Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I'm sitting here sipping the most delicious espresso with homemade molasses/ginger syrup at the neighborhood coffee shop I've become a regular at in just 3 short days, listening to Nat King Cole sing Christmas songs, and I can't help but whisper thanks for the life I've been given. Christmas is just 2 days away, we've finally moved into our long awaited, prayed for, dreamed about house (unfinished as it is), and I'm a healthy 34.5 weeks pregnant with our darling firstborn girl who we get to meet in just 37 some days. Life is indeed full and I'm reminded constantly of His goodness when I stop long enough to pay attention. It's everywhere.

To say the past year has been hard would be the understatement of the century, but to say it's been good would be an understatement too. We are so incredibly blessed. This year has brought about more change than any I've known in my life.

  • We packed up and moved our life and business to Charleston, South Carolina for Lee's job 6 months ago, right around the same time we found out we were expecting our first baby girl! Talk about a major life change! 95% our belongings went into a storage facility in Charleston, and with only our summer clothes, dog and business, we moved into a furnished apartment where we spent the summer exploring our new city, eating at dozens of the most amazing restaurants, and frequenting the beach whenever we so desired. 
  • We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary in August with a 10 day vacation driving up California's Hwy 1. We spent 3 days driving the breathtaking coast in a convertible, something I highly recommend you add to your bucket list if it's not already on there. Then we spent 3 days touring Napa and Sonoma's beautiful wine country, and ended the trip with a gorgeous 3 day weekend in San Francisco. 
  • After looking at 30+ houses the last year and a half, we were beyond thrilled to purchase our first home just 2 months ago! Not only did we find a home with everything on our wish list, but we got it well under budget which allowed us the means to do a complete renovation, leaving us with far more than we could have ever afforded other wise. 
  • Lee's had a busy year of travel. He's been on a dozen or so work trips, including 2 two week Asia trips and his first visit to Honduras. 
  • We've moved 3 times in 6 months. Yes, I said 3 times. All during one pregnancy. Talk about exhausting. This is something I hope to never relive again. 
  • We lived in temporary apartments in Charleston for 4 months while we were still house hunting and moved back to NC after we bought our house due to the complete renovation happening. My in-laws were so gracious to open their hearts and home to us, our dog, our stuff AND my business studio the last month and a half. We moved back to Charleston into our not-quite-completely-renovated home just 5 days ago. We are itching for the construction workers to finish up so we can clean, unpack, and this extremely pregnant girl can NEST and set up baby's nursery already;) I've only been waiting 8.5 months.
  • Our business, Tuck & Bonté, received it's largest wholesale order to date with our biggest wholesale customer, Anthropologie. With barely a 3 week lead time from order to ship date, we received the order just 10 days before we were scheduled to move back to NC and Lee was preparing for his Asia trip. By God's grace, and the help of 3 friends (our first employees!), we were able to get it done and shipped in the midst of a move, with hardly a glitch. Talk about miraculous! This was our first order placed for stores and web, which is HUGE and a dream come true for me. I'm still pinching myself that God's been so gracious to our little, growing business. 
  • I've been blessed with an overall healthy pregnancy and a very active baby girl. Her physical growing and stretching me has been a constant reminder to me of all that God's been growing and stretching in my heart this year. We can't wait to meet and love this little person that's become such a part of our family already the last 8 months. And to think this is just the beginning of our life changing forever. . .
  • We've found the most incredible community of friends here in our new city in such a short time. For that I am eternally grateful. I've had my fair share of moves and it's always taken a couple years to feel like I have "people/friends". So to have found this in just a few short months is a treasure I don't take for granted.

I chuckle looking back over the last 12 months. God has a sense of humor. He really does. We typically start the year off with a fast, spending a few concentrated weeks praying and seeking the Lord for the coming year. I like to ask the Lord for a word for that year. What does He have in store for me, for Lee, and our life? After 3 weeks or so, I got my word.

the act of becoming larger or more extensive
a thing formed by the enlargement, broadening, or development of something
to stretch out
swelling, elongating, thickening, multiplication.

2014 was to be the year of expansion, and boy was He right. In every single way. We've been stretched literally, physically, financially, spiritually, geographically, and relationally; and grown in our trust, faith, patience, and any other way you can think of, I'm sure of it. Growth and expansion sound so exciting, and they are. . . but I never realized how uncomfortable it is to be stretched. Growing pains, taking on a new shape, being enlarged; it hurts. I've been brought to the end of myself over and over again, and experienced a total dependency on God I've never had before. It's been messy and wonderful. I've cried more tears and been more desperate and needy than ever before. That is uncomfortable for me. I'm the type that likes to have it 'all together', always have a plan, always be in control. And that has been shattered to pieces this year, for which I'm glad. If there's one thing I've learned this year it's BE FLEXIBLE, and it will make all the change, growth, and 'life not going like you planned' a whole lot easier. I think this year was a crash course lesson for parenting;)

If there is another thing I've learned it's this. He is my peace. Not my circumstances or everything going just right. He himself is PEACE, and I can have Peace in the midst of life's biggest storms. I love this:

"There is a part of the sea known as the cushion of the sea. It lies beneath the surface that is agitated by storms and churned by the waves and wind. It is so deep that it is a part of the sea that is never stirred. When the ocean floor in these deep places is dredged of the remaining plant or animal life, it reveals evidence of having remained completely undisturbed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The peace of God is an eternal calm like the cushion of the sea. It lies so deeply within the human heart that no external difficulty, or disturbance can reach it. And anyone who enters in the the presence of God becomes a partaker of that undisturbed and undisturb-able calm. " -Arthur Tappan Pierson

No matter what this year has brought you, I hope this Christmas you can experience this eternal calm, Peace Himself. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Good things come to those who wait.

Yes, yes they do! Really. But the saying should really go, "Good things come to those who trust the Lord and wait."

After 17 months of searching, 2 weeks ago tomorrow, we finally bought a house. Closed, signed, official as official can be. {Insert all the happiest dances, cheers and tears here!} Tuesday, October 14th, 2014, I will always remember you fondly.

Rewind 2 months:

We had just returned from our lovely, relaxing 10 day California vacation. Right before our trip, we had seen a listing for a house that really interested us. Unfortunately, our realtor was on vacation the entire week before we left and unable to show it. My husband was also traveling the 3 days before our trip. We called the realtor's office to see if any other realtor could show it before Lee left out of town. No, no one was available because it was the weekend. We tried every way we could think of to see this house before we left for nearly 2 weeks, but to no avail. Frustrated, we gave it to the Lord. If this wasn't the house, so be it. If it was, he could save it for us 2 weeks, right? Well you have to understand something here. Spring and summer are not good times to buy in Charleston, or so we learned. We would literally send our realtor 5-10 listings at a time, and by the time we scheduled to see them, half or more would be sold. Literally. Houses were selling like hot cakes, and if you didn't jump the second one came on the market (like within a day), you were slap out of luck. That's a hard situation to find yourself in when you don't yet live in the city. So, the thought of this house being available 2 weeks later seemed slim to none.

We decided to go on vacation and leave all our house hunting worries behind. We didn't think about, talk about, or look at ANY house listings the whole vacation. Nearly miraculous, as it had been our sole focus all the months prior. We arrive back home Sunday night, and received an email from our realtor Monday morning. Good news! The house we were interested was not only still available, but the sellers had dropped the price $20k! What the what?!? We couldn't believe our eyes. We set up an appointment to go see it that day, and knew immediately upon walking in that this was the one. After looking a dozens and dozens and dozens of houses over the past year, we were beginning to wonder if we'd ever feel, say or know that. But we finally knew that we had found our house. It was everything on our checklist. A 1950's ranch style house that hadn't been renovated since it was built. And it was exactly that, down to the last detail: the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a studio space, a fireplace, open living room + dining room floor plan, hard wood floors throughout, and an untouched kitchen and bathrooms we could renovate to our liking. It was a miracle! We seriously kept saying, we need to find a 50's grandma house that hasn't been updated yet so we can put our own touches on it. And guess what. . . the previous owners are the sweetest 91 and 93 year old couple that have no children and finally moved into assisted living. Our house was there all that time, it just wasn't ready for us yet. Sometimes God's promises just take a little time. 

We put an offer in the next day, and after a little negotiating, had an accepted offer a few days later. We got the house quite a bit under our budget which allowed us to get a home renovation loan to finance all the work that needed to be done. Now we were just praying we could get enough money to do all the things that needed done: new roof, new HVAC, total electrical rewire, update plumbing, gut and renovate kitchen and both bathrooms, paint entire house, and refinish hardwood floors. Closing was scheduled the last day of September. At this point it felt like we breathed a huge sigh of relief, all the while taking another deep breath for a whole lot more waiting. But. . . we would most definitely be bringing this baby home to a house. Our house. Our very first house. That was about the best news we could imagine.

Then life got a bit more crazy. The following 8 weeks were a hilarious combination of house guests every weekend, meetings with contractors, gathering an ungodly amount of paperwork (buying a house is SO. MUCH. WORK.), interviewing doulas, choosing appliances, cabinets, countertops, tile, sinks, faucets, shower doors, wood floor finishes, paint colors and roof shingle colors all within our budget, birthing classes, regular work, life and travel, AND trying to figure out a place to live while all the renovations are under way. Whew, I'm tired just typing that. 

That brings us to two Tuesdays ago. The blessed day we finally closed on our first home. Yes, our closing was delayed twice. Yes, the Lord miraculously provided through an early inheritance gift from my grandparents most the money we needed for our downpayment. Yes, it was a lot of waiting, praying, crying and trusting. Yes, the closing costs ended up being $1500 more than we thought. Yes, the whole process has been bigger than us, more expensive that we could afford, and stretched us to the breaking point. But the good news is we serve a big God. He has big plans for me, for you. He likes to be involved in our lives, and I've realized that sadly, the only way that usually happens is when things are too big or too hard for us to do on our own. It allows Him the chance to step in and be who He is. The big, all powerful, all knowing, all providing God!

Our tentative move in date is mid-December. At least we're crossing our fingers for that. We'd love to spend Christmas in our new house, and have a couple weeks to get unpacked and set up for baby girl's arrival the end of January. But, we shall see. If this whole process has taught me anything (and it has, a whole lot actually), it's this: Our ways are not God's ways. Our timing is not His timing. This life of being a follower of Jesus requires radical faith and radical trust. And a lot of times, it's waiting and trusting without knowing the outcome. That's scary, exciting, and nerve wracking all rolled into one, depending on the day.

The next 2 months don't look a whole lot slower than the last few. In 10 days, we're packing up (again) and moving back to NC to live with our gracious in-laws until the house is finished. My husband leaves for his second 2 week Asia work trip the day after. I have 2 baby showers to look forward to while he's gone. Yay! We leave 5 days after he gets back to spend a week in WA with my family for Thanksgiving. Another big yay! And then hopefully, a couple weeks later, we'll be heading back to Charleston to get moved into our brand new home just in time for Christmas. 

In other news, I'm 26w4d pregnant and baby girl is healthy, growing and quite the kicking machine. I'm feeling great and sleeping great too, thankfully. We're just soaking up every last drop of life as we know it, craziness and all. But we're getting more and more excited to meet and hold our girl. 95 days and counting;)

25 weeks
26 weeks

Thursday, October 9, 2014

It's OK to be needy.

It's OK to be needy. Yes...yes, you. I'm talking to you too. This is something I've had to tell myself every day the past 6 months. When all I want is to have it all together, to feel good at this busy, crazy, day-to-day life. . . I remind myself of what I don't really want to hear but what I so need to hear. It's OK to be needy. To not have it together ALL the time. To mess up or simply be messy. Because I know someone, and you might too. . . who loves to meet us in our messes, and needy-ness, and all those times we fail at having it 'all together'. 


A blur. That's what life feels like right now. An overwhelming, exciting, exhausting blur. Every time I blink, I feel like another week's gone by. Literally. Some days go more slowly, and I feel like I'm able to stop, breath it in, and enjoy it. Others fly by, filled with meetings, and longer to-do lists than I know how to do. One day at a time. . . or so they say (whoever they are).

I'm 23wks and 6 days pregnant (but who's counting) and completely amazed we're just a few short weeks away from the 3rd trimester. It makes me a little nervous about the amount of stuff that needs to be done and purchased (everything!) in just 16 short weeks. I have faith that somehow, by January 30th, we'll be settled in a more permanent housing situation, unpacked, with the basic baby essentials purchased and set up. How this is going to happen I'm not sure, but I remain hopeful.

It's been 15 weeks since we moved to this beautiful new city of ours. I'm falling in love with it a little bit more every day. The past weeks have been filled with traveling and visits from family and friends, along with a million other normal life things. I think we had an 8 week stretch of playing the hostess every single weekend. As fun as it was, we were so thankful for the past 2 weekends of just us. We're trying to soak up as much of that as we can these last few months. Just us. It's weird to think they'll be a third little family member soon. I partly feel like she's already with us, especially with her constant kicks to remind me she's there. She's growing bigger and stronger every day. We both are. . . at least the bigger part;)

In August, we enjoyed a lovely 10 day vacation, baby-moon, anniversary trip celebrating our 5 years together. We have never taken a vacation that long, ever, since being married. We usually spend our vacation days visiting my family in WA, and don't have many days left for us to do anything. This year, especially with baby's soon arrival, we wanted to change that.

We've dreamed about driving California's Hwy 1 coast for some time and decided why not now?! We flew into LA, stayed the night with dear friends, and picked up our Mustang convertible the following morning. We spent 3 days driving up the coast, stopping in the most quaint, cute beach towns imaginable. Driving those twisting, curving roads, with the top down, hair flipping in the wind beside my best friend was truly priceless. Our favorite part of the trip by far. And those views! We had to stop every 5 minutes for a better look. Literally!

After that, we were off to Napa and Sonoma Valley for 3 days of wine tasting. We stayed in the sweetest little modern B&B in the middle of no-where Sonoma Valley, complete with a breakfast chef, couples massages, and the coziest little fire pit. It was so peaceful that we never wanted to leave. Julie, the front desk employee, like us so much she gifted us a bottle of champagne for our anniversary. We're saving it for the next special occasion I'm allowed to taste it;)

We finished off our trip in San Francisco. We had gorgeous blue skies and sunshine for our final weekend. We visited the old island prison Alcatraz, and it was one of our favorite parts of being there. We boy did we walk. We saw the Painted Ladies, Haight Ashbury, The Coit Tower, Golden Gate Bridge, of course, and ate our way through the charming and hill-y city.


If there's one thing I've learned in this major transition season, it's this: My great need for Him every single day; and His great faithfulness to meet me, every single day.

"Relying on God has to begin again every day, as if nothing has yet been done." C. S. Lewis

I can't get this quote out of my head. It's how He made life. How He made us. To need Him every day. To come eat of the bread of life and to come drink the living water every single day. Not just once a week at church. But daily. He's our daily bread. It's His name, it's who He is.

I've never been more away of my needy-ness. It's painful and beautiful. And the amazing thing is He'll meet you exactly where you are, in that needy, messy, desperate place. He's there waiting, if we'll just come.

The next few months are full of a lot more crazy exciting things, so I'll try write again soon to keep you up-to-date.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

When everything is NEW

"Like faith and hope, trust cannot be self-generated. I cannot simply will myself to trust. What outrageous irony: the one thing I am responsible for throughout my life I cannot generate. The one thing I need to do I cannot do. But such is the meaning of radical dependence. What does lie within my power is paying attention to the faithfulness of Jesus. That's what I am asked to do: pay attention to Jesus throughout my journey, remembering his kindness. (Ps 103:2)." - Ruthless Trust

Change: to become different, undergo alteration. To undergo transformation or transition. To go from one phase to another, as the seasons.

Yep, that about sums up our life the past 3 months. (A brief recap for those who care to know more:)

Early-May: We finally have a move date, after 1.5 years of visiting our soon to be home Charleston and house hunting without success. This was a very big deal.

Mid-May: Still no house in sight, and at this point it felt like we had seen them all. We decided to take the 3 month temporary housing deal Lee's work offered. We thought it might be easier to find a house actually living in the city. 

Late-May: We find out we're expecting our first little baby and it's the best, most surreal moment we've ever experienced. We're thrilled but also extremely overwhelmed with literally every single area of our life changing. We also find out our move date has been moved up an entire week. Yikes!

Early-June: Lee travels to Asia for 2 weeks on work, and I fly to WA to see my family while he's gone.

Mid-June: I arrive back from WA with 10 days left until our move date. Lee follows 4 days later, giving us 1 week left in our beloved little 3rd Avenue apartment.

Late-June: We sorted through our stuff and put everything we would need the next 3 months in our dining room, and left the rest to the packers. I have never been so thankful for anything as I was for those movers/packers. They were lifesavers for this exhausted and overwhelmed expecting mama.

June 26th: We arrive at our new 'temporary home'. All our belongings were dropped off in a storage facility and we arrived with just our summer clothes, my 10 beloved house plants, and our pantry. It's nice, simple, this new place we call home. We've never seen it before this moment. It probably didn't help that we arrived at 12:30am. . . or maybe that was a good thing, for it looked nothing like the photos we saw of beautiful hardwood floors, 12 ft vaulted ceilings, 2 beautifully furnished bedrooms. The next 10 days are sort of a blur. Me, unpacking, exhausted, emotional. . . with headaches. These awful hormonal headaches had started and wouldn't stop. All day, all night, wake up with one, go to bed with one. I think by day 4 all I could do was lay on the couch while this vice grip squeezed the back of my head. My sweet husband rubbed my shoulders/neck every night during that stretch, and I will love him for it forever. Lee was adjusting to his new office and had a couple super busy work weeks right off the bat. Even Wally was exhausted, emotionally spent. If he wasn't hiding out from all the moving boxes I was unpacking, he was sleeping. He still thinks those boxes are monsters out to get him.

Change is a funny thing. When life is familiar, when you are comfortable, change sounds wonderful. Exciting. You welcome it, even hurry it. And then suddenly it's upon you. Newness. Transition. Everything different, uncomfortable, uncontrollable. And suddenly, it doesn't seem so wonderful. You feel more like going back to how things were a few weeks ago. You desperately try to find any bit of comfort that you can, any bit of home. This is especially hard to do when all our your 'home' and belongings are boxed away in storage. 

I think it was at this point that I realized how terrible I was at trusting. I used to think I was good at trusting, and maybe I was at a point. Life is comfortable. You feel in control. And you THINK you're trusting. But it isn't until everything you know is gone that you really find out where your trust lies. It's usually in myself. I'm a planner. I like to be in charge. Have a plan. Map out EVERY single detail. It's actually quite annoying (just ask my husband). But I've learned a whole lot these past 5 weeks.

Here's what I've discovered: 

1.) I hate not being in control. Like really hate it. 

2.) I'm an emotional roller coaster when I don't have a 10 month plan for my life mapped out and in writing. 

3.) Pregnancy is overwhelming, and makes you crazy. At least it feels like that some days. Ok, most days. 

4.) I cannot do this trusting thing on my own. I told my husband this the other night: I have never been more overwhelmed in every area of my life than I am right now. And I have never needed Jesus more, everyday, every moment, than I do right now. It's a painfully wonderful thing.

5.) God loves when we need him, when we're fully dependent. When we don't have a plan, and a back up plan for when that plan falls through. He loves being our plan. Even if we don't get to know all the details. It's ok. It doesn't mean His plan isn't good. His plan is ALWAYS good, even if it leaves you nervously wringing your hands together because it sure feels like he's running a bit behind schedule to you. I mean, God. . . we have 60 days before we have to be out of this apartment, and STILL have no house. Not worried? We have a baby due in January, have to be out of this apartment in 2 months, which is only 4 months before baby comes, and STILL have no house. Aren't you a little bit worried now? All our our stuff in in storage, and we haven't even started buying stuff for baby, let alone, renovating, painting, unpacking or setting up a new house. Still? Not even a tiny bit worried?

Yet another thing I've learned. He doesn't worry. Ever. He's never stressed out by our circumstances, no matter how daunting or impossible or worrisome they are to us. He is big and all of our big problems are small to him. Not small as in not important. The littlest thing that is a big deal to us, is a big deal to Him because he loves us. And He is a God of the details! But small, as in, He's already taken care of them. He knows the details of our life, and He doesn't miss a thing. Ever. Not one tiny detail. And all I have to do is pay attention to His faithfulness. When trusting is too hard, all I am asked to do is remember his kindness throughout my journey.

I've made it to my 2nd trimester and love having my energy back. I'm feeling more normal so-to-speak than I have in weeks. Life feels a little less scary and new now, and we've even made some friends. Every day I wake up, I ask God to give me His perspective. He is providing for us daily. We have shelter, food, jobs, and friends today, and I can say quite confidently, he will provide for ALL our needs tomorrow. My job is to "not worry about tomorrow" while I rest in his faithfulness today (yes, that's easier said than done).

So here's to embracing change, trusting just a little bit more today than I did yesterday, and paying attention to His faithfulness. 

Replace what you don't know about your future 
with what you do know about God.

"My child, you can trust the man who died for you. If you cannot trust him,
when whom can you trust?" -Streams in the Desert