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.

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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 
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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.
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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!

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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!




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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)


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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.




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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!

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