The Scattered Thoughts of a Busy Brain

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I just found out a few weeks ago that cows have best friends, and they get sad when they aren’t together, and my heart is exploding.

For the love of Pete, why do we feel safe under blankets?? It’s not like a murder is going to come in and go “I’m gonna ki….ahh, DANG! She’s under a blanket.”

A surefire way to get humbled when you start to get too big for your britches is to try to turn on someone else’s shower.

Does anybody else lock your car door twice just to let any nearby robbers know you mean business, or is that just me?

I wish I could drop my body off at the gym and pick it up when it’s ready.

Magazines convinced me that knowing how to “go from day to night” was going to be V important…I’m still waiting for an opportunity to use those sharply-honed skills.

Sometimes when I pass a line of extremely nice cars on the highway, I secretly wonder if they are really Transformers.

I’m weirdly obsessed with “last words.” I try to always make sure the last thing I tell someone before I leave is something sweet, just in case one of us dies that day. *I know, I know, I’m damaged*

I am 30 years old and I still check for murders behind my shower curtain.

If you’re reading this and we grew apart as friends, there is a 100% chance that I am cheering you on from afar and I still love you with all my heart. ♥

I wonder what percentage of people actually grow up to be what they wanted to be when they were 5. And I wonder what percentage of those people actually love what they do.

Anything involving raisins would be 10 times better with chocolate chips in it. For example, cookies…trail mix…a box of raisins…

As a kid, I thought I’d have to deal with the Bermuda Triangle and quicksand a lot more often than I have in my adult life.

No one is going to stand up at your funeral and say “She had a really nice car and great shoes.” We shouldn’t make life about stuff.

One day you’re not old, and the next day you have a favorite cleaning rag.

Life is too short to pretend you don’t like catchy Taylor Swift songs. Quit pretending. Everyone else is having way more fun than you just being themselves.

I don’t want to brag or make anybody jealous…but I totally still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.

In the midst of the crazy, the chaos, the pandemic….don’t forget to laugh. 😘

That Time We Threw a Roaring 20’s NYE Party

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YOU.

GUYS.

O M G .

This party was SO much fun, AND it was the first themed party I’ve ever thrown that wasn’t for someone else!! Dara graciously let me steal her thunder and host this year’s get-together at our house. She and I teamed up to throw the most epic New Year’s Eve party ever, and I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

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For the food, we made a few snacks and asked friends to bring something to share if they wanted. I made a large-batch, booze-free drink for everyone and called it The Bee’s Knees, and we had a big group champagne toast at midnight and sang Auld Lang Sayne.

When Dara and I started talking about what we wanted to do, a Great Gatsby party was the obvious choice. I knew that 20’s-themed parties would probably be all the rage this year, which would make it easy to find decorations. But I also knew that our house held the secret to making our party unique, something extra special that not every Roaring 20’s party could include. And that secret was…

OUR BASEMENT.

I’m willing to bet that tons of people went to Gatsby parties for New Year’s Eve. But how many of them had a hidden speakeasy??

Only a few of our friends even knew we had a basement, and we spread around a rumor during the party that there was a speakeasy somewhere and they needed the password to get in. To amp up the drama, I drew a message on our downstairs bathroom mirror in lipstick, directing people to find “The Vault.” Our basement door is halfway hidden behind another door that we typically keep open, tucked in a dark corner under our stairs, and I attached a small, discreet sign on it next to the lock. Down in the basement itself, we set up a poker table and surrounded it with wood crates full of bottles.

It was a huge hit!

So many games, so many Boomarangs, so many laughs, so many snacks, so many group photos, and so many wonderful memories!

Don’t have enough words for how much I love these people. ‘Til next year, pals ♥

40 By 40

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Today, I turn 30.

Wow.

I can’t believe the 90’s were 30 years ago. I’m nowhere close to being old, but dang if that doesn’t make me feel ancient!

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you’re probably familiar with my “30 by 30” list. When I wrote it on my 26th birthday in 2016, I had no clue how the next few years would unfold. There were items on the list that I wasn’t sure would even happen, but they did! But there were also items on the list that I was 100% confident would happen, but they didn’t. Regardless, that list is a prized possession now. I memorialized some of the most fun moments in the last four years of my 20’s, and I can go re-read the list anytime I want and experience that joy all over again!

It just felt right to continue this tradition into my 30’s, so…here we go!!


40 THINGS TO DO BEFORE MY 40TH BIRTHDAY.

1. Find a form of exercise that I truly ENJOY and do it habitually.
Like yoga! I’m a big fan of Yoga With Adriene.

2. Start and maintain a car replacement fund.
My Acura has treated me well, but she’s slowing down…

3. Keep some higher-maintenance plants alive.
A fiddle leaf fig tree and some perennials on the front porch are at the top of my list.

4. Take a class with Daniel.
Something fun, like massage, dancing, or cooking!

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5. Start planning meals monthly instead of weekly.
My mom is #GOALS for this one – such an organizational inspiration. I’m pretty sure she had her comprehensive shopping list created in Excel before the internet existed.

6. Give away something really expensive, anonymously.
Ideas: pool money with friends to buy a car for a single mom in need, buy a plane ticket for a friend to go on a mission trip, or get really nice Christmas gifts for kids who wouldn’t get any otherwise.

7. See one of my favorite bands live in concert.
Even though music plays such a huge role in my personal life, I’ve weirdly never been a big concert person. But I feel like I need to make this happen at least once in my life.

8. Master the basics of another language.
I took approximately four years of Spanish between high school and college, and it’s embarrassing how little of it I remember.

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9. Spend a minimum of two weeks traveling in Europe.
Between the jet lag and the expensive plane tickets, I want to get my money’s worth.

10. Take a sister trip with Robyn.
Harry Potter World????? LET’S GOOOOOO

11. Make at least three recipes from every cookbook I own.
I mean…what’s the point in owning them if I never even use them?

12. Identify mentors in my life, and make time to meet with and learn from them.
The older I get, the more I crave this. I have so much to learn!

13. Set up a home office space.
I’m gonna need somewhere to plan all of those events, right? ;)

14. Send more birthday cards, thank-you cards, and just-because cards.
Snail mail is a lost art. And I’m bringin’ it back.

15. Read at least 30 new books.
Easily one of my favorite things to complete last time! Considering the fact that I had ten done in two years for 30 By 30 (and I wasn’t really trying very hard), I’m pretty sure I’ve got this one in the bag.

DIY: Food Passport for road trips!

16. Make a food passport and fill it with “stamps.”
I came across this idea on Pinterest a long time ago, and it looks so fun! Even though our town is small and we’ve lived here for almost 8 years, there are still restaurants we’ve never visited. (However, for those of you who are locals, I can confidently say that Taste Island will never…ever…EVER make the list of places to try.)

17. Unplug as often as possible. Schedule weekly device-free time and stick to it.
One of my favorite things about our last friendscation cruise was the fact that we were totally unplugged. The only thing I did with my phone for an entire week was take pictures, and it was BLISS.

18. Go sky-diving.
I’ve wanted to do this my whole life, and 2020 is my year to make it happen!!

19. Make my own pasta.
Doesn’t this just seem like the most adult-y thing to do?

20. Spend intentional time nurturing the marriages around me.
Come on, I had to give myself a softball. :) I’m super passionate about marriage ministry, so this one won’t be hard.

21. Pay it forward at least once a month.
I’m already working on a mental list of ideas, like paying for the person ahead of me in the drive-through, leaving a roll of quarters at my work vending machine, etc. But I would love your suggestions too!

22. Make peace with my body’s ‘flaws.’
I read this quote the other day and fell in love with it:
“And I said to my body softly, ‘I want to be your friend.’ It took a long breath and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.'” –Nayyirah Waheed

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23. Celebrate 10 years and 15 years of marriage.
Hard to believe we’re more than halfway to both of those anniversaries!

24. Take another friendscation.
ALREADY. SO. READY. TO. RAGE.

25. Do something risqué.
Liiiiiike take boudoir photos or go skinny-dipping. (Sorry Mom)

26. Come up with a system to keep track of when food goes bad and stop throwing away so much freaking produce.
So annoying. I can’t be the only one who’s bad at this.

26. Break out of my comfort zone and do adventurous things just because I can.
Geocaching, karaoke, trying more unique foods, picking up a new hobby, flying first class, taking a different class at the gym…I have plenty of ideas!

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28. Read at least one book out loud with Daniel every year.
We started doing this on long car trips a few years ago, and it’s enjoyable for both of us because Daniel is an auditory learner and I love to read aloud.

29. Save up for something expensive.
A new car? A home renovation? A crazy vacation? We’ll see!

30. Do some real landscaping in our front yard.
I’m envisioning more plants on the porch, solar lighting along the sidewalk, and maybe a tree or two.

31. Spend one year doing a “month without:” a month without Netflix, fried food, biting my nails, dessert, etc.
My friend Victoria inspired this one, although she actually gives up one thing every year for the entire year, and I’m not sure if I’m that hardcore…

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32. Make a calendar for all family/friend birthdays.
I have pretty much all of them on my phone, but I want an actual paper calendar or something so I can look at them all together and keep track of how many birthday cards I need to buy each month.

33. Host a beauty swap or clothing swap party.
I’ve done a clothing swap before, but never a beauty swap. Can’t wait to do this one!

34. Start recording my prayer requests.
I want to remember the days that I start praying about something and the days that God answers those prayers. Even if His answer is ‘no.’

35. Write letters to the 10 most influential people who have impacted my life.
Why do we wait until someone’s funeral to say the best things about them? I’m not waiting any longer. I never want someone I love to wonder how I really felt about them.

36. Play the piano every single week.
When Daniel and I got married, my dad gifted us a beautiful Kawai, and I am ashamed to tell you how often I actually play it. I want to get back to my roots and do that gift justice.

37. Remodel our downstairs bathroom.
That shower, y’all….it needs some help. Good thing I’ve got some contractors in the family!

38. Sponsor a child, and maybe even go meet him or her.
We can’t help every needy child. But maybe we can change the world for a few of them. ♥

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39. Invest in quality skincare and use it consistently.
Gah, I sound like such a grown-up.

40. Host a backyard dinner party, with multiple courses and everything.
This was one of my goals for the year in 2019, and I wasn’t able to make it happen between all of the weddings, parties, showers, and traveling. So I’m trying again!

*Bonus: Each year, visit a new place I’ve never been before. On my wishlist:
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Grand Canyon
Lake Moraine and Lake Louise in Banff, Canada
Switzerland
Redwood National Park

To see my original post about why I decided to do “30 By 30,” click here!

20 Things I Learned In My 20’s

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1. Aside from following Jesus, choosing who to marry was the most important decision I have ever made and will ever make. To my unmarried friends, I cannot emphasize this enough: CHOOSE WISELY, because that one choice will impact your entire future, literally.

2. Social media will enslave you if you let it. It’s subtle, but crippling. Don’t spend your whole life in front of a screen comparing your valleys to everyone else’s mountain tops. Every single person on earth, including the person you’re envying right now, is insecure and awkward and unsure and self-conscious about something.

3. Don’t be high-maintenance about everything, but it’s okay to figure out what’s worth being a little *boujee* about. For me, a few of those things are hair products, professional photography, and bedding (especially mattresses). Speaking of bedding, here’s another lesson I’ve learned – going to bed is freaking awesome. Can I cash in on all those naps I refused as a kid??

4. It’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life. It’s okay to change your mind a bunch of times. It’s okay to like 37 different things and have no clue how they all connect. Annnnd it’s okay to know exactly what you want to do and actually do it. All of those things are completely normal. You. are. normal.

5. Taking care of yourself becomes more difficult and more important as you get older. This is especially hard for parents and people-pleasers, because it feels selfish, but the truth is that if you spend all your energy pouring out and never allow yourself to be poured into, you will wear out. Count on it. It’s cliche but true that “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” So go take a hot bath. Play with a dog. Get coffee with a spiritually encouraging friend. Turn your phone off for a few hours. Spend one-on-one time with Jesus, because you will always need more of that. Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be expensive or over-indulgent, but give yourself permission to intentionally rest and recharge sometimes without feeling guilty about it.

6. Community is absolutely vital. Find people who will walk shoulder-to-shoulder with you through the good, the bad, and the really bad, and cherish them. Tell them often that you love them, look for ways to serve them, and let them take care of you when you’re the one who needs help.

7. Break-and-bake cookies will never be as good as homemade ones. Stop being lazy and just buy some baking soda already.

8. Some stuff matters a lot less than you think it does, and some stuff matters a lot more than you think it does. For example: I always wanted to marry a guy who could sing. It was actually a deal-breaker for a really long time. But when I met Daniel, that *thing* that I had held up on a pedestal for so many years just wasn’t as important anymore. I would much rather keep him for all of his other qualities – his wit, integrity, discernment – than trade him out for a guy with a great voice. On the other hand, certain things about him have proven to be a lot more valuable than I expected. When I was writing down my list of qualifications for a husband as a boy-crazy tween, I never once considered asking God for a guy who was financially savvy. But that’s exactly what I got, and I cannot put into words how grateful I am for that undeserved gift from the Lord. Long story short? Some qualities are secondary (musical ability). Some are primary (wisdom). Know the difference, and don’t settle.

9. Call your parents more often. And your grandparents. Write them letters, even! They’ll love it, and no matter how much you do it, someday you’ll wish you had done it more.

10. Every New Year’s Eve, you’ll swear time can’t possibly go any faster than it already is. But it will keep happening, again and again. Every single year will go by faster than the one before it, faster than you can possibly imagine. So be present in each one. Don’t spend all your time waiting for the next thing. Just be, right where you are.

11. Money matters. It shouldn’t be the most important thing in your life, but it also shouldn’t be something you treat carelessly. If you spend spend spend without really thinking about where it’s all going, STOP. If your long-term plan doesn’t go any further than randomly tossing money into a savings account, STOP. Don’t be a slave to money, now or later. Make your money work for you. Ask God to make you a good steward, get some wise financial advice, give to your church and community with a generous heart, save up a little for an emergency, and then put the rest to work (rental properties, retirement accounts, etc.).

12. As much as I hate this fact…you can’t eat whatever you want and refuse to exercise without consequences. You may not notice those consequences until 5 years or 55 years go by, but you will pay the price eventually.

13. You HAVE to stop worrying so much about what other people think. Seriously. Sometimes, it does matter. But a lot of the time, it doesn’t. And half of the time, they probably aren’t even thinking about you anyway.

14. Go get a piece of paper and a pen. Got them? Good. I want you to write down your plan for your life, as many details as you want. All done? Perfect. Now crumple up that paper and throw it away. (Sorry if you actually took the time to write stuff down.) But seriously, so few things in life go the way we actually plan. And thank God for that. Because if my life had gone how I had planned, I would have gone to OU instead of OBU, which means I wouldn’t have met the guy in my J-term math class who told me I should work at Falls Creek. Those three summers on the ropes course ended up being one of the biggest spiritual turning points of my life. If life had gone how I’d planned, I would have married one of the hundreds of “good guys” from OBU and probably become a youth pastor’s wife, since that was my dream in high school. But instead, God introduced me to a finance major from another college in The-Middle-of-Nowhere (aka Durant, aka D-OK, aka The Shady 5-80) who has taught me more about myself, love, forgiveness, sarcasm, and nerd board games than anyone else I have ever met. And if life had gone how I’d planned, years of unexplained infertility would not have been part of my journey to parenthood. But if I hadn’t experienced that pain and loss, I would never have understood the power of fierce, healing, all-consuming love from God, our families, and our best friends the way I do now. God works ALL THINGS together for the GOOD of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes for them (Romans 8:28). I believe it because I’m living it.

15. Trying to change someone is a major waste of time. God is the only one who can cause genuine change in a person’s heart. Praying for them is much more effective, not to mention freeing.

16. Directly related to #15, an even harder lesson to learn is that sometimes, you are actually the one who needs to change. Contrary to what you might think, you aren’t right about everything.

17. Traveling is AWESOME. Go as many places as possible, as often as possible. You CAN afford it if you prioritize it and make decisions accordingly. But be prepared – there will always be at least one thing that doesn’t go as smoothly as you planned. Sometimes flights get changed, traffic makes you late, and stuff costs more than you thought it would…but it’s okay. Plan as much as you can, accept the things you have no control over with grace, and thank God for allowing you to travel as often as you do.

18. High heels are overrated. Do I wear them? Yes. Do I regret it 11 out of 10 times? Yes. Do I still continue wearing them? Also yes. (What? I’m a work in progress, people.)

19. You don’t have to have an eating disorder to have an unhealthy relationship with your body. Self-obsession and self-loathing are both forms of idolatry, and God did not create you for that nonsense.

20. Change is inevitable. And I still hate it. I think it’s instinct, human nature, to resist change internally, even if we try to appear flexible on the outside. Friendships evolve, some fading and some strengthening. Our bodies age. Our preferences change. We can’t fight the fact that things just don’t stay the same forever. But honestly…thank goodness. Can you imagine what life would be like if we never moved on from being a baby? Or from being a teenager?? I wouldn’t want to live in that world. Adulthood doesn’t necessarily mean liking all the changes that take place in your life. It’s just learning to accept them as gifts of love from the God who wrote your entire life story before you were even born. We can’t see the big picture, but He can. In seasons of good change and not so good, God is trustworthy, and He only gives good gifts. ♥

Hats off to my 20’s, the best decade of my life so far, and here’s hoping that my 30’s will be even better!

Friendscation 2019: LP Edition

Wow, friends. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have people in your life that you love so much you want to spend an entire week with them. This vacation was easily in my top 3 favorite trips I’ve ever taken, and every time I think about it, I can’t stop myself from smiling!

Pretty much as soon as we got back from our cruise with the McCains in the fall of 2018, we started brainstorming. What did we want to do next?, we wondered. Who should we invite to come with us?

Well.

We decided on another cruise.

And we decided to invite everyone. 😂

Our days were filled with excursions at our ports (Jamaica, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman), naps, drinks, hot tub time, spa time, and lots of laying out by the pool.

Our nights were full of fun group dinners, shows, karaoke, blackjack, and hanging out at the Irish pub, which had literally THE BEST servers I’ve ever experienced out of all the cruises we’ve been on so far.

Probably my favorite thing from the entire trip was our excursion in Grand Cayman. The water was gorgeous, and swimming with stingrays…I don’t even have enough words to explain how funny and cool this experience was!!

Two of my favorite pictures from the trip. ♥

But let’s keep it real….lol

“Hey, I like my outfit today, will you take a quick picture of me???”

*wind instantly speeds up to 50 mph for literally no reason*

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The Lord was so gracious and somehow made every day of this trip feel like three long days. By the time the week was over, I felt like I had been gone from work for about a month, and it was AMAZING. After planning Nicole’s wedding, this break was much-needed and the biggest breath of fresh air I think I could have gotten!

Who’s ready to rage again??? Friendscation 2020, here we come!! ♥

 

What I Know For Sure.

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Let’s start this off strong.

I don’t know a lot.

In fact, I feel like the older I get, the less I actually know. Does anybody else feel this way?? It’s like my brain is pulling a Benjamin Button. In every new life stage, I’m both the smartest and the dumbest that I’ve ever been.

But there are four things I know for sure:

  1. I’m not ‘enough.’
  2. Life is a series of waiting rooms, metaphorical and literal.
  3. The ‘hustle’ culture is overrated and damaging.
  4. I literally don’t know what I would do without God.
  5. I’m bad at math.

One of my goals for the year is to take a break from TV at least one day per week, and take a break from all social media platforms at least one day per month. Yesterday was my day off of social media, and I was shocked to discover how many times my fingers mindlessly wandered and opened those apps throughout the day. Of course, as soon as I did it, I would snap out of it and close the app. But still, I reflexively tapped those apps probably 20 times, and for no other reason than that I was bored. I wanted to know what was happening in the social world that day. I didn’t want to miss something ~iMpoRtAnt~ and be left out or left behind.

Adulthood is hard. I’ve talked a lot about that in various posts, but it bears repeating, especially because of the savage mischief-maker that is social media. Don’t get me wrong, it has its perks; after all, you’re probably reading this post right now because of some form of social media. And yet in spite of all the new connections it may spark, we’re lonelier and emptier than ever. I’m convinced that no generation has been more aware of all the things we don’t have. We are bombarded daily with hundreds of things that we’re supposed to know, be, have, and do. And a lot of us actually manage to keep up, or at least look like we’re keeping up. Sort of. But behind all of our photos and memories and virtual transparency (because it’s cool to be *real* now), we’re all still secretly terrified that it’s not enough. We don’t know enough, and we’re not doing enough.

Worst of all, though, is the fear that we ourselves are not enough.

And you know what? I think that fear is justified.

Because deep down, we already know that we aren’t enough.

We can’t create, curate, fabricate, or initiate enough beauty, humor, authenticity, popularity, or overall goodness to overcome the fact that

W E .  A R E .  N O T .  E N O U G H .

We will never be funny enough, pretty enough, smart enough, athletic enough, or good enough when the measuring stick is our own self-perception or the rest of the world’s standards. Telling ourselves we’re enough in the mirror or slapping the phrase on a t-shirt does little more than bury our fear underneath a mountain of self-focus and self-help. Ultimately, our merit and abilities won’t get us very far if the focus is on what WE can do, because at one point or another, we will inevitably fail. Our skills are limited. Our energy will run out. We can’t fix other people’s problems. We can’t even fix our own.

Guess what, though?

“Being enough” was never our job.

Jesus is enough for us.

He is strong enough, smart enough, worthy enough, perfect enough. We are made whole only through a relationship with Him, and until we surrender to Him completely, we will never be able to relieve the taunting, lingering ache of “not enough.” If Jesus was enough to satisfy the debt of every human being’s sin, once and for all, then He is enough for our day-to-day. And when we bravely and humbly tear down our altars to ourselves and lay our pride at His feet, we learn that our strength to do literally everything comes from Him. We discover that the absolute best place to be is NOT behind the wheel.

The truth is, I’m not in control. I want to be. But I’m not. And that is so counterculture. We are conditioned from an early age to believe – genuinely believe – that we have control over the outcomes in our lives. We are told that if we do A + B, we WILL get C. Our DIY #bossbabe world screams “You can do anything!!” and encourages us to hustle hustle hustle to get what we want, and we buy into the lie that if we work hard enough and believe hard enough and pray hard enough…we can make God do whatever we want Him to do.

That’s what we’re really saying.

It’s ugly, isn’t it?

We want so much to believe that we know what’s best, and that if God would just get on board, then everything would be golden.

But that’s not how it is.

The Bible says that God’s ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), and His sovereign Will always plays out exactly the way He planned from the very beginning (Proverbs 19:21). But we have hope, because He loves us (Ephesians 2:4-5) and everything He does is for our good (Romans 8:28). In the face of that kind of love, we can let go of the burden of trying to be enough for others, ourselves, and even God Himself. We can release our desperate desires to be famous for something; our need to be liked, respected, or envied; our unrealistic expectations; our selfish aspirations. We can be free, truly, and live a life marked by real joy and real peace.

It sounds contradictory, I know – giving up your autonomy and yet also being free. But it’s real. The most freedom I’ve ever felt in my life has come when I stop trying to control everything, surrender to God through prayer, and remind myself that not only is He big enough to handle my wants and my needs, but He is also worthy of my trust because He has a perfect track record and has never, ever failed to do what is best. If He thinks I need something, He’ll give it to me. If He thinks I don’t need something, He won’t give it to me. And even though I may not like it or understand it at the time, I will still choose to believe that He is right and He is worth following. After all, I don’t really have any right to hold anything back from a Person who gave up everything for me, who died so that I could live. I owe that Person everything, I think. ♥

Nicole + Ben ♥

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“I cannot believe this day is finally here. 😍 Most of you probably know, by this point, that I have an affinity for event planning. I’ve had dozens of people tell me I need to turn it into a full-fledged business, and because of this girl right here, I am 50% less scared and 100% more inspired to actually…make…it…happen. She took a chance on a rookie, and today, I am coordinating my first wedding as a paid event coordinator. 😭💛🧡@nicole_diseker, you will forever and always be my VERY FIRST BRIDE!! I would say ‘My heart is full’ but my heart isn’t big enough, so let’s just say that my whole body is full of all the feelings and I will treasure this day always! Let’s do this thing!!”

That was the caption for my Instagram post on October 19th, 2019.

A day I will never forget.

The day a long-held dream finally came true.

I have been developing my love for planning parties for quite awhile. I’ve even helped with a bunch of weddings in an unofficial capacity over the last few years.

But this….this was different.

Not long after Nicole and Ben got engaged, she made some off-hand comment at our community group about how stressful wedding planning was. Instantly, this little voice in my head was like “You should do her wedding….!!” I had no idea if they had the budget for a coordinator, or if they even wanted one. But I couldn’t ignore the nudge from the Lord to put the option out there. So I texted her.

AND I’M SO GLAD I DID!

Their wedding ceremony was at Parkside Baptist Church, and their reception was at 903 Brewers – super eclectic, but super cool! The first time Nicole took me to look at the space, I can’t lie – I was a liiiiiittle nervous. 😂 But I was thrilled with how everything came together, and it wouldn’t have been nearly as special without the drapery, dreamy lanterns, and string lights that Ben put up!

I can’t say thank you enough to the bridal party and my food crew for making everything happen before the event. I literally could not have done it without all of you! ♥♥

Hands down, one of my favorite parts of the wedding was the fall leaves tossed down the aisle. But they weren’t tossed by a flower girl.

They.

had.

a.

flower.

man.

Yes, an adult man. 😂😂😂😂

Another neat feature of this unique wedding was the macaron towers! Nicole’s mom made hundreds of flavored macarons for all of the guests to enjoy, and HOLY MOLY they were good. I tried at least half of the flavors, and I can attest that the peanut butter and jelly ones were the best. THE. BEST. I need some more, Donna!!

Cuties. ♥

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The very last picture of the night was taken at Cellarman’s, after the bride and groom made their grand exit and everything was packed away in boxes and bags and laundry baskets. It’s probably one of the worst pictures I’ve ever taken, but I don’t even care. I had to take this picture, because as tired as I was, I knew that I would want to remember the people sitting around that table. The people who willingly pitched in and helped clean everything up after the reception without being asked. The people who sacrificed the rest of their evening for me, who shouldered the load with me simply because that’s what family does. I took the picture because I wanted to preserve forever how deeply loved I felt that night. Since that day, I have relived everything about the wedding countless times, and every time I look at this awkward, hilarious, blurry photo, I am instantly transported back to the emotions I felt as I took it: completely overcome with exhaustion, gratitude, and joy. ♥

Finally, enjoy a few photos from their wonderfully talented photographer, Spencer Patton!

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Congratulations again, Nicole and Ben – thanks for trusting me with such a momentous, beautiful day in your life together.

If you need help planning a party or coordinating a wedding, let ya girl know – I’d love to get ice cream or coffee with you sometime and talk about your vision!

Sheridan’s Bae-Bee Shower

What a sweet honor it was to throw a baby shower for one of my best friends, Sheridan! She and her husband Jeremy were part of the young married community group Daniel and I hosted at our house years ago, and we were so excited when they told us she was pregnant. Much like my friends Les and Dara, the Burnses decided to wait to find out if Baby B was a boy or a girl, so I went with a gender neutral theme – honeybees!

The menu was brunch-themed, and I had a ton of hosts to help me get everything ready. We had mini chicken and waffles, cinnamon rolls, blueberry muffins, avocado toast, and bacon-wrapped tater tots, along with coffee and mimosas. Oh, and the deliciously pretty honeycomb cookies from Chasing India Cookies!

Hands down, my favorite decoration was the handmade honeycomb background for the food table. My brother-in-law Sam is so talented – he’s the one who made the famous mountain shelf that has been used over and over and over!

The rest of the decorations included a honeycomb ball garland, honey sticks as party favors, and lots of fresh flowers.

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Looking for a fun baby shower activity? Pictured above is my all-time favorite: a DIY alphabet book. Print off pages with each letter of the alphabet and ask guests to create a page or two, and then compile all the pages into a book for the new parents.

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Ugh, she was the cutest pregnant girl!! ♥

And guess what they had?? ↓↓

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THIS cute girl!! Cheeks for dayyyyyz. I love you, Ruby! (And Sheridan I guess)

If you need help planning a party, let ya girl know – I’d love to get ice cream or coffee with you sometime and talk about your vision!

Nicole’s “Fall-ing in Love” Wedding Shower

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As our church’s resident party planner, I had the joy of coordinating a wedding shower there for my fellow member and friend Nicole (who also asked me to plan her actual wedding) and her sweet fiancé Ben! Since it was in September, “Fall-ing in Love” was an obvious, easy theme. Thanks Ashley for the softball lob! ;)

We had all kinds of autumn-themed sweet treats to enjoy, including a caramel apple bar, apple cider, and iced coffee. The decorations were super easy too – lots of fall florals, leaves, and mini gourds and pumpkins.

My crowning achievement for this shower, though, was the pumpkin patch cake!!

I. made. it. myself. and. I’m. still. proud.

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I love her SO much. Couldn’t have asked for a better person to be my first bride. ♥

Stay tuned for details from the wedding itself – new post coming soon!!

Burke, Moore, & Hendrickson D.C. Reunion

One of my favorite trips we took in 2019 was to Washington, D. C., to visit our old friends Wesley and Brittany Burke! Wes was interning at Capitol Hill Baptist Church at the time, and he got Daniel a highly-sought-after ticket to a 9Marks Weekender, an event that the church hosts for pastors, elders, other church leaders, and seminary students. They get a front row seat to the way Capitol Hill does things, and it was life-changing for Daniel to get to go. I didn’t get to go to the sessions with him, but I did get to spend four solid days catching up with Brittany and our friend Kelli, and that was THE BEST consolation prize.

I can’t believe how fast all of these littles have grown! 😭😭

Daniel and I got to walk around the Capitol Hill area one afternoon with Blake and Kelli, and my favorite place we visited was the Library of Congress! Thomas Jefferson’s personal library was on display, and the number of topics he had books about blew me away. I was disappointed that we didn’t actually get to go inside the iconic rotunda, but it was still neat to see the place in person through the glass.

The girls and the kids explored the city on our own one day too, and even though our feet felt like they were about to fall off, it was a great day! We went to Grand Central Station, walked the National Mall, saw the Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, walked around the Washington Monument, and we even got a peek at the White House. Towards the end of our adventure, we lucked out and found a little farmer’s market in a park near our bus stop, and I’m telling you….that burger I took a picture of might have been the best burger I’ve ever had.

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Love my Burke babies!!

Daniel and I also got to hang out with Josh and Nicole, Daniel’s older brother and his girlfriend who live really close to the Capitol Hill area. I realized too late that we never took any pictures together, but it was so fun to browse the nearby art museum and enjoy a few drinks with them at a local pub.

The girls LOVED him. ♥

I can confidently say that if we lived in D.C., we would absolutely go to Capitol Hill. Their Sunday service was absolutely amazing. The music made me cry, the preaching was intelligent, thought-provoking, and engaging…but more than that, it was just so apparent that they are doing things in a wise, healthy way. Daniel learned so much from their elder body, things that are helping transform and energize our local church now. I hope we get to go back someday!