Change

I have found myself in the midst of so much ongoing change lately. I have struggled with the frustration of experiencing and battling the adjustment to the change. While at times it has been fun, it has definitely been exhausting trying to adapt and reanalyze my life. Before the expected change occurred, I already knew in my mind there would be fruit produced from the struggles that I would face. I am so thankful that we serve a God who allows us to be challenged and constantly teaches us during our weak moments. It’s funny.. even though I knew change would bring on difficulties, I yearned for those difficulties to occur. I’ve realized after every tough moment,  a wave of peace always follows. During that peace, I am able to hear so clearly from Him. I feel like it’s a cycle…. I go about life, I hit a rock, I struggle, I am challenged, I realize I am human and I constantly fail, I find peace, and then I have mini epiphanies that once again, make me reanalyze how I want to live my life.

That being said, the most recent epiphany I have had is how desperately I long to pursue the creative part of me that God has gifted me in. While my husband and I ventured off to Canada to spend a week away from life and rest our minds, bodies, and spirit in God’s creation, I found the peace I was so desperately needing… only to go back to Austin and have an epiphany that has now stirred my soul. During our time in Canada, I began pouring my heart out to my sweet husband. I treasure those moments because they remind me how blessed I am to have a husband who pushes me to pursue the things God reveals to me. No matter how crazy the thought, he always takes me seriously and helps me believe it is possible to wholeheartedly pursue it. So, you’re probably wondering at this point what the creative epiphany is that I am feeling called to pursue. So, here is the story.

Ever since I was a little girl, my dad has referred to me as his hippie child. I was the kid that drew pictures out of mud, that chalked up the sidewalk with every color of the rainbow, that asked my mom for a perm in Kindergarten, that had artwork hung up in businesses when I was in 1st grade, that wore a tie dye two piece when I was 8, that won ribbons for random art contests in middle school… need I go on? This creativity only worsened as I got older. I really invested time into art projects in high school and was able to have my artwork sold at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. As I ventured to college, I constantly battled how to fuel my creativity but ultimately lost the battle because of a reality check. I was overcome by fear of failure if I pursued art as a major in college. Shortly after that, I lost my brother to a drunk driver. My heart was tragically changed after experiencing such a huge, unexpected loss. For those of you who don’t know, my brother was actually a cancer survivor and had a brain tumor when he was three. That being said, he had a lot of health issues and struggles throughout his life. After losing him, my heart strongly desired to give back to people who needed love and support in difficult moments of their life. At that time, I followed my heart to pursue nursing. I know that it was the right decision for me at the time & it is definitely what I needed and where God placed me to get through such a devastating moment in my life. I was surrounded by nurses everywhere I went… to class, to clinical, at home (I lived with 2 other nursing students), and so on. This was huge in my recovery from depression that I faced shortly after losing my brother. I needed the sweet, gentle, caring spirits that nurses provide to friends and patients. Fast forward, and here I am, working as a nurse at the Texas Fertility Center with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas.  God definitely carried me through a tragic time and has blessed me tremendously with my job. But my hippie side is back.

A couple years ago, I watched my best friend, Jessica Hunt, pursue photography as a career. I secretly envied her and wished I could live her life. My heart was in no way shape or form ready to fully pursue photography. Nor would that have been possible… hello! I had to finish school (after 5 long years) and would have never had time to commit to the time and effort starting a business requires.  God definitely was not through teaching and equipping me with the connections and tools I needed to be where I am now. So, the journey begins. After long discussions of making my dream of pursuing my creative side a reality, it is all beginning to fall in place. The hope for the near future is to begin my own photography business and pursue artwork for people on the side. I am continuing to work as a registered nurse at Texas Fertility Center and will be doing photography on the side for now.

This journey is to be continued people….. Prayers are welcomed! And encouragement is definitely needed as I begin to embark upon something God has so clearly laid on my heart.

Advertisements

I blinked and it’s August!

Let me first say, wow, where did time go? I have pushed off blogging for quite some time now because I didn’t know where to begin and how to cover everything that has occurred since my previous post. So, I am going to try to give everyone a short summary. Bear with me!
A lot of events have happened in the past 4 months:

  • Graduated from college with a degree in nursing (finally!)
  • Got a job at Texas Fertility Center as a Registered Nurse
  • Said goodbyes to our dear friends, Tom & Jess, who had a monumental impact on our first year of marriage
  • Celebrated our first year of marriage while helping the sis move
  • Had 2 of my best friends get engaged
  • Celebrated with friends as they said their vows
  • Gained a sister-in-law (Yahoo!!)
  • Passed my nursing boards
  • Enjoyed 4th of July weekend with family and friends
  • Floated the river with some of our favorite people
  • Had girls weekend with my college roommates
  • Finished the 2nd Hunger Games book
  • Spent time with my mom after she had back surgery
  • Helped my brother in law move while spending time with the rest of the Swans
  • Stephen had guys weekend with his college roommates
  • Said goodbye to another set of dear friends, Brian & Natalie
  • Started training for a half marathon
  • Said goodbye to our 3rd.. yes 3rd set of dear friends, Alisdair & Erica
  • Planned a trip to Canada to take a break from all of the craziness this summer has held!

Phew! I am confident that I missed plenty of moments that occurred over the past 3 months but my brain is a little fried at this point. Needless to say, planning a trip to Canada was much needed to get a vacation from life! We have loved every minute of the business, but are ready for some peace in our household. We desperately need a break to invest in each other and in the Lord. It’s amazing how quickly life and constant events can pull you away from your intimate relationship with Christ. I sure am missing me some Jesus time lately, folks! I long for some peace and quiet to get lost in my prayer journal while giving my heart to Him to love on. Hopefully, the next few weeks will be renewing and enlightening. I pray that if you’re reading this, you will be able to find some rest in the Lord as well. Sometimes it’s exactly what we need to feel encouraged and strengthened.

 

Cali Getaway Part 2

Day 2 of our California getway consisted of the following:

1. Breakfast at a local cafe called Bayside Cafe. Mmmmmm mm this was some good old fashion home cookin! It was located just north of the Golden Gate Bridge and was one of the best decisions we made! We were pretty much fat and happy after we left! It was quaint, filling, and a perfect way to start our day full of fun and adventure.

2. Golden Gate Bridge. We were super excited to see the famous Golden Gate Bridge that we have heard about our whole lives. And it was indeed, a sight to see! Bridges have always fascinated me and this one took my fascination to a whole new level. I’m confident that my engineer of a husband would say the same. Although we enjoyed marveling at the handiwork of the bridge, I must say, the breeze coming off the ocean was pretty chilly! Needless to say, we definitely didn’t camp out at this lookout for the day, but it sure made for some pretty pictures!

3. Cruising. Fact- Stephen and I love exploring the world with no end result in mind. Why? Because we manage to find some crazy things. This trip marked our first time to come across a “5 minute red light.” As we are cruising along the coast on a one way road for the majority of the time, we come to a stoplight (on a two lane road at this point) in the middle of nowhere. As we get closer, the light turns yellow. We totally could have made the yellow light but Stephen, being the good upstanding citizen he is, slowed down and stopped before reading the sign beneath the light. I believe his immediate response was “No. They’re kidding, right?” Nope! They weren’t kidding! We sat there for 5 minutes wondering what the purpose of this stoplight was. Once the light turned green, we discovered the answer to all of the questions we came up with during those 5 minutes: a one way tunnel.

4. Muir Woods National Park. Seeing the Redwood trees has been something I have wanted to do my entire life. I can now successfully cross that off my bucket list! As we entered the park, we were entering it with tons of other tourists. Stephen & are not much for sticking with the crowds and being “touristy,” so as soon as we saw a separate trail that veered off from the main boardwalk, we took it.  Little did we know it turned out to be a 4-5 mile hike uphill the majority of the way. Let me just say, these trees were HUGE. Apparently, when one of the trees fell, it was heard from a mile away! Although we weren’t fully prepared with the proper attire, it made for a fun memory! We saw very few people along our hiking trail, which made the experience all the more special.

5. Fisherman’s Wharf. This was completely worth blending in with the thousands of other tourists. All of the vivid colors, shops, children, etc., made me feel like I was at a carnival. This area is complete with sourdough bread bowls, sailboats, music, kites, sea lions, children chasing bubbles, ice cream, you name it, Fisherman’s Wharf has it! We were there for an hour and a half before it became too overwhelming and claustrophobic.

6. San Francisco. Although Fisherman’s Wharf is in San Francisco, the historic, beautifully built city cannot be fully understood just by touring Fisherman’s Wharf. The architecture all over the city is absolutely amazing. San Francisco is literally built on a hill. When you see it in person, it is pretty incredible that they were able to develop longstanding buildings on that type of terrain. I thought Austin was hilly… I had no idea! As we were driving around the city, Stephen kept telling me he was taking me to see the “painted ladies.” Naturally, I was thinking… painted… ladies. Weird, right? Of course he wouldn’t answer any of my questions until we go there. So, you’re probably wondering right about now… what are the painted ladies? Well, they are definitely NOT the image that I thought of in my mind. They are beautiful, historic Victorian & Edwardian houses painted in three or more colors. Another fact: I loved the painted ladies. Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the architecture and city.

After driving around the city for a pretty good while, we took a coffee break at this precious little coffee shop and chatted it up with the locals. It was awesome.

We completed our day in San Francisco by watching the sun set over the ocean.. mainly from our car. It was soooo cold!!! We got out to take pictures and on our way back to our car we realized that 90% of the cars sitting in the parking lot were full of people who were eating cheese and crackers while watching the sun set. Apparently we weren’t the first people to freeze our booties off. It made for a good laugh. All in all, this was an amazing trip that I felt so blessed to have the opportunity to share with my sweet husband!

Cali Getaway Part 1

 Sometimes getaway weekends are desperately needed and this trip was just that! We needed a weekend all to ourselves with no distractions keeping us from simply enjoying life.

When I started school in January and began receiving my course schedules, I soon realized how hectic my final semester of nursing school was going to be. While I normally have class Monday-Friday, it just so happened that my Friday class was moved to Wednesday for one week in February. Prior to this discovery, Stephen & I had already been plotting a getaway weekend. This just gave us more leverage to actually pursue the thoughts that had previously been daydreams. After searching literally every location that Southwest flies into, I came across roundtrip flights to San Francisco for.. let’s just say.. cheap. Needless to say, flights were booked shortly after that, and our calendars were marked for February 23-26. Let the fun begin!

Schedule: Napa Valley, Golden Gate Bridge, Redwood Trees, San Francisco

Day 1:

The Old World Inn. This was a precious little bed & breakfast (B&B) we found online. The prices had been marked down significantly for the dates we were looking at… so, naturally, we booked it! And let me just say, this place was awesome. We arrived at 9:30 pm and an envelope had been taped to the back door with our keys in it and directions to our room. Seriously, such a cute little mom & pop place with amazing beds, food, and service! The “innkeeper” talked about how comfortable their beds were on a video on their website… but we didn’t realize how true that was until we got in bed and felt like we were laying on fluffy clouds. The following morning, we got up, went downstairs and had a fabulous two course breakfast with the other guests at the B&B. As breakfast continued, Stephen & I soon realized how out of our league we were. Two sets of couples on both sides of us began a conversation that eventually led to discussion about the planes (yes, plural) they owned. After receiving tips on vineyards and completing a delicious breakfast consisting of fresh fruit, homemade scones, and an egg puff (that’s the best name we could come up with), we packed our things and headed out to explore Napa Valley.

Napa Valley:

  1. Castello di Amorosa

After driving through the beautiful wine country, this vineyard became our first stop. What better way to start your wine touring off than to begin at a castle, right? This castle was tucked up in the hillside and had everything you would expect a castle to have: a moat, a bridge entering the castle with a spike gate entrance, stones, chickens, sheep.. you name it. It was magical. At least every part until the Italian man serving us wine questioned whether or not I was 21. Gotta love it. While the experience was completely worth it, the wine wasn’t up to par for Stephen & me. After roaming and trying to make friends with the chickens, peacocks, and sheep, we decided to move on to our next venue!

     2. Frank Family Vineyards

Though this vineyard didn’t have the magical feeling or sparkle to it the way Castello di Amorosa did, it was quite a gem. I felt right at home walking up to an old house painted yellow with a big red barn looking building right next to it. This place was just cozy, quaint, and perfect. The wine tasting came with a fabulous historical background of the wine country and Frank Family Vineyards. Apparently the ex-owner of Disney owns the place. Pretty cool little fact I thought. Next on our agenda… Rutherford Hill.

     3. Rutherford Hill

Mainly we just stopped, walked around, and took pictures at this location. It was pretty high up in the hills and we were told it had a spectacular view, which is the main reason we ventured up to it. I must say… it did indeed have a spectacular view. Equipped with olive trees and vineyards running alongside the hills, it was quite breathtaking. At one point, I decided to try one of the olives on the trees because I loooove olives…. bad idea. Bitterness filled my mouth, and what went in, instantly came back out. I probably should have found out when olives are in season before attempting that one. The one thing this place did have that I would have liked to see were wine caves. Apparently they are man-made caves used to store the wine. The tours were over for the day by the time we arrived, but I imagine the caves are pretty interesting.

4. Beringer Vineyard

So, we definitely saved the best for last. Stephen & I are big on making trips adventurous. We love driving around, taking random roads that we have no idea where they lead, and making our trips our own. During our adventure, we drove through a few small towns that we really loved.. St. Helena & Calistoga. Our main purpose in St. Helena.. ice cream. Let’s be real, it was no Bluebell, but if you love ice cream as much as we do, you get over that really fast. St. Helena has a precious shopping strip that we ventured down and found all sorts of things:

  • A shop that had fresh bread and different olive oils, mustards, and appetizers to try. I really loved this place and was tempted to buy some of the mustards they had to serve with pretzels. DE-LICIOUS!
  • A shop containing hippster apparel with really cute, trendy headbands. I acquired 2 for $10. Excellent decision I must say.
  • A bookstore where I discovered a book called “The Weird Sisters.” Naturally, I sent my sister a picture of this. Since then, she has actually purchased the book and is 60+ pages in and says it’s a fantastic read.
  • A wine shop. Duh. And many many more.

Okay, now that I have been sidetracked… back to Beringer Vineyard. As we were driving to St. Helena to get ice cream, we noticed this beeeeautiful house and pulled in the driveway only to discover it was a vineyard.

So, needless to say, we eventually went back to it after making random detours along the way. It was the last vineyard of the day and we couldn’t have ended on a better note. As we entered the gift shop in hopes of doing a wine tasting, I was greeted by this sweet lady who was probably in her 70s. Stephen took a bathroom break and I gained a new friend. While our intention was to indulge in a final wine tasting, we ended up getting two free glasses of wine. This lady loved us. She asked us if we were on our honeymoon and as we responded, it hit us that we have almost been married for a year. It’s crazy how fast time flies! Anyway, we LOVED the wine at this place and instead of spending $20 on a wine tasting…. the sweet lady gave us a free wine tasting, which worked out perfectly because we ended up purchasing two bottles of wine and were able to use that $20 toward that instead! I also found different soaps in the gift shop that totally made my day. Just look at the names of these soaps and you’ll understand why.

All in all, it was an awesome experience and we both fell in love with this vineyard. It was by far our favorite! I’m sure you can see why from the looks of our pictures.

To finish off the day in Napa Valley, we pulled off on the side of the rode by the gorgeous field full of blooming yellow flowers. The lighting was absolutely perfect as the sun was setting so we took advantage of this opportunity. With the help of self-timer and a package of cheese, we were able balance our camera and snag a few pictures from the top of our Jetta. All I have to say is… after Day 1, Day 2 had a lot to live up to. As you can see, this post is long enough already. Therefore, day 2 is…. to be continued….

I have a pretty cute husband.

I love him more than words can explain.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

This holiday season:

So, what I have realized, this Christmas, is how thankful I am for the now. Previously, I blogged about hoping to enjoy the moment instead of focusing on the future or reminiscing on the past. Often times we get so caught up in the thought of change that we forget to be grateful for our current state. This holiday season, I was able to take hold of the moment and for the first time in a long time, I managed to grasp how real and satisfying it is to bask in the presence of God and all His glory.

This Christmas, Stephen & I were fortunate to join my family for a ski trip to Colorado. As the planning leading up to the trip began, I began to feel several emotions. While this was an amazing opportunity, I began catching myself straddling two extremes: dreadfulness to leave our sweet puppy (who is seriously like my child at this point in my life) and thrilled to get away for a week of relaxation and pure bliss in the mountains. Two of our best friends, Tom & Jess, so kindly kept our little fur ball while we were gone. Words cannot express how thankful we were for that! Mousse was showered with love and played with their dog, Lilly, 24/7. Needless to say, while we went on vacation, Mousse had a week-long sleepover with her best friend! We were so grateful that our sweet friends took care of our little girl. It was our first time leaving her and it made it so much easier knowing she was in such good hands! Here is a glimpse of Mousse’s sleepover.

Anyway, back to our trip to Colorado. There is something so healing about being surrounded by such immense natural landscape. It is incredibly captivating because it allows you to see, feel, and remember that God is mighty, encompassing, and powerful. The beauty that besieged us was so peaceful and untouchable.

While the trip had many calming memories, there were plenty of joyful, fun, heartfelt ones as well.  My little brother surprised me at the airport with a helmet cover that looked like a panda bear. Seriously… BEST gift EVER. He knows me too well! Here is a glimpse of what I looked like for most of the trip.

I do feel a little bad because at one point I passed a 2 year old who screamed and ran to her mom because she was so frightened. But, at the same time, I must say I thoroughly enjoyed gaining names such as “Pandemonium” from the staff in charge of the ski lifts and having random phrases such as “Hi panda bear!!” shouted at me as a snowboarded down the mountain. Those moments were definitely highlights of the trip.

Other funny moments included a never-ending, constant suffering from the “altitooties” also known by my family as the “puffs.” Boy do I love living in Texas after experiencing dry skin and the previously mentioned. Each night consisted of some sort of card game… mainly Spades. If anyone learned anything from the trip, it is probably that people want to let me win because I am very competitive and not much fun to play with if I am losing. I am trying to work on that…. it takes time people. However, I am very enjoyable while sitting by a fire with some hot chocolate in hand, making s’mores. Let’s be real, a ski trip is not complete without the sinfully deliciousness of Hershey’s chocolate, marshmallows golden to perfection, and graham crackers smashed together and stuffed in your mouth. I also discovered a newfound love for nutella/banana crepes. All I have to say about that is WOW.

Though every family trip is very difficult without my brother’s presence, I always find myself realizing that Blake was a step ahead of all of us. The peace and joy I find in God’s creation is something he dwelled upon for as long as I can remember. His captivation with nature was one that only exists through the understanding of the beauty that lies within knowing God.  He had a heart that was fascinated with creation and he had a constant yearning to live in the moment. He understood the importance of the now instead of the future. He did not stress about materialistic things, but only enjoyed the real and important things. He brought so much joy to every individual who surrounded him, and he displayed an excitement for life that was untouchable. I believe part of this joy stemmed from his understanding that life is a blessing that God allows us to enjoy. I believe Blake knew that this was a borrowed gift and one that we had the choice to use for God’s glory or our own. Blake used it for God’s glory and made an evident impact on people who surrounded him. Though it pains me to no longer be surrounded by his presence, I am thankful for the time I did have with my brother. He showed me that life is too short to place your focus on earthly things. He allowed me to learn and grow because I so clearly felt the spirit moving through him. He is a large portion of why I know God and strive to live my life to further his kingdom. Blake allowed me to see that life is a gift and to treat it as such. Though I miss him dearly, I thank God for using him to change not only me, but also my family, and other individuals whose lives were changed by his presence.

On Christmas Eve, we attended church in which we sang “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Before the song began, a member of the church encouraged us to remember that we are singing with all of God’s believers and are worshipping together with all of the angels. I found myself realizing that though Blake was not physically by my side, he and I were both worshipping the same God together at that very moment. A feeling of indescribable peace surrounded my entire being.

Here is the thing about change- change is inevitable. Every second of every day, our life is constantly changing. However, how we choose to manage and experience change is up to us. I don’t know about you, but I think choosing to sit back and allow God to change your life is the best way to manage it. This Christmas, I am thankful that God has allowed me to enjoy the moment and have complete peace with this season of life. As much as I loved our vacation, there was something so sweet about longing to get back to our home. I found myself fully satisfied with my life. I yearned to wrap my arms around my cuddly ball of fluff (aka Mousse) while snuggling up next to the man who continues to show me a beautiful depiction of God’s love and grace. This holiday season was a time for thankfulness; thankfulness for my husband, my family, my life, and above all else, Jesus.

Here are a few pictures of our special memories this Christmas. Happy holidays everyone!

COLORADO VACATION:

CHRISTMAS:

Window pane craft!

Okay people-

So one of the things I have enjoyed this Fall has been crafting! This will be a simple little post just teaching you how to spice up an antique window pane.

Materials:

  • Cute, vintage window pane. (Luckily for me, we had a ton of them in our old barn that I was able to choose from)
  • Plywood. (Home Depot was my first choice!)
  • Hand saw.
  • Wine corks. (A special thanks to my sweet sister for getting me a bag of about 30 for 50 cents!)
  • Hot glue gun.
  • Chalk.
  • Chalkboard paint (Smallest can you can get)

—————————————————————————————–

Steps:

  1.  Saw the plywood into the size/shape needed to fill windows.

2. Paint the plywood using the chalkboard paint. The more coats, the better.

3. Use the hot glue gun to glue the plywood into the windows that you have selected.

4. Use hot glue gun to attach the wine corks. You can play around with it to decide what pattern you want to place them in.

5. Use a dry erase marker or lipstick to write on the glass portion of the window pane.

5. Lastly, write something meaningful, funny, cute, or what have you on the chalkboard portion of your new and improved antique window pane!

———————————————————————————

Now a little slideshow of my craft experience:

Step 1: Have my sweet husband saw plywood into two pieces.

Step 2: Laugh at puppy as she looks at me in hopes that I will make Stephen stop making the awful noise coming from the saw in his hand.

Step 3: Glue section of painted & unpainted plywood to the two window spots… Attach wine corks to one.

Step 4: Let husband take a lunch break and a quick nap!

Step 5: Scribble cute things on the glass portion as well as the chalkboard! Then hang it!

I chose to hang mine above our kitchen sink. And I love it!

Also, I promise I actually did partake in this task! I just realized I just put pictures up of Stephen doing everything, but I really was helping!! I was just in charge of the camera!

—————————————————————-

SIDE NOTE: In October, we went to the Round Top antique festival and I found this super cute idea for a decorative Christmas window pane. It is my next mission! Christmas is right around the corner. I guess I better get started!

Thankful.

I have been thinking about how blessed I am lately and here is why:

I have a husband who loves me more than himself and loves God more than me. He is the most selfless person I have ever known. He is always thinking of others and constantly seeks to serve in any way, shape, or form. People tell you all the time that it takes time getting used to each others habits after you get married.. Though I can understand this being difficult for some, I can honestly say this has not been a problem for me. I’m sure morning routines can be a large contributer to those difficulties. Anyone who has ever had a roommate growing up, in college, or at any point, can understand that statement. However, instead of waking up to an obnoxious alarm that’s not my own, listening to someone bang around in the closet while trying to find an outfit for the day, or getting up to let our little pup out in the morning, I have a husband who places his alarm on vibrate, selects his wardrobe the night before and leaves it in the living room, sneaks out of our room in the morning with out making a peep, and finishes all of his morning activities before coming in our room to take the pup out to the bathroom. Pretty sweet right?

In a nutshell, I have come to this conclusion: I am one lucky girl. Sometimes I take for granted how fortunate I am to have a warm home, food to eat, an education that’s paid for, a precious little pup, a husband who loves me with all his heart, and for the friends that long to glorify our Lord.

At this point in my life, I just feel thankful. It has been such a joy being married. God works so much through a marriage. While flaws may be brought out at times, it’s those flaws that ultimately make your marriage stronger. It is such a blessing learning how to love someone more than yourself and surrendering your life to that person and God every day. No matter how hard some days may be, at the end of the night, I sit in awe of my loving, kind, sweet husband. He always tells me he loves me before he leaves for work and again before we lay our heads down to sleep. Sometimes that love seems so immense that it is overwhelming. It’s hard to believe that the love shown to me by my husband is only a portion of the love God has for us, his children.

As humans, we naturally tend to look towards the future instead of enjoying the moment, but I have been reminded lately how precious this moment in my life is. I just completed my maternity rotation in nursing school and let me just say… that was not a helpful rotation to prevent me from wanting to be pregnant! Many people told me that my maternity rotation would be the best birth control a newlywed could have, but just the opposite occurred for me. I watched such a beautiful event unfold while the significant other stood by the mother’s side while she gave life to a new child. Let me just say, it was the most amazing experience I have ever seen. It made me desire to start a family and long for the days that I get to experience bringing a new life into the world. And of course, Stephen heard all about it! I say this to show our natural tendency to want/desire something that someone else has. We make this mistake all the time. When I was dating Stephen, I longed to be engaged like my friend Tom & Jessica. When we were engaged I longed to be married. Now I’m married and I long to have a family. It really is a viscous cycle. While I think it is a good thing to hope and long for something for your life, I think we have to be cautious not to forget the season in life we are experiencing and what God is trying to teach us. If we fail to recognize the little things God is teaching us each day, we are missing out on the lessons he is equipping us with in order to be better servants for Him.

Today, I challenge you (whoever you are) to appreciate this moment, this week, and this time in your life. Enjoy the little things- go outside, take a fresh breath of air, and get excited about what God is trying to teach you right now.

 

I absolutely love the song below and I hope it can make your day as cheerful as it makes mine!

The heart of a pup.

Here’s what I have realized:

It is unbelievable how much joy a pet can bring to your life. Before we got married, I had wanted a puppy since my Sophomore year in college. Stephen heavily considered getting me one, but for some reason or another decided to wait. My Junior year, the discussion came up again about how bad I wanted a puppy. Again, the idea was shot down for justifiable reasons… too little time, no one to help out while I am at school, a lot of responsibility, living in an apartment that has very little grass surrounding it, etc. After weighing the pros and cons (obviously the cons won at the time), the realistic side of me gave up on making the idea a permanent change. At that point, Stephen and I knew we were going to get married eventually, so we decided it would be best to wait until after we got married to pick one out together. Let me just tell you… being patient to get a puppy was not my strong point! And it didn’t help that right after we got engaged, one of my best friends, Jess (& her husband), got a cute, precious little Yorkipoo named Lilly (Lilly is in the beach post). Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of Lilly when she was little to fully show how cute she was and how anxious it made me.

Now, hit fast forward

My life a year and a half later after the puppy urge began:

I got married and constantly began bugging my husband to fulfill my wish! The debate was on.

After about a month of marriage, I am pretty sure I drove Stephen crazy by looking online for puppsters at any place imaginable. Sad to say.. our only argument (if you could even call it that… considering it ended in laughing, joking, and both of us sitting on the couch at 12 am watching T.V. and eating homemade cookie dough) was over Ms. Mousse. We didn’t know her at the time, but I made sure to drive Stephen crazy so that I could get her!

Our argument about a puppy was sparked by the following:

1. I wanted a little dog, Stephen wanted a big”er” dog.

2. I wanted a fluffy puppy, Stephen did not.

3. Stephen wanted a rescue dog, I was skeptical.

Clearly… we had a problem. I finally decided to take all the factors into consideration and begin the search for the “perfect” dog for us. Low and behold, after weeks of searching, a pup by the name of Kahlua, now named Mousse, showed up in San Antonio through a program called SNIPSA. To see more about their rescue pets, click here. Currently, Mousse is featured on their home page!!

Anyway, needless to say, we were both hooked after our first visit to meet her! Now we have the most precious addition to our family. She is the sweetest, most lovable, precious, adorable (the list goes on and on), puppy you can imagine! I hope you enjoy these pictures of  our little girl!

Hope these pictures can give you a laugh and brighten your day! Happy Wednesday!

"You guys... I can't eat all of this in one sitting."

Her excitement after arriving at her new home for the first time.

Found the little one snoozing in my shoes.

"You mean this is not how dogs are supposed to sit?"

Just plain cute.

Wink, wink.

"Don't you be talking about my best friend."

Caught red handed picking her nose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She thinks she's a human and should be walking upright.

 

 

 

 

 

And last but not least, the craziest picture we have of Mousse. I don’t even know how I managed to capture this. Stephen got her a new ball and this was her reaction.

Crazy eyes.

Household items

Since we got married, I have had such a fun time situating all of the items we received from people or bought after we got married. I thought it would be fun to list some of my favorite household items that we have in our new home so that people can have an idea of what the Swan casa consists of. Here it goes:

1. Handmade afghan & Pottery Barn duvet

One of our sweet neighbors, who I practically call family, made this beautiful afghan for me. She put so much hard work, labor, and love into making it and I am so grateful. Itwas one of my favorite gifts that we received. It completes our bedding by adding the perfect contrast, texture, and look!

Comfort.

The second part of the picture is the Pottery Barn duvet. When I started picking out our bedding, I feared white. However, it has become my best friend. If you get a stain on it or it somehow manages to get dirty- no need to worry! Bleach is your best friend. I no longer fear white. Not only is this duvet soft, but it is ruched. Why is this essential to note? Because! The bedding is supposed to look like a wrinkled mess, which gives it a comfortable look and makes it easy to make the bed without fearing that it doesn’t look perfect. You can be comfortable, lazy, and tidy all at once!

2. Fake flowers in shabby chic vases.

Vintage.

 

In June, Stephen and I attended a wedding for two of our good friends, Jen and Stephen. We made the haul to Houston to celebrate this special time and to my surprise, I was able to take home these precious, vintage little vases that were decorating the tables. I decided they were so cute that I had to find a way to use them. They are now decorating our island in our kitchen and I love them!

 

 

 

3. Canisters 

For who knows how long, we had these canisters in our kitchen at our lake house. I always had my eye on them in hopes to find some similar ones one day. When I got engaged, I told my mom, “I love those canisters and really want to find some like that. Where did you get them?” My mom smiled at me and said, “I have a surprise for you.”

Flour, sugar, coffee.

What was the surprise?  She had bought three sets of the canisters at Marshall’s when she purchased them originally, knowing that my sister and I would want them one day. Those are the times that make your heart stop- the way moms know their daughters so well that they manage to bring a smile to our faces years down the road over something as simple as a canister.

 

4. Kitchen rug

There isn’t really a long store here except- I love Marshall’s. I found this cute little rug at Marshall’s to spice up the look of our kitchen. Cost= $20.00

Padding for your feet

 

5. Pot Rack

We were so excited that we had a pot rack in our place!

Hanging around.

Hanging around.

I’ve never had one before and am obsessed with it. It adds such a fun look to the kitchen and makes putting pots and pans away so simple! While searching around for crafty ideas on how to use an antique window pane (the reason for this will be shown in a future blog post), I found this website. If you scroll down a little past half way, you can see how creative someone was by making a pot rack out of a large window                                                                                         pane.

6. Apron

I received this from two of my best friends, Caitlin & Kassie. I have yet to use it because it’s so cute that I don’t want to mess it up! Eventually I will get past this. Stephen makes fun of me every time we cook though. He tries to put it on me but I always refuse for fear of getting it dirty.

Cook wear.

 

Purchased from: Anthropologie

 

 

I have never bought anything from there, but I do love all of their things! Gifts are always welcome if they are from Anthropologie!

 

 

7. Handmade quilt

My mom actually made this quilt for me when I moved in to my apartment with three of my best friends: Kassie, Caitlin, and Katelyn. I have had it for almost three years now and it is so cozy! My mom is so gifted and has always gone out of her way to make my place feel like home. Though it isn’t a new item, it made the journey on this new stage of life called marriage. It adds a little extra warmth to our home.

Warmth.

Fact: You are gauranteed to find me snuggled up on the couch with this comfy quilt on a daily basis.

8. Candles on a platter

Candle light.

 

You can mix and match candles and platters to bring a classy and clean look to a coffee table. I found the look at Pottery Barn and made my own! For other examples at Pottery Barn go here:

 

 

9. Table runner

Again– a Pottery Barn purchase.

Dinner time!

Found this runner on sale at Pottery Barn when they were in the process of flipping their store. Oh yeah, for those of you interested in registering there for a wedding… BEWARE. Pottery Barn flips its store every season: fall, winter, spring, and summer. Why is this important to note? Because items you register for in January, may not be available for people to purchase by March. If you enjoy updating a wedding registry every month, then you’re golden. However, life was too hectic for me to enjoy constantly changing things up.

10. Our living room! Here is a glance inside our home!

Home sweet home.

We are so blessed to have such a welcoming home. A special thanks to everyone who contributed to making us feel so fortunate for what we have.

Spontaneous beach trip.

So I feel like my first blog should be something entertaining but genuine. For the past month, Stephen and I tried to plan a trip to Colorado with two of our best friends, Tom & Jessica. Although our mountain trip did not end up happening, we sporadically decided to make a trip to Port Aransas to camp on the beach with our dogs. Spending time with two of our best friends on an overnight camping trip was extremely entertaining and memorable. Not only do the four of us love each other, but our dogs are the best of friends as well. The pictures clearly depict how much fun Mousse & Lilly had together. Our 24 hours consisted of the following:

 

1. A stop at Buckee’s. How could you pass by without stopping? I mean come on, Buckee’s is the ultimate truck stop.

2. Waiting in line for a ferry for an hour, which caused us to arrive after the campsite closed. Luckily, they still let us in and we just paid the next day. However, this led to #3.

3. No bathrooms after a 4 1/2 hour trip at 11 p.m. at night. Result= convenient store where squid bait and monster drinks were purchased.

4. Fishing in the bay until 3:30 a.m.

5. Jessica getting minnows thrown up on her from Tom’s fish. Then, Lilly eating the minnows that were thrown up.

6. Seeing a man catch a baby hammerhead shark.

7. Getting back to the campsite to camp out in our tents in 90 degree weather and realizing that camping on the beach during the hottest summer was a terrible idea.

8. Lilly throwing up the minnows that were previously thrown up on Jess.

9. Teaching Mousse how to swim.

10. Seeing the dogs covered in sand and realizing we were going to have to transport them back with us. And.. watching Mousse grab Lilly’s tail while they were running after the frisbee.

11. Jess and I trying to shower in the public, outdoor shower for 25 cents only to discover we had an access card to the indoor, nice, spacious, private showers.

12. Mousse and Lilly spooning on the drive home.

13. The list goes on and on, but those are some of my favorites. All in all, the beach trip was successful despite the gross weather and lack of bathroom the first night.

We feel so blessed to be surrounded by friends that we can share life with. Living 200 feet from two of your best friends is the greatest gift as a newlywed. These are the moments that we will cherish forever and that make this time in our lives even more special. We love the Hunt’s!!!

The men with their girls.

The crew.

 

 

The girls.