12.17.2014

Christmas Card Carousel!

It's safe to say our Christmas card is a big deal to me because I start thinking about what picture could be used in said card during a month that does not even have a "r" in it.  The picture is key; it has to be relaxed, while still intentional. Planned, but not staged.

This is the kind of over thinking Andrew gets to experience on an every day basis.

Once this intentional, yet not staged picture has been placed into whatever I have deemed the "perfect" design, this topic is laid to rest...for at least four months.  This year, I may have taken advantage of every "get (insert number here) cards free!" offer, which may mean we may have had four different cards...is the number really important?  Not to worry, though, I will only show my favorite.


I love wishing a "Merry Christmas" to family and friends we don't see much and even those we see on a regular basis in this deliberate way. Despite the over thinking, this process is a joy for me from start to finish, and I love coming home to Christmas cards from others.  Opening your mailbox to see cards from someone you love (or maybe only like) is such a blessing for me. 

Snail mail is the way to this girls heart.

(Christmas Card Carousel link up with Faith)


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12.16.2014

Maybe Christmas Means a Little Bit More

Advent. The coming. We're all making way for one of the most precious days of the year by cleaning our homes and filling up stockings. In all of the hustle and self proclaimed pressure, we prepare for everything this day is and isn't. And in all of the preparing and over abundant amount of merry and brights, we're all reminded we live in a hurting, temporary world.

Life can be messy and painful and, sometimes, straight up awful. And in this season of preparing room and joyful noises, the mess and the pain are magnified, and the lights don't twinkle and shine; they glare.

However.

Christ is here. In the hustle, the hurt, He is here. He is what we're preparing for.

It's easy to miss Christmas. With the loud commercials, Pinterest-induced feelings of failure and the constant reminder that life is happening in the midst of the bows, we can get lost. Silent nights turn into chaotic races and we forget to take pause. To be still. To remember that Christmas is more than the manger; it's the cross.

There have not been enough words created to heal the wounds, but at the cross, there were wounds created to heal.

Don't let Christmas escape you. Don't let bitterness and pain prevent you from seeing the gift that was given to each of us all of those years ago. All the things you are longing for this season (joy, peace, hope, love), they are here. He is here.

Make the final weeks of this year count. Look for the opportunities to serve, to bless, to find joy. Choose to see the blessings and joy despite everything this world is doing to hide them. There is no formula for the "perfect" Christmas. Life and families don't stop being messy in the final four weeks of the year, and there is no reason to expect that to happen. Boxes can be made pretty with shiny paper and enough tape, but I don't think that will work on any member of your family (but should you try, let me know how it goes).

What will work, though? Choosing to be ridiculously thankful you have a family to celebrate and spend time with. Despite the mess or potential drama; it's family. They are the biggest opportunity we have to live out Christ's love.

I started this post with some pictures of our living room...I had no idea this is where it would go, but here we are. It is my sincerest hope and prayer each of you feel and know that love and grace is here today and every day. That in this dwindling month, hope is growing and time is being taken to pause and remember miracles happen anywhere. Love was born in a manger and can meet you wherever you are.




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12.05.2014

Five on Friday!

Thanksgiving has come and gone and our halls are fully decked! I had every intention of doing a Thanksgiving recap post, however, that clearly isn't going to happen. Seems the next best thing is incorporate it into this post...

one. Thanksgiving was awesome and I loved every minute of it! Having the chance to spend time with our sweet family and friends while also enjoying amazing food...I'm not sure it gets any better. 


two. A byline! If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don't, please do!), you may have seen this...


I was contacted by the Communications Manager at the CRVA a couple of months ago to write this piece, and it was published earlier this week! I was probably obnoxiously excited, but I'm okay with that. 

three. CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS (more to come on this)!


four. Pretty coffee. If you are in or near Charlotte, make a point to visit It's Not Just Coffee at the 
7th Street Public Market.


five. My sweet friend, Caroline, and I enjoyed supper and the Uptown Charlotte Christmas tree lighting! And any time I get a picture Ramses, it's a good day.


Happy Friday!

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11.26.2014

Counting Down to Thanksgiving

I used to think "thanksgiving" posts were somewhat run of the mill and perfunctory, and, maybe they are if that's how you choose to look at them. However, I think taking the time to reflect, write out and actively give thanks, is like writing a love letter to God.

When I pause to take stock of my life, I just have to shake my head. My cup overflows. Each day, I have more to be thankful for than I did the day before. My husband, our dogs, our family, our health, our jobs; I have more than I could ever need and want. It is that reason I want to push myself every day, not just the fourth Thursday of November, and be purposeful in giving thanks.

Below are 14 things, in no particular order, I am super thankful for in 2014. On the surface, some of these may seem odd, and if I was asked if I was thankful about certain ones on a certain day, I may consider throwing something at you. But, without a doubt, they each serve as a reminder to me to see the blessing despite mess.
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one. A hot cup of really, really good coffee

two. Laughing until tears are streaming down my face and my belly hurts

three. Post workout aching (sometimes for days...)

four. Complaining to Andrew about his socks being left in the living room

five. Scrubbing the windows to remove the dogs "nose art"

six. The shoes that rub my toes and leave little blisters

seven. Covering my ears when Andrew decides to not regulate his volume when singing made up keys

eight. Leaves on the carpet and the repeated vacuuming it takes to get them all 

nine. Freshly laundered sheets

ten. Wrapping up in a blanket on a rainy Sunday afternoon and doing nothing

eleven. Navigating clutter in the garage and/or house

twelve. Books and music and the gift they each are

thirteen. Unloading the dishwasher to just load it again

fourteen. Being stuck in traffic on the way to/from work

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Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It's purpose, it's traditions...the food. It's kinda hard not to love and I hope and pray each of you has a wonderful one! Enjoy the day, no matter what you're doing, who you're with, what you're eating. Choose to see the gift the day brings. 


I'd love to hear something you're thankful for this year!

Happy Thanksgiving eve!


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11.21.2014

Five on Friday

Happy Friday before Thanksgiving y'all! This week has been delightfully cold which means it feels exactly as it should this time of year. My thoughts have revolved around turkey, Christmas decorations and just the sweet joy this time of year brings with it. 

one. Taylor Swift tickets. Enough said.


two. I am not one that does the whole dress up the dogs thing, but I could not resist getting our pups these Christmas bow ties! Girls can wear bow ties, right?


three. I started volunteering in a pilot program for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and I got to meet my awesome mentee this week! We've been exchanging emails for a little over a month, and getting to meet her in person confirmed she is one smart little girl with big dreams...as in, she wants to go to Harvard. Now, since I myself never had such ambitions, I had to pull out my Gilmore Girls knowledge and offer some of the same advice Rory recieved about the ivy leagues. And they say television isn't educational...


four. As I mentioned here, the She Reads Truth Thanksgiving devotional is amazing. My mornings have been so peaceful and purposeful, which is maybe the best way ever to start the day. 

five. I know many may think I'm crazy, but this weather just makes me so happy. I think between now and December 31 needs to be cold and somewhat overcast so you are always thinking it could possibly snow. Also, I think winter accessories may be a love language for me.




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11.18.2014

A Coffee Date

Friends, I am a firm believer one of the best things people can do is sit, talk and just be with one another. Throw in a good cup of coffee (or tea!), and it's pretty close to Heaven on Earth for me. And as much as I would love to have a coffee date with you on this frigid Tuesday morning, this will have to do for now...


If we were having coffee, I'd tell you about the She Reads Truth study, In Everything, Give Thanks, that just started and how I've been looking forward to it since I heard about it.  This time of year can get away from me (and maybe you too) if I don't make it a priority. For the past few weeks, I've started each morning with coffee and these devotionals, and I cannot begin to express what a blessing it has been

I'd also mention, no less than 17 times, how I can't believe we're into the latter half of November. Thanksgiving is next week. This is just my favorite time of year, but I always hate the accelerated pace life seems to take on between now and December 31. I would ask you if you have a way to slow it down, and in return, buy you another cup of coffee.

If we were having coffee, I'd ask you how you were. Truly. Though the season for merry and bright is right around the corner, life still happens and sometimes, life is dull and hard. I'd ask if there was anything I could do to serve you and pray for you.

If we were having coffee, chances are, I'd bring up our nephews and dogs a lot. And proceed to show you pictures you didn't ask to see...


Inevitably, Taylor Swift would get brought up. I cannot promise this would happen only once, but I would try to keep myself in check. I would make you question my sanity by telling you how close I was to losing it a few weeks ago (at work no less) when Ticketmaster thought it would be a good idea to have all the cities presales at the. same. time. It was awesome.

When our coffee date would come to an end, I would give you a big squeeze and ask for us to do this again soon!

Love you friends and I hope you have a wonderful, WARM Tuesday!
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11.12.2014

Hello November

Hello to the month that...


...started 12 days ago and is rushing by as quickly as it arrived.

...brings shorter days and colder weather.

...makes it socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music and welcomes and encourages reflective moments of thankfulness.

...makes me giddy just thinking of all the goodness it brings. 

...has me over analyzing Christmas card designs and finalizing present ideas. 

...starts the wonderful overlap of football and basketball. 

...brings back the Starbucks Red Cup!

...reminds me to embrace everything this year has brought so far and to enjoy what is to come. 

Happy November...12 days in and all!



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