Saturday, December 31, 2016

* 2016's Bests *

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#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 already thinking about it this morning when I was getting ready (USING MY AWESOME NEW URBAN DECAY EYE SHADOW BUT THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS POST - I JUST WANTED TO MENTION IT BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE A ROCKSTAR TODAY)
...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. 

Why?!

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:



LOVE AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS! 

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. 
BUT HOW AWESOME CAN IT BE IF WE DO?! 
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. 
I WAS LIKE "WHY DIDN'T I DO THIS SOONER?!?!"
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" 
and 
"The Child once born in Bethlehem is still among us"
and 
"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!!
LET HIM SPEAK THROUGH YOU!

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 IS NOT OF THE LORD!!!

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.
I'M WORKING ON IT!!!!

"Make it a December to remember."

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