our thanksgiving vacation

I didn’t touch my computer from Tuesday night to Sunday. Traveling home always provides a nice opportunity to unplug.

We had a very happy first married Thanksgiving. It saw lots of family, lots of food, and lots of open road while trying to split our time between the McMahone and Jenkins clans.

There is a comfy feeling that comes with both the familiarity and certainty we experience when we travel to our parents’ homes. I can count on the fact that Mamaw’s dressing will taste the same [read: incredible], that my mom will be baking up something with bricks of cream cheese, that Audrey will say something hilariously adult-like. I can be sure that Ash [my sister-twin-friend] and I will find a way to soak up some rare face-time to dwell in these exciting and changing times. I know we’ll be Cowboy fans for a day [unless they’re playing the Saints] in support of our cousins who hail from Dallas. And I’ll never doubt that we’ll talk and laugh until we’re asleep, leaving us draped over various couches and chairs.

Thanksgiving Day brought a familiar morning of parade-watching. Really we just wait for the Rockettes the entire time. We had cousin reunions and a need to turn Mamaw’s dining room table diagonally to fit the entire family around it. It was a house-busting blessing. And later, after we ate and ate again and ate when we weren’t the faintest bit hungry, Moll and I suited up for a little Black Friday shopping. I’d say it was our most successful year yet. Target employees, you are our heroes! Except that one guy that yelled at my sister to not run while she was on her sprint to the bathroom [not to a flat screen TV]. Chill, dude. Pregnant lady has got to GO!

Possibly more than ever, I was overwhelmed with the care and provision that come from our parents. It’s not that I thought this would stop when we became old married folk or anything. Maybe I, having entered this adult world, understand their years of sacrifice in a sounder way. I mean, we are four for four when it comes to moms and dads who are incredibly selfless and thoughtful. We never doubt that they want our best, that they are excited about and immersed in our lives, or that they would do absolutely anything for us. I look forward to, hopefully, following their lead and making this a trait of generations to come when we have some little tikes and grand-tikes one day. I count it a privilege to know what this is like, and I hope to make a habit of gifting this to others who don’t have it intertwined in their own family tree. Our parents’ love is staggering. And I hope they know that the Lord is using them in this way. Because no one loves this well on their own.

And that’s what I learned on my Thanksgiving vacation.

thanksgiving eve

Last Wednesday night, after everyone made it to the McMahone home, we started a new family tradition. My family probably doesn’t realize this, but I’m definitely going to insist on it being an annual event. Maybe twice a year.

We bundled up for grilled hamburgers, sausage, and self-roasted hot dogs and s’mores on the back patio. Yes, that’s a lot of meat. And, yes, that’s the night before Thanksgiving. I can hear your judging me. There must be something about firelight, scarves, and red-checkered tablecloths that make you lose all control of portion sizes.

I vote for a repeat sometime over Christmas. Ok, fam? Ok great.


finding time and satisfaction

Let me preface this by saying I apologize for the length. But I hope you are blessed. And maybe you have a similar journey to satisfaction:

Please excuse my absence. Let's blame it on two things. First, the fact that I've been all pitiful and sickly with some of the cold and sinus business. Don't worry, a nice shot in the hind parts from a male nurse [EMBARRASSING] and a hot pink horse pill is seeming to do the trick. Secondly, D has had a tiny bit more free time this week, and we've been taking advantage of that while wallowing in our shared sickness.

We've done things like...
-Celebrated our two year dating anniversary [I celebrate everything, OK?] with some good Italian food. I was a little peeved on the way because it was November and hot outside. So D cranked up the air conditioning and blared some of 96.1's Christmas tunes. I was gladly shivering by the time we got home.
-Went to Sam's for a bottle of wine [classy, I know] and spent an extra hour in the Christmas section. Excited. Doesn't. Cover. It.
-Worked our plastic gloves and stick-on name tags while working the dessert table at CrossPoint's Thanksgiving celebration on Wednesday night. Wonderful fellowship with our wonderful church family. And I baked my first lattice-topped apple pie from scratch. Easy peasy. Here's my crummy phone photo which was taken in the car on my lap on the way to church:

-For our exciting Friday night, we fed this sickness with breakfast for dinner and three hours of Lord of the Rings. D's a big fan, and I had never seen them. They weren't too bad. Not my normal Steel Magnolias/Pride and Prejudice/Mona Lisa Smile style. I think I finally got all of their names right by the end.
-I did wear some of my new red lipstick for our little at-home date night. Meaning half of the movie was spent telling myself that I can indeed wear it without looking like a clown. I am a reproduction of my grandmother, and she rocks it at almost 90. I think I can. I think I can. I think...

For this semester, that is a pretty incredible list for us. Many weeks, there is not a moment of free time in my poor hubs' schedule. Amidst the sweetness of newlywed life, there have been difficulties. Difficulties for our good. Difficulties whose presence are becoming more and more obvious.

This is a lesson the Lord has taught me in several different situations. It concerns satisfaction. Maybe, next time, I'll use some God-given wisdom and head this one off beforehand. Throughout my teenage and adult life, the Lord has shown me over and over again that true and full satisfaction can absolutely only be found in walking daily with Him. My first thought when I type this is an overwhelming thankfulness for the fact that He even allows this closeness of relationship. What a gracious and loving God. While I strive for this, I let many of the Lord's blessing take up some of that satisfying space that He deserves all of. Story of my life. From family, to friends, to abilities - I'm familiar with this slow learning process. And, of course, I'm learning again with this new life-addition: a husband.

The difficulty lies in the fact that D's love and selflessness and service and attention is incredibly satisfying. And I thank the Lord for a husband with those qualities. But then he has to work until eleven at night or fly to different states for job interviews or stay on campus to work with his senior project group. Then the one, who I'm receiving a portion of satisfaction from, is absent. This is in no way blame to D. I'm continually amazed at his attitude and stamina and ability to find time to be an great partner with a jam-packed schedule. But he is not called or expected to be the primary source of this in my life. We really are two sinners who have said, "I do." And when we talk about this little issue of mine, he points me to an all-sufficient God.

So that's the big-ticket item the Lord is kneading into my heart and mind. At the end of this lesson-journey, there is sweet and urgent satisfaction. Sweet because of a more intimate walk with the Lord and a step towards looking more like Him in life and in relationships. Urgent because this life is fleeting, and the only reason I have this available satisfaction is because of Jesus' supreme and atoning sacrifice. How I wish to not waste a day of that ultimate blessing and for the Lord to receive the glory that He deserves.

Here are a few of many verses to which I can cling:

Whom do I have in heaven but you? I desire no one but you on earth. My flesh and my heart may grow weak, but God always protects my heart and gives me stability. Psalm 73:25

Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple! Psalm 65:4

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

Thanks for walking through that with me.



When purchasing the floater frame that is on our mantel, my intentions were to be able to rotate its contents out depending on color or season or holiday or if something just happens to strike my fancy.

This is another 8x10 that I created for this [quickly approaching] holiday that is centered around thankfulness. Food, also. But that's beside the point. The print [which is below] maybe downloaded here.

As much as I have to be thankful for this season - my precious and new marriage to Dustin, my family, my life-sharing friends, our incredible church, a job - nothing compares to my thankfulness for the salvation which I have been given through a call to faith in Jesus Christ many years ago. I am confident that without Jesus' atoning sacrifice, it would be impossible for me to be looked at as righteous through the Lord's supreme and holy eyes. And I, someone who does not like to ask for help, am completely overwhelmed with how I am fully helpless I would be in a quest for righteousness. Nothing I could do would ever compare. My Lord is the only hero here. And my dependence is in him.

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

Romans 6:16-20


fall in the 235

In high school, my mom, my sister, and myself used to take a spring shopping trip. We still do. It's just a little more difficult to arrange with all these adult schedules.

Since I was still in high school, it seemed torturous to be dragged from hone store to home store. I was just waiting to take a turn in Hollister or American Eagle. That's embarrassing. As much as I didn't care about home decor at the time, I will never forget seeing a display with a basket full of stems of cotton. It screamed Southern, and I loved it.

My trip from Baton Rouge to Ruston is often lined with cotton fields, but I've never been brave enough to snatch some while I was by myself. After we were home for Labor Day, I took advantage of my large-knife-carrying husband. Our car was so full that I had to ride home with a trash bag full of cotton on my lap for the rest of the way. Worth it. Can I get arrested for posting this?

For Fall, our home has been cotton and wheat filled. And after Abby's wedding, we came home with even more after Dustin ran down the Father of the Bride before he trashed those cotton stems. He's the best, isn't he?

All that to say, here's what Fall looks like in the 235. This also serves as proof that I have not put up Christmas decorations yet. I'm not that crazy, y'all.


wheelin' and dealin': local issues

South Louisiana readers, have you ever been to a Paris Parker salon? I hope not. Don't get me wrong - I recently got my hair cut for the first time there and really loved it. They have this signature head massage thing going on when they wash your hair. Not just the normal scrub - we're talking massage. And you come out with better style and smelling all Aveda-y.

Best part was, my $45 hair cut and style only cost me $25! Why? Because of this:

I said I hope you are not a Paris Parker returning customer because this little gift card is only for first timers. Even if you've gotten your hair cut recently [the coupon expires 12/31/2011] or have a stylist-loyalty somewhere else, use it on a manicure or a massage. Get yourself a Paris Parker signature manicure for only $5!

You can find the original gift card to print here and there main website here

Enjoy some pampering for a steal. And let me see those results!


that crazy planner lady

Today I finally saw it. It's what all my friends, family, and husband laughingly shake their heads at. And then they keep loving me anyway.

If there is an event or holiday coming up [which there always is], I absolutely cannot stop myself from thinking about it. And planning for it. And making list concerning it. A chronic list-maker, I am. This started young. I used to read my packing list for our church's overnight kids camp around 115 times. I'm pretty sure that's accurate. And then, knowing their list wasn't sufficient, I'd make one of my own. A more detailed one, of course. And my "day of prom" schedule - I'm pretty sure I made a special heading on the computer for that one. Oh and don't even get me started on when my yearbook staff was in charge of our high school's Sadie Hawkins dance. I sketched and made lists and came up with slogans and designed posters.

And now I realize it - I'm crazy. And you know how I realized it? It was right after I finished writing this:

That's OK, right? I mean, I rarely forget things. Except to wash D's work clothes. I'll start making a list for those now. Christmas probably isn't the best example because it is the holiday of all holidays with the very best decorations and the very best events. And this holiday of all holidays, of course, calls for the list of all lists.

It may not look like it, but I do my very best to give Thanksgiving its due. I'm holding off on the music [even though I'm ITCHING to download the She&Him Christmas album] and there is not a decoration in sight. But, so that the Christmas season can commence as soon as humanly possible, I've got to be well planned:

All photos and links can be found here.

 A Jenkins Christmas = plaid and mercury glass and rustic wood and warmth and holiday Americana and the charm of yesteryear.

Alright, now you know my crazy planner side. Happy Holiday Planning to you! Unless you want me to do it for you. I will. I can make a list.


the fair in film

The Washington Parish Fair is perfectly Charlotte's Web - a book I'm happy to live in at least one weekend a year.

wheelin' and dealin': shelving

I'm a big fan of the long wall ledges with layered artwork. Those are not on my shopping list for two reasons: 1) The little newlywed budget doesn't have a category for a substantial shelving purchase. 2) I don't want to fit them in a certain space since we don't expect to be in our little apartment forever. Actuallly, I probably use #2 to rationalize #1.

Anyway, I found my solution for both problems. Small and temporary. And a little over $7. Oh yea! You can find the black versions here. Don't be fooled by that price, they had plenty of them in the store all with those glorious clearance stickers on them and can be bought in white, black, teal or magenta. Mmmm I've always wanted myself a set of magenta shelves.

They come in a set of three. I used two to expand my bedroom wall collage and one to add some substance to our bathroom walls:

Shelving. I love it. Maybe one day these little babies will grow up and turn into a ledge running around a breakfast nook covered in art and prints and photographs. Maybe.


looking forward

That blog post title sounds a lot more passionate and noteworthy than this post actually is. Simply, I am learning daily how to live in this 8 to 5 life. In college, I was not a believer of routine [exact opposite of my roommate] and naturally did something different every day. And I liked it that way. Nowadays, in grown up world, it makes that way of life a little more difficult to achieve, but I'm up to the challenge.

You can imagine that I do look forward to the weekend. This weekend, especially.

The main purpose of this post is to tell you/remind you about Secret Church. This semester's simulcast is tomorrow! You can find a showing near you here. We'll be spending those six hours here. Regret it, you won't!

Also, this. No explanation needed.

Geaux Tigers!

In between the two, I'll be babysitting some of my favorite little ones, working on some projects, napping, and facing that pile of clothes that has taken up residence in my laundry room.


audrey's chick-fil-a costume

I send my sister plenty of emails with links to things that I think she'd like. Actually, probably more than she'd like. But one ordinary email [a link to a photo of a little girl dress up like a Starbucks frappuccino] led to my most beloved craft project ever: Audrey's Chick-fil-A chicken nugget box costume.

Oh my gosh. It never gets old. Could she be cuter? No. No she could not.

It turned out to be pretty simple. I used a cardboard box [actually, a box that CFA waffle fries were shipped in] which I taped the flaps to make a rectangular tunnel. I covered the box in craft paper from HobLob and cut arm holes. The logos and words were printed on a regular printer but on legal size paper and then lined up and glued on with rubber cement [which doesn't make those awful paper wrinkles]. I used the lining of an old skirt for the top. I thought fabric would be more comfortable for her. And, of course, added a little eyelet ruffle for some girly-ness.

And here she is stealing the spotlight in the neighborhood:

I bet the other parents took their kids back home out of embarrassment. Can't blame them.