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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

When {GRIEF} takes over

I'm not sure about everybody else, but I've been ready for 2016 to see its way out the door and for 2017 to make her grand debut. 2016 has been a year for the books and I'm ready to leave it in the past. Hunter and I were talking about it the other night and I commented that I've been to more funerals and experienced more deaths (not including the celebrity deaths) this year than I've ever experienced in my life.
 
Between family members passing away due to old age and sickness, to friends that were so suddenly and tragically taken from us, it's been quite a year. This was the year we watched my MIL go through chemo treatments and praise God she's in remission, but it still wasn't easy. 2016 brought miscarriages for friends, heartache for family, struggle in all the many ways.
 
And we grieved.
 
 
 
People grieve in all sorts of ways - I, for one, grieve in such a way that I have to stay busy. I may come off as cold or not caring, but that's my way of dealing with grief. But I feel like that no matter how we each grieve in our own ways, we should allow it to be just that - grieving. I once had a close friend who lost her son to cancer tell me, "You never GET OVER the death of your child, loved one, or whoever it may be. You just learn to cope with the new normal."
 
A new normal.
 
Friends, if you are grieving over losing a loved one please take heart in His love for you. Allow yourself to grieve and to feel all the emotions that God so divinely gave to you. And know that He grieves with you. Did you know that Jesus grieved and wept when John the Baptist was killed for his beliefs? Even Jesus grieved.
 
As we journey into this new year, I want us to take a moment and thank God for bringing us to this point. Even if you have been through hell and back, you're here now and God has you here for a purpose. His wisdom is so much more vast and infinite than ours will ever be thus we cannot fully comprehend why things happen. Why bad stuff happens to good people. My answer to that and the only way that I can rest my hope in that question is the fact that my GOD loves the hell out of me and He can and will use me and my life in whatever way to bring glory to Him.
 
2017, bring it on sister.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Expectations {EXCEEDED}

Happy "Monday" to you fine folks! Today is my Monday and this week will be a fairly short work week for me (hello 4-day weekend round 2) and I can't say that I hate it. Did everyone have a wonderful Christmas?? I've loved seeing all the pictures of family and friends coming together to celebrate life, love, and Christ's birth.
 
We enjoyed a beautiful Christmas eve service at our church with Hunter's family and then some yummy Carabba's afterwards. Hunter and I decided to revert back to our childhood ways and when we got home, we all hunkered down in the living room (2 adults + 2 large dogs) and watched movies.
 
 
Christmas morning came bright and early for us as we took a few moments to enjoy our Christmas together and opened gifts. We then headed over to Hunter's parents house to continue the Christmas fun and deliver all the yummy goodies that were packed up. It's always such a treat being able to bring a smile to someone else's face. Just about every place we delivered baked goodies to were totally caught off guard and pleasantly surprised.
 
Even Ezra had fun packing those baked goodies
 
After that we headed over to my parents' house to continue the Christmas fun there. It was the first time in awhile where all the siblings were together under one roof and it was glorious! Even though we're all adults now, your siblings will always be just that - your kid siblings.

Don't mind my "no makeup" look {Impromptu photo sesh)
 
I can honestly sum up this past weekend in one word - RESTORATIVE. It was exactly what our souls needed to start back fresh this week, ready to tackle all the tasks ahead of us, and to bring in 2017 with such flair. I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas, however and wherever you may have celebrated it. Thank the good Lord He sent His son to live, breathe, teach, walk, and eventually die for us. Let's embrace this coming year with all the goodness it holds!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Day

I always love hearing about other folks' Christmas traditions, how their days go about, what they have planned to do with their families and friends. That's something that marriage really taught me - not everybody's Christmas looks the same but it's still so wonderful and beautiful. Hunter and I have started a couple of our own traditions but we also meld together each of our own individual traditions that we had when growing up.
 
Our Christmas day looks a little something like this...
 
... We start by waking up pretty early and opening gifts with each other. We might have Christmas music playing in the background (I get this from my dad, we ALWAYS had music playing in the background). Of course, coffee is consumed because #NotAMorningPerson.
 
... Next we head out to meet up with Hunter's family and friends to deliver Christmas cookies to folks who have to work on Christmas day. This is something we started about 3 years ago and it has stuck. We always get the best responses when we deliver the goodies - people are always so shocked and appreciative. Totally makes the entire day worth it. Be Jesus every day, all day.
 
This was from a couple of years ago (I think)

Last year's cookie packing party!
 
... From there, we head to my in-laws house to eat a yummy breakfast and do Christmas gift exchanges with them. My MIL can make some dadgum good food ya'll. I'm talking biscuits and gravy, sausage, casseroles. Lord help me, my mouth is already watering. Some people always seem irked to have to spend holidays with their in-laws but I'm quite the exception I guess. I love it!
 
... This year will include a new tradition that was inspired by a friend of mine (hi Denise!). She was telling me about how she and her late SIL's friends will all get together and make a beautiful cake from Southern Living's magazine to honor her and her life. I was so moved by the idea that I decided to snag a copy of the December magazine and I will attempt to make a pretty cake too. I'll keep ya'll posted on how that goes.
 
 
... For Christmas dinner, we all (my in-laws included) head over to my parents' house to chow down. Ya'll, we have folks tell us all the time how lucky we are that our parents get along and like to hang out with each other. AND WE KNOW. We seriously LOVE that our parents are friends, text each other, call each other, hang out with each other (sometimes without us ha!). It seriously is such a blessing for us because we're both so family oriented. I could not even imagine a marriage where our families didn't get along (I know this is sadly the reality for some people).
 
... And finally, one more tradition being added to the mix this year - GAMES. I'm talking the hilariously quirky Christmas-themed games. And yours truly will be leading the charge and planning that! I will gladly be sharing those pictures.
 
What are some of your family's traditions on Christmas day? I'm hoping I can add "wear footie pajamas on Christmas eve" to the list of traditions but let's be real:  I will never get my country boy in footie pajamas. It would be a sight to see and probably hilarious. HA!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

When the {UNEXPECTED} comes knocking

Monday morning was just like any other typical Monday morning for me - running slightly late to make it into work on time, fumble around for my badge to enter into the gate, try to manage carrying multiple items in without dropping them. And then my phone went off with a text from my mom with news that truly rocked me to my very core.
 
A family friend of ours had been killed in a tragic, unexpected accident.
 
It's the kind of news that kicks you in your low gut, causing you to drop everything and gasp in shock. It's the kind of news that you mull over throughout the day and your inner mind wars with itself on the insane thought that he's actually still alive (this is all one bad joke, right?!). It's the kind of news that makes you desperate to hold your loved one as close to you as possible.
 
Brad was a father, husband, brother, friend, son, firefighter, and so much more. He was the neighbor to my parents; his son grew up with my sister; I babysat their boys in between the parents' shifts; they are real people. Real people who's lives were turned completely upside down and inside out Sunday evening. I've tried to wrap my head around it all and quite frankly, I'm too numb to process it.

 
Please take some time today to say the words I love you to your loved ones and hold them tight. Tell them how much they mean to you, how much you appreciate them. We're never guaranteed tomorrow and can only live for today. Embrace today as if it were your last to live and soak in each moment as it comes.

There is a Go Fund me page to help the family. If you are able to give financially or prayerfully, it would be much appreciated. Pray for God to surround this family right now with peace and love, as well as the community, as we are all reeling from this devastating loss.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

He {IS} mine

 
"Today, I choose JOY."
 
This past Saturday evening, Hunter and I spent time with our fellow youth Sunday school teachers and enjoyed a delicious, southern-comfort meal, complete with a hayride. It was just what the doctor called for. On our way home, I cranked up the different worship songs and sang my little heart out.
 
I got to thinking though: How cool is it that I can call the God of the universe MINE? And He claims me as His own. It says in John 10:29 that I am in God's hands and can never be snatched from Him. So think about it like this - Jesus has me in the palm of His hand through His death on the cross and my belief in Him. Then Jesus is in the palm of God's hand because that is His only begotten son. So I'm in the palm of Jesus' hand, who is in the palm of God's hand. I'm never getting out of that!
 
I think many times, Christians tend to either forget or dilute the beauty of being one of God's children. It becomes so second nature to our very thought process that we are no longer stirred into utter amazement when we stop to think about it. My challenge for you today, brothers and sisters, is to stop and meditate on the fact that you are HIS. You will always be His and that can never be taken from you.
 
Remember why we celebrate Christmas time and the joy that it should bring into our lives. Even if everything is going wrong during this time of rejoicing, remember that you are loved so deeply and vastly that your brain cannot even begin to wrap itself around that notion. Even when the day may seem dark and dreary, or the finances aren't there to be able to have "the best Christmas", or you're STILL waiting on your Christmas miracle in the form of a child, God is there. Has been there. Will always be there. Find your true JOY in Him this season.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Be {NEAR} me


I'm not going to lie - I started listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving came around. I know, I know. I'm always the person that stresses the importance of not letting one holiday overtake the other... And I let it happen! No shame in my game though.

Have ya'll heard the new Lauren Daigle Christmas CD? Goodness, it makes me feel all kinds of feels. I especially love her "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" because of the New Orleans feel it has to it. I grew up listening to jazz music (thanks dad) so anytime I can get a taste of it, I'm always taken back to my childhood days when I didn't appreciate the music then.

I think we can take for granted the lyrics and meanings behind songs, especially Christmas songs. They're full of hope, rejoicing, and the fact that we can celebrate these things, is a miracle. For example, the following lyrics are from "Away in a Manger" (Third Day version):

Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever and love me, I pray...

 
Don't you ask those words daily?? I don't know about ya'll, but I'm always thinking, "God don't fail me now!" My point is this - be sure to embrace the holiday season and all that it stands for. For me, Christmas is a time of rebirth, the closing of a chapter and the start of a new chapter. It's a time of reverence in my otherwise chaotic life, and a time to slow down.
 
How are you spending your time during this Christmas season?

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Monday, December 5, 2016

It's the most wonderful time...

Goodness, where have these last couple of weeks gone to?? Somehow, I think God thought I could handle some more speed in my life and alas, He giveth my friends. But it's been all wonderful - minus the sickly cooties of course. But let's catch up!
 
READING// Does the bible count? We've been working through Jeremiah for a bible study we're starting tomorrow. Jeremiah requires a bit of research on our parts because it's filled with so much. Even though it's part of the Old Testament, there is always truth and application.
 
EATING// I'm kind of in a cooking slump (again, I'm blaming sickly cooties). So I'm starting to peruse Pinterest again to get some ideas. Anything crock pot friendly is a must because I have about a 45 minute commute from work to home, so the minimal amount of prepping is key. We both love to cook so it's weird being in a slump...
 
DRINKING// All the Starbucks holiday drinks. It's like they know me. And trying to be better about drinking more water. My body is shriveled up from lack of water.
 
DREAMING// Of a white Christmas. Who am I kidding, we're in Florida. But I am dreaming of all the wonderful things that Christmas brings - renewed hope, sights, sounds, smells, warmth in the hearts. I feel like life slows down a little when Christmas comes around and that's something I'm craving right now.
 
PLANNING// For the future, naturally, because 2017 is right around the corner. 2016 has been quite a year and we've really been so grateful for every moment. We're excited to see what God has in store for us.

A few weeks ago, our sweet friend snap some photos of us to send out with our Christmas cards. Hunter and I are naturally a goofy couple, always laughing and cutting up, so it was only natural that these pictures reflect our marriage and who we are.




 
Life's too short to be serious. If you're from the area, Sara Beth is a mastermind and so wonderful. Have ya'll done your Christmas shopping? I know folks that have been done and are totally relaxed about it all. I've done most of mine... I'm just totally losing track of all time this year!
 
Let's enjoy this Monday friends. We've been finally getting some rain down here and my plants are thoroughly soaking it all up. I think cooler temps are coming our way too - thank the good LORD! My deodorant is tired of working in overdrive, ha! Happy Monday, friends!
 
 


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Monday, November 21, 2016

Gratefulness this week of Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the Welborns!
 
I absolutely love this time of year! With the holidays rolling in that bring so much joy and reverie in a world of chaos, it brings balm to an otherwise charred and tired soul. We spent some time with our 7th grade Sunday school class yesterday talking about all the things we're grateful for. For a group of 12 year old girls, they're pretty wise beyond their years.
 
We talked of family and friends, homes and school, sports competitions and arts, God and His good love for us. I shared that I was personally grateful for modern medicine, friendships that are deeply centered around God, and a church family that fully believes in going against the grain of life. We all really have so much to be grateful for.
 
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what this past year held for us all. Whether it was good, bad, or a mixture, you're here now and God saw you through it. I truly cannot believe we're at the end of 2016 and looking at 2017 head on. I'm so thankful for a year that brought many new adventures in all the areas of our lives and yes, there were some growing pains involved, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
 
So find something to be grateful for today and meditate on it. Give thanks to the Big Guy for his faithfulness and just love for you. I encourage you to do that every day of your life because viewing the glass half-full really can make a difference in your daily attitude. On this cold, chilly Monday, I'm eternally grateful for this wonderful life I get to live.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Christmas in a {CUP}

 
Just this morning I stopped by Starbucks on my way into work and decided to treat myself to a yummy Christmas drink - Grande Crème Brulee Frappuchino. Because who doesn't love Christmas in a cup, filled with lots of sugary goodness?? I have to say, the results of last night's election did make coming into work early, early this morning a tad bit easier.
 
I intentionally remain mum about my views on politics on the interwebs simply because of a couple of reasons: ONE being that I currently work in the Florida Legislature so I don't like to mix business with pleasure (I fully believe in keeping those things separate meaning work/politics doesn't and will not ever grace my personal life); TWO being people. My daddy always said one of the things you never talk about at the dinner table is politics because it can ruin a perfectly good meal.
 
So I've remained mum throughout this entire god-awful, mudslinging presidential race. I've watched as friends and family have torn each other apart, spewed foul words and hatred from their mouths, and I've been amazed daily by people and their actions. This blog post is the only thing you will hear from me about any of this mess on the interwebs and that's it. If you want to know where I stand on things, who I voted for, etc., feel free to contact me personally. I'm an open book and stand by my beliefs and convictions.
 
But I do want to address my brothers and sisters in Christ in this moment - I am disgusted and disappointed in many of you. Not all, but some of you resorted to total disrespect for others, their beliefs, their personal lifestyles, and then you went to church on Sunday and worshipped. Quite the oxymoron if I say so myself. I have many friends who I don't necessarily agree with on certain things but I would NEVER resort to name-calling, belittling, and/or judgement. Whether you were #trumptrain or #imwithher, I saw it from both sides.
 
Post-election, I'm now seeing brothers and sisters in Christ who are truly falling apart because THEIR candidate didn't get elected. My question and challenge to you is this - where is your faith at?? Who do you answer to at the end of the day and this life?? As far as I'm concerned, I answer to one Person and one Person alone. GOD. Regardless if Trump won or Clinton won, at the end of the day I answer to my MAKER and my purpose for being placed here at this time never changes. To my brothers and sisters in Christ who are literally acting as if the world has ended - Get a grip.
 
Harsh, much? Probably. But seriously. Your purpose that GOD has given you (not some man with a bad hairdo or a woman with ugly suits) has not changed. YOU were placed here to serve GOD, not the POTUS. Recognize that your life in fact isn't over and start praying for our nation, our people, for God's will to be done. Because at the end of the day, God is SOVEREIGN and nothing happens without His knowing.
 
Happy Wednesday, folks. Again, get a grip.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Time {CHANGE}

With the time change this past weekend, I was convinced I was running late to work this morning because the sun was shining bright and early. Alas, I wasn't and it's already been a wonderful Monday morning! I'm pretty sure the weekend we had plays a major factor into how the start of our weeks will go.
 
We spent some time Saturday in a sweet little coastal town not too far from us at their Seafood Festival. If you're ever in the area of Apalachicola, be sure to stop and shop there. If you're a microbrewery kind of person, they've got a great brewery there. Of course, be sure to eat some oysters while you're in town since that's what they're known for.
 
 
 
I'm usually always on the go whether it's running around town or busying myself with things to do around the house. Hunter always says, "Do you ever slow down?" Well friends, I did this past weekend. I literally lounged on the couch for about 2-3 hours early Saturday morning while waiting on Hunter to get back from hunting. And wouldn't you know, we spent yesterday afternoon lounging in our new-to-us hammock while sipping on sweet tea. The mere fact that I was still this past weekend was so nice and refreshing!
 
 
My prayers today are that each of you are having a wonderful Monday thus far and your week will be even better. Go ahead and get that Starbucks drink you've been eyeing. You deserve it.
 


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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The {ICKY} stuff

 
I recently acquired a book from a friend of mine called "The Resolution for Women" by Priscilla Shirer (she's in the movie War Room) and within the first few pages, I knew it was going to be a tough book to get through. I'm not a feel good book/sermon type of gal. I like the nitty gritty, the honest and in-your-face kind of deals. The kind of conversations that leave you thirsting for more knowledge... The uncomfortable stuff I guess.
 
There was a point in the book I came to last night that just really resonated with me and I wanted to share it with ya'll:
 
"And with one final bite of the most eye-opening dessert date I may have ever had, I realized this feeling had a name: discontentment. He shows up at your doorstep just like mine, eager to step inside and make himself at home. But instead of only coming for short visits on rare occasions, he refuses to leave, spreading his baggage everywhere, filling up corners of your space that you thought you'd locked up to this odious intruder. He comes. He lingers. He robs you of your years. Then before you know it, you've missed out on the joys in the journey, the growth that comes from battling through the difficulties, the sweet and savory experience of creating the memories."
 
Uhm, can I get an amen and another slice of humble pie, puh-leeze?? More often than not, I'm always looking ahead. I'm naturally a planner - I want to know the when's, the where's, the who's. And so many times I've wasted away those moments of the here and now because I was so concerned with the next step or phase.
 
Let's take back our time and tell Mr. Discontentment "screw you" because in reality, we're only given this one life to live. As I've been nearing my 30th birthday, I've honestly been dreading it because again, Mr. Discontentment reminded me that I wasn't exactly where I envisioned I would be. But like I reminded myself (and told him to go pound sand), where I am is SOOOOO much better than I could've ever imagined. Yes, I'm still in debt to my student loans; yes, I don't have a kid yet (totally thought I'd be married with 1.5 kids by 25.... get a grip). But gosh darn it, I've got a man that loves the hell out of me, a beautiful little country home with 2 pups to drive me wild, family and friends that would die for me.
 
Take back your moments and embrace them for all that they are because it's your life to live, and no one else's.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Life lived with {OTHERS}

 
 
This past weekend, we hosted a BBQ/housewarming party at our house. The whole get-up was complete with cornhole games, bonfire and s'mores, and the best dadgum BBQ you have ever tasted. Of course we had football games on in the background - what kind of southern people would we be if we didn't have football on?? Bad southern people, that's what.
 
We spent yesterday in one of our most favorite little towns - Thomasville, GA. Friends of ours welcomed us with open arms and yummy pizza. If you're from the area or traveling through, be sure to swing by Buzzery's in Boston, Georgia. You've never had pizza like this one. I'm sure folks from up north would laugh at it, but then I'll laugh at your adorable attempts of trying to cook southern food. HA! #butterislife #wefryeverything
 
As we were traveling back home yesterday, we couldn't help but just sit in awe and wonder at the blessings we have in our lives. The love that we receive from family and friends; our home and the safe haven it provides; the church family that surrounds us with support and love. It's all rather overwhelming when you take into account every.little.thing that God has done for us. Even on the stinkiest days, we still can say that God has been and is too good to us.
 
So remember this friends as you make your way to work, school, or toting kids around today - life really is beautiful. Sometimes, the moments aren't so great or the situations aren't so great. But life is way too short to be lived unhappy, negative, etc. Learn to embrace each moment as they come, whether it be blessings or learning curves for the next chapter in your life.
 
Happiest of Monday's and happy Halloween!

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Letters to Hunter + half a {decade} of LOVE



My sweet Hunter,
 
Tomorrow we will celebrate 2 years of wedded bliss that have been thoroughly enjoyed. We'll celebrate our laughs shared over the past 5.5 years, our memories that we've created and treasured for our sustenance, and we'll embrace the beauty that is another day in our lives. We always comment how our time together has felt so quick and gone-in-a-minute. Yet, we feel like we've been side by side for eons.
 
Over the last half decade we've shared grief in loss of family members and friends. We've learned how the other grieves, mourns, recovers. In the last few years I watched you handle your mom going through chemo, the prayers we prayed together {and that we're still praying}, the hope we've held out on. We know that God is always good. I'll forever remember the first time you saw your mom without hair - the way you embraced her and loved on her. That's just one of the many ways I saw your soul shine through.
 
We've learned how to agree to disagree on various things; how to fight {if you even want to call it that} fairly; the patience that goes into loving each other's flaws every day. You've learned that I'm not the happiest of humans when I'm hangry {it's a real epidemic, ya'll} and I've discovered how stress can affect your mood. But we wrestle through those areas and come out on the other side, hands held tight to each other.
 
Hunter, I wouldn't want anybody else by my side to do this thing called life. Life is hard, ugly, mean, cold; but you make it soft, beautiful, kind, and warm. My days are filled with laughter and joy because of the care that you show me. You remind me that it's OKAY to sit and not fret over the piles of laundry growing, or the dust bunnies in the corner of the room. Other times you buy into my madness and utterly surprise me with your small gestures of helping me with things around the house. You know my love language like the back of your hand.
 
And I know your love language - Words of Affirmation. Boy, your heart soars and thrives on kind words, uplifting phrases, sentences that make your heart go pitter patter. I'm here to tell you now and every day - I love you Hunter. Thank you for leading me in all the many ways. Thank you for always striving to be better, do better, love deeper, grow in life. You are one hell of a man, husband, son, brother, brother-in-law, son-in-law, and one day, father. You are such a blessing in my life and many others. I truly cannot and will not imagine doing life without you.
 
I've loved you from the beginning, always have and always will. My heart is yours forever, gentle giant.
 


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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A shot of espresso

 
 
DRINKING// Grande iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks. It's literally my crack, ya'll.
 
READING// A perk to having a mom that works in a high school library is the fact that I have soooo many books at my disposal. I'm a book nerd and love a good novel over a movie any day. Right now, I'm reading Iron Cast and so far it's pretty good!
 
PLANNING// A pumpkin patch day this Saturday afternoon. I love everything about Fall - the colors, smells, weather, foods. You name it, and I love it. For me, Fall is so refreshing and a time of renewal for my soul.
 
DREAMING// Of many different things. But the most practical at this point is dreaming of some good BBQ. We're having a house warming cookout next weekend and I cannot wait to chow down.
 
HOPING// Honestly? Hoping for patience with a few things in my life. I struggle daily with the art of patience - I'm a go-getter and I like to get things done and move on to the next task. I'm learning to be patient, to rest in the moments, and to not fret over things well beyond my control.
 
SMILING// Over the sweetest husband of mine. I know I brag about him a lot but he's worth it. His kindness, quirkiness, and the ability to get me to loosen up and laugh at the little things really make each day wonderful. I pray that every person has a Hunter in their life. After {almost} 2 years of marriage and 5.5 years together total, I couldn't imagine my life any other way.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday Blues

Well not really the blues. It just sounded good for the title... HA! Have you ever had to come back to work to take a break from your weekend? No, just me? Well then.....
This weekend was packed full of time well spent with friends, family, shopping, celebrations, and maybe one slight near meltdown. Can I just say this really quick from the starting gate? I'm seriously beyond #blessed to have the girlfriends that I have. For example, I was able to spend time Saturday (hey Kate!) with one of my sweetest friends. When we get together, we're like Maryanne and Wanda (Dixie Chicks anybody?); peanut butter and jelly; Bert and Ernie.... You get the gist. She and I can be real and honest with each other - it's entirely refreshing.
 
Anywho's, we went shopping, enjoyed lunch, laughed hysterically over the littlest things, tried to wrap our heads around people's ways (still can't wrap our minds around some things), and just enjoyed each other's company. Saturday evening was spent with new friends (for me) in celebrating a sweet guy leaving to go overseas for work. He's going into a country where there's not a lot of peace at all right now so we're all praying for his safety. Some amazing conversations were had over wings, stories were swapped, and God connected us with new people in such a unique way.
 
 
Sunday was spent celebrating a sweet momma's baby boy soon to be here. Ya'll, tears were shed for this miracle baby. I absolutely love celebrating new life, old life, any kind of life. Ironically so, we spent Sunday night searching for our hound dog, Jep. It was one of those moments where he was just being his breed and decided to chase after something (probably deer). After about 3 hours of searching, he came right back home to the dog whisperer (my father-in-law) like he had only been gone for just a few minutes. Bless my soul, I think I aged some.
 
Hope each of ya'll had a glorious weekend!


A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey


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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

{Prayerful} Life

 
I fully believe that there is power in prayer. Just the other day, a sweet friend of mine and I were talking about prayer requests. We were checking in with each other and just seeing how the other person is doing, if there is anything in their life or marriage that needs prayer. And I got to thinking about how easy it is to forget that praying really can do some wonderful things.
 
If we were to pray boldly, can you imagine the amazing works that could happen not only in our lives but others as well? I feel like we, as Christians, have stuck praying on the back burner and it's one of those things that we'll pull out when we really need something to work out for us. It's that calling card that's only used once a month (if that) just to see if that "genie" God can work His magic. Harsh? Maybe. True? Absolutely.
 
I want to encourage you to pray today and to pray with boldness, love, and a sense of friendship. How does any relationship/friendship work in this world? We talk to each other, call each other, text each other, send each other memes (this is life). So why is it so hard to talk to God the same way? Maybe because you can't see Him necessarily, or maybe because you feel like you can't hear Him.
 
Talk anyways. Pray anyways. Do it anyways. You'd be amazed at the change that would come about. Would it happen overnight? Probably not, but everything is in God's timing (it sucks, I know, but He is smarter than us). You say prayer doesn't work.... I say show me. 

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Gratefulness + Birthdays

I realized as I was brushing my teeth last night before bed that tomorrow (today) is in fact Monday. Didn't I just leave work a few hours ago on Friday?? I digress. Of course the saying is true - "Time flies when you're having fun."  We must've had lots of fun this weekend!
 
I love how God always brings beauty from pain. He is faithful and good and loving - thank goodness for Him. He always brings people into our lives at the right time and for great purposes. We were introduced to a sweet couple through one of Hunter's best friend (hey Cody!) and it's one of those things where you feel like you've known each other all your lives but you've only just met in the last couple months. Their heart for God, ya'll, it's contagious. I'm so grateful for their friendship and connection!
 
Today is my baby sister's 18th birthday. Let's just let that sink in for a minute..... HOW can she be 18?! She's the baby, the munchkin, the little turd. She cannot be 18. But she is and I'm so so SO grateful for her and her life. I'm so thankful that her birth mother chose life for her and gave my sister the chance to be a beautiful young woman, and a sister to me. Erin, we love you more than words can say.
 

 
I truly hope each of you have a wonderful Monday. I leave you with these lyrics from a song we sang yesterday in church: "I lift my eyes up. My help comes from the LORD." Wherever you may be in your life, whatever you are going through, always seek Him. Lean into Him. Hunger for Him. And KNOW that you are loved tremendously.

A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey
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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

His + Hers

Last night, I finished a project that I've been putting off until we got through with moving. If you haven't picked up on it yet, my husband is an avid hunter and fisherman. It's only appropriate that his name is Hunter. Some perks to dating a hunter include things like (but not limited to) having all-natural meat in your freezer, lots of me-time when he goes hunting, and his prized trophies on your wall....
 
God love that man and his trophies.
 
When we moved, the first thing Hunter did was take his prized trophy, Fred (yes, I named him), around to each room to decide where he would go best. The living room wall was the lucky winner. So I jumped onto Pinterest to find all ideas possible to incorporate Fred with some cute, farmhouse style flair. And this was the end result....
 
 
 
It got me thinking though, about how this scenario is a great depiction of marriage. Marriage is all about compromise, bending a bit, meeting your partner halfway to try and find a happy medium. Don't get me wrong, I love Fred and I'm so proud of my husband for his trophies. But I love Fred so much more with a cotton wreath around him.
 
If there's ever any advice I can give to somebody starting out in a relationship or newlyweds - be willing to bend and compromise. The look on your spouse's face when he sees his trophy on the wall is enough to make you want to hang more (slight kidding, we don't have the room honey #tinyhouseliving). But be willing to give because at the end of the day, it's just a deer mount and his happiness is so much more important.
 
Now I've just got to figure out how to incorporate ducks into all of this.........

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Gratefulness + Country Living

Happiest of Monday's to ya'll! It's been a hot minute since this blog has received any attention but for good reasons. If you haven't heard...
 
 
 
We've moved! A couple of weekends ago, we packed up our little 3/2 townhome in the city and moved to a quaint 2/1 in the country. And it is quaint! But we're so in love with where we are and all that we get to experience with this new place. I thought I was raised in the country but ya'll, this is country country. As is, Comcast doesn't even service us because we're so far out.
 
It has literally been about 2 weeks of moving, unpacking, relocating, shifting, sweating, maybe some swearing.... But we really couldn't have done it all without the help of family and friends. We've had to be very creative in our storage and style of this home because it's much smaller than where we were. I love that we've had to donate a lot of our things because it reminded me how materialistic we can become.
 
As I mentioned, we really couldn't have done it without people. From the heavy lifters to the unpackers, to folks that have literally just given us items to help us with designing our home in a more efficient way, to the people that have prayed for us and asked about us... Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. Those simple words will never truly convey how much love is in my heart for each of those folks.
 
Fun fact: Hunter and I will be married for 2 years this month. Where has the time gone?!


A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey

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