A Dance with A King

It’s nice to be back here to this nice blank page.

Not that I have not wanted to be back here before now, but I have been lacking in my ability to process my thoughts.

I have had thoughts, but ones I did not think were significant enough to share or thoughts I just wanted to keep to myself.

That’s not an easy thing for me. Keeping things to myself. Wearing my heart on my sleeve is a bit of an understatement.

Maybe I have not been here in awhile because this is a vulnerable place. Sharing your heart can be a real scary thing, not only because I have set myself up to share my heart with others, but I know there’s a chance I will experience every emotion in the midst of writing. It’s almost like you have to brace yourself for the steep part of the roller coaster.

I am learning that some stories are special enough to just keep inside… to simmer, process, and enjoy before spilling dark letters on to a stark white page. Sometimes after that transpires, you hear a voice that says, “hold your shoulders back” and go for it.

 

 

In the middle of planning my wedding last year, I got this idea that I would like to dance with my granddaddy at my wedding reception. If you knew him you would know he had quite the personality. Sharp but witty… Serious but loving…The KING of puns. (His name is King and no, I am not kidding). I was very excited to dance with my new husband, and my daddy but the more I thought about it, I couldn’t get asking my granddaddy to dance with me off of my mind. So, I asked him one night on his porch and he smiled and said, “well, of course.”

 

Little did I know, my granddaddy decided to go take line-dancing classes at the senior center down the street from his house. I can’t say for sure that he went just to prepare for upcoming weddings, seeing that my cousin was getting married a few weeks after me. My granddaddy might have started line-dancing classes because he wanted to, to get some exercise, give him something to do in his day. He told me soon after I found out he was going, he was the only man in the class but that didn’t seem to bother him too much.

 

Granddaddy finished the classes and the June wedding was fast approaching.

 

But come early May something was not right. My granddaddy didn’t say much. Something was bothering him.

 

I’ll never forget going to my grandparent’s house on a Wednesday night for dessert (a family tradition) and my granddaddy spoke maybe three words that night. We knew he was hard of hearing but he never seemed mute before. He pretended to understand and smiled and nodded when we spoke to him but it was clear something was just not right.

 

A few days later, after doctor’s appointments, and scans, they found a tumor in my granddaddy’s brain.

 

At that point, a dance didn’t really seem to matter. The goal was to get granddaddy to our wedding, and I prayed fervently he would be there.

 

After an intense surgery, the doctor removed part of the tumor and it was almost like my granddaddy was himself again. He was talking, he was laughing, he was his witty self, and I had hope that he was going to make it to that wedding. The best part was he was so concerned about how his hair would look for the big day because the nurses shaved it before his surgery.

 

I can see him now combing over his pretty silver hair after one of his three showers in the day. He was a clean man….in more ways than one. A man full of integrity and kindness…and old spice and gold Listerine.

 

God answered prayers and there he sat on the second pew the day Patrick and I said our vows.

 

I decided if my granddaddy were not up to it, I would meet him at his chair for our dance.

 

However, after his debut on the dance floor doing the Cupid Shuffle, and absolutely KILLING it, we decided he could handle the slow dance.

 

We laughed and smiled and danced to “You Make Me Feel So Young” by Frank Sinatra.

 

You would have thought granddaddy was 20 years old that night. I will never forget that moment. There are some moments in life that the Lord gifts you with that no one can ever take away from you.

 

That was one of those moments for me and it always will be as long as I live.

 

My Granddaddy passed away a year ago today June 26, 2015. Just 20 days after that dance. Now he is dancing in heaven and he is still KILLING it.

 

I work for a non-profit in Murfreesboro and last week I attended a meeting where many agencies were present. As we went around the room to tell about our services, the lady sitting behind me said, I am Connie and I work for the senior center in town.

 

After the meeting broke I turned around and told Connie the experience I got to share with granddaddy on my wedding day. I told her those dance classes meant the world to me and my entire family because we got to see the patriarch of our family having so much fun that night.

 

She and I wiped away tears from our eyes and she explained that’s why they do what they do, for stories like this one.

This special story for my family and me may not mean much to you.

 

If anything, I hope you can look back on those special memories, the ones that you can to tuck away in your heart and no one can ever steal from you. You don’t even have to let people know. Those memories can just be for your memory file.

 

Give the ones you love an extra squeeze, take lots of pictures, and thank the people who made those memories possible.

 

My granddaddy always told me, “Hold your shoulders back.” It is in your vulnerabilities that you find a bit of confidence in there somewhere.

 

Thank you for reading, friends.

Pictures by

 

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Choose Joy

Have you ever taken the time to really think about joy? I had never thought about it until I was filled with so much joy yesterday, I was forced to sit down and think about what made my day so different. I wanted to dig deeper into a three-letter word that I had heard my whole life but never really understood. A series of short events in about 12 hours of time changed my outlook on the meaning of joy forever.

My parents laugh because I came out of the womb with a frown on my face. (there’s proof in the pictures). I wouldn’t say I was an unhappy child but I was a serious child, and I leave very little room for silliness still today. I admittedly envy the peppy, smiling, humorous, care free, adventurous one because that’s just not me most of the time. I am naturally more of a pessimist. While this trait may have saved me some broken bones, money, gas, or pain in the past, I sure have missed out on some fun things. For many years I’ve prayed Lord, give me joy, and I became frustrated when I felt like He was not answering this prayer. Lord, you say be joyful always (1 Thessalonians 5:16), you say the joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10) so can you please give me some?!?

Yesterday morning I drug myself out of bed, sleepily brushed my teeth, gave my extra peppy, care free dog some attention, and headed out the door to work in a rush not giving much thought to what the day would bring. I first received a text from a friend that said the Lord is doing amazing things in her marriage. Yes!! Next, a coworker came in the office and said, “I’m pregnant” after she and her husband have been trying for many years. Praise God! And after a hard few days when the devil was finding pleasure in wedging his way in between my relationship with my husband, my husband sends me a text that said, would you like to skip the gym and go get a drink with me and sit in the sunshine and talk? In his six part study, Jesus and the Study of Joy by John Piper, He defines Christian joy as a “ good feeling in the soul produced by the Holy Spirit as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in Word and in the world. “ Yesterday I can’t say I was happy all day long. I wasn’t even expecting to receive this gift, BUT I was certainly overwhelmed with joy as I was able to experience the beauty, sovereignty, and sweetness of Christ.

About 5 years ago, joy for me looked like buying a new dress or going to get a pedicure with a girlfriend. Those things are great! But what I believe I got wrong was I didn’t really understand the definition of Christian joy. I confused this fruit of the spirit with temporary happiness or fulfillment. And because of my personality traits, I believed a lie that joy meant being happy all the time. That is just not the truth, friends. We are called to find joy even in suffering. That means joy even when we are NOT happy.

So you say Audrey, my marriage is suffering, how can I experience joy? My health is failing, how can I experience joy? I just lost my job, how can I experience joy?

  1. What I have learned is, it is ok to grieve, it is ok to be sad, and it is ok to be angry.
  2. But this is what I know. God does not change regardless of our feelings. He is still GOOD even in our suffering

“I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

“My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:8

“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

Piper sums it up so beautifully, “When we have little and have lost much, Christ comes and reveals himself as more valuable than what we have lost. And when we have much and are overflowing in abundance, Christ comes and he shows that he is far superior to everything we have.”

What I experienced yesterday was pure joy from the Lord. There is no doubt about that, but what is even sweeter is that God is bigger and better than all of those encounters. He is faithful. He is good. He loves us.

I have accepted that I may not always be happy. I am not the peppiest, smiley, humorous person. God made me serious, and I am learning to be ok with that. But I can be joyful always in any circumstance knowing God is sovereign and he is sweet and he is BIGGER than myself in my joys and my sufferings.

 

For more on John Piper’s Study on Joy click here

Easter Tablescape

I had so much fun decorating the table for Easter that I had to share with you. I hate to admit this, but one of the reasons I am sharing with you is that no one is coming to my house for Easter lunch or dinner. We are going to be with friends and family this year for lunch but because I love this holiday almost as much as Christmas, I wanted to have some fun with this decor.

I decided to get creative this year, but I never like to go too crazy. Although no one is going to be actually sitting at the table, I always try to be mindful of my centerpiece. I love the purpose of a table, to sit and eat and fellowship with one another. It is really hard to talk to the people in front of you if you have to dodge a massive flower arrangement or object in the center of a table. Another thing I like to think about is a color scheme. My kitchen is pretty neutral. I love blues, whites, and greens together, especially this time of year, so I decided to stick with those subtle pops of color.

For the centerpiece or vignette, I took my cotton wreath down from my tobacco basket and put it around a glass cake stand. I added a glass of hydrangeas, a moss bunny, and a cream and blue cross I received as a gift a few years back. I used my everyday dishes and added a blue fiestaware bowl in the center with my paper napkins folded into sweet little bunnies. (these were so fun to make!) If you missed my Instagram post yesterday, click –> for Bunny Napkin Tutorial

The only thing I bought for this table was a table runner from Marshall’s that can be used year round and the moss bunny which will be moved back up to my guest room bedside table after Easter is over. Something I like to think about when I purchase something for the home is one, does this bring me joy and two, can I use this year round. Ask yourself if this going up in 2 weeks after Easter, or can I leave it out all spring and summer? Sure, little accessories like bunnies etc may be put away until next year, but can place mats, table runners, chargers, etc be used for other events and not strictly one holiday? If you can say yes to both of those things in the store, I say hands down buy it girlfriend!

My biggest piece of advice is have fun with decorating your table. Stick to what you are comfortable with and think about the people that will be sitting around the table….or like me, i’ll just be admiring what I think is pretty all week. We all have different styles, but if you stay true to what you like and what you think will be comfortable for your guests, it will look amazing!

Happy Easter, Friends!

 

Tablerunner-Marshall’s

Moss Bunny-Tjmaxx

Cotton Wreath-The Faded Farmhouse

Everyday Dishes (Southern Living)-Dillard’s

Blue Bowls-(Fiestaware)-Dillard’s

 

 

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are hands down my favorite cookies. I love that you can add ingredients  or keep it simple, and the cookie still tastes great. I have absolutely not reinvented the wheel here. The only thing that make these cookies so great is that I made a mistake while making them. This isn’t some secret family recipe, and I guarantee you have at least 5 of these ingredients in your pantry. Soo the confession is the recipe came off the back of the chocolate chip bag. Toll-house or Kroger brand etc chocolate chips usually have the same recipe.

 

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Cups of Chocolate Chips

bake at 375 for 9-11 min

The usual order of direction is mix together all wet ingredients like the butter, eggs, vanilla, and both sugars separately from the dry (flour, baking soda, salt) and then combine everything at the end. However, when I made these cookies for Thanksgiving this year, I accidentally mixed the brown sugar with the dry ingredients. I realized what I did about mid way through giving the dry ingredients a light stir and I thought, we’ll just see how these turn out because I didn’t want to waste all that flour! This was very risky considering the cookies were going to the in-laws for Thanksgiving, and my mother in law is a wonderful baker.

I love a soft, slightly cakey cookie. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat almost anything if it involved chocolate, but I have eaten enough chocolate chip cookies to give this some thought. To my surprise, I pulled these out of the oven and they were so pretty and they tasted amazing. The only thing I can think that made these cookies so fluffy was maybe a chemical reaction when the brown sugar was mixed with the dry ingredients. My mother in law was a fan, (thank you Lord) 🙂 we had to hide them from my husband’s diabetic granddad, and every time I take them to my Monday night small group, they are gone before we leave.

Next time you bake your favorite cookies, give this little “oops” a try.

What I thought was a recipe blunder turned out to be a really great thing. Isn’t that so much of life? We get worried about nothing and it turns out to be an amazing experience? Or something gets thrown in our path that was unexpected. It went “out of the order than we originally planned” (if you really knew me, you’d know this throws me into a full fledged panic)  I could have very easily thrown out those dry ingredients and started over to make a brand new cookie. The chances of me mixing the brown sugar with the dry ingredients again would have been very rare. When we think about our obstacles and our fears it’s like God says, I’m not throwing out that flower. My child sees panic, I see good. I am going to use this experience to show you something that has the potential to be really great. The key is faith. I trusted these cookies couldn’t be too bad regardless of the order I put the ingredients in. So today, trust that The Lord is going to do something with that messy flower, the flower that may have an ingredient out of place. He is the ultimate baker and he knows his cookies are going to turn out amazing.

 

 

 

Learning Curve:Marriage

Marriage: What a beautiful, hard, sometimes messy, joy filled, occasionally confusing, exciting gift from the Lord. I say this light heartedly, but isn’t it the truth?! I have had the opportunity of experiencing this sweet gift for eight short months, and I say short because whoa, time has flown by.
I met my husband, Patrick, when I was in the 5th grade. He was the rule breaker. I was the rule follower. He gave me butterflies in the 5th grade but boys were still pretty icky at that time, and I decided he needed to grow into his feet. I’ll spare you all the details, but my junior year of high school he asked me to be his girlfriend and with the exception of a hard but necessary 4 month breakup, the rest is history. At 24 years old, my now husband still gives me butterflies, and I have a smile on my face every time I see his size 13 shoe next to my size 5 in our closet
The amazing thing about this gift of marriage is that I have never learned so much about my spouse, my relationships, or myself over these last 8 months.

The first and most important thing I have learned in this journey is that open communication is 100% necessary in a marriage…or let’s be honest, in life. Ladies, your husband may be really great at a lot of things but he cannot and will never be able to read your mind. Nope, he can’t. What I have found is that when I open up to Patrick, and I let him know exactly how I am feeling, he is so much more willing to express his feelings to me. In these moments, we are able to talk about the good stuff, the hard stuff, and the stuff that REALLY needs to be talked about. You know, those things that have been bugging you or were hurtful to you, those have to come out. Those talks cannot be swept underneath the rug. Share in your joy and in your pain. Build up your husband and do not ever go to bed angry. Talk it out! The Lord tells us in Ephesians,

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

I have also learned that because this marriage thing is so beautiful yet so hard, you cannot get through it without prayer. It is so important to pray for your spouse. About 6 months into marriage I was beginning to think, something is missing. I couldn’t figure it out. I was cooking dinner, the laundry was done, the house was picked up, the dog was taken care of, I was working, things were checked off the to do list, and my sweet husband was overly helpful and grateful for all the “stuff” that was getting accomplished. Something was definitely absent. I realized about two months ago that I had not been praying for my husband regularly. It hit me when I read the book Fervent by Pricilla Shirer (a must read ladies) Pricilla says this,

“According to Scripture, the number-one purpose of marriage—more than even the unique, time-honored partnership it creates between a man and woman, more than even the conceiving and raising of children, more than any Prince Charming fairy tale in any little girl’s head—is how it represents the mystery of the gospel in active, living form.”

After reading this book, I questioned how my marriage could truly represent the gospel if I was not actively praying for my spouse and we were not spending time praying together. This is a game changer, ladies. Praying aloud with your spouse can seem intimidating, but I can say that it has absolutely brought us closer together as we draw near to the one that made marriage. I encourage you sisters, to ask your spouse how you can pray for him this week. Ask him what he is struggling with, and what he is excited about. Pray for those things in your own quiet time and if you can find some time to pray together at the end of the day when you are ready to turn out the lights, I assure you, all awkwardness aside, it is a beautiful and intimate time together with your spouse and The Lord.

Finally, don’t forget how to date. After seven years of dating we have tried not to forget how to date even in marriage. Our weekend date nights are so precious to us. Everyone needs a time to unwind at the end of the week and go have fun! Sometimes our date nights mean we end up eating take out on our couch, sometimes we go on a hike on Saturdays, or we go out to a fancy dinner. Regardless, have some quality time set aside for you and your spouse during the week. Work and kids and the stresses of life can get you down or get you frustrated or exhausted and sometimes those emotions get thrown up into our husbands face. You need time to have fun together.

Also, to maintain a healthy marriage, we have decided we must allow each other to go do the stuff we enjoy. As a newlywed I love spending a lot of my time with Patrick, but some Saturdays I want to go to Tjmaxx by myself, and some Saturdays Patrick wants to go to Lowes by himself. That is OK. One day not too long ago, we got in an argument because Patrick said he wanted to go to Lowes by himself. I took his statement as he didn’t want to be with me but all he really wanted was some time to be alone at a place he enjoys. Allow your spouse to go do things he enjoys. I promise he will appreciate you for it. Let him go on that snowboarding trip with his buddies, or let him go fishing for the day by himself. He needs that time just as much as we ladies need a night out with girlfriends or a ‘please take the kids while I go get a much needed pedicure’. If you haven’t figured it out, this marriage thing is lots of give-and-take and TONS of compromise. I am learning something new every day, and I have a feeling this learning curve will last till death do us part.

I have so enjoyed sharing my heart with you and what the Lord has taught me in these 8 months of marriage… a beautiful gift that we should cherish and protect.

With Love,

Audrey

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Welcome, Spring!

There’s a little bit of time left in February, but these last few days of 65-70 temperatures and abundant sunshine have really made me excited for the spring weather and decor. This is my first year to decorate for this Easter season in our new home, and I want to share with you some items I am excited about putting out around the house.

Before getting out all the decor, I plan on doing a little spring cleaning. I am sure if you get this job out of the way at the beginning of March, you will feel great about setting out those decorations and enjoying them for a few months. I realize the process isn’t the most fun, but who doesn’t love living in a clean home?

  • Sweep/Vacuum and Mop floors
  • Deep clean Bathrooms
  • Wash sheets, towels, and comforters
  • Clean Baseboards
  • Move the winter clothes and shoes to a different closet. I’ve learned when I do this, I don’t feel so overwhelmed when looking for something to wear to work.
  • Give away clothes and shoes from previous seasons that you are no longer wearing
  • Open those windows on a nice day and air out your home

This list isn’t super extensive, and after everything gets accomplished you will feel great about entertaining and enjoying your home as the weather gets warmer.

I prefer not to go all out with seasonal decorations. Some people really enjoy it and that’s great! My house tends to stay pretty neutral and clutter free if at all possible. I think there’s a way you can tastefully decorate for a particular season without going crazy. You know your house and your style. Stay true to that.

Now for the fun stuff!

Here are my top 6 favorite Spring Decorations

# 6

A Forsythia Wreath

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Not only do I love this wreath for the front door, but it can be moved to the middle of a table for a beautiful centerpiece

Forsythia Wreath Can Be Found Here

#5

Bird’s Nests

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I love how Trish and Bonnie over at Uncommon Designs use Bird’s Nests for napkin rings.

Bird’s Nest Napkin Ring Tutorial

#4

Bell Jars

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These Bell Jars create a lovely vignette on a counter top or coffee table and you can slip one of those bird’s nest inside to create a great look for Spring.

#3

A Bunny

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I stumbled upon this sweet guy a couple weeks ago at TJMaxx and had to buy him. I’ve seen so many in different shapes, sizes and colored rabbits, so you can choose what works best for your design taste. These are a great to addition to a side table in a living room or one or many can be used to dress up the dining table for your Easter dinner.

# 2

A Clean Smelling Candle

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A fresh smelling candle just adds a little touch to all of that cleaning you just accomplished. I love to sit down and relax with this stress relief candle. Find a scent that reminds you of spring!

#1

Fresh Flowers

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Finally, my absolute favorite spring decorating item costs about 8 dollars at your local grocery. With mostly neutral colors around my home, I love to add a pop of color with a vase of fresh flowers. These tulips make me happy every time I walk in the house.

I hope you enjoy my picks for spring styling. I would love to hear about some of your favorites in the comments below!

 

 

Xoxo

Audrey

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Bake Energy Bites

In an attempt to make the mornings at our house a little less hectic and to prevent the days of opening the fridge or pantry looking for a snack that won’t ruin supper but will give us a bit of energy before the next meal, I went searching for a yummy snack. After hearing many people talk about these easy no bake energy bites, I decided to give them a try. These small treats are perfect if you need a little something sweet but you don’t want to feel guilty about it after you eat two or three.

Moms, how about these for dessert instead of those sugar filled Little Debbies for your child’s lunchbox? These bites are something you can feel good about your child eating and the recipe makes enough that you can throw a couple in sandwich bags throughout the entire week. Lunchboxes, breakfast, midday snack, post workout pick me up, take them on a hike with the family or day on the lake, sweet bite after dinner. These really are the perfect snack for any time of day!

The best part, no baking!

Here’s the ingredients

 

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (raw)
  • 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup flaxseed -ground flaxseed would probably work best for this but I just used regular
  • 1/3 sunflower seeds
  • 6 Tbsp chocolate chips (I didn’t have minis on hand but those would probably be best)

 

Mix all the ingredients together and let them hang out in the fridge for about 30 min. After that, roll mixed ingredients into small balls and place in a container to keep in the refrigerator.

Enjoy them all week long. That is, if you don’t eat them all before then! Enjoy!

Recipe Source Cooking Classy Recipe Blog (adapted)

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DIY Burlap Wreath

Confession: I have always thought front door wreaths were a bit much. I mean Christmas time, totally acceptable to have a wreath on the front door but mid January I could never understand. Now that I am a homeowner, something must have struck me one day regarding my attitude towards a wreath on the door for every season. I have decided that I will from now on look at front door wreaths as a preview of that person’s home. It’s like a cover of a book. I’m not exactly saying I will judge your home by the wreath on your door, but just know if it’s a boxwood or some sort of live greenery with a gingham or buffalo checked bow, I’m coming inside your house.

After taking all the Christmas decorations down, I felt like the front door and really just the entire house in general looked like a moving truck had just stopped by and taken half of the house with it. That seems to happen every year. All these beautiful lights and greenery are there and then once you take it down you feel like you need to immediately run to Marshalls and Target to buy the entire home section.

Needless to say, I decided it was time to give this DIY thing a try to clothe my bare front door. First thought to self, it may be January, but I refuse to have a snowflake wreath on my door. This certainly isn’t the most wintery looking thing, but it represents me and our home, our nest. It’s like you’re saying this is what I want people to see and be welcomed by before they enter my home. I wanted a simple yet fun wreath to help tell the introduction before the chapters unfold as people walk through the doorway. Sorry to get deep. You’re probably like really, on a DIY project? Can’t help it. Regardless, I am pleased with the way this turned out!

Did I mention, my favorite thing is you can take off or add any embellishments. year round, for any season! Plus here’s the best part….You need 2 items to make it. Two, people! Sign this girl up for a project with 2 materials.

 

Here’s what you will need:

A coat hanger

A roll of burlap -10 yrd roll. 5 in wide

Any add ons, flowers, greenery etc-I try to keep this stuff limited and as natural looking as possible.

I found this fun craft by Tara over at justcallmehomegirl.com. Check out her site. She has some great tips and inspiration!

DIY Burlap Tutorial Here

My embellishments came from Hobby Lobby and can me found here and here

xo,

AudreyDSC_0298

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Dusting Off

Last month, I decided to uncover a special gift that has been sitting in my closet for almost five years. As I type this I am really hoping I’m not the only one who has items sitting in their closet, untouched for five years. Can anyone say PURGE?! This gift is too special to ever purge. That special gift is my Brother sewing machine I received from my textile teacher in high school. Mrs. Allison told us on the first day of class, if we made a pair of pajamas by the end of the semester, one student would win a sewing machine. Don’t let me fool you, I do not have a competitive bone in my body, but I was bound and determined to win that sewing machine and by golly  I did.

From the day I took the dusty cover off the beautiful white machine, I haven’t been able to put it away. I have been thinking of little projects I can make. One of these new creations are tea towel pillows. There’s something about a tea towel that makes me really happy. I think they make me think of girly parties or the perfect house warming gift. And for pillows, well you can’t have too many pillows can you? A house without pillows would make for a very uncomfy house. So, that being said, I thought the print on a towel would make a very lovely pillow. Plus, the size of a tea towel just happens to be a great size for a pillow. After refamiliarizing myself with my machine, just like that, a nest pillow was created. I have only made a few, but more will be cranked out in the near future. Who knows, if I let my creative juices flow too much…this girl might have to get a shop.

Dusting off that sewing machine and actually using it really made me feel alive. Creating is one of the many things that make me feel fully alive and really close to the Lord. Sit for a moment and think about something that makes you ALIVE. Have you thought of it? Now, when is the last time you did that thing, or went there, or spent time with those people? If you read my last blog post, you know I am a recovering approval addict. In an effort to heal and let go a bit, I have really tried to be intentional about paying attention to the things that really bring me joy, things that may have been sitting in the closet for five years, like my sewing machine. Maybe those things that bring you joy need to be dusted off and put to use. Do you feel me when I say sometimes our lives can get a little dusty and we forget about things we used to do or places we used to go or people we used to spend time with. Now, some hobbies or time spent with certain people might need to stay in the closet and locked tightly. However, if you haven’t picked up the tennis racket in years, or read a book lately, or caught up with an old friend, do it, read it, call him or her. The Lord longs for his children to experience joy and to experience all that He wants to graciously give us sometimes requires really reflecting and paying attention to the things that bring us the most joy. Get that dust cloth out and go do something you love this weekend!

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I Am Yours

Since Caroline asked me to write this post a couple weeks ago, I have been pondering what I should share with you. The Christmas station has been playing 24/7 in my car this month, and as I was finishing some last minute shopping this week, one of my new favorite Christmas songs struck me in a way it has never before. I found myself in a wet mascara, dripping mess in the middle of the hustle of Christmas traffic. After this day, I could not get this song or how it related to my messy, but praise Jesus, my redeemed life out of my head. Hang tight, we will get to the Christmas part in just a minute. Today, I have decided to simply share my heart and how the Lord has made beauty from ashes. Thank you for reading, thank you for praying, and thank you for being women who encourage your sisters in Christ.

From the time I was a very young girl I have always been what I like to call, an approval addict. For many years, I put an unbelievable amount of pressure on myself to perform perfectly. And because I set such high standards, I lived in constant fear of failure. I became a habitual quitter. I quit a volleyball team, a tennis team, a sorority, a job, and if it were up to me, I probably would have quit college because I did not make an A on my first psychology exam. Failure was not an option, and if I ever underperformed in my book, then it was time to throw in the towel. That was the easy way out. I was so scared of what people would think of me if I failed, if I stood up for myself, if I said no.

Not only did I quit many things, I got physically and mentally sick. My body could not handle the stress of being an approval addict. It’s interesting how the body just says ENOUGH. You weren’t made to think or feel like this all the time. I got so sick I had to make a difficult decision to come home from a college I was really excited about attending. When I left school, I weighed just shy of 99 pounds. I did not like me. Before leaving, I vividly remember standing in my tiny college bedroom thinking, I cannot live life like this anymore. This isn’t life. This is Satan’s hold on me. I opened my hands and said, Lord, I surrender. I give up control because I don’t have the strength to live like this anymore. That day was a turning point of healing for me.

We all have weaknesses, and I think it is important that we know what they are so we can be prepared for battle. I am not out of this struggle. I struggle daily. The enemy wants to take life. He wants to kill steal and destroy. Satan doesn’t love us, Satan loves our sin and weaknesses. Priscilla Shirer says in her new book Fervent,

“Satan’s ploy is to make you believe your core value as a person is tied to how much work you do, how much activity you can accomplish, how much stuff you accumulate, how much business you can generate. In order to possess any worth under this system-just like Israel under Pharaoh’s rule- you’ve got to be able to rattle off everything you’ve been doing, one by one, adding it all up into a big gob of bullet points and checklists that ought to impress anybody.”

This next quote is what I choose to claim today. Read it once, read it twice read it everyday, ladies.

“God doesn’t’ want something from you. He wants something for you. Your value is not in what you do (as if you could ever do enough) but in who you are (as if you could ever be more loved and accepted by Him than you already are).”

Sisters, I hope you can declare this right now. The Lord accepts you where you are, right this very second. There is NOTHING you can do to make him love you any less. Our worth is not found in what we do or whom we try to please, our worth is found in HIM.

Now, you are probably wondering, girl, what about that Christmas song?! I promise this will all tie together. J The song “Be Born in Me” by Francesca Battistelli is the song that had me in a crying heap last week. This song is Mary speaking about her fears and apprehension about giving birth to her savior, Jesus. See, ladies we aren’t the only one’s who are fearful. But let’s take a look at how Mary responds in the midst of her fear. Luke tells us,

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’

‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’

The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.’

‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her.
Luke 1:26-38

Mary willingly gave up control. What if she hadn’t? What if she said I am too scared, what will people think of me? I can’t. I quit. No, she willingly and unquestionably responded I am the Lord’s servant. Yes, she was scared, but Mary put her faith in God!

I want to leave you with the lyrics that hit me hard that day last week. My hope is that you will go listen to the song after you read this post. (I have posted the link below)

I am not brave
I’ll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I’m just a girl
Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours.

Lord, Be born in me. I am willing and I am yours. Completely surrendering our lives and giving up control to place it at our savior’s feet, that sisters, that is true beauty.

Merry Christmas!

Love xo
Audrey