Tuesday, September 2, 2014

You've Got the Mic



Remember my staunch and steadfast committment to not only showing "pretty" shots of myself?
Well, it's September, and this is me.
You're welcome.

This is me, one month ago, trying to peacefully read in the glider next to the wood-burning stove of my childhood home. This is me, trying to carve out FIVE MINUTES of quiet time after a whirlwind road trip to visit a new doc for Calvin in Philadelphia. (More on that later this week.)

This is me, with my flat hair, crooked necklace, wonky neckline, poor posture, fake smile, crows' feet, and my crooked tooth that keeps getting crookeder.

Sidenote: Yesterday I had a real a visceral fear that adult braces are in my future. Sometimes my teeth clang together badly on the right side, I'm sorry to say. And then I remembered my receding gums and saw that terrifying gum surgery in my future. And then I knew for sure the dentist would tell me I needed to just say goodbye to my teeth and my gums and order up some dentures. "There's nothing more we can do for you." And I wondered what it would be like to be 40 with a full plate.

But back to us.

I've been thinking about us lately, and remembering how some of us are old friends and some of us are new friends and many of you, I've never even heard of.

Hi, guys. I'm Shannan.
I'm glad you're here and if I could, I'd pour you a cup of piping hot Earl Grey but be warned, I spilled piping hot Earl Grey all across my front last Spring and I'll never say another ill word about the lady who sued McDonalds. Ever. Mine eyes have seen the gory of the spilling of the tea. It shan't be joked about.

But back to us.

I don't know for sure why you keep coming back here, especially in light of my propensities to lapse into Olde English without warning and overshare, but in my defense, at least I didn't tell you where I spilled the tea.

I do way too much an awful lot of talking around here. But who knows, maybe there's still something you've always wondered or wanted to ask me.

Is there?

Today is your chance.

If you have a burning question or an idea on what you'd like me to write about more down the road, hit me. If it's about paint colors, there's a 79% chance that I don't have the answer for you, because despite my best efforts to regain my position as a Type A lady, I'm regrettably Type G, and falling.

You never know.

I'll answer some questions in the comments and others may spark future posts.
Later this week, I'm hoping to say a bit more about the Secondhand Wardrobe Challenge. I'm stunned by how many of you want to join me. Stunned and crazy-thrilled. So let's organize, shall we?

Happy Tuesday, Homies.

I sure do like you.

ps - This idea came from my lady-pal Ashley, from The Handmade Home. Thanks for the nudge to open up the mic, Ash!


77 comments:

  1. "Mine eyes have seen the gory..." for the love of Pete. Funniest thing I have read in eons. I heart you so dang much.

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  2. When can I come over for dinner? :)

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    1. Girl, be glad it wasn't tonight. Spaghetti, Aldi sauce from a jar. Kroger frozen garlic bread. AND NO TOSSED SALAD. (gasp!) :)

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  3. Hmmm....I think of questions I want to ask you ALL THE TIME, but now that you ask.... I'll ponder it and stop by later. :)

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  4. No questions, just a hi... I'm new here. I found you in the dangerous (time sucking life comparing but often good finding) world of Instagram. And I'm so glad.... you see, I'm at a crossroads in my life and I've decided to "let Him in." Your words are real and relatable and I appreciate that. Thanks for having us! | kristin

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    1. Thanks for the email back. :)
      And you need to shout on IG so I know who you are!
      xo

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  5. I'd love to hear what you do on your dark days, the ones where you are screaming for answers that do not come and you are holding on to your frayed hope by your bleeding fingernails, and God seems about a jillion miles away.

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  6. Do you have an opening for a bestie? Just kidding. Sort of;) Tell us about writing!! I want to know if you're working on something super secret (like a book), and how far along you are in the process. Consider me curious!

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  7. 1) I'm contemplating the same dental situation. Is it a home town thing? I thought that lime-y hard water was supposed to fortify the teeth for ages. That's what Buck told me...2) I want to be another aunt to your kids. They are so interesting and fun! 3) Here's a question to ponder: When you find that you accomplished long dreamt about life goals, what do you do to find more/figure out what's next?

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    1. This cracked me way up!
      2) My kids welcome any and all Auties, since in their experience, Aunties are more fun. :)
      3) I don't know if I have ever accomplished a long-dreamt goal. Is that weird? My goals were always to get married, be a doctor, and maybe never have kids. Oh, and live in the country. haha I guess I am married! I think for my, God keeps nudging "my" goals into what they really SHOULD be. It all keeps changing. I'm slowwwwly learning to not make big ol' plans, but to just keep walking His way. It helps with the angst. :)

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  8. Hi! I read very few blogs, and am choosy about which ones I do. I appreciate yours because of the passion for Jesus, and the realness of living that out day to day. I would love to hear more about the tension of training your children to be light in dark places, and aching to keep them safe. I have my kids in public school, but live in a place where most good Christian parents do homeschool or Christian school...so I feel somewhat alone in maneuvering public school for the glory of God

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    1. I third this. Many of our close friends homeschool. My husband is from a family of six children; of those children we are the only ones not homeschooling. Would love to hear more of your heart on this subject.

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    2. I am the mother of five grown children that we home schooled all the way through. We all thought way back 28 years ago when we started that if we just kept them home we would keep them safe and they would grow up to always be believers and wonderful people that we could be so proud of. Now I can tell you that it does not work out that way. We have two out of five that are breaking our hearts right now. I have wondered if they would have been better off in public school. It seems to be a very quietly held secret that homeschooling does not always turn out the way everyone hoped it would.

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    3. Y'all are my people. Lana, thank you for speaking up from a different perspective. It helps so much!
      Rebecca, Kelly, Annie...this seems like something for a full post in the nearish future. Thanks for the nudge and stay tuned!

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  9. This is not a question, but regarding the adult braces, here's everything you ever wanted to know and then some. I've worn braces as an adult twice. The first were metal. They hurt and were ugly as heck. Twentysomething years later, my teeth started shifting again and I went with the Invisalign option. The Invisalign is definitely the way to go, if at all possible. They aren't necessarily painless, but less painful and definitely a more attractive look and much more comfortable. And if you only need minor changes, it happens fairly quickly. Either way, make sure you find an experienced dentist to do your work. Oh, the horror stories I've heard and seen from those who didn't.

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    1. Thanks for the info! I don't know that I'll ever actually do it... I've never had braces, and I've always thought of my teeth as straightish, but things are shifting all around. It's getting wonky up in here. :)

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  10. Your blog is in my top three must read every day that there's a new one in my reader! After reading one of your posts recently, I re-read it out loud to my husband just so he could hear the way you make life more beautiful with words. For real. I have always wanted to hear the story about how Robert became yours. I'm sure I missed it somewhere along the way but I'd love to hear it!

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    1. Next week! Next week!
      I'm going out of town and will be away from my computer for about 6 days, so I'm going to repost some oldies. :) I'll make sure this is one of the things I post about.
      Thanks for speaking up, Heather!

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  11. What are you reading? What would you recommend a guy like me be reading? Will you come over and decorate our house? Have you ever wanted to punch that "Boy named Sue?"

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    1. PLEASE read Slow Church! You'd also love Dirty Faith.
      I'm also half-way through Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life. SO good. I think it applies to all boys, in some ways.
      Yes, let me decorate!!!!!!!!!!!
      And I've never wanted to punch Boy name Sue, just maybe a well-timed kick to the shins?? :)

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  12. I come for the kids! ; )

    Here is my question: next time you are in Philadelphia can you call me?!

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    1. Ummm.... YES!
      I need a special blog-friend locator. I didn't realize that's where you are! I don't know where anyone is!
      Just the stratosphere, I guess?? :)

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  13. You always make me laugh, or cry, or say YES!!! I strive to be less judgmental, more open-hearted, and more patient. I always strive to not give a rat's tush how I look. Working on it. You are real. No pretenses. Where on EArth did you get the courage? -Monica

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    1. Maybe I'm older than you? (The older I get, the less I care. I'm 38.)
      I don't know. I guess I don't see it as courage as much as stubbornness or a weird kind of rebellion, both of which cause me plenty of grief in life, but maybe this is the one positive application?

      I try to be honest with myself about my strengths and weaknesses. I have plenty of both.
      And in blogging, the tendency is to highlight one's strengths, but that really skews the perception of who I am, so I might go more out of my way to highlight my flaws, of the days (there are lots of them) when I just don't look too perty.

      I'm not the prettiest girl in the room. I never have been. Being almost 6' tall and weighing 100 lbs from 8th-12th grade will teach you quickly that you'd better just roll with it, not apologize for it, and find other ways to be awesome. :)

      Thanks for the question, Dearie!

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  14. I am called Lolly but birth name Laurel. Just curious how they decided AN instead of the typical ON with your name and would you marry your husband again just to walk down that center aisle.

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    1. That is a GOOD question and I honestly don't know if I have the answer?? I think my parents were just trying to be flashy. In a Christian way. ;)

      What I WILL say is, Shannon was fairly popular in my era, and I was taunted by that O! I had O barrettes, ) stickers, O rulers and notebooks. I was firmly in denial.

      Yes, I would totally marry Cory all over again. That center aisle debacle is kind of hilarious, but I just want to plan a wedding again, and by "again", I mean, "for the first time." Even though I "planned" a wedding not once but TWICE (same guy, don't worry), I didn't actually DO any planning. I was oblivious...and I can't believe it now!

      If I was planning it now it would be INSANE. Such an event. Everything thrifted and handmade. My dress would be crazy (and long enough)...OMW THE FOOD! And I would have a photographer who didn't rely on the "Give each other a kiss" "pose" for 80% of the shots.

      Look at what you've done! I'm a monster!

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  15. Ok I LOVE your blog!! You always make me laugh, cry and think! Also you have great decorating skills! Wanting to know what are some blogs you go to for inspiration, decor ideas or just for a "pick me up " ?

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  16. I've only commented here a couple of times, but I always enjoy your posts. When I first discovered your blog, I went back and read all of the posts about adoption and how your family came to be. I wondered then, but didn't ask (because it would be rude) how you paid for three adoptions. Even though you offered to answer questions, it may still be rude to ask about this. If so, please just pretend I never asked!

    Please know that I am asking not to be nosy, but because I am very interested in adoption. My husband and I also recently sat in a doctor's office and said "no thanks" to IVF, and we're currently trying to figure out "now what?" I'm leaning toward adoption, and he's leaning toward no more children (we have a 5-year-old). Again, I love your blog. Thanks for being real!

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    1. I had the same thoughts. And I also read back a lot of the old posts (we're not stalkerish, right?). And we also got to the what now, after saying no thanks to IVF. And we have a 6 yr old. My hubby is saying what will be will be - he doesn't 'get' adoption. I grew up around all kinds of successful adoptions, so I want it, or wanted it - less so as time passes. So just wanted to say hi, because I felt kinship in your post!

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    2. Not too nosy at all!
      I'm going to answer it in tonight's post. :)

      But also, Annet - did you catch the posts (2 of them) from June where a bunch of dads talked about adoption from their perspectives? It was published when my feeds were all messed up and a lot of people didn't see them... but maybe your husband would enjoy reading them?

      http://www.flowerpatchfarmgirl.com/2014/06/adoption-through-eyes-of-adoptive-dads.html
      http://www.flowerpatchfarmgirl.com/2014/06/adoption-through-eyes-of-adoptive-dads_20.html

      Thanks, ladies!

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    3. Thanks for saying hi, Annet! I've also considered adoption for a long time. My husband and I discussed it before we married, and he said "We'll cross that bridge when we get there". Well....we're THERE, and he is reluctant. Now he says we'll talk about it again in a year. I know he's just scared.

      Shannan, thanks for answering my question in your post...now I'm off to read the posts you included!

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  17. Ok, so I've been thinking about this all day…what to ask, what to ask! You must know, these are my very favorite type of blog posts…or any conversation starters. I have an ongoing list of questions I keep on my phone to ask friends when I get the chance to talk on the phone for extended amounts of time. I'm weird like that. Anyway, like I said, I've been thinking about this for a while and I've come up with a couple.

    1. Greatest accomplishment
    2. Happiest childhood memory
    3. Something you would go back and change if you could
    4. Favorite worship music
    5. If you could travel anywhere where would it be?

    Too many questions?! Just answer what you wish! Can't wait to hear your answers :)

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  18. Love, love, love this blog. I, too, found you late and went back and read most of your old blogs. The question that immediately come to mind is: What made you start blogging?

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    1. I started blogging around the time Calvin was born, because I was one of the only moms I knew who wasn't a scrapbooker. :) For me, it was a way to share pictures and bits of our life with him. For the first year or two, no one read my blog except close family and friends.

      But I quickly became obsessed with taking pictures and documenting my life. It had nothing to do with who was reading, because almost no one was. And I didn't see myself then as a writer. Not AT ALL. I just started to notice and see my world through the lens of our point-and-shoot-camera, and it made me a more grateful, aware person.

      I've blogged here at this blog for 6.5 years (gah!) and it has evolved in many ways, but I try to always stay true to why I started. I'm not an expert on anything. I don't take the best pictures. I don't have a "niche". I just do this because I love to do it. I love sharing and I love the community that has grown here at FPFG.

      I've made so many dear friends and I know I have the best readers in the universe!

      (Along the way, I've realized that I AM a writer...but I don't let that confuse things too much.) :)

      Thanks for the question, Cynda!

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  19. I know we share an affinity for pop culture. I'd love to know what you read (People.com? Magazines?) or do you just occasionally read things?

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    1. I love pop culture! Always have.
      I read People magazine on Sundays when we have dinner at my in-laws and my bestie Sarah gives me all of her US Weekly mags (and Glamours!) when she's done with them.
      Sarah also keeps me informed via text if anything scandalous happens in the pop culture world.
      And I tend to click on the online "news" articles about celebs I care about. :) (and there are many...)

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    2. I think we have the same method.

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  20. Since Ruby is usually pictured with rainbow-loom bracelets and necklaces, my question is this: do you have those insidious little rubberbands in every nook of your house like I do?

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  21. I love picking out paint colors, but words are not my thing. :) I need you to write for me. Please?
    My girls are both Black. My husband and I are White. I need words to translate this thing we are doing, Black parenting, to our families. Not that they don't support us. They do. Its just that we grew up in a rural white community super sheltered in our White Privilege.
    I need facts, actual facts, not just my crazy emotions rolled up in panic and good intentions.
    I need practical instruction. Not just my muddled thoughts about inequality with no idea of a way to solution.
    :)

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    1. Um...I need all those things, too. :) Raising kids from a different culture is serious business! I'm afraid I don't have actual facts or even practical instructions. #NOHELP

      I think it's super helpful to seek out friends with cultural similarities as my kids. I'm obsessed with diversity and want ALL OF IT in my life, but it's also just helpful to have people you can ask hair questions or recipes or deeper stuff.

      I know there are tons of books written about this sort of thing but titles escape me.

      I'm sorry! I just think that watching you live your life has got to be impacting your family. I understand what you're saying, that they do support you, but maybe don't fully "get it". And why would they, right? But they are getting things through you, and that is amazing. You're showing the world that love isn't tied to genetics or culture. BOOM!

      WAIT!!! Just remembered - My very favorite adoption blog is We Are Grafted In. They write from tons of different adoption perspectives, very real and raw stuff. It might be helpful to keep them on your radar!
      http://sparrow-fund.org/blog

      All my best to you, friend!

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  22. Hi! God has used you in my life in big ways and I am so thankful. We are learning to live on less so we can give more, get to know our neighbors, love people where they are and give grace like it's free! (Pun intended)

    How about some parenting advice/ wisdom? Tips on siblings sharing a room? If you ever come to Idaho, hit me up!!

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  23. Who inspires you to write? How did you find your voice in writing? Also, I didn't know if you saw it on instagram, but I wanted to send you some happy mail, so an address to send it please! Also, if you and the kids are wanting any munchies that can't be found there, let me know!

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  24. I keep coming back because I think you're being used by God. I think you have guts. I think you're real and there are not many of you... that is why I keep coming back, and oh you do make me smile a lot.

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  25. I started buying kids clothes at garage sales before my firstborn made his appearance. We were poor college students and it was a way to get the things we needed without breaking the bank. In fact, I think the only new item we bought was a car seat, everything else was either thrifted or given to us. As the years went on, it just made sense to buy kids clothes at garage sales or thrift stores because they grow out of them so fast. But I didn't really think about buying clothes for me that way until we took on a job that paid little in cash (houseparents to mentally and emotionally impaired kids). Our basic expenses were met (housing, food, etc) but clothes had to come out of the budget which was, frankly, miniscule. It wasn't long before I knew the location of every Goodwill within a 50 mile radius of not only our house, but also my in-laws whom we visited regularly in another state. Then we started checking out Goodwills and other thrift stores wherever we'd travel. The jobs after houseparenting paid more, and I did start buying in regular stores on occasion, but there's something about the thrill of the hunt to find nice things for practically nothing. It became a fun game the whole family enjoyed. These days, as missionaries, we're once again working with a pretty small budget and I cannot remember the last time I bought anything other than underclothes new in a store. (I do draw the line there ;) We've also been blessed to visit the missionary "closet" at Charles Stanley's church in Atlanta whenever we go to our mission headquarters which is in the suburbs of Atlanta. One of the things I love about going there is that they only take one or two families at a time, and when you're done "shopping" their lovely store (totally free for missionaries), those on staff in the store take time to sit and pray with you, asking beforehand exactly what we'd like them to pray about. I've also found some great blogs written by women who enjoy thrifting and then repurposing or creating something new with what they've found...men's shirts becomes women's shirts, or little girl dresses or aprons, blouses that are too large are modified and embellished... It's really fun to see what creative things they come up with, with a little time and effort. Sometimes it's hard to believe the before and after photos :) Anyway, wanted to throw my two cents worth in on the topic of thrifting.

    As far as suggestions as to what I'd like to hear more about, I don't have any :) I enjoy your posts, that sometimes make me laugh and sometimes make me cry. You have a gift in communicating very beautifully what is on your heart. Keep it up!

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  26. If you could redo/change anything from your past what would it be?

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  27. Oh man... I love that you have opened up the mic! I come back because I adore you, in the most(ly) non-stalkerish way! I love that any given week, I can come here and read about real life, and God, and a new recipe, and maybe even an artsy project to try (think word art... I just can't stop making those canvases!) but mostly I come here because you pour out words that my heart means to say but never quite articulates - plus, of course... I'd like to think that when I am here, in some realm or universe, it means we are hanging out!

    So. Many. Questions. Hmmm... ok - just three:

    One. (Somewhat paint-related, because you are the one who brought it up!) I just painted two walls "Deep Sea Adventure" which means they are a lovely shade of teal(ish)... and bought cheap carpet to (have my husband) lay down in a charcoal grey... only now that said walls are painted and carpet is halfway down, I am seeing the grey looks a little more navyish against the wall. Did I mention I have a plum couch? Yeah... too much color in one space (if that can even really be a thing?) So - 'somewhat paint-related' question = White or Black floor boards to magically make the carpet less blueish - or any other tips to make the carpet less blue and more grey that doesn't include making the hubs cry or scrape glue or just in general, want to kill me! (He blames Myquillyn at this point!)

    Two. Favorite Fall Recipes... please tell me this post is coming! While I wait, I will revisit the pork tacos and make more salsa. Thank you.

    Three. What are you reading right now and what books have impacted you the most in the last year? There are so many great books that have been released this year alone... I'd love to know what ministered to and challenged your heart? What was like reading your own words and desires? What caused you to grow?

    Praying for you (and Calvin) and can't wait to read your answers here!
    ~K~

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    1. Okay. We bought our Ikea sectional in February and when we got it all set up, it looked blue to me. Instead of gray. I bought some bright turquoise pillows and a gold one (I heard the gold counteracted blue tones and the turquoise was just a crap shoot) but it seemed to help! Either that, or my eyes just trained themselves to see it as gray. And maybe the difference in seasonal lighting/sunlight helped?

      In your situation...first, I applaud your fervor in using color!....Grays can be SO tricky! I kind of feel like all your jewel tones might work well together, even if it reads a little navy? I wouldn't bring black into the mix. That will just confuse all the other colors. White might help...who knows? Have you tried putting the plum couch in there yet? I think you might just be a little paranoid. It happens to all of us. But maybe some artwork with gray tones? It's hard to say without seeing it! I think once you fill up the room, you'll love it. And if you don't, re-painting those walls makes more sense that ripping up carpet or throwing your sofa out the window. :)

      Fall recipes - stay tuned!

      Books: Okay. Have you read through my "Reads" on the sidebar? That'll show you everything I've read in the past few years. Most influential ever would be Tattoos on the Heart, but in the past year I'd say Slow Church, To The End of June, Red Letter Revolution, Educating All God's Children...I mean, yes, there are SO many good ones. :)

      Love to you, Sister!

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  28. I only read about five blogs and you're one of them. I come back because you're so stinking honest and that's pretty rare and so very refreshing. And you're funny. And witty. And you're the perfect mix of the big things and not so big things. And gosh, I just like you a whole bunch.

    My question is: Have you and Cory always been on the same page about where God was calling you (adoption, the big move to the city, leaving safe jobs, etc.) Navigating huge changes in a family is tricky business. Was it always smooth sailing, or did one of you say "I think we need to move to the city" and the other was like "Uh, no thanks." How did it all go down...was God so clear (to you both) in His leading that it was hard to argue, or was there some processing time and patience involved to land in the same spot?

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  29. I, too, would like to know if you might write a book someday.

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  30. Thanks for always keeping things "real". You know, real hair and real photos of real moments. It's a gift, when we give ourselves to others, open, raw, visceral. Cluttered minds, messy hearts, it would be the easy way out to pretend otherwise. Thank you for your gentle ways you serve the women that walk across your path, the ministry that reaches out across the distances and circumstances to sooth and nurture the messy, the broken, and the just hanging in there men and women of a loving God.

    All I ask is that you keep finding the time and energy to keep on keeping on. Thank you.

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  31. Hi Shannon - I am Tiffany! I have been reading your blog for quite a while now - since before you moved out of the farm house - Silas was little! I like your writing! I admire your honesty and your willingness to do what He leads you to do. and I really like how you decorate and how you thrift and make things pretty! Basically, I like you!!

    I have a blog but by no means am a blogger - I forget to take pictures and I am not crafty nor do I like to cook! I love the beach - I take pictures at the beach!

    I can't think of anything particular to ask you right now! So let this just be an introduction!

    Have a great rest of the week!! :)

    xoTiffany

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    1. Good to meet you, lady! Thanks for popping in to say Hi. I love it when that happens!

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  32. I just enjoy getting to know you and your fam and all that is going on in your home. I LOVE your recipe for taco meat! Gave me a new way to prepare roast, which I love, but not the hubby so much. (He's still not sure of roast for tacos.) Keep up what you do.

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    1. Have you tried the pork roast tacos? Or beef? I have a recipe for both and we LOVE them!
      Get that husband on board! :)

      Thanks for the kindness, Peggy!

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  33. So many great questions here. Excited to hear your answers.

    The thing is I'd like to talk politics and how your faith walk has led you away from the white house and (politically) where you stand today, but I realize this type of public forum may not be the best place to do that.

    I'd like to hear about Health Insurance - if you yourself (personally) have it. (As small business owners no one in our household currently has any, but as tax payers we are evaluating...)

    I'd like to know what hedges you put up to protect yourself from the sins of pride, self-promotion, envy, jealously, etc, that are so easy to come by in this facebook-instagram-twitter-blog world that we live in. (In my short year of blogging I never figured it out.)

    Okay (I've been reading since early 2011)....honestly I just wish I could sit down face to face and pick your brain. If all this is something you'd rather not address on your blog I get it. So, when you say you shoot on auto when using the beast, what exactly do you mean, because your pictures are oh so beautiful???









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    1. That said I like your meaty posts, but flowers, fashion, decorating, thrifting. That, that's dessert!!! You're like a christian family life magazine, only BETTER!!!

      Hope you are on the mend. Thanks for being you.

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  34. If someone dropped $40k in your lap right this minute--what would you do with it?
    Can you justify going on vacation or do you easily talk yourself out of it because you could better spend that money feeding the hungry/housing the homeless, etc?
    Also, do your kids go nuts after watching one episode of anything? Including peg+cat? I'm beginning to think cartoons change my kids' brain chemistry. And I don't like it.
    How do I stop a kid from sneaking things into his bedroom? A paring knife and a tub of honey, to be specific. He is 4.5
    One more question: how do you feel about nursing homes? Do you ever visit the residents with your kids?
    Oops that's two.

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    1. I honestly think PBS cartoons calm my kids down better than most things I can think of. Not even playing. Our rules are no TV in the morning on school days, but on weekends they can come down and turn it on (and we can keep sleeping!) In the afternoons, they usually watch Wild Kratts a few days a week. Sometimes they catch part of Arthur, too. I don't wig too much about tv. I watched quite a bit as a kid. But our options are also really limited (we get like 4 channels) so we know what they're watching.

      How to stop kids from sneaking things? Uh, do you remember who my youngest kid is? I learned to just check under his bed, under his pillow, in his pockets, etc... I learned the hard way so many times, and then I still didn't "really" learn! We tried to look at it not as being willful disobedience but just wanting what he wanted, man. :) We didn't allow it, but he didn't get punished for it, though us removing whatever it was from his room usually led to a 5-alarm fit, but whatever.

      My mom works at a nursing home. :) We don't go to visit any of our local homes. We've thought about it, but never done it. Our church is kinda like a nursing home. :)

      As for your 40k question...I love it! I'll answer that one in an upcoming post. :)

      Thanks!

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  35. I'm back. Regretting opening that mic up now aren't ya?

    Clothes. How many outfits do each of your children have. School clothes, play clothes & church cloths? How many each? Just came up from the basement, doing laundry and am thinking we have too many. Even though nearly all our clothes are hand-me-downs from my sister and slowly make their way through all three of our girls with them feeling the need to change clothes often it still feels like a lot.

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    1. I will talk about this when I do the next Secondhand Challenge post...whenever that is. :) Great question!

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  36. If your could chose only one celebrity to spend the day with who would it be and why? (Side note: Back in the day I also prayed for Nick & Jessica.)

    Help me!!! I can't be stopped!!!

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    1. Right now I have a soft spot for Zooey Deschanel. And Mindy Kaling. And I just followed Abby from Scandal on IG because I saw in a magazine that she likes to cook and be a pretend country girl. :)
      I used to be slightly obsessed with Emily Maynard from Bachelorette...and then I went to Ethiopia with her and barfed in a Ziploc baggie in front of her! #winning
      I'm never, ever good at picking "favorites", so this is hard for me. Too much pressure!
      I love all of the celebrities. Especially the funny ones. Tina Fey! Cecily Strong! Stop me....

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    2. Real conversation between me and my husband...while watching Ben Affleck's ALS Icebucket Challenge video:

      Me: I want to be friends with them. I love them.
      Dan: They might be jerks.
      Me: THEY ARE NOT!

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  37. Just want to say I love to hear whatever you have to say. Your story has given me courage, as my family is making a move (literally) that a lot of our friends don't understand. You help remind me of the most important thing - living the Gospel. But also that it is fun to enjoy girly details of life, too! :)

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    1. Love it! Be misunderstood for Jesus. He almost never makes sense to the world. Excited for you!!

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  38. I was looking back over old bookmarks and came across your 2012 post What Happens to Olivia? I was just wondering if you have had any more contact with Olivia, how is she doing? You post was beautifully written and really made me think about my reaction to those around me.

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    1. Oh, Olivia. :) She is still our neighbor and I had contact with her early on, especially when I would volunteer at the school. But she has since been moved to a different school, and she hardly ever plays at the park anymore. I'm always so happy whenever we see her. "She" has been "replaced" with about 6 other "Olivias" (this is getting confusing with all my " ", sorry) and we just love this community. Thanks for asking!

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  39. WELL, SHANNON, I KEEP COMING BACK CAUSE I LOVE, LOVE YOU! I'M ALMOST 70 & HAD BRACES IN MY 40'S FOR TMJ & MY DARLING DAD LEFT ME SOME MONEY. REALLY HELPED BUT I'D LOST MY BACK MOLARS EARLY ON & RECENTLY HAD ANOTHER BIG MOLAR PULLED, SO A BIG VACANT SPACE ON THE BOTTOM & NOW ALL THAT EXPENSIVE DENTAL WORK IS DOWN THE DRAIN SINCE MY ''BITE'' IS AGAIN ALL WONKY AGAIN! I'VE ALWAYS HAD A FEAR OF HAVING TO HAVE DENTURES! I HAVE A FRIEND WHO HAD TO GET THEM IN HER EARLY 20'S! AT LEAST IT SAVES ON EXPENSIVE DENTAL WORK DOWN THE ROAD! BUT I'M SURE BRACES WILL HELP YOU! I OFTEN SHARE YOUR WRITING--SO GOOD! A BIG FAN, BJ.

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  40. I love your decorating, thrifting and fashion-y posts! I'd love to hear your plan of attack when you enter a thrift store.

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  41. I'm a little late for the questions, but knowing that you are somewhat of a foodie I'm curious of what foodie variety you are. Do you buy all or most local organic produce and meats? Do you buy everything down at the supermarket? Do a little of both? How does your budget play a role in this if any? I feel I'm often caught in the mom guilt of budgeting responsibly, wanting convenience and providing healthy meals.

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  42. I love your writing! I would love to read more of your thoughts about race, white privilege, discrimination, your ideas on how to even out the playing field, diversity of every kind...etcetcetc

    No pressure! I just think you write about this stuff so well. I will read anything you write here!

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  43. My mom thought she would lose all her teeth at 30 because of receding gums. After months of brushing 1-2x daily with black cohash (you can break open capsules and dump the herb on your toothbrush), her gums were better. It's now over 20 years later and she still has all her teeth and healthy gums.

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