Holiday Dessert Round-Up

This week's Christmas Recipe Round-Up is all things dessert! I've posted many more dessert recipes over the years, and that just means more desserts to love during Christmas. 


Chocolate Pecan Pie


This was a long standing favorite whenever my grandmother made it during the holidays. After tasting this regular Pecan Pie is just not as much fun. 


Old Fashioned Chocolate Pie


Yet another grandmother recipe, this one comes from my father's grandmother. It's a long time favorite of my husband. 


Marshmallow Orange Salad


Or "orange junk" as the grandchildren called it. This was a holiday from the wonderful archive of recipes I inherited from my mother's mother. It screams 70's jello mold, but in a good way. 


Coconut Cookie Butter Bread Pudding


This is a new hybrid recipe I developed this year. It's one part grandmother and one part me. Actual pudding being my Nanny's recipe, topping being mine. 



My mother loves a good lace cookie, and this recipe doesn't disappoint. There's something much more holiday about a lace cookie than a regular ole chocolate chip cookie. 


Jam Cake


This recipe comes as part of a combo of a few recipes as part of a Southern Cake Series. Jam Cake is a traditional Southern holiday cake, and encompasses all the flavors of the season with its subtle hint of spice. 


Peanut Butter Balls


Apparently this is an actual thing, called Buckeyes elsewhere. I started making these after my mother found a recipe for peanut butter play-dough in a 1990's parenting magazine. After that the recipe evolved into a snack and in college I perfected my peanut butter balls. Since then they have been a Christmas Eve staple at our house. 



Nothing says holidays like fruit that only grows during that time of year. I made this last year a few times and fell in love. It's American holiday spice mix meets British pudding texture. 


Pumpkin Better Than ... Cake


Yummy, sweet, and I make it every year for the Pastor Appreciation potluck and come back with an empty dish. It speaks for itself. 


Saltine Cracker Toffee


Basically Christmas Crack. I made this for a party this weekend and we've eaten so much I might puke. It's addictive, props to my sister for this recipe. 


Caramel Toffee Apple Dip


The dip for the baker that doesn't like to make a dipped apple. Just make a dip and dip those apple slices in. No need to awkwardly try to cover your apple. More eating, less cooking. 


Meal Pinning Monday

Another week. Another meal plan. 

What's everyone cooking this week? 



[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Friday Five

Y'all this week is officially ending in BEST WEEK EVER. Or at least the best Friday in the past decade. 

I jokingly shared a photo of Jeremy 8 years ago at our home in Monroe when it snowed, back in his shaggy hair days. It snowed today. 

Or considering how far south we live now... it SNEAUXED! 


5 Holiday Breakfast Ideas

There are a few recipes around here that get pinned half to deal around the holiday. Or at least as soon as Starbucks busts out the pumpkin flavored everything.

So today I'm sharing my top holiday breakfast recipes from the blog. Some obvious, some not so obvious. But all of them are loved by our family!

5 Holiday Breakfast Ideas

Meal Pinning Monday

It's the between holidays weeks, who all is eating healthy? I've recruited Jeremy to Keto... we shall see how long he lasts before he dies. Or just flat needs a carb in his life. 



[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Thanksgiving Break Recap

We kicked off Thanksgiving break by heading to my favorite place on earth. Some families go to Disney, this one goes to Ikea. 

It was a successful trip, we got new bedding, a big boy bed, several decorative items, and a much smaller desk. Considering many of the things in our house are hand-me-down or just plain wore out I really love that we are replacing them. 


We also made a pit stop by Buc-ee's and bought everything they sold. I was slightly out of control. 

Meal Pinning Monday

Back to the grind this week, I know some are tempted to carry on the festivities until New Years... not I. I feel like junk after a few crazy eating days, honestly. 



[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up

I usually post this earlier in the holiday week, but here's the list of what I'm cooking this year.

Mom is in charge of the desserts, she's got a French Silk Pie & a recipe for Apple Dumplings from The Pioneer Woman.



Here's my side of the menu:










Taking the flavors of this dip recipe and turning it into creamed spinach..









I'm also making [this] sweet potato recipe... but the widget isn't working, so click the link.

What are y'all cooking for Thanksgiving this year?

Coconut Cookie Butter Bread Pudding

Y'all this recipe is to die for, and incredibly easy.

Both of which means it gets an A+ in my book. I'm not one for recipes with random ingredients I'll never use again.



I'm looking at you Chinese Five Spice I bought 6 years ago and maybe used 3 times... and that involved just adding it to random things just to see what it tasted like.

Meal Pinning Monday

It's the last Monday before Thanksgiving and I'm in holiday heaven! Who's with me? 

I honestly can't wait to be off work for a week and live at my own pace. 



[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Saturday Five?


[ONE]

Jeremy was awarded Louisiana School Psychologist of the year this week. Super excited is clearly an understatement of my feelings on the subject. Love that hard working guy. 


Party Sandwich Pasta

We are an appetizer family, plain and simple. 

My favorite part of Christmas is that on Christmas Eve we spend the day making every appetizer our hearts desire and chowing down that evening. 

One of our long time favorite Christmas Eve snacks is Party Sandwiches, you know those lovely sweet rolls with ham and Swiss cheese. Covered in melted butter with Dijon and Poppy Seeds. They're to die for. 


In coming up with a recipe for the Tresomega Organics for Life recipe challenge I decided to turn our favorite appetizer into a quick and easy week night meal. 

If any of your have been around this blog for any amount of time you know that my hubby is hard to please. 

I was pleasantly surprised when he said he loved this dish! 

Meal Pinning Monday

This week is pretty recipe heavy from the new Mark Sisson Keto Reset book, sadly most of the recipes aren't on Pinterest. However they can still give you some great meal ideas. 



[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Friday Five

This has been one of those weeks that needs a weekend, although I'm afraid I say that every week and live for Saturday. Anyone else?


[ONE]


It's that most magical time of year when you realize it's high time to do some serious cleaning again. I've currently got my baseboards laid out in my planner by room category for the next month or so. I'm a soapy water, Magic Eraser, and toothbrush kinda gal. If something works better, let me know. 


[TWO]


I've really had a lot of run with Lafayette Moms Blog is the month since it launched. 
Started out at the month at Tinsel & Treasure, got to meet some great ladies and have fun for a hour or two. Then we had Boo at the Zoo last weekend, got to see some of the same ladies and chat. I mainly love it because for the first time in 9 years I am not the weirdo with the blog. There are other writers, people to bounce ideas off of, other people who blow up social media all the time. It's lovely. 


[THREE]


No one can accuse Harrison of being dull or unimaginative. Halloween was a perfect example of this toddler acting silly. He decided to take my cat ears and spent a good chunk of time before Trick-R-Treating started just crawling around the circle while we all stood outside and talked... there was meowing involved. 

Notice the already chocolate stained lips? He wasn't missing a minute of that candy. 


[FOUR]


Who doesn't love a good side by side photo. This is all of our Halloween photos together over the course of his little life, with his mama (Te-Te) wearing that same pumpkin monogrammed shirt and cat ears. 


[FIVE]


I've decided I'm not that impressed with the It Cosmetics regular concealer, maybe it's because QVC didn't give me the option to buy a different shade from my CC Cream. Either way I don't think it's super special as far as coverage or the ability to not crease goes. I still love my Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer. Their CC is still life, and next order I'll be moving back over to the beloved illuminating version. However next up on my list of product to try from them is their Bye Bye Pores. I previously bought the touted to be super amazing primer from The Ordinary and don't think it's any better than my pink pump jar of Elf Primer



Play-Doh Te-Te

The other night we had a terrible storm, the kind that wakes you up because it is so incredibly loud. The kind where you get less sleep and pre children you would have taken a nap.

That’s where I was at Sunday.

I wanted to rest.

I wanted to lay on the couch and watch the new episode of The Pioneer Woman Cooks that was recorded on Sling.

As any parent searching for a second of alone time, I quietly crawled into the recliner, turned on my TV, and crossed my fingers that the Play-Doh on the little kid table in the kitchen would entertain for a mere 30 minutes of cooking show quietness.

It didn’t.

My child who normally plays alone wanted my attention… which he normally doesn’t. Daddy is the prime time parents these day, but somehow I was taking center stage this out of the ordinary Sunday and getting lots of love and affection.
As I was just getting into the part of the episode about cauliflower crust pizza I heard a little boy voice saying, “Te-Te, Te-Te come.”

“Te-Te let’s go.”

I assumed I was being beckoned for my usual purpose in life, serving food to people in this house. To my surprise it wasn’t that.

He didn’t want a snack.

That chubby little boy grabbed me by the hand and took me to his tiny Ikea table to play with his Play-Doh with him.

I won’t lie to you, at first I was disappointed. I wanted to park my potato butt in the recliner and watch TV. My beloved TV I see so little of these days, because when it’s on it isn’t a show I care about.

A few minutes into this squishy dough time it occurred to me that this won’t happen for long, and it won’t happen often. I should just sit there and take advantage of it.

As it stands, Harrison doesn’t come to me for this stuff often, he’s a Daddy’s baby.
But for some reason on this odd day he wanted his parent who he’s named Te-Te for some unknown reason… that I think I know the reason for actually.

So this tired mama (Te-Te) sat her rear on the cold tile floor and played with Play-Doh. She realized she needed to be there because that chubby child wanted her there.

He wanted to sit with me. He wanted me to make tons of Play-Doh snakes so he could hiss and play until their tongues fell off and I had to start all over again.

He just wanted to sit next to his mama, and that’s something I have to remind myself to take advantage of.


It’s in the small moments mamas. 

9 Years of Louisiana Bride

Today marks 9 whole years of blogging at Louisiana Bride. To celebrate I thought I'd share a little about how it came about, especially for any new comers that don't remember the all wedding posts all the time past of the past.


Halloween might seem like an odd time to start a wedding blog, it is, and I don't remember why today was the day I wanted to start it. We were engaged over two months already, but I guess wedding planning was just getting into full swing. Either way, I recall so vividly opening up my Dell laptop on in my loft bedroom from my first little townhouse and finally committing to a name to start this little wedding blog.

I regret to this day not saving all my previous title banners, over the course of the first two years my tag line changed many times.

I started out as Louisiana Bride & a Mississippi Wedding, copying the Conway Twitty/Loretta Lynn song Louisiana Woman Mississippi Man.

The original plan was to quit writing after the wedding. What else was I going to write about? The wedding was over and it was time to end this puppy after the honeymoon.

Then the wedding happened and I recall my former pastor's wife and another church member asking me about the blog and then telling me I had to continue it. I should just keep writing about daily life.

And so I did.

It was rough at times, there was a big thing with bloggers with bloggers around 2010 to know your niche. Oh that stupid niche.

Instead of just writing for the sake of writing every now had to "know their niche." At the time I followed a ton of food bloggers and mom bloggers, I was neither. I was writing about daily life, journaling.

Over time lifestyle became a thing, but by then I was posting recipes constantly. So I was a "food blogger."

Luckily the niche deal opened up a tad and I eventually could call myself food & lifestyle since I still posted about daily life and things I loved.

Still though my most popular posts are recipes.

Then there was that time I got kicked out of Southern Blog Society because I posted phone photos in my pregnancy recap posts. I think it must have caused a few deaths, some might have lost their religion. Either way I learned that the "blog society" thing that was attempting to take off was a massive joke and served me zero purpose. The helped mainly the fashion blogger type with the invites to local fashion shows and such. Literally zero food stuff.

So yeah, I'm a blog society reject.

Forget them though, I've been writing longer than they've existed anyway.

(end snark towards blog crap)

So anyway, new bloggers or new people wanting to blog... let me tell you this... just write. Your niche develops over time. Don't go into this expecting to get paid just because Pinterest has tons of articles of bloggers saying how they made 4 figures their first month. They're sell outs who don't like blogging anyway, it's all click bait. Just write for yourself, maybe someone will read, maybe they won't. If they don't... who cares. I'm not writing this for them anyway.

In the end this is just a big diary that happens to be posted online. It's where I can store my recipes without taking up space in my home. And if something happens or some posts gets noticed and posted elsewhere then good for it, it's not the reason to write. Don't write to be famous, write to get your thoughts out of your head and record them somewhere.

Chicken Nugget Prayer

A few days ago Harrison was parked at his tiny table with his chicken nuggets as per the usual when I noticed he was acting odd. It was as if he was waiting on someone to do something.

I know he’s been paying more attention to what we are doing lately simply because before he eats he wanders over to the utensil drawer and digs out a fork. 


Suddenly he uses a big fork to eat chicken nuggets.

But he was just sitting there, hand in his lap, waiting for something.

Suddenly the thought came to me that maybe since he’s copying us on getting a fork that he also wants to copy us with praying before a meal.

In case you’re wondering, no we haven’t forced closing his eyes and folding his hands for prayer. At two it’s essentially the equivalent of getting feral cat to fold its hand and close its eyes in prayer. He’s not your sitting still kind of kid.

I asked him, “Harrison do you want someone to pray with you?”

He looked at me, stuck out his little hands and said, “Yes.”

My heart nearly melted into a puddle.

So we prayed over his chicken nuggets.

Which ended up being the most prayed over chicken nuggets in the history of human existence.

The situation evolved into praying for each nugget.

The basically every bite.

He started saying, “A-nen” after each prayer.

Which evolved to yelling, “Yay!” and clapping after he said “A-nen.”

Because who doesn’t cheer for a good prayer?

Y’all there’s a lot to parenting that I’m just not a fan of. (See also the first 6 months) But these cute little moments when you can see that something is sinking in, something you do is being noticed by your child… it’s all worth it.

I’ll suffer a sleepless night to be able to witness the adorable things this little boy does and all the learning that takes place that I don’t even realize is happening.



Five on Friday

This week couldn't draw to and end quick enough. After 3 days of work with zero internet, allergies for days, and a desire to do things that I can't do and know things I can't know... I need a dang break from life for a hot minute.

[ONE] 

Pumpkin Patch numero two is in the books this week, totally spur of the moment. We were trying to stay out of the house while the weather was pretty. Notice his outfit, his Daddy dressed him in true Daddy fashion... shorts on backwards, tank top that doesn't match the shorts... Daddy's aren't very picture minded.


[TWO] 

I read the new keto book by Mark Sisson this week, I'm all about anything him and Rob Wolf get behind.


I also started implementing Intermittent Fasting into who I eat, I'm surprised at how much I enjoy it. I really thought I wouldn't even make it a day and would assume die over fasting. Nope. Not the case. I'm following the 16/8 method of fasting, fast for 16 hours, eat in an 8 hour window. There's a lot of data out there on why you should try IF, I won't get into that here unless y'all want me to.

[THREE] 

The Te-Te saga continues. This kiddo and his sense of humor kill me, for some reason his Daddy doesn't get the same treatment. In the bath last night he would give me this devilish grin and then call me Te-Te, because he clearly thinks it's funny. Then when it was time to read bedtime stories he had to add in one more, Where's My Mommy? I started off reading the word "mommy" but with him hollering "Te-Te" every time I changed over to "Te-Te" and he was beside himself. As soon as I said "Where's my Te-Te" he grinned, nodded, and said "Yes."

He's such a mess.


Our current forced to read list at night includes: Where's My Mommy, Tumble Bumble, Llama Llama Red Pajama, and Harold and the Purple Crayon. 

Dear sweet baby Jesus please someone steal that stupid Harold book from my house, I can't bare to read about the "be-be" again! 

What books do y'all dislike reading? 

[FOUR] 

I subscribed/ordered/whatever you call it... Beachbody On Demand this month. Loving it people! We've bought some of their programs before, but with the Roku this is so easy to use. I'm not following a specific program at the moment, but I've been doing the Upper and Lower workouts from P90X3. 

The current workout schedule looks like this:
Monday - Upper Body 
Tuesday - Lower Body
Wednesday - Abs (need something quick before choir practice)
Thursday - Cardio (rollerblading)
Friday - Pilates or Barre
Saturday - Makeup day if I had to skip one or whatever I feel like
Sunday - Rest


I started out with 21 Day Fix at the end of July, still followed Keto though because their containers are too high carb for me. I toned up a good bit following the 21 Day Fix workouts, and yet I still did a hybrid, this girl HATES to jump, so I skip a few of her workouts.

I did about two weeks of Shift Shop, I like the workouts but the eating plan made me gain weight that first two weeks... again too high carb. By week 3 of SS I quit his workouts, went back to keto, and jumped more into the P90X3 workouts. Just mixing and matching depending on my mood. Which works out great with On Demand.

[FIVE]

I'm still on the Teddie Organics Rosehip oil train, and everyone is getting this for Christmas from me. My skin is so soft and it's definitely maintained what my RetinA did. I use this morning and night under my moisturizer and my skin has never been softer. Plus it's a great price.


So before y'all think I'm nutty, here's a few benefits of it:
Essential fatty acids help improve appearance of skin. 
Rich in Vitamin A (as close to RetinA as I can get right now)
Natural source of antioxidents - repair and protect skin from aging
UV Protection
Makes your skin glow! 

31 - How I Enjoy Wasting Time

Y'all a writing topic couldn't be more written for me, this is my thing... "wasting time" or as I like to call it... living my best life.


Instead of being productive I love to...

Meal Plan

Think about how I'd make the house more hygge.

Play on my phone during my child's bath time.

Watch The Graham Norton Show on Youtube.

Watch The Wendy Williams Hot Topics segment on YouTube.

Watch random crap on YouTube.

Make lists.

Make lists of what lists should be completed first.

Eat.

Think about cooking.

Google.

Search for books on Overdrive.

Reccomend more than my limit on Overdrive.

Text my husband random crap he doesn't care about.

Text in general.

Cut individual split ends out of my hair.

Plan my next Ikea trip.

Think of camping.

Think of camping meals.

Google why my garden isn't working out.

Read random eBooks.

Make lists of things I want on Amazon.

Think of my ideal place to live.

I'm sure there's more, but that's what I could come up with off the top of my head. What are some of the ways that y'all like to waste time?


31 Days - 5 Things I'm Grateful For Now

I could easily list what I'm grateful for right now with the work internet being down... but less focus on the positive.



[ONE] 

The temps this week are making us believe that we actually live somewhere with fall.

[TWO] 

Allergy medicine, because I wouldn't survive Cane Burning without it.

[THREE] 

Online 30 minute workouts, I don't have time to leave the house to workout much less do more than 30 minutes these days. #NotMotivated

[FOUR] 

A silly toddler, because it makes life more fun.

[FIVE]

Finally seeing the light in a tunnel, I'll share more as the time comes.

31 Days - Dream Job

If I could honestly do anything in this world, I'd just stay at home.

Being a stay-at-home-mom would be absolutely the ideal.



Bad night at home? No problem, we could have a easy going day. Groceries, laundry, dishes, cleaning, absolutely everything could be done while Jeremy was at work and his off work time could be devoted to just hanging out as a family.

I could actually attend the child's doctor well-baby visits. That would be a dream. Up to this day I think I've been to 3. I've also only taken off work one time for sickness. Jeremy has more sick days so he is usually the parent in charge.

If I stayed home I'd more time to devote to blogging, I could actually take Louisiana Bride in the direction I was going before having Harrison.

Heck I might even mow the grass during nap time.

If I stayed home Harrison and I could participate in all the mother/child activities that occur only during work hours around town. He could go to story time, music, we could do arts and crafts.

Dinner could be prepped ahead of time, I wouldn't spend an hour cooking every night.

Heck I could even workout during the day when he's home, and not have to plop him in front of the TV or pawn him off to his Daddy right after work so I can squeeze in some 30 minute workout DVD.

My house would be clean.

My child would be more enriched.

Life would be less rushed.

How do I know this would be the reality? It's the life I get to live for 2 months out of the year every single summer.

For two months every year I get to pretend this is my life.

That's why I want to live that life 12 months of the year so badly.

31 Days - 5 Positive Changes I Could Make Right Now

This might be the easiest topic to write on all month, I'm all about changes... especially positive ones. I'm that nut case that will make some major change on the spur of the moment.



[ONE] Diet - I'm trying to get better at having one off handed meal a week. I don't like the term cheat meal, you can't cheat on food. Last night I did have some fun at Chick-fil-a after our annual Pumpkin Patch outing, but I'll be breaking my one meal a week deal to have a fun fall something this weekend. I'm making the Caramel Apple Sweet Rolls, Cafe au Lait, and we are painting pumpkins Saturday morning... then it's back to the grind.

[TWO] Attitude - I can come off as a negative person, when in reality the majority of my thought process isn't negative at all. I just have a habit of venting more than I probably should.

[THREE] Get outside more - Nothing makes me a happier person than gardening in the cool fall air or rollerblading around the park for an hour. Happier Emily = better wife and mother. Granted fall/winter in South Louisiana is probably the worst time to be outside with all of the cane field burning. Talk about pollution central. The air is thick with what is essentially smog and I've had the beginnings of a sinus infection for over a week.

[FOUR] Be more committed to bible study - Oh shoot I am awful at keeping something up, especially something so easily brushed off. I was doing pretty well at studying the bible daily until this fall semester when I signed up for the Women in Missions course through NOBTS, then I kind of sorts just did that in what would have been bible study time.

[FIVE] Don't feel so guilty about doing things for myself - I'm not that mom that only does for others. I blame that on the fact that I get a tiny check from blogging every month. That check has been my fun money now for 6 years. I spend it on me and me alone. Whatever my heart desires. It's been great because with a tight budget there isn't extra money to spend on unnecessary items. For instance, I bought new chairs for our table last year. Even though what I'm doing isn't actually selfish, sometimes I still feel that way. At the onset of having Harrison I was so lost as to who I was. Marriage even sucks it out of you. So I've tried to focus on me to an extent, and I shouldn't feel so bad about it.

31 Days - Making the World a Better Place

Realistically I'm not some big advocate for Green Peace and promoting saving the world at every turn, but I do try and do a few things to make the world better. Try as I might.

These are a few things that are just apart of my life, nothing crazy.



[ONE] Smiling and saying hello to people. 

Blame it on the Southern upbringing, and when I say Southern I don't mean where we are now... nope, the actual South. Not Cajun land. If you've lived farther into what is stereotypically Southern, then you are well aware of the fact that driving from work to home means your arms hurts from having to wave at everyone you know. Growing up in Vidalia was a great lesson on how to treat people. If you have an awful day and you arm was sawed off you still find it in you to be kind to others and make them feel noticed or acknowledged.

I've come to realize that people aren't like that other places we've been or lived. That first week of college in Monroe was puzzling, I said hello to everyone I passed and was constantly ignored. Even with that I still feel that you should acknowledge the people you are walking past by at the very least making eye contact and smiling.

[TWO]  Sharing the Gospel. 

It's hard to do, and I'll admit the opportunity to do it isn't all that common. However, if I (or we) fully believe that Jesus is the answer to a fallen world, then we must share it with others. So take the opportunity, weave it into conversations, and pray that opportunities arise. (and you realize that the opportunity is there)

[THREE] Do for others. 

Take someone a meal after they've had a baby or lost a loved one. If you live in the South that meal is typically Popeye's Chicken. Nothing says "sorry your granny died" like a bucket of chicken. (kidding, but really it's true.) Send you hubby at to mow someone's grass. Find a widow to love on. Send cards, everyone loves snail mail. Bake some bread and take it to a neighbor.

How do you try and make the world a better place?

31 Days - 10 Things You Like About Yourself

Eek!

What's more narcissistic than a blog... a blog about what you like about yourself.

Here's goes though...

[ONE] I like that things my child does doesn't set me off into anger as easily as I would have thought. In fact I tend to laugh things off more than get irritated.

[TWO] I like my legs, I've always been able to tone my legs easily.

[THREE] I have a sense of humor, I don't take things very serious, and I don't advise taking what I say seriously either.

[FOUR] Good hair, while I'm no "Becky with the good hair" this mop is not in bad shape and I've got a naturally good color.

[FIVE] I've always loved that I have a Puerto Rican background. No plain white chick here! While it does afford me the nose I'm not too fond of, I love having an different background from most people I know.

[SIX] I actually like that I'm Type A, someone has to keep everything neurotically planned out in our family.

[SEVEN] (getting harder over here) But I like that I'm an open book about things, I'm basically a walking talk show, you see what you get. There are no secrets, and I'll talk to anyone about anything.

[EIGHT] Fairly independent, I like to do what I want to do on the time frame I want to do it. I don't like a lot of outside interference. I like that because... I don't need someone else to do anything.

[NINE]  I like that I enjoy cooking, it's a needed skill.

[TEN] (really pulling out of the bag here) I like that I can adventurous about where we live, what I'll eat, and traveling. I didn't realize for a long time that other people weren't as adventurous about life. I'm not skydiving though.


31 Days - Fear

On today's episode of "Emily isn't actually blogging everyday for 31 days" the topic is a fear you'd overcome if given the opportunity...

Umm...

I wouldn't have the fear if that was the deal.

I don't harp on things like death, losing jobs, house fires, none of that mumbo jumbo. It just doesn't come to mind. I can't control them.

What I do fear though are lizards, snakes, frogs, any amphibian basically. I also don't like chicken feet or animals with hooves.

I can control those.

Birds freak me out.

Not to the extent of running screaming, but I'm not touching your weird footed chicken.

I'd rather die than touch a lizard. Won't be overcoming that fear anytime soon, ever. That's my running and screaming fear... see also: snakes.

I can tolerate looking at a frog, but I'm not touching the frog.

Pigs and cows have weird feet. I'll touch your head but not your feet.

I MIGHT overcome my chicken feet and split hoof issue in the effort to have chickens and a pig one day.

I will not ever on my life overcome the lizard/snake problem and allow my child to own one. He's more than welcome to remove them from my house or out of my sight... but they won't take up residence in my home.

Ever.

So, yeah, that fear over coming thing was a bust.


31 Days - A Hard to Forgive Person

Oh gosh, today's topic is yet again something I don't talk about. Especially not on the blog.

In my life I have a hard to forgive person, we all do.

The how it's shaped you part is what has changed over the years.

I'm not even going to touch on who or what because I don't want anyone reading this and figuring out who they think it is.

I'll just say this...

I use to harbor a massive grudge about it.

I'd dread this person, panic attack like freak outs when I had to deal with the situation of any length of time.

For years it was a nightmare, and my own attitude about it was less than great.

I felt justified in my anger. No one should have to deal with that nonsense, right?

Looking back I think what caused me the most problems was my expectations. My expectations weren't met. They honestly weren't even high expectations, but they weren't met.

They haven't been met, and they will probably never be met.

So you could say the situation hasn't changed, just my outlook on it has. A lot of my attitude changing was based upon the fact that I finally felt supported.

Someone else say my misery and agreed that it was wrong. I finally had a partner in crime, so to speak, to get what upset me and understand my perficiment.

Best of all I was freed in the situation.

You see, for a long time I had to stay quiet. I had to just bottle the issue and move along, no matter how mad it made me. If you know me in real life then you'd know that's not how I roll. I have to say how I feel.

I'm from a family of saying how you feel about things.

When I could finally defend myself, it was okay to say something, I didn't have to feel bottled up... the need to actually act on the need to defend myself or call out injustice faded away.

So don't think my hard to forgive person has changed, or the situation has changed... it hasn't.

The only change was me, and something about the simple idea that I could defend myself resolved my anger and caused me to not even need to defend myself.


Church of the Small Things

I received a copy this book to as part of the Church of the Small Things launch team, I was not compensated monetarily to participate. All opinions are my own. 

Y'all this book was probably one of my favorites by Melanie Shankle, and I'd even go so far as to say my favorite out of this genre.

At a time of my life when I feel like I'm less than, not doing as good as others, waiting for something big... this was a great reminder of what really matters.

A reminder of what kids will actually remember and cherish.

The small things in life.


The parts of life that I often think don't matter, the moments my parents and grandparents probably felt the same way about.

I didn't care much about my mother graduating from college when I was in junior high, it was a big achievement, a big moment. It wasn't important though.

Instead I remember the year she got a big CD player in the kitchen, she would spend most nights cooking dinner and listening to Elton John or Rod Stewart. At the time I could have lived without hearing Wonderful Tonight yet again, but it's a memory I vividly have of her now.

My grandmother and I use to go window shopping on Saturday, we'd wander around and look at every outfit on the rack. We'd comment about how ugly they were. Laugh about everything that was around.

Although a favorite small thing moment was that my grandparents use to buy me a Dreamsicle snow cone with extra cream, and it's only special because my mother never would.

In Church of the Small Things, Melanie reminded me that the tiny moments that seemingly mean nothing are what my child will remember. He won't care that I wasn't some big shot, but he will lovingly remember gardening, singing, and random moments we will have over the years.

The biggest take away from the book, God is also in the small moments. He isn't waiting on Jeremy to finish seminary before he does anything in our lives, or uses us in someone else. I don't need to be a writer to effect someone. God is in the small things, the small moments. It's all about us being faithful to him.

"We are all climbing our own versions of Mount Everest and have no idea if our oxygen will last or if an avalanche will come, but God does. We can never underestimate the grace and the strength he will give us for whatever he is calling us to do and whatever challenges we'll face. What he has planned for us is higher and deeper than anything we could ever hope to achieve on our own. 

It's too much. It's too much for us to do in our own strength because we will mess it up, be he knows that and uses us anyway. It's never about creating or doing or being something that's perfect. It's not about having all the right answers. It's about being his. It's knowing that he who has called us if faithful."

If you didn't pre-order Church of the Small Things, head on over to the bookstore and grab a copy. Or even order it online. It has also been turned into a group bible study, and the promo video will basically make you sob while as you're thinking back on your own life. I honestly couldn't recommend this book enough, you'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll get a great reminder that the small things in life matter.

Just as much a the big moments.

31 Days - That Awkward Topic This Month

Today's topic is a past love who had a significant impact on who you are today. Um, weird to talk about such thing, right?

But it happened, and it's true.

Old boyfriends can shape who you are.

I happened to have my first old boyfriend in high school and it lasted about six years. Yes, I dated someone for a long dang time and never married them. We talked about it, but we were kids, and in the end it didn't work out. We wanted different things.

It taught me a lot though, what I wanted in relationships, what I didn't.

It made me value myself.

It gave me a best friend who had the same likes and dislikes.

We worked out at the local gym like obsessed gym rats. I learned how to cook and had someone around who loved to eat it, we grilled all the time. I had a movie watching buddy. Someone to go to youth group with. Someone to vent to when girls where mean to me in high school.

A boyfriend at that age, at least a long term one, it was basically a partner in crime to help you survive the awful high school years. When everyone else hated you, you had your boyfriend to agree that the world sucked too.

In the end, I don't think I had some big love where I learned so much about myself. Instead I had a partner in crime as a teenager that allowed me to not feel alone in a block of years that many kids feel awfully alone.






31 Days - Friend Memory Small Town Antics

Yes, I know I skipped a few days. Luckily, the blog police aren't coming to get me and I can do that sort of thing.

Today's memory and pics don't go together, but they are the pics of my friends from that memory. Just not pics of that particular memory. Recently my friend Ryan sent a ton of photos and we spent hours reminiscing about old times.

Good stuff

Also, this is Monday's post and it's just going up early, again don't send the police after me.

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You know for certain you are from a small town when a fun filled Friday night when everyone is home from college involves telling your parents you're headed to "The Walmart."

Meaning the only one in town.


But it wasn't even in our town. We had to cross the bridge and go to Mississippi to go to Walmart.

Gabby and I did this quite often.

One particularly fun Friday night we wandered The Walmart like weirdos, purchased the flavored Cool Whip and then rode on over the the... again "The Dirt Cheap" and got into more trouble.

The fact that we were never stopped by cops sometimes baffles me.

Then again two 18 year old white girls carrying Cool Whip containers isn't something to be alarmed over.



Point being, we took Gabby's ultra cool car (we thought anything with a slight sports car look was amazing) blaring our gangsta rap, Cool Whip in hand, and took our party to the parking lot at Dirt Cheap. From there we located a lost buggie and took turns pushing each other up and down the slopes on the sidewalk and in the lot.

We squealed and laughed like idiots while eating Cool Whip. Had it not been for the Cool Whip someone would have thought we were drunk or worse yet, on drugs. Who has that much fun being pushed in a buggie?

Where the rest of our nutty crew were is something to be wondered about. But Gabby & I got into enough non-trouble-trouble to amuse any actual drunk or pot head. Because those are the only other people who would think being shoved around in a death buggie down a hill is fun.