Dear Beautiful Girl {a letter to the teenage me}

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dear Beautiful Girl...

Oh pretty girl. If I could give you anything right now it would be a hug.

I would stand there and just hold you, look you in the eyes and promise you that it does get better. It really does. These years don't define you. I’m so sorry that you’re going through all of that right now, but it gets better. So much better.

I know you’re listening to Garth Brooks while everyone else is listening to Metallica. I know you're driving a John Deere and plowing a garden while everyone else is hanging out with their friends.  I know your sharpening the blades on the lawnmower while everyone else is heading to the beach.  I know you feel like you don't fit in. It's all good chickie, someday being country is actually cool!

Your hair is amazing. Enjoy every single second of your big hair, soon it goes out of style and never comes back in. I know, unbelievable. But the adult you is still holding out hope it will come back in style someday.

I know how badly you want to try out for cheerleading. You came so close, but you allowed someone else to ruin it. Stop doing that! One statement of "Amy, a cheerleader? Are you serious?" completely ruined your confidence and thoughts of trying out. Ignore them and just try out! If you don't, you will regret this your entire life.

I know how critically important it feels to fit in, to be cool, and most of all, to be beautiful. And thin. Oh, how important that is.

I want you to know a few things. First of all, you are thin! And your 30something self will wish she looked like you. Secondly, a woman's worth is not determined by her weight. You know that. Deep down you have to know that.

But yet...

I see the days when you eat a candy bar, sneak out into the bathroom to try to vomit it up. It doesn't work and just makes you feel like more of a failure. I see the days when you can’t concentrate because you're hungry. You've convinced yourself that food is disgusting and when you glance around the lunchroom, watching everyone shove food in their mouth, it makes you nauseous. Again, you revise your daily 600-calorie or less menu. One thing it can never include is food at school in front of others. I see you leafing through the pages of the latest issue of Seventeen, tears dripping down your cheeks because you’ll never look like those girls, and it makes you feel like your worth is less than zero.

I know you hate your lips and how full they are. Those kids around you certainly haven't helped that matter at all, calling you "lipper" and "n... lips". But guess what? Some day women are going to pay to have amazing lips like yours! I know, right? And God gave you them for free :) You trendsetter you.

So, you're finally old enough to date and you'll finally get your first boyfriend. But sadly, for two years he fills your head with "I won't date a fat girl, remember that", "Look how fat your thighs look in those pants" and “If you would just lose weight, you’d be so beautiful." You will spend countless date nights sitting in restaurants watching him eat because he feels you've had your calorie fill for the day. And countless nights crying yourself to sleep. Eventually he is out of the picture, but his words aren't.

Those words will haunt you for decades.

Darling, gorgeous, lovely, are beautiful and worthy exactly as you are, and nothing anyone can say or do will change that truth. Do you hear me? Your body type does not dictate your worth, no matter what society tells us.

God has told you the truth about who you are. You are beautiful simply because He made you. The only perspective that matters and the only One who defines us is our Maker. How freeing is that truth?

You are beautiful. Nothing can change that fact. Ever. Not aging, not gray hair and not scars from surgeries. The only thing that can change is whether you believe it or not.

Despite what all the guidance counselors tell you, these years do not define you. You will be so much more than high school. You are a child of God...and no prom dress, hair cut, boyfriend, car, or fight with a friend can ever change that.

You are wonderful and worthy. Please remember that. You are amazing!

Your Future Self

Bless Your Hubby

Friday, December 12, 2014

When we enter into marriage, our main focus is each other. But as time goes on, our focus tends to turn to jobs, bills, or children and less on each other. So many times we just get caught up in life and forget things like this are super important. Unfortunately, this causes many marriages to have problems. It's time to put our focus back on our spouse! Every day is a perfect day to show your husband a little extra love and remind him (and maybe you) of how thankful you are for him.

You can communicate your love in so many ways other than speech and I just bet he would be super excited that you did. Here are some ways for you to show your husband your love. Choose at least five every day and watch your marriage blossom into a wonderful relationship!
  • pray for him
  • say I'm sorry
  • never ever ever go to bed mad
  • meet him at the door with a kiss and a smile
  • an encouraging word
  • make his favorite meal
  • let your home be a haven were your husband can retreat from the stresses of life
  • let him know that you respect and admire his leadership
  • take interest in his hobbies
  • send him a little love text or email for his eyes only
  • flirt with him
  • thank him for everything
  • snuggle in front of a fire
  • write an encouraging verse and put it on his steering wheel
  • let him be the man of the house
  • buy new lingerie 
  • wear an outfit you know he likes
  • laugh together
  • tell him 5 reasons why you love him
  • make your bedroom a special retreat
  • get him his fav treat while your out shopping
  • go for a long drive together
  • wake him up with kisses
  • speak highly and lovingly about him to other people
  • give him a back-rub
  • take a walk together
  • hold his hand
  • trust him
  • don't hold on to grudges
  • hide a love note somewhere he'll find it
  • pack his lunch for him
  • plan a date night
  • listen to him when he is stressed
  • talk him up in front of his (and your) friends
  • keep your promises
  • do his chores for him
  • laugh and have fun with him
  • bite your lip and don't nag or complain
  • love him

When Christmas Makes You Sad

Monday, December 08, 2014

Oh sweet friend, just writing this post makes my heart feel pangs of sadness.  Thinking about you makes tears run down my cheeks.  You see, last year I was you.  I was the girl that couldn't find her Christmas, no matter where she looked.   I was the girl with an empty, aching heart.

Let me share my story.

Last year, as the Holidays approached, they felt different. I pushed it aside as much as I could, until the obvious was staring me straight in the face. I put up my tree, made handmade decorations, shopped till I dropped, baked cookies, watched Rudolph, burnt yummy smelling candles...and still nothing. I still couldn't feel Christmas. Why couldn't I FEEL it? I ran down the to-be-happy-at-Christmas checklist, put marks in all the boxes and I'm still wasn't happy.

I was sassy. I was mean. I was sad. I cried. I was distant. I had myself a big ole' pity party. Daily, I alternated between trying to talk myself out of it and justifying my feelings. Christmas was just so expensive and money was tight. Last year I had a close friend to do fun holiday activities with, this year I didn't. My dog was aging and couldn't walk some days. The weather was yucky. There wasn't any snow. I missed my Grandma who had passed away. My family didn't get together anymore on Christmas Eve. I could go on and on.  

My heart was just sad.

I'm going to be honest. No matter how much I tried to talk myself out of it, it was just a valley I had to walk through. And that's okay.

Friend, if you’re hurting this holiday season...It’s okay to hurt.

People will, no doubt, tell you to just "get over it" and "move on".  And maybe you feel like you should be over it, but you just don't know how to be.  I want to tell you it's okay.

If there is anything I've learned over the past few years, it's this.  When God leads you through a valley, don't close your eyes.  Keep them open as wide as you can.  Along the journey, even in the midst of the valley, there will be beautiful blessings.  

I promise you, some day you will find joy in the Holidays again.  God has joy planned for you!!  At first, it may come in a little smile here or there.  Or you find yourself actually singing along to a Christmas carol.  Embrace it!  Smile.  Laugh.  Hug.  Eat.  Fellowship.  And when the tears come, embrace them too. Cry if you need to. Be honest and brave.  

Healing will come. Joy will emerge from this dark season.  A Holiday season will feel almost normal again.  Laughter will return.  

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

hello. goodbye.

Monday, December 01, 2014

hello december, goodbye november
hello my fav're so happy, festive, sparkly, and shiny and you smell really super good
hello christmas tree, goodbye pumpkins
hello family time + lots of laughs

hello celebrating the real reason for the season, the birth of Christ
hello christmas ham {my fav}, goodbye thanksgiving turkey
hello holiday baking, goodbye self control
hello hot chocolate, goodbye hot cider
hello season of giving, goodbye buying for myself

hello Gregory, our elf on the shelf...oh how i've missed your naughty adventures
hello streaming christmas music all.the.time., goodbye regular radio stations
hello to every christmas movie out there, goodbye non-holiday movies
hello happy mail daily, goodbye boring mail

hello crafting presents, goodbye boring evenings
hello the time of year i wish i had a fireplace
hello kids christmas program, goodbye dry eyes
hello christmas caroling and christmas wrapping, goodbye free time
hello making lists and checking them twice

hello the season i've waited for all year long
hello the season that feels extra magical this year

Thankful {30/30}

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Today I am thankful for all of YOU, my loyal blog readers. Thank you for not only reading my blog but also for your unconditional support and encouraging comments. We've been through a lot together, this little bloggie and I, and I’m glad you could come along with us for the journey. You give me the chance to share my stories, my heart, my passion, my life and myself.


Thankful {29/30}

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Today I am thankful for books. Books may seem like a slightly weird thing to be thankful for if you aren't a book lover. But if you are one, you totally get it. I’ve been in love with reading for as long as I can remember. I am so so super thankful for a Mama who encouraged me to read. Growing up, every night my Mama and I would shut the TV off early (some nights at 8 pm) and go to bed and read. Some of my fav memories are snowy Sunday afternoons, curled up under a blanket reading. I would be in my chair and she would be in hers. I didn't want to play video games, or spend hours of my life watching TV; I just wanted to get lost in a book.

Books have been a major part of my growing process as a Christian, wife, mother, friend and adult. I absolutely love reading and, during that book, realizing more about myself.

But it’s more than that, there is a connection between words and I. My mama says it's because I'm wordy :) It’s one of the reasons I enjoy blogging. And I feel completely blessed that part of that blogging is doing book reviews. 

InScribed Collection 2 {Book Review}

Friday, November 28, 2014

I have to admit, I was over the moon excited to get an email asking me to review the second installment of the inScribed Collection.  The first set was so amazing, I couldn't wait to get my hands on these!  Oh mylanta, I was not disappointed. They are AMAZING y'all!

The InScribed Collection is for anyone with a passion for God. Each title touches on a subject matter unique to the needs and issues that women face everyday. Since there are three books to cover I am going to write this review differently. I am going to share with you the books I received with their descriptions and share my thoughts after each book. I plan to keep my reviews short since there is so much to share.

Barren Among the Fruitful
Navigating Infertility with Hope, Wisdom, and Patience
By Amanda Hope Haley

The problem of infertility has reached epidemic levels in our society. It is projected that 40% of women currently 25 and younger will have difficulty conceiving a child or reaching a live birth.

Amanda Hope Haley had married David, the man of her dreams, and earned a master’s degree from Harvard. She and David purchased their first home and settled down to start a family. All her hopes and dreams were coming true according to plan—until the family didn’t happen. After spending seven years begging God for a child, Amanda discovered that God gives only one hope: Jesus. Amanda having a baby wasn’t to be her happy ending. Finding wholeness by hoping only in God was her happy ending!

Using Amanda’s personal stories, and the stories of other women who have struggled to have children, Barren Among the Fruitful surrounds those women struggling with infertility or miscarriage with a sense of community while providing honest facts. It leads women from confusion to understanding. Each chapter is titled with a well-meaning, but sometimes thoughtless comments Amanda was offered during her seven-year struggle with infertility.

While I've never struggled with infertility, that doesn't negate the fact that millions of hearts are broken daily by it. Infertility is a heartbreaking condition that many women in my life have experienced, or are currently going through. This book is a real, honest look at infertility and is written by someone who knows the pain firsthand. She infuses humor into every chapter by titling them with questions often asked of women.

Amanda uses personal stories from women who have struggled with infertility or miscarriage to create a powerful book that will help women navigate this difficult road. I definitely recommend this book, and I will be passing my copy along to a friend who is on this journey right now.

Who I Am, Was, and Will Be in Christ
By Ashley Linne

As women, we are constantly on a search for self-worth. In today’s world, can be easy to measure our significance by what we do for others rather than out of a deep-rooted sense of identity.

Based on the book of Romans, Inseparable aims to give an overview of our identity in Christ from the grand narrative of Scripture as a whole. Throughout the book, guided Bible study sections will lead readers to discover truths in Scripture for themselves and challenge them to apply those truths to their everyday thought processes and choices. Readers are encouraged to look to Christ for approval, identity, and significance rather than themselves or the world around them. Readers will be enabled to live confidently and securely in today’s culture, ready to face life’s challenges with strength and courage.

This book begins each chapter by telling you who you are in Christ using Romans eight.  There is then commentary added and other scriptures to help explain her points.  Then you are pointed to other chapters in Romans for more study.  Such an amazing study!  It’s also an inspiration for any woman who has struggled with self-esteem {umm hello}.  This book is packed with uplifting and embracing advice.

A Call to Make Jesus Famous
By: Sarah Francis Martin

It is common to look at our faith as something that just “is”. It’s not strong, nor is it weak; it’s simply a part of us. But faith is something we desire to strengthen. It is a vital relationship with our Lord that should be nurtured, celebrated, and shouted from the rooftops as the most incredible gift we will ever receive.

Just RISE UP! is a call to do just that. This invigorating study motivates women to do life differently by making Jesus famous in all aspects of life.

Many have the itch to make a difference with their lives but don’t know how. By living a life of praise, with a humble posture and a Kingdom perspective, women will step into their life purpose. With Just RISE UP! readers will evaluate their present stance before the Lord and become excited to RISE UP! and take their place in the Kingdom to make the name of Jesus renowned.

There are five chapters, and each chapter has five sections. Each chapter section has a life experience or teaching commentary followed by a journal section with prompts, scripture and meditations on portions of Psalm 145. These journaling sections are rich and meaty, and if you complete them you will truly have a testimony of working through and thinking about Psalm 145. Studying Psalm 145, you will learn how to put Jesus first in your life by acts of worship, prayer, praise, and even acts of service to others.

These books were provided to me free of charge by Book Look in return for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thankful {28/30}

Friday, November 28, 2014

Today I am extremely thankful for the friends in both my kids lives, not only the ones pictured above but so many more.  I cannot even tell you how much it means to me that they both have such amazing Christian friends. It's so important to have friends that have the same morals and values as you, that you can talk about anything with and that you can lean on each other and support each other. God sure has given my kids some great ones!  

Thankful {27/30}

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Today I am thankful for a day spent sitting around the table enjoying amazing food with my fav people in the entire world. We are having dinner at my Mama's and I can't WAIT to eat!  Then spending the afternoon putting up our trees with my loves.  Sounds like such a super amazing day. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible {Book Review}

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible
By Editors-in-Chief: Phil Robertson and Al Robertson

About the book:
The stars of the hit TV show Duck Dynasty are committed to upholding five core values both on and off the screen: faith, family, fellowship, forgiveness, and freedom. 
The Duck Commander® Faith and Family Bible features new stories and testimonials by Phil, the Robertson family patriarch, and his son Al, a pastor with more than 22 years of experience. Together they offer fresh wisdom on biblical values and how everyday people can apply them to their lives. 
Powered by relentless dedication to sharing the gospel and celebrating Christ’s kingdom, the Robertson family has become influential to contemporary evangelism and discipleship. The Duck Commander® Faith and Family Bible unleashes the power of their practical insight into critical faith issues, founded on God’s Word.
This is a beautifully illustrated Bible. It's filled with stories of true, life experiences by Phil and Al Robertson. These stories are full of their core values. It's so easy to read and get lost in. They have such a passion for just being real, sharing their hearts, the good experiences and the bad. Every situation, whether good or bad, is turned into giving God the glory! As for the Bible its self, I found it to be pretty typical of the NKJV.

I would highly recommend this Bible. If you love the Robertsons, as our household does, you'll love it! It's a great help in dealing with every day situations and life in general.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Book Look in return for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thankful {26/30} aka...Convo's With My Kids

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Today, I'm thankful for the little sweet conversations I have with my kids.  I absolutely adore the convo's I have with my littles {and family}. Normally, they have me in stitches. And Miss Jade, oh Miss Jade, always so innocent. I want to remember every single thing about our conversations {and let you enjoy them too}. That's why I document them here :) Someday, I'll look back on these days and, with tears in my eyes, appreciate these times.


Jade:  I've always wanted my birthday to be on a Friday the 13th, but then I remember my birthday is on the 8th.


Jade:  What day is Saturday Night Live on?
Joe:  Are you serious?


Joey:  Okay Jade, we're going to be late for school.  So if anyone asks, tell them we hit a baby raccoon and had to stop to give it a proper burial.


Me:  Jade, just look here please.
Jade:  But the cat keeps distracting me.


Jade:  George Washington cut down an apple tree to make his teeth, right?


Me:  {throwing on Joe's big hoodie over my nightgown and slipping on snow boots}
Jade:  Are you driving me to the bus stop like that?
Me:  Well yeah, no one will see me.
Jade:  Don't ever get out of the car dressed like that.
Me:  What if it's a life or death situation?
Jade:  Let them die.


As of late, this is a daily occurrence here.  

Joey:  {hiding}
Jade:  screeeeeeeeeeeeeaming....JOEY!!!!
Joey:  That never gets old


And another daily occurrence.

Joey:  Jade?
Jade:  What?
Joey:  {silence}
Jade:  Gah, I fall for that every single time!

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