Amy to Africa

Amy is eight years younger than me.

Amy is a high school senior and was voted “Best All-Around Girl.”

Amy is athletic and smart and beautiful.

Amy has a tender and gentle, compassionate and loving heart.

Amy is shy but hilarious, quiet but confident.

 

This is a post about my youngest sister.

This is a post about Amy.

 

sarah+spencer-44

 

I have loved watching my youngest sister’s heart grow more and more fond of Jesus.  She has fallen in love with the Gospel and with our Savior; it has been a beautiful thing to watch over the years.  These have been things she’s made for me as Christmas, birthday, and wedding gifts:

IMG_8684

 

I love looking at this wall because it reminds me of how her heart has grown towards the Lord over the years.  She’s been making the burlap wall art with custom verses to raise money for our future adoption.  You can check out more about that here:  http://amy4orphans.webs.com

More recently the dream of spreading the Gospel in Africa has grown in her heart.  And the more the Word has nourished that dream, the more she has talked about it and looked into how to make it a reality.  She’s reached out for help and advice, and she’s anticipated the day when she could tell everyone she would get to go overseas.

Well, last week she contacted our old church back in Orlando.  Turns out they are going to Burundi, Africa (a nation they have been connected with for several years now) in March.  Amy excitedly asked if she could join them on the trip and after sweet conversation that can only be arranged by God, she will be headed to Burundi in less than two months!

She cannot contain her excitement to live out this dream, experience the Church abroad, and share the Gospel.  Her heart is overflowing.  I am so proud of her and am excited to see what the Lord has in store for her.  I know He will use her, but I also know He will teach her more than she can imagine while she is there.

She would be so honored and grateful if you would join her in this journey.  Prayers are essential, especially as she travels on a trip like this for the first time.  And she is in need of financial support.  If you have something to give, it would bless her abundantly.  To hear from Amy and donate, go to: http://www.gofundme.com/sendamytoAFRICA  She would appreciate any amount.  And she most definitely appreciates your prayers.  Thank you for considering supporting her!

I am beyond proud of my little sis.  It will be a joy to see where to Lord takes her (spiritually and physically) over the coming months and years.  May the Kingdom grow because of Amy’s faithfulness to the great commission!

Advertisements

K’s Room

After rearranging rooms and figuring out how to make all sorts of things work in Katherine’s room, we’ve finished!  People might say it is thrown together or too eclectic, but when you’re on a tight budget you learn how to repurpose furniture and personalize in your own way.  We got to figure it out together and had fun doing it.  We just love how it all turned out!  I already love sitting in there and praying for our little one.

The changing table was a great thrift find by Spencer’s mom.  It was white so we painted it a mint green.  The bins and baskets were being used around the house already, so we just changed a few things around and reorganized to be able to use them on the shelves.  The fabric banner was made from a friend and used at the shower our church had for us.  The letters I cut out from cereal boxes and wrapped them in yarn I already had.

IMG_7037

IMG_7038

It took some time for Chaco to get used to the changes around the house, but now that everything has settled in place he loves spending time in K’s room.  The chaise lounge was my grandma’s, and we love having the extra seating in there.  And anything that was homemade or from family is always extra special!

IMG_7039

After rearranging rooms, we had an extra bookshelf so we turned it into K’s dresser/closet.  Her clothes are so small, and we don’t have the room for a big dresser and need the closet space for our own clothes.  The bookshelf was black so we painted it the same mint green as the changing table to make things a bit more cohesive.  We had the fabric bins on our registry, the basket we already had, and then just put in a dowel rod to hang some things.  The little Disney figurines were given to me by my grandma when I was a little one.  And the pretty little plaque was a gift from a sweet coworker and friend. Our little project is working out perfectly!

IMG_7042

People go crazy with their diaper bags, especially in the South.  But if you know me, you know I don’t like really girly things.  This Eddie Bauer bag was perfect for us!  We were so happy to open it at a shower!  People thought Spencer picked it out, but it was me.  🙂

IMG_7043

We painted the curtain rod and hooks ivory and got the curtains for just a couple dollars.  The bookshelf was on sale and great to use for books and other little things.

IMG_7047

We are starting out using a cradle (great thrift store find) and just love it.  We can have it in our room and keep our little one close to us.  My parents blessed us with a crib, but it’s still in the box.  It’s waiting to be opened and put together for when family is here.  They’ll want a project, right?  🙂

IMG_7044

The window coverings were floor length and less than a dollar!  I cut them down and sewed the bottom of them.

IMG_7045

These aren’t perfect, but I like how they turned out.  🙂  I painted the verses on them and added some fabric flowers.

IMG_7033

One shelf was black, one was yellow, and the mirror was blue.  So we painted the shelves to match the changing table and bookshelf turned closet.  And the mirror is painted with the same paint used on the curtain rods and hooks that hold the curtains back.  We tried to tie everything together so it’s not all so random.  The little different figurines are from my grandma (Dad’s mom) and my nanny (Mom’s mom) from when I was young.  And there are some old French books on the little shelf.

IMG_7046

The rocking chair is from Spencer’s mom.  It is the one she used when rocking Spencer and his brother; we are so thankful to be able to use it now.  It was a natural wood color, so I stained it to match the little bookshelf and the cradle.  I found some cushions that were 90% off at Kohl’s!  The blanket hanging on the chair and the blankets in the basket beside it are all handmade from family and friends.  We love them all!

IMG_7050

IMG_7049

So there you go!  Now all we need is little Katherine…and she will join us any day now!

Thinking About Our Wedding

Summers are full of weddings.  I’ve always loved weddings, but now that we’re married they carry such special significance.  I love being able to be reminded of our commitment to each other and how marriage displays the gospel.  And they always bring up such wonderful thoughts of our wedding.

Our wedding day was just wonderful and perfect.  Everyone’s really is though.  Because they reflect the unique personalities of the couple and represent them.

I love thinking about our wedding.  Spencer and I planned it together.  We worked hard to make it reflect us and had a blast in the process.  We came up with the decorations and tried to be as cost effective as possible. We loved how it all turned out.  So I thought I’d share some of our crafts and ideas.

sarah+spencer-63

We tried to keep things consistent.  Using chalkboards was a great way to do that.  We made chalkboard from frames found at garage sales and thrift stores and chalkboard paint.

sarah+spencer-62

The only flowers we used at the ceremony were baby’s breath.  They were classy, simple, and made things easy for us to set up.  The programs we made and had printed at our university’s printing services (super cheap!), and then stamped with a stamp we used on the little favor bags.  We printed off booklets for kids to color in…which they loved!  (They can be found here:  http://lovelyindeed.com/diy-activity-book-free-printable/)

IMG_0613

sarah+spencer-61

We used an old family Bible for people to underline passages for us to go back and read later.  This is something we will treasure and be able to pass down.

IMG_0445

This box is something my grandfather made.  It worked perfectly for collecting advice cards written by family and friends.  The sign is made from burlap, canvas fabric, and paint strung together with twine.  We left out cardstock and sharpies for people to write their advice for us.

IMG_0515

The guest book was a shutterfly book we made filled with pictures from relationship.  We love being able to look through it because of the pictures and the notes!

IMG_0498

A great friend helped make some banners which was such a huge help as we neared the big day.  This banner we were going to use in pictures.  But I don’t actually know what happened to it, haha.  So it wasn’t ever used.  But it looked great!  🙂

IMG_0451

I had this crazy idea of making the bouquets and boutonnieres.  I loved the idea of everyone being able to keep theirs, and so that’s what we did.  A friend taught me how to make them and helped me.  After hours of making fabric flowers, I think they turned out wonderfully!

sarah+spencer-36

sarah+spencer-13

sarah+spencer-137

These handsome little guys held a sign and pillow that were made also.  I made the sign and my mom sewed the pillow.

IMG_0614

The prayer bench Spencer made as a wedding gift.  We used it in our ceremony when we prayed together and took communion.  And now it is a treasured piece in our home.

IMG_0152

The sign hanging on the wall had our wedding date on it and was the perfect, simple backdrop for chalkboard message pictures guests could have taken.

sarah+spencer-150

We took this photo and used it on postcards we sent out to our wedding guests to thank them for coming and celebrating with us.

IMG_0688

At the reception we had a gift table set up with an old suitcase for cards and a jar that said “Honeymoon Fund” for any cash.

IMG_0687

IMG_0689

An old window was the perfect way to display pictures from our relationship.

IMG_0195

No need to pay loads of money for a florist when plenty of talented family and friends are around.  My mom borrowed this vase from one of her neighbors and my aunts put together this beautiful floral arrangement.

IMG_0194

We had a small cake to cut and then provided guests with lots of wonderful cupcakes.  And as a groom’s cake, we had a table full of chocolate chip cookies (Spencer’s favorite dessert)!  They were all a hit.  The cupcakes stands we made with plates and candlestick holders.

sarah+spencer-159

sarah+spencer-201

My mom did such an incredible job helping with so many things for the wedding.  She set up the table centerpieces at the reception using candles, old books, greenery, burlap and lace, and mixtures of green and clear glass vases.  Each table was different and they were all perfect.

IMG_0185

sarah+spencer-199

IMG_0190

Our favors were different types of teas.  We found little brown bags at Hobby Lobby and put a tea bag in each one.  We stamped the bags with Psalm 37:4 on one side and the stamp we used on the programs on the other.

IMG_0188

So that’s a little look into our wedding decorations.  Hope it helps your creativity as you plan for your special day!

Wreath Wedding Presents

It’s definitely the time of year, and season of life for us, that’s filled with weddings.  And I’m pretty sentimental, so I love handmade things and personalized things.  I have fun crafting, too.  Combine those and I figured I’d try to make some wreaths for some friends getting married this summer.  The initials are their new last names.  I chose colors based on their wedding colors.  They turned out pretty swell to me!

photo-1

photo

Our First Christmas Tree

It is always exciting to experience the “firsts” in our marriage!  There seem to be a whole lot since we are in the advent season and are approaching Christmas.

We ventured out to the Home Depot last weekend and bought our first Christmas tree!  We had a blast picking out our tree and sharing Christmas memories.

Picking out a Christmas tree was always a big ordeal for my family growing up.  We would look at dozens of trees until we found the right one.  Once we brought it home, my mom meticulously placed lights on practically every branch.  After the many hours it took her to put the lights on, we were able to put on the ornaments.  We had to make sure each spot was filled with a glittering globe or heralding angel, old-fashioned airplane or handmade wonder.  Once we were all finished, the angel was placed on top.  Every year we alternated who would be lifted up by Dad to put the angel in her place.  It was always a big deal.  It’s funny to see how certain traditions have kept up through the years.  The Christmas traditions seem to stand first in line in importance.

Spencer and I get excited starting our own traditions, adding on to ones we grew up with and beginning our own.

We wanted to make something to remember it by when we put our ornaments up on the tree each year.  So when they cut the tree at the store, we had them cut a small bit off the bottom so we could turn it into an ornament.

Image

It’s simple.  But it’s special.

Much like our Christmas tree.  It is simple.  Just 5 feet tall.  It is eclectic with a wide variety of ornaments ranging from olive wood ones I got in Israel to Harry Potter to crosses my mom gave me over the years to “our first Christmas” ornaments we’ve received as gifts to a hedgehog.  And we don’t have a tree topper or tree skirt (hopefully I’ll be able to make those at some point).  We are using colored lights because we hung out clear lights out on our back patio.  But it is our first tree and we love it!  It smells lovely and it makes us smile!

Image

My First Dabble in Painting

I’m not very artistic.  But I love figuring out my own ways to be creative.  We had a canvas lying around and I had a thought.  I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a pack of 2 canvas’ with a 40% off coupon (of course).  They ended up being about $5.  And I had some acrylic paint already.  So then I got to work.  It was a fun process.  And they didn’t turn out too bad.

Image

I used a paint pen for the words, which are lyrics to three hymns which were sang at our wedding.

The middle one has two lines from “In Christ Alone.”  My dear dear friend Natalie sang that during our ceremony when we had eucharist and washed each other’s feet.

Image

The one on the left has lyrics from the first verse of “Be Thou My Vision,” sung at our wedding when our grandparents walked in by our sweet friend Alice.  (Definitely definitely check out her music:  http://www.alicecalvery.com  and you can find her on iTunes.)

Image

And lastly the one on the right, sung before our ceremony by Alice, has lyrics to “Come Thou Fount.”

Image

Well that’s it.  They aren’t perfect.  But I’m ok with that.  I had fun.  And they hang in our house, and we like them.  Maybe I’ll come up with another painting soon.  We shall see.

Adoptions

Recently we have had so many conversations about adoptions, been involved with fundraisers for adoptions, or been researching for our own adoptions.  It just seems to be an abounding topic these days.  It brings so much joy to my heart to learn of people in our community of Jackson adopting.  And I love learning about the creative ways they are all raising money to fund their adoptions….cookbooks, clothing swaps, earrings, and all sorts of wonderfully creative things.  In fact, some friends in Montgomery, AL that are very dear to my heart are coming quite close to bringing their son home from the DRC!  And they have a friend selling these awesome ornaments as a fundraiser for them.  Definitely check them out here (and buy some!):

http://www.adoptionisgood.com/?p=439

Adoption is a topic that we are passionate about.  Hopefully we can start the adoption process in the near future.  And my sweet little sister has started a fundraiser for us.  I cannot describe how proud I am of her.  She is selling some really wonderful burlap wall art pieces with Bible verses.  She gave one to me last year for Christmas and I just love it.

Check out her website here:

http://amy4orphans.webs.com

It will be an exciting journey these next few years as the Lord unfolds His plan for our lives and family.  He is good and faithful, and we will proclaim that no matter how hard circumstances get.  It is a beautiful thing to see the church working together to look after the orphans of the world.  May the Lord continue to stir a love for the least of these in His people.