beautiful, entertainment, family, holiday

The most powerful man in history… {A giveaway +}

With Easter so near, it’s that time of year when the classic Bible movies air back to back on cable, (my grandma loved this, even though she owned them all on VHS anyway) and all of the chocolate animals imaginable start disappearing off store shelves. Personally, I love Easter. I was married Easter weekend and it just feels like such a natural NEW season.

It’s also become the trend that networks begin airing documentaries and introspects regarding various religious topics. I have had the unique experience of being behind the scenes of aspects of these productions, over the past few years, and it has all been a lot more fascinating and educational than I would have thought. This Easter, continuing this pattern, CNN is airing POPE: The Most Powerful Man in History. Here’s the special’s synopsis:

POPE: The Most Powerful Man in History explores the truth about the one world leader who is neither politician nor general – but commands the attention of both. For more than 2000 years, the head of the Roman Catholic Church has wielded unimaginable influence – shaping the world and our daily lives in surprising ways. Now, combining never-before-seen footage, exclusive interviews, and dramatic recreations, this upcoming six-part television series focuses on the men who have held this unique and complicated position, and reveals the unexpected true stories from the Vatican’s past.  The series also delves into the important historical moments that forever changed the Catholic Church – from the foundations of the Reformation to the origins of a new religious order within Catholicism – the Jesuits.  The series premieres on Sunday, March 11 on CNN. Narrated by Liam Neeson, Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History, is a six-part CNN Original Series that explores how 12 apostles became 1.2 billion Catholics today, linking recent news events surrounding the Vatican with their unexpected origins.

My husband is a lover of all things history, and his zest for things has seeped in to me. I am pretty excited about this special! Equally as exciting is a give away I have agreed to share with you! Are you familiar with Lifeway? I have a $25 gift card to Lifeway, for one of you! Which is cool, right? (to enter, simply leave a comment on this post or one of the social media shares. Winner will be chosen numerically, altering between sites in the order of blog, facebook, twitter, instagram, repeat)

BUT WAIT! That’s not all… There is a contest, in support of the show, in which someone (you???) could win a once in a lifetime trip to Rome! Inspired by the upcoming television premiere of Pope: The Most Powerful Man In History, contestants can vie for the opportunity to win by visiting the website: Giveaway begins March 8 and ends on April 15.


The winner of the giveaway will receive the following:

  • Airfare and five nights of hotel accommodations for two in Rome.
  • A $500 gift card.
  • A rare and private tour of The Vatican.


The Vatican is home to some of the greatest works of art including The Pieta, Raphael’s Transfiguration, Leonardo Da Vinci’s St. Jerome In The Wilderness, the statue of Apollo Belvedere, and a painting of The Last Judgement by Michelangelo, located inside The Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is famous throughout the world as the location where The College of Cardinals from The Roman Catholic Church, meet when a new Pope has to be elected.

books, confession, entertainment, family, gifts, gratitude, holiday, home, journey, list, marriage

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

Surprisingly, despite only posting here an average of once per week, and with the many ways that blogging (and blog reading) have changed and morphed into something different, I still manage to have a fairly high number of subscribers and daily visits. When I logged in this morning, however, my landing page notified me that I had no visitors on Wednesday. As in ABSOLUTELY zero.

I think this news was supposed to alarm me, or make me sad, or something… Instead though, I literally grinned from ear to ear. While I am not the world’s biggest Valentine’s Day fan, (I believe we should be generous with our love every day of the year, not just on consumer driven ones) it made really happy to know that you guys were all way too busy loving to check in here! Of course, the second half of the day’s absence was probably more accurately because of the horror that was unfolding in Florida…

While I realize the whole point of these Friday posts was to share a bit of awesome/fun/cool/*insert other positive adjective here* stuff so that the heaviness of life did not drown us completely, and therefore the idea of using a Friday post to talk about those heavy things may seem a big off- I just have to say one something…

As human beings, absolutely every decision will boil down to one of three things. (Even doing nothing IS a decision.) We can choose:

  • Action
  • Inaction (no action/apathy)
  • Reaction

Let’s be honest- saying “thoughts and prayers” regarding a horrific tragedy does not mean anything. It does not count as action. Actually praying, actually using thoughts to help discern how we can better a situation, make an impact, ease a hurt (etc) IS taking action. Emotionally lashing out, threatening, and marching forward without considering/caring about the consequences or how your choice will affect others- THIS is reaction. This is the seed terrorism is grown from. So if you’re going to talk about how your thoughts and prayers are with Florida, make sure those prayers are being fervently prayed and your thoughts are geared towards HOW to make this better. If ONE person can cause so much hurt and have the entire country talking about him, then absolutely ONE person can make things better. Two can make them doubly better, and all of us who want a better world CAN work together, (stop being apathetic and stop reacting in offense to absolutely every grain of everything that isn’t inline with our own feelings) to make things better. Change is necessary- and this isn’t just about guns. People who want to hurt others can do that without guns. We do need reform, but we also need to change how we deal with each other, what we turn a blind eye to, and how we (as a society) are far too wrapped up in ourselves.

That’s all, about that. At least as far as this post goes.

Beyond the tragedy in Florida, my week here was a pretty quiet one. Elenor was spayed last Friday, and other than a major hiccup which had us back in the vet’s office for a small bonus procedure, things are going well. Lots of reading, some writing, a few movies and an assortment other quiet activities have been on the agenda. This will probably be reflected in the list of my week’s things to share with you.

  • Hopefully this is something that isn’t ever needed, (for those of you with dogs anyway) but just in case it is- I’ll share. The Comfy Cone has saved us NUMEROUS times. While it isn’t exactly a new thing, to me, it has been a saving grace this week. As much as Elenor didn’t love it at first, she’s grown used to it to. Compared to those disgusting, destructive plastic shields, this is a MUCH better alternative!
  • I acquired this oil book, over the weekend. While I have several really great books on essential oils, this one surpasses them all! I learned more in an hour of skimming sections than I have in most of the classes and educational meetings I’ve taken.
  • I cannot even tell you how much I loved this movie. Even having seen the trailer several times, so many things about it surprised me. It is as much sweet as it is empathy building. Overall just a lovely, relevant film.
  • I shared this book here awhile ago but I’m sharing it again because my awesome husband gave it to me on Wednesday. It is lovely and well written and absolutely everything I hoped it would be!
  • Anyone who knows me knows that I am absolutely devastated that I can not share a link with you here. The very BRIGHTEST point, in my week, was when The ShibSibs did their  Team USA Free Skate. I have watched it dozens of times, throughout the week. Chw will laugh at me when I play it again, (it stays cued up, on my DVR) but then he sits down, mesmerized by it, each and every time. He points out (again) his favorite parts, and I follow with the three parts which send chills racing up my spine, no matter how many times I have seen it. We both know what the commentators say leading up to the dance, during and after- by heart. If anyone were to ask me what piece of art moves me the most, I would HANDS DOWN say it is that skate. (I know they have skated that routine before, and I also know that it has never been anything close to as moving and raw as this particular time was) Even so, I’ll link you to their youtube channel, because they are adorable and so gifted.

Here’s to a weekend full of action following what our lips promise, which leads to hope and encouragement and comes BECAUSE of love…

beautiful, books, chronic illness, confession, depression, entertainment, family, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, holiday, home, journey, Lately, list, marriage, music, self care, Uncategorized

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

You guys, it’s February! How?

Last week I received an email from one of you lovelies, and I loved it! It’s author was having a bit of a rough season and said:

I really enjoy getting in to the office on friday mornings and finding your post in my inbox. I often find new favorite songs, things I have to purchase as soon as humanly possible, a good chuckle or a reason to tear up. There is something so human about your sharing and transparency. Some days though, like today, I just want to sarcastically list the top five things I really don’t like about this week, in reply. That’s pretty transparently human too, don’t you think?

I DO! We had a nice back & forth exchange, over the weekend. The truth us, sometimes I do slip things that I might be disappointed, or am struggling with, into these Friday-Five posts. Life is not perfect. I do not want to give that Fake-Facebook illusion that my life is picture perfect. There are weeks so overwhelming that I really have to grasp to fill these five slots. While I do have a list of five ready to go, for this week, I could probably come up with a list of forty-five “bad things” almost instantly. Like, do you know what I don’t like? When my husband’s business trips get extended. When it feels like I spend less hours/days with him home than not, and all of the side issues that accompany that, and this particular season of ours. Do you know what I really, REALLY don’t like? When it is dark outside, and I’m walking the dog (close to home) and she stops, alarmed, and then follows something (with her eyes) as though there was actually something there, which there isn’t… Creepy dog. I DO NOT like that. And also, nearly crashing my car into the back of someone. (although I do really like that it was a “nearly” and not an actually.) Adding to the terrible list, cucumbers. Gross.

That is kind of the point, I guess. For most of us, it is super easy to find, list out and dwell on the bad. So I (try to) intentionally focus on a handful of things I love a little (or a lot, sometimes) to share with you guys, whom I also love.

1.) Let’s chat about wish lists for a second. I keep a running wish list for a few reasons, but the two biggest would be that A.) my husband will ask, come birthday and Christmastime, and I ALWAYS come up with nothing, when put on the spot. Also there is B.) the fact that my memory is pretty worthless and sometimes I see really great things that I might just want to buy one day… Even so, while I am known to ask a child what they’d like for Christmas or birthday, I try not to make any occasion super materialistic and consumer focussed. It is a pretty fine line, at those times, but what about the asinine Hallmark holidays? I have always prided myself on being the low maintenance Valentine wife, content with a bouquet of Costco flowers and cheap little date. Or not. That’s how easy I am. (Though between us, my heart always hopes I’ll secretly be surprised by a bouquet of peonies, because they are my absolute favorite. I can say that because Chw doesn’t give two hoots about this blog. I also know myself well enough to know that once I saw the amount spent on such an indulgence, I’d kick both of us and then go back to being just fine with Costco roses…) That being said, there is this book releasing which I absolutely want to beg my husband to buy me, and inscribe it with something heartfelt and lovely.

Who am I kidding? I already showed him this book, about a month ago. It sounds so delicious, doesn’t it?

2.) Speaking of my husband… The guy is a BIG fan of Emergen-C. (So much so that sometimes it almost seems like the Windex thing from My Big Fat Greek Wedding…) I’m not above taking it, if I am actually sick (or feel strongly that I’m getting sick) but I am not a masochist and so I have to mix it with orange juice. (or, best of all is several juices together so that I can pretend it is a mimosa or cocktail.) When we ran out, this month (GASP!!!! The Horror!!!) my husband managed to find the Army supply size at Costco, to purchase. I only half rolled my eyes though, because let’s face it- the guy is hardly ever sick, so he may really be on to something. To my surprise, on the side of the box there was a smoothie recipe.

Mind blown… Why hadn’t I ever thought of that?

This week I made my normal smoothie recipe, (forget theirs, their product already tastes like dehydrated floor cleaner, I don’t care to try their smoothie recipe) and added a packet of Emergen-C. I can honestly say that it was incredibly tasty, and I would do it again! (also, I’m not sick! which, I wasn’t actually feeling sick, but still, I’m not sick and we can pretend that my magic smoothie is why!)

3.) No link here, sorry. While at Costco, over the weekend, stocking up on our seven trillion packets of Emergen-C, I stumbled upon Cauliflower crust pizza, in the freezer section. What really caught my eye was that the toppings were Roasted Vegetable. There used to be these delicious Lean Cuisine personal pizzas that were Roasted Vegetable and i LOVED them. (Think pre-economy tanking, back when Godiva also sold the most perfect ice cream ever, in the freezer section of all supermarkets. Man, those were the days… Can we spend a second in silence, remembering gas that was well under $2 a gallon?) Even though I love cauliflower, I’ve been a little slow to embrace it taking over the world, but the Roasted Vegetable appealed to me and so I brought it home.

This is the best pizza ever.


Is EVERY Cauliflower pizza like magic, in your mouth? Is it just this one? Honestly, I am a little panicky about the whole thing because things I love at Costco have a habit of being temporarily available, and then I never see them again.

4.) I pay a ridiculous amount of money to have a cell phone. Do you remember home phone days? When a phone bill would be around $25, and then long distance calls might bring it to a hundred dollars, on a really bad month… In those days I never would have imagined monthly phone bills of the cell phone variety. As I stated, I pay a ridiculous amount of money to have a cell phone in which I text people and they text me, and I occasionally play Disney emoji. And sometimes I think it is ridiculous that I have this phone, and then an afternoon comes along when one of my oldest, dearest and truest friends and I spend four hours talking. In those four hours, the distance between Michigan and the West Coast shrank a little, and my heart was full. (and now I’m set on actual phone conversations for a good, long while.)

5.) I don’t watch the Grammy’s, they are pretty much not my bag o’ fun. I am sure there isn’t a person around, however, who hasn’t heard about the amazing performance Kesha gave, of her song Praying. Already deeply moved by the song, her performance (as seen absolutely everywhere, all over the internet) moves me to tears. Every. Single. time.

As a survivor of sexual abuse, I identify with every ounce of it. Even with the conflicted feelings I have regarding the #metoo sensation of right now, I feel the message of this anthem (I am totally calling it an anthem!) is EXACTLY the one we need to embrace. Empowerment involves many, many things. It is a layered process of several facets, but being a victim and cloaking one’s self in pity is not among them.

I’m proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again
And you said that I was done
Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come
‘Cause I can make it on my own, oh
And I don’t need you, I found a strength I’ve never known
I’ll bring thunder, I’ll bring rain, oh
When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name


It is on a somber note that this week’s post is ending, and that’s ok. Sometimes somber can be beautiful too.

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Think Casey Kasum, in tens…

2017 was a year, I will give it that! A full year in every sense of all the ways… Growing up in the 80’s I grew up with January 1st being the big Casey Kasum rehashing of the year we were still freshly saying goodbye to. There are some things I still, after all of this time, really miss. That would be one of them… So, in trying to reconnect with a few old traditions, these are a few of my favorite things in 2017:

Lost myself listening to…

  • Paramore (All, but specifically their newest album- After Laughter)
  • Dreamcar
  • Portugal, the Man
  • 21 Pilots- Blurry Face album
  • Matt Maeson
  • Phoenix- (newest album- Ti Amo)
  • Weezer- Pacific Daydream album. BRILLIANT!
  • Silversun Pickups acoustic sessions
  • K-pop (Exo, Monsta X, Crush, Dynamic Duo, T-Max, Kae Sun, BlackPink, etc.)
  • Dear Evan Hansen Broadway recording

I was moved by…

  • All of the devastation this year, through storms, fires and ill-intended human beings, and yet the quiet resiliency which would rise up among the bravest, in love.
  • My husband’s rescue of a stranger, and the way he and the other Hero worked side by side, seamless and instinctually.
  • Dylan Farrow’s article, and the reality it subtly insinuates.
  • The continuing search and hope for Danielle Stislicki
  • my husband reaching a goal and completing a half marathon
  • seeing my son as a father, with his daughter
  • This Lifetime commercial.
  • The Glorious video, by Macklemore
  • The adoption journey and completion of my beautiful friend Tia and her son
  • My friend’s motherhood journey, and her beautiful little, perfect family.

I Saw…

  • Goblin (Korean Drama)
  • The Book of Henry (film)
  • Fun Mom Dinner (film)
  • Wonder Woman (film)
  • Hero (video) by Monsta X
  • The Big Sick (film)
  • Lego Batman (awesome)
  • Twin Peaks: The Return (tv)
  • Only The Brave (film)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

The hardest/darkest parts…

  • Knightley. Loving him, knowing him, losing him…
  • When my kids struggle/hurt.
  • watching my mom go through dementia and deteriorate more and more, each day.
  • potty training puppies, on little to no sleep
  • when my husband was in Australia
  • Saying goodbye to my son and his family, multiple times.
  • When my grandmother’s vintage bowl broke
  • Having friends walk through really dark chapters, in their journeys, while I was helpless and too far away to really help.
  • My own chronic illness issues increasing so rapidly.

Adventures & Moments…

  • Meeting, and getting to know, my grand-daughter Victoria.
  • Celebrating my daughter Gennica’s high school graduation.
  • meeting my (first) great-nephew.
  • My sweet grand baby Ethan’s first birthday!
  • Celebrating my mom’s 70th birthday.
  • Traveling to Washington state and Idaho to absorb love and moments with beautiful people.
  • forty-four Mask Mondays
  • celebrating my sister Jennie, and two beautiful friends, in creative ways throughout the year.
  • Switching over from a paper calendar/planner to a digital one
  • The Dear Stranger letter challenge.


  • Devils on Horseback (bacon wrapped Dates) at the Silver Pig
  • Bourgeois fries at Boise Fry Company
  • homemade pop-tarts, with my mixed berry jam. (best tasting summer berry hodgepodge of luck, ever.)
  • Chipotle getting queso. (!!!!)
  • raspberry chocolate torte from Cantoro
  • sweet mini-pepper tacos
  • Burger Fi herb & Aoli fries
  • Korean Tacos at the Yard House
  • Harney & Sons PARIS tea
  • Chocorite, sugar free (and AMAZING) “candy”.


  • Chalkboard doodling
  • Making an interactive trivia game, as a gift
  • essential oil sugar scrubs, sprays and creams.
  • Total Gallery wall
  • Made a photo/journey book, for my family
  • My Twin Peaks 41st birthday
  • the Twelve Days of Christmas for my husband
  • Traveler’s Notebook
  • Bible Illustration & creative journaling
  • Painting a palette sign with other, beautifully creative women

I learned…

  • how to love so deeply, and lose (Knightley), and then make myself ready to love again. (Elenor)
  • how to accept my limits, with grace and self love.
  • as silly as it sounds, I learned a ton about gum/oral health, and WHY certain practices are necessary.
  • that unknowingly, I matured beyond the Oscars and a passion about/for them.
  • How terrible/hard/ugly/difficult that distance between loved ones really is.
  • Tai Chi practice is life changing.
  • that I definitely need regular chiropractic care.
  • that I am an advocate of the legalization of medical marijuana, and why it’s important.

I discovered, and then I obsessed…

  • the ATTN: videos with Nev & Laura. I love them!
  • Blue Babies Pink podcast
  • S*Town podcast
  • Harvest Moon IOS
  • Flow magazine and periodicals
  • Brothers and Sisters reruns, on Hulu
  • Disney Emoji Blitz (because, apparently I am 12…)
  • Puppy collar bow-ties and flowers.
  • the love story between Paul Betany & Jennifer Connolly

The best money I spent…

  • airline tickets
  • FabFitFun
  • Elenor
  • Blowouts
  • Vinyl Record Albums
  • LuLaRoe Madison Skirts
  • yellow box flip flops
  • New suitcase
  • Storyville coffee
  • essential oils and a few EO products
beautiful, books, confession, entertainment, gifts, gratitude, holiday, home, journey, marriage, music

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

Well, since the last Friday that I took some time to share with, things like Christmas, crazy bizarre temps and unusual snows have happened. I can tell you, without uncertainty, that none of those things have made the cut for this week’s list…

1.) Don’t judge… Last Friday I did not post because Chw and I were on a road trip. It was on said road trip that I stumbled upon this. The very second I saw it, I could not wait to share it with you! I do not own one (though I really WANT TO own one!) It is the most random, ridiculous and absolutely wonderful thing I’ve ever seen. Seriously. If fun were a plastic mystical creature who shot rainbow snot balls, this is EXACTLY what fun would look like!

2.) I realize Christmas is over… And maybe you are way more immersed in netflix shows which feature this song. That’s cool. I heard this song a few days before Christmas and, honestly, it MADE my Christmas. There was no room in my mind for any other Christmas song. This track consumed my every waking moment. I sang it constantly, and drove my husband absolutely nuts. Guaranteed, come April, this girl right here will STILL be singing it! (oh husband, you are so welcome!)

3.) Since you just might have that awesomeness stuck in your head now too, I thought I’d share this song. Acapella music really does blow my mind a little. I have shared here before that I really love a good cover. I really, really love a great acapella cover, and this one is fantastic! (also, since we are talking about cover songs: While I was on our road trip I accidentally fell upon bluegrass cover songs. You guys… LISTEN. Listen to the whole thing! It is pretty freaking great!)

Also- my poor husband. While I feel that I just might be the raddest and most versatile road trip DJ in all the land, my poor rap loving engineer husband may not completely agree…

4.) Holiday movies are out and reviews aren’t great. Some aren’t too surprising, others are a little. We’ve been lucky enough to see The Greatest Showman and Jumanji. We really enjoyed them both, but the Greatest Showman was phenomenal! It is a BEAUTIFUL movie to watch. Visually, it is mesmerizing. I really loved the story and was quite moved by the performances and music. That being said, I have to state a bit of a disclaimer… Part of the reason behind such negative reviews is that this movie is significantly less than loosely related on P.T. Barnum. In fact, it really, REALLY annoys me that this movie is titled what it is, because he was kind of a really terrible person. Don’t let the history of the real man deter you from enjoying this beautiful movie. It is FICTION, and he had nothing to do with it- nor does he benefit from it. (and really, our new year NEEDS the message most of these songs are giving! Can not get enough of this album!)

5.) This devotional journal was a Christmas gift and I have to say, I can not get enough of it! I love it!

What about you? Share your favorite things as we say goodbye to 2017, and turn to 2018 with arms wide open…