a little housey update

Things have finally started to slow down around here.
Just in time for the holiday season!

I scrubbed down the house a few days ago (trying to RID us of this sickness!) and decided to take some pics.

This is our house, as of now!

Walking into the house and into the living room!
"One day" hopes: flowy, white curtains// larger rug

Living room cont.
The blue tape above the couch will SOON become floating shelves.
The other blue line marks where the sliding barn door to the hallway will rest when opened.
"One day" hopes: large sectional

Living room cont.
Our entertainment center is an old dresser.
I took the drawers out and viola!
"One day" hopes: some kind of clock to hang above the ladder

Dining room!
I love this sweet little corner and the way the red chairs pop against the white and grey.
"One day" hopes: hardwood floors through out// some sort of curtains//our banquette! 
We have high hopes this will be built before Christmas and I cannot wait. 
Also, my farmhouse table.

Master bedroom!
I love our room.
It's weird how I have a clear "farmhouse chic"everywhere else in the house...until this room.
I'm not even sure what to call the style.
Mid-Century Modern? Tribal? Who knows.

The best part about the Master...french doors!
There isn't much to do in here, thankfully!
"One day" hopes: all new, matching curtains//bedside table for me

These are the most done rooms, so that's all I have to show you!
Brandon's mama is coming next weekend and we hope to knock out a ton of things before then!



tuesday letters

Dear Jesus,
Can we make Chick-Fil-A Paleo? Like, forgive all the frying and carbs and just bless it on its way down to my belly? And all God's people said, "amen."

Dear Ankle,
Get your junk together. I mean, really. You feel almost perfect...but you look pitiful. Purple is not my color. You're fine. Quit it.

Dear Brother and Murray,
Just move to Arkansas. Emmerson really, really misses her uncle and aunt. You gonna let that sweet baby down? Just retire and live in our house forever.

Dear Emmerson,
You were so precious today at the library. It was our very first "toddler time" and you rocked it! I love how shy you get, observing all the people and noises... you get that from me. But oh! When they brought out the cow picture! All the heart eyes with that little "moo." Oh, your sweet, sweet heart is my favorite.

Dear Y'all,
All of you reading, from Facebook to face-to-face, Instagram and wherever else, thank you. You have been so encouraging to me. This is a new season for me and I'm choosing to open my heart and let you all in. Thank you for holding it so carefully and speaking truth over my life.


the red shirt journey (week 2)

This week, you guys.

It has been full of ups and downs.
Highs and lows.

It started off pretty high.

I followed this recipe and somehow made buffalo chicken casserole.
I say "somehow" because I swear Jesus lives in my oven.
For the recipe, not only did I make Paleo mayo from scratch, I also made Paleo ranch.
Trying each, I'm not quite sure it came out tasting amazing.
(I learned I'm in dire need of a mixer.)
I cooked spaghetti squash for the first time, as well.
It easy to make and tastes better than noodles, in my opinion.
I added the chicken, squash noodles, the questionable mayo and ranch, and other various items...
and viola!
It magically tasted awesome.

Same thing happened when I tackled this recipe for homemade kale chips.
You're supposed to "drizzle" the olive oil.
Well, my oil didn't come with a fancy Olive Garden top, so I was more on the "pouring down" the oil side.
I thought for sure I ruined it.
But, because Jesus lives in my oven, they came out perfect!
Sure, I had to wipe each piece off because they were dripping with oil,
and I couldn't eat more than a handful because they were so greasy...
but they tasted great (and once I get a fancy drizzle topper... oh, my salty tooth will be so happy!)

I woke up at 6am every morning this week and made it to the gym.
My friend was the best partner.
(She also saved my life, but we'll get to that later.)
She is so encouraging and introduced me to all the machines I usually walk right past.
I've been so sore.
But the good kind of the sore.
The sore that makes you feel like your fat is crying and dying.
Ya know?
Awesome stuff.
Until Thursday...

(insert this week's lows)

Thursday morning started off normally.
At the gym, kind of feeling out of it.
30 minutes into the workout, during a high step thing, I missed the step and landed on my ankle, sideways.
I kind of felt like I got shot.
And I'm sure it looked like I got shot from the security cameras.
(Can I watch that, please?)
It instantly started swelling and bruising and my friend didn't miss a beat!
First, she comforted me.
Then prayed over my ankle.
Then called Husband.
Then piled me into her car and drove me home.
All with a smile, all with sweetness, and even laughter because I really needed it.
Life saver, I'm telling ya.
I was/am SO bummed.
I think I kept apologizing to her.
"This is SO dumb. I'm SO sorry."
While I'm thankful it happened on a Thursday and not first thing Monday morning, I hate that I missed 2 workouts this week because of it.

So that's a low.

And then there's the fact that I stepped on the scale this morning and....

Guys, I started this journey to be vulnerable and honest.
And honestly, I cried.
I'm so discouraged and so upset.
I still haven't found my measuring tape, so I don't even know if I have lost any inches either.
(But I do "feel" some difference in my clothes. So there's that.)
I thought this week would be amazing and I'd see real results.
But I sprained my ankle, George came (monthly visitor..ya know) and I had a cheat meal.

If you're keeping score this week,
Lauren lost.


the red shirt journey (week 1)

Last week I told you guys about my favorite red shirt and the beginning of my weight loss journey.
I received the sweetest outpour of encouragement from friends online and in person.
What a relief to get my struggle out in the open and in turn realize I'm not alone!

After hours of research and Pinterest-ing (because it's the female Google) I decided that the Paleo lifestyle was the one that made the most sense for me.
I want to use this space to hold myself accountable and keep track of progress (and setbacks, because I am human...with strooooong cravings.)

This past week:
I lost 1.5 pounds.
and ___ inches.
(I forgot/didn't know how to measure inches last week. I'm on it now.)

I'll admit, I was super discouraged when I stepped on the scale this morning.
But, that number 1) doesn't define my joy for today and 2) was the result of ONLY eating well-ish.
The importance of exercise, y'all.
I officially became a member at my local gym and will start working out on Monday!
One of my sweetest friends will be my gym buddy/accountability partner.
We are working out 5 days a week.
And help me Lord, because we're doing it at 6:30 in the AAAAAAM.

Food Journal:
Because we're working on being better budgeters, I wanted to eat what we had in the house before grocery shopping.
SO, it was a tough week.
I held strong for the most part, but there were moments of desperation and I needed a bite (or two) of Emmerson's grilled cheese.
That's the toughest to live without.
What's Mexican food without cheese?
Who's Lauren without Mexican food?
I found a Paleo friendly cheese alternative...yeah...we'll see how that goes.
The biggest help this week was having someone to text my meals to.
Before I ate anything (and I mean anything!) I texted her.
The good, the bad, and the ugly.
She did the same to me and there were plenty of times that her text encouraged me to make a better choice!
Thursday I finally went grocery shopping.
I spent hours the night before finding recipes, making lists, and dividing them up (ya know, so the fresh stuff stays fresh.)
I was super adulting.
Thursday night was steak and bacon wrapped asparagus.
Friday was left overs (yep, I actually ate leftovers. I find using the oven to re-heat works WAY better) and some grilled chicken for dinner.
Tonight I'm trying a new recipe and I promise I'll tell you if it changed my life or not.

-No cheese
-Waking up early to work out
-I'm not a cook, so this whole recipe/fresh food thing is a foreign concept to me.
-Not weighing myself every.single.morning.
-Combating the munchies.
-Drinking water

For those following along, how'd this week go for you?
I'm excited for next week, workouts planned, and recipes ready!

Here we go!


just call me alicia keys

You know those times when you've been doing something for a while and no one notices?
But then a huge celebrity does it and the world bows down?
Just me?

Ok well, I have been makeup free longer than Alicia Keys has and I sure haven't blown the media up.
Not that I've ever done anything that grabbed the media's attention.
You know like, win a million Grammys.

But that's beside the point.
I'm actually not sure WHAT the point is, except I've stopped wearing as much makeup and so has she and we should be best friends.

Wait, that's not the point either.

For me, it's about feeling comfortable in your own skin.
I used to never, ever leave the house without my face on.
But why?
It was a mask.
I bought the lie that I was only beautiful to the world if I covered what God naturally gave me.

It kind of started when Emmerson was born, I didn't wear anything on my face.
For weeks and weeks.
While that was more out of laziness and I didn't exactly enjoy how I looked, it just didn't matter the most.

Now that's she's older and I'm out of the house more, I struggle with the whoooooole makeup routine.

Simplifying is my key to less stress.
I simplified our house decor.
(less cleaning)
My clothes.
(less laundry)
Emmerson's toys.
(less clutter)
Our dishes.
(less cleaning)
And my makeup.
(get ready faster and out the door quicker and happier.)

If I wear any make up at all, it's only 2 maybe 3 things.
(Powder, blush, mascara. Blush optional.)
I walk out of the house feeling fresh and confident.
Which is really what it all comes down to.
Do what sparks your joy.
Makeup isn't of the devil and it IS fun to get all dolled up.
But don't use makeup as a mask.
Find your true beauty.
Love yourself at your most vulnerable (sans makeup.)
And let that shine.*

*I've been told that I look better these days (sans makeup) and that means so much more to me. I've got joy. His joy. And that shines through more than makeup ever can. I smile for Him and that's all I need.


tuesday letters

Dear Lavaca,
Thank you. Thank you for literally everything. Brandon, Emmerson, and I have been blessed to call you family from the minute our plane landed. My heart came to you dry, and deserted, but God has used y'all to breathe life back into me. From cleaning to painting to passing smiles and opening your homes, you have no idea what healing has begun in me. Thank you.

Dear Emmerson,
Lay back down. I see you. Acting like your 1 hour nap was plenty long. I have news for you. It's not. So, grab your fox and giraffe, cover yourself back up, and close your eyes. Mama lives for nap time. Kloveyoubye.

Dear dwell,
Eeeeek! It starts tonight! I am so ready to pour into these sweet girls and I pray that God is heard and He uses me to love on them. I hope I'm not too excited, as to scare you or think I'm uncool. I'm super cool, super chill about this. Totally kidding. I'm a hot mess and I can't wait to get to know your hot messes as well.

Dear Bailee and Olive,
I never thought the day would come, but I'm officially over you both. You've been way too needy and clingy since Emmerson arrived and I just.can't. with your drama (ehem...Bailee) Olive, you're not that bad and we all know you're my favorite, but you don't let Emmerson love you like she wants to. I mean, she just wants to lay her entire 30 pound body on your 10 pound body. And pull your ears. And put you in a chokehold hug you. Come on! I'm secretly searching for an older, bigger, fluffier (still non-shedding) dog to take your place. (But if I'm honest I'll be devastated when they're gone. Not like too sad, like, normal sad. I kid. I kid. Maybe.)

Dear Emmerson (again),


the red shirt (my weight loss journey)

(circa 2009)

I've had this red t-shirt for years.
It was given to me by one of my friends in college.
(Shout out to Kirstyn!)
It is the softest, most comfortable shirt I have ever owned.
Which explains why I wore it all.the.time.
Up until after Husband and I got married.

Because that's when the weight gain started.

I could blame the "happy weight" from being married.
Or the depression that came from living, working, and attending church in an oppressive place.
Or the medicine given to me for infertility.
Or my laziness/lack of self control.

Then I got pregnant with our sweet miracle, Emmerson.
And the weight gain continued.
I had no self control during my pregnancy, adding an additional 50 pounds to my already "overweight" body.
When Emmerson was born, I lost 30 pounds quickly.
But weight loss eventually came to a halt.

I could blame the postpartum depression.
Or the fight (that I ultimately gave up) in breastfeeding.
Or the stress that came with moving (again. and again.)

Here we are, 5 years and 3 moves later, and I'm still doing nothing but blaming.

Blaming doesn't help me lose the weight.
Blaming doesn't give me confidence.
Blaming doesn't make me feel worthy of my Husband's affection.
Blaming doesn't give me more energy.
Blaming doesn't let me wear the clothes I want to wear.
Blaming doesn't let me enjoy life.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

It's not pleasant.
To mentally say "no" to the food I don't need.
It's painful to give up what used to bring me happiness.
But discipline wouldn't be called discipline if it were easy.
And it's definitely not fun.
But to change my life style, I have to have discipline.

"Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control." Proverbs 25:28 

A city without walls protects nothing.
It leaves them wide open, vulnerable.
A person without self-control does the same exact harm.
When I eat because I'm bored...
When I eat because I'm sad/mad/happy... I'm destroying myself.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "

Honor God with my body.
Am I honoring Him by ruining my temple?
Or have I been replacing Him with trash that keeps me temporarily full?

I've decided today, right now, to stop blaming.
I want to see change.
I want to see my discipline change,
my self-control change,
my body change,
my life change.

John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

I no longer allow myself to rob me of a full life.


this little piggy

This little piggy loves her Daddy.
This little piggy loves cheese.
This little piggy keeps me laughing.
This little piggy steals my keys.
This little piggy goes "moo! moo! moo!" all the way home.

(Because she's used to living on a cow farm and is currently obsessed with all things cow.)

Happy Weekend, y'all!



Okay you guys.
The time has come.
I'm dedicating Thursdays to house posts.
Woo Hoo!
Now y'all can leave me alone.
(I kid. I kid.)

Before we picked up a brush, I picked up a pen and the lists began.
Husband and I walked from room to room while the "to-dos" started growing.

What you'll see below is what we started with/what my inspiration was/is.
(And a completed picture if there's one done!)

I have always, always, always wanted a yellow door.
(Inside AND out!)
I believe any house can look instantly better if you paint the door yellow.
So the very first thing on my list was the door.
I also love the black trim around the door.
Still need to add new house numbers, shutters, new lights, and landscaping.

You walk into the living room and the first thing you see are the french doors and fireplace.
You had me at hello.
As you can see, we have already painted all trim white and walls light grey.
Soon we'll build the floating shelves and purchase a nice big sectional (another dream of mine!)

This is the doorway to the hall that holds the guest room, guest bath, and Emmerson's room.
Next item on the wish list: sliding barn door!

The hallway was super dim and dark, so the paint alone helped so much.
We will be adding bead board and better lighting soon and I've already hung up some of Emmerson's pictures.

Eventually both bathrooms will be completely renovated.
We want hardwood throughout and white subway tiles, also new vanity/sink area.
But, that's on our 5 year list.
This ain't no millionaire house flipping.
For now, we have painted the walls and will add the same bead board from the hallway and dining room.

Emmerson has a huge closet in her room. 
The plan is to paint the wall a fun accent color, keeping the shelving white.
We'll also get some more organization units in there to keep clutter out of her room and behind closed doors.
(More pictures of her room soon, as we finish it completely!)

Off the living room is the dining room!
I'm taking over the formal dining room as my office/playroom, so we needed to maximize space here.
We will be building a banquette along the right and back walls which will give us more seats and I will (finally) get my farmhouse table!

Pretty much the only thing I love about our kitchen is the layout and black granite.
But, complete reno of the kitchen is on the 5 year plan.
Hopes are: knock out those two cabinets and add open shelving, white subway tiles with dark grout, and paint all cabinets white.

Off the kitchen/dining room is hallway leading to the master, and door to the laundry room/garage.
I want to create a little mudroom space at the end of this hallway, seeing how we'll enter from the garage (once it's all cleared out of course!)

The only room that hasn't been pictured is the formal dining room.
It's getting the most attention because we're making it an office/playroom.
(Why do I need an office? Well, you'll just have to wait and see!)

I hope all my pictures and words made sense, and that you can see my vision!
Going for "Farmhouse Chic."
Or, "What Would Joanna Gaines Do?"

So, HGTV, feel free to come and record and send the Gaines'.