A Trip to South Carolina

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Time has been flying!
I feel like I have about 3 other blog posts I would love to write about but there has been no time!
Last week was ridiculously busy, trying to get everything done for school which included a full week with something everyday, a 12 hour clinical, and finishing my last research paper of nursing all got finished on time!

Although it had been a long week, Andrew and I got invited to go to South Carolina to help with their regional TNT. For those of you who don't know this is a talent competition weekend that ranges from sports, to music, art, photography, and writing. Andrew and I had been at this TNT for the past 3 years with Everpraise traveling and we were delighted to be asked to come help out this weekend.

So friday rolled around, I had clinical, but as soon as I was done we packed up our things, hopped in the car and made our way down to SC. 
It had been awhile since we had been on a road trip (which is weird considering the previous 3 years we have been on the road every weekend). 

We had such a great time! 
We were thrilled to stay with the McAdorys and spending time with their sweet Mia Grace made my weekend!

While it was different being here not on a PR group, it was so much fun to be around all of our friends, to participate in what was going on, and to truly be loved and cared by those we have met over the past 3 years.

While the weekend was busy and not much time to just sit around, I found myself thinking quite a bit while we were here. Andrew and I have been welcomed and received with more than open arms by people of Midland Valley, and some very special people on the SC district. While they have not known us our whole lives, it often times feel as though they have. 

I felt beyond blessed this weekend as we were encouraged, valued, and needed. 
I kept telling Andrew how weird it was (in a good way) that nothing about it seems unfamiliar or like we were guests. All of that to say, I couldn't help but thank God for His faithfulness and the way He has worked to give us such incredible people along the way.

It was so nice to get away this weekend & I am so thankful for moments like this weekend!!! 

For everyone of our friends in SC and to our Midland Valley Church friends, thank you for having us, encouraging us, and loving us. 

A Few Favorites of The Weekend

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In the middle of my madness with classes, clinicals, Nclex questions, review modules, and a huge list of assignments, I still find time to enjoy some of my favorite things. 
This weekends favorites included: 

The birth of my pretty much nephew Griffin!!! 10lbs. 4 oz. He is BEAUTIFUL!!!!! 
(pictures to come soon, don't wanna steal his parents thunder with introducing him to everyone) 
I could not be more excited & I can't wait till I get to go home to meet him finally!! 

Homemade mexican food made with love by Andrew. But seriously, he's wonderful.
Whatever that boy does with all his ingredients, it tastes fabulous. 

This is how he eats it....

And this is how I eat...
A movie date: Joyful Noise
I must say it was better than I thought it was going to be & I laughed a lot.

A saturday morning with NO alarms set! 

Crackerbarrel's Chicken and Rice. (if you haven't had it, you should go on a Saturday and try it)

A trip to the grocery store. 

Time to clean my apartment. Kinda crazy that I enjoy this, but I do. 

Clean Laundry.

Sunday morning coffee and church with Andrew.

A great sermon that is something to think about all week. It created thoughts for my previous blog. 

A cake made just for me. He really is wonderful. ;)
Funfetti of course

Strawberry icing was just the right choice. 

Time to organize my planner & life.

A great phone conversation with my Mom.

Time to write on my blog and time for writing in my journal.

A quiet Sunday night before a busy week. 

I enjoy weekends like this and I am thankful for the little things in life that make the hard days possible. 

Maybe I Should Say It Again

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's interesting how sometimes we can say something but we still don't live that way.
So maybe I need to say it again.
My previous blog mentions my struggle with fear and the fact that twice in the same week I heard about the Bibles' promises when it says "Fear Not."
I must not have heard it completely.

What do I mean? I'll tell you.
Tonight, I went to the Kairos worship service at Brentwood Baptist. Prayer time is one of my favorites at this church as it is sadly some of the only moments where I actually slow down long enough to think and be still. Tonight's prayer time started with- 
"Do you know what the most repeated phrase in the Bible is?"

My initial thought: you've got to be kidding me.
That's right, "Fear Not."
His prayer time then invited us to ask ourselves what are we afraid of. What had we done this day that was out of fear?  What was our fear causing us to do or not do? Had fear caused us to make poor choices? Then he invited us to ask ourselves who would we be if we weren't afraid? What kind of lives would we be living? What would be different?

The hardest part of the night.
He asked us to pray in faith like we were bold and confident, and to pray as if we were not afraid. 
What kind of prayers would we pray? What would God do with us? 

As I sat in a room with thousands of people, I felt so alone.
I began to cry.
In being real with myself and transparent on here, today I have felt defeated, insignificant, unworthy, afraid of failure, afraid of missing my call, afraid of not being good enough, afraid of being alone, afraid of losing people I love, and the list goes on and on and on.
When I began to name each of these fears out to the Lord, I felt pathetic.
Where does it all come from? Why do I feel so defeated today?

I realize that as Christians and those who walk in the light, the darkness will do whatever it can to stop us, and I know that today has been a battle within my heart. 
I began to speak truth to the lies.
I began to quote the scripture that says: "You are mine. I have called you by name..."

In praying in faith, I realize this is the hardest part for me, but something I so desire to do and be.
As I said before, I want to be changed by the word and on a night like tonight I needed the word to speak Life into me. 
To feel whole. To be held. To be in His presence.

I was reminded of one of my favorite chapters in the book "The Purpose Driven Life."
As he quoted this verse tonight, it was such a sweet reminder.
'Perfect love casts out fear'
As the Lord got my attention once again tonight, I felt impressed to share this thought as well.

It's in the moments where we feel alone, where time seems to be going so slow, and other times there aren't enough moments to get everything done, maybe the worries of what's next, of feeling pressed for time, of running from one thing to the next, of being scared of whats around the corner. 

we are constantly
running by our clocks....

From one minute, to the next....

it never stops....

sometimes we wonder how much longer? and other times we want it to just slow down....

Whatever it is....
Waiting, is hard.
But waiting on the Lord is what we are commanded to do.

Psalm 24:17 says:
"Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord."

I was challenged tonight, not only again about the call to live a bold confident life in Christ, not one of fear, but also to be patient in the time of waiting....

Are you waiting for something? Are you afraid of what's next? Will you pray in faith?
Will you call on the name of the Lord, and wait for Him?

He is a safe place.
He is our refuge.

"The name of the Lord is a stronger tower, the righteous run to it and they are safe."
Proverbs 18:10

Fear Not

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's been an interesting week for me.
I have never been one to believe that things happen on accident, and I believe that God speaks to us through many different ways and people. 
For those who know me it is no surprise to you that I worry about things, that fear is what I feel is probably my biggest downfall and struggle. I am not to sure where it originated from but as I am learning more about myself during this season of life, I am realizing just how much fear controls my decisions, my thought life, and my worries. 

During this past week of counseling, my counselor said to me that the things I was concerned about and the way I was talking to her was just completely out of fear. After taking a step back to listen to her, I realized it was truth. A hard truth to hear none the less. She followed it by telling me that in the Bible, "Fear Not" is the most repeated phrase throughout the scriptures. It is mentioned 365 times, enough to have one fear not promise for everyday of the year. 

I sighed, and began to think of that. In fact I pondered on it for the rest of the week. 
One "Fear Not" for everyday. 
She also challenged me to challenge myself in living for each day, and trusting that God will give me my "daily bread." I never really thought about this before. That God will give me just enough of what I need, when I need it, each day. Not enough for today to hold me for the next two weeks, just enough for today. This is how trust and faith if built. 
I don't live in this mentality. 
However, I am challenging myself to pray this way, to believe this way, and to LIVE this way. 
One of the many "Do not be afraids" of the Bible. I have challenged myself as I am reading through it this year, to highlight each one as a reminder. 
As I mentioned previously, there are no such thing as accidents, this was confirmed for me on Sunday. 

Sunday morning Andrew and I went to Brentwood Baptist and the sermon title that morning was titled: Breath of Life.
This series has been getting into the word and what the Bible means for us and how it is still alive. 

He began to speak of how the world sucks us dry, it strangles us, it pushes and presses us until we feel we have absolutely nothing left. It requires us to give more, do more, be more, and we come to a place eventually where we literally feel like we are empty....and this is why we have the Word.

I felt guilty as he explained to us what we hear about the Bible and how many of us think it applies or doesn't apply to us because it is "old" or it doesn't "understand where we are at in this day in age or what we are going through." That is not the case. 
It's a sorry excuse for us not to fervently seek the Lord with one of the greatest gifts He left us.

He began to explain just how real and alive the word can be if we would let it. It has the power to breathe life into us, just as it was breathed into each of the writers, the Lord wants to breathe life into us through His word. 
He then said the words "Fear Not." He even went on to say how this was written 365 times throughout scripture and how this is one of the biggest if not most written promise in the Bible for us to receive.

So maybe, just maybe, The Lord really doesn't want me to fear. Maybe just maybe, He truly is holding me in the palm of His hand. 

Why haven't I believed this? Do I really trust him for tomorrow? If I believed this and lived this way would I stop living and making decisions out of fear?

I am guilty of not reading the word as I should and have felt challenged to read through the Bible this year. I have attempted before and never succeeded. In writing this on here, I am taking a risk in feeling more guilt if I do not live up to this, however I don't want this to be something on a checklist, or something I can say "Yeah I've done that" but instead, I want the word to breathe life into me. I pray that this year, I will be changed by the Word unlike ever before. My heart's desire as I am on a journey to wholeness is that I will continually grow in my faith and that fear will no longer be my reason for thoughts, decisions, or worry. 

 Do you need the word to breathe life into you? Will you let it? 

Lord may I read your word and be changed. 

To watch the service from Sunday which I highly recommend click this link and check it out. It's only 20 minutes but its so worth listening to.
Sunday Service

You are the Grace of My Life

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It is getting harder to find time to write as the semester has switched gears to full speed. I feel like my planner is overflowing with assignments and there is no end in sight, however May 5th is right around the corner. In the midst of the chaos and business of this past week, I have had a few really sweet memories.
Moments that I cherish. 

This past week at Kairos, Mike Glenn spoke about letting our yes be yes and our no be no. He also in his prayer time talked about God pouring out His love in our lives through other people. I don't often think of this, however this past week, I felt God's love and faithfulness in my life in a way that was more than usual. 
The bible says : "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." 
While I have often doubted the truth of this verse, God has proven himself to be faithful.

I will soon celebrate 1 year of being with Andrew (356 whole days!). While we have been friends for over 3 years, and 1 year sounds like nothing, it truly has been an incredible year for so many reasons. I speak of it often, but this past year for me truly has been such a blessing. 
Andrew has no doubt added so much to my life. He has lovingly embraced me right where I am and continues to encourage and support me as I am on a daily journey to wholeness and am trying to pursue all that the Lord has for me. 

This past week, in the midst of the business, I shared some of my favorite memories with him.

This past week:
One night, we packed up our things, bundled up and went downtown for a long walk/cool ride/adventure- actually, this was a trip for me to use my new camera and get better at taking pictures, and he was so patient with me. We shared a lot of laughs as usual, enjoyed the time downtown, and ended our night with an "old" but favorite place of ours for a late night snack- waffle house (romantic eh?) but really, this place has some really sweet memories of ours.
Here are a few of my favorite shots from our trip downtown. 
The walking bridge

A view from the top of the hotel where Andrew works downtown


Another sweet moment of this week was Tuesday night as we went back to Kairos. It felt great to be back, as it had been awhile from break. Throughout the topic of the night, Mike Glenn used his wife as an example in him saying Yes. In saying Yes to his wife, this meant that he said no to everyone else. As he so often does, he smiled and was glowing as he said how he only loves her more each and everyday. As I began to think about what he was saying, and the power of the word yes, I realized that I never thought I would be at a place, or with someone where in saying yes, I would be more than content and happy to say yes to that one person and no to everyone else. I pray that my love will continue to grow, so that 50 years from now, I will have a relationship with Andrew that  continues to look forward and never looks back. 
We spent quiet time in prayer that night with our palms down, signifying letting go of the past, our hurts, mistakes, and failures. We then put our palms up and asked the Lord for the things we need, and being open to all the Lord has for us in the coming year. It has been a crazy week and these few moments to reflect, and truly spend time with the Lord were much needed and I am so thankful for this time and for the chance to share in these moments with Andrew. 

Another favorite moment of the week was one I was never expecting. I was getting ready to go to my regular appointment with my counselor, I asked Andrew if he wanted to sit in with me. We have joked about this before, but I was serious when I asked. He responded with a smile and said if I wanted him there he would be glad to be there. I was surprised, a bit nervous, but was ready to have him share in something that has so helped me. In talking to my counselor about my present fears/hurt/ life situations, I almost forgot Andrew was in the room, and it was a bit scary wondering what he was thinking as I was pouring my heart out, however I realized he knew most of this. In saying that, I realized just how much I can share with him. I am thankful for his support, his understanding, and encouragement to me as I am trying to pursue all that the Lord has for me right now.  He thanked me when we got out of there, and in my head I felt like I should be thanking him. He told me how much he appreciated my sensitivity and encouraged me in telling me how far he thinks I have come. He truly is my best friend and I am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life as I am getting through this season of life. God has truly healed and continues to put pieces of my heart and life together. 

Last but not least, a night of no homework and a night off work for Andrew made room for a night to cook at home. I cooked this time, which was not the usual, but I made a surprise dessert for both of us. 

My favorite 

Poppyseed Chicken
While the dinner was good, and the dessert even better, my favorite part of the night was a spontaneous, silly, romantic, but perfect dance with my love in the kitchen to one of our songs. 

It's the sweet moments like this where I want to freeze time

For all the moments where I doubted God's ability and desire to give me the things I have always wanted, He has far outdone everything I have dreamed of and wanted in a person. I have been envious of marriages where they are each others' best friend, and often felt this would never be possible for me. I was wrong. God has started a love story, that I truly could not have written better.
I am in love with my best friend and cannot imagine it any other way.

God truly has shown me a lot over the past year. 
Through Andrew he has shown me His love, His faithfulness and His grace

I am so thankful for the blessing that Andrew is and I am excited to see our story continue to unfold. God has been so good to me. 

With Each New Turn

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Today has kinda been a different day for me. I think through things a lot, I think back about things often, and to "remember" the past, is a part of my everyday life. Today however, I feel more nostalgic than usual. It's a quiet Saturday afternoon, pretty cloudy and cool here in Nashville. Everyone still isn't back in town and most people I usually spend my time with are busy. I decided to pack my stuff up, get away, and here I am- I find myself with my bible, my favorite cup of coffee, my planner, and my computer. I don't mind these kinds of afternoons, in fact I love these quiet moments. 

I know I mention a lot in my writing about what's next and I continually talk about God's faithfulness. Today I find myself thinking a little differently than I usually do about what's ahead. 

Thinking back over the past 5 years, I can honestly not even grasp how fast it has gone by. I never knew what God had in store for me, but as I have said many times, I am so blessed. I never realized how good I had it, each year of college just kept getting better. With adventures that have come and gone, and chapters in my life that have closed, I have worked through letting go of those things and have embraced the new things in my life. Change is never easy, and yet it seems to be the only constant thing. By no means is my life close to being over as I'm sure that's what it sounds like, but I am getting closer to shutting the "college"chapter of my life and begin a new chapter where I will finally stand on my own two feet. 
It is exciting, scary, sad, challenging, and unknown all at the same time. 
I am amazed at the way God slowly brings each piece of the puzzle together. 
I think what suprises me the most, that I could write about over and over, is just how good God has been to me along the way. I never knew He would have blessed me as much as He has, that He would truly give me the desires of my heart. This does not mean He is finished, as He is preparing even now, for the things that are ahead of me. I think this is where it is hard for me.
In my humanness, I want answers, control, and the assurance to know that everything is going to be okay. I can't and won't have that. Saying it is one thing, accepting it is another.

I found myself at a loss for words today, so I got in my car and on my way to a quiet place, I played a song that my friend Jessica wrote. I have listened to this over and over and often times think she wrote the song just for me. The lyrics go something like this:
"When God speaks, is it small and soft and sweet? When God speaks, do you tremble at His feet? Well this I know He'll never lead you down a path alone, looking back you'll see that you were carried all along, so don't fight the mystery of His perfect plan, When God Speaks."

I found myself sobbing in the car, singing a long and truly thinking about the line....
"Looking back you'll see that you were carried all along..."
That sums up everything I think, but couldn't put into words.
Every mistake, every wrong turn, every heartache, every confusing moment, every tear that I've cried, each new page, each exciting moment, every victory...all of it, I've been carried the entire time.
That's humbling, comforting, and that's the assurance that I need.
So for the moments where in my humanness I feel like I'm ready to choke thinking about what's ahead, the uncertainty, the change, the things I will let go of, the new things I will embrace, and the timing of it all, that's what I will remember and choose to focus on.
This verse was highlighted and dates in my bible in 2005 during a Hurricane we were experiencing at home.

I began to go through my Bible today and I ran across this verse:
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."
Psalm 32:8

I felt like I couldn't rest today until I got all of this out. I cannot thank God enough for His faithfulness to me and for everything He has blessed me with each step of the way. When I start to doubt, when I begin to struggle with control, I pray that I will hold close His promises and  remember what He has done for me in the past. I am thankful that even though everything around me may be changing, that God never changes. 

So with each new turn,  I pray that I will follow God's leading and direction and may I give all the glory to His name. 

When everything around you is changing, and you aren't sure what's ahead, where and who is your trust in? Do you have peace even in the midst of uncertainty? 

"We do not remember days, we remember moments"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Today was quite a beautiful day. The sun was shining, it was about 50 degrees and it felt perfect. I had class early this morning and I finished up around 11:00. Andrew was off work today and so we decided to pack up our things, take the camera and go to one of my favorite places, if not my favorite place in Nashville. About 15 minutes from wear I live is a city called Franklin, and the downtown area of this small city, is lovely. It is quiet, has many local shops, unique restaurants, and just a warm feel to it. There are special events held here often and anytime there is something going on, I love the chance to go downtown. Today I captured pictures of some of my favorite scenery in Franklin as well as some of my favorite places in this small town. 
Carnton Plantation

A music shop in downtown Franklin

A cute shop full of unique gifts

This bench is Andrew and My's favorite.

My favorite place to eat here.

A trip downtown is never complete without a stop at Sweet CeCe's.        
Andrew and I got some sweet tea, strolled up and down the streets, laughed and just enjoyed such a beautiful afternoon. He decided to take a ton of pictures of me for fun, here were a few that we liked. 

We had fun to say the least! 
I'm thankful for days like today where even though it was only for a few hours, it seemed as though time slowed down, and the little things in life were noticed. 
The semester is about to take off, so I am enjoying moments like today as much as I can! 

The Beginning of the End

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hard to believe I started my last semester of college today! While it has felt like forever since I've been in school (although this is my 5th year), looking back, the time has somewhat flown. It felt different today starting my last semester of nursing school. It's almost as if the teachers are ready to push you out of the nest and say "Fly!" While this is what they have taught and prepared us for, it is somewhat scary to think that in May I will graduate and shortly after I will take my exam and be a real nurse. I know I will have a lot to learn just as everyone does when they start out, but it's exciting to think that everything I've worked for is coming to an end/but really only beginning! 
My life for the next 4 months! 

So in the last semester of nursing school, you get to request a practicum and throughout the semester during a designated month, you have to complete 72 hours with your preceptor. I found out today that I am going to placed in the Trauma unit at Vanderbilt in the months of February and March, which I was extremely excited about as this was my first choice! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous considering this will be an extremely intense setting, however I am looking forward to improving my skills and learning tons!
This is my life.

Thinking back over the last 3 years that I have really been into nursing school, I have learned so much. The more  I think back to where I started, I realize how many life lessons I've learned since my time in nursing school. Even getting into nursing school was a lesson of trusting God's guidance and trusting him to work things out even though it seemed last minute and impossible. I've learned a lot about my heart, my passions, and my desire to help meet people at their lowest of places. While I may not have completely found my "nitch" in nursing yet, I realize that I have been given the opportunity to share and help others in a way that many people will never get to experience. I am excited as I continue forward this semester to grow and be challenged.
This is where I find myself today.

  While I had the first day of my semester today, I do not have homework yet (which I am not complaining about). Andrew has to work today, and my room mate is busy tonight, and with a lot of people still out of town, it was a quiet afternoon. I decided to pack up my stuff and my camera and come to my favorite coffee place- Edgehill Cafe. They opened a new one closer to my house and I couldn't be more thrilled. In coming here today, I have just had some time to think about everything. Of course my mind is never not racing, but I truly feel like piece by piece that the Lord is placing this next chapter of my life together. I am still so thankful that I am not experiencing anxiety as I was a few months ago and I still have to give God all the credit for His healing and faithfulness to me.

For the few quiet moments that I have before everything gets crazy, I wanted to take the time to truly thank God for giving me the opportunity to get such a great education, for the way He has blessed me since I've been at TNU, and for the way He is fulfilling His promises in my life.

I only pray that I will be a nurse that isn't only concerned with the "work" part of things but instead to be intentional about caring for people. I never thought I would end up taking this path for my life, but I am thankful for the opportunity and for the way God is continually softening my heart to things I never thought I would like. 4 months from tomorrow I will walk across the stage and receive my diploma. That's crazy how fast it is coming, but for the last 120 days or so that I have in school, I pray that I will be a light in a dark world, that I will give my best, and that I will continue to follow the plan God has for me.

Looking Back

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A sign that hung on my door my Freshman year of college. I love the words to this song. It truly was how I felt, and the last line is the prayer of my heart right now as I am expecting God's best this next season of my life.

My planner from my Senior year of High School, full of quotes and verses. Going back through and reading each one reminded me of just how much God has done for me. Just as He was faithful then, In 2012, He will continue to be faithful.

A trinket from my Best Friend Mary I got in High School, each time I look at this I am reminded of the verse that says "With God, All things are possible." For every mountain I face this next year, everything that in my mind seems impossible, God knows what His perfect plan is, and with Him, NOTHING is impossible.

Since High School, this has been on the back of my door, it doesn't look like much, but I've looked at this so many times to remind me of God's promises during some hard moments in my life. I am reminded that I am never walking alone even though things seems uncertain, God is God, and I can rest in His promises.

A coffee cup my Youth Pastor gave me during one of the hardest seasons of my life. I love the words and have kept it ever since. These are defining moments in my life, and I am preparing for new adventures, but fear does not have to be a part of it, as Jeremiah 29:11 has promised me a future.

      This poem is one called "The Savior's Words" and I loved to read this, it always made me think, and it still does. Specifically for this season of my life "If you knew all, how would you know that I will answer your questions? If you had all power, then how would you learn to depend on Me?" During this season of anticipation, uncertainty, and new challenges, I pray that I will be reminded of this poem and God's power in every situation. I am putting my trust in Him and I pray that I will completely depend on Him.                               

I enjoyed going back through some of my favorite things that may seem small, old, or worn out, but each of these things had such special meaning for me during different seasons of my life, and after looking back through them tonight I am reminded of some of places specifically that God has brought me from. For everything that is ahead of me in 2012, may I hold onto these truths, and may my faith be that much stronger for each step He has brought me.

I do not want to be anxious about what is ahead but instead I want to live out what Proverbs talks about when it says " Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path straight."(Proverbs 3:5-6)

Expecting God's best in this coming season....

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