Here's to Monday

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday was slightly welcomed after finishing my last two days at work this weekend before the wedding.
However, today was much dreaded as it completely involved studying, studying, and more studying.
I am about 36 hours away from my final exam and I couldn't be happier to have Wednesday here.
Friday I have my Master's presentation so while I am not "home free" after Wednesday, what a weight will be lifted.
I have to say I never imagined what these last two weeks would look like.
While many people keep asking me if I'm nervous about the wedding and I can honestly say I'm not so sure it's set in yet, as my main focus is to finish out this semester strong, but come Friday I have a feeling it may be that much more real, and all the more exciting.
I've mentioned it before, but I don't do change well.
I'm a planner.
I like to know how everything is, what it looks like, how it will feel, and just how each and every minor detail will work out. 
However, with the season I'm about to begin, there is no way to have these answers before I'm there.
As scary as it is, it has brought me to a new place in my relationship with the Lord.
I have noted in the past few days, in the midst of what feels like mass chaos going on around me, the Lord has been so near to me and I've experienced peace that I know is not my own. 
While my nerves are on edge for my exam and I am anxious to be done, with a list of growing things to do before my first out of town friend comes in next monday, I have just had an underlying peace.
Today I find myself, sitting in our house (which is still something I have to remind myself is real) where I will be living in just two short weeks, in the quiet after spending some time studying, and I am overwhelmed at God's goodness.
I wondered where/how we would live and what it would all look like. 11 days before my wedding I am sitting in a beautiful, furnished house in which we owe nothing on what we have (what a blessing), with our first Christmas decorations and items that have taken months to put together as we have gotten them here and there, and as we continue to get gifts for the wedding we are adding to the list, and little by little my things are making their way here and finding a place, and slowly but surely we are making our house a home. While I have spent quite a bit of time here, cleaning, organizing, moving, and decorating, it is rare that I am here to just sit and be still, but today I am here for just that. 

I know I am still wrapping my head around the idea of moving, creating and adjusting to a new home, and learning to grow with Andrew in this new season of marriage thats so close to us. 
But I cannot wait.
I feel overwhelmed. Humbled. Excited. Scared. & Thankful.

Words would never be able to do justice to the prayers and cries of my heart that the Lord has answered in the last several months of my life. His faithfulness in every single step and intricate detail of this process is where I gain my confidence in continuing to walk forward into this season trusting Him completely. 

I have read back over some of my blogs this past week, and I cannot begin to describe to you the flood of emotions I felt as I went back and read from some of the very darkest and hardest places in my life, to the mountain top experiences. While I am just about to begin a new chapter and it is truly on the beginning for Andrew and I as we start our life together, The Lord was so gracious to me when He sent me to Nashville. I will forever be grateful for that season of my life and for God's leading and guiding and molding during such a crucial time in my life. While we say we miss those days often, I am still in disbelief at times about our story and how it started, grew, and to now be 11 days away from saying I do, I have never been more grateful for God's timing and faithfulness in giving me the desires of my heart when it came to finding who I would spend forever with.
I realize though that just because of all the excitement and new days ahead, the heaviness going on in those live's around me, and even the weight of what I feel doesn't go away, but even if it was just for a few minutes today, it felt good to be still. To experience peace. To say thank you. 

I am beyond blessed and my heart is so full today.

Here's to Monday

Thoughts for Friday

Friday, November 28, 2014

It honestly has been so long since I've taken time to write.
It's crazy looking back that the last time I posted was a few days after my Grandfather passed away. It's almost been 4 months and it feels like it was yesterday.
So where have I been?
Let's see. 
This semester of graduate school was harder than I imagined and quite honestly the next 7 days couldn't be over sooner. Between clinical hours, studying, writing my paper, working, and doing wedding planning here and there, I'm not sure this semester consisted of much "free time." I turned in my 30 page Master's paper today and what a relief that was. This semester has been grueling in many ways but I am so thankful for the love and support I've had and I'm so glad I am one week away from being finished. Then it's one semester to go and I graduate in May!

All that being said, what's the real reason I sat down tonight of all nights to write?
Maybe this is the only place I feel like how I feel will actually be expressed. I want to be able to look back and remember where I was tonight. This time really is not like any other time.
I am two weeks away from walking down the isle to say I do. It's crazy to me that it is so soon. I can remember counting down from 500 days, and now I am 14 days away. Such an exciting time in life and I honestly cannot wait for all of our family and friends to arrive to celebrate with us.

These last few months have made up one of the most interesting seasons of life and I'm not sure words would ever do justice to all I have learned, all that I've experienced, and all that the Lord has done in my heart. 

As I am writing tonight, as excited as I am for all that's ahead, I don't feel the depth of gratitude to be where I am could ever fully be expressed. 
However, I am writing with a heavy heart and I find myself in a place that is somewhat familiar. If you have read any of my previous posts or kept up with me, I have this strong belief and idea that the seasons around us physically truly are reflective of seasons in life we experience. Fall is one of my favorite times, but at the same time it can also be one of the most challenging as we prepare for winter. This season of life in my eyes is one of preparation for what's ahead, and one of change. The more I have reflected on the past few months, the more I realize though just how hard the growing process can truly be. Being refined is never easy, but I am thankful for a God who promises He will finish all that He starts within us. For a girl who doesn't do change well, this season has really pushed me to grow in areas I have been reluctant in, and has given me a chance in the midst of pure chaos to have to completely trust Lord. 
While our schedules are hectic, life feels like it is going 100 miles an hour, and I feel as though I am watching certain people in my life drown in the everyday business of life and all that it can bring, I am realizing just how important it is to pray daily for perspective. I have been so guilty of being self-centered and focused solely on my problems, my agenda, and all that is bothering me. While I don't do it right all the time, I feel the Lord has truly brought perspective into my life in the last few months and given me a chance to let me see life through His eyes.

It has been amazing as I have opened my heart to His leading and guiding, how He has refined certain insecurities I have truly wrestled with and I feel He has and is preparing my heart to enter into this new season of marriage. I never dreamed I would face certain problems within myself as we have gotten closer and closer to our big day, but I'm so grateful for the bumps along the way. 

I have to admit, I feel as though my brain is scattered, my words don't come out as smooth as I would like these days, I cry easily, I'm more sentimental than ever, I'm weary with school, and I am anxious for the next few weeks as there are so many awesome days ahead. Regardless of my feelings, the chaos, and life's circumstances that at times seem so overwhelming and at other times impossible, I am so grateful tonight for this season and for the sweet journey the Lord has taken me on in the last few months.

I have promised myself I will write at least once more before my wedding day and I look forward to documenting this experience and share our day with all of you. 

While I realize this post is anything but "light" I really can't tell you how thankful I am for a loving Heavenly Father and for the work He has done in my heart and life. I have been given so much that I don't deserve and I am so thankful that despite my faults He continuously loves and pursues me, refining me, and giving me the chance to find wholeness in the midst of a world that fights hard to break each one of us down. While I cannot slow things down, or fix problems and situations that I so badly wish that I could, I can continue to ask the Lord for perspective and to help me keep my eyes on the big picture. As I am two weeks away from entering this amazing season as a wife, it is my prayer that the Lord would be at the center of all I do. The Lord has wrecked my life in redefining His love in my heart and life and I want nothing more than for our marriage to be an expression of this love. 
Such an exciting time. My heart is heavy but full.

Dear Gramps

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dear Gramps,
I wish this letter would be one that you would actually be reading, and I can see your grin now as you finish reading a letter from "your girl."  I honestly can't remember life without you and the memories that we shared are countless. As a little girl I remember coming to your house and giggling with Grandma while I wanted to play "home alone", dress-up, babies, and all the other little things I found to be so amusing as a little girl. You would just watch us and laugh. Coming to visit you both was always the best. When you moved to Vero, I got to spend lots of time at your house. Sleep overs, with a small pallet made for me by Grandma at the foot of your bed was something you laughed at but soon accepted as a normal part of our sleep over routine. I even had my very own closet at your house full of toys you guys bought for me and I think it was you that bought me my very first fishing pole and tackle box. I wasn't quite as patient as you, and I don't think I ever will be, but you taught me about patience. As a little girl when I was at your house in the mornings, I will never forget sitting in the den with you and Grandma while you did your morning devotions. While I didn't appreciate it as a little girl, as a 25 year old, I see this completely different. I remember hearing you both pray for each family member by name. Not in a group, not quick, general prayers, but instead specific prayers for each one of us, including me. I cannot imagine the countless hours you spent praying for me and I won't even begin to guess as to how they may be a part of who I am today. You were always the best at making me feel loved because you cared about my life and what was going on. I could always count on you to ask me how work and school were going. In fact, the last time we saw each other, you told me you were upset that we didn't have time to chat about how my work was going. Each time you saw me, called me, or wrote in a card, I never questioned how you felt about me or wondered if I was special to you. I don't know how many games, concerts, or services you sat through to support me in just about everything I was into, and I know you were one of my biggest fans. While life was never the same after Grandma left us, there was something so sweet, and invaluable in our talks about our time together with her and to hear that I am even somewhat like her might be the biggest compliment you ever gave me. You were always strong in your beliefs and held true to all that you believed but never once was I not able to speak my mind or share my heart, and you would without a doubt hear me out. While life changed drastically after the love of your life, and one of my favorite people in all the world passed, I saw something in you that I admired so much. You gave of yourself in ways that literally at times put you in a place of exhaustion, but you were true to what you said you would do and be and whatever that meant, you did. You were always the person who prayed at meal time and before we left each other as we gathered our hands in a circle to pray. I'm so glad I got to hear you do this one last time. I had no idea that the last time I saw you would be the last time. Your hugs, and walking us out the door and down to the car were always dreaded moments for me, as I hate goodbyes, but our last goodbye is engrained deeply in my thoughts now that it was our final goodbye. After one, two, and a three hugs with an I love you each time, I remember telling you, "I'll see you soon Gramps, I love you." With a gentle reply from you "I'll see you soon Beth, I love you." I didn't know that was going to be the last time I would see you and quite honestly, I wanted so badly for you to fill one of the front row seats at my wedding in 4 months as I know you woulda been so proud and happy for me to see your last grandchild get married. While I am hurt that you will not be there, I am thankful for the sweet gift of the time we shared together, our last time, when you told Andrew that you wanted him to know he was a part of our family and that as far as you were concerned, there were no "in-laws" in our family and that he was your grandson. That meant more to me than you will ever know and I will cherish that sweet moment for the rest of my life. You told me the last time we were together to "give you a great grand-baby" and while I said slow down just a bit and we both laughed, you better believe that if/when the Lord blesses me with child, they will know about their Great-Grandpa and just how great he was. There are so many things I could think about to tell them, or anyone who wanted to know about you but most of all, I would tell them how much you loved Jesus. If I've heard you tell me once, I've heard it a million times, there's nothing better in the world than trusting Jesus and serving Him. While I didn't understand all that it meant as a small child, the impact you and my Grandmother have made in my heart and life are invaluable. Gramps, being told I was a something like my Grandmother was a compliment in having her compassion and gentle spirit, but it would be a compliment if someday I could be known as a prayer warrior like you were. Thank you Gramps for all that you were to me. For believing in me, loving me, supporting me, encouraging me, praying for me, and for raising my incredible Mom and teaching/showing me through your life what it means to love and serve Jesus. Thank you for wanting to be involved, for caring about how my work was going for me, and for letting me be "your girl." My heart hurts so deeply now that you are gone and I wondered what I would feel like when this day came. I wish I didn't know what it felt like but I know you are in a better place and for that I can rest a little easier. There will be an empty seat at my wedding in 4 months, but don't you worry. Just as I said I would honor my Grandmother, you will be recognized to, and I'm glad I told you my surprise because it will be played in your honor too. "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word, Just to rest upon His promise, Just to know thus sayeth the Lord. Jesus, Jesus, How I trust Him. How I've proved him over and over. Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus, O for grace, to trust Him more." 
I couldn't think of anything better to recognize both you and your beautiful bride on that very special day. Like I said before, I don't do well with goodbyes, and like we said "I'll see ya soon." Until then, I hope to live a life that people say I was like Jesus in ways that they are saying about you now. I am blessed to be your granddaughter.  
I love you Gramps.
Bethany Joy

Thoughts on This Rainy Tuesday

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It's finals week.
All of my hard work of the semester, the long hours in clinical, reading, and doing case studies boils down to one more test. 
This is when I keep telling myself " I think I can, I think I can." 
I have spent yesterday, today, and I will be back again tomorrow in my favorite little coffee shop from the time it opens till it closes.
I feel a lot of pressure going into this test on Thursday but all I can do is my best and that will be good enough.
If you think of me Thursday around noon, say a prayer for me!
It's crazy to think that after Thursday, I only have two semesters left.
After Thursday I can finally enjoy my so called "summer." I will begin back with a new semester (my hardest one yet) August 18th, but after Thursday I have some time until then to enjoy a vacation away for a week to Gatlinburg with my family. 

I had a few plans during my two weeks off, but maybe I haven't learned this lesson yet: 
whenever you make plans is when they seem to change right? 
A little bump in the road if you will.
I recently started a new muscle strengthening program and have been so excited to see changes and just overall feeling better. Over a period of a few weeks I noticed some discomfort in my shoulder and after it got worse, I figured I should probably get it checked out.
After a few visits, and an MRI I was given news I was crossing my fingers that I wouldn't hear.
I tore part of my rotator cuff (how? no idea.), and my chance of it being fixed with physical therapy is not a high enough percentage at this point in time for me to take the chance as I do not have time up ahead to slow down and have surgery.
So with my break coming up, I am going be having surgery on August 6th.
 I was told recovery time is 4-6 weeks. 
I left this Doctor's appointment with my Dad, didn't say much, got in my car and bawled.
That means a lot of things in my life at this time. 
My mind was racing.
I tried to see the positives. 
I am thankful that I have insurance, thankful I at least have 2 weeks off school. At least it isn't close to my wedding. Thank God it's my left arm and not my right dominate hand. 
Thank God it's fixable! 
I tried so hard to focus on the positives but in my heart feeling the anxiety in having to slow down, in realizing that this means I am not allowed to work 4-6 weeks and all the financial concerns that flooded my mind were overwhelming. I will still be able to go on vacation even if I am somewhat crippled, and I'm thankful for that. 
I left the most important part of this story out.
Often times in my life, the lesson have come after the incident. The encouragement, the scripture, the word from someone important in my life...etc. 
This time a little different.
I just didn't know what it meant.
That morning when I woke up as I was getting ready for the day and getting ready to go meet my Dad to get to my appointment, clear as day I heard the Lord tell me
 "Today you're going to have to trust me." 
I guess I didn't think much about it at the time, but after I got back into my car after my appointment these words flooded into my mind in the midst of the anxious thoughts.
I have had about a week today to digest it all, and again I am trying to work out the logistics and to process all that it means, but I am also realizing just how much I do have to trust God.
It might seem small, or not like a big deal, but I don't do well slowing down. 
I don't do well when I need help from others. 
I don't do well when I have no control.
So, where am I at today right now on this rainy Tuesday?
I feel a little overwhelmed about my test Thursday but I am doing my best to study and trust the Lord to help me Thursday. My last day of work for awhile is on Friday and then I have a few days off before my surgery in which I plan to clean up my room that's been needed cleaning since the semester began. I have a list of things I want to tackle before Wednesday the 6th rolls around.
I guess my prayers have changed a bit.
I'm going to have to trust the Lord to provide more than I have in past weeks. I do not know as of now when I will be able to go back to work and that's something I have to take day by day. This feels so stressful to me but again, this is a chance for me to grow, I already am. I am looking forward to going on vacation with my Family and my Fiance and enjoying a week away from everything. I hope to spend quality time with everyone and enjoy it before life takes off in the fall and into December for our wedding. I have a list of wedding things I cannot wait to sit and plan and talk about. This is more of an excuse for me to get to do this and not feel as guilty for being on pinterest. School will be here before I know it and I was told I should be able to begin clinical just as I would have regardless of my surgery and I am praying that my therapy goes well and that I begin on time.
 So in the next month or so it is my prayer that in this time of change, slowing down and healing, that I would trust the Lord, that I would grow closer to him, and that I would take it one day at a time and enjoy the time I have. 
I would greatly appreciate your prayers in the next week.
I am also selfishly hoping for more time to blog so maybe this will be one of many posts to come in the next several weeks! 
I am thankful today for the promises of the Lord and that He will take care and watch over me.

Two Months Too Long

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wow! It's been awhile.
I promised myself I wouldn't let this happen, but it happened!
The last two months have flown by so incredibly fast and life seriously seems to be going at about 1000 miles an hour.
Here is my 

Where you can find me today: Today I am in my favorite little coffee shop in town working away on homework and finding a little bit of time to destress and blog!

What I am listening to: Pandora's "Your favorite Coffee House" is making my heart so happy today. 

What I am drinking: Today's drink of choice is an iced vanilla coffee with lots of love from Rio Coco Cafe. 

What's New: In April, in a short amount of time, literally 24 hours, God opened every door for Andrew and I to rent a house for the next two years that is perfect for us. He lives there now and I will move in, in 6 short months! Crazy how quickly December 12th is approaching!! It has been a crazy, exciting, new, scary adventure that is piece by piece coming together. (Pictures to come soon!)

What have I been doing: I am currently in my geriatric rotation with school and this semester took off quickly and continues to be full speed ahead with tons of homework, reading, assignments, hard tests, and clinical hours. It makes my heart happy to say though that with each day that passes with clinical, I am slowly but surely finding my nitch and gaining confidence. I am so thankful that I will get to do this for a living! It seems so far away but May is approaching quickly.

What else: I am still currently leading worship at church and outside of work and school, this keeps me busy. I have learned so much being in this leadership position and I thank God everyday for the gift of music and for the opportunity to share with others something I love so much.

Wedding plans: Save the Dates have been sent! What a process :) Its crazy to think last week we hit the 6 month mark! Wedding plans are in full swing and we are working away to figure out all the fun tiny details. I still can't believe I'm planning my wedding.

Work update: Andrew is in the process of beginning two new jobs as a paramedic. He is at a MD's office Monday - Friday and is working as a Paramedic in the ER at Holmes Regional on the weekends. While orientation is happening at the same time it means he works 7 days a week for the next 4 about tired? I don't know how he does it all right now but we are so thankful for God's provision in opening these doors! 

What I am thankful for: Today I am thankful for a day off to work on homework and the chance to breathe. 

What I am feeling: Honestly, I feel tired. Somedays right now I look at all I'm doing and I am easily overwhelmed by it all but I am also so thankful for all the incredibly great things going on in life right now! It is my prayer that I would continue to take life a day at a time and take each challenge as it comes. I'm becoming a stronger person in the process of it all and I am so thankful for the opportunities God has given me.

What I am learning: I am learning now more than ever that life is about facts and not feelings. It is not always the best idea to trust how I feel in each moment as feelings come and go but instead I have to rely on the truth I know in my heart and rest in the truth of the relationships I have, and most importantly rest in the fact that My God is never changing and always with me even when everything else around me is changing. 

What I am praying for: My heart has been heavy for a few really special people in my life and I am fervently praying for their hurts and brokenness. In my own life, I am praying for endurance during this season of my life. 

What does your Wednesday look like?!

No Ordinary Week

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

While this week is consumed with business like usual, this isn't just a normal week.
While my schedule consists of what feels like non-stop things to do, and places to be, this isn't just an ordinary week. I begin my week with warriorFit where my alarm goes off at 4:45 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings to go work out. This is also finals week in grad school which means studying any second I can, and 3 practices this week at church to prepare for our performance Friday evening of "The Champion." I've already asked myself how I am going to get everything done that needs to be done this week?
All that being said, it is busy, hectic, and chaotic.
I feel tired most of the time right now and can't wait to crawl in bed at night to go to sleep.
But again this isn't just a normal week.
It's Holy Week.
In the Christian tradition this is an important week.
Growing up I remember celebrating Palm Sunday, and remembering that this was the Sunday Jesus road into Jerusalem. This week would then lead into Good Friday. The significance of this day is still one I find myself not really wanting to truly think about. The horrific events, the beating, and the mocking that took place as Jesus was placed on the cross, carrying the weight of all the sin in the world, until He died. The weight of this sacrifice, the reality of the brutal beatings and the horrible things done to Jesus as He suffered, are thoughts I don't often associate in relation to myself. What do I mean by this? This was done for me. The shame He endured, and the weight He felt that day was from my sin. That should have been me. Yet He did it anyways, not just for me, but for you, and for every single person that would ever live. 
I'm not sure this is ever easy to accept because that's not how we do things in our culture. It isn't natural. This is grace. And grace isn't easy to accept. We look for reasons and ways to pay back, to be even, to be equal, but in this case it is never possible for us.
With much anticipation we wait for Easter Sunday because this is the day in which we find our confidence, strength, and foothold in the truth that we are more MORE than conquerors through Jesus Christ who defeated the grave. Not even death could hold him down. 
This selfless act of love is what changed everything.
This isn't just an ordinary week.
I have been so guilty of just going through the motions and failing to even recognize, think about, and thank God for His selfless act of love that has changed me forever.
So today, in the midst of the business, I made it a point to get away for a little while.
To focus on this truth, and to thank God for His sacrifice, His grace, and for the confidence I have because He lives.
So my afternoon looked a little something like this.

If you haven't checked out this album, I would highly recommend it. There are some incredible songs and lyrics. 
After spending some time thanking the Lord for this time, this week, and for all He has done in my life, I was brought to this passage in Isaiah 53:5.
I love how the message translates this.

Thank God for this next piece of truth. This is grace!
I feel so overwhelmed today at His love and His mercy and the gift we have been given of forgiveness all because He sent His only son to endure the weight of the world, to experience death, and then brought Him back to life to reign in Victory changing eternity forever.

Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting?

What does Holy Week look like for you? How do you celebrate such an incredible time?

Random Thoughts for Tuesday

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I wish I had the time today to sit and share all that God has done in our lives in the past few days. Very soon (I'm holding myself accountable by writing it on here), I will be sharing about some exciting news that has happened in our lives as pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together as we get closer to the wedding and starting this new chapter of our lives. 
God has completely come through in ways we never even imagined. One thing I keep coming back to is this:
How ignorant of me to ever doubt the Lord, His timing, His goodness, and the truth that He does want to give us the desires of our hearts and more.
We have a few other things to get in place before I share our news but I am so excited and needed to give God all the glory today for His goodness and faithfulness!

So why so little time and what am I doing on this beautiful Tuesday afternoon in sunny Florida?
I began my morning with a trip to the doctor. 
While I wasn't sure if I would walk away with anything, I'm glad I went. I have a bad sinus infection, so I came home with some goodies for the next week.
While I'd rather be writing in this place of mine, or taking a nap, I have a research paper to write for my Women's health class so that is my big task for the day. With a huge checklist of things to do, the laundry going in the background, and while I feel a bit under the weather, I'm thankful today and wanted to take a few minutes in the business of it all to recognize how faithful my God truly is.

For those of you who read my previous post, (you can read it here) the site Capture Hope has launched! You seriously don't want to miss out on these amazing stories. 

What are you doing on this Tuesday?

A New Adventure

Thursday, March 27, 2014

About a month ago I was sharing with a friend my discouragement and at times, doubt in the fulfillment of the desires of my heart that the Lord has given me. While at times I feel guilty for the moments that I question Him, I also know that I cannot hide anything from Him. This is scary but comforting.
A long time ago, I'm not even sure I could put a date on it, I began to have a desire to write. I have always loved it,and it is one of the best ways that I can express myself and my heart.
I have written in journals, diaries, and blogs
I even gave up my blog for awhile after being discouraged with not feeling that I fit the "blogging" type and I certainly didn't have a cute etsy shop, nor do I consider myself trendy.
After putting it away for 6 months, I felt empty, and truly like the Lord had a plan for my writing.
I wrestled and wrestled with it but began writing in this tiny writing space again, and really have over time come to grips with the fact that I had the wrong motives in writing.
This place can't be about the number of followers I have, or the way it is promoted. While any blogger desires to be "successful" and know that their writings are being read and enjoyed, I have 
had to daily surrender this longing and remind myself why I am writing. Whether my writing touches 10 people or 10 million, it my desire to encourage, inspire, and draw people closer to the Lord as I want to be honest and real about my ever day walk.
All of that to say, after sharing this with a friend, I got a message from a friend I went to school with in Nashville and someone I traveled with when I sang my last year at Trevecca.
My friend Rebekah has been on quite a journey over the past year. The Lord has given her a vision for a site that is called 
Capture Hope.
Over time, the Lord has revealed to her the details of this site and what it will entail. The main idea of this site is a place to share stories. Stories of people who have been in the darkest of places but who have been transformed, who have become victorious, and who now walk in the light. While she has 3 writers, she knew she needed one more. She began to tell me how the Lord brought me to her mind, and asked if I would consider and pray about being a writer for this site to help communicate the stories of these incredible people and their journey out of darkness. 
I was humbled.
After hearing more of her heart, the details and visions that she has for this project, I am so excited to share that I am going to be a writer for Capture Hope.

I sat down with her this past week while I was in Nashville and heard glimpses of the stories she has heard and is beginning to write. They are life-changing.
I am blessed and excited to be a part of the start of this project. While I know the Lord has given her the vision for this and will continue to lead and guide her, through this, The Lord has reminded me of His promises and that the desires He has given me were not created to be null and void. 
I hope that you will check out this project.
The site will launch in just two short days! You don't want to miss it! 

I can't wait to share more after it is launched but how exciting it is to know that we will be a part of letting others hear about life-changing transformation, of God's healing, of His power, and of His grace and relentless love that brings us out of darkness and into the light! 

I also am excited for the opportunity that I have in being 1000 miles away! I have an opportunity to meet people that are not just in that area. I am praying and asking the Lord to bring people my way that I can help share their stories. I'm not sure if you have a story that you want to share, or know someone who would, but I'd just ask for your prayers as this project is launched. 

Tuesday Night Thoughts

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Right now I find myself tucked away in a tiny quiet corner of a local coffee shop. I can hear laughter across the room from a group of ladies here for a book club meeting, there are two students studying for what sounds like a chemistry exam next to me. The warmth inside this old house that is now a coffee shop was inviting as it is 34 degrees out. The baked goods and coffee won my heart over and were exactly what I needed on this Tuesday night.

Well, if you're wondering, I'm not in Florida. The snow flurries here this morning were a harsh reminder of that fact. Andrew and I made our way up to Nashville this past week as he was in a friend's wedding. We always love our time to come back up here to visit. I must say though it is always bittersweet.
Tonight I just needed some time to decompress, to soak in everything from the past few days, to prepare myself for what is ahead and waiting on me at home, and really just to breathe.
While this trip was busy, it by far has been one of my favorite times.
While I hate that we did not get to see as many people as we wanted to, there were a lot of things this trip that caused me to stop, think, and truly to be thankful.
Andrew and I did our premarital counseling while we were up here with a counselor that I have great history with. While it is never easy to be in the 'hot' seat to hear truth, I felt so blessed, encouraged, and excited about all the Lord has ahead for Andrew and I as we continue into this season of marriage. 
I had a chance to reconnect and spend quality time with one of the sweetest friends I have. God truly has shown me grace in this relationship and I am so grateful for that. 
While we were coming and going, and it was what felt like non-stop the Lord has been near to me this week.
I realize my struggle to live in the moment.
While I have been here and even now in this very moment as I am typing away, I feel the hurt in my heart deep down for the things we miss here, for the friendships that are separated by miles, and for the hurt that comes whenever change takes place. While not bad, I would be lying if I said it was always easy.
I also realize my desire in moments here that I have and the excitement and joy of sharing wedding plans and talking about what I may do after I graduate a year from may. At times, wishing the next 8 months away. 
Regardless of the variety of emotions and feelings that have been on my mind and heart during the past week, I realize that I struggle to live in the moment.
The Lord this week has shown me and reminded me of His faithfulness in my life. 
I have said it multiple times but never feel like I can say it enough but I had no idea how life changing coming to Trevecca would be for me.
I had no idea that God would shape and mold me as He did. I couldn't even begin to fathom the valleys I would walk through, but I also had no idea all the great things I would take away from my experience during my season of life here in Nashville.
As I am preparing for marriage, and even in counseling this week, it is hitting me more and more everyday that soon I am going to be a wife. I cannot wait for this day and all that it will be. 
I feel like I have so many emotions running through my mind right now and I'm not even sure this post will make sense, but if I can say one thing, it's this.
God has been so faithful to me.
I often wonder if He will ever lead us back to this place and deep down, I hope at some point we will be here. Regardless of location, I am confident that the Lord will continue to work in my life and bring to completion all He has started.
I'm thankful for the moments I experienced this past week.
For a change in schedule.
For the chance to reconnect.
For the chance to grow and be reminded of where, how, and why I fell in love with Andrew.
To prepare for the days ahead as a married couple.
To share in real genuine discipleship and prayer with a sweet friend.
To laugh and enjoy company.
To just take a deep breath.

There is something so special about this place.
It has my heart and tonight my heart is full.

20 Year Celebration

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

This week my Dad celebrated his 20 year Anniversary as the Pastor of the church here in Vero Beach. It's crazy that 20 years have passed but throughout our time here I have watched my Dad selflessly live a life of generosity, integrity, and living out the word that he preaches about each Sunday. I could go on and on about my Dad's heart and his true desire to be a shepherd and lead as the Lord guides him.
It was an incredible celebration with a slideshow, a video, and various people speaking and sharing what He has meant to them. My mom and I were recognized as well and we truly felt loved this past Sunday. I can honestly say though, the part I feel most grateful for in celebrating this milestone, is that my Dad truly is everything he says he is and because of this, I have not had a tainted view of the church and what it means to be a Christ follower.
He was so surprised by his gift! He is going to be leaving in May to go spend a week in Pennsylvania with his Dad (this is where he grew up), and the big surprise was that he is going to get to go to 3 Pirates baseball games this week! For a man who grew up loving baseball and the pirates, this was a perfect gift. My mom, Andrew, and myself will be joining him at the end of the week for a few days to catch a game, spend time with the family, and enjoy our time together. 
I'm so thankful for all the church did to celebrate my dad this day.
He never does it to get credit, but I'm so glad he was appreciated like he was Sunday.
Thank you to our church family for loving us, embracing us, encouraging us, and for allowing us to be nothing but ourselves the past 20 years. I am blessed to have the support, love, and prayers of so many people who have been very influential in my life and my walk with the Lord.

Answered Prayers

Monday, March 17, 2014

This has been an incredible week.
While it has felt non-stop due to a crazy schedule, 3 different jobs this past week, graduate school, and a few other responsibilities, God has been so good to us this week.
This past year involved a long year of school, driving tons of miles to class and clinical, studying, clinical hours, and then preparing to take a state exam. I am so proud to say that Andrew passed his state exam this past week and is officially a paramedic. 
I also have spent the last few months praying about my current plan of study with graduate school that would lead me to graduate in August of 2015. While this is not too far away, there have been various things I have wrestled with in all of this. All that to say, I prayed and put in a request to speed up my plan of study my last two semesters of school to take 2 classes instead of one that would let me graduate in May 2015. 
After waiting a long month and a half, my plan was approved and I got word this week that I will officially be able to graduate in May next year.
Andrew and I felt this was the best decision for us and we are so grateful for the way the Lord has been faithful to us in all of this. 
While at times I have wondered, questioned, and even doubted what was going to happen (and at times in some of the details of life now I am asking questions), God has been faithful to provide, to give strength, and to give answers and open doors in just the right time.
I listened to a Kairos service live on the internet this past week and was challenged by the words that were said. It was all about freedom, and the freedom we have in Christ.
The question was also raised about faith, trust, and the ability to let Christ work in us so that we can experience all the freedom, joy, and goodness that the Lord wants to bring into our lives if we will let him.
And this song was played....
It was a challenge to live out these lyrics and from the depths of our being to truly desire and live out these lyrics.
I realize this song has become quite popular in recent weeks, but each time I hear the song and listen to the words, I am moved and challenged to live a life that allows me to experience all the freedom in Christ that is mine.

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of My Savior."

I am so thankful for the way the Lord answered our prayers this week and for how He is working even now in the situations ahead of us.

Being Intentional

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I must say, this post hurts a little to write.
It hurts because I am guilty
Guilty of making things a priority in my life that should never be a priority.
Guilty of spending my time scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter,and other social media apps when I am physically with people I want to spend time with.
I get distracted by these things.
While they are not bad things, it consumes too much of my time.
Being honest, at times it is excessive.
Anything in excess is not healthy no matter how you try to justify it.

This last week I was in a situation where I found my feelings being hurt by someone being on their phone while we were at dinner. While I knew this hurt me, I also knew inside that I am guilty of this on a daily basis and it shed light into this area of my life like never before.

It's easy to say all this, but doing something about it is another thing.
Why is this hard?
Because old habits die hard.
I challenge you, the next time you're at a restaurant to eat dinner, or at a social gathering with other people, look around at how many people are on their phones. 
Are you one of them?
I feel like it has become somewhat socially acceptable to be on your phone, anywhere, and at anytime, including when people are talking directly to you. 
Again, I am so guilty of this and I am talking to myself when I say all this. 

So, this week, I have made it a priority of mine to begin to make a change.
To be intentional about my time with the people I love and care about.

I have come to grips with the fact that all the social media can wait, that my blogging can wait, and that not checking my phone for a few hours doesn't mean the world will come to an end if I don't respond to a text right away.

To be quite honest, its embarrassing to admit how attached, dependent, and addicted I have become to these things. I have also in recent months realized what social media has done to my thought life, and I can't say it is all positive. 
I have not been intentional with my time in this way and I want to make a change in my life so that my relationships are a priority and for those people in my life to know that they are a priority.
I have also been convicted this week to realize how much this not only affects my relationships with people I am physically around, but how much this is a distraction in my relationship with the Lord.
By no means will this be an easy habit to break, but I am praying that the Lord would continue to remind of this conviction, and that I will do my part by being intentional with my time and relationships.

What are your thoughts on this? How do you set boundaries? I would love to hear from you!

Happy 3 Years!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

It's crazy to think that Andrew and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary. We joke that sometimes it feels like we've been married for 20 years. While we have been best friends for six, the past three years with this guy as my own has been nothing shy of an incredible journey.
The Lord has taught me so much about myself and has rocked my world and idea of what love really means.
While we both have really busy schedules, we took the day and spent it together.
A day full of random adventures and memories.
We started with coffee and homemade banana chocolate chip bread.
A trip to Viera meant stopping at Moes for Moes Monday. We don't have one of these where we live. It makes us miss Baja Burrito in Nashville though, I must say.
Our next stop involved two wedding dress boutiques to look at potential bridesmaids dresses. How exciting! We also started working on our 'guest list' for the wedding on the drive up here. I can't believe we are 9 months away!
While this was not part of our original plan, we decided to spontaneously go to Universal for a few hours with our year passes. 
Such a beautiful day! 
So thankful for the silly not so serious moments we have. 
Our best minion faces :) 
Three years and I adore this guy more everyday. So grateful to know I get to marry my best friend.
We then went over to Winterpark as 4 Rivers Smokehouse truly won our hearts over the last time we came.We enjoyed some BBQ and amazing banana pudding for dessert. 
So good, and that stack of ribs, is only a half stack by the way.

While this was a day full of random stops, conversations, and checking things off our to-do-list, it was a day to remember. I was reminded just how blessed I am to know that I am marrying the man God has for me. Never once did I dream I would fall in love with my best friend, and the person I share everything with. It was exciting today to do some wedding planning, to talk about future plans, and to just be silly and enjoy the moment. 
Dear Andrew,
To often I am guilty of taking you for granted and for not appreciating all the little things you do to love me on a daily basis. The past three years with you have been some of the most incredible moments of my life and I can honestly say you have challenged me to grow deeper in my relationship with the Lord, you have pushed me to dig deep and go for the things I dream about, and you have inspired me to become all God's created me to be as I become your forever helpmate. You are incredible and I so appreciate your love, your hard work, your protection and care for the things that matter to me, and for being the best secret keeper and my absolute best friend. I cannot imagine this journey without you. As we set out on another year together, this one holds the biggest moment of our lives so far. In 9 months I will become your wife and as we spend the next several months planning, preparing, and following the Lord's leading in it all, I am so excited to share these sweet moments with you. You make my smile so big, and my heart so happy.
You are my heart. I love you.

Thankful For Sunday

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What a week this has been!
This was midterm week for my Women's Health class and I can honestly say I have never been more excited for the weekend to be here as I was this week.
This week entailed a 4 shifts of work in a row leading into two days of studying what felt like non-stop for my midterm on Friday.
I was happy to see Friday come and go, and to know I am halfway through with this semester.
Saturday our church hosted a huge block party called Sonfest, which is an event for the community, this is one we plan for the entire year. It was such an incredible day, the Lord was in all of it, and I am excited to share some more about this day soon!
But today, today was much needed.
I started my morning by getting coffee with Andrew at one of my new favorite places in town, Brooklyn Water Bagels. 
While I am not from New York and have no history with their bagels, this place has iced coffee cubes, and I have become quite a fan of their iced coffee and bakery goods. 
We then made our way to church and what a refreshing morning it was. Leading worship these past 4 months has been a challenge, but also such a time of growth for me. This morning I felt so grateful for all the Lord did through all 150 volunteers from our church that participated in Sonfest yesterday for our community. We worshipped and thanked the Lord for all He did and all that He is doing. We were challenged today to be salt and light. To be bold and to share our stories of how Christ has changed and transformed our lives. To truly be disciples. Something I needed to hear and be reminded of. 
This weekend I have felt so humbled to be used by the Lord even in small ways. I was reminded yesterday that we are called to love and that nothing we do goes unnoticed or is insignificant. 
We truly do serve a good God and He deserves all the praise.
After church, we headed to lunch at Dockside grill on the river and what a beautiful day it was! 
 I did not let this beautiful day pass me by! I took my wedding magazine outside and enjoyed the sun and browsed some wedding ideas!
I am off this weekend and spent the rest of my afternoon doing laundry, and I decided with 4 old bananas to make homemade banana chocolate chip bread. 
It hit the spot today.
It's been awhile since I had time to just enjoy the simple things like the sunshine, no homework, a chance to bake, an opportunity to sit  down with Andrew and catch up on an episode or two of shows we have missed, and to just not feel rushed. 
Most importantly, today I am thankful for rest and for the reminder that we serve such a good God. He was with me this week when I felt like I couldn't study anymore, do anymore, or give anything to anyone, and just in time, He gave me this beautiful day to relax and to find time to remember what's important.
To often, I am guilty of being so busy with my own life and schedule that I don't appreciate things how I should.
This beautiful sky is one of those things.
I'm thankful for serving a God who gave us a day to rest and who gives us rest when we need it.

What do you do on your day of rest?

Relentless Love

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I have struggled to come up with words to accurately describe a few things that have happened in my life in the past week.
While I have yet to completely share in my writing, my struggles in previous months, to sum in all up, I am learning what love really is.
While I thought I knew, in so many areas of my life, the Lord has stripped me to the core, challenged me, and truly has been refining my heart and my thoughts. 
By no means has this been an easy process, but I can honestly say, in preparing my heart and myself for this new season of marriage, I have a new hunger and desire to understand Love the way God intended it to be.
1 Corinthians 13 is the kind of love I am learning and I have been challenged to search my heart, my actions, and my motives.
All of that to say, I serve a big God who not only comes to me to challenge me, to change me, and to make me more like him, He also in recent days has shown me in quiet moments of my life, just how much He loves me, and how far He will go to show me.

My thought life has been a major area of struggle in the past year, and fear takes over and it is crippling. While I have come to recognize the patterns, the thoughts, and the lies of the enemy, these moments are less and less but they still happen, and at times I almost feel desperate. Last week I found myself in a valley. While nothing specifically happened, multiple areas of my life had me feeling discouraged, worried, weary, and like no one could understand where I was in my own spirit.
As I laid in my bed one night, crying out to the Lord about how I felt and being transparent in all of my fear and worry and hurts from the week, I decided to text someone in my life that has been an encourager, supporter, mentor, and has become family. Rob is someone I met on the district going to teen camp and as an 8th grader I think I gave him a run for his money as I'm sure he wasn't thrilled to have me as part of his team for an entire week of youth camp. Over the years, I have found the brother I never had, and he has truly encouraged me and loved me, pushed me to cling to the promises God has for me and I am so grateful for him and his sweet family and all they mean to me. 
While it was 12:30 at night, I didn't think he would be awake. I sent a text simply asking him to pray for me. To my surprise I received a text back saying that he was still awake. He then began to tell me that he really isn't usually up at this hour but his sweet daughter had been restless for the past hour and a half. A few minutes later he text me and said that he thinks I was the reason he couldn't sleep, and as soon as I text him and he began to pray for me, his daughter fell right to sleep. He ended our conversation by saying to me, just remember, there must be a God that loves you this much.
I was beyond humbled. My thoughts quit racing, and I feel asleep, so grateful.

I began reading a book this week that I have had on my list for quite some time.
While I am only through chapter 4, this book is challenging me even more in the way I think and view God and His love for me. Francis Chan is an amazing writer and I would highly suggest this book if you haven't read it.
As the week continued I felt more encouraged and truly in small ways each day the Lord was showing me that He loved me, and He had every detail I worry about under control.
Two nights ago, for no specific reason, I began a long battle with my thought life that I have truly struggled with in the past several months. I know exactly how this goes and while it would seem to be easy to just 'not go there,' at times I feel so enslaved. Within 2 minutes of the thoughts racing and fear beginning to set in my heart, I got a message from a dear friend of mine asking 
"How is your thought life doing? I have been praying for you."
My thoughts stopped dead in their tracks.
I responded to her saying you have no idea, I am currently not doing so well and the thoughts are racing.
She sent back to me this verse from Zephaniah 3:17
"The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing."
I began to cry and just thank the Lord for using my friend in that moment to personally show me that He is in control, that He cares about me and the smallest details of my life, and the He loves me.

I can honestly say this week I have felt so unworthy, but so grateful for the Lord's work through others in my life to show me His relentless, powerful, life-changing, love.

As a I am continuing to change and grow, it is my prayer that I would understand more and more what this Love really means in my life and that I can be one of the doors that He will use to show someone else His love as I have experienced this week.
I serve a good God and He deserves all the glory.

How has the Lord shown you His love this week? 

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