Coffee Date #2 – Writing, Books and More

Hey guys – it’s been a while, so I thought we’d have a coffee date to catch up and chill. You have your mug ready? In no particular order… I give you my ramblings.

Writing Is Hard

I’m just going to be honest here – I’ve been afraid to write. Afraid of not saying the right thing and not being amazing enough and not having a “plan.” (They call that an editorial calendar. That’s when I start breaking out in hives.)

Then I start wondering if I’ve said all I have to say. But I know there is more. I’ve tried to “think something up” to write about next and it just freezes me up. But this morning, I read this in The Right to Write (if you want to write but are afraid you should check out this book) and it freed me up:

Writing is about getting something down, not thinking something up. Whenever I strive to “think something up,” writing becomes something I must stretch to achieve. […]

We are asking it to do two jobs at once: to communicate to people and to simultaneously impress them.

So there you go. That’s exactly it. I really can’t impress you. I’m just here to share a little bit about what God is teaching me and what’s going on in life I hope that’s cool with you.

I’m not an expert. I have some ideas and some tips for helping life go smoother and I do love food :) I love Jesus and I want to serve him and his people but I’m surely not further along than many of you. So I’m just viewing this as a walk together. I’m doing most of the talking here, but I would love to hear from you in the comments :)

I’ve Been Reading

Oh yes – I’ve been reading a lot and loving it. If you think you don’t have time, just be like me and stick your book in the bathroom. Even if you don’t have any business to do in there you can hide for a little bit and *usually* not get bothered. 😉 You can probably get at least a chapter a day this way – he he

What have I been reading? Maisie Dobbs!! I just finished the third one, and I’m dying to start the next one but then I got The Lake House from the library… Anyone read that one yet?? I’m being like my mom and flipping ahead to see if I can figure out what’s going to happen next! So I guess I’m on a mystery kick – both of those are mysteries. I’m also finishing up Beth Moore’s book, Audacious. 

Getting Ready for IF: Gathering

For the last few years a small group of ladies and I have hosted IF: Gathering at our church. This year we got a bigger team together and we’re hosting in two churches in our city! IF: Gathering is a conference, a gathering of women in 1600 different sites and homes, in 44 countries, all asking the question – what would it look like IF we lived like Jesus. It’s happening February 5th and 6th by simulcast – so you can watch it wherever you are with the women in your community. IF has been instrumental in my life, and I bet there is a gathering taking place close to you too! If there’s not, you can sign up to host in your home or church (or wherever) too. You can check it out at We’re getting down to the wire and finishing up preparations for our gathering!

My Kids

My kids are fascinated with nature, and especially the development of chickens. We’ve talked about how chicks come from eggs, that it takes 21 days for a chicken egg to hatch, but that the eggs we eat aren’t fertilized etc.

So there I was – sitting in my chair in the living room, when in comes Taylor and heads straight to the hutch where I keep my books.

“Remember that egg we put in there?” she says.

“What?” I ask – thoroughly confused. Sure enough – she opens the hutch and collects an egg from the shelf. I just sat there with my mouth open – the questions flooding in – Is it raw? How long has it been there? What if it had cracked open?? Thankfully she had grabbed a hard boiled egg that happened to be in the fridge… I had to explain, again, that no amount of incubation was going to make that egg hatch. Especially since it had been boiled. Ahem.

Ok – your turn! What’s happening in your neck of the woods??


{Activity} Holiday Planning :: Day 31 Savoring Life

Well, this is it! The last day in this 31-day series! Thanks for sticking with me!!

What’s I’ve learned:
– It’s hard to write and publish a post every single day
– It’s hard for you guys to read a post every single day :)
– The laundry suffers during 31 Days
– It’s still a cool challenge to be a part of

I’m kind of looking forward to getting back into my regular rythm. I really hope you’ve got some things in your toolbox to help you savor life a little more – some fun projects, new songs, encouragement, printables and of course, recipes :)

BUT, before we switch gears from this Savoring Life series, I wanted to share two more things with you.

When I did a survey with you a few months ago one of the things that came up was that some of you would love some help planning for the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) without losing your mind (can I get an Amen?)

Once we hit November I feel like we’re on the fast track to the end of the year, so I wanted to make sure you knew about these two things:

1. Thanksgiving Planning Worksheets & The Archive

The Archive - Printables and Goodies for Ordinary|Awesome Subscribers

My Thanksgiving Planning Worksheets are on my new page called “The Archive.” I’m putting all my printables in one place to better serve you! The password is at the bottom of each of the emails you get (as of today) if you’re a subscriber. If you’re not a subscriber, you can subscribe here and you’ll get the password as soon as you confirm your subscription!

I developed this system over the last three years, and it has served me well! You can check out my post on hosting Thanksgiving and enjoying it here!

2. Christmas 

31 Days to a Less-Stress Holiday Season
(image via Anna Rendell)

My friend Anna did a whole series called 31 Days to a Less Stress Holiday Season! She included recipes, music, gift ideas, great strategies to do a little at a time… and a lot of encouragement to slow down and enjoy the season. I know you’ll love it!

Here’s to a meaningful season of thanks and remembering Jesus’ birth! Let’s take it slow and enjoy these last two months of the year!

{Activity} Ask For Help :: Savoring Life Day 28

In a lot of ways life has felt out of control recently. And there is one aspect of life that almost constantly feels out of control and feeds every other part of out-of-controlness: the state of my house.

Nothing quite stirs me up the way every single thing in sight being out of place does.

I have written posts on habits and methods to stay on top of things, but these days it just hasn’t gone that way. I would love everyone to think I have it all together and I don’t need any help, but alas – NOT TRUE.

I was getting so upset and overwhelmed that I was walking around in disgust thinking something roughly along the lines of: “This is so stupid. I hate this. Why can’t I get it together?…” getting dangerously close to “I can’t do anything right. I’m such a failure.” (Maybe you hear those lies in your head?)

I decided something was going to have to be done Monday morning. Steve is awesome with helping me, but he works… My sister lives with us and I wondered if she would help me. It’s not exactly the most fun thing to ask someone to do with you, and she has work and a life too, but I thought I’d ask just the same.

As it turns out, she didn’t have anything going on, and she agreed to help me do some picking up in the kids’ rooms [read: war zone] and whatever else we had time for.

It was a real encouragement to me 1) to get as much done as we did, 2) to not do it alone and 3) that she even said yes.

And you know what? I bet more people would say yes than we realize.

So, what is overwhelming you right now?

Day 28 Assignment:

Ask for help.

Sending encouragement your way today :)

P.S. I know I missed writing days 26 and 27 in this series. The perfectionist in my really wants to go back and write those, but I’m forcing myself to let it go. This will be an imperfect 31 days, and that’s fine. I hope you hear this message too – when you’re overwhelmed, something’s gotta give, and that’s OK.

{Good Food} Roasted Pumpkin Seeds :: Savoring Life Day 25

The obvious and delicious thing to do after you’ve carved your pumpkins is to roast the pumpkin seeds!

Day 25 Assignment:

Roast Pumpkin Seeds!

Once we got the guts out of the pumpkins, I put all of it in a big bowl of water and broke the gunk up with my hand so all the seeds floated to the top.

{Good Food} Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - Day 25 - Savoring Life - God's Word! - 31 Days of Fun and Inspiration -

Then rinsed them again and got any lingering residue off:

{Good Food} Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - Day 25 - Savoring Life - God's Word! - 31 Days of Fun and Inspiration -

I used a combination of these two recipes:

How To Roast Perfect Pumpkin Seeds – Easy, Crunch, Addictive! (I boiled in salt water according to this recipe and used her roasting instructions)

The Best Roasted Pumpkin Seeds! (I used the spices in this recipe)

Mine are still in the oven, so look out for a picture on Facebook and Instagram :)

Have fun!



{Good Food} Ina Garten’s Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp :: Savoring Life Day 23

As with all the recipes in this series, this is my favorite of its kind – my very favorite apple crisp. If I want to make apple crisp I don’t bother looking in cookbooks anymore – this is the only one for me.

Of course there is the usual apples and cinnamon, but the citrus (zest and juice of both lemon and orange) is what really makes the apples sing. It’s revelation.

I’ve had it instead of cake for my last two birthdays. THAT’S HOW GOOD IT IS. This year my sister helped me make it. It involves:

{Good Food} Ina's Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp - Day 23 - Savoring Life - God's Word! - 31 Days of Fun and Inspiration -


{Good Food} Ina's Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp - Day 23 - Savoring Life - God's Word! - 31 Days of Fun and Inspiration -

and in the end looks like:

{Good Food} Ina's Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp - Day 23 - Savoring Life - God's Word! - 31 Days of Fun and Inspiration -


It’s totally worth all the peeling and zesting.

Also, this crumble topping is the best crumble topping known to man. You’ll want to use it on everything – pies, quick breads (think pumpkin bread, banana bread!) other crisps… It’s multi-purpose.

Day 23 Assignment:

Make Ina Garten’s Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp! (If not today, this weekend?) 



{Activity} My Instagram Favorites :: Savoring Life Day 20

Instagram is fast becoming my favorite. I find the images inspiring, and if you follow the right people your feed can be so uplifting!

Here are a few of my instagram faves for Day 20 :)

 @100dayswithjesus is posting 100 names for Jesus leading up to Christmas.
Easily my very favorite.

{Activity} My Instagram Favorites - Day 20 -  31 Days of Fun and Inspiration -

 I love @carpendaughter‘s decorating style. She’s into DIY and thrifting and I always get great ideas from her feed.

Also – pecan sweet rolls. ‘Nuff said.

{Activity} My Instagram Favorites - Day 20 -  31 Days of Fun and Inspiration -

Coffee Date #1

Sometimes it’s just nice to have a coffee date and chat – you know what I mean? It would be so nice to go to a favorite coffee shop and get the latest with each of you, but since that’s not exactly possible, let’s pretend. It’s kind of one-sided because I’m writing to you, but I’m hoping you’ll chime in in the comments – I’d love to hear from you too.

(On a sidenote – doesn’t that croissant look good?? I can’t figure out what’s with the pile of coffee grounds and sugar though…)

Anyway – here are some random things that I’d share if we were chatting. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and turn on Your Favorite Coffeehouse playlist :)

Thank You

Thank you all for reading our posts the last week of August. I had to take a break and not write anything – there was a lot of emotion and words that had been secret for a long time let out. Thanks for holding them and honoring them. Thanks for your comments here, on Facebook and in person. Our heart in sharing our story is to open a discussion on loss so that others can feel free to talk about their story.

First Grade

Morgan started first grade on yesterday. She looks so tall to me! We went to her open house last Thursday – met her teacher and found her cubby and table. I’m glad she has some good friends from Kindergarten in her class. The letter sent home in her packet said they encourage independence in first grade so parents are discouraged from being in the hallway before and after school. I’m all like “But she’s my baaaabbbyy!” Uggghhhh. She has tried walking in by herself and tears up every time. This is going to be interesting. Any of your kids off to school this Fall?

What I’m Reading

You know we’ve got to talk about books. I finished The Giver  by Lois Lowry a couple weeks ago and it gave me so much to think about I haven’t been ready to start anything else! If you haven’t read it, you really should. Steve even read it (on audiobook) after me as well as the three other books in the series! I’m reading Clout by Jenni Catron little by little (great leadership book) and just got The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson from the library. I’ve got For The Love by Jen Hatmaker in my bathroom and I’m laughing and crying and just loving it. Seriously – read this. It will let you off the hook in so many ways. What are you reading??

New Recipe

And after books – food. Duh. Made these Mazurkas last week (on my Pinterest dessert board here) with cherry filling instead of raspberry as the recipe calls for… They were a cinch to make and I really loved them. I didn’t change a thing about the recipe besides the filling. Shauna Niequist shared a picture of hers on Facebook and everyone was wondering about the recipe (including me.) So I shared this recipe, wondering if it was close to what she made. She said it looked better than what she had used and would use this next time. SO. There you go. It’s almost like Shauna and I are best friends.

Moving right along.

Let It Be Jesus

I can’t stop singing all the songs from Christy Nockels’ new album Let It Be Jesus. It’s beautiful and Jesus-centered. So good.

Fall and Football

I really do love the fall. I’m going to wait until Tuesday when school starts to break out my fall decorations, but I’ve got my favorite Walmart Mulled Cider candle burning (the best candle ever) and we’ve already gone to the local high school’s first football game. We love us some football around here – Go Lions! Go Michigan! Also, looking forward to making lots of soup. :)

Well, that’s about it for now. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you!

What’s new with you? I’d love to hear in the comments!




This Is Your Chance To Tell Me All About Yourself!

I’ve never done this before, and honestly I’m so excited.

The thing about blogging is sometimes it can feel like I’m doing all the talking, and I’d really love for this blog to be a place for relationship and conversation.

So, after mulling over for a while what I wanted to ask you, I’ve put together a way for you to tell me all about yourself! I’d love to know who you are, what you enjoy doing, what struggles you may be having, and how I can serve you.

That’s the bottom line – I want to make Ordinary|Awesome a place that is refreshing and fun and helpful, and you have a chance to shape that.

So – dish it! Give me all you’ve got! It’s easy to fill out, you can be completely anonymous, and it will take about five minutes (depending on how much you feel like divulging, ;))

Thank you so much! I’m excited to hear more about you.

Yep, I'm happy to help! Take me to the questions!

The Bathroom Reading Plan {Spring/Summer Edition}

You know how some people talk about the books that are on their nightstand? Well, my books are on my bathroom counter. Yes, as in, next to the toilet. I keep them on my nightstand too, but a book is really good if it’s made it to the bathroom stack.

I used to read all the time. Once we had kids there was no time for reading during the day, and at night I was exhausted or I wanted to be spending time with my husband.

If you are lamenting the loss of your reading time for any reason, seriously – try the bathroom reading plan (B.R.P.). I’ve gotten whole books read with only time in the bathroom. Ya’ll are probably like “TMI, Lauren…” but you know that people are not going to mess with you when you’re in the bathroom. Ok, scratch that – if they’re ages 3+ you can usually convince them not to bother you for a few minutes while you’re in the loo.

Reading is necessary for me. There is something about the written word that gets me deep down. And not just written word on a computer or on a kindle, but actual books that you hold in your hand. I know I’m old fashioned, and maybe I’ll convert one of these days, but I’m fairly certain that as long as they continue to print books I’ll choose the ones you hold in your hand and mark up the pages.

The following books were part of my B.R.P. this spring/summer. I recommend them with no reservations and give all of them five stars. They are that good.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog          The Sweet By and By - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog

The Mysterious Benedict Society - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog       Atlas Girl - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog

The Nesting Place - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog      Restless - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog

Cold Tangerines - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog         Bittersweet - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog

Bread & Wine - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog

A few of them were especially meaningful to me, but that is another post entirely.

Click on the books to find them on Amazon! Happy reading!

Your turn! Tell me in the comments what books you’ve been reading! I need more for my reading list :)

This post includes affiliate links. By making a purchase from one of these links you help support the blog at no extra charge to you! Thank you!


A Peek Into Our Ordinary

Ever since the pinky fiasco things have been abnormal. We were all wound pretty tight, and the week after was VBS so that wasn’t exactly the week to relax.

For those of you who have been following along on The Artist’s Way, I apologize as, for my sanity’s sake, it had to take a back seat.  I’ve written a few days of Morning Pages, but mostly I’ve tried to sleep as long as possible in the mornings and try to recoup. This summer has been crazy for many many reasons, some of which have to wait to be shared, but I’m pretty much in survival mode. I’ve been worried. I’ve been mad. I’ve been anxious. I’ve been tired. Anyone else?

I’m feeling like I need to hunker down, try to breathe a little bit, leave the dishes, put my feet up, and be with the Lord and my people. That is – if my people don’t drive me up the wall first.

Here’s a peek into our ordinary around here the last couple of weeks…

Tayzy got her hard cast! (If you missed, it, here’s what happened…)

A Peek Into Our Ordinary - Ordinary|Awesome Blog

We captured a bit of sibling affection and concern… Love them…

A Peek Into Our Ordinary - Ordinary|Awesome Blog

The kids reenacted the pinky story at the lunch table… Complete with ketchup <ahem>… It was amusing and yet… kind of not. Ha!

A Peek Into Our Ordinary - Ordinary|Awesome Blog

I made these.

A Peek Into Our Ordinary - Ordinary|Awesome Blog

The recipe will be coming soon… I’m a huge fan of cinnamon rolls, and I don’t mind waiting for them. But then again if one can make cinnamon rolls in 45 minutes – why not?? These do seem like more of a fall/winter thing, but have you seen the temperature in MI lately? Sheesh. It might as well be October. Not that I’m really complaining.

We celebrated this boy. Four years… <sigh> A bike for the big boy.

A Peek Into Our Ordinary - Ordinary|Awesome Blog

There you have it, friends. What were your last two weeks like?