Tuesday, September 30, 2014

T H I R T Y // a month in review - blogtember.



a farewell coffee date. how did the blogtember challenge go for you? any surprises
what was your favorite prompt, or what would you like to see included next time?




goodness gracious, it's the last day of the blogtember challenge. i have mixed feelings - happy, bummed, relieved, tired. more than anything, i feel accomplished. my goal at the beginning of the month was to blog intentionally every single day. i challenged myself to write and photograph authentically and purposefully. there were some days when the words flowed easily; and other days, i stared at a blank white page.


WHAT I LEARNED [in september and from blogtember]
- i have great people in my life who will help in any way possible.
- i do not want to excel at things that do not matter.
- getting rid of clutter and excess makes me ridiculously happy.
- leggings can only be worn as pants when at home. this is the only exception to the rule.
- planning is crucial in creating good content.
- but sometimes i need to sit down and just write. that rawness is sometimes my best writing.
- making a vlog is not as scary as i imagined it to be.
- procrastination might seem like a good idea at the time, but it leads to unnecessary stress.
- maybe it's the photographer in me, but i cannot post someone's photo on my blog - even if i link it. this weird quirk proved to be valuable in creating unique blogtember posts. i was forced to think outside the box, only to realize that's what blogging is - going outside of the box.


HAPPENINGS THROUGHOUT THE MONTH
- started the teaching high school sunday school class.
- wrote my first guest post.
- had my first salted caramel mocha frappuccino of the fall season.
- finalized the new blog name and design.
- co-hosted the circle with kiki.
- had a majoy DIY fail.
- bought an iphone 6!
- participated & completed the blogtember challenge!


FAVORITE BLOGTEMBER POSTS
> when i grow up.
> ten things.
> inspired.
> mood board.
> fall to-do list.



GOALS
- read two books.  umm, i read two chapters of one book.
- participate in the blogtember challengecheck!
- prayer & bible study.  i started a prayer journal this month, which has been so helpful.
- document daily happenings in life journal. it's so nice to look back and reflect on each day.
- catch up on writing pen pals. YES! this was one of my main goals.
- clean out the closet & bedroom [again]. done. and we cleaned the garage out, too!
- catch up on my self-portrait project. umm......



Monday, September 29, 2014

HAPPY NATIONAL COFFEE DAY!




anyone who knows me would probably tell you they rarely see me without coffee in my hand. hot, iced, latte, cappuccino - i love it all!being an avid coffee lover, i have acquired a collection of pretty coffee mugs, but there are other reasons why i enjoy coffee:


it contributes to all five senses.
sight: when i see coffee, it makes my eyes light up. 
hearing: when my keurig is dispensing the coffee, my ears are filled with angelic hallelujahs.
touch: holding a mug of hot coffee warms my whole body, making even the coldest winter day a little better.
smell: the aroma fills me with happiness.
taste: my taste buds do a happy dance when coffee is consumed.

it adds to social experiences.
while i can easily have a heart-to-heart with my friends sans coffee, there is something about holding a warm mug of java in my hands as i enjoy the company and conversation of friends.

there are health benefits.
i'm not quite sure what they are, but this article seems legit. 

coffee understands me.
i'm being dramatic, but you get the point.


T W E N T Y - N I N E // blogging resources, part two.




what are your go-to blogging resources?



last month, i shared part one of my favorite blogging resources. those resources assist me in the process of blogging. today, i want to share some tools that help me connect with readers [that's you!]


CLEAN DESIGN
nothing is more unappealing to me than a blog that is cluttered with ads and nonsense. the more white space, the better. i highly recommend hiring a blog designer. aubrey has designed my sites for three years, and i am so excited to work with her on the rebrand!


BLOG LOVIN'
this is the best way to keep up with posts from my favorite bloggers. i also linked my facebook account to blog lovin', so my blog posts are automatically shared instead of manually adding them. be sure to follow me HERE.


DISQUS
in my opinion, this is the best way to interact with other readers. the set up is quite simple, and never again will i have to hear the words no-reply blogger. with disqus, the commenter enters their email along with their name and website (optional), so when i write back, they are notified via the provided email. if you need more convincing, samantha wrote a great post here.


ENGAGEYA
this is a new addition to the blog, and it's quickly becoming one of my favorites. at the bottom of this post, you'll notice a section titled 'you might enjoy reading'. this is a great way for readers to read old posts they may have missed or it allows new readers the chance to look around the blog. i love the round thumbnails and clean design. i used linkwithin for a couple weeks, but truthfully i switched because engageya is prettier. 


what are your favorite blogging resources? i'm always looking for new tools to assist in the process of blogging!

ps: i shared a few of my favorite fall outfits on cassie's blog today. check it out!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

T W E N T Y - E I G H T // highs & lows.



what were your highs and lows for this month?



SEPTEMBER HIGHS
- started teaching the high school sunday school class.
- the transition from summer to fall.
- successfully stuck with the blogtember challenge.
- date nights with my soul sistah.
- finally decided on the new blog name and design.
- bought an iPhone 6!
- shopping trips with mama
- co-hosting the circle with kiki!
- seeing God work in my life
- watching football with daddy


SEPTEMBER LOWS
- difficulties and hard situations within the youth group.
- catching the flu last week.
- letting other people get to me.
- procrastination and laziness.


all in all, this month was great. last week was tough, but i knew God was right there, even when all i could do was cry. but by the end of the week, i was crying tears of joy. the people God has placed in my life are incredible. they love me for who i am and help me when i cannot offer anything in return. if there's anything i've learned this month, it's that i am right where i am supposed to be. here and now. this season of my life is special, not because that's what i'm supposed to say, but because God is in the details and the hard times and great days and everything in between. this chapter of my life serves a purpose, and i am grateful for every part of it.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

T W E N T Y - S E V E N // wish list.



what's on your wish list
instead - here are a few of my favorite recent finds:



day designer  //  this was on my wish list for months, and finally i snagged one.

moccasins  //  i have a pair of black ones that i wear a lot, so it only makes sense to have a brown pair, too! (from target)

journals  //  i found these adorable journals at target. i also have banned myself from the target office supply section for a few months.

day planner notepad  //  this product is my favorite find! it is visually awesome and whitney's blog is one of my new favorites.  




Friday, September 26, 2014

T W E N T Y - S I X // changes.



how have you changed in the last year?




this time last year, i was living with my parents, working, helping out with the youth group, and basically just existing.
one year later still finds me at home with my family, still working at the same job, and still helping with the youth group.

but that existing part - it's turned to living. you know the proverbial bubble we all sometimes put ourselves in for self-preservation?
i was trapped in mine. i let the happenings of certain situations have control over my life. i felt sorry for myself. i made excuses.


i let go of the opinions and actions of a toxic person.
obligations prevent me from completely cutting this person out of my life. and to an extent, i'm glad. God has used this person to teach me a few lessons over the past year. it wasn't always easy. there were times when i just wanted to smack them in the face. with a chair. but i refrained. and i have seen on more than one occasion how powerful prayer is in these situations. it didn't change them; it changed me. i finally realized how much value i placed in their opinions and actions, which rarely lined up with God's Word. i learned a long time ago that those who gossip to me will gossip about me. gossip reveals more about them than the words they say about me.


i realized the importance of community.
this happened in two areas of my life - blogging & church. when i started blogging, i had no idea i would form friendships with people i've never met in person. ladies who i can genuinely call my friends. they cheer for me and encourage me constantly. i am so, so grateful for these women and their hearts. and community in the church probably sounds like a given, right? well, when God laid on my heart to start the youth group, all i could think was how un-qualified i was. no experience whatsoever. [unless you count my years as a teen. heaven help us.] but then God called other people to join me in this journey. guys and gals who didn't have any experience either, but had a willing heart. they help out in any possible way, and sometimes i cry tears of joy. it's humbling, i tell ya. and along the way, i developed a friendship with a girl who can only be described as my soul sistah. God orchestrated this entire thing, weaving His plans and purposes throughout the entire process.


i've changed in other ways, too:
i now have blonde hair. managing my money is a high priority. and blogging went from a hobby to a passion.
change isn't always a bad thing. true, it's not always easy, but it's necessary for growth.



Thursday, September 25, 2014

T W E N T Y - F I V E // weekly musings.



BLOGTEMBER CHALLENGE: DAY TWENTY-FIVE:
grab a guest post! swap blogs with someone and share about anything!


i do not have a guest post for today. whoops. instead i will share some weekly musings


- "autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower." albert camus.

- sometimes i have to make a to-do list of other to-do lists.

- keeping a prayer journal has been an important step in my walk with Christ.

- i always love the transition from one season to another. the newness, the possibilities, nature's changes - it's delightful.

- i am so excited for look at the book with john piper!

- how is september almost over?! it baffling to me. but that means october is coming. hallelujah.

- this autumn harvest candle smells amazing.

- i am so glad to be among the living today. i either had a virus or the flu yesterday, and i was beyond miserable.

- red band society is one of my new favorite shows. and i'm so excited for the return of brooklyn nine-nine!

- an unforeseen circumstance has pushed the blog rebrand unveiling to early december. i'm bummed, but it's all good.

- the last several days have been a struggle. feelings of loneliness and heartache and anger coupled with sickness have left me broken. but God met me right there in my mess. i wept at His feet & poured out my heart. today is a new day, and i am thankful for His fresh mercies.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

THE CIRCLE: fall favorites.





i am so excited to be co-hosting the circle linkup with kiki of in its time! this girl - she gets me. she has a heart of gold for Jesus and her photography is wonderful! the prompt for september's edition of the circle is: fall favorites.

every season has its little joys - spring blooms & easter, chunky sweaters & hot chocolate in the winter, lemonade & sunshine in the summer. but when it comes to seasonal happiness, fall is my absolute favorite. the cool weather, changing leaves, football, chai lattes, bonfires, october, hoodie weather, thanksgiving, comfort food - the list goes on and on. i love exploring nature and collecting bits of autumn to place around the house or use in a craft.


FALL FAVORITES:

fashion items //  boots, scarves, cardigan, hoodies, and flannels. the cozier, the better. fall also mean jewel-toned nail polishes.

drinks //  salted caramel mocha frappuccino as summer winds down and a chai latte or PSL when it cools down.

tradition //  decorate pumpkins! some people might carve them, but i like to get creative. last year, i made these cute washi tape pumpkins.

scent //  the aroma of baking bread, spice, and maple.

foods //  pumpkin spice cookies, soups, homemade bread, and ALL THE PIES.

holiday //  thanksgiving forever and ever and ever.

fall to-do list //  see that here.



what are your fall favorites? link your post below!



T W E N T Y - F O U R // fall to-do list.



your fall to-do list. what do you want to do before winter rolls around?



collect bits of autumn.  i love using pieces of nature in home decor and DIY projects.

decorate pumpkins.  last fall, i made pushpin & washi tape pumpkins.

front porch sittin' + a cup of coffee. crisp, cool mornings are better with a chunky sweater + coffee.

visit a pumpkin patch. or go apple picking.

fall movie marathon! and on a dreary afternoon while curled up in a cozy blanket is my idea of a good time.

try a recipe. i've always wanted to bake bread or make a pie from scratch. i also love a good soup.

capture the beautiful autumn nature.  i don't think this will be a hard task. :)

experiment with fall beauty trends. i'm going to be brave and try a plum or dark berry lip.

try a new DIY craft on pinterest. leaf art or these ombre pinecones. i also want to try my hand at weaving.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

T W E N T Y - T H R E E // tidbits of life.


when i saw today's blogtember prompt, i laughed because i live in a small town. what am i going to write about - the super walmart they built several years ago that never has anything i need or the fast food restaurants where i never eat? negative, ghost rider. instead of using today's blogtember topic, i am sharing a few tidbits of life lately.



hello, september. well now it's more like goodbye, september. HAPPY FIRST DAY OF FALL!


morning glories. one of the many joys of this time of year.


stationery & washi tape. after weeks of putting it off, i finally sat down and wrote my pen pals.


sunday school. i now teach the high school class on sunday mornings.


journals. lots of inspiration lately.


tiny little flower. the other flowers had withered except this one.


chai latte. my favorite!


purple mums. the prettiest fall blooms.


chat books. i mentioned these in my vlog last week. i like having a tangible copy of my instagrams.


Monday, September 22, 2014

T W E N T Y - T W O // five daily reads.



introduce us to five blogs you read on the regular and tell us why.





hello neverland
i discovered kenzie's blog when i was researching the possibility of a rebrand. her blog is full of creativity. the grammar nerd in me loves the writer's guide series. her monthly writing prompts inspire me constantly. i feel like i could link her posts for days, so just check out her blog!


a beautiful mess
this is a given. elsie and emma are in a league of their own when it comes to blogging. their drive to create unique content motivates me to do the same. they stay true to who they are and that's refreshing in this blogging world. i'm also a huge fan of their apps and photoshop actions.


a place to dwell 
katie is one of those bloggers who pushes me to find the beauty in this season of my life. as a fellow single girl, she understands the struggle, but she chooses to live out her faith and trust that God has a plan.


in its time
this girl wins at life. and blogging. and photography. and being awesome. i have been reading her blog for a little over a year now. she is my blog encouragement partner, which basically means we chat about how blogging is going. when she agreed to this, i was elated! kiki is not just a fellow blogger though - she is a dear friend whose friendship and words have impacted my life for the better.


barefoot blonde
this girl is my number one style inspiration at the moment. she is classy and chic - all while being modest. [a rare combo these days.]
if that isn't enough - we also share the same first name! and don't even get me started on her hair



it's impossible for me to pick just five blogs, y'all. so check out these awesome ladies: 



Sunday, September 21, 2014

T W E N T Y - O N E // a fall happy list.



fall favorites. what do you love most about this season?


sweater weather. sooner football. scarves & boots. sunflowers. acorns. crunchy leaves. layers. pumpkin spice lattes. campfires & s'mores.
salted caramel mochas. vibrant leaves created by the Creator Himself. cooler temps. hoodies. candles that smell so good i could eat them.
breakfast for dinner. pumpkins. rainy days spent curled up with a book and hot tea. halloween. flannel shirts. chilly, foggy mornings.   
the walking dead comes back on (!!). hot soups. thanksgiving. jewel-toned nail polishes. caramel apples. fun fall trends. mums. candy corn.
purple wellies. hay rides. fuzzy socks. lattes. maple donuts. cardigans. october. pumpkin patches. cozy blankets & flannel sheets. fall foilage.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

T W E N T Y // a day in the life.



share a day in the life


my weekdays are truthfully kind of boring. i work all day and the only thing i want to do when i get home is relax. i'll go outside and take pictures or write a blog post, but i typically spend my weeknights [excecpt for wednesday] catching up on my favorite shows.

saturday mornings are my jam. i rarely have anything planned, so it a morning to myself. here's a saturday morning in the life of amber.


after waking up around 8, the first thing i do is make a cup of coffee and read my bible. [currently: open your bible.]


after some time in the Word, i check the blog and reply to emails & comments.


i teach sunday school at church, so next i study the lesson. 


i then make a to-do list for the weekend.


i'll make another cup of coffee and settle into a book for awhile.


finally, i take a walk to clear my head. i usually take my phone with me to snap some pictures for instagram. 



that's a typical saturday morning for me! it's laid-back and lazy, just the way i like it. hope everyone has a great weekend!



Friday, September 19, 2014

N I N E T E E N // advice.



if you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?





JESUS.

i didn't stutter or misinterpret the question. i understand it fully and without hesitation - the best piece of advice i can ever give anyone is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. this isn't a sunday school answer or a cop-out because i'm writing this at the last minute and cannot think of anything. as i sit here and ponder the lessons i've learned in life, every answer points to Jesus. His redeeming love changed my life forever, and i will never be the same.

Jesus is the answer. the bible says He is the way, the truth, and the life. because of Him, we are saved from the pits of hell. we deserve that punishment, but even in our sin, Christ died for us. with His blood, Jesus paid that debt in full. that is amazing grace & unfailing love.

there is freedom in Jesus Christ. He is our Redeemer, Hope, Savior, and Friend. whether it's a problem or a praise, Jesus is the answer.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

E I G H T E E N // family vacation.



tell a tale of traveling, a city of country you've been to or a favorite vacation


july 27, 1996

 clearly i was excited.

 a little too excited. :)



 i must have been a fan of charles haley.

 on the field.



i had to include this for laughs. i mean... look at our clothes!



when i think of family vacations, there is one i will never forget. my parents bought tickets to a dallas cowboys preseason game, so we traveled down to irving, texas to watch them play against the oakland raiders. i was nine at the time and my brother was seven, so we were extra excited. i have four distinct memories from that trip that always bring laughs when we reminisce.


oh, crap
one of my family members needed to use the restroom. unfortunately, there was nothing for miles, so we pulled off the main road to what we thought was a secluded country road. just as they finished their business, wouldn't you know it - someone drove by. we all laughed so hard!


permission denied
we stayed in a hotel close to the stadium. so close that all we had to do was walk about a mile to get there. the only problem? crossing six lanes of traffic. in texas. when we arrived at the stadium, the security guy asked to see inside mama's bag. she packed snacks, candy, and water bottles for all of us. he took one glance and told us we couldn't bring it in. the looks on our faces were priceless. we realized that someone would have to take the bag back to the hotel room. bubba and i were obviously too young, so daddy volunteered. then panic set in as we waited for him to get back. praise the Lord, he made it back without incident because that texas traffic is no flippin' joke.


how 'bout them cowboys 
there were two belligerently drunk guys sitting directly behind us at the game. they were so obnoxious up until the third quarter, when they decided to leave because "the raiders got this one in the bag." well they probably felt really stupid when they got home and saw the final score because dallas came back and won!


we're not in oklahoma anymore
for breakfast one morning, we decided to stop by mcdonalds. when it came our turn to order, mama asked biscuits & gravy. the girl looked at her like she was crazy. "we don't have that here, ma'am." the four of us were bewildered. you seriously don't have biscuits & gravy?! apparently that mcdonalds in texas did not. we ordered something else, but we were not thrilled.






Wednesday, September 17, 2014

S E V E N T E E N // a vlog.



be brave: make a vlog!



making a vlog was so fun! as i mentioned, this was my second try. 
the first video was a hot mess - that's for sure!
[see outtakes here & here.]


products mentioned:  pixi lip balm  //  wet brush  //  pilot G-2 pens  //  chat books  //  day designer                     


what products are you loving lately?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

S I X T E E N // what you didn't know.



most people don't know this, but...


i won third place in my fifth grade science fair.

that's right, y'all. third place. my project was a color-changing carnation. [a flower - imagine that!]

to do this, i bought a white carnation and split the stem half-way using a knife. next i filled two cups with water and food coloring. i then placed one of the half-stems in one cup and did the same with the other. i let it set overnight, and VIOLA! if i remember correctly, i used blue and green food dye so my carnation would pop. when i took it to school, i felt a little deflated when i saw everyone's projects. i knew my project was cool, but i was also competing against a tornado in a box and a girl whose dad was the middle school science teacher. the pressure was on. when it came time to announce the winners, i wasn't even paying attention when they called my name. everyone turned to look at me, and i remember going all "miss america" and freaking out.

i could have shared many other things, but i have some sweet memories from that day. my parents helped me so much, even buying almost a dozen carnations from the florist so i could experiment. i found the thank you note above that i wrote to them. seeing that artwork reminds me why i never won art contests.

 in case you're wanting to try this on your own, i found step-by-step instructions here.

Monday, September 15, 2014

F I F T E E N // mood board.



make a mood board



a mood board is typically a collage of photos gathered from various sites on the internet. but this blogtember challenge has uncovered a creative side in me that i didn't know existed. instead of making a regular ol' mood board, i had the idea to gather a few of my favorite things that are inspiring me during the rebranding process of this blog. [they're on a foam board, so that's the same thing, right? just go with it.]


the Word // my very existence is because of my Creator. i blog to share the story He is writing - my life.
coffee // there is something magical about drinking a latte while writing and blogging and web surfing.
flowers // they are my love language. [and 99% of my instagram feed.]
camera + polaroids // photography is my passion.
pens + washi tape + day designer // office products & organization make my heart happy.




the rebrand isn't just a name & design change - i want to take this space in a new direction. better content, sharing more of my heart, faith, fashion + beauty, and fun stuff. the new design is all about simplicity. i am incorporating gray + black + white with little pops of purple.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

F O U R T E E N // blogging: the how and why.



when did you start blogging and why?




WHEN I STARTED BLOGGING

i started my first blog in october of 2011. two years later, i made the decision to start fresh with this blog.
and because i'm crazy, i am in the process of rebranding this blog. new name, new design - the works. it will launch next month!


WHY I STARTED BLOGGING THEN

i initially started blogging because i needed an outlet to share my photos. the idea also came after discovering sydney's blog.


WHY I BLOG NOW

the reasons for blogging have changed over the past three years. while i still love sharing my photos, i've developed a passion for sharing my story and connecting with other women and expressing my creativity. as i transition with the new space, my goal is to be more intentional with my words, my photos, my thoughts, my heart - the good & bad. my sole purpose is to bring glory to God in whatever circumstance.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

T H I R T E E N // single.



your current relationship status.


  

i'm a single lady. [cue beyonce.]

most days, i am content with the single life. singleness is not a disease or ailment. it doesn't define me.

i'm not a walking cliche though. i'm not 'dating Jesus' or 'waiting for God to send me a husband'. God is not a means to an end. Jesus didn't die to give me a husband; He gave His life to save my soul.  

but i won't put up a front and pretend to be the queen of singleness. there are days when tearful prayers come easier than thankfulness. those are hard days. i open instagram to see a left hand adorned with a pretty engagement ring or a cute pregnancy announcement or a new, blossoming relationship. it's not that i am not happy for that person - but once again, i'm on the outside looking in. loneliness creeps in, threatening to cripple me. but in those moments, i find solace in Jesus. 

the way i see it, i have two choices: i can sit in my bedroom with a pint of ice cream and cry myself to sleep, or i can live this life to the fullest with Jesus. i cannot bank my future on anything or anyone but Jesus. He is the only one who can satisfy my needs. 


Friday, September 12, 2014

T W E L V E // tradition.



tell us about a favorite tradition.


i have many traditions i could write about for today's prompt: the joy and richness of the holidays. celebrations and birthdays and the little things sprinkled throughout the year. valentine's day with lovely ladies. but one of my favorites - it is so special to my heart. 

SOONER FOOTBALL 



if you've followed me for any length of time on social media, you know good and well that i am a die-hard sooner fan. win or lose, rain or shine, good or bad, i am loyal to the crimson & cream. the history, the atmosphere on gameday - it gives me goosebumps. 

but it's special for another reason. since i can remember, every saturday from september to december has been spent alongside one of the greatest men i know - my daddy. football season is our daddy/daughter tradition. our texts consist of 99.9% football. the other 1% is usually okc thunder or other sooner sports. we have went to the home opener four years in a row. when we don't get tickets, we watch the game at home. it's a known fact in our household that come game-time - the couch is mine, the chair is daddy's. he and i are soft-spoken individuals, but when the sooners are playing, we are LOUD. [and on the rare times they lose, we just need space, okay?] it's all in good fun, but these times are more than just watching football to me. it's daddy/daughter time. we have a close relationship and football just adds a fun element to it. it's a tradition that i look forward to every year. 


Thursday, September 11, 2014

E L E V E N // inspired.



how do you stay inspired? who inspires you?




HOW DO I STAY INSPIRED?

words. 
whether it's reading a book or my favorite blogs or scripture, words have power. they invigorate my soul and inspire me to create, breathe, love, and live.

take a nature walk.
about once a week, i unplug from social media and take a walk up to the pasture. it clears my brain and gives me fresh perspective. i've noticed a lot of my best ideas happen when my mind isn't so cluttered with instagram and twitter and emails.

make to-do lists.
i write everything down. pens & post-it notes & paper products make me swoon. [i'm also a nerd.] when i am feeling uninspired, i grab a pen & paper and jot down a happy list. when chaos seems to overtake my brain, i make a to-do list. when i am intentional about writing a list, i am inspired to take action to make things happen.

set goals.
this is something new for me, and i am reaping its benefits more and more each day. i am more motivated and procrastinate a little less. but like i've said before, it's not about checking off all the boxes, but challenging myself.

pinterest.
i doubt i have to explain how awesome pinterest is for inspiration or lack thereof.

carry a journal.
sometimes i get good ideas at the most random time/places. when i am inspired, i jot down ideas in my blog journal



WHO INSPIRES ME?
women who go against the norm of society and teach love, modesty, patience, and worth found in Jesus. ladies who share the gritty and messy parts of life. women supporting other women. stories of redemption, grace, and God's faithfulness. people who overcome their circumstances instead of becoming a product of them. bloggers who show a vulnerable side, not just their immaculately designed homes. my family and friends. flowers. smiling strangers. coffee. [that's not a who, but ya know.]



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

T E N // ten things.



list ten things you love about yourself! let's kick that negative self-talk outta here!




one  //  the ability to always find good in everything.
the glass is always half-full. it's not that i am a positive person - i am aware of what's going on in this broken world. the news isn't filled with happy things these days. and i don't compare the bad things in my life to a terrible situation of another person to make myself feel better. i have hope as sure and steadfast as an anchor in the One who saved my soul. life is not peachy keen, but there is joy in Jesus.

two  //  my photography skills.
though i've learned those skills over the years, i credit my talent to God. at one of the lowest points in my life, He picked me up, dusted me off, and brought beauty out of the ashes. He showed me not only that i am loved, but that i have purpose. photography is my passion.

three  //  my zero-tolerance attitude towards dating.
my desire to be married is strong, but even stronger is the desire to marry a man of God. i could easily take matters in my own hands and find a guy, but i trust that God is working in my waiting. in the meantime, i won't date just to date. i won't settle for mr. right now. dating different people is a fickle practice that my heart cannot handle.

four  //  my insanely awesome dance moves.
in my head, i can break it down with the best of them. in reality, i probably look like a combination of steve urkel & carlton banks.

five  //  having my own opinion.
this might sound like a strange quality to like about oneself. i get that. but for most of my life, i was the opposite. i silently nodded in agreement with other people, even if i disagreed. i shied away from sharing my thoughts on certain topics because i didn't want to make anyone mad. my need to please everyone was suffocating. these days, i will give it to you straight up. if you ask for my opinion, it may not be popular or what people want to hear, but it's my opinion.


instead of listing five more things i like about myself, i will conclude with viewpoints of the three people [and one furball] who mean the world to me and have known me the longest - my parents & brother. boomer also chimes in, and if you've been around her for more than five minutes, you know her response is 100% true.

six  //  mama: your honesty.

seven //  daddy: your smile.

eight  //  bubba:  you're always there for me.

nine  //  daddy had one more: i love that you're an OU fan. [you raised me right, daddy!]

ten  //  boomer: i love when you leave the house, when you go to sleep, and when you take a shower - because that means you are not bugging me and picking me up and telling me how cute i am.



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

my 2014 in polaroids // part four.



week twenty-eight: pretty purple flower  //  week twenty-nine: sunflower  //  week thirty: sunset

week thirty-one: sunflower love  //  week thirty-two: a few of my favorite things  //  week thirty-three: pink flowers

week thirty-four: magnolia  //  week thirty-five: BOOMER SOONER!  //  week thirty-six: exploring nature



N I N E // INFJ



let's talk personality types. introverted? extroverted? unsure-troverted? if you know your meyers-briggs type, tell us about it!




i've taken this test multiple times, always expecting a different answer. and every single time, it is the same:  

INFJ.

INTROVERTED - thinking things through.
INTUITIVE - perceiving new possibilities.
FEELING - making decisions using subjective values.
JUDGING - an organized lifestyle.

when i researched my personality type, i was surprised to find that INFJs are rare, only making up 1% of the population. by the decriptions i've found, INFJs are extroverted introverts. [this explains SO much!] i'm always thinking and trying to solve problems. i notice things about other people. large crowds make me nervous, and i thrive in intimate settings. but i do like my time alone. i also discovered some other characteristics of INFJs that were interesting:


//  INFJs indeed share a very unique combination of traits: though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. [this is so very true.]

//  popular hobbies include writing, art appreciation, reading, socializing in small intimate settings, listening or playing music, and blogging. [okay, the last one wasn't on the list, but it's true for me.]

//  INFJs find themselves caught between the desire to express their wealth of feeling and moral conclusions about the actions and attitude of others, and the awareness of the consequences of unbridled candor. [basically my life - i'm always trying to help.]

//  personal values include spirituality, learning, and community service. [yep.]

//  commonly found in careers of religion, counseling, teaching, and the arts. [well, i'm a bookkeeper, but i do work with the youth at church, so it's basically true.]

//  perhaps more than anything, they love spending time engrossed in meaningful conversation, which allows them to simultaneously engage their Ni and Fe functions. talking affords INFJs the opportunity to help and enlighten others through their insights. because of this, they are often mistaken for extroverts. [Y.E.S]


famous INFJ celebrities:
nathan (prophet of israel), martin luther king, jr.,  jerry seinfeld, nelson mandela, mark harmon, and ross geller... i mean, david schwimmer.

what personality type are you?
and to all my fellow INFJs - you'll find this funny and true.

Monday, September 8, 2014

E I G H T // music.



music that moves you.


i love music. i am always listening to music throughout the day. my taste depends usually depend on my mood or what i am doing. whether it's driving on a country road with the windows down or listening to worship music or writing or exploring in the pasture - whatever the case may be - i'm always jamming to good music. i am open to most genres. as long as it has a good beat and doesn't contain a lot of profanity, i'm okay with it.

i like music that makes me feel something, like ray lamontagne or john mayer.

but sometimes a good, cheesy pop song blaring through the speakers can brighten my mood.

in my opinion, one can never go wrong with songs from the 90s. i remember the days of cranking up my walkman [flashback!] and dancing around my room to britney spears, destiny's child, christina aguliera, spice girls, & all the boy bands. [who am i kidding? i still do that!]

you can never go wrong with country music. george strait, reba, miranda lambert are a few favorites.

i even like rap music.

a list of my favorite music genres is not complete without christmas music. because christmas, duh.

i listen to a lot of praise & worship music - hillsong, Jesus culture, ellie holcomb, and the list goes on and on and on.

oh - i am 28 years old and will never apologize for owning and loving every taylor swift album.



i usually download songs and albums on my ipod, but lately i've been using spotify. some of my favorite stations are:









Sunday, September 7, 2014

S E V E N // reading list.



what's on your current reading list? or what have you read that you recommend?



CURRENTLY READING  //  women of the word: how to study the bible with both our hearts and our minds - jen wilkin.

i am only on the second chapter and every single page is either highlighted, marked, or underlined. i cannot recommend this book enough. wherever you are in your walk with Christ, this book is a must-read. we all know the importance of studying the bible, but often times we have no clue where to start. in this book, jen offers insight and tools to help navigate studying the Word of God. her approach is more of an explanation than a how-to, which is why i like it so much. here are a couple of great quotes:

we must turn around our habit of asking "who am i?". we must first ask, "what does this passage teach me about God?" before we ask it to teach us anything about ourselves. we must acknowledge that the bible is a book about God
the heart cannot love what the mind does not know. we must love God with our minds, allowing out intellect to inform our emotions, rather than the other way around. // this was HUGE for me. i've tried to feel something when i study the bible. that section was an eye-opener. 


OTHER RECOMMENDED READS

//  love does - bob goff.

God didn't make it a three-strikes-and-you're-out sort of thing. it's more about how God helps us dust ourselves off so that we can swing for the fences again. and all of this without keeping a meticulous record of our screw-ups. 

//  crazy love - francis chan.

Jesus isn't just making a cute little analogy here. He is addressing those who aren't willing to give everything, who won't follow Him all the way. He is saying that lukewarm, half-hearted following is useless, that it sicken our souls. He is saying that this kind of salt is not even fit 
"for the manure pile". wow. how would you like to hear the Son of God say, "you would ruin manure"? when salt is salty, it helps manure become good fertilizer. but lukewarm and uncommitted faith is completely useless. it can't even benefit manure.  [referring to luke 14:34-35]

//  the valley of vision: a collection of puritan prayers and devotions - arthur bennett.

Lord, high and holy, meet and lowly, Thou has brought me to the valley of vision, where i live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin i behold Thy glory. let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from the deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, The life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

S I X // currently.



a "currently" post



▹ reading:  women of the word.  so, so good  //  the book of hosea with she reads truth. 

▹ watching:  season seven of the office  //  re-runs of brooklyn nine-nine.

▹ listening:   grace unplugged soundtrack  //  and of course, t-swifts's new jam, shake it off

drinking:  coffee. this surprises no one, i'm sure.

▹ creating:  simplicity in all areas of my life. simple isn't boring; it's often freeing. less truly is more.

▹ anticipating:  tomorrow morning. i am the new sunday school teacher for the high school class.  //  watching the game later. GO SOONERS!

▹ learning:  if it doesn't glorify God, it's not for my good.  //  courage and comfort zones don't mix.  // grace upon grace.

▹ wondering:  where i can find a long white tee for fall.  //  where have all my bobby pins gone?  //  why am i so appealing to mosquitos?

▹ enjoying:  the rain and cooler temps!  //  my new hair cut. i had three inches cut off!

▹ thinking:  about a new blog design or re-brand. this decision has been so difficult for some reason.

▹ making my happy:  the blogtember challenge!  writing pen pals on cute stationery.  pretty nails & a new coffee mug.  making lists.  a productive day off.  this cozy sweater.  the coming of FALL and all its beautiful happenings and sights and smells and tastes and fashion.