Book Club

Book Clubinked by Holly

Two years ago, a friend told me she was thinking about starting a book club and asked if I’d be interested. My friend and I had recently discovered our similar taste in books, and you don’t find too many other women who love WWII fiction, so I knew this might be the right book club for me. She mentioned other ladies who were interested and I knew right away that we’d click as a group.

It was also good timing.  Julia was finishing her senior year in high school and empty nest was imminent.  No more volleyball games and sporting events, no more school projects or slumber parties, and a lot more quiet. It was the perfect time to develop new friendships.

Book club goes something like this:  We meet once a month at a member’s house. Once everyone arrives (we all arrive right on time or slightly late– I like that about us!), we chat, catch up on life, and eventually get around to talking about the book of the month.

Most the time, we have a lot to say about the books.  Some of us loved the book, some of us were just eh about the book, and every now and then, someone dislikes the book.  And there is the occasional time someone didn’t finish the book….or even start it. And that’s ok!  After our book discussion, we have some sort of delicious snack (and Diet Coke is always on tap), decide who will host the next meeting, and most difficult of all, decide what our next book will be.

Our first book club meeting was held two years ago, and since then we’ve grown to a group of eight.  I love these girls!  We laugh together, eat good snacks, celebrate birthdays. We have cried and prayed together. My book club ladies are now the friends I count on–I can call if I need something or even text if I need prayer.IMG_5902

Are you in a book club? If you’re not in a book club, have you read anything good lately?

Here are some of the books we’ve read; my favorites are marked with an asterisk.
*Girls in the Green Sweater
By the Light of the Silvery Moon
A Winter Dream
The Kitchen House
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
The Poisonwood Bible
Sparkly Green Earrings
*The Aviators Wife
*Killing Lincoln
And the Mountains Echoed
The Light Between Two Oceans
Kisses From Katie
The Language of Flowers
The Shape of Mercy
Hot Flashes and Cold Cream
Thunder and Rain
Eat Cake
The Great Gatsby

Life Lately

IMG_1239 IMG_1245 IMG_1244 IMG_1251 IMG_1247 IMG_1279 IMG_1250

As much as I hate to admit it, I was wrong. I thought schedules would slow down with the new year, but somehow they’ve become busier?

BUT, there’s a twinkling light at the end of the tunnel and we just might have a few weeks of peace and quiet soon.

The past few weeks have been a blur of festivals, church events, dinners with friends, a special visit from my college friends, and even a Red’s game. And lots and lots of honeycrisp apples.

The visit with old friends was like balm for my soul. We’ve been blessed with wonderful post-college friendships in Dayton (oddly enough, many of them are with people we went to college with but didn’t know in college), but there’s something to be said about the friends you’ve lived with, fought with, danced with, survived break-ups with, got married with, and so on. The friends who pass you a granola bar when you’re cranky out of hunger. The ones that require no censorship, because let’s be honest, if they put up with you in a dorm room, they can put up with you anywhere. The ones that text you at work to let you know they helped themselves to your wardrobe.

We joked about how hard it is to make friends after college, and we attribute it to no longer living, breathing, sleeping, studying, doing everything with the same group once college is over. But to be honest, I like my post-college independence and wouldn’t want to go back.

That’s why I’m equally grateful for the community of friends (and family, but that’s a given) that we’ve found here in post-grad life. We may not get to comfort each other through break-ups or after a bad exam grade or have dance parties in the bathroom, but we do get to support each other through marital ups and downs, job and grad school woes, ministry opportunities, parenting dilemmas, and whatever else.

It’s all about growing where you’re planted, right?

Peace Out, Summer

photo(4)^^Jeni’s Brambleberry Crisp all DAY^^ photo(1) photo(2)^^Last minute Red’s game with friends^^ photo(3)^^We took Charlie to a local dog park and it was SO FUN. He was exhausted on our way home^^

inked by Lindsay

August is almost over, and I’m feeling some guilt for not being sad about it.

Every year it’s the same story. Come January, I’m dying for sunlight, spring/summer activities, and longer days, so I know I’ll regret this post on December 26. But I’m just kind of done with summer. It was fun while it lasted, but it was crazy hectic, and I think (hope? pray?) our schedule will slow down a little with the new school year.

The fall will bring Chris’ very last semester of grad school, and he’s convinced that I’ll willingly watch OSU football games now that we’ve watched a few seasons of Friday Night Lights. Unfortunately for Chris, Tim Riggins wasn’t on the OSU roster the last time I checked (side note: I’d like to aspire to be Tami Taylor in my next life. She’s almost as awesome as Olivia Pope, but less adulterous).

I do, however, plan to celebrate my first school-less autumn in 20 years by making several trips to our local fruit farm with Charlie for all things apple-related, lighting every cinnamon spice candle I can get my hands on, cursing the huge trees in our yard when it’s time to spend a full weekend raking, and living in sweatshirts and boots.

Raise your pumpkin spice lattes to a new season!

photo(5)…and may your long weekend be as relaxing and carefree as this^^

Time with Dear Friends

inked by Holly
Since the girls were all going on their various trips, Steve and I decided to head south to visit friends!
We hit the road Wednesday afternoon and by dinner time, we were in Maryville, TN to have dinner with our dear friends the Crafts. Although his name is also Steve, we’ve only known him as “Preach” for the past 12 years as he was our pastor for almost 10 of those years.  Preach and Brenda are just the kind of friends who are easy and are like balm for our souls. You know the kind I mean?  We’ve been through a lot together and just being together through difficult seasons was all we needed to keep moving forward. Crafts
We shared a meal at Sullivan’s, which is in an old JC Penney building. Oh, and do they have a great burger! Afterwards, we went to church with Preach & Bren. It was really fun to sit in on their small groups and see just how wonderful their church people are! Although we miss them here, we know they are right where they are supposed to be. And they get to live in the beautiful Smoky Mountains!
We said our goodbyes and got back on the road toward Atlanta to visit our friends, Tam & Kurt. I don’t even want to count how long Tam and I have been friends! When they moved to Atlanta 15 years ago, we thought life as we knew it had ended. In a way it did, but we discovered that there are also benefits from long distance friendships. When we finally do get to spend time face to face, it’s like a giant slumber party and we hug and laugh until we cry and just enjoy being together. Before the move, an acquaintance warned us to prepare ourselves, that we’d keep in touch at first but then we would slowly lose touch. Thankfully, Tam and I proved her wrong and we regularly talk, email, text and photo stream. Sidenote: we even played matchmaker with my baby brother and Tam’s baby sister.  They just celebrated their 11th anniversary, and Tam and I like to think we’re now related by marriage!The Tottens
Tam and Kurt have had an exciting new addition to their family a few weeks ago–they are now GRANDPARENTS!  Baby Noah will be moving back home to the Bahamas in a few weeks. and this was our chance to snuggle their precious little Grand Guy. And snuggle we did. Isn’t he the cutest thing?baby Noah
Tam and I can veg with the best of them (and clearly, so can our husbands),so we don’t plan too much when we get together. But on this trip, we had a few projects to accomplish. Tam and Kurt’s daughter Kati is furnishing her cute new home.  I brought a few pieces of thrifted furniture and shared the joy of chalk painting with Kati, and let me tell  you, that girl was a painting beast!  She painted 4 chairs, 2 end tables, a table base and a bathroom vanity in 2 days.Napping Husbands photo(1) Paint workshop
Danielle, Tam’s daughter-in-law, has always enjoyed handmade cards, so I brought supplies to have our own little card class. (photo )  Tam and Danielle are still going strong– they sent me more pics last night of all their creations.Card Class
We did manage to get out a little, too.  While in Atlanta, you just have to have a burger from Flip, a restaurant owned by Richard Blais from Top Chef. I had the southwestern burger, and it was amazing! And of course, we had to end the meal with a Nutella shake. They’re also known for their Krispie Kreme shake, which made me really miss my donut-and-milkshake-loving Chris Beals.Tam & Holly at Flip Collage of Flip food
We also fell in love with Woodstock Market. It’s a home furnishings consignment store and we loved perusing the aisles looking for treasures.  Lunch in the market cafe was fabulous– I recommend the homemade pimento cheese sandwich.
Woodstock Market Woodstock Market(1)
While we loved the time with friends, Steve and I hit a few proverbial bumps along the way.  We heard a strange noise in our SUV just about an hour before arriving in Atlanta– the power steering pump went out, forcing us to take the car to the shop. Even thought Kurt loaned us a car while ours was being repaired, the repairs delayed our trip home.
When we eventually got on the road, we hit major traffic on the highway. We felt adventurous so we mapped out a detour, which happened to be through the Boone National Forest.  It was a beautiful two lane road with scenic hills and the occasional home. We eventually came across a downed tree blocking the road. (photo of tree down) Steve got out to look and another couple of people arrived on the other side of the tree. One of them had a truck and a chain so eventually the road was cleared and we were back in business.  As soon we were back in the car, we burst out laughing.  I do love traveling with that man! Never a boring moment.Steve & stranger moving tree departing Dayton