Baby love.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Shawn and I had the very best weekend.

We spent it in Chicago and packed it to the brim with visiting friends, eating, walking around the city, and just taking it all in. We love Chicago (if I haven't made that clear enough) :) and because it's where we met and fell in love and spent our first year of marriage, it will always be so special to us.

I have lots of pictures and stories to share, but first, I had the privilege of taking some photos of my sweet friend Angie, her husband Dave, and their new baby. She and I went to Moody together and it was so beautiful to see her as a mom for the first time. She and Dave are just naturals with their son and it's beautiful to witness their deep love for him and for each other. It was also so fun celebrating their life in the city in these pictures.

As soon as I got home tonight and dropped my luggage in our room, I almost immediately downloaded these pictures to see how they turned out. Turns out baby L is just as precious on film as he is in person. Well, almost. :) I hope you enjoy his cute little face as much as I did!

Love you guys!

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My Lovies.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If you've been reading this blog for long, you probably know about my dear friend Kirra Sue. You probably also know about her online vintage shop, Lovies, that I happen to adore.

Well, a few of her little Lovies have found new homes in Tennessee and they wanted to show off how happy they are here. (They told me.)

First off, this adorable vintage tray. It's the perfect colors for my kitchen, so it's there now, but I can totally picture it in about 15 other spots in my home.

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My favorite part?
It's magnetic! I can post recipes I'm doing right onto it while I'm cooking.

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Also, these beautiful cannisters (can you tell I love red?)
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Their new home is in the craft room. They add a little vintage charm and organization to an otherwise very chaotic place. :)

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Inside, there are spools of thread, pieces of lace and trim, wooden beads, and other crafting bits that needed somewhere to go.
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Ok, your turn now. Go check out Lovies to find something you love. :)

If you couldn't tell...

I'm really in love with my husband.
That's him right there.

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And this is me.
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And this is us, just before our date to Maggiano's last night, taking some timer pics in our front yard.

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Our time at dinner couldn't have been more perfect: a seat on the warm balcony with live music just inside. Rain that we haven't seen in weeks started to drizzle, then pour, right next to us. So romantic.
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We talked about the present - its joys and struggles. We talked about the future with excitement. We headed home so refreshed. When we're able to have a date night, we guard it like nothing else. No phones, no distractions, just us.

No matter what opportunities I have in life, I count it my greatest privilege to be by his side through all of it.

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An open letter to my favorite city.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dear Chicago,

Just look what being away from you has done to me.

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I'm growing my own produce,
making almond butter and herbal medicine from scratch,
soaking our beans and grains,
keeping a worm compost out back,
giving sewing lessons from my kitchen table,
purchasing raw honey and pumpkins from the side of the road.

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And today? 
Well, I'll just let you take a look for yourself.

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Don't get me wrong: none of these things are bad. In fact, they've become very normal and even enjoyable. They're just so very different from how I operated when you and I lived together.

So I think it's high time I get my little country self up to visit you. In fact, I'll be there very soon... 6 days and counting!

Until then, I'd much appreciate you keeping those warmer temperatures around so we can remember why we loved you so much in the Fall.

Much love from your favorite former resident,

Whitney

Sarah and Eric.

Today we had the privilege of watching these two tie the knot. 

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Congrats, Sarah and Eric!
Thank you for the privilege of spending the day with you. :)

Country living.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

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I had a proud country girl moment a couple days ago. Side note: If you know me well, you know I'm far from a country girl. But I'm trying! Shawn and I won't live in the country forever, but for now, we're trying to make the most of it. :)

I realized I had tomato soup on our menu for the evening, but when I checked our refrigerator, we had one lonely tomato left. So I went out to check our garden, and guess what? We had 4 pounds of ripe tomatoes, ready to use!

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Somehow, it's still so surprising to me that our garden even worked. And it also surprises me that near the end of October, we're still picking things from it almost daily. There are still lots of tomatoes on the vine, about 20 jalapeƱos almost ready to pick, and lots of green bell peppers. Shows how little I know about gardening. :)

On another side note, we really do live in a gorgeous place. This was our front yard one morning this week.
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Come visit? :)

How we're staying healthy during cold and flu season.

Friday, October 22, 2010

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I know this is a bit of a different post than I normally write, but I've been learning a lot recently in my various science classes about disease prevention, so I thought it might be appropriate as we're heading into cold and flu season. All these little tips are in addition to a healthy diet, which is the very best way to stay healthy.


1. Wash your hands with soap and water. I know this is very obvious, but in the antibacterial hand gel craze, it may not be so obvious. While hand sanitizer works well if you have no access to soap and water, and while it does kill most microbes, it doesn't physically destroy them and wash them away from the skin's surface like soap and water does. Most hand sanitizers are composed of mostly alcohol (60-95%) which does destroy bacteria, but it also strips away the outermost layer of skin and dries out your hands (which has to do with point #2). Also, the CDC notes that the most common infections are typically viral (not bacterial) and therefore are not killed by the active ingredients in hand gel. Bottom line? Use hand sanitizer in a pinch, but not as a replacement for good ole soap and water.


2. Moisturize your hands. Your skin is your number one protection against disease. So we have to be careful when we have wounds or openings to the skin that allow bacteria or viruses direct access to our bodies. In the winter, when your hands get really dry and sometimes crack, those little cracks are a weak spot for your immune system because they allow microbes in. No wonder it's so much easier to get sick in the dry winter, right? So keeping them moisturized protects them (and you) from disease.


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3. Elderberry syrup. It's our new secret weapon. I learned about it a year or so ago on Passionate Homemaking and Shawn and I have used it with a lot of success. This Fall and Winter, we'll be taking one teaspoon of it every morning as an immunity booster. Also, if you're at the beginning of a cold or infection, you can take 1 teaspoon every 2-3 hours and you'll get over it much quicker. It's powerful stuff! We had been buying bottles of it from Whole Foods, but just recently started making our own (which is much cheaper) with this tutorial from Mountain Rose Herbs, which is where I buy our elder berries. It's all natural, works amazingly well to fight cold and flu, and actually tastes really good. I think kids would really love it! Try it out!
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What are some tips you have on staying healthy during the cold/flu season?


P.S. Our new Champion juicer just arrived in the mail, so I may be posting some fruit/vegetable juice recipes soon. Any of you have yummy ones we should try?

Oh how He loves us!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

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Running.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
Romans 8:35-37


Yesterday I received some news that completely threw me for a loop.

As many of you know, I've been diligently preparing to begin an accelerated nursing program in January - taking all of the prerequisites, figuring out finances, making sure my application was in order.

I heard from the nursing school yesterday. I've been accepted. But. I'm on the waiting list.

What does that mean? It means that it's possible - even likely - that I may not be able to start in January. It means it's possible this wasn't even God's plan for me even though it was mine. It means I will look into other options. Now I know that I am going to be a nurse. I feel very passionate and even called to that. I can't say I ever felt passionate or called to this particular school, but it just made a lot of sense and it's really the only school in the area that does.

Initially, I felt sad. Confused, even. I have a great GPA, an incredible recommendation, all the prerequisites I needed. It shouldn't have been a problem. But as I just found out, apparently some wait on the waiting list for up to 2 years.

So after that initial shock, God quickly and mercifully covered me in peace and reminded me that He's in control after all.

When talking with my mom about it, she reminded me that there have been a lot of odd, out-of-the-blue obstacles in my life that have taken me for turns or taught me lessons I never would've planned. Maybe you can say the same? I think that's just life with God. It's an adventure after all, isn't it? Some of the twists and turns in my life have been there to teach me patience, perseverance, trust. Others have taken me on a completely different path.

For example, as a sophomore in college, I had a traumatic incident at my college in Texas where I had planned to stay for all 4 years that caused me to reconsider staying... which led me to Moody... which made me fall in love with Shawn... and fall in love with Chicago and urban ministry. Looking back on my dark days at the other college, they were almost unbearably painful and I'd never want to experience them again. But I would, because now I know that's what it took for God to move me in a new direction.

Now there's still the chance that the Lord is just saying, "Wait on me in obedience" instead of "Give this up." It's still possible that I may be able to start in January if enough people don't accept their spot and room opens up. When God asked Abraham to kill his one and only son, Abraham travelled to the place where he would sacrifice Isaac, placed Isaac on the alter, and had his knife raised. He was intent on obeying God. But just before the knife came down, an angel stopped him. God was only looking for his obedience - for Abraham to give up the thing he held most precious in the world - to show that he trusted God.

At the same time, He could also be asking me to give up my plan to go to this particular school. Inviting me to take His hand and join Him on this adventure. Begging me to renounce comfort and trust Him. Somehow, I feel like that's what He's got up His sleeve.

And you know what? That's just plain exciting! It could mean a new school, a new city, a completely new adventure with the Lord.

I firmly believe, as our pastor said on Sunday, that God's will is not a razor sharp edge. If you don't follow a very specific pathway, you've missed it. God's will is a wide open field, and we should run until we hit a fence.

Maybe this is a fence. Perhaps it will open. Whatever it is, it's not going to stop me from running.

Room to breathe.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

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Our back yard this morning, looking like Fall
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I had to take a little blogging break this past week. I've been in the middle of midterm exams (remember those?). They've all but consumed my life these past several days... waking up at 4am to study, drinking gallons of hot tea, watching youtube videos on glomerular filtration and studying hormone charts. Fun, huh? :)
I still have one test this week and another next week, but I have a little room to breathe on this long weekend and it feels SO good.

Here are a few little things I've got planned...
apple cider drinking
sweater wearing
decorating
test taking. but only one more!
walking in downtown Franklin
crafting 
organizing my laundry room/pantry
grocery shopping
taking my time doing all of it... 

I am so ready. 

What are you doing to celebrate Fall?

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It's official:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

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