Book Review · Personal

Looking Back (2016), Looking Forward (2017)

I’d like to reflect on some of the positives from 2016.

IMG_20160612_105606One of the biggest positives for me is my #GardenWithJulia project. To have found something that bring such genuine happiness, curiosity, and excitement to me is incredible. Sure, I’ve made some mistakes. But I also learned a lot!

I got to spend a weekend with the incredible authors S. Usher Evans, Christina McMullen, J. Leigh Bralick, and S.K. Valenzuela at Fan Expo Dallas.


I went to NTTBF and the Mansfield Book Festival with my mother-in-law, and we met/listened to some incredible authors. This included meeting the wonderful Kelsey Macke, author of Damsel Distressed.

I spent lots of time with family.

Welcome, 2017

I look forward to seeing what you have in store.

I’m not really one for setting resolutions, but if I had one, I’d say it’s to be better. That doesn’t mean I aim to be Supermom or anything, but I want to generally take better care of myself and be happy about whatever I’m doing.


Personal · Tag/Meme · This Week's Five!

This Week’s Five!!!

This Week's Five!!!

I cook dinner almost every night. This week we tried a few new recipes, but Tuesday night was amazing. I made Grilled Chicken Italiano and Hidden Veggie Mac ‘N’ Cheese and served rolls with it. It was spectacular! I got compliments all around (we shared dinner with my in-laws, too) and was left feeling super-satisfied, both with the food and the feeling of accomplishment I had.

Another source of accomplishment (which for me is happiness) was trimming back the trees and shrubs in our front yard. Even better: it was our week to put all that by the curb for pickup, so I don’t even have to deal with it any longer!

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Mansfield Book Fest last weekend. The array of authors was fantastic, and I got to finally meet Kelsey Macke, give her a hug, and get a book signed by her. She’s the author of Damsel Distressed, my review here. In short, Damsel Distressed is “that” book for me. Life-changing. Beautiful.

There’s a wonderful little cool front that’s moved through and brought rain with it. How very beautiful it is.

My marigolds have so many flowers on them. When I look at them I am happy and it feels like I have my own little rays of sunshine growing in the back yard.

What things have made you happy recently?

Personal · Tag/Meme · This Week's Five!

This Week’s Five!!!

This Week's Five!!!

Hey there! How are ya? It’s time to think back and recall five things that either made me happy or I found interesting in the past week or so.

I’m pretty sure we have a whole flock of birds living in the trees/shrubbery in the front of our house. One day, I thought I heard something at the window, so I opened the blinds. We had a bunch of birds hopping around outside the window! They’re little brown things that would probably sit in my hand comfortably. I know next to nothing about birds so that’s the best I can do for letting you know what they were. They were so funny! There’s a garden bed in severe need of attention on that side of the house, and at this time it’s dirt and the random petunias that popped up earlier this summer. The birds were hopping around looking for food, but they were also rolling around in the dirt! I’ve never seen them do that but it was certainly entertaining!

Birds on our window
Birds in the dirt (they were literally rolling in it)!






I can already feel the good returning to a normal schedule is doing for me.

Recently I was the winner of a very generous giveaway from Giselle. I received the package this week and was so excited to see all the goodies! So many signed things! Like a physical collection of my Twitter feed. It was also fun to see S. Usher Evans’ bookmark for her new series come from the package! I can not wait to read Lexie!

The other night my son wanted to look at the pictures on our walls, so before bed I carried him around and we talked about all the people in all the pictures. It’s nice to stop and appreciate them. So often I walk by the frames without truly looking at the moments we chose to hang on our walls.

Caramel turtle brownies.

What about you? What’s something that made you happy this week?

Tag/Meme · This Week's Five!

This Week’s Five!!!


  1. While I hate that summer (break) has come to a close, I function much better on a routine schedule, so I’m happy to be returning somewhat to “normal.”
  2. I also enjoy helping hubby decorate his classroom!
  3. No Man’s Sky.
  4. RAIN! Summer rain! It has brought cooler temperatures and more time outdoors, which I love. My garden’s enjoying it too. Makes it so much harder to resist the Autumn decorations in the store, though!
  5. I’m totally addicted to match 3 type games. Right now it’s Forest Rescue 2.
Personal · Tag/Meme · This Week's Five! · writing

This Week’s Five!!!


Okay! It’s that time again. Time to recount a few things that made me happy–or I found interesting–in the past two (oops) weeks!!!

  1. I had a lot of fun gathering up my thoughts and finally posting my huge #GardenWithJulia update.
  2. My writing this year has been rather sporadic, and part of that is due to feeling overwhelmed or frustrated or lost. This post, however, speaks to me, and I hope to pick the pen up again soon.
  3. In the same container I found the frog living in, I’ve also found a toad. I’m not sure if the frog has been evicted or if the two are roommates, but it’s fun to observe.
  4. I’ve eaten enough sugar that I should probably take cover if it begins to rain…
  5. Speaking of rain, we got a little bit of summer rain recently. It was really nice.

So what’s something that has made you happy lately?


Gardening with Julia – Update 14 and Fall Plans

Garden Graphic (3)

Hello there and thanks for joining me. Today’s update video is in two parts, one in which I talk about what I’ve learned so far and plans for the fall, and the other in which I give you the plant updates.

Continue reading “Gardening with Julia – Update 14 and Fall Plans”

Personal · Tag/Meme · This Week's Five!

This Week’s Five!!!


Five things from the past week that have made me happy.

  1. I love having projects to work on, and I have a couple right now 😉
  2. In addition to the toads that we usually see in our back yard, this week we also found a frog! How neat! There are also at least 5 different dragonflies that come to visit (there may be more, but 5 distinct ones that I’m aware of).
  3. I’ve been allowing myself 1 episode of Call the Midwife a day, and I’ve really been enjoying it, although I don’t think I’ve made it through a single one without getting a bit teary-eyed.
  4. Love the nighttime summer breeze!
  5. We spent time this week celebrating milestones with family members. Very nice, indeed!

What made you smile this week?

Personal · Tag/Meme · This Week's Five!

This Week’s Five!!!


Hello Friends,

My heart is heavy as I write this, and yours may be heavy too. This week has been a heartbreaking one. I know it is important to take time and grieve, to think and reflect, to talk, to take action. However, it is also my belief that in the dark times, especially, we must find and hold onto the good in our lives. As hard as it sometimes feels, life goes on. It doesn’t have to go on the same way that it did before, but it must go on. So here, in my personal space, I’m continuing on by highlighting things that have brought a smile to my face this week.

  1. My garden. It is my happy place. Friday I got a package in the mail with a new container I wanted to try. For a few hours while I had a mission–to get soil and fill up the container– I was able to be present in my own moment, to push anxieties from my mind and just feel the sun warming my neck and the dirt under my fingernails.
  2. I have really been enjoying posting picture updates on Instagram.
  3. There are at least two toads in our back yard that make a nightly appearance.
  4. There is good news for some friends and family members, and it makes me happy for them to be happy.
  5. I have acquired SO MANY EBOOKS this week. Expect a lengthy Stacking the Shelves for July 😉

What kind of light was in your life this week?

Personal · Tag/Meme · This Week's Five!

This Week’s Five!!!


It’s time for another round of This Week’s Five!!! Here are five things that have made me happy in the past week.

  1. Getting a lot of yard work done.
  2. Cooking and eating really good food.
  3. My garden.
  4. My family.
  5. Since it’s July 4, I should say that I am very happy to live in a place where I have the rights and privileges that I do.

So, what about this week made you smile?