Thursday, September 30, 2010

Better than a Hallelujah.....sometimes.

I heard Amy Grant's song on the radio the other day and I just had to share the lyrics with you.  They are so true.  Hallelujah means to praise God.  It is said that the Angels are dancing around Him in Heaven singing Hallelujahs!  Sometimes, God loves a torn person's cries out to him almost better than a Hallelujah.  Sometimes He brings us to our knees and we turn to Him when our life if in turmoil and that is what He loves....us crying out to Him and drawing closer to Him.  A Hallelujah is a very big thing because we are praising God and what is better than that!  But.....sometimes.....a mother's tears, a drunkard's cry, a soldiers plea, a woman holding on to life......to HIM are better than a Hallelujah. 

Below are the lyrics to the whole song.  It just gave me chills listening to it.

God loves a lullaby
In a mothers tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.


God loves a drunkards cry,
The soldiers plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.


We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah


The woman holding on for life,
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

The tears of shame for what's been done,
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.


We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are

The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah


Better than a church bell ringing,
Better than a choir singing out,singing out.


We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Balance

I've been a blog slacker lately.  But, I'm not going to apologize.  I know you friends understand.  Stepping back.  Getting priorities in line.  Blogging is tricky if you're passionate about it.  There are those who write/journal and those who follow.  Then, there are those that do both.  It's hard to find time to read all your favorite blogs that inspire you....blogs that made you want to start your own blog in the first place!  Then, you start.  And it's addictive.  And you get emails....and comments.....and you make friends.  There is this fine line of enjoying it and then crossing over to feeling pressure to have something cool to show to something witty to say or something inspiring to share.  Anyone else out there feeling the same way? 

I have so much to share.  A whole list of posts I long to write and share with you.  But, like a lot of things I face these days, I get overwhelmed when I look at the list.  It's the same thing I do in life.  I know there are all these things I need to be doing (working on KWW website, finding a new realtor, etc.), but it's like I get paralyzed when I think about doing those things.  John Taylor does the same thing.  We would just rather ignore those things until we absolutely can't or until they work themselves out or go away.  Which by the way, the last two never happen!  :)  I hate that I deal with things like that and it's something I'm trying to work on.  I'm longing for simplicity.  I'm longing for balance in my life again.  As you can imagine, I'm stuck in transition mode......STILL!  House still for sale in Birmingham.  Still renting here.  I feel like our life has been put on hold for way too long now and I've seriously had just about enough. 

Then, I read other posts and I have it so much better than those who have lost a child or those who have just been told they have a disease.....and I feel quite selfish for complaining.  I'm blessed.  I long for God to calm my anxieties and give me peace.  I want Him to speak to me and not so much tell me when this will all be over, but just that it will be over.  And then He speaks.  A friend of mine wrote me an email a week ago.  Her words are still with me today.....

"It is through trials that we are privileged to gain an understanding of God and each other that we would not have known otherwise.  Trials also give you a credibility with others in similar situations who need encouragement and support.  I love and respect the depth in people that have walked difficult roads." 
{thanks, jennifer}

There may be deep posts for a while, but that is where my heart is right now.  Trying to figure it all out.  I want to stay true to my heart here.  It's my journal and I should.  I like order and balance and knowing when and what.  God is SO trying to teach me a lesson......so, hurry up already!  ;)

Before starting this post, I Googled "finding balance in life".  I clicked on a few different sites and they all started off talking about needing to change jobs, etc.  Well, I don't "work", but I do "work", so I thought they may could apply to me.  So, here we go......

Tip #1.
Negotiate a Change with Your Current Employer

Ha!  Ok, I'm not "employed", but sometimes I feel like JT is my boss.  He he. :)  So, we're negotiating already. 

So, on to step #2.
Find a New Career

Well, that's just out of the question.  :)  I love my kids too much.

Tip #3.
Find a New Job

Oooookaaaaay, see answer to #2, please.......

Tip #4.
Slow Down

Now we're getting somewhere!  Ahhhh, thank you.  Thank you random website to telling me to slow down.  Because I really need to.  I was just thinking the other day....Actually, I was sitting in church looking at all the women's feet around me.  Seriously, I was.  Every women in church had beautiful, tan, smooth feet!  Their heels and toes!  Oh my word!  I was ashamed!  Then I started wondering....how do all these moms find the time to get pedicures?  I really need to make more time for myself.  But how?  It is because they have more money and have hired help?  No.  Is it because most of them are working moms?  Well, half and half pretty much at our church.  Then I realized, it's all around me!  Stay at home moms dropping their kids off at preschool just like I am.....wearing make-up!  Fully dressed for the day!  How do they do it!  I realized.  I'm taking on too much.  Sure, I get up early.  But, I usually blog.  I do have enough time to get my feet done.  But, I'm usually using that time to work on business stuff or photography stuff.  Something has to give.  I'm working on that.  It's hard because a lot of what I do is passionate to me.  Obviously more passionate than having my feet done. :)

Tip #5.
Learn to Better Manage Your Time. Avoid Procrastination

Totally speaking to me.  Enough said.  But how???

Tip #6.
Share the Load

We (as in John Taylor and I) are working on this.  :)

Tip #7.
Let Things Go

Ummmm, see my response under #4. 

Tip #8.
Explore Your Options - Get Help

I'm on my way!  Doing this.  Getting help.  It's a little something called therapy + medication.  I'm kidding.

Sort-of.

Tip #9.
Take Charge - Set Priorities

Yes!  That's what I need to do!  Inspired!

Tip #10.
Simplify

Ahhhh, my new favorite word.  For some reason, God is laying this word on my heart A LOT lately.  Every day, I hear it ringing in my ear.  I truly feel I'm being called to simplify my life.  I'm coming up with lots of ways that I will of course share with you along the way.  It's just natural to me to take on too many tasks and responsibilities, to try to do too much, and to own too much.



Please, if anyone is doing the same --- share with me ways you simplify your life.  Every day I'm reminded of these words to a song that plays on my iPod every time I turn it on.......

empty me
of the selfishness inside
every vain ambition
and the poison of my pride
and any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord, empty me of me
so i can be filled with You

Leaving you with that and a few verses:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
Mark 4:18-19

Be still, and know that I am God
Psalm 46:10

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Monday, September 27, 2010

& Designs (custom frame)

Have you ever wondered about the & Designs part of our business?  Well, the next few posts will be dedicated to custom works by John Taylor.  Today I'm featuring a custom frame he designed and built. 

{psssst....it's actually a frame that was a gift to me for our anniversary}




Isn't it beautiful!  I'm in love with it! 

Frame shown is custom size and custom moulding in glazed Powder Blue.

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Blueprint Bliss :: an iBlog feature

Today I'm so excited to feature Brooke, from Blueprint Bliss!  I adore Brooke and love her blog.  Brooke and I actually go way back.  We grew up together in Mississippi!  We went to grammar school together.  We were in Girl Scouts together.  We went to college together.   Our husbands were Sigma Chi's together.  And, we both ended up in Birmingham after we got married.  :)  One of my questions to Brooke should have been: "What's one thing you remember about our childhood together?"  I was thinking about what to write about Brooke......besides that she's super talented and sweet, I remember a few things about our childhood together.  Don't worry Brooke, I won't bring out any old photos!  But, if I did, you can bet Brooke would be sporting a big bow.  Just like any little southern belle would be!  :)  I remember Brooke had a matching bow for every outfit.  My mom had a hard time getting me to wear a bow....... Anyway, I remember thinking Brooke looked SO cute every day, and I loved her wardrobe!  She had great taste...even in 4th grade!  I remember telling her one day (you're not going to believe I remember this, Brooke) that she always dressed so cute.  Her response was that she thought I was the one that always looked the cutest!  I can seriously remember that making my day.  One thing I remember about Brooke in our college years that she was so wonderful at keeping her photos organized and in albums or scrapbooks.  She also filed everything and kept everything super neat.  I guess you can say, Brooke made a huge impact on me.  I guess some things never change......

Thanks, Brooke, for being my feature today!  If/when we ever move back to Birmingham, I'm having you over for coffee and fabric samples!  :) Please enjoy our interview and check out Brooke's blog - Blueprint Bliss! 

1) I love looking at names of blogs and hearing how the names were thought up. I'm sure any designer may understand why you chose Blueprint Bliss, but for those who aren't, please explain and tell us how you came up with it!
Being a designer, I love to sketch and space plan. Although actual blueprints are a thing of the past.... I still have an appreciation for them. And I just like the word Bliss... it is defined as: a state of profound satisfaction, happiness and joy, a constant state of mind, undisturbed by gain or loss.

2) By looking at the pictures you post, you seem like a pretty "neutral loving" type of girl. Correct? If so, please give us advice on how to add color to our neutral surroundings without it looking silly. I'm such a neutral person and love how there are pops of color in your photos.
Correct. I am a neutral girl. As I tell some of my design crazy friends... color gives me anxiety! Not really... but I like to joke about it. I don't mind a little bit of color here and there. I have some incorporated in my house through throw pillows, lamps, and artwork. All of those are a great way to add a little bit of color without it taking over the room.

3) I love all the lamps you own and feature. Can you tell us the best places to shop for lamps that won't break the bank?
There are so many great lighting sources out there... I could go on and own. But since you asked for not breaking the bank: Homegoods and TJ Maxx. Most every lamp in my house is from one of those two places. Another great place: thrift stores. I have purchased three from there just in the past two weeks--- all for just $4 each. Two don't need any work- just new shades. And the third is a brass lamp (which you will find in any thrift store) and it just needs a fresh coat of spray paint and a new shade. When I finish--- I'll have three new lamps for just about $30 each.

4) Who is your favorite designer and why? (clothing and interior)
My favorite clothing designer... hmm. While I don't get into 'designer' clothes...I think my wardrobe reflects my design style. I have a lot of clothes from Gap and J.Crew... simple, casual, and comfortable.
My favorite interior designer- that's a hard one. While it's hard to narrow it down... I would have to say that I love the work of both Bobby McAlpine and Bill Ingram. I'm also a fan of the work by Tracery Interiors.

5) Who/what inspires you in work and in life?
When it comes to work... I am inspired by friends, blogs, magazines, paper products, fabrics, houses... the list goes on. There is inspiration to be found most everywhere.
In life-- I am constantly inspired by my relationship with God. I feel that there is so much to learn and so much I don't know... but I try not to focus on that and try to just focus on Him and growing closer in my walk. Friends and family are also a source of inspiration for me.

6) You recently joined the Motherhood Club! (by the way, Collins is SO cute) What is your favorite thing about being a mommy and what is the best advice anyone ever gave you on becoming a mom?
Thank you! We are enjoying every minute with him. I'm loving being a mom... it's the best job I've ever had. The best advice would probably be to stay relaxed. There is no need to get worked up about things.... so staying relaxed helps me to enjoy more things and not get stressed out.

7) What are your favorite baby items? Or, must haves in your opinion?
I love my Bob jogging stroller. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to walk/jog with children. I'm also a fan of the Ultimate Crib sheets. I love the fact that they just lay on top of the fitted sheet (so that you don't have to change the fitted sheet--- those things are hard to change with the bumper pads on!).

8) What are your favorite magazines and which do you think have the best ideas for home interior design as far as DIY projects?
I was a big fan of Cottage Living and will say that I was very upset the day that it announced the closing of its doors. I have really been enjoying House Beautiful lately. As far as DIY projects... there is so much inspiration to be found on design blogs.

9) Where is your favorite place to travel or take a vacation?
I have two favorites. One is Sun Valley, Idaho.... I love it there both in the summer and in the winter. And Turks and Caicos. Beautiful, beautiful places to visit.

10) Where is your favorite place to eat? Fancy and casual.
Well, I love to eat so this one is a hard one for me. My top three favorites in Birmingham are Little Savannah, Hot and Hot Fish Club, and Chez Fon Fon. As far as casual... I love Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

Thanks for having me!

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

This Week's Faves.....

Here are a few of my favorite posts from this past week.  Some I just want to bookmark for myself for future projects.  Others, are great to save for a lifetime.  :)

Also, thank you so much for your understanding about the post that wasn't supposed to post.  That made me feel so much better.  It really wasn't that big of deal and I'm so glad I could make you all laugh.  Hmmmm....perhaps I should repost it.....Nah!  :)

And, thank you so much for all your sweet comments on the Vintage Tea Party!  I had so much fun planning it and my inspiration came from the blog world. 

Now, go check these out!

A Mom's Prayer Matters :: by Stacey :: The MOD Squad

personalized handmade birthday gift :: by Tracie :: tsj photography

Vintage Ruffles :: by Cheryl :: a pretty cool life
{I just had to link this post!  I was so excited to see Cheryl's post on the toddler ruffle Apron she made my daughter for her 1st birthday}

My master bedroom redo :: by Holly Mathis :: Holly Mathis Interiors
{I had to post this because this big time interior designer used the SAME EXACT fabric I used in my master bedroom redo --- the teal on her curtains and bed --- by the way, her's blows mine out of the water and I won't be showing mine after seeing this....and by the way, the fabric was only $7.00 per yard on sale at Hobby Lobby and that's where we BOTH purchased it!}

paint colors :: by Sara :: August Fields
{this family of 7 built their dream home and it is BEAUTIFUL...she shares all their paint colors here....I might need this one day!}

ruffle wreath {a tutorial} :: by Emily :: jones design company
{I have so much burlap, I would love to make this for my front door this fall...plus, it looks easy}

10 Things I'm Learning About Marriage :: by Vina :: Passionate Homemaking

**linking up with it's come 2 this

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vintage Tea Party

{pink spray roses before the arrangements were made}
As many roses as there are in the picture, that's how many photos you'll be looking at in this post!

I just couldn't stop taking pictures!  So, here are some lots of pics and as much information as I can think to give.  If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  I'm sure I'm leaving some detail out!

Oh, and I must say.....after all the inspiration out there in the blog world, most of my inspiration for this party came from Paula of two ellie.  So, you'll see a lot in the party that are her ideas.  Not mine.  I just tried to change things up a big in some areas.  :)

This is our front entrance way --- the door to the party!  I hung festive, vintage bunting.

The majority of the party took place in our empty dining room.  Since we're broke in a rental, we haven't purchased dining room furniture.  It worked out good for the party!
The "L" shaped table you see in the corner is actually our computer desk.  I used two twin sheets as table covers.  In the corner where the sheets met, I stacked boxes and DVD cases and hid them with linen fabric.  I then set my arrangement, etc. on top!  This picture was taken after the party was over.  I could kick myself for not taking a picture with all the food on this table.  My mother-in-law did get one with the serving platters on it:
I did not get a picture of the cute flower shaped sandwiches, but I did get these:
Fruit.....
Cute bee salad tossers.....

And here are some close ups of the center pieces:
To keep it simple, I spray painted sticks white and put them in moss in a glass, cylinder vase.  I attached small butterflies to the brances for a girly effect.  :)
The letters are just card board letters with torn scrap book paper decupodged to it.

This was the other table in the room that held the cakes.  It's actually my buffet.  But, my buffet is red, so it got a twin sheet, too!

Flower arrangement sat on one side......
Along with her princess tiara and her invitation.....

The cakes were on the other side.  Her big cake and the little smash cake:
I put pink spray roses around the bottom and on top, along with some more butterflies.

Here is her invite.  I was SO please with the way it turned out.  I wanted vintage and I got it!  Just look at the detail!  It's a letter pressed invite and you can actually see the design pressed on.  I love it!

Also in the room was her little table and chairs for the kiddos to sit in.  I had a tiny little silver tea set in the middle.  :)  Just their size!

Hanging in the dining room.......

This was probably my favorite part to decorate for the party.  This is actually my kitchen island and bar.  I wanted to use burlap and was SO excited when I spotted this WHITE burlap!  It was perfect!
It houses all the drinks.  And all the drinks were pink, I might add!  Pink Lemonade, Raspberry and Grapefruit Izze sodas and Peach Tea! 

Beside the island on the floor, I had a bucket (covered in white burlap) filled with ice and pink lemonade drinks for the kids:

More fruit and cheesecake pastries next to the drinks.  I got to use my fine china!  :)

In the breakfast room, I covered our table with another twin sheet and hung fake flower petals on fishing line from our light fixture....
The cupcake stand sat underneath it with a flower arrangement on top.


On our foyer table, leaving the party, sat a tray with the party favors.  I also had a couple of arrangements sitting on a stack of vintage children's books that belonged to John Taylor's mother when she was a child.
Party favors.  Little thank you notes with a vintage tea pot picture....
Note on the inside:

The most important guest at the party.....my little Button....
Of course she wore a tutu!!!

Her birthday gift was a vintage play kitchen built by her Daddy.  You can see my post all about it HERE.

Here is another one of her gifts from her Mommy....a hand-made vintage ruffle apron (yes, she will have to grow into it a bit!)

Ever her high chair was fit for a Princess!  :)

The party was a huge success!  I had so much fun planning it and can't wait for her second birthday!  (yes, I'm already thinking about it....) 
She had a great time and that's the most important part. I can't believe my little Button Nose is ONE! She is still my baby and always will be.....
{roses sitting on table that came off of her cake....so pretty just laying there.}

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

´╗┐Sources:
Pink Spray Roses :: Sam's Club - $14.88 for 1 bunch with over 100 blooms!
Vintage Bunting :: j u s t  p r e t t y
Tissue Poms :: made them myself from $1.00 packs of tissue paper, but you can get them HERE.
Twin Sheets (used as table cloths) :: Walmart - $4.00 each.
Branches :: my  backyard :)
Moss & Fake Flowers :: Hobby Lobby - flower stems were 50% off of $1.00 each!
Fake Butterflies :: Hobby Lobby - $.99 for a 3 pack!
Card Board Letters, Scrap Book Paper & Decupodge :: Hobby Lobby
Invitation :: press charming
Cupcake Stand :: Kiwi Wood Werks & Designs (a.k.a. my hubby)
Cupcake Toppers :: Little House Tees
Fake Hydrangeas :: Michael's
Vase (on top of cupcake stand) :: glass cylinder vase with scrap book paper inside it
Party Favor Thank You's :: made by me :) Vintage Tea Pot picture was a stock image
Vintage Children's Books :: my mother-in-law's when she was a child
Burlap (white and brown) :: Walmart
Matching T-Shirt :: Little House Tees
Vintage Ruffle Apron :: j u s t  p r e t t y
Tutu Skirt on high chair :: made by me with tulle and ribbon from Michael's
Silver & Glass vases :: all mine :)´╗┐

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Baptized ~ Tuesdays Unwrapped

My baby girl was baptized.  I'm having a hard enough time with her turning one as it is, but looking at her baptism photos makes me really cry.......


This is the gown she wore.  It has been in a our family for quite some time.  All of the grandchildren in the family have worn it.  Well, all of them except my son.  He couldn't wear it because it was way too big when he was baptized.  Oh, and because John Taylor said it was too girly.  I tried explaining to him that it's a gown and yes, gowns tend to be a little on the girly side.  He wasn't budging.....

But, he wore the slip under his gown.....


All the names of the grandchildren, as well as the kids, are embroidered on the slip.  The dates and a bible verse are on there, too.

Jeremiah 1:4-5
The word of the Lord came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart....."


This bible verse has made a huge impact on me through the years.  It is one that sticks out in my mind....one that I learned early on as a child.  It seems my mom taught me all the most important Bible verses up front.  You know, like John 3:16 and Jeremiah 29:11.  Those may not be the most important ones in someone else's book, but they've sure made a huge impact on me in my life.

How does God set us apart? 

In the world we live in, we may often feel like we are outcasts as Christians.  The whole world is going one direction --- a direction that just doesn't seem in line with God's word --- and we are being led in another direction.  In my opinion, our culture today is believing what it wants to believe.  What feels right. 

In the end, it is the unchanging word of God that is our only protection.


We believe in the word of God.  We are members of the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) church.  To sum it up, our church is reformed.  We have a high view of Scripture and a strong commitment to Jesus Christ.  We believe in sprinkling with water when we baptize babies.  It is a sign that we are bringing them to Christ.  We don't think this water and sign save them.  Only God can do that.  It is symbolic and it is a commitment from us (the parents) and the congregation.


Seeing these images make me cry almost as much as I did when she was baptized.  Although I was laughing through the tears since she was giving our Pastor a look of fear while she squirmed to get out of his arms. 


Priceless.

Not as priceless as these images.  They will forever be etched in my mind.....




And this verse forever etched in my heart....

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
John 17:15-18

When I look at this precious face, I pray for her.  I pray that she is set apart.  That she hears the truth and believes the word of God and not the ways of the world.  I have a quote at the bottom of my blog and on my 'about me' page.  It sums up 3 of my favorite verses and would like to share it with you now if you've never seen it:

Understand your children's hearts. Shepherd those hearts toward the Kingdom of God. Impress upon them the commandment to love the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul & strength. Teach them importance is not in worldly things of this life time and guide them in The Truth to prepare their little souls for eternity...for we are only in this world, not of it.
~catherine moore
{Luke 6:45, Deuteronomy 6:5, 3 John 4}

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

linking up with tuesdays unwrapped

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