Wednesday, November 4, 2015

life as we know it


One of my favorite things about being an adult is the freedom to make adventures for ourselves. Spontaneous moments, contrived on a whim are what I think about when I want an adventure. It’s exciting and fun in theory, but reality usually dictates our adventures should be carefully planned out, with every detail attended to. Trips to the beach, meticulously packed for. Weather checked. Restaurant menus previewed. Location mapped. Potty breaks planned. “No, we can’t stop yet!”


Somewhere along the line, the adventure takes on a new definition. It’s not really an adventure anymore. It’s no longer an action of uncertain outcome. We’ve planned ourselves into a rut and plowed the excitement right out of the equation.


You know what’s really an adventure? Things that happen during the course of everyday life that we don’t plan for or anticipate happening. When you’re thrown a curveball, your attitude makes the difference between an unfortunate circumstance and an amazing adventure. That’s what I’m learning lately.


You see, almost a year ago when the Army reassigned Caleb to a new duty station, we planned to only live with my parents for six months while we looked for a house of our own in the area. We planned to store our furniture and most of our belongings in a storage unit until we could move them into the new house. We planned for life to be a temporary transition for six months. And we planned to be okay with that.


We didn’t plan for life as we knew it to completely change. For six months to turn into a year. For us to learn heaps about ourselves, about who we are and what we value most. We didn’t plan to fall in love with my parents, and all the things they could teach our children. We didn’t plan to get rid of most of our belongings and embrace living here for as long as life allows. But that is what has happened. And it is truly great that it has.


That isn’t to say I haven’t struggled with all of this. Boy, have I struggled with the stigma. Because society tells me that I need a beautifully decorated house of my own to be successful. And that moving back in with your parents only happens to people who are struggling financially or have no other option. When I tell people we live with my parents and my grandmother, I get a lot of different responses. Usually all variations of the same question: “Why?”


There are so many reasons why. We like the schools here. We like the neighbors. We like our church. We like our lake. We get along so well with my parents. We still own our previous house and don’t relish the thought of owning two at once.

But really, the answer is so much simpler than all that. Once you open your heart and accept that home is not the building you live in, not the stuff you put on your shelves and not defined by whether or not you own the place where you sleep at night… When you find joy in whatever situation you’re in, that makes it home.


You’re catching on, Jackie! Why leave now.

Friday, August 7, 2015

beachy goodness


I used to think living on a lake meant you never needed to go to the beach. I mean, why would you? Lake life means spending every day of summer on the dock with your toes in the water, a fresh slice of watermelon in one hand and a book in the other. Or so I used to think. Bonus: no sharks or riptides to worry about. Who needs the beach?!

The reality is that living on the lake is just about the same as living anywhere else. It’s only as wonderful as you make it. There are some days we wake up, breathe in the beautiful view, swim as much as we want and remember to be thankful every minute for lake living. And then there are days when we march past the window with to-do list in hand, we fold laundry instead of soaking up the sun and we forget to have afternoon coffee on the deck. Those days feel like a waste of summer, until I remember it’s all about finding the balance.

So, in the spirit of balance we made time for the beach this summer. Because there’s nothing quite like the marriage of green and blue and purple and white. Because hermit crabs only camp out in salty water. Because it’s a wonderful adventure and a chance to be grateful for five hours in the car together. Because growing a little closer happens whether you expect it or not. That’s why we did it this summer.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Reid Chapel Wedding | Matthew & Priscilla


Their love story was born through Facebook messages and emails, a wartime romance in every sense. While he was away from home, in another land, helping to secure peace for a war-torn region, they found each other in the most unlikely of ways. His family and hers happened to be in the same restaurant on the same day. The mothers met, discussed their children, and a match was made. Despite the distance between them, Matthew and Priscilla grew in love and understanding of each other while they waited for deployment to end and their life together to begin.


The day of their wedding dawned warm and bright as the couple and their closest friends and family gathered at Reid Chapel on Samford University’s campus.


Matthew began the day by donning a secret superhero shirt, which was hidden under his jacket until the reception later that night.


Priscilla was radiant with happiness, encircled by her bridesmaids.


Matthew and his groomsmen were looking quite dapper in their suits and bowties.


Matthew and Priscilla chose to see each other before the wedding in a private moment shared by just the two of them.


After we walked the grounds for a bit they headed back to the chapel.


An officer and his lovely bride.


Later that evening they enjoyed their first dance under the twinkling night sky, while friends and family smiled and looked on.


Matthew and Priscilla, I wish you a lifetime of blessings and happiness in your new life together. Thank you for welcoming me into your special day. Documenting your love was a true honor.

Monday, July 20, 2015

summer well spent


A few of my favorite moment from the last few months…


Dock days and all of the shenanigans we can pack into those two little words…


Farmer’s Markets and popsicles not found in the freezer section…


All the deep conversations held at picnic benches and parks…


And the unhurried passage of summer mornings at the lake. The best.