two thousand eleven
was the absolute best.
the bees knees. the cats meow. 

a year of love & happiness.
a year of friendships, old and new.
a year of God's grace & blessings.
a year that will forever be remembered as one of my faves.

the year that i became mrs. michael mott mills, jr. 

this entire year has brought such rich blessings,
from start to finish.
and i give all the thanks to my Lord.
He has walked beside me through the year
and given me an abundance of wisdom, grace, peace, and joy.
i am grateful for all the fruits of His spirit. 

i am excited to ring in the new year with my dear loved ones.
and look forward to another year of blessings & growth.
cheers to all of God's goodness. 

may you and yours have the happiest new year.

birthday boy.

happy birthday, hubby.
you make my heart so full of joy.

not your ordinary office.

in the last several months
our home office has served as our
multi-purpose room.

it has be the home to wedding gifts, all sorts.
it has been overflowing with wandering books.
it has served as a changing room for my lovie.
and because of this, the door has remained closed.

mostly for my own peace of mind.
if the door remains closed, 
i do not see the craziness that is our home office.
but also for the sake of drop-in visitors.
seeing a room full of books, blenders, and boxer briefs could be quite alarming.

that being said, 
i have used the last several days to conquer that corridor. 
our home office is officially on its way to order & organization. 
it is not quite there, but we are headed in the right direction.

the books have been organized into their proper shelfs.
non-fiction. biographies. sports. history.
 lovies books.
devotionals. cookbooks. fiction.
my books.
we have not quite reached the 
"whats yours is mine, and whats mine is yours" 
frame of mind when it comes to our choice of reading. 
and i happen to love that.

the wedding gifts have all been tucked away into their proper homes.
{or atleast i have delegated a home to each one}

and as far as the boxer briefs on the floor,
that may just be one of the little gifts lovie leaves me in the office every morning.
a sweet reminder that i have a husband who ever-so-quietly gets dressed
for his work day in our little office so that he doesn't wake his sleeping bride. 
love that man. 

it feels good to start getting organized in our little office.
now comes the fun part...
there is much to be decided.
color scheme. storage choices. wall decor. desk organizers.
chairs. pillows. accessories & accents. 

here are a few styles i adore. 

i am torn between the neutral gray, cream, white spaces
and the funky pops of color.
the neutral schemes would certainly blend with the rest of our house,
but the splash of color adds an energy and freshness that i love.

i am also trying to find the balance between a feminine & masculine office.
i love all things frilly. 
chandeliers, flowers. mirrored pieces.
but i also want my lovie to feel like it is his office, too.

i am also loving these organizational inspirations.

i am excited just thinking about all the order & organization.

do you have any thoughts? 
tips? ideas? inspirations?
how do you keep an organized office?

{all images courtesy of pinterest}

the sum of all grace

i cherish moments in life
that clearly show God's grace and love.
a moment when the character of God is so present,
it can take your breath away.

i was reminded of our Lord's goodness this week.
reminded of His perfect timing.
His gracious preparations.
His generous strength.
His incomprehensible peace. 

i was reminded that 
in the midst of fear and sorrow,
His faithfulness remains. 

His grace is given freely.
His provisions are abundant.
His protection goes before us.
He is in complete control. 

He gives us enough strength for the day.
while we have tears in the night, we have joy in the mornings.
this is the sum of all grace. 

i am currently obsessed with the hymn
be still my soul.
it is my prayer that these words will remind you 
of our Lord's sweet, sweet faithfulness.

be still my soul; the Lord is on thy side.
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
leave to thy God to order and provide.
in every change He faithful will remain.
be still my soul, thy best, thy heavenly, friend
through thorny ways lead to a joyful end.

be still my soul, thy God doth undertake.
to guide the future as He has the past.
thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake.
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
be still my soul, the waves and winds still know.
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

be still my soul, though dearest friends depart.
and all is darkened in the vail of tears.
then shalt thou better know His love, His heart.
who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
be still my soul, thy Jesus can repay.
from His own fulness all He takes away.

be still my soul, the hour is hastening on.
when we shall be forever with the Lord.
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone.
sorrow forgot, loves purest joys restored.
be still my soul, when change and tears are past.
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last. 

aren't those words such a picture of God's grace?!
He is so good. all the time. 

mindy gledhill's album
the sum of all grace
has the most beautiful version of this hymn.
the entire album is such a testament of God's goodness. 
i highly suggest all of you get your hands on it. 

merry, merry.

let it snow.
wishing you the merriest day of all.
let us sing with joy for our Lord has come. 

baby love.

my past few days have been filled with an abundance of love.

the pitter-patter of little feet.
the sweet whispers.
the endless hugs.
and slobbery kisses.

the joy of exploring.
the thrill of imagining.
and the miracles of God's creation.

my heart is overflowing.
and it is all because of this sweet little thing. 

sweet sofia,
i love you so.

holly and sam, you are ever-so-blessed.
thank you for letting me play with sofia this week.

fresh faced.

i am someone who has always had fussy skin.
i seem to break out easily.
i tend to stay on the dry side.
i have tried endless products.
and my skin still lacks the luster that every girl dreams of.

you know what i am talking about.
the rosy colored cheeks.
the sweetest hue of pink that looks as if you have been 
walking around in the brisk winter air for hours.
the dewy glow.
the glow that never crosses the line to oily.
the radiant, supple skin that all girls want.
i just do not have that.
but i want it.

so, i am on the hunt for some great products. and tools.
and great tips. from you.

on the top of my christmas list is the clarisonic.

i adore this little tool.
it brushes your skin into a smooth luster.

whenever i got a facial, 
which was really just in the months before the wedding,
galena always used this on my face. 
i loved the way it felt. 
i love the way it made my skin a bit more radiant & fresh.

this would be the perfect little tool to have at home.
i could give myself a facial every night.
{although, i may be suffering from red, irritated skin if i did that}

do any of you have the clarisonic?
i would love to hear your feedback. 
do you love it? 
is it worth the pretty penny?

i am also in the market for a great moisturizer or vitamin serum.
something that will promise to make me look dewy and fresh faced.

i am intrigued by the french skin care line caudalie.
all of the products are derived from grapes, grape seeds, or vine branches.

i have always heard great words about chantecaille.

cle de peau is also a top maybe on my list.

i have used la mer before.
i liked it. 
but it did not send me over the moon.

lastly, i have just recently learned of renee rouleau.
and i am greatly interested. 

have any of you used these skin care lines?
do you have another to recommend?
how do you create your glowing winter skin?

make a statement.

i am a perennial lover of all accessories. 
jewels. sunglasses. scarves. belts. handbags. shoes. a handsome man.
you name it, i love it.

but my fave accessory of all?
easy. no doubt about it.
the statement necklace. 

i have built many of outfits around this key player.
there is nothing quite like a show stopper statement necklace.
it screams edginess. boldness. and fashionista.

whether paired with jeans and a tee,
or with a beautiful silk blouse.
the statement necklace always turns up the volume.

check it out. 

aren't they just total jaw-droppers?
i am loving all of them.
i especially love the idea of pairing a sparkly necklace dripping with jewels
with my everyday jeans and tee. 
it just exudes casual, everyday glamour. 
isn't that what we all strive for?

here are a few of my in-the-moment-faves.

go ahead.
make a statement.
which one is your fave?

{all images courtesy of pinterest}

the perfect sugar cookie.

baking cookies brings great joy to me.
i love lighting spice scented candles and whisking away in my kitchen.
slippers on. apron on. fave music on.
now that is a recipe for a great afternoon.

most of my cookie recipes are simple.
simple ingredients. simple instructions. simple presentation.
however, this latest recipe is not for the faint of heart.
but well worth the time, energy, and the big mess.

look at these beauties.

aren't they just the prettiest christmas snowflakes you ever did see?!

this recipe will surely be a staple in my go-to cookie book.
they are delicious. and beautiful.
it will be such a joy to change the shapes with the changing seasons.

iced sugar cookies.
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons brandy {i used water}
1/2 teaspoon vanilla {i used 1/4 vanilla, 1/4 almond}

1 cup confectioners sugar
1 egg white
almond extract to taste

sift together the dry ingredients.
in a seperate bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
add egg, brandy/water, vanilla and beat well.
add dry ingredients a bit at a time.
wrap dough and chill for at least thirty minutes.
{dough rolls out and cuts better when it is very cold}

preheat oven to 400.
flour board and roll out dough.
recipe calls for dough to be 1/8 inch thick,
but a softer cookie will come from making it a bit thicker.
cut out shapes.
transfer them to a baking sheet & parchment paper.
bake for ten minutes.
watch very, very carefully,
as they will brown easily.
allow cookies to cool completely on a rack.

mix icing ingredients until smooth.
spread on cookies.
sprinkle as you wish.

this was so much fun to do. 
and they are truly divine.
the almond extract gives such great flavor.

if you try this recipe out, send me a picture of your decorated cookies! 

a gingerbread challenge.

my lovie and i were challenged.
to a gingerbread house making contest.

if you know me at all,
i take these things quite seriously.
i may or may not have a bit of a competitive streak.

so with aprons tied tight. christmas music filling the air.
and friends near by. the games began.

there was the reading of the rules.

and fair frosting prep.

with candy gems, meringues, peppermint sticks, and the like
we all got to work decking the halls of our little houses.

we made sturdy foundations
on sugar and vanilla.

and created our roofs
sturdy enough for even reindeer to prance on.

there were pipers piping. 

and houses dusted with sprinkles. 

we decorated.

and made snow.

and got our hands very dirty.

we adorned our houses with marshmallows & licorice.

and meticulously created our masterpieces. 
all before our mystery judges came to decide.
who made the home the merriest of all?

was it this house?
with beautiful piped shingles.
and a pretzel walk way.

or what about this home?
billowing with meringue and coconut snow.

could it be this house?
the red and white candy land.

it was a close call,
as the houses were all bursting with cheer.

so we waited impatiently as the judges inspected.
with anticipation in our hearts.
and winning on our minds.

the big decision had been made! 

i won't tell you who made that gingerbread house,
as i do not like to boast.
but we ended the night celebrating good friends, with a toast.

as sweet as a foundation of sugar may be,
i am so thankful that our true foundation is build upon our Lord.
how great is He?!
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