Here, in photos, is what I've been up these past two-ish months that I've been gone from this place. And some thoughts on what I've been learning while I've been silent here.
I'm not usually one to have a full calendar. My weekends are normally slow and uneventful, the majority of the time finds me cleaning my house and then sitting on the couch reading or watching something on Netflix. These past two months have looking nothing like that! July started with me celebrating my favorite holiday, then taking a trip to Memphis to see family and celebrate my Grandmother turning 88! I house-sat for some friends and enjoyed every moment of having a dog again -- even if for just two weeks! The start of August brought my best friend to visit me for a long weekend and she crashed a birthday party and a wedding with me while she was here. We even escaped to the beach for a day. And last weekend I got to reunite with some college friends as we celebrated one of our dear friends as a bride-to-be.
Yet, with the hustle and bustle of life filling my calendar, my heart hasn't always been in it. Friends and laughter have surrounded me, but when they don't and it's just me in a room, I've had to fight off darkness. I've had to fight off the lonely. I've had to fight off the deafening silence. I've had to fight off the unknowing and the lost feeling. I've had to fight off the wandering that my soul is so, so prone to.
Things haven't just been silent here, they have been silent in all areas of my life. Especially in my relationship with the Lord. I know that we are called to be still. To trust. To believe. To seek. To ask. Lately, I have just been questioning. Angrily questioning if I'm honest. I'm asking, yes, but not with a faithful heart. I've been questioning and asking God, "why?" about a lot of areas of my life. Why are things turning out a certain way? Why do I not have certain things? Why are these things happening?
But, the "why" question that gets me the most is this: why am I still questioning when I have seen the provision, the guidance, the faithfulness, and the sovereignty of You, God? Why am I afraid to let my faith grow stronger? Why am I afraid to let You work in all areas of my life? Why do I keep replacing You with other fruitless and dead things? Why do I keep living like I'm dead when You have raised me to life? Why do I keep looking for joy in other things that are not from You? Lord, why do I keep questioning and asking why, when You have already given me the most sufficient Answer that I need?
All I need, all the truth I seek, all the joy I desire, is found in You, by way of Your Son, and the power and presence of Your Holy Spirit. Let me hold on to that, Lord.
"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" John 8:31-32
I haven't read something so timely needed in my life as the article that I just read and have shared at the bottom of these thoughts. I had just finished reading about the birth of Samson in Judges 13 and then about the nameless woman that was Samson's mother. A companion study book, that my roommate brought home one day, profiles more than 400 women in the Bible, Manoah's wife, Samson's mother, being one of them. The author writes on how this woman was many things, including being a disappointed woman because of her barrenness. A privileged woman because she was visited by an angel of the Lord. She was a Godly woman because she was a humble Israelite and described as faithful, self-sacrificing, holy, and "must have had a life corresponding to the separated character of the son she was to bear..." She was a happy woman because her prayers were answered as Samson came to be. But, she was also a sorrowful woman because of the way her son turned out.
I keep going back to what she was like as a Godly woman, because that is ultimately something that I strive to be. The author of this companion book points out that there is "no record of complaint or impatience over her childless state." In fact, I think she probably prayed a lot. Constantly, maybe. In return, "her prayer lightened the burden of her loneliness and sustained her patience. As a God-fearing Israelite, she had faith that He would answer her prayer."
So much do I see myself in this nameless woman, of the desire to have something that is yet to be. Yet, where she was strong and faithful in her praying to God, believing that He would answer, I am weak and lacking. My prayers are more cries and tantrums during fits of anger and loneliness. My first thought is often not to pray, but to turn my face and walk away from the Lord. But, what a lesson to learn from this nameless woman on faith and prayer. Constant and faithful prayer, when combined with the belief that God will answer, is life-changing. This woman's praying "lightened the burden of her loneliness." Yes, she had the companionship of her husband, but her heart was now naturally desiring a child. And the lack of that, her barrenness, created a new feeling of loneliness that only a child was going to fill. Yet, she believed and had faith that God would answer, so her constant prayer "sustained her patience." We don't know how old she was, so we can't be sure of how long she had been fighting this loneliness of being barren or how long she had been waiting for a child after her marriage began. But, anyone who desires something so deeply within their heart and is living without it, whether that be a spouse, a new job, or a family, will probably tell you that even one day, is one day too many without it.
The days kept passing and the nights still came. She was still without a child, but her patience only grew stronger because of her constant prayer and belief that God was hearing her. The moon would rise and the sun would set, but she never stopped believing that her prayer would go unheard. She must have believed that his mercies are new every day and that joy comes in the morning, because one day, many prayer-filled days later, her patience and faithfulness were rewarded. She had a son, Samson. And while her son lived a life that sometimes led him astray from the Lord and caused her sorrow, she knew he was her blessing, her answered prayer. And her story gives us an example that while God does indeed hear our prayers, the answers may not always turn out how we expect them to. But, no matter what the answer, we can expect the Lord to be glorified.
I never thought much about marriage or having a family when I was a teenager or even in college really. It wasn't until I graduated and eventually became settled in a job that those two dreams, those prayers, started coming into the light. Small whispers of what the future could look like. But then, the loneliness hit. The loneliness of turning twenty-seven and watching your friends get married and start their families. Of watching your friends get pets together, take vacations, get promotions, and buy a house. Those small whispers became loud screams of anger and questioning why it wasn't my turn yet. What did I need to do? What did I need to change? Who did I need to be?
On Manoah's wife and Samson's mother, the nameless woman, Herbert Lockyer said: "Barren though the nameless wife she was, she was yet believing."
I need to pray. I need to throw away my unbelief that the Lord isn't hearing me. I need to be more like the faithful woman that Samson's mother was. I need my prayer to lighten my burden and strengthen my patience. I need to not let loneliness win. I need to stop pushing it away and acting like it isn't something I feel. I need to see that my singleness isn't something that needs fixing. I need to believe this article below.
But most importantly, I need to believe that the Lord is good. That He hears my prayers. That His mercies are new every day. That joy comes in the morning.
When I first went off to college, I knew a total of two people at The University of Alabama. Making friends seemed like the most daunting task and a part of me knew that the only way I would make friends was if the Lord directly put them in my path. I joined a church, got involved in their college ministry, and became a part of a Bible study. It was a small group, me and another freshman, and our two upperclassmen leaders. We were the smallest of all groups, a trend that would continue all of my years, even as I became a leader. But, those three girls came into my life at the most perfect and proper time. I would build a lot of memories with those girls, but especially with one of them in particular.
She wasn't just my Bible study leader, but in a way my mentor and my confidant. She introduced me to The Office, fed my Mexican food addiction, sat with me in the corner of Barnes and Noble, and became a kid again whenever we found a playground. There were countless talks in parking lots, lots of cheering at football games, and numerous sleepovers. Where she was, I usually wasn't far behind. Where I was, she usually wasn't far behind. She was my best friend.
I know that time changes, things change, and people change, but friendships can and do last through all of that. Ours however, didn't last. It wasn't necessarily because either of us changed, but we instead just stopped. For me, jealousy, fear, and pride got in the way. I could see our relationship slowly fading away, but instead of saying words to fight for it, I stayed quiet. Hard-headed, determined, and prideful I quit the friendship. Looking back, it seemed to happen suddenly. One day she was there and the next she wasn't. And just like that, six years went by.
Six years of silence.
There were many times in those six years that I thought about her. I knew that she was now married, had children, was happy. I had graduated college, moved away from home and then back again, and had gotten my first full-time job after college. Never did I get to celebrate any of it with her. The person I would have texted or called first in any situation, was lost somewhere in the silence of six years. She was walking her life and I was walking mine.
During those six years, there were times I thought about reconnecting. I thought about sending a message to see how she was. To see if any form of friendship still remained, but I never did. I believed the lies that too much time had passed, that she was over it and had moved on, that it wasn't worth it. Forgiveness is not an easy thing to ask for. Oh, but friends, how sweet and necessary forgiveness is! I didn't want pride to be my pitfall. I wanted to choose peace instead of pride.
So, after six years of silence, I decided to break it. Forgiveness is not an easy thing to ask for, but when you do, reconciliation comes. The longer the years pass, the harder it will be; but the outcome may be much sweeter than you ever realized. The words that were always so hard to find, the pain remembered every time you tried to write them, the memories that were had to relive; all those thoughts, all the feelings may just be mutual over there on the other side. You will only know if you are brave enough to say them. First to the Lord, then to yourself, and next to your friend. The dear, sweet friend that was always by your side.
In the book Wild and Free, Hayley Morgan writes about how we have become caged by our own limitations. One of those limitations is being caught in the shame cycle. She tells the story of a friendship that withered away because she refused to forgive. A story that hit me way too close to home. She eventually confronted her friend and discovered that she had felt the same way! Forgiveness may not always look like this, but I'm so glad to say that for me and my friend it did. My friend expressed that she also had wanted to say something, but she was afraid it was too late and then didn't know what to say. Although this time comes six years later, I'm so thankful that it wasn't twelve years later or, sadly, never. And now, like Hayley and her friend, "we get to experience the gospel goodness of forgiveness; we get to be in fellowship with our Father and with each other; and we're both braver for the next time hurt or shame arises."
Ignore the six year silence that has lived between you. Focus now on the words you want to say and where you want to begin again. Send the message, speak the words in faith; knowing you have bravely said what you wanted to say so many times before. Thank the Lord for giving you the courage, the boldness to speak in truth. And then, watch the Lord work His wonders. Watch Him mend the brokenness that seemed to crumble so easily. Experience firsthand the power of forgiveness. Watch the silence of six years slowly be filled with words of healing. Watch a sweet friendship slowly come back into view. Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8) and experience again how a friendship refreshes the soul(Proverbs 27:9).
Whether you're the one who needs forgiving or you're holding back your forgiveness from someone else, you need to bring that junk into the light. If you need forgiveness from someone, go and ask them. Bring yourself low and step into the light, knowing that Jesus is right there with you. Confess your yuck and ask forgiveness for the sin you committed and for the pain you caused. There is nothing like the freedom that comes from confession and repentance. -- Hayley Morgan, Wild and Free
Do you like confrontation or is that something you run away from? Have you ever let a relationship drift away, because pride or fear held you back? Fear is not found in love. But, there is freedom in forgiveness.
I pray that if you are searching for that, you will find it.
Follow Me :)
First of all, happy cinco de mayo! Part of me really wants to continue this whole post in Spanish, but honestly and sadly, I don't remember much of it after my two years of high school and two years of college classes. Conjugating verbs was never my thing. I hope you will be celebrating today with some tacos and maybe a fun drink or two. At least have chips and salsa.
Yesterday marked four years since I graduated college. Four, you guys. Four!! I absolutely cannot believe it. And next year will mark 10 years since graduating high school. I absolutely cannot believe it's happening. Some days, I have a hard time believing I'm actually an adult. That, however, is another post for another day. Today, I want to share with you four things that I've learned since graduating college. One for each year that I've been gone from The University of Alabama.
1. Take risks and have adventures | The fall after graduating college, I packed up my first apartment and packed a bag. My stuff went with my parents and my bag went with me to California. I knew no one and I flew across the country by myself. I partnered with the North American Mission Board to be a semester missionary in Tahoe City, California. It was the farthest I had ever been away from home, but one of the greatest decisions. I met some wonderful friends, got to visit some wonderful places, and spent most of my time with kids and outdoors, two of my favorite things. It wasn't the typical first job after college, but it was a fun one and I was using my degree! California is where I learned to kayak, how to engage people in the community, attempted to ski, and learned to make friends with people different than me.
2. Moving home isn't that bad | As graduation kept creeping closer, I knew that moving back home was a possibility. I wasn't sure what I was going to do after walking across the stage and I didn't know if I wanted to stay in Tuscaloosa. Then, California happened. And as my time there started winding down, I knew that moving back home was absolutely going to happen. I wasn't the most excited about it, although I know mom was! That year of living at home again was honestly one of the toughest for me. I felt stuck, unprepared, and unsuccessful. I didn't know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go, but I knew that home with my parents was where the Lord wanted me. So, I got involved with my church again, I became a barista (another risk and adventure), spent time (lots of it) with mom and dad, and poured myself into the Word and prayer. Those were the two constants that I could rely on that also gave me comfort. Living at home also helped me save money, which is always nice! Being at home was that moratorium time that I needed, to spend a little time just figuring out who I was and what the Lord wanted me to do.
3. Cultivate good habits | While living at home again, I started making my bed more, drinking more water, going running, paid my bills on time. I started taking care of myself better. And these are all things that I'm still doing (for the most part) today. I love making my bed in the morning, because when I come home it feels like my whole room is clean. Drinking water and running are just things that make me feel better. Even though I don't want to do them half the time, I always love it after. Paying my bills on time is just responsible and I've become obsessed with my credit score. Student loans hang over me like most graduates nowadays, but it's the monthly bill that I hate to love to pay. I hate that I have to pay it, but I love watching the balance go down. Another good habit that I've been practicing since moving away from home is faithfully tithing. My first year in Mobile was a year where the Lord continually showed me His providence and how He is my daily bread. Tithing faithfully is just my small, sacrificial praise to Him for being my daily bread and all that I need.
4. Find community | This one has truly played a huge part in my life, especially the past year. When I moved to Mobile, one of the first things I started doing was looking for a church. My college ministry was one of the things that made my college years so great. I wanted that to be true for my post-college, adult life too. I knew that I needed a place to grow spiritually and a place that could put me in the path of making new friends. Let's be honest, making friends in the real world, as an adult, is tough! And sadly, and as much as I hate to say it, the best friends you were surrounded with in college may not be your best friends four years later. There are people I wish I would have never lost contact with and I don't even know where or how to begin those friendships again. Which makes me so thankful for the college friendships that I do still have. Community is something that we need. And the best community for me is found through those certain college friendships, my church family, and my grow group. They are the people I can look to for encouragement and they are the people that will speak truth to me, even when I'm being stubborn and don't want to hear it.
These four year after college have shown me a lot, the biggest being that life may look a whole lot different four years after graduation than what you imagined. But, these things are the greatest lessons learned so far. And they are lessons I try to think about every day. I'm not sure when the adult thing will truly feel real. It may take another four years. Or like my time at Bama, I might need an extra year, a victory lap, just so I can fully comprehend it all. I don't want to miss anything. Roll Tide.
What were some of the things you learned your first few years after college? What lesson would you pass on? How is your life different than what you imagined it would be when you graduated or left home for the first time?
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It's clearly been so long since I've written a post that the first thing I did when I got on my site was hit "publish" and there was nothing new to publish. Call me anxious.
I find it interesting that I've had more hits on this blog and more visitors in the past two months of silence, then I did when I was writing consistently. I've never been one for the numbers and I'm always surprised that people come to read the things written within this small space of the internet.
I've been writing less in this space, but more on my facebook page and within Instagram. I love that on Instagram, I can combine photos with short essays or just a few words. And I'm surprised that my facebook page has over 120 likes and that my posts there have reached an audience of 700 or more. Those clearly aren't all my friends, but what happens when friends share a post and you add a couple fun hashtags.
I've been on three book launch teams so far this year. And I find it incredible that the Lord knew that I needed these books this year as much as I believe that my friends and those around me need these books. You may have seen me talk about them on instagram or twitter or facebook. But, I've also been spreading the word by mouth. I've learned the beauty of living in the in between and what it means to praise God even if all my dreams or plans don't work out. I've learned what it means to find the lovely all around me and that the lovely is given by a God who loves me. I'm still learning what it means to be wild and free in Christ. An idea that both excites and terrifies me.
I dreamed in Swahili the other night. It wasn't my whole dream, but kids started speaking to me in Swahili and I spoke back in their language. It was beautiful and wonderful and makes me want to create vocabulary cards all over again.
I've been learning how to better share my faith over the past eight weeks. And within those eight weeks, I've been frustrated with myself in not being more intentional in sharing the Gospel. And I've been reminded that the Gospel needs to be real to me every day. It's the most important thing that has changed my life completely. And I need people to know that.
I've been torn between whether to come back to writing and what to even write at all. I miss this space. I miss the friends here. I miss the community. And while I want all that to grow, I'm afraid of where it might take me also. I've never been good with follow through. I have the hardest time finishing something that I've started. I don't feel like I'm supposed to walk away from this right now, but I don't know where to begin again either.
I've moved into a new house and gained two new roommates. Our house is lovely, sitting in a wonderful neighborhood, where childhood friends still ride their bikes to each other's houses. Where people wave to me when I'm running and dad's play basketball with their sons in the afternoon. I'm finally back in a house with a physical address and not a PO BOX and we have a doorbell that works.
I'm still fascinated with the little things. And so amazed by how I see God working in such big ways through those little things.
I'm right where I've always been, yet farther along at the same time.
Where have you been lately? Have you felt like you've been in the same place for awhile or are you in territory completely new? Let's catch up in the comments below or by e-mailing me!
Follow Me :)
The year of fear sounds kind of terrifying right? Why would I want to focus on fear for a whole year? We are supposed to run away from or fight the things that scare us. Fight or flight. One of those is usually our response. I'm going to shield my face from clowns, I'm going to stay away from tall heights that I have a chance of falling off of, I'm probably not going to chose to speak in front of large crowds, and spiders and cockroaches will continue to meet their inevitable fates when a Chaco is thrown at them from across the room. I also fear going blind, financial instability, loneliness. Fears can be big or small and they can paralyze us from doing anything. The things we fear can hold us back, make us stay under the covers, locked up. But, this isn't the kind of fear I'm talking about, friends. I'm talking about a holy and reverent fear in a Most Holy God. A fear that, if embraced, will ultimately lead us into freedom.
I long to live in freedom, free from the fear of things holding me back. I long to know my Savior more, to be more aligned with His will, and to praise Him more. I long to understand more about Him, His attributes, His teachings, so that I can live to be more like Him. This all starts with fearing Him. Not in the sense of being scared, but of revering Him, standing in awe of Him and all that He is.
Fear, in the biblical sense, is to know Him, and to know Him is to fear Him. Healthy fear enables us to praise God and enjoy His benefits and blessings, rest in His peace and security, and experience the length of days. Fear of God, as a believer, produces awe, reverence, and obedience.
Praising God, enjoying blessings, resting in His peace all seem like wonderful things to seek out this year. But, there is another side of this holy fear. To know and understand all that this fear brings, gives a sense of urgency to sharing the Gospel. I may fear God in a holy sense, in wanting to experience all the goodness and blessings, but someone who doesn't know God in an intimate relationship will fear Him in an entirely different light. Not a holy fear, but one of being afraid. It is hard for me to imagine my life without God. Without His blessings, His providence, His protection. It is hard for me to imagine my life without the beauty of the Cross and the teachings of Jesus. It is hard for me to imagine my life without the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Him ushering me throughout life. The greatest things that we desire in this world, the answers to the questions we ask again and again, the goodness we want in our life, they are all found in God. He is our greatest satisfaction, He is the greatest answer, and He is the only good. To fear Him is to know Him, and to know Him is to fear Him. As a believer and follower, I want to know Him more. I want to experience His goodness in a way that I've never felt before. As a believer and follower, I want others to know Him more. I want others to experience His goodness in a way they've never felt before. I want to fear Him, to know Him deeply and intimately as He desires for us to know Him. The blessings, benefits, peace, and rest? Those are just extra drippings from His goodness that He pours out on us when we come to know Him.
This year, in 2016, I'm going to be centering my year around 13 verses that speak on the fear of God. These verses tell us what fear brings, how to fear God, and what fear in God frees us from. I've adopted one verse for each month to memorize and focus on and have one verse that is my verse of the year. I've already been noticing the word fear popping up in different places and in things that I'm reading. As my verse for the year tells us, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." This is where it all starts. Knowing Him is where it all begins and where all things come from. It leads to good understanding, it leads to wisdom, it leads to praising Him in new ways. Fearing Him leads me into freedom. This freedom pulls me out from under my covers and puts me into His arms. Last year I focused on making the year a better one. This year I want to focus on The Better One.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have good understanding. His praise endures forever."
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Happy New Year, everyone! We have come to the beginning of a whole new year, 2016. I love the beginning of a new month, just because it provides a fresh start to change things up, make new goals, and get rid of things we don't need. If I love the beginning of a new month, I really love the beginning of a new year! A complete and fresh start, not just thirty something new days, but 365 (or 366 this year. Yay, leap year!). The New Year comes after the whirlwind that is the holidays and, for me, another birthday. This is my "golden year" where I turned 27 on the 27th of December. I have a fresh new set of goals from silly things to serious, which I share with you at the bottom of this post. My desire and hunger for God's Word continues to be strong and I'm looking forward to reading through the Bible this year, hopefully the whole Bible! In 2015, I got some answers regarding some internal questions on singleness. And yet, I enter 2016 with new questions, but also with anticipation of the Lord's answers, because I know He will answer. In 2016, I chose to seek His answers and His will more than my own. The past couple of years I've chosen "one word" to focus on throughout the year and I'm fairly certain I know what my one word for 2016 is. Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks to see what it is. But, for now, let's recap the fun that was New Years!
I'm sure they are going to LOVE these pictures being on the blog, but it's too late now, friends. ha! My roommate and I had a friend come down to celebrate the holiday with us. We were so excited that she came to town! Roomie and I do a lot together, and though we love each other, it was fun to have someone to come along and celebrate with us. We love you, Jordi! Roommate and I started the night by driving all over town to find something to wear! Nothing like last minute, eh? Lastly, we ended up at (another) Target, where we found options. Note to self, just go to the Super Target first. It will save time. After grabbing some Chick-fil-a, we heading back to the house to get ready! And then took selfies, of course.
Our first stop was at one of our favorite places downtown, OK Bicycle Shop. We always mean to try new places, but we keep coming back here. It's funky and fun with bicycles hanging all over the place. They have great drinks and different menus. One menu gets you sushi, another Mexican. What more could you ask for? We always split the Duck Nachos. It's a huge plate filled with yummy goodness. You can't go wrong. And if you are with me, don't doubt that they won't get finished. Because they will. Also, they had the game on and I got to finish watching Bama roll over the Spartans! Roll Tide!
My roommate literally googled things to do in Mobile on New Years and up popped our answer. A local band that we have heard a lot of, but have never seen in person, was playing at a music hall and bar downtown. Tickets were on sale throughout the day, but they were updating when those sold out and when no more were available at the door. Music was set to start at 11, we got to the door at like 10:56. And the girl working the door told us that we were the last three being let in! I wanted to high five her. And we ended up seeing a great band, The Underhill Family Orchestra, at a great venue, The Merry Widow. And got free champagne at midnight. A successful way to end 2015 and bring in 2016.
After leaving the show, we walked around downtown for a bit and ran into some more friends. Then, we heading back home. We didn't stay out super late and I was totally okay with that, because my bed was definitely calling my name. The next day I somehow got the energy to try my hand at making a traditional New Years Day feast. I headed to the grocery store (also the only time I got out of sweatpants) and picked up some collards and black eyed peas. I knew that this would probably be an all day thing, but I wasn't as prepared as I should have been. But, it was totally worth it! I also made cornbread and we had tea and it was one of the best meals we've had in awhile. And one that provided a lot of leftovers. So, we are still enjoying it.
About a month before my birthday, I created a list of 27 things to do in year 27. I do love the new year as a time to create new goals, think of things that I need to get rid of, or things I need to start. I don't know if I would really call these resolutions, although some definitely can be. There are already a couple of these that I'm working on now, so I'm excited to see how many are accomplished before my next birthday or the next new year.
27 Things For The Golden Year
Happy New Year, friends! What goals or resolutions have you set for yourself this year?
What is one thing you are hoping to learn in 2016?
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2015 was a seemingly ordinary year. It was a year of many friends getting married, my niece being born, beach trips, visits with friends, and more beach trips. But, 2015 was also a year of growth for me. It was the year that I took a big step of faith and quit my first full-time job, to be where I believe the Lord wants me. It was the year the Lord renewed my hunger for His word. It was the year that I found a new church family and started building a new community of friends. 2015 was a year of new prayers and new dreams for my life. 2015 was a year sprinkled with quiet, but faithful answers to some questions I've been having in regards to singleness. It was a year, yet again, that I saw the Lord's providence and protection over and over.
2015 was a year that looked like any other year, but a year that I learned some new lessons and relearned some old ones.
Thank you 2015 for the laughs, the tears, the sleepless nights, the books read, the prayers answered, the trips with friends, the drinks had, the new friends made, the reunions, and the times of celebration. But mostly, thank you 2015, for the seemingly ordinary days that gave glimpses of the One who is Extraordinary.
Lord, may you be more glorified and praised in 2016.
January & February
Took a lesson from kids that sometimes prayer is just simple and though we stutter and stammer, the moment we say "Father," He hears us. | Visited the Fairhope Pier. | Celebrated my first Mardi Gras in the city I love, New Orleans! | Blogging kick-started again in the new year and Polished Arrow is run off of coffee.
March & April
Was reminded by the sunrise that the Lord's mercies are new every morning! | Had fun, random roomies dates. | Celebrated 23 years of my family being a family and one of my best friends, Dad, sent me beautiful flowers. | My precious niece, who I lovingly call Savvy, was born.
May & June
Thanks to a wonderful friends wedding, there was a Tahoe reunion! | I got to meet Savvy for the first time and my heart melted. | Two friends from college came to visit and we spontaneously went the the beach...at night. | My lifelong best friend (seriously, we've known each other since kindergarten) came through Mobile!
July & August
I dressed up like a cow for some free food with some fun friends from church. | My parents came down to visit a couple of times. | While in Birmingham for a wedding, I got to reunite with another Tahoe friend. | That wedding was the union of two fun and dear friends who got married!| May through August were the months of friends and my favorite stretch of 2015!
This weekend gets its own special section, because it is my favorite holiday. For the past couple of years, I've had some great fourth of July weekends. It's what summer is all about in my opinion! One of my college friends came down for the weekend and we did it all. The beach, movies on the beach, toured a battleship, fireworks, and food. It was one of the best.
September & October
Football was back, so that meant many weekends watching Alabama football with Dad! | I went to an Indian Pow-Wow with my roommate and some girls from our small group. | Visited a pumpkin patch and corn maze to really kick off fall! | Ran into a sweet friend while at the corn maze.
November & December
Spent a day geeking out at a museum with some wonderful friends. | Celebrated Christmas in style with my small group: onesies and pajamas. | Celebrated a low-key Christmas with just my parents. | Turned 27.
Peace out 2015. Welcome 2016!
May this year be golden.
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Skylar over at Blonde Freedom had this fun Christmas survey up on her blog the other day. And because it's the busy week of Christmas I thought I would snag it and fill it out as well. Keep things light and fun this week. Plus, I love posts like these where you get to know someone a little better. Enjoy and happy Christmas Eve!
Wrapping Paper or Gift Bags? | Wrapping paper all the way! I love going through all the bins of wrapping paper in the Christmas aisles at the stores. There is so, so much that it can be overwhelming. But, I love it! This year my paper was a craft type with old school Christmas lights printed on it. Last year, I had simple brown craft paper and twine and fun tags for a fun package look. Plus, we have a long standing joke in my family about how much tape we put on gifts and how it makes it seemingly impossible to get into them.
Real tree or Artificial? | I am all about some real trees! To me, there is nothing like them. Yes the needles get everywhere and if the tree starts to dry out the needles can poke you very hard. But, nothing can replace the fun of going to pick it out, towing it back to the house, and then the amazing smell that fills your home. That being said, all trees I'm surrounded by this year are artificial. Nothing wrong with them, but my preference is definitely real.
When do you put up the tree? | I like to put up the Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving. Although if my roommate had her way, our tree would have been up on Halloween. Or never taken down in the first place.
Hardest person to buy for? | My Dad definitely wins this answer. Mostly because you can't buy the man anything! Anytime we remotely have a handle on what he wants or needs and get ready to buy it for Christmas, he goes and buys it for himself. Dad has always been one to want us to have things to open instead of him. Although he is hard to buy for, he is one of my favorites to buy for.
Easiest person to buy for? | Mom gets this one. Because I usually get her a few of the same stocking stuffers every year that she loves and then she is easy to please with books or cute little knick knacks. And I usually ask her what is one thing she would love to have, but wouldn't buy herself. That's always fun.
Favorite Christmas film? | Well, there definitely isn't one! The ones I have to watch every year are (in no particular order): The Santa Clause, All I Want For Christmas (1991), I'll Be Home For Christmas, A Christmas Story, Elf, and White Christmas. I also watch Little Women every Christmas.
Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? | Another hard one, but all the candy and pies! I don't think I eat a real meal except for Christmas Day because of all the candy and pies that are brought out this time of the year! Speaking of pies, remember the cherry or pecan debate? Pecan won and is being made tomorrow morning!
Snow: love it or hate it? | I've never grown up in an area that was known for white Christmases. Memphis rarely got snow, but mostly got ice. And ice is not fun like snow. Until I lived in Tahoe, I had never had a white Christmas, but there is something different and special about having a white Christmas. I love it, until I have to shovel it. :)
Lights on the tree: colored or clear? | I'm more a clear lights person, because then the different colored ornaments all glow more brightly! But, colored lights are festive and fun. So, put both on there! Plus, it makes it look more full!
Favorite Christmas song? | Again, there isn't just one, but O Holy Night is my top favorite!
Reading of the Christmas Story or an Advent? | Both! I love to start Christmas readings the first of December to begin celebrating Advent, but focus more on the Christmas story the week of.
Travel at Christmas or stay at home? | Normally my parents and I travel to Memphis for Christmas to celebrate with our entire extended family. This year, with my Dad recovering from surgery, we are staying at home in Alabama. It will be different not going out of town this year, but I'm grateful and happy to be spending a few days with my parents at their home. Christmas definitely would not be Christmas if I was not with them.
Favorite Christmas cookie? | This is a hard one too! But, I'm a big fan of the peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kisses on top!
Favorite Christmas tradition? | Normally we are out of town and always rushing from place to place, so traditions are hard for us sometimes. With my parents we normally will go and see a movie and we usually tune into the 24 hour marathon of A Christmas Story. The past couple of years I've begun a couple of my own Christmas traditions like sending out handwritten Christmas cards and reading A Christmas Carol.
Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? | Mom usually lets me open one present on Christmas Even and then we do the rest on Christmas morning. I get more excited about my stocking! I love going to sleep with it empty and waking up with it full! No matter how old I get, that will always be exciting to me!
Most annoying thing about this time of year? | Probably just the traffic that is everywhere! I go out and wonder, "where did all these people come from!?"
What is the "silliest" family tradition you do or miss doing? | This definitely isn't a silly tradition, but a fun one. When I was younger and we still lived in Memphis, my aunt would give me and all my cousins movie theater coupon books. After we had dinner and opened presents all the cousins would go to the movies and just pile on top of each other like we were in our own living room. It was so fun!
What do you want for Christmas this year? | Books are always on my list, every year! This year I also said a subscription to Real Simple magazine and The Pioneer Woman's Cookware Set or really anything from her collection!
What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year? | I'm not sure, but just being with my parent's will be great. Since we are doing our normal Memphis Christmas, maybe this year we can begin some new traditions of our own.
Happy Christmas Eve!
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It's time for The Circle! One of my favorite monthly link-ups from my friend Kiki. This month is all about Christmas traditions and Christmas home tours. I can't wait to read through these posts. I don't have many Christmas traditions, but over the years I've been wanting to start some of my own. I've made it a point to start writing out Christmas cards, I watch Christmas movies, listen to Christmas music on the way to work, and for the past couple of years I've read "A Christmas Carol" every year. Being single during the holidays can be hard, but that's no reason to not create your own traditions! That's a whole other post. Today, I'm taking you around my small, but cute apartment living room. I have to admit, all the Christmas decorating was done by my roommate with the exception of the tree in my room and our front door. So, today I'm showcasing mostly her skills.
Our living room is really the most decorated room in our apartment. In the kitchen, we have some Christmas towels hanging, along with a Christmas oven mitt, and a dish full of cookies and candy. My room has a small Christmas tree decorated with Mardi Gras beads and a soon-to-be finished paper tree garland might be hung over my windows. And the apartment either always smells like Holiday Cheer from a candle or a Christmas Cottage from my Scentsy warmer and coffee. Happy Christmas! :)
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