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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tis the Season for Making Broken Things Beautiful

Where do I even begin with this post??? Well first of all, thank you all for your sweet comments on my last post before Thanksgiving. I have to admit that it ended up being a pretty good Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family. We were all a little worried about how it might be, but in the end, we were able to celebrate each other and our blessings. The only tears shed were during the prayer before we ate when we thanked God for sending us mom to have in the first place.

So now on to Christmas! I have realized something about myself this year... I am embarrassed to say it, but I am a Christmas pessimist. I complain about the season, complain about my family situation and find myself saying "I hate Christmas!" frequently. As much as I try to be a positive person in general, Christmas gets the best of me. BUT WHY? Christmas is NOT supposed to be about me. But I am quite ashamed to admit that I am constantly trying to make it center around me.

I don't have enough money for all the gifts I want to buy
I don't have normal family relationships
I don't have time for 12 Christmas stops
I don't get enough time off work around the holidays
Selfish. Selfish. Selfish.

Christmas tends to make me feel broken. Beat down. Financially broke. Kinda ungrateful. It's ugly. I have come to expect the worst, and that's not really who I want to be. But this year, just three days before Christmas I have  renewed sense of HOPE. Hope in the fact that God is still working all around me - even on the hard days when I feel very far from him. Hope that my family can be restored. Hope that Christmas can still stand for exactly what it should always stand for - even though I try to manipulate the meaning and make it about me. Hope in GRACE!

So this morning, as my attitude was slowing shifting from Scrooge to Buddy the Elf, I had an epiphany of sorts. This IS what the Advent season is about. It's what it's ALL about! Christmas is about celebrating the ultimate gift of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ and recognizing that He came to rescue us from this broken world. I read something a couple weeks ago over at (in)courage and it's really stuck with me. I've gone back to re-read it several times, but it wasn't until today that it truly clicked.

Christmas is the ultimate story of hope, of grace, of restoration. Isn't that just the best reminder??

C


My life can feel messy. When the mess feels overwhelming and heavy (which can be more times than I'd care to admit), I tend to completely forget the redemption of restoration. I tend to focus only what is weighing me down, and then I'm unable to feel God around me. Things have changed drastically for me since last Christmas. I went back to reread my Christmas post from 2014 and I laughed a little at how much things have changed. Somehow I always forget how vastly things can change just within a year's time!!

I think slowly, but surely, I am learning these lessons. But I also know eventually that even if this time of year is always a little hard on the heart for me, God's hope of restoration is always always always here. And for that, I am thankful!

Oh yeah - and in case you missed it - this Christmas I am going to be showing off some new bling!!!!! I got engaged on 12/12!! Even though it's been 10 days already, I still can't shake the excitement. I cannot wait to marry this man. I hope he knows how much I love him. Talk about the ultimate feeling of coming full circle with my journey. I can't wait to see what God has planned for us (& hopefully our family) this coming year!!



Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!! I hope you can take a moment to breathe in your blessings and recognize that is always something to be thankful for! I know I will be forcing myself to do that over the next week. XOXO



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Monday, November 23, 2015

Let's Talk Life

Almost four long months have gone by without even so much of a hint of a blog post...
That might be a new record for radio silence around here.

Have no fear, friends, I'm still alive and well! I have missed my blog and my bloggy friends, but I haven't really felt inspired to write about much lately. A million things have happened in my world that have caused me to draft a post, but the words just never seemed to come out right to match how I felt. I hate that too because blogging has always been such a positive outlet for me. I thought I would just try again today. I need a release!

Life always hit me the hardest around the holidays. The past three holidays seasons have been especially hard for me. I've been in a place of trying to heal a broken heart for a while now. And while I do feel like I'm finally healed up from that breakup 3 Novembers ago, the holiday season just always triggers this major anxiety within my heart. I should be excited because it will be my first holiday season with my boyfriend. We have been dating for 7 months now (CRAZY, right??) and there's so much to celebrate there, but sadly I think we are not going to end up together for Thanksgiving and it's really bothering me. I'm feeling Debbie Downer-ish. There are so many reasons why. My family is messy - both sides of it. I don't really feel like I belong within my biological family, for the most part. That's really hard to say - even harder to feel, but it's true. I have always searched for a "family" to adopt me outside of the people who are blood related to me. I have always imagined marrying a guy whose family just takes me in and never makes me feel like an outsider. I desire that so much!

This will be my family's first holiday season without my mom. Some days that makes me feel sad, some days it makes me feel numb, but most days it just makes me feel anxious about how it will be. Last Thanksgiving, I struggled internally with whether or not to even participate in my family's Thanksgiving get together. I ended up going for maybe an hour and it was a complete disaster. My mom had just finished a round of chemo and she was so skinny and sickly. But she was also hurting and not dealing with everything well so she was drinking heavily to mask her pain. She was hammered drunk when I got there and things just went downhill from there. It was a painful time. The holidays are typically a time reserved for celebrating time spent with your family, and it's honestly just a harsh reminder for me that I don't have that. The negatives are weighing me down.

I looked back to my post last year for Thanksgiving, and now I'm sitting here crying as I read these words again this year:
(PS - this is a great one too, Giving Thanks In Sorrow). "When you think you’ll never again be able to sing a song of thanksgiving, try it anyway. Our hearts may not be comfortable praising tragedy, loss, or bad days, but our hearts were created to praise the Hope of Glory."

I am reminded that hope is never in vain. Even when it feels useless, it's not. Even if you have to tell yourself that every second of the day just to make it through. Hope in Jesus is always the only way to survive anything. I might be struggling with the heaviness in my heart right now, but hope is the only way to overcome. I truly believe that! When I focus on the family situation I currently have, the family I want, or the shortcomings with either - I am completely heartbroken. I become overwhelmed when I focus on the things that weigh me down, but I am lifted when I fix my eyes on Jesus and his promises. I cannot even tell you how reassuring of a thought that is to me today.

I went back to SheReadsTruth today for a little inspiration and wanted to share with you what I found. "His promises hold fast, even when your world is crumbling. In everything, He is good. In everything give thanks." Sweeter words have never been spoken. When I feel like I don't have anyone to count on, I have the Lord. When I feel let down by everyone's conditional love and empty promises, I have Jesus who will never leave me and never stop showing me how faithful He is.

Source

I stole this from SRT too because I thought it was a good exercise in thanksgiving. Maybe someone else needs this reminder today just as much as I did.

Let’s actively thank our good God today.
I will give thanks in…
  1. this joyful thing:
  2. this suffering:
  3. this certainty:
  4. this stress:
  5. this injustice:
  6. this sorrow:
  7. this plenty:
  8. this want:
  9. this wandering:
  10. this waiting:

Wishing you all a truly Happy Thanksgiving, filled with warm hearts and full bellies! XOXO


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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What Means The World To You

"Cause money mean the world to me, Imma shine for the world to see..."
I sincerely hope the title of this post has taken you back to your younger days and you are singing Cam'ron in your head as we speak. That was MY JAM when I first started driving! If you don't know who Cam'ron is then I don't even know what to tell you... Apparently my life revolves around song lyrics so I need all my friends to cooperate.

So I've been thinking a lot lately about funny life can be - about how quickly things can change, how ironically things can play out, about how worrying about the future does us absolutely zero good. (Even so, I'm pretty sure we are all guilty of worrying from time to time anyhow.) I'm at this place in my life right now where I feel like I'm teetering on the cusp on great change - and when these feelings hit me I'm always compelled to look back on how things have progressed.

I read this post today from my friend Annie Downs on turning 35 and what that means. I say she's my friend, but really we haven't met in real life. I just love her and I can relate to her story. This was my favorite part:
"It means all day today, I will celebrate the life I have. Not the one I’m missing out on or the one I’m waiting for, but the one I have. It means I wouldn’t trade what I do have for what I wished for. And I will celebrate how God made me. Not who I wish I was or the things I would change, but who I am. Today."


Perfectly said, RIGHT?!?!! My 31st birthday is quickly approaching in September. That statement is scary as crap to write and say out loud. 31????? When did I get old enough to be an almost 31 year old!!!! You know birthdays always make me feel some kinda way - 2013, 2014. Getting older tends to make me feel antsy. 


BUT My 30th year goal was to be in love with my life, every minute of it, and I think I'm finally starting to get a grip on that. I'm slowly learning at the ripe old age of 367 months old how to celebrate the life that I have TODAY and not worry about the one I thought I was missing out on.

I say that I feel like I'm on the edge of change for a lot of reasons. Talks of engagement, marriage, babies, traveling more for work, future life plans and lots of big girl things are happening these days. All of which are HUGE life changes, well worth celebrating. I'd be a lying dog if I told you I wasn't tickled pink with how things are going right now. I'm in such a strong place emotionally, for the first time probably since Skye and I broke up back in 2012. Being in a good place emotionally doesn't mean that I have it all together or that I don't cry when I have PMS. But it does mean I am better equipped for handling the challenges that inevitably come my way. The death of my mama back in April taught me so much about my emotional state and my ROCK that is my relationship with God. He has offered me a fresh start at everything. Not without struggle, and not with the promise of no future struggles, but with the faithful TRUTH that He will sustain all struggles. It's taken some time to cleanse my heart of hateful things and  to learn the glory of true grace. I hope I never stop learning this lesson and never stop extending it to others because it's been radically life changing for me. I'm not perfect at it, (not even close) but the Lord has brought my heart such a long way in these past three years. It just feels good to feel at peace with where I am. I'm thankful beyond words!
He is always beside me. I think this is a great verse (reminder) for the hurting people who are in extremely difficult times! If you know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, He is always there for you! Be encouraged! Especially for our brothers and sisters in the Philippines! HE knows your struggles, each and every one! He will be there through your dark and trying times! He WILL NOT FORSAKE YOU!!!

So what means the world to me? Loving my life fully. Being surrounded by people who love me and support me. Embracing changes when they come. Getting on my knees to thank God for His blessings - in good times and bad. Celebrating what I have and who I am. Grace, grace & more grace.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

These Are My Confessions...

"Just when I thought I said all I could say..."
(if you aren't singing that right now then clearly you are too young to be reading my blog. Gotta love some throwback Usher!)
 
I just feel the need to get some recent confessions off my chest. I miss the Confessions link ups (they are probably still around...I'm just out of the bloggy loop).
 
I confess...
 
It annoys me that there are always haters in life.
 
I haven't been drinking hardly any wine at all lately, who am I? Summer brings out my inner beer lover.
 
Humidity is the devil. You'd think living in the South my whole life I'd be used it to... but you never get used to frizzy hair and sticky sweat.

You know Lebron is my boo... but I really can't be mad about the Warriors winning it all last night. If you don't have love for Steph Curry then you ain't living right because that boy is incredible. This whole playoff series was so fun to watch them battle back and forth.
 
And now that basketball is over...
80 days until College Football is back! Can I get an AMEN??

This guy has truly stolen my heart, y'all. He's just everything that is precious and I pretty much spend all my time with him these days. I'm completely that annoying girl who is newly in love. I apologize for blowing up your Instagram, Twitter & Facebook feeds with my heart eyed emojis for him. #sorrynotsorry
PS - NO I'm not naked :)
I have an obsession with neon bathing suit pieces. (Just a quick poll - does anybody even wear matchy bikini sets anymore? I am all about that mix & match life.)

Speaking of obsessions... The Weeknd and Meek Mill are high on my list right now. And little miss Kelsea Ballerini and her "Love Me Like You Mean It" jam. FYI - she's from Knoxville!

Again with neons & obsessions, I got a new pair of running shoes. You know, because all that running I've been doing??? (jokes) I'm a slacker and I've only used them once, but I love them. this is the 2nd pair of neon yellow and pink Asics I've had so I guess you could say I'm a big fan.


I'm finally reading The Andy Cohen Diaries. I love that man and all his Bravo magic - especially those crazy housewives. Can he be my spirit animal? The book is really good, so far.
 
Y'all heard of Firmoo yet? If not then you need to hop on over there and check out their selection of glasses! This is the 2nd pair that I've gotten from them to review, and I doubt I'll ever get glasses anywhere else again. They are GREAT - easy to deal with, easy to order, great follow up to make sure you're happy with the glasses. Plus, they have a ton of new styles, frames and colors to choose from. A girl needs choices in her life! Plus - as a new customer you can get 15% off instantly just for trying them out.

 
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