December 19, 2014

Photo Update // Vol. 6

I absolutely swoon over these photos every time I see them. Does that sound weird enough?? Not only are these photos just beautiful, but the family captured in the photos is so dear to my heart. When my sweet friend Rachel from Oh, Simple Thoughts texted me and asked if I could do a Christmas photo shoot of her family, my heart leaped for joy. I have been following Rachel's blog for quite a while now and when we met for a coffee date in the beginning of the year, she instantly became a wonderful real life friend and inspiration because of her strong love for the Lord, sweet marriage, and strength as she created her own shop Oh, Simple Joys.

During the day of the photo shoot, the weather was beautiful and out of nowhere, this rain shower came. I think I could have cried when I heard that rain hitting my roof because NO photographer wants to get hit with rain literally minutes before a photo shoot. Because Rachel, her husband Ben and their precious pup Piper live quite a distance from us, it wasn't a shoot to just reschedule. So we went on and hoped for the best. Luckily, we pulled in to the park area, the rain started to clear and this breathtaking sun started shining through the trees.
I cant say how many times I thanked Jesus for this one. He clearly answered our prayers.
Now for my favorites! FYI Blogger stinks at photo quality. 

Yall, how precious are they?
Thank you so much to one of the sweetest families for such a wonderful time!

December 17, 2014

Coffee Date // Vol. 7

The Christmas season.
A time of busyness, tight finances, joy and excitement.
As great as Christmas is, many people struggle during this season. We put these pressures on ourselves to be perfect, we have the pressure of performing while we welcome others in our home, we have the pressure of having the perfect home to host in and then there is the pressure of purchasing the best gifts for the ones that we love. All these things can be great but we are constantly fed with this idea of having to be just right in order for things to be good. This is where Christmas turns into a stressful holiday and rather than spreading generosity or joy, we spread frustrations and only focus on the ones around us.

Today is another Community Brew with two of my sweetest friends, Madison and Rachel. These ladies wanted to focus our last brew of the year on the idea of generosity surrounding this holiday season we have quickly approached.

Romans 15:1
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves."
 
Proverbs 11:24-25
"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered."
 
Generosity: liberality in giving or willingness to give, kindness or magnanimity, amplitude and abundance
 
This is the time we all know as "the season of giving." Sure, we give gifts to family members and our sweetest friends, but a lot of times, that is the point where it is easy to stop. We often forget that there are others we don't even know who are in desperate need of a bit of generosity. I know in the past, I would only think about the ones I know and I would happily purchase gifts to see all my loved ones light up with joy. It would completely pass my mind to give to others who I have never met and probably will never meet. 
 
I have always been so incredibly blessed my parents who worked their hardest to give the absolute best and most presents they could. For years, my parents would stack and stack our den full of gifts for my brother, sister and I to melt to on Christmas morning. They have always blessed us more than we deserve and I will admit that I would become excited for Christmas because of the gifts and time spent with my close ones. I didn't go beyond my comfort zone and give to others I didn't know. Luckily this year the Lord has truly taken a hold of my heart. For once in my life, I can say that this season is only about giving. I have told Sean that I want absolutely nothing for Christmas and my parents to only purchase small things like cookbooks and candles. I come from a giving family so I know there will be something for me on Christmas but my wants and focus for this season have nothing to do with any gift. My wants are to give to others and literally focus on nothing but the love, generosity and goodness of Christ. His presence is enough to fulfill any earthly gift we could dream of.

When we think of generosity, there is this idea that we have to give and give all this money to whatever organization we know of. Truth is, generosity comes in all different shapes and sizes. Paying money towards someone's layaway, purchasing a Starbucks for the one behind you, giving to many organizations than putting loads of money into one, giving a homeless person a blanket and some hot chocolate or simply taking someone out to lunch and investing in time with them..I promise you, all generous things, whether big or small, will make someone's day. The fact that a stranger cares enough to help speaks volumes. Seriously, someone paid for my Starbucks the other day and I sat in my car and cried for a good five minutes. Heart on my sleeve yall.
As we start to transition into a new year, keep this feeling of generosity towards others. Don't let the season of giving just be for one month, give 12 months of love to the ones we pass by and stand next to in the store lines. 

Let us all remember to focus our attention not only on the presents, but on the presence of Christ and how generous he was to all of us.   

December 1, 2014

December Goals.

I feel like I say " I cant believe how fast the year is going by" in every monthly post but yall, we are in December. Can you believe it? We are finally in the most wonderful time of the year that is focused on the birth of our Lord and the joy that we can give to others. It feels wonderful to be back at blogging after spending time focusing on cherished time with family. Thanksgiving consisted of a home full of family and friends with food, food and more food. I was toting a full on pregnant looking belly at one point. The day before Thanksgiving, our Christmas decorations were put out and the Flowers' home is now decorated to the fullest. I feel like Christmas exploded in our home but hey, its just too perfect of a time to only have a few decorations.

November was full of some crazy events and a lot of busyness with school. I definitely didn't soak it all in as much as I had hoped but that just means December will be loved to the fullest.

November Goals:
1. Start knitting Something I didnt get to just yet so this will carry over into December! 
2. Complete another cross-stitch to post. Another favorite hobby that I wasn't able to get to
3. Finish The Best Yes I wasnt able to finish just yet but I have to admit, I love reading this book very slowly
4. Start getting things together for Operation Christmas Child box.
5. Help with my first giveaway
6. Enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving
7. Find a good static reducing hair product
8. Journal all throughout November on what I am thankful for I am horrible
9. Become serious about meal planning
10. Create at least three of my DIYs on Pinterest
11. Start getting all the Christmas decorations together
12. Purchase a Christmas tree Ours from last year worked perfectly fine!

December Goals:
1. Begin the advent calender created by Kate and Kuby
2. Continue to read the bible deeper than before 
(If you are looking for a study bible, I highly highly recommend a Life Application Study Bible. It explains verse by verse and is the most deep reading of a bible that I have ever seen. Plus it is at an awesome price right now!)
3. Book my first wedding shoot
4. Invest in deeper relationships with sweet friends
5. Make photography business plans
6. Make other project business plans coming soon!
7. Purchase my first Young Living Essential Oils kit
8. Start knitting again
9. Clean my closet and donate clothes 
10. Give to others
11. Attend a Christmas play
12. Have a date night to our local zoo lights
13. Take a trip to look at Christmas lights
14. Finish or get close to finishing The Best Yes
15. Have a wonderful Christmas

Now, I have to take a moment to stop and talk about my new blog design thanks to my precious friend Rachel from Oh, Simple Thoughts. She has created this beautiful design and she literally took everything I had in mind to create this space. Her work is flawless and she is so wonderful to work with. If you are looking for a new design, I would highly recommend her! There are still things that are coming together (a new welcome page, etc) but the comments you all have made have been so uplifting! This place finally feels like home :)

December, you are already the most wonderful time of the year, but I am so excited for a fresh month, time spent with family, new adventures with friends, the sweet time with my husband and the focus on how marvelous the Lord continues to be. I am so thankful that you are here.