Monday, August 26, 2013

back to school {hello junior year!}


Well, classes are back in full swing which is slightly exciting and overwhelming. I’m starting to fill my planner up with due dates and I can tell it’s going to be a busy few months. I also started back working at the early learning center on Thursday. I’m with the younger toddlers (1 1/2 – 2 yr. olds) this semester. It was the sweetest getting to see my older kids from last semester outside on the playground. They came running up to me to give big hugs. Two of my girls even ran back to get “one more hug and kiss on the cheek.” Talk about melting my heart.

Friday night was sweet. I went with my roomie and a couple of our friends to get frozen yogurt at our favorite spot for dinner and we just sat around chatting. Afterward, we decided to head over to Panera to get bagels for our “dessert”…we’re super healthy like that. Oh my. The cinnamon crunch bagel with cheesecake cream cheese is to die for (so good!). We came back to watch You’ve Got Mail (always a favorite).

I’m just feeling extra thankful for this new season. I can’t wait to share this semester’s adventures with y’all!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

mid-week randoms

I’m linking up with Megan today.


Classes start today. I kind of love the beginning of new semesters.


I’m still going through Kelly Minter’s Ruth study with Eleanor. On Sunday I read ahead slightly and was stopped by Ruth 4:14…”Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today...’” Wow! What a needed reminder that was!


Ben Rector has a new album out. Go buy it! I’m going to see him in Atlanta over my fall break and he’s seriously one of my favorites.


Getting to have dinner and hang out with my roomies from last year was the best.

photo (22)

Trying to get a group photo is harder than it looks…

photo (19)

We’re fun. Be our friends? ;)

photo (21)

photo (20)

Happy Wednesday, friends.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teaching is… {Guest Post}

Good morning, sweet friends! I am SO excited to share with you a guest post on a topic that gets me fired up…being a Christian teacher in public education. It is my hope that Amanda's insight will encourage and challenge you.

When Samantha asked me to do a guest post about my experiences teaching I was thrilled. I have never done one before and the content is definitely something that needs to be heard. I prayed hard about what to say and how to share.

First a little background…

I am Amanda and I blog at &food; blogging for me encompasses a lot. I love to write and to scrapbook so it’s somewhat that, but then I figured out that I do have a lot to share about teaching and my faith. I am now in my second year of teaching fifth grade and the school that I teach at is Title 1 [or for non-teachers, inner city- low income & low test scores]. Last year I really had no clue what I was getting myself into and this year my group would be your typical definition of inner city kids.

As Samantha has mentioned many times on her blog, teaching is so much more than being in the classroom. I actually wish my job was thinking of creative ways to deliver the content. Sadly, most days, lesson planning actually gets put on the back burner.

My job title is teacher but my job description cannot be put into so many words. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that most do not even see. There are meetings with other teachers to plan, trainings to make sure we are doing the right thing, testing to prove that we are teaching, paperwork again to prove we are teaching, meeting with parents to develop some sort of relationship (this is hard for me especially because most of the parents at my school hated school or just automatically assume a phone call is bad) so it’s my job to convince them to try to work with me for the benefit of their child. Then there is a lot that the government puts into place where depending on state/county can change, but politics will always be politics and I will just leave it at that.

Even though I just listed a huge list that could be discouraging, the one thing that I really do wish would change in our public school system was the view on Christ. I pray every morning on my way to school and every afternoon on my drive home for my students, the other teachers, and for myself to let God use me as his tool for that day. Instead of being able to teach about God’s love I have to show it.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity… Titus 2:7

In my experience, with some students, they have never heard [or been shown] how to treat others with kindness and love. God has me going to battle every single day in my classroom without even being allowed to mention Him. I have to break down walls of children who have seen more in their short life than I would have ever thought a child would have to experience. They don’t know any other way and it constantly breaks my heart. I am their confidant when no one else will listen. I have to be strong with some of the stories I hear. I have to hold it together and teach them how to love one another as Christ loved us. I have to love them when all they want is to push me farther away with an attitude you would not believe.

Teaching is so much harder than I thought it would be. Yet, with all that being said I don’t even know if I could do anything else. I know I am where I am supposed to be, with the population I am supposed to be with. [yes, I do have extra paperwork because I am at a title 1 school]. I don’t know if I could teach at a “better” school as some have told me so it would be easier.

God didn’t intend for it to be easy or he wouldn’t have sacrificed his only son for Love.

I know this didn’t make teaching look glamorous and happy as most view it as but I do love it. I love seeing a child grow and learn how to interact with someone they thought they could never get along with. I love that moment when they “get it” and a student knows they have something to be proud of. I love the hugs I receive as I load them on the buses. I love sharing my life with children in hopes that through me they will see the Lord and come to know Him and have a relationship with Him despite the fact that it is “against the rules” in public school.

I believe that I am a teacher for a reason. I know I am good at it. I know I have a lot to learn. I trust that God has a plan for my students.

{Amanda and a few of her students last year}

My respect for Amanda continues to grow more and more as I get to know her heart. Teaching is one of the hardest jobs and I am grateful for how she provided a realistic perspective while still conveying her passion. Be sure to visit her blog and send some encouragement her way!

Monday, August 12, 2013

I believe…


I believe…

in dancing for joy to your favorite songs.

in having a second cup of coffee.

that handwritten letters can be such sweet encouragement.

in giving compliments to strangers.

that sometimes you just have to go out driving country back roads.

that catching glimpses of the sunset never gets old.

in front porches with rocking chairs {simple joys}.

that classrooms should be places of joy.

that an intimate relationship with Christ is always life-giving.

Happy Monday, sweet ladies!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

mid-week randoms

I’m linking up with Megan for mid-week randoms.


I’m so ready to move back to school and start the fall semester. I’m really missing the sweet community I have there. So yesterday I made a day trip over to campus to see one of my friends who is back early for residential life training. Ahhh. I’ve just been incredibly blessed with rich friendships.

photo (16)


Eleanor and I have started a long distance Bible study going through Kelly Minter’s Ruth. Oh my goodness. I’ve read this story before without really digging into it, but not this time. I’m learning by studying Ruth’s commitment and faithfulness.


Have I mentioned before that I’m the biggest future teacher nerd? I attempted to do a little organizing of all the materials I’ve inherited and/or bought so far for my future classroom. Wowza! I inherited tons from my mom when she retired and I pick up odds and ends now.

This is only about half of the boxes…

photo (17)


This never gets old. It just doesn’t get any better than Ben Howard.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

loved & wanted

It’s 1am and I’m wide awake. My mom and I went to the drive-in movies and thought it was necessary to stop by Starbucks on the way. Espresso late at night means this girl will be up for quite a while. So what better time than now to do a little blogging and heart sharing.

Adoption has been on my mind a tremendous amount lately. From hearing stories at church to watching videos online to reading blogs of families, it seems to keep coming back to capture my attention. And I want to learn more. I discovered this blog last week and I couldn’t stop reading through all her old posts. This family lives the Gospel. Their hearts to love God and grow in Christ are so evident. Well, they adopted a little boy from Uganda and the mama has been writing a series on adoption & the gospel. Whoa. I don’t have words to say about it other than I’ve been challenged and encouraged. In her most recent post, she wrote about what their son has been rescued from because of his adoption and then compared it to us…

“we really have no idea the depth of what we've been rescued from when God chose us & called us His own. we were dead in our sin, He made us alive & we could still be lost & alone. as we understand the gospel more we understand what He rescued us from & that should draw us to worship!”

Her words reminded me again of divine adoption. And oh my goodness is it humbling and grace-filled to know that I’m adopted by the Lord.

“So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might REDEEM those who were under the Law, that we might receive the ADOPTION as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Sprit of His Son into our hearts, crying ‘Abba Father!’” –Galatians 4:3-6 (NASB)

We were born into bondage. We were trapped under the weight of our sin. We needed a Savior. We were like orphans in our prior condition. That’s when God sent His Son to rescue us. Jesus came and lifted that burden by dying for us. His death makes it possible for us to be redeemed! Even though redemption is MORE than enough, it doesn’t end there…we’re also adopted! You see, redemption leads to adoption. Ahhhh! What incomprehensible goodness that is. Not only are we loved fiercely, but we’re wanted. God wants relationship with us and because of Christ we can respond to His pursuit.

“You have called us loved and you have called us wanted…”


And just in case you’re wondering what 1am looks like for me…

photo (15)

One last thing, I can’t stop listening to I'll Always Love You by Phil Wickham. It’s been my background music while I write this and it makes me want to get up and dance around my bedroom.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hello, Goodbye {August!}

Woah! It’s August already. Summer has been so full of adventures, relaxation, and lessons learned. To start the last summer month, I’m linking up with Allison from Nestful of Love to say goodbye to a few things and hello to what August brings!

Hello junior year, Goodbye sophomore year.

photo (11)From the last day of sophomore year.

Hello busy school days, Goodbye carefree summer days.

Hello toddlers, Goodbye preschoolers {I work at an early learning center}.

photo (12)A little finger painting with my preschoolers last semester.

Hello apartment living, Goodbye mountain home.

Hello running on campus, Goodbye running back roads.

photo (13)One of the back roads where I live {love them!}.

Happy August, friends! Here’s to new adventures.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

a summer night

We were invited to pick blueberries out in the country at a sweet older couple’s house this past Sunday. Fresh blueberries are a treasure so we gladly accepted the invitation. We drove on some of my favorite back roads in the area on the way to their house. There were roses upon roses. A small sunflower patch. Rows of corn.  Enough blueberry bushes to feed an army.






It was one of those sweet summer nights in the country. The older couple talked about how they met on the school bus as kids. We talked about teaching and college. My parents swapped recipes. We sat around eating watermelon that dripped sweet stickiness all down my arms. We left with enough blueberries to keep us having pancakes, muffins, bread, etc. for weeks to come. I’m thankful for the simple joy of summer nights.

Friday, July 26, 2013

letter day

Dear summer mornings,

As ready as I am to start the fall semester, I’m going to miss you. Waking up slowly, drinking coffee on the porch, not having to rush off to class, etc. You’ve held such sweet moments with Jesus…I’m always learning and growing.

photo (10)


I just bought tickets to see you live in Atlanta over fall break with my best friend. YES! Janice and I dance and sing to your music like we’re crazy fools so get ready…

Dear Janice,

Getting to finally look through all your wedding photos was the absolute best. I stayed up way too late scrolling through every single one. You were a gorgeous bride! I also found a few photos that highlight our crazy dancing…

I about died laughing when I saw this one. Watch out world! ;)


I’m the bridesmaid on the right in both pictures. I had SO much fun that night!

js3Photo credit: Jarmon Photography

Dear Eleanor {Lilac & Anchor},

Thank you so much for reaching out to connect with me. I adore building friendships with other bloggers. Can’t wait to start studying the book of Ruth together very soon! Virtual coffee dates are so sweet.

Dear country roads,

Sometimes I just have to get out and go driving on my own. Windows rolled down and music turned up. I don’t think I could ever get tired of exploring.


Happy Friday, sweet ladies.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

friendship & sisterhood

Praying over Janice before her wedding …one of the sweetest moments of our friendship.

Yesterday afternoon I had a facetime date with one of my dear friends, Ketura. Over the summer we’ve made it a priority to have regular facetime dates and I’m so thankful for that. Her accountability challenges me and her pure heart for God spurs me on. Later on in the afternoon, I was able to have a skype date with one of my best friends, Janice. Even though she was just here to visit a couple of weeks ago, we talked and laughed to catch up on the past two weeks. Like Ketura, she challenges and encourages me constantly. We can be totally silly together and at other times have such meaningful conversation. These friendships were orchestrated by Christ and have remained rooted in Him.

After talking with these two girls, it got me thinking about friendship. More specifically about godly friendships that are really more like a sisterhood. I can truly say that having a few godly friends has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. These girls have pushed me to know Christ more. They have encouraged me when I’m discouraged. They have listened to me share my heart. They have prayed with me and for me. They have talked with me about Jesus. They have worshipped God with me. They have kept me accountable. They have pointed me to Christ always. These deep friendships take effort and intention (especially since two of my best friends live in a different state), but they are so worth it. I want to encourage you to invest in the friendships in your life…

plan skype and/or facetime dates

send encouraging texts

write handwritten letters

have coffee dates

pray specifically for each other

pray with each other

talk about what you’re learning in the Word

always point back to Christ

I’m just so grateful to have Christ-centered friendships. They are absolutely worth the investment. So I encourage you to be intentional with the girls you’ve been blessed with.

And just because one wedding photo wasn’t enough…

js19Photo credit: Jarmon Photography

Monday, July 22, 2013

weekend adventures

If you spend enough time around me you’ll know that my love for the mountains runs deep. I’m so thankful to be able to get out and just explore. Here are a few snapshots of this weekend’s adventures…

My mom’s best friend came up to visit with one of her sons. So we hopped in the car to go exploring and hiking {of course}. Love these adventures.


Hiked to a waterfall…the sun was shining so brightly on the water at one point.



Went swimming at the Ocoee river.



We also went to the drive-in movies to see Despicable Me 2. The drive-in is quickly becoming one of my favorite things. And catching glimpses of the sunset as we waited was majestic. It was one of those moments where you just whisper, “Wow Jesus…thank You."


Saturday night I went four wheeler riding with my dad {a little wind blown but happy!}. We stopped by our neighbors on the way home to chat. The sun was starting to set and the breeze felt so nice. We walked around their small farm to see the animals and they made sure we left with fresh corn, tomatoes, and cucumber.

photo (7)


Here’s to more adventures this week! Get out and explore, friends.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

one thousand gifts

photo (6){Exploring near my house}

“discover joy even in the here and now…” –Ann Voskamp

back roads {they get me every single time}

letters in the mail from sweet friends

fresh Georgia peaches {yum!}

a back porch

Keith Urban on the radio

the sound of waterfalls

messy ponytails

laughing with my best friend until our sides hurt

hiking in the middle of nowhere

summer mornings

Happy Thursday, friends!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

a few happy things

I’m sitting in a local coffee shop right now and I’m in one of those overly joyful and can’t stop smiling moods. It’s a combination of the almond joy mocha I’m enjoying and the excitement I have for the fall semester.

Some happy {and very random} thoughts:

1. I finally sat down to check my school email to discover that my financial aid was processed {hooray for student loans and an unexpected scholarship!}. I also checked my grades and I have a pretty rockin’ GPA after last semester. So thankful for that!

2. I work at the early learning center on campus and my director sent out the schedule for the fall semester and I was blessed with the perfect schedule. I’ll be spending my Tuesday and Thursday afternoons with the 1-2 year olds class. I’m excited to get to know a new group of sweet babies!

3. Last week was one of my favorites of summer. Such a joy to have one of my best friends here! We did lots of exploring and here are a few more photos from one of our hiking trips…

photo (3)

photo (5)

photo (4)

4. I wrote a post on Monday about how to pray for your future husband. Well my best friend pictured above {who happens to be married!} left a comment that I found SO helpful! Be encouraged too my single ladies…

“I love love this. It is SO important to pray for your future husband. I've only been married for a short time, but I have learned a few things I wish someone had told me. I know how much you want your guy, you're prince charming, your forever to start now. But if you don't take any piece of advice, please hear this. DON'T SETTLE/ lower your standards. Don't get me wrong, your husband will never be perfect, but so many girls today don't believe they deserve or can find a real man who will treat them the way they deserve. God has created that man exactly for you, who will complement you and make you feel like a princess. I know its hard, (patience is definitely a virtue;) ), but please wait for His timing to bring your man to you. When you try and find someone on your own, without God, you end up settling for what you think you deserve. Pray for him, wait for him, and enjoy this time with God to grow. Have fun and go on adventures while you wait! Hope you can be encouraged that God knows you and what you need.” –Janice

5. I’m so thankful for friendships that are really more like a sisterhood. You share your hearts. You share your struggles and triumphs. You encourage each other. You can totally be yourself with each other and often that includes lots of goofiness.

Wishing you all joy today!

Monday, July 15, 2013

how to pray for your future husband

futurehusbandI keep a journal of letters to my future husband that I’ll give specially to him once we’re married.

I’ve had thoughts of writing this post ever since I read Nicole’s post on how to pray for your boyfriend last year. Even though I’m single, I know there is such value in praying for my man before I even know his name. I had the joy of having one of my best friends here with me last week and I was reminded again how prayers for your future husband are never wasted. You see, she married her best friend and man of her prayers this past January. I know that she would wholeheartedly say that praying for her husband while she was single started to build the foundation for a Christ centered marriage long before they said, “I do.”

As we talked about everything from singleness and dating to marriage and sex, one thing stood out to me: God is faithful. I’ve seen time and time again when you trust God with your love story, it’s always worth the wait. Even though I long to meet my handsome future husband already, I can (and will) purposefully use the time I have now. It says in Proverbs 31:12, “she does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” That means the days before you even meet him! One way I can bring him good now is by praying for him.

Here are the main things I pray for:

1. Pray for his relationship with Christ.

His relationship with Christ is the very foundation and what my other prayers for him rest upon. The Bible warns about being unequally yoked in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” But even more so than him just being a Christian, I pray that he would continually be growing in Christ. I love how Colossians 2:6-7 says, “as you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith…” I pray that he would be a man that seeks Christ daily…that his heart would be to know the Lord more. In the time before we meet (and all the days after), I pray that he will spend time studying the Word, sitting in God’s presence, praying, etc. There’s a huge difference in a man who only knows about the Lord and one who genuinely seeks to know Him intimately. I pray for my future husband to be like the latter.

2. Pray for his character.

Oh I pray that he would have teachable spirit. As it says in Isaiah 64:8, “But now, O Lord, ‘Thou are our Father, We are the clay, and Thou our potter…” A man that recognizes he is on a lifelong journey of growth is a man of character. I pray that he truly would be the man God has called him to be. The way our culture defines “man” is totally different than what scripture teaches. I pray that as a man his masculinity will be modeled after Christ.

3. Pray for his relationships with others.

I primarily focus on his friendships and family, but it’s certainly not limited to those. We were created for relationship and I pray that his would be a source of strength and encouragement. For his friendships with other guys to keep him accountable and point him back to Christ. Like wise, I pray that he would speak truth and be that kind of friend. For his family relationships, I pray that they would be healthy. As he interacts with others, may he be an example of a Christ follower.

4. Pray for him to grow as a servant and as a leader.

One day he will take on the role and responsibility of being the leader. A godly husband is called to be the head of his wife in the same way Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23). It’s important that he is growing and maturing as a leader before we’re married. I pray that he would be intentional about developing leadership skills in preparation for the role he will take on as husband. I also pray that his heart would be to serve. The leader that God calls a husband to be has a servant’s heart.

Of course my prayers aren’t limited to what I listed above, but I consider those to be the foundation. To my single ladies, how do you pray for your future husband? To my married friends, do you have any advice?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mountain Adventures

Good morning, friends! This week has been one of my absolute favorites of summer so far. One of my best friends, Janice, traveled up from Florida to spend the week up here and we’ve been going on lots of mountain adventures. We’ve been talking, laughing, singing along to the radio, getting lost, exploring, hiking, dreaming, and so much more this week. Here’s a glimpse into some of our adventures…

Lots of mountain driving…





Old fashioned adventure at the drive-in. So fun!



Now for the best adventure day…we drove up into the mountains on these looming (and majestic!) forest roads. They wind slowly up the mountain and we made our way to an isolated hiking trail.





We hiked 2-3 miles before making it to a river that we had to cross…it doesn’t look like it but the water was up to our knees. It was definitely an adventure to trek across!


We kept hiking until finding a spot to rest along the river. It was just so peaceful.   Overall, we hiked 9 miles. We definitely had sore legs and happy hearts.



After we made it back to the car we continued to climb up the winding roads. There’s a spot at the tip top where the leaves clear out and you can see mountains for miles. The picture doesn’t do the view justice…you feel like you’re high in the clouds. 


Janice’s husband is in the Navy and he’s currently in Japan. So she’s been Skyping him every day and last night I joined in the fun. Hi Stuart!


We’ve been ending most nights by watching movies, backing cookies, dancing like goofballs, and laughing until our sides hurt.


We’re off on another hiking adventure today! I’m just so thankful for this friendship.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...