I've lost my fa la la la la

12.11.2015



Apologies friends, but my fa la la la la has up and left...

Lately I have been scrolling through old pictures a lot, as they have always been one of my favorite ways to hold onto memories. So many things change throughout the years. Clothes, hair styles, places to visit, wrinkles, lines, and age. Age is so intricately captured in pictures, and tells so many stories.

I recently came across pictures from December of last year. I think back to everything that I had planned for this coming year (2015), and just have to laugh right now. If you would have told me what December 2015 would be like...I would have spewed water in your face laughing, and beg  you to tell me I was kidding. I do hate the dramatics, and I do really try to remain positive in this space, but my has this month given me a run for my money. And psssst news flash...we are in week two. WOOF.

I am however going to put on my big girl panties, and give you all the reasons I'm thankful for this December, and I'm going to LIKE it.

I am so thankful that
1. This December I have been and will continue to spend it with my family. We are all back living under the same roof, and I'll tell you, it's been a lot of fun.
2. I get to have a warm(er) December this year...although it was 65 degrees in Albany today...This time last year we had a whole foot of snow.
3. Joe and I have been good about saving for a "rainy day". That rainy day hit last week and it was a doozy...hopefully I'll share more about that in the coming week.
4. My family is surrounded by people who love us. The outpouring of support while my dad has been in the hospital has really humbled us.
5. Joe and I have really developed our faith together in the past three years. Without our faith, I'm not sure how we would have made it.
My favorite verses right now, and plastered on dad's scripture wall in his hospital room is:

-I will not cause pain without something new to be born -Isaiah 66:9
-The Lord God is my strength and my bravery; He will walk me through places of trouble and suffering. -Habakkuk 3:19

6. Coffee. I'll repeat that. Coffee. Oh and diet coke, I'm SO thankful for it in the route 44 style.
7. My nursing knowledge. I can't tell you how many times I have just said a huge thanks for the medical knowledge of what dad is going through. I'll tell you, it would be one terrifying ride without it.
8. YOU, yes I'm thankful for you and the grace you give me when I'm negative, and the want you give me to come back to this space.

I'm not holding my breath, but December 2016 MUST be better than 2015.

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The Journey to day zero and beyond

12.04.2015



Hi friends, just wanted to share a quick hello!
I have not forgotten about this space, and have actually craved to write out some thoughts for therapeutic purposes. My nursing duty calls first however!

Since Sunday we have been up at the hospital with dad from morning until night helping him to prep for his transplant...which is tomorrow! It is a lot of work, with a lot of tasks to prep for a transplant. As dad's bone marrow transplant doctor said, "this isn't a spa or relaxation on the beach, I'm here to make you work".

And work is exactly what we have been doing! Want to catch up on more of the details? Swing by dad's blog space to get an update on his journey to day zero and beyond!

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Vulnerable

11.23.2015


Oh how many times I have started this post over, and over, and over again...
Why do I find it so easy to talk about other's important/intimate life moments, but some of my deepest ones, stay deep.

The other day I had to ask my parents if they were ok with the sharing of my dad's story via the public web. I hadn't even thought about the fact they may not have wanted everything publicized. Not everyone processes emotions through writing...specifically public writing.

So if I don't have such "issues" divulging information, then why am I keeping this one deep?
I still don't know that answer, but I have (thankfully) talked with some other women in my shoes and they feel the same. It's something that doesn't necessarily draw a stigma, but one that makes us as women feel vulnerable. I think we become vulnerable because it is completely out of our control...

The best way I know how to write this story, is in a narrative...so enjoy.

I'm in an overly stuffy waiting room of my obgyn's office sitting on my hands, and suddenly I realize I am nervous. Nervous because for once, I am the patient and the fear that something may actually be wrong hits me like a ton of bricks...

I suddenly wonder why I didn't bring Joe with me. He is always the calm to my storm and would crack some wise joke that would make me laugh and stop sweating momentarily.

My name is called and I walk back to meet with the ultrasound technician as I am scheduled for both an abdominal and pelvic ultrasound to see if there could possibly be some reason that after 14 months, Joe and I are unable to conceive. (BAM I JUST SAID IT...phew)

She asks me to sit in the chair and I am obviously in the same room where new moms and dads go to see each sonogram as an expectant family. This was not how I pictured my sonogram screen for the first time. At first, I'm sad as I see my name in the upper left hand corner. This space, and this picture are missing something so vital I am so eager to protect. I became bitter and upset for that empty space. I felt like I had a million fingers pointing at me saying, too bad, maybe next time, move on.

Pity party for one...

The tests go smoothly, and I am walked back to that dang stuffy waiting room to wait for the doctor. More sweating, sitting on hands, and nerves ensue. I was relieved that I would be getting answers and that after this appointment I could then reconfigure, plan things out and go from there ( ME, ME, ME).

Hah...what a sense of humor the big man has. Side note...through a lot of things this past year, I have learned I have a SEVERE case of the control freaks.
I digress. The doctor comes in, performs her exam and then nonchalantly says, "Well nothing appears to be wrong. Everything looks healthy, and suitable for a baby". I wait for her to add an "and, but, if, well, etc" but the words never came.

Yes, yes I know, these are wonderful, beautiful words. BUT (and it's always big) why after this amount of time has nothing happened? She proceeded to tell me the next steps which were filled with tests, procedures, medications and prescriptions that floated in one ear and right out the other. Such words intimidated me and could quite possibly not be the right fit for me, but thats a completely different blog post.

And this is where my story lies...out of my hands, my control and up in the air. I have an odd feeling that I'm being taught something here in these moments...


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floral + friday | ombre spray

11.20.2015



Ombre has been trending for quite some time. From hair, bakery items, wardrobe choices and even florals. This was a piece I did last winter when I was once again challenging my color palette. I'm not a huge fan of the bright reds and oranges when it comes to florals, but I again was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Ombre Spray
| | orange spray rose
| | multi colored tulips
| | green hypericum
| | crimson ranunculus
| | deep red garden roses




Ombre arrangements also look dynamite in whites, creams to blushes...swoon!


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Texas or bust

11.17.2015

The cutest Curty you ever did see! 
Throughout the months and years around this space I have written quite a bit about my dad and his journey with Follicular Non Hodgkins lymphoma. Dad was diagnosed in 2011, right before I graduated from nursing school. My first job was on an oncology (cancer) unit and I fell in love with the people, the survivors and the families of those who had passed. You could say cancer has become part of my daily life.

Since diagnosis, dad has endured countless rounds of chemotherapy, and hours of sitting in doctor's office chairs. As you may, or may not know, lymphoma is a cancer of the blood and one without a cure...yet. After each cycle and too short of remission the cancer has come back now for the 4th time. We have always known that transplant is an end of the treatment road option, but had hoped we wouldn't see this day so soon. Yes, don't get me wrong a little over 4 years is great! But typical response before transplant can often be up to 12 years.

Anyway, the reason for my absence this past week was because all transplant details were being determined which also includes, notifying employers, buying plane tickets, and making packing lists which will require belongings for 6-8 weeks...over the holidays.

The day after Thanksgiving, I hop on a plane and "move" back into the Freeman household as a family of four, like the good old days. During the time I am home, dad will be admitted to the hospital for multiple days of high dose chemotherapy, high dose radiation and the end goal of receiving a bone marrow transplant. I am excited, anxious, and uncertain all at once, but so thankful that I will get to be home for it all.

What I want to share is the thanks I have for dad's bone marrow donor. When searching for marrow donors, the doctors look for the recipient's "twin" but not biological. Dad's twin comes in the form of a 23 year old man who has the same blood type and matches 8/8 of the tests needed for transplant. When we were first told of dad's match, we were over the moon excited until the office told us that the young man still needed to be contacted and ultimately still had to say yes.

We prayed hard that this young man would be willing to inflict a margin of pain on himself, in order to benefit another human. We prayed that he would say yes, even though it was so incredibly close to the holidays. We prayed for his family and that they would be supportive of his decision no matter the outcome. This past Friday we got the news that this young man said YES!

Again we prayed prayers of thanks for his selfless gift, one which he didn't have to give. I hope that we will either get to meet or contact the donor after this process is over. To personally thank him for giving my hero more time.

I will hope to be able to give you more frequent updates on dad's condition as he will be in the hospital for multiple weeks. I have set up another blog space for friends and family to access which will be updated regularly by yours truly. I hope you will keep my dad in your prayers, and follow along as he takes his journey to day zero and beyond!

I'm coming for you Daddy!
Your baby blue

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Floral + Friday | Flower Crown

11.06.2015

Welcome back to Floral + Friday 


One of my favorite designs in the flower crown. Whether its for bridal, maternity or sweet baby girl pictures, I'm a fan of making anyone feel like a princess!

This is a very simple and introductory crown that you can easily make. All of these flowers you seen in the crown, have been introduced previously. This simple head piece makes a beautiful statement for the special events in your life.

Look for a flower crown DIY coming your way soon!

Included in this crown:
|| Ranunculus
|| Ruscus
|| Waxflower
|| Fresia

What do you think?





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Year three

11.03.2015



Dear Joseph,

Today marks three years from the day we said "I do". I look forward to writing these letters to you year after year.

I always remember flipping through the pages of my parents wedding album, with mom in the background saying "gosh we were so young". I guess I never knew quite what she meant until this year. Sure, my parents looked young and refreshed in their album, but I didn't know she wasn't commenting on their age in years, but on the relationship as well.

Little did I know that November 3, 2012 was truly the youngest you and I would ever be together. What I had sometimes heard as the "best of times" were nothing compared to you and I now. In these three short years I have learned that the covenant of marriage isn't one that is conditional.

There are moments where my incessant singing (you like it) and attempt to control all things the universe has designed could probably prove difficult to "wrangle", but those easily dissolve as we lay on the couch trying to decipher what this worlds holds for you and I.

In the past year we have rejoiced in the positives, held each other close through the uncertainties, and prayed hard for the future to come. We have stuck together in so many more ways than we ever have before. Life no longer happens without you, and no I'm not being mushy, but instead honest and saying my routine isn't routine without you. This year I learned that my happiness isn't something that is left heavy and burdensome on your shoulders.
Instead I have learned that as a unit, with the big man in the middle, we can conquer anything.

I hope you always tell me you think I'm beautiful while wearing my glasses and my hair is a downright hot mess. I hope you always pull me in close to that perfect fitting spot on your chest when I need a good hug. I hope you always laugh at my voices, and I hope you never grow tire of flirting with each other.

This year proves that the covenant of marriage isn't one that is conditional and you prove that to me daily with your patience, grace and snide comments like "hah I'm not going ANYWHERE". You are my foundation, one that is strong, resilient and always warm. Your love and our marriage is unconditional, and one that we know is only possible with God in the center.

OHTIAFILY,

Mrs Aslan

P.S. Joe had the greatest of anniversary surprises, but of course I have already ruined it! Stay tuned for that...oops!

Grateful

11.02.2015


Not sure that I have met many a soul who are a fans of a Monday, so I felt it was appropriate to share some of the many things I am grateful for.
I must give credit to the ever wonderful Emily at Ember Grey for the brilliant idea.

Today I'm grateful for...

A best friend that I have had since second grade. I have so enjoyed doing life with her over the past almost 20 years...wow! 

Gorgeous fall leaves that fill my camera roll with far too many "boots in leaves" shots.

Hiking in the Adirondacks...guys the freaking Adirondacks.

The ability to be "marriage mentors" to other couples in our church.

The ability to exercise my creative side as often as I please.

October always proves a fruitful month for us as our family and friends from the South love seeing what a real fall is like.
This comes as an advantage for us, as we had visitors each weekend in October! Talk about spoiled rotten!

Tune in tomorrow as Joe and I celebrate out third wedding anniversary!

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Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey


Floral + Friday | hand-tied bouquet

10.30.2015


Welcome back to Floral + Friday!


Todays piece is a simple hand-tied bouquet. This was my first homework assignment for my floral class I took early this year.


A hand-tied bouquet is a traditional English bouquet, which if designed correctly, will stand alone after the design is complete. 
I absolutely love the romantic lines of an hand-tied bouquet's stems, but it is actually much more difficult to obtain those perfect lines than I had imagined. In this assignment we were encouraged to design out of our comfort zones when it came to color. The hardest part was imagining a romantic bouquet coming out of such harsh contrasting colors. 

You will learn my style is full of muted pastels, creams and greens. The blues, reds, and oranges made me squirm, but I was pleased with how they complimented each other in this hand-tied. 

Included in this bouquet are:
|| garden rose
|| daffodil
|| iris
|| alstromeria 
|| green hypericum
|| tulip
|| deep red ranunculus
|| lemon leaf
|| yellow solidago 

Enjoy!










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Come boldly

10.29.2015


Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace in time of need 
Hebrews 14:16

One of the easiest ways for me to feel connected to my faith and really engage is through fellowship, specifically in the form of music. I don't think there is often a time where I don't have a song stuck in my head. Really it can be any song, but theres always one. Today I woke up and had one of worship song from church stuck in my head. After the fifth or so time of singing it out loud (if you know me you know I do this at all time) the words hit me. 

|| Come boldly to the throne of grace, 
ye wretched sinners come 
and lay your load at Jesus' feet
and plead what he has done ||

I stopped and thought, heck wretched sinner...that has me written all over it. I'm a broken person who is impatient, prideful, controlling and filled with sin of this world. 
I rely too heavily on the thoughts of others,  as if they define me.
I have somehow placed unattainable expectations on myself, as if only perfection is acceptable. I struggle with contentment, so much that it brings me anxiety. 
Sometimes I look at my prayer journal and am ashamed for how many things I ask for instead of being thankful for everything that I already have. 

|| He makes the dead to hear his voice;
He makes the blind to see;
The sinner lost he came to save,
And set the prisoner free ||
The Lord will take you in ||

So whats a girl supposed to do? Well taking lead from the beautiful Jason Waller cover, I am choosing to come boldly, without hesitation, broken and humbly, to His unrelenting mercies and grace. 
Even though I make it all about me, Jesus sits back and with open arms, says "come to me in your time of need". If there is one attribute from this song I would like to embody, it would be to attempt to give such grace to those people in my life.  

|| Poor bankrupt souls,who feel and know
The hell of sin within,Come boldly to the throne of grace;
The Lord will take you in ||


I also thought it was so appropriate that this week the #morethanaframe prompt is "bold". Wont you show others how bold you are? I'm rooting for you!


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Doors

10.27.2015



God works in so many mysterious ways and I truly hate that each time I am amazed by His graces. Silly right? As I have said before, humility is one large lesson I have been studying in 2015. I have stumbled through the course work, and finally, towards the end of the semester, have finally grasped what exactly I am learning.

Ugh just using that metaphor makes me realize I am so glad I am no longer in school! Although now, I'm sort of a teacher in the sense of following semesters. I digress...

Since we have moved here (going on three years) we have always had getting back to Texas on our minds. Because it has always been something we must get back to, it could often hinder soaking in the richness of upstate New York. God clearly showed us this year that Texas wasn't in the cards quite yet...if at all. Gasp!
A lot of people ask me, well how did you know that God was closing those doors?

Lets just say that any door that appeared to be the slightest bit ajar for Joe and I, was actually locked or slammed shut in our faces. Sorry for the overuse of metaphors already, although my high school english teacher would be proud.

Each time a door shut, I became anxious. I was worried we were letting people down, or even worse losing time. Come to find out, those doors weren't for our story. And they were actually never ours to believe were open in the first place. How did I come to such revelation?

Towards the end of March, I told Joe that the constant up and down and constant changing of plans was really preventing me from enjoying the present. We agreed to cut out the incessant planning on our part and pray for peace that our hearts would be ok that our story was stagnant and unknown.
And you know what? Peace is exactly what we got. We stopped creating timelines and started living in the moment.

There are still moments where we have to remind ourselves to consult God in our planning and fully give it to Him, instead of attempting to pry our own doors open.
Even now, reorganization is a term our afterwork discussions always include, but we are trying to follow instead of lead. Do you struggle with following?

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floral + friday | tussie mussie

10.23.2015




Todays floral friday piece is the tussie mussie. 
The tussie mussie is a custom from the 1400's, meaning a small bunch of flowers or arranged herbs. Instead of wearing a corsage at our wedding, my mom and (now) mother-in-law carried tussie mussies. I loved this alternative tradition for our wedding as it was something more that our mom's were able to keep.

This tussie mussie is comprised of
|| white and light pink ranunculus 
|| freesia 
|| israeli ruscus
|| white standard roses
|| wax flower

When I first came across wax flower, I thought it was just a basic filler flower. Now that I have worked with it multiple times, it is a great small statement piece with the most fragrant citrus smell. Because wax flower is the flowering from a shrub, the blooms tend to last a will as fresh cut stems. 


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Mrs Laura Beth takes NY

10.21.2015



So here are the basics.

How long have you been dating friends? April 2013
Where did you meet? On the WWW (insert stunned gasp here)
What sparked your relationship? We met via a button swap (So 2013? Just kidding!) and I remember being interested in the fact that her husband is a farmer. Not the wearing a pair of overalls with a corn stalk in his mouth kind, but a REAL farmer of soybeans, corn and cattle...Oh my!
What fed the flame? We have a lot of things in common and I generally just enjoyed her style of writing, and her knack for all things creative, not to mention she's a rocking photographer.
Your lives seem to be complete opposites? No actually, even though her and her husband have a much different career path than Joe and I, it seems that is the only difference. When we met, we were both newlyweds (I think we still are?) who were trying to figure out marriage while remaining God fearing women at the same time. Oh and we both love wine...LOVE.
First time actually meeting? October, 2015
Was it awkward? It was the farthest thing from it! Laura and her sister Erika are two precious souls who we had the privilege of housing for two days. We laughed, talked (deep), ate, drank (wine of course) and fellowshipped together. Never once was there an awkward vibe, and honestly I wasn't worried about it, that is just how great Laura is. The conversations were fruitful, the friendship grown thicker and community stronger.





I encourage you to stop by Laura's spaces to say hello as well as see what an amazing woman she is! Thankful for her!


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Who is responsible for your happiness?

10.19.2015


Last week I told you that I have learned a few fine lessons on humility this past year. Now I want to tell you that these lessons were incredibly beneficial and ones that I needed. In no way, shape or form am I looking for you to sympathize or feel like I am discontent. That is not the case at all, as I am thankful for this learning.

The reason I want to share these stories with you is because the support from this community is so incredibly uplifting and I hope I can help someone relate. I have been overwhelmed with support, and I thank you for that!

I wanted to take a minute to share what I have learned about marriage in 2015. As Joe and I are a little over two weeks away from our third wedding anniversary, I learn something more about him and our relationship daily. I've learned that marriage can be messy but also one of the most rewarding relationships.

But first I will warn you of the pit fall I drunk girl stumbled into over the course of these three years. The pit fall is thinking that your spouse or your significant other is responsible for bringing you happiness. All. The. Time. If Joe told me that he expected me to be the source of his complete happiness, I would probably laugh and then feel incredibly overwhelmed.
So why was I doing this to him?

Sure I always respected that he may have his off days, but at the end of mine, I always looked to Joe to make me happy. Does this resonate with you?

There are periods of time when Joe and I have great chemistry, are on the same page, and have a blast just doing life together. But then there are times where we can be tense, out of sync and easily irritable. When I say we, I feel like I mostly mean me...yikes.
When we get out of sync, I feel like I look to Joe to "fix it".
Unfortunately each time, I'm surprised when that doesn't happen...ridiculous right? We are a unit, and one that can only function as one when we both put in the effort.

Plain and simple, this year I have learned that Joe is not responsible for my happiness. But when we place God in the center of our marriage, we understand that He is the only perfect one. He is also the only one who should bring us happiness...now chew on that!

I did not come upon this conclusion on my own but was dumbfounded when I saw a simple Pinterest post that spoke volumes in just a few short words.


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Floral + Friday | Ranunculus

10.16.2015


I haven't divulged much about my most recent obsession hobby dream lately, but I've decided to devote an entire day of the week to it. I have always loved florals and the creativity of design. In college I would spend my Saturday's working in a flower studio, dreaming all the floral filled dreams.

Over the years I have always loved to design small arrangements for simple occasions, until I was asked to do a HUGE occasion. In May, one of my friends asked me to design the florals for her wedding. All the way from bridal bouquet, corsages, boutonnieres to arbor decor. At first I was overwhelmed but so flattered. As the months went by, I was busy researching the proper stem count, taking arrangement design courses, and deciding which stems were the biggest bang for the bride's buck.

Even though the task was a challenge, it was one of the most rewarding and one that didn't bring worry and anxiety. This monumental task made me happy, and I felt accomplished at the end. I was actually able to say "I love doing this". And thus a dream took off, and she's called Simply Chemistry.

Even though we are still very much in the small stages, the brainstorming and compiling of tax documents, Simply Chemistry is becoming tangible. It's something that I can't wait to share with you!

Each Friday I will showcase a design which you may have seen via Simply Chemistry. As well as flooding this space with blooms, I hope to educate you on the stems included in the design piece.

The above picture is a chemistry themed shoot starring the stunning white ranunculus.
Ranunculus have beautiful crepe-paper like petals, which can often mimic a smaller version peony, on a much smaller budget. Because ranunculus are cool season bloomers, they make the perfect addition to an early summer wedding. My favorite is the delicate "elegance white variety" which can be seen above.
I hope you enjoy, and will continue to join me each Friday!

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Who helps you thrive?

10.14.2015





Emotion, in the heat of things is so very raw.
Anger is heavy, explosive and searing, anxiety is hollow, cold and far too quiet. Happiness is lightweight, warm and contagious. Sadness is slow, burdensome and painful. Want is burning, motivating and consuming. Fear is irrational, deceitful and isolating.

Emotion is meant to be shared, celebrated, off loaded, cherished, endured, digested and conquered.

When learning to be humble over the past year, I have felt all of these things. There are times where I wish I didn't have to feel all the feels. An amazing person reminded me lately that it's ok to feel. Without the feels we wouldn't process the reward of our labors, trials and successes.

Thats where community comes in. I have thrown around that word so many times and I wanted to define more of this "thing" that carries me daily.

My community is my family, 1700 and then some miles away. There are 8 of us who share a group text together, and it seriously gives me so much joy that technology can connect us in an instant.

My community is my friends who come in all shapes and sizes, and walks of life.
//They are the friends I have held onto over the decades, who even though we haven't chatted regularly, the relationship remains unchanged.
//They are the friends I have met through our amazing church here in New York. These women (and men) have changed my life in so many more ways than I could have ever hoped for. They have been the most important part of my spiritual growth.
//They are friends who I have met at work and literally worked in the trenches with. There is something about the nursing community that brings a group of, albeit crazy, individuals together.

My community is found right here in this space, in the honesty and devotion of your comments, your texts, tweets, snapchats etc. They are my fuel and what I'm trying to say is thank you! I finally met a blog friend for the first time in real life after knowing each other for about 2.5 years...yes gasp! Because its a friendship that grew out of commonalities, it will be one that lasts forever, and I can't wait to tell you more about it!

Who is your community and do they help you thrive? If not, are they truly community?

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