Monday, August 20, 2012

The storm

I've been MIA this past week or so, not by choice, but by sheer exhaustion. I've debated whether or not to talk about this because I personally don't enjoy reading a string of negative tweets or blog posts or whatever, especially from one person. I never want to be the person that constantly complains. So I'm going to talk about it once, get it out, and move on. If there's anything I've learned in the past few years of blogging, it's that sometimes the love of strangers can be uplifting in ways I've never imagined. And for selfish reasons, I think just writing this will be therapeutic for me.

Both my family and NTP's are in the middle of a storm, and we could really use your prayers.

About three months ago we discovered that my first cousin has Stage 4 cancer. He's 26 years old. Now, three months later, we still don't know what kind of cancer he has. Sadly, our faith in the medical community is quickly sinking, as is his health. My mom and aunt drove him up to Boston this past week to see a specialist associated with Harvard. He was still unable to give a diagnosis, but put him on an aggressive treatment to see how he responds, and then go from there. On their way back to Macon, I met them in Commerce to pick up my mom. Y'all, my cousin (who was always overweight) was thinner than I am and obviously in a lot of pain. But throughout it all, his faith in God is uplifting not only him, but the rest of us that love him.

On top of that, my grandmother (my only remaining grandparent) has been in a nursing home for nine years because of a stroke that paralyzed the left side of her body. When I took my mom to LaGrange Sunday morning we stopped by the nursing home and for the first time, my grandmother didn't know who I was. She also called my mom by another name. As you can imagine, my mom was already physically and emotionally exhausted from the trip to Boston and I think that broke her in a sense.

NTP's family could also use your prayers. I don't feel right discussing it, so I simply ask for your thoughts and prayers.

I think we could all stand to be a little more thankful for the little things every day. I know I could. Now when I find myself grumbling over something small, I've started realizing just how trivial it is. I'm healthier than many, have the most incredible support system, and have a God who will be with me ALWAYS, through every storm, and a Savior that died so that my cousin, my grandmother, and all of us will have everlasting life. If that's not comforting, I don't know what is.

Thanks for your patience and understanding and I really hope this didn't ruin anyone's morning. That was not definitely my intention.

A friend sent me this verse this morning, and I'll leave you with this uplifting bit of truth.

"I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me." - Psalm 16:8

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

"By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:35


I think a lot of times we forget, myself included, that as Christ followers this is what we're called to do above all others.

Last week in our Bible study we challenged each other to work on having a loving and generous heart and thought a great way to do that would be by performing a random act of kindness during the week. I was so excited about doing this that it took me forever to fall asleep that night because I kept thinking of what I was going to do.

So the following morning I went to Starbucks (which is very out of the norm for me since I'm on a pretty tight budget) and pulled up to the drive-thru window to pay for my latte. I told the nice young man at the window that I'd also like to pay for the person behind me. Just seeing his face when I said that made it completely worth it (especially since the person behind me had a $12 order). While I was paying he asked if I liked Starbucks' regular coffee. I said yes and he handed me a large, on the house.

I was so blessed and humbled by the experience that I've been thinking about it all week. And what would you know, today I stumble across a blog post from an inspiring mom who performed 38 random acts of kindness for her 38th birthday. Robyn's post can be found here. I read through all 38 awesome acts of kindness as well as the ones in the comments section. This post was published over a year ago and I can only imagine all the wonderful kind things that were inspired by it since then.

And it inspired me to do more.

I am so excited to do 24 random acts of kindness with friends and family in February for my birthday, but I can't wait that long to get started. So during my lunch break I began a list of things I want to do. Starting NOW!

I'd love to hear any ideas y'all might have! I'll make sure to document them as I go so y'all can share in the awesomeness! And let me know your ROAK and the results. I really can't wait to hear them. :)

1. (My favorite) Leave gift cards inside my favorite books at Barnes & Noble with a note that says,  "I enjoyed this book so much and hope it brings you all the adventure, happiness, and joy it has brought me. Much love, a fellow bookworm."

2. Tip an exceptional waiter or waitress 100% and leave a grateful note on the receipt.

3. Pay for a military family's meal at a restaurant.

4. Drop off donuts and a thank you note to the police and fire stations.

5. Buy a toy for a pup at Petsmart.

6. Buy a cupcake for someone else on my birthday.

7. Pay for someone's groceries.

8. Work with the church to find a family in need and anonymously buy or prepare them a Christmas meal feast.

9. Feed some parking meters.

10. Tape some change to a vending machine.

11. Take flowers and a note to the hospital thanking doctors and nurses for all they do.

12. Buy a milkshake for someone behind me in the Chick-fil-A drive-thru. (What a yummy summer treat!)

13. Leave a candy bar and thank you note in the mailbox for the mailman.

14. Offer to help an elderly person load groceries into their car.

15. Write thank you notes to soldiers overseas.

16. Compliment a stranger.

That's about as far as I've gotten so far. And I think it's a great start, but I'm also praying that God presents me with opportunities to share random acts of kindness. And I have a feeling those truly random moments will be the most incredible. :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend Recap

My mom came to town Saturday morning and we had a GREAT girls' weekend together. We started with manis, of course, and I got what I like to call my Barbie manicure. Barbie would totes sport bright pink nails and sparkles, right!?

After manis we got some delicious Philly cheesesteaks at Galla's and then headed to the mall for some shopping. Mom was on the hunt for a khaki skirt and I was on the hunt for NARS Schiap lipstick. Neither one of us was successful. :( Sephora was all out of Schiap, but I did get to see a sample and decide if I really want it. I do. :)

After shopping we spent the rest of the evening snuggling with Mason and watching the Olympics before heading to Yogli Mogli for some froyo (a Hart girls tradition).

Sunday morning was full of awesome worship and a great message at Buckhead Church, followed by a delicious lunch at the new Tin Lizzy's in Dunwoody.

Mom had to head back to LaGrange shortly after lunch to take care of some stuff on the farm, so I had a very relaxing afternoon snuggling with the pup, watching the Olympics, and enjoying this nice adult beverage. Perfect for a hot July afternoon. :)

Hope everyone had a great weekend! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

{Outfit Post} Vintage Blue

This is yesterday's OOTD. A vintage blue breezy belted dress and nude platform wedges, which I found at Payless, believe it or not!

And here's a close-up and better look at the dress's actual color. I especially love the print. It's little apostrophes! I am such a nerd...

I think I mentioned last week that I'm in charge of renovating and redecorating our entire corporate office. It's been much more of an undertaking that I anticipated. So as cute and comfy as those wedges are, I do NOT, I repeat, do NOT suggest wearing them shopping. After running all over Atlanta yesterday afternoon hunting for tile, paint, baskets, wall hanging, frames, etc., I now have no less than three Mickey Mouse bandaids on my feet from the blisters. Beauty is pain, right? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Makeup Makeup Makeup!

I admittedly am not exactly a makeup aficionado. I may or may not beg my bestie and/or her sister to make me pretty all the time, because let's face it, I'm not the best at sculpting the "perfect eye". But with some practice I've managed to at least not elicit weird looks in Publix.

But today I need some face and lip product recommendations from y'all. My face regimen mainly consists of moisturizer and powder. I've been using MAC's Mineralize Skinfinish Natural pressed powder and I REALLY like it. It's light, perfect for hot southern summers, but still has good coverage.

So I've got the powder covered, but with fall quickly approaching I think I'd like to try some foundation for a more polished office look. I was thinking about trying MAC's Studio Fix SPF 15 foundation, but if y'all have any better recommendations please let me know! I'm completely lost here folks.

Next month marks the beginning of my first semester of graduate school, Junior League duties, college football, and let's not forget about weekly bible study meetings and that full time job. I'm already seeing small dark bags under my eyes so I can only imagine what they're going to look like come August or September. So with that in mind, I think it's time to invest in some concealer. Again, I was looking at this creamy concealer from MAC, but am kind of afraid it will look too cakey. Have y'all tried it or do you know of something better??

And then last, but not least, I'm ready for some bright pink (almost neon) lips! I keep seeing these colors everywhere and I'm now on the hunt for the perfect shade. What a fun way to glam up any look right!? Trying to choose between these three right now, but I think NARS Schiap is in the lead. :)

Let me know what your favorite products are! Pretty please!? 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Recap

Whew! I'm currently sitting at my desk with a big cup of coffee recovering from such a busy weekend. Caffeine, what would I do without you?

Friday night NTP and I had supper with some good friends of ours at Kaleidoscope in Brookhaven. My meal consisted of fried catfish, shrimp, collards, baked mac n cheese, and white cheddar cheese grits. Ummm, yeah. Needless to say, there are no pictures because that was the LAST thing on my mind as I inhaled a meal I hope they serve in heaven.

Saturday morning started with some relaxing reading and coffee time before it was off to the farm in LaGrange.

It was a really gloomy morning so the parents said to just come for a visit - it wouldn't be a work trip. Woohoo! Don't get me wrong... I love working on the farm, but on a mid-July day in Georgia? No thanks. We did discuss the upcoming planting season, what would go where, when to start, who to hire for help, etc. so we did get a little bit done. And my parents got to see sweet Mason, who they adore. Mason really likes playing with my dad. It's hilarious. This is after a rambunctious play session full of jumping and howling (by Mason, not my dad).

Sunday morning NTP and I headed back to Atlanta, dropped Mason off at his grooming appointment, and headed to Dekalb for our first trip to the Dekalb Farmer's Market. OH MY GOSH it was AMAZING! I'd heard it was awesome, but whoa. It was HUGE for one thing, and they had fruits and veggies I'd never even heard of! I stocked up on a week's worth of fresh (and I mean FRESH) produce and bread for $9. NINE DOLLARS.

Now this post wouldn't be complete if I didn't add a photo of Mason with his new hair cut. Let's just say I don't think he likes it very much based on this facial expression. :) Bless his little heart.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Weekend Reading

TGIF. For real.

This weekend is jam packed with fun stuff. Tonight NTP and I are meeting another couple for dinner at a fun restaurant here in Atlanta, tomorrow morning my apartment complex is having a big garage sale and I'm hoping to sell some clothes I don't wear anymore, then we're headed to the farm in LaGrange to do some work and see my parents, then Sunday it's back to ATL for Mason's grooming appointment and a much-anticipated trip to the Dekalb Farmer's Market. Whew!

But during the down time (if there is any) I'll be reading "Mark Twain: A Life" by Ron Powers. I got this biography for Christmas a couple years ago (or one year ago? I can't remember) and just hadn't gotten around to reading it. So last week when I finished Rules of Civility and found myself novel-less and no room in the budget to go stock up on more, I decided I'd learn a little bit more about one of my favorite authors. And let me tell you this book is no joke! I'm a nerd, so I actually kind of enjoy reading biographies, but this has to be the most interesting I've read. It's written in such a way that it actually feels more like a story than just a chain of events. It probably helps that Mr. Samuel Clemens led a really interesting life, but still, I'm really enjoying this biography.

Do y'all have any good book recommendations? I'll probably be back in Barnes & Noble scouring the racks again in a couple weeks and would love some suggestions. :)