Monday, June 6, 2016

crushed bones...

i have had this blog post brewing for about a week.
i struggle with blogging genuinely
and getting all deep because it makes you vulnerable
and seriously, who likes being vulnerable?
i surely don't.

it's like being emotionally naked.
and, to me, no naked is good naked.

but i've been feeling so many things about
a scripture i read last tuesday and i just have to share.
maybe someone else needs this too.

last tuesday my devotion took me to psalms 51.
psalms 51 is one i have read loads of times. 
it is probably most recognized by verse 10:
"create in me a pure heart, o God and 
renew a steadfast spirit within me."

but, as i read psalms 51 that morning,
 verse 8 overwhelmed me.
"let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones
you have crushed rejoice."

i read it over and over and over again.

i knew immediately it was for me.

how powerful are those words,
"let the bones you have crushed rejoice."

you see God loves us so very much.
he loves us infinitely 
more than we could ever fathom.

because he loves us, 
he must discipline us.
he must mold us.
he must allow both the good and the bad
to happen in our lives.

that means breaking a few bones.
not always literally.
because, if that were the case,
the church would be filled with people in casts.
but figuratively.

he breaks us.

he breaks down 
our dreams.
our hopes.
our character.
our desires.
our motives.
our intentions.
our relationships.
our selfishness.
our sin.

and i am the kind of person,
that when i become broken,
when things become broken,
and i feel he has allowed it,
i get angry.

i doubt.
i worry.
i get bitter.
i complain.
i grieve.
i build up walls.
i pull away.
i ask why.

now i know all of you super holy people
out there are beyond all those emotions.
but, for the rest of us,
it is a hard place to be in.

god has been breaking me.
breaking my life.

i do not at all mean that in a
depressed, negative way.

things are just shifting.
he is showing me what's really in me.
he is dealing with things
that have gone untouched for a while.
he is trying to mold me.
he is trying to bring me to the next level.

and this, verse 8 is what i need the most help with.

i need to recognize that my father in heaven
has my back.
has my best interest at heart.
only wants the best for me.
and has plans for myself and my family
far beyond what i could ever imagine
or create myself.

i need to let the 
breaking of the bones happen.
his way.
and then i need to rejoice.
i need to trust him enough to feel joy
in those situations.

joy because he loves me enough to change me.
to break me.
joy because he is making me the best
version of myself in order to be used by him.
joy because if i really was in control,
i'd screw it up. so bad.
and i'd miss all the amazing things 
that are a part of his plan.

i thought i was in the season of breaking.
right after i had the baby.
i thought the sickness
and then the two procedures
while still recovering from the section
and trying to care for and feed
my new baby were the tests
of my faith.

and i'm not gonna lie,
in my eyes,
i handled those like a champ.
i cried twice in the midst of it all.
(like that's some kind of measure. ha.)
and i didn't complain. (much)
and i rejoiced.
and i did way way way better
than i normally do in overwhelming

and then the devil thought.
okay that didn't work like i had planned.

and things began to shift.
the breaking really started.
and once again,
it showed that there is still
so much more work to be done
in this heart of mine.
i'm learning what this heart is really made of.
and boy, does it ever need some jesus.

and verse 8.
that's the work that needs doing.
when the bones start breaking,
i need to rejoice.

we got hit with a health scare
for scarlett.
a syndrome was thrown out there
and we were referred to a couple
of specialists.
and the doubt hit.
and the worry hit.
and the anger hit.

i became a stay at home mom
who isn't succeeding
(in my eyes)
as well as i thought i would
and the frustration hit.
and the stress hit.
and the anger hit.

and life threw out some other
random things, as it does.
and god allowed them,
as he should.
(he's in charge for a reason, isn't he.)

and i reacted very much
not like verse 8 instructs us to.

but god knows what needs changing,
so he directed me to that verse
in my devotion and i have been
thinking about it all week.
and i want to do better.

i want to be like my mom.
when something happens
that is bigger than her.
when the breaking starts.
the first thing
she always says,
"all is well."

she's got verse 8 down.

i want to teach my baby girl
that when the breaking starts,
we have to praise him.
because he's got it.
we have to trust the breaking
and know that it is happening
to show us what we are made of.
to mold us into who he has created us to be.
and, most of all, to break it down
so he can build it back up
for his glory.

so i put that part of the verse
on my lightbox
and it is where i will see it everyday.
and i am determined to work on it.
i'm sure it will take a while.
i've been told i'm a bit stubborn.

but i will do my best
to rejoice.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

project life 2015 completed

once again i must apologize
for my neglect of this little blog.

my excuse this time is a good one…
i had a kid.
(more about that later.)
and i've been busy adjusting to motherhood.

i was finally able to finish project life
for 2015 and i'm here to share
a few more pages with you guys.

this year was fun just like last year.

i chose to do a 12x12 album again
mostly because i have so many 
page protectors in that size and i hate to
waste them.

my favorite thing to do with my layouts
is still to enlarge the pictures and cut them
to fit the individual pockets.
i just love the impact it makes
and there are just some pictures
that i love too much to keep small.

i still love the four 6x6 layout
the best.
i usually save those for weeks
that include my favorite pics.

i still used the smaller protectors for
weeks that i didn't have much to document.

one thing that i did lots more of this year
is writing on my photos with a sharpie.
i love that it's quick
and i can journal anywhere.
sometimes, the pics don't need or can't fit
embellishments and journaling straight on them
is the perfect addition.

i included a lot more good ole fashioned layouts
this year too.
it's so hard to do just a regular layout now.
i used to spend hours on one when i first
started scrapping.
now, it only takes me a few minutes
because i'm not even sure what to do.

one thing i did a little more of
was to include some of my posts from social media.
i think it's important to include those
little snippets because it's such
a huge part of our lives right now.
i'm hoping to do more of it in my 2016 album.

i used my envelopes only twice this year.
i wanted a way to include my story and feelings
about the miscarriage and felt that
just printing my blog post was the best way to do that.
the envelope was the perfect place to tuck
it away so that it only had to be read
if necessary.

one thing i wish i had done more of
was to use my fuse.
i got it and thought i'd use it so much.
i took it out once this entire year.

i'm hoping to use it in some fun ways for 2016.

all in all,
i did things pretty much the same this year
as the past one.

i have barely started in 2016.
i'm excited to document our little lady
but i am definitely feeling uninspired.
i think when you go so long without
scrapping often you lose your groove.

i need my groove back 
because i miss
it so much.

it's hard not having a local store either.
i used to feel inspired when i could shop
and get some new goodies.
i still get the documenter kit from 
studio calico
and i love when it comes in
but it's not quite the same
as shopping for loads of new stuff.

i'm also hoping to keep up with
a book for scarlett.
i got the 9x12 size from studio calico
for hers and I'm excited for a different size.

so far i've only done one layout there.
needless to say, 
i'm behind on everything.

i need to plan a crop with my friends
and just get busy.

hope you enjoyed the 2015 album.

Monday, May 11, 2015

project life 2015...

so i am moving right along
with project life 2015.
i am so thrilled to still
be keeping up with documenting
every week of our lives.

i have really fallen in love with this
type of scrapbooking and i'm not quite
sure i will ever go back.
i love that i am capturing
the everyday things that always seem
to get lost in the grand scheme of memories
and i'm so glad that we will have
these albums to look back on when 
we are old and wrinkled.

i recently did some purging
and got rid of pretty much everything
that i am not using in project life.
it felt great.
i now want to be upstairs in my scrap room
even more.
i am looking forward to summer
and a break from teaching so that
i can come up here more 
and just play with paper
for hours.
i have so many mini albums
and smashbooks i plan on completing.

let's get to it.
i am here to share weeks 1-8 with ya'll.

in one of my previous posts,
i said that i wanted to include more
screenshots from social media
into this year's album.
i did that in week 1 by including
my green wall inspiration from instagram.
i am also determined to include more
layouts in this year's album.
i kicked it off right by doing an 8.5x11 inch
layout to show off some of my favorite
instax photos from new year's eve.

i love doing layouts without the pressure
of having so many to do.
it's much more about quality
when i am just highlighting my have photos.

my favorite part of week 2
is that big 2 from miss heidi swapp.
i love the look of just the big number
on that fab card from one of my
studio calico kits.

week three included another layout.
i love love love that photo strip of
me and the girls and knew that
it would have its own page.
i took advantage of the blank back
and journaled all about that night's memories there.

week 4 was all about stretching the pics
to fill up the two 4x6 spaces
on each side of the page.
i had a few more photos so
i used a small protector to include those.
it ended up working out well
for me to be able to stretch another pic
on the back for week 5.

i never ever color coordinate
anything in life but it ended up
happening for the front of week 5's layout
and i must say i really like 
all the neutrals.
i kinda became obsessed
with writing on my pics this week too.

the front of week 6 is probably one
of my favorites this year.
i love the massive photo of my old lady face
from the 100th day of school.
i kinda can't get enough of enlarging my
favorite photos.

please excuse the ugly oval
on the top left corner.
there's a pic of my class there
and there's a big no-no about posting those.

week 7 was valentine's day and i chose
not to go the hearts and pink and red route.
i love the large wooden love from my
sc kit and knew i had to use it.
i also ended up digging the way the little
camera turned out in the center.

week 8 includes
another layout.
that pic of the girls is one of my
most favorite of all time.
i knew i wanted to keep
the layout simple.
i have been hoarding that you look lovely
wooden thing for so long
and it's perfect for this page.

so there ya go.
8 weeks of 2015.
i am currently on week 15 of this year
which isn't too shabby.
hope my people that are doing
project life are enjoying it as much as i am.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

trusting god...

i've been thinking about this blog post.
i knew immediately that i would post about it.
i know some may not agree with that.
however, in the past few weeks,
blogs have provided support
and encouragement that i just didn't
get from other places. 

i also think that if this is a part of
my testimony,
it does no good kept inside.

with that being said,
i will start from the beginning.

shane and i have been trying to have a baby.
for (what feels like to me)
 a while.
i'm surrounded by people that
get pregnant just by washing underwear together.
because of this, 
i assumed getting pregnant would just
be so dang easy.

it wasn't.

my heart breaks for people that have 
struggled and will struggle 
with infertility for years.
i don't know how you endure 
that agony for a long period of time.
those will forever be in my 
daily prayers.

so after trying to have a baby
and wanting a baby so bad
and dreaming of a baby
in my arms
and on shane's chest
and in a crib in our extra bedroom
that has just been a guest room
 long enough,

we got pregnant.

shane was over the moon.
and planning.

i on the other hand,
was guarded.
oh i wanted to rejoice.
i wanted to scream it from my rooftop.
i wanted to buy every single baby thing
i could get my hands on.

i've experienced some disappointments
with the big things in life
and i just couldn't do another one.
i took a million tests.

each time shane was like ash,
this is happening.
get excited.

so after oodles of tests over
many days,
i let myself go there.
i daydreamed about our baby.
i prayed over our baby.
i thought about our baby.
over and over again.

on monday morning,
april 6,
i woke up and had a tiny bit of blood.
(sorry tmi but necessary for the story)
my stomach was hurting a tiny bit too.
i googled those symptoms
and as soon as i read the first two lines,
i turned my phone off and told shane to pray.

i laid down on the sofa
and told myself this was nothing
and that i just needed to lay down.

in a matter of minutes,
the pain in my stomach became unbearable.
i went to the bathroom and 
saw the worst thing i've ever seen.

i panicked.
i started to freak.
a million thoughts flooded my head.
i thought, "i have to stop this from happening."
"what can i do?"
"this can't happen."

"god please don't take this
from me."

i felt like i heard god say,
"sit down ash.
this has to happen.
this has to be a part of your story.
this is my plan."

i sat down and sobbed.
i cried harder than i have ever
cried in  my life.
i said why more times than
i can count.
i hurt so bad.

shane came by the door
and begged to come in and
i just couldn't.
the girls were at the house
and i told him to bring them home.

while he was gone,
i called my mom.
we hadn't told a soul we were pregnant.
(i wanted to wait until i was 12 weeks.)
i said mom, "i think i'm losing my baby."
she said two words, "i'm coming."

she walked in the house,
straight to the bathroom,
laid hands on me and prayed.
there were no questions,
no comments.
just love.
and prayer.

yet another reason why she is
the absolute most amazing woman
on the planet. 

we lost the baby.

in a matter of minutes,
life went from the most
overwhelming joy
to the most intense pain.

the next two weeks were 
filled with a bazillion emotions.

why did this happen?
what did i do wrong?
how do you miss someone
you never met?
how do you love someone so
much in such a short period of time?
how does the world just go on
when i feel like i've lost
a piece of me?
will the hole ever be filled?
will i ever forget the trauma
of the physical part of it?

i can't answer any of those.
i don't have to.
this is my life.
this happened.
it was there and now it's gone.

i can tell you what i have
learned just in the past few weeks.

god is in control.
he can give something and take it back.
he can change the course of your life
in minutes.
he holds your world in the palm
of his hands.

he has a plan.
i always knew he had a plan.
i always knew this.

i never really trusted it.
i always felt like when i gave him
control, he made a mess of things.
so i always took it back.
(or so i thought)

but through this,
i have felt more peace than
i could ever explain to you.
peace in knowing that
our baby is his.
it was his when he gave it
and it is his now that it has been taken.

it's all his.
always has been
always will be.
no matter how much we fight that.
he may make a mess of things.
but there's a method to the madness.

there has been peace.
peace in knowing that 
i control NOTHING.
i can't fix anything.
i can't earn anything.
i can't work my way 
through anything.

when i am his,
i am submitted to him
in it all.

me being perfect or imperfect
won't do anything.
my mistakes or lack of mistakes,
won't change anything.

it's all his.
and he will do as he pleases.
for my GOOD.

that's another part i never got.
i always thought god was up there
trying to see how far he could push me.
trying to weigh me down until
i couldn't move anymore.

that's not him.
i have never felt his love
like i have felt through this.
he loves me so much.
so so much.
and i did nothing to earn it.
i am so unworthy.

he is doing all of this for a purpose.
i know that.
i know that more than i ever have.
he will fulfill his promises.
he will give me what i need.
he will comfort me more than
anyone on this earth can.

he will love me through
these emotions
and feelings
and thoughts
that i have never had.

and through this whole mess,
he will be the potter.
he will create something beautiful
out of me.
for his glory.

i exhausted myself.
i've been exhausting myself
for a long time.
i told shane that day,
"i am just so tired."
so tired from life.
so tired from trying to fix it all.
so tired of being disappointed.

so i have decided
to be tired.
to take my hands off of it.
all of it.
and just be.
just worship him.
just talk to him.
just trust him.

and to give him glory through
this whole thing.

this was the first time 
my husband couldn't save me.
my mom couldn't save me.
my friends couldn't save me.
my family couldn't save me.

i have an awesome support system
but no one has ever experienced this,
so i could only turn to god.
he was right there through the whole thing.

and usually there is anger.
and bitterness.
and doubt.
and fear.

this time,
i am trying so hard
to do it differently.

even when people have said
stupid things.
STUPID things.
the dumbest things.

(i'm not perfect i still have
to fight off the feeling of 
wanting to shank people.)

so anyway,
now that i've typed a novel,
i need to wrap this up.

that little bit of pain in my heart
from that morning
may never go away.
and that's okay.

i know the peace keeper.
his name is jesus.
i trust him.

man that feels good to say
and to really mean.
i trust him.

it's all his.
my hands are off.
(i hope they stay off.
simmer down OCD.)
i am a work in progress.
i am just learning through this all.

there are two scriptures 
that have come to me
through so many devotions and studies
in the past year
and they are what i continue to tell myself,

isaiah 45:9
does the clay say to the potter,
what are you making?
does your work say,
he has no hands?

romans 9:20-21
shall what is formed say
to him who formed it,
"why did you make me like this?"
does not the potter have the right
to make out of the same lump
of clay some pottery for noble
purposes and some for common use?

that's his word.
that's all i need.
i'm learning that.

i'm learning that it's all been
there all along.
i just didn't trust it.

now i do.

can't wait to see how it ends.
it will all be for his glory.
that much i know.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

operation house to home: the kitchen

hey guys.

i'm here to share with ya'll
the most changed room in our home.

let me first start by saying,
if you know me just the tiniest bit,
you know that i do not do the kitchen.
by that, i mean i do not use it for cooking.
i make coffee there and i love making it look purrrty,
but, that's about the extent of it.

i'm so drawn to kitchen things when i'm junkin
so i love to buy little things to add to this room,
however, i just don't enjoy cooking. 
it ain't my thang.

when we bought the house,
everyone was like, 
"wow, that's a great kitchen for cooking."
my thoughts were,
"i don't know anything about that. 
all i know is, it's ugly and that must change."

this was what it looked like
when we bought the house.

the walls were hunter green,
the countertops were bricks,
the cabinets were yellowey,
the hardware was ultra modern,
and there was track lighting.

it was hideous,
in my opinion.

we, by we i mean my dad, 
brothers, boo, mom, paw paw,
 uncle, and myself
 painted the cabinets white,
added white subway tile,
changed the hardware, 
switched the countertops to
butcher block,
added some old light fixtures
and an island.

the wall that has the vintage
mantle piece was open.
it was a huge square window.
i absolutely hate open floor plans.
i like each room completely separate.
we closed that window up.
by we, i mean my brother and my boo.

i contemplated open shelving there
and i still may try that later,
but was on the look out
for something large enough
to hang there.
on one of our junkin trips,
i spotted this mantle piece and fell in love.

i love how flawed it is.
i love the details.
i love that there is space to add lots
of little random decor pieces.

for parties and holidays,
i decorate this with banners
and whatever else goes along with
the occasion.

the island is another one of my
favorite things in our kitchen.
i spotted it before we even closed
on the house.
i found it at one of my fave
spots and immediately knew it
was the perfect look and size for our kitchen.
i love how primitive it is.
i love the flaws.

another great thing about our kitchen
is all the storage 
and the huge pantry.

please be aware that i organize
that pantry fiercely every week.
please also be aware that i live
with a grown man who 
actually does cook and could
care less about organization.
moral of the story:
i choose my battles.

i love that we have a door that
can close the kitchen off from
the rest of the house.
it has come in handy for 
different reasons.
i have dreams
of changing that door into
something interesting.

while vera and i were
on the longest yard sale last
summer, i found a door
that said judy's diner on its' huge
glass window.
it was yellow and perfect.
i left it there and have
regretted it everyday.
it would have been great in our kitchen.

my most most favorite little
area in our house is our nook 
under the stairs.

the first time we ever looked at the house,
i was dreaming of things to put there.
i also hoped and prayed our
little diner table would fit there.
we have a formal dining room
(the room the door leads into)
so i knew that little table
would be perfect for
just shane and i to have breakfast.

i painted the chalkboard wall
on labor day and the girls
create there every time they sleep over.
i love changing things
out on that little green shelf often.
(i found it for $3 in missouri)
i also love each and every piece
on that little collage wall.

the light fixture is one of those
finds that made my heart smile.
(are there any that don't, really)
i found it for $5 at habitat.
i added an eddison bulb and love
the way it looks there.

most of the things used in decorating
the kitchen were found junkin.
if they aren't junk, they are usually 
from anthropologie.
i remember where i found 
every little thing and 
how much i paid
for each one.
it's all in the little details for me.

the baskets on top of the cabinets was
one of the last things added.
i hate clutter and was hesitant on putting stuff
up there but every time i went in there,
it seemed so empty.

it took a few junkin trips but i eventually 
found enough that i loved
to add to the cabinets.

our sink was also found on a
junkin trip in
mississippi by my parents.
i wanted an old sink with the drying
racks so bad.
my dad was going to spend the money
to re-finish it and re-paint it.
it has a couple of little nicks.
however, i love all things flawed
and thought it was kind of pointless.
it's a sink for goodness sakes.

i decided to paint the insides of 
our cabinets with the glass doors a mint green,
just for fun.
i was obsessed with mint,
when we bought the house 
and i love the touch of soft color
that breaks up all the white.

there's our kitchen.
it's nothing fancy but I'm
no fancy lady.
i love things full of junk
and flaws and character.
to me, that's lovely.
even if we don't use it all that much.