I Get by With a Little Help From My Friends

5.31.2011

Have you ever watched little kids interact with one another? I had the chance to watch my nephew this past Sunday at the pool "make friends", which consisted of playing with the same toys, splashing, and laughing with {and sometimes at} each other. It was easy and effortless and I had to wonder...when did it become more complicated than that?

Growing up is a tough road and I think the hardest lesson I've had to learn is that not all friendships are built for the journey. You don't ever go into a relationship thinking that it'll end because if you did, you wouldn't start it.

At least I wouldn't.

But with that said, I've been blessed enough to have some amazing friendships in my life. They change and shift as the seasons do; some don't last and others span decades.  But one thing remains the same; I am so undeserving of all of them. Just as I am unworthy of God's love and grace, I am just as unworthy of the people He's placed in my life that I am lucky enough to call friends. There are friends that are mere minutes away and others that it would take more than one flight to get to. There are people I consider friends that I have never even formally met. But regardless, I am there for them and they are there for me. I will pray for them and there is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that they'll pray for me.

When I actually sit and think about the ways some of these friendships originated, I have to laugh. Maybe they started the first day of 4th grade. Or maybe they started in the student union in college. Or maybe they started with a little help from Twitter and Blogger.  But as I'm sure we've all learned at some point in our lives, it's not the beginning or the end that matter the most; it's what is in between. In all relationships {friendship and otherwise} there are fights, tears, laughter and hopefully, growth. Some friendships stand the test of time, distance and life changes.

Some do not. But no matter what, each friendship I've had has shaped me into the woman, friend, wife I need to be. I am a firm believer that there is something to be learned in every season and step of life.

And to all of my friends, past and present, I thank you. I thank you for loving me despite my shortcomings. For holding me when I cried. For telling me I was making a mistake and being there for me when I finally realized it. Thank you for reminding me of the many ways God shows love.

Thank you for being you.







{please know that if I had unlimited space, I'd add more pictures!}
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Burke & Erin Say I Do

5.30.2011

This past weekend we were blessed enough to celebrate the union of two of our best friends. Burke and Erin had a beautiful wedding and I have no doubt that they're marriage will be just as beautiful. We took so many pictures and obviously I won't post them all, but I have to share some!

At the rehearsal
getting ready!!
the stunning bride
walking into the reception
first dance
having fun!
They are currently honeymooning in Hawaii and I am sure they're having an amazing time! I love you guys and I am overjoyed to have been apart of your wedding and apart of your lives.

if it's a friend you need...let it be me...- R. Lamontagne
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Etsy Finds

5.24.2011

Sadly, I had not even heard of Etsy until last year.

My, how I missed out! But I'll be honest; I am a luster and lurker of Etsy and not as much of a purchaser. Last night though, I found a necklace that I knew I had to have!
I love these necklaces and so I ordered this one from A Sign of the Times with a black ribbon. Once I actually get it, I'll be able to give a true opinion.

I wish I would have known about all the treasures awaiting to be discovered on this site when I was planning my wedding, because I'm pretty sure I could have used my entire budget on all of the cute things!
AppleBlossomPrint

Puddle Kids
smyoun
There are a million other things, but honestly, I may still get one of those pictures with the wedding date. They're kinda too awesome not to. I can peruse Etsy for nothing in particular and want to buy $100 worth of things. Not good.

If you've had any awesome finds, please share!
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Great & Productive Week

5.21.2011

...we got our plane tickets and hotel booked for Chicago...


...one of my prescriptions is now available in generic {love saving money}...

...I planned my first event at work and it went off wonderfully...

...the world didn't end...Matthew 24:36...

... I got an amazing haircut for free thanks to receiving a gift card for Modern Salon & Spa ...
please ignore the lipstick...they do a makeup touch-up before you leave...


...Finally ordered a new bathing suit...





...Started reading The Pioneer Woman's love story, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels and LOVE it!
Seriously, one of the best parts I have found with blogging and stalking reading others blogs, is finding out what I should read next. 
On another note, I confess my workout plan did not go as it should have. Part of it I blame on the fact that I could not fall asleep at night, which is an awful feeling. But I refuse to beat myself up or to feel discouraged. I still managed to get a few good workouts in {including doing my Jillian Michaels DVD in front of hubbs and feeling like a moron} and there is always room for a fresh start. And now that I have my new bathing suite coming, it's even more incentive. At least that's what I'm telling myself. 
But all in all, it was a great week and now I'm looking forward to a great weekend!
Happy Saturday everyone!
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When I Grow Up...

5.13.2011

You know the perpetual question “where do you see yourself in 10 years”?

I hate that question.

Hate it.

It’s impossible to answer. Life can change in an instant, hour, day or week. Opportunities will arise, and sadly, disappear. Leaps forward will be made and strides in reverse are inevitable. The whole not being able to predict the future thing can really hinder us from knowing where we’ll be in 10 years.

Obviously, we all have hopes and aspirations of what we’d like to be doing in 10 years in that moment that it’s asked and we may even be on that path to achieve it. But inevitably, something changes in our world or in ourselves and our path takes a detour, whether temporarily or permanently. When I was little, I knew that I wanted to be a marine biologist specializing in mammals. Not a nurse or teacher or princess. A marine biologist. I have no idea why, but I was positive that’s what I would do. Then, through the process of growing up and changing, that stopped being what I hoped to do when I grew up and I was positive I’d find a new thing to “be”. Years passed, degrees were earned and life went on.

The problem? I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

Yes, I’m 25 and by all government and society standards, grown. However, true as that may be, I still have the right to say that I don’t know what to do with my life. At least career wise. Hubbs and I have been talking this topic quite a bit, and thankfully, I am not alone in our household as far as being stumped on what to do for the next 40 years or more {eek, that’s a scary thought}.

I love the job I have now. I work with some amazing women and I am learning so many things, both professionally and personally. And I know that these are skills I will carry with me for years to come and I am thankful for it. But finally claiming a career oriented job as opposed to a job that is just a job, presents the task of determining if this is indeed where I see myself in 10 years...

There are many things that I love, but unfortunately, loving something does not necessarily translate into having a career. I am instantly envious of people that say their jobs don't feel like jobs. I realize this is the dream of many and the truth of few, but the feelings of envy and jealousy still can't help but to arise when I hear or read that.

Am I alone in my indecisiveness? Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? Are you where you wanted to be 10 years ago? Or are you one of the blessed and get to do something you love and don't even feel like it's a job? I'm looking for strength in numbers!
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Q&A with Beth Hoffman

5.10.2011

As some of you may recall from this post, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt became an instant favorite for me and one I could not stop raving about and encouraging everyone I knew to read. That may sound like a slight embellishment, but truly, it is not. And though our communication has been in the form of tweets, direct messages and blog comments, I honestly feel as though I could call this talented woman a friend. And when she was kind enough to agree to a question and answer session for this blog, I was elated!

Was there a specific or series of moments in your life that you knew you wanted to be an author? 
Before beginning my writing career, I was president and co-owner of an interior design studio. Though I had written fiction since the age of twelve and often dreamed of becoming a novelist, it was a secret dream that I rarely discussed. But after I nearly died of septicemia, something inside me made a dramatic shift, and that’s when the longing to write a novel grew stronger and stronger. For several years I waffled back and forth, wondering if I really had what it took to write successfully, but as time passed, my longing intensified. Then, on a snowy Monday in January of 2004, it was like the universe cracked open, and I knew in an eye-blink that if I were to write a novel, it was now or never. By April I sold my portion of the design business, kicked off my high-heels, and began to write. It’s the gutsiest thing I’ve ever done.

Where did the inspiration for CeeCee come from?
I’m fascinated by the complexities of mother/daughter relationships. Plus, I adore eccentric personalities and the culture of the American South. I wanted those elements to be the foundation of my story. But he first spark of my novel ignited when I was nine years old. I had taken the train to visit my Great Aunt Mildred Caldwell who lived in a lovely old Greek revival home in Danville, Kentucky. Every day my great aunt took me somewhere interesting. She’d drive through town, chattering like a sparrow about how wondrous life was if we’d just opened our eyes. She was a true Southern lady who possessed great charm and kindness. Without that magical experience, I doubt the story of CeeCee would have formed in my imagination.

Though there are many messages and values to be gained throughout CeeCee’s journey, would you say there is one in particular that you hope readers walk away with?
Growth and personal freedom can only occur when we forgive others and ourselves and embrace life with both hands.

Did writing this book teach you anything? 
Yes! Patience. Perseverance. Courage.

Would you say that you've had to sacrifice anything follow your dream?
I can honestly say that I’ve not sacrificed a thing. Every day I feel blessed, and every day I’m so glad I found the courage to go after my dream. I work crazy hours—my body aches from sitting at the keyboard for too long, and I have trouble with my “mouse arm” going numb, but those things are a small price to pay for doing what I love.

Who encouraged you, whether directly or indirectly, to start your writing career? 
Actually, no one encouraged me to end my design career until I actually made the decision. But from that day forward, one person totally believed in me, and that person is my best friend, Marlane.

Who or what has been the most influential in your life? 
No one person has been influential, but books have always been a huge source of inspiration, as are nature and animals.

What would you say is your favorite book of all time?
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

And what do you believe everyone should read at least once in their lifetime?
You mean besides CeeCee? LOL! Actually, this is an impossible question for me to answer because we all have such different tastes in what we read and enjoy.

After reading about Aunt Tootie's and Mrs. Odell's love for gardening, I have to know; do you have a flower garden? Any orchids?
Yes, I have flower gardens, and I adore the solitude of gardening. My favorite flowers are peonies but I don’t have any orchids.

What is one thing every woman should know? 
That she is her own source of power, and that nobody can give her that power, nor can they take it away without her consent—her thoughts, attitudes, and decisions will, in large part, create her experiences.

Flip flops or high heels?
Both!

Where is the one place you hope to see before you die?
I’m fortunate to have visited the places I really love—Italy is my all-time favorite. But here’s a little secret: I’m a card-carrying introvert and I don’t like traveling very much unless it’s for book research.

What would you like to be remembered for?
I try to be kind, and I hope that trait would be remembered, also a lifetime of animal rescue, and a wacky sense of humor.

And finally, any chance of a CeeCee sequel? 
That’s hard to say, but I suspect not. CeeCee was the perfect age for the story, but to take her forward into teenage years might run the risk of spoiling the magic of her young life. But as the old adage goes—never say never.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Beth a little better through reading her answers and I hope that each of you have the opportunity to read this incredible journey of CeeCee. 

I assure you, you will not regret it. 


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Ready for the Windy City!

5.09.2011

Ever since I started reading this blog and saw this post, I  knew that I had to have this hat
And yesterday, I got it!
Just a little more than a month until I get to wear it in Wrigley! I kinda can't wait. Neither hubbs or myself have ever been to Chicago and I'm excited for us to experience it together. If you've ever been and have any suggestions, please feel free to pass it on!
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God is Cool

5.04.2011

I love when I come across a verse of scripture that I've read many times before and God shows me something that stops me in my tracks...

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when Completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
--1 Corinthians 13:9-10
One commentary says this:
"In this life, our knowledge of God can never be complete. One day, we will no longer need anything that is not complete. That will happen in eternity when Christ comes again."
  
It's almost humorous to think of how little we know and how much we think we know.  And in verse 12 Paul reminds us once more:
 
...now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 
 
God has known us completely our whole lives, while we have only known Him part because we cannot fully comprehend Him in this life. But when we join Him for eternity, we will see God as He is. That is just mind baffling to me, but unbelievably exciting.
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You Will Not Be Forsaken...

5.03.2011

God will never forsake you, the enemy can never overtake you and your problems can never break you.

That is how our Pastor wrapped up an amazing sermon this past Sunday. His message talked about where we are right now and the situations that we're facing. I've heard sermons like this before, but messages like these are ones I need to hear more often than not.

How many times have you felt that the situation your in is unfair? How many times have you cried out to God, begging Him to remove you from the place He has you? How many times have you wondered why He put you there in the first place?

I have too many times to count. But Sunday morning I was reminded that God is in the business of making a way out of where He has placed me. And where I'm at right now, is not by accident and I am here because it's where God wants me. Too often, I want to put God in a box. A small box. I think that we know better and that I can do things on my own. And then when I'm faced with what we classify as unfair situations, we are overwhelming certain that we can get ourselves out of it a lot better and easier than the One that allowed us to be in it.

So going back to the 'why does God allow for me to be in unfair situations'-- it's to show me {all of us} that He, and He alone, is in complete control and surprised by nothing. He knew the things that would cause me pain, anger, sorrow and He knew what I would learn from those things...eventually. God does not explain His ways, He just expects us to trust Him.

Easy, right?

No. It's not. I know it should be, and I always say that I am and I always try. But if I'm being honest, trusting God is sometimes harder than whatever situation I'm facing.  But He knows that and He knew it before we even asked for His help {or didn't ask} in the _____ {fill in with whatever appropriate} situation. 

I have a suspicion that I've posted this quote before, but regardless, it's fitting:

If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? --Evan Almighty

I have almost not wanted to pray for discipline in certain areas or patience in others for this very reason. I'm afraid of having to step out of my comfort zone to see the ways that God will stretch me. But praise Him for being God.

So if there is something weighing heavy in your life, a situation that seems impossible and like there is no way out, remember this; God makes a way out of no way.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.-- Isaiah 43:19

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.--2 Corinthians 1:20-22

If you ever need prayer, I am here. You don't even have to tell me what it is--just let me know you'd like for me to pray for you...God knows. 

He always has and always will.
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A Week in My Life Through My iPhone

5.01.2011

 Ever since I became the obsessed proud owner of the iPhone, I'd have to say that my favorite feature is the camera and I use it pretty much on a daily basis...multiple times. And below can pretty much sum up my week according to the "eyes" of my phone!

...I got to see this adorable face on a regular basis {plus Sam's..just don't have a picture of her!}...
 ...I enjoyed the sunshine and a great book during lunch...
...had some excellent cups of coffee...
...watched too much of the NFL Draft and hoped for the best for the Panthers...
...had an super early morning event and was at work before the sun came up...
...I pondered whether or not to get highlights...
...and made fun of finding a "replica" of Dutchess Catherine's engagement ring while at the same time wishing mine looked just like it...
Eudora Welty once said that a good snapshot stops a moment from running away. And while I don't classify these as "good", I truly enjoy capturing moments, days, memories, etc and having a chance to look back and remember those moments. So, with that said, I hope you enjoyed seeing my week through my iPhone!
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