Saturday, October 25, 2014

Joy in the Harvest.

Recently, I have a lot of people to say to me:

"It sure is an exciting time to live in Mississippi!"

These comments are based upon the fact that the two big state schools happen to be in the top 3 in the college football rankings. As y'all know, State is currently #1 in the country.

We tailgated in Starkville a few weekends ago as we wanted to support the local team, but I literally had NO maroon to wear.

I had to explain to those questioning my apparel, that well, I wake up on Saturdays and..I put on orange. Plus, anything in the red family is just not in my color wheel and most likely never will be. Sorry bout it.

This guy pulls it off well though...untucked and all. Ahem.

Honestly though, football or not, it is an exciting time to be in Mississippi.

I think a lot of times I overlook the sweetness of our life that is now. Always one to look forward to Friday, or our next road trip, or when I get to that place in work, or home, or life in's important to take the time to live in the NOW. In the everyday. Right here at this beautiful season.

In the random get-togethers on Saturday mornings with some best friends and their babies. 
Babies with the most kissable little lips and double chins.

On my everyday walks where look...there's a LITTLE glimpse of Fall!

During the chilly, early morning quiet time snuggles.

In the Tuesday morning (one pump of pumpkin) office surprises.

At the small group turned Bible study with soup by the bonfire.

Under the Friday night lights...where we survived a good ole 'sippi storm.

At the farewell party where we cancelled our dinner reservations and ordered pizza in so that our time together wouldn't be interrupted.

...and the guys could show off their fall-time flannel. ;)

It's a beautiful time of year and a great time to be thankful for all we have.
Yep, there sure is joy in the harvest!

"The people who had been living in darkness
have seen a great light
The light of life has shined on those who dwelt
in the shadowy darkness of death
And you, God, will make it happen
you bolstered the nation, making it great again
you have saturated it with joy
everyone is in full delight in your presence,
like the joy they experience at the harvest"
Isaiah 9:1-3 (The Voice)
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cold Tangerines.

To my surprise and delight, I was given my own copy of Cold Tangerines recently (thank you, sweet Amanda!). I devoured most of it during a pedicure the other week, and finished the rest on my lunch breaks.

As y'all know, I loved me some Bread & Wine, and am always referring to it for quotes and delicious recipes. I loved this book so much as well, and left it highlighted and bookmarked. You should definitely check it out for a funny, enlightening read on faith and living life to its fullest.

I'll leave you with some quotes I loved:

"I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad He gave life to someone who loves the gift, who will use it up and wring it out and drag it around like a favorite sweater."

"When we do the hard, intimate work of friendship,
we bring a little more divine into daily life."

"Today is your big  moment. Moments, really. The life you've been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you've been having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us...pull off the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted."

"You are more than dust and bones. You are spirit and power and image of God. And you have been given today."


So, so grateful for this sweet life we have been given! There is so much to stop and take in, to enjoy, and to share with others. I hope you get a chance to read this and enjoy!

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." 
John 10:10

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In the Kitchen.

Hey peeps! 

The weather is finally cooling off, and I've been trying some new recipes that provide comfort without, bloat. ;)

In my seeking, I've stumbled upon some great finds that I'd love to share if you're in need of some inspiration. As always, please judge the food based off the recipe, not my less than mediocre food photography. 

Stacked Enchilada Casserole
Makes a lot and makes for some GREAT leftovers. Also, this is gluten free.

Zucchini Pizza "Boats"
Will make this over and over! Such a fun alternative!

Jalapeno Cheddar Turkey Burgers (with Alexia sweet potato fries and kale salad)
I did these in the skillet. Andrew STILL talks about them.

Tomato and Spinach Pasta Bake
This was almost too easy. And delicious. I doubled the amount of pasta (whole box of wheat penne) and doubled the amount of cream cheese (1/2 a block). I mixed it all up and put it in a 9x13 baking dish, topped with some italian blend cheese, and baked for 20 minutes. My small group DEVOURED this.

PW's Kale and Orange salad with creamy orange dressing
I'm always looking for new salad recipes, as we have one pretty much every night. This was DELIGHTFUL and I cannot wait to re-make the dressing over and over!

PW's Potato Soup
A classic.

Healthy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole (does not "taste healthy" ;)) *Recommendation though, follow the rice cooking instructions from the box, not this recipe..CRUNCH. The dijon sauce was deliciouuuusss and I might make for other dishes as well.

Spicy Pulled Pork tacos in the Slow Cooker
Another one the small group loved and makes a lot. I froze the leftovers and made burritos with it later.

Have you been making anything good lately?

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Chattanooga Fun.

The other weekend we met my parents in Chattanooga, Tennessee for a long weekend/mini vacation.

We had the best time seeing the sights, eating, and just spending time together!

If you're thinking about visiting Chattanooga, here are my recommendations (as pictured above. with links below). Most are food-based, because well, ya know me:

Hennen's restaurant- great service, cool atmosphere, wonderful food, and fun martinis!

Big River Grille & Brewing works- that salad (the chicken waldorf) was oh-so delicious. Oh, and the guys enjoyed the beer sampler!

Hair of the Dog Pub- another fun atmosphere with lots of craft brews on tap...and good food ;) be sure to sit outside on the porch to enjoy the great weather

Duck Boat Tours- fun ride with lots of cool facts about the history of Chattanooga and the Tennessee River

The Walnut Street Bridge- beautiful views of the river and city! we walked through the art district to the bridge, then took the bridge over Coolidge Park to the North Shore area

Stone Cup Cafe- a GREAT little find in North Shore. perfect iced coffee, friendly baristas, and in a neat part of town away from the hustle...

Lookout Mountain and Ruby Falls- beautiful scenery and a fun adventure!

We had a blast exploring a new place and hope to go back again soon!

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Oh Bethel, Ya do it again.

Hi, friends!

I hope that this week has met you with joy, or that you are choosing joy over what may be trying to take it away. Some weeks are just like that, huh?

It has been a busy one for us (aren't they always after vacation?), but has been so, so good, too.

I am trying to catch up on some blogs- some pics from our trip, some fun recipes I've made, and just some other tidbits...but for now I wanted to share this beautiful song. I just need to share it.

As you all know, I am a huge fan of Jesus Culture and Bethel Music. I mean LOVE. Like get on your nerves talking about them love. Which you kind of have to love them to be committed to their always-six-minutes-and-then-some-long jams. Which for me always turn in to a good fifteen-ish minutes because I am all goosebumpy and crying and needing to listen just a little while longer pleeeease.  

I loved listening to this before work this morning and feeling peace and assurance from HIM. Not to sound like super dork Christian, but do you ever just like to close your eyes and let the sounds and the lyrics wash over you, literally washing out the sounds of your thoughts, your worries, your to-do list? *raises hands like the little wannabe charismatic that I am*

Man, I can't wait to sound like Kim Walker and now, maybe Kristene DiMarco in Heaven! Laugh.


Y'all are the best and I love ya-
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Happy Fall!

Happy Fall! I'm so thankful for the upcoming season!

loving what all this week has brought us so far...

-A celebratory homemade sign using some wood I found on my neighbor's curb (sanded, stained, painted)
-65 degrees on my morning walks
-White chicken chili and cornbread for my small group last night (Tuesday nights are my favorite!)
-Wearing booties and jeans to church on Sunday (and watching the finest bass player on the planet ;).)
-A tennis game at the MUW for date night
-Beautiful flowers from the one and only K-roger..and a new Aspen Bay candle
-Warm, soft blankets and snuggles
-The opening of C-Town's Starbucks (I still can't believe it) and iced coffees with one pump of pumpkin (it is still a nice 85 degrees midday. gotta love the south)
-Back porch sitting while reading my newest book, Jesus Feminist


a lower electricity bill! can I get an amen?!

We are headed to Chattanooga after work today for a fun, fall vacation with my parents. Sooooo excited to explore a fun new town and take in the start of Autumn!

Love ya, mean it-
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Friday, September 19, 2014


Happy Friday, Friends.

We've had so many "happies" that I've been meaning to share on here for awhile now.

I am still unsure to where August and the beginning of September decided to run. The beginning of our summer seemed to move at a nice slow pace, and the fall (despite it still being 94 degrees here) is moving like a freight train- not that that surprises me in the least. I am sure this train is only going to continue to gain speed, so I hope to relish every fun memory we are making, taking advantage of all the opportunities we have been given.

Towards the end of last month, I was able to fly to the Carolinas for a quick trip to visit my parents and gather with long-time friends at a beautifully southern engagement party.

We love these two and are so excited to be a part of their wedding next summer!

While I was gone, Andrew enjoyed a weekend of outdoor fun. Scout girl had a great time too, as she loves swimming and roaming free (while still staying close to her peeps, thankfully).

But obviously she missed me due to the amount of smiles and snuggles that erupted upon my return to the homestead. At least I like to believe that. Love this stinker so much.

Over labor day weekend we ventured to Nashville with some Air Force friends. We explored the famous Broadway area and then celebrated at the wedding of some new, precious friends. The crazy rain didn't keep away the fun we had! The sweet couple are now both in Columbus and living downtown (where ALL the cool kids live. cough cough) in an adorable loft apartment. We had a great time hosting them for dinner last night and I'm looking forward to some fun times with them in the future. 

 The first weekend of this month we traveled (together this time :)) back to the best state in the union. This time to stay with one of our favorite couples in Greenville and to go to the first Clemson home game. We were able to reunite with lots of friends, and even score (amazing) free tickets. So grateful!
It was hot that day, but I had forgotten how wonderful blue ridge mountain breezes feel...bliss.  

There's not many romances better than a Clemson one, amiright? ;)

 Last weekend AC was out of town on a cross-country flight. I had a date with my favorite little guy over popcorn and the movie, Turbo. I can't tell you how fun it was to hang out with a polite and funny four-year-old after dealing with grumpy adults at work all week. :)

On Saturday, I helped with some last-minute details for a wedding here in town. It was beautiful!

 So many sweet moments to capture! So many reasons to be grateful.

What fun memories have y'all be making?
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why I Work.

Recently at a cookout with Andrew's work friends, I met and chatted with a fellow pilot wife. She was very nice and it was fun talking with her. After awhile, she asked if I was going to an upcoming "spouse club" function to which I said no. I then felt the need to immediately explain that I was unable to make most of the get-togethers because they're held when I am at my job. I even threw in the fact that I try to make the evening ones, because they are a fun way to meet new people. Why I can't just be ok with a boundary of a simple "no" is still a situation for me. I'm trying! She then looked at me and said "oh yea that's right, I do hear that you work a lot."

I know that this girl meant no offense, and I am still unsure how she heard  I worked a lot, but needless to say, this is not the first time my working full-time has been met with a little...tension. I am normally not sensitive to these things, but that night I walked away feeling confused and weird and honestly, a little ashamed like I was doing something wrong. I wanted to say "Yes, I work, but I mean it's no big deal, I am not that important."  I quickly took a harmless comment to another level, feeling like something needed to be added to get me "off the hook". Such "needed" justification is downgrading and well it is just DUMB.

This hasn't really been an issue with me until lately, because of all of the ladies over the course of my life who have taught me, encouraged me, loved me, and inspired me, most work in some capacity. Ok, I'll say it, I get a little excited that I have access to such a plethora of wisdom- nurses, marketing directors, accountants, teachers, consultants, entrepreneurs, office managers, attorneys- some single, some married, some mamas. The women in my life that I really look up to have always encouraged my working and shown me what it looks like to balance family and jobs and everything else on their plates. Am I suggesting that it is wrong not to work? No way! Girlfriend, do what is best for you and your peeps. However, I have learned since the ripe, wise (ha) age of 16, that working can be a GREAT thing.  So fellow ladies, let's encourage one another in our "outside of the home" endeavors, if that is what they so choose. 

So while I may have been thrown a little off by this one gal's (unintentional, I am sure) statement, I know that working is the best thing for me, and I am honored and grateful to work. Some days when work is stressful or I haven't seemed to do a thing right that day, I come home and journal why I am grateful to be working. I'd love to share some of my thoughts with you and maybe encourage you if you're working and thinking similar things like, "What's it worth?"or "Am I really, truly making a difference?"

Working gives me a sense of confidence. When I was younger, I lacked a lot of confidence. I was always scared of saying the wrong thing or disappointing others. I often hid my insecurities behind humor, an array of activities, and being around other people who did most of the talking. Laugh. ;) To this day I still have insecurities (who doesn't), but I love that at work I am thrown in to a situation (normally followed by some fear. maybe even some sweating.) and that I normally come out on top after some determination and a lot of grace. Sure, there are bumps along the way. I've also found that confidence grows through humility. There are days when I think, "Did I just fake my way through law school?" I don't have all the answers. I mess up often.Yet, I know with God's help, and with my not being afraid to ask others for help, I am able to get things accomplished for the betterment of others.  I love that I can advocate for causes I believe in and see things happening (even if slowly). When I rely on his strength, not my own and trust him with the tasks before me, the end result is amazing.

Working enables me to work with others towards a common goal. As an extrovert, I am given energy through meeting with others. I love being able to get together with a new person, learn their goals and objectives, and then work together to meet those objectives. I love being given a problem and helping solve it. Seeing the smile of a client who months ago was facing a terribly stressful, sometimes even painful, situation is one of the most rewarding experiences.

Working helps me sleep better at night. At the end of the work day, I am tired, both mentally and physically. I tend to be a full-throttle type, filling my schedule and looking for tasks to tackle. Working helps me get out my energy. It helps me end the day with at least one (sometimes TINY) accomplishment. I sleep better at night literally because my wound-up energy has been released through work.

Working gives me a salary to save towards the future. I will be candid here and say that we live off one salary in our home. It's just a goal we decided upon when we were first engaged and doing our premarital "budget homework", and that is what works for US (not everyone. no preaching here). I am so grateful to be taken care of by a hard-working provider! Yet, I love the opportunity to bring in another salary in case something were to happen with A or his job or who-knows-what. I love putting back a paycheck that I was able to earn to save for well, who knows? We could be saving for our future house, our children's college, an adoption, a special needs child, my leaving work to raise said future children full-time, another degree (NOT for this chick!!), a business venture, an emergency. Or heck, we could end up giving it all away...we just don't know at this point. But I do know that my salary is God-given and he will direct us at the right time, and I am thankful he has given me a job with which we can save extra money for whatever the future may bring.

Working gives me a salary to have fun with in the present. In the spirit of lightheartedness, I admit that it's also nice to be able to have a little spending moo-la as well. I love that I no longer have to say, "Happy Birthday, Andrew! Here's the present I bought for you...(with the money you had to work for)." YALL! Obviously there was nothing said aloud to that effect by either of us, but that just felt SO wrong last year! Laugh :) Despite our sharing of accounts, it's nice to be able to take some cash out of "my stash" to gift someone, to donate to a cause on our hearts, to travel, or...ya know, go to Target and Starbucks and other white girl delights without guilt.

Working opens the door for me to share the gospel outside of my comfort zone. I recently listened to a podcast by a pastor in Texas. He shared that "Christian work" is not just done by those working directly with a church or a ministry. If you are working, and you love Jesus, that work is "Christian work" and has been given to you to be: Christian fulfilling (ex. "Lawyers take the God-given, raw materials of justice and put them in to laws and ensure such laws." Cool!), Excellence pursuing (for the glory of God), Holiness reflecting (using the highest standards), Redemption displaying (not for our advancement, but for building others up), and Mission advancing (sharing Jesus). I really loved what he said at the end, "Evangelism is doing normal life with gospel intentionality." Do I go in to work spouting verses and singing the newest Hillsong jam aloud for everyone to hear? Do I put "Jesus loves you" on my letterhead? No. But I do pray that my boss, my clients, my colleagues, and any other human being walking through my door would see the love and grace of Jesus in my day-to-day work. Work gives me the opportunity to leave my house every morning and greet a face with  gospel intentionality and love. I am not always the best at it, but I am given the opportunity, and for that I am thankful.

I don't know what the future holds, but I know for now God has me in this season, the season of working. If you are working today and feeling down or you're having a hard time seeing God's purpose in your job (we all have those days, sister friend), please know you ARE making a difference and you are equipped to do great things where you've been placed! I am rootin' for ya.

 What about your work makes you grateful?

Thanks always for reading-
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop.

Hello sweet friends.

Rachel and me on our NOLA adventure. Miss this girl tons!

Did everyone have a nice long weekend? I cannot believe that it is September.

We had a great time at a wedding in Nashville and enjoyed the Monday off work yesterday!

So hey. I was invited to do a blog hop by Rachel, my former neighbor and forever friend who I talk about (and MISS) so, so often. The blog hop is basically a big networking of bloggers, which we pass along on our blog sites. So today I will tell a little about Rachel as well as three other bloggers. I met Rachel when we first moved to Columbus, as she lived right next door. In the short months we were neighbors we became close friends and I am so glad that we met! She is an incredibly talented quilter and her blog is amazing. I love reading Quiltineering for a number of reasons- mainly to one, keep up with her adventures in the Air Force and two, to look at all of her beautiful projects! Check her out here. Thank you so much for featuring me Rachel and for being a life-long friend even through distance! You are such a joy!

I'd also like to share some other great blogs written by some of my favorite women.

Sweetpea Lifestyle blog by Ashley.

Ashley is a beloved close friend and is the best little Southern party planner extraordinaire. I love reading her blog to find new recipes, party ideas, and organizational tips. It's also great to keep up with life in one of my favorite places, Asheville. :) Love you, AEB!

Legally Lovely by Emma. 

I "met" Emma via the blogisphere during our first year of law school. I feel like I know her due to our mutual love for Mexican food, travel adventures, and You've Got Mail. It's been great to have an email life-line to another first year attorney. Her blog has amaaaazing photographs and I love reading about her fun times "up North". Laugh. ;) Emma, if I could send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils, I would!

This Wonderful Life by Stephanie.

Steph is a sweet family member with an amazing eye for photography. I LOVE checking her blog because I know she will be consistent in posting wonderful pictures of her sweet kiddies! I love how she documents so much of their lives and I wish I remembered to take the time to do the same. I could definitely learn a lot from her in the blogging and photo departments! ;)

So now I'm supposed to feature what I have been "working on".

As you know, this blog space does not really carry a specific theme. I am not a food blogger, or a lifestyle blogger, and I am most definitely not a fashion or photography blogger. ;) However, I would like to blog more consistently, sharing snippets of our life and specifically sharing what I am learning during these seasons of transitions in life and growth in my faith. What does that  look like exactly? I am unsure, but I am excited to see my next steps in writing.

So, for baby steps, I'll be working on blogging my thoughts on good books, motivating sermons and podcasts, fun jams, house projects, some yummy recipes, and whatever else I remember to share on this ole blog! Mainly, I am just working on blogging MORE (as is always the case! ;))

Thanks for reading, y'all! Please go visit my friends and support their blogging efforts!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Clemson Pallet Sign.

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

I wanted to share our Wednesday work in progress, our Clemson pallet sign that will go in our office.

I cannot believe August is almost over and that football season is starting tomorrow! Wow that went by fast, but I can't wait to start cheering our Tigers.

So, for the sign we used:

An old pallet from our friend's work
Minwax dark walnut stain
Some paint I had in my craft box

Andrew (kindly, patiently) tore the slats from the pallet and I (not so graciously) tore away the remaining staples.
Andrew placed the slats together in a row and screwed them in place.
I stained the wood with two coats and let it sit overnight.
Andrew painted the amazing blue ridge mountains and helped "grid out" the words for me- which come from our alma mater.

I still need to go over the words one more time and then apply the sealant, and I can't wait for the finished product! Love fun little projects like this.

And I can't wait to be back in this place in less than two weeks!
Where the Blue Ridge yawns its greatness...

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Life Lately.

The dog days of summer. How wonderful you have been.

As we are traveling to four weddings this fall, and attempting to make it to more than one Clemson game this season, we decided to lay back these past few months. We managed to sneak away to see some family and friends in July, but other than that, we have been soaking up the sweetness (and humidity) of our little town. It has been good for the wallets and for the soul.

We have been keeping our schedule of morning and late evening walks to escape the heat and stretch our legs.

I could cry watching this special surprise unfold. I found it from a local shop/gem (handmade buck knife that I was too scared to hold to take a good picture of. SHARP SHARP Bear Grylls style. with homemade leather holster sniffffffffff).

I loved the lunch break, back roads adventure that ensued from going pick up this said surprise. I'm discovering more of the little hideaways that the people here cherish and recommend ten times over.

We've enjoyed date night in with some "fancies" Andrew picked up for me at Whole Foods on one of his out-of-town flights. Married peeps, have you established a weekly date night? I would strongly advise (since you know, I've been married half a minute and am so wise).

I loved this fun, simple dinner party with friends, where we laughed and drank champagne and celebrated a sweet couple getting to move to Seattle.
I want to visit them already.

Of course it was dinner party turned karaoke hour.

We've been kept safe from intruders by our fervent watch dog.

And are thankful that thunderstorms don't cause any we would be out of luck I think.

I also think I love our neighborhood a little more each day.
Honestly, you pray for God to give you community and watch it come in ten-fold. My my.

We found a new Thai place in town (watch outtttt nowww).
They grow their basil in the front "yard" and have a kind staff. What fun date nights.

And as always, we have been eating WELL the nights we stay home. 
This bread is worth turning on the hot oven because it is SO easy yet SO delicious
 (thanks, Amanda!)

What "little" memories are making you happy today?

I have loved this summer so much and am going to miss it. No worries however, because although TJ Maxx now has FALL decorations out, it is still 102 degrees outside. ;)

Thankful for this slow and sweet season of life!
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