coffee date | let's chat

Jan 31, 2014

I've been in a bit of a funk this week. I let myself off the hook a little on writing, but the one thing I do feel like doing is having a little coffee date. If there's one thing the funk doesn't affect is the fact that there are still millions of things going on in my head. 

So let's order our drinks, grab a table, and chat. 

I'd tell you that I'm pretty sick of this cold weather. It feels like everyone around us is getting snow and all we share is the temperature. I was hoping Noah might get to enjoy some snow, but it's not looking hopeful! 

I'd tell you that I'm really itching to move to the country lately. We eventually want to homestead and those desires and dreams have been strong lately. I want land, acres and acres of woods to explore, seclusion, and farm animals roaming free. 

I'd tell you that Noah's personality is coming out more and more each day. He can be so goofy and silly. I can also see my independent spirit in him. He absolutely loves accomplishing a task and trying his hand at things. 

I'd tell you that the other day I rearranged our bedroom and it left me feeling invigorated. Apparently when life is in limbo and we don't have control over the big things, having a little control over furniture placement will do the trick for now! 

I'd tell you that I finally got a leather (er...pleather) jacket and I love it. I've been slowly adding to my wardrobe pieces that I actually like and it's making getting dressed fun for once! 

I'd tell you that I watched all 3 seasons of Downton Abbey last week while I was sick and am all caught up on season 4. I'm obsessed! I actually was thinking in a British accent for while after watching about 40 hours worth of the show. And I may have had a dream about dancing with Matthew.

I'd tell you that I'm so excited to order a set of doTERRA essential oils soon! I truly believe in the healing power of oils and can't wait to start using them! 

I'd tell you that I've been thinking about doing photography on the side. Well, working towards that I mean. I love photography, but I really need to learn more about exposure and Photoshop. I'm curious to see what happens with this in the next couple of years. 

I'd tell you that if Michael comes home today and says he has to work the weekend again, I might just lock him in our closet. 

Now it's your turn? What would you tell me over coffee?

Overcome the Lie | Mary-style

Jan 28, 2014

I hear voices.

Don't do, too. Especially if you're a mom.

We hear truths and lies.

"You're blessed beyond measure." - a truth.

"You're no good at this." - a lie.

"You really love your kids." - a truth.

"You're doing a terrible job." - a lie.

"You're a great mom." - a truth.

"You're screwing them up." - a lie.

Where are these voices coming from?

Within us. From society. From other moms. From the Spirit. From the enemy.

"The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy; I {Jesus} come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly." - John 10:10
The enemy thrives on telling us lies. Lies about ourselves, lies about our loved ones, lies about what we deserve, and lies about what we should be. He is out to wreak havoc in our minds and in our lives.

I've been thinking lately about the lies I hear, and the ones I let myself believe. Want to know the biggest?

"You're not doing enough."

As a stay-at-home mom, I battle this lie daily. I hear things like, "You really should go put those dishes up", "You should be able to keep this house clean", "You have nothing to show for your day", "You don't have enough going on during the week", "You need to be doing.....".

Doing. Working. Striving. That's the message here. I'm not doing enough. I'm not enough.

This week, I thought about the story of Martha & Mary. They were two sisters that Jesus visited during his travels. Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to what He had to say. Martha, on the other hand, was super busy with all the stuff on her to do list. At one point she got upset that she wasn't receiving help from her sister. Jesus told her something. And these words stopped me in my tracks this week...

"Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her". -Luke 10: 41-42

"Kelsea, Kelsea, you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary....choose the good part, which shall not be taken away from you". 

Whoa. Mary saw the opportunity she had and took it. She saw the significance of the moment-that Jesus Himself had come to her, had called on her, and her sole responsibility was to be present and take advantage of this rare time in her life.

I thought about my present day opportunity to "sit at Jesus' feet". At this moment, and for quite a few years to come, I'm a mom and a wife. And when Jesus told Martha that Mary chose the good part, I saw in that the good choice placed before me. The one that won't be taken away from me.

I'm not only to sit at Jesus' feet in regards to my heart and mind attitude towards Him throughout the day, but I think that my "Mary" opportunity is to focus on my family, my calling, and be present. Those memories, that valuable time investing in the lives of my children and husband is eternal.

Instead of being like Martha and making sure the kitchen is 100% clean 100% of the time, I want to be like Mary, and take the opportunity to soak in the presence of my growing son while he plays with his trains. Instead of being like Martha and feeling guilty over not having enough events, I want to be like Mary, and take the opportunities we have around us, today. Instead of being like Martha and being angry over our current life in limbo, I want to be like Mary, who counted it joy to sit, be still, and rest in the Savior.

The truth? HE is enough. And when He is enough, and I'm sitting at His feet, I don't have to worry about doing or being or striving. That is enough. 


Jan 24, 2014

4/52: Noah looking out the window waiting for daddy to get home.
We've all been super sick this week with a stomach bug, our sweet boy included. I can't remember a time I felt more sick, and it was even more awful because I was so sick that I couldn't really take care of Noah myself. Thankfully, Michael took amazing care of both of us, even though he was still recovering. Needless to say we've been holed in this week, wearing our pjs, and getting plenty of rest. Michael went back to work yesterday and I caught this shot as Noah was waiting for him to pull in the driveway. 

This weekend we're going to try to get out of the house some, spend a day in Nashville, and try to soak up a little bit of the warm weather and sunshine we're supposed to get. 

What are you up to this weekend?

MADE SERIES 02 // Regina Morrrison: Acute Designs

Jan 23, 2014

Today, I'm excited to introduce you all to the second small business owner to be featured in my Made Series. I kicked this series off two weeks ago and got an amazing response to Rachel's shop, Drawn to Design, and an even greater response to the invitation! I've got some amazing women lined up and am glad to be getting to introduce them to you! 
Today's small business owner is Regina Morrison, the designer and owner of {Acute Designs}, a handmade accessories company that specializes in modern jewelry and hair accessories for everyday or special occasion wear.
 I really enjoyed her answers to our Q&A:

When did you first open up shop?
I started in the Fall of 2009  but didn't take it too serious the first year. My business really started to take off once I put in a lot of work. I wish it was easier, but it really just takes hard and smart work. 

What is the story behind your shop name?
No story friend came up with it. 

Who has been your biggest encourager?
My husband and family and friends who promote me to their family and friends and sometimes to strangers!

What inspires your creativity?
Everything- a beautiful show or movie (like Downton Abbey), magazines, blogs, Instagram, Pinterest, antique shops, thrifting trips, and so much more.

What is your favorite item from your shop?
I have a lot of new designs coming out around February 1st and I feel like all of them are my favorite! My current favorite that is actually in the shop right now is the blush leaf crown. So simple and pretty- if I was getting married again, I would wear it!  
Aren't those headbands adorable? I fell in love with her shop as soon as I opened up the page! I love how modern the jewelry is and how dainty and delicate the head pieces are. I agree with Regina, if I were getting married again, I'd absolutely sport one of those headbands! 

Aside from being the shop owner, Regina takes care of her two pups, hates air conditioning, loves her dreamer husband, and got married in Ireland! Want to know some more fun facts about Regina? Go to her "About Me" page to learn more! 

You can find more of Regina & her shop here: 

Want your shop to be next? Contact me to get your name on the books!

In the Kitchen | Banana Nut Muffins: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Sugar Free

Jan 20, 2014

In the past year, we've gone pretty much gluten-free in this house. While none of us have been diagnosed with Celiac, we've researched and been convinced that gluten isn't really that great in general. We feel better when we eat mostly gluten-free, and that's enough for me to continue! Also, most of the products that contain gluten, such as standard breads & pastas, also often include other ingredients we try to stay away from, like enriched or processed flours, preservatives, and fillers. We often tend to substitute with brown rice pastas, or coconut flour, etc. If we do use wheat flour or other grains, we try our best to get them sprouted or soak them before use as this makes them easier to digest.

We also have eliminated processed sugars and try to stick with raw, natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. This switch has resulted in the elimination of some pesky health issues, weight loss for M and me, and an overall feeling of wellness. Now if we could just tackle Noah's sleep issues we could be thriving!

Because we're eating better, our taste buds and cravings have shifted, as well. Instead of needing white sugar, I feel sick if I eat too much. Instead of thinking whole food treats taste weird, we now love and are able to enjoy the full flavor of real foods. I've found that I can make a cleaner version of things we used to enjoy and find them absolutely delicious.
There are so many recipes out there that fit with our lifestyle but still allow us to enjoy those fun treats we used to make. This Gluten, Grain, Dairy & Sugar-free Banana Bread Muffin recipe hits the spot, takes about five minutes to whip together, and is so good! This recipe is one I adapted from Tessa, The Domestic Diva's recipe for her chocolate chip version! 
+ 1 C. any nut butter (cashew, almond, sunflower, or peanut)
+ 2-3 very ripe bananas
+ 1/2 C. walnuts
+ 2 eggs
+ 1 tsp. vanilla
+ 2 tbs. raw honey
+ 1/2 tsp. basking soda
+ 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400. Mix all ingredients in bowl and blend until smooth and banana chunks are gone. Place batter in greased muffin tin (either regular or mini size), then place in the oven for around 8 to 10 minutes. Do a pick test to make sure the middle is done. Makes about a dozen regular-sized muffins.

 This was my first time making these and I think they turned out amazingly! They don't rise as much as traditional muffins, but other than that I honestly could not tell the difference. You really could make this recipe fit whatever you were in the mood for. Next up, we're going go to try the original chocolate chip recipe, and in the future I think blueberries or some sort of fruit would be good.
Eating traditional, real foods isn't that difficult, but it does take thinking and preparing ahead of time. Recipes like this one are nice when you haven't had 24 hours to soak your grains, or when you need something super quick and yummy!

Just a reminder- don't forget to enter this week's birthday giveaway! Whitney from Whitney Blake is feeling twenty two (you sang it, didn't you?) and we've got three things to giveaway to three winners! Think J.Crew, Starbucks, and Urban Peach! Enter here!

Celebrating with a giveaway!

Jan 19, 2014

Happy Sunday! Today I'm helping Whitney from Whitney Blake celebrate her birthday by joining in with the birthday girl and some other amazing bloggers to host a giveaway! This is good stuff and you won't want to miss your chance- there are three winners so your changes are greater! I'll let Whitney take it from here! 
Yay! My birthday is finally here and I'm totally feelin' twentyyyy twooooo! (enter cheesy t-swift lyrics here) 
As is tradition in the world of blogging, let's celebrate my big day with a birthday giveaway/blog party for a few of my absolute favorite things!

This giveaway will have THREE winners! Heck yeah!

You know what that means... three times the chance that you'll score something awesome, three times the fun, and three times the birthday party love! This giveaway party would absolutely not be possible without these amazing ladies so please show them some lovin!

Are those not amazing prizes? I love them and am excited for the winners! Go enter and be sure to wish Whitney a happy birthday while you're at it! Good luck! 

links to love // happy thoughts

Jan 17, 2014

+ I love stories about kindness from the unexpected.

+ I love reminders of how God speaks to us and fulfills the things he puts on our hearts.

+ This playlist by Kelly Ann is amazing! Listen

+ I'm making these muffins at some point this weekend- pure deliciousness! 

+ This isn't really all that happy, but kind of beautiful.

+ Let's consider our words carefully this weekend. 

This weekend we've got a few things on the books- visiting a huge train exhibit at the local state park, going to the Frist Center in Nashville to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit (postponed from last weekend!), and finally bringing Noah's train table from his Papi into the house so he can play with the trains M's parents got him! We're going to relax, I'm going to sleep in (because M is so good about playing with Noah in the mornings), and I'm going to try some fun new recipes. Today, a friend and her son are coming over, and I've got to clean my floors before the babies crawl around on it!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends.


Jan 16, 2014

The past few weeks we've really been seeing Noah's personality come out. He's been making even more silly facial expressions, dancing to music, humming along with me when I sing, and being goofy in general. He was a complete ham at his checkup! He's also sleeping better this week (hallelujah for 6 hours straight one night!) and it's been wonderful! Our couch is just the right height for him to walk along, crawl onto himself, and apparently chill in his own, unique way! Oh, I just love this sweet boy. 

If we're going to be friends, you should know...

Jan 14, 2014

Today, the sun is shining, I'm dressed before 9am, and the house is relatively clean. Who knows what could happen?! I'm determined to get out of the house today and do something, anything! 

Before we go, and while Noah is eating breakfast and watching Mickey, I thought I'd answer some questions asked of me by Keizra from 27th & Luxe! She nominated me for a Liebster award! Because I've received this in the past and have passed it on, I thought might be fun to just answer her questions! So, if we were friends (and many of you are!), here are some things you might be interested to know...

1. What’s the most exciting place that you’ve been to?
Hands down, New York City. You can read more about the "escape" here! I've been to quite a few amazing places, but NYC just has something to it that the others didn't! 

2. What’s your favorite restaurant?
Carrabbas! I could eat their bread and fettuccine, and drink their blackberry Sangria, every single day. I'd also probably become a drunk and gain 100 pounds, but I'd be fat and happy! I kid.

3. How did you come up with your blog name?
I really just wanted something that sounded catchy and that was easy to remember. A friend helped me come up with Hey Kelsea Rae and as soon as I heard it, I knew I loved it! 
4. What’s your favorite clothing store?
This is a hard one because I don't shop that much. If I had to pick, I'd have to say Anthropologie. It hasn't been until recently that I've been willing to try different styles and feel confident enough to wear them, and I feel like Anthro has so many pretty options for mixing your wardrobe up. We've been on a "pay off our student loans" budget, so I'm actually looking forward to having money to get a new outfit every now and then once we're done! 

5. What’s your hair routine?
I'm a slob What hair routine? Seriously, I hardly ever do anything to my hair. Most of the time I shower at the end of the day before bed and let it dry naturally overnight. It looks wavy when I wake up. If I need a confidence boost or am going somewhere special, I curl it. That's pretty much it. I haven't mastered the poof, any volume I tease up goes flat in ten minutes, and I don't like using products with nasty chemicals on my hair. I probably could do a lot more to it, and to myself for that matter, but I also think there's something to be said for being comfortable au naturel. 

6. What’s your favorite nail polish color?
My favorite color to wear is a light, light pink/nude. I think it's close to the natural color of my nails but dresses them up a little with some shine and a finished look. I think it's so classy and goes with pretty much any occasion. 

7. What do you like the most about blogging?
I really enjoy having an idea in mind, carrying it out well in a post, and the feeling I get when I can proudly hit "submit". I also really enjoy meeting other bloggers and getting feedback! 

8. What is your dream job?
I am doing my dream job! I'm staying at home with my children (child for now!) and plan to home school them. There's nothing else I'd rather be doing at this point in my life. However, I do have a dream about what I might want to do once my kids are older and either in high school or college. I'm very passionate about supporting women through birth and would love to eventually be a midwife. 

9. What is your biggest pet peeve?
There are SO many! That's probably not good, is it? To be annoyed so easily? Sheesh, get over yourself! My biggest pet peeve is probably the way other people chew. I can't stand it. 

10. What do you do for fun?
I love to spend time with my family and we do a lot of fun things together. If I had an ideal "fun" day, it would involve being out all day, grabbing meals at fun restaurants, seeing a movie, grabbing lunch with friends, taking a hike, taking Noah to a museum or park, checking out a Farmers' Market, and exploring small downtowns. And of course, not being afraid to capture it all along the way ;). 

Thanks again to Keizra for nominating me! Noah and I are off to do something productive and fun! 

the other side of camera shy

Jan 13, 2014

I love taking pictures. 

I love getting just the right light at just the right angle and feeling proud that the shot turned out just how I had hoped it would. I have some dreams about where this passion could go. They're small, beginning dreams, but they excite me and leave my mind reeling with all of the possibilities that being behind the camera could hold.

I've never really been camera shy. I've had no problem getting up in front of the camera or having my picture taken. I don't get annoyed by it and actually enjoy the process. 

But you know part of what's holding me back a little from letting myself dream bigger?

 Being behind-the-camera shy.

I don't mean when I'm at home taking pictures of Noah, or even when I'm with close family and friends trying to capture fun moments. I'm talking about when I'm at an extended family gathering. When I'm in an amazing coffee shop where the lighting is perfect and the decorations are to die for. When I'm in the new casual restaurant in Nashville we're trying that I'd love to review. When we're out in public and I see a prime opportunity for that one amazing shot.

That behind-the-camera shy stops me in my tracks every time and makes me think insecure thoughts like... 

"People are going to wonder why the heck I've got my camera

or "They're probably thinking I'm taking this too seriously..."  

or "Those people at that table are going to think I'm taking a picture of them

or "People are just going to get annoyed that I'm getting my camera out"  

or "I'm going to feel in the way right here and stand out too much"  

or "She's probably a tourist".

It's ridiculous. Mostly because I get that most people probably don't even notice that I'm in the room, much less with a camera. And secondly, because I really shouldn't let any of those fears and insecurities stop me from being creative and inspired when and where it happens. 

I think because my camera is a bigger DSLR, I feel like it stands out more than a point-and-click would. I'm also an introvert and the thought of being in negative spotlight is enough to make me stay in the corner. There have been so many situations where I've walked away disappointed, mostly in myself, because I didn't have the courage to just take the picture anyways.

So here's my resolution to change- to get my camera out more, to do what I need to do to get that inspired shot, and to not care what anyone else probably isn't thinking. I'll never grow my skill by leaving my camera in my bag, so here's to stepping out of my comfort zone in the name of creativity and dreaming! 

What about you? Do you ever experience "behind-the-camera" shy?

1/52 + 2/52

Jan 10, 2014

I'm so excited to be joining in on this project where I'll be posting a weekly picture of Noah. I've seen this type of thing on countless other blogs and love the challenge it gives me to 1) capture Noah more consistently and 2) work on my photography and creative skills. I don't think this will be too hard a challenge since Noah's the most fun thing I've ever photographed. Having a new camera helps, too!

1/52 // Our new year's day hike.Noah spent most of the hike in our Beco carrier and loved every minute.
2/52 // yesterday's breakfast time, I spotted his cute little sock-less feet crossed just so and swinging back and forth.

We're planning on crossing some things off of our Nashville bucket list this weekend, and I've got a fun post planned to show you just what that list includes for next week sometime! Have an amazing weekend!

MADE SERIES 01 // an introduction & an invitation

Jan 8, 2014

Today, I'm excited to introduce to you a new series I'm starting here on the blog! I've had this series on my mind for quite some time and am excited to put my energy into making it happen!

The MADE series will highlight small business owners across America who have put their dreams, hard work, and creativity into taking the leap and opening up shop. I'm super passionate about supporting the small business entrepreneurs in our communities- the women who have talent, aspiration, and the guts to do what it takes to be successful doing what they love!

Have you ever seen a small business, either locally or online, and wondered about the owner? What inspired them to take risks and pursue their dream? What challenges have they faced in getting started? What inspires their creativity? What's the story behind their product? Twice a month, we'll get the answers to those questions from our featured small business owner. And here's where YOU come in...

Are you a small shop owner? Do you have a shop online, or own/run a local small business in your hometown? Are you a seasoned businessperson or are you just getting started? There is absolutely no cost to this and all it requires is just a few minutes to share about you and your dream. I'd love to talk with you about being featured in this series!

Do you know a small shop owner? Is there someone in your life who owns a small business? Could they benefit from exposure to their shop? Send them my way!

Contact me HERE with any questions or to schedule your feature! I've already got a few shops lined up and I'm so excited to get this series underway! 

With all that out of the way, I'm excited to introduce to you my first small business owner! 

Rachel is the creative behind Drawn to Design, an Etsy shop where she sells prints, invitations, custom orders, and more! Want to know something awesome? Rachel lives a hop, skip, and jump over from me in Nashville! She's small business to the rest of you, but she's also local to me, which is really special for the first ever feature here!

 Rachel was gracious enough to answer a few questions!

1. When did you start your business/open up shop?
I started Drawn to Design in June of this last Summer. I am a teacher... wait, don't think sweater vests and grammar Nazi. I teach visual art to some pretty cool middle school and high school students. I spend most of my day with the middle school kind.  People say "yikes, middle school", and "aren't they so awkward", but they seem so normal to me after 5 years, but I could have a skewed view at this point. The shop came about because I decided that my college experience did not teach me enough about design, so I started teaching myself to be able to teach my students about Adobe illustrator and Photoshop. I really enjoyed designing invitations, and the people around me always needed them (we like to party). I found myself making invites and other party items for friends. I opened the shop because it was on my 2013's Goal List and teacher's summers are not as taxing as you might imagine. I think/thought that people with Etsy shops are cool. And, I am right. I don't feel cooler yet, but maybe comments from this blog will be the deciding factor. My 2014 goals include eating slower, seeing Africa, and becoming a kick-butt rock climber( if you care).

2. What is the story behind your business/shop name? 

Good question. I actually think the name is a bit " vanilla" if you will? I have a Blog. Well, "I have a dream". I am planning a blog about art teaching, and it is not live yet. The  blog name is Drawn to Teach. This name, I believe to be clever. I had no creative name-giving juice left, so I just changed the "Teach" to "Design". It seemed easy at the time, and I was so shocked that it was not taken on Etsy... So, I just kept it! I should have named it something like The sassy paper company to give me more credibility. 

3. Who has been your biggest encourager? 
I have a precious husband that will every now and then look at at me when I am working, and tell me that I am cute. I really like that. He is also really good at helping me. He has design skills. He makes websites for a living, so I trust him with input. I also need to give credit to my Catahoula Leopard dog, Dakota Fanning. She keeps me company, and makes sure that I never sit and work too long. Her dedication to me having an active lifestyle is inspirational. 

4. What inspires your creativity? 
I love Pinterest, and it is not beneath me to steal cool ideas from my students. Honestly, creativity just happens if I have some time off, a good breakfast and a hike outside. I am still working to learn to use my creativity in design. Design( especially with text) has rules and trends that sometimes make the true creative process difficult .I seem to feel I use my creativity best with a paint brush or a pencil, but I am a young designer yet.

5. What is your favorite item from your shop? 
I am always making items for the people around me. I made the book labels in my shop for my only little niece. She is the cutest. I wanted to give her a stack of books when her mom had her baby shower. I thought it would be cute if they all had labels. All of the labels in the books were personalized.Her mom loved them. I kept some labels for myself, and give her books for Christmas and birthdays and always add a label that make sure she knows they were from my hubby and me. I also love the new retro kitchen shower invite!

Doesn't she just sound fun? Here are her links so be sure to visit her shop and new Facebook page and check out all of her great designs!

A huge thanks to Rachel for being the first feature of my new series! I can't wait for you to get to know some other amazing shop owners and have a chance to support the dreamers and creaters in communities across the nation! Contact me for more information or to sign up to be featured in my MADE series!

sunflowers, a birthday, and 25 things

Jan 6, 2014

Scarf: AE // Chambray Shirt: Old Navy // Jeans: H&M // Moccasins: Minnetonka Back Zipper Hardsole
Today, I turned 25. It was a super special birthday and I felt so special and very loved. Over Christmas vacation in Virginia, our families threw me a little birthday party where they gifted me with my new camera so I could get a head start on taking pictures! They all chipped in and I was so touched.

 I've written before about how great birthdays were when we were kids, and one of my favorite memories is when my mom would hang streamers outside of our door and around the house for us to wake up to the morning of our birthday. I've missed that and I talk about it a lot to Michael. Well, this morning Michael took Noah and let me sleep in a little. When I finally got up and opened the door, streamers were hanging from the door frame and draped from side to side down the hallway. There was even a "happy birthday" banner. Is that not the sweetest?! 

M's brother Will and his girlfriend Jenny went out in the freezing cold weather to get donuts and they all three gave their best version of the birthday song and let me blow out candles on the chocolate one with sprinkles. Several calls from lovely family members, a few DIY projects done around the house, some sunflowers bought at the grocery store, a bouquet of flowers delivered from my in-laws, and a delicious dinner later and my love bucket is just full to the brim. 

The past six months have been a pretty significant turning point for me in a lot of ways. And with that has come a new perspective on many things. In honor of my birthday and the 25 years of living I've done, I wanted to write out a list of 25 things I've learned along the way (I got this idea from my sweet friend, Susannah from Simple Moments Stick!)

1. There's a big ol' world out there and it isn't limited to my experiences.

2. "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands. They just don't!"

3. God speaks to different people in different ways.

4. It's okay to say "no" and set boundaries.

5. Brussel Sprouts are actually good!

 6. God loves me infinitely more than I love Noah. Whoa, perspective.

 7. Society's standards on pretty much everything are skewed.

8. No, your man cannot read your mind.

9. Not everyone will like you, no matter how hard you might try. It's beneficial to move on.

10. Hard work does pay off.

 11. That thing you've just got to have isn't going to fulfill you.

12. Don't ever think you can change a man. Ever. Because you can't.

 13. Not all authority has your best interest in mind.

14. Skipping out on a prayer conference to see NYC is sometimes worth it.

 15. Sometimes the people who are the meanest are the ones that are hurting the most.

16. You'll always regret that intentionaly hurtful thing you said.

 17. Mom was so right.

 18. There's something to be said for good quality, even if it does cost a bit more.

19. I have a biological weakness for baked goods.

20. There are some things we weren't meant to know this side of Heaven.

21. Some friendships only last a season, and that's okay.

22. Don't be afraid to ask for professional help.

23. I can do hard things. Like this & this.

24. You never know what someone is struggling with. Remember the grace God has given you and extend the same.

25. God's timing is best, no matter how hard the wait.

There you have it! That was a harder list to compile than I thought!

You know, as I sit here, my mind reeling, I can't help but be excited about this year and about the future. I've had trouble feeling that excitement in the last two years.And as odd as this may sound, I'm excited about the past. Why? Because for the first time in a long time I'm able to see some of what God has been doing up to this point, and I'm able to see the good that He brought out of some not so good situations. I feel Hope stirring and change coming and I just want to stand surrendered, with arms open, ready for the next wave. Ready for what He has this year, and really, this life.

Thank you, Lord, for another year to discover You and Your purpose.

Currently | bits & pieces

Jan 3, 2014

This weekend M's brother and his girlfriend are visiting and I'm excited to show them around our town and Nashville. It's supposed to be faaareeezzinnng the next few days so hopefully we'll find things to do indoors. I'm thinking we might try a couple new restaurants and coffee shops, something different than our usual route through town.Now that we're going to be here longer (and possibly indefinitely), I really want to try to branch out from our usual go-to places in Nashville and try something different. If we ever leave this area, I want to be able to say that I got the most out of living near one of the coolest cities ever.

There's something settling inside of me about our move, er...our not move...a peace that whatever works out is fine, and that God has His hand in it and it is good, because really, isn't everything He designs inherently good? This is our home, and as crazy a year 2013 was with traveling and having visitors, it was healing to be at home to welcome the new year. It helped the settling in a way, to be on home base.

In our first almost full week home, I've been....
eating | peanut butter chocolate chip Larabars- I can't get enough!
drinking | un-sweet tea, because sometimes water is boring.
practicing | photography with my new camera!
mastering | a double crochet. I think I've got it
learning | how to love my husband better.
listening | to the Sound of Music station on Pandora.
playing | Heads-Up app on our phones- so much fun for a group!
finishing | laundry, and more laundry.
reading | Grace-based Parenting by Tim Kimmel. I've "amened" through the first chapter!
wearing | a chunky, infinity scarf indoors, because it's cozy.
cooking | new things from my "From Scratch" & "Nourishing Traditions" cookbooks!
working | on being a better blogger.
traveling | nowhere, finally! It's home sweet home for awhile!
wanting| to learn Photoshop.

What have you been enjoying this week?

family hike

Jan 2, 2014

Yesterday we took off for the woods of our local state park for a late morning hike. M is a huge outdoors guy and has logged many miles on the Appalachian Trail. I think one of his dreams is getting me to backpack with him for a few weeks. He's been asking to go on a day hike for awhile, and for some reason, it finally sounded like a good enough idea to pursue yesterday. There was even a bowl game on and because I was finally excited about a hike, he didn't think twice about staying home to watch the game.

I'm a pretty big cold wimp, but M's helped me realize that being outdoors in the cold can actually be enjoyable if you have the right gear- imagine that! We have collected some pretty high quality outerwear in the last few years and it made such a difference. Between M's backpack and my Beco carrier for Noah, we were set with some water, Larabars, and a few extra hats. I started out carrying Noah and halfway through the hike we switched and I carried M's pack while he carried Noah on his shoulders, and then in the Beco. We planned to do 7 miles, but I'm a bit out of shape and a little over 3 was about all I could do carrying around either a baby or a pack.

It's been an embarrassingly long time since I've given my body a workout and while muscles burned and my ears throbbed, it felt amazing to feel the pound of my heart and breathe in deep the cool, crisp, fresh air. Aside from an occasional airplane buzz and a few other hikers, the trail was quiet and peaceful. It wasn't an easy trail for me, but I felt invigorated and inspired by being in nature. I've hiked plenty of times before, but this time was my favorite because we were able to bring Noah with us and I was able to get a little taste of what it's like to carry a pack. M was quick to remind me that my pack was light and a normal backpacking trip would mean about forty more pounds weighing me down. I told him I might just be up for the challenge.


January Meet & Greet

Jan 1, 2014

Here we are! Hello 2014! I don't know about you, but this past year has been a whirlwind of ups and downs and lows and highs and ugly and beautiful all at once.  I've appreciated this little blog more than ever and have enjoyed the opportunities it brought my way in 2013. What I'm looking forward to the most about 2014? I really don't have one particular thing to say. I'm looking forward now to a whole new year of possibilities, whatever they are, whenever they come. I've overcome a lot this past year and am excited to sit back, take a breath, and accept this new year with a better perspective. 

Of the opportunities blogging has afforded, one has been the chance to meet some lovely ladies and work together with them to grow our blogs! I love getting to introduce some of them to my readers every month. In honor of today's special date, I asked "What is one thing you're looking forward to in the new year?". Here's what they have to say! Also, be sure to click their links, check out their blogs, and leave some love!
"Our family's crazy new adventures! My husband is moving to Russia in January without the baby and I. We'll be joining him at the end of Summer. I'm going to have to learn to do a lot of things on my own! We're definitely going to miss eachother like mad, but I know it'll be so worth it in the end." // BLOG // FACEBOOK // TWITTER// INSTAGRAM
"One thing I'm excited for in Twenty Fourteen is to really push myself as a writer. Writing makes me happy and I want to get back into freelance writing and write more genuine posts that generate conversation for my readers." // BLOG // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // INSTAGRAM
"Each year I always believe that God has something huge and magnificent planned. Tyler and I have worked really hard this year and I'm super excited to see what God has in store for us.  One thing I'm thinking of is we're hopefully going to be traveling to Tennessee in the spring to see Tyler's dad! We only get to see Tyler's dad once a year and we're super excited to spend some time with him and hang out in Tennessee!" // BLOG // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // SHOP
"I am most looking forward to...wait for it...graduating from college! I am a fifth year senior and it felt like graduation would never get here, but it is in less than five short months and I am so excited (and nervous)!" // BLOG // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST
"Each year I pick a word to focus on for the year.  This year I've picked love.  I'm excited to focus on new ways of loving God and others." // BLOG // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST

"There is so much I'm looking forward to in 2014! One thing I'm really looking forward to is celebrating our first wedding anniversary in June! I'm sure we'll plan something special, but what I'm really excited about it eating wedding cake! I didn't get any cake at our wedding, so I can't wait to actually try it and watch our wedding video. 2013 was so good to us and we can't wait to see what 2014 will bring!" // BLOG // TWITTER // PINTEREST // INSTAGRAM

Wondering what you can look forward to on Hey Kelsea Rae this year? I've been brainstorming and feel so excited about some things I have planned! Aside from one big project I'll announce next week, I've got some other smaller weekly and monthly features in the works...

+ A weekly "Snapshot Series" of Noah with a short description of something he's doing or learning at the time or some real, honest thoughts on being his mama
+ I'll be trying some fun traditional food recipes from two cookbooks I got for Christmas and documenting their success twice a month in my "In the Kitchen" series
+ A monthly sponsor highlight post in which you'll get to meet some lovely blogger friends of mine! 
+ "Bits & Pieces" once a month where I'll highlight everything from what I'm reading to cooking to practicing, etc. 
+ Some fun product reviews
+ More pictures of me (because I'm working on my camera shyness!!)
+ More pictures in general (because I GOT A NEW CAMERA and it's SO MUCH BETTER!)
+ "Day in the Life" posts every couple of months- everyone is always curious what a SAHM does all day! 
+ A "Wear" series in which I'll be highlighting some of my favorite go-to outfits

Interested in partnering with me to advertise your blog or swap buttons? Head on over to my Sponsor page to learn more about the awesome perks of being a Hey Kelsea Rae sponsor!

It's a brand spankin' new year today and we're off to take a 7 mile family hike! How are you spending day one of 2014?!