The way we spend our time

What brings you joy? I have a friend who asks this question when speaking to someone about volunteering at the church where she works. I believe this is one of the best things for us to ask ourselves before agreeing to do something. Many of us are over scheduled and would like to see this change, but aren’t so good at setting limits or saying no. What if we asked ourselves question more often?

As I wrap up 2015 and look to 2016, I feel like I’ve asked myself this joy question more often. When faced with something I’m not sure I want to say yes to doing, it really helps me check my heart. Sometimes the answer is an emphatic yes, such as serving on my pastor’s sabbatical support committee or Ukirk RVA‘s advisory board. Sometimes the answer to the question is perhaps at a later date, like when asked to be a stephen minister. Other times the answer is no, and we’ve said yes out of obligation. Usually that yes said out obligation isn’t good for us or those that we’re helping. But that yes said in response to joy is never regrettable.

In 2016 I’m looking forward to checking my heart more often before agreeing to things, whether big or small. Taking the moment to ask this question about joy doesn’t apply in a faith context alone and can be deeply helpful in all aspects of our life. How we spend our time individually, as families, recreationally, and in business as a great impact on the rest of our life. In looking ahead hope you’ll join me in asking yourself more often:


Joyful & Bright

However you are spending this day I hope it’s a great day! May your Christmas be joyful and bright, full of yummy treats, and I hope you know how much your are loved. In the meantime, if you’re looking for an Internet break from family, let me help you out!

I still LOVE this video from the Richmond Christmas parade in which poor Rudolph has an unfortunate encounter. Thankfully we have some great hospitals that were able to fix him up for the following Christmas.

If you haven’t seen this holiday puzzle, check it out. Can you find the hidden panda?

Now that we’re done with all the office holiday parties, we can be honest about the strange gifts we may have received. Have you received anything like these?

The magic of Christmas through the eyes of a child is one of the most beautiful things. But seeing this magic disappear when you have to break the Santa news to your child can be heartbreaking. This letter in response to the news doesn’t make it any easier.

Thank goodness for the long holiday weekend, especially for my fellow sleep lovers out there. Hopefully my child and yours (if you have them) will let you sleep in!

Now get back to your families and friends, pretend you weren’t ignoring them for the Internet, and enjoy this beautiful Christmas!

A Break from the Holiday Hustle

I am not here to freak you out about all the things on your holiday to do list. Rather, I’m here to help you slow down and relax in the middle of your week. 

I would like to thank my husband for being an Instagram husband. We may need to form a support group for him and all the other Instagram husbands out there. 

Looking for some gift ideas, especially for those in your life that don’t like mornings? Then check these mugs out!

Do you like wine? Then you’ll love Wine About It! Reasons growing up is the worst. I think I may need to have some wine about it sessions with my girls.

Also, I’ve been binge listening to The Lively Show for weeks now and it brings so much joy and inspiration to my day. If you haven’t check it out, I highly recommend it. I listened to this episode with Alexandra Franzen yesterday and LOVED it. 

Happy Wednesday folks!

Wednesday Wanderings and Things to Brighten Your Day

There has been much on the internet to break my heart this week, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Whether it was Donald Trump and his lip flapping shenanigans, issues over gun control, anti-Muslim rhetoric, deaths and illness of too many, there is a lot tugging at our heart, mind, and bloood pressure.  Rather than get us down about all these things, I thought I’d provide you with some things to brighten the middle of your week.

If you haven’t seen this yet, you’re welcome. If you have, then  enjoy it again, because you know you want to!  Adele, The Roots, Jimmy, and school instruments!

So, basically Harry Potter (Daniel Ratcliff) loves Richmond VA and so should you 😉 

Who’s your favorite Disney Princess?  May be these battles will help you decide: Cinderelle, Belle, , Snow White, or Elsa

I was late to finding this blog, and now it’s over. Sad to see her go, but I understand.

I think we’re starting to hit the stage of our daughter hiding things. I’ve been seeing things about a few different tools for tracking down your keys and such. Anyone try The Tile App or Click ‘n Dig? Have other recommendations?

I’ve never been the best at long-term journaling…in one journal. It’s not uncommon to have multiple stashed all over the place. Have you seen this post on the benefits of journaling. Do you journal? I’ve heard great things about The Five Minute Journal…I wonder if it would help me?

I hope I’ve helped send you to some interesting things to intentionally fill your Wednesday. Just remember, the world can be tough, but it’s also really be beautiful. See the beauty in those you meet, and remember you’re the beauty they’re seeing.

Giving thanks, and upping the posting… 

Thank you for all the new followers here on HebrewDawn. Some of you are family, friends, friends of friends, and new internet friends. I’m happy to have you on this journey through life, my story, and wandering across the internet. Beginning this week, I’m hoping to up my post game by posting not just Monday and Wednesday, but Friday too!  I’m learning that some routine can be helpful, and I’m starting to figure out what that routine looks like for me. I’m leaning towards it looking something along the lines of:

  •  Monday – motherhood focused 
  • Wednesday – will wander through a myriad of things and some of my favorite finds
  • Friday – some get to know me style posts

This Fridays I will start a series on calling. Some may know my story, but I have a feeling many may not.  Check-in Friday to hear read the first part of the story. If you have questions, suggestions, or ideas along the way, be sure to leave me a comment and I’ll follow up!

Here are Some of my favorite things that I’ve stumbled upon on the world wide web internet (I’m not a complete nerd y’all!) this week. May the bring you some joy in the midst of the busyness!

Adele is the best! I so wish I was able to sing like one of these ladies. 

Have you head of the new trend among some men?  Personally I wonder, um, why? Some trends do not need to exist, especially for beards!

I can hardly believe we are a DAY away from Thanksgiving!  Please don’t panic folks, you’re not the only one not prepared. I have yet to complete my shopping list, and I’ll join all of Richmond at the grocery store tomorrow. Rather than stress, let’s just enjoy this and sip some Chardonnaynay!

Pep talk for my friends with newborns. Hang in there, it does get better and better!  

What are you all thankful for this week? 

My heart hurts

There is so much pain and suffering in the world, and my heart hurts. 

In most of my professional life I have worked with our young members of society (birth to 18 years old). In most recent years, my work has primarily been with those in middle school and high school…born between 1997 – 2004. With the recent tragedy in Paris, bombing in Beirut, and air strikes on ISIS, and refusal to accept Syrian refugees, my heart is breaking for this generation. 

These students were born in or on the cusp of a post-9/11 world. For the  entirety (or close to) of their lives, our country has been at war. We’ve been told that we are waging a war on terror.  But honestly, what does that even mean?  Who is defining what or who that terror is.

I’m no longer concerned with the finger pointing of who is responsible or the cause. I want peace. I want my daughter to live in a different world from my students, and know a world not at war.  I want love and dialogue to  be the negotiation technique, rather than sanctions and air strikes. I want our men and women in the armed forces to be home with their loved ones rather than be deployed in more locations than we could possibly count. 

My heart breaks for Paris, but more than anything it breaks for our world. 

A powerful response by a husband for his wife killed in the  Paris tragedy. 


Productive Wednesday of Wedding Planning!

So I’m super excited to share that three big things have been checked off the wedding to-do list!

  1. Zach purchased our plane tickets for Morroco!  (The best part of it all, is that we get to fly out of Richmond, and we only have a brief layover in New York.!  And to top it all off, we arrive on Monday, rather than Tuesday, giving us an extra day!)
  2. The Florist is officially booked!  (Vogue Flowers – Zoie the event coordinator has been wonderful to work with!)
  3. The caterer is booked!  The food is going to be super delicious!  I would tell you, but I would hate to ruin the surprise for you!

So, Wednesday was a great day in wedding planning in my mind….LOTS of things checked off the list!  Wahoo!

Who is Keisha?

Several months back, the calls for Keisha began.

At first it was this lady…

Me:  “Hello”

Lady:  “Hi, K-something?”

Me:  “I’m sorry you have the wrong number”

Lady:  “Is this K-something?”

Me:  “Not it is not, I”m sorry you have the wrong number”

Lady:  “Is this ***-###-###?” (note the last 7 digits of the number are the exact same as my own)

Me:  “No, this is ###-###-###”


A few weeks later with the lady…

almost the exact same phone call as before

A few more weeks go by and the lady calls again…

Me:  “Hello?”

Lady:  “Hi, hunny”

Me:  “Excuse me, who is this?”

Lady:  “Your mother”

Me:  “I don’t believe so, I think you have the wrong number.”

Lady:  “Is this K-something?”

Me:  “Not it is not, I”m sorry you have the wrong number.   You’ve called me a few times before.”

Lady:  “Is this ***-###-###?” (note the last 7 digits of the number are the exact same as my own…YET AGAIN!)

Me:  “No, this is ###-###-###”

Lady:  “Oh, I think I know what the problem is.  You see my daughter K-something has the same number as you.  But her number is 860-###-###…she live in Connecticut.  I just forget to dial the area code when I call her, you and me must be in the same area.  Sorry hunny”

click…she hangs up

A few weeks go by and I get a text message:

Dude Man:  Keisha

Me:  No, this is not Keisha.

Dude Man:  Chris i met u in da store

Me:  I have no idea what you’re talking about

Dude Man:  Is ur name keisha

Me:  No

Dude Man:  Mayne u jus gave me ya numba at da gas station

Me:  No, I did not.  I have not been to the gas station today.

Dude Man:

Me:  Sorry, I have no idea who you are.  Someone gave you the wrong number.  I believe you just got played.

The texts stop

A few weeks later I get a call from a doctors office reminding K-something about her child’s doctor’s appointment.

A few more weeks go by and I get a text message:

Playa McRandomson:  Wazup

Me:  Who is this?

Playa McRandomson:  Mike u gave me ur numba a min ago bt waz waz busy

Me:  No, I did not.

Playa McRandomson:  Dis kiesha

Me:  No

texts stop.

I wish this chick would stop giving out my number!  Is it always Keisha and just using the wrong area code or two different girls with K names giving out my number?  I just wish it would stop.  Should I change my phone number?



As some of you know, Z and I have settled on a honeymoon destination…MORROCCO!!!


We wanted to pick somewhere that neither one of us had ever been, that wasn’t a cruise or resort, a place where we could experience the local culture, somewhere we could get the biggest bang for our buck (a.k.a. not in the euro zone), and have unique once in a life time experience for just the two us.  I think we’ve succeeded in picking Morrocco?

So…being that things are on a tight budget for the wedding  we definitely want to make each aspect our honeymoon be as affordable as possible.

  1. Money Spent in Country:  Not too big of a stressor for since things are supposed to be affordable in county… from what we’ve been reading, we should able to get by on $100 a day or less for the two of us
  2. Flights:  This is where we need to be as smart as possible with our money!  Getting to Africa isn’t cheap….but it’s definitely terribly much more than say going to some other places.  We also keep reminding ourselves, that yes the flights may be a little more than we would like to spend…but it’s going to be cheap in country.

So here our adventures of finding the best flight prices…..

Idea 1: Fly out of Richmond into Casablanca (Mohammad V is the international flight hub in Morrocco) – this is ideal since we would not have to travel far, wouldn’t have to pay for parking (someone can drop us off…right mom?), just wake up and go.  BUT, this plan costs the most…current flights are going for $1161 *ouch!*

Idea 2: Fly out of Washington D.C. into Casablanca – when we first checked on this idea, flights were around $800-$850….not a terrible prices….but much more than say going to central America.  Do we really want to spend this kind of money on plane tickets?

*INTERLUDE*  Well we then went back to the drawing board.  We toyed around with the idea of going to Central/South America/Carribean:  flights to Costa Rica were only $280 round trip out of D.C.; free if we used my frequent flyer miles for me to some countries (but why not save it and go somewhere in USA for both of us free) ; I wanted to go somewhere non-Spanish speaking; didn’t want our honeymoon rained on (it’s the rainy season and/or hurricane season).

So we decided this was a bad idea…we still wanted to go to Morrocco!

We just needed to figure out the most affordable way…and then came idea 3!

Idea 3:  Fly out of Richmond into Madrid, then take an EasyJet flight from Madrid into Marrakech.  Flying to and from Madrid was about $650 (could get one ticket free if we used my miles)….then flying on EasyJet would only be 36.98 Euros.  This didn’t seem like too bad of an idea….$49.49 per person….but then we realized the luggage issue!  It was going to cost us 22 euros ($29.44) per suitcase!  Not too bad if we weren’t planning on taking much or bringing much back!  We talked with friends who had used EasyJet…and the resounding theme was not to check 2 pieces of luggage each to accommodate or clothes and goodies.  *UGH*

Back to the drawing board we go!

Idea 4/Idea 2 revisted: Washington D.C. to Cassblanca!  After playing with flights, we think this is going to be our best bet!  Last week flights were $852….then the volcano erupted in Iceland…the flight is now $997!

So now, I’m just trying to be patient (yeah right for me!) for the flights to come down….I will go on my honeymoon to Morrocco and it’s not going to cost me an arm and a leg!

Stressed about invitations…to no longer stressed

Like I was saying yesterday…

I lost it, I was completely stressed out about wedding invitations, frustrated with all the companies, and irritated that I couldn’t settle on the right invitation….

I went to Michael’s with my mom.  I found one do it yourself invitation that was okay…

Then we went to Party City.  I looked through one binder with my mom, and made 1/4 of the way through a second binder, and then I thought I was going to scream.  After looking through 1 and 1/4 binders, I didn’t see a single one that I really liked.  The thought of looking through the rest of that second binder and the several other binders that they had was pure torture to me.  So I told my mom, “I QUIT!  I can’t take it anymore!  If I look through one more binder, I think I’m going to vom.  Let’s go please.”  She easily agreed, and said she was willing to come back another time if I wanted.  I LOVE MY MOM!

So for the rest of the week I suffered through looking at countless websites American WeddingWedding Paper DivasRexcraft, to name a few…

THEN….Last weekend Zach and I went to Michael’s to have another look, and we found two that we sort of liked…

Zach came up with the great idea of simply designing our own.  So we got a picture of one more invite that we liked, so we would have some inspiration….

Then on Sunday, Zach and I went over to his parent’s house and his mom and I spent the afternoon looking at invitations…having some idea of what we both liked and knowing that we either wanted something grape/winery/vineyard themed or with some type of design like the pictures above, we looked through the catalogs she had, looked at websites, looked at the options for designing our own

Then we stumbled upon Invitations By Dawn!  Within minutes of looking through the website, I found an invitation that Zach and I both thought was okay….

The sample arrived a few days later in the mail…the sample was not like what I saw online and I realized, this invite was not what I wanted after all.  *UGH*  All this searching, and I thought I found what I wanted…

But all was not lost!

When Zach’s mom and I were browsing the internet, we found Wedding DNA, a website for downloading the graphics or templates that you like.  I knew there was something on there that I liked, showed it to Zach, he liked it too…and the decision was made…we created an account with Wedding DNA, got the graphic we liked, and began designing our own invitation!

Now it’s time to work on the honeymoon!