How to Conquer New York City in Less than 3 Days

As young college-grads, people are constantly telling us to go travel before we are tied down with kids, commitments, etc., but when you work Monday-Friday with limited vacation time it’s not always feasible to take off and tour Europe for ten days. Knowing this wasn’t going to be possible for George and I, we decided soon after we got married that we would try to take small weekend trips every 3-4 months.
New York City was first on the list! We took advantage of the Fourth of July holiday weekend so we didn’t have to use any time off and with the help of Travelocity, I booked a flight + hotel package for a great deal!

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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!!

 

Slowing Down, Making Space

Today I walked through my bedroom, only to glance up at the wall once again and see my dry-erase calendar titled “August”.  Week after week I walk past it, with best intentions of erasing it and filling in this month’s schedule.  The reason I don’t: no time.

I cannot believe that it is not August anymore, it’s already November– a few months from a whole new year.
I think of all the things I wanted to accomplish/still need to do and it’s enough to resurface my anxiety.  Even now, almost halfway through my last year of college, I recall things I thought would have done, places I would have gone, and people I would have done them with. Why didn’t I? Four years went by that fast?

This semester has been way busier than I expected it to be. I imagined breezing through my classes, lining up a job by mid-semester, and coasting through the rest of the year, really enjoying myself. But here it is now, November, my calendar reads August, I have items on my to-do list from two months ago, no job lined up, and it’s all I can do to eat three meals a day and get seven hours of sleep at night. I digress, most of these tasks that fill my day are necessary: school, work, small group, countless group projects. But where have I stepped back and made time for, let alone thought about, the lasting things.. things that will still matter six months from now? When do I realize the moments I’m missing that cannot be relived, that I cannot get back?

Last night, George and I went on a date for the first time since probably this summer. Like I said, between our school, my work, his football– it’s been crazy.  A few weeks ago we were looking ahead on our calendars, realized this week was less busy in school and other activities, and set a date. As this week approached we had things come up, antagonizing that time, but it meant a lot to us so we fought for it. And let me tell you.. well worth it.

We wore nice clothes, as in, nicer-than-we-wear-to-church clothes. We went to an actual restaurant with an actual wait staff, rather than picking something up in a paper bag on our way to the library.  We laughed and talked over many delicious courses. We strolled through the park, even though it was after dark, to relieve our full bellies and enjoy the warm November weather.  We recalled how we had both been giddy, even feeling butterflies, when getting ready for the night.

Such sweetness, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

But how often is that not exactly what I do? I trade it for the world rather than fighting for it.
As each day starts new, I have a new to-do list but where on that list do I ever make time or space?
So caught up in the frivolous, I forget what truly makes me happy:
Alone time with the Lord.
My nieces.
Running, biking, getting outside.
Sweet George.
Good conversation with a friend.

If only I could live in the revelry of those moments like last night, not wanting them to end. I feel like I suffer from short-term memory loss in that I have these incredible experiences when I just rest or get outside or journal but then 24-hours later my actions confirm that filling my time with something else will be more fulfilling.

I write this at a loss. Yes Lord, I want that. I want those moments, that time, but where is it? Where in my schedule do I pencil in “rest”?

It’s so crippling to unplug, it’s so deafening to sit in the silence, it’s so shameful to say “no” to something. 

But if I truly believe that Jesus is greater, that there is strength in the rest, that there is urgency in the need for space– I can make it happen. It can be done.

This blog is my challenge to myself and others to become. To continue making strides and taking shape of what we are working to become.
And I want to become one that makes time, one that is comfortable residing in silence, being alone with my thoughts and with the Lord.

So little by little, let us become.

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.
What I like about the verb becoming is it does not define an end.  It insinuates and hopes for a finished state, but gives no timeline to that process. And how else can life be described than a process? Constantly changing, ever-growing, moving, aching, eager. Becoming.

I extend you this invitation to join me in becoming–whatever that looks like for you.
Becoming a better friend, becoming a woman of God, becoming a homemaker, becoming a better version of who you currently are.

Do I have any idea what lies ahead? Nope. Do I have hope for an end state? I do.

So let us become.

Tri for joy. Tri for glory.

Yesterday I participated in my second sprint triathlon, and I performed better than I had hoped– which was great! But even more than that, I genuinely enjoyed myself.  I found myself smiling, waving, encouraging others on as they slowed the pace– it made me forget how much I wanted to slow down or stop.  It was so fun doing the activities I had worked so hard at, and having the two men I love the most there to cheer me on.  (Thanks dad and George!)

 

However, today, looking back at one particular picture (seen above– thanks Katie for taking it!), I kept thinking of that feeling I had when participating and the smiles on my friend’s faces after they finished.  I have no other word to describe it– joy.  But why this joy? We’re just racing, right?

What I’ve been thinking all day and trying wrap my mind around is that all joy comes from the Lord. Not just happiness– joy goes deeper than that.
Joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart.
Joy is a settled state of contentment, confidence, and hope.
Joy is not easily taken away like the ever-so-temporary happiness.

All things were created through Him and for His glory.
[“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31]
Even a simple act like running a race is the glory of God on display.
It is He who gave us that ability,
He who provides us with strength,
He who breathes breath in our lungs,
and He who sustains our heavily beating heart.
I believe that this is why I can feel such joy in this performance: I am feeling a glimpse of the joy of the Father in His creation.  What pride our Father takes in His children and the incredible physiology of our bodies, functioning as He designed them to function!

I am not alone in this joy:
My boyfriend and I have discussed his kicking as a form of worship and that he feels God’s joy when he’s on the field.
I also have another friend that just completed her first half marathon in great time, and afterwards she posted an Instagram with a quote that really resonated with me: “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” -Olympic runner, Eric Liddell
Alyssa felt that same pleasure in her training and in her race.
Finally, Olympian Gabby Douglas said after winning the gold medal, “I give all the glory to God.  It’s kind of a win-win situation.  The glory goes up to Him, and the blessings fall down on me.”
I can only agree with such a blessing of joy we receive when glory is given where glory is due.
 
 
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What are your experiences with sports and competition? I’d love to hear if you’ve had similar feelings of whimsy or had your affections stirred by such an event! Comment below to share!