The Adventures of Stinky Sweet:

Sometimes stinky. Sometimes sweet. But it's our life - and it is always good.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beautiful day.

I had some vacation time that I needed to use before the end of the year so I gave myself a 3 day work week this week!

I took today off to hang out with my mom and my sister. I drove about 2 hours southeast to Ball Ground, GA. to a family owned gardens that my mom found a few months ago. Gibbs Gardens. She meant to go in the spring when their 1,000's of daffodils are blooming but missed it so she bought an annual membership to go back. I enjoyed our stroll through their Japanese style garden because the maples were turning beautiful fall colors. I mainly just enjoyed spending the day with 2 of my favorite ladies...

I came home to work on my costume for work. We are allowed to wear costumes (nothing questionable, obviously!) to work tomorrow which is just another reason that I love my job.
Nothing like procrastinating...waiting until the last minute to make my costume. I believe I did this to myself last year too during the Mrs. Potato Head fame.
I am going to be a peacock for Halloween...
And I had some extra supplies so I made Gwendolen a costume too.
And now I am staying up until Chad gets home because I can't wait to show it to him. I think it is hysterical. He probably won't.
Pics from work after tomorrow....

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Living it up.

As I have mentioned multiple times before, fall is my favorite season. It cooler temperatures, the leaves changing colors, the windows open in the house - I just enjoy so many different pieces of it and I am so thankful for another beautiful fall season arriving on our door step.

We have been busy the past few weeks...travelling to Columbus last weekend and trying to fit in as many things as possible into our days. Chad is working this weekend so I spent Saturday morning with his mom and uncle at a local fair - bought a couple of Christmas presents - and then was the official nephew babysitter Saturday afternoon/evening. I knew he had been struggling with behavior at school but I did not have any issues with him. We had a good time together in my opinion. He ran a couple of errands with me, we had dinner at Chick-fil-a, played on the playground here in St. Elmo, baked cookies, and played Monopoly. Chad claims that I didn't have any trouble with him because I kept him busy doing things that were all "fun" so he didn't have a chance to want something different. I disagree...I think he knows that his behavior needs to remain good in order to do those fun things, that I won't hesitate to discipline him, and that I will follow through on the things I tell him (both positive and negative). I think consistency is key for kids (obviously, coming from a non-parent so no judgment here!) but when he behaves well, I really enjoy hanging out with him. He is smart, funny, and full of questions - eager to learn.

Chad is gone to work now after a lazy Sunday morning together so I am going to clean up in the house a little. Something nice about the birds singing outside, windows open, and tooling around the house. (p.s. we will probably close the windows was 64 inside the house when we got up this morning!)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October Birchbox!

Its October Birchbox time!!
This month was actually a really good one and I'll tell you why in a minute.

This is a small sample of the benefit brand Fake Up. It is supposed to be a hydrating, crease control concealer. I have not tried it yet but I probably will tomorrow because I am always on the lookout for an awesome concealer for genetically dark circles under my eyes. Plus - hydration is always a good thing for those too. It is in a little twist up stick so easy to smear on...

This is an interesting item that I will definitely try. It is the Lix Earle brand Cleanse and Polish hot cloth cleanser (a UK brand). It comes with a muslin cloth to wipe off the exfoliator which is interesting and unusual. You are supposed to run it under hot water first and then use it on your face. I love that it came in its own little blue fancy!

This is the item that makes me feel like this month's box is awesome.
It is a Chapstick brand hydration lock chapstick.
1. a product that everyday folks can afford and will actually use.
2. a full size item. awesome.
3. it came in this awesome little printed Ziploc baggy - this month's "Birchbox Find"...just a little extra.
Apparently the Chapstick is so self-explanatory that they didn't even feel the need to list is on my enclosure card that explains each item. Simple and awesome. Get in my purse NOW.

Sorry for the crazy blurry picture on this one (all this month's pictures were taken on the cell phone because literally my camera was in the car and I was too excited to go out and get it before I opened my box).
This is a Pop Beauty brand Aqua Lacquer. It is a sheer gloss with a little bit of pink color. I have actually already used this one and it has some sort of tingly agent in it to "plump" your lips. Love the colors lots - super sheer, could be great over anything. Don't love that it is a little on the sticky side. BUT...I think this might be a full size item too. Which means two full size lippies in one month.
It was an excellent month.
So, that is all the goodies for this month. A surprisingly good month. Maybe they knew it was my birthday week. :)
Great snail mail surprises.
I lurve Birchbox.
 Want one of your own? Get it here: Birchbox

One more.

Last birthday post I promise...but this one is a little different.

Chad and I looked for our house for a long time. We lived in a family owned townhouse for about the first 2 years of our marriage, at times sharing it with his grandmother and for nearly a year, his sister. I have no complaints about those years. It allowed us to save up money to buy a house, taught us a lot about family and love, and showed us that God's provision sometimes doesn't look like we expect it to.

We looked at a lot of houses.
Let me rephrase that. PAULA looked at a lot of houses. Chad's work schedule at the time (mainly, his lack of time off or a flexible schedule) did not really allow him to look at many houses with me. We would find ones we wanted to see and I would go with the real estate agent to look. If it passes the first test (me!), then we would make a second appointment to go back and look at it together. It really worked best for us because we were able to rule out a lot of stuff that would have just frustrated Chad and I really enjoyed the process. (If I ever have a major career change, I'll become an interior designer.) We kept coming back to the St. Elmo neighborhood for a long list of reasons, some we were sure about and some that I am sure was God leading us in the right direction.

We bought this house over 3 years ago and have been gaining some lovely relationships ever since. I am absolutely 100% convinced that we could have ended up somewhere else - there were a few other houses that I really liked - but 10000% convinced that we are exactly where we are supposed to be.

We have some of the most amazing neighbors. A sweet couple across the street that have 2 year old twins and share Chad's love of running. The awesome couple in the purple house that know exactly what is going on in the neighborhood - and who trade books about Jesus back and forth with us and sent me chocolate and a sweet card for my birthday. The family up the hill that has sons that have bonded with Chad and all of whom I truly consider family...that that bestowed the sweetest birthday present on me today. An awesome bag full of goodies - homemade soaps (oh Lordy - they smell delicious and make me want to be more dedicated to my Pinterest crafts), a sweet Origami book with gorgeous paper, a hysterical Pez dispenser, and an absolutely fantastic candle from a little boutique in town- which they know I wanted because they saw me post it on Facebook.

It isn't that my affection can be purchased. Gifts isn't even my love language! It IS the fact that these people that make our house more a HOME every day are a small piece of the puzzle of why I deeply believe God put us exactly where we are supposed to be.

This week has been so eye opening. I have been trying to hard to be mentally more aware of my blessings (I picked a good week to start, right??), be more intentional with my time, more thoughtful and more thankful. And truly, tears are pricking my eyes because I can see it! God is everywhere and involved in everything.

The sweet purple house neighbors included this verse in my birthday card and here it is from the Message "Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go..." Proverbs 3: 5-6a

More blessings.

I had to go to Knoxville on Tuesday where my sweet team surprised me with homemade pumpkin cake and homemade vanilla icing. Then yesterday at work, we had planned a lunch of baked potato and salad bar (no birthday connection) but there were two kinds of chocolate cake. My K gave me a new Fitbit (pedometer) bracelet and my sweet guy gave me a 12-pack of diet Dr. Pepper (along with the sharpies? He knows the way to my heart) and a massage gift certificate.
I feel so blessed. So loved. So thankful. So aware of my days and their numbers and living life fully today and every day. My heart overflows.

Monday, October 7, 2013

So blessed.

We always joke that we take a 12pm lunch very seriously at our office. At 12:01, you can expect someone to stroll by your doorway and tap their watches if you haven't shown up in the kitchen or room we eat in by then. I was at my desk at noon today when I looked up to see my sister and my mom standing in the doorway of my office. Surprise!! After last year's jumping out of a gift wrapped box for my birthday, I didn't even think to expect them until Wednesday so I was very surprised.

We gathered up my best amiga and as we were wondering to the front of the office to head to lunch I even stumbled upon my Chad. All my favorite people in one place! The best gift ever. Seriously. Ever.

Mexican food again - like last year - and an attempt to place a germy sombrero on my head but thankfully no singing. I snuck out for a couple of hours to hang out with my sister and mom - even though my mom just left Chattanooga not 24 hours earlier and sneakily spent the night in Atlanta. It was nice to not have much on the schedule for this afternoon and plenty of flex time to use.

Chad said he has been buying me little presents and hiding them where I won't find them in the house (maybe near the Halloween chocolate??). Today, he gave me one of them because he thought I could use them at a big meeting tomorrow that I am running for a new project team. A new pack of multi-colored Sharpies. I know, not romantic and a little weird. But, if you know me, you'd know that the way to my heart is colored pens and markers. What a sweet guy.

My sweet florist momma also gave me these beauties that I will enjoy on my desk for DAYS:

I am so blessed by people who love me and think of me and want to spend time with me. My little heart is overflowing.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The worlds.

This is probably one of the more controversial blog posts that I've written or that I will write. I don't meant controversial in the way that I am discussing a topic that is taboo or that might be questionable. I just mean that I don't want anyone to misinterpret my words. I tend to avoid touchy topics for a long list of reasons: people won't read my heart and will assume something about my words, people will think it is directed at them (when more than likely, it is not), people will be offended (and while offense is never my intent - conversation is). But, I've been mulling this one over for some time now and I think I am ready to put it in writing. Either way, it is a long doozy of a post so if you are easily offended or easily bored, you might should just skip this one.

Being willing to write about this stemmed from a simple experience yesterday when I feel like I have a decent example. I slept in a little because I had to work late last night and about the time I got up and dressed, I heard the city workers drilling on the road in front of our house. They had been coming by and measuring things and writing nonsense (to the layman) in a beautiful variety of spray paint colors so I knew work of some kind was going to be done. I left for work and didn't think twice about it until I got home around 4:30, in time to run in a grab some things I forgot for the event I was headed to. I turned on the kitchen faucet and this is what came out:
This is after it having run for a while...air in the line first causing me to take a giant step back, then milky looking water, then VERY brown water (confession: I smelled it thinking it might be sewage in the line!), and then this just dirty looking water. Long story to explain: I took a picture and "tweeted" it to the city and to my city council man (who - hello - follows me on Twitter. I'm hot stuff....not.). And then I thought - wow. Why did you do that? Can they fix it? Are they going to call the workers back out and make them figure out why my water is brown? No. And bottom line: I'm telling myself Paula, be thankful. You have clean water. Dirty water one night (that eventually cleared itself up with a long run of the faucet) is so exponentially better than a majority of the world - even places you have visited and lived! - that you have no right to complain."
Here's where it gets tricky. Here is where I want you to hear my heart and not my faulty words and how this story applies. My next thought after complaining about my water quality was to think about posting it on Instagram with the friendly "#firstworldproblems" hashtag. I have seen many people post pictures of broken smart phones, lost keys, names misspelled on coffee cups, or temper tantrums and give it the "#firstworldproblems" tag and I've affirmed it with a with a smile and a nod.  Yes. Yes!
Oh friends, I feel so convicted about this. If these are our problems, let's change our world. Let's go somewhere where clean water is not a guarantee. Let's meet someone who would do anything to have a child, much less one with temper tantrums. Let's go a day (an hour!!) without our smart phones and truly connect with the people you see face-to-face. Let's take that $5 we would have spent on a name-misspelled, wrong ingredient deluxe coffee and give it to our local church, shelter, food bank, or favorite non-profit. And when we find our lost keys, let's open the door to our homes - rented or owned - and invite someone else in...because its our home and we can.
What are "first world problems" really? The things we complain about are, in reality, small miracles of eye opening greatness.
Please hear me: you have every right to feel the way you feel. I am probably butchering my bff's mom's saying but she used to say something like "Feelings are real though they may not be accurate". You are allowed to be frustrated when things don't go how you planned. You are allowed to be annoyed when your cell phone breaks or your car won't start or the barista makes your coffee wrong or that kid you birthed and love is screaming in the backseat while you are just trying to get to home. We are emotional human beings with a lot to process every day.  I just want to encourage you to consider how your respond when life's frustrations enter your day. I am the worst example of how to respond with love, patience, and positivity. I am NOT saying to be like me because I've got it right. I AM saying that we can consider the lives of others - those we know personally and those we wish we knew before judging our "problems" against theirs.
I told you. It was a doozy. Again, this is NOT directed at anyone. If it was, it would be all 10 fingers pointing back at me. This conviction, rooted partially in a "their perfect lives on Instagram are so much better than mine" and pushing against the "you are so blessed. you love your life exactly how it is." is something I have been struggling with for a while. So, friends, go out and love someone today. Remember that your first world is a blessing.

Feel free to comment. I think this could be a good conversation.