Farewell 2013.

2013

Psssst. You can check out last years farewell here.

When I initially thought of writing my little 2013 farewell I thought I might do a highs and lows recap of sorts – a highlight of the peaks and pits of the year. What I realized as I began listing my moments was that 2013 was the year where each low met its match with an unfailing high. 2013 was a year filled with great optimism, and even greater moments in between the milestones. 

In 2013…

In 2013 we moved… twice. (I, in fact moved three times, if we’re getting real technical and including that month I moved back home with my family to start my job while Clint wrapped up life in Raleigh). And it was unbelievably stressful and hectic and overwhelming, and on one particular weekend there in late February we had a mere seven days left on our lease and no idea where we were packing up our life to go . I cried… a lot. But after packing up all our stuff, unpacking it, then packing it back up 2 months later and unpacking it again, we’ve been blessed to finally have found ourselves in the place we had been yearning for, for so long… home.

In 2013 I finally stopped looking for jobs… because I found one. I started the year exactly how I ended the later half of 2012, searching and applying, searching and applying, searching and applying, and beginning to get awfully good at throwing over the top pity-parties for myself. After many, many months, I found the one, and it found me, and we’ve been pretty darn happy together ever since. It’s kind of like a match made in CareerBuilder heaven. I’ve been blessed to find a job I love.

In 2013 Clint celebrated his two-year work-anniversary in November… and subsequently quit his job. But only because he had an even greater opportunity awaiting him. An opportunity that doesn’t involve being out-of-town 20 out of 30 days of the month, or working until well after-hours the nights he is home, and it even means I can take back that little nook in my family room that’s only ever been the “home office”. He’s been blessed to be able to walk away from one experience and seamlessly into a new one that holds great promise.

In 2013 we celebrated a year of marriage… and I was attacked by yellow jackets to mark the occasion. On our anniversary we truly put “in sickness and in health” to the test (which actually, was not even in our vows) but “I hope others see His heart and love in the way I care for you” is, and boy did I realize on our anniversary, the day after I got stung, and the day Clint was supposed to head out-of-town for work but chose to stay with me instead, that my husband loves me with a love so strong it could only be a love that was gifted from God.

In 2013 we also celebrated eight years of being together… and had ourselves a little photo fun. I had actually wanted to do first anniversary pictures but as fate, and the yellow jackets, would have it, it was a pretty good thing I didn’t schedule to have those pictures taken. Instead we opted for an eight year anniversary shoot. You can (and SHOULD) go check some of those pictures out HERE. Because these photos show exactly how we spent the greater part of 2013. Together, and in love. I’m so grateful for this time of marriage with Clint – the time in between newlywed bliss and parenthood, the time of just the two of us.

2013 was a year filled with blessings and with that,
2014 will be my year of greatest praise. 

Home.

Just over a month ago I started working back in Charlotte, while Clint stayed in Raleigh to finish up some cases before transferring to Charlotte. I must admit, after I accepted my job offer I had a moment of pride. wanted to leave Raleigh. wanted to move back to Charlotte. got a job. And found a way for us to move. had a goal and made it happen. made it all fall together. I was taking the credit and dripping with pride about it. When God so clearly spoke truth into me, “I will boast in the Lord my God, I will boast in the one who’s worthy.” Who am I to boast about getting a job I almost didn’t even call back when they first contacted me? Who am I to boast about Clint being able to transfer, something I couldn’t have had any less to do with? I was so willing to trust in the plan of the Lord when I was praying out from the bottom of my heart and soul, and I was more than happy to receive His blessings, but I sure wasn’t centered enough to give credit where it was due. So, before I go on with the rest of this post I have to say, and am joyfully happy to say, Glory to God.

“All I have for your glory Jesus,
All I am for your Kingdom, your name.”

Of the top five words I would use to describe myself, sentimental would definitely be one of them, so it comes as no surprise that as I walked out of our Raleigh apartment for the last time over the weekend that I felt the nostalgia tugging at my heart-strings. We called Raleigh home for almost exactly 9 months (though Clint a while longer). Though it certainly wasn’t always with a smile on my face. I developed a love/hate relationship with the Capitol city (and not just because I loved to hate it) but because even though I never quite felt at peace there, I created some great memories there. It will forever be the place that my Mr and I began our marriage. The city we would take on as newlyweds. And while I spent about a dozen too many days crying over spilt milk (sometimes quite literally), it gave us the opportunity to be our own little family, away from what we know and who we know, to figure it out on our own. Like that time that I was convinced a dead bird fell into our fireplace, or the many times I yelled at Google Maps through my phone as if I was showing it who’s boss. I am certain that our time in Raleigh was one of great growth. Above all, if Raleigh gave us anything, it was and is, a great, profound appreciation for all the things we never knew we needed to love with all our hearts. The places we call our own. Like our church, a place I didn’t realize was so special to me until I had to find a replacement. Or our favorite restaurants that we’ve shared so many great meals at. Or the places we’ve developed loving memories at (we’ll be living across the street from where Clint asked me to be his girlfriend 7 and a 1/2 years ago 🙂 ) And the thing that is most familiar to us and the thing that is more ours than anyone else’s, our families.

So, in my natural list making ways, here is a quick list of the top two things I will miss about Raleigh,

1. Driving back to Raleigh from Charlotte. – Clint and I shared so many great car rides driving back to Raleigh on the occasional Sunday night. We always took that dreaded 3 hour drive and opened our hearts to one another. Sharing the things God lay on our hearts. I loved those moments of fellowship. I loved those drives.

2. Goodberry’s. – Yes, my list went from sentiment to frozen custard that quickly. Goodberry’s don’t exist in Charlotte (but Pinkberry does!) so I’ll be missing that delicious frozen custard that Clint of course hated (Pretty sure our tastes couldn’t’ be more different.)

With that being said, I wouldn’t truly allow my nostalgia to run its course if I didn’t pay a little tribute to the place we’ve been and the memories we made, and of course, the great direction we’re headed in, from Raleigh to Charlotte. 9 months, many trips home, countless prayers and I can finally say…

The Simpson’s are home.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/66203704″>Home.</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/kellysimpson”>Kelly Simpson</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The First Look.

Us Simpson’s have got a lot going on right now, and with a lot of things “up in the air” I am feeling extra thankful that I get to live life with my sweet husband. And since I’ve been meaning to write a post about this for months, I’m finally sitting down and sharing my absolute favorite moment from our Wedding day, our first look.

(All photos by The Schultzes )

(I should note, Clint and I have never actually talked about how our first look went, other than me saying I’m glad we did it, so this is all from my POV.)

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A couple of weeks prior to our wedding I started contemplating whether or not I wanted to do a first look on our wedding day. Photography was one of the top priorities for the wedding and I loved the idea of having that extra photo time. However, that traditional side of me was concerned that it would make my walk down the aisle less special. I ended up e-mailing our photographer asking for her opinion on the first look and she directed me towards this blog post. A take on the first look, on behalf of the Groom. This post conveyed just what I needed to hear, that a Bride walking down the aisle towards her Groom is going to special, and beautiful, and emotional, and unforgettable, no matter what happens before that. The first look would just be the cherry on top.

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When I talked to Clint about doing a first look I expressed how I wanted for him and I to have a moment together alone to bask in the glory of our day, just the two of us. Ironically, a wedding, a day that is about two people, very easily becomes about every other person there. Everyone warns you of how quickly your wedding day with come and go, zipping by in the blink of an eye. I was determined to make the most of every moment we had that day. So after a little bit of back and forth on if a first look was right for us, we made the choice to have a first look be a part of our wedding day. Now cue all those funny looks from our Parents who 1. Had never even heard the term “first look”.  2. Thought we were crazy for breaking such a traditional aspect of getting married.

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On our wedding day I found myself calm, cool, and collected- maybe even too much so. I had been so worried that I’d spend my wedding day a ball of nerves and overcome with anxiety that I actually ended up getting ready for my wedding feeling… underwhelmed? I didn’t have that spark of excitement. It didn’t truly hit me that this was our wedding day, that I was about to put on the big white dress, and marry my best friend. As I continued to get ready and watched as all the people around me got more and more beautiful by the moment I was craving the joy of being a bride.

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As I made my way over to do our first look I had a single moment when I was walking down to get in place and caught just a glimpse of Clint waiting on the docks and my heart could have just burst. For our first look I stood on one end of a dock while Clint stood on the other. He was to wait for me to call his name and when he turned to face me we’d walk towards each other and meet in the middle. It turns out my groom just couldn’t contain his joy as he ran towards me. Tears instantly came to eyes and love flooded every last inch of my heart. I’ll never forget the moment he finally reached me with open arms, as cheers came from the near by boaters, and the soft sound of water brushing up against the rocks, it was just perfect. In the moment of our first look, I became a bride, ready to marry her groom. For those next few minutes Clint and I stood together exchanging sweet words and having the chance to enjoy our wedding day, just the two of us.

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 Also, to be terribly honest, knowing myself, part of why I wanted to have a first look was because of all the things I knew I’d want to say to Clint once I walked down the aisle to him: How do I look? Do you like my dress? Are you nervous? Excited? You look so nice! I can’t believe it’s our wedding day! Except you can’t exactly get down the aisle and start-up a conversation with your groom, you kind of have a ceremony to get on with. I knew if we didn’t do a first look I’d feel like rushing the ceremony so that Clint and I could speak candidly with one another. Because we did do a first look, and because we were able to get all of those things out-of-the-way, I was able to enjoy our ceremony like I never thought I’d be able to. I feel like for so many people a ceremony is just a technicality, you know, the actual act of getting married and all. For me, I soaked up every last second of our ceremony. It was almost like Clint and I had this special little bond of our special moment just prior, that made us each smile just a little sweet at one another as we exchanged vows.03_Portraits_0326

Now obviously every couple and every wedding is different, so a first look may be completely right for one couple, and couple wrong for another. For us, it was right. And it completely set the tone for the rest of the day between the two of us. It allowed us to get excited, together. 03_Portraits_0330

These pictures are so incredibly special to me. When I look at them I can so vividly remember the way my heart sped up as Clint looked me up and down, taking in the lace trim of my gown, the sparkle of my earrings, the softness of my flowing veil. The first look was one of the most emotional moments of the day the photographs snatched up that emotion and put it in a place for us to hold onto forever.
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I love this man so very much.
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And I just LOVED our first look.03_Portraits_0342

Some LOVELY decorations.

Some people just love to complain about Valentine’s day and how silly and manufactured it is. I’m not one of them. And to those people I say, sorry you’re such a little pessimist, I’m choosing to LOVE love. Because really, Valentine’s day doesn’t have to be all about having your one and only valentine show up with roses and chocolate. It can be about everyone you love. And I’m sure not going to pass up on a chance to let people know how special they are to me. And… I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again… I love a holiday with a color scheme.

So, now that we’re only 10 days out from Valentine’s Day I decided it would be ay-ok for me to go ahead and add some lovely decorations to our home. Here’s some LOVELY Valentine’s garland.

ValentinesA

ValentinesC

ValentinesB

Want to make this for your home? 

I made the heart garland by punching out lots of 2″ hearts with a punch out then ran them through the sewing machine to bring them all together. If you don’t have a punch out or a sewing machine you could always do pink and red paper chains. Just as easy and way easier than cutting those hearts out by hand.

For the banner, cut out as many squares for each letter of your message and cut a small triangle out of the bottom. Then place a small strip of an opposing color piece of paper through the middle (this helps the letters pop!). For the font, you can go over here and download it for free! Then cut out your letters and glue them in place. I used some natural twine and small colorful clothes pin to hold the pieces in place.

I didn’t want to put any nails in the wall since we’re moving soon so I just put a small piece of tape on the ends and they seem to be holding up well, but you could always use little nails or even command hooks.

How are you all decorating for this lovely time of year?!