Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!

Have I told you? I'm in a relationship, and it's getting serious. I think I'm in love.
Francis Chan describes it best when he says, "When you are truly in love, you go to great lengths to be with the one you love. You'll drive for hours to be together, even if it's only for a short while. You don't mind staying up late to talk. Walking in the rain is romantic, not annoying. You'll willingly spend a small fortune on the one you're crazy about. When you are apart from each other, it's painful, even miserable. He or she is all you think about; you jump at any chance to be together."

Yep, I'd say that's about right, wouldn't you? Well for those that are wondering, I'm describing my relationship with God. (at least what I'm aiming for)

As a girl, single or not, we grow up imagining who we will end up with; it's only natural, right? Playing songs like Rebecca St. James' "Wait For Me," Ed Cash's "Marry Me," and Miranda Lambert's "Lovesong," but do we ever stop to think about our relationship with God?

I didn't used to. The seed was planted in my heart last summer when I went through the Bible study "Knowing God" with Sunday school class. Every week was a struggle with exercises encouraging you to build a relationship with God not just follow him or believe His word. I often expressed my frustration to my teacher and friend, Jess, saying it's just soo hard because he's not here like a real friend. I can't see him, touch him, hear his advice. This was a constant battle for me that I kind of worked at but let slide once school started. This summer, while fervently chasing my dreams, I began the process of surrendering my my life to God in the form of a committed relationship.

It's not always easy, but I'm trying to chase after him the way I'd chase after a crush. Spending time with Him daily through quiet time, devotions, scripture readings, and prayer is how this relationship grows. It takes dedication and persistence, but it's well worth the end result. I'm also one of those people who hears God best through music and can see God best through nature.

I warn you: this relationship will NOT bloom overnight, no decent relationship can, and it will not always be easy to love God, just like it's not always easy to love your friends or partner or anyone.

"The fact is, I need God to help me love God. And if I need His help to love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need his help to love other, fault-filled humans. Something mysterious, even supernatural must happen in order for a genuine love for God to grow in our hearts. The Holy Spirit has to move in our lives." -Francis Chan

Ask God to give you this desire every day, and He will. Once you have it, it's hard to imagine how you ever lived without it, much like a tangible relationship. And don't get me wrong, I'm still very much waiting for my Prince Charming, but my love bank is full right now with my current relationship with God. So, I can't complain much.

After all,
"This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long."

*blog post title from the wonderful movie Elf

Sunday, July 24, 2011

i'm a little more country than that

Just so we're clear, I blame genetics for this...

Both of my grandmothers were intensely fond of country music; therefore, I believe that I was genetically programmed to love it and everything that goes along with it, for the purposes of this post I mean specifically cowboys.

Whether it's genetics, the deep Southern drawl, southern summers, or just plain preference, I'm crazy for country cowboys. Now, I know what you're thinking.. "yea, yea. so is every other southern girl." To this I reply, "so what." It doesn't take a true lover of all things country-fried to appreciate 4-wheel drive, an old dirt road, or Luke Bryan. But while on my hiatus, I've become particularly preoccupied with WHY exactly this is. I've come up with a few answers for me personally. Let's go..

numero uno: George Strait (need I say more?) This country cutie has been melting hearts ever since his hit "Unwound" back in 1981, and he's had the most #1 songs of any artist in history (from any genre, he's had 57 as of 2010)

My dad's mom(Grandma) says he's her favorite because he just sits on stage and stares right into the camera, right at'ya. c'mon, any gal would swoon, right?

His song "Troubadour" has been playing on repeat while I'm writing this, FYI. I'm oddly fond of the lyrics,
"Well the truth about a mirror
Is that a damned, ole mirror
Don't really tell the whole truth.
It don't show what's deep inside,
Or read between the lines.
And it's really no reflection of my youth."

Still not convinced?

Numero dos: Hope Floats dancing scene. period. roll curtain. (but seriously, Harry Conick Jr. outdoes himself as Texas' toned trailblazer.) If that scene doesn't get ya then wait for when he waits in front of the photo shop for her. Literally, ah.maze.ing.

Numero tres: Who wouldn't wana sit on a front porch swing drinking sweet tea from a mason jar in cowboy boots? I beg of you, people. Anyone who has roots below the Mason-Dixon line would be in heaven.

Numero quatro: My trip to San Antonio, Texas, or more specifically to Gruene, Texas. If you've ever had ANY desire to dance in a honky tonk, this dance hall will make you want to pack your bags and become a Texan. This is definitely on my list for traveling again. It brings out every fiber of "country" in your soul.

Anyone still not convinced why it's so easy to love a cowboy, Google/iTunes search: Luke Bryan, Jake Owen, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Conway Twitty, John Anderson, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Alan Jackson, Hank Wiliams Jr., or any other "related search" that pops up.

okay, okay. Maybe I live in a fantasy world/in the movies where when I'm sitting on that front porch swing there are no mosquitos, I'm not dying of heat stroke, and I have nothing else I should be doing. Nevertheless, I do think that my love of Southern gents runs deeper than the muddy Mississippi, and I have my charming Memaw and Grandma to thank for it.

To them I'll say what Emily and I always said to my mom's mom(Memaw) whenever we left her house,
"I appreciate it."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

feels like home to me

Blume 2011 is wrapped, and my "summer" (3 weeks) at home has officially started.
My internship at WMU and Blume was amazing. God has been working on my heart a lot this summer, and I wouldn't change that for the world. However, I'm also more than thrilled for a little break. So.. although I am still chasing my dreams.. this is where you'll find me until school starts...
[in my fluffy bed with a cup of coffee and a book, or good reality show/movie]

[summer at its finest]

I'm only here for a little while, but we're making the most of it: lunches, dinners, weddings, a trip to oxford to shop at one of my favorite stores and (most importantly) a lake trip!

Next weekend I'll be in Friendship, Ark., with the sun on my face and DeGray Lake under my feet. CAN.HARDLY.WAIT.

This trip home is going to be amazing, as all are, but this one is MUCH needed.

Still thinking and praying for all my Blume girls! 2 Timothy 1:7 is still heavy on my heart, and I fully intend to channel the power of God in my life to refining my dreams come mid-august. BUT for now.. I'm on hiatus.

Monday, July 11, 2011

got a bag packed up at the foot of my bed

I get to see the world tomorrow.
ok, maybe just all the countries at Epcot, but it's a start.

Tomorrow is D-Day. My flight is confirmed, my bag is packed, and my nerves are as crazy as ever. Katelyn and I leave for the airport bright and early, and I'm still fighting to find a peace about it. I know it's just because it's so far out of my comfort zone, but I'm anxious nevertheless. But then I'm reminded of why I decided to go in the first place--without friction there cannot be growth.

I want, more than anything, to take this upcoming year to refine my dreams and figure out exactly it is I want to do with my life. A tall order, I know, but never hurts to try, right? Blume is the starting line for this journey. (Well, actually this whole internship was the starting line but any-who..) I'm recently very intrigued by traveling. I have no idea where I'd want to go first, or ever, or what I would do, but I am fairly certain that I want to at least travel for a while. (Easier said than done, I know) Maybe it's just my Eat, Pray, Love instincts taking over, but if I don't have any commitments after graduation I'd love to get a job that would allow me to see the world and inspire people. If anyone knows of any leads of a possible job that I might be describing without realizing it, please, PLEASE, please lemme know! ( I can use all the help I can get.)

Prayers are always appreciated, but specifically for this week as I'm a Blume YES facilitator and Bible study leader for 11th grade girls.

post title courtesy of a Carrie Underwood song, "Get Out of This Town"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

when you wish upon a star

"Think beyond your lifetime,

if you want to do something truly great.

A fifty-year master plan will change

how you look at the opportunities in the present."

-Walt Disney

[mr. walt disney himself]

Preparing for Blume and finishing up my internship, I have been thinking about Disney a lot lately. Partially because Blume is at Disney World this year and partially because I'm reading How to Be Like Walt for my final book report. I'm sure everyone's familiar with how amazingly awesome this guy was, but few realize the grit behind the glam and glitter. This book is soo00o cool and extremely inspirational.

Bet most of you didn't know that Walt didn't actually animate most of the characters he's famous for, did ya? This fun piece of trivia isn't meant to burst anyone's bubble, but rather, to prove a point. You don't have to be the best at something to leave your mark. Walt had a vision; he built a team of talented individuals that believed in his dream enough to make it come to life. He was a perfectionist, a dreamer and a doer. He had more than his fair share of hard knocks, but he believed that his past did not determine his future. He remained an eternal optimist and refused to settle for less than what he knew was possible.

"Though Walt envisioned Walt Disney World in Florida, he died before it was built. On opening day in 1971, almost 5 years after his death, someone commented to Mike Vance, creative director of Walt Disney Studios, 'Isn't it too bad Walt Disney didn't live to see this?'

'He did see it,' Vance replied simply. 'That's why it's here.'" -How to Be Like Walt

wow. starting to get it now? There is a reason this guy was so famous-- he had the ability to tap into his inner child, something we all still wish we could do. I'm reminded of a quote from one of my all-time favorite movies, Now and Then: "It's not that we don't want to believe. It's that too much has happened and we can't." This is how grown-ups live their lives, jaded by past experiences and heartache.

BUT: "Nothing that is worthwhile comes easy. Walt didn't care about what was safe, sensible, respectable. He didn't care about past failures or being flat broke. For Walt, anything was possible."

Another fun fact about Walt is that Mickey Mouse wasn't his first choice for a star. He had dreamed up "Oswald the Rabbit" and was almost ready to launch him when a business deal went sour and his business partner stole the idea out from under him. Instead of getting even, Walt did what he did best and got creative. He invented Mickey and the rest is history. "If Walt hadn't lost Oswald, we never would have heard of Mickey Mouse--and Walt Disney might never have become a household name." SO, instead of sulking over the one that got away, count your blessings, and remember, it might have just freed you up for something better in the future.

"Walt always wanted you to find something wonderful in yourself, to believe in it and consider it God's gift to you. God gives you the gift, and the rest is up to you. Walt taught me that what you do with that gift is your gift back to God." -former Disney Studios employee

"Dream big dreams--and don't be surprised when

your impossible dreams come true."

-How to Be Like Walt

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


"You're remarkable-- you really are.

You're the only one like you.

There isn't another in the whole wide world

Who can do the things you do

Because you're special--special.

Everyone is special.

Everyone in his or her own way.

Yes, you're special--special.

Everyone is special.

Everyone in his or her own way."


[the same, yet different]

While preparing material for Blume bible studies today a specific part stuck out.

"God's power in us is meant to be used to reach the world. To change the world for Christ. How can you use the gifts God has given you to change your world? What is God calling you to do? We are all called to do the same thing, just in different ways."

I, being a die-hard Barney fan when I was younger, immediately thought of the above song. Each of us is called to do the same thing just in our own different, special way. If you've been following along you know that I want to change the world for Christ and that I've been struggling with what I think God's plan for me is. I've been going back and forth, back and forth, but it suddenly made sense. It doesn't matter what I do.

Let me rephrase that a bit. It doesn't matter what I do because God will use me wherever I am. I may eventually get the opportunity to travel (shout out to the "final 5" that just recently realized it's super fun to travel and get a fresh perspective), I may stay in Birmingham, go back home, move to a thriving metropolis or podunk, USA.--but wherever I am, I can make a difference if I'm willing to.

While I am a lover of writing and my mom affectionately calls me a "wordsmith"--I'm a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. Words can be: false, unintentional, cold or just all around flat because, in my humble opinion, it's way, way easier to say something than to actually do it. Actions, however, require premeditation (hint to my views on the recently annoucned Casey Anthony verdict), or at least they should (but that's a whole other can of worms I won't be opening today). Therefore, I have decided to walk the walk instead of simply talking the talk. I want my actions(my life choices, daily activities, and relationhips) to reflect my walk with Christ. Go with me for a sec.--I believe that it speaks volumes to consider what your friends, acquaintences and even those who don't know you well might say about you at your funeral; that's the mark you're leaving on the world. So, decide what you would want people to say about you and then fall in line accordingly.

Everyone is special and has a special purpose too.

The sooner you realize that you have something unique to offer the world the better.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Made in America

"Where liberty dwells, there is my country."
~Benjamin Franklin
This weekend, make sure you take a break from all of the BBQs, fireworks and sparklers to remember why we're celebrating. These are a few pictures from my Forever Young trip to Washington D.C.

[my friend, Carl Miller of Alabama]

[marine playing taps-vets paying their respect to friends who didn't make it home]

[one very proud granddaughter of a WWII Navy Vet from Marked Tree, Ark.]

"All we have of freedom, all we use or know - This our fathers bought for us long and long ago."
~Rudyard Kipling,
The Old Issue, 1899

Now... go on, get out there and celebrate 'merica the way we were meant to...

with a PARTY!

*blog title courtesy of Toby Keith's new song of the same name


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