Saturday, December 31, 2016

* 2016's Bests *

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2 0 1 6 !

#BestNine shows you your pictures that got the most likes during the year. These were mine! It makes sense, because some of the biggest highlights of my year were buying a house (THE LIGHTHOUSE), stalking and meeting Tim Tebow, growing closer with family, spending time at church, playing with my beloved Emery, and of course, starting a fresh and wonderful new relationship journey with Drew after three years of searching myself and growing in the Lord as an individual.

Some really wonderful things are not pictured, though!

- My second precious goddaughter was born on my sister's birthday. Elaina Loren is a bundle of pure joy!

- I got to stand beside two of my best friends as they committed their lives to their husbands. Such a sweet honor and so much fun!

- I attended my first Alpha Chi Omega convention in sunny Orlando and it was a dream. I met so many wonderful sisters and got closer to a couple in particular!

- I finally went to Texas! I had so much fun with two of my dearest friends and fell head over heels in love with the beautiful city of San Antonio. I still have dreams about going back. It was a freaking blast.

- Spent time traveling and growing closer to sweet friends and family.

- Got my first real retail job - a fun summer job that turned into a fun side job that I still have! I learned more about fashion that I can apply to the fashion aspect of my blog if I ever get time ;)

- Started my third year of teaching and second year at the best high school in the world - #LivingTheDream

- Spent quality time in my happy place - Boone, NC.

- Finally had a chance to hold get-togethers and host parties now that I have a place of my own in town!

- Started a prayer closet and learned so much about the power of prayer and going deeper with the Lord.

- Got more serious with my writing and reflection on life's seasons, causing me to know more about what I eventually want to do with my life.

These are the highlights. Yes, there were many struggles and hard times. Plenty of times where I just sat in my room and cried, times of need, confusion, and doubt.
But overall, 2016 has been one of the best years

I cannot wait to see what 2017 holds. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

It's Not About Getting What You Deserve

Sundays are great. I have always loved the church / lunch routine and it doesn't feel like a Sunday unless that routine happens. 
Then I end up driving home or wherever, from lunch, and thinking / counting my blessings. 

I was driving yesterday afternoon and thanking God for everything He's blessed me with this Christmas season and in my life, and something occurred to me:

I don't love the Lord because He's given me what I've asked for; 
I love Him because I never deserved any of it.

It brought tears to my eyes. It started out with me thanking God for His faithfulness in answering my prayers for certain things, starting with the very first prayer I remember being answered - when I was little and prayed for a sister even though my mom said no more kids. 
Why me, though? Why does God care so much about me that He would give me the little things I ask for? There's no reason. I'm a sinner like everyone else. 
I can be hateful and judgmental and ungrateful and stagnant. 
I don't deserve the things I ask Him for, yet He gives them as He sees fit. 
Sometimes He says no and gives me something even better. 
And I don't deserve any of it.

The reason we celebrate Christmas is because God gave us a gift we didn't deserve. We needed a Savior, otherwise we would all be doomed because of our sin. 
Even a baller church play with live camels can't do it justice - the glory of God is incomprehensible.
Yet He listens to all my prayers, complaints, yearnings, whining, pettiness...
And He answers me even though I don't deserve any of it.

That's why I will forever praise Him. 

"Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath."
Psalm 116:2

Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday Wardrobe Staples

I really get into the Christmas spirit with my clothes. For a long, long time, all my outfits in the month of December have incorporated red and/or green, gold, sparkles, etc.

These are some of my favorite Christmas wardrobe staples:

Image result for red pea coat Image result for green pants target
Image result for pearl earringsRelated image
J.Crew Womens Plaid ScarfImage result for red puffer vest
Image result for green purse targetImage result for lilly abbott vest goldImage result for cognac riding boots
Image result for antonio melani silver flatsImage result for red v neck
Image result for army green vest

Red DuetImage result for green chandelier earringsImage result for white chandelier earrings
Image result for jessica simpson bow flatsImage result for green tank top
Image result for green chandelier earringsSilver Candy CaneClassic Garland

Image result for womens black blazerImage result for red t shirt dress
Image result for blanket scarfImage result for fair isle scarf
Related image Image result for womens levisImage result for red chandelier earringsImage result for red cowboy bootsImage result for womens green oxford shirt
Image result for black and white skirt black tightsImage result for black booties

Image result for red checkered fleece merona Image result for white furry vest
Image result for faux fur monogram vest Image result for faux fur monogram vest

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Imagine All The People

Today is the day that John Lennon died, so I decided that my first period would listen to "Imagine," annotate the lyrics, and free write their thoughts about the song.

...I was listening to "Imagine" and thinking about the lyrics and how I disagree with most of them, but that somehow, the song still motivates me. 


I think I came to a conclusion - As humans, we all want peace. Universally, I think most of us have that in common. Peace on Earth sounds great. Especially at Christmas time. 
Last night at church, it was mentioned in the message that we were BORN with a need for a Savior - someone to bring peace. John Lennon's song is a cry for that, although he didn't exactly know how peace can be obtained.

My students all said that they disagreed with the first four lines - 

"Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky"

*I did not prompt them, preach at them, etc. As a whole, the class decided that if there was no Heaven, there would be nothing on Earth to live for. I thought this was an interesting consensus.*

We had a really great discussion on the song, and maybe I'll talk more about that in another post...

So if John Lennon longed for peace on Earth, but I don't agree with his solutions for peace 
(no heaven, no religion, no countries, no possessions, nothing you're passionate enough about to die for...), then what ARE some solutions?
If I had to answer this question, I would maybe say something like this:


I've been thinking about this a lot the past couple days. It's SO easy to get caught up in your own daily, BUSY life, and do what you need to do, and not think to text someone and say something encouraging. 
Thinking about the times when I've randomly received a Bible verse or a "hey I'm proud of you" or "God laid it on my heart to tell you this"... it's just so WARMING, And motivational!!

If someone is doing a good job at something, TELL THEM!
If someone makes you happy, TELL THEM!
If you are thankful for someone, TELL THEM!

Life is way too short to keep happy thoughts and feelings to yourself. 

I finally emailed a parent yesterday with a compliment about her son that I've been meaning to tell her for months, and she said it made her day. 
It made me so happy, too, and motivated me to email more parents and say, "Hey, I'm really glad I've gotten to know your kid this semester."
There's too much hate in the world - let's spread love and encouragement.
You just never know when you'll make someone's day.
God put me in this position for a REASON! What a waste it would be if I keep on getting too focused on the job and don't think to tell kids/parents when I am proud of them!!!

I got an encouraging text this morning that made me cry and I had to turn around at my desk so my students didn't see.
THAT'S GOOD STUFF! That's what we need! So much love.

Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Ask God what He needs you to voice - how He can speak through you.
I've been listening to a lot of Christmas music (obv) and so many songs contain 
"Emmanuel, God with us" 
"The Child once born in Bethlehem is still among us"
"Come Desire of Nations, come! Fix in us Thy humble home!"

Jesus is IN us! He sent His spirit to live in us! 
That's so crazy but so awesome! Take advantage of it!!

I'm human. I'm a sinner. I fail daily.
But still, His spirit lives in me and wants to speak through me, and I need to be very open to that.
I need to actively look for ways to love on and encourage others. What do they need to hear? Have I gone through something terrible, but can use it to glorify the Lord by helping someone who's going through the same thing?
Can I send a simple verse to someone and encourage them?
Can I love the people who are unloving because I know they need it most?
Can I agree to disagree with someone and love them just as much as I love the people that share my beliefs?

This was probably completely all over the place... 
Just my thoughts for today, fueled by caffeine and the Christmas season's feels.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Shame, Shame.

Shame has been on my mind lately. I wrote a post back in the summer about how it doesn't matter what you've done in the past as long as you've repented and are moving forward.

Our sermons at Oak View lately have been about Paul and how he killed Christians before he was saved, and how if God could use him, He can use literally ANYONE. 

I've just been thinking a lot recently, though, because I know so many people who struggle with shame from their past.

I heard a really good sermon at the Summit Church in Durham about shame a while back. The pastor said something like 
"If God has forgiven you and forgotten about your sin, and you STILL harp on it because of shame, you are essentially saying (subconsciously) that you are more important than God. If HE can forget it, YOU definitely should!!"


Shame comes from Satan. 

I saw something happen yesterday... someone I know was really excited about a breakthrough she had, and was celebrating, and was, in the same moment, chastised by an onlooker, who reminded her of something bad she had done last week. All of her joy was stolen in that moment.

That is EXACTLY how Satan works. 

We start growing in the Lord, and he immediately reminds us of past failures and our minds become fixed on that instead of what lies ahead.

Don't fall into the trap! If God is working in you, stay focused on Him and His work.
Do not let Satan remind you of past shame that GOD has FORGOTTEN!! 
We are new creations in Him, and the old is gone!
No one is "less than" - we are all sinners saved by grace.

Getting stuck in the past will hinder your progress in the Lord and can keep you from reaching your potential in Him.

"Forgetting what is past, and pressing on to the goal that lies ahead."
Philippians 3:13

Friday, December 2, 2016

That Time I Saw My Guardian Angel

So I've never posted about this, and not really even told many people, but the other day I felt compelled to share the story of how I saw an angel when I was little.

I grew up in church and a Christian school and Christian home and was always taught about spiritual warfare, even from a very young age. I remember my mom telling me that her aunts had told her that if you could peel away the atmosphere and what we see on earth, it would be scary and awesome to see the supernatural - angels and demons constantly fighting.

One night in December when I was in first or second grade, I was watching TV with my mom in the dark in the den. We turned the TV off and everything was completely dark. As we were walking down the hall to my room, I saw a bright figure about my same height walking towards our Christmas tree. She had shoulder-length hair that curled up at the ends and wings. She was wearing a long dress and had a halo. She was carrying a candle. I wasn't shocked or afraid because I had always been told I had a guardian angel, and so I just knew that was her.

I don't remember if I told my mom right then, but I do remember talking to her about it since. I was glad that she believed me because I didn't want people to think I was crazy!

This happened around the time that I asked Jesus into my heart and became saved. I remember sitting by the tiny Christmas tree in my room at 7 years old and praying that prayer and trusting God as my savior. This time was pivotal in my life. Yes I was young, but I understood.

{{ I've definitely had my ups and downs with my faith since then. 
Every Christian does. 
Yes, I was saved at 7, but I've been progressively 
getting close to the Lord since about 8 years ago. 
In middle and high school I made sure I didn't do the 
things my peers did, and I lived for the 
Lord, but in college my eyes were opened to the
 joys of living a spirit-filled life and spending 
serious time pursuing a growing relationship 
with Him that gets closer and closer and never plateaus. }}

ANYWAY, the point of this post is that I saw my guardian angel when I was little and since then, I've had a sense of security that I'm being taken care of, and even when things are hard, I know that I can believe in God's promises. 

It's a relief to know that even with all the evil in the world, God has His hedge of protection around His children.

My childlike faith at 7 years old is what I've strived to keep all my life. The Bible says we should have the faith of a child. 

Furthermore, the faith of a child at Christmas is the sweetest, most innocent thing. That's how I keep from losing my mind half the time - constantly remind myself to have the faith of a child at Christmas.

I thought of this the other day because I was decorating my Christmas tree and Granny and my sister and her boyfriend were over and I was all done with the ornaments and realized I didn't have a tree topper. I didn't want to spend money on one, and made a joke about making an angel out of construction paper.

I grabbed some construction paper and started being silly making an angel and I knew exactly what I wanted her to look like, later realizing it was because I've seen her before :)

We are so loved. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Happy December / JUST SAY NO

Happy December! Reminding myself not to get so busy that I don't take time to stop and enjoy the little things and make sweet memories this month ❤️❤️❤️

Confession: I've always had trouble saying no. I've always been a people-pleaser, and I read a good chapter from a devotional the other day about resisting the urge to people-please.

"Whatever we focus most of our attention on will become the driving force in our lives. The more I focus on trying to please people, the more of a magnified force people pleasing will become in my life. The more I focus on trying to figure out how to please God, the more of a magnified force He will become in my life."

I get sometimes get so focused on all the things I have to do and don't stop to just take a breather and bask in the goodness of the Lord and spend time with Him. 
I NEED that time.
We all do.

It's easy to get caught up in all the stress of the holiday season and get so overwhelmed that we don't enjoy the special times.

This month especially, I have to take care of myself. December is super busy, and I've already over-committed myself, so I'm having to learn to say no to certain things so that I won't get too burnt out.

Another important thing is to MAKE time to spend with loved ones and make memories. And remember the reason for the season. 
Everything else I shouldn't worry about as much!
It's hard but it's necessary!

I feel like other people are better at this than I am.

"Make it a December to remember."

I hope everyone has a relaxing and memorable December, amidst all the stress and craziness!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

He Rules the World With Truth and Grace

Truth and Grace.

When listening to Christmas music, it's easy to not pay attention to the words because we've heard the same songs so many times, year after year.

Today as I tried to do some work during my planning period, my mind kept wandering.
Lately, I've had trouble with worrying and letting my mind wander off into "what if?" land.
That's dangerous!

My mind was wandering, and I focused back on my work and the Pandora Christmas music station (Hillsong Holiday, to be exact) playing in the background.

"He rules the world with truth and grace." That part caught my attention. "Joy to the World" has always been one of my favorites
(I had a Christmas screenname in high school: JoyToTheWorld18. (#DontJudgeMe))

Truth and grace. Two important words.

HE rules the WORLD with Truth.

Focus on the truth. Focus on what's TRUE. What we know to be true.
What I know to be true is that God has always, always, always provided for me in the past and He always will.
I know it's TRUE that whatever happens, He will work everything together in the best way possible, whether it seems like it at first or not (Romans 8:28).

The Bible says we have to control our thought life and think about TRUE things.

Philippians 4:8English Standard Version (ESV)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

If we spend time thinking about GOOD things, we won't even have time to think about the scary / bad things that can corrode our minds and steal our joy.

"What ifs" are especially dangerous because THEY AREN'T EVEN NECESSARILY TRUE. Our minds start thinking and thoughts escalate and before we know it, we are creating problems that may not even be there in the first place!
OVERTHINKING IS DANGEROUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right before the verses about thoughts, there are verses that talk about WORRY:

Philippians 4:6English Standard Version (ESV)

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

I bought a ring with Philippians 4:6 on it. I wear it every day as a reminder. I have to constantly look at it and pray throughout the day because I'm such a worrier.
This has taught me to stay in constant prayer and fully rely on God at all times, knowing I cannot do anything on my own.
When you pray about the things you are worried about, you don't always find answers, but you will find PEACE.

And finally, GRACE.

We don't deserve anything God does for us. We are ALL sinners, saved by His grace, no sin greater than the other, and it's important to remember that all you have to do is ask His forgiveness and He forgets any wrong you have done. By His great grace...

Which should take away SHAME, and I'm working on a separate post about that!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Stop Putting it Off!!

I just wrote a post about prayer, but I have more to say. 

How blessed are we to have the absolute PRIVILEGE of being able to speak to the Creator of the universe, any time we want to?!

Thinking of prayer as a privilege really puts it in perspective. In the Old Testament, they had to go into temples and special places just to talk to God. They had to take a bath before, and all this crazy stuff (I hope I'm not making this up...seems accurate).

Now, we can literally talk to God anytime, anywhere. 

We forget.
We have pride and think we can handle everything by ourselves.
We underestimate the power of prayer.
We get busy.
We don't know what to pray?

The Lord knows your heart. Talk to Him. Say anything. Tell Him how you feel, what's frustrating you, what makes you happy... Thank Him for what He's done. Ask for what you want. He can give you what you want if it's His will.

You don't need batteries or wifi or to take a bath first. You don't need to be perfect. 


Pray, and see how much better you feel, talking to God about things.

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"That's All We Can Do"

So I absolutely HATE when people say, "Just pray. That's all we can do!"
I know they don't mean anything bad by it, but I guess unknowingly, they are undermining / underestimating the power of prayer.

If praying is all we can do, then that is essentially everything.

How blessed are we to have the absolute PRIVILEGE of being able to speak to the Creator of the universe, any time we want to?!

I was thinking about the power of prayer the other day because one of my New Year's resolutions for 2016 was to be more intentional with prayer and to remain in continuous prayer - constantly talking to God throughout the day.
Reflecting on this year, I think I have made strides towards that. No, I don't pray as fervently as I should, but I have really grown in my prayer life. Not saying this to toot my own horn; I just really want everyone to be able to experience the peace that comes with constant prayer like I have. When you have something really great, you want to share it with your family and friends, right?!

After seeing the movie War Room, I decided to create a prayer closet once I moved into my house (I bought it last December and moved in in February). It's still not the perfect prayer room - I'm still working on it. But it has greatly helped me to go in there and close the door and WRITE my prayers on paper and hang them up. I love being able to look at prayers I wrote months ago and put a check mark to say it was answered. Or keep praying the ongoing ones. I've spent some precious time with the Lord in there, reading my Bible and crying out to Him, especially with some stuff I went through this summer (and am still going through). Even if the prayers aren't answered yet, it brings me so much peace to just go in there and talk to God. Not that I can't do that anywhere, but knowing I have a specific spot for prayer makes it more intentional for me, which was one of my goals this year.

I have known of the power of prayer since I was very little. Growing up in a Christian home and church and Christian school, it was obvious what I should do if I wanted something. My six-year-old self probably saw God as a genie who could grant our wishes, because I started praying for a little sister when I was about that age. My mom and dad had said NO MORE KIDS, and I was happy with my brother, but he didn't like having his nails painted, so I wanted a sister!!
I took to prayer.
When I was nine years old, my mom found out she was pregnant with a baby girl. No one was more shocked than my parents. I was like "FINALLY!!"

I told my mom I remembered how she had prayed for eight years before I was born for a baby girl with brown eyes. Her doctor told her she may not ever have kids, but they prayed together and her and my dad prayed at home. In 1988 I was born (my eyes are black though...).
I told her I knew that praying for a sister would work because she had prayed for me and it worked!

As I've gotten older, I've realized that you don't always get what you pray for. God is NOT a genie in a bottle, and sometimes you don't get what you ask for because He's protecting you from something or He has something better in mind.
Sure, I am currently sitting at the job I prayed for for about ten years.
Sure, I accepted a part-time job yesterday that I had prayed for.

But what about when we don't get what we pray for?

I prayed for my uncle to be healed from cancer. I prayed so hard. He wasn't healed. In April of 2014, I held his hand and hummed Jesus Loves Me hours before he left this earth.
I'm not mad at God. I still believe in the power of prayer. I don't know why that prayer wasn't answered, but I do know that I did feel peace about his death, thanks to the constant prayer.

We DID pray for my uncle to be saved before he passed away and that prayer came true. That's all that really matters.

I have been through some times where "all I could do was pray" and they were so, so hard. The prayer was literally the only thing that got me through. I cannot understand how people go through hard times without praying - it's unfathomable to me.

I've read so many testimonies and stories about the power of prayer - healing, saving, life-changing...

Praying is the single most powerful thing you can do about any situation. Please don't underestimate it. 

I came across an article about prayer this morning when I was doing some scripture reading:

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I hope this motivates or helps someone! I'm constantly working on this!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Saved From the Depths

Everyone knows I listen to Christmas music year round. Of course now I'm in full-Christmas music mode. (If you are judging me right now, click here to find out why I do what I do :))

"O Come O Come Emmanuel" is one of my favorites, hands-down. I like to break it down verse by verse because the lyrics are so powerful. 
Tonight, after going through the McDonald's drive-through after midnight (so wrong but felt so right... definitely won't feel right in the morning though!), I was listening to the song and a certain part hit me:

"O come, O come, Rod of Jesse,
And rescue us from Satan's tyranny.
From depths of Hell, Your people save,
And give them victory over the grave."

First I thought about my loved ones who have passed on. I'm not sad anymore because when they accepted Christ, they were given the promise of eternal life - victory over the grave. The long hours of holding their hands and humming "Jesus Loves Me" as they spent their final hours on Earth gave way to them ascending to their Heavenly homes, all because of Christmas. All because Emmanuel was born.

Then I thought about something - my pride.
I struggle with pride, but this reminded me that we were ALL saved from the depths of Hell. We ALL deserve Hell without Christ. Sorry if this offends you, but the Bible says 
we are all just sinners saved by grace, not by anything we have done or could ever do.

That makes me the same as the people I might be prone to judge for their actions.
He came to save them as much as He came to save me.
If that doesn't humble you, what will?

But in all this, we are "more than conquerors," and "co-heirs with Christ."
All because Emmanuel was born. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I Will Bring Praise

Once again, Facebook's "On This Day" has caused me to notice something interesting. 

I was thinking earlier about appreciating all of life's seasons, and it's funny how I literally saw extremely different seasons of my life as I scrolled down through "On This Day."

Four years ago today, I was going through a season of extreme confusion, feelings of abandonment, etc. I was in grad school at Appalachian, but didn't live there, so I couldn't enjoy Boone. I remember being in downtown Boone after class one night and sitting in the middle of all the Christmas lights, just crying and reading my Bible in my car. I was wishing I had someone to enjoy the beautiful lights with.
(Fun fact: I got a warning ticket in Boone that day and got another one just yesterday!)
"This is my prayer in the desert, when all that's within me feels dry."

A year later, when they put the Christmas lights up, I was downtown eating at Jimmy John's with my brother and Kacie, who had moved to Boone and we all lived together. I cried the happiest tears in JJ's because I this was such an answer to prayer. Because the Lord is so faithful if we stand firm on His promises.
After a really fun night in Boone with my friends, I drove back to High Point for the weekend and cried happy tears and wrote a blog post about how happy and thankful I was. I was SO happy and everything was so wonderful.
"This is my prayer in the harvest...I know I'm filled to be empty again..."

Two years later (last year at this time), I was going through a season of extreme discontent and almost depression. I vividly remember looking at a picture of myself and thinking "I hate her." 
This scared me so bad. I had never felt that way. I was so ungrateful and discontent and it was awful. I finally opened up about it on my blog because I don't believe we should struggle privately. 
"This is my prayer in the fire, in weakness or trial or pain... Refine me, Lord, through the flame."

Today before I saw any of this, I wrote a post about being so thankful for my job, and how it's what I've always wanted.
I'm also thinking about the Lord's constant provision despite my doubts. 
"No weapon formed against me shall remain."

It's interesting to look back on the years and see the mountaintops and the valleys and how life fluctuates. 

But one thing stays the same - 
"All of my life, in every season, 
I have a reason to sing...
God is my victory, and He is here."


Just for kicks, here are the posts from those days. Skim over them, if you will.

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, 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!