will soon have 18month Jul 2015-Dec 2016 LP's available. I'm guessing like May/Juneish? But maybe sooner.

If you decide to make a purchase please use my referral code below, I will get $10 and probably use it to buy you a birthday present! Let me know if you have any questions, I am happy to answer them!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

That time I did some stuff with Rock N Roll Marathon New Orleans

Hey Party People!

I was sitting here during nap time and had a wild hair to write a blog post. Its clear to me that I can consistently blog only once a year. I could go into a long list of excuses about my absence but you only enjoy reading the same old thing so many times, amiright? And this is America so let's  skip it!

*Everyone sighs with relief*

I had the opportunity to go to my first ever blogger meet up last Saturday. Technically it was a "tweet up" but that sounds so silly that I feel funny even thinking it. It turned out to be one of the weirdest days of my life. Mainly because I hardly consider myself a "blogger" anymore (if I ever was one to begin with) and also because it was a meet up of bloggers who are also runners, namely Rock N Roll Marathon bloggers and I have nary a marathon to speak of. Nor half marathon. You may be wondering why on earth I was there? Me too.

But seriously, I went on a whim with my good friend Leah who is both a blogger and RNR 1/2 Marathoner and who also happened to be volunteering at the race. Since I am none of those things, I just played along and met some really cool people, had some free beignets and coffee (thanks RNR Marathon!) and wound up mingling with the likes of Saint's Kicker Thomas Morstead at a charity event. See, an ordinary day in the life of a stay home mom can get pretty exciting.

I got home that afternoon thinking, "what did I even just do?," and "I hope all of these neat people don't find out that I'm not really a blogger or runner (and still use the word neat)," and also, "wow, my picture is on a lot of the RNR New Orleans social media, was that my 15 minutes?" and lastly, "is there any way I can get sued for any of this?"

*Prone to anxiety and worst-case-scenarios.* 

But not really because I confessed to at least three important people that I didn't really belong there. And wouldn't you know that those funky-rock-n-rolling athletes didn't mind one bit. They were just happy to be having a fun time in New Orleans. Even if it was with an outsider like me! Or maybe it was because they were focused on Thomas Morstead?

Either way I had a ball. And who knows, if the saying "fake it til you make it" is true, I could be running a marathon soon!

Thanks for inviting me LEAH!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...