Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hiatus

I'm taking a little break from blogging from now until Thanksgiving! I need a little breather and want to enjoy blogging as a creative outlet and right now it feels more like another thing on my to do list :) Needing some down time, some new inspiration, and some time away. So, I'll see y'all in a month!

Photo from our fall photo shoot with Robyn Van Dyke Photography last week!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hope fully on grace

Drink this in. So good.

 (From 1 Peter 1)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Painting our house

Well folks...we are pulling the trigger. We are painting the brick on our house to match the siding so it will be an all-white house! I know that will make some of you cringe and shake your head, but hey! We  know we love painted brick - we always have. We even did a little photo-shop action to see if we would like it and we LOVE it. We did a couple test swatches in different parts around our house to test the color and we are ready to go!


So at the end of this little outdoor makeover, we'll have a white house (!!), black shutters, and a bright cheerful red door! We are hoping to start a big chunk of it this weekend. Cannot wait to see our white house!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Randal + April

This past weekend, we got to be apart of a very special wedding that we've been looking forward to for so long! Rob's best friend from growing up, Randal, married his sweet & beautiful woman, April! It was such a sweet weekend back in New Bern with great friends & family - it all flew by way too quickly.

There were many things about this wedding that made it special for us. First, Randal's family, the Quidleys, are like a second family for Rob so it was really special to get to spend a lot of time with them during the weekend - they are such a sweet, welcoming, warm family. Secondly, Randal & April both love the Lord so much and that is so evident in their lives. It's so neat to see people come together to serve the Lord better. Thirdly, it was in New Bern! We love that place and we got to stay with Da & Nama Shields for a night - we loved getting to spend lots of time with them!

Randal was a groomsmen in our wedding and also read scripture during our ceremony. He's the one next to my (little) brother on his right :)

Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures at the rehearsal or rehearsal dinner but I made up for it the next day at the wedding!

During the ceremony... (can you spot Rob? :))

Best friends after the ceremony!

Everyone thought it was pretty amusing that Rob was holding April's bouquet :)

Love this picture! Happy groom :)

They really were the most chill bride & groom I've ever seen. They were SO fun to be around!

Sneaking a picture while waiting between ceremony & reception

Most of the bridal party in front of Tryon Palace


Loved getting to spend time with my sweet mother-in-law! 

Rob also got to catch up and spend some time with John! He was also a groomsmen in our wedding and we loved getting to catch up! (Sweetest wool tie EVER)

John, Randal, and Rob

With the bride & groom!

Loved the groom's cake :)

Such a beautiful weekend! Can't wait to see how the Lord uses Randal & April together to further His kingdom and bring glory to His name! So blessed to be friends with y'all and can't wait for the many years ahead walking through life together :) We love you guys!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One happy Sunday

My idea of a perfect Sunday may be different than most people's. But luckily I married someone who loves the same things I do :)

So we recently had a wonderfully, cozy, perfect Sunday. Rob had just gotten back from being out of town and we made the most of our weekend day together.



And then some of this...


(See what I mean? Not everyone would call doing work around the house "cozy" or "perfect" but oh man...I love it!)

Then I ordered my man to post up on the couch and watch football while I made some a delicious, hearty fall meal!

Roasted potatoes with veggies

Quinoa (first time trying it - so healthy but not so crazy about it)

Pumpkin bread & chocolate chip pumpkin bread!

The whole meal - potatoes, quinoa, chicken casserole and green beans!

And just when you didn't think the bread could get yummier (or healthier) - icing!
It was such a great long day - spending lots of time outdoors and eating good food! :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Painting the shutters black

Another outdoor update that was so easy & simple but made such a huge difference! We have hated our shutters since the day we moved in and we finally fixed them. For awhile we thought about buying new ones but decided to try painting them to see if that would do it. So we bought some Rustoleum spray paint in black with a semigloss finish and got to work!

First Rob took them down and cleaned them off...

Hello naked house...


All of our shutters (from the front of our house) all lined up. Check out that oh-so-attractive green color...I think it's called "blah".


We dried them off and then got to painting! Look at how much better that ONE little piece looks after it's sprayed! The change was instantaneous.

Spraying them was super easy. We did two coats total - the first one took longer to dry and was a little sticky but after the second coat it dried super fast and had great coverage. They look like totally new shutters.

Here it is with 4 done! I was too excited to wait for the other two to dry and so I took a picture :)

And here's all 6! I love love love it! It already looks like a new house! (And our biggest change is yet to come)

Love the black shutters on the white siding. So pretty.

Ready for the before & after?




Monday, October 8, 2012

Premade breakfast sandwiches

I got this great idea from my friend, Courtney. She's a super organized teacher who got a lovely idea from pinterest to premake her breakfasts for the week. I saw the picture and I was so intrigued. I never have time to eat breakfast before I leave for work but I always starving at work and wishing I had.

So last night I gave it a shot! I went here for the recipe (also copied below).

What you need:
12 eggs, scrambled
2 cups baby spinach
Butter
6-8 ounces cheese, grated
12 whole wheat English muffins
Bacon (my addition...so necessary)
Muffin pan

First I just scrambled all the eggs together (the recipe suggests adding a little water and that definitely helped me beat so many eggs at once). Then I greased up my muffin pan really good with butter. I also cooked the bacon a little just to make sure it wouldn't be raw in our sandwiches later :) 

Next you just put the egg, spinach, and bacon in each little muffin hole in the pan. You can fill up the muffin holes about 3/4 - I did them more full than that and they overflowed a little :) I cut up the bacon into little bits for each sandwich and did the same with the spinach. 



You then cook those at 350 for 20-22 minutes. 



Once they are cooked all the way through and cooled off, you can pop them out onto an english muffin (with some cheese spread on it). Then wrap up each sandwich in tin foil and freeze them in a ziploc bag. 

When you're ready to eat 'em, pop 'em either in the microwave or the oven (350 for 30 minutes). We just pop ours in when we make our coffee and just grab them on our way out the door! It works perfectly! 

Photo from Macheesmo


I actually made 24 last night so we could have them for 2 weeks. It really took no time at all and I am so excited to have breakfast every morning :)

Thanks, Court! And thanks Pinterest!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Neighborhood update

How is it going? 

We are often asked this question about the ministry we are doing in our new neighborhood & community. (For more info about what we are doing: see this post, this post, and this post.) So this post has been a long time coming. But it is maybe the most overwhelming to write. I’ve started it in my mind several times but it’s so hard to sum up in words how we feel like everything is going.

It’s also difficult to measure our ministry in any type of metrics... tangible stories or events…when it is so much about the slow-building of relationships that will take so much more time than a few months.

But I think it’s good to stop and reflect and share. So in order to make it a little less daunting, I’m going to split it into little sub-sections.

Safety 
Amazingly and thankfully I feel incredibly safe in our home and in our neighborhood. So much is happening around us and outside our windows but the Lord has been gracious to protect us from it. I also think we have done some smart, easy things to help with this feeling of safety – locking our doors, setting our alarm both during the day and at night, not going out by myself at night, etc. We’ve only had one incident where we had to call the cops (domestic fight in our front yard that Rob had to break up), and that was scary, but even in that – the Lord really protected us. I also feel safer every day because we have great relationships with our neighbors, and we are confident that they would not just stand by and watch someone rob or harm us.

Location 
We are so thankful that it seems like we are in just the right place. I have not second-guessed our neighborhood choice one single time since we moved. We are blessed to have many people we can minister to in our neighborhood, but even if all those people moved out, we have so many organizations/opportunities around us where we can reach out and serve. We have a community park within walking distance (Lion’s Park), we can see a large housing project from our house (Raleigh North), a Boys & Girls Club is about 2 miles away, as is an at-risk high school. We also literally have a bus stop in our front yard, which is great for meeting people and having opportunities to talk to them. There is no shortage of opportunities to share the Gospel and share our lives.

Source: etsy.com via K C on Pinterest


Our Neighbors 
We love our neighbors. We've really gotten to know our direct neighbors - next door and across the street. We have two really unique and very different opportunities to serve in very tangible ways. I’ll try to describe them and our relationships with them as sensitively as possible and also without sharing their personal lives all over the internet :) Our next door neighbors are an elderly couple who have lived in their house since the neighborhood was built. They have been in & out of the hospital since May. We have gotten to know their son very well and have been able to bring some peace of mind to their family, knowing that someone is keeping an eye for them. We’ve also gotten to mow their lawn, and watch over their house while they are struggling with their health. It’s such an awesome opportunity to serve. Our across the street neighbors have been renting their house for 6 months. They have a lot of jobs at odd hours and there are always a lot of people coming in and out of their house – lots of activity. They are some of the most outgoing and friendly people though. I think Rob did a great job of saying hello and chatting with them every time he saw them at first and now they feel totally comfortable coming over to chat or knocking on our door asking for a favor. It’s so awesome. Rob has a really cool relationship with our neighbor’s uncle who comes over often. Rob offered to mow their lawn and mentioned that he’d have to wait until we got our lawn mower fixed. Uncle Aaron piped up that he actually fixes lawn mowers and so he tinkered around with ours & fixed it for free! So Rob got to mow their lawn to say thank you and later Uncle Aaron even asked Rob for a ride to the doctor. I love how this relationship is developing – it’s mutual and not just us reaching out to them. We also had our neighbor's stepson and friend (two high school aged guys) come over and ask for a favor...so we got to get to know them too and Rob got to talk to them about FCA at their schools. It seems like we have so many opportunities to connect and get to know them.


That’s a small little summary for you! There are so many little stories and experiences that have encouraged us along the way – too many to share! We feel really blessed to be where we are and to be called to this area and this ministry. Thank you, Jesus!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A cheerful new door!

This past weekend, I painted our front door! Our sweet little home sweet home needs a little lovin' on the outside so we are slowly working towards fixin' her up. We got big plans.

Here's what our door looked like before... blah bleh bluh.

So Saturday night, Sarah came over and we got to work.  I prepped the door by sanding down any rough spots, cleaning it completely, taping off the hardware and sides, and putting a drop cloth underneath. 

I saw this picture of a beautiful red door (on a white house) in HGTV magazine and the paint color was this "Real Red" by Sherwin Williams. So I got it color-matched at Lowe's in Duramax paint + primer for exterior surfaces. Let me tell you... it is Real Pink. NOT RED. I wanted something with more of an orange undertone...not pink (for obvious reasons). So after one coat, we gave up that it would turn red magically and we headed back to Lowe's. 

Luckily the paint mixer was super nice and helpful and he fixed it for us for free! The new color we chose was "Fabulous Red" by Valspar (we had to choose a Valspar color for him to be able to fix it). I LOVE IT. It's perfect and SO much better than the first choice.

This was a very poorly lit first picture of our new cheerful front door!

And here she is out in the wild... I LOVE IT!





What's that? You want to see some more before & after shots? Well since you asked..



 


Isn't that cheerful door so much more welcoming?