Tuesday, September 6, 2016

August

Last Saturday I was in heaven.  I woke up while the sun was still yawning and found utopia outside my back door. The sky was a bright crystal blue, like a solid piece of paper stretching as far as the eye can see. The deck, lined with overflowing flower baskets (thriving and well-manicured thanks to Al) was my eden as I relished in the lightness of the air- the perfect 72 degree temp where there's just a touch of coolness without actually making you cold. The wall of trees beyond our fence danced in the presence of a friendly breeze while the birds and bugs created the soundtrack for my blissful morning.

Quiet, calm, peace. With every minute that passed I was being replenished, like some desperate thirst within me was being quenched. It felt like I was sitting before a mouthwatering feast and all I wanted to do was devour every last bite. Satisfaction, contentment, and joy was rising up, like water being poured into a glass. If only this treasured moment could last forever.

Those still, silent moments have been few and far between over the last month as so many things are ramping up in our world. On August 1st, Allie had oral surgery to remove five teeth - 4 wisdom teeth and 1 problematic, straggler baby tooth.
She was really nervous about it, but her procedure and recovery went so so well. Thanks Atlanta Oral Surgery!
As soon as she was feeling better we had hair cuts and a back-to-school shopping day.

Although most of Allie' school things (uniforms, supplies, and books) had been previously ordered, we did do a little regular clothes shopping, gleaned inspiration from all the pretties in Anthro,
and hunted down some cool, speciality paper from PaperSource to make textbook covers.
First day of Sophomore year at Mount Pisgah! lol
There we go :)
A few days into the school year, Allie was recognized at the Upper School Honors Ceremony where she not only got Honor Roll with Distinction (meaning she had all A's last semester),
but she was inducted into the National Honors Society. You go girl!
I attended the all-school convocation ceremony to kick off the new school year and look who was singing!
Front and center, rockin' that dress uniform blazer. :) This was Allie's first time leading worship with Chapel Team and I was so proud of her!
Later in the week, she sang at the Upper School Chapel and we heard she did a phenomenal job. So many teachers stopped Zach and I during curriculum night to tell us how special it was having her lead worship that morning. #proudparentsalltheway

And speaking of curriculum night, Zach and I had a chance to meet all Allie's teachers and see some of her work already completed this year, such as this mandala project.
Even though it might seem small, we are so enjoying getting to do all these things (like attend curriculum night) that we missed out on prior to Allie living with us full-time. God is redeeming so much in this season and it is a beautiful thing to be a part of.

Mount Pisgah also had their first home football game and tailgate party of the season. The student theme for the game was Hawaiian so Allie and I got the essentials from Party City.
Ha! Sorry to disappoint, but we did NOT end up getting the mask. :)
I did do a little grass skirt "hemming" before the big event...
Tailgating the Mount Pisgah way - with white tablecloths! haha
Al getting her face painted by her history teacher, Mrs. Williams.
This. Life-size cardboard cut-outs of the senior football players. I mean, only at private school. lol So awesome.
Patriot pride.
Being at this football game was like being at a high school football game in a movie. The stands were packed with an excited crowd, LOTS of bells ringing and pom-pom swirling, fans cheering and high energy music playing.  It was actually really fun.
I think Allie had a good time hanging in the student section, but I'm not sure how much football was actually watched. Ha!
In addition to getting Allie settled into the new school year, things have been really busy for Zach. Besides his regular role/responsibilities at church, he led worship for the student ministry worship night.
I know this was a special night for Allie too and again, such a blessing that she gets to be an active part of the youth group as well as a part of her dad's ministry.
In regards to his songwriting stuff, the big day arrived August 26th and Zach's song Grow Old is NOW AVAILABLE!
It's still pretty surreal that this happened/is happening. Lots and lots going on in regards to this opportunity and when details are solidified, I'll let you know. :)

And me... besides my full-time job trying to keep up with those two, I had a work trip to Raleigh, NC. My company has a manufacturing facility there and I always love visiting the factories.
Most of our lounge furniture is assembled/upholstered at this location and a lot of it is done by hand. I was so blown away by these talented people who have such specialized skills and make our quality products possible.
We also visited Raleigh Denim Workshop, a local clothier who also makes all their products by hand and on vintage sewing machines.
Their storefront is simple and beautiful.
Ceiling of paper airplanes.
We toured their factory space and every detail was just so pretty - the pile of patterns,
(and walls of patterns),
the sea of old sewing machines... Such a great place, product, and brand.
In addition to that treat, we also had an absolutely lovely experience at The Bridge Club, Iron Chef Ashley Christensen's private venue located above her restaurant Death & Taxes.
Even though I could not partake of most of the food, it looked and smelled incredible and everyone was raving about it.

The staff was so sweet and modified some of the menu items just for me. Even though it was gluten/dairy/etc. free, it was DELICIOUS! Thanks Bridge Club!
And speaking of food, I am almost 60 days into my auto-immune protocol diet. I can't even believe I have not had grains, dairy, nuts, soy, sugar, nightshades, and alcohol in almost 60 days. In some ways it has gone by fast, and in others... so. very. painful. Ha! As I said in a previous post, the hardest part is all the prep work. I have to make everything I eat and that can become really burdensome when you are busy, tired, or just plain OVER IT. But... I have found more dishes I really love, such as all that is pictured below!
I also have been experimenting with some smoothies to try and get more nutrients. This is really about finding the right combination that I can add my powdered supplement to and avoid tasting it. Ha!

I also have been modifying what I make available at home for Zach and Allie. Although they do eat AIP dinners every night, I don't expect them to eat like I do all the time. My goal is to make healthy choices available to them at home. For Allie, that meant overhauling her breakfast choices. Now, instead of her just having pre-packaged crap to take on the way to school, I am making gluten-free chicken sausage biscuits and mini gluten-free/dairy-free quiches.
I make the biscuits from scratch (and in bulk) and then freeze the dough so all she has to do is pop them in the oven in the morning. She LOVES these and I love that she is getting a heartier, healthier start to her day. I also love that they enjoy the healthier substitutions I am making just as much as the junky, gluten-full stuff. That is a major, major win for me.

In addition to food content, I have also been learning a lot about food storage, particularly how to prolong the shelf-life of fresh produce. I hate throwing out fresh food that has wilted/rotted in the refrigerator or on the counter - namely berries, lettuce, and herbs. I also equally hate constantly making trips to the store to get fresh food because it won't last a week. Slowly, I am learning the right storage techniques and am having success. Finally! Who knew there was so very much to learn when it comes to food?!

And now onto the fun stuff. I wanted to share some things I have come across this past month and have really enjoyed in one way or another. I hope you do too. :)

Home inspiration

I love organizing. Even since childhood, I have always liked things neat and tidy and making sure everything is in it's place. I can relax so much better when the house is clean, when my bed is made, and when all the pillows are perfectly fluffed on the sofa. :) Now that I am a parent and our life is moving at a faster pace than ever before, my desire to keep things organized is in overdrive! I recently bought this beautiful book and it has inspired me to take organizing to a whole new level!
Last month I posted about another book that has inspired me to make my own organic cleaning supplies. The Clean Mama has encouraged me to make cleaning beautiful (as well as safe and non-toxic) and now I want to not only make beautiful packaging for my cleaning products, but my pantry items as well! I absolutely salivate over a tidy pantry like this one:

And speaking of design, I have been sketching/dabbling in residential design lately, just for my own personal, problem-solving/creative enjoyment. Since doing this, I have decided that one day my house will have a greenhouse studio for me to do all my creating in. I mean, isn't this the dreamiest?!
This is where I wanna be able to grow herbs year round, do food photography, and generally just wallow in my creative lair. Ha! Zach gets his music room and I get this. Totally fair. :)

The Kitchen McCabe is totally my role model when it comes to food photography.


Like, I wanna be her intern or kitchen slave or whatever it takes to learn her magical ways. Her healthy recipes and images are so breathtaking. I just love it and can't wait to try a few of her recipes myself!

Heart Inspiration

Recently I stumbled across the story of Josh Coombes, a British hairdresser who takes to the streets  of London to cut hair for the homeless.


He shares their story and photo on Instagram and it's just so... honoring. I absolutely LOVE seeing this type of generosity and compassion being spread in the world! Thumbs up Josh!

Another social media find (thanks Yeti for creating and Facebook for sharing) is the story of Tootsie. I adore this story and how it represents what many have forgotten - the dedicated, often dirty, hardworking heart that is at the core of what America really is.



Tootsie represents so many in this country who work tirelessly (and often unappreciated) to serve their families and/or communities. America might appear divided, conflicted, stupid, doomed...whatever horrible thing you think, but don't forget that there are still many people like Tootsie who make this country a wonderful place and who are leaving a powerful legacy of faithfulness and servanthood.

A Netflix documentary called Chef's Table has been blowing my mind lately. It's causing me to look at food, eating, and dining experiences so differently. I want to visit so many of these places now!

Our favorite episode is Season 2, Episode 1 featuring Grant Achatz and his restaurant Alinea. Check it out to see the infamous "floating food"!

And lastly, there's Aussie Dave. Zach introduced me to Aussie Dave a while back and I love his posts on Instagram. I honestly had NO IDEA he was based in Atlanta, but I love the Bible teaching he does through photography. It makes me think of things and reflect on aspects of Jesus I had never thought of before.
Well, that's all folks! Cheers to September and FALL! I feel it coming and I can't wait!

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