Look Up to 2014

12.31.2013

December 31 is a funny day.  We want to look back while also looking ahead, and that's not an easy thing to do.  I was a little unsure of how 2013 would go. 2012 was definitely not my favorite year, and I was not sad to see it go.  Because of the trials and lessons last year brought, it is safe to say I was more than a little apprehensive on what this year would bring.

2013 brought forth it's own set of lessons and trials.  I know the moments I was walking through those lessons and trials, I would've traded anything to give them to someone else, but I look back on them with a thankful heart. We're only what we've lived through.

How is truly possible to use one day to look back on the previous 364...? I'm not sure, but I'll give it a try.

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In 2013....

+ we celebrated our sweet nephew's first year of life


+ we celebrated our five year wedding anniversary...


+ we went to some baseball games


+ I got a tattoo


+ I forgot I was a "grown-up" and embraced feeling 22


+ we spent time with amazing friends


+ I met a Carolina basketball player (no, I'm not exaggerating when I say this was something I'll remember about this year)


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Words and pictures can only do so much when trying to look back on the past 364 days.  Life, more often than not, cannot be explained or recapped. Life can only be lived, and I believe I did that this year. There were times of frustration and heartache, but there were also times ridiculous happiness and joy.

I have high expectations for 2014, but expect nothing. I will not settle, but I also will not pretend to know what God has in store for me or us. I will rest in His word and His promises.

:::Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today...
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still:::
Exodus 14:13-14

In 2014, I want to look up; not forward or back, but to Him for each and every step. I know there will be moments where I will feel as though I don't have the strength to lift my eyes, but in those moments, I need to remember His promises to fight for me. To be still. To wait.

I want for 2014 to be the year I stand firm in all that I do and say.  I'm tired of breaking promises to myself. I want to be brave, and I don't mean in the sense of wielding a sword, but in the sense of living my life in the way God calls me to live. 2014 needs to be the year I look back on and clearly see my feet planted in Him. For our marriage and life to be a sponge for His word.

I want 2014 to be the year I give my life up to Him. I accepted the Lord years ago, but I want to be done being selfish and doing things halfway. I vow to make 2014 to be the year I live up; a year that settling is an option for me or those I love. 

2014 could very well end up being the hardest year of my life, but I know for a fact that nothing can separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:38), and it is in that fact alone I will rest. 

I'm ready for the next 365 days. 

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Christmas {2013} Recap

12.28.2013

I am that person that says "merry Christmas" to people days after Christmas.  This wonderful holiday is one I believe should not end when then calendar moves on to the 26th.  And with that said, I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful Christmas.

Ours was amazing, but per usual, it went by way too fast. Thankfully we never have to travel far or much, so that definitely helps us to enjoy this wonderful holiday with very little stress.  It's tradition that the Saturday before Christmas is spent at my nana and papa's and it's one that I love. We eat, talk, laugh, and of course, open presents.


Part of our Christmas present to one another was to go to the Candlelight Evening at Biltmore, so Sunday afternoon, we hit the road again and made our way Asheville.  We had supper at a cute little downtown restaurant called Pack's Tavern. The food was great and I tried mulled wine for the first time. It was definitely a festive drink, but not one I would want a lot of.  Unfortunately, that night there was some torrential rain going on, so we got one picture while at the Biltmore, but it was beautiful on the inside!


Christmas eve was close to perfect.  The day started off with a trip to Winston-Salem to see my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and of course, our oh so adorable nephew.


He is very into the moon right now, so it was way excited about the pj's we got him.  I need to savor that because I'm pretty sure that will be one of the few times he'll be that excited about clothes :)  Andrew got some awesome new-old vinyl records; The Eagles and The Beatles.  Two great reasons to get a new record player!  I got an awesome Bauer calendar which will make each month of 2014 ridiculously cute.

That evening was spent celebrating alongside Andrew's side of the family.  Food was eaten, presents were opened and overall, it was a wonderful, chaotic night.

 
Andrew's grandparents gave us an amazing present of watercolor portraits of our pups! I couldn't help but shedding a tear or two when I opened it.

 

Christmas eve night and day were spent relaxing and watching movies.  It was a fantastic Christmas and I am so sad to see it go.


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Merry Christmas to all!

12.25.2013


Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


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Christmastime is Here!

12.24.2013

Sometime during my teenage years, I remember feeling less than content in the days leading up to Christmas.  I think it was that awkward time when you realize Christmas has to change from what it was when you were a kid.  But the worst part was,  you had no idea of what it would change to.

Now, at the mature old age of 28, I know that Christmas is just as magical now as it was when I would rush down to see what Santa brought...it's just a different type of magic. And in some ways, it's better.

I am soaking up and savoring every moment this wonderful season has to offer, because as always, as fast as it arrived, it'll be gone even faster...


And, if nothing else, all I really need to remember and soak up is this...

She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means "God with us." 
Matthew 1:23

Christmas is about the peace that came into this world all those years ago. It's about breathing in the simple, overwhelmingly wonderful fact that God is with us.

This year I chose peace over the rush...the quiet over the frantic...and it has made all the difference in the world.

Merry Christmas eve, y'all!


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'Twas the Week Before Christmas!

12.18.2013

I swear I feel as though I only blinked once since the last time I posted, but the calendar would have a pretty valid argument that that's not the case.

Christmas is next week, y'all! How is that possible?  I know I say that each year, but seriously, it just doesn't seem like it should already be here.  Per usual, I'm straddling the line of being excited and looking forward to all the fun that is going to be had in the coming week, while also trying to slow it all down.

So far I haven't had any luck with the slowing time down thing, but I have made a more conscious effort to slow me down.  I hope that makes sense, because I'm honestly not sure how to explain it. I've just tried to remind myself that Christmas doesn't come in a box and it certain weather doesn't have to be in place for it to be celebrated.

Something that has been a huge help with adjusting my mindset is Ann Voskamp's advent devotional, The Greatest Gift.


I will say this; this book will bless you and stretch you, and I highly recommend it.
God gives God. That is the gift God always ultimately gives. Because nothing is greater and we have no greater need, God gives God. God gives God, and we only need to slow long enough to unwrap the greatest Gift with our time: time in His Word, time in His presence, time at His feet. - Ann Voskamp

Something else we did this year, and by we, I really mean Andrew, was recreating this sign I saw on Pinterest last year. I knew I wanted to make something similar, however, this presented a slight problem since I have not a single ounce of crafting ability.  Enter my incredibly talented husband.

Side note: I just want to take a minute to say just how thankful I am for Andrew. He is more amazing that I can say and I don't say it enough to him. He's strong, caring, understanding, and puts up with my often times crazy ways. 

He took the time to cut the boards, find a font I would want, and then took a razor blade to do each letter. Did I mention I think he's awesome? :) I absolutely LOVE the finished product


Now the only problem is figuring out where to put it...a few people have been kind enough to offer up their homes as an option. I have kindly turned their offers down :)

In the final seven days (SEVEN DAYS, PEOPLE!) leading up to the most joyous of holidays, I hope each and everyone one of you feel loved and at peace. This is a wonderful time of year and I want to spread and soak up as much Christmas cheer as possible!



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Hello December and Happy Tuesday!

12.03.2013

Hello December and happy Tuesday, my friends! I hope and trust each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was filled with amazing food and much needed/wanted time with family.  As I mentioned, more than once, I think Thanksgiving is one awesome holiday, and this year reinforced that thought more than ever.

Sadly, I didn't take any pictures of the aforementioned amazing food, but I did get some of my ridiculously adorable nephew.


Does he not make the cutest turkey EVER? The answer is yes, and no, I'm not biased :)

The only not so great part of Thanksgiving, was that Andrew had to come back home to Charlotte to take care of the dogs.  Because of Dani's surgery, we just didn't feel comfortable asking anyone to watch her.  After he left, and my brother and sister in law went on to their next stops, I made myself comfortable on the couch to watch football, Harry Potter, and eat pumpkin pie.

Way better than standing in any sort of line in my opinion.

Friday morning, I woke up to an email from sweet Ashley letting me know I won her Blue Nile giveaway! Y'all. I never win anything, and so getting that email caused some serious excitement. And, to top it off, I just love this bracelet!

via

The remainder of Friday and Saturday consisted of spreading bits of Christmas cheer around our home. This is one thing I just can't imagine not loving. As much as I love Thanksgiving, the Christmas season cannot be topped.


We finished off our weekend by getting to see the Panthers win their 8th straight game! Sadly, this is the first game we've made it to all season, but at least we got to witness a franchise record.


It was an awesome weekend from start to finish, and the perfect way to usher in December!

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