Thursday, September 29, 2011

Southern Girl's Fall Bucket List

My sister tagged a list on pinterest of the southern girl's fall bucket list. I loved it and decided to make my own (although obviously some of mine are the same or similar to the items listed on the list she found)

my FALL bucket list:

  • attend a football game and tailgate at an SEC school

  • have a football game date

  • make some type of pumpkin treat - pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie

  • wear boots with skinny jeans

  • learn to tie a scarf atleast 3 different ways

  • carve a pumpkin

  • snuggle on the couch while watching a scary movie for halloween

  • make some type of fall wreath or decoration

  • find the perfect saturday game day outfit in your school's colors!

  • stock up on fun pairs of tights

  • make some type of hot drink with an "adult beverage" added

  • pick out the perfect dish to make for your family or friends thanksgiving

  • find a tasteful yet attractive halloween costume

  • plan a girls night on a chilly evening -- cookies, cocoa, fireplace and chickflicks

  • spend a morning in your pjs and blanket on the couch with a good book

  • take a picture in leaves

  • complain about your "red" nose

  • find an adorable hat!

  • hot chocolate with marshmellows!

  • cook a good chili for friends or a boyfriend.

  • enjoy the few perfect weather nights on the porch with wine and friends before it gets cold

  • if you are in Jackson, attend Mistletoe Marketplace AND the preview party

  • bonfire and smores

  • enjoy starbucks holiday treats

  • buy a fall candle to make your mississippi home smell like fall despite the fact that its still 85 degrees today :)

What about you?? Whats on your Fall Bucket list/ to do list?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blessings and advice....

This weekend was perfect. Sushi dinner and girls night on friday - laughing, storytelling, wine and cookies. The saturday, I went walking with my roomate in the cooler weather then had a chili and football date before heading to a local art show at Welty Commons. Sunday I had church, lunch with a friend, a walk with another friend, cleaning and small group with my precious 12th grade girls...and thought crossed my mind: If I were married, I wouldn't be doing all of this.

This does not mean I still don't want to get married. It doesn't mean I won't still do some of these things when I am married. But it does mean that there are blessings to be found even in trials, right?

I know people who are trying to have children right now. And as hard as every failed pregnancy test and friend's shower may be, I hope they also see the joy in being able to have date night with eachother or travel or have a clean living room. Thats exactly how I feel right now -- there are blessings in the meantime. I doubt I look back and regret girls nights, fun dates, ministry opportunities, travelling because I am single.

So, for now I will cherish wine and laughter in my living room that only comes from a group of single friends gathering to discuss work drama, dating drama and other funny stories. What an incredible blessing Lord, thank you.

Also, ADVICE....

in a little over a month, I have a gala to go to...I would like a fun cocktail dress to wear (nothing too pricy, preferably under 200 dollars) -- I want it to be fitted (since I lost weight) but appropriate -- any advices of online stores? I am of course checking out nordstroms and macys but any other suggestions?? Thanks ladies for your advice. Its my one really big event each year so I'd like to look great!

Friday, September 23, 2011

SUYL: 20Something Fashion

I am linking up with Kelly's Korner blog to tell my favorite places to shop for 20somethings.

I love clothes...I am having to learn to buy attractive clothes for work (lots of straight dresses, pencil skirts AND suits) BUT I also occasionally get to buy a fun sundress like this one below...

I classify my wardrobe into three categories: 1) Work clothes 2) "fun clothes" --Girls night out and date clothes and 3) gameday clothes (making sure I have enought orange and blue in my wardrobe)

I also need church clothes but I never buy with that intention as many fun clothes and work clothes overlap into church clothes.

Gameday dress by Judith March.


1. Online Discount sites..... RueLaLa and Ideeli

The way these two sites work is you sign up and then every day at ten they have different designer shops open. I buy a lot of clothes from here. Last year I got a Lily dress for 80 dollars. Some days they have sales I like and somedays they don't. You may need an invitation to join. if so, comment with your email address and I will try to send you one. I have gotten a LOT of work suits there.

2. I love this online store from the UK:
Boden. Some stuff is too grown up for me BUT there is a bunch of cute stuff that works for me. I like to wear Boden because most of my friends don't SO they won't have the same things I do....

3. I love the classics:
J. Crew, Ann Taylor Loft, Ann Taylor, and Anthropologie. My favorite store is Anthro. I walk straight to their sale racks because some of their stuff is pricy but most of the time you get good quality products :)

4. I really like
Altar'd State. I LOVE that the whole concept of the store is to have affordable stylish MODEST clothing (owned by Christians, closed on sundays). This is only a southern store (started in Tennessee I think) but they do have a website.

5. For game day clothes, I LOVE LOVE LOVE
Judith March. The dress at the top is one of my gameday finds.

I want to wear skinny jeans since they are in style and slimming but some pairs make you look poured into your pants. I buy my skinny jeans at Ann Taylor Loft and I get the curvy brand...curvy at the top but skinny legs....

My sister, Marley, swears by gap straight legs. They aren't skinny per se so you don't feel they are tight but they are fitted enough that you can tuck into your boots.

If you have to, buy a size up or keep looking til you find the brand that works for you...Nothing looks worse than skinny jeans that are too tight and show too much at the waistline...nobody wants to see booty, nobody.

(**I have no idea if these items are currently on sale at either store, but I know that both constantly get new jeans in. I found these jeans to be the most stylish adult jean option there is so I would check it out.***)

Also, never wear a tight top with tight jeans. This should go without saying. One looser item, one more fitted.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The cross is always difficult.

I really enjoyed this article on Precious Adornment website.

The author (who is now married) shares an article about singleness and Corrie ten Boom. I won't repeat all she says because both the author and Corrie do an excellent job already...but I will summarize: some people are called to lifelong singleness and many of those people (although I am certain not all) are content. Thats how Corrie was. But some are called to it temporarilly, in preparation for the future when they are married.

The in between years are used to prepare for marriage and teach the single woman (or man) that happiness can only be found in Jesus. This echoes the recent feelings in my own heart. A friend and I were discussing our unwanted singleness the other day and though I still don't like it, I have recently been more content with it (I hesitate to write that here because as soon as I say it, I am sure I will feel discontent!) It's not so much that I feel happy, but I have felt more content longing for something.... more able to live a happy life even if the thing I want the most is not there.

I told that same friend that the one huge blessing of singleness (that we don't realize is happening while it is) is that we learn to be okay with unmet longings. I think I have now come to the conclusion that I will always be longing for something - a spouse, children, a job, friends, owning a home, etc. And that longing drives me to my Savior, because the truth of the matter is, what I am ultimately longing for is heaven. So give me a husband and I wont be happy. Give me children or the perfect job or perfect home and I will still have some part of me that wants more. Why? because this world is fallen and imperfect and I was not made for this world.

Some of my married peers still seem to think life is supposed to be free of unmet longings. I think it is because their longings were always met quickly: they got married so early and had children when they wanted, moved into a home, etc etc. And they may learn the same lesson I do, but just at a different time than I do. So, as much as I don't want to be at the stage of life I am at right now, I find it a blessing that I am learning to live with longings because I will be living that way (in some form or fashion) until my Savior comes back. I am now more aware than ever of my longing for heaven!

When a lady told Corrie that living the single life longer than she wanted was too hard, Corrie replied that "The cross is always difficult" That hit home with me. In our Christian culture, we glorify all of our blessings as gifts from God (which they are) but with Christianity comes difficulty as well.

We should be more sensitive of the struggles and waiting of others, encouraging them to use it as preparation for the future -- both practically and in their relationship with Christ. Don't have a job? How can you prepare for one and how can you find your identity in your Savior? Longing for children? Prepare. Trust. We should gently point eachother to the cross, both acknowldging the difficulty but reminding eachother that following the way of the cross is difficult. We should not be surprised, scriptures states that we will have many troubles in this world (John 16:33) but that He will overcome the world!

Monday, September 19, 2011

This is the day

God has a day for you.

I read this article and it hit home with a simple truth I often forget -- God has each day planned. When I have a fender bender and dent my bumper (last week), that day was planned. When the boy I was dating last fall hurt me badly and my heart was breaking, that day was planned -- as was the day I met him. When a baby refuses to come on its due date and comes late, or even worse, comes too early, that day is planned. The day I got a job offer, that day was planned. The Lord is in charge of each and every day.

God knows which day the suffering comes and which day it ends. As the author says, if you are suffering (or waiting), today could be the last day of your stress and hardship, you never know...and even if it doesn't end today, the Lord knows when it will. Every day is planned.

Doesn't that make today sound exciting? Today, I could meet a new friend, or do something great at work, or meet the man I will marry, or hear/read a verse/quote/etc. that changes my view on the World. Today, like every day, the Lord has planned how he will change my life- and how he will change yours- with good and bad things.

I also find it hopeful because I'll never know when the days he will bless me immensely are. I won't wake up one morning and say "Today I will meet the man I will marry" or "Today I will meet an amazing friend" or "Today I will stumble across an important message or this friend will tell me some piece of good news" But, any day, that could happen. Any day, God is working. And even when the news is bad or the heart is broken or the friend abandons, those days God is working as well.

This is the day that the Lord has made, every day is the day He has made.

Friday, September 16, 2011

SUYL Friday: Favorite devos/studies

This week I am linking up to Kelly's Korner to tell you some of my favorite Christian devotional resources.... Some of my favorite christian encouragement books/devos

(1) We did this for our small group girls when they were 11th graders. It was not so applicable to them, but it was to us. (We didnt pick the book out. There were some great resources so we adjusted our lessons to apply to them) The book says a lot to women, particularly single women. I also LOVE how this book tells us what women can do to serve, not just focusing on what we can't do in church. As there have been some changes in my sunday school class where the singles (particularly single women) have been pushed to the younger kids class and we have wondered what role we have, at all, my small group co-leader said rereading this book was encouraging that God has a use for women and single women. I may go back and reread myself!

(2) My Utmost for His Highest -- my all time favorite. Ozzie C speaks what I need to hear daily.

(3) Jesus Calling - I know this book is contreversial and usually when something is questioned, I stay away, but I find the words encouraging and often times reminding me to rely on Christ not myself...I do not take it as "god-breathed" as the author nearly claims BUT I do think it is based on scriptures.

(4) My Sr Girls small group at church is working through the screwtape letters for our weekly lesson and I am enjoying it. We are trying to teach the girls how satan reaches for them in even the smallest areas-- last week we focused on tone of voice, gestures, family relations, etc. My hope is that they go to college AWARE that the devil is working against them, being willing to spot his grasp on them in the large areas (sex, drugs, etc) and small ones (cheating on homework, gossiping, judgmentalness)

(5) Few books have ever reached me like this book has. Once again, it is not a devotional BUT the chapers can be read one and a time nightly. After my engagement ended years ago, I read this (probably 18 months after) and I have reread it so so so so many times since then.

(6) I am the eldest brother discussed in this book. I get irritated that I did everything right yet life doesn't always work out for me while those that I assume are misbehaving more than I am get everything. This book helped show me my sin too, but at the same time that it scolded me, it also seemed to take the part of me that thought I could earn God's favor and point me to a God whose favor could never be earned (by me, atleast!) and who loved me despite my failures.
Also, not a devo, just an amazing Christian book.

(7) There is so much in each chapter of this it one chapter at a time. My favorite is the chapter on waiting, on Larius.

(8) I love The Beautiful Ache. Its not a devotional but the chapters are split to where sometimes I'll read one before bed. Once again, I read this in the aftermath of my engagement and have suggested it to friends ever since then. such an encouraging book.

(9) I oftentimes begin my workday with a devotional.. Here are some of my online favorites:

(10) I also have listed several Christian/Singles/Young Twenty Something Sites that oftentimes point to Christ for me, although not a daily reading or devotional. You can find that list here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Trading the plan for the party

I loved this article and had to share.

The prodigal son had to trade his plan to get the party.

What a comfort knowing that in letting go of how you planned your life to work out, God has something better.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Things I love Tuesday

Things I am loving right now....

1. Jackson Restaurant Week.... like every other major city, we now have a restaurant week where the restaurants have discounts and special menues and everyone partakes...Have we finally arrived? (the answer is no, but its a step in the right direction..)

So maybe a girls night or if I am lucky, a fun date?? Why not both? I have all week!

2. Spending my saturdays here... I LOVE Auburn, I would rather attend a game in Jordan Hare stadium than be almost anywhere else in the world...BUT I love tailgating in the grove even more than tailgating at Auburn. (Why cant I tailgate in Oxford and go to a game in Auburn??) Maybe because I literally have 2 decades of memories there and my family and friends are all there...but to me, it represents football season.

3. Skinny Girl summer treat, less calories

4. My new Auburn skirt, making its debut this week at the Auburn Clemson party at my house...and making its Auburn debut at either the UF or OM game...

5. This quote stolen from a friend off facebook. I find it encouraging in my singleness but also in other areas of life where I might let others (mainly, Satan) make me feel not good enough...I am sure y'all can relate.

"What circumstances do you find yourself in today? Give thanks and pray without ceasing. For as we keep our eyes on him and praise Him in all circumstances, we silence the Accusor (the good, the happy, the hard, the confusing, the horrifying), the one who exists to blame God for not being good and blame us for not being good enough."

Monday, September 12, 2011

a change...

I encourage y'all all to glance at this blog (Peace Love and Ramen) that my friend started... on singleness.... (gulp, are we even allowed to blog about it?) No offense to all the mommy blogs out there, but it has long seemed okay to speak about every aspect of family and married life on the internet (including a few blogs where I have even seen intimate relationships talked about....obviously these are not MY friends or I think for their own sakes, I would have called them out in person a long time ago) but actually talking about singleness on a blog, good and bad, was seen as too vulnerable, too open with struggles... I just disagree. I think its a different struggle, but one just the same.

My goal in blogging was always to start a singles blog...not like a singles agenda blog (b/c goodness knows my agenda is not to remain single or promote singleness) - but an honest look at the good, bad and ugly of single. There are singles sites out there but they are all about encouragement and verses...I have long wanted to do a blog (or see someone start one) that dealt with the good and bad of the single years... wondering who you are going to sit with at church, breakups, etc. but also girls nights, travelling, and the time to have figured out who we are first. It could be humor and encouragement, all in one, like other good blogs are :)

My friend starting the above referenced blog that she considers a fun singles blog motivated me to actually start making my blog what I want. Dont worry, this wont be a sobfest (because my life isnt all bad or anything)...BUT I think I will be a little more honest about singleness, dating (though I will still be somewhat secretive about this in case the boys I date ever read this!), encouragement, etc. Seing as I already write about my life and I am single, not much will change except for my honesty about things.. I hope y'all like the changes...

However, I must disagree with her on one thing -- even in singleness, you get to a stage where you do not have to eat Ramen anymore :)

Jack says....War Eagle 2-0

This was jack in his orange and blue worrying on the last few plays of the game...don't worry, jack attack, auburn wins and is 2-0. He is the cutest little tiger I have ever seen!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Its just a year...

Lately, God has been impressing on my heart to make it through a year... I know some people view life as making it through a day or month at a time and that is VERY true...but I am talking about give it a year to see change in your life. If today is a bad day, I can survive today..but I likely won't see change tomorrow.... BUT if today is bad because you hate your job, you want to lose weight, your marriage is struggling, you have not met the right man, you are waiting to get pregnant, etc., etc., then you likely won't wake up and see change - atleast major change tomorrow (unless you wake up pregnant, but even then you likely won't know for a few weeks!) This kind of change usually involves time and waiting.

However, the long act of waiting indefinately can seem overwhelming. So, I have started taking life one year at a time. If something is awful today, a year from now, with work and prayer, I bet I see some change!

As a single woman with many single friends, I most often hear friends say this with regards to dating. "A year ago I was dating the wrong man." "A year ago, I wasn't dating anyone and now I've met the man I will marry." or my favorite, most recently, on Cinco de Mayo, my friend MK and I were laughing about how I left a party at her future husband's house to come to a party and meet up with her. and a year later, we were all celebrating the holiday together - because they had met, dated, gotten engaged and were a couple months from marriage! God certainly does work in a year. Also, I was recently encouraged by this article about a woman who gave up on dating and a year later was engaged...the concept of provision in year in dating or any other circumstance is very encouraging!

Like my stories of others "one year" experiances, I have also seen this concept play out in my life.... I felt completely alone my last year of law school, but a year later I was in Jackson making amazing friends. I wasn't completely at home here yet, but I could see God working. A couple years ago, I wanted to date more and meet the right man. That didn't happen, but a year later I was dating more - a lot more. It has been my experiance that a year rarely ends up in an 180 degree turn (although it certainly can!) but I usually can look back and say this is how God worked last year. A month is often too short for me (in my sinful narrowmindedness) to see God's changes in me, others and my circumstances... BUT, in a year, his faithfulness is always noticible, even to us narrowminded sinners!

Who knows where my life will be a year from now? I would love to find a job closer to home (I have a really long commute). I would love to have met the man I will marry. I would love to be a little more certain about what I want to do with my life and career. I would love to not be struggling with the same sins Will I have found all these things? Maybe, maybe not...I don't know the Lord's timing nor do I know whats best for me. But, I do think I look back and see huge changes in these areas... a year will clearly give me the ability to see how God has slowly changed and improved me and my circumstances... and who knows? Maybe a year from now, my prayers in certain areas will be answered.

After all, even in the Bible, we have measurements of time...this is partly for practical reasons (measuring time to keep track of when things happened), but I think its also to "measure" the Lords faithfulness - each morning (His mercies are new every morning!), each month, each year, each generation.

So what are you struggling with today? Marital problems? infertility? sin? no spouse? lonely and need friends? looking for a new job? need to lose weight? Maybe make a promise to yourself and God to pray faithfully this year and look back and see how he has provided and carried you the past year.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Football Notes

This weekend I was at the beach (yay) and it rained all weekend (boo) but it was almost a blessing in disguise. I never take the weekend to just curl up on the couch and watch gameday, ballgames, and movies all weekend...and shop! It was so nice to have the downtime to do this before a busy season. I am almost tempted to take time off from a game wkd (later in the season) to have another day at home. I recently had "katy weekend" so two relaxing weekends after a crazy summer and before an even crazier fall was such a blessing...

My thoughts on Auburn...

It was a frustrating game but I am not that dissapointed. I expected it to be hard, maybe not this hard. However, I also expected we couldnt pull off the win in the last few minutes but we did.

Check out this post by Phillip Marshall This is about how I feel about Auburn this season.

Were they tough to watch at times this saturday? Of course. But they are young, maybe the youngest team in the SEC. And they follow big footsteps and have a horrible schedule. I fully accept a "breaking in" season... I am okay with that. It's all preparation for the future... but I like Phillip's point that Chizik knew that this season would be tough from the moment he took the job. 2009 recruits were thrown together so technically only his 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes are in place...and they are young.

I know some of this season will be painful...but I am still very excited. 4 years to see some of these boys grow into amazing players....if that means sitting through some losses now, I'll take it.

Thoughts on other teams...

  • very impressed by LSU. wow.

  • UGA, stop worrying about your uniforms, start worrying about your game

  • MSU -- jury is still out. I am certainly fearful to play you this weekend. You are good, BUT you played memphis, so I am not sure how good you are.

  • Ole Miss, breaks my heart -- horrible coaching.

  • other teams - i did not watch you, so no thoughts on you yet.

  • BAYLOR -- sic'em. what a game.

Friday, September 2, 2011

SUYL: Favorite Blogs

I am linking up with "Show Us Your Life" at Kelly's Korner today to share my favorite blogs

Track'em Tigers - auburn football
Saturdays down South - sec football
The south will Blog again - humorous, sec, but author is an ole miss fan so slightly ole missed biased - this is not a blog, exactly, but its lots of articles on SEC/auburn
Taylor Tailgates - a blog about college football tailgates and traditions. I especially love the post on Auburn and Ole Miss :)

Mary Grace - a friend from childhood
Design Sponge - great ideas- some are doable, some aren't! (atleast for me!)

Singles/20 somethings/young professionals
Unlocking Femininity - a focus on biblical womanhood, relationship/dating/singleness/etc of young adulthood. I don't always agree with them but usually I do.
Boundless - focus on the family's blog, there are some really really conservative people who comment on this blog, but many of the articles are good
Fast Pray - a group of singles who pray and fast each week for a marriages; the article posted each week is usually very good
Fabs Harford - my favorite. This is a 30 year old church employee in Austin Texas who is relatable yet honest and willing to say the hard stuff. Yet, she has been there - struggles, sins, hardships, so you want to listen to her.
No Regrets Singles - just found this blog. Its okay.

Christian Encouragement
Andree Seu - writes for World Magazine. Her daily online column is the best.
The Blazing Center - yankee preachers (father and son) who write great blogposts, oftentimes about waiting, prayer, contentment. One is also an author.
Challies - religious/theological blog
Rachel Held Evans - she is way more liberal than I am but some of the stuff she talks about is true. Take her in balance...
Gospel Coalition - yes I am a reformed nerd...Lots of blog posts (different authors - look under the blogs section)
Andrea Lucado - Max Lucado's daughter, about my age, so I enjoy reading her encouraging blog posts.

For fun/people
Chad Gibbs - author of 'God and Football'
John Acuff - has a blog called stuff Christians like where he makes fun of things about Christian culture, but his serious wednesday posts are the best.
James Camden Sikes - a college/camp friend's son who was diagnosed with a rare tumor and died a month or so ago...her honesty is touching and reading the blog reminds me of my blessings and to keep praying for her.
Kelly's Korner - of course! since I am linking to her!

What are your favorite blogs? Especially design/christian blogs? I would love to know more!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back, College Football. Win or Lose, my weekends in Auburn and Oxford are some of my favorites. Of course, I prefer winning more!! Tonight I am hosting a party to celebrate the kickoff of football season. We are watching the MSU game which is the first SEC game of the season... Even the ole miss fans are coming over to watch it because we are so excited for football to start!

here are some fun memories in the grove and on the plains!

National Championship Jan. 10, 2011

Egg Bowl 2010

Auburn Ole Miss @Ole Miss, 2006

Egg Bowl 2010

AU Florida 2006

6 Wins...Ironbowl 2007

Winning the west AU UGA 2010