Friday, January 23, 2015

being an adult sucks: The Hard Questions

"When are you getting engaged?"

"Are you going to get married?"

"When are you going to buy a house?"

"When will you guys have children?"

"Do you have a boy/girlfriend yet?"

"When will you start trying for more children?"

"Do you really like working there?"

"Are you going to try for a boy/girl this time?"

Seemingly innocent questions. All of them. But do you know what I hear when I'm asked the questions I consider hard? I hear, 'your life isn't awesome until you have a spouse/an awesome job/children/more children/insert suggestion here.'

Am I being too sensitive? Maybe. Are they being impassive? Maybe; and maybe it's a little bit of both. The truth is, sometimes we ask a question that is the exact question that can make someones heart bleed. If you haven't been privy to the information you're asking, quite frankly, it's probably none of your business. Otherwise, I would have come to you to vent, to ask advice, or just generally share my heart.

If you ask a 30-something woman who has never been married when she's going to settle down, don't you think she's had some pretty rough moments wondering the same thing? Or asking a couple when they are going to have children, not knowing they have just found out that they physically can't. Or telling a friend who is struggling to have financial comfort that they work too much. Or assuming that a houseful of boys isn't good enough for a mom and that of course she wants a girl.

I don't share all my struggles with the world, because I like to remind myself of the most important blessing I have. That I have a God that loves me so much that He sent His son to die for me. And that because I have accepted His love, He gave me the responsibility to help others realize it. I want to focus on that; not the fact that life may not be going the way I hoped.

In addition to that, talking about the hard stuff is, well, hard. There's a reason we don't openly talk about the stuff that weighs on us. It's stressful and difficult and we only want to share it with those that can help us through it.

Let's collectively work on being more cautious when we are meeting up with old friends or chatting with relatives at a family reunion. Instead of pushing our questions, let's take care of them, pray, and be sensitive to them. Let's look out for each other's hearts. Let's love each other deeply.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

meet Kohen Alan

A new nephew arrived over the weekend, and he is just the sweetest little thing. I had to bring him his first birthday cake, which was actually a cookie cake covered in delicious chocolate frosting, because it's become a bit of a tradition. Can't wait to watch this little one grow!

Monday, January 5, 2015

One Word for 2015

2015. Wow. Can you believe that number is even a year? It seems so strange to me. One thing I know though, 2015 is going to be a year unlike any other.

In the past when I've considered what my goals are for the upcoming year, I've always looked internally: making decisions for my life, my family, me and mine. Even last year, with my goal of being intentional, it was all about how I was spending MY time.

After a lot of prayer, it's been determined that 2015 will be my year for showing others love. God has this amazing love for all of us, and so many people don't realize that. By loving on others, I hope to give them just a little glimpse of what that love looks like.

2015 is the year to outpour. Resources, time, and love - all gifts from God - shared through me to the people that God loves.

By focusing on this word, I'll be reminded of the many blessings I've received in my life and the fact that I need to pass those blessings along.

Have you selected a word for the year? Goals or resolutions? I'd love to hear what they are.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Sometimes we experience things that leave us with no words. We can't explain the emotions we feel and the thought of putting them into words is a daunting and impossible task because we know can't do the emotions justice. It's not devastated or enthused, confused or anxious, or energized or... any of those words and ALL of those words.

It took 12 months for me to truly understand my "one word". It took a weekend trip to a town that desperately needs the Lord's love, for me to realize what being intentional should mean. The past 11 months, time has been prioritized to family and church, because I thought that's what being intentional meant. That spending time with loved ones should always come first and that serving at church is time best spent. And there's nothing wrong with those things.

That is, until the Lord calls you somewhere else and opens your eyes to show you where you could be. To a place where every spare moment makes a difference in someones life. Where children seek your attention because they don't get much anywhere else, and women have a sadness in their eyes because there's only so much they can do. Where YOU give them hope, and God fills you with a desire to share His love and grace.

People always say that mission trips can change your life, but it's not until you actually feel the shift that you realize what that actually means. Every thought, conversation, and experience seems different.

I may not have the words to express my emotions right now, but I know one thing: I hope God keeps showing me how to be intentional. I hope He keeps challenging me and showing up in the most unexpected places. Fortunately, with hopes like those, I can't lose because God will never stop doing those things.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Chalk Paint Experience

After this sneak peek on Instagram last week, I thought it was time to show the entire desk. It was my first time using chalkpaint and I'm just going to be honest from the get-go, I'm not crazy about the look of chalkpaint. Now, distressed, crackly, beat-up looking pieces? Absolutely. But there's just something about the chalky look of chalk paint that I'm not crazy about. That being said, I had a piece of furniture that was starting to look not so great and needed to be refinished. At some point I want to sand it all down and stain it a dark espresso color, but since I lack a certain motivation to do that kind of work, chalk paint was the easy way out.

You may remember that I set up a dressing room in our house just after we moved in. It looked like this...

If you're a before and after fan, scroll no longer. Here is the desk after it's chalk paint treatment.

Now, I could have been a really good blogger and photographed all the steps, but that wouldn't be typical Courtney fashion. Also, this is so incredibly easy that you really don't need images.

So, what did I use? Cece Caldwell's paints were being sold at a local furniture refinish shop in town so I stopped in and picked up a container of Nantucket Spray, a really tinted version of seafoam green. (side note: did you know that when a color is lightened, it's referred to as tinted? and when a color is made darker, it is considered shaded? truth.) I also picked up this tiny jar of wax and a jar of aging dust.

After emptying my desk of all her makeup goodies, I wiped the entire thing down with a Clorox wipe. I poured my paint out into a tray because I heard that chalk paint cures quickly, so I didn't want to leave the lid off for too long. I painted one coat, let it set for a few hours then gave her another coat.

The next day I grabbed an old paint brush (you really don't have to buy the $30 round brush the store tries to sell you) and started applying the wax to the entire piece. Work in small sections if you have a large piece of furniture. I worked for about ten minutes, brushing on a thin coat of wax before I went in with an old fluffy makeup brush and the aging dust. The best way I found was to dip my brush into the jar, tap it on the side to remove immediate excess, then press it into the still tacky wax.You will have fall out, so make sure you put down a drop cloth. And that's it. Apply the dust wherever suits you, then move on to the next section. Brushing on wax, pressing on aging dust.

You need to let the wax sit for a week. I know that seems crazy, but you really want it to harden and cure. If you want to apply a second coat of wax, you can probably do that the next day then wait a week, but one coat was fine for me. After a week of waiting (and doing my makeup from my dressing room floor), I took an old rag and brushed away any excess aging dust. Then I buffed down the entire desk.

I added my new hardware and filled her back up with makeup. That's it!

To purchase any of these products click here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

I don't want to just be W O R D S

I want to be about actions. Sharing, loving, giving, doing, and so many other good things. Back in January, I embraced a word, and I've tried so very hard to stick to it this year. Being intentional caused me to stop blogging for awhile and to cut back to only a few posts a week. You know what that extra time gave me?

It gave me the chance to spend time with my husband. We made life decisions together.

The time gave me the opportunity to work harder while I was at work, instead of constantly thinking about my lunch break and what I needed to get done for the next day's blog post.

The opportunity to serve was presented and I was gladly able to receive it without the concern of sharing every bit of it here.

Time with my family and friends were not abbreviated because I needed to instagram/facebook/tweet something.

In short, being intentional was a lifestyle change. Am I fully, 100% where I should be? Not by a long shot, but has there been a dramatic difference in my division of time? Absolutely.
So where does that leave me for the last month of this year?

For the past six years, I've made it a point to share love with as many people as possible, especially in the month of December. Whether that was to help them financially through the holiday pressure, to brighten up their day with a note, to hug them extra tight, or to gift them with a coffee in the drive thru, I give anonymously in the hopes that someone will feel blessed by it. God has blessed me, and it is my job to share it with others.

For the next month, I'll be using #bellsgiveback on social media in a way to inspire others to share love. I won't be posting everything, because some things just don't need to be displayed, but I would love to see the trend catch on in a major way.

image by death to the stock photos.