5 things I am hearting right now

I am in a season of massive clean-out. If I were pregnant, I’d call it full-on nesting mode, but nobody preggo here. Except for maybe my garage (recently purged of students’ hockey sticks stored for the summer and other detritus). My garage might be pregnant with possibility. Yikers. I’m also cleaning out my office at the university–more on this later.

Marie Kondo (Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up) told us to examine the joy that sparks from our possessions and I imagine like most folks, it’s a whole lotta junk. The following, however, are a few of the things that are sparking joy in my life. Some affiliate links may follow but this is in no way a paid post. Kendraspondence is merely a wannabe lifestyle blog, just waiting for Gwynnie’s goop level status.

1. The famously oh-so-buttery LulaRoe leggings. I was skeptical about the one-size-fits-all leggings since my stubby legs result in a BFF relation$hip with my tailor. Color me surprised when the LLR leggings my friend Kimberlea sent me fit perfectly with a delightful cuffing at the ankle. If you don’t have a LulaRoe consultant yet, consider joining my friend Kimberlea’s FB group. Shoot her an e-mail (lularoekimmy at gmail dot com) and she may add you. She does Pop-Up shops on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Thanks for the butter legs, Kimberlea!
Thanks for the butter legs, Kimberlea!

2. The First Five App. Lysa TerKeurst just wanted her kids to dig into the Bible first thing each morning. Her daughter, a new college student, told her mom what a difference her Bible study mentors made in encouraging her to spend the first five minutes of the day in the Word. TerKeurst was inspired to create this app that serves as both an alarm and a five minute-ish devotional on your phone. The devotionals are very focused and the app itself is aesthetically lovely as it is functional. Available on Apple/Android.

3. Pley.com – This service has saved summer. Parents, you know how Lego sets are uber spendy and the proprietary pieces are all very clever but half the fun is just putting it together for the first time? Pley.com lets your kids “test-drive” just about any awesome toy under the sun. Then you send it back and get another. The website reads, “It teaches children to share and conserve the planet by reducing the amount of toys that ends up in landfills.” Obviously we had the most noble of interests at the fore of our reasons for queueing up this subscription-based “service” for the wee ones this summer and it has been a huge hit. Hat tip to Loverpants who was all over this biz.

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4. This recipe. It was just so stupid delicious. Even though it’s 104 degrees with 500% humidity right now. It’s worth turning on your oven.

Feta Sweet Potato Quiche

5. The Shalom in the City podcast with Osheta Moore. I met Osheta at a conference this past fall. Her heart for shalom–creating wholeness where there is something lacking/hurting–is sincere. The guests she interviews are chosen carefully and the questions she asks are erudite. I’ve learned about so many things anyone can do to bring shalom to his/her community. One takeaway has been that if you are a parent who cannot always serve as a room parent, you can offer to help with auxiliary tasks for your child’s classroom or for an under-resourced school. Examples include cutting out letters for a teacher’s bulletin board during your weekend free time, or offering to do any outside-the-normal-business-hours chore that a teacher needs for his/her class.

Shalom-Steps-6

And you? What are you loving lately?

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New glasses by #Bonlook

I’m not a handbag gal, a shoe maven, or really a collector of much of anything save for my small fetish with Melmac dishware. What I do collect are glasses, especially cat-eye glasses. I wear them nearly every day and although this strikes some people as excessive, I think anything we put on our faces every day should enjoy a little variety. I’m always keeping my eyes peeled (ha! punny!) for a cool pair of cat eye specs.

Fast forward to this last fall. I follow A Beautiful Mess on the ‘gram and I noticed Elsie and Emma had collaborated with a brand yet unknown to me, Bonlook on a truly fair pair. They called their glasses the Jack and Norma. C’mon. So cute. I had not yet seen this sort of space age green before, but it reminded me a little of my Melmac dishware if it were coopted by aliens and made into glasses. Gnarly stuff.

Elsie rocking the Jack and Norma signature ABM/Bonlook collab specs
Elsie rocking the Jack and Norma signature ABM/Bonlook collab specs

I kept my focus (puns for days) on Bonlook, waiting to see if any of their cat eye specs that struck my fancy would go on sale. Patience rewarded me and a new year’s sale netted these beauts for $79, plus an additional $30 as my prescription requires a heftier lens. A praise of customer service: when I could not get the discount code to activate, the online customer service applied the discount by sending me the equivalent of 20% off, which immediately hit my bank account. Big ups, Bonlook.

Bonlook has considered all the nice little touches as an online purveyor of specs. I found the site easy to use, particularly the virtual try on feature. I always have a print-out of my prescription and a ruler for measuring the distance between my pupils, which you will need if you wear prescription eyewear.

When the frames arrived, they came in a cute print lined box, and I’m dazzled with my new bubblegum pink case.

Bonlook
Bonlook

The frames have served me well for a week now and they are sturdy, the glare factor is nil, and the comfort level is high.
Bonlook

Bonlook has not sponsored this post but if you, too, would like to enjoy a discount on your first pair, you should feel really free to click on this link as my friend referral. Woop!
BONLOOK DISCOUNT FOR KENDRASPONDENCE READERS

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2015: The year of the release

We were just talking in bed, Loverpants and I, as we do more often, now that we have children who can breathe on their own. And that was the point, I was explaining to him. This year has been a watershed one for me because I no longer feel like I need to breathe for my children. My lungs started working overtime at the birth of my children, and it has been unceasing, this breathing for them, until recently when I felt released.

2015-11-05 18.58.35Parenting in America will do that to a person predisposed to control issues. If you read the books and practice the fine art of narrating your life aloud, you will appear in command of your and your child’s life, which is just as vilified as it is rewarded in America. Hashtag helicopter parenting. You oftentimes feel so responsible for the entertainment and well-being of your child that you will feel tethered to him/her at all times, much like you are breathing for him/her. 2015-11-05 20.25.29

You become a ventriloquist controlled by an unseen ventriloquist called SuperParent. But then one day you realize even ventriloquists take turns speaking for themselves and their puppets.

2015-11-05 21.00.00This year has been gracious to me in showing me my condition. My helicopter propellers were about to fall off.  My lungs were on the verge of collapsing. My ventriloquism wasn’t even very good. I went to a conference in October and did a lot of talking to myself and listening to God and walking up and down the streets of Greenville, SC until I was good and ready to come home a new woman mom teacher human BEING, not a human DOING as my bosslady says. 2015-11-05 20.16.21

Above: Christmas at the Clay Pot

I resolved: I had to stop stressing over Baby Girl’s spelling tests. This was second grade, after all, and I had already passed the class myself. I had to let Little Man sit in the hula-hoop of shame at gymnastics and not send him laser glares from the balcony. I had to bench myself, both as a coach and a player, over and over because this wasn’t my game. I was only a fan in the stands.

2015-11-05 21.36.21As I let go of my clipboard and picked up my pom-poms, strange things started happening. Baby Girl started getting 14/12 on her spelling tests. Little Man emancipated himself from the hula-hoop of shame. My team started winning and I had nothing and everything to do with it. I could feel my lungs relaxing a little–what was this new elevation? It was manageable and less stressful. I went to the gym more and gave myself permission to sit at my kitchen table and play with markers and glitter and be a hobbyist.  The only unhealthy obsession I nurtured this past year was with watching every episode of “Friday Night Lights.” And pondering why Michelle Obama and I are not yet best friends. 2015-11-05 20.26.19

I trusted that my kids could handle some consequences of their own making. I released myself from this tightly-wound rope and–what do you know? It might have made me more available for sessytime with Loverpants. I’m saying it’s a possibility. WINK.

“This has been a very creative year for you,” Loverpants said as I was starting a new chapter of a novel that was not written by Roald Dahl. There could not have been a higher compliment coming from my dashing counterpart. He recognized someone who was no longer immersed in creating problems and creating opportunities to provide air support. He saw someone creating things that brought delight and in so doing she was creating space for change. Change this past year has looked like a lot of glitter glue and paint on the kitchen table, and four members of the FamiLee breathing a little easier. God bless us, every one.

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