Merry Christmas 2016 | My True Love Gave To Me…

Merry Christmas Friends!!

You know the ol’ tune…

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…ahhhh par-tridge in a pear tree…. and it goes on to count so many (unusual) gifts. Well, when I got to thinking about our Christmas card for this year, and I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude for our full hearts and wonderful year. Van and I are beyond blessed to have had so many blessings in our lives this year and to share our lives with so many amazing people, and we can’t thank you enough for being part of such an amazing 2017!

A quick recap of our year…


In 2017, we celebrated…

Our first TWELVE months of marriage, on April 4th! Can. not. believe how fast it went!

Van campaigned for about ELEVEN hours after deciding to run for Soil and Water Commissioner the night before election day as a write in candidate…and won! He will officially begin his four year term in February 2017. The photo on our card shows us waiting with friends as election results came in.

We are thankful to do life as part of a group of TEN amazing couples and our favorite Aussie friend that we go to church with. We incredibly grateful for the relationships we have developed with this crew who not only support and uplift us as dear friends, but who also push us to be the best versions of ourselves!


NINE family members were around our table this year at the first Thanksgiving Day at the #houseonhilltop. Y’all know I love to entertain, and we had some great food, even better company and wonderful laughter and love. So much to be thankful for!


Our sweet, gangly, energetic #SullyB thinks she’s EIGHT pounds, and loves to sit in Van’s lap, but she’s really a lot closer to 80 lbs. She’ll be two in February and has really become such a part of our little family.


We thoroughly enjoyed SEVEN Clemson home games, and are hoping for a tiger win against Ohio State on December 31! Van was able to go to the National Championship in January as well, and had an AMAZING time despite the outcome of the game.


Absence really does make the heart grow fonder! My brother, Drew, sister-in-law, Lauren, and nieces, Viv and Noli moved to Tallahassee, FL in September after Drew earned a promotion at work. We miss them terribly – especially slumber parties with Viv and Noli, but are SO THRILLED for them in their new adventure! We are excited to have a new vacation destination in Florida to explore about SIX hours away.

We enjoyed a week of vacation and beach time at our condo FIVE – 0 – 3 in Garden City, SC this July. It was an action packed summer which, in addition to a week at the beach, included a move, throwing a happy wedding brunch at the new house three weeks after the move for my dear friend Claire, my first experience as a Gauntlet room leader in Daytona, FL – and just WOW. There really are no words to describe NewSpring’s Gauntlet, but I will try someday soon – in a separate post. For now, I’ll just say I came away with 4 new little sisters who I love to bits, a renewed conviction, and a hope for our future generations.

In early August, three amazing ladies hopped on board a plane to join me for BlogHer16 in LA, where we spent a weekend at a conference learning about blogging, social media, and getting some amazing networking opportunities.


…and and a side day trip to sightsee a little bit in Hollywood!


Van and I will celebrate three years since we started dating this month, and it’s so crazy to think that we will begin our FOURTH year together in December!! Holy moly how time flies!

We celebrated love and commitment at THREE weddings this year…along with several other friends who got married, had babies, or had other big blessings this year! Our friends, AJaye and Matt tied the knot in May on Van’s birthday, and then we traveled to Virginia in August and October for Carlisle Clan weddings in Winchester! We were excited to celebrate with Vanessa and Adam Schuster in August and Leslie and Will Wilson in October! Congratulations and best wishes to the Mr. and Mrs.! Wishing y’all a very married Christmas and a happy newlywed year!!!


I entered TWO paintings in the Anderson Arts Center’s Juried Show in April. Maggie, shown here, was chosen to be on display for the Art Crawl around downtown Anderson. The second painting, Blue Ridge Yawn, now lives happily in Greenville, SC with my friend Misty who was a classmate at Clemson University.


And finally, we purchased ONE new home, a 3/2 ranch with a walkout basement which we absolutely love and are enjoying making our own – picking paint and making plans for what we we’ll do as we build our life together at the #houseonhilltop. I posted the “Befores” shortly after we moved in, and am hoping to post lots of projects in 2017. It has been so much fun to decorate for Christmas!


We truly cannot thank you enough for being part of our lives, and we hope you know that each of you has a special place in our hearts. At this hustle-y bustle-y time of year when we can so easily get caught up in the pre-Christmas rush, we just want to pause and say YOU MEAN A LOT TO US.

May the Christmas season fill your home with joy, your heart with love, and your life with laughter. Many blessings this Christmas and in the coming year. We love you so much.

Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, good will toward men! | Luke 2: 14





The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Laure {LAC} James © 2016 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, and of course, come back and visit again soon!

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