Friday, October 28, 2016

lots of pumpkins and even more cheese.

It's nearing the end of October, so you know what that means. It was time for a trip to the pumpkin patch! Last year was Braxton's first experience being in this sea of orange, but he loved it this go 'round. He LOVED it! All he wanted to do was help daddy push the wheelbarrow down the rows, and he was always very happy to pause for a photo for his mommy. This kid is trained, y'all. From the smiles to the poses, he's got it going on.

We picked out three pumpkins, one for each of us, and they were all perfectly orange. Braxton did some dead lifts while we where there, too, with all the pumpkins he picked up and put back down, and we laughed as he grunted. It was so cute!

Stewart Farms will always be one of our most looked forward to adventures each year, and Braxton officially agrees that it's pretty awesome, as well.

Him walking with his daddy down those lines of orange and that sweet little pumpkin shirt and big ol' grin he was wearing was almost too much to handle for this mama. Be still my heart!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

braxton michael | twenty-one months.

Our sweet Braxton is twenty-one months old today!

A lot has changed since that crisp morning in January when he was welcomed into the world, and our biggest change yet came just last week when we moved out of the first place we ever called home. This little house was so much more than just a little house to us for more reasons than we can count, especially since the day we brought our first baby home.

Every day from the time I learned I was pregnant to that Monday morning when he was born, I would write prayers and letters in a journal to him from different rooms in our bungalow. I wrote most of them early in the mornings before school while sitting at the dining room table under our beautiful chandelier right after I ate my breakfast and read my Bible, but I would sit in the floor in the other rooms, too, and write about what it would be like to hear his hands and feet go pitter-patter on them. I dreamed lots of dreams for our family as I poured my heart out to my unborn baby on paper.

And for nearly twenty-one months, I lived those dreams.

We lived those dreams.
He won't remember this house or the memories we made here, and that's one of the things that makes moving on so hard. He won't remember looking out the window, watching the cars go by and jumping with excitement when he saw daddy pull into the driveway. He won't remember that first time he ever walked around the block on his own two feet. He won't remember all the wagon rides and front porch swings and baths in the tall clawfoot tub and hiding in the closets and running into the living room with his milk in his hands and a big smile on his face when he opened the fridge by himself for the first time and those lullabies we sang as I held him in my arms with daddy listening in from the other side of the door.

But I will.
This house watched and supported us as new spouses and new parents, and we did a whole lot of growing in short time here.

Our sweet baby boy spent his first twenty-one months of life behind those plaster walls covered by dark brick.

That's something this mama will never, ever forget.

The best is yet to come, I believe that with all of my heart, but I'll always remember the place we got our start. And I'll tell him stories about our old, charming bungalow for as long as he will listen.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

marching forward in faith.

"Are you still going?"

That's a common question I've been asked since Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc in Haiti last week.
Four of us will be leaving tomorrow to spend a week with our Haitian family at Hope Vision Ministry in Port-de-Paix, and while many are concerned about safety and unstable circumstances while we are there, I have been praising God for his perfect providence.

Capstone Church had just partnered with Pastor Andy and Hope Vision Ministry when the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, and we were able to send a small team down to help immediately following the natural disaster. Now, six years later, we are sending another small team down to help after another natural disaster. The coolest part about sending this team down is that it was already planned for this specific week, over a year ago.
What a compassionate God we serve! A God who sets us in His plans and uses us in ways that we can't fathom when we first say "yes" to Him. He knew that this devastation would be occurring only days before we boarded a flight to this island. We didn't, but He did. We said "yes" to His call, His promptings to go, before we ever knew what we were in for.

Funny, huh?
Some will say it's crazy for us to still be going. Others will say that it's too risky. The families and loved ones we leave behind will be prone to worry, anxiously counting down the days until we are home.

But we are certain that God is going before us and with us, that He will be all around us as we go. We are confident that He is preparing the way, that He will guide our steps, and that He will not send us anywhere that He hasn't already been.
Our plan is love on the kiddos (!!), paint at the new land, do some evangelism around the island of Tortug, and be flexible with whatever need may arise. We are all very excited to have been hand-picked to go share the hope we have with this nation when they are more vulnerable and shaken up than usual, and we are committed to seeking wisdom from the Lord as we march forward in faith, not fear.
Would you pray for us?

Pray that lives are won to Christ, that the hopeless receive hope, that hearts are softened to accept the invitation that God is going to offer to us. Pray that the kiddos run to us as we are running to them, that we love them fiercely, presently, and whole-heartedly through any weariness we may experience, and that we leave with a deeper understanding of what relentless compassion really looks like. Pray that our time with Pastor Andy and his family would be refreshing for them and us, and that God would further solidify the already strong relationship we have with each other. Pray that we live in the joy that is ours in Jesus!
We will covet every prayer lifted on our behalf as our own, friends.

We are claiming, believing, and living faith over fear, and we are humbled to be the hands and feet of our Lord Jesus to those who are the most vulnerable and needy.
Yes, we are still going. Just as Christ went to the hard places, loved the lepers and sinners and prostitutes, and was intentional about telling everyone He met about His Father, our mission is the same. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. That's the heartbeat behind every step we will take over this next week.

To God be the glory forever and ever!

Friday, September 30, 2016

hike it baby 30 | september 2016.

Today marks the end of our second Hike it Baby 30 Challenge, and I am (as always) a proud mama! We participated in our first challenge in April, and Braxton was barely walking on his own. That being the case, all of the forty miles that we logged were ones with him on my back. This time, however, we focused more on shorter trails that he could do, and I kept track of the miles that he walked on his own two feet. So exciting!

We beat our goal of thirty miles with just over the same number of miles that we hiked/walked in April, but our minutes outside increased a lot. Four thousand minutes outside! WOW! I guess that's what happens when we walk at a toddler's pace, huh? Honestly, we spent more time outside than that, but I only logged what was associated with a hike or walk. We love being outside! Espeeeecially now that fall is starting to show itself. Something magical happens when the leaves begin to change colors and the temperature cools down. Swoon!

As proud as I am of the miles and minutes we racked up on this past month, I'm even more grateful for all the sweet conversations I got to have, new friends I got to meet, old friends I got to know even better, smiles I got to capture from the other side of the lens, hours I spent in the car singing nursery rhymes with my precious son, views I got to see alongside of some really special people, and prayers I silently lifted as I did each of the things just mentioned.

Hiking will always be more about the why than the what for me, and I hope that Braxton will one day take that same approach and learn to see the world with even better perspective and clearer eyes than his mama does. It's been less than two years since I became a mama, but I've already figured one thing out: kiddos catch on quick.

And my prayer is that the things he is learning from his daddy and me are things that will help build him up as he continues on his journey of becoming a man.

That's just one of the millions of reasons why getting outside is so important to me.

In a world so fascinated by technology, I just want to be fascinated with the handiwork that's all around me. And we want our little one to be, too.
Trail hikes: 7
Trail miles: 16.5
Total miles: 42.0
Total miles Braxton walked: 9.0
Total minutes outside: 4,180

I wonder where we will adventure to next. There is always something beautiful to see!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

bargeron bungalow | things I'll miss most.

+walking the same streets that I once walked as a little girl
+being so close to so many people who have known me since I was that little girl
+admiring all of the little and big things we've done over the years to make this house our home
+being able to walk to chick-fil-a and justify all those milkshakes
+listening to the pitter-patter of our first child's hands and feet echoing off these old hardwoods
+the glass door knobs and clawfoot tub that made me yell "SOLD!" when we first saw the house
+sitting around the fire pit roasting s'mores
+being a stone's throw from Publix
+all of the new faces we've gotten used to seeing while strolling or walking or playing in the yard
+weekly (sometimes more) trips to the zoo
+swinging on our gorgeous front porch swing that we scored at an auction for only $10
+B looking out the window that overlooks the front yard
+leaving behind TJ's beloved garage that he worked so hard on for so long
+popping in to see my parents at any given time
+the humility that comes with sharing a small bathroom
+the extra humility that comes with sharing a small closet
+running into Walgreens or Publix and seeing so many familiar faces
+the stunning brick fireplace and mantle above it
+the many windows that let so much natural light pour in
+those distinct toddler fingerprints on our black refrigerator
+all the memories we made, my boys and me
Our bungalow was the first big journey that Teesh and I embarked on together as husband and wife, and you just can't replace memories like that. We signed hundreds of papers before getting the keys, and we ate our first meal (Chick-fil-a, of course) on the floor of the dining room as we waited for his parents to drive up in the U-Haul. We had never been so excited to unpack boxes, and everything was in its place within a few days of moving in. We were on a mission!
Since that day, this house has been a spot for family gatherings, surprise parties, surprise announcements, yard sales, and frequent pop-ins. We were standing in the dining room when I told TJ that he was going to be a daddy, and we couldn't wait to get home after Braxton was born. The floors have been stained with tears on many occasions, and my knees have dug into them too many times to count. They've, also, been stained with baby drool over the past year and a half, and I'm thankful to have been the one to clean it up. I've fallen from the couch to these same floors while laughing myself to tears from being tickled by my goofy husband, too. And just last week, I fell into TJ's chest when we decided to no longer pursue a particular house, and we stood in the kitchen and cried together.
Happy tears and sad tears have both lived here while we have.

And they'll be hard to leave behind.
To some, a house is just a house, but that's never been the case for me. Every house I've ever lived in has shaped me in ways that words can't describe, and our bungalow is the perfect picture of what faithfulness, providence, and redemption looks like. This house has been used to stretch us, heal us, inspire us, and ground us. Its walls have been strong and steadfast, and its vintage character taught me that it's possible to swoon over the same thing every single day.
What a blessing it has been to have loved a home so much, so whole-heartedly. And what a blessing it is to look forward to the next house that will become our home and be loved just as much.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

glassy mountain | hike it baby.

It had been three years since I hiked to the top of Glassy Mountain, and I was so happy to be back at this gorgeous overlook with my B and our hiking buddies. Last time, I explored this place with Teesh, and this time I toted Teesh's mini-me on my back. It's amazing how much changes in such a short time!

Six mamas climbed up and down with our little ones riding along, and we admired the beautiful view together. We decided that revisiting this spot in another month is a must, because the views of all the leaves changing colors will be incredible. I love the fullness that green brings, but something incredible happens to my heart when I see the yellows and oranges and reds all around.

It's officially fall in the Upstate, and I'm anxiously watching as the colors begin to change. They'll be under our feet in no time at all!

Monday, September 26, 2016

lake conestee nature park | hike it baby.

We've been visiting this park since before Braxton was born, before he was even a thought in our minds. Now, we get to compare what life used to be like with what it's like now.

I can assure you that nothing is sweeter than watching this boy learn about the world around him while checking to make sure I'm still in his line of vision.

He's got a whole army of nature lovers he's growing up with, and it makes me so, so happy!
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