Monday, October 23, 2017

master bedroom | home sweet bargeron.

This room is one of our most treasured rooms in the house, because it's where we lay our heads to rest. As much as I loved our room at the bungalow, this one is significantly more roomy AND sleeker. I decided on olive green for the accent color to spruce our old furniture up, because TJ and I both conveniently have the same favorite color: green. Gracelaced provided the wall art above our bed (surprise, surprise), we got two new lamps to lighten up the room in a soft way, and the new curtains you see tie everything together perfectly. I just love it when that happens!

We've got two of our favorite pictures of us, then and now of sorts, nestled on Ma's dresser (which will always be known as Ma's dresser). And baby girl's bassinet is set up and ready to go on my side of the bed. We are anxiously awaiting the day that she will sleep in it, and it won't be long now!

Our bedroom connects to our bathroom, which is even more dreamy than any other part of the house. We will reveal that room next week, but for now, we are thrilled to share our place of rest. We are so grateful!

Before:

After:

Monday, October 9, 2017

mudroom | home sweet bargeron.

This room is one of my favorites in the whole house. Before we moved, I dreamed (and prayed) for a house with a laundry room that could double as a mud room to hang our items and store our most worn shoes, and I was giddy with joy when we discovered this sacred place during that first walk-through. The side door that leads out of this room is the one we most frequently use, as well as our visitors, and I looooove that. I've always liked the idea of entering through a door other than the front, because it makes the house feel more like a home. My Ma and Daddy and step-mom both had/have side/back doors that I've walked through more times than I can count, so that's probably where the brainwashing comes from.

The room is not totally complete, but it's mostly so (i.e. I still want to get baskets to put on the shelves to give it a "cleaner" look). Other than that, however, I love this space! We bought a window from Habitat Restore for $5 and four hooks from Lowe's to create the coat/backpack hanger you see below, and this was one of my favorite creations ever! I hot-glued some string to the sides, too, and we hang up our happy mail there for all to see. Below this piece is our hand-me-down shoe organizer that we added several navy cubbies to (again, I love a "tidy" look), and beside it is our monthly calendar that keeps TJ and me on the same page with all of our to-dos.

We bought a brand new washer and dryer when we moved in (because we didn't have any), and we looooove the grey color. As much as I do laundry (whew), these somehow make the near-daily chore much more bearable. The prints above them were created by one of my favorite small business owners (Gracelaced), and her stuff is found throughout our home.

Before the previous owners bought and updated this gorgeous house, this room was a screened-in porch and the washer/dryer was in the cellar below the house. They did such a great job switching rooms and reworking the layout of the house, and we're grateful to be the benefactors of all their hard work. So, so grateful.

Without further adieu, I proudly present our beloved mud room!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

haiti | sundays are for praising.

Today, I will worship the Lord with my brothers and sisters at Capstone Church. But two weeks ago, I had the incredible privilege of worshipping with brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Today, we will sing with one voice and declare that there is power in the name of Jesus. And two weeks ago, I was reminded of that power as I listened to the praises of people in a language not my own.

All over the world today, there will be people joining together in unity to declare their affections for the one true God. Worship is not hindered by different languages or cultures, but rather it is set ablaze by it. I always look forward to going to church while we are in Haiti, mainly because it reveals the greatness of our God. It's true -- I was unaware of how truly big-yet-near my God was until I experienced people of a different culture worship through song, teaching, and fellowship for the first time five years ago. I was floored to have no idea what the people around me were saying and yet be enthralled by the presence of God in a way I'd never known before. Every time they shouted "Jezi!", my heart resounded with the same. Jesus!

Because of this awakening in my heart five years ago, I now worship differently.

It proved to be hard to keep God in the box I'd tried to keep Him in for so long once I saw how majestic, mighty, and marvelous He was outside of it. And once my perspective of worship shifted, my perspective of Him had no choice but to shift, too.

Friends, let's resolve to worship outside of the box today. With sincere faith, open-handed before Jesus, letting Him have His way with us.

Haiti taught me that this is where fullness of joy is found.
"I will sing the Lord's praise, for He is good to me."
-Psalm 13:6 (NLT)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

haiti | glimpses of joy.

Nearly six years ago, TJ and I were both prompted by the Holy Spirit to get involved with a ministry in Haiti that our church was heavily invested in. That next year, we made our first trip down to this beloved country and have been hooked ever since. This ministry, these kiddos always beckon us to return, and a few weeks ago, I got to do just that: return.

I accompanied two friends-who-are-more-like-family, a father-daughter duo, and we had a specific mission for this short, five-day trip. Lindsay, a senior in high school who loves Haiti a whole lot, is currently working on her senior project, and it required a trip to Port-de-Paix to complete. I was the token photographer, and I got to do what I always do: be her paparazzi. I took nearly one thousand photos while we were there, a record even for me, and the kids ate it up (as usual). Their precious smiles light up the whole world, y'all.

We updated profile sheets and individual photos for each of the children, made a craft with them, splashed in the ocean, visited the new land to see all the new (exciting!) updates, treated the kiddos to an afternoon of fun at a park, drank coffee like it was going out of style (nothing beats Haitian coffee, y'all), gave endless hugs and snuggles, and soaked in every minute with Pastor and his family. We packed in as much as we could into the short three days we had with them, and our hearts returned home full.

What a blessing it is to love these people and their culture so much.

I don't go to Haiti because I'm something special. No, I go to Haiti because THEY are.
Weeks later, and I'm still ALL SMILES from my time with them. It is such a gift to call these beautiful people family.

Friday, October 6, 2017

haiti | wall's guest house.

Two weeks ago, I had the incredible privilege to join two dear souls on a quick trip to Haiti. It was a wonderful five days, full of all our favorite things and people, and I'll never be able to adequately express my gratitude having gone on this particular trip. We travelled via a different airline/route than normal, which gave us the opportunity to stay in Port au Prince overnight instead of Fort Lauderdale/Miami. We spent most of our time resting, chatting, and exploring the grounds of Wall's International Guest House. Because of Hurricane Maria that had just blown through the Caribbean, we were the only guests there that night. We expected to be hanging out with other missionaries and have the chance to make some new friends from all over, but in true its-because-Anna-was-there fashion, plans changed. We did enjoy the peace and quiet, though!

It was also exciting to be able to FaceTime with TJ and Braxton from Haiti, something we've never had the opportunity to do before. Yay for WiFi! Seeing their faces a few more times before not hearing their voices for the few days that followed was just what my heart needed.

With baby girl on the way, it will be at least a couple of years before I get to see my Haiti family again, which is a big reason why I'm so grateful I got to go on this particular trip. There is always a takeaway (or a few) upon returning home, and I'm still sorting and praying through things that God revealed to me. Haiti has a way of stretching you, both while you're there and after you're back home, and I'm always better for having gone. This time, even though short, was no different.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

pretty place | hike it baby.

Two weeks ago, a dear friend I met within Hike It Baby and I toted our toddler dudes up to Rainbow Falls on our backs. One we got there, we had an inkling for more adventure, and we were curious about a particular off-shoot of the trail. We overheard a couple of guys who came from that direction talking about it, so I asked them how the terrain was. He was really nice, but when he noticed that the girl who was inquiring was toting a little dude on her back, he simply said, "It's really difficult. There are steep slopes and some areas where you have to climb a rope to get up. I don't think you'd make it carrying that extra load. *insert chuckle*"

That's all he had to say.

Hilary and I looked at each other as if to say "challenge accepted," and we recharged under the falls before blazing some more. I didn't take many photos during our trek up because of the obstacle course-like nature of this particular trail, but boy, was it an adventure! After finishing the trail portion, we walked down the road about half a mile before reaching the chapel. It was worth every huff and puff. Oh, was it ever! Our boys laughed and played and jumped from the steps and "read" the plaques around the half-moon. All four of us were in heaven, even after our pleasant trip came to an abrupt stop (our little secret) and we began the trek back down the mountain.

Ten miles and eight hours later, we arrived safely back to our car. Whew! This wasn't on our bucket list before we were in the middle of it, but we were both so thankful that we took the challenge. It was the perfect day with the perfect company, and our boys even behaved after being carried for so long. Hallelujah!

I don't know if I'll ever do this particular hike again, but I sure am glad that I've at least done it once in my lifetime. Such a fun, exhausting, exhilarating adventure!
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