February 24, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

1. Mustard bag from bayanhippo on Etsy. Long term favorite of mine.

2. More merriweathercouncil on Etsy. I know! I DIE.

3. Darling letterpress recipe cards and box from 1canoe2 on Etsy.
4. Industrial light fixtures. This one, from here.

5. Vaneli Genie in red smack patent (isn't that the coolest name ever for a color?). Probably a good thing they don't have my size in these. Lulu would adore these as well. Sadly, she is the same size as moi.
6. Earthies Lucia. SWOON. These I am saving up for. These I will wear with socks. Often. I promise.
7. Earthies Capri.

8. Sofft nude heels. LOVE.
Wow that was a lot of shoes. Sorry about that.

9. Delicious buttery cream skirt from Emersonmade.

10. Dressy shorts outfit by Emersonmade.

February 23, 2011

Pitter Pat

My heart went pitter pat the other night.

We were making dinner. Moo had been feeling crappy but we had the tunes rockin' so she was compelled to dance. Around and around the room she went in her pink princess pajamas, including somersaults (because dancing for Moo always includes gymnastics). She almost danced herself sick! So Bryon scooped her up into his arms at the same time that some Neil came on. Time to slow it down.

He adjusted her just so on his hip, cocked his cowboy hat up, and then grabbed her little hand. And then he whirred her all around the living room for a princess dance. It was the most precious thing ever!

It's not the first time he's danced with her. It's not the first time my heart's gone pitter pat (holy cow, no way). But I love it every time because it reminds me of this:


February 22, 2011

Tuesday

Holy bananas I am so dadblamed excited!

Only one more sleep until my uterus flipflops itself crazy [it can sense her, I swear]. Until Buck is the deer. Until our gosh, 9 now children collide into one another and fun and calamity ensues. We may lose another Ken doll head for all I know. I may not give Ruby back, I can tell you that.

There will be at least one lunch at Bracco.

I will not have blonde hair and she will not have bangs. Time moves on, you know. Hell, I'm pretty sure I don't even have that pink blazer anymore.




Oh, Lawsie.

I can't wait! Lulu, save traveling mercies, 'kay???? Say hello to PDubya if you see her in Oklahoma on the way.

PS: Bryon has NO IDEA what he's in for. I can't wait! Did I already say that?

February 21, 2011

Let's Go To Honolulu


Nothing planned yet. YET.

We're kind of waiting for a concert announcement. Well, not really - but if Jack Johnson decided to tour again and I bought tickets, Bryon would HAVE to agree it was time to go, right?

We don't need a hotel. Just a tent, a few rips of clothing, a fire, and some Jack [that's the musician, not the liquor].

Seriously. Hawaii. It will happen... just not sure when. But I'll be ready when it does with this cutie patoot!

February 18, 2011

Lasagna Stacks

I saw this recipe today first on Baked Bree and then on The Creative Mama. Now I'm publishing it in yet a third place for all of you lovely people. I have GOT to try this!

I love making lasagna. I love the process. Sadly, it takes a lot of time so it doesn't get made often. This, however, looks like it could come together quickly.


Here is Bree's recipe (that's her photo, too).

No offense to Bree, but the kids aren't going to touch this. They will eat regular lasagna, however. Most of the time.

So I fully plan on omitting the arugula in this recipe and adding in a homemade spaghetti sauce with ground beef or sausage, minced mushrooms (because they eat them if they can't see them), and onions.

Can't wait to try this.



And also? SIX SLEEPS UNTIL I SEE THIS FACE:


I can't wait to make her laugh so hard she pees.

I can't wait to hug her babies.

I can't wait to discuss cheeseburgers and redheads with her.

I can't wait to lie in her lap and let her play with my hair. While we watch the Golden Girls and The Office.

I can't wait to chant the following with her: Thank the deer; Buck is the man!

SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!

February 17, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

1. Dear Snow, please don't go away yet. Stay around for just a little while longer. In fact, please dust the trees a bit so they look like this.


2. Classics gifting kit from knotandbow.


3. The most adorable ever frock from ramonawest. LOVE. MINE.


4. After I passed out, I ordered this one, too (also ramonawest). Oh yes I most certainly did. And I am so wearing it with socks and heels. You bet your ass. From here.


5. First, don't get any ideas. Our family is blessed enough, thankyouverymuch. With that out of the way, I couldn't NOT include this onesie, which popped up in my suggested shops on Etsy. It's from imkremer.

6. Lights. You will see these again (hint, hint). Photo from thesweetestoccasion.com.


7. Darling details from a wedding detailed on thesweetestoccasion.com (seriously the most inspiring blog EVAH). How cute is that picture?!


8. Green door found on thesweetestoccasion.com. LOVE.



9. Handmade dress from Onor.

10. Vintage plate. From fromlosttofound on Etsy.

February 16, 2011

Him


I love him. Exactly as he is.

I love his accountability.

How he breaks into British accent for no reason whatsoever.

That he makes coffee for me every single day. Even when he's not having any.

I love that he tells stories of his childhood to our children. Even the bad stories.

I love his willingness to listen to crazy. To keep up with girl emotions.

I love that he needs kicked in the ass sometimes. Motivation!

I love that he knows when to kick me back.

I love his laugh.

His smile.

His bald head.

I love that he knows exactly when to hug me. Every. Single. Time.

I love that he knows my sigh.

I love that he lets me pepper him with 'I love you's as often as they have to come out.

I love that he says it back.

I love that he listens for God's voice, and then tells me when he hears Him.

I love that God held onto him for me for a while, let him have a past, grew him and got him ready for me... bumps and bruises and expertise and all.

I love that Bryon trusts me with his imperfections, his hurts, and his hopes. I want to make his heart SING.

I love that music moves his soul and that I know him well enough to know what mood he is in by what's on the iPod.

I love that he challenges me.

He trusts me.

HE BELIEVES IN ME.

He lets me go first!

I love that he is taking the time to understand the hurts I suffered in my previous marriage and is working to make sure I know HE IS NOT THE SAME.

I love that he is honest.

I love that, together, we are the funniest in the room. Even if it's only to each other.

I love that he lets ME tell the stories we share. And then makes all of them *pop* with guy speak.

I love that his friends love me, too.

I love his mother. LOVE her. His entire family is awesome.

I love his long fingers and strong hands. I love that I can see the years on the football field, the basketball court, and the bar fights every time I see those hands.

I love that he needs me.

I love the millions of ways he lets me serve him.

I love that I do not intimidate him. He flat out knows I could kick his ass.

I love that he hunts and fishes and plays ball and watches ball and grills and grunts and works hard for a living. HE IS A MANLY MAN.

I love that he is hairy. Except for that head.

He is strong. Capable. WILLING.

I love that I get to call this man my husband very soon.

I love that I get to put on a white dress because of him.

I love the 4,657,881 more things about him that I feel every time I look at his green eyes.

I love him. Exactly as he is.



That is all. Carry on!

February 14, 2011

Lead Me

No secret that Christian music moves me and talks to my soul. This song... my God in Heaven sent this song to me. Really, I think He knew I needed this healing, this closure and this promise as I walk into a new forever. This song has been out a while but I have struggled with how to share it here. This song is about bounding toward new priorities and leaving your family behind - even if it happens accidentally.

The plea is worth sharing, so here it is. Please listen to this song. Pass it on to your spouse and talk about your priorities. Then go to Sanctus Real's website - really, come on now - humor me. Go there and look at the Husband's prayer and the Wife's prayer. They will knock your socks off if you let them. Those prayers are going to be part of our ceremony.

I am so grateful for this song, this reminder for men to lead their wives. People have their priorities whacked out these days. Women are called to serve their husbands, and husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Moreover, husbands are called to be the leader of the family - PERIOD. When they are not, things are unbalanced. Wives and children feel lost and insecure. This was the disaster that ended my first marriage, more than any other issue. Do I wish I'd had this song back then? I can't answer that and I will tell you why. I would not have understood what this song meant then. I'm not sure Shoes will ever understand it. I'm not him so I can't say. The reason I understand the profound meaning behind this plea now is because I know what happens when that plea isn't made. When the priorities aren't right. And it sucks.

I mean, money is great an all. Hell, I'd love enough to pay all of my bills and put 3 of our kids in braces. But you know what? Money isn't jack shit in the big scheme of things. The love of money is the root of all evil. Beware the corporate game. Take stock of where your time is spent.

So, listen. Remind yourselves to keep your priorities in check. God. Family. THEN friends and even work after. I'm not telling you to goof off or mess up your job, but I AM telling you to remember what is truly important to you and put that first. Really. Teach others (work) how to respect you. SHOW THEM that you have boundaries. Then, jealously guard your time. Everything other than love - God's and your family's - is just stuff. It won't be what you talk about when you check in at the pearly gates, believe me. Work can't keep you warm at night. Work can't absolve you of your sins. Work is not unconditional. LOVE IS WHERE IT'S AT.

Oh - and this is so important - you know what? You men (not that a great many of you read my website) - YOU DON'T HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING! You don't need to know how to lead a family in order to do it. You're not supposed to know how. GOD DOES. He wants you to rely on Him. God will give you everything you need when you ask Him. You're not supposed to be married alone.

Okay, enough soap box. Off you go. Listen!







I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear her saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They're just children from the outside
I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine
They're independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone




PS: Did you know that Sanctus Real is originally from ... back where we were from? They totally are! So cool. They are also collecting prayers for the lead singer's little baby boy who has HLHS - a heart defect. (He's doing well.) And they are coming to Lifelight this fall! WOOT!

February 10, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

1. Intimate reception lighting. Those big bulbs are incredibly hard to find, yo. I like these just as much. Simple, white, drapey. Photo from The Sweetest Occassion.

2. Embroidered art, like this darling (and tiny!) thing, from Merriweathercouncil on Etsy.


3. Map ornaments from Palomasnest on Etsy.



3. JCrew's spring business line. Yummy. And also? Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm growing my bangs out.


4. Modular messenger in my most favorite color. From bayanhippo.


5. Sparkly shoes + stockings + bow? SWOON! Image source.

6. James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.


7. Vintage, repurposed silverware. From here.


8. Vintage bread pans, for just this purpose. From here. Can you tell I want an herb garden?

9. Outdoor boudoir? Absolutely. As long as Bryon's the photographer. These images from Junebug.

10. His right ear. It's the one I tuck into and close my eyes. The one I nuzzle and kiss sometimes. It's my favorite ear.

Yeah, I noticed two 3's up there. Forgive me my inability to count today. We'll blame it on the 1,057 things I need to do this week, kay?

On Covenant Marriage

Thank you for all of your sweet comments and emails yesterday. Of them, one stood out to me. Simply asked, "what is a covenant marriage?" I realize I've talked about it a lot and have never really explained it.

My previous marriage was not a covenant. Not really. I thought it was before I ever knew what it meant. Now that I do, I can tell you that it was definitely not. And neither was Bryon's first marriage. No matter. We learn, we grow, we move forward in an effort to do better and to glorify God.



I am so excited to marry Bryon. I am excited because I know what I'm signing up for now. And oh how I love him. LOVE IS A CHOICE, People. It is a decision to feel unconditionally. Like when we mess up and sin - God loves us despite our marks. Covenant marriage is partly about that. Now I'm going to borrow from my online resource to tell you the rest:

"Too many people today view marriage as a legal contract. Contracts are based on rights and responsibilities and are motivated by self-centeredness rather than unconditional love. A legal contract is necessary to begin and end a marriage, but a covenant is more than a contract.

A covenant is the most solemn binding relationship into which two parties can enter. A covenant is based on unconditional love while a contract is based on works. A covenant cannot be broken if new circumstances occur. A contract can be voided by mutual consent.

A covenant marriage is intended by God to be a lifelong relationship exemplifying unconditional love, reconciliation, sexual purity, and growth. A covenant is an eternal commitment with God. People can negotiate out of contracts, but not out of a covenant. The heart of covenant marriage is “the steadfast love of the Lord,” which comes from the very heart of God and “never ceases” (Lam. 3:22, RSV).

God intends for marriage to be a lifelong covenant relationship between a man and a woman. When a couple shares their wedding vows, they are vowing to God, each other, their families, and their community to remain steadfast in unconditional love, reconciliation, and sexual purity, while purposefully growing in their covenant marriage relationship. It is God who desires to bring wholeness to families through covenant marriage relationships.


Elements of a Covenant Relationship

Covenants are the fruit of a loving, faithful relationship. The vows we exchange at our wedding reflect a relationship already bound by steadfast love and faithfulness. The degree in which these words have meaning comes in direct proportion to the unconditional love that dwells within our heart for the one to whom we are repeating them.

Covenant partners take responsibility for their actions. As partners in a covenant marriage relationship, we are responsible for our actions. An example would be to remain “sexually pure” in our thoughts and actions towards our spouse.

Covenants are based on freedom of choice. Covenant marriages are not built on coercion, deceit, and manipulation. Wives, submission is freely given and grows from respect, not fear and manipulation. In like manner, husband, choose daily to love your wife “as Christ loved the church.” You must freely choose to love and honor her in spite of the fact that you may not “feel” like loving and honoring her.

Covenants are rooted in actions based on choices, not feelings. Our feelings are forever fluctuating. Therefore to build a covenant marriage on feelings is to build it on shifting sand, which cannot support the foundation of marriage.

Covenant partners nurture their relationship. Our marriage will grow as we build up one another in love. This takes place when we value our spouse more than ourselves. As we experience the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, we are able to love our spouse as He loves us. Covenant partners administer unconditional love, forgiveness, and reconciliation while providing comfort and hope to their partner.

Covenants are based on commitments freely offered A covenant is built on selfless love, freely given and freely received. As strange as it may sound, a covenant marriage is one in which the “tie that binds” the couple together is a commitment freely offered with no strings attached. Paul said it well: “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8)."
 
 
You can read more about covenant marriage here. (Source - they can say it a lot better than I can!)

February 9, 2011

South Dakota Jedi Memories

Last night I was laying in Bryon's arms and I was in the mood to talk about the year behind us. This is the exact time last year that our hearts were moved together. The time where we both woke up and committed to giving love a go. As in, forever. It didn't take long; it was a matter of WEEKS from the time I slammed the tomato soup on his desk to the moment we knew we would be married. Really. All in.

And last night I was reminiscing. Over and over again I asked him if he remembered this or that, what we said and so forth. Some things he did of course, but come on now - he is a man. They don't hold on to the same thing we ladies do. They remember different, equally important things. For example, I know that he remembers exactly everything from the day we did our front office project at work. I was trying to date the viking, but I was falling fast for B. Christmastime, I was wearing sweats (seriously don't think I even showered that morning because we were the only people there) and a clip in my hair. He remembers coming into the room I was working in and hearing the air move. Time stopped, he told me. He remembers smelling my perfume (see above shower statement) and feeling drunk on the scent. He couldn't speak. He stared at my eyes and had no idea what I was saying, but didn't want to leave the doorway. He hovered for so long there, hearing his heart beat like wild horses in his chest.

It was a year ago yesterday that I texted back and forth with him before he left for his brother's wedding in Jamaica. We talked about what he was going to pack. He said he would miss my smile. There was some other little flirts, too, that made all the difference back then. They took us from "maybe" to "yes" and from "like" to "love." My gosh I was so in love with him already. I'd kicked the viking to the curb (yes, sorry, but he was an idiot) and my heart was slippery with want. I'd waited so long for B without even realizing it. We went out once and didn't kiss - and then he had to leave the country for a damned week. It was this week, last year. I listened to a hell of a lot of Snow Patrol (Set The Fire To The Third Bar, if you must know) while he was gone. Seriously, I listened to that song last night on the ride home and it gave me chills. Same snow outside. Same sunset. But a year later and about the marry the man. God is good. 

I still, STILL cannot believe he is the same guy that I fell in love with. This actually worked out! I got one right! I no longer wait for the shoe to drop, and I am still happier than I have ever been in my life. I know what love is now. Really. There are a lot of religious implications in that, that I didn't understand in my previous relationships. You can't have real love - the way God intended for us to have it - if you don't know Him or know what His love did for us. To know that I know that and that Bryon knows that, and to continue to move forward with the commitment to enter into a covenant marriage together with God intertwined... WOW. So, so good. Love is AH-MAZING.

All of this to say - last night, I tangled myself into Bryon's arms. He was warm and strong. Peaceful. I inhaled his scent. Ugh, I love his scent [mixture of machine oil, Irish Spring, and South Dakota Jedi]. I looked at his green eyes as they sparkled in the dim light and I smiled. Oh how I smiled.

"Tell me something mushy. Something you remember about us," I said.

"Remember that night at your house last summer when we put the kids to bed and then took the wine and the blanket outside? We laid under the stars..."

"Of course," I said, "we laid there in the dark looking at the constellations and you asked me if I was still a little scared by how good things were going for us. You said you'd never been happier in your life. And then we did a lot of kissing and giggling."

"Yep." He smiled. "Every morning when I pull out of the garage at 5am, it's all dark and freezing cold. Calm. The sky is clear and I look up and see all of the stars in the sky." He paused and kissed me. "I always think of that night under that blanket, in your arms."

Le sigh. He wins.

February 8, 2011

Mountain Baby Blankets Update

Image from Lutherans Online.



I have absolutely not forgotten about this little project of ours. No way.




Images by Les Tyler.


In fact yesterday I contacted the CAP and asked for a blanket count and some other information. I spoke to K and she confirmed that one of my biggest goals has come true. What a testament to Jesus running this thing to begin with!


"The Mountain Baby Blankets ministry has sent well over 1,000 blankets to the children in Appalachia," she said.


Over 1,000 blankets.


Photo from The Moderate Voice.



I cried. I'm not gonna lie; I actually cried. I never dreamed that this project could have that impact in two years. One thousand children are warmer because of US. That STILL gives me goosebumps, yo!


THANK YOU!

Now, I've been after K for a picture or a testimonial or something that I could share here and I don't have any images yet. But that is okay. I know they still have a need and I know they are handing out our blankets.


If you are interested in making and sending a blanket to the children in Appalachian Kentucky, please contact me at racheljcox at yahoo dot com. The Christian Appalachian Project will be distributing our blankets, sized infant through twin, throughout the remainder of this winter. You can handmake your blanket (in any washable material/method) or you can send a new or gently used blanket. There is no deadline for our project; we sewed through the past two years and every blanket has a new home and a new child to surround with love!



Image from Foundation Builders International.


My friend Linda gifted me a wonderful wedding present today - you can read about that here. She asked her readers to sew for our ministry. Thank you, Linda!


Honestly, I could go on and on... and I probably should update more frequently on this project. But I know God is moving through it. It's still alive and going strong and doing His work to warm the hearts of those sewing, sending, and now sleeping under our blankets. GLORY.


It's going to be 18 degrees tonight in Appalachia. Let's add some warmth, shall we?

February 4, 2011

Monday Monday



Odd thing to put on top of a blog, wouldn't you say: a big ole navy gray square right there? Hmm. Maybe not. What if I told you that I was so inspired by this photo -



...that I had to paint a room immediately?! Like so fast, Bryon got a good dose of what happens when creativity hits me. I mean, he saw, he loved, he approved if you will - and then in a blink of an eye I went round trip to and from Sherwin Williams (still my favorite), taped up the room in the crosshairs, and pulled the paint trigger. And we both are so in love with the result. The drama is awesome.

This is why I maintain that paint is the EASIEST way to decorate. And such instant gratification!

I can't wait to show you AFTER pics. Well before pics, too because - I purposefully did not mention which room it was. That's because this needs to arrive and be hung first:




It reminds me of this. We are 6 peeps, you know.

I realize this project had nothing whatsoever to do with the wedding we are planning, but sometimes you have to bust through a clog, you know? I needed a non-wedding project. And cooking wasn't cutting it. I was going to work on the four quilts (yes four), but then I saw that picture up there and, well, something had to be done immediately. So glad Bryon understands the creative process. And loves me for washing my brushes out in the kitchen sink. Oh yes.


Anyway, the entire way around the room, I thought. I thought and thunk and pondered. Nothing revolutionary. Nothing was bothering me. But it felt so good to paint that room. My goodness I must have needed that process because my head feels empty and calm again. Ready for another week of knocking things off of the wedding to-do list.

Productivity, ho!

Come A Little Closer

I know I've told you about the first night that Bryon and I went out. How he brought a wing man (don't laugh; I had a posse, too). How we played pool for hours. How I wore my chucks and a long sleeve grey tee shirt. He had on a plaid button down.


We didn't kiss that first night, but we danced and danced and danced. The entire night he kept waiting to request a song from the DJ that was tucked in the corner of the little bar. He never did get to make a request. Later I asked him what song he would have asked for.

"Come A Little Closer, by Dierks Bentley," he said.

If you know that song, you know it's swoony.

So this year, in celebration of our established tradition - and also for his birthday, I just bought tickets to go see this guy.




Mr. Dierks Bentley himself.

WEARESOEXCITED!

February 2, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

1. Dedicated playrooms. This image from Amanda Soule.


2. The Sweetest Occassion. Go to this blog. Check it out and I dare you to not be inspired!



3. Snowcaps, via this recipe from SweetPaul.


4. If you haven't guessed, I have a thing for cobalt blue. Loving these wedding images from Junebug.



6. Wedding blogs.

7. Precious homemade garland (and instructions here) via lovelyindeed.


8. This fantastic chandelier, which makes me wish I didn't have fans everywhere in the house.


9. Confetti garland from km. Hmmm...

10. Pink vespa cruiser.