I shared here a little inspiration for Luke's room. Yes he's almost 3 and I am still working on his room. Although I hate to say that because his room was PERFECT when he was born,

but his needs have changed. He needs access to his toys if I expect him to play with toys and he needs space to play, etc.

Sharing some inspiration really got me motivated to finish this space. I have done some minor tweakage, but I am waiting to spill all the details in 1 post (and I'm not completely done tweaking).

But I have added some art!!!!

I found a rather large (2 feet by 2 feet) canvas at our church yard sale. It was $2 and I knew immediately I could paint over it (none of the paint was raised, so it would be easy to cover). I seriously can't believe I didn't take a before picture... It had a spider web with a background of harvest gold/orange and olive green. ick. Just the spider web creeped me out.

I found my inspiration here. I knew as soon as I saw her canvas that I wanted something similar. I am HORRIBLY not creative, but as soon as I see something I like, a light bulb goes off. So as I read her post my mind started racing- big ugly spider canvas-gray and blue wall paint- dollar store spackle knife.

To cover over the creepy web I used Kilz primer. I wanted to make sure it was gone for good!
I used 8 colors to be sure there were alot of different undertones. Although his room is red, white and blue, I stayed away from the reds (blue/red=purple=not good in a boys room unless it's an adorable penguin on flannel sheets).

The gray is what I used in our bathroom {Gray Horse by Ben Moore}, and the big blue top is his wall color {Mineral Water by Behr}. The rest are just random colors I had in my paint box. The bottom left white tube is a pearly white. It really made all the difference in this art.
I knew I wanted my squares to be smaller than the inspiration art. So I smeared paint on the spackle knife, and got to work pulling it downward.

I LOVE the effect of the paint settling at the bottom of each square. Just lovely.
And a closeup. See how it shimmers?
And the mostly finished product. 
I'll share later how it all fits in the room. Because if I told you where it was living, I'd give away the biggest secret of this whole sha-bang.


is really the only word to describe how I feel.

This summer has been a total blur. I have learned so much about myself, my family, and other people. I have learned to never burn your bridges. I have seen the hand of God working in our lives in more ways than I can count. Thankful.

Josh has known his calling to full time ministry since before he deployed to Iraq in 2005. Iraq solidified his commitment. He went to college to learn how to minister to students and youth, and he's been able to do that for the past 3 years (to an extent). But because life happens, he's worked tirelessly. Sometimes 4 jobs at once just to be able to make ends meet (comfortably). He's been in the military, worked as a parapro at the highschool, worked at our local night school 4-5 hours an evening sometimes 3 nights a week (after a full day's work at the highschool), he's taken odd jobs (cutting grass and helping others), and he's been a part time youth pastor for the past 3 years. And although each job has it's rewards, nothing is as rewarding as seeing students walking in the Lord.

About a year ago we decided to actively pursue finding him a full time ministry. Most people didn't know this (although to the friends who did- thank you for keeping that confidentiality). He sent out (and this is just a guess) 50 resumes and by November we were being interviewed by 2 churches very closely. Like one had received 200 applications and Josh was 1 of 3 in the final pick. We were willing to move. I was willing to leave my "home", my job, my family, and everything that was comfortable. This year has taught me that wherever we live is home. Not the 4 walls that are surrounding us presently. We were almost certain that we'd soon be calling Birmingham, AL or Meridian, MS home. But God had different plans.

Christmas came and went and during that time we decided to take the step of faith and put our house on the market (although we decided in December- it didn't happen until February). Josh had 2 more interviews in January- we were looking so forward to the third Sunday in January. A skype interview was set for that afternoon. Except we both came down with a horrific stomach virus the night before... maybe it was a sign??

Taking another step of faith we put our house on the market  on Valentine's Day. We knew that if we were trusting the Lord to lead up, this was a step we had to make... or we would forever wonder whether we should have or whether that was the one thing holding us back.

We got wind that the youth pastor from Ebenezer was resigning sometime in early spring. By this point both doors from winter had been slammed shut. We both dismissed it as an impossibility. He had applied for this same job 5 years ago and was turned down. 5 years ago we could have walked away bitter. Part of us was hurt. Not with the fact that he didn't get the job- but with the fact that we couldn't continue what we had started. We knew leaving the youth ministry would always put an awkwardness between the youth and us. But God sees the bigger picture. And we knew to trust him.

We were certain we were being called out of Toccoa. All the while we faithfully continued pouring into the youth group at Liberty Hill.

God continued to put people in our lives to put questions in our mind. Is this where we're supposed to be? Could it be that the same youth group that we began ministering to over 6 years ago (students who were in 7th grade who are now seniors) was where we would end up? It happened to both of us- questions like "why doesn't Josh put in his resume?" "he should apply for it" "what's the worst that could happen?". These questions came from students in EBC's youth group (that Josh saw at the high school), parents in the youth group, co-workers, family members, close friends, and the list goes on...

There was even a time in early May that I asked Josh, "What would you do if THEY called you?" We both laughed knowing that would never happen. 

School ended. Summer started and we were just going about life. June 15th changed our life forever... we got the call that we thought we'd never get.  The call asking if we were at all interested in this position. It was a terribly rainy day and we were sitting in front of a car repair shop getting the window fixed on my Jeep.We didn't pursue it. He never applied for it. The Lord put our name/face in the minds of countless individuals who were a part of the youth ministry. Friends of ours who still feel like family- even after 5 years. Never burn your bridges people!!

June 18th was "the meeting" that we thought would be about an hour (getting caught up to speed on things, asking questions, trying to decide if this was "it"). We looked at the clock and FIVE HOURS had passed. I was almost late picking Luke up at school.

The rest is history. Josh met with the personnel committee (that consisted of a mixture of people- including his at the time current boss from the highschool!-gotta love small towns), the youth workers, and eventually the youth and parents of the youth. He went to put in his resignation at the high school well over a month before school was to actually start, and they already knew. :)

Although I've always believed that our God is a God of order and details, I now believe I've experienced that first hand. I have learned so much about trusting Him. About not just sort of believing him, but jumping feet first into the unknown. When the valleys come I want to remember this mountain top experience.

So  here we stay- in Toccoa which we will continue to call home. Leaving LHBC was really hard. Like realllllly hard. Last night they held a reception for us and we were moved to tears hearing their hearts... it really makes me want to tell people how much I appreciate them IN THE MOMENT. Why wait until people leave or people die to say good things about them? Why not tell them now?

I am beyond thrilled that Josh can focus on ONE job. He's been medically (honorably) discharged from the military. He no longer has to work countless hours a day doing odd jobs. The Lord has provided all that we need. This is the first time in our marriage that I will get to see him doing what he is called to do and loves doing- FULL TIME. He's been able to cheer me on (going on) 5 years as I've been able to do what I am called to do, and I can finally do the same!

Expect the unexpected. Wait for the perfect timing. And thank God (even when it's hard and we don't feel thankful-been there) for giving above and BEYOND anything we could ever ask or IMAGINE (and I have a pretty big imagination!). Be faithful in the little things... things that you don't even think are important. They are. And don't try to figure it all out yourself. Thankfully we have a God that isn't bound by time or human nature. He wants the best for us, we just have to be patient in those valleys.

Onesie and Tutu!

Since this blog is titled "a STITCH in CJ time" I need to throw in some sewing stuff every now and then!

I got an order for a newborn (eeeep!) onesie and tutu. Oh my- I have never made a tutu so small, but it is going to look adorable on a newborn baby girl!

The momma had a hairbow that she wanted me to try matching (it was mostly purple with some teal thrown in). LOVE the purple and teal look!

And the oh-so-itty-bitty tutu! The average newborn waist is around 14 inches, so that's what I made it!

Cute huh?

Gulfport Trip Wrap-up

We had a whirlwind trip to Gulfport Mississippi last week. I say whirlwind because it was originally supposed to be a 10+ day trip to Arkansas with a couple stops in between. Since Josh is becoming the youth pastor at EBC, we had to cut it short in order to go to camp at Myrtle Beach with the youth (which I am thrilled about!)!

Luke was out within the first 20 minutes:

We met Josh's mom (Nana), step-dad (g-pa), and his 2 sisters in Gulfport at uncle Jason's house. Yep- we basically crashed his pad. Poor guy is used to living alone with his dog... a 2 year old sure livens things up!

We spent the first day on the beach- Luke LOVES sand, but hates the water. So he would sucker me into filling his bucket so he could dump the water where he was playing. Stinker. 
He played ALL DAY and even napped out there:
Sweet baby toes:
Josh and Mike:
And Josh and his brother went for a run on the beach:
(not my idea of a good time- but to each their own!)

The girls (me included) basically just lounged and chilled in the water. It was wonderful!

Tuesday we went to a children's museum. Luke loved it. 
He especially loved the train table.
Like he pitched a fit when he we had to leave it- and this was right inside the front door- oye!
The outdoor play area/treehouses were amazing...
And in typical "wild man" fashion:
I captured a few sweet faces too:
Gulfport is still dealing with the loss from Hurricane Katrina. Josh was actually stationed in Gulfport with the National Guard shortly after it hit. So he got to see how far they have come. This house faced the beach- beautiful!
and then you still have empty lots still with the original foundations like this:
Overall this community has come A LONG WAY! It was beautiful!

Luke was sad to leave everyone. Josh's mom and family left first. So Luke had a really hard time saying bye to uncle Jason and his "good girl (dog)" Molly. Jason and Molly- cute right?? (to all my fellow Bachelor watching friends!). 

So we headed out to Grampa's to play trains!
Overall this trip was super fun and super exhausting! 1/3 beach trips conquered!

By the way- I am counting this as my summer goal #6 "Go somewhere I haven't been before". I really wanted to go to the Diamond National Park in Arkansas but since that didn't work out this is the next best (I've never been to the beach in Mississippi!)!

Treasure Hunt

So I mentioned here that I found this amazing store! It's called Treasure Hunt and it seems to be a Mississippi thing.

Every aisle pretty much looked like this:
Yikes... but there were times that you could see the glimmer of hope on each shelf:
See that round lamp on the top shelf??Ahhhh-mazing!

The pillow aisle stole my heart...
I walked away with 3 of them...
These navy blue/white pillows are beautiful! They match Luke's room perfectly. Funny story behind these: I saw them in Gulfport and almost bought them but decided against it... we left drove 3 hours to Meridian and I couldn't stop thinking about how I should have bought them. After going to the Treasure Hunt in Meridian they had the same ones! They are originally from Target priced @$14 each. I got them 2for$14!
This navy/teal/tan pillow matches our living room. I looked at the tag and this is what I found: The Treasure Hunt price was half of that- so $12.50- still not much of a deal in my book.
Until I flipped the tag again...
Oops: they left the Target tag on! They are supposed to take this off and they mark everything back to their original prices (then they take 40%, 50%, 60% + off the original price). Since they accidentally left this on they had to honor their word and "take 50% off the lowest ticketed price". Yep I got this pillow for $3.74!!! (I seriously walked around with it in my cart feeling like someone was going to snatch it because they knew my pillow was marked down so low). hehe.

Since Luke is still SUPER easy to buy for I am always looking for larger sized things... these are swim shorts in 4T and 5T. 1 was $2.99 and the other was $3.99. You seriously can't beat that at consignment stores (much less for new ones).
I love the print on this potholder! It was like $2. I have an idea pinned of what to do with it!
A bunch of dish towels (I love me some Christmas linens!)!!

Found these picture frames in the $1 buy out section where everything was 69¢... yep you read that right 69¢ each! A nice coat of white satin spray paint... dunzo.
Flannel sheets (from target)! We LOVE our flannel sheets so I bought Luke a set. We're over the purple penguin... A good deal is a good deal! ;) 
Quite possibly the most amazing finds?? Our wedding plate/set:
Those babies retailed for over $400 (thanks Uncle Jason) and these were right at $100. FOR THE SAME SET.

and our Christmas dishes:
The most random find? (and I am in no way making fun of this- I know it is a huge issue).... it just made me chuckle...
 I just couldn't believe how much Target stuff they had! I LOVE Target's linens and decorating things and this was like a gold mine (especially since everything was 50%-80% off retail!).

So, if you ever find yourself in Mississippi you should check this place out! Apparently they are all over the state!

Weekly Update: 7/16-7/20

This week was the beginning of our crazy traveling next few weeks! First stop?? Gulfport, Mississippi to see Uncle Jason and Josh's family from Arkansas! We had a blast crashing Jason's abode and being beach bums. Luke had some wonderful times with his Nana and G-pa!

I snuck in a Goodwill trip:

and found an amazing place called Treasure Hunt. Ummmm if you are EVER near one, please stop... for me k?? I walked in an was literally breathless. It was a huge store with mostly name brand stuff. Oh yeah it wasn't only name brand stuff, but TARGET stuff! I went crazy. Like hyperactive eyeballs, give myself a headache crazy. It was a mix between the randomness of a thrift store and Big Lots and  everything was new. In Gulfport we spent less than $20 and walked away with some really fun stuff (Josh got 2 shirts, I got a few kitchen towels, and Luke got a pair of swim shorts).

Our Gulfport trip was over WAY too fast and we were on our way to Meridian. So why didn't anyone tell me before now that there's a Treasure Hunt there too??? So I spent Thursday afternoon LITERALLY digging through shelves full of great stuff!
Like always our trips to Meridian are always waaaay too short. We spent some Q-time with Josh's dad and his wife. Luke got spoiled with more trains- his relatives are WAAAAY too generous. ;)

Friday was spent having lunch with Corey, Kim, Jace and Ally and then we were headed for home. . We stopped in Atlanta for a quick birthday dinner with my daddy. Luke loved sneaking in a few minutes with Lulu and Pops.

I feel like this summer is absolutely FLYING. I can't wait for our other trips to the beach. Just spending 1 day in Gulfport wasn't enough and Luke LOVED the sand (the water? notsomuch).

Planter Party

So I had a few of these sitting around. I can't think of anything more boring that a plastic pot that looks like a ceramic pot. I mean I'm no gardner, and my plants have a hard time living under my care, but I think of the pot as like their dress maybe? Every girl needs a "little black dress" in their lifetime!
Hello Mr. Rust-Oleum hammered brown beautifulness. 
A few coats of this dark goodness left my boring cheap-o looking pot pretty stinking nice. It matches the gardenia pot pretty well (by the way I love the one on the right- it came that color and it just makes my heart happy!)
Oh the magic of spray paint!! And having matching pots makes me feel like I'm a pretty successful gardner (although we know that's not the case!).

Craft Closet

I love crafting supplies, office supplies, school supplies, and really any supplies I can get my hands on. I also think that I have the opposite problem of those hoarders on TV. Like when I see a mess my heart rate goes up and my brain says it needstobecleanNOW.

Intro the craft closet at church...
I seriously hear like screeching scary music when I look at that picture. The poor baby has been neglected, disrespected, and just plain overlooked (like it has feelings right??) for like YEARS- we're talking Elmers glue bottles that dated back to 1997. That's almost vintage right?

Step 1? Telling the hubby. He would have never ventured into this closet on his own. Yes he worked there, but craft supplies aren't really something he uses very often. I hardly ever go in there either, but I needed VBS supplies. Once I told him the issue (it was more of a complaint) he was like "how about WE clean it out, buy the supplies to organize, and do it ourselves?" Obviously I was onboard, but I wasn't sure where we would find the time to undertake this challenge. (especially with a 2 1/2 year old!).

I knew from some prior organizing experience that EVERYTHING had to come out. We didn't leave ANYTHING in there.
Yep it was a mess in the hallway...

The best purchase we made was the little plastic shoe boxes. With it getting to be dorm season, Wally had 5 packs for $4.83! That's less that $1 a piece which is a GREAT price! Since we took everything out we had a pretty good idea of everything we had. So I started labeling boxes, and more boxes, and even more boxes. I sorted things into similar categories (glitter with confetti, etc).

For really small things I picked up 1 pack of a "lunch box organizer". It came with 8 or so smaller container to put really small things like googley eyes and aquarium rocks.

By the way does anyone like googley eyes as much as me??

also does anyone else find colored googley eyes a little creeptastic??
We cleared up the toilet paper rolls and baby food jars. We basically kept them in the same containers, but we just neatened them.

The teacher side of me shuttered when I saw the bulletin board borders crammed on a shelf. I store my bulletin board borders at school in a long box (that is actually kind of awkward).

I saw this idea on Pinterest a while ago and HOW COW what a difference.

We're talking $1.84 for 4 of these HUGE binder clips!! It was actually Josh's idea to use a shelf bracket to "display" these. A few of them were crammed like this guy, but hopefully gravity will work on him a little.
We had high hopes for the bulletin board paper here.
They had a rack to put these on but after messing with it we decided it's missing some pieces. It wasn't worth mounting the thing on the wall and risking a catastrophic fallingout of paper.
These rolls are SUPER heavy. So for now they will just sit in the corner.

This feels like a completely different space! We were super blessed by the amount of shelving in there. We also doubled the boards (the extras were in the corner) to make each shelf more sturdy.
Before and after:

The best part?? Room to grow. And since we anticipate leaving this church in a few weeks, we can only HOPE that those who come behind us will use these empty (pre-labeled boxes) to grow.
{sorry about the wonky fluorescent lighting}
and proof that the hallway is totally clear!
Also, the cleaning ladies were there as I was finishing so the closet/hallway floor got vacuumed!

Have I mentioned how much I HATE cardboard boxes??? They don't stack well, they fall apart, and you can't see in them:

I vowed to myself to be done before 9:00pm... All in all we worked 1pm-5pm, and 7pm-9pm. My mom wrangled Luke during the afternoon and I finished up that evening after dinner.
and taking out 4 huge bags of trash in the rain was NO FUN.
I am so proud of this space. Although we won't be around to see if it stays that way, I feel like we did the best we could at that time. We spent right under $75 for all the storage/labeling supplies. Not bad considering how many boxes we added!