Friday, February 28, 2014

9/52.




- i am officially a macbook owner! if anyone has tips for a first-time mac user, please share.

- grammar tip of the week:  it is "you're welcome"; not "your welcome".

- i took out a sleeve of thin mints in under fifteen minutes. don't judge me.

- tax season is officially halfway over. hallelujah!

- joy is not dependent on circumstances.

- i had to use my windshield wipers this morning because wet stuff was coming out of the sky. i think it's called rain.

- whatever she's got is my jam right now.

- breakfast for dinner is always a good idea.

- texts from my daddy always give me a laugh.

- my tulips are peeking through the earth now. just thinking about spring flowers makes my heart leap. come on, spring!

- i came across this pin, and it has really stuck with me. create happiness.

- i am only a morning person because of coffee.

- tomorrow is my half-birthday. you best believe i'm celebrating it because i'll find any excuse to eat a cupcake. or three.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

erin condren address book.





when i started writing pen pals, i had no idea how much i would come to love it. i also had no idea how hard it would be to find an address book. they seem to be non-existent in our smart phone culture. leave it to erin condren to save the day. it's no secret how much i love
 my EC life planner. when my address book arrived in the mail, it was like christmas all over again. cue the carlton banks happy dance.

the address book is the same size as my life planner. there is a page for each month at the front of the book to keep track of special dates, like birthdays & anniversaries. the address pages are laid out from a to z. it has a very useful zip lock pouch in the back where i keep stamps, labels, and stationery. to sum it up, erin condren delivers the perfectly packaged goods. again


and like before - this is not a paid endorsement. i just like erin condren's products that much.

Friday, February 21, 2014

8/52.




- i get so excited when the boys buy these old trucks & cars because that means pictures for me.

- speaking of my bubba, i haven't seen him for two days, and we live in the same house. hashtag, shift work.

- i am currently read the screwtape letters by cs lewis, and it is ruining me in the best possible way.

- i will never be too old for chocolate milk.

- grammar tip of the week: a lot is two words.

- the daffodils are slowly sprouting through the earth, and my heart cannot contain itself.

- i am legit sad that the olympics will be over this weekend. U-S-A! U-S-A!

- when elsie posted about iphone camera remote, i immediately ordered one. that little thing is worth every penny! (see picture above.)

- i'm gonna go facebook postal (ali!) if another person requests me to join their fb younique virtual party.

- i love this line from mary oliver's poem, the summer day: tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

- i am seriously considering buying a macbook pro. (input would be appreciated.)

- she reads truth has been the biggest blessing in my walk with the Lord. i am so excited for their upcoming plans and announcement!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

i am:




fiercely dedicated to all things of the 90's.

a sister, daughter, friend, cousin, granddaughter, and niece.

a lover of coffee and sweet tea.

obsessed with penguins.

a bookworm.

saved by the precious lifeblood of Jesus.

a collector of coffee mugs.

graciously honest.

a child of the Almighty.

passionate about nature photography.

shy in public.

a small town country girl.

terrified of wasps.

a thinker, wanderer, and adventurer. 

fascinated with astronomy.

a girly tomboy.

always learning.

thankful.

allergic to penicillin.

a germaphobe.

optimistic.


i am just me.
i laugh at my own jokes, however cheesy they may be.
i love sports, mostly because i love spending that time with my daddy.
i have awesome dance moves, but not really.

i am not my past. no matter what lie the enemy throws at me.
i am not perfect. no matter how hard i try.
i am not society's version of successful or beautiful or happy. no matter how magazines or blogs portray it all.
i am not the careless words others throw at me. no matter how bad they may hurt.

the Creator of the universe made me unique.
He made me, me.

the majority of my adult life has been riddled with guilt and shame and feeling that i am not worthy of His love and redemption. but those thoughts and feelings and lies do not line up with God's Word. Jesus died for my sins - all of them. i was a dirty rotten sinner and He STILL went to the cross and died a horrific death so that i may have life through Him. i have been pouring over the one hundred thirty-ninth psalm. His thoughts about me are precious and unnumbered. He created me and even knew me before i was born. i want to soak up these Truths in my thoughts and my heart and deep down in my bones. i'm learning to love the me He created, not the cunningly crafted 'me' satan spawned through his lies.


my chains are gone. i've been set free.
my God, my Savior has ransomed me.
and like a flood, His mercy reigns. 
unending love, amazing grace
chris tomlin

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

currently.




creating:  an art journal (inspiration from here)  //  fun and creative photos inspired by the OKDOTHIS app.
cooking: how about baking instead? baking:  the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
drinking:  coffee. coffee. coffee.
snacking:  special k cracker chips  //  red hots.
reading:  cold tangerines by shauna niequist  //  darling magazine  //  march issue of people stylewatch
watching:  the olympics  //  the walking dead  //  law & order: svu.
wanting:  blog inspiration.
looking:  like i got into a brawl. my body is so bruised and sore from falling on the ice last week. thankfully no broken bones!   
playing:  jamie grace's new album, ready to fly  //  as sure as the sun by ellie holcomb  //  "write Your story" - francesca battistelli.
liking:  the beautiful tulips i bought myself for valentine's day. i might make that a monthly occurrence.
wasting:  energy and time on things that do not matter and things i cannot control.
wishing:  for a day off.
anticipating:  spring flowers. they're my love language.  
enjoying:  good conversations. i've had a lot of them in the last month, and it's good for the soul.
waiting:  that's such a loaded word. i'm not even gonna touch it.
wondering:  why people have kids if they aren't going to raise them and teach them manners and love them. 
loving:  the olympics (twizzle!), helping my brother work on his car (even though all i did was tighten a bolt.), and oreos (always.).
hoping:  just hoping. having hope, no matter the circumstance.
marveling:  how God speaks through other people, songs, nature, etc. He gets me. He knows my heart and what i need just when i need it. 
needing:  new bed sheets, more coffee, and a great pair of jeans.
learning:  i cannot change people; only God can.
smelling:  my new perfume, sexy amber by michael kors. (ignore the name.) it smells delightful.
wearing:  my favorite tee and skinnies with ankle wedge booties. and as always, my grandma gracie's ring.
following:  Jesus because He is the answer and the reason and my Savior.
noticing:  how a walk around the property does a body (and soul) good.
thinking:  about the fun valentine's day party i had with lovely friends.
bookmarking:  art journal ideas on pinterest  //  blog post inspirations  //  spring fashion.
opening:  the windows because the weather in oklahoma is beautiful today!
giggling:  at the funny names our clients have for me. sweet thang, chuckles, and the list goes on and on.  
feeling:  truthfully, i feel like a failure. i know i'm not. i know the choices people make are not for me to bear, but i feel as though i'm not doing any good at youth group when i see kids heading down the wrong path. but i also know feelings lie.

 trying something new with this month's currently post. idea from sydney.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

7/52.




- this week's portrait was taken under my favorite tree on the property. i wrote a little bit about here on instagram. 

- when i watched the olympics as a kid, i danced around the living room, mimicking the figure skaters - in my roller skates. 

- i shared about redeeming love on lauren's' blog.

- "to wait on God is to see Him as the greatest solution to a problem." kelly needham

- i fell on ice a couple days ago. it was an epic fall, too. i am so thankful nothing was broken, but i am so sore.

- if a penguin chased me, it would be a dream come true.

- i wish i could buy a house and move all the youth group kids into a home filled with love & Jesus & respect & everything they don't get now.

- grammar tip of the week: the phrase 'i could care less' implies you can care less. it's 'i couldn't care less'.

- cake donuts are the bomb dot com.

- i have met my true nemesis in life: level 140 of candy crush.

- i have no shame in admitting that i bought myself tulips, lipstick, and a new book for valentine's day.

- i wish books had a rating system like movies do. this way, i won't waste five bucks on a disgusting, profanity-filled novel.

- i had dinner and watched the olympics with three of the most beautiful ladies. they have no idea how much i cherish their friendships.

- i have developed incredible friendships and found my voice through blogging. i love sharing my heart and life lessons and photography.



Friday, February 14, 2014

a [valentine's day] happy list.



hearts and arrows. red and purple. hugs and kisses. flowers and candy hearts. balloons and teddy bears. sweethearts and friendships. watching excited little kids pick out valentines for their friends. sending valentine's to friends. receiving cute valentine's day cards in the mail. chocolate. dark chocolate. white chocolate. chocolate with peanut butter. dark chocolate pomegranate bites. you get the point, right? sweethearts' party with friends. still getting a v-day present from my parents. the look on mama's face when daddy sends her roses. treating myself to a heart-sprinkled cake donut. and chocolate. and tulips. and red lipstick. and a new book. and an extra cup of coffee. but most of all - God's love. love for my family. love for my friends. love for my youth group kids. love for everyone. LOVE.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

in manifold witness.



winter is my least favorite season. the trees are bare. the wind feels as though it is ripping through my skin with knives. and of course - it's cold. i, for one, do not like being cold. i don't know many people who do actually. the cold reminds me of the dementors in harry potter. it sucks the life right out of ya with its arctic blasts and bone-chilling temperature. (not to mention: dry, cracked hands and static electricity.)

i could list ten other reasons as to why i dislike winter, but something is different this time around. it's like a stirring deep down in my soul, forcing me to look beyond what i physically feel and see. in doing so, i see little bits of beauty in ordinary winter sights.

like bare trees. their branches are stripped of their leaves. they stand through the bitter winds and snowfalls, never complaining or trying to force their blooms to open. they wait, patiently, for the cold of winter to gradually fade away. when the dawn of spring emerges, it is then that they begin to soak in the sunlight. blooms adorn those once bare branches, commanding beauty and admiration.

or grey skies. with its cloudy days and early sunsets, winter's skies draw an overcast. after days of gloom,  sunlight appears - either gradually peeking through the clouds or all at once, kissing rosy cheeks and lifting spirits.

and then there's the cold. some days the air is so cold that it goes beyond my skin and into my bones. layers and scarves and blankets and two pairs of socks cannot keep the chill away. yes, there are warmer days ahead, but the days spent indoors are not to be ignored. i can unplug from electronics and grab a book. sip coffee or tea from a cute mug and have a uninterrupted conversation with the ones i love. write a letter or turn the music up and have a dance party in my pj's. making memories can happen indoors, too.


winter is like the hard times in life. it's hard to see beyond right now, but God is there in the midst of the constant, bitter cold and dark skies. and before long, the sights and sounds and feelings winter brings will fade away into spring blooms and warm breezes and pastel colors.


summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
join with all nature in manifold witness
to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Monday, February 10, 2014

my favorite beauty products.




brushes:
- elf's blush brush. this is a blush brush, but i use it for contouring, and it is great.
- revlon powder brush. i use this for applying powder. when i switched to this brush, i didn't realize what i was missing.

lips:
- eos lip balm. a lot of ladies rave about these balms, and now i know why. sweet mint in my favorite.
- wet-n-wild lipstick in don't blink pink. i'm wearing this pretty shade in this picture.
- chapstick hydra lock. i've tried many forms of chapstick in my life. this one is the best.
- baby lips. i'm not ashamed to admit that i own almost every flavor/color of these awesome balms.
- elf's lip exfoliator. it leaves my lips feeling so soft. i apply is once a week to scrub off the dead skin.

hair:
- aussie's 3 minute miracle deeeeeep conditioner.

face:
- queen helen masque in mint julep. i have used this product since i was sixteen.
- clean & clear's advantage moisturizer. i apply this before i put my makeup on every morning.
- merle norman's ultra powder. i have acne scars and this product along with the foundation gives me full coverage.
- covergirl's contouring blush. this product doesn't lie, y'all. instant cheekbones FTW!  

eyes:
 - jumbo eye pencils. i love to line my lids with these fun-colored eye pencils. my favorite is bad girl bronze by rimmel.
- maybelline's color tattoo cream gel shadow. i don't wear eye shadow that often, but when i do - this is my go-to.
- elf liquid eyeliner in copper. it's so pretty and sparkly.

nails: (my favorite!)
- nail strips. in my opinion: they're the best invention since sliced bread.
- nail polish. i paint my nails to match my mood or the weather or a holiday or just for fun. it's my favorite form of expression.
- chanel nail polish in black satin. i scored this highly sought-after shade after i heard lauren conrad raving about it a few years ago.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

6/52.




- i am posting each of my weekly self-portraits to my small town fashionsita instagram if you want to follow along.

- grammar tip of the week:  than - shows comparison // then - indicates sequence.

- the "recently used" section of emojis says a lot about a person. here's proof.

- this article has been at the back of my mind for days. i have written about this before. i don't think it's giving a green light to have sex and then ask for forgiveness; it's about starting a dialogue with open, honest, Truth-filled communication. i would love to know your thoughts, friends.

- this portable USB player is on my wishlist.

- favorite superbowl commercial: cheerios. ...and a puppy. (and the preview for transformers: age of extinction. YES.)

- i finished the last book of the divergent series. i know a lot of people didn't like the ending, but i thought it was beautiful and perfect. i am trying to decide what to read next. are there any great, undiscovered-but-oh-so-good dystopian/utopia novels you've read? (i've read the hunger games, divergent, and matched series.)

- this post. i knew someone who had that you-have-to-be-a-certain-way, have-it-all-together, judgmental attitude. she was... me.

- what a mighty God we serve! He answered a big prayer for our youth group yesterday. now i know why david danced before the Lord

- favorite fashion from the week: my pretty white mani.

- a friend was in a very weird dream, and i couldn't even look him in the eye the next day. my dreams are so strange.

- if you need to feel better about yourself, know that my high score on flappy bird is 3.

- i spotted the most beautiful sight while standing in the middle of the ice cream section at walmart -- talenti gelato. it's love, y'all.

- i think i need journal therapy. it's a real thing, y'all. i see a cute journal and i think i have to buy it. how cute is this lent journal?!

Monday, February 3, 2014

celebrate love.



it's february, which (for most) means one thing: valentine's day. for me, it means girl scout cookies, which are 10x better because flowers wilt and die & sometimes you bite into a chocolate that has nasty filling. i know what i'm getting with thin mints: bliss.

i used to loathe the day of love. i walked around with a scowl and rolled my eyes at anything that resembled love or hearts or cupid. my mama used to warn me when we'd go into walmart, "amber, their valentine's items are out now. behave yourself." no joke, i was a hater

i changed my tune a couple years ago. basically i decided to stop feeling sorry for myself. i focused my energy on hating v-day so much that i was missing the blessings of love i currently had in my life: my Savior, my parents, my brother, my friends... the list goes on.

being single in today's society has become a 'thing'. i feel like so many girls have this assumption that their life begins when they get married; that the ultimate goal is to have a husband, children, and a house with a white picket fence. it's great to have dreams and desires, but when they take the place of Jesus, it becomes an idol. a boyfriend won't cure your loneliness and a husband won't take all your problems away. only Jesus can do that. His love will sustain you and satisfy you.

there are so many how-to articles for single girls. most of them make me want to throw up because they're written by women who got married between the ages of nineteen and twenty-one. they end their "five tips to being single" articles with something like,
"honey. just keep waiting. i know how you feel."
. . . . you know how i feel?! you got married at nineteen... i'm twenty-seven. how the heck do you know how it feels to go through an extra eight years of your life as a single woman? to watch friend after friend get engaged and married? to get the sympathetic pat on the shoulder and some quip about how God has a man for me? to be labeled as that girl in her late twenties who still isn't married and is probably days away from owning twenty-nine cats? oh wait, that's right... you DO NOT know how that feels. so please don't come at me with that mess.

all da single ladies, listen. instead of wasting your time watching the seconds that you are not married tick away, get out and LIVE YOUR LIFE. if you are constantly focused on finding a husband - honey, get a grip. if it's supposed to happen, IT WILL. faith in God is not only trusting in Him, but in His timing as well. just because you don't have a significant other doesn't mean you aren't significant.

please don't think i have it all together though. i am human - i have days when i think it sucks to be single. i can't open facebook without a picture of a left hand adorned with a sparkly ring or a cute pregnancy announcement greeting my eyes. yep, sometimes IT SUCKS. but marriage is not something i take lightly. i have shifted my thinking from waiting on a husband to the notion that if i can better serve God with a boyfriend right now, i'd have one. if He wanted me to be married, i'd have a ring on my finger. in the meantime, i want to live my life; i don't want to waste my energy on things i have no control over. i will not let society and clueless bloggers manipulate me into thinking i have to be at a certain cultural level by a specific time in my life. this is exactly where i am supposed to be. if marriage is in God's plan for me, then so be it. 
if not, that's okay, too. in the words of horatio spafford, whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well with my soul

this valentine's day, i choose to celebrate love -- in whatever form it comes.