The End Draws Near

The above title was just a fluke, the first thing that came to mind as I brainstormed a catchphrase for a post about the end of 2012. Its meanings are multiple, though, and quite poignant. The end of 2012 draws near, as does the end of the world according to an ancient, thus already “ended,” culture. But we must always keep in mind that the end is drawing nearer, every day. Today this world is closer to its final sunrise than it was yesterday, one sunset closer to its reversion to infinite darkness. These are comforting words to me. Comforting because I know that I am closer to seeing my Savior each day. This year has been difficult. I can’t imagine one any more so, although I’m sure there will be. As the end draws near, I thought I would reminisce a little about how I have changed in 2012.

I began this year bitter about my failure to find a job as a teacher and utterly fed up with graduate school. I (mostly) intended to begin law school this fall and was working in a lawyer’s office in the mean time. We were piling our money in savings with plans continuing to save for several years before paying (mostly) cash for a home.

Late spring and early summer of this year were transformative for me. Nothing in life is crystal clear, but I feel as if I am finally beginning adulthood in the role that was designed for me. My relationship with my husband is stronger and more fulfilling that I could have ever hoped for and the circumstances that we have been confronted with in 2012 have reaffirmed our thankfulness for each other.

I end 2012 as a homeowner, a thesis-writer (hopefully), and a self-employed freelance writer (a completely happenstance career).We bought a car (ugh) and paid cash for a brand new roof (hallelujah). I have added trips to Nashville, the Florida Keys, the Gulf Coast to my list of travels and will be ringing in 2013 and celebrating our third anniversary in Paris. My heart has turned towards our little home and my deepest desire, particularly during the past few months, has been to create from this small house and our meager means a shelter from the harsh world in which we live.

Merry Christmas to my scattered handful of readers and sincerest wishes for the warmest and most lovely holiday imaginable.



Trip To-Dos

In two weeks we will be enjoying Christmas Eve parties with our families, albeit a little differently this year. We’ll also be trying to maintain our composure and control our excitement about our next big trip. Honestly, I can’t believe it’s snuck up on me this quickly. The anticipation of packing is one of my favorite things about travelling, but I’ve had very little time to prepare for this one.


Needless to say, I’ve got a super-long to-do list to accomplish during the next fourteen days.

  • Finish a Dickens research paper today, Research and Bibliography final Wednesday, and Prospectus sometime this week
  • Complete Christmas shopping
  • Meet my deadline on Friday
  • Contact airlines to confirm flights and select seats (if possible this late)
  • Contact frequent flier programs to confirm hotel reservations
  • Scan and email passports
  • Pre-purchase Louvre, Vatican, and Versailles tickets
  • Find Cody comfortable, leather, semi-warm shoes (and good socks)
  • Finalize packing list and pack backpacks
  • Purchase batteries and SD cards
  • Figure out which purse/ bag will work best and pack
  • Buy airport snacks (jerky, candy, drink mixes, dried fruit, etc.)
  • Buy a water bottle
  • Call credit/ debit cards to inform them of overseas purchases
  • Get oil changed in my car for drive to ATL
  • Research and print public transport directions for each city
  • Make list of contact info for all parents
  • Pay all bills that will be due while we are gone


I’m sure this list will grow, not shrink, as we near our departure date. More than anything, I’m looking forward to spending ten days with my husband, away from all the messes that we’ve been dealing with during the past months. I want to sleep late in our cheap hotel rooms, take lots of pictures, eat yummy food, and, most importantly, take our time. No rushing around to see everything. We need rest, relaxation, and spectacular views.

Victoria’s Secret and Video Games

I just checked my Facebook feed and was reminded that the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show is airing in about an hour. Although it’s not usually a special I’m just dying to see, I briefly considered staying up past my usual 9:00 p.m. to watch it.


Seriously. Why in the world would I want to watch super-skinny Angels strut across the stage to Justin Bieber (Beiber, Beber, Biber, Beaver)?

If there is one tiny, insignificant thing Cody does that really unsettles me, it’s playing video games. Actually, only one video game. Halo 3, Reach, 4. It’s sad that I even know the names. Specifically because I do not like the concept of someone preferring unreality to reality. But, deep down, that’s the exact same reason I’m inclined to watch the Victoria Secret fashion show.

I’m precisely five feet tall. Never, ever, under any circumstances will I ever look remotely similar to a lingerie model. Not only that, but never ever will I ever be involved in an event that is centered around my assets (physical or otherwise); nor will I experience the thrill of wearing exotic garments, donning elaborate make-up, or being doted upon like a fragile piece of artwork.

This is more than modesty. More than the fact that countless twelve-year-old boys will be sneaking into their rooms to do “homework.” More than the fact that millions of young girls will have the same feelings of inadequacy as I would (will?) when watching such a show without the intellectual maturity to understand that the women on the screen, bless their hearts, represent almost impossible aspirations. More than the fact that husbands will watch the show, look at their lovely wives, then sadly sigh in disappointment.

All those things are very important. Even more important than this post. But, the point I would like to make tonight is that, just like Halo 4, the VS Fashion Show aired on primetime on a Tuesday night is yet another tool that’s being used to create a universal discontent with reality. Their skin, hair, size, shape, it’s all an illusion to create a “better” version of the life we really live. Spectacular isn’t always best. Heart-pounding, controller-rumbling, screaming-at-the-Xbox battles shouldn’t be the highlight of my husband’s day any more than imaging a more glamourous and beautiful lifestyle via a tv show, Pinterest, or magazine should be for me.

Don’t get me wrong. A free coupon for a seamless panty will entice me into the Angels’ lair as quickly as any other girl. But, in general, Victoria’s Secret makes me mad. Mad at my body, mad at my closet full of thrift store clothes, mad at my husband for not following me around with his eyes popped out of his head. None of those things are good. None of those things are healthy…

My Fruit of the Looms need folding anyways.

An Un-Hobby Lobby Christmas House

We paid $2393.00 cash for a new metal roof for our house on Wednesday. Although that put a damper on our monthly mortgage goals, it is done and paid for and we shouldn’t have to worry about it again. Ever. Our plan was to wait until next summer but after a few brown stains appeared on my kitchen ceiling, we knew we needed to get a replacement installed soon. I was able to save up the money in six weeks, mostly from my writing work.

That being said, I’ve had neither the time nor the money to go all-out on Christmas decorations this year. I have several bins of stuff that I brought with me when I married or that we received before our wedding. So, I’ve completely resisted the urge to hit up Hobby Lobby for the cutest 40% off ornaments and knickknacks. I prefer a more homey and genuine holiday atmosphere anyways. Welcome to the Winningham holiday home tour!


This plate actually did come from the above blasted Hob Lob, but I’ve had it for several years. I’ve got an abundance of cute mini pinecones in my yard. I brushed them with white paint and glitter for something sparkley to fill my (lidless) apothecary jars.


These little houses were $1 each at the Dollar Tree last year. This year, they’re lining my kitchen window sill with candles. Nice view to wash dishes to.


Kitchen wreath


The house is not the same without a real Christmas tree. This is the first and last year we’re going fake. However, since we are leaving for a ten day trip Christmas night, it will prevent a pine needle explosion while we are gone. We borrowed this one from my mother.


I had several of these little themed tea sets when I was young. I found this one a month or so ago for $0.79 at a thrift store. So sweet. Also, something for my niece to play with when she comes over.


My grandmother has had this ornament for as long as I can remember. She gave it to me a few Christmases ago. Turns out it was the perfect size for a topper on our five foot tree.


Another thrift store find at $1.49.


This is the Christmas display in my bedroom. The wreath was $2.99 and the nativity $0.99 at the thrift store. The twiggy reindeer were hot glued using sticks found in the yard (thanks, Pinterest).


I already had the silver balls and the greenery, berries, and pinecones were scavenged. Cheaper than the pansies that I usually plant in here.


My sweet mother made this wreath for me this year. Very festive and a nice, bold decoration for my front door.

 We’ve still got to put up our outside Christmas lights but, for the most part, our tiny house is all decked out. With carols softly playing and a spicy candle lit, there’s no place I’d rather be this holiday season.