After being out of town this past weekend, Prince Charming appeared at my door Monday night with this beautiful arrangement of flowers. What a surprise! The glass gingerbread mixing bowl, cinnamon sticks, pinecones, and wooden spoons are adorable. The roses are just beautiful! I am so lucky to have found a true gentleman that treats me like a princess. What a blessing!!
A closeup of the cute bowl.
The flowers from above.
So sweet! It's the little things that make the best Christmas memories!
Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays because it is full of family traditions. I have such happy memories from years past. When my sister and I were little my mommy used to help us make a gingerbread house every year. Year after year we constructed our little house and embellished it with brightly colored candies and royal icing galore. Candy placement and color decisions were oh so important. Amber and I worked so hard on our gingerbread house and we always made a huge sticky mess to prove it! I will treasure those memories for forever and always!
This year my mommy and I decided we would continue our tradition. Making a gingerbread house without Amber just wasn't the same this year, but mommy and I know she was sitting right there with us.
Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love the way the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree can make a home feel all warm and cozy. It warms my heart! I thought I would share some pictures of my home during the holidays. Enjoy!
You can definitely tell a girl lives here with all the pink!!
The wreaths on the front doors.
So fun and whimsical!
The snowman is there to greet everyone!
The stairs in the kitchen.
The little reindeer that guards the Christmas tree.
The centerpiece for the coffee table.
My stocking that hangs by the chimney with care.
(By the way, my mom made the stockings with love!)
The mantle and my Angel.
The living room.
In case you can't tell, the Christmas tree is huge standing at 10 feet tall. I like to call it "10 feet of madness"! It is an explosion of color and happiness which makes me smile! All my decor is the result of a fabulous collaboration of creativity on behalf of my mommy and me!
You should check out my mommy's Christmas decor at:
I truly believe the reason for the season is the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Christmas is a celebration of his birth! Because Jesus was born and then died on the cross for our sins, we will spend eternity in Heaven. Now that is the ultimate Christmas gift! Who could possibly ask for more?
As a Christian, I believe it is my responsibility to share the love of Jesus. Christmas is a perfect time to do so! This year my fiancee, my best friend, and I each participated in the Angel Tree Program through our church. Our job was to provide two children (a brother and sister) with a fabulous Christmas. While Christmas isn't about extravagant gifts, it is about the extravagant love of God! Providing these children with some items from their wish lists demonstrates love and generosity! I hope these children wake up on Christmas morning filled with excitement knowing that someone truly cares for them, loves them, and is praying for their salvation.
The fabulous spread of gifts!!
All packaged up and ready to head to church for drop off!
Merry Christmas! Remember it's not too late to be a child's angel!
This past Saturday my mommy, some of my bridesmaids, and I went to Bridesmaids, Inc in Homewood to try on bridesmaids dresses. What a task!! There are so many choices! It's overwhelming.
I am not a demanding bride when it comes to dresses, hair, makeup, shoes, etc. I really just want all my beautiful girls to feel comfortable and look even more gorgeous than they already are. I originally suggested a conservative gown since the wedding is in a small town Baptist church. By conservative, I was hoping for a dress with shoulder straps that doesn't cling to the body too snuggly. Seriously, who wants to tug on a dress all day to keep it up and worry about curves, panty lines, etc. I don't think I realized what a challenge that would be. Who would have guessed that all the gowns with shoulder straps would be so low cut? For the love. Unlike myself, the majority of my maids are blessed with great boobs which they should be proud of! =) However, cleavage isn't really part of my definition of conservative! I want people to be in awe over flowers, dresses, the church, and ME (lol, I am the bride!), not boobs and cleavage! I am sure this will disappoint some of the groomsmen though! Ha, ha!
Needless to say, I changed my vision of a conservative dress and started looking at strapless gowns. These were much better. The gowns draped beautifully over the body and concealed all the cleavage. Just what I wanted!! I am so grateful for my girls. They were certainly troopers trying on gown after gown.
I believe we finally found the perfect one!!
This is my beautiful cousin, Lauren modeling the dress!
(This is not the color by the way! It will be Iris.)
I love this picture!! Caroline is in the background looking excited!! =)
Allison is focused on pulling the dress snug because Lauren is so tiny!
When most girls want to talk with their sister, they have the convenience of calling her on the phone, meeting for lunch or dinner, or visiting one another at home. Unfortunately, I no longer have this luxury. When I need quality time with my sister, I have to go to one place.
What a harsh, cold, cruel reality. This is my reality.
On Monday, I decided I needed some quality time with Amber. I took my blanket, sat next to her grave, and shared my joys, fears, happiness, sadness, and tears. I am sure people thought I was crazy as they drove past the cemetery and saw some poor girl sitting next to a grave crying for nearly an hour. But, this is my reality.
I know without a doubt that Amber is in Heaven resting in the arms of our gracious Heavenly Father.
I know without a doubt that I will see her again someday.
I know without a doubt that God's timing is always perfect.
I know without a doubt that God always knows what's best for each of us.
I know without a doubt God heals the brokenhearted.
I know without a doubt that the pain of losing Amber is almost unbearable.
I know without a doubt that I miss her more everyday.
I know without a doubt that there is peace and comfort at Amber's grave.
I know without a doubt that her grave is a little piece of Heaven, precious sacred ground.
Sissy, I love you and miss you more than words could say!!
I can't wait to see you again someday!
Where does the time go? Life has been so busy these past two weeks. Don't get me wrong. I love to be busy because that means you are needed and people love you and want to be with you. What a blessing! But sometimes a girl needs some downtime so she can update her blog!! I finally have some time tonight, so here we go! I will try not to bore you with all the details but here is a lovely recap of my past two weeks.
I went to Christmas Village with my mommy and daddy. Yes, my dad is a really good man!! Christmas Village is always a lot of fun and gets me in the Christmas spirit. This was my purchase for the event. I love it and I think it is very encouraging!!
Later that night, I went to Disney on Ice with my Matron of Honor, her son (my future nephew), and prince charming's little sister. We had so much fun! I love Disney on Ice and I love spending time with my new family. Of course, I couldn't leave without a souvenir. Doesn't every 28 year old need an icee in a Mickey Mouse cup?
I went shopping for new jeans. What a challenging task! I really don't understand why all jeans these days look like someone has already worn them for 10 years, rolled around in the dirt while wearing them, ripped them, and then ran over them with a four-wheeler. Seriously. I had to search forever, but finally found normal cute jeans that fit! Yes, the have a little flair on the rear but they are so cute on that I couldn't resist. I found them at Buckle in case you are wondering.
If you know me, you know that I can't buy jeans without buying a new pair of shoes. Look how cute!!! I love, love, love them!!!
Additionally, I have spent much needed quality time with my husband-to-be (church, dinner dates, movies), shopped for Christmas decor that I really don't need =), had engagement pictures made, nursed my fierce cold back to health, and had multiple dinner dates with a few of my bridesmaids! Whew, told you I have been busy!!
Now that you're probably thinking I shop a lot, I will promise you that I work a lot more!!! I have been working hard saving lives at the pharmacy!! Having a job is terribly time consuming. Don't ya think?! Too bad I need a paycheck or I wouldn't have time to fit a job into my social schedule!! HA!!
Well, now you all must be bored to tears, but at least you know where I have been these past two weeks. Thanks for letting me document my days and thanks even more for reading!!
The little maintenance light in my Honda has been blinking at me for several days reminding me that my oil needed to be changed. So this morning I headed off to Tameron Honda. It was there that I learned the light was blinking because my car needed a 75,000 mile maintenance checkup in addition to the oil change. Lovely. Needless to say, I ended up spending an extra chunk of money on my vehicle that I hadn't expected.
Despite the large amound of money I had just invested in my car, I was so close to the galleria that I couldn't resist driving over just to "look"!! I really did need some new mascara. For exercise (wink, wink!), I walked the long way around the mall just to "look" in the store windows.
Then it happened.
I saw Yankee Candle Company. In two seconds flat, the tears woudn't stop coming. You see, my sister Amber absolutely loved Yankee candles. She had a gazillion and always had them burning in her room. My family and I used to make special outings just so we could go by Yankee Candle to get more candles. I couldn't believe it, but just seeing the store immediately made me have a meltdown. I pulled it together so I could go inside and get my mom and I each a candle to burn in her remembrance this holiday season. The sales lady at the store asked me who I was shopping for. Bless her heart, the simple, kind question triggered a major meltdown. I could hardly speak through my stream of tears. I told her about my sister and the sweet lady just held me in her arms and let me cry. She began crying too and told me her dad had passed away in May. She let me get all my tears out. We talked about our shared faith in our Heavenly Father and how it feels to grieve the loss of a loved one. I left the store, knowing that God places angels in our lives everyday to help us through tough times. Today, the Yankee Candle lady was my angel for the day.
The candle I purchased. Spiced Pumpkin!
Yummy for Thanksgiving!
I also bought these cute little silver charms with the letter "A" for Amber!
At 9:55 pm on October 28, 1992, I made the best decision of my life. I gave my life to Christ! That day I began living for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I simply couldn't imagine where I would be now if I hadn't asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins so many years ago. I am so thankful that God sent His one and only son to die on the cross for my sins. I am so unworthy, but so grateful. What a gift! Because of this incredibly generous gift I am absolutely, positively certain that I will be reunited with my sister one day in Heaven. What a glorious day that will be!!
I got saved that night at a Judgment House in Gadsden, Alabama. For those of you who don't know what a Judgment House is, it is a skit that is acted out that portrays how every decision we make today effects our future. In the skit, a tragedy usually occurs involving two people. One person is a Christian and the other is not. Both face judgment before God. The Christian is granted eternity in Heaven and the non-believer is thrown into the gates of hell. During the skit you actually walk into a room that is designed as hell and a room that is Heaven. What a powerful experience! It is impossible not to recognize that Heaven, not Hell, is the place to live all of eternity! All we have to do to get to Heaven is ask Jesus into our lives, ask Him to forgive us of our sins, and continue to build a relationship with our Lord. It almost seems too good to be true, but it's not. God is so good to us and loves us so much, he made it that easy!
This past Thursday night, prince charming and I attended a Judgment House at Union Grove Baptist Church in Jemison, Alabama. He and I watched as 16 people in our group made the same decision I did 17 years ago and gave their lives to Christ!! Incredible! Judgment Houses are a wonderful, realistic portrayal of how quickly life can be taken away from us. In the blink of an eye, our earthly life could be over and we will each face judgment before God. Will he send you to Heaven to live in peace and happiness for all of eternity or will he send you to hell because you never asked his son to forgive you? I pray that we all meet in Heaven, but if you are a non-believer your eternity is definitely something to think about before it's too late.
One of the best things about being a single gal is that you get to furnish and decorate your house any way your heart desires. Now that I am getting married in June I am beginning to wonder how Prince Charming and I will merge our stuff together. Of course we are total opposites when it comes to interior decorating. I prefer light colored furniture, he likes dark furniture. I prefer televisions to be concealed, he likes his television hanging over the fireplace. I like pretty Pottery Barn chairs, he likes recliners. Needless to say, joining our stuff together in June should be exciting. Until that day comes I will enjoy all my pretties just the way they are!
Welcome to my home!
I love my front doors. My mommy made the fall wreaths!
My foyer is also one of my favorite parts of the house. I absolutely LOVE the archway!
This picture just doesn't do it justice.
This is another view of the foyer. I LOVE the light fixtures!!
The living room.
Living room from another view.
My dining room.
Another kitchen view.
And finally, words to live by.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of my home! I'll post pictures
of the other rooms at a later date. Thanks for visiting!
Ya'll come back now!
P.S. If you click on the pictures, you can see more details!
This past Saturday I got to meet up with my high school friends for girls night. Girls night is a once monthly outing that we started in January of 2008. We all choose a location to meet for dinner and something fun (ie. bowling, a movie, a play). We have so much fun when we are all together! It is so good to reunite with old friends. Most of us have known each other for over 20 years!! I am so blessed to have these girls in my life!
I would love to introduce you to my friends! I hope they don't mind! =)
On the left is Brandy. She was my best friend in the first grade and we were on the danceline together in high school. She is truly Elle Woods from Legally Blonde! So cute and fashionable, yet very smart. The girl is in law school. Impressive!
Next is Mandy. We were also on the high school danceline together. She is building a new house and is engaged to be married in April. So exciting!
I am in the middle. You all know more than enough about me already!
Next is Kristi. We were best friends in the seventh grade. Now she is pregnant with her first child, a baby girl named Lillian!
And then another Brandy. We also danced together in high school. She has two adorable little girls and she makes incredible cakes. So talented!
We all went to dinner at Panera Bread in Birmingham and then saw the movie Paranormal Activity. What a crazy movie! I refused to sit on the end at the movie because I was scared. So thank you to the two Brandys for keeping me safe! Love ya'll.
Again, I am so blessed that we continue to share our lives together. It is so much fun watching everyone "grow up"! I am so very proud of all my girls and grateful to call you all my friends!! I can't wait until next month!
Time is flying by! I can't believe it has been so long since my last post. Unfortunately, I don't have anything exciting to report, but I'll share my thoughts anyway. Thrilling, I know! It has just been one of those weeks. Blah! Sometimes I wish I could be that girl that has it all together all the time. Instead I am the girl that wakes up in the morning, looks in the mirror, and is startled over my not so beautiful reflection. Seriously, you should see me in the morning. Scary. My hair is out of control and my face is extremely puffy. At this time, I am glad to live alone so no one else can experience this trauma. Anyway! In attempt to remedy the issue of looks, I got my hair highlighted and cut. This is improvement but I have the hair that does not like change. In fact, my hair rebels against change. So the first week of a new haircut is always quite the adventure. I basically have to force my hair to relearn what it has been doing for the past 5 years. Exhausting! Apparently my intelligence has not seeped from my brain into the roots of my hair. Maybe it has something to do with the blond color.....
Once the hair dilemma began improving, I decided my makeup could use an upgrade. Off to Sephora I went. The saleswoman was so nice, but she did point out that my eyes looked a little rough to say the least. I learned my eyes are dry, have dark circles beneath them, and are beginning to show signs of age. That's all a girl needs to build self-esteem! The saleswoman politely asked if I was feeling okay. I politely replied that my sister died in July. Well, that one stopped her in her tracks! Poor lady. Apparently, grieving over the loss of my sister hasn't done great things for my features, but at least I have a good reason to look rough. Grief seems to make you age quicker, but oh well, I am just getting a little closer to Heaven I suppose! So I left Sephora with all new makeup, eye cream, and far less money than I had when I entered the store. Oh, the price of vanity!
The recent change of weather has also made me reevaluate my closet. As I have previously stated, I really don't like cold weather. Therefore, I don't like to buy clothing that is appropriate for cold weather. Unfortunately, getting dressed this past week has been more than a little stressful. I realized I have no trendy, cute fall clothing. Instead I have lovely sweaters and cardigans that you would find on your average grandmother over the age of 70! Did I mention that apparently I am aging? Since I have upgraded the hair, and makeup, I decided why not improve the clothes? Off to the mall I went. I am very fortunate to be rather thin and petite for my age, but this means I have to shop in the juniors clothing section. This is not so fortunate. I really don't need jeans with holes, low cut shirts, or slinky dresses. For the love, I am twenty-eight years old, serve my at my church, and work as a pharmacist. I prefer classy, not sleezy. Needless to say finding appropriate clothing is like going on a scavenger hunt or looking for a needle in a haystack. However, my mommy and I persevered and mangaged to find some cute clothes, but not without spending more of my hard earned finances.
Now that my hair is looking better, my eyes are looking a little less aged (I hope), and my wardrobe has improved, maybe my mood will too. This process of grieving the loss of a loved one really isn't easy. My heart goes out to anyone that has walked down this road before. Grief is so frustrating. It makes you feel crazy inside. There are days when I feel more normal and happy and then there are days when I just want to scream. I want someone else to feel my pain. I want people to remember what I am going through. I want people to be patient with me because I have never known grief like this before. I want everyone to realize that I am not the same person I was before July 24th. My life changed on that day. Losing your one and only sister can turn your world and heart upside down. I can't be the same person I used to be. A piece of my heart is empty. I have a hole in my heart that will never be replaced. Hair, makeup, and clothes can't repair my heart. It's all superficial. Just because I smile everyday, laugh, and make jokes, it does NOT mean that I am really okay. I am not okay at all, I am just doing the best I can with a horrible situation. I pray daily for strength and peace, but I am definitely a work in progress. Life is not always a fairytale....
I think every little girl dreams of the day she can try on wedding gowns in hopes of finding the perfect one. For some strange reason, I am not one of those girls! I have been more concerned with shoes than the dress. Finding the perfect dress just seems too stressful. Seriously, there are so many to choose from - there are an endless number of designers, styles, colors, necklines, etc. It all seems a bit overwhelming to me! But I do know that it takes months to have a dress ordered in the correct size and then more time to have it altered correctly, so I had to get started on the hunt for the dress.
I decided to start with a store that would be really low-key. A place where I could choose to try on dresses that I believed fit my style. So my mom, dad, and I drove all the way to Jasper to Diane's Formal Affair. Upon arriving and registering, my mom and I were given 8 tags to attach to dresses that I would like to try on. The store has over 600 dresses to look through! Did I mention overwhelming?! Anyway, my eyes landed immediately on one gown that I knew I had to try on. One tag down, seven to go! We found another that looked almost like the first, so we tagged it too. Two down. Then I saw another dress that looked cute and simple, so that received the third tag. By that point in time, mom and I had browsed through ALL 600 dresses. I couldn't believe that I had only chosen three. In attempt to avoid being rude, mom and I desperately found another dress we could "tag" just so we could use at least half of what we were given!
We finally progressed to the point where I actually got to try on the gowns. Exciting! I have NEVER even tried on a wedding gown, so this was a first for me. The bridal consultant brought the gown that I tagged first - the one that immediately caught my attention. I put the dress on, walked out of the dressing room, stood on the little box in the room full of mirrors, and oh my word, a bride was looking right back at me! I LOVED it! The next thing I know, the consultant is putting a veil in my hair, my mom is looking super excited, and I suddenly needed my daddy's approval! Again, did I mention overwhelming?!
Well, it seemed wrong to try on one dress and be done with the whole process. I tried on the other two, only to come back to the first. I knew the dress was the one. Then I began fretting over the fact that the NONE of my bridesmaids were with me. My heart sank. I really wanted my best friends to be a part of the search for the dress. I had no intention of finding the dress that quickly! After helpful reassurance from my bridal consultant, the rest of the staff, my mom, and my dad; I felt certain that I had found the perfect dress and that all my maids could participate in the process by coming to the store with me for a fitting at the time my dress arrives. Whew! Deep breath! Relief!
So, yesterday I said "yes to the dress"!
Like mother, like daughter, my mommy's wedding dress was the very first gown she picked out and tried on too!! We have great first instincts! It must be genetic!
Those of you that know me know that I absolutely LOVE shoes! I have quite a shoe collection of all colors and styles. I don't really care for flats, I prefer heels. I personally believe the higher the heel the better! Needless to say, finding a pair of wedding shoes was a top priority in my book! Who needs a dress? I need great shoes!!
I have never purchased anything online before, but after an intense google search for bridal shoes (classy, I know!), I came across the perfect pair. I am one of those girls that knows immediately when I find the perfect item. I don't have to think twice. So I ordered the shoes and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them! They are so "Jennifer"!! I can't wait to wear them down the aisle! Thank goodness I will have my daddy's arm to hold on to (the heels are 3 inches, in case you can't tell)!
I have always thought it would be super cute to ask my friends to be my bridesmaids in some creative way. It seemed so boring to just call the girls up and ask them to be in my wedding. I only intend to get married one time so I had to do something fun and different.
While in Birmingham enjoying a mother-daughter day, my mom and I went to my most favorite bakery ever - Edgar's Bakery! If you've never been, you have to go and try the strawberry cake. It is the best thing you will EVER eat!! I promise!! Yummy! In addition to fabulous cakes, they also have adorable cupcakes and cookies. My eyes landed on precious frog cookies and I immediately decided that the cookies had to be a part of my plan. After all, I did kiss the frog that turned into my prince!!!
I also wanted to give the girls something on paper asking them to be a part of my special day. My oh-so creative mommy decided we should use her scrapbooking supplies to make cutouts of cute bridesmaid dresses. Then we printed out my poem (yes, I came up with the rhyme!) on each dress and decorated them with ribbons and flowers. We used purple paper because purple is the color of the wedding. We had so much fun making each and every one. It was our very first "wedding activity!" So exciting!!
To tie everything together, mommy placed each frog in a cellophane bag and tied them with purple and green (the color of the reception!) ribbons. So cute!!! I hand delivered each frog and dress to all of my bridesmaids. Fortunately, they all said yes!!! I am so blessed to have such amazing friends in my life. God is so good!
I can't wait until June 12, when I marry my frog with all of my maids by my side!! In case you are wondering, I have ELEVEN bridesmaids and a junior bridesmaid. Told you I was blessed!!!!!
On June 12th I married my prince charming! We had a fairytale wedding and fantastic honeymoon. Now we are in the process of learning to live together as husband and wife in a way that glorifies Christ!