Tuesday, May 28, 2013

One Reason I Love Kids...(A Video)

I love my job.  Don't get me wrong, I am itching for summer like nobody's business.  But, really, I love my job.  Like, a lot.  I teach the 2nd grade and count myself extremely blessed.  I love kids.  I always have, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

There are many reasons I adore kiddos, but, when a friend posted this video on Facebook, I was reminded, once again, just how special they can be.  I'm sure you'll agree...

Oh, and watch to the end.  Otherwise, you're missing out.

I have 7 1/2 working days left to go before summer has officially arrived.  HUGE promises to pick the pace back up around here once things settle down.  I'm looking forward to a very relaxing break.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Nautical Chevron Wreath

It's no secret that Pinterest has become my new best friend.  Those of you that have stuck around for a while know that I post regularly on my love for Pinterest finds.  I've also hinted that it has helped to inspire my inner-"crafter."  I'm being totally genuine when I say that I don't have a creative bone in my body.  However, I have (kinda sorta) learned how to steal bits and pieces of ideas and make them my own.  That has to count for something, right?

I've also learned over the past few years that Mom loves a good wreath.  I've made her several recently, but I knew that she was lacking in a general outdoor summer wreath.  So, when I couldn't decide on a decent Mother's Day gift, I turned to Pinterest for a little help.

I knew that I wanted the background of the wreath to be burlap, and I wanted it to match my parents' blue/gray columns on the front porch.  I saw an adorable nautical-themed wreath that sort of tied all my thoughts together.  Plus, I knew she had nothing at all like it.

After a bit of perusing (okay, two hours of perusing) the aisles of Hobby Lobby, I finally settled on all the parts and pieces.  And, this is what I came up with:

Nautical Chevron Wreath

She was happy, and I was happy that she was happy.  What more can you ask for on Mother's Day?  Ours was family-filled, relaxing, and super special.  I hope yours was, too!  And to all my Mama readers, Happy (belated) Mother's Day!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Thomasville, Georgia

Back in March, my mom and I decided to take a day trip over to Thomasville, Georgia, during my spring break.  It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive from here and only about 20 minutes north of Tallahassee, where my sister lives.  While she was in class, we explored Thomasville and then met up with her to shop and eat in the evening.

Thomasville is a picturesque south Georgia town.  Tiny, but charming.  The primary attraction of the city is its beautiful plantation home:  Pebble Hill.  This trip was my second visit to Pebble Hill, but it definitely won't be my last.  I love walking through the house and learning the history of the home, but, even more than that, I just enjoy walking the grounds and exploring the gardens, barn, and sprawling oak trees.

 View of the front of the house

 The back of the house


 Stable and barn area -- they hold a lot of weddings here in the courtyard

 Collection of carriages

After we spent a few hours touring and meandering, we headed into town to grab a quick lunch.  We had already planned out exactly where we were going to eat, but, because we spent so much time at the plantation, we missed the 2:00 lunch time deadline for most of the downtown restaurants.  It was such a blessing in disguise, however, because we ended up eating at a place called George & Louie's.  It was complete perfection!

 Our appetizer:  fried green tomatoes

 Mom and I both ordered the fried shrimp with cheese grits

If you ever find yourself in southwest Georgia, I highly recommend stopping by Thomasville to look around.  There were also, what looked like, a few really cute downtown boutiques, but we didn't have a chance to visit any.  I'm planning another trip back really soon!

Helene in Between

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I'm Alive...Plus a Few Target Finds

I have been pretty non-existent around here for the past week-and-a-half.  Between the end of the school year quickly approaching, plus a much needed weekend-getaway last week, I've been staying so, so busy!  It's been a good busy, though, I'm happy to report.

I'm currently laying in bed, mentally preparing for the work week ahead, and I thought I'd quickly share a few Target purchases I made recently that I'm completely in love with.  I don't know about you, but Target is my go-to place.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for The Loft, J. Crew, etc., but Target rarely lets me down.  However, I'm not even remotely exaggerating when I say that I went in there to buy a birthday card and walked out with an armload of unnecessary junk.  I'm really loving my purchases, though.  They had quite a few really pretty summer dresses, preppy cardigans, and casual skirts.


The fit on this is amazing!  It gives you a waist and is a nice, conservative length.

I'm in LOVE with this sweater.  Yes ma'am, those are seahorses. 

I've actually had this skirt for several weeks, and I've already gotten my money's worth.  Love it...so comfortable!

This linen skirt is super light-weight and hits right above my knee.  Perfect!

This shirt is excellent!  I don't actually have this color.  I have one in gray and just got a new one in mint, but the website wouldn't let me change the color selection on the picture.  They have a ton of different in-store options, though, and they're so comfortable.  Perfect for summer!

And there you have it!  Nothing outrageous, but a few good pieces to mix up my pretty consistent wardrobe.  Have you found found anything wonderful at Target (or anywhere else) lately?  Feel free to pass along the info!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The POP #3

This baffles me.  It floors me every time.  But, it's a reminder I often need.  I've mentioned several times that I feel I grew up in this wonderful, protective bubble.  No, things were not perfect.  Yes, people let me down.  Kids can say ugly things.  However, generally speaking, I grew up wearing rose-colored glasses.

In the past few months, I've learned some pretty yucky stuff about a person I used to have a fair semblance of respect for.  This person has said biting, critical, inexcusable things about my friends, my family, and myself.  I don't know why.  And to be honest, the why doesn't really matter.  What does matter is the way I choose to handle myself.

See, I firmly believe that there is purpose behind each person who walks through the door of your life.  Some walk in for a season and some for a lifetime.  I'm starting to learn that sometimes the most holy and spiritually healthy thing to do is to let go of some of the people that cause you incredible pain and to allow God to purpose your pain.  Should we pray for these people?  Of course.  And if they are lost and don't know Christ, then we should be in sincere prayer before God about how to handle the situation.  One thing I have learned with absolutely certainty is that I cannot "fix" anyone.  I can be an instrument, but that's God's business.  Not mine.

And when the day comes, and I'm sure it will, that you come to the realization that you must let go of an unhealthy relationship, get ready.  God will really do some awesome things, if you let Him.

My daily prayer is that God would make me a "woman of grace."  I pray it every single day.  To be honest, I don't really know what that will look like in my life.  All I know is that I want for my relationship with Christ to be fully evident in my walk.  Beyond words.  I want it to be in my actions.  In my demeanor.  And, most importantly, in how I handle icky situations.

Right now, it's raw.  Friends, words hurt.  Whether they're true or based on someone else's wild imagination, they can be that final dagger.  What I'm trying to hold on to is the reminder that some people are placed in our lives to tenderize our hearts in preparation for better things to come.

The POP!

Join me, along with Ashley and Becca, for this week's POP linkup!

This is a very open-ended linkup.  You can post ANYTHING related to your faith in Christ.  A few examples would include ways God is speaking to you, devotionals you're studying, your favorite scripture, prayer requests/praises, ways God is using you, etc.  Basically, this linkup is just a place for you to be encouraged and to receive encouragement in your walk with Christ.  

I hope you'll consider linking up!  The rules are simple:

1. Grab the linkup button and type up your post.

2. Link up your Blog URL on any of your hosts' blogs.

3. Visit as many blogs in the linkup as you can! This is about getting active and offering encouragement, prayers, and discussion to those who need it!

4. Tweet, Pin, share on Facebook, and help spread the word to make this linkup successful!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Happy Birthday, Olivia!

Twenty-one years ago today, we welcomed my sister, Olivia, into the family.  My mom loves to tell the story of how I predicted her birth:

My parents had decided to stop after my brother and I were born.  No more babies.  They had a girl and a boy, and that was good enough for them.  Well, I wasn't quite as satisfied.  When I was four, I attended a pre-k program a few days a week.  Right before Thanksgiving, we were working on a craft. I have no clue what the craft was, but, apparently, our teachers asked us to list the things we were thankful for.  Of course, we all gave the typical answers...my family, my dog, my food, my house, my friends.  You get the picture.  I gave the same usual answers, but I also listed one not quite so usual.  I said that I was thankful for my "future baby sister."  My parents were shocked when the craft went home, cracking up about it, rolling their eyes behind my back, and showing it off to other family members.  Less than a year later, my mom was pregnant.  Surprise!!

I can still remember being totally, 100% sure that my mom was having a girl the entire pregnancy.  My parents are some of those who decided NOT to find out the sex of the baby and leave it a delivery room surprise.  I'll never forget riding up the elevator with my grandparents, walking down the corridor of the hospital, and my grandma stopping the nurse as she wheeled a tiny baby girl down the hallway asking, "Is this Olivia?"  It was love at first sight!

Sweet, sappy story.  How long did that lovey-dovey stuff last?  Pretty much until she could talk.  Or, was it when she started biting?  Doesn't really matter.  But, I do know that no matter how much we disagree or argue, no matter what measure of distance we have between us, I am so very grateful to have been blessed with such an amazing sister.

I am so excited to see the beautiful things that God is making out of her life.  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for my precious baby sister.  No matter how much she grows and changes, she will always be my baby sister.  Lord, I have been so blessed to have be given the opportunity to watch her grow over these past twenty-one years.  I am grateful that You sent her into our lives because they have been so enriched with her presence.  She is beautiful, she is kind, she is smart, and she loves YOU.  More than anything, I thank You for her salvation.  I thank You for growing in her a genuine heart that loves You.  I pray earnestly that as she continues to mature, You would further develop and deepen her commitment and relationship with You.  I pray that the decisions she makes and relationships she has would reflect Your perfect will for her life.  I pray that You would place people in her path that would help to grow and guide her in her walk with You.  Let her be blessed by friends and let her be a blessing to others.  

Father, may I always set an example for her that exemplifies a woman of grace and integrity and alone brings You glory.

In Jesus precious name, Amen.

Happy birthday, Olivia!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Seersucker and Burlap Themed Baby Shower

This shower has been a long time coming.  I would say I've been planning for two months, but, honestly, the excitement has been building for years.  Ever since I knew my sweet friend Karen wanted to have another baby.  Her daughter, Emma, is almost five, and she is, by far, the coolest, most hilarious five year-old I have ever met.  She's seriously the best, and her "Auntie Suzanne" is completely obsessed with her.  I fully expect baby Jake to be no different, and I can't wait until July rolls around.  I want to smother him with hugs and kisses.  Okay, enough mushy stuff...let's get to the pictures.

Disclaimer:  I can't claim full credit for this shower.  I hosted along with two other lovely ladies that I grew up with in church.  I hadn't spent time with them in a while, so it was nice to share hosting duties.

Seersucker and Burlap

Sweet Emma and her Grandma

Olivia, Mom, and Nicole

Me, Mom, and Nicole

Three Generations:  My sister, my Mom, and my Grandma

"Kiddie" Table

How cute are these cookies??

Instead of playing games, we left these "Wishes for Baby" cards on the tables, along with pens, that the guests could fill out while they were sitting around.  I'm going to put all of the cards in a photo album and journal the gifts that each guest purchased off to the side of the card.  

Also, you may be wondering why I don't have any pictures of Karen posted.  Well, one of the other hostesses brought her camera, as well, and took a ton of group and candid shots of Karen throughout the shower.  I didn't want to bombard her, so I figured I would just steal a few of those photos once she had them posted.  I hoped she would put them up before this post, so that I could share them.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  Boo!

 These are a few of the things I got for Karen and baby Jake.  I painted the sign to hang in his nursery (it matches his bedding).  I can't wait to see how she decorates when everything is finally in place.

 This shower was SO MUCH FUN!  I can't wait until another friend is preggo, so that I can do it all over again!