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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