The Adventures of Stinky Sweet:

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

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

No apologies.

I won't apologize for being too busy and not having time to blog. You make time for the things you want to do and this just fell far down the list recently among the making of time for other things. But now, I'm staring down about 12 days off work before I have to go back on Jan. 5th and I am making time for all kinds of things. The list for tonight and tomorrow shouldn't include blogging at this moment because it does include things like: clean both bathrooms, make cinnamon rolls, wrap last 3 presents, buy LAST present, clean off dining room table, vacuum up Gwendolen tumble weeds, steam clean hardwoods, fold and put away a giant pile of laundry, change sheets, etc.
Why you ask? Cause the folks I love - in addition to the one that lives here - are coming up tomorrow night and Wednesday.

We'll "do Christmas" with my family on the morning of the 25th and then with Chad's family that evening. I'm so thankful that my family is willing to travel because Chad only gets one day off (which, thankfully, is luck-of-the-draw Christmas day). I haven't made nearly as many Christmas gifts this year as I have in the past/would have liked to. But I've made a few that I am pretty proud of so I'll show them once the receiver gets them. So, expect pictures some time this coming week!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

my first quilt.

When I went to #nccraftweekend at Dani's house, she taught us all the basics of quilting while making our table runners. I've now put those skills to good use and basically made a larger version of the same thing. I used this tutorial from Heirloom Creations which sounds a lot more confusing than it really is. You basically take an entire jelly roll and sew it all together in one long strip, on the diagonal (which was the most difficult/time consuming part of the whole thing!). Then you sew the ends together, again and again, about 5 times. I know - watch the video - it'll make more sense.

This is the only picture I took of the finished product and it is the dryer at the moment so I'll try to take more later.

My original jelly roll(s) were from Hobby Lobby and didn't have as many different fabrics as the ones shown in the tutorial above but it worked out pretty well. Chad had the nerve to say "I'm not sure I like the way there isn't a pattern" but I guess he didn't realize there weren't supposed to be. I did a simple straight line quilting across every other stripe and backed it with some plain blue fabric that my mom sent me forever ago!

I am so happy with it and can't wait to snuggle with it on the couch! Yay for a new skill and putting it to work. I can't say that you won't see some quilted Christmas presents show up here in January when I can post them! :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

life changing.

Theodore Roosevelt is often quoted as saying "Comparison is the thief of joy". I don't know if he actually did because - well - I wasn't there but I get it. I really get it. I try hard to look at my life and be happy - and I usually am. I recognize my blessings - a job I love, a beautiful home with plenty of space for more people, a husband who loves me and serves me and puts "us" first, family and friends that care about me and are too numerous to count. I could go on and on. But there are those moments of doubt. The unhealthy, stealthy, slimy thoughts that bring on comparison: if I was thinner, as pretty as her, if we had kids and could afford for me to stay at home, if we had more money, more stuff, vacations when we wanted to...more, more, more...different, different, different.

And then a friend at work said something that changed everything.

"I'm jealous of your life."

I was shocked speechless. I even laughed it off next. We joked about how she even wants a husband like mine except for the turns-off-the-air-conditioner-whenever-he-can-to-save-money part.

Then I laid in bed and thought about it for hours.

Someone - who is beautiful, funny, smart, dedicated, passionate, with a smile the can light up a room, full of life, surrounded by people who love her - noticed MY life. I'm not faulting her for looking at me and being jealous, falling prey to the thief of joy. Please hear me clearly here.
I am using her words to call out my blindness.
Am I'm too busy looking at everyone else's life that I forgot to love my own?

My life.
She is jealous of my life.
Doesn't she know about the extra pounds and the dirty dishes and the dog hair tumbling down the hall? Did she not notice the unending To Do list and the bills that need to be paid and the half finished projects and the mess that is in my closet and in my heart?
But she saw something I haven't seen in a while.
My life - loved.

And then another thought:
Was it me? Could I have done something to make her see that I see my life as worth loving? What an unimaginable dream. Could I have built a life so full of love and beauty and surrounded myself with people who are passionate, caring, and loving, and been so loud about my happiness that she saw something in me that I didn't even see? Oh Jesus, please let this be the case.

Don't be like me. Don't let comparison thief away the beauty, the pleasures, the blessings - all meant for you. Don't let the feeds, the boards, the wanna-be-like-anyone-but-me's steal away your life. Live a life that YOU are jealous of; fill your days, your minutes, your seconds with a love of YOUR OWN LIFE.

I'll get to see her in a day or so and I can't wait to hug her. I want to thank her for helping me make a promise to myself that I will not let the beauty in someone else's life diminish the beauty in mine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I know I talk a lot about loving my job and I hope that never changes no matter where I work. It is weeks like this that remind me how blessed I am to be doing something that I love and believe in and that it also affords me the opportunity to get to do some really amazing things. It is almost funny how we talk about giving girls amazing memories/life experiences/"firsts" when in reality, sometimes we are getting the benefit of all the same things. I've been in Salt Lake City for the last 5 days for the Girl Scout National Convention. I went to the last one back in 2011 (it only happens every 3 years) in Houston, Texas, and this one was in Utah. I'll be passing to torch to someone else for the next convention in 2017 so this might have been my last one for a while.

We took 10 high school aged girls to participate in the Girl Scout Leadership Institute (GSLI) as a part of convention plus we had 2 girl delegates to represent our council. I am always thrilled that we have girls who are still interested in the Movement when they are in high school and it was a great trip. My co-chaperone - MPT - is always a riot to travel with and we get along just fabulously. We missed doing any sightseeing back in Texas so we weren't going to make the same mistake this time and got permission to stay an extra day. We filled that day with a trip over the mountains to Park City for a ride up the ski lift and then a trip over to Antelope State Park (in the Great Salt Lake) to check out the views - and free roaming buffalo!

I've never been to this part of the country before - flying over mountains, farmlands, the Rockies covered in snow, and deserts to arrive here. It was incredible. The scenery was amazing, the weather was perfect, and I am so thankful for the experience. So, ready for some pictures?

The Rockies.

Somewhere west of the Rockies. 

Salt flats around the Great Sale Lake.

MPT and myself with the outgoing National Board President, Connie Lindsey.

The Temple in Temple Square. The building to the right is the administration building that also hosts the twice annual LDS conference. Pics of that later but it is the building that we got a tour of on Saturday.

We pretty much missed the fall leaf changes over there but there were a few beautiful trees in downtown. 

This is the organ in the assembly hall for the LDS church. Might look familiar if you've seen any of their choir or Christmas specials. The auditorium seats 21,000 people. It was shockingly huge.

A view of the temple and city skyline from the roof of the administration building. 

Utah State Capital Building.

Our group with the giant trefoil.  It was a little sunny that morning so we're all a bit squinty.

Headed up the chairlift in Park City. I said on FB that I throat punched my fear of heights and it truly feels like I did. I won't be going skiing anytime soon but that thing was much higher off the ground than I thought it might be!

View coming back into the resort.

Don't think I'll ever need these folks.

The Great Salt Lake from Antelope State Park. 

A herd of roaming buffalo on the island at the state park. 
The views from here were unreal. 

It was an amazing trip full of memories and firsts and laughter. I always wish that my guy had been able to travel with me but I am even more happy to get home to him. I rolled in about 12:45am this morning and crashed, happy to be in my own bed. Back to the real world tomorrow so doing lots of laundry today. :)

Monday, October 6, 2014


I had an lovely weekend in NC with 3 hilarious and fun ladies. Dani invited us to come up and craft all weekend and we surely did! We made lots of fun projects, taught each other a few new things, and just generally enjoyed each other's company. Not to mention some delicious tacos at White Duck Taco Shop (so yum!) and finishing out the night with some sweet treats at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. So delicious.

 Danielle did "quilt academy" so we made small table runners...a project size that we could complete in one day (though it did require an after midnight bedtime). I'm pretty excited about this one, now shown on my dining room table. I picked all fall colors for one side and a light, green all over print is the backing so I can always flip it over for Christmas decor! I'm really happy with the way it turned out and now I feel ready to tackle something a little bigger. Chad wants to quilt too (don't tell him I told you) so it might be a fun project for us to do together. 

 We made these scrap wreaths on a core of pool noodle! (Shhh...don't share all our secrets). This is totally a Pinterest project and easy and fast to do. You could make a ton of them as gifts or for yourself (ahem...Katie) to match every season! Also a great way to use up scraps of fabric too. Everyone else did more colorful ones than I did but I like this B&W on my front door.

I taught "earring class" and while they made lots of fun earrings, I made a necklace and earrings for a friend at work. These are all even made on handmade earrings hooks, since that's truly a handmade gift!

We also made these fun string art things. Two other girls did words and one did a last initial that turned out SO STINKING CUTE. We all agreed that it looked like something from Antropologie and she could see them for a million bucks. This one is happily residing on my front porch. This is just a sample of one from another blog because mine has my house number on it. Sorry creeper.

I also taught them how to make the little pennant flags like the ones in my Etsy shop  (geez, I really am giving away all my secrets) but it was SO fun to see how all of theirs turned out. One of the gals even ingeniously made her to be reversible. It has two fabrics on one side, and two fabrics on the other side. I might be stealing this idea to make some for the shop!

Finally, we made these fun wrapped twine stars out of a bunch of old rulers that one of the girls brought. Sadly, none of us realized how much twine they would take so this again is a picture from the internet. In all honestly, this is about how far each of ours got on Saturday so we'll all be watching our weekly shows and spinning twine for weeks. I'll show it to you when it is finished. :)

I had such a good time that now I want to host craft weekend of my own. Looking at the calendar right NOW!

Friday, September 26, 2014


Always apologies for the silence on my end. Life has been busy - isn't it always - and I just haven't found time to write. I've still been sewing some...a few new things on the Etsy site and enjoying some sweet time at home in the evenings with my guy. I'm so thankful that he's been on first shift since about June. I'd forgotten in the 18 months prior what having a life, eating dinner together, and seeing each other's face in the daylight actually looked like. It is lovely and sweet.

Things are busy at work, gearing up for a new year of fun. I'll be with a group of our girls all day Saturday for a team building and training session prior to our National Convention in October. The 12 of us - 2 adults and 10 teenagers - are headed to Salt Lake City, Utah for 5 days in addition to our council's national delegates and some executive staff. Convention is always loads of exhausting fun. Its been a while since I've flown anywhere and almost exactly 3 years since I've had to fly while keeping my eyes on a pile of teenagers so it should be interesting/stressful/hilarious/educational.

I'm also looking forward to a fun craft weekend in Asheville with my sweet friend Dani + more lovely ladies. I've been pinning ideas to Pinterest like a mad woman and already plotting what craft supplies to take (all of them?). I'm super excited to get away for a weekend and just hang out. However, my good friend K is in the have-a-baby zone about that time so we'll see if the best laid plans include a trip back to Knoxville for a baby welcoming.

Chad and I have been talking to the pastor at our church about starting a college-aged small group for the folks from Covenant College who go to our little place on the mountain. Everyone seems to be on board and this Sunday is the last of 3 meetings at the church to see who is interested. There are about 6 girls who have been coming regularly so we are excited about getting it off the ground. It means we are committed to being there every Sunday night but I think the consistency will be good for everyone. Pray for us will you? This was, frankly, my idea first and Chad and I have prayed a lot about it before we jumped. I am a little nervous about being the role model, confidant, and friend to this group - I know how much grace I have been given and I want others to see that in me too.

My life is full and I am more aware than ever of the good parts and the time spent with people who mean the most to me. Maybe that is why words don't make their way here as often.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Been sewing!

I've been sewing a lot and I've added a few new things to my newly minted Etsy store.

Check it out at St. Elmo Sweetness.

Here's a few things:

I made 3 of these embroidered, free hand french knot things in 3 different sizes because I thought I wanted to hang them in the bathroom. I've changed my mind, due to them not fitting in the space like I wanted so why not sell them!

I have 3 of these little card wallets on there which are perfect to stick in your pocket and go! Fun patterns on each of them...

My current obsession is making these fabric pennants/flags. I have about 5 different color combinations on there with plans to make more. It is an easy way for me to get rid of my fabric stash and I've really been enjoying making them. 

If you want to purchase something, I'd love for you to (of course!). Since my 6 readers are also friends, use the "Friends15" code at checkout and get 15% off your purchase! Yay!

Friday, August 22, 2014

6 years.

We both agreed that it feels more like 3 years but 6 years has flown by.

This guy I'm married to...I can't imagine someone who would have fit me more perfectly. It is so amazing to see how our relationship continues to grow and stretch and change as the years go on.
I am so thankful for him... his calm nature (admittedly, bordering on TOO laid back sometimes) but providing the voice of reason when I get worked up about something...the way he puts his relationship with God at the top of his priority list and is constantly studying and reading the Word...the way he makes me laugh - and when I get to make him laugh and his face lights up.

I love being his wife. He is so consistent, kind, generous, and hard-working. He gives, gives, gives - expecting nothing in return.

So, a little throwback to that sweet day in the park by the river.

 I'm glad we had nearly 4 years of dating to decide that we wanted to get married. I'm glad that our marriage is built on a strong friendship - that we actually LIKE hanging out together and just being friends. I like that he rolls his sleeves up. I like that he lets me be silly and weird and loves me just the same.

As we have made it our sometimes tradition, we are going to take a picnic to the park and eat in the same spot we got married. I love this guy - and I hope we get 70 more years together.

Friday, August 15, 2014

August Birchbox!

Pretty good Birchbox this month! Thought I would just do one picture instead of lots of low quality, phone pictures. You are welcome!
Amika dry shampoo - I am really excited to try this. I have been seeing things from their line for a while now - with bright, fun colors - and I am excited about trying this product.  The full size is a teeny but cheaper than the dry shampoo I currently own and periodically use so it will be good to see how it goes!
Laura Mercier eye gel creme - smells good, eyes are a problem area for me so will be good to see how it works. Nice little jar!
ModelCo shimmer bronzer - I saw this one on the teaser and wondered if I would get it. I don't often do bronzer - I like pinky blushes too much but it looks like a nice color so I'll try it!
Super goop hand cream - I've gotten lots of things from this brand and haven't loved them (mostly because I have a pretty set skincare routine) but I will happily put hand cream in my purse and enjoy it!
Hello breath spray - this is the lifestyle extra this month.  I've seen this brand in the store and wondered about it. Pink grapefruit mint makes me a little nervous and a full size mouth spray for $11.50? Unlikely to purchase but it'll be fun to tuck away too!
Yay Birchbox!

Best laid plans.

Chad and I do our best to be super responsible when it comes to finances - cutting anyplace we can, turning off the AC (ahem, not my choice) when it is cool at night, and sticking pretty religiously to the Dave Ramsey envelope system (don't get me started). This means that we don't just decide to go on vacation and go do it, though we are willing to still be a little spontaneous when we can! We've been saving for over a year (since our trip to Seattle/Portland last spring!) to take a week off and go do something fun and we finally settled on Savannah. Neither of us had been in years and it would be a fun mix of historic sites, lighthouse climbing, walking, and beach sitting. Plus, neither of us can just drop out of work for a week without quite a but of warning.

We rented a little cottage in downtown which I found on for an awesome price. We were pretty excited and geared up for our trip but I got an email from the rental company a couple of weeks ago letting us know our reservation had been cancelled (insert a giant WOMP WOMP here). Apparently the city of Savannah has been fighting local rentals/people without hotel licenses (like VRBO or Air BnB) because they aren't getting their cut/paid taxes for these rentals and recently the City Council won a round and changed the laws. So, unless we wanted to rent the cottage for 30 days (nope), our vacation plans would have to change.

And they have!
We aren't going anywhere! Yay (?) (!)

I'm obviously pretty bummed about our original plans changing - and both my mom and my in-laws have tried really hard to find us another place to stay - but I think we will just try a little stay-cation. We will probably go check out a few nearby state parks, do some hiking and maybe camping for a day or two, and work on some projects around the house. Our 6th anniversary falls during this time so we'll celebrate and enjoy a week off work and just hanging out together. I think it will be fun to just be tourists in our own town. We'll make the best of things, not spend all our hard-saved money, and start thinking about next year's vacation!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Busy weekend...slow week.

This past weekend was a lovely mix of busy/loud and sweet/quiet.

Last week, the staff at work spent the week training on a new computer program that will help us manage lots of things better - membership and getting people signed up into new troops is the top of that list. One of our JC staff members came back with us from Knoxville and spend the night at my house Saturday night in preparation for a fun Saturday. E and I hosted a shower for my sweet work friend K - whose pregnancy is well-watched, loved, and wanted. We decided to host a rather non-traditional shower and do a picnic/pool party instead of the typical did your baby float out of the ice cube/what chocolate bar is melted in this diaper business. I think it was a great success even though some of our favorite folk weren't able to come. We ate tons, laughed, and loved on K and baby MG. I love these women that are in my life - thankful that we bridge the gap between work and life so beautifully - and take care of each other along the way.

Sunday was quiet, calm, and I spent 90% of the day in my pajamas. I watched 3 movies on Netflix (sadly, Chad had to work) and cleaned up a bit from having company. It was such a nice change of pace from a crazy go-go-go day Saturday that I loved every couch-bound moment. Two romantic comedies and a thriller later, I was happy to head to dinner with Chad's family. A little more grilling out (happy summer food!) and some good chats and the weekend was deemed a success.

Our computer program and new website went live about an hour ago and I'm excited about all of the possibilities. Good stuff coming.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

SCUBA - days 4 and 5 (pictures!)

Day 4: We finally got to dive in the ocean. I brought all my SCUBA gear with me and had completely convinced myself to dive with the girls. It was a shallow dive - 25 or 30 feet to the artificial reef - which is my favorite kind of diving. I gear up and swam about 100 yards out with the girls and located a large quantity of jellyfish with my un-wetsuited body. The girls had on wetsuits and were mostly covered and this protected; I was not. Knowing myself, I decided that I would probably not enjoy a dive while being stung by jellyfish and decided to swim my gear back. A letdown for me but the girls powered through and had a really good dive. I only got stung 4 or 5 times on my legs before I could get out and the girls just had a few on their lower legs as well. Now they know it isn't unbearable and they can tolerate it enough to dive!

We also went into Okaloosa Island to play at the beach and then dinner and shopping in Destin. Loads of fun this day - the girls and chaperones were both exhausted!

Day 5 (technically 6): a long drive home. When I finally arrived back in Chattanooga, I'd been traveling 12 hours thanks to a last minute trip back to the dive shop for the girls to sign paperwork. Pretty sure I slept another 12 hours that night. :)

Spring water selfie.

Me and one of my awesome team mates, MPT.

We already knew how cold the water was at this point...just trying to convince ourselves to make the plunge.

Some of our girls in the springs...

Sunlight in the springs...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Scuba day 2 and 3.

For mom...ita gonna be short .
yesterday was pool day and the girls did great
Today we dove in the coldest water I have ever been in. It was ridiculously cold. Painfully so. But it was an absolutely gorgeous day.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

SCUBA day 1

Blogging from the road folks. Left poor Chad behind to hold down the fort while I came to Florida with one if my team mates and 4 teenage girls so they could learn to SCUBA dive. Spent most if the day in the car today and I am thankful to finally be here. We are staying at a Boy Scout camp that is our Plan B due to some weather damage at the Girl Scout camp we were going to stay at. Rustic is a good way to describe the accommodations and the cleanliness of the dining hall left a lot to be desired. Thankfully I am traveling with MPT who is a good sport regardless of the circumstances...well, with the exception of the spider she just located in her bed. Sigh. Looking forward to a day at the pool tomorrow.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Not a priority.

I want blogging to be a priority because I have loved this little space over the last few years  but I just can't seem to make it so. Life has gotten busy, responsibilities have multiplied, and it seems to take a back seat most of the time. I feel like I have to talk all day, make decisions, write about things that when I get home - there aren't many words left.

Wrapped up my last trip to summer resident camp this past Monday and Tuesday with one of our local program partners. I am really proud of this partnership (Co.Starters and the Co.Lab here in Chattanooga...doing some really cool things for entrepreneurs in our city!) and where it is headed for our girls. My team has worked really hard helping them build a youth focused program and we are piloting it with our girls. They seemed to really like it and I hope it is something we can continue to build on.

I have a few days off from travel- though not really off because I've produced four drafts of my department budget and a final one due tomorrow with copious notes. Performance reviews for my team due Monday (which are done and turned in!). And then lots of laundry, cleaning, and packing this weekend for another trip that starts Sunday. I'll be gone 6 days this time with a small group of our girls to Florida to learn to SCUBA dive. (Thankfully, this will be my last long trip until October when we go to Utah for our GS National Convention.) The whole following week is training for our new computer system so I'm feeling a little "no rest for the weary" at the moment.

I've been asked multiple times if I am going to SCUBA with the girls in Florida. I am taking my gear but I might not dive. Frankly, I would relish a 30 minute nap while they are under water and someone else is responsible for them. :) I will post pictures so check FB and Instagram. Mom, I will email them to you.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Its that time again.

I am mid process for writing my second departmental budget. This is one of the most challenging, exhausting, and stressful things that I do in my role as a supervisor/team leader. I am not great with math and trying to predict the future is also not my strongest suit. I want to make decisions that won't hinder the work we want to do over the next year but I also want to be a good steward of our financial resources. Making decisions in July that you have to live with until September of the following year is hard! However, it is rewarding. I am learning new skills that can transfer to other areas of my life. I am letting my team take pieces of it this year so they learn how to put a budget together as well. I am a big believer in building a team that learns a lot of aspects of a job, including how to do mine in case I'm not here one day.

In addition, I'm leaving for another 3 days at camp tomorrow. I need to be spending the day working on a budget that is due the end of next week but 3 days outside, away from my computer is probably just what I needed. Our second and last big event for the summer and we can start planning for fall. Yay!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


I managed to pull together 2 of my 3 childhood best friends for a lovely overnight in Atlanta this past weekend. Of course, I didn't get a picture with all. Of us - reunion fail - but I got 2 of us! This first picture is of us on the roof top patio at Chad's uncle's townhouse which he generously let us crash for a couple of days. It was a lovely couple of days full of chatting, loving on baby C,  reading, mosquito bites, and generally just being in each other's presence. Sweet, sweet time.

We also visited the Atlanta Botanical Gardens today which was quite lovely. They had an exhibit across the whole gardens of huge plant covered "topiaries" - though I would call them giant sculptures. It was pretty cool to see and I am sure they require a lot of upkeep.  

 Me with some berries!

  Jess with some orangutans! Yay!

I took a boat load of pictures but I am saving them. Someone special - ahem, one of my 3 readers - might see them in her Christmas calendar so I don't want to share everything!