April 13, 2015

April Goals.

Hello friends!
My word, it seems like forever since I have posted on this little space and my monthly goals are a littleee behind. As much as I love blogging and love the idea of keeping up with it weekly, the Lord has been reminding me to cherish the real life moments instead. Our home, our weeks and our weekends are filled, surrounded and spent growing with friends. I feel it is so important to worry about focusing on these moments with my husband, our friends, family and myself and blogging fully isn't the season I am in at the moment. But, I know the Lord uses this place for good and one day, it will definitely be a season of full, intense and wonderful blogging :)

Now for a look back at some of my March goals:

March Goals
Do a daily, unhurried priority time
Continue to house search.
Save much and spend little

Continue to eat organic and healthy We normally stick to this routine pretty well but March has consisted of a lot of junk food.

Follow the Tone It Up routine daily Weeeell, this one didnt go so well. But if you follow the Tone It Up ladies, the eight week bikini series starts today. April, this one is coming for you as well.
Spring clean!
Start the pieces for my capsule wardrobe and clean out the unwanted clothes
Have a wonderful birthday weekend with Sean, friends and family
Complete two DIY projects that have been on my mind

April Goals
Start eating healthy and organic again
Start the 8 week Tone It Up bikini series challenge
Find a small group to join at church
Get rid of all the leftovers from my capsule wardrobe
Do the Proverbs 31 online bible study
Cut down my coffee/mocha intake
Spend more time outside, less time inside
Stay strong and finish up these last school weeks

Between the weather and sweet moments the Lord has given us, April has been a beautiful month so far. There are many goals to accomplish this month, but they are all goals that will only improve myself, my relationships with others and my relationship with the Almighty. April, you should be such a treat!

What are your goals for this month?

March 25, 2015

Ways to Stay True To Blogging

Sometimes I know this space is more empty than it should be. Sometimes I have the drive and the excitement to get back into blogging. Sometimes I have a whole list of topics that I am ready to write about. But then, sometimes my drive stops and discouragement comes. Over the past few months, I have seen sides of blogging that just haven't been the happiest. I have seen a lot of repetitiveness with bloggers, the same walk, the same photos, the same talk. I felt like I have been spiraling down to this place that "looks the way I should as a blogger" but that is nothing like I actually want to be.

I want my blog to be a place of honesty. I want to proclaim the Lord, I want to share about Him and have every topic honoring to Him. I want to be known as the blogger who LOVES everyone and who will be here with every email, every text, every call, just being a friend. I want to be a blogger who is known for talking about the really ugly times rather than the really easy times. In the past, Ive been discouraged because I have seen a lot of falseness going on with proclaiming who we are online and how we are in person. That is the last thing I want here.
Ive been thinking of things that blog friends have said in the past, things I have felt over the past few weeks and just things in general that we need to do in order to keep our hearts tied to our blogs.

Ways to Stay True to Blogging:
1. Don't worry about the stats. These things can tieee you down. Just about every blogger I know will probably agree to this one. We can get so consumed with how many views, how many followers, how many comments...it will just drive you crazy.Plus, blogging isn't about your stats, its about you expressing, reflecting and showing us who you are.

2. Reflect who you are offline. This is probably THE biggest step with staying true to your blog. Its simple, just reflect yourself! Let others feel as if they are sitting down and having coffee with you. I am so glad to say that every blog friend I have met offline has been such a reflection of their blogs. That is what continues to build community and remember to never be afraid of showing who you really are!

3. Choose topics that interest yourself. If there is a topic you love, odds are someone else will love it as well. I have created posts that were simply about the things I love and they turned out to be some of my most viewed posts (using an example here, not relating to stats :) ) There is so much we can chat about on our blogs and talking about things that are true to your heart will really reflect on your page.

4. Stop trying to be perfect. One thing that really made me frustrated in myself was trying to be perfect with my blog. I would love to be a blogger who posts three or more times a week because to me, the more you post, the more community is built. But lets be real here, I have a full time job, full time school, becoming very involved in my church, a husband to be with, friends to spend time with, a house to clean, dinner to cook and time to just be for myself. Sometimes blogging just does not fit in there and Ive finally come to realize that. One day I would love continual posts all throughout the week, but I have finally come to a place to know that if life happens, its okay to miss a day of blogging.

5. Create a space that is you. Whether this is your layout, your photos, your content, just reflect yourself. Readers want to know who you are and what you are all about. It is so, so easy being you! Never let your space become a place where you are creating posts just to say certain things or taking Instagram photos just to gain more likes. BE YOU. Community and friendship is built on knowing all about the good times, the hard times and the honest times.

What I caught myself doing in the past was saying "blog for the reason you first started blogging." Go back to the roots of why you created your blog, what you wanted to share and what you wanted to express within yourself. Oh, and never create a lifestyle blog with the number one goal making money. This is where the above five statements can get a little rocky. Blogging can be one of the most beautiful pieces of our lives if we allow it to be. The friendships I have created would have never happened without this little space and it is simply a place to let the online community be used for good purpose. Always, always, always let yourself shine through your posts and generally all around your blog. You are so loved and there are plenty of people who are very excited that you are who you are!

March 6, 2015

Giveaway // All that Glitters is Gold

Today, I am very excited to be helping some beautiful ladies with a giveaway. Not just any giveaway, a Kate Spade giveaway that is. I adore everything Kate Spade because all the purses, jewelry, etc are so classy and elegant.
One lucky lady will receive this Kate Spade Rose Gold Wristlet (SWOON) and a bangle that reads "This is the Year to make a splash"
allthatglittersisgoldgiveawayThese are the lovely ladies hosting the giveaway with me:janfebLauren of Sincerely, Lo | Anne of Love the Here and Now | Lindsay of Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos Bex of Butcher's Niche | Amanda of Kids and Cabernet | Liz of Baby Got BA Suz of 2 Cats and Chloe | Lisa of Lisa Loves John | Nina of Flowers in my Hair

The rules are simple! Just do the options below in order to earn points and one random winner will be selected tonight. Yall be sure to enter!

March 4, 2015

March Goals.

This little space has roughly been abandoned almost the whole start of the new year. Feeling a loss of where to take my blog and what my main goal was, it left a lot of confusion and emptiness. So, February was basically a month of silence. I posted one time on a subject that I was very passionate about. But other than that, it was a month to refresh and reflect.

So, here I am with a calmed feeling about this blog. A calming as in not worrying about the stats, the followers, the comments, but the fact that I am here for the main reason I started blogging in the first place, to spread joy, to tell a story and to share the love of Christ. Lets do this.

Since there were no goals posted in February, I'll take a look back at the January Goals :)

January Goals
Transition from a nursery leader to a middle or high school leader at our church
Finish editing all my previous photo shoots
Finalize plans for our Florida trip
Get things planned to pack for Florida
Continue to do my Tone It Up routine day by day (started strong...)
Make healthier eating habits
Take a calligraphy class with my precious blogging friends Rachel, Jenni and Rachel!
Save up so I can purchase my ticket for The Influence Conference. (tears)
Take new blog photos

March Goals
Finish the process for becoming a middle school small group leader
Do a daily, unhurried priority time
Continue to house search.
Save much and spend little
Continue to eat organic and healthy
Follow the Tone It Up routine daily
Spring clean!
Start the pieces for my capsule wardrobe and clean out the unwanted clothes
Have a wonderful birthday weekend with Sean, friends and family
Complete two DIY projects that have been on my mind

Between the warm weather (fingers crossed) and my birthday, March has always been one of my favorite months. Its a beautiful month to see things coming in bloom and the green leaves starting to fill up the tree branches. Its a month of new beginnings and old winter funks. 
March, lets do this. 

What are some of your March goals?

February 13, 2015

A Few Thoughts on Fifty Shades of Grey.

We have all seen the flowers, the cards, the over-sized teddy bears and the pink Valentines Day decorations floating all throughout Target. We have been constantly reminded that this special day full of love is just a day away. Yet on the other side of things, we have seen the books, the trailers, the media talking and the out-pour of commotion from 50 Shades of Grey coming out this weekend. Let me start off by saying that I was really hesitant to create this post just for the simple fact that it is pretty controversial topic. I want my space to be a place of peace and happiness, but this is a topic that I really feel passionate about and well, this is also a place where I share my heart. 

Being a woman who is constantly growing in Christ, everything that I do revolves around Him. Everything I watch, everything I take action in, everything I allow myself to be surrounded by...but I do this so that I can give God the glory in every aspect of my life. My biggest goal is to teach others about the Good News of Christ. I am in the process of becoming a small group leader for teen girls at our church...which is so scary let me add...but my goal is to teach these girls how to grow up and live a life that God intends for us to have, to teach them how to guard their hearts and to teach them about some of the hardest topics like relationships, sex or intimacy. But lets be honest here, my heart needs to stay guarded as well because whatever I surround myself by is what will come out in my actions, speech, feelings, relationships, advice and so on.

My husband and I have been going through an older series that our church created called "Love Song." It is an 8 week series where our preacher got down to the nitty gritty. One thing that I adore about my church is that they talk, and they talk about it all. But the whole series was taught from the Song of Solomon and we see this couple, Solomon and a woman that he is madly in love with. We read about the honor this woman has for Solomon, the admiration that she carries for him...but in a respectable way. She knows her boundaries and he respects them. We read about Solomon who is a comforter to this woman. He encourages her and respects her for her character rather than her physical beauty. 

To sum up the very long series in a nutshell, romance is dangerous whenever it lacks honor. We are in a world where relationships are lacking respect for one another, where meaning is only physical. Sex is one of, if not the biggest joked and disrespected topics on almost every television show you watch. On top of that, the lack of respect for ones self is fading. Some women wear clothes allowing things to be seen that should be kept for their husband's eyes only. Some men just flat out do not show respectable actions towards women. We live in this world where instant satisfaction and worldly pleasures are at our fingertips. We can easily get online and search for pornography, we can easily go grab one of those dirty novels and create this vision of what our husbands are supposed to be like. There are affairs, lust and the list could go on and on.
Friends, that is where the problem is, sex does not have honor and today I wanted to share some quick reasons to why this movie should be skipped this weekend, and the weekends to come.  

It portrays sex as a demeaning, non-passionate act.
50 shades takes sex and creates it to be this game. It takes something so precious and turns it into a immoral, pornographic state. God designed sex to be beautiful and personal between a man and his wife. It is a way that love can be shown to one another in a pure way, not in a way that 50 Shades portrays. 

 It is characterized as a love story. 
Yall, this is not love. Love is not lead by sex, love is lead by honor and character. Am I saying the physical side is not important? Of course not, but love should not be generated on physical sides of things. In this movie we see a girl who develops feelings for a man, yet the man only wants sexual feelings for her. But, at the end of the movie, they both end up in love, go on to live happily ever after and this is what Hollywood wants you to see as a love story. This is not love in any way, shape or form. 

It is thought of as "helping a hurting marriage."
I cant count how many times I have read comments, tweets and posts about a wife or husband who believe they need this movie so their love life can be spiced again. No, no and no. This movie will do anything but help spice a romance, a healthy romance at least. Rather than turning to this movie in search for a new love, turn to Jesus and let him restrengthen your marriage. Because I can promise you this, He will change your marriage in a way that this movie could never, ever do.

 It makes pornography look normal. 
Without going into the hot topic of pornography, it is a problem that is spreading and spreading like a wild fire in our society. With the search engines we have and the access to them almost anywhere we go, it is so easy to get see. Plus, there is Hollywood constantly producing movies that say "it is okay", so, many think it is just the norm for us. Watching pornography is not a way to help a relationship, it is a way to do the complete opposite and ruin the relationship. Sex becomes something that it wasn't created to be. Pornography is harmful in so many ways and for information, please take a visit to this site.

It sets our hearts on anything but purity.
Philippians 4:8 reminds us "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
This movie creates a place of lust, guilt and a need to be wanted. But the problem is, this isn't the type of "want" that should be desired. When searching for a spouse, search with a feeling that isn't lead by the need to feel wanted or a desperation to be told you are loved. But search with a pure heart, guard your heart. Let me say this, if you are searching for a love so you can finally feel wanted, you need to stop searching. When we see movies such as this that portray a desire to feel wanted, we see how it escalates into a relationship all about sex rather than about love. I encourage you to first find your love in the Lord and He will lead you from there. 

So, there you have it. If you don't agree, that is fine. I'm not here to point a finger or tell anyone that they are wrong. That is not what Jesus would have done either. My goal is to tell others that there is a love out there that isn't like this "love" the movie tells you to have. There is a love that is so pure with our Almighty and our spouses. For you that are dating, keep your love sacred and wait until you call your other, your only for forever. I promise you, when Jesus is the cornerstone in your relationship, intimacy and love will be so strongly bonded that nothing will be able to come in between.

January 30, 2015

Oh Hey Friday // 5 Travel Essentials.

This whole month has consisted of a countdown. A countdown until Sean and I finally take our overdue anniversary trip to our most loved place in the world, the beach. We only have two days left and since we had to cancel our trip in September, giddy is an understatement for how we are acting. More like maniacs you could say. We have such a love for traveling and it is a great way for us to focus on one another and create sweet memories of our marriage.

With traveling, what you bring along as your essentials is so important. It not only determines how quickly the drive will go by, but also how fun your ride will be, especially since we will be driving for nine hours on Sunday by car (yes, planes are quicker but also over 1000 feet in the air, okay?) However, if you are one that doesn't mind flying, perhaps you can check into RelayRides, a highly suggested option for those looking for an airport car rental. After doing some research, Ive learned that for the day I decide to be brave and fly, they will be my go to place to make things much smoother and relaxed on our trip. Plus, who wouldn't want to pick out a dream car to drive in for part of a vacation? But for now, these are some of the travel essentials I will have to make sure the ride is as cheerful as a nine hour drive can be.

1. Music
This is probably the most important thing for both Sean and myself. Both of us are music crazy and probably listen to it most of our day so of course we would have it on a road trip. Create a Spotify account and save all the music that you would like to have along the way. You can also create playlists that will shuffle through all the traveling music you create. Try it out!

2. Snacks
Okay, maybe this is the most important. This girl needs food like every hour. Healthy snacks are always the best route to take because you don't want to stuff yourself with unhealthy sweets or junk, and then feel horrible when you finally arrive to your destination. Some of our essential snacks are carrots, Luna bars and celery sticks.

3. Pillows and Blankets
There is one road in Alabama that we travel when we go down to Florida and it is the same, straight road for miles and miles and miles. This is normally the road that calls for a good nap. Remember, you aren't traveling alone so accommodating the car temp for others can leave you shivering. Plus blankets and pillows will make any long ride more comfortable.

4. Games
One of my favorite memories was riding with my family and playing the alphabet game. Basically, you see who can spot signs that are in order of the alphabet and whoever can get to Z first, will win. I know people also play the license plate game and such. Its a great way to pass the time and create fun experience with your travel partners.

5.Window Tints
Unless you have your car windows tinted, driving around in the blazing sunshine can really make you tired, irritable and burnt. One thing that I will be purchasing for this trip is pull down car-shade. Silly I know but trust me, it does wonders. Most of the time, you will see these on cars that have babies in the car seat and since I haven't been to tint my windows just yet, these are definitely an essential. 

What are some must have travel essentials for you?
Be sure to join along and link up with the Oh, Hey Friday ladies! 

January 27, 2015

Fabulous Foodie Swap.

A few weeks back, I received an email from my dear friend Rachel, of Oh Simple Thoughts, on creating a fun swap of sharing foods with one another. The thing about Rachel is, she has such a love for cooking and sharing love through one of her favorite hobbies. So, her idea was to create a Fabulous Foodie Swap! Basically whoever wanted to join would sign up and be assigned with another person who participated in the swap. It turns out that I was assigned with my sweet, sweet friend Rachel from Rachel Rewritten. My heart was so fulfilled to meet this girl in real life on Saturday at a calligraphy class that Rachel, Jenni, Rachel and I all took together. I am BLESSED to have these girls in my life! 
For Rachel's box:
- A coffee cup with a "W"
- Caribbean Jerk Seasoning
- Apple Butter Spread
- Banana Bread baking kit
- Espresso Chex Mix
- A bag of Dove chocolates (which I was so tempted to eat myself)

What Rachel gifted:
- Two delicious Wimsey cookies
- A kitchen towel
- Mississippi Mudpuppies
- Mississippi Cheese Straws
- French Onion Soup mix
- Sweet Tea Jelly (this girl KNOWS me)

Needless to say, all the cookies are gone and the other gifts will be taken away on our anniversary trip next week. Rachel literally did a fabulous job at sending things that were routed in the South. My favorite food is anything Southern and with the Sweet Tea Jelly and the Mississippi rooted cheese straws, I cant get enough.

Did you participate in the Fabulous Foodie Swap as well? If you would like to in the future, be sure to check out Oh Simple Thoughts for more details!

January 22, 2015

Words for 2015.

2015. Can you believe we are writing down another year already? Another fresh start, more new beginnings, more dreams to chase and more resolutions to follow. When I was writing down my 2015 goals, overwhelming was a word that I kept whispering to myself. Sometimes I feel like my dreams are so big that there is absolutely no way I have the time or energy to make them happen. But then I catch myself, my own self doubt is what gets in the way of these dreams.
When thinking about a word I wanted to base this new year on, it was literally the first word that came to my mind. When I thought of other words to use, nothing fit. As much as I didn't want my chosen word to be my chosen word, I knew it was the word I needed for this year. Following here?

A word that I am honestly scared of. Many opportunities I may have in life I shoot down because there is this self doubt that continues to play inside my head. Shooting my first wedding would be wonderful, but then doubt. Doubt that anything but good photos will be taken and that the bride will just cry herself to sleep. Doubt to try new things because they are out of a comfort zone.
Bravery just doesn't happen.
I saw this happen time after time last year and honestly, I missed a lot of great opportunities. For 2015, I want to be brave with this life that is such a precious gift. The Lord didn't put us on this earth to be hesitant, to ignore others or to be timid about new opportunities. I have really felt these words coming from the Lord lately to "just go, just do and to be brave." We are doing a sermon on our church called "Doable" and it is about setting yourself to be the best for the Lord, so you can learn to be the best for others. At the series kick off last week, our preacher asked us to grab a sharpie, go to the lobby wall and write down a word that we want to base this year on. Oh man, did the pressure hit. Brave was a word that I knew I needed but I was hoping it would be something else like "stress less, prioritize, health" or something. But again, right there in the second row we sit in, I felt like I was being directly talked to. Brave popped up in my mind once again and I knew that it was time for me to start living with this word as my backbone. So, this Sunday, brave will be written across that wall. Each Sunday I will see it and remember to keep living it.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. 

Some of my goals include growing my blog, taking photography to the next level, opening a little shop Ive had in mind for quite a while, starting a girls ministry and to be the stranger that becomes a friend. So, this year will be a time of stepping out. A time to let myself learn from new opportunities that I will be hesitant to take, but that will be joyous in the end. Living in a comfort zone is great, until you become stuck in that zone and hate to leave. This year will be the year to move, the year to be brave.

What is your 2015 word for the year? How do you take the steps out of your comfort zone?

January 14, 2015

January Goals

My word, how I have missed you all so much! My site has been down for a month now so posting this post really means more to me than it should. It may be the most treasured post yet, okay maybe not but seriously, it feels so good just typing away right now. This post may be only 14 days overdue but since monthly posts are some of my favorites, I don't think it will hurt to go on tell of some small January plans :)

December goals:
1. Begin the advent calender created by Kate and Kuby
2. Continue to read the bible deeper than before 
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 (I have GOT to get on this!)
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
January Goals
1. Transition from a nursery leader to a middle or high school leader at our church
2. Finish editing all my previous photo shoots. Seriously, I am up to my ears here. 
3. Finalize plans for our Florida trip
4. Get things planned to pack for Florida...I have a problem with packing too much 
5. Continue to do my Tone It Up routine day by day
6. Make healthier eating habits
7. Take a calligraphy class with my precious blogging friends Rachel, Jenni and Rachel! Excited is truly an understatement!
8. Save up so I can purchase my ticket for The Influence Conference. Oh how this is a must.
9. Take new blog photos

Not too many goals are set for January because this month I am needing to take things slower. You know those people who think about the new year, have all these neatly organized new year goals...then life happens, the plans aren't what they expected and they stress so much because they are just so focused on the "perfect" plans that went wrong???
Yes, that would be me. 
If you have followed along on my Instagram then you would know just what I mean. The new  year started off with both my sister and father in law in the hospital with test after test being ran. I was an emotional mess because my sister and I are so so close while my father in law is the best one I could dream for. Then my blog being totally crashed was just added pressure on top. Let me tell you, when you blog, losing a blog is tragic (okay maybe not tragic, but it hurts). My host that provides my domain had a glitch in their site and rather than my domain automatically renewing, it canceled my contract. Yuck.
(Oh, and let me just give a huge thank you to my sweet friend Madison from The Wetherills Say I Do. She is the absolute best for helping me with my site problems! That girl is the most blog savy of anyone I have met in this blogging community!)
In the end, we are praising the Lord that my family is now back home, completely healthy and my blog is finally back up. But honestly looking back at how my year started out, I'm really glad that I had something break me down. I have found myself really depending on these perfect plans to happen and completely being blindsided when they don't, and that is not a way to live yall. So this month will be taken slow and steady. The very first of February, Sean and I will be going on a much needed anniversary trip re-do since our original anniversary trip had to be canceled. So until we return from the trip, I just plan to take life pretty easy which includes many lazy days on the couch, watching a lot of HGTV and simply being simple. 
January, you may be the best month yet.