Paige's Thirty-Eight Things

How is it that I'm 38?!  This is like late-thirty's right?  I'm feeling old, but I'm also ready for a fabulous year and hope you are too!  Here are my 38 Things that I hope to accomplish this year, because friends, we get to do the things that are in our hearts and minds.  Let's stop procrastinating and make this a year full of simple joys and dreams realized.

My sister is joining in this challenge too - you can see her list on Friday.  And my challenge to you is to consider joining in with us.  Simply write out your own list of 38 Things and then lets start checking them off and sharing with one another as we get them done!

Okay, here we go!  #inbetween38things

1. Finish writing the manuscript for my book (I've been working on this for like 2 years...time to get it done)!

2.  Start a pay it forward at Starbucks.

3.  Visit Marfa, TX.

4.  Buy and refinish an antique

5.  See a new animal when we visit Africa this summer.

6.  Go hiking.

7.  Make a fancy 5 course meal.

8. Read one business book of Josh's choosing.

9.  When in Italy this year, let the waiter or chef choose my meal.

10.  Go to a concert.

11.  Make ABM jewelry dish (I think I'll make this a blog later in the year).

12.  Let Leslie introduce me to 3 new things when I visit her in Nashville (yes I'm really coming sometime this year).

13.  Fly a kite.

14.  Have a water fight with my girls.

15.  Leave an encouraging note in a library book.

16.  Sew something with my mom.

17.  Pray for a stranger.

18.  Stargaze

19.  Go a day without any technology.

20.  Plant a small garden.

21.  Workout consistently.

22.  Make homemade ice cream.

23.  Watch the sunrise.

24.  Laugh until I almost wet my pants.

25.  Wear an outfit that Haven picks out for me into public with her.

26.  Go on a date with my dad.

27.  Make a photo memory book.

28.  Try to meet Jaclyn from my dad's story when I visit Kenya.

29.  Write and mail a letter to an old friend.

30.  Teach Selah to ride her bike.

31.  Play 9 holes of golf with Josh.

32.  Read 50 books.

33.  Dance more with Josh and my girls.

34.  Plan quarterly girls nights.

35.  Write at least one blog a week.

36.  Keep track of answered prayers.

37.  Drink more water.

38.  Spend more time in my backyard - Enjoy!

Leslie's Thirty-Eight Things

In the spirit of sisterly love, I too, have made a list of 38 things I wish to accomplish this year to celebrate my big sis turning the big 3-8!  I'll do my best to try and remember to document my accomplishments and share them with you! #inbetween38things

1.  Learn to make chocolate creme brulee

2.  Give my girls piano lessons

3.  Write at least 3 songs a week

4.  Workout 5 days a week (walking the dogs totally counts)

5.  Send birthday cards to friends and family members

6.  Go to Europe with my dad (THIS IS HAPPENING.....LIKE NOW!)

7.  Take an overnight staycation with Alan in Nashville

8.  Record an EP

9.  Keep my houseplants alive (so far, so good)

10.  Cook two new recipes a month

11.  Keep my fingernails painted and grown out (life long nail biter)

12.  Learn new stuff on the piano

13.  Buy my kids fewer Christmas presents

14.  Cook the Thanksgiving turkey (I've always been too afraid and pass it off to someone else, but this is the year!)

15.  Invite friends over once a month for dinner

16.  Have coffee/lunch with a friend once a month

17.  Be a good neighbor

18.  Find a place and start serving at church

19.  Keep my drawers organized

20.  Park my car in the garage

21.  Teach my kids how to cook at least 5 things

22.  Show my family Nashville!  (just need my sisters to come visit!)

23.  Try 10 new restaurants (Already tried one: The Honeysuckle in Cool Springs.....SO GOOD!)

24.  Make some photo memory books

25.  Write at least one blog a week

26.  Record one to two demoes a month

27.  Take a trip with Alan back to Whitestone

28.  Go to the beach this summer

29.  Feel good about myself while at the beach

30.  Work on building my confidence (the struggle is real, people)

31.  Let my kids have friends over more often

32.  Eat more veggies

33.  Pray more

34.  Believe for miracles

35.  Visit a few colleges with Taylor (cue all the tears)

36.  FaceTime my family more

37.  Try to make my bed everyday

38.  Burn the good candles

 

So there it is!  My 38 things!  What are you going to accomplish this year???

The In-Between Podcast: Episode Thirteen - Meet Resa Troyer

Hi Friends!  You are going to love our chat with Resa Troyer today!  We laughed as we talked about awkward hugs and unsightly messes around the house, but then we also got inspired as Resa began to give us practical tips about simplifying the jobs around the house that can feel overwhelming.  We talk laundry, meal planning, and even cleaning up the linen closet, and we left this conversation feeling ready to get organized and simplify!  Thank you Resa for sharing your heart and some awesome tips.  We both can't wait to try out your e-book and a few of your pointers!

Here are links to the things we discussed on today's show:

Video of Emma Stone's awkward hug.

The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime

Want to learn more about Hygge, read this article.

Find Resa's Meal Planning E-Book "Meal Plans Made Easy" here!

You can find Resa Troyer at yourdayyourstyle.com or follow her on Instagram @yourdayyourstyle

When Setting Goals Looks Like a Blank Page

This past year I have had a rare opportunity that I almost missed entirely.  About a month after we moved to Nashville I found myself feeling a slight level of discontent.  I was unhappy that I didn’t have more to do.  Unpacking boxes and decorating a house wouldn’t last forever (athough I sure did keep a pretty good pile of unopened boxes in the dining room corner for way too long).  I was finding myself with so much time on my hands and didn’t know what to do.  I was used to life looking like a jillion things on a to-do list and lots of time in my car driving from one event to the next, shuffling kids from place to place, eating drive-thru and getting things done.  My life now looked like writing “brush your teeth” and “put on deodorant” on the to-do list just so I would have something to cross off for the day.  My time, after years of belonging to other people and jobs and things, was now all mine.  So far I had gotten really good at filling these empty days with Netflix and trips to Home Goods and Target.  And while I love a good hunt for housewares, I knew I had to do more with my days.  I could continue wandering aimlessly (both metaphorically and down the aisles at Target), or I could stop and take control of what I wanted my life to look like.  I started to see the emptiness as a real gift, like each day was a blank canvas.  My calendar is now filled with appointments with myself.  I set aside time to do exactly what I want, and what I know I’m called to do.  I block off chunks of my day to write songs, play the piano, study the Bible, things that used to get whatever leftover slivers of time I could find after all of the other “important” stuff got done.  

 

I realize not everyone has this same luxury.  Your season may look drastically different from mine.  I remember the days of having babies and toddlers at home.  On those days I remember feeling accomplished when I got to take a shower.  I remember feeling overwhelmed by the mounds of laundry and dirty dishes.  I remember feeling so tired all the time.  But there was grace.  I remember the season of working full-time.  Running around like a crazy person dropping kids off at school, racing across town to work for a day full of meetings and projects to manage all the while kicking myself for forgetting to plug the crockpot in that morning and making peace with another drive-thru dinner from Chick-fil-A as we all hustled back across town for church that night.  Looking back on it all, it feels like complete madness.  But there was grace.  And there’s grace for this season.  Grace to keep me focused and on track when I’d rather turn on Netflix or take a long nap at 1:00pm.  

 

Even if you are in a busy season of life, you still get to choose how you spend your time.  There is grace for you.  The most important thing I can tell you is don’t neglect yourself.  You need time in God’s presence every single day.  It may look like an hour long Bible Study or it may look like praying and listening to worship music as you rock your little one to sleep at naptime.  You need to find time to do the things you love and the things that fill you.  If that’s quality time with friends, then carve it out on the calendar.  You may have to plan it three weeks in advance, but set the date and guard it with your life!  You need time alone with your spouse.  Get a babysitter and go to dinner or just turn off the TV when the kids go to bed and sit on the couch together.  Hold hands and talk about your day.  

 

What is it that you want to accomplish this year?  If you never set out to conquer something, chances are your circumstances and season of life will steal all of your time and you will be another year older and won’t have reached your goal.  When I first got married 12 years ago, I was a terrible cook.  I mean, really bad.  I wanted to be good at it, but I just wasn’t.  No one really taught me how.  I decided I was going to learn.  I was newly married with a four year old and didn’t have the extra time or money to go to a cooking class so I turned on Food Network.  Rachael Ray taught me how to cook.  I learned to dice onions from Iron Chef.  Paula Deen taught me about flavor (butter) and how to make good hearty food (with butter).  I seriously learned how to cook from watching Food Network.  Then I started applying my new found knowledge.  I picked Rachael Ray’s easiest 30-minute meal and just went for it.  And I did it.  And it tasted good.  So I tried another recipe and another.  I had a goal of being a good cook so I took some action and made it happen.  What is something you want to do this year?  Write it down.  Now write down a few things that will help you on that journey.  Who do you know that can offer some wisdom or insight?  Ask them questions.  Break it down into small, measurable steps and you will amaze yourself.  

 

Whether you’ve got all in the time in the world, or you are barely hanging on by a thread in the midst of your busyness, I encourage you to dream a little bit.  Do something for you.  You have gifts and talents and a calling.  Don’t let a season of busy bury the thing that’s burning inside of you.  And if you have lots of time like I do, maybe you should offer some of that time to a sister who is chasing kids all over the place and wondering how she’s going to get it all done.  We are all in this together (cue High School Musical song…..).

 

The In-Between Podcast: Episode Twelve - Sisters Set Goals

Hello 2017!  We are happy to see you, and in this episode we talk about our plans to try and get some things done this year!  Let's talk about knowing your capacity, setting goals, and helpful resources as you think through the new year.  Below is a list of everything we mentioned during the week's show:

You can watch this episode here or give it a listen here.

Paige's Into:  Shauna Niequist's Breakfast Cookies as found in Bread and Wine

Leslie's Into: CalenGoo and Wunderlist

Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington

Learn more about creating a One Word goal at #OneWord365.com

2 Timothy 1:7

3 Simple Questions that Reveal Your big Goals by Jon Acuff 

Jennie Allen's 2017 Dream Guide

Power Sheets by Cultivate What Matters

Dream Planning by Horacio Printing

 

 

The In-Between Podcast: Episode Eleven- Favorites with Our Mom!

It's a New Year and what better way to kick it off than with a favorites episode!  We love doing these and we thought it would be even more fun if our mama joined us!  If you don't know Linda White, you should.  As far as we're concerned, she's the best mom and Gigi around.  We hope you enjoy this episode!  Here are the things we chatted about!

Linda's Watch from Cluse

The Belonging

Road Trip Snacks: Pretzels, Chic-O-Stix, Chex Mix, Sour Sunflower Seeds, Patch Watermelons

Fab Brows

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

The Listening Life by Adam McHugh

Life 360

Linda's Blog: lindawhite.org

 

The In-Between: Christmas Edition

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2016 has been a year of many firsts for me, but none quite so strange as the first Christmas as an out-of-town guest.  I have lived my entire life in Lubbock, Texas.  Except for one brief semester away at college, Lubbock has been home.  Until this year.  My family of five stuffed two moving trucks to the gills and drove a thousand miles east and unloaded in Nashville, Tennessee.  Our big, bold adventure has been amazing and hard, but so fun and so exactly what we were supposed to do.  Just about the time I was getting used to Nashville being home it was time to travel back west for Christmas holidays.  The tinge of homesickness in my heart was thankful because I missed so many.  And although I was making my best effort to make Nashville home, Lubbock would always truly be home.  You don’t move on from 35 years quite so easily.

 

We pulled in front of my parent’s house at 3:30am after a long 15 hour drive.  Through bleary eyes, we unloaded and half-way sorted what bags went where and I fell into my mama’s guest bed and crashed.  Even through my tiredness I noticed the little details of hospitality.  My mom’s touch was everywhere and it was so evident she was glad to have us home.  When I woke up the next morning I shuffled downstairs, made some coffee, and had the first of many chats with my mom as a guest in her house.  This was the very first time my family was staying in her house as guests.  It was such a strange feeling to me.  I had always had my own pad in Lubbock.  My own home base.  But home base was now 1,000 miles away in Tennessee.  As comfortable and welcomed as I felt, it still felt odd.  There is this weird “home body” thing inside of me that I’ve always had.  I started to feel the tiniest bit out of control.  I brushed it aside and chose to enjoy the quiet morning and the coffee and the time with my mama.  

 

As that day passed and the next came I suddenly felt that out-of-control feeling again.  I had hugged all the necks and kissed all the babies and soaked up an evening with cousins and aunts and uncles and Christmas and it was amazing but in the back of my mind was the other half of our family, my husband’s half, that were in a house just five minutes away with more people to see and hug (no babies to kiss there, though).  There was my mother-in-law who had come from Alaska, and my brother-in-law who cooks feasts daily, and my sister-in-law waiting on everyone hand and foot, and more cousins.  They were just a five minute drive away, but I felt the lump in the pit of my stomach of not wanting to leave my mom’s.  Not because I didn’t want to see my in-laws, but because I didn’t know how to see everyone the same amount of time.  I wanted to be in two places at once.  I started wondering if I was offending them by being somewhere else.  My brain was jumping to scenarios that didn’t exist.  It was that crazy out-of-control feeling again.  I realized that as an out-of-town guest I would struggle with feeling stuck in-between…..unless I did something about it.  

 

There are so many times in my life when I have felt the in-between.  I knew the tension well of a thoughtful plan just not yet executed.  I knew the feelings of what could be as I waited in the what was.  I never dreamed a trip home for the holidays would put me there again.  My mind raced with plans and thoughts of how I could make everyone happy, how I could split the time evenly.  On Christmas Day, it all went awry and I lost it.  Literally, lost it.  My oldest daughter wanted to go see her older cousins and her Grammy and she made a plan that I was out of the loop on, and I lost it.  This plan was not MY plan.  And suddenly I found myself sitting alone on the guest bed at my mom’s house crying and having a minor hissy fit because my plan had failed and I wasn’t getting my way.  I have no idea what came over me, but I was a mess.  I was missing out on Christmas day because I was having a meltdown like a toddler.  Once I composed myself a bit, I did what I should have done before I ever made the trip back to Lubbock.  I gave it to God.  I gave my holidays to Him.  I laid all the plans, all the people to see, and necks to hug, and babies to kiss at His feet.  I repented for morphing into a crazy, control-freak.  I asked Him what the next two weeks needed to look like.  In an instant He renewed my perspective, helped realign my expectations, and reminded me that it was all going to work out.  All the made up scenarios in my head?  They were imagined.  No one was mad at me.  No one was offended.  I was fearful it MIGHT happen, but it didn’t.  My family is actually quite amazing.  They were all (both sides) just really happy to see us.  They’ve all been really cool and understanding about all the people we need to see.  


Once again, I was reminded of my constant need and dependence on the Lord, especially in the in-between times.  The problem was inside of me.  Home wasn’t home anymore and I was freaking out about that a little (a lot).  Lubbock had changed and so had I.  In times of uncertainty and change my tendency is always to grasp for control, but I was reminded once again that there is only One who really knows the best plan, and He is in the waiting.  He is in the awkward, the uncomfortable, the moments of panic, the meltdowns.  I have chosen to surrender the rest of our Lubbock visit completely to Him.  And I’m enjoying every moment of each day instead of trying to figure out how to control it.  

For When You Pictured Your Life Differently

It's Christmas week, so I was all set to write a cute blog post about making the most of the holidays, when I paused.  Honestly, for some (or many) of us, we are walking into the holidays in a bit of a daze, wondering what happened to our 2016.  For some, 2016 was great!  A year filled with good memories and goals met, but for others, 2016 was full of hard moments, unexpected detours, and a hope that surely the best is ahead. 

As I wrap up the year, I was looking over my personal blog and found it interesting that my most popular blog from 2016 was titled, "For When You Pictured Your Life Differently."   It's an honest post filled with vulnerability, frustration, and hope.  So instead of writing about baking cookies or starting a tradition of looking at lights, I felt like I'd leave these words with you...and say Merry Christmas, may you see His fingerprints in your reality today, and may you find the sunsets among the storms of whatever lies ahead in 2017.

From Becoming Paige - February 2016

One of the aspects of living in Lubbock that most irks me is our dust storms that seemingly come from no where.  A couple of weeks ago we were greeted with one of these once again, and as I walked from my car to the coffee shop to meet my friend I found myself squinting and keeping my mouth shut so as not to get grit in my teeth.  I am happy to say I’ve learned over the years to stay away from lip gloss when a dust storm is looming…but I digress.

As I tried to tame my hair upon entering the coffee shop I was simultaneously searching the room for my friend whom I hadn’t really seen in a couple of months.  She used to be one of my college girls when Josh and I led that ministry, and I have a deep place in my heart for her – for all of those girls really – who are no longer girls but beautiful women in their late 20’s and early 30’s. 

I found her sitting in the corner with her trade mark smirk & I was genuinely delighted to see her.  In the 10 years that we’ve been friends she has seen heartache, joy, adventure, and uncertainty but I’m so proud of her – her tenacity to face adversity, her courage to pick herself up when she’s fallen, and her faith to continue to trust Him when the waves have crashed with intensity.

As she shared with me the latest portion of her journey she started to apologize for her life…her appearance…and her lack of “having it all together.”  At one point with tears in her eyes she said these words to me, “I thought after ten years I wouldn’t still be a mess.”

Don’t we all feel that way sometimes?  Like we should be more by now.  More mature, more loving, more together, just MORE?!  I knew exactly what she meant because although I’ve learned to stay away from comparing myself to others (most of the time), I’m often guilty of comparing my current life to the life I imagine I should be living…the life that surely God intended for me.

That MORE life where I’m a better version of myself.

I could hear the dust picking up outside.  The whirl of the wind – the elements that no doubt would leave me looking like a mess when I left.  And in the sound of the wind, I realized that my friend and I both had a more in our lives at that very moment.

Because she was more honest with me that day than in the 10 years I’ve known her.  As she laid out the tough reality of some areas of her life I couldn’t help but think of my own place right now that is more honest than it’s been in a long time.

In the last year I’ve been shaken.  Facades that once looked perfect crumbled and I had a choice to make – to keep smiling and pretend that the rubble wasn’t around my feet or to be honest about the shaking – to embrace it and be okay that the mess existed.

When shaking happens in our lives, we have a choice to make: to hide or ignore the shaking and hope life settles back to what we’ve always known, or we can allow the shaking to shed the false ideas of what should be and instead embrace the beauty of God’s goodness even in the midst of the trembling. 

My friend’s beauty shined so bright as she honestly shared her heart, and I saw that in the wake of the shaking, although it hurts like hell at times, it always leaves behind what is true.

I’m ready for more of what is true.

I’m ready for more honest messes.

I’m ready for the God who embraces me in the midst of the rubble.

So forget the what ifs and embrace the right nows.

We hugged and promised to talk again soon and then I braced myself for the weather that was outside the doors.  But as I walked outside I was surprised that the dust had settled…and in it’s shadow was one of the most glorious sunsets I’ve seen.  I gasped, grabbed my camera, and heard Him whisper, “The beauty that follows the storm pierces hearts.”

My friend – her story – it’s so honest and raw that God’s goodness rises bright.  And this past year I’ve found that to be true in my own life as well.  In the dust we sometimes see His hand all the more clearly – the trace of His work is like a trace of artwork in the sand.

So bring on the dust storms and the sunsets that ensue.