Giving without Expectation

IMG_3532I am going to take a break on updating you about my routine and goals (don’t worry I’ll bore you with that later) to talk about something that has been on my heart lately. October is NICU awareness month and while I could spend months talking about the NICU I want to share with you 2 gifts we received while little j was in the NICU that touched us deeper than we could have imagined.

Let me start by stating the obvious. NICU living is hard. I mean HARD. Everything about it is unnatural and strange. The beeping, the constant crying from all around, no privacy, being told when you can hold your baby and for how long. Being a new parent is hard enough, add all of these things on top of it and it’s a chore to trudge through every minute of the day. The only thing that keeps you hanging on is the sweet little face, somewhat hidden by all the wires, that you sit and stare at all day.

When little j was about 3 days old they called down to our room ( I was able to stay in the hospital for 6 days) and told us they were going to have to intubate her and that we couldn’t come down until they were done but we could call and see how it went.  This was extremely scary for us because we thought she was supposed to be getting better not worse, and also they had never called down to our room to tell us anything. We both sat in the room and cried. It was the middle of the night and we were exhausted mentally and physically. I was trying to recover from my c-section and Jacob was sleeping on the worlds most uncomfortable bed trying to comfort his post par-tum hormonal (extremely terrified) wife, be there for his tiny baby girl and maintain some semblance of getting his work done because when we got out of the hospital we still wanted a house to come home to our house and unfortunately houses aren’t free.

When we were allowed to go in and see little j we were bracing ourselves for all the additional tubing we would see and trying to stay calm so we could understand all that the nurse was going to tell us. However, when we came in to see her we got a sweet surprise in the form of a tiny purple and white crocheted hat. At this point she still wasn’t wearing any clothes and this is the first thing we had ever seen her in. Jacob’s face lit up when he saw the hat. He loves hats and after such a rough night and knowing today would be difficult this sweet hat was such a wonderful surprise to him. We got to hold her and we both took so much joy from seeing her wear this hat. Such a simple gift made such a big difference that day. If you aren’t familiar with intubating it is a process that is used to aid with breathing, but while someone is intubated you can’t hear any noise. No crying, no cooing, nothing. She was intubated for 3 days and it was one of the lowest points of my time in the NICU. Knowing that she was crying and couldn’t be heard tore me up inside and it was very difficult to hold her with all of the tubing so our holds were less frequent. However, her little hat still sent a little glimmer of light and warmth into those days.

I have no idea who made that hat for my baby. I will never shake the hands that hooked each bit of yarn together to form the most perfect tiny hat, but I can assure you to this day I am so grateful that they did. I like to imagine they envisioned the baby who would wear it, maybe prayed for the baby and smiled thinking of a sweet smelling baby head cradled in it. Whoever made it did so because they wanted to give something to a sweet helpless baby in a hard time. They knew they would never meet the baby, or the parents, but they did it anyway. They gave without expectations and it made all the difference in our lives. It made an incredibly difficult day just a little brighter and I hope even though I’ll never meet them, that somehow they will know what a difference their kind act made to me and my husband.

But it doesn’t stop there. We received another gift one day that helped turn my remaining time in the NICU around just a bit. Just enough to make it through the day and see the hope for the future.

One morning I came in to find a book in our “area” (we didn’t have a room, just an area with a curtain) and I asked the nurse where it came from. She told me that a group donated them and it was mine to keep. I held the tiny board book and quickly read through it and then scooted closer to the crib and read it out loud. Little j must have hear Sophie’s Busy Day a hundred times before she got to go home. It might seem a bit strange to read to a new born baby, but at a time where there so little I was able to do for my child it gave me something to give her, a way to interact with her and feel like I was actually a mom. It gave a helpless mom a way to help and began the construction process of rebuilding my completely shattered heart.

We still have the book and we still have the hat. I showed it to little j the other day. I explained to her that she wore it when she was first born. We put it on her baby doll and I realized just how small she had once been. One day I can tell her what that hat meant to us and I’m sure it will touch her sweet little heart the way it does ours. She knows Sophie’s Busy Day by heart and although we don’t read it much anymore it stays on the book shelf in my line of sight and I feel happiness when I see it. I remember how far I’ve come and pray for mama’s who are just now starting their journey in the NICU.

If you have ever donated a dollar at a check out counter, donated a book, crocheted something, raised money for a cause and wondered if what you did made a difference I am hear to tell you that it did. Please don’t stop. Please don’t stop being generous without wanting something in return. You are changing the world when you give without expectation. You are following God’s call (Matthew 6:1-4) and you are bringing hope to the hopeless.

So in closing I just want to say thank you. The impact these gifts have made in my life are so profound and have become a part of my story, a story that is full of hope and restoration. From the bottom of my newly constructed heart, thank you.

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Going for the Goals!

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Well I planned on getting these done earlier, but this week flew by so here we are…better late than never eh?

Before I get into my goals for the next 3 months I wanted to tell you how my routine has gone this week since last week was such a colossal failure!

I didn’t exactly get to bed before midnight each night, but I did make an effort and did much better. I struggle to fall asleep many nights and often read to help with that. Problem is, if I’m reading a good book I just keep reading. If I’m reading a bad book…well I quit reading it because I don’t like wasting my time on bad books! So a couple of nights I read too long, but the nights when I tried to sleep without reading I just laid awake solving all the worlds problems (which is why I read, to avoid the burden of having to solve all the worlds problems before going to bed).

I am working on how to make falling asleep easier and the number one way is not falling asleep while little j sleeps. I know this sounds obvious, but on days when I struggled to fall asleep the night before it’s very hard to resist the temptation of nap the next day. However, I resisted (all but one…I fell asleep in a chair and started drooling, I clearly needed a nap!) and found that I was able to fall asleep much faster and the next day I felt like a new person! Who knew sleep could do so much good! (Me, I knew…I knew I just didn’t want to admit it!) I was much more productive and overall able to enjoy my days more.

I still have lots of perfecting of my routine to do, but last week was a step in the right direction, whereas last week was more in line with falling down the stairs.

So about those goals…

I have made them as simple as possible, but with opportunity to make very detailed objectives to provide a clear path in accomplishing them. So here they are:

  1. Develop a lifestyle routine.

  2. Detox my household cleaners.

  3. Develop a rotating monthly meal plan.

              *Bonus Goal: Holiday Calendar for the next 3 months (Completed this week)

 

Develop a lifestyle Routine

This is just a continuation of what I have been doing. Developing routines for morning, nights, cleaning, cooking, etc. I am still working on all of my objectives, but basically continuing what I have started and hopefully having it somewhat down by the end of the year!

Detox my Household Cleaners

For some reason we have turned into a society that uses products all over every surface of our house that is toxic, but we say it is to clean…this makes no sense to me. My cleaning products were giving me a headache and I decided enough was a enough. I can’t change the way the whole world cleans, but I can control what happens in my own house. More on this in the coming weeks…stand by!

Develop a Monthly Rotating Meal Plan

Wouldn’t it be amazing if every week when you sat down to make your grocery list you could pull out a calendar that had all your meals planned and the items you need for each one written beside it? I am going to make this happen! It’s going to suck…but I’ve just got to get something going on this front. Enough is enough…again, stand by!

*Bonus Goal: Holiday Calendar for the next 3 months

Ever feel like the holidays zip by and you didn’t get to do everything you wanted to do? Don’t let that happen this year. Sit down next week and plan all the way through New Years every single thing you want to do and when you will do it! I’ll share mine later this week!

It’s Sunday, the beginning of a new week. Make something out of it! I read an amazing quote this week from a woman born with Spina Bifida who said,

“You only live once is wrong. You live every day. You die once. Now go embrace your life accordingly.” Amanda Young

I think that’s a great way to start the week and begin to achieve my goals! Be kind to others, show Christ’s love and live every day this week!

Fall into Change!

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So this past week my routine was not so great. That’s being kind actually. I failed pretty miserably, I’m not even going to re-frame it. However, it’s a new week AND a new month! Ah, love when that happens!

So let’s get straight to it because I know people love to read about others failures. Here’s what I did:

Failure One…no bed time. Just none at all

I went to bed past midnight every single night last week. I mean, this is not unusual for me, but I was supposed to be trying so that’s a fail! I even took it to another level and stayed up to 3:00 one of those nights…errr mornings! It’s not my fault though! I had a really good library book and it MADE me stay up reading it! (Do I sound like anyone’s kid right now?) I actually don’t totally regret that. Sometimes you just have a good book that you just can’t put down! For those wondering it’s called The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio and it’s worth a read!

Failure Two…no meal planning

We ate at Waffle House last week. I don’t think I need to go into too much detail about how my meal planning went last week.

Let’s turn the Tide

I hope some of you feel better about yourselves, because I’m sure even if you didn’t have a stellar week you probably did a bit better than I did! Well pat yourself on the back but don’t get too comfortable because I don’t intend on that happening this week! You think I’m going to waste a new month starting on a Monday? Uh, that’s a definite no! In fact, it’s time to formulate some new goals, I hope you’ll join me!

I realized I never followed up on my 6 month goals from months ago. That’s pretty indicative of how my spring was. It’s not that it was all bad, but it had it’s challenging times and was also very busy.  I lost my grandmother in March, followed by some sickness and then went full force into prepping for March of Dimes. We had tons of visitors and I was just occupied. In summary, I did OK on some of my goals and on others I didn’t even begin to complete them. I thought I was making a manageable list, but I didn’t. If I were my own therapist I would have cut my goals in half and broken them down into objectives that could be measured in 3 months and readjusted.

So that’s what I’m doing this time. There are 3 months left in 2018, let’s see what we can do with them. I’ll be working on formulating those goals and update you later this week. I’ve got to make sure I don’t over do it so I can make them manageable. I encourage you to do the same. Really take time to think about what you want to spend your time and energy accomplishing.

So for now I will go drink some more coffee and figure out how to make my bedtime routine a reality. Also, meal planning. Gotta cut the Waffle House consumption down…even though they have blueberry waffles again! (Why did they ever take those away????)

Have a great Monday friends, make a change today! Just one change and see what happens!

 

Routine Coffee

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Well it’s been a week since I’ve started trying to get back into a routine and I have to say that I haven’t failed as miserably as I figured I would! Woohoo! Go me! Now, I also haven’t totally nailed it, but that’s OK because we all know I am not going to nail a routine the first time when I have been basically operating without one.

How I have succeeded

I have been waking up ALMOST when my alarm goes off…almost. Meaning I only snooze it once or twice (maybe more, but since when did we get so concerned about numbers???) I am realizing (or more appropriately accepting) that the way for me to be most productive is to drag my booty out of the bed much earlier than I want to. I know that this is a universally known way to be more productive and a healthy morning routine, but I just did not want to accept it. Do you know why??? Because I am a night owl. I. Don’t. Like. Bed. Time. Never have, never will.

My mind comes alive at night, I get my best (and most far fetched seemingly impossible) ideas at night. The house is quiet at night. There is the most uninterrupted time at night. Night is my time people! However, as it turns out when you’re an adult and mother you are expected to wake up in the morning and function as though you had a full night’s sleep and if you stay up late you don’t really function all that well.

Unless of course you drink coffee.

You’ll be OK if you drink lots and lots of coffee.

If you don’t drink coffee I honestly can’t help you. Tea maybe? I don’t know. Good luck. You should probably stop reading because the solution to most of my problems this last week were coffee. If you read the Bible you can keep reading because that’s honestly the biggest part, but coffee was second so you can make that choice from here if you want to continue or not.

I made my coffee the night before and set it to brew at the time I wanted to get up. This helped on 2 levels: First, if I didn’t get up with my alarm I was going to let that delicious coffee sit there and burn (spoiler alert: this happened a couple of times, I drank it anyway and liked it just fine) and Second, I could smell it in my room so it motivated me to get up and go enjoy it!

So success number one was I woke up and got out of the bed. Man, I am revolutionary!

Success number two was reading my Bible every morning. This was the best part of my week. I took the time to read a significant amount and really try to understand and let sink in what I was reading. If my mind started to wander I re read the last few paragraphs. It truly set my days up to be more successful.

In the past I would wake up and start trying to tackle my to do list, but my mind wasn’t settled and I didn’t succeed very often because my day was just a relentless list with no substance, no calming, no guiding purpose. This really has helped me. Some mornings it was the only thing I got done before little j got up, but most mornings I was able to dress and get my make up on before she woke up. Even on the days that didn’t happen I still felt like I was ready for the day even though I hadn’t tackled one thing on my to do list.

Success number two was reading my Bible. This is a good thing. I need to continue this.

Another part of my routine I was able to successfully navigate was the flexibility part I talked about. If you have no idea what I’m talking about feel free to read my last post. This time I was flexible in the way I want to be, not in a “putting off my routine cause I’m a free spirit kind of way”. I had the opportunity to help out two friends this week by watching their kids and although I had to adjust my routine a little it honestly wasn’t that big of a deal because part of my routine is being available to others. I still got to get up early and feel set for my day, I just adjusted the day time part of my routine and lucky for me I hadn’t really established that yet so this was even easier! Booyah!

Success number three was having a flexible enough schedule to be able to help others, and I’m glad I made that a part of my routine. Helping others is a blessing and I’m honored God allows me to be able to do it.

I am proud of what I did last week. It probably doesn’t sound like much to you, but I made an effort every day toward my goal and by the end of the week I was well on my way to establishing a routine. Big change takes time (Not as much time as people often think) and consistency is key. I’m hoping this week I can keep it up! (So far so good…with a few Monday morning glitches, but go ahead and allow for glitches in your Monday morning routine. It’s Monday, there will be glitches, so if you know that going into it they won’t surprise you so much!)

How I can improve

Did you notice I didn’t say “How I have failed”? That’s the therapist in me…always re-framing. You should try it, you’ll feel better about your failures and maybe not wallow in them as long. No one likes a wallower, so re-frame and move on!

I definitely need to work on the bed time routine. I’ve already gone over that so I won’t keep blabbering about it. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Improvement number one, Bed time routine. Ugh….stupid bedtime. Re-framing….lovely rest. Lovely rest. Not yawning as much the next day. Not passing out face first on my bed while j naps. (Internally…stupid stupid bed time)

Something I was better at last week but could improve on more this week is meal planning and grocery shopping. Going to the store on the same days and planning out my meals at the beginning of the week (soooo I guess that’s today! I know what I’m doing next!) so that I can have a consistent meal planning, shopping and cooking schedule. My normal one is at about 4:30 thinking “Hmmm what can I throw together with what is in the fridge”. This is not good people, I know it’s not. I’m working on it.

Improvement number two, get meals and grocery shopping down to a fine science…errr an art form. I always did poorly in science, I excelled in the arts. You should see me acting out Frozen in the living room with little j….I dominate. Dom. In. Nate.

That’s all I’m going for this week. I know myself, this bed time thing alone will be extremely hard so I’m not going to push it.

Have you been working on a routine? Let me know how it’s going! And don’t forget, lots and lots and lots of coffee! (But more Jesus!)

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Ready for Routine

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It’s been far too long since I have written and I decided it was time to jump back in and continue to chart my journey and my progress…or sometimes lack thereof. Lately I have been struggling to get back into the swing of life and I figured blogging more consistently may help with that. We shall see!

I had a great summer, but I will admit that it exhausted me and I have had a hard time getting back in gear and into my routine. I also had a pretty big realization that I don’t have much a routine. I have always been a more “go with the flow” and flexible person which I think has it’s place and value, but lately I have found myself craving routine. I’m exhausted by not knowing what is exactly around the corner, what is for dinner tonight, what our plans are for the weekend. I have realized it is increasing my anxiety and causing me to not live as joyously as I would like to live, so I’m going to do something about it! Time to create a routine!

One thing I’ve struggled with in the past with routines is that they bore me and also just feel like a whole bunch of chores I don’t want to do…yuck! That is because I was only making a routine of the things I HAD to do and not putting in things I WANT to do. The reality of adulthood and parenthood is most of our day is spent doing things we have to do, but also we find so many ways to waste time. I mean…make an art form of wasting time. Let me give you a few example of how I and other people waste time:

  1. TV and phone…I don’t need to elaborate on this because odds are you are reading this on the toilet. Put the phone down, flush the toilet and read this is a different room.
  2. There aren’t any more, there is no bigger waste of time than the TV and phone.

In my past life as a therapist I used to hear all the time that people “didn’t have any time” for whatever change or homework I was asking them to do and let me tell you that’s just not true. I will not deny that there are seasons in life that are busier than others, but if we are managing our time wisely we can accomplish what needs to get done and have time to have a little fun and relax. I am currently in a space in my life where I am mismanaging my time therefore I am going to make a change. I invite you to make that change with me if you are also wasting your time!

Step One: Manage Expectations

My biggest crime when I sit down to make a routine is expecting to do waaaay to many things in one day. My list will look something like this:

6:00AM Run 4 miles

6:45AM Shower, dry hair, curl hair, put on make-up, get dressed

7:15AM Read the whole Bible

7:45AM Cook a delicious healthy breakfast, eat it and do all the dishes before little j wakes up

8:00AM Write out a list of ways to house all the homeless people in Norman

8:15AM Walk singing into little j’s room and charm her with my glorious voice, convince her that her clothes are amazing and she should put them on immediately after using the potty (which she will willingly do) and then eat her breakfast in an appropriate amount of time so that we can leave on time to get her to Mom’s Day Out those 2 times a week we need to be somewhere on time

9:00AM Drop little j off at Mom’s Day out with a healthy lunch, tuition check in hand and dressed in her crazy socks because I didn’t forget that it’s crazy sock day

9:15-2:30 Clean the entire house top to bottom, plan meals for an entire month, go to 6 grocery stores to get everything I need, drop off the library books (which are never over due), vacuum the car, get the oil changed, buy air filters for the first time in 8 months, replace air filters for the first time in 8 months, get back to school on time to pick up little j

…you get the point. None of this is realistic. Let me show you what actually happens when I make this many plans.

6:00AM Hit snooze 6 times. Wake up with just enough time to run before Jacob leaves for work. Shower while little j watches PBS, forget about doing my hair…oh crap get in the car it’s time to go to Mom’s day out!

9:15AM Go to the store, realize I have forgotten my list, get 6 things I needed and forget the one I need the most, the one for dinner tonight.

10:00AM Go home because I can’t leave the cold groceries in the car, vacuum 2 rooms, spend 25 minutes cleaning the hair out of the brush of my vacuum cleaner, realize I need to clean the filters in the vacuum, clean the filters then realize they need to dry for 24 hours before I can finish vacuuming.

11:00 Eat 18 tortilla chips and the rest of my coffee from breakfast…wait I forgot breakfast.

11:15 Take a nap for “just 15 minutes”…2 hours later, wake up and have no idea where I am, what day it is and where I am currently supposed to be.

2:00 Finally get it together to get something done and then realize I need to leave in 20 minutes to pick up little j.

2:30 Pick up little j, realize I forgot the tuition check…and the pouch for her after school snack.

…..you get it.

Managing expectations is absolutely essential to having a successful routine and this is by far my biggest weakness, but I am going to work on it. I will let you know how it goes!

Step Two: Include time to do what you love

Routine can’t be all about chores, that’s no way to live your life. I will never get into a routine if my entire routine is just chore after chore. There has to be time built in to do what you love, and the more you plan the better. If I want to work on a big project I need to be realistic that it will take several days or weeks of just 1 or 2 hours a night to get it done. I also need to understand that there may be things that cause me to miss a weekend or several nights of working on it and be okay with that as well.

In this step I will also plan to spend time with those that I love. Planning family time, date nights, friend nights, those are the things that make me happy! There is time to see your friends, to spend with your spouse, to focus in on something your kid loves, you just have to plan it and follow through. Oh and don’t spend so much time planning that you don’t get to the actual doing…I’m not so great at that one some times!

Step Three: Be Flexible

Honestly, this is one that I’m pretty good at, possibly to a fault. I find lots of reasons to steer me away from my routine, but that’s not always a bad thing. Hear me out on this people:

You will waste your life if you schedule every single minute of every single day and never veer away from your routine and schedule. You will miss out on the opportunity to help out others, or have a spontaneous experience. Get what you need from your routine, but don’t let it run your life.

There have been plenty of times where other people have altered their routines to help me out, or to just experience something with me and it meant the world to me and really has saved my bacon many times. I try my best to do that for others, to make myself available when people need me and to say I’m willing to help and actually mean it. That doesn’t mean there aren’t times when I have to say no, but it means saying yes even when it might be inconvenient or throw off my routine. I encourage you to do the same because God calls us to do “for the least of these” (Matthew 25:34-40) and that is not only when it is convenient or on our schedule. I don’t try to help people out because I am a good person, because I’m not, but because of God’s love for me and his forgiveness through Christ I follow His call and try my best to live it out. That is the ultimate in spending your time in a valuable way.

All this being said I am going to set a pretty rigid routine for myself this week so that I can get back in the swing of things, but I will be prepared to move things around if necessary!

I will keep you updated on how it goes! Let me know if you are changing your routine as well!

 

Love Your Neighbor

“Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,”answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

Love your neighbor as yourself

I have been wanting to write this for about 3 months, but I have let a lot of other things get in the way! I could make excuses because a lot did happen and I had a lot of company in and out of my home, but the truth is I have managed to keep up on all my Real Housewives shows so obviously I just did not prioritize writing!

However, it’s a new day and instead of getting down on myself for all I could have done I’m just going to take action and get things done! Starting with writing this post about my next door neighbor, Rachel. I did not ask Rachel if I could write about her and use her name, but she will forgive me… I’m 99.9% sure of it!

The truth is, one of the reasons I have delayed writing this is because in order to tell the whole story I have to go back to a time when I wasn’t doing so great and I don’t really like revisiting that time in my life, but I think this is important to share so I’m going to take a brief moment to journey back to summer 2016 when I was still knee deep in depression and anxiety and tell you how one person’s actions helped pull me out of a dark pit and lead me back to joyously living my life!

One day I will write the story of little j’s birth and how it simultaneously helped me love harder and feel the greatest joy I ever have, but also the circumstances caused me to sink into a deep depression followed by crippling anxiety. I did my best to hide it and unfortunately I think I succeeded for the most part. There were so many people who would have been more than willing to help me if I had just expressed that I needed help, but I didn’t (I have since learned from that!) and it caused me to live in the dark for a very long time.

During this dark time little j never slept…I mean never. So on top of all I was experiencing I was completely exhausted as well. The only way I could get her to nap was to drive her around in the car. So every day I grabbed a book and drove the 5 miles down to Lake Thunderbird (hoping she would fall asleep on the drive) and parked at a trail head and stayed there until she woke up. It was a lonely exhausting routine, but she needed sleep so I did what I had to do.

On one of these days late spring/ early summer 2016 I got a text from Rachel asking if I wanted to go for a walk. She brought me food after little j was born so I had her number, but we hadn’t had much interaction before then. We spoke outside when we saw each other, but truthfully I didn’t leave the house much for the first year after little j was born. At first it was because of the oxygen, then it was flu season and after that I honestly just didn’t know where to go or what to do so most days we stayed inside.

Knowing that it would take me 10-15 minutes to get back I figured she would just go ahead and go for her walk and for the most part I didn’t really want to go anyway. I had gotten really great at giving excuses for not showing up places and I was tempted to just fall back into that same habit. But somewhere deep inside the real me was screaming up through the darkness, begging depressed me to just give it a try and see if maybe she would wait for me to drive back so I could have some adult interaction and maybe make a friend. I sent her a text explaining where I was and that it would take a while for me to get back and to my surprise she said she would wait. I was so excited at the idea of just being normal and walking and talking so I drove back long before the nap should be over and we went for a walk. It was the start of what is now a great friendship and someone I couldn’t do day to day life without.

Let me emphasize something about this event that is so so important. Rachel reached out. Rachel made an effort. She herself had every excuse to not see if I wanted to go on a walk, but she was being obedient and loving her neighbor as herself and I truly cannot express the difference it has made in my life.  At that particular time she was around 8 months pregnant and her son was only about 2 1/2 so she wasn’t exactly getting a lot of rest herself. She could have told herself, “well I’ll reach out after my baby is born” or “I’m sure I’ll get to know her eventually as time goes on” but she didn’t. She made an effort and in that one moment she began a healing process in me and I will never ever forget it.

We now have a friendship that is more like family. Our kids are little best friends who freely walk in and out of each others houses and yards, we have meals together, we watch the other’s kids when things come up, we miss each other when we go on vacations, we got on trips together (and she remained my friend after I ran out of gas and stranded us in a median on I35) we are in each others lives in a day to day way and it feels complete and the way God intended for us to live.

Too often we are so quick to find excuses when something arises that might pull us out of our comfort zone. How many amazing people are we missing when we do this? How many lives could we change by making an effort?

Changing a life is as simple as loving someone the way you would want to be loved. Easy as that. So this week make an effort to knock on someone’s door and bring them cookies, offer to bring dinner to someone who is overwhelmed, smile at people as you walk down the street. Get out of your comfort zone and make a difference.

You never know, you may have your own Rachel living next door and I can tell you first hand she’s worth baking cookies for!

5 Classic Movies for 5 Cold Nights

Ever since that silly groundhog saw his shadow it has gotten COLD! The whole country is shivering and let’s face it…we don’t want to do ANYTHING! Our hands are dry and cracked, our noses are raw and we just want to curl up by the fire and watch a movie. Am I right?

I personally am a big fan of old movies and I have grudgingly brought my husband along on my journey. They haven’t all been home runs, but these 5 are absolute winners, proven by the fact that he has stayed awake through all of them!

Enjoy!


1. Singing in the Rain

I absolutely LOVE this movie! It’s stars Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connorand follows Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont who are the biggest silent film duo in the country. When The Jazz Singer comes out and “talkies” become the way of the future hilarity ensues as Don tries to find a way around Lena’s shrieking voice. Debbie Reynolds stars as Kathy Selden, who saves the day with her beautiful voice and captures the attention of Don Lockwood. If for no other reason you should watch this movie for Donald O’Connor’s number Make em Laugh. You will sing and dance around the house for a week and you will find ways to say “What do you think I am? Dumb or something?” in your best Lina Lamont voice.

2. How to Steal a Million

Netflix suggested I watch this movie and I’m so glad I did! Starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole this movie will make you laugh and has a little love story to cap it off! Audrey Hepburn plays the daughter of an art counterfeiter who is at risk of being exposed.  Her father, played by Hugh Griffith whom I didn’t know prior to this movie, absolutely cracked me up!  In order to keep her father from being discovered she enlists the help of a burglar (Peter O’Toole) to steal her father’s Cellini sculpture from a museum. It’s a light-hearted, fun movie that I will certainly watch again.

3. Woman of the Year

This movie, starring the dynamic duo of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, will surprise you with how progressive it was for the time period. Filmed in 1942, at a time when women traditionally stayed home (with the exception of working outside the home during the war) it follows the story of Tess Harding, an international correspondent who has been named woman of the year and her relationship with Sam Craig, who is a sports writer. I don’t want to give away the whole movie, because it is more fun to just watch it, so I will just say it will make you laugh and also appreciate how far we have come and how much compromise and work it takes for a marriage to work so that both people can truly be themselves in the relationship. Watch it, you will be glad you did!

4. Desk Set

This may give you a sense of deja vu because it also stars Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy but it’s just too good to leave off of the list. Hepburn plays Bunny Watson who is in charge of the reference library (Google) for her company who worries she is getting pushed out by a computer that is being brought in to assist in the functions of the reference library. Tracy plays Richard Sumner who is the inventor of the computer which is called EMERAC (Electromagnetic MEmoryand Research Arithmetical Calculator, per Wikipedia). As Bunny and her staff work hard to prove they are more useful than Richard’s precious EMERAC, Richard finds himself falling for Bunny. The movie has a fun little twist at the end and is another winner from Hepburn and Tracy.

5. Oklahoma!

Odds are you may have seen this one, but even if you have you should watch it again. I became a fan of this movie long before I moved to Oklahoma, so it’s not just for Okies to watch! With the classic songs, Oklahoma!, Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’ and The Surrey with the Fringe on Top, you can’t help but wish that you could spend a day on Aunt Eller’s farm in early 1900’s Oklahoma. The story follows the love story of Curly and Laurey and exposes you to a version of early Oklahoma that only Rodgers and Hammerstein could dream up. If your kids are watching make sure they run get a snack at the end because things get a little dark for a minute! However, they bounce back quickly and you will sing your way to bed and wake up to a Beautiful Mornin’! Bonus: you can probably check it out for free at the library!


Happy viewing! What would you add to this list?