envy & substance

Scrolling through facebook the other day, I glanced at Jake and said “so and so is going up to the mountains”.  He rolled his eyes and said “I hate them sometimes.”   I nodded and kept scrolling.   Was I jealous – absolutely.  We had wanted to go up to the mountains, and just hadn’t been able to make it work this summer.  We wanted a romantic weekend away one weekend. Another weekend we wanted to go apple picking with the kids – like I got to do last fall.  But the money wasn’t there, and we just stayed home.

I think sometimes we get too focused on the “wants” and less focused on what’s right in front of us.  We had a bye weekend from football 2 weeks ago. We had looked and planned for a weekend away, Charleston, Asheville – anywhere but here.  Hotels were outrageous, and well – a hurricane happened to stroll on through the weekend prior.  We stayed home, we did housework, and watched way too many episodes of Quantico and we just enjoyed each other.   We had family dinners with the kids, and played.  We did things with substance – things that really, really matter.  We spent time together as a family.  I’m not saying that being frivolous and running off for a weekend away isn’t substance – but…..

The bible tells us in James 3:15: Wherever there is jealousy and rivalry, there is disorder and every kind of evil.   We were jealous of what another was getting to do, and it was creating disorder in our hearts.  I don’t wish evil on them and I sure as heck don’t wish evil on ourselves.  It does also make me wonder, are those folks truly happy?  They put out this great image all the time all over social media, going here and there – and sometimes it seems like bragging.   I am all for bragging on Jake when he does something great, because I think he does deserve the credit.  However, maybe I need to do less of the public bragging – and more telling him how much I appreciate him.

Sometimes that green-eyed monster pops up and we wallow a bit in the “why can’t we…” mess.  We vent a little, and go about our lives.  Because in reality at the end of the day – what others do and don’t do in their own lives doesn’t matter.  What matters is how we are living each and every day.





Swagbucks & Target

If you shop at Target a lot, you can get $6 in gift cards (paid out in SB points) when you get approved for the Target REDCard. When you use that card, you also get 5% off, free shipping & 30 extra days for returns when you shop with your REDCard.

The 600 SB points will credit immediately!  This is a limited time offer – to get the $6 bonus, you need to complete the offer before Saturday, October 22nd!  Click here to get started.

If you’re already a Swagbucks member, be sure to use the same info that you have in your Swagbucks account when you apply. If you’re not a member yet, sign up for Swagbucks using the link above and when you complete the offer, you’ll earn a $3 (300 SB) bonus that will be applied to your account in the beginning of November.

That means you’ll have at least $9 worth of SB points!Haven’t heard of Swagbucks? It’s a site where you earn points (called SB) for doing things you already do online, like shopping, watching videos, and discovering deals like this one. Then you turn those points into PayPal cash or gift cards from places like Target, Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, and more!

I have written a few posts about Swagbucks, check them out here:




Seed to Seal

I have had a few people ask me lately why I chose to use Young Living Essential oils versus other brands or “just buy something off Amazon”.  Well, when you are going to be putting something into your system, whether its topically or breathing it in, I want to know where it comes from.  Are their pesticides used when they cultivate the plants?  How much control does the oil company have over the process, to ensure that only quality items go into the oils?    When I found Young LIving, I had many friends who were on the business side of it.  I had been using their products for about 6 months before I fully jumped and went “all in”.  I have been on the “biz side” now for a little over a year and I love it.  It gives me the ability to help people in so many ways, and I love to see the things my team has been doing.  I love how Young Living operates, with total transparency.  You want to see how an oil is made?  They will show you start to finish.  Their quality is top notch, without fillers or other low-quality oils added in.  You can believe and know that you are getting 100% PURE, non adulterated products from them!

Here is an info-graphic on how Young Living ensures that their products are the highest quality, and how they oversee their process from “Seed to Seal”



If you have questions about essential oils, or would like to just chat about how they have helped my family – I am more than happy to talk with you!  Just shoot me an email at:  vannfamily4@gmail.com

Moved to tears

Have you ever been moved to tears by a song?   I will happily raise my hand and say “yes I have” to anyone who ever asks this question.  Our praise band at church is phenomenal, and they are one of the biggest reasons we love our church!   One of the singers (I think her name is Bailey or Blakelee) is just – there are times I don’t even have words – she just has this voice that speaks to your soul when she sings.

Last weekend she sang “Spirit Move” and it wasn’t the first time she had sung it, I think it was the 2nd.  First time, you could tell she was nervous and a little shakey, but this time – this time she blew me away.  The lyrics, combined with the storm we had just experience with Hurricane Matthew, and then it being the one year anniversary of the flood that devastated our city – they spoke to me and I couldn’t help but let the tears fall.

I wish I had a video of our worship team singing, but this one by the original artist will have to do.  Enjoy.

Whatcha Watching?

So I thought I would do a little recap of the shows that Jake and I started watching this fall.  I know some of them haven’t started yet, and one we are still catching up on from last season, BUT – there is 1 that we agree we will never miss!



I started watching this during the “hurricane break” we had last week.  I went through 17 episodes in 3 days and I think I have 5 left in season 1.  Then we can start watching this season.  It is so good!  You have to pay attention, but not in a “if you miss 2 seconds you will be lost”  (like Scandal is).  It keeps you thinking, and just when you think you have it figured out – boom (literally boom, there are alot of bombs in this).

The characters are interesting and there is some eye candy (both for the ladies and the gents!).





p12900254_b_v8_aaThis is Us

If you guys are not watching this, stop right now and go find it.  This is so, so good.  Jake and I recorded it, and didnt end up watching it for 2 weeks after the pilot aired.  It is sweet, and there have been a few times I have teared up.

Many people are comparing it to Parenthood.  I never watched Parenthood, but I have heard wonderful things about it. Mandy Moore does an amazing job, and I have loved Sterling K. Brown since he was in Army Wives.  He is a wonderfully talented actor.

This airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. – its amazing, watch it now – just do it!

Other Shows

Kevin Can Wait – Jake started watching this and wasn’t too impressed.  He said he would give it one more episode, and then if it didn’t improve he was done.

American Housewife – I love Katy Mixon from when she was the ditzy sister in Mike & Molly.  She is even better in this, and its funny.  I kept nodding my head thinking “yep, that’s real life” and “oh damn, did she just say that?”.    I haven’t heard much positive about this though, but we thought it was hysterical.

Designated Survivor – I think we have this recording, but since the cable box decided to take a crap on us – not sure if any were saved.  We plan on watching the first few episodes this weekend when we have some extra free time.

Good Witch – I have loved this series on Hallmark Channel since it was just a movie series.  I watched the first season on my lunch breaks over the last few months, and I have been catching up on season 2 in the evenings after the kids go to bed.  Unfortunately, season 2 isn’t on Netflix yet, so I have resorted to watching the episodes on youtube.  Not the best quality, but it works.

Happiness Is…


The other morning I sent Jake a text that said:

Happiness is remembering you have a free entree item on the chickfila app.

I think one little “happy” moment like that every morning has the power to change your day for the better.   Seriously, try it sometime.

Other “happy” notes like this for me in the last few weeks have included:

Happiness is hearing your children giggle as they “fight” over cereal in the morning.

Happiness is hearing a favorite song come on the radio after you haven’t heard it in awhile.

Happiness is Tyler scaring the hell out of me even when it makes me mad in the moment.

What’s your happy this week?


Swagbucking to Christmas

If you’re looking for a way to earn a little extra for your budget, taking Surveys on Swagbucks can be a great way to go. It’s really simple: You sign up, confirm your email address, and then use the Gold Survey Dashboard to see what surveys are currently available. For each survey, you’ll see approximately how long it takes to complete, and how many SB points you’ll get when you complete it. You can rack up lots of SB points quickly, and then redeem those SB for free gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, and PayPal!

You can fill out a survey profile and then answer additional questions that will help Swagbucks deliver surveys that you’re more likely to complete. You get 2 SB for every 10 questions you answer!

For even more SB opportunities, you can click the Peanut Labs surveys tab and choose from any one of these survey options. You can also download the Swagbucks app for iOS and Android and take surveys right from your phone, no matter where you are!

Swagbucks actually works – last year I earned enough with Swagbucks to buy most of the Christmas gifts I had planned to buy.  I would redeem the Swagbucks for amazon.com gift cards, because probably 90% of the gifts I gave last year I was able to order from Amazon.  Win-win I tell ya! 



ANTICIPATING – everything we have going on tomorrow!  DHL’s family fun day, wedding at Robert Mills House & the SC game.

DRINKING – water, trying to be better!

EATING – nothing, but I do have some delicious looking sushi for lunch

FEELING – worn out.  had a killer migraine yesterday that took so much out of me.

LISTENING – to Pandora.  Currently the song “Free & Into the Mystic” mashup with Claire Bowen & Zab Brown Band.  Its one of my favorites!

PLANNING – meal plan for the next week.

READING – the Perfectly Paranormal Museum

THINKING – about all sorts of things, my brain is a little scattered today

TRYING – to drink more water & less soda

WAITING – for the weekend to be here!

WATCHING -not a thing.

WEARING – jeans, boots & a shirt.  I am dressed for fall, but the outside is less fall and more spring (gotta love the south!)

Really Random Monday

Twenty random things that come to mind about me…. (because someone on twitter asked…LOL).

1.  I have lived in 5 states – Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and California.    
2.  My favorite colors are PINK and SKY BLUE!
3.  My favorite TV shows:  Scandal, Ghost Hunters, Fixer Upper, Rizzoli & Isles and Madame Secretary
4.   My kids are my greatest achievements ever.
5.   I work for the greatest university in the south.
6.  I love getting text messages.
7.  Peach roses are my favorite flowers.
8.  My students are like my other children.
9.  My high school friends are some of the best friends I’ll ever have, and I am blessed that no matter the time or distance, they always have my back.
10.  I once sold a mailbox to Erin Andrews (in my old job), and had my own mini freakout at my desk to be talking to her.
11.  I love college football – and honestly will watch just about anyone play.
12.  I am obsessed with Pinterest.  My favorite boards are:  I Like to Laugh and Thoughts in My Head
13.  I cannot sleep without my body pillow.
14.  I love twitter!  Twitter is my totally uncensored, unfiltered self.
15.   I sell Young Living Essential Oils, and I love how they have changed my life.
16.  I love to read and wish I could do more of it.
17.  I love getting mail – so much so, I get upset if someone else gets my mail before me.   I think sending cards/letters is a lost art, and I try to surprise my friends with hand written cards and letters when I can.
18.  Country Music pretty much sums up my life.  If you ask Jake, I’ll say “I love this song” to just about any song that comes on.
19.   I love makeup.
20.   I love learning about people, and talking to people – so post 20 random things about you and comment with your list!