Twenty Sixteen

  

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Christmas Reflection

In the midst of the Christmas festivities, I found myself strung thin with the feeling of the world on my shoulders. Each year I say I am going to be ahead of the game and have everything prepared way before Christmas arrives and each year, Christmas hits me in the face before I even blink and realize it’s there. I am adamant it comes faster each year, don’t you agree? The feeling of getting everything wrapped, cooked, baked, and finalized for get togethers can really cause some unneeded anxiety and stress in what should be a rejoicing time of year.

Although my family is fully aware that Jesus is the reason for the season, I absolutely love giving gifts and find such joy in purchasing, making, wrapping, and giving to others. It’s one of my favorite things about Christmas aside from Jesus’ birth. This year, mini spent the night with her dad on Christmas Eve so I slept in and soaked in the quiet morning although I missed her excitement over Santa’s visit in the wee hours of the morning and I eagerly waiting for her to be home.

Our tree was absolutely beautiful Christmas morning. It had looked the same since the day I put it up but something about sitting on the couch, relaxing with Kasey, enjoying the parade, and just soaking in every second made it seem that more beautiful. There was something so serene about the calmness of not being in the hustle and bustle of the season that during those moments, I really reflected on how blessed I am. Not because I had a Christmas tree full of ornaments and lights, or presents underneath, but simply because I was awake and healthy. I was full of anticipation for my beautiful little girl to get home from her dad’s. I was full of excitement that I would be spending the next hours and days with our families and friends. I just have so much to be thankful for that I overlook and take for granted way more often than I should.

  
As the new year approaches, that is one thing that I am trying to do better at. Truly and honestly, being grateful and recognizing the many blessings daily and not just when it’s convenient. How easy it is to get caught up and only recognize our blessings when it fits into our schedule but don’t you believe that our blessings are even more apparent during our struggles and moments of weakness? It just takes a little more effort on our part to notice and appreciate them.

I hope that your Christmas was spent with those who make your heart swell. Until next time my friends,

Hollie

Hello 2015!

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Good morning from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!

I hope each of you were able to ring in the new year in a safe and memorable way. I barely could keep my eyes open to see the ball drop, I was exhausted. I did see it though and my honey snuck a kiss in so we started it off traditionally correct, all while that sweet girl of mine hogged the bed.

As I sit on the balcony hearing the waves crash and seagulls chirp (I am assuming it’s the seagulls that I hear and not another winged friend), I am so thankful. I wish you all could be here and witness the sun rising over the ocean, it’s marvelous!

Hope you have a wonderful first day of 2015!

Memorable Moments of 2014

I went through my Instagram account and saved my most memorable moments from this year. As I reflected, I thought I would share those memories with you as well.

New Year’s 2014 at Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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Losing a childhood friend way too soon. RIP Rob Young, gone but not forgotten. (The song by Luke Bryan Drink a Beer, really brings back all the fun times we shared in the time our lives intertwined).

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A great snowstorm! (We don’t see that often in N.C., it’s usually ice if anything)

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Mini’s first performance in a live production, Children of Eden.

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I am a sucker for reality shows, especially The Bachelor. My honey surprised me with a weekend getaway with a little bachelor twist. Thought it was precious.

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Out of the many concerts we saw this year, my favorite two would have to be Kutless and Garth Brooks.

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Mini’s artwork was chosen for the ACSI Fine Arts Festival held in Raleigh, N.C.

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For the second year, my girl was chosen to model in the American Girl Fashion Show. This year she modeled the pajama set.

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Our spontaneous family experiences, like hiking in the beautiful N.C. mountains.

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Taking my niece on our yearly lake vacation, her first experience with sand and water.

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Meeting some amazing God-loving women in A Beautiful Mess Bible study.

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Mini’s first day of 3rd grade and her first real haircut.

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Our date nights are always special but two of my favorite were when I surprised Kasey with tickets to his favorite band’s concert, Coheed and Cambria, and when we saw my absolute favorite love story movie, The Song.

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Mini’s first competition as an all-star cheerleader.

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Our Elf on the Shelf shenanigans.

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Biltmore weekend getaway, a first for mini.

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The hard work it took to surprise Kasey for his birthday with custom cornhole boards from the college he graduated from.

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What were some of your most memorable moments of 2014? Hope 2015 brings even more opportunities for memories!

Happy New Year!

2015 is quickly approaching and when it arrives, I will be oceanfront with my two biggest fans. For the last few years, we’ve made it a tradition to ring in the new year at the beach. It’s not about laying out in the sun and catching waves because obviously at the end of December and beginning of January, its way too frigid for that. It’s about a getaway, a renewal, a refresh of the mind and soul. It’s about spending time with those whom my heart loves most. It’s about making memories, regardless if you’re walking around in jackets and toboggans. The ocean is a cleanse no matter what time of year or season, or at least it is for us.

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? Is it something done each year traditionally or out on a whim depending on your mood? I would love to hear what you’ll be getting into and what, if any, resolutions you have. I have quite a few myself although I prefer to call them lifestyle changes for the new year, not a resolution because we all know, resolutions get broken. Mine consists of:

  • Growing closer to God through art, design, and journaling. (You’ll see posts regarding my journaling Bible experience, hope you’ll be inspired and join in as well!)
  • Making fitness and healthy eating habits, and sticking to them. (Along with the majority of the world.)
  • Attending our home Church EVERY Sunday unless (a.) we’re out-of-town, (b.) we’re sick, or (c.) circumstance out of our control. (I haven’t been attending regularly and just have allowed being busy to keep me from going, no more!)
  • Saving money better than I have been. (I plan to follow the 52-week challenge – see post below.)
  • Memorize 24 verses. (I am going to give the Siesta Scripture Memory Team by Living Proof Ministries a shot.)

Seems like a lot but in reality, it’s all doable and makes way for a positive lifestyle. I’m really looking forward to it and will periodically post how well I’m doing in each of the 5 bullet points. I also look forward to reading about your plans for the upcoming year and how you’re doing so please feel free to share.

Here’s to a Happy New Year! Stay safe and smile a lot.

52-Week Money Saving Challenge

Tomorrow is the final day of 2014 and if any of you are like me, resolutions got broken, money was wasted, and you wish you had prepared for things a little better. I can’t do much for your broken resolutions other than to tell you to dust it off and try again. Make more attainable goals and ones that motivate you instead of seem like a chore no one wants to do. I can’t assist with you being more prepared either but I can possibly help with the money wasted!

There is a 52-week money saving challenge with a check box each week you complete.¬†Here’s what it looks like:

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If you haven’t heard about it for week 1 you save $1, week 2 you save $2, week 3 you save $3 until you reach 52 weeks. If you’re successful, you will have saved $1378. There are many different visual charts online for this challenge but for the one above, here’s the link to access it:¬†52-Week Money Saving Challenge

Here’s to saving money!

Printables – Attempt #1

I am a big fan of DIY projects and such so I’m experimenting some here. I’ve drawn up some 2015 printable documents that can be framed or used as a sparkler display. I’ve scanned them to the computer and am going to attempt to upload them so it’ll be accessible for download and printing by those who choose to do so.

Please keep in mind, this might not work out like I’ve envisioned.. this is my first attempt. For anyone that has done this type of thing I would LOVE some input on your experiences and what works for you/what doesn’t. This is something that I am hoping to do more of and make available to those DIY’ers out there like me. Secondly, if you print off the sparkler sheets, use them as display only. DO NOT, I repeat, do NOT keep the sparkler in the paper when lit. I suspect that would create a huge fire hazard.

There are 3 sizes available (yet different styles) that say ‘Hello twenty fifteen’ and then 1 sheet that has 3 sparkler holders. You’ll need to print each document out and cut around the edges. For the sparkler sheets, I’ve placed slits that you’ll cut so the sparkler can fit through them.

If you use the printables and have a successful experience, I ask that you please provide credit to myself and direct others back to my blog. If you use them and find it unsuccessful, please provide me feedback regarding that as well so I can learn and hopefully make the next attempt a better and more successful attempt. Thank you!

Well, here goes nothing. Please let me know if you tried to use the documents and your experience. I apologize ahead of time if it doesn’t work, again, this is my first attempt. However, all documents have been hand drawn by me. There’s a positive!

If you use this printable, please provide me credit and let me know how it works out for you and/or what you'd like to see in the future.
Sparklers
If you use this printable, please provide me credit and let me know how it works out for you and/or what you'd like to see in the future.
4×6 & 5×7
If you use this printable, please provide me credit and let me know how it works out for you and/or what you'd like to see in the future.
8×10