CHRISTMAS WISH LIST 2015

December 1, 2015

Is it me, or did this year totally fly by? At one point, I thought 2015 would never end, and now look at us. We are entering into December! I guess it's true what they say. Time sure does fly.

This year, I actually have a Christmas Wish List that I am pretty excited about! I know Christmas is about giving, but I just want to share some things I am loving this year.

1. A dining set
2. Anthropologie drop earrings in white
3. Fair Isle Sweaters
4. J. Crew wool socks
5. Jesus Calling devotional
6. Lara Casey Power Sheets (wanting to get super organized and intentional next year!)
7. Press for Champagne button (totally unnecessary, but adorable & feminine)
8. Black tall boots
9. Black pumps
10. Brown loafer flats
11. Metallic flats
12. Water bottle with filter
13. Gift cards: Target & Old Navy
14. Memory foam bath mat
15. Bath robe
16. Fold over clutch

See my Pinterest board below to see what I've picked out!

        Follow MELISSA FAYE BLOG's board 2015 W I S H L I S T on Pinterest.
   

GOD SPEAKS

November 30, 2015

I loved church on Sunday. I love moments when the Lord speaks and confirms everything that has been on my heart the last few weeks. My life has been turned upside down over and over, and it seems as though things keep changing and I can't catch my breath. Sometimes I think life is just that way and there are seasons where we can't stop things from changing. I know it is for a season. I know there will be times in my life where I will pray for change, and hope that somehow my life gets turned upside down again.

At church, tears fell from my eyes. It has been so long since I have felt the Lord's presence in a tangible way. I literally felt his peace wash over me as the pastor spoke. All throughout the sermon I kept thinking, "Okay, God. I hear you." I know that even as my life changes, God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That gives me such a sense of peace. It's something that I have heard all my life in church, but its those words that I hold onto as this season of life continues on. Peace comes from the presence of the Lord, not the absence of trouble. I used to think, "If this problem, or that problem, or if I could just have this, I would have peace". That isn't true. Peace comes from keeping our eyes upon Jesus. Peace comes from knowing that even in the midst of the messes in life, the troubling and uncertain times, the Lord is here with us. He is here. I tend to forget that while focusing on all of the negative things, the Lord is right here.

I know that I have a long way to go. I am not going to magically forget that there is so much in my life going on. But what I will forget is the way in which my mind has been bogged down with the negative thoughts and the negative events which have happened in my life. So much of what keeps us from peace is right in our heads. I am a worry-wart. I struggle with anxiety, and occasionally depression. If I keep my mind fixed on God and His promises, then the struggle of focusing on the negative and worry becomes less and less. How can I focus on the goodness of God by only thinking about the What If's, the Why Not's, the How Can's? God is good all of the time, and what He gives us is good. No longer will I see God as the taker of things. No longer will I blame Him for what I don't have. God doesn't give us things that are bad. He loves his children and gives them good gifts.

I feel as though I am entering a season of renewal. I know that my mind and my spirit need to be renewed. Now is the time for my mind and my spirit to soak in as much of the Lord as I can. I want to be in constant relationship with Him, not just when things are really bad, or when I need Him during a season of turmoil. I want this relationship to be steadfast. Steadfastness will lead me to peace. If you are in a season of turmoil, or trouble, know I am praying for you. If you focus on the Lord, you will see your mind change and be renewed. Peace will come. The joy of the Lord will come.

Happy Monday, xx.

IN THE SILENCE

November 29, 2015

Prayer has always been an important part of my life. Everyday I reflect on God and how He is working in my life. I am a vocal prayer, meaning I actually talk to God out loud. Generally, I am unloading all of my wants, desires, and anxieties on Him. Sometimes that leaves me feeling more anxious then before I started. Suddenly, I am overwhelmed by all of the things that I don't have, things I have lost, things that I desperately want back.

This morning, I read my devotional, Savor, by Shauna Niequist. The initial devotional had to do with marriage, which at this current time, doesn't apply to me. So, I flipped back a few months and found a devotional on silence being a part of my spiritual discipline. I am not a silent person. Growing up, I got in trouble in school constantly for talking and "visiting with others", the teacher called it. Relationship is a part of all of us, but I think God gave me an extra dose of the desire to relate to others. Shauna talked about how praying for her would become overwhelming, and she felt it only became a list rather than a relationship. I am the EXACT same way!

So, this morning I woke up at my usual work week time, and decided I would spend some much needed time with the Lord before getting ready to head off to church. I decided to pray, but silently. I cleared my mind, opened my heart, and allowed the Lord just to be there with me. His presence can offer solace, peace, and love. I relished in Him as I sat there in silence. Suddenly, my mind wasn't on everything I wanted or didn't have, but it was on Him and the fact that I am have Him all the time. Jesus held me, and at this point in my life, that is all I need.

I definitely want to make this a bigger part of my spiritual and prayer life. Silence is new for me, but it can be so rewarding. I feel at peace. In your own prayer life, I encourage you to seek silence. Sometimes it can be all we need to get our hearts right with the Lord.

Happy Sunday, xx.

ON WAITING

November 22, 2015

 
I always feel like I am waiting on something. I feel like right now I am in a season of waiting. I have a lot of questions right now, and not very many answers. If I am being honest here, which I generally am anyway, I am always thinking about 5 steps ahead. I have been cursed by my father in this way. He is a man who doesn't wait. He doesn't like not knowing what the future holds, and I don't either. I think that is my fear talking. Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing, but it can also cause us to want to rush and fast forward through life. I don't like always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I guess I am always worrying that disappointment will come so that in the end, I don't feel disappointed.

The Lord has really been working on me about this lately. I always feel as though I am praying for things, but I am never willing to wait on them. I am not willing to trust God, because in the end I am fearful that I'll be disappointed. That He will hear my cries, but deny me. That isn't faith or trusting at all. I know God is good. I know that right now, my life is good. All of my needs are met and I have everything that I need. Hurts from my past, disappointments, struggles, they all come with a scar. My heart is being healed as I type this and I am so thankful. I am thankful for Jesus who makes things whole and new. Is it instantaneous? No, but it's happening and it's a process I am willing to go through.

I have asked for so much, but in these times, I simply proclaim gratitude. I believe gratitude and thankfulness can change our perspective on our situation. I am thankful for so many things, even though there are things I still want, but lack. I find that we are always in a state of wanting. We want the next thing, or the next phase, or desire. We often feel dissatisfaction in our flesh, but in Christ, we are satisfied and content. I feel so convicted when someone tells me about the things that they want or need in their life. Most of the time, I look at others thinking they must have it all together. The truth is, no one does. We are all wondering, struggling, hurting for something.

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, I want to relish in gratitude. I want to be so thankful for what I have, that I no longer want. Is that 100% realistic? Maybe not, but its what I am striving for. I just want so badly to focus on the Lord in this season and what He has for me. I often cry out to him and ask why so many in my life are suffering. I often cry out, when will it turn around? When is it my turn? When will the break through happen?

If you feel this way, know that you are not alone. Know that I am also in your shoes. I just want so badly for those suffering, or lacking, or wanting, to be full and whole. I pray for healing. I pray for the ability to remain thankful and content.

"But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around". Psalm 3:3-4 ESV

JUST FOR NOW

November 9, 2015


The holidays are coming up soon, and I have been in prayer about what that means for me and my family this year. As you may have read before, my parents divorced this past Summer. I was, and am on some days, devastated by this. How can one enjoy the holidays when their family is no longer as it was? How can someone celebrate this time of year when there is so much to cry about?

This isn't something I have ever read about. A lot of people don't write blog posts about how divorce has affected their holiday season. At least I haven't read any. I am sure there are some out there. What I have had to learn this year is that God is still a good God despite my circumstances. The Christmas of 2001 was a hard one as well. The day after Christmas we had to put my Grandmother in hospice care after her battle with cancer had come to a head. We all had taken care of her for those few months before, but it came down to her being cared for by us, or being cared for by people who could do it 24/7 and with the ability to make her comfortable. I remember being so angry that this had ruined my Christmas. I know that may sound selfish, but it isn't. I wanted the last Christmas we'd have with her to be magical, happy, and joyful, but it wasn't the case. That Christmas Day I had watched her sleep while tears slowly fell from my eyes. I knew that she didn't have much time left, but it made me think of other people who may be dealing with a painful loss or experience just as I was.

The truth is, Christmas isn't perfect. It isn't the time of year that hopelessness can truly be left behind. Some people are right in the middle of their hopelessness. Some people are fighting their hardest battle on the same day the Savior was born to wipe away hopelessness and death. So, how can one acknowledge this when all they see is hopelessness and death in front of them? How can someone be joyful during a season in which their family is broken? Holidays here and there. Holidays spent with one parent and then with the other. I will tell you how. By acknowledging that despite my circumstances, God is still good. We all have our battles. We all have messes in our lives that can't be cleaned up with a glass of eggnog and Bing Crosby playing in the background. Christmas is more about the realization that we are all messed up and that Jesus came down in the middle in the mess. He came to hold you in the midst of the mess, not to just wipe it away. How much better will I be because of these circumstances? It's a time of faith testing. It's keeping my eyes on the baby who was born in humble, mire, and messy circumstances. A baby born in a lowly place. The same lowly place we all experience. I can keep the faith as long as I know I still have a good God. A good God who is on my side.

I want you to understand that I am there with you, if you are having a hard time. If you are experiencing a life change, or a loss. My Pawpaw won't be with us this Christmas, and for the first time in 29 years, I won't experience celebrating with him. I know that we all would like to see bloggers with perfect trees and coordinated holiday outfits. Life isn't about that. Christmas isn't about that either. I encourage you to hold tight. Don't let the hardness of this world also make you hard. I pray that you find true comfort and peace. I pray you find joy. True joy. That is what Christmas is about. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what you do have, despite what you don't. We are all waiting for something. We are all enduring something. I pray you find that God is a good God in the waiting.

Happy Monday, xx.

GET COZY

October 19, 2015

blanket scarf: Old Navy
Fall is here and the temperatures are lowering. I feel like it's finally time to bust out the scarves, and get this, I wore the scarf above and didn't pass out from heat stroke! WIN!

I feel so overwhelmed lately. My roommate and I are in the process of moving and I am in the process of literally selling just about everything I own in the process. I am really wanting to start fresh and purchase pieces that I purchased completely on my own, and I am getting rid of a lot that I had when I was married. It just feels like a weight lifted off of my shoulders, and it makes me feel a lot more independent. Plus, I get to really explore my taste and find things that suit me and the look I am going for. I really like neutrals (seriously the above scarf is the most color I own), so I definitely want a neutral palette in my bedroom.

Target, Ikea, Home Goods, and Hobby Lobby are going to be my best friends for the next few months. I have been watching a lot of "Fixer Upper" too, so that always inspires me because I love Joanna Gaines's taste and vision.

I am also loving my monogrammed necklace from Swell Caroline. Check out their site! They have adorable jewelry and accessories.

Happy Monday, xx. I am going to get my 4th cup of coffee now...

FALL BUCKET LIST

October 9, 2015


Fall is my favorite season, for so many reasons! Fall is just a beautiful time of year, and it's the part of the year that I can go through the day and not sweat to death. All of my make up stays on my face and my hair isn't a frizz fest!

Since I created a Summer Bucket List this Summer, I want to go ahead and create a Fall Bucket List as well. I had so much fun this past Summer, even with my long work hours, so I definitely want to keep the momentum going.

Here's an update on my Summer Bucket List:
1. Take a cooking class.
2. Enjoy a girls weekend at the lake.
3. Go on a day hike.
4. Take a girls trip.
5. Go to a Braves game.
6. Have a cook out at the house and have people over.
7. Day trip to the beach.
8. Girls night in cooking together. 
9. Go to a drive in theatre.
10. Go to a food truck festival.
11. Watch Hot Pursuit. 
12. Try at least two new restaurants in the area.
13. Beach weekend in September. 

I realize I may have bitten more than I can chew for my Summer Bucket List, so I am going to simplify the bucket list for Fall.

1. Go to a corn maze or apple orchard.
2. Trip to the mountains.
3. Make S'mores.
4. Have a movie night and enjoy a Fall inspired dish.
5. Visit a haunted house.

What is on your Fall Bucket List? Do you love Fall as much as I DO?!

Happy Friday, xx.

OH, HEY

October 6, 2015

source
Man! I haven't been here in so long. Sorry about my absence. I surely didn't mean to be away for this long. As of now, I am in my bed binging Netflix shows & movies and trying to plan for this upcoming week. So much has happened since I last blogged, so I thought I'd give you the run down.

1. Work was so chaotic this Summer. Long hours, long weeks, and finally the students are back in school and we are well within the semester. I actually got a promotion this Summer, so I am now Assistant Director of Financial Aid. Here's to hard work paying off, my friends!

2. I had some not-so-good things happen early on in the Summer. After 32 years of marriage, my parents divorced. While the news was hard to hear, it wasn't a complete shock. I am still handling it pretty hard, even though I know my parents are doing okay. I guess you just never get used to your parents being apart. I am still adjusting.

3. My grandpa passed away peacefully, but he lived a full life and I am happy that he is no longer suffering. He was a kind man and my hero! I miss him a lot, but I am grateful I knew him.

4. The dating circle has been small these days. I was in a relationship for a few months, but it ended early this Summer and it's been hard out there. Dating just isn't what I'd thought it'd be, but it sure keeps life interesting. #datingnotmating #29andfeelingfine #whoneedsmen

5. F I N A L L Y went on a beach vacation for a weekend! It was glorious and exactly what I needed. I want to take another trip (mountains?) in the next month or two. I also want to go back to NYC so bad!

6. My roommate and I are moving to Columbus, GA. There just isn't a lot of opportunity in the small town we live in, and its the next largest city in GA aside from ATL. Since we cannot commute to our jobs from ATL, Columbus was the next best thing! We move in 23 days!

7. I am really hoping to get back to making my health a focus in my life. When it comes to eating and working out, I really struggle, but hopefully I can do some meal planning and working out after we move.

8. Parenthood. The best show ever! I have been watching this show instead of Friday Night Lights. I know, I just can't get that into Friday Night Lights. Maybe it's all the football?

Well, glad you got to check in with me! Happy Tuesday, xx.

ORGANIZATION: TIPS & TRICKS

July 12, 2015

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Are you rushing around trying to find your keys under a huge pile of stuff? Do you find yourself trying to answer those emails, but you can't find the time and they seem to be piling up by the second? Does this sound like a cheesy info-merical? Great! Because it's not.

Organization was not my strong suit growing up. I often found myself trying to find things on my closet floor. I always had an over-stuffed junk drawer in my dresser. I always lost papers or permission slips, which would drive my parents crazy. It would drive my teachers crazy, too. Then there was the 10th grade cheerleading uniform debacle of 2001. I looked everywhere for that uniform only to find it in my closet two years later. Yeah, it was that bad.

Over time (especially my college years) I began to take my space, time, and life more seriously. I had to be organized to balance my academics and my social life. No longer could there be a junk drawer, I just didn't give myself the option. Papers and supplies all had a home and for the first time in my life, I felt on top of it.

If you need some help in organizing your life and making it easier for yourself, here are some tips!

1. Take it all out. The first step in organizing any space is to remove everything and start with a blank space (not you, Tay). I am not asking you to take out heavy furniture or decor, but if it can be lifted and moved easily, it needs to come out. Set aside and we will come back to it later.

2. Have a purpose and a plan. If that spare bedroom makes the perfect closet or dressing room, then you really don't want to include things that hinder the space. If your desk is for work only, maybe put it my window with a view for those long working days. The point here is to have a purpose and set your sights on making it happen.

3. De-clutter (and do it fast). Part of disorganization can come from keeping (a.k.a. hoarding) things you don't need anymore. By eliminating unused or useless items you are freeing yourself from clutter. If it hasn't been used in a year, or has never been used at all, get rid of it and do it fast. Don't allow yourself to rationalize keeping something you know you won't need. If it has sentimental value, but hasn't been "used" set is aside, we will come back to that.

4. Clean. Another great way to keep an area organized is to keep it clean. Ridding the space of dust, mold, odors, etc. can do wonders! Stirring dust can really affect indoor allergies, so the less you have, the less clutter, the less dust. Simple is good!

5. Re-create your space. After you have taken everything out, made a plan, de-cluttered, and cleaned, it's time to put everything in its place. Depending on your space, you will want to place items where they are most functional. Keep things at eye-level (or lower) that are used all of the time. Tuck away cords, electronics, remotes, etc. in a specific place when they are not being used. If you are organizing a closet, be sure to put like items together (such as seasonal items). Be sure to purchase crates, boxes, or storage containers to keep items in when they are not being used. Everything needs a home and everything needs a purpose. If you have sentimental clutter that you want to hold onto, find a place to store it to keep it from dry rotting or breaking down.

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I hope these first steps help you to organize your space, time, and life! Once you have organized each space one by one, you will be able to focus on the people and things you love.

Happy Monday, xx.

SUMMER BUCKET LIST

July 3, 2015

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I love Summer. I am not a big fan of the heat, but I am appreciative of the extra daylight and the slowness that happens in Summer. Because my job can get quite stressful, I made a list of to do's to enjoy Summer and feel recharged when the Fall semester starts. Some of these I have already done, but I wanted to give you the full list anyway.

1. Take a cooking class.
2. Enjoy a girls weekend at the lake.
3. Go on a day hike
4. Take a girls trip
5. Go to a Braves game
6. Have a cook out at the house and invite people over
7. Day trip to the beach
8. Girls night in - cooking together
9. Go to a drive-in movie theatre
10. Go to a food truck festival (doing this next weekend)
11. Watch Hot Pursuit - Movie night!
12. Try at least two new restaurants in our area
13. Beach weekend in September

These are just a few of them, but I am really excited to finish my bucket list. I have roughly a month and a half before the Fall semester starts, although Summer last here through September, er, October.

What are your Summer plans? Do you have a bucket list you're trying to mark off?

Happy Friday, xx!

GETTING MY LIFE BACK

June 28, 2015


I had a conversation last night with my Dad who told me he had seen a photo of me on Facebook and he said it was one of the best photos he'd seen of me. I couldn't understand because to me, it was just a silly photo of me from work. He said it looked like I had life back in my eyes and that he could tell I was becoming my old self again.

I nearly wanted to break down in tears, and honestly, did tear up a bit. It had been a while since someone had noticed that I was becoming myself again. Friends or co-workers may not always be able to tell you that you're on your way to healing, but your family can always tell. It was a good feeling to hear that.

I think the past few years have broken me down quite a bit. I have been through so much and some days I just want to stop time and go back to when things were simple in my life. I wish some things were different, that I had made different decisions, and headed in a different direction. But, I have come to appreciate the hard, dark times I have gone through. I honestly know they have made me a better person. I am conscious and compassionate of others. I am softer in a way and more willing to let people in. I am stronger in my faith and am starting to love myself for who I am.

The past few months haven't been without their difficulties. I have dealt with loss, but I am more equipped now and in a healthier place than I was just two years ago. I have even lost some weight, and my anxiety level has definitely decreased. Although at times it creeps up sometimes, I am better at acknowledging my triggers and can better manage it in those moments.

I took the photo above yesterday - and I think it exudes exactly who I am. The tee was ordered from Garment Collective and I love the story behind the brand. I am able to support artisans who are free from abuse and harassment in Nepal, but it speaks a wider, deeper message. Redemption for all, is right. Redemption from my past. Redemption from my mistakes. Redemption from the darkness that tried to take over my life years ago. Today, I can truly say, I am free.

Order yours today!

TRIP TO CHATT

A few weekends ago, the weekend of my 29th birthday and the week before another girl's on the trip, three friends and I embarked on a trip to Chattanooga. The main reason for the trip? To witness the handsome, hotness, and utter steaminess of Sam Hunt at the Riverbend Festival. You don't know Sam Hunt? You better. He's as beautiful looking as he is sounding, I assure you.

I wanted to share a little bit about my trip and just tell you that I have not had that much fun in YEARS! Seriously. It's been a long while since my last vacation and I was excited to spend some quality time with my friends in a city I've never been to. I may have passed through Chattanooga at some point, but never stopped, at least I don't think I have.

Anyway, we left on Friday night (the night of my birthday) after an awesome day of celebrating at work, and headed to one of the girls' farm houses. Let me tell you, I love me some farm life! It was so cool to be able to drive through her farm property and see horses up close and personal. It was hot as balls and I may or may not have gotten shocked by an electric fence. Yep. I just had to share because one, I have survived to tell the story (kidding), two, its just freaking hilarious and totally like me. No permanent damage done. Let me tell you though, that was painful. NEVER want to experience that kind of pain again. I mean, who would?

We left Saturday around lunch time and headed to Chattanooga. The first stop was at Lookout Mountain (Point Park). We trekked up to some beautiful views and took some pics. I love heights, so it was really cool seeing all of Chattanooga below.



After heading out of Point Park we went to the Terminal Brewery for some lunch and in-house brewed beer. I had a white ale that was delicious.
After lunch we went to the DoubleTree Hotel to unpack. I had a massive headache, so I pretty much stayed in for the rest of the afternoon and evening while the girls hung out by the pool and went to dinner. Finally, around 12 a.m. I woke up and felt much, much better. We all did our face masks, talked for a little bit, and then went to bed.

The next day we were to explore the city a bit and relax before going to see Sam Hunt at 5. We went to Tupelo Honey Cafe and had a delicious breakfast, then headed to the Farmer's Market. We were there about an hour then headed back to the hotel for a swim.
Not even kidding, Tupelo Honey had the best coffee I've ever had. They didn't believe me when I said so, but it was seriously awesome! I can't explain it.

Now, let's talk about the concert. In a word, it was amazing! I have never been that close to an artist before, not to mention that was my first real concert. Well, since I was about 10 years old. Here's a picture before we actually melted waiting for Sam Hunt to come on stage.
I can't even tell you how awesome it was being there and seeing Sam Hunt up close and personal. Kim (on the left above) cupped his chest. That lucky son of a gun! She said it felt as good as it looked. Ha!
{that'd be my phone in my dress - yeah I figured I'd lose it}
{you can't tell, but we were burning up!}
Now, onto some Sam pics.

{my ray of sunshine}
{see how close he was to me?!}
{his best side}

I have plenty more, but I'll spare you the 200 I took. We got about an hour and a half time with Sam, so it was a longer set than normal. I was REALLY okay with that. So were the 10,000 teeny boppers standing around us. Best birthday weekend ever!

We finished our trip exploring Chattanooga some more, near the river. We walked the pedestrian bridge, had lunch at Taco Mamacita, and rode a carousel. Ya know, the ush.



Who is going to see Sam Hunt in July in ATL?! I am definitely going!

Happy Sunday, xx.

SPRING BEDDING INSPIRATION

March 21, 2015

Since my bedroom is still getting a makeover and I'm not quite done yet, I thought I'd share some Spring bedding inspiration. Let's be real. It will probably stick around until early Fall. As you may know I am terrified of color. I don't know why, I just always feel like a lot of color makes a space look juvenile. I have always seen beautiful, colorful spaces, and just get scared I won't be able to pull the same thing off. I browsed online at www.Target.com and decided to check out their Spring bedding on sale.

I know that I want a neutral comforter and shams because that gives me a lot of room to play with other colors when the seasons change. I have had an all white bed for as long as I can remember, but I feel like its time to change things up a little bit!




I love the mismatched pillows and how they are all different, but somehow they work. I can't get enough elephants lately and it kind of brings the outdoors in. Also, it lets me get a little bit of my safari out. Who doesn't love that during Summer? The curtains are gold lattice. Gold! Yeah, that's all I have to say. This is one way I can bring in color without it becoming too overbearing. Throw pillows and throw blankets can help change up your look without costing too much. 

What do you think?

Happy weekend, xx. 

PAWPAW

March 20, 2015

Grandparents are such special people in our lives. When I was younger I had four grandparents that loved me, spoiled me, and took care of me. Grandparents really are an extension of your parents, except they let you get away with a lot more and hop you up on sugar before you head home. My Pawpaw is a man I look up to so much. I have always appreciated his strength and his willingness to do anything for anybody. I think he is rare and there aren't many men like him, except for my dad, of course. I would say they are pretty alike.

My Pawpaw started me on coffee when I was just two or three years old. It was mostly milk, sugar, then a little instant coffee, but I like to think he started the love affair for coffee and me. He always said I was a good eater (which I still am), and he always bragged on me being his first granddaughter growing up. He always reminded me that I was first. I don't think I have been first in anything in my life, but whenever my Pawpaw was around I felt first. He just had a way of making people feel that way. I would say that in most things he put himself last. He worked at Southern Railroad for 40 years and it was rumored that he may have taken one sick day. I don't know if many people can say that about their job, but he was immensely dedicated and dependable. He grew up during the depression and even took two years off from school so he could stay home and take care of his little brothers and sisters. He would milk cows and do the household chores, and to me, that says a lot about his character even now. He always did the right thing. I don't know of anyone who dislikes my Pawpaw, and I am sure others would tell you that very rarely would you ever hear a bad word about him.

Growing up he had a garden that he worked very hard, even in his 60s and 70s. Gardening vegetables is no easy task, and he won several awards and was even in the paper for his garden. I remember him having so much during the Summer months. We would stay out there for a week or so and he and Memaw would have us shuck corn and pick grapes. All of the easy stuff. My sister, cousins, and I would run through the corn and chase each other. We would eat grapes and make faces when we got to the pit and very ungracefully spit them out all over each other. He took us to his church's VBS and church camps and all of the kids would swarm him. I kept feeling a sense of pride knowing that so many kids loved my Pawpaw, but only I would have "first" in his heart. I like to think that God allowed him to survive such difficult times because He knew it would make him a better man for it. He's outlived most of his siblings, a wife, his friends, other family members, and faced far more tragedy than I have. I have never fought in a war, or lost siblings at a young age, or endured the Great Depression, or seen 9 decades of rapid change in the world. He is a rare man, and he is so incredibly loved.

Now he is in hospice care and there isn't anything I can do to save him. Although he's lived a long and full life the heart still stings a little. Hospice care is something I have witnessed before and its hard to see someone you love in that way. He's always cared for others, but now its our turn to care for him. I'd appreciate your thoughts and prayers for me and my family at this time. We don't know how much time we have, but we will cherish everyday that he is still here.

Thank you for reading about such a special man, xx.

COFFEE TALK

March 19, 2015

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FEELING: I know this is so out of left field, but I don't think I have mentioned my confusion and shock about the upcoming season of the Bachelorette. Two bachelorettes? Has ABC lost its ever loving mind? Go for Kaitlyn. What the hell is Britt good for? Exactly. Nothing. Kaitlyn is gorgeous, actually has a personality, and last I checked she didn't BS her way through the Bachelor either. Kaitlyn is the obvious better choice. Let's just hope all of the guys on night one agree.

Rant, over.

THINKING: I have been thinking about my grandpa a lot lately. His health is not so good and he is currently in hospice care. He is honestly the best man I know. He has a heart of gold and has given so much to others. He's the man that would give you the shirt off of his back, stay days on end with you at the hospital, and give you half of his pantry before you leave his house. There aren't many men like him in the world and he's just so special to me and my family. Being sick and hearing the news of my grandpa and work being a little crazy is just a lot. I am honestly ready for this week to be over. Hopefully, this weekend an Auburn Softball game with my man will cheer me up for a few hours!

WATCHING: I have been watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and laughing my butt off. It is much needed right now with it being such a hard week. I love anything created or produced by Tina Fey and this series is no exception. If you love quick wit and awkward humor, check it out on Netflix!

EATING: Lots of soup. I have been addicted to Chick-Fil-A's chicken tortilla soup. It is so delicious and awesome for swollen tonsils.

READING: Hosea study on She Reads Truth, The Choice by Nicholas Sparks, #GIRLBOSS on Audible.

LISTENING TO: Actually not listening to much music lately. I have been so sick and just haven't thought about it.

LOVING: Fresh flowers. I need some in my life desperately.

THANKFUL FOR: Supportive friends and family. Downtime from work. Being able just to be. Quiet time. A good hug when I need it. Hot showers when my body is tired. Good antibiotics. A soft, warm bed. Sunshine to help me get over this rainy day gloom we've had recently. Warmer temperatures.

How's your week been?

Happy Thursday, xx.

RECOVERING

March 18, 2015

Being sick is the worst. I have to say the worst is over. I have been on antibiotics a few days and finally feeling more like myself. The worst part is just being so cooped up. I didn't want to infect my roommate, so I pretty much stayed in my room the entire time. It gave me a lot of time to think, pray, read, and just be.

I wrote a few days ago how hard that is for me. I always feel like I should be doing something. I know that it isn't 100% necessary to be productive 100% of the time, but I think we live in a culture that tells us we do. We have blogs, websites, planners, etsy shops dedicated to things to enable us to be more productive, more busy, more focused, more everything. Where is the freedom in that? I know that I am a big planner and I hate not knowing what I am going to do next. I had plans for my life years ago that have yet to come to pass. I have everything written down neatly in my Simplified Planner, but there are times when its okay just to be.

I read a lot of mom blogs because a part of me wants to know the truth about motherhood and another part really wants to look at their adorable pictures of their littles. I see the pressure. While I can't understand it, as a woman, I see the struggle between being a good, productive mother, and just being quiet, soaking in life, and letting things happen as they may. I know moms have to be organized and its best when your kids are on a schedule, but it can be binding to be locked into a schedule with no time for yourself. Being sick always forces me to slow down and just soak in life. It gives me time to do a self-check to see how things are really going inside. It's amazing what thoughts and feelings arise when you actually have time to think and feel them.

I encourage you to not wait until you are sick to just be. Even if it means taking 5 minutes to read a magazine article, or a 15 minute walk outside, or just sitting in a room quietly. I encourage you to do it!

Happy Wednesday, xx.

COOK, WOMAN

March 17, 2015

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I have always enjoyed cooking since I was in my late teens, early twenties. It all started when my boyfriend at the time and I would cook dinner for my parents on occasion. First, we started with easy stuff like hamburgers or pasta, then we moved on to grilling shrimp and vegetables, and making homemade pies (well as homemade as they can be). After a while I became more comfortable cooking meals on my own. When I got married I learned all sorts of things via cookbooks and Pinterest, and I have to say, they turned out pretty well. 

Since my lifestyle has changed so drastically, and I am no longer married, I find it harder to get motivated to cook for one. Cooking for one can be really hard, so I end up cooking for 45 and just eating leftovers for days on end. I tend to cook unhealthy things since its cheaper and easier, but I find that to cause me to feel like crap. Then there's the fast food. Oh Lord, the fast food. It's just getting ridiculous. This past weekend after being sick and spending way too much time on Amazon, I decided to purchase Bread and Wine and Savor by Shauna Niequist. I am so excited to dive into these two devotionals and cook up some delicious recipes. 

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I know that food brings people together and it also brings a sense of calm into my life. Whenever I cook I just focus on the task and everything else seems to melt away. Food is connected to so many great things in our life and I want to be able to focus on the different areas of my life that need comfort, calm, and community. Food can do that for me and for others. I hope to update you on the progress and maybe even share some of the outcomes of the recipes. 

Have you read and cooked the recipes from these books? What did you think? 

Happy Tuesday, xx.

BEING SICK

March 16, 2015

While being sick has its down sides, it has it up sides too. This past weekend I realized that I was again plagued by strep throat. Really. Who gets this twice in less than a year's time? This girl - that's who. So, after going to Urgent Care, which was surprisingly urgent this time, I ran to my nearest CVS to get my prescripts filled, and pick up some sicky essentials.


Of course, on the list was Powerade Zero (my most fave drink right now), SMART water, Good Housekeeping, Southern Living, Kit Kat minis, Milk Chocolate Raisinets, Bach Rescue Remedy Pastilles (for anxiety & stress), and Bach Rescue Remedy Sleep Melts (haven't slept great lately). I honestly went home planning to completely relax when my phone vibrated to let me know my prescripts were ready. Seriously? They couldn't wait another hour. None the less, I took my antibiotics and cough syrup and enjoyed the much-needed down time.

I know that the next couple of months are going to be about 50 shades of crazy at work, so I know the downtime will be much appreciated. Who knew strep throat could elicit such gratefulness? Honestly, I am the worst about taking time to relax and rest. I really don't know how to do it very well. I feel like I should always be doing something or cleaning something or hanging out with someone. Being sick forces you to stay isolated, watch way too many shows on Netflix, read too many magazines, and sigh way too often, but it's good for me. I have to learn to let go of my productive, perfectionistic self, and just BE. Man, its hard.

I hope you all had a much better weekend than I did! Did I mention I missed out on going to see Beauty and the Beast because I was sick? Yes. Biggest bummer of all!

Happy Monday to me, xx.

SPRING BUCKET LIST

March 15, 2015

I love the Spring time. I just love how the air smells (minus the pollen) and how new and fresh everything feels. This year I want to do things to celebrate Spring, and help me to embrace the milder temperatures before Satan himself blows fire on our state from June through September.


1. Hike at a local state park on a Saturday morning.
2. Buy fresh flowers and place them throughout the house.
3. Have a meal outside - i.e. picnic, eat outside at a restaurant.
4. Break in those rain boots on a rainy day.
5. Purchase a couple of Spring dresses.
6. Celebrate Easter with family & friends.
7. Open the windows.
8. Spring clean my room and house for a fresh start.
9. Attend a baseball or softball game.
10. Wash and detail my car (it needs it desperately).

What are your Spring time plans? I know there is nothing better than being able to enjoy the milder temperatures, flowers in bloom, and sunshine!

COFFEE TALK

March 14, 2015


FEELING: Excited! I am so happy to be getting a little makeover for the blog. I have been wanting to really simplify my blog and prettify it and now its going to happen finally. I have loved all of my designs, but I feel like I was trying a little too hard. It's time to just get a simple design that really showcases my taste while being pleasing to the reader's eye. I purchased a pre-made Blogger template from www.designerblogs.com. Check them out if you want a little update!

Also, my bedroom makeover is underway. I still have a few more pieces to get, but its headed in the right direction. I am really feeling relaxed now that my room is in order.

THINKING ABOUT: Eating healthier and decluttering my life. I have so much going on right now, and I just want to be able to dedicate my time and space to things that matter. I definitely need to eat better (eating more good and less bad than the opposite) and I still have quite a few things to donate/get rid of.

LISTENING TO: My March Playlist and 90s Playlist on Spotify!

WATCHING: Secrets and Lies on ABC. Have you watched this show? It's cah-razy, but in a good way. Welcome back, Ryan Phillipe. We've missed you. Also, watching my usual - finishing up Gilmore Girls soon (sad), House of Cards, Scandal, Revenge, and going to start Unbreakable Kimmy Shmidt on Netflix (love Tina Fey's work).

EATING: Fast food, again. Ugh. What is wrong with me?! I need to grocery shop and start eating better.

READING: Finished Something Blue last week on iBooks (YAY!) and now I am onto finish my Audible books (all 5 of them, yeesh). I want to go ahead and start on #GIRLBOSS. I have heard good things about it.

THANKFUL FOR: Rainy days and days off from work. I got Friday off this week for Spring break. I did a whole bunch of nothing, which isn't like me. It was fantastic!

LOVING: The warmer weather (minus the depressing 4 days of rain/clouds). I really am ready for Spring time. I am also ready to go and get me a bunch of Tulips today. It's Tulip season!

Happy Saturday, xx.

COFFEE TALK

March 6, 2015

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FEELING: I am feeling elated to be an aunt again. Meet little Hudson. I call him my huddy buddy. He is the sweetest, smushiest, most beautiful baby boy in the world. I was able to see him just 30 or so minutes after he was born and that made me so ecstatic! Babies are just precious fresh out of the oven, don't ya think?
THINKING ABOUT: When I will be able to get time off from work again. I know I have been off for about 5 days, but seriously, vacations are a requirement. Hopefully, I can get away to somewhere relaxing this Summer. Which also brings me to thinking about becoming more bikini ready. No, not perfect, but just better. Any suggestions? I am thinking about joining a gym again. I need to get back at it.

LISTENING: To my March playlist on Spotify. Its a mixture of all kinds of music, but mainly songs I have always loved, or am loving right now.

WATCHING: House of Cards and Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Both of those shows are awesome. I am pausing on Parenthood until I can finish these. Luckily, I have not binged as badly as I did last time on House of Cards. I have only watched 2 episodes since last Friday. SCORE!

EATING: Way too much Fast Food lately. It needs to stop!

READING: Something Blue on iBooks. I know I am like 372942975 years behind on this series, but I can't seem to put it down. I am also finishing up Yes Please on Audible. Amy Poehler is my girl crush right now!

THANKFUL FOR: My family and new nephew. He's so precious!

LOVING: I am loving that I have only had to work one day and now its the weekend. I am also loving that I will have my bedroom put together this weekend and you can guys can see it next week! YAY! I have been dying to get things how I like them and its finally happening!

Happy weekend, xx. 

HOW TO: START FRESH AFTER A MOVE

February 24, 2015

After my most recent move, I took downsizing very seriously. I knew I wouldn't need as much of my furniture and decor because the amount of personal living space I would have would be smaller. The only truly personal space I have is my bedroom and it cannot house all of my bookcases, side tables, coffee table, dining room set, etc. I have had to de-clutter, donate, and store a lot of my stuff to make due. If you are finding yourself down-sizing, or taking on a new roommate or spouse, here are some helpful tips to get you started!
1. SORT AND SEPARATE. I know it may seem like an overwhelming job to go through all of your belongings, but this really is the only way you can do this right. I had to sort and separate my things based on importance.

PILE 1: High Importance; Frequently Used: KEEP
PILE 2: Medium Importance; Used on Occasion: KEEP or STORE
PILE 3: Low Importance; Used Infrequently: KEEP or STORE (This may pertain to items that could be used in the future, such as furniture)
PILE 4: Low Importance; Rarely/Never Used: DONATE

2. DONATE OR STORE. To donate or store can be a really tough decision. While I have a storage shed in the backyard, if needed, I have donated quite a few items that are either duplicates of what my roommate has, or its something I rarely use. While I love the idea of having an electric griddle, I never use it. Could I use it in the future? Maybe, but its not worth fighting for a storage space to keep it. We also ended up having 3 microwaves. How does that happen? I have no idea, but the microwave said goodbye. The good thing about the items I have donated is that they are inexpensive and could be purchased again in the future if I need to. I have given away bags of clothes, home decor items I didn't love, and have lent my dining room set to my sister to be used. I feel better knowing all of my stuff is being used by someone who really needs it rather than letting it rot away in a storage shed.

3. CLEAN AND ARRANGE. Once you have decided what to take with you on your move, and you've moved in, it's time to put your space together. I always start by cleaning out the room and making sure its clean before moving my things in. This may mean you clean windows, blinds, curtains, carpets, or even walls. Baseboards are big for me! I need to have clean baseboards before I fill a room. Also don't neglect ceiling fans. It's always best to wipe those jokers down so you don't wind up with dust on your bed or furniture.

4. LAST SWEEP AND ENJOY! Once you have established what belongings you're keeping, you've cleaned, and set up your space, do one final sweep. See if you love what you have, and if you don't, get your Elsa on and let it go. You may find clothes you overlooked, or a framed picture you've lost interest in. Not only will this free up more space for living, but may allow for you to purchase things you love to replace those things you don't. After your final sweep, enjoy your space! It's well-deserved and you'll appreciate your new house or apartment that much more.

What are your tips to survive your move?

HOUSE SNEAK PEEK

February 23, 2015

I have been wanting to show you the house every since I moved in, but it hasn't exactly been put together 100% yet. Because we are renting we are somewhat limited in what we can do. No painting, no heavy items on the walls, and with a limited budget I can pretty much only use what I already have on hand in decorating. The other night we had a Pampered Chef Party, which forced my roommate and I to get rid of the boxes and clutter and get our living spaces in order. We organized the dining room and lightly rearranged the living room to accommodate for seating. I have to say, I really like having a clean and organized living space. It makes the room much more inviting and homier.
I might still invest in some pieces to hang throughout the house. I really need a better place to put my kitchen knives to extend some counter space, and I would like some shelving in the kitchen to brighten the place up. The house is old, so it has a vintage/antique feel and I love antiques.
Now, for some bedroom inspiration. I de-cluttered and donated a lot of the stuff I had in my bedroom  when I was married. I think getting rid of that stuff helped me to feel like I was making a fresh start, which is pretty much what you're going for after a divorce. I wanted to make my bedroom my own and start with pieces I liked and needed. I ordered the items below online and I am so excited for them to come!
Walmart
The bookshelves will be made into a makeshift headboard for my King size bed. I was inspired by this post here, and I thought it was a genius idea! I have so many books and so many things I could use to style the shelves, so I am excited to see how it turns out.
Target
I desperately need a dresser for additional clothing storage, and this one will work perfectly in my bedroom. It's white (duh, I love neutrals) and has a slightly traditional/vintage feel. All I need are some pretty fresh flowers to put on this pretty thing.

I'll be sure to give you a full on house tour whenever things are settled! Which should soon.

COFFEE TALK

February 22, 2015

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Long time, no see, huh? I know, I know. I have been failing miserably in the blogging department, but totally winning in the life department, so that has to mean something, right?

So, to give you somewhat of a life update, I thought this post would be best. Shout out to Ashlyn from Let it Be Beautiful for the inspiration on these posts. They really get the job done!

THANKFUL FOR: I am so thankful for second, third, hundredth chances. So often I forget to show grace to others (working on that), but its amazing the undeserved grace I am shown every single day. I like to think that those who give me the hundredth chances are the ones who are really meant to be in my life. I am not perfect. I mess up at work, in relationships, in friendships, at being vulnerable, at being merciful, at being loving. I am a hot mess sometimes, but those who stick around make every day so meaningful. I am just thankful that Jesus loved me first because I don't know how He puts up my shenanigans.

THINKING ABOUT: I have been thinking a lot about my parents lately. I still get "homesick" at 28 years old and I miss my parents terribly right now. I try and put a good voice on the phone, but I don't see them as much as I'd like to. Hopefully, that will change soon!

FEELING: Relaxed. I am not good at relaxing (mentally, anyway) and I have to force myself to, which isn't very relaxing at all. Lately things have really been getting to me at work, so this weekend really did wonders for me. It's amazing the weight I carry around thinking everything is my responsibility. At some point I need to learn to shut that off and shut it off for good. There are so many things simply out of my control.

LISTENING TO: Country and Pop playlists on Spotify. If you are my actual friend on Facebook you'll see this in your Newsfeed from time to time. Right now my favorite song is Ellie Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do".

WATCHING: "Parenthood". Oh, man! I was so scared to start this show, mainly because family dramas tend to really get to me, but this is so good thus far. I can already feel how invested I am in the characters. I have also been watching "The Bachelor" as per usual. Can I just say though that I am not too impressed with Chris? I just don't find him to be very...well anything...except for hot. That's about it.

EATING: Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. Girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

READING: Does Audible books count? I am really loving Amy Poehler's book, Yes, Please right now. She is hilar.

LOVING: Someone new. I don't want to say too much right now, I mean this is the internet, but I like to keep things somewhat private. Just know he makes me really, really happy and I am so stinking excited about it. I am also loving that it's almost March and that means Spring time is around the corner.

So, that is just a little tidbit for now, but I will be back with more soon!