Letter to me

Most of you are probably familiar with Brad Paisley’s “Letter to Me.”  It’s still one of my favorites of his and everytime I hear it, I think about what my own would be like.  So… here’s a letter to my 16 year old self (not near as creative as Mr. Paisley, but that’s why I’m not paid the big bucks).

Dear Lace,

First off, do not sweat that paper for AP US History.  You won’t do so hot on the AP Exam, but you’ll make so many fun memories from that class that it doesn’t matter anyway (by the way, that class will be harder than the actual History classes in college, so quit stressing out).  Thank Ms. Davenport for challenging you so much… you’ll learn what a great (albeit… different) teacher she is.

You’re starting to really think about what you want to do and despite your ambitions, being the first female head football coach of the University of Alabama is just not looking…. good. (By the way, the coach ‘Bama hires in a few years will turn the whole program around and you won’t have to take the abuse of UT winning each year much longer! And Fulmer GOES AWAY!)  Teaching is really where you’ve always wanted to be… really pay attention in the Service Learning class  you take in Mom’s Kindergarten classroom next year and your eyes will be opened to whether or not it’s the career for you (Hint: it is).

So this Brett fella  is in your Honors Algebra II class.  You are one of the only juniors in there because Math just isn’t your thing, and I know he likes to remind you of it.  A LOT. He drives you crazy, right? But I promise you two will get to be the best of friends to the shock of both of you by the end of senior year.  He’ll be there when you’re upset, celebrate with you when you’re happy, and let’s just say you won’t be able to imagine your life without him.   I won’t go into many more details because the ride you two will have is well worth it and I don’t want to spoil it (but he’ll still sometimes drive you crazy). :)

Don’t sweat the college decision… I know MTSU is where you think you’re going and you don’t want to, but God will work out the perfect place for you. In fact, it’ll be where you always wanted around here.  And the friends you make there? It’s true- you meet your best friends (with the exception of one or two) in college.

A few more helpful tidbits: Mom and Dad are usually (ok, just about always) right.  Don’t speed on that super-tempting 5 lane part of Lebanon Road.  Seek God in everything you do.  Pray and read the Bible every single day.  Thank your good teachers.  I wish you would start loving running in high school… it’ll make the next few years a lot easier on yourself.

Enjoy the rest of high school and being a kid (yes, you are one no matter what you think)… Brad Paisley said it best…

Let me end by saying have no fear, these are nowhere near the best years of your life.

Two things: 1. I really was that skinny and thought to myself, "Eeesh, I don't look so skinny" back then?" 2. I used to rock a colorful belt. That needs to come back (or maybe stay in time on the last day of Sophomore Year).

~ Lace

Lists are my friend.

I’d love to say that I’m going to write a coherent blog today, but that’s just not in the cards (I think that’s the first time I’ve used that phrase…. ever).  So, hooray for random thoughts thrown together!

  1. I am stoked for football season. I watched the A-Day game yesterday (Alabama’s Spring game) and the Million Dollar Band got me PUMPED, along with Nick Saban screaming his face off.  Alabama won!
  2. Alabama won because they played against teammates (Crimson vs White).  Felt like I needed to explain this in case you weren’t born and raised correctly in a SEC household.
  3. Also, while I am indeed stoked for football season, that would mean August would be here.  And a new school year with 20-something new babies in my class. And when August rolls around, I’ll be beyond stoked for that too, but right now babygirl is looking forward to summer break (like sleeping in, a day at the pool, and you know getting married!).   So football season, I’ll enjoy the wait too.
  4. I tend to overexplain.
  5. While I am Southern in that football being behind God & your family in your priorities, I am not when it comes to table decorating.  I went to a Spring Fling at church with my Mama the other day, and some of those tables were straight from Southern Living.  When they said we could go eat, I was going to bring the plate my Mom had for her garden-themed table.  Her response? “These plates aren’t for eating.  They’re for looks.” WHAT? Clearly, this is not one of my spiritual gifts.

    Who thinks of a lemon-themed table? Cute.

  6. This past week was testing week for my class, so Friday afternoon we relaxed and finished the movie Flipper that we had started before Break.  They LOVED it.  Just so happens “dolphin” is one of our spelling words for next week and they were so excited. I totally planned that. NOT.

  7. Speaking of Flipper, one of my Dad’s favorite stories for going on 20 years now is when I was around 3 or 4, we went on a boat ride in Florida.  While on the boat, there were 2 kids and a dolphin a little ways out that were waving at us (the boys, not the dolphin).  My Dad said, “Look Lace! There’s Bud, Sandy, and Flipper!!!” I go BEZERK.  Little did I know that show was made about in the 70s, aka 20 years prior to this. 
  8. Just listen to it. You’re happier now, yes?
  9. We ordered a dinette set! It should come in next weekend.  Will be perfect for our spot. We saw it in January, but being the nut that I am, I had to check 20 other stores to make sure there wasn’t one I liked more.
  10. I’m really into bananas and peanut butter lately.  Just call me Elvis.

Thank you, Mr. Larry

The other day, I, along with my class and other 2nd grade classrooms, (I have a feeling I’m using too many commas) had the honor of having a true American hero speak to us.

His name is Mr. Larry. He is retired from the U.S. Army, but is hardly lounging in Ft. Lauderdale watching the waves roll in from his retirement home.  In fact, you’d hardly think he was retired when you met him. He is young, in shape (one of my students, “Check. out. his. MUSCLES. Geez louise!”), and is energetic enough to speak to around 60 7 and 8 year olds in an elementary school cafeteria before 9 a.m.

Oh, and by the way- he goes back to Iraq next week.

But you heard me say he’s retired…. he is retired.  From the Army.  He now works for the Defense Department as super-important job that I’m not going to embarrass myself trying to describe.

Oh, and his hearing isn’t so great anymore due to the huge amount of gunfire that he’s been exposed to for years.

Mr. Larry is a hero for many reasons.  Some more obvious than others.  As my class and I discussed, he is one for protecting us, leaving his wife & family so we are safe, and making sure we stay free.

But there were a few more not-so-textbook answer reasons why he’s a hero. I could think of was that he never complained once. Did I mention he goes back to Iraq in a few days (he’s been home for about 2 weeks)? And his hearing is fading? Here I am complaining that it’s raining. Gulp. Hey, reality check.  But he would say the same about indoor recess. I’m kidding. Kinda.

Mr. Larry answered every question (“How many wars have you been in?”  “How cold is it in the winter?” “Did you know my Uncle so-and-so cause he’s over there too?”) with a smile and sometimes a chuckle.  Of course, once one child mentioned a family member or friend who they knew in the military (grandfathers, cousins, neighbors, my mama’s sister’s uncle’s best friend), then every kiddo wanted to share a personal connection.   He could have said, “Cool…. neat… Uh huh….” But he didn’t.

Every single time he said, “Really? Tell him or her I said thank you for their service.”

Simple enough.

Mr. Larry, thank you for your service.

Well, since you asked.

Outside my window is my Mom’s garden… I have Opryland hotel outside my window (at least for a few more weeks!)

This thought impacted me… that I will be a married lady two months from tomorrow! Woohoo!

I found this fabulous blog… www.younghouselove.com …really neat/creative do-it-yourself ideas for new homeowners like ourselves. I can’t wait to try some, it’s the thought that counts!

I am thinking… it’d sure be nice if I had a mini fridge by the couch right now. Because getting up and walking for a carbonated beverage of choice (Sprite of course) is very unappealing at the moment.

My heart is… full.  Fun weekend with Brett and the fam and wonderful message from Pastor Poly today — so thankful Jesus knows MY name.

I am thankful for… the painting in the house to be just about done. Hallelujah.

From the kitchen… Mom’s cheesecake! She made it for me this weekend because stressed spelled backwards is dessert and she knows my love language.

I am creating… currently: review sheets for Social Studies. I can feel your jealousy through the screen!

I am going… to start my “Oh geez it’s no longer sweater season, and now – gag-swimsuit season so I better start running” kick soon.  I hate running with every fiber of my being (but tell myself I love it), but maybe some of my jams on the ‘pod can motivate me. Alas, see above mention about lack of motivation to get up for a Coke.  And the cheesecake.

I am hoping… my class eats a good breakfast and gets a good night’s rest each night this week! Oh, and remembers what I’ve been gabbing about for the past few months. ;)

I am hearing… Gary Busey on Celebrity Apprentice…. my brain hates me.

Around the house… you’ll always find a pair of my flip flops laying around now that Nashville had a record high for April yesterday.

One of my favorite things… jigsaw puzzles.  Don’t judge.

A few plans for the rest of the week… make testing as fun as possible for 2nd graders (yay Smarties!), Spring Fling at church with Mama, have a date with Brett, hopefully see some friends, and check more off the to-do list!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing… Mom told me the ferns at Lowe’s were on sale, and since I now have a brand new house (WITH A PORCH!) naturally I had to get a couple.  So behold, I bring you our first ferns!

Turn this house into a home

Someone mentioned to me that I should be journaling all of the work, updates, and improvements that Brett & I have been doing to the house. Well considering we bought the house in September and it’s now March April (!)….. oops.

However, I guess now is as good as time as any to start writing.  Granted, it would be more meaningful hand-written, but I type way faster and neater.   I can always go back and write this. :)

Brief History of Purchasing our House:

  • The night that we got engaged (June 22, 2010), we began looking for houses online!  We actually didn’t even think about the wedding yet, ha! We always knew we wanted to buy a house before we got married if the Lord blessed us to so we could work on it as much as we could beforehand.  However, we thought it would be around this time – March/April – before we would.
  • August 2010 –  We had been still looking through real estate websites, drove through neighborhoods, etc but hadn’t found one we just loved.  One day on the way home from errands, my Dad and I decided to try a neighborhood we hadn’t gone through yet.  Long story short, I saw it and LOVED it.  As soon as I got home, I showed it to Brett and he loved it too (my requirement for the outside is that is HAD to have a front porch. So this one had that plus ya know, it was CUTE  so bonus points) (Also, it is approximately 2 minutes from the school I teach at…. infinity bonus points).  We saw pics of it on a the website of the inside and we were smitten.  We contacted a family friend to be our realtor and set up a showing.  Hook, line, sinker we LOVED it.  No need to look at another house.  We were sold.
  • September 2010 – So, we began the process of purchasing our house! Thanks to my superstar of a Dad who worked with the loans, financial side, crunching numbers, etc, we knew we could do it then.  The interest rate was at an all time low at 4 point something (love my memory!) and after some negotiating, we bought it at an awesome price and signed the paperwork on September 15th! Praise God! We. are. blessed.
  • December 2010– Brett moves in! I’ll be joining him in June when we’re married. Can’t wait!

Lots of lessons learned during the whole buying house process, but I’ll save that for another day.  Let’s just the lady who owned the house before us was mentally deranged PIECE OF WORK.  She left the house a WRECK.  The kitchen had food still in there (including things in the fridge that were spoiled), the house was straight-up filthy, and needed some TLC.

Kind of like Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas: “All it needed was a little love!”

Here’s a run down of what we’ve done since closing in September:

  • CLEANED.  We scrubbed/sprayed every inch of the house; upstairs, downstairs, bathrooms, bedrooms, hallways, kitchen, floors, EVERYWHERE! We spent a couple of days from morning to night just cleaning. Big thanks to Mom & Dad for helping on this and much more throughout this all.
  • PAINTING, PAINTING and oh yeah PAINTING– Bless Brett’s heart. While he was in the job hunting process during Jan, Feb his job at home was to PAINT! I helped on weekends.  EVERYTHING had to be painted .  So far we’ve painted: Living room, kitchen walls, dining room walls, kitchen cabinets, hallways, master bedroom & bathroom, stairwell wall (Brett LOVED doing this :) ), both guest rooms, guest bath, and bonus room (includes THREE coats. Crimson paint. FUN times).  Brett did ceiling touch-ups this weekend. Still have closets to do and a trim/door here and there but the worst is behind us!
  • Outside – More cleaning of course; pulling weeds, pulling up dead bushes, landscaping, water filtering system for rain, and I’m sure more I’m forgetting.  She left us lots of “presents” of junk she didn’t want around back/under the house.
  • New AC/Heat –  Merry Christmas to us! During the first freezing temps, we soon discovered the heat didn’t work (long story).  So we gave each other a new AC/Heating Unit! A BIG “Welcome to owning a home!” for us.
  • Furniture – Slowly but surely! Parents donated their couches to the needy us, got some wall decor (including HUGE artwork over fireplace that rules), coffee table, and some other pieces here and there. Hope to get by June: dining set, hutch for dining, and of course master bedroom furniture. Oh, and we replaced knobs (including 32 knobs in the kitchen!).

I’m sure there’s a lot more that we’ve done that I’m leaving out, but this post is insanely too long. I took some before shots in October when we hadn’t painted much, so one day soon I’ll take some “after” shots and that’ll be a separate post.

We both hate to paint, but we are SO blessed to have this cute house to paint.  We still have a never-ending lengthy to-do list, but we get closer to the end one weekend at a time. It’s mind-boggling to think that we are homeowners (until we write the mortgage check… :)) God has shown that all things are possible! Lord-willing, this will be our first and only house.

Except for the beach house we will purchase when we win the lottery.