Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: A Year in Review

2016 was one of those years for me.  It was a pulling & stretching year full of new things, surprises {or almost surprises}, & deep changes that, if I'm totally transparent, are still pretty tough for me.  There were tears upon tears & also laughter upon laughter.  Both joy & heartache deeper than I'd felt in many a year.  There was also doubt & insecurity - way too much, I admit - & I feel I almost drowned in it at times.  Looking back, I know God was with me through every single moment of that now past 365, because I know I couldn't have made it on my own.  I still know that, by the way.  It's a daily truth I feel deep.  Here's a few highlights from 2016...

🔻 Dan asks me for my ring size!  He tries to play it off like it's for the possible/maybe far off future - if it comes to that - he'll have it tucked away kinda thing.  Every girl knows if the ring size is asked, it's pretty serious stuff.  We were at a restaurant at the time, & a few moments after the asking was done, I quietly excused myself to the restroom to do the crazy what-just-happened prayer & silly uncontrollable grinning, slightly hyperventilating scared-out-of-my-wits thing.

🔻 I get a month long sub job as a librarian at a school deep in the hood.  P.S.: It was rough & tough at times, but I survive just fine!

🔻 Dan & I celebrate our 1st boyfriend/girlfriend Valentine's Day!  We have a fancy dress-up dinner date {I wear the most amazing red dress I snagged at a consignment sale for next to nothing}, & then we go star gazing on the mountain where he carved our names the previous Oct. {note this mountain is important later on in the year, too}.

🔻 Dan & I serve together packaging up bags of rice {to send overseas} at my church, & I feel like I could serve Christ with this man my whole life.

🔻 I get my braces off & enjoy my crowd-free straight smile!  Oh, I didn't mention I had braces this whole time?  I did.  I was one of those get braces as an adult people.  It does make you take care of them better when it's your own $ paying for it, by the way.  Dan took probably over a half hour to even notice they were off when I visited next, but maybe he was nervous because...

🔻 Dan proposes for our 1 year boyfriend/girlfriend anniversary on the mountain in front of the tree where he carved our names encompassed by the heart!  {I said yes, but I guess you knew that by now.}

🔻 This was the start of a very rough season where my doubts, anxiety, & insecurities nearly drove me from those I loved most.

🔻 I kill my sweet car in a wreck.  Thankfully no one else was hurt.

May - June:
🔻 Wedding planning with intermittent hyperventilating & such.

🔻 Packing up to move to Georgia & to an apartment I'd only seen in photos.

🔻 Dan drove through the night to come on an unplanned visit because I needed him.  I knew after that visit that he would protect my heart always.

🔻 I make the big move south with 2 cars + a U-haul.

🔻 I join a church down here & become a member.

🔻 We explore an abandoned house together.  Pretty creepy {& so fun}!  Pretty thankful nobody got arrested!

🔻 I marry my best friend outside while butterflies flit past us.

🔻 We honeymoon in Orlando & visit Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, & Hollywood Studios!

October - December:
🔻 We work on this amazing & hard adventure called "marriage."

🔻 I land a long term sub position as an elementary school's librarian - &, oh man, do I thank God for it!

🔻 We enjoy our 1st "married" holidays {because we were dating long distance, we hadn't been together on any actual fall/winter holidays before}!  We pass out candy on Halloween & watch nostalgic Halloween specials, enjoy 2 Thanksgiving dinners, & Christmas with his family then mine.

🔻 We start new Christmas traditions, put up my 1st real tree, visit both Rock City's & Callaway Garden's light shows, eat Kilwin's ice cream on Christmas Eve, & go see the broadway version of The Little Mermaid {it was one of my Christmas gifts}!

Whoa, what a year!  Really & truly it has been a mad whirlwind of change/growth, craziness, & countless blessings.  Thank You, Lord, for your patience & limitless love You bestowed again & again on your mess of a daughter this year!  I can't wait to see what adventures You have in store for us in 2017!

Happy {almost} New Year's!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Eve at Kilwins

What do you do when the weather thinks it's springtime & it's actually December 24th {that's Georgia for you, by the way}?  You get ice cream!  Actually, this girl would get ice cream if it was 20 below & I had to hike to the shop wearing snowshoes!  It's true, I'm an ice cream fanatic.

Dan & I highly recommend Kilwins {if you happen to live near one}.  It's another added bonus of living in my new city!  

P.S.: Their peppermint ice cream is heavenly!

 Praying you had a blessed & very merry Christmas 2016!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmastime Snapshots

Thankful Dan & I are continuing to use this DIY scripture advent calendar I made back when I was single.  I ❤ traditions!

We made our wreath this year from a couple straggly branches we had to cut from the bottom of our Christmas tree.

Enjoying Christmas festivities around town.  It's my 1st Christmas in Georgia!

It's my 1st ever real tree & I'm personalizing it with mini ornament frames & tiny pics of us.

Merry {almost} Christmas!

"...For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people."
-Luke 2:10

Saturday, December 17, 2016

O Christmas Tree!

This is the story of a fake tree girl getting her first real one.  Yes, she was hesitant &, dare I say, {unbeknownst to her husband} silently {or, okay, not so silently} protesting.  But marriage is a give & take, so this wife gave her husband the gift of a real tree.

And this is how it went...

We miraculously stuffed the around 7-8 foot Fraser fir into my little hatchback.  Dan's knees were brushing the glove compartment door, & the tree, well it was loosing all its little needle things all over the place.  Just keeping it real, not a good start in scoring points for the real tree team.

By the time we got it home, I confess I had cozied up to it a lot more {they say close proximity will do that to ya}.  After vacuuming sheddings up several times over, & it literally nearly falling over when Dan put on the star {which led to more readjustments}, I must say...

Not bad.  Not bad at all.  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

True Tunes

JJ Heller is one of my favorites!  All of these came from her new Christmas album Unto Us {listen to more here}.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

'Cause Sometimes You Just Need a Donut

My guy dreamed of a giant donut the other night.  He described it as, "big as a cake" {his words}.  So guess what we did the next morning?  Yep!  We went out in search of one.

While we may not have found the one, we definitely found some yummy ones at Krispy Kreme {yes, the sign was lit up}!

Plus, I snagged their super cute $7 coloring calendar {Christmas gift - shhh} full of coupons for 2017 {over $110's worth - it more than pays for itself}.  So we can have more donut dates in the new year!  FYI those fast food calendars make great guy gifts & are perfect for special little impromptu date nights throughout the year.

P.S.: Dear Santa, please send a treadmill!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankful Snapshots

This light up sign I snagged at Target makes me happy!  I think it will have a permanent home in my dining room year round.

A sign of the season & God's extraordinary handiwork.

We're blessed to have a row of these beauties right outside our window!

So thankful this year for my amazing husband!  God is so good & Dan was worth the wait!

Happy {almost} Thanksgiving!

P.S.: Don't forget to count your blessings & give thanks!

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving & His courts with praise; give thanks to Him & praise His name."
-Psalm 100:4

Saturday, November 19, 2016

3 Pink Cookies

There he came in from work carrying an unassuming plastic shopping bag.  We greeted after the long day & he took the bag’s contents out & placed them on the counter.  Three pink cookies.

It had been a couple weeks back, before my birthday rolled past, & we had been grocery shopping, when I had eyed these large, big as saucers, “fancy” pink cookies from behind bakery glass, & I had said in his hearing, “I’d love just one of those for my birthday!”  I didn’t know he’d really heard.  My birthday had come & gone & we had celebrated out of town with my family, & it hadn’t entered my mind again.  But he had remembered & listened & heard & cared about my wanting.

 And there they sat, all three of them.  I’d have been satisfied with one, but he wanted to show lavish love, & I don’t know if he really knows just how lavish an act it was to his little wife.  It was.  Thank you, my sweet love.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Runner Girl

Sometimes my heart wants to run - & all of me with it.  To run away from the messy mess that chases.  That runner girl that runs 'cause she doesn't know how to do any of this - not really.  And, oh, isn't she scared!  Doesn't she crave, crave, safety & isn't the only truly safe place she knows alone?

I am the runner girl.  And this runner girl needs to run to her Jesus.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

True Tunes

God is forever in control.  Seems like a good reminder for today.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


It's kinda crazy to me to think I've reached the big 3-0.  Yep, today is my birthday & we're celebrating with my family in Tennessee!  I'm a big fan of birthdays, & even though some prefer to not divulge their age & are "forever 21" or 29 {wink}, I think it's time for me to embrace the beauty of my reality: God has blessed me with another year...

to love
to grow
to sing
to dance
to make
to celebrate
to serve
to bless
to praise
to enjoy
to live.

& I, for one, am gonna do it through His strength!

Cheers to being 30!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Mr. & Mrs. Pumpkin

This October, my husband Dan & I had our 1 month married anniversary.  What better way to celebrate than to dress up some little pale pumpkins?  At least that's what this fall/DIY loving girl thought.

I used small letter stamps to stamp on the "Mr." & "Mrs." & created the top hat out of black cardstock.  The bow tie & veil were fashioned using some ribbon & tulle scraps I had lying around, & the handy glue gun made it all stick together.

Seeing this little pair makes me happy!  What can I say, it doesn't take much.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


It’s been a little over a month since I said “I do” to the man in the next room, & almost three since I packed up all my things & left my little apartment, family, & state for a brand new everything…

It’s a season of transition & change, & I’m reminded time & again of the wildflowers.  Those bold little blooms that pop up where you’d least expect.  They bloom without a gardener, fancy greenhouse, or special fertilizer - growing just ‘cause God’s hand chose to embellish His creation with a little something extra.  Something to display more of His awesome glory.  Something with purpose & beauty in this wild place.  These are my wildflower journals of how God is growing this little sprout of a woman up where she least expected.

May your life be like a wildflower, growing
freely in the beauty & joy of each day.
-Native American Proverb

Thanks for dropping in!  Learn more about me, Laura, here.