Turn, Turn, Turn

Our family

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If you are now, or ever have been in the past, an “oldies” music fan, then you probably already know where this is going…The song Turn! Turn! Turn! was made a hit in 1965 by an American folk rock group called The Byrds. It’s a song that I have heard played many times on the radio in my mom’s car growing up. As a kid, it was just another catchy sixties tune that I was used to hearing, but now it has much more meaning.

There is a lot of truth in the lyrics of that song. I swear, each time a chapter in our lives comes a close or we experience a big change in life, the dj that lives in my mind insists of making this song a part of my mental soundtrack! All jokes aside, it has been a great reminder of hope when things may not be going our way. I am sure of the fact that the biggest reason that this song resonates with & uplifts me so much is that the man that wrote the lyrics, Pete Seeger, took them straight from the first eight verses of the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. I absolutely love when I find out that a truth that I learned as a child was born from the Word of God, even though I may not have realized it at the time.

For those of you that may have no idea what I’m talking about- maybe you have never heard the song or read the verses. Either way, me writing all this is pointless if you do not know what I am talking about. So, while I would love for you to find a bible (or a bible app) and read the entire chapter of Ecclesiastes, for now, here are the lyrics to Turn! Turn! Turn!

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die

A time to plant, a time to reap

A time to kill, a time to heal

A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

 And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down

A time to dance, a time to mourn

A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate

A time of  peace, a time of war

A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn,turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose

A time to rend, a time to sew

A time for love, a time for hate

A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.

Those of you that have been following along on our journey know where we started- with an idea & a passion to “live the dream, every single day”. We started with risking a big move from Florida to Alabama (not that it was a big move geographically, but we were risking a lot mentally & emotionally to come back to a place that we thought we had left behind.)  & big ambitions to make a living as quail farmers. To take back the time that we had been forced to give away to consumerism & the idea of what the “American Dream” has become, & give that time to our family. While the core values of our dream & ideas remain, our journey has changed course. The idea of us being some kind of farmers didn’t quite pan out like we had planned, but we are okay with that. Actually, I’m smiling as I am typing this because the idea that we were ever going to be satisfied with that choice is comical- not to put down farmers or farming, I think it is a wonderful necessity of life and I am grateful to them. But, this change in course is a very welcomed change and I personally feel relieved. Even if everything would have worked out “perfectly”, I don’t think it would have been what we wanted. Right now, we don’t really know what time or season it is for us. We are not lost, we are just simply waiting. And we are not down & out. We are rising. We are hopeful & even excited at the anticipation of what the next season in life brings. And we are still “living the dream, every single day”, because that never had anything to do with a profession or geographical location. It’s more of an idea. An idea that love & time spent with the ones you love are life’s treasures to be pursued. An idea that everyday can be the dream, if  you let it- enjoy God’s blessings big & small, & to love what you already have.

I felt the need to share this with you all, because when we started this journey I made a promise to all those chose to peek in on it. A promise to “deliver an interesting story”, and I have failed you miserably. This past year has definitely had some rough patches in it! There are so many things that I thought that we were going to be able to do & share with you that just didn’t happen. Partially because we didn’t get to do all the “things” & partially because I let negativity steal my ability to share with you, and for that I am sorry. I won’t make you any more promises, but I can tell you that I know that the plan that God has for us is far greater than what we could have ever tried to plan on our own. I hope to share with you what’s coming next. Want to see?

With our love,

The Grays

P.S. We thought this would be a great time to share all of the incredible images of our family that were captured by Natalie Wippler, we hope you enjoy them. She is truly talented and our family always considers it an honor to be photographed by her.

Please take a minute and check out her instagram or visit her site nataliewipplerphotography.com.

Fall lovin’

DIY's & Tutorials

IMG-6676We love fall! The smell of bonfires in the air, the crunch of leaves beneath our feet, & cold weather accessories! I think it’s a favorite time of year for a lot of folks, but growing up in Florida gives you a special appreciation for that time of year where everything goes from green to golden. You don’t get much of a scenic change in Florida from season to season (or get to wear cute fall clothes without sweating lol!), but it is a much different scene up here in northeast Alabama. Mountains covered in rows of trees moving from green to yellow, orange, & red (& mountains of leaves in our yard). Gorgeous, blushing fall sunsets of pink & purple. & lots of overcast skies, which I used to despise, but have been surprisingly comforted by this year.

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Fall is a season of change. A time to shed the old away & make room for newness & growth. Change can be a great thing, & is something that we are currently welcoming into our lives with open arms. One of the changes is the fact that our Onyx is not really a baby this year. Even though growing up is always bittersweet, we have so enjoyed sharing this fall with her. While it’s technically not her first fall, it’s the first one that she has been able to get out and experience. To commemorate our fall experience, we are making leaf skeletons! It’s something we have always wanted to try and now we have a good reason.

Feeling crafty? Try it out with us:

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What you will need:

-Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (this post is not sponsored by Arm & Hammer)

-A large pot & a shallow baking dish

-A small, stiff, blunt paint brush &/or a soft toothbrush (the soft toothbrush worked best for us)

-Rubber or latex gloves (the washing soda is very drying to skin & can cause irritation) & paper towels

-Some waxy leaves & some patience

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Gather yourself some new (yes, new green leaves, unlike the beautifully withering fall ones) waxy leaves. We used wild hydrangea & magnolia leaves because that was what was available to us.

Mix the washing soda & some water in the pot. I have been told to use 4 cups of water & 3/4 cup of washing soda, but I doubled the water & washing soda so we would actually have enough liquid to cover our big leaves. Stir the mixture while heating on med-hi until the washing soda starts to dissolve. Add the leaves & bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Now, the length of simmering time was an experiment for us since I have read several different methods on how to do this, and each method gives a different suggestion. The suggested cooking times ranged from 20 minutes to 2 hours, so we started with 30 minutes & that definitely was not enough for the leaves we chose. We ended up simmering a full 2 hours (checking them about every 30 minutes) & probably could have simmered them a little longer. Once you feel that your leaves are ready ( I tested ours by gently scooping one out of the pot with a spatula & brushing it just a little to see if any of the pulp moved away), fill the shallow baking dish with about 1/2 inch or so of cool water & place the leaves (we did our one at a time) in the dish.

Get your gloves on & go to work! Start gently brushing the pulp away from the skeleton. When I say gentle, I just mean don’t go crazy! You can actually be a little rougher than I initially thought, but start slow & add pressure as needed. This is where the patience comes in handy, it was a little more work than anticipated (or maybe it would have been easier had we simmered the leaves longer?). Once all the pulp is removed from the skeleton, pull them out of the dish & fill the dish with clean water, put the leaves back in & give them a swish to rinse them (rinsing them under the faucet can damage them, so use caution if you decide to go with that method). Now, you can stop here & go to the drying process if you want black/brown skeletons, we wanted white ones, so after the rinse we soaked our leaves in bleach water until we reached the desired color (several hours).

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IMG-6668To dry, pull the leaves out & lay them on layered paper towels to dry. If you want your leaves to be nice & flat put paper towels on top of them as well and set a couple of heavy books on top, we left ours dry like this over night. If you want a more naturally, curly look to your leaves, just leave them out uncovered to dry on the paper towels.

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IMG-6666Behold your leaf skeletons! Thanks for sharing this fall experience with us!

Until next time…

With our love,

The Grays

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Onyx’s “big girl” room

Home

Here we are. Finally getting settled into a home we love. It has been a very long process, but it has been perfect in its own way. The first room complete in all its glory is Onyx’s “big girl” room, of course. After five months of living with Weston’s parents, who were so gracious to help us make this fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants transition a little more gradual, I knew Onyx was so done with the crib. Out of those five months she slept in her crib maybe two nights and let’s face it even if I were ever to get her back in her crib it would then be time for a transition to a toddler bed. So “big girl” bed it is, and if we are being totally honest the only bed she is sleeping in at this point in momma and daddy’s. But it is there when she (and I) are ready.

If you know anything about us then you probably figured that her room is totally monochrome. In fact, the moment I found out I was having a girl I knew that “all pink everything” and head-sized bows were not an option! For all you parents out there who want a little more than all the traditional offerings for baby and toddler rooms we have teamed up with NotSewStrange to introduce you to a collection of wonderfully modern, handmade quilts, pillows, and décor. The black and white triangle quilt looks perfect on Onyx’s new awning bed that we made for her and it has also been our new favorite setting for family picnics. We cannot wait to add one of their Black and White Minky Sleeping Bear Pillows to the pillow collection!

It was always our plan that when the time came to say goodbye to the crib to make Onyx one of those awesome house frame beds that dazzle every modern toddler room featured on the coolest Instagram pages. But that was also a problem, when the time actually came they were so popular that I didn’t feel like it was special or different anymore. So we had a brainstorming session and came up with the awning bed idea. Still an homage to the cute house frame but with a twist! I know you guys have some cool and different nursery/toddler room ideas to share! Let’s hear them!

Until next time…

With our Love,

The Gray’s

 

 

 

Meet the Grays

Uncategorized

Hello,

We are the Grays, Weston, Ashley & Onyx. We want to invite you to join in on our great adventure! An adventure into a world with no “norms”or nine-to-fives, our journey to living the dream EVERY SINGLE DAY. We are abandoning the “rules” and our big city life in search of some sort of simplicity, complex simplicity that is. Join us as we transition to farm life, family life & unending togetherness. We promise to deliver an interesting story, inspiration & a plethora of good ideas, all whilst looking famously fashionable!

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Our journey starts with a goodbye…

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…and a hello.

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