as i type these words, there are two hours left in my twenties.
reflecting on these ten years- it was full of ups and downs and in-betweens.
highs and lows. tears and laughter. joy and sorrow.

there are two significant moments from this decade that stick out.

-  when i was almost twenty-one, i made Jesus the Lord + Savior of my life. i wasn't magically perfect afterward either. my story is filled with many mistakes and missteps, but He has taken the broken parts and made them beautiful. He is my reason for living. Jesus is enough for me.

-  i made a commitment to love someone forever. i became a wife + made jared a husband. our story is unlike anything i ever imagined, but the last year and a half has been wild and crazy and amazing. truth be told, marriage isn't hard. it's holy. but you have two broken sinners. this is why we both choose to love each other every single day. i love him even though he leaves a path of crumbs/socks/wrappers/clothes/debris wherever he goes. he loves me despite the fact that i am hormotional.

i am so incredibly thankful. God takes broken things and makes them beautiful- i'm living proof. 

what a crazy-beautiful life this is. 


"You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance;

You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers.

i’m about to burst with song; i can’t keep quiet about You.

God, my God, i can’t thank you enough." 

[psalm 30:11-12 // msg]

if we were on a coffee date, i would order a vanilla latte with an extra shot. it's my go-to drink. simple yet delicious.

if we were on a coffee date, i'd definitely instagram my coffee right now, which would lead me to share the story behind my new project, wichita collective, with you. i'm so pumped to share my city and all its awesomeness.

if we were on a coffee date, i would talk obsessively about the olympics. i can't tell you how many times i've teared up while watching these athletes compete. gymnastics + swimming are my favorites, but i'll watch any sport with the US-of-A.

if we were on a coffee date, i would mention the blog-tember challenge. i am SO excited for this year! i participated in twenty-fourteen, and i benefited greatly from the challenge of writing every day.

if we were on a coffee date, i would ask you about fall boots. more specifically, booties. i want a cute pair of ankle booties for this fall season, but i'm not sure where to look. the looks i'm going for are similar to this + this.

if we were on a coffee date, i would ask you what you want the rest of twenty-sixteen to look like. because here's the thing: there are a lot of things out of our control. but what can you actively do each day to make these remaining months of the year great? one of my goals is to take at least ten minutes a day to create [this could be blogging, taking photos, painting, etc.] i started the year with a few lofty goals that just didn't pan out the way i expected. and that's okay. i intend to finish well.

linking up with amber + erin for a monthly coffee date
//  volume one  //

i moved to wichita in march of twenty-fifteen. jared and i were newly married, and i was living in a new city/state - far outside of my small-town oklahoma comfort zone. 

i needed my gps to get everywhere [for far too long, but let's ignore that fact.] 

but i knew this city had depth + stories to tell + adventures for me.

i've been an official resident for over a year now, and i often get asked if i'm liking it - to which i reply; I LOVE IT! most people who have lived here for awhile ask me - often with a confused, skeptical look - why?

the wichita collective is my answer to that question.

i want to share the places + spaces that make wichita great. coffee shops [obviously], locally owned restaurants + businesses, landmarks, etc. i want to meet new people and listen to their stories and make friends.

follow my adventures on instagram as i explore this city of mine

consistent time in the Word.  this is my main goal for the month of august. jared and i had a deep conviction last sunday night during worship. after service, we made the decision to use our free time wisely. less video games for him; less netflix for me.

celebrate my thirtieth birthday. guys. i have lots of feelings about this. mostly overly-dramatic ones, but feelings nonetheless. i told jared not to plan a surprise party because i will figure it out. i have watched every single episode of scooby-doo, so i'm basically a super detective.

be active.  twenty-sixteen, for me, has seen it's fair share of health issues. but i've also experience miracles of healing that still leave me weeping at His feet. now that i am starting to feel like myself again, it's time to get back to the gym and work out!

read three books.  i actually finished two books last month, so this is totally doable.

start my explore wichita project.  i will give a lot more details in another blog post, but basically i am going to explore my city and document it along the way.

be flexible.  real talk: sometimes when plans get changed or altered, i feel frazzled. [just ask my husband!] i want to have open arms when it comes to change.

blog three times.  no specific posts or topics, just write.

if you want to stay up with my daily adventures,
be sure to follow my instagram, twitter, or (my fav!) snapchat [joyfulamber]

►  caffeinating

-  give me all the vanilla lattes. 
-  chai lattes.  [there's very little caffeine, but the coffee shop down the street has the best i've ever tasted!]
-  cold brew ethiopian coffee with a splash of milk. 

►  listening to:

-  my worship playlist on spotify. 
-  old school dixie chicks.
-  "here as in heaven" - elevation worship.
-  "on fire" - switchfoot. when jared + i were dating, he told me this song described his feelings for me. #cuethetears

►  reading:  

-  "the one" - kiera case. [i just finished the second book. i've never said this about a book, but i hated it. too bachelor-ish.] 
-  "the bridge from me to you" - lisa shroeder. i randomly grabbed this book at the library after searching for too long.
-  some old blog posts. i still love this, this, + this. i love having photos from daily happenings and reflecting on the words i had on my heart/mind at the time. 

►  watching:  

-  season eleven of criminal minds.
-  season five of gossip girl. [don't judge]
-  the current season of big brother. 

►  creating

-  a to-do list for wichita. i've lived here for over a year, and i've recently had this desire to explore more of the city i call home. i want to visit every coffee shop at least once this year. i want to try hidden gems [renee's + chico's, i'm lookin' at you!] this is also a way for jared and i to get out and make memories together.
-  a daily journal. i'm not allowing myself to buy another journal until i fill up the blank ones that fill too many drawers in my home.
-  a new series titled I N S P O.

►  making my happy:

chai lattes from ecclesia. puppy cuddles. falling asleep next to husband. creativity. going to the library. vanilla lattes. papermate flair pens. jess connolly's fall into freedom workbook. 


►  lessons

-  i must start drinking more water. i got a couple migraines this month which i attribute to poor diet/stress. 

-  worry is harmful to me health. i started out each week worried about the work i had to complete by friday. but here's the thing - by the time the end of the week got here, i had all my work finished and then some. so really, the worry and stress i put myself thru was all for nothing. the last week of july was significantly different because i became aware of the destructive behavior of worry. 

-  i. love. books. i took a short break, honestly because of sickness, but mostly because of laziness. this month, i read three books!

-  whatever happens at work, stays at work. all too often, i take the stress home with me, letting it marinate in my heart and mind. this is not healthy or beneficial.

 ►  happenings:

-  i bought the new harry potter book!

-  tried two new coffee shops in wichita. 

-  lots of coffee. 

-  actually finishing a book.

-  date nights to the movies.

-  more coffee.

-  soaking in these summer days, but ridiculously excited for the coming of fall.

-  i went to botanica one night after work. i was having a stressful week, and i knew that floral therapy was just what i needed.

-  we escaped to the mountains for the fourth of july weekend. it was glorious.

-  one of my co-workers had a birthday. y'all know what that means? CAKE.

-  the single best thing i did this month was take a saturday afternoon to rest and work thru jess connolly's summer to thrive guide. you guys - it made me realize that my procrastination over the last six months was rooted in excuses - my up-and-down health issues, a new position at work, and all the little things i used as a means to justify the "i'll do it tomorrow/later/next week" phrase.