Monday, January 30, 2017

Gifts // Vol. 3

491. exploring the library {it's BIG} hand-in-hand
501. walking through woods hand-in-hand after dusk
505. a picnic lunch at the Welcome Center
506. that Dan surprised me & made the bed
519. watching donuts being made + a dozen plucked right-off-the-belt warm ones
526. 2 more pink cookies
527. + a card with "coupons" to go on date nights
531. kindred of Christ
542. surprise flowers + Hรคagen-Dazs from him because I had a very rough day
546. swooping birds with finger-tip wings

Saturday, January 28, 2017

In Which I Find a Secret Garden

This whole moving to a new city thing still gets to me at times.  I had loved & lived in my hometown for 29 years.  I had favorite spots that felt like they were completely mine - this rocky ledge I perched on with feet dangling over the Tennessee River, the public library, the park trails & paths I practically lived on in college & beyond {it helps when your school juts up against the back of an amazing park}...  And, all my people - my mom & sisters & nephews & church family, they all were what it was really all about.  Then, I left.  Packed up my bags & dug up my 29 year old roots & hoped they'd last the journey & find a new soily, homey spot to set into once I arrived in the land of my husband.

It has been hard.  It has been foreign - &, yes, I have gotten lost a time or two, & been homesick more than that.  It hasn't felt like mine, this new place.  It hasn't felt completely like home just yet.  What does all this have to do with a secret garden?  Well, let me just tell you...

The park I had actually intended to go to was flooded from the previous day's torrential downpour, & I almost headed home.  Almost.  Something instead made me turn to another nearby public garden.  I had been there once before, but the trail had seemed {though beautiful & well kept} super tiny.  This time I stopped & found a map.  It's extensive squiggly lines told of walkways I hadn't seen before, but where were these paths?  I set out with not much certainty of where to look, & eventually stumbled upon this...

Like a Narnia behind a closet or a wonderland down a rabbit's hole, I found an unexpected magical spot.  And oh how I needed this new favorite place in this city/state so unfamiliar!  {I'm waxing poetic here, aren't I?}  Anywho, this hidden haven chock full of various & sundry varieties of camellias has been a sweet gift, & I'm thanking my God, the Giver of all good things, for it!

P.S.: More secret garden pics here!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

To Us: The Perpetually Unqualified

&, yet, still He chooses to use us...

“In a very real sense not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do His work, to bear His glory.  If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves.  If we are forced to accept our evident lack of qualification, then there's no danger that we will confuse God's work with our own, or God's glory with our own.”
-Madeleine L'Engle

Monday, January 16, 2017

Currently {January 2017}

๐Ÿ’ฎ Reading... Savor {a daily devotional} by Shauna Niequist & Cupcakes & Cashmere At Home by Emily Shuman

๐Ÿ’ฎ Wearing... a mix of winter & spring outfits.  One day there's a chance of snow & one week later we have a high of 78 & I'm pulling out a summer dress to pair with leggings!  That's Georgia for you!

 ๐Ÿ’ฎ Watching... The Relative Race!  Dan & I have really enjoyed this show where couples race across the US to find relatives they didn't even no existed, all while enduring long road trips, completing challenges, & hoping to win the cash prize at the finish line.  Did I mention their smart phones have been confiscated & they are only allowed paper maps?

๐Ÿ’ฎ Cooking... my 1st ever pork chops tonight!  This is a big undertaking for me.  I still have to go out & buy flour.  I don't think I've ever bought flour.  Ever.  Still, it's been fun experimenting in the kitchen & I am amazed at how far I've come just by getting in there & trying.

๐Ÿ’ฎ Learning... that I have a lot to work on in my heart - stuff that I didn't even know was there.  Help me, Jesus, to be more like You.

๐Ÿ’ฎ Anticipating... our 1st married Valentine's together next month!  Even when I was single I was a Val Day fan, but now even more so, I think.

๐Ÿ’ฎ Enjoying... my new library card! {Yes, I'm that kind of a girl.} We finally went out & got our library cards this weekend.  Dan, of course, already had one, but hadn't used it in years & subsequently lost it, so we both got cards.  I have to say, the main library in this new city of mine is quite spectacular {think tall ceilings, a grand staircase, a children's garden...}.  It's dreamy!

๐Ÿ’ฎ Thankful... for this new year & the merciful patience of a perfect God & a loving husband.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Gifts // Vol. 2

441. talking to my mom & sister today
450. sharing a slice of birthday cake with my love + pink frosting
452. watching our favorite shows together under blankets
457. love + "I'm sorry's"
464. that You never leave me
466. 4 months married to him
469. work
470. his hand in mine during church
481. hugs from a student at the grocery store
482. grace

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

4 Months

It's been 4 months {to the day} since we said our "I do's" staring into each other's eyes, making promises to one another & God, under His open sky.  It is more than a promise.  It is an unending covenant to love so long as we have breath.  And "I do" all over again, & every day, just for you.

Happy 4 month anniversary, Dan!

"We love because He first loved us."
-1 John 4:19

Friday, January 6, 2017

Gifts // Vol. 1

God used this book to change me heart & soul.  

A couple Januarys ago I read Ann Voskamp's lyrical hard truth words, & I started counting the gifts God gives.  I exercised my eyes to focus in on the good, instead of the fear & the mess & the hard stuff this life holds.  In about a year or so, I had numbered to 1,000, & then I started again.  But the days get complicated, & the anxiety bangs on the door, & the heart & mind forget & grow to grumble like wandering Israelites who remember not the parting waters wonder & the sustenance rained down as bread from heaven & the constant loving presence of God woven throughout their story - & mine.  And, I, like they, need gracious & merciful reminding of the blessings daily given, undeserved, to me...

Here marks the start of a new series where I list off a few of God's gifts from the past week/month.  Some may be small & seemingly unimportant, but to me each one recorded is a treasure & worthy of gratitude to the Giver of all good things.  Thank You, Lord, for all You have given this girl You've saved by grace.


406. hope in Christ for the coming year
411. that he called during his break
413. finding a new favorite place
415. the greenest moss I've ever seen
419. a normal EKG - thank You, Lord
421. chocolate cake
427. shadows of butterflies
429. how he called me his angel & said the sunlight made me glow
434. seeing our tree again
438. the butterfly that landed on Dan's hat

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 2017!

It's a brand new start, that's what they say about New Year's.  The countdown reaches 1 & the glittery light ball descends & the ticker counter of all our past year's mistakes seems to reset as soon as Auld Lang Syne reaches our ears.  The page flips to a new chapter & it's a bright white page of possibilities ready for the writing.  I used to think of New Year's as this magical wiping clean of the slate & the nervous anticipation of the mess up that would soon follow when my imperfect self can't hold to the resolutions I've made to be perfect.  Here's a reminder to all my fellow humans: we are human & imperfect & sinful & messed up in general.  That's why there's Jesus - & boy do we/I need Him!  He gives us the hope, strength, joy, forgiveness, & daily fresh starts that you don't have to wait another 365 for.  If you ask me, that's more legit than any phony fresh feeling that this ideal of New Year's could bring any day!

Let's live this 2017 seeking His face daily with our imperfect hearts.  It certainly won't be perfection, but it will definitely be grace-filled progress.

Thank You, Lord, for this New Year!  May we each live out fully the adventures you have for us.

Happy New Year everyone!