Saturday, December 14, 2013

~ Possibilities ~

Isaiah 9:6 - For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Possibilities. In the Christmas season possibilities abound . Under the tree, in the store, on the calendar , and in our minds . The possibility that we've gotten what we asked for from Santa . The possibility we will gather with old friends or far off family to celebrate . The possibility that what was to be done in this year has been done and the thoughts of all that is possible in the New Year .

The last few weeks have been full of possibilities for me . Many things up in the air and even a few surprises that I can not begin to imagine what possibly may come from them . Possibility has almost become a very dreamy word in my current world . It lends itself to what may be , hope , dreams , surprises , and light !!! Am I the only one that when driving at night and seeing all the Christmas lights in towns and neighborhoods gets this inner joy simply because of the bright lights and colors ? They cause me to think that if this kind of beauty is possible, than what else is ?! Perhaps a insanely simple thought for an adult, but it is one of my thoughts none the less . I LOVE looking at Christmas lights !!! Here's a link to some local lights. This is just one side of that neighborhood. They go ALL out for Christmas lights, there's even music if you roll down your window as you drive through . It's kinda amazing ,  Jacksboro Christmas Lights . Perhaps you can understand why they make me so happy and hopeful .
The possibility of places to visit .

Today as I wrapped a few gifts and placed them under my tree I kind of feel back to my 5 year old self . Oh how I loved waking up Christmas morning to all those fun and beautifully wrapped gifts from Santa . My mom is a amazing gift wrapper so it was almost a shame to undo all that beautiful wrapping . It never crossed my mind as a child that my family probably wore themselves out getting me gifts and wrapping them so wonderfully . However , now as a adult shopping , making , baking and packaging my own gifts to give I realize what they probably went through to allow me that childish world of possibility . I look under my tree now and I know what is in the carefully wrapped packages and still I get excited over the possibility . I may should become more alarmed at the possibility people won't like their gifts than excited , but I digress .

This is about the only place I have to put a tree . So, it gets a bit abused by the curtains. I love my lil' tree with it's few gifts underneath it . This may be nerdy, but I also like to put the gifts I receive through out the season under my tree as well . A kind of reminder of how blessed I am to have the thoughtful friends/family that I have .  A friend mentioned that I should've saved them to open on Christmas morning, but I am just not that disciplined . I receive something fun in the mail and I barely make it inside the house before ripping the paper off of it . Eternal child, right here !

I pray that whatever the Christmas season means to you that there would be a place of hope, of possibility , to live along with the decorations , parties, and gifts . When I think about the reason for the season in my own heart I can't help but be overwhelmed by possibilities . How Mary possibly felt with the looming possibility she would give birth in a stable . What the wise men possibly felt as they trekked to meet a infant King . The possibility that turned into a promise fulfilled that One would be born, to die for us . Just so that we could live in a world full of possibilities .

Luke 2:11 - For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tree Trimming - Stacie Style


I told you  in my post "No Reindeer Harmed" I was going to do my best to hold off putting up and decorating my Christmas tree this year . I have been known in years past to set it up long before Thanksgiving . Well, I am proud to report that I didn't finish my tree until Thanksgiving evening and I started setting it up just a few days before . So, for me that is a pretty big deal . Tonight I sit by the glow of my tree lights , sipping mint hot chocolate with Jack Davis resting in the floor and I have so much on my mind that I thought perhaps the best thing to do would be some writing . Help refocus my mind and energy .

I have had my tree and most of it's decorations for about 8 years now . I proudly purchased it along with purple/gold ornaments my first Christmas in Chattanooga . In years since then I have broken ornaments , lost, given away , repurposed, and added some new ones to my tree . Originally my thought was that I would have a "cute" tree . The kind you see in stores or sitting rooms . You know ?! The matching, styled , but not so sentimental kind . However, as years past my tree has slowly become more sentimental with its d├ęcor .

From Abbigale - One of my "nieces"
She loves pink & glitter as much as I do.
From Melly - former RA
Team Logic co-founder
This year as I decorated my tree I realized just how meaningful some of my ornaments have become to me . I save the ornaments that have been gifted , made, or that hold a special memory as the last things I put on my tree . I want to give them a prime spot so that I can look at them through out the season and be reminded of how much the Lord has done not just this year, but in those past as well . To remind me of the people I've had the chance to love and even greater the one's I've had the chance to be loved by .
Given last Christmas by my
Dad & Step-Mom
Made by Miss Bridget
This year as I added these special ornaments to my tree I was overwhelmed thinking that one of my bff's daughter, Abbi , thought of me when she saw a pink sparkly fairy ornament . I clearly have impacted this kids life....with it should be . LOL!! I smiled realizing that Miss Bridget hand made several snow flakes especially for me . Each time I see them I'm reminded of her cup of peppermint tea , her love of the students and her continued friendship since I've left Chatt . I got kinda teary eyed opening a envelope that a former RA & continued friend had sent me with a beautiful "S" ornament in it . Reminding me that bonds formed in the trenches of ministry last forever . These sweet people along with so many others have taken time out of their days just to brighten mine . Their thought will not simply brighten the day that I received their ornament, but every year that I hang these ornaments, every day that I get to look at them on my tree through out a Christmas season , those days will be brightened too because of them . I'm not sure they realized that such a small thought could have such a big impact .  
A reminder of things I've yet to do &
a reminder of my Papaw

These are just a few in my growing collection of sentimental ornaments . They challenge me with the thought that this is the kind of person I hope to be. Not just in the Christmas season, but year 'round . I want the things I do , write , create , give, etc. to remind people how loved they are . Not just by me, but the God of the universe . These ornaments remind me of everything God has done and they help keep me focused on the promise of things He's yet to do . Once again He uses the smallest things to speak into our lives . I think that the gifting of ornaments has new meaning for me .
Not all my ornaments are gifted or made . I have many hand picked that reflect pure Stacie-ness . Some folks use tinsel to make their tree sparkle, not this girl . I have pink diamond-esq ornaments hanging top to bottom . Do you gift ornaments ? How do you decorate your tree ? Are there fun traditions you'd like to share ? Please feel free to comment and let us know how you celebrate and decorate through the Christmas season .

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas Greetings

As I mentioned in my most recent post I have been a busy elf preparing and planning for Christmas greetings , crafts and baked goods . All in a effort to help me refrain from putting up my Christmas tree . Also , I love to pre-plan it's my most situations . However today A friend and I were texting about meeting up over Thanksgiving break and somehow we didn't nail anything down . We are both in event planning so we are both confused as to how this happens....every time ! Oh well, it's who we are and we're o.k. with that .

Last season I shared some posts not only on crafts and DIY ideas, but also how to "Earn When You Spend" . I'm unsure if you followed through with my tips, but I wanted to let you know just how much they can pay off . This month alone I was given a bonus from my Coca~Cola , Kellogg's and Shutterfly rewards that will basically provide me with personalized Christmas cards for free . That's right , FREE ! Per the "Earn When You Spend" post all you have to do to start earning points is create a account ( which is free) , enter the point codes you find under your cap, in your products box or in your e-mail from the company and boom ! You are on your way to savings, discounts, and best of all FREEBIES !!!! Often they will send you bonus codes not just for their company, but for partner companies as well . Just a FYI usually with Shutterfly you do pay shipping , unless you've gotten a code that allows free shipping , but even still it ends up being less than I'd pay in the store for cards that aren't personal . For me it has been worth the five minutes now and then to input the points . What kind of deals are you coming across as you prepare for the Holiday Season ?

Stationery Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

No Reindeer Harmed

A pic I came across in INSTYLE mag.
If I ever hang a deer head in my home please
know it WILL be bedazzled .
"Good because every Christmas tree put up before Thanksgiving an elf drowns a baby reindeer"...... the response I received from a friend when I told her I was trying to resist the urge to put up my Christmas tree . Yes, it's early-mid November and I'm already debating putting up my tree . I don't even care who judges me . Just for the record it didn't go up this weekend, but I make no promises as to how this week will go . In a effort to resist putting up my Christmas tree I worked on some Christmas craft/gift ideas instead .
In a small effort to not repeat myself or give away what I'm working on now ,  I thought I would just add a few links from last years "Holiday To-Do's" . Feel free to click on the highlighted links and if there are deals or coupons realized they are from last year so they probably aren't applicable at this point . But be sure this Christmas season as I come across good deals I will share them with you . Here are some of last years links . What are you working on that you might share with us ?!
Santa "Paws" is resting up
 before the season gets busy .

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Free Shutterfly Prints = Mail Inspiration

(I am not paid by Shutterfly .
I am simply a highly impressed customer and want
to recommend them to other photo & craft enthusiast.)
This morning started off with several fun free surprises that have gotten me ahead on Christmas crafts , gift ideas and what not . As I wrote in my post , "Earn When You Spend" , there are many benefits to taking a few minutes to input those free codes found under the cap of your soda , sent as a thank you from a photo order or printed in the box of cereal . Today was one of those days for me and I thought that I would share one of those amazing deals with you to help you get started on your "Holiday To-Do's" . This Shutterfly deal ends November 1st at midnight so be sure to get your order in before then . Simply click on  or follow the links on to begin the process of downloading up to 101 free prints . You will have to pay shipping, but it is still an amazing deal . I have used these types of free codes to print pictures for framing, scrapbooking and to use as postcards . Yes! Did you know that a 4x6 can be mailed as a post card ?!! If you are debating what kind of Christmas card to send this could be your answer . I've also thought they are cute for thank you's ,  birth , event or even new address announcements . I mean how cute would it be to print a pic of your new place to send as a post card not only announcing your new address, but showing your friends/family your newest residence ?!! There are post card "kits" at certain stores that you can adhere your photo to that provide a pre-printed spot for address, note , stamp, etc. I have used these kits before , they are real handy and make the photo a bit more sturdy, but you don't have to have them to mail the pic as a post card .

I have used Shutterfly for many projects . They are amazing at rewarding their customers with "Freebies" and "Discounts" throughout the year . They are also good with customer service . I had a order of address labels never arrive and they immediately offered to reprint and resend the order at no cost to me . No, I don't work for Shutterfly, but sometimes I wish I did . LOL!!!

Anyway , I hope that this little pass-a-long of info helps you with a project . Do you have any out of the box, creative , or surprising ideas for this Holiday season ?! Please feel free to share them with us !!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

~ Busy Yourself~

     1 John 2:17   
And the world is passing away along with its desires,
but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
I have several people in my life that when they list off what they're doing in a day I seem to get sympathy exhaustion . When I am with these people I often find myself moving even slower than usual simply because there is absolutely no way to even begin to keep up with them . I have busy days, weekends or months as well . Not as much these days, but I've known my fair share of , "what day is this ?" busyness . I'm all about being a go-getter, keeping your hands busy , YOLO and all that other what not, but I have begun to ask myself several questions when in the presence of this overwhelming, gotta be some kind of unhealthy busyness.
  1. Are they genuinely "busy bodies" ? You know the people who simply can not sit still. They are more at rest in mundane movement and tasks than if they are sitting still .
  2. If the answer to number 1. is no , then I wonder "why are they keeping themselves so busy ?".
    1. Is it a attempt to keep out of "trouble" ?
    2. Is it to keep their mind off of life situations ? Being single, family stress, job stress ? etc.
    3. Is it that they feel the only way to serve is to serve allllllllll the time . (burn the candle at both ends )
    4. Is it because they have no help in their world so all the "to-do's" fall on their shoulders . 
No matter the answer I have a tendency to worry for these busy bee's . My instinct in most situations is that it is a mixture of 1 & 2 . Because there is so much on a persons mind due to life situations there can be at times more temptation to get into "trouble" in an attempt to avoid thinking on , dealing with , accepting , or acknowledging the life stuff . Especially when one knows themselves well enough to recognize that when in a stress of life situation the easy fall back is to get into "trouble" .
"It's better to be doing nothing than to be busy doing nothing. "
~ Zen saying
I have several people in particular that I find myself concerned with more often than others . Because I have had the chance to hear their hearts I fear for them in their constant busyness . While the intention may be to keep themselves out of "trouble", my fear is that it's only prolonging the inevitable "trouble". That "trouble" that comes from avoidance in the stress of life stuff .
For example: Single people who desire to be in a couple can at times keep their calendar so very full with work , friends , church , special events , charities , work outs , group outings, etc. that they leave them selves no time to think on , consider, or feel the loneliness that can possibly come from singleness . Why do I worry for this scenario ? Being single does not equal being lonely . I once heard a speaker say , "you think you're lonely now singletons, wait until you've rushed into a marriage for the sake of ridding yourself of the loneliness only to roll over , look into the eyes of your spouse and realize you're more lonely now than ever". I wish I'd written down the speakers name . I can't tell you how many times I hear those words in my own head when I think of settling because "i'm lonely today", "everyone else is doing it", "it's what I'm suppose to do", so on and so forth . That quote was one of the most frightening revelations I ever had and I'm so grateful for it . Every time I think of it I want to write this mystery speaker a THANK YOU letter ! It is my thought that if you don't know how to be you in the quiet , calm, alone times of life then I'm not sure you can know how to be you with someone else in the busy or calm . Also, singletons don't feel picked on there are a ton of other scenario's to use as examples , but this one I know from personal experience  :-)
"Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings."
~ Jane Austen
My point ? If you are keeping yourself so busy with "things" are you leaving yourself any time to truly work on yourself ? Are these things aiding in your relationship with the Lord ? Are they a symbol of trust in His plans for you or a outward and active expression to Him of your distrust ? We calm ourselves by thinking  these "things" that keep us busy are bettering us because we aren't at home scarfing down a pint of ice cream , crying while reading the Note Book and bellowing "I'm so lonely" at a frequency only dogs can hear .  We tell ourselves that since we aren't doing "that" version of lonely our version is obviously better because it keeps us busy . I personally disagree with that mentality . (Uhm, Just for the meeting minutes that never happened, I just made it up . In all reality I would never read a book I can watch . HAHA!) 
   Proverbs 19:15 ESV        
Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.
Yes, there are "things" to be done to better us . Yes, to be busy is at times better than being idle . I am not saying stop everything, change all your ways , do nothing but sit with your thoughts . What I am challenging you with is this , What do you busy yourself with and why ? For me it was totally worth evaluating . The answers gave me so much that I never would 've gleamed had I continued going at the chaotic rate I was . Whatever your life stresses are I pray that you can take a moment and evaluate your schedule along side His schedule for your life . Even if you are like me and in this place of "what is next?" , there is still a place to evaluate what you're spending your time on and why .
I pray that this post challenged , encouraged and instigated some thoughts for you . I love you all and desire Gods best for your life , for our lives .  I believe He has a purpose for each and every one of us and the devil would like nothing more than to keep us so busy and self focused that we don't take time to embrace His schedule , to-do , and callings on/for our schedule . To be busy with the things of the Lord is a totally different kind of busy .
In His Love and Service -

  Jeremiah 29:11   

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.


From Me to You and From You to Who ?

I love a personal note. The idea that a book could go
through so many hands and with each pass along one leaves a
note, date or passage highlighted, to me makes it feel like a shared
experience though some readers may never cross paths .
In my posts "Happy My Birthday" and "Belated Birthday Update" I wrote about my hopes, plans, fears and surprise blessings for/from this years birthday . One of the surprise blessings came in the form of several books . In all truth I have yet to start reading either of them, but I have been skimming and preparing myself . When I start reading a book I want to be able to focus on it alone . If I am already reading another book then I have to finish it before I can move onto the next one . I can't help it . It may make me a nerd . It's just who I am . It's just how I roll .
Previous to receiving these books I had mailed several books that I had finished and loved to a few friends . I wrote a little something on the inside or included a note of some sort . I didn't send these at random with a note that said , "read this you need some Jesus" or anything like that . I sent them to folks that had read or heard from me personally how these books had been working in my life along with my devotional time and so they showed interest in reading them as well . Somewhat as a branch off of my post , "Selfish, This Isn't For You", it is my humble opinion when we find truth and bond with the words someone else has boldly shared either in written form or in a speaking/conference setting it is our job, our duty to pass along that truth and why we bonded to it . It is what we are to do with the Gospel that was given to us from His Word and I believe that as believers when coming across other tools that help grow , ground , and guard us when it comes to the truth found in the Word it is just as vital to pass that along too . So, all that said these two books made for very special gifts to me .
I'm all about building a personal library, but let's be real , some books you will never read again and some books are meant for passing along . I am excited to read the books my friends passed along to me . Especially knowing that they gleamed something affirming , encouraging and insightful themselves . What do you have that you could pass along to someone else ? Have you gotten a book from a friend that really hit the nail on the head ?

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween ! I am one who loves fall and the fun costumes, candy and decorations that come with it . And getting to combine my love of costumes and candy, I mean how can you go wrong ? I'm glad you asked . Today I was at my grandparents going through coupons and some how we got onto the topic of Halloween . It lead to a most awesome Papaw story that had me rolling . Apparently when my mom, uncle and aunt where little one Halloween Mamaw put Papaw in charge of taking the kids trick-or-treating while she stayed home to hand out candy . 
She said that not too long after sending them out Papaw came home minus the kids saying , "Thelma where are them kids ?" . I had such a picture in my head of big navy man papaw escorting three little, dressed up kids around the neighborhood only to loose them in the sea of costumed children . I was laughing so hard . Never fear, luckily the children returned home candy in hand . The story was made a bit more hilarious because a similar debacle happened at the beach . Papaw had a kid on each arm, everyone with life jackets on when a huge wave knocks them all down . Papaw comes up out of the water minus the children only to look to Mamaw on the beach and say , "Thelma, where are those kids ?!". I can't even hear these stories and not laugh . Papaw lets them be told very graciously. I think many a man wouldn't let such hilarity come at their expense . Yet another example of why my Papaw is so awesome ! And again , no body panic , the kids where bobbing up and down in the water safe and sound , life vest and child in tact .

Whenever I see dads out on their own or with the children I get entertained . They really look so helpless for the most part and is if they've been ambushed by their most trusted teammate , their wife . My favorite is Christmas time watching them try to shop . My heart goes out to them . It really does, but rarely enough to help them . So, when your man comes home with a beautifully wrapped box full of socks you can blame me a little too . I would've steered him into the silk pj's, but watching them search through the sock pile with such hope was just too glorious to stop .

Got any funny Halloween stories ? Do you enjoy dressing up , giving out candy and decorating for fall festivities ? What's your favorite costume you've gotten to wear so far ? I'd love to hear about them . Feel free to share !

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The World Was Waiting

"I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it. "
Audrey Hepburn
Me, some where close to 1yr old.
This week I had the opportunity to celebrate the marriage of one of my many cousins . She and I grew up together, close in age,  our moms always hanging out and of course the enumerable family functions we survived together . It was emotional listening to her dad give a toast to her and her new husband . It was great to see some family, hear some stories and just chat . You know as a 30 something single I never expected to walk away from a wedding reception encouraged .  I expected a lot of when will you be getting married , don't you want to have babies , along with a myriad of other same themed questions . And I was right to have such expectations, my cousin asked when am I gonna start having babies , my uncle asked "when will we be bringing gifts to something like this for you",  all leading to my straight faced and serious as all get out response of , "Never. But you are welcome to bring me gifts any time you like." - TRUE STORY. I have a open door policy when it comes to receiving gifts. I mean, who doesn't ?!
While mom and I chatted with varied family members and met several of the newlyweds new family  there was a lot of story telling going on . As I mentioned earlier I never expected to leave a wedding bash feeling encouraged and I never expected to hear a story about me . My cousins dad sat down to chat with mom and myself while everyone mingled . He said he had been going through old pictures and found one of mom on the day I was born . If this picture can be found again it may be the only one that exists of my sweet momma preggo with me . I of course asked him to please look for it again . I would LOVE to see it . Now, the majority of the stories I hear on my birth are 1. How long it took 2. How painful it was 3. How they expected a boy (Chad Davis would've been my name. I feel like I should have a identity crisis over this) 4. Everyone had to think of girl names on the spot, because see also #3. 5. Mamaw came up with my first name and mom decided my middle name . That is about the extent of my knowledge up until now on the night I was born . What I have taken away from that part of my story is that chaos, the unexpected and God's humor at our attempts to plan our lives has been apart of who I am since DAY 1 . Why am I surprised that its a couple decades later and nothing has changed ?
Somewhere in that 1 yr old range w my stroller full
of kittens at my Aunt Fleda's house . P.S. I wish overalls
would come back, those bad boys look comfy !!
With that said I know some of you hear about the day you were born all the time . Perhaps every year on your birthday , as I type this in my head I flash to a scene from Gilmore Girls where Loralei wakes Rory up in the wee hours of the morning/night to wish her a happy birthday and to tell her the story of the night she was born . Considering at this point babies aren't a real part of my "plan" I think I will adopt Loralei's tradition and wake up my friends children to tell them about their birth . Anyway, I don't recall such a tradition in my growing up so, as my cousin's dad began to tell his version of my birthday I was hanging on his every word . See Mom went into labor on the 23rd , my Aunt Rita's birthday, everyone was so excited thinking I would be born on Aunt Rita's bday, but when she got to the hospital they said to go back home and come back the next day . Since mom and dad lived a good 45 minutes from the hospital they knew that going home only to come back again wasn't a realistic option . So, they went to our cousins apartment. Conveniently they lived in the same city as the hospital . Mom and Dad spent two days in that one bedroom apartment with our cousins . Mom apparently walking up and down the hall way over and over just trying to get me moving . Mom says she barely remembers it she was in so much pain, sorry Mom .  Apparently my dad and my cousins dad flipped rubber bands to help burn off some of the anxiety of "patiently waiting". Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins all made calls to see if I had arrived yet . Some even making the trek over only to find mom still walking the hall way of the apartment complex, still very with child . My cousin Glen said at one time there was close to twelve people in that tiny apartment . For some reason it is so difficult for me to believe that so many people were that excited to meet me . Finally on the 25th , it was go time ! Everyone so relieved that this little daughter, grand daughter, niece and cousin was FINALLY here and that sweet momma was out of pain .
After the reception and the story telling I was mulling over my surprise at having never heard this story, but also over the anticipation my relatives had for my arrival . With the struggles of present day I get bogged down with "what's my purpose", "why am I here", and several other dark doozies all making my life a waste . Hearing this story gives me some real perspective . Not ego, not pride , not glory, but genuine perspective from the eyes of the One who truly spoke me into being . It is very easy when carrying the weights of life to forget how special that life is . I think on several of my friends and how excited we got at "go time" . For my friend Amanda close to 10 of us went to the hospital around midnight only to weight for hours until Jaxon arrived . We walked with her up and down the halls even playing music off the computer, "walk it out" will never be the same for me after that night .  After mannnnyyyy hours we all sat excitedly chatting about how much longer it would be when all of a sudden her dad held up the cell phone and we hear that sweet baby boy cry . Again so relieved this new life was finally here and so happy that our loved one was out of pain .  My Mamaw tells a funny story about my moms birth , they were a Navy family living on base in Texas at the time and mom was their first baby . Something happened where Mamaw had to stay or go back to the hospital leaving Papaw with a tiny little new born girl, my mom . Papaw grew up with all brothers and one sister so I have a feeling this baby girl was a bit out of his comfort zone . Apparently he did what all new dads do when left alone with their new born for the first time......he passed out.....or something to that effect . The ambulance was called , blood pressure was taken , if you know my Papaw even the slightest you know his greatest concern is his family . I suppose that day is where it all began . It makes me laugh so hard thinking about a big Navy man with this tiny little baby girl . I can only imagine what was going through his mind. Even now when moms birth story is told Papaw keeps going back to how very small she was and how he just didn't know what to do with/for someone so very small .
I could recount many a birth story and the joy everyone felt when that new life entered the world , but the point to this is that whatever your birth story is there was a "world" full of people waiting for you . If you've never heard your birth story I would encourage you to ask a parent , family or friend of the family to give their account . It doesn't matter how old you are or get,  there is something so very special about thinking on a time when your parents where young , in love , nervous and about to have their world changed forever . Do you realize your birth was the moment they became selfless . I think on all the things mine have done for me throughout  life and I forget that they didn't start out knowing exactly what to do or what would come .In the heat of the battle, under the weight of life's struggles do not be deceived by the ideas that your life was unintentional . No matter the circumstances you where created and given life on purpose !! 
Whatever challenge this life is giving you remember and cling to the knowledge that you are a miracle and you were in God's thoughts long before you were in your parents . That's kinda amazing , isn't it ?! The Word says in Jeremiah 1:4, "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart...." .
"Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

~ Happy Papaws' Birthday ~

Tomorrow is Papaws' 86th birthday !! We simply couldn't wait one more day to celebrate so today we had some much deserved birthday cake . Anyone that knows me even in the slightest knows I am close to my family, my Papaw especially and as you can see, Jack Davis adores him as well . Today I took the opportunity to hear a few more of Papaw's stories and asked a few questions just to be sure I had the facts right in my head . I know I have shared two of his stories already in my posts "Fallll-lleujah"  and "Paris, Perfume & Papaw". I'd like to take today as a opportunity share just a few more . Well, maybe not stories, but interesting facts about my awesome Papaw . Knowing the details of what make him, him , help me to understand why he likes to keep me so close . I know I am a very lucky little girl to have such a caring family .

Papaw left home in war time at 15 years old to go work in factories making supplies for the war . When I hear that all I can picture are movie clips showing signs for "tires wanted" and "donate cloth here" for the Red Cross and others . I also think about how mature or more accurately immature I was at 15. I can't imagine leaving home so young.  At 18 Papaw was drafted and joined the United States Navy, which he would faithfully serve for twenty years . While away in the Navy Papaw lost a brother and because of his last name they assumed he was Irish Catholic so , the military sent a priest to comfort and counsel  . I find that very interesting !! He saw several wars , more countries than I'll probably ever see and when he could he would hitch hike home from Norfolk, VA where the ship would occasionally dock , just for a weekend with his family.

Papaw in Sussex England

Papaw on the ship working on the rifles.

Papaw....smoking !! He stopped no body panic.
If I was on a boat for months at a time I'd probably pick up smoking too .
Lets be real....he looks like one tough dude here !!
Medals - Vietnam, Korea, & Many others .
(too many for me to recall at the moment)
A story I find entertaining and shows just how much he and mamaw love each other is , one time on leave Papaw hitch hiked home to Tennessee from Virginia so he could be with the family for the weekend. Unbeknownst to Mamaw who had left the kids with my great-grandma , gotten her sister Fleda , and a car to drive to Norfolk to pick Papaw up . Obviously cell phones did not exists then, but when I think of all the trouble it could have saved them !! When she arrived of course he was not there . She found another servicemen to ask about her husband only to find out that he had headed home . Great minds think alike , right ?!
Mamaw & Papaw on a cross country trip from California to Tennessee .

After Papaw retired from the Navy he had opportunities for several different jobs . However, they all would have required traveling and after spending twenty years going back and forth from the family that simply wasn't going to be acceptable to him . So, he took other jobs that would keep him local . I know I am grateful for that . I can't imagine my child hood with out Papaw in it . He taught me how to bait a hook, cast a line , check the oil in my car and many other things . He tried to teach me how to clean a fish and I swear I tried, but my young queasy tummy just couldn't do it . I think I was 6 or 7 at the time . He has given me more words of wisdom than I could ever type out here and he has made me laugh sooooo much along the way !! Most importantly my Papaw has taught me the importance of a man to his family . It is not always easy to  do the right thing, but it always pays off and it leaves a bigger impression than one might realize . My mamaw is ALWAYS saying to me she just doesn't know what we would've done with out "Daugherty", my papaws last name and what she frequently calls him....I agree .
Papaw and I at Dollywood.
Sometimes those pics they take on the rides are
totally worth the gazillion dollars it costs to get them printed.
#mypapawiscoolerthanyours  #memories
There are probably hundreds of stories I could tell about Papaw . And I am confident I will share more in the future . They're just too good not to . In the mean time , Happy 86th Birthday Papaw and Happy My Papaws Birthday to all of you !!! I hope you celebrate by loving on those closest to you or someone who has impacted your life in a undeniable way !! As a ol' friend use to say , "we will not pass this way again, so make it count".

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bear One Anothers Burdens

Warning: This is not one of those posts where I have experienced something, come out on the other side and now have tips for others. This is going to be one of those posts where I'd love to hear back from you. How do you deal ? Have you asked yourself this same question ? Do you have words of wisdom, verses or quotes that may help me answer this question for myself ?

Galatians 6:2

Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

For several weeks now I have been repeatedly asking myself the question , "How do we bear one another's burdens and not crumble under the weight ?". I have not come up with a good answer yet . Obviously there is prayer and the Bible. Maybe that is all we need, but as my heart becomes more and more heavy for those who hurt I feel less and less capable of bearing the burden . Perhaps unworthy is a better word . I do my best to listen as people share their hurts, struggles, confusion and so on and if led I will share what's on my heart in return . Whether it be a response to their question , a observation , personal testimony , scripture or simply a promise to prayer on their behalf .

It is through this one question in particular that I have noticed God is answering some of my prayers rather specifically . Recently in times of confusion of feelings about situations or people I have begun asking the Lord if He would instead of clearing my mind or giving me a specific answer to the situation ,  He would instead show me how to better pray for that situation/person . I am shocked at how immediate He has answered my prayers . As if He was simply waiting for me to ask that specific question . In some situations of my heavy heart, moments after asking the Lord how to specifically pray for the person/situation I would receive a text, e-mail , fb msg, or call with the very specifics I had just asked the Lord for . It's AMAZING how easy it is to see His hands and movements when we get our or more specifically when I get my head and heart refocused and start asking the right questions .

So, maybe this post does have an answer after all , but I'd still love to hear your thoughts . Maybe what we are to do is to listen, pray, offer Biblical wisdom , give it back to God and depending on the situation there may be something very literal we can do as well . I think of course whether you are married, a parent, single , young or old one key no matter who's burdens you are carrying , would be consistency in your personal devotional & prayer life . I'm reminded of the flight attendant demonstration when you are about to take flight , "in the event of a emergency place your oxygen mask on prior to assisting other passengers".  I use to quote that to my RA's all the time when I saw the weight of the ministry wearing them out . We are of no use to anyone if we haven't done what is needed to care for ourselves , personal time in the Word , prayer , rest , so on so forth.....putting our oxygen mask on first .

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV         
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Psalm 55:22 ESV         
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never
permit the righteous to be moved.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Belated Birthday Update

In my post "Happy My Birthday" , I said that I was going to work on being more positive about this amazing blessing of living another year . In recent years it has for some reason been difficult for me to truly enjoy my birthday . I also asked you , my friends, to help hold me accountable to this task and you have . My birthday was so wonderfully blessed . It started the weekend before my b-day when I had to make an impromptu trip to Chatt-Vegas . I got to celebrate with some of my favorite people . It was the perfect way to begin birthday week . Yes, my b-day now gets it's own week . A day simply isn't enough to boast on all that God does throughout a year .

My handsome lunch date while in Chatt . Rett !!
All my b-day #hashtags were titled #braggingontheblessings & #myfriendsarecoolerthanyours . In a attempt to keep my word and be positive I thought that sharing via #hashtag, instagram & FB what God was doing each day to help me along would be the best way .
The Lord truly heard my prayer and answered it . As I said the week began celebrating with friends in Chattanooga , on my actual B-day I had lunch with Mom & my G'parents , and since my birthday I have gotten to celebrate with other family and friends at varied times . Miss Bridget is right in her birthday motto , "I'll celebrate as long as you want to celebrate me ". AHAHA!! Even just today I got to have lunch with one of my High School besties to celebrate .
My friends are undeniably creative. This is the return label on
a birthday gift I received in the mail.

Now that Birthday-Palooza is slowing down, I am getting to just be grateful . Grateful that God cares enough about me to hear my prayers, no matter how big or small and answers them . Grateful for thoughtful , kind and giving friends/family . Grateful for a year passed and the year yet to come . So, for possibly the last time this year, Happy My Birthday .How do you celebrate each year ?! Is there a tradition ? Something new each year ? Or do you like to just let the day pass by ? Either way ,  I hope you have a wonderful B-day too !!!!

Do Something Nice

Today as I was marking things off of my "to-do" list in my planner I noticed that tomorrow is "Do Something Nice Day". We all know I love a theme event as well as random acts of kindness so, imagine my excitement when they combine !!! I think "Do Something Nice Day" is a perfect opportunity for those of you that are working on getting out of your comfort zones, random acts of kindness as well as just loving those you love . If you google "Do Something Nice Day" there are several different links with ideas . Here are a few posts of my own to help you get creative....

Brownie Goodness
SHH Baby Sleeping
Creative Pay It Forward
Coupon Care Package
Didn't Cost Much

I hope you have a wonderful "Do Something Nice Day" . I would love to hear what you did to celebrate !!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

It's Never Easy

This week for me was spent in turmoil, stress and great debate . I have written in several post about my search for "what's next" . This week I came very close to what "could be" next . It started Monday morning with a phone call that offered a rejection.....and then a surprise opportunity . It was exactly the little boost I needed to keep me reminded that God is indeed at work in this specific part of my life . As I said once already , I spent the rest of my week in turmoil, stress and debate . I sought out advice, wisdom and the harsh honesty I needed from my closest of closest , both family and friends . Everyone had amazing advice, words of encouragement , truth , and they've spent time in prayer with and for me as if this opportunity was their own . Another thing I was reminded of this week is that I am deeply LOVED and cared for . I am blessed far more than I deserve with people who desire only Gods best for me in every single area of my life .

"That’s where trust steps in and reminds us we can’t ever learn how to live real faith if we never need real faith. As an offering of trust, we must give up that which could so easily bring us down.
Not give up as in discouraged surrender. But give up as in placing this desire in the hand of God and saying, “Either way, I will see Your answer as the good answer and walk in trust.”" - Lysa TerKeurst
Realizing that I am that lucky of a girl made it even harder for me to put my cell phone away , shut down my computer and turn off my brain for the evening . I've  been in prayer all week, but in all honesty I had also been in sheer panic all week . So, ya know, half and half . So, today after getting the last bit of wisdom I needed to hear , the out loud prayers of a dear friend and her too cute lil' boy , running errands and shutting down, I went into my closet . I turned off my mind , vegged out a little bit , read from my favorite devotional, wrote in my journal , worshiped to some awesome worship tunes , cried, laughed, got a little distracted , cried some more. Then with a heart full of love, hand full of new realizations, and a brain full of new information I had peace with my decision.

Matthew 6:6 "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
Not all of my advisers will agree with this choice and some will probably even think I am stupid for making it, but at the end of the day I have to follow my heart . I take no opportunity that the Lord presents me lightly . While this was something that I inevitably had to pass on I am confident I am closer today than I was yesterday to "what's next". As God continues to provide for me in so many different ways I will continue to pursue after Him and His calling on my life . 
It's "Thankful Thursday" in social media land and so  I want to share my "thankful Thursday" with you . Tonight I am thankful for friends and family that love me so much that they aren't willing to let me be something I'm not , do something I'm not suppose to , and are smart enough to know how to talk to me about "the big stuff of life", as one of my former pastors use to always say . I am grateful for a God who is patient. SO VERY PATIENT !!!!! I'm thankful for a roof over my head , Jack Davis to keep me company , Facebook, texting , cell phones and Skype so that none of my loved ones are more than just a button push away . And a special Thank You to all those that spent time praying for me, with me, talking me off ledges, sending me encouraging text and helping me "do the math" this week in considering this opportunity .

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

~They Think I Can~

As I pursue and pray about what is next for me I get a lot of suggestions from others about what I should do next . I appreciate suggestions , but to be honest at times it gets frustrating . Mainly because of suggestions that to me, make no sense . Those suggestions usually come from those closest to me surprisingly . Last week as some one was rattling off some ideas  I got so irritated I just changed the subject . Jack Davis is forever a handy fella to have around for such occasions . Later the same week I was telling my mom about some crazy to me idea's that my g'parents had . She laughed and offered a few suggestions of her own . None as crazy as another's suggestion of "tax preparer" . Why is that crazy you may ask ?! Let's just say math is not my strong suit and leave it at that .......
....unless it involves coupons, then I'm freakin' rain man !

I started thinking about all the varied suggestions I had been getting and some how worked myself into a tizzy . Tax Consultant , piano teacher , car part assembly.....DANCING WITH THE STARS!!!! I started to roll around phrases in my head such as "don't they know me at all?", "are they crazy?", "are they serious?", and "I'm running away from home. This is clearly not my family" . If I didn't look so much like my relatives it would be easier to claim I was adopted or something , but the proof is in the photo's.
Uncle Rick & Mom


Me & Dad
I mean.......I can not deny I look a bit like my owners. BTW- Owners is often my choice of word for parents. I.E. a child is doing something it shouldn't, "where is this child's owners ?". In the pic with my dad we are even smiling the same!! So, as I calmed myself down from my self appointed fit I started to gain a new perspective . I started asking myself the same questions once again, but came up with a better answer . It is so easy to get focused only on our selves when we are in the midst of a journey . We rarely look to the left or right to see who is traveling along with us . We also fail to look in front of or behind to see who has already walked before us and who is helping push us along . Now I'd like to preface this "ah-ha moment" with , it doesn't mean I don't still get irritated sometimes, but it does help me keep things in better perspective . I asked myself again , "why are they suggesting such crazy ideas as if they are possible?", it's because they believe they are . To my grandparents I am their only grandchild (I'm sure that explains a lot about who I am to some of you) and in their eyes , "if given the opportunity you could be on that Dancing with the Stars too". They genuinely believe I am capable of anything .

In the eyes of my loved ones and those closest to me I could do anything I wanted . In their minds I am capable of great things . So, why is it so difficult for me to believe that too ?! I think now that I have had this epic realization I am now more able to believe as well that I am capable of great things . I mean.....don't expect to see me shakin' it on Dancing with the Stars anytime soon, but know that I am pursuing God harder than I ever have before . For possibly the 101th time, I whole heartedly think "the no's are as important as the yes' ". With each disappointment, rejection, or simply unrealistic opportunity that I have to turn down I am getting closer and closer to Gods' plan for me . I am closer today than I was yesterday . I'll be closer tomorrow than I am today .

Thursday, September 19, 2013

~ Start With Me ~

 Sometimes we can start our days with the best of intentions . A to-do list of working out , cleaning house, paying bills, doing the dishes and varied other things . Most days I have on my to-do list a random act of kindness . It isn't always written down and it isn't always random, but it is in my mind to keep my eyes and heart open for opportunities to show kindness and love to people . I remember being a very young child and seeing people explode on a cashier, waitress or random person and it would hurt my heart . Even at a young age God allowed me the understanding that we are all hurting people . I am very grateful for that now as an adult . The phrase , "Hurt people, hurt people" is forever in my mind . Now, don't mistake my words as a proclamation that I am always on task . I can be self centered, in a rush and sometimes just flat out absent minded when completing my daily to-do's , including this one .
I have written about Jack's Birthday and how we took some yummy dog treats to a few of our four legged friends to celebrate and more importantly to show love . I think I have shared a few other  ideas along with the thought that these small things are practical ways to "be faithful in the small things" . It is so important to me personally to not become focused on the BIG moments, actions and words , but to remain focused on the day-to-day "small" things of faithfulness and the growth it can bring . God is at work ALL the time . It isn't just the big stuff that draws His attention or moves His heart so I feel like we should do the same .

Luke 16:10- New Living Translation (NLT)
10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.
Last Friday became a day of marathon errand running . I had an appointment for Jack to be groomed and I wanted to have the oil changed in my car along with getting a few other things accomplished while I wait . I am big on multi-tasking and making the most of my time when I can . I dropped of  a very nervous Jack , went walking with my mom who lives not too far from the groomers , ran to a store that I don't have in my town to get some things I needed and had coupons for (anyone who coupons understands that inner list of "I'll wait to get that in case I go to ______ and can use a better coupon(s)). On this day I had three coupons that where store specific, so it was totally worth putting on the to-do list while I was in that part of town . Anyway, after lunch with mom I still had several errands to run before picking up Jack. The errands became more time consuming than I had planned, but I am grateful to have gotten them done .
In the midst of these errands taking up more time, I found myself having several opportunities to be kind . When waiting for my car I was texting on my phone, of course . Isn't that how most of us spend those "empty moments" when we are waiting on something or just trying to pass time ? If not texting on facebook or pinterest or checking e-mail . While I texted away a young lady sat down on the bench beside me . She too was on her phone passing the time . I hadn't seen her when I came in the store or while I was walking around the store trying to pass time , but I would find out that she had seen me .  Where we sat waiting for our cars there are several candy machines and I decided I needed a double bubble treat for all the productivity of my day . Before I went to put my quarter in the machine I felt the urge to offer a piece to this other young lady . As I asked her if she would like a piece of gum she looked up from her phone somewhat surprised . I'm not sure if she was surprised I was speaking to her or because I was offering her gum from the machine . Either way, she thought about it a second and said ,"thanks, that would be great" . She reached for her piece and I then purchased one for myself . We chatted back and forth about our love of double bubble , our distaste for waiting on our cars , being grateful that the oil change was on sale that day and just other chatter . While we chatted she mentioned that she had pulled up to the car garage just after me . Now this may sound just plum silly , but when she said that I became so grateful I had taken a moment to offer her a piece of gum . I became overwhelmed by the thought that you just never know who is looking or what they are seeing . We didn't talk about anything "deep" or even of a spiritual nature, but I swear it seemed she felt relieved in some way as we spoke . Now, I'm not saying that piece of gum or brief conversation did anything beyond helping her pass the time, but for me it was a huge conviction of all the other times I rush past people or burry myself in all the distractions my cell phone has to offer .
While I spend a lot of my time alone I do have Jack Davis, my family and some amazing friends . Finding someone to talk to is not a task in my world . Especially with all that technology has to offer us with texting, face time, Skype , and every things else . But the conviction I left with after that brief encounter was that with all technology has to offer and with all the people we come across on any given day not everyone has someone to "just talk to" or to be nice to them . Not everyone has someone to text , Skype or even to ride down the road and visit for a minute or two . I may never see this young lady again . This conversation very well may have meant nothing to her, but on the other hand maybe it did . I have no idea what hand her day had dealt her up to that point and I have no idea what she faced in the rest of her day . But I do know that as we left she spoke to me in the tone of a friend  saying, "talk to you later" and I responded with the same, got in my car and drove off . As I pulled into traffic I got tickled realizing our good-bye greeting . Why hadn't I said , "it was nice chatting" or something of that nature ?! You never know when you'll come across someone you thought you'd never see again . Maybe our paths will cross maybe they won't , but I pray that what she saw in me wasn't just a chatty cathy, but the love of Jesus . 1 John 4:19 (NIV) 19 " We love because he first loved us.".
Not every good deed will go well . Today I learned that particular and surprising lesson , but even as I wrote this the Lord presented me with a opportunity to love on and help out someone . We can't control how people will receive what we offer them in doing a "good deed" we can only control what we present to them . God will give us the opportunity every single day to love His people . We just have to have our eyes and hearts open to it . I have shared several of Meredith's songs in my blogs and I just down loaded her newest CD "Worth it All" several days ago . I am being ministered and challenged by it in so many ways . This song is apart of my hearts cry tonight . "My life is an empty cup Fill it up, fill it up! I wanna hear every rescued heart cry You're enough, You're enough! Break what needs breaking 'Til You're all we see. And start with me, start with me, Yeah start with me, start with me". Tonight I ask the Lord to " Start with me" . I want to challenge you to do the same . It is an indescribable blessing to know you have brightened some ones day and sometimes all it takes is a piece of gum .
"Start With Me" - Meredith Andrews
You are air the desperate longs
Water falling on the sand
Silence to an angry storm
Sight to a blind man
You're still the God, a miracle
So if You're gonna move again
The would You move in me?
Move in me

You're the beat to a broken heart
Bread for a hungry crowd
And warm word from Your voice rings out
And the dead throw the grave clothes down
Cause You're still the God of the empty tomb
The one who came alive again
So come alive in me
Come alive in me
Come alive in me
Come alive in me

My life is an empty cup
Fill it up, fill it up!
I wanna hear every rescued heart cry
You're enough, You're enough!
Break what needs breaking
'Til You're all we see
And start with me, start with me

Whose arms hold the fatherless?
Whose voice do they hear?
Who sits with the prisoner
And stands for the one who fear?
You're still the God of what is just
And You're still the God who loves
So would You love through me
Love through me yeah
Come and love through me
Would You love through me, yeah

My life is an empty cup
Fill it up, fill it up!
I wanna hear every rescued heart cry
You're enough, You're enough!
Break what needs breaking
'Til You're all we see
And start with me, start with me, yeah

Your kingdom come
Your will be done
Lord let it be
Let it start with me, start with me

Yes, Your kingdom come
And Your will be done
Oh Lord let it be
Let it start with me, start with me

Yeah, start with me, start with me

My life is an empty cup
Fill it up, fill it up!
I wanna hear every rescued heart cry
You're enough, You're enough!
Break what needs breaking
'Til You're all we see
And start with me, start with me,
Yeah start with me, start with me