Saturday, July 26, 2014

Christmas in July

Yesterday was a day that we look forward to all summer.  July 25th.  Otherwise known as Christmas in July at the O'Shields' home!  We started this tradition a few years ago, but we weren't able to celebrate last year because we were away on vacation.  I love making memories and establishing our own family traditions and this is one we can call our own! 

We always start by putting up a small tree.  Thank goodness the tree and a small bag of ornaments were easily accessible in the storage area right off of the family room.  The girls and I enjoyed putting up the tree and reminiscing about the memories that the ornaments conjured up. 

Lydia was in charge of setting up the nativity and Mackaylan made a special display with her Barbie dolls and Mickey Mouse nutcracker. 

After we had the decorations in place we went to Wal-Mart to do a little shopping.  The girls each picked out one gift for each other and then we picked out something for Mickey.  It was kind of hard to "surprise" me since I was the one paying, but I picked out two books and let Mackaylan choose which one she thought I would enjoy the most. 

After a delicious spaghetti dinner we spent the evening together opening our gifts and watching The Polar Express.

Another Christmas in July for the books.  What a fun family tradition!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Cure for the “Perfect” Life


This summer I have had the pleasure to serve on the Launch Team for Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory’s new book, The Cure for the “Perfect” Life. Being on the Launch Team means that I received an advance copy of the book.  That, my friends, I thought was the #1 perk!  Until I started reading it.  Then I quickly realized that the #1 perk is the way that God is using the work of these ladies to speak into my life.

While I haven’t finished the book, yet, I wanted to share a few things that have already made an impression on me.  My hope is that these few “golden nuggets” will provide you with a little taste of this book’s message and you will want to get your hands on a copy as soon as possible! 

  • “There’s no easy way to leave the life that’s been expected of us and to start living the brave, not so neatly tied up life that God is calling us to.” – I think this sentence stuck out to me because of the work “expected.”  So many times I feel like I make decisions based on what I think others expect of me instead of what God wants from me. Many times that is the safe thing to do, but playing it safe is not always what He calls us to do. Once we made the decision to not make the final move to Raleigh this summer many people expected us to return to life just as it was.  Same job.  Same church.  Etc.  However, just as Kathi and Cheri encourage their readers to do, I am trying hard to not cave in to other’s expectations and to ask myself, “What does God want from me (or in some instances, us)... and have for me (us)?”  We can miss out on so much when we spend our energy trying to live up to other’s expectations rather than His!
  • “Although each bully (perfectionism, people-pleasing, performancism, and procrastination) has his own special weapon, they all share one common goal:  to convince you to pour all your energy into creating and maintaining an image.  This image is based on who they say you should be.”- Do you see a pattern forming here?  Once again, I highlighted a section that deals directly with what others think.  I think God is really trying to get my attention to remind me that my identity is found in Him and Him alone!  While I love social media (FB, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.) it is also draining because I often find myself spending so much time trying to maintain the “perfect” image.  I shared this post a few weeks ago and need to read it everyday because it is oh so true! Social media is great for learning from each other, but deadly if we compare and compete.  Hmm…


  • I have just started the chapter Fear:  The Main Force of Try-Harder Living and it is talking about the fear of never being enough.  Cheri hit me in the gut when she stated, “I was afraid of not being enough.  I couldn’t figure out how to be more.  But I could do more.  And I could get more.”  How many times do I try to let my calendar or my possessions equal my worth as a wife, mother, teacher, woman?  My, oh my!

While I could go on and on about all of the “golden nuggets” I am taking away from this book, I won’t. Remember I said the purpose of this post was to peak your interest so that you will want to read this book for yourself ?!? I sure hope you will! God is using this book to speak into my life and challenge me to be more like Him with every decision that I make. By doing so, I pray that I will have the strength to stop trying harder and start living braver! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Beach or Bust

Three short days after our official move-in day we left all of this:

For this:

Pretty good trade, huh?!?

Just like always it was a wonderful trip! I can't imagine anything better than quality time with family by the seashore! We are very spoiled each year and always think the house/trip can't be topped and each year it is.

Our trip this year consisted of lots of time at the beach and pool, an impromptu boat ride in the "big water," many visits to the ice cream truck, and lots of laughs!

We also enjoyed relaxing in the hot tub, many games of scrabble, and the reward of eating watermelon after building sandcastles (and mermaids) in the hot sun!

Our annual trip to the beach may have only lasted seven days, but the memories made will last a lifetime!! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Five on Friday- Friend Edition

Friends are so important. I am continually reassured that we made the right decision to stay in SC when we are with our friends! I am also loving the fact that the Lord is reconnecting a few friendships in my life and using them to encourage and challenge me daily.

Friends are important at all ages and stages of life. I love the fact that both of my girls are already establishing friendships that I pray will last a lifetime.

This post is a tribute to five friend gatherings we have enjoyed this week. Here we go....

1- 4th of July with our framily (friends + family = framily) is always a blast. We shared a great fireworks show and lots of laughs!

2- Summer is 4 Splashing- Mackaylan loves being with her friends. I was very happy when it worked out for these two to have a sleepover and spend some time with each other this past week. It had been entirely too long! The great thing about it was they never skipped a beat. They just picked up right where they left off. True friends do that!!

3- Taco Tuesdays Live On- For the past several years we always enjoy a meal a week at my inlaws with mutual friends. This tradition started before kids with the watching of Dawson's Creek. Now, five kiddos later, we still try to make it happen! This week we enjoyed a night by the pool complete with tacos, swimming, homemade cupcakes, and great conversation!

4- We actually were able to get together with the Caldwell's twice this week!  These pics are from our fun on the "Caldwell Plantation," but we also enjoyed having them over to our house as well later in the week.  It's always a plus when the parents can sit and chat while the kids just play away!  I love having families that are friends!

5- Last, but certainly not least, is our actual family.  My sister and I are very close and we always try to spend as much time together as possible.  Our kiddos get along great and we always have fun together.  This week we took E-fly and KK to the waterpark.  It was a fun day until about 10 different summer camp/daycare buses showed up.  Needless to say, we ended up leaving early! ;) We also celebrated Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A.  This is an annual, summer tradition for us that we all enjoy (more to come on that soon!)

I hope you all have had a great week and are looking forward to a fun weekend!  I know we are!  We have a few things left to do around the house, but the major projects are finished so I am hoping we will take some time to just relax and unwind from a busy, but fun, week! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Phone Call That Changed It All….

We thought we had it all planned out.  I had resigned from my current job (effective at the end of the school year) and the new Assistant Principal had been named. We were settling in nicely in our new home.  We were planning a time to visit what would be Mackaylan’s new school.  We were visiting different churches each Sunday we were there.  We were mentally preparing ourselves to say goodbye to our family and friends in SC.  We were ready to make the final move.

But then the call came… The call that changed it all. 

Long story short:  Mickey was contacted by his former employer about a few different possibilities they had open with one of them being to return back home to SC to manage a project they had just be awarded. 

While you would think this would have been a no-brainer, it wasn’t.  However, after lots of prayer, tears, and long conversations, we decided that returning to SC was what was best for our family.

God sure has a way to get our attention doesn’t he?  I think it was His way of reminding us that He is the one in control. 

The past 4 months have been full of trying to settle into our “new normal.”  I was blessed to be offered a position as Reading Coach at another elementary school in our district.  While I enjoyed being an AP, I am really excited to get back into the instructional/curriculum side of things.  We have bought what we could very well see being our “forever home” in a lovely neighborhood right in our hometown.  We have been visiting a new church in our area that not only feeds us spiritually, but challenges us to go deep in our relationship with Christ and with others. 

So, while things have been rather quiet here on the blog, real life hasn’t been.  Things have been crazy, but in a good way! 

As I was writing this post this morning, I encountered the following verse.  I think it is perfect for this “season” of life.

But forget all that- it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun.  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.   Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT)