Seven Days To Myself.

Oh my goodness, guys.

I took an entire week off of writing.

Like, I didn’t write a single thing, nor did I think about writing a single thing.

(Okay except for a quick giveaway post. But that doesn’t count.)

And it was glorious.

I mean, I love writing (which is convenient since this is my 1,950th post), but the pressure does get to me sometimes…especially when I have other things also stressing me out.

(And you might have picked up on a tiiiiiny bit of stress in my voice in this post. Or maybe this one. Or this one or this one.)

So I took the week and I got all of the other things accomplished and moved out of my mind. And if I could have a “before and after picture” of My Feelings, I could create a direct sales company and take over your Facebook feed because I’m so new and shiny on the inside and you would totally want your insides to be just as new and shiny.

And oh, the things I can accomplish when I’m not writing, and when my mind isn’t mulling over what I’m going to be writing.

Since I know you’re just dying for a comprehensive list, here’s what I did with my free time:

1. Taxes. Our taxes are the most freaking complicated thing possible – I’m convinced of it. They’re so awful that I, with my accounting degree, must spend hours preparing so that I can then pass them off to our actual accountant to process them.

The need to do my part has been hanging over my head since January 1. So on Monday, I spent five solid hours knocking it out.

If feelings had weight, I lost 80 pounds that day.

2. A Coloring Book. In 2010, I made a coloring book of all the kids in our small group. I was asked for a 2015 reprisal of this project, which required me nagging eight moms (plus myself) to get pictures of our twenty-nine children (when you put it like that, it doesn’t sound like such a small group), and then converting the pictures into coloring pages, loading them into a book maker, and getting them ready to print.

Spoiler – somewhere between 2010 and 2015 our kids grew up.

Comparison Ali AJ
Comparison Nathaniel


Comparison Ali


Comparison Radford


Comparison Aubrey

3. Girl’s Trip – My husband recommended that I also plan a No-Kids-Moms-Only trip with those Moms of the twenty-nine children. So I worked out the details for all that could attend, booked a house at Gorham’s Bluff, and in a month, several of us will be sipping coffee and looking at this:

140705b Beams over Gorham's Bluff

…with no one asking us for a snack or when dinner will be ready or to please help them get their underwear off so they can go to the bathroom.

4. Kid’s Market – I’ve already blogged about the first half of my consigning adventures, but I had to finish tagging all of my wares and actually deliver them all to the sale.

Which was in itself an adventure.

I’m pretty sure there were 80mph winds to go along with the puddles throughout the parking lot (in which three of my oh-so-carefully tagged items ended up). There were also impossible-to-control loading racks, and….it was our job to sort our stuff.

Who knew?

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If I’d known, perhaps I wouldn’t have mixed it all up so thoroughly.

Pro Tip: Always have a helpful eight-year-old with you when delivering consignment goods. I don’t think I could’ve done it without Ali there at which to yell “HURRY GRAB THAT OUT OF THE PUDDLE!!” and “DON’T LET THE CART HIT THAT CAR!!!!” and “Sort these 150 hangers of clothes by size!”

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The jury is still out as to whether it was all worth it. I’ll offer a full financial report after I get my check.

5. Note Cards – Aside from my Valentine’s project, I took the month of February off from Picture Birmingham. It wasn’t intentional, I was just sapped – most likely from the fact that someone in my family was sick literally 28 out of 28 days last month. But the last two Sundays were our Missions Conference at church, and The WellHouse was one of the organizations we were celebrating.

I went to the Sunday School class that Alexa from The WellHouse spoke in, and oh my goodness. I can only hear her stories about once every three months because it messes me up so deeply. I was so devastated all over again by the horrors of sex trafficking that I cried on and off all day (and I’m not a crier). It’s horrifying to hear of the deceptive lengths that traffickers are going to in order to trick young teens into being trapped and stolen from their lives. I do want to write a post about this, but it will have to come separately so that I can properly disclaim it so that you’re in the right frame of mind to have the crap scared out of you.

Anyway, I had the crap scared out of me.

And I was reinvigorated to do everything I could possibly do to help The WellHouse protect our children. So I finally finished a project I’ve been working on for a year – two new sets of note cards that give a tour of my city and state in the most beautiful way I could muster.

The Birmingham set shows Birmingham’s landmarks, both old and new, as well as the skyline from five different angles.

Quintessential Birmingham

And the Alabama set takes a tour of the natural wonders of Alabama (and I totally cheated – there’s one picture of Georgia.)

Alabama The Beautiful

I’m pretty thrilled with the way these note cards turned out, and I’m even more excited that everyone else seems to be, too – in the first two days, 27 sets were sold! 100% of the profits from these note cards and all products at Picture Birmingham go to The WellHouse. I would love to provide for multiple women to be rescued from sex trafficking this month, so you will officially become my favorite blog reader if you feel led to shop at Picture Birmingham.

(And I know – shipping is high for people outside of Birmingham – darn UPS – so just for you, since you’re my favorite blog reader and all, use the coupon code “favorite” to get free shipping in March.)

6. Helping my Mother – I went to her Cubbies class last night and took pictures of TWENTY-SIX three and four-year-olds dressed up for Missions Conference. Twenty-six. Photographed individually and as a group. Of course, of all 26, my four-year-old was least cooperative.

And then what did my Mom do? She sent them all home with punching balloons.

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PUNCHING BALLOONS.

I don’t know how I forgot to asterisk my hatred of balloons with * and punching balloons are the marriage of every bad characteristic of every children’s toy ever created. They’re manufactured directly in Satan’s lair.

I love my mother but we’re now even on the whole “she gave me life” thing.

7. Quality Time – Chris and I had two dates and even watched a movie at home one night – something we haven’t done in at least a year. I picked it totally randomly from Netflix, and it ended up being pretty good – In Your Eyes. As long as you don’t mind a good dose of suspension of disbelief. And telepathy. But I approve.

So that’s what I did this week. And I’m pretty happy about it.

Oh. And…what didn’t I get done this week?

The dishes.

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But I’m cool with that.

Anyway. Thanks for the week off, guys. It was nearly as effective as a trip to Fiji.

Okay no it wasn’t. But it was great.