Ch-ch-ch changes!

24 Oct
Here’s a run down of our life in the last few months…
In August, Chris accepted a job as a High School Pastor at a church in Birmingham. Telling our students at church that we were leaving was one of the hardest things that we’ve ever had to do.  So thankful for social media that allows us to stay in touch with them.

About two weeks after our moving announcement, we found out that we are expecting #2!  I had been feeling a little “off” but chalked it up to the stress of moving and all that came with it.  One morning, I decided to take a test just to be sure.  It didn’t even take 3 seconds to confirm that we were pregnant!  Ready or not….  We experienced a bit of a “scare” early on and decided to keep everything hush-hush until we were in the “safe zone.”  We are so thankful that our little one is doing great and growing beautifully.

DSC_0398-7  DSC_0474-27
{photo credit to my amazingly talented brother, Austin!}
Early September involved packing up the cars and heading west.  We are currently living in a basement apartment of one of our church families.  So thankful for this time to save some money and really spend time looking at houses. It’s been good but we knew that we wanted to settle down somewhere and begin to make Birmingham our home.  Good thing our realtor has been wonderful and patient with us!

In October, Sutton turned 3!  Crazy and hard to believe that my baby is 3!  How did this happen so quickly!  A few days after his birthday, we went under contract on our new house!  We are so excited and cannot wait to close next month!  Sutton is mostly excited to have all of his toys back (that have been in storage since the end of July)!  Can you blame him?

new houseNeedless to say, our lives have been chalk-full of change lately- new job…new city…new house…new baby. Go big or go home, right?  For someone who hates change, I feel like I am riding one crazy roller coaster.  All are good things, of course.  Just a lot to process and wrap my tiny brain around!
Thought I would share an update on our little “Peanut”:

*How far along?:
14 weeks
*Total weight gain?: 2 lbs
*How big is baby?: Size of a lemon- 3.4 inches and 1.5 oz
*Sex: Don’t know yet but we will find out before Thanksgiving!
*Maternity clothes: Not yet.  I can still wear most of my shirts and can squeeze into my pre-preggo pants- with the help of my belly band.  Won’t be much longer though!  This baby was determined to make his/her presence known sooner than I was ready for!
*Stretch marks: None and hoping it stays that way!  :)
*Sleep: Some nights are great and others are restless.
*Symptoms: Tired, extremely sensitive sniffer
*Movement:  Started feeling flutters a few days ago!

*Food cravings: Peanut butter, grilled cheese sandwiches, Moe’s chips and queso, Chick-fil-a…basically, anything salty.
*Labor signs: Hopefully not for a LONG while.
*Belly button in or out: Still in.
*What I miss:  Sleeping on my stomach, drinking coffee (down to one small cup a day)
*What I’m looking forward to: Knowing if “Peanut” is a boy or girl
* Best moment of the week: Announcing that our little one is on his/her way!

two months…

26 Feb

I have struggled to write this- not knowing how to put it all in words.  Afraid that if I do, it will be another step of reality.
However, I know that I need to say it…
It’s been two months.

Two of the fastest, and yet somehow slowest, months of my life.

Two months since my sweet friend, Celeste, ran into our Savior’s arms.  Sometimes it’s still so hard to believe it’s true.  Each day is greeted with a different emotion.  There are days that I catch myself about to text her- just to say hey, or let her know I’m thinking about her.  There are days where my heart is raw- where the reality has set in and my grief is present.  There are days of tremendous peace- knowing that her moments are filled with rejoicing, singing, praising.  Healing is hard.  I used to think that it was a checklist of emotions that you marked off as you experienced them.
Anger- check.
Grief- check.
Forgiveness- check.
Denial- check.
Peace- check.
Rather than a checklist, I have come to realize that it is more of a cycle that continues to run it’s course each day.  Either way, I miss her.

I can still hear her laugh.  It was the kind of laugh that came from deep within.  A laugh that would fill a room.  A laugh that would cause you to laugh…even if you didn’t know what started it all.

She was an amazing woman of God who traveled the world and nation, making His name known…
a woman with a true servant’s heart…
a prayer warrior- when she said she was praying for you, you knew she was on her knees, interceding on your behalf…
a supportive wife who loved her husband, Ryan, with deep love and respect…
a loving daughter, sister, aunt…
an incredible, honest, genuine friend…

Her obituary described her perfectly!
“Celeste Mary Madonna McCormick, born in Sunrise, Florida on October 16, 1985 to Frank and Kathy Madonna, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Tuesday, December 25, 2012. Beloved by her husband, parents, siblings, grandparents, niece, and nephews, she was known for her kind heart, strong hugs, and love of her family, but mostly for her love for Jesus Christ who motivated all that she did. She had an amazing capacity to love with all of her being. Everyone she met was a friend and she made everyone in her life feel like they were special. Her laugh was contagious and her passion for her Savior and her church were evident in all that she did. Celeste lived life to the fullest and held many roles in her 27 years of life: Wife, Daughter, Granddaughter, Sister, Zizi (Aunt), Cousin, Niece, Friend, Student at Word of Life Bible School in Argentina & France, Resident Assistant at Liberty University, Recreation Leader for Student Life Camps, High School Spanish Teacher at Trinity Christian School, Nanny for Elliott & Hammie, UpStreet Groups Director for the Children’s Ministry of Gwinnett Church, but most importantly a Follower of Jesus Christ. She met the love of her life, Ryan McCormick, while they served together for Student Life Camps during the summer of 2007. They quickly fell in love, became engaged the following July, and married on March 28th, 2009. Their wedding reception was held in Ryan’s Grandmother’s barn. The whimsical wedding décor and lively atmosphere was a product of Celeste’s creativity, hard work, heart, and fun spirit. Celeste’s Do-It-Yourself attitude and flair for decorating was reflected in their homes as well. They made their first home in Peachtree City, GA for almost 2 years before moving to Roswell, GA in the fall of 2011. Ryan and Celeste were best friends and enjoyed sharing life together. They loved their three dogs, spending time with family and friends, eating good food, sharing life with their small group (five couples who met regularly for Bible study and encouragement), working together at their church, traveling, and tackling home projects together. Her love for travel took her on many adventures around the world. She embraced every opportunity, loved to try new things, and never knew a stranger. She lived abroad in Argentina, France, and Guatemala, which cultivated her love for Hispanic culture. She became fluent in Spanish and always looked for opportunities to use her Spanish to help others. Hours before she left this world, she expressed her excitement that recently she had opened every area of her life to the Lord and had resolved to allow God to use her entire life story for His purposes in the new year. Her heartfelt desire to be used by God in a greater way has become reality that none of us could have predicted or imagined. Although our hearts will never be the same, the story of her life will continue through her influence to challenge others to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ, to live life more fully every day, and to love others intentionally.”

I have so many sweet memories with Celeste.  I feel so privileged and blessed to have known her, to have called her “friend,” to have served alongside her in ministry.  Her passing has challenged me, and so many others, to live each day to the fullest, to love with a passion, to share His love in all that I do.  What a life she led and what a legacy she has left for us!

I look forward to the day when I see her again.

Celeste, Amy, and me

Celeste, Amy, and me

So What Wednesday

26 Sep

So What Wednesday

This week I am saying “so what” if…

  • We have been back from the beach for 5 days and I am beyond ready to go back.  Reality sucks!
  • On Sunday, I FINALLY enjoyed my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season.  Deliciousness!  There will be more where that came from.
  • My “little” brother (okay, he’s 23) is getting married in 52 days.  We are getting just a little bit excited over here!
  • I bought a bag of candy corn on Monday…and it’s already half way gone.
  • The thought of my toddler turning 2 in less than two weeks is more than my mommy heart can take right now.  Seriously…tears at any moment.

Be sure to link up with Shannon and share what makes you say “so what?!”





11 Sep

“The KING is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” ~Psalm 45:11

As a young woman, I constantly felt that I wasn’t “good enough” because I didn’t measure up to what the world expected of me.  Not tall enough.  Not thin enough.  Too big of a booty.  Not pretty enough.  Too many pimples.  Too small boobs.  I wish I could tell you that things changed as I grew older.  At 27, I often feel like the same awkward teenager with many of the same issues.  To be completely transparent, I sat in the car, bawling my eyes out to my husband (just two weeks ago) after a situation where my insecurities were put on display in front of other people.  I was crushed.  Just further proof that even “grown” women are still young girls at heart, always fighting the battle of the world’s standards.

I am constantly having to look back at Psalm 45:11- “The KING is enthralled by your beauty.”  These are some of the sweetest words- yet some of the most difficult- to read.  The word enthralled means “to captivate or charm.” To put it in terms I need to see- God is captivated by me!  Can I tell you how amazing that feels!  When He looks at me, he doesn’t see wrinkles here or stretch marks there… or too short.. too small here.. too big there… too imperfect.  He’s too captivated by me, His beautiful creation, to notice any of those things!

Honestly, it’s not always easy to read or repeat to myself or believe.  I still struggle constantly with these things.  I find myself getting too caught up in it all sometimes.  But it’s in those moments of weakness and extreme desperation that I find myself clinging to these words.  I don’t have the perfect body or the best hair or the prettiest smile but I do know this for sure- I have a husband who loves me, in spite of my insecurities (PRAISE GOD!), and a KING who thinks I am BEAUTIFUL- so much so, that He is enthralled… captivated… charmed by me… hot mess and all.

30 Before 30

9 Aug

In honor of my birthday last week (and being on the downhill slope), I decided to compile a list of things that I would like to do or accomplish before I turn 30…in three years.  Yikes!  Here they are in no particular order…

  1. Learn to knit or crochet
  2. Run a 5k race
  3. Read through the entire Bible
  4. Learn all of the Presidents, in order
  5. Grow a garden and eat from it
  6. Take a trip with just Chris
  7. Brush up on my French and use it
  8. Learn to really play the guitar
  9. Learn how to use Photoshop (so Chris doesn’t have to edit everything for me)
  10. Learn to play chess
  11. Own a dog
  12. Have another child (hopefully, drug-free again)
  13. Own a Mary Kay “Cadillac” (or at least
  14. Eat at Lady and Sons in Savannah
  15. Relearn all the states and capitals
  16. Learn to make crepes
  17. Sew something for myself from scratch
  18. Take a yoga class
  19. Be debt free
  20. Learn how to really use my D-SLR camera
  21. Go 30 days without any processed foods
  22. Make all the recipes from the Pioneer Woman’s cookbooks
  23. Watch the AFI Top 20 movies
  24. Memorize a book of the Bible
  25. Meet a famous person
  26. Find the little black dress
  27. Learn to make bread from scratch
  28. Stay at a Bed and Breakfast
  29. Learn the “Thriller” dance
  30. Make a quilt

Hope you enjoy this 30 Before 30 journey with me.  :)  Here goes nothing…

High Five for Friday

3 Aug

Thank goodness it’s Friday!

  1. I am absolutely loving the Olympics!  Gymnastics.  Swimming.  Volleyball.  Diving.  Water Polo.  I can’t get enough!  So glad I have another week of viewing pleasure and cheering.  Looks like I will not be in bed before midnight for yet another week.
  2. I made the BEST Chicken Piccata for dinner last night.  Seriously…it was restaurant worthy.  Wish I could take the credit but the recipe helped my “skills.”
  3. I have started my “end of season” shopping for Sutton’s clothes.  He got 3 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 3 pairs of shorts, and a pair of pajamas for this fall/next summer for $30- thanks to the Kohl’s clearance rack.
  4. My “little” brother (okay…he’s 23) is arriving home from Greece tonight!  He has been on a mission trip for 12 days and we have all missed him like crazy.  Can’t wait to hear all about his trip!  On a side note- can we discuss just how little my toddler looked a year ago.  CRAZY!
  5. Oh yeah…and today is my birthday!  It was a great day of coffee, swimming, family, a nap, Mexican food, cupcakes, and snuggles with my favorite boys.  Here’s to hoping 27 is even better than 26.  :)  This picture pretty much sums up my feelings on this great birthday…

Don’t forget to link up with Lauren and share your High Fives from this week!

Weekend Picture Dump

10 Jul
  • On Wednesday, we enjoyed a fabulous 4th with friends and family last week.  What’s better than delicious food, great company, and fireworks?  Our menu consisted of: mango salsa, spinach dip, jalapeno bacon poppers, brisket/ribs/chicken cooked on the Big Green Egg, strawberry pretzel jello salad, PW’s pasta with pesto cream sauce, watermelon (of course), blackberry/peach cobbler, and HOMEMADE ice cream.  It was quite the party and I am still full just thinking about it.  :)  After dinner and a couple of rounds of Nertz, it was time for the big show.  Sutton was not such a big fan of the fireworks part but we’ll get there.  Here are some of my favorite shots from the evening.

    Last week, we went to visit Chris’ mom last week and decided it was time to break Sutton in with country living.  He took his first four-wheeler ride with his Daddy (I wasn’t thrilled about that one) and got to see/touch real cows- not just the one at Chick-fil-a.

    Over the weekend, my boys decided to wash the their vehicles (Chris’ truck and Sutton’s Jeep) this weekend.  Of course, this meant they were actually doing a rain dance because later that afternoon we had quite the downpour.  Go figure.

    Now we are playing catch-up from such a busy week and weekend.  Please excuse me while I attend to mounds of laundry, a long to-do list, a cup of coffee (or two), and maybe a nap…and I don’t plan to change out of my yoga pants to do any of it!  :)


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