.home alone.

The hubs left 12.5 hours ago for a week-long business trip. The house would be awfully quiet if I didn't have a pug to provide continuous background noise in the form of breathing, sneezing and hacking.

I've decided that the hubs being gone is a mixture of both good and bad.

The Bads:

+ I miss him. Duh.
+ When Simon gets poop stuck to his bottom, I have to wipe it off, which makes me dry heave.
+ Really, I just miss him. A lot.

The Goods:

+ I can watch whatever I want on tv. (I actually watched the Emmy's tonight!)
+ I can eat brownies and ice cream for dinner.
+ I can browse Pinterest, update twitter and play Words with Friends for hours upon end without being judged.


I'm making this week fun, despite missing my bff. I've got myself dinner plans booked for almost every night this week and don't plan on cooking one single meal. Gonna do my nails, watch my DVR'd "girly" shows and spend way too much time on the internet. Then, with the 3 hours hubs will spend driving home, I'll load the dishwasher, throw in some laundry, and do a quick pick-up of the house. ;-)


.my first diy dress.

Ever since I saw THIS tutorial {from Smashed Peas and Carrots} on Pinterest, I've had this unscratchable itch to create my own Elastic Band Empire Waist Dress.

Well, I've done it and now it is out of my system. I was surprised my version turned out half as wearable as it should have; however, I learned that sewing stretchy t-shirt material is definitely not my jam. I don't like the polyester print very much that I chose for the skirt, but since it was my first time making anything like this, I felt safer using fabric I wasn't crazy about. The long-sleeved tee is from the clearance section at Target.

I liked the look better with a thick belt, like I'm wearing in the picture below. I'm thinking of making the skirt knee-length and cutting off the long sleeves into short sleeves and adding ruffle detail to the front of the shirt. If I do, I'll post updated pictures.

I'm still trying to decide if I would ever wear this dress out in public or not based on the fabric choices and the imperfections I know are there since I'm the one that sewed the dang thing.

Regardless, I'm proud of myself for attempting something new and for {mostly} succeeding. It's always good to push the limits and see where our creativity can take us!


.our love story . part four.

Our first apartment was tiny (500 sq ft). You could stand in the very center and see all 4 rooms (living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom). The kitchen was rocking mauve counter tops and an oven about half the size of a normal one, which made for many a burned dinner. Leslie had started his job only a few weeks before we got married, but I didn't work for the first 6 months after getting married. I was living in a new, bigger town, and I was honestly scared...scared of getting lost trying to find my way around, scared of my new role as a wife. I missed my family and was worried about starting from scratch and making new friends. I used to cry when Leslie would tell me he was going to hang out with his best friend. I would cry because I was lonely.

Finally, I got a job working at a fitness center. We started hanging out with guys from Leslie's work and their wives, and gradually I felt more and more at home in my new town. We only lived in our tiny apartment for a year, after which we upgraded to a 2-bedroom apartment and gained about 300 sq. ft.

Then came our second year of marriage. Something about the 2-year mark proved to be a struggle for us just as it had been in our second year of dating. The thing that I would have never guessed could happen to us...happened to us. We grew apart. We stopped talking, stopped asking each other questions, grew bitter towards each other and put our own selfish desires above our responsibilities to each other. We both expressed our unhappiness to each other, and in the darkest time in our relationship, I moved out. I moved to an apartment in the same complex, a few buildings down. I was tired of trying and honestly thought I would be happier alone. The Summer I spent separated from my husband will always be remembered with a feeling of deep sadness and shame. I was so lonely, but obviously away from God, and holding on to the bitterness that had built up inside me from feeling emotionally abandoned by Leslie.

It was a few months later that the Lord crumbled my resistance to His will and showed me that I was wrong for staying away from Leslie any longer. In the months we spent apart, Leslie fell back in love with me and I reluctantly moved back home. I knew I was obeying the Lord and that even though I was scared things wouldn't be any better in our marriage, as long as we were attempting to do what was right, God would bless. It took time, but from the small steps I took towards God, I felt him take 10 giant steps towards me. There was a lot of healing that had to take place between Leslie, me and even our family members, but we came through it. Looking back now, I hate what we allowed to happen to us, but I love what came from it: A stronger marriage and a testimony to share with young married, struggling couples.

Leslie and I recently celebrated 5 years of marriage. I wouldn't trade that man for the world. He is the special one God created just for me, and I've learned our relationship is not to be taken for granted. We are closer than ever at this point. We've made it through obstacles that have broken many marriages, but that is of no credit to us. All the glory goes to God. He has given us a friendship, romance and blessings beyond measure.

I realize as I'm trying to wrap this up that our love story can't be summarized in a way that is satisfying to me. There are too many memories and circumstances that set ours apart from any other love story. It is simple, yet complex, and I can't wait for the chapters that await us.

Here's to the path ahead, the one God has for us. The one we will walk together.


.our love story . part three.

Oh, the days of college. We were both still very young and learning who we were. I struggled with insecurity, and Leslie (who grew up with brothers only) struggled with how to deal with the fragile emotions of a female. We would fight over the dumbest things (who doesn't in the early years) and not speak to each other for sometimes days at a time, but we were always proud of the fact that we never broke up, no matter how difficult things seemed at the time. We always kept the mindset that we were made for each other, and we gradually worked through all the petty insecurities.

We got engaged on our 10-month anniversary. Leslie took me to a mountain around sunset because he knew it was my favorite time of the day. I totally knew it was the night he was going to propose, so I planned an outfit to wear that I wouldn't mind getting engaged in. It was a sleeveless black turtleneck and jeans. :-) I remember we were on a flat rock that looked out over scenery for miles. He got down on one knee and I cried when he asked me.

Leslie graduated from college a semester before I did, and he got a job selling cars at a Chevy dealership in his hometown. That last semester without him was sad for me. I was lonely and basically went through the motions of going to class, doing homework, etc. until the day came for me to graduate. I don't remember much from that last semester. Only that I lived for weekend visits with Leslie.

After I graduated, I lived with my sister and her husband for about 6 months while Leslie and I planned our wedding. Our second year of dating/being engaged was a tough one for us. That's about the time when the "new" wore off and, even though we loved each other no matter what, we fought a lot. I think we were both trying to turn each other into the person we wanted each other to be, instead of learning to adapt to each others' needs.

Time went by, we grew up a little more, and on August 12, 2006, after almost 3 years together, we finally became Mr. and Mrs. in a small(ish) church that we attended in college. The budget was tight, and I was happy with the shabby/french country look we were able to achieve with the decor.

{September3, 2004 - The night we got engaged}

To be continued...


.our love story . part two.

In college, Leslie had small hoop earrings, and his car was a maroon Monte Carlo, which he drove with the driver’s seat laid way back while blasting Good Charlotte from his booming speakers. I had a Good Charlotte license plate on the front of my Impala, so we were pretty much well-matched from the beginning. I have to say, my first impressions of Leslie were wrong. He was not a player, nor was he overly-confident. We got to know each other better over the weeks by “chatting” via MSN Messenger. (Does anybody else remember that popular mode of conversation?! Chatting was what we all did before texting took over the world.) Leslie’s screen name was “there is some truth behind all sarcasm,” and mine was something like, “Yeah, my initials are M.F. Got a problem with it?”

Meanwhile, feelings for Andy were dwindling, and I eventually broke up with him. The next day, Leslie texted me and asked me how things were going with Andy. (I’m assuming he was aware of our unwinding relationship and was just waiting for his chance to pounce.) I replied that we had broken up. He replied with, “Oh ok. Want to watch a movie tonight?”

So our first date consisted of sitting on the floral couch in Leslie’s dorm room, shoulder-to-shoulder, watching Signs, the alien thriller starring Mel Gibson. I was so nervous, I couldn’t stop shaking, but I concealed it well. I remember Leslie’s roommate was in the room off and on throughout the movie, and when he was in there, Leslie and I wrote notes to each other on a piece of notebook paper. (Can you say awkward for Leslie’s roommate!?) One of the things I remember Leslie writing/drawing on the paper before he passed it to me was a bar graph. Under one very short bar he wrote, “All the other girls I’ve ever dated” and under the second, much taller bar, he wrote, “You!” Melted my heart. It really is the simple things that made an impact on me back then and still do today.

We had our first kiss on that floral couch. We had many late night conversations on the couch as well, discussing everything from our beliefs to the dynamics of our homes growing up. Everything lined up like a dream, and I was on cloud nine.

One night, we were “chatting” online and I mentioned wanting a Snickers bar. Leslie told me to meet him downstairs in 5, and I did. That was the first night I rode in his car, which smelled overwhelmingly like his cologne. He drove me to the Shell gas station by campus and bought me a Snickers then drove me back to the dorm. I was pretty sure I was head-over-heels by that point.

It didn’t take us long to define ourselves as boyfriend and girlfriend, and once we did, we were inseparable. You want to talk about a guy that is smitten early on in a relationship, one day Leslie and I intentionally both wore white button-up shirts, jeans and our brown Birkenstock sandals to class. We walked in hand-in-hand and that group of guys that sat by him gave him so much crap. He didn’t even care. What is it about the early stages of a relationship that make us do such silly things like that?

Weekends when we would both go home were killer. We would email each other, miss each other so badly and hint around to our parents that we just may have found someone really special. Someone we could see ourselves marrying.

It was scary to feel so strongly about each other almost right from the beginning, but we both knew that we had that feeling about each other – the one they say you feel when you meet the right person. When it’s right, you just know. Yeah, we felt that.

To Be Continued…

.our love story . part one.

I got the idea to share my “love story” after reading Elizabeth’s blog at E Tells Tales. Her story was so well-written and full of juicy details, it was like my own little soap opera to read and I looked forward to each new installment. My friend Emma and I decided we would follow suit and share our love stories. She already started hers (It is so cute so far!) and you can find it here.

So without further ado, the story of us: Leslie and Martha.

The first time I ever laid eyes on my future husband was on the first day of college classes, my Junior year of college. I sat in Intro to American Literature and scanned the room. I remember he was sitting on the other side of the room, around a group of guys. He had on a Cardinals baseball cap, faded blue with the bill curved. He had a yellow Nautica backpack and was sitting all chilled-out style, leaning back, legs resting in the aisle. I just knew he and all those other guys had to be players. I had no good reason to base this judgment on other than the fact that they had an air of confidence about them. Looking back now, that is so a college guy thing.

Anyway, I still remember what I was wearing that day. A fitted yellow American Eagle graphic tee and short denim skirt. I think I remember what I was wearing because that was also the day a guy named Andy asked me out on a date, to which I said yes and Andy became my boyfriend shortly after.

So back to that day in Intro to American Lit…Leslie has told me since then that all college guys scan the classroom on the first day of class and try to spot the hotties. He told me he saw me that day and thought I was the front runner. (Must have been slim pickin’s if you ask me.) He liked my blue eyes, he told me.

The days went by and we never talked until the day our professor randomly put us in a group together to analyze a poem. I laugh now thinking about how I had no idea this guy that intimidated me with his aloofness would be my future husband. He stared at me a lot while we were in our group and kept asking me questions, to which I was highly embarrassed and a little annoyed. I kept thinking how I was not going to be the next notch in his belt, so he could just give up the act of pretending to get to know me.

We discovered we lived in the same dorm, he on the 2nd floor and me on the 3rd. I don’t remember any developments in our relationship between the day we were in a group together and the day I missed class and had to ask him for the homework assignment, but I do remember being nervous and excited to go to his dorm room. He and his roommate had a floral, golden girls-type couch in their room and that’s what we sat on as I held my notebook and copied down our assignment for class. Keep in mind, I was way nervous, super shy and was crushin’ on Leslie, so when he said, “You seem kind of quiet, like you don’t know what to say,” I was immediately offended and embarrassed. I replied, “I’m fine,” packed up my stuff, and left.

Even though I was dating Andy at the time, I couldn’t get Leslie out of my mind. I thought he had a lot of nerve calling me out on my shyness and I remember telling my brother, “I don’t think I like that Leslie guy too much.”

{Leslie back in the college days}

To Be Continued…


.feeling creative.

For the first time in a long time (I'm talkin' months here), the creative bug has struck! I wish creativity was something that was always there, flowing rampantly, in endless supply. But for this girl, creativity likes to go on unexpected hiatuses...sometimes for way too long. Now that it's back, I don't want to waste any time. (Why else would I be up at midnight? Well, besides Pinterest....)

As is typical with these waves of sudden creativity, my mind is swirling with ideas. My passion has returned and my poor brain just can't keep up! The O.C.D. side of me is going to have to intervene and make a list if I'm ever going to get past the "inspired" stage and to the "created" stage.


Things To Do To Accomplish Creative Projects While Not Losing An Ounce of Sanity in the Process:

+ Definitely need to get my sewing room organized and de-cluttered. Cluttered room = Zero motivation to create!

+ Stick to one project at a time instead of working on 15 different things then never finishing any of them.

+ Set a schedule. On days off, I need to have goals set of what I want to get done by x-time and how many hours I want to devote to my crafting each day.

+ Make deliveries! Get new inventory into the shops that so kindly support my creative habit and provide me with a local venue from which to sell.

+ Don't waste time pinning and getting inspired when I've actually got more than enough inspiration...It's time to produce, baby!