Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spring Break

I love vacations for many reasons, but perhaps my favorite part of getting away from the norm is the chance to reset things a bit when you get home.  Our vacation was pretty incredible for so many reasons.  We stayed in one of the dreamiest homes and had so many hours to dig deep with one of my best girls to do this with.  We curled up in that sweet little girls' room at the Magnolia House, dreaming up ways God might be calling us to move.  We sat on the porch in the afternoon sun and shared stories of the good and the bad from our past that continue to shape us today.  And we stayed up late on our last night, sitting around that coffee table while our husbands slept, talking about what the Lord has taught us and where we go from here.  And one word seemed to stick with me as we traveled home the next day, making our way back to a full email inbox, and a home with a lot less shiplap and a lot more cheerios stuck to the hardwood floor...


Obviously, this word smacks you in the face after any time away from home, when reality comes in the form of laundry to do, toiletries to put away, and if you're lucky, beach sand in the corners of your suitcase.  But thanks to the words of Jill Briscoe from this year's If:Gathering, this word means much more than a carry-on suitcase to unload.  As a world traveler herself, Jill had to learn to unpack wherever God put her, as if she was there for life.  This allowed her to use everything He gave her, right there between her two feet.

So often I am guilty of this.  In my Anchored Press devotional this week, Amy Hilliker wrote: "There seems to be such a temptation these days to rush the "process" in our lives.  We want to create movements, force growth, self-promote, develop resources, connect with people, capture the perfect pictures, leverage our relationships, and quickly respond to the barrage of messages we receive everyday."  I get caught up in looking outside of the orbit of my own two feet and I miss opportunities to truly unpack and be present right where I'm planted.  And after a few days away from home, on a trip where I halfway expected God to plant a big seed in me that might lead to new dreams, I believe He asked the opposite of me.  To unpack right where He has me, in the midst of a spring break week with two little disciples that sit right around my kitchen table.  

God showed me purpose, presence, and process a lot during spring break, but mostly through a leprechaun trap.  I unpacked - my time, my resources, and all my strengths, to be fully engaged with the two little humans in my house.  Cruz had been very intrigued by the whole leprechaun thing and I wanted to get his wheels turning with a little inquiry based learning.  I told him and Mila that we needed to build a leprechaun trap.  In our pajamas, we spent the entire morning doing just that.  First, we drew out illustrations of our plan and talked through the process together.  Then, we problem-solved in order to construct a model using the resources we had.  I assigned roles that fit everyone's specific strengths - Mila assembled colored strips into a rainbow, Cruz glued cotton balls on a piece of paper to make a cloud, and I used my gift-wrapping skills to assemble a bright green box that would surely entice our leprechaun.  We found and counted gold coins, tested out our trap with numerous stand-in leprechauns, and I watched closely how each of their personalities came to life as we did this together.

It made me a bit broken hearted to see how excited both Cruz and Mila got through this process.  To see Cruz label his diagram with the sweetest spelled words and watch how his eyes lit up as we explained his plan using so much detail and expression.  To hear Mila exclaim, "Mom, you're a GENIUS!" as I helped them think through their plan with the supplies we had on hand.  To feel their anticipation in the air and see just how sweet they worked together when I took the time to give them a task they could collaborate on.  All morning, I knew with every part of me that this was exactly where God wanted me, yet how often do I miss these moments, their faces, the rich opportunities to unpack right at home in order for my most cherished relationships to see the best part of me?

God can reveal Himself to us anywhere.  Through a Bible study, a mission trip, a vacation to a dreamy place, and even through a leprechaun trap.  

And a pretty good one, I might add, even though that sneaky guy got away again this year, but not without a little mischief of his own... :)

More spring break memories with these two wild ones!


Mila's pouty face.  Her Legos would not stay together!

Another favorite moment with them.  They wanted to take a nap in our bed together and while I did not think this would work, they were insistent.  We read books, I sang a couple of songs, and they said it was time to lay quietly with eyes closed.  After they wouldn't stop being silly with each other, I finally said, "One more time I have to tell you to be quiet you have to go to your own beds."  Then, twenty minutes later, I woke up and found them like this.  Love Cruz all curled up with Mila's bunny. 

They also insisted on a "sleepover" together one night with their sleeping bags.  Quite certain this also wouldn't work, we decided to let them try.  It took them awhile to fall asleep, but they were quite the sight when I went in to check on them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Newbie's Guide to Magnolia Market

Before I close this little chapter of our Magnolia adventure and move on to reality, I wanted to share a few of our tips and discoveries in hopes that you enjoy this place as much as we all did if you ever have the chance to visit.  Magnolia Market's website has a list of tips for enjoying your visit, and you can find several others  

Tip 1: If possible, visit on a weekday.  I read somewhere that the Silos welcome around 25,000 people a week and that on Saturdays and Sundays, the crowds and lines wrap around the block.  We went on a Tuesday and Thursday and had no issues.  We waited less than ten minutes at the bakery and had no wait in the checkout line.  I did read that the following weekend, average wait time at the checkouts was 90 minutes!  The only line I did see when we were there was for the bathrooms!  I'd suggest going before, or using the outdoor bathrooms across from the Silos.

Tip 2: Take your time and soak it all in!  Expect to spend a half day there to make the most of the experience.  An hour or two in the Market depending on how much shopping you plan to do, a half hour to browse the gardens and Seed + Supply Store, eat lunch at one of the food trucks, and definitely eat dessert at the bakery.  There are bins full of lawn games, giant wooden swings, kettle corn, and music playing - it's so much more than a place to shop and the perfect place to connect and unplug with friends and family.  

Tip 3: Be prepared to purchase!  Kate and I literally wanted to buy everything in the store.  Since we flew to Texas, we were both ecstatic when Magnolia announced a FedEx Ship-to-Home booth right in the store and were planning to take advantage of this service to send our packages home.  Although very convenient (my package arrived two days after shipping it), it was pretty pricey.  You may want to take a look at the website prior to visiting the store to see what you can find and order online and what items are in-store only.  I prioritized the in-store items for sure, and took pictures of a few things I had my eye on that could later be ordered online.  I'll share my fun finds at the bottom of the post.  

Tip 4: Eat at the Silos.  The food trucks that border the Silos add so much character to the experience, not to mention the food was wonderful.  I highly recommend a gourmet grilled cheese (the Sweet Granny was so good) and Moonshine Sweet Tea at the Cheddar Box!

Tip 5: Engage with the staff.  Every single person we had the opportunity to talk with was kind, genuine, and loved sharing parts of the mission of Magnolia.  Nate talked to a young man who had just started working there two weeks before and had just met Chip.  One of the sweet gals I talked to told me about a staff party they just had on the green space with live music and blankets on the lawn.  There was a genuine excitement just being around the people there. 

Tip 6: Explore Waco and go on a Fixer Upper Scavenger Hunt.  We had all read the book and had so much fun driving around Waco looking for Fixer Upper landmarks (with the help of google and gps)Clint Harp's Design Co. Store is a must-do, and we all got so excited when we accidentally came across Bosque Ave. and spotted Joanna's sweet little store where it all began.  We also found a couple of Fixer Upper homes, and the stately historic house that is the next big surprise project of Chip and Joanna's.  Driving around Waco and getting a sense of the community revealed just how unexpectedly sweet their journey to Fixer Upper has been.  

Tip 7: Read the book.  The book is wonderful whether you're making a trip to Waco or not, but if you are, it's an absolute must!  This book gave us SO much context to understanding their journey to where they are now and we appreciated their story so much more to see the high and low points of their storyWe found the street near Baylor University where Chip started buying and flipping homes, and it was really neat to get a true picture of where they started.  And it only makes the Magnolia Market more incredible!   

Tip 8: Eat some barbecue.  We loved Rudy's for its cafeteria style ordering and big ice-filled coolers of glass bottles of root beer and blue cream soda.  Part gas station, part barbecue, our food was served on plastic pallets and we sat on long picnic tables next to garage doors that can open up as windows.  The ambience was great and we just so happened to be right next door to Chip's most recent adventure...

Tip 9: Appease your husbands with a trip to Austin first. :)  In my honest opinion, if you are driving any distance to Waco, it's worth it to extend for a day or two and check out this unique and vibrant city.  While the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco may do it for some, I got the feeling there wasn't a ton to do in this cityAustin was a quick 90-minute drive from Waco, and a city we really loved.  Waco for Magnolia, Austin for tacos, music, and Texas. ;)

So what did I bring home with me from my visit to Magnolia?  My favorite items include my signature Magnolia wreath that seemed fitting to buy while at the Market, two heavy black candlesticks to recreate some of Joanna's black accent pieces, my number signs from Clint's shop, and my sweet stack of hymn cards with the words of Come Thou Fount, just perfect for Mila's dresser.  I was like a little girl on Christmas morning when the FedEx man delivered my box.  It was so much fun to unwrap the pieces, channel my inner Joanna, and arrange these pieces into our fold here at home.  So much of what we took away from Magnolia could be recreated anywhere.  Small details, like a flickering candle, a pop of black, or a new towel hung on the oven door, can inspire creativity, cozy, and joy. 



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