Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thank you.


The response to the post I wrote about losing my father has been astounding. I've had so many comments, texts, and emails that I'm just blown away. I'm incredibly blessed to know so many amazingly thoughtful and kind people, and I promise I'll respond to every single one of you. This Thanksgiving really was wonderful, and reminded me of so much I have to be thankful for. I hope yours was as well. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

This day, two years ago.

Two years ago today, it was Thanksgiving, and cold. I wasn't at a table full of food, surrounded by laughter and family stories like usual, though. I was in a hospital room with my mom, brother, and Tyler. My aunt and grandma had gone; grandma didn't fully understand, but she understood enough, and she needed to rest. We who were left in that room were mostly silent. We were exhausted from the days before--physically and emotionally--and the right words really weren't there anyway.

Two years ago today, on that Thanksgiving, in that hospital room in St. Louis, I watched my dad take his final breath.

I don't know if you've ever seen anyone die, but it's eerie. Undeniably spiritual. You know it immediately, but you still can't believe it. I fully felt nearly every human emotion within a span of about ten seconds--disbelief, rage, relief, fear, guilt, and crushingly powerful grief.

The weirdest part is, after all that--I understood what I had seen, but I couldn't make it real.

It's still not real.

So many times I see something that would have made him laugh, and I immediately think, "I need to tell dad about that." My car starts acting funny, and he's the first person I think to call. I almost bought him a Christmas present last week. Two years seems like an awfully long time to be in the denial stage of grief, but I don't know what else you would call that.

It took me almost a year to feel God again. Looking back now, I can see Him so clearly weaving in and out of those moments--preparing us for them in ways we didn't understand at the time, protecting us from some of their weight. I just couldn't see Him through all of the guilt and grief and chaos. I honestly felt abandoned by Him, but I know I wouldn't have survived it if I truly had been.

This is the first time I've written any of this story down--even a shadow like this one. It's seemed too permanent, I think. Really, though, I needed to tell that story as a background for this:

This time of year is hard for me, to put it lightly. It's so incredibly easy for me to wallow in self-pity, start to get a little depressed, to resent Thanksgiving and rage against the thought of being thankful on a day that stole so much from me. A couple weeks ago, when I was beginning to slide into it yet again, this thought popped into my head:

 "Thankfulness has nothing to do with the contents of your life, and everything to do with the condition of your heart."

Punch in the gut. I have so very very much for which to be thankful. If I had nothing but life itself, I would still have reason for gratitude. Even in this very situation, I was letting the event of my father's death overshadow the 26 years I should be thanking God to have had with him. What a horrible way to "honor" my dad--by holding onto grief and resentment over the fact that he's gone instead of celebrating the many incredible memories he left behind. He deserves better.

Thanksgiving is still hard--really really hard. This year carries with it a little different perspective, though....and a lot more gratitude.


*I'm going to take a bit of a blogging break this week, but I'll still be responding to comments and emails. I'll be back on Friday with a monthly IG recap!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

November Wishlist

Just a few goodies I've stumbled on this month!


1. Seriously looking forward to picking up a copy of this book after Christmas.

2. I swear, I was born in the wrong decade. Swooning over this dress

3. Rifle Paper Co. has made a London iPhone case. I'm dead, you guys. D-E-A-D.

4. Just give me all the Project Life stuff.

5. Currently re-buying some of my favorite albums on vinyl. This one is next.

6. This little fox ornament is the cutest. I would definitely make room on our already-too-crowded Christmas tree just for him.

7. I need this Jane Austen quote print. NEED.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Christmas Crafting

I've got it bad, you guys. The Christmas crafting bug has hit, and it has hit hard. I have so many ideas in my head right now that I'll be lucky if I finish them before Christmas next year. I managed to knock out a couple last weekend and start another (which I'm hoping to finish this weekend, if I can pry myself away from my Project Life stuff long enough!). Here's a little peek into my finished projects.



Are you doing any crafting for the holidays? I'd love to see your projects!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Project Life

I had another post planned for today, but I put it on the back burner. It's actually really appropriate because every other project I'm working on has taken a backseat right now, too, and this is the reason: Project Life. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to start scrapbooking, but the thought has been too overwhelming (not to mention I'm terrible at narrowing down pictures for a page). When I first looked into Project Life months ago, I was really drawn to it, because it seemed much simpler and easier than traditional scrapbooking...but I was still worried about my ability to narrow down pictures. Thanks to some great advice from Caylee (and a killer deal at Michael's!), I took the plunge!


This was my first round of purchases--just the basic necessities--courtesy of a BOGO binder sale, two 50% off One Item coupons, and a husband that wasn't ashamed to buy PL supplies so I could use both those coupons. He's a keeper, I tell ya.

I bought the 5th and Frolic edition, but it was so hard to pick! There are at least two others that I have my eye on right now. I knew I made the right decision, though, when I opened up the box and saw this: 


I almost died you guys. So stinkin cute!


I ended up going back to Michael's the next day for some more scrapbooking goodies (it's an addiction, I'm discovering) and then I dug out some of my own paper goods that I had accumulated from writing letters to Sarah (which lately I have been terrible at!). Now I have all my favorites stashed together in a photo storage box until I find a better method of organization (and, uh....more room in this apartment).



I'm planning on ordering some prints in the next couple days and getting down to business. I originally wanted to go back and do weekly pages from our first year of marriage, but then thought I would get overwhelmed, so I resigned to just wait until January and start with the upcoming year. Well, I quickly realized that I'm far too excited to wait another month and a half, so I've worked out a list of highlights and things I want to include from last year to keep me busy. I can't wait to start! Any fellow Project Lifers out there? I need all the tips & tricks I can get!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fading Fall


I'm not ready to let go of fall just yet. As much as I (triple-heart, mega) love Christmas--and let's be honest, my decorations have been up for over two weeks now--the tiny bit of cold weather we had last week was a huge shock. NOT READY. The trees have started to fade from their vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges into that dull, dead brown; some have already lost their leaves completely and stand around naked, showing their bones. Everything looks so...sad. I'm doing my best to stay in denial, but when I walk out the door early in the mornings....well, it's pretty hard to stay in denial about winter's rapid approach when you can see your breath and it takes ten minutes to scrape the frost from your car. And I swear that Mother Nature must be drunkenly screwing with us here in Missouri, because we woke up to temperatures in the teens last week, but were in the 60s and 70s by the weekend.  It's like she's saying, "Heh heh, look what I can do; I'm about to make you miserable for a few months." What a jerk.

I suppose there are nice aspects to the winter months too--Christmas, of course, and I don't mind a couple rounds of the fluffy white stuff (as long as I don't have to drive in it!). I do look forward to being able to work on a few craft ideas without having the constant desire to be wandering around outside (that I usually give in to, if we're being honest. Just ask the growing pile of unfinished projects in my living room). Still, though--I'd hang on to fall a little longer if I could.

Monday, November 18, 2013

In Pursuit of Wonder

Wonder came so much more easily to me as a child. I rush so quickly through days now that I'm rarely in awe of the details of life; the night sky, veins of a leaf, the rhythm of air in and out of my chest--I move through months without even noticing them. Some days, though, it still creeps up on me. When I feel that breeze, and see that sunset, and pick up that leaf... it seems the world opens up again and fills itself with mystery. Of all the things that could be said about me, let it never be said that I marveled too little at how beautiful and intricate this life is; wonder is too, too good.








Friday, November 15, 2013

Fall at Wilson's Creek, Part II

Just a few more photos of our most recent Wilson's Creek adventure. We had a bit of a cold snap earlier this week that has forced awareness of the coming winter, and I find myself trying to soak up every last bit of autumn before it's gone. It's been a beautiful one, to be sure.





Thursday, November 14, 2013

Falling in Love with Our Town

I'm one who can never be satisfied. It's probably one of my greatest faults, if we're being honest. I always want to do more, see more, be more...sometimes at the expense of living in the moment and appreciating what I have. Recently I've been trying to slow down more, to look around and see the beauty and life that surrounds my everyday. A lot of the time, this isn't easy (although our gorgeous Ozark autumns do lend a hand), but every once in a while I see something that stops me in my tracks and makes me truly appreciate the life I have in this small Midwestern town. England will forever be my dream. Portland will always be my favorite US city. But for now, Springfield is my home, and I'm falling a little bit more in love with it day by day.





Wednesday, November 13, 2013


"I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything... Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns."  --Anne Lamott

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sweater Weather

It's sweater weather. The temperature is falling steadily with the leaves, but it hasn't reached that bitter breaking point that forces us into heavy coats and layers upon layers of socks. These are the best days of the year: bright colors, cool breezes, and cozy fabrics.  Everywhere you look, the ground is littered with leaves just begging to be crunched and the air smells rich and earthy.  The whole pace of life seems to slow so you can enjoy the smallest moments and intricacies the season brings. A fall day in the Ozarks is pretty close to heaven.






Sweater: Target // Jeans: Forever21 // Boots: Target // Hat: Forever21

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fall at Wilson's Creek, Part I

(Warning: Photo-heavy post)

Autumn in the Ozarks is truly incredible. The rolling hills are on fire with every possible hue of red, orange, and yellow. On a clear day, when the sky is that perfect shade of country blue--there's really nothing like it. Tyler and I have been making a conscious effort to spend time outside, enjoying the sights and the cool fall breezes. A couple weekends ago, we went back to Wilson's Creek, a civil war battlefield near our home, to see what autumn sights it had to offer. (You might remember our first trip there this summer, here and here.) I couldn't stop taking pictures. It was an absolutely perfect day....well, apart from the poison ivy rash that I somehow managed to get everywhere (my FACE included). Yeah, in November. Only me. You can't win 'em all, I guess. At least I have some gorgeous memories, right? Right.




Ribbet collage


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