Friday, December 30, 2016

Leveling up... It's my Birthday!!!

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today is my birthday!!

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.. & I'm working.

Let me make this more clear - I'm like the ONLY one working.
Basically, its me & one other person in the office today... 
everyone else is off for the holidays.

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Everyone else in the office usually gets lunch & a birthday cake & big deal made for their birthday.
Me? I've been here for 25 years & I guarantee you that maybe 1 person knows my birthday.
Everyone is always off work for my day.
I don't think I've ever been told Happy Birthday on my birthday at work.
... ahh - that's OK really - I don't like the attention at work anyways.

Actually... if I have to work, I take all that BOO stuff back - I kinda like being alone.
It's quiet & peaceful & I can sing out loud & not bother anyone.
& the drive into work is always smooth & the roads stay clear the week between Christmas & New Year.

Plus... I stop & get my free Starbucks on my birthday every year.

So yeah... not a bad day after all, even working.

But its just funny to me because when I was little, I always loved my birthday because it always fell during our school's Christmas break.  A guarantee day to not have to go to school on MY day.
So it was a hard pill to swallow when I grew up & actually had to work on my birthday.

Proof once again, growing up isn't all that its cracked up to be.

45... I'm 45 today.

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I want this coffee mug!!!

That really blows my mind.
I feel like it was just yesterday I turned 21.
& I can remember turning 30 & actually being depressed about it. 
Legit depressed.

... man, how I'd love to go back to 30.  
It feels so long ago.

I'm not really depressed or down about turning 45.
I actually don't feel anything about it.  It's just another day really.

I thought about getting all reflective over the things I've learned...
& the things I want to accomplish - I'm already thinking up a bucket list to tackle for the next 5 years before I turn 50.... with MEET STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN high on the list.

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Speaking of which - I try every year to get the man on Twitter or Instagram to send me a Birthday wish.  Never happens. I need all my friends to bombard him & force his hand to wish me a happy birthday.
@StevenCurtis is is Twitter name if anyone wants to help me in my mission ;)
I'd probably pass out if he ever did respond.  Honestly.

But as for reflection? Nah... I'm just happy for another year.
& praying to get through each & every day with God's blessings.
Easy enough goal for me.

Today's goal?  Hope it involves cake.
Especially since I'm starting a clean eating plan in 2017
... so pile on all the sugar for this birthday!!!

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This is indeed a live action picture of me on my birthday

I have a friend on his birthday say that he was 'leveling up', like in a game. 
Where you get to the next level to get the next big thing that the game offers.  
I loved that idea when I heard it.

It's not about getting older - its getting better - getting further in the game of life.
Getting wiser.  Knowing more skills.  Becoming a pro.

Yep... nothing wrong with becoming a pro at aging.

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I also know this is the last post of the year
so wanted to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Hope everyone has a safe New Years Eve & praying 2017 is the best year ahead for us all!!!!

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

The last one of the year.... Thankful Thursday #104

This one is it... the last one of the year... Whew.
2016 hasn't been the best year - & I think a lot of people can say that.
A few of you have had wonderful years... & that's the way it works - some times a year is the worst year for one person & yet the best year for someone else.  & then the next year, visa versa.
Life is a funny thing. So individual.

I for one am glad to see 2016 go....but am so glad to have had so much to be thankful for ... even in a year I call "not good" I went well over my One Thousand Gifts.

Perspective is key, is it not? Striving to look for the good, even on the worst day.
I made it a goal for every day to have at LEAST 2 things - strived for 3 things to be thankful for.
& some days, I was blessed with so many things to be grateful for.
It's just about looking for it.... every day

So yes, I'm going to continue Thankful Thursdays & I'll start my count back to ZERO for 2017 & strive for ANOTHER Thousand Gifts.... love for you to join in with me.

We used to do a Gratitude Jar in our house. Keep a jar on the table with stripes of paper & when something good happened, we'd write it down & throw it in - & then on New Years Eve, we'd empty the jar & read through the good things of the year.

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It was easy to forget to write things down - or think Ricky wrote it down when he thought I wrote it down... we lost a lot of good things doing it that way.  So on New Years Eve, I can pull up all my Thankful Thursday posts & look back & see how blessed I was in 2016... & find it wasn't a bad year after all.

& without further ado... the last of 2016 Thankful Thursday

This week I am Thankful For:

1095 / A Warm Christmas Eve.  Last year on Christmas Eve, it was warm. I can remember being out with Ricky for his birthday & not needing any jackets. Same this year. I wouldn't mind this trend happening every year.  Though I do remember a Christmas Eve we all nearly got snowed in - it was the twins first Christmas. UGH - anything can happen weather wise around here apparently on December 24th.

1096 / My love's birthday.  So grateful for him & getting to see him celebrate another year of life.

1097 / Christmas morning.  There's just something fun about waking up on Christmas morning. No matter what your age is.

My baby on Christmas morning... I have a photo of him in front of the tree every year we've had him
- I need to put them together

1098 / All the fun gifts!  I have been so blessed with some fun goodies.  Cant wait to break in those running shoes!  & I adore that THANKFUL shirt my sister in law got me when I gushed over hers at Thanksgiving.  & I told my mom that that set of gel pens is speaking to my office supply nerd heart.

1099 / Church on Christmas morning. It only happens every 8 years (leap year happens - so could technically make it once every 9 years)... I really loved Christmas being on Sunday.

1100 / Day off after Christmas. I usually have to work the day after Christmas so loved loved LOVED having off the day after with Christmas being on a weekend.

1101 / Time with the 'Baby'.  Yes, our youngest is 28 years old - always the baby.  We got to spend the day after Christmas with her & her boyfriend.  & we had the best time.  We played some games & just hung out & talked & then went out for dinner. It was just good to visit with her.

1102 / Precious gift.  My coworker has a daughter that usually comes in the office during Christmas. I connect with kids. I get them on that child like princess level.  I'm on that level myself.  The daughter didnt need to come to work this year with Christmas Eve being on a weekend so I didnt see her this year.  But my coworker brought me in a gift from her.  She said her daughter saw it in a store & said, "Miss Rebecca needs this".... oh mercy - be still my heart. How precious is that?  & look at the gift... she TOTALLY does get me.  Disney princess notepads?  YES PLEASE!!!!



1103 / A fresh start ahead!!!! ... the new year is always a good time to get ready for fresh starts. I always love that.

& of course, I can't end my list for the year & not be thankful for the mercy & grace Jesus has given me to make it through the year.  I am so blessed. Always. Every Day.

What are you Thankful for this week?

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A birthday, Christmas & a burning face... thanks jalapenos

I can't believe Christmas is over...

& I can't believe we still have 2 more celebrations to go to.

It's the gift that keeps on giving. Literally.

Saturday, Ricky let me "sleep in" & by sleep in, that meant I had to be up at 7:30... it was his birthday after all & much to celebrate.

I made the birthday boy a big breakfast & it wasn't long before we were headed out to the stores for some final shopping.

I always tell everyone, we are the ones who no matter how early we start, we'll be out on Christmas Eve still going.  It never fails.

In all honesty, I had given Ricky a birthday gift that he loved so much, he wanted my dad & brother to have one too. I had actually gotten my dad one too so Ricky was like, "we've got to get your brother one"... & headed out to Sam's Club to find out they were sold out of this item. GREAAATTTT!

We have a tradition with Ricky though that he gets to pick out his place of choice to eat - I can't give any grief over it no matter how badly I want to.... & this year, he chose Outback.


I dont complain about that. They have a great salad & even better sides. I swear, I dont know what they do to their broccoli but its gotta be something to make that healthy food really not healthy - it just tastes so soft & buttery. Forget the blooming onion - get the broccoli when you're there.

It was so cute when our waiter was like, "Merry Christmas" & I said, "No sir - not yet!  We are here celebrating his birthday" & the waiter was so kind to him about it. Asking him if he wanted a drink since it was obviously his 21st birthday.  He really was the best waiter.  When he came to take our order, Ricky had run out to the car to get kleenex (poor guy STILL isn't 100%) & the waiter asked me, "Did I scare him making him think we'd come embarrass him for his birthday?"... Ricky does get a little fearful of that.  Me? I'm like, EVERYONE - LET'S SING & DANCE!!! We are cut from 2 different cloths, for sure.

But they did give him a little birthday treat...


We left & headed over to my brother's for my families Christmas.

We got there at the perfect time... they were making Peanut Butter balls. MMMMMMM....

Sophia is such a little baker

My family usually orders chinese take out & eats while we go out for Ricky's birthday but they got a late start.  So while my brother & dad went to go pick up their food, we got into an intense game of HeadBandz Act Up.  It's such a fun game. A cross of HeadBandz & Charades.

We had the best time...

That picture makes me laugh because my sister in law couldnt get it & the twins, in all the blurry movement, was jumping & rocking back & forth that she couldnt get PLAYGROUND (its harder than you think)

Games are just the most fun.

Except when you have the word JAPAN... ask my niece- that's not a fun game to her.

We also took some time & I let Sophia play a little with my camera. She always tells me she wants to be a photographer one day so we walked around & I let her use my camera to snap some pics.  I love sharing the love of photography & cameras.

I had to take the camera over though & get a picture of the girls with my mom.

I had to laugh a little when I saw that Sophia is almost as tall as my mom is now

My dad & brother got home & time to grub down...

Finally time to get to some gift giving....

The girls favorite time of the year.


... except Sophia wasn't too excited when her Papaw wrapped up a tiny pair of earrings in a few dozen boxes.

She found no amusement in this....

Her face cracks me up.. & this isn't even the final box

My favorite gift of the year was giving the girls the whole collection of Harry Potter.

I've waited for this day since they were born.

They are finally readers & we were out one night after a movie night & they had said they wanted to read it. You dont have to tell me twice.

Their reaction when they opened it up was so priceless to me too.  I wish I captured that, but I was too busy beaming myself.

... but the real stars of the Christmas was my SIL's new little brother & sister.  Her parents live on the front part their property so she drove up & got her new babies & brougt them back..

two little poodle puppies.


His name is Teddy

Ricky kept telling me, "No... no... no... no ... no... Rebecca, we're not getting a new puppy"

But by the time they were leaving to go home, he was pulling out his wallet & asked if he could buy them from her.
yeahhhh  - like that was going to happen.

My brother's dog not too sure of this little fella
... & BTW, that's my brother's hand... he really does exist... he just isn't a picture person
We got home just in time to settle in & watch A Christmas Story until we both fell asleep on the couch in front of the tree... a perfect ending to Christmas Eve.

Christmas morning - I loved so much it was on a Sunday.  We were heading to church - the perfect place to celebrate Jesus birthday.

I guess most everyone else went the day before on Christmas Eve because this huge church was nearly empty... but I loved it because it made it feel really cozy & personal.

It was just so beautiful in there - & the music was simple & heart warming...

It was so nice too because our friends were there & we got to give some hugs & kisses to our Grand buddies on Christmas morning.


Emerson loved being in the front row, she was dancing & swaying to the music... & yes, those are her little stuffed animals on the floor. They need to give Jesus a Happy Birthday too.

They headed off to family after the service & we were going to head home to meet up with our youngest girl but she ended up needing to go somewhere in a few hours so it wasn't worth her to drive all the way out to our house- we said we'd do it the following day & then we ended up at Steak & Shake for lunch.

A Christmas Mocha Milkshake

That was a new one for us on Christmas day.  It was PACKED too!  People were waiting for a seat.
& good Ricky - he gave a 100% tip to our waitress for working on Christmas day.

We actually were going to go to the movies & see Rogue One, but Ricky still hasn't felt the best - bless him... so we said let's just go home & relax for the day

... & that's exactly what we did...

until I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital.

It started off innocently enough.  I wanted to make some sweet potato, quinoa crock pot chili....

Everything is going in the crock pot - even the jalapenos I had to cut up & un-seed.

All smooth enough. Except the onions made my eyes water so much, it made my nose run. So I got a kleenex & blew my nose & I guess my fingers rubbed around my nose through the kleenex because all of a sudden, it felt like I had dipped my face into the pits of HELL!!!

My face was on ON FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

& then the cuticles of my fingers were burning - & then I couldnt stop touching parts of my face - like the corner of my eye (because my eyes were freaking watering like a faucet)

& I couldnt get it to stop burning.  It just kept getting more & more intense.

Of course, anything medical, you MUST go to Web MD... & I found out I'm dying...

no, not this time..

but I did see people said to put milk on your face.  Well, we dont have milk in our house.  So I read on & someone said yogurt works - so I opened a new container of greek yogurt & nearly gave myself a full facial.  I put it on & it totally did calm it down.

Can you see the tears in my eyes?

& as soon as I wiped it off, it would burn again - so more on my face.

Ricky had no idea any of this was happening. He was in the back barn - & walked in to yogurt on my face & just looked at me, shrugged & walked on.

You never know what I'm up to... its just best to walk on.

Let it be known right here - I'll never touch another jalapeno as long as I live.
That's a Christmas promise right there.

We finally got it where my face didnt burn anymore - & I sat with my hands burning the rest of the night for HOURSSSSS which made for a good reminder to not touch my face again.

The night ended though on a happy note though when Beauty & the Beast was on TV.  it was like the perfect ending to Christmas Day for me.


Ricky had said, "This isn't going to be a Christmas tradition they put on TV, is it?" ... poor guy has had to watch this movie more than any man should be allowed to watch it.  #goodsport

But the chili ended up getting done - & it wasn't even too spicy...

We ate in the living room - something we never do - sung along to the movie (OK, I sung along... Ricky just shook his head) & we gave a toast to another wonderful Christmas Day.


What was your favorite gift to give this year for Christmas?

Have you ever been burned by a jalapeno?

Did you get to make it to church for Christmas morning?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas is still going... so we'll talk about something else...

Did everyone have a great Christmas?  I hope so!
We've had an amazing time... so far...

& we're still going.

We had Christmas with Ricky's family last week, then with my family on Christmas Eve - & then Ricky & I had a laid back Christmas day & then spent most of the day with our youngest girl & her boyfriend yesterday....

so needless to say, that's Christmas in a sentence... & of course, its so much more than that. But I havent had time to go over my pictures & Christmas deserves a little more than a sentence wrap up.  I mean, it takes over a month to prepare for it. I'm not about to sum it up in one sentence & let it go at that.

& we actually still have two more Christmas's to go.  One coming up this weekend & another one soon after with our Nashville gang.

Anyone else have a Christmas season that spans 4 weeks?  WOWWWW....

Needless to say, I'll update tomorrow with the half way point of Christmas - that gives me time to go through my pictures....

& to finally decompress some & process the whirlwind of what we've done so far.

For today, I'm joining in with my favorite readers & doing a year end link up of my favorite books of 2016.

So for the year, I hit my goal of 40 books & actually got in 50! GO ME!  I'm proud of myself for that - especially because I'm on a reading slump right now. UGH. Who has the time when you spend weekend after weekend doing Christmas things?

But here's some of my favorite for the year... the ones that stood out to me.

Glad to have some Jojo Moyes & Liane Moriarty on the list for the year - they always are so good to me.
& loved the series by Jenny Han - the next one is coming out in 2017. It just made me feel like a teen again.
& had some great inspiration reading about the Gaines & Lysa TerKeurst is always speaks to my soul.

But my favorite of 2016 - without a shadow of a doubt....



I keep hearing a lot of people nit-pick this book & not care for it - for me, I think a lot of it is sentimental. It took me back to the wizarding world & to visit with characters that I've missed.  I could overlook some things for the feeling that it gave me reading this book, because the FEELS is exactly what it gave me.  I loved every page of this book. Completely 100% loved it.  Totally my 2016 favorite by far. One I know I'll pick up & read again & again & again.

What book stood out for you in 2016?

Life According to Steph

Friday, December 23, 2016

Because Jesus & my husband are my favorites!

I know I usually do a Friday Favorites every Friday....

but everything is thrown off kilter these last 2 weeks of the year - all in thanks to the busy-ness of the holidays

So I just wanted to take a hot minute here to do 2 things...

first, to wish my precious, sweet, adorable man, the love of my life - a Happy Birthday!!!
His birthday is actually tomorrow - he's a Christmas Eve baby!!!!

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I always try to keep part of Christmas Eve solely for his birthday... even though we do our family Christmas that evening - so it makes for a task.

I usually take him out to dinner/lunch wherever he wants for his day. 
That used to be really hard because everything closed early or wasn't even open on Christmas Eve not too long ago.  Now?  What's closed? - hardly anything.  So while its sad for workers, I am glad he gets a little normalcy now & gets a good choice of places to pick for his birthday dinner.

I love this man... 

My poor hubby... hoping he gets his hernia surgery done soon, but always nervous for surgery. I just want him to feel better. 😯❤ #VincentsRockSundays 06.02.16 #VincentsRockSundays:

So thankful for him every day of the year.  
Don't know what life would be like without him...

Happy Birthday to my love... I pray this next year gives you blessing beyond blessing & that God continues to use you in mighty ways in showing the love of Jesus to others. I love going through life with you.  Cheers to another year!  I love you!
& second, I want to wish everyone a BEAUTIFUL & WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS!!!!

Let's all remember that we are celebrating the birth of our Savior - came to earth to give us all an opportunity for eternal life with Him.  

What a precious gift we all received that first Christmas.

May you find quite moments to reflect on the day.
May you hear sounds of laughter with loved ones throughout Christmas.
May you wrap your arms around those in your life you appreciate every day.
May we all remember that this season is a perfect time to pray for Peace on Earth & good will towards man.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Making work feel like home, Christmas fun & I can't duck face.....Thankful Thursday #103

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This week I am Thankful for:
{The numbers go with my One-Thousand Gifts / just ignore them}

1082 / Space Heater at work.  I freeze all the time & my little space heater gets a full workout sitting next to me at my desk. I hate to leave the area where it heats to walk to the bathroom. I want to run so I can get back to my warm space

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1083 / Got Ricky's Christmas shopping done.  Its so hard to do your spouses shopping when you're with him all the time. I love taking off a day in December to get the job done.

1084 / Slept till 9am! WHAT? That's one good way to know this sinus stuff has been getting to me - I never sleep that late.  I actually woke up, but didn't open my eyes, & was so mad because I thought Ricky left for work leaving the lights on in the bedroom. (He's done that many a time) & then I open my eyes to see the sun shining through the windows & not the bedroom light after all. I can't tell you how long its been since I slept in well past sunrise. #heavenly

1086 / Shopping with my momma.  I talked about that on Monday - love this December tradition we've done the past 4 years.

1087 / A warm day.  Saturday, it was in the 60's & it felt even warmer because the days before was in the single digits.  It came at a price - horrible storms & flooding & tornado watches/warnings. But it felt good while it lasted... those 12 hours.

1089 / MSM Party.  I just love my girls. They are so special.  2 of my girls have birthdays while we're on Christmas break so I had to bring a little birthday gift for them too - they were so genuinely surprised & grateful... making me grateful to have them in my life.

1090 / My Vincent family.  They are so wonderful. Every single one of them.

When you make your 15 year old niece laugh when you attempt a duck face selfie

Much better

1091 / Night with my JOY Sisters. We kept missing our regular scheduled dates because all the ickies happening but it worked out really well to meet Monday night after work. & 3 of the ladies had dinner prepared for everyone & it was so delicious & beautiful.  We had a fun little scarf swap too & then had some time for some good discussion. I just adore these ladies.

One of the ladies made these cookies... aren't they beautiful?!?!?!

I love watching the kids from our Joy Sisters growing up together too

1092 / Keurig at my desk. I found this baby out when I was shopping over the weekend - for $53.00!!!! The exact same one is on sale at Target for $89.  I have all sorts of coffee & teas now right next to me that I can grab any time.  This could be dangerous.


1093 / Nap after work. I typically hate naps but the night before, I couldn't sleep for ANYTHING. I did the work day on less than 3 hours sleep & was MISERABLE towards the end of the day. I honestly felt like I was going to fall asleep driving home. It was scary actually. I walked in the door, took off my coat - but got in bed with everything else still on - even shoes - & slept for 2 hours. It was like medicine.

So what good things have been happening this week for you?

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