Friday, February 28, 2014

Love/Hate Relationship with Work

As I'm typing, I'm sitting down to a dinner of leftovers at an empty table. In an attempt to distract myself, I opened my laptop looking for a way to entertain myself so I can avoid the silence around me. I already miss cooking dinner together nightly and sharing stories over a delicious meal. Today is day one of Will being back at work & I know I sound super dramatic but I'm already missing him & the routines we had started to form.

I have a love/hate relationship with his work. We are so so SO thankful for film work here in Wilmington, and with the chance that this might change very soon, I know I should be even more thankful. And we are. We rejoice and let out a sigh of relief when he gets a call for the next job, but we also dread the start day a little. I know that it will mean early morning call times, long hours for him & long days for me, meals eaten alone and, at times, a feeling of loneliness. At the same time, I know that it will give purpose to his days & opportunities to move up in his field, and money (which is always nice!). 

It's good to look at the joys and the positives during these times, giving thanks that he even has a job. During this season of work for him, I am going to work on maintaining a good attitude and a gentle heart, reminding myself constantly that we cannot control the number of hours he works. I will train my mind over and over again to seek joy in the thick of life. And when I feel those grudges forming & bitter thoughts coming to the surface, I will swallow them & give thanks. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Enjoying this Season

Last night at small group, we got on the topic of envy & many people shared their jealous tendencies towards others lives. We talked a lot about being content in this particular season of life, where you are right now. It was interesting to me how almost every person shared that this is a struggle for them. Some of the women with children shared that they have always been this way, yet when they look back they are sad that they didn't enjoy the before time as much (before marriage, before children, before multiple children ... etc). We are always focusing on the next stage of life. When we were in college, it was graduating & getting a job, then marriage, then promotions or new jobs, then buying a house, then kids ... and so on. As I heard these women talk about how they regretted "wishing" away certain seasons of life, I was reminded that we need to enjoy this & not rush away the now. 

It's funny, I'm actually pretty content in this season of life, but if I spend about five minutes on instagram or social media, somehow I've been convinced that I need to live in an exotic place, or have a blonde-haired baby immediately or become some artsy woman running a small business. Y'all, social media can influence you & convince you of things you never thought you wanted. I was looking at this lady's instagram & blog and she had some awesome pictures of her homeschooling room & really cool ideas & suddenly I was like maybe we should homeschool. WHAT! I've never wanted that & Will and I are pretty set on sending our kids to a school (nothing wrong with homeschooling, it's just funny that social media so quickly changed my mindset). I really love instagram & keeping in touch with people in a way that wasn't possible just a few years ago, but I do have to be careful about jealousy.

There will come a time for buying a house & children, but not now. Now it's just the two of us & it's a very unique time to love Will well, to go as we please and travel frequently. Now is the time for us to chase some dreams, to cook dinner together with no interruptions and to go on dates whenever we feel like it. Now is so beautiful, yet sometimes I am too focused on the next thing.

Explanation of picture: I bought these flowers at Trader Joes for $3.99. They are so bright & everytime I walk into the dining room, they make me smile. I thought I'd document a lovely day with the sun beaming through the window & the flowers on the table, but then Clyde decided to lay on the table...

Thursday, February 20, 2014


I've mentioned quite a few times now about the tutoring program I am involved with on Wednesday afternoons. I started at the beginning of the school year and we had about 15-20 kids coming at that time. The kids are committed and every week they are waiting eagerly for us to pick them up. I love their energy and excitement & I always head home exhausted, but so so full. This week there were TONS of kids ... I am unsure of the official number but probably close to 50. They just kept piling into cars and we had to do a second trip to get everyone. It's incredible how this program is growing so quickly & how word spreads. 

The children are bringing their friends and the parents are telling their neighbors. Word is out y'all. The coolest thing of being part of this program is to see the relationships building. I'm learning about these kids and their families, their favorite things and their struggles. I'm learning the best ways to encourage them and how to become a part of their lives regularly. And you know what? These kids are learning too. Yes they're learning English, Math and Science, but they are learning about us and their heavenly Father, about friendship and loving others. 

Next week, we're growing even bigger. We are beginning an ESL class for the parents while their children are in tutoring. This is huge! The parents are thrilled & I'm excited to see relationships build between the parents and church members. Big things are happening & I am excited to be a tiny part of it.

Also, best story ever from tutoring (I don't think I've shared this before)... our youth pastor was sharing a story with the kids about Jesus & that one time he even walked on water. From a corner of the room, I heard a little first grader say "he's a badass!!" I thought what did he say? And then he repeated it again. "Jesus is a badass!" I could not stop laughing & honestly, I was bursting with joy because I think he got it. & I'm positive that God was laughing & shaking his head yes. Yes, my son, Jesus is a badass.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A hint of spring

The past two days have been beautiful here & I am soaking up every bit of sun & fresh air that I can. Will & I have refused to stay inside & are constantly going to sit on the front steps, going for a walk or heading to the park. I know we're far from real spring but these little hints or bursts of warmer weather are good for the soul.

Monday evening we went for a bike ride, although since the sun was setting it was actually a bit colder than we expected. It was so refreshing and the brisk air did me some good after a long day at work. Yesterday, we ate lunch outside on the deck and then walked to get coffee. We drank our coffee in the park by our neighborhood and let the sun hit our faces. I am a sucker for warm weather and ever since I was little my mom would tease me about spring fever (truly summer fever, but hey, one step at a time). In school, I always struggled second semester, I guess due to lack of focus and the anticipation for summer break. Even to this day, I feel that. The excitement of warmer weather and things in bloom, spring break & the summer break ahead, neighbors out in their yards and children riding bikes through the neighborhood.

Last night, Will and I sat on the front steps enjoying the last bit of sun. Before we knew it, all of our neighbors were outside chatting and talking about the weather. The kids on our street were running around chasing each other & the adults stood around catching up. It's funny what a little sunshine and sixty degree weather can do!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Grace for Monday.

I snoozed seven times this morning. Y'all, seven. Agree with me that that is absurd and ridiculous. Stumbled out of bed, took a hot shower, walked into the kitchen, laid on our nook bench and mindlessly scrolled through instagram and checked my email. My intention of getting up at 5:45 and making a quick breakfast, sitting at my desk and having a nice, long quiet time was thrown out the window when I continued to snooze over and over again. Can you relate? We all need a little grace on Monday morning. 

Due to my snoozing and selfish mindset, I shuffled out of the house in just enough time to stop by Port City Java for a hot tea and muffin because I mean "I do have a gift card." I continued to wallow in my self pity until I was nudged and gently reminded that life is so much more than this. Why am I so focused on myself and my issues (issues being I had to be at work early & our breakfast choices at home weren't what I wanted...)? There are so many things to be joyful about, yet I was choosing to look at the few annoyances. If I would have looked up, I would have seen that it was a beautiful day, sun shining & mid-fifties, which is pretty awesome in February. 

So if you're feeling like you need some grace this Monday, so do I. Happy work week- we are loved & blessed! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ice Storm-Round 2

Well, we survived the ice storm of 2014, or second one actually. This time around nothing covered the ground or street, ice just covered the trees and power lines. 

It wasn't quite as fun and definitely wasn't as beautiful this time around. In fact, it was a little scary hearing the crack of tree limbs and then watching them fall inches from houses and cars. We lost power for most of Wednesday, but thankfully it was restored late Wednesday night. Some folks are still without power around town. Losing power is fun for a little bit & even seems a bit adventurous, but let me tell you ... it loses it's charm pretty quickly. 

My mountain man did boil a kettle of water over the fire and we drank coffee/tea while sitting close to the fire, warming our toes. We got pretty darn close to cooking our dinner over the fire, but then thought about how easily we could get out and go somewhere WARM. The roads were not bad at all so we ventured out for a hot sandwich at one of our favorite deli's. Once we were stuffed, we headed home, hoping the power would be back on when we returned. It was not (womp womp) so we pulled in the mattress off the guest bed & set up a pallet bed by the fire. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty cozy. Fortunately, my husband thinks ahead (unlike me) and had downloaded an itunes movie while we still had power. We cuddled up and began the movie. About twenty minutes in, all the lights came on and I shouted with joy! Yay for heat!! 

We are so thankful for warm showers, heat and light! Our neighborhood still looks like a war zone with tree limbs everywhere and power lines still hanging down in places, but slowly things are coming back to normal. We're back at school & once again trying to get back into the swing of things (today was supposed to be a day off but its a makeup from the LAST ice storm). Spring, we're VERY ready for you at this point.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


A little inspiration and creativity to brighten up this rainy and very cold (or at least around here) day.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Learning to be content

"I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little."- Philippians 4:11-12

In this verse, Paul repeats himself saying, "I have learned." Interesting that this word is in the past tense, like he accomplished it. He says he has learned to be content in all situations. Wait what? He learned that? In the past? I've kind of always thought that we could try to think that way but we can't really learn it and we definitely can't accomplish that and be able to say "learned."

As mentioned previously, I'm reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. This book is packed with wonderful truths. She talks about this verse and this idea that Paul says, "I have learned." She says, "To learn how to be grateful and happy, whether hands full or hands empty. That is a secret worth spending a life on learning." I am hit with this and keep going back to the verse in Philippians. So it is really possible to learn to be content? In every situation? 

Let's be honest, I'm great at being content in the easy. Thankful for mornings where I get to sleep in and eat breakfast. Thankful for school days where the kids are calm and focused. Willing to give gratitude when Will's hours are normal and flexible. But ALL circumstances? I'm not so great at being content when darkness starts creeping in, when death happens and illness or lets be honest, simply when true life really happens. 

I love what Ann Voskamp says about discontentment and how we can get rid of it.

"It is utterly pointless to try to wrench out the spikes of discontent. Because the habit of discontentment can only be driven out by hammering in one iron sharper. The sleek pin of gratitude."

We must fight discontentment by giving thanks for the small things. By practicing over and over again this idea of gratitude. By being specific and identifying joyful things in our life even if they are very tiny things. I'm starting today by thinking of those things, moments and people. Even if the things seem small, I'm listing them off in my head. the fluffy, white down comforter on my skin, bacon sizzling in the cast-iron skillet, rain bouncing off the aluminum siding. If I can focus on giving thanks for all the little things, I can slowly and deliberately fight the discontentment that creeps in. 

I realize I've included quite a few quotes from her book, but y'all, it's so good! I really encourage you to read it. I'm ending on this last quote that I read today because she says it so beautifully.

"God is not in need of magnifying by us so small, but the reverse. It's our lives that are little and we have falsely inflated self, and in thanks we decrease and the world returns right. I say thanks and I swell with Him, and I swell the world and He stirs me, joy all afoot."

Oh how lovely, swelling with Him. Our world would be so different if we were filled with joy and gratitude. Here's to changing our mindset, one tiny step at a time.

Friday, February 7, 2014


TGIF, y'all. This week has been crazy, but today I'm choosing joy and focusing on all the things I'm thankful for on this Friday morning.

For Monday mornings that start like this.

For sweet notes from students & encouragement from coworkers

For friends who I can send selfies to to ask their opinion on my big frames (still unsure).

For picture texts like this while I'm at work.

And for 70 degree weather a few days after an ice storm, cards on the porch and time with Will.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Remember how a week ago I wrote about those dreamy four days off of school? Well, real life has hit me hard this week. I am feeling a little ragged and worn down. I'm day dreaming of those slow mornings where we woke up late and didn't start thinking about plans until about 10 AM. My days have been crazy and crammed full this week, as if we're making up for the lack of productivity last week. Sheesh. I wasn't quite ready for this week. 

I'm spoiling myself with a hot tea from Starbucks and plugging along. 

I've been hit with some truth from one of the books I'm reading (Boundaries) and remembering why I need to say no to some things, even good things. As I've gotten older, I've realized that I am not so good at juggling a million different activities. I can do a few things well and I should really just stick to those. I'm not sure why I agree to more things and then give half of my best because I don't have time for any more. You'd think we'd learn, yet we so often don't and continue to overcommit to things. I made a comment recently that I'd thought I'd gotten better at saying no ... ha! what a joke. 

The weekend is near, friends. Let's push on!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What I'm Reading...

A quick update on what I'm reading right now & suggestions for things to read.

I'm currently reading three books at one time which I rarely do, but its kind of fun. Let me follow that up by saying that two of the books are for group studies and I only have to read a chapter a week, so it's not very overwhelming. 

Currently my small group is reading Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. It was sort of an ongoing joke in my small group because people kept mentioning this book and saying we should read it. I hear it referenced a lot. Anyway, it's awesome so far & I really feel like I'm learning about setting boundaries for myself and my life. Part of the focus is that boundaries are often viewed negatively (I kind of thought that previously), but really boundaries are just a way for us to hold ourselves accountable & own up to our own feelings, actions etc. The people pleaser in me is learning a lot!

Second book I'm reading is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I'm only two chapters in but I am loving the way she really digs deep into what it means to live fully and joyfully in our given circumstances. It's a great book to discuss with a friend to help process all that she writes.

Lastly, I'm reading David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell. It is incredibly interesting & I find myself thinking of things differently already. I'm about halfway in & it's a pretty quick read so I will hopefully finish it soon. I highly suggest it! 

I just finished: The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally by David Elkind. Great insight into the way that children learn and good argument against the new fads for babies & children learning devices. I'd like to read this again once we have children.