Monday, January 15, 2018

Just $45 In His Pocket

This blog has been quiet for quite a while now and I feel the need to "blow the dust off" and write again.
Beginning a post is always the hardest part for me...wondering where to even start!

There have been so many times lately that I've been told that I need to be documenting these oh-so-crazy days. I grew up blogging and I treasure those old posts, but as a busy mom I really struggle trying to find the time (and the Q U I E T) to sit, gather my jumbled thoughts and put them down in an organized way.

 My man is in Atlanta today for a meeting so I am going to take advantage of this quiet Monday to start my next blog series.
Here goes...

A topic that I have been discussing a lot with my peers is FINANCES. Yep, I'm weird and I get really nerdy when it comes to budgeting, saving, learning to live on less and anything Dave Ramsey. It's 2018, a new year and one of my personal goals is to continue to learn to "live like no one else".

Growing up my parents really encouraged me to be wise with my money. They taught me the importance of living frugally so that I could give generously.
As a Christian I believe that we should strive extra hard in this area. Time and time again I have observed  that you cannot give generously of your time or resources to others if you are not financially free.
Of course, I understand that we live in a broken world and poverty is a part of that...however, so many people live in bondage because of poor choices and a lack of discipline.

I want to share our journey (so far) towards financial freedom in hopes that it encourages even just 1 person to start making intentional decisions to be financially free! IT IS POSSIBLE!
We are still learning so much from people who are further in this journey and we are so grateful for the ones that have stopped along the way to encourage us!

I'll never forget a phone conversation I had with Daniel before our wedding.
It was a chaotic afternoon just a couple weeks before the big day and my phone rang. Daniel said that he had something he needed to tell me. He started the conversation by asking if I wanted the good news or the bad news first. :) I told him I needed some good news...
He went on to tell me that he was debt free! I was pretty sure he didn't have a lot of debt but it was good to hear that after graduating with his bachelors from a private, Christian college ($$$$$) he did not have any debt. Daniel applied for scholarships and worked his way through college. #shamelessplugforbae
Then came the bad news... he told me that his savings consisted of about $45 in his wallet.
I sat there and tried to make words come out of my mouth.

Before I go any further, you need to know that I am a huge planner, have a type A personality and up to that point, always had a pretty good emergency fund.
When words finally did come I told him that I needed to go process that information and then I would call him back. My mind was whirling....I had turned down a full-time position when I got engaged in preparation for moving to North, GA. I did not have a job lined up there and Daniel's job didn't guarantee 40hrs a week.
Y'all, I was worried. Really worried...I mean do you even know how much I can eat!? :)


Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing how we as a couple manged to buy groceries in those early days, places we've lived to save on rent, side-jobs that we've done that have enabled us to make large purchases with cash in our hand, how we have avoided debt, how we began to save $1000 a month on a low-income budget, creative ways to continue to go on dates even when you are broke and lastly our home renovation project!
 I want to be transparent about the struggles and the successes all the while praying that God uses it to encourage you!

Here's an oldie from back when we was skinny and broke... :)

Please comment or message me some of the ways you are hoping to become financially free this year. I really would love to hear from you!


Friday, June 30, 2017

Dear Elizabeth

Happy 1st Birthday, baby girl!
What a wonderful year it has been. You have been a joy since day one and it is hard to remember what life was like before you were born.

I've decided to write you a letter each year for your birthday, print it out and keep it in a book for you to read when you are grown. I want you to know how much you are loved and treasured by your daddy and me.

You adore dogs, avocados, walks, swimming, and playing peek-a-boo with daddy.
You have an adventurous side (you get that from your daddy) and if I'm honest, it terrifies me sometimes . ;) You love people and you never meet a stranger.

I've been thinking a lot about your future today. As I see your little personality emerging, it gives me a glimpse of the person you will become.

Elizabeth, I hope and pray that you love and serve Jesus with everything you are. In a world that is becoming less tolerant of the true believer, I pray that you will boldly serve the Lord and seek Him with your whole heart.

I love that you are so trusting and that you genuinely love people. Right now you are sheltered from evil, cruelty and only see good. One day when I can no longer shield you from those things, I hope that you will still choose to look for the good in people.
May you be confident in the person Jesus has made you to be and never feel the need to hurt someone else in order to feel better about yourself.
I pray you will always be kind.

I love how you wake up every morning with a smile on your face. You have been happy and content since day one! Your little smile has already blessed so many.
I pray you will grow up to love life and choose joy.

Elizabeth, you have a very determined spirit. I pray that your daddy and I are wise and guide you well these next few years. I hope we can help you channel your determination in a godly direction. May you accomplish all that Jesus created you to do and do it with excellence.

 We are and will continue to be imperfect parents but I hope you realize that from an early age. We are on this journey with you and we too are learning as we go.

Happy Birthday, sweet Lizzie girl!
I am excited about your next year of life and I'm glad I get to be with you every step of the way.


Thursday, March 16, 2017


I couldn't think of a title for this post because I wasn't really sure what I was going to write about. I "blogged" a lot during my teen years (Click Here)  and some of my favorite post to go back and read are the ones where I simply rambled. As a twenty-three-year-old mama it is fun to read the thoughts of my fifteen year-old, ambitious, slightly opinionated self. :) :)

Pregnancy is going well so far...almost half-way!!! Whaaaattt???!!!! I can't believe how fast it is flying by.

With the craziness of Daniel's work schedule, growing side businesses, working on our land, preparing for baby # 2, etc. we have had to make some changes.
Productivity, organization, and creativity are very important to Daniel and I and we recently discussed how we could do better in those areas. For me I find that I do better in almost every area when I feel like my life is in order. Obviously, much of life is unexpected and perfect order is not going to be attained all the time. I'm sure when I have a newborn and a thirteen month old my home will not be stellar 24-7. :) However, the more mama's I talk to, the more minimalist writings I read, the more I blunder through this homemaking thing,  I am learning that it is much easier to be successful when I have LESS!
 So...I am now a self proclaimed addict to selling my belongings on on-line yard sales. :)
Seriously though, it is a wonderful feeling to empty your life of unnecessary stuff. When I look back over my children's childhood, I don't want to see all of the time I spent shuffling our things.
I have meaningful belongings that I will always treasure and hope to pass along to my family one day, i.e. handmade quilts, old pictures,  hand-crafted furniture from family members or close friends, and a few special gifts...

Someone recently told me to go through my house and not to look for things to get rid of but decide what I absolutely couldn't live without. That was a bit eye-opening. I think a lot of people (myself included) hold on to things that we really don't care anything about.

Here is a list of things I have let go of:

old clothing items
* I am huge fan of creating a capsule wardrobe!
If you don't love it...sell or donate it.

useless kitchen gadgets and matchless tupperware
There is nothing more annoying than opening a cabinet and a bunch of useless crap falling everywhere!

If you don't have room for it pass it along to someone who can use it!

baby items
If it is worn out or not being used, let it go!

household items
old lamps, rugs, and out of date clutter!

old magazines
:/ :/ :/  

teenage treasures and college junk
All those "treasures" that just sit in the storage room or attic...pitch it!
I understand keeping a few sentimental things but we had a so much stuff in storage that neither one of us cared anything about.
I was amazed at what I unearthed while clearing out closets and junk drawers. :/ :/ :/

After we went through all of the physical clutter that was slowing us down we took a hard look at time management. That can get super convicting.
 Daniel and I purpose to have "thick skin" in our marriage and to receive constructive criticism well. The longer we are married the more we see how beneficial it is to our marriage and our personal well-being. We've slowly gotten to the place where we ask each other to point out weak spots. Sometimes I will have an idea about what he is going to point out and other times I have been blind-sided. is good...sooo good to have someone who loves you enough to be willing to point out your shortcomings, all the while braving the fact that you have evil, preggo hormones raging through your body! :)
 Y'all my husband is a brave man. ;)

I have posted before about some of our thoughts on social media. We love it and we hate it...well, we hate it mostly.
I enjoy the fact that I can connect with people far away but I hate how it has replaced so much of face-to-face interaction.  I really hate how it has started defining relationships, controlling how people view themselves, and watching people abuse it.
 If I'm honest, one of the biggest time wasters for me was having the FB app on my phone. Inspired by one of my favorite lifestyle, mommy bloggers, I deleted the app from my phone. I would have called myself productive before, but it was insane how free and accomplished I felt just one day being completely disconnected from it. Our account is still open because of business purposes but it will be quiet for a while...
So, for the friends that don't see us posting much, we're good! Just taking a break from the daily "feed" to learn how to live life a little bit better.

-mckenize gentry

Oh, one more thing!!! If you blog, I would encourage you to occasionally print out what you write and tuck it in a notebook. Another writer encouraged me to do that and it is such a neat way to preserve your thoughts for the future.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

snakes, snails and puppy dog tails...

Daniel, Elizabeth and I are so excited to announce that baby number 2 is a boy!!!! 
We are overwhelmed by the Lord's goodness to us and we look forward to meeting this new little one. 

***A huge thank-you to my sister for helping take these pictures to capture this exciting time in our lives.

Our family of 3...soon to be 4! 

"I wish I had met you sooner so I could love you longer."



"Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court."
 Psalm 127:3-5

-mckenzie gentry 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Imperfectly Perfect

 I woke up yesterday feeling overwhelmed. Daniel has been working out of town for the last two weeks and my house was turned upside down. We had stacks of dirty clothes, luggage that needed to be sorted through, cleaning that sorely need to happen....
We had just finished breakfast and I was standing in the middle of my kitchen wishing Mary Poppins would walk through my door and start snapping my house into shape. Then I saw Elizabeth sitting on my table, mayonnaise in hand, watching me ever so intently. 
 I'm not sure what made me get my camera out with my house being such a wreck, but I'm so glad I did. I've always loved taking pictures. There is something about looking through my camera that makes me see life differently. You see those beautiful details that most people might miss. 

Here's a glimpse into my perfectly imperfect morning.

 Watching the way Daniel loves her unconditionally and the way she loves him so fully brought tears to my eyes. She has a wonderful man on her side... and I think she knows it.

 These two are my world.

 I'm thankful for these pictures that will be there to remind me that these are truly the best days of my life. The mess, the craziness, the unknown....all of it. These will be precious memories-my memories.

  My daily reminder not to get lost in this fast-paced world...

 Until next time...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Elizabeth 2-4 Months

Here are a few pictures Daniel has captured of our sweet girl. :*

 Elizabeth has been such a joy and we are very thankful for every day the Lord gives us with her. She is growing and changing so fast!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Birth Story of Elizabeth Grace

 Elizabeth is a month old today and what a wonderful month it has been! Daniel and I are so grateful for this little one that God has entrusted to us!

Elizabeth's birth story will be shared through the writings of my seventeen year old sister Madeline Grace. Madeline was present at the birth and recorded the events that transpired on June 29th, 2016.

Packed and ready to go!

Wednesday-June 29,2016 11:17 A.M.
"Contractions are 2.5-3 minutes apart now and they appear to be feeling pretty severe. The midwife has suggested pitocin to aid in further dilation so as to speed the process along. They broke your mama's water at 9:08 A.M. Before that, your mama was feeling well enough to walk about and brush her teeth. At 11:10 they recorded your heart beat to make sure you were still okay. The monitor is on and I am listening to your heart beat as I write this.
Mama just had another severe contraction. She had had enough of your heart monitor, so she ditched it. :)She said that she was pooping out of this party. :)

11:33....another bad contraction. The contractions worsen whenever she stands. I think that she is going to walk again. It will help her dilate and will ensure that she does not have to have pitocin. The midwife (Jeri Willeby) will be coming back in to check on things in another half hour or so.
11:48 Just got through one difficult contraction. Another one just started and your daddy is rubbing her back to try to take her mind of the pain and ease the pressure. She is standing to encourage more dilation before the midwife comes to check her in another 10 min or less. Hopefully, she will have dilated some. Mimi is an excellent birthing coach. :) Through many contractions she is holding your mama's hand.

Mama is in the bed on her side. Contractions are closer together. The midwfie just came in and she is checking to see if your mama has made any progress...
3 centimeters. Only 1 cm of progress. :/ The midwife will come back in another hour to check again. I will take a break for a while so as to be available.

After 1 hour and 45 min, Jeri came back and McKenzie was now 4 cm and moving along at about 1 cm an hour. This might place us at about an 8:00 delivery. You're causing mama an awful lot of pain. Yet, what baby doesn't? Auntie Maddy might be called to singleness. :)

I thought I might include some details about the area in which you are born. Your delivery room number is 303 and you are only two room numbers away from where your Uncle Macheus was born. We are on the third floor of the Medical Center of Central Georgia in the Family Birth Center.

Your mama vomited. :P Not a detail I'm sure she would want me to share with you, but this is your birth story, right?
Kimberly, your room nurse, has come back into check your heartbeat once more. Still very steady! The midwife said that you have slid down a little further to get ready for birth. The difficult part is convincing your mama that with each bit of progress, she is one step closer to being done and holding you in her arms. Encouragement is all we can give your mama now, as well as a good bit of prayer!
At 4:00, Jeri checked your mama again and found that she had dilated to 5 cm. No pitocin yet. Pitocin could mean a possible epidural. That doesn't have to be an option right now. 
It is very strange for me, being a sibling, to watch her take steps forward like this one. What I remember is an 11 year old girl with a fever staring out her bedroom window while her siblings entertained her. I can't help but smile too as I remember her tearing around our backyard on the back of a horse at a mere 12 years of age! A time like this gives me time to remember. Just ask me sometime and I'll tell you some stories! :)

5:03 pm Still no baby and McKenzie is measuring at 5cm.
Plenty of good solid contractions. Your daddy and mama went ahead and made the decision to do a little pitocin. Hopefully that will help to move things along. I don't think the dose was large enough to cause a problem, but it will make the contractions a little bit harder.

Jeri (the midwife) has come in and administered the medication. Mrs. Jeri is a Christian and always provides a calm, quiet presence in the delivery room. That and the sleep meds are just what your mama needs to relax.

mama just had her third bout of puking. :/ It would seem that the nausea medication is not working. :(

7:12 Jeri came back and checked your mama and she is 8cm!! Your mama keeps asking, "Is she going to come out?" Every time Jeri assures her that she is. :)

7:21 things are kicking up! Contractions are closer together and hurting much worse. They have just started bringing in supplies and getting things prepared.

 I am home and you and your mama are settled for the night!
After the last time I wrote, pain worsened and every position threw your mama into another severe contraction. gradually she felt the urge to push.
Your mama took the pushing in intervals for the first 20 min. Trust me, she was ready to see you more than feel you! :)

Your daddy was a champ! He was very supportive and as helpful as he possibly could be. He spoke to you mama with every contraction and every push with calmness and assured her every time that she was almost there. His calm presence was very helpful and pleasant under such circumstances. Daniel took his role as a husband to a whole new level. I have the utmost respect for him!

At about 8:05, contractions could not be seperated in intervals. Every moment brought new and increasing pressure and pain. Yes, both at the same time x1000. :)
8:10-8:15, Jeri can see a little bit of your head and you have dark hair! Of course, I presumed as much. ;) What do you get with two dark-headed parents after all?

At 8:20, your head is crowning and your daddy exclaims, "I can see little ears!" Then he begins to cry.

8:27 once your head had come out, the hard work for your mama, it was down-hill from there as Jeri assisted in pulling your whole body out.
At this point, when we layed eyes on your tiny little form, we began to cry. I don't know who cried the most, me or your Mimi. :)
You were absolutely gorgeous and to your mama, you were worth every moment of intense pain. It was a surreal moment for all four of us and when you took your first breaths it was one of the most precious sounds I ever heard. Your life has begun......"

 -Madeline Grace

Cord cutting

Daddy and his baby girl.

Our precious midwife! Love this dear lady!