My Favorite Things Giveaway


This month, I am going to be putting together a basket of some of my favorite things! The basket contents will be a surprise. But you could win it! I’m really excited about this! Get excited with me!

So, how do you enter? Easy. Comment here. It is that simple! Entries will close at midnight on October 31st, 2016 EST. I will literally be putting your names in a basket and pulling out a name.

Want your name in there more than once? Like Notes From The Parsonage on Facebook and comment here that you liked it. Subscribe to my blog and comment here you subscribed. Share this giveaway on your social media and comment here that you shared. Each of those things will get you an extra entry!

I’m really looking forward to sharing my favorite things with you! May the odds be ever in your favor.

My Favorite Things- September

I’m a big fan of fall. This time of year, it is just THE BEST! I’m trying to break out the sweaters, but the weather just won’t cooperate. I have a list of things I have LOVED this month.


1.   LUSH New! Shampoo bar

I felt like I was the last person on the LUSH train, but apparently, I am wrong about that since when I posted on my Facebook about LUSH, I had a lot of friends who had never even heard about the brand. What? How can this be? I had to drive really far to get to a LUSH location. I saw a few YouTube videos about the LUSH shampoo bars. My hair has been on the thin side since Pip was born. And my usual Nioxin shampoo post baby just wasn’t cutting it. (I don’t know if they changed something, but it has always been a miracle cure and it did absolutely NOTHING this time.) I really wanted to try the NEW! Shampoo bar. (It isn’t a new product, it just makes you have new hair.) I drove the 50 minutes to my closest LUSH. (50 minutes isn’t really that far in Atlanta travel time, but it seemed far because I passed so many places you could buy high end shampoo before getting to the mall with the closest LUSH.) Now, you can buy from LUSH online. I totally should have done that because then you don’t see ALL THE OTHER stuff you just HAVE to buy. (Bath bombs, bubble bars, lotion bars…)

The New! Shampoo bar smells like cinnamon. It is also pretty inexpensive. Considering that I am usually a $50 shampoo person, $12 shampoo ($11.95, to be exact) just seemed too good to be true. I was thinking, I’m going to need one a week! No way will that last. But it did! Y’all, ONE shampoo bar lasted me 2 months! I wash my hair daily! Sometimes I double wash it! And one single bar lasted 2 months! That is like the cost of Pantene or something per month!

As far as how it works, my hair is the prettiest it has been in a LONG time. I just repurchased my second bar because this is MY shampoo now. Now and forever. It is a little on the drying side, so you do really need to use a conditioner along with it. I loved LUSH veganese shampoo. It smelled so nice and just the tiniest amount made my hair so soft and lovely. I’m also really digging the LUSH BIG conditioner bar. It isn’t too much and is a nice, light conditioner that leaves my hair silky without being weighed down at all.

I have tried a couple of the other shampoo bars. Currently, the Pastor is using Karma Komba and I did steal some of it when I ran out of NEW! It smells really nice. And it left my hair feeling wonderful, even when I skipped conditioner. But it isn’t as plumping for my hair. Imo is currently using Lullaby shampoo bar. It is nice and soft, even without conditioner. (She hates conditioner.) But the NEW! Is my favorite!


2.   LUSH Dirty Toothy Tabs


I know, another LUSH product. I’m not at all getting free stuff from them. Don’t I wish. I didn’t even use a coupon! I saw the toothy tabs and I just had to try them. The concept was unique. And I am always looking for all natural oral products that work. I’ve been pretty disappointed with most natural toothpastes and such. I grabbed a bottle of these and hoped for the best.


I’ll just say it. They taste disgusting. I mean, the base is baking soda and cream of tartar and that is pretty much what they taste like. You grab a tab, chomp is up a little and then brush your teeth with it. It foams like crazy. It has a super strong spearmint flavor and that is pretty much what the aftertaste is. Not spearmint gum, but spearmint essential oil. So why are they my favorite if they taste so bad? Because they leave your mouth unbelievably clean and fresh! Your teeth will literally sparkle. It is a clean even better than a fresh from the dentist clean. They are amazing. I plan to try the other flavors soon!


3.   Nyx Pump It Up Lip Plumper Lip Gloss


I have the color Elizabeth and it is the perfect pinky nude color. It isn’t very rich color, just a nice feeling lip gloss that is the perfect color and consistency. I’m a huge lip gloss snob and this stuff is my favorite. You can pick it up at the drugstore. It is so cheap, but so good. I found myself recommending it to a stranger in Sephora! It is good. It has a slightly minty scent/taste and is ever so slightly plumping. Not like, allergic reaction plumping. Just, my lips don’t look old and wrinkly plumping.


4.   Nyx Lingerie Lip Gloss


I tried so many lip products this month. I was looking for something perfectly matte. This is it. I got the shade, Embellishment, and it is totally a 90s shade! (Which is in right now.) I swear I wore the same shade, only darker, in 9th grade. I love it. I plan to buy more colors in this line. This stuff stays put. Like, even a make-up remover has a very hard time removing it. And it is perfectly matte. I tried several “matte” products this month that didn’t even come close to being matte. My only dislike is the size of the doe foot applicator. It just seems really long, which is a little more difficult for my skinny lips. I picked this up at CVS for under $7. I have spent far more on far inferior products. You need to try this stuff!


5.   CVS Nighttime Cleansing Cloths


These are lavender and chamomile make up removing cloths. They feel so nice on your skin and they smell so nice! I grabbed the off brand because I needed to replace some expensive ones I had been using until I could get around to getting more. But I am not going back to the others! These are so nice. It is like a small relaxing step before bed.


6.   Pumpkin Spice Sandwich Cookies


I’m just going to admit it. I love pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. I hit that stuff so hard that come December, I am sick to death of pumpkin. But at the beginning of the pumpkin spice season, I am in love. I found these cookies at both Wal-Mart and Publix. They are the exact same both places. Soft pumpkin spice cookies with a cream cheese icing middle. SO GOOD! I will warn you, if you buy them, you will eat THE ENTIRE PACK, probably instantly.


7.   Barre Exercises


I was never really into dance. As a kid, I took clogging lessons. That is as much dancing as I did. A new barre gym opening up near me. I considered trying it out, until I saw their prices. No. No. No. Just not at all something I could even think to afford. A week later, I get offered this Gofit Go Barre Ballet Workout Barre set to review. Yes, please! It is kind of inconvenient having the barre hanging around, and I don’t use the DVD at all. I just learned the moves from the book and I do it while I catch up on shows. It is hard in a good way. It isn’t high impact. I am loving it. It is exercise that I actually like. Plus, the home kit is cheaper than one month at the Barre gym. (This is NOT an affiliate link because I received this product to review.)


8.   Scotch Expressions Glitter Washi Tape

If you don’t know what washi tape is, I don’t know where you have been. It is cute masking tape, usually thinner. You can use it anywhere. I love using it in my planner to make the weeks look a little happier. I found this glittery Scotch washi tape and it is just, amazing! It makes everything look snazzy. I’m not usually a glitter person, but this has just been my jam lately. I have gone through 7 rolls this month. (Shh! I know. Obsessive.)


9.   Blossom Menstrual Cup


This is going to be TMI. You may want to skip to #10. You were warned, so no complaining about it now. I bought this cup 6 months ago, expecting the return of my menstrual cycles post baby. (Mine usually return 11-13 months postpartum.) However, my cycles decided to stay away for a little longer so I have just now been able to use this cup! I’m late to the cup bandwagon, as always. I can say, I now know what the hype is about. So much easier. So much more comfortable. So much better. If you haven’t tried a cup yet, try one! I picked this particular one because of price and I was not the least bit disappointed. You can pick the color. Plus it comes with a cute little drawstring pouch for storage. I am now a fan. (This is an affiliate link.)


10.                Bluegrass Covers


It started with a playlist on Spotify. I absolutely LOVE bluegrass covers of popular songs. And I have to admit, I am loving the covers of rap songs, probably way too much. Taylor Swift covers are also awesome. I’m just going to link some for you to experience this awesomeness. (They are just as inappropriate in bluegrass form, so be aware if you have little ears nearby.)

It’s Getting Hot In Herre

Take On Me

Billie Jean

Shake It Off

Gold Digger


Loneliness In Our Journey

I read an article the other day about the loneliness modern stay at home mothers have. They had statistics and fancy numbers, but alas, I cannot find the article. However, that is likely a good thing. As the article in question suggested some very, well, in my opinion, terrible advice. But this is something that has been on my mind lately.

mom and boys

Stay at home moms often have very little adult interaction. Our Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat feeds might give that away. But little people, while adorable and awesome, aren’t always the best kind of company. They are always demanding and give very little back. This along with the fact that our work is never done, often very underappreciated, and usually overlooked- well, it can quickly lead to feeling like less than a person. Then when you take into account our inability to shower, constantly fluctuating bodies, and not a lot of time for trivial things like nail polish and facials, well, it becomes easy to see how we get depressed. The perpetual joke of the wife who “let herself go” isn’t so funny to us because we understand and feel the weight of that. It isn’t what we wanted. But life is like that, isn’t it?

lj with glasses big


In our current culture, many of us find ourselves living far from family. We’re far from the free help of family babysitters who just want the joy of hanging out with our kids. Date nights become costly as we factor in childcare and pizza for the kids into the expense it takes. It very quickly feels not worth it. No support. No help. Just us organizing all of this alone.

hiking kids

As Christians, we aren’t likely to move to a commune or give polyamory a try. (Which is what was suggested in the initial article.) So where does that leave us? Just treading water until the kids go to college? I don’t think so. I think we can do better than simple survival.

beach boys

First, whether you chose to be a stay at home parent or it simply happened, it is for a purpose. Whether it is temporary or permanent, there is a reason. Knowing that you have a purpose and there is reason for your labor can make the work itself seem easier. Dishes washed get dirty quickly. But dishes provide the canvas where you nourish those in your care. There is meaning in what we do. Making our house happy for those in it provides deep benefits to those living with us. It means something, even if the work is never done.


Next, we have to build community. It is okay to reach out through virtual means. Staying connected on social media is absolutely okay. (Especially when you are keeping in contact with people you really know in real life.) Just don’t forget that what you see isn’t always the truth. I can photoshop my life to look any way I want it to look. That isn’t the real day to day in my home. That is just a peak. Just the highlight reel. Just remember that. And if the comparison trap entangles you often, it is okay to say no to social media.

pip tangeled

You also have to build your real community. Real people you can talk to and count on. The easiest way to do that is through your church. Join a small group. Reach out. Know that there are other people like you that need someone. You can be their someone. And they can be yours.

race day

Practice hospitality. I know, having people over for dinner seems like the last thing you need. More work. But inviting people into your home is inviting them into your life. These are the people you know you can call when you need emergency childcare at 2 am. These are going to be the people at your door with dinner when you need them. It is a little extra work, but it is well worth it.

peace love pip

Don’t let trivial junk drive your friends away. I know you think you wouldn’t do that, but we do it all the time. We distance ourselves from those who make different choices. Homeschool moms flock to homeschool moms. Public school moms flock to public school moms. The diapers on our kid’s butts somehow tell other moms if we are worthy of their friendship. Don’t be like that. Don’t let literal crap matter that much. Friends are people who are there for you. Choose wisely, because friends can make our lives worse. But know what matters and what doesn’t. Don’t let the small stuff keep you from getting close to people.


Be the friend you want to have. I wrote a whole post on this that I decided not to post. But I think the point still needs to be made. You want someone who will bring your chicken soup when you are sick? Then take a friend chicken soup when they are sick? Want someone to babysit your kid free of charge so you can have a much needed date night? Babysit someone’s kid(s) free of charge so they can have a much needed date night. You have to create the community you want to be a part of.

zoo friends

Don’t push your spouse away. It can get so easy for us to get resentful of their adult interaction and their time not spent scrubbing bathroom walls. But this isn’t an us versus them scenario. We are all working together to make this family thing work. Don’t push away your partner in this endeavor.


Don’t push away from God. I know you’re busy. I know you have things to do. I know the idea of “quiet time” is laughable. But you can still find ways to seek God. You can turn on music while cleaning and praise His name. You can read devotions with your kids that will feed all of you. You can pray while doing any task. Seek Him. He is our Friend.


You are not alone. You are doing a great job. Whether this is for a season or forever, the time you give to your family is not wasted. Now, I think someone out there is praying for a friend like you.  

Hallelujah, God is Near?

This week has been difficult for so many people. It has been painful, and disappointing. We look around and all we see is darkness. And we find ourselves trying to make sense of the chaos. Trying to make sense of the pain.

Where is God? Why is He letting this happen? Is this somehow His plan? If it is His plan, do I even like Him right now? Why this suffering? Why this evil?

And many of us don’t make it there. We’re just needing someone to blame. Some scape goat that we can speak the hurts onto that will run away with the guilt, fear, and pain and never come back. We need someone or something to blame. Because then it might make sense. And we need things to make sense. This can’t be senseless.

A friend reached out to me in the midst of this chaos, trying to better understand God in this suffering. She wanted resources to help navigate these uncertain and scary waters. I sent her lists of books and podcasts and videos. She mentioned that I should share them publicly, in case anyone else needed them. So, here, I am sharing with you resources to help guide you through the chaos. To find hope even in the suffering. To help you see the glimpses of light in the current darkness.

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

A book written by Lewis about his own grief after losing his wife, Joy. This book is more for personal grief.

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis

A book written to answer the question, “If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain?” This book is for those broad questions we are scared to ask.

When A Daughter Dies by Ben Witherington and Ann Witherington

Written after the death of their daughter, this book will help guide and come along side you in personal grief.

The Dark Side lecture by Peter Kreeft

A Socrates in The City lecture addressing Suffering, Death, and Sin. This is a free resource.

God’s Answer To Suffering by Peter Kreeft

An article written by Peter Kreeft on the subject of suffering. This is a free resource.

9 Myths Christians Believe About Pain, Suffering, and Evil by Carolyn Moore

A Seven Minute Seminary video that is a good place to start putting your brain and heart together. This is a free resource.

There are likely more resources available, but this is just a place to get you started. I pray you find Christ in the suffering. That you see the light more brightly in the dark. And that you find peace in your spirit, knowing that God is near.

*This post contains affiliate links.**

Father’s Day 2016 Gift Guide

Though I really do feel the same way about Father’s Day as I do about Mother’s Day, I’ve got a gift guide for you to help take the pressure off.

This turntable would make an epic gift. It kind of says “you’re old” but more than that, it says, “I think you are a hip guy with super great taste in music.”

Want to go a little more high tech? Get him an Amazon Tap! His own personal, portable version of Alexa. Stream music, news, audible books, and radio through this nifty little speaker device. Works through Wi-Fi or your phone’s Bluetooth for connectivity anywhere you are that your phone or internet works. This gift says, “I think you are a super cool guy.”

Grab him a little personal grooming tool. While super practical, this gift says, “I think you need to trim your nose hair.” And, well, some people need to be told that, I suppose.

This Billy Jealousy Beard Envy Kit is perfect for the hairier Dads out there. It says, “Awesome beard, dude! You’re so manly!” Because beauty products for facial hair is super manly.

Get him a ukulele starter set! This gift says, “I respect your dreams to be a rock star but write the kid some lullabies first.”

A portable hammock is a great gift. It says, “I know you’re a fun loving guy who needs to kick back and relax now and then.” It also says you think he is hip and active, even though you bought him the laziest gift imaginable, which he will really enjoy.

Nothing says adulting like a letter opener. But with this letter opener, you can be a happy adult. This gift says, “You are more than a man in a cubicle. You’re cool and fun.”


At some point every dad needs a dad t-shirt. It is just something that has to go down. Just know, he likely won’t actually wear it, but he’ll appreciate the sentiment. It says, “Yep. You’re a dad. A dad we like, but yeah, this is what it is now.”


You can also go with the old cliché tie for a Father’s Day gift. The joke is so old that it is now fun to go with the classic tie. It says, “I know you have a sense of humor, but also, great fashion sense.”


And last, but certainly not least, the Bigfoot Lawn Gnome Wrecker garden statue is just, well, perfect for anyone. When in doubt, go with Bigfoot and Lawn Gnomes. Definitely a winner.

This post does contain affiliate links! Please use them. If you’re still looking for gift ideas, check out the Facebook page for more gift ideas.

New Bed

This may seem funny to you, but we spent the first 12 years of marriage sleeping on a full size bed. When I got married, the idea of a huge bed was ridiculous to me. Why would I need that much room?

Then I had six kids fairly close in age. That means we always have a toddler and a baby. And I co-sleep. And kids come pile in at night. Suddenly my full size bed was seeming a little too cramped and full.

We thought we wanted to go all the way to king size, but weren’t sure. It might be overkill. A friend of mine had a queen mattress and box springs that she gave to us. We gladly welcomed the bigger mattress, but figured we’d try it out for a bit before we got a bed for it, in case we decided the queen wasn’t big enough.

I’m not sure how it is possible, but I think my husband and the toddler are the only ones who got more room on the queen bed. I was still pushed to the edge by the numerous people always in my bed! We figured we’d make the move to a king size, but wanted to do some shopping around. Then another friend gave us a king size mattress!

The Pastor wanted to make a bed for it. We wanted a low platform bed. And we had specific needs for the color. (We have dark wood bookshelves in our room and light wood drawers, so we wanted the bed to combine both light and dark finishes to help tie our mismatched furniture together a little better.) Now, The Pastor isn’t really into woodworking. He helped my Dad build triple bunks for our boys. He has helped people do random house and wood working projects. But this isn’t a hobby for him or something he does with any regularity. We searched Pinterest and found a couple ideas that he ran with.

bed no mattress

This is the finished product without the mattress. We found this pin with a few ideas. We liked the spaced wood boards, but since we rent, we didn’t want to just nail them to the wall. The pastor came us with this headboard based on the pictures of a few we saw.

Looking through a million pins on Pinterest, we decided we wanted the platform style. We liked being closer to the floor, since kids sleep in our bed, it makes falls and getting up and down for them easier. We used this blog post for the measurements for the wood for the bed. We went to Home Depot and had them cut the wood for us. (They tell you they charge $0.50 a cut, but if you’re a nice patient person, they might wave that for you like they did for us.) With the stain, lumber, and screws, this project cost us about $150. Add the new linens, and the grand total was $230.

bed fx

It took one evening to stain all the wood and make the headboard. Then it took another 3 hours the next day to put the platform bed together and get the mattress on it and such.

I am super happy with how this tuned out. Like, really happy with it.

stuck mattress.JPG

This was the hardest part of the project, unless you count wrangling 6 kids in Home Depot while your husband gets wood cut. We managed, but it was looking almost impossible there for a second.

Now I just need throw pillows and to finish that giant crocheted blanket for it.