Twas the Day Before Christmas!

12.24.2012

Merry Christmas eve, everyone!!!


Christmas arrives faster and faster with each passing year, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a beautiful and miraculous season.  This is the time of year we're actively and purposefully preparing for Jesus.  It's more than the glitter and lights; it's about the hope and unfailing love that came to earth all those years ago.

I pray that each of you have a magical Christmas!


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Christmas Prayers, Treats and Travels

12.18.2012

Before I start this post, I feel I should preface with the fact I spent a great deal of time deliberating on whether or not I wanted to do a "normal" post today or not.  We are all aware of the horrific nightmare that took place in Connecticut on Friday, but I also realize I could write a thousand posts about it and nothing would change.  I will continue to do what I can do, which is to keep praying for the children and parents that are having to live the nightmare out as well as our country as a whole.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. - Romans 21:4

I like to focus on the fact that those sweet souls will be getting to spend Christmas in Heaven and that lessens the sting for me a little bit. 

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It's hard to believe we're down to single digits until Christmas! I believe the month of December should be a little longer because it's such a fun and festive month, and there is just not enough time do it all.  Our home is and has been fully decked out and I'm pretty sure we got the best smelling tree in the world.


The guitar ornament in the top left corner was a sweet surprise from Andrew that made me squeal when he pointed it out.  I should probably be ashamed to say that, but sadly, I'm not.

This past Saturday, we headed up to my grandparents for their yearly Christmas get together and I temporarily lost my mind because I didn't take a single picture. I was so bummed when I finally realized it, but I'm going to claim temporary insanity.  On Sunday, we decorated Christmas cookies with our nieces and nephews, and let me tell you, this is is not an easy or pretty feat with 3 and 4 year-olds.  It ends up being the type of thing where you're asking if you'd like some cookie with your icing, but they had a great time and that's what matters!


Yesterday I came home to a delightful little Christmas goodie box from Jill which also elicited some squeals of joy.  I also instantly wanted to redo the package I had sent her (already making the resolution I will not be so busy next year), but more to come on that later!


Tomorrow Andrew and I will be hitting the road bright and early to make our way to Music City and the best way to describe what I'm feeling is with every synonym for excited!

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We were able to get an amazing hotel deal all because of a Facebook status.  Seriously. It was proof that it truly never hurts to ask.

We've made plans to go to the Bluebird Cafe, Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame, but if any of y'all are aware of somewhere else we should check out, please let me know!

The one thing I'm not so excited about is the drive to get there...over 6 and half hours! Now to some, that may not seem bad, but I hit the proverbial wall around the 3 hour mark.  With this being the case, I'll need to fill up my Kindle with some good reading material, otherwise, my sweet husband may drop me off somewhere in this vicinity...



So please wish both of us luck with that and prayers for safe travel are appreciated!

Happy one week before Christmas everyone!!



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Peaks, Pits, Praises and Prayers

12.11.2012

Today I'm linking up with Katie from Married...With a Pup for peaks, pits, praises, and prayers
Married...With a Pup

Peaks:

  • Getting Taylor Swift tickets!! Though the concert isn't until next March, I feel positively giddy when I think about it

  • My grandparents Christmas get together is this Saturday and that's always a highlight for me 
  • We went to our first Carolina game of the season this past Saturday and it was a fantastic game


Pits:

  • My one "pit" for the week is actually today; 8 years ago today, one of my dear friends passed away in his sleep and there probably isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about him.

Praises:

  • Seeing family this weekend
  • That our friends and family are happy and healthly
  • Having food in our cabinets and refrigerator 
  • That both hubby and I have jobs
  • Being able to buy presents

Prayers:

  • Please pray that I allow the peace of God to consume me this season.  I will praying the same for those in my life! 
  • That I'm opened to opportunities that God presents to us to be a blessing this season and everyday 


Please comment and link up with Katie to share your 4-P's!

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Christmas Time is Here!

12.10.2012

So, I'm pretty sure to consider yourself a "blogger" you actually have to, you know, blog.  This is becoming an apparent struggle for me as of late.  It's quite puzzling really.  I have no real reason for this to be the case and I keep hoping that this block will dissipate or at least fade a little.

So far, I haven't been so lucky. 

I found myself telling someone the other day that 2013 will consist more of me/us staying put.  2012 started off busy and it's only fitting that we'll be traveling every weekend of the it's final month.  Mind you, I am so excited for all of the places we're traveling to, but I'm ready to embrace being still, and that starts this Christmas season. 

I realize we can't be still in the literal sense, but I want to rest more in the Lord and recognize everyday what this season is all about.  Our halls are decked and presents are waiting to be wrapped, but more than anything, I want my heart and soul to completely at peace.

Each day goes by faster than the one before it.  Sure, we all of days that seem like they'll never end, but for the most part, time flies and shows no signs of slowing down.  It's hard for me to believe Christmas three weeks away because at times I feel like I'm searching for ways to "feel" this special holiday. 

Does anyone else feel that way?

As a kid, it's a piece of cake to feel excited for this Christmas because you're anxiously awaiting Santa's arrival.  But as adults, it's harder because we're in constant motion between work and life.  Christmas has one true meaning and it's so important not to lose sight of that and something hubs and I have started doing, is this Christmas devotional.


This has started to be one of my favorites parts of the day for me.  It's just a couple of minutes, but it's exactly the reminder we both need, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. 

Next Saturday, we'll be headed to my grandparents and then to an ugly Christmas sweater party.  Both of these things I'm extremely excited about, but my concern is where to find a sweater to wear to said party! At Saturday night's Carolina game, I saw a perfect one...but it was on the woman sitting in front of us.  Sadly, I didn't think it would be appropriate to tell her I believed it was the perfect one, nor do I think she would've gladly handed it over :)

I will you with the words below in hopes this is not my only post of the week! Happy Monday everyone!





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Fear of Failure and Success

11.21.2012

Fear of failure is something many, if not most, of us are familiar with.  No one likes to fail or disappoint or feel any sense of inadequacy, but chances are, at least one of the aforementioned has happened to us at some point.  Unfortunately, it's a part of life.

And, fortunately, it's a part of life.

What if you never had a chance to fall flat on your face?  Then you would never know how many times you were capable of standing back up again or the depth of God's grace.  What if you never had another opportunity to do something better and settled for what is?

This is a difficult post for me to write because it's something I am currently struggling with.  As I've mentioned, I've started writing for the Examiner in hopes of jump starting a passion into a career.  It's no secret that I'm borderline obsessive with my feelings towards the North Carolina Tar Heels, so I may as well try to make a living being that way.  I was so sure that this jump start would be one of the easier things I've done in my life.  I'm writing about something I love.  Win-win.

Except, what if it turns out I'm not good at it?  Or, scarier still, what if it turns out I am good enough and could actually live out my dream?  There is no concise way for me to explain these feelings, so you'll have to bear with me.  Richard Dumb (the name is ironic to me) once said "Don't follow your drams; chase them."  But when you chase something, there is no guarantee you'll catch it.  And that my friends, is when faith must be bigger than my doubt.

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do
this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
- Luke 12:25-26

I cannot concern myself with what may or may not happen; the only thing I can control is if I'm glorifying God in the "chasing" process.  To worry or to have disbelief is not what has been asked of me nor will it do a bit of good.  At the risk of sounding negative, God never promised I would get to live out what I consider my dream.  And in a weird, inexplicable way, that knowledge gives me peace.  He allows me to try and work hard, and to have faith in knowing His will is what will prevail.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts
...and be thankful. - 
Colossians 3:15

On a less serious level, I've also realized the fear of failing and succeeding can also apply to me learning the guitar.  I know I'm currently not a good guitar player, but I'm contributing money and time to learning how to play this instrument.  There is no guarantee that I'll be good, but there is also the chance I could become good.  Is the chance worth the hours and dollars? Who knows.  The only way to find out is for me to put myself out there.  I realize I'm only talking about a hobby, but for some reason, it's easier for me to explain.  It's not my dream to rock out on stage, but it is my dream to write.  The possibility of me spending months and years pursuing a writing career and never achieving it, is high. 

 But I'm just scared enough to find out.

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This Time of Year

11.19.2012

As much as I brand myself as "crazy Christmas girl," I absolutely love this time of year.  Knowing that we're standing on the threshold of the Christmas season, but still embracing the beauty of fall, just makes my heart smile.

Per usual, I cannot believe we've officially arrived at Thanksgiving week!  Turkey Day is my second favorite holiday because it's purely dedicated to the celebration of thankfulness and family.  And obviously eating too much and watching football :)

But in all seriousness, Thanksgiving is pretty awesome because it's not about presents and getting more; it's simply about being thankful.

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This is also the time of year when I start thinking about our Christmas card.

Scratch that.  I probably started thinking about that in June, but that's neither here nor there.

A couple of weekends ago, a dear, talented friend took a few pictures for us, and I fell in love with all of them!  We went out to her husband's parents farm, which turned out to be the perfect setting.  I won't fill this post up with all of them, but I can't help but sharing a couple a few!

love this one
this sweet one has photo ready!

And finally, another fantastic aspect of this time of year (at least in my opinion) are the sports taking place.  I realize football, both college and professional, has been taking place for a few months, but college basketball has officially started, and that makes me a happy girl.  As I mentioned here, I've started writing for the Examiner, and would love for y'all to check out my articles.

Happy Monday (which is actually kind of like a Wednesday for most of us)!
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Once Upon a Time, I Blogged...

11.10.2012

Oh my blog! How I've missed you! Just when I think life is going to slow down long enough for me to actually be allowed to call myself a blogger, I'm proven wrong.

I hate being wrong.

I probably shouldn't be so shocked that my last post was in a different month, but here I am, shocked. And not only is it a different month, I am a different age.

That's right.  I was 26 for my last blog post and I am now writing my next one at 27. Scary.  I tried to convince everyone to let me stay 26, but still celebrate my birthday. They failed to see how that could work. My birthday was pretty low key, which was ideal considering the rest of this year has not been. Sweet husband got me a Kindle, which was exactly what I wanted!


Last weekend we went to a bonfire and had a great time.  I'm starting to realize that we as humans rely too much on always doing something, and by humans, I mean me.  We all had such a great time sitting around (on bales of hay I might add) and doing nothing but enjoying each others company.  In world of being constantly connected, it was nice to be momentarily relieved of social media. Although I can neither confirm or deny if I posted this picture to Instagram.



And in other news, I've started writing for the Examiner!  I would love for you guys to check me out :) The more visits, the better!

Sadly, this is all I have the capacity for on this lazy Saturday, but I PROMISE to post multiple times next week.  Ambitious, I know.

Happy Saturday everyone!
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A Mountain Getaway, Red and Chords

10.25.2012

Oh my goodness.  Me and my sporadic blogging tendencies lately!  Because of said tendncies, this post is going to be a little on the random side, but that's not really anything new.

There is so much I love about the month of October, but this particular October has been pretty fantastic and I'll be sad to see it go next week.

Pause.

How is it possible that November starts next week???

Unpause.

This past weekend, Andrew and I headed up to the mountains to enjoy time with friends and everything the little towns of Blowing Rock and Boone had to offer.  The older I get, the more I realize how little I appreciated the surroundings I was blessed by in my time at Appalachian State.  There is just something special about the little town that is at an altitude of 3,333 feet.

This was the adorable cabin we stayed in, which was surrounded by nothing but woods and I'm sure it could serve as the setting of a scary movie if needed.


I mean, this place was down a few miles of gravel, twisty roads and it would not be found on accident, but then again, I guess that's the point of having a getaway.

And this was the amazing view all around us, no matter where we were



In addition to the beautiful scenery, we also had the opportunity to hang out with some friends that we hadn't seen in a looooong time.


You know a good time was had when discussions for next year have already commenced.  It was a wonderful weekend and I was sad to see it end.

But when the weekend ended, it meant that it was Monday and that meant the long awaited (at least by me) Taylor Swift album could finally be purchased.

 
I don't know the last time I purchased an actual CD, but since Target was the only place selling the "deluxe version," an actual CD was a must.  I know a lot of people aren't loving the "new Taylor," but I am loving this album.


And finally, I've officially started guitar lessons!  I've only had one, but I'm seriously loving it.  Mostly focusing on scales and basic chords, but it's harder than I would've thought.  Also, it's sad that I've played my guitar more in the last week than in the last year.

Okay, maybe not quite, but probably pretty close.  My goal is to learn a Christmas song, so wish me luck!

See?  Random.  Happy Thursday, everyone!
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Weekend Recap & Looking Ahead

10.16.2012

If you haven't gathered, I like fall.  And in my world, "like" means "love in a borderline obsessive way."  What can I say?  I don't like doing things halfway and absolutely believe seasons should be celebrated. 

This past Saturday, I was able to go on an apple picking adventure with my friends Alisha and Jen at the Apple Hill Orchards. I was a little worried because I have the tendency to build things up and then I'm left feeling let down when my expectations aren't met.  In this case, though, my worrying was unnecessary and incredibly pointless.  We could not have asked for better weather or a more perfect place.  When it was all said and done, we picked approximately 50 apples and it cost less than $20, which means picking your own is not only fun, but is financially smart.  I love a win-win.


Another fantastic thing about this weekend was I had my first experience with Whole Foods.  One visit and I am hooked!  It would be great if the prices would work their way down a little, but regardless, it was a magical place (at least by grocery store standards).  It's on our way home from church, so I could see that being a blessing an issue in the future.

Speaking of church, this Sunday's sermon, was amazing.  There is no way for me to summarize it in one word, but here are a few of the notes that I took...
+ when God wants to teach me something, He will take me to a place where I'm uneasy
+ if God is in it, it won't fail
+ when you stop defending yourself, Jesus will become your defender 
+ you can't live life painting leaky spots; allow God to seal you up with His ways
+ can't blame "being leaky" the weather or problems; they're inevitable
+ faith is not built on answers; it's built while you wait. Faith is made during the delay
I love when I'm open to what God wants me to hear as opposed to sitting in the pew thinking our pastor is talking to all of those around me.  The only way to grow and learn is to actually be teachable.

This coming weekend will be spent with our friends, Chris and Kristen, and an adorable cabin in Blowing Rock.  Part of me feels like a 65 year old woman because one of the things I'm most excited about is seeing the leaves, but how can you not appreciate this...

via E.Young
I know this season will be ending soon, so I plan on embracing each moment that comes my way.  Even if that means I'm acting 30 years older than I currently am.

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October Reflections

10.05.2012

I wish I could come up with a new excuse for being a terrible blogger.  Sadly, I'm not that clever nor do I have a truly valid reason other than, I'm a terrible blogger.

Well, now that's out of the way, I'll try to catch y'all up on my world the past couple of weeks. My friend, Allison, one amazing wedding weekend that was beautiful from beginning to end...

It's been a blessing to be apart of their journey so far and to celebrate them on the day that changed their lives.

Between the "I do's" and the bundle of joys that have been welcomed into this world, 2012 has proved to be a year of wonderful change for so many of my friends.  It's hard for me to believe how this year has flown by the way it has.  Seeing as how it's only October, I realize it's a bit early to start reminiscing, but I also know that if you don't take purposeful pause in your life, you miss it.

Another thing I've learned as the days of 2012 have flown by, is that happiness and joy are not synonymous. Being happy is an emotion that can change depending on the moment; joy is a gift from God that no one or nothing can take from you.  Joy is what gets us through the day and it's our choice to recognize that.  Work, family, friends, finances, (insert whatever else), can effect our mood or our day, but it's our choice on whether or not those things effect our lives.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
- John 16:33

So, my challenge to myself, and to you, is to choose joy over whatever the world wants to hurl toward me.  I'll try my hardest to catch it and deal with it, but I know that I'm not alone in that game of catch.  God's hands are bigger, stronger and more reliable than mine could ever be.

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My Plan for Today

9.29.2012

This is my plan for the day


It appears the bug that has been making it's way around finally caught me.  So you can find me on the couch with the items pictured above and some college football on the television.  I hope everyone enjoys their last September Saturday!
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Well, Hey There...Remember Me?

9.25.2012

If there is such a thing as blog withdrawal, I have it.  The good thing is, life is finally starting to slow down, therefore, I plan on actually having things to say again.

Just not this morning.

So I will let Pinterest speak for me...






Happy Tuesday, everyone!

(all images from this board)
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My Fall Musts

9.17.2012

If you have gathered from the past couple of posts, I kinda like fall.  The seasonal gifts that autumn brings with its arrival are hard to beat.

ONE. Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  I can't believe I haven't had one of these yet this year, but I see that changing in the near future.

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Flavors and smells are a huge thing for me in these cooler seasons and pumpkin spice lattes embody fall in the little cups they're served in.

TWO. Boots.  Riding boots, UGG boots (or a knockoff brand in my case), short boots; I love them all.  And after seeing these all over Pinterest,  I will definitely be investing in a couple pairs!

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THREE. Scarves. Oh my gosh...I love them.  I even try to make scarves work in the summer.  In the south.  It normally doesn't work.  Scarves just have the ability to make an outfit go from plain to incredibly cute.  And the best part about them is that they can be incredibly inexpensive.  Always a plus.

FOUR. Hoodies.  I really feel no need to explain this one.  Fall is all about being comfy and cozy and a hoodie is just that.

FIVE. Candles.  I am a firm believer that cooler weather demands warm smells and candles become a constant in our home when the temperature starts to fall.


I could probably list a few other things, but I'll stop there and instead make a promise y'all that I will try to make this my last post about fall and the things I love about it...but I cannot guarantee anything. 


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A Sunday Post

9.09.2012


I'm currently sitting on my living room floor watching football, the window is opened and I'm working on getting sick from these



The unofficial start to fall just makes my heart smile.  I get positively giddy when I think of all that's coming our way; cool mornings and crisp nights; steaming crockpots of chili; hoodies...the list goes on and on.

My biggest decision today is whether or not I will decorate our house with all of our fall decorations.  It's quite a conundrum.  I may just enjoy the breeze blowing into our home and the multitude of football games my husband keeps flipping between.  Either way, I believe this is going to be one great Sunday afternoon.

I've been crazed with checking the temperature predictions for the upcoming weeks and crossing my fingers for something that would not be in the lower nineties or upper eighties, and it seems as if my wish has come true!


It may not quite be Boone weather, but I'll take it for now!  And speaking of Boone, check out this amazing shot from last nights win...

beautiful! c/o Appalachian State University
And with that, I will y'all a happy Sunday :)
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