Let your heart be light!

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It’s Christmas Eve and our celebrations are in full force!  I was just discussing some fun family traditions with friends (haha, Elise) and it lead to some reminiscing on our own traditions old and new.  

Here are some fun things we’ve done through the years plus some of Matt’s and mine we’ve adapted:

1. Watching A Christmas Story on Christmas Eve

2. Enjoying a delicious family dinner leading up to Christmas> either beef bourguignon or london broil/pork loin

3. Exchanging Christmas pjs

4. Walking the beach on Christmas Eve morning

5. Sit on stairs waiting on parents to film our gifts before we see them (tell me they’re not the only ones- it’s kinda weird)

6. Go to the movie theaters the afternoon of Christmas Day (last year it was Les Miserables, this year it’s Wolf of Wall Street)

7. Biscuits and gravy the morning of Christmas

8. Visiting the grandparents throughout the day

What are your Christmas traditions? Any you’re looking forward to starting this year?

xoxo, heather

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Five on Friday

I’m linking up with the lovely ladies of the Five on Friday again- I’ve missed the last few weeks and have really missed it!

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Y’all!  Is it really Friday already?  While most of you are celebrating because today marks your last day of school/ work before Christmas or maybe just your last day of work before the weekend, I’ll be pulling one of those 12 hr shifts and strolling right into a weekend of work;)  Noticing a pattern?!  The great news is I still have joy in my heart; and this week has given me a full tank to run on for this stretch of work.

O N E.

That bring’s me to this week’s number 1.  Have you ever prayed and prayed and prayed and PRAYED for something to happen and then stopped?  Stopped because it’s exhausting and disappointing and maybe you’re just scared the answer will be ‘no’?  Well, Matt and I have been in our new city for a little over a year together.  While we’ve so enjoyed making it “our” place, we have struggled to make friends.  Now, don’t hear me say that we don’t have any– because the friends we have made here are so dear to us and we could almost squeeze them so tight to not lose them.  We can acknowledge the great gifts from God they are.  But let’s be real, making friends as married adults [who work retail= funky schedules] is much more difficult than doing it in college.  No forced community here!  

So back to my original point- I’d pretty much stopped praying about it.  Because I certainly wanted the answer to be ‘yes’ and if it wasn’t, then I didn’t want to hear the ‘no’.  Matt and I both, really, were initially concerned when I began this blog, I’d be potentially shutting myself off from the community around us here in NC and opening up to this fictitious community on the web.  Until it’s not fictitious.  That’s right.  You guys are real people and I’ve seen what an online community can do.  And then the other day, I find myself meeting a sweet woman [read: complete stranger] for coffee.  In real life. Elise and her husband are very similar to Matt and me, but really she is just a normal, down-to-earth, breath-of-fresh-air person with whom I was able to sit and talk as though we’d been friends for years.  Praise the Lord!  

Praise the Lord for all our dear friends we’ve made- and are continuing to make.  Thank the Lord that He stays here with us and is continually working on our behalf even when we give up.  Huge win for the week, people!

T W O.

Obviously, it doesn’t compare to number ONE, but I recently stopped by the dollar section in Target.  BAD IDEA.  You guys?!  They had a ton of gold knick-knacks.  I know what you’re probably thinking- crap.  But it was a whole bunch of office notepads, journals, pens, pencils, stickers… <– right, I sound like a child.  Well, it made my day and I can’t wait to ring in the new year with my brand new gold office stuff [FOR A DOLLAR].photo (4)

T H R E E.

Yesterday marked one week until Christmas.  I am extra giddy about this year’s celebrations.  Matt and I will be doing our thing here on the 24th-25th and will be headed to SC following work on the 26th.  This will be the first time my whole family has been together since news of this [my sister] and I know it’s going to be extra sweet when we hug their necks.  We’ll make our way to Matt’s parents’ house and close out the weekend.  It will be quicker than I ever desire but so nice to be able to celebrate the birth of Jesus surrounded by our dearest.

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F O U R.

Today’s date is 12/20.  Two days ago it was 12/18.  Speaking of 12/18 [like how I created my own segue there?], my birthday is 1/18; meaning, we are officially on the countdown.  Call me ridiculous, but I think everyone should celebrate their birthday for at least one week.  Then you have to count down for a month.  Am I alone in this?  Sweet Matt’s birthday is 1/15 so our weeks intersect- this means he generally gives in to whatever I plan… oops.  And since we hardly ever have our birthdays off from work, it’s totally necessary to celebrate on more than one day.  

Let’s just call it what it is, I’m doing a lot of justifying up there.  Moving on.

F I V E.

I linked up yesterday with some lovely ladies to bring you NYE outfit ideas.  I had a blast putting clothes together online- then again, I would be a personal shopper if it paid the bills.  We will be linking up for the next 2 weeks discussing party ideas and goals/wishes for the new year.  Check back for those posts and join us in the link-up!

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Happy Friday, y’all!

xoxo, heather

MIA

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No, not a girl’s name.  I’ve been missing in action for almost a week!  That’s a sin in blogger-land.  A million apologies.  My excuse: work.  Work gets in the way of play so much sometimes.  I’m in the middle of what basically will be 8 straight days.  That’s a sin in pharmacist-land.  

But ’tis the season.  

‘Tis the season, indeed.  I’ve had somewhat of a running holiday bucket list in my head, and we’ve done a pretty good job of checking things off.

1. Get tree. (I work with a pretty awesome pharmacist whose family cuts these down around Thanksgiving each year and brings them back to sell.  Matt and I are starting to love this tradition.

2. Decorate tree and house. While I’ve gotten a lot of new decor this year, I enjoyed unwrapping the sentimental ornaments from this year and last most of all!  Matt surprised me with so many that secretly made their way back in our suitcases from our honeymoon.  So special!

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3. Watch Christmas movies.  -this one is sort of ongoing.  So far we’ve hit Four Christmases, Love Actually, some hallmark favorites (mine, duh!).  Upcoming- Home Alone, Family Man, and of course, A Christmas Story on Christmas Eve.

4. Build Gingerbread House.

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5. Holiday Parties.

6. Hot Chocolate. With marshmallows, a candy cane, and a Hershey’s kiss at the bottom.

7. Elfing.  We’re in the process- hoping to get it all done before the week of Christmas.

8. Drive through Enchanted Arlie Gardens.  -a local garden that is decorated all over with lights, lots of glorious lights.

We’re always adding to it, especially if I hear of something going on locally.  I wish I could just bottle up everything I love about this time of year and replay it over and over.  This time is certainly special, ultimately remembering the most glorious gift of all, Jesus.  My She Reads Truth-Emmanuel Advent devotion has been helpful in keeping it in the forefront.  

What about y’all?  Any sweet new traditions?  What about your holiday bucket list?

xoxo, heather

 

 

Gift Guide <$100

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Final gift guide link-up, ladies and gents!  This one should help you find ideas for those hard-to-gift people in your life.  Am I the only one who has a bunch of men like that in their family?!

So without further ado…

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1>> Bittermilk. Won the Made in the South Award for drinks from my ever-favorite, Garden & Gun.  Take a look around their website.  This is a great gift for some of your difficult men who also like to enjoy a fancy beverage every now and then.

2>> Magic Bullet Deluxe.  What began as kind of funny when Matt gifted my younger, high-school aged brother with this a few years ago, has now turned into the best gift that we’ve all given each other.  I’m serious.  You can use these things for virtually anything!

3>> Big Bang Theory DVD. Or really any copy of their favorite TV series seasons.  This happens to be one of my family’s favorite shows.  Sheldon…

4>> Homedics Foot Massager.  This one hardly needs a reason.  For someone who stands on her feet for upwards of 13 hours at a time, just yeah.

5>> Statement Jewelry.  For the fashion forward women in your life.  These things sparkle, and then sparkle some more.

6>> Poker set.  Or any game that your family/ guys like.  I know Matt used to enjoy poker with his friends in high school on the reg.

7>> Anthropologie clutch.  It doesn’t have to be Anthro.  But then why not?  My sister says this store is a glimpse of the inside of her soul.  I can attest that it is pretty beautiful!  Super affordable gifts from this wonderful store this year, you can’t go wrong!

Alright, ladies.  I’m out for a 12 hour shift at work today- enjoy!

Thanks again to Cheers Y’all and Down with the Dearmore’s for hosting!

xoxo, heather

FIVE on Friday- Anniversary Edition

Coming at you today with another edition of Five on Friday, this one an anniversary special/ thankful Friday!

O N E

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You can’t properly celebrate a wedding anniversary without talking about your better half.  My sweet husband has taught me more about myself in a matter of a year than I could have imagined.  -Don’t get me wrong, our parents did their part to encourage our individual identities and teach us how to relate to others.  But their ways of interacting with each other won’t always work for us.  That’s a hard pill to swallow- that there can be multiple right ways to work things out.-  I digress.

He encourages me to be a better me, to love others richly, to live in the moment while also investing in our future.  He pulls the best out of me while seeing the worst and loving me still.  He makes me belly laugh, appreciates my nerdy-ness, and apologizes profusely even when he’s not at fault. He sticks to his convictions, challenges me daily, and he’s [in my honest opinion] the most handsome man I’ve ever laid eyes on.  I could go on… really. I’ll spare y’all any further gushiness.  I just love him.  

T W O

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Speaking of the last year: we couldn’t have been more blessed and I constantly have to remind myself of this when the bad times come.  We bought our first home, establishing our roots in a new place.  We have [slowly, but surely] made some dear new friends who are, no doubt, gifts straight from God.  We both have steady jobs and thoroughly enjoy our coworkers/ roles at work.  Matt has received a grant to continue/ jumpstart his photography career.  We’ve been able to spend lots of time with our families despite the distance.  I don’t mean to brag- I know these things are only possible because the good Lord loves us more than we deserve.  There have been times where we’ve been discouraged and sad about circumstances, but God keeps his promises and this last year has been nothing but evidence to support that.

T H R E E

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Blessings… that brings me to today’s number 3.  Our friends and family, though scattered all across the country, are amazing.  It’s been so sweet to see our lives progress separately, but still being able to come together by the world wide web or in person to rejoice in life’s victories [small or large].  It can be difficult to make friends in a new environment when we’ve formed such strong bonds with others for years- but this has been a learning experience and gets easier as time goes on.  I could never take these relationships for granted!  

F O U R

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This one is a no-brainer.  I am pumped for tomorrow.  Our anniversary is actually on Sunday, but Matt and I will spend all Saturday on a date- I don’t know what all the day will bring.  That just simply doesn’t matter all too much; I’ll get to be with my sweetie.  And there most certainly will be food involved.  I do know we’re going to a new local restaurant for dinner, Rx Restaurant.  How appropriate!

F I V E

This one comes completely out of left field but deserves a mention today.  I cannot get enough of JT’s 20/20 Experience.  Matt must have left the cd in my car the other day and I have listened to it nonstop during the week, jamming to work and back.  I especially like these two.  Have a listen!

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What are your 5 things that deserve a mention this Friday?  Do I have anymore anniversary celebrations out there this weekend?  

xoxo, heather

The Quiet in the Storm

Sometimes when this world breaks your heart, there’s nothing like a good, ugly cry and a silent dinner with your sweetheart by your side.  

Our family received some heart-wrenching news on Tuesday night.  I don’t wish to go into the details, but your prayers for peace, comfort, and renewed hope are coveted.  After processing our thoughts for a bit Matt and I ate a quick dinner in silence.  It was just what this girl’s soul needed.  My mind was racing, anxiety building, and I felt the word-vomit would turn dark in this initial phase of grief.  

Of the little I know, I know this to be true:  the Lord’s plan is far greater than our own and it’s completely out of our control.  We must cling to His truth and He will keep His promises.

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Matt and I were fortunate to have yesterday off together so we made a day-long date of it capped off by fun at the local fair.  Now this fair doesn’t begin to compare to the State Fair in SC, but Matt knows I love some fair food so he obliged.

It was pretty rainy the whole time and we didn’t ride any rides but we enjoyed looking at the sweet animals.

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This Old McNally’s Derby was pretty cute and hilarious

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Then, of course, we had to get an elephant ear!

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…it was also somewhat soggy from the rain.

We made the best of the night and had a good time.  It’s certainly been a tough few days around here but sometimes these mid-week adventures are just what the doctor ordered to keep us going.

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