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10 Reasons Not to Get A Dog This Christmas


A simple list for our tenants…


Depending on the size and breed dogs can live to be 6-15 years.  At some point they will die and you and your kids will be sad.



Okay, so you aren’t ready to think about the dog dying… it’s young and has a full life ahead… that is until it gets hit, bit or sick and then…



Speaking of liking your money… you also don’t have to worry about spending your money on any of this nonsense…



You won’t have to deal with guilt like this…



I mean who doesn’t have allergies now a days… and if you don’t your guest might.

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You know because who doesn’t like the sound of uncontrollable barking?





Nothing ruins family time faster than arguing over who’s turn it is to clean up poop.

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Don’t share the name of your potential dog to make it more personal and harder for your landlord to say no.




Well there you have is… ten reasons you shouldn’t be getting a dog this Christmas (or ever depending on how you look at it), but I assume you could just as easily come up with a “10 Reasons To Get A Dog This Christmas” and since your landlords are the bomb

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… go get your Christmas dog… welcome to the family Dakota!

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(you owe us)

In the swing… Word!

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It’s almost back to everything season and I am feeling like I better get {in the swing} of things before I get swallowed by the pending tsunami of activity Fall brings. I love Summer because everything kind of gets put on hold. School, extracurricular activities, laundry… you name it… it can be paused for the sake of fun, exploration or flat out doing nothing at all.

But Fall, be it glorious for so so many reasons, means the starting back up of just about everything (for families at least). Before that crazy ensues lets focus. Before Back to School Nights… and mounds of homework that aren’t just signatures and get to know you’s… and full blown practices, rehearsals and games… and mid-week small groups… and you name it… before it’s a full rat race there is a lull in time where you’re kind of still warming up and stretching your muscles to get in position for “go time.”

That is Pre-Season Fall.

This time between back to school and actual Fall (aka. the first three weeks of September) is Pre-Season Fall (PSF)… and PSF is prime time wiggle room that can’t be wasted because it can help set the stage of real Fall. Not just in decorations and smells but also in habits and routines… hopefully some that you haven’t let go of altogether in the name of Summer… but even if that is you, now is the time to revamp. Stick with me.

Here are five habits/routines we are getting {in the swing} of by either continuing, spicing up or kick-starting them at the Great Griffin home during PSF:

  1. Early Morning Time in the Word [Continuing]
  2. Meal Planning and Meal Prep [Kick Starting]
  3. Laundry [Spicing Up]
  4. The Witching Hour [Spicing Up]
  5. Chores [Continuing]


Thankfully I have kept this habit going throughout the Summer- in large part to the accountability I had of leading a small group. But as of fourteen days ago-ish, I only know because the days are numbered, I started going through Beth Moore’s Jesus: 90 Days with the One and Only. I am really enjoying dedicated time to studying Jesus.


Now if you need some good food for thought on “Why God Wants You to be a Morning Person” check out Renee Gotcher’s post on the subject from Here’s a little sneak read:

Time after time, when a wise Godly woman would share the vitality of her early morning quiet time with the Lord, I cringed a bit. What is the deal with early mornings? I’m just fine connecting with God in the evening, or whenever I can find time. After all, I am not a morning person.

However, all those years of springing out of bed with just enough time to react to the first activity of the day was slowly, surely wearing me down. I was becoming a tightly wound, anxious, reactionary woman who was letting the day rule me instead of God ruling the day. Apparently, a few minutes of Bible reading and saying a quick prayer before bed the night before was not cutting it, and it was becoming more obvious as life’s struggles became increasingly difficult.

Last year, I went through one of the most spiritually challenging times in my life. I began to learn about the battle for our minds, and what it means to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) and to “guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). And this battle starts the minute you wake up and consciously begin your day.

I finally understood why God wanted to meet me in the morning. Why this time was so precious to the wise women who had learned this lesson before me. And why God’s Word is filled with references to the significance of the morning…

Click here to continue reading.

What really spoke to me there was the thought that I didn’t want to be a reactionary person. That is exactly what my mornings (which turned into my days) had become.

“Mommy, I’m awwwwwaaaaaaake!”

React. Go get the kids… annoyed and snippy because they’ve woken you up… again!

“Ugh… I can’t find my ______________.”

React. Search frantically for the lost whatever while cursing the mess that you continue to clean but never seems done. 

“Crap, what are we going to eat for dinner?”

React. Try to defrost something… anything… quick! Forget it. Run out and grab fast food… which is infinitely harder to think about pulling off in Italy… which makes you question why on earth you decided to move here… which leaves you dealing with a way messier can of worms.  

Reaction, after reaction, after reaction that was simply out of my control…. or at least it felt out of control. But enough! I can start my day fresh and ahead of the game if I build in enough time to heat up my vanilla chai and get into God’s word, do a devotion, pray or simply listen to a worship song. Waking up earlier has allowed me to have time in the morning to sit… and be still… and enjoy God.

Game changer.

So that tsunami of Fall activity that is heading my way will have to take a back seat because I’m letting God take the lead and steer my day. BUT the key is beating my kids to the buzzer… getting up before they do… because nothing swings my mood faster than kids who are up and at it before I can muster enough strength to start dealing with that hot mess.

So what are you waiting for? Set that alarm and get up! (This may mean needing to go to bed earlier… but we can leave that crazy talk for another day).

Tomorrow (or next) I’ll run down of how we’ve kick started Meal Planning and Meal Prep (trust me I have been dragging my feet kicking and screaming about this one… BUT there is more freedom in the meal planning game than I’ve been ready to admit).

How have you started getting back in the swing of things? What will you be continuing, spicing up or kick-starting this Fall?

The Great Adventure Begins

2016 has arrived! The new year is a time for new beginnings, new goals and a new sense of adventure.  It’s also time to reflect on what happened in the past year.  What did you learn? What choices did you make?  How do they affect you and your family?  Would you change anything?  If so, how are you going to make those changes in the coming year?

I remember growing up when a  new semester at school would start.  The report cards had already come out from the previous semester and now you get to start fresh.  It was exhilarating.  A load was taken off and you could feel a lightness in your step.  A big test or final was behind you and you could look forward to a blank slate.  As an adult I don’t have very many fresh starts anymore.  Many of the years blend together each looking somewhat like the last.  Sure there were big changes but it is often hard to appreciate them as they are happening and it’s rare to take a moment and reflect on them.

This is your moment right now.  It is 2016.  It is a fresh start!  Kick those bad habits.  Clean out the garage. Lose that weight that’s been bogging you down.  Have that conversation with your boss that you keep putting off.  Make the career move that you’ve always wanted.  Brush up your resume and put yourself out there.

I had a moment like this, only it was exactly a year ago in 2015. The ramifications of that decisions are finally being realized right now at the beginning of 2016.

Ever since I started working at the federal government I knew that there were opportunities to work overseas.  Every year someone that had done it would give a presentation on what life over there is like, what the benefits are and what people considering it should be concerned about.  When I first heard the presentation I was excited.  Wow that could be me living in Spain or Italy for a 3 year duration and still have my job when I get back to the U.S.  What an adventure!  However, when I started with the Federal Government in 2008 I was just an intern and needed to complete a two year program before I could even think of pursuing anything like that.  I was also working on my Master’s degree and was not going to pursue anything until that was finished.  The years came and went.  I got my Master’s degree, Marghee and I had two more kids and all of the sudden it was the end of 2012.

I had a temporary promotion at the time and I wanted to use my new experience to catapult me into a better position.  I started to put my resume out there as I knew that I had a short window of opportunity to interview at my higher grade level to use that to my advantage.  This was the first time I started seriously considering overseas work.  Why not?  I had been with the Government close to 5 years at that time and it was something that I had always wanted to do.  I applied to both Italy and Spain and got interviews for both.  They checked my references and I thought I had a good shot at the jobs. That was until the government shut down and the Navy had a hiring freeze that lasted nearly a year.  Only those that were offered jobs before the freeze could get hired.  The door closed for overseas work during that time.

In the mean time, I decided to apply for some federal jobs that were not with the Navy and was able to get one at my current command.  The hiring process for my current job took awhile but I started a new job in December of 2013.  After I had been at my current job for a year I started looking at overseas work again.  A couple of my old work buddies had been applying and Marghee and I were talking about it.  I was also praying about it as it happened to be Seek Week- the first full week of the year where our church takes time to fast and seek the Lord and His direction. At the end of that week, I decided to apply for the job that we are getting ready to leave for tomorrow.  I accepted the official offer for  job in Italy that will be a 3 tour in June however orders didn’t come until late September and passports and other paperwork got delayed pushing our move date to mid January.

We just recently had Seek Week again and it was great to reflect on the changes that happened in the past year while preparing to leave for something that the Lord put on our hearts during the previous year’s Seek Week.  Don’ be afraid to do something daring this year, I say this even while I am apprehensive of what is in store for us over the next three years.  Be bold and listen to what the Lord is calling you to do.

I am sad to be leaving friends and family, but I am glad that it is only for a moment.  I think about how fast high school was and how, although it was four years, it went by in a blur.  We will be gone for three years but will be back before you know it.  We pray we will grow together as a family and grow closer to the Lord as we will be totally reliant on Him.  He has already worked in amazing ways throughout this process.

  1. The Lord provided us with excellent renters for our house for three years.  Get this, we approached the renters on a Friday just wondering if they would be interested in our home and it turns out they were listing their house for sale that next Monday and looking to rent in the same area that our house is in.
  2. The Lord provided a car from a very unlikely source when we didn’t have one.
  3. My parents have been able to house us while we have been in this state of limbo with our stuff shipped overseas and our house being rented.
  4. Our kids were able to complete a full school semester here and we will move in time for them to start the new semester in Italy without eating into the second semester at all (the first semester doesn’t end until January 28th in Italy).

These are just a few huge ways the Lord has used friends and family and his perfect timing to see us through it all thus far and we haven’t even started!

I am looking forward to how the Lord will use us and how our family will do on this great adventure.  Please keep us in your prayers.  We love you.  Arrivederci!