I love this letterboard quote from the Culinary Bee, Anna Mae H. Worth.
Here are some ideas to inspire you for the first day of the week…
Start a daily journal with this new book I got:
This past weekend my church hosted a program from their Women at the Well series for our women’s ministry. It was facilitated by author, counselor and life coach Kelly Johnson. She has a new book entitled Being Brave: A 40-day journey to the life God dreams for you. I can’t wait to start day one tomorrow.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
God has made us brave, not fearful beings. In a forty-day devotional format, author and blogger Kelly Johnson invites you to consider a new way of thinking about what it means to be brave and challenges you to seek a greater intimacy with God and the people God has placed in your life.
Through Scripture, stories, prayers, and thought-provoking questions, you will recognize the seeds of divinely inspired bravery and learn the strength found in community. Using letters of the word brave as a guide, Being Brave highlights what God’s Word has to say about the characteristics of bravery: Bold, Resilient, Authentic, Vulnerable, and Engaged and Empowered by the Spirit. Banish the fear that holds you back.
Eat pancakes this week.
National Pancake Day is September 26. One of my favorite memories of cooler weather was when Mother would make breakfast for dinner. This weekend I bought a bottle of Trader Joe’s vanilla bean infused maple syrup. There are two big vanilla bean pods floating in the bottle and when you pour it out over your pancakes, you can see the flecks of vanilla bean. Drop whatever you are doing this week and stock up on these bottles. I bought the last one on Friday, it’s that good folks. Even the butter on my cakes formed a heart shape! A bottle of this and TJ’s Pumpkin Spice Pancake Mix would make a wonderful gift this season.
Listen to this podcast:
The Simple Sophisticate podcast is from the Simple Luxurious Life blogger and author Shannon Ables. Do yourself a favor this week and take a coffee or hot tea break and listen to her podcasts or read her blog. It’s beautiful. “If you are someone who is trying to live their best life, reach their full potential if only you could figure out which one of your many strengths to tap into, all the while love and appreciate simplicity, but a welcoming home and well-stocked kitchen are a must, oh and don’t forget the style quotient: if you are someone who loves to dress well, but could do without the fuss and confusion with the trend, let’s just say it, if you could dress like the French women that appear effortlessly chic, yep, life would be complete, then this blog is for you.”
This is Shannon walking her dogs….
This is Shannon’s breakfast…
I want to be Shannon for a day and dip my toast points in a poached egg…
I’ve rounded up three ideas for inspiration to get you motivated for the week.
First, take a bath…I’ve blogged about the positive effects of using Epsom salts for foot soaks here, but let’s also add it to your tub.
Roasted garlic. It makes the house smell like you have been cooking for days. It is super easy to do and you can use it for so many recipes, including spreading it all over french bread, or on the base of your pizza dough. Simply Recipes has the step-by-step directions and a video tutorial, too.
Lastly, how about a self-care checklist. One of our readers, Stacy, said she printed last week’s “night before Monday” checklist and taped it to her bathroom mirror. Maybe this will inspire you as well.
Years, and years ago, my Sunday night ritual was to watch the television show Murder, She Wrote. Jessica Fletcher was my routine for easing into the work week solving the lastest crime in Cabot Cove (frankly, if that many murders happened in that little fishing town, I’d move). When the show was canceled, it threw my globe off its axis. This weekly bonding with Jessica helped me prepare for the Monday morning blues. According to a study conducted by the University of Vermont, Monday was named the worst day of the week with moods improving through the rest of the week and peaking on Saturday.
But, on the flip side, according to a study conducted by The Association for Psychological Science Monday is the best day of the week for setting new goals. It’s referred to as the “Fresh Start Effect.” New research in Psychological Science suggests that we may be more likely to actually follow through with our professional and personal goals if we start on a Monday rather than a Thursday.
I am seeking the positive route — Motivation Monday! Here is a terrific idea I saw on Pinterest that I think could inspire us daily, but especially on a Sunday evening if we are facing a busy professional and personal week ahead. I have pinned it to my Joie de Vivre board (a collection of ideas to help me find “Joy in Life” in 2018).
This really could be adapted for everyday, but I think particular care should be focused the night before on a day you are worried about facing. I love the last two suggestions. “Pray” – for gratitude of what your day did afford you and pray for grace to get through to the next day. “Read” – you can start reading the book from Mrs. Twist Reads This!
I’d love to hear your ideas on how you can transform Monday to be the best day of your week!
I came across a journal from 2016 when I was doing a “30-day prompt” challenge. Across the top of the page was “Don’t judge me, but…” I thought my responses were funny…and not surprising…
I’d rather spend the day in my pjs, in bed watching TV than doing anything else. (Still true, especially if it’s raining).
I hide cake in my room from other people in the house (Not currently true, however I will not deny that it has happened recently…)
I hate to get my teeth cleaned. (Still do. I have no trauma related to visiting the dentist when I was little, and I have a great dentist now. I think it’s the scraping and the buzzing that bother me.)
I only use sunscreen intentionally when I know I am going to be out in the sun for extended periods of time, but I don’t wear it everyday. (Still true.)
I’d rather putter around my house than go to a party or out with friends. (I LOVE being in my house. It’s like a big phone charger for me. I get my energy and creativity from being around my things, cooking, baking, reading and being with my family).
I buy books then don’t read them. (Now it’s false. I have really enjoyed reading again. I have read more books this year than I ever have. Yay me!).
I keep everything in the house neat and organized, but my own desk and dresser top, why? (Ugh. Still true. It’s my nemisis. Why?)
Today is the day. A day I have been prepping myself for since she said “yes” to going to college. Full disclosure: Miss Bee is going to college 15 minutes from home and also where I have worked for the past 21 years. I can’t even imagine what it would be like if I were dropping her off hundreds of miles away.
But, this is my story. For the past 18 years, my first thought of each new day has been her and the day we have ahead together. My last thought at night, as my head hits the pillow and I drift off to sleep, has been of her and thanking God for the day He gave us. We now will have new rituals and routines as I wake up in a house without her presence.
The way I have been approaching this day is similar to how I felt when I dropped her off for the first day of Kindergarten. I am excited for her because she is ready for a shiny, new experience. She is so pretty and has carefully shopped for new school clothes, books and dorm room decor. And while all of that fills me with joy and excitement, the part pulling at my heart is leaving her to fend for herself. Will she make friends, will people see how special she is, will she feel safe and treasured the way I have been trying to make her feel for 18 years? What if she needs me and I am not there? Like I did for Kindergarten drop-off, I’ll grab my muffin with other moms, smile, then go home. I hope to choose happy. But, likely I will go home, stare into space, gaze into her empty room and cry. Happy tears.
Follow me along today for an on-line journal of how the day progresses. I’ll try to post at different times and let you know what and how we are doing.
We will start with yesterday…
Tuesday, August 7:
2 p.m. Miss Bee texts: “I want my last meal at (insert our address) to be Daddy’s homemade pizza.” I responded with crying emojis.
6:30 p.m. Miss Bee wanted to see the movie Christopher Robin. The very first movie I ever took her to see as Winnie the Pooh’s Springtime with Roo. She was two. I cried then. I cried again now.
9 p.m. She’s packing everything in the van for move-in tomorrow.
1 a.m. Miss crawls into bed with me and sleeps. We don’t spoon. But I smell her and hear her breathing. It’s like when she was little.
Wednesday, August 8:
6:40 a.m. Alarm goes off. I kiss my baby and whisper in her ear I love her.
6:45 a.m. I bake her favorite coffee cake — I rename it “Off to College Coffee Cake.”
8:10 a.m. I kiss her goodbye and tell her I will meet her at 1 p.m. for move-in.
9 a.m. I write her a card to leave on her pillow after move her in…
“Wow!! What an amazing, joyful journey watching you grow into the young woman you are today. I admire your tender heart, your quick wit, your self discipline, your love for your family, friends and God, and your ability to see the best parts of all kinds of people.
I know it’s been a challenge to feel like you belong when everything is new. But, if you are always true to yourself and you believe in yourself you will be just fine.
Being your mother has been the best thing I’ve ever done in life! You make me laugh everyday. Now, my heart is in two places — with you and at home. You are never alone. There is nothing we can’t solve together. Life is not intended to be a solo experience. I love you dearly. You are going to soar! Momma”
9:29 a.m. Co-worker gives me a beautiful succulent arrangement and a card. I cry.
11 a.m. My friend and personal trainer, Jess, stops by to tell me I am amazing and what an important person I am in her life and gifts me with the cutest flip flops that say Queen Bee. I accept her compliments, and cry some more.
2:05 p.m. Miss Bee was planning on checking in at 1 p.m. Apparently she had more stuff she packed in Mr. Bee’s pickup so now we have two cars full of stuff. Was supposed to meet me at my office, have a sandwich then walk over to check in to get her key card. Instead, she and her dad went over without me. I’m okay. I’m happy in my air conditioned office right now. This plan saves her the embarrassment of me wanting to take selfies and tell everyone I know she’s my daughter.
2:26 p.m. I get to eat my sandwich in her dorm room! We are taking a load of stuff over now. I’ll get pictures and share them on facebook. (Looking back.on this was highly ambitious).
3:30 p.m. Cancel the tuna sandwich. It’s locked in Mr. Bee’s truck. Of all days, he doesn’t have his phone with him. It’s hot. Why did I wear jeans? I’m in her room unpacking things. The heat was on. Did I say it was hot?
4:18 p.m. I’m eating my sandwich. I don’t care if it’s rancid. Things are looking up now. Rearranging furniture. Miss Bee scolded me for making friends with her RA Olivia…and for offering an open invitation to our house anytime they want. I can’t help it. I’m so hot. Maybe it’s a blessing so I won’t cry when I leave.
4:38 p.m. Okay, I think we’ve turned a corner. I rigged a fan up from my office so I think the temp might be dropping to 92 in here. Getting ready to make her bed. Feeling good. No tears.
5:14 p.m. it’s still hot. I think with 700 people moving into the dorm all at once has shocked the system. Right now Miss Bee is applying faux marble peel and stick contact paper to her desk top. It looks super chic. I’m on her bed. I was going to get out of their way and sit outside her room, but she insisted I stay on the bed. Positive gesture. I think God makes you dislike moving in so you won’t focus on the end.
5:33 p.m. I think it’s starting to cool down, or maybe my brain is liquid and I don’t feel it. Everything is put together and in its place. We are now hanging stuff on the walls. Her theme is Boho chic. She purchased a gorgeous tapestry for wall behind her bed. Crisp white linens and pillows on the bed. I think I’ll get some fresh flowers for her desk.
6:45 p.m. We are exhausted. So we are seeking cool air, chips and salsa to build up our strength. Then, it’s to Target for a few things and back for phase two.
6:55 p.m. This morning when I woke up I wondered if Mother would make her usual appearance on days like today (she appears as a cardinal). On the way to the car, I heard her in the distance and suddenly she appeared right above us in the trees, singing the most beautiful song to Miss Bee. It was a sign. She will be fine…Mother’s got this.
7:45 p.m. At Target. Asked Miss Bee if she wanted to pick out some flowers. She said only if there were sunflowers – my daddy’s favorite flower. They didn’t, but I made a mental note to find some for her this weekend. I don’t have to look very far. We have a whole bunch of them growing in the flower bed in our front yard. The summer after Daddy died, sunflowers started growing everywhere and to this day, every summer, we see him in our garden. This was his own doing, as we never planted any seeds.
8:30 p.m. We are back home packing up little things and a BIG fat fan for her room. Lordy, I hope it’s cooler in her dorm room by the time Miss Bee makes it back there or she is quitting school. I am going to say my goodbyes here at home. I think the last little bit of time should be with her Daddy putting together a rolling cart.
I am really okay. Better than I thought I would be. I have spent the last 18 years preparing her for this very moment. When God blessed me with a child after years of losses, I promised Him I would put my heart and soul into raising a woman He would be proud of. With God’s help, Mr. Bee and I have met that goal ten-fold. She’s ready. I’m ready. It’s time.
There’s a quote I love from Nanny McPhee…
“There is something you should understand about the way I work. When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go.”
One last thing before she left was to say, “Can we have breakfast together in the morning, Momma?” Yes, my darling girl. Always.
I had the BEST time this past Saturday hosting what hopes to be the annual Mrs. Twist Baking for Change fundraiser. Friends, old and new, gathered with me to eat biscuits, sip coffee and mimosas and raise money for the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI).
Let me start first with my story on why I did this. Earlier this summer, I was saddened by the back-to-back suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Two, young and gifted people who didn’t feel their talents or lives mattered. I lost my own brother, Jim, to suicide. And, there are thousands more people who suffer from suicide every day. It’s a very helpless feeling. But, I know I can do small things on my own to make a big difference for someone else. And, if it does help just one person in their suffering, then I’ve accomplished my goal. Baking has always been a stress reliever for me. I can easily put my energy into that.
So, I hosted a fun event where we could eat biscuits dripping with butter and sip mimosas while benefiting a worthy cause. Proceeds from the Biscuit Showdown will benefit the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation’s leading voice on mental health. Today, they are an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in our community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.
The event sold out, and the response of support was overwhelming! Many people who could not attend donated money to NAMI and one sweet friend, Jean, who lives in Wisconsin, purchased a ticket so someone who wanted to attend could. Many of the guests had been personally affected by suicide, either a son, nephew, brother or just came to support their friends affected by loss. The conversations were electric and so many common connections were made. Truly, God orchestrated the perfect day which exceeded my expectations!
Guests checked in and on their name tag were asked to write their first name and in place of their last name, replace it with their favorite biscuit topping. The name combinations were hilarious, some channeled their inner exotic dancer! We also had door prize tickets for a copy of Magnolia Table.
I baked two biscuit recipes — my own personal recipe and the recipe from Joanna Gaines and her cookbook Magnolia Table. Guests did not know which recipe they were tasting — they were only marked as “A” and “B”.
I covered my dining table with butcher paper and drew fun directions on where to start on their journey to judge the best biscuits in town!
I set down trays of biscuits and the judges went to work. We had tons of topping options –plates of real butter, apricot, strawberry, raspberry, fig, blackberry and peach jams, Texas and English honey, and I made a batch of Texas Roadhouse copycat cinnamon butter. After each sampling of the entries, guests filled out their ballots. While the results were tabulated, we gathered for a group photo on the patio with signs we made that said #bakingforchange
Even my little three year old niece Amelia, got into the action sampling all her Aunt Mizmee’s biscuits. I think she gave both a thumbs up!
Then, the results were in! 14 to 6 Biscuit A was the winner — Mrs. Twist wins the challenge! I couldn’t believe it. Now that’s a happy looking face to know that, this time, I beat out Joanna Gaines.
At the end of the event almost $600 was collected from ticket sales, donations and additional gifts given after the event. All those proceeds will be mailed this week to NAMI. God is good!
I can’t wait for next summer! Thanks for all your support, it means the world to know we touched the lives of people who need it the most!
I found this 30-day summer self-care countdown on Pinterest recently and I really liked it. It’s from the website Blessing Manifesting. She has alot of fun, useful tools to practice self care including this July Self-Care Checklist. Summer can relieve certain stressers of getting all the kids ready for school and packing lunches, but it also brings with it “the kids are home all summer, what do I do with them?” and “I need a break from shuttling them from camp to camp everyday.”
For me, my stressors are different. I have an 18-year old ready to go to college, so we’ve been attending orientations, signing papers, shopping for dormroom stuff and the internal preparation I have been going through for the day we leave her at school and we go home as empty nesters. Check back with me in August on that one.
What do you need right now? A nap or to go out to dinner so you don’t have to cook. This could be anything, but you have to ask yourself this.
How is your body feeling? Are you tight in your shoulders, is your lower back sore, etc…
What boundaries do you need to enforce? Are you saying “no” to the things you don’t want to do? Communicate.
Have you taken care of basic needs today? Are you drinking enough water. When was the last time you had a meal that was healthy and delicious. Do you need an afternoon nap?
What are you holding on to that you need to let go of? Are you a member of the Not-Good-Enough Club?
My big take-away is practicing grace on myself. Speak to ourselves in a way we would want others to relate to us. Reframe a situation — instead of big goals like “I am going to work out five days this week” how about trying “I am going to focus on taking my vitamins everyday and drink more water.” That’s doable. Once you achieve that success, move to the next thing on your list. Give yourself a summer vacation from demands and expectations and just try to enjoy the next five weeks before the madness ensues. Maybe by then you’ll have a some healthier habits in place that will make easing into the school year a little easier.
We are baking for change! No Joanna won’t be there, but her recipe for Chip’s biscuits will be. Come judge for yourself who makes the best biscuits — Mrs. Twist or Joanna Gaines!
Let me start first with my story on why I am doing this. Earlier this summer, I was saddened by the back-to-back suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Two, young and gifted people who didn’t feel their talents or lives mattered. I lost my own brother, Jim, to suicide. And, there are thousands more people who suffer from suicide every day. It’s a very helpless feeling. But, I know I can do small things on my own to make a big difference for someone else. And, if it does help just one person in their suffering, then I’ve accomplished my goal. Baking has always been a stress reliever for me. I can easily put my energy into that.
So, I’ve decided to host a fun event where we can eat biscuits dripping with butter and sip mimosas while benefiting a worthy cause. Proceeds from the Biscuit Showdown will benefit the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation’s leading voice on mental health. Today, they are an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in our community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.
Join me on Saturday, July 21, from 10 a.m. – 12 noon for all-you-can-eat biscuits with butter, honey and Moore jam, and a mimosa and coffee bar. $25 per person ($20 benefits the National Alliance for Mental Illness). Seating is limited. Advance registration required. Click here to register through Event Brite.
Save the date for Saturday, July 21 at 10 a.m. Something fun. Something big. If you love biscuits and making a difference in people’s lives, then what I have planned will be a real treat. Stay tuned here and follow me on Facebook so you don’t miss it.
In celebration of my 21st wedding anniversary today, I am sharing a “best of” post from last year on this date with a few updates. Enjoy!
This week Mr. Bee and I celebrated 21 years of bliss. I thought it might be fun for you to know the story of how we met. It’s my version and someday soon I will let Mr. Bee give you his.
I was newly divorced and relocated back to my hometown of Fort Worth. It was the summer and I offered to help my sister set up her classroom for the first day of school. I met all her friends for lunch, in particular her friend Mandy, which will be the critical part of the story here.
Summer went, and fall arrived. Around October Mr. Bee was helping a friend work on his car (he’s very handy like that) and mentioned that his access to females suitable for dating was pretty slim, did his wife Mandy know of anyone? Mandy asks Sister Bee if I would be interested in meeting her husband’s friend. Sister Bee, with my permission, gives Mandy my name and phone number. Radio silence.
We are now into winter. It’s cold. Mr. Bee later said he sat on my number because his dad had surgery for an aneurysm, but I think it was because he didn’t want to do the whole Christmas gift exchange for a girl he just met.
Mr. Bee called. I was dating someone, and didn’t call him back. He called again. I didn’t call him back. Meanwhile, back to helping Alan with his car, Mr.Bee mentioned that he wasn’t having much luck getting me to call him back. This was reported back to my sister who promptly told me I was being rude and to call the guy back. That she and Mandy went to a lot of trouble to make a love connection and I was being inconsiderate. I always do what my sister tells me to do.
It’s January by now. I call Mr. Bee. I am still dating the same guy (although by this time I was finding him annoying), but offered to meet with Mr. Bee as a networking opportunity for him to meet maybe one of my friends. He picks me up on January 3 (see, it was after NYE so no party for him to worry about taking me to). I open the door. Since he says it wasn’t a “date” he didn’t bother dressing up. He looked like a lumberjack — jeans, a red flannel shirt, and hiking boots. I, on the other hand, had just arrived home from work. I was wearing a suit and rain coat and my three cats were standing next to me at the front door.
We get into his pristine Volvo and he turns on the classical radio. Snooze alert. This guy is either boring or a serial killer because there is absolutely no trash in the car. I wanted to go to Uncle Julio’s for a swirl. He said it was too loud and wanted to hear me talk so we went to The Original for Mexican food. I thought this means he’s either got hearing loss, he’s cheap, or both.
During dinner, I found myself thinking about my grocery list as he droned on about scuba diving. I gave him my life story and I am sure he thought I was delightful. The night came to an end. He took me back to my house, asked if we could see each other again, and I said yes (I didn’t mean it). We shook hands, said our goodbyes and he drove off. I realized I forgot to give him the gate code to exit the neighborhood. As I was walking toward the gate, he realized he couldn’t get out, started to back the car up to drive back to my house, didn’t see me and almost ran me over. Great, he can’t see either I thought.
He called me a few days later and I agreed to meet him for lunch. This time he showed up all shiny and clean in a suit because he was meeting me during his lunch hour. Hmmm.
Sister asked how things were going. I said they were okay. He’s nice.
Next meet up — still networking here — coffee at Starbucks. He was 20 minutes late and I was getting more steamed than my coffee. He finally arrives, apologizes profusely saying he got caught on the phone with a client. We laugh and linger over coffee. I forgive him for being late.
Sister asked how things were going. I said, you know he’s really nice.
Next scene — Kimbell Art Museum for dinner. We tour the exhibit, chat about art, enjoyed dinner. On the way to the car, I made a comment and he didn’t hear me (again with the hearing). He leaned down, put his hand on the small of my back and asked me again what I said. Suddenly, I was all warm and fuzzy inside.
Sister asked me how things were going. I said, I really like him. Alot. I think at this point she was probably cashing in her tickets thinking she’d scored big finding him.
From there, I dumped the weirdo and Mr. Bee and I never looked back. Since we both had been married before, and loved the idea of marriage but just didn’t marry the people right for us, we knew we wanted to be together forever. He asked my parents that fall for their blessing, and the next May we married. We toasted Sister Bee and Mandy at our wedding reception, and as far as I know they retired from matchmaking since their first go at it was a success.
Twenty-one years later we’ve loved each other through miscarriages, the death of our baby boy John, the birth of our beloved miracle child Miss Bee, the loss of Mr. Bee’s parents, sold our house so we could have my parents live with us, the death of my parents, and my brother’s suicide. We loved being married so much, we’ve renewed our vows twice — once after Miss Bee was born. We put her stroller between us and held our hands over her while we refreshed the vows we had said a few years previously. Then, we renewed our vows again as a new family with my mother and Miss Bee by our side after Daddy passed away.
It’s been the best 21 years of my life. It’s not always been easy, but it has not been hard. I think that’s when you know you are with the right person. There really aren’t any secrets to our success other than we work at keeping the lines of communication open, we apologize when we are wrong, we speak to each other with respect and most importantly, we’ve always made God present in our family. And he makes me laugh. Alot. This year we will embark on a new journey as “empty nesters” when Miss Bee starts college. That’s bringing a whole new set of emotions.
Here’s to another 20 years. As his dad said at our wedding reception, “May all your landings be smooth and your lights always green.” Amen.