Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Recap

In 2015, I learned that you need to be content with what you have while working for what you want. 

I made new friends.

I watched my brother graduate from college.

I watched my sister get her license.

I watched my kindergarten teacher retire after 44 years.

I finished my first year of teaching.

I landed dream job number one, after years of prayer and yearning.

I realized that the comfort zone might not necessarily be the best place to be, no matter how wonderful it can be. 

I became physically stronger through fitness...

And spiritually stronger through scripture and prayer. 

I learned a lot more than I thought I would ever learn about real estate and buying a house. 

I went camping for the first time. 

I fell in love with New York City. 

I went to my first Broadway show. 
(And almost threw up during it)

I learned more about trusting God and his plan through prayer and closed doors and opened doors. 

I realized that I want to spend a year living out west at some point. 

I learned to let go. 

I learned to love and welcome change.

I made the firm decision not to settle out of fear of getting left behind.

My love for the mountains deepened. 

I finally got to teach The Great Gatsby. 

My sense of adventure expanded like 3,000x. 

I realized how ungrateful I can be and learned how to take steps toward fighting it. 

I learned how to rejoice in the valley. 

I learned how to truly thank God from a mountaintop. 

I became a bandwagon Panthers fan (and attended my first Panthers and NFL game). 

I ate an ungodly amount of doughnuts. 

I learned to crave simplicity more.

And on Christmas Eve - a week ago today - I decided that even when I'm wondering about myself and nothing really makes sense, I can at least know that everything is OK as long as I start crying during the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church.






Favorite songs this year: 

Still - Hillsong
Salvation is Here - Hillsong
The Matrimony - Usher / Wale
Cheyenne - Jason Derulo
Renegades - X Ambassadors 
Want to Want Me - Luke Bryan and Jason Derulo
Brother - NeedToBreathe 
Ghost - Ella Henderson
I Wanna Be Where You Are - Jackson 5
Man of Sorrows - Hillsong
Before the Throne of God Above - Selah






Image result for goodbye 2015 sparkly






eBa






Saturday, November 28, 2015

Living Room Decor Ideas (For the Living Room I Don't Yet Have)

So, over the past couple months I've been looking to buy a house and since it's Thanksgiving break, I've finally had time to start seriously looking at home decor ideas for the living room that I don't yet have...

I'm thinking I want it to be girly / Southwestern / mountain lodge... ish.




I found some inspiration:



via







































eBa

Black Friday Boots - CHECK!

I didn't go all out this year on Black Friday like I normally do, but I don't think there will ever be a time when I pass up the $19.99 deal that Belk has on their Rampage boots every year.
Typically, I do lots of research before Black Friday, but this year I just didn't have time, so I didn't really know what I wanted - I was just going to go see what they had at the store when I got there. I kind of went with the intention of getting riding boots since the ones I got a few years ago are starting to wear out.

I got two pairs of riding boots for $19.99 each. Regular price is $89.99.

The first ones I love because of the light taupe color, the dark brown straps, and especially the shiny little accents on them. They are unique and reminded me of boots that Disney princes (yes PRINCES, not princesses, LOL) wear.

Rampage Isadora Tall Boot - Available in Wide Calf
Rampage Isadora Tall Boot - Available in Wide Calf

Rampage Isadora Tall Boot - Available in Wide Calf







I had been thinking a lot lately about how I didn't have any black riding boots - I had never wanted any until lately. I saw these and felt like I'd thank myself a million times later for buying them. I think that they will prove to be a great wardrobe staple, as they'll look great with jeans, black leggings, long tunics, dresses, etc. It'll be nice to switch it up and wear black boots instead of tan or cognac.




Rampage Idola Boot - Available in Wide Calf

Rampage Idola Boot - Available in Wide Calf

Rampage Idola Boot - Available in Wide Calf










Black Friday success!








eBa

Pumpkins and Family and Friends (October Memories)

Annual cousins + Granny pumpkin painting party...








Me and Joellyn looking fly in fall 'fits...





Joellyn and I accidentally coordinating in school spirit jerseys from our alumni weekends this year
*COINCIDENCES, RIGHT?!*
.........





Chick-fil-A with my dear friend Flash on her birthday!







* Sweet memories *









eBa

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart

Written on Thursday, November 26th - Thanksgiving Day



As many of you know, I've been struggling with the spirit of ungratefulness. For the past couple months, as hard as I've tried, I haven't been able to overcome it and be thankful. My heart has been so hard. But for the past few days I have been feeling my heart softening again and it's so great. I'm starting to become thankful for the tiniest little things again - genuinely thankful. For the past month or so I've been forcing myself to thank God for things that I know I should be thankful for without forcing it.

This morning I looked out the window and saw the most beautiful Thanksgiving morning. The sky was a beautiful blue and had these cool looking clouds in it and the weather just looked perfect. I got my car and drove over to Granny's to help her get ready for Thanksgiving lunch and as I started driving in the beautiful morning my heart just started exploding with thankfulness that I was brought to tears. This is what it's all about. It's all about family and love and fellowshiping and thanking God for everything that He has blessed us with. 

I know the spirit of ungratefulness will creep up on me again throughout my life - that's just natural. But in this moment, I am so relieved to have overcome it at least for now. I'm so thankful for all the people in my life and all the blessings that I've been reminded of just today. I'm so thankful for thanksgivings past and for wonderful memories that seem to flood in at this time of year. I love to look back and be able to cherish the times that I've spent with my family and friends during previous holidays. God has blessed me so much in my life and I don't even deserve it all. 

I hope each and every person that reads this had the happiest Thanksgiving ever!!





Image result for thanksgiving

Monday, November 16, 2015

Battling Ungratefulness

I'm really surprised at myself and my reactions to everyone's November "thankfulness" statuses on Facebook. I've been borderline scoffing at them, and it's the spirit of ungratefulness in me. Typically, that is NOT my demeanor, and typically I am all about looking for the positives and things to be thankful for, so I'm shocked at myself. Again, I believe it's a spiritual battle, and I believe the best way to fight it is to cling to the Lord and His promises and focus on being INTENTIONAL about being thankful. November is officially halfway over, so for the last half of the month, I'm going to post something each day, but for today, I will post 15 things to make up for the first 15 days of November.


I'm thankful for:


1. High Point.
This is probably the hardest one for me right now, because I'm antsy here. But God has me here right now for a reason. I've fought with a love/hate relationship with good ol HP for a long time now. High Point has my wonderful family and many wonderful friends and my church and schools that shaped and molded me into the person I am today. So many landmarks and special locations to me. I may stray from it and hate it sometimes, but I will always come back and appreciate and love it for what it is and what it's done for me.


2. The ability to see.
The world is full of so many beautiful things, and I take things like my sight for granted.


3. Food.
I joke about doughnuts and Oreos and eat in excess, and forget that many people in the world don't have that luxury. I should be more mindful of that fact and not take food for granted.


4. God's grace.


5. God's love


6. Weakness.
I'm thankful for my weaknesses and areas to grow and improve in, because without those growth experiences, life wouldn't be as rich or meaningful. I'm thankful that those experiences help me better know God's grace, forgiveness, and love.


7. My love of writing.
It's therapeutic, and I'm glad that the Lord instilled this love in me.


8. My car.
It takes me where I need to go and to places I want to go when my soul needs to breathe. Sometimes it feels like I live in it, and even though I've put like 60,000 miles on it and the AC is going out, the Black Pearl is the best.


9. Markers.
I love making my planner colorful every week and grading papers with pretty markers, and they just make life better.


10. My bed.
A couple of my friends posted last week that they were thankful for their bed because it's a seemingly small thing, but a good night's rest determines the rest of your day, so a good bed is actually really important if you think about it, and something that not everyone in the world has.


11. Sports.
Even though I think the US spends too much money on sports, sporting events have been great means of socializing and bonding with friends and family, and I'm thankful for the spirit they add to life.


12. My planner.
I'm in over my head with stuff to do, and I'm thankful that someone invented the planner so I don't have to write it all on my hand.


13. Clean water.
Again, sounds small, but so many countries don't have clean water, and I realized just how important it is to stay hydrated last year around this time when I passed out from dehydration. Since then, I've made a point to drink a lot more water. As I see my empty bottles add up in the recycling, I think about how I have access to that and so many people don't.


14. Books.
I can thank my parents for my love of reading, and books have made my life so much richer.


15. Coffee.
Enough said.








This was a good exercise. I feel more thankful now.










eBa

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ungrateful in the Season of Thankfulness

It's ironic how in the month of thankfulness I have been the most ungrateful. I know that this is an attack from the devil. He knows how much I grew last year in the most uncomfortable place and now I have landed ( God has blessed me with ) dream job number one and I'm too comfortable for my own good, I'm finding that it's so hard to be thankful and grateful. I keep finding different things to complain about and be upset about when I should just be overjoyed at what all God has blessed me with. I'm definitely fighting a spirit of ungratefulness right now and it's breaking my heart but hopefully it will break my heart to the point that I experience growth out of even this. 

Last Sunday I went to Green Street Baptist, the church I grew up in. The pastor that was leading the church when I was young was back for a special occasion (he is now Tim Tebow's pastor in Florida). Dr. Brunson's message was about thankfulness and how so many people are depressed and alcoholism and suicide rates are up and life spans are shortening because people are depressed and not thankful when there is so much to be thankful for. He talked about how as Christians, we have God's grace to be thankful for - the fact that He saved us when we are so unworthy of saving. We have hope of eternity in Heaven. And so on. The message smacked me in the face. Tears came to my eyes at one point because I realized how truly ungrateful I have been. I needed the message so much. 

I'm working hard to thank God every day for the things He's given me while I continue to wait for the things I'm trying to be patient for. I want to focus on being grateful in this season when it's so hard for some reason. I don't know why I'm going through this, but it has to be an exercise for growth. And I will use it for His glory. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

October!

October is my favorite, and I'm known to go all out for it. I think these two pictures should speak for themselves - the first is from last week. It was the warm-up PowerPoint I made for my classes. The second is my October celebration / 'outfit of the day' post from October 1st two years ago.








October is just so great. So many fun things happen. It's so beautiful outside. The weather is usually great - not too hot or too cold (when it's not raining for 11 days straight...). The leaves look gorgeous and the air is crisp. People travel and do cool festive things.
MY BIRTHDAY IS OCTOBER 30TH.
This October has already been great... excited for the rest of the month!!







eBa

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Weekend Report

As usual, the weekend flew by-they always do! This one was wonderful, as most of them are. It was extra special, though. :)

Friday was an early release day at school.
ASHLEY GOT HER LICENSE!!!
We went to Country BBQ and let Margaret serve us our food.
I had to go to Petsmart because Emery ran out of food and *whoops* I can't ever go in there and get JUST dog food...
So Emery ended up with a pumpkin costume and a ski vest, ha!



Church youth trip to Steak n Shake and the bowling alley, where we had a really dank private room and guess what, I'M STILL TERRIBLE AT BOWLING! But it was super fun.



ON SATURDAY I WENT WITH BROOKE AND HER FAMILY TO HER ULTRASOUND APPOINTMENT TO SEE IF THE BABY WAS A BOY OR GIRL.
I hadn't seen one in person since I was ten years old and Ashley was a lil fetus, and oh my. Seeing that little baby move was amazing. It made me so emotional! Life is so precious, and that baby seemed to already have a little personality! It was SO sweet...

I am so grateful to have been able to share in that experience with one of my very best friends and her family. That's something I'll remember forever.





And it's a GIRL!!!


SO EXCITING!!! 
We spent the rest of the day shopping and eating pizza.
*celebrate*





Today, me and Joellyn accidentally twinned, which happens often because great minds think alike.

"Crimson, ox blood, red wine, burgundy, brick, dark cherry, maroon... Whatever you want to call it it doesn't matter, all that matters is that you get this color in your wardrobe stat. ...it looks great on all skin tones, it's vibrant, and it is beyond perfect for the fall season." -Julep.com

Love. This. Color. 
SOMUCH

The rest of the day was so great it got summed up in a FB status because #BlessingsAbound
ya know. gotta tell the world.




Bring it on, busy new OCTOBER week! 








eBa

Monday Losses and Wins


Mondays seem to be a struggle, but good things usually happen on Mondays. 
Last Monday, my day evolved a bit from the time I woke up to the end of the day.
It was like the 10th rainy day in a row and I did NOT want to get out of bed and do anything.


But then in English class, The Crucible woke everyone up! My students got really into it for the first time, which made me soooo happy because I love The Crucible! When we stopped reading for the day they said, "Can't we just keep reading?!" 
I said, "Oooooh... wait, are y'all ENJOYING The Crucible?!"
Sheepishly: "Yes..."
YAY!
#win


Dropping a Golden Corral roll on the floor was a fail...



But the pizza Alex C. and I had after school was DANK.
First time at Uncle Maddio's and I will most definitely be back. (They have a great Monday special.)


Alex got a new Jeep (we both had Jeeps in high school so it's like the old days except more luxurious!) so we took it for a spin to.......


KRISPY KREME, WHERE ELSE?!?!
$3.99 for a dozen glazed because the Panthers won last Sunday, and as far as I'm concerned, the Panthers need to keep winning for this reason.
#KEEPPOUNDING
(#SoICanGetCheapDoughnuts)



We had also taken some Cookout food into KK, so I was alternating between doughnuts, chicken, and seasoned fries. 
Heavenly.

Mondays really aren't that bad. Just uncomfy at first!





eBa

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Rain is an OKAY Thing (I guess)














On Saturday, I drove to Raleigh to meet up with Grace and Yadavan and go see
Luke Bryan in concert! :)


We knew it was going to rain, but I didn't care. I saw Luke Bryan in the summer of 2014 in the pouring rain in Charlotte and it was worth every minute that I stood there getting soaked. We danced in the rain and had a blast anyway. So I knew that I definitely wanted to see him again, rain or shine.

Grace was visiting her grandparents, and I got to meet them, and they were PRECIOUS.


We met up with Yadavan and two of his friends at the concert.

The concert was AMAZING. Thankfully, it didn't rain too much and it didn't rain the whole time, either. We were okay wearing our hoods most of the time.

We danced and sang our hearts out. Luke puts on a fabulous concert. They didn't name him the CMA "Entertainer of the Year" for nothing! He's so funny and awesome. He performs all his best songs and does hilarious covers of top 40 hits.


I'm so glad we went. A great time was had by all!


























^foolishness





^^ After the concert, I was looking through our pictures and noticed that a pilgrim (?) had photobombed us.
No, we didn't know her.
I couldn't stop laughing when I saw it!! I told my 11th grade students on Monday that I had been so obsessed with our unit on The Crucible that a Puritan from Salem had followed me to the concert.









LOL.








#RainIsAGoodThing


#ThatsMyKindaNight

















eBa

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Biggest Problem

My Facebook status on Sunday evening as soon as I left church:
"Completely WRECKED! The Lord spoke to me loud and clear and wrecked my heart this evening at a service at a church I'd never been to before. I cannot wait to write about it!"

This is why:
I've been wanting to visit this church nearby for a while now, because I really enjoy visiting churches. I enjoy worshiping the Lord in different ways, meeting fellow believers, making connections, hearing the Word taught in different ways, etc. I am not looking to leave Oak View; I absolutely love it there!

With that being said, I went to Mercy Hill on Sunday evening, in the pouring rain, alone (I like doing things by myself when I can!). I had tried to go the week before and meet a friend there, but accidentally took a three hour nap and missed it (these naps are killin' me lately). To be honest, I was there mainly to meet people, and not as focused on learning more about the Lord. So boy did it hit me like a ton of bricks when I heard the message...

*It's important to know that all throughout the week last week, I would take Emery on our evening walks and pray a lot about two things that are heavy on my mind right now - two things that I've been waiting for for a long time, and it seems like they'll never happen at this point. I'm the most patient person in the world, but my patience is wearing thin, and I'm growing antsy. I talked to God a lot about these things last week, and told Him that if I had these two things, I could truly be content and happy (yes, I knew that was wrong thinking even when I said it). I just kept thinking, "I have dream job number one (I have lots of dream jobs), and I'm completely happy with work right now. I just need two more things to fall into place and everything will be perfect."

So THAT was my mode of thinking as I went to Mercy Hill...
THESE were the notes I took on the message:


❤️A Great Savior Meets Our Greatest Need❤️

The obvious need is not the most essential need
(As he started speaking, I was caught by surprise - it was almost as if God was speaking directly 
to me.)
Deeper issues
You need the right relationship with God
He wants to meet a need that goes deeper than our obvious need. 
(My need for salvation and being RIGHT with Him... the need for growth and contentment in Him. He wants to do MORE for me than what I have asked of Him....?!?!?!)
We all have a much bigger problem than we realize - 
"The reason you came to Mercy Hill isn't the real reason why you're here"
(This is where I started to tear up a little. The pastor might as well have just said "BETH. GOD WANTED ME TO TELL YOU THIS!!!!")
"If I could just have this or that, then everything in my life would be perfect and I would be okay. If this problem could be fixed, I'd be okay."
(I might as well have been the only person in the room.
BETH, THIS IS FOR YOU. IF THIS DOESN'T HIT YOU IN THE FACE, NOTHING WILL.)
The PROBLEM is, we don't know what the problem is! 
Idolatry!!!!!!!!!! 
Idolatry is the problem!
(I've made an idol out of these two things that I want so much! THAT'S it! I've been letting these two things take precedence in my thoughts, when the Lord should always be number one! Anything that takes our thoughts captive is an idol!)
He forgave our sins, and that was the biggest problem we had. 
No matter our biggest problem, we can still fulfill His plan for us and have joy and happiness because our sins are forgiven. 
Jesus isn't just our miracle-worker --- He IS our miracle!!!
(We need to stop treating Jesus like a genie in a bottle, asking Him for things and not first being 100% grateful for what He has done for us. Never should we be upset when things aren't going our way because He already did for us what we needed MOST! He will still hear and answer our prayers, but there is no need to get bent out of shape and forget that He IS the miracle - not just the miracle worker. Yes, He will work miracles in our lives, but the most important one was making a way for us to be forgiven and set free from our sins, breaking the power of Hell, and allowing us to have a relationship with Him if we so choose. 
When you put it that way, my "big" problems aren't really so big at all.)



He's gonna provide for me what I need.
He's gonna give me the desires of my heart.
He's not gonna leave me high and dry.
BUT, what I need to do is fully trust in Him and His timing and stop letting these things become idols in my life. I need to fill my mind with heavenly things, and not these little issues that I have. He has already planned my entire life out. I could tell Him all day what I want, but I know from experience that He has better things in mind than I could ever ask or imagine.
Me worrying and letting my thoughts be hijacked by these "problems" is a total waste. 


It's crazy how even though I went to Mercy Hill for the not-so-right reasons, God met me there still, and sent the message that I needed to hear most. He loves us so much that He puts us in the right place at the right time, and gently corrects us when we need correcting. My mind was just blown. My eyes filled with tears multiple times throughout the message. I was truly wrecked. He tore down the walls in my heart.

I didn't feel reprimanded or ashamed. I just felt loved. So loved. So taken care of. So excited to see what He will do as I focus on Him and grow in Him. 








eBa

Saturday, September 26, 2015

BootieBootieBootieBootie Rockin' Everywhere

A few years ago, tall riding boots were all the rage. I still love mine and plan to wear them a lot this fall / winter, but BOOTIES have really taken the shoe scene by storm and made their way into my heart lately. They're just so easy to wear with whatever. They're easy to slide on, and with pants or leggings, or a dress, or even shorts.

Pictured are my favorite booties from Belk.com.


Tahari Camila Boot
MIA Shawna Lace-Up Booties
UNLISTED File In Love Shootie
Sugar  Vangel Short Boot
Rock and Candy by ZiGi Hollie Bootie
Rock and Candy by ZiGi  Haleigh Bootie
This last pair I actually bought a few weeks ago and LOVE. As you can see, I'm really into the natural / fringe / earthy look right now.


Booties are great.








eBa