Friday, January 29, 2016

Five on Friday: Pastors, Parties, and a New Puppy!

Cheers to the weekend! Only two weeks to go until our five day weekend, which includes a little Vegas getaway. We. Can't. Wait. This week has brought so much joy to my heart: from a new member of the family, to hours and hours of chatting, dreaming, and laughing with sweet friends. Here's what we've been up to this week!
Our New Friend! Photo: NextDayPets

1.  A Furry New Friend!

You may have missed my post about our sweet puppy of 14 years, Dusty. When he passed away in July, it was pretty hard on all of us. So, eight months later, I'm thrilled to announce that my parents are adding a new furry friend to the family. His name is (currently) Bandit, and he's so stinkin' cute! He's weighs three pounds right now, and is an eight week old Peekapoo who will max out at about eight pounds. My parents are bringing him home today, so of course I'll be going up and cuddling with him all day tomorrow. Aaron and I aren't really game for the responsibility of a pet right now (especially with all of our travels), but we are so excited to puppy-sit and hang with our new little buddy!
adorable Peekapoo puppy
Meet Bandit! Isn't he adorable?? Photo: NextDayPets

2. Lovin' the Ladies' Nights

Aaron was out of town last weekend on a college visit for his sister, so I filled my extroverted time with a little ladies night. We spent our evening laughing, watching YouTube videos, and absolutely killin' several rounds of Heads Up, and it was an absolute blast. (If you haven't played the dance move deck, you've got to!) A few of us may have even talked the night away...until 3:45 am. Seriously, I don't even know how I stayed up so late! It was a blast, and I'm looking forward to some more girl time this weekend with some really awesome women!

Last year's Staffires. To see us in action, check out the Year in Review Post. You won't regret it.

3. Dancing Up a Storm

If you missed last year's "Staffire" dance team video, you'll have to check it out in my Year in Review post. Our school has a dance team called the Sapphires, and thus, the "Staffires" are a dance team made up of teachers and staff. We've been hard at work mastering some pretty sweet dance moves, and we are going to rock it at the Courtwarming Assembly next week. I'm sure I'll have video to share soon. I'll also be running up and down the court in the Senior/Staff Basketball game, so shoot up a little prayer that I can hang ha.

My crazies from YoungLife Camp last summer.

4. A Shared Heart for Youth

This week, it was such a joy to have both our YoungLife volunteers and the pastors of the major churches in the city all together in the same room. The mission to love young people in our community well and to point them towards Christ in hopes of making new disciples is truly a mission that we all share together, and thus it is our heart to be united in this purpose. It should never be YoungLife against the church, or vice versa, but instead the two of us working together and pushing kids towards the Lord. We are excited to see all that is to come!

5. A New Shop

You may have spotted the new "Shop" tab at the top of the blog webpage. In case you haven't heard, we are very excited to be launching the new Currently, Kelsie Shop, which will be specializing in creating handmade rustic home decor and various items. The wood centerpiece from our new rustic dining room is actually for sale. And, in celebration of this new adventure, we are currently shipping all of our items for FREE. If you're in the KC area, we can even meet you and deliver your purchases in person! You should check it out for sure, and we can also make items in bulk or take on new project ideas you may be looking for.

That's it for this week. Have a wonderful weekend!


I'm linking up with A. Liz Adventures The Diary of a Real HousewifeUniquely UnfoldedGrace and Love BlogGrace and Truth, Running for CupcakesMomfessionals, and Life in Leggings.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Alder Collective Link Party #14

How is this already the last Tuesday in January? Crazy! In case you missed it, I finally revealed our new rustic dining room this week. I'm so so happy with how it turned out, and it's amazing how much brighter and dreamy the room is! I'm also SO excited to announce that I just launched a new Currently, Kelsie Shop where the hubs and I will be selling rustic home decor and other handmade items. You can actually purchase your own rustic centerpiece to match the one in our dining room, and we offer free shipping! Check it out if you're looking for some new decor. Have a great week, y'all! Can't wait to read all your amazing posts.

Welcome to The Alder Collective Link Party! We're so happy you stopped by to show off your stuff. A friendly reminder before we jump into the party: make sure you're visiting at least as many posts as you're linking up. This party is no fun if you don't see traffic and comments from it. Now check out what your hosts have been up to this week:
Clockwise from top left:

Each week, we'll pin every link to the Alder Collective Link Party Pinterest board, where it will be seen by thousands of people. Here are our favorite links from last week's party:

Monday, January 25, 2016

Rustic Dining Room Reveal

I love our home. It has the perfect rustic cabin feel. But if I'm truthful, our oak trim has made finding the right decor and paint colors a bit challenging at times. I've learned to embrace the trim, which I don't want to paint, and instead focus on other ways to bring light into our home. And thus, enter the dining room project. After a long time of dreaming, painting, and re-painting, I am so excited to finally be revealing the finished product!

Rustic Dining Room with Wood Trim

Before, our dining room was fine. The previous owners had gold painted above the wood trim chair rail, and a deep dark brown beneath it. The curtains we inherited with the house were modern, and a series of dark squares. The room was rich, but felt so dark, especially when paired with our oak table and chairs. I dreamed and dreamed about bringing a lighter, more rustic feel into the room. It all started with some white and gray curtains I got on sale at Kohl's, and everything fell into place from there (details below). I love how bright, light, and airy our new look feels. And so much bigger. See for yourself! 

tan and brown dining room
Cliveden Gray Morning and Smoked Oyster Dining Room with Wood Trim

The Paint Colors

It took me a long time to finally settle on the perfect pale green. Let's just say that I learned a lot about paint samples and room lighting. Don't let the picture below fool you- my paint samples were actually Valspar from Lowe's, they were just mixed with the Sherwin Williams base in the sample size so that they would be an eggshell finish. I finally landed on a dreamy, pale green-gray called Cliveden Gray Morning  for above the chair rail. It's amazing how much greener it looks on the wall in the daylight than it did online and on the sample card.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Five on Friday: Seniors, Snow, and Sneak Peeks

It's funny that sometimes the "short weeks" can be the ones that seem the I right? All of us teacher folk had the day off on Monday, and when you toss a day out for meetings into the mix, I'm really only spending three days in the classroom this week. But still....hello Friday. You couldn't have come soon enough. Not that I don't love my kids, I'm just having a hard time pulling myself out of my warm bed and into the cold abyss for work each morning. Amen? This week has been full of day dates, sports, and a little Shakespearean fun. I've also got a special sneak peek for you, as I'll be revealing a finally-finished-project next week!

rustic dining room with baby's breath

1. Breakin' it down, Shakespeare style.

Romeo and Juliet is one of my very favorite units to teach with my gifted freshman. I know, I know. Some of you are totally cringing and thinking about how much you hated reading Shakespeare in high school. But these kiddos are driven and motivated, and they love it! I love having them do some fun activities like walking in circles and stomping out the prologue to really learn iambic pentameter. And my favorite thing is teaching them the Pilgrims and Saints dance that Romeo and Juliet were doing at the party where they first met (and kissed). It's such a blast seeing freshman who would never think that dancing in class was "cool" become super into it and have a great time! These aren't my kiddos, but this is a little snippet of the dance I teach them- so picture this with more giggles and eight counts. I always jokingly tell my kids they can take these moves to the club.

2. Untimely Snowfall

I was so thankful for time off this week, but I can't help but think about all of the snow days we could have had, if only the snow had timed itself a little differently. I know that I'll be happy about it come May, when we get out a little earlier. But for now, the thrill of waking up to a text message that tells me to go back to sleep sounds pretty fabulous. Snow fell on Sunday morning and then again in the afternoon on Tuesday, and we would have totally gotten out for school both times if it had been timed a little differently. Instead we had a dicey, icy parking lot.

frozen rearview mirror

3. Long Weekend Adventures 

My husband's grandma bought us a Sam's Club membership for Christmas, so we spent part of our day off Monday exploring the aisles. I had no idea that they had good deals on everything from shampoo to medicine and clothes? We stocked up on enough toilet paper and paper towels to last us for a good while, and of course I had to make my weekly "dreaming" trip to Hobby Lobby. We also ventured down to Buca di Beppo for a double date on the chilly Plaza, and our hubbies spoiled us afterwards with Cheesecake Factory cheesecake for dessert! Throw in a Bachelor watch party and a Southwest Boulevard Mexican date night, and it was a pretty solid long weekend. We are very blessed and enjoying year three of just the two of us.

long weekend husband and wife
Okay, so this photo isn't from our long weekend. You caught me. But I love it, and days off with him. So please forgive me! 

4. Celebrating Our Seniors

I remember what it felt like to be a senior- everything that you do is the last time that you'll ever do it. Last first day of school, last homecoming, last courtwarming, and so on. We have a really awesome group of seniors this year at my school, and I'm blessed to spend time with them in my AP Language class, National Honor Society, and YoungLife. It's been a lot of fun cheering on our amazingly talented crew of senior basketball girls here lately, and I also got to celebrate my sweet sister-in-law's senior night at swim this week. These ladies are wonderful young women who are going to rock college and change the world! Isn't my sissy so beautiful??

We had a blast taking her senior pictures. I love this one! 

5. Rustic Dining Room: Sneak Peek

After dreaming and planning....and painting my dining room THREE different times (more on that later), it's finally done. And I love it! I'm so happy with the way the colors turned out, and the decorations I was dreaming up turned out to be exactly what I wanted (and even a touch better). Throw in some amazing homemade pieces from my awesome hubby, and you've got the perfect rustic dining room with just the right amount of cozy and classy. Can't wait to show you more later on!

rustic dining, baby's breath
AFTER. I know, I'm leaving you hanging :) Stop by next week! 

Are you following along with me on Instagram? I'd love to share some of my favorite photos and videos with you! 

I'm linking up with A. Liz Adventures The Diary of a Real HousewifeUniquely UnfoldedGrace and Love BlogGrace and Truth, Running for CupcakesMomfessionals, and Life in Leggings.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Alder Collective Link Party #13

It has been oh so cold around these parts. Thankfully, we're coming off of a three day weekend and the possibilities of snow days are on the rise! Since last week's party, I celebrated the first birthday of Currently, Kelsie with my post on 5 Things I Learned in My First Year of Blogging (though I've learned much more than five). Check it out, and then head on down to link up your awesome posts for the week! Stay warm, friends!


Welcome to The Alder Collective Link Party! We're so happy you stopped by to show off your stuff. A friendly reminder before we jump into the party: make sure you're visiting at least as many posts as you're linking up. This party is no fun if you don't see traffic and comments from it. Now check out what your hosts have been up to this week:

Clockwise from top left:

Each week, we'll pin every link to the Alder Collective Link Party Pinterest board, where it will be seen by thousands of people. Here are our favorite links from last week's party:

Friday, January 15, 2016

5 Things I Learned in My First Year of Blogging

As of yesterday, Currently, Kelsie is officially one year old! If I could share a big piece of birthday cake with you all, I would. It's been such a joy to see what started with a simple domain name morph and blossom into much more over the last 365 days. I've watched blogging become a type of ministry, readers unite over shared stories and vulnerability, and this small little corner of the internet grow into a community. I've learned how to run a weekly link party, apply for affiliate programs, and edit my own HTML code. But more than that, I've walked away with these 5 lessons- ideas that all bloggers (newbies or veterans alike) can be reminded of.

Birthday cupcakes and candles

1. Choose community OVER competition. 

Like so many other areas of our lives, it is so so easy to look around the blogging world and be incredibly discouraged. Comparison can be hard. People will always have more page views, more Facebook followers, or more sponsored posts than you do. If others are succeeding, it's easy to think that you can't- and it's easy to shy away from "competitors". But I have found other bloggers to be the most amazing source of community and support. To truly succeed, you've got to have a solid blogging group or two and a community to share blogging life with. Once I stopped seeing other bloggers as people to "beat", I met so many wonderful and encouraging people!

2. Photos and titles can make or break a post.

I learned pretty quickly that quality photos are necessary for any good blog post. If you really want to have quality photos, take your own (or find free stock photos), and then create your own labels or titles on your pictures using Canva, Picmonkey, or Photoshop. Let's be honest, you've got to pull people in with your keywords, titles, and pictures far before you ever get them to read your entire post. Also, list posts (like this one) are the best!

3. There is always room to learn and grow in the blogging world.

Holy. Smokes. There is a whole heck of a lot to know about blogging. HTML code, plug-ins, alt text for photos, Google Analytics, Pinterest plug ins, link parties, the list goes literally on and on. This can be intimidating at first, but the best approach is to focus on a few things at a time, and then learn a little more and master a little more as you go. Thankfully, there are lots of awesome bloggers out there who are happy to offer lots of advice and feedback along the way. Learning fearlessly is part of my mission, and I love how the blogging world provides for constant learning and growth that keeps me on my toes.

4. Maintaining a blog is a LOT of work. Find balance! 

Blogging is a lot of work, and can be very time-consuming. Sometimes you'll find yourself up super late, finishing a post or commenting on other blogger's content. It's worth it, but can be a little daunting sometimes. Since there can be so much to manage, you'll need to take breaks sometimes to avoid burnout. And guess what- the world will still keep turning! When we went on our 16 day European adventure, I didn't blog or touch social media at all. I prescheduled a few posts and things on Facebook, and enjoyed my time away. I also took a break from social media on my phone from Thanksgiving to Christmas. These times of rest were so valuable, and helped me be present in a world full with technology and looming blog tasks.

5. Be yourself, and don't be afraid to put yourself out there.

The best blogs aren't necessarily the ones that promote the most ads or share the most sponsored posts. Instead, they are the blogs that are real and authentic and true to the author's heart. Otherwise, an audience will see right through your content. Figure out your mission and what drives you as a blogger, then come up with a statement for it. The story behind my tagline helps readers see what makes me tick, and why I'm here.

You've also got to promote a little bit, without being ashamed. It can be scary to start a Facebook page or share posts on social media, but readers don't just show up overnight without any work. And when they do start to show up (or maybe they don't for a while), don't get too focused on the numbers. Statistics are great, but they aren't everything. Don't give up.

If you'd like to see some of the top posts of the year, along with some fun video and silly photos, check out 2015: A Year in Review. 

I hope these lessons help you as you start out or continue to blog. I know I need to be reminded of them sometimes. Thank you to Aaron- my number one supporter! Thanks to anyone who has read, commented, liked, or shared a post (this includes you)- you make it all worth it and I'm so glad you're here! And thanks to my Alder Collective ladies- Abby, Cristi, Kayla, Ashlynn, Lisa, and Brandy- you rock! 

It's been a great year, and I'm excited to see what year number two brings!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Alder Collective Link Party #12

Hey friends! It's been a crazy week around these parts. We had a lot of fun cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs to their first playoff win in 22 years with lots of friends this weekend. Pretty crazy to have both our Royals and Chiefs in the playoffs for the same year, especially when they have both been so bad for so long. I also spent far too much time worrying about little imperfections, and was reminded of a few important lessons this week, as described in my post Ripped Lace and Missing Diamonds. Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week!


Welcome to The Alder Collective Link Party! We're so happy you stopped by to show off your stuff. A friendly reminder before we jump into the party: make sure you're visiting at least as many posts as you're linking up. This party is no fun if you don't see traffic and comments from it. 

Now check out what your hosts have been up to this week:

Clockwise from top left:

Each week, we'll pin every link to the Alder Collective Link Party Pinterest board, where it will be seen by thousands of people. Here are our favorite links from last week's party:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Ripped Lace & Missing Diamonds: A Reminder

I've always considered myself to be a pretty "glass half full" kind of person. I'm the world's most positive sports fan, always believing that a comeback is possible (as long as there's legitimately a small glimpse of hope). I enjoy the little things, talk myself into being less stressed than I am, and sometimes naively see the best in people. But recently, I've caught little glimpses of negativity in myself- all dealing with situations where things were broken. Situations where something went wrong unexpectedly, and instead of focusing on all the good around me and making the best of it, I spent my time focusing solely on the flaws, and being upset that my "perfect" expectations had crumbled. Situations I felt I didn't deserve, that shouldn't have happened.

old barn

EXHIBIT A: Ripped Lace

After deciding against my typical teacher cardigan attire, I searched near and far for the perfect long sleeve dresses to wear to the three wedding events we had back to back to back. (Who knew December and January weddings were so popular?) I finally found a few different dresses that I really liked, and after going back and forth about which ones to keep, my sweet hubby told me to keep them all. Of course, my very favorite one was the most expensive, and the only one not on clearance, so I saved it to wear to the last wedding. Here's a picture of the whole dress, as my friend Michelle and I prepared to tear up the dance floor. I was so excited to wear it, and it actually made me feel pretty, which isn't always and easy feat.

The wedding was beautiful, the reception was a blast, and we all had an amazing time getting our groove on and celebrating love. And then, during the pick-up process, "tragedy" struck. I was taking items off of the head table, and inadventently leaned up against a nail that was sticking out from the front of the table.  I felt a slight tug on my dress, and then instant panic shot through me. You guessed it...I had ripped a small part of the lace on my dress.

ripped lace
The damage.
Now honestly, you wouldn't even notice if I didn't point it out to you. But I knew, and I was upset. Here was this beautiful dress, brand new, the first time I'm wearing it, and of course I have to go and mess it all up. I was mad at myself, mad at the situation, and of course all I could see was the flaw in the dress.

EXHIBIT B: Missing Diamonds

Fast forward a few days. I was sitting at a basketball game with my husband, only to look down and suddenly notice that a diamond was missing from my wedding ring. Somewhere in between my 9 Round workout, showering, and coming to the game, one of the little rings had been lost somewhere. I had yet to lose a diamond from this ring in the three years that I'd been wearing it, and I was really upset...let's just say all I could look at was that small gap where the diamond should be. Here was this beautiful, amazing ring that my hubby had picked out for me and scrimped and saved for, and all I could see was the imperfection- which wouldn't even be noticeable to most people. I was, again, annoyed at my luck.

missing diamond in enagagement ring
Note the small diamond missing to the top right of my main diamond.
And then, the next day at school, a few things hit me. I stopped to be honest with myself, to realize that I was blowing things out of proportion, that I was expecting impossible perfection all of the time, and that I had been incredibly negative and whiny about the entire situation. Upon reflection, I realized that these situations had conveniently reminded me of a few important lessons that I'd learned before but had pushed to the back of my mind:

LESSON ONE: Keep things in perspective.

Yes, it would be nice if things that I spend money on never had to be fixed, but let's be real- that's life. Just this week alone, we've had the handle on our refrigerator break, the door on our laundry fall off, the crack on my windshield expand, and of course the dress and ring episodes. I told Aaron one night as we were falling asleep that my life was falling apart. Dramatic, I know. When it rains, it pours, but thankfully all of these things were things that could be fixed relatively easily with a few phone calls, some elbow grease, and a needle and thread. With so many positives to focus on in this world, why waste time dwelling on the negative? Not to mention, the reminder that material things don't provide true worth in this world.

LESSON TWO: We've got to look past imperfections around us and love IN SPITE of those imperfections.

I'm not perfect. Neither are you. No one is or will ever be. And yet, we've got family and friends and all sorts of wonderful people in our lives who continue to love us. Thank. Goodness. Thank goodness that my husband chooses to love me on a daily basis, despite all of my "missing diamonds" or brokenness that is all too easily visible. Thank goodness that my friends dismiss my flaws or help me work through them. And thank goodness that the Lord saw me in my sin and brokenness, yet considered me someone worth laying His life down on the cross for.

LESSON THREE: The pressure to be perfect and live up to "perfect" expectations is not worth it.

When we try to find our meaning in being the perfect everything for everyone, we will always fail. Instead, we've got to embrace the times when things go wrong, and turn them into fun, spontaneous moments and memories. We've got to recognize our flaws, and embrace them as reminders of our imperfection and our need for a savior. We will never find meaning and purpose by giving ourselves the extra pressure to be perfect in life.

LESSON FOUR: Just because things don't always go like we want them to, or we aren't given what we want, doesn't make God any less loving.

Sometimes we think that if only something had happened the way that we wanted it to, or if only God would let this one thing happen- then life would be perfect. But so often, the things that we don't get (that we wanted) can end up being the biggest blessings for us in the end.

I can look at my ring and choose to stare at that one, tiny square where a diamond is missing. I can get mad that it's not there and choose to see only its imperfection. Or, I can look at the beauty of my ring overall, and the love that it represents. A missing diamond doesn't mean Aaron loves me any less, just like something that goes wrong in my life doesn't mean that God loves me any less. (And yes, I am getting my diamond fixed in case you were wondering). I can sit and stare at the rip on the lace in my dress, or I can work to get it fixed, and keep my eyes set on the big picture.

I can sit and worry about what I'm missing, what I wish I had, or how imperfect my life is. Or, I can sit and look at the beauty of all I've been given. And that is how I want to approach my life. And so, I'm thankful for ripped lace, missing diamonds, and the reminder that I'm not perfect, and yet I am loved. That life will not be perfect, or always go as planned, but that's okay. And that keeping things in perspective will help me to enjoy the blessings that I've been given, instead of worrying about what I haven't been. I choose thankfulness. Will you?


Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Moment with Erin: When Loving is Hard

I met my friend Erin through the blogging world a few months ago. I love the heart of her blog, Life, Abundantly, and its namesake verse (John 10:10) is one of my favorites. Her words made me cry. They share such truth, and I thrilled to have her sharing them with us in this Moments guest post. What a beautiful reminder.

Loving is hard.
The world says it's not- or that it shouldn't be. But the Word came down and hung upon a tree and showed us that it is.

With thorns pressed into his skull, blood and water pouring from his wounds- dying a death for sins he never committed after living a life that HE never needed, the breath drained from his lungs and he went to the grave. He loved so hard, he loved the life right out of himself.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Cor 13:4-8 

We want love to be easy. We want life to be easy. But it's not. And if perfection can hang upon a cross, crying out- then what for us?

We are called to love patiently, kindly, selflessly, softly, happily, slowly. But that's hard.

When your husband suddenly can't get out of the bed by himself anymore? When your baby hasn't slept in days? When your mama doesn't know your name? When your child walks away from all he was taught? When none of it is going like it was supposed to- like we were told and sold that it would?

The world says loving is easy, but the Word says it's not. But BEING loved? Well, that's the stuff. Being loved is light.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33 

There are so many promises made alive by that death being so brief. The dying He did was hard- but God. But God reached in, and roused Him up and made promises true and changed love forever. Being loved, He came back to life and defied the grave and fulfilled the promise.

The promise that even though loving will almost always have hard times, that our BEING loved is always true. 

Those promises that all came true because a life was laid down.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 

Those days that you've just sat down for the first time for a meal, and they call for help to go to the toilet? Those moments when you just need a shower for the first time in 3 days, but there are fingers coming under the door and screams for Mommy through the house? Those days that she doesn't remember you, so you pretend to be the housekeeper so she won't be upset? Those days that you cook dinner and iron clothes and wash dishes for him, and he continues to just look right through you?

Love. Is. Hard.

But beloved: BE LOVED. There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your... {husband, sister, father, mother, friend, grandparent, child}. Grab that. Chant that. Own THAT.

Because while you are doing the hard loving- you are being loved so hard. Right to the grave and back. 

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17 

You have a God that loves you so much that He gave his ONLY son. He rejoices over you. He exults YOU with loud singing.

Loving is so hard. But BEING loved? That's the stuff.
Let's let his love quiet us today.

What beautiful words, full of so much truth and a reminder of just how much we are truly loved! You can follow along with Erin and Life, Abundantly on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest

Did you like this Moments post? Check out the others in the series. Interested in contributing as a Moments guest poster? Contact me here. I can't wait to hear your story!