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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

Monday, July 8, 2013

20 years!

Snapshot_20130706_8A little photo love from the coffee shop I wrote this in on Saturday.

Good morning, sweet friends! It’s my 20th birthday and I have such a fun week ahead of adventures and exploring. One of my best friends is coming up from Florida to spend the week with me {wahoo!}. But before she arrives I thought I would share 20 things I’ve learned about myself. It’s a mixture of serious and silly… :)

1. I love, love, love the mountains.

2. I never understood why my mom loved coffee so much growing up {I thought it was gross}, but I have coffee everyday now. It’s the best.

3. Handwritten letters are a love language of mine. Snail mail forever.

4. Sometimes the dream of mine to teach overseas scares the heck out of me. Ahhh.

5. I plan more for my future classroom than I do for my one day wedding.

6. I treasure intentional friendships.

7. One way to my heart is through peanut butter M&Ms or Raisinettes.

8. When I like a song, I will literally listen to it over and over again until I get tired of it.

9. Moving away to a college where I didn’t know anybody was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

10. Thank goodness for the Google Maps app…I struggle big time with maps and directions.

11. I’d definitely choose staying in for the night over going out 75% of the time.

12. I pray for my future husband and even though this season of singleness can be hard, I’m thankful for it. There’s purpose and preparation in this time before I meet my handsome best friend.

13. Driving with the windows down and music turned up is one of my favorite things.

14. Friendships that are rooted in Christ are the absolute best. It means the world to have some girls in my life that I can get excited about Jesus with. We can talk and encourage when struggling. We have the same foundation and that makes such a difference.

16. Someday when I do meet my handsome best friend and we get married…I hope we choose to go somewhere other than the beach for our honeymoon. Random I know. ;)

17. I love getting told I look like my mom and trust me when I say I get told that everywhere I go. Ever since I was little I’ve thought my mom is gorgeous.

18. I’m an encourager and I hope to always use that genuinely to uplift others.

19. I’d choose lipstick over mascara if I had to pick. This girl loves lip products…they’re an essential in my opinion.

20. I notice such a difference in my day when I spent time with God compared to the days where I rush through my quiet times. Oh how I need Him.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Where my heart is…

IMG_2228The first group of kids to capture my heart nearly three years ago.

Two summers from now I’ll hopefully be prepping and planning for my very own classroom. Woah! The classroom that will become a home away from home for a group of students. The privilege and responsibility of that is huge and is something that’s always in the back of my mind as I get closer to that classroom. I have no idea where I’ll be teaching. America or overseas? Private or public education? I just know that my heart is to be in the classroom. My passion for elementary education surprises me sometimes because I can truly say that I never dreamed of being a teacher. Now I can’t imagine pursuing anything else.

But there are moments when I question whether my passion for teaching will stand strong once I’m finally in my classroom and I have 20 faces looking to me day after day. As the daughter of a teacher, I know fully that teaching is so much more than just having a group of students sitting around your rocking chair during story time…

You have a group of very diverse students dependent on you. Students with a wide range of abilities and learning styles. Students that each come with very individual background stories and specific needs. The strengths and weaknesses represented in your classroom are limitless. Not to mention the disabilities that can be present and as the teacher you’re responsible for differentiating instruction so that every child learns the material. There are Common Core Standards that you’re responsible for having your kids master because they will be tested. And you will be judged as a teacher by how well or poorly your kids perform. Then there’s behavior management which is so critical and can be oh so challenging. You have some students that teach you more about patience than you ever wanted to learn.

On top of the teaching, you have faculty meetings, grade level meetings, bus duties, etc. There are days of professional development. You may sponsor a school club or be asked to organize the Relay for Life team at your school. You work to communicate with parents by making phone calls, setting up conferences, responding to emails. You work with the special education teachers to figure out ways to best help the students that you share. You’re an advocate for your students because sometimes you’re they only one willing to do so. As a teacher, you willingly spend your own money to make your classroom the best it can be. You spend your own money to buy supplies and activities to hopefully make learning fun and tangible for your kids. You get to school early to prep for the day and are often there long after the kids have gone home. You spend your Sunday evenings planning and weeknights grading. You wake up in the middle of the night worried about your student that doesn’t come from the happiest home.

I’ve barely scratched the surface but thoughts like these are what fill my mind as I work toward becoming a teacher. Even knowing the responsibilities that come with being a teacher, I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be. It will be one of the hardest things I ever do, but my heart is to be in the classroom. My heart is for the kids that will enter our classroom day after day. It’s my passion to keep growing and learning so one day I can be the kind of teacher they deserve.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


sustained.{Holding on to this truth.}

Good morning, sweet girls! Even though I haven’t been around much in the blogging world lately, I want to share a little of my heart with you this morning. I want to be honest and vulnerable by sharing how I’ve been struggling lately. The last few days it’s been a battle to choose joy. Instead of speaking life, I’ve been speaking death. I’ve let discouragement creep in and turn my gaze away from Christ. Do you remember when I wrote about singleness & struggles at the beginning of the year? Well, in a way I’ve let that struggle return.

Yesterday evening I went out to run with the intention of pounding this discouragement into the ground. With my earphones in and the music turned up I took off running…30 minutes later I found a spot on the side of the river to cool down. I pulled my earphones out and just started to pray. There weren’t many people around and I sat there telling God my heart (although He already knew). There was no hiding that I was sad; that I had given into doubt and anxiousness. I wish I could say that I came home with a totally renewed heart, but I was still holding on to the discouragement. I pulled out my journal when I got home and flipped back to an entry written earlier this year that stopped me immediately. I wanted to share that with you:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Talking about Abraham: “His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.” –Galatian 4:23

“And You fulfill Your promises. When Abraham took issues into his own hands it all became skewed because of manipulation. Ishmael was born in an ordinary way and then division followed. BUT when Sarah and Abraham finally conceived it was the result of a promise. It was Your plan all along. You see the entire narrative and we only see how we are struggling and feeling inadequate in this moment. We only see the circumstances in the “right now,” but You see and know it all. When we see the impossibility of a promise “forgotten,” You see the fulfillment and value in the waiting season. Help me to cling to the promise instead of settling for the ordinary.”

I don’t have many more words to say other than I’m on a constant journey of learning to surrender. I only see what’s in front of me, but He sees the entire story. When doors are shut now it’s because He knows that there’s a far better door ahead that WILL be opened at just the right time. That’s something I’m daily learning.

Monday, July 1, 2013

{Summer Favorites}

As I type this I’m sitting on the front porch with country music turned up. I’ve officially been on summer break for two months already…what?! The days are flying by but I’m soaking up every single one of them. When I’m not in school in Tennessee, I come home to western North Carolina. We actually live right in the corner where North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia meet. I’ve grown to love this area more and more and I wanted to share a few of my favorite summer memories so far…

Hiking with this energetic puppy (she loves it).


Spending afternoons at the lake.


Running in my neighborhood with Eric Church cranked up.


Intentional friendships (especially thankful for this girl).


Back roads.


Coffee and pajamas = lazy summer mornings.


Attempting to take pictures before church…



Finally a decent one…haha.


Some favorites not pictured:

Eating coconut popsicles every single day

Sleeping in


Encouraging conversations

Riding in the mountains

This summer has been so so good and it’s only halfway over. I’ve fallen more in love with the area that I live in and I’ve been spending as much time outside as possible. Even though I grew up in Florida, I don’t think I can ever see myself moving back. The mountains are my favorite and I’m thankful for this summer here. Next week, one of my best friends is coming up to visit and spend my birthday with me. I can’t wait to show her around this area that has captured my heart. Here’s to even more summer favorites and memories!

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