33 Things & A Birthday

Lifestyle

Today is my birthday! Another year has passed full of joy, sadness, lessons and all the things. This past year saw a lot of change, across a full spectrum, for me and our family. We bought and moved into our first home, Ainsleigh turned two (no longer a baby, but becoming a little girl), and made some decisions for the future of our family that we are still working toward. Life is always changing, right? All of that, among the craziness that the last 4 months have brought us and the day to day circus that we are blessed with have me extra introspective this year. 

Every year I feel like there is no way the next will be a wilder ride, yet it always is. I’m not sure what it was about 32, but I sat in a lot of thoughts and really have been leaning into what my legacy will be – not just for our family, but for everyone I interact with for even a moment. Feels overwhelming when I say it like that, but sincerely. I’ll be embracing more of that and sharing more of my thoughts on legacy eventually. 

Today though, as the calendar rolls over to year 33, I’m sharing 33 things that will hopefully allow you to get to know my heart more and some lessons I’m taking more to heart going forward. Some will be no surprise, some are epiphanies I’ve had and others will just be oddities that make me, me. So here you go!

  1. I believe in the power of a strong cup of coffee, brewed with care and love – that it can make any day better.
  2. I’ve moved 17 times, lived in 4 countries, and had the wonderful opportunity to travel to 10 countries.
  3. I’m not a big chocolate fan. I do enjoy it every now and then, but chocolate cake is a no-go for me. Brownies, yes. Chocolate cake, pass.
  4. I’m type-A, enneagram 1 to a tee. Ever since I was a child, I’ve LOVED organizing, lists and everything being just so. I was the kid that staged my Barbies and legit got so excited when I got my jungle green dial label maker in 3rd grade!
  5. I’ve learned that being a good listener is a honed skill and one that I have to be conscious of practicing. 
  6. Spending time in God’s word centers and calms me like nothing else. Though I was raised in a Christian home, it wasn’t until I was living on my own just after college that I really started building a personal relationship with Christ. My faith is my epicenter.
  7. Marriage is the most rewarding, amazing and challenging experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I thank God multiple times a day that Adam and I found each other – I can’t imagine life without him by my side.
  8. Of all my roles, “Mama”, bedtime serenader, “silly Tiger” tamer, “Mommy Belle”, booboo healer and Elsa braid stylist are among my absolute favorites! Parenthood is refining, joy filled and enlightening. I’ve dreamt of being a mom my whole life and it’s everything I imagined and more (in all the good and challenging ways). 
  9. I spent almost every summer growing up in Charleston, SC. Until we moved to Iowa when my dad retired from the Army, that was where I called home. Honestly, I think it will always be home.
  10. Sweet tea is my chilled beverage of choice all day, everyday. (of the homemade or CFA variety!)
  11. Speaking of home, I am so enamored with homemaking in the spiritual and emotional sense. I love finding ways to make our space feel cozy and intimate. If you haven’t read “The Lifegiving Home” by Sally Clarkson, I highly recommend it!
  12. I’m a novice, hobby watercolor artist. (I use that term very loosely!) It’s so relaxing and I love zoning out while playing with the colors!
  13. The best relationship strengthening building blocks usually come out of the one sided conversations where I’m the listener and/or the challenging things in life.
  14. Even though I love food and watching cooking shows, I’m not great with seasoning or making up recipes. BUT – Baking is my JAM!! 
  15. I’ve always been an avid reader – like I got grounded for reading with a flashlight. If ever in doubt about a gift, a gift card for Barnes & Noble or a local bookstore is one of the most thoughtful things in my world. I literally can spend an entire day in the library or a book store and get so lost I’ll lose track of time altogether.
  16. Even though I read a lot and fairly quickly, when my schedule allows, I’ll always be a paper book person. I’m not a fan of e-readers. There is something so special about turning the pages and smelling the ink on the paper.
  17. I used to apologize for my orderly, everything in its place mentality. But I’ve come to embrace it, with awareness so it’s not entirely out of control. It’s an integral part of my personality and I won’t apologize for who I am. That’s taken A LOT of time to be ok with, but I’m so glad I put in the heart work to gain that confidence.
  18. On a related note, I am not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok. I used to spend so much time and energy trying to please other people. I’m a much happier and better version of myself when I don’t filter everything through a ‘people pleaser’ lens.
  19. Friendship is precious. I have a lot of acquaintances that I call friends, but having an inner circle of people who truly know you and still love you is a gift!
  20. The most rewarding and fruitful things in life are usually the ones that don’t come so easily.
  21. I cannot imagine my life without music. Singing, dancing, playing it – it fuels my soul.
  22. Though many would say I’m chatty (and I agree), I process and get my feelings out best in writing. I think it’s something to do with wanting to find just the right sentiments.
  23. As I get older, I’ve become more of an introvert.
  24. Here’s a fun random one – I really like Alligator meat. Yep!
  25. My dad and I have been working for years (over a decade) to document our family ancestry. Life has slowed that project, but it’s one we are both so passionate about and find joy in. 
  26. Every single day I’m in awe at God’s creativity, even in the most mundane parts of life. The sunset, the sounds of birds, how the wind makes the trees dance, Ainsleigh’s imagination, how something will suddenly reveal itself and so much more. Pure awe.
  27. No matter what may feel too hard or too much, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Name it.
  28. I’m a busy body and have a hard time relaxing or resting. Idle hands and that. But when I look back at the times stamped in my memories and heart – they are the slow, simple things. An afternoon in the shed with PawPaw, getting my first manicure with my Gram, reading a book while my mom made a snack, sitting on the porch with family, running around the neighborhood with friends. While organizing my and my sister’s room every few months was a fond memory (seriously – see point 4), to do lists and accolades are not at the top of the list.
  29. I believe in belly laughs – the kind that bellow from your diaphragm and make you snort, cry and fill you up all at the same time. They’re the best medicine.
  30. Dreams can change. And the new ones can be both simpler and better at the same time. 
  31. God is always good. Period.
  32. We’ve been dreaming up our forever home since we started dating. A unique blend of seaside meets country meets Craftsman – cozy yet airy, traditional yet fresh, classic and full of life. When I say forever, I mean the place our kids come home to with their kids and we maybe are able to pass down through generations. I doubt it was ever the intention, but when my MawMaw sold the home she and my PawPaw shared in Charleston (effectively my childhood home), I instantly felt like I wanted to build something that makes people feel like I did in that house, surrounded by the love that was there for any and everyone who entered. (and that doesn’t have to be a physical home, but the feeling of home.)
  33. Life is meant to be celebrated and shared. This is something I’ve become so attune to over the past five years. Everyday celebrations, big milestone celebrations, conversations just because, sharing the big and small moments and thoughts of your days with those close to you. It’s all important and weaves the fabric of our lives together.

As cliche as it may sound, I know in my heart of hearts that the best is yet to come. I have no idea what that will be, but it’s still out there for me to experience and I am ready to embrace it. Thanks for being part of my world, friends, even if just to read my ramblings for a moment. I’m so grateful for you! Cheers, y’all! 

xoxo,

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