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Friday, December 26, 2014

True Meaning of Christmas, brought to you by Hallmark Movies

Confession: I have watched approximately every single Hallmark movie of the Christmas variety this season. Which has surprised the heck out of me since I'm not usually a Christmas movie person. Quite the opposite actually. These movies leave me feeling full of hope that not every Christmas has to be lonely or painful. I've learned that broken engagements offer much more hope than despair, that second chances can change lives and plenty of families are dysfunctional. I'VE LEARNED THIS FROM HALLMARK CHRISTMAS MOVIES!!! I can't decide if that's sad or not. But truthfully, all of these lessons have really hit home with me this season.
 
Christmas has truly taken on a new meaning for me this year. I have spent many Christmases in my life focused on the wrong things, wrong people, with the wrong attitude. I've spent the last two Christmases trying to find a balance within this life that didn't really feel like my own. This Christmas felt better. I dove head first into the Advent season this year and was really trying to reshape my own thoughts about how Christmas can mean more to me.
 
I know it's been a while since I've updated you guys on life happenings so maybe I should start there. Two days after I wrote my Thanksgiving post, the boyfriend and I got back together. (You can roll your eyes if you want, I promise it's okay) Classic case of spoke too soon. The thing about it is, when you just keep coming back to the same person over and over again no matter what happens (or when someone continues to pursue you over and over again no matter how scared & fickle you may seem), you have to explore that situation fully. I have no idea how we will decide when our actual anniversary is because I think we officially have like 7 of them now, but who cares. Things are so amazingly (sickeningly) good right now! (I'm not sure how I feel yet about being SO open with this relationship on the blog, but if you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or if we are Facebook friends then you'll get your fair share of our story.) One thing I will tell you is that on our first Christmas together, we got each other the same gift. This song has meaning in our relationship and I guess it truly is a sign that we are finally on the same page! We could not stop laughing about this, it was so crazy!

My family life is pretty complicated right now. Those relationships are messy and that's usually why Christmas is such an exhausting event for me. I mentioned that I chose not to spend Thanksgiving with my family this year, and for Christmas it was very much the same. I visited both my parents briefly on Christmas Eve then spent Christmas Day with a friend's family who treats me just like one of their own. Dysfunctional families are a part of life. Even the most put together families have dysfunction, I know that. Even Hallmark families have their fair share. Mine can really feel heavy at times, and it leads to me feeling so lonely and not like a part of my family at all. I'm so thankful for a church family and the absolute best group of friends who always remind me that I am loved.
 
Also, a couple weeks ago I got the chance to see Ann Voskamp, Ellie Holcomb & Amena Brown when they came on The Greatest Christmas Tour to Knoxville.
I love all of these ladies so I was super stoked to go see them, but I honestly wasn't quite as excited about the Christmas message. I left the program that night feeling so hopeful for the message of the Advent season and resting in God's love this Christmas. I was filled with even more hope than a Hallmark movie could offer me. My favorite quote from that night was from Ann Voskamp, "Cease the pace to do, to buy, to be more. Come as you are. You don't have to earn Christmas. You don't have to make it. You don't even have to like it. You can just rest in Christmas." You might be having a DUH moment right now, but I had a total WOW moment that night. I've never really viewed Christmas as being about what gifts I receive. But I am totally guilty of making it about what I can do to make Christmas great - whether it be gifts, food, or anything. The best lesson I've learned this Christmas is that my greatest gift is not my gift at all. It's simply my surrender in this season that typically overwhelms my heart in the worst way. My surrender means just being this empty space for God to fill with his love, kindness, goodness and letting those overflow from me. I'm not sure that I exactly nailed it this year, but I can say it was the best holiday season I've probably ever had.
 
This week we also had our Christmas services at church. Y'all know I'm crazy in love with my church and the fact that God continues to show up there week after week and is making big things happen in our community. Christmas services always knock it out of the park though.

My sweet boyfriend is one of our worship leaders so of course, I'm quite partial to him and that just added to my love of the Christmas services this year. It blows my mind to think that this time last year we had just met and barely knew each other and now we've been the better part of this year together (well trying to be together haha). And not only that, but God has shown up BIG time for me in so many other ways this year. This is only my 2nd year attending a Christmas service at OneLife. I simply cannot fathom what God will do in my life and in our church in 2015. Who knows what my life will look like at the next Christmas service. If I even tried to imagine, I'd be putting God into a box that He is so.much.bigger than. But I feel confident that he's going to rock my world, in the best way possible.

We sang the O come, O Come Emmanuel song and the lyrics have just been stuck in my mind for the past couple of days.
 
Rejoice, again, I say, rejoice
For unto us is born the Savior of the world
Take heart, oh weary soul, take heart
For help is on its way
And Holy is His name
 

When my soul and my heart begin to feel life's burdens, I hope I can remember these lyrics. Christmas is all about the Savior of the world being born and what that means to us. Help is here, and I don't have to feel like I'm doing this life thing alone.

I've learned so much by surrendering. I feel like I say that a lot here. But honestly, it's something that I continue to learn. Choosing faith over fear this year has brought me to where I am right now, which is exactly where I'm supposed to be. It's not easy and I most definitely don't always realize that the first time around. But just like in the Hallmark movies, second chances are sometimes the best learning experiences. I gave Christmas a second chance this year, and I really liked how it played out. I rested in what Christmas represents this year and I found true joy. I'll keep letting God work on this old heart of mine, and next year I'll probably practically be a Griswold. 

Hope all my little loves had a very Merry Christmas! XOXO
 
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving, as an Action vs. a Holiday

Here I am, again, in this place where I have SO MUCH to say but can't find the right words. More accurately, I'm scared to speak the truth of the words that I'm feeling. I'm afraid of judgment, afraid that saying things out loud makes them real, and anxiously awaiting something amazing to happen so that I can fill my posts with that instead.
 
I feel myself sliding into a valley. Not a spiritual valley necessarily (thank the Lord), more like a life valley. One of those times when things are just "ehhhh" and that's honestly about the best way to describe them. Life feels a little bit messy right now. Work, family, relationships - all of it, presents me with more complicated days than easy ones.
 
My go-to girl Hannah Brencher apparently feels my vibe and wrote this post JUST FOR ME. I mean, come on! You know how much I love her, and her words always seem to speak truth into my given situation. Spot on. Thank you Jesus for HB and her connection to my soul!
 
If I'm being honest, my current valley probably has so much to do with my breakup. The boyfriend and I broke up two weeks ago. I'm not sure I can adequately describe to you the journey our relationship traveled since last March when we went on our first date. Roller coaster would be pretty close to a perfect term to use. I want so badly to believe that it was just a timing issue. I feel like we are such a great pairing on paper, but something was holding me back from riding it out to see how the story ended. I prayed...and prayed...and prayed some more but I never received that crystal clear answer that I wanted from God. Just that consistent feeling of hesitancy. I know that not all relationships are made to last, but I wanted this one to. I just don't know how much more back and forth either one of us could have handled. I have no choice but to put all my hope in the fact that if God wants to bring us back together, then He will control the path that leads us there. So there's that.
 
The holidays, in the past couple of years especially, have been a time of struggle for me. I can't tell you how incredibly overwhelmed I was at the thought of having to spend the holidays with my boyfriend's family. I could cry just thinking about it even still. Can we say ISSUES?? Something about all the family time and celebrations makes me feel like an outsider. I can't survive a family get together of my own without crying, resorting to drinking or daydreaming of stabbing someone (usually my mother). Loneliness is constantly lurking in the back of my mind telling me to compare my situation to everyone else's. I'm sure that's at least part of why I want my own family so urgently - to have that comfort of being an actual part of something. God has rescued me from these feelings of self pity so many times, and yet here I am entertaining the idea of them again. It's ridiculous.
 
I want to live a lifestyle of thanksgiving and praise God greatly for all that He has given me. I'm doing this awesome She Reads Truth bible study right now that's all about thanksgiving (the action of it, not the holiday). The other day Give Thanks in Suffering hit the nail on the head for me. I beg you to read this if you are going through any kind of suffering right now. Because I promise you, there's no way you can read these biblical truths and not feel beyond thankful to a Savior that offers HOPE. It offered me a much needed reminder that: This isn't all that there is. Our story goes on. Life gets better. God has BIGGER & BETTER things planned for you and I!

"Sisters, it’s okay to be sad. But we know Jesus who died for us in love and rose again in love, so that all that is broken can be redeemed, so that in the midst of terrible pain we can know this isn’t all there is.
 
Our hope is never in vain when it’s in Jesus. Our thanksgiving in times of suffering is a testament to how temporary the pain is in light of our great eternal joy and our everlasting hope."
 
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”- Romans 5:5
 
 
This Thanksgiving (as in the actual holiday this time), I will be surrounded by amazing friends who love me unconditionally. I might be single again, but I am not alone. I will have a full belly, a warm house, and money to go Black Friday shopping. I am thankful for this valley, and all that it will bring. I cannot imagine a better place to be than here, where God draws me close to Him and covers me with his love. What more do I need?? My heart will overflow with praise for the Lord for all the blessings I do not deserve. I will wait expectantly and hope for a season of life that comes with a view from a mountaintop instead of a valley.

(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."
 
Happy Thanksgiving friends! I'm thankful for the friendships I still have from blogging, and for all the support you give me when I whine :) XOXO
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Friday, November 7, 2014

5 on a Friday!

Hola senoritas! I'm just here today to give you a recap of what's been going on with me in the past couple of weeks. I have some really great posts (in my humble opinion haha) saved in my drafts folder, just haven't really had time to finish them out. So an update it is, in the form of my very favorite link up 5 on Friday of course.
 
 
{ONE}
I just got home from a week in Florida for a work conference. I'm human so of course I love the beach, but as a Southerner I get real sick of the humidity that comes with an East TN summer. I don't think I've ever visited the beach during November, and I couldn't have been more pleased with the weather we had in Sandestin. Absolutely gorgeous! I could easily be a snowbird in my future retirement life. It's never too early to dream about retirement, girls! I'll see you again in March, Sandestin, and I am counting down the days!


 
 
{TWO}

My new iPhone FINALLY came! It was the most perfect little welcome home gift last night on my front porch. She's a slender gold beauty too! A much needed upgrade from my 4s. I couldn't be happier with it!
 
{THREE}
Election day has come and gone and while I try not to get too political on here, I can say I am happy with the way one referendum played out. In my city & county, we will be getting wine in our grocery stores soon! I CAN'T WAIT! Does that mean I'm an alcoholic? No! That means I'm lazy and I like my convenience. I know we are probably behind the times down here, but you gotta remember this is the heart of the Bible belt.
 
{FOUR}
Everybody needs a good Friday Funny and this is one of my favs this week!
 
{FIVE}
Ordered these pretty thangs this week and I'm so excited to show them off!
Cross Training Couture
My girl Kim's boutique - Small Town Style
 
 Happy weekend loves!
 

Friday, October 24, 2014

5 on a Friday!


{ONE}
Well... it finally happened to me. One month after my 30th birthday, I found my first grey hair. You would think I was dying. I was literally in tears on my bathroom floor. Getting older is awful. I'm totally going to blame this on the darker hair that I'm rocking right now. I don't think I ever would have noticed if I was still rocking my blonde hair. Back to blonde I go the next time I get my hair done! Ignorance is bliss.
 
{TWO}
It's been an emotional week for me. (Thank you for all your amazing support yesterday, by the way!) Dealing with life, finding the grey hair, and then I watched the RHONJ finale. Talk about a tear jerker. Teresa has not always been my favorite NJ housewife. I've loved her and I've hated her at times. But I was genuinely tore up about her getting sentenced to 15 months in prison. What a sad reality for her family! OOOOOH also, did y'all hear that Bethenny is coming back to RHONY?? I can't wait for that! She is my sarcastic idol.

Remember the good old table flip days from Season 1? 
I love it when my housewives show their crazy.

{THREE}
Whatever you do just serve God well. In overcoming this season of clutter and the feelings it stirs within me, I have to remind myself that I am blessed to be a passionate person. Even though sometimes my passions take over and I feel pulled in a million different directions. I thrive when I am serving others and feeling productive. I just have to pray that the choices I make, I will be obedient and serve God well every step of the way. Amen to that! So thankful for these reminders that others sometimes feel this way too.



{FOUR}
Fall things are happening. I loooooooooove fall. Fall TV, football, weather, fall beer & iced PSLs, clothes, Hocus Pocus - I want it ALL. I'm a hot natured person so I love the crisp air in the mornings & evenings. I wish I could move somewhere that it's 70-50's year round. Perfection!

The bookcase in my office has a very Harry Potter-ish vibe right now with my witch hats, sorting hat style.
Target Dollar Bins FTW!

I did a craft class last week and we painted mason jars! So easy, fun and cute decorations! I'm Southern, we do everything with mason jars.
{FIVE}
Just a short week from tomorrow, I'll be heading to Florida for a week for a work conference. I can honestly say I'm so excited to get away from my real life. I cannot wait to unwind, disconnect and just have fun. OH, AND I'LL BE AT THE BEACH! There will be work happening, but I'll also have some free time. And when my life makes me feel like I want to run away from it, this timing could not be more perfect.


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Seasons of Clutter

Have you even taken inventory of your daily life and found yourself to be stuck in a season of clutter? Not necessarily physical clutter, but life clutter. I feel lately like my schedule is full of busy. I'm glorifying the busy in my life by keeping a tight schedule that lacks intentionality. I'm not a big fan of the way this realization feels when it hits me. I feel like I'm wasting time, saying yes to all the wrong things, throwing money away and not serving the purposes that I am here for. I'm always scatterbrained because I'm running on half as much sleep as I need, feeling ragged because I'm not taking care of myself and, if I'm being honest, I actually feel relieved when someone cancels plans with me because it frees up some time between hectic running back and forth. Nobody in my life is getting the best of me. Everybody is getting broken fragments of what I have left to offer. I find myself saying "I don't have time for..." constantly. I hate this feeling.

These seasons of clutter leave me feeling empty, drained, hollow. Like I have nothing to offer the people I love, the people I work with, the people who need me. Then it also leads to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, guilt and snowballs from there... I'm hard on myself, I know that. Too hard most of the time. I struggle constantly with showing myself grace.
Source
I am words person. You know this about me. I am good with words. I can comfort with words. I express myself through words. I can sit here all day and write a blog post that tells you exactly how I'm feeling and take myself on a journey as to why. But when it comes to real life, I feel like I don't have time for real, meaningful, gritty interactions with people. I don't have what it takes right now to put my words into action in my own life. And that disappoints me.

Then I read Stop Sleeping with Liars. Cue the tears. Stop whatever you are doing and READ that. Don't just read it, print it. Re-read it. Highlight the parts that speak to you. Send it out on social media. Memorize it. Make it the first thing you read in the morning, or the last thing you read before bed. Maybe you can't relate to this now, but one day you will. One day you will need these words to resurrect you.

"you’re human. That’s it. You’re not super human. You’re not subhuman. You’re just plain human. You make mistakes. You don’t scale walls. You hurt people without ever intending to. You get your heart ripped out of your chest. Some days the only language you can endure is tears and you’re like, “I’M SO FLUENTTT IN TEARSSSS. WHATTT ISSSS WRONNGGG WITHHH MEEE???” Like I said, you’re human. Go with it." - HB

I don't let the people in my real life comfort me. It's a lifelong struggle I have with letting people in. The hardest thing in the world for me to sit down and talk about what's on my mind and what's bothering me. I want to be a super human. And to me that means dealing with things entirely on my own, not discussing my weaknesses and not showing emotions. I have to remind myself that when I can display my weakness, it empowers Christ to work for me and through me (2 Cor 12:9). Lately, this season of clutter has left me feeling weak, full of emotions and not able to be comforted. My instinct is to retreat. But my friend Hannah Brencher can comfort me with her words like no other. Well, second to Jesus, that is.

(If you don't know Hannah, then you are missing someone who can speak life into you. I've said it before, but Hannah is my soul sister - even if she doesn't know it yet. Her words reach into the depths of my soul and inspire me to want better, do better - just be better. Her passion is contagious. I am convinced she was placed on this Earth to light a fire within me!)

"Accepting yourself will prove to be one of the biggest journeys of this lifetime. Pack the bags. Bring the toothbrush. March for the door and go. That journey is worth taking." - HB
 
So what can I do to remedy this?

Remember that I am human. Give ALL my insecurities, fears and anxieties to God - every.single.day. Embrace God's sweet grace. Offer myself the grace that He offers me daily. Accept that I am doing all that I can, and maybe some days that just doesn't look like much. Don't continue to beat myself up for mistakes I made years ago. Fall back in love with people around me. Be real and honest when I feel like I'm just not measuring up. Don't believe the lies that I have to be everything to everyone. Be passionate about making a difference in a few people's lives and that will be my change in this world. Pre-order Hannah's book that is coming out in March 2015 (she really should just hire me to work for her!).

 
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Friday, October 3, 2014

5 on a Friday!


{ONE}
I spent last weekend living it up in Charleston with Manda & Christa! a) What an awesome city! We had a blast! Plus, anytime brunches & mimosas are involved I'm happy. b) Isn't blogging so awesome to bring us together? Christa doesn't blog herself but she's been reading mine forever and we finally got to meet for the first time last Nov for our blogger Nashville trip. Manda and I have had several adventures together too! Gotta love the internet & internet besties! If you follow me on Instagram {@nikkib918}, then you probably got your fair share of pictures. But I have to say, one of my favorite parts was the FOOD!
Because shrimp & grits is the BEST, especially with hushpuppies, boiled peanuts and a beer! This is from Hyman's downtown, and I would HIGHLY recommend that place!
{TWO}
Have y'all seen/heard the buzz about this?? Yeah NBD Lil Jon is just a Vols fan now! #ThirdDownForWhat    All I have to say is, FLORIDA IS GOING DOWWWWN this year! I cannot even handle the excitement!! #VFL
 
{THREE}
iPhone 6 iPhone 6 iPhone 6! Let's all chant it together! I'm going to get mine this weekend and if I wasn't crunk enough already about Florida game weekend, then this is really pushing me over the edge. I'm still rockin' the sad little 4s from 2011. I am definitely due for an upgrade!
 
{FOUR}
October is breast cancer awareness month! My mama is a breast cancer survivor! I've already pro-actively had my first mammogram 2 years ago, at the advice of my doctor based on the age my mom was when she got sick. Also, my cousin who is a survivor - and is an amazingly strong woman and former Lady Vol basketball player- had this neat write up about her yesterday in our local paper.  So do yourself a favor, and feel yourself up this month to make sure you're good! And take advantage of the extra reason to wear pink!
 
 {FIVE}
And in case you needed some Amy Poehler wisdom to get you through your weekend - here you go.


 

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

In the Here & Now

I didn't plan on posting today, but I read a blog post this morning that really struck a cord with me. And I find that when that happens to me, I just cannot seem to keep my mouth shut about it! Lucky you :)
 
THIS post was part of my Esther bible study that I've been doing through Love God Greatly. (I mentioned this study here too, and it's really been AMAZING! I cannot say enough about how God has been speaking to me through it. I would highly recommend their studies!)
 
No, I'm not a mom yet. But I want to be. I've thought so much about all the ways that life change will challenge me and pull me in a million different directions. Even without being at that place in my life yet, I still feel those pulls of distraction from my focus on God all.the.time. And all the time when I find my way back into focus, I beg God to use me. To use me in ways I never imagined possible, in ways so big that only He can get the credit for, because there's no way I could make these things happen myself.
 
I was so incredibly blessed by the opportunity to go on my mission trip to the Dominican Republic back in July. It felt BIG and important and like God was going to use me to change the world. When in reality, in so many ways, I was the one who was changed by it. I'd like to think I made even the tiniest of impacts on the lives of the El Carrizal community. I'd like to think that they think of me even half as often as I think of them. But my heart was impacted from the trip and that matters too. I talked about how when I came home from that trip I felt lost...disconnected...like I wasn't doing enough here. It's a whirlwind thing, really. And unfortunately, it's terribly hard to process the words and explain that feeling to people.
 
I'm not going to lie, sometimes I am tricked into believing the lie that what I'm doing here at home, and in the now, isn't enough. I like to rank the order of importance of the ways God is using me. The mission trip feels higher up there, while serving at my church every Sunday or spending time investing in the stories of the people around me doesn't feel as much sometimes. I meet with girls all the time who feel the same way. I've really been thinking about this lately, about the people in my life who buy into this lie. About the ways I buy into it and let it allow me to feel discouraged.
 
And it's such a dirty ugly lie! Clearly God wants me to recognize that and repeat it. Because this is the 3rd time in a row in 2 days that He has clearly pointed it out to me.
 
I saw this cute little pallet last night on Instagram - actually very randomly found this picture, and it really made me think about these "not enough" feelings. This was my caption:
(Look at how adorable this is!!! From @honeydewhomedesign right here in Knox! Found them randomly on IG!) This world wants me to doubt myself, but Jesus assures me that through Him I am enough! This world wants me to conform, but being obedient and faithful to my Savior fills me far more than this world ever could! You can have this world, just give me Jesus!
 

Then the LGG post from this morning. This just did me in:

"You see, “for such a time as this” doesn’t just include the big stuff. Oh, there may be some big, bold, exciting, risky God-opportunities that He calls you to along the way. Don’t miss them.

But daily, God is calling us to the here and now."

 

Where you are? That’s no mistake. And whatever your here and now consists of, I promise that if you stop and take a moment to look around, you’ll find whole lot of Kingdom work to do. That precious generation of little people right in front of your face? They’re tomorrow’s church. Your neighbor across the street and opposite your cubicle? You might be the only Jesus they ever see. That meal you made, that note you sent, that check you wrote, that prayer you prayed? You may have just inspired someone to love God greatly with their lives.
All because you decided to say “yes” to the here and now.
 
Just like that, God reminds me that I have multiple callings on this Earth. Sure, I have a heart for BIG missions, but realistically I can't drop everything to make that happen all the time right now. I also have a heart for ministry. For me, my ministry is here- at home, at work, my own family, the people I go to church with, the people who live in my neighborhood, who I talk to at the gym, my future children. There are lost people all around me. All around us all. It's not my job to save them, and I never could no matter how hard I tried. It's my job to show them love. And every single person that I can inspire to even take a 2nd look at God, matters in the Kingdom of Heaven.

YOU are enough. WHAT YOU DO is enough. It matters. It's important. It impacts people's lives. Letting your light shine is enough.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:16
 
I hope somebody out there is saying AMEN right now...

 
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Motivational Monday

So many Mondays are filled with heavy eyelids and complaints. NOT THIS ONE! Maybe it's because I've been sleeping so good lately, or maybe it's because my body is starting to feel even just a little bit better from working out and eating better-ish, or maybe it's because my heart is so full of love right now... but whatever the reason I am on Cloud 9 today. Here's a little motivation for your Monday!
 
3 important life lessons that have been reinforced to me lately:
 
1. Be brave, no matter what the cost. I promise you, it's worth it.
 
When you don't feel brave, listen to this!
 
 
Source

 2. Be an encourager. Make someone's day today.
Source
 3. Be out of this world thankful for your home team.
Source

Take that, Monday!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pearls of Wisdom - from a 30 year old

Yesterday was my birthday, in case you missed that memo. I'm officially the big 3-0 now, or as I like to say I'm 360 months old. I had to get a new driver's license picture and everything. My 29th year ultimately delivered me to a place of grace, peace and – dare I say, maturity. (everybody who knows me in real life has my permission to laugh at the thought of me being mature). I mean, if Prince Harry can rock 30 then shouldn't I try to do the same?
 
I said it last year on my birthday, and I'll probably forever say it, but getting older is scary for me! The thought of moving into the 30's age bracket literally makes me want to vomit. It feels very "quarter-life crisis-ish". And by that I mean I'm definitely getting a new tattoo soon.

But even so, your birthday is YOUR day to feel loved and I definitely felt the love. Thank you to everyone who called, sent me a text, an email or a card - and especially Erin who sent me flowers!!

I am reminded of the great Carrie Bradshaw's quote about age brackets:
 "Your 20's are to make mistakes, Your 30's are to learn your lessons, your 40's are to pay the drinks."

I most definitely made more than my fair share of mistakes in my 20's. But isn't that what it's all about? Learning who you are and growing into who you want to be. My hope is that my 30's will bring me invaluable life lessons. Lessons of love, faithfulness, family and hope. I solemnly swear to eagerly pass those lessons on to others, over drinks of course, once I reach my 40's.

My only goal for my 30th year is to be in love with my life. Crazy in love with every single minute of it. The good, the bad and even the ugly - just to love it and know that every twist and turn serves a purpose.
 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Five on a Friday!

I'm pretty sure that the 5 on a Friday link-up isn't going on right now (hopefully just during the summer?), but I'm just going to pretend like it's still a thing. And since I'm clearly a part-time blogger now, Fridays are all I have to offer you. #sorrynotsorry Life, it has been a'happenin!
 
{ONE}
I have a boyfriend!!!!! A real, live, Facebook official and everything boyfriend. I know you're probably either experiencing a heart attack at this moment, or you have fallen out of your seat because I knocked your socks off. It's true. I'm not even sure I remember how to have a boyfriend, but here we are. It makes me want to pee my pants with excitement and terrifies me at the same time. He's a saint, y'all. And my absolute most favorite thing about him is his heart for Jesus. I had never looked for that in a boyfriend before, so I never realized how incredibly attractive it is.
 
"If you are a woman of God, don’t sell your spiritual birthright by marrying a guy who doesn’t deserve you. Your smartest decision in life is to wait for a man who is sold out to Jesus." - J. Lee Grady
 
{TWO}
Football is back. Praise the Lord! First home opener game was a big fat WIN, and just so happened to be sold out. There are few things in life that are sweeter than spending an evening with 102,000 of my closest friends and cheering on our boys. I had a blast!

Actual picture I took at the game - gorgeous skies that night!
{THREE}
If you can listen to this song, and not sing it all day then you're a better woman than I am. My co-workers are probably sick of hearing me sing "I'm bringing booty back" non stop.


{FOUR}
I started an online bible study with Love God Greatly about the book of Esther. Can I just be 100% real with you right now and tell you that it's only the first week and I have been blown away by what God is revealing to me? In just a few short days, my heart is lighter than it's been in weeks.

I've been struggling with a lot of emotions recently, and being in a new-ish relationship (while exciting) has definitely caused me some internal conflict. It's so easy to become complacent and too focused on the world's distractions around us. I am incredibly guilty of this, especially since I got home from my mission trip. While God is always pursuing me, I can easily push my pursuit of him to the side. When stress starts to weigh me down, I can all too easily fall back into the ways of claiming control over things as a coping mechanism. I revert back to old ways of dealing with my emotions - which is basically not dealing with them. Old, ugly scars were definitely starting to rear their little heads with my relationship issues. None of that is from God. This Esther study started at just the right time. It is truly amazing the ways that God will reveal himself to us, if we just make the time to seek him. I am constantly in awe when this happens to me. Yet it happens time and time again. This verse just captivated me.

"Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory..." -Pslam 115:1

I forget sometimes that I'm a changed person. My natural instinct is extreme independence. I used to pride myself on the strength that came from that. But I am reminded that I do not have to face any of these feelings alone. That instead, if I pour my heart out to God, He will renew me. I am reminded that through my weaknesses, God shows his healing power.  And that is the best feeling. Glory to God!

All that being said, just wanted to share this little nugget from Wednesday's lesson with you.
 
{FIVE}
If you read nothing else this week, read this. I love the idea of women holding each other accountable, advocating for each other, and just supporting each other - no matter what stages of life we are in. I would gladly do this with ANY of you over guac and margaritas - even if we have to do it virtually. It's important!
 
Happy Weekend, my loves! AND GO VOLS!

Friday, August 22, 2014

5 on a Friday!

Is 5 on a Friday still even a thing?? I'm just going to go for it and say yes because I like it and I haven't blogged all week. So booyah!
 
{ONE}
This post. (Beware, there's language and sex talk for those who are offended by such) I don't like body shaming I've been called fat before, and at one point in my life (definitely not now) I was told that I was working out too much and I was too skinny which made my neck look weird. I'm guilty of judging other people's bodies too. There's really no way to please everybody else. It's YOUR body, you have to live in it, take care of it and dress it. And it's YOUR job to feel comfortable with your body. I tend to rely on other people to make me feel good about myself and that's just crap. Praise from other people comes and goes. As someone who has struggled with body image, self love, gaining weight and uneven boobs - I loved the honesty of this post!

{TWO}
My jam. I'm so ready for The Voice and my weekly dates with Adam.

{THREE}
Fall = darker hair, right? I'm getting my hair done tomorrow and I am thinking about really changing it up. Like majorly getting rid of the blonde. I love the blonde, but it's been my look for several years now and it might be time to go back to the dark side.

I would really really like to try this...but it might be too much of a transition right now.
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For the record, I still love ombre. I don't even know if it's something that the cool girls do anymore, but I might single handedly bring it back.
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{FOUR}
I need this for my birthday. Which is 27 days away, by the way. But honestly I'm not sure I'm excited this year. More like terrified.
 
 
{FIVE}
Let's end on some positives to take us into the weekend -
9 Days until UT Football is back in my life!!
 
34 Days until a fabulous girl's weekend in Charleston with my girls!!
 
51 Days until The Walking Dead new season!
 
 
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