Thursday, October 30, 2014

#1,778 Every Day I'm Hustlin.

It was another gauntlet of a day, just keeping with the grind, getting things ready for next week. I was juggling lots of projects for Laurel Main Street that I'm SO excited about along with the regular wedding and apple orchard projects while Ben and Josh worked on getting their workshop across the street from Lucky Luxe cleaned up and organized. It's just about the coolest space 2 dudes could have for making stuff—frames, furniture or whatever.

Afterward, we had to go to Hattiesburg to return some jeans, where I exchanged them for a pair of boyfriend jeans that I have no idea how to wear (what shoes?? I only wear heels to church—don't even suggest that mess) becaues they felt so dang comfortable. And then, well. We might as well go to Tabella, right? This is what it looked like about 4 minutes after they sat it down in front of us. We were #hangry.

And there was an apple costrada on their fall menu which sounded exactly like heaven (a warm puff pastry filled with butter sauteed honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples with a custard sauce), so we had to order that too. And it was exactly what I thought it would be.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#1,777 The End/The Beginning.

Tonight was Ben's last time to ever lead as a youth minister.

Byron got up and told everyone about his all-time favorite Ben moments, which prompted everyone else to do it too:

And Ben talked to them about following God's calling for your life, and then he gave them all a letter. He wrote it earlier this week and it destroyed me.
And the main thing the letter said was for them to love. That's God's calling for every single one of us—to love the people he puts along the way in our life.

And I'm so glad I married this man.

And even while I'm mourning that season of our life ending, I'm so glad that this bittersweet ending is also a brand new beginning. Lisa keeps telling me, "who knows what surprises will happen from here?" There's no way we can possibly imagine what plans God has for us, for our family business, for all the other completely crazy opportunities that can appear out of nowhere, without our pursuit or planning. And like our friend Grant told us tonight—"the supernatural never feels natural." And that's exactly where we are—following God's lead, straight into the unknown. And I'm terrified and excited and in love with life and in love with the One who orchestrates it all.

Good night, sweet readers!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#1,776 Mammaw's House + Etc.

This afternoon Ben started the task of closing down the pumpkin patch for the last time ever. He loaded up the handful of pumpkins that were left and the hay bales and we took it all out to my parents.

Afterward we stopped by Mammaw's to see her for a little while. We sat on her back porch, where you can always find her when the weather is nice. My whole life, she's been there in that chair in the afternoons. Watching the road for any passing cars (which she swears they never do). I took a few photos today of Mammaw's house. This is the way it's always been, and the way it will always be in my mind's eye years from now when I can no longer spend a lazy afternoon on her back porch. I'm so glad I captured it, that feeling, in a few photos.

And then, we went back into town where I spent most of my afternoon working on Walker's first birthday party invitations. It began with sketches and lettering. And his silhouette, which makes me wish I could kiss his chubby, sweet cheeks.

I'm really very proud of the finished product, but I'll save it until after his party. It's easy to design for the people I love.

And when I left the studio around 6:00, I went across the street to the work shop to help Ben finish up the 8 foot long wood, cork and linen bulletin board he's been building for the stairwell at the shop.
I'm planning to tack my favorite invitations from the collection to it along with all kinds of inspiration. I hope it looks as cool as I'm imagining it. Only 6 more days until the film crew arrives—and there is still so much to do. I'm praying this forecast changes its mind:

Monday, October 27, 2014

#1,775 Mama's Phone.

Today, my mama saved the day.

We were in Walmart buying groceries last night when Ben turned away from the buggy with his new iPhone sitting in the top rack for just a moment, and someone decided they needed it more than him. We spent the morning filing a police report so they can search the phone recycling bins in town and hopefully get it back to him, but in the interim he has to have something to work with. We went to the cell store and their cheapest option was a $60 flip phone. $60 for a couple weeks of use didn't seem like a great bargain, and then we realized... Mama got a new phone recently and kept her old iPhone. It's been Walker's chew toy for a few months, but it still works thank goodness.
Free is very good when you've just lost all your contacts and calendar.

In good news—it was such a busy day at work! 3 new orders and a really sweet shout out from our PR firm on instagram smoothed right over the iPhone fiasco.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

#1,774 Surprise.

This morning in the worship service after Ben's very last time to lead Sunday school as a youth minister:

We were surprised when Bro. Mark invited one of our sweet youth mamas to the front and she had all of the youth in tow with her. They wanted to recognize Ben on his last Sunday in ministry, and give him a gift to let them know he was loved and appreciated. And y'all.
I just sat there in my seat and cried like a baby while Mal offered me a baby wet wipe for a Kleenex. I don't know why I struggle with change so much, but I do. Change is scary, no matter how wonderful the next thing is. I can't believe how tender I felt toward "our kids," seeing them standing up front—remembering pancake breakfasts on youth trips and ping pong battles in the rec room. Our life is changing, but I'm realizing how I'll miss having those intimate moments of faith sharing with them that I've taken for granted until now.

He got back to his seat and we quietly opened the gift to find a beautiful print of the place that meant the most to them and their time with Ben, summer after summer—the cross at Lake Junaluska:
And tonight I'm so very thankful that we got to be part of their growing up journey, and I just hope they'll always carry something good from it with them the rest of their days. I know I sure will.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

#1,773 The Great Shop Clean Up.

We've been spending every waking minute hustling around getting things done around the house and at Lucky Luxe for the last several days (and will be the upcoming weeks) getting it all ready for the filming, and the biggest of those tasks was marked off the list today—cleaning up the garage. Since it was finished back in June, Baker moved in like he owned the joint, bringing mayhem with him with every swash of his fat fluffy tail. He's basically an enormous clumsy dust mop, and it was reaching the point where little mountains of dirt and dust were piling up in every corner, his fur creating cobwebs hanging from every surface. On day one Baker stood up underneath Ben's work bench and knocked over the entire assortment of nails, screws and bolts. On rainy days, he'd roll in mud then bring that in there to his favorite spot—the bed of Ben's truck.

I wish I'd thought to take a before photo, but now—it's all ship shape.
Oil stains on the floor will be a permanent fixture. It's the small price you pay to drive old cars without a monthly note.

We even fogged the place tonight while we were watching Ole Miss take their first loss of the season (so sad—but Les Miles deserved a little sunshine today with the loss of his mama), to get rid of all the spiders. It's crazy how well it worked!

Nervous breakdown waiting to see if Bo Wallace could save the game...

Bo throws an interception.

At least there was good homemade potato salad.

Friday, October 24, 2014

#1,772 Go Tornadoes.

Tonight, in true fall form, on the eve of the first day of the last week of Ben's career in ministry, we went to the football game at Laurel High School to watch our students  take the field for senior night. When we started at FUMC, they weren't even in the youth program yet. They were still children! Aaagghhhh! How do you parents deal with time? It's a thief. 

Anyway, we bundled up (hooray!) and took some selfies in Mississippi's first lighted football stadium--affectionately known around here as "The Bricks," built down into the earth like a bowl with the nicest running track I've ever seen.
And we won! The tornadoes beat their big rivals, the Wayne County war eagles, in the last few moments of the game: 23-17. Woo! 

And as you can probably tell by how small the photos are, I'm so sleepy I'm blogging from my phone in bed again. I think I'll just rest my eyes for a minute...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

#1,771 Haunted Hospital + Fair.

Today, I took an adventure.

Growing up, every kid in Jones County had a very real fear of the haunted hospital at the end of 1st Avenue in a really rough part of town. It was the old South Mississippi Charity Hospital, and it closed in the 1980s. I can't find an original photo of it, but I think this might possibly be it, found on a postcard:

People always said it was one of the most haunted places in Mississippi, and when my brother and I were in high school you would always hear of a few very brave boys venturing into it in the middle of the night on a dare—usually around Halloween. They always swore they saw and heard terrifying things inside, lurking in every corner, but I was (of course) too terrified to go. My brother drove me past it one afternoon after school, only because I was brave enough in the broad daylight—but only to look at it, and only from the car, and only passing by. It was a very creepy place, an enormous structure, dilapidated, sitting up high on a hill at the end of the dead end street. A national radio show wanted to broadcast live one Halloween night, but Mayor Vincent politely declined and asked that they not—it was just too dangerous, structurally. It's a place I had a few nightmares about growing up, just the mystery of such a place—right here in Laurel. A few years after I finished high school, there was a fire:

And then it was no longer a building, but the ruins of a place that was once widely considered haunted.
Now, the brush has grown so tall, what's left of the facade isn't visible from the street.

And now, what I'm saying is... Ben, Josh and I went there this afternoon while we were looking at some of Josh's new real estate purchases in the area. And I, for the first time in my life, overcame my crippling fear of this place and went inside the old charity hospital. And going through the back entrance was just about as scary as I imagined it would be.

There was some very creepy graffiti.

And then, it took my breath away.

And I wasn't afraid anymore, I was just fascinated. And confused by how such a strong, beautiful building could crumble to this. We explored, and found things that made the hair on my arms stand up:

And it was one of those moments when my childhood collided with my life in real time, and it was a funny feeling. Standing there, in the place I've been so afraid of all my life, without fear—just awe.

Later, I drove out to the country to see mama and was awestruck again by the season. Isn't fall kind of a miracle?

And later, we went with Jim and Mal to take Lucy on her first trip to the fair.

Where we fed a camel, I think.
The end.
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