May 16, 2014

Coffee Date // Vol. 2

Coffee dates. 
One of the best times to catch up with friends, share each others lives with one another and make new memories. 
My dear sweet friend Rachel from Oh Simple Thoughts invited me on our first blogging coffee date back in April and it was such a wonderful success! So many stories were told, so many people were comforted and so many friendships began. Seriously, I love these coffee dates and I love meeting so many wonderful new people :)

If we were on a coffee date, I would order a hot chocolate. 
The reason....I am currently freezing. 
Rather than the traditional "how are you doing?"..."Oh, I'm great" responses, we would dive in deep. We would really, really share what is on our hearts. That's why I love these links with one another, we all really learn each other!

Today, I am feeling wonderful and honestly, I feel like I have a lot to talk about :)

School is finally done for my Spring semester. Even though I took a very small amount of classes, it was one of my toughest semesters yet. I finished with the grades I wanted and I am feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ten pounds lighter. However, I did sign up for a summer class in order to graduate earlier. This one should only stress me out a pinch and make me feel five pounds heavier ;)

If you read my post on being content and breaking a bad habit, it has been going better than I imagined! I only made this new decision to not "splurge shop" since May 7th, but it has already felt wonderful! Really focusing on the things I need rather than the things I want has made such a difference. The ladies who have tried this challenge before definitely had it right, I feel absolutely no need to shop. I can easily walk in and out of Target without even caring to look at the clearance rack or the newest shoes. Money is being saved and I am so joyful for this challenge!

God is so good. Seriously, so so so so good. Lately, I have felt an abundance of love, encouragement and challenges. Just when I think my relationship can't get any deeper, He pulls me deeper and deeper.

As I have talked about a million times (it seems) Sean and I finally found our church home and it has been WONDERFUL! Starting June 1st, we will start taking our Growth Track classes in order to become members of this church. Seriously, we couldn't be happier. I long for my church. On Fridays, I am more excited about going to church than the whole weekend that's in front of me. Let me be honest, I haven't been this excited to go to church in a long, long time. I wish I could explain more of how I feel but if you love your church, you know just how I feel :)

I have been re-reading the book of Matthew this month. Not only is it my favorite book, it is definitely where I learn the most. I love hearing the stories of Jesus walking through the streets to teach. I love learning the meanings of the parables and the beatitudes. I love reading about the strong faith Peter had as he walked across water. I just love it all. It gives me such a reassurance that He is in control.

Marriage is simply so, so wonderful. Seriously, I love my guy (sorry for my parents reading) He is so perfect and to have someone who supports me, no matter how crazy my idea can be, is such a great feeling. Before we were married, we were together five years. Now, we are somewhat close to being married one year. But I feel like we have really learned so much about each other just in the past few weeks. I have always had a problem with communicating which has caused issues in the past. I have let my communication barriers down and we are doing better than ever. I am so thankful for his patience and I adore marriage. It is so much better than I ever imagined and I know it will only become more beautiful. 

Projects and more projects! My creative mind for re-doing things has been running again! I have two chairs I will remodel this weekend, a tire I plan to experiment with and I cant wait to share them all with you! As always, I blame it on my Pinterest. That site inspires me like The Pioneer Woman inspires me to be a good cook (ONE day!)

My crazy schedules are growing to be more crazy. I work full time. I attend school full time. I am about to volunteer part time and hopefully start something else part time. So, as if I have more room to add something else, I have been striving and striving for something I have wanted to do for quite a while. 
My sister plays volleyball at the school I attended in high school. I was always a major volleyball lover. I played since 3rd grade all the way to 12th grade and probably should have proceeded to college (but those girls are way tougher than I am) Any who, I have been begging and begging the principle to let me be an assistant coach for the girls volleyball team. I absolutely adore my sister and I would love nothing more than to help these girls with a sport they love. I want to be a sister figure to them all and help with not only by teaching volleyball, but to help comfort and be a shoulder whenever they need one to lean on. 
Prayers that I get this position would HIGHLY be appreciated :D

Photography! I was forced to take a bit of a break since school was so crazy. But that semester is over, the weather is warm and the days are long. This lady is ready to get back to it!

In this refreshment post, I talked about my nursing home volunteer program that I hoped to start. I am so happy to say that I was accepted to volunteer at (my opinion) the best nursing home in my hometown. My grandma actually attended this nursing home for a bit and I had always loved it. I am still waiting on all my background checks to come through and I will officially be loving and caring for such adorable elderly people!

For me, that is all of what is happening in this little life of mine. All random things but all random things that I am so excited to do and share with you! I love these link-ups and I cant wait to read the posts from all of you who joined along! 

Oh how I wish more than anything that all of us blog ladies could rent out a Starbucks and have one giant, real life coffee date! I was so blessed and able to meet with Rachel last Saturday while she was visiting my hometown. If you love her from her blog, you will love her way more in person! She is such an inspiration to me and I am so glad to call her my friend! 



May 13, 2014

Checking In

Writers block.
Something I feel any blogger can relate to.
A time when we stare at the keyboard with few words to say. A time when we think and over think to the point of thinking no more.
Totally feeling this now.
For the past two weeks, it has been one of those dreaded blogging times of nothing. No recent posts, no updates, nothing.
I want to be that person who can post everyday with a new topic. But right now, that's just not happening.
I hate it. 

I finally finished my spring semester of school and in a couple of weeks, my summer semester will begin.
Maybe being done with school is causing my crash.
Maybe going from such an insane schedule between working and doing school full time, to cutting it in half and being able to relax after work is causing my crash.
Either way, I don't really like it.

Yet, there is a small part of me that likes it.
I enjoy leaving work and going home to actually lay on the couch. I enjoy the feeling of being able to spring clean throughout our home. I enjoy not feeling like I have to be committed to blogging at this certain time for this many hours. 

As I posted in this post, Sean and I found a new church home. Since we have started, it has made me want to be involved and do bigger things. I'm not sure if that involves mission trips, bigger things for this little blog or what. All I want to do is keep my eyes in His word and listen. . 

I am almost 99.9% sure that you ladies know just what I am talking about. If you have any tips, please share. One day I hope to be an everyday blogger than a two times a week blogger. Either way, I hope you ladies stay and enjoy this little spot of mine :)

May 8, 2014

Bumps in the road, or air.

Airplanes and heights. 
Two of the scariest things in my book. The thought of being thousands of feet in the air and looking out a window to make the world look like an ant.....doesn't sound too appealing to me. 
No, I have never flown and at this point, I am not sure if I will ever be brave enough. 
Problem is, I want to travel the world. Sean and I both adore traveling and right now, it is pretty easy to do considering we don't have to worry about a baby just yet. 

But again....the thought of that plane. 

The next problem is, half the places I want to visit require a plane. The others I haven't listed are drive-able....with long hours WOO

The top places to visit on my list are:
Australia
Hawaii 
The Holy Lands 
Ireland 
Sean's place, Italy 
 Arizona
...and of course Alaska to visit my dear friend, Amy :)
But again, how in the world can I get there when all I can think of is this??
Makes me nauseous just thinking about it. 

Flying tips ladies??

May 7, 2014

Be Content, Always

I feel like I find myself saying "remember to be content, always"
Maybe not on a daily basis, but definitely on a weekly basis.

This morning as I was reading one of my favorite blogs, it hit me. Victoria from Happily Ever Strader shared about a blogger who came up with a contentment plan and I am so, so thankful to Victoria for sharing her post!

Nancy Ray shared this post on a little challenge she took for three months in order to be content. Basically, there is no shopping and no random splurging but to focus on scripture and a heart of contentment....for three whole months. I'm going to be honest, I need this. I am not one who truly has a shopping problem but I sometimes find myself putting things in my basket which are clearly unnecessary.

I love the way that Nancy explained it in her post

All in all, I wasn’t content in my life. Even though I had a happy marriage, a wonderful home, a business I love, money in the bank, my health, a wonderful church... even though I had (and still have) "it all," there was this nagging, awful feeling inside me that said, “Nancy, you need this ________. You won’t be complete if you don’t have this __________.”  (You can fill that blank with just about anything.)

Now I'm not saying this is going to be easy. Come on, a girl loves to shop. 

Of course, this isn't to stop shopping for the necessities such as groceries, this isn't to stop purchasing gifts for someone and this isn't to stop all coffee dates with friends or date nights with my husband. This is for those true unnecessary things such as the newest Target dress, the newest pair of shoes or the cutest pair of earrings. I know a lot of motivation and self control will be playing a big part in my life the next few months. 

I read how changed Nancy felt at the end of her challenge. She felt as if she was a new person, a content person. She saved money, she cut that unnecessary spending, she actually shopped for groceries at the grocery store than Target (which is also a weakness of mine). She strayed from checking the sales racks and the online galleries. Her focus shifted from the outward appearances (such as clothes and decor) to what she was accomplishing (at work), feeling (healthy and energized from exercising) and spending her time in (reading a good book, date nights with her husband)

I want that. I want to shift from these outward appearances and focus on what is inward. I want to feel Christ teaching me all about contentment for these next three months and I can't wait to see what I will gain from this. Nancy also quoted her friend's thoughts on this challenge which gave me a much deeper insight to why doing this challenge is so important.

"...let me preface it by saying this:  this is not about rules.  It’s about doing what God has been urging me to do.  If He puts it on my heart to buy something for a good reason, I will do just that.  Like Jesus healing people on the Sabbath, this is not about following guidelines just for the sake of guidelines.  God is bigger than rules.  It’s about fasting from something that I feel is keeping me from a deeper relationship and understanding of God’s heart."

Oh and while I am posting a challenge for the month of May, I will also go on and post my overdue May goals :)

1. Complete the contentment challenge for the month of May
2. Become a member at our new church 
3. Check into doing a mission trip
4. Have a coffee date with my sweet friend Rachel from Oh, Simple Thoughts
5. Read a random book
6. Complete my summer classes with all A's
7. Build our savings for our house fund
8. Have a yard sale 

If you would like to follow along or join the contentment challenge, be sure to comment below!

XOXO

May 5, 2014

A Joyful Monday.

Happy Monday to you beautiful ladies!
I hope you are having a wonderful May so far. I have got to get on my May goals but first,  a little something a tad bit important :)

Today, I am feeling refreshed and I am having a tug at my heart to tell you why.
So, here we go. 
My whole life, I grew up in a very traditional Church of Christ church. I had attended that church for well over 15 years. Because of the church being VERY traditional, old, and me being the only young adult there, I finally made a decision to change to a more modern Church of Christ church before I was married. I really liked my new church. The preacher was beyond incredible and most of the people were great. But something was missing. I didn't leave church feeling 100% wonderful. I didn't leave church feeling as close to Christ as much as I know I should have and it was truly frustrating the mess out of me. I was getting very frustrated because I thought this church would be the one. I thought I would feel so much connection and it just didn't happen. 

In the past few months, I had many friends of mine tell me about another church in our hometown. I heard nothing but great comments and it is actually a modern, non-denominational church...which is a big change for me. I told Sean how badly I wanted to go because I have many, many previous Church of Christ friends and family members who now go to this church. I felt drawn to it. Sean, being as supportive as always, decided to try it out with me. Well, can I just say how INCREDIBLE this church is. 

Now, I am someone who wants to fully dive in with my church. I want to feel more than moved. I want Sundays to hit me like a ton of bricks. I want to be pushed, feel challenged and be uncomfortable. I don't want that church service that is only about the good things and tied into a little bow at the end. 
If that makes sense? 
I am someone who gets very emotional when it comes to church services. Like seriously y'all, when I feel nothing but His presence, I will cry like a baby. I cant explain the amount of a connection that I feel with Christ in a good church service. I realized this back in my high school days. Sometimes we would have these incredible speakers come to my high school and at the end, I would be on the ground praying with friends and crying my eyes out. Those are the services I am talking about. I love to feel moved. 

I have never in my life felt more moved than I felt yesterday. My hand was hurting from writing so many notes and my scarf was my gross tissue. Seriously, it moved me more than I have ever moved before. 

I will admit, when we decided to try this new church out, I was a little worried about what I was walking into. I was afraid there would be ten million differences than what I had been used to in church. I had never ventured out of my typical Church of Christ home except for going to Baptist churches with my friends. Well, it turns out the only difference is that this church plays with musical instruments. I know a lot of churches do use instruments and I know a lot do not. Honestly, I think it depends on the person of how you want to praise. Either way, I think they are okay. It is all about praising Him, with or without instruments.
I am someone who loves instruments. I feel so connected when singing to Him with instruments to emphasize the praise. Its beautiful. Again, learned this back in my high school years. Rather than singing only traditional hymns, there is a huge mix of traditional, Christian music.
Ya'll, when we started singing a Kari Jobe song on Easter Sunday, I had too much joy hah! 

Plus there are elderly people, older couples, young couples, singles, teens, kids...just a huge mix. Nobody is focused on what who is wearing. There are dresses, skinny jeans, blouses, t-shirts. Everyone just comes together to worship and you can see it. Everyone is there to welcome you with a cup of coffee and a hug. 
If you  have ever come from a traditional church, you know what I am talking about. 

This church just gets it. They focus on a relationship with Christ. A relationship. Not a religion. I can't tell you how long I have been searching for that. Honestly, a lot of people misinterpret what Christ is all about. I feel funny to say it, but I finally learned this when I talked to my new Church of Christ preacher. He always emphasized the relationship which I loved. But like I said, I wasn't feeling moved like I wanted to. 

We are diving into a 30 day series of "Saying yes to God for 30 days" and yesterday was day two. The message was so on point. The preacher was so deep and honest in his message. Baptisms happened. Hands were raised just praising Him. Lets just say by the invitation song, I was a mess. I couldn't help but close my eyes and bite my lip to hold back as many tears as I could. I loved having my husband's arm to hold onto and experience an incredible moment in Christ's presence together.

I left feeling like bricks had hit me.
I left feeling the strongest connection to Christ.
I left feeling nothing but His presence.
I left feeling moved. 

This may be a jumbled post but my heart is still so full from yesterday that I feel like telling the world. He is always so, so good. I love when He leads me to things I would have never tried unless I trusted Him. I tried something new and so against my traditional ways. But I am so grateful for His continual pushing to get me right where I need to be. 

Do you have a time you have stepped out and trusted Him with your church home? I would love to hear about it!

xoxo
Lauren