This past Saturday marked the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall. One of the hardest hit areas, no doubt, would be New Orleans, Louisiana. We all remember the pictures, we all remember the destruction, we all remember the heartbreak. I remember my first trip to New Orleans well. It was my freshman year of college, two years after the hurricane. A short time spent connecting with people, hearing their stories, and lending a hand through the rebuild. I remember sitting outside at a cafe in the French Quarter and telling a friend that I felt like God was leading me to New Orleans, even if for a short time. Three years later, He did. And New Orleans became another place that stole a piece of my heart.
During my summer in New Orleans, I saw how the city not only rebuilt, but was once again thriving. I was able to enjoy a city full of life, culture, good food, and wonderful people.
I've been back to New Orleans a few times since the summer I lived there and each time I drive into that city it's like the first time. I always visit my favorite spots, but I always discover something new. So many little details float around my apartment, paying tribute to New Orleans. Photos around my apartment, coffee table books, and a bag full of Mardi Gras beads and throws from my first carnival in the city. Even two fleur-de-lis coat hangers are hung by my front door and the moment I saw those before I moved in, it felt like home.
The memories of Katrina will never leave, but the people of New Orleans are strong and resilient. They love and care for their city and their people. I am thankful they let me experience that in the short time I lived there. And I'm thankful they continue to share it with me every time I step food within its limits.
Have you ever been to New Orleans?
What is a place that has your heart and you love to visit?
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Every other Friday, I'm going to be sharing snapshots that I have taken in and around Mobile. Not only do I want to share with you guys this place, but it will help me to get out and explore. I love the idea of "snapshots", because sometimes they are quick and can be hurried, but always capture a memory. My photos may not always be perfect or frame-worthy, but I hope you enjoy them. I hope you enjoy seeing little glimpses of Mobile and I hope this encourages you to get out, explore your town, and take advantage of all your place may offer. This is #SnapshotsOfMobile. Enjoy!
Mobile has a rich history, with it being The Port City and in the South. One of the most iconic things on Mobile Bay would be the USS Alabama Battleship. The Alabama served in World War ll in the Atlantic and Pacific. The ship was retired in 1962 and brought to Mobile Bay in 1964 where it was later opened as a museum. The USS Alabama is a National Historic Landmark and one of my favorite places in Mobile. This year, for the fourth of July, I spent the day on the ship. Three tours take you all the way up, all the way down, and from bow to stern. My legs also told me that it is an incredible workout. It's also a spectacular place to watch fireworks. If you are ever in the Mobile area, I would definitely take the time to tour this great piece of history.
Here is the list of National Historic Landmarks.
Are any near you? Have you ever visited one of these sites?
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I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to my singleness. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only single twenty-something that feels that way. If I am, don't tell me.
I love it for obvious reasons. I only have me to think about when it comes to major life decisions (like quitting a full-time job). I only have to worry about providing for myself. I can take spur of the moment trips whenever I want. My weekends are devoted to whatever I choose to do and not having to be here or there. I get the whole bed to myself. I can drink the whole pot of coffee. The house can be however messy or clean I want it to be.
I also hate it for obvious reasons. It can be lonely, because as a single, there is only one of me. Literally the definition of single is "only one in number." There isn't anyone to share the pot of coffee with in the morning. Trips by yourself can be wonderful, but road trips are always better with a buddy. There isn't anyone there to bounce ideas, dreams, hopes, fears off of and get their opinion. Two for one deals just aren't the same. I have no one to bake for.
Getting honest here, I think one of the hardest things for me is getting my faith and my singleness to collide. Faith is all about trust and being confident that God is who He says He is. I trust and believe that God is who He says He is. And I believe that He will use every season of our lives for His glory if we are willing and obedient to trust Him. Singleness should be the easiest area for me to hand over and let Him use, but for me it's the hardest. I want to be open and willing to follow the Lord during this season, but it's like I'm not willing to give up my singleness entirely. And when I say "give up" I don't mean in the sense of one day not being single, but in that if I say, "Lord, use this season entirely as You wish." I'm afraid of where He will lead me.
Yet, fear and trust cannot exist together...
And I cannot surrender one part of my heart and not another. He gets it all.
There are days that I feel I would be okay and enjoy being single for my lifetime. And there are days that I deeply long to be married.
The constant daily struggle is handing it over to the Lord, trusting Him, and trading my feelings, desires, and wishes for His.
A couple days ago one of my friends shared a video of David Platt speaking on singleness and authentic Christianity. I listened to it on my way to work one morning. It encouraged me, but also challenged me. After listening, I asked myself if I was fully allowing God to use me in my singleness for His glory. Clearly, by my thoughts and rant above, the answer is no. There is so much more that God may be calling me to, but by not surrendering my singleness fully, I won't ever know what that is. Platt said something in the video that really challenged me:
"There is a divine purpose in singleness that must not be wasted."
Whether single for a lifetime or not, I want my life to be one of undivided and undistracted devotion to the Lord.
Fully surrendered and all for His glory.
Not a moment wasted.
I'm not exactly sure where He will lead me or what He will lead me to. And I don't know what the journey there will look like. Yet, I know that my ultimate call in life is to proclaim who He is to everyone and make disciples of all nations. The journey can only begin with a fully surrendered heart. And I don't want to waste another day.
Singleness is both a gift and a struggle for me.
It is something I daily need to surrender to the Lord and trust Him with.
What do you need to surrender to Him today so that you don't waste another day?
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If you stopped by this little space about three weeks ago, you read something about me needing peace for a job situation and hoping that the Lord would work on my heart. Then, if you were scrolling through Instagram only a few days after that, you would have saw a simple post with a major message where I wrote this:
I'm not a quitter, but I quit. Last year I accepted a job and one year later, I quit that job. I've never quit a job before, not in this capacity. I've only left jobs because they were seasonal or I was moving away. From the outside looking in, the job was great and giving me everything I needed. Literally something you wouldn't walk away from, especially in this economy people would say. Yet, walk away was the very thing I felt God calling me to do. And I can't give a clear answer as to why. I'm not sure what He is leading me towards, but I'm holding firm to the promise that He knows my future better than I do. I'm stepping out and walking in faith. Blind to the future before me. But, as Hebrews reminds me, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." By faith we understand, obey, and go. By faith we persevere. I may get the "dream" job or I may never have what I did have again. Either way, He is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever. And He is good.
I sat through one day of orientation for another year of my job. The whole day I had this overwhelming feeling that it wasn't where I was supposed to be. There was a pit in my stomach I couldn't get rid of and all day long I held back tears. I was incredibly torn between walking away and staying put. Torn between whether this was where God still needed me or not. I messaged a friend asking her if she would be at work when I got out and hightailed it towards her direction the moment we were done for the day. Confident that there was no way I could step foot back in that building.
This past summer I worked in my church's daycare program. It quickly became a place I enjoyed going to. I was continuing to meet more wonderful people in the church and I was playing with one year old's all day. Definitely a breath of fresh air from the past year. I was finally waking up happy and ready to go to work and I was finally enjoying the people I worked with and what I was doing. It didn't feel stale or like a chore. I was being encouraged and revived. So, at the church is where I found myself after I bolted out the doors after one day of orientation. After some emotional breakdowns, two exactly, I drove myself home. The pit in my stomach growing stronger. I had two more emotional breakdowns, one to my roommate and another to my mom on the phone. After talking with my mom and texting my boss from the daycare asking if I could come back, I had made my decision. The next day, I would quit my full-time job.
And the pit in my stomach was gone.
It's not that I didn't enjoy being a preschool teacher. It's not that I didn't enjoy working with kids, because I still am working with them. I strictly felt that I wasn't where God wanted or needed me to be anymore. The peace that overcame me after the decision was made was overwhelming and comforting. The strongest that I've ever felt. I was confident, and still am, that it was the right decision to be made. And I can say that this was probably the biggest step of faith I've taken in my life so far, next to trusting Christ as my Savior.
So, where do I go from here? The only answer I have is wherever the Lord takes me.
And that is my prayer every morning, "Lead me, Lord."
What has been your biggest step of faith?
When have you strongly felt the peace of the Lord surround you?
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Hello, August! The month of back to school and more hot weather for the South. Although I'm a pre-school teacher, I wish I was still a student some days. Only because I'm obsessed with school supplies and cute backpacks.
Creating | Sadly, nothing at the moment. Yet, there are many things I want to. Maybe this will finally be the month that I create my California photo book. I've also been thinking about business cards for the blog, but I'm not sure whether I've reached that point or not. Whatever "that point" is supposed to be.
Wishlisting | So many things! New car, money to pay off student loans, a puppy, a new, more grown up wardrobe, anything for my room or apartment. Speaking of, Mobile just got a new HomeGoods store and guys, that is going to be dangerous. I did just purchase a cute new laundry basket though. Fingers crossed I win that $1,000 shopping spree. Hey, they don't call it a wishlist for nothing!
Hoping | That the Lord continues to work on my heart when it comes to my job situation. I feel stuck in between two main thoughts: I'm not happy there and want something new, but maybe it is where the Lord wants me. I want to be able to wake up and be excited about going to work, not go to bed and wake up dreading it. The Lord knows our wants and I feel He will honor that in one way or another. But, I need to remember that this is ultimately about His will and where He wants me to be so that He can use me in the best way possible. I've already been through a year of job searching and it was not a fun year. I just need peace for the whole situation.
Eating | All the bad stuff again. At least, that is what it seems. It's a new month and summer is soon to be over. Splurging needs to stop happening and discipline needs to come back.
Watching | If you went to my Hulu+ account, you would see: Pretty Little Liars, Baby Daddy, Chasing Life, The Last Ship, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. If you went to my Netflix account, you would see: Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, and the Jack Ryan movies. Also, it's summertime, which means Big Brother is in full swing! #HelloTVaholic
What are you currently up to?
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Just because it is the beginning of August doesn't mean that we can't have a 4th of July recap does it? Because, I never got to share with you all what I did that weekend. A weekend that is one of my most favorites every year. So, here's a flashback to almost a month ago and that wonderfully fun weekend!
One of my good friends from college came down from South Carolina to spend the weekend with me. She hadn't spent any time in Mobile, so we wanted to be sure to do as much as we could. Friday we took advantage of our close proximity to the beach and headed down to soak up some sun before it got too crowded for the weekend. Seafood was eaten, relaxation was enjoyed, and no one got sunburned! That night we headed to another beach for a showing of the movie Jaws. That is the only way to watch that movie! Saturday was the main event and jam-packed, even though we spent the majority of our day at one place. There is nothing more patriotic than spending the day on a United States Battleship, so that is what we did. We spend about three and half hours exploring the USS Alabama Battleship in Mobile Bay. We went up as far as you could go, down to the engine room, bow to stern, and everywhere in between. After a short rest, we visited the USS Drum Submarine, which thankfully, wasn't as intense. Then we headed back the apartment from some movie time, rest time, and the baking of an apple pie. That night we headed back the Battleship for the main event, my favorite part of the weekend, the fireworks show! Sunday we worshiped with our church, took some more time to rest, and then headed out to watch the US Women's Soccer team dominate in the World Cup.
I'm telling you, the fourth of July is probably my favorite holiday.
It perfectly summarizes what summer is.
How did you celebrate the 4th?
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