Tuesday, December 5, 2017

My Favorite Things (& Then Some)

Today was the first morning we stepped outside to a denim blue sky, faded and torn, that eerie glow following us down the street to school. Honestly, it was a relief. Indiana has been playing that strange sort of atmospheric roulette and I know plenty of people manage without them, but I need the full, four seasons. I needed it to buck up and start being wintery.

Christmas is only twenty days away, after all.

This is about the time that I jump in with both feet. I want to see all of my friends. I want to put butter on everything. I want to stay up too late with Cory, bingeing The Crown. I was coziness. Togetherness. I want that Christmas feeling.

I also want the sorrow, the longing, the truth that Jesus came to save us because we are basically a wreck. He wants to heal us, but that doesn't mean it's simple. It might hurt along the way.

Late last night, I finished a special little project just for you. It's called The 12 Ways of Christmas and it was such a joy to create it. It's my entire heart for the holidays, divvied up into twelve bite-sized emails.

Over the past several years, my family has started to approach the season differently, and it has brought untold peace and joy to our household and our schedules. This isn't a boss-around series. It's just me, opening my front door to you. It's a peek inside. It's a bit of reflection, a bit of evaluation, some prayer, some crack bark, some new ways of thinking, some saying yes, some saying no. It's Christmas hymns, simple crafts, and a couple of little gifts for you as we go.

If you'd like to join me, click here to subscribe.  (The 12 Ways of Christmas series is now closed.)

This is a free invitation to more meaning and less pressure as we wait for Jesus. You'll get the first email immediately, and one each day for the next 11 days. I hope you love it as much as I loved writing it.

While we're here, I've been jotting a list of my favorite things with the intention of sharing them. Now is as good a time as any! You can consider these gift ideas or just an opportunity to be a little nosy. Either way, this is the legit, tried-and-true account of what I'm loving lately. Because we all know Jesus is all we need, but we don't hate good music and fun earrings along the way.

Every Mile Mattered
::  Nichole Nordeman - Every Mile Mattered
She has been my favorite singer-songwriter for over ten years now, and this album is a masterpiece.

:: Denim shirt by ABLE

ABLE (previously FashionABLE) is all over their A-game with their new apparel line. They have denim, bags, shoes, fashion-forward tops (for those younger and trendier than myself,) jewelry, and more. All of it is hand-crafted throughout the world by women who have overcome. The denim shirt has my whole heart for my whole life. It is simply perfection, with a longer, not-too-baggy/not-too-slim fit and a raw, frayed edge. I live in this thing. It dresses up or down. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is impeccable. It costs more than an Old Navy knock-off, but it's a classic piece that will last forever and it's made by women who are paid a fair wage and offered a brighter future.

(Remember when I traveled to Ethiopia four years ago and barfed in a Ziploc baggie in front of Emily Maynard? Yep, that was an ABLE trip. I have seen firsthand the mission behind the high quality fashion and I'm a lifelong believer.)

:: Trucker hat by Peace Within

Here I am after getting four hours of sleep, wearing both the shirt and the hat. If you asked my neighbors to draw my uniform, this is what they would draw, complete with the under-eye circles and bedhead.
(I wear it All of Thee Time. It's handmade in the USA by women transitioning from struggle to a better way. LOVE!)

::  Books
General shout-out to Books, one of my favorite, all-season gifts.
Right now I'm reading Hillbilly Elegy, The Very Good Gospel, and of course Barking to the Choir.

::  Mugs and tea
I will proclaim to the end that there is no better gift than a thrift-store mug (there are So many good ones if you just look!) filled with tea, coffee beans, chocolate, or any other little do-dads. 

:: Literally anything from Belove (a local and online Give Back gift shop)
(I'll take one of everything, plz.)

:: Locally made goat milk body lotion 
My favorite scent is Mandarin Orange

::  Cookbooks
I've been obsessed with the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and she has a new one out that I'm itching to read, Smitten Kitchen Every Day.

::  Vintage tea towels, tablecloths, pillowcases. 
I can't see this at a thrift store and not buy it. (And I have the sort of friends who consider thrift-store gifts the very best kind!)

:: Painting Class
Calvin just finished a four-week drawing class in town and Ruby and I are gearing up to take The Secret Garden painting course offered by Amanda Evanston.
{Just for the record, these are MY faves, pure and simple. Amazon and ABLE links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase through the link I get a tiny commission from the sale. The rest are just links to help you find the stuff I truly love.}

Tell me, what are you loving lately?


  1. Loving all the art supplies! Plus vintage Christmas finds at my Habitat ReStore. We try to give our grown children experiences rather than stuff, so I am playing with the idea of creating a date night box that I will send out each month to them. I’m not sure I can make it for a whole year, so I will commit to six months. If I manage that, I’ll probably continue for a year. It really scares me to commit to this but I think they will love it. I’m going to try to keep it around $25 a box. Any great ideas for cheap dates, lol

    1. Melissa, I LOVE this idea! I would truly love to receive this. Your kids will be thrilled!

  2. For some reason it is not allowing me to subscribe via my iPhone. Is anyone else having an issue?

    1. Hey there! Sorry I'm just seeing this. Were you able to figure it out? Not sure why it was giving you fits!

  3. Thank you for sharing these ideas. I want to begin supporting more businesses that give back and you just gave me 2 great ones to look at.


  4. I am loving the 12 Ways of Christmas. For some reason I have not received any more beyond day 3 (which I got several days ago). Is anyone else having this problem?

    1. Hi Denise! Have you checked your spam folder? Or if you have Gmail, your Promotions folder? Let me know!

  5. Shannon, you are precious. Thank you for choosing to share yourself with me through the social media world. A sacrifice in many ways, but oh what a gift! Your book, read a year ago, still tugs at my heart. And I too am a long time Nichole fan. Still can’t get through “Dear Me” without crying. Thank you for this holiday gift. I just now signed up for the 12 days of Christmas.❤️

  6. I loved doing the Secret Garden painting course!! I would highly recommend it!!!

  7. ugh-y, ugh, ugh! I am not getting emails for your posts, Shannan. help! Are you able to add me to your 12 Ways of Christmas, late? I saw that Laura @ Pitter Patter Art (LOVE Her!!) put a link to your blog (not getting emails for her blog posts either), so I hopped over to visit. Love You and your heart, very much. Have a Blessed, Merry Christmas! Hugs, Jo

    1. Hi, Jo! I'm not sure why you would be having trouble...I don't know what your email address is, but if you have Gmail be sure to check your Promotions folder. That's where the emails usually land!

  8. Hi! I am new to your blog and just finishing your book (which I LOVE and have taken copious notes from). I have a book recommendation for you...The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It is fiction, but so relevant and impactful. Hope you get a chance to check it out! Thx for sharing your life with us. -Angela W

    1. Hey Angela! Yep, I read it back when it first came out and I LOVED it. I actually mentioned it in my blog post, "Teaching Our Sons to Walk" I'm so glad you enjoyed it, too!

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