January 24, 2014 § Leave a comment
The Lord looks out for us, doesn’t he? I look back over my life and think of the decisions I have made. And I have a really bad track record. Like really bad.
Late in 2008, after a season of life filled with maybe more bad choices than ever, I went to a wedding with a 5-year-old as my date, determined that, for maybe the first time ever, I was not looking for any attention from any guys. And I did a really good job of not looking for attention from guys during the wedding.I spent dinner talking to adults instead of anyone my age and I danced for hours with Eli (my elementary school date) and got good and sweaty.
Welllll, it just so happens those adults I talked to at dinner were a couple with three eligible sons attending the wedding. And one of their sons happened to be good friends with my best guy friend from high school, who introduced us about three hours into the wedding.
After the couple left for their honeymoon, a group of us decided to go to a local spot and hang out for a few more hours. So I decided to invite this particular gentleman to tag along. We ended up talking for a couple of hours at the local spot and then walking for a few more hours after that. All of a sudden, I was failing at my job of not focusing on guys. But for once in my life, it felt so natural. The night ended with this particular guy dropping me off at my hotel room and saying he would like to “continue the conversation in Atlanta.” And a few days later, we did.
After that, we dated for eight months, got married four and a half months later. And then have been married for the last four years. And they have been the happiest years of my life.
I married the most amazing and selfless guy who loves me unconditionally.
We spent last weekend in the mountains of North Carolina celebrating all the Lord has done in our lives the last four years and it was lovely. We are really excited about our fifth year together and what all it may bring. I am so thankful.
January 13, 2014 § 1 Comment
This is basically a late Side Note Saturday post. But omg. The Skimm and Entertainment Weekly shared this photo from Jennifer Lawrence over the weekend and it has me rolling (internally of course – that’s not appropriate at work).
I think she did it on purpose. Because that’s awesome.
P.S. If you don’t subscribe to The Skimm, you totally should! It’s a service created by two news junky girls. They send you a morning email that skims over the most important news of the last day in an easy, engaging way. It’s aimed at women, so it will definitely give you the scoop on things, like football, that you may or may not be totally up to speed on. I highly recommend it!
January 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
Have any of you ever heard of Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors? They’ve been featured on tons of television shows and were even the featured song for the 2012 NBA season intro that they played over and over and over that year.
Well Drew’s wife, Ellie, who is also part of the band, is branching out on her own and creating her first full-length album this year. No offense to Drew, because I do love his music, but oh Ellie! She’s one of a few different artists that have been an answer to prayer for me and probably several others. We’ve been in need of beautiful singers telling the story of the Gospel through beautiful lyrics. And Ellie does just that.
I have had her two EPs, Magnolia and With You Now, on repeat for the past few weeks and they are filled to the brim with truth and beautiful melodies. Per Wednesday’s post, I have been in serious need of the reminders of God’s faithfulness, love and compassion towards us. These lyrics have been like salve on a wound for me, and I think they would be to most women going through a difficult time.
The most precious song of hers to me is With You Now. The sweetest line of all is:
When you sing your sad songs, I will learn the words and sing along.
Give it a listen and fall in love with her as much as I have. You can preorder her new album, As Sure As the Sun, on iTunes after your inevitable obsession begins.
January 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
Do you think you’d be healthier if you had less stress in your life? I certainly have always thought that.
Well this TED Talk from psychologist Kelly McGonigal shares some extremely interesting research on the effect of your beliefs about stress on your life. Perhaps stress was really made to help you achieve things, but your mindset about it has been all wrong.
This was extremely fascinating to me and really helps me have a better mindset going into what I would normally consider a stressful day.
One of the most incredible lines to me was: “Your stress response has a built-in mechanism for stress resilience, and that mechanism is human connection.” What a wonderful reminder that we were created to help each other go through difficult things.
It’s so tempting to avoid people when working because you think you just don’t have time to talk. But we’re there to help each other cope. I couldn’t be more thankful for those work friends in my life who bring me encouragement and remind me that I can handle the tough times.
What do you think about all of this? Do you think it’s kind of hokey? Or do you think she’s onto something?
No matter what, I think her benediction was pretty awesome. Take it with you throughout the day and live inspired: “Go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.”
January 9, 2014 § 1 Comment
Does anyone feel like 2013 was a tough year? It seems like most people I talk to give me a “yes” that comes from somewhere deep in their soul, like they’ve never felt like “yes” was a more appropriate answer to a question. While I am not a very superstitious person, I’m going to throw it out there that it was the 13th year. Thank goodness it only comes around once every century!
In all seriousness, 2013 was by far the hardest year I have experienced to date. I did not experience any extreme difficulties like a death of a loved one, loss of a job or a natural disaster, so I have much to be thankful for. My hardships were mostly internal. For most of the year I struggled with the loss of my identity, purpose in life and faith, at times. It was the first time in my life where I felt like I was really wandering and couldn’t find my footing. While normally being able to “figure things out” and “handle situations” through my type-A control freak personality, I really couldn’t control anything. Which just intensified the whole experience ten-fold.
Instead of going into all of the reasons this happened, I will share some of the things the Lord has been teaching me through this desert season:
- to be genuinely joyful for others’ accomplishments/good fortune/life events, even when things aren’t going well for me
- to not think of myself as the center of the universe (very sad I’m just learning this at 27)
- to wait (I still don’t have the patience and hopefulness parts down, but I am starting to realize that waiting is a very necessary and beneficial process)
- that the Lord is with me, even when he seems silent
- that I do have dreams and I was created with a purpose – but these things don’t happen overnight
- that his will for me may be more about who I am than what I do – making decisions for myself is not only okay, but a reflection of the Lord and how he created us to function
- that it is okay if I feel lightyears behind others spiritually speaking – this intense humility (I don’t say this in a “Oh, I’m so humble” way, but the real, “I feel embarrassed” kind of humility) recognizes my weakness and allows the Lord to show up big in my life
Did I want to learn any of these lessons last year? Were these my 2013 New Years resolutions? Absolutely not. And wow, it has been incredibly challenging to learn them. But I am so thankful that the Lord chose to overwrite my resolutions and teach me something of his own.
I remember sitting in church early in the year and praying during communion for the Lord to become real to me. They always say be careful what you ask for. I never would have admitted it as I was in the thick of these struggles because I really wanted to be a victim (truth hurts), but these lessons I was learning have taught me more about the character of God and what dying to self truly looks like than anything I could have read about.
All that being said, I am reeeeeeeeeeeally hoping that 2014 doesn’t have quite as many difficult lessons to teach me. Ha! A girl needs a break sometimes.
I’m still praying for the Lord to teach me things that matter. I don’t want to sacrifice meaningfulness for an easy time. But I do pray that there are a few more joys sprinkled throughout.
Just for fun, some of the things I’m really hoping to delve into this year are:
- I want to learn calligraphy (Joel bought me a calligraphy set for Christmas and a gift certificate to take a class!)
- I want to learn more about graphic design
- I am going to practice taking better photos with my new Canon lens and learn to edit them
- I want to watch what I’m eating, not diet per se, but just have a better knowledge of what I’m putting into my body and say no to things that aren’t really necessary
- We want to complete P90X 3; it sounds like a New Years weight gain thing, but we really just go in cycles of working out and then dropping off the band wagon every few months… so we’re just back on again
- I’d like to figure out how to volunteer in a way that is wise considering our busy schedules
- We want to join the church we’ve been attending for a couple years now
- Start a Bible study with some people from our church
- Finish Storyline with my friends
- And spend lots of time with my little niece Laney!
What were your joys and sorrows in 2013? Do you have any exciting plans for 2014?
January 8, 2014 § 2 Comments
Well hello lovelies! After an unannounced and unanticipated two month hiatus, I am back! Thank you for your patience with me while I was out of commission. I’m not sure that I ever mentioned, but my husband has twin brothers who both had some quite exciting life happenings scheduled for Christmas week. One had a baby due on Dec. 24 and the other was getting married on Dec. 28! Well along with these little life happenings come showers and planning and such. So from November on, I was sucked into the swirling vortex of baby-wedding land. And it was lovely, I must say! We walked away from all the craziness with two new ladies in the family and I couldn’t be more excited about either one!!
But now that life has slowed down enormously, I feel like it’s time to dive back in. And what would be more appropriate than a Makeup Monday post? A Makeup Monday post on Tuesday! You know how I roll.
My husband has figured me out over the past (almost) four years of marriage and confirmed this by turning my Christmas into a massive makeup haul. I cannot tell you how excited I was to unwrap FIVE The Body Shop makeup brushes, a YSL lipstick, a gorgeous palette from Jouer (with an incredible story to boot! more on that later), and the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette!
Quite honestly, I didn’t even know they had released a third palette (I haven’t caught up on Essie Button in months!). So I was elated at his gift-giving prowess. Turns out, he couldn’t decide between the 2 and the 3 and asked a Sephora saleswoman. They said that the 3 was better for fair skin, and he went for it!
Naked 3 is filled with rosy-hued goodness. From the super light-pink Strange to the dark Blackheart, there’s a little red or pink in every shadow. Candidly, I was a little uncomfortable with rosey colors on my eyes at first. Sometimes those colors can make you look like a 5-year-old got a little carried away in mom’s makeup bag, if you know what I mean. But leave it to the Naked team to give us just the right tints that end up flattering most any face.
As per usual, the pigmentation is fantastic, especially when paired with their Eyeshadow Primer Potion. I even noticed that the glitter option Dust is less flaky than the respective sparkly Sidecar in the original palette.
It also came with a double-sided brush, one for painting it on and the other for blending. While it is a basic brush, the quality is only a couple steps down from two of The Body Shop brushes Joel got me. Not bad, I say.
One note about value. These aren’t cheap palettes. I think all three of them are $50. But, Joel got me the original Naked Palette for Christmas two years ago and I have only hit pan on TWO of the colors!! These two colors happen to be the over-the-whole-lid colors. And I have been using the Palette at least 3/4 of the week for that two year period. All that to say, if you’re asking yourself if it’s worth the investment, I can say 100% that it is.
Overall I am super thrilled with this gem! I haven’t figured out which colors are my go-to just yet, but I’m having a lot of fun experimenting! Did any of you get the Naked 3 Palette? If so, what are your favorite combinations? Do you like Naked, Naked 2 or Naked 3 the best? I guess I’ll just have to get Naked 2 to give you my final vote!