Merry Christmas! We hope everyone is able to enjoy some time with their family and friends and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior!
It's the first time in few years that we are all together in our hometown near Dallas and it's been such a blessing. A few of our traditions on Christmas Eve include attending our church's candlelight service, followed by dinner at our favorite spot, and then drive through the neighborhood with some hot coco in hand, admiring all the decorations and lights.
On Christmas morning we all wear our matching pajamas and open gifts around the tree with the fire on and holiday music blasting in the background.
Typically, we only have one gift to open on Christmas morning. Each year the Santschi family picks a date for the following year and we travel from all over the country to spend a week together! The location is always a secret until Christmas morning when we each open an envelope to reveal the destination that mom & dad chose. This year, that changed though for the first time in awhile because of baby's arrival in 2020. :)
POST AUTHOR: RACHEL
There's some big news to share - my husband and I are expecting our first baby in May 2020!
We tried to keep it private for as long as possible, but my on-air work dresses just weren't hiding the bump any longer so, the secret is out - I'M PREGNANT! We are trading in our silent nights for a bundle of joy to our world! We are so excited to let you in on our secret and the best news of our lives. We are over the moon excited to meet our little miracle from Jesus next year.
Here's another surprise - we are NOT finding out the baby's sex. I know, some type-A planners just read that and gasped out loud. Ha! But we are so thrilled for the big reveal on delivery day when we discover - pink or blue!
I'm in my second trimester and feeling oh so much better. The first trimester was rough. I was nauseous all day, every day, from every little thing - smells, or even the thought of certain foods, co-worker's cologne and coffee, really anything and everything made me want to throw up. Plus, I was extremely exhausted, however, my weird work schedule of getting up in the middle of the night probably didn't help that. All to say, anyone who interacted with me between August - November, I should probably apologize because I was absolutely not myself. Thank goodness that's over! Now, I'm a whole new woman and it's a million times better. I'm so excited to be in my second trimester and one step closer to meeting our little baby!
Over the last few months, we shared the news with our family and close friends. Here's a few of their reactions...
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Post Author: Rachel
Well, it’s time to say adios to my 20’s and embrace my 30’s! My 30th birthday is coming up this month so I thought I’d reflect on a few life lessons I’ve learned over the years. Now, I definitely have not perfected all of these by any means, but I hope to continue working on these lessons and learn a whole lot more over the next decade!
30 Things I've Learned Before 30
30. Drink good wine - no one needs a bad wine headache
29. Learn how to cook - take a cooking class or try a new recipe from Pinterest, it’s a very necessary life skill and keeps you from eating out all the time
28. Network - meet as many people and make as many friends as you can find
27. Don’t hold onto things - purge your closet once a year, if you haven’t worn it all year, donate it
26. Take care of yourself - workout regularly, eat your vegetables and take your vitamins, but still indulge occasionally
25. Nothing good happens after midnight - my mom told me this all the time and she was right
24. Find a good hairdresser and go every 3 months
23. Read books - go to the library and find a good book to get lost in
22. Don’t waste time on social media - it can suck you in, don’t let it
21. Compliment others - everyone likes a compliment, hand them out like candy
20. Don’t waste time dating until your 20’s and even then, be selective
19. Invest your money and talk with a financial adviser to make the best plan for your future
18. Learn how to do laundry - for stains, use cold water; never wash reds with lights; use hot water for bedding and towels
17. Explore your city - take a weekend to be a tourist in your own city. Try new restaurants, check out the hot spots, and see what all your city has to offer.
16. Politics - figure it out for yourself and then don’t talk about it
15. Be kind to everyone you meet - even if you’re having a bad day, smile and say thank you
14. Get a dog - they are the best and will love you forever. Plus, it's been statistically proven that dog owners live longer.
13. Invest in your skincare line - bad skin is a bad day, just fork up the money and take care of your face
12. You don’t always have to be right - this is hard for my very stubborn self but sometimes, it’s just not worth it
11. Maximize every opportunity - whatever stage of life you are in, live to the fullest
10. Be open to new opportunities and try new things
9. But also know, that you can say no - sometimes you need a break, take it
8. Be yourself, apologetically
7. Invest in your mattress - you spend at least a third of your life sleeping, make your mattress a good one
6. Visit family often and call them regularly - they're the most important people in your life, invest in them and cherish every moment
5. Serve your spouse - anything from a sweet compliment in the morning to making their favorite meal, whatever your love language, share it generously
4. Pray with your spouse
3. Find a church and get involved
2. Travel as much as possible - see the world! You can do this on a budget too, do your research and make a priority list.
1. Getting old isn’t something to dread, it’s something to celebrate! I’m older and wiser and excited for this next chapter in my 30’s!
POST AUTHOR: RACHEL
Let's talk about Podcasts! I was slow to hop on the podcast train but now, I'm absolutely loving it and constantly searching for new a series or episodes. Any chance I get, while I'm walking Chief or driving to work, I regularly find myself tuning in to catch the latest installment. Today, I'm sharing the top three podcasts that I currently can't get enough of!
Leave your favorite podcast in the comments! I'm always looking for more recommendations.
1. GOAL DIGGER PODCAST - JENNA KUTCHER
I think I've listened to five of these episodes already today! Jenna Kutcher is an entrepreneur, a self-made millionaire, an educator, photographer, blogger and all around impressive business woman. Her podcasts are insightful and inspiring. She discusses business, money, Instagram tips, real life as a wife and a mother, and has guests on the show to share their expertise. I'm always left feeling inspired and informed.
SHE PODCAST - JORDAN LEE DOOLEY
Jordan has such a fun and bubbly personality, you can't help but smile when you listen to hear speak. She is honest, real and her goal is to equip the everyday woman to live a purposeful live. She is an author, educator and small shop owner sharing her journey, insights and experiences through the SHE podcast. "Multi-passionate" is a word you will hear frequently on her show, she gets you to think about what it is that drives you and how you can turn that into a project, side-hustle, or even career.
BEHIND THE SCENES PODCAST - AUDREY & JEREMY ROLOFF
Jeremy Roloff and his family fell into fame through the show Big World, Little People. Now, I never actually watched the show but, what I've learned from their podcast and their book, is that their relationship was well documented on the series and viewers were quickly enamored with their unique love story. These two are so sweet and I love learning from them. They discuss their faith, relationships, beating the odds of the high divorce rate, and the every day realities that come with running a business and having a family. Jeremy and Audrey are fantastic mentors and I always love hearing what they have to say about creating a marriage centered around Jesus.
post author: grace
Hello world! I'm sorry I've been a little MIA lately - it turns out babies are actually quite time consuming, who knew ;)
I've had quite a few people ask me to share my birth story, so I figured I would share it in a blog post for all of those wondering how the day went. I plan on sharing pretty much every detail, so if you don't want to hear all about labor, then I suggest skipping to the next post!
pREPARING FOR LABOR
I'm not going to lie, I had an incredible experience. However, this is not how every birth goes and it sometimes helps to have low expectations. I also believe it is key to go in open minded to how God will orchestrate the day. I had *hopes and dreams* but held them very loosely because I had never been in labor and did not know how my body would respond. So while I think it's awesome to have a birth plan, know plans can change. We ultimately are not in control and I believe it will save you a lot of heartache in the end. Preparing for labor, I read a ton of birth stories and saw a common theme - Mom's devastated that it didn't go the way they planned. It made me so sad because that's not what it's about. And if you make the plan ultimate, you miss the greatest joy - giving birth to LIFE! At the end of the day, you just want mom and baby to be safe and healthy. So if you are pregnant and expecting soon, having a plan is wonderful, but trust God's plan for you!
Okie dokie, here we go! At my 36 week checkup, my doctor started checking my cervix. Sidenote: NO ONE TOLD ME THIS IS UNCOMFORTABLE so I was completely unprepared. It was so uncomfortable that I thought surely I had not dilated past a 1. False. My doctor told me that I was between a 3 and 3.5 and 70% effaced. You hear this all the time, women can be dilated to a 3 for weeks and still need to be induced. However, when my doctor kept saying that 37.5 weeks is technically full term and that luckily she would be here for Christmas if I went into labor that week...I started to panic a bit. It also did not help that I bled quite a bit after my appointment, which is normal if it tapers off (I told you I wouldn't spare any details ha!). So after having a bit of a panic attack in the parking lot and feeling totally unprepared, I made sure my bags were packed and ready to go that night. I lost my mucus plug a few days later and the waiting game had officially begun. The last time I got checked I was between a 3.5 and a 4, so I was progressing slowly!
THE WAITING GAME
Well, Christmas came and went, and no baby. Blake's birthday is December 30th and he was selfishly happy he wasn't going to have to share HIS day with our firstborn. However, I had been having contractions on and off all day and that night around midnight we decided to go to the hospital as my contractions were 5-7 minutes apart. They checked us in, took us back to get monitored and we waited an hour. I was told that I was probably in early labor but it wasn't progressing past that so they sent me home. Nothing screams "this is my first baby" like a false alarm trip to the hospital. I felt like such a loser as I casually strolled out of the hospital. BUT safety first because you truly never know. The nurses were so sweet and reassured me I did the right thing by coming in, even though it felt like a total waste.
We made it to the New Year with no baby and I decided I would plan a "Grace day" and do all the things I would soon no longer be able to do with a baby - going to lunch without any interruptions, shopping, pampering, etc. I guess God has a sense of humor because the morning of my "Grace day," I woke up with contractions. I thought I was just having some cramping, which is normal in the morning towards the end, so I drank some water and got back in bed around 4:30 AM. I started timing them and they seemed to be progressing, so I decided to take a bath before heading to the hospital.
Once I got out of the bath my contractions were 3 minutes apart...YIKES. We called the doctor and they told us to get to the hospital quickly. We left our house around 6 AM and began the process. They admitted me after checking my cervix (I was at a 5 at this point) and timing my contractions.
We're having a baby today!
My doctor came in about an hour later, I was dilated to a 6, and she went over my options with me. She told me she could break my water to progress labor, give me pitocin, administer an epidural, etc. I casually looked at Blake and said "Let's enjoy the day, I'm getting the epidural." HA! I am terrified of needles and hated the thought of an epidural, but at that point I was ready for some relief and honestly, was a little terrified of waiting too long and not being able to lay still for an epidural if I wanted one later. I had an amazing anesthesiologist who was so good that I truly don't remember it hurting at all. Three contractions later and I was pretty much pain free. I could still feel pressure in my legs, which was encouraging because I wanted to have some feeling in order to push when it came time.
My doctor broke my water shortly after and then administered pitocin so I would keep progressing. I dilated a centimeter each hour and before we knew it, it was time to get ready to push.
The sweetest part about that day was feeling the presence of God in that room. We had worship music playing and Blake read scripture over me each hour. We invited the Holy Spirit in that room and wow did He show up. It was the sweetest day full of so much peace and joy.
I started pushing around 2:30 PM. The nurses were the BEST cheerleaders and made me feel so empowered that I felt like I could do this! They celebrated each push and kept encouraging me the entire time. Sidenote: Pushing is hard work. If you are pregnant or thinking about having kids soon, be sure to keep exercising. This will really help prepare you for pushing because it is exhausting and you don't get a break. Before we knew it, Asher was delivered by 3:23 PM. It.was.magic! I cannot even explain the moment you see your baby and hold them for the first time. It felt like I had known him forever and at the same time was meeting him for the first time.
Asher has rocked our world in more ways than one, and in the best way. Becoming a parent truly feels like an honor and is the most sanctifying thing I have ever done. It is not easy, but it is absolutely worth it in every way! My love for him grows each week which seems absolutely impossible. He is our greatest joy and we thank God for giving him to us each day.
Post Author: Rachel
Over the weekend, my husband and I gained an incredible new addition to the family! Meet Chief, a 5yr old Golden Retriever who is just the sweetest guy. His family in Oklahoma needed to find him a new home and we are so honored and excited we get to love on him. We are already obsessed with this big guy! He’s such a sweetheart and how perfect that his name is Chief?!
Post Author: Rachel
It's not often that the whole Santschi family is able to get together since we all live in different states, but over the weekend we had the opportunity to spend a few days as a unit in Nashville, TN. We had the chance to love on the newest addition to our family - Asher! It was the first time my husband and I got to meet our sweet nephew and it was so special. Asher is the first grandbaby in the Santschi family and he is already so loved!
We arrived on Saturday morning and couldn't wait to see the little man! He is an adorable little nugget and is already pretty good little sleeper.
Grandma and Grandpa Santschi have been back and forth to Nashville all month long, helping these new parents find their groove. Grace and her husband (my brother) are doing fantastic and are already getting the hang of this parenting thing.
Saturday night, while the grandparents happily babysat Asher, we took the new mom and dad out on the town! Even though it was just for a couple hours, it was such a fun time and a great outing for these new parents to get a chance to kick back and relax.
On Sunday, Asher had his next big outing when we went to one of our absolute favorites - Arrington Vineyards. It is a beautiful vineyard founded by Kix Brooks with the most gorgeous views and delicious wine. This is a treasured spot for our family. We brought plenty of snacks with us, bought a few bottles of wine and had a lovely afternoon, filled with lots of laughs, on the hillside of Arrington, TN.
Of course, it's not a trip to Nashville without some hot chicken, so before we headed back to Kansas City on Monday afternoon we stopped at Hattie B's for lunch and some lip-burning chicken paired with a cold one. Yum!
It felt like such a quick trip, but it was a much needed and wonderful time spent with family. We are already so in love with Asher and are incredibly thankful to God for this blessing and joy He brought to our family. I'm so excited to see my little nephew grow and watch my brother and sister-in-law develop in their new role as parents. I can't wait to see this sweet little squish again soon!
Merry Christmas y'all! We hope you are all having a wonderful time with family celebrating the birth of our Savior!
In Kansas City, Rachel is enjoying her day off with her husband and his side of the family. While Grace is in Nashville spending time with her husband and his parents, aka Rachel's parents and soon-to-be Asher's grandparents! Any day now.
Even though we're a few states away, as tradition goes, we're still wearing our matching pjs! Scroll through to see our holiday!
From our families to yours, Merry Christmas!!
- Rachel & Grace
POST AUTHOR: GRACE
Hi friends! Today's post is very personal for me. I'm sharing specifically what I am praying for Asher.
I've had a lot of people ask me what I have loved most about pregnancy, and the truth is I've loved how it has influenced my walk with the Lord. Don't get me wrong, I love feeling him kick and move around, but my time with the Lord has gotten even sweeter. Maybe it's because I'm realizing that once Asher is here, my uninterrupted time in the word will pretty much be non-existent.
There's also a lot of worry that comes with pregnancy. Instead of giving into my fears and concerns though, I try to immediately pray and cast my cares on Him. As you can imagine, my prayer life has exploded in the past few months!
So here's what I am praying for our little man. I hope it gives you a look into my heart for him!
First and foremost I pray every morning that Asher will have spiritual and physical strength and health. The most important thing to me is that Asher knows who God is AND what his identity in Christ is. It's important to me that he is not just strong in his faith, but also has a healthy view and relationship with God.
Growing up in the Bible Belt, it's easy to know all the right answers and have the head knowledge, but I don't want it to stop there for Asher. I want him to experience a healthy and thriving relationship with God and to walk in that all the days of his life.
One of the fears you have as a mother is your child's health and strength. When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately thought about Asher's health and how long the Lord would give him on this earth. So I started to pray for physical health and strength.
Why worry when you can pray, right? I also started praying this prayer because the blessing over the Tribe of Asher in Deuteronomy mentions strength. It's important to me to pray this specific blessing over Asher and that he walks in the fullness of his name.
I also pray that Asher is happy and knows how blessed he is. His name quite literally means happy or blessed, and I pray that he is a testimony of the happiness and blessings we receive when we walk with the Lord.
We live in such a broken world, that happiness, joy, blessings, etc. seem hard to recognize some days. I pray that Asher shines his light into every dark corner and that people are drawn to the Lord because of his happiness and joy.
Some other things I've been praying for Asher that seem basic, but again, why worry when you can pray, are....
- Safe and healthy delivery
- For our doctor and nurses
- For my hubby (hospitals make him queasy!)
- No colic (seriously have been scared for this ha!)
- That I would be able to breastfeed and supply enough milk for him
- A good sleep schedule
The list could go on and on, and so I continue to pray when I'm confronted with worry. If you are a soon-to-be momma and find yourself struggling with worry, please take this as an encouragement from me to start praying. I believe that the enemy wants to rob our joy and fill our hearts and minds with fear. However, perfect love casts out fear. So press into Jesus when you are worried or scared. He cares for us and wants to meet all of our needs, we just have to ask!
I keep a prayer journal so I can clearly express my thoughts and one day look back on all the ways God answered my prayers. It's such a cool thing to be able to do! Start today ... it’s never too late.
I hope this post encourages you and shows you a little bit of my heart for Asher. If you are a momma or soon-to-be momma, what are your hopes and dreams for your child and how do you combat worry?
Happy Father's Day! We wanted to share some photos of us with our dads and express how thankful we are to have these men in our lives. We would not be where or who we are today without our dads. We love you with all our hearts!
Post Author: Grace
Hello friends! I hope you are having a wonderful week. Mine has been pretty slammed, but I’m trying to be consistent with my daily reading.
Typically, I get up a little earlier than I’d like to so I have some built in me-time. I use this first bit of time in the morning to read my bible, journal and pray, then I read a little of my current favorite book (I read a lot, so the current favorite is always changing).
I’ve found that starting my day with God and focusing on the blessings in my life, before I jump into my work day, is for sure a game changer.
I have discovered several new and interesting reads through one simple habit. When I meet someone new, I ask them about books they have recently read. It’s a terrific icebreaker and elicits fascinating responses.
I recently asked a client this question and she shared with me how much she loved The Go-Giver. I was intrigued and added it to my “books to read” list. However, at our next meeting, she brought a copy of the book and gifted it to me! Isn’t that just the sweetest gesture?
I’m enjoying reading it and it’s already had a huge impact on my daily life. So why is this book so awesome? Because it's definitely not your typical sales pitch book. It's all about what value you can offer to someone, not what or how can you get something from them. A refreshing philosophy, don’t you agree?
This short and entertaining read is a fictitious story about Joe, a salesman, and Pindar, a mentor, who introduces Joe to five “go-givers” that have already mastered the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success.
From cover to cover it’s packed full of valuable lessons, wonderful insight and motivation and it’s challenging my mindset.
Try starting your mornings with a new book! You never know what you will learn and how you will grow as a result.
What's your favorite book right now? Please share ... I’m always on the lookout for books to add to my reading list.
This week, I'm reflecting. Last year at this time, my husband - then fiance - and I were finalizing a million details for our wedding and packing for our honeymoon. We live in Kansas City, but we were married in Nashville, TN, where Grace and my brother live. We chose Nashville because it’s just so beautiful and we knew it’d be the perfect city for our guests to enjoy.
My apartment was an absolute mess. I had wedding decor, clothes, documents, etc. spread all across the living room floor. I was calling my mom in Dallas multiple times a day trying to figure out what was still on our to do list and who was doing what, along with figuring out the logistics of transporting everything to and from. Whew, it was a hectic time! Although it was a bit stressful, it was also a ton of fun planning and pepping for our big day!
One year later, I want to share with you, and especially with our bride-to-be followers, some of the details, photos, videos, wedding party gifts, dress info, and advice I learned along the way. Feel free to skip around with the links below!
Our first dance was Head Over Boots by Jon Pardi (give it a listen to the right!), so it only made sense for us to sport boots and two step our way into marriage! It was such a relief to be wearing comfortable shoes that I could dance in all night long.
Nigros is a family owned store right here in Kansas City and they were wonderfully accommodating. When they ordered my boots, the vendor told them the delivery date was going to be cutting it close. They assured me they’d arrive in time, but I think I still called every day to check in and they were so understanding and even let me pick out a second pair of boots just in case mine didn't make it in time.
Follow Nigros Western Store on Instagram.
A few months later, one of my girlfriends purchased the same boots for her wedding and she loved them every bit as much as I did. I can’t say enough good things about Nigros, their staff and their boots. Love everything about them!
Jessica Elle Photography
Follow Jessica on Instagram or Facebook.
Follow Peerless on Instagram.
Hair & Makeup
Follow her on Instagram.
DeLaney also styled my hair perfectly so I could wear the same floral headpiece my mother wore on her wedding day. Our florist did an amazing job adding a few fresh flowers to give it new life and it meant so much to me to wear it on my wedding day. And, yes, I’ll be saving it for many more years in hopes that I will have the chance to pass it along one day to a daughter on her wedding day.
Dresses: David's Bridal
Shirts & Ties: Dillard's
Socks: The School of Sock
We went with Kendra Scott jewelry because it never disappoints. Plus, pro tip, if you shop during your birthday month, you get 50% off one item.
I also had a hanky embroidered for my mom. It read, "Mom, If joyful tears begin to fall, wipe them away and then recall, the love and laughter we share together and how much you mean to me forever." I was very pleased with how beautifully made it was and it came in handy during the ceremony.
For the bridesmaids
When the girls visited Kansas City for the bachelorette party, I gave them each a KC heart t-shirt from Charlie Hustle. It’s one of my favorites.
On the big day, I gave them each a robe and big cozy socks along with homemade “survival kits”. I snagged some cute makeup bags at Target and filled them with essentials like lotion, tissues, Advil, mints, etc. And before the ceremony, I gave them each pearl earrings in a cute box with this note - “I couldn’t say ‘I do’ without my best girls by my side”.
My husband put together a box for each groomsman that included their tie clip, socks, a customized set of cuff-links and a small bottle of liquor.
For my dad
One of my bridesmaids made a frame etched with some sweet words and I added a photo of me laying on his chest when I was just a few weeks old.
For our little flower girl & ring bearer
My mom had cute little t-shirts made for the flower girl and ring bearer to wear at the rehearsal and dinner the night before the wedding. The flower girl’s said “Flower Power” and the ring bearer’s said “Ring Security.” They were really sweet.
We also had a special hanky made for our flower girl to carry in her basket down the aisle and one day, hopefully, it will be her “something old” when she’s a bride.
Our ring bearer carried a football instead of rings down the aisle and we gave it to him to keep. The unexpected bonus was that it also entertained him all evening!
Also, we purchased a few items to keep them busy at the reception - coloring book and crayons, a toy truck, etc and at the end of the night, they got to take them home.
With my father, brother & bridesmaids
However, I wanted to have a special first look with my dad and my brother beforehand. It was a vary special moment. We all shed a few tears, my brother wrote me a letter I’ll treasure forever, and I presented my dad with a special framed photo. It's a memory I will forever cherish.
Flower Girl & Ring Bearer
My husband's nephew rocked boots like his uncles, suspenders and a bow tie. How cute?! Instead of carrying the rings, he carried a Chiefs football down the aisle. If you don’t already know, my hubby and I met when we both worked for the Chiefs so, of course, it was a special way to represent where it all began.
It truly was one of the happiest moments of my life. Seeing my groom waiting for me at the altar and knowing this was the day we’d finally be joined as one, made it especially hard not to let the happy tears fall.
During the ceremony, Lindsey played piano and sang while we took communion (photo above), prayed together and worshiped remembering none of this would be possible without our Heavenly Father guiding us every step of the way.
Dinner & Dessert
Reception & Sparkler Exit
We are so thankful to everyone who traveled to Nashville to support us and celebrate with us. It meant the world to us to have all of you there!
Of course, a very special thank you to our parents, our families and our wedding party, we truly appreciate each of you. We couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you!
A huge shout out to my mom who helped me plan, organize, and get every single detail just right. Thanks for letting me call you 24/7 and text you a million times. Love you, mom!
To my bridesmaids - I am so thankful you are always by my side, not only on our wedding day, but through all of lives ups and downs. I truly treasure my friendship with each of you and am so thankful for your love and support.
I am also a big fan of celebrating your OWN life and today is my 27th birthday! Woohoo! I enjoy looking back on the year and seeing the hand of God in my life — where He's taken me, how He's grown me, provided for me, and the list goes ON. We serve a good God y'all.
This year I am feeling extra thankful because God has done so much in my life this past year. I grew in my faith, challenged myself, took on a new and exciting job, grew in my marriage, deepened my friendships and more. This is worth celebrating!
My husband asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate my birthday this year, and after last year’s big celebration, I really just wanted something small and intimate. So I told him to plan it, invite our two closest friends and just tell me when to get dolled up.
When I woke up this past Sunday, Blake told me I needed to get ready to celebrate. I made a quick little shopping trip and picked up a new lightweight sweater (it was freezing in Tennessee this past weekend!) and we headed to our first destination: Arrington Vineyards.
You guys, I love Arrington..all of it! I love the wine, the atmosphere, the country feel, everything. We got an incredible bottle of wine, sat by the fire and spent a little time walking around exploring the grounds.
After we finished up at Arrington, we headed to our next destination: Josephine. I have been wanting to go here since we moved to Nashville. This restaurant has amazing reviews and I was so excited when Blake surprised me with a dinner reservation here.
For starters, we ordered the brussels sprouts and Nashville hot scrapple. Scrapple is a sausage and, oh my goodness, it was to die for. For the main course, I ordered the scallops, the guys ordered the roasted chicken, and my bestie, Rachel, ordered a pasta dish. We all cleaned our plates and even splurged on some after dinner hot apple pie. I cannot say enough about the truly wonderful dining experience this place provides — the service was incredible, the atmosphere was just perfect and the food was amazing.
We ended the night with a time of affirmation. We've made this a tradition to do on birthdays and it is so special. Everyone takes a turn to verbally affirm the person whose birthday we are celebrating. I always shed a few tears, laugh a lot and felt incredibly loved.
If you've never done this, try it. It’s a beautiful way for the guest of honor to start a new year.
Bring it on 27! The best is yet to come!
Here are a few inspirational quotes and verses that I've been loving lately. The second image is actually my current phone background. I love it!
Share your favorite quotes or verses with us in the comments!
We each shared our thoughts on Valentine's Day, our special gifts and how we celebrated.
Growing up, each year, my dad would give me a box of delicious chocolates or candies and my mom would always be sure to surprise me with something special. Each gesture was a small way to show that they were thinking of me and it was always so sweet.
This year, my parents sent my brother and I some of this divine Toasted Garlic Olive Oil from our hometown in Texas. It is so good and everyone in the family has become obsessed with it. The bottle we received as a Christmas gift is long gone, so this was a wonderful surprise.
And even though I hate that roses and chocolates are extremely over-priced this time of year, or the fact that roses die and chocolates never last long around me, I love that my husband is such a prince. He spoils me rotten, takes pride in making me laugh, and always strives to make my heart happy.
So, every year, I'm always pleasantly surprised and oh-so happy to receive a special Valentine from him. He doesn't always stick to the traditional gift, but this year he did - a beautiful bouquet of roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates! I cherish each gift he sends me because I know he loves to make me feel loved...and I love it!
And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.
- 1 Thessalonians 3:12
I got a wonderful surprise this Valentine's Day morning. Some white roses, Reese's and Burt's Bees and a sweet card from my husband.
Every year for Valentine's Day, we plan a fun little date night to a new spot we've never tried. We talk about how we've grown together, what has made us fall more in love and what we are excited about for the next year. It's always a way to get my cup filled.
This year, we celebrated a little early and hit the town this past weekend. It was wonderful and I am blessed to be so well loved by my valentine. 💕
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
- 1 Corinthians 13:7
It was my honor to say “YES!” when she asked me to participate in a Q&A with her for her blog, theperfectlittlelife.com. Now I am sharing my Q&A with y'all!
Hi! My name is Grace and I have lived in Nashville for 4 years now. I moved from College Station, Texas with my husband Blake after he graduated college. We were only supposed to be in Nashville for 1 year, but fell in love with it and have been here ever since! We have 2 miniature dachshunds, Henry and Loraine, and they are pretty ridiculous. I am the Director of Business Development at Scout Properties, a real estate company here in Nashville. I LOVE my job. I have had a few jobs and have never really loved them, so it is a breath of fresh air to love going to work and love what I do. My sister-in-law and I write a blog together which has been a fun creative outlet and a great way to bond with her! We write about our travels, food, fashion, etc. In my free time you can find me reading or sipping on some wine with good friends. People are my jam and building relationships is the best. Thanks for letting me share my life with you!
Ok I’ll be incredibly basic and admit it. I am loving JT’s new song Filthy. It’s a great one, you win JT. I also have had Reckless Love of God by Cory Asbury on repeat lately. Two total opposites, two great songs.
What’s your favorite style to wear?
I love all things black. It’s so easy, always looks good and is always chic. Plus it’s easy to wear to work and still look professional while easily transitioning to a happy hour after work and not looking boring.
What’s your guilty pleasure snack-go-to?
Cheesy Gordita Crunch. Okkkk that’s more of a meal but let me tell ya something. It’s freaking good.
What’s your MUST-HAVE beauty item that you can’t live with out?
Concealer. I love the Age Rewind that you can find at any drugstore. It’s great coverage and really brightens your eyes.
Who’s the most influential person in your life and why?
Right now in my life I would honestly have to say my boss. I know that seems very odd and random, but he is a very strong leader, loves people well, is a strong believer and a phenomenal business man. He has influenced so many lives at my company and I have reaped the benefits of working for such a phenomenal person. It’s made an impact on my marriage, faith, and just over all personal and professional development. It’s exciting to be a part of a company that is incredibly intentional in every aspect and encourages you to do the same.
What’s the one thing you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
This year a big goal of mine is to read 24 books. I grew up having to read a lot for school and hated it. Now I see what a blessing reading is and how important continuing education is. So here’s to accomplishing this (for me) big goal for 2018! I’ll let you know at the end of it how I do.
Wherever you are, in whatever season, be all in. Live life with your hands open to God because He has so much to show you and offer you. I’m convinced that life is so much richer when you live it with this mindset.
What’s your fave inspirational quote?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou
I love this quote because it’s amazing how much influence you can have over a moment in someone’s life. It reminds me to be present, leave the best impression and love someone exactly where they are at.
Where is one place you’d love to travel to?
I really want to travel to Uganda or Sudan one day. One day I would love to go and love on the orphanages there that my home church in Texas partners with.
What drives you and gives you passion in your profession?
Working with people! I get to meet new people every single day and hear their stories. Today I met someone who met their spouse while hiking in Iceland! What?! Such a cool story. Everyone I meet in my job gives me an opportunity to connect and hear their story.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
Speaking of growth, I believe the things that we absorb and put into our minds in turn reflects the kind of growth we experience and, therefore, I try to commit to reading several books a year that make me think more deeply or teach me something new. Like you, I have a limited amount of free time, so being selective when I'm choosing how to spend it, is important -- but who doesn't enjoy a good book? So for 2018, I have chosen 3 must read books for you to consider!
1. Saint Augustine's Confessions
I'm super excited to dive into this book because it details Saint Augustine's life from youth to his conversion to Christianity. Saint Augustine was one of the most influential theologians and philosophers so it feels like a gift to be able to read one of his works. I'll be reading it with a group of friends so I'm exited to see what I learn from it!
Guys, I have been meaning to read this book for the past year and this year I HAVE to read it. I have heard such great reviews and, to be quite honest, I love anything dealing with personality and why we do what we do. I've heard nothing but great things about it, so I'm definitely recommending it for you too!
This one was recommended to me by my husband. One of my goals for 2018 is to become more financially aware. My husband handles all of our finances because he truly enjoys it, but, I believe, it has become a crutch for me and I'm slowly working toward changing that. Again, I have heard great reviews and, according to my hubby, it played a big role in shaping the way that we handle our finances. So I'm committed to reading it cover to cover (which means I'll probably be asking him lots of questions about our finances along the way), but I'll also be increasing my financial understanding and awareness!
Traditions, particularly holiday traditions, are an incredible way to tie your family together and is a custom that you share with loved ones. I recently heard someone describe family traditions as "a family's love language". Isn't that the sweetest?
Well, I'm here today to share a few of my family's Christmas traditions with you. I'd also enjoy hearing what your family does year after year. Please share them with me in the comments. Don't be surprised if we like them so much, we incorporate them into ours!
I swear, I think our family can quote the entire movie beginning to end. It is one of our all time favorites and is an absolute must every Christmas. The best part is that my dad laughs so hard, like abs hurt the next day hard, that it makes all of us crack up even more!
Christmas Eve Church & Dinner
There is a house near our old neighborhood that we still go back to see year after year because it is always phenomenal! They go all out and even turn their garage into a winter wonderland. As kids, it was our all-time favorite house to see and when we go back to visit, it's like we're five years old oohhing and aahhing over it!
Now that we're married, we save all of our gifts for Christmas day, but as kids, we loved this tradition! Plus, I'm sure it was a way that my mom could get us to stop constantly asking about our presents.
After the kitchen is cleaned, we flip on some football or maybe a movie and enjoy the rest of the day together. There's usually a nap somewhere in the day along with snacking, rooting for our favorite team, playing card games and, if the weather is nice, there's some backyard football too. That evening though we'll all gather 'round the table again for a big dinner. We eat, we drink, we laugh and we love. Always a very special day with my favorite people.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
You are who I am writing to today. I am writing to you today because I think in the midst of all of the festivities, gift giving, and preparation we forget to turn our hearts towards those who are experiencing something very new and painful for the first time.
My mother is experiencing her first Christmas without her mother this year. I know that this will not be an easy Christmas for her and I want to lean in to her specifically. I want to be more sensitive, understanding, and hug her a lot more. I want to let it go when she gets flustered. I want to just lean in to where her heart is that day. I want to wake up that morning and be present for her.
Choosing joy is not easy and often frustrating, but we can choose it. For me, this looks like shifting my focus. Shifting my eyes towards heaven and the coming of my Savior when He alone will make all things right. For me, it's choosing to look heavenward at the anticipation of the second coming.
I recently spoke with my mom about how my grandfather is handling the festivities without his wife, his better half. She was so encouraged by him because he chose to decorate their home, even though his best friend wasn't there to help him. He chose to go Christmas shopping for all of his grandchildren. He chose to send out Christmas cards signing only his name. At first, this made me so sad thinking of him doing all of it alone. But then, I was immediately filled with pride for him. He chose a beautiful state. He chose to enjoy the season even in the midst of his pain and grief. Please hear me. I am not diminishing your grief and your pain. My words are only here to offer encouragement for you in this season. We often think we can't do certain things when we can. We can do more than we could ever imagine, especially with the power and help of Jesus.
If this is you, then my prayer for you this Christmas is that you see glimmers of Christ's glory. I pray that you would have incredibly special moments with family and friends. I pray that you would enjoy the little things. I pray that you would cry when you need to cry and laugh when you need to laugh. Please know that it is Christ who mourns with us and so we mourn together. But with great anticipation and joy, we look heavenward for the second coming when all will be made right. And when you make that choice to choose joy, I pray that you would be blessed tremendously with the power to do so in that moment.
If this is a Christmas that is joyful for you this year because of so many fun firsts, I am so excited for you. I pray you make many sweet memories that last a lifetime. I ask that you lean into those around you who are dreading Christmas because of loss. Send a text, write a note or just give a hug. Whatever it is that you do, just remember that leaning in is sometimes the most powerful thing you can do for someone.