Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Harts - Month Three



Month three! It's all good y'all. It is ALL SO GOOD. Kyle and I both agree that marriage keeps getting exponentially better month after month after month.

This month was really marked for me personally with some internal struggle. I'm still trying to figure out how I can share some insight and what I've learned over a year without being inappropriate or needlessly dramatic, but I'd like to put it out there. I'll let you know if and when I find the balance that I'm looking for. Honestly, I may just need some time before I can write about the situation with a clear head. I've learned some BIG lessons and the way I treat and communicate with people from now on will be much different. I'm thankful for the lessons, but they've been hard and humbling things to learn.

Now on to some things I'd like to remember!


  • Our weekend at Greenbrier State Forest - We were lucky enough to join my family at the tail end of their summer trip! We arrived late on Friday evening with our bags packed for fun and me with a baking dish full of homemade marshmallows. We stayed in a cozy cabin, had a slow morning with coffee on the porch, hiked part of the Greenbrier River Trail, ate a breakfast burger with a fried egg on top and key lime pie ice cream, sat by a campfire, ate homemade s'mores, traveled to Summers County on a back road with the most beautiful views, stopped at the Bluestone River, and ate at Kirk's. It was slow, warm, relaxed, beautiful, and restful. Just what we needed.

  • 13-hour shooting day at Stonewall Resort - I was fortunate to be asked to provide images from an event at Stonewall to showcase all the renovations and new and exciting services and changes they have created. It was an absolute blast, I ate like a Queen, and I felt a little bit of pride because that property is so close to my heart. I did, however, make the worst shoe choice of my life and my ankles are STILL trying to recover.
  • Kyle's birthday weekend at Stonewall - We spent a non-working weekend at Stonewall for Kyle's birthday and it was such a delightful trip! I checked in on Friday evening since Kyle actually decided to go fishing with my dad that day. I knew I had some time to burn so I took a book out to the pool and began the decompressing activities. hahaha! I sat in the sun and just took in the beauty of the property. I know I'm biased, but dang it's beautiful there! Maybe it's so comforting to me because Stonewall still feels like home to me? I took a walk around the lake and then returned to our room where I promptly took a bubble bath and ordered dessert through room service. That whole evening felt so indulgent and wonderful! I ate an apple dessert and ice cream in bed while I watched a random movie on HBO. So good! Kyle ended up getting to the Resort around 10:30, and I was definitely asleep when he knocked on the door. We ate the breakfast buffet (HOLY COW WAFFLES) and watched the rainstorm through the restaurant windows. I felt my whole body relax. We ended up taking cups of coffee to go and sat out on the Terrace Patio where we got married. It was a quiet morning and we were the only two out there. We reminisced about our day and how the Lord provided a very special day that we were able to enjoy without debt. We've definitely marked that as a banner over our marriage. More on God's outrageous provision later.
  • Our trip to Wheeling - last weekend we decided to head to Wheeling for the day. I wanted to try a little cafe that I'd seen the last time I was there for a work trip - Avenue Eats! It was worth the trip. I had the best, most gooey grilled cheese I've ever had in my life. The building itself is tiny which is kinda crappy because it is a POPULAR PLACE. I watched everyone's food be delivered and everything looked so delicious. We'll definitely go back. We stopped at Whisk Bakery & Catering for cupcakes and then headed to Cabela's. 
  • Finally hitting publish on the Meredith Brooke Photography website! I've found so much joy and restoration and purpose in owning and running my own business! 
  • Being able to pay off debt - If you don't know, there was a period (from 2005 - 2014) that I dealt with crippling anxiety and depression to the point that there was a year or two that it affected my ability to even get out of bed in the morning. I was a single lady who was living on my own and not many people knew how bad things were. Financially, things were already very tight, but missing so much work really put me into a really tough situation. There were times I wasn't getting a paycheck, and I wasn't making enough money at that time to have the ability to put anything into savings. To put it lightly, I was in a financial bind and used credit cards to survive. Being completely transparent, that whole season of my life created some wrong thoughts about God and who He is as Provider. Last October on vacation the Lord spoke to me that he was going to heal my heart about money and my relationship and fear of lack and not having enough. I had no idea that our wedding and how he provided a way for that was just the beginning. He definitely used that to confront my fear. However, last week I received a check in the mail that has not only allowed me to pay my credit card off from that season, but there is money left over. With the exception of student loans and our vehicles, we are DEBT FREE. Just so you know, I'm crying writing that out. I anticipated years of having to pay that off. YEARS of that burden are now gone. 

PRAYING FOR

Still the same things as always. Trusting God is going to be faithful to place us in the right place not only geographically, but in the right home, too! 

Community! It's so important for my heart to have a group of friends to walk through life with! 

My photography business. I've had so many wonderful opportunities open up in 8 months of actually pursuing this with intentionality. I am excited to see where this journey takes me, but I'm certainly praying that this becomes something I can pursue without having a day job. 

READING

Soul Rest by Curtis Zackery I started reading this during my pool time at Stonewall for Kyle's birthday. It is SO DEEP that I've had to read it slowly taking breaks to think and work through what he's communicating. I'm loving it so far, and it's helping me to work through and shape what I think about Biblical Rest. I highly recommend it! 

Called to Create by Jordan Raynor I'm on page 10 and I'm loving it already! I love thinking about owning a business as worship and ministry. 

UPDATE ON LAST MONTH'S BOOKS

I finished Perfect Couple and loved it! I really enjoy reading books that I can't figure out. I was hooked and couldn't predict the ending! I highly recommend it! 

GRATEFUL FOR

The Lord confronting my fear of money. It's been a very vulnerable process, but I am so grateful. 

My husband. He has a heart of gold. I am grateful for his support, his selflessness, and his intentionality. I can trust him to lead because I know he is just following Jesus. He is a good man. 

My impending career change.

EATING AND DRINKING

More Lacroix. Seriously. It's so bad. We need help. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

LISTENING TO

The Up and Vanished podcast. The host of the show, Payne Lindsey, was on a different podcast I listen to. Since hearing him on the other show I've been binging all the episodes of the first season. I'm probably the last person in America to listen to this, but if you're farther behind in pop culture than me GO LISTEN! 

Chef's Table on Netflix. Stories of how people found their passion and purpose make me so happy. I LOVE seeing people be successful in a business. Plus, this show highlights chefs and stories internationally. Three of my favorites so far: Jeong Kwan - a female Buddhist Monk living in Korea; Corrado Assenza - a Sicilian pastry chef in Sicily; and Christina Tosi - she owns Milk Bar and her take on pastry is so whimsical and fun! 

BEING INTENTIONAL ABOUT

Taking care of myself. I'm not good at this, and Kyle helps me so much! 

DREAMING OF

Holden Beach - we are headed there in October and we're counting down the days! 

Being my own boss and being able to pursue Meredith Brooke Photography full time. It's taken me years to be able to say that out loud, but it is truly what I want. Building this has been so fulfilling even in the frustrating moments. 

WANTING TO ADVENTURE TO

Sicily to eat gelato at Corrado Assenza's place! I'm so inspired by that part of the world! 

UPDATE ON LAST MONTH'S GOALS

I am so happy to report that I've been so much more consistent with getting myself in the gym! 

I also made HUGE strides with work boundaries! I've created a shooting schedule that not only allows me time to actually get sessions edited but also allows me to get into the gym consistently! I'm a genius! hahaha ;-)

Thank you guys for reading! These posts have been the most popular on my site! 


3 comments:

  1. You are such an awesome and amazing young woman! And WOW....die asGod have a lot in store for you!!!! Hugs! Rita

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    1. Thank you :) That makes me feel so good! Hugs from me! :)

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  2. Two things I want to share.

    1) Throughout my life thus far (@ 50) - life is constantly changing and evolving. Nothing will ever stay the same. Consider different strategies for areas in your life. What you like, what you don’t like and then pray and ask for guidance in the issue areas. Sometime life just simply hurts. But through those hurts God can stretch us and grow us if we let him.
    I have recently joined CHOP as a prayer leader one night a week and wow has that been a journey! Two things I have learned there are 1) work as a team. I can not get upset when I am receiving correction from our leader. This was huge for me, but it stretched me and I realized God was doing it for my benefit. 2) what I thought I knew about intercessory prayer over the last 12 + years - I really didn’t know and God is in the process of completely transforming my prayer life. The good thing is I am willing to be stretched and conformed to what He would have for me and not what I think it should be. Needless to say - our relationship is growing!
    2) Consider life as a journey and enjoy the ride!

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