our louisiana christmas

Our highly anticipated Christmas vacation has ended as quickly as it began. Last night we came home to a perfectly green tree that we left neglected for two whole weeks. It's as if our little evergreen new we needed a little more Carolina Christmas.
The two weeks away were mainly characterized by family and eating only carbs and sugar. It could have been an experiment for what it's like living in a family compound, sharing all kinds of responsibilities under one roof. We took dogs out and fed cows and passed the baby around so someone else could stir what was on the stove at the time. We took turns playing with our favorite five year old and wrapped gifts and decorated trees. We watched movies and played late night charades. We baked enough sweets and dips and casseroles that our Southern heritage never be questioned. There was even some fence-building. And there was target practice with both pistols and shot guns, of course.

After spending a week in Franklinton and a week in Ruston, there are plenty of characteristics that stand in stark contrast of one another, and there are plenty of that don't. Though there was certainly no fence-building or cow-feeding as my mom's house, both weeks allowed for those conversations that don't normally happen over the phone or through a text. They brought plenty of time to be lazy bums and opportunities to live daily life together. There was time to sneak off and hug all those long distance forever friends. We spent the vast majority of that time laughing and, in the quiet moments, we remembered we had much to be thankful for - for health and safe travel and the deep love of our families. For those family members whose lives are quieting though their influence never will. And for those who fill that noiseless void with he sound of bouncy balls and baby squeals.
We are happily unpacking in Columbia, looking forward to what this new year in what still feels like a new home will bring. I hope you had the happiest of Christmases, that you cherished time with family, and that you tried, for another year, to grasps the miracle of Christ's sacrificial birth.
And if you want to keep celebrating, head over to King Street. I'm determined to keep our tree up until every branch is brown!


interior design, bad photos, and a sore elbow

Sunday was the best day.

D and I met Brandon, Molly, and the girls in the picturesque Senoia, Georgia [supposedly pronounced like suh-noy]. The little town is not only a great meeting place between Montgomery and Columbia, it is filled with beautiful historical homes, surprisingly great antique and gift shops, and the 2012 Southern Living Idea House. This being SL's first year to do a historical renovation instead of actually building the house, it felt like we were on a pilgrimage to the ultimate southern and antique interior design inspiration center of the world. Too dramatic?

Regardless, it was awesome. PLUS, I got to hold Anna nearly the entire time which is where the bad photos and sore elbow comes in. I was holding our little chunky monkey with one arm and trying to take pictures with the other. The good news is that I can finally straighten my elbow today. It was all very worth it.

I wanted to share a few of my [shaky] pictures of details you may not be able to see on their website.

[Ok, not a few. A lot.]

Being with M&B, loving on our nieces, and soaking up all kinds of ideas before this house-building venture made for the very best Sunday. If you're even decently near in the next week, I suggest you have your own little pilgrimage and make a visit!


christmas on king street

When it comes to Christmas decorations, I can completely lose my mind in aisles and aisles worth of glitter. Over the years, I've learned that I regret when I over-sparkle, but this can only be realized outside of the glitz trance.

Put down the 40% off Hobby Lobby coupon and walk to your car.

It's hard, y'all.

But by combining a little bit of glitter, D's rustic preferences, and yearly Shiny Brites from my mom, I think we've come out with a good balance this year.

The only things we actually purchased were a tree, a giant roll of brown paper, a little extra ribbon, a rosemary topiary, and two $5 fresh garlands at Lowes' Black Friday sale. But the most important part of our decorations this year was the trunk load worth of free tree clippings. After making a wreath and a swag, I shoved them in containers until I ran out of surfaces to put them on!

By the Christmas tree with a book is absolutely my favorite place to be, and, if you need me, you can find me there soaking it up before our Christmas in Louisiana tour begins.

Which I'll gladly say SAYONARA to our pretty little tree for the sake of Christmas at the moms' houses. Though I may combust from pure excitement before that happens.

Merry Official Christmas Season!


an advent guide

As a self pronounced lover-of-busy, this quote from a favorite author really stuck with me since last Christmas:

"You can show up with your perfectly wrapped grab bag gift & your perfectly baked cookies...and your perfectly resentful and frazzled self, ready to snap at the first family member you see." [Shauna Niequist]

This year does happen to be different. When you know less people and are involved in less than ever in your 23 years, you have less to cause that so-called frazzle. But I've realized that distractions remain, that there is always something to consume my mind. It's decorating the house or thinking about those that I miss or hoping for change. Regardless of what it is, I aim to not let them distract from this season that comes once and year and leaves all too quickly.

To help this problem, D went searching for Piper's advent guide and found that he suggested one from The Village Church. Week one runs from November 25th to December 1st [which I realize is today], but I wanted to share anyway. I promise not to tell if  you cheat a little on your advent guide.

You can find the .pdf here

I hope that this heightens our yearning for Christ - for His coming, for His will to be done. I know that my controlling lover-of-busy self needs to yearn less for those few extra Christmas parties we've grown accustom to and more for His peace and His purpose in our lives.