The Experience

July 29, 2013

“This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name.” (Jeremiah 31:35 NIV)

He who tells the sun to rise each morning certainly can take care of us. He can take care of our every single need. He can hold onto us even when our rope gets too long and we swim too far from shore. Yesterday in Sunday school we talked about numerous projects going on right here around us to reach those in need. I had tears in my eyes thinking about the troubles and sorrows that are right here around us. Right here in our tiny little state. Why are we so oblivious???

As I continue on my mission to simplify our lives, these thoughts swirl around in my head. Is anyone else there? Please tell me I’m not alone in these questions…

Do you question what you can do to change it?

Do you get discouraged by the vast amount of sin taking over our world while simultaneously worrying if you’re doing enough at home with your own kids? Your own job?

Do you often wonder but continuously stand in awe that it is so much bigger than us? So much bigger than whether or not the laundry will get folded. So much bigger than what’s for supper. So much bigger than beds being made.

How do we fight this battle of our tiny little fights but help in the war that wages around us?

How do we overcome the immediate needs of our family while meeting the needs of those around us?

Do you think that’s why God gave each of us individual spiritual gifts? He gave each of us a specific talent and specific role in the lives we live.

Who am I to question it?

He made us to fit together perfectly in His plan in His timing.

I wonder what my presence in my family is. At my school. On this blog. I watch Kuy play and he plays more with the pillows on the couch than the toys in his room. He could run around outside all.day.long. without a single toy. Don’t get me wrong. That child loves a motorcycle and a ball and a truck and all those other toys that are just sitting in his baskets. Yes, he will pull every single toy out when it’s naptime and he’s not ready to go to sleep but what I’m trying to say with all these useless words is what he wants is us. He wants time. He wants simple because having a race is just as much fun to him. He laughs more. He smiles more.

In the latest edition of Homelife, there’s a quote from Oswald Chambers that says, “Never let a hurried lifestyle disturb the relationship of abiding in Him.”

Can we give simple? Can we slow down? Can we simplify things so that we are able to focus on our family therefore using our family time to serve others, too? We are so bogged down with the day to day business that we forget it’s not about us.

It’s about the experience.

Kuy and Cray don’t want the newest and latest toy. They want us. They want our attention. They want our focus.

This is what God wants. He wants us. All of us. He wants to us to experience Him.

He who tells the sun to rise so that we have a new day before us! We have this day to spend in His presence. That experience is what He is after. Whatever your toys are…boats, cars, houses, dining room tables…what you experience while using them is what matters.

He who tells the sun to rise also rose His Son from the dead.

How can we not want to get more of Him?

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Weekend Wisdom and Wanderings…{1}

July 27, 2013

Since I haven’t had much time to read books this summer, blogs have been easier and quicker to find on my phone or when I have a spare minute. I thought putting together a few inspiring posts may help some of you out, as well.

Here’s what inspired me…have a great Saturday!

“it’s a broken world with broken people – that’s why He came isn’t it? I’m pretty sure He didn’t save us so that we could be comfortable – I think He’s more interested in making our hearts look like His” –Debbie (guest post on Flower Patch Farmgirl)

See this post for the full story. Then, make time in your schedule because Shannon’s blog is inspiring and life-changing. Her story is true evidence of how God works in absolutely stunning ways.

Voluntary Simplicity  perfectly exemplifies the true meaning of what should be important in our lives.

Also, #3 stands out to me here about Living on What We’ve Got! Russ always gives me the hardest time about doing this!

The Book of Ecclesiastes has really spoken to me this week. Realizing that things here are meaningless opens new doors when you expect less from this life and more on the path to heaven.

Just some thoughts for the weekend…anybody else have any posts to share?

Lessons Learned

July 22, 2013

Did anyone ever tell you, “You learn something new every day!”? I still say this to my children at school and I make the comment to myself often!

There are lessons all around us. Especially if we surround ourselves with people to learn from.
How I enjoy spending time with those older than me. Learning from their life experiences and the wisdom they impart stops me dead in my tracks me when I seem to think I know so much!

On the contrary, I love spending time with those younger than me because of their pure innocence and the lessons learned in this attitude.

It’s strange. I started this blog to document progress of a house but instead I’ve been documenting the progress of our crazy life these past few months. I feel like for some reason I need to share these things that come to me or they will be lost and I’ll be mad at myself for not putting it to paper. So please stay with me for one more day of being sentimental and I promise I’ll have a party idea on Thursday!

It has occurred to me over and over this summer that through our frustrations and joys we are still immensely blessed. Have you heard the phrase first world problems? So many of our frustrations come from these first world problems! Thankfully, we serve a merciful and gracious God and this weekend proved just how blessed we really are yet how much no matter our age, how much we still have to learn. In only two days, I’ve learned an immense amount about patience, trust, and true love.

Let me tell you. Rebecca is patient. She is kind. She is the epitome of 1 Corinthians 13 and as I watched my brother watch her walk down the aisle (my favorite thing to do at all weddings), I realized the only time I’ve ever seen Austin have that look is when he is singing worship songs. How amazing that I gain a sister and already have this incredible brother with an unbelievable love for Christ.

It became even clearer in that moment how he truly loves Rebecca as Christ loved the church. Oh, how I pray this for my boys!

We are blessed to be surrounded by a young couple as this. From them, I learned what it means to be truly laid back for one thing! Rebecca nor Austin stressed in any way about anything. A true testament to this attitude and the trust they share for each other came during the ceremony. The reverend stated that when he met with Austin and Rebecca, they both said they wanted to create a home that was peaceful. What an inspiring goal to have already as they start their venture as a married couple. When I heard this, my mind starting racing (well, there’s my first clue I need peace!). How can I start doing this and promoting this environment in my home?

I was quickly brought back when I realized…wow…how obvious but so easy to forget…putting Christ in every single thing. Even in that moment. I lost my focus for one minute and that negative inside chatter cluttered my mind with thoughts so that I lost my focus on the one true thing that will bring peace.

We must surround ourselves with those that exemplify peace, trust, and true love.
Talking about it, sharing it, being focused on our family. This is true love centered on faith.

True love is sharing your faith.

True love is living it so that others may see.

True love is identifying it in every decision, every moment, and every second so that your children see it and know how to live it.

True love is family and friends that gave up their weekend to celebrate their friend, their cousin, their daughter, their son or to be there for their son and daughter to help with their children.

True love is Christ first, family second, and realizing you are third.

Thank you, Austin and Rebecca for these lessons.
Thank you, Mom, Dad, Karen, Greg, and Namommy for instilling these lessons in us, providing such a way that sets up the path upon which we have walked together, and for the sacrifices each of you have made for our little family.
Thank you, Brandy, Daren, Jeremy, and Heather for the constant lessons in friendship and the sacrifices you made to be there for us and our babies this weekend.

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Thank you, Lord, for these lessons and what they mean to us.

You really can learn something new every day.

A Home’s Perspective

July 15, 2013

We call her “she” and claim “her” roots go deeper than truly known to the human eye.

Who designed it?

Who built it?

Is it old?

Does it have history?

What is her story?

I love homes. I love all things home decor. I don’t like to call myself a shopper but I could shop for home stuff all day long…not clothes.

But what I love most about a home is her story. Who encompasses the four walls of a home? What story does what they placed in the home say about them? What do the accessories, the toys, the pillows they choose symbolize in their lives?

This weekend we had the privilege to attend a beautiful wedding of two friends from our small town.

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Are they not GORGEOUS!?!? What an incredible wedding!

While on our mini-vacation and in between wedding festivities, we also had the distinct privilege to stay with some amazing friends in their beautiful Daniel Island home. My friend, Alisa that I danced with in college (Go Tigers!), her husband, Stiles, and her sweet baby Greer, opened their gorgeous TWO front doors to us!

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This was off of our guest room…I know, right.

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Can you see the love here? Don’t you feel welcome as soon as you pull up? From the drop dead gorgeous flower boxes to the FROG (as I learned to call it…for those of you like me, it means the Finished Room Over the Garage!). Their story is love and thoughtfulness as every detail is evident…

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Alisa and Stiles’ home is stunning but so casual. From the warmth of the floors to the comfortable couches to the dark finishes, everything fit perfectly together yet showed elegance.

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Are you dying over this bathroom?

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It was not only what she chose to place inside her home but how she greeted us. She prepared lavish breakfasts of cinnamon rolls, fruit, yogurt, and granola and continuously checked on us to make sure we were okay and well fed and rested!

With this view, how can you not be rested and relaxed?

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Heck, she even gave us accessories in need of some love! (I left with West Elm curtains, four barstools, and THREE rugs!!!!!!)

We had a blast and felt so loved on by these sweet people! I couldn’t continue without a picture of this sweet girl.

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On Saturday, Alisa kept telling us there were a few places we had to go to…After hitting up the most amazing Garden Ridge, Home Goods and TJ Maxx I’ve ever been to, Alisa called and asked if we saw the signs for the Coastal Living Showhome when we arrived on the island. What?!?! How did I miss that?! She was so nonchalant about it and I was the nerd that was about to burst from excitement knowing that as soon as we returned to the island that afternoon I was going.

Y’all.

There are not even words.

This place was ahhmazing. (Unfortunately, I can’t share pictures because the issue isn’t coming out until the fall.)

Just know I was completely blown away by this island and this one house had it all. Its ability to mix casual with such lush, natural finishes is something I only dream of creating. I felt at home as soon as I walked in the door and no one even lived there! (This is how I know homes are females. She needed to be presentable!)

From the light fixtures to the floors, everything was perfectly thought out and somehow the whole house just had that flow of color (and I mean orange, blue, pink, and lavender) that tied every single room together. In one bathroom for example, there was a gold mirror, a chrome faucet and glass knobs. Can someone please teach me how to do this? This is such an incredible art form and I hope one day to have a tenth of that talent. You have GOT to check out the issue of Coastal Living this fall!! This home’s story of thought out character in a brand new home and meaningful touches spoke volumes without the family even living there yet. What the interior designers did was outstanding. This home was a masterpiece and I know she was ready for her family to arrive.

Thank you, Alisa and Stiles and Greer for letting us crash with you!

Thank you, O’Dell and Pruitt family for inviting us to the wedding!

Thank you to our parents and Namommy for keeping our sweet babies!

We are truly blessed in all aspects of our lives but this weekend it was evident by the homes we visited, the homes we stayed in, the family that embraced us.

I say all this about homes to ask this: How does your home feel? Do you and your family feel a part of her? Is she loved on so others feel a part of your family? I am not talking about how organized it is because those toys all over the floor show that kids are having fun! I mean, what is her story?

I left this beautiful, relaxing weekend feeling inspired.

Inspired by love.

Inspired by design.

Inspired by warmth.

Inspired by the beauty of rain.

Inspired by a story and the chance to create my own.

You were chosen to love your home no matter if you’re renting, owning or living in a school bus (I just watched Design Star!). Wherever we live, wherever we make our home on Earth, we must remember. God has blessed us with these. No matter the size, shape or age.

What is your home’s perspective?

What would your home say about you when you left?

Why were you chosen to love your home?

More than anything, it must like feel like home to you.

After all, there’s no place like home.

Source (two of Alisa’s pictures from her house):  http://www.danielisland.com/property/2501-daniel-island-drive/pbase/a0AC000000RCGhkMAH/