God's Love Song

12.24.2015

This Christmas has arrived like so many others before it - fast.

Its arrival seems as shocking to me as always. It's a day that once seemed to take ages to arrive to one I attempt, mostly in vain, to prolong it's arrival. As quickly as it arrives, it's gone even faster.

It is a day many of us try to create, but Christmas cannot be created nor can it be bought or made.

Christmas is more than the weather (can I get an amen?) or the number of presents beneath the tree.

Christmas is God's love song to us.

The night His Son was sent to this Earth. Not to be celebrated, but to die. For us.

Each year we have the opportunity to celebrate the grace and love sent to this Earth so many years ago. A king that became a baby. A Lord that became a Savior.

What a gift. A gift so many of us lose in the hustle and bustle. A gift we should be expectant of, but allow expectations to override the longing.

The looking.

The pausing.

Pause and look, truly look, at the multitude of blessings making up our lives. The blessings that are often easily taken for granted. Look around at those you love and who love you.

Christmas is easy to get lost in - the bows, the carols, the glitter. But what about what Christmas is truly about. The babe that left His throne and gave up everything for me. For you.

Don't let the Nativity scene be just a scene. See it. Mary, Joseph, Jesus. See them, as the people they were and are. The realness of their respective sacrifices.

My truest hope for all is a joyful Christmas, but sometimes, joy can be hard to find. In those times, my hope is, in the midst of the aforementioned hustle and bustle, you find peace. However, in spite of all we try to manufacture this time of year, we're still real people with real emotions and sometimes the 364 days before were real hard.

Be sad, but be present. Squeeze tight and let go. Enjoy the bows, the carols, and even the glitter (in moderation of course). Even if you're wondering how you're going to survive the next few days, remember the reason for it all. Remember the young girl who had no idea how she would do what was asked of her. The man who had to take an angel at it's word and believe everything that was about to happen was bigger than he could fathom.

Above all, remember the screaming infant. The infant who was the King of Kings and took on flesh and blood. Push away the glitter and bows. Turn down the carols. Turn to Him. He has come for you, asking for nothing, but your presence.

Merry Christmas Eve to all!



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Taking Stock & A Summer Recap

9.16.2015

Hi. I'm Maggie.


I thought it may be helpful to introduce myself as it's been three months since I lasted posted, so you're welcome.

At the beginning of this month, I had ambitions of participating in this lovely challenge, but clearly that's not happening as we're almost to the midway point of the month and nary a day has been completed. Best laid plans and whatnot. Despite missing half a few days, I plan on doing some of the days in effort to jump start my "writers" block.  At least that's what I'm going to tell myself.

High hopes and a small dose of delusion are magical ingredients for a blogger.

Sidebar: at what point can you stop blaming "writers" block and just own up to being lazy?

It's hard to believe summer is unofficially over, but I am more than ready for cooler days and smaller hair. Y'all remember when the "Friends" gang went to Barbados? Do you remember Monica's hair? The struggle is real.

Despite the heat that I more than once referred to as an all encompassing torture chamber, or the hair that made me feel as though I needed to turn sideways before walking through doorways, we had a really fun summer.


We hung out with Taylor Swift//...and Eric Church//went to the beach//spent time with sweet family//caught up with an old friend//made silly pictures with a new friend//displayed artistic skills//had a car picnic with my mom//went to to my favorite city 
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In August, we were briefly faced with potentially life changing decisions, but God blessed us with another option for this season of our lives (trust me, you prefer the cryptic vs. the whole story), and I was offered an awesome new job opportunity!


Y'all. I have never had my own business cards and you have no idea how legit I felt when I saw a whole box of them.
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Per usual, I'm marveling at the fact we're quickly (though sometimes it feels slow) approaching fall. In spite of my somewhat dramatic, albeit accurate, description of summer, it was pretty awesome.

I traveled down country roads and took in sweeping city views. 

I hugged and kissed the ones I love the most. 

I had moments of tears and days of laughter. 

I had daily reminders that caused me to pause, take stock, and think "I love this life."

At some point, or several points, today, just stop. Be still. Look around and realize that life is pretty amazing.

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May Recap & June Goals

6.04.2015

You know, in a world that is ever changing, I could say the whooshing sound the months make as they go by is a constant I'm thankful for.

However, that would be a lie, and I'm all about honesty. So, here we are in June and I'm still trying to wrap my head around what went down the 31 days of May.

Welcome to my world.

In my work world, the best and only way to describe it would be "chaotic." If I'm feeling extra creative, I'd throw "overwhelming" in the mix, too. In my "real" (loosely used) world, it was much less dramatic and overall, pretty awesome.

May consisted of...

...the girls taking me on a walk around Lake Wylie for Mother's Day...


...having my last meeting with my little sister before summer, and being gifted with this awesome drawing...
me or Taylor...it's a toss up

...spending time at my grandparents and enjoying the beauty that is their land...


...a weekend in Boone with my lovely and wonderful mama...


...River Jam date night at the White Water Center...


...and finally starting this book!


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In January, I wrote the following words:
"Fresh starts and new beginnings are not dictated by the calendar or your current situation. God does not demand a certain amount of time to pass before making all things new. He asks only that you forget the things that could weigh you down, recognize what He's giving you, and trust."
Many times I find myself focusing on the rush of all rather than the presence of it all. I forget moments make up the days that form the years. I overlook the small trying to see the big instead of being actively...still. January lends itself to pushing reset, but why not June? Or August? Or tomorrow.

The "good ole' days" are happening today. I have to remind myself to pause, even if just for a moment, and realize the weight of it all.

I had an epiphany when I was in Boone with my mom; this was my opportunity to show the woman that raised me the place I grew up. Though she came to Boone a few times while I was there, it's different to go back now that I am an "adult." I don't want to miss those epiphanies. I don't want to be blase about the moments making potential memories, that they're over before I realize they began.

So this is my June reset. I will make the promises and be intentional and appreciate the gift that is the day and the newness of the half year. I will make my "30 Before 30" more than an afterthought. I am going to out on a limb here and say I will be able to cross off at least three items and assign dates to five others that need some advanced planning.

Small steps, people.





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Priorities & Part Two of 30 Before 30

5.26.2015

Lately, I have felt the urge to revisit this space I used to frequent more often than not. To some, feeling an "urge" may seem rather meaningless, but for me, it's a welcome change from what became the normal.

Priorities. How often do you reevaluate yours? Have you ever? The official Google result for the definition of "priority" is "a thing that is regarded as more important than another; the right to take precedence or to proceed before others." Depending on the season of life, we may not get to choose what takes precedence or what is regarding as more important. However, these seasons typically don't last and when they come to a close, it's up to us to determine what gets moved to the top of the proverbial list of priorities.

When the year began, I had high hopes for making my "30 Before 30" list one of my top priorities, but then I let other things take precedence, and if I'm being honest, I got lazy. I seemed to think just because I created the list and told people about it, the items would get crossed off. Well, since I'm that obnoxious person that says resolutions can be made any time and not just at the turning of the calendar, I'm making a May 26 resolution; to be intentional. Maybe I accomplish everything on my list. Maybe I don't. The point of this list is not scribble a line or check a box. The point is to make 2015 and the final months of my 20s one I can be proud of. To make the most of the time I have and to not take for granted the relationships that have, and continue to, molded me.

I will do an official "check in" of my list at the end of June, but in the mean time, the second part of my "30 Before 30":
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16. Plant a small garden...and keep it alive

17. Batting cages

18. Go on a picnic (or two!)

19. Have a "girls night out" every month

20. Have six date nights at six different, new (to us) restaurants in Charlotte

21. Visit family members for no reason at all

22. Climb a mountain

23. Go kayaking or stand up paddle boarding

24. Get published

25. Try rock climbing (via a wall)

26. Take a mother/daughter trip DONE! {Recap coming soon}

27. Have pictures taken of me and Andrew and the pups

28. Do one thing that terrifies me

29. Plan and host a dinner party

30. Figure out what I want to be when I grow up

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Should you see something you would like to witness or be a part of, I welcome the chance to share any of the items with you! 

This year, per usual, has taken on a speed resembling lighting, but I can't let that determine the level of intentionality or purpose I live it out. And I as I said before, that is the reason the behind this list. 

That, and it's an excuse to do a lot of fun things...to be continued! 

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Count What Counts

4.13.2015

Counting the things that count. People. Time. Love. Things that can escape us in a moment without even glancing back. We live in a society that looks for worth in the space of 140 characters or less. When did that become the norm? When did we start seeing each other as summaries of who we could or should be rather than human beings?

When did murder and death become water cooler talk? Have we all become so jaded and used to this backwards world that we read stories of lives taken the way we read the weather report?

I am tired of media pushing along the racial tension that has once again seized this country. Anger and hurt don't need assistance to make their mark. In my opinion, there is literally no reason to differentiate race when referencing the death brought on by another human being. All lives matter, and gender, race, professions should not cause any life to be weighed differently when taken. Life and people, of all types and stages, are worth counting.

We should all be bothered when someone's life is taken.

We should all take a stand in love rather than flounder in hate.

Are there bad {insert whatever you'd like here} in this world? Absolutely. Are there good {insert the same here} in this world? Without a shadow of doubt, yes.

I am one of those obnoxious people that believe, despite what Twitter and Yahoo! has to say, good outweighs bad. I have to. The moment I don't believe it is the moment I start actively praying the Lord takes me home.

I am exhausted from reading headline after headline about the evil trying to make its home in this world. Here in the United States, the Middle East, Africa. All over. Senseless murders happen every day and I realize, there is no reason in evil. Evil does evil for the sake of evil.

My heart aches, physically aches, for those who lose someone they love. It's heavy for those whose reality becomes a nightmare in the blink of an eye. We all live our lives, to some degree, with a level of invincibility. However, this year, already, I've been reminded life, as we know it in this moment, is fleeting.

I also tend to believe I have some control of what happens to me and those I love. Again, reality has come knocking at my door in the loudest of ways to tell me I'm wrong. Do moments like that suck? Yes. Do I still trust God is good in those moments? Even when I don't know how to, yes.

Rambling aside, I realize this post is vastly different than any I have ever published. Writing has been hard for me as of late, but writing in truth is always easier than writing something passion can't find. I also realize, before I even hit "publish," there will be some, maybe many, bothered by what I've said. That's okay. I will never say anything with malicious intent, however, in the midst of my rambling, are my true feelings and thoughts.

I want this country and this world to stop seeking out things to be angry about. People, by nature, are messy and will mess up. Love, mercy, grace...forgiveness. Four things none of us are worthy of receiving, but do on a daily basis.

How different would the day look if we gave it away the same way it was given to us?    
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What I've Learned Along the Way

3.30.2015

Life, and the manner in which it is lived, lends itself for us to learn. A lot. Some lessons, as we all know, are harder than others. But regardless of the level of difficulty, all lessons are worth learning.

Everyday, I'm faced with the somewhat harsh truth that I don't know nearly as much as I think I do. Everyday, I realize the amount I have left to learn is startling compared to the amount I know. Or at least the amount I think I know.

Some lessons I learn over and over. Others I have been taught, often times the hard way. Regardless of how I have come upon these lessons, I am reminded the best way to approach this classroom we call life, is with a spirit of humbleness, mercy, and a little bit of grace.

God uses the moments that make up the day and the people that make those moments count to teach us, but more importantly, to love us. What I've learned along the way is a fraction of what I have left to learn, but nonetheless, they are invaluable and irreplaceable.

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Silence is under appreciated

Deep breaths have the power to change things

Perspective is everything

Everyone is fighting a harder battle

Patience and a sense of humor are powerful ingredients

Not everyone is going to like you...and that's okay

A smile and a kind word will get you far

Dancing, no matter how badly, is good for the soul

Memories are meant to be made

Size does not determine victories

Books are magical

Productivity and relaxing are not enemies, but balancing acts

Life doesn't wait for you. Show up. Every. Single. Day.




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13 Thoughts & Randoms {Cut in Half}

3.13.2015

So, it's March 13th. More specifically, it's Friday, March 13. Now, I am not a superstitious person, so I associate "13" with a person rather than bad luck.
"Basically whenever a 13 comes up in my life, it’s a good thing." - Taylor Swift
If you didn't know, I can bring Ms. Swift up naturally in pretty much any conversation. It's either a gift or a sickness. I'm going to go with gift which I am more than happy to share with you.

I don't have a lucky or unlucky number, but anytime I can work in a list naturally, I'm a happy blogger. So, for your reading pleasure,13 thoughts and other bits of randomness from the week cut in half.

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one//I am absolutely loving this weather! Since the "big" snow they were calling for at the end of February turned out to be mediocre at best, I've been ready for spring days. Also, it gives me a chance to work on my supervising skills while blogging. Multitasking at it's finest!



two//I got to see my "little sister" this past week and our time together was pretty fantastic. She saw me stress out about not having enough time to finish a puzzle and we built a house of cards! I wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up to be a mentor/big sister, but I'm not sure I expected to meet someone that would change my life in the way this young lady has. She is truly a breath of fresh air and I can only hope I am blessing her half as much as she is me



three//Story of my life.



four//Carolina basketball in March has me like...



five//...and sometimes, Sam can't even deal and Dani is just ready for it to be over. Mostly, though, they just don't care.



six//Me and my 30 before 30 have got to get back on speaking terms, but more importantly, doing terms. That's all. No more questions or excuses. We're almost 3 months through this year which means I have a little over 7 months to do, like, 28 things. And some of those individual things have multiple aspects.

I knew this list would stretch me. Not because of the items, but I am not the best at keeping goals, and I'm not really giving myself a choice when it comes to this. Prayers and words of encouragement are probably more than needed.



{and a half}//The contents of my tote bag on a typical day. My often neglected planner, the notebook that houses world class ideas, and two books that could not be more different.




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Happy Friday all!

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Avoiding the Challenge

2.20.2015

Earlier this week, I discovered a foolproof formula. If one combines homemade French Toast, chai tea and an episode or two of Gilmore Girls, one can achieve a near perfect morning.  I'm sure when I was younger, I thought there was no way adults could enjoy snow (or ice in this case) days nearly as much as kids. Well, news to my younger self, one could argue adult snow days are not only more enjoyable, but far more necessary.

I often joke, with serious undertones, I could teach a course in how to relax. For some reason, many of my friends and coworkers find this a difficult feat. Don't get me wrong. I am very supportive of a productive days at home, and this ice day is no different.  Laundry was done and the kitchen was cleaned, and before the day was over, the Dyson made an appearance. However, I also believe if you have the opportunity to watch Gilmore Girls and to force a blog post, you should take it sans any sort of guilt.

Oh, you're wondering about the "force a blog post" bit? (For the sake of this post, pretend you were.) I don't want to use the overly used term of "writers block" because that would insinuate I was at least trying to write. The truth of the matter is, I've gotten into the habit of actively avoiding it all together. Sure, some of it is the crazed days at work, and the more often than not rushed evenings at home. But more than anything, it's because sometimes I don't feel up to the challenge. If words aren't coming easily, than why force it? If witty, thought provoking posts are no where to be found, why should I go looking for them? Why in the world, do I think this should be a piece of cake? My guess is the great wordsmiths of the world didn't become great in the waiting. They became great by writing.

Sometimes, life is loud and uncomfortable. Chaos is prevalent and words seem scarce, but the thing about writing is it doesn't ask for perfect circumstances. 

Dean Smith once said "There is a point in every contest when sitting on the sidelines is not an option." Now, what I know about this legendary coach is a fraction of what is left learn, but what I do know is this; he left a legacy that exceeds the four corners of the court. If I want to ever be considered a writer, in the most liberal of ways, I need to realize the desire to write grows from actually writing. Beauty can be found in the waiting, however, words may be harder to find. 

In short, this post is nothing more than my jumbled up thoughts somewhat coherently put into writing. If you made it this far, bravo. I leave you with this encouragement...

be more than you are.

be more than someone teaching defensive sets and offensive transitions.

be someone that invests in those around you.

be more than what you do.

via


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January Thoughts

2.02.2015

New years are great. They can symbolize bright and shiny things and fresh starts. Who doesn't want that? I support it just as much as the next person, but here's the thing; the fresh start you're wanting? You can get it every day, week and month. You don't have to wait to toss an entire calendar into the recycling bin before getting that newness you are craving.

As I write this it's the first Monday of a new month (I feel the need to clarify this as it may not be by the time in hit the "Publish" button). A month waiting for your effort and desire. I want to approach every day and month with the same hope and dedication January gets. I mean, a lot of pressure gets put on to the first month of the year. Resolutions to change years worth of habits in four weeks. Four weeks of short, dreary winter days. If you can find motivation in those conditions, I applaud you. However, as the saying goes, if you're waiting for the perfect moment, you'll spend your whole life waiting.
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." - Isaiah 43:18-19
Fresh starts and new beginnings are not dictated by the calendar or your current situation. God does not demand a certain amount of time to past before making all things new. He asks only that you forget the things that could weigh you down, recognize what He's giving you and trust. The last one? By far the hardest for me.

Sometimes, fresh starts begin in the desert and wasteland, and though this does not diminish where you're going, trust in the trial is almost never my first instinct. I may say I have faith and I'm trusting in the path the Lord has laid in front of me, but more often than not, my spirit is looking for every other available option.

January was an odd month for me at work, with a lot of unexpected news and unanticipated transitions.  I'll lay partial blame for my lack of presence on that (sounds better than writers block or laziness), but with a pretty spectacular to do list to work on and finalize, I'm excited to start this fresh month of February.

And while odd at work, January was pretty great in every other way. My iPhone has the evidence to prove it!

left: waiting for Eric Church//babysitting the cutest boy in the world
center:celebrating Alisha's 30th with a mellow mushroom man//girls night out//a great book and pretty cup of coffee
right: spontaneous road trip resulting in a visit from the aforementioned cutest boy//Eric Church in Nashville!

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30 Before 30 {Part One}

1.13.2015

This year, in place of a resolution or two, I decided to create a list.  I'm all for a good list and accomplishing things, and since I currently find myself wishing for more time, I figured I should make the most of the time I have. That said, I want to be ambitious and have purposeful fun in 2015...the year I turn 30.

Scary.

My "30 before 30" will not change the world, but it may change me in the fleeting days and months I have left in my 20's. Though reality very rarely makes itself known in my world, I had to keep it close by while constructing this list. However, should any of you find yourself with a lot of extra money and you're unsure what to do with it, I can loosen my grip on reality and adjust this list accordingly.

Each item on this list will stretch me in some capacity and I will have to push  myself to do some items more than others. These are not in any sort of order, other than when they popped in my head and seemed worthy enough to make the cut.

So without further adieu, part one of my 30 before 30...

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1. Pop a champagne bottle DONE! - December 31, 2014


2. Shoot a gun

3. Take a ballet class

4. Paint a picture

5. Sing in public

6. Cook something new/complex

7. Do 10 random acts of kindness

8. Go somewhere in North Carolina I've never been (suggestions welcomed!)

9. Go camping

10. Learn a Taylor Swift and Christmas song on guitar

11. Play paintball

12. Go four-wheeling

13. Write a letter each month

14. Read 10 books off the Rory Gilmore book list

15. Pay off half of our debt

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In addition to reality, I had to keep myself in mind when deciding each of the items on this list. None of these things can be deemed as difficult and some may even view them as boring. To me, however, they're things I have a desire to do. Things I've thought about and never followed through in doing. Some are purely self indulgent. Others are meant to glorify God and encourage others. This is a life "to-do" list, and I am so excited about marking each of these items off.

I'm currently finalizing the second part of my "30 before 30," so if you have any thoughts or suggestions, please feel free to share!

Wish me luck :)





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Happy 2015 {Five on Friday}!

1.02.2015


Happy 2015 indeed! While we're only on the second day of this year, it's off to a pretty good start. Andrew and I spent New Year's Day cleaning and organizing, eating, and watching football and Friends (thank you, Netflix!). I had a fleeting thought to go to the gym, but was distracted by cheese and crackers.
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one. We spent time and had a delicious dinner with some awesome friends on New Years Eve. I had to get at least one picture of me in real clothes because after this, we went home and the pj's came on.


two. I'm currently working on my 30 before 30 list and I am happy to report one thing has already been crossed off...popping a champagne bottle! New Years Eve seemed like the perfect time to do this, especially while wearing a Taylor Swift shirt and cardboard top hat. Sophistication personified right here, folks.




three. I've always been under the impression confetti is a pretty common thing. So imagine my dismay and disappointment when both Target and Michael's shattered that illusion. Thankfully, I married the sweetest man ever and he spent his New Years Eve afternoon making a box of confetti for me. I later repaid him by throwing it in the air and vacuuming it up. If that doesn't say "thank you," I don't know what does.


four. All seasons of Friends on Netflix. That's all.


five. Above all, the best part of New Years Eve was ringing it in with the loves of my life!


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