Thanksgiving Rummaging and Reminiscing

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone!

Most of you have probably had five blog posts since Thanksgiving Day but we wanted to share our weekend with y'all anyway. :) I cannot wait to spend a couple of hours delving into your blogs, checking out your holiday happenings thus far. 

Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. As much as I love giving gifts (and let's be honest... receiving gifts), Thanksgiving is one of the rare holidays that is all about family and friends. No tangible gifts. Just the gift of community. How awesome is that?

We spent the weekend at JD's parents in West Alabama. As some of you may know, JD's dad celebrated his eightieth birthday in October. Yeah - celebrate good times! C'mon!

He kicks it better than any eighty-year-old man we know. He walks about seven miles every day... after breakfast, after dinner (and probably most days after lunch). 

So we joined in, walking sticks and all.


And it was such a blessed time. 

There is just something so special about Thanksgiving walks with the fam. I'll never forget one Thanksgiving Day I spent walking under the amber trees at Lake Oconee (aka The Bungalow) a few years ago with my sweet Gingin. She shared with me how crucial it is to savor every moment, because you really never know when it will be the last. You think you know that until your grandmother reminds you. Then you realize you really don't know much at all so you better soak in every ounce of wisdom she has. JD and I are both thankful for the wisdom and lessons our precious parents and grandparents have taught us.

Back to the weekend....

JD's childhood room is still decked out in baseball posters. Stacks of baseball cards (with chalky gum still in the plastic wrapping of unopened cards) line the walls. Random Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figurines can be found in drawers and high school and collegiate awards still hang proudly on the walls. Needless to say, I love sleeping in there. It makes me feel like I can share a special part of him that I never had the chance of knowing. 

We spent the weekend trying to clean it out but had trouble since so much held a special place in JD's memory. Obviously, we had to share a few of our favorite finds with you...


The American Gladiator soup thermos. The black slanted writing is none other than the names of each gladiator. What!?


We rummaged through old papers and sermon notes. The ones above and below were favorites of mine. 

Why?

Because it proves that opposites truly do attract. 

JD's occupations of dissimilar interests include all but one of the things I wanted to do in life. When I was young, I spent every day in the basement teaching an imaginary classroom while writing lessons on several chalkboards for my "third grade students". I started college majoring in Radio, Televison and Film to be a News Anchor / Reporter - and switched halfway to finish my studies in Public Relations instead. And now... I would love to teach an art class. 

My only non-interest was a medical illustrator.

At least we agreed on one area of dissimilar interest.


However, my favorite find was this: JD's written testimony from high school (pictured below). Even though our stories of salvation never change, our testimonies of God's goodness and mercy are ever-changing in such a beautiful way. It was so awesome to read about the place God had JD in that season of life. 


And then we found this... a poem JD wrote in college that made goosebumps pop up on my arms. 

My sweet husband is such a humble man. Reading things like this make me fall even deeper in love with him and Christ. I am thankful for him.


Unbeknownst to me, JD set up my new sewing machine and all of my supplies in front of the TV (so he could watch football while I sewed) while I was sorting through his childhood room.


Thus goes the weekend: Walking, Turkey, Walking, Sewing, Football, Eating, Cleaning, Organizing, Sewing, and Walking. :)


What was your favorite Thanksgiving memory from this year??


Linking up with Molly & Carly for #YOLOMondays! Please go check them out and show some love! :)



Special Finds at The Cotton Depot

Is it in you?? The desire to find the hottest deals at the lowest prices... with the most history behind it? 


Here are the hottest things I found when antique-ing in Monroe, GA, at The Cotton Depot with my mom the week before Easter...



There is just something classic about an old rotary phone, no? This screams retro and America. Don't you love it? I had to part ways with it after snapping this photo because I have a lovely yellow one just like it (oh, but it would fit in so wonderfully with my light blue and red kitchen appliances!!). 



Old filing cabinet. 
Oh yes. I've been searching for something like this for a while. I just never expected it to be so perfect. This purchased jewel will be stored in my shabby chic office when we buy a new home. 



These pieces were created using photo frames and candlestick holders. Fantastic way to create a tiered look to those photos, word art creations or scrapbook paper accents!



This lady's booth is one of my favorites. She has such a beautiful way of organizing her products. Old suitcases such as the one above simply make my heart melt. Did I mention that my mom had a tiny tan one waiting for me (with a few inches of fabric for me to play with tucked inside) when I went to visit her and dad the week before Easter? She knows me so well. :)



{sigh} 
An old sewing machine head. This baby was only $22 but will probably never be able to work again without the sewing table and presser foot. I don't care. It's beautiful. 



One day, JD and I will buy an old typewriter to put in our home. We just have to find the perfect one. This one was close to it, but I had already maxed out the budget for my trip. How so? 

...Well, we'll show you that once we have it all settled and cozy in our home...





And finally, I couldn't resist sharing this absolutely striking photo of my mom walking her garden. 

Isn't she beautiful? 


We had the best time walking around their yard as mom pointed out each plant and the history behind it. Many of the plants have been pulled from her mother's and grandmother's yards, simply to be re-planted in my parent's yard. I look forward to the day my mom and Gingin pass down plants to us when JD and I move into our first house. 

Come back Thursday to see photos of my parent's yard and the magical little fairy garden they've created in an old rusty bathtub from my grandparent's lake house in North Georgia.


The Todd Health Campaign

Have you ever seen the Hanes commercial where the dad is dipping his kid in the "special paste" to replace socks? You know, this one...?



Don't you just love this commercial!?

Well, we're not exactly inventing anything new during our health campaign but we were moved to begin the campaign because "we're sick of it." We're sick of living a lifestyle where I have migraines and stomach problems several times a week because of what we eat. We're sick of living a lifestyle where we buy groceries that do not add substance to our health. Moreover, we're sick of not fighting for a lifestyle where we can honestly better ourselves daily by encouraging one another in our actions and habits.

Prior to sharing our campaign goals and happenings with you, we'd like to share certain steps we have already taken towards a healthy family and lifestyle (because we all know that a healthy lifestyle isn't simply eating healthy; rather, it's striving toward healthy living habits in all areas of our lives).

We are certainly not experts on marriage, finances or healthy eating but we at least hope that some of our habits will encourage your family through our future blog posts.

STEP 1: FINANCES

It's a beautiful subject, right? Well, it is if you have similar beliefs about money and how it is handled. JD and I started seeking financial advice from Dave Ramsey. Whether your family is overflowing with what seems like endless debt or is at financial peace, we encourage all couples to seek out his wisdom on all things finances. The church we've been visiting here offers his Financial Peace University class. This is a fantastic class to take, especially when building the foundations of your marriage! However, I believe we could all learn a lot from it, even after 40 years of marriage.

Budget

During our engagement, we collectively decided to be financially sound and to never be in debt. We owe a lot of that to our parents. Both of our parents blessed us and also our marriage when they paid our ways through school. Because of them, we were able to lay a foundation of hope rather than struggling to pay off debt in our first years of marriage.

It hasn't been until we moved to Huntsville that we really needed to begin budgeting because of rent and all of the bills that normally come with becoming one. {And we owe that to our grandparents for blessing us with the opportunity to live in the bungalow for a year rent-free.} Oh, how the Lord continues to bless His children through others. We have such a gracious and merciful Savior, as well as family members!

Thus the time has come to figure out our budget. It truly has been quite tough to figure out. If you're in the beginning stages of allotting your budget, we highly recommend Dave Ramsey's suggestions:
  • Giving: 10-15%
  • Saving: 5-10%
  • Housing: 25-35%
  • Utilities: 5-10%
  • Food: 5-15%
  • Transportation: 10-15%
  • Clothing: 2-7%
  • Medical / Health: 5-10%
  • Personal: 5-10%
  • Recreational: 5-10%
  • Debt: Hopefully zero, otherwise 5-10%
Of course, these percentages are taken from your household monthly income. "Don't spend more than you earn" is our family motto. Dave suggests the envelope system which is an extremely wise choice (put only the allotted amount of cash in individual envelopes and don't spend more than what's in the envelope).

We follow his suggestions for the budget yet JD and I take a different route for the envelope system... mint.com. If you have not used this program, you are missing out!!! The website is free and 100% secure. Basically, you connect your bank account(s), debit card(s) and credit card(s) to this program and it categorizes all of your expenditures. You set up your budget for each category and it displays bar graphs and pie charts (sigh!) so that you can see where you are on your budget. Sometimes I look at it simply because the organization of the site is absolutely impeccable and it makes my heart happy. :)


The goal is to obviously stay in the green and to never let the bar go red! You can also set goals for yourself (i.e. buy a home or emergency fund). We're currently in the midst of building our Buy a Home fund. :)

That's the sum of our finances post. We hope that you receive inspiration and hope from the programs we suggested above.




JD's First Video

It was a warm and lovely autumn day exactly two months ago from today. My sweet husband and I got the opportunity to put together my grandmother's "appliances" cabinet. With everything we do together, we had a blast. Yes, we do seem to find an overflowing amount of joy in almost everything we do, but we just can't help ourselves. :) This video marks a huge event... this is actually the first video that JD has made on his computer by himself. Normally I make them because I have more time on my hands... and since he drives us whenever we travel throughout the Southeast, I have plenty of time in the passenger's seat to edit videos. I am so stinkin' proud of him for putting this one together! I hope ya'll enjoy it as much as I do!

This Week in the Todd Family... Oh yea, and our Finished Bedroom

It's finally here. Our bedroom transition #35... or something like that.

Finished Room from Whitney Todd on Vimeo.

This Week in the Todd Family:

Papa is BACK! He came home yesterday and we welcomed him home with a nice crockpot full of beef stew and cornbread. Thanks to a friend in my core group at Community Bible Study (and Julia Child), the beef was deliciously tender... not to mention all of the other secret tips my mom has taught me about cooking an awesome meal and beautiful presentation. Papa looks good - he has color in his face but still seems to be a little weak. Overall, he's 99% back to our Papa. :)

JD's dad, Mr. Jim, went to the hospital Sunday night after they got back from Theresa's wedding with a painful and terribly swollen knee. The doctors drew out the fluid and he should be going home today.

My parents (Mama E and Mr. Reid) are doing well... just getting ready for a spooky weekend at the Adams Family Home. Hopefully, dad and I will get to carve our annual Halloween pumpkin.

Theresa and Brandon will be coming home today from their honeymoon so we're expecting some exciting stories from them later this evening.

Chase is doing some awesome blogging so check out The Chase Scene if you have yet to do so. Jackie visited her sister in Virginia last weekend and is back safely, working on a pretty cool event which you may have heard of... The American Cancer Society joining up with Dancing with the Stars. Yeah. It's super awesome.

Finally, JD and I are celebrating our FIVE MONTH anniversary - BOY! Has it flown by! We woke up this morning and had bacon, biscuits and coffee. I'm not quite sure what the plans are for tonight... maybe some beef stew leftovers and The Last Samurai (latest Netflix movie that has come in) all by candlelight. :) Moments are what you make of it. When you're newlyweds on a small budget, you definitely have to learn to make moments like that super special. We wouldn't have it any other way though.

Above is a photo that our friend

Robyn Sutton

took and edited. I love this vintage/antique look. :)

Weekend Update

We've had very busy weekends!! JD went to Tupelo for his soon-to-be brother-in-love's bachelor party weekend (it was tame, don't worry) and I stayed in Georgia to host Theresa's (JD's sister) bachelorette party weekend at All Fired Up in Atlanta. I made some His and Hers "mocha mugs." :) We both had amazing weekends but prior to the weekend, we were DREADING it because of the mere fact that this past weekend set the date of the first night we spent apart from each other since May 29. Ugh. I thought that I would be tossing and turning all night with nightmares, but the Lord really saw me through it and instead gave me some pretty pleasant dreams. (If you don't know me very well, I have a tendency to have some pretty vivid nightmares so it's not out of the norm.) Gosh, it was such a joy to see him drive up last night. Fortunately, I had some chocolate covered cheesecake and strawberries left over from Theresa's party so we celebrated our return into each other's arms with some delicious dessert!

If you're married, do you remember the first night you spent away from your spouse and all of the emotions you experienced? If so, we'd love to see a comment from you below. :)

Thankfully, I stayed at my parents' home Friday night so I wasn't completely alone. I would have had a terrible time sleeping at the cabin by myself. Why, you ask? The blinds probably would've fallen down and I wouldn't have been able to get them back up... just like this video.

Falling Blinds from Whitney Todd on Vimeo.



In other news, prayer is immensely powerful. Thank you for all of your sweet prayers for my grandparents. Papa is still in the hospital but we're hoping that he will be coming home this week. Please, please continue to be praying for them. They need A LOT of rest!!

The Fall Wreath.

Last Wednesday, my Gingin needed to drive to Milledgeville to go to Belk. And who doesn't love/want a shopping partner!? I didn't have any money to spend of course, but she really wanted to get JD and me a fake autumn bouquet at Wal-Mart so that we could revamp the wreath hanging beside our door. I thought this would be a great project for us to do together. However, she took my Papa to the hospital Thursday and they are still there highly anticipating on figuring out what in the heck is going on with his body, but we're hoping they will be pleasantly surprised with the wreath and all of the un-read newspapers sitting in Papa's comfy leather chair when they arrive back home.

WAY more than a side note: Please continue praying for our Papa. Pray that the doctors will be able to find out what the problems are and that the procedures to take care of them will be painless and will have very very few side effects, if any! Also, as wives know, please be praying for our Gingin. She lost her grandmother in July and now she's having to see her husband in pain. She is the strongest woman I know and she's determined that the Lord will be faithful during this time. In this circumstance, once again, we belittle God if we don't believe that His healing grace will prevail; and she, thus far, has never experienced a time when that Truth did not ring true. :)

So here is the video of JD and me putting together our new Fall Wreath! We hope it inspires you to add some autumn-loveliness to your front porch too.

Fall Wreath from Whitney Todd on Vimeo.



Music in this video: This Side by Nickel Creek

The Onion Chopper & a Life Update

We realized today that we haven't posted anything in one week!! Gosh, has it flown by! A couple of my (Whit's) cousins have been turning an old shed attached to the back part of our cabin into a super nice closet! :) Gingin, JD and I will be getting paint and a couple of racks to put up this weekend. We can't wait to show the video of the true transformation of our bungalow.

Thursday night, we had a wonderful little "newlywed couple dinner" with our friends at the lake, Bo & Angie and John & Robyn. They are both fantastic couples and amazing people. We have planned a couple of other ventures soon to come in the fall... with that being said, you will probably meet them via video soon enough.

In other news, I started volunteering at the First Call Pregnancy Center in Greensboro, Ga., this past week. We had training yesterday and today. While the entire center is complete with confidentiality, I will not be able to share many stories with yall, but please know that we will still be asking for much prayer on the behalf of the girls and women that will enter its doors unknowingly seeking more than just help for their unborn babies.

Most importantly, we have an incredibly exciting update for everyone... the Lord has officially blessed JD with a paying technology job at Lake Oconee with TechKnow Gurus. After four months of searching in basically four or five different states without more than a reply of "You are too qualified" or "You are not qualified enough," he has finally gotten the opportunity to exhibit to an employer the knowledge he has and the potential he has in order to build the company dramatically. Praise the Lord! :) What element adds even more to this blessing? We get to continue living in our sweet bungalow right next to my wonderful grandparents in the same town as our new friends. After being close-minded at the fact that we wanted to live so far away from both of our families in the beginning, God definitely brings us to a beautiful humility. We are excited to be living in a place that He has obviously appointed us to. Thank you everyone for your prayers! A sincere word spoken to our Father is never wasted. Please continue to pray for us both as we now enter into the realms of a workplace, that through all situations Christ's name will not only be known but that it will also be lifted high and glorified. :)

Oh yea, and here's a quick video of one of our favorite household utensils... the Onion Chopper.

Morning View and Watermelon Smashing

In honor of our special move-in today, we wanted to post a video from July where JD shows everyone what we see when we wake up in the mornings. Unfortunately, we won't be waking up next to the blinds anymore... but my desk will be right next to it!! We can't wait to show you all what our room looks like now. We might wait till we finish all of the changes but just a little hint: it has a feeling of shabby chic. My grandparents will be putting in a closet door soon and then we will be giving the room slightly a different wall color. I've been wanting sooo badly to decorate our home. I'm glad the time is finally here.

Also during this video, JD will show you our little friend that, in the past, would hang out beside our bathroom window. She is classified as a Black and Yellow Argiope, yes another little animal. Also known as an orb weaver, she creates beautiful webs (Orb web means it spins its web like a circle). She looks terribly scary because of how huge she is, but she's actually harmless to humans and in essence, protects our house from many pests. And yes, we did research on this spider via Internet from various sources -- this being the main one.

The Beautiful Bungalow [Part 1]

UPDATE: WE HAVE A TWITTER ACCOUNT!!! Follow us and we'll follow you back!



We could never express just how much we appreciate what our grandparents have done for us over the past two months!! They have so graciously allowed us to live and TRANSFORM the cabin beside their house into our own little temporary home. Gingin (my grandmother) has taught me how to sew, to cook, to bake and to love harder. Papa has taught JD how to drive the pontoon boat, he keeps our cars clean and well, just like Gingin... spoils us - just like they do all of "us grandchildren and spouses." We couldn't ask for better neighbors than them. :) They always call before walking over and offer us leftovers whenever they have any. They have given us free reign over the ENTIRE bungalow... so we've had a blast adding much decor. :)

In this video, we wanted to show you our journeys from the first couple of days after arriving at the bungalow. We will post a video soon of the transformation.

The Bungalow Part 1 from Whitney Todd on Vimeo.