My Stitch Fix Bliss

Something awesome happened last week. My friend, Katie, turned me on to Stitch Fix. In case you aren’t familiar, it’s this personal stylist business. You go online and fill out a profile all about your sizes and the things you like. A week later, you get a box filled with five goodies in the mail. 

This is an amazing service for people like me who live in the country and get zero time for shopping for myself. 

Here is a picture of the things that were included in my Stitch Fix box. 

  
1) A pair of dark, skinny, stretch jeans that are school appropriate. 

2) A colorful cross body purse. 

3) An awesome printed tank blouse. 

4) Red and cream striped boat neck top. 

5) And a lightweight black cardigan. 

After just that small survey about the things I liked and did not like, I think my stylist hit my likes pretty straight on. The only thing out of my box that I knew I wouldn’t keep for sure was the red purse. It’s not even that I don’t like the purse, I just have no use for one so small. Kiddos require me to tote around a lot of stuff. The cute little cross body just isn’t big enough. 

Anyway, the return of items is super easy. You simply toss them into the prepaid return bag that they include inside your box and drop it back into the mail within 3 business days. Whatever you decide to keep, you check out online. Then, you get the chance to provide feedback on the items you received to help them better your wants for next time. 

If you do decide to sign up, please use my referral link! And when you sign up, be sure to refer friends because you earn $25 for each one that signs up! The gift of clothes personally styled for you is never a bad gift! 

  
I love this top and the jeans actually fit! 

  

My patterned blouse tank and red cross body. 

  

My comfy black cardi. 

I almost forgot the best part, you can link Stitch Fix to a Pinterest board where you pin all your fashion favorites! Then, your stylist can get another idea of the things you like! 

Chapstick 

When I was younger, (I won’t say how much) my dad would let me drive his truck on the back roads to our house. We lived out in the woods in Ohio. Later on, we moved to town and I magically became a “city girl” fit with a spiffy subdivision name that people recognized when I explained directions to our house. l only mention this because it seems funny as I lay here thinking about it. My memories aren’t as clear about the house in the woods, probably because I was younger. But then, I will unexpectedly have a memory so unbelievably vivid that I don’t know if it was a memory or a dream. Life is torturous that way. 

I remember playing outside with my sister, our goldens rubbing their scratchy fur against my arm as I sat on the hill. The smell of cedar and sap waffs up from the nearby forest edge. I can hear the peakcocks at the farm up the hill as they sing their alarming song over and over. “The Woods”  was always such an enchanting place for me as a child. It was much cooler than sitting out in the open where the sun’s gleam pricked at my skin like a thousand little thorns. It was quiet there too. I always knew that I wasn’t alone once I stepped inside. Sometimes that frightened me and sometimes it was a comfort. 

For no particular reason, one day, I went into the woods with whatever band of dogs I had willing to follow. I remember it was cooler out, probably early fall. It was cool enough for a jacket, but not cold enough yet for a coat. In Ohio, these are distinct ways to explain the weather. (I apologize if you are southern, only because a high school football game on an autumn Friday night truly is magical.) Trampsing along, I am stopping every so often to pick up acorns. I have always liked how their tops have felt. They are rough and smooth at the same time. I was collecting my share of them inside my jacket pocket, when I found that one pocket was already inhabited by something else. I retrieved my hand to find a tube of orange flavored Chapstick I had been looking for about a week earlier. I entergetically applied it to my lips, popped the lid back on and continued my search for all things cool. Just thinking of that Chapstick makes me smile. Laying here in my room, more than 20 years later, I can still conjure up the smell. Yes, it was orange flavored. So, yes, it indeed smelled orange-like. But, it also had that scent that all Chapstick made for little girls had. It had that musty undertone that I have just never been able to peg a name upon. Although I can’t name it, I know the correlation. That Chapstick smelled like bright, young, glourious innocence. It smelled like a girl with no cares in the world, walking with her dogs in the woods. It smelled like happiness before Santa was just a spirit, before robbers broke into that home and shattered everything I had ever thought about people all being good, and before I ever understood what divorced parents really were. That orange Chapstick that probably cost my dad 10 cents at the I.G.A. symbolized everything a young child’s life is about until that sad day when they start internalizing and analyzing every single thing that is said to them or about them. 

Mom yelled for me, just as I realized that my jacket pocket had a small hole in the bottom corner. I searched frantically on the brown and golden leave-covered ground for several minutes before finally giving into the concerned tone my mother’s voice had taken on. With one quick glance over my shoulder, I thought about coming back to look for it later. I imagined it might have fallen into a rabbit hole or was just covered by leaves. The truth is, I have had dreams about finding that Chapstick. It’s out there in the woods some where, covered by years of leaves and growth. It’s deteriorated and discolored, but I promise, it’s still there. 

  
Although it’s not the right color or flavor, this is how I remember my Chapstick looking back in the day.  

(Image from Google search.) 

Current Swoons 

Every once in a while, I like to stop and share some things I have been swooning lately. 

I have been working on putting my classroom together. So, there are several things that I have been eyeing. Some are for my classroom and some are just for teacher/mom life! 

First up, I fell in love with this calendar. 

  
It is so fun and rustic. I want to display it in my classroom. It can be found on Painted Fox Treasures under clocks and calendars. Click here. I should mention that if you follow them on IG, they often have sale codes for us non-sleeping folks! 

I also happen to love a certain hoodie by Loved by Hannah and Eli. It looks comfy for those cold Saturday morning trips to run errands, or a football game. The plus side is that it is our school colors. 

  
Oh, and it says Mama Bear! What mama can resist that? To order this super bad buffalo plaid zip-up hoodie, just  click and pick! Or, if you live in the south like me, check out all their other cute tees. Sometimes winter is hard to come by down here! 

The last thing I am in love with this week are these fabulous water bottles by Twinkle Twinkle Lil’ Jar. 

  
They are the fanciest way to help you keep track of your daily water intake. I know I will be needing this once school gets up and running. I think they are just adorable! Click here and check out all the options for water bottles, travel cups, and coffee mugs! 

I hope y’all have a great week! 

-Mrs. F

Summer Storm 

Laying in a dark room with lightning flashing through the windows, I think of how quickly the week has gone. The summer storm is now spitting rain onto the roof. This isn’t my house, but it feels like home. 

It feels like home because mom is right down the hall. It feels like home because for once, I am not the most worrisome person contained in four walls. I can lay here and dream. I can lay here and just listen to the rain. I can lay here. It’s the most invigorating feeling, to know that I am old enough to not need my mother, but never too old to not want her. 

I have often been envious of my friends and sister who all have daughters. I always envisioned the mother-daughter relationship I would one day share with my own. It seems now that God has other plans for me. I guess that makes the relationship I have with my mom even more meaningful. I will always remember the day I showed her my first (and only) tattoo. She cried, and they weren’t happy tears. I will hold fondly to the memory of my mom and dad walking me down the aisle. I will cling to the sadness in her voice the day I called and told her my loving dog had died. Then there is that comforting feeling I had with her by my side both times I gave birth. These are all emotions that give me peace. They make me whole. 

Tonight, I am in my mother’s house. Tomorrow, I will go home. I will resume command of my own home and my own territory. But, through the sounds of the beading rain tonight, I will enjoy knowing that I am once again safe under my mother’s cloak. 

  
An afternoon shower at the beach, because night pictures just aren’t that good on my phone. 

Farmhouse Swag Bag 

I just had to make a quick post because my favorite bag of all time is back in stock!  I seriously want this bag to haul around all of my so very important “new teacher” stuff! 


  
(The bottom left is my fav)

The motto on the bag says it all! Live. Work. Create. This is perfect for all you girl bosses out there! Get busy being awesome! Click here for this BA farmhouse swag bag! You will find it under PFLifestyle. 

Happy early Friday! 

Love, 

Merr 

D

Last week I attended my first workshop as a teacher. I found that it was very similar to trainings I had done while working for Child Protective Services. It was formal, but helpful. Oh, did I forget to mention that I am a teacher? Yes, you read that right, a teacher. In between the sleepless nights of a newborn last fall, I was taking courses online to get my teaching certificate. And now, here I am, 5 weeks away from my first year as a high school English teacher. 

Anyway, at my workshop last week, I got there a few minutes early, chose a seat at a semi-empty table, and sat down. It was a large conference room with three projection screens, two in the front and one on the back wall. The lady at the table with me was a very friendly second grade teacher. She has been a teacher for 10 plus years. So, the workshop begins. We got instructions for the first activity and the instructor started the first video. Maybe 10 minutes or so in, I hear the door behind me open and I’m suddenly aware that a person has sat directly next to me. We finish the first video and I finally turn to find a very petite blonde women to my left. 

Thoughout the morning, I learn that she also teaches high school English. She gives me several novel suggestions, and shares some insight (she has been teaching 11 years). Lunchtime rolls around, and I was saying how ridiculous it was that we had an hour and a half for lunch. I kept thinking in my head, they should just shorten our lunch and let us leave 30 minutes earlier (I had an hour and 20 minute drive, my dad and his girlfriend had flown in from Ohio, and it was my 3 year-old son’s birthday). 

We broke for lunch and petite blonde invites me to have lunch with her. I hesitated for a moment, because I am the kind of person who packs their lunch, I had just assumed that I would get Subway and come back to the room. But, something inside me urged me to go, so I said yes. On the short ride to the restaurant, we made small talk about our kids. She has an eight year-old boy and a nine month-old son. I apologized profusely for the state of my car. When we got to the restaurant, we both ordered the same thing. 

Have you ever been mildly aware that the question you are about to ask may not be a good one? Then, the moment that your lips form the words and they come spilling out of your mouth, you are immediately embarrassed of your mistake? Well, that happened to me, at this very second. I was squeezing lemon into my water and I nonchalantly said, “So, eight years between kids, y’all waited a while, huh?” 

BAM. The expression on her face told me right there that I had indeed messed up. Please forgive my interruption here, I was only asking because I have a 15 year-old stepson, a three year-old and a one year-old. I thought maybe her oldest was a stepson or hers from another marriage. It is sometimes easy for me to identify with others with blended families. 

This was not that situation. She wasn’t hurt or very thrown-off from my question, which led me to believe I wasn’t the first person to make this mistake. She simply told me a heart-wrenching story of loss, hope, heartache, and unconditional love for Jesus. I will not share her story because I honestly feel like she should write a book. IT WAS THAT INSPIRING. I will say this, at the end of what she told me, my soup was cold, my heart was touched and I was bawling like a baby in the middle of the Jalapeño Tree. I looked down at my watch and we only had 15 minutes before our “ridiculously long” lunch break was over. 

As I was driving home after the workshop, I had some time to reflect. I felt like God had put my new friend (I’ll call her D) in that room with me that day. I felt like she was supposed to tell me that story. I am supposed to carry that with me, as a daily reminder that as bad as things may be, HE is still there with me. We don’t always understand the things that happen in this life, but that’s because we aren’t supposed to. 

D- I have thought of you every day since we met. Thank you. 

  
Luke 22:49

#herestothegoodlife

Why is it that #thestruggleisreal? This is a legitimate  question for me. Tonight, I came home to find my kids’ bedroom was in the process of being taken over by ants. I live in the south. These are red ants. They bite. They leave welts. They freaking hurt. I spent the better part of an hour shaking ants off the kids’ clothes on the back porch, only to find that I shook the majority of them onto myself. Then, I vaccumed, sprayed, vacuumed, washed, re-washed their clothes and vaccumed some more. #thestruggleisreal.

Oh…and I am trying so hard to watch what I eat. Except that I haven’t been home a single weekend this month, so I haven’t been food prepping. After working two jobs, taking care of two kids, and generally just stressing, my eating habits have been out of control. One night this week, I had ice cream for dinner. ICE CREAM. FOR DINNER. Tonight, after ant emergency, we had pizza. Let’s be honest…I ate it. A lot of it. Now, I’m laying here looking at my food baby and wondering what I will eat tomorrow. #thestruggleisreallyreal

Yesterday at church, I was carrying my 11 month-old in my arms, plus the church bag (full of fun, awesome games that don’t make noise) while my almost 3 year-old walked (okay was threatened to stay) beside me. Anyway, some of the sweetest people attend church with me. Here I am, standing in the aisle with my kids and they are all giving me compliments on my mad mommy skills when it happens. Mrs. Smith was mid sentence about how she is so proud that I am able to get kids to church alone and…BAM. I feel a cool breeze. I continue to act like I am listening to every sweet thing she is saying while I wonder in complete ignorance if my 3 year-old has just lifted my dress far enough for everyone behind me to see…or if he just moved his hands in a forward motion which caused a breeze. I wonder these things all the while I am still listening to sweet Mrs. Smith. I am sure the anguish of not knowing was in my eyes because she quickly ended her sentence and scurried off. I found the closest empty pew and plopped down in it. I was too embarrassed to turn around and meet anyone’s eyes behind me. It seems to me that I remember similar situations happening around me when I was a tiny human. I think all the other adults just pretended it had not happened….so I decided to do the same. #thisstrugglecannotbeforreal 

Oh hashtags, how did we ever define our feelings before you existed? With help from hashtags, life makes sense again! I think I can officially answer my own question. Why is it that #thestruggleisreal ? The struggle is real so that every day we have the opportunity to be thankful for the things and people in our lives. The struggle taught me to be thankful for ant spray, carbs, my church family and my kids. Without struggles, life would be easy, but it sure would be boring. #herestothegoodlife

For your viewing pleasure, I have added a few examples of #thestruggleisreal