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Tuesday, March 12, 2024

HEY THERE, LET'S CATCH UP!


Well hello... it's been a minute!  I haven't been active here or on social media since Christmas. Thank you so much to those of you who reached out to check on me.  All is well!  We had a nice- but really different without my Dad- holiday season.  We celebrated with both extended families before Christmas, then had our little family Christmas on the 26th since we were working around our nurses' schedules.  


We went out on New Year's Eve for the first time in years- had fun at a Sunday School class party at a friend's house!  πŸ₯³


I did not plan to be away this long or intentionally just disappear with no word, but after the holidays I found myself in need of a break from continually thinking about what was next here or what I was going to post.  Last year was such a roller coaster of ups and downs and I tried to keep posting pretty regularly throughout it all, but I think it all caught up with me and honestly I just lost interest in posting for a while.  

I initially felt the need to tell you all I got accomplished and everything I did in the time off, but actually it's not a very measurable list, and I think that's ok!!  I didn't do any projects and real life marched on... spending time with family, church activities, taking care of day to day things around the house, and I cleaned out the attic!  We're still working on the garage and cleaning out the rest of the house (preparing for a big garage sale later this Spring, I'll let you know when we're closer if you're local and want to stoop by!).

We went to a wedding in Bentonville in January.  It was my third trip to the area in the past 6 months or so and it's quickly becoming a favorite getaway spot!  Look at the gorgeous wedding cake- I love the simplicity yet intricate detail of all of those yummy ruffles!



I had visited Crystal Bridges with my Mom and sisters for the first time last Fall and got to take Ray this time.  It's definitely a spot to return to over and over again!  The Infinity Mirrored Room was so cool to walk through and this time we got to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright house that's on the property.  


We also got to meet for lunch with one of my college besties and her husband who live in the area, Taco & Tamale Co. is darling and delicious! 



We were able to get Emily home for a minute and find a date when both of our nurses were off to have a family Valentine's Dinner with the Grandparents.  We played this game afterwards and it was a hit with everyone!  Emily and her friends enjoy playing it a school so we got one for the house too, it's a great group game that's super easy for anyone to play. 


Caleb & Kenzi took my Mom and I out for a Valentine's lunch at our favorite steakhouse- so sweet!


Ray's sister was in town one weekend and wanted to see where the grandkids who have moved into their own places were living so she got to tour their cute little rent house. 


Emily's friend introduced her to a new band that they are now big fans of, then Emily told us about them and now we're big fans too!  They saw them perform at Silver Dollar City before Christmas, but recently traveled a few hours from Stillwater to see them at this cool old theater in Augusta, Kansas.  


The band is named Arbour Season, that's their bus above that they converted into their home away from home while they are on the road.  Their adorable little family is fun to follow on Instagram, and I encourage you to check out their music on your favorite music platform- I like them all but this is one of my favorite songs that they sing.  And, if you're in this part of the country and like to visit Silver Dollar City be sure to check to see if they are performing while you're there! 



I did a couple of follow up PT sessions after the new year but now I'm officially released from all of my rotator cuff surgery rehab.  I'm just now (9 months later) getting to the point where I almost don't think about my shoulder with whatever physical activity I'm doing.  I'm still doing at-home exercises for it a few times a week to continue to build back strength and keep it from getting stiff/achy and try to keep working out some occasional pops/twinges.  From what I've heard it's usually a full year before I should expect it to feel completely back to "normal", so still working on it but it's nice to feel like I'm pretty much there.   That whole process has been so time consuming! 



Caleb & Kenzi got a Traeger as a wedding gift from her parents, and we convinced him to smoke a brisket for us for Christmas!


It was OUTSTANDING and although we had never had the urge to get one in the past, Ray promptly bought his own pellet grill afterwards- ha!  He's been experimenting with all sorts of meat- and pizza!-  and we've been loving it! 


I did a little bit of thrifting and found this GIANT lamp.  Saw it one day and walked away, then decided I needed it and went back to get it the next day.  I've wanted to try my hand at a DIY pleated shade and this is the perfect candidate!  This shade is in bad shape though and I won't be able to reuse it, so I'm on the hunt for a replacement to use- I actually really like the size and shape of this one so it will be a matter of finding just the right one. 



OK, that catches you up on life around here the past couple of months.  I'll be back regularly now and tomorrow I'll share a little bit of Spring decorating that I've done around my front door, see you then! 



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  1. I love everything about this. You are my new favorite blogger and designer!

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  2. Welcome back Jen! Bloggers deserve to take some time off and relax too!! Looking forward to your spring decorating!

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  3. Yay! So glad you’re back! I’ve missed you and your unique style and genuine, sincere personality! 🩷❤️πŸ§‘πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ©΅πŸ’™πŸ’œ

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  4. 1) Your Christmas pic is beautiful, and I have to know if you are wearing sequined pants! 2) I love your new hair color!

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    1. Thank you Alethea! And yes ma'am, those are sequin pants! Found them from Old Navy last Fall, they are actually pretty comfortable!

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  5. Hi Jennifer,
    You are so creative I’m sure you’ve thought of this, but just in case- have you considered reusing the frame of the lamp shade, discarding the old fabric and putting the new pleated one you’re making on the old frame? Just an idea, but I hate discarding things to the dump if they can be reused.
    Take care,
    Heidi

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    1. I might keep that as a last resort. I really want a "base" to put my fabric on top of. I don't feel skilled enough or want to put that much effort into starting with a bare wire frame- ha!

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  6. Glad everything is good - missed you!

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  7. So glad you’re back…….I look forward to your posts!

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  8. It's nice to have you posting again! Good to see all the great pictures. Love your family. That brisket looks amazing! Fully understand that you needed a break. You need to take care of yourself first. Happy Spring!
    Cindy W

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  9. I'm so glad to see you back, I've missed your beautiful posts. I've followed you for quite a while and have kept your family in my prayers. I lost my Dad last year and it's been a hard season but I know I will will see him again one day. I'm so grateful for Gods grace, mercy and for the Hope He gives us.

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  10. Glad to hear you are well. I was concerned when I had not seen any posts through February into March. We all should take a lesson from you and take that needed time when our bodies and our lives lead that way. You are a talented blogger and I so enjoy following you. God bess you and your sweet family!

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  11. So glad to get this update and know you are well. Everyone needs some time off. You’ve been missed.

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  12. Welcome back. I've been praying that everything was okay with you, and am glad to hear it is.

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  13. It’s nice to read your posts again! 😊 Life events/ challenges can be difficult and sometimes we need a break. I can see where your heart was heavy with both grief and happiness. It’s okay to take as many breaks as you need! Your heart, passion, and family comes first! Delighted to hear your “happenings “ ! Take care and God Bless🫢

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  14. Always glad to see what you’re up to and appreciate what you share!

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  15. Glad to read that your absence was all for your rest and that you are doing well. We all need downtime❤️

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  16. What a "time off".. ha! clean attic.. you can hit mine next.. 38 years of accumulated life. Know it was a very different holiday... me too.. my husband died last February... but know they both experienced a very joyful Christmas! love all your gatherings and that you are back... love all your posts. one question, what lipstick do you wear? I have been told to go darker.. but hard and you always look stunning. What a blessing you are..

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    1. HI Barbara, I'm so sorry for the loss of you husband. I'm sure it doesn't get easier. I don't have a set lipstick color that I use, but I always use the Maybelline Super Stay 24 Hour Lipstick. It is color on one end and gloss on the other, it doesn't rub off. I always mix a few of my colors together- reds or pinks depending on what I'm wearing. Sorry I don't have a good answer for you!

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  17. Glad you’re back-you were missed!

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  18. So happy you are back and ok! I was worried something had happened. You deserved some time off, but we missed you!!

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  19. Jennifer, I love your kitchen chairs. Can you tell me where you got them?
    Thanks so much!

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    1. Thank you! Short answer- FB Marketplace. They go with my Dining Room table- I just split the set. I believe it's Thomasville and I see similar ones pretty often on FBMP. I recovered the seats with a black and white striped fabric.

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  20. Yay your JoyFULL posts are such a breath of fresh air

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  21. Welcome back! We all need a break now and then, so good for you for taking one. I'm so happy to hear all is well. I was a little worried and you've been in my prayers. :) Happy to see this new post - you are always a bright spot in my inbox and instagram feed!

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  22. I cant tell you how excited I was when you showed up her today. I have missed you but totally understand and commend you for taking the time to regroup and enjoy your precious family. Hugs and prayers

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  23. Well I realized a few days ago that I had not seen you at church or on FB. So glad to know things have settled down a little & will see more inspiration.
    I am hoping to do some new updates around our 7 year old home this summer. Your posts & photos get my creative imagination to start working. 🌷⭐️

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  24. Welcome back!! It is so good to read your post and know that you are back in the blogging world!! Also so good to read about all of the life events in your family!

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