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Monday, June 29, 2015

All the good things

There's something about a relaxing weekend that just does the ticket. I spent Saturday and Sunday (with the exception of church) doing nothing. IT. WAS. GLORIOUS! When I have that time to sit and think, I can't help but be grateful for all the little things...
... Car rides with mom to pick up lunch for the family to eat.
... Watching hours upon hours of movies and not caring about the fact that my hair looks a bit like a rat's nest.
... Chasing the sunshine as we try to sit by the pool.
... Home-cooked meals. I cannot say it enough, I love home-cooked meals!
... Modern medicine because I do believe I have caught the crud that my brother and mom had. Hello sore throat and yummy mucus. TMI? Oh well.
Happy Monday friends! I hope each of you take the time to find the little things in life that make each day glorious. I plan on spending this afternoon medicating and resting. And yes, watching movies.

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Oh hi {insert waving girl emoji}

It's been a crazy week with Vacation Bible School so I am a tired gal for sure. It's that type of good tired though. Isn't it always so awesome that in the midst of the chaos, you see the beauty of it all:

one// Our VBS dancing skills are on point...

two// We've been picking up 3 of our youth girls + their little sister to all ride to VBS this week. Our daily jam sessions to songs like Miley Cyrus' Party in the USA, Lecrae's Church Clap, plus so many more has been a hoot. It sure does pass the time by!

three// Watermelon snacks on our ride over to the church, courtesy of my mom. Thanks mom!

four// Puppy snuggles at night just because they're so glad to see us.

Happy Friday friends! I plan on sleeping, cleaning, relaxing, and sleeping some more.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Seasons come and seasons go

Seasons are common occurrences - seasons of weather; seasons of life; seasons of the heart. I've always thought that it's how we do in those seasons that define who we are as people. I would be lying if I said I've never gone through hot, hot, hot phases of faith, and then lukewarm season of faith.
It happens to the best of us.
Surprisingly, and wonderfully so, my season of hot, hot, hot faith is here and proud. It's times like these that I use my energy and efforts to bring glory to God in all ways. It's times like these that I use as reminders to help me through my lukewarm months.
I was listening to a radio podcast (for lack of a better word) and they typically focus on missions in the hour that I listen to it on the way to work. Today, their guest on air said something that really resonated with me:
 Wow. Just wow. He went on further to say that, unfortunately, there are Christians that have become complacent in their faith and see the whole being "sent" thing as a burden. A BURDEN. It just broke my heart because it's true. It also reminded me that when I enter those lukewarm moments of faith, I need to earnestly remind myself what my purpose here is and rely on the Spirit to pull me out of that slump, and quickly. As Christ followers, we cannot allow ourselves to fall into a slump, become complacent, and forget our reasons for being here.

So whatever season you're faith is in right now, please know that I'm earnestly praying for you and that your faith in Life resurfaces with a force like none other. As I said earlier, it does happen to the best of us and will happen, but let's not allow it to take root in our lives. Why? Because we don't have a choice as Christ followers - we've been sent.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Letters to Hunter

 This letter is part of a link-up with the beautiful Mrs. Amber. These letters are snippets into our lives and treasures that I can hold onto dearly as we grow old.
My oh my how time flies! Just the other day, we were talking about how things have changed so much for us from our first date, to now. The first date consisted of so much talking, trying to get to know each other, awkward hand-holding, and a night I'll always remember. While others around us socialized and went about their ways, you and I were lost in conversations about life.
Over the course of 4ish years or so, you and I have developed a bond and friendship like none other. We always say we're each other's best friend and that we love doing adventures and life together. I overheard you explain it to somebody recently: "For some reason, people think that doing lots of things with your wife means that you're whipped, that you don't know how to say no. It's actually quite the opposite; she's my best friend and I love doing things with her. Of course, we need to have other friends and do things with other people, but she's the one person I want to do everything with."
As we've grown and developed not only as a couple but individually as well, I've had the utmost pleasure of learning so much from you. I've learned the beauty in genuine kindness and love. Hunter, you've taught me how to be patient with others, mindful with my words, and true to my being. Coming from such an angry and dark-ridden place in my heart, this is rather refreshing. I haven't nailed it all down yet but I'm still learning.
Thank you for your patient and guiding ways. Leaning on you to lead our marriage has been as easy as breathing. Taking steps with you in this life has been rewarding and I'm eager for all that God has in store for us.
Always yours,


The Letter Link-up | Mr. Thomas & Me

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Friday, June 19, 2015

It's not Friday

Have you ever been just so busy whether it's with work or life and you honestly have no idea what day it is? Or even the time of year? What about not knowing which way up from down is?
Yep. I'm there, folks.
So because this is hopefully *fingers crossed* the last day for Sessions here in the Florida Legislature, I'm going to leave you with this blurb that I saw yesterday from a woman who inspires me so much. I follow Christine Caine on FB and have had the absolute pleasure of hearing her speak a couple of years ago. Guys, she's freakin' awesome.
Happiest of Friday's to ya'll, because it is in fact Friday. I'm still dumbfounded by this.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What is "entitlement", Alex?

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If ya'll watch Jeopardy, then you'll understand the reference of the title. Otherwise, where have you been for the last 100 years?? Just kidding, maybe, but seriously...
Anyways, let's jump to today's fun fun topic:
For the last several years, the word "entitlement" has made its debut in many conversations. I've heard adults (including myself) state that teenagers and kids these days have an attitude of entitlement. Other conversations I've overheard talk about Americans being entitled to certain things like freedom, peace, and liberty. How about this one:
Some Christians act entitled... And not in a good way.
Ouch, right? What if I told you I actually agree with that statement wholeheartedly. In fact, I'm going to take this a step further. What if I told you this: I think the Church (as in body of Christ, not building) is comprised of some (please notice I didn't say ALL) entitled Christians who haven't quite figured out that this whole "being a Christ-follower aka Christian" thing isn't all about you. Nope. In fact, it's about God. I know, shocker.
Let's look at the definition of entitlement really quickly, just so I know we're all on the same page here:
Entitlement (n):
the fact of having a right to something; the amount to which a person has a right; the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
That last definition is the one I'm going to hone in on in the most loving way possible, and yet will probably upset a few people. Ehh, such is life. Your entitled attitude upsets me, but I still love ya. We can agree to disagree right?
Since becoming relatively (read: slam-packed crazy) busy in the field of ministry and specifically within church walls, I have found that there are those that have a rather difficult time to change simply because they feel entitled. I get it: Change can be really scary; it can be overwhelming; and most importantly, change can cause you to lose your sense of identity.
Allow me to throw a bone at ya'll. If you find your identity in your church (brick and mortar), thus can't handle the good change happening in the church (brick and mortar) because you're entitled to that church (brick and mortar), then I have to raise these questions - are you really part of the Church (body of Christ) and is your heart in the right place? See, here's the thing guys: If we have fully submitted our lives, hearts, and souls to the glory of God through His Son dying on the cross, then that new identity should've taken over when you accepted Jesus as your one and only Savior. The saying "out with the old, in with the new" is pretty relevant here.
So friends, please understand what I'm saying here: If you are finding your identity in your church (brick and mortar), and the new youth leaders' Jesus-freak-always-wanting-to-serve-others attitude weirds you out, that looks like it might be a heart issue and you need to seek God in prayer. Like, yesterday dude. If my energy levels for teenagers, my passion for mission work, and the steps I take to bring outsiders in, actually concerns you then all I have to say is GREAT! Because here's the thing: You're no more entitled to the church (brick and mortar) than I am. In fact, if you've been a long time member, a dedicated Sunday school-and-church-service goer, Wednesday night bible study doer, and that's all you are and all you want to do... then you're missing out on a key, huge part of God's commandment to us -
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
-Matthew 28:19
So friends, if you do find your identity in the church (brick and mortar), and you feel entitled to that church and "own" the right to decide who comes in and out, then you're missing out. You're missing out on life, love, and all that God has to offer to you and others. As for me, I have found my identity in Christ. Not in the church I attend, not in the clothes I wear, not in the people I surround myself with. It's in Christ alone and that, my friends, makes me ENTITLED to all that He has to offer me to be able to share with others! I'll leave you with this: If Christ came to die for our sins, what makes you think you can decide who can experience that grace and love?
Selfish entitlement, it's really not all that cute. Selfless entitlement? Now we're talkin'.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Grateful Monday's + Pregger Feet

Ya'll, I'm not kidding when I say this. We need to stop blinking! Every time I blink, so much time has passed. I guess the saying is true - time flies when you're having fun. Good news for me - this is the last week for Special Sessions in the Florida Legislature. Helllloooo quiet days again!
Yesterday, Hunter, family, friends, and I all spent the day on the beautiful gulf waters at the Forgotten Coast (nickname for the beach). It was so glorious being in the sun, sand, and laughing until my cheeks hurt over some funny stories (Thanks Susan and Kendall!).
Because of yesterday's uber fun adventures, I'm extremely grateful for aloe! I really didn't get much sun on my body, mainly just darker. But ya'll, my feet. They're. Cooked! Who knew feet could burn like that?
I'm pretty sure that I'm feeling what a pregnant woman feels like with swollen feet. I'm trying sooo so hard to not waddle when I walk. The struggle is real folks. How was ya'lls weekend?!

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Knee deep in the water somewhere...

Happy Friday friends! I've got the beach on my mind (we'll be headed there Sunday for the day) and I'm in some dire need of UV rays (with sunscreen, I'm not that stupid) and phones-free for hours. That's right, I plan on NOT having my phone with me. Well, it'll be with me in case of emergency but I don't plan on using that bad boy. I want to escape from life for a few hours and just enjoy God's beauty with my husband and family.
We've got a lovely wedding to go to tomorrow evening and we're so excited! I love weddings - you get to celebrate love and eat good food all at the same time. What's better than that?! Congrats to Ryan and Erin, and may God bless your marriage with many years of happiness, laughter, and love.
What are ya'll up to this weekend?!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Challenge for the day

We are exactly in the middle of Special Sessions right now, down to the day. So because I'm running around like a mad woman (read: forgot to put something together for your lovely eyes), and we're busy bee's this morning, I've decided to share a sermon that my sweet friend Emily sent to me.
We watched Week 3: Some Things Don't Mix, and let me tell ya'll... we will be going back to watch the others in this series that they are studying. Holy sweet mother of Jesus. This spoke to our hearts in wavelengths that were off the charts. After we watched the sermon, Hunter wanted to listen to the music from that worship. So there we sat, in our bed, rocking out with the band on the screen.
This sermon lead to a very long, deep conversation. The pastor had so many great points but there was one thing that he said, that stuck out to me like a sore thumb. He said something to the effect of, "Hey, please really try to stay with me through this study. This is not going to be easy to listen to for some. And if you decide at the end of all of this that you can't be a part of a church that operates by loving people (rather than just showing up on Sunday's to church and calling it a good day), then we'll surely miss you." THAT NEEDS TO BE SAID MORE OFTEN. You don't like the way the ship is running, feel free to jump ship at any time. We'll surely miss you, and only wish the best for you, but we need to focus on loving people and reaching people outside of these walls.
Trust me when I say this, Hunter and I plan on saying that a bit more often now. No more hiding behind curtains, afraid of how we'll be judged by members in the church. No more, "Well maybe we can get people on board." No, it's, "This is what we're doing. If you're along for the ride - GREAT! If not, we love you and will miss having you by our sides to share the Gospel. BUT WE'RE HERE FOR CHRIST."
Guys, be prepared to have your rusty wheels spinning in circles. I challenge ya'll to really listen and think about what the pastor is saying. And I certainly challenge ya'll to engage in theological debates with somebody over this topic. Love ya'll to the moon!

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Grateful Monday's + Theological Debates

Happiest of Monday's to you, and to you, and to you! Wasn't it just a glorious weekend? We were able to relax with friends and family all weekend long. My heart is happy.
As a believer, youth leader, Christ follower, I love a good, wholesome, respectful debate on theologies. Weird, I know because most folks don't like the challenge that can be presented when somebody asks you the hard questions of life. Like why does God allow bad things happen to good people? Or why are there so many religions and aren't we all just trying to get to the same place? And what about the questions that revolve around homosexuality, abortions, etc.?
(1 Peter 3:15-16)
What? Those questions make ya'll uncomfortable?
Not me! I'm so grateful for those moments I get to spend some quality time with a person (or people) to hash out life's tough questions. It forces us to fully rely on faith, scripture, and the promises of God. A very wise friend of mine and Hunter's once asked us this question (hi Gus!): How are you filling your wells up? With that simple question, we realized the importance of filling our wells up daily through scripture, praying, and yes, theological debates.
So tell me, do you love a good theological debate?


Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

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Friday, June 5, 2015

I'm dreaming of Disney

Happiest of Friday's my little hooligans! My co-workers and I have officially survived the first week of Special Sessions here in the Florida Legislature and it actually wasn't that bad. We've got a couple more weeks on the schedule so we'll see how it all fares.
Guys, guys, guys!! (is it just me or do you think of Sid the sloth when you say guys) Hunter and I have started planning out our wedding anniversary coming up in October. We have this "list" of things we want to do/accomplish before we ever start thinking about mini-me's so we decided to look over our "list." We have made a decision... we... are... going... to....
Ya'll, I've nearly peed my pants several times #nojoke. I'm like a kid in a candy shop with Disney stuff. It's almost embarrassing.... BUT WHO CARES?! So in honor of our Disney trip and being able to act like children (or is that just me... #awkwardsilence), I wanted to share some fun Disney facts with ya'll courtesy of Orlando, Florida's website:
one// When Magic Kingdom first opened up on October 1, 1971, adult admission tickets were $3.50 per person. Let's not talk about how much they are now lol!
two// Both the Carousel of Progress and It's a Small World made their debut at the New York World's Fair in 1964-1965. If you've seen the movie Tomorrowland with George Clooney, it shows these 2 attractions in the beginning. In fact, the song being sung in the beginning, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" is actually on the Carousel of Progress ride in Magic Kingdom.
three// The Tree of Life, Animal Kingdom's icon, stands approximately 14 stories tall and has more than 300 animal carvings along the trunk of the tree.
four// Mission: Space at Epcot is almost so real that they actually provide barf bags on the ride. Heck yes!

five// At Disney's Hollywood Studios you will find the ear-shaped water tower. This icon stands at 130 feet tall and is called the "Earffel Tower". You're so clever, Disney!

If you want to know some more fun facts, click on that link above to take you to the website. Until then, the countdown to #WelbornsdoDisney is on!!

Linking up with Primarily Inspired

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Golden Rule

So if you aren't aware yet, the world is full of different people with different ideas on things, different opinions, etc. If you haven't noticed, please come out from under your rock now. We will counsel you. Ha!
In all seriousness though, it's clear as day that each person has their own opinions about various things and they are rightfully entitled to them. Just as I am to mine. I think it's so awesome and beautiful that we all have varying opinions - how boring would the world be if we couldn't debate in a respectful, theological manner?? (Note the underlined words - no fools please)

There are certain opinions of mine that I will never share on a public forum. Things such as political views, my theories on homosexuality, pro-life vs. pro-choice, etc. Those are some hot points that I feel are better left between me and God. Well, my husband does know where I stand on things but that's neither here nor there. You're probably wondering where in the world I'm going with this...
Golden Rule (verb): Treat others how you would want to be treated
It seems that folks have forgotten the beauty and necessity of this rule. I have found that (sometimes) because I feel a certain way about something, or don't necessarily agree with somebody else's view that I'm instantly a bigot and just plain stupid. Hmm, thanks! When this accusation is thrown my way I usually laugh and ask the person, "I'm sorry, have I judged you? No? I just don't share you're views and you're instantly mad? Oh okay... *cue eye rolling*"
Our society has adopted the notion that if you're not for me, you're against me. In essence, if I don't agree with your views exactly then I'm instantly labeled as your enemy. Not true, my friend. Simply not true. I can absolutely disagree with you on many things but still have the utmost respect for you. In return, I would expect the same thing.
So folks, just because somebody doesn't believe exactly what you believe, act the way you act, do the way you do, don't become hateful and draw up your defenses (the exception to this would obviously be somebody who is intentionally evil. Then draw up defenses, but still love them - Proverbs 4:23). R E S P E C T that person and their beliefs, and move forward. As I've told many people: "I hear what you're saying and I respect you. However, I do not condone/agree with xyz." Simply put - WWJD (What Would Jesus Do for those who didn't grace the 1990s).
The Golden Rule, it's a beautiful thing! Let's embrace it again.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Grateful for Monday's

Sometimes it's so hard to be grateful for that first day of the week. Whether you had a phenomenal weekend and don't want it to end, or you're just slap tired and need another day to rest from your weekend of fun - Monday's can be tough sometimes.
Last night as Hunter and I were settling in to watch a movie, Manny insisted on climbing into bed right next to me. Of course, I just thought it was so cute and had to snap a picture #fortheblog. I happened to snap it at just the right time - tongue stuck out to the camera like a little brat. It's moments like those that make me laugh and realize worrying over Monday coming around just isn't worth it sometimes.
Sometimes, you just have to stick your tongue out at the mundane things in life like worrying about tomorrow, wondering if the bathroom needs to be cleaned, trying to keep the floors vacuumed, etc. Sometimes, you just have to lay on your bed with your 75 pound pit bull and laugh at the silly things. I'm so grateful for those moments.
Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey