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Life just got nuts.

29th August 2016

It was a big weekend for us in the Tillman household. We had our anatomy scan where we got to see baby T moving all about, hear the heartbeat and actually see the chambers of the heart. We saw all the little toes and the babe’s cute face but we made sure to close our eyes as the tech took pictures of the gender.
us babe T We left the appointment with pictures of our little miracle in hand including the gender pictures that were stapled shut. We wouldn’t be finding out until the following evening with a handful of our closest friends.

An hour before our big reveal Aaron randomly constructed a divider to hide the pink and blue fireworks. I loved it and appreciated his thoughtfulness to decorate it up 🙂  bog You guys we really didn’t get great pictures of the reveal. Because it was dark and my friends used phones so there is nothing professional about these pictures at all. And strangely I like it. These are the unedited, raw pictures of the night. They’re blurry and imperfect and I love them.

P.s HUGE thanks to Marcos for lighting them for us.  f4 f5 f8 f9 f3 f7 firework f6 f2 f1

BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aaron and I both knew (me especially) this little babe was a boy. And while I ended the girl streak of all my friends and had to grieve that I wouldn’t be having a daughter to join their girl circle–I am SO excited to be a boy mom. I know God specifically chose us to be Abram’s (NAME ALERT!) parents and I am honored to carry that title.

Abram is already a loved little boy and I can’t wait to share all the hilarious and crazy things I learn on this journey. A huge thank you to my fellow boy mom friends who spoke such life into me. It really takes a village and Aaron and I have the best village there is.  boy1 boy Life just got a little nuttier! nuts

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A beautiful accident turned buffet

17th August 2016

While I was away at the Haven Conference a few weekends ago, Aaron was busy building me a media console. At least that was the plan. Something I adore about Aaron is he will try most anything even if he doesn’t know 100% what he is doing going into it— he just learns and makes mistakes as he goes and teaches himself. And that is what happened here. He set out to build the media console but the measurements were off and it ended up being too big for the space.

P.s here is why I wanted a media console: 1. Because cords everywhere (this picture is hiding them well and I didn’t have a backup one in my media library to show the true madness) 2. So I can actually use my crates in other ways besides hiding cords 3. To be able to close off all the gadgets (cable box, playstation etc) 4. And truthfully so it doesn’t look so messy and thrown together. gallery-wall-living-room Since the media console Aaron was building wasn’t going to fit our space–we found another use for it. See in the picture below the stretch of wall? The media console magically became a buffet table. DSCN1567 Check out my instagram photo & here too for a glimpse into the chaotic process of building the buffet. I also captured a few current photos of the space: our dinning room = our tool holding area. And I have done a great job at just letting it be and not trying to clean it up. The Lord works miracles! (But seriously it is cramping my workout space a bit ha!) mismatched-chairs Farmhouse-dining-room DIY-Buffet Farmhouse-Dining But boy, it sure is a beautiful accident isn’t it? I can’t wait to stain/paint it. What colors would you do? I am all ears to your vote.

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Weekend Restoration

12th August 2016

The Olympics are wearing me out. I am sure that I am more tired watching the Olympics than the actual Olympians are. Maybe? Okay, definitely not. But it’s requiring me to stay up way past my bedtime. BUT I CAN’T STOP WATCHING! I am looking at the loss of precious sleep as preparation for the babe.

In short, it’s been a long week–especially after coming home from Haven. I am in desperate need of some rest. Physical rest and soul rest. I am thinking you might be too. Seasons are beginning to change, school is starting back and the carousal of life just keeps spinning.

May we take some time this weekend to cheer on our Olympians, hug a stranger, give more than we think we can and take a nap without guilt.

Enjoy your weekend friends! Here are a few things bringing me the fuzzies.  nat

Natalie Freeman’s Instagram feed ff Shannan‘s new book *Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted -preorder it ASAP! DSC_8128 My little family <3

*Amazon affiliate link

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Haven Conference Recap

8th August 2016

Haven-conference-2016 This past weekend I drove the 5+ hour drive to Atlanta with just me, myself and the podcast Invisibila (thanks for the recommendation, Katie!). I attended the Haven Conference with almost 400 other DIY, Home decor bloggers from the U.S and Canada. It was overwhelming in a lot of ways– both good and bad ways. Because I always like to be honest, I’ll share a few things with you here.

I’ll start with a few of the negative emotions I felt. I consider myself an extrovert by a landslide but the older I get I am realizing just how introverted I can be within huge crowds. My soul craves deep connection so the constant small talk was exhausting. I would connect with one person only to not see them again or to feel like I was just a networking tool for them. The truth is I probably was to a huge majority there because it’s impossible to connect with 400 people in three days. I get it.

Another thing I struggled with was my finding my voice in the sea of others. And fighting the temptation to compare myself with everyone else. Compare their blogging journey to mine. Their skills to mine. Their successes to mine. That, friends, is draining.

But there was also a ton of positive stuff (like the donut wall!!). All of the creativity was just amazing and had me feeling all the feels and wanting to paint all the things. paint-rustoleum Speaking with sponsors was also so much fun! There were some really wonderful vendors there and it was super exciting to talk about potential future projects. I am really happy to say that I will soon be partnering with The Crown Bolt Division of Home Depot. More on that to come.

My roomies were built in friends for me in the midst of a sea of strangers. I am so thankful for them! They took me under their wing and didn’t judge me when I went to bed early every night (#pregoproblems).  Haven-conference-2016 I also had the privilege to meet Amy Howard and her stud assistant Alex. What women of grace! Taking her class was by far the highlight of my entire weekend. She is such a woman of God and if it’s wasn’t for her class I think I would have come home from the conference to throw up my white flag. She was/is so inspiring and gave me the motivation to keep sharing and flexing my creative muscles.

I also got to take a watercolor class with Lucy and it was so wonderful. I am terrible but I still had the best time. She is uber talented and makes watercolor look so effortless. I really enjoyed meeting her and taking her class. (I have some of her pillows for fall and Christmas and I am SO PUMPED to be putting them out soon)

I am proud of myself for stepping out and showing up. It wasn’t always easy but character building never is.

Here’s what I took away most from this weekend: I don’t know what the future holds for MTR but I am leaning into the unknown and just trusting that my community here will build in it’s own time and more importantly the connections will be deep and restoration will take place. That’s what I desire more than anything.

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What I learned in July

1st August 2016

Doing one of my favorite practices of taking a look back before moving forward. July has been very introspective for me and I am sharing a bit with you here. Here are some (mostly serious) things I learned this month. DSC_8082 Pregnancy hormones are so real.

Short story: I may or may not have bawled while at the gun range. All I can say is my emotions hit the roof and I just couldn’t control it. It was a small and hot room, with lots of loud noises (obviously!) and shells flying everywhere. Overwhelming and totally embarrassing but thankfully I can laugh about it now. I definitely learned that will not be a hobby of mine.

Befriending someone completely opposite of you is vital.

Recently I was matched to mentor a single mom (20 years old) who aged out of foster care. My contact from Family Support Services asked me this month how our friendship was going—here is my exact response to her (I changed my mentee’s name out of privacy) “That’s such a loaded question ha! My friendship with Natalie is certainly growing. She is open and trusting and I am very thankful for that. She accepted me right away and shares so much with me. I am thankful for that too. Our lives are drastically different as well as our stories but I think it’s so good for both of us to learn and listen from each other. Our friendship has never been more important. Thank you for the opportunity!”

There are seasons in all areas of life.

I was recently contacted by a girl on Instagram who bought a fixer upper and wanted my advice and opinion. I gave her a list of my “here is what I have learned in this process” advice. One of those being that there are certainly seasons of peaks and valleys. Some days I want to stop everything we are doing and sell our house. Some days I don’t want to fix anything, DIY anything or decorate anything. Some days there is absolutely no progress. And sometimes those days turn into weeks. I reminded her that those seasons will come and they’re completely normal and okay. I needed to remind myself of that too.

There are also seasons to be silent.

I am certainly in a season of slow and silent here at Married to Restoration. I have been uncomfortable with it at times but mostly it’s been freeing to take a break. I wrote a post about it here.

Goodbyes never get easier.

I said see you later to a sweet friend this week as she moved to North Carolina. So thankful that Jesus unites us as family forever. NC you gained one beautiful soul this month. kim I am so EXCITED for August as we find out what Baby Tillman will be!!! BOY OR GIRL?!?!?! Can’t wait to fill you in 😉

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Picking sides.

25th July 2016

I am not a political person at all. That doesn’t mean I am completely unaware of the ways politics affects us. It just means that I see how it divides us.

I think that’s why I don’t like to dig deep into it. Because when I do I always feel I have to pick a side and whatever side I pick means I stand in opposition to all the people who disagree with me. Our culture has moved in a direction that has painted this picture that disagreeing with someone means you hate them or you think less of them. For some, that probably is true. But for most us? I want to believe that isn’t the case. I know a lot of great people who disagree with me on some really important subjects but at the end of the day they don’t hate me for it and vice versa. We choose love over pride or feeling right.  spr2 I talked earlier this month on being silent. It’s been a summer of slow processing and sorting out all the brokenness around me. I have been seeking restoration within my own heart–asking God to strip me of prejudice, anger and judgment. Looking for ways I can be more loving and patient.

I found some peace as I read God’s word this morning. We have been going over James in our Church community and I read a little ahead. And what I found is encouraging my soul. Waiting-for-a-harvest

Image via Google

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! -James 5: 7-9

The message bible paints an even clearer picture.

7-8 Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time. -James 5:7-8

There is hurt and pain all around us. Injustice is springing up all throughout. But I refuse to pick a side. Instead I am longing to produce patience in the slow and sure work of Christ. He is coming and while I wait I am choosing to love both sides.

 

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What a year can bring

18th July 2016

If you would have caught me on July 18th two years ago–I was in a rough season. We had just signed on our first home but the renovations weren’t even close to being done. Aaron was in Georgia for an internship for 8 weeks for Physical Therapy school and our lease on our apartment was up in 13 days. From the beginning of August we lived in several different guest rooms of some really generous friends while our house was getting the bigger renovations done. It was a long and difficult 4 months of never feeling settled and that we quite possibly made a huge mistake.

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{See more before pictures here}

Then a week before we moved into our house, I lost my job. So yeah–2014 was a rough one.

Flash forward a year to July 18th 2015 and I had (and still have) a job that provided us with just what we needed. And a year later we realized the mistake we thought we made on our house turned into a beautiful gift. We spent that day throwing a house warming party to show off all the hard work we had put into it in the first year. You can see some pictures of that post here DSCN0491 Flash forward again to today–July 18, 2016. We have completed even more on our house including a DIY Farmhouse Table, a new back deck, our balcony makeover, some changes to the kitchen and all the little details that can easily go unnoticed like repainting trim etc. Our biggest change this year though was my announcement this past weekend that we are expecting a BABY in January.  babes Oh, the stories I will have for you next July 18th. Can’t wait to share them with you <3

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My heart behind the silence.

14th July 2016

It’s been a rough couple of weeks/months in our country and world. And as a result, lots of words have been said and written. So many words that the thought of adding to it just made me feel like another voice in the mix–lost in a sea of opinions and pride. So I have fallen silent around here lately. I took a step back to listen and observe and give my soul and mind some space to just be still.

I have a lot of things I want to say but none of them are “right”. The truth is I am so very aware that I don’t have the right answers. In this situation I can humbly step back and say I see the problems but I don’t know how to fix them. Or better yet I don’t believe that I have the words that will fix them.

Because let’s be real–it’s going to take a lot more than words and opinions to bring true healing and peace. It’s going to take action. It’s going to look more like shutting up and listening and moving towards someone else even if it’s uncomfortable. It’s going to take dying to ourselves and to our pride.  20160511_141702 But really it’s going to take Jesus’ all-consuming love to change us from the inside out. And from that we will love our hurting neighbors better and extend grace and compassion where we couldn’t before.

So in this season of pain–I am working on using my two ears more than my one mouth. It’s the best thing I know to do right now. That means the silence may continue.

Thank you for allowing me space to process and sort through my heart. I know this season of blogging has felt so dry to me (and I am sure to you as well)–but it’s important that I walk through it.

This space is a gift and I am grateful you share it with me.

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Baseball brings people together

6th July 2016

Since 2007 our neighborhood has celebrated the 4th of July at the ball field. Main street divides us making up the East & West side teams for our throwback baseball game. Hundreds of neighbors and friends come out to watch guys (and sometimes girls) play a friendly but competitive game of baseball. Ages 18 – mid 60’s and every different skill level imaginable come together to make this one of my favorite events of the year.

Old school uniforms, equipment and rules make for an entertaining game. Also add some food trucks, gourmet popsicles and old beautiful trees/tents to give us shade from the hot Florida sunshine.  b3 b2 Even though the East side lost (whomp!) it’s still the best way to spend our Independence day. Especially topping it off with the fireworks in the same park later that evening.  b1 b7 b6 b5 b4 us

The next big event I am looking forward to in the hood is Porch Fest. Which happens to be on my birthday this year 🙂

What are some traditions your neighborhood does?

*See more pictures and read more about the event here and here.

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What I learned in June

1st July 2016

Toll House Roll vs. Toll House Pull Apart

I have been buying the pull apart cookies (pictured right) for years and they are my JAM! Recently though we had a friend buy two packs of the roll kind (pictured left) for a potluck and it was not the same at all. Even my husband who isn’t as big of a cookie lover/snob as me agreed. I need to change my profile to say Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Lover but really just the pull apart kind baked three minutes less than the package calls for 😉 cookies

Feltapp is bringing letters back felt

My friend Courtney shared this on Instagram earlier this month and I thought it was the coolest thing. I haven’t personally used it but I think I would like to try it. You can send hand lettered cards straight from your phone. What a crazy world we live in HA!

June in a popular month to have a baby

At least it’s true for me. See here.

Sometimes taking a break from your schedule is good for the soul.  beach

June has been a slow blogging month for me. It’s the year mark of Married to Restoration and in a lot of ways that has brought different emotions. Sometimes I have just wanted to quit this thing called blogging while other times I knew I just needed a break. I have taken a step back from my normal M,W,F posts and while I don’t have this overwhelming peace of what’s next, I have been able to give my soul some space and freedom.

I am ready for you, July.