A Moment for Me.

A Moment for Me.

It's 9:21 am and I am finally sitting down to my cup of coffee.

And an egg with avocado toast. Mmm. The smell of my coffee signals my consciousness that it's finally here, the coveted me time of the day. It's already been a maniacal morning, but in this very moment, a stillness washes over the room and I am almost at peace.

The baby is down for his morning nap, the husband is off at the salt mines (just kidding, work), and I have a few holy moments all to myself. Sometimes its hard to know quite what to do with these moments. There is a battle in my chest (I always imagine my mind in my chest, I don't know why?) throwing arrows at each other for who wins the awarded me time today. There is a rush from one side of my mind/chest that overwhelms me in a swelling wave, "Pick up the vacuum cleaner! Throw in that load of laundry (or 6)! Get started on food prep for dinner!", and there's another part of me that shouts, "Do something for yourself! Write that collaborative post for such and such company! Throw on some yoga pants and stretch! Submit a story to Real Simple Magazine (like you've been wanting to do)! Get back to those 6 people hanging out in your Gmail inbox that are waiting for your response!" Yes, the battle might seem silly to you. But it's my internal struggle. And then there's the never-ending to-do list. That could use some of my attention, as well. But the truth is, none of those things will reallllllly make me feel accomplished or valuable. In the moment, yes, I can do a few of those tasks and check the boxes on my list. And that is a good, valid reason to feel some sort of meaning today.  But I want more than to just feel good and valid.

Sitting silently, hands cupped around this beautiful piece of glazed pottery containing the morning's mystical blackened ambrosia, well, that's just what I'm going to do right now. I'm going to sit. In silence. And I'm gonna drink my coffee.

Eyes closed, mug poised at my lips, I am going to quite literally drink in this whole long moment. You know what happens during this quiet moment? I get really, really grateful. This spirit of gratitude comes in its quiet, humble sort of way, and without asking permission, walks silently across the battlefield of my mind (chest). A hush. The quivers drop. The arrows fall lifelessly mid-flight. This little spirit of gratitude, looking much like Piglet from Winne the Pooh, hovers its way out onto the battle field. Stands there for a moment. And all of a sudden there is nothing sudden. Stillness extends from the east to the west of my internal atlas and the menace has halted. This is the moment, the one I've been waiting for.

I'm am going to gobble this moment up, whole, cultivating some meditation. The gratitude. It reminds me that I am a blessed woman, with a beautiful family to call mine. This family. The ones whom I've sacrificed much for - a slammin' career, a perfectly toned physique, all kinds of delicious selfish pursuits, and sometimes my sanity. But this sublime pyramid of human joy whom I am so proud of, so thrilled to be part of building; these sweet spirits who I would gladly tumble over a cliff for. My Stevie and my Everett. I am so grateful for this life. I wouldn't have it any other way. I would choose the path I've experienced over anyone else's life because it has been the sweetest, most personally deepening and even more surprising than I could have ever conjured.

Thank you Lord. I am appreciative for this moment on my morning, thankful for the reminder to be grateful, thankful for the truth that nothing worth having ever comes easily. But it is so worth it. And as the baby begins to cry again, I take a deep breath, because I am recharged with a faith in myself. Recharged with the peace. Recharged with the precious, darling caffeine.

The 4th Day: Holiday Survival Guide

Holiday Survival Guide

Holiday Survival Guide by oykristen // 1. Comfy Clothes // 2. Google Drive // 3. Trifecta of Beverages // 4. Sleep 5. Crossing something off "The Long List" // 6. GET OFF PINTEREST //

Holiday Survival Guide.

Oh Monday. Why hello to you.

It's a terrible thing, but this is usually the "crunch" time of the holiday season where it sets in: the intense stress. It's the Monday before Christmas. I have the 4th day (and later, the 3rd day) of Christmas posts for you today. And I'm have flashbacks to the scenes of frantic, anxiety-laden Whoville shoppers in Jim Carry's version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". How will we ever get it all done. How how how. Is that question playing a little dance in your mind today? I bet it started late last night... Sunday nights tend to bring on the worries of the week. 

I've been thinking a lot about how to combat stress, how to enjoy the season, and how to not be consumed by, well, all the consumption. It's a challenge. But there are a few things that have helped me over the past few weeks, and I wanted to share them with you in case they're helpful in this last stretch before Christmas arrives.

1. Comfy Clothes.

All day every day. If you're going to get a LOT accomplished in a little time, it's time to strap on your sneakers and approach the day with the mind of an athlete. This is going to take some strength and endurance, might as well dress the part. And if you're like me, you will be wrangling some kind of baby while you're attempting to pick up last minute gifts, wrap presents, whip something up in the kitchen, all while trying to remember if you have actually brushed your teeth yet today. You don't need to do any of these things in style. You need to do them in comfort.

2. Google Drive.

This has been my saving grace over the past several years during the holiday season. This is where I keep a list of everything I've purchased and everything I still have yet to purchase for my loved ones. I keep a running total of every purchase (tape, wrapping paper, photos, Christmas card expenses, and yes, of course the gifts) so that I can stay on budget, and therefore, less stressed. Also, when my husband asks me (practically every other day) how we are doing on our budget, I can answer him with precision. It's less stressful to know exactly where I am measuring up on my budget so that I'm not shopping in the dark, so to speak. Aaaaaaand it's really awesome to be able to access this tool from my computer & phone, and share these documents with my hubby so that we're on the same page. I just have to remind myself to make a separate tab with his surprises listed (so that he can't see what I have in store for him on Christmas morning!)

3. Trifecta of Beverages.

My drinking method? I only drink three things in any given day. Water, coffee, and sometimes a glass of wine at night. Staying hydrated with H2O is a surefire way to keeping up energy throughout the day. The coffee is an obvious booster (unfortunately, the tribe of nursing mothers that I'm a part of can only caffeinate to a certain extent), and then if you really need to unwind and relax after that baby is (hopefully!) sound asleep - then imbibing in a glass of wine is a happy little reward.

4. Zzzz.

Listen to me, all of you blessed ones without newborns: get all the sleep you can!!! It's the best way to recharge so that your brain actually works when you need it to during the waking hours of the day. Getting good sleep is the best way to power through. And for those of you with newborns (like me), good luck. The challenge is a bit greater for us, simply because, we are missing out on a fundamental building block of our day - proper rest. Napping helps. But I won't encourage you to nap, because if one more person tells me that's what I should be doing, I might have to slap them. NAPPING ISN'T POSSIBLE RIGHT NOW. So stop telling me to do it. Maybe after the New Year.

5. Cross something off your list. Now do it again.

I know the list keeps lengthening. I know I know. But seriously, you've got to be able to make cuts in your to-do list. That extra baked good that you wanted to have for Christmas Eve? You don't need it. Don't spend your time on it. That extra party you got a last-minute invite to that you thought you'd "just stop by" for? You shouldn't go. All the excessive to-do's in the outlier margins of your mind - just say no. This is part of learning how to have self-control & guarding your time wisely so that you can offer the best of yourself to the most important people in your life. Also, it feels really good to just cross those unnecessary things off your list.


It's time to stop looking and idea-gathering. That time has ended. Stop looking at pictures of cute ways to wrap gifts, interesting new recipes to bake, and glittery outfit combinations. You ain't got time to fill your mind with more ideas. You have enough ideas. This week is time for executing what's already in your heart to do. So it's time to stop browsing Pinterest. Along with this is a call to ignore all the incoming emails from retailers trying to squeeze another dollar out of you. They don't have another special gift that you should buy. THAT EMAIL IS A HOAX. They want your money. They don't want to give you the Christmas spirit. You already have the Christmas spirit. These emails and those Pinterest searches will only make you think you need more of what you already have.

These next few days? They're for savoring. For laughing. For watching Christmas movies and joyfully wrapping gifts. Not frantically wrapping gifts, joyfully. And getting the last few things done that really matter to you. Enjoy the next few days leading up to Christmas!

TASTE: Pumpkin Almond Spiced Coffee Syrup (with a side of Biscuits!)

Fall is in the air. I love walking by someone on the street who has a coffee in their hand, because these days it almost always smells like pumpkin spice. Oh the blessed scents of autumn. I've been having tons of pumpkin fun in my kitchen, and I was feeling so inspired by my bff Natalie mentioning her pumpkin coffee that I decided to make my own coffee pumpkin syrup. I adapted this recipe from A Beautiful Mess by swapping out the sugar for agave and adding in almond extract. It gives the flavor a smooth, nutty hint. Just right for fall.

Pumpkin Almond Spiced Coffee Syrup


- 1.5 cups water

- 3/4 cup agave syrup

- 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

- 1/4 tsp. almond extract

- A dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves & ginger

*Go easy on the cloves, it's a very strong spice


1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine. Continue to cook for 5-6 minutes, but don't allow it to boil.

2. Store for up to two weeks in an airtight container. Refrigerate. Use in your coffee and enjoy the yummy fall flavor!

We enjoyed our coffee this weekend with these delicious, super easy to make biscuits.


- 1.5 cups all-purpose baking mix (I used Trader Joes)

- 1/4 stick butter, softened

-  3/4 cup cold milk


1. Combine all ingredients. Mix together thoroughly. Don't overmix.

2. Drop spoonfuls on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Voila! We enjoyed with yummy apple butter.

Heavenly tastes, you may commence.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday Gratitude

The nicest thing happened today.

I woke up this fine Sunday morning to a phone call from my husband. He left early to help with church set up, so he was out of the house before I even stirred. Our church is a quick walk from our building (I like to tease that we are very convenient Christians), so even though it's not too far, the early hour mixed with the cold makes it quite the morning sacrifice. Ok I lied. It would be a sacrifice to me, but he actually likes helping out. Imagine that. He is clearly the better one between the two of us. So, like I was saying, he called me this morning and I figured it was because he left something or needed something or something. Shame on me. He was calling to ask if he could bring me Starbucks. You did not misread. Starbucks for my morning. Coffee for me. Heaven's elixir for turning bitter mornings into better mornings. How NICE is that?! He said he had a short break from setting up, so he would walk over with coffee. He came gallantly up the steps of our apartment building, toting the beloved caffeine wonder (and blueberry muffin!) with honor. Ok maybe I was still half-asleep. But he seemed like such a stallion.

I LOVE presents and thoughtful acts of kindness. I just love them. And this morning, my kindhearted husband surprised me in the most special way. It may just be coffee, but it was coffee for me. I am so thankful for his thoughtfulness. I have to brag on him. Sometimes love is hard, sometimes love is awful, but sometimes it is sacred and special and laced with the darkest roast Starbucks has to offer. I think I have a praise report for the morning service. Haaa just kidding. I don't talk in church. I just doodle.

In all seriousness, I have much to be grateful for on this blustery cold day. What's your Sunday Gratitude? Cherish it.