Hey Y'all! I want to thank you for visiting me at Southern Soul Mates. We hope you feel right at home here and that you'll come back and visit soon!
I am a Georgia peach, and the wife of a Veterinarian.
I am from Dahlonega, which is a beautiful little mountain town in Northeast Georgia.
I lived in Athens for 4 wonderful years while I attended the University of Georgia.
I lived in Daisy, about 40 minutes west of Savannah for 2 years.
South Georgia is God's Country. I love it there.
I now live in Middle Georgia just outside of Macon where my husband and I purchased a veterinary practice in February of 2012.
We have 4 dogs (a pug, a yellow lab, a lab-German Shorthair Pointer, & a mutt) and 3 cats.
Yes, we are crazy and we live in a zoo.
I majored in Fashion at the University of Georgia.
All things coastal and Southern are my true loves.
I am a true creative personality type, so I dabble in a little bit of everything: cooking, gardening, designing, decorating, photographing, painting, writing, sewing and scheming more projects that may never reach completion.
You can only imagine the toll Pinterest has taken on me.
I don't know if it's making me or breaking me.
A little of both, I suppose.
I am really just a simple Southern girl from the country, and it doesn't take a whole lot to make me happy.
At the end of the day, I relish in sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair
reflecting, seeking humility and giving thanks to God above.
To learn more about how and where I grew up, you can read about it here and here!
To hear me, you can watch this video from May 2012.
Many people speculated and doubted we would have a lasting marriage. After all, I was still in college, and he would be starting his freshman year of Veterinary school a month after our wedding. No doubt that we had what appeared to be a long road ahead. But, God is so very good and He is always right. His timing is perfect. I stayed very involved in extra-curricular activities, was a full time nanny, and graduated with two degrees during the first three years of our marriage. Brandon was a true leader in his Vet school class serving as an officer in multiple clubs and boards, and excelled in his studies. We served on 3 Veterinary missions trips together, had a fantastic church family and small group, and made the very best friends anyone could ask for. We made the best of having very little money and enjoyed almost every second of it. Before we knew it, 4 years had come and gone and all we had were the memories and our diplomas from the University of Georgia for proof. We had defied the odds. When it came time for Brandon to search for a job, we prayed that God would open the doors that needed to be opened and close the ones that needed to be closed. We wanted to go where He would send us, be His hands and feet. In a rotten economy and in a poor market for mixed animal practitioners, Brandon had more job offers than anyone else in his class. We had choices, yet we wanted to go where the Lord was calling us. We felt overwhelmingly blessed.
After graduating, we moved away from everyone we knew to a beautiful farm in rural Southeast Georgia so that Brandon could practice mixed animal medicine. It was during that time that God really grew us as individuals and as a couple. We had no one but each other, and honestly it was wonderful that way. We both come from very large and close-knit families, so it was hard for everyone. My degree was in Fashion Merchandising, so clearly there were no jobs for me. I suffered through my second miscarriage 6 months after our move. I felt lost, unproductive, and like a failure. There were some very dark days where we questioned our decision to move, but every time we did the Lord showed us that we were exactly where He wanted us to be. To pass the time, I went on farm calls and emergency calls with Brandon, and I will always treasure those memories of just the two of us riding down the flat and straight South Georgia roads in an old diesel truck. There was no rat race, no mall, no chain restaurant, not even a Walmart in our town. But there was such beauty in God's creation. God had stripped us from all material distractions and provided a gorgeous canvas to paint our days onto. Our dates included watching the sunset over cotton fields from the bed of a truck, tending the farm, picking muscadines, and riding around listening to country music. Just the two of us and our brood of animals.
After a year I finally got another job as a nanny for two precious families, so I kept 4 beautiful children. I became very dedicated to a women's Bible study of Beth Moore's Breaking Free. I joined a Zumba and a bootcamp class and worked out 5 days a week. I was finally feeling like I was contributing to society again. Though we had grown to love where we lived, we knew that we ultimately wanted to own our own veterinary practice and it wasn't looking like it was going happen where we were. We had been praying again, for the Lord to send us the right opportunity. Several opportunities came and went. Some were devastating when they didn't pan out. Right after Thanksgiving of 2011, we received a phone call from one of Brandon's former professors about a practice for sale that he said he thought was a perfect fit for us. The following week we visited the practice, and 3 days later we made an offer.
We also made on offer on a house on January 8, 2012 and we closed on February 8. We closed on the practice February 29, 2012. We moved from Southeast Georgia to Middle Georgia to a new small town where, once again, we knew no one. And just that quick our lives changed drastically once again. We knew that God had orchestrated every single detail as always. He makes no mistakes. Clearly, we have experienced a lot in our 6 1/2 years of marriage, and I'm so thankful that I started my blog 6 1/2 years ago to document our journey!
I say all of these things to each of you for several reasons.
-If you are single and still waiting for your Prince Charming, I want to encourage you.
Don't compare your journey to anyone else's. God knows exactly what and who you need and when you need it. I truly believe that when you meet the One God has chosen for you that you will know and it will be different than anything you've ever experienced. You will know what peace is and you won't remember how long it took to find it. Again, His timing is perfect.
-If you are currently engaged or newly married, congratulations!
Marriage is a journey, not a destination. You will both change over time, and you will have to learn how to adapt to one another over and over again. It's not always roses and butterflies. It's reality, it's having some arguments, it's shedding some tears, it's baring your soul and your core with one another-the good, the bad, and the very ugly. But, the important thing is to focus on the laughter, the joy, the building and the growing. It's important to learn how to apologize and learn to love one another according to your love languages despite your flaws. By the way, I highly recommend reading The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, if you haven't! For us, simplifying is what really gets us on the same page when the world around us is spinning like crazy. Our favorite dates are still those same simple ones we shared on a farm in Southeast Georgia. It can be so easy to get caught up in the rat race, schedules, and managing work and social life. You'll have to learn what is too much and how to say no to the rest of the world without feeling guilty. I don't believe that God wants us busying ourselves so much, even if we try to justify it by going to 3 or 4 different Bible studies a week. God wants us to spend time with Him, but He also wants us to nourish our marriages. After all, our marriages are symbolic to Christ's relationship with the church. He wants us to honor that.
Keeping God at the forefront of our marriage has no doubt been the key to our success thus far. Some other things that work for us are:
-We always sit down and eat supper together at the table every single night and have since we got married. There is no tv, no music, just us. We always pray before we eat and it's just a time that we can spend together without any distractions. If another meal works best for you and your spouse, then try to make that happen at least once a day whether is't breakfast, lunch, or supper.
-We don't really have designated "chores." By that I mean, I can run the lawn mower and take out the trash and he can run the vacuum cleaner and mop and vice versa. We both contribute and help do everything depending on what needs to be done when and who has the availability to do it.
It eliminates a lot of arguments when both people are capable and willing to help.
-We love to do outdoor activities together, such as yard work, hiking, swimming, exercising and sightseeing. That's a great way to improve team work skills and improve our health together.
-We both love to cook, and the cooking works the same as the chores. Sometimes we prepare meals together, sometimes he does, sometimes I do. It just depends on our schedules.
-I try to maintain a very clean, orderly, and decluttered home. Owning a veterinary practice is hectic and busy and chaotic. Our home doesn't need to be any of those things, which means I don't decorate with loud colors, and I try to create a calm and soothing environment. It really does help our stress levels! However, if you and your spouse work in a cubicle, it may be best to have a home filled with vibrant colors!
-We have strong friendships with several other couples, as well as accountability partners.
I personally don't believe your spouse should be your accountability partner for everything. Ladies, you need a girlfriend for this, and guys need guys for this. I think Andy Stanley did a sermon and mentioned this several years ago. You also might consider having some mentors. Perhaps a couple that you admire that can guide you when you need it.
-We love to do missions work and community service together. It just really brings you back down to Earth and reminds you of all you have. It also solidifies how much we love serving others and want to give back. When you are focused on being servants, then it's hard to focus on the things that you are not happy about in your life, and maybe that changes your attitude a little. It's great to humble yourselves together.
-Try not too take life so seriously that you forget how to laugh and let the little things go.
Some of our most ridiculous arguments have been over silly things that I can't even remember.
As time passes you become better at not sweating the small stuff, I promise. :)
-Even if a time comes that you are so upset about something and you think that your marriage can't be mended, IT CAN BE. It's not easy, but it's worth it. Try to remember what brought you together to begin with. At the end of the day, there is no one else that I would rather be sharing my life with than my husband. God can heal anything if we are willing to do the work required in His name. And when He does heal, it's the most beautiful thing you've ever experienced.
-Being open to following the Lord's calling, whether it be moving to a new place, joining the missions field, or starting a new career, is the most rewarding and liberating thing you can imagine. It's not always easy to follow the Lord's calling, but you are content in ways you never dreamed about.
If you hung in there this long, thank you! I know I'm always looking for ways to improve my marriage, so I hope this has helped at least one of you. Time is fleeting and marriage is sacred. I pray that wherever you are in your relationship, that God would bless it and that it would flourish in an abundance of ways! Much love and many blessings!
"So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6