HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BOY

April 27 is a very important day in the year as it means it’s my husband’s birthday!

Chandler walked into my life five years ago and truly changed my life for the better. He was everything I didn’t know I needed and SO much more. His love of his sports teams, his family and his go get ‘em attitude are truly some of the best things about him.

Chandler is the collected to my crazy and the spontaneous to my type-A. He is the best in always meeting my needs and being my safe space in allowing me to vent

If you have known Chandler for any period of time, you know how pure his heart is. He loves deeply, laughs mightily and truly lives to make the most of everyday. He sets out to do give of himself 110% in every situation and never ceases to stop learning and seeking improvement in every aspect of life. Chandler inspires me to a better person everyday and is the best part of me.

Chandler,

Thank you for being everything I could ever need in a husband: lover, provider and friend. You are my everything and I hope your birthday is just as phenomenal as you are. You have given me so much love and comfort over the years and for that, I am eternally grateful. I’m so glad I get to spend the rest of my days (trying, but failing in) returning the favor.

Thanks for always dealing with my crazy and still managing to love me unconditionally. It must be hard to be my husband, but you make it look so effortless. Life is an incredible journey, and there is no one I’d rather have by my side during it than you. Every moment, good or bad, we’ve had together is as irreplaceable as you are. You are the reason my life is so full of laughter and joy.

Remember that you are so loved and so cherished, even though I might not do the best in showing you. You are the ultimate provider and the steadiest shoulder to cry on. I am so glad to walk this life with you and to be a witness in your greatness.

The words truly escape me when I try to sum up how much I adore this man. Our love and life together has grown deeper and stronger over the past year. Because of you, I also love me, too. Here is to starting a new decade and to seeing where the new year will take you personally and us as a couple.

Belmont also loves you lots for his daily snuggles and nibbles!

Happy 30th Birthday. I love you long time, boy.

XO,

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A LETTER TO MY FUTURE CHILDREN

Now that Chandler and I have been married for almost a year and a half, the thought of starting a family has definitely crossed my mind. Although we aren’t in a place to have kids right at this moment, we hope to be there one day soon.

If I’m being completely transparent, the thought of having children also scares me big time. I’ve always loved babysitting and watching other people’s kids for small amounts of time, but becoming a parent is scary. Being a parent means changing diapers, making appointments, thousands of endless responsibilites and have someone’s better interest above yours at all times. It means looking after a “little” person constantly and taking on another a full-time job. With that being said, experiencing birthdays, Christmases, and the little joys of life look so different through the eyes of a child. Kids are a special part of you and your spouse that can never be taken away.

Chandler will also be the best dad. I cannot wait to see him take on a new role and fully embrace his nurturing side. Although he often tries to show off his hard exterior, Chandler is a big softie and actually does better showing his emotions than I do. He will be the best at being the “fun” dad and teaming up against //.

To our future children…

I know absolutely nothing about you at this point in time. Right now, I am a “late-twenty somethings” adult who is trying to make her way into the real world and see where I end up. I am figuring my life as an adult (scary, amiright?) and learning how to embrace responsibilities that I will someday, hopefully, pass down to you. I would be lying if I said I did not think about you often. I wonder what your passions will be, what music you will listen to or what your laugh will sound like. I also catch myself picturing what you will look like and if you’ll have my eyes or your dad’s lips. Whatever you look like, you are already in the back of my mind.

When you are crying at all hours of the night needing to be fed and changed, we will be there sleepily and happily ready to rock you back to sleep.
When you are scrape your knee at school and get a “boo boo,” we will kiss it to make it better.
When you are in your middle school phase and want nothing to do with us, we will understand. You’ll come back around.
When you graduate high school and move away to college, we will be right where you left us.
When you eventually get married and have kids of your own, we will be there to help you in any way we can.

To my children, you are loved.
To my children, you are heard.
To my children, you are seen.
To my children, you are cherished.

To see you to make messes, make mistakes and to also explore the ins-and-outs of life will be such a joy for your dad and I. As you are explore the world and experience the magic of what it has to offer firsthand, we will support you in all that you do.

Remember to take it easy on us, as we are learning with you. We, as your parents, aren’t perfect by any means. Know that as much as we try to keep things together and in order, we will mess up. You can come to us at any time with anything at any time, even after a big disagreement. We want the best for you and will always be your biggest cheerleaders. Just like my mom was for me, I promise to be the “loud mouth” parent on the sidelines of your little league soccer game or cheerleading competitions. Your dad and I will be cheering you on from the moment you take your first steps until you walk across the stage for high school (or college) graduation. We will always be in your corner.

Also know that living in this broken and fragile world can be tough. People can be cruel and life unfair, but believe me when I say that the Lord is substantially better than anything this world has to offer. We are running an Eternal race that should be run well and with Heaven in mind. (#sticktothetask) Remember that none of us are perfect and Christ will intercede on our behalf daily. Point others to Christ and aim to walk with Him daily. We are set on this planet to be kind, intentional and to help others. Pay it forward when you can. Also know that you won’t be perfect, but will always be enough. Surround yourself with family and friends that are always looking for ways to uplift and protect. Your village is so, so important and who you have around you in the valleys and on the mountaintops makes all the difference.

Know that your dad and I will love you so much, even from the very moment we find out you first exist.
We are here to support you in any way possible and will be with you every step of the way. Keep the Lord at your forefront and everything else will fall into place.

I look forward to meeting you someday, but until then I will keep living and learning so one day I can share life lessons with you.

Much love,
(pre) Mom & Dad

What is some key advice for first-time parents? What is something you wish someone had told you before having kids?

EVERYTHING IS CANCELED

Love is not canceled.

Sunshine is not canceled.

Relationships are not canceled.

Reading is not canceled.

Naps are not canceled.

Hope is not canceled.

Coffee is not canceled and thank the Lord for that.

Kindness is not canceled.

Imagination is not canceled.

Going for a walk is not canceled.

Laughter is not canceled.

Family is not canceled.

Above all else, salvation is not canceled.

A lot of things in 2020 have been canceled and we all can feel the weight of life, especially this year. Remember that joy and hope can’t be taken away, no matter the circumstance. Life is too short to worry about things out of our control. Do your best and give every day all you have. Be kind to yourself and your neighbor.

Let’s not aim to be perfect in 2021, but to be available. Be intentional. Really aim to actively hear what those around you are saying rather than being a passive listener. This world can be a dark place, but be the light.

Life will only get better, I promise.

Happy Thanksgiving week, folks!

ABOVE ALL ELSE

If anyone would’ve told me in January what the rest of this year had in store, I couldn’t say I would’ve believed you even for a split second. March hit and every we knew as “normal” changed in an instant. Unemployment skyrocketed, lives were flipped on their head and families were left picking up the pieces. Masks have become the new fashion trend and an essential all in one.

Teachers and students were forced into an adaptive hybrid learning model of online and “in-person” almost overnight. Parents helped in taking on that role and kindergarteners were learning how to send emails.

Above all else, I am thankful.

This year has also brought new friendships and fostered old ones. With certain people in your corner, you can do anything. I’ve learned that friends are the greatest treasure in life and could not ask for any better one than those that I have. Many of my best friends have come to visit us in our new city and I’ve also been blessed to see friends in their “home base.”

2020 has also seen Chandler and my transition to a new city and adjustments in learning the ropes of our new hometown in Asheville. It has been exhilarating, freeing and humbling. I feel that from the minute we moved here, this was “our place.” Coming from the person who absolutely hates change with a passion, I knew it would take time to adjust. I not have asked for a greater place to live. (Which is also not too far from home)

Above all else, I am thankful.

This year has brought unwelcome and unexpected death. This year has also seen many challenges and chartered new territory. It has shown me that more things than not are out of my control and just how fragile life is. It has taught me that life is more about mindset than anything else. My emotions, reactions, perceptions and thoughts are completely up to me and how I control them. Through it all, I’ve learned that in the quiet comes healing and in less comes more.

Above all else, I am thankful.

This year has taught me to be more intentional with time and relationships. Spending time for self-care and for rediscovery fosters new growth. In those moments, I have also found my love of reading and processing the chaos through writing. Time with the Lord has also been more of a priority, which has been so, so refreshing. The sweetest moments of my morning have been spent with a coffee in one hand and my Bible in the other.

Above all else, I am thankful.

2020 has taught me that more times than not that beauty experienced in life is the most short lived, but to be grateful for it anyhow. This year has been hard but oh, so sweet. It has taught me that life can be both simultaneously. Learning to lean into the promises of the Lord has been a process everyday, but one that has helped me to hold true in His word.

I am thankful for “near misses” and I will continue this year with the promise that better days are ahead.

Above all else, I am thankful.

This year brought challenges no one saw coming, yet we persisted. Take every day as a new opportunity for good. You are stronger than what you think. Offer a lending hand, a listening ear or a prayer. Don’t be afraid to start something new. Start over. Allow this year to teach you something and do all things with a grateful heart.

I am thankful for the changing of the seasons from summer into fall, but a God that remains constant and steadfast. I am thankful for family, friends and a village that are there to pick me up when I need it the most.

Let’s make the most of the last two months in 2020. In 2021, we know there is hope.

💗 Alex

OUR PAPER ANNIVERSARY

One year ago (plus a few days), I got married to my best friend.

It has been one year as loving you as my husband. I love this life we have created together far and I can’t wait to see where the next year takes us. Here’s to a lifetime of loving you and choosing you always.

I will always cherish every little aspect of our wedding day one year ago. From vowing our love and commitment before God, friends and family to that AMAZING soul train line at our reception, it will always be one of my most cherished days and one I find myself thinking about often.

I can’t imagine doing this thing called life without you. Some days, it feels like it’s been decades, and other times, it feels like our wedding day was just yesterday. Chandler, thank you for living, laughing and growing with me this year. Being your wife has been one the greatest joys of my life.

In our bathroom, we have a sign that I use as a daily reminder in how to love my husband. It comes from the (very popular & very convicting) 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It reminds me that love is patient, even when we can be short-tempered. Love is kind and looks to uplift others when we are weak. It does not envy, it does not boast and is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. What a great reminder that although we will will struggle with certain things, our God and our spouse will be always be on our side.

Marriage has taught me that love is a daily sacrifice. Love is a daily decision, not just a feeling. it is sacrificial, unrelenting and transformational.

Life isn’t always easy and the waves can come crashing from time to time, but together, we will always find a way to find the calm, stillness & sunshine. 

Love inspires you to be patient and permission to be human. It teaches you to meet in the middle. Love focuses on the positive and chooses to believe in the best. It forgives, appreciates and celebrates. 

Chan is the perfect balance of spontaneity to my constant preparation and having things always in order. He has taught me that the most fun moments in life are not always (and most likely not) planned. 

His warmth, kindness and composure impress me the most. He makes me feel heard, even when I am babbling on about things he’s heard me talk about 1,000x before or being completely irrational. His

One year ago, I promised to love this man under all circumstances: happy or sad, easy or difficult. I still mean every word. you’re my favorite, forever and always.

Over the last year, we have…
☆ attented two friends’ weddings
☆ visited Miami, Key West, the Bahamas, HHI and Louisville
☆ been to countless concerts
☆ moved to Asheville, NC
☆ bought a new car
☆ lived through a pandemic
☆ adopted our kitten, Belmont


August 3, 2019 will be one of my favorite days in the history of forever!
Happy paper anniversary, my love. ♡

XO,

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SS: Chandler

To the man who is witty, charming and selfless, you are greatly appreciated and so, so loved.

When you came walking into my life four years ago at our Chick-fil-A store in Spartanburg, I had no idea how important you’d mean to me then. From brushing off the constant curiosity of our family and friends as time went on, my conversations quickly went from avoiding the topic at all costs to rambling about our numerous road trips to Braves games and our travels to many concerts up and down the east coast, literally.

You are my forever concert going partner and my favorite is to hear you singing loudly to songs you may, or may not, know all of the lyrics to.
I also love that we share the love of sports and some my favorite time with has been spent has been at games together.

Your heart is invested in the meeting people in their current situation, always looking to pour into those who have a greater need than yours.

You have a great taste in all things Christmas and I look forward to you having our house decked out to the nines come winter time every year. (I get to decorate for all other holidays, right? 😂)

Your Braves and Panthers hats are the staple of any outfit, from your Sunday best to the first thing you put on for a day around the house.
Your childlike spirit and your zest for life excites me to see you as a father one day. You will be the absolute BEST dad.

You value my feelings and validate my rambling tangents even when I don’t make sense. You are my shoulder to cry on and also the best part of my day. You challenge me to dream big on a daily basis and to grow outside of my comfort zone.

You are the reason for so many of my belly laughs and ear-to-ear smiles, as well as a few tears along the way.

No matter how rough the seasons might be, you are my stronghold. You hold me in the quiet, protect me in the stormy and love me mightily when I can’t love myself.
To be loved by you and to navigate this life together will always the greatest gift. “Chandler’s wife” will always be one of my most treasured titles, always.

You are one of the best things that happened to me, always.
I love you longtime.

♡,
Alex in Asheville

SS: Mom

As a project that I’ve been eager to start for some time now, this Spotlight Series will be a way for me to highlight those who have played a huge part in my life and to recognize them in just a small way!
With that being said, the first in my spotlight series will feature…

… my mom!

To accurately depict what my mom means to me will fail to be a full picture of how great of a woman she truly is. For anyone who has been fortunate enough to meet her knows what a truly remarkable lady she really is.

My mom is a woman of character, positivity and prayer.
My mom is a woman of determination and a pillar of strength.

She genuinely uplifts and fiercely protects. She is an advocate for equal education opportunities for all children, and strives for all to succeed in the classroom (& beyond). She is a cornerstone for her family, always extending a helping hand and offering a listening ear.

My mom is a loyal supporter of her Gamecocks and a lover of the color green. She loves lake days and searching for turtles sunbathing on logs.

To the woman whose “larger than life” laugh (and voice) often proceeds her, you are so appreciated and so so loved, Momma bear.

Thank you for ALL you have done for me in my lifetime and for all that are as a person. You are my greatest mentor and an even greater friend. Know that you are fiercely loved and you raised a pretty great daughter. 😉

♡,
Alex in Asheville

SPOTLIGHT SERVICE

With the COVID-19 “outbreak” in full swing and more time on my hands in between working full time, I came up with the idea to start a spotlight series. Over the course of the next few weeks (or months), this spotlight series will include just a way for me to show appreciation in the best way I can for family, friends and others who have helped to shape me into the woman who I am today.

Be on the lookout for the first official highlight of the series in the near future!

♡,
Alex in Asheville