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 😉

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.


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.


{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

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.

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.

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. 

June: the month of Celebration!

27th June 2016

This month has been a whirlwind. A little emotionally exhausting but a LOT of love and celebration. June holds birthdays upon birthdays upon birthdays. Including my brother and sister, one of my best friends, my sister in law, my brother in law, a few of my friends babies, some of my friends, OH AND MY HUSBANDS. Plus, Father’s Day.

PHEW. Don’t mind me. I am just catching my breath from all of it. While slightly overwhelmed and just realistic that I can only really offer a Happy Birthday & I love you–I am still so grateful I have so many wonderful people to celebrate.

This past week I got to add my best friend Danielle’s daughter to that list. Baby Quinn made her grand entrance into the world on the 23rd and she and her mama are just GORGEOUS!!!! quinn After spending time in the hospital those first few days Quinn arrived, I kept thinking how do people not believe there is a God? Childbirth is a straight up miracle.  DSC_8156 Yesterday was this guy’s 26 birthday!!! We celebrated with free food, beach time and cuddles. I love this man and experience Christ through him every day. I know he will make me laugh forever! ari And today is ARI’s bday!!!!! I’ve known this girl since 3rd grade and she is my exact opposite. Somehow it makes us closer than ever and I have learned so much about myself and others through her. She makes me a better person and I hope I return the favor.

The celebrations will continue this month with my sister in law and my cousin’s baby boy. Then it’s onto July.

Thankful for all my peeps and for how much love June holds <3

Hello, Summer!

21st June 2016

I live in Florida so the first day of summer feels kind of like a joke. We have been living summer weather for a few months now so it’s nothing new to us. Regardless It’s still fun to celebrate and welcome summer time with open arms.

So hello, summer. It’s nice to know we’re sweating down here under your intense sunshine because you sure are bringing the heat this year. That’s okay because what’s not love about the beach, tank tops, watermelon and sunkissed skin…..and yard work 😉 sunshine Yesterday was the first official day of summer and I have been pinning all types of summery goodness on my Pinterest Board Summer Lovin’. Just for you and for me. Hopefully you feel inspired to make some of these yummy dishes and then share them with me (virtually or in person!).

Cheers to HOT weather and lots of memories. And even more bike rides!!! bike1 bike2 Happy summer from us in the SUNSHINE STATE <3


Weekend Restoration: What is the church?

17th June 2016

“I’ve often wondered what the apostle Paul, for example, would have said if someone asked him, “Where do you go to church?” My guess is he would have looked befuddled and responded,  “What do you mean?  I don’t understand the question.”

How about “What time does church start?” or “What programs does your church offer?” or even worse, “How’s the music at your church?”

The fact that these questions would make absolutely no sense to anyone who actually started the church, clearly points to how far off we’ve strayed.”

**If you don’t read any links I ever share, please consider reading this powerful post by our dear friend Brock Johnson. It’s called What is the church and it’s challenging me wholeheartedly.  sitting in church (1)

Two years later…

15th June 2016

This past Monday we reached the two year mark of buying our fixer upper. This old home needed (and still needs) a lot of love and attention. You can see before photos here exterior1 It’s such a breath of fresh air though, for me, to see all that we have done to restore this beautiful piece of history. Especially when there is still so much work staring us in the face all.the.time.  exterior7 exterior2 DSC_8113 Here we are though and I am proud of our investment in this house and our neighborhood. I am thankful for all we have learned along the way and I look forward to what the future holds here.

Thank you for following along as we have slowly restored our home. Here are a few of the projects we have tackled in the two years of being homeowners.


Kitchen makeover

Balcony makeover

Back deck project

Half Bathroom progress

DIY Farmhouse Table

*All other home related posts

Cheers to year three! Here we go–say prayer for us 😉