Soultatos Baby Shower

Lisa, Kaytlyn (friends from church), and I threw a baby shower for a couple in our “life group” at Long Hollow Baptist. 13903221_10155156465097796_7784223863330451777_n.jpgThis couple is obviously so loved; just look at this turnout!

Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios

Sweet tea, lemonade, and water were all available to cool off on the hot summer day.

Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios

We went with a tea party theme. I found sweet little teapots at Target and from a friend and used them as flower vases. The hydrangeas are from our yard, and the other flowers seemed just right for a baby girl. IMG_3284A generous co-worker, Nancy (or Queen Nancy as I call her), let me borrow this beautiful bunting! She actually loaned us the majority of the items for our shower. So grateful to her!

The little teacups were inherited from my grandmother. IMG_3293-1We gave sweet baby Sailor a children’s Bible called “The Jesus Storybook Bible.” It’s my very favorite children’s Bible as it is jam-packed with good theology and truth! Guests signed the book and addressed it to the already-much-loved Baby Sailor Elise.

Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios

Then, they wrote notes of encouragement for Mom and Dad to read on those weary nights. IMG_3295The goal was to make every inch of the space girly. IMG_3297This was snapped before I nestled the last of the flowers in place.


Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios

And here they are in place!

Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios

My friend Kaytlyn’s ultra-talented mother in law made us treats in the mint-and-pink theme.

Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios
Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios

We served chicken salad croissants, pimento cheese, and fresh fruit.

Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios

Love seeing these ladies laugh and giggle. They couldn’t be kinder or sweeter!

Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios
Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios

Ever-gorgeous Brittney.

Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios

Ever-smiling Jonathan.

Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios

This little lady is destined to be a happy little beauty like her folks! Soultatos family, we hope you know you are always supported as you seek to raise up this little one well. We are here for you and praying for you!

Photo by Gretchen Demonbreun of GW Studios

Our Life Group ladies with the parents-to-be in the center. Sweet Cheryl on the left has seen many of us through a lot of stages of life! From college to marriage and children of our own.


Your Sumner Magazine

Our home was featured in Your Sumner magazine this month.

It was a fun, unexpected adventure thanks to the sweet and smart Hollie Deese.

I had just about no time to prepare (clean and decorate), which I think made things more authentic for sure. 🙂

Screen-Shot-2016-08-11-at-2.52.22-PM-768x568.pngThis was the header they made. Though I grew up here in Sumner County, this was a warm welcome as new homeowners in the area.

Sources: paint color, Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray | dish pantry, Joss & Main | striped chair and foot stool, Ballard Designs | side table, World Market | tabletop, metal tray from Magnolia Market | turned-base lamp and copper lanterns, Red Tulip Gifts in Gallatin, TN | white chair and ottoman, IKEA Ektorp | Dresser, painted by me with Annie Sloan Old White | glass lamp, World Market | painting, me | mirror, Leaf & Petal | planters and lemon cypress, Long Hollow Gardens | tobacco basket, Antique Tobacco Barn | seagrass rug, Pottery Barn
Screen-Shot-2016-08-11-at-2.51.36-PM-768x509.pngOur room so far. Lots I’d love to add to soften this space someday, but I’m waiting patiently for just the right things at just the right price, not to mention waiting for our youngest pup to grow up.

Sources: paint color, Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray | thumbprint tree, Me | vintage mailbox and shutters: Southern Accents Architectural Antiques | nightstands, Target | lamps and bird pillows, Homegoods | demijohn, Hobby Lobby | bed, Restoration Hardware | buffalo check pillows, IKEA | boxwood wreath and linen duvet, Target | euro shams, Then & Again Home MarketplaceScreen-Shot-2016-08-11-at-2.51.04-PM.pngI thought it was sweet that they highlighted this quote, especially because it may have been the only time I effectively and concisely conveyed my meaning. 🙂 I’m the absolutely worst speaker, and my thoughts spoken aloud are often a jumbled mess. However, I hope and pray each person who comes into our home feels just like this,

Sources: paint, Sherwin Williams Sea Salt | tin vase, Then & Again Home Marketplace | concrete canisters, Tracery Interiors | floating shelves, Target | potted boxwood, Kirkland’s | wooden, whitewashed S, Target | twine and spool, Crate & Barrel | carved elephant, travels overseas| tissue box, Amazon | wooden bowl, Tracery Interiors

Screen-Shot-2016-08-11-at-2.52.36-PM.pngA little bit of my office (which I have since deconstructed).

Sources: wall color, Dovetail Gray by Sherwin Williams | chalkboard, World Market | lamps, painted by me, shades from Target | metal tool bin, Then & Again Home Marketplace | dresser, family piece, painted by meScreen-Shot-2016-08-11-at-2.52.49-PM-768x532.pngA view of our kitchen with the table Dad and Brother built.

Sources: coffee bags (framed), Southern Accents Architectural Antiques | lamps, Barn Trash from The Strawberry Patch Festival | side table, World Market | turned wooden flower pot, JBS Mercantile from The Country Living Fair | light fixture, Lowe’s | vase, Summer Classics Home | pedestal, Scarlett Scales Antiques | upholstered chairs, T J Maxx | end chair, Restoration Hardware

To read the article, click here!

Happy New Year: Goals and Changes for 2015

IMG_6672Happy New Year, Friends!

I want to share some changes, dreams, and goals around these parts. Forgive me as I don’t even bother to proofread and let my dreams take the reins for a few minutes.

First, Mr. S enjoyed a (well-deserved) military “leave” recently in which he was able to grow a beard. Ha! This is nearly impossible for a police officer and soldier, so he took advantage of the opportunity. The bright-red beard bit the dust in the final days of 2014. Bye, beard! See you after retirement or on a future deployment!

IMG_6684 Secondly, I’ve begun a process I am calling “The Great Un-Decorating of January 2015.” Yep! I’ve realized that, though I love home decor, I will forever be terrified of clutter and knick-knacks. Have you ever been in a decor-lover’s home that was such an unrestrained jumble, you couldn’t focus on anything, but just the magnitude of everything? Friends, I realized I have the potential to be that friend. Yikes!

I love homey, cozy, and inviting. I don’t love unedited rooms full of everything that’s ever caught my eye. I love to share and donate. I don’t love to hoard. I don’t want to love our living space, I want to love living in our space.

Does that make a lick of sense to anyone else but me? Basically, unless it’s functional or irresistibly lovely, it’s going into storage until it can be used in our first home or donated to someone else who can enjoy it now. Silly and trivial though it may seem to some, I take homemaking seriously and am praying over these decisions. I pray our home is a sanctuary for friends, family, and strangers alike. A place of peace and restoration.

OK, now I’m ready to share some scary New Year’s goals and plans. I say scary because writing them here makes them feel more concrete.

This year, I plan to read My Utmost For His Highest from cover to cover. It’s a classic, and I think it’ll be a precious starting point to my quiet time. I also want to read the One-Year Chronological Bible to improve my Bible history knowledge.

I want to commit to doing a workout three days a week, and will change my routine drastically from what it’s been in the past. Running distances truly hurts my knees, and after talking to our chiropractor and my fitness-loving husband at length, I’ve decided I will stick to 2-3 miles or running for me (it’s still my favorite) or 20-30 minutes of cycling paired with strength training. It’s a modest goal so I know I can stick it out. I will also eat fried food only one day a week. Again, not a drastic change but a realistic change, and a change worth making!

I want to intentionally pour into a girlfriend every day. I have been hugely blessed with many sweet women I just love to pieces from childhood, college, church, and work. I want to invest in other women the way older women have invested in me.

I am going to cut down on coffee. I’ve already cut back to a daily two-cup limit (another order from our chiropractor) and hope to reduce that to one. Let’s be honest, I’ll never quit completely, friends.

I want to intentionally continue my education. I am truly a lover of reading, learning, and listening, but haven’t chased after my areas of interest with purpose. I want to pursue the things that interest me with vigor. From U.S. history to Geometry to Spanish, I want to learn it all!

Last but not least… This one is scary to put into words, because I don’t know what it is… I have a vague goal and I am still praying through it. I want, and almost need, to have a creative outlet. I don’t know what that will look like! I have so many dreams, from refinishing furniture to doing wedding invitation calligraphy, to selling prints, to helping friends decorate and organize their homes, to someday owning a little shop of my own. I want to help make other people’s lives beautiful. I truly just hope the Lord will show me what to do and how to add that to full schedule and my first love (teaching). For now, I’ll cultivate these things and wait.

Thanks for letting me share with you in this little dream space! ❤

Mr. S, Daddy, and Momma on New Year’s Eve in Nashville
The final, splendid sunset of 2014. Revealing glory!

What are your dreams for 2015? Thanks for stopping by!

Christmas Preparations

Battling week 4 of a rather brutal cough/cold I simply cannot beat and almost healed from whiplash from an automobile collision.

I finally gave in and have taken two days off from work after much deliberation and have been feeling such a strong longing to be there, but know I will not get better if I do not rest. On pins and needles wondering how the day is going, but know that I have the best team teachers in the world.

Sadly, Mr. S has caught “the funk” from me, too. I suppose it’s the time of year in which that becomes an occupational hazard for all teachers. We are giving thanks for generally good health and for no serious injuries from the car accident. IMG_6300-1The day after Thanksgiving, we brought one of our nephews home for a slumber party. We watched Christmas movies, drank hot chocolate, and decorated for Christmas. We cherished the one-on-one time with him.

I sure was thankful to have two great helpers!

We got the place ready for celebration. Mr. S specifically requested plenty of classic red, and I happily obliged.

I got it in my head that we’d use a galvanized tub instead of a tree skirt for our tree, and it meant poor Mr. S was basically all on his own to find one and to situate the tree safely in the tub. Isn’t love grand?

Little ironstone pitcher full of Christmas goodness. IMG_6312

Our simple little nativity scene brings me joy and makes me feel like a little kid again. I just play with the figures, scoot them around, and imagine what those present must have thought and felt! IMG_6303

We tied pine branches to our chairs to add a little something, too.

Merry Christmas to you, wherever you may be! Letting the true reason for the season fill my heart. No need to focus on events, parties, and fancy gifts.

Enjoying time with my dear Mr. S while he is home.

Now to get well!



Fall Break Friend Time

I’m a little behind in sharing these photos, but that’s OK!

Our school’s schedule is “balanced,” meaning we’re somewhere between year round and traditional. We enjoy a short-but-long-enough summer break, then three two-week breaks throughout the school year.


I was blessed to spend Fall Break enjoying long, lazy days with girlfriends. IMG_4978These two lovely red heads have been my friends for fifteen and six years respectively. Friends for life for sure! We enjoyed grilled cheese, tomato-basil soup, and pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting for dessert.
IMG_4979Afterward, we sipped hot apple cider. I love to simmer cider with spices and orange zest. It makes the whole house smell like a dream. IMG_5054We celebrated the birthday of the beauty in black.IMG_5053Love these smart, sweet girls.  
IMG_5058IMG_5105This bride-to-be came for the day. We caught up on her new job as a counselor in a school, and talked wedding plans. She picked out some pretty cute bridesmaids’ dresses for her upcoming nuptials in May! IMG_5015And of course I crammed in lots of time with my travelling best friend–here she was fresh off the plane from NYC and then heading to Florida.

I love that the Lord has woven the lives of this women with mine. Praying special blessings over each of them as I type away.


I’ve been keeping busy by sewing cushions for momma’s blue guest room, writing escort cards on silk leaves, arranging flowers, teaching an early-morning Bible study, attending a wedding, chatting with girlfriends, doodling chalkboard signs for my Bible teacher’s parents’ 80th birthday celebration, organizing/hosting a bridal shower, visiting with life-long friends, sewing a desk skirt (small space storage for free from a drop cloth), nestling found ginkgo branches in a demijohn, and serving up so much hot chocolate.
So thankful for every bit of busy blessing. Feeling the close and comforting hand of The Lord through it all. IMG_5609-0.JPG













Sweet Friendship

The last week of Fall Break has flown by. I’ve been able to spend time with sweet girlfriends nearly every day and it’s been soooo refreshing!

Wednesday was these two, with a comfort-food lunch of tomato basil soup, Colby Jack grilled cheese, and some pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting.

IMG_4978.JPGWe washed it all down with spiced apple cider.

IMG_4979.JPGI confess, I bought the cider from the store, but I love to “doctor” it up by simmering it on the stove with orange zest, a dash of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and PLENTY of cloves. Adding a little cinnamon stick and a slice of orange has become my habit.


My two best girls snuggles up reading the Word. Well, one is snoring. This girl was fresh off the plane from NYC and was headed to Florida next!
IMG_5105 This bride-to-be delighted me with the news that I’d be in her wedding. IMG_5058 Celebrating a sweet friend’s wedding. IMG_5054 These roomies are just the cutest. Birthday girl on the right.

IMG_5056Friends of a close friend. I really adore them and their fascinating careers and lives. ❤

2-Year Anniversary

Choosing joy today! And it’s easy to do!

Today, it’s been two years of marriage. Two years of the sweetest friendship this world has to offer.

Together or miles apart, the day is just as special. Together or apart, the covenant is just as strong. Together or apart, the goodness of the Lord’s blessing doesn’t increase or decrease.


IMG_4597.JPGLove this lion-hearted man who’s as strong and steady as they come. His servant-minded attitude, his sense of humor, those kind blue eyes, and the way he says, “Yes ma’am,” all make my heart skip a beat.

Small Group Fall Gathering

We are blessed beyond measure to have a Small Group at church of people we love to pieces. Nothing sweeter than friends who encourage you in life and faith, and most importantly, who crack you up. There’s no lack of laughter when this group is together. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

IMG_4584Our amazing leaders are a husband and wife who have been in the lives of Mr. S and I for many years now. Since we were 19 and 20, they’ve taught us God’s word and hosted various groups in their beautiful home.

This weekend was her birthday (and our anniversary), so we decided to have some fun! We went to Shuckle’s Corn Maze, then everyone headed back to our place for some goodies, hot chocolate, spiced apple cider, coffee, pumpkin cake, cupcakes, and cookies were all enjoyed.

I think birthdays are the perfect excuse to have a little lot of sugar, don’t you? IMG_4581.JPGIt was so much fun to get our little apartment ready to host people who have hosted us time and time again.

IMG_4585.JPGCinnamon stick for cider and marshmallows for hot chocolate were the first things on my shopping list.

IMG_4583.JPGA thoughtful parent gave me these sweet paper tags, and they have brought me so much joy. Today, they were labels. They’ve also been place cards for dinner guests tied around napkin rings. I can’t wait to use them for gifts, too.

I searched desperately for pumpkin creamer, but alas, none could be found. IMG_4586.JPGNext was a local pumpkin patch. We played some games, and one couple was hilariously lucky and seemed to win everything. We took a hayride, watched the boys fly out of the biggest slide you’ve ever seen, picked out pumpkins, and got lost in a corn maze.

IMG_4587.JPGOne of the sweetest little baby girls you’ve ever seen in her Mamie’s arms. She took it all in and was probably the best “attraction” of the whole outing. 🙂 IMG_4563.JPGOne of our wonderful couples is expecting their first child. It is such a blessing to be able to rejoice with them! IMG_4594.JPGThe whole group! These faces make me smile.

IMG_4588.JPGWe gave one of our Bible teachers (the birthday girl) a card, and a dinner-and-a-movie date night. 🙂 My friend presenting a cupcake was the mastermind behind that idea. IMG_4589.JPGShowing her (happy-go-lucky, energetic, superhero, break-dancing) grandson the card. 🙂 IMG_4590.JPGLucy was thrilled to have a living room full of people. I was thrilled to have a living room full of people who tolerate and enjoy my hyper little pup.

Thankful to share life and celebrate seasons with these folks.

So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Romans 12:5