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?
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