Saturday, July 19, 2014

five for friday…on saturday


Just a whole bunch of randoms from the past week…



I spent the week in Raleigh, North Carolina helping a friend (Beth) in her very first kindergarten classroom. It was the sweetest. Beth discovered my blog nearly two years ago and sent me an email to introduce herself. We’ve exchanged too many emails to count since then and a handful of handwritten letters. She has been a steady source of encouragement so I jumped at the chance to finally meet in person and to spend time working in her classroom. We had the best time and I know her 19 kindergartners are gong to be blessed to have such a passionate, creative, and invested teacher.


I finally came up with a name for my soon-to-be teacher blog! It may be a little cheesy, but I’m loving “Field Trips and Paper Clips.” I plan to really get it going by the time I start student teaching in January. Stay tuned for updates! ;)


afterlight (14){Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina}

Driving through western North Carolina on the way to Beth’s couldn’t have been any prettier! Mountain drives will always be my favorite.


Falling asleep to the sound of rain is the absolute best. It’s been raining almost every night for the past week and it’s been so calming.



I can’t stop listening to Johnnyswim. Y’all, this husband and wife duo can’t be beat. Check them out and enjoy!

Happy weekend, friends!

Friday, July 11, 2014

{five for friday}

I can't stop listening to Mandolin Rain by Josh Kelley. It's the best country summer song to sing along to while out exploring or driving back roads.
Organizing the children's books and supplies {this isn't even half of it!} I've collected over the years.

Speaking of teaching, I'm making plans to start a my own teacher blog to use during student teaching and into my first year in my classroom. I've been faithfully reading teacher blogs for the past four years and I've been so inspired by the creativity of teachers around the country. I'm brainstorming blog names to try and come up with something that truly represents me as a {future} educator.
I'm roadtrippin' to Raleigh, North Carolina next week to help a sweet friend set up her very first KINDERGARTEN classroom. Y'all I feel like a kid at Christmas! I'm so excited to spend the week talking about all things teaching, Jesus, life, etc.

I started reading the Harry Potter series for the first time ever. Ohmygoodness. I've been missing out all these years! I can't put the books down.
 Skype dates are my favorite. So thankful technology has allowed me to connect with so many other girls who encourage me to keep chasing after Jesus.

Have a joy-filled weekend, friends!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

declaring what we love

“one of the ways we grow up is by declaring what we love" -Shauna Niequist

It's my 21st birthday and this quote from Shauna Niequist has been on mind the past couple of days. I thought one of the sweetest ways to celebrate my birthday was to be intentional about documenting where I am in this season. I want to declare what I love and what fires me up to inspire to keep chasing after these during the next year.
I love quiet mornings with Jesus.
I love sitting on the front porch listening to the creek. Hearing the wind rustle the leaves. Simply being still.
I love connecting with other girls who challenge and encourage me. Genuine conversation is my favorite.
I love being in the classroom and working with kids. That's my element.

I love connecting with teachers and other future teachers. Their passion and creativity ignites something in me.
I love dancing silly and laughing and singing along to the radio.

I love living in the mountains.
I love praying for my future husband.
I love hearing and learning more about adoption. It gets me going in a good way.
I love hearing about other people's dreams and passions.

Wishing you the sweetest day, friends!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Goals

Hello again! I feel like I need to reintroduce myself...I'm Samantha and I'm no good at blogging consistently. I've let so many things go undocumented and that's okay, but I'm wanting to get back to sharing pieces and parts of my heart and life on this little space. So here's to fresh starts! I decided at the beginning of the year that I would do monthly goals to be more intentional about making things happen. Although I kept myself accountable for the first four months, I let May and June pass by without even writing down a single goal. So I'm jumping back into it wholeheartedly with the start of July!

Now for my goals...

1. Participate in the blog Bible study .

 I'm so stinkin' excited to work through Lord, I Want to Know You: A Devotional Study on the Names of God. Not only will I be able to learn from other girls online, I'm going to have weekly Skype dates with a sweet friend from high school to have a virtual Bible study/coffee date. I'm praying that we're able to encourage and challenge each other as we dig into this study together.

2. Send six letters snail mail style.

I have such a love for sending handwritten letters and connecting with other girls through this old fashion form of correspondence. I've gotten behind the past two months, but I intend to get caught up during July!

3. Blog 2-3 times a week.

I missing sharing what I'm learning and what's going on in my life, and I plan to get back to documenting here. I love looking back over my posts from the past two years because this small space is sort of like my online journal. I'm able to tangibly see how the Lord is working in my life.

4. Starting putting together a teacher portfolio, brochure, resume.

Y'all, I will be getting ready for my first year teaching this time next summer! So crazy that my dream of teaching and  being in the classroom is getting SO close to becoming reality. I'm reading different teacher books this summer (Whole Brain Teaching, Daily Five, Math Work Stations, etc.), but I also want to begin the process of getting a portfolio and resume together. I know I will be adding to them as I student teach so they certainly won't be finished products. I just need to start prepping for the job application and interview process as early as I can.

5. Commit to praying for others everyday.

I want to intentional about lifting up others who I have told that I would be praying for them. I'm going to keep an index card in my journal filled with specific prayer requests written on it to make sure that I am diligent about this practice.

Happy July, sweet friends!

Monday, March 31, 2014

March & April Goals

As I shared at the beginning of January, I’ve decided to have monthly goals this year in order to truly be diligent about making things happen. Before moving into April I want to revisit my March goals to keep myself accountable…

1. Limit my trips to Starbucks.

Success! I only stopped at Starbucks twice and both times were while I was traveling over spring break.

2. Learn more about adoption.

Adoption has been on my heart for a while now. Every time I hear another story something within me gets excited and I want to learn more. I started to learn a little bit more this month. I watched Stuck, a documentary focusing on international adoption. I’m barely scratching the surface, but I’m slowing becoming more aware.

3. Road trip to Florida to see one of my best friends.

Oh goodness. This trip was the best! I’m so thankful for the time I got to spend just hanging out with one of my best friends and her hubby. They opened up their home to me and I felt so welcomed. We explored Jacksonville and St. Augustine. We talked about anything and everything. We chased sunsets. We baked cookies and made face masks. Ahhh. It was just too sweet. We’re already talking about them spending some time with me in the mountains this summer.

{Exploring St. Augustine}

{Chasing Jacksonville sunsets}

4. Be intentional about giving at least one compliment every day.

This one is a work in progress.

5. Learn more about slavery.

There are 27 million men, women, and children still trapped in slavery today and that just in not okay. I need to become more informed about what’s actually going on. And I know that I need to be intentional about praying specifically every day. I’m not really sure about what this goal is going to look like. I just know that because I have been set free by Jesus I have a responsibility. You can learn more about the End It Movement as well.

I was not as intentional about this goal as I should have been. I did pray specifically, but it was not every day. I am still very unknowledgeable which is not okay.


Now for April’s goals…

1. Eat more fresh fruits and veggies.

I notice such a difference in my skin and energy when I’m intentional about my diet. I’ll often leave fruits and veggies out of my meals which is no good. I plan on making sure to include lots of fruits and veggies in my diet this month.

2. Go exploring on mountain adventures.

I’m going home two weekends this month and I’m bringing friends each time. So fun! When I’m not at school in southeastern Tennessee, I go home to western North Carolina. I actually live right in the corner of North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee so it’s a gorgeous area. I plan to explore new places and old favorites with some of my best girls.

3. Start making it a priority to manage my checking account with a register.

I’m awful when it comes to keeping track of my receipts. I never write it down when I use my debit card…I just keep track online to make sure I don’t overdraft. My mom convinced me that I need to start keeping a register as good practice. So I’m making it a priority from now on so I’ll be in the habit when I have a greater amount of money to budget in the future.  

4. Remind myself to speak life.

Words are powerful and I need to be using mine wisely. I need to think before speaking. I need to remind myself to SPEAK LIFE. When you’re intentional about speaking life, it’ll be hard to complain or speak negatively.

Speak Life! Love this song! Have I said that yet? Baha!! :){Source unknown}

5. No social media after 11PM.

I had this goal in January and it was so good to “shut down” after 11. I don’t need to be staring at a screen before I go to bed. However, after January ended I slowly started to ease back into my old routine of checking Instagram/Facebook before falling asleep. Without having it as an ongoing goal, I was not purposeful to keep the habit up. So I’m bringing this goal back for April.

Happy April, friends!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Creator, not Duplicator & Comparing Stories

Catching the sunset at Jacksonville beach over the weekend. I love watercolor sunsets.

I’m sitting in a corner at Panera in Jacksonville, Florida as I write this. It’s spring break and I came down to see my best friend, Janice, and her hubby. Janice is in class for a few hours so I snuck away with intentions of writing a little and exploring Jacksonville on my own. I’m having the sweetest time adventuring and simply getting to hang out. We go exploring. We bake cookies and dance in the kitchen. We go for beach walks. We talk about anything and everything. We have genuine conversation and I love it. I never imagined when we met in gym class in sixth grade that we would still be building our friendship ten years later. I’ve seen her romance with Stuart, her hubby, grow deep roots. I’ve see how excited she gets when we talk about kids and the future. I could go on and on.

I really want to share my heart and what I’m learning from the Lord right now. Being here has been such a fresh reminder that the Lord is faithful and that Janice’s story is not my story. I love seeing the way that Stuart looks at Jan. I have never seen her as happy as she is when they are together. They laugh and kiss and hold hands in the car. They know each other fully and love each other completely. They are best friends. But above all their marriage is rooted in Christ.

I remember when Janice and I first read When God Writes Your Love Story in tenth grade. We sat on her bedroom floor talking and dreaming. We started to realize just how much the Lord cared about this area of our lives. God isn’t stoic, distant, or detached…He is anything but! We started to realize that the Lord is in the details of all things. He has better stories for us than we could imagine ourselves. We started to dream about the men who would one day become our husbands. We didn’t have to settle. We also started to realize just how intimate our relationships with Jesus could be. The Lord used When God Writes Your Love Story to reveal just how much more He pursues me in a fresh way. Although I had believed in Jesus before that, I hadn’t really thought about how close and real He was. I could and do have a vibrant and life-giving relationship with the Creator of all things.

That revolutionized the way I approached spending time with Jesus. My identity is deeply rooted in Christ. I am a sinner in desperate need of the grace that He covers me in. I am messy and broken, but yet He still pursues me. This continues to draw me to want to know Him more. This year especially I’ve pressed into Jesus in a fresh way. I’ve been genuinely thankful for this season of singleness. My heart hasn’t been distracted and I’ve been given this time to be reminded over and over again that my roots need to be deep in Him. I’ll never be prepared for a future relationship with my man if I’m unaware that my security and significance can only come from being in Christ.

But then I came down to see Janice and Stuart and if I’m being honest I got a little jealous of what they have. I started to wonder when will I meet my man. When will I have someone to grab my hand as we’re walking down the sidewalk. When will I have someone pursue me with intention and honor all the days before and after marriage. When will I get to do everyday life with my best friend. I know that marriage is tough and challenging in a way that I can’t picture now, but I know that it is sacred and beautiful.

It may sound crazy, but I got jealous that I don’t have what Janice has yet. I’ve flashed back to dreaming in tenth grade of the stories that the Lord would orchestrate one day. Now I’ve seen each stage of Janice and Stuart’s relationship grow and develop. I have seen just how faithful the Lord has been with every aspect of their relationship from friendship to dating to engagement and now in marriage.

Sometimes singleness is just plain hard. Especially when I start to compare my story to others and take my eyes off of Jesus. Then I read a quote by Francis Chan that convicted me in the best way possible.

“Be careful not to turn others’ lives into the mold for our own…We have a God who is a Creator, NOT a duplicator.”

Y’all I needed to read that. My story is not Janice’s story and that is a good thing. My story is uniquely my own. The Lord is far too creative to script duplicate stories for anybody. And my goodness I am thankful for that! The Lord is Creator and He is faithful in all of the details. Janice’s story is uniquely scripted just for her by the Lord who loves and pursues her passionately. My story is uniquely scripted for me by the Lord who loves and pursues me passionately.

In Isaiah 43:19, the Lord says “Behold, I am doing a new thing!'” He doesn’t say that He is recycling something old, but that He is doing a NEW thing. That means we each have our own stories tailored just for us by the Lord of infinite creativity!

I am so thankful for how patient Jesus is with me. He is always growing me in the midst of my story. He is faithful. He is close and intimate. I’m beyond excited to meet my man some day soon and see how the Lord scripts every detail; he will be one of my biggest blessings and our marriage one of my greatest joys. BUT the Lord is reminding me that the absolute greatest part of my story is my relationship with Christ. He is the foundation of my story.

My heart pretty much just spilled out on the page as I sit here in Panera watching people come and go. May it remind you that the Lord is Creator and not a duplicator. Happy Monday, sweet friends!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February & March Goals

As I shared at the beginning of January, I’ve decided to have monthly goals this year in order to truly be diligent about making things happen. Before moving into March I want to revisit my February goals to keep myself accountable…

1. Read two books.

I finished reading Jesus + Nothing = Everything and it was so full of truth. I kept coming back to how the gospel continues to impact every aspect of my everyday life. I started to read A Million Little Ways, but I’m only a chapter in. So I only half accomplished this goal

2. Go hiking.

This didn’t happen. I had planned to take a few friends home with me to the mountains over Valentine’s weekend, but we got snowed in at school. So hiking didn’t happen, but we are definitely making plans to go on a different weekend.

3. Be intentional about living in and embracing the ordinary moments.

I’m growing more in this habit daily so I would say this is an ongoing accomplishment

4. Have at least four coffee dates with friends.

I wanted to spend time with my girls and be intentional about continually developing rich friendships. I had exactly four dates although only one of them was actually over coffee (one was a lunch date and the other two were frozen yogurt dates). So this goal was accomplished.

5. Pray for my future hubby and marriage consistently.

I can’t say that I’ve prayed for him every single day, but I have been consistently praying for him. I’ve also started to pray more specifically and to pray scripture over him. This is a habit that I always will be growing in.


Now for March goals…

1. Limit my trips to Starbucks.

I love coffee. I make coffee everyday at home, but I can also easily spend an additional $30 at Starbucks each month. I need to be more aware of where I’m spending money and Starbucks is definitely not a need. With the money that I would normally spend on Starbucks, I bought coffee from Just Love Coffee Roasters. When you purchase this particular coffee blend, 100% of the proceeds go to support America World Adoption. Making a difference starts with the small things.

2. Learn more about adoption.

Adoption has been on my heart for a while now. Every time I hear another story something within me gets excited and I want to learn more. I want to become more knowledgeable. I plan to read Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care. There is also an adoptive mother at the preschool that I work at…I plan to ask her if she would be willing to have lunch with me. I want to hear her family’s story with all the challenges and triumphs of adopting.

3. Road trip to Florida to see one of my best friends.

Hello spring break! I’m driving down to Jacksonville to spend time with one of my best friends, Janice, and her hubby. I’m excited for lots of adventures and laidback moments.

4. Be intentional about giving at least one compliment every day.

There have been so many times when I’ve thought something, but then I didn’t tell the person. I’ve let moments pass where I could encourage someone. Words can be life-giving and I plan to be intentional about giving genuine compliments.

5. Learn more about slavery.

There are 27 million men, women, and children still trapped in slavery today and that just in not okay. I need to become more informed about what’s actually going on. And I know that I need to be intentional about praying specifically every day. I’m not really sure about what this goal is going to look like. I just know that because I have been set free by Jesus I have a responsibility. You can learn more about the End It Movement as well.

"The blood of Jesus covers every inch of my mind, soul, and body. Because I have been painted red by His blood, I go out to set others free..." -Christine Caine // It starts by raising awareness and shining a light on the fact that slavery still exists.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

life lately

Hello friends! I can’t seem to keep up with blogging, but that’s okay. My spring semester is in full swing and that plus work fills my weekdays. I’m trying to be purposeful in finding joy in the everyday so here’s a glimpse into what those days have looked like lately…

Friday nights with these two girls are one of my favorites. We cook dinner and bake yummy desserts. We take silly pictures. We talk and laugh. We study scripture and push each other to press more into Jesus. I’m just grateful that I get to do life with friends like this.

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I have the biggest love and appreciation for snail mail. I’m constantly in awe of how the Lord uses others to uplift and encourage me and I hope I’m being intentional about doing the same.

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Cozy nights spent inside with friends as the snow starts to fall.

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Cooking dinner and baking sweets on Valentine’s night. SO yummy.

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I walked out to my car on Monday to head to work and caught a glimpse of the sunrise. I just wanted to stop and whisper “thank You Jesus.” The colors faded fast and I kind of viewed this as a special gift just for me. I felt like the Lord was reminding me that He is real and near and intimate. I can’t think of a sweeter way to start a new week.

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I was able to get off campus on Wednesday to spend time with a friend. We sat on her back porch talking and drinking coffee. Ahhh. Evenings like that are perfection. And it was 70 degrees in Tennessee.

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Hope your weekend is full of relaxation and joy-filled moments!

Friday, January 31, 2014

January & February Goals

I’m not sure the source of this print, but I love it. I want to embrace each day with an excitement and expectation. There is joy in the ordinary!

As I shared at the beginning of the month, I’ve decided to have monthly goals this year in order to truly be diligent about making things happen. Before moving into February I want to revisit my January goals to keep myself accountable…

1. No social media after 11pm.

This goal was just what I needed. I had made such a habit of lying in bed and scrolling through Instagram for 20 to 30 minutes before falling asleep, and that’s not what I want to fill my thoughts every night. I plan to keep this habit of unplugging from social media after 11pm going strong in February.

2. Write down simple joys each day in my journal.

One of my favorite habits! Every day I write down two or three things to my list of 1,000 gifts. I’ve become so much more aware to the beauty in ordinary moments through this practice. I also plan to keep this up!

3. Send five letters snail mail style.

Handwritten letters and encouraging cards get me fired up. I met this goal by sending six during January. Yay!

4. Clean the entire house for my parents.

Mission accomplished. I loved being able to serve my parents in this small way and I know my mom appreciated it when she came home from being out-of-town.

5. Be intentional about speaking to store cashiers when checking out. {AKA say more than just “How are you? Good.”}

I didn’t succeed at this one every single time, but I always made it a priority to smile and make eye contact when checking out. I plan to continue working on being more intentional with this goal in the next month.

Now for my February goals…

1. Read two books.

I’m currently working through Jesus + Nothing = Everything and I would highly recommend it. I’m learning more about how the gospel continues to impact every aspect of my everyday life. Next on my list, is Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society. It focuses on having real and genuine relationships which is something that I want to continually be intentional about cultivating.

2. Go hiking.

I haven’t been since the fall and I miss it. I have a day planned with a few friends over Valentine’s weekend and I’m so excited for it.

3. Be intentional about living in and embracing the ordinary moments.

This builds on my habit of writing down the simple joys (AKA 1,000 gifts). There is so much beauty to be had in the ordinary and I don’t want to miss it.

4. Have at least four coffee dates with friends.

We don’t necessarily have to get coffee…lunch, frozen yogurt, dinner, etc. I want to spend time with my girls and continually develop rich friendships.

5. Pray for my future hubby and marriage consistently.

This is another things that gets me fired up! I want to honor him before we even meet and this is one way that I know I can do that. Although I miss him, I plan to live fully in this season of singleness. Instead of “pining” for him, I will use my time to lift him up. That is one way to pour into him and our future marriage before we ever even meet.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

lately & celebrating life

I’m just going to go ahead and jump right into this…

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Friday night. Such a sweet and fun night! It was rather chilly so I went grocery shopping with a couple of friends and we got ingredients to make homemade pizza. Yum! We made pizza while talking about anything and everything. Jesus, teaching, gratitude and 1,000 gifts, families, and so much more. We had the best time and ended the night playing a card game that got pretty intense. I love laidback nights spent talking and laughing with my girls. Be intentional in your friendships!

photo (41)One of my favorite old photos.

Monday night. My grandpa passed away. He left his earthly body that was failing him and traded it in for a NEW and GLORIOUS body in heaven. It seriously overwhelms me when I think about the fact that he’s now fully healed and with Jesus right now. There’s such beauty and joy in that. I’m so thankful for my roomie because she sat with me after I got the news and let me share memory after memory. Also, one of the last coherent conversations I had with him, he told me how proud he was and that he loved me. Y’all I’ll always be grateful for that.

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Tuesday morning. A reminder that His pursuit is relentless and I don’t want to become numb to that. It was also such a sweet reminder that my grandpa is experiencing the fullness of Christ’s love in an unimaginable way.

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Tuesday afternoon. It started snowing! It was magical and everybody on campus seemed to be extra energized. It was gorgeous to see campus blanketed in white and students out enjoying it.

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Wednesday morning. I work at the early learning center on campus and I usually would get there at 7:15am. BUT there was a two hour delay and then I had a snowy view from my classroom. So cold but so beautiful. Once I left work, I checked my email to see that all of my afternoon classes had been cancelled. Hooray! I was perfectly content with a cozy afternoon free of classes.

I’m so thankful for everyday moments. There really is beauty in the ordinary and I’m embracing the here and now.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

our story of redemption

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Good morning, sweet friends! Classes and work are back in full swing for the spring semester and I’m loving it. As I’m slowly figuring out my routine for this semester, I wanted to share with you the Bible reading plan that I’ve started this year. Last year, I read on Nicole's blog about how she had started to read the Bible chronologically. I was struck in the best way when she wrote, “The Bible is not just a book of random stories.  From the first page to the last, the Bible is Christ's story. The story of grace, mercy, and His glory.  From start to finish, it is about our redemption, our need of a savior.”

As I was thinking about what I wanted my quiet times to look like at the beginning of the year, I kept coming back to the truth of her words and committed to working through the Bible chronologically. I want to dig into the stories of the Old Testament and see them come to life. I want to learn and grow. I want to see how it all points to Christ.

I know it will take me longer than a year to work through, so I’m not setting any kind of timeline. I’m just planning on working through the Bible slowly and steadily. So far one theme that repeatedly stands out is that I'm messy, broken, and ordinary, but the Lord redeems and includes me in the story. That’s the sweetest.


If you’re interested in the chronological plan, you can find it here. I plan to write about what the Lord is teaching me, but I tend to use instagram mostly to share glimpses of what I’m learning. I’m excited to continue digging more into His word through this study!

Do you have a Bible study that you’re currently working through? I’m interested to know how you study the word!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

life lately

Good morning, friends! I’m slowly easing into this Saturday. I’m on my second cup of coffee and I still have my pajamas on. The past week has held some of the sweetest everyday moments. Laughing so much at work. Handwritten letters in the mail. Genuine conversation over lunch. Making plans to spend spring break with my best friend. Encouraging phone calls from my dad. That just scratches the surface…

Sunsets, the best Ben Howard playlist, and north Georgia back roads.

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Exploring railroads tracks along the Toccoa River.

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Laughing until we cry with my mom.

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Catching the sunrise over the mountains.

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Sunshine and blue skies that almost makes you forget it’s winter.

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Friday afternoons.

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May your Saturday be filled with joy! Embrace those everyday moments.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

let them be little

rainaOne of my 1 1/2 year olds from last semester. This sweet girl woke up early from nap so we had a little extra one-on-one time.

I’m back in Tennessee and it’s the first day of classes. Hello spring semester of junior year! I genuinely love the start of new semesters and I’m especially excited for this one because my classes are all education courses. Sweetness. It energizes me to learn from professors passionate about teaching and alongside girls (and an occasional guy) that long to be in the classroom already as much as I do.

New semesters also mean a new classroom at work for this girl. I work at the early learning center on my campus and it has been one of the best pasts of my college experience. I’ve had challenging afternoons (I mean I’m working with preschoolers…). I’ve had frustrating moments. I’ve asked so many questions about behavior management and learned a great deal on my feet. BUT I’ve also had some of the best afternoons. These kids have made me laugh and smile over and over again. They’ve opened up my heart more and more.

I’ve been placed in the infants classroom this semester which is completely new ground for me. I’ve primarily worked with the “older” (2 1/2 – 3 year olds) kids with the exception of last semester where I had the toddlers (1 1/2 – 2) year olds). So I’m really looking forward to spending time loving on the babies.

One of the the things that I’ve learned working at a preschool and as a future teacher is just how much parents LOVE their babies. That seems so incredibly obvious that you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Well, it has really highlighted the hugeness of my responsibility of taking care of their children. They bring their babies into our classrooms every morning and leave trusting that they will be cared and loved well by us teachers. It’s our job and responsibility to create and maintain safe, fun, and joy-filled environments for their kids. What a responsibility and privilege that is!

I’m also constantly reminded to let them be little. They are learning and growing and developing. They are learning as I model how to correctly share for the 100th time. They are developing as they learn how to say more words or make sentences. They are little and I’m there to hopefully protect that innocence. I want them to have joy in discovering the world and learning something they didn’t know before. I know this probably seems pretty obvious too, but sometimes I place expectations on them that are way beyond their age. Then I’ll get frustrated with myself. So my goal is to let them be little. I’m just really thankful for the opportunity to have a job that I love as I work toward being an elementary school teacher.

a reminder.


P. S. Can I just take a minute to appreciate the cheesy sweetness of school/staff pictures? This is from last October and I kind of love that I have a future with lots of teacher pictures in it. I always loved when my mom would bring home her teacher picture every year and now I’m following in her footsteps. :)


Have a sweet day, friends!

Friday, January 10, 2014

five on friday



My mom comes home today! She’s been gone two and half weeks while I’ve been home for Christmas break caring for my sick grandpa in Florida. I’m excited to have her back because she really is the best. She’s the most encouraging momma and truly has a servant’s heart. She reminds me I never have to settle while keeping my grounded when needed. We laugh a lot too.

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I want to live in the mountains forever.

Front porches and rocking chairs. Winding back roads. Sunsets that look like watercolors. Cold energizing air during the winter. Always somewhere to explore. I love it all and so much more.

vscocam464One of my adventures a couple of weeks ago…iPhone photos don’t do it justice.


FaceTime dates with blog friends turned real-life friends are so sweet. Sarah and I have corresponded over the past year and a half and our conversations encourage the heck out of me. We talk about everything from coffee and tea to relationships to Jesus. Sarah is genuine, radiant, and sweet. She loves Jesus and others so well which encourages me to do the same. I’m thankful for her.

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I couldn't agree more with this…


This song needs to be my anthem because my goodness I need Jesus. Above all and before all I need Him. May it encourage you as much as it has me.

"And let my life be for Your glory
Woven in Your threads of grace"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

cozy winter nights & mornings

Y’all I’m absolutely soaking in these cozy winter nights and mornings during the last week of Christmas break. It doesn’t get much better than comfy clothes, no make-up, and second cups of coffee. Monday night was a sweet one. My mom is out-of-town so it’s just me and my dad. We spent quality time watching the BCS championship game cheering on the Florida State Seminoles which was pretty special. You see, I was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida. My mom graduated from FSU along with several of my friends. Although I now go to school in Tennessee and come home on breaks to North Carolina, it was so fun to see my hometown represented AND then to see them win the championship.

Mornings around here are slow-paced and I wouldn’t trade them. After sleeping in, I usually sit on the front porch with coffee and spend time with the Lord. But it’s been too cold the past couple of mornings, so I’ve swapped the front porch and rocking chairs for the fireplace and couch (no complaints).

Yesterday morning I opened Psalm 100 with intentions of focusing on verse 4...”Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise.Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” This verse has been foundational as I write down 1,000 gifts (aka simple joys). However, it was verse 3 that grabbed me. I sat there and read it out loud and then had to write it down.

“Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves…” Psalm 100:3 (NASB)

The Lord is Creator; I’m not. It sounds so simple, but way too often I think that I’m inclined to know what’s best for my life. I’m not. I keep coming back to this…my perspective is limited and flawed. Therefore, I do not know best. The Lord Himself is Creator and His perspective is infinite and without flaw.

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Hope your mornings and nights are cozy too!

Monday, January 6, 2014

What fires me up…& January goals.

I’ve never been huge on making resolutions and this year isn’t much different. However, I knew I wanted to make a list of a few of the things that fire me up to remind myself to pursue what inspires me.

Joy-filled classrooms…Without a doubt my heart is in the classroom. I want to continually learn more and more about creating such an environment in my future classroom

Coffee dates…This is all about being intentional with the friends in my life.

Mountain adventures and exploring…Y’all my love for the mountains knows no bounds. Going to school in Tennessee and coming home to North Carolina on breaks makes it easy to get out and explore. I plan to do lots of it too.

Praying for future hubby and marriage…THIS gets me fired up! I know that one of the ways I can honor my future hubby before we even meet is by praying for him {read more about how I specifically pray for him here!}.

Encouragement…My words should be used to build others up and I want to be more intentional about doing so.

Snail mail…I mean who doesn’t love receiving sweet cards or handwritten letters in the mail?!

A marked up Bible…Being able to look back on what the Lord has taught me is special. I’ve started to read through the Bible chronologically and I want to see and reflect on what the Lord is teaching me.

Becoming stronger at running…I slowly started to get into running last semester and I really love it. It feels so good to notice my stamina and endurance improving.

Writing down the simple joys…This is about cultivating gratefulness {Psalm 100:4}. I started my list of 1,000 gifts in 2011 and lost count somewhere around 500. So I’m starting from the beginning and writing down the simple and ordinary moments that really do make life sweet.

Embracing this: “Wherever you are, be all there.” {Jim Elliot}…Not much explanation needed for this one.

I’ve also decided to make a few goals each month that I’ll share to keep me accountable. Instead of having goals that are unrealistic and that I quickly forget about, I’m focusing on small and practical goals that I plan to accomplish. It’s all about making things happen.

So my January goals…

1. No social media after 11pm.

Personally, this is a tough one. I have such a habit of grabbing my phone once I’m in bed. I’ll scroll though Facebook and Instagram and before I know it 20 or 30 minutes has passed. I don’t want what’s on my newsfeed to be what I’m focusing on before falling asleep.

2. Write down simple joys each day in my journal.

I mentioned this in more detail above. I really love this habit because it has made me SO much more aware throughout the day of all the “gifts” that I used to miss.

3. Send five letters snail mail style.

I’ve already sent two this month…three more to go!

4. Clean the entire house for my parents.

While I’m still home for Christmas break I want to do this to serve my parents. My mom has also been out-of-town taking care of my sick grandpa so it would nice for her to come home to a clean house.

5. Be intentional about speaking to store cashiers when checking out. {AKA say more than just “How are you? Good.”}

This may sound like an odd goal, but I usually try to engage in conversation with store cashiers. I learned this from my mom growing up and it’s the neatest to see them light up. I don’t want to be just another customer who passes through their line without even making eye contact.

May your Monday be so filled with joy. It’s currently 15 degrees outside and there’s snow on the ground so I plan to stay warm and cozy inside by the fireplace!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hi again…I’m back.

Hi…I feel like I should reintroduce myself. I’m Samantha and I used to keep up with this small space on the internet. Then my junior year started and I haven’t blogged since the first week of classes. Woops. I had many times where I could sit down and blog, but my heart just wasn’t in it so I chose to take an extended break. There have been some really sweet moments over the past few months that have gone undocumented. I haven’t shared pieces of my heart or life. But I’m okay with that.

With all of that being said, I’ve really missed blogging. There is something special about being able to look back through old posts full of adventures and lessons learned. One of the things I love most about reading blogs are the genuine glimpses into the hearts of other young women and getting to connect with y’all. So I’m ready to jump back into blogging.

Instead of sharing all that has happened since I last blogged, I’m going to start fresh with what the Lord has been teaching me. One thing is for certain…I am constantly learning and growing. Thank goodness the Lord gives grace upon grace because I need it. Sometimes I run away from the Lord’s pursuit. Or I become numb to the grandness that Jesus desires intimacy with me. I’m messy and broken. My actions and words often do not reflect Christ. But still He gives grace and mercy.

As the new year starts, the Lord keeps pressing into me that seasons of waiting are not without purpose. I’m about to start the second half of my junior year and as much as I love college, I dream about the future A LOT. I’m getting closer and closer to my dream of being a teacher, but I don’t have my own classroom yet. It may sound silly to dream about finally having my own classroom, but this is one of my passions. I have so so many ideas and I’m ready to have a classroom full of kids to pour into. Although I’m closer to that becoming a reality than ever before, I’m not quite there.

I dream about moving to a new city on my own as a first-year teacher. I could share with you the crazy mix of emotions I have over that dream, but that’s an entirely different blog post.

Most of all, I dream about when I’ll meet my future husband. Is it crazy to miss someone you haven’t even met yet? Y’all this is one of the hardest things for me to wait for. My best friend is married to an incredible man that so sweetly pursues her which makes me so happy her. But it makes me wonder when I’ll get to experience that. I know marriage is far from easy, but it doesn’t get any better than growing in love with your best friend and I get really excited for that. Then it seems like there’s an endless amount of dating or engaged couples on my campus. Whenever I come home, people will ask if there’s a young man and seem surprised when I say no. I know people only have kind intentions when asking, but if I’m not careful I can let those expectations get to me. I can start to idolize marriage and question why I haven’t met my man yet.

Through these ambitions, the Lord keeps teaching me that there is SO much purpose in this waiting. When I’m inclined to think that I know best, I’m drawn back to Isaiah 55:8…”’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” I may see this as a time of waiting, but the Lord is constantly refining me. I’m growing and learning right now. I’m being reminded over and over that my biggest need is for Jesus. Not a future classroom or husband. Those are both huge blessings, but my real need is a relationship with Christ. And I’m learning that to fully embrace “wherever you are, be all there” (Jim Elliot), I must rejoice in the waiting. I don’t want to miss what the Lord has to teach me TODAY because I’m too busy asking “why, how, when??”

As much as I may think that my plans are best, they’re not. My perspective is limited and I only see what’s right in front of me. My plans are flawed. Thankfully God works in His own timing, and has a plan much higher than my own. Praise Him for that. I’m learning to continually surrender my desires and ambitions to His timing and plan. He is at work in the waiting and I don’t want to miss all that He has in the here and now.

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