Thursday, March 31, 2016

proper perspective.

I love all the trails we hike on, but my most favorites are the ones where we climb up to a beautiful overlook. These are usually the toughest ones we do because of the increase in elevation that it takes to get there, but every huff and puff is always worth the view at the end.

The view we saw a few days ago was one of those see-for-miles-and-miles destinations, and it provided the perfect picture for what I am praying that my twenty-seventh year would be full of: proper perspective.

I want to further solidify the habit of growing in my intimacy with God so that I can accurately see situations for what they truly are instead of being ruled by my emotions or shortcomings. I want to sit beside Jesus on the mountaintop underneath blue skies and store His promises in my heart so that when circumstances are stormy and the skies get dark, I can be reminded of what He spoke to me in the light and set my focus on truth: that the sky is still blue just above the clouds. That the trial before me is merely preparation for the next trial, and that all of the pain and suffering really is being tailored for good.

Proper perspective changes the way we see the world. And because of the grace of Jesus, I have access to the hope that it gives. As I grow in grace this year, I must remember that I'm growing because of grace, too.

I'll never have the perspective I so desperately desire unless my eyes are fixed on the One who provides it. And although I've only been twenty-seven years old for three days, I've already begun preaching that to my own heart.

Worldly perspective tells me that I am the main character in this life. Proper perspective, however, tells me that Jesus is.

That's what I want to fully embrace this year.

Who's with me?
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Hymn

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

birthday hike | sam knob trail.

For my birthday this year, I had one request: a family hike on a trail we've never done before. TJ made that wish come true, of course, and we headed towards Canton, NC for a day underneath the beaming sun above. We drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway for about twenty-five miles and stopped at the trailhead for Sam Knob Trail for a hike up to a stunning overlook. Miles and miles of trees that were all just beginning to turn green again were laid out across the landscape as we reached the summit, and it was a breathtaking sight.

My favorite sight, however, was those two boys who were adventuring just ahead of me. It's always better when the three of us are together, and this uninterrupted time with each other was the perfect way to spend that first afternoon of the next year of my life.

The only thing blue about this day was the beautiful sky above us. And if this day was any indication of how much wonder + wander this next year of my life will hold, I'm in for a good one.

We don't always adventure in the wild, but I can promise that no matter where we are, it's always a wild adventure!
Happy, happy birthday to me!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

lacy turns three!

I can't believe I'm saying these words, but our sweet Lacy Claire is official THREE YEARS OLD! It seems like just yesterday that I was holding her teeny, tiny body in my arms on the day she was born, and now she's a big girl. She still wore a pink dress as usual, but this time all the party decorations were purple instead. Princess Sophia was, also, a guest at the party! Her mama made a delicious homemade cake (seriously, the best), and her daddy kept us all laughing with his typical goofiness and "that's my little girl" expressions. This was her first party in their brand new house, and I am still swooning over how gorgeous it is.

She and Braxton were extra sweet to each other, and I giggled with every snap of the camera. I'm so thankful that they get to grow up together, and given the pictures below, I think they're pretty excited about it, too.

We love you, Lacy Claire!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

oconee bell trail | hike it baby.

We hit the trails with our friends at Hike it Baby again on Tuesday, and the weather was just as beautiful as the bright blue water and tiny flower buds sprouting up all around. We drove up to Devil's Fork State Park for this morning's explorations and hiked along the Oconee Bell Trail loop with our bud, Thomas, and his mama. All the green beginning to peek through the brown made me so excited for this new season that is upon us! Braxton and Thomas had a blast playing together when we ended our hike with a lakeside lunch, too, and the mamas did what we usually do: chase them around.

This trail is extra special, because it is named after a rare wildflower that grows beside the streams of water that flow near the trail. They're tinier than I thought they would be, and we got some leg squats in as we got as close to them as we could (with toddlers on our back, might I add). These pretty little buds reminded me of small daffodils, and we both kept our eyes peeled for them every time we got near water.

TJ and I went camping at this park for our second wedding anniversary, but this was the first time I'd ever hiked here. I laughed to myself several times thinking about how interesting that weekend was, and I also got excited about our next camping trip in May (wahoooo!).

A relatively short, easy hike with some pretty views was just what the doctor ordered for this morning, and I am soooooo thrilled that the next time we hit the trails, DADDY will be with us! Hip hip hooray! Spring break AND my birthday are next week, so that means lots of fun to be had + memories to be made are just over the horizon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

spring's eve.

The day before the first day of Spring was gorgeous, much like the previous few weeks before then, too. This particular afternoon was extra special, because we actually had a few uninterrupted hours with daddy! We worked in the yard while Braxton napped, and then we got creative when he woke up while daddy washed our beloved Becca. B wanted to be where daddy was and play in the bubbles, but we had to do something when he started trying to eat the car wash (insert monkey emoji covering his eyes here). Soooooo bubbles in the kiddie pool it was!

That's right, people. It was warm enough for B to be in his swimsuit in the middle of March. I'm not sure that's ever been the case before, but we definitely considered it a blessing from God. Our little guy only got to use his pool a few times at the end of last summer, but I have a feeling that we will be wearing that thing out this summer.

I love watching his eyes fill with wonder, and I love it even more when that wonder is pointed in his daddy's direction. I always whisper, "Yep, you're daddy is the coolest," when TJ turns away. I'm so giddy for adventures in warm weather with my two boys. Spring has officially sprung, and we are making the most of it already!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

mossy turns eight.

I've loved these kiddos for nearly five years, and I can promise you that no matter how old they get, I will always be their "Ms. Anna." I'm so thankful that so many parents of my former students want me to have an active role in their lives, from birthday parties to basketball games to gymnastic meets, and it's such a treat to walk with them as they grow older.

Not only that, but seeing so many of them remain friends through the years is, also, incredible. They have parents who are intentional in raising their children up together, which is an enormous blessing to me because I get invited to take part in it, too! Their eyes light up when they see each other in the same way mine do when I see them, and it tickles me to watch.

Mossy, Lilah-loopsy, and Abs may no longer be students on my class roster, but their names and uniquely beautiful souls will always be etched into the core of who I am. I hope they stay friends forever, and I really hope I never lose my front-row seat to watching it happen.
Mossy wanted to have a pool party with all his best buds and family members, and his mama (as usual) worked her magic to make it happen.

What the birthday boy wants, the birthday boy gets!

Friday, March 18, 2016


Oh, how overjoyed I get when I consider how many lives he will (and has already begun to) impact with that handsome, sincere smile.

Friends, may we never forget how much power rests in this simple act of kindness as we seek to love as children love, to pass hope along to those who may be desperate for it, and to make our cheeks hurt while enjoying the moment that is before us.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
Leo Buscaglia

Thursday, March 17, 2016

liana turns one.

It's always a blast when Braxton and Liana get to hang out, but this past Saturday was extra special as we celebrated his little gal's first birthday! All-things-pink was the theme of the afternoon, and she pranced around in her little pink tutu like she knew that it was all about her. It was the cutest thing! Her daddy and mama threw a birthday party fit for a princess, which was perfect for their precious, bright-eyed Liana.

Noelle and I were friends for several years before Braxton and Liana were born, but entering into motherhood alongside of each other has taken our bond to a whole new level. Our kiddos have regular play dates including everything from trips to the library to outings with our whole families in tow, and that also allows us to have some good conversations, too (in between chasing our little wild ones, that is).

Liana is a treasure to us, and we were so thankful to be there on her big day. Braxton even snuck a few moves in while her daddy wasn't looking! One day he will learn that his mama always has her camera ready to capture him in action. For now, their flirting is cute as can be, but I know that a day is coming when I no longer feel that way (ha!).

Happy birthday to our sweet Liana!
We loved every minute of this wonderful celebration of life.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

zoo with friends.

A lot has changed since these two cuties first went to the zoo together back in September. We pushed them around in stroller last time, and they had a very limited knowledge of what was going on. Last week when we had another zoo date, however, they walked and talked and checked things out like professionals. They've been having play dates for a while now, and it's so fun to watch them really start to interact with each other. I love spending time with Dorothy, too, so it's always a fun time for all of us!

Friends are a gift from God, and it makes this mama's heart soar to know that Braxton has so many already. I pray often that he will learn this lesson early in life and spend his life loving others as an expression of gratitude. I, also, pray that he learns that the quality of friendships he has holds far more weight than the quantity of friendships. This was (and often still is) a hard lesson for me to learn, but it is one that I am most thankful for.

I hope that Braxton and Jules grow up with a desire to always love others well regardless of how they're loved in return. And I hope that they remind Dorothy and me to do the same when we forget.
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