Archives for March 2014

03.31.2014

Countdown to Graduation: Not Spring Break.

Day 60: Where I DIDN’T wake up this morning…weirdly Waco didn’t look like this…and I was dealing with a 40 degree temperature difference also, so that’s the kind of Monday I had.

Day 59: Yep. Graduation regalia. They included an alumni bumper sticker in case I wasn’t already hyperventilating over the tassel so that was sweet of them.

Day 58: I could probably actually live on this smoothie: Frozen bananas, chocolate almond milk, chocolate protein powder and peanut butter. YUM!

Day 57: A little Mandy-time, naturally Mandy is the name of my mandolin (full name: Amanda Lynn). She’s been pretty neglected…my bad.

Day 56: Awesome sky on the drive to Dallas.

Day 55: Just a little Petland visit where I kinda fell in love with this little muffin…to be continued. : )

Day 54: I can’t tell you how much I love being in Dallas and being able to actually fulfill my cupcake cravings almost instantaneously.

Day 53: Cheering on KU to no avail. Clearly this is a before shot. (In other undocumented news to preserve the feelings of the Jayhawk pictured…SIC EM BEARS!;) Way to make it to the Sweet Sixteen!)

Day 52: Memorizing the Synod of Dort and the Diet of Worms, how do you spend YOUR Monday evenings?

Day 51: Candles make the season real for me, and this candle is the epitome of spring.

Day 50: Tea and an Influence Network class on being intentional with my real life friend and now blog friend Katherine (Check out her blog Unofficial Seating Charts). Fun to learn about intentionality while living it out with a dear friend at the same time.

Day 49: Watching a storm roll in, I’ve never seen the sky look so beautiful and water-like. I was so entranced the floor shaking thunder didn’t even phase me.

Day 48: Drew Holcomb sans the Neighbors and Ellie. Still wonderful.

Day 47: Beautiful day for some bridal bingo at a shower for my best friend!

Day 46: A gummy bears and TLC watching kind of night. ;)

 

Check out the rest of the countdown here!:

03.28.2014

What I Learned In March

At the end of every month I take the time to reflect on things I’ve learned during the past 28, 29, 30 or 31 days. And I love it. It’s one of my very favorite posts to write. This month was filled with travel and trying new things and I’m excited to share them with you!

1. There’s a place in the ocean where there are tons of tame stingrays that you can hold and pet and hug and they’re actually really cute and sweet. No, really.

2. There’s a flavor of Haagen Daaz that is absolutely heavenly and unavailable in the US (except in the Haagen Daaz stores). It’s called Belgian chocolate and it is chocolate ice cream with chocolate flecks in it, not chips, not chunks, flecks. It’s perfect. I miss it already.

3. The Oscar’s are more fun to watch when you’ve seen more than one of the movies (that one movie being Frozen). This was not the case for me this year…Not as fun, but my fault for not taking the time to watch the movies. But, it didn’t make the dresses any less glamorous, which is a plus! Which  movie was your favorite this year?

4. There are places in the world that are pretty close to perfect. Such as, the Cayman Islands.

5. Sunsets are beautiful everywhere. And they are more enjoyable with friends close by, with drinks in hand, marveling with you.

6.According to the BuzzFeed Quiz for “Which Parenthood Character Are You?” I’m Jabbar. What. (Link Here)

7. The Lego movie is not as dumb as I anticipated and now I imagine Lego people to be real people and have begun to make up my own stories for them. If you haven’t seen it, you should! It’s really funny and quotable.

8. This month I learned to love moments that can’t be recreated. I took a Spring Break trip to the Cayman Islands with 4 sweet friends and had the time of my life. And our plane took off to leave I realized that there is no way this trip could ever be recreated. Sure we could come back in 15 years with husbands and maybe even kids but it wouldn’t be the same. We are about to leave college and are standing on the diving board staring into the deep end of the real world. The excitement and fear running through us will never feel the same as it does right now at this moment. Still I cherish the week, a week that will only be recreated in reminiscent stories over a bottle of wine and so much laughter that the people around us won’t know what’s going on, but we’ll know and we’ll remember.

9. The world breaks my heart. One of my new year’s resolutions is to keep up with current events and in order to do that, I try to read the newspaper almost everyday (my college provides free copies of the paper to students, so it’s always available to me). And I’m well aware of the world around me now, but it breaks my heart. It really does.

10. I miss apps a LOT. I gave up apps for Lent and this month, it was a STRUGGLE. I don’t really miss facebook and Twitter as much as my precious Instagram. (Honesty zone: I cheated once or twice and got on through Safari…not the same but maybe a little bit worth it).

 

I’m linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky. Come join the conversation! What have you learned in March?

 

03.26.2014

Countdown to Graduation: Spring Break Edition

Okay, so here’s why these posts had a brief intermission: I went on a spring break trip. So get ready to be a little bit mad at me…because I went to the beautiful Cayman Islands!

Day 70: Blue skies and branches. Could it finally be actual, real, live spring in Texas?

Day 69: The bag zipped (barely)! Who knew a few swimsuits could take up so much room? (Also I maybe, kind of, sort of majorly overpacked)…All ready for spring break! : )

Day 68: Traveling day! Houston to Miami to Grand Caymans, long day but well worth it. The view from an airplane will never get old to me. Flying is one of my favorite things to do and it’s so much more fun with dear friends

Day 67: Woke up to this beautiful view in our backyard. It was in that moment I realized it wouldn’t be quite as difficult to unplug from the stressful school world as I thought…

Day 66: Late night beach-side stargazing

Day 65: Discovered my all-time favorite ice cream flavor! Too bad it isn’t sold in the United States…:(

Day 64: A picture’s worth a thousand words and this one comes with a thousand relaxing deep breaths, as well (and a LOT of vitamin D). Bonus!

Day 63: Finished my first Kate Morton novel and I’m obsessed! Great author and wonderful spring break read.

Day 62: Soaking up every last minute on this beautiful island reading beautiful words from Emily Freeman (in a hammock, of course). What better place to read about living art?

Day 61: It’s a bittersweet goodbye because we have to leave this beautiful place but at the same time we get to board the plane directly from the tar mack like Hallie from the Parent Trap so…

 

Stay tuned for more beautiful pictures that weren’t taken on my iphone! ;)

Click below for other countdown posts!

03.25.2014

Home Sweet Home

Hello all!

I’m thrilled to tell you I’m guest posting over at What She Saw, a blog by my sweet friend Annie, today. I’m talking about what makes a state a home. I’m a native Texan so it’s all about why I love the Lone Star State, queso and saying y’all, but I hope you see the wonderful, unique and special things wherever your heart calls home.

Come join me!

03.11.2014

Countdown to Graduation: Part 4

Day 78: Still working through my Bible from beginning to end, a goal of mine for 2014. Thankful for the hunger for this book that hasn’t grown weary this year.

Day 77: Sugar and Starbucks Energy, the only thing keeping me going for the last weekend of All University Sing!

Day 76: Yes, this is a selfie, yes it is scary and yes I’m glad this is my last night to tease my hair and wear this makeup. But I actually enjoyed getting into ferocious character as a lion, it’s fun to be a little bit scary sometimes. I loved our act and I’m so proud we made Pigskin 2014!!

Day 75: This is not a picture I took today but it’s a truth that’s been stuck in my head, over and over I pray these words and let them wash over me as they washed over the Israelites so long ago.

Day 74: Watched my sister rock her first intramural Ping Pong game!! Goooo sissy! ;)

Day 73: Sister dinner date at Chuy’s! We’re going our separate ways for Spring Break and decided to cram in some last minute conversation now that our evenings aren’t filled with Sing practices.

Day 72: Showed up to lab in matching outfits! We Kappas just love Khemistry! ;)

Day 71: I can’t believe I’m posting another selfie but I couldn’t help but laugh at my movie star look with big sunglasses and an organic smoothie, (which was delicious). I kept feeling like I needed to tell people “oh no, I’m not really a diva, I just accidentally look like one today.” Oh well.

I’m a little bit behind posting these pictures but nevertheless, the countdown continues!

To see the previous posts click below:

03.04.2014

Preparing Your Heart for Lent

PreparingYourHeartforLent

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a 40 day fast leading up to Easter. I didn’t grow up in a church that taught me all of the details on the history and such so my knowledge is very basic.  Basically, Lent is a time for Christians to reflect, repent, and pray as a way of preparing their hearts for Easter. It is  observed by a lot of Christian denominations although not every Christian church or denomination does. During this time, people choose to give up a bad habit or certain behavior during this time or adopt a new spiritual habit.

In the past, these are a few things I’ve given up/added in for Lent:

  • Soda
  • Television
  • Cake
  • Listening to music in the car and took the time to pray instead
  • Adding in running 3 times a week and praying while I ran
  • Nail biting
  • Apps on my phone
  • Secular music

I really love Lent. Not to say I enjoy it because the point is not enjoyment but I love and cherish it for the sacrificial time it is meant to be. It can be a huge struggle not to cave to my selfish desire to go back to bad habits, especially since it isn’t a Biblically sanctioned requirement, it’s really easy to just give up. But, my relationship with Christ grows leaps and bounds during Lent each year as I embrace the time to focus on my sin and the glory of the cross.

How Do I Prepare and Celebrate Lent?

I’ve celebrated Lent for years and have found some of my favorite devotionals and books to read during Lent.

1. Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter

From the back & inside cover:

“A time for self-denial, soul-searching, and spiritual preparation, Lent is a fitting season for daily reading and reflection…this book offers meditations from a wide spectrum of classic and contemporary Christian writers.”

“Lent is a time to let go of excuses for failings and shortcomings; to stop hanging onto whatever shreds of goodness we perceive in ourselves; a time to ask God to show us what we really look like.”

This book contains 72 readings which span much past Lent into the celebration of resurrection on a day to day basis. The selections are short and beautiful, each by a different classic Christian author.I love this book because it has a different author every day and I get a taste of many Christian writers I have heard of but never read before.  I highly recommend this book not only for Lent but year round.

(Link to book HERE)

2. Simplifying the Soul by Paula Huston

From the back cover:

“The beauty of the Lenten season is that it encourages the development of a humble heart.  Structured as an individual Lenten retreat, Simplifying the Soul presents daily readings from Jesus and the desert fathers and mothers, along with a meditation focused on a specific activity that can be carried out that day.  Many of these activities come straight out of Catholic tradition, but others are adaptations of old wisdom woven into contemporary life (cleaning out a junk drawer, walking instead of driving, etc.).  All are designed to lead to conversion of heart and a transformed life.”

This is a sweet little book that I just adore, it begins on Ash Wednesday and each chapter has a meditation and prayer along with an activity to promote humility and simplicity into everyday life. I love Paula’s voice and the weaving of Catholic tradition into the book. Although I’m not Catholic, I can fully appreciate the beauty and reverence of the Church history.

(Link to book HERE)

3. The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

From back cover:

“The gift of Sabbath is essential to our full humanity ad faith. God, knowing that, and knowing how easily we might neglect it, made it a command. We’ve neglected it anyhow. We’ve lost the rest of God…Sabbath allows us to live more fully into our status as free people, people released from the grueling incessant demands of the world. And in the sweet shadow of Sabbath, we anticipate the ultimate rest–Heaven.”

This book is not a devotional but a book on restoring your soul through the heartfelt practice of Sabbath. This is the perfect book to read slowly and really chew on. Mark has a great voice and perspective on Sabbath and slowing down to rest. In all honesty, I don’t treat the Sabbath as I should and can’t tell you the last time I truly slowed down and took time to rest. This book is another beautiful reminder of the Gospel lived out through being still.

(Link to book HERE)

 

In all honesty, I forget I’m sinful sometimes, I compare myself to ‘worse people’ and find myself good enough. But this time of Lent always teaches me to look my sin in the eye and choose how to react; ignore it, try to fix it myself or turn to the cross.
The habits I adopt and eliminate and the reverence I give to the Gospel during Lent are all things I should do throughout the year but forget to do. There is nothing more special about this time of year, in fact it’s possible to celebrate Lent in your heart any time of year, but in the spring time, when the old, dead, frozen parts of the world are being buried and the fresh, green renewal of spring bursts forth, so the resurrection springs forth in the mourning of my brokenness and I cherish it.

I invite you to celebrate Lent this year and give something up in order to focus more on Christ, it can be something small or occasional, you don’t have to quit anything cold turkey. Lent is most certainly not about trying to be perfect but it’s a time to intentionally align yourself with the Cross.

“The purpose of Lent is to arouse. To arouse the sense of sin. To arouse a sense of guilt for sin. To arouse the humble contrition for the guilt of sin that makes forgiveness possible. To arouse a sense of gratitude for the forgiveness of sins. To arouse or to motivate the works of love and the work for justice that one does out of gratitude for the forgiveness of sins.”

– Edna Hong

Lent is a chain reaction that begins tomorrow. How will you approach this Lenten season?

 

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. All that means is that if you purchase something through a link embedded in this post, I will receive a small portion of the profit at no extra cost to you!

03.01.2014

Weekend Benediction

I pray you find the courage to admit poverty this weekend. Despite what your bank account, closet or number of Facebook friends may say. I pray you find humility at the foot of the cross and go forth remembering the weight of the Gospel.

I pray you empty your heart so fully and genuinely that truth and grace rushes in to fill the gap.

May you be poor in spirit and rich in grace, remembering there is still much to learn.
I pray you find time to let your soul breathe and be content in knowing you will never know it all yet all the while knowing the Sovereign one who does. May you find peace in knowing the power is not in your hands

Happy weekend, friends.