Archives for December 2013

2013 in Review

Oh, 2013, how many different ways could we review you?  Top 10 lists are flying around the web and here will be no exception. 

First, I want to mention how far we’ve come here.  Did you know at this time last year, this site was still named Permission to Peruse?  Yowza! We’ve settled into the new name and theme and it’s by far the best change on the blog for quite some time.  We started over with a new Facebook page too and I’m happy to see many of you made the switch.


Now, let’s take a look at the year.  I thought I’d break it down a few ways. If I was a bit of a better planner, I would have stretched this out to a few posts, but let’s cram it all in today, why don’t we?

  • Most popular posts by month
  • My favorite books of the year
  • My favorite family/personal moments of the year


Popular Posts by Month



January: January’s highlight included a guest post on Money Saving Mom on how I only shop once a week without a meal plan.

February: Many of you fellow writers could relate to the Five Minute Friday “Bare” prompt.

March: I enjoyed documenting my friend Linda’s 50 Random Acts of Kindness for her 50th and we can’t forget 9 Rules My Daughters Taught Me About Modesty.

April: We knocked out half a wall between our dining room and kitchen and made a bar.  It was one of my favorite things we did all year around the house.

May: I had so much fun comparing bloggers to Disney princesses but by far Katrina’s guest post If You Don’t Give Me Cheetos was a reader favorite.

June: Many of you working moms could relate in Working Mom Neurosis as we headed into Summer.

July: God healed a tender spot from my past during our trip to Palm Beach.  I recapped it in Where Was Jesus?

August: One of the most popular posts ever on this blog was my compilation of the Internet’s Best Blogging Couples.  I also shared the Treehouse Bed Scott made Lexi for her new room.

September: Hosting a baby shower for my great nephew was one of my favorite moments of the year and it wonderful sharing how God worked in so many hearts to make it happen.

October: Seeing what God did at Allume was just outstanding.

November: After watching Catching Fire at the movies, it set my soul on fire about materialism in America.  I funneled it all into the post A Girl on Fire.

December: On the heel of November’s post, I wrote on Fair Trade Tuesday about our buying habits.  This one resonated with many of you and is still messing with me.



Favorite Books of 2013


Jesus > Religion / The Language of Flowers/ Eleanor & Park/The Fault in Our Stars/ Beautiful Outlaw / Bread & Wine / Blue Like JazzA Shepherd Looks at the Good Shepherd / On Writing / On Becoming a Writer

Some of these weren’t even published in 2013, but these books either meant the most to me or brought me a lot of joy. 


Favorite Family/Personal Moments

These posts may or may not have been the most popular but they document some of my favorite moments of the year.  If I ever get around to doing a family yearbook, these moments will be in there.

Holiday Snaps

I got to hear Maureen from The Mercy House speak here in town.

I loved following my friend Linda for a day of her 50 RAOK for her birthday.

We did lots of traveling and those are always special: Great Wolf Lodge, visiting Scott’s cousin Carla, visiting friends in Charleston and our summer vacation in Palm Beach to name a few.

We welcomed our Havanese Bella to the family this year.

Emma got braces.

Redoing the bar was one of my favorite changes ever around our house.  Having the water leak I thought would be the worst of the year but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Both the girls love their new rooms and we really did need to overhaul those two rooms.  The treehouse bed was definitely a favorite!

Hosting a baby shower for my great nephew was wonderful as I watched friends and family gather together to be Jesus for that family.

I loved the P90X program Scott and I did together at the beginning of 2013 and then getting back on track with AdvoCare in October.

Watching what God did at Allume was one of my personal favorites of the year.

Hosting a Sole Hope Shoe Cutting party was a great way to gather friends and get some good work done too.


Thank you so much for taking this journey with me.  I love sharing special moments from life, what I’m learning and how God is moving.  I wrote this year about having fun and I’ve since realized writing for you and hearing back IS my fun.  Thanks for being here and here’s to a great 2014.

Happy New Year, friends!


Linked up with Musings of a Housewife

What I’m Into – December 2013

I’m linking up once again with Leigh Kramer to talk about what I’ve been into this month.  It’s a great opportunity to talk about all the little things I got excited about.


Family and Friends


My Christmas break is officially over.  We made a short Christmas bucket list and marked them off through the month, but mostly we hunkered down and spent a lot of time at home.  I enjoyed a full week off with the family and man, was it what I needed.  We had a great Christmas week and I’m so thankful for another year with family and friends.


Julep Nail Polish



After hearing about it many times, I finally broke down and subscribed to the Julep Maven box–a monthly beauty subscription service–when a friend posted a coupon for a free box.

In my free box, I got two Julep polishes and wow! I was super impressed with how well the polish went on, how shiny it was and even how long it lasted. I’m not sure how many Maven boxes I’ll actually get, but you can count me in as a definite fan of the polish.

Get your first box with the code FREEBOX!


TimeHop App


My friend ohAmanda introduced me to the TimeHop app and oh, it is so fun.  Every day it shows you what you posted on your social media accounts that exact day in any previous year.  You can’t see any day except the day you’re on.

For example, on Christmas, it was so fun to relive those Christmas mornings again. I have tweets from 6 Christmases ago!

You also unfortunately get to see some rather embarrassing moments too. Like, 5 years ago I don’t think I posted anything that wasn’t related to Twilight for a few months.  Sheesh.  Sorry, folks.

The best thing is it’s free!


Wedge Tennis Shoes




These wedge tennis shoes are way out of the norm for me but I found them on Clearance at JCPenney’s on vacation and I just couldn’t say no. 

They are so comfortable and unlike many wedges, they make my feet look smaller instead of like small boats.  Does anyone else think they look like the high-tops in Back to the Future?


Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush.


I just got this for Christmas so I haven’t been able to do any long-term testing but I’m definitely loving my Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush.  Everyone raves over the Clarisonic but the price point was just a little high for me. 

I can’t compare them, but I really am enjoying the Mary Kay cleansing brush.  And at $50 retail, you really can’t beat the price (especially when you’re a consultant!). It doesn’t feel too rough, but it leaves my skin feeling super smooth.

Shameless plug: If you need a MK consultant, I do ship anywhere in the US.


Miche Bags



Speaking of consultants, my mom is a Miche bag consultant.  She’s been trying to get me into the bags for years, but I’m a one-bag-at-a-time-and-for-years kind of girl.  Seriously, the bag I had up to this month I’ve carried every single day since I bought it in March 2012 in Georgia.

My aunt gave me the mid-sized bag and a few shells for Christmas and y’all?  I kind of love it. Like, really love it.  Even though no one probably cares, it’s fun to swap out the shell in just seconds to a shell that compliments my outfit.  It sounds so trite but it really does make me happy! 


Books I’ve Read



Contrary to how I thought my month would go, I read fewer books this month than any this year.  I spent a ton of time on the house (and Netflix—see below) and very little time reading.  In fact, I only finished one novel: The Misremembered Man.

This novel was billed as a romance but it was so much more.  Set in the 70’s in rural Ireland, it’s the story of a man who was abused in a Catholic school as a child and then adopted.  The reader comes into the story just as he decides he needs to get married in his early 40’s. 

As someone who is trying to adopt a boy from DSS, this was a little gut-wrenching, particularly at the end, but it was just such a work of art.  I couldn’t speed read through the Irish accent in much of the dialogue and the vocabulary was rich.  The characters were just lovely (well, some of them) and a surprise (and GOOD) ending left me satisfied this was the only book I read all month.

At only $3.99 for the Kindle version and free to borrow for Prime members, you shouldn’t pass this one up.




I spent the Advent season reading through The Greatest Gift.  If you’re on the Facebook page, I hope you enjoyed the snippets each morning.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book.  If you haven’t read it, don’t hesitate to read it at any time of the year.


TV I Watched


What Not to Wear holds a very special place in my heart.  I started watching the show when it first began in 2003.  I was in my early 20’s and still trying to figure out my style.  I learned so much from them and really, feel like I relearn it all every time I watch.  I haven’t watched it in years and years, but they put the last two seasons on Netflix.  The girls and I were goners. 



I’d heard the buzz online about White Collar.  Tiffani Thiessen from Saved by the Bell AND Hilarie Burton from One Tree Hill are on the show so you would think I’d be all over it.  For some reason I never took the time to get into it. 

When my parents got into it recently on Netflix and insisted we did, we took a peek at it one night and we were sold.  We buzzed through the first season in just a few days.  Great law enforcement drama, great characters, good humor and all around great show.

*While we’re on law enforcement dramas, I should also note that Scott was WAY into the series on Netflix called Flashpoint this month.  I watched a few episodes with them and even though it wasn’t something I was into, he was.  If that’s your sort of thing, you should definitely check it out as well.


So with that, we’re staring down the end of 2013. I’ll be back tomorrow with a year in review post.

In the meantime, anyone want to share any Christmas gifts they’ve been loving?

Merry Christmas!



A very Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Duck Dynasty, Writing and Christmas


I was entirely distracted at the end of last week with the Duck Dynasty debacle.  Truth be told, it still is stirring in my heart.  I should confess that I felt like I should have written about it and got scared and didn’t.  

Technically, I did write about it but threw it in a virtual trash can and then waited for someone else to say how I was feeling.  Once I found a few articles that did just that, I realized just how powerful the written word is.  Sometimes you can’t find the words to say what you want, sometimes you can’t put a finger on exactly how you feel but when you read the words that are locked in your heart, it’s like an internal dam breaks in your lungs and you can breathe again.  Processing through the written word is just part of me and I suspect based on the number of articles being shared last week, that it’s the same for many of you. 

So, even though I’m not as passionate as Jen Hatmaker or get to the heart of the matter like Ann Voskamp or find myself articulate as Mike Cosper, I realize now I should have written.  Even if it couldn’t have helped thousands process what happened, it could have helped me process it a bit faster and maybe a few of you too.  I apologize for not showing up.

When Thursday rolled around and I was debating writing about the Duck Dynasty stuff, I was already wrestling with some behind-the-scenes stuff that was happening with my writing here.  When Ann Voskamp says words are powerful, she isn’t kidding.  Vague enough?  Bottom line, I was feeling the weight of words already when this Duck Dynasty stuff hit and the weight of their words piled on top of mine left me wanting to walk away.

I was on the way to the school to get the kids Thursday, I told the Lord, I need some encouragement. If this writing thing is going to continue, I need you to show up and help me.

I had decided before I left to get them that I wouldn’t take my book and just read whatever was on my Kindle in the car.  As I waited, I opened Denise Hughes book On Becoming a Writer. I’d read it already but it was encouraging to me the first time I read it and decided it might give me the kick in the pants I needed.  I came across a section entitled “Know Your Reason for Writing.” Denise asked why we write and then shared her personal mission statement from Isaiah 30:8:

“Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness.”

As I read that I felt that tug on my heart that says, I just showed up for you—that’s the encouragement you needed.  And it was.  I want so much for this space not just to help me process but for it to be like an altar to the Lord to remind us, “God was here.”

God was here. God is here.

And that’s what I want us to remember this week as we celebrate Christmas.  Christianity isn’t a list of rules to adhere to or theology to debate, Christianity is about a relationship to experience.  It’s about a God who came—who comes–to be with us.  Not just for 33 years on the earth but now.  He wants to give us life and life abundantly now.  He wants to encourage us when we doubt, he wants to hurt when we hurt, he wants to laugh when we laugh. 

He delights in us so much and we just keep forgetting to delight in Him too. 

And so I ask us to set aside the debates and the anger and the distraction of the season and let him show up.  There’s a million reasons you might need him to show up and a million ways he might show up but look for Him.  He so wants to and He so will.  Immanuel—God with us. 

What I Wore Wednesday 12.18.2013

I pair my outfit photos with matching inspirational photos.  Read more about that here.

Email and RSS readers need to click over to the site to see the inspirational photos.

Even though I was the photographer of the weekend, I managed to get zero outfit photos. I took this one yesterday when I was working from home during the day and carted the kids around to get supplies for holiday parties and a quick doctor’s appointment in the evening (all is well).


I bought this huge scarf last year and didn’t really know how to wear it.  None of the handy scarf tying guides worked.  On a whim, I wrapped it like a shawl today and it was just the thing I needed to stay a little warmer around the house and the ruffles finally decided to lay just right. Something about it made me want to wear a hand muff—anything to stay warmer!

Francis Yap on Pinterest.


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Linked with The Pleated Poppy