Friday, May 16, 2014

I just want to be used

Hey guys!!

I just wanted to drop in real quick.  Today is Friday so that means tonight is Youth Service! I blogged a couple weeks ago about my brother giving his awesome testimony in spite of his speech impediment and the chance of total humiliation.  I promised you and myself that from that moment forward I was not going to let anything stop me from being used in any way, shape or form.

Well, tonight we are continuing a series titled 'The Relation Ship' and I'm teaching tonights lesson! I'M SO PUMPED.  Maybe I should be nervous..?  But I'm not.  I haven't been this excited about something along these lines in...ever!

I'll be sure to come back and let you know how it goes!  Until next time!



Friday, May 9, 2014

I'm dreaming of plates

I've been wanting a plate wall for awhile now.  I would have never dreamed I would be collecting plates to put on display, lol.  All I  knew of a plate wall was what my Aunt had when I was younger.  She had Victorian style plates (those were really "in" late 80's, early 90's) hung side by side, completely lining her ceiling.  They were hung as high as possible and lined her entire house pretty much.  Yikes.  Not exactly my vision but I'm pretty pumped about my pending project.  All I lack is plate hangers.  You've got to see my plates.  They're a mix between plates that I've purchased on a whim, plates that hold a special place in my heart and plates that were gifted to me.  I'm sooo excited.

These white milk plates were given to me by my best Mommy friend.  I mentioned during one of our convos that I was thinking about starting a plate wall.  The next thing I knew she gave me these beauties to give me a jump start. I LOVE these.  These are what started my milk glass obsession.

These colorful plates were a birthday gift from my sister!!!  I put these in my Amazon Wish List FOREVER ago.  While looking for ideas on what to get me she searched to see if I had a wish list, we both love Amazon so she thought it was worth a shot.  I was floored when I opened these babies up.  Ahhh. Totally in love.

These dainty plates were given to me by my Mother in law.  I was eyeing the entire set at TJ Maxx on one of our shopping escapades and she got them for my birthday 4 years ago.  The coloring in this photo is off.  They're more of a robins egg blue and I'm completely obsessed with them.

These plates, also white milk glass, look a lot like the ones my friend Lindsay gave me.  The only difference is the scalloped edges are slightly different.  I scored these for a ridiculous steal on Ebay.

This one. I LOVE it.  Also milk glass.  I found this one on Ebay as well and plan to make it my center plate.  Everything about it is gorgeous.  I know, I know.  It's just a plate.  But, still....*swoon*

Anyone else might be embarrassed to say where they got these plates.  You don't know me well enough.  I got these babes at Kroger's! On sale, too.  These reminded me of wedding anniversary plates.  I had to have them.  I can just see myself passing these 'antiques' (haha) down to my daughter in law.  I'll save the other ones for my daughter. LOL. I'm bad.

This one my friend Lindsay, (Lindsay to the rescue, again!) found at a shop in Oxford, Mississippi while her and her husband were there for a wedding.  Homegirl is pretty quick on the trigger and had a picture + price + circumference texted to me lickety split.  I'm pretty quick, too.  She had the money in her PayPal account before I even responded to her text. 

My plan is to hang these in my dining room.  I have one wall painted a fabulous blue color, kiiinda like the background in these pictures but a tad more turquoisey (?), I will definitely post pictures once it's finished!  My baby will be 2 in July and we're having his party at our house so they will definitely need to be hung before then.  

Do you have a pending project you are completely excited about?  I would love to hear about it!!  

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Mother's Love

This Sunday is Mother's Day.  At the risk of sounding incredibly selfish, Mother's Day has never meant more to me than it has in these past two years.  What?  That's ok, right? What I mean is I have never fully comprehended the capacity of love, the love a parent (a Mother in particular) has for their child until July 16, 2012 @ 10:06pm.  Everything that has made me a Mother is so beautiful and so worth it.

That includes my miscarriage.  Tragedies happen for a reason, God knows what He is doing.  It's in my opinion that having suffered that loss has made me a better Mother than I would have been and appreciate Carter even more than I already would have.  He's my blessing. My gift. My promise fulfilled.  I feel like I know what it feels like to lose a child so I think about "what if I lost him".... and that makes me hold on tighter.  That can sometimes not be so good...I will need to let go eventually.  Let him stay at grandma and grandpas house for a night, a couple of nights, eventually a week.  Oh my goodness, ok, I need to move on.

I can now really celebrate my own Mother and really mean it, you know?  If she loves me even half as much as I love Carter I don't see how her heart hasn't burst open by now.  To love your child is almost painful.  My heart sometimes feels so full it hurts, literally hurts.  I worry.  I cry.  I pray.  I worry some more.  I cry some more.  I laugh.  I worry's quite the emotional roller coaster.

My Mom did all the same things with me.  She had to watch me make mistakes. She had to watch me get my heart broken.  Knowing it would happen but letting me see for myself and learn from it.  Then she watched me cry and cried with me.  She watched me conquer my fears.  She watched me struggle.  She watched me and was right there beside me through everything.  Eventually she watched me walk down the aisle and watched me drive off to start my new life without her.  She's still apart of my life but it's because of her that I was ready to face the challenges of my new life.  A Wife and a Mother.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."

Truer words were never spoken.  Where would any of us be without our Mother's?  Well, still in the womb for one.  That would be weird.  I think of her constant reminders, advice, tips, stories, words of encouragement, and everything she has instilled in me and I can't help but be grateful.  I'm blessed to still have my Mother in my life.  I celebrate her.  I celebrate what she has given me over the years and continues to give me.

At home I will celebrate the little boy that made me a Momma.  The same little boy that's got his Momma's spunky personality and eyes & his Daddy's curls and dimples.  Justin and I talk all the time about how unbelievable Carter is.  Neither of us could have ever imagined or dreamed him.  That just goes to show you God's love.  It's so unbelievable, incomprehensible and unconditional.  Much like a Mother's Love.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco De Mayo

Happy Cinco De Mayo!! I hope everyone enjoys this day to the fullest, eat fajitas and tamales until you're sick and enjoy each other's company. I recently read what today is really all about and I gotta say, it made me appreciate today even more! Until next time! (I'm about to go eat my Mexican lunch my husband made sure to provide today) 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

My unlikely hero

Most of you may not realize, but the month of May is 'Better Hearing and Speech' month.  This particular "awareness" has for as long as I can remember, held a special place in my heart.  I have 1 brother and 1 sister and all have us have struggled and still struggle with our speech.  The term that would be used is that we have a 'stutter'.

According to the NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) roughly 3 million Americans stutter & approximately 5% of children will stutter at some point in their lives, lasting from a few weeks to several years.  It most often occurs in children from ages 2-5, while they are developing their language skills.  Boys are twice as likely to stutter than girls; as they get older, however, the number of boys who continue to stutter is three to four times larger than the number of girls.  Most children outgrow stuttering.  About 1 percent or less of adults stutter.  Yep. That's me.  I'm one of the adults that help make up that smaaallll percentage.  Well, me and my two siblings.

Growing up I avoided confrontation like the plague.  I did not like talking on the phone, for some reason that made my stutter the absolute worst.  To this day I don't like calling in a pizza.  Lol! I reserve that job for my awesomely understanding husband.  Which, I HAVE to add, that having Justin in my life, I could not be more blessed.  He has stood by me so many times, and waited what seemed like forever, for me to get out what I was trying to say.  He's such a good sport. Hehehe.

I went to speech therapy for years and even went through a few therapists.  I learned techniques that I still use today that help me in moments where I panic and I can feel my stutter rising. The last therapist I went to announced that I was "cured" bc I did not stutter one time the entire session.  Long story short, I wasn't cured.  I did learn something about myself and my speech though.  My stutter was more or less 'non-existent' when around people that didn't know about my stutter.  Weird, right? Once I eventually slipped up around that person and my secret was out, it was down hill from there.  So, I've spent years and years....and years of my life, hiding this 'shameful secret'.  I can't let anyone know or that will send me into a downward spiral!!! The videos I used to watch would tell me that the best way to get rid of my stutter is to let people know, announce it, own it.  No way.

I applied for a job at 19 years old that would put me on the phone for 8 hours a day.  It was a telephone banker position with Chase and I applied to get my foot in the door with Chase.  A telephone banker is kind of the bottom of the totem pole position but you're able to work yourself up. I literally cried every day for the first 3 months.  I begged my Mom to let me quit the job and told her that I promised I would find another better, higher paying job.  Anything but a telephone banking job.  My Stepdad pleaded with her for me, lol. She wouldn't hear of it.  My Mom had worked for Chase several years and had a huge hand in getting me the job.  Besides that, she believed in me.  She believed it would eventually get better and that it was good for me, sort of a therapy in a weird way.  I was a telephone banker for almost 2 years and while I would love to tell you that the "therapy" cured me, I can't.  I hated that job off and on for 2 years.  I would stutter so bad at times with customers that I would disconnect the call.  I even had customers ask me point blank, "Do you have a stutter?" or, "Are you ok?".  I was mortified.  But for every rude customer I would have 2 incredibly and surprisingly supportive customers that would tell me how amazed they were that I would actually put myself out there like that.  Some of them stuttered in the past and knew how difficult phone conversations were.  I even had some customers give me tips!! All in all that job was the best therapy for me and I wouldn't trade those 2 years for anything.  I learned so much about myself and I was even proud of myself!

Like the NIDCD states, my brothers stutter has always been far worse than me and my sisters.  Me and my sister are both 29 years old and most of the time have it under control with only a few bad spells every once in awhile.  My brother just turned 20 and he still struggles with his stutter.  It completely and utterly breaks my heart at times watching him try to get a word out.  I think more so because I know how he feels!  I have asked God before to take his stutter away and give it to me.  I'm married and I am able to stay home with our son so I'm not faced with the day to day struggles that he faces with working and going to school.  But I know that like me, he's going to be a better person because of it.  I just trust that God knows best, and He does!

What makes this month special besides it being National speech month is that my brothers birthday is May 1st!  That's just like God, He has such a good sense of humor. No, not everyone that has a speech impediment also has a birthday in May, but my brother is special.  He's special because unlike me and my sister, he has NEVER let his stutter hold him back.  I mean, this kid has got guts.  He will walk up to a perfect (pretty) stranger and start dropping pick up lines like nobody's business, stutter and all.  He has always amazed me.   He owns his stutter, he doesn't let it own him.  I wish wish I could be like that.

We had our monthly youth service last night and my husband, who happens to be the youth pastor, announced that we had a special speaker.  I quickly scanned the room looking for anyone that looked to be over 25 or at least had some gray hairs.  Nope.  My brother walks to the pulpit.  My heart sinks. Not because I'm not happy he's our special speaker, but because I'm soo worried that he's going to stutter!! How humiliating.  I could and would NEVER do that in fear that I might slip up.  I immediately start praying.  My prayer is halted when I hear his voice.  I listen in awe as he says in broken, chopped up words, "I just wanted to warn or let any of you know that don't know this about me already, I stutter.  I'm going to get through this, but if I stop talking for a second or even a minute, I'm ok. Hahahaha.  I promise.  I'm just trying to get it out."  Y'all.  Tears filled my eyes.  He continues to give a testimony about how he received the Holy Ghost at our Holiday Youth Convention trip on Easter weekend.  How God changed his life and freed him from his addictions. He went on to talk about the importance of God and how nothing, absolutely nothing should come before God.  Not work, school, girls, boys...nothing.  What might have taken me our you 3-4 minutes to say, took him around 10 minutes.  But he didn't care.  He had a testimony that he felt God wanted him to share so he did.  He laughed at himself through out the 10 minutes and joked saying, "give me a minute, I'll get it", and "I'm ok, promise".

Watching him struggle and push through, refusing to give up, inspired me so much.  How much have I missed out on by being afraid of what others might think about me or worrying they will discover my 'shameful secret'.  Why is it shameful?  God has allowed this struggle for a reason.  I will admit that I don't know completely what that reason is yet but I do know that it has helped shape me and mold me into the person I am today.  I'm a stronger person because of my stutter.  How am I going to use that strength?  I haven't used it thus far, but that stops today.  I will never know my full potential in life and with God if I don't just accept it, quit hiding it, use it and own it.  I never would have imagined that my brother, my little baby brother, would inspire me like he has.  He is my unlikely hero.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sweet Tooth

OK.  So it's been awhile since I blogged.  Oops! But, I'm back, and with another recipe (I'm sure you're shocked) that'll make you wanna slap ya momma and wrastle ya hubby.  It's seriously that good.  Here, let me share.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Layered Cake

*I made a chocolate oreo version of this cake and it was simply scrumptious. I made this for a birthday party and wasn't sure they loved chocolate so I switched out the main ingredients*

1 box of moist Strawberry cake.  Baked as directed in two 9in. round pans, let cool.

12oz of cream cheese (1 1/2 bars), softened.  Mixed with 3/4 cup of granulated sugar.

Once the cream cheese and sugar is mixed and smooth, chop up 5 to 6 strawberries  and throw in the cream cheese mixture.  Add 2 1/2 cups of cool whip.  Mix well.

Cut each cake horizontally, you will end up with 4 thin, round cakes.  Once the cakes are completely cooled, spread the cream cheese/strawberry mixture on to the first layer and start stacking the cakes, "icing" each layer and adding the next cake.

You will end up with a 4-layer strawberry cake with the mixture in the middle if each layer.  I reserve most of the mixture for the top layer, just a personal preference.

Next, take 2 tablespoons of butter and 4oz of white chocolate (I used Ghirardelli) and place in a bowl.  Microwave for 2 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir.

I chopped up 3 additional strawberries and placed on top of the cake, followed by 3 whole strawberries, for looks.  Then pour the white chocolate all over the top, allowing it to run down the sides.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Thank me later.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friends. The cream in my coffee.

I've been thinking about friendships here lately.  Real, honest, 'you gotta booger in your nose' type friendships. Let me dig a little deeper.

A good friend is something no gal should take for granted.  She understands how bad you're cramping you when your hubby can't.  If you're both Mommy's, she totally gets how emotional it can be to witness your baby's first tooth, step, haircut, etc.  She lifts you up when you're down.  Encourages you when you feel courage-less. Seriously.  A good friend is priceless.

I saw this recently and had to share.  I had already been thinking about a friendship topic and this just confirmed it for me.

Can I just say how incredibly blessed I feel to have the friendships I have?  New and old.  

I can count on one hand who I consider to be my closest friends right now.  I'm not just talking about women that will listen to me wallow in self pity and tell me I'm prettier than my husbands ex-girlfriends (those types of friends are good to have too!) I'm talking about strong woman that build me up, make me feel like I can conquer the world, help me to believe that I can do anything.  

My sister Brittany is the one I have always turned to and she is always quick to answer a call or text and just let me cry on the other end like a mad woman if I need to.  A sister is a built in best friend.  We talk about things like starting up our own bakery, clothing shop, etc and quitting our real jobs (I've been able to, yay!) to pursue our dreams.  I can tell her anything and not worry that I'm being judged on the other end of the phone.  She's the best secret keeper I know and I can't imagine life without her.  She's the kind of friend & sister every girl needs!

I've known my other friend, Kristen, since I was born. No, really.  She was born on March 27th & me and my sister came right behind her on April 13th.  She has always been there as long as I can remember.  She was the only one that didn't make fun of me when I couldn't get my words out.  She would just stand there patiently waiting for me to finish what was taking me forever to say.  I don't see her as often as I'd like but she's has 3 little boys to my 1 and I keep her on standby to ask ridiculous baby questions.  She helped get me through the first few months of being a new Mom and was always assuring me that I was doing it right and it would be ok.  We all survived. Ha! She's the kind of friend every girl & new Mom needs!

As an adult I look for different things in a friend.  I guess my "criteria" has changed.  I just want someone to give as much as I do. Someone that makes me feel happy, confident, and is as laid back as I try to be.  I love new and even unexpected friendships.  

Lindsay has a baby boy that's 3 weeks older than Carter so we meet as often as possible for playdates (and much needed girl time).  She's recently moved back to Texas from Alabama & has met & exceeded my adult "criteria". She's the one who convinced me to start my applique venture.  I had never owned anything with appliqué and Carter certainly didn't have anything either.  A quick Etsy search let me know that applique was actually quite popular & cute!!  She has the biggest heart and is constantly (without realizing it) challenging me to do things I would have never even attempted.  The sky's the limit with her and it's rubbing off on me!  She's the kind of friend & motivator every girl needs!

I've been blessed with the best.  A good, true friendship is sometimes hard to come by.  When you find it, grab it and don't let it go! Nurture it.  You need it.