Savanna McMichael

the moments that create my life

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper: an attendant at a gate who is employed to control who goes through it (found this little definition in Google dictionary)

This term has been resonating in my heart and mind over the last few weeks. It started out mostly concerning wellness, but the Lord has really been working in my heart. As I’ve pondered it more and more, I feel challenged to view my role as a gatekeeper in multiple ways. As a parent, a mom, I am the gatekeeper of our home. When our wellness is concerned, I do the majority of the research and make decisions on health issues, foods, and products after Trey and I talk it over. I take great pride in that area and it is so very important to me. This is the reason that we’ve changed the course of direction in so many areas. We’re passionate about what enters our bodies in the form of food, self-care, and our environment.
Beyond wellness, I think there is a great need for Gatekeepers of the heart in our families today.  Proverbs 4:23 tells us to “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” I don’t think that this could be found more true than today. I’m feeling pressed to strongly guard the hearts of our children, to be intentional about what they’re hearing, seeing, and experiencing. Our job is to help protect them physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This world is not at all the world I would have dreamed to raise my children in, but we can press in now and have positive impacts on the course of their days. It’s okay if your rules aren’t popular, your expectations too high, your beliefs strong. It is your job to be keep the gate for your children and your home. Do it well. We are raising the future of the world. 
I am absolutely preaching this to myself. I am the world’s worst about getting wrapped up in to-do lists and places to be, things to see and not taking the time to slow down to shepherd hearts and teach truth. My personal goals to improve in the way I’m parenting and fulfill my role as the gatekeeper of our home are:
-      to be in the Word every morning. I know that I am a better parent when I have allowed the Lord to shepherd my heart before the day starts. For me, this means I have to set my alarm and get up earlier. Mornings are not my jam. I need ample amounts of both time and coffee to get going. Anyone else with me here? My quiet time has not been consistent. Time for that to change. I also want to intentionally look for spiritual conversations and take the time to have them. 
-      Meal planning: I really, really don’t like to cook or grocery shop. I am working on a simple system to make this easier and “prettier” to get done! My hope is that by planning meals out weekly that I can shop efficiently and have a concrete plan for the week. I intend to have a central list of expected meals for the week in our kitchen, as well as in my calendar. This will help both Trey and I to be able to prep dinner and get started if one of us is later getting home. 
-      Declutter: both hearts and home! If I can declutter our home and keep only the basics and favorites, clean-up will be smoother and easier for everyone to help with. When we have too much stuff, that just adds to frustration and clutter in our minds. We all like a clean space that is easy to take care of.         I also want to work on decluttering our hearts and minds. I think this will look differently for all five of us.  Personally, I need to establish designated times for work, chores, and errands. I want to be more mindful of having time every day where I am without distraction and completely present with my people. 
-      Health: One huge part of planning to meal plan is to help be sure that our meals are healthy and full of nutrients. When we are rushing to throw dinners or lunches together, we end up with meals that I’m not proud of.  A bit of prep will help keep our nutrition in check.    
We all desperately need to get back into some sort of exercise routine. We enjoy things that we can all do together. Some of our favorites in the past have been bike rides, family park nights where we walk or jog and boxing. The kids love speed drills and anything that we can make a challenge. 

I’m excited to share this journey with you all. And I would love your input. Do you have a favorite work out or healthy meal to share? If you’ve come across a great devotion or activity that promotes intentionality and deep discussion, I’d love to hear it. Organization tips? Need them!

I am so grateful for the ability and calling to fulfill this role of gatekeeper with greater enthusiasm and purpose! 
Thursday, October 18, 2018

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl



Back in September, our sweet girl turned eleven years old. It always sounds so cliche, but I truly can't believe how quickly the time has passed. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were learning the ropes of caring for this teeny little human with the deepest, darkest, almost purple eyes and itty spider legs. She's rocked our world from the moment we knew she existed! She's level-headed, strong in belief and opinion, and quite possibly the wittiest little human I've met. Our AK is a lover of all animals and currently llama-obsessed. 


We had a blast celebrating her! In our family, we are pretty good at dragging out birthday celebrations. Since AK's birthday fell on a school day, she got extra attention. The kids always love getting to pass out cupcakes to their class at school and having special lunch dates. 


Her actual birthday day was capped off with dinner with some sweet, sweet family friends! AND her yearly refusal to be serenaded with a birthday song.... I'm confident we will win her over eventually to loving the birthday attention! 


Our girl has truly been beyond blessed with an amazing group of friends. It was a joy to have a portion of her best ladies over to our house for several hours. I think that it is always interesting to catch a glimpse into the groups that our kiddos are spending time in. One of my biggest prayers has always been to surround our kids with amazing groups of friends. Honestly, I couldn't have hand-picked a better group for them to be surrounded with. They have wonderful families and are some of the best kids you could find. We were so grateful to have the time to spend with the girls, letting them swim and just enjoy each other's company while celebrating our girl. 




Addi Kate was blessed so much by our family and friends for her birthday. She had dinners with grandparents, gifts galore, and a beautiful room makeover from one set of grandparents. Recently, she's become a fan of pink and requested a room to match her new color. She spent so  much time scouring through magazines and catalogues, picking out items that she liked. I'm pretty sure that all of her dreams come true with a beautiful room! She now has a gorgeous room that will grow with her well into her teenage years, but that will be easily adaptable as her tastes change! Bonus: this kid has never kept her room so clean! It's safe to say that she LOVES it and so do I!









We are deeply grateful for all of the people that the Lord has placed in our girl's life. 
They champion her, direct her, and encourage her in so many ways.
She is loved so well! 
Monday, September 24, 2018

Fair Fun

What better way to close out the first weekend of fall than to go to the fair! The kids were so excited to ride the rides, eat junk food on a stick, and stuff their faces with sugar! 








We truly had a blast! Now, we'll have to work on our bucket list for the rest of Fall! 
It's our favorite time of the year! 


Friday, September 21, 2018

Favorite Oily Swag Round-up

I get so many questions about the tools that we use to make this oily life easier on a daily basis! So, I thought I would post a little round-up of links for you!



Saturday, September 8, 2018

Saturday Favorites

You guys! Fall is so close I can feel it. I wanted to share some favorites from this week! 

First off, I snagged the most amazing sweater for fall and some super adorable jeans. They're totally 'mom jeans', but I'm in love with them. Also, the softest bodysuit I've ever seen. I don't think I've worn a bodysuit since middle school, but I'm going to be going back for every color I can snag. And, yes. I do still shop at American Eagle. Yes, I'm also thirty years old. Oh well. They have great items at fantastic price points. (AND, if you use ebates you can get cash back on your purchase.)


I've been SO stinking' excited to finally see our reno project start taking shape. We're finally getting things in their permanent homes and seeing the chaos start to disappear. Notice, I said start-it's still chaos over here for the most part. 

Anyways, I've been on the hunt for quite a while for a piece to serve as a TV console. The specifications were pretty precise and not many pieces fit the bill. BUT-last week, the heavens opened and the sun shone down. My sweet hubby happened to find the perfect piece on a Facebook Flea Market. We snatched that bad boy up just in time and it now has it's forever home in my living room. I am IN LOVE and can't wait to finalize our living room decor. 

Since I've been doing some decorating, I decided to go ahead and start pulling out the fall decorations too. Give me all the pumpkins and black/white buffalo check. This stuff will take us right into Christmas Trees. Literally, it will be Thanksgiving one day and Christmas the next. AH! I can't even wait. This is the best time of the year. 
With the fall decor came the fall book basket. I love pulling seasonal books out and housing them separately on our hearth. It always prompts renewed excitement over reading! We love Gilbert the Ghost. It has the sweetest illustrations. I've had my eye on How to Make Friends with a Ghost...thinking that it is going to be our yearly add to the collection. 


I'm eyeing a few sets of Halloween pjs for the kids. Holiday themed pjs are about the only way I get anyone to sleep in something other than gym shorts and old t-shirts. I think I'm going to snag these up soon. This SPOOKY pair is just enough spooky and fun to make everyone happy! This kitten pair should be just enough cool for my big girl and enough festive to make this mama happy!

Happy Saturday, Friends! I'll be spending the morning cleaning and gearing up for an afternoon softball and football. Praise the Lord for Saturdays in the Fall! 

xoxo,

Savanna 
Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Well...I couldn't stop it! We went on our last summer vacation for this year last week. And this week, the big kids are back to school. 


We took our big family vacation with just the five of us to Daytona Beach, Florida last week. We were blessed with eight amazing days of adventuring, wave riding, sand playing, and fantastic eating. I shared a few of my favorite tidbits on social media. It was truly one of our best trips to date. Our kids have always been very good at traveling. Beach days have been easy and long-lasting with kids playing in the sand and jumping waves. But this year, we had some different types of days. Every morning, we took walks while the kids rode skateboards for miles. 



We had a six mile afternoon beach trek to one of our favorite little restaurants (and saw the taping of an HGTV home buying show). 



After years of debating on it, we were able to take a three hour adventure to paddle board on the Halifax River. 




We decided we had confidence that the big kids could handle their own boards and little dude could ride along. It was one of our favorite parts of the trip. Three Brothers Boards have a neat little shop, amazing boards and phenomenal staff. The kids were begging to go back to the next day before we even left! Even though we did a lot of different things, we still had plenty of beach time. There was less time spent getting every kid sun screened, dressed and fed than years before. I have found myself missing the baby stage lately, but I'm learning that these bigger kids are so much fun and really good for my heart.  


Just like our everyday, the trip wasn't all rainbows and butterflies. There were times of disobedience, discipline, and disagreement. A good bit of those 'dis' moments occurred, but those aren't the moments that we will remember years from now. They don't define our trip. They provided opportunity for teaching, nurturing, directing. Sometimes, they provided opportunity for humbleness and providing an example of apologies. 


As a mom who is with her kiddos everyday, there isn't really a such thing as vacation. It's just a change of location with some extra fun activities! I am truly so thankful for ALL of the moments that this summer has provided us with. We've spent so much time together, enjoyed traveling, and growing together. Every moment was perfect, but all of the moments combined made for a wonderful summer for us! 


Those free summer days are behind us as the kids started back to school this week. I can't even believe that my itty bitty kiddos are now in 3rd and 5th grade. It honestly seems like yesterday that we walked the halls of our elementary school for the first time. I choked back tears the entire time that we walked our nervous, curly-haired girl into her classroom. She was terrified and so was I. The years have changed her though. This year, we missed Open House and the first three days of school because of traveling. But on her first day of 5th grade, she found a friend and walked without us to a new classroom, with a new teacher, on a new hallway. The LAST hallway. It both hurts my heart and causes me to burst with pride that she has become such a strong and beautiful young lady. I am soaking up these last days of elementary school because I highly doubt she's going to want me frequenting the middle school hallways. We are excited and expectant for this year! I know, without a doubt, that she is in some fantastic hands.....as I spent my fifth grade year in the very same pair. 




Our brave middle man was excited for third grade! He has a blast wherever he goes and is quick to make new friends. Just maybe, he was the most ready to head back to school. I'm confident that he lives for days of football on the playground, but he gets excited to learn to! He is good at math and LOVES history. Facts are completely his jam! We are happy to see him accepting the challenge of a little bit more advanced content this year. So excited to see him grow! It's hard for me to fathom that he is over halfway through elementary school. I can't help but remember how quickly the last few years have flown for his sister. And I don't see time slowing down. He has always had the sweetest teachers who have made learning so fun. From K-4 and into this school year, he has been excited and LOVED going. I can't wait to see how well he progresses and how he changes this year! 


I have a few more weeks with our littlest man at home during the day. He will be starting Pre-K at our church this fall! Pretty sure he was just born yesterday, so I'm not sure how that's even possible. He is so excited to see his friends and eat lunch at school some this year. For now, we're working on getting in a groove, enjoying our one-on-one time, and entertaining ourselves while big brother and sister are at school. 


These days are FLYING by, but we're loving every one of them! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

That end of summer feeling...




Y'all! This summer has flown by for us. Not a single one of use is ready to jump back into that school year routine...the early, rushed mornings, packing lunches, homework, studying. Parts of our bucket list remain unchecked and, likely, will stay that way into the start of school. We have already had a great summer full of sleepovers, ice cream dates, and a fair amount of salty air and sandy toes. We are heading off on one last adventure for the summer with school supplies still to buy, first day outfits to pick out, and book bags still filled with last years "treasures". It will get done, right?! 


This time of the year is always a very bittersweet time for me. It is filled with worry and wonder. "Did we do enough during the summer? Was I a good steward of the time with my kiddos? Did they read enough? (No, to that one for sure!) Will they love their teacher? I hope they have friends in their class! Maybe they'll have retained something from last school year." Without a doubt, I worry too much! 


I probably raised my voice too much. Nagged about cleanliness a little too hard. I didn't mark near as many things off my to-do wish as I had hoped to. The reality is that I really want to withdraw them from their schools, keep them to myself, and embark on a homeschool journey. But also a reality, homeschool would probably be the hardest thing to accomplish with these social, people-loving kids of mine that would come closer to learning from a brick wall than me. So, we will run off and enjoy the salty air one more time and jump right back into the school year when we get home. I will undoubtedly be sad. Adjusting to dropping my kiddos off every day will not be fun. At the same time, we are excited for the new year- for some new teachers and some we've had before, for new classes, friends, and opportunities. I'll be soaking in my people a little extra, savoring every moment that I should have been paying more attention to already, and praying a LOT more over the next few weeks.


I do think that this is normal at every stage of motherhood. It is natural to wonder if we've done enough: prepared and learn enough before their born, loved hard enough, held them enough as babies, paid enough attention to all their firsts, listened when they talked about things that seemed silly, taught them enough, given them enough. The reality is that I don't think it will ever be enough, but will, at the same time, always be enough. This motherhood gig is a funny thing! It makes me laugh at how these three can drive me mad and leave me in tears at the thought of sending them back to school at the same time.