When Heaven got closer

I blew the dust off my keyboard, awkwardly clicked on the "Blogger" tab that is no longer familiar, and here I am. I wish I could say "no news is good news", but that is not the case.  Not blogging seems to be the easy way out for me when times get tough (as I think I've mentioned before). My hiatus started when I was having trouble "choosing joy" and embracing the moment of life that I am/was currently in. As I mentioned in this postwriting seems to bring that discontentment/pain to life. But hind site is 20/20, so now I say maybe if I had persevered writing about it, wrestling the words and thoughts into being on paper, it would have shrunk them down to size and not taken long to get over. Although I am writing about this vaguely in past tense, its a continual journey, for me at least.

I hardly know what to say, I feel like a stranger here. With my blog content being all over the map when I actually do post, I don't even have a "norm" I can fall back into.

Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year is right on our heels.New York wasn't very kind to our Southern visitors that hoped for a white Christmas...I believe on and around Christmas the temperature was consistently upper 40s. I tried not to complain, as I know we will get thrown some awful cold weather before spring appears.  This Christmas was different than we would have expected 3 months ago, as we had to experience it without Michael (Brad's 22 year old brother) returning home for the holidays. Instead, just a couple months prior, he went home to Jesus, and got to experience Christmas in Heaven for the first time. As the tears stream down and the cursor blinks waiting for the keys to continue writing, I'm at such a loss for words. Not writing about this tragic event seems wrong, but I don't know how to go about it. I could give you facts about what happened in those last 5 weeks, but that won't convey the emotions that his family/friends feel when they think about him passing. I could try to explain to you what an exceptional young man for God that he was, but you wouldn't be able to truly understand unless you had actually met + spent time with Michael. If you had gotten a chance to do that, you would remember a guy that made friends so easily, who put 100% into such a variety of activities, who poured into the live's of children around him, and who had decided to take 2+ years of his life to allow Jesus to work through him and make a difference in the lives of many young boys while he was a chief at Fairplay Wilderness Camp.

Losing Michael was the first time I had experienced death so close. I had never (that I remember) attended a viewing or funeral. Even though I have nothing to compare it to, I imagine that his funeral will be the "best" I will ever attend. Although it was one of the hardest things I have experienced, saying an earthly goodbye to a friend/brother-in-law that I cared about so much, the message was full of hope. The verse that was displayed on the program was Job 14:7 "For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease." In my Bible I wrote "This portrays Michael's legacy so well. He has been "cut down", but the roots that he planted in Jesus but also in people and children are not dead...and the shoots will not cease. We miss him but his memory will always live on. Ev- thank you for taking relationships so seriously and pouring into all of our lives. We hurt so bad, but pain comes from love...and we love you so much." There are things about him that I hope to never forget, like his laugh, the way when he was figuring things out he would reason out loud even if it made no sense to anyone else, or just how he could always be counted on to just be MICHAEL.  One thought that is so hard for me is that I will have to try to convey to my future children how much their Uncle Ev would have loved them, and how much they would have loved him, instead of them experiencing it for themselves.  There are songs that will always make me think of him, and I wonder if I will ever listen to them without a tear falling. To be honest, I'm ok with that happening. Although it could be easy to feel "bad" for him and the things that he will "miss out on", ultimately he is right where he would want to be. I'm crying for myself, my husband, our family, friends, basically all of us left behind with this hole that was once filled with such a special person. Through this season I am SO thankful for salvation and the hope in Jesus. I don't know how people walk through death without it.

Heaven has never felt so close for me. It was always a place I've known of, and know that I plan to go there some day, and occasionally that thought could be exciting. But mostly, I was content with it being a future thing. It got a little more real after my miscarriages, knowing that my babies went to be in the arms of Jesus before I could give their sweet little cheeks even one kiss. But now, my brother LIVES there. I want to go! I want to visit him, I want him to show me around. I want to worship Jesus beside him. I know I will see him again one day, and in my mind's eye he'll have three little ones that never stray far from their uncle. Today, that day seems far away.

Winner Winner!

Phew that was a long 2 days! I was dying to know who would win. :) I guess if I was professional I would have used rafflecopter or whatever that is but I just wrote down all the names and had Beard pick one out of a bowl. Fiesta bowl to be exact, I guess that's a little fancier. :) Do you like how I am rambling on...drawing this out...is the suspense killing you??


SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSaaarah E.....COME ON DOWN! :D

Haha...I love that a curly-haired girl won. Think you will "benefit" from this prize girl? ;)

Anyways...thank you all for the kind words on the comments. A few people mentioned tutorials/fashion posts...I guess I will need to get over my fear/dislike of the inadequate pictures I put on here!

I thought to finish out this post I would post a couple of items that, if I were shopping (I'm not, or really really shouldn't be) would probably end up in my cart.

This skirt has been featured on BB a couple of times and I always think it looks lovely. I have a feeling if I would measure it, it probably wouldn't be as long on me as the models, plus maybe pleats wouldn't be great for my shape? But yea. 

This shirt looks so so comfy to me.And I love the semi-muted pattern. 

I don't know if you all are aware of websites like the two above, but you can "subscribe" to them, and they will send you their daily (I think) deals straight to your inbox.  I will warn you, it's a little dangerous. :) Sometimes I get tired of them cluttering up my email, but other times I love looking at what they have to offer. 

I've been eyeing these hats for awhile, my sister-in-law rocks them really well. I love the idea of hats, but I guess sometimes I feel like if I'm home so much I don't end up wearing them much? But anyways, this is fall-ish to me. :)

I love a good beanie. I actually only have one, and it's neff & awesome. I hope to add one (or two) to my closet this year. 


If I wasn't such a tall girl (GIANT, as I've been recently called) and if my husband and I didn't already see eye to eye (hehe) I would totally be a sneaker wedge girl. Not for that price, but a girl can dream. 

I'll end on a scarf. I don't know why, but I think these american flag vintage ones are pretty cool. Not sure if I'd actually wear one, but they are fun to look at. 

That is kind of the story of my life with scarves (some more than others), I always like how they look on other people and even in stores, and have ended up with quuuuite a few of my own. But I find I rarely wear them SO i challenged myself to wear one every day for a week. I'm going to try to wear a different one each day. So far I'm on day 2, and I've actually worn 3 because I had an outfit change yesterday. Wish me luck! 






Big 5-0

Hi...is anybody still there? If so, let me say how patient you are! So here it is...the big fifty post. I had noooooooo intentions of putting this post off for so long, And then it started to feel silly to even give something away that maybe noone wants. Urgh. I should have never let so much time pass. Buuut I dunno. I guess I just let other mind matters take over and they shoved all thoughts of blogging aside. And for that, I apologize.

Mmkay. So, the prize. aaaaaaaaaa JUMBO WAVER of course!!!!! (This is not a sponsered ad, even though I sure as heck wish it was as many as I have bought and given or convinced people to get!)

You can go from this....

To THIS! I know. It's exciting. :) 

First let me apologize for the not-so-great explanatory photos. It's actually really easy and I probably will over-explain it. 

Sometimes I use nothing in my hair and just go for it. If my roots are looking a little oily, I use some dry shampoo (bottle on the right, I don't particularly suggest this one, but it could be worse too) first. 

Again, only if I feel like putting time into it, I sometimes use some type of sea salt spray to help some with  the texture. It works perfectly fine with nothing added also. close at least one eye because more than likely you will mis-spray and get yourself. Not that I speak from experience or anything. 

Sometimes I section my hair and do every little piece. Sometimes I just start on the top layer and wave whatever shows. The picture below shows about what size section to use. 

 The important thing in waving is not to be tugging tight the hair from the root. I'm trying to point at the hair that is slack between the waver and the root. Now flash back to the 90s and the crimper you may have had. It works differently than a flat iron in the sense that you don't pull it down the hair, Instead you clamp and hold and then unclamp and move down. 

Keep the waver clamped for 4ish seconds and then un-clamp and move down so the top barrel will rest where the bottom barrel rested before.  Follow that? Clamp again. Also, I like to use my waver with the barrels on top, and the flat-er parts on the bottom. I suppose you could try both ways and find your preference. 

Again, remember not to pull on the hair as you clamp...that would un-do the wave you just created. Keep clamping and un-clamping until you run out of hair! 

And this should be the end result. Sometimes I spray a bit of hairspray throughout the waves, but I haven't totally decided if I think that helps or not. It took me a couple times of waving for my hands/arms to not feel ackward, but I promise it doesn't take long to get the hang of it.  In my opinion it's much easier than curling my hair, plus I love that it gets wavy to the root. 
  
 This is waved hair.  Gosh how I would love to have it natural like that!

 Also for you long-haired beauties...I was pleasantly surprised how well it worked when my hair was long also! It Alllmost made me not cut my hair. But not quite. :)



So yea. A waver is my give-away. I guess I should have explained that to anyone who might have missed OR actually forgotten since I talked about it so long ago. I decided on my 50th blog post I'd give something away. And I chose a jumbo waver. Depending on who wins, if it's someone that I don't think will...uh...benefit from a waver, I will change the prize. Sound fair? 

Ok...so to enter. Leave a comment, with your email if I may need that to get you your gift. Maybe you could comment suggestions on what you'd like to see differently on this little space (besides more regular posts...trust me I've got the self-criticism covered in that area). Or just say Hi. I'd probably count that as an entry too. :) This will be a chosen at random deal...so nothing like the "best answer wins". Although I wish I could do a virtual dance contest or something...

You have 48 hours. May the odds be ever in your favor. :) 

Oh and of course...thank you for reading. That's really what this give-away is all about...just a little way to show appreciation for joining me on this blogging journey. 

Is It Hard?

I've had some serious blogger's block ya'll. It's not that I didn't have topics to write about-some really good ones actually. It's just I couldn't make myself sit down and write them. I slowly got suspicious that I knew what was in the way.

I didn't want to "get in my own head".

Writing does that, it makes you sort out your thoughts/feelings enough to put the right words together.

I don't think it's uncommon for people (not saying unkind people, I'm talking friends and family) ask the question "Is it hard...". Is it hard for you to hear that so-and-so is pregnant? Is it hard to see so-and-so start dating? Is it hard to know that so-and-so has all of her grown children close by?

This post is just my own feelings, I'm not speaking for others (obviously). But to me, the answer to the pregnancy question is usually always No. Because No, I'm not sad to see my friends pregnant. To me, every single baby is such a huge miracle and I have no hard feelings against that. I love babies, so why wouldn't I want to have people close to me bring more into my life?

If you asked me "Is it hard to know that it will 9 months+ until you will have your own?" or "Is it hard to know that you can do some of your daily activities with ease because your little ones never made it full term?" or "Is it hard to go to yardsales knowing that you don't need any of the adorable baby clothes you see?" or "Is it hard feeling like you should volunteer for more because you have no reason not to?" or "Is it hard feeling un-justified to feeling like you need a nap in the middle of the day because you had no nightly feedings?" then it might be different. While I have no hard feelings against pregnant friends...I have times when I have hard feelings against daily life that under different circumstances would look so different for me right now.

When we go through tough things in life, I feel like good/bad days come in waves. Overall I've felt like God has given me a lot of un-explainable peace through my miscarriages. But I'm not going to say it's always easy. I find that when I go through a lower stage, I want little to nothing to do with blogging, journaling, or anything that would make me "go there". Instead, it's common for me to get suuuuper productive. Paint everything in sight, re-organize something, you get the idea. Not that those are bad ways to spend my time, they are just good distractions.

I guess I don't know what direction this post was suppose to go in exactly, I just know it's been on my heart to write for a couple of days. Maybe just to remind you to not be afraid to share your exciting news with a friend who you know has the same desires. Instead, use the reminder to pray for them where they are and stand with them in trusting God to work out the details of their story.

I will end by saying if any of you have asked me any of these questions, please do not feel bad, or that I am upset by them at all. I always felt like in the past they were hard questions to answer in a way that conveys my feelings truthfully, and now that I've figured that out I wanted to share.

Shop With Me!

I thought doing a typical WYBDW would be a bit repetitive. Let me give you a rundown. I've been painting this week.  Sick of hearing that yet? :) I had a couple of helpers (Thank goodness!!) Monday & Tuesday and we knocked out my Dad's dining room. It's so amazing what a little paint (or a lot, apparently that room is so huge!) will do!

Anyways. Lyndsi & I took a little trip to Rochester (haha...I laugh because trips to Rochester never seem to be little. What I mean is, time just gets sucked up and you can so easily spend the day there before you realize what happened!) We had some clothes to donate after our sale & thought it'd be fun to hit up one of our favorite Salvation Armys on a Wednesday, which for those of you that don't frequent them like I do are their "everything is half off except one tag color" days. Clearly it's preeeetttty awesome. We also made a couple other stops, and I thought Hey! I should let you guys "shop with me" today, as in show you my purchases! I would apologize for the picture quality but yeaaa, you know about that by now. :) Also, excuse any furry body parts that snuck into my pictures...it was easier to let it happen than avoid it.

Salvation Army 

 Jean vest. Of course the week after I make my own, I find a pretty awesome one at Salvo. I decided to still take it home, because the jacket-turned-vest one is a little big, I need to try to take that in. Sooo...I'm accidentally starting a jean vest collection I guess?

Yes. I'm a varsity lacrosse player. any other questions?

THIS FLANNEL SHIRT. I'm so excited about it. I maay have one very similar BUT it's pretty short on me. Here's a secret tip, fellow long-waisted girls. CHECK THE MEN'S SECTION & get a small. Game changer.  Longer sides, longer sleeves. Unlike the XXL or whatever you'd have to get in Hollister or Abercrombie (sad little side story, I had to ask Brad how to spell that word) to tryyyy to get the same fit. Anyways.  Expect to see it on a Patty near you. :) 

Ok. We don't even need to to get into my baby-shoe problem. The only excuse I have is, they were each less than $.50. 

Another great thing which I love. Lyndsi found this + offered it to me...cute little silhouettes in a gold frame...what more can you ask for? I see it in a future nursery!

Haha...I'm such an awesome photographer. I got a valance, 2 square-ish curtains & 2 long curtains. They are the RE target brand, and as neutral as the off-white is, I figured I'll use them for sure! I'm suuuuch a bad curtain shopper. I think I've done it only once. I just feel like they are so expensive, and I never really know what I want. So I end up just "making do", so most of my windows look a little cray. 

Playto's Closet


This is a shirt for Brad. He thinks I buy him clothes sometimes because otherwise I'd feel bad that I bought some for myself. There may be a tiny bit of truth to that, but mostly if I see some that I like and think looks nice, plus if it's for a steal, why wouldn't I get it for him?

THIS. Look how excited my toes are. and Tard's toes. Welcome winter coat 2014 to the family, closet. Again, I have trouble with girl coats sometimes being too short, so for the last few years my go-to winter coat has been a black one I got from Salvo...in the men's department. Are you catching on to my secret? :) I doubt I'll completely retire that one, but it's definitely seen better days. I wasn't totally sure how I felt about these long trech-type coats, but I realized it would fix my "too short" problem. Plus it's in army green, and has fun pockets. Also plus the sleeves were long enough! I actually had been looking at coats similar to this last winter at Forever21, but just couldn't make up my mind. I ended up with a couple jackets from there that I love (thanks to my boo) when Christmas rolled around. I thought this one was from there, but it's from H&M aka the store that we don't have anywhere near us. :/ So for now, she hangs in the closet waiting for her time to shine as the leaves change and our breath gets frosty! Sorry lovely coat, I hope those days are still a long way off!

Target

These are something new I thought I'd try. I have never done anything with fabric softener (which always smells so good!) but I have been using hand-made laundry detergent and it doesn't have much scent. I thought it'd be nice to give my nose something pleasant to sniff while I'm folding laundry.

Lip gloss...a little pigmented, I'm still not totally sure I like it. I put some on in the car after I got out there (try and tell me you don't do that...I won't believe you) but I had lipstick on already so it was hard to tell. I'm just not sure I'm a gloss person, it may be a little sticky for me. But I thought it'd be nice to have some subtle color. We'll see. Now on the right...Matte polish top coat! I had seen people use this here and there and have had it in my head on my wish list for quite a long time! There was a few different brands there, and (of course) I went with the cheapest, under $2 I think. I used it tonight (also of course) while working on this post...and it is pretty mega awesome!! If you aren't familiar with it, you use it over any color polish you have as the top coat, and it just cuts all the shine and gives it a different look. 

I haven't bought much eye shadow in the last 3 years or so because I got this mega huge pallet for Christmas (thanks again boo!) that I will probably never run out of. BUT its not very travel friendly. I have some weddings coming up where I am doing hair+makeup, plus with my own traveling, I thought this size would be nice. It also seems to have some really fun colors, kinda sultry shimmer. It'll be fun to play around with.

TJ MAXX

I'm sure I've mentioned before the plan of re-doing our bedroom. Actually, I think I'd call it "doing" our bedroom. Since it's never really been done. Anyways...an upgrade to our laundry basket would be necessary either way, since ours is ugly and pretty broken. I bought this one thinking I'll keep the receipt and not use it until I'm sure there isn't something better out there, but it's growing on me pretty quickly. 

Cosmo Prof

Texture powder. I've heard/seen a bit about this lately. It's not something I have experience with, but I think it's been around awhile. You would tap it on your roots for some volume, and I saw here what it can do to a braid so I thought it'd be worth trying out! I wasn't sure about how well the white powder would blend in with my dark hair, but it was true...I just "tapped" it in, and it disappeared! I'm eager to keep trying it and see what all it will do for me!

There were a few other items that I picked up and carried around for awhile...am I the only one that does that? Of course that happens at Salvo, cause you have to pile things in your cart and then go try them on. Buut at Target or places like that...it seems like I have a thing where I can't really decide if I want/need to get something, I think about it while I'm at the shelf looking for a long time, then if I do decide to grab it...it ain't over until it's purchased. Because quite often when it's time for checkout...I may shed myself of an item or two. It's weird, because it's not like I didn't think long and hard about them when I first grabbed them. So let's just say, everything that makes it home should feel grateful. :)

And that's the end! I did get some hair color & a surprise something that aren't pictured. And for those of you that are like "haha...I know that girl ain't go all the way there and didn't eat or drink"...I'm sorry, the Starbucks & Five Guys burger didn't get photographed. :) 

Happy Wednesday!

Ps. 1 more post to go until 50...are we excited??

A Couple Things

Hey readers heeeey!

Let's start off with a funny story.  Noone objects to those right? *scans the room for a raised hand..* Ok good.

Yesterday morning I had a little down time and I thought it'd be a good chance to blog. I opened my laptop aaaaand. the interenet wasn't connected.  It generally works really well, but when it doesn't I'm up the creek without a paddle unless Brad is home, cause he always fixes it. So I texted him and then painted my nails while waiting for a response. He gave me a couple options to try, so I tried those but still no luck. I texted him again, and finished my nails while waiting.

*SIDE RANT* Do you know what I do not love?? bad/yucky/crappy/faulty top coat. It's such a waste of time!! I took the time to paint my nails without smudging...who knows how long THAT takes, and when I go to put the top coat on it doesn't glide on smooth, instead I have to keep re-dipping to have enough which makes it weird, aaand it started to smear around my black, which i KNOW should have been dry enough! Urgh. Needless to say THAT polish is getting thrown away, and sooner than later I'll get a top coat worth my time! I know some people skip base/top coat (I skip base fairly regularly, buuut I think one thing that helps is for your color not to stain your nails, fyi...) but the top coat really does just kinda seal the deal and make them look shiney, IF it's doing its job.

Anyways. I obviously needed to get that off my chest. :)

So I was trying all of what he said, and he was trying to fix it remotely (he can forreal do that sometimes!) and my Dad came in from mowing the lawn and was like "I'm in big trouble!" I asked him what was wrong, and he said "I mowed over that cable outside and sliced part of it!" oopsie. No wonder I wasn't getting a signal, that was our internet cable. :) We have learned that Dad is a very ambitious mow-er, We have an in-ground dog fence that is just laid back in the pine trees that boarder two sides of our property, and he + his mower found that one day too, Brad was like "wow he really gets in there!" All is forgiven, but it's something I chuckle about. Nothing is safe in the great out doors when Carl is on his machine..dun dun dduuuuunnnn!

The last couple weeks have passed with me spending a lot of time with a paint brush in my hand, not that I mind that terribly, it's just time consuming.  Sorry I haven't posted 2-3 outfit posts a week like normal (laugh with me, ha ha ...) but when I'm painting I basically wear the same clothes. Every day. Don't judge, I hate it. BUT I get paint everywhere (hair included) on myself. I told someone my Indian name would be she-who-gets-paint-everywhere, shewho for short.

I really don't mind painting (except ceilings, I strong dislike ceilings) once I have everything that I need out and ready. I don't love wiping everything down, or having to paint around things. Basically I'm maybe a high maintence painter.  My dad's kitchen was my first project.
It's a pretty small kitchen, I'm standing in the doorway, there is the sink and cupboards to my left, and the wall on the right just so didn't make it in the picture. SO, I was painting around all those appliances. That's probably why I painted myself so much, I had no room to breath!

I snuck in a little painting at home - I bought a couple dressers on craig's list for our bedroom that I'm re-doing. (that will probably have it's own post) I also had been meaning to go to the Sherwin Williams store to get a swatch to have Ben Moore match (that store is much closer for me) and so I swung in there when I was in Geneva last week. Weirdly, the guy said that they didn't have the color I was after, but they could match it. I'm pretty confused by that because the girl I asked had given me the color and company. ANYWAYS, my timing was pretty good accidentally because this weekend Friday-Monday, SW is having a 40% off sale! I hear their paint is pretty top of the line, so I decided to just let them match my color and buy it from there. I was second-guessing my square footage calculations, so I was a little confused how much paint I would need. He told me a trick, you can buy gallons of un-tinted paint (like plain white) when they are having the sale, and either return them if you don't end up needing them, or bring them back in and have them tinted for free! SO I got 2 gallons tinted in my future bedroom color, and one gallon un-tinted. I doubt I'll just return it, but if I don't need it for the bedroom, I could have it tinted for another project. When he told me that, I said "Ok I'll have 27 gallons please" lol. It seriously was a good sale, I think they were about $23 a gallon or so?

So basically I can't wait to start painting my bedroom, I even have a helper lined up because I helped her paint her fence one day :).

But first....I have to do my dad's dining room next. Today Brad & I will go over there to take EVERYTHING OUT because I was not having a kitchen repeat, and I'll probably wipe down the walls. One thing I am not looking forward to, is that his dining room ceiling has trim all over it, that creates squares. Kinda like how you can see in the kitchen picture, but more. urgh.

Ok, enough about painting for now.

Last night Lyndsi + I put on our third ever Clothing Exchange. The concept is that we alert a bunch of girls that we are planning one, they got through their closets, and give us the clothes/shoes/purses/accessories they are willing to part with (not junky stuff, more stuff that you never wear, but hate to just donate, but feel better about knowing your friends might take it and wear it :]) a couple days before the actual event. Then Lyndsi and I sort it by type and size (like tanks, short sleeves, sweaters, dresses, jeans, etc) and make it easier to hunt through. Theeeen, the ladies come the evening of the event, bring a yummy snack, and get ready to re-vamp their closet, for freeee! I have a few pictures, mostly from the last time we did this. Secretly it looked a little more fancy that time anyways. ;)






We make little dressing rooms, and try to have as many mirrors down there as possible so people can check themselves out. :) Usually people are bustling around at the beginning and on the hunt, but towards the end people are chillin, talking, and just browsing a little more. Lets just be honest, when there are this many clothes laying around, whether you thiiink you are done, it's hard not to just keep skimming. This time when things had died down we decided to kinda do "show and tell" , and have people show what they picked. I thought that was pretty fun, because some things screamed that person's name, and other things were a little more branching out, but you feel more free to do that when there isn't a price tag! Lyndsi and I agreed that this girl's finds were SO her. & definitely said "Classy Chic", which she totally is. :) I also make it my mission to force things on people that I think would look awesome. Some people believe me, some people don't. You all can thank me later. ;) 

And now you are caught up! I'm looking forward to this evening, there is a Campfire #3 planned. These always including volleyball + ultimate frisbee, some yummy food, and good fellowship. Sign me up! (ooops, speaking of that, I better go RSVP!)

Oh, I almost forgot to mention something else! This is post #47 for me, & I had decided a while back that I was going to do a little give away on post #50. So it is approaching rapidly (or less rapidly, if I continue at the rate I've been going!) , stay tuned for that! :)

WYBDW

Welcome to another episode of What You Been Doin Wednesday! Not that you should be surprised, since I do this every week right? Riiiiiight. :)

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING?
Let's see...A good bit of this and that. June was a busy busy month, and I know I've touched on a few activities. The most recent, and one of the most exciting was my best friend getting hitched this weekend! It was an outdoor event on the loveliest of days! It was probably the prettiest decor/location that I've ever seen, and the whole day was just so fun and stress-free to be a part of. Last night was also my 2nd softball game of the year...I had missed a couple so it felt good to be "back at 2nd base". :) Also, Brad's whole family came over for dinner after the game (something that I'm ashamed doesn't happen more than it does, but it's rather hard aligning all those schedules!) and it was delicious treats + time together. One of the brothers is heading out this weekend for the mission field for 2 whole years! I admire his heart for service there, but boy oh boy will he be missed here!

WHATS ON THE AGENDA?
I'm planning to begin painting at my Dad's house. He's been asking me to do this for a few weeks, and I finally have some time. I'll be happy to get it over with, because that will mean freedom to start some more painting projects here! :)

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO?
July 4th! There is some out of town family that will be here, and there will be a cook-out & hang-out & all that fun stuff. :) Who doesn't love that? Thursday evening there will even be a concert on the lawn (err...in the barn?) at my in-laws from this family group. Definitely looking forward to that!

WHAT ARE YOU ENJOYING?
This weather. Seriously, sometimes I forget how much I love the summer. Actually...maybe I knew how much. But I'm just soaking up these hot days. Days like today (upper 80s) I'm not outside as much, but I still love knowing it's so hot and beautiful outside. :)

WHAT ARE YOU APPRECIATING?
My dad & his lawn mowing skills. :) He really stays on top of keeping the yard up, and I need to make sure to let him know I appreciate it. This week it got a little longer than usual because he left his mower at his house, and so yesterday I braved our old unusual mower (the brake doesn't work, and the hydro-something is weird, so basically you have to keep your hand on the throttle at all times or else you might randomly go speeding into the side of the building while trying to turn. NBD) and mowed about half, then handed it over to Dad and weed-eated (most of) the ditch. I now have 6 blisters to prove how often I (don't) do that. #humblesigh

WHAT CAN YOU LEAVE US WITH?
"Small things become great when done with LOVE."  So true. If we focus on who we are loving through our every day tasks, and be purposeful about that, it will probably make the load seem lighter anyways, and less like a boring chore.

I could get into what I'm disliking etc, but who wants to dwell on that stuff? Not me! I have walls to wash and trim to paint! Happy 4th! :)

Playing Dress-Up

So this post is mad late. But still fun cause it actually has pictures!  One Sunday afternoon I invited my sister-in-law Lyndsi over to "play". Basically, I planned to do her hair and make-up just for fun.  After we did that, I told her she should pick me out something to wear to church.  She hunted in my closet, and asked if she could give me a couple of options. Uh, yes of COURSE! Basically, she shopped my very own closet and picked three awesome combinations that I have never worn, all that I would wear! I told her maybe she should come over once a month and do that, so I'd never have to decide for myself. :]

I think these are some of the last photos of my long hair. I guess that's anotherrr thing I never really documented on this blog. Maybe another idea for the "future post" archives. If there is such a thing. 

Outfit #1 Chambray shirt/coral skirt/polka dot sweater/pin-striped shoes. I felt pretty classy in this.



Outfit #2 Pink ruffle shirt/black&white skirt/black tights/black kinda-weird shoes. Also a fun look. 



Outfit #3 Black flowy shirt with bling neck/fur vest/green pants/nude flats. This was my fav, I like how it was subtle but was a little edgey. 


And this was my stylist and photographer (with my not-profesh camera, I'll add) Lyndsi.  I snapped a few of her, and the 'do' I gave her. I love her black dress with leather detail paired with casual shoes.

Soo...watcha think.  More outfit posts in the future?


Girl-friends: Life's Secret Weapon

Wednesday evening I had the privilege of spending an evening with the other ladies from Wellspring Fellowship. It was a pretty laid back event, just created with the purpose of encouraging one another and being together.  My mother-in-law hosted the event, and each lady brought a dish to pass.  Good food, good fellowship, good laughs, good prayers, all were present. We played a game that is probs my new favorite party game.  Selfie Hot Potato. Oh yea, awesomeeee sauce. Basically- music plays & a couple of phones are passed around a circle with the camera on for selfie-snapping.  When the music stops, the last person's selfie must be posted to social media, with a caption drawn out of a hat of options. Only epic captions of course. What a hoot. 

Anyways, back to the reason for this post. Ruth (I know, there are 3, so I better specify. Ruth S ;]) shared a bit on trusting God, and how it's really a lifetime journey. Someone stated that when it's all said and done, trusting Him will be more about the journey then the finish line. How true is that?! We can never trust Him too much.  Nahum 1:7 says "The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him." I dunno about you, but I know I want to know that the Lord is close to me, especially in times of need/want/trouble/sickness/hurt. I think that is a great reminder to us when we are feeling vulnerable that if we can just transfer some of whatever burden we are carrying to the cross, and trust Him with it, he will be RIGHT there with us. CLOSE.  What a comforting word. 

Ok, I guess I had 2 reasons for this post. The second is how thankful I am for all the ladies in my life.  Even though they range in age and location, they are all a huge blessing to me.  Last night someone mentioned a saying that I don't remember word for word, but the jist of it was that we as women need other women's (true) friendship in our lives, and that it's our "secret weapon" to survival. Our husbands/fathers/brothers/guy-friends are important too, and definitely have their key place in our lives, but there is just something about the comradery and support of a good "girlfriend". I can state this as a true known fact, because I have experienced the other end of it as well.  There was a time in my life when a handful of my "best girl friends" were actually extremely poisonous. When this fact came to light to me, it was a blow like no other. These were girls I confided in, invested in, and considered family. When they should have been supporting and helping/encouraging me through life's lemons, they were actually throwing the lemons at me and laying the spikes on the road. It's hard to explain how it made me feel.  I didn't want to be around anyone (if you know me at all, you know this is NOT my nature), and I surely didn't trust a soul past face value, especially women. Then I picked up my life- leaving family, real friends, fake friends, 2 jobs, a boyfriend, basically everything I knew to move to New York. It didn't take me long to start hanging out with the "gang". It was mostly guys, with lots of active activities that were just fun and carefree. I didn't have trouble making friends with those dudes, cause they were nice and respectful and just fun to hang with. 

I feel like this is a slight side-road, but seems fitting. I have always had a handful of really good guy-friends. I treasure their friendship, and having almost thrown most of them away at one point, I value being able to keep them now. While I love them, it's just different that a really good girlfriend.  I think there is still depth to those guy friendships, but it's different than with girls. Maybe it's that we "get" each other better, or bare more of our souls, or something. But anyways...

Looking back over the first year of my move, I realized I really didn't connect with the girls as quickly.  I'd chat with them in the hang out group, but I don't remember making solo plans, or getting too deep.  I think I was still on the defense, with the mindset of protection.  I had let girls in before, and they stabbed me in the back. So the easiest thing to do was hold them at arm's length.  How much I was missing out on. I am so thankful for the kindness and just God's love shining through these ladies, that enabled me to let my guard down, and build some of the best friendships.  They have weathered some storms with me, and celebrated beside me through the sweetest of times. I can never thank them enough for all that they mean to me. 

The moral of my thoughts are this - I have heard women who say they "just don't get along with other females", and that makes me sad. In my opinion, they either have not been the friend they always should have been, or they have not surrounded themselves with the right type of women. It will be my prayer that each of you can experience true, nurturing, Godly, supporting friendship from a fellow woman (hahaha, fellow woman...yea I'll leave that alone) or 20 in your lifetime. :]

Am I A Blogger?

Don't answer that. At least, not for me.  I've already deemed myself one, definitely not the best, but an aspiring one.

This question, is one that you must answer yourself.  I have gotten quite a few inquires about blogging, as in should I (the person(s) behind the question) start a blog?  Do I have enough to say that people will care to read?  I thought maybe I'd share a few thoughts on this publicly (well, as public as my own blog is) in case there are more of you who are wondering, but haven't actually asked.

My first thought is that you have to start your blog for YOU.  If you start it because your far-away family wants you to, or because all your friends are doing it, or to make a few bucks, my guess is that you will fizzle out quickly.  You need to start it because you want a (public) spot to get out your feelings, express your fashion ideas, or tell a joke or two.  I look forward to having my posts to look back on different stages of my life and remember the details that would otherwise be forgotten.

Second is don't get caught up in how many people are (or aren't) reading your posts. Blogger has some handy tracking info on page views etc that I haven't totally dug into yet, but I glance at occasionally.  I've technically had this blog for a few years, but have posted somewhat consistently for about 7 months. I'd say on an average post, I get about 50-90 page views.  I think this includes anytime I may visit the post, or other's re-visit. So, that's not too many views, let's just agree I'm not world known. But does it make me wanna quit? No, cause that's not the reason I started. Same with comments.  I usually have a few per post, and the interaction is always fun cause someone took the time to say "hi!" But let's just be honest, unless you are the Kardashian's cousin, and have recently been tagged on their instagram, it will probably be slow coming.

Third, don't expect to have to be perfect at first.  I have a book on blogging, an e-course waiting for me to finish on blogging, and here I am. Still blogging very roughly.  It's a future goal of mine to have a more refined space, awesome pictures, more readership, and maybe make a couple of bucks.  But I'm not going to be discouraged to "keep on keeping on" in the mean time. I'd say it could be somewhat trial and error. Most things that you read will want you to pick a topic or two and stick to it, but I'm not so sure. Take A Beautiful Mess for instance.  Probably one of the most successful blogs, and it is so all over the place (in an organized way, I mean topic wise) which will attract all kinds of different readers. I would say the important thing whether you stick to 1 topic, or 28, is they have to be something you are passionate about and enjoy. Otherwise, it'll be a drag for you, and probably those reading.

Fourth, and last for today, DO NOT compare yourself to other bloggers. Now I think there can be healthy inspiration gleaned from other more experienced or diverse bloggers.  But let's bring this a little closer to home, and focus on our real-live-friend-bloggers. I love reading blogs of people I know...sometimes it's a glimpse into a part of their life I've never seen, or sometimes it's re-hearing a funny story told earlier. It's also fun to have real life conversations about blogging, hearing tips, being encouraged to keep up with it, and so on.  But really, I encourage you to enjoy that likeness with your blogger-friends instead of ruining it by thinking you need to write more like them, or wishing you were like them because they have more material to blog about. We are all so different, and thinking differently, and express ourselves differently, so let's keep it that way.  One of my dear blogger-friends has a very inspirational, feel-good-about-yourself, good-flowing-word-choices blog. Basically, totally different feel and writing style as mine. Does that mean that either of us need to feel pressure that one is better than the other? No way dude! That's what makes the blogging world so cool! No matter how you write, or what you write about, I think there is a "niche" for you.

SO. I hope you come away with a little food for thought, and that your wheels are turning about the blog that YOU are going to start. Haha, like that pressure? This is the part where you say "Patty crazy lady, if I start this, it'll be for MEEE!" :] Basically, it's worth it in my opinion. Which is OK, because this is my blog.

As a side-note...blog names are the funnest to come up with. I started my blog probably, 3-4 years ago, thinking I would be an ever-faithful poster so my friends/family back home could get a glimpse in my NY life. hahaha yea...no.  Like one post a year.  Anyways, I don't actually remember coming up with "downsouth yankee", but I'm guessing it had something to do with the recent move, and wanting to kinda straddle the line. Buuut more recently I've helped a few friends with some names, and I just love how they can be fun, meaningful, and personalized to each person! So, fifth thought even though I said I was done...put a bit of thought and effort into your name...it might be a famous domain one day! ;]

June & stuff

Finally! I am jumping back on the horse and blogging.  I tell ya, the longer I try to get consistent with this, the more respect I have for those 2+ times a week posters! It's not that it's a drag, or I don't enjoy writing. It's just having MAKING time.  Making it a priority. I'm obviously not there yet. But I digress.

June has been a whirlwind, for serious.  May was pretty busy too if I recall, but it seems oh so long ago, so I can't tell for sure. I spoke of a yard sale and was rather dramatic about how difficult the set up was. It was a chore, as was the packing up, but the two days of selling was super fun to me.  I got to spend it with my bestie-soon-to-be-married-lady, it was beautiful weather so I got some good sun, and made some good money! All from my own front...driveway.  What more can a girl ask for?  And to you, lady customer who came 5 times and always walked away with purchases...WE LOVE YOU! 

Riiight after the yard sale was a girl cousin get-away with the Stoltzfus side of the family. hehe...real specific right? Anyways, that was SUCH a grand time spent with 8 other lovely girls.  I was the only in-law, but I was welcomed with open arms, and only got yelled at and talked over like one million times twice. Toootallly kidding. Well kidding about it being because I was an in-law, there was 9 of us, did you expect that there wouldn't be tons of talking and opinion giving? :] We stayed at a place in Ohio which was like a bed and breakfast, but we asked if we could prepare our own food and just have the house to ourselves, and that's how it worked out. We did a little running around one day, but mostly just chilled and ate really really really yummy food. It was super fun, and I hope there will be another in the future.  All of those girls are gems, and each has been so enjoyable for me to get to know.  There were a number of photos taken over the couple days, so maybe I will dedicate a post to those at some point, just for your daily dose of beautifulness. ;] I also had a grand time with Lyndsi road tripping...we apparently have a knack for picking the PERFECT exits, which have yummy drinks (to the Starbucks employee who spelled my name BATTTY, thanks for the laughs-for-days), Chick Fil A, and a mall with an H&M that had an outside entrance. Adventures were had, Laughs were laughed, and talks were deep and wide. :] 

The woman's softball league that I play in started in June, and Lyndsi has joined this year which is fine.  Last year was my first year, and I only knew one other lady going into it. It is a fun way to get a little exercise and have something to do during the week.  Last year we super dominated. This year has been a bit different so far, but I think we will get back into our groove.  There are some people who make it really fun, some people who I have become friends with, and some people who need to go sit down somewhere and chill out. But I enjoy it!

The a fore mentioned bride-to-be and I took an overnight trip to Rochester NY, which is slightly over an hour from home.  We did the same a few weeks before I was married a couple of years ago, and it's just a good time.  Pretty low key, movie, out to eat, and just time together at a hotel.  Kinda a sending off party I guess. I enjoyed both so much.  The one similarity with each is that we planned day #2 to be a beach day up at Ontario Beach Park, and both times were AWFUL.  I think this year was worse, I'm talking walk on the beach and you can't even see the water it's so hazy.  It was windy and it started to spritz. So we decided to head towards home early, and stop at Target and frozen yogurt. The day was not lost people. 

A couple of days later I hosted a bridal party for that special (special like awesome, not special like, special.) girl. The plan was it have it outside in my cute backyard, and it looked so awesome in my head, but the weather didn't cooperate.  It was pretty rainy and just dreary so I committed to having it inside, and it actually turned out fun. My living room is pretty open, so it's a nice place to host. There was about 16 or so people, and it was really chill. There might be pictures of that night in the future too. :]

Next was family vacation.  We planned to do this in July when things weren't as busy, but  my brother-in-law found out he would be leaving the beginning of the month for his 2 year commitment at Fair Play Wilderness Camp for Boys, so we moved it up a bit.  We went to the Lapps hunting cabin in Coudersport PA for the weekend.  It was a very relaxing weekend, no requirements except to eat yummy food and take naps, and no cell service.  I played a game of wiffle ball which was fun...and so so tiring.  Try playing that game on an uphill grade, with only 1 other teammate.  Winning totally made the sore legs worth it. ;] Coming home our vehicle decided to give us fits, not my favorite thing. The last time it decided to lose power was on the side road right by our house, so I decided to cut the corner and run through the field with Dakarai and catch the corner of our backyard. Would I have still done this if I knew our neighbor man was out enjoying his pool and his music and his cigarette, right by the field and corner I ran to?  Probably, but it was a tad bit ackward. And funny in hindsight. 

The next morning I had to be up bright and EARLY, to head to Tennessee with a wide load escort. Like, 5 am early.  That trip could almost be a post in itself (as probably all these little mini events could be), but here I am back home at last.  The load was half a cabin, so 15 feet wide, and required a double escort (one car in front, one car in back) through most states we drove through.  We drove 11 hours the first day (All the trucker was allowed) and stopped for the night and a evening meal of Chipotle. The next morning we were up and ready to go about 5:30 am, and seriously. I don't think our ETA got any closer for like the first 3 hours.  It just takes long with those big loads, and there is a permit required ahead of time mapping out the roads we are allowed to use, which aren't always the most direct way.  Traffic was a bit hairier that day, and I felt awfully small sometimes as I was straddling two lanes in the little Jetta, a tractor trailer in each lane right on my tail, traffic zooming by on my left, and the butt of a big ol cabin in front of me.  But like I said, home safe and sound. :] On the way home we were able to load a car on the empty trailer, so we rode together, plus we had a dear friend who had gone down with the first half the week before to fill her love cup with time spent with her grandbabies.  With 3 drivers we decided to drive straight home, arriving around 6:30 am the next morning. I was pooped by then, and slept most of the morning. 

And I think we are pretty much current! This evening Brad and my Dad and I went to the Haiti Benefit Auction for dinner and to watch a little of the livestock auction action (say that 5 times fast!). I am such a sucker for auctions, not cause I love buying stuff but I LOVE to hear the auctioneer and the "yeppers" and watch the bidders and how they bid etc.  Secretly (or not so secretly) I would love to have the auctioneer skill under my belt.  Maybe some day.  There was some Alpacas there for auction that I hoped to watch but they didn't come up before I left.  Maybe someday when I'm like 60 and lack for something to do, I'll have a small farm of those sweet lookin things. :]

So yes.  This might be a rather boring post to most of you.  And I may touch on some events more in the future.  And I do wish I had pictures to punctuate some of these events.  Mostly I didn't want to just skip over them because I am sure in the years to come when I read back over my posts, I will want to remember this sweet busy month of June, and all the excitement it held, the hum of lives changing, and time spent with dear people.  Thank you for being patient. 

THIS Summer

I noticed today that a weird thought ran thought my head.

"I can't wait until next summer."

Maybe that wouldn't be so strange if it was like, mid-winter 2014. But it's not. It's mid/early-summer NOW. I blame it on what seems like a preeetty busy schedule the next little while.  It's not even dreaded tasks, some of them are quite delightful actually + things I look forward to. 
 
Beard (can I still call him that if he shaved off his masterpiece and is just in the early stages of growing it back? I told him I was going to have to change his whole persona if he wanted to nix it! :]) & I were talking the other day, and I was telling him that I think I do pretty well with a full schedule, but if it gets too full then my brain gets mushy and I end up taking a nap, or doing something completely unrelated to any of the long list of things I should be doing. :] Am I alone here?

I guess May/June seems pretty busy, and on top of that the summer weather has been (very) slow coming, and that just makes me feel anxious because I feel like it's going to end before I know it! I think what seemed appealing to me about next summer is that (at this point) it's un-planned, and it seems like there will be lots of it to enjoy. But that way of thinking just doesn't make sense, because
a. I like plans, and events, and doing things
b. I know as it approaches things will be planned
c. I am not appreciating life right now, in the moment
d. I like doing things!!

So this is me writing a whole post about one crazy little thought. Sometimes when things come to mind (no matter how fleeting or major) that make me step back and evaluate what I just thought, I feel like it helps for me to sit down and actually address it. That either helps squash it and publicly embarrass it for the craziness that it is, or give it a voice. In this case...I'm going for squashing. :] Grab your mallets people!

Here's to enjoying each planned event, no matter the size, or pre-planning it takes. And here's to looking forward to the surprises each un-planned day brings. I hope Summer 2014 is all you planned it to be, and more! I think I've officially said the word 'planned' too many times in 5 paragraphs. I'm done now. 

Yard Sales

It's that time of year, I can practically smell it, can't you? Actually, hopefully you can't, cause that would be kinda nasty. BUT. It is yard sale season and I loooove it! I love going and searching for treasures, or planning day trips to neighbor hood sales.  It's not about what you need (nothing, sometimes?), it's about the thrill of the hunt! I like to tell people "I won't know what I want until I see it". :]

So that's one side of the coin. The other is the throw-a-yard-sale-yourself side. Trust me, much easier said then done! I had one a couple of years ago, and man are they work.  When it's all said and done I didn't regret it. It's kinda enjoyable once it's all set up...just seeing dollar signs (or cent signs??) as people purchase your (hopefully) dirt cheap priced items. I'm planning to have one again in a couple of weeks, mostly because there was quite a lot of junk treasures stuff left at our newly purchased house, and partly because I want to get rid of some things from my dad's house that he doesn't need anymore.  My theory is the bigger the yard sale, the more worthwhile! Hopefully that proves true.

Anyways, I am currently in the why-the-heck-did-I-decide-to-do-this stage, and the I-don't-wanna-price-everything stage is close on it's heels. I think this is the worst part. So in light of that, I scoured the internet for some pictures that best depict how I feel. Enjoy! :]


How I feel when I am sorting stuff for my yard sale.

How I want my yard sale to look.

How I feel like my yard sale looks.

 How I feel when the last day of my yard sale is almost over. EVERYTHING GONE NOWWWW!


Rain

I titled this post, and then wasn't sure where to go from here. I don't claim to know all the deets, I just know that there is some serious devastation just a few miles away from my home. My home, where we are are safe, and dry, and can drive in and out of our driveway. Tuesday late night/Wednesday early morning, the rain came. I'm not sure what the official gauge said, but I think it was at least 5 inches. Not to mention, here, 2 days later, we got another couple of inches. Our dear town just wasn't prepared for that. The one amazing things about disasters like this, are how the people come together. People working side by side who probably live on the same street, but have never spoken before. The surrounding towns sent their volunteer firefighters to close roads, pump basements, and rescue people (from what I'm told).

I have driven down to town a couple of times, and the streets are either closed, dusty, or have debris along the side. In some areas parts of the edges are washed away. I know what I am seeing is nothing compared to actually experiencing it in it's fullest wrath, having your home condemned or your business ruined. It's crazy to think of the force that water has.

I don't really have a point per-say to this post, I guess I felt like I needed to somehow document this historic time. I just hope that those of us who know Who is in control can encourage those who may not know. I am praying for all the people affected by the storm.

I must admit, this chorus was running through my head the last couple days. Lets turn this into something grand, shall we?

Lord , send the rain
Pour out Your Spirit
Let the fire fall
Heal us one and all
Fall fresh on me 


(Here are a couple of articles with pictures about the happenings, if you aren't local.)

http://fingerlakesdailynews.com/news/details.cfm?clientid=16&id=126673#.U3YRofldXqo

http://inthefingerlakes.com/explore/finger-lakes-photos/penn-yan-flood-may-14-2014-tons-of-photos/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2628706/Small-town-Upstate-New-York-washed-disastrous-flash-floods-rain-forecasted-Thursday.html

Send your prayers everyone!


The Mothers

Happy Mother's day, to the long time mothers, newbie mothers, gonna-be mothers, shoulda-been mothers, and puppy-mothers. & I guuuuuess cat-mothers. Maybe. :]

I think today is a good day to sit for a second and think why you really appreciate your mother(s), and then be purposeful about keeping it forefront in your mind so you can be thankful for that, and let them know how you feel! Unfortunately, all my mothers got this year was a nice card...and an IOU.  Some years I am prepared and all excited to give my...whatever it is...but this year I was stumped! And I decided instead of scrambling and getting a less-exciting something, I would wait until I think of something perfect, even if it is delayed. Am I the only one who doesn't always like deadlines?

Anyways. I thought this would be the perfect occasion to post a couple pictures of my moms, the women that are there for me no matter what. There is a long list of women who have supported and mothered me in one way or another over the years, but for times sake, I will keep it to the "real" ones.

Martha, the one who gave me life. One of the most patient people I know, and the woman taught me a love for reading, made obstacle courses for me in the yard, and let my creativity shine (sometimes in the form of awful outfits, enter home-made dresses, over cut off shorts, under huge t-shirts, topped with hiking boots. Yikes.). We are evolving into friends, how mothers and daughters do, and it's awesome.

Ruth, the one who accepts me as her own. She has welcomed me into her family with open arms, and displays home-maker characteristics that I hope to mirror the best I can. I feel so blessed daily for the woman she is.

Now, enjoy Lyndsi's work!