future is now

finishing up internship

passed the exam to become a school psychologist

secured a job

we’re moving back home!

home

The best part of this journey, from CHS to Mercer and Baylor to Cola SC, is knowing that I could go anywhere from here and being able to choose to go home.

Let’s take a look back to 18-year-old me (ahem, almost 7 years ago now) and ask her where she wanted to go. 3 hours–that’s how far the farthest college she applied to was from home. 1.5 hours–that’s how far she moved from home. Then HALFWAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY. It’s time. It’s time to go home. to watch softball games. to share Sunday lunches with families. to finally balance family, fun, and work.
How much stress do you think 20 years of school is for an A-type personality, perfectionist?! I’ve spent years pursuing my dreams, and now it’s time to LIVE them. Enjoy the moment. Treasure my marriage. Spend more time with my family. Do good work in my job. Stress less, love more.

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We have been so SO blessed, even in the toughest of tough times. This year has been by far one of the hardest of my life, and I can say with absolute certainty that I would not be here now without the love and support of my families and friends. There has been a lot of heartache this year. Family illness. Students passing away. Shootings. Social injustice. International warfare. I don’t know if it’s that I become more aware as I grow older or if things are growing worse and worse. Regardless, it has taken a toll on my heart. At the same time, there is so much joy in watching nieces, nephews, and cousins grow; friends building houses; new jobs; celebrating new marriages. Balance. Seeking balance. & thanking the Lord for providing that at home.

Thank you for sharing in this journey with us. Continue to pray for our marriage and health. We are overjoyed to share this news with you and thankful for you joining in our celebration!

lovebringsyouhome

help us make our house warm

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celebrating a year

Have you met me? Have you met my husband? Have you seen us together?

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cute, right?

What thoughts come to your mind when you start silently answering those questions while staring at your computer (phone?) screen?

Well, I hate to ruin the picture-perfect, fairytale image you have in your head (ha!), but chances are pretty good that we’ve both changed in our past year of marriage. To celebrate 365 days of marriage, I bring you a post on Case & Jess’s lessons from married life.  (Clearly after a year, we are now experts.)

  • We are now resident experts on planning a wedding while living 800+ miles away from friends and family. (It’s no cakewalk, in case you were wondering.)
  • We can attest to the fact that living  800+ miles from family is too far during your first year but 300 miles away feels just right (f0r now)!
  • If adjusting to your final roommate is not enough of  a challenge for you, we recommend getting a puppy during your third month of marriage…bonus points if he’s not even potty trained. (We actually don’t recommend this, though it does seem to be a common trend among all our married friends.  Hope it’s going better for you guys.)
  • We especially love moving, as we are awesome at organizing, packing, and moving.  <–that is sarcasm.  Thank goodness we had Case’s family to come and help us on our move from Texas to South Carolina.  We probably wouldn’t have made it, otherwise.
  • Lastly, sarcasm has its place, such as blog posts, but is not usually a good idea in conversations with your spouse.  I’ve found that sarcasm is the love language of some, but is definitely the opposite for us.

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Moving into our second year of marriage…

  • We want input from you married peoples on where and how you do your ‘arguing.’ We are very much still learning how to navigate conflict effectively, which I don’t mind sharing, as this appears to me to be one of the more common marital struggles from newlyweds to veterans.  Probably our biggest goal this past year was to cultivate a peaceful home. (Ah, young, naive love…amiright?)  Needless to say, we bit off more than we could chew, as we are still learning & growing.  So this year, my revised goal is to create a peaceful master suite.  No arguing in the master bedroom/bathroom.  We’ll letcha know how this goes.  In the meantime, what works for you?
  • We want to keep traveling.  Our mini-vacays and weekend getaways brought us closer together this past year.  (We’re doomed if we ever stop traveling.) What’s your favorite weekend getaway?
  • At the end of this year, we started praying together. Can I tell you that just one evening of prayer together is a marriage game changer?  Imagine what our second year will be like if we continue to grow spiritually in this way.
  • We miss our Waco friends tremendously but we have been slow to make new friends here in South Carolina.  That is something that I would like to work on in this next year.

Thank you to everyone who helped us make this year possible.  Marriage is impossible in a vacuum, and we couldn’t have done it without the support and love of our friends and families.  Learning how to best love my spouse has made me hyper-aware of how others have loved me over the years.  What a blessing!

kasenjessica-7

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don’t get stuck

LiveNow

2015…

…a year of new beginnings, challenges, and growth…
a marriage
a puppy
a new city
an internship
a pyrex collection

I tried to use more words to describe the joys and difficulties of this year, but nothing seemed to do it justice. So I’ll leave you with this short recap as well as my hopes for 2016…

spiritual growth
new friends
more peace
finding inspiration in the everyday
travel & adventures with hubby

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a season of yearning

isaiah 269The older I get, the more life becomes about stages and less about discrete events.  Even looking back, I tend to associate periods of my life with certain descriptive terms.  Longing–the word of this stage/period in my life.  Perhaps this is a little confusing, as I just got married and landed the internship of my dreams.  However, this longing feels less for earthly things and more for the eternal.

Flashback to senior year of high school when communication with the Lord through prayer was the most consistent it’s ever been.  Then to junior year of college when I couldn’t get enough of the Word each day.  I find myself reflecting on these times of frequent communication with God and longing for that depth in our relationship again.  As things pop up at work, home, and with family, I find myself more and more turning to Him for guidance and peace, but I still miss the consistency.  Longing.  Craving.  Yearning.

steadfastlove

Praise for His steadfast love.  Thanks for His grace and forgiveness.  Blessed by new mercies every day.  In a world where longing for earthly things leads to loneliness, I’m grateful for a Lord who answers longing with love and wholeness.

 

for the love of pyrex

When Mom started collecting Pyrex a while back, I must have been living under a rock. (oh, that’s right. it was called graduate school.)  She put together a set of primary colors mixing bowls for herself and my sister, and when she offered to find me one, I foolishly (but politely?) declined. (again, living under a graduate school rock.)

Well, a couple of weekends ago, I stumbled across some Pyrex at one of my favorite antique/vintage spots and I had to have it!  (see exhibit a.)  I came home and remembered that I had accidentally started a Pyrex collection of my own, with a lime green cake pan. (see exhibit b.)  Again, I was living under a rock and didn’t even realize that I had snatched up a cute piece of Pyrex until later.  Anyway, later that weekend I came across a small casserole dish in lime green; even though it has a good deal of scratches on the bottom, I loved the character that it added.  All I could think about was someone’s grandma cooking casseroles with love each Thanksgiving and Christmas.

for the love of Pyrex…

jstonepyrexbutterprint
exhibit a. butterprint cinderella mixing bowl

 

jstonepyrexlime
exhibit b. lime green casserole dish and 8″ cake pan

 

instaThursday

Beautiful, no?

 

Can I just have these flowers in my house every day?

 

I just love the simplicity of this insta post. Also incredibly inspired to make some more cold brewed coffee.

 

I would sleep here every night. Is this what ‘glamping’ is? Take me there, now please.

 

So incredibly proud of my friends over at Georgia Pallet. Go check out the amazing things they are creating.

new path trivia

Did you know…?
…boiled peanuts are the official state snack of South Carolina
…South Carolina produces more peaches than Georgia, the great “peach state”

…this year’s freshman class will graduate 10 years after I graduated high school
…the last class of students from my undergrad will graduate in May
BaylorBound…I’ve been to more IEP meetings in the first month of my internship than in my entire practicum experience (and it’s not even the spring!)
…I’ll be working with preschool kiddos & high school students this school year

challenges and change

For the last several months, I’ve been hesitant to post.  I want my words to add good to the world, especially in such a public realm like the internet.  So in a time of high stress and low patience, I chose to stay relatively quiet on this blog.  Out in the “real world,” I didn’t follow that trend, and I spent a lot of time whining and complaining, which I regret.

This semester/year feels like a completely different scenario.  I come home every day with things I want to post here on the blog.  Since I’ve been too busy to write down all the exciting things that are happening, I talk my husband’s head off at dinner or call/text my parents instead.  I’m thankful that those conversations have transformed from, “How am I going to get through this last semester of grad school?” to “I am excited about what’s coming next!”  What a blessing that is.

Continuing with the them of change, there’s a saying in Georgia, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes and it will change.”  Life changes too quickly to focus so much energy on worrying about what we dislike.  In my seasons of waiting for things to change, I’d like to have remembered that more often.  While excited about what’s to come, I also anticipate that there will be more stress and challenges along the way.  This time, I want to do a better job at viewing stress as an opportunity to grow through challenges.

 

How are you handling challenges and change in the season you find yourself in today?

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praise for new paths

babymeme

Today begins my last week of classes. No, this is not going to be another sappy post about all the things I’ve learned in grad school.  You’ve stuck with me through enough of those posts.  No, this time I’m writing about all the things that I’m looking forward to now that we’re wrapping up this path and beginning on a new-ish adventure. Here we go:

waltdisneypaths

  • Celebrating more than Christmas with family
    • Birthdays, EASTER, Thanksgiving, Softball games, Sunday lunches, life
  • Starting a “big girl” job
    • & praying for excellent supervision on my internship
    • & meeting new people who love working as school psychs
  • Living 2 hours from the beach and 2 hours from the mountains
  • New town (and new food places) to explore
    • farmer’s markets, bakeries, coffee shops…yes, please!
  • Praying for community and a church to join
  • Meeting new friends in our same stage of life
    • We’re planting roots this time, y’all.  Whether we’re there for a year or more, we are getting involved and making lifelong friendships.
  • Doing life with Case, wherever it takes us
    • that’s our mantra: doing life together. & I can’t wait to see what life has in store

Things I will actually miss about Wacotown:

commongroundsfarmersmarketpatneff

  • Sweet friends to share war work stories with
    • And the piano man
  • Authentic Mexican food
  • Day/weekend trips to Austin (my favorite)
  • Common Grounds (caramel coffee crunch=life)
  • Saturdays at the Farmer’s Market
  • The place where Case and I got engaged, started our married life together, and shared our first “home”
  • Believe it or not, Baylor.