Christmas At The Clarke’s (Second Edition), Graduation, and Our New Home

It’s no secret that December is our favorite month around here! From our wedding anniversary, almost two weeks off of work as a teacher for winter break, and of course Christmas everything, somehow all of that helps us forget the intensity of a full festive season that could be incredibly draining if we’re not careful. Not to mention, regardless of how a year went – it forces us to reflect on the last 12 months (whether we want to or not). Oh yes: the good, the bad, and the ugly! As always, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness in my life and those around me even more so than usual around this time…that no matter what: God IS good.

And this December was extra special as it marked the end of an rigorous two-year-6-semester season of grad school at VCU. This past Saturday, I graduated with a Masters of Special Education with a concentration in Severe Disabilities. For those of you who are new to the blog (WELCOME!) – you can read about my journey here. While I am still required to complete my Externship next spring (professor observations on the job), and I will not receive my official diploma until May of 2019, the hard work of completing assignments, many late nights and tears, and going to class is finished! HOORAY! Being married to and friends with someone who is both in school and working full time is NOT easy – so I thank my husband and each and every one of you who have stuck it out with me every step of the way, even when I was not as available as I used to be. You are the real VIP around here 😉

Answers to Questions you Might Have. (These have been asked leading up to graduation as well as since Saturday, so I thought I would include them in this post just for giggles.)

  1. So, what’s next?! Thankfully, I’ve been doing EXACTLY what I’ve wanted to do for the past 2 1/2 school years already! That’s right. I’ve been teaching away, and grad school was just the final piece to move from being a provisionally licensed teacher to officially become “licensed” in Virginia (there’s more to this, but this is gist). This final piece of the puzzle has just allowed me to KEEP teaching after the 3 year mark that would be expiring in the Spring. Yay! #LOVEMYJOB. Sure, this degree opens up additional doors, but for now – I am exactly where I need to be.
  2. Are you going for your PhD? Hmm. No. But I also said that about grad school. So who knows! My new motto for everything? Never say never! But as of right now, it is not even on my radar. Some of the challenges I face in the Special Education field on a daily basis often stir something within me to conduct research, but that lasts for about 0.01 seconds. I’m ready to start living again 😉
  3. What are you going to do with all your spare time now? Well, Nathan and I are actually planting Oasis Church during the Fall of 2019 , so we are definitely transitioning from one big thing to the next, lol! BUT, my evenings and weekends will be more free in a huge way, and so my #1 priority is to begin spending much more of my time with others instead of behind a computer screen writing papers. Want to stay in the loop with Oasis Church? Follow online on Instagram and Facebook so you don’t miss a thing!

Wreath: Purchased from T.J.Maxx | Mini Christmas Tree: Purchased from T.J. Maxx | Joy Wooden Decor: Purchased from T.J. Maxx | Doormat: Purchased from T.J. Maxx | Lantern: Purchased from T.J. Maxx

Part two of that last question is decorating our new home! “Wait, I thought you guys just moved?” Well, you’re absolutely right! In June of 2017, we moved into our very first home. Within four months of moving in and getting settled, God called us to start a church in Richmond. Because we valued living in the city and the community that we were going to serve, we wanted to live much closer to Richmond. So in May of 2018, we purchased a home just minutes outside of the city, and then this past November – we were finally able to move in. 5 moves in less than 5 years of marriage. PHEW! But, this will hopefully be our last move for a while.

Shelf: Purchased from Wayfair. Shop exact | Letterboards: Purchased from Letterfolk. Shop exact| Faux White Potted Plant: Purchased from Target. Shop similar  | Woven Baskets: Purchased from Target. Shop exact.

And in between class and work, we somehow managed to decorate our downstairs for Christmas. Honestly, we chose to do it because we didn’t know where to put our Christmas boxes when we moved in, so we just decided to decorate and unpack all at once (please don’t ask me why I create more work for myself). We also chose to decorate the home at the same time of moving because I’m not sure how to decorate our home for every day life yet, so this essentially buys me some time to figure all of that out, LOL! I included direct links to items whenever possible.

Dresser: Purchased from Wayfair. Shop exact | Stockings: Purchased from Hobby Lobby. Shop similar. (Last Seen Here) | Basket: Purchased from Target. (Last Seen Here)  | Potted Plant: Purchased from Target | Area Rug: Purchased from Wayfair. Shop exact| Dresser Decor: All From T.J. Maxx

Sofa: Purchased from Rooms-To-Go. Shop exact (Last Seen Here)| Coffee Table: Purchased from Wayfair. Shop exact. (Last Seen Here) | Lamp: Purchased from Target. Shop exactBaby It’s Cold Outside Pillow: Purchased from Wayfair. Shop similarNOEL Pillow: Purchased from Wayfair. Shop exact here.

Christmas Tree: Purchased from T.J. Maxx. | Wicker Chair: Purchased from Target. Shop (tan color) similarCurtains: Purchased from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Shop exact

MERRY Wood Decor: Purchased from T.J. Maxx. Shop similar here | Wooden Nativity Scene: Purchased from Walmart. Shop exact.

Loveseat: Puchased from Wayfair. Shop exactMerry Christmas Pillow: Purchased from Wayfair. Shop similar here.

Almost all of this post included our living area, but here’s a teeny tiny glimpse of our kitchen, too. Maybe we’ll include it in a future post 😉  We would love to decorate the entire home for Christmas one day, and that’s the beauty of it – we get to add to our collection every year and build it up over time.  Hope you enjoyed! Stay safe and warm out there, folks (hello unexpected 12+ inches of snow in RVA!).  Until next time! – XOXO

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