Turning the Page

12.31.2014


Well, 2014 has come to a close just as quickly as it arrived. It seems like I just wrote this post, but apparently, that was 365 days ago.

It can be easy to focus on the things a year wasn't. To point out the things you didn't do or say. However, in doing so, those things wouldn't get done or be said. Fresh starts and new beginnings, I believe, are one of the ways God sheds His grace on us. That with the turning of a page, we have 365 blank ones to do with what we can and will. What a blessing that is! That is what we need to focus on as this sweet year ends; the multiple opportunities we will have in the coming year to serve God more; to give mercy and grace more freely; to love better.

....................................................................

2014 was a fun year for us...
+ We went to Disney World 
+ Survived a road trip that took us through seven states 
+ Spent an evening with Eric Church
+ Went to Boone multiple times 
+ Spent cherished time with family and friends 
+ Grew up a little bit more 
+ Learned to trust God more
+ Had an incredible Christmas
+ We were reminded on a daily basis of just how blessed we are 
....................................................................

I'm looking forward to 2015 and all that it will offer as well as take a way. Andrew and I are striving to live our lives as God has called, and with that, sacrifices inevitably come. 

Another thing I'm sorta excited about/dreading is my 30th birthday (my gosh those are scary words to type)! I'm currently working on a "30 before 30" list and I can't wait to share that with y'all! 

I hope you all have a great New Years Eve and pray 2015 is a blessed year for you and your family!


Merry Monday {2014 Christmas Recap}

12.29.2014

There are no more presents under the tree. The boxes and bows have been put away. And everything with an evergreen tree or Santa on it is up to 75% off. Christmas, for seasonal purposes, has come to a close. But the most beautiful thing about the coming of the Lord, is once He is here, He stays. The Son of God did not come for a day or a long weekend; He came for eternity.
................................................

Christmas seemed sweeter than ever this year. There was no particular reason for this; I think it's just growing up a little more and recognizing how precious this time of year is and being thankful for all that it surrounds. Words could not do justice to how wonderful it was, so brace yourself for more than few pictures...

Every year, for as long as I can remember, the Saturday before Christmas is reserved for the Christmas party at my grandparents. It's a small group consisting of my grandparents, mom, aunts, me and Andrew, and it something I look forward to every single year.


This is always an afternoon filled with good food and much needed family time. It's calm and sweet and a perfect reflection of what Christmas is and should always be.

Christmas Eve is always our "travel" day...we travel to Winston-Salem for lunch and time with my side of the family before traveling back to Charlotte for what always proves to be an exciting evening with Andrew's family. Though to a degree this day can be a whirlwind, I wouldn't change a single thing. Unless of course I could slow time down...that I would definitely do!


Once back in Charlotte, we had just enough time to pick the dogs up from Andrew's parents and to change into our "tacky" attire for the evening. I realize most find the idea of tacky Christmas sweaters appealing; I am not one of those people...it's too much effort, which is why we purchased these little numbers.

However, as you can see, there were some seriously awesome tacky people roaming through the house on Christmas Eve!


With over 20 people, the evening was loud, chaotic, and overall, pretty spectacular. There was delicious food (thanks to Aunt Gloria), a hilarious game of Dirty Santa and photobooth fun! 


And we obviously had to keep tabs on Santa! It seemed like every time I checked, he was in a country I could either not pronounce or had never heard of. A world geography refresher should probably be a resolution of mine.


Once we returned to our quiet home for the night, we each opened one present and watched this classic!


Christmas day was sweetly spent together. We opened presents in the morning and simply enjoyed each others company. More food was eaten, movies were watched, naps were taken and the most wonderful day of the year was enjoyed.


I was certainly spoiled this Christmas, but this was probably one of my favorite presents.

1989 on vinyl!
I hope you each had a wonderful Christmas! Regardless of the things that weren't perfect, I hope you found peace in the imperfection.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Photobucket

Currently {Christmas Eve Edition}

12.24.2014

Currently listening to...Chris Tomlin Christmas Pandora station 

Currently drinking...coffee mixed with homemade chocolate in one of my favorite Christmas mugs

Currently waiting on...Andrew to wake up and for all the Christmas eve festivities to begin

Currently savoring...the last few days of the Christmas season and all that entails

Currently excited for...seeing sweet family members we don't see nearly enough

Currently enjoying...the stillness because in a matter or hours, anything resembling stillness or silence will be impossible to find

Currently appreciating...my wonderful husband. Though I always try to express my appreciation for him, he deserves a medal for his sweet patience with me during this time of year and for driving through the rain last night to look at Christmas lights

Currently contemplating...which Christmas movies will get watched today and tomorrow...we still have some classics to choose from (It's a Wonderful Life, The Santa Clause, Miracle on 34th Street)

Currently rejoicing in...But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." - Luke 2:10-11

Currently wishing...you and yours a very Merry Christmas!




Photobucket

Christmas Card Carousel!

12.17.2014

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)


Photobucket

Maybe Christmas Means a Little Bit More

12.16.2014

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.




Photobucket

Five on Friday!

12.05.2014

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!

Photobucket

Counting Down to Thanksgiving

11.26.2014

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.
...................................................................................................... 

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

...................................................................................................... 

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!


Photobucket

Five on Friday

11.21.2014

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.




Photobucket

A Coffee Date

11.18.2014

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!
Photobucket

Hello November

11.12.2014

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!



Photobucket

The One About Minnesota, Taylor Swift & Nashville

11.03.2014

Just as I suspected, the wonderful month of October came and went in the blink of an eye. It's truly not October's fault this time around time, though. Nope, this time, I only have my somewhat oppressive schedule to blame. However, despite the aforementioned schedule, I loved every minute of the past month. Well, some minutes at work I could've done without it, but such is life.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you've already been given a pretty good snapshot of how October looked for the most part.  If you don't follow me, then you've missed an abundant amount of pumpkins and coffee and the knowledge that I survived a road trip to Minnesota.

That's right. We drove from Charlotte to Hutchinson, Minnesota...by choice. Now, I will be the first to admit, when it comes to car rides, I am that obnoxious child person that starts asking "are we there yet?" at about hour three. Well, we went through seven states to get there, so that should tell you, it was slightly more than three hours.

Despite the hours and miles to get there, it was a really fun trip to and from. I advised my sweet, patient husband, that should he not want to feel the urge to leave me in the middle of some fly over state, we would have to make driving worth it.  To me, "worth it" meant Churchill Downs.


Full disclosure: tears came to my eyes when I saw this. I have always dreamed of going to the Kentucky Derby, but unless we win the lottery, not sure when that will happen, so this was an excellent alternative. It was awesome to see in person and walk the grounds where so much history has taken place.

Fast forward a couple of days later, we're in Hutchinson! It was a whirlwind visit, but it was so wonderful. The catalyst for this whole trip was Andrew's grandparents 60th wedding anniversary and what a celebration it was! I refuse to inundate this post with pictures, so as a compromise, here is one I got right before we left...


My birthday was last Wednesday, and I knew the only place I wanted to spend it was Nashville. So, we headed out of Minnesota on Monday...but not before stopping for one important item.


I'm still trying to get used to "pop" Taylor, but my need to be best friends with her hasn't changed a bit, so, keep that in mind should you meet her.

Poor (lucky?) Andrew had to listen to this CD way too many times from Minnesota to Tennessee, and I don't think the fact he had fair warning it could happen helped at all. Nevertheless, we made it to Nashville and had an awesome time. The last time we were there, I discovered The Well and I talk about it every chance I get. Amazing place with an even more amazing purpose. Go.  My pre-birthday supper was spent at Puckett's, and again, go. Such good food and an awesome atmosphere.


..................................................................................

I was so proud of myself the first few days of October and my blogging, but then work happened, and as the saying goes "that was all she wrote" (except, not literally in this case). While still being in shock we're in the first week of November, I am so excited for the last two months of this year.

If you made it this far, thank you for sticking with the rambling and I hope you have a wonderful Monday!

P.S. on really, really long road trips and your birthday, you can be who you want...


The one on the right says "Taylor," but I felt it was important to have my sheepish expression as a prominent aspect of this picture.


Photobucket

Not Sure This Counts...

10.14.2014

Happy Tuesday, folks! Somehow, sadly, we're halfway through this wonderful month. Despite my best efforts to slow time down, it keeps going at warp speed.  Work has me crazed for next week and half, but I felt like I needed to share what my motivation was to open my eyes this morning.


Happy Swiftober (you have to admit it's somewhat catchy. Or so annoying it's funny.)!
Photobucket

October So Far {iPhone Version}

10.07.2014

This past few days couldn't be described as exciting, but nevertheless, they have been highly enjoyable.  I've been trying to think of some witty words to go along with the pictures, but this post is truly "what you see is what you get."


//lunch with my mom on Saturday! Confession: I debated for far too long on whether or not to post this picture since it's not the best, but this blog is all about being real...


 //Fun fall polish and a cable knit sweater


//Sweet Sam and sweet Halloween pj pants


//Some seriously delicious coffee


//Coffee table is ready for fall!


//And so is the mantle!



//finding the perfect flannel shirt 


Photobucket
 
template design by Studio Mommy (© copyright 2015)