Landscaping: Phase 1

We have lived in our house since May 31 of 2014. That means we’ve spent the past nine months here, which is crazy. It feels like much less time! We definitely focused on getting the interior of the house to a good place before we thought about the outside. Well, let me rephrase that- Trevor has thought a great deal about how the yard should look, and I have thought one billion times about how I would like to have something besides rocks and pine straw out in the front of our house! We just focused our dollars inside first since that’s where we spend most of our time. Trevor prepped the front and back yard during the summer and planted grass seed. That took off and grew really well. We have been waiting to get some plants into the ground, and the time finally came!  WE HAVE SOMETHING BESIDES DIRT AND PINE STRAW IN OUR FLOWER BEDS!!

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Trevor and I both love wild and full landscaping. But that doesn’t happen over night! We’ll be in this house for the duration, so we are really trying to pace ourselves, which is hard when you’re an impatient person (like we both are). We are going to go in phases.

Phase 1 included some beautiful hydrangeas (that I hope will get gargantuan)

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Japanese Holly

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and Japanese Yew.

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We’re going back later this week for some Knockout Roses, too, which I am excited about. Knox loves to walk our little path that leads to Trevor’s grandparents’ house- it’s so cute.2015-03-17 17.16.20

We spent some time outside yesterday evening- it was in the 70s and just perfect outside. I love this time of year before the bugs and humidity attack! Trevor and his dad continued work on our fenced while I played with the kiddos. The boys blew bubbles for a while, before they both spilled all of their bubble liquid on the ground because, well, they’re boys and that’s what they do. I love their cute cheeks blowing bubbles! We are looking forward to warmer weather and more time spent outside. 2015-03-17 17.37.42 2015-03-17 17.37.52 2015-03-17 17.39.31We are happy to be seeing some progress in the yard- hopefully we will have a fence up in the next few weeks, then we will be starting on our garden for this year!

 

Threenager Destroys Parents: Story at 11

When Brody hit about 2.5, he simultaneously turned into a terror. If you have ever heard the term “terrible twos,” my kid is the poster child for this catchphrase… though I prefer to call it “you’ve temporarily lost your mind, please tell it to your Daddy.” I’m not quite sure what overtook my child, but it continues to this day. I hoped since his twos were ridiculous, we’d skip the “threenager” phase, but alas, the moodiness is alive and well in this household. I know he’s a kid, and I know they go through phases, but this particular phase can kiss my, well, yes. Brody can still turn it on and be as sweet as pie, but my gosh, you guys, if he gets: frustrated, angry, hurt, scared, jealous, upset, tired, hungry or touched in any way, IT IS ON LIKE RABID DONKEY KONG.

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I told Trevor last week that if we survive until Brody is four, we deserve parenting medals and a tropical vacation. Knox never went through this kind of phase. I think some of that may be Autism-related, but mainly, I think Knox is just a pretty chill individual like his father. Brody, however, inherited a whole lot of my genes (read: ALL OF THEM), which means that he is not remotely chill. Instead, he is independent, headstrong and passionate. These three things combine in kind of a violent explosion of angst and make for a super calm living environment. Oh wait, or not at all.

Lucky for us, we have some things working in our favor, here. 1) Brody is hilarious. He makes us laugh all the time when he’s not making us cry from pure and utter frustration, so that keeps his terrorism in check. 2) Brody is really cute. He can scrunch up his little button nose and make me forget that he just made my brain hemorrhage from his shrill scream. Also, a good thing. 3) Knox is the least jealous child alive, so if Brody pitches a fit for a toy or our attention,  Knox is kind of like “whatever, I’ll just play with this nearly identical toy over here or go sit with the other parent. Chill out, man.” Bless his heart. 4) Grandparents like to borrow children, and even when Brody’s inner threenager erupts and is making us nuts, they are relaxed and well-rested and have the energy to bring him over for a sleepover. Praise Jesus, grandparents are amazing on every single level. 5) I keep telling myself that one day, if we can just harness Brody’s intense passion/independence/stubbornness, it can be used for the greatest good. But Lord help us to get there!

So tell me, friends- what age do things “level out” as far as the epic temper tantrums go? Please say “eventually,” because if you tell me “they never do,” we can’t be friends anymore, and also, I may be moving out of my house.


 

Pray Your Face Off

It’s Thursday. Which means it’s almost Friday! Hallelujah, thank you, Jesus. I love the weekends, even though I also love my job. A few years ago, I loved the weekends because I hated my job, but it’s really just better when you like all of your days, you know? I’m so thankful that I’m somewhere I truly look forward to working every day. Guys, if you don’t like your job, do something about it. Just saying. If you feel stuck beyond the point where you can leave, pray about it. PRAY LIKE CRAZY. PRAY YOUR FACE OFF. I had no idea how it would ever work for me to leave my last job, but God made a way- it was Him alone that made it happen.

I remember feeling so stuck, financially, that I didn’t think I had any other options. I knew that I wanted to get out of the secular business world, but how in the world could I take that first step?? I started praying earnestly for God to change my situation. I was unappreciated and so unhappy. So I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. I had some awesome leads that came out of nowhere. I had a non-profit call me one day, out of the blue, that needed a new director (of the whole organization). I had been recommended to them by someone I did some work with at my then-current job. I was floored! This was surely my prayer being answered directly. The pay? EXACTLY the same as my current job. The organization was amazing- it was all animal rescue related, and I would essentially be my own boss. I would answer to a board of directors, but would have the freedom to do what I wanted, creatively. I had a phone interview. An in-person interview. Another meeting. Then nothing. Three months of radio silence. I did everything perfect. I aced those interviews, I knew that I did. I followed up appropriately. It was meant to be. Only it wasn’t. I could not figure it out, and I felt so defeated! Why would they not call me back??

During that waiting period, I read an article written in our church’s magazine (that I now design and edit… oh the awesome irony) that was written by the “Interim Communications Director.” Interim? That means they’ll be hiring a new one! I immediately contacted my friend, Maegan, that worked at church to grill her mercilessly about it. She didn’t know much aside from they’d be hiring at the beginning of the year. So I checked the church website every single day for three months. Not kidding, I was a church website stalker. I prayed over this job so much. I wanted it badly, just knowing that it was my dream job. I didn’t know a thing about the position, aside from that I wanted it!

During those months, another offer came out of the blue. A certain Christian Chicken franchisee needed a marketing director, and I was approached about it. I interviewed several times and did well- the rapport between the owner and I was amazing, and hello, Christian company, this was OBVIOUSLY my answered prayer. Only I couldn’t stop thinking about that non-available church job. So I tried to push that down while I continued pursing this new lead.

During this interview process, my website stalking paid off: the church communications job finally posted! I am confident that I was the very first application received, as I likely sent it in one second after the job was posted online. The caveat: this was a part-time job with no benefits. I needed full-time, and I needed benefits. I prayed for God to make a way, and that if this was His will, to make it happen. I was called a few weeks later for an interview. I normally know how an interview went right after, but I can say that I have never been less sure of something in my life after I left that one. I just didn’t know. They called again a few days later for some follow-up questions, we exchanged emails, I took tests, etc. but I still couldn’t tell what they were thinking.

Meanwhile, I was offered the Christian Chicken marketing job. I was offered a full-time position, with benefits, and bonus potential. I told them no. I know, crazy town. I counter-offered that I would work for them two days a week. Because there was this “church thing” I had to be open for. Looking back, I know this seems insane, because I had no guarantee whatsoever of the church job going through. Goodness knows, it wasn’t a “sure thing” by any means. But I felt it. That church job had my name all over, and God had put it in front of me when I was at my career low- a beacon of hope and change.

The next week, I was called for a second in-person interview at church. A second interview that ended with me signing an acceptance of their offer for a job as Communications Director. I had anticipated another full interview like the first, with more waiting involved, but they had made up their minds: They chose me! When I got home, Trevor opened the door and said “you got it!!” I said “how did you know?” and he replied “because I saw you pull up and you haven’t stopped smiling.” I was a little bit happy.

So I took a leap of faith and signed up for a part-time church gig, still having to work another part-time job to supplement my income, and paying for my own insurance. Because I knew it was right. I didn’t understand it, but I knew it would work out… It did. After about six months, I went full-time at church, leaving the old job behind and making my dream job even more of a dream. It took me a good year to adjust to the fact that this was work. It literally changed my entire life because I loved my job.

My life transformed when I took that leap of faith and did something uncomfortable. The safe move would have been to take the first job that was offered to me, but it is okay to wait for God’s best for you!! I knew that wasn’t His best, and it wasn’t. Oh, and about a week after I took the church job, the non-profit called. Delay much? I obviously turned them down, but I feel very strongly that God used that particular job-seeking process to keep me content during the wait until the real thing came around. I was so busy thinking about that one, I stopped seeking out other jobs while I was interviewing with them. He held me off until the time came to move forward with His plan for me. I see God’s signature all over every step in this story- He listens and He cares for us. He works all things together for our good.

If you are in that place where you feel stuck and hopeless, you aren’t. You just need a little bit of help to move forward. Seek Him earnestly, pray intensely and He’ll show you the way. It may not occur on your time, but it will in His. There is hope.

Stuff I Like

I know, most creative title ever, right? Listen, it’s Wednesday, what do you want from me? I have a few new favorite things that I wanted to share with you guys.

the-digital-age1) My new ultimate favorite thing is not watching TV on the weekends (until Sunday night… Downton and Once Upon a Time call my name too loudly to ignore- and seriously, the season finale of Downton, AMAZING. I cry that it’s over, but still. Perfect.). Anyway, instead of TV, I play Christian praise music on our sound dock ALL DAY LONG. It sets such a positive tone in our house, and I love it. I use Pandora, which I love for the variety, and it stays on “Jessica’s Station” all the time. My favorite artists right now are Matt Maher and The Digital Age. Different, but the same kind of wonderful. Add them to your Pandora or Spotify or whatever other music-listening situation you employ and thank me later.

142655402) Ello Glass Water Bottle

How cute is this? It’s a glass water bottle encased in this silicone thingy to keep it from breaking if you knock it around. If you put essential oils in your water, you can’t use plastic (because the oils can pull toxins from the plastic into your water), which is why I got this in the first place. You can find them at Target or on Amazon for around $15.

 

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3) Avalon Organics Vitamin C Moisturizer

So, I purged my cabinet of all skin care and am now using either homemade stuff or things that are very natural. I’m using a Castile soap-based face wash with essential oils, a face serum made from avocado oil and essential oils and this kick-butt moisturizer. It smells like oranges and my skin looks awesome. Find it at Target or on Amazon for about $13.

 

 

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4) Stress Away by Young Living

This is my favorite, favorite essential oil right now. It smells like heaven and is a blend of Copaiba, Lime, Cedarwood, Vanilla, Ocotea and Lavender oils. I put it on my wrists and behind my neck in the morning to promote relaxation, and I diffuse it all the live-long day to keep the mood calm at home. It seems to be what my kids react best to, so far, and actually helps chill them out when they get a case of the crazies in the evenings. If you’re interested in learning about essential oils or ordering them, click here.

 

x3545) TOMS Chambray Gingham Classics

I bought these on Zulily a couple weeks ago, and I am obsessed with them. I have only worn knock-off TOMS up until now, but I had to get the real thing when I saw these. They were $30 on sale, and I had a Zulily credit, so it was a must. They’re so springy and fun.

 

 

IMG_04806) Cheapo Greenery from Trader Joes

I love, love, love live florals in my house. I really enjoy pretending to be a super cool florist like my friend, Meagan. I don’t love arranging something beauty-full to have it crap out and die in two days. I discovered that the little greenery bunches from TJ’s are super cute with eucalyptus and such and last for BILLION ZILLION years. Or like a month, in actual time terms. For $2.99. Sold, my friend! Live on my mantel for all the days looking wild and undone, yet so pretty at the same time.

 

I could do this all day, but that’s enough for now. Enjoy your evening and don’t get too mad at me for sharing fun things that make you spend all of your money. I have to bring you down to where I am, guys. This is true friendship. Have a great night, y’all. Smooches.

Spring Fever

I am ready for spring to hit, big time. It finally started to warm up in South Carolina this week, with some 70 degree days, and it has been BLISS. Trevor and his dad have been working together to build a fence for our back yard, and we are so ready for it to be finished. Knox absolutely, positively needs physical activity in his life to be able to pay attention and focus. It’s almost like the energy wells up in him until he erupts into a running or jumping fit. We got an small exercise trampoline for our playroom for this very reason. Before that, he would literally bounce off the walls, running between them or holding on to the side of the couch and jumping like a crazy man. We have officially never had a yard the kids could just let loose and play in freely. Our last house had the hill-of-death behind it (a big reason we moved) and the busiest intersection in the neighborhood in front, which didn’t allow for much playing outside. Then while we lived at Trevor’s parents house, their yard backs up to a pond, so we did lots of “come back here” and “do NOT get in the pond!” We are so looking forward to being able to say “go outside” and they actually be able to run around and play without being lectured every five seconds about their boundaries. We have about four acres of property, so the kids have a lot of space to explore, but while they’re so young, they don’t need quite so much freedom!

We are looking forward to lots of lazy weekend days spent in the backyard. We have a screened-in porch and just got a gas grill for Christmas, which are the makings for some awesome grilled dinners eaten outdoors. Weekends are just good for your soul, you know? There’s nothing I like more than sitting in the grass chatting with Trevor while our kids run and giggle all around us- loving our family is such a great reminder of how loved WE are by our Father in heaven. I just think, as much as I love these people, He loves me more. Isn’t that amazing? I hope your weekend was full of soul-filling moments and that more are to follow this week. Happy Monday, my friends!

This is why we need a fence. The kid is like a moth to flame with the pond next door at Nan & Pop's house.

This is why we need a fence. The kid is like a moth to flame with the pond next door at Nan & Pop’s house.

Brody, last March, with his treasure (a rock) in hand.

Brody, last March, with his treasure (a rock) in hand.

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