Year Two. 

I have officially been in Charlotte for two years. 

Wow.

Some days it feels like I just left home and other days it feels like I have been here for years and years. I am so thankful for the 23 years I spent not in Charlotte, but I am also so incredibly grateful for the 2 (and however many more the Lord sees fit to give me here) years in Charlotte. 

What has happened in year 2, you ask? Well…

  • I checked off a few things on my CLT bucket list like: going to the Billy Graham Library (7.16), going to the Mint Museum (3.17), and going to a Knights game (5.17). 
  • I started (8.16) and completed (6.17) my second year of teaching Kindergarten. 
  • My women’s small group met in my house for most of my second year in Charlotte. We decided to end it (for good reasons) in April. I’m grateful for the relationships that were formed from that time. 
  • I taught Sunday School (10.16-5.17) to the 1st-3rd graders at church with my sweet friend, Michelle. 
  • I had visitors–Elizabeth (7.16), Kasey (8.16), Emma Kate (10.16), and Kaila and Scout (2.17), as well as my parents a few times. 
  • I took a Skill Pop class on hand lettering (4.17).
  • I suffered through the death of my grandmother with sweet friends who prayed me through three hard weeks. 
  • I started volunteering at the hospital (5.17). 
  • I said yes an incredible amount of times but also started to say no more often, which is a good thing, honestly. 
  • I finally visited downtown Davidson (8.16 & 10.16)!
  • I fell in love with Park Road Shopping Center– Blackhawk Hardware, anyone?!
  • I read more books than I could count. 
  • I started to branch out in ways I’d never planned on or dreamed of doing. 
  • I went to Boone (11.16) with a bunch of girls from church. 
  • I hosted an Olympics party (8.16) which made me (for the first time) really feel like I had true community in CLT. 
  • My roommate, Rachel, moved in (8.16), and we had people over for game nights, a Christmas party, meals, and more. 
  • My friend Jordan and I threw a bridal shower for Rachel and Jordan’s roommate, Lauren (6.17). 
  • I planned lots of birthday dinners, attended more than I planned, and was blessed to have a sweet one thrown for me. 
  • I dined at plenty of new restaurants–all probably introduced to me by my sweet friend Aubrey. 
  • I spent lots of time at my friends David’s and Kelly’s house–where I now have a signature dessert I MUST bring each time I come (according to their kids). 
  • I decided that Trader Joe’s has the best flowers, Harris Teeter is still my least favorite grocery store, and made it blatantly obvious that I love Publix maybe a smidge too much. 
  • I ate many dinners prepared for me by someone else because there are so many sweet families at OBC who include me in their lives. 
  • I walked through some weird health things with a sweet community group who has faithfully prayed for me and supported me over the last tear. 
  • I sat (and thankfully still sit) under some incredible Biblical teaching at OBC. 
  • I watched Friday Night Lights and The Office for the first time. #TexasForever #MichaelScott
  • I answered the question, “If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?” with a resounding and confident, “Charlotte!” 

2017 goals

Okay, I know, I know. We’re already about 1/12th of the way into the year, and I’m just now getting to this post. BUT, if you’d had the last 2-3 weeks I’ve had, you’d understand.

I told my friend Kelly at church on Wednesday that “I have no plans! No plans. I might see my parents. I might go home. I might not. No plans! For the rest of the year. No weddings. No showers. Nothing!” [Mom and Dad, I will see you.] Literally, the only thing on my calendar for the next six weeks (besides normal church activities) is to babysit one Friday night. That’s it! 

It’s bliss. 

After a really busy year, I’m honestly super pumped to head into 2017 not having tons of plans. It’s quite refreshing. And it gives me a chance to do all of the things I’ve been wanting to do in Charlotte that I never have before/didn’t get to last year. So, without much more rambling, here are my 2017 goals (because the planner in me can’t have zero plans). 

  • Go to the gym 3-4 times per week. If you’ve ever had the privilege of meeting my dad, you’ve had the privilege of meeting one of the most disciplined people in the world. I have so much respect for him in many regards, but especially that one. You know what I’m disciplined in? Reading a book in a day. Going to Gap when they have a sale. Eating a lemon about once a week. NOT going to the gym. I’m not good at it. I don’t like it, but I want to. So, here’s to hoping that happens in 2017. 
  • Go to the Mint Museum. A goal from last summer that never happened. So, let’s make it happen this year!
  • Write more. I honestly don’t think I have the emotional space to really do this, but I want to try harder to cultivate some time and space to do this. Another area where I need to be more disciplined. 
  • Budget well. Now I sound like a full-grown adult, eh? Well, it’s about time that I really try and manage this better, so here’s to hoping in happens in 2017. 
  • Make strawberry jam. Another one from the 2016 summer goals list (actually, this is at least from 2013 or 2014) that never happened. 
  • Read all of the Little House on the Prairie books. I have a whole lot of classics I’ve never read but have always wanted to. 2016 was the Anne of Green Gables year, so I’m claiming 2017 to be the year Laura Ingalls Wilder blows me away! 
  • Deep clean my condo. Something that just really needs to be done. And well. 
  • Go somewhere new. Where? With whom? Who knows? (This is super vague so that it can actually get done!)
  • Visit my people. I sure do love my CLT community, but I also really love my friends of yore. (Remember that Friends episode where Rachel only knows two time periods? Yesteryear and yore? I digress.) Anyway, I do love them all, and at some point in 2017, I’d like to visit them all. They would be: Kaila + Patrick, Kasey + Aaron + other Greenville people, my cousins, Chelsea, and Casie, Graham, Jack, and Joe. 
  • Grow in CLT relationships. I sure do love my church body. My friends here are incredible. I pray this year will only strengthen those relationships! 

2016bestnine: fun faves edition

This is just going to be a conglomeration of random fun things I found this year that became some of my new favorites!

  1. Strawberry Gatorade has become my new favorite drink. I randomly got this when on a road trip and I stopped at a gas station. Since then, I find myself searching for it whenever I go to grocery stores that have it. SO good!
  2. Women’s Birkenstocks–okay, I know I know. BUT, these are cute. And trendy! So fun. I really like these. Even if they may not be as cute as other sandals. But, I think they are. And they’re comfortable.
  3. Selfie Stick–my poor friends. They’re probably so sick of this thing. I bring it out all the time. But it’s so fun! Who doesn’t love a good selfie? I do!
  4. This pencil sharpener has changed my pencil sharpening at work. Totally nerdy, I know, but if you need a pencil sharpener that gets the job done, this is the one you should buy.
  5. Old Navy Knit Swing Dress–this dress has changed the game for dressing for work. Almost every Monday, when I just want to crawl back in bed, I throw one of these on (I will not admit how many of these I have) with some leggings and it makes going to work after the weekend much better. So comfortable!
  6. My Otterbox for my phone. This case is different. It has a very convenient little compartment on the back that slides open so you can put your license and a credit card or two in it. So useful when going to the gym or just running to the store. And it comes in pink!
  7. Organic Fruit Ropes by Clif Bars. These are basically organic Fruit Rollups. They are so good. I could eat one every single day if I had them. I want one now just writing about them.
  8. Lipless–the game. My mom had me order this back in October for our Christmas Eve game night. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to play it on Christmas Eve, but we did play it on Thanksgiving. It is SO much fun to play. Prepare yourself to cry from laughing so much!
  9. Bean Boots–I got my first pair of Bean Boots this fall, and I like them so much! They are comfortable, warm, and worth the cost. Plus, L.L. Bean has incredible customer service! I am always one to pay more for good customer service!

if we were on a coffee date…

Heartnatured

My best friend (in real life, not just the blog world) has been doing this fun link up called “If We Were On A Coffee Date” for the past month or so on her blog. I always tell myself to get serious about writing a post one day and link up with hers, but LIFE.

Let me just admit it once and for all: I wish I could blog more than I do, but my life is crazy busy, and I can’t, and that’s okay.

Moving on.

If we were on a coffee date…

I hope we would be at the Caribou Coffee right by my house. Fun fact? I’m going there this afternoon to meet a friend. When she suggested different places, I immediately said, “Caribou!”. It looks like a normal coffee shop from the outside–just tucked in a strip mall in between a doctor’s office and a wine shop. But, you step in and all of a sudden, it’s like you’re at a ski lodge. It has the coziest feel, with a fireplace, oversized chairs, and perfect lighting. It’s my favorite.

I might tell you how I’m considering signing up for Shipt. It’s a service where you order your groceries and they are delivered to your house. I’ve seen the shoppers at Publix, and I’ve thought, “Huh. That might be cool.” They offer a two-week free trial, so why not?

I would definitely tell you about my newest favorite book. Two of my favorite authors and bloggers, Melanie Shankle and Sophie Hudson, both highly recommended this book, I Was Blind {Dating}, But Now I See, so I knew I had to snatch it up. It’s about a woman who goes on a series of eight blind dates, none of which lead to her husband. However, she learns so much about the Lord and her relationship with Him, and those lessons are what she shares. It was perfect for this season of my life, and I also highly recommend it to anyone–single or not.

I would also tell you about what I’ve been playing in the car, in the shower, at night, etc: Sovereign Grace Music’s 30: Three Decades of Songs for the Church. We sing a lot of Sovereign Grace Music’s songs at church, but I couldn’t find the one album I wanted until recently. This has most of my favorites on it, along with some new ones I hadn’t heard before. Definitely worth the $9.99 on iTunes.

Finally, I would rave about my local Gap. It’s no lie that I am a Gap girl through and through (and an Old Navy one when the budget doesn’t allow for Gap). I have started to shop a little more often now that I have a consistent paycheck (not that I should, but…), and I’ve started to get to know the employees of my Gap. They are awesome. I’m a person who will pay more for customer service any day of the week (the main reason I drive thirty minutes to shop at Publix when there’s a Harris Teeter less than five minutes up the road). The employees of my Gap make shopping there so much more fun!

Alrighty, there’s my first virtual coffee date. This was fun, Chels! 🙂

 

as sure as the sun

This semester has been long. This semester has been hard. This semester has been defeating. This semester has been nothing like I imagined it to be. My life has been nothing like I imagined it to be.

I’ve come to terms with some harsh realities this semester. The life I had planned for myself isn’t the life I’m living, and on some days, that makes me so very mad…at God. It took me a while to admit that, and it’s still very hard to write. Why should I be mad at God? What right do I have to be mad at Him? Because my life is different than I planned? No, not at all. He even PROMISES us that He has plans for us that only He knows. Why should this be at all a shock to my system that my life has gone differently than what I expected?

If my life had gone according to plan, I would have gone to Auburn, and I would be engaged or seriously dating someone by now. I would be graduating on time, I would weigh a little less, and I’d probably be driving a newer car right now. If my life had gone according to plan, I wouldn’t have broken my ankle or gone through the endings of long friendships. I wouldn’t be going to a different church than my parents, I would have a higher GPA, and I probably wouldn’t be studying to be a teacher.

However, if my life had gone according to plan, I wouldn’t have been able to meet and make some of the best friends I could’ve ever imagined. I wouldn’t have worked at camp with the people that made last summer so incredibly special, and I can probably guarantee I wouldn’t have gone to Australia. If life had gone according to plan, I wouldn’t have met my birth dad nor would I have seen him and his wife get baptized. I wouldn’t have been able to see Jack grow up or be there on the day Joe was born. I wouldn’t be in the education program with some of the sweetest girls ever, and I wouldn’t be growing more in my faith because I’ve had to really make it my own in this past year.

It’s hard to remember the times He’s been faithful when you’re walking through things that seem hard, or even are hard. Compared to a lot of my friends, I haven’t had “big” struggles this semester, but I’ve still had struggles. PRAISE JESUS, He finds them equally important. It’s easy to think that He doesn’t care or that He doesn’t see. But, oh, friend, He does.

God is not overlooking some of the details in your life. God is orchestrating ALL of the details of your life. – David Platt

I recently bought the album “As Sure As the Sun” by Ellie Holcomb. Honestly, the only reason I bought was because it was going to only be $2 after I used two coupons at Family Christian. That had to be two of the best dollars I’ve ever spent. The lyrics of the first song absolutely blew me away, and I was hooked.

As sure as the sun will rise and chase away the night / His mercy will not end / His mercy will not end

While it’s hard to remember or even “see” His faithfulness, the rising of the sun is such a clear and perfect reminder. Each day it rises. Each and every single day, that sun comes up. And each and every single day, God is just as faithful as He’s been and as He always will be.

“Let us acknowledge the Lord, let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear. He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” -Hosea 6:3

This is one of the Scriptures that the song “As Sure As the Sun” is based upon. As I was at camp last weekend, I noted how everything seemed to be in full bloom. The last time I was at camp was in January, so everything was dead. But, in April, things were blooming and beautiful. It was so apparent that “the spring rains [had] water[ed] the earth”. God’s faithfulness was so evident to me in that moment. I’m praying that this will continue to be the case, and that God’s faithfulness will be as obvious to me as the rising of the sun.

7: Month 2 & Life Lately

So, I had this idea to do my “no social media” for my second month of 7. This was mainly because I was going to be doing my student teaching during this time, and I knew that I needed as few distractions as possible. I wasn’t completely successful at this. I made it a week without logging back onto facebook, so I had Kaila change my password and that nipped that distraction in the bud immediately. I didn’t get back on twitter until the month was over, but instagram was another story. I only lasted about 3.5 weeks off of insta. However, I did learn a lot, and I am going to TRY to not be as social media obsessed. It’s so easy to get caught up in what others are doing and how others make their lives appear on social media. But, just like others, I don’t post my crap on social media. I only post what I want to post. So, like I’ve read on countless blogs, there’s no point in comparing my bad days to their good days. Next month will be my clothes month…which will be interesting for sure! That requires its own post 🙂 Here’s life as of late…

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 My parents are officially smart phone owners. (oh boy!)  And, yes, Mom and I have matching cases.

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I’ve tried to soak up each of the Spring days we’ve had so far, however there haven’t been too many of them. It’s been rather cold this March. I’m ready for shorts weather!

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It’s about to get crazy in Augusta. #mastersweek

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 Sometimes, you’re a student teacher, and you get to wear things like this. I enjoyed my time with fourth grade this semester, but I am SO thankful that it is over. Only one week until Spring Break!!

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I babysat for my parents’ friends a few weeks ago, and their nine-year-old did all of these things to my hair. Talk about talented. I’m thinking about hiring her out for special events.

Other than student teaching and working and babysitting, the last five weeks haven’t been too exciting. Here’s to a fabulous month of April!

Some Good Ones

Last year’s Super Bowl commercials had me in tears. Dodge’s “God Made a Farmer” by Paul Harvey was too good, Jeep’s “Whole Again” about soldiers was incredibly classy, and Budweiser’s Clydesdale commercial was a classic. This year, I found myself laughing over the commercials instead of crying. Here are a few of my favorites from the Super Bowl + some other favorites.

Tim Tebow + TMobile
Budweiser’s Puppy Love
This Coke one was really cute.

Did you see the reunion of the Full House guys on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon the other night?
If you haven’t seen Delta’s newest safety video, you should watch it just for the cameos of famous 80s stars. It’s incredibly cheesy, but I laughed because of the cheesiness.
And, make sure you watch this one. It’s the full story of Budweiser’s A Hero’s Welcome.
Last one…the Olympics start TOMORROW! I am so excited. Make sure you have your tissues ready before you watch this thank you to moms from Proctor & Gamble.