Intentionally Gracious Neighbors

This is what I saw when I looked out of the Jitney Studio window yesterday...


Remember (on FB) when I talked about our water bill being outrageous?? Well, the utility guy came out Monday and checked for a leak. 

Which we had.

We were losing about 1/2 gallon per hour so our friend, Shane, came over Monday night and helped JD with a solution. JD came home early yesterday from work and began fixing the leak.


I'm not sure what he would've done without all of the little neighborhood helpers though....


Kid: "Is Mr. JD a hard worker?"
Me: "Yes. Mr. JD is a super hard worker!"
Kid: "Yeah. I'm a hard worker too." (with arms folded and nodding his head)

Haha! Oh, I loved it.

In all seriousness though...

When we began our house search, we fervently prayed that God would place us in a neighborhood where we could share the love of Christ. 

On the contrary, one of the first things we recognized when we moved in is how stinkin' awesome our neighbors are and how deeply they share the love of Christ with us. Seriously. Almost every one of our neighbors came to our house to introduce themselves to us within the first three days of us moving in the house. Maybe I'm wrong about this, but we feel like that's a pretty rare gift.

What these photos don't show are the men in the neighborhood who walked from the comfort of their homes to help JD with a solution. One of our neighbors is a former plumber, so he actually rode to Lowe's with JD for a small item he needed. He gave him a play-by-play in what he needed to do. 

These men (and kids) saw JD outside and chose to help a neighbor in need instead of sitting in their comfy chairs in their warm living rooms.

From unloading our packed Uhauls to car rides to freshly-baked cookies to cookouts to finding / killing a snake to helping with the lawn mower, our neighbors are always there with a helping hand. Just yesterday, I saw our little neighbor, Blake, push our garbage can from the curb to our garage door because the wind had tipped it over.

That's not normal. 
But it should be.


While all of the neighbors are amazing, I do feel the need to shed some light on two special families we've grown close to...

(I actually drafted the blog post below in the summer but I'll share it with you now.)

Our next door neighbors have three precious kiddos and we have so enjoyed getting to know the family. The parents are incredibly gracious and we've never met kids that were so eager to serve others. Alyssa (5 yrs old) asks me every day if she can help me water our garden and Blake (7 yrs old) walks over with his mom's gardening gloves to help us pick up sticks in the yard. The youngest daughter normally follows Alyssa around and helps water the garden too. :)

Blake walked up behind me when I was working in the garden one day with his hands behind his back. "I've got something for you, Wincy" (we're still working on the whole name-thing here). Knowing that he was a 7-year-old boy, I'm thinking he's holding a spider or cricket in his hands with the hopes of scaring me. I was shocked when he held out his hands with this lovely little peony he picked from his mom's garden. 


The day we were moving in all of our big stuff, our neighbor up the road, Julia, brought us a basket of goodies (Pringles, granola bars, pretzels), raspberry sweet tea, lemonade, and this fantastic bouquet of flowers she put together from her garden. 

Did I mention that God has blessed us with incredibly gracious neighbors?


We are in constant awe of where God has brought us. We know that it's only through Him that we live on such a wonderful street and that He has surrounded us with yet another family to join into.

JD and I have a LOT of work to do in terms of loving our neighbors more deeply and being intentional in helping them out whether in need or not. 

Do you have any ideas for helping to draw your neighborhood together?



Jitney's Journeys : Burlap Corkboard with Frame and Pocket

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Lauren invited me over to her house to help her design a collage wall for her front entryway. 

"Great is Thy Faithfulness" is the theme of the wall with rustic red, black, white and burlap accents.


As we were envisioning the final product, we decided to add a third burlap piece. Thus, came this:





Lauren will fill the pocket with letters from the kids they worked with in Africa and put a 5 x 7 photo on the left. It's going to look AMAZING on her collage wall she's putting together!!! 


Here are the details if you'd like for us to make you something like this...

For Lauren, I made this piece a corkboard with a burlap covering. The pocket has a lovely ivory trim and Love painted on it. Other ideas for the pocket could be... Family, Memories, Letters, a quote or Bible verse.

Price is determined by size and materials (for example, Lauren bought this frame so that cut out the cost of a frame). I know I say this often, but I seriously have the greatest friends / customers to work with. It's such a joy to envision such amazing pieces with them and then to actually bring those visions to life. What a blessing! 

The Garden : Generations of Green Thumbs

Welcome to the home of robins, bluebirds, blue jays, squirrels, chipmunks, fireflies, and whimsical plants.

AKA: Our Garden

I wish we could say that we built it from the ground-up, but we didn't. With the simple sign of a pen, we obtained this absolutely amazing garden along with our new home. 

It's magical.


Forget a green thumb. These previous homeowners must have had green streaming from each of their fingertips. A number of people are terrified that we're going to ruin have a little trouble keeping the garden up since I haven't always had the best luck with something as small as a potted plant... but I really think we'll get the hang of it eventually.

When all else fails, we must remember that all things will [hopefully] grow back.

At least, that's what my mom tells me.

I think that's one reason I love this garden so much. It reminds me of both my mother's and my grandmother's gardens. They are - hands-down - the best gardeners I know. Their gardens are both extraordinarily lovely, charming and peaceful. I loved walking through Gingin's gardens with her when we lived at the Bungalow; and no time is sweeter with my mom than when we play in the dirt and have conversations surrounded by rich blooms. 

"I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falls on my ear
The Son of God discloses"

That's one of our favorite hymns. I have no doubt that we all sing it when watering our gardens. 

{Side Note: I butchered Gingin's hydrangea bushes (my favorite flowers) at the Bungalow when I attempted to "prune" them for the first time. That was my first terrible gardening experience. But, just like mom and Gingin said, they have grown back. There is hope for me yet!}

mom and her garden

mom and dad's raised garden beds

deeply thankful for these green-thumbed lovebirds


Dad is an incredible gardener also, especially with vegetables. He is a master scientist. It comes in handy when growing all of your plants from little seedlings!

JD and I have confidence that we will be able to keep a beautiful garden because we have our families as a resource.

JD and dad spent a lot of time tackling this task before we moved into our new home.
Next week, we'll share our raised garden bed project with you.


In the meantime, here are a few of the perennials in bloom this week:

Balloon Flower

 Coneflower 



The Anniversary : Rose Petals, Flooding & a New Home

We have finally moved into our new house! 

We were planning on staying our first night the weekend after we signed the contract. Unfortunately, I began washing our sheets for the bed and quickly found out that the washing machine drain was clogged.

Yeah.
First day of move-in: The laundry room floods. 
Good thing it has tile flooring down there.

So we called Roto Rooter out to unclog the drain and decided to wait it out a few more days until our anniversary.

Ends up, the first night was more than perfect. Way more perfect than it would have been if we stayed there the originally-planned evening. JD had a few wonderful surprises waiting for me on our screened-in back porch (candles, bouquet of flowers and scattered rose petals surrounding our tiny chairs). 


My sweet husband is so brilliantly romantic that he scattered rose petals on the bedroom floor - on top of bubble wrap so that our floors wouldn't get stained. 

That's love, right there, y'all.

We prepared the popcorn, got cozy in our completely unorganized living room and watched "Up", the first movie we watched together on our first date four years ago. I cry more and more during that movie as each year passes. Only now I don't need 3D glasses to hide my tears. ;)

In the past week, adventures in home ownership have thrown us for a few surprises and left us with several moments of frustration. 

{we'll tell you more about that later}

Yet, we are truly having the time of our lives. After our first shock of an old-house issue (laundry room flood), we laugh about all of the other huge and tiny problems that arise.

It's our house now.

Our home.

No maintenance guys to call or leases to let run out. It's our responsibility - and challenge - to take care of.

And it's awesome. 

For now, we will share at least one small victory from our first week: a freshly mowed lawn. 


Whoop whoop!


Guest Blogger : Ruthy @ Discovery Street



Hi there! I'm Ruthy from Discovery Street; a lifestyle blog documenting my days as a wife, new mom, and homeowner. Pre baby my life was about adventure, travels, food and making something from nothing--currently life revolves around a 17 pound blue eyed ginger haired girl named Parker Penny...I swear she's my daughter...but she clearly took after her father. 

Our path to where we currently are in life was not the road most traveled; but we wouldn't have it any other way.



WHAT I LEARNED IN PRE-MARITAL COUNSELING



I LOVED going to pre-marital counseling. But that probably doesn't come as a surprise to those who know me; I'm totally into psycho babble regarding personality assessments. I heart taking "get to know yourself better" tests. I love Myers Briggs, birth order analysis and learning about love languages. So seeing how my partner and I "matched" up was really fun and interesting. I think it helps that we were already "pre-determined" as compatible based on e-Harmony's matching system, but it was pretty confirming to hear our counselor say that we were one of the highest scoring couples he's ever counseled. (Aww yea!) I realize that points and answering questions on-line regarding our viewpoints on finances, children, roles, communication, etc are not the be all end all of determining a successful marriage. But it sure was great to learn that we have similar outlooks on the "big stuff."

The most significant thing I took from this experience was the answer to this question. Our counselor asked, "Five years from now, when the romance and novelty has worn off and you've had the fight to end all fights and I ask you, why did you marry _____, what is your answer?" We each answered sincerely and lovingly and looked back at our counselor pleased with our answers looking for affirmation. We learned our answers revolved around how I made Andyfeel and how he made me feel. He told us our answers revolved around ourselves....that the other person was fulfilling our individual expectations or desires. But what happens when those expectations or desires stop being met? This is when a lot of marriages start falling apart because this is the basis of "why I married _____." 

Our counselor explained that marriage is a calling. (*We went to a Christian counselor, so "calling" includes a spiritual connotation). Five, ten, or 20 years from now if Andy and I are going through a rough patch and someone asks me why I married him...I'll say without hesitation, I was called to. When you feel called to do something, when you know without a shadow of a doubt that your marriage is a divine appointment, you don't let anything stand in your way. This truly was an "ah-hah" moment for me. I wonder how many marriages might make it through the rough times if they truly understood before hand that they were called to be husband and wife. Called not to just love each other, but called to honor, respect and serve one another even when we don't feel like it.

Phoster : In Love's Service, Only the Wounded Soldiers Can Serve


Did you get the free Phoster app two weeks ago from the iTunes store? 

I've been waiting to use an awesome quote and this one seemed pretty amazing. John Piper has a daily devotional app {John Piper Daily Devotional} that you should check out if you haven't already. This particular devotion was actually from March 6th but still wanted to share it with y'all.


The eternal God is your dwelling place and 
underneath are the everlasting arms. 
(Deuteronomy 33:27)

You may be going through things right now that are painfully preparing you for some precious service to Jesus and to his people. When a person strikes rock bottom with a sense of nothingness or helplessness, he may find that he has struck the Rock of Ages.

I remember a delicious sentence from Psalm 138 that we read at our breakfast devotions last Saturday: “Though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly.”

You cannot sink so low in despairing of your own resources that God does not see and care. In fact, he is at the bottom waiting to catch you. As Moses says, “The eternal God is your dwelling place and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Yes, he sees you trembling and slipping. He could (and often did) grab you before you hit bottom. But this time he has some new lessons to teach.

The psalmist said in Psalm 119:71, “It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” He does not say it was easy or fun or pleasant. In retrospect, he simply says, “It was good for me.”

Last week I was reading a book by a Scottish minister named James Stewart. He said, “In love’s service, only the wounded soldiers can serve.” That’s why I believe some of you are being prepared right now for some precious service of love. Because you are being wounded.

Do not think that your wound has come to you apart from God's gracious design. Remember his word: “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god besides me. . . . . I wound and I heal” (Deuteronomy 32:39).

May God grant a special grace to you who are groaning under some burden. Look eagerly for the new tenderness of love God is imparting to you even now.

“Only Wounded Soldiers Can Serve”



We hope this has been an encouragement to those who have been wounded, those who have hit rock bottom and those who are living out the precious service of love in the midst of healed wounds.

Easter : For He Has Risen



Risen.

There is no sweeter word to celebrate this season of resurrection and redemption.

"And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquakes and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said,

TRULY THIS WAS THE SON OF GOD!"

But wait. 

The Father and the Son were not done.

The angel of the Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and said, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

He is not here, FOR HE HAS RISEN, as He said."

Matthew 27:51-54, 28:5-6

Not only did He rise from the grave... He walked back to Galilee to chat it up with the disciples and a few other folks. Well, "chat it up" may not be the best phrase to describe His conversation with the disciples, but you get the point. 

Jesus is. 

No word could possibly convey
 the greatness
the love
the character
the justice
the wisdom
the sweetness
the compassion
the grace
the power
the Truth
of Christ.

We pray that we are all able to grasp a mere portion of the magnitude of Christ's sacrifice and atonement for His children this Easter. 


Check out our post about walking the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross or Way of Suffering) in Israel here

What Does Love Look Like to You?...

Happy Monday! 

 Lindsy at LMR Photos shared Kid President's Pep Talk on Valentine's Day. To say that I was super encouraged and inspired, would be a dramatic understatement. So I browsed through the Favorites on the SoulPancake YouTube channel and found this gem. If you have time, I highly encourage you to watch a few more videos on SoulPancake's Favorites. They're awesome.


So, we want to know... What does love look like to you?

That's Amore : A Todd Nest Valentine's Day Tradition

Happy Valentine's Day!!


Is that an ironing board... with chicken and candles?

Why, yes, it most certainly is.

Valentine's Day is a super sweet day for couples, but let's be honest here - 
Restaurants are always packed and overpriced,
heels are nice but house shoes are comfier,
floral arrangements are expensive and
candles sure smell sweeter in your own home.

{can you tell we're homebodies?}

So we celebrate Valentine's Day by cooking dinner together,
in our own home, and setting it all up on our ironing board by candlelight,
just like we did in 2009 in my ole' apartment at Auburn University.

Oh - and lots of chocolate. We eat lots of chocolate. :)


As cliche as it sounds, every day is Valentine's Day for us. We love marriage, we love each other and we love celebrating those things every single day. I can't imagine our marriage being any other way.

JD and I love creating new traditions and celebrating old traditions as Mr. & Mrs. 
As quirky and simple as it is, we wanted to give you a little sneak peek into the way we have celebrated love on Valentine's Day.

Do you have any special Valentine's Day traditions?


AND We're Back...

Back from what, you ask?

Life.

I wish I could say we have been so busy exploring the world that we haven't had much time to write, but it's certainly not the case. On the contrary, we spent an amazing few weeks visiting with family scattered throughout the South. The roadtrips were awesome - filled with deep theological conversations and always ending with the sweet sound of laughter. The time we spent with family was precious and will forever be engrained in our hearts.

We then returned home mid-January with a heap of things to catch up on. This, of course, includes redecorating and repurposing some really cool antiques we were given and some other ones we stumbled upon during our family vacations. I'll be blogging about those special things in the very near future.

My mind has been RACING with an overflow of ideas for Jitney's Journeys - both our blog and our Etsy shop. Do you ever feel like your mind is pouring out ideas so rapidly that you can't get it down on paper fast enough?? That's been me for about five weeks now. It's a pretty bittersweet feeling. While I'm super excited about all of the ideas, I realize that I just don't have enough hands to produce them all in the quick timely manner I'd like - and even less resources to hire people to help. Fortunately, I'll have some wonderful creative hands-on-deck for about a month soon so that will be a HUGE help! In the meantime, we're in the midst of creating a solid business plan (thanks to JD's business classes and my public relations training in college) that will hopefully carry us through in the long haul. It's tough to have a long-term mindset when you have so much excitement stirring to get things done in the moment, but that's how the tortoise won. And we must have the mindset of the tortoise if we want to be successful.

Starting February 11, we will have all of our burlap products up and ready for production in the Etsy shop. Until then, we have these super cute pillows up for sale...

This one was created specifically with Valentine's Day in mind but you can set this lovely thing out any day of the year!!






Oh yeah... And I turn 25 tomorrow.

Thus, the biggest reason for me to start back in a steady routine of blogging, but more on that later. 

Have a happy Monday!!