Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thank you

The loving comments I received after sharing this stressful season are appreciated more than you know! Thank you so much. 

The JOY of the Lord is my strength.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Brooke's Bargains 32

I can't wait for yard sale season to be back in full swing! :) Here's a few things that I forgot to post on my last day of yard sale shopping in 2010 (I got distracted that morning because as I was loading up my car, my sister called to say that Reid would be born that day!). I also stopped by Goodwill to look around before teaching my night class last Wednesday and found some shoes for Ava and Reid.

3 pairs of shoes for $7.46. The average price for kids' shoes at Target is $15...

 large Tyler Pristine candle$0.75. Retail cost $17.95

I bought 2 of these old cabinet doors for $6 total.

I liked the hardware on them.

Dora's Talking Backpack with all the accessories inside $3. This retails for around $20.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Straight Shooting

Okay, I've dreaded this blog post but want to be honest and maybe help someone. This time three years ago, Ron & I were getting ready to move from our first house into a bigger, better house in a great area, a place we wanted to stay for a long, long time. Did I have reservations about a much bigger house payment? Yes. Did I talk myself into thinking that everything would work out fine? Yes. Did we use our home for good? Yes. Did we live happily ever after there? No.
So here's the story: About 10 months before we bought the new house, Ron landed a great job that meant we could afford a new house. Then 2 months after we moved in, he lost the job. Talk about a scary time. We managed to hang on to the house and stay afloat for a while, but that meant letting go of other things. Before long we were in a financial mess. The thing is, we never thought that would happen to us.
I look back (as I know Ron does) and think about pivotal decisions that I personally made that could have prevented the heartbreak we've experienced in the last few years, especially last 6 months. I will share my fault in this because I hope that someone benefit from my transparency. When I was expecting Ava, I resigned from my teaching job, meaning that I finished the school year and didn't renew my contract for the following term. Well, I allowed 'self' to try to fix things, and during the middle of June, I called my former principal and asked for my position back which he gladly accepted. Ava was born in July, and I returned to work in mid-October. Since then it's like I've been in the deep end of a swimming pool trying to keep my head above water. I feel pulled in every direction-- the roles of wife, mom, and teacher are demanding to say the least. I believe if I would have waited on the Lord's direction longer, I would have not returned to work that fall, and we wouldn't have bought a more expensive house. Hindsight is 20/20. Through studying the Word and personal experience, I feel that He wants moms home as much as possible. And as I stated, Ron has his own regrets.
In July 2010, Ron and I had the conversation that we'd both been avoiding-- What are we going to do? After prayer, wise counsel, and good 'ol black and white facts on paper, we realized that we had to sell the house (or worse) and start over, so to speak. My parents and sister/brother-in-law were really supportive of our decision. A week or so after our decision, my parents came over and offered for us to live with them while we work on restructuring our finances. We had planned on renting an apartment, but after praying about their offer, we agreed that it would be the fastest way to 'get it together.' It sounds silly, but I cried for two days about leaving our house. We had picked out everything inside and out: we loved the weeping mortar, the color of the brick, the distressed shutters, the large wood door, the covered patio, the dark-stained/scored concrete floors, the upgraded oil-rubbed bronze doorknobs/lighting/plumbing fixtures, custom paint colors throughout.... I had poured so much time and energy into decorating every nook and cranny of the house. I felt like I was in mourning. Of course, I reminded myself over and over that it's only a house and how blessed I am to have my husband and daughter and health. I guess it was just something I had to go through. God allowed my friend Niki to be there for me in such a special way too.
Now as I spill my guts to you about mistakes and regrets, I'm reminded that so many wonderful things have happened to me in spite of my imperfection. When I chose to go back to work, I got to be 'next door' to one of the new hires: Shannon, who is one of my very best friends in the world now; had I not gone back, I probably would have never met her. I have been able to teach around 400 more students and hopefully, touch their lives as teachers can. We were able to host a small group for our church since we had a spacious enough house for the group. I learned how to be thrifty (you have to be when you need to fill up a larger space on a tiny budget! ;) That's when I fell in LOVE with yard sale shopping, Craig's List, and Goodwill! Our home was a central point for my parents and sister/b-i-l to meet up for dinners and things. We have fabulous memories of Ava's birthday parties and lots of grilling out and family movie nights.
We moved out over my Christmas break from work. It is still for sale. If it doesn't sell soon, we'll lose it. That's a hard pill to swallow, but God is good. I know we'll walk through this season and come out stronger and better because of it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Weigh-in 6

I hit a plateau during the holidays--I was thankful that I didn't gain any though with all the delicious food and off-scheduleness around here!! This week I was elated to see 143 on the scale! My current goal is 125 although I'd love to see my wedding day weight of 112 again!
Since we've moved, I've really, really missed my work-out partner and wonderful friend Niki, but I'm blessed to get to work out every morning with my dad. He is 55 and walks about 3 miles a day. I think everybody does better with a partner. I really love running now, and again, I have to say that I NEVER thought I'd hear myself say that. And running is thrifty too! For me, I just have to have a good pair of running shoes and some music.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I love weekends:)

Friday when I was leaving work, my sister texted me to see what we were doing that night. I responded, "Laundry." (Real fun, right?) But my brother-in-law had a meeting in our town, so Britt and Reid came to visit. We made semi-homemade pizza, salad, and corn on the cob. Then my dad made fudge for us-- Brittany can always talk him into it. No laundry for me!! It was fun to hang out and relax.

Saturday morning, Ava and I woke up early. She wanted to watch a movie while I read for a while. Then we picked up Ron's mom for a visit and headed to my grandfather's 81st birthday party. He's my last grandparent, so I treasure the time I have with him and that Ava will remember him. Saturday night was spent with laundry:( ha! Silver lining on that: I got to catch up on The Bachelor while folding!

Here's some snapshots of our weekend:

My papaw with his only two grandchildren and only two great-grandchildren.

My favorite babies in the world!

Look how handsome he is!!

Ava with her grandmothers

Britt and I showed up at the party with matching shirts;)


Ava picked out her outfit today.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review 7

My husband got me a Pandigital Novel for Christmas! It's a reader similar to a Kindle or Nook. It is a Barnes and Noble product so with a B & N account, I can download books. Last night I downloaded my first book, so I'll let you know what I think soon.

If you live in the Memphis, TN area, check out the discount Christian bookstore at Wolfchase Mall. The books are 50-60% less than what I pay when shopping at Family Christian/Lifeway!!
Since I loved Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist so much, I decided to buy her first book, A Bride Most Begrudging. I couldn't put it down either. I like her writing style because she hooks you from the first chapter and as a history teacher, I love the historical aspect of the books as well.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day

We don't get much snow in Northwest Mississippi, so when we do it is exciting! I think our last "big snow" was three years ago. And as a teacher, I can't help but get a little thrilled that we get to miss school (even if it means a make up day later in the semester;). Ava woke us up this morning with news of the winter wonderland. After breakfast, the three of us bundled up and enjoyed a snow ball fight and making a snow princess. 

She loved it!!

my parents' backyard

Ron and Ava making "Frostista."

snow princesses:)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


First, I'm going to just do a collage of Christmas pictures for now because I've been trying to 'fix' my blog header for hours (thanks for your help, Britt!) I have lots to update on later... Here you'll see that I've been learning about;)

Saturday, January 1, 2011


We moved on December 19... Still waiting for our internet provider to come hook us up:(. This is from my phone. Ready to blog again! Happy new year!!