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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I don't know what to do with my hands

There's currently a meme floating around that pretty much sums up my current point in time...
It's an odd stage where I'm so ready and excited for 2016 to stroll through our front door, but I still have our Christmas decorations up to commemorate the beautiful ending to 2015. Because of that, my creative juices are currently brewing but have nothing to spew out at the moment. Therefore, people, currently's are in order for ya'll!
+ Listening: Pandora and specifically Jason Aldean station. Strangely, it has some decent songs on it.
+ Eating: Cinnamon clusters with a large vanilla iced coffee from Chick-fil-A because #itspayday.
+ Thinking: Honestly, about the odd dream I had last night. I dreamed I was pregnant... With twins. For someone of my stature and size, that thought can be quite terrifying. Hunter got a good laugh out of it. {note to God: this is not a challenge. Please don't make me carry twins. But if you do, I'll do it to the best of my ability and still thank You}
+ Wishing: It were cold. Christmas day here in Tallahassee, Florida was a lovely 80 degrees. I'm being extremely sarcastic with the "lovely" part...
+ Thanking: Our AWESOME God. Just when I feel like we're drowning, He throws the life jacket to us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Gratefulness + Memories made

Goodness gracious, happy week of New Years! Christmas flew by in a whirlwind with so much love, laughter, time spent with loved ones, embracing life... It was just what we needed to recharge our batteries.
I'm so grateful for all the wonderful memories made over the past several days. Of course, I only took just a few snapshots of our adventures because I was honestly too busy experiencing them. But alas, some photos to share with you fine folks...
the gals doing cookie missions + Abel

my MIL + Abel

my SIL + Abel - he gave her the sweetest kisses!

One of many tacky Christmas sweater parties

my FIL going over shooting instructions - safety first people!

This Christmas was definitely one for the books. It's not in the presents, or the lights, or even the food shared, but the beauty in Christmas comes in the form of hours spent with your loved ones. It comes in the form of a good doctors visit with your MIL to find out that her cancer numbers are stabilized. It comes in the form of melted snowmen cookies and rice krispie treats. Heck, it even can come in the form of relieving stress on a paper target. Whatever form it comes in, I just pray that your Christmases were wonderful!

A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Gratefulness + Tis the Season

So it's the week of Christmas, just in case you've been under a rock. I'm still a little shell shocked that Christmas is just a mere few days away. We've had a busy several days and true to fashion, we're not slowing down...
+ We celebrated Jesus' birth and Christmas with our youth this past Wednesday. It consisted of pizza, cookies, white elephant gift exchange, and lots of laughs.
+ In Tallahassee, we have a local park that puts up an enormous amount of lights for folks to come and enjoy {for free}. Of course we had to take our youth students to that! The neighboring church to the park had free cider, cookies, music, and a bonfire.
Some of our students checking out the lights
+ Saturday was spent Christmas shopping, lunching, and doing life with friends. Every year, friends of ours have a bonfire complete with delicious chili. We love being able to relax with them!
+ Sunday kicked off the start of our Christmas party celebrations - which I love! I love the fellowship, food, gag gift exchanges... just everything! Last night was spent with our young adults bible study group, which is mostly made up of our youth's parents. Being able to spend time with them is always priceless.
Thank you, Jess, for capturing this lol!
+ This week will be full of more Christmas parties, dinner with friends, time off to relax... I cannot wait!
I'm so grateful for these wonderful moments that we can experience with each other, friends, and family. In a world that can be so bitter, having those sweet memories to cherish can truly bring light into the darkness. From our family to yours - we hope that you have the Merriest of Merry Christmases!

A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas in nutshell {for me}

I'm not entirely sure if it's the oncoming joyous holiday that's soon to be here at our doorsteps, or the devastation that surrounds us daily in the world, or even the ridiculous controversial red cup, but it has become painfully apparent that Christmas is no longer CHRISTmas. Consumerism America has certainly taken over with bright colors, "look-at-me" decorations, and lofty snowmen full of promises.
Don't get me wrong - I do love a good snowman and wish we could build one. And I surely love to decorate my home.
But what I'm noticing is the once-Christian-oriented holiday has now become battle grounds for people to spew their hateful and, many times, uneducated ideals towards their "opponents". Christians are busy abashing non-believers to stop trying to make this holiday what's it not about and to not "forget the reason for the season". Non-believers are frustrated with Christians' stereotypical, judgmental attitudes. And it just goes on, and on, and on....
I want to use this blog as a platform to call out my fellow "Christians" - stop engaging in arguments. Stop belittling those around you because they don't quite understand the truth behind the reason for Christmas. Stop loudly proclaiming on your social media that you "have had it and you're going to tell that fool MERRY CHRISTMAS rather than happy holidays". Just, stop it. You're making yourself look like the fool and honestly, is that what Jesus would do?
To my fellow Christ-followers - did you notice that Jesus never once paraded around pompously declaring His ways were the right ways and those not believing in His ways are just pure idiots? The answer is no, in case your bible knowledge is a bit dusty. Instead, Jesus lovingly showed others how He loves, how He lives, and how His heart breaks for those that reject Him. He didn't engage in verbal warfare just to prove His point. He allowed those around Him to see the Truth through His gentle, peaceful gestures and examples.
Stop spewing hatred and condemnation to those around you, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Instead, be the hands and feet and heart of Jesus through loving on others, despite how much they despise you. It really is hard for somebody to hate a kind person, as much as they may try. Rather than obnoxiously proclaim your Merry Christmas into the faces of all those that won't listen, try speaking with Truth and Love, and really get to know those around you. You'll be surprised in what you will discover in others.

Let's embrace this Christmas with hearts full of love not only for our brothers and sisters in Christ, but for those who just don't get the big deal about a kid in a manger. Because by being loving, you can attract so many more flies with honey. Merry Christmas my friends!

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Monday, December 14, 2015

2016's Word: Embrace

This past year was the first time I had decided to use a simple word to hold fast to, a cornerstone for the year so to speak. There were moments I was able to practice the art of being reserved and only speaking when necessary; other times, word vomit was the name of the game. But overall, I wanted 2015 to be a year of learning how to guard my heart with Truth and Love.
There were moments throughout the year where I wondered if I was guarding my heart too much, and not allowing myself to feel in relationships with certain folks. I decided it was wise to continue to guard my heart in such a manner, and looking back now, I'm so glad I did.
I wanted 2016 to be a little bit different though. For the upcoming year, I want to practice the EMBRACING change.

For some reason, I can just feel change on the horizon. Whether it's good or bad, I'm not sure. But it's as if my soul is itching and aching for those winds of change to be here now. It's almost as if He is preparing my heart for the journey ahead. Thus, the year of RESERVING my heart made way to the year of EMBRACING the change that God will be bringing about, allowing me to be able to endure it. Survive it. Appreciate it.
Change may be coming to mine and Hunter's personal lives, our ministry, work, family, friends... It really could be anything at this point. No matter what, we'll always be leaning onto Him and His sovereign ways with the knowledge and faith that He is loving and good. Hunter gave an example to our students a few weeks ago about what change feels like:
"We're like iron, hot in the fire, and God is the blacksmith. He's heating us up, allowing us to go through change, feeling the burn and pain. Then, He pulls us out, molds us, hammers us into a new image so that we may be sharper and more efficient. Don't lose hope while you're in the fire - God's about to do something miraculous to you."
What are you waiting for 2016? Let's EMBRACE all that you are and all that you'll be.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Our Christmas Surprise

Nope, not a baby. Sorry family, just not quite ready for that ha! But... We do have this new baby...
Everybody, please say hello to our sweet new girl who has yet to be named. I know, I know, we're working on that. But what I can say is she is absolutely the sweetest little gal around and our stories of how we came to be together are quite epic {if I say so myself}.
She and I made a trip to the vet yesterday and received nothing but good news! She will need to gain a bit of weight. No worries there, we believe in eating around our family!
This sweet gal is right around 2-3 years old, loves Milk Bones, long naps, and being outside. She is warming up very quickly to her new brothers and is having so much fun being the princess of the household. We are working on her potty training skills since she was never taught how to decipher when to hold it. Yesterday, she learned that she can sleep on the couch and has quickly taken ownership of one of them.
We are already so in love with this sweet girl and cannot wait to continue to watch her grow into our family. In the meantime, what should we name her?
**Please excuse any weird aligning of text - Blogger doesn't seem to want to work with me this morning.......


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Monday, December 7, 2015

Gratefulness unending

December is ceremoniously following the footsteps of the previous months in 2015... It's flying by quicker than I'm prepared for! There's so much to be grateful for though -
+ I'm grateful for Christmas trees, music, smells, colors, cheers... I can't get enough of it!
+ I'm grateful for time spent with family as we decorate our homes for this festive season.
+ I'm grateful for yummy homemade dinners and good laughs at the dinner table with friends.
+ I'm grateful for mine and Hunter's careers - we are both extremely blessed to have our jobs, to be able to work with some really amazing people, and to have those moments to celebrate our time together through our work Christmas parties.
Hunter and his coworkers - such a great group!
+ I'm grateful for our pups - Jep is currently convinced that all the Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree are for him. He lovingly admires each ornament on our tree...
+ I'm grateful for Hunter. His leadership, his heart, and his undying love for the Lord and people... He so desperately loves God's people! I so thankful that he and I are a team in every aspect. I love that we have taken on a new ministry to provide clothes (for free) to those in need. While I'm in that vein, I want to say a HUGE thank you to those that have donated wonderful clothes for our ministry closet. I'm literally blown away by the love that people have shown towards others. With that said, if you have gently used clothes you're looking to get rid of, we'll take them! As we always say, it takes absolutely nothing to love on others while providing them with a basic need (clothes).
Embrace this season friends! I challenge each of ya'll to find a ministry or cause that will give back to others. It really is all about giving!
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey
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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving Recapped

Like any true blogger, a recap of sorts is always necessary when food and people come together. Thus, Thanksgiving recap has been born. We had quite the busy Thanksgiving break - lots of food with lots of family and friends, lots of shooting guns {sometimes at animals...}, lots of puppy love, lots of Christmas music {well, just me listening to lots of Christmas music}. Overall, it was a wonderful holiday and I'm so thankful to have spent it with all the lovely folks. Now, of course, photo ops....

We got to spend some time with Hunter's family
A minor hiccup in our adventures
Hey leeetle brotha
My brother explaining to his gf how to shoot - it was her first time!
He's pooped...

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