This isn’t not a *hint*hint*, it’s more of a motivational list to not spend money on dumb stuff.

1. The tote bag from Toms

2. A lap top Or Chromeboom

3. A new pair of toms

4. Some Birkenstocks

5. The 46807 shirt.

6. A food processor or blender

7. All the Sarah J Maas books (not the coloring books)

8. Knife block set


10. Any of these journals



Christmas Wishlist 2016

In no particular order, here’s a list of things I would love to receive as a gift this holiday season (don’t say I’m hard to shop for):

1. This garment rack Fromm target

2. These sweats, black, size small but with a receipt in the event that  I need a medium.

3. A subscription to FabFitFun

4. Money, because we have stuff to pay for that we already bought. Yeah.

5. Starbucks gift cards because I always want Starbucks.

6. Multi-photo picture frames.

That’s all I can think of right now, unless you find a gently used couch and/or some end tables that would look good in my awkwardly shaped, very tan living room.


Mental Health Awareness

5 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health Today

I started to post the above article on Facebook but got a little carried away. So here we are

It does not surprise me at all to see Relevant posting a story on Mental Health. I was surprised, however, to hear our local Christian radio station doing a segment on the topic. I was surprised even further by what the doctor they interviewed was saying (I only caught the last ten minutes of the segment, so I can not speak to the whole segment).

She suggested that in MOST cases of anxiety and feeling down, a balanced diet, regular exercise, drinking enough water, getting enough rest and maybe an added supplement like fish oil, are enough to pull you out of your slump. BUT in cases of depression and severe anxiety, medicinal intervention PAIRED WITH counseling are necessary and important, along with diet, exercise, water and rest.

It is so encouraging to hear this being talked about honestly on a Christian radio station!!!!

Why am I so blown away by this?

In my experience, “the church” does not have a grasp on the reality of mild and severe mental health issues. The church, and society at large, expect people with anxiety and depression to just stop and be happy.

“Why are you depressed? Think of all the ways God has blessed you. Jesus DIED for you!”

“You must not pray very much.”

“Is there an area of sin in your life you need to repent of that’s causing you to feel this way?”


Some of these things have been said to me and some of them I’ve heard be said about others.

I have seen the church tell pastors and leaders that they are not fit for leadership because they wrestle with anxiety and depression.

Okay, yes, I have seen this up close and personal but I’m not just talking about my experience here.

You don’t have to look very far, even in mainstream media, to see countless stories of pastors and Christian leaders stepping down from their roles in the church due to burnout, anxiety, and depression. Athletes are leaving their teams. Artists are giving up their outlets. People are leaving their faith.

I would argue, that on some level, everyone experiences anxiety and down days. I agree with the story ran by Relevant and the segment I heard on the radio. Start with eating well, exercising, evaluating your water intake and sleep schedule.

Personally, I would say I have slightly above mild but not near severe anxiety and depression. Exercise and water alone reduced my bad days drastically. I will tell you all about it if you want to know the story. It’s essentially why I work at the Y.

But after I had Anna and then again after I had Bennett, things were not good. Maybe it was triggered by pregnancy and delivery, maybe it was that my life was chaos  I don’t know. Either way, a prescription and regular meetings with a counselor were necessary.  It wasn’t just going to go away. My mom and dad and Drew called me out on it in such a loving and supportive way while most people dismissed it.

I felt supported from my family and my mom friends who had been there. In the midst of this, I saw the ugly reality of what the leaders at my church really felt about it. Then I essentially walked away from an entire denomination when I saw how they treated leaders who were open and honest about having the same struggles as I did. Sadly, I don’t think they realized how many people in the congregation were there because for the first time in many of their lives, they thought they had found a safe place because the pastor was open and honest about his struggles. And even at the church we attend now, I’ve seen members of the congregation kind of roll their eyes and chuckle when they talk about the pastor taking a sabbatical.

This is not okay, BUT I AM ENCOURAGED this week that maybe, just maybe, we’re moving in the right direction.

It’s 2016. The pressures of this world in this time can be debilitating for even the happiest, bounciest, most cheerful person.

Divorce, addiction, sexual identity, overwhelming social media comparison, information overload…these things are not going away and they’re causing some major crisis in people’s lives.

Can the church do better to be a safe place?

Can the church be more open and honest about taking care of our bodies and our minds?

Can we pray AND seek help AND encourage others to do the same?

Can we allow our leaders to be humans who need prayer and encouragement and help? Can we support them in that like we would want be supported?

Can we acknowledge that although some people suffer from anxiety and depression every day for their whole lives, for some, it’s lasts only for a period of time and can be triggered by things like burnout, a change in seasons, or a hormonal imbalance? That regardless of the reason, or the time frame, a person is more than the state of their mental health and everyone deserves to be loved and encouraged yet held accountable but never dismissed or ignored?

Mental Heath Awareness month. I like it. We’re a messed up bunch of people. None of us have it all together. Let’s all be better together 🙂

personalities – a funny story.

Back story: We’ve had this love seat in our basement for years that just needs to go. It was there when Drew and I were dating, came with Drew when I married him, spent some time living in our old church basement, and has since occupied its time getting gross in our “man cave.” The time has come for our little love seat to find residence elsewhere. In the trash, to be specific.

I’m past due for some important posts: Bennett’s birthday, Drew’s birthday, and my end of the year wrap up (from all the way back in 2015). I can’t get them finished right now. Honestly, I am exhausted thinking about going back through all of those pictures to find what I’m looking for. I can’t think of the words to write so that Bennett knows how much I love him and how much I enjoyed watching him turn three, I feel like I let Drew down for his 30th, and 2015 was a good year full of great things but I’ve moved on to 2016 and I think 2017 will be our best year yet.

Instead, I have something silly. For some time I’ve wanted to write about each of my kids’ individual personalities and how I try so hard not to box them in so that they can grow and never feel limited, but this is not that deep.

It’s no secret that each of my kids’ personalities is completely different. Without putting them into too big a box, it is fun to note that in their own ways, they each seem to shadow the personality of someone else in our family.

Anna is obviously a blend of me and my dad. Bennett seems to largely favor Drew with bits of me, here and there (how is the happy-go-lucky boy like the serious-uptight-rarely fun me, you ask? The other day he told me that he likes to play by his friends, not with his friends. If you don’t know how this little extrovert/intorvert blend resembles me, we don’t know each other very well.) Caleb is like Drew’s dad, inside and out.

Raising Anna concerns me in that I understand bits and pieces of how her brain works and so I know its nearly impossible to ever respond the right way to her feelings and emotions. She doesn’t know why she feels the way she feels and she doesn’t know how she wants to be handled and so everything is just wrong. In my opinion, she needs an outlet (art, music, sports, whatever) and she needs to feel strong. She needs to learn about feelings so she can learn to process them. I can remember being irrational and knowing that my parent’s didn’t know what to do and wanting to help them help me but I didn’t even know where to begin…and I see that in her.

Bennett – I have little concerns with Bennett right now, other than that his easy going nature requires so little attention that he may one day realize he didn’t get any. The problem with me realizing this is that I over compensate by favoring him almost always and prefer to hug him and give him a chocolate chip rather than discipline him. I need to stop before I create a problem, I know, thanks.

Caleb terrifies me the way in which a hurricane or a tornado terrifies me. He’s still little, but I see Grandpa Andy in him so clearly – in appearance and demeanor. You should see them stand next to each other – chests out, feet crossed, all that blonde hair doing it’s own thing. Before you get the wrong idea, let me clarify, Andy is one of my favorite people. He’s happy 99% of the time, easy to talk to, and would do just about anything for anyone. If Caleb turns out like him, that’s fine by me.

But let me tell you about last night…
(refer to the ‘back story’ if you can’t recall it)

So Andy came over last night to help Drew get the (not so) beloved love seat up the tiny, winding staircase, out the door, and into the ally. After eating a delicious dinner of (maybe) the best pork chops I’ve made in a while, macaroni and cheese, and broccoli with just salt (because Anna oddly hates anything but just salt on her broccoli and always makes sure I’m just adding salt and never cheese), the Andrew Feipel’s of the house headed to the basement.

“This would be easier if we just broke it apart.”

15 minutes later…

“My dad thought it would be easier to get the couch upstairs if broke it into pieces and so he just broke the couch up into pieces.”


A very “Andy” thing to do.

Why move a whole something if you can smash it to bits, put it into a box, and carry the box?

All this to say, last night I realized that my youngest child…
my sweet (ish) little baby boy…
my blue-eyed, baby faced little Caleb…
is totally the type of person who would bust a couch to pieces in someone’s basement instead of carrying it outside.

Pray for me.


2016 Goals – a working list

Run 5 5ks
Read 26 books
Be able to do more than one pull up
Try yoga
600 minutes of exercise a month
1 gallon of water at least 5 days a week
Send a note of encouragement every week

Make our bedroom a bedroom
Organization system
Finish the bathroom (closet)
Paint trim
Caulk windows (specifically sun porch)

Set goals together
Date night once a month
Credit Card debt gone

Make a cheesecake

2015 Book List

So many things to write about, in due time…

I’ve been keeping a list of the books I’ve read on a dinky little piece of paper that I can’t believe hasn’t been lost in the last 10 months. I lose things every single day but this little paper just hangs out in the same place all of the time. Surely my luck is running low. Time to digitize.

  1. The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty
  2. Grey, E.L. James (don’t judge, I feel you judging. It’s poorly written and mostly stupid so you can’t judge me for enjoying it, just for wasting time on it).
  3. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
  4. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  5. Searching for Sunday, Rachel Held Evans
  6. Hick, Andrea Portes
  7. The Selection, Kiera Glass
  8. The Elite, Kiera Glass
  9. The One, Kiera Glass
  10. The Heir, Kiera Glass (It was a series)
  11. I’ll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson
  12. Wonder, Raquel Palacios
  13. Scary Close, Donald Miller
  14. Top Secret 21, Janet Evanovic (and yes, I’ve read books 1-20 as well, quit judging me!)
  15. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
  16. Sleepwalkers Guide to Dancing, Mira Jacob
  17. Mom Enough, collection of shorts
  18. Stitches, Anne Lamott
  19. The Maze Runner, James Dashner
  20. Anatomy of a Misfit, Andrea Portes
  21. Loving the Little Years…, Rachel Jankovic
  22. Funny Girl, Nick Hornby
  23. The Photograph, Beverly Lewis (I’ve read about 100 of her books as well, this one is not her best)
  24. I Am Number Four, Pittacus Lore

That’s it so far. I will continue updating until December 31 and then I’ll start a new post. I am part of an online group committed to reading 24 books in 2015. I think I’ll make it.

Need a recommendation?

My top three favorite books so far (fiction):
1.  I’ll Give You the Sun
2. Sleep Walkers Guide to Dancing
3. All The Light We Cannot See (this one took me a while to get going, but once I did, I wasn’t sorry)

1. Scary Close – Easily my favorite from Miller since Blue Like Jazz, but completely different than that. It’s a book about intimacy and letting other people know who you are, as well as knowing yourself. It was really, really good for me.
2. Searching for Sunday – A great book for me at this particular time in my life. But probably not for everyone. I am about 20 pages in to another Evans book, I’ll let you know how it goes.
3. Loving the Little Years – for moms only. A must read for moms of littles. It’s short and made up of shorts.

Young Adult Fiction (my favorite genre):
1. I’ll Give You the Sun – deserves to be recommended twice.
2. Anatomy of a Misfit
3. Wonder – my kids will read or listen to this around 8 years old.

Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret were major page turners and extremely enjoyable. Don’t the the titles put you off.

I didn’t really like Hick at all. I don’t know why I finished it. I also didn’t really enjoy The Maze Runner, although I’ll probably finish the series because I can’t start things and not finish them. The movie was good but so different from the book

I’m not a big science fiction fan but I Am Number Four was a major page turner and I will definitely finish the series.