Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflecting on 2013

2013
 
 
When I think of 2013, a few big things stand out to me.
 
 
* I read my first full Nicholas Sparks book - Safe Haven. It pretty much changed my life, and I still have to write a post about why I love the book and the movie so much! (I saw the movie six times in theatres. Luckily a few of those were at the dollar theatre!)
 
*Some friends and I started a Bible study called GPS after a deep discussion at Carolina's Diner one night over Christmas break.  The group has been pretty awesome, and I'm looking forward to seeing it grow and do great things. We've met almost every week this year.
 
*Me and Ashley had a fun trip to Myrtle Beach together and stopped in Southport on the way home so I could see where Safe Haven was filmed :)
 
*In April, Libby Hill closed. I had worked there for four years and been eating there since I was born. It was a High Point staple for like 50 years.  Honestly, it was one of the hardest things I've ever gone through. When you get so used to a place and the people that go along with it, life doesn't seem right without it. (I still have a post about Libby Hill in the works.)
 
*While there was sadness about Libby Hill, there was also happiness because also in April, I started my OWN company - Croakie Dokie, a croakie company. I cannot describe how amazing it felt to open those 400 croakies when they came in the mail, after working so long and hard on designing them and having them made.
 
*In May, I FINALLY accomplished a huge lifetime dream - I went to Los Angeles!! Kacie and I went to see Chanelle. It was my first time flying. On the way back, I experienced flying alone for the first time and navigating Dallas/Fort Worth airport all alone. I was quite proud of myself.
While we were there, we got into a Dodgers game, an American Idol taping, and the American Idol finale for free. My life was pretty much made.
 
*I became even more of a baseball fan after going to the Dodgers game, and went to many games over the summer.
 
*I moved into my first apartment over the summer and lived in Boone taking summer classes. My roommate, Stephanie, will be a friend for life!
 
*I officially moved to Boone with Kacie and Michael in August. We had to stay in a hotel for two weeks, but after that, we got to move into a brand-new apartment!
 
*I got a new car - The Black Pearl! In late August, I traded my Focus for a Mercury Mariner and I'm so in love with that thing. I never want a different car.
 
*I joined the most awesome women's Bible study at Appalachian and grew so much in the Lord, making many new friends that I'll hopefully have for life.
 
*I went to many awesome football games, which is something I've always dreamed of.  I loved HPU  to pieces, but I did always wish we had a football team. Now I have my own to cheer for!
 
*I enjoyed Boone so much and became so very glad for the chance to live there this year. It's the very best thing that could've happened to me right now in life.
 
*I graduated from Appalachian State University a couple weeks ago with my Master's in Reading Education.  I feel extremely accomplished and I'm so thankful to have had such a great grad program. I'm so proud to be an App State alumna.
 
 
 
 
These are just a few of the things that happened this year, and I'm sure there are many more I can't think of right now. It just seemed like a good time for reflection :)
 
 
 
I'm excited for 2014!!
 
 
 
eBa


Thursday, December 12, 2013

All These Things and More






These pictures are in no particular order, but these are some of the fun Christmas things I've been up to over the past couple of weeks!


 
 
 


Tonight we made stockings!
The stockings are like $1.00 at Hobby Lobby and $1.00 for a pack of two at the dollar store.
 



Grace and I made wreaths and other Pinterest-inspired Christmas crafts a few weeks ago!
 

Wreath on my door ^^
 
Wreath on my brother's door ^^
 



Ornament I made :)
 
 
Close-up of our tree in the apartment. Our initials!
 
 
CHRISTMAS TREE IN OUR APARTMENT! We had so much fun decorating it.
(Note the decoration on Kacie's door!)
 
 
It wouldn't be Christmas without a red glittery bow on the front of the Black Pearl!
 

Oh, and Honeygirl got a Christmas tutu...
 

and we went to the Jamestown Christmas parade. She loved it. 
 
 
ELLIE <3
 
 
High Point Christmas parade in my snazzy red pea coat.
 
 
Family Christmas kickoff party, matchy-matchy with Jonathan.
 
 
Getting our tree for our apartment! We got it at a little tree lot run by the Boone Boy Scouts!
 
 

Getting my little tree for my room at home - always a tradition.
 
 

All decorated!
 
 

Grinch nails.
 

Adorable tree that gives off the sweetest light in my room in Boone. Ten bucks at Walmart, ten bucks well-spent!
 
 

Tis the season for Christmas bows...
 


And final papers.
(But doing homework at McDonald's made it more bearable)





Aaaaand... No Christmas season is right without a visit to Tanglewood Festival of Lights!!
 
 
 
 
 
More festive-ness coming soon!
 
 
 
 
 
 
eBa

 






How it Feels to Be Done With School Completely

Surreal.

Because I've been in school for so long, it seemed like this day would never come. Not that I've been counting down the days or anticipating it. No, I've always enjoyed school and enjoyed learning. 

I will say, though, I'm a good learner, but not the best student sometimes. This semester really showed me how much I really just need to graduate. And the importance of not procrastinating (no matter how much I love the adrenaline rush of living on the edge and barely getting my assignments done in time) The motivation just hasn't been there to write papers and give presentations. I've been in school for TWENTY years! So it's good that I'm graduating right now. 

I just left my last class of my graduate career. I turned in my last paper at 8:00 this morning. It's not the best paper I've ever written. At all. But the important thing is that I'm finally done! So how do I feel now? How do I feel now, sitting in the library NOT doing homework but blogging instead while I thaw out so that I can walk to my car and not die of hypothermia?  

Weird. It feels SO weird to not have an assignment to worry about. Over the past three or four years I've taken summer classes, so I've literally been in school nonstop. Don't get me wrong, I still have a LOT of other random stuff to do, but no assignments! 

God kept me in school for a long time and despite the stress, I've enjoyed every minute of it. I've made some wonderful friends here at Appalachian and I'm blessed to be able to live here until next summer. 

Whatever comes next is in His hands. 





eBa

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Somethin' Worth Leaving Behind

 
 
Now that I'm starting to see the light at the end of the graduate school final exams and papers tunnel, I feel like I can write a bit.
 
On Monday, I subbed in a fifth-grade classroom. I don't usually like to do elementary school. This is gonna sound horrible, but it just takes so much effort! I'm trained in English first, then secondary education. So I don't know much about lunch choices and moving clothespins up and down a behavior chart and I'm especially bad at fractions ( I can't do elementary school math, don't judge me!).
 
So on Monday I went in, did the best I could with the fifth grade morning routine, and made it through the first few parts without having to do too much (again, I know I sound horrible, but it's finals week and I was basically half dead from Thanksgiving break too). 
 
When we got to the Language Arts portion of the day, the lesson plans said that the kids had already read this story called "Leonardo's Horse," and they were just supposed to answer the questions about it.  Well, we got out the reading books and they said they'd never read the story. So I would have to read it with them, and I hoped I had enough energy to properly do so.
 
As soon as I opened the book, I went into high school English teacher mode somehow, asking the children pre-reading questions and giving them background knowledge on Leonardo da Vinci (the story was about him).
 
The kids took turns reading out loud and we read about how Leonardo da Vinci was basically a jack of all trades and had many skills and talents, but at the end of his life, despite all of his accomplishments, he felt deeply unfulfilled.  He died a depressed old man with a beard down to his waist, and left behind journal entries about how he felt he had wasted his life because he never finished sculpting an iron horse for one of the rulers that had requested one.
It was very sad.
 
As we read, I thought about the Lee Ann Womack song "Something Worth Leaving Behind."
In the first lines, she says,
"Hey Mona Lisa, who was Leonardo?
Was he Andy Warhol?
Were you Marilyn Monroe?"
 
The chorus goes:
"I may not go down in history, I just want someone to remember me...
 
If I will love then I will find that I have touched another life
And that's something worth leavin' behind"
 
Basically the song is about what famous people have left behind and how it doesn't amount to much compared to loving people. It talks about Midas and his golden touch and how "all that shiny stuff someday's gonna turn to dust."
 
So of course I got to thinking about what I value and hold as important right now. With it being exam time, there's a lot of pressure to make good grades. With it being Christmas, there's pressure to buy good gifts for people. There's pressure coming at me from all directions in many different ways. This is an overwhelming time of year, and I get really down if I don't have time to do all of the things I wanna do. 
 
But when you sit back and think about it, the only thing that's gonna last is love. God sent love down to us in the purest form and that's why we celebrate Christmas. Christmas is important. Family is important. Friends are important. Loving on these people at Christmas is important.
 
In ten years it won't matter that I got a 70 on a paper. Who cares? I just want to focus on what is important so that I'll never write in my journal, "I wasted my years," like Leonardo da Vinci did.
 
(I'm telling myself all this, too, because lately I've been such a perfectionist and so big on "seizing the day" and accomplishing things on my to-do list that I get REALLY upset when I don't do everything or do everything perfectly. And I get super upset when I don't have time to blog, because I feel like this is what I'm leaving behind - my writing.)
 
But back to Leonardo.
Why did he feel like he had wasted his years? He created the world's most recognized painting - the Mona Lisa. He left that painting behind, along with a whole plethora of creations, but still felt like he had done nothing with his life. Why?
 
Who knows. But it seems to me like he spent his whole life trying so hard to leave a lasting impact in a material way that when he didn't accomplish his biggest project, it devastated him. 
 
I feel like sometimes we feel like we need to go to school to get a good job, and we need to get a good job to provide a good life for our family, and we need to make more money to keep up with everyone else, and we have to have the right kinda car and right kinda house and get married and have babies at a certain time to be fulfilled but GUESS WHAT? None of that really matters in the grand scheme of things.
 
Loving people matters. Serving the Lord matters.
I'm pretty much 100% positive if you do those things and not worry so much about accomplishments, you won't end up dying with regrets or a void in your heart.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
eBa
 


Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Music Before Thanksgiving?!

Sure, why not?

Who cares if someone wants to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  That's their choice.  Chances are, it brings them happiness, so who are you to say that they shouldn't do that?
 
I know when I'm stressed or upset, at ANY time of the year, all I have to do is listen to some Christmas songs and I instantly feel better.
 
What's wrong with listening to songs that celebrate the birth of Jesus? Songs that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Songs that make you wanna be a better person? Songs that remind you of memories and Christmases past and precious time with family?
SONGS THAT MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE!

What's wrong with wanting the Christmas season to start sooner so you have more time to enjoy it?
 
I agree that Thanksgiving should not be overlooked.  I'm a huge advocate of being thankful and taking the time to celebrate freedom and what we have been blessed with.  But that has nothing to do with listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  I'm pretty good at multi-tasking, so I can listen to Christmas music and celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time. 
 
Christmas music is one of the only things getting me through the papers I'm writing right now.  I've been sitting at the teacher's desk in a warm, fluorescent-lit high school biology room (the one I had biology in in ninth grade...) listening to Christmas music and finishing up my grad school work. Which is what prompted this post.
 
I just think that Christmas music brings a certain happiness and feeling that nothing else does.  And what's the harm in wanting that happiness to start as soon as possible??
 
 
Just my two cents worth. :)
 
 
 
 
 
eBa

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My God is Mighty to Save

I've been so stressed out the past few days about papers and homework and presentations. I'm graduating next month and I still have so much to do before then. 

Yesterday I was trying to work on a paper and I wanted to write, just not the paper. I was listening to worship music and I just wanted to write about my thoughts, not about research. 

Some people probably wonder why I blog so much around exam times and when I have big papers due. They probably wonder why I'm using my precious time blogging instead of working on my papers and studying. I wondered the same thing myself. Til I saw this in my homework assignment, which was ironically about writing: 


 
The last line. Research apparently shows that writing is therapeutic. I'd always heard that but wasn't sure if that was opinion. So that must be why I want to write so much around exam time, when I'm stressed out! It's like an escape, and it helps relieve my stress.
 

Also, I feel like if I write something I enjoy writing, I'll be more in the mood to write my papers. Sometimes it actually works!


On Monday night, my Bible study group from home went to the Hillsong United concert in Greensboro. As the whole coliseum was singing along to "Mighty to Save," I was just overcome with a peace, even if it was just for a little bit. It was like one giant worship session.



Honestly, there are things that I'm really scared about right now. Like, terrified. But I finally decided not to focus on those things and just let God work because obviously He is trying to work and do something big here. If I'm focusing on Him and others and not myself and my fears and my stress, I will be happier and impact other people and get more done and everything will work itself out. 


As I listen to worship music to try to make my homework more bearable, my life shifts from matching up with the lyrics of "Red" by Taylor Swift (which is an amazing song by the way) to lyrics like
"shine your light and let the whole world see" and
"everyone needs compassion, a love that's never-failing" and
"I give my life to follow everything I believe in" and
"Savior, He can move the mountains."
Because while losing him is blue and missing him is gray and lovin' him is red,
the only HIM I need to focus on is the One that truly moves mountains as big as the ones I live in.
He can surely move mountains in my life, and I'm trusting Him in knowing that. 



This was very therapeutic, by the way. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
eBa


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Overcome With Emotion/Love/Gratitude/YouNameIt

 
 
Last night as I was driving to church, I saw, much to my delight, that the Christmas lights were up in downtown Boone!!
 
My mind went back to last year at about this time, when I left class one night in November (don't remember the date) and saw the lights for the very first time ever. I remember being so overcome with emotion and just pulling into a parking spot and journaling right then and there. I poured my emotions on the paper.
(I want to find that journal entry when I get home.)
 
As I drove again, I saw people inside the restaurants downtown, eating with friends and wished I had friends here to eat with (this was when I was living in HP and commuting to Boone two days a week, only coming for work and class, and going back home at night).
I looked forward to this year, knowing I'd have people to eat with on King Street. I knew I'd have at least my brother!
 
 
This evening, Kacie and I went downtown and looked around in the Mast General Store, an antique store, and some Appalachian State apparel stores. I could SMELL Christmas in the air. Michael met us for dinner at Jimmy John's.
The snowflake lights were shining, and as we sat and ate supper, I just kept thinking,
"This is so nice. I'm so glad this is happening.
This is what I looked forward to last year at this time.
This is so different from last year. God is so good."
 
After eating, we picked up Grace and went to Wal-Mart to get a Christmas movie and the mall to just look around. It's sometimes really nice to walk around the mall and not buy anything.
 
We went back to our apartment and watched Home Alone 2 (one of my all-time favorites) and drank hot chocolate and painted our nails, and my brother and Taylor came and joined us in watching the movie.
 
It was warm and cozy in the apartment and I knew every line of the Home Alone 2 because I've seen it so many times, and having constants like that in my life is comforting.
 
Being safe and warm and laughing in good company with Christmas candles going is comforting and wonderful and I loved every minute of it. Christmas is totally in the air, and it was just a special time.
 
 
I decided to drive back to High Point after we watched the movie, and after I went through McDonald's to get a large coffee, I got on 421 heading east, and as I drove and listened to Jessica Simpson Christmas hymns I just broke down.
 
Normally when I leave Boone on Thursday nights I'm pretty emotional, but this time just took the cake.
 
I was WRECKED... I was FILLED... I was overcome with this gigantic wave of emotions ranging from "Oh my gosh I want to stay and watch more movies in my cozy apartment with my brother and our friends" to "I can't wait to get home and write these feelings down!!!!"
 
I literally burst into tears, thinking back on my night and how God has perfectly orchestrated everything leading up to this night.
I thought about how I'd begged and begged for two years for it to be His will for me to attend Appalachian for undergrad, and it clearly, simply was not His will. I was right where I was supposed to be at the time. If only I'd known, if only I'd had more faith and TRUSTED that everything would work out perfectly...
 
I can't begin to describe the emotions I was feeling tonight, thinking about how glad I am that everything worked out the way it did. I just kept thinking about what a wonderful day and night I had.
I didn't know what else to say or think, so I just kept crying and saying,
"Thank you so much, Lord. Thank you sooooo much!" over and over and over as I drove down the mountain.
 
My mind just kept flashing back to that night about a year ago, and how I was alone in my car on King Street, enamored by the beauty of the Christmas decorations, wishing I had someone to enjoy them with, but savoring the time I had alone to take it all in.
And look, now. God has blessed me ABUNDANTLY with people to enjoy the Christmas decorations with.
 


 
Okay, here's the slightly eerie part:
 
I get home around 2:00 am (don't judge) and I find my journal and the page I first see is the one with the entry about the King Street lights.
 
I read the entry, and I'm amazed at what I see and how everything lines up...
Now, I'm good with remembering dates and things like that, but I PROMISE, I did not remember the date of the day I first saw the lights and wrote the entry. Nor did I remember what I had written.
 
Reading this entry, I was a little surprised to see exactly how similar it is to what I felt tonight, and that the date was exactly a year ago!
 
 
 
Thursday, November 15, 2012
 
It's been a wonderful day in Boone! It didn't start so well - I got pulled for running a red light coming into Boone. Luckily, I cried and got out of it. That didn't happen last time I got pulled - ha! .........
 
[[then I went on to talk about my day and how class went...]]
 
I read my Bible in my car after class, and I'm loving the book of Exodus. After reading my Bible, I looked down the street and saw light-up snowflakes lining the street in downtown. So of course I had to drive down King Street and look! I put it on 99.5 and heard Christmas music! ...All of King Street is lit up. It's beautiful. The Mast General Store looks amazing. I took some pictures and stopped to write this journal entry. I'm overwhelmed by the feeling that I have so much to be thankful for. I'm so excited for Christmas. I'm so glad I chose App State. So thankful for family and friends. And my journal. And time alone in the car to pray :)
 
 
 
Wow!! How crazy is that - that I was having almost the exact same thoughts pretty much exactly a year ago?? The things I yearned for last year at this exact time are the exact things I have now. God fulfills. He provides. He goes above and beyond.
At this time last year, I knew that I'd be living in Boone now, but I did not know the extent to which I would be enjoying it - with family and friends.
 
Sure, I have worries right now. I have things in life that are stressing me out. But there's no reason to believe that these things won't work themselves out because God has it all planned out. I see that more and more every single day.
 
 
I have goosebumps now!
 
 
 
 
 
 
eBa
 
 



25 Things I've Learned in 25 Years

These are just a FEW things I've learned in my 25 years that I thought I'd share.
(This is the serious list. I'll have 25 not-so-serious ones coming soon!)


1.  You can learn a whole lot by talking to an elderly person. Never underestimate someone because they are elderly. They deserve the utmost respect. They are older and wiser than you.

2.  If you love doing it, it's not work. And sometimes it's better to take the job that doesn't pay as much if it's fun and fulfilling. Money can't buy happiness and I'd rather make less and have fun working than make a ton of money and hate my job. 

3.  Don't procrastinate! I still do it, but it's not good. As much as I love the adrenaline rush of turning in an assignment two minutes before it's due, it's really not healthy to be such a procrastinator. Life is much more relaxed when you pace your time and turn things in/get them done early. 

4. Be intentional. Enough said.

5. Sometimes the only thing (besides prayer) that can make it all better is Elvis music (okay, for me at least). 

6. But a sweet puppy can ALWAYS fix anything. I can have the worst day and go find Honeygirl and hug on her and everything seems instantly better. 

7.  Be outgoing. Go out on a limb. Befriend people. You'll be pleasantly surprised when someone you were afraid to talk to becomes a lifelong friend. Life is all about making connections with people   It's good to know somebody that knows somebody. And of course it's great to have lifelong, invaluable friendships. 

8. Dress up often. It makes you feel good about yourself. And when you feel good about yourself, you treat others the way you ought to. 

9. Get involved in as many things as you can without spreading yourself too thin. Know when to say no when you can't fit any more on your plate (I'm still working on this for sure). But being involved in different organizations, teams, or activities helps you meet people, make connections, network, and just have experiences that make for a more fulfilled life. Don't sit in front of the tv all day!! 

10. Full House and The Cosby Show are the best tv shows ever aired. For a billion reasons. 

11.  Eat seafood. It's good for you. 

12.  LAUGH AT YOURSELF. Laugh as much as you can. It sounds cliche, but laughter really is the best medicine. People who laugh more live longer. And sometimes it really just boils down to this: if you don't laugh you'll cry. 

13.  Speaking of crying, sometimes the best thing is a good cry. Get it all out. Go for a drive by the airport and blast Celine Dion and just cry. It's a good way to detox. And it's NOT good to keep your emotions bottled up. 

14.  Document EVERYTHING. Blog. Journal. Scrapbook. Take pictures. To quote Safe Haven, "Take lots of pictures. You'll only regret the ones you didn't take." (Assuming you're taking rated-G, APPROPRIATE pictures. You WILL regret taking hoochie pics.) 
But for real, I am sooooo glad I've kept a journal and a blog and taken so many pictures that I've filled up memory cards and computers and frozen my iPhone. Pictures are soooo great to look back on. I don't regret taking too many pictures. To me, they are sweet moments frozen in time to look back on whenever you want. 

15. Modest is hottest.
Dressing modestly will get you the right kinda man!

16. Going to the movies is a good escape from reality.  No matter how awesome life is, going to the movies will automatically make life even better.  Unless the movie is stupid.  Or you fall asleep. But hey, at least you got a good nap.

17.  Nicholas Sparks books are awesome. So is retail therapy.

18.  The best music was recorded & released in the 1960s. Disney and Christmas music are also wonderful, and 90s pop.

19. Start listening to Christmas music around the first of November. Get in the Christmas spirit. How can you ever be upset listening to Christmas music! The earlier the better - Christmas comes and goes before you know it.

20. Sometimes the best place to be is in the wilderness. In the wilderness, God can do what He wants with you. He can mold and shape you into what you need to be. The wilderness might be uncomfortable and even scary. But if you're wandering around out there and everything seems dismal, it's safe to say that God is most likely up to something big in your life!

21. A little faith can go a long way. Pray when you're stressed. Have faith that it'll all be okay.

22. Glitter. Lots of it. Everywhere.

23. It's important to help those in need. We're supposed to do it. It makes you feel good. It makes the person/people you're helping feel good. Everyone wins.

24. DANCE. Dance your heart out. It's great exercise, it makes you feel great, it's good for your mood... I could go on forever.

25. God is GOOD and life is BEAUTIFUL, and it sounds cliché, but everything REALLY does work out for the best, whether we think it will or not. Keep God first, focus on Him, and everything else will fall into place.







eBa

I'm Crazy

There are two times in the year where I'm much more emotional and nostalgic than others. One time is around May, when school years are ending and people are graduating and moving on in life. The other is late October through Christmas, but especially November and December. 
 
 
............................................
 

Y'all know I love Belk's. I love their clothes and shoes and bedding and jewelry and their awesome sales. I love Belk especially at Christmas when it's all decorated and I'm buying Christmasy clothes or gifts for people. 

It has occurred to me that this will be my last Christmas to enjoy the Oak Hollow Mall Belk. :(

People keep asking me if I'm excited for the new Belk store. 

"It'll be so close to you!"
"It's gonna be bigger and better!"
"They'll have more inventory at this one!"

No, I am not excited.
I do not like change.
I do not care as much about the inventory and the convenience of the new one as I do about the memories and the comfort of the old one. 

The one at Oak Hollow Mall is the one that me and Grandma always went to before my birthday and before Christmas and just...all the time. It's comforting to me because of that. And because it's been there since I was 6, and that's just where we always go. That's the one I'm used to. I like the layout. I love the memories I've made there, shopping with friends and family.

If I wanna go to a larger Belk's with more stuff, I go to Winston or Burlington or Durham!!! 

I'm sure I'll get used to the new one in time, but for now, no, I am not excited about it. 
 
 
 
 

(I am, however, excited about the holiday 3-pack of eos lipgloss Ashley and I purchased at Target the other day. They are the most amazing things ever and I'm totally obsessed.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
eBa

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

TODAY!!!!!!



I can't handle this. How am I supposed to do schoolwork when I live here?!?! It's the most gorgeous day. There's not a cloud in the sky, the leaves are changing, it's a perfect 65ish degrees, and everything just feels so right. 

It's Grandma's third birthday in Heaven, and if it's this perfect here, I can't begin to imagine the beauty where she is. I can't celebrate with her anymore, but I can reflect on the fact that I'm so glad I got to know her. 

On days like this, HOW can you NOT be happy?! Life is so fabulously wonderful. All of it. The struggles, the triumphs. 

I'm so glad I'm here. I'm so grateful to be experiencing this. This place is the past, present, and future. God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve. 

I've been blessed to attend two spectacular universities, I've been blessed with the best friends and family I could ask for, the sweetest dog I've ever met, and almost 25 years of living this thing called life. 

Next time I complain about ANYTHING, please smack me. 

I love today. I love life. 

I am so inspired. 
 
 
 

eBa

Thursday, October 3, 2013

All This Time I Was Finding Myself, and I Didn't Know I Was Lost.

"Feeling my way through the darkness,
Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell where the journey will end, but I know where to start...
Life will pass me by if I don't open up my eyes."
 
 
 
 
I honestly meant to go to bed early.
But I'm not tired and I thought about this song and I'm in a writing mood, and I've been meaning to write this post.
If I've learned one thing, it's that you should NEVER go to bed when you're in a writing mood.
So here it is.
 
 
..............................................
 
I started going to a group on campus called "New Life."
It's a fellowship group.
 
Last Wednesday at New Life, I heard one of the best messages I've ever heard.
I sat and listened, feverishly taking notes on my phone, my fingers flying over the screen as fast as they could.
 
The speaker asked this question:
"Why am I in the wilderness one day and the mountaintop another day?"

Well, because in the wilderness, God can work in us.
Sometimes we need to be in the wilderness for God to do His work.
 
 
In life, things may seem out of order to us. I constantly find myself saying, "This is a fiasco" or "This is a cluster."
But really, people, if it's a mess, it's a beautiful mess, and whether we want to believe it or not,
things are just the way they are supposed to be.
 
"God is a God of order"
is what the speaker kept saying.
(God knows what He's doing, people!!!)
 
He also talked about how our world has taught us to expect instant gratification, and to want to do things on our own time (usually instantly).
But think about this:
The children of Israel wandered through the wilderness for FORTY YEARS.
Forty years. For forty years they were promised something that they had to be patient for and live by faith in the fact that it would happen.
God had his own timing, and it was His perfect timing.
 
Y'all. When he started talking about God bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, I got so excited.
((That is one of my very favorite parts of the Bible, and I'm still not done with my "Exodus, Part 2" blog, but it's coming!))
 
Can you imagine waiting for something for forty years? We can't seem to wait for something for forty minutes without complaining anymore.
There are things in my life that I've prayed about for two or three years and gotten so frustrated I wanted to just give up.
But we can't.
 
Another profound statement that the speaker made:
"We as Christians worry a lot about the destination and don't think about the winding roads and valleys we have to go through to get there."
 
So to spin off of that, here's what I think:
 
We have in mind what we want.
We pray about it.
We expect to get it.
 
But what we sometimes don't stop to think about is the fact that it might not come as easily as we'd like. In fact, we might have to go through a WHOLE lot before we are blessed by the outcome.
Just as diamonds are made wonderful by high pressure and temperatures, so are we. 
 
We all go through some really rough stuff at points in our lives. I know I sure have. But I always remember that quote (from somewhere) - "There's beauty in the breakdown."
 
When we are vulnerable,
when we are down to nothing,
when we are in the wilderness,
when we are broken,
That is when God is molding us, shaping us, making us into what He wants us to be.
Putting us where HE wants us.
 
The valleys can be so beautiful. The wilderness is sometimes where we need to be to GROW!!!
 
The speaker said,
"The journey is only revealed in retrospect.  Only then can you know why you went through what you did and honestly thank God."
 
After he said that, I thought back to some of the lowest points in my life.
Sure, they were terrible at the time, but looking back, they seem so sweet and so beautiful because I know that God used those times to make me into what I am now.
And He's not done by any means.
I love growing, learning, and gaining wisdom and strength.
I love being able to thank God for the hard times.
 
"God can take every mistake we make and use it as part of our journey/testimony."
 
He talked about Ephesians 2:10.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
 
His workmanship.
We don't have to worry about tomorrow.
"God has orchestrated our journey and EXPECTS us to focus on the NOW."
He said, "In this world you will have trouble.  But fear not, for I have overcome the world."
(John 16:33)
 
Matthew 11:28-30:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
 
The guy said it's important to understand that "light" doesn't mean easy; it means that there is someone much bigger than you carrying the bulk of your load.
 
God told Abraham his descendants would outnumber the stars.  He planted that seed.
It took Abraham years and years to get to that point, but with each step his faith developed.
 
"Don't despise the process. GOD IS DOING SOMETHING.
God is testing your heart. Through the process your heart is purified."
 
The process of life may seem difficult, but don't hate the difficult times. 
When we are in the valleys, God is working.
You may thing you are as low as you can go; find peace and joy in that.
In fact, be excited about it.
It probably means that God is working in you in such a mighty way that you might be astounded at what comes next.
 
Whatever situation you're in, honor God with it.
PRAY about it.
BE PATIENT.
 
The world teaches us to be self-serving and impatient, but I promise that if you trust God and remain patient in prayer, you will be blessed beyond measure.
And look back one day and be able to smile at the struggles.
 
 
He didn't promise that it would be easy.
He promised it would be worth it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
eBa


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October

 
October is upon us!
It's the month of leaves changing,
pumpkins,
hot drinks, leaves, cool air
fall candles,
pie...
all that good stuff.
 
 
October always overwhelms me with all of its magic, potential, and glory.
October is like the perfect showcase of God's perfect creation.
 
 
Today I wore pink pants for breast cancer awareness and my favorite fuzzy orange cardigan because it just screams October. I was excited to see the leaves changing in Boone.
 
I think it's safe to say that a lot of people share my love of this glorious month, judging by all the Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posts I saw today, celebrating the day.
 
Another reason why I love October, too, is because it's my birthday month!
(My birthday is the day before Halloween and I'll be 25 this year... that terrrrifies me.)
 

I'm currently enjoying my new candy corn PJ pants and B&BW pumpkin lotion while working on homework and catching up on blogs.
 
 
 
For dinner, Kacie, Stephanie, Michael and I went to Cracker Barrel.  All of the fall/Halloween candy, candles, and decorations were fabulously overwhelming in the best way possible. Perfect way to celebrate the first day of October!

 
 
And I've been using these soaps from B&BW that smell fantastic ... I think these are the best they've ever had.
 
 
 
October nails...
 
 
 
And these are two of my favorite posts I saw on Instagram today:
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
eBa