photo made with image blender app

creating:  101 in 1001 list // a few new posts ranging from lessons i've learned since high school to a review of a fun new instax product.
cooking:  i have made so much mexican rice in the last week that i might start speaking español any second.
drinking:  all the coffee. all the time.
snacking:  red hots. they're not technically a snack, but i'm sure the snack police will let that slide.
reading:   meet me in the meadow  //  happy to be alive, because   
watching:  breaking bad, season one  //  the mindy project  //  and as always, law & order SVU.
wanting:  to buy this e-course from ABM.
looking:  for inspiration and the perfect slouchy white tee.   
playing:  matching with friends.
liking:  this girl's style. 
wasting:  too much time worrying about things that do not matter.
wishing:  the thunder will win the championship. 
anticipating:  the weekend and all its fun plans  //  summertime  //  falls creek    
enjoying:  having a lunch hour and fridays off. 
waiting:  for God to work because i'm learning that i cannot control people or change them. 
wondering:  if i should grow out my bangs. 
loving:  new coffee mugs  //  bedhead shampoo
hoping:  just that - hoping. because there is always hope.
marveling:  at the Gospel.  
needing:  those eighty degree temps to come back.
learning:  i cannot fix people; only Jesus can. all i can do is love them.
smelling:  freshly cut grass. amen.
wearing:  pink. because on wednesdays, we wear pink. [ten years later and that movie is still awesome.]
noticing:  bits of summer.
thinking:  how fast april flew by! 
bookmarking:  130 journal prompts.
giggling:  at God's sense of humor.  
feeling:  hopeful, anxious, happy.

idea from sydney.

a month after i graduated high school, i chopped all my hair off. the experience was traumatizing. now that might sound dramatic, but tears were shed, y'all. it wasn't that i missed my hair, but the cut was horrid. from that day forward, i vowed to never again cut my hair. i stuck to that and will continue to do so. while the length may never change, the color has. i've had highlights, red highlights, blonde and red highlights; i've been a brunette, redhead, and once i accidentally dyed my hair all black. when it comes to color, i'm fearless. the idea of going all blonde kept popping up in my head, so i decided to go for it. my stylist also cut an inch off, but no tears were shed this time. in the two weeks that i've been a blondie, i've learned a few things:

peoples' initial reactions are priceless. they do a double-take. there are lots of oh my goodness and whoa and i didn't recognize you responses. and then they stare and gawk and everything in between. i realize it's a huge change, but i do not like to be the center of attention, so at times i was overwhelmed. when all eyes are on me, i want to scream, "don't look at me, y'all!" 

i will never buy boxed hair color again. the last couple years i have resorted to drugstore hair color, but never again. i will gladly pay for a stylist (mine is superb!) to cut and color my hair. 

do blondes have more fun?  this will be a constant question. but contrary to the old adage, i'm a firm believer that happiness is not attributed to hair color or circumstance - rather, one's attitude. besides, i've always had fun, no matter the color of my hair. i will say that i have noticed i have more confidence though. i think this hair change was just what i needed to put a little pep in my step. 

the blonde jokes never stop. my favorite thus far:  two blondes living in oklahoma were sitting on a park bench talking. one asked, "which do you think is farther away, florida or the moon?" the other blonde turns and says, "hellooooo, can you see florida?!"

▷  indian paintbrushes.  the pasture is a field of red right now. the sight of these little beauties means one thing: summer is coming!

▷  coffee mug & pretty nails.  if you've followed me for any length of time, you know how much i love me a pretty coffee mug. i couldn't pass up this one from naptime diarieslamentations 3:22-23 is one of my favorite verses, so that was my justification for buying a second coffee mug in less than a week. oh, and those nail strips? they're from the dollar store, y'all. i saw them at target not too long ago for about nine bucks. i paid three dollars. BOOM.

▷  fake bake self-tan spray.  i am so pale that i make edward cullen look tan. it's true, y'all. i have tried every sunless lotion and spray known to man. most left me streaked like a zebra, orange like an oompa loompa, or smelly & sticky like a wet dog. after years of searching for the perfect sunless tanner, i have found 'the one'. fake bake is a spray that is applied with a mitt. the results are fantastic - with no zebra streaks, no oompa loompa look alikes, no smell or icky sticky. [aubrey wrote a great how-to here.]

▷  a wedding, friends, and cake.  on saturday, my friend meagan got married. it was such a fun day and she was a beautiful bride. the best part of a wedding is always cake. don't get me wrong, i love witnessing a couple exchange vows, but it's CAKE, you guys. and the punch was oh-so good, too.

[week seventeen of my fifty-two week self-portrait project]

no weekly musings this week.

i'd apologize, but i think it's weird when bloggers apologize for not posting. i mean - it's MY blog and if i don't post, it's okay. yes, blogging is fun and one of my favorite creative outlets, but often times, i let the comparison bug creep in and bite me. so-and-so's blog has awesome content and i can't even string a few thoughts together for this week's weekly musings post.

BUT - that doesn't mean that i'm not going to blog anymore. i just need some fresh ideas, some new inspiration. i want this little corner of the internet to be a place of thoughts and memories and happenings and life lessons and encouragement. blogging is fun! i have met SO many wonderful ladies, and i cherish those friendships.

i am not sure where all this came from, but writing out unedited, unfiltered thoughts is okay. a little chaos is okay. this post not make sense to anyone but me, but - you guessed it - that's okay.


all photos shot with my iphone 5; edited with VSCOcam.
honor heights park, azalea festival - muskogee, oklahoma.

now that tax season is over [can i get an amen?], my weekends will be filled with adventures and fun happenings. in an effort to document these activities, i'm starting a blog series titled the weekend four. y'all know i love a good blog series, so i'm pretty pumped about this. (although i may change the name. or i may not. we shall see.)

▷  blonde hair. after months of searching for a new hairstyle, i finally jumped headfirst [zing!] into blonde hair. i didn't have any hesitations or second thoughts until my stylist informed me that i needed to tell her right away if blisters were forming on my scalp. [um, WHAT?!] turns out that i have a tough scalp, so it was all good. i was at the salon for almost four hours. when she turned me around to see the finished product, i didn't recognize myself. apparently i wasn't the only one. i had a good laugh when an older couple at my church told me they debated the entire afternoon yesterday about whether it was me or a family member. HA!

▷  pretty nails & a cute coffee mug. i'm a sucker for nail strips. they are ridiculously easy to apply and last just as long as regular nail polish. when i came across the floral strips from scratch, i had to have them. same goes for that adorable coffee mug from click & blossom

finding God in the wildflowers.  if there was ever a book that summed me up to a T, it's this one. the author begins each chapter with a brief description of a specific wildflower followed with a short devotion or story of finding God in nature. i am thoroughly enjoying this book and recommend it to any flower lovers out there.

▷  azalea festival. on saturday, i took a little roadtrip up to muskogee. [how many of you just sang - i'm proud to be an okie from muskogee?] every year, they have an azalea festival at honor heights park showcasing thousands of azaleas, flowers, and blooming trees. it's a 40-acre park, so let's just say my heart was in flower heaven. i also ate mexican food twice, so that was a very good day.  

instead of musings, here are some happenings:
tax season is OVER! happy dance.
i ate mexican food. twice.
naps were taken. awesome
mama and i shopped. 'til we dropped.
i got my hair did. hello, blondie

today is good friday. i love what bob goff shared on twitter:
"darkness fell, His friends scattered, hope seemed lost - but heaven just started counting to three."

week one: pinecone tree  //  week two: the pond  //  week three: bare trees

week four: bubba's old truck //  week five: tires + trees + snow //  week six: daddy's old car + more snow

week seven: tulips for valentine's day //  week eight: little clouds  //  week nine: a snowy cedar

in november of twenty-twelve, i planted tulips. i'll be honest: i only planted them because i knew they would be gorgeous to photograph, but i didn't have high hopes that they would actually bloom because i've never planted flowers before.

i rounded the corner yesterday, and there before me was a sight that made me squeal with delight and run to the house shouting, "they're blooming! they actually bloomed! mama, come loooooooook!" as i edited these pictures last night, a thought struck me:

planting those tulips is kinda like prayer.
i read the directions // i read the Word.
i plant the bulbs // i present my prayers of petition to God.
i water and cover them // i soak in what God's Word says.
i wait until springtime for the blooms // i put my trust in a faithful God who will answer in His time.

so why didn't i think the tulips would bloom? well... i hoped they would bloom, but i had no trust or confidence that they would be seen the following spring. i used to have the same approach to my prayer life. i would present my requests to the Lord, but for the longest time, i just hoped He would answer them. my faith was lacking because i didn't have full confidence and trust that He would answer my prayers. i was just going through the motions of what i thought prayer should be.

our God is a faithful God. His character has proven itself time and time again. i can confidently trust that when i approach His throne, He hears my prayers, pleas, and cries. i will patiently wait for His answer because, like jeremiah 29:11 says, He knows what He's doing. He has it all planned out—plans to take care of me, not abandon me, plans to give me a future. it may not look like what i envision, but His plans are far greater than anything my human mind can fathom.

  [week fifteen of my fifty-two week self-portrait project]

- i like the picture for this week, but it looks like i don't have an arm, right?

- one of my photos was featured on a beautiful mess. [i went into full carlton banks mode.]

- i learned so much from this talk about how to study the bible.

- there is less than one week of tax season left, and i am SO ready. just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

- i have been itching for a hairstyle change. cut & color, grow my bangs out, or go blonde? decisions, decisions.

- given the number of flower pictures on my phone, i've showed a lot of restraint. i want to instagram them all!

- breakfast for dinner is always a good idea.

- i am working on a 101 in 1001 goal list. i'm excited to start this project.

- there is something about country music + sweet tea + sunshine.

- girl scouts' thin mint creamer was love at first taste.

- thought for the day: why do noses run, but feet smell?

all photos taken with canon rebel t2i + 100 mm f/2.8L macro lens // edited with a beautiful mess photoshop actions

nature explorations is a series about exploring nature. so philosophical, i know. nature is my love language. God's creation stirs the deep parts of my soul in ways i can't put into words, so i capture them with my camera. i feel closest to Him when i am marveling at His handmade beauty, and my prayer is that when others see my work, they will be inspired to seek Him in the humble places of their life as well.

 [week fourteen of my fifty-two week self-portrait project]

there is no list of random thoughts for this week's weekly musings post. between work, church, youth group, family, and sleep - i've had no time to actually have random thoughts. the last few weeks have been up and down. God is working in my life, and i'm learning that when He empties me, it's only to fill me back up with more grace and more love and more of Himself. this lenten season has been a heart check. i've let situations & people & words [aka: lies] shape my thoughts & attitude instead of what God says of me. shame seeped into the deep parts of my heart, producing feelings of unworthiness and building walls to hide the past. i was created to bring glory to God. i was created for a purpose. i was created to share my story. i was created to take one million and seven pictures of flowers. i don't want to waste another minute waiting for life to happen. i want to live NOW. these seemingly ordinary moments are shaping me. they are all significant to this life story He is writing. Lord, write Your story on my heart. my life is not my own. under Your wings, i will fly. thank You for lovin' a sinner like me.

"this Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. have I not commanded you? be strong and courageous. do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.joshua 1:8-9.

after the death of moses, the Lord spoke these words to joshua. when i read verse eight, i remembered a quote i once read: dusty bibles lead to dirty lives. the bible is the infallible, inerrant, inspired Word of God. it is not a rule book, but a guide. it shows us how to navigate this beautiful, crazy, messy, wonderful life God has created. there are countless stories that point to the redeeming love of Jesus Christ. i like what the matthew henry commentary says:  
it is not enough to hear and read the word, to commend and admire it, to know and remember it, to talk and discourse of it, but we must do it.
i've noticed a pattern in my life: when i get too busy or lazy - or whatever excuse i come up with - to read my bible, i give the enemy a foothold for sneak attacks. but when i am in God's Word everyday, there is peace. i'm not saying life is peachy keen because i read the bible. rather meditating on His Word leaves me satisfied and full. thoughts of doubt and fear are replaced with His promises and grace and love.

the Lord also tells joshua to be strong and to not be afraid. notice that the Lord says, "have I not commanded you?" it isn't a suggestion. my word for this year is lionhearted, so verse nine really gets me excited. i've spent so much of my life being afraid of other people and their opinions and what they think of me. but God [i love that phrase!] says He will be with me wherever i go. i don't have to fear anything or anyone. fear is such a crippling emotion, and that's not how God intended for us to live. Christ came so that we can have abundant life. no fear or worry or angst, but faith and hope and love.

winter's grip loosens and
nature revels at the arrival
of spring and all it delights.
petals stretch out
revealing their scented core.
their colors as vibrant as
an oklahoma sunset.
birds sing a hopeful tune
and butterflies flourish
their Hand-painted wings.
daffodils cheer us with 
their welcomed arrival and 
fans cheer for march madness.
but the most delightful of delights,
the most glorious of transformations,
an empty tomb.
the peoples of the earth and 
nature itself rejoice,
for He is risen.
and death shall be no more.
only life
and hope 
and love.