cookies and flowers

[hos·pi·tal·i·ty (noun): the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way]

For my entire 22 [almost 23] years, my poor dad has graciously shared a birthday week with the baby of the family [that's me]. He's been a great sport when his birthday cake always read, "Happy Birthday Meagan!" written boldly in the center with a little "and Don too!" over in the bottom corner. Amazingly, my sister married someone whose birthday falls on one of the two days that bridge mine and my dad's birthdays. What are the chances, right?

This has given us three reasons to celebrate and three reasons to be together during the last weekend of January. This year, the fam are all on their way to our little apartment!

It might be one of the last times we host a crowd for a weekend in this quaint place of ours until we pack it up and move north [though we welcome any others any time!]. With the five of them heading our way, it has me thinking on the command of hospitality. 

[...seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:13b]

I am challenged by this command, ideas I've read, ways the Lord has taught me, and how I've experienced this from others. I desire to make anyone who is here feels comfortable, to feel as though they were remembered and planned for. And when its a surprise visit, I still want to be prepared. Beyond that, I definitely don't think that hospitality requires stuff. At all. I believe the most important thing to be making them feel safe and warm and considered. I agree with Maya Angelou she said, "People may not remember what you did or what you said, but they'll always remember how you made them feel.

I love to feed people, and I love flowers. Those two passions are often how hospitality is shown tangibly on in my life. So for my fam - cookies and breakfast menus and flowers - what more could you want? More importantly, I know them, and I know they'll like it.

Remember the cookie cutters I wished for? I finally got to put them to good use. They get strong reviews in my book! They're easy to use and give those of us no longer in school a little brain teaser to be able to get all the letters in the right way so that they'll mirror correctly when cut. It was a challenge, y'all. The only change I would make is the addition of numbers and punctuation. I'm somewhat of a explanation point user. And I'm afraid my cookies read a little apathetic. I think they'll understand. 

Recipe here.

After the addition of flour and some time in the over, my turquoise and sunshine yellow cookies turned into a little more like jade and a 1970's harvest gold.

Some don't know this, but I have big big florist dreams. Flowers, more than any other non-animate worldly thing, bring me an incredible amount of happiness. Especially pink ones. 

Obviously, I need some direction. But even the practice is fun!

So here's to loving cookies and flowers. And here's to not letting the excuse of only having an extra twin bed or tight apartment or small budget dictate our hospitality. And here's to celebrating January birthdays with the greatest, God-given family!


DIY-ing together

Last night, Caitlyn hosted a girls craft night. It was all things girly and the perfect reason to get together, if you ask me. As the modge podge and embroidery floss flew, so did the shared stories, unexpected connections, and really awesome snacking.

The night saw the creation of everything from yarn wreaths to wrap necklaces to silhouette creations to deck of cards valentines to salt dough jewelry.

I dreamed up a little embroidery project with part of one of D's favorite Bible verses. It was super easy. I used a water and air soluble marker to draw my design and the good ol' back stitch. For future reference, the marker functions much like an disappearing ink pen that you get for selling the most magazines in your class or that comes in a detective toy set. This means that I should not draw the design the night before and expect it to be there 24 hours later. Lesson learned, disappearing marker. Lesson learned.

We ended the night with a little Center Stage. Could it get more [girly and] perfect?


big news + big changes

No baby, y'all. You'll just have to keep reading for a few more years for that announcement [but my sister did find out this week that they're having another girl! YEA!!].

Come May or June, this little Jenkins family will be, for the first time ever, establishing residence outside of Louisiana. The Lord has so graciously provided a job for D as a mechanical engineer with Albemarle, Inc. in Columbia, South Carolina. Even after telling our families, friends, bosses, and church family, typing this is making it seem even more like reality.

Soon we'll be looking for a place to call home in a city we've never experienced, Google mapping the nearest grocery store, visiting new churches, meeting new faces. I'll probably get lost a bunch, and Dustin will gently explain how to get from here to there once again. Dustin will have an 8 to 5 job and the luxury of being home in the evenings. That will be new. And incredible. We'll constantly pray for direction to a church community and [try to] wait patiently as our faithful Lord provides. We'll be thrilled about finally getting to spend Saturdays together, and I'll start planning all the places we can take day trips to [Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Atlanta, Savannah].

I look forward to meeting those new faces, sitting around the dinner table filled with both low country and Cajun recipes, and experiencing those soul-binding moments when you figure out you have an odd, shared interest. But I know when I remember the faces whose features are etched onto my heart after so much life-sharing, there will be aches. And when I'm shopping over 700 miles away from them and see something that I know they'd like, I'll wish they were there. But, in that moment, I'll be thankful that community has the ability to stretch but survive. And maybe I'll overnight it to them. I've done long distance before, and I'll do it again.

But we're not breaking out the cardboard boxes yet. D doesn't graduate for another 17 weeks, 3 days, 18 hours, 47 minutes and 29 seconds. I'm compelled, more than ever, to truly cherish the time we have left in Baton Rouge, to spend time with our loved ones that are near, to visit parents and grandparents, to get lunch with friends and kiss their babies, to soak up the presence and wisdom of our church community, to get really good at Louisiana cooking, and to actually go to the Baton Rouge Farmer's Market for once. Going is so exciting. And leaving makes me heartsick.

There are very few details right now other than Dustin has the job, and we're moving sometime after he graduates. What is certain and obvious is the Lord's guiding and provisional plan. We both agree that this is the biggest change we've ever made [along with marriage]. When we began the process of praying through the different job options, we wondered if we could be sure. They were all good opportunities, but we didn't just want to pick our favorite. Never have I felt the Lord's guiding hand so strongly on our backs, helping us take the next step until, all of a sudden, the decision was made and the contracts were signed. We are thankful for the assurance and thankful for this faith-deepening experience and thankful for the provision of a job. We are so excited to still be the same distance from my sister and her family which provides and great half-way point for my parents. And we are excited that D's grandmother owns a cabin near our new home, giving all the Jenkinses lots of reasons to road trip.  And we are excited because living in His plan is the best!


wheelin' and dealin': pottery barn-esque ribbon

Hi y'all. It's been five days. How did that happen? If the writing inspo doesn't flow, the writing doesn't happen. But that little dry spell is over, and I've got myself an idea list.

And some [big] news that I'd really like to share with you. That's tomorrow.

But for today, check out this awesome buy from Hobby Lobby. I was actually shopping for a denim patch to repair the gaping hole in the part of my jeggings where holes shouldn't be allowed. Anyway, I spotted this, had a moment of blackout from disbelief when I realized what a good price it was, and then snatched it from the shelf as if someone was going to come wrestle it from me.

I saw some nearly-identical ribbon like this in Pottery Barn's Christmas collection. It was a small roll for over $16. This, on the other hand, was 69 cents a yard!

I used half for it a wreath I can use all year. As much as I love wreath making, an 8 to 5 job calls for time-saving ideas.

I embroidered the text using the back stitch and kept the ribbon secure with an embroidery hoop. Burlap is very forgiving as an embroidery material. Super easy. And crazy-inexpensive!

I'm hoping to tackle some more embroidery projects soon. They are incredibly therapeutic and somewhat addicting. It must run in the family - my mom has told me that she used to stay up into the early hours of the morning while she was pregnant with me. Care to join? We can channel our inner old lady and stitch on the porch in rocking chairs with some sweet tea. Yes? Ok, great. Here's some inspiration:



the governor's inauguration

 I'm happy to say that I'm very glad we decided to attend Governor Jindal's inauguration events. It was well worth the tux rental and squeezing into a bridesmaid's dress. [How in the world did that thing shrink so much since March?!]

Side note: I did my hair from a tutorial found here. I don't consider myself good with hair at all, but this was so easy, and I was so happy with how it turned out! I put my hair in tight, smaller curlers for a long time instead of using a curling iron. Mainly because I'm completely incapable of using one. It even stayed after dancing and chatting in a warm room and exposure to our unusually warm January evening. 

We enjoyed the general splendor and clinking of glasses and historical speeches and the yummy food served by waiters on modern white treys. What girl doesn't like dancing in a long dress with a cute guy in a tux? And a special thanks to my wonderful friend, Meg Hope, for lending me a piece of Mignon Faget that I'd never possess on my own.


my husband is having a birthday

Did you know? Today is my Dustin's birthday!

Happy birthday to my [still] new husband who I just love a whole whole lot.
Happy birthday to the guy who refuses wear sandals [except Chacos] just in case he needs to fight off or chase down a bad guy.
Happy birthday to my incredibly hard worker and faithful project finisher. I think he actually likes cleaning sometimes. And I know he likes fixing and building things.
Happy birthday to my other half who is far from perfect [hey, me too] but always speaks and acts above reproach.
Happy birthday to the boyfriend, fiance, and husband who is stubborn strong enough to not let me dictate what he should wear. I really am glad for this. In a world full of trying-to-hard [myself included sometimes], I think it may be completely impossible for him to be anyone but himself. Which is wonderful.
Happy birthday to the man who taught me the words to all his favorite Chicago [the band, not the movie] songs.
Happy birthday to the person who has shown me the most grace in my lifetime, who has made me feel inconceivably loved, and who teaches me a lot about Jesus. My tender heart is thankful.
And happy birthday to the guy with the really awesome arm muscles [too much?].

Here's to celebrating 24 more years of life! And 24 more years after that. And, maybe, 24 more years after that?

After all, he is my favorite life to celebrate.


ringing in 2012

With a late-working husband, a lot of our crew out of town, other plans falling through, and an opportunity for incredibly rare alone time, Dustin and I had a New Years Eve date. Before he left for work that morning, we devised a little plan for our night in, and he built the bones of this:

Our lovely little haven for the night.

And I devised a New Years menu after some research. I'm pretty sure you're supposed to eat all this business on New Years Day. I think we probably snacked on some leftovers after the midnight countdown. That definitely counts. I tried to memorize what each of them meant so that I could give D a nice little menu presentation, but the brain was still on vacation. So, to redeem myself, here it is...

Black eyed peas - In the South, they are thought to bring prosperity
Pork [there was bacon in the fritters] - Pigs represent progress by the way they root forward in the ground
Cabbage - In Germany, Ireland, and parts of the United States, cabbage is associated with luck and fortune
Noodles - In Asian countries, they are meant to bring long life
Pomegranate - In Turkey and other Mediterranean countries, they are associated with abundance and fertility [hello!]
Champagne - because its New Years, duh

After dinner, we shared some goals for our second year of marriage. They were certainly encouraging. And grace was promised while doing our best to hold one another to them. Because I can't pass up an opportunity, we did a little craft project in which we wrote and framed our said resolutions. In front of our faces daily is much better than in the notes section of our cell phones.

And then we listened in slight fear [me] as our mid-city apartment complex sounded like a war zone.

Happy New Year!