Engaged

I’m excited to share the full story of how Ben & I got engaged with anyone who is interested to know! Over the past couple years I have really tried to refrain from being too cheesy or obnoxious about our relationship. But I’m laying it all out here so look out!

Ben and I met right before we went on a BCM mission trip to New Orleans. We were placed in the same van to ride all the way there, and we actually became pretty fast friends. I remember enjoying conversation with him because he was easy to talk to. And I liked this Mumford & Sons band that he kept talking about. I definitely had a crush on him, but it didn’t last past the week in NOLA. When I think of my freshman self though, I’m quite thankful God decided that just wasn’t the right timing! 🙂

Way back on the NOLA trip. Now that I know him, I'm sure he was silently critiquing my painting skills. I'm positive.

Way back on the NOLA trip. Now that I know him, I’m sure he was silently critiquing my painting skills. I’m positive.

I was happy being friends with Ben Carter because his dry sense of humor was always fun to be around. The summer before my junior year, we started hanging out in groups a lot, passing the summer nights with group outings to movies like the Amazing Spiderman or Prometheus. (**DO NOT see Prometheus. Ever. No.**) We all watched the Summer Olympics and went star-gazing on South Milledge Avenue. Through all of this, my crush on Ben was re-developing, but I was trying to deny it. He was just hard to read. At the time, however, he was starting to get a crush on me as well! Our first date wasn’t until November. So, yeah, I wondered for quite a long time if he felt the same way. Our first date was after the Ole Miss football game, which we had to leave early to go see Argo in theaters. I truly remember nothing from that movie, other than Ben Affleck having a beard. I spent more time watching Ben Carter out of the corner of my eye, wondering if his hand was going to hold mine, trying to make my hand open for grabbing in case one of us got brave. He finally did, and it was quite magical!

Someday I can tell the rest, but for now, I’ll go back to the engagement story.

Ben moved to Auburn a little over a month ago to take a new job, so our visits are rare and precious! He was coming home to Madison for Labor Day weekend, aka Clemson weekend. The Sunday after the game, he had planned a “fancy date” where he wouldn’t tell me the location. Of course, this is where I started to get suspicious. I’m not good at surprises, and the honest truth is that I’d been waiting for this day to come. We’d been talking about marriage and had been what I like to call “pre-engaged” for a long time! But I tried my best not to question all of this too much, even when he commented on how nice my nails looked…what.

Fancy Date started with a stroll through North campus. At this point I’m getting pretty sweaty, and am really concerned about that. What if he really does propose and it won’t fit on my big fat finger???? I wondered. What if you’re out of your mind??? I also wondered. But thank goodness I actually WASN’T out of my mind. We sat down on a bench in front of a small fountain on campus that we’ve always loved. We sat for a while and then he started saying some sweet things. He told me he loved me and that I help him to be closer to the Lord. Some other nice stuff I can’t remember because I was too excited. He said he had asked my parents’ permission a few weeks earlier when they passed through Auburn. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! And I’m pretty sure I said yes. And guess what? That ring went on without any hang-ups on my sweaty finger. Also, I love the ring. And him. Especially him.

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Then I saw Ethan creeping behind the bushes with his fancy camera in hand. That sight gave me joy. We went over and talked to him for a minute, when suddenly, we saw this happy family with a bulldog puppy. Eeek! They joked about how we should take a picture with him, but I took them seriously and went and asked the people. What I learned that day is that bulldogs are very top heavy, even as puppies. When I sat the dog back down, something just went wrong. His poor wrinkled face hit the ground before the rest of his body, which I felt pretty bad about. We left ASAP.

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Dinner turned out to be at NONA, a New Orleansy restaurant in downtown Athens. That was very special because we consider New Orleans to be an important part of the beginning of our friendship! He surprised me by inviting our parents and my sister and her boyfriend all together to eat dinner. It felt like a dream, really. It was the first time that we were all eating together as a family.

After all of this, we celebrated the right way: Blizzards from Dairy Queen. And that’s why I must marry him.

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I’m so excited to spend the rest of my life with a best friend that can tell it to me straight when I’m being unreasonable, but will support me with my dreams like the Etsy shop. I never felt okay with the fact that I’m such a crier until I met someone who would hold me even when I’m crying over the most pointless things. I like to think that our personalities balance each other out. We will for sure have hard times but I can’t even imagine giving up on him. I can’t believe God blessed me with him! I’m so thankful we both showed up at the same place.

Reading & ..Writing?

Student teaching is in full swing! Needless to say, my days have gotten a lot busier than they were in the summer. I’m already running out of cute teacher clothes to wear, which is a TRAGEDY. I’m going to have to get creative…

Something I really want to work on during this semester is to still make time for reading books. All throughout college I have used school as an excuse to neglect reading for pleasure. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I never want to stop actively reading a book if at all possible. Here’s what I’ve been reading and am looking forward to reading next:

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Cold Tangerines – I enjoyed Bread & Wine a lot when I read it in the spring, so I knew that I would have to read another Shauna Niequist book at some point. Her writing is so comforting and beautiful. I love the way she tells a story!

The Nesting Place – I really loved this. I just finished it today. It was a birthday gift from my mom. Decorating and creating have always been a passion of mine since I was a child and I rearranged my room every month. This will definitely be a book to read and re-read as I move through life making new places feel like home–wherever God leads me.

Let’s All Be Brave – Jessica and I had our first book club meeting this past week and it was a huge success. I say book club to sound fancy, but in reality it’s the two of us sitting at 2 Story talking about life and the book. It’s so good! And I feel like we’re friends with Annie F. Downs because she’s a UGA grad from Marietta. Basically it’s like we know her, right? Reading about what it means to be brave actually led to Jessica inviting me to come on an adventure with her next month…

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We had talked about this book by Emily P. Freeman on Thursday and how good we thought it looked! This morning, I woke up to a text from her sharing an opportunity to go to this conference called At The Barn: A Place for Writers. I read some more about it and realized that it’s being held by the author herself in North Carolina! It looked truly magical. The only problem was that I would miss the Tennessee game and if I wanted to go, I had to act fast because there’s only 50 spots at this conference.

I could’ve sat and thought about this a while, but I didn’t have the time. I could’ve listed all the reasons not to go, such as football, the fact that I don’t claim to be a “writer,” or that it could be a waste of time or money. But something felt like God was telling me to go for it! Am I worthy of going? I’m not really sure yet. The description to the event contained these bullet points:

  • Gain fresh perspective on your writing for your internet-fatigued soul
  • Recognize the critical voices keeping you from your best song, story, or post.
  • Discover hopeful relief from the weight of comparison and competition

I at least can say that I have a lot of weight from comparison and competition in my head and there is no doubt about that. From my future teaching career to every day in our Etsy shop activities, I feel a constant battle against my human tendency to compare myself to the talents and success of others. Every time I share a blog post, I fear that people will think I sound stupid or meaningless.
I’m tired of thinking these thoughts, and I’m looking forward to what will come about through this conference in a few weeks! And I’m thankful for Jessica for asking me to be brave. 🙂

Currently

I love a good link up! This one is with Dearest Love and In Residence! Here we go.

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Currently…

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Reading – I just finished Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle and it was a joy to read! She’s such a great storyteller. And it led to my discovery of her podcast, which was the perfect thing to listen to a couple of weeks ago when I was driving back to Athens from Auburn, AL. Next up, I am REALLY excited to read Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs. I’m waiting on my friend Jessica from Delightfully Unspeakable Joy so that we can read it together and have a mini book club sort of thing but I CAN’T WAIT!

Enjoying – my new room in my new place. Now that I’m living with my sister in her apartment (our apartment now) things are much different from living with three friends in our big Pineview apartment. It’s taking some adjusting on both of our parts, but I do think God arranged things just this way so that Jessica and I can live together and see what he has in store for us! And I have to say, I’m truly enjoying having my own bathroom and a more spacious room to work on Etsy products.

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Listening – Emily Hearn & Rend Collective lately.

Photographing – Product photos and mostly pictures of potential Etsy products that I will send to Lindsey for an honest opinion.. And I really love this picture I took Sunday night of my friend Kelsey looking quite adorable after she got married!

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Feeling – hungry!! And poppyseed chicken is in the oven so that’s about to change. 🙂

Treasures

It’s been a fantastic week for the shop, and if you haven’t seen these already, check out my new Athens prints!

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You might think I’m a little weird for this, but I love packing. I love to gather up my belongings and clear out old stuff that I no longer need. Packing everything up signifies a new beginning just around the corner. I also love unpacking. You get to start fresh and have a new beginning. Maybe you can choose how to decorate things a little bit differently. Why not?

But this week, I learned about my hatred for the process in between packing and unpacking.
MOVING.
It started out all fine. I was slowly packing up my things in Pineview because I had a few days and not much to pack. Then Scarlett said she was stressed that I hadn’t packed much. I looked around thinking, okay, I’ve actually packed a lot and you just can’t tell.
But guess what? I own a lot of crap. A lot.
A lot.
I didn’t realize this until the third or fourth car load in the middle of the day in late July. I was literally growling out loud in anger with the verse “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” running through my head.

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So I went back and looked up that verse.
Matthew 6:19-21

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So…why do I need all of this jank? Why do I have so many DVDs and over 15 knitted scarves? My things might not be moth ridden or rusted, but some of it has gathered dust. Some of it has been pushed to the back of my closet and forgotten. Yet if someone tried to take my things away from me, I’d be upset. Don’t take my treasures!

What are the treasures that you’re guilty of holding onto? Your iPhone? Your computer? A closet full of clothes you don’t really wear?
Me too.

The thing I seem to forget is that these things will wither away. They are truly meaningless compared to the treasures in Heaven that I should be preparing.

I’m not saying that I’m going to sell all of my possessions and live out of a cardboard box (although that would make moving a lot quicker and less sweaty), but that verse does put things into a clear perspective for me.

Breathe

Posting two days in a row? This has never happened before.

 

One problem that I tend to have is procrastinating on online homework or any other little task on my computer..job applications, email, etc. I had about 9 tabs open at once this morning and it was just stressful to look at! I can say that I’ll never be as bad as Ben, though.. I know he’s been messing with my computer when I open it to find 12 tabs open, one of them always being ESPN. Anyway, what a glorious moment it was when I came home from the GACE, finished my online homework, and cleared out all of those tabs! That’s a fantastic feeling.

Now I have the rest of the day to do what I want to do without any guilt: create. (And watch Parenthood.)

Just when I was starting to get discouraged about a dry week in the Etsy shop, two people contacted me about custom orders. I definitely feel like it’s the most rewarding when I get to create a specific design for somebody. That’s what I’m about to be working on!

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photo 2The top one is still in the works, but the bottom one is done. I’m super excited about these because I love writing out custom verses that speak to peoples’ hearts. Especially when they’re for a child’s room! Eeek!

 

But first, I want to do this little thing I found on Oh Simple Thoughts:

Lately I am:

Making | custom prints for a lovely customer!
Cooking | umm..cookies?  Okay but actually, I cooked some squash and zucchini last night and sprinkled Parmesan cheese on it. Definitely a success. 
Drinking | Coke Zero.. trying to wean off of Coke. Slowly..
Reading | Sadly, nothing. But I ordered Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle yesterday!
Wanting | Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
Looking | forward to picking up Ben from the airport tomorrow! He’s been job training in San Antonio.
Playing | Parenthood on Netflix… y’all. It’s too good. I cry on average once an episode.
Wishing | for a CFA ice cream cone.
Enjoying | being done with the GACE.
Waiting | on God.
Wondering | how many cookies I will eat before this day is over.
Loving | my campus minister and his words of encouragement today.
Watching | Oh whoops.. Already said Parenthood! I also relived my childhood with the Parent Trap the other day with the little ones I babysit. I enjoyed it way more than they did.
Marveling | at God’s blessings. One being that he brought me to UGA four years ago.
Wearing | Nike shorts and a t shirt. All summer long.
Buying | floss, face wipes, and sunscreen. CRAZY.
Getting | to live with my sister in just a couple of weeks! Yay!
Feeling | FREE!

What’s In My Bag?

This is my first time ever doing a link up, and I’m pretty excited about it! My friend and shop partner Lindsey showed me this link up that’s cohosted by In It’s Time and Rivers and Roads. I just love following good blogs. 🙂

 

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This is my beat up Fossil bag that I bought for myself for Christmas a couple years ago. It’s been the best purse I’ve had. I’ve learned that I really prefer bags with a shoulder strap because I like to have my hands free! This one has always been wonderful.

So here are the contents of my purse, set up in a lovely way just for you:

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Wallet – Another Fossil purchase, but this one was great because I found it in an outlet store so it was super cheap!

Dachshund greeting cards –  These cards were made by Natty Michelle Paperie, my favorite Etsy shop…other than my own, of course. 😉 I’ve been carrying them around with the intent to give them to my sister as a birthday gift, but just haven’t gotten a chance to get over to her apartment yet. Side note, in only a couple weeks it will be OUR apartment!

Athens Farmer’s Market coins – I had to get these when I went to the market and didn’t have cash. But don’t let these fool you into thinking I’m trendy and frequent the Farmer’s Market. I’ve only been twice.

Chapstick, Hand Sanitizer, & Band Aids – Because you always need these.

Orbit Gum – My favorite!

Sunglasses – I love my retro looking sunglasses! I bought them a few years ago but it took me this long to become brave enough to wear them.

Stamps – Because you just never know when you’ll need to send some snail mail!

Bubbles – These are leftover from my super fun weekend celebrating the wedding of Josh & Emily Mosley! We sent them off with these cute little bubbles.

Micron Pen – These amazing pens came into my life when we started working on our Etsy shop. Now I keep one on me all the time because they’re just great for writing quick notes or writing in my planner.

2014 Planner – How CUTE is my planner? Sorry but it just is. I really needed a planner that was small enough to fit into my purse so that I could always have it. It’s become pretty important to me, being used for school and work, but sometimes to scribble down a prayer in the middle of the day.  I also have essential lists in there that I would die without.

Keys – I try to keep my keys simple but I found this recycled license plate keychain in a shop in DT Chattanooga and loved it! It’s my favorite.

 

I hope you enjoyed the contents of my bag! I’m excited to see what’s in yours. 🙂

In Its Time

Where I’m From

Every semester in our Early Childhood classes, at least one teacher brings up these poems that teachers like to do called the “Where I’m From” poem. It’s a cool way to get kids to share what has shaped them into the little people that they are. I decided to create one for myself. It was a really nice thing to do. It made me sit and reflect on certain little things that contributed to the things I like to do now. I would be nowhere without watching Arthur as a child, am I right?

So read it, and then tell me where YOU are from. 🙂

Diamond Glass Brook, 1996

I am from blue grass and red clay.

Coca-cola and chicken noodle soup.

I am from Baptist potlucks and homemade snow cream.

Salted tomatoes and grilled cheese.

I am from my older sister and dress up games.

I am from a teacher and a preacher.

Lacy sunday socks that stayed on until Monday.

I am from journals and gel pens.

Long car rides and the license plate game.

Tea parties with Chips Ahoy cookies and glasses of Coke.

I am from Neverland, the Land of Oz, and the Magic Kindgom.

I am from old hymns and friendship bracelets.

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