January 31, 2012

11 Things

I was tagged by Kelly to give 11 random things about myself and answer some questions. Sometimes I'm just in the mood for a good prompt, so here we go. :)

11 Random Things About Myself

1. I truly used to think there was a high probability I would marry someone from another country, or maybe a different ethnic background. No idea why - maybe it's because I adore traveling so much? Kurt and I joke about this all the time and we say that since I married the All-American guy, he'll just need to take me more places. Ha!

2. I've come to accept that I'll never truly LOVE the act of cooking, nor will I ever make anything gourmet. I'm totally and completely okay with this. It's just not me, and that's okay.

3. I value alone time more than people probably think. I spend the hours of 9pm - 1:30/2:00am completely alone and it's very refreshing for me.

4. Which brings me to the topic of my bedtime. My friends think this is completely and totally bizarre, but I'm just a night owl. I stay up until 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning, and we (me and the kids) sleep until 9:00am or so. This schedule works for us, and that's all that matters.

5. Kurt and I are constantly evaluating where we should serve in ministry at church. We are involved in a lot of things, but we're always in some sort of conversation about what should be our primary focus.

6. I'll go ahead and sneak this in, because I didn't want to dedicate a whole post to it. I was scheduled to have lunch with the Duggar family on December 2nd in Arkansas (I was going to make a trip to see my grandparents). Long story short, we decided to reschedule because of Liam just returning home, and we were going to aim for February. Then Michelle's miscarriage happened, so I'm just lying low and we don't have anything rescheduled at this point. But Jim Bob gave me Michelle's number, and I've texted with her. :) We were connected through my grandfather, and I'm just privileged to say that I've texted with Michelle Duggar!! I'm not sure if/when a get-together will happen, but that's a pretty good unknown fact about me that I've been saving for a rainy day. :)

7. The latest things I've bought on iTunes: Carpenters Anthology, Audrey Assad's album, Neil Sedaka Greatest Hits, and the Carpenters' Now and Then album.

8. I listened to an audiobook for the first time (as an adult) on my way home from visiting Mississippi recently. I listened to Tina Fey's Bossypants and was incredibly, incredibly surprised at how compelling it was. There were moments when I absolutely died laughing out loud, and then there were moments when I thought, "that's a really deep, amazing statement she just made." There are a few choice words used, but overall it was a wonderful first experience for an audiobook.

9. House Hunters is my background noise of choice.

10. I somewhat often go to our antique stores in town and buy a few vinyl records each time. I adore them. I have a weird fear that my children won't know these artists unless I show them the original albums and they're so cheap to buy. My favorite thing is to bring them home and play them on our record player. The crackling sound is delicious.

11. Have you seen all of those videos circulating called "Stuff _____ Say?" (Except 'stuff' is really a choice word.) Like Stuff Sorority Girls Say, etc.? When I visited Mississippi (post coming soon), Carrie and SD and I came up with "Stuff Bloggers Say." We didn't make a video, but I think the list is pretty dad gum funny. I'm afraid if I post it then no one will think it's funny and I'll feel so embarrassed. But just trust me - it's a great list.

11 Questions to Answer:

1. What is your guilty pleasure TV show?
I have entirely too many. It usually involves the word "reality." However, there are some great scripted shows I love. 

2. Name one song that you like to jam out to that is totally embarrassing.
Anything by SClub 7!  However, I don't consider this embarrassing. I've always been this way - my music tastes are very odd for my age bracket and always have been. 

3. Where do you want to send your kids to school? Public/private/homeschool?
We plan on homeschooling our kids. Along with the spiritual reasons, it really fits the lifestyle we want for our family perfectly. 
4. One food you will never grow tired of?
Little Toyko Japanese Steakhouse in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I honestly think it would be my last meal if I could choose. 

5. What is your favorite Pinterest search?
I don't know about what search, but I have really loved Pinterest lately! Child birthday parties, recipes, dream home ideas, DIY projects. . .I really love it ALL. How is that website so addicting??

6. Did you order Girl Scout cookies? If so what kind?
Yes! However, I haven't been approached this year so I might need to seek out a little Scout. Love Thin Mints the most.

7. What color do you decorate with most?
Hahaha, well I'm not naturally drawn to a lot of color so the word "neutrals" comes to mind. However, I love accenting with a robin's egg blue.

8. Which store is a total guilty pleasure?
I adore Riffraff in Fayetteville, Arkansas!

9. What are your favorite baby names? 
Since we aren't done having kids, I'll keep them a secret for now. :)

10. What is your dream home vision? 
Well you can just look at my Pinterest board dedicated to this topic - ha! We want to eventually build on a little bit of land, and the style will be English. We love a combination of a cottage and country house feel. I also have a lot of movie houses I love, and I'm planning on doing a post highlighting them!

11. Is your current job your dream job? 
YES. I've dreamed my whole life of being a wife and mom, and it's been everything I dreamed of and more. The best moments are the little moments, when it dawns on me that I used to imagine being an adult when I was very young, and here I am, an adult. I used to wonder what my husband and children would look like, and I know now. It's wonderful. :) Aside from this, if I had to choose another profession, it would be some type of theater performance, hands-down. Not hard to figure out! 


Feel free to participate if you feel so led!

January 30, 2012

The Theatah, The Theatah. . .

What's happened to the Theatah? (Can you name that movie quote/song? The answer is at the end of the post.)

We've got two theater-related things going on around here.....



First of all, I am INCREDIBLY proud of my sister Andrea for winning the role of Golde (the mother) in her high school production of Fiddler on the Roof! (Sidenote: I was privileged to see Topol in Fiddler on the Roof, and I have strong sentiments about the Jewish heritage, so this show is extra special for me.) When she decided to try out, she came over for me to coach her audition material. We worked on singing the two audition selections and then she brought home the script selections for the reading part. As much as I think my sister would've made a great Tzeitel (or any of the sisters, for that matter), when she started reading the part of Golde, I had this feeling. That part is the comic relief of the show, and my sister does that sort of thing SO well (she was the Stepmother in Cinderella and it was the same type of part). I told her that I just had this gut feeling that she would make a wonderful Golde. And look what happened!! I'm so proud of her and can't wait to see her in this role!


The other bit of news: Mr. Dumey (our Junior High music director) has asked me to basically co-direct this year's show with him! This is a huge, huge deal because he has never had an "assistant" so to speak. His father has been ill and he wants to make sure he can spend as much time with him as he needs. I'll be on the judging panel for auditions, and I'll run the rehearsals when he's not able to be there. This year's show is Annie, and auditions start tonight! I'm so excited to be a part of this, because Mr. Dumey instilled in me a love of the theater when I was in 7th grade. I know what an impact that first show had on me, and I can't wait to see some of these kids grow to love it like I do. I'm honored that Mr. Dumey would ask me to have such an active part in this production!



The sun'll come out tomorrow!

(The answer to the trivia question at the beginning: The song was "Choreography" from the movie White Christmas!)

January 25, 2012

Thirty-One!




I am an Independent Director with Thirty One Gifts, a faith-based company (named for Proverbs 31 in Scripture) that sells bags, totes, accessories, organizational items, and more! Most items can be monogrammed, and there are tons of styles and patterns to choose from. Email me if you'd like to see a catalog (you can also view it online through my website), host a catalog/online party, or join my team!

January 22, 2012

My Beloved

Pause my playlist in the right-hand column to hear the video.

This morning I sang the song "My Beloved" by Kari Jobe in church. Long story short, there were a lot of factors today that made it difficult to sing (medical emergency in the service - right before I sang, couldn't hear the monitor, etc.). However, without even planning it, this song correlated perfectly with my Dad's message this morning. He is in a series called RSVP: The Ultimate Invitation, about how we are to be living an inviting lifestyle that draws others to the Lord. Today's sermon was about how God is an inviting God Himself, and He desires for us to come and rest in His love. I was scheduled to sing this song before we even knew what series this would be, so God was definitely at work in how He orchestrated the messages in word and song. :)



 

January 21, 2012

Miscellaneous!

-I feel like it's been FOREVER since I posted! We've been busy with lots of things. It's kind of been
"friend" week around here - we kept Little Friend Jacqualyn while her Mommy had a hair appointment, and we kept Little Friend Wyley because his Mommy and Daddy were moving into their new house! I'll share pictures from our friend escapades soon.

-For the first time, except my London semester, I'm not watching the Bachelor. Personally, Ben is the most annoying young man I think I've seen in a long time. But word on the street is that Emily Maynard is the next Bachelorette - now THAT is a season worth watching!

-I have become so fond of following Plimoth on Twitter. It's officially the Twitter of Plimoth Plantation, but they share actual diary excerpts from when the Pilgrims first arrived. For instance, today they shared what the Pilgrims recorded on January 20th. Isn't that awesome?! It's the smallest yet most fascinating discovery I've made in awhile.

-This was me and Evy Katie today.



-Tonight I decided to do Adele/Duffy-inspired hair. I'm personally obsessed with Duffy's new song "Breath Away." I have a penchant for British girl singers with vintage-inspired voices who also style themselves accordingly.



-My sister took pictures of the things I made her for Christmas, inspired by Pinterest (what else?)! By the way, you can find me on Pinterest - my username is AshLancaster85.

Clipboard made with Mod Podge and scrapbook paper. Stationery ordered from Etsy.

Melted Crayon art and Crayon wreath.

-Evy Kate turns 3 on February 9th. I am in complete denial. However, the birthday must happen, so we're having a Princess/Royal-themed birthday party! Evy is so excited about her party. She is just so giddy! I got her invitations from Vistaprint, and I LOVE how they turned out! I use them a lot because of their great prices and you have the option of uploading your own design to have printed (invitations, etc.). However, they had this ready-made template and I just knew it was perfect! I can't wait to celebrate Evy Kate and the incredible JOY that she is to our lives!


-I'm in the process of planning two showers for friends! One is for the Underwoods who are adopting a precious 8-year-old little girl from Ethiopia. The neatest thing is that they already have an 8-year-old daughter, and she is so excited to have a "twin" sister coming! I'm also coordinating a baby shower for our friends the Stephens. "Miss Jessica" is a consistent, loving face in our preschool area at church and every child LOVES HER. We all call her the baby whisperer - ha! She is one of the only people, other than family, that I feel 100% comfortable leaving my kids with. Jessica and Jason are expecting little Mercy Grace and I can't wait to have this shower. I love planning for things like this. :)

There's probably more random things I could think of, but that's a long enough post for now. We're just enjoying January and staying busy!

January 15, 2012

New Year, Fresh Start and a Bible App

 I don't know about you, but I have been LOVING January this year! For some reason, I was just really ready to get organized and get going on the new year. I've been doing some things to get my life in order and I wanted to share!

-I wish I had a picture for you, but I've created a Home Management Binder! I have come to LOVE The Nest Effect, and Tiffany has an Etsy store where you can buy her printables for your binder. I've seen and attempted several organizational binders before, but this one is seeming to stick (so excited)! I bought the printables to make my binder and have been SO pleased so far. It's still in process, but just writing things down in ONE PLACE has made a huge difference. For example, there's a section to list all of your Organizational Projects that you'd like to do. No pressure to organize the "how" and the "when," but they're all simply listed so I can give my brain a rest from trying to remember them all. There are printables for literally anything you could think of or need. I loved the process of putting my binder together, too!

I bought a colorful, sturdy binder at Target like these:
And then I got these pens by Paper Mate:



And I've been organizing ever since! Tiffany gives great explanations of her binder here. I know this will be a great help to me this year!

-I had gotten the Erin Condren Life Planner for a great deal several months ago. The Life Planner has month-at-a-glance calendars, but then also gives a day-by-day calendar too. I found that it was just too much for me. I didn't need every single day outlined. I was able to use another coupon code and I switched to the Month-at-a-Glance Planner. I feel like it simplified things and I've been very happy with it! Sidenote: Tiffany offers Calendar printables to go in your binder, but I wanted a separate, smaller calendar book that I could carry a little more easily.


-Back to The Nest Effect. :) I've been browsing the site and I started to wonder to myself, what makes this different from other home/organization blogs? I think the difference, for me, is that Tiffany gives very specific ways to conquer a project. For instance, she talked about the simple task of organizing your magazines. I DESPERATELY needed to do this, but it was just daunting. After reading about Tiffany doing it, I went and got started and was so pleased with the amount I was able to accomplish. I'm the type of person who needs a step-by-step, detailed list of what to do, and this helped me in a huge way.

-This is not related to organization, but I wanted to share a really neat app I found. Our church is reading the Bible chronologically this year, and several of my friends found a great app to use. It's called You Version, and the image is a brown Bible with the words "Holy Bible" on it. It says it's by "lifechurch.tv".  It has many translations and reading plans to choose from. I love it because it assigns you what to read each day and it's really easy to keep track of. However, my favorite feature is that it reads the Bible to you! I follow along with the words as well, but this has helped me SO MUCH. I'm not even sure why, but hearing it has really made a difference. I wanted to share this with you and I know you'll love it!

January, you're a great month.

January 10, 2012

Driving

Today has been such a sweet day with my kids. Well, it started out less than ideal - Liam had an extreme diaper situation when I went in to get him this morning - but after a bath and breakfast, we were good to go! About once a week, we have a little routine that I love and I wanted to write it down for the memories. Today was just extra nice, though!

After we had breakfast and got dressed, I decided we needed a change of scenery. We've had a really unusual winter so far - the weather has been so mild and fantastic. I didn't know what we were going to do, but we just needed to get out. By the time we all got dressed and ready it was close to lunchtime. We went through the drive-thru of Chik Fil A and I pulled over into a parking lot to get everyone situated. They both hold their boxes of nuggets and they LOVE to listen to their music while we just drive.

My grandfather taught me the value of a good drive. We actually spent a LOT of time driving when my family would visit Fayetteville growing up. We would listen to our favorite music (Easy Listening), talk, and explore neighborhoods. Poppy taught me to appreciate driving a little slower and just looking around. I remember one time, like it was yesterday, when we were driving on a road that had trees on either side, overlapping above the road. Poppy said, "Look how the sun comes through the trees and leaves such pretty shadows on the road when you drive." I'll never forget that, because it represents a deeper principle: appreciate small things. Now every time I see a road like that, I think of him and I smile at how important "drives" are now to me.

So about once a week, that's what I do with Evy and Liam. I put their music on (with the volume balance turned to the back of the car) while they eat their lunch, and I turn some Easy Listening music on my iPhone just to where I can hear it. I always have the same route around town, but then I always try to turn onto several streets I've never been down. I drive by the original Lynwood (our old building) which is where I have a lot of memories from our early days in our town (back when my family lived here the first time). Then I drive by my old elementary school. Today the kids were playing on the playground, the same one I played on, and I was just overwhelmed with memories! I saw a few little girls playing by the tree where I played and I felt like I was just there yesterday. I usually drive the streets where my childhood friends lived, because I have a lot of happy memories. Some streets are just special for no reason, like Sherwood, Nottingham and Allendale. That's because when Poppy would visit us growing up, and he and I were on one of our drives, we drove on those streets and he said "You know these streets are named for places in England and the Robin Hood story. Allendale was probably named for the character Allen-a-dale." :) And I ALWAYS drive by my old house. Talk about memories....I have millions. One of these days I'm going to get up the nerve to ask the owners if I can just step inside to see it again.

Evy and Liam are happy as clams when we drive. I try to point out the little things - "Look at how that tree shades that house. Isn't it pretty?" Just things like that. I want them to appreciate early the value of a good drive. It happened to be beautiful weather (the most perfect we've had), and we stopped by the park on the way home. Evy and Liam had the BEST time, and they started doing the slide by themselves!









This day made me smile. :)


More Christmas

After Christmas, my mom's parents came to visit and to celebrate with us!  














I gave Poppy "The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill" because we adore England, British history, and the dry English sense of humor. It's a great book!






We are so thankful for our families and that we were able to have so many wonderful Christmas celebrations!

January 7, 2012

Telling Our Story

Romin, our beloved photographer that documented Liam's adoption while we were in Korea, is a writer for Groove Korea magazine. It's a publication for ex-pats (non-Koreans) living in Seoul and throughout the country. Romin mentioned me in a tweet and when I went to look, I was so surprised to see this:



Our story is in Groove Korea magazine!!! I remember Romin mentioning that he might want to do a feature about us, but I didn't know any details. Well, here it is. :) The reason I'm most excited about this is because GOD'S story is being told - not ours! I haven't read the article, but even if God isn't specifically mentioned, I truly believe that HE will be made known. We want HIS heart to be known by Americans, the Korean people, and the world. Another reason I'm excited is because I want people to learn about adoption. I want people to put personal faces on adoption. Namely, I want people to put actual children's faces with the orphan crisis. I am so thankful that God is expanding our experience through different avenues.

Thank you for allowing our story to be shared, Romin!

Christmas Day 2011

We had a wonderful Christmas Day! We started off at church, where we experienced a wonderful worship service. My siblings and I sang for the first time together, which was really special. Here it is if you missed when I posted it that day:



After church, we snapped some pictures!

Our family on Christmas Day, 2011!

Evy Kate, Liam, and Uncle with Ellie, our worship pastor's daughter (she's the youngest of five kids!). You'll also notice that Evy and Liam were "angels" in Lifegroup that morning. :)





Liam with Aunt Kay Kay.

That evening, we had Christmas with my family. It was so fun! Chaotic, but fun! ;)
I made Alyssa some decorative things for her classroom when she starts teaching next year. I got the idas from Pinterest and they turned out really cute! I'll get more pictures and share. :)


You can kind of see what Andrea is holding up - the picture of the little boy. We shopped the Samaritan's Purse catalog for each of our family members. In Dad's honor, an evangelist will be trained in a third world country. In Mom's honor, a nursing mother and child will be fed for a week, and in my siblings' honor, three different children will be fed for a week. I surprised Kurt and in his honor, a medical missionary will be trained in a third world country. We're praying that God expands these gifts for His kingdom!













Evy's "rapture" moment.....getting a Belle dress!!!




It was a wonderful, laid-back Christmas Day, and we are so thankful for spending time with our family!
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