The 25th Year

Last week we officially closed the door on the last 3 years of our life in Loganville as we dug up the hydrangea & locked the door.

Now as full empty-nesters Audley & I are finally under one roof (he’s been living in an apartment for 2 years instead of driving 150 miles round trip everyday for work) living on the west-side of Atlanta. This was the 15th move we’ve made in our 25 years of marriage, which we also celebrated last week.

This move was probably the most difficult and for sure the most stressful in the fact he & I did 90% of it alone between Audley’s work schedule, wedding planning for our youngest daughter, lots of uncertainty and a of course this pandemic.

2020 has been an interesting year to say the least.

While 2020 has been memorable in its own way, the beauty and nuttiness of the last 25 years mixed with the excitement of the next 25, definitely overshadow any craziness that this one year has thrown our way.

Audley and I have four amazing kids, & now three sons-in-law (so much has happened in the last 10 years while writing this blog) who are contributing so many beautiful and positive things to this world of ours. Police officers, medical personnel, minister, exercise specialist, preschool teacher, Marines (we have 2 now!); we have much to be proud of when looking at our kids.

Having an empty nest at the quarter century milestone is a whole new world for Audley and me.

We have never been “just the two of us”. I became a full-time mom the day we said “I do”. Being parents together for the entirety of our marriage has been a large part of our identity.

Now, with Madeline saying her “I do” last month the full-time parenting chapter of our story has closed! Now we get to write the next chapter as we discover new adventures together. I have no clue as to what the next 25+ years will look like for Audley and I, but can guarantee it will be filled with love, growth, discovery, new adventures and as always God-centered.

So cheers to the next 25 years and whatever adventures come our way!

“Do Not Disturb”

“I didn’t have very much to do this evening, so I thought I would touch up a few things.”

“Do you have to paint everything in sight?”

“I didn’t paint everything in sight.  I painted a breadbox, an end table & that chair you’re sitting on.”

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“I’ve just got to get that house in order.  Are there any other antique dealers that we might visit today?”

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via Getty Images

Anyone that knows Audley and me could totally imagine that these are conversations between us as we are working to put our new house in order.

{All four of our kids will attest to this.}

In fact I am positive we’ve actually had these conversations before… on more than one occasion.

In reality, these are lines from the extremely cheesy and comical 1965 Doris Day movie “Do Not Disturb”.

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The subplot of the movie is Doris Day’s character trying to decorate the new home she and her husband have moved in after transferring with his new job.

{Sounds familiar, right?}

moving in

You would think after fourteen moves I would have the art of decorating and organizing a home nailed.

My reality is quite the opposite.

unpacking the house

I’ve always managed to have two or three main living spaces mostly put together in our home, but the remainder of the house stays partially complete.  For example, we didn’t have curtains in our living room of the house we just moved from until this past December (just before a large Christmas party we hosted); we found out we were moving early January.  Our master bedroom wasn’t complete until we lived in the house for three years (and I was having major surgery that would have me confined to the bed for quite a while).  I redecorated the kitchen three different times because I couldn’t find something that spoke to me without a massive overhaul that just wasn’t possible because we were leasing.

You get the picture.

I’m really bad at putting it all together without doubt in my mind, and extremely bad in finding a way to pull my eclectic style together.

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Our antique dining room suite

I’m constantly saying, “I’ve just got to get that house in order” and then heading off to do something else.

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I do have a paint project in the works… and I can’t unpack certain boxes until it’s completed.

Mainly because I don’t know what I want or doubt how to make it happen.

When we closed on our house several weeks back and moved in two and a half weeks ago, Audley suggested that I not waste any time and put our house in order; to do what I needed to do to make our new house a home without doubt or fear or procrastination.

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Our new sofa from Ikea

So that’s what I’ve done.  Staying within a budget we set, box by box, room by room, and shopping expedition by shopping expedition I’ve been slowly turning our new house into our new home.  We are so close to the empty nest, things that I’ve not done because I didn’t think it was kid/family friendly, or didn’t want the kiddos to mess it up are no longer valid excuses.

accessorizing

Pillows… Plants… Color…

Colors for the walls were done the week before we moved in, we have curtains hanging in every room, big pieces of furniture arranged, and I think that I have a grasp on how to make my eclectic style work with our not quite empty nest.

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Working on the mantle… Mixing it up with antique books

We shall see and hopefully in the coming weeks I will share a little of what Audley and I have pulled together.  Until then I hope you enjoyed a few glimpses of what we’ve started on and will stop back by as we finish!

flowers on the mantle

For now, “Do Not Disturb.”

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Learning to Let Go

Happy New Year!

OK, yes, I know it is February.

Yes, I also know that I’ve posted very little the last two months.

And yes, I missed writing.

My focus was just elsewhere.

Life has a way of throwing chaos into our perfectly arranged schedules; car accidents, changes in college plans, early graduation, holiday travel, and this momma beginning a new full-time job….  If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen a glimpse of what’s happening in our life including many of the above mentioned things. While these little changes weren’t drastic, there is one more.

After five years here in South Carolina, we are moving.

While I have known this was a possibility for months (my Audley has been very unhappy with his job for about 8 months now), reality hit in December when after countless leads, interviews, glimmers of hope, disappointments and a flat-out “no”, what we were praying for  and least expected was offered to us.

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Honestly, it is not the ideal time with graduation, a wedding, and other big events in the near future, but apparently God felt it was the right time and it is actually a really good thing for us.  It’s also been good for my own spiritual life, something I really needed.

My prayer life has always been weak.  Growing up in a Christian home, I cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve been told to “just give it all to God”.  It sounds so simple, but my version of giving it to God has always been “here you go” and then proceed to tell Him how to do His job.  It’s so difficult to relinquish control.

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I guess we are all like that from time to time.  As a mother I think it’s only natural to fix things, but I couldn’t fix my husbands disappointments with work.  The one thing I could do is continue to support, encourage, and build him up as I have done for nearly twenty-two years now.  As Audley’s frustrations began to grow, our prayer life actually grew stronger with them, which is the opposite of how we normally deal with stresses in our lives.  We found ourselves praying together more, and for the first time in my life I found myself giving my stresses, anguish and questions to God and not telling Him what to do!  I didn’t want the mess anymore!

Let me tell you, it’s a liberating feeling to finally completely surrender control!

It’s funny when I look back on my youth and think of the things I prayed for: to make Georgia state honor band, an “A” on a test I didn’t study for, make the softball team, a later curfew, or to wear makeup like my girlfriends… These things were trivial, but I wasn’t afraid to pray for them.  As adults it’s easy to forget the trivial and think only the big things matter like sickness, protection, forgiveness.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve rehearsed a standard prayer and can’t deviate from it because that is what an adult would do!

Oh to have that childlike faith of saying whatever is on my mind again!

The crazy thing is, we can have it, we just have to humble ourselves like we did years ago!

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So those precious moments when my son prayed for a dog or to get a hit in a baseball game as a little boy and the time his 16-year-old self recently thanked God for “letting his dad live to be so old” (Audley is 45…) and to let his sister not kill him with her driving on the way to school are the same way we should be willing to open up and pray as adults!

After experiencing the results of letting God take control, it’s something I plan to continue pursuing.

So, where will move number 14 take us?

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We will be in the suburbs of Atlanta.  Two hours from MacKenzie when she marries in June, just under two hours from Madeline when she heads to Point University to play lacrosse in the fall and Just over two hours from our oldest, Samantha and her hubby, as well as my parents in Tennessee.  Perfectly centered to be more available for all of our family!

Bradley has asked that we make the move as soon as possible so that he can jump in and get involved to finish his junior year, making his senior year much easier to begin.  He’s even been researching school districts on his on.

I’d say that boy of mine has been doing his own praying and has complete faith God will guide him through this as well.

Have a fabulous weekend my friends!

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{Lost & Found}

I have discovered that there is no better way to learn your way around a new area than to get lost.  On Friday I was definitely lost in Spartanburg!  Thankfully I had a full tank of gas and a reliable GPS, so it was a disaster avoided.
But, while lost, I found something as well.
My mid-life crises.
 

{What do you think?}

Audley is laughing, too.