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Friday, November 21, 2014

One very special scarf

There are two trends this season I've been seeing everywhere.
Plaid stuff  and big blanket scarves.

Now I've always been a fan of plaid.  My southern man I'm married to has been rocking plaid shirts his entire life.  And when it's a vintage plaid shirt with snap buttons well,  put a fork in me and call me done. ~swoon.

But back to the big blanket scarves.  They kept popping up everywhere and I was thinking gosh, those are super darn cute and I would really like to find myself one.  And then it dawned on me.  I have one!  In fact I have a PLAID one!  A very special one.

If you know my story, you know that Nick and I got married young.  Very young.  We were 17 years old and still in high school with a new baby.  You can probably figure out that we were  broke financially.   That first year was pretty rough and there was no extra money for anything other than necessities.

So when our first Christmas rolled around, it was slim pickens for us.  I went to the thrift store and found a little red velvet dress with an eyelet collar for Elizabeth to wear (she was three months old). I paid a dollar for it.  I have a teddy bear that Nick gave me when we were dating and I now put Elizabeth's red velvet Christmas dress on the teddy bear and sit it under the christmas tree every year.  It reminds me of so many things…how far we've come, how much grace God has blessed us with, how He always provided for us….I could go on and on.

But back to the scarf.  We had NO money that Christmas.  None.  And we weren't able to give each other a gift….or so I thought.  When Christmas morning rolled around  he had a package under the tree for me.  And inside of it was this big beautiful blue and green plaid scarf.  I had never seen one that big.  He had bought it for me at K-Mart back in the day when "blue light specials" where all the rage.  Please tell me y'all remember those. Seriously some of my favorite memories with my mom was us running across the store in search of that blinking blue glow and whatever 15 minute bargain was waiting.

I  wouldn't trade my K-Mart scarf for all the designer scarves in the world.  That was 26 years ago now. Here's a picture. It's grainy I know. But I love it.
Christmas 1988
My man, me and my beautiful unexpected scarf and Elizabeth in her $1 red velvet dress.

Here is a better pic of the scarf with me, my momma and two brothers.
This picture is so unique because Marvin (on the left) does not wear turtle necks.
And Greg (on the right) always smiled in every picture.  I think he was jealous of Marvin's turtle neck. Or those awesome acid washed jeans.  And my mom pretty much looks the same.  The woman just doesn't age.  Check out that over one shoulder look I've got going on. 

I've kept that scarf in my big box of my girl's keepsake clothes all these years and pulled it out for this years trend of the season.  Have y'all ever worn one?  Let me tell you they are not the easiest things to wear. I remember never knowing how to tie it and it always feeling awkward on me.

So this time I sought help to figure out how to fold it.  Yahoo Style had THE perfect article with great pictures that helped me out tremendously.  This is where I went for my inspiration.  While I was looking I also found this article on how to dress stylish during a Polar Vortex, which may come in handy this year from the looks of it.  Also, this one on how to dress a baby bump (thinking of you Elizabeth) and this one..because who doesn't want to see celebrities in overalls??  But my favorite was THIS ONE…The Royals are coming to New York the first week in December and this is their itinerary!  William and Kate and George in NYC!  Somebody please go stalk them for me and tell me all about it.

Y'all, I could have perused Yahoo Style for another hour or two…so much fun stuff and style inspiration but I had to focus….

Back to the article on how to wear a blanket scarf.
 These are the pics it inspired.

When we were taking these pictures,  I was thinking about how much has changed since the very first time I wore this scarf….we have two more daughters, three son-in-laws, three grandchildren with one on the way, being called into ministry and getting to serve God's people as a vocation (wow), just the fact that we've been interrupted by His grace (WOW)…. I mean so much grace and goodness. But also hard times too.  My brother Greg is no longer with us. It's so hard to believe he's been gone 10 years now.
That blanket scarf represents to me being covered and wrapped up in God's grace and goodness for the past 26 years.

But some things haven't changed.  Y'all see those boots I'm wearing in all the pictures?
He's still surprising me at Christmas.  He's bumped up his budget a little bit and got me some genuine leather Ariat boots last year.  And he's still shopping at unusual places.  This time Tractor Supply.  And I absolutely love it.  
I wonder where all these boots will have taken me in the next 26 years?
I can't wait to find out.

(This post was sponsored by Yahoo.)


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Making memories

As a parent, I always thought life would get simpler once the girls were all married.  And it has in some ways for sure.  Cooking supper and grocery shopping is simpler.  Getting dressed for church and having the bathroom all to myself is definitely simpler. 

But the part about being concerned for them and worrying about your kids is no different. Definitely not simpler.  Now I think about all kinds of other stuff. Where they live.  Where they go to church.  Are they getting groceries.  Do the grand kids have all they need for school.  I could go on and on.

I'm not a worrier by nature.  I'm really not.  My family can testify to that.  I'm pretty laid back about stuff and just go with it.  I'm finding that is easier when it's  just me and Nick involved or when the girls were still under our roof.  Now that they are gone, it's harder to watch them struggle with things and not want to step in and try to fix it.  I never thought of myself as a fixer.  But I'm morphing into one.

I say all that to say this… A couple of weeks ago, it seems like all three of the girls and their families had needs all at the same time.  Stuff that was out of my hands.  I couldn't fix them.  That day at lunch, as Nick thanked God for our food, he prayed for our girls and their families as he always does, asking God to provide for them and to use them for His glory in every circumstance and he then said something I've heard him say a thousand times through the years…

"Lord, You love our girls even more than we do."

Those words were like a slap in the face and a big warm hug all rolled up in one.
As much as I love my girls and their husbands and my grandchildren, it doesn't even compare to how He loves them.  And whatever He is allowing in their life..good and bad… it's for a divine purpose.

I found so much comfort in that prayer that day that I've heard their daddy say so many times.
Our God is a loving Father who wants to load us down with good things.
He wants us to experience life to the fullest with much joy.

He goes the extra mile for us always and spares no expense when it comes to His love.

Such a great reminder.  Such a great example for us as a parent.
I try to go the extra mile to make my girls feel loved and special.
I can't fix things all the time for them.  I'm not supposed to.

But I do want to live a life making memories.
And that's what we did for Lauren's birthday last week.
It was her first birthday away from family.  If you've followed us long enough, you know we whoop it up for birthdays. (here, here and here are just a few examples. Oh..and this.)
I love to celebrate their lives and do it up grand.  
So Lauren was a little bummed none of us would be joining her on her actual birthday.

Lydia had to work so were planning to come the next day and stay the weekend.  But it just so happens that Lydia was able to take off ….so we took off.
And surprised the birthday girl.  

Strap in and grab a cup of coffee…I'm about to bombard you with pictures.
But this is my little place to document our families adventures. 
Sadly, I don't do photo albums like the good old days. 
Feel free to scroll to the bottom now if you want.
It won't hurt my feelings.  I promise.  ;)

 The Birthday Girl
 This pic was part of a fun photo shoot by our friends and incredible photographers, April and Paul.

 On our way there we passed a cotton field right at the golden hour.  I mean…come on. We had to stop.

Apparently Lydia has never seen cotton up close which I'm still not sure about the accuracy of that.
But nonetheless, she was mesmerized and possibly might have picked a puff.

Blake had taken her to eat for her birthday and then to "get coffee" afterwards where Lydia and I were waiting.  hee hee. She walked right passed us.  We sat there watching her for what seemed like 10 minutes.

 She finally saw us (or heard us laughing) and was pretty excited.

But this is where she got really excited.
She plopped down. Stuck a pose.  And was like "bring on the presents".

 We did not disappoint.

One of my favorites.  This is so Lauren.

The next day we had a little morning fun with the self timer.

And my personal favorite.
These rad shirts are from my friend, Tiffini.  She has awesome stuff at her shop House of Belonging.

Then we went thrifting. But first Startbucks.  It was buy one get one free the entire time we were there so that worked out great.  I also discovered you can get half the syrup so it's not as sweet!  Holla!  This was life changing! I also learned big buns were not made for the backseat of Lauren's car.

After spending all day riding in the back seat, this is my "I'm really carsick but I'll smile if I have to" face.  Note to self:  A venti Caramel Chestnut Latte on an empty stomach in the back seat does not work for you.

Blakey Poo met us for supper.  Cutie pies.
 Our first full day there was a blast.

This pretty much was the theme of Day 2.
It was all about the food.

Kicking it off at The Tin Cow. If you are ever in Pensacola, and you like burgers, go there. You won't be disappointed.  The pic is a little blurry but you mark what you want and give it to the waitress.  You can choose from all kinds of burgers…venison, bison, Angus, Kobe, Chicken….and the toppings are endless. Stay away from the truffle infused ketchup though…blegh! But by all means, get the house bacon mayo!

This is us feeling  happy about our selections.  ;)

After stuffing our faces at the Tin Cow, we walked a few feet down the sidewalk to this little bakery.  We had us a groupon.  $11 for $20 worth of food. We were like "I'll take one of these and one of these…"  The sky was the limit.  Or so we thought.  Apparently $20 doesn't go very far at Adonna's.  We might have had to pay a little extra.  Hashtag oops.

After all that we had to walk it off some.  And stop and take pics in front of pretty walls.

Then we had to stop for a little street entertainment…

The girls were ready to head home and put on PJ's after this public display.

On day three we got to go worship with Blake and Lauren at their new church.  That was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  Getting to meet their pastor and his wife was a blessing.  He preached the Word with sound doctrine, full of passion.  It blesses me to know they are being fed and shepherded. 
 One of my greatest prayers is that my kids are part of a church family, growing and serving wherever the Lords sends them.  That they will seek a church that teaches truth with a pastor that makes the Word the most important thing.  Blake and Lauren won't be able to be a part of this very  long before they will have to move,  but I'm thankful for this season the Lord does have them there.

After church we went to the Mellow Mushroom for lunch.  This was my first time.  I liked it.
That's my baby pizza on the bottom loaded down with vegetables.  It was super good.  Kind of pricey…like, I'd probably only go back if I had a coupon but I'm cheap like that so don't mind me.

Then these two tortured us with this as we waited in line at Starbucks. 
 (But it was last day for the buy one get one free…so we kinda had to)

We came home and put on our PJ's and never left the couch until the next morning.
Except to answer the door for the delivery guy when he brought our Chinese food for supper.
And even then… we made Blake get up and do it.

Our last day started with a big dog pile on top of Lydia.

Then we did a little shopping.  And for all those who thought this was Elizabeth's pregnant belly when I posted it on instagram….come on y'all.  She would have to be pregnant with a small elephant if it was.   But I get y'alls excited hearts that made you jump to a rash conclusion…you was hoping it was her because that meant she would have been there too.  Sweet.

Big bun probs again.  And I totally made Lydia sit in the back seat and I wasn't  the least bit sad.

 We somehow ended up at Steak and Shake during their half price shakes happy hour.

Then it was time to head home.  It was a great birthday weekend for Lauren. The only thing missing was Elizabeth.  I don't think any of us will ever fully get used to not being able to all be together all the time.  But God gives us the grace to embrace it.  I'm already looking forward to next month's visit to see Elizabeth and her crew!

The next day I spent a good portion of the morning catching up with my favorite person in the world. I'm so thankful for him and his willingness to always bless me and our girls with time together.  He totally gets our girl needs. And our constant  schemes and dreams and plans we come up with for our adventures.
He is the best example of a good father.
He's an incredible example of a lover of my soul.
I learn so much about the Lord through the way he lives his life before me and the sacrifices he makes for me.  

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."  James 1:17

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