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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

how can I keep from singing?

About this time two years ago, I began to snuggle my new baby to sleep with song. We might start with some sweet varieties like "Jesus Loves Me" or "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", but the last song of the night was always the same. 
I remember those nights so vividly. The nights of being a new, tired mom. And the nights of being a new, tired mom with a very sick little infant. We didn't have answers or understanding to what was happening to our baby boy, and we were filled with fear at what the future might bring for all of us. I remember those nights, snuggling that precious little bundle, contemplating the terrifying "what ifs", and clinging to the only thing I could - my faith. 

And somewhere in those late nights, I began to sing this song to Jake. Or maybe even to myself. I had heard it long before, but only in those sweet moments did I really understand what I was singing. I felt buried the trenches, but I was going to keep singing. I was in the lowest valley, but I would keep singing. 

How Can I Keep From Singing
Robert Wadsworth Lowry

My life flows on an endless song
Above earth's lamentation.
I hear the sweet and distant hymn
That hails a new creation.
In every triumph, every trial, 
I hear the music ringing. 
It finds and echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

And when my joys and comforts die
The Lord my Savior liveth.
And when the darkness fathers round
Songs in the night He giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
When to the refuge clinging.
If Christ is Lord of heaven and earth 
How can I keep from singing? 

I lift my eyes; the cloud goes thin.
I see the blue above it.
And day by day this pathway smooths
Since first I learned to love it
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart
A fountain ever springing. 
All things are mine since I am His
How can I keep from singing? 

It's an old Christian hymn. Not one that I grew up with but rather stumbled upon later in life. So beautiful.

And in those deep dark nights in the valley, I clung to those words. I sang them to myself and to Jake, finding peace that God is so much greater that my tiny life. Knowing that He was caring for us. I sang to Him over and over again. Praying to be above my current circumstance and to give Him glory no matter my troubles. Some days were better than others. Some days were filled with doubt and anger. Some days had more faith and thus, more peace. But every night, Jake heard this lullaby, and drifted into a sweet sleep under it's calm. 

Days, weeks, months, even years, have gone by. We endured such a length of hardship and doubt and questions. And it wasn't until a few nights ago, while putting my sweet boy to bed that I fully realized - I was still singing. I wasn't in the valley. I wasn't in the trenches. And I was still singing. 

Here I am two years later with a beautiful, smart, kind and healthy little boy. I'm truly enjoying each day and am so thankful for my humble life. I'm finally in a moment to look back and say "wow, we made it through that". And I'm still singing.

It's no work on my part, but rather a faithful God that carried me through. Through His encouragement and love and kindness, I was able to press on. I had strength beyond myself to hold my head up. I'm so thankful for a merciful, everlasting God that never gives up on us.
Through it all, He kept me singing.

As life changes, I imagine that I'll encounter all kinds of new triumphs and trials as the years pass. I hope none are scary as these last few years with our fears about our sweet boy, but I can't anticipate what's up ahead. I can't plan for each moment. But God has used this season of life to teach me so much.

And the greatest thing that I have learned is that in any change in life, He will keep me singing.

Friday, April 25, 2014

currently {april}


The Orphan Train by Christan Baker Kline
I'm a sucker for a good book review. And this book had been recommended to me by so many people! I'm excited to delve into it this weekend. 


Rivers In The Wasteland by Needtobreathe
Do you have those bands that you love every single thing that they do? Needtobreathe does that for me. I've been following every ounce of their music for years now, and this new album is just as awesome as ever!

Print design!

Surprised? Well, I've been dabbling in it a bit here and there and I'm basically self taught in Adobe Illustrator.  But I've had some ideas that I think would translate so well into print work. I've been itching to get started on this for several months now and it looks like I'm finally setting up to do more design work.

So be on the look out for some new designs and a new shop soon!

A beach vacay! We're headed to the gorgeous Florida beaches in a couple weeks and I am so so ready for some time away. We've had a crazy hectic couple of years with having a little man with some medical issues so vacations have taken a serious demotion on the to-do list. But Jake is great and we're all ready to soak up a little more sun this summer!

We're fortunate that my mother-in-law has a fantastic beach house in Panama City that we can frequent. Jake was  just over a year old last year and was a huge fan of the pool. He pretty much hated the beach/sand/ocean, but I think the beach will be a lot more fun since he can do more digging and playing at this age. 

Did I mention that I'm super ready for this vacation?! It's true...

My yard!

While I'm not the most educated of gardeners, I really enjoy working out in the yard on my plants and flowers. We've done a ton of work on our yard in the last few years and this year is no different. The happy spring weather is officially here, and I've spent a big chunk of the week working on all my front porch and deck flowers. 

Keep an eye on instagram this weekend for some inevitable show off pictures.

our annual summer to-do list!!

{summer 2013}

Zoo trips, sno cones, the splash pad - we had a blast with all of our activities last summer.  J.B. and I have already talked about a lot of the new adventures that we can add now that Jake is getting bigger. I'm pretty stoked about how this list is shaping up and all of the awesome memories we'll have.

Go here to check out last year's list!

Here's to a beautiful and fun spring weekend! Enjoy it, friends!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

the home office makeover

We decided a few months ago to give our home office a makeover. Technically we would be combining the office and our guest room into one joint area.  And today, I'm finally sharing the space with you! It's light and comfy and has quickly become my favorite place to relax. So come on in!

Sidebar: One of my best kept little secrets are the baskets all over my house. That's my solution to living with a toddler and also keeping a picked up home. Just know that those baskets are always filled with Mickey Mouse, Thomas the Train, and truck toys. And often times, they are dumped everywhere before I swoop in and do a ten second clean up. Such an easy way to tidy a room!

Back to this room...
Since we also want this space to convert into a guest room, we needed a sleeping area. But I didn't want a bed hanging around in here. So I elected to include a sleeper sofa in the room to maximize the usable space. Originally I ordered a sofa from WayFair. But by chance, I found a smaller 6 foot piece locally for a tiny fraction of the price. It all worked out incredibly well since we realized later that  the original full size sofa would have been way too large for the room anyway. This smaller piece fits perfectly!

Above the couch is a little gallery wall of rustic frames and decor.

This ottoman was also a craigslist snag that I got for a steal! I love it!
{retails for jaw dropping $400!}

The other major part of the room is a space to work. I bought this roll top desk in pretty rough condition.

Using a chalk paint treatment, I brought it back to life in a pale blue that I really love!
The awesome thing about chalk paint is that you can paint any surface without sanding or priming. It basically just adheres to anything.
The popular brand out there right now are the Annie Sloan Paints, which I've heard nothing but great things about. But for me, those paints and waxes were just a little pricey. 
I followed one of the many Pinterest tutorials to create my own using regular wall paint, plaster of paris and smidge of water. It was simple and super inexpensive. To protect the desk against scratches and chips, I bought furniture wax from Lowe's to buff the piece after painting.

I thought the DIY method was super simple and definitely cost effective. In under
$40 for supplies and just $40 for the desk, I think this piece is an awesome addition to the room!

And that's our newest comfy space!
Thanks for stopping by!


entertainment buffet: TJ Maxx
potted boxwoods: HomeGoods
wire baskets: HomeGoods
two large wall distressed wall frames: Target
ottoman: craigslist find
side table: HomeGoods
side table frames: Target
lamp: Target
sofa: craigslist find
pillows: Ikea and Target
wall shelves: HomeGoods
rustic wood frames: Hobby Lobby
desk: craigslist find
stool: Target
desk lamp: Target
sailor's mirror: HomeGoods


Don't forget to check out the spring giveaway! It's a pretty awesome little package that could be yours. Check it out below!


{click on image to enter. giveaway open thru 4/30}

Friday, April 18, 2014

spring giveaway!

**** This giveaway is now closed. Please check back soon for a new giveaway!  ****

I love giveaway time!!
And mint green and gold apparently. 

Check out this awesome bunch of goodies! 

{from left to right}
 mint green seersucker camera strap from Mako Haus
gold dot stationary from Kate Spade
"good as gold" polish from Essie
"hors d'oeuvres" polish from Essie
gold journal from Typo
Classic Comple-mint necklace from Modcloth
mint bakers twine

I love every inch of this giveaway! Why oh why didn't I get a duplicate of everything??

Want to win this awesome package?

step one: Follow the blog via email. There's a great tab on the right hand side of the page where you can enter your email address to have the posts sent directly to your inbox. No spam, no gimmicks.  Just crafts, decor, recipes and general crazy mom banter from yours truly.

step two: Comment below and tell me your favorite thing about spring!
Flowers blooming? Sports? Sunshine? Pollen? {ok, just kidding about that last one}
Share with me for a chance to win!

So simple! 
Get on it. Giveaway ends 4/30!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

our easter eggs

I love all the new things I can do with Jake now that he's getting older. And yesterday was our first time to dye Easter eggs! 

Jake had a great time coloring the eggs with his crayons. I didn't let him handle the dye {that's obvious right?} but he got to pick all of his own colors as I handled the egg in the tinted dye.

A little helpful hint is to skip the tiny plastic egg holder that comes with the dye kit. Use a whisk! It secures the egg much better.  Just remember to rinse it off between colors.

Since I had quite a few eggs ready to go {and my two year old has the attention span of a goldfish} I was left with a few eggs of my own to decorate. 

By lowering only a portion of the egg into the dye, I made some simple dipped eggs. Then I traced the dividing line with a gold paint pen.
Love these spring time colors!

What about you? Do you and your little ones dye eggs?
There's still tons of time for this fun activity!

And here are a few more of my favorite egg unconventional decorating ideas:

 Gold foil eggs {via}

water color eggs {via}

silhouette eggs {via}

washi tape eggs {via}

sticker stencil eggs{via}

paint pen eggs {via}

Have fun being creative with your Easter eggs!

Friday, April 11, 2014

coffee table styling

What's on your coffee table?

It seems like such a simple question. And I'm sure the answers range from Spiderman action figures to remote controls to plants and fancy books.
When Jake is playing in the living room, our coffee table invariable looks something like this...

{Thomas the train. Always Thomas the train.}

When its picked up, our coffee table looks something like this...

And I'll be honest with you, I'm over it. Other than the faux fireplace installation, our living room really hasn't changed much in the three years we've lived here. And while I love our little space, I'm also ready for a little freshening up. 

At our house, you walk directly into the living room from the front entrance. It's also the hub of our home often times. So I figure the coffee table is a great place to do a little sprucing without spending much money.

Here's a bit of the inspiration I found:







So many of these are absolutely beautiful! I'd love to have each of them in my home. But lets be honest about two important things:

 1. I actually live here. That means I need to be able to clear the space quickly, prop my feet up, eat a meal, or find a television remote quickly. While a huge vase of lilies would look amazing, I'd probably have a hard time watching Criminal Minds through them... 
2. I have a two year old. Jake is actually amazingly good with all my decorative things. He seems to know what's his and what isn't. But I'm not sure I'll be pushing the envelope any time soon with items that are in such close proximity to his play area.

While it would have to be limited in size {because hello! the beloved television, people!} I do like the idea of a small plant. Maybe some books. And I need to figure out the whole remote control situation. They are so unattractive, but necessary!

So I'm off today to the plant shop and hopefully to find some new nick knacks to garnish my beloved living room. 

Happy Friday friends!