Hello Again!

Well… that was a break! I’m sitting here in a bit of disbelief that it’s been over 2 years since I last blogged. It definitely wasn’t my intention to let this slide to the back burner for so long, but over the past few months, I’ve been working on a re-design and doing a lot of thinking and praying about how I wanted to venture back into something that I love and feel passionate about.

I love design, food, trends and all of life’s simple pleasures, and I still plan to post plenty of that here. I also love to capture my heart in writing, and I plan to do much more of that here too.

And that’s exactly what you can expect. My heart. The things I love. The things that bring me joys great and small. The experiences I’ve had. The things I’ve learned. The things I struggle with. The purpose I continue to find my way towards.

Looking back at the last post I left here, my heart swells at all that has happened since. Our journey with infertility has been shared here several times, and as most of you already know, that journey came to an end last Summer when we learned we were expecting our beautiful daughter, Olivia.

But it’s a topic that I still feel I have a lot to say on. So many women came before me on that road, and there are so many still behind me. It’s a topic that remains close to my heart and probably always will.

Lastly, I’m excited to take a look back at such an exciting time in our life… when we learned we were expecting, pregnancy, and Olivia’s arrival. Over the next few weeks especially, I’ll be sharing those stories.

I’m so happy to be back on this venture. It makes my heart feel glad. It brings me a ton of joy. I hope it’ll do the same for you.

AND HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT

I always debate posting about this. I wrote this post, almost erased the whole thing, re-wrote it, re-wrote it again, thought about it, saved the draft for a few weeks... you get the idea. It's intensely personal and a big part of me wants to keep it that way. But the amazing thing about this past year has been learning how many others are facing it. More than I ever realized. So many came to me and shared their stories. All of them unique, all of them difficult, and all of them amazing stories of courage and faith and hope. And I needed that, and I think they probably need it too. And that makes me happy.

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About a year ago, I shared a story about our journey with infertility. In addition to all of the beautiful stories that people shared with me, the outpouring of comments, emails, texts and general love we got in response felt like a big gigantic hug and was so encouraging. You guys were amazing to us. And we needed it.

But I'm going to be honest. If you'd asked me that day what I thought our life would look like a year later, I thought for sure it would have happened by now. A year is a long time, and I just figured it was bound to happen. But here we are, a year older, hopefully wiser, and it still hasn't happened. And if you'd asked me a year ago how I would feel about not being pregnant after all this time, I'd probably have guessed that I'd be a bitter, defeated heap of tears by now. But that's another thing I would have been wrong about.

People ask us often how things are going, and I can tell that sometimes they're hesitant to ask. And I get it. I know they don't want to bring up something that they know is painful, but I also know that they love us and want to share this journey with us and be there for us. And what I usually tell them, is that I wouldn't trade where we are now for anything. We have so much to be thankful for, certainly more than we deserve, and we are so hopeful about the future.

That's not to say there have been no tears. There have. There have been many, in fact. It never stops being a sad thing to be faced with. But I'm learning to not let the sad days feel like a setback. There's something beautiful even in the sadness, because it always teaches me a little more about God's ability and willingness to comfort. There have definitely been hard days, but the good news is that there have been so many more hopeful days.

But whether it's been a good day or a bad day, the one thing that has remained constant is God's presence in our lives. It's sort of an odd thing, really, the things you learn about Him and the unexpected ways He speaks to you. Seeing His face through the lens of hope, patience and joy, as well as through confusion, anger, disappointment, and totally imperfect faith has taught us more about His love than we ever could have imagined.

Our story is looking less and less like how I thought it would, but it's so much more beautiful and I've learned things that I might never have had the opportunity to learn otherwise. The learning has been the most wonderful part of all of this, really. It doesn't always feel wonderful at the time, but it's a lovely thing, to endure those growing pains with the peace that truly does surpass your understanding.

And that's the update. Waiting isn't always easy... in fact it almost never is, but we have so much joy and happiness in our lives and we're so grateful for the journey we're on. We're excited about the future. Physically speaking, I've had some great doctor's appointments and we're seeing great progress. We've always known that it was possible for us, but that it would likely just take time.

But I've learned to not let my hope be dictated by how things seem to be going with my body. Our hope is in something much bigger. It's in the promise of God's goodness in our life, no matter what that life winds up looking like or where it takes us. And that's a hope that never disappoints.

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A SUNNY AFTERNOON

You know how sometimes you find a shop, and as you begin to peruse the inventory you think, "Yes... one of everything please." Not that most of our budgets allow for that sort of extravagance, but you just feel so akin to the style, and you're so excited to find it that you just want to become besties with the shop owner. For me... that is shop is A Sunny Afternoon.

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Sarah Sherman Samuel runs a blog called Smitten Studio, which has become one of my favorites over the past few months. If you want to know why, just check out the cabin she's been renovating. She has just the loveliest sense of design and style, all of which comes across in the shop, and its simple assortment of boards, towels and napkins. So if you're at my house sometime in the future, and find yourself wanting to ask where I got the super fun napkins... let me save you the trouble. I got them at A Sunny Afternoon. And it's all made here in the U.S. of A. Which means you pretty much have to shop there.

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KALE CHIPS... YOU HEARD ME

So you guys, I have to confess something. I am a super picky eater. SUPER picky. I don't want to be, I want to be able to sit down to a huge lettucey salad and think "Mmmm yes please", but I think iceberg lettuce is the most wretched thing there ever was. If you made me eat even one stalk of raw celery, I would sit there in a foot-stomping gagging fit wondering when the nightmare would be over. But ne'er you worry about my vitamin intake because I have a new BFF and their name is kale chips.

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When I first heard about kale chips, I was pretty skeptical. I'd had kale before and I didn't hate it but I definitely didn't love it. It was kind of bitter tasting and we just weren't a love match. But despite my pickiness, I'm a "try anything once" (within reason) kinda gal, so a few weeks ago, in the midst of a super delicious dinner at my favorite restaurant, I noticed some crispy kale on my plate and thought it was worth finally determining if these were as delicious as everyone claimed. To my delight, they were. They were amazing. I thought about them for days and finally decided to hunt down a recipe to make some of my own.

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There are a lot of recipes out there, and you could really do whatever you want with them, but trust me when I say that they don't need much fancy-ness. This is the basic recipe that I used and it's awesome.

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale (any kind) 1 tablespoon olive oil salt and pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Thoroughly wash kale and let it dry completely or you can gently pat it dry with a paper towel.

Once dried, cut the kale, removing the stalks and any big ribs. Make the pieces whatever size you want, but remember that they'll bake down smaller in the oven.

Toss the pieces gently with the olive oil, making sure they're thoroughly coated. Curly leaf kale takes a little more work to get coated, but it's my favorite.

Once coated, lay the pieces down on a couple of baking sheets, lined with parchment paper. They don't have to be super spread out, but don't stack them on top of each other.

Salt and pepper to taste. Don't go crazy, a little salt goes a long way.

Bake at 300 for 20 minutes. If your oven is super lame like mine, turn the baking sheets with about 5 minutes left to make sure they cook evenly. If your oven isn't lame, don't take it for granted.

They're ready to eat straight out of the oven!

Apparently, they don't keep well and get soggy after a while, but I've read that you can put them in a container or baggy with rice at the bottom to keep them crisp. I wouldn't know though, we never have any left after we're done elbowing each other out of the way to get to them.

They're good for your heart, good for your eyes, boost your immune system and they're crazy delicious. Hope you guys enjoy!

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LOOKING FORWARD...

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Even though the break from this blog have been lengthy, I've been thinking about it often. I mentioned in my last post that I was doing a lot of thinking and brainstorming on what I want to do with it and what I want it to be. Blogging is a funny little world. Over the past year or so, it's become one of my favorite things and I love it, but it can also be my worst enemy. I love reading others' blogs and have even developed sweet friendships with some fellow bloggers, but I kind of reached a point where I had to stop reading blogs for a while. I know that's weird, but it became really tricky for me to not compare my little blog to what others were doing, and by extension, compare what my life looked like to what theirs looked like. And that's just silly. Blogging offers such a small and controlled look into others' lives and it's all too easy to forget that the messier parts of life aren't often shown there.

It has caused me to think a lot about this blog and it's a big part of why I want this blog to include a lot more about our life. The awesome parts, the messy parts, the funny and silly parts, that parts I love and the parts I don't. We're working on a house and I love love love working on it and want to share that with you. I'm not an amazing cook, but I love trying new things, and frankly, sometimes I just nail it with dinner... and when I do, I'll try to share recipes that are worth sharing. I'm constantly learning and growing in my faith, and I want to share what I'm learning. I love design and I still want to share things that I love and that inspire me.

But know this... my house looks a frightful sight more often than it looks tidy and perfectly styled. We rarely take fabulous vacations to exotic places. On any given day of the week, my outfit errs on the side of comfy instead of fashionable. Curling and straightening irons are wonderful things, but without them, my hair is a wavy, frizzed out humidity victim. I live a stupidly blessed life, but it's also messy and as imperfect as anything ever was.

And so since a new year is upon us, and since this is the time when we typically look to start anew, let me take this opportunity to tell you how excited I am to start trying new things with this blog and I really hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

Cheers ya'll.

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