What This Christmas Means to Me: Hope, Grace, Loss

“The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Christmas looks a whole lot different for me this year.

It’s not that I never pondered it or participated in advent or saw my perspective change on gifts as I grew up, but this year, a different area of my heart has been opened that I never could have comprehended before. This idea of hope has depth and weight and heaviness.

Everything happened so quickly.  Continue reading

2016 in the Books.. Literally

If someone posts a book recommendation on social media or even just mentions a book they read recently, I immediately look it up or screenshot it for later. I get soo many book selections off of recommendations from others and I would journey to guess that’s how many authors collect sales.
That being said, I was thinking the other day after seeing someone I know post about reading 50 books in 2016 *insert jaw-drop* and thought “dang I barely read anything!” Then as I thought more I decided to look back through my kindle, bookshelf, and audiobook app to make a list of how many books I actually consumed in 2016.  I have read many blogger’s posts with books and recommendations so I decided to write a little blurb about some and also added a list of books I started… and aim to re-open each and finish them very soon! (So they are a cross-breed between a 2016 and 2017 list.) Continue reading

The Beginning

I for many years now I’ve seen myself as having a blog.. Maybe when I’m thirty with four or five kids writing about how to serve your husband or sharing the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, but it was hard to find the time and consistency to maintain one now.  Business school is hectic, time is scarce, and most of the time my great ideas don’t make it out the shower. But as of recently, I can’t shake the idea of why not start now? I mean I finally thought of a name, you have to start somewhere, and there is no better time than the present. 

Everything has a beginning. So this is mine.

The vision of this blog is to grow alongside young women. To become. Continue reading

Becoming a Bullock:: Our Wedding

I’ve been looking forward to sharing about this day on my blog for a while now, but I wanted to wait until I had all these amazing pictures to accompany it.  Our photographer was Erin Morrison Photography and she is so great to work with. I would highly recommend her!!

I really don’t even know where to begin, but I guess I’ll start that morning.  May 29th I woke up at my parents house in my little twin bed for the last time.  I hung around the kitchen with my family for a while enjoying Panera bagels and a huge Diet Dr Pepper (thanks Dad!), before I had to get to work packing all the cars.  We arrived at the venue, Smithview Pavilion, and it was a beautiful day.  This is where big families come in handy.. almost all my siblings and their spouses and my parents set to work decorating this venue as I had been envisioning in my head since November.  We had so much that had to be done, but we were seriously done in no time at all.  Some bridesmaids made an emergency run to Target and my dad went to pick up Zaxby’s (yes, I ate Fried Chicken and soda and bagels before getting in my wedding dress and I have no regrets about it).  Since everyone knows how long girls get ready for, I’ll skip those few hours.

Now I will share about the bane of my existence, the thorn in my side– my wedding dress. I looked and looked not finding what I had in mind until I bought a sample gown at LVD Bridal in Nashville.  I really liked it, it was simple and light like I wanted, but it was HUGE on me.  I took it for alterations in Knoxville and after a hellish four month ordeal with the seamstress, my dress was ruined by alterations and a lost cause.  My mom is a superhero.  She was level-headed and clear-minded throughout the ordeal and one Sunday afternoon we went back to David’s Bridal to search for a new dress even though I had looked months before and found NOTHING. But my mom prayed and trusted and I found a dress that I was happy with and could be rush ordered.  God always shows himself faithful.

I wanted simple everything so for my accessories I wore a beaded headband from Francesca’s (they don’t have the exact one anymore but this one I linked from Etsy is similar), some pearl studs George got me years ago, a tiny pearl necklace I found at Forever21 (this isn’t the exact one but close), and this beaded bracelet I bought through Katie Neely from Noonday Collection.  Noonday provides sustainable, fair work for people in at-risk countries and their accessories are GORGEOUS.  I’ve bought several items through Katie and the quality is good too! Check it out!  Lastly, I changed to a floral crown for the reception made by The Flower Shop for a change of pace.

George’s dad was his Best Man and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  He’s always been a close friend to George and our biggest advocate, and he stuck by George every moment of the day.  Love you, Dad!

George and I had been planning all along to not see each other until the ceremony, but it wasn’t until three days before I changed my mind and wanted more time at the reception then taking pictures.  I am so glad we made this call and our photographer was so flexible with us.

It was time for our first look and this is what it looked like outside:
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We waited out this round of rain, and then had our moment. George and I both expected to be bawling, but in the moment we were just giddy with happiness.  These moments can’t be described so I’m thankful we have the pictures to capture them.
Erin Morrison Photography www.erinmorrisonphotography.com

 

Erin Morrison Photography www.erinmorrisonphotography.com

 

It was if the rain stopped for what was important.. our first look, wedding party pictures, and the wedding ceremony.  Other than that, it rained on and off all day long.

Erin Morrison Photography www.erinmorrisonphotography.com
For my bridesmaids, I pretty much gave them free rein on what dress they wanted to wear.  I gave them a color palette to follow and they each picked something their style that looked good on them.  I love how it came together.
 Erin Morrison Photography www.erinmorrisonphotography.com
Becoming a Bullock:: Our WeddingBecoming a Bullock:: Our WeddingBecoming a Bullock:: Our WeddingBecoming a Bullock:: Our Wedding
My Emmy girl: for anyone who knows me well, they know how special my relationship is with my nieces, especially Emerson.  I was hesitant to have her in the wedding at first because kids so often mess up, but we decided to have her as our flower girl.  She was so excited leading up the wedding then at the rehearsal she FREAKED OUT and was so scared.  I was sure it wasn’t gonna work out, but day of we practiced a few times and she killed it with confidence.  Her dress and shoes are from Target and I made her halo with materials from JoAnns (so we could match of course).

Florals were done by The Flower Shop in Maryville, TN.  I met with Fran, showing her pictures and describing the flowers and colors I wanted.  When she showed up day of with the bouquets, I was floored.  She nailed it.  The flowers included white and pink roses, hydrangea, peonies, astilbe, and a variety of greenery.

For George and his groomsmen, we elected for no tie– to help them stay as cool as possible– and let them wear whatever grey suit they owned in shades slightly darker than George’s.  Once again, I love how they turned out.  Of course, they had to break out one of George’s footballs or it just wouldn’t be right 🙂

 

 

Our wedding party:
Summer, my life-long friend
Joy and Jill, my sisters
Cayla, my sister in law
and Courtney, another life-long friend

Bill,  his dad
Will, his brother
Colton, a life-long friend and partner in crime
Jarrod, a friend from CollegeLife group
and Nate, a football teammate and friend

 

 

I wanted decorations to be simple and compliment the venue and wedding colors.  A long-time friend of the Bullock family, Lane Bahr Floral Designs, made the table arrangements and holy cow she is so talented.  My mom and I went to Joann Fabrics, collected a bunch of bolts of fabric in all different patterns and colors, and I cut them into table squares.  Once again.. I love how it all came together.  I rented the mantle, chalkboard headboard, and sewing drawer with bottles from Sisters Vintage Rentals.  Oh my goodness, these sisters were the sweetest things and after a vintage lover like myself saw their storage.. I wanted it ALL (but thankfully had self-control).  The Flower Shop also did the greenery on both mantles.  The rest of the wedding decorations I gathered and DIY’ed myself.

 

 

The weather during the ceremony could not have been more perfect.  The sun was behind the trees, it was breezy, the birds were singing.  It was if this window opened with just enough time for our wedding.  We chose to have our former CollegeLife group leader, JC Neely, do half of the ceremony and my dad do the other half.  While in the Neely’s group, George and I grew so much in our relationship, made incredible friendships, and grew in the love of Christ– so it meant so much to have JC be apart of our day.  My dad has been a part of every one of my siblings weddings, and he conducted our vows and exchange of the rings.  My sister, Joy, and brother, Mark, played and sang Ever Be while George and I took communion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then the heavens opened…

 

 

 

George and I snuck away to take pictures at an old bridge that was on the property.  These are my favorite pictures of the entire wedding.  The rain let up, we could hear the music blasting from our reception, and we were finally married.  Wow.  Thank you Lord.

 

 

 

 

I opted to not have a wedding cake because I actually hate cake.. We went with a dessert bar instead with cookies, cheesecake squares, and petit fours.  My favorite were the lemon cookies by Special Tee Cookies— they rival Ham and Goody’s!  George and I cut a pre-cut (lolz didn’t know that til the reception) Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake.

 

 

Then we partied…

 

 

 

The amazing thing about our wedding day was that the same weekend, all over, other couple were celebrating the union of marriage as well.  Our wedding was just another day in another year where people have to buy a gift and dress up and eat a catered dinner.  To us, it was so special, but it wasn’t everything.  This marriage thing we’re tackling now– that’s everything.  It’s harder to remember the love you felt that wedding day after a long day working in construction, but looking back at these pictures is the sweet reminder of the covenant taken and the joy love brings us.

We couldn’t have done this without the amazing generosity of our family and friends, but especially our parents.  Thank you simply doesn’t suffice.

Becoming a Bullock:: Our Wedding

 

XOXO,
Abby Bullock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Happy Christmas and Big News!

I never really intended for this blog to be one for life updates, but as I thought of how to share my big news, I figured that this would be the best way to say it all (not limited to 160 characters or less).  This last month or so has been absolutely wonderful and crazy and I would be doing my loved ones a disservice if I did not share in my joy.
So here it goes…
Event No. 1: I GOT ENGAGED!! 
Asjkdkjfksfk (that is my explanation of this event) SO FLIPPIN’ EXCITED! November 8, was a Sunday like any other that began with Dunkin Donuts coffee, church service, and lunch at my parents house with the family.  This is usually George’s day off football so we spend all day together studying and spending time with our respective families.. Usually.  So I did find it off when he said he had to go help his dad at his grandparent’s house all afternoon, leaving me to watch my niece all day.  We played, we napped, and I still heard nothing from George.  Finally his dad called, thanked me for allowing him to borrow George, and stated George was on his way to pick me up (we had planned to go for a walk before dinner that evening).  George picked me up and said on our way to the park we needed to drop something off for his mom’s friend and it would only take a minute.  We drove out to their home that overlooked the lake and mountains, and I was in awe of the beautiful property.  We gave her the gift, complimented her wonderful view, and she suggested we take a walk around and enjoy the sunset.  Long story short, George had a setup in their treehouse to propose to me. WOW. Tears on tears on tears.  I think I’ve mastered the laugh-cry now.
Event No. 2: We are having ourselves a wedding!!!
Wedding planning.. So fun yet so not fun. Especially when you get engaged right before finals and need to find a venue. I have never wanted a large wedding or some big production, but I do want to celebrate the beautiful gift God has given us and picture of Christ’s marriage to His bride. So we will be having a small outdoor wedding surrounded by close friends and family on May 29th, 2016. All of this is so wonderful because George has been nothing but a blessing on these past three years of my life and I am honored that he would choose me to live out the rest of our days as husband and wife. We cannot wait to become Mr. and Mrs. so until then we are #AllAboutThatBullock!
Event No. 3: We are moving!

Thanksgiving weekend George played his last game in Neyland Stadium as a kicker for the Tennessee Volunteers. We are thankful for the experience, opportunity, and growth that being a student athlete has provided George, but he was ready to complete his time at Tennessee and look to the next thing that God had for him.  Even as I type this I am floored at the provision that God has shown us again and again.  So when George proposed we were both unsure as to where we were going to be or what we were going to be doing after our graduation in May.  We knew we were going to get married, but that was about it and outside of that we were just trusting that the Lord had a plan… and did He ever.  So George and I had both talked to a company in September at our school’s career fair and interviewed in October.  We didn’t know how it would work out, but we really liked the people, the company, and prayed that one of us would get the job.  We both got invited to the second round interview, felt good about it, and got the call on Monday that we both got jobs! At the same company! Signing our paperwork on Christmas morning could not have been a sweeter present! So after we get married, we will be moving to Nashville to start our careers!   This could not have been more ordained by the Lord and we are thrilled to enter our last semester of Supply Chain Management with jobs locked down.

So next week we will travel to Tampa, FL for the Outback Bowl to finish out George’s college football career and close out a wonderful 2015.  With as much change as 2015 has brought, 2016 will bring even more! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

 

Camp Bahamas: Day 28

Well we just wrapped up our third week of campers and Camp Bahamas is at the halfway mark!  I’m trying to think of where to start and how to describe this week of camp..
We of course started off by picking them up from the dock as usual, and normally I feel really awkward because I don’t know any of them and don’t really try until that night when the campers are assigned to my cabin, but this week I had this boost of energy and optimism so right when they came off the boat, I went for it.  The bus ride to camp I sat and talked with a girl named Courtney.  She was special needs and kind of difficult to understand especially on a loud bus, but it was her second year at camp and she was so excited to be there! After arriving at camp, she was thrilled to be in my cabin– the fifteen year old girls.

The talkative Courtney

The first night was kind of overwhelming because the girls were VERY loud and all knew each other so they were pretty rambunctious. I began to wish I wasn’t there or had different girls and was only dwelling on how annoyed I was and I was just being down-right nasty.
I woke up early the next morning to do my devos and began to think it all over. I was very convicted and upset with myself for the way I was approaching the situation. God has put me here for a reason, and I was thinking so selfishly! I really prayed hard about the upcoming week that God would remove my sinful heart and give me His eyes of compassion and love.  I’m not saying it was easy from then on out, because I had to renew my heart and mind each morning with the Lord, but my girls were great and I felt like I connected with them more than any campers I’ve had yet!

Hyper little Aliyah!

I especially liked when we would have cabin chat in the afternoon and talk about what they read in devos and what we talked about in night sessions.  As the week went on they began to open up more and more. Their stories were difficult, but I really felt like the other counselors and I were able to speak the truth of God into their lives and situations.  One reoccurring topic with them, as they are fifteen year old girls, was boys. My mind was blown at the lack of respect that men give them here in the Bahamas. It broke my heart for them as they are looked at as objects rather than who they are.  I found myself sharing a little of my testimony with them when one of them mentioned she had her first boyfriend and how they were both Christians but were not putting the Lord first. My mind was screaming at me that that was me at fifteen and I had been there so I just told them what I have gone through and how God has worked in my life concerning relationships, and they really took to it. We had a great week together, and I’m really going to miss that group of girls.

Two of my campers Shanthe and Dallas

The hardest part of the week was saying goodbye Friday night to my campers and my two closest friends I’ve made here in the Bahamas. Brandon was leaving to go on a missions trip to Haiti and Jade was going back to school in Scotland. We had hung out for the last month, having loads of fun and making a ton of memories. I tried so hard not to lose it, but not knowing when I would see them again– it was a very emotional goodbye after how close we got.

The hardest goodbye, sending Jade back to Nassau
Shared more laughs with this guy than anyone else.
Going to miss Brandon so much!

I can’t believe I will be back in America in a week. It’s only been a month, but it feels like so much longer. This camp has changed my heart, and I’m not even done yet!

 

Camp Bahamas: Day 22

This morning I got up and made chocolate pancakes for the staff.  I love cooking and I was getting sick of leftovers so they were a hit!
A little before noon, I went with my friend Jade to go free diving.  The water was especially clear and calm so we were able to see tons of starfish, angel fish, stone fish, lion fish, jelly fish, and even a barracuda.  It was a great morning off!
The next campers arrive in a few hours! Can’t wait!

The beautiful water today!

 

Two of my starfish I picked up

 

Extremely awkward picture of Jade and I