Photo by: John and Lisa Merrill


Sewing Machine

Thanks to my awesome mother-in-law and sister-in-law, I am now the proud owner of a new sewing machine! They found this one on clearance at Target for $35! {the regular price was around $150}

I have very limited knowledge when it comes to sewing, but I am eager to learn! My head is spinning just thinking of the possibilities!

So.... if you have ANY advice at all, PLEASE comment or send me an email. I am in need of good websites, stores, or just any helpful suggestions of where to start.

Happy Palm Sunday!


If I Were a Photographer...

I would want to take pictures like this:

Mandy Lynne is the photographer's name. I found her randomly on art.com but she has her own website you can check out here. Love love love.


Love Her

This little lady is my youngest sister. I spent yesterday celebrating her birthday.. the big 2-0! We hit up two Nashville hot spots {Noshville & Loveless}, did some shopping, and finished the night with Gigi's Cupcakes and the Wii. She is wonderfully unique, creative, compassionate, and funny... and I just love her to death! I can't imagine my life without her in it and I am honored to call her my sis.


Couponing Event!

Do you love couponing?

Do you wish you knew how to
save more money every month?

Well, I am SO excited that the founder {Jenny Martin} of SouthernSavers.com is coming to the Nashville area in May! I have used this website for over a year now and have saved TONS and TONS of money on my grocery bills thanks to Jenny's lists.

Even if you aren't currently a "couponer", come and see what the excitement is all about! I can pretty much guarantee you will be hooked in no time... finding good deals can be quite addictive ;)

To buy tickets or get more information: go here

I promise it will be worth your time and money!


Keeping It Real

This is how I feel today:

Frazzled. Disorganized. Overwhelmed. Even my "to-do list" is a mess. Grocery shopping, menu planning, couponing, planning my sister's bridal shower, cleaning, folding laundry, finding Carter's lost birth certificate{what kind of mom loses her son's birth certificate?!}, ordering him a NEW birth certificate, ordering our passports, dealing with government agencies, etc.... all while my little man is tearing through my coupons, throwing DVDs around the living room, and screaming for more food. Ahhhhhh!

This is when it hit me. I told someone I would pray for them. Then, as I started to pray... and realized that I hadn't even prayed for myself or my family today. It is hard to go before the Lord for someone you barely know, when you haven't even acknowledged His presence all day. Forgive me, Lord. And please clear my cluttered mind.


Photo by: Angelo Cavalli
"Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists....
If I find myself a desire
which no experience in this world can satisfy,
the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it,
that does not prove that the universe is a fraud.
Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it,
but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing....
I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country,
which I shall not find till after death;
I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside;
I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same."
Mere Christianity
C.S. Lewis


Will You Pray For Him?

This handsome dude is my brother, Nathan.
He's in Haiti for the next several days and could really use your prayers. He wasn't sure what to expect upon arrival and has no agenda for his time there other than to help those in need.
Thanks in advance for your prayers.
*Photo by Michele Gorden


I attended a parenting seminar a few weeks ago {By Dave Thomas from Daystar Counseling} and there is one Bible verse he shared that keeps ringing in my head.

Maybe it's because it is SO relevant for my life right now.

Maybe it is relevant for you too.

" We also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character;
and character, hope.
And hope does not disappoint..."
Romans 5:3-5
He shared this in the context of parenting by saying that as parents, who doesn't want a child with character? I mean, isn't that one of the main things we are working toward? Well, what produces character? Perseverance. And how do you display perseverance? Through suffering. That's a tough pill to swallow when I look at my own life, but even harder to accept when thinking about my son's life. Thankfully, we are promised that character produces hope ..... and hope does not disappoint. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to believe in something that does not disappoint!
So wherever you are on this journey... rejoice! God is making something good out of your suffering.


Warning: Long Post Ahead!

This blog isn't intended to be all about me, but...

Maybe you know me from the past... and don't know very much about my present life.

Or maybe we're friends right now... and you don't know much about my past.

Or perhaps you don't even know me at all ...

Whatever the case, here is a little bit of info about me:

I was born on the longest day of the year {the day with the most sunlight} in St. Louis, MO.

I am the daughter of a minister and the oldest of 4 children.

I have two younger sisters {25 and almost 20} and a younger brother {21}.

I am very much your typical first born: responsible, opinionated, loyal, and oh yes- "sometimes" bossy.

When I was 4, my family moved to Orlando, FL.

I lived there for 12 years and attended the same private school for K-10th grade.

I spent WAY too much time at Disney {and other amusement parks} growing up... which makes me seem like a brat sometimes when I just don't get into the Disney hype.

My dad traveled 4-5 days a week when I was growing up.

Because of this, and for other reasons, my mom is my hero.

At a very young age, I gave my life to the Lord.

I sometimes wish my faith was still as pure and innocent as the first time I recognized my need for Him.

When I was 16, my family moved from Orlando to Nashville.

This ended up being one of the BEST things for me since it forced me out of my comfort zone. I made a whole new set of high school friends and am very thankful for God's provision over this time in my life.

After high school, I went to Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA for 1 year. Without a doubt, the LONGEST year of my life... but I met my future husband there... so I really can't complain :)

Jeremy and I met through mutual friends one September night in 2000. We were instantly intrigued by one another and started dating about a month later.

He is also a first born {of 5!}. We share the same values and have similar upbringings, but are also complete opposites in many ways. He is a strong, dependable, perfectionistic man with a very soft side that few people get to see. {More on him later}

I left Liberty in May of 2001 and that started a looonnggg courtship that lasted several years, most of which was long-distance.

I moved back to Nashville and enrolled at Belmont University.

I lived at home for the next 3 years and graduated in 2004 with a B.S. in Psychology.

Shortly after graduation, Jeremy and I decided that we were tired of living in different cities, so we moved to Washington, DC. Jeremy lived near there during high school and college, and we had always LOVED the city.

This was without a doubt one of the best decisions we EVER made. It allowed us to gain some independence in our relationship and really focus on each other.

I started graduate school {for School Counseling} at Marymount University that fall.

Jeremy and I got engaged in NYC in January of 2005. He outdid himself... but made me the happiest girl in the whole world that night!!

Our engagement lasted about 15 months and we finally got married on April 29, 2006. The entire day was like a dream come true...in every single way.

About 3 months after we got married, we found out I was pregnant. It was VERY unexpected. We quickly tried to come to terms with the fact that we were going to have a child, but 12 weeks into the pregnancy we found out through an ultrasound that our baby had died.

I can't explain the trauma or grief that occurred after this. I lost a part of myself during this time and the grief has come in waves and has many layers to it. {More on this in another post}

I finished out grad school that year and graduated in May 2007.

In July 2007, we moved back to Nashville!

I started working at a high school just south of Nashville as the 9th grade counselor. A crazy job that I had a love-hate relationship with, but allowed me to meet some of the most wonderful people!

In December 2007, we had a 2nd miscarriage. We found out about this one through an ultrasound as well. It was tragic, but much more bearable the 2nd time around. Your heart puts up a wall as a defense mechanism, I guess. One person can only endure so much pain.

By this point, we were really ready for a child and our hearts ached with longing.

We found out in April 2008 that were were pregnant yet again.I was very cautious in my enthusiasm, but early in the pregnancy I was overcome with an incredible sense of peace. THIS was the child God had chosen for us.

On a snowy morning in December 2008, our precious little man arrived. Carter instantly filled a void in my life that had been missing since our first miscarriage. He put my heart back together.

I stopped working full-time in June of 2009 and have been at home with Carterman ever since. It is where I'm supposed to be... for now anyways.

That brings me to the present. We are in the midst of LOTS of challenges, but my faith is growing daily. I can only hope the trials we are enduring are going to produce an even deeper, stronger faith when we come out of this valley.

God is good. All the time.

A few other bits of random, useless information about me:

I love to cook. I hate cleaning, but hate a messy house even more. I love to read. I love to travel. I really really really like coffee. {I'm also completely addicted} Anything vintage makes me happy. I would be perfectly content if my entire wardrobe consisted of nothing but Uggs and Juicy Couture. I'm a girly girl through and through. This means I don't like getting dirty or being outside for extended periods of time. Especially if it is hot. I complain too much. And I can be very defensive if you attack my values or the people that I love. I'm a quiet leader. And a talkative introvert. Anything else you want to know, just ask :)

Thanks for reading!


What's In A Name?

I was reading in 2 Corinthians a few months ago when I came across this passage. I'm not a theologian by any means, but I'm pretty sure that Paul is pleading with the church in Corinth to open their hearts to the gospel... to truth. Open Wide Your Hearts. These words literally jumped off the page when I read them, so I quickly scribbled them down on a piece of paper and stuffed it in my Bible. I knew I would want to use them later. Fast forward a few months to when I was trying to think of a name for this blog... and I came across a little piece of paper with the perfect name: Open Wide Your Hearts.
Why do we close our hearts ? Fear. Insecurity. Pride. Selfishness.
The list could go on...
God is calling us to open our hearts to Him.
Not just a crack. Open them WIDE.
Let love in.


A New Beginning


I started blogging when I was pregnant with my son (over a year ago) with the intention of tracking my pregnancy and the beginning of motherhood. I couldn't quite find my niche and eventually just decided to start from scratch with this whole blogging thing. THIS blog has been on my heart for several months now. Here is what it's all about:

People need encouragement. They need to be inspired. And they need a place to connect with other like-minded people.

My goal is to encourage and inspire. Simple as that. I find that in my own life these things {encouragement and inspiration} can come from a wide variety of sources and my hope is that someone, somewhere will find something on this blog helpful in their own life. I'm not perfect and have no interest in portraying a perfect life. Transparency takes courage, but I'm ready for the challenge.

I hope you'll visit often!