Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking Back

Our theme for 2015 was the Year of Positivity.  I must admit, it was really hard to stay positive at times, but we knew despite whatever trials we went through, better things were coming.


Craig was transferred to a store 45 minutes from home.  With traffic in this area, it usually took much longer.  However, he was only there for about a month before being transferred again to a store only 15 minutes from home.  This time it included a small promotion.  However, he was not happy there.  Being closer to home was great, but there are a lot of other factors that go into enjoying your job.  I could see the difference in his demeanor and experiencing some things myself in that store, I could see why he didn't like it.  Finally, in September, Craig got transferred (AGAIN!) to a store 12 minutes from home.  It's much larger, closer, and he got to work with his old store manager again.  We get to see him all the time.  he doesn't have to fight traffic, and he is so much happier.

I continued my college education, but this time I had to attend classes on campus for the Fall semester.  The first couple of weeks were so hard!  I wanted to cry, I kept asking Craig if I was doing the right thing (he assured me I was), and I felt like our normal family life was thrown completely off track.  I just kept pushing on and realized this school schedule would become the new normal for us.  It was tough for us to get through.  Some weeks were easier than others.  Unfortunately, I had a night class on Wednesdays so I would be gone from 7 am to 9 pm at night. We just kept telling ourselves it's for a good reason.  Thankfully, my wonderful in-laws are not too far from campus and I was able to go to their house during my downtime.  They let me nap, study, fed me dinner and sent me on my way again. :)  I finished the semester with a 3.75 and will continue to study hard for many, many more semesters.

Keep Going:
As a family, we made a huge decision together.  After many months of prayer and seeking God's guidance and wisdom, we decided to change churches after 10 years.  It absolutely was not an easy decision.  It was not a decision influenced by anybody else.  But rather, we knew the time was coming for this change.  We just did not know when. 
We had tried a few other churches throughout the years, but never felt at peace.  This time, I can tell you exactly the day, the time, and where I was when I distinctly felt God telling us it was time to leave.  Although we were all a little sad to leave the church family and the comfort we were familiar with, we knew we needed to be obedient to God. 
God has led us to a new church not far from home that is just perfect for us right now.  The first few weeks, we were just in tears every service over the peace we felt with this difficult decision.  The second service we attended was a message and interpretation in tongues (1 Corinthians 14) about God bringing restoration to our lives.  It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. 
It was a smooth transition, but not always easy.  Old friendships have seemed to die off as we try to make new ones.  The kids have loved this church since the first week we attended, which is a huge sigh of relief for us.  Sometimes change is scary, but the outcome can be beautiful.
Despite these big changes in our lives, we also enjoyed some great moments.  We celebrated God's Creations with beautiful vacations to the Great Smokey Mountains and Atlantic Ocean, celebrated love with weddings and anniversaries,  celebrated family with memorable holidays and family reunions, and celebrated life with peaceful and enjoyable birthdays.  We stayed positive throughout this rocky year and God has continued to show us that better things always lie ahead.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Truth About My Coffee Habit

If you follow me on social media or even if you know me in person, you probably know about my love for coffee.  Perhaps you've even been on a coffee date or two with me and know I just love sipping on some hot goodness. I post funny memes about coffee or even pictures of the infamous red cup (scandalous!).

What most people do not know is that I actually don't drink that much coffee!!!!  This past semester we were given a semester long wellness assignment in my Music and Wellness class and had to improve one area of wellness in our life (physical, mental, spiritual, etc.).  I chose to work on my physical wellness which included cutting back on coffee.  Previously, I was drinking two cups a day, one in the morning and one at night.  I changed my habit to only one cup a day and even cut back on all of the sweetness that goes into my coffee.

Now, were there days that I had more than one cup?  Absolutely!  Some days were just tough to get through and enjoying a cup of coffee would certainly help me relax.  In fact, Craig calls it my "good attitude potion."  There were even some mornings when I didn't have any coffee at all (but I didn't do that often).  For the most part, I stuck to only one cup.

Of course, I will continue to enjoy the beloved drink and am actually writing this from a coffee shop.  I will continue to have coffee dates and check out cool coffee spots, which are some of my favorite things to do.  I will continue to post funny memes and pics and love all the ones that people send to me as well.  I just wanted to prove to myself over this semester that I can complete this assignment and complete it well (I made a 102 in the class) and make sure my coffee habit remains under control.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Kaitlyn's Birthday Letter

Dear Kaitlyn,

You have been a huge blessing in our lives for 12 wonderful years.  We will always take time during this special day to reflect upon the moment our family truly began.  The struggles leading up to your birth were soon forgotten when we first heard your cries.

You have become an extremely creative individual with the most unique projects.  You can visualize something in your mind and make it happen.  You love to create gifts for others and are overjoyed when everyone is amazed at what you can do.

You are incredibly caring and always think of others.  You are always so eager to give back and want to help in any way possible.  You never want anyone to feel left out.

You love God and want others to know Him, too.  You are a great Bible study leader and are always wanting to invite friends to church.  We also love seeing Scripture verses posted around your room.  You truly take God's Word to heart.

You are a Daddy's girl through and through.  You absolutely love spending time with him and he feels the same way.  As much as you dislike being compared to your mom, I know the affection is still there.  You have also become a great example for your brother and enjoy hanging out with him.  It brings us great delight to see you sharing those silly moments with him.

Enjoy this next year and embrace every moment.  Continue to dream up more creations and make them real.  Search for those that are lonely and reach out to them.  Share the Gospel and love of God with others.  And keep making your family smile and laugh through your silliness. 

We love you always and are so proud of you,

Mom and Dad


Saturday, December 12, 2015

DIY In The House

We have been pretty busy making some cosmetic updates to our house. And when I say "we" I mean "he".  Craig has been doing an awesome job keeping busy with some house upkeep while my head has been buried in the books. We decide on ideas together and he makes it happen. 

When it comes to decorating, I am not creative. I have to look up pictures in magazines or Pinterest and then just copy it.  First, we needed to update our family room walls. They have been looking pretty boring since we bought our house in 2008! I also don't like tons and tons of pictures everywhere. I try to keep everything minimal so it has a clean look without crossing the line to a cluttered look.
I found this picture and just loved it.  

Just got this "family" sign from Hobby Lobby on sale for $15 :) Can't wait to put it up!!:

I looked through the frames and decor that we already had and only had to purchase a few items. I was even able to find the exact 'Family' sign at Hobby. Lobby for 50% off!  This wall...

...turned into this!

These baby pictures of the kids were taken when they were each 2 months old.

That is because Craig and I had our baby pictures taken when we were 2 months old also. Now, all of our baby pictures are hanging together.

Kaitlyn and Preston are on top, Craig and I are on the bottom.  The resemblance is uncanny! My mom even made Kaitlyn's baby dress to match the one I was wearing in the picture.
Hanging pictures was not too bad, but Craig got to work on building stuff out of wood. We have a new neighborhood popping up next to us which means lots of scrap wood.  Why not turn all that scrap wood into some fun projects for our house?
Kaitlyn is a budding artist and is constantly bringing home her masterpieces from her weekly art class. We decided to make an art gallery in an upstairs hallway to display some of it. Craig spent time cutting the wood, sanding it, staining it, and even adding a little ledge so the pieces wouldn't slip off.
Here is the Pinterest version:

LOVE this! - eclectic by Esther Hershcovich via http://@Cindy Erickson. for space by kids room: 

The finished project in our home is it's own work of art.

We added some of Preston's art and other keepsakes and now the shelves are full. We can easily rotate pieces when we choose and can always admire their creations.

The next project was the boring front door. Here is a flashback to the first day of school so you can see how plain it looks.

I have always wanted a red front door and we have always had a very beige door. Craig heard my desire and obliged.

It looks fabulous and makes the outside of our house look so inviting. I especially love it right now with the Christmas wreath on the front door.

The final project was to build a blanket ladder to add to our family room similar to this picture.

Who doesn't love to cuddle under a cozy blanket in the cooler months? In fact, we usually wrap ourselves in a blanket all year round when we want to relax. Craig got to work using some more scrap wood and it took him no time at all. I absolutely love the end result. This best part was that it didn't cost us anything!!!

We have many more projects we (and by that I mean he) want to start working on. This was all accomplished in just the last few weeks. I think Craig has found a hobby he enjoys and I found I am good at picking projects for him to work on! :)