March 9, 2018

two weeks a mrs.


I don't have all of our wedding pictures back yet, but our photographer sent me a few sneak-peeks just to tide me over until I do. They're lower quality because she had to reduce them to fit in an email, but I just had to share a couple on here as well as the link to the wedding video!

The wedding was such a wonderful day. It was sunny and 78 degrees which is unusual even for Tennessee. It was at 6:00 in the evening on Friday, February 23. The church was packed with people and we served donuts, fresh fruit with dip, and sausage balls at the reception along with water, sweet tea, and a coffee bar. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day! Everything went smoothly, no last minute glitches or confusion, and with only family and close friends as attendants/musicians/officiants, it was close and perfectly personal. Marriage is the sweetest thing, and in all my "waiting", I would happily wait another 10 years for this much happiness!

 
 




January 25, 2018

where i've been

If I have any readers left I'll be amazed. Five months is a long time in between posts and if it were a blog I follow, I might have stopped checking back for a new one by now too!

So where have I been and why have I not posted? Since August I've been doing the same things. Being an aunt, working at the church, and I haven't traveled anywhere. But my mind has been focused on something altogether different.

Life changes quickly, doesn't it? And sometimes you can be waiting on something and suddenly all the pieces fall together and God opens your eyes at exactly the second He wants them to be open. You see new possibilities that were there all along, but the timing just wouldn't have been right yet. God asks us to wait for reasons. Beautiful, happy, and yes, life changing reasons.

I'm not going to go into many details yet because something in me still cherishes keeping  my thoughts close to my heart and maybe it's old fashioned or silly, but I don't always want to put a lot of pictures and every little detail out into the public like the majority of the world does now.

But just in case anyone checks back here once in a blue moon, I wanted to put on here that the biggest life change is yet to come. February 23, 2018, I will be changing my last name!


It all started back on June 10 with our first date. On December 16 I said "yes!" (or more precisely, "yes, thank you!") and it's been a bit of a whirlwind getting everything ready in such a short amount of time. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email and I'll try to get to it as soon as I can!

Because we're both old souls and don't remember to take pictures I only have one of the two of us that we took right after he proposed. I do have this one though that I really wanted to share because like my dad kept telling me, "it's probably right under your nose!"

I'm the girl in the bright striped dress. My fiance Brandon is standing slightly behind me to the left. 
This picture was taken over 20 years ago.


God is so good, isn't He?  He's always working behind the scenes to line everything up so we'll be ready when the time comes.

I'm hoping to write a longer post soon talking about Christmas, my birthday, my brand new niece Josie, and other things, but those might have to wait until after February ;) 

 

August 24, 2017

august

August is slipping away. How is it that I started out so strong with blogging this year, and then as life began to "slow down" I stopped? I think maybe because as I get older, the less I feel the need to share my thoughts and life online. As time marches on, I do think about this blog and have the desire to keep posting, keep writing, keep updating. But life is changing, and as my priorities have shifted, this blog isn't anywhere close to the top anymore. If you still enjoy reading, I do thank you. I will keep posting, but clearly, just not as frequently and I won't make any promises of how often. 

I think one of the reasons I've slowed down is a simple lesson that time has taught me. Once you've said something - especially on the internet - it cannot be taken back. Once a picture is shared, it can't be unseen. I'm not really ashamed or embarrassed by anything I've ever shared on here, I just know that I want to stay guarded in this world that knows no boundaries. There have been enough times in my life that I look back on and cringe. I don't want to put those moments in a place where they cannot be erased. Once words leave your mouth - or fingers, in this case - they can only be forgiven, rarely are they forgotten.

The months of June, July, and August have fallen through my fingers like grains of sand. One moment I had a tight grip, the next they were gone entirely. I have been overwhelmed by God's grace and goodness. At the age of 24, I have begun to experience things that force me to look to Christ and pay more attention to Him than the circumstances around me. I feel as if these days my main request is for wisdom, while last year I had a bucketful of questions I couldn't even find words for. God can pull us out of our confusion and place us in peace if only we can adjust our focus on Him. I'm still trying, still learning, and a lot of the time it's still a struggle. Trust is simple, really, if we can just only let go of our own weak grasp on control.

On Father's Day, we were given a tangible gift that represented the answer to a specific prayer prayed for so many years. In February, 2018, my oldest brother Stephen and his wife Tara will add a little baby to our family!


July included the wedding of a close friend, and lots of swim days with my niece and nephews. August came and brought with it my friend Faith's sweet baby Judah and a huge creek baptism for our church. Jackson was baptized with several others that day, and who cares that all of us on the bank were hot and sweaty? There's such a sweetness about an old fashioned creek baptizing.




Monday was the day of the great solar eclipse, and we just so happened to live right in the path of totality. As long as I live, I will never forget that day. The photos below were all taken within a few minutes of each other, and the bottom one was around 1:28pm. Two minutes later, it was bright and hot again, but for those two minutes the crickets chirped, stars and lightening bugs came out, and we were surrounded by a 360° sunset. As goosebumps covered my arms I stood in awe of God's creation. How sweet that in a world such as ours, He still stuns the world with the evidence of His existence. How sad that some refuse to see it.


I suppose we're in the "dog days of summer", but as it cools off and September approaches with it's structure and schedules, I hope each of you enjoy it. Thank you for reading even though it's silent on here so often and my writing style refuses to stay the same. I really do appreciate it!



July 13, 2017

summer

Hello, readers, I'm finally getting around to posting again. My life has been an assortment of chaos and calm these past few weeks, but I seem to always remember the chaos more. Time is flying by! I can't believe we're already ankle deep in July.

I don't really have much to write about this week. We're in the middle of Music School and when I sit still and just think for too long I start to fall asleep. For summertime, I believe pictures and updates will have to suffice on here! I've come to realize there's a lot more of you reading than I originally thought. It's flattering and daunting all at the same time, but thank you so much for reading! 


Back at the end of June we had a baby shower for my friend Faith. It was so good to see her and celebrate her baby boy. Judah is due to arrive in just a few weeks!


This is Cowlick, a baby calf my sister-in-law is bottle feeding. Jace got to give her the first bottle with my mom's help!

 
We've had so. much. rain. The Fourth of July was cloudy and wet, but it cleared up enough that evening to sit outside and enjoy our neighbor's fireworks. I'm tired of the rain, but rainbows never will get old.


Green beans, green beans, green beans. We had a "garden" meal last week with fresh green beans, fried squash, tomatoes, and new potatoes all from this year's garden. I don't enjoy picking the produce, but I do enjoy "putting it up" and eating it!

I am fully aware that this is a "piddly" post, but I kind of want to put something up every now and then so I don't end up just forgetting about it. I hope you're all having a lovely summer! I'm heading out soon to enjoy this 90° day!


June 22, 2017

things i love thursday

Hello again, everyone! It's been a minute since I posted, so let me catch you up to speed real quick...

Since May 18, we've had two weddings, my mom took a trip to Paris with my oldest brother and sister-in-law, VBS, Jr. Camp, Youth Camp (all back to back!), my cousins and siblings and I spent a day at my grandparents' "spring cleaning", and a lot of other things got done that we just squeezed in somehow. Don't get me wrong, I love it, I just realized as I looked for my Proverb to read yesterday that it was the 21st....of JUNE. So that was a startling revelation.

youth camp 2017

So let's get into some of my favorite things over the last few weeks.

First, HAPPY SUMMER! Yesterday was the first day of summer, and let me tell you, I did not miss out on it! I wished all of my friends a happy day and generally just enjoyed the fact that even though it's felt like summer for the past month, now it's officially my favorite season!

pool days with the kids - Lena Rae swims without a ring float now, the three older boys can do handstands and flips and a gazillion other tricks, and Dougy Mac just jumps in and knows there'll always be someone to catch him. Warm skin, dripping hair, juice boxes...it's lovely.



fresh fruit - seasonal fruit will always be my favorite. Strawberry season came and went too quickly, but now there's watermelon and cantaloupe to chow down on!

"Grandparent's Day" - we didn't do this on the actual holiday, but the last Saturday in May several of my grandparent's grandkids met at their house to do some work for them. They never ask for anything, but it's been a hard year and we wanted to help out if we could. Since we're all adults, our schedules aren't great at matching up, so as many as could spent a Saturday morning washing windows, mowing, detailing their car, cutting wood, etc...whatever they needed! We ended with a big lunch and homemade ice cream. So far, it's probably been my favorite day of this year.

15 out of 22  (including "cousin-in-laws"), and 6 out of 8 "greats"!

Other things include...

Dougy's little laugh when he talks in his one word sentences - it sounds something like this: "Boys. Swim. Huh." | Lena Rae: "Kelley, when I get big like you, will you get me a phone like yours?" | simple pleasures - y'all know I love the little things, but it was raining today and this afternoon I made a bowl of spicy ramen to eat while I read a book and it was so nice | Bible trivia on Wednesday nights | VBS with the 2's and 3's | experiencing Youth Camp with 5 cousins there - 3 from my dad's side and 2 from my mom's! | new quotes


duck-duck-goose with 2 year olds - they're so little and huggable!

I remember these 2 cousins being born - now they're 14 and almost 16!

It seems like every year I find a quote that kind of runs around in my mind and becomes my non-spiritual motto for that year. Here's 2017's quote:

I hope you all have a great weekend, and that your summer is just beautiful. Thank you for reading!




May 18, 2017

a matter of time


I have so many things I want to write about, but can never seem to land on a topic long enough to come up with anything. I think it's because I've learned over the past year that a lot of the things that seem to constantly be on my mind also cast a shadow over my spirit and are simply things out of my control that are better pushed to the side of my thoughts. Things that only time will resolve and reveal, and I just need to wait.

I feel like I write too much about the topic of waiting, but that's the season of life I'm in right now. A lot of areas in my life cause me to practice this. Waiting for approval to finish a job, waiting on information to complete a list, waiting for healing, waiting on the Lord...waiting.

Right now there are a couple of things I want to grasp in my hands and fix, to make better, change, or finish. But in these situations, that's completely and entirely impossible. I'm trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it's not that my hands are tied behind my back and I'm completely helpless - because that's exactly how it feels - but it's a matter of faith, of total surrender to the Lord's will and timing. It's trusting Him to finish the job as He sees fit, and in the timing He's ordained.

Faith still doesn't always come natural to me. I'm someone who naturally wants to get things done and take action. It's one of the few things I inherited from my mom - Ladies' Meeting at 6:30? Our dishes are prepared and on a warming tray at 3:00. She calls herself a Martha, and I feel the same way so often. When you're naturally bent in that direction, sitting with empty hands and a troubled heart makes you feel so helpless.

Waiting. I asked my dad about it a few months ago, talked to him about how I knew it was simple enough, but didn't understand why God required so very much of it for some people, why even in it's simplicity it can be so hard. He reminded me that waiting can be another word for serving - like when you're at a restaurant, the job of your waiter is to serve you. Perhaps that's what God wants more of from me, from others - service. Wholeheartedly for Him. It's a lesson in patience, in service, in surrender.

Just a matter of time. I can flip back in the pages of my life and see things that have come to fruition quietly. Things that used to be such a big deal to me, but somewhere over the years they became smaller in my mind until they were resolved, and I didn't even notice. One day I'll look back on today, on the burdens that are so heavy for me, and realize God had a perfect plan. Yes, these burdens truly are bigger, more life-changing, and yet, however badly I resist, they are inevitable. I'll look back and see change and heartache, but I'll also see grace. 

If God can show me grace through the lonely days, through the difficult changes, surely I can be gracious in my service towards Him. It's just a matter of time until He reveals the reasons, shows us the full picture.


A Mendicant of God
I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart
I cried, "But Lord this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou hast given me."
He said, "My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee."
I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace,
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.

-Martha Snell Nicholson


May 11, 2017

things i love thursday




"God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don't have now we don't need now."
-ELISABETH ELLIOT



Summer Summer Summer Summer!!!!

Tennessee has come through and delivered the perfect "spring" weather (as far as I'm concerned)! 60° mornings and 85° afternoons. Warm, breezy (is this called "balmy"?) evenings with the scent of honeysuckle wafting around. I can admit that the weather greatly affects my mood.

Last night the teacher I normally help was out of town so I had the class on my own. I read a character story, but since it was fairly short I tacked on an animal story about a pack rat that was discontent. We talked about contentment for awhile, and I really enjoyed listening to their perspective. Contentment has been a thought on my mind for awhile, and last night I decided I really need to spend more time focusing on the people and things I love rather than comparison and impatience.

I don't want to give the impression that I'm a bubbly, lighthearted person because I'm pretty sure if you asked my family, they would tell you I lean towards being more of a pessimist than an optimist! But the past few weeks have been busy, warm, and glorious, and I am thrilled about it. Here are some things I've been loving.


honeysuckle infused sunsets | Dougy kisses | afternoons in the sunshine | cleaning out the pool (y'all ever burnt the inside of your elbow? try not to) | books | "Yard Sale-ing" with my friend | baking | shopping (online and in store! I've turned over a new leaf) | coffee with hazelnut creamer | park picnics & slip-n-side with the kids (I get to hold the water hose and give them an icy spray!) | a new thermos (it made my day, being an adult is so weird) | ice cream cones | churches that feel like a second home-church and an extra family (talking about Ridge Road!) | sleeping babies | Alabama & family reunions - we always come home with chocolate oatmeal cookies from Aunt Julie and almond bark candy from Aunt Pam - it's kind of nice when your dad's the "little brother" of ten people! | home



Are your windows open? Are you getting fresh air? Have you colored a coloring page lately? All of these things lift my perspective so much, I hope you have a chance to experience them soon! Last night one of the last things one of the kids said was, "Miss Kelley, you are so neat, you like coloring with us!" The yellow crayon I was using for the flowers is the same one I would have used to color in my spirit when she told me that. Do something with some children, they make everything a little more colorful!

20 minutes after taking this picture the 3 littles were sacked out! I just love their white hair :)


Have a beautiful weekend, friends!