God's goodness

I never know quite where to start when I begin to write a post about something God has been up to in my life.  So I'm just diving right in.  It may ramble (I'm wordy).  It may seem choppy and all over the place (I'm a tired Momma), and it may be random and choppy from starting and stopping typing the post (nap time is fleeting in this home).

So let me begin by giving a little background.  I graduated with a dual certification in elementary education (P-5) and Learning and Behavior Disorders (P-12).  I have taught at the same school that I ended up having a long-term subbing position in for the end of the school year after I graduated for 4 years.  I taught a mixed grade class of 3rd and 4th for two years and then we went to straight grades and I taught 4th grade for two years.  This will be my fifth year of teaching (my tenure year! whoo hoo!).  It has been an amazing blessing to teach in such a wonderful school that is centered in an amazing community.  I've had nothing short of wonderful relationships with my colleagues, been lead by an amazing, supportive principal, and have had awesome relationships built among myself and my students and their families.

Being a teacher is something I feel God has given me a talent for.  I have a passion for building amazing community within my classroom, teaching my students, and above all, developing a relationship with them in which they feel safe in their classroom and know they are valued and loved.

However, to say all of this, it's also been rocky.  Being a teacher is stressful.  I have doubted if it was truly God's calling.  I have doubted if it's what I should continue to pursue.  There were days my first year of teaching that Justin would do everything he could just to send me off for my day without having a meltdown over anxiety and pressure that I knew awaited me when I got to work.  Y'all....it's a hard job.  Physically? No.  Emotionally? 100%.

So then my role of Mommy began.

I always knew growing up that I wanted to be a Mommy.  When I got old enough to think honestly about what I wanted to be when I grew up...I knew a Mommy was it.  However, I didn't think I would have the desire to stay at home.  My mom worked outside the home, until my brother and I were in high school, in a very professional, long hour career.  She is and always has been an amazing Mom.  I saw she balanced it, so I just knew that I would too.

But once we found out we were expecting, my mind immediately went to our baby.  How in the world would I balance it all? How would I be able to hand over my little one to someone else when I was going to nurture and help build the minds 20 some other little ones.  It was just a hard thing to grasp.

So my heart was quickly changing.  It was changing to have a STRONG desire to want to stay at home or at least work from home once Adeline was born.

Here's the catch.

Financially-It made no sense with our income.

Insurance-My job supplied it.

The possibility seemed far, far fetched.

Now I'm a dreamer.  I often don't think logically.  I like to trust God to the full extent when it comes to something like this that I desire so much.  So I started praying.  Hard.  I finally got the courage to share this new desire on my heart with Justin (we had never had the talk about where we both stood on me being at home or working outside the home).  He was so supportive and shared that he actually had been thinking more and more that he wanted me to be with our kiddos at home if at all possible.  What a relief it is to be on the same page as your husband!

So we both started praying.  Hard and specific.

We had positive days where we talked and were content with it maybe not happening right away...but down the road.

We had bad days where I almost resented our life and that we couldn't make it work.  That we both had this desire, why couldn't God provide the way to make it happen.

I had awful times where I got so envious of some people that it seemed so easy for them to just stay at home.  Honestly, some of the blogs I read were even causing these feelings of envy and jealousy.  I had to remove myself somewhat and allow God to work wonders on my heart.  I needed to find peace with whatever it was He wanted to do.

So obviously throughout my maternity leave, things were tough some days.  I would cry just over the thought of going back to work.  It was miserable.  Justin did all he could to help me stay positive, but it was so hard for me to stay in that place.  I couldnt' imagine leaving my baby girl.

Throughout my maternity leave, we had a lot of time home together.  We had such an amazing season of renewal in God's word and deep study in quiet times.  It was such a healthy, wonderful time for us as a family.  Looking back, I know that was a gift from God.  Something he would use to propel us into the next steps. 

So we decided that we would take a few leaps of faith.

We budgeted and considered what we needed to make it work.  We took into consideration insurance and how much it would be to pay out of pocket for health insurance.  Although it seemed crazy, we kept at it.

During this time, since I took an extended maternity leave, half of it that wasn't covered with long term disability ended up being without pay.  This basically cut my normal pay in half.

The first talk we had to have was with my parents.  They both own their own business and we had to see if there was maybe a place for me in the business.  I would work for them either at their place (and have Adeline with me) and/or be at home working for them with Adeline.  On a cold January night, we had this discussion over pizza.  They had been talking about finding a place for me in the business.  They were relieved to think someone would want to start taking over some of the paperwork/office/organizational side of things.  ("God thing" number one in a long list of them!)

So based on this income we would have coming in, we decided it would work for me to go part-time.  We would just pay out of pocket for insurance.  It wouldn't be easy but it would be worth it.  Without realizing it, during my maternity leave, God was showing us that we could live on less.  My checks going to 1/2 of what they normally would be was practice for what's to come this coming year.

Leap. Of. Faith.

I sat down with my principal (who has always been so encouraging and supportive) and expressed to her my desire to work part time.  She was completely supportive.  I hoped she would have a part-time Special Ed position for next year.  She said she would look into it and get back to me.  That her goal was to keep me there at my school.

A few weeks later, I found out the numbers didn't match up.  There wasn't a position for me at my school, that I would have to wait to find out if there was one at another school.  More prayer.

During this time, in passing, I started talking to one of my dear friends at school that was on my team for the past four years.  She expressed to me that she had heard our art teacher was interested in a job share.  (Art has always been a passion of mine.  I started out as an art major...took tons of classes.  Wavered in getting my masters in art.  I just never took that step.) The art teacher and I talked on the phone one afternoon about it. I literally got off the phone and fell to the ground with tears.  I knew this was God.

So through a course of many more "random" events (I use that loosely because I know nothing is random with God), a few more conversations between the art teacher and my principal, LOTS of prayers and a huge effort in trying not to get too ahead of God, my principal decided to allow the current art teacher at my school and myself do a 50/50 job share position this coming year, splitting the week straight down the middle.

This coming year, I will be a part-time elementary art teacher (it still gives me chills to say!) for 2.5 days each week and will be with Adeline the rest of the week (whether that's working at my parents' or working from home)...with a flexible schedule on the days I'm working for my parents.

The other wonderful thing?

This is better than the positions I was dreaming up in my mind to make this work.

And the icing on the cake?

I just found out we'll be paying half the costs for health insurance as I thought we would be. (Another phone conversation that left me speechless, in crazy tears, kneeling on the ground thanking God.)

To wrap this up (hope you're still with me! ;) let me say that I'm not writing this post to brag.  I'm not writing this post to boast.  I'm not writing this post to share about what I have done.

This is ALL ABOUT my Heavenly Father.

This is ALL ABOUT what God can do.

This is ALL ABOUT how God can make a way when it absolutely, positively seems there is NO way.

God brought so many people into my life throughout this process over the past year that encouraged me with testimonies, prayers, and kind words (some of you, included...thank you so incredibly much).

No matter what it is that is going on in your life...you are in the same boat wondering how in the world you can make it work to stay at home, or you are wondering what step you should take with something, or you simply need your house to sell...God will make a way.  He cares so incredibly much.  Yes, there are times where He seems so silent.  Just be patient.  Listen.  He's up to something.

And then there are times that He speaks loud and clear.  He seems to almost throw something into your lap.  He comes up with a plan that we are in awe of and could have never pulled together.

He's good like that.

And He will make a way when you can't see what's ahead.

"Take the prophets as your mentors.  They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God.  What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You've heard, of course, of Job's staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end.  
That's because God cares, cares right down to the last detail."
James 5:10-11 (The Message)

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pillow talk

We recently purchased new living room furniture that I love! Our couch was a hand-me-down from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law which they had gotten used from my brother-in-law's parents. Needless to say, after us having it around for 4 years of marriage, it was on its last leg.

At the furniture store, we pieced a couch and chair together from different lines. So the pillows that came with our couch had the couch material on one side and another fabric that didn't match our chair on the other. We could have bought a set of pillows that match the chair for $50. Um, no thanks.

For the meantime we've had the fabric side of the pillows facing the couch to hide the mismatched colors. I have been shopping around and hadn't fallen in love with any pillows that match our couch and chair...especially at a price I'm happy with.

Well as you know (and probably do too)....I love Pinterest!

I found a great tutorial for a no-sew pillow cover simply using fabric and folding and knotting it around the pillow. My kind of project!

I also really liked the pillows that came with our couch--they are large and really cushiony. I was having a hard time thinking that we would just throw perfectly good pillows down into the basement, replacing them with others.

So without further ado, with a whopping $9 at Wal-Mart and literally maybe 5 minutes of time...we have new couch pillows that match our chair (and so happen to also match our living room curtains...love when decor details just fall together like that)!

Here's the direct link to the tutorial (I'm on my phone, so no fancy link):


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girls' day!!

Although I've been off all summer due to my job as a teacher, on most days Adeline and I are with other people.  Whether I'm at my parents' working or we are out doing and going along with other people too, we are almost always with others except for the time we are at home.  Now don't get me wrong...every single minute I'm with my little girl is an absolute blessing.  Nothing short of it.  However, I wanted to take some time yesterday to have a day planned around just us two and just be together.  It was nothing spectacular or completely out of the ordinary with our plans, but it was a day centered around just us.  It was wonderful.

We took our time in the morning and hung out in bed for a while being lazy.

We started the day at our local library for Toddler Time at the library.  We hadn't gotten the memo that they stopped Toddler Time until fall, but we did stay and play with Adeline's grandma "Gee" and her cousins, Hadley and Gentry.  We had so much fun playing with the books, reading the books, and playing with the toys they have for little ones! Adeline also went crazy over all the book character stuffed animals they have on display.  We hadn't really explored what all they had for little ones...but now that we have and she went crazy over it...we will definitely be enjoying the library even on days when there is no Toddler Time.  We also made sure to check out some board books before leaving to enjoy for the next week or so.

Our next stop was lunch at Chick-Fil-A.  We got a surprise call from Justin saying that he could meet us for lunch if we didn't mind him crashing our girls' day.  What a fun surprise!

It was time for some shopping after that! We headed to Target for some items we needed and to shop for a local student that we adopted to purchase a backpack for.

I forgot to get a pic while we were in Target, but Adeline was pretty happy about our backpack and lunchbox selection. :) She spent the entire time we were in Target, talking and yelling.  Her paci didn't contain the noise.  She thinks everyone shows up places just for her.  Crazy girl!

Our next stop was Homegoods because what's a girls' day without some time to browse through Homegoods?

Again, forgot a pic, but here she is checking out our purchases once we got home! :)

Our final stop was by our local Goodwill.  It was nearing nap time and Adeline fell asleep on our way home, so I just propped her in her seat into a cart and cruised the aisles while she slept soundly.  I was so excited
about our find! A Fisher Price play table for $2.89!! It was only missing one small piece and works perfectly.

Can you tell she was sleepy? ;)

After a nice wash and sanizitizing, it was as good as new and she went to town with her new toy! Goodwill jackpot!

We finished our girls' day by having a quiet night at home as a family grilling homemade pizzas and watching the Opening Ceremonies to the Olympics.

Perfect day!

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Long Live Summer!

Summer is here and that means you’ll be taking more photos of your family soon.  Between beach trips and BBQs, photographs are a great way to capture these summer memories.  Shutterfly’s Long Live Summer Photo Contest on Facebook launched Monday July 9th and runs through August 12th!
This Long Live Summer contest is a multi-week summer themed photo sweepstakes with instant win prizes!

Win a trip for four to The Bahamas and a professional photo shoot so you’ll remember your vacation forever.  All you need to do is upload your favorite photo and caption based on the theme of the week.  You even get a gift from Shutterfly just for entering! You can enter at any point during the 5-week sweepstakes period.



•       Week 1(7/9): Americana
•       Week 2 (7/16): Great Outdoors
•       Week 3 (7/23): Water Fun
•       Week 4 (7/30): Sports & Activities
•       Week 5 (8/6): Parties & Celebrations

(This is currently the third week of the contest!)


•  Instant win prizes just for submitting a photo!
•  Weekly prizes (contestants can enter one time/week)
•  Weekly featured photos: up to 5 weekly entries will be selected from the gallery and featured on the Facebook fan page and awarded a $500 gift card on Shutterfly and a copy of the new Lonely Planet travel photography book.
•   Grand prize: trip for 4 to Bahamas, 4 nights, family photo shoot

We are having an amazing summer including just getting back from a wonderful family beach vacation and I can't wait to enter a photo from our fun times from the summer! I'm looking forward to seeing your pictures from summer as well!

Enter here! Good luck and Long Live Summer!

This post is sponsored by Shutterfly.

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four years!

Today is hubby and mine's 4th Wedding Anniversary! I am beyond blessed to be married to my best friend....the man that chased after me like crazy when we were in college...and continues to chase after me.

We've been through some amazing times within our four years of marriage.  Here are a few highlights!

Year 1- Getting married!, honeymoon, bought a house, my first teaching job, adopted Boone (our Beagle/Lab mix)

Year 2-trip to Texas, trip to DC, Mississippi mission trip with church

Year 3-Trip to Disney World, Justin graduated with his bachelors, found out we were expecting Adeline, a couple beach trips, Alabama mission trip with church

Year 4-sold our cars and bought new ones, Adeline was born in November! (TONS of firsts), turning into "Mommy and Daddy", my transition from full-time teacher to part-time art teacher/part-time stay at home Mommy, family trip (just us 3) to the Smoky Mountains, family beach trips

I'm sure I'm leaving some things out.  And these are the big things in our life.  The in-betweens and all the small moments are where I find myself feeling the most blessed to be married to such a wonderful man.

Nights sitting on the couch together.

Laughing, being goofy, and making fun of each other.

Hitting a drive-through and eating dinner in the car, sitting by the lake.


Watching his reaction when he walks through the door and sees Adeline after a long day of work.  Seeing her huge smile directed right back at him as she reaches for him.

Long talks about goals and dreams for our family.

Paper, rock, scissors over small household chores.

I could go on and on.

I love you babe.  Happy Anniversary! Here's to many, many, many more!


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then and now

Feeling the need for a little reminiscing...

Here classic "ohhhhh" face. 


Her monthly photo shoots.



ps. this is another classic "Adeline" face these days...it's accompanied by loud breathing through her nostrils. crazy girl.

The pool.



After starting this, I could literally keep posting these one after another.  Maybe I'll leave others for another day.  But oh my, what a sweet gift it is to watch this little girl grow and develop.  Although, selfishly, this growing up thing hurts my mommy being deep down, it also causes proud and joyful tears to well up in my eyes...just knowing that every single day is such a precious blessing.

Thank you, Lord, for gifting me with this Mommy role.  I'm humbled by this breathtaking, amazing, precious life.

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8 months!

Dear Adeline Grace,

            How are you 8 months old?! This was definitely the month that flew by the fastest! I feel like it was just last week that you were turning 7 months old.  This month was full of your personality shining and developing even more (how is that possible?!).  You continue to amaze us!

So what have we learned about you this month and what have you been up to in your eighth month of life?

Here are some of your firsts this month...
On 6.10.12, you went to the church nursery for the first time.  You cried a lot.  We are still working on this!

On 6.14.12, you got yourself from laying on belling to sitting up on your own by yourself for the first time.  Now, already, you get up and down like it's nothing.  You are a pro!

On 6.15.12, you sat yourself up in your crib for the first time during a nap time.  You were very proud!

On 7.4.12, you celebrated your first 4th of July.  We went to your grandparents' and had a cook-out and swam!

This month you also:

-started full-on crawling! (belly off the floor!)
-starting waving "bye bye"
-put together two words: "hi da da" (Your daddy worked very hard with you on this...and now you say it all the time!)
-started saying "buh"--we think it's Boone, because when you say it and then we call for him to come to you, you smile and get excited
-tried gobs more food (zucchini, mango, spinach, etc.) so far you are still liking everything
-started drinking from a straw sippy cup instead of the nozzle kind
-started making music with your toys (you love to have a toy in each hand and bang them together)
-brought table food to your mouth for the first time...baked potato (your face was priceless)
-started being able to pull-up on occasion
-using the walker toy
-putting puffs to your mouth (you hoard them with your hands and grab as many as you can, and then will occasionally put a piece to your mouth)
-started showing some signs of separation anxiety (you are a momma's girl!)
-started getting yourself to your knees sometimes and sitting like that while you play
-started crawling or reaching for mommy or daddy when something is too loud
-started laughing when you get tickled
-got a second tooth on the bottom!

So what do you like and dislike?

You love…
-swimming (you are getting such a tan, missy! your little chunky rolls have white lines in between them.  So cute!)
-talking (hi dada, buh)
-being around people/people watching
-making funny faces ("ohhhhh" face and a nose scrunched up face)
-your mommy and daddy (and Boone, of course)
-playing and crawling around on the floor with your toys
-your huge teddy bear that your daddy bought you
-touching people's faces (and pulling mommy's hair)

You dislike…
-diaper and clothing changes
-when you are awake in your crib and Mommy or Daddy leave the room
-sitting still for any period of time
-going down for a nap (unless we're in the car)
-having shoes on (you kick them right off)
-chunky food
What are your sizes?

You are in 9 month sleepers.  You are also in 9 month clothing.  You are in size 3 diapers when in disposables and are in second snap setting on your cloth diapers! You still have lots of chunks and rolls....love it!

I'm not sure of your weight and height this month...your next check-up is at 9 months!

What are your eating habits like?

You nurse around 7-8, 12-1, 4, and 7 for anywhere from 5 to 12 or so minutes.  You also wake sometimes once or twice during the night and nurse.  I am trying to now limit you to doing this just once a night so that you eat more during the day.  This happens usually around 3 or 4ish

You are also eating "real food" at each meal. You eat oatmeal every morning, you eat a fruit and/or veggie at lunch, and a fruit and/or veggie as well as oatmeal for dinner.  You are eating everywhere between 4 and 8 oz. a day of baby food.  We have gone to mostly jarred natural and/or organic baby food right now.

You love drinking water.  We have to limit you and make sure you don't do it before your meal...it fills you up! You also still love to chew on items that we put into your little food sack.

How is your sleeping?

You threw us for a loop with your sleeping this month! You have never been a napper, but really started seeming to boy-cot naps, even though you still seemed so sleepy.  We are in the midst of doing some loose sleep training again.  I think you being able so sit up in your crib on your own has really messed with you.  You get very frustrated and mad that you are in your crib and fight sleep like it's your enemy. You also get really unhappy when you wake up and realize we aren't in the room.  So here's what it looks like tentatively right now while sleeping is "under construction" and, knock on wood, we are making headway:
Bedtime routine and down for night: 7 pm
-you wake-up numerous times throughout the night often; we do all sorts of things to work on it right now as we try to wean you from being picked up and helping you through this phase of separation anxiety...patting you on the back, talking to you, shhhh-ing you, sitting in your room, etc.

Wake-up:  between 7 and 8 (you seem to get 12 hours of sleep no matter what.  You tend to adjust your wake-up time according to how much you were up during the night)

Nap: 9ish for around 30-45 minutes

Nap: 2ish for around 30-45 minutes (on occasion this will be a longer nap)

So what makes you, you this month?

You are one spunky, feisty, full-of-life little girl.  You are so full of joy and fun.  You are so smart and inquisitive.  You soak in the world around you and go with the flow as you are introduced to so many new experiences and interactions.  You never stop and are always, always on the go.  You love meeting people and often will make eye contact and talk to people that mommy and daddy don't even see until we hear you saying "hiiii" to them.  You have never met a stranger.  We laugh at you, squeeze you, and kiss you constantly.  We often just sit back and watch you and we stand over you as you sleep just shaking our head in amazement.  We cherish every single memory and day we have with you while we get so excited thinking about all that God has in store for you, little one.  We pray for you daily, that you will love God with all your heart and will find your purpose in life...both in and through Christ.  You have made our days so bright and our life so much sweeter.  We love you so much, baby girl.  You are our world and we are incredibly grateful for this most amazing gift God has given us in you.


                                                                                                    Mommy and Daddy (Dada)

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