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Monday, March 20, 2017

First day of SPRING

I do believe today is the first official day of Spring... And I could not be more excited! Spring signifies such a beautiful time for me - it's the time where things come back to life, out of hibernation, and bring forth such beauty. I love the memories that are associated with Spring. It was the time of year where Hunter and I rededicated our lives to Christ years back. It was the time when we got engaged.
 
circa 4.20.2014
 
I spent yesterday at the beach with my MIL and it was such a beautiful day on our Gulf Coast. As we were driving back home (we literally only live about 1.5 hours from the coast), we commented on how lucky we are to be able to live close to such a pretty place. Not many folks can say that they live within a days' drive to white, sandy beaches. We're truly fortunate!
 
this does not have a filter... it's just that pretty!
 
I truly hope this Spring season brings each of you a sense of renewed life and beautiful days that are to be cherished. Regardless of where you are in life, the events that are happening in your life, just take each day as it comes. There are many times where Hunter and I literally take each minute as it comes, each second as it comes.
 
Lastly, I want to dedicate this post to my father-in-law. He faithfully reads my blog and shares with me his thoughts - and I LOVE it! Ros, here's to praying that on this first official day of Spring, God will continue to bring healing to your body. His ways are always good and I'm so thankful for His mercies. Love you bunches!

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Losing Control

photo courtesy of my sister
 
I'm not sure if I've said it before but 2016 and 2017, hands down, take the gold in life lesson teachings. Between last year and the last couple of months, we've really been forced to reconcile with the cards that have been dealt to us and our families. We've also been forced to surrender all of our control to the One that controls everything.
 
Can I just admit for a quick second how painful this has been?
 
Over the last several months, God has slowly but surely chiseled away at everything that I held high above Him. And a lot of that was because of the control issues I had. I fully believed that I could control many situations; I may not have said it out loud, but I certainly told God to take a back seat because I'm driving. What a joke.
 
God has so lovingly held me (and us, for that matter) through this process as He has chipped away our hard, exterior selves and this in turn has forced us to willingly surrender everything we have to Him. I'm talking about the wants and idols we had placed above and before Him. For me (let's be honest for a minute here), I had placed before Him my idolatry of wanting things done on my time, my way. I had placed Him behind those things because I felt that I could control those very things on my own.
 
If you can just imagine the wake up call that He gave me, times it by about 100. God showed me very quickly, and lovingly, how I had decided to take those reins back from Him and drive that buggy. I was in control of the very train that was wrecking my life. Comparison stole my joy, and the devil laughed at his accomplishment. The beauty of all of that though? God never left me. He never quit on me. He stood with me when I realized with utter embarrassment that I had allowed myself to become another pawn for the devil to undermine all of His work.
 
And that was when I lost control, giving it all over to Him. The weight of the world I was carrying left my shoulders in an instant and I could breathe deeper. Now I'm no fool and I know those temptations to regain control will creep back in (and it's already happening), but I also know my God is stronger than that. He will have His way with me, and my life, however He sees fit for His glory.
 
I've lost control. And I don't want it back.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Home {SWEET} Home


Hunter and I realized the other day that we've been in our new (to us) home for about 6 months now and we just couldn't help but thank God for His timing and mercies. Our home is small, quaint, but full of so much love. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else than where we are now.
 
The mornings are my most favorite time to watch the woods around us come to life. The fresh morning dew across the pasture, how the sunlight filtrates itself through the pine trees, and the birds chirping as loudly as they can. It kind of gives me a glimpse into what heaven will be like. I love the stillness that surrounds our home, the escape it provides to us after a long day.

We've always thrived on making our home available to any and all who need a place to come and rest. Whether it's to rest in the friendship we have over a good meal, or to literally rest in our guest room for a weekend - we just want to be available to whoever may need a place to just be.

The irony doesn't pass me that our home has become a sanctuary these last several weeks. We've had some joyous moments where celebrations were had and memories were made but we've also shed several tears in the last several weeks in our home. Through it all, God has stood by us, wrapped His arms around us, and held us close. God is reminding us each day of His goodness, His faithfulness, His love no matter what the circumstances may be.

In this home, our knees have hit the ground as we cry out in prayer. In this home, the floor has been danced on as we karaoke'd in the kitchen. In this home, we've loved deeply and disagreed lovingly over things in life. In this home, our marriage has endured some of the hardest days and some of our best days.

In this home, God has been glorified.

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Disciple NOW 2017 - {RENEW}

photo courtesy of fb
 
Goodness. Have you ever walked away from a weekend with your body so amazingly tired, but your spirit so full of life?? We spent this past weekend with several teenagers, adults, staffers, God-loving folks through our Disciple Now event that was held at our church. And it was EPIC.
 
For those who don't know, Hunter and I absolutely love teenagers. I know, weird. But we do and we love that God has called us to that ministry to be able to love on them, do life with them, and hopefully pass on some valuable life lessons. It's easy for folks to disregard teenagers as the "problem with our society" but I can honestly tell you from years of being around teenagers (and being one myself at one time), they are not the problem. Teenagers go through so many hormones, emotions, feelings, things... It's crazy.
 
Anywho, the weekend's focus was RENEWing your heart, mind, soul, strength and to surrender everything to God for His glory. There were so many Gospel-driven points discussed throughout the weekend but the one thing that stood out to me the most and I want to share with this bloggity blog was this:
 
This life is NOT about you. PERIOD.
 
I'm guilty of forgetting why I'm here day in and day out because let's be honest, life gets BUSY. Life gets hard sometimes and there are days where I'm like, "Let me just get through this day." But that's not how we should look at each day. I really would have to do several posts about all that was talked about this past weekend but I want to leave you with this.... Where is your heart with God right now? Is it even with God?
 
If you have any questions or need prayers, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm one of those awkward people that will grab you and pray with you in the midst of everything going on around you. 

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Each day is a {NEW} page

I love that each day comes without any real, concrete proof as for how that day will go. Sure, you can make plans to see a friend for dinner or vow that you will vacuum the house when you get home from work. Those moments can be planned, sometimes they come unexpectedly, but either way it can make for a great day.
 
There are those days where the unexpected, unplanned things come about. Maybe you run out of gas (knock on wood, I've never ran out of gas) or your hair goes flat in the Florida humidity. Sometimes a day ends with unwanted news that impacts your life in bigger ways. Those things can kind of make a day pretty crummy.
 
Regardless, each day is a new page in your chapter book of life. And how glorious is that??
 
For the last several weeks, my sweet boy has been working tirelessly to reach a goal he had set out before him. He took the necessary steps of paperwork, testing, questioning department heads, etc. and all to the come to a head just this past Monday. Monday came as a planned day to hopefully complete the final step in obtaining his goal... And he succeeded!
 
photo courtesy of the hubby
 
My husband hangs out in the woods all day for his job. Part of his hanging out includes conducting prescribed burns and he was finally able to obtain his certification to add to his resume. So many long days with physically exhausting demands on his body has allowed him to reach this goal with such certainty. I honestly could not be more proud of him and all the hard work he has put in to provide for our little family.
 
Hunter, this past Monday was a new page in your exciting book of life. I'm humbled to be married to you and excited to experience many more new pages turned in our lives together.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Angels {AMONGST} Us

 
This past weekend was one of those weekends where you wake up on Monday morning thinking, "Where did that weekend go?? Did we even have a weekend??" I usually take that as a good sign that the time was well spent and not a minute was wasted.
 
I woke up this morning in a particularly good mood (with it being a Monday and all) as I reminisced on this past weekend, thanking God for His angels that He brings into our lives. Hunter and I have some of the most genuine, kind, loving, realest friends I think anybody could ever have. Their generosity towards us is beyond humbling and reminds us so much of Jesus' love for us.
 
When I think of all of our dear friends and as I thank God for them, my mind always goes to the story of when Jesus washed His disciples' feet. That selfless, simple act has so much weight tied to it and some major life application lessons that can be applied by each and every one of us. I love how Jesus just taught a life lesson, in the middle of a bunch of dudes (who were arguing about their level of placement in heaven, mind you), without even batting an eye. At least that's how I picture the scenario. Total drop mic moment.
 
Hunter and I strive to be like Jesus every day by "washing the feet" of our friends. We strive to be kind, loving, servant-leaders, placing others before us, etc. So when a friend (or friends) do the very same thing in return to us, it always just sweeps us away. Kindness can be hard to come by in a world this dark, angry, and overran by sin. When you experience kindness, it reminds you of the love God showed His people through sending His only son, Jesus.
 
Thank you, God, for placing people in our lives that have shown Hunter, myself, and our family so much love. Thank you, God, for placing angels amongst us.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Capturing {MOMENTS}

Goodness it has been some time since I've seen this little space. As I touched on briefly awhile back, I've somehow managed to become a bit of recluse, both Hunter and I. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing though... We've had a lot going on and taking the time to really pull inward and preserve our sense of peace has kind of been good for our souls.
 
 
Fun fact about the photo above: My sister took that. She recently got a camera and has been playing around with it. Ya'll, her work is so good! We're encouraging her to pursue photography and graphic design once she's graduated high school (only a few months away!!). I've officially hired her to do all my pictures. If you're in the area, she would be MORE than happy to take pictures for you or your family as she is trying to build her portfolio.
 
We recently tried a new restaurant and for all my local folks, you MUST check it out. Such a cute setting in an old home, with many items repurposed into things. The food was superbly delicious and fresh. Below is a picture from their Facebook page and was actually the table we sat at.
 
 
I'm always so amazed at how God can meet us where we're at. For awhile I had been struggling to find time and ways to get back into His word. I decided to start listening to the Bible app as I drive into work each morning and I've been pleasantly surprised with how much it changes my days. Not only does it change my outlook for each day, I've been able to retain so much from the reading. At almost 30 years old, I still learn something new every day.
 
We're finally getting a "winter" here in Florida and wouldn't you know, I'm starting to crave spring weather. It's been a strange winter here with more warm days than cold days, so I decided to purge all of the big winter jackets I owned. It always feels good (to me, Hunter is a different story) when I'm able to declutter our home. Less stuff means less problems in my opinion, ha!
 
Happy Monday, friends. Enjoy the day for it's another day of life to live!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

{GRACE} Alone

I mentioned last week that I've been journeying through the Bible and I'm currently in Leviticus. Ya'll, do not ever tell a new believer to start off in Leviticus - it'll drive them mad. But just like every other part of the Bible, it does serve a purpose and can be applied to our every day lives. My application?
 
Thank God for Jesus. Seriously.
 
If you haven't taken a journey through Leviticus, I encourage you to do it. Just listen to how many types of burnt offerings there are for different things (guilt, sin, etc.). The entire time I'm listening to it I can't help but think of how dead I would be if I lived during those times. That's probably why God knew I would be better off in the A.D. era and preferably with running water.
 
My God knows me too well.
 
 
But in all seriousness, I'm so grateful that God sent the {PERFECT} sacrifice that would fulfill all sacrifices and would keep us from having to perform those Old Testament sacrifices to atone for our sins. The fact that Jesus, so perfect and without blemish, willfully chose to die for my blemishes and imperfections is truly mind boggling. The beauty in my faith versus other religions? My God came TO me to save me, rather than me trying to do as many works as I can to GET TO Him (news flash: You will never be able to do enough good works to pay for all your sins).
 
So on this lovely Monday.... er Tuesday, just sit and meditate on the fact that you have the opportunity to live a completely saved life through Jesus' death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection. There's nothing I can do to EARN that grace and forgiveness - not works, not money, nothing of my own doings will get me any closer to Him. Just by believing in Him, trusting who He was and is, and resting in His assurance of His promises, that's what will get me into the gates of heaven. Live out your life as Jesus would; don't abuse the grace He has freely given to you.
 
I cannot wait to see His face one day and give Him the biggest hug EVER.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

This {SEASON} of Life

As I'm getting older, I'm finding myself creating new habits and leaving old ones behind. Habits like learning to say "no" more and soaking in more time at home, lounging around in our hammock outside, or playing with the pups. Habits that include more me time when Hunter is having to work his crazy hours and thoroughly enjoying those little moments of just me, myself, and I. And habits that include starting at the very beginning of the Bible and reading/listening (Bible App anyone?) my whole way through it.
 
Let me just say, as I'm venturing through the Old Testament I keep thinking to myself, "Thank God for Jesus." They would've hung me high in the streets if I was alive B.C.
 
One habit that I've noticed I'm putting into place (rather unintentionally) is the habit of secluding myself and our lives from those around us. Don't get me wrong, we love sharing our lives with others - it's part of our testimonies - yet I can feel myself withdrawing from things like social media, this here blog, etc. Not that anything bad has happened to cause this; it's just something that I think God has been doing in our lives.
 
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
Proverbs 4:23

We've had close friends pass suddenly in these last couple of months and it's really forced us to realize the importance and value of time. Yesterday was yesterday and you'll never get that back. We're spending less time worrying, and more time enjoying; less time with toxic friends, and more time with those that seek love and kindness; less time fretting over bills, and more time dreaming and doing. So you see what I mean?
 
My sweet blog friend, Em, touched on it last week and when I read her piece I couldn't help but violently nod my head in agreement with all that she was saying. I think God calls each of us to different places and allows seasons to happen in our lives to mold us, shape us, and painfully grow us. Maybe God is taking Hunter and I through this season of life where we're closing inward and allowing ourselves to just be.
 


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Monday, January 9, 2017

New Year Vibes

2017 has already proven itself to be the year of interesting. You can stay 2017, I guess. Ha! But in all seriousness, 2017 has kicked off with a bang and, I believe, is only a sign for more things to come, both wonderful, heartbreaking, real, and true:
 
+ We started off celebrating 2017 with Hunter's birthday. My sweet country boy loves a good fish fry so a couple of friends and I planned the best fish fry the boy could ask for. We're talking about yummy fried fish; shrimp and sausage gumbo; and the party was complete with the best cake EVER. 
 
 
 
+ Another debt has been paid off and let me tell ya, it feels glorious. Knowing that God has given us opportunities to be able to provide and live comfortably, while paying off debts, is truly an understated blessing. He is faithful and good to us.
 
+ Seeing how God has brought us to this point is humbling and worth meditating on. Many folks say that 2016 flew by and it really did. This year, Hunter and I will be celebrating 6 years of life together, 3 years of marriage, a million memories made, too many laughs to count, and a whole heck of a lotta love for our friends and family.
 
+ 2016 brought growth in many ways, including relationships with people. God removed specific people out of our lives and brought in new folks to help us all sharpen each other in love. It's very difficult to find good friends that will lovingly challenge you, encourage you, pray for you, and we love that we are able to do the same for them. THANK YOU God for continuing to mold each of us.
 
Here's to 2017 - may the days be bright for each of you!

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