she has my heart

I was a nanny for a little girl a few months back and I watched her for about 2 years total.  I haven't been able to see their family much lately because of school but I was finally able to spend time with them today and it was the absolute best. Well now her momma is pregnant with baby number two and we celebrated with a baby shower for her.  Little baby Ruby will be here any day now! I'm so stinking excited.  Here's some pictures from today of the sister-to-be and her friends!

all images © Chestnut Tree Photography

 Isn't she such a little princess?
She put her dancing dress on for everyone to see,
and then she pranced around in
her ballet dress.
I could just eat her up.

new nicole here!


All right friends
here's the dealio
Have y'all noticed this negative aura surrounding my blog lately? 
Consider it peaced out.
Negative Nicole has left the building
with no return in sight.
aren't you glad?
me too.
had this rad convo
with a special someone
I call
Mr last night
and Jesus spoke through him
and showed me some
things I need to change.
that Jesus.
I promise to provide 
some more substance around here.
Thanks for hanging around,
can we still be friends?

I might.. just maybe..
post pictures of me and Mr again,
not sure if his hotness can handle this place yet.
But it's in the works friends.
Sound good?

wish I could take it back..

Do you ever say something to a person, and mid sentence wish there was some way to pull it all back in, as if nothing was ever said?  I had that moment tonight with Mr. I said something I shouldn't have and I made him feel bad.  It was over something dumb and materialistic and now I feel terrible.  There's nothing I can do to take back the things I said.  It was so meaningless too, there was no point for it.  I didn't anticipate the hurt I saw in him.  But it was there and I've never felt more low than I do right now.  I'm probably scaring all of you, thinking I'm some crazy mean wife, but I promise I'm not.  I just wasn't thinking at all and didn't take into consideration the fact that what I told Mr. would hurt his feelings.  Instead, I just thought of myself and what I wanted.  Ugh.  Sorry if this post is really confusing, I'm just getting out thoughts.

Do you guys ever have word vomit?

superb driver here

i'm really excellent when it comes to cars.

three days after i purchased my car (new yrs eve), a hub cap fell off mid drive..
bouncing back, scratching, and denting my car

two weeks ago i pulled into a cement post while parking at school
and put a nice shiner on my license plate.

last week i locked my keys in the trunk.

today i ran over a tire on the freeway. 
a nice man did indeed pull over to the side of the freeway with me and
duct tape my car back together.

perhaps i should invest in a bike, or public transportation.

especially with the recent jump in gas prices. maybe i'll save a few bucks.

and on a side note...
i cannot WAIT for friday.
i've jumped onto the bandwagon.

tv turn off week

i have a confession.
this last week was
national turn off your tv week.

i know what you're asking..
why would such a week exist
when tv is so educational 
and informative and
allows you to 
feel so
i asked these questions too.

i was assigned to turn off my tv all week
and write a paper about my experiences.

the problem is,
i did not just subscribe to
one month free of netflix and watch Army Wives 

i'd also like to make it clear that
i did not sit on Skype with Mr and
watch fantasy factory.

and just so we're all on the same page
i did not watch ellen degeneres
everyday at 4 p.m.
since the kids i nanny for were
on spring break this week so i could finally
watch her for the first time
all semester.

looks like this paper
will be a breeze
with all the tv watching


the graduate!

my best friend is graduating!!
here's a little sneak peek of her senior pics.

 © Chestnut Tree Photography

for more images from our shoot 
go here 

love you linds!


because the sun in shining here's
some happiness for today

"saturate your heart with love"

ups and downs

today has been full up lots of ups and downs. 

at midnight last night my uncle passed away after battling cancer for a few years.
he was doing really well up until this last month, out of nowhere
the doctors told him there was nothing left for them to do
and so he went home to peacefully pass away. 
i'm okay, but my family is struggling.

we also got news today that my dad will be needing
spinal surgery for an injury he acquired a few months ago from 
falling down some wet stairs at our church. 
he will be okay, but it was just interesting timing for
God to give us that news on this day. 

but to lift our spirits Jesus blessed us with a baby today.
my Godson was born this morning and i couldn't be more ecstatic about that.
he is so unbelievably precious from the pictures i have seen.
i live about 2 hours away from mama bear and baby so i'll be going down
to spend some time with them in the next few days here.
it will be absolutely amazing and i can't wait 
to hold her little bundle of joy!

i also got to spend the afternoon with my little bro which 
was real fun. he came over to help me install this new printer
we got for free (score!) and then we had pizza and browsed around
barnes and noble. we don't get to see each other often lately because
we're two, busy college students and he has a little gal he
likes to spend time with ;) which is great because i love to see
him so happy and she's a sweetheart. oh to be young and in love.
what am i saying? i am young and in love :)
anyway, today we got to hang for
a little while and i had a ton of fun with him!

so it was an interesting day altogether. 
i've been through some strange yet amazing emotions.
at the end of today i can be truly thankful for
sweet baby eli :) i love him so much already.

Surviving Deployment: Neidy's Infinite Playlist

If you're new to this here blog, catch up on the details for my weekly feature here.

Neidy from Neidy's Infinite Playlist is this week's Surviving Deployment Feature!


Tell us a little about yourself:
I'm Mrs. Neidy H, I've been married for only two weeks now, I've been going to school for Media Arts with an emphasis in cinematographer (I want to be a camerawoman for movies), I LOVE music with a passion, anything vintage, I love crafting, I love making artwork, and adore photography beyond anything. And I almost ALWAYS wear a flower in my hair.

What is your relationship status?
Newlywed! :)

Do you have kiddos? If so, how has the transition to "single parenting" affected you?
Not yet!

What branch of service is your spouse/significant other?
U.S. Marine Corps!

What is your duty station?
Camp Pendleton

How long is this current deployment?
Well, he just got back from his in November and will be leaving again in October/November for 7 months.

How often are you guys able to communicate?
In our last one it was an average of 2 weeks. It was either 30 minutes on facebook chat or 30 minutes on the phone. There were a bunch of emails though! I got one at least every 4-5 days.

What kind of support (group) have you found during this deployment?
(other milspouses/blogging/family)
Blogging was a BIGGIE. I started blogging about 3-4 months into deployment.

Does your family support your spouse/significant others' choice to serve? 
They never really think about it. My family is completely hispanic so they don't really understand it. They're proud of him though.

What have you found that helps you cope best with the stress of deployment?
It's combination of many things. Blogging, being a Christian, emailing, and tons of ice cream. Emailing him every single day just tell him the little things definitely took the stress off. Also, Mr. H's family is EXTREMELY awesome. Talking to them was also very soothing since there's ALOT of them (he's from a family of 10 kids). :) We survived!

Good luck on your upcoming deployment Neidy, and congratulations on being a newlywed! What an exciting time for the two of you to share before he leaves again! Don't forget to check out Neidy over at her cute little blog Neidy's Infinite Playlist :)

p.s. Sorry I haven't been as consistent with this, I'm on overload at school right now and got a little behind on getting features up, so if you have emailed me your filled out survey and haven't seen your post go up yet, don't worry, I promise I'm getting to it! Life just got in the way of blogging the past couple weeks. But thanks for hanging in there with me and wanting to be part of this! I truly love this feature and look forward to getting them up for everyone else to see! We can all feel less alone when we meet these lovely gals each week. Don't ya think? :)

what i'm loving sunday

to start off this might sound a
bit strange but i'm sure most of you can relate
to feelings like this.
i've never really felt like i had much to 
contribute with my life story.
nothing life changing has ever happened to me
in terms of sickness, death or missions in life.
but i have been dealing with this deployment over
the last few months and amidst prayer and searching
deep in my heart i've wondered if and hoped that this
 is my big moment. the big life changing event.
i'm really hoping it is because Lord willing
i prefer not to touch on the latter.
does that all make sense?
i sure hope so b/c it
sounds a little wonky re-reading it,
can anyone else relate?

 today in church i was reminded of the importance to
embrace my story
although much of what i'm going through isn't
in sync to what i had imagined and hoped for in life,
it doesn't really matter because 
God is writing my story, not me.
(thank goodness, right?)

how many times do we refer to ourselves
without ever intending to sound self absorbed?
i can count eight references in that first stanza.
it's inevitable. we live to make ourselves
happier, reassured, better-looking or richer.
it's easy to get caught up in the i me mine world.

as of late, it's been really hard to see the importance
of helping others when i feel so low myself. 
but i was reminded today that my situation can help others. 
and maybe that's why God wrote this chapter in my life story.
it's not always about me, shocker
i know!

when i fall into that low pit of despair from time to time
i'm reminded of other military spouse friends
who are going through a similar situation to my own
and then i feel less alone because 
(though it may be selfish)
someone else has an ache in their 
heart that won't go away
just like i do. 
if it weren't for those precious friends, 
that pit of despair might last longer.

i can be that for someone.
for a girl i may not even know.
my story can help someone. 
i can be the girl you think of when it hurts
because you have to spend another day alone
or because you despise looking at all the happy couples 
around, wishing it could be you.
you can think of me
and feel less alone because 
i've been there
and i'm currently there.

in my ideal world, my husband would be home
and wake up next to me every morning
but the beauty of it all is that
in those desperate hours where the ache is so bad
and i long so much for the embrace of my husband
i can remember that my Creator made me
for something bigger. He allowed this chapter in my life.
my story, while not how i planned it, is absolutely perfect for me
because i'm not writing it.  
and i'm not actually supposed to.
the Creator of this world is the author
and He has uniquely designed it for me and for you.
i don't need to try and understand why
i'm spending my first year of marriage
away from the one i love.
it's all been mapped out in advance.

it really doesn't matter what i want, it matters how i use
the story God has written
to better my relationship with Him
and also help those who need to feel comfort
and be encouraged, by saying
you can do this.

nobody has your story.
so embrace what your Creator has written
uniquely for you
maybe it will bless someone else
and in turn you will find
joy in that.

mossy "W"

And the decorating continues...

 apparently all i do is craft now
i followed this tutorial for the moss
and this one for the rosettes
i may or may not moss my entire house
loving it

[linking up]

spring wreath: tutorial

I've seen a number of these yarn and felt wreaths on the internet and I was browsing around JoAnn's yesterday (because EVERYTHING is 50% off) and I remembered that I wanted to make one for spring so I thought I'd share with y'all how I made mine because it's so easy, cheap and really fun too!

  • Yarn
  • A styrofoam wreath 
  • Push pins (I chose ones with pearls to add a little touch of cutness)
  • One sheet of felt "paper" (I plan on taking 3 of the 4 pictured here back b/c I really only used about half of a sheet)
  • Scissors
  • Hemp or Ribbon to hang your wreath when finished (not pictured..sorry!)

Step 1:
Cut a pretty lengthy strip of yarn and tie a knot in the end of it. Place a push pin through the knot to secure the strip of yarn, the push pin will later be covered up by yarn flowers so don't worry about it showing through. 

Step 2:
Start to wrap the yarn tightly around the foam. To switch colors just tie the two pieces of yarn together, like you're making a longer strip, and keep wrapping.

Step 3:
Cut out quarter sized circles in the felt. I used about 3/4 of the piece of felt.  The circles don't have to be perfect so if you're OCD like me, just let it go and don't stress over perfectly round circles :) Then fold circles and place a push pin through the center, or wherever you'd like.  Not all the flowers need to be folded the same because it adds nice texture when they're different. To secure the flowers onto the wreath, just push them into the foam using your push pin. These were inspired by Goodnight Moon's flowers!

 Voila! You have a pretty little wreath that only took you about an hour or two to make and cost about $8 total! Pretty easy, right? Hope you guys try making one..if you use my tutorial, let me know so I can see your pretty projects too! Maybe I'll say pretty one more time..


spring has sprung

hey friends!
i've been a little m.i.a. because i've been out enjoying springtime.
this weather has made me quite a happy gal lately.
i much prefer warm weather to cold. 
i love keeping my backdoor open to feel the afternoon sun shine in, and
getting to decorate my house for spring is the absolute best.

the flowers were from the flower girl in my wedding and the tin can was part of the
centerpiece arrangement from my cousin's wedding. the leaf dish
and owl soap were a surprise gift from a sweet friend of mine one day at school.

i love walking around school and finding fun little pictures like these :) the flower
petals on the walkway were SO pretty in person, i wished that i had more
than my iPhone to get that picture because it really doesn't do it any kind of justice.

i put those plants in pots all on my own, i was so excited.
now my mission is to keep them alive.
the other little pile of fun decor makes me smile everytime
i walk by it in my house :)

happy spring!

wordless wednesday

i decided to give myself a personal day today so i got in my car and drove until i found a pretty spot for pictures. i ended up at some horse stables and instead of horses i found dozens of ladybugs and butterflies. there was a light breeze and sunny skies, it was just perfect :) 


all images © Chestnut Tree Photography

his boots

this isn't Mr. but,
seeing those boots is so comforting to me
at one point or another he's been far from home and missed by loved ones
maybe those boots have tread the same ground Mr. walks on right now
the soldier wearing them knows what it's like to endure separation
he's survived on letters from home
Mr. was in those boots for our last embrace and will be in our next
in the book "you know when the men are gone" by siobhan fallon one
of the characters talks about an ache inside her when she sees someone in uniform
but also the longing she has to jump in their arms as if it were her own husband
i get that


thank you also to everyone who opened up about their church wounds
from my last post. i appreciated each and every one of your stories, and i'm so
happy to know my post touched some of you.

church wounds

This post is probably going to be somewhat controversial, and maybe not to many people I don't know, but specifically to those I DO know.  With that being said, please know this is not meant to hurt feelings, point fingers, look 'holier than thou,' or burn bridges.  Nor is this post meant to say I'm right and you're wrong. This is simply a post to get out feelings I've harbored inside for quite some time and have come to a place in my life where I'm ready to get them out so I can move on.  It's also really lengthy, so bear with me. I'd really appreciate positive feedback, whether you disagree respectfully or fully agree with me!

I grew up in a very small, independent Baptist church.  Skirts, King James version bibles, hymns, ties, fire and brimstone sermons were all part of this church.  And for many years this was all I knew.  My parents went there, so of course I went there as well.  I had many wonderful friends at this church, and still consider many of those people dear to my heart.  Even still, I knew something about the way worship was portrayed at this church was not fit for me, or the convictions Jesus placed in my heart.  I knew there was more to God than reading "thees" and "thous," and wearing skirts on Sunday mornings.  It was all too idealistic for me, in that "if we do this, this, and this, we are good for the week, oh ya and we're the only right church." It didn't make sense to me that independent Baptist churches were the only right church, as believed by many there.

Around the age of 7 or 8 a lot of my friends started getting baptized.  This outward profession of faith was almost the ticket to being in the "secret club" of this church.  Everyone accepted you after you became a member of the church.  You could then take part in Communion and have your birthday announced in the Sunday bulletin.  But until then, you were the black sheep of the church.  As awful as that sounds, it's exactly how I felt for the duration of my time there.  After my friends had all been baptized at this young age, all eyes turned to me. "Why hasn't she?" "When will she be?"  I was a timid 8 year old little girl and the last thing I wanted to do was stand in front of 100 people [or so] and profess my faith.  It was fear that stopped me at such a young age.

As I grew older and gained more understanding of my faith, I knew going to church was right, and getting baptized was a command from God, but I also knew I never wanted to attend church on Sunday mornings, and I didn't want to be a member of THIS church.  I would fake sick on Sundays just so I wouldn't have to sit through another sermon feeling like the Pastor was yelling at me as he shouted from the pulpit.  I always asked to be excused near the end of each sermon so I could avoid the awkward invitationals, because each week I felt like everyone expected me to go forward and finally get baptized.

It never made sense to me why my little "sin" of not being baptized put such a wall between me and everyone else accepting me.  It really puzzled me when I realized all of the terrible things that teens in our church were taking part in, (drugs, sex and alcohol) yet somehow their sins were overlooked.  Even some adults were living questionable lifestyles outside of church but were not questioned inside church because they were able to put on a good front.  I'm a really honest person and will more than likely tell you my life story if you ask.  I have nothing to hide and to this day, I am bothered by those who live double lives. Everyone struggles with sin, whether it be drugs, cheating, or lying...everyone has something. Why not just admit what it is so others can help you? Why keep up the facade? It has to be eating away at you..ANYWAY sorry to get off on a tangent..I know my choice to not be baptized at their church was viewed as disobedience in their eyes, but was it really disobedient of me to not join a group of believers I didn't agree with? I had no choice of going to another church at the time, because we went to church as a family, no questions asked. 

Some people at this church weren't beyond making someone feel uncomfortable.  I remember one Sunday morning in particular.  There were 4 people [including myself] in my Jr High Sunday school class.  It was the first day in our new class.  All 4 of us had grown up together and everyone knew that I was the only one who had not yet been baptized. Well, the teacher [whom I also grew up with, and had known since birth] decided that his first question to us in this new class would be "Who in here has been baptized?" As if for some reason he hadn't been around the last 14 years and seen all 3 of my friends get baptized? Give me a break...anyway! The 3 friends I had grown up with all raised their hands and I sat there with my hand down, once again, the unaccepted black sheep.  Just because I had not become a member of what I soon referred to as THEIR church, not MY church. That was the final straw.

I finally started asking questions.  I asked my parents, I asked God, I asked others around me. Why did men wear suits on Sunday mornings, ties on Sunday nights and jeans on Wednesday nights?  Don't we worship the same God every hour, every day, all around the world?  Why are upbeat worship songs wrong? I assume since you condemn them for church worship you don't listen to anything with a drumbeat during the week? Do you not listen to Christian radio on week days or even worse contemporary secular radio?  What makes the KJV Bible the only accepted one?  No answer was good enough for me.  I was 14 when I told my parents I could no longer worship at their church.  The principles of the church made no sense to me.

I had been attending a weekly youth group at another, more contemporary church close by.  After a lot of prayer and family discussions, they finally decided to join me and part ways with the independent Baptist church.  It was like a breath of fresh air, so cliche I'm sorry, but it's true.  I almost felt like I discovered a new God after leaving that church.  A God whose love is everlasting, a God who sent His son, Jesus to die for me AND the people who don't wear suits to church.  He died for the people who listen to secular music, He died for the people who like to dance, He died for the people who do drugs, He died for the too timid to be baptized, scared, 8 year old girl.

All too often Christians get caught up with the dos and donts of Christianity and it takes away from the beautiful message of salvation. While it is important to remain obedient to the Scriptures, and encourage our brothers and sisters if we see them fall.  We must first look at our OWN lives and let God take care of the judging. Matthew 7:1-3 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

I know it was never the intention of the church members to exclude me and point fingers, but as a child I was deeply hurt by these people. Though we left the church by choice and found hope in God at a new place of worship, we still felt hurt and disowned from the members there.  People stopped calling us, told us our new church was not doctrinally sound, and that we would be back eventually. Years later I am still hurt by the way this church treated me, which is why I chose to write it all out.  I have forgiven those who outright pointed fingers at me, but the wounds will always be there. At the church I attend now, baptism is preached, but not in such a way that condemns those who haven't yet made that step of faith.  Baptism is presented as an outward profession of the miracle that has been done in your heart once you accept Jesus as your Savior. It is seen as an exciting milestone in one's life, one to be celebrated and praised for, not as a right into some secret acceptance club. My parents have since moved to an even more contemporary church, and my husband and I have done the same.

Again, this post was not meant to burn bridges with those friends of mine who still attend this church, I don't think they are bad people nor do I wish to hurt their feelings. This was a post to release pain I've had toward actions taken by some who attended during the time I was there. I have not been to this church in many years, and it may have changed since then, but this was my experience for the duration of my time there. I was given a firm foundation at this independent Baptist church, and wouldn't be who I am today had I not attended there in my youth.  In addition to the foundation I was provided, I have also maintained many solid friendships over the years, with members there, and I love those people dearly. However, I don't agree with a lot of the church teachings and will never be back.

For the record, I don't call myself a religious person.  I prefer to call myself relational because I don't have a religion with Jesus, I have a relationship with Him.. Oh, and I apologize if I began rambling on and making no sense, it was hard to condense this post. I could really write a book about this.

Have you ever been wounded by church?