Sweet Baby Girl.

On Sunday, I hosted a small baby shower for my friend, Rebecca.

She actually delivered her baby girl (prematurely) the Monday before, so we were unsure if we would have the shower! However, mom and baby were doing fine and she said she wanted to see all of her friends after a long hospital stay. Doesn't she look awesome?

Hm, how do I say this? Plainly put, B is my "Columbus sister". We met through our church a year ago and have shared such a special bond already. She is so much fun, yet I know that I can be my real self without judgment. She always provides a listening ear and necessary doses of honesty. Although she is only a year older than me, I feel like she is much more wise due to her relationship with Jesus. I love trusting that I can always go to her for loving encouragement. She and her husband have welcomed us, mentored us, and shown us just how joyful a godly marriage can be (in trials and in good!). It was a joy to be able to shower her as they welcome their second child and first baby girl.

 The decorations were simple. I used flowers in mason jars and some chalkboard welcome signs. I had a "Welcome, Baby Girl!" balloon that exploded due to the heat (it had been outside 45 minutes). The gold one held on for dear life. Gotta love this deep south weather. ;)

I had everyone "sign in" inside of a baby book, as I thought that would make for a sweet keepsake.

I set the table with pink lemonade punch and light snacks with the help of some other sweet church friends.

We had a great time together and she received lots of cute gifts! I took the "outfit line" idea from the "undies line" seen often at bachelorette parties...laugh! I thought it was a great way to display the adorable little clothes. And I mean, they are kind of related, right? ;)

Later that evening, we were invited over to meet Baby Girl herself! All 4 pounds 13ounces of her! My goodness, she is so small yet already has such beautiful features! Needless to say, we are already in love with our newest little friend.

Seriously, so tiny...and so, so sweet my tooth hurts!!
Thank you Jesus for giving such precious life!

It seems like 50% of the women at our church are pregnant, which is very exciting! However, I am staying far away from the water fountains. :) For those that like to ask if I have "caught the fever," I will say that I am maintaining normal temperature levels and am totally content with my 50-pound, self-feeding, potty trained, fluffy baby (who is almost a whole year old waaah)! 

I can't say again how grateful I am for the community we have here in C-Town. Our God is so faithful!

Summer Travel Memories {Volume One}.

It seems like June is flying by and I haven't posted on all the fun trips we have already gotten in to this summer.

Here is a quick recap for y'all. These pictures make me so happy!

My parents came to visit and watched me getting sworn in. They sacrifically drove a whole day to celebrate with us and spoil us with dinners and other goodies. It was way too quick of a visit, but I am so glad that they were there for me! We are going to visit them in a few weeks and I can't wait.

A few days later, we hit the road to Indiana to visit some of A's family. I had never visited there with him, and I am so glad we made the trip. It was such a sweet time to see the people and the place that have given A a lot of his favorite memories!

And it's always so refreshing to spend time with my hilariously fun brothers (minus one and my sweetie sister-in-law)! Love this crew so stinkin much and so thankful for how they have always included me as their own.

A's aunt and uncle were the most perfect hosts. 
They, too, were overwhelmingly loving and inviting...and we ate so well all weekend!! 

This past weekend we went to Memphis to visit with Lauren, who was making a visit from afar. I hope that this is becoming a summer tradition for the two of us (after my TX visit last year!). She is such a sweet and intentional friend even through distance. It means so much to me!

A fun group: Lauren, Patrick (our good friend who was A's roommate and now works as an IP with him), myself, and my handsome date. We had a blast at Mollie Fontaine's and other downtown spots.

Before leaving Memphis, we ate brunch at Bryant's Breakfast. I am SO glad we split the plate pictured below (and we were still stuffed!) As y'all know, we love to eat good food. :)

We are grateful for the opportunity to see friends and family lately and are looking forward to a few more trips planned in the future. Are y'all enjoying your summer so far?

Much love-

The Secret Life of Bees.

image via Google

The other week I finished The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I read another one of her books, The Mermaid Chair, a few years ago which I enjoyed. So, when I saw this book on a "Best Books" list, I was excited to try it. (That and it was only $3 on Kindle, amen?)

I loved this book for a number of reasons. First, Kidd's style makes for an easy read, yet the plot is one that you don't really want it to be over so quickly. I loved the characters and how they were quirky and unique, yet so relatable and lovable. I loved how the book is somewhat of a "period drama"- drawing scenes from life in the South in the 60's. The story revolves around Lily, a young girl who runs away from home, carrying deep hurt from the loss of her mother and the lack of love from her father. The story has a great redemptive quality that I loved:

"Kidd demonstrates the power of women coming together to heal those wounds, to mother each other and themselves, to create a sanctuary of true family and home." (book intro)

This book really hit a note with me and I enjoyed reading it. We watched the movie on Amazon prime over the weekend, and while it was good, it was not as good as the book. :)

Happy summer reading, friends!

*Other Sue Monk Kidd books*

Rooted in Love.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19

Long to stay in your presence.

"Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things"
Colossians 3:2

I've been reading and thinking a lot lately on the "looking to the eternal" in my everyday life. Wellllllll...then our pastor preached about it this yesterday, it was the topic of our small group discussion last night, and I read about it before work this morning. AHEM! Time for someone to listen up!

If I'm honest, looking at the "bigger picture" is hard for me. I feel like every day I struggle with an over-analytical and anxious mind. I get lost in the small details. I miss the hope for eternity in the midst of trying to "get through" the every day. God calls us to a FULL life, full of his abundance and grace, yet I don't listen to him because I am fervently going over my to-do list. For example, today I attempted to shift my thoughts on "things above" when I found myself focusing too much or filling my mind with earthly things. I caught myself thinking things like:

"I know I did a bad job on that project for work. I bet my boss wishes he didn't hire me."

"They didn't text me back after I texted 'I love you'..twice! I must have done something to make them mad and not want to love me back today."

"I forgot to empty the dishwasher before work. I am SO not a Proverbs 31 woman!"

"Oh my goodness, where are we going to move next?"

"I should have thought of that. I wish I was smarter."

"Look at that chick running so fast! I look like a turtle in peanut butter when I run."

"Speaking of running and working out, WHY is my booty still so flat???" Laugh. ;)

 It truly is a "battle of the mind" out there (in the words of our dear Joyce Meyer).  And while I don't think it's alright to neglect your obligations and responsibilities, I do think it's necessary to take a breath, talk it out with Jesus, and then, well...listen to some KIM WALKER! So that's what I did on my lunch break. I didn't do anything big, just sat and listened. Yes, to a ten minute song with those crazy kids in their skinny jeans, raising their hands in church (my lawd!).

"I long to look on the face of the One that I love
Long to stay in your presence it's where I belong!"

Shifting my focus off myself and my problems and on to a big God who calls me His and loves me is one of the best things I can do during a particularly hard day. It's nothing novel or WHOA, but it really helps and I hope it can help you too! Nourish that soul, y'all. I promise it'll do some good.

I sure love ya!