Twirlers beware!!

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To all you twirlers out there (which should basically be any female who’s ever worn a swirly, poofy, twirly skirt – or in my daughter’s case, just her undies (what else is new??) ) – be careful as you do your thang! Twirling can be oh-so-dangerous! :)

Messy

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I wrote this entry about a month ago and meant to come back and finish and post it.  Yeah, that didn’t happen. ha! So I just logged on today and saw it and figured that even though I never “finished” it, maybe it was still worth sharing.  Mostly because the head/heart space I was in when i wrote it feels so long ago.  The feelings of sadness and regret I had are now just memories in my journal.  Not to say the situation has been fixed or everything is perfect, but rather that God has been faithful and has not let go of me, and that His presence has changed everything.  It always does.  But anyways.  Here’s what I was going through (and sometimes still am).  And here’s to a New Year with the same, unchanging, ever-present, faithful God!

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These last couple of weeks have been a little rough for me.  15 days ago we moved into a new house, a house that I have been building some dreams on.  Tired of moving every couple of years, I dreamed this house would be one we could settle into for the long haul.  And by long haul, I mean a good 5-10 years……that’s long for us!  And to say my expectations were high is a huge understatement.  In my head I had visions and ideas and plans for what this house would be.  And they all involved words like “perfect” and “beautiful” and “cozy”.

And then we moved in.

And no, it’s not like the roof caved in or the basement flooded.  But instead my expectations collided with reality and the dreams turned out not to be as prettily crafted as they were in my head and a deep sense of sadness and disappointment set in.  One I couldn’t shake.  One I couldn’t seem to pray away.  One I couldn’t forget about or talk it out with a friend about.  One that just buried itself deep in my heart and took root.  And let me tell you – that disappointment, that feeling of regret…….it’s very ugly.  And in all honesty I am so ashamed of it.  Of myself for allowing my JOY to be stolen by something as silly and temporary and materialistic as a house.  Because in my soul I know where my home lies, and it is no where near this spinning blue and white planet.  But my attitude and my actions were not lining up with that knowledge.

And this all caused a new wave of shame to roll in – shame for feeling the way I was feeling……my disappointment, my ungratefulness, my materialism.  Now shame is not something to mess with because, at least for me, it puts up a wall, a barrier between me and God.  I allow my sin, my embarrassment, my shame to cause me to run and hide from God.  Feelings of unworthiness creep in and I know all too well that I don’t deserve God’s love and forgiveness and grace…….not me- the girl who is complaining about a beautiful new home, which keeps my family warm and safe,  but is just “not perfect”.

But thankfully, even in the midst all these negative feelings, my heart has been able to mumble out a cry or two to God – a weak little cry – but a cry He hears nonetheless.  And over the past two days He has reminded me of HIS glory, of WHO He really is, and WHO I really am in HIS presence.  And in God’s presence, at the throne of the Creator of this universe, the Holiest of the Holies, the only One who is sinless and pure……in His eyes He sees no sin.  In front of my God, shame has NO place.  Sure, I am still a sinful person who will continue to mess up and be ungrateful and bratty and selfish at times, but since I have claimed the blood of Christ as a gift of grace, God does not see my sin.  He only sees the REDEMPTION of the cross and I have no reason to feel anything other than freedom.  Freedom to mess up, freedom to just be myself – not who I think I should be – , freedom to go to God even when I fail.

And this makes me fall in love all over again with the beautiful Gospel of Christianity.  I know it’s a faith that often raises lots of questions for people, and believe me, I’ve been there too.  But the deeper I get into it and the longer I walk this path, the harder I fall for the story of Christ.  One of my absolute favorite things about Christianity is the fact that God does not expect us to be perfect – just the opposite – He expects us to be a mess (which of course we always live up to that expectation- ha ha!),  and He happily walks right into that mess with nothing but open arms, love, and forgiveness.

I often still get caught up in this world and I think I have to get myself together before I come to God……think my mistakes are too dirty for His presence. And of course they are without Christ.  But with what Christ has done for me, I need to never fear.  I can come to God in all my mess, in all my sin, in all my shame and He will love me, remind me of who I am, and redeem me.  So thankful for a Creator who walks in the midst of our mess and sees only love.

Stretched

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Scrounging around my computer for a document to send to a friend and I stumbled on some old writings from a couple years back.  Love how God puts things in our path for us to hear in a seemingly random, yet I know it’s not-so-random, way.  This is what I found.  And honestly, I think I need to be reminded of this truth more now than when I originally wrote it.  Anyways.  Thought I’d share.  Especially in case there is anyone out there who needs to be reminded of who you really are.  Because it can be easy to lose sight of in this crazy, crazy, not-my-home world.

 

Stretched

There are days when I feel as though I am stretched out as far as I can go without completely breaking. Like that rubbery piece of cheese that strings out between your lips and the hot pizza slice – growing ever so thin and wispy the further you pull it, until it finally breaks in two. Sometimes the day feels as though it is always on the verge of that split.

 I am a mother, which means I am everything to everyone. The snack provider, the laundry cleaner, the spill picker-upper, the story time teller, the milk giver, the time-out punisher, the grocery list maker, the nursery song singer, the scraped knee kisser…..I am it all. And this is just for the babes. I am also a wife and a daughter and a friend and a sister and a granddaughter and a neighbor and a stranger. And of course those titles come with their own list of chores.

 But truly, in the end, amidst all the chaos and stretching, I am just me. Because the truth is this – I really am not everything to everyone. Never have been, never want to be. Or pretend to be.

 At the end of the day I am His. I am just a sinner. A redeemed sinner. A white-as-snow sinner. I am a daughter to the King. A treasure to my Savior. He nourishes me when I am tired of nourishing everyone else. He cleans my spirit when I am tired of dealing with all the messes. He loves me when I am tired of loving the world.

 It is His relentless love that keeps me from breaking on those days I feel so stretched. And for this I am thankful.

Bailey’s Big Girl Room

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So it’s totally normal to post your house pictures as soon as you no longer live there, right??  No?  Oh well!  It’s happening!  We moved out of our awesome 1970’s ranch just a couple weeks ago and I find myself feeling sad and nostalgic for it already. Although we have a wonderful new home to move into later this month, this home, Brick Rancher, will always have a soft spot in my heart.  It’s the first one that we ever lived in and really felt like it was “home”.  We put SO much love, sweat, and moolah (haha!) into it and really made it our own.  With all my previous college/young adult moves from apartments to rentals and things like that, this was the first time I could really let loose and paint/demo/decorate just as I saw fit, with no thought of “will the owners mind?” or “will this be neutral enough for buyers to like?”.  And I had the best time doing it!

And through it all I figured out my style is called “Bohemian Shabby Chic”.  Whatever the heck that is!  I kind of just made that up.  But I think it describes my decorating style pretty well; though it’s not really reflected in B’s room- here I was going for more of a sweet and vintage little girl’s room.  So I posted about Georgia’s nursery a year and half ago (!!!!), but never made it to Bailey’s room.  Poor big sis!  But here it is now.  Sadly, it’s the one room I never “finished” in the Brick Rancher.  Just had lots of pieces of furniture I wanted to paint, but never got to.  But other than that, I loved her room!  And I think she did too.  So without any more babbling, here it is……(I miss it already!)……

One last thing- sorry about the quality of the first picture. Unfortunately I never went around to take “Before” pics of the house, though I wish I had, and so I had to swipe this from the MLS listing which seemed to stay on the internet months after we bought the house.  And we bought the house from our friends and so it’s fun to look back and remember it as “their” house before we made it our own.  Even though me and Caroline have different decorating styles (I play it safe and she is much more funky and bold! love it!), it’s always been a wonderful, beautiful house!  Ok- here’s the pics for real this time!

 BEFORE:

 AFTER:

 it’s a soft, soothing pale yellow color.  and not one i picked out (i’m bad at picking yellows!).  but one Caroline had used in another room in the house and i loved it, so got it matched at Lowes for Bailey’s room

 love her while/spindly wood bed.  $50 at an antique store here in Asheville.  again- i don’t post prices to brag or anything like that, but just to show you can find great stuff at low prices if you get creative, stay patient, and keep your eyes peeled! (a very gross visual expression btw! ha!)

 can i tell you how much i ADORE these 3 prints!  they are so precious and vintage and i love the colors! bought all 3 at a church consignment sale for $12! i bought them right after we sold our first house and were living w/my parents before moving to NC.  in my head it was impractical to buy something i couldn’t use right away, but i loved them so much so i bought them and stored them away for over a year, and when i finally pulled them out of storage, i was so thankful i listened to my “impractical” gut at the time.  and it’s funny b/c bailey always loves looking at the little girl in the pictures and wanting to know about her “why is she in time out?”…….”what is her dog’s name?”….ha ha!

 toy wall.  we had a “playroom” so most were in there, but we kept her dollhouse and storage bin for random toys in her room

 starting the tradition…….using the hospital flowers i got when bailey was born and making her name out of them

 little nook behind the door to her room.  coat hanger w/extra shelves for do-dads and things like that

 when we moved in all the closets had these dark bifold doors.  thought of painting them, but then decided it would be more fun to get pretty curtains to use instead.  i think it really made things feel more open and flowy

 mirrored butterfly stickers i got at TJMaxx for about $10.  they were cute.  however when i had to take them down when we were moving, they totally ripped part of the wall off. oops!  i love the way they look, but not the damaging effects, so not sure i’d use them again

 originally i had a beautiful, long white dresser in bailey’s room.  but i wanted to have more floor space b/c the room was kind of small.  so we sold that one craigslist and found this one on craigslist for only $60.  solid wood, Bassett brand- woohoo!  this was one of the pieces i kept meaning to paint a fun color…..pink maybe?

 bailey’s handprints and footprints from when she was a baby.  i can’t believe she was ever that small!!!

 her little art corner where she’d color and draw a lot.  my mom got her this table and chair set.  again – think i’ll get 2 more chairs and paint them one day

 bookcase i got for free from a former co-worker who was throwing it away from her classroom.  just needs a fresh coat of paint!  and dang- when did bailey ever have that few of books??? usually it was jam packed- maybe this was right after a spring cleaning session?  

 i just like this picture of her window curtain.  just simple and white with little dots.  it did use to be floor length, but i didn’t like that and since i can’t sew I used this tutorial and made them shorter

last pic! all the ceilings in the bedrooms had these weird, funky designs.  bailey got the “flower” room.  probably my favorite!

Well that it is for B’s room!  Gonna try to go through and post pics of each room in the house before we move into our new one and this one gets lost in my memory forever!  Just a couple weeks of downtime while we live in a furnished rental cabin and then the chaos begins and we move again (hopefully for the last time for at least a decade!) into our 3rd (and final?) home!

Gettin’ my political on…..

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Much to the chagrin of my in-laws, I am sooooo not an uber-political person.   I mean I vote and I think it’s important to inform yourself and make a smart decision based on your mind, heart, and values.  But at the end of the day I’m never going to put my faith in any one human being’s ability to “fix” the world.  Not being a pessimist here, just someone who believes this world is forever broken, and no one can make it the utopian society we all dream of.  Nope.  I believe that desire we have is only fulfilled in the next life.  Not to say we should give up and never do anything good in the world- hardly!  But my faith will ultimately always be on the man who hung on the cross, not a man behind a podium.

But with all that said, I did have a political Thursday night this past week. Romney was in town giving a rally and so we decided to go.  I’ve never been to anything really political, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was happily surprised at how calm, polite, and respectful everyone was.  Sure there was a small group of Obama supporters, but they just chanted a bit and waved their signs, and it never really got out of hand on either side.  Though at the end there was business suit clad conservative yelling back and forth with a dred lock liberal hippy chic.  They both looked ridiculous and no matter what points either was saying, I can’t imagine how anyone would have changed their mind based on their words.  But other than that, the night was smooth sailing.

We took the girls and met up with a friend and his daughter, then hit Moe’s Grill at the end.  I’m still dreaming about that fish taco…..

Ok, back on track.  So here are the pics from the night.  At first we were in the overflow building b/c they ran out of seats where Romney was really speaking.  We were bummed b/c we wanted to see him, not just a video of him.  But then he came over to our building and it turned out to be great b/c it wasn’t packed, so we moved up to the balcony section right over him and then we could get really close and see him.  Only 20-30 feet away or so.  Gotta say- Romney ain’t too shabby looking :)  Seriously- if I was casting “Independence Day 2″,  he would totally be on the top of my list of people to play the “presidential” part.  It was kind of comical just how president-looking he was!  Not that that is why I’m voting for him……ha!  Just saying.  Ok, on to pics for real!  And sorry about the bad quality- had my crappy point-n-shoot instead of my good camera.  Boo!

 the line to get into the auditorium

the Obama supporters

 our first seats till we learned he was coming in and we moved to the front

  the girls just loved all the clapping going on

Huckabee

future president??

    

So that’s about as political as I’ll probably ever get.  Gotta say- I just got back on FB and two things- #1 is that I love that half my friends are Romney supporters and the other half are Obama supporters.  I never can understand why some people care so much about things that they wouldn’t be friends w/someone from the opposite political spectrum.  #2 – Really hate the negative political talk on FB.  Have an opinion- great – but don’t share it in an ugly, belittling, better-than-thou-, self-righteous way.  Seriously- does that ever win anyone over to your side?  And if you’re doing that and claim to love Jesus all at the same time?  Wow.  Just spew your political hatred and leave God out of it if you can :)  Ok.  done w/my rant for now! :)

Our little Georgia Wren

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Before showing all the bday pics from GA’s 2nd bday, I wanted to just share a few of my favorite pics of my favorite 2nd born.  When she was came into this world and we found out it was another girl, there was a big part of me that was expecting her to be a little mini-Bailey.  Bailey 2.0 if you will :)  I mean, she comes from the same parents and is another girl, so they should be similar in looks and personality, right??? Ha! How wrong was I!

Georgie is my spunky little blue eyed, blonde hair (mini-Steve!) princess! Not that she’s spoiled or super-girly, but she just has a way about her with wanting everything to be “just so”.  Very unlike Bailey who is go-with-the-flow, easy peasy.  GG already likes to pick out her own clothes, usually involving cowboy boots.  Usually I don’t care unless it’s a summer dress in cold weather (a battle we’ve been having here lately).  Unlike my quiet Bailey, this little one does NOT stop talking!  Chatty, chatty, chatty!  And she says these perfectly correct sentences that are so long that they just don’t seem right coming out of that tiny body.  GG is a smarty pants who seemed to learn her ABC, numbers, and potty train herself overnight right around the 20 month mark.  I don’t say that to brag, b/c honestly I did very little to make any of that happen- she just watches Bailey all the time and does it herself!  Can we say Little Miss Independent??  Can’t tell you how many times a day I hear, “No, I’ll do it myself!”  Well then! :) GG is also a super sweetie who LOVES to hug and snuggle and we call her Cuddlebug all the the time.  Now when she wants a lot of lovin’, she climbs in our laps and says “I’m Cuddlebug” and we know that means a good 10 minutes of nothing but snuggles with her  (some of my favorite 10 mins of the day!).  She’s a bookworm who loves reading soooooo much!  With me or Steve reading to her, or her just grabbing a pile and gabbing to herself as she flips through the pages…..either way she’s happy.  GG is also a goofball with all her faces.  She has perfected the mean/mad face (even though she’s not really mad), where she draws her eyebrows down and scowls like the devil.  It’s called her “GG Puff-n-Stuff” face – her newest nickname.  She also is good at sticking out her lips for her “Duck Face”…….a personal favorite of mine.  GG loves her big sister and wants to do everything she does and be everywhere she goes (except on the schoolbus……..when I asked her one morning while waving bye to Bailey on the bus if she wanted to get on the bus too, she answered me saying, “No, I’m too little”.  ha ha!).

So that’s our little Georgie, GG, GG Puff-n-Stuff, Baby Wren, Georgia Wren in a nutshell.  I remember being pregnant with her and wondering how in the world I’d ever love someone as much as I loved Bailey.  Looking back, that was such an impossible path for my heart to take……life would not be complete or make sense without Georgia in our lives and she owns our hearts completely, 100%, just like her big sister.  We are so thankful to have her in our family…….a silly, sweet, crazy addition for sure! :)  So here are some of my favorite pics of little GG.  Hope you enjoy them as much as me! :)

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Georgia’s 2nd Birthday Bash!

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So yeah.  It’s 4 months past the fact, but gosh dang it I AM going to share my little GG’s 2nd birthday!  Super late procrastinating mom – that is me. :)  Oh well!  Georgia’s birthday was so, so  special to me this year b/c unlike last year, she had family around her.  My mom and dad, Grandmom, brother, sister-in-law, and the cutest nephew in the world were all able to make the trek to NC and celebrate our little Georgia with us.

And it was such a fun, relaxing weekend!  My Grandmom was so nice and brought up some delicious Wallace BBQ from Powder Springs…….mmmmmmm…….. We just had a cookout in the backyard and let the cousins play together and hang out and catch up.  Our good friends Amy and Shane were able to come too with their sweet girls, Ruby and Amelia, who feel like sisters to our girls.  After we did the whole eat, cake, presents, playtime thing, we decided to load up the cars and take my family to the Biltmore House.  Steve surprised me for Mother’s Day this year w/a season pass (best money ever spent!!!) and after 5:00 you get to take guests onto the grounds for free in the summer. Not the house, but that’s ok b/c there’s plenty to do on the bajillion acre park……petting farm, winery, outdoor music, trails, waterfall, gardens.  It’s just so beautiful and fun! If you come to visit Asheville, you seriously must go – it’s pricey, but totally worth every penny I think!

Ok, so enough yapping- here are pics from GG’s fun day!

 yep, she’s a bit of dare devil on the swingset like her big sis

Hunter!!!! That smile! Those eyes!!!! He melts my heart into a puddle every single time!

Bailey and Ruby – the “mean sister gang”……funny joke they do.  but seriously they are little BFFs

 after the present craziness!

my parents.  like fine wine……they just get better with age :)

 still wearing the cute pigtail buns i made for her

 and now she took them out and my normal little Albert Einstein baby appears

 two good looking Morris men :)

 our gift to GA was a little bubble lawn mower.  didn’t take her long to get to work

 love this picture!

 and this one too!

Ruby loves some corn apparently! ha!

 my parents got GA a little picnic table for her bday and we LOVE it and the girls use it all the time! we’ve since painted it pink and it gets sooooo much use!

 Stacy showing Hunter how it’s done

 i think he learned :)

me and my “baby”. don’t we look so much alike?? :P  

Paw paw and his 3 favorite little people 

Uncle Kyle!

at the petting farm.  is it sad the girls know the horses by name?? (Bert and Cooper btw -ha!)

 mmmmm……tasty wine at the winery

 beautiful ending to a beautiful day……..moon rising over the mountains