Football Season is Upon Us!

As the world knows, football season is finally here! And in the south, that means college football dominates our TV’s on Saturdays. Fall is my favorite season of them all…and you know it’s arrived once Starbucks starts carrying pumpkin spiced lattes and your schedule now revolves around college game day. I don’t hate it.

Unfortunately, Matt and I are devoted to two different teams. Alabama (#1, obviously, the best, my namesake, and my heritage) and Florida (they’re okay, I guess 🙂 ) At least we’re in different divisions and we only play each other every 3-4 years, but we still enjoy a good trash-talk now and then. The truth is we cheer for each other’s teams UNLESS they’re playing each other, and then, all bets are off. Full fledged rivalry goes down at the Renney house.

So since we finally have a house of our own this football season, it was time for a little……..team spirit.

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I have one FINE looking husband, ya’ll. No shame.

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I thought it was perfect just like that. He didn’t seem to agree.

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But look at that look of pure joy on his face. I just can’t deny him that.

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There’s literally no denying which house is ours…As soon as you turn on the street, BAM!

Both of our teams won their opening games (even though Alabama looked pathetic compared to what they’re capable of) and we had a lot of fun welcoming college football season back again.

Three-peat anyone?? ROLL TIDE 🙂

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SURPRISE!

I did it ya’ll. I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time. I threw a successful surprise party! It was so much fun and I can’t wait to do another one in the future again sometime. For the back story: Around Christmas 2012, my mom casually mentioned in a conversation that she had never had a surprise party before. What?? That is just unacceptable. So immediately, my brain started formulating this crazy idea to throw her the surprise party of her LIFE. Granted, her birthday was still 7 months away, but I knew for a party of this caliber there was no procrastinating to be had.

If you don’t know, my family has moved around countless times over the years. I’ve moved 8 times, and my mom has moved 13 times since marrying my dad. So needless to say, she’s got friends from all over. It was my hope that I could invite people from all over the south east. I knew it was a long shot, but I just HAD to try. And try I did!

After months of planning, careful, secretive, deliberation, and a few white lies here and there, July 27th finally came and my family got to surprise my mom for her birthday. It was beautiful. Absolutely couldn’t have gone any better. She assures me she had NO clue, and I think you can tell from the pictures that she wasn’t lying.

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I love those pictures. Reliving that moment is priceless.

After the initial surprise, it was time to eat and fellowship together. It was so fun seeing my mom with all of the friends that she has been the closest to for the longest time. Before the bulk of the pictures, I apologize some of them are blurry. I’m still getting used to my camera in indoor settings!

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The drink station.

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The dessert station.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I made those pinwheels. Easiest thing on the planet, but also the most time consuming. Three pieces of scrapbook paper, folded accordion style, then folded in half, then hot glue or staple together. That’s it! Just be prepared to do it for a few hours, depending on how many you’re trying to make.

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Thank you to Carol Ann for providing the white chocolate cupcakes, the white cupcake stand, and some mason jars!

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We decided to make our garage into the food serving station. Great idea in theory, but not so great in execution. You wouldn’t know it from the photos, but oh my word, the flies. I sincerely apologize to all the guests who had to keep swatting flies away from their food. I’ll spare you the maggot story that unfolded as a result of our weekend. Just make a note to yourself, DO NOT ACCIDENTALLY LEAVE A BAG OF TRASH IN YOUR GARAGE FOR THREE DAYS. Trust me on this one. (Also, I’m sorry to my brother Jonathan for the panicky phone call).

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We all sat and visited for HOURS. It was great. And of course we were entertained by my niece Rilynn. She could easily have her own show.

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A special thanks to this lovely lady in pink right here. My mother in law, Carla, continued cooking the kabobs while everyone was arriving and visiting, and THEN washed the majority of the dishes and pots and pans as they were becoming available. Don’t know what I would have done without her!

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For a little entertainment for everyone, as well as a sure-fire to document everyone who came to the party, we set up a photo booth! Originally we were hoping to build a farmhouse table out of this wood before the party, but there seriously was no time to get that done. So instead, we made it into the most perfect backdrop! I was SO pleased with how it turned out!

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Also, special thanks to my friend Lindsey for letting me borrow her photo booth props!

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I did not expect people to bring gifts, but they went above and beyond! And my Aunt Linda brought a whole bunch of old pictures of my mom growing up. So fun!

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My mom’s friends also went above and beyond because they all wrote a letter to her that I put together in a scrapbook as a keepsake from the party. So that after the party, I will add the pictures we took that day to the scrapbook to make it an all-inclusive memory book!

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My hubby with his two nieces!

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My best friend Chelsea is like a second daughter to my mom, so of course she had to come!

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 Apparently, my parents were in a singing group when they were newlyweds! Haha. Jane and Rick, two other members of the matchy matchy group brought this poster to give to my mom. My parents are in the bottom left corner.

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Now, for the rest of the photo booth FUN!

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Love my mom, love our family, and love all the people who had a part in this to make it happen. Thank you SO much!

(Also, major shout out to my friend, Loren, who let me borrow the majority of the decor. The water bucket, the table cloths, the blue mason jars, the silver cupcake stand, the various trays and serving dishes, crock pot, and probably more. You’re awesome Loren! Thank you again!!) 

Celebrating Two Years of Marriage!

Since January, Matt and I had been planning our two-year anniversary trip to Destin, FL and the first week in June we got to go! I was so unbelievably excited. Destin has always had a special place in my heart because my grandparents had a place there when we were kids that they had to sell about 10 years ago. I hadn’t been back since then, and so I was very eager to show Matt around the old stomping grounds and make new memories with him there!
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I’ve always loved the white sandy beaches of Destin and the beautiful blue green water. There’s nothing more relaxing than laying on the beach listening to the waves.

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The condo we found was AWESOME. It was a one bedroom, one bath condo within walking distance of the beach and it was so cute and cozy on the inside! I’d highly recommend this condo to anyone who wants to go visit there. If you want the details of it and how to book it, I’d be happy to get it for you. The owners were fabulous to work with and the condo was immaculate.

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This king sized bed was insanely comfortable. Nuff said.

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Our first day on the beach was perfect. The waves were a good size and the weather was beautiful. Our condo even had beach chairs and an umbrella for us to use so we got to take breaks from the sun when my pasty white skin couldn’t handle it anymore.

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I took my Dove chocolate very seriously on this trip. I couldn’t have agreed more with this sentiment. I believe it was 100% accurate.

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Matt doesn’t eat seafood, but I told him it was a priority for me to get some fresh seafood while we were at the beach. He did not disappoint. We went to The Crab Trap our first night and I got coconut shrimp. It was DELICIOUS.

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We also have a tradition of ALWAYS getting donuts while we are on vacation. Okay, maybe that’s just MY tradition. I don’t think Matt would care if we forgot. But when I saw that Krispy Kreme Hot Now sign on, I literally gasped and made Matt turn the car around. Yes, it’s that important, people.

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Look, I’m all about being healthy, and I know donuts have ZERO nutritional value, but seriously, has there ever been a more beautiful sight? Sometimes you just gotta throw caution to the wind and embrace the sugar. Mmmm…..

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Seriously it made my night. And of course we bought extra for breakfast the next day!

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Speaking of the next day, and for irony’s sake, I actually took Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred with me on vacation and I actually DID it! After my donuts of course 🙂 I was so proud of myself. Granted, I had planned to do it every day of vacation and I ended up only doing it once, but hey, that’s better than I can usually say.

The next day we went to the beach again, but unfortunately there was a double red flag so there was no getting in the water for us. BUT, that night we were so excited to get to meet up with our friends, Cosbie and Caitlin! They were in town with her family for vacation about 20 minutes from us, so we decided to make a double date night out of it and do something that we normally don’t even find time to do at home!

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After two attempts, this was still as good as it was going to get. Poor picture quality, for the win.

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After dinner we decided to go putt putt. I love talking smack with Matt when it comes to any kind of competition, even though there is a 99.4% guarantee he will ALWAYS beat me when it comes to anything competitive.

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Caitlin and I had a strange fascination with these fish. We seriously stood there and watched them longer than any kids that passed by.

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What is a date night without dessert? What is vacation without dessert EVERY NIGHT is the better question. After putt putt we hit up this awesome frozen custard stand. I could eat frozen custard over frozen yogurt, ice cream, or sorbet any day. It’s THAT good.

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And to further prove my point that dessert is always worth it on vacation, I opened up my sweet little Dove chocolate to this blessed reassurance.

On our last full day, we decided to go pier fishing. We wanted to go deep sea fishing on this trip but decided it really wasn’t the most cost efficient this time around. So we drove over to the pier and rented some poles, bought some squid (gross) and went to town. Matt has more experience fishing than I do, but if we’re being honest, we’re both completely lost when it comes to this skill.

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We had a lot of fun trying to pretend like we knew what we were doing and trying not to be jealous of the other people who were constantly catching fish while we just waited. And waited. And waited.

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While we were waiting we did get to see a few dolphins swimming around though!

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Every time I see a picture of myself with my hand on my hip I feel like I need to apologize. I wonder if/when this fad will no longer be the standard pose for every girl under the age of 30. I’m all about the skinny arm, but I believe we can all agree that this pose has gotten a little out of control.

ANYWAY, that night we decided to lay low, grab a $5 hot-n-ready pizza and have a game night. Remember how I said Matt beats me in anything competitive 99.4% of the time?? Well this is where the .6% came working in my favor! Literally, I beat him at every game we played that night. One round of Monopoly Deal and six games of Sequence. It was beautiful.

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In his defense, he did finally beat me one time. But overall, my Dove chocolate didn’t lie again.

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The next morning we had to pack up and head back home. But before we left, we drove around and found the exact place of my grandparent’s park that their trailer was in. We didn’t even realize it, but the condo we were staying in was .4 of a mile from theirs. I was so so so excited that we found it.

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I know that this was the exact location because that tree right there was planted by my parents and I remember it being MUCH smaller. Now after 20 years or so you can see how much it has grown.

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There are so many memories in that park right there. What I wouldn’t give to be able to re-live those days with my family, grandparents, and brothers.

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We decided to go for one more walk on the beach before we left. It was an amazing trip. Just what we needed after Matt’s crazy school year. I am so thankful that we got to celebrate being married two years in a place that has meant so much to me over the years.

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It blows my mind that we’ve been married for two years. I know that that is nothing compared to so many who have gone before us, but they really aren’t kidding when they say it flies by. Being married to your best friend is God’s greatest gift this side of heaven and I can’t imagine going through life without Matt. He has been the most amazing husband and I thank God for him every day. We have had ups and downs of course, but through it all, Jesus is our Rock and the foundation that we remain grounded in. I’m so excited to see what the Lord has in store for us in the future and I am so grateful that He has allowed us to take this journey together!

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart! I love you.

Memorial Day Weekend 2013

Ya’ll. I just had one of the sweetest weekends I’ve had in a long time. Matt finished school on Friday and is now on summer vacation, which means, lots of husband time!! He still has a football workouts a couple of days a week, but all in all, I will be seeing him a WHOLE LOT more. We decided to kick off summer with a trip to my family’s cabin on Smith Lake in Alabama. My grandfather built this cabin with his own two hands about 48 years ago, making it an iconic memory in our family. In the 5 years of us knowing each other, Matt had still never been there. It was time. We headed out with my parents Friday afternoon for a 3 day weekend of rest and relaxation.

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Little did Matt and I know, but one of my brothers and his family came to surprise us at the lake! My parents found out that morning that they were coming and kept it a secret from us! It was such a fun surprise getting to spend the weekend with my nieces and nephew (and brother and sis-in-law!) who I dont’ get to see enough as it is. Living 500 miles apart makes it difficult but because of weekends like this past one, it doesn’t always feel so far! The only person missing was my other brother Jonathan. Next time, bro!

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I seriously enjoyed getting me some Avery time. This little girl is already 7 months old and growing like a weed! Also, the rolls. How can you not love the wonderful thing that is baby rolls??

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Saturday and Sunday we spent the majority of our time outside. Swimming, fishing, riding in the boat, cliff jumping, inner tubing, laying in the sun, and sitting around the campfire. It was good old fashioned fun free of schedules, TV, and computers (besides our phones, which I used to take all of these awesome-quality pictures.)

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Matt, sporting one of my grandfather’s old fishing hats.

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It took a while to get Rilynn to actually go in the big “pool” but once she did she seemed to enjoy it! As long as she had her floaties and her life jacket to keep her from going under.

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The lovely Smith family (with the exception of Avery who was snoozing away in the cabin).

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Terrible picture quality, but swimming with my dad at Smith Lake like old times had to be captured on camera!

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Like father like son, lounging in Big Bertha.

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Andrew was dying to go cliff jumping ever since we first started telling stories of the times we all cliff jumped last time we were at Smith Lake. When we took him to the first cliff, he decided it was a little too high for him. So we found about a 10 foot cliff that he conquered like a champ. And then….he worked up the courage to go back to the first cliff, as long as he could hold his daddy’s hand. He absolutely LOVED it and went back a second time to jump again!

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Matt and I jumping the mini-cliff. We both jumped the big one at separate times, but I jumped so fast we didn’t get a picture. I didn’t want to take the time to look down.

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Jason and Andrew jumping the massive cliff! I’m telling you, from the top, it looks like a much further way down.

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The boys had some brother bonding on Big Bertha. It didn’t last too long before Jason went tumbling off.

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Matt’s hat. Hahaha.

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I attempted to take a panoramic of the lake while we were on the boat. Rather difficult considering the waves we were hitting.

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I got to try my hand at driving the boat for the first time! Not as hard as I thought it would be, but I still think I’ll leave it up to the boys.

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One final view of our cabin at the lake and the pier! We can’t wait to go back again many more times this year!

It was a great Memorial Day weekend. My sis-in-law agreed that we should definitely make it an annual tradition to kick off summer. Sound good, fam??

The Waiting Game

Many of you have been asking if we are closing on our house yet. I mean, we should be right? Didn’t I say about a month ago that we were only two weeks away from living there? Yes, I did. And quite honestly I counted my chickens before they hatched. If I’m being completely honest, I’m having the hardest time being patient in this process. We have not closed on our house yet and we still don’t have a date. We thought for sure we would get a date finalized for THIS WEEK, but we got an email from our lender today telling us it would be a few more days for the paperwork to process before we can even speculate about a date. It’s quite frustrating because the house is finished and we’ve already done our initial walk thru. Everything is ready for us to live there but we’re still just waiting on paperwork.

No one told me buying your FIRST house was such a LONG process! I’m so ready to be in our home and start making it our own. I’m ready to paint, move in, and start living in our new house. But, here I am. Waiting, trying very hard to learn through this process. I know we’ll get there eventually and it will be perfect timing, but I’m just praying I can keep a positive attitude the whole time until then!

Talk about an honest post, right? Thank you to everyone who has been asking, excited for us, and offering to help us move! Lord willing, it will be sooner rather than later, and I can post some updated pictures of the finished product of our home. But for now, we play the waiting game.

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Dedicating Our House

About a month ago we went and dedicated our house to the Lord by writing Scripture on the walls and praying for all that would enter our home. We really want everyone who enters our home to feel the love of the Christ and to be exposed to His hospitality. We felt the best way to remind ourselves of our main objective in owning a home would be to write the Word of God on the beams and foundation of our home so that we will always remember the center of our home is Jesus.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” -Deuteronomy 6:5-9

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We wrote these verses on the walls of our master bedroom to remember that we are responsible to die to ourselves daily and to exhibit this kind of love to one another and all those we invite into our home.

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As the leader of our home and the spiritual head of our household, Matt wrote these sweet verses at the entrance of our home. I’m so thankful to have a husband who truly desires for his household to serve the Lord, Jehovah, the living God.
We are currently TWO WEEKS away from closing on our house!! I can barely contain my excitement. Every time we go up to visit our house I literally squeal with delight at all the progress that has been made. At this point, dramatic changes are happening EVERY DAY! It’s so fun watching it all come together. Thanks, everyone for your continued excitement and prayers on our behalf! We can’t wait to host you in our new home!

House Progress!

A few months ago I posted a brief blog about mine and Matt’s future house! The Lord has graciously allowed us the opportunity to be a part of a new construction community, meaning we get to watch our house be built from start to finish. Well…I have been slack in posting the progress so far and I know there are a handful of people out there (mostly my extended family) who would like to be in on those little details. So, this one’s for you, Aunt Linda 🙂

This is the first picture I posted of our property:

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The next time we went up there they had just gotten the underground piping, rods, plumbing, and that sort of thing done. So there is no picture of that because there was not a whole lot to see.

Then Christmas time rolled around and we were SO busy–we didn’t get a chance to go up to the house (it’s about 30 minutes from where we live now) for a few weeks. So when we took my parents to see it for the first time, we drove right past it because we didn’t recognize it with all the progress that had happened since the last time we were there!

IMG_2339Obviously I was unprepared for it being this far along otherwise I would have changed out of my slouch wear. Oh well, still exciting!

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Matt standing on our staircase!

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When my family came up from Tampa we took them to see it too. We were excited to see our second floor coming together!

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I think it was ONE or TWO weeks later that we went back again and I was so excited to say we had a ROOF over our heads! It was so exciting because at this point the house realllllllly starts looking like a house and we can start envisioning ourselves being here very soon!

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My sweet husband letting me snap pictures of him inside our entryway 🙂

IMG_0520That’s right, baby. Lot #215. Under Contract. (!!!)

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This, ladies and gentleman is going to be the heart of the home: The Kitchen. Where we will have all of you over for dinner and coffee for some good quality laughs and memory making! 🙂

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Matt overlooking our backyard. I’m definitely planning on having my brother build a nice little pergola and an outdoor kitchen and entertainment area. Right, Jason?!

IMG_0538One view of our Master Bedroom. My second favorite room in our house. My first? ….

IMG_0550Our MASTER CLOSET! Seriously. If you ever come over and can’t find me, look here first.

We are so excited to share the Lord’s goodness in our lives. We truly would not be in this position if it weren’t for His provision. AND thanks to my gracious parents who have let us take up half their home over the last 9 months so we could save money. THANK YOU, Mom and Dad, for helping our dream of buying a home come true. Our hearts truly want to use this home for God’s glory and to share in His goodness with others. He is SO kind and loving, and we pray that we will be able to extend those same attributes to all who enter our home.

Stay tuned for even more progress updates to come!!