Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Did "At Home in Arkansas" read my mind?

So, in the weeks since my last post, much has happened in the lives of Michael and Laura:
1) Michael's mom had surgery to remove a heal spur (muy painful!), so we spent a weekend hanging out in Russellville with family and friends (holla Jenny and Anderson bros!).
2) February 19 marked the one-year anniversary of our first date! Crazy to think about everything that has changed and that we've experienced in that year. God has been so good to us!
3) Michael and I got to spend some fun quality time with the super-cute Bakers, Brian, my sister Mandy, Meg, Ben, and Eli. (check out my sis's ultra-cute blog, part of the inspiration for this blog, at The Life of Us, and her home-business blog at Three Tea Design).

A couple of my exciting moments came as I was browsing the pages of At Home in Arkansas. In a previous blog, I discussed my trepidation at trying to decorate a house that does not even exist for us now. The home and decor magazine featured Fiesta, the everyday ware for which we registered, as a collection that "spans the decades with modern style." (To read the full article online, see Colorful Collecting.) Yaa! We are on the right track! Relief and happiness role into one to create a delicious hot fudge sundae of satisfaction in my heart and head.

As if this affirmation were not enough, At Home in Arkansas topped off my sundae with a cherry in their feature Northwest for the New Year, in which they featured a weekend's worth of activities in Rogers and Bentonville. Mandy and I wanted to include some fun things to do in NWA the wedding invitations we're creating, and the magazine just did the legwork for us! Of course, as a good English teacher, I shall not plagiarize, but I'll certainly use the January/February issue as a major resource!

P.S. & disclaimer: Do I need to include that my future-sister-in-law Mandy Keener works for At Home in Arkansas as the Art Director? So, of course I'm partial. Moreover, I think she has an awesome job, and I've seen first-hand the hours of hard work she dedicates to her job. Thus, I really don't care if my blog isn't totally objective. It's just a really fun issue!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Favorite Things

One of my favorite things about wedding-planning has been finding the details that make our wedding "ours." I don't want to divulge too many of these details until the big day, though I'm sure they'll come out via this blog, but I think we've managed to capture the essence of what I'm talking about in this pretty special picture:

It may not look like much, a flower, a picture, and a cup. But each piece holds a cool meaning in the coming-together of our families.

The frame was a Christmas gift to us from Michael's mother Beverly. It's classic composition with the simple words "I do." at the bottom will be beautiful in any decor, and will always be a fun reminder of our first Christmas with our families.

The card inside was part of an engagement gift from my sweet, sweet Aunt Jan. My dad's sister also gave my older sister a meaningful Mary Englebreit card, and I think it's indicative of her thoughtful and fun personality!

My mother bought the "prayed for" flower pin for me. It was while I was well on my way to a full recovery from my seizure, and it, along with it's sister flower "so loved," reminds me of the many prayers and lots of love I received during that crazy time. My family, friends, and students came through for me in so many ways I appreciate and in some ways I'll never know. It was (holding the throw-up bowl) and still is (driving me everywhere) more difficult for Michael than he lets on. But oh how the blessings flow from above!

Finally, the sweet tea-cup is from my grandmother's china, which she left to me. Though I've been scared to unwrap much of the collection, I'm looking forward to displaying it and using it for special times in our new house!

The cohesiveness of these elements, as they sit on top of the cabinet whose former home was my grandparents' music room, reminds me of the natural ease with which life unfolds when I let go, breathe, and let God have control.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snow Days

As I ready myself to return to school after yet another snow break, I can't go back to grading until I share my excitement about how I've been spending my snow days! I shouldn't be happy about our breaks, as each snow day is one less day between the end of school and our wedding (we had three weeks, but now we're down to 10 days, eek!) However, I'm choosing to make the most of my time now; no use complaining! So, here's what I've been up to:

My wonderful fiance gave me a sewing machine for Christmas, and his sweet mother outfitted me with a sewing kit, scissors, thread, etc. Aren't they beautiful? Now, these materials have taken up permanent residence on my dining table:
I'm even more thankful for their coordinated thoughtfulness, as these have been the perfect tools to keep me busy while I (still) can't drive myself anywhere. So, I set about searching the internet, scouring for free patterns, and I came across this great website for "people who sew," Here is the (free!) inspiration picture I found:
The Charlie bag is a re-usable grocery bag. I love the idea of having a cute grocery bag, because I think the cute-ness will help me remember to take the bag with me when I do my grocery shopping. Btw, did you know petroleum and natural gas, neither cheap for our economy nor renewable, are used to create the plastic bags we usually use? I had no idea. I'm no hippie (even though John L. would beg to differ), but I believe that every little bit helps! So, I tackled this cute grocery bag project, and here's my first try:
I'm quite proud of my initial try at this pattern, but all too late I realized this bag might be more than I could handle. The thick canvas and the lining turned out to be too much for my new machine, and I broke not one, but two (!) needles on my machine. Oh dear! So, I backed off a bit, and I'm proud to reveal my second bag of the snow break:
This simple bag restored my confidence, so I took it a bit farther, mimicking a bag I bought a few years ago. The result?
And I feel like I'm back on track! So, again, I'm thankful to my chauffeurs, John & Cara, for taking me on a fabric-trek today. We came up with some fabulous finds! So, here is a taste of things to come:
Little brother, and all other B-ville friends, please note the purple and gold that seems to continually find its way into various areas of my life!

Even in the midst of this recent crummy weather and continued no driving, I'm so reminded of my blessings. I'm thankful to my wonderful fiance for driving up and back yesterday to surprise me and get me out of the house for the afternoon! I'm thankful for Cara & John for interrupting their day to take me out again. I'm thankful for my mom and dad for listening to me ramble on as I've needed people to talk to over the last few pent-up days. Of course, the list could go on and on. I'm most thankful to my Lord, for covering me with even more blessings than the thick snow that still covers the ground.