four things this Friday

Hello! Random thoughts spewing forth.

You’ve been warned.


I wanted to share my favorite books from 2017. I read quite a few and LOVED a handful the most. If you’re looking for a good read, check out:

Fiction top five:

“Small Great Things” – super relevant and moving. I won’t say much else except that it made my heart race and some tears flow.

“The Shoemaker’s Wife” – more historical than I would normally picked, but I LOVED it. Taking place in Italy at the beginning didn’t hurt since that’s my favorite country outside of the US of A. Beautiful story.

“My Italian Bulldozer” – a ridiculous account of an author’s visit to Tuscany. But I love all things Alexander McCall Smith and this was no exception. He’s on my list of all-time favorite authors.

“Mean Streak” – Sandra Brown is NOT normally on my list. Chick lit and uber suspense are fun, but not a regular choice. That said, I randomly chose this off an end-cap at the library. Glad I did! Lots of twists and turns. Fun, but dark, quick read.

“Murder on the Orient Express” – I cannot believe as a bibliophile and absolute murder mystery fanatic (when not reading other amazing books) I had yet to crack open a Christie. I’m hooked and now working my way through her Poirot series. Fabulous.

Runner up: “The Light Between Oceans” was a popular choice recently, and I probably late to the game in reading it. Not sure I would wholeheartedly endorse it, just because it is SO sad. If you’re someone who aches for things that “aren’t real” like me, this one hurts. So keep that in mind if you’re uber-sensitive. Still a beautifully composed novel. I can appreciate that, plus how the ache is so real. Again, just keep that in mind.

Nonfiction top five:

“Firstlight” – Sue Monk Kidd is known for her fiction, which I have read and adored, but this collection of nonfiction essays was just what I needed towards the start of the year.

“Here and Now: Living in the Spirit” – Henri Nouwen is one to continue reading for like the rest of my life. Spiritual, philosophical, poetic and just plain lovely.

“Deep Work” – Whoa. I usually lean toward spiritual and self-help but this is in a category of its own. If you need a reality check on focusing, getting real work done (in any industry) and the way our brains are trained and re-trained, read THIS BOOK.

“Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption” – yeah, if you’ve read this blog at all, this book is a driver in exactly why/how/what I feel in regards to spending and saving decisions, seeking gratitude and keeping God at the center of it all. Read it.

“30 Lessons for Living” – definitely an all-time favorite book that I intend to purchase and read annually. I also intend to give it to anyone else who will accept it as a gift. Life advice from elderly experts. Take it in. Chew on it. Love it. It’s amazing.

Runner up TIE: “Looking for Mary (or the Blessed Mother and Me)” – amazing book, and not exclusively for Catholics! But yes, heavy emphasis on the author’s journey and her re-joining the Church. May not be everyone’s cup of tea. And the tie: “The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen” was awesome. But you have to want to read a cookbook lol. I told you I’m obsessed with Italy! Frances Mayes is the author (you’d recognize her from the famous “Under the Tuscan Sun”).



We have our first training for foster/adoption tomorrow and I am equal parts terrified and excited. Wow.



Perfectionism. Will come back to this. But the more I self-analyze the more I realize I am an absolute perfectionist (even if my house doesn’t look like it… though the studies I was reading say that’s normal, because we’re also paralyzed by procrastination. Good times). Anyone else struggle with perfectionism? What do you do to curtail that and move forward? I’d love to know in the comments.



I decided yesterday that my three kids at home, on a semi-normal day, with relatively usual circumstances is like living in at a stereotypical frat house, during a festive party.


Boys fighting and wrestling. Yelling. So loudly. Smells like pee sometimes. Digging through recycling to have one more sip from that beer. Shattering dishes or throwing around cups and silverware. Tripping over each other. Trying to attract the girls’ (sister and me) attention. Showing off for the girls. Falling again. Crying for their mommies. Refusing to rest (but it’s like “go home, you’re drunk.”). Eating all the snacks and food. Trying to escape out the front door without pants – let’s go streaking through the quaaaaddddd! More violence from the boys. Attitudes. Collapsing on the couch for a bad movie. Finally bed.

Amazing, right?



Alright, y’all have a good weekend!

XO – Steph