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A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.

Every week, I make time to connect with the most important people in my life. I have small group, weekly family dinner, Monday phone dates with my best friend, and Skype dates with my prayer partner.

Which is why I want to have a Friday virtual coffee date with you.

I would absolutely love to meet you in person and hear about the ups and downs and in-betweens of your life, but since that’s difficult to manage, the next best thing would be for you to leave me a comment or shoot me an email. I really do care about what’s going on with you! I have an ongoing list in my prayer journal of blog readers who have reached out to me sharing struggles, successes, and just everyday life stuff and I love all of it!

Here’s what’s been going on in my world.

A Niece Sleepover

A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.

Last Friday, we had my niece over for a sleepover. We had dinner together, played at the park, and had movie night (Monster’s University – so cute!).

Brianna is a morning person, so even though we stayed up late, she woke up at 5:15am. Apparently, she woke up and sat outside of our room, sticking her fingers under the door for Boots to lick. She just patiently and quietly waited until we woke up a little before 7 – such a sweet girl (who knows her aunt is very much NOT a morning person!).

We had donuts for breakfast, played Buck Buck Moose, she helped me bake a cake to take to family dinner, and played with glitter on the back porch (thank you, Dollar Store, for cheap and fun crafts!).

A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.
A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.

Her brother had gotten to go to this super fun kids event that morning where he got to use construction equipment. When they came to pick Brianna up, he showed me that he had made a t-shirt and picked a moose stamp just for his moose-crazed aunt.

Oh, how I adore that boy!

A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.

Instant Pot Hack

A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.

I fall more and more in love with my Instant Pot every day. I’ve been using it a lot recently when we’re not grilling because it doesn’t heat the kitchen up like the oven does, so it makes cooking in the summer heat so much more tolerable!

One thing that has been driving me crazy about my Instant Pot is the silicone sealing ring in the lid absorbs the smell of whatever I cook. I’ve tried vinegar, washing it in the dishwasher, storing my lid upside-down so it can air out…but it still smells.

This week, I set it out on the clothes line for a few hours. Something about being out in the sunshine was the trick! The smell isn’t 100% gone, but it’s very close!

We Aren’t The Only Ones Who Get Loose Skin

I’ve teased Adam about his cat Bella since I first met him. She is a fat cat.

Since moving out of his house in Denver, she has lost a lot of weight.

She still looks like she’s huge when she is laying down, but she really doesn’t have very much fat on her anymore – it’s all loose skin.

You can see it when she walks around and it just hangs off of her and swings back and forth.

Loose skin is the only big drawback of losing lots of weight, which, I know firsthand, definitely stinks. I feel for ya, Bella.

A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.

My Favorite Cake Pan

A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.

My new brother-in-law and sister-in-law got us this personalized cake pan for our wedding and it’s officially my new favorite.

It even has our names engraved into the pan itself.

I broke it in this week by making Pig Pickin’ Cake for our family dinner. Apparently this is a family recipe passed down for generations for a lot of people, but I’m not sure I’ve ever had it before.

I’ll definitely be having it again, though! It’s a super moist cake with manadarin oranges mixed into the batter and crushed pineapple mixed with Cool Whip for the frosting (whipped cream frostings are the best).

Family Game Nights

I don’t know that we ever had a designated “game night” growing up (my dad was a doctor, so his schedule was all over the place), but they were always the highlight of my week.

I used to be the queen of Aggravation (I’m sure there’s some symbolism there  – just ask my sisters) and apparently that love has been passed down to my niece and nephew, too.

This week at family dinner, we broke out Aggravaton (the new version isn’t nearly as good as the old, traditional board). It was Adam’s first time playing and he got whomped (mostly because my mom kept aggravating him!). I thought for sure Caden would be the winner, but somehow I snuck all of my players into home first.

A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.

My Typical Morning Quiet Time

A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.

My favorite part of my day is my morning quiet time with God. I’ve been going out onto our back porch recently with my journal, devotional, and Bible so that I can listen to the birds chirp while I pray.

A typical morning quiet time for me includes:

  • Reading a devotional entry. I just unpacked a bunch of old ones that I haven’t read in a while, so I just re-started A Woman After God’s Own Heart daily devotional. They are short and sweet.
  • Journaling and prayer. I start with a “Good morning, Lord!” and then list my daily gratitude, prayer requests, things on my heart, and Scripture on my mind.
  • Bible reading. Then I usually open up the Bible app on my phone to see the verse of the day, then open up my Bible and get into the Word. Sometimes I get caught up in just a few verses. Other times I’ll read chapter after chapter and just can’t get enough.
  • Worship. Usually a song or two will come to mind during my prayer, so I will either listen to or just sing myself a couple of songs as I get dressed and ready for the day.

I’m Not Your Typical Runner

Before I started running (when I was quite the couch potato), I had a very clear idea of what runners were in my mind.

  • They were lean and athletic.
  • They ran for as long as they wanted to with ease.
  • They were fast and moved effortlessly, kind of like gazelles.
  • They can’t wait to run every morning.

I am not your typical runner.

Now, honestly, I don’t really know how many people fall into the “typical” runner category, but the trap I fell into as an atypical runner was feeling like I needed to be all of those things for my running to count.

A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.
A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.

I felt less than other runners because I was slower and not as lean and I certainly don’t have a gazelle-like quality when I run!

Just another example of comparison being the thief of joy.

I run for my own reasons. I may run slower than a lot of runners out there, but I also run faster than quite a few, too. I may not be as lean as most runners, but I’m more lean than some. And, no matter what, those 9+ miles a week that I run are good for my physical and mental health.

The point is, whatever you’re doing – running, walking, cardio kickboxing, or underwater basketweaving – you don’t have to be “typical” to be awesome.

So, get out there and do the things you want to do, even if you are slower than others, bigger than others, or you feel like you look ridiculous.

Do it anyway.

My Home Gym

I am a homebody.

I’d rather run in my own neighborhood than going somewhere else and I’d rather workout in my living room than at the gym.

I was a member of the gym for years and there were a lot of things I loved about it, but it took a lot more motivation to convince myself to get in the car and go to the gym to workout than to just exercise at home.

So, I got some hand weights and a yoga mat and that’s all I need! Sometimes I’ll prop up my laptop and do an exercise video.

Sometimes I’ll just do my own body weight workouts. Sometimes I play workout music, sometimes listen to an audiobook, or sometimes just keep it quiet.

A niece sleepover, Instant Pot hack, we aren’t the only ones who get loose skin, my favorite cake pan, family game nights, my typical morning quiet time, I’m not your typical runner, and my home gym.

The Story Behind The Shirt – Revive Me


Christian Women's T-Shirt of the Week Revive Me

Every week in my email newsletter, I send a coupon code for 15% off my Christian women’s t-shirt of the week (if you haven’t signed up, there’s a box for you to do that at the end of this post!), but these aren’t just random designs I come up with. There are stories behind each and every one.

This week’s shirt says, “Revive Me.”

In the New Living Translation of Psalm 119:25, it says, “I lie in the dust; revive me with your word.”

When I was going through my divorce years ago, there was a period where I felt so lifeless. I was tired, but couldn’t sleep. I had experienced so much grief that I was nearly numb to it, even though my heart ached on a deeper level than I’d ever known. I felt like the spark of joy I’d always had in life had been snuffed out.

But God was still there. He was still good and He was ever faithful and I often cried out, “Revive me!” to Him in my prayers.

I needed Him to breathe new life into me – restart my heart and light the fire back in my soul.

And He did exactly that.

So this shirt is not only a testimony of God’s loving-kindness in my life, but a reminder to others to cry out to him in your tiredness, grief, and when your emotions just feel dull.

“Revive me.”

And He always will.

What’s New With You?

Enough about me, I want to hear about YOU.

What’s new in your life?

What was your favorite thing to do at sleepovers growing up?

What’s your favorite Instant Pot trick?

What board game do you enjoy playing the most?

What’s your favorite worship song right now?

Do you prefer to exercise at home or at the gym?

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